4-27-07 (11:48PM EDT)—- ADV Films Acquires AIR TV And Movie
Today ADV Films co-founder Matt Greenfield announced that ADV has acquired exclusive home video and broadcast rights in North America for the anime series Air and the 85-minute Air Movie. Greenfield made the announcement during a panel at Anime Matsuri, South Texas’ largest anime convention. Volume one of the four-disc Air series will hit store shelves August 14, and the Air Movie is slated for release in late 2007. Air is a fan-favorite series in Japan, having placed #32 in TV Asahi’s all time Top 100 Anime list (2006). A product of the famous production studio Kyoto Animation (Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, Inuyasha) and director Tatsuya Ishihara (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kanon), Air is easily one of the most-anticipated series to reach our shores this year. The standalone Air Movie, which was produced by Toei (Air Gear, Kanon) and directed by Osamu Dezaki (Black Jack The Movie), is a fitting finale to the Air mania sweeping North America. In announcing these acquisitions, Greenfield said “as anime fans ourselves, we’re very excited to announce that ADV will be releasing Air, as it’s already being ranked as one of the most popular anime titles of all time in Japan, and the fans who have seen it here the States are equally enthusiastic in their praise.”
Greenfield continued, “we’re also pleased to say that, while negotiating a title that’s split between two different licensors can be tricky, we have indeed secured the rights for both the TV series and the movie, thereby insuring total continuity between the English language versions.” Synopsis: Yukito Kunisaki is a wandering puppeteer on a jouney to find “the girl in the sky,” a tradition his family has held for generations. Upon arriving in a new town, he is befriended by a lonely young girl named Misuzu, who offers him a place to stay. Yukito soon begins to suspect that Misuzu has ties with “the girl in the sky” when she begins to speak of dreams of flying, but before his suspicions are confirmed, Yukito meets two more mysterious girls. Now Follow Yukito as he pieces together the lives of three different girls to discover the truth of “the girl in the sky.”
4-27-07 (11:08PM EDT)—- Zero No Tsukaima Sequel Gets Title
According to the June, 2007 edition of Megami Magazine, the official title for Zero No Tsukaima TV series 2 is “Zero No Tsukaima: Soutsuki No Kishi”. The title is apprantly sourced from the 9th light novel volume.
4-27-07 (11:08PM EDT)—- Takeshi Koike’s Red Line At TAF2007
We’ve got some never before revealed staff details on Takeshi Koike’s still in production anime film Red Line in a new report.
4-27-07 (8:58PM EDT)—- Crayon Shin-chan North American License Status?
When asked if FUNimation could work with Dr. Master to re-release the manga in conjunction with the Crayon Shin anime, the response given to Shin – AKA: Pocket Rocket Boy’s Myspace Blog was:
“There are several people bidding for the comic/manga license for Shin chan. I don’t know how it will all wash out just yet. Rest assured, I love to share info. So as soon as we know one way or another, I’ll pass the word on somehow…” Also of interest is that, besides dvds, FUNimation plans to sell other merchandise in the future.
Huge Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news.
4-27-07 (8:53PM EDT)—- Ghost In The Shell – SAC: SOLID STATE SOCIETY USA DVD Details
Anchor Bay has sent over the first details on Bandai’s forthcoming DVD release of Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. – Solid State Society. The film will be released on DVD on 7/3 in two versions. There will be a Standard Edition (SRP $19.98) that includes the film in anamorphic widescreen video with both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio (English and Japanese with English subtitles), as well as the Uchikoma Days featurette, interviews with the English production team, a storyboard gallery and the trailer. There will also be a 3-disc Limited Edition (packaged in a “steel book” case) that includes everything on the standard edition along with 3 more featurettes (World Work File, Anime+Car Design: Designing the Future Car and Making of Tachikoma Robot), an interview with Mitsuhisa Ishikawa (of Production I.G) and the film’s soundtrack on CD.
Source: The Digital Bits | Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news.
4-27-07 (7:41AM EDT)—- To Heart 2 OVA Volume 2 Release
To Heart 2 OVA Volume 2 has been given a Wednesday, June 27, 2007 release in Japan.
4-27-07 (4:45AM EDT)—- Gainax Director Takami Akai Resigns Over Mixi Diary Commentary
One of Gainax’s founding members, Director Takami Akai has announced his resignation after comments he published on co-worker Mimori Keiko’s Mixi Diary were scrutinized by fans for being “discomforting”. He was a producer and prominent force behind Gainax’s latest animation, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann which started running on Japanese TV this month. Akai published his resignation on the Gainax website on April 27th. He’s well known as the creator of the popular “Princess Maker” girl grooming simulation games. The comment in question lashed out at alleged criticism of Gurren Lagann made on 2ch with some rather graphic language (something about one bringing one’s face to one’s anus and breathing deeply). A wave of fan comments subsequently poured into the main Gainax blog indicating they had collectively been insulted. Akai posted an apology along with his resignation, saying that there was no room for an excuse to his actions. His mixi diary was open to the general public. His name will disappear from the credits of Gurren Lagann from the 5th episode, scheduled to broadcast on the 29th. He expressed heartbreak at leaving the staff of the show after having been intimately involved on the production for over 5 years. Akai has his own company titled NineLives and is married to mangaka Kimiko Higuchi. He did the original character designs for the DAICON III animation and was a classmate of Evangelion director Hideaki Anno in his university days. His art influnces include Alphonse Mucha.
