8-31-07 (11:48PM EDT)—- Microsoft Enters Anime Industry
At a strategy briefing for partners in Tokyo titled “CONNECTED” on August 29th, American software firm Microsoft continued their promotion of a digital lifestyle campaign which is ongoing this year, seeking to make Windows Vista and the PC a nucleus. President & CEO of Microsoft Co. Ltd., Japan and Corporate Vice President Darren Houston delivered a keynote address stressing the importance of contents providers and revealed three television broadcasters (Nippon Television Network Corporation, TBS and TV Tokyo) would be partnering with them on some of their Media Center offerings. TV Tokyo announced their plans to synch up their Ani-Tele anime exclusive channel up to Windows Media Center, mentioning their main site draws 50 million accesses per month. Features involved a simple user interface, easily navigable via remote control. They plan on offering rebroadcasts of new shows there just days after they’ve aired on television and many older shows for free.
8-31-07 (11:46PM EDT)—- Tokyo Anime Fair 2008 Website Goes Live
The official website for Japan’s largest anime festival / trade show, The Tokyo Anime Fair, has been revamped in 2008 livery at www.tokyoanime.jp. There you can view a greeting from the senior staff and some other basic information. Exhibition applications are being recieved as of Sept. 1st. The seventh holding of the fair will occur March 27-30th, 2008. 270 companies and 107,713 people attended over the 4 days in 2007.
8-31-07 (10:01PM EDT)—- Gonzo VP Forsees Age When Anime Is No Longer Sold On DVD’s
A recent IT Media interview with GDH Vice President Yasufumi Uchida has revealed how one of the industry’s giants could be looking toward a time in the not so distant future when the primary distribution method / business model sees a shift from physical media such as DVD, to an internet downloadable format. The business environment of Japan’s animation production houses is currently undergoing a transitory period of change where sales of anime on DVD inside and outside the country is becoming inactive even as more and more programs are being broadcast on television. With the boom of late night TV anime in the mid 1990’s, a popular business model closely tieing the production budget of those shows to DVD sales seems to be coming undone even as more delivery options emerge such as high def disc, internet stream, mobile phone, etc.. Gonzo is said to have been hit especially hard in the DVD sales arena and has been exploring other distribution channels. They recently established joint video streaming site with You Tube titled: GONZO DOGA. Uchida admits: “though there is not any single reason in the sales slump, and anime DVD sales remain inactive across the industry, one of the main factors is a power shortfall in our works”. He adds he believes especially the spread of HDD&DVD recorders and illegal video downloading / sites like YOU TUBE are to blame also. He believes the practice of burning off episodes to DVD direct from TV broadcast and opting out of commercially sold discs is becoming common domestically and programs being uploaded (in short order following their Japanese broadcast) to video sites are affecting disc sales internationally. A distribution model such as that used by Hollywood which sees major films and DVD’s release simultaneously worldwide (to minimize profit losses via time delay) is difficult for a company without a global network like GDH. Today, Gonzo deals out their licenses to multiple international firms and the attraction, negotiation phases involving those businesses as well as the production localaization / produciton phase (including subtitles, dubbing, packaging) differs from country to country creating a time gap and hence missed opportunity. An internet release method would allow both global simultaneous release and a venue to seek recognition / acknowledgement and promotion. The VP says their new You Tube channel will be used to pull in more customers and will be the spot where viewers can find out about their new animation first. It was the first jointly established site with an animation production company when it went live on August 1. Gonzo plans aggressive use of You Tube and has had over 110,000 video views as of August 27th although it hasn’t solved the problem of copyright infringement in other areas of the site. The net option is expected to be persued explicitly in the future. Uchida thinks a challenging environment will exist in the video production industry for sometime to come. He says content distribution needs to go into the next generation with product being adapted for all the emerging technologies from handheld video player to hidef disc and cites the advent of the video cassette in how change is nothing new in the industry.
8-31-07 (9:16PM EDT)—- Will Gundam 00 Series Run Only 6 Months?
There’s been some unconfirmed speculation in fan circles that the latest Gundam TV animation, Gundam 00 (official title: Kido Senshi Gandam double-o”), will only get a 6 month (26 episode) run in Japan when it starts broadcasting in hi-vision high definition format (the first ever Gundam series to do so) on October 6th on MBS and affiliate networks. The traditional format for Gundam television series almost exclusively since 1979 has been a 1 year run and currently the latest series is also currently officially slated to go 1 year as well. 00 will be directed by Seiji Mizushima with scenario written by Yosuke Kuroda and character designs by Yun Koga. Breaking from past traditions, the series will be set in 2307 AD of the Gregorian christian era calendar system.
