August 28, 1999 / by Anime News Services / Archived News / No Comments

August 25-28 Anime News

s about 50,000 children, more than expected crammed to get8-28-99—- Anime On Cable Tonight

Adieu Galaxy Express 999: 3:00 AM ET Sci-Fi Channel
Battle Angel: Part 1: 11:40 PM ET Encore Action Channel
Battle Angel: Part 2: 12:10 PM ET Encore Action Channel

8-28-99—- Ghibli Film Festival Showings Schedule

Due to the upcoming release of the English dub version of Princess Mononoke, a number of Studio Ghibli film festivals are being organized by film festivals, museums, and theaters throughout North America and Europe. Team Ghiblink has compiled a list of of the curent showings planned and will add to it in the future. Check it out and see if you’re city (or a city near you) is on the list, you can view it here.

8-27-99—- Card Captor Sakura Petition / The Anime Name Game

Animeondvd.com has put up a new petition in an effort to get VHS subtitled and DVD releases of Card Captor Sakura. It is unknown if the recently reported name change of the main character Sakura to Niki will have any effect on the effort (It has’nt effected past releases, but often you would only get an original name in a seperate companies release of a title of the same series ie: Sakura (The company that gets the Card Captor Movie (besides Nelvana))-Niki (Nelvana Card Captor TV), Usagi (Pioneer Sailor Moon Movies)-Serena (Dic Sailor Moon TV Series), Hikaru (Animeigo Rerelease of Macross TV)-Rick (Haromny Gold Robotech TV), etc..). but companies generally adopt one name and stick with it. On a side note dub fans are gonna love watching how dubbers fill 3 syllable spaces (Sa-ku-ra) (4 if you ad in chan, san etc..) with 2 syllables (Ni-ki) but it was pulled off with Sailor Moon, Pokemon etc… Anyhow…. I’ll shut up now, go sign the petition here!

8-27-99—- Alternative Video Warhouse Sales Soar After San Diego Con

The leading U.S. distributor of Anime videos and DVDs, today announced that sales of its retail division Alternative Video Warehouse increased significantly at the recent San Diego Comicon convention, and established the Company as the sole distributor of all Anime product offerings.

www.SyCoNet.com‘s retail division Alternative Video Warehouse witnessed phenomenal sales while attending one of the largest comic book conventions this year Comicon in San Diego, CA from August 12th through August 15th. The Company’s retail sales increased 25% over last year’s participation. Alternative Video Warehouse also gained 22 key agreements with retailers to merchandise its Anime products. The new specialty retailers include Lonestar, one of the nation’s leading comic chains, currently operating eight stores in Texas, as well as Camelot Comics of Argentina.

*Source: Business Wire

8-27-99—- Yugioh Event Goes Bad At Tokyo Dome

An event for Yugioh (The King of Games) based on a popular Anime and Video Game at Tokyo Dome in central Tokyo on Thursday turned into a chaos, with riot police eventually being called into to control the scene, as about 50,000 children, more than expected crammed to get into the event held by game maker Konami.

The event included a card game tournament in which participants competed in the hit game “The Legend of the Duelist,” and packs of limited-edition game cards (For 200 Yen) featuring popular characters were advertised as being on sale.
The doors opened at 11 a.m., and the event started at noon. By that time there were already 40,000 people cramming their way into the Bunkyo Ward venue, with another 10,000 waiting in line to get in, according to Konami officials. Overwhelmed by the numbers, the organizer decided to suspend the event at 2 p.m.

At around 3 p.m., a visitor to the event made an emergency call to police, reporting that the venue was overcrowded and that the situation had become dangerous. After the call was received, 30 police officers, as well as riot police, were dispatched to the site. At least two people fell sick and were taken to a hospital, while dozens received treatment at a medical room in the dome, according to the Tokyo Fire Department. The tournament was to feature game software the company had put on the market on July 8. The game became a big hit, with sales of 1 million copies within the first week.

However, it took a long time for visitors to the event to get inside, and the tournament started at about 1 p.m., before all those waiting had entered the dome. According to some visitors, by 11 a.m. when the gates opened, children, their parents and other young game fans who had been waiting in line formed a circle around the dome.