4-27-07 (4:13AM EDT)—- Moetan To Be Animated
Based on the 2003 study book series that taught readers English with the help sexy moe characters, Moetan will be adapted to its own anime TV series to debut in July. An official presite has gone live today. SansaiBooks originally published the guides, English sections were edited by Watanbe-sensei, professor emeritus at Saitama University and Suzuki Masahiro, and instructor at Seibu Bunri University. In a landscape of many such moe book on the market at the time it sold quite well spinning off sequels and crossmedia ventures. Over 400,000 copies of the first and second editions have been sold as of July, 2006. POP illustrated the series, marking his commercial debut here. Peculiarly in Moetan’s English lessons were many incorporated quotations and lines from popular anime series. The usage expanded the consumer and fanbase from pure illustration or English students to include otaku and anime fans. More than a few English errors escaped proofreading to make it into the first edition however, which prominately featured “Reference Book For University Examination” on its cover. That combination drew its share of criticism and more than a few English natives who had a look at some of the examples therein also expressed their puzzlement. That aside, Moetan actually achieved a 1st place sales ranking in its segment, moving 100,000 units in the space of only two months at one point and becoming a best selling English reference book in amazon.co.jp’s ranking (and eventually the #1 bestseller for the year). A related cellular phone application service launched in August, 2004. Figures and merchandise followed, a pamphlet Puchi Moetan with a 120 word lesson appeared as an appendix in the March 2004 edition of popular anime magazine Animage. Korean/English and Chinese/English translations have also been sold. A drama CD based on Moetan exists on the market as well.
4-27-07 (3:20AM EDT)—- Tottori Manga Draws Expecting Big Numbers For Golden Week
Japan’s Golden Week holiday begins in just a day or so and that means the exodus of millions of people from major population centers such as Tokyo and Osaka. 150,000 or more tourists are expected in Tottori prefecture to attend newly opened attractions along Shigeru Mizuki Road and at the newly opened Goshou Aoyama Manga Factory during the 6 day break period. In Sakaiminato city, Shigeru Mizuki’s domain, 2 specially constructed temporary pay parking lots are being built, open from April 28th to May 6th. The City Tourist Association will issue a revised edition of their popular “Yokai Guide Book”. The new Kitaro theme park and apparition goods store are also expected to be big draws. Meanwhile, The Goshou Aoyama Manga Pavilion has announced their attendance has already exceeded 10,000 people since opening a month ago. A special event is being prepared there for Golden Week visitors.
4-27-07 (2:57AM EDT)—- Survey Gauges Anime Sat Subscribers
According to April 26 My Voice survey of 5695 Japanese concerning “Non-terrestrial television broadcasting” 30% mentioned they were subscribers to anime specific networks.
4-27-07 (2:32AM EDT)—- Japanese Box Office April 21-22
Heading into Golden Week which promises the heaviest anime boxoffice of the year, Box Office Mojo lists the top 38 grossing films in Japanese theaters over April 21-22. Inncidently the top 2 are anime and many more are anime or anime and manga-based. 1. this week was Detective Conan 2007 (Movie 11): Jolly Roger in the Deep Azure which grossed $3,810,502 on 328 screens for its opening week. Crayon Shin-chan Vol. 15 debuted in 2nd, grossing $2,540,474 on 305 screens. Doraemon: Nobita’s Great Adventure Into the Underworld fell out of the top 10 this week, coming in at 11th, drawing $28,671,322 over its 7 weeks in theaters. 385,424 viewers flocked to see Conan. From an unsourced survey, 70% of that number said they had seen 4 or more Conan movies in theaters and 95% said they were satisfied with the latest film. Meanwhile, Shin-chan’s 15th anniversary movie came 2nd, mobilizing 264,496 people. 93% of those surveyed admitted “It was possible to laugh”.
4-27-07 (1:30AM EDT)—- Densetsu No Yuusha No Densetsu To Be Animated?
Light novel phantasy author Kagami Takaya’s Densetsu No Yuusha No Densetsu (illustrated by Saori Toyota) will give way to the sequel work Dai Densetsu No Yuusha No Densetsu, to begin serialization this fall according to details published in the June, 2007 edition of Dragon Magazine. Additionally, a certain related “top secret project” is also said to be progressing around the same time. With 2 million copies sold to date and a Ryuu Sumeragi award win under its belt, ANS is predicting a very likely manga and anime adaptation are in the offing. The storyline center on a lazy school student, Riner Loot, who lives in the mythical Rolland Empire. When Rolland goes to war with the enemy Estabar Kingdom he gets a major life’s wakeup call when he’s sent to war and begins seeing many of his companions (and former schoolmates) dying around him. It offer a large and diverse cast of chracters, magic, and fantasy combat. Dating from 2002, 11 main volumes (out of 21 scheduled) and 8 short story volumes (out of 25 scheduled).