8-31-07 (8:17PM EDT)—- Kissa Fugees Robbing Spree
Shoplifting by so-called “net cafe refugees” is said to be on the spike recently around Tokyo. The term is applied to otherwise homeless working poor who use manga / internet cafes as permanent / semi permanent housing. Reports include stolen DVD, manga, game software and electronic products such as PCs and digicams which are being hocked in second-hand goods shops and via net auction. The revenue is then being used to pay cafe “room and board” fees extending to admissions, showers and meals. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has been implementing countermeasures with over 15 shops, and sites and making arrests where possible. They have also been calling for net / manga cafes to demand guest’s identification, which has traditionally not been required in the past. Hotspots of activity have centered around Akihabara’s Manseibashi Police Station. 225 were arrested there for shoplifting in ’06 and so far 87 have been arrested between January and June of this year (now approaching double where we were over the same time period last year). 70+% of offenders were in ther 20’s-30’s. 80 percent were deemed homeless and police believe 60% of the number are so-called “net cafe refugess”. It’s not hard to find new goods to “feed the beast” as it were either in otaku and electronics haven of Akihabara where there are currently around 600 electronics stores and 400 second hand goods shops within 500 meters each other. The thieves are said to be very savy in disabling magnetic antitheft devices from more expensive merchandise as well.
8-6-07 (3:44AM EDT)—- Onegai Sake Roadtrip!
Following up our August 1st news, an MX5 and RX8 owner took a 250 km daytrip this past weekend to the Lake Kizaki campsite. The location is just about the only place you can buy a bottle of 19.8 year vintage Onegai Sake! Fan favorite illustrator Taraku Uon (Onegai Sensei!) has created 2 original label illustrations for the new line of sake being offered by the lake. The 2 720ml varieties of rice wine being offered currently are Seishu Mizuho (2100 Yen) and Seishu Oneti (1785 Yen). Locations in the Onegai series were said to be based on those around Kizaki. At both links you can see some pics from inside the campground’s main lodge which is adorned with hand drawn illustrations by the creator.
8-3-07 (8:25AM EDT)—- Pierrot Launches Magical Girls Site
Following the release of the Magical Angel Creamy Mami DVD Memorial Box set back on July 27th, Studio Pierrot has put up a special web section dedicated soley to its Magic Girls properties. There you’ll find subsites for Mami and Magical Fairy Persia, Magical Star Magical Emi, Magical Idol Pastel Yumi and Magical Stage Fancy Lala.
8-3-07 (8:16AM EDT)—- Koji Yamamura Preparing New Anime Short
Koji Yamamura’s Yamamura Animation is said to be working on a 5 minute new short entitled Kodomo No Keijijougaku (Children’s Metaphysics). Planned completion is expected within the year. He’s wholly producing it himself.
8-3-07 (8:09AM EDT)—- Votoms Pailsen Files Debut
A special event seems to be brewing on Saturday, September 8th where the latest Votoms Pailsen Files OAV will be officially premiered in Japan. Fans can apply to attend at the link.
8-3-07 (8:08AM EDT)—- Tokyo Majin Sequel Site
The website for the Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho: Tou 2nd Act TV series has gone live at www.majin2.com. Broadcast begins August 27th.
8-3-07 (7:59AM EDT)—- 2nd Bleach: The Diamond Dust Rebellion Stills Go Live
The official Bleach website now hosts a few new images for Gekijou Ban BLEACH The DiamondDust Rebellion Mou Hitotsu No Koori Wa Maru. The film opens nationwide via Toho theaters on the Saturday, December 22nd in Japan.
8-3-07 (7:53AM EDT)—- Shinreigari / Ghost Hound Broadcast Debut In October
Masamune Shirow and Production I.G.’s first collaboration since 1994’s Ghost In The Shell: The Shinreigari / Ghost Hound TV anime has been given a Thursday, October 18th, 23:30 premiere on WOWOW.
