Posts in: July, 2004

ANS Feature: Religion In Anime And Manga

  • 31st Jul 2004
  • Blog

By: Jonah Morgan

Spiritual beliefs and traditions from across the world have been present in Japanese cartoons and comics since the beginnings of the media. The greatest masters of these respective art forms have touched upon the topics with works bearing their influence having gone on to become some of the most popular successes with fans. From Christianity to Hinduism to Buddhism, it can all be found within these 2 staples of Japanese pop culture.

Director Hideaki Anno drew on elements of Christian and Hebrew Mysticism in arguably the most popular anime series in the last 10 years, Neon Genesis Evangelion. Anno has been mentioned to have used Japanese books on the Kabbala and Christian theologies for his source material although a great mystery has always surrounded which publications were specifically referenced.

The early 1980’s saw the production of 2 of the most highly successful Bible related animation series in history: Superbook and the New Testament focused Flying House. Produced jointly by Pat Robertson’s CBN and Tatsunoko (Gatchaman/G-Force, Macross/Robotech), both weigh in at 52 episodes apiece and recieved a great deal of popularity in Japan when they originally aired. Since then Superbook has gone on to be translated into 25 languages and shown in 70 countries. When broadcast in Russia and the Ukraine in 1991, the series reportedly produced more than thirteen million requests for gospel literature.

Ranma 1/2 creator, Rumiko Takahashi, made a novice Roman Catholic Nun the focus of her One Pound Gospel story. In the series, Sister Angelica must deal with the affection of young and reluctant boxer, Kosaku Hatanaka.

The great Eastern traditions have been represented as well in recent series such as Earth Girl Arjuna and 2000’s Yugo Sako film, The Prince Of Light which were both rooted in Hindu philosophy. The god of manga himself, Osamu Tezuka, made religion the focus of one his last great works, Buddha which chronicles the events surrounding the life of young Siddhartha.

Anime News Service – July 22-27 Anime News


The Australian has a preview of the Brisbane International Film Festival coming up soon. The late Japanese director Hiroshi Shimizu will get some play. Shimizu’s once-forgotten films have been undergoing something of a global revival of late. Last year, his wartime comedy Ornamental Hairpin scored the audience prize at the Tokyo Filmex.
Digitally Obsessed reviews the Hollywood animation release of Van Hellsing: The London Assignment and draws a similarity with the anime version of Hellsing.
Wired Magazine has an article on the current trend of Anime piracy and looks at Bandai Entertainment’s recent moves in legal prosecution of accused pirates. Wired mentions there are suspiscions that a full 3rd of Japanese animation products in the United States may be counterfeit. The unauthorized products may be worth $300 million a year, estimated Bandai attorney Cynthia Nishimoto. Anti-piracy advocate Joe Curzon is interviewed as is Tokyopop national sales manager Alan Payne who talks on the fact that manga remains essentially untouched by pirates currently.
Asians In Media looks at the recent music trend of British / Asian compilations in the UK.
Fangoria has posted part one of new article series “Shocking Cinema Central”. Japanese director Takashi Miike is the focus of part 1 with an in-depth interview.
Engadget mentions some of the 685 Japanese viewers who went to the hospital in 1997 from alleged Pokemon-induced epileptic seizures are being studied by Japanese scientists for after effects. The conclusions so far are that Pokemon did not create new boughts of epilepsy in viewers, and only affected the already epileptic.
GamePro reports Atlus has revealed that an MMORPG is in the works based on the anime/console RPG franchise Shin Megami Tensei. Entitled Shin Megami Tensei Online: Imagine, it will be the first MMORPG for the developer.
TechTV examines the question: “Comic-Con Analysis: What Cosplay Choices Tell Us About Franchise Trends”. The article notes Star Wars, and Kill Bill costumers were in abundance among others.
Daily Variety reports on the Anime Network’s recent successes in the article, “Anime TV Goes Legit”. Broadcasting & Cable also covers the news.

7-27-04—- Viz Store Manga Discount

Get a 30% promotional discount off a Graphic Novel purchase from! Here is how it works:

Buy two or more VIZ Graphic Novels at Mediaplay, Suncoast or Sam Goody’s at the normal price (between July 21st and August 30th 2004)
Write your email address on your receipt and send it to:
C/O Summer Madness!
655 Bryant St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(Please send the original receipt, photocopies not accepted)
VIZ will email you a promotional password that you can use at online store to get a onetime 30% promotional discount off of any Graphic Novel! ( promotional discount needs to be used by October 31st 2004.)

