Posts in: January, 2007

TAF2007 Exclusive Report: Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho

  • 28th Jan 2007
  • Blog

By Jonah Morgan

Less than 10 days after it was initially announced in Japan (see our March 11th entry), Marvelous Entertainment stepped out of the shadows at The Tokyo International Anime Fair 2007 for the first time announcing its production involvement in the forthcoming anime adaptation of Mitsuru Hattori’s comedic swimming manga Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho. Their booth featured the first-ever released art-still from the TV series (the same image you can see on the main page of the official website now), in poster and flyer format. Although Umisho is expected to begin broadcast in Japan in June, MMV spared no time at all getting on with trying to sell the series abroad. It was fully ready to offer overseas distribution rights and was handing out a specially prepared English language press release to prospective buyers. By the time I made it round to their booth on Thursday they already chatted up several interested foreign leads.

The story features perhaps the strangest high school swimming club on Earth including a talented young green haired girl, Amuro Ninagawa, who likes to swim nude and always (at least in the promo art) has a huge mishchievious toothy grin on her face like she’s doing something naughty under the waters. She regularly substitutes undergarments with swimsuits and also wears her swimsuit to summer festivals. Staff includes Director Sohtome Koichiro (Mushishi, Bokura Ga Ita, Galaxy Angel), Series Composition by Ikeda Mamiko (Sgt. Frog, Ojaru-Maru) and Chara Design + Art Direction by Rie Nishino (Save Me Lollypop), Production by Art land. The short and simple English press release reads as follows: “The original work produced by Mitsuru Hattori is serialized in Shukan Shonen Magazine [debuting in SM No. 33 in 2005], Kodansha. Comics has been published up to 4th volumes (the newest one is coming in the middle of April). The comedy story with slapsticks unfolded by high school students belong to Swimming club in Umineko Commercial High School, some times with the erotic constituent, has been gaining the popularity since the start of the serialization. The animation is being planned with 13 episodes series and the broadcast in Japan is expected to be in June, 2007.

Having a read of some of the manga I think the formula to be found in Umisho is brilliant. It has an appeal similar to what we’ve seen from shows like Tenchi Muyo or Love Hina. In the west these kind of shows are quick to be branded and stereotyped as “harem genre” (and I’ve already seen folks in internet land talking of this one in that way). I’m not a big fan of labels myself and sticking a name on something and shelving it without giving it a chance however. I think Umisho will work extremely well overseas, is one of the hot series to watch for in the 2nd half of ’07 and has an all star staff to boot!


Anime News Service – January 19-24 Anime News

1-24-07 (11:45PM EST)—- Princess Resurection Anime Staff

The just released March, 2007 edition of Shonen Sirius confirmed rumors (see our January 7th entry) attaching Director Sakoi Masayuki (Strawberry Panic) to the forthcoming anime TV series adaptation of Yasunori Mitsunaga’s Kaibutsu Oujo (Princess Resurrection) manga. Other staff inlude: Character Designs: Kazuya Kuroda (Sakura Taisen), Color Scheme: Shuji Uemura, Art Director: Yuka Okamoto, Sound Supervision: Takakuwa Ichi, Music Production: Jinnan Studio, Animation Production: Madhouse. Princess will be voiced by Ayako Kawasumi, Hiro Hiyorimi will be voiced by Oura Fuyuka. Broadcast start on TBS in April, 2007.

1-24-07 (11:17PM EST)—- Correction: Seiyuu Ami Koshimizu Married

On January 13th voice actresses Shinrou Sanpei (Not Yuko Sanpei) and Ami Koshimizu (Tenma Tsukamoto – School Rumble) were married. Their wedding was broadcast on the radio program AniSuper. The 2 knew each other since they were 12 years old time because of belonging to the same theatrical company Wakakusa. Kaori Nazuka who voiced Eureka and worked with Koshimizu gave a word at the ceremony. You can view pics of the on air ceremony here. ANS apologizes for our error.

1-24-07 (10:04PM EST)—- USA Premiere Of Mamoru Oshii’s Tachigui

Mamoru Oshii’s “Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters” (original title: Tachiguishi Retsuden) will receive its USA premiere at Film Comment Selects 2007, the film series organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center from February 14 to 27, 2007 in New York City. Screening schedule:
Date: February 23, 2007 (Fri) Time: 08:30 pm Place: The Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street, Upper level
Date: February 25, 2007 (Sun) Time: 01:00 pm Place: The Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street, Upper level (Screening dates may changes. Please refer to Film Comment Selects 2007 official website: www.filmlinc.com) ”

1-24-07 (9:11PM EST)—- Plagiarized Image In Switch?

Japanese comic fans online have raised concerns that portions of Rin Yoshii’s manga serial SWITCH may contain imagery copied from elsewhere. According to the claims, a photograph from the Nivember, 2006 issue of the fashion magazine SWEET was copied for a serial of SWITCH appearing in Shuisha’s January, 2007 edition of Cookie. You can see side by side comparisons here and here.

