Posts in: February, 2003

Anime Tunerz – Irwindale Speedway Drift Showoff

By Jonah Morgan
Pictures and Commentary Supplied by Isaac Lew

 

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This past Sunday, March 2nd saw Mainstream Productions in association with On the Scene Video Magazine’s Falken Tires Drift Showoff featuring Japan’s top drift racers. In the past year alone, the sport of “drifting” has become an exciting new form of automotive exhibition and competition in the US. In drifting, the objective is to maneuver a vehicle through corners at speeds and angles that exceed the vehicle’s ability to adhere to the roadway. During a “drift” a driver slides almost sideways through corners with control and adequate speed. The Drift Showoff was designed to demonstrate the power and style of professional drifting in Japan and provide drivers with instructional guidance and track time to practice drifting safely. This event also provides fun and excitement for spectators of all ages and drivers of all abilities.

Events included:

 

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Drifting Demo Falken Tires Team Drivers: Yoshinori Koguchi and Seigou Yamamoto. Along with Signal Auto’s Guest: Fumiaki Komatsu.

Drift-Spec Vehicles: Falken Tires Chaser 100 & 180sx, Signal Auto’s Drifter X (Sil-Eighty). Watch these drivers get sideways tearing up the drift course in a jam session-styled format. Drifting Clinic Learn to drift like a pro. 40 advance drivers will be able to participant in the clinic taught by the professional drivers from Japan. Half hour in the class room and all day on the track! Intermediate/Novice drivers will also be able to learn on a separate course and slalom. Class size is limited for both groups so sign up now!

Drifting Competition The 40 drivers in the advance drifting clinic will battle it out for over $1,500 in cash and prizes plus the top 3 drivers will earn the right to drift against the Falken Tires Team drivers in the final jam session.

JDM vs DTM Car Show Watch as the top Japanese and Euro-Spec vehicles battle it out for the overall title and the coveted 6 ft. Best of Show trophy.

Isaac Lew attended the event and had the following to contribute:

The real action was in the skills displayed by Japan’s top drift pilots. You knew the track was about to feel it when these guys headed on to the pavement. Imagine tons of steel on wheels shifting back and forth like a skier would on slops. Better yet, Eastern automobile cowboys riding their high-octane monsters in circles, while swinging the door open and taking time to wave to the crowd. They were truly awesome and pictures do not do these guys justice. On an anime note, after the exhibitions the drivers were flooded for autographs. Among many signed materials, the Initial D Arcade Stage Card was one of the most popular. Big ups to Mainstream Productions and On The Scene Video Magazine for putting on a great show!

For more of our images from the event Click Here

For more info on Sunday’s event check out:
http://driftshowoff.com/
For even more on the Import Scene check out Live Socket’s On the Scene DVD on sale now at Akadot Retail: Purchase Here


ANS Pop Japan Tour Guide – The Giant Video Screen Capital Of The World

By Jonah Morgan

Japanese electronics firms were hard at work on advancements in display technology throughout the 1980’s that were to set the stage for a revolution in the way one can transmit high resolution video on a truly large pallet to large number of observers. These displays began deployment in several Japanese cities in the 1990’s and were constantly being retrofited to stay on par with the state of the art. While for the first examples, displaying 3 color combinations was enough the latest continue to hone improved picture clarity and depth, brightness, durability and efficiency. Composite materials went to lightweight, thin structures and easy maintenance making them ideal for unconventional outdoor installations.

After plans were revealed several years back to turn the now hyper-cosmopolitan Tokyo district, Shibuya, into a shopping and people hotspot, giant display after whopping giant display seemed to affix itself to surrounding buildings. Behind the scenes, oftentimes heated negotiations were waged as manufacturers, building owners/leasers, and video content providers vied for the chicest advertisement site in the city.

When I visited Tokyo in 2001 and walked out of the JR Train station into the square for the very first time I thought I had landed in some future city at some future time. Pictures can’t do real justice to the pure sea of elecromagnetic energy that is Shibuya. Beyond countless auditory streams of pop music, news, sports and financial reports, neon lighted signs, LED tickers and printed advertisements that plastered the sides of entire buildings, three gigantic video displays drew the attention of virtually every pedestrian and passerby at some point throught their Shibuya trek. From the guy who took his lunch break in the small park in front of the Tokyu building checking out the top 10 music video countdown to the ocassional footbound shopper who would glance up at the weather rundown, you could expect to see virtually any number of programming types on the walls.

From left to right Akami’s Super LISA Shibuya features a curved screen attached to the Taiseido Building, folks can see music video programming on this one throughout the day. LISA dominated the Shibuya videoscape with almost exclusive visual access to the estimated 3 million passengers a day for most of the 90’s until the even more gargantuan Q’s Eye was realized. LISA Size: 6,480mm (Height) x 8,640mm (Width)

In 1998 the largest video screen in Japan, Q’s Eye flickered on attached to the QFRONT building at 23.5×19 meters. The master control for QFRONT lies beneath the square of Shibuya in the tunnelways, explore about some and you can easily find it. The images above were captured by ANS and are QFRONT and the master control on New Year’s Eve.

