Posts in: December, 2006

Anime News Service – December 5 – January 2 Anime News

12-16-06 (5:41AM EST)—- Production I.G. USA Sends Season’s Greetings

We found the following warm message featuring a new pic I.G.’s forthcoming REIDEEN in our inbox Friday evening and would like to share it with all of you:

12-15-06 (3:10AM EST)—- Busou Renkin PS2 Website Live

Marvelous Interactive has launched an official presite for the forthcoming PS2 game based on the Nobuhiro Watsuki manga Busou Renkin.

12-14-06 (12:20AM EST)—- Neko Ramen To Be Animated

According to Mag Garden, Sonishi Kenji’s Neko Ramen manga will be adapted to TV animation. Look for expanded details in the Comic Blade Masamune Winter which goes on sale in Japan on December 15th.

12-11-06 (11:15PM EST)—- Tohan: Gin Tamashii Is 2006’s Top Selling Novel

Japanese publishing industry watcher Tohan has declared the best-selling new novel in Japan for the period between December, 2005 and November, 2006) as “Gin Tamashii 3 Nen Z Gumi Gin Hachi Sensei”. Transcribed by Oosaki Tomohito, the novel is an adaptation of the popular Sorachi Eiaki / Shueisha manga. In third place is the Katsura Hoshino manga based D Greyman: Reverse (2) novel written by Kizaki Kaya.

12-11-06 (10:52PM EST)—- One Piece Movie 8 Site Opens

On Sunday in Japan the official web presence for the 8th One Piece anime movie, One Piece: Episode of Alabasta (Episodo obu Arabasuta Sabaku no Oujo to Kaizoku-tachi), went live at www.onepiece-movie.com. The plot is said to take place during the Alabasta arc of the TV series and manga. According to Toei Animation, viewers may leave the theater in tears. Original story by Eiichiro Oda, Director: Takahiro Imamura. Production by the 2007 One Piece Production Committee composed of Toei Animation, Shueisha, Fuji Television, and Bandai. Theatrical release is set for March 3, 2007.

12-11-06 (9:50PM EST)—- Winter Anime TV Season Dialed In

Excluding one shot specials and movies, 27 new anime series are set to debut on Japanese television between January and March 2007. This period is unofficially known as the winter anime TV season. Oddly enough, the figure is lower than this year’s winter or summer manifests. A big push seems to be gearing up for the springtime however, with a possible 70+ (or more) new series in the works.

12-10-06 (1:52AM EST)—- Paprika Music Could Be Up For Oscar

On Friday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science announced 56 songs are eligible for consideration in the Original Song Oscar category for this year’s 79th Academy Awards. Among them was an entry from Satoshi Kon / Sony / Madhouse’s anime film Paprika. The ending theme “The girl in Byakkoya – White Tiger Field” will be screened and judged along with the 55 others on January 16th,2007. Academy members will the vote on 3-5 final nominees. Nominations will be announced on January 23rd. The awards themselves will be presented on February 25th.

12-10-06 (1:10AM EST)—- Mayumi Kurata’s Company Withholds Income

According to the Tokyo Tax Administration Bureau, it has been uncovered that Mangaka Mayumi Kurata’s production company (Yuu) Tamakura has withheld accounting for about 18 million Yen worth of income over a period of 3 years. There also seems to be some question on how many actual people have worked for the company although 60 employees are listed for the period. A heavy penalty tax of about six million Yen has been applied and will have to be payed back to the bureau. Kurata is best known for her work Damen’s Walker which features a series of stories based on women’s real and varried relationship experiences with men. The manga was recently made into a TV drama starring Norika Fujiwara.

12-8-06 (4:25PM EST)—- Masako Nozawa Quote On Modern Seiyuu

70 year old Japanese voice actress veteran Masako Nozawa recently gave an interview to the Yomiuri Shimbun. She’s known for a wide range of roles including Kitaro in Gegege no Kitaro and Tetsuro in Galaxy Express 999. Among her quotes in the piece is this one:”(Voice actors these days) Young people today are aiming at animation from the beginning unlike me who originally wanted to do dramatic performances on the stage. I think there seems to be a lack of depth expressed [by up and coming seiyuu], could it stem from either a lack of interest in reading the script or not studying it beforehand?

12-8-06 (3:39PM EST)—- North Korea Major Animation Industry Player?

Radio free Asia takes look at the region’s almost unknown quality in the article: North Korea Quietly Emerges as Major Player in Animation Industry.