The company then suddenly announced that it would not sell the cards, to prevent the situation from becoming dangerous, and shut down the entire event without explanation at 2 p.m., which only served to worsen the situation. Since the company did not explain to the visitors–including many who had come from outside Tokyo or had been waiting at the dome from the early morning–why the event had

been suspended, many people began to complain, with some shouting loudly. There were cries of “This is a fraud!” and “Let’s talk with the person in charge!” Others shouted that they had come all the way from Hokkaido, while some children cried.

Police are likely to question Konami over the event.

*Sources: Image: Asahi Shimbun, Story: Daily Yomiuri, Fan Sources

8-27-99—- Anime / Manga Gaming

*Black Matrix A/D: Much hyped in Japan, NEC’s strategy-RPG for the Sega Saturn will be released in enhanced form, and spread over two discs, for the Dreamcast this September. The game was originally released for the Saturn in very limited quantities. No US release info yet.

*Eternal Arcadia: Formally know as Project Ares, the title of the new RPG currently being developed by the Phantasy Star team, has officially been confirmed as Eternal Arcadia. Graphics are said to be incredible: easily on par with the graphics found in Final Fantasy VIII, except the entire game is rendered in real time. The three main characters (Vyse, Aika and Fina) are “pirates” who travel through the skies, getting into all sorts of adventures on islands in the “Big Sky.”

8-26-99—- Card Captor Sakura’s North American Name Change

Reportedly Nelvana, the Canadian company who recently acquired the broadcasting rights for Card Captor Sakura (A super popular Girls TV Anime series and Movie produced by Osaka based Clamp (also known for Magic Knights Rayearth, Angelic Layer and X)) will change the name of the main character: Sakura to “Niki” in the North American version. No word as to the official title for the N.A. ver. (Card Captor Niki ?) but I’ve seen it quoted as “Card Captor”.

8-26-99—- Top Manga Sales (Japan) (As Of August 16)

1. Detective Konan (24) Shogo Aoyama
2. Card Captor Sakura (9) CLAMP
3. Vagabond (3) Takehiko Inoue
4. Sensei! (8) Kazune Kawahara
5. Massugu ni Ikou. (Let’s Go Straight) (17) Kira
6. Kaikan * Phrase (10) Mayu Shinjo
7. Crayon Shin-chan (24) Yoshito Usui
8. GS Mikami Gokuraku Daisakusen!! (37) Takashi Shina
9. Inu Yasha (11) Rumiko Takahashi
10.Megumi no Daigo (19) Masato Souda

8-26-99—- StudioNEXT Teams Up With Voyager Entertainment To Stream Starblazers

studioNEXT.com Corporation and Voyager Entertainment, Inc. announced today a partnership to bring the Star Blazers animation series to the Internet. Star Blazers is a Japanese animation series that first appeared on U.S. television in 1979 and quickly gained an ardent following. With this newly formed partnership, studioNEXT.com will provide the infrastructure to video stream TV episodes using Apple Computer QuickTimeTM technology.

Star Blazers gained a loyal following during the three seasons it was broadcasted on U.S. television. Since then, there has been renewed interest among its fans to have the sci-fi animation series shown on television again. “There has been further interest to bring back Star Blazers to television,” Barry Winston, president of Voyager Entertainment, Inc., said. “By exposing Star Blazers to the Internet, we hope to reach the thousands of dormant fans and reach new fans who are attracted to anime in general.”

studioNEXT.com and Voyager Entertainment will make a total of six episodes available on the studioNEXT.com web site http://www.studionext.com. With two episodes from each season, studioNEXT.com will stream a Star Blazers episode each week for a period of six weeks. In addition, studioNEXT.com and Voyager will offer its viewers a 20% web discount on all Star Blazers videos and merchandise.

“We’re really excited about partnering with Voyager Entertainment and bringing Star Blazers to the Internet, ” studioNEXT.com co-founder David Wu said. “The great thing about the Internet is that it breaks all the old rules about distributing entertainment. studioNEXT.com and Voyager Entertainment are pioneering this new model and it sure will generate a lot of interest in the Star Blazers animation series.”