From the American perspective who has not seen the giant video screen that dominated the Times Square commercial imagery morass before there even was one? That screen was developed by Sony until Panasonic placed their Astrovision unit there in 1997. The screen was dubbed “the Visual Centerpiece of Times Square” upon debut and this quote goes along way to revealing the implication of this type of technology. Panasonic Astrovision uses Light Emitting Diodes to produce a display almost three stories high and four stories wide. Capable of more than a billion shades of color and containing 1.5 million LED’s, the very same screen is in place world-wide at major entertainment and sports venues, including the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, Pacific Bell Bark, San Francisco and Universal Studios CityWalk, Hollywood.

Now you can come and see the giant video screen capitial yourself as part of the Pop Japan Travel tour coming up in April, go to the link to find out more! Be sure to mention ANS when signing up!

Super Lisa Shibuya Image (C) Akami


Anime News Service – Febuary 19 – March 4 Anime News

3-4-03—- Meriam Webster Acknowledges The Word ANIME

Merriam-Webster recently updated its Online Dictionary and among the words included was the term ‘anime.’ Here is the full definition from Merriam-Webster: Main Entry: an·i·me Pronunciation: ‘a-n&-“mA, ‘ä-nE- Function: noun Etymology: Japanese, animation, short for animEshiyon, from English Date: 1988 : a style of animation originating in Japan that is characterized by stark colorful graphics depicting vibrant characters in action-filled plots often with fantastic or futuristic themes

Source: Animation Insider

3-4-03—- TRSI Announces Yamamoto Yohko Rerelease

Yamamoto Yohko, Starship Girl DVD Collection Pre-book date: 5/27/2003 – Street date: 6/24/2003 Approximately 180 minutes, Dolby Digital Stereo, Color. Adventure / Comedy

DVD (English, Japanese, Japanese with English Subtitles) Catalog#: RSDVD9010 Suggested Rating: 15+ ISBN: 1-57032-069-1 UPC#: 7-42617-9010-2-7 SRP: $19.98

Right Stuf is proud to announce that on 6/24/2003 STARSHIP GIRL YAMAMOTO YOHKO the DVD COLLECTION will be re-released with ALL NEW PACKAGING at an ALL NEW LOWER PRICE of just $19.98 for all 6 OVA episodes!

From J.C. Staff (the producers of EXCEL SAGA / HIS AND HER CIRCUMSTANCES) and Character Designer Kazuto Nakazawa (TENCHI IN TOKYO / EL HAZARD) comes a trip into the fantastic fun of the future!

A thousand years from now, the great battles between civilizations have been reduced to the shoulders of a handful of chosen champions. When a war is waged, each side picks its representatives, gives them spaceships and the fight is on! Of course if their champion looses, they must admit defeat and give in to the wishes of the other. Very handy, very civilized … unless you don’t happen to have any good fighters…

Terra team has had it tough lately: Ness’ “Red Snappers” team has had things their way. Even with technically superior ships, things are bleak for Terra… To make matters worse, they only have three pilots. Despite a concerted effort to recruit girls from the past, the team simply keeps losing! Now they desparately need someone special… someone powerful, capable, and who possess a killer instinct. A pilot of extraordinary skill to crew the new model ship. They need … Yamamoto Yohko!

Now if they can just convince her that a better life awaits her in the future, with new friends, new videogames and some very powerful hypertechnology (well some things just take less convincing than others!), Terra might be able to defeat the Red Snappers for a change!

Contains ALL 6 Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko OVA episodes!

Bonus DVD content includes: Slideshow, Outtakes, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo for English and Japanese Dialogue, and English Subtitles.

3-4-03—- Australian Anime / Food Product Cross Promotion

According to an article found at SMH marketers are using Anime to help promote sales of Food products in Australia. Beyblades and Dragonball Z are among the properties mentioned.

3-4-03—- KosaKon Anifest 2003 In Philly

We’re proud to announce KosaiKon Anifest 2003 taking place on May 31, 2003 at Villanova University. A variety of anime titles will be featured, as well as a highly anticipated anime project being developed in the region.

Pre-registration for the event will be $13 until May 1, 2003. If space is still available, registration at the door will be $15. Space is limited to 100 seats.

Visit http://www.kosaikon.com for more information.

Rachael Carothers KosaiKon Chairperson

3-4-03—- Asian Cinema Mega Scoop

Thanks to Daniel for the following:

Originally 116 minutes, http://alliance.hellninjacommando.net/ has gauged Miramax’s version of Hero at 98 minutes.