4-27-07 (12:10AM EDT)—- Animax Building For North American Debut
At TAF2007 ANS learned Sony’s all anime television network Animax is “close” to announcing it’s offering for North America. The channel is said to have been planning its North American strategy carefully for several years, as the market presents a set of very unique challenges. Claiming a 6 million household strong subscriber roster in Japan, British business newspaper The Financial Times, first reported, in September 2004, that Sony was “keen” to launch Animax across the United States and North America. Sony had just signed an agreement with market dominating cable provider Comcast at the time. The plan as it was revealed at the time, would serve to bring three Sony networks to the region. Animax has been active in the market since 2001, sponosring several anime related events and screenings. After first launching in Japan in 1998, a Asian version in several languages including English followed in 2004. Spanish and Portugese language feeds composed the Latin America network when it live in 2005. Finally, this month Animax launched in several European nations including Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Coming soon are British, German, Italian, Spanish, French and other versions.
4-26-07 (11:57PM EDT)—- GeGeGe No Yokai Rakuen Opens
A small garden style theme park and 3D movie theater themed around Gegege No Kitaro opened earlier this month. It sits next to the Shigeru Mizuki Memorial in Sakaiminato city. GeGeGe No Yokai Rakuen was conceived and constructed by jigsaw puzzle manufacturer Yanoman. An exclusive 15 minute Kitaro animation “Ghost Train” is being screened there on the theater’s 250 inch screen. Hours will be 9:30AM – 6:00PM (Summer close is 7:00PM), 365 days a year. Full facilities will completed there in time for a scheduled grand opening in March, 2015.
4-26-07 (10:30PM EDT)—- Saga No Gabai-Baachan To Become Anime Film
In a recent television appearance, 57 year old Japanese comedian / writer Yoshichi Shimada announced his semi-autobiographical novel Saga No Gabai-Baachan will be adapted to full length anime feature format, with a scheduled theatrical release in 2009. He plans to write the scenario himself although no other details were revealed. In the past the work has been adapted to a movie, manga, and a TV drama. A stage play version is planned in 2007. The story is largely drawn from events from his childhood in Saga. The title character is Akirahiro (Yoshichi Shimada’s real name) who grows up rather roughly in Hiroshima in the years following WWII. Shimada lists the book as volume 1 of a greater series, with the story ending as he leaves his grandmother (who raised him) and graduates from junior highschool. The book, first published in 1993 (Shimada self published the first 3000 copy run with his own money) became famous for introducng the Saga dialect word “gabai” (very) into wider popular Japanese lexicon. Moonlght Factory picked up the rights in 2001, and later Tokuma Shoten acquired the rights in 2004 reissuing it to the market. It has sold over four million copies as of April, 2007 and enjoyed success abroad, in nations such as Taiwan. The live action film directed by Hitoshi Kurauchi was released to theaters in limited release capacity on June 3, 2006. It became a box office hit, considering the budget and distribution, drawing a revenue of 600 million Yen. It was widely acclaimed, becoming a recommended pick of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The TV drama began January 4, 2007 on Fuji TV. Ratings in the Kanto region saw a 21.6% share and 19.2% share in Kyushu. The audience rating in Saga prefecture hit 88% according to author. The manga is illustrated by Ishikawa Saburou and serialized in Business Jump. The play is being produced by Yoshimoto Kogyo.
4-26-07 (10:15PM EDT)—- Shigeru Mizuki Memorial Draws Record Crowd In 2006
GeGeGe No Kitaro creator Shigeru Mizuki’s Memorial in Sakaiminato city announced the number of visitors it received in 2006 recently. Over 204,328 people pased through its gates during the year, surpassing a standing 2003 record for attendance by 1,268 people. The pavilion includes a library and museum containing the illustrations and material of the supernatural manga master. 2004 saw 168,774 attendees and 2005 saw 191,581 attendees. The best month ever was August 2006, when 48,329 people entered the hall. Admission fees revenue is about 112.7 million Yen. 40 million Yen profit was reaped over 2 years and some of it went back to help government finances of the host city. city greatly. With the opening of the live action Kitaro film on April 28th and a coming new TV animation planned, the trend is expected to continue.
4-26-07 (9:50PM EDT)—- Shakugan no Shana 2007-2008 Crossmedia Franchise Plans
The production announcement for the second Shakugan no Shana TV animation was held on April 1st in “AKIBA_SQUARE” at the Akihabara UDX building. Their symposium was titled Shana Project 2007-2008. The original 16 volume Shana light novel series (Authored by Yashichiro Takahashi and Artist Noizi Ito) has surpassed 4 million copies sold. From that starting point Shana went on to be adapted to 2 manga series, a 24 episode TV anime, and OVA, a PS2 and NDS game and an animated theatrical feature which opened in Japan on April 21st. During the event it was mentioned that the original TV anime has become popular among overseas fans. New spinoffs in the future include more manga, books, DVD’s, anime, games and related music. Takashi Watanabe of Geneon Entertainment mentioned that they has just finished producing the film and were considering how to carry out plans on the 2nd TV anime. www.shakugan.com
4-26-07 (9:09PM EDT)—- 1st Haruhi Novel Passes 4 Million Copies Sales Mark
Sales of the original 1st vol. Haruhi Suzumiya light novel had exceeded 4 million copies as of the release of the latest novel in Japan on April 1st.
