Posts in: January, 2005

Anime News Service – January 27-30 Anime News

1-30-05—- Annies Pass On Innocence

The Hollywood Reporter mentions that Pixar’s The Incredibles won all the Annie awards for which it was nominated, which according to www.annieawards.com, leaves the second GITS film out of the race. No word yet on whether or not Yoko Kanno won for Best Music in a animated tv production. Thanks to Daniel for the links.

1-30-05—- UK Innocence OST Review

Music From The Movies based out of the UK reviews Kenji Kawai’s GITS2: Innocence soundtrack which is getting a release there through K-O records.

1-30-05—- FUNimation Seeks Fan Support For Lupin

The next issue of FUNimation’s Prime Animation Report, which will be out on February 1st, will ask the fans of Lupin to help in promoting the Lupin movies with ads, banners, posters, etc. The Prime Animation Report will also include a new Lupin online game called Lupin the 3rd: Target Practice. Visit the Prime Animation Report at newsletter.funimation.com.

1-30-05—- MSDF Disciplines 2 For Staging Brutal Airgun Survival Games

Investigation into an assault incident onboard the Japanese MSDF escort ship Tachikaze based at Yokosuka has led to 2 recieving a conviction with a suspension of sentence. The 2 reportedly staged survival games with junior officers involving airguns inside the operational control center (CIC) of the warship. Reportedly the senior officers were bullying the juniors, thus leading to the assault charge. It’s being considered exceptional that the Self Defense Force would publish the findings on this incident at all. An officer that may have been involved commited suicide at the end of October although no connection was made by the investigation.

1-30-05—- New GAINAX Series Site Launch

www.gosyujinsama.com has officially launched as the web home to GAINAX’s coming Korega watashi no Goshujin-sama TV series. Uploaded is a video preview in Windows Media and Real formats in the news section.

1-30-05—- Aquarion TV Date And Novel

The upcoming Shoji Kawamori collaboration TV series Aquarion will commence broadcast from Aprill 2005 according to new information posted to the official Japanese website. A text novelization of the story has been decided to run in “Monthly Dragon Magazine”.

1-29-05—- Free Anime Broadcast Rights For Developing Countries

Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is discussing providing broadcasters in developing nations with animation content free of charge. Promotion of Japanese culture and the expansion of the anime market are the aims. This will be financed by a management expense grant donated to The Japan Foundation which is an independent administrative agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The fund will be used to buy the broadcasting right of the desired anime properties. Series to be considered would stretch about 20 episodes and 30 minutes in length. Works with an international appeal such as soccer anime would be prime candidates. Markets are being looked at in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Japan’s animation exports accounts for about 60% of all animation viewed throughout the world and have become a powerful economic force in 1st world nations such as Europe and America.

1-29-05—- Upcoming Tezuka Lecture In Tokyo

The eldest son of the late animation master Osamu Tezuka will host a public public lecture at Yamaha Hall in Chuo Ward Ginza 7 at 2:00PM, March 12th. 520 people will be admitted free of charge. A visualist and movie director in his own right, Makoto Tezuka (43) picked up the work of his father by supervising the latest BlackJack TV series that began airing in October. Additionally, a special showing of the Takarazuka Osamu Tezuka Memorial original animation “Osam and Musashi” will occur.

1-29-05—- Magazine Editors Look Over Animation School Work

Niigata City’s Animation Specialty School had 3 editors from Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Jump on hand on Friday to expertly critique the work of about 30 students. Furthermore, the critiqued illustrations of 21 students are to be published in the magazine. Common suugestions include changing the facial expressions on characters.

1-29-05—- Oshii Developing Kanazawa Museum Exhibit

A Kanazawa area museum is preparing to run it’s “State of the anime production” exhibit that will showcase the process etc. of Japanese Animation production including Director Mamoru Oshii’s work. Part of the exhibit centers around the making of Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence. Production I.G. is played a role on piecing this together at 21st Century Museum Of Kanazawa. It opens on the 29th. 300 related items of interest will go into the exhibition usch as set materials and the figures, original sketches, storyboards, etc… Screenings of related animation works and even video game demos will be on hand to view / interact with.

1-29-05—- Colorful Ice Sculpture Exhibit In Karuizawa

Nagano Prefecture Karuizawa-cho is currently hosting their anime themed “Karuizawa ice sculptural international exhibition 2005” where domestic and foreign creators are competing near the JR Karuizawa Station along the street. Carving of about 30 sculptures began the day before in -10 celsius conditions. After dark a rainbow of lights shows upon the exhibit which will run through the 30th.

1-29-05—- New Bebop CD: TANK! The Best

It might have slipped past some fans that back at the end of December a new Cowboy Bebop CD hit the market, “COWBOY BEBOP TANK THE BEST”. Therein you can find three Yoko Kanno tracks done for the latest PS2 title. Kanno just recently composed the “Song of X’smap” Christmas tune for SMAP. The 1st Bebop TV soundtrack sold 250,000 units.

Full Track Listing:
1.TANK!
2.WHAT PLANET IS THIS.
3.COSMIC DARE
(PRETTY WITH PISTOL)
4.DIAMONDS
5.Don’t Bother None (TV edit)
6. PIANO BLACK
7.MUSHROOM HUNTING
8.No Reply
9.BLUE
10.DEINSTEIN GROOVIN’
11.PEARLS
12.Gotta knock a little harder

Released Dec. 22nd 2004 – Sale Price: 2100 Yen

1-29-05—- 200 Characters In Namco VS Capcom

Famitsu reports as many as 200 characters total will appear in the new joint PS2 title Namco VS Capcom. Players move the character on the map and then when encountering an enemy, the screen changes to battle mode. Some part of the game’s story will occur in The Tokyo district of Shibuya. The official website can be viewed here.

1-29-05—- Azumi 2 Media

The Movie Box linked to two WM clips of Azumi


Anime News Service – January 24-26 Anime News

1-26-05—- New AIR Movie Trailer

A new clip of Osamu Dezaki’s forthcoming AIR Film which originally screened exclusively at Winter Comike is now available here.

1-26-05—- New Count Of Monte Cristo Images

The official Gankutsuou site has updated with a fresh gallery of images from the TV series.

1-26-05—- MUNTO 2 Release Halted

Kyoto Animation has announced a postponement on the rest of the MUNTO 2 OAV DVD release in Japan. The series is expected to pickup sometime in sping.

1-26-05—- Daft Punk Is Back

Virgin Records recording artist Daft Punk is set to revolutionize dance floors and music playlists once again with the release of their innovative new album “Human After All,” hitting stores on March 25. The CD is the follow-up to 2001’s RIAA gold-certified “Discovery,” which sold 2.6 million copies around the world and contained the smash hit “One More Time” (which reached #1 in France, Canada, Japan, and Portugal, #2 in the UK, and #1 on Billboard’s Dance/Club Play Chart). The new album’s first single will be the body-thumping, guitar-drenched “Robot Rock”; the video for the song will be directed by the Daft Punk duo themselves — Frenchmen Thomas Bangalter and Guy Manuel de Homem.

“Human After All” was recorded at Daft Punk’s home studio in Paris between September and November of 2004. Notoriously press-shy-and uniquely loath to have their photos taken for publication — the duo did have this to say to British music magazine NME in January 2003: “The way the music industry is at the moment is allowing us to experiment. If everything is formulaic and we can finance ourselves to work outside of that formula, then for us there are no rules. We’re setting our own agenda.”

Indeed, the duo does strike out on their own singular path on “Human After All.” Creating some of the most assertive and uncompromising music of their career, Daft Punk has married emotion and technology in a way that perfectly mirrors the fast-paced and hard-hitting rhythms of our modern lives. Songs like “The Prime Time of Your Life,” “The Brainwasher,” and the title track are state-of-the-art aural soundscapes that take the exhilaration of techno and the beat-driven delirium of dance music to bold new heights. And for those quieter moments, demonstrating that not all human feelings can be exhibited on the dance floor, the pair has created a pair of soulful and affecting romantic themes, “Make Love” and “Emotion.”

