Anime News Service – December 1-12 Anime News

12-12-05 (12:39PM EST)—- Paprika / Toki Wo Kakeru Press

Madhouse has drafted an Official Press Release on their coming anime film adaptations of the Yasutaka Tsutsui novels Paprika / Toki Wo Kakeru. The majority of the information therin is already known however, it seems the Madhouse subsidiary, Index Corporation will have a pronounced role in the development of these projects. Additionally, Paprika, which had been listed with a 2006 debut has been confirmed in the release for a 2007 theatrical opening in Japan. Finally, the news site Little Harlock’s Newslog’s (which many English news sites have cited as the story’s origin) source for Paprika Script writer Kiyosuke Mizukami was incorrect according to the new press release. ANS tanranslated these details seperately last week and correctly arrived at Seishi Minakami (Paranoia Agent / Boogiepop Phantom). The kanji is very similar for both names.

12-12-05 (10:06AM EST)—- Pretty Cure 2 Aims For 1 Billion Yen Opening

This wekeend Toei Animation’s new film Pretty Cure Max Heart 2 opened in Japan. According to Toei, their target box office for the opening weekend is 1 billion Yen. The first movie which opened in April earned 850 million Yen for it’s opening.

12-12-05 (9:18AM EST)—- Female Otaku Admit Little Stress

Intage and Yahoo Research Monitor recently conducted a survey of females. The investigation was conducted among 598 women in their 20’s-40’s. The actual breakdown was: women in the 20’s: 29.4%, 30’s: 33.8%, 40’s: 36.8%. The investigation was held November 29th – December 2nd. 87.0% of answers admitted “It is likely to be enthusiastic now (Fit in)”, In the object field (two or more answers), “Internet” was the answer of 22.7%, “Fashion” was the answer of 39.5%, “Travel” 22.4%. and “Movie” 21.6%. 13.0% said they were enthusiastic about nothing. 20.4% said they were otaku. Hobbies among those who revealed their otaku status included: Manga And Anime: 32.6%, Pet: 26.1%, Entertainer: 26.7%. 36.5% said “Life Today Is Happy”. 54.9% said they had little or no stress in their lives.

12-12-05 (9:18AM EST)—- Angelique To Be Animated

Based on Koei’s flagship dating sim “Angelique” seires which debuted in 1994, Angelic will be animated in the form of a TV series to begin running in 2006.

12-12-05 (9:11AM EST)—- What Can Japan Boast To World? Anime Tops List

A recent investigation of 200 men and women in their teens was conducted by the Chinese Hokuhodo Institute of Life And Living. When asked “What Can Japan Boast To The World?” animation was the top response for boys and 2nd place response for girls. The survey was done on the Internet in August. Excluding anime, some of the other answers included “Height Of Technology”, “Economic Prosperity”, “Politeness”, and “Cars” came in 10th place for boys.

12-12-05 (8:53AM EST)—- Howl And Geisha Get BFCA Nominations

The American Broadcast Film Crtics Association have come out with their film nominations for 2005. In the category of Best Picture Bob Marshall’s Memoirs of a Geisha (Sayuri) received a nod. Meanwhile in the Best Animated Feature section, Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle was nominated. The winners will be announced in Santa Monica, California on January 9th next year.

12-12-05 (8:13AM EST)—- Studio Ghibli Website Renewal

Preparing for a big announcement on their next feature film expected in the coming days, Studio Ghibli has changed their website design and URL. The new address has not yet been revealed although it will launch on 2:00PM, Tuesday, December 13th. New features on the site will include, picture galleries and 2 diaries which will replace the current one.

12-12-05 (7:47AM EST)—- Anti-Korean Japanese Comic Upsets Patriots

Chosun Illbo reports the manga Ken Kanryu is still pissing off Koreans. Author Sharin Yamano has become a bestselling author, having sold more than 300,000 copies. An interviewed high-ranking Tokyo official said any anti-Korea sentiment comes only from a tiny minority. “I don’t think there is a kind of resentment or hatred or ill-feeling toward Korea mounting in Japan, not at all. There are some groups of people who entertain those sentiment, the so-called conservatives. This is not a prevailing trend, I would say.” Because of the high demand, Amazon-Japan says delivery can take up to six weeks. Nonetheless, there’s a growing appetite. A sequel — called simply �gAnti-Korean Wave 2�h — is coming out by the end of the year.

12-12-05 (7:41AM EST)—- Paramount Acquires Dreamworks

According to Yahoo , Paramount Pictures has succeeded in its bid to purchase Dreamworks SKG. This includes their Go Fish label which holds the rights to anime films Millenium Actress and Ghost In The Shell II: Innocence. Of note in the article is the following: Paramount will retain distribution rights to the 59 library titles, which includes such hits as Oscar-winners “American Beauty” and “Gladiator.” The agreement does not include DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., which was the most profitable part of the company. The animated unit went public last year. Paramount does gain the right to distribute the animated studio’s lucrative films for the next seven years, including the profitable “Shrek” franchise. It will also have the right to make television shows using DreamWorks Animation characters. Grey said the arrangement with DreamWorks Animation makes Paramount a larger player in family and children’s movies. Paramount already produces films with Viacom’s Nickelodeon and MTV cable channels.