7-27-04—- Miami Guns Volume 4 From AN Entertainment

AN Entertainment is proud to announce the release of the final Miami Guns DVD throughout North America on October 26, 2004. With the outrageous fourth disc, the fan favorite adventures of Miami’s most notorious, dangerous and lovely police, Yao Sakurakouji and Lu Amano, come to their explosive conclusion. As the series approaches its climax, the crazy comedy that Miami Guns is famous for shares equal time with thrilling action and drama certain to satisfy viewers and provide a gripping and entertaining series conclusion.

ABOUT MIAMI GUNS VOLUME 4 Loose ends (and a scantily clad Yao) get tied up when the revenge seeking Nagisa Tojo springs her ultimate trap on her unsuspecting arch rival. It’s a battle of Yao’s ignorance versus Nagisa’s bloodlust in a story of loyalty, trust, betrayal and friendship that tears the Miami Guns apart. But the duty bound Lu Amano and the vengeance seeking vigilante Yao Sakurakouji find themselves working together again when a vicious terrorist organization takes the Miami Police and Yao and Lu’s fathers hostage, threatening to destroy all of Miami City. The Organization had better be prepared, because two violence prone police ladies, a mysterious lone gunman, a pair of gay lovers and a hyper intelligent alligator are a force to be reckoned with! The fourth Miami Guns DVD will be criminally packed with three bilingual episodes featuring optional English subtitles and English language dubbing provided by the internationally respected Phoenix Post Sound studio, extensive liner and translation notes, a gallery of original production art, an exclusive Japanese promotional Miami Guns anime music video, and an amazing 20 minute long video interview with Miami Guns director Yoshitaka Koyama and original voice actresses Megumi Toyoguchi and Yukari Tamura!

Miami Guns DVD Volume 4 Street Date – 10/26/04 Pre-book Date – 9/28/04 SRP: $29.95 Catalog #: AN-MG04 UPC: 828311121067 ISBN: 0-9741545-6-3

DVD Features: Spoken Languages: Japanese 2.0 stereo & English 2.0 stereo Subtitle Languages: English Suggested Age Rating – 17+ Running Time – 75 Minutes Region – 1 NTSC

7-26-04—- Japan’s Cinema – Anime Industries Gather To Back HD-DVD Standard

Toshiba Corporation, NEC Corporation and Memory-Tech Corporation today announced a three-day “HD DVD Showcase” that will present the latest advances in the HD DVD format to 1,000 key executives from 150 companies in Japan’s entertainment industry. The three companies, proponents of the High-Definition DVD format (“HD DVD”), will host the event from July 26 through 28, 2004 in downtown Tokyo, providing leaders from major Japanese movie studios, animation film creators, the broadcasting, music and publishing industries and the retail sector, with a total venue for experiencing the impressive advances HD DVD has achieved as it moves toward its 2005 launch as the next-generation DVD standard.

The Tokyo Showcase will shine a light on the very latest hardware prototypes supporting the format, including HD DVD players and PC ROM drives. It will include demonstrations of film clips from major studios authored and recorded on to HD DVD discs for technical evaluation purposes, and also deliver an update on disc manufacturing status, all in preparation for the volume launch of HD DVD hardware and

Anime News Service – July 18 – 21 Anime News


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 ( 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 ( 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 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

Anime News Service – July 9 – 17 Anime News


Game Pro reviews the Japanese version of Astroboy for PS2.
Asia Media has updates on a court case involving an archaeologist in Japan who was accused of faslifying discoveries and Yoshinori Kobayashi’s comic series “Shin Gomanism Sengen”.
The New York Times reviews Darkhorse’s MEGATOKYO graphic novel. The art is drawn in manga style by Fred Gallagher
MTV News reports the American music group Linkin Park will release a package containing a DVD, comic book and T-shirt on July 27. The disc will contain the animated music video for “Breaking the Habit” and behind-the-scenes footage, and the comic and T-shirt will be illustrated in an anime style reminiscent of the animation in the video.
The Washington Times has a review of Dragon Ball Z: Supersonic Warriors, from Atari (for Game Boy Advance).

7-17-04—- Dreamworks To Promote Anime Holdings At Comic-Con

Dreamworks has informed ANS that it will be promoting it’s upcoming animated projects at the Comic-Con International, being held from July 22-25 in San Diego, CA. DreamWorks will be hosting a booth (#4321) where Anim? fans can get a sneak peek at ?Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence,? as well as last year?s ?Millennium Actress.? Visitors to the booth will be among the first to see footage from ?Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, written and directed by Mamoru Oshii, is the anticipated sequel to his cult anime film ?Ghost in the Shell.? The film, which was the first anim? to ever screen in competition at the Cannes Film Festival this year, is the story of a solitary cyborg who desperately wants to hold on to what?s left of his humanity in a world where the worth of the human soul is fading almost into obscurity. ?Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence? will be released in U.S. theaters on September 17, 2004 under the Go Fish Pictures banner, a division of DreamWorks Pictures. This is the second anim? film to be distributed by Go Fish Pictures after Satoshi Kon’s ?Millennium Actress? in September 2003.