Pioneers of electronic music, Daft Punk have been astonishing the dance and pop worlds with their versatility and inventiveness since they first exploded onto the scene in 1997 with their Virgin Records debut, the RIAA gold-certified “Homework,” which included the hits “Da Funk” and “Around the World,” and which sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. Daft Punk videos directed by the likes of Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry and anime legend Leiji Matsumoto have further enhanced the pair’s reputation for artistic daredevilry. Now, treading fearlessly into bold new territory with “Human After All,” Daft Punk continues to take music to the outer reaches of human possibility.

1-26-05—- ShoPro And Viz Latest

New details have surfaced in Japan on the Shopro / Viz merger first reported on yesterday. The investment ratio for the new company will be as follows: 40% for Shueisha, 40% for Shogakukan, and 20% for Shogakukan Production.

1-26-05—- Toei Announces 43% Decrease in Profits

Toei animation’s consolidated pretax profit for the period between April and December 2004 has been announced to be down 43% compared to the corresponding number for the previous year. Popularity of Toei’s animation in the North American region was reportedly sluggish and overseas sales with high profit margins has fallen short. Sales of the image related works are reportedly down 20%. It was not possible to supplement the popularity of Dragonball of which past sales have been remarkable. Toei mentions One Piece debuted stateside in September. In Japan, although theatrical and TV works increased in number, DVD titles have decreased. Toei’s copyright related business sales saw a 11% decrease. Royalties from overseas copyright sales reportedly decreased. Sales of related business to Toei saw a 42% increase.

1-26-05—- New Anime Graduate School Planned For 2006

WAO Corporation Announced today plans to create a new animation graduate school in Tokyo that will open it’s doors in April 2006. The aim is to offer an advanced education centered around the animated cartoon contents industry. Suginami Ward, Tokyo will most likely be the location and ties have been established by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. WAO is headquartered in Osaka. There are currently about 70 animation schools in Japan. WAO creative college was founded in 1997 and trains creators of CGI animation, image and web. About 10,000 people have finished the school as of the present time. Spring 2004 saw the launch of Waoworld Ltd. that will produce films. One of their first projects is the anime movie Nitaboh. Suginami Ward was selected due to the cooperation with region and the currently established industry there.

1-26-05—- Japanese View: Academy Awards Nominees

News that a Japanese movie was not selected for the final nominees list of 77th Academy Award has been significant in the press there following Tuesday morning’s announcement in Hollywood. Japanese films Daremo Shira Nai and LOVERS were expected to take the nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Likewise in the animation category, Mamoru Oshii’s Inocence who was expected to be nominated did not make the final cut. Yahoo mentions Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film Howl’s Moving Castle has not been screened in America as of yet and could not have made the Best Animated Category. The Academy Awards are announced at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood on February 27 (February 28 Japan Standard time).

1-26-05—- Gundam MMORPG Postponed In Japan

Bandai announced it has postponed the service rollout of it’s PC Gundam MMORPG from February 14 to sometime this summer.

1-26-05—- New Anime Evolution Site Launches

www.animeevolution.com has been revamped for their 2005 convention which runs from Aug 20-22, 2004 in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

1-26-05—- MTAC Additions

MTAC would like to welcome Studio Capsule to our


Anime News Service – January 20-23 Anime News

1-23-05—- Appleseed Clears $100,000

Box Office Mojo says Appleseed’s theatrical release has reached and passed the $100,000 mark. ($108, 050, to be exact.) Thanks to Daniel for the news.

1-23-05—- Cameron Interviewed On Video

A videoclip of director James Cameron talking Battle Angel can be seen at IESB. Big Thanks to Daniel for sending this in.

1-23-05—- 10th AMD Award Winners Announced

AMD (Association Of Media In Digital) has announced it’s annual prizes for work’s that were released in 2004. The official ceremony will take place February 3rd. The Awards nominate the best digital work that advances the digital medium.
Grand Prix: Innocence – Director Mamoru Oshii and Production I.G. Section Prize: Best Visual Designer – CASSHERN, Best Music Composer – Innocence (Production I.G) Service Prize – Hello Kitty (Sanrio) Jury’s Special Award – THE JUON/Noroura (oz),
Source: Mainichi Shimbun

1-23-05—- Ghibli Song Lyricist Profiled

Asahi’s BE Saturday takes a look at the works and life of Kaku Wakako who’s written lyrics have been featured as film themes in Hayao Miyazaki’s films. Her credits include Spirited Away and the latest feature Howl’s Moving Castle. She mentions her ideas usually come to her and are composed with an ink-pen and paper in coffee shops and family restaurants around midafternoon. She mentions she also uses a dedicated NEC word processor about 7 years old.

1-23-05—- Tenshi No Sono To Be Animated

A big announcement was made this wekeend in Japan that the autobiographical work Tenshi No Sono will be animated as a film. The story will center on the Kumo No Gakkou chapter of the story. Yoshio Kuroda (Dog Of Flanders) is the director on the new work for which production began last Feb. The premiere screening will occur at the Higashi Matsuyama community center on May 22nd. Source: Chunichi Shimbun

1-23-05—- JETRO Promotes J-Pop

Japan’s trade promotional arm, JETRO has established it’s first “Japan Pavilion” at the world’s largest music trade fair: MIDEM. Kicking off on the 23rd in Cannes, France MIDEM is serve as a platform for which JETRO can showcase Japan’s music to the world. The Japanese music market is the 2nd largest in the world after the United States, estimated at about 1.6 trillion Yen in 2001. However, there is a language barrier, and where imports represent 25.1 Billion Yen, exports represent only 2.9 Billion Yen. The thinking is now may be the right time to try and get Japanese music acknowledgement on the world scene due the incredible success of games and animation in recent years. 58 companies including Japanese recording labels and the public entertainment professionals, will participate in the “Japan Pavilion”. Source: Asahi Shimbun

1-23-05—- 3D Pokemon Movie Premiere

Nagoya’s Aichi Expo will see the debut of the coming “Pokemon 3D Adventure” film. The screening length is about ten minutes. The movie will run between March 18 – September 25 exclusively at “109 Cinemas Nagoya” adjacent to “Pokepark”. Source: Yomiuri Shimbun

1-23-05—- Japanese Prime Minister Anime Comments

In his Friday policy speech before the 162nd Diet, Japanese Prime Minister Joichiro Koizumi spoke out Japan’s international pop culture standing:

The animated cartoon of Japan purveys dreams to children in all parts of the world. A rich country-making that makes the best use of the culture and the art as the business that uses contents of the movie and the animated cartoon, etc. is promoted, and sending an attractive Japanese brand is strengthened in the field of the fashion and food is advanced.

The transcript of the entire speech is available here in Japanese.

1-23-05—- Ah! My Goddess TV OST

TBS has released details of the 1st Ah! My Goddess TV series Original Soundtrack release which is due on February 25, 2005 at 3,000 Yen. Geneon Entertainment (Japan) will distribute the disc. OP and ED theme are included. 29 tracks will be featured on the CD.

1-22-05—- New Japanese Claymation Technique Could Cut Production Time In Half

A new VR claymation simplification process has been developed at Ishikawa Prefecture’s industrial laboratory. In the past it took massive amounts of time and patience to film and shape clay for the purposes of animation. With this new innovation it’s claimed production on such projects can be shortened by half. Their system is composed of a personal computer, a tactile input device and a three-dimensional camera. Shape data and photographic data is synthesized resulting in the artist being able to shape virtual clay within the computer via the tactile input. The shape under transformation can be automatically calculated, and reproduced to seem as if the clay in the real world had been manipulated.
Source: Hokkoku.co.jp

1-22-05—- Honed School Courses To Infuse Contents Business With New Talent

Making the front page of the Sankei Shimbun this weekend is a big piece on all the related “contents business” college course activity we’ve reported on in past weeks. The contents business as it will be refered to for the rest of this article, encompases Animation, Comics and Video Game production in Japan. With the spring time, several College will step these new courses into high gear to help develop the creators of the future in the field. Acorrding to the paper the total market for the contents business is estimated at about 10 trillion Yen. The Japanese government has even emphasized the necessity for this special training to help preserve these staple industries of the 21st century. Some of the faculty is being drawn from the A list of anime production.