12-11-05 (2:19PM EST)—- Evangelion Stamps

Gainax will commision 2 sets of postage stamps to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Each set will feature images of characters Asuka and Rei. Seperately each stamp will cost 80 Yen, sets will be 3.150 Yen. A special illustrated collectors folder will also be made available. Loppi will take reservations until Sunday, December 18th. The actual sale will be carried out on February 7th, 2006.

12-11-05 (1:43PM EST)—- Akiba Shoshinsha Q-sai Tour Update

The Akiba Shoshinsha Q-sai Tour project of GONZO and Nippon Travel Filled it’s 30 attendee slots within one day of the announcement several weeks ago. The tour’s official site recorded 10,000 or more accesses within the same time period. Attendees are varried across demographics, including teenagers through those in their 50’s. Although the January 28th excursion is booked up 2nd tour to be held on February 4nd has been announced. Discover more At the official website.

12-11-05 (1:10PM EST)—- Gokujo Seitokai Web Comic

Dengeki has revealed Konami’s Gokujo Seitokai has revived as a webcomic, you can view the first serial at the above link.

12-11-05 (1:10PM EST)—- Broccoli Unveils Comi-Digi

Broccoli has announced a new manga magazine in Japan entitled Comi-Digi, the first isue goes on sale in Japan January 10th.

12-11-05 (1:06PM EST)—- 26th Japan SF Prize Announced

The Science Fiction Writers of Japan organization have revealad the winner of their 26th Nihon SF Taisho Award. The novel is Tobi Hirotaka’s “Katadorareta Chikara” (“Kaleidoscape” – official English title). At the same time the 7th Japanese SF Rookie Of The Year Award was revealed as Shinichi Tatatsu for his “Murder Iron”. Anime fans and industry watchers should be conscious of these selections as popular Sci-Fi novels are increasingly being optioned for anime adaptations. A past winning novel of this award, To Uubutaka’s Murdock Scramble is being produced into an OVA presently.

12-11-05 (12:37PM EST)—- BRIDGE Production Start

First reported here back on October 24th, Neoplex and 21 City’s CG science fiction animation tentatively titled BRIDGE will begin production in Japan in January. The film will be directed by Academy Award winning John Gaeta, known for his mindbending SFX work on the Wachowski Brothers’ MATRIX trilogy. Actor Takao Osawa (Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World) will star. As far as new staff, Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex’s Yoshiki Sakurai will write the screenplay. Casshern’s Koji Nozaki will supervse CG Visual Effects. Yahoo will make the animation available online to Americans in the spring followed by broadband and theatrical release across Japan. DVD release is slated for the summer.

12-11-05 (10:40AM EST)—- New Magazine For Anime Creators

Science and hobby publisher Seibundo Shinkosha has announced a new magazine for animation creators in Japan. Titled “Animation Note”, The sale of the first issue is set for the end of December. Planned articles include a feature “HOW TO Animation” which interviews Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and independent anime director Makoto Shinkai (Place Promised In Our Early Days, Voices Of A Distant Star). From the layout it appears the new publication is centering on CG 2D-3D and other digital methods of creation. The introduction of Animation Note continues a trend in Japan this year of specialized magazines whose content is aimed away from past synthesis models embraced by the likes of Animage, Newtype etc.. It might also be said that the magazine addresses one of the facets of the so-called crisis facing the Japanese animation industry recently, that being, a lack of inspiration to draw in new talent and creators.

12-11-05 (10:40AM EST)—- Arashi No Yoruni To Screen In 24 Countries

Toho’s stage greeting for the new anime film Arashi No Yoruni was held in Tokyo on the 10th. There it was revealed the movie is already scheduled to be distributed in 24 countries outside Japan. The work is based on a series of popular picture books by author Yuichi Kimura. Although written for children, the series’ readership has spread to a adult audeince as well. It’s become a major bestselling series with a total of 1.3 million+ books sold thus far. Overseas distribution rights for the film were first negotiated at the Cannes International Film Festival in May of this year. Theatrical openings for 3 countries in Europe, the Russian Federation and 6 countries in Asia have already been decided. Final details are being worked out with companies in ten or more additional countries. The story centers on a wolf and goat’s interactions and adventures in the natural world.

12-11-05 (10:37AM EST)—- Blackjack Film To Go Global

Opening on the 17th of this month in Japan, the new Black Jack anime movie, “TWO DARK DOCTORS” had it’s premiere screening recently. There staff and cast were on hand to talk about the production. Included was the director, Osamu Tezuka (Tezuka’s son) who said the film was going to get a worldwide distribution. Taiwan will be the first major market targeted with about a ten theater spread in January or February next year. Additional negotiations are underway to get Blackjack into Hong Kong, China, and Italy.

