5-17-06 (9:30PM EDT)—- Artificial Tree Business Grows Into Anime
Pittsburgh, PA’s Post Gazette reports on Michael Kao who spent 23 years — and earned a small fortune — making plastic Christmas trees in China and selling them to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other big retailers. Then his son, Francis, came home from college in the U.S. eight years ago and persuaded his father to trade in 10,000 factory workers for 350 computer animators and a long shot at Hollywood glory. Today, the company that once was the world’s biggest artificial-tree maker has morphed into one of Asia’s biggest digital-animation studios. It is now halfway through making a new, $35 million “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie, which Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. and Weinstein Co. are set to distribute in spring of 2007.
5-17-06 (9:00PM EDT)—- Bandai And NIKE Team On Character Branded Shoes
In the first collaboration between Bandai and NIKE, Naruto branded shoes will go on sale in Japan from June 17 for kids. The “NIKE AIR RIVAL GT AF GS (NARUTO)” sneakers will appear as part of NIKE’s “advanced fit” line. The hero of Naruto and color of orange and black appear on the shoes. Six sizes of 22.5cm-25.0cm will be available. Retail will be 7,140 Yen through NIKE direct-management outlet shops (eight stores) and some toy shops.
5-17-06 (9:00PM EDT)—- Otani Returns To One Piece
After a bout with bad health, seiyuu Ikue Otani will jump back into the role of Tony Chopper from the 264th episode of One Piece, to be broadcast on May 21st.
5-17-06 (8:36PM EDT)—- Prince Of Tennis Live Action Stage Greeting
Cinema Topics has images from the May 13th stage greeting and premiere for the live action Prince of Tennis Film held in Kawasaki Cinecetta.
5-17-06 (8:25PM EDT)—- BoA’s Contract Extended
This week, SM Entertainment announced an extension to pop diva BoA’s contract. According to the agreement the extension runs through 2012 and the reasoning is her strong presence in South Korea and Japan. BoA has become the top singer in Asia, and the most important person promoting the Asian cultural contents business according to SM. Regarding her voice acting role as “Heather” in Over The Hedge, the singer got invited to the “59th Cannes International Film Festival” that begins on the 17th. There she’ll meet with both Bruce Willis and Avril Lavigne (who provides the English voice of “Heather”).
5-17-06 (7:56PM EDT)—- Baseball Manga Master Backs Independent League
On May 15th, Mangaka Shinji Mizushima (Abusan, Dokaben, Otoko Do-Aho! Koshien, Yakyukyou no Uta) announced his backing of a new independent baseball organization to be tentatively named “North Shinetsu League”. A press conference the was held along with representative Satoshi Murayama in Niigata City. Toyama, Ishikawa, Nagano, and Niigata will provide the first teams, with play beginning next spring. The league management corporation is scheduled to be established on July 3rd. Mizushima will use his influence via manga and networks to push the project. He agrees baseball as a sport has seen little growth in the snowy country.
5-17-06 (4:20PM EDT)—- Negadon Reviews And Moves
The May 17th issue of the Village Voice has reviewed “Negadon”. The full review can be read online at http://www.villagevoice.com/art/0620,baker,73185,13.html. An excerpt is below.
“Completely computer-generated, Jun Awazu’s anime lovingly re-creates primitive filmmaking?lens flares, blurry focus, emulsion scratches, clunky miniature cities?as it traverses decades of Japanese monster movies. Dirty facial pores and cigarette smoke are astonishingly realized, while Bakelite rotary phones and snowy TV broadcasts of color bars provide a purposefully anachronistic patina. Opening with a mushroom cloud and closing with a children’s song, this obsessively crafted tale of hope amid apocalypse distills Japan’s postwar culture down to 26 densely packed minutes.”
Leading North American anime publisher Central Park Media announced today that its highly anticipated computer-generated monster movie Negadon: The Monster From Mars along with Kakurenbo: Hide & Seek and Cat Soup, two additional award-winning Central Park Media films, will play for a limited theatrical run at The Guild Cinema (www.guildcinema.com) in Albuquerque, New Mexico at 11 PM on Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27.
5-16-06 (1:19PM EDT)—- Toei Establishes Representative Office In China
Tentatively titled “Toei Animation (Shanghai) Representative Office”, leading Japanese animation studio Toei Animation is making a big move into the Chinese market by planting roots in the ultra-modern city of Shanghai. The representative office aims to help the company further leap into foreign markets at this time of the company’s 50th anniversary. Toei has had a positive business relationship with the Asian region since the 1970’s. An overseas subsidiary was established in Hong Kong to serve as a business base in the Asian region in March, 1997. Sales in the region at the period of March, 2005 exceeded one billion Yen. Toei admits their sales in the Chinese market are sluggish at present and they are looking to make positive progressions with the move. “Digimon Adventure” began broadcast in China in February, 2006 and “Dragonball” begins in June. The office will allow Toei to collect local information more closely and the business develops more effectively and efficiently.
5-16-06 (12:16PM EDT)—- Austrian Manga Artist Wins Trip To Tokyo
Tokyo Shimbun has a piece on 20 year old manga artist Tara Starnegg of Vienna, Austria. After winning an art contest, she won a trip to Tokyo. Growing up in Europe, she saw anime such as Sailor Moon and then began to draw her own original manga stories at 15. Currentl, she says her art is most influenced by Naoki Urasawa (MONSTER). Tara’s professional debut comes in July when her work will be featured in a comic magazine to be released by a publisher in Germany.
5-15-06 (9:26PM EDT)—- Pokemon Pearl And Diamond
Watch Impress has images and details on Nintendo’s Pokemon Pearl and Diamond games due to go on sale in the autumn of 2006 for the DS. 10 years after the introduction of Pocket Monsters for Game Boy in 1996, the latest work from the series will release for Nintendo’s latest handheld. The titles reflect the fact that Nintendo