The paper speaks to president Atsushi Igarashi (81) of the Takarazuka University of Art and Design (Hyogo Prefecture Takarazuka City). Their new class of 170 will teach movie production, manga, animation, games etc. The school’s Production focused course will have a 150 person capacity. Both get under way from April. Reiji Matsumoto and Junichi Kawamura are being brought on board to teach from their experience. From the latest digital production methods to how one should gauge voice actors and staff for a particular project to management of the


Anime News Service – January 17-19 Anime News

1-19-05—- D.I.C.E. Updates

Bandai has sent us a little reminder that their newest animation property, D.I.C.E. premieres at 7:30 PM this Saturday, January 22nd, on Cartoon Network. Toys are hitting shelves across America now. Logon to http://www.diceofficial.com for more details.

1-19-05—- iDog Site

Sega Toys has launched the official website of it’s virtual pet iDog, which will go on sale in April in Japan.

1-19-05—- Csupo On Anime

According to Singapore’s Electric New Paper Gabor Csupo’s children love anime. The man is the founder of Klasky Csupo, the animation studio that launched The Simpsons and Rugrats, more renegade from Disney you can’t get. ‘Anime has been penetrating the American market for 10 years; there is a cult following for that genre,’ the native Hungarian said. ‘My four kids too, aged two to 19, love it.’ Csupo is attending the BIFF to highlight animation industry seminars.

1-19-05—- Lolicon Killer Update

The main suspect in a recent Nara kidnapping and slaying of an elementary school girl has had some of his testimony quoted in the Japanese press. Mr. Kobayashi has reportdly admitted to Nara prefectural police, “I saw X-rated video of Lolita usually, and wanted to try actually on that day”. The investigation headquarters has judged that his devotion to young girls is the prime motivation behind suspect Kobayashi’s psychology, leading to the kidnapping. He was arrested on homicide and illegal disposal of a body. The Nara District Public Prosecutors office is now persuing the matter. Kobayashi admitted he was interested in young girls since junior high and enjoyed lolita X-rated videos and manga. Kobayashi reportedly had two VCRs and became friends with a video distributor he met in a bar who gave him 60 videos free of charge. Source: Osaka Yomiuri

1-19-05—- Mushiking TV Confirmed

Tomus Entertainment of Nagoya City has announced it’s TV animation, Kouchuu Ouja Mushikingu Mori No Tami No Densetsu TV animation will broadcast from the 19th on TV Tokyo and from April 6th on TV Aichi. The anime is based on the popular game released by Sega. Tomus hopes to raise the popularity of the work to that of Anpan Mna and Detective Conan. The 1 year TV series will be composed of 52 30 minute episodes. Source: Chunichi

1-19-05—- 1/1 Scale Scopedog Being Built

A Japanese industrial artist named Kogoro (Crata Kogoro) has been manufacturing a 1/1 scale metal replica of the Scopedog AT used by Chirico Cuvie in Ryosuke Takahashi’s Armored Trooper Votoms Anime series. Images of the work in progress – 4 meter tall AT can be viewed at the above link and in Kokoro’s Monkey Farm blog. The creation will be shown at Wonder Festival in Tokyo on Feb. 20th. His past works include combining a Fiat 500 on caterpillar drivetrain, dubbed the Cinque Tank.

1-19-05—- University Exam Details Leak Out On 2ch

It’s been discovered in Japan that the contents of tests issued by the National Center for University Entrance Examination have leaked out onto the popular 2ch internet bulletin board. There is a possibility of the source being someone associated with the examination contents also. The leaked contents were written in English and Japanese. The issue is currently under investigation. Source: IT Media

1-19-05—- Iron Chef America In Japanese Press

Based on the hit original Iron Chef TV program produced by Fuji Televsison, Food Network has recently moved forward with their spinoff Iron Chef America. Asahi News (Japanese) reports the show began broadcast on the 16th and will run for ten episodes across the United States and Canada at 9:00PM on Sundays. Actor/Martial Artist Mark Dacascos will appear in the series. The first epiosde includes a challenge between Mexican and Southwest cuisine. Food Network contracted the idea with Fuji TV who offered their production manual and guidance.

1-19-05—- Yahoo Japan Auctions Adds New Rule

Those who work online auctions in Japan maybe interested to know that Yahoo has introduced a new rule for auction stores where they must have an item physically in stock before making the listing placement. The rule goes into effect noon of February 1st, 2005. The purpose of the rule addtion was made becuase there have been problems with bidders winning items that did not ship in a reasonable amount of time after the auction close. It turned out these items had to be restocked by the seller and this was the reason for the time delay. Souce: Nikkei BP

1-19-05—- Smallest Dice In The World

Nippon Style’s website is now selling what it calls the smallest dice in the world. Made from brass, each die is 300 microns in size. The dice are faithfully reproduced in three dimensions. Each pip (dot) is 50 microns in size. Weight is 0.00016 grams. Produced at the Saitama Prefecture industry and technology and synthesis centers the creation of each die takes about 9 hours. Retailing at 99,750 Yen the dice sales are being limited to 10 units. A special case is included with the purcahse. Please see the above link for amazing images and ordering info.

1-19-05—- Evangelion NERV Edition iPod

Based on the secret organization that saves Tokyo 3 from an alien threat in Neon Genesis Evangelion, NERV has gotten it’s very owned themed iPod. Sold via Rabbit Market and Bandai Networks from December of last year, reservations were completely filled at 2000 units. The functional side of the iPod includes a 20GB model as a base. The back of the unit is laser stamped with the “NERV” crest. Enameled specially-made case, Nerv stamped earphones, and liquid crystal display. Colored in white, the iPod is colored like the plugsuit of Ayanami Rei. Source: Famitsu

1-19-05—- Top 2 Site Launch

Bandai Games has added an official wesbite for the coming Top O Nare! 2 (GUNBUSTER) PS2 game.

1-19-05—- Tenjou Tenge Items

According to Shueisha, the Tenjou Tenge Ultimate Fight OAV will be released in Japan on March 16th. Meanwhile Toranoana has updated with a product listing for Tenjou TengexPinky: St. THE


Anime News Service – January 11-16 Anime News

1-16-05

– News out of NEW GENERATION WORLD HOBBY FAIR in Osaka include new anime movie versions of Rockman X and Duel Masters are official.
– WSU’s student newspaper The South End reviews Tenchi Muyo!
– Florida’s The Ledger interviews WUSF’s Bethany Cagle who reveals her fan status and desire voice anime.