1-24-07 (8:40PM EST)—- Real Life Skullsuit

In an interesting move to promote the upcoming Skull Man TV anime, a series of photographs have been released to the media depiciting (what we thought were total CG at first) a mocked up real-world Skullman costume. Based on the original 1970 / 1998-2001 Media Factory manga by Shotaro Ishinomori and Kazuhiko Shimamoto, the staff was recently announced: Director: Takeshi Mori, Series Composition: Yutaka Izubuchi, Script: Hiroshi Ohnogi, Seishi Minakami, Music: Shiro Sagisu, Character Designs: Jun Shibata, Animation Director: Jun Shibata, Mechanical Designs: Yoshinori Sayama, Director of Photography: Susumu Fukushi, Conceptual Designs: Yutaka Izubuchi, Design Work: Shingo Takeba, Editing: Kengo Shigemura, Set Design: Masanori Kikuchi, Takuhito Kusanagi, VFX Director: Yasushi Muraki, Production: Skull Man Production Committee (BONES, Geneon Entertainment, Inc., Ishimori Entertainment Inc., Toyokasei Co. Ltd.), Animation Production: BONES. Broadcast is expected in the spring. Tokyopop has the USA manga license has released 7 English language volumes to market.

1-24-07 (7:52PM EST)—- J.C. STAFF On Concerto Gate Animation Sequences

Square Enix and NHN Japan held a massive press conference In Roppongi on the 24th for their new MMORPG Concerto Gate. Beta testing is expected to wrap in April. It was announced J.C. STAFF (Utena) will create animation sequences for the game. Kenji Ito is producing the soundtrack and played the theme on stage on piano. It was also hinted that this work would form the corner stone of a big project with all the elements (anime? manga?) not yet revealed. Square is looking at a domestic release in spring / summer followed by an international rollout.

1-24-07 (7:25PM EST)—- Alcohol Manga Boom In Korea

In recent months South Korea has seen a small popularity explosion relating to Japanese manga that tackle the subjects of wine, cocktails, mixed drinks and bartending practices. The wine focused Kami no Shizuku (Teardrops of God), written by Agi Tadashi and drawn by Okimoto Agi is among the most popular, selling 550,000 copies in Korea (and 950,000 copies in Japan across 9 volumes). The creators are in South Korea this week, doing research for an upcoming series of serials to take place in the country. A production company there is said to have recently bought the rights to create a TV drama based on the work. Cocktail manga is Bartender written by Joh Araki and drawn by Nagamoto Kenji is also said to be extremely popular on the peninsula.

1-24-07 (6:53PM EST)—- Comic Dolphin Cancelled?

Bishoujo / ero manga magazine Comic Dolphin will suspend publication from the March edition to go on sale in Japan on January 22nd. Several magazine mangaka diaries announced the news although it has not been officially confirmed by the publisher Tsukasa Shobo.

1-24-07 (6:45PM EST)—- Death Note’s Matsuyama In New Manga Based Drama

Japanese actor Kenichi Matsuyama (L In Death Note Movies) has signed on to the starring role of a NTV drama based on the Sexy Voice And Robo manga. The serial drama will start running at 22:00 on Tuesdays in April. Matsuyama will play the role of a young robot loving otaku with a collection of 15,000 action figures. He dreams to become a spy. In 2002 the original manga by Io Kuroda won the Japan Media Arts Festival Awards Grand Prize. It serialized in Shogakukan’s Ikki Magazine but the story was never completed. 2 collected volumes exist on the market. Viz holds the USA license and released the English translation a few years back.

1-24-07 (6:29PM EST)—- Anime To Appear In Hollywood Film Smokin Aces

Adult Source Media has announced several of their best selling adult titles will be prominently featured in the new American major motion picture, Smokin Aces. The dark action comedy, starring Entourage star Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Ray Liotta, Jason Bateman & Andy Garcia is the latest thriller from Narc director Joe Carnahan. “We are absolutely thrilled that a major mainstream


Anime News Service – January 3-10 Anime News

1-10-07 (11:02PM EST)—- Economic Impact Of Winny On Anime / Manga Estimated

Both the ACCS and JASRAC wrapped up an investigation of illegal file-swapping via the infamous Japanese Winny software. Winny and the game, the business software, and the image software and are the dissemination linguas as a result. The investigation was carried out by scanning network activity for six hours on October 10th, 2006 from 18:00-24:00. Over that period at least 210,000 users were observed and the money estimate of files being swapped was 10 billion Yen. The group found 180,000 anime files being traded, equating 1.72 million Yen and 1.59 million manga files being traded equating 700 million Yen.

1-10-07 (10:43PM EST)—- Tokyo Anime Fair Exhibition Space Sells Out Early

On November 28th The Tokyo Anime Fair executive committee stopped accepting exhibition applications for both the trade fair and Animation Bazaar. The event will be held March 22-25th, 2007. The original deadline for applicants was December 13th but all space had been allocated by late November.