8-3-07 (6:41AM EDT)—- You’re Under Arrest: Full Throttle Website Renewed
TBS renewed their official website for the upcoming Taiho Shichauzo: Full Throttle TV series scheduled to begin broadcast this autumn. Confirmed staff include Director: Koichi Ohata, Series Composer: Natsuko Takahashi, Character Designer Atsuko Nakajima, Animation Producer Studio Deen and confirmed cast members Akiko Hiramatsu, Sakiko Tamagawa, Bin Shimada, Etsuko Kozakura, Rica Matsumoto. Based on the original Kosuke Fujishima comedy / action / mecha manga published from 1986 to 1992 in Kodansha’s Weekly Morning Party Special Issue. Seven original collected volumes exist on the market along with five renewal versions, six new renewal versions, and four pocket editions. The story has also been adapted to novel form, video games, pachinko games, a 9 episode live action 2002 TV drama which featured an opening theme by Mariah Carrey and a cameo appearance by Bob “The Beast” Sapp, and many animation renditions. Those included: a 1994 OVA series (an interesting sidenote is the animation similarities between this and the Patlabor OVA are often compared in Japanese circles, it turns out the same staff were working on both projects more or less simultaneously), a 1996-97 TV series, a 2001 TV series, a 1999 film. Fujishima’s tuner car and bike fetish are prominately featured throughout and viewers are treated to intricate petrol head details of heavily modified Honda Todays, Motocompo’s, NSX’s, Step Wagons, Legends, Yamaha YSR50’s, RZ350’s, Suzuki GSX-R 750’s, Toyota Sports 800’s, Subaru R2’s, and Nissan Skylines. After 5 years, Full Throttle is postured to give the franchise a revival. In the new story, pretty policegirl duo Miyuki Kobayakawa and Natsumi Tsujimoto have long since split as partners and gone their seperate paths. Natsumi has undergone special forces training with the JSDF, meanwhile Miyuki has gone to America to learn scientific criminal investigation (forensics) with the Los Angeles police department. When they come together again with their new skills what will be the outcome?
8-3-07 (5:51AM EDT)—- Naisho No Tsubomi To Be Animated
According to the 7/28 released edition of Naisho no Tsubomi: Mebae, the moe Yu Yabuuchi manga will be adapted to TV animation. Details at this time are uncertain although it’s said the animation project is progressing according to the paper obi belt which wraps the dust jacket of the book. Telecast is scheduled for next spring in Japan. Unconfirmed staff have been hinted at including: Director Nobuhiro Takamoto, Composition and Scenario by Imagawa Yasuhiro, Character Design by Ten Nakano, Music Production by Frontier Works and Animation Production by Studio Deen. The manga is billed as a sex education comic for girls. It has been serialized in Shogakukan’s Yon Nensei and Go Nensei (aimed at 11 year olds although the main character Tachibana Tsubomi reains a 10 year old 4th grade elementary school student) magazines since 2004. Aside from enjoying popularity from the principle target demographic once the otaku got wind of the story which centers on young girls, love and sex, the series became a phenomenon. Writeups on which, appeared in many mainstream magazines. “We’ve got another print run of 20,000 copies for late May. It’s hardly rare for a comic to sell 30,000 copies, but it is almost unheard of for a series of works directed at elementary school children to do so well,” a spokesman for Shogakkan, the publisher of the manga, tells Shukan Shincho. Demand for Naisho no Tsubomi has been so great since its April 27 release that the manga retailing for 410 yen is going for almost five times that amount in online auction sites. 3 collected volumes currently exist on the market.
8-3-07 (5:30AM EDT)—- Saishuu Shiken Kujira Anime To Stream Online
Starchild launched an official website for its Saishuu Shiken Kujira animation, the first episode of which is scheduled to stream freely from August 25th.
8-3-07 (4:59AM EDT)—- Myself;Yourself Anime And Game Updates
On August 31st Yeti’s official Myself;Yourself website confirmed the series will be adapted to animation, to begin broadcast in October, 2007. The PlayStation 2 game is scheduled to go on sale November 29, 2007. “MyYou” as its also known, features Character Design and Art Supervision by Sasaki Mutsumi (Happy Lesson), the storyline occurs in a fictional country town in Wakayama prefecture. Following their work on ‘I/O’, this marks the debut 100% in-house creative project for X-rated game label Yeti. The limited edition game package will retail at 10,290 Yen and include a special picture book and soundtrack. Yeti is planning a big presence at “Comic Market 72” in August, 2007. A prologue novelization began serializing from the May, 2007 edition of Dengeki G’s Magazine. Dengeki Playstation has some of the first character sketches from the planned 13 episode (30 mins each) TV version. Staff include director: QZo, Series Composition/Scenario by Go Zappa, Character Designs by Tomoya Hiratsuka, Animation by Dogakobo. Cast will include Koshimizu Ami, Tomoko Kanada and Ayumi Murata.