12-11-05 (10:37AM EST)—- 2006 Crayon Shinchan Movie Site

The official website for the 2006 Crayon Shinchan movie is now live at www.shinchan-movie.com.

12-11-05 (9:19AM EST)—- Cream Lemon Official Site

Due to open in theaters in 2006, the website for Cream Lemon is now live at creamlemon.jp. It’s being speculated the new work is a remake.

12-11-05 (8:55AM EST)—- Ayakashi Site

Toei Animation has launched an official website for it’s new TV series Ayakashi: Classic Japanese Horror.

12-11-05 (8:48AM EST)—- REC Broadcast Start

An official broadcast debut for the coming TV series REC has been given by TBS as 25:55 on Thursday, February 2, 2006.

12-11-05 (8:48AM EST)—- KinikuMan II Site

Toei Animation has launched an introduction page for it’s new TV work KinikuMan II Ultimate Muscle. The broadcast start is January 4th on TV Tokyo.

12-11-05 (8:45AM EST)—- Mardock Scramble Site

GONZO has opened the official website for it’s upcoming OVA animation Mardock Scramble at mardockscramble.com.

12-11-05 (8:36AM EST)—- New Pokemon Movie Site

The official website for the coming 2006 Pokemon Movie “Pokemon Ranger To Ao Umi No Ouji” (Pokemon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea) is now live at www.pokemon-movie.jp. The story deals with characters of the Pokemon Advance Generation who discover a mysterious new Pokemon who comes from deep in the ocean. Opening will occur Saturday, July 15 in Toho affiliated theaters across Japan.

12-11-05 (8:25AM EST)—- Wings Of Rean Preview

The free preview for the inital episode of Wings Of Rean has come and gone, it’s been mentioned in some internet discussions among Japanese fans that the 12 hour “free streaming window” which occured between Dec. 10th 21:00-09:00 Dec. 11th might have been designed with overseas viewers in mind.

12-11-05 (8:14AM EST)—- Zegapain Presite

First mentioned here earlier in the year, Sunrise has opened the doors to the presite of it’s coming mecha TV series Zegapain.

12-11-05 (8:14AM EST)—- Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo Site

Previously reported here earlier in the week, Kadokawa Shoten has launched a site for the coming Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo film.

12-10-05 (8:11AM EST)—- Himawaritsu Site

First reported here eariler in the week, the official website for the coming ARMS TV series Himawaritsu! (Sunflower!) is now live.

12-11-05 (8:06AM EST)—- Eien No Aseria OVA 2

The second OVA volume of Eien No Aseria has been given a March, 2006 release date.

12-11-05 (8:01AM EST)—- Gundam Zeta III Movie Site

The official website for the third Zeta film is now live at http://www.z-gundam.net/. The nationwide theatrical premiere will occur in Japan on Saturday, March 4, 2006.

12-11-05 (7:35AM EST)—- Podcast Japanese Lessons

japancast.net has began offering free Japanese lessons in podcast format for anime otaku. Hosted by the lovely Hitomi-sensei, you will learn common Japanese phrases spoken in anime. Feel free to write in with questions from your favorite anime.

12-10-05 (5:20AM EST)—- HYDE And Mika Nakashima To Reunite On Blood+

After tying up for the main theme to the smash hit live action film NANA, it’s been revealed Mika Nakashima and HYDE will come together again, this time in the world of anime. For NANA, L’Arc-en-ciel’s HYDE wrote the lyrics to the song “Glamorous Sky” which Nakashima sang. The single sold about 500,000 copies. Now it’s been announced this dynamic duo will be featured as musical bookends of sorts to the Blood+ TV series with Hyde providing the Opening theme “SEASONS CALL” from January, and Nakashima providing the Ending tune “CRY NO MORE”. Both singles will be released to the market on February 22nd, 2006. Since their work on NANA, Nakashima appeared in a HYDE solo concert in October.

12-9-05 (8:24PM EST)—- Production I.G. Announces Stock Listing Price

Stock shares of animation studio Production I.G. go public on the JASDAQ securities exchange on December 21st. It’s been decided the initial listing price will have an upper bound of 510,000 Yen, although even that figure is presently tentative. The public advertisement and the sale before it lists 1400 shares will be available for purchase.

12-9-05 (8:24PM EST)—- Music Moguls Want You Jailed For Sharing Song Lyrics

That’s right, it’s not just about song recordings anymore: Infowars.net article.