1-15-05

– After the actor Jean Reno played a starring role in Capcom’s Onimushu game, its seems more stars may be following suit in the near future.
– Amazon UK has leaked some price details on the PSP launch there.
– Move over Otaku, The Japan Times talks about Wota, which the newspaper descrbes as an offshoot branch of Japan’s hobby-obsessed tribe of introverts. While regular otaku seek out anime figurines and high-tech gizmos, the infatuation of the nation’s estimated tens of thousands of wota is for girl idols — particularly the pop group Morning Musume.
– News of the recent American air industry laser scare has reached Japan. Lasers are of course used in household electronics (DVD, CD players) and in idustry for diamond cutting, label printing etc. The price of laser devices over the years has dropped while power levels have increased. Now the air industry has been confronted with the issue of lasers coming into the commercial airliner cockpits. A New Jersey man was recently arrested and charged of doing such a thing (He’s being charged under the US Patriot Act anti-terrorist legislation although authorities admit he’s not a terrorist. “Only terrorists need to fear the USA Patriot Act…” – John Ashcroft, US Attorney General, Sept. 19, 2003). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) breaks laser types down under 4 classifications. It’s mentioned that there is one online company, www.wickedlasers.com who sales a device that can burn a hole in a garbage bag for $289 dollars. Wired mentions they tried to contact the company on their policy on sales such a powerful lasers but they were not able to get a comment. A disclaimer is mentioned on the website that relates to the danger that can occur to human eyesight, the criminal penalties for aiming at aircraft etc… The first laser was made in 1960 using a ruby crystal. Use is severely prohibited in some proffessional and school sports stadiums in the USA. Malaysia prohibits the sale of laser pointers. Source: Hotwired (Japan)
– A new computer worm is floating about online that plays Tetris with those infected. The Cellery worm spreads across insecurely configured network shares and distracts infected users with a Tetris-like arcade game and a MIDI music tune while it scours network drives and attached computers for fresh victims. Few copies of the worm have been seen, so Cellery is a curiosity rather than as a serious risk, right now. Source: The Register
– The International Telecommunication Basic Technical Research Institute has established a venture company, “ATR robotics” mentions it will produce small commercial robots. Their first 2 releases will be codenamed “Robovie”. Retailing at 99,750 Yen, the 28 centimeter tall MS robot can transform into a man, robot and dinosaur. The M Ver.2 comes in at 294,000 Yen and was developed for the research of communications. Source: Nikkei News
– While PSP and DS dominate the portable gaming headlines in Japan, ZakZak reports that the handheld system Pokefami, which plays 20 year old Nintendo Famicom game carts is gaining ground among gamers in their 20-30’s. The handheld includes a 2.5-inch TFT LCD and the size not so different from PSP or DS. The weight is 350 grams. Currently retailing at 13,000 Yen, the device is available in specialty stores nationwide in Japan. Game Tec is selling the unit which includes AV out inputs so one can play the games on a larger TV. A secondary controller can also be attached. The only problem currently appears to be an aging and non-renewable software pool, the last Famicon game was released in June, 1994.
The Chicago Tribune has a story on the market for online DVD rentals heating up in the USA. Major industry players are examined along with their unique business models. San Francisco-based GreenCine gets a mention, the article mentions the company caters to exotic tastes like anime, cult and adult titles.
– Who’s interested in the spread of Asian pop culture? How about the elite intelligence community of the United States? Karalanext reports the findings of a recent report created by the NIC and comissioned by the CIA (US Central Intellignce Agency) indicate “An expanded Asian-centric cultural identity may be the most profound effect of a rising Asia,”. “A new, more Asian cultural identity is likely to be rapidly packaged and distributed as incomes rise and communications networks spread.” “Korean pop singers are already the rage in Japan, Japanese anime have many fans in China, and Chinese kung-fu movies and Bollywood song-and-dance epics are viewed throughout Asia. “Even Hollywood has begun to reflect these Asian influences – an effect that is likely to accelerate through 2020,” the report said. “Rising Asia will continue to reshape globalisation, giving it less of a ‘Made in the USA’ character and more of an Asian look and feel. At the same time, Asia will alter the rules of the globalising process.
– The TBS Ah! My Goddess new TV series website has been renewed with DVD release information for region 2.
– The Air Movie site has updated with info of a screening at “Shinecanon Kobe” February 26, 2005.
Kunicon St.Louis will kick off the start of the Robotech 2005 US Convention Tour on March 4-6 at the Millennium Hotel in downtown St Louis, Missouri! Kunicon is the new anime, gaming and music convention run by Subarashii Nation!
HARMONY GOLD PANELS!
Kunicon has invited the entire Robotech team of Tommy Yune, Kevin McKeever, Tom Bateman and Steve Yun as Guests Of Honor. Kunicon has


MNS Exclusive Interview: Battle Angel (GUNNM) Creator Yukito Kishiro

MNS Exclusive Interview: Battle Angel (GUNNM) Creator Yukito Kishiro


By: Jonah Morgan

Yukito Kishiro was born in 1967 in Tokyo, Japan. His debut as a popular Manga artist came in 1984 when his work “KIKAI” won the best newcomer manga artists award sponsored by weekly Shonen Sunday magazine. His work ‘Kaikosei’ followed and in 1991 the series for which he is best known was first released. Titled ‘Gunnm’ (‘Battle Angel Alita’), the story of the manga combined intense action with cyborgs, and a post apocalyptic world. On the serious side, Kishiro touched on topics in his stories that our own world may face in the very near future as the line between man and machine blur. A portion of the Gunnm story was adapted to OAV in 1993 and later became one of the first anime VHS releases from ADV Films. Likewise, the comic version was picked up very early on in the early 1990’s and began serializing as Battle Angel Alita in English from Viz. Rumors began circulating online several years ago that Battle Angel was to be the subject of a major Hollywood film to be directed by the famous American Director James Cameron (Titanic, the Terminator, The Abyss). The rumors proved to be true and in recent months Mr. Cameron has talked quite a great deal on his plans for the feature which is scheduled to release in 2007. With all the press attention focused on Hollywood, it occurred to us that no one had actually made the attempt to go back to the original author and seek his impressions on this very exciting development. We caught up with Mr. Kishiro recently and posed the following questions on all things Battle Angel. Special thanks to Yukito’s brother Tsutomu Kishiro for translation.

Manga News Service: Happy New Year 2005 Mr. Kishiro! How has the new year found you?

Yukito Kishiro: A happy new year, too! I was working on cartoons throughout the new year vacation.

MNS: In recent weeks in the USA the attention of the elite entertainment beat-report press has been focused on the adaptation of your work, GUNNM (Battle Angel Alita), to a large budget Hollywood film. What are your impressions on the director James Cameron taking up a project based on your creation?

YK: To be honest, I still can’t believe that my work was adapted. Until the film is completed and I see it on screen, I think I won’t be able to get a real sense of it.

MNS: Do you believe the story and characters of GUNNM can make a natural transition to Hollywood film?

YK: Cartoons and films are different media, so it is natural that presentations will be different. If I directed a film adapting my cartoon GUNNM, it would surely be different from the original comics. Especially, as my cartoon is a long story comprising of a series of detailed episodes, it must be a big challenge to express it in a short running time of the film. However, if Mr. James Cameron could grasp the essential theme of GUNNM, I believe that the difference of episodes or characters would be superficial and it would be possible to express GUNNM in terms of its essence. The more important thing is not adherence to the original story but excellence as a complete movie.

MNS: There were rumors of this project as far back as 2000, can you tell us when you and the publisher were first approached in interest of adapting Battle Angel Alita?

YK: Though not from Mr. Cameron, I received the first offer of film adaptation in 1994. Since then, many directors, producers and productions have proposed their own plans. I think it was around 1998 when Mr. Cameron and Twentieth Century Fox approached me on the adaptation. It’s so long ago that it is a hazy memory…

MNS: Are you fan of Mr. Cameron’s films? Do you have a favorite?

YK: I am a fan of such works as “Terminator”, “Alien 2” and “Terminator 2”. Again and again, I have seen the Terminator series on video.

MNS: Will you be consulting with Mr. Cameron and the production staff for the film to retain the original flavor outlined in the GUNNM Manga?

YK: If Mr. Cameron requested me to do so, I would, but I wouldn’t voluntarily contact them because the movie is different from the original cartoons.

MNS: And it’s also been revealed 3 films may be created from GUNNM. This will collect much more of the story than the 1993 OAV anime adaptation. Every recent Hollywood film series that has achieved a trilogy status has gone on to be highly successful, what are your impressions?

YK: If Mr. Cameron said so, he should be sure that the odds are in his favor, but I am not sure about its success. As the original author, I want them to make 4, 5 or more films, not sticking to the trilogy status because it would mean that more episodes could be covered.

MNS: Many fans have wondered, why were only 2 anime OAV episodes produced in 1993?

YK: It was based on the plan proposed by the animation production company. It might have been better to turn down the plan and wait for a better adaptation proposal to come up, but back then, I couldn’t afford to review the plan coolly. At that time, I was still serializing the work and was so busy that I wasn’t ambitious to make it into animation.

MNS: With the film coming out in just a few years do you plan on reviving the Gunm storyline, to possibly produce a manga new work, or have you told the complete story?

