No New Free! Iwatobi Swim Club This Week

Free! Episode 3 | Saru Anime

I have some bad news for the swimming fans that have been waiting religiously for this week’s episode of Free! Iwatobi Swim Club: there won’t be a new episode airing this Wednesday. It’s unclear at the moment what’s causing the delay, but Crunchyroll has posted the following under their availability notes for the series:

“Due to broadcast delays in Japan, Episode 5 of Free! will be airing on August 7.”

So, there you have it. It’s only a week, but it’s always disappointing to have to wait longer than expected for new episodes. In the meantime, why not check out my episode reviews for the series so far and rewatch the current releases? Don’t go through it all in one day though. You still have a week and a day to wait!

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New Good Smile Company Mascot Revealed

Good Smile Company Mascot | Saru Anime

If you’re at all into the collectable figurine scene, chances are you’ve heard of Good Smile Company. They’re well known for producing quality anime and video game character figures. But what is a popular Japanese company without a cute mascot?

At this summer’s Wonder Festival 2013 (an event held in Japan for garage kit and figurine hobbyists), Good Smile Company revealed a new mascot in a promotional video you can watch down below. She doesn’t have a name yet, but that will surely change soon.

For some, the face of Good Smile Company was a character named Gumako who was born out of an April Fool’s Day joke a few years ago. It looks like she’ll have to share the spotlight now with her younger sister. And let’s not forget Good Smile Seijin, a creature who also represents Good Smile Company. He’s perhaps not as attention-grabbing as Gumako and the newly announced girl, but I think he’s pretty cute in his own right. Don’t you think?

Good Smile Company Seijin | Saru AnimeSOURCE 1 and 2

Detective Conan and BBC’s Sherlock Brought Together For Quiz Promotion

Detective Conan  and Sherlock | Saru Anime

Well, this isn’t the sort of collaboration you see every day. Anime franchises cross over from time to time, but a British live-action show and a Japanese anime being featured together in the same event? Well, it might make a little more sense than you think.

The anime series Detective Conan and the BBC’s popular live-action series Sherlock both air on the Japanese station AXN Mystery Channel. To celebrate their upcoming 15th anniversary, the channel is scheduling a quiz event for fans who watch special airings of both series. Those who answer correctly will be entered into a lottery. Prizes include 150000 yen for one lucky winner, a plush of the AXN mascot for ten winners, a Sony tablet for three winners, and an AXN QUO card (a sort of prepaid card that can be used in a variety of places) worth 1000 yen for 100 winners.

If you happen to live in Japan and want to get in on the fun, the quiz event will start August 31st at 5 PM and run through September 8th.

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Free! Iwatobi Swim Club – Episode 4

Free! Episode 4 | Saru Anime

Last week, we left Free! Iwatobi Swim Club under bittersweet circumstances. On the one hand, Rei officially joined the cast and filled the remaining spot on the swim team. On the other, he has a long way to go before he’s ready to contribute to the team as an active member. It looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more Rei in this episode; and a lot more swimsuits in general. It’s time to train!

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Real-Life Location of Free! Promoting Tourism

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club - Iwami | Saru Anime

Earlier this month, fans of the popular swimming anime Free! Iwatobi Swim Club discovered that the show takes place in a location with a real-life equivalent in our very own Japan. That location is the town of Iwami, located in the country’s Tottori prefecture. I can imagine what must go through locals’ heads when something like this is uncovered: do you bemoan the fact that anime fans will be swarming your streets, or do you enjoy the posterity?

It looks like the citizens of Iwami will be doing the latter. The town’s official blog (yes, it has a blog) has uploaded some photos for comparison with scenes from episode 3 of Free!, and their tourism board has announced that they will be working with Kyoto Animation to hold events and create promotional items.

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club - Iwami | Saru Anime
I don’t blame Iwami for jumping on the Free! bandwagon wholeheartedly. Fan pilgrimages to the real-life settings of anime and manga series are pretty common in Japan; if handled right, it could be a real boon to the local economy. I’m looking forward to seeing what sorts of events and merchandise will come out of this collaboration.

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New Bedsheets Feature the Men of Saiyuki

Saiyuki Bedsheets - Sanzo | Saru Anime

If some Attack on Titan body pillows aren’t enough decoration for your otaku bedroom, rest assured: there’s more anime-themed merch coming your way. This time, it’s bedsheets featuring the main cast of the anime and ongoing manga series Gensomaden Saiyuki. Featured above is the character Sanzo; below are Goku, Hakkai, and Gojyo respectively.

Saiyuki Bedsheets - Goku | Saru AnimeSaiyuki Bedsheets - Hakkai | Saru AnimeSaiyuki Bedsheets - Gojyo | Saru Anime

The sheets are going for 9,975 yen apiece, or 39,900 yen for the full set. The latter includes a premium illustration by the series’ creator Kazuya Minekura, and this newest merchandise release coincides with the release of Minekura’s newest artbook. If you have the cash and a passion for Saiyuki, these sheets can be purchased over here.

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Sword Art Online English Trailer Revealed

Sword Art Online | Saru Anime

The popular Sword Art Online anime series has been on fans’ radars for a while now; even if you haven’t seen it, chances are you’ve heard people talking about it. Now, with its premiere on the resurrected Toonami fast approaching, its fanbase is no doubt ready to expand. A new trailer for the TV premiere of the English dub is now available for longtime fans and curious newcomers.

Dub versus sub wars aside, I think this show will do well on Toonami. It’s got drama, romance, and a video game spin that will appeal to a lot of viewers that are already watching Toonami; and if they aren’t, the premise of the show will attract newcomers of all ages. As much as many people liked the show Deadman Wonderland, I don’t think it was the greatest way to appeal to a large fanbase, as its extremely adult content would have kept the younger viewers excluded. I’ll be excited to see how SAO does on American television.

The Toonami premiere of Sword Art Online will be on July 28th at 2 AM.

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