Hong Kong-based Celestial Pictures launched its inaugural movie channel, Celestial Movies, on Malaysian satellite broadcaster Astro at 3 p.m. local time Monday in a ceremony attended by “Infernal Affairs” star Andy Lau and Shaw movies’ “Queen of Swords,” Cheng Pei-pei. Celestial, which owns the extensive Shaw Bros. film library, is owned by Malaysian-based conglomerate Usaha Tegas, which is a major shareholder of Astro through Measat Broadcast Network Systems. In addition to Celestial’s restored Shaw Bros. classics from the 1950s through the ’90s and new acquisitions, Celestial Movies will carry locally produced programming and documentaries. The channel also owns rights to Golden Harvest titles from the 1990s. “Astro is proud to be the first service in the world to provide the access to these timeless classics. I do believe that many of us will enjoy the offerings on Celestial Movies as award-winning classic titles such as ‘Come Drink With Me,’ ‘The Kingdom & the Beauty’ and ‘The Three Smiles’ are not easy to come by on our screens,” said Chia Boon Lim, executive director of Astro. Celestial Movies will be packaged with the Phoenix Channel and Astro’s Shuang Xing 1 and 2, which carry television dramas. The channel is scheduled to launch throughout Asia, Australia, North America and Europe in the coming year.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

After a bit of a slow start, the Korean video market is in the midst of a dramatic upheaval from VHS to DVD. For the third year in a row, DVD sales have more than tripled, and now, with the collapse of the videocassette market, DVD stands on the verge of becoming a significant factor in the industry. As of the end of 2002, Koreans owned 650,000-800,000 DVD players, according to figures from Culture Contents and Business Week, the main industry publication in Korea. This equates to a 3.9%-4.8% penetration rate of TV households, and a significant increase from the 228,000 in 2001 and 67,000 in 2000. An estimated 7 million DVDs were sold in 2002, representing 117 billion won ($100 million) in consumer spending. While this represents just a fraction of Korea’s flourishing movie industry, 117 billion won is a huge gain from just 45 billion won in 2001. The movie magazine Film 2.0 estimates that DVD will overtake video by April.

Source: The Hollywood ReporterThe Hollywood Reporter

Yahoo says Around the World in 80 Days with Jackie Chan should have a fall release.

Yahoo Movies says the sequel to The Eye should have a summer 2004 release in Hong Kong.

And if you’re at the Cannes this year, you might want to look for The Matrix: Reloaded, because Yahoo Movies suggests it will be played


ANS Exclusive Review – Japan For Sale Volume 3

Japan For Sale Volume 3By Jonah Morgan

The past 2 years have seen Japanese music labels mounting a greater push into the American marketsphere than at anytime previous. At the forefront of the effort have been pop label giants Avex Trax with their Tokyo FM @ New York project and Sony Music Imports who have to-date released 2 Japan For Sale compilation albums of their cream of the crop pop exports from the land of the rising sun. Originating as the non retail Japan NOT For Sale compilation in 1999, promotional CMJ chart listings alone prompted Sony to start the commercial Japan For Sale series in 2000. The “Japan For Sale Allstars” played the SXSW in the same year to critical praise. As of this review volume 2’s sales have surpassed 5000 copies.

April 29th sees the US release of the 3rd album in Sony’s sampler series and we’ve had the opppertunity to listen to the disc for 1 solid month previous to this writeup. As music goes in general the most novel sounding tunes to someone when they first hear them can quickly turn into melodius torture in the course of a few days. Amplified about 1 gazillion times in this age of unrivaled music disposability and “music on demand”, how does JFS Vol. 3 hold it’s ground? The concept behind this album as a compilation goes a long way to seeing after listening durabilty and Sony scores big points for making the variety present on JFS3 as diverse in Sony’s cache of artistic properties as possible.

The 1st 4 tracks on the album have a very urban feel to them. From the ambient ‘Time’ in which rhymes and raps spit by GOKU come down to the underground house sounds of DJ Krush’s custom sampling work in ‘The Lost Voices’ we go back into an ambient/trance sound with Matally’s Four Seasons V.S. YoYo-C and finally a lyrical R&B Loop Junction ‘Ja:pon’. Track 5 features ‘Black Out Fall Out’ by an electronica roick group called Polystics. This group reminds me of a cross between Devo and a mid 90’s American synth side project by Weezer’s Matt Sharp called The Rentals. Polystics has had music featured on the 3 previous JFS albums as well as 3 independant albums and are being brought stateside this summer in May and June, stay tuned to ANS for more info on this. Track six is Guitar Vader’s English heavy ‘Super Brothers’ and has a similar rock/electronica type sound. Tracks 7-8 are wonderfully warm and soft female pop melodies: Mai Hoshimura’s ‘Stay With You’ and Mayu Kitaki’s ‘Latata’. The Brilliant Green’s ‘I’m A Player In TV Games’ featues 100% English lyrics and an addictive rock melody remeniscent of Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins that would not be out of place at the top of contemporary alternative rock charts. The Final 3 tracks are contributions from the strictly electronic Japanese scene: Kyoto Jazz Massive’s ‘Substream’ , Takkyu Ishino’s ‘Gimme Some High Energy’ and one of my personal favorites Yoshinori Sunahara’s ‘Spiral Never Before’. Sunahra has had music on JFS previosuly and represents the the true edge electronic music compostion in or out of Japan.

The final analysis on JFS3 is you’ve got a great variety of music here representing the contmporary hits in Japan with awesome playback value. Artwork for JFS3 is reprised by LA based artist Shag, the CD is expected to be promoted widely on the retail scene and on Cartoon Network and MTV2 on television.