12-9-05 (3:42PM EST)—- Heiwa Shuppan Declares Bankruptcy

It’s being reported widely in Japan that Heiwa Shuppan has gone bankrupt as of December 5th. The publisher is well known for it’s adult manga and pachinko magazines. Supporting the notion, several hentai manga titles distributed online through LEED publishing’s V.Wave have been discontinued on the same date. You can view a list of those titles at the link. The company was established in December, 1965 and maintains a capital of 10 million Yen, headed by President Kenji Fujiwara. Staff includes� 24 employees at last count. Debt is about one billion Yen. Magazines published also include some car tuning rags such as “Drift Machine And Super Tuning”. Comic related magazines included “T.A.T.u Art Catalog” and “Hanshin Yuushou Special”. A 2 billion 142 million Yen annual turnover was last announced for the fiscal period ending in September, 2004. It’s said the company’s debt load rose from the purchase of a five story corporate headquarters building in November,1995. Struggling also with establishing a hit property, the headquarters building was sold on November 7th this year along with the copyrights etc. of several magazines. Although the funds raised through those efforts was applied to fight the debt, inactive sales continued. Bankruptcy procedures are now underway and relations are being persued with related companies to continue business.

12-9-05 (3:12PM EST)—- Megane Magazine Launches

For those otaku out there with a fetish for guys with glasses, the web-based Megane Magazine has launched. Vol.1 is already open to the public.

12-9-05 (2:44PM EST)—- Sailor Moon Music Composer Takashi Arisawa Dies

Music composer Takashi Arisawa was pronounced dead at 9:51PM on November 26th. He was said to have died from complications related to bladder cancer in a hospital in Ota Ward, Tokyo. He was 54 years old. His funeral was recently held open to close relatives. He composed the soundtracks to much of the Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon animation as well as Bikuriman and many TV dramas and commercials.

12-9-05 (2:36PM EST)—- Aniplex Announces A-1 Pictures

On May 9th Sony’s animation development branch, Aniplex, announced the formation of a new company to develop high quality anime film properties. Known also as A1P, it seems the company will be involved with a “variety of business complexes centering on animation.” Aniplex will work with the company on various projects although it’s mentioned the new studio will be open to other companies to develop their works. Progress of further production technology centering on digitalization is expected. The office location will be in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward. The representative director is Shigekazu Takeuchi. Startup capital is 100 million Yen wholly invested by Aniplex.

12-9-05 (1:00PM EST)—- 25th Ah! My Goddess TV Episode To Stream Online

According to the official TBS website, the 25th unbroadcast Ah! My Goddess TV episode will be available for online viewing courtesy Animate TV from Synday, December 18th. The final DVD volume with unbroadcast episodes 25-26 will be released in Japan on December 23rd.

12-9-05 (12:33PM EST)—- Gau Gau Water Manga Sequel

GauGau Waata (AKA: BowWow Wata) 2 by Umekawa Kazumi will serialize from the first issue of Comic Rex.

12-9-05 (12:27PM EST)—- Dai Mahou Touge OVA Release

The Dai Mahou Touge OVA has been given a March, 2006 release.

12-9-05 (12:11PM EST)—- TV Series Official Title Changes

Based on the manga by Yoshitomi Akihito RAY has been officially renamed “RAY-THE ANIMATION”. Ryou Miya Haruhishirizu has been renamed Ryou Miya Haruhi No Yuuutsu, it’s scheduled for an April broadcast start. Soreyuke! Tetsuyuki Susumu ) has been renamed Wanwanserepusoreyuke! Tetsuyuki Susumu.

12-9-05 (12:05PM EST)—- Witchblade Site

Based on the American comicbook, the upcoming Witchblade TV anime has now gone live. Source: Anime Nation News

12-9-05 (12:03PM EST)—- Sasami ~ Mahou Shoujo Club Trailer

Sasami ~ Mahou Shoujo Club has been given an official broadcast start for the spring of 2006. The first streaming video trailer can now be viewed at the official website.
Source: Anime Nation News

12-9-05 (11:25AM EST)—- Satoshi Kon To Direct Paprika

The next film project for Director Satoshi Kon (Perfect Blue, Millenium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers) will be an animated feature adaptation of Yasutaka Tsutsui’s 1993 book Paprika. The author is known as a modern master of metafiction in Japan and many of his works are often said to warp the minds of readers, being heavily rooted in linguistic tricks and word play. For Paprika the story centers on a female detective who investigates criminal cases by entering the dreams of subjects. Script will be co-written by Seishi Minakami (Paranoia Agent / Boogiepop Phantom) and Satoshi Kon, Character Designs come courtesy Mashi Ando (Paranoia Agent, Spirited Away), Susumu Hirasawa (Berserk) will compose the music. Madhouse will produce the animation. The film is currently scheduled for release sometime in 2006.