According to Inidie Wire, IFC Films has acquired two Cannes ’04 competition films, Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-ada’s “Nobody Knows” and Hans Weingartner’s “The Edukators” from Germany. Celluloid Dreams handled sales on both films.
Games Industry interviews Square Enix Ltd.’s John Yamamoto in a new article and reveals the company’s plans on their European rollout and has some thoughts on the cross media marketing of product franchises: “Fullmetal Alchemist is a perfect example; the games alone would probably be quite good, but taken in the context of a long-running manga story and a popular animated TV series, the franchise takes on a whole new depth. “
PR Newswire has a release from Wizards of the Coast on their product rollout plans at San Diego Comic Con.
Software Zone out of Italy mentions the new DIVX 5.2 codec is out with support for 3 new languages: French, German and Japanese. The new DIVX has enhancements for rendering anime: Decoder: Blocking fix (Oops!) The 5.2 decoder corrects a small issue that can cause blocks to be displayed along high-contrast edges in the picture, mainly affecting anime content. Watch Pok?mon as it was meant to be viewed once again!
Extreme Tech has an article on the release of the DIVX 5.2, a popular video codec for computers. In an interview with chief codec architect Eric Grab, “…the new codec has improved handling of different quantization levels, meaning that it can adapt its encoding bitrates for different video streams. “A good example is anime,” Grub said. “Animated video uses a different quantization matrix than Star Wars.
DVD Talk has an advanced review of GITS: SAC Vol. 1.
Gigex has a bit on NIS America., Inc., who publishes Nippon Ichi Software products in North America. The company announced today that Phantom Brave, the anime style strategy role-playing game for the Playstation 2 game console, is set for pre-orders. Phantom Brave is published by NIS America and exclusively distributed by Atlus USA. Gamers who pre-order before August 31, 2004 at select retailers and online stores may receive the special Phantom Brave soundtrack bundle with the game. Consumers may pre-order at the following stores and more to receive the special pre-order bundle version of Phantom Brave.
Japanese Snacks get huge props in the American mainstream press today with a full featured article in the Louisville Kentucky Courier Journal.According to the article “….Pocky is gaining popularity particularly among young Americans enchanted by Japanese pop culture ? including anime (a form of animation) and manga (graphic novels). In Louisville, Pocky has popped up in such places as video stores, including Suncoast, comic shops like The Zone, and even at one movie theater’s concession stand.”
The Anchorage Daily News mentions the 2 Boscos comic stores in the are will be hosting some events this summer. One asks kids to submit their artwork into the anime art contest. See stores for details. Deadline is Aug. 31
The San Jose Mercury News reports from Aug. 27 Japanese anime will bolster the exhibition of works by Yoshitomo Nara at the nearby San Jose Museum of Art.

7-16-04—- Game Engine 2 In NYC

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and New York-Tokyo present:

Game Engine 2 A two hour showcase of videogame related footage from The New York Video Festival, followed by an after party.

Game Engine 2: Sunday, July 18 th 9pm. Walter Reade Theatre in Lincoln Center Admission: $10, 7$ students Film Society of Lincon Center Website

After Party: Sunday, July 18th immediately after Game Engine 2 Tribeca Grand Hotel Admission: Free, 21 and up.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and New York-Tokyo present the second annual Game Engine program, a two hour showcase of video game footage, and special

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,, and

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?


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 ( 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

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

Anime News Service – May 3 – July 7 Anime News

7-7-04—- AN Entertainment Announces Hare Guu License

AN Entertainment is proud to announce its acquisition of North American distribution rights to the cult hit anime series Har? + Guu (pronounced “Ha-rey-goo”). Unquestionably one of the most frequently requested series ever among American anime fans, AN Entertainment is excited to fulfill this overwhelming demand by bringing English speaking viewers a faithful and authentic presentation of both the original TV series and its follow-up home video series, Har? + Guu Deluxe. With a robust cast of eccentric characters, a non-stop barrage of weird and wacky situations, and parodies of everything from anime to video games to the little eccentricities of everyday life, Har? + Guu is undoubtedly one of the very best anime comedy series ever created. Highly original and highly accessible to viewers of all ages, genders and ethnicities, Har? + Guu is known to cause uncontrollable fits of hysterical laughter and virtually instant addiction to its unique and nearly indescribably odd humor.