4-26-07 (8:48PM EDT)—- Major Straight Jacket Production Announcements Pending
Author Ichiro Sakaki (Scrapped Princess) has announced some unspecified big production news related to his Straight Jacket light novel series are coming up soon. On October 3rd, 2005 we first reported on plans to adapt the work to a TV series and film. A initial pitch was made at the Tokyo International Film Festival’s Tokyo Project Gathering in 2005 to draw interest for an anime conversion. T.O. Entertainment (Dead Leaves) is heading up the project. On October 12th, 2005 we learned negotiations had began with two or more manufacturers / overseas publishers. The story is action fantasy involving magic and a war between peace loving humans and demon tribes. Based on an ongoing light novel series totalling 9 books presently (published between 2000-2006) (400,000 copies sold), the work is already supported by many Japanese fans. Author Ichiro Sakaki won the 9th Fujimi fantasy Novel Grand Prize for the series. He’s had great success in recent years, writing for both video games and other anime series.
4-26-07 (8:27PM EDT)—- Misc. Gaming News
Gamespot mentions that Ken Kutaragi-SCEA’s CEO and inventor of the Playstation-has chosen to retire at 56. Also, a decade after its inception, Pokemon continues to be a success in game form, as Gamespot also notes that the DS versions of the series have sold over 1 million copies. Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the links.
4-26-07 (8:23PM EDT)—- Animelo Summer Live 2007 Generation – A Concert Announced
The anime music (A-Pop) themed Animelo Summer Live 2007 Generation – A has announced itself. The concert / festival will occur at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan on July 7, 2007. This marks the 3rd hosting of the event. Tickets range from 6,500-7,500 Yen. Artists to perform include: ALI PROJECT, Ohmi Tomoe, Masami Okui, Kuribayashi Minami, Psychic Rubber, JAM Project, Jyukai, Suara, Naozumi Takahashi, Nana Mizuki, m.o.v.e, and Haruko Momoi and others.
4-26-07 (7:14PM EDT)—- Doraemon News Skewed In China?
Some Chinese media reports have apparantly greatly exagerated facts surrounding the rollout of Doraemon in the country this summer. Yesterday we reported Doraemon: Nobita’s Dinosaur 2006 will show on over 1000 screens in 60 Chinese cities. Since then we’ve seen another figure in the Japanese media that it will show at 200 locations around the country. Other Chinese reports have said 20 additional Doraemon films are ready to follow Nobita’s Dinosaur with a plan to screen them in theaters back to back. However, rights holder Shogakukan has come out publicly to correct this. They say that at present this isn’t planned at all but there may be a possibility of opening another film to the public next year if the present one becomes a big hit. (Editors Note: The discrepencies here are rather interesting, in the past, state controlled media in China have intentionally tried to paint anime as a kind of cultural invasion. The above 2 examples have been exagerated in just such a way to follow this pattern of logic (ie: the WAVE of back to back screeenings etc..). However, the actual reason for the apparant disconnects are currently unknown.)
4-26-07 (6:23PM EDT)—- New Game Label Piacci To Port Pia Carrot
Amid the demise of many in the last 12 months, a new Japanese bishoujo games label Piacci has launched. One of their first projects will be Pia Carrot He Youkoso!! G. O. SUMMER FAIR, an apparant revival of the eroge restaurant waitress franchise. The contents will be more or less a port of the 2006 PS2 game Pia Carrot G.O. TOYBOX ~Summer Fair~. They’ll kick off their releases in collaboration with F&C in the autumn of 2007. They plan to not limit their genre to eroge and plan to release 2 titles this year and 5 next year. Another confirmed release is a modified port of the PS2 Tenkuu No Symphonia 2: Daichi Ni Maiori Ta Tenshi. Autumn release for both in Japan.
4-26-07 (5:48PM EDT)—- Hare+Guu Deluxe Volume One Available May 1st
Courtesy AN Entertainment:
Just when you thought it was over, the weirdness is about to double! The celebrated, surreal comedy HARE+GUU continues in the six episode HARE+GUU DELUXE! The second HARE+GUU series picks up right where the TV series ended and dives right into its exuberant excess of surrealistic, over-the-top comedy that fans love. AN Entertainment will proudly release the first of two HARE+GUU DELUXE DVDs on May 1st. ABOUT THE DVD Hare and Guu return to the jungle to see familiar faces and a few new residents of the village including a psychotic substitute school teacher who takes a shine to Hare, and a pair of gothic cockroach siblings! At least they�fre polite! Dama goes on a destructive rampage through the forest, searching for her perfect prey, er, lover. And Marie puts on all of her childish cosplay charms to win Hare�fs affections. The revelation that Hare is soon to have a younger sibling means that he�fll have a new father even sooner, but rather than a happy occasion, Clive officially joining the family could be Hare�fs worst nightmare come true! HARE+GUU DELUXE volume 1 contains three bilingual episodes featuring an acclaimed English dub from Bang Zoom! Entertainment, the rarely seen original Japanese pilot film bonus short, all new non-credit opening and ending animation sequences, and thorough liner notes providing translation and cultural notes. DVD FEATURES Hare+Guu Deluxe volume 1 Street Date: May 1, 2007 SRP: $29.98 UCC: 828311121159 ISBN: 0-9774339-5-1 Cat #: AN-HGDX1 Age Rating: TV-PG Approx Run Time: 75 minutes
4-26-07 (7:12AM EDT)—- First Ever Aggai HGUC
Bandai Hobby has announced a 1/144HGUC MSM-04 Aggai is forthcoming based on the Gundam Mobile Suit which appeared in the original series and The 08th MS Team. Retail is 1,470 Yen, nationwide release in toy shops, model shops, etc. will be on Saturday, April 28, 2007.