8-3-07 (4:48AM EDT)—- “ASIENCE: HAIRY TALE” Selected To Compete At Ottawa Animation Festival
“Asience: Hairy Tale,” the creative challenge directed by Kazuto Nakazawa for Kao Corporation, has been selected for the Official Competition in the Commissioned Films – Promotional Animation Section at the Ottawa 2007 International Animation Festival (OIAF 2007), to be held in Ottawa, Canada, from September 19 to 23, 2007. This year, the festival received 2077 entries from 74 countries, and only 97 films have been selected for competition. Created by Production I.G for Kao Corporation’s Asience shampoo, “Asience: Hairy Tale” is a 60-second animated film directed by Kazuto Nakazawa, who gained international fame by directing the animation part in Quentin Tarantino’s world hit “Kill Bill: Vol. 1.” Nakazawa also designed the characters and directed the animation. Art direction is entrusted to Shuichi Hirata, the texture wizard behind the stunning artwork of Cannes-nominated “Innocence” and Annecy-selected “xxxHOLiC – A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The graphic style of “Asience: Hairy Tale” is visually inspired by the Japanese woodblock prints, and personalized by Nakazawa’s nervous and expressive brush touch used for the characters outlines. Without any support from 3D animation, the brush lines were painstakingly traced with pencil on paper by the in-between staff. The story concept, focusing on woman?fs hair as metaphor of feminine life, is portrayed as a tragic love story in a samurai drama fashion.
8-3-07 (4:48AM EDT)—- Oshii And Takahashi Talk FLAG: The Director’s Cut
Animate has some images from a theatrical premiere screening of FLAG: The Director’s Cut – Issenman no Kufura no Kiroku held in Shinjuku back on July 5-6. Director Mamoru Oshii came to the aide of his friend FLAG Supervisor Ryosuke Takahashi, speaking there. The Sunrise animation uses a documentary style format featuring several unique camera angles and story told as if looking through a viewfinder. The work was a net exclusive when it debuted in 2006. All 13 stories will arrive in 110 minute Blu-Ray high-definition format and 5.1ch surround in Japan on August 8th, retail is 8,190 Yen. The DVD version will be 7,140 Yen. www.flag20xx.net
8-3-07 (4:16AM EDT)—- Zero no Tsukaima: Futatsuki no Kishi New Webs
MXTV launched its website for Zero no Tsukaima: Futatsuki no Kishi.
8-3-07 (4:04AM EDT)—- Vexille Guidebook
In case you’re looking for some grounding before or after viewing the new film Vexille: 2077 Nippon Sakoku, Vexille: The Complete Guide goes on sale in Japan August 9th. It’s described as an indispensable guide book fully loaded with previously unpublished illustrations and detailed information, interviews with key staff, motion capture and CGI techniques, character, setting and mecha data. Published by Shogakukan Productions. The retail will be 1,890 Yen for the B5 size 96 page book.
8-3-07 (3:58AM EDT)—- Koutetsu Sangokushi TV DVD 2 Video Preview
Konami has uploaded the TV commercial for its Koutetsu Sangokushi TV DVD volume 2 here. Click the rectangle with the letters CM to view it.
8-3-07 (3:36AM EDT)—- DRAGONAUT THE RESONANCE Site Goes Live
TV Tokyo opened its website for DRAGONAUT THE RESONANCE at www.tv-tokyo.co.jp/anime/dragonaut/. The official website proper is www.dragonaut.com The premiere is scheduled for 25:00 on Wednesday, October 3, 2007 via the network.
8-3-07 (3:32AM EDT)—- Bandai Visual Announces 4 New Anime On Blu-Ray
B Bandai Visual Japan announced four new anime for Blu-Ray format release, They are: Patlabor WXIII (10/26/07), Spriggan, Metropolis and Memories (all three hit on 11/23/07).
8-3-07 (3:23AM EDT)—- Straight Jacket Preview / Presentation Video
The official website for the forthcoming Strait Jacket OVA has updated with the pilot T.O. Entertainment (Dead Leaves) presentation preview video as shown at 2005’s inagural Tokyo Project Gathering. Author Ichiro Sakaki (Scrapped Princess) created the property. Their third offering of wallpaper has also began, it will be up for 4 weeks.