12-8-06 (5:47AM EST)—- New TMS Studio Nears Completion

TMS Entertainment, the company behind the Lupin III anime, is building a new 396 square meter, 600 million Yen animation studio in Nakano, Tokyo with a planned completion date of February, 2007. Anime-wise, in 2005 TMS produced 11 television series works, 3 TV special works, and 5 theaterical works. The company headquarters is located in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Although TMS stands for Tokyo Movie Shinsa, the company only this year moved its corporate headquarters from Nagoya to Japan’s largest city.

12-8-06 (5:09AM EST)—- Gundam Pocky On Store Shelves Next Week

Bandai and Glico have teamed up to offer 3 different “Pocky Gunpla Packs” combining the popular plastic model and bestselling snack brands of both companies in one box. Sale begins in Japan December 11th. Bandai has sold Gundam models for 26 years and Glico has sold Pocky for 41 years. Interestingly, men in ones 20’s-30’s are chief buyers of gunpla and women are the top buyers of the chocolate covered pretzel sticks. Bandai slips out in its release that gunpla has sold 380 million units worldwide as of September, 2006. A special box and corresponding 1/144 model will be sold with a different variety of Pocky. The thinnest type “extra fine Pocky” will be combined in a package with the traditional RX-78 Gundam, “Men’s Pocky” will be sold with the Zaku MS and “Pocky Chocolate” will be matched up with Char’s custom Zaku. Each model can grip the Pocky sticks in their hands and exclusive stickers will be included in each set.

12-8-06 (4:59AM EST)—- Battle Of Wits Opens In Hong Kong At #1

Battle Of Wits


Special Report: Tokyo Project Gathering In-Depth: Be Rockin’

DOWNLOAD: Be Rockin’ English Windows Media Video Trailer

By Jonah Morgan

ANON PICTURES’ production plan for Be Rockin’ represented one of 3 surefire anime projects shown off at Tokyo Project Gathering 2006. The showings were held on Oct 22nd from 14:00 at the Auditorium in Roppongi Hills Mori Tower on the 49th Floor. In order, it was the 5th shown. ANON was seeking possible investment and distribution partners at the event. The fully digital musical animation will be produced in TV series format with a planned 26 30 minute episode run. Projected budget is 2.5 million US Dollars. Sales Point: “We know a faint remaining scent of 1960’s. – That is called the golden age of rock – , though we were not born yet. The age had neither information nor things from now, but a piece of music which came from the sea made our mind rich. Be Rockin’ puts something that is forgotten in our daily life ; such as wonderful magic, passion, love and peace on the spirit of rock, and it shouts to us. Will you regain not empty not empty realism but “rich visions” – “to believe from your heart” – once again? If you do it, you are sure to find a way to ‘tomorrow’ that we long for.” Director: To Be Announced, Producer: Tadashi Matsuyama, Original Story: Tadashi Matsuyama, Screenplay: Masayuki Oiwa.

Story Summary is as follows: He was happy whenever he had a guitar. Shun was an ordinary guitarist, the type who was likely to be found anywhere. He worked for a business company when he was 27 years old, but he still couldn’t give up his dream to be a musician. One day he came across a mysterious woman, Kyoko, who proposed to form a new band and get him out of his current situation. Behind her back there was an expert guitarist, Terada, whom Shun respected. He admired Shun’s undeveloped and hidden talent. Shun’s mind was wavering between Kyoko with the great talent which he could not resist and his girlfriend Kaori who felt uneasy. All 3’s feelings and relationships soon got complicated and fell at the mercy of the huge vibration of rock. Is Rock Alive Or Dead?

As with all the presentations, attendees were treated to a short trailer first off. Deep themes of a pure rock & roll story make themselves evident from the start. The 40 years between 2007 and 1967’s Haight-Ashbury district / Francisco “Summer Of Love” pilgrimage is drawn in the opening statement. The animation is immediately recognizable as fully digital: 3D polygons cell shaded and colored in a way as to make them look similar to traditional 2D anime. The music itself seems integral to the overall plot, a wide variety of sounds from the different acts and elements of a love triangle are evident. Shun’s struggle from amateur guitarist to actually finding his own unique “sound” are made known to viewers. The trailer ends with a bizarre cliffhanger. Kyoko makes a reference to wanting to start over and then collapses on stage (as the background transforms to a wash of psychedelic colors) to the shock of onlookers.

