Posts in: July, 2004

Anime News Service – July 18 – 21 Anime News

7-21-04

Steamboy is reviewed by the Daily Yomiuri, 1 week post it’s release to theaters in Japan.
Oregon’s Salem Statesman Journal has a piece on on how some young artists have gotten pointers from the creator of the Eisner award wining series, Whiteout.
The Oklahoman mentions the stir the card game Yugi-oh! is creating in an American city.
The Daily Yomiuri newspaper also reviews Ishii’s newest film, Cha no Aji and draws some anime parallels.
Gigex mentions Sammy is demoing Guilty Gear Isuka and Spy Fiction” (featuring character design of Renji “Range” Murata (“Last Submarine No.6,” “Last Exile” I and II) at San Diego Comic Con.
Metroactive Arts has a lengthy article on Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara’s latest exhibition “Nothing Ever Happens”, at the San Jose Museum of Art (www.sjmusart.org). The show, which opens July 24, is his first retrospective in Northern California.
The Japan Times has a review of Director Katsuhito Ishii’s latest film Cha no Aji. Ishii’s previous projects, “Samahada Otoko to Momojiri Onna (Sharkshin Man and Peachhip Girl)” (1999) and “Party 7” (2000), found many fans abroad including Kill Bill Director Quentin Tarantino.
The Straights Times looks at the new Will Smith film I, Robot and makes comparisons of the relationship between man and machines. 2 recent anime productions get a nod:
Even when overt violence does break out between the two camps, it is kept to a minimum and stops short of a full-blown cataclysmic showdown, as witnessed in Rintaro’s Metropolis (2001), a jaw-dropping anime epic based on the mangas of Osamu Tezuka and Mahiro Maeda’s The Second Renaissance (2003), one of the better The Animatrix shorts that explains the back story of Man’s struggle with the Machines.

7-21-04—- Exclusive: Geisters 2 At Otakon

The folks at Anime Crash have passed word onto ANS that their release of Geisters Vol. 2 will be announced at Otakon. Fans may remeber in late 2003, The Crash Media Group announced the launch of their Anime Crash DVD line which will be a launch-pad and showcase for animation from Japan and beyond.

7-20-04—- King Of Fighters 2003 Comic Book Coming

San Jose, CA – July 28, 2004 ComicsOne – the King of English-translated Hong Kong comics, has just announced (to the delight of gamers everywhere) the impending release of their latest action-packed comic book series – THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2003. Yes that’s right; the latest installment to the wildly popular competitive action-fighting game series from SNK NEOGEO USA CONSUMER CORPORATION (www.snkneogeousaconsumer.com) is now a full color comic heading to store shelves just in time to compliment SNK’s own THE KING OF FIGHTERS 02/03 Combo Pack for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft!

KOF 2003 marks the beginning of a new epic saga in the KOF series. The tapestry of human relationships that entangles our new hero and an evil entity is revealed by degrees…KOF 2003 is more than just a fighting game – it’s fighting with a purpose. SNK’s most famous characters come to life in THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2003 – the comic!

Fighting game fans will undoubtedly hold their control pads high in salute to the 9th installment of THE KING OF FIGHTERS franchise. So what better way to commemorate the event than with a comic series, which furthers the adventures of your favorite combating teams beyond what is seen in the video games? Those who love to consume anything KOF won’t hesitate to devour both the game and the comic like a well-seasoned porter house steak! Don’t miss the action on-screen and on the page this fall!

Availability THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2003 #1 will be available in November 2004. Each 128 page graphic novel will be priced at $13.95. Visit www.comicsone.com for more detailed series information.

7-20-04—- FUNimation At Comc Con

Fort Worth, TX (July 20, 2004) You don’t have to pinch yourself. This is not a dream. You have entered pop culture paradise. From July 22nd to July 25th in San Diego, California, over 75,000 people will attend Comic-Con International 2004. One bit of fair warning, wear comfortable shoes. FUNimation Productions, Ltd., the foremost producer and distributor of anime in North America, will be at San Diego Comic-Con International 2004 in full force to promote our latest and greatest titles. Come by and visit our island booth #4107. We have many activities in store at the FUNimation island: · Come by for free posters from Fruits Basket, Kiddy Grade, Tenchi Muyo! GXP and Fullmetal Alchemist. · Check out our convention exclusive Fruits Basket Kyo and Yuki fleece and Kyo knit caps. You can only buy them here people! · We will be screening trailers for our current shows and preview upcoming shows like Yu Yu Hakusho, Dragon Ball GT – The Lost Episodes, Case Closed and Kiddy Grade to upcoming Fullmetal Alchemist, Spiral and Gunslinger Girl. · Need your gaming fix? Check out the playable demo of the Playstation 2 game Fullmetal Alchemist – The Broken Angel by Square Enix, Inc. For those attendees who love their anime as much as they love their comics, we’ve got you covered…big time.