8-3-07 (2:53AM EDT)—- 2nd Evangelion Movie Trailer Unveiled
Gainax announced it will rollout it’s second official trailer for the forthcoming Wevangeriwon Shin Gekijou Ban: Jo film. The spot will hit theaters nationwide in Japan on Saturday, August 4th. The new preview will use the theme song “Beautiful World” along with never before seen footage. It will show in theaters before being available on the web and elsewhere. The opening for the movie is set for September 1st. Additionally, the company will have a booth themed directly on the new film at Wonder Festival 2007 on Sunday, August 12th, 2007. The latest preview will be looping on screens there, you can scope information on the project and see what the various related companies are up to. A lifesize Rei Ayanami and scale version of the Longinus Lance will be on display. Some limited goods will be on sale and COSPA will show its new white and red version plugsuit costumes off. www.evangelion.co.jp
8-3-07 (2:35AM EDT)—- First Images: Blue Drop
Goo Anime has some of the first cut frame stills from the anime adaptation of Eat Man / RAY creator Yoshitomi Akihito’s BLUE DROP (Tenshi no Bokura). Broadcast start is set for October, 2007. A markedly new world from that of the Media Works comic is said to become the stage. Yoshitomi will take charge of the character design and scenario for seven stories of the animation. Masahiko Okura of Yukikaze fame will direct. blue-drop.jp
8-3-07 (2:30AM EDT)—- Syugo Chara TV Start
Syugo Chara has been greenlit for an October 6th 9:30 TV debut on TV Tokyo.
8-3-07 (2:22AM EDT)—- Maids And Otaku Luminaries At Watering Ceremony
27 maids in total particpated in the annual Uchimizu Musume Dai Shuugou! Pure Water Throwing event held near the UDX building ramp in front of Akihabara Station at the noon on August 1st. The symbolic ceremony is in its 4th year and for 2007 the theme is global warming prevention. Ira Ishida of Akihabara@DEEP, Namiya Yutaka (NANA), and Masaru Yamada participated. Akiba Kakaku has pics.
8-3-07 (1:31AM EDT)—- Lucky Star Radio Theme Hits Oricon Singles Rankings
Akira Kogami (Hiromi Konno) and Minoru Shiraishi (Minoru Shiraishi)’s single Aimai Net Darin (11,426 copies sold) has debuted in 10th place on the Oricon singles charts for the week dated August 6th. The tune is the opening theme to the smash hit radio version of Lucky Star. The fact that a radio program theme has made the charts is said to be extremely exceptional.
8-3-07 (1:05AM EDT)—- Princess Crown PVC From Yujin
Further proving “what used to be cool is cool again”, Yujin is producing a SR DXD Princess Gradoriel moveable PVC figure to hit the Japanese market at the end of November for 4,935 Yen. The 13 year old princess was a central character in the 1997 Sega Saturn Atlus RPG Princess Crown. The game was ported to PSP in 2005. The piece will feature 20 areas of articulation. The “Crown Of Light” and “Royal Family’s Sword” will be bundled along. Kyoichi Kawamura of WaxWorks designed the prototype. Dengeki has some detailed photos.
8-2-07 (11:52PM EDT)—- World Cosplay Summit 2007 Dialed In – Eager For USA Rejoining In 2008
August 1st saw the international candidates for the World Cosplay Summit 2007 trotted out for a small tour of Tokyo as they promoted the big event which will occur this Sunday (August 5th) in Nagoya. Stops included a courtesy call at the ministry of foreign affairs where they met Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Katsuhito Asano. Perhaps the most famous otaku in Japan, Foreign Minister Taro Aso was not able to attend as he was at the ASEAN security meeting in Manila. Asano was said to have done some classic anime moves when posing for pictures with the group and was quoted as saying: “My boss is a total manga geek. He must be sorry to miss this.” “When we talk about serious foreign policy, we don’t get this kind of media response.” A press conference was held at The Tokyo Anime Center in Akihabara later on in the day. Around 45 media representatives attended. WCS brings together young people who love anime and manga and compete in “costume play” by dressing up as their favorite characters. Technique is critically examined as is the quality of the clothing which must be all made from scratch by the players. Aichi TV hosts the show which has been held annually since 2003. 14 pairs from 12 representative countries currently participate, the latest added countries include South Korea, Denmark and Mexico. Following a scandal in 2006, the United States will not have a representative showing for the second year on the trot. WCS officials have commented to ANS that they are eager see a US return which could take place as early as next year. Before that can happen though, an organizational infrastructure centered around an event has got to be selected and established to pick the candidates. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport are backing up WCS in the vein of promoting international exchange and tourism visa via their “Visit Japan Campaign”. Cosplay celeb Shoko Nakagawa has been chosen as a Guest Commentator and World Cosplay Goodwill Ambassador for the summit this year. Celebrity mangaka Monkey Punch of Lupin III fame and a number of the singers of the original themes of the anime will appear as special guests. Side events will include a parade of around 100 cosplayers on the 4th.