The lights went up, like with most of the presentations I couldn’t gauge much of a crowd reaction to this project, everyone there seemed pretty stoney faced, indifferent and business oriented. Producer Tadashi Matsuyama took the podium and gave a short statement in Japanese. I arranged a private meeting with him on Wednesday, October 25th at TIFFCOM. We hit it off pretty well from the start, he asked if I was a musician because of the long hair. Indeed, long hair can tell you a lot about a person’s lifestyle and help you establish a rapport with likeminded individuals (regardless of nationality) pretty quickly, and as it turned out, we both had long hair and shared a very special place in our heart for music. Tadashi made his passion and enthusiasm for music very clear to me, he’s a guitarist himself today and supposedly one of the most knowledgeable music experts working in the Japan’s budding CG industry.

The musical elements in Be Rockin’ are obviously sourced by the eye a true rock and roller. The series subtitle reads “Dedicated To Woman Tone”. Woman Tone is a term known to any experienced rock & roll guitarist, used to refer a distinct sound pioneered in the mid-late 1960’s by Eric Clapton. I asked about the extreme detail in the guitars the characters used. Matsuyama told me they are based on real models created by Japan’s #1 guitar manufacturer Tokai. For the series, ANON acquired the actual rights to use the likenesses of some of the maker’s models. Shun, the male lead appears to play a NLS70F VF. Some of Japan’s top up and coming rock talent will participate in the soundtrack including Aisa, the rise 4 surprise, Dr. K and Fuzzy Control. The trailer also shows the sillouette of a mystery “Japanese Famous Charismatic Guitarist” who has accepted to participate. We’ll end the mystery and tell you who he is: legendary Japanese Rock guitarist Hisato “Char” Takenaka. For a possible American release I was told the Japanese musicians may be substituted with well known US bands. I mentioned the growing popularity of Japanese music among American fans and told him they should consider keeping the Japanese acts in and giving it a shot.

Moving on to the animation’s technical side, only 10 people will make up the total staff on the Be Rockin’ project. This is in comparison to the 40 or 50 people you’d commonly find on an average contemporary anime TV series. This can be done in part because of the full 3DCG digital nature of the production. The plot will be a fairly mature one featuring older characters (in their late / mid 20’s) than your typical anime. In closing,


Anime News Service – November 10 – December 4 Anime News

12-4-06 (10:13PM EST)—- A-I-R Animation Team Tackles Short

Shirogumi who worked on the movie version of A-I-R has created a 3 part short work, “Poppura” for USEN and TLIP’s 3DCG and VFX focused “Original Short Animation Theater” which went up in November.

12-4-06 (2:47PM EST)—- Wachowski / Silver Dream Team Helm Speed Racer

According to the Hollywood Reporter: After years of idling, the big-screen, live-action version of “Speed Racer” is ready to zoom, this time with Larry and Andy Wachowski behind the wheel. The Wachowski brothers are writing and will direct the movie, which will be produced by Joel Silver. The movie will be the duo’s first directorial outing since completing the Silver-produced “Matrix” series in 2003. They are reuniting with several of the creative behind-the-scenes talent from the “Matrix” films, including executive producer Grant Hill and visual effects supervisor John Gaeta, who won an Oscar for his work on “The Matrix.” Based on the classic 1960s series created by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida that later was retooled for North The plan is for the Wachowskis to shoot in summer 2007 for a summer 2008 release. Courtenay Valenti is overseeing for the studio. “Speed” will be a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, of a Silver Pictures production.

12-4-06 (2:11PM EST)—- Tokikake Gets Nominated For Japan SF Grand Prize

The annual Japan SF Grand Prize (Nihon SF Taisho) has seleceted Mamaoru Hosoda and Madhouse’s theatrical animation Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo as one of five grand prize candidate works for the 2006 selection. Tokikake is the only animation nominated. Founded in 1980 this marks the 27th year for the awards. Original author Yasutaka Tsutsui took the 13th prize in 1992 with his work “Gaspar In The Morning”.

12-4-06 (1:44PM EST)—- Mokke TV Series

Takatoshi Kumakura’s Mokke manga will become an animated TV series to broadcast on Tokyo MX in 2007. Look for details in the next issue of Afternoon which serializes the manga.

12-4-06 (1:20PM EST)—- USA Howl’s Moving Castle Box Office Final

According to JETRO Howl’s Moving Castle earned 4.21 million dollars during its 2005 theatrical run in the United States.