YK: As you might well know, I have slightly updated the ending of the first series of GUNNM and added short sub-episodes to publish the complete version of GUNNM Since the fall of the year 2000, I have serialized “GUNNM:Lastorder”, an official sequel to the complete version of GUNNM. The 7th volume of GUNNM:Lastorder in book form will be published in the coming


Anime News Service – January 8-10 Anime News

1-10-05

Newtype Japan has an online report from the production symposium held for the ‘Gallery Fake’ TV launch. The late night series began running from Jan. 8th on TV Tokyo. Mirroring the theme of the work, the event was held at the historic Okura Museum in Toranomon. The production staff and cast took stage talking about the series after the 1st epsiode was screened to visitors. Tachikawa Yo, the editor in chief of Big Comic Spiritts gave some history on the Gallery Fake manga which started running in the magazine’s Nov. 5th, 1990 issue. 278 stories have been produced over the next 14 years. 31 volumes have been released total and profits from the film release exceeds 10 million. Visit the official Gallery Fake website here.
– Anime Network has teamed with Oceanic Time Warner Cable to launch it’s programming lineup as part of Oceanic’s Video On Demand (VOD) package. Viewers can now tune into Channel 332 to access such fan-favorites as Chobits, Robotech, and Kaleidostar, among many other hit animated shows and specials.
ComingSoon.net interviews director James Cameron on his coming film Battle Angel and uncovers alot of information on the project not mentioned previously. Cameron mentions wanting to use special 3D camera system to shoot the film, with plans to release it to digital theaters in 2007. “So we’re in pre-production now on a movie called Battle Angel, which is based on a Japanese Manga series of graphic novels by an artist named Yukito Kishiro. It’s not in the sort of top ten of graphic novels in Japan; it’s a lesser known one, and we’re going to make Battle Angel over the next couple of years and release it in ’07.” According to the Titanic director the film’s story will focus on the first three books of the manga series “which means that it pulls forward the motorball story into the Ido, Alita, Hugo story, if you will.” A mix of CG and live action is planned with CG lead in Alita. Cameron goes on to expound upon his hopes for digital movie making and comments on the storyline of Vattle Angel: “It’s a father-daughter relationship story that just has the most insane action that you can imagine. It will be PG-13 — lots of blood, but it’s all blue.
– ADV Films announced on January 18, 2005 the feature-length Saiyuki: Requiem, The Motion Picture hits the street in a deluxe special edition DVD packed with bonus features. Saiyuki: Double Barrel Collection, Volume One follows on February 1, 2005. Saiyuki: Requiem, The Motion Picture ($29.98 SRP) is a DVD-only release including a 95-minute feature presented in English 5.1 and Japanese 5.1 with English subtitles. Extras include: character profiles and art gallery, interview with creator Kazuya Minekura, Japanese promos and TV spots, voice actor commentary with the men of Saiyuki, reversible cover, fold-out poster insert and ADV previews. Saiyuki: Double Barrel Collection Volume One ($29.98 SRP) is a 2-disc DVD-only release including 10 complete episodes presented on 2 DVDs. Audio is presented in English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 with English subtitles. Extras include: cultural background notes, production sketches, cleaning opening and closing animation and ADV previews.
TV Shows On DVD reports The 3″ DVD format, known popularly as Mini-DVD, is taking off in the USA. Dedicated players for the format have been released and word out of CES indicates more companies are looking to support it. According to the article, anime companies led mini-dvd the charge in early 2004, with Funimation releasing discs of Yu-Gi-Oh, Dragonball GT, and others. ADV has also supported the format, and Media Blasters is just two weeks away from releasing Invader Zim – Mini-DVD #1: The Nightmare Begins and Invader Zim – Mini-DVD #2: Bestest Friend/NanoZim.
– The official website for Sunrise’ Gundam Seed Destiny has been updated with new character and story details.
– Gainax’s Top O Nare! 2 website has been updated with new details on characters.
– Sunrise is gearing up for it’s DVD release of Armored Trooper Votoms on DVD on the 20th. The official website has been updated at www.votoms.net with details from the title Root Of Ambition in it’s library section, Vol.3-4 jacket graphics have been added to the gallery, the streaming section has been updated with the 4th streaming trailer featuring the Quent part of the TV series, and finally the the goods section has updated.
The Long Beach Press Telegram profile’s the city’s slice of the anime industry, coming in the form of Geneon Entertainment. VP Jim Yardley is interviewed and it’s mentioned Geneon “recently did $100 million in annual sales.”
– Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle has drawn 2,164,000 in attendance in South Korea where it’s ran since the 23rd of December. Consequently, Howl has become the most viewed theatrically released Japanese film of all time there, surpassing the record established by Spirited Away (2.01 million). So far Japan and Korea are the only 2 countries the movie is screening in, in Japan it’s ran for 44days, drawing 10,000,000+ viewers.
Source: Chosun Illbo
– Updating the major story in Japan from this weekend, the first arrests took place Monday in the case of the Pirated Howl’s Moving Castle DVD’s. This time the sale was occuring in Hyogo prefecture where regional police openly observed transactions. A 35 year old man was arrested and charged with breaching the Copyright Act, 1000 pirate edition DVD’s were also confiscated. 300 pieces of the lot were pirate Howl’s Moving Castle units. Interstingly, according to the report, this is the first time an application of the patent law was applied by the police in the manner with strengthend penal regualtaions. The DVD’s were being sold for 1,000 Yen per unit and 1,500 Yen per two units. Source: Yahoo News
Broadcasting And Cable reports on Cartoon Network’s Toonami drawing it’s name from cartoon and tsunami and


Anime News Service – January 7 Anime News

1-7-05—- Right Stuf Announces Shingu

SHINGU: SECRET OF THE STELLAR WARS DVD 1: ALTERED PERCEPTIONS Pre-book date: 3/1/2005 – Street date: 3/29/2005 Approximately 125 minutes, Dolby Digital Stereo, Color. Genre: Science Fiction DVD (English, Japanese, English Subtitles, English On-Screen Translations) Catalog#: RSDVD8035 Suggested Rating: 7+ ISBN: 1-57032-800-5 UPC#: 7-42617-8035-2-9 SRP: $29.95

Right Stuf International proudly presents SHINGU: SECRET OF THE STELLAR WARS! Created by acclaimed director Tatsuo Sato (NADESICO / STELLVIA / AZUMANGA DAIOH), with planning by Masao Maruyama (GUNGRAVE / CARDCAPTOR SAKURA MOVIES / CHOBITS), production by Masao Morosawa (GUNGRAVE / JUBEI-CHAN / NINJA SCROLL TV) and character designs by Yuuji Ikeda (SAIYUKI / GUNGRAVE / X TV)!

What if one day, you discovered that the world wasn’t quite what it seemed? In the year 2070, life is rather quiet for Hajime Murata, a curious second-year student at Misumaru Middle School. Classes by day, fights with his little sister by night; nothing too exciting ever happens. Even when a strange alien ship appears over Tokyo, no one’s really that shocked. After all, the government has been covering up aliens for years, right?

Then, a mysterious new transfer student arrives at Misumaru, wearing an ancient school uniform. Gentle and polite, everyone considers Muryou Subaru to be a pretty nice guy – everyone, that is, except for student council vice president Kyoichi Moriguchi. When Kyoichi challenges Muryou to a fight on the school roof, Hajime rushes over just in time to see the simple schoolyard brawl turn into a startling display of psychic powers!

With all these strange events unraveling around him, Hajime is determined to figure out the truth about the world he thought he already knew. This is his story; a tale of aliens and humans, starships and spies, and friends who are often more than they appear.

Contains episodes 1-5.

PLUS! DVD 1 features a special SHINGU: SECRET OF THE STELLAR WARS 12-page booklet!