12-9-05 (11:16AM EST)—- Murdock Scramble Staff

Staff details are out on GONZO’s highly anticipated adaptation of To Ubukata’s science fiction novel Murdock Scramble: Screenplay: To Ubukata, Director: Yasufumi Soejima (Last Exile), Character Design: Range Murata, Supporting Character Design: Makoto Nagasawa – Kenichiro Hara – Takashi Kumazen (Transformers-Cybertron), Mechanical Design: Shigeto Koyama (Top wo Nerae 2!), Firearm Design: Mahiro Maeda (Animatrix), Art Design: Kobayashi Takehito – Takeda Yusuke, Design Assitance: Tei Shuwa (intentionnallies) – Office Okada

12-9-05 (10:20AM EST)—- 3rd Bedaman Series

“Baku Tama Hit! Crash Bedaman” will become the second sequel of the original animation work when it debuts on on TV Tokyo 01/09 (Monday) at 18:00. Staff includes: Original Concept: Eiji Inomoto, Director: Okumura Yoshiaki (Beyblade, Dragon Drive), Screenplay: Yoshihiro Tomita (Digimon Frontier), Character Design: Takeshi Kimura, Art Director: Nobuhito Sakamoto (Yugioh!), Animation: Nippon Animedia

12-9-05 (9:23AM EST)—- Masami Nagasawa To Star In Rough

After her role in the Live Action version of Touch it’s been announced Masami Nagasawa will star in the film version of Mitsuru Adachi’s manga Rough. The stage will take on an aquatic theme, dealing with a love story between a diver and freestyle swimmer. NANA director Ootani Kentarou has been attached to the project as has screenplay writer Arisa Kaneko. Nagasawa will be doing alot of scenes in a bathing suit, and she’s already begun getting ready for that, her current measurements are Height: 168 cm, B83-5, W57, H82-5. Rough was originally serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday from 1987-89 years, and has sold 15 million copies. Shogakukan is currently re-releasing it via a pocket edition. The film version is expected to utilize CG efects. Filming beginsin March 2006 and the opening is set for Autumn.

12-9-05 (7:30AM EST)—- Cameron’s Message To Oshii

Nikkei BP has added the latest installment of an ongoing style piece on Production I.G. This time, the planning leading up to Ghost In The Shell 2 is talked about. Funding for GITS1 started to come together after Patlabor 2 was released in 1993. Alot of the information here is already known in the English speaking world such as Oshii’s favorite dog is the Basset Hound. He built a house in Atami in 1993. GITS wasn’t successful in Japan immediately although made a big impression in the USA and I.G. setup it’s Los Angeles offices around the same time. It’s said the move and success of GITS1 there greatly changed the destiny of the company. On page 2 you can see a rare image of a hand written note Battle Angel / Titanic Director James Cameron wrote to Oshii praising him on the film. It reads as follows: “Ghost in the Shell is a stunning work of speculative fiction, the first truly adult animation film to reach a level of literary and visual excellence. It’s design, the poetry of it’s visuals, and the depth of it’s themes set it apart among science fiction films. My compliments to Oshii san – an important visionary work. Jim Cameron” The autographed message was exhibited in a Parco museum in Tokyo and Shibuya in the autumn of 2005. GITS1 had a huge impact in Hollywood, besides Cameron, The Wachowski Brothers said it influenced them into making the Matrix. When it came time to do the Animatrix, Production I.G. was consulted to do some of the animation sequnces by Warner Brothers but had to give the response that they were too busy with other works. Director Quentin Tarantino also intially was met with this response when he asked them to work on the Kill Bill animation.

12-9-05 (4:20AM EST)—- Best Selling Japanese Books Of 2005

Japanese publishing industry watcher Tohan has released it’s top 20 list of the best selling books of 2005 (December, 2004 – November, 2005). This is a combination listing of all genres (ie: fiction / non-fiction). The wake of a boom this year in self-help, inspirational, humanitarian works and biographies can be seen. Perhaps a sign of aging Japan’s influence on the market, books released by Buddist humanitarian association Soka Gakkai International (SGI) President Daisaku Ikeda and his wife Koneko (both in or approaching their 70’s) made the top 5. Densha Otoko Author “Nakano Hitori” (which means one of them) is the penname of an anonymous 2-channeler who compiled all the original posts into a website, starting that whole mythos. A few of the fictional works in the rankings have gone on to become popular J-Dramas, Kazuo Aoki’s Happy Birthday was adapted to anime in 1999. News of countless numbers of families across Southeast Asia being displaced and seperated in the 9.0 Great Sumatran Earthquake of 2004 flooded Japanese airwaves this year. Tokyo and the Kanto area has been on notice for sometime now that they are overdue for a megaquake to hit. In Lieu of this, a map became a bestseller. Shinsai Toki Kitaku Shien Map Shutoken Han is designed help people find their houses and places of residence on foot in the event of quakes. You even have your token entry from the international scene in Dan Brown’s Davinci Code. :