1-10-07 (9:48PM EST)—- Hyakki Yakou Shou Becomes TV Drama

Mangaka Ichiko Ima’s shojo horror manga Hyakki Yakou Shou, will be adapted into a TV drama to broadcast via Nippon Television Network in February 2007. The original comic has been serialized since 1995 in Asahi Sonorama’s Nemurenu Yoru no Kimyou na Hanashi. Cast and other details are undecided.

1-10-07 (9:37PM EST)—- Taiwan Anime Pirate Goods Conviction

Japanese overseas contents watchdog organization CODA have reported a conviction in taiwan related to a trader in counterfeit toy goods. The trader was prosecuted and B-Legend ~Battle Bidaman pirate goods confiscated in shops located in Taipei and Kaohsiung City in April this year. Conviction came in October, 2006 and the offender was sentenced to three months prison and a 2 year suspended sentence. According to CODA 467 prosecutions in related to pirated Japanese goods were recorded in Taiwan by November, last year. Around 230,000 pirate edition DVD and CD’s were confiscated and 550 people were arrested.

1-10-07 (9:06PM EST)—- Pizza Hut Japan Launches Code Geass Campaign

Pizza Hut Japan has kicked off a new promotional campaign with the BIGLOBE / Sunrise TV series anime Code Geass – Lelouch of the Rebellion. Running between January 11th and February 21st, visitors to the above link can obtain a special wallpaper, likewise, every week Pizza Hut Club subscription customers can obtain new presents related to the series.

1-10-07 (8:54PM EST)—- Tohoku Shinsya Loses Sankyo Suit Over Yamato Rights

Legal wranglings surrounding the Space Battleship Yamato franchise continue in Japan. Tohoku-shinsha Film Corporation recently lost a litigation case concerning alleged piracy of Yamato collectors cards, PS2 videogames, pachislot machines and animation videos being sold by Sankyo Corporation. TFC was demanding a cease and dessist on equipment, software production and sales related to ‘Dai Yamato’ and compensation for damages equalling around 500 million Yen. At the heart of the issue was Sankyo’s use of characters from original creator Leiji Matsumoto’s recent series Dai Yamato and their resemblence to the original SBY characters, the copyright to which is held by TFC. The judgement came down that ex Yamato producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki who entered into a copyright agreement with TFC for the series did not actually posess the legal rights to the copyright. The decision could further adversely affect TFC and Nishizaki’s plans to produce a new Yamato anime film which ANS first reported on in a October 2nd, 2006 news entry.

1-10-07 (7:44PM EST)—- 19 Trillion Yen Japanese Contents Industry By 2015

On December 24th the Japanese government Cabinet Council approved their 2007 contents business promotion budget at 4.8 billion Yen. This represents a 9% budget increase previous year. Additionally a projection was made that the total Japanese contents industry will be a 19 trillion Yen marketplace by 2015. Likewise 3 goals were agreed to: 1. Strengthening of industrial structure by structural reform of contents industry. 2. Start-up in new markets overseas market and broaden exisitng ones. 3. Nurture creative talent.

1-10-07 (6:35PM EST)—- Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo DVD Announced

Perhaps Japan’s most popular anime film in 2006, Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo has been announced to arrive on R2 DVD for the first time in Japan on April 20th. The regular version will retail at 4,935 Yen and a special limited edition will sale for 10,500 Yen. The sales agency is Kadokawa Shoten Publishing and the distributor is Kadokawa Entertainment. Product specifications other than release date and price are undecided and unannounced at this time. The film was animated by Madhouse, Directed by Mamoru Hosoda (One Piece, Digimon), features character designs by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Evangelion) and Art Direction by Nizo Yamamoto (Princess Mononoke). Although starting theatrical life in July, 2006 by screening in only a single theater in Tokyo, word of mouth regarding the high quality of the anime film rapidly spread via word of mouth across the internet and quickly gave the work the dynamic of an underground / cult / grassroots supported breakout hit.

1-10-07 (6:03PM EST)—- HD Cartoon Network Leak

IGN reports on a DirecTV announcement made Monday at CES 2007 that it plans to launch 100 new HD-dedicated channels in the coming year. The news has gained momementum as folks have realized that it prematurely leaked the plans of several networks who had not yet formally announced their own HD networks. Cartoon Network was on the list.

1-10-07 (5:59PM EST)—- Shaylaman On Live Action Avatar: The Last Airbender

The Chicago Sun Times reports on Director M. Night Shyamalan’s plans to adapt the Nickelodeon’s anime inspired Avatar: The Last Airbender to live action in USA.

1-10-07 (5:49PM EST)—- Gatchaman Gets Director

IGN reports Kevin Munroe, director of the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated feature, has said that he is working on a big-screen adaptation of the anime series Gatchaman next. “We’re in the middle of the script right now, and we’re doing pre-production — some early [story] boards,” Munroe said. Producer Tom Gray added that the forthcoming film will be more adult than TMNT: “It’s going to be PG-13, in CGI. This is the one where we’re going