Bonus DVD content includes: Reversible Cover, Character Bios, Line Art Gallery, Special 12-page Booklet, Original Production Notes, English Production Notes, Right Stuf Trailers, Scene Access, English Audio, Japanese Audio, English Subtitles & On-Screen Translations

Graphic of cover is located at:
http://www.rightstuf.com/outgoing/sleeves/rsdvd8035.jpg

SHINGU: SECRET OF THE STELLAR WARS DVD 1 PLUS ARTBOX AND T-SHIRT Pre-book date: 3/1/2005 – Street date: 3/29/2005 Approximately 125 minutes, Dolby Digital Stereo, Color. Genre: Science Fiction

DVD (English, Japanese, English Subtitles, English On-Screen Translations) Catalog#: RSDVD8034 Suggested Rating: 7+ ISBN: 1-57032-801-3 UPC#: 7-42617-8034-2-0 SRP: $44.95

To comemmorate the release of Tatsuo Sato’s sci-fi epic SHINGU: SECRET OF THE STELLAR WARS, Right Stuf International will be releasing a Collector’s Edition artbox to hold the entire five-disc series! The artbox includes DVD 1, PLUS a special high-quality Shingu t-shirt available only with this set!

Contains DVD 1 (episodes 1-5) plus a sturdy high-quality color artbox and an exclusive Shingu t-shirt!

Graphic of cover is located at:
http://www.rightstuf.com/outgoing/sleeves/rsdvd8034.jpg

1-7-05—- Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Second GIG Premiere

Bandai Entertainment and Manga Entertainment announced today a special screening of the highly anticipated follow-up to the smash hit television series �eGhost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex�f by Shirow Masamune�fs (Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell). Two episodes will be screened at the Tokyo International Anime Fair in Hollywood to be held at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel on February 7th, 2005.

This all-new futuristic anime series continues the story of the acclaimed anime feature film Ghost in the Shell which was based on the popular manga by Masamune Shirow. Female cyborg Major Motoko Kusanagi and her fellow police officers of Section 9 hunt down a host of criminals in both the real and online worlds. Directed by Kenji Kamiyama, the first episode pits Major Kusanagi against a terrrorist group calling themselves the Individual Eleven. Having taken over a building and demanding an immediate solution to the Asian Refugee problem. Section 9 will have to battle both bureaucrats and terrorists if they are to stop the the Individual Eleven.

Seating is extremely limited, please register through the Tokyo Anime Fair official website at www.taf-la.org. Once registered, a lottery system will be held to randomly select tickets to the event. For more information about the Tokyo International Anime Fair in Hollywood event or the Tokyo International Anime Fair in Tokyo Japan, please visit www.taf-la.org or visit www.bandai-ent.com The Tokyo International Anime Fair 2005 is sponsored by the Tokyo Metropolitian Government.

1-7-05—- Light Novels Becoming The Basis For More Anime

Manga and graphic novels may be the hottest trend currently in the North American litterary market but in Japan where they’ve been there, done that and some would say are good indicator of where the rest of the world will be next, the move has recently seen both readers and publishers embrace the format of the “light novel”. Light illustrated fictional works known as gokan were actually banned at one time in Japan many years ago but the current incarnation of the light novel is hotter than ever, popular with teenagers, even birthing events such as The Light Novel Festivalwhere fans, vendors and guests such artists and writers gather. The number of original works being published in this format are increasing and maybe a surprise to some, they are being used as the original source material more and more as the basis of creating anime. Much attention has been attracted to this format recently by the character industry. Interestingly, the light novel is not really a recent phenomena. Almost everyone reading this should be familiar with the work Slayers by Kanzaka Hajime which was released in Japan and later adapted to one of the most successful animation franchises in recent times. The staus of Slayers elevated Kanzaka-sensei to that one of the highest paid writers in Japan. Likewise in the 90’s such works as Kouhei Kadono’s Boogiepop and Keiichi Sigsawa’s Kino’s Journey sold three million units and went onto become hit anime. The reason for the increase in popularity is seen as the fact that the current generation grew up with these works in throughout their various incarnations since their big appearance in the 1980’s. Publishers have been sensitive to this evolution, Shueisha for


Anime News Service – January 6 Anime News

1-6-05—- Digital Manga Expands Relationship With Diamond

Digital Manga – having selected Diamond Book Distributors as the exclusive North American distributor of English-language editions of some of its top books – has extended its agreement with Diamond to include even more titles and properties.

In addition to the original agreement, Diamond will now also distribute more manga/yaoi titles as well as the highly successful Let’s Draw Manga series. Also, in keeping up with the rising trend of comics as an education tool, a new line of non-fiction “edu-manga” will be distributed. Digital Manga specializes in building corporate and cultural bridges from Japan to the Western Hemisphere – specifically through the licensing, importation and preparation of anime, manga, and related merchandise for the North American mainstream and subculture markets. In this capacity, Digital Manga serves as a catalyst for the expansion of Japanese pop-culture institutions into global arenas.

“For months now, Digital Manga and Diamond have already been actively importing top-notch Japanese products into the U.S.,” said Diamond Vice President of Purchasing Bill Schanes. “We’re proud to take our relationship further with even more titles and lines from Digital Manga.” “We are pleased that Diamond recognizes in Digital Manga a unique product portfolio available no where else, and saw fit to an agreement which will increase our shelf presence and provide an added boost to our distinctive reputation in the manga market,” stated Digital Manga CEO Hikaru Sasahara.

“With manga and related Japanese products and art continuing to make sales history through the U.S., this is a great opportunity to introduce a new piece of the diversity puzzle,” added Schanes. Diamond’s Sales Team will begin working with bookstores, book wholesalers, warehouse clubs, mass merchandisers, and libraries to place Digital Manga’s books across the country.

1-6-05—- ADV Films A Tree Of Palm Theatrical Release

ADV Films announced today the American theatrical premiere of A Tree of Palme, which will take place at Houston?fs Rice Cinema starting January 14, 2005. A Tree of Palme is a modern retelling of the classic Pinocchio story with a sc-fi/fantasy twist. The cinematic Japanese animated feature was written and directed by highly respected animator Takashi Nakamura, who first came to the attention of American fans with his work as chief animator for the cyberpunk masterpiece Akira.

Palme, a wooden puppet, has been created to care for the dying wife of his master. After her death, Palme looses his sense of purpose and ceases to function. He remains inactive until a mysterious woman, followed by a group of ruthless pursuers, arrives at the master?fs workshop. She is desperately seeking aid in delivering a precious package to its destination across the world. When his master is mortally wounded by the woman?fs pursuers, Palme agrees to aid the woman with her mission, thus taking the first step in his long and incredible journey to discover who he truly is.

John Ledford, President and C.E.O. of ADV Films, said, ?gWe are very excited about bringing this visually exotic anime to American filmgoers. Takashi Nakamura has a long and distinguished list of anime films to his credit and we are pleased that American audiences now have a chance to see A Tree of Palme.?h A Tree of Palme will play for two weekends at the Rice Cinema located on The Rice University campus. Operating for more than 30 years, Rice Cinema has screened cult films and revivals as well as festivals and retrospectives. Founded as an integral part of the Media Center, Rice Cinema?fs mission has long crossed boundaries to bring people together to promote scholarly dialog and cross-cultural interaction.

?gA Tree of Palme, which is our first feature to be released in 2005, is only the beginning of what promises to be a busy year for our theatrical division?h remarked Steve Buck, Director of ADV?fs theatrical Division. Palme will play selected theatres in major cities including Boston, San Francisco, Nashville, Hartford, Portland Oregon and Austin following the Houston engagement. Specific dates and theatres are listed on the ADV Theatrical website at www.ADVFilms.com/theatrical

