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Introduction

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Anime (アニメ) refers to the animation style originating in Japan. It is characterized by distinctive characters and backgrounds (hand-drawn or computer-generated) that visually and thematically set it apart from other forms of animation. Storylines may include a variety of fictional or historical characters, events, and settings. Anime is aimed at a broad range of audiences and consequently, a given series may have aspects of a range of genres. Anime is most frequently broadcast on television or sold on DVDs and other media, either after their broadcast run or directly as original video animation (OVA). Console and computer games sometimes also feature segments or scenes that can be considered anime.

Manga (漫画) is Japanese for "comics" or "whimsical images". Manga developed from a mixture of ukiyo-e and Western styles of drawing, and took its current form shortly after World War II. Manga, apart from covers, is usually published in black and white but it is common to find introductions to chapters to be in color, and is read from top to bottom and then right to left, similar to the layout of a Japanese plain text. Financially, manga represented in 2005 a market of ¥24 billion in Japan and one of $180 million in the United States. Manga was the fastest growing segment of books in the United States in 2005.

Anime and manga share many characteristics, including: exaggerating (in terms of scale) of physical features, to which the reader presumably should pay most attention (best known being "large eyes"), "dramatically shaped speech bubbles, speed lines and onomatopoeic, exclamatory typography..." Some manga, a small amount of the total output, is adapted into anime, often with the collaboration of the original author. Computer games can also give rise to anime. In such cases, the stories are often compressed and modified to fit the format and appeal to a wider market. Popular anime franchises sometimes include full-length feature films, and some have been adapted into live-action films and television programs.

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Last Exile is a Japanese animated television series created by Gonzo. It featured a production team led by director Koichi Chigira, character designer Range Murata, and production designer Mahiro Maeda. The three had previously worked together in Blue Submarine No. 6, one of the first CG anime series. Last Exile premiered on TV Tokyo on April 7, 2003 and ran for twenty-six episodes until its conclusion on September 29, 2003.

The story is set on the fictional world of Prester, where its inhabitants use aerial vehicles known as vanships as a means of transportation. On this world which is divided in eternal conflict between the nations of Anatoray and Disith, sky couriers Claus Valca and Lavie Head must deliver a girl who holds the key to uniting the two factions. Although Prester itself is not a representation of Earth, it features technology reminiscent of nineteenth century Europe at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Many of its designs were also inspired by Germany's technological advances during the interwar period.

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Gaara is a fictional character in the Naruto manga and anime series created by Masashi Kishimoto. Kishimoto designed Gaara as a foil to the series' titular character, Naruto Uzumaki, as the two were born through similar circumstances, but develop vastly different personalities as they deal with their troubled upbringing. Initially introduced as an antagonist and Naruto's rival, the two eventually develop a bond as kindred spirits and become close friends as the series progresses.

In the anime and manga, Gaara is a ninja affiliated with Sunagakure, and is the son of Sunagakure's leader, the Fourth Kazekage. As a child, his father attempted to turn him into a human weapon by placing a tailed beast into him, and he was ostracized by the Sunagakure villagers. As a result, he develops into a ruthless killer, slaying others without remorse, and treating his siblings Kankuro and Temari with contempt. His battle with Naruto during the series changes this outlook, and he begins to aid others in order to emulate Naruto. In Part II of the series, he becomes Sunagakure's Fifth Kazekage. Gaara has appeared in several pieces of Naruto media, including the second featured film in the series, the third original video animation, and several video games.

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Oh My Goddess!, the manga by Kōsuke Fujishima, has been adapted into five anime versions between 1993 and 2007, including an original video animation ( OVA), The Adventures of Mini-Goddess, Ah! My Goddess, and its sequels, Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy and Ah! My Goddess: Fighting Wings.

In 1993, Anime International Company produced a five-episode OVA series based on the manga series. Its success inspired a spinoff TV series entitled The Adventures of Mini-Goddess. Produced by Oriental Light and Magic and initially aired on WOWOW in 1998 and 1999, the plot revolved around the adventures of three miniaturized goddesses and their rat companion Gan-chan, all of whom live in a temple home. In 2005, Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) began broadcasting Ah! My Goddess, a new series directed by Hiroaki Gōda and animated by Anime International Company. It ran for 24 episodes between January 7 and July 8, 2005. A sequel also animated by Anime International Company and directed by Gōda, Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy, aired on TBS between April 6 and September 14, 2006. A two-episode special entitled Ah! My Goddess: Fighting Wings, animated by Anime International Company and directed by Gōda, was broadcast on TBS on December 12, 2007.

Selected picture

Train with a Doreamon livery
Credit: SElefant

A locomotive in a special Doraemon livery at Aomori Station. This locomotive was in use during summer between 1998 to 2002.

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