1. (Atama Gaii Nin , Warui Nin No Hanashikata)
How Smart and Stupid People Talk – Yuichi Higuchi
2. Kanekoshou – Kaneko Ikeda
3. Saodake Ya Hanaze Tsubure Nainoka?
(Why don’t bamboo pole vendors go broke?) – Shinya Yamada
4. Shin Ningen Kakumei Dai (14)
(The New Human Revolution Vol. 14) – Daisaku Daisaku Ikeda
5. Kore Dake Wa Shitte Okitai Kojin Joho Hogo
(The Very Least You Should Know About Personal Information Protection)
Hisamichi Okamura / Masatomo Suzuki
6. Motto, Iki Tai… (I Want To Live More) – Yoshi
7. Densha Otoko (Train Man) – Nakano Hitori
8. Shinpi No Hou (Mystery Law) – Ryuho Okawa
9. Mondai Na Nihongo (Problematic Japanese) – Yasuo Kitahara
10. Waru No Chie-Bon (The Book Of Wicked Wisdom)
Kado Akira Hisashi To Jinsei No Tatsujin Kenkyuu Kai Hen
11. Tokyo Tower, Okan To Boku To, Tokidoki, Oton – Lily Franky
12. Koi Bana (ao, aka) – Yoshi
13. No Buta Wo Produce – Shiraiwa Gen
14. Shinsai Toki Kitaku Shien Map Shutoken Han
15. Happy Birthday – Kazuo Aoki
16. Darling No Atama N Naka (Inside Darling’s Head) – Oguri Saori and Tony Laszlo
17. The Davinci Code – Dan Brown
18. Kaiketsu Zorori Taberareru!! Kaiketsu Zorori No Dai Dorobou
Hara Yutaka (saku.e)
19. Ikite Shinu Chie (The Wisdom To Live And Die) – Keiko Yanagisawa
20. Seikyou No Shiroishi-san – Shiroishi Masanori

12-9-05 (4:20AM EST)—- New TV Tokyo Anime Portal To Open

TV Tokyo revealed their new associated animation information portal, ani.tv will officially open at 12:12:12 on December 12th (JST). At the same time, their existing portal, Anime X-press will close it’s doors. The move coincides with TV Tokyo’s official listing on Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Mothers index on the same date.

12-9-05 (3:48AM EST)—- New At Vertical

Anne Ishii writes in Vol. 13 of the Vertical Inc. newsletter that Vertical will begin 2006 under Random House distribution. “After three fruitful years with National Book Network, Vertical has decided to move all stock to Random House. Let me remind the viewers at home, that although this means we will be fully represented by the Random House sales and distribution team, this does not mean we’re a Random House imprint.” The Buddha 7 manga will hit stores in a short time and Buddha 8 will be out in a couple weeks. The delayed Parasite Eve, is said to be finally ready for consumption. There’s also a hint Vertical maybe moving their offices soon or at least their address.

12-9-05 (3:45AM EST)—- New Film Based On Santa Inoue Manga

Henshin Online mentions that, among the many live-action titles slated for dvd from MB next year is Neighbor No. 13, a “revenge drama” based on a manga from Tokyo Tribes creator Santa Inoue. Names included in the production are Takashi Miike in a cameo and Yumi Yoshimura of Puffy Ami-Yumi. The release date is March 14. Also of note from the company is the live-action Sukeban Deka movie available on Feb. 28. More upcoming Toko Shock titles can be found at the link. Thanks to Daniel for the item.

12-9-05 (3:43AM EST)—- AEON FLUX Box Set Includes Madhouse Animation

According to a production notes one sheet in the AEON FLUX: The Complete Animated Collection (released in the USA November 22nd), the set includes a 15 second CD-ROM commercial produced at Madhouse Studios.

12-8-05 (2:34PM EST)—- Police Display Confiscated Sailor Outfits

Updating a story we reported on earlier in the week, Sankei Sports has an image of several sailor moon style outfits confiscated from a man charaged with indecent exposure. The articles constitute some of the over 146 items confiscated from the man’s house.

12-8-05 (2:03PM EST)—- Chinese Film Based On Bokko Manga

Anime Nation News reports filming has reportedly just started in Yixian, China, on a live action period action film tentatively titled “Battle of Wisdom.” The film is based on Mori Hideki, Sakemi Kenichi, and Kubota Sentaro’s eleven volume Japanese manga series Bokko. The big budget action epic features an international Asian cast and crew and is already anticipated to be one of China’s biggest film releases of next year. Kung Fu Cinema offers more details.

12-8-05 (12:19PM EST)—- AZN TV Troubles

The San Francisco Chronicle has details on rumored troubles facing AZN TV (previously known as the International Channel). According to their sources the network has all but been stripped down of employees and awaits restructuring.

12-8-05 (10:53AM EST)—- R2 Japanese IGPX DVD’s To Include English

Bandai Visual has revealed the details of 1st IGPX volume set for release on R2 DVD in Japan on February 24, 2006. The disc will include the star studded English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack as well as Japanese stereo audio. With 3 episodes and a 75 minute running time the retail price is 5,569 Yen.

12-8-05 (10:33AM EST)—- Karin TV OP-ED Audio

Animate.TV is now hosting OP (“scarlet” (BRACE;d) and ED (“Another birthday” (Fm.8) audio clips to the new TV series Karin.