1-6-05

– New Fushigi Yuugi adventures continue to playout in audio format via Marine Entertainment’s release of a new Drama CD.
Animate has added a listing for the OP single release to majikaru kanan due on 2/25 at 1,260 Yen.
– Toei has renewed their official website for the coming OVA Iriya No Sora, UFO No Natsu. A promtional video in real video and windows media streaming formats can be accessed here.
– Sega launched the Japanese site for it’s X-Box release of Outrun 2. Noteworthy from the start of the site’s loading is that unlike well known racing games of recent such as Project Gotham and Gran Turismo, Outrun 2 features several Ferrari cars both recent and classic. included are F40, F50, ENZO, 365 GTS4, Dino 246 GTS, 288 GTO, Testarossa (Outrun 1 car), 360 Spider, 250 GTO and 512BB.
Animate has details for the upcoming classic early 90’s anime, Kingyo Chuuihou (Goldfish Warning) DVD BOX set due on March 25, 2005. The movie version is collected as well as original TVCM. Others include set material, picture continuity, a special album CD with song and drama selections, and booklet collecting the comments of staff. Retail is 52,290 Yen. 54 TV episodes of the TV series make up the bulk of the set. Toei animation produced Goldfish Warning which aired at 19:00-19:30 on Saturdays via TV Asahi between January 12, 1991 and February 29, 1992. Series director was Junichi Sato (Sailor Moon).
– The 4th drama CD based on Mizuki Kawashita’s popular manga, Strawberry 100% was announced by Shueisha.
– Tatsuya Kaneda’s Ayakashi Dou No Hourai manga has been announced to run in Weekly Shonen Sunday from issue No.7.
– The manga Sensei No Susume begins running in Hanayume magazine from No.4 on sale from the 20th according to Hakusensha. A special 71 minute audio CD “2005 Kirakirawawonderful will accompany the issue.
– Music label Key just announced


Anime News Service – January 4 Anime News

1-4-05—- ADV Kids Releases Megaman: Upon A Star

ADV Kids is proud to announce an exciting addition to its lineup of fun-filled and educational titles made especially for kids, Megaman: Upon a Star. Look for the fun to commence as Megaman hits the shelves TODAY! Based upon the ultra popular Nintendo and Playstation video games and featuring the characters and storyline created by gaming powerhouse Capcom, Megaman’s popularity has led to a huge fan following. In addition, Megaman has launched an extensive lineup of licensed products including toys, action figures, collectibles, soundtracks and video games created for virtually every platform available.

The evil mad scientist Dr. Wily has escaped from the video game world and it’s up to Megaman to stop the fiendish scientist from destroying Japan as we know it! Can Wily be stopped in time to save Children’s Day, prevent the worst typhoon in history, and keep Mount Fuji from erupting again? Get ready for fun-filled adventure as Megaman jumps into action! Megaman: Upon a Star (SRP $19.98) is a DVD-only release featuring three complete OVAs presented in English 2.0 and Japanese 2.0 with English subtitles. Extras include: ADV previews.

1-4-05—- Dreamweave Productions Closes Doors

Dreamwave Productions announced today that after eight years in the comics industry, four of which they were self-published, they will be ceasing operations. Established in 1996 by brothers Pat and Roger Lee, Dreamwave infused a stagnant comic book market with art and design that effortlessly combined the then dominant “American” art style with the newly emerging Japanese “Manga” art style. Since then, the company had grown to become one of the comic book industry’s premiere publishers, producing a variety of original titles.

In 2002, Dreamwave firmly established itself in the comic industry as a force to be reckoned with when it launched an all-new Transformers comic’s line. The return of the 80’s icons shattered industry sales records, skyrocketing the book to the number one sales slot for an impressive six months. The Toronto-based company’s other successful licenses included Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Duel Masters from Japan, as well as properties like Devil May Cry and Mega Man from video game giant Capcom Entertainment. President of Dreamwave Productions, Pat Lee stated “there are a number of reasons for my decision to close Dreamwave”, citing that “the shrinking comic book market combined with a weak U.S. dollar and unsustainable monetary commitments has finally proven to be too financially taxing.”

As the only Canadian independent comics publisher, Dreamwave Productions has struggled in recent years to maintain its status within a relentlessly shrinking comic book market. Unfortunately, consistently diminishing sales totals over the last several years have taken their toll on the small publisher and made it impossible to continue. The specific details for closure have not yet been released but Lee assures both fans and clients alike that “although this is the end of Dreamwave as a comics publisher, I will still be penciling a number of new exciting projects in conjunction with other studios in the upcoming years.”

1-4-05—- SoulKool On AppleSeed Promotion

ANS has learned the marketing firm SoulKool has been added to the promotional resource cache for Geneon Entertainment in it’s campaign on the AppleSeed film release in the USA. A dedicated section of their website now features content for the film. SoulKoul was investigated by CBS News’ 60 Minutes in a segment on “undercover marketing”. When the highly rated news magazine visited the firm for their 2003 report, “Soulkool operatives were going undercover on the Internet, promoting the movie “Cowboy Bebop,” an animated feature. Soulkool employees, all of them barely in their 20s, boost the promotion by flooding Internet chat rooms and message boards with rave reviews for the movie.

1-4-05

Chunichi Newspaper has a large article on the advancement of Broadband Over Powerline technology in Japan. Going by BPL in America, the standard is known as High-Speed PLC in Japan. In practice, PLC will allow users to enjoy high-speed Internet easily at home only by inserting the power supply plug of a personal computer into a wall socket. 15 Japanese power companies have been investigating the technology and some have conducted proof of concept tests around Tokyo. Radio signal leak from the power line over distance (10 meters) seems to be the only public concern. (Editors note: Some in the USA feel this “leak” and the subsequent radio interference generated could threaten some radio communication. ARRL Stance) 200megabits per second speed has been achieved in experiments. A telecom infrastructure technical group manager mentioned that correcting the loss issues was key in Japan VS Europe and America becuase the oppertunity of interference with competeing forms of radio transmission is a key concern for Japan with dense population centers and some of the greatest radio wave concentrations in the world. 2-30 megahertz frequency across the line was used for the test. Permission to begin testing of PLC was given at the beginning of 2004 by the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications. PLC could make even LAN unnecessary as the entire house would be networked via power outlets. The speed of the network communication would also be faster than radio LAN standards and any smart appliance plugged into the wall socket could communicate. PLC could also bridge the digital divide allowing broadband access into regions where stretching costly fiber optic cables may not be economically viable. Outside of Japan, PLC is currently being used in 2 cities in Italy where restrictions on RF leakage don’t exist and 6 locations in Germany where the power lines are widely buried underground. Korea, Spain and Austria are in the midst of tests and in the USA PLC is only allowed when it meets harsh restrictions. After tests end in March the data gathered from the research will be put to developing filter protocols to try and curb the leakage issue (2-3 years out estimate at earliest) and developing better PLC modems.
KBS reports the drama series, “Winter Sonata”, will be broadcast


Anime News Service – December 31 – January 3 Anime News

1-3-05—- MomoCon Press

Atlanta, GA. -December 31, 2004 – Anime O-Tekku of Georgia Tech presents MomoCon, an anime and gaming convention held in Atlanta, GA, March 26-27, 2005 at the Georgia Tech Student Center. MomoCon is a free admission convention, with local vendors and artists selling their wares in addition to numerous special events. MomoCon’s anime events include panels hosted by anime company representatives, voice actor panels, karaoke events, anime showings (including company screeners), and promotional goodies from many anime companies.

While it will not feature an anime music video contest, MomoCon will host AMV Iron Chef and AMV creator showcases of local talent in the school theater (with a large movie screen and ample seating). Console gaming at MomoCon will include a console gaming free-play room with numerous rare systems available to play and a rhythm gaming room, customized to host rhythm games like DDR, Beatmania, Donkey Konga, and Amplitude. MomoCon boasts a growing collection of almost 200 console games available to play throughout the convention. Board and card gaming at MomoCon includes a free-play room, with games and card sets available for checkout, and a demo room, to host company demos. Tournaments will include 4 Steve Jackson Games tournaments, with prize support from the company, and an official Magic the Gathering Tournament with a prize pack from Wizards of the Coast. When the initial planning began for this zero budget, first year convention, it was difficult for the organizers to entice famous guests.

Since they have no working capital, they cannot afford to offer hotel or travel expenses to guests, so MomoCon began the workings of a webcomic-themed convention. Webcomic authors are often local, and looking for the exposure that being a con guest can give, so MomoCon welcomes 12 webcomic guests to the convention this year. MomoCon is not limited to anime and gaming, but prefers to welcome all related genres, including costuming. They welcome world-renowned prop-maker Robert Bean, famous for his full Darth Vader costume and pieces, as well as cosplayer and published manga artist Yaya Han. Panels include a workshop on wigs held by a local wig-maker, and a basic cosplay panel from an award-winning cosplay troupe. But all of these features are not all that this free con has to offer. Other events include Vampire the Masquerade LARP, a late night dance, a cosplay café (full with costumed waiters/waitresses), and a panel featuring local anime clubs.