We’ve invited our friends at Fanboy Radio to get this party started. Fanboy Radio will be interviewing the biggest comic book creators at the FUNimation island. Yes, you’re reading it right, Frank Cho, Greg Rucka, Scott Kurtz, John Cassaday, Robert Kirkman, Brian Michael Bendis and more will be making their appearances at the FUNimation island. (tentitive list, subject to change) It’s like mixing peanut butter and chocolate – the perfect combination of anime and comic books. Sweet! Be sure to check out Atari’s booth #4215 for details on their upcoming Dragon Ball Z and Yu Yu Hakusho games. Score Entertainment’s booth #3229 will have playable demos of their Dragon Ball GT and Yu Yu Hakusho TCG games. Comic-Con will mark the next to last Dragon Ball


ANS Review – Dinomania Hand Painted Miniature Dinosaurs And Prehistoric Creatures

  • 15th Jul 2004
  • News

By Jonah Morgan

Japanese Model-Maker Kaiyodo, confectionary giant UHA Mikakuto and San Jose based Prototopia and first annonced their deal to distribute the Dinomania Hand Painted Minature Dinosars and Prehistoric Creatures collection in the U.S.A, Canada and Mexico on May 18th of this year. After Selling 20,000,000 units of the set in Japan there are high hopes this set may take off in the North American Market. Japan has historically set the trends for the U.S. collectors’ market and the idea with the release is to appeal to both collectors and educators across all age groups.

Late last week ANS recieved a package in mail from Prototopia with a few random samples from the first 24 piece Dinomania set for review. The first thing that strikes you about the packaging is it’s triangular nature, the box itself is fairly small, only weighing 5 grams. Very colorful eyecatch graphic on the front. The set is packaged alot like baseball cards, you have no idea which dinosaur you are going open in a particualr box. So a very cool mystery element for the collector. Open the box and 3 chromofoil wrappers fall out 2 smaller ones containing candy and the larger one with a “limited edition” seal containing the model pieces. Business coming before pleasure, the choice was made to assemble the model first. Tearing the top of the pouch a bit too quickly I saw a flurry of tiny plastic pieces hit the carpet along with a fact sticker on my dismembered dinosaur and a sheet listing others in the collection.

With the adult hand in mind the pieces to some of the models can be incredibly tiny depending on what creature you end up with. The assembly is totally intuitive, no stage 5 complexity warning needed here, there are no instuctions required for assembly. With the model completed I found myself looking at the aquatic dwelling Hemicyclaspis. It’s resemblence is a bit like the modern sucker fish I have seen in some aquariums. Now I know why the hand painted nature of the models is so heavily touted, the attention to detail in the paint color and detail is striking, and the engraving, simply incredible, easily the most detailed dinosaur models released in America at the scale retail pricepoint.

A great virtue of this first release is if you’re the dino fan out there who thinks you’ll wind up with same household familiar dinosaur names that have become movie stars you’re sorely mistaken. Because at this point when I was holding my new Hemicyclaspis it occurred to me that I had never heard of nor seen this creature before and I thought I knew dinosaurs pretty well….. Looking at the full collection roster again there was only one dinosaur in the set of 24 that I could honestly say I recognized, Plesiosaurus…. Some of these creatures I never thought could exist on the Earth…. the almost alien Pieurocysties or Hallucigenia….. Some of these creatures looked like animals walking around today…. The Pelican like Tapejara Imperator or the Copeteryx which has the head of a Duck and the body of a Penguin…. So the set has the potential to be a great educational tool, it makes one see the relations in life existing on the Earth now and in the distant past and marvel at things that may never be seen by human eyes until landing upon on another world perhaps. The final part of this review will end on the 2 pieces of Chocolate candy that come with each collectible, it’s pretty good.

The Dinomania collectables are sold at museum, hobby, educational, comic, and specialty retail stores throughout North America. DinoMania Series-One is a limited-edition collection featuring 24 unique dinosaur models plus one additional “secret” dinosaur, each sold separately. For more information on DinoMania go to www.dinomania.com, www.promotopia.com, www.kaiyodo.co.jp and www.uha-mikakuto.co.jp.