4-26-07 (7:04AM EDT)—- eigoMANGA Expounds On Anime Pavilion Plans
eigoMANGA proudly produces The Anime Pavilion at the Third Annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration. The Anime Pavilion celebrates the otaku (anime fan) culture in the San Francisco Bay Area. Anime fans all over the Bay Area are invited to an exciting day-long programming line-up of live Japanese rock (jrock) performances, an anime theme runway fashion show featuring original anime clothing lines from Japanese and Bay Area fashion designers, an anime cosplay masquerade, as well as additional features from the Third Annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration. The Third Annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration will be held on Saturday, May 19, 2007, in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Visit www.eigomanga.com/ahsc/ to learn more about The Anime Pavilion and visit www.asianfairsf.com to learn more about The 3rd Annual Asian Heritage Street Fair.
4-26-07 (6:22AM EDT)—- Sketchbook -full color’s- Anime Adaption Announced
Totan Kobako’s manga Sketchbook -full color’s- (published by Mag Garden) will be adapted to animation. Confirmed staff include Director Hiraike Yoshimasa, Series Composition and Screenplay by Marori Okada, Supervision by Junichi Sato and Animation Production by Hal Film Maker. www.sketch-full.net
4-26-07 (6:21AM EDT)—- Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun Anime Coming
An animation adaptation is currently developing around Suzuki Daisuke’s light novel series Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun according to the June, 2007 issue of Dragon Magazine. Suzuki is the recipient of the 16th phantasy novel grand prize Fine Work Award. His serial started in the April, 2005 edition of Dragon. A radio drama based on this work was broadcast from June 25, 2006 to July 23, 2006 via Fujimi’s TEENAGE fan club.
4-26-07 (6:20AM EDT)—- Rental Magika To Be Adapted To Animation
Yesterday’s speculation (see our 4/25 entry for details) is today’s truth. Author Mokoto Sanda and illustrator pako’s 9 volume phantasy light novel series Rental Magika (published by Kadokawa Shoten) will be adapted to animation. Confirmed staff include: Director Kawasaki Itsuro, Series Composition by Mamiko Ikeda / Mita Makoto, Character Design by Shiba Minako, Animation Production by ZEXES. Production by the Rental Magika Production Committee. The official website at www.kadokawa.co.jp/sneaker/magica/ will go up in June.
4-26-07 (4:42AM EDT)—- Record Growth For Japanese Gaming Industry
Consumer electronics group CESA has revealed revealed total (domestic and internatinal) software and hardware sales from Japanese videogames firms from January – December, 2006 equalled 1,632,300,000,000 Yen. The figure is up 20% on a similar survey conducted in 2005 and represents the largest haul ever since statistics started being kept in 1996.
4-26-07 (3:01AM EDT)—- Shin Kyuseishu Densetsu Hokuto No Ken: Raoh Den – Gekitou No Sho
The latest film installment of the new Fist Of The Northstar OAV / Movie animation campaign opens in Japanese cinemas on April 28th (this weekend). Shin Kyuseishu Densetsu Hokuto no Ken: Raoh Den – Gekitou no Sho is based on the 20 year old Buronson (story), Tetsuo Hara (art) manga serial. When it first started running in “Weekly Shonen Jump” in 1983 the story of men’s fighting and friendship in a post apocolyptic setting won readers’ overwhelming support. The popularity was so high that it sent the circulation of Shonen Jump to over 800,000 in only one year. The first TV animation adaptation began broadcast in 1984, setting off a greater Fist boom that continues on today. The plot of the latest film continues to center on Raoh, concluding with a fierce battle with Kenshiro. The producers have leaked the outcome in advance (Raoh’s death) and tied it into a promotional campaign centering on a mock funeral (pictures at the link) which was held at the Konoyama Tokyo branch temple on April 18th. 3000 mourners gathered in rainy conditions for the “Raoh Nobori Tamashii Shiki”. The funeral was done in accordance with buddhist customs. A message of condolence was offered by Raoh’s seiyuu Takashi Ukaji. traditional chanting by priests were offered to the slain fighter. Celebrities also flocked in such as Tsukasa Tanimura, Chisato Morishita and martial artist Kozo Takeda. Nobuhiko Horie and original writer Tetsuo Hara also made an appearance. The director is Toshitaka Hirano. Cast includes: Hiroshi Abe, Kou Shibasaki, Takashi Ukaji and Yuriko Ishida. Distribution via Desperado. www.hokuto-no-ken.jp
4-26-07 (1:36AM EDT)—- Sword Of The Stranger Release Details
Bandai Visual has announced they will release their “Stranger Navigation DVD” preview disc of the Bones / Shochiku anime film Mukoh Hadan – Sword Of The Stranger on September 25th for 2,730 Yen. The film itself is currently scheduled for nationwide Japanese theatrical release in the autumn of 2007 (possibly the end of September). Content therein will introduce the swordfighting storyline which is based in the feudal warring states “sengoku” period of Japan. The first poster image and confirmed staff and cast details were released at the Tokyo Anime Fair 2007. Staff include Director Masahiro Ando, Character Designs by Tsunenori Saito, Screenplay Writer Fumihiko Takayama, Music by Naoki Sato, Animation Direction by Yoshiyuki Ito and Art Design by Shiho Takeuchi. Vocal cast: Tomoya Nagase, Akio Ohtsuka, Kouichi Yamadera, Maaya Sakamoto, Mamoru Miyano, Naoto Takenaka, Unshou Ishizuka and Yuri Chinen. of note is Tomoya Nagase of music group TOKIO who will see her debut as a voice acting role in the film. She’ll play the lead character “nanashi (nameless)”. The official website went live on April 25th at www.stranja.jp, you can see the first released video footage there now. Bandai Visual (who contributed capital to the production) will hold a restricted screening (open exclusively to shareholders) of the completed version on May 19th. Running time is estimated to be around 100 minutes.