ABOUT HARE & GUU The surreal and outlandish comedy series begins with 10 year old Har?, who lives with his free-spirited young mother in a small, contemporary jungle village. Har?’s quiet life of school, video games, and housework is irrevocably shaken when his mother brings a seemingly innocent and charming young orphan girl named Guu into their household. The following morning, Hare is shocked to find that Guu has dropped her pretense of sweetness to reveal her true mysterious and insidious nature. Guu, in fact, seems to be some sort of mind-reading alien being that eats anything and has another entire dimension of off-kilter humans and bizarre animals living in her stomach. And her sole reason for existence centers on driving Har? insane by making light of all his character flaws and neurosis, wreaking havoc on time and space, and being an utter nuisance in the way that only a super-strong, short tempered, magic using and vaguely unsettling young girl of indeterminate age, origin and physical composition can be.

Created in 1997 by female manga artist Renjuro Kindaichi, the Har? + Guu manga serial continues to headline the monthly Japanese Shonen GanGan magazine. In April 2001, the comic was adapted into a television series that spanned 26 broadcast episodes and two made-for-home-video “OAV” series, all produced by the Shin’ei Doga production studio best known for the international smash hit anime comedy Crayon Shin-chan, and directed by veteran Crayon Shin-chan director Tsutomu Mizushima.

For images and more information about Har? + Guu, visit the Official US Har? + Guu Website at

ABOUT THE HARE & GUU RELEASE Originally titled “Jungle wa Itsumo Hare Nochi Guu,” the series revised its Japanese name to simply “Hare Guu” in 2003. AN Entertainment will localize the animation for North American viewers under the title “Har? + Guu,” to coincide with the series’ present Japanese name. The DVD only release of Har? + Guu will tentatively begin in 2005. The official bilingual Har? + Guu DVDs will feature faithful and accurate dialogue translations, optional English subtitles, and extensive supplemental bonus features.

7-7-04—- ADV To Bring Korean Cinema’s Most Popular To America

HOUSTON, July 6, 2004?ADV Films, the #1 producer-distributor of anime in the U.S., today announced that they are bringing Korea?s top selling live-action films to American fans. ADV Films Theatrical Division is bringing top-grossing Korean live-action films to US theatres nationwide. ADV Films? current release schedule is jam-packed with a wide variety of blockbuster, hit films ranging from action, comedy and drama that have never been shown in US movie theatres.

The 2004 film timetable starts with 2009 Lost Memories, Conduct Zero and Yesterday, with the fall schedule to be announced soon. These films were acquired from Korea, the current hotbed of film production. ADV Films is distributing Korean films at a time when filmmaking from that country is attracting worldwide attention. The New York Times, in its coverage of the Cannes Film Festival, this year said, ?at the moment, the biggest boom may be happening in South Korea, one of the few countries outside the United States where domestic productions dominate the box office. ?Their presence in Cannes is further evidence that both large-scale commercial filmmaking and art house cinema are thriving in Korea.? ?It?s exciting to bring Korea?s number one films to an always hungry American market,? said John Ledford, president, CEO and co-founder of ADV Films. ?We are tapping into the Korean film production market to bring American fans something fresh and new.?


The Arizona Republic mentions an interesting partnership between a local comicbook store and the Phoenix Public Libray to allow kids to create and publish their own comics.
The Providence Journal (subscription required) has listed the Jamestown Public Library’s anime/manga club meeting schedule for this month.
The Detroit News Reviews Super Milk Chan and Ai Yori Aoshi

7-7-04—- eigoMANGA Publishes Scion Manga

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – July 6, 2004 – eigoMANGA is pleased to announce an exciting promotional collaboration with Scion, Toyota’s youth-focused brand of vehicles. In an arrangement with the major automaker, the eigoMANGA team, including Jeremy Ray, artist and creator of “Extinction Level Event,” has designed advertising materials to promote Scion??Ts XA and XB models. Proposed concepts showcase characters from “Extinction Level Event,” “The Monkey Tale??? and “Cool Downbeat,” all stories featured in eigoMANGA’s flagship manga anthology, RUMBLE PAK. Each design features the eigoMANGA characters posing dramatically with Scion vehicles, or piloting the vehicles themselves. Ray describes the artwork he??Ts done for Scion as “a sketchy version of American comic art.” Oscar Gutierrez, Jr., General Manager and Head of Operations and Sales at eigoMANGA, hopes that the success of this joint effort will open the door to further promotional partnerships between the companies.

7-7-04—- Exporting Animation A Huge Japanese Success Story

Major article on anime exportation in the Japan Times today in the paper’s BY THE NUMBERS column. According to their research:

The average amount of exported TV animation reached hours in 2001, up from 13,000 hours in 1992 and 2,600 hours in 1980, according to