All Stories, Graphics And Material © Jonah Morgan – Anime News Service Unless Otherwise Cited


ANS Exclusive Interview: 10 Questions To Yoshitaka Amano

  • 11th Jul 2004
  • News

By: Jonah Morgan

Few Japanese artists have captured the spirit and detail of the fantasy canvas like Yoshitaka Amano. Videogame RPG fans have been familiar with his character designs for the Final Fantasy Series for nearly 2 decades. His 1987 renditions for the characters of the original video animation of Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Vampire Hunter D helped made it one of the earliest and most popular anime video releases in the USA. We posed 10 questions Amano-sensei that are quite a wide range of topics.

Hello Mr. Amano, thank you for agreeing to our interview. Before I move into the main questions, I have one based on some breaking news in Japan. According to a Famitsu article published this week, Mr. Sakaguichi of Square announced he has founded his own independent development company, Mist Walker. He mentioned your name and manga artist Takehiko Inoue as possible future collaborators with the new studio. Can you comment on your position regarding Mist Walker at this time? Do you of other who are being considered to do work with the studio.

Mist Walker is Mr. Sakaguchi’s own project and I wasn’t involved at all. Mr. Sakaguchi has been a very good friend of mine and though we don’t have anything definite at the moment, I expect to work with him in many projects to come.

Many of your fans in America were excited to learn several years ago that you relocated to New York City in the USA. What first drew you to the city? What were your impressions of New York over your stay and are you currently still located there?

I wanted to challenge myself in a new environment where many talents are competing with each other. I also wanted to see and experience NYC by myself. You can have a lot of information about anything these days, but those information are filtered through other people’s eyes. I wanted to have a first hand experience.

Do you find the city (New York) to be very talent rich across the various media?

Definitely!

Have you done any recent work in anime / manga? Do you have anything coming up?

Right now, I’m working on three separate projects, one in NY, one in France, and one in Japan. Sorry, can’t tell you the details yet!

Your artwork has peeled back the layers of reality and fantasy. Away from art do you carry out any interests in reading topics and music types?

I see a lot of movies, not only Sci-Fi and fantasy, but in all category. Beside that, I love opera and ballet, so I go to see the stage whenever my schedule permits.

Can you tell us your personal view on the realm of the paranormal and supernatural?

Honestly speaking, I’m scared of paranormal and supernatural phenomenon. I can work on the theme in my imagination because I know it’s my imagination and not reality. If things happen in reality, gee, I’ll be terrified!

How about advanced ancient civilizations?

I don’t think it’ll be so different from what we have now. After all, our civilization did develop from ancient civilizations. I’m more interested in the future of this civilization we have now.

What are your thoughts on humanity’s destiny taken as a whole? Do you believe there is a hope we can break free of this almost genetic predisposition to killing one another and possibly evolve above that level or do you feel this flaw ultimately will doom our species.

The technology will never stop to advance, bio-chemical, computer, nano and space, you name it, but I don’t think humans will change much in its basic element. Suppose I live another 1000 yeas, and I’m not surprised to find myself not much different from what I am now. I’ll see and lean many thing, but it’ll still be the same damn me!

100 years from now, almost all of us living today will be gone. I just want to believe that trying our best today leads to a better future.

Can you tell us your current projects on the table in the realm of games or anime character design?

I’ve been working on a new game which will be released early next year. No details yet, sorry.

Finally, any words out there to your fans?

I’d like to thank you on this opportunity for all the supports I received from my fans throughout my carrier. Take care of your health, and I hope you’ll enjoy my works in the future too!


ANS Exclusive Interview: Legendary Mechanical Designer Syd Mead

By Jonah Morgan
Forget about anime for the next few paragraph’s…… Syd Mead’s (www.sydmead.com) visual creations have been translated to represent some of the most recognizeable characters, machines, settings, landscapes and props in modern western cinema. In 1978 he designed the V’ger entity for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, in 1980 the world Tron and Blade Runner with director Ridley Scott. In 1984 he designed the props and sets for 2010 based on the novel by Arthur C. Clarke. In 1985 he worked with Director James Cameron on designs for 20th Century Fox’s Aliens. In the same year he designed the number Johnny Five robot in Short Circuit. In the 1990’s he collaborated on the film adaptation of cyberpunk culture creator William Gibson’s Johnny Mnemonic and the futuristic experience drug headset seen in the movie Strange Days.