8-2-07 (11:15PM EDT)—- Trigger Heart Exelica 1/8 PVC Figure
ALTER has produced a 1/8 PVC statue based on Warashi’s shooting videogame Exelica. The Sega Naomi hardware based series gained cult status after being released to arcades in early 2006 and later became a surprise hit when it was more recently ported to the mostly defunct Dreamcast console. Frontier Works and Geneon Entatamment are managing the property and a Drama CD spinoff will arrive in Japan on August 24th.
8-2-07 (10:11PM EDT)—- GDH Opens GONZO DOGA on YouTube Japan
GONZO reports they’ve struck up a new content hosting service deal with Google, Inc. and will open GONZO DOGA (http://jp.youtube.com/user/GONZODOGA), an official GONZO channel on the popular video sharing website YouTube Japan. YouTube is a popular video sharing website that allows users to view and share their original video files worldwide on the Internet. The service has been made available in Japanese since June 2007. GDH will open GONZO DOGA, an official channel within YouTube Japan from which promotional footage of GONZO’s animation and various other video content produced by GDH Group companies will be streamed. The channel will also invite the users to other GDH-related websites such as GONZO Style, an online merchandise shop, and official websites of GONZO animation titles. Upon opening of GONZO DOGA, GDH will stream promotional footage of RED GARDEN, DEAD GIRLS, SoltyRei, SpeedGrapher and other titles. Many more will be added to this lineup in the future to enhance the extensive variety of video content offered to the users. GDH will also monitor and request removal of GDH group companies’ material found outside of GONZO DOGA on YouTube Japan pages which are posted without authorization. In this effort to eliminate unofficial content from YouTube, GDH will work with Google to seek out how best to manage traffic of user-posted videos of GONZO titles.
8-2-07 (6:06AM EDT)—- Gurren Lagann Online Beta Ends Abruptly
Konami has pulled the plug on its beta test of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Chouzetsu Hakkutsu ONLINE citing technical problems that are arising for users which are too difficult to easily repair. Crtically damaging the windows registry forcing a total reinstall of the OS, the game developer had been snail mailing 500GB external hard drives and backup software to users previously.
8-2-07 (5:52AM EDT)—- Aso Goes For Militray Otaku Cosplay At ASEAN Formal
Word on the street had Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso presenting a US military style “bootcamp” skit at a closed-door cabaret held on Wednesday night in Manila prior to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) annual security meeting. Last year’s event saw Aso cosplaying as Humphrey Bogart, and joined by Ultraman, and various other pop Japanese characters. Totally unrelated, Assorted Products recently began selling camo Taro Aso wallpaper.
8-2-07 (4:53AM EDT)—- Netrunner Magazine Publication Suspended
Softbank Creative has announced they’ll indefinitely suspend the publication of Netrunner Magazine, a Japanese language publication devoted to the IT-PC world, with the November issue, scheduled to go on sale October 6th. The subject of P2P and hacking were frequent ones in its pages and it gained a controversial “2600” style reputation for exploring both the how-to / positive and negative sides to these issues. On November 24th, 2004 a 1 shot 5,250 Yen OVA DVD entitled “Netrunmon THE MOVIE #1 Net no Sumi de Blog to Sakebu!” was created based on the mascot characters (and featured alot of other famous Japanese net chara mascot likenesses such as 2ch’s Mona) to celebrate the 5th anniversary, a series of action figures were also sold. Animated by studio Hibari, Kazuhiko Godo wrote the script, Poyoyon Rock served as Character Designer and Shouhei Ohara covered Mecha Designs, Revo and Sound Horizon handled music. The voice cast was equally appraised highly, including Kappei Yamaguchi in the lead role of BB Runner. A sequel was rumored to be in the works allthough it has yet to materialize. Beginning in 1999, magazine circulation soared to as high as 200,000 in 2002 but recently slumped to 80,000 more recently. Publishers said the mag’s mission had come to an end with the advent of widespread broadband access, etc..