4-26-07 (1:06AM EDT)—- Rare Glimpse At Proto-Anime
Asahi reports attendees of an annual conference of the “International Film Archive League were treated to an obsolete form of cinematic presentation that is a forerunner to modern day anime cinema. The movie preservation institution held their event in Tokyo this month. The technique, dating from the Edo period involved painting a richly-colored picture onto thin glass whose image is projected onto a paper screen by the light source of a lantern.
4-26-07 (12:46AM EDT)—- New York’s First Japan Day Mega Event Will Incorporate Anime And Manga
It’s been announced that the first ever Japan Day (a large scale Japanese cultural event in New York City) will be held in Central Park on June 3rd. This follows up a report issued by The Consulate General of Japan that stated local Japanese people in the area felt they had “no place of exchange, and a weak sense of existence”. Around 60,000 Japanese expats live around the NYC area. Cosplay, manga and anime have been confirmed to be part of the event.
4-26-07 (12:21AM EDT)—- FUNimation Acquisition Details
Tokyopop notes that currently, FUNimation only has the first season of Tsubasa, in addition to the movie and the xxxHolic movie. Also of note from a Myspace Blog is that the company plans to air 20 episodes of Crayon Shin Chan on Adult Swim, but currently does not have the rights to the movies. Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news.
4-25-07 (11:55PM EDT)—- Water From Daddy Eyeball Purfies Temple Visitors
On March 19th The Yokai Shinto Shrine of Sakaiminato city in Tottori prefecture added a new hand washing / purification receptacle based on Eyeball Father of Gegege no Kitaro. The temple is located on the famed Mizuki Shigeru Road which features many bronze character statues from the classic anime and manga. A 70kg white granite (the actual chemical composition of the Eyeball is said to be something of a mystery at present) “Daddy Eyeball” sits in the center of the granite “bowl”, rotating as as the pressure of the dispensing a flow of water goes out. Original creator Mizuki Shigeru’s signature and message to visitors is etched in the stone above it.
4-25-07 (10:49PM EDT)—- Satoshi Kon English Interview
Tokyopop talks to the Paprika director in a new interview article on their site. Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news.
4-25-07 (10:48PM EDT)—- Tekkon Kinkreet Megaupdates
Sony Pictures lists a tentative Sept. 25 dvd date for the Studio 4c film from Michael Arias. The official American site is also up at this link with a trailer. On a related note, Arias himself confirmed here that the rights to “Mind Game” are still up in the air. Amazon has a Sept. 11 release date for the wideban manga from Viz. It retails for $29.95, and is 624 pages long. Huge thanks to Daniel Zelter for the links and news.
4-25-07 (10:42PM EDT)—- Feature: Atsuko Ishizuka – The Female Miyazaki?
Our exclusive Tokyo Anime Fair 2007 coverage continues in a new report focusing on Madhouse’s up and coming creative dynamo: Atsuko Ishizuka. Is she now on a path to become anime’s first female superstar director / animator? Signs point to yes.
4-25-07 (7:32PM EDT)—- Doraemon: Nobita’s Dinosaur 2006 Debuts In China
The hit anime movie Doraemon: Nobita’s Dinosaur 2006 will show on over 1000 screens in 60 Chinese cities. This marks the first time a Japanese movie has gotten such a wide distribution in the country. The opening is set for July, 2007, coinciding with summer vacation for many children.
4-25-07 (5:07PM EDT)—- Kawasaki City Museum Manhwa Exhibition Images
As we reported on 4/23, Kawasaki City Museum is currently presenting an exhibition on South Korean Comics from April 21st-June 3rd. The work of over 30 noteable artists will be shown there. Mycom Journal has some of the first images and great observations on the display. Accoridng to museum staffer Yoshiji Hamasaki, manhwa in Korea is popular most among children and the younger generation. There is no custom there that has adults reading comics on trains like exists in Japan. So called “study comics” sell very well because South Korea is education heavy society. Presently movies and dramas are very strong and becuase Korea is in love with the TV drama there seems to be more interest and activity there than in manhwa. As for what comic artists are doing there now? Current trends see artists making great use of the internet (as IT advanced there faster than in Japan). FLASH animation works are also said to be more prevalent than in Japan. Satire and Black comedy themed creations are popular. On the business side, the animation and comics industry has been implementing a wider export plan which is seeing good results in Europe and the USA but seems to hit a barrier in Japan.
4-25-07 (4:42PM EDT)—- Buzzer Beater TV Series Website Opens
4-25-07 (3:04AM EDT)—- Saishuu Shiken Kujira Manga And Animation Adaptations Coming
Based on the 2004 CIRCUS (Da Capo) x-rated bishoujo computer game (illustrated by Kayura Yuka and Kado Tsukasa ), Saishuu Shiken Kujira is headed for manga conversion with the serial beginning in Comptiq Ace Vol. 15. The official title will be Saishuu Shiken Kujira – Progressive – C-Side. Manga by Wataru Usami. A “Departures” fandisc was sold on December 23, 2005 to mark the first anniversary since the release of the original game. Animation adaptation has been hinted in recent magazines. A PlayStation 2 version of the original PC game is under development now. Drama CD’s also exist on the market. In the story Mutsumi Kuonji (a female impersonator) visits mysterious towns all the while a whale is seen flying in the sky.
4-25-07 (2:52AM EDT)—- New Rental Magika Manga Confirmed / Anime Announcement To Follow?
Author Mokoto Sanda and illustrator pako’s 9 volume phantasy light novel series Rental Magika (published by Kadokawa Shoten) will be adapted to manga. Serialization starts in the pages of Comptiq Ace Vol.15. The title of the comic version will be Rental Magika from SOLOMON, the mangaka will be MAKOTO2. The story deals with a timid highschool lad who becomes the second generation president of the wizard temp agency “Astral” after his father’s mysterious disappearance. Lead character Iba Itsuki is voiced by Jun Fukuyama in the vocal drama. Another manga by Akiho Narumiya based on the story was created and serialized by monthly Asuka. Kadokawa’s Sneaker teases readers with an upcoming grave announcement (animation?) coming on April 28th.
4-25-07 (2:23AM EDT)—- Celebrated Light Novel Author Mugen Dies
Popular light novel author Mugen, known for his stories Maison De Galaxie and Ash Maoh Fukkatsu! died from complications stemming from heart disease at age 47 on April 19th. The bestselling Maison De Galaxie (illustrated by Iwasaki Kouji) now spans 9 volumes. His Midnight Magic story won the 1st Jump novel nonfiction grand prize special incentive prize. Mugen published 18 books for Shueisha including Makai Seiyuu Ki. His writing was a large part of his life as he was confined to a wheelchair following a traffic accident in his youth.
4-24-07 (11:46PM EDT)—- Viewers Abandoning Childrens TV Anime
Japan’s dwindling population of children are increasingly turning off to anime programming aimed at them (as is the greater viewership at large), broadcast via televison. Audience ratings examined across the board in the segment are showing increasingly negative gains annually. Casualties include popular shows such as Manga Nippon Mukashibanashi who once proliferated and flourished in the genre diverse primetime (7-10 PM) timeslot. Another is One Piece, who moved from primetime to Sunday Mornings. Long past are the glory days of series such as Dr. Slump and Dragonball which would pull in 30% shares. Contrasting this, animation for adults aired in the late night zone have seen a huge boom in popularity in recent times. 15 such shows are airing there now. Success for late night shows is not tied to ratings but the eventual DVD sales that follow. An interesting situation, when one considers anime and manga’s children based roots. A recent Video Research survey indicates such shows that garnered an average 6.2% rating 2 years ago only saw a 3.6% share over last year. The usual culprits are identified as competing media, computers, the internet, game machines and yes, the one thing all of Japan’s problems are seemingly sourced back to: the falling birthrate.
4-24-07 (8:00PM EDT)—- Agricultural Education Through Manga
Hokuriku’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Agricultural Administration Bureau information promotion section have drafted the creation of “Mezase! Chiiki no Hoshi”, representing the latest in a new wave of manga based literature being issued by public and government agencies across Japan. Wholey responsible for the editing, illustration and writing of the booklet, the target audience is young people, the goal to turn people on to the usually cut and dry, bland, bureaucractic domain of the ministry. The concept seems to be working, as the last many who see the brightly decorated cover think of is some bland, unemmotive, white paper issuing government office. The main character of the story is a young woman who gets the help and guidance of various people in the region. They used a task force 5 1-2 year employees (22-23 years old) and 1 artist to produce the comic. The latter half of the 60 page booklet includes a useful chapter of material for those interested in starting agricultural activities in the future, covering such topics as finding financing facilities, communities, and public offices etc. A run of 6000 will be printed. www.hokuriku.maff.go.jp
4-24-07 (7:00PM EDT)—- Manga Cafes Housing More Of Japan’s Poor
JANJAN reports it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact number of working poor / homeless who dip into Japan’s manga / net cafes at somepoint during the day or night to find shelter, but that according to those who are opperating the facilities (around 1400 offer overnight stays), the trend is definetly on the rise. Administrators over Japan’s homeless population have been late to the game in recognizing the influx of “net cafe refugees (netto kafe nanmin)” and developing effective countermeasures. The group is currently listed as “permanent / part-time” employed. In reality, many of these people don’t own a house, don’t rent an apartment and sleep in 24 hour net cafes. They hold short-term insurance policies, mostly part-time jobs and are constantly walking the razors edge between vagrancy and self sustainability. So when did the phenomenon start? It could just as well have began in the late ’90s when the media immersion spaces first started to appear but word began to spread on the issue when a young person came to the Independence Life Support Center ‘Moyai’ to lecture on his experiences four years ago. The Bureau of Labor and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare are currently investigating and should a have a concrete report out soon.
4-24-07 (6:30PM EDT)—- Mangaka Ryuichi Yokoyama’s Museum Undergoes 5th Anniversary Changes
Yokoyama Memorial Museum, dedicated to preserving the life’s work of pioneering manga artist Ryuichi Yokoyama (who Tezuka cited as an influence) has seen some noteable changes on the occasion of the 5th anniversary since its opening. An updated matrerials display containing 200+ new items has rotated into the permanent exhibition room as of April 7th. A special commemoration project has also been scheduled. The museum houses paintings, illustrations and even a replica of the bar that existed in his home in Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura city. 78,000 people visited the museum in the first year, 50,000 on average come annually as of today and since the opening in 2002, 328,000 people total have passed through its doors. A joint Tezuka / Yokoyama festival will be held this summer. Around 500 recently published books on manga will be added to the 10,000+ strong research library. Yokoyama died in 2001 at 92. In 1936 the serializing of one of the artist’s most famed works, ‘Edokko Ken-chan’ began in the Asahi shimbun. In this series, Fuku chan makes his first appearance and becomes so popular that the series is restarted with the title ‘Yoshi no Fuku-chan’ (Addopted son, Fuku-chan). ‘Otogi Production’, which played the pioneering role in the field of Japanese Animation was co-founded in 1956. 1971 saw the Finish of his famed Fuku chan work, which set a record of 5534 published editions. The museum buidling itself 14 floors in total (11 above ground, 3 below).
4-24-07 (5:55PM EDT)—- Tekkon Kinkreet & Le Roi et L’oiseau To Screen At TAC
Although the facilities appeared rather vacant during our visit around a month ago (they were still winding down from presenting the 1st annual Seiyu Awards ceremony), The Tokyo Anime Center’s Akiba 3D Theater will screen Michael Arias’ / Studio 4C’s Tekkon Kinkreet & Ghibli’s remastered Classic French animation, Le Roi et L’oiseau between 4/28-5/6 2007.
4-24-07 (5:53PM EDT)—- Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo DVD Closed Captions Service
Qtec’s Web Shake service will offer Japanese closed caption subtitles for Mamoru Hosoda’s Tokikake when it arrives on DVD in Japan. The service is being developed for the hearing impaired and DVD releases which do not other wise have a CC data track. Upon obtaining the commercially released disc the user plays the title through Web Shake’s proprietary player. The player is free to download and use.
4-24-07 (5:37PM EDT)—- Eisners Make Room For Manga Tsunami
American comic book awards, The 2007 Eisners, have cited a greater nominee representation of manga as one of the most noticeable trends in this year’s selection. To address the growing presence of Japanese comics in American publishing the judges have created a new category: Best U.S. Edition of International Material From Japan. Besides the five titles nominated there (After School Nightmare, by Setona Mizushiro (Go! Comi) ; Antique Bakery, by Fumi Yoshinaga (Digital Manga) ; Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, by Naoki Urasawa (Viz) ; Old Boy, by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi (Dark Horse Manga) ; Walking Man, by Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon)), manga works can be found in the archival category (Tezuka’s Ode to Kirohito, Tatsumi’s Abandon the Old in Tokyo) and in the nomination of Naoki Urasawa’s Monster for Best Continuing Series and Project X Challengers: Cup Noodle for Reality-Based Work.
4-24-07 (5:26PM EDT)—- Anime At Annecy 2007
Besides EX MECHINA (Appleseed II) getting major promotion at France’s Annecy International Animation Festival held June 11th-16th, scheduled to screen a will screen are: Mamoru Hosoda’s Toki Wo Kakeru SHoujo, Satoshi Kon’s Paprika and Chiaki Koichi’s Brave Story, Penelope and xxxHOLiC, Full Metal Alchemist, Ghost in the Shell STAND ALONE COMPLEX Solid State Society and Atagol.
4-24-07 (1:40AM EDT)—- Japan To Air Copyright Grievances With China Through WTO
The Hollywood Reporter NotesThe Japanese government will soon file a complaint with the World Trade Organization concerning China’s allegedly insufficient protection of copyright and intellectual-property rights. China’s black market has long been a super-locus of anime and contents piracy activities. Thanks, Daniel Zelter.