For more info go see Studio NEXT’s Website www.studionext.com

*Source: Business Wire

8-26-99—- Kikuko Inoue’s Best Album

Kikuko Inoue’s best album CD was out on August 18th. Kikuko Inoue is famous for the voice of Belldandy in “Ah! My Goddess.” The questionairre was distributed to her 3,000 fans at her concert to select their favorite songs sung by Kikuko. The most chosen 18 songs are in this best album.
The title of the CD is “Bokura no Best Da, Onee-chan (Our Best, Big Sister),” similar to the title of her theme song, “Bokura no Mikata da, Onee-chan (Our Supporter, Big Sister).” The questionairre let the fans choose five of her 55 original songs. The songs were recorded from the most chosen one until there was no space in a CD to record anything. As a result, as many as 18 songs are in this best album CD. The titles include “Shiawase Tambourine (Happy Tambourine),” “Choki no Kamisama (The God of Choki),” “Anata no Tameni Dekirukoto (The Things I Can Do for You),” and 15 more. These are all familiar songs even if you are not so fanatic about Kikuko.

*Source: J- Dream Direct Newsletter J-Dream Web

8-26-99—- Gainax At Comic Market

The animation production GAINAX famous for its exellent works, such as “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” finally participated in Comic Market held from August 15th this year.
GAINAX’s new bishojo girl mascot character was introduced, and the following products were sold at GAINAX’s booth. The products came with a signed cards.
* Neon Genesis Evangelion Phone Cards
– Kenji Tsuruta: Also famous in the U.S. for “Spirit of Wonder”
* Kaoru Shintani’s Art Collection CD-ROM (will be also on sale for
public at the end of August)
– Kaoru Shintani: Her works include “God Mars,” “Area 88,” “Futari Daka,” etc. * Yoshito Asari’s CD-ROM Ilustration Collection
– Yoshito Asari: Working on “WahhaMan” on a comic magazine

*J-Dream Direct Newsletter J-Dream Web

8-26-99—- Junko Iwao Concert on Live on the Net

Pony Canyon aired a concert by Junko Iwao, the voice of Key in “Key The Metal Idol,” on the internet on July 31st. The concert was held at Shinagawa Intercity Hall. The latest image technology on the web, QuickTime 4 was experimentally used for the first time for this airing. The event gathered attention from all over the anime industry. Macintosh computers were set, and images and sound gathered by multi-cameras and multi-audio were mixed and matched at the concert hall. Mixed images and sound were sent out by QuickTime Streaming Server. According to the technical calculation, 4000 people were supposed to be able to watch the concert at the same time. Pony Canyon: www.ponycanyon.co.jp

*Source J-Dream Direct Newsletter J-Dream Web

8-26-99—- Top Anime LD Sales (Japan) (As Of August 16)

1. The Affairs of Two Lovers vol.5
2. Trigun vol.13
3. Shugo Getten vol.2
4. Mobile Suit Gundam No.08 Team -Last Resort
5. Cowboy Bebop vol.8
6. Nankai Kikou vol.7
7. Devilman Lady vol.7
8. You’re Under Arrest Special vol.1
9. To Heart vol.3
10.Iron Jeegu vol.3

8-26-99—- Top Anime DVD Sales (Japan) (As Of August 16)

1. To Heart
2. Rurouni Kenshin Memorial vol.3
3. DVD Ultra Seven vol.6
4. DCD Ultra Seven vol.5
5. DVD Ultra Seven vol.4
6. Cowboy Bebop vol.8
7. DVD Ultra Seven vol.1
8. Girl Revolution Utena vol.8

8-26-99—- More Virtual Idols

IGN has a story on Virtual Models and Idols, Reiko Nagase and more on Webbie Tookay you can view here.

8-25-99—- Shades Of Sharon Apple

Her employers call her the perfect fashion model, the perfect employee: Webbie Tookay is never late, never too tired to work and has no personal life to interfere with her job.