12-4-06 (11:52AM EST)—- Kid Suspends Business / Declares Bankruptcy

Kid, developers of such fan favorite video game software as Ever 17 and Memories Off has suspended business on November 30 and declared voluntary bankruptcy in Tokyo District Court on December 1st. Liabilities are estimated at around 530 million Yen. Kid Game was established in 1988 and cranked out new titles at a frequency of one per month in 2006. Games on the table with uncertain futures include the highly anticipated 12RIVEN.

11-28-06 (2:37AM EST)—- Ikkitousen: Dragon Destiny To Be Animated

One page adverts making the rounds in Japanese magazines have spilled the beans on a new Ikkitousen: Dragon Destiny TV animation. Broadcast is set through AT-X from the end of February, 2007. Terrestrial broadcast will follow in the spring. An official website has launched concurrent with the start of the publishing campaign: www.ikkitousen.com. Confirmed staff on the anime include: Original Story by Yuji Shiozaki, Direction by Koichi Ohata, Screenplay by Takao Yoshioka and Character Designs / Chief Animation Direction by Rin Shin. Animation Production by Arms, Production by Genco and Ikkitousen DD Partners. Confirmed cast include: Masumi Asano – Hakufu Sonsaku, Eri Kitamura – Myousai Kakuen, Hajime Iijima – Gakushuu, Hitomi Nabatame – Unchou Kan’u, Kei Shindou – Gentoku Ryuubi, Kenta Miyake – Narrator, Kikuko Inoue – Goei, Kouji Yusa – Genpou Saji, Mai Kadowaki – Koumei Shokatsuryou, Minori Chihara – Ekitoku Chouhi, Satoshi Hino – Koukin Shuuyu, Shiho Kawaragi – Bunwa Kaku, Shuuhei Sakaguchi – Genjou Kakouton, Susumu Akagi – Moutoku Sousou, Takayuki Fujimoto – Houkou Kakuka, Yuko Kaida – Shimei Ryomou, Yuu Asakawa – Shiryuu Chouun.

11-28-06 (2:23AM EST)—- New Pretty Cure TV Series Broadcast Decision

Toei Animation’s “Yes! Precure 5” anime TV series will debut via Asahi Broadcasting Corporation in the spring of 2007. 2 official wesbsites are now open: www.toei-anim.co.jp/tv/yes_precure5/ | asahi.co.jp/precure/

11-23-06 (4:41AM EST)—- Death Note Movie 2 Grosses 26 Million Dollars

Leading the Japanese Boxoffice for 3 weeks on the trot, Death Note 2: The Last Name has grossed $26,166,109 in theaters as of November 19th. Source: Box Office Mojo

11-21-06 (11:23PM EST)—- Big Names On New 2007 Toei Animation Works

Among Toei Animation’s upcoming projects for 2007 are Tori No Uta (Bird’s Song), A day of a girl @TYO and Eko Eko Azaraku. For Tori No Uta Yoshitaka Amano will create the script, storyboards as well as direct. Eko Eko Azaraku is of course based on the seminal horror manga by Shinichi Koga. The story was adapted to live action film in 1995. Koga will return to draft a scrip and storyboards for this new version, Directing will be Nagae Toshikazu (Ghost System). Look for the above 2 works in January. Due in March A day of a girl @TYO will be based on the original story by Hayashi Seiichi. Mikimoto Haruhiko (Macross) will do storyboards and character designs. Toei has partnered with ga-anime to produce these works with a new animation style in mind.

11-21-06 (9:23PM EST)—- Ichigo Marshmallow OVA Staff

Staff details for Ichigo Marshmallow have been released: Direction and Composition by Takuya Sato, Character Design by Sakai Kyuta, Scenario by Takuya Sato, Music by Watanabe Gou, Music Production by Music Brains, Animation Production by Doumu, Production by Ichigo Marshmallow OVA Partners.

11-21-06 (7:29PM EST)—- New Saiunkoku Monogatari Series Coming

Headed for NHK broadcast in Japan in April, 2007, Saiunkoku Monogatari will get a second series. The anime is based on the light novel by Sai Yukino and Kairi Yura published under the shoujo/josei light novel label Beans Bunko. The story is set in a nation similar to feudal China. The original aired in the 9:00 slot on NHK-BS2 on Saturday’s weekly. www3.nhk.or.jp/anime/saiunkoku/

11-21-06 (6:19PM EST)—- School Days Animation Still On Track

Based on the 2005 hentai videogame by 0verflow, School Days is headed to an anime TV series adaptation in 2007. Confirmed staff on the project includes: Director: Aoki Ei,