Brand & Martínez is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by Madeleine Brand & A Martínez

Anime you should be watching

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Anime is a wildly popular, half a billion dollar industry in Japan, but it also has its dedicated fan base here in the U.S. In a talk with Madeleine, anime expert Charles Solomon gives his recommendations for must see series.

Persona 4 - Collection 1

When Yu Narukami moves in with his uncle and niece in the flyspeck town of Inaba, he expects to spend a boring year at Yasogami High.

Then a mysterious killer starts leaving bodies sprawled on old TV antennas.

Yu makes some friends at school who tell him about the “midnight channel.” On rainy nights, bizarre images appear on television at the stroke of twelve. Yu discovers he and his friends can pass through TV screens into an alternate world that seems tied to the midnight channel - and the murders.

Each person who enters the weirdly colored realm beyond the screen has to confront the embodiment of his hidden desires: Kanji, who kicked the soba out of the local biker gang, sews cute little animals.

When they accept their flaws, the teenagers receive magical cards that enable them to summon their personas - powerful creatures who battle the resident demons. It's a nicely original take on the teen mysgtery genre.

You can watch Persona 4 here

Shiki - Parts 1 and 2

This eerie vampire adventure takes place in Sotobamura, an isolated village.

Even at its liveliest, Sotobamura feels dead to the local teen-agers, who want to move to bigger, more exciting places. But when a foreign family moves to an enormous chateau they’ve built at the edge of the town, people begin dying of a mysterious disease.

Dedicated Dr. Ozaki, who runs the local clinic, discovers the deaths are linked to anemia, but none of the patients show any sign of injury or internal bleeding.

Ozaki and sullen teen-ager Natsuno suspect the deaths are linked to okiagari, undead creatures who stalk the night.

Shiki is genuinely creepy, rather than a simple gore fest.

Naruto Shippuden - Set 11

The episodes from Season Five of the long-running running hit 'Naruto Shippuden,' the misadventures of an adolescent ninja-in-training, depict the confrontation between Sasuke Uchiha and his older brother Itachi, a battle fans have been awaiting for years.

Itachi murdered his entire clan except for Sasuke, who’s seeking revenge.

Itachi attempts to steal Sasuke’s eyes to perfect a powerful technique in a grotesque prelude to the face-off.

Director Hayao Date and his crew employ dramatic fire and lightning effects to make the duel between the Uchiha brothers as exciting as it should be, and LA-based voice actors Yuri Lowenthal (Sasuke) and Crispin Freeman (Itachi) bring an effective sense of hatred and shattered affection to the dialogue.

Naruto Shippuden is available here