Tonight’s selection is all about action. Explosions, car chases, and constant pumping adrenaline are par for the course, as samurai and militants battle through settings both modern and ancient. Those looking for the quick thrills or extended excitement will be thrilled by tonight’s trio of titles.

Yugo the Negotiator: Complete Collection
Price: $23.99
Found At: Right Stuf
What is it?
Yugo the Negotiator is a modern-day action show that revolves around master negotiator Yugo Beppu. Yugo is a man of unmatched reputation, who can get results that other negotiators can only dream of attaining. He’s a man who will risk life and limb, as he dives head-first into danger zones to secure his clients’ needs, and exposes himself to dangers that normal men would never undertake. Torture, gunfights, and military opposition all stand between Yugo and his target, and each must be won over not by violence, but by the sheer power of a man’s word.

Through the series, Yugo takes on two particular missions: One in Pakistan, one in the remnants of the former Soviet Union. In Pakistan, Yugo must rescue his client’s father, who was captured by a Taliban-esque band of militants. To set him free, Yugo must gain an audience with the militants’ leader, a bear of a man named Yusuf Ali Mesa. This won’t be easy, as the Pakistani military wants nothing more than for Yugo to go home. In addition, Yusuf doesn’t take kindly to negotiators: the last one that was sent wound up dead in the desert. It falls on Yugo’s shoulders to work around these challenges and find a way into Yusuf’s inner circle, in order to complete his mission.

In his second mission, Yugo must travel to Russia in order to retrieve his client’s missing relative. However, all is not as it seems, as the relative is an heiress to a Bolshevik fortune. The deception is merely a beginning to the trial, as the Russian military gets involved for their own purposes. Now, it is up to Yugo to secure his target and ensure that this job isn’t his last.

Why this item?
Yugo is a show that I simply can’t say enough kind things about. The show doesn’t offer the same loose, run-and-gun action of some shows, but it still manages to create an intense, action-packed experience. The show’s gritty realism in settings and affairs create a world in which there is no right or wrong, and no good or evil. Instead, everything is shown in more realistic shades of grays, which is a refreshing change of pace the epics that many associate with action anime.

The two missions are shown at a breathless pace, and the down-time is kept to a minimum. As a result, Yugo stands as a show that will leave viewers craving more as the credits roll for each episode.

Samurai Champloo: Complete Collection
Price: $23.99
Found At: Amazon
What is it?
Samurai Champloo is a period series created by Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe. The series revolves around three unlikely travel partners, as they journey across Japan. Fuu, a ditzy tea-house waitress managed to rope Jin and Mugen, a pair of wandering samurai that loathe each other into a journey to find a mysterious man that smells of sunflowers. Through their journey, they must face all manner of challenges, from crooked magistrates, to pirates and blind minstrels. All the while, Jin and Mugen are itching to take each others’ heads off. Will Fuu be able to keep the peace until they reach their final destination?

Why this item?
Samurai Champloo has been dubbed “Samurai Bebop” by a number of my close colleagues, including Anime Dream Editor-in-Chief Matt Brown. The pace, the story-styles, even the characters feel like they could easily be slotted into the world of Spike, Jet, Faye, and Ed. What sets the show apart from the adventures of the Bebop is the action. The show’s slick, fast-paced fight scenes are a joy to watch, and the fights are never anything short of exciting.

s-CRY-ed: Complete Collection
Price: $37.49
Found At: Right Stuf

What is it?
s-CRY-ed is a post-apocalyptic epic from Sunrise. The show is set in The Lost Ground: a former part of Japan’s Kanazawa prefecture, where floats above the ground. Twenty-two years prior, the Lost Ground came to be when an unknown phenomenon caused the ground to split and burst upwards, creating a wasteland where people struggle to survive. A small number of the area’s residents were gifted with incredible abilities that allow them to alter the molecular structure of matter itself. Dubbed “Alter Users”, these individuals have been seen as the future of mankind, menaces to society, or something in-between. To keep the peace in this new area, the security division HOLD was created. To keep track of Alter Users, HOLD created HOLY: a division comprised entirely of Alter Users.

Kazuma is a young Alter User making in the Lost Ground as a mercenary, as he cares for his sister. His life is turned upside-down when a routine job goes awry and Ryuho, HOLY’s star agent steps in. An bitter rivalry is born, and an undying competition between the two is sparked, as Kazuma fights for his freedom, and for his family.

Why this item?
s-CRY-ed is an action show with a brain. Rather than focus on all-out action, the show delivers a combination of a strong narrative and a compelling cast. Ryuho and Kazuma’s flaming rivalry and the shady HOLY organization are probed, prodded, and explored as the show rushes toward its inevitable conclusion.

That’s not to say there is no action, though. The house that Gundam built proved that they could make a top-notch fighting show with s-CRY-ed as the show sports impressive, flashy battles that are a joy to watch. The choreography is top-notch, and every punch has just the right amount of “oomph” behind it.

Total Cost: $85.47