Syd has a love of Japan too and has done design work there in live action and animation formats. Unknown to probably every anime fan he did mecahnical renditions on an aborted Mobile Suit Gundam Hollywood movie project for Lion Gate Film. 1989-1995 saw his first dive into anime as he worked on ship exterior/interior, prop, costume and setting designs for Leiji Matsumoto’s Yamato. Probably his best known design role to anime fans came in 1998 when he worked closely with studio Sunrise and director Yoshiyuki Tomino on a mecahnical revamp for the 49 episode Turn-A Gundam TV series.

Beyond his entertainment work Syd Mead is a visionary, futurist, artist, illustrator, conceptual designer and posses many, many other special qualities which can be not relayed through words. ANS is elated to bring you our interview with him:

1. Thank you for accepting our interview Mr. Mead. What have you been doing this summer? (Work and/or non-work related)

I was on a retrospective celebration panel related to the original TRON feature release, linked to the recent release of TRON2.O, the game. I designed the new LIGHTCYCLE for the TRON2.O game release.

I was part of the annual president’s advisory board’s session in San Francisco, for the San Francisco Art Institute, a three day event with review sessions celebratory dinners and gallery reviews.

I completed an illustration of a future HONDA motorcycle arena race scene for the U.S. HONDA MOTORCYCLE division design headquarters in Torrance, California. The 72X56cm gouache illustration was scanned in and enlarged to a 8 X1 foot wall mural.

I produced a digital presentation to the faculty, students and Hollywood professionals at the Gnomon school of special effects in Hollywood.

I have been finishing a series of illustrations of my current theoretical high-speed private transport vehicle called: HYPERVAN.

The third illustration, HYPERVAN IN COURTYARD will be the subject of a four or five DVD series ‘how to’ collection to be announced and offered for sale in the fall.

Just last year I completed several watch designs for the NUTS studio in Tokyo as part of a celebrity design scheme. The watch I designed was called ‘ESSENCE’ and is visible on www.rakuten.co.jp/nuts/427131/285534/.

Personally, I have enjoyed several weekends at my Orange County condo overlooking the Pacific, and several evenings with friends in the movie industry and students from Art Center, Pasadena City College and young fans in the area.

2. Looking back at your biography, it appears you have had a personal affinity with Japan throughout your life. You were stationed in Okinawa from 1954 with the US Army, was this your first real exposure to Japanese culture?

My US Army years in Okinawa exposed me to oriental culture in general. Okinawa has its own dialect and is a composite of Japanese and Chinese cultures. I enjoyed that experience immensely. I was training sergeant for about 2OO men in the 59Oth Engineering Company. Just before I was discharged from the Army, I took a one month vacation in Hong Kong with a buddy of mine. We had the good fortune to meet up with a millionaire Chinese man who owned an insurance company in Hong Kong and Macao. With that connection, we were his guests at the Polo Club, had several dinners with the Mayor of Hong Kong (Portuguese, at the time) and made a two day trip to Macao and spent the first night ‘out’ at sea with the ship’s captain, destroying, between the four of us, two bottles of single malt scotch.

That exposure to oriental culture fascinated me with its exotic geometry and pattern arrangements, the architecture and the elevated sensibility to color and graphics.

3. Did your stay there kindle a fire of interest in Japan of sorts? Upon your return to the USA did you know you were destined to return there?

Referring to my answer to question number two, yes, if you consider that Japanese culture is classically related to Chinese culture.

Upon my return to the United States, I had no idea whatsoever that I would ever return to the orient. I spent three years going through the Art Center School (then in Los Angeles, now in Pasadena) and met two guys who were Japanese exchange students. We got along famously. They returned to Japan to take up positions as teachers.

4. In 1961 you returned to Japan and this time visited the cities of Nagoya, Tokyo and Kyoto. In relation to Okinawa, what was your impression of that visit and which city in particular left a lasting impression on you?

I graduated from Art Center, went to work with the Ford Motor Company’s Advanced Design studio, and quit after twenty six months and took a position with a promotional company in Chicago. Between accepting that job, and leaving Ford Motor Company I took my first trip to Japan. I flew first class from San Diego to Tokyo’s Narita airport and spend two weeks exploring and enjoying Tokyo’s atmosphere including several meals at neighborhood restaurants, an incredible massage session and a trip up into the then NEW Tokyo Tower. Then, I took a train to Nagoya to meet one of my Art Center friends. He was teaching ceramics for export. I still have the Noh mask he gave me! (The Shinkanzen