12-8-05 (10:02AM EST)—- Saiunkoku Monogatari Update

Staff details are out for the Saiunkoku Monogatari anime we first reported on last week. Since then we’ve learned the project will take the shape of a TV series to broadcast on NHK-BS2 in April, 2006- Original Story: Yukino Sai, Director: Jun Shishido (Beck), Screenplay: Reiko Yoshida (Aria), Animation: Madhouse, Joint Production: Shodo Vision, Production: NHK, Confirmed Seiyuu: Houko Kuwashima, Hikaru Midorikawa, Nobuyuki Hiyama, Tomoyuki Morikawa, Shuichi Ikeda.

12-8-05 (9:02AM EST)—- Ayakashi Staff

Staff details have been announced for the upcoming Ayakashi TV anime. Additionally the title has been seen written in English in the following way “Ayakashi: Classic Japanese Horror”. The series will include 3 parts, based on a different classic Japanese horror story, each will be a mini production in and of itself with unique cast and staff:

Yotsuyakaidan (Yotsuya Ghost Story) – Original Story: Tsuruya Nanboku (1755-1829), Screenplay: Chiaki Konaka (Vampire Princess Miyu TV, Lain), Character Design: Yoshitaka Amano (Vampire Hunter D), Art Director: Hideki Ito (Digimon), Director: Imasawa Tetsuo (GeGeGe No Kitaro 1985)

Tenshu Monogatari – Original Story: Izumi Kyoka (1873-1939), Screenplay: Yuji Sakamoto, Art/Chara Supervison: Yasuhiro Nagura (Metropolis), Director: Kozo Nagayama (Tokyo Love Story), Art Director: Kadota Hidehiko (DBZ)

Bakeneko – Screenplay: Michiko Yokote (Rurouni Kenshin), Art/Char Supervision: Uyamashi Hashimoto (Yomigaeru Sora – Rescue Wings), Director: Kenhi Nakamura (KARAS, Cowboy Bebop)

12-8-05 (8:36AM EST)—- Galaxy Express 999 Stamps

The Japan Post has revealed the 3rd series of their special “anime heros and heroines” postage stamps will go on sale from February 2006. This time the featured series is Galaxy Express 999. Japanese fans have pointed out the illustrations do not appear to be from the movie but from the TV series. Each stamp will be 80 Yen. You can see what they will look like and the characters to be used at the above link.

12-8-05 (7:25AM EST)—- Manga Born Online

The Daily Yomiuri has an in-depth piece on the changing face of manga in Japan. With creations such as Train Man (Densha Otoko) achieving huge popularity having first sprung forth from the internet, the old paradigm of the “serial / magazine birth” for Japanese comics is in some cases being replaced with something new. Hoshi Yoriko’s “Kyouno Neko Mura-san” is mentioned. It started as a fairly simple pencil drawn serial, updated 1-scene per day on the author’s personal web space. Publisher Magazine House acquired the book rights and catapulted it to a bestseller exceeding 230,000 copies. Tomoko Korose of Magazine House says “The environment of the net in which the author was able to draw by her own pace was connected with a peculiar outlook on the world.” Another work, Okumari, runs as an essay style comic discussing the married life of a couple sold 80,000 copies when published as a book, still another Dara Dara Mainichi has sold 35,000 copies in book form. In South Korea where net comics are popular, one work, Junjou Monogatari Junjou Monogatari, has recorded as many as 2 million hits to it’s web serial in one day. Compared to the complexity of printed manga, these net versions seem to all share the trait of being incredibly simplistic. Alot of these works were born on the free personal web space of the creators, never having seen the hand of a professional editor. According to one such editor working for manga publisher Futabasha: “While the arrival of new magazines has been rather sluggish, books born from the net are on the rise. The expression manga is sure to change, too.”

12-8-05 (7:23AM EST)—- Yaoi Manga Bible

Sometime in December Ohta Publishing plans to release the new 220 page Japanese language book “Yappari Boys Love Ga Suki” (After All I like Boys Love). Being called a first of it’s kind yaoi bible, Fumiko Yamamoto + BL Supporters are the authors. Retail is 1,200 Yen. An author and work guide will be included featuring introductions to 16 of the top mangaka (Yamada Yugi, Yoshinaga Fumi) and 12 of the top titles in the BL field.

12-8-05 (6:27AM EST)—- Space Sake To Be Sold

Web Japan reports the following:
Another unique space project is expected to result in a new type of Japanese sake called Tosa Space Sake. Taking part are 19 brewers of Japanese sake in Kochi Prefecture, the prefectural government, and universities. Several types of freeze-dried yeast used in sake brewing were launched into space aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket on October 1, 2005, from the Russian space center in Baikonur. The yeast, along with rice from Kochi, is to be used to brew the sake. The premise behind the project is that the yeast will undergo changes during its 10 days aboard the spaceship, although no one is certain what kind of changes will take place. Sake made using the yeast after it returns to Earth will be sold throughout Japan from April 2006, and there are plans to eventually market it overseas. There are high hopes that the space sake will find favor among consumers keen to get a taste of the extraterrestrial.