8-2-07 (3:45AM EDT)—- Arashi Manga Revives In Comic Gumbo
According to recent preview ads, Mitsuru Sagaya’s 30 year old comic Game Center Arashi will be picked up as a new series “Salary Man Trader Arashi” in free manga magazine “Comic Gumbo”. It will begin running in print August 7th, 2007 and should be available to view online as well. The original 17 volume manga was serialized in Shogakukan’s CoroCoro Comics from 1978-1984, selling over 5 million copies and spawning a 26 episode TV series (animated by Shin’ei Doga in 1982). The plot revolved around Arashi Ishino, a young arcade video gamer and featured his various competitions with rivals. The impact and co-relationship with the then infantile Japanese otaku industries was said to be huge, it was the first manga to deal with video gaming and was one of the first works to tie video games, players, anime and manga together culturally. The story won the The 28th Shogakukan Manga Prize in 1982 and strongly challenged the Doraemon focused nucleus of Coro Coro Comics. Real games of the time such as Space Invaders were portrayed. Sagaya’s master was Shotaro Ishinomori who he worked with on books like Masked Rider before breaking off on his own. The new series features a grown up Arashi who works in the financial (stock market) sector. It will make the cover of the debut issue and the first part of the story will be in color.
8-2-07 (3:13AM EDT)—- R Type Tactics Figure Omake
If you reserve and order R Type Tactics Japanese PSP version online via Sega Direct, looks like you can get a limited edition R-9A black version figure exclusive to sales associated through the retail channel. Oddly enough, Amazon Japan is offering a figure with their version although the color is not mentioned.
8-2-07 (2:46AM EDT)—- Yahoo Anime Fundraising
Yahoo Japan recently launched a feature that allows volunteers to make donations to organizations online via portal subsites. Webmasters with their own sites can also crosslink to the pages. In return you get an exclusive wallpaper and the satisfaction of knowing your money has gone to a worthy cause. 2 of the most popular currently featured prominately on their main page are Evangelion and Pokemon efforts. Kazoku De Tanoshi Mu! Pokemon Tokushuu Rendou Bokin (Family Enjoyment – Pokemon Feature) is working to help needy children worldwide via UNICEF Japan. They’ve gathered 1,607,563 Yen to-date. Make A Wish Japan has teamed with GAINAX’s Evangelion franchise to offer Shin Seiki Evangelion Souryoku Tokushuu (New Age Evangelion – All One’s Energy Feature). So far they’ve amassed 954,815 Yen.
8-2-07 (2:37AM EDT)—- Plarail Extremes
A fan / builder of Takara / Tomy’s Plarail trainbuilding set has gone balls out, creating a blog dedicated his vision of squeezing as much functional track into the space of 1 tattami mat (1.62 square meters). Like most of modern day Tokyo, this has seen him go vertical to the tune of 16 scale sized floors.
8-2-07 (2:09AM EDT)—- 2 Channel: The Condom
Fuji Latex will market a new condom based on Japan’s largest internet forum 2 Channel. Box art liberally utilizes the image of 2chan cat mascot Mona. The condom is fully functional aiding in the prevention of pregnancy and transmission of disease in sex. Fuji contacted 2ch creator Hiroyuki Nishimura on the collaboration of iconic pop imagery and their condoms to generate safety awarness among young people. A part of the finaincial revenue will go back to the management of the site. When it goes on sale on September 1st in Japanese convenience and drugstores, 1050 Yen will net you a Mona illustration decorated box containing 8 pink colored and slef lubricated condoms.
8-1-07 (11:59PM EDT)—- Onegai Sake!
Fan favorite illustrator Taraku Uon (Onegai Sensei!) has created 2 original label illustrations for a new line of sake being offered by Lake Kizaki. The 2 720ml varieties of rice wine being offered currently are Seishu Mizuho (2100 Yen) and Seishu Oneti (1785 Yen). Locations in the Onegai series were said to be based on those around Lake Kizaki. The linked site mentions the latest offering as a “sales restart”, apparantly in the past 300ml bottles with smaller labels were sold in the past. Hokuan Jouzou brewing of Omachi City manufactured the products. Sales are being handled through the Kizaki Lake campground vending station and via direct mail.