MomoCon welcomes all who would grace its front steps and wishes all fans to have no reserves about attending the convention. “The con feels like The Little Engine That Could,” says Head Director Jessica Merriman. “At first we couldn’t get people to even give us the time of day, now we get requests for guests all the time, and they are willing to make concessions just for us. We really couldn’t ask for a better set of guests.” The dedicated staff and, especially, the eleven heads of staff put hundreds of hours of work into creating a wondrous fan experience, and don’t want to charge you a penny to have fun!
For more information about MomoCon, please visit the website (http://www.momocon.com).

1-3-05—- Author Fred Schodt Honored

Well-known translator and writer on manga Frederik L. Schodt’s recent biography of Ranald MacDonald has been named in Choice’s annual Outstanding Academic Titles list, which appears in the January 2005 issue of Choice Magazine. Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries reviews significant current books and electronic media of interest to those in higher education. It is a publication from the American Library Association, recognized as an essential tool for collection development in academic libraries.

Ranald MacDonald, not to be confused with a certain fast-food restaurant mascot, has monuments erected in his honor in Astoria, Oregon and Rishiri Island, Japan. In 1988 the Friends of MacDonald society was formed and today it has over 200 members worldwide. There even exists a six-page manga called, “Ranald MacDonald, Japan’s First English Teacher,” an excerpt of which is found in Schodt’s book.

“Writing about Ranald MacDonald, the young adventurer, gave me a chance to explore the North America – Japan relationship in a new way, and help shed new light on a truly extraordinary individual,” Mr. Schodt said of his latest title.

Native American in the Land of the Shogun: Ranald MacDonald and the Opening of Japan is the true story of a half-Chinook, half-Scot adventurer who entered feudal Japan in 1848 and helped pave the way for its modernization. In a time when Japan was mostly shut off to foreigners, MacDonald, age 24, faked being marooned and was promptly arrested, but his charm led to better treatment than most prisoners as he soon instructed Japanese interpreters in English. He later gave both Japanese and American officials useful tips on how to understand and communicate with each other, a great service when Commodore Perry made his historic arrival on the American “Black Ships” in 1853.

This book documents MacDonald’s early years in the Pacific Northwest, his education in central Canada, and his employment in Ontario. It then follows him to sea working for a New England whaling fleet and his time in Hawaii where he prepared for his adventure to Japan.

Frederik L. Schodt is a writer, translator, and professional interpreter who lives in San Francisco. He has written extensively on Japanese comics, and on technology and history. His first book, Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics (Kodansha International, 1983), helped trigger the current popularity of Japanese comics in the United States and along with its sequel, Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga (Stone Bridge Press, 1996) is regarded as something of a classic. Dreamland Japan has also been translated into Japanese (Nippon Mangaron, Maaru-sha, 1998), as well as Korean (Daseossure, 1999), and a German edition is planned.

In 2000, Schodt was awarded the special category of the Asahi Shimbun’s Osamu Tezuka Culture Award for his work in popularizing manga overseas. In addition to his own writings, he has been a pioneer in the translation of manga and is responsible for the English versions of


ANS Exclusive Interview: The Drift King Keiichi Tsuchiya


By: Jonah Morgan

Keiichi Tsuchiya is considered one of Japan’s all time racing legends. He honed his driving skills from a young age driving nearby mountain roads (togue) in his KPGC10 Skyline. By driving hard on all types of surfaces and conditions he learned car control at the limits. In 1977 he debuted in the Fuji Freshman series, this was followed by several amateur racing events. 1984 saw him getting a drive with the Advan AE86/1984 Corolla GT-S. The Drift King was born. In this series his technique of using drift (sliding the rear of the car out) in a downhill corner yielded a better corner speed and improved lap times. This technique is what made him the Drift King not as most believe that he was first in the drift scene. While racing professionally he continued to participate in illegal Initial-D style togue battles. After videos of these races fell into the hands of authorities his driver’s license was actually suspended.

Despite this, his legend grew in Japan as being a rebel racer who would take on any challenge be it street or track. His relationship racing Toyota’s AE86 Trueno throughout the 1980’s helped elevate the car to the cult status it carries today. It also inspired a manga author named Shuichi Shigeno to make the car a focus of his Initial-D manga. Tsuchiya would later play an integral part in the TV series, advising on the racing physics for the CGI cars and matching proper sounds to their anime car counterparts. Today the Drift King can be seen in the monthly Best Motoring and Hot Version video magazines. ANS had the honor to send a few questions his way in Japanese recently and we actually got the answers back in English!

Anime News Service: Thank you Mr. Tsuchiya for this interview first of all. In my mind your racing skill and talent is on par with that Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna, etc.
Keiichi Tsuchiya: Thank you!!

ANS: Speaking of F1, you raced in the Le Mans series for the Toyota team. Did you ever have an interest in persuing an F1 drive?
KT: No.

ANS: Recently, I saw the VTEC-CLUB video where you had started a HONDA RA271 F1 car. As for the car, even by the standards of 2005 it was awesome. What was your experience with the RA271?
KT: I cannot believe the engine was of the 1960s at all. It turns firmly to 12000rpm(s) so pleasantly. Therefore, I was surprised…. very much.

ANS: The BAR-HONDA team seemed to have been close to attaining a 1st place podium finish during the 2004 F1 season. Certainly, I believe the team is deserving of a win. New reports are out that say their engines are now approaching 1000bhp. Do you think the 2005 sees them achieving their first race win?
KT: A racing car is not known unless it carries out a shake down!? First of all, it is after seeing a history!!

ANS: What is your opinion of Takuma Sato as an F1 driver representative of Japan?
KT: If even a machine is good, I would think that it is the driver which must win. He is a driver with such high possibility.

ANS: I’ve heard reports recently that Honda will discontinue the NSX opting not to mass produce the HSC prototype. Is it true that HONDA might desert their super-sports platform representative in the automotive segment? I understand you are very familiar with the NSX, will it really happen?
KT: It is difficult …. It is heard that it may be lost. As of the latest, it is the talk of the possibility.

ANS: How was the reception of the JGTC recently in Los Angeles? Do you think that the United States will be venue that will be added to race calander in the future?
KT: It was not so good …. I think that JGTC is impossible.

ANS: My first experience of you was from 1996, a video game was released by Jaleco in the United States for PSX called “Tokyo Highway Battle”. The game featured Masaki Bendoh and yourself, including many live action video clips. Do you remember having worked on it? I believe this was your first appearance in any medium in the United States.
KT: Thank you!! I did not know.

ANS: Car and Racing video games continue to approach higher levels of realism. GT4 for Sony’s PS2 was released in Japan raising the bar higher yet again. Have you seen it and what your opinions concerning the relation to the reality of the control of physics and the car etc. to real racing?
KT: I am not concerned at all. Since Sony is making, it is unrelated.

ANS: Can you tell us your role in the animation version of Initial-D in 1998? Can tell us of the experience?
KT: I helped produce from sound to operation of the cars.

ANS: Recently a live action version of Initial D was finsihed in Hong Kong. Did you offer any assitance to this project?
KT: I was not related at all.

ANS: How has the Togue scene changed over years in Japan?
KT: The togue is regarded as bad!! The mainstream in Japan is to run a mini circuit.

ANS: Watching Initial-D I know a lot of Americans wonder where are the police on the togue? The police always bust the street races here! They are everywhere!
KT: It would be considered severe in a country such as The United States country especially. As understood in Japan it cannot be said that it is about an understanding. It is calm if trouble is not made to the man in the street.

ANS: Has your staff had trouble finding a Ferrari ENZO to test [for Best Motoring]. I understand it has been very difficult to obtain ENZO test cars. The UK TV program TOP GEAR had to borrow a private car of a celebrity and, FIFTH GEAR had to travel to Italy for the test.
KT: It is not.

ANS: Finally,