12-8-05 (4:26AM EST)—- Moe Guide To The SDF

Livedoor News recently interviewed author Horiba Wataru. He says that beacuse of his work as a military writer, he was persued to author this book for sometime. It’s a small the market to tell the truth, but he had to laughingly question the addition of the Moe theme. Horiba added there have been many military introductions aimed at kids authored in the past though their numbers had decreased recently. “I wanted to make the military book that was able to be read by adults and children easily. Moreover, there is a costume play element in the military, too. To tell the truth, when you introduce clothes of many SDF by using illustrations of lovely women, I thought that it gives readers a chance to know the Self Defense Forces better.” Content breaks down as follows: Chapter 1 The Ground Self-Defense Force, Chapter 2 The Maritime Self-Defense Force, Chapter 3 The Air Self-Defense Force, Chapter 4 Defense Academy/Medical College. Uniforms, Main equipment (tank and escort vessel, etc.) are explained by illustrations, photographs and comments. The book is scheduled to go sale December 19th at 1,700 Yen.

12-8-05 (3:49AM EST)—- Manzo Ryousangata Animation

The music of J-Pop musician Manzo Ryousangata Z has been turned into a new series of web animation shorts called “Tobe! USA Rider”. Tunes from Manzo’s “Rei Mine Mountain” are used as the soundtrack to the work. 10 episodes total will be made available and you can view the opening as well as the 15 minute long first segment here.

12-8-05 (2:33AM EST)—- Manga Graffiti Ads Backlash

UK based Ferrago reports:
Sony’s US ad agency may have overestimated Sony’s urban chic this week, after a backlash from members of the graffiti scene over spray-paint ads currently adorning prominent walls in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Miami. The ‘adverts’ depict manga-style ‘kidz’ hanging out playing on PSP consoles, and is apparently part of Sony’s drive to interest ‘urban nomads’ in the product. The stylised images didn’t go down well with other members of city wall painting society, and presumably Sony won’t have made any OAP fans either with their possibly ill-advised ‘youth culture’-bating antics. Of course, the people Sony are renting the walls from are probably pretty happy, but the reaction hasn’t been 100% positive thus far. Sony say they are targeting “people who are on the go constantly,” but the reaction demonstrated in some online photographs is presumably not quite what Sony were after. We’ll keep you posted on this.

12-8-05 (1:22AM EST)—- Gankutsuou To Be Feature Exhibit In Grand Palais

GONZO announced their TV animation Gankutsuou (The Count Of Monte Cristo) will be screened as part of the “Klimt, Schiele, Moser, Kokoschka – Vienne 1900” exhibition being held at the Grand Palais in Paris, France. The Grand Palais was constructed as the main venue of the Paris Expo in 1900. It’s known worldwide as an entertainment hall, exhibition space which also hosts a gallery and museum etc. The visual styling and 2d textures Director Mahiro Maeda and clothing Designer Anna Sui chose for the work is often compared to Gustav Klimt classical paintings. The screening will be held in a mini theater set up in the hall of the exhibition. French Distributor RCP (Rouge Citron Production) that is the distributing agency of “Count Of Monte Cristo” in France strongly recommended the exhbit to the Grand Palais. All 24 RCP French dubbed epsiodes will show from December 4, 2005 – January 22, 2006. Screening is scheduled in a French dubbing version. This marks the first time an animation will be showcased at the Grand Palais. The work is based on the book by Alexandre Dumas, considered widely to bbe a classic of French literature.

12-8-05 (12:50AM EST)—- Anpanman Furniture

Nikkei BP has images of some new children’s furniture being marketed in Japan by Shiraiand Bandai. Called the “Anpanman Wood Furniture Series”, the various items in the collection will be marketed seperately from mid December in Japan. Bandai’s LaLaBit Market has been taking preorders since the end of November.

12-8-05 (12:00AM EST)—- Sunrise Animation Production Feature

The English language Sunrise International section has updated the latest installment in a 4 part series titled “The Making Of Animation”. It looks at the various stages of anime production within Sunrise from the planning to voice recording stages.

12-8-05 (12:0AM EST)—- Initial D HK Live Action New York Premiere

NEW YORK TOKYO AND ASIA SOCIETY PRESENTS “INITIAL D” NY PREMIERE DEC.15 (THU) 7PM ASIA SOCIETY 725 PARK AVE @ 70 ST, NYC GENERAL ASIA SOCIETY TICKET : $5 STUDENT; $7 MEMBER; $10 NONMEMBER 212.517.ASIA or BOXOFFICE@ASIASOC.ORG TO WIN FREE TICKET(50 AVAIL.), EMAIL TO FILM@NEWYORK-TOKYO.COM >> DIRECTED BY ANDREW LAU & ALAN MAK >> CAST BY JAY CHOU, ANNE SUZUKI, EDISON CHEN >> MANGA & ANIME BASED, HONG KONG LIVE ACTION HIT >> 2005 / 109 MIN / 35 MM
Based on