Not surprisingly, Webbie Tookay is not real.

Elite Models, the worldwide agency that launched the careers of “supermodels” Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell, now has Webbie Tookay, a computer-generated animated mannequin that can show up anywhere, any time.

The centrepiece of a new division of Elite called Illusion 2K (www.illusion2k.com) — Virtual Models and Actress Management, she is available to pose for advertisements or fashion shows on the World Wide Web, in print or in films.

“She is never too tired to work and she is available all the time. She can be in many places at the same time so we don’t have a problem scheduling her,” Luciana Abreu, a partner in Illusion 2K, a Sao Paulo, Brazil, company that teamed up with Elite, told Reuters.

“Also, she does not have a personal life that interferes with her work and she doesn’t age and she doesn’t gain weight,” Abreu said in an interview at Elite’s offices in New York.

Could all of this perfection crumble if the so-called Y2K millennium bug strikes Webbie Tookay when the year 2000 turns? Her designers say no because she is also Y2K compliant.

The millennium bug arises because many older computers use only the last two digits of a year to record dates. Unless corrected, such systems could treat 2000 as 1900, generating errors or system crashes on Jan. 1.

‘VIRTUAL MODEL’ SUPPORTS ENVIRONMENT, BIRTH CONTROL

Created by Swedish designer Steven Stahlberg, the virtual model has “perfect measurements,” Abreu said. “It was decided to give her the major tendencies of today’s models. She is not that skinny. And she has well-defined breasts, well-defined hips,” Abreu said.

She is a combination of a voluptuous European blonde, a Latina and an Asian woman. And Webbie Tookay not only looks good but has her own opinions about things. She would never wear fur, for example.

“We are very proud of her personality and her character,” Abreu said. “She has environmental concerns, she is for birth control and besides she looks very pretty.”

The Illusion 2K company was formed in July and its first “Webbie Planet” Web site www.illusion2k.com integrates video, text and photos carrying general information, modelling services and entertainment. Other “virtual top models” from the Illusion 2K stable, including male models, will join Webbie Tookay in the coming year.

WHERE WWW DOES NOT STAND FOR WORLD WIDE WEB

This is one site where WWW does not stand for World Wide Web. Instead, it is the acronym for What We Wear, a virtual store with the virtual top model demonstrating her exclusive products found only on the Internet.

The company said it wants to attract people in the 14-to-25 age group to a site featuring leading clothing manufacturers and the consumers’ own preferences, behaviour, activities and measurements.

Three other sections of Webbie Planet, all hosted by Webbie Tookay, are the digital magazine Webbie News, theatre, movie and other leisure activities on Webbie Fun and Webbie Cine News, designed to be shown in three-minutes segments in movie theatres.

“We want to develop a relationship. Visitors to the Web site will become Webbie’s friends and they will give her information. We’re going to create a community who are Webbie’s friends,” Abreu said.

Asked whether the “perfect” Webbie Tookay would be too much competition for real-life models and threaten their jobs, she said: “We and Elite don’t think that’s going to happen. Actually, she’s just another choice. She’s something new, a new application of technology, but for sure there are things that only a real model will be able to do.”

*Story From Reuters News Service

8-25-99—- New NEC Robot Recognizes Faces, Speaks

NEC Corp. has developed a robot for home use that recognizes human faces and understands some Japanese phrases, the company announced Wednesday.

If you call the robot, it recognizes your face, comes to you and says: “Good morning, Mr/Mrs…, can I help you?” It can also follow orders, such as turning on the television, or recording voice and video messages to your family, according to the company.

NEC said it was the world’s first robot that can identify objects and voices. The company expects the robot to enhance family communication and be a housekeeper who handles personal computers and domestic appliances for its master.

The robot, designated R100, is cylinder-shaped and has a round face that moves up, down, left and right. The 7.9-kilogram robot, which is 44 centimeters high and 28 centimeters wide, can move in four directions on three wheels.

It speaks about 300 colloquial Japanese phrases, for example, “Ohayo” (Good morning), “Mite, mite” (Look, look) and “Shippai shichatta, yarinaoshi dayo” (I made a mistake. I have to do it again). It understands about 100 phrases.

The R100 recognizes about 10 people’s faces. It handles computers and home appliances with infrared rays, and videos with a built-in camera.

After it has recorded a message to a family member, it recognizes them when they come home and says: “Hi, I’ve got a message for you.”

When people are not around, it falls asleep and sometimes talks in its sleep. When you pet it, it becomes happy and starts playing music and dancing.

“We will try to cut production costs,” a company official said.

For more information on NEC’s R100 go to it’s official website (Japanese Only) (more coming soon) at: http://www.incx.nec.co.jp/robot

*Source:Daily Yomiuri Online

8-25-99—- Original Web Animation

Timedisorder.com has some original anime based comics online. Really nice looking! Could Timedisorder Original Animation series be close behind? Go see!!

8-25-99—- Card Captor Sakura Story

TokyoPop has an overview of the Card Captor Sakura Movie (Released this last weekend in Japan) Story, in which Sakura is off to Hong Kong! Go scope it.

8-25-99—- Original NES Legend Of Zelda On It’s Way To Gameboy Color

Famitsu magazine, in an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, learned that the original Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System will soon be ported to Gameboy Color by Capcom. A release date here in the U.S. is unknown at this time but considering the success of Super Mario Bros. Deluxe there’s a good chance it could be on the it’s way sometime in the near future.

8-25-99—- Anime Going Digital

Here’s an article dated from last year, written by J. Thompson. With talk of 99 to 1 Computer to Cel ratios at AX and almost every major upcoming project involving heavy CG production, Is computer involvement really changing the Anime that we all know and love?

“This year is one of profound change in Japan, the likes of which have’nt been seen since 1980. Like almost 20 years ago, the full impact of the shift won’t be fully realized (or even really appreciated) for some years yet. Last time, it was the shift away fromstrong keyframes toward weaker drawings (but a lot more of them so that the animation looked smoother.). Whats so different this time, you may ask? One word: Computers

Now I’m not saying that computers have’nt already been involved in Japanese Animation. I’m not even going to say they have’nt been used to great effect before. I am saying, however, that the entire industry (particularly on the weekly TV front) is undergoing a sweeping change that will likely mean the demise of traditional cel-based animation. The more traditional may and probably will continue (in movies) for some time yet, but those pretty cel paintings will become an even more scarce commodity.

I can hear you all now: “But it won’t be the same!!”

Know something? You’re right. But if you’ve seen any of the new shows running in Japan, you already know that most of the space exterior shots are being done on computers. A lot of special effects are now being done on computers. More subtly, many shows are now colored on computers. And as time goes on there will be more of all of this. The very face of television animation is rapidly changing, and before this is all done, the closest thing to a cel will be a pencil scetch that is scanned into the computer for coloring. There are a lot of advantages to doing things this way: hand-painted cels (always a difficult and fairly expensive process) can be eliminated in favor of flood filling scanned artwork. Since a lot of the “personality” of the drawing is done at the pencil stage, and it is this very pencil drawing that is scanned into the computer, the link to what you know will not be impacted as much as many of you think … It’s merely the production process which is changed and streamlined. No longer will small armies of people be need to create those cels. There won’t be the (otherwise very real) danger that cels will be shot in the wrong order, or damaged before they can be recorded on film. This all means that lead times can be shortened and budgets reduced. Theoretically, there will be more room for experimentation.

Things will be possible under the time constraints of a weekly show that were never possible before. It might even mean that some of the more talented people coming up in the ranks will be given a shot sooner and thus usher in the next boom. Like everything, though, there is a downside … to acomlish this transition, the very look of animation will change. Some of it will be difficult to notice. Some o it will be positive. Some of it will also be negative.

There are many reasons why this shift occurred … there’s the poor performance with the Japanese economy and devaluation of the currency on the world market. Not to put to fine a point on this, when theres no spare money around, there’s no money to invest in new animated property. Last year you were loking at 97 yen = $1. As of today, (august 98) it costs about 148 yen to buy that same dollar. Theres a problem with the acetate used by the Japanese industry … it’s not easily available (and yes, it’s just different enough from the substrate the rest of the wolrd uses) and the story goes that it’s now being sourced outside of Japan. There’s even a rumor that the cel paint itself may become difficult to obtain, due to the imminent retirement of a very senior chemist. Finally, a particularly powerful piece of computer software, previoulsy only available on high powered uber workstations, is coming to an intel processor near you. All of these things lead to a basic change in the industry which is very difficult to argue with.

But it looks different.

it isn’t just television work thats changing either. If you look at Hayao Miyazaki’s new Mononoke Hime, you’ll see a lot of computer graphics and computer aided work. Even when they’re not generated totally inside the computer, many times the artwork itself is manipulated by computer. If Miyazaki’s doing it in his films, it’s a very safe bet that the rest of the industry will eventually follow. Already, many OVA releases are prepared with computer graphics and more follow every day. As this happens, more people will be prompted to experiment with this new technique, and like all new toys there will be some slightly odd work until everyone gets the hang of it. At that point there will be a massive improvement across the board and the industry will settle down and wait until the next big change happens.

It’ll probably come sooner than later, though. In the meantime, sit back and you’ll be able to say that you were there when everything changed … that you remember what it used to be like and what you thought when the medium reinvented itself … The important thing here is to realize the masive change and realize that this is’nt the first time somethign like this has happened … it happened when all those giant robot tagteam specials in the 1970s stopped. It happened again when Japan went to smooth animation in the early 1980s … and it happened yet again when those big budgeted, heavily promoted theatrical films started going away. You can say the same when OVA’s made they’re massive push and then faded way back, or even when the first computer graphics popped up in films like Golgo 13, Romanesque Samy (Missing 99) and the Lensman movie. But lookthe bright side here: for the first time real animation is going to be brought to the level that a reasonable sized animation fanclub can aquire all the parts to make they’re own sophistcated animated project, instead of only the most well organized and best funded. It’s entirely possible that this could mean a real revolution when all these people’s work is seen by the world. We can hope, anyway.

Maybe this time when we as kHAL to open the Pod Bay Doors, he just might.

J. Thompson
8.19.98″

8-25-99—- Anime & Manga An Inspiration To Current Japanese Robot Designers

Robo-Mania is reaching a new pitch in Japan as technological advances, economic necessity and cultural change drive automatons out of the factory and into people’s dayto-day lives.

For decades Japan has been seen as the robot capital of the world. Despite its relatively small size, the country has 58 per cent of the planet’s robots, most of which are used to boost the efficiency of car, microchip and home electronics factories.

But in recent months many new robots with entertainment and welfare applications have been unveiled by a generation of engineers who grew up on a cultural diet of robot manga and anime .

Sony, the maker of the Walkman and the PlayStation, led the way in June with the launch of Aibo, a floppy-eared cyber puppy which uses artificial intelligence to interact emotionally with its owner. Although it has no practical application, the robo-mutt proved a huge hit with the Japanese. Within 20 minutes of going on sale over the Internet, all 3,000 units were snapped up.

“The last 10 years have been the Internet decade, but we feel that the next 10 will belong to the robot,” said Mr Toshitada Doi, a vice-president of Sony.

Other electronics makers have rolled out robot pets this year. To provide company for the elderly, Matsushita unveiled Tama, a mechanical cat linked to the Internet which reminds its owner about health checks and wriggles with delight when stroked behind the ears.

Mitsubishi, a company better known for building nuclear power plants and fighter planes, has produced a robot fish. It says the remarkably lifelike sea bream will have a variety of applications, including providing practice for anglers.

New robot announcements have come thick and fast and in all shapes and sizes.

In June the government’s science and technology agency produced a 6ft (1.8-metre) humanoid robot capable of drumming and dancing.

Around the same time Matsushita unveiled an ant-size micro-robot which will be used for examining pipes.

In the past few days there have been reports of research into robot guide-dogs and robot rubbish collectors.

Original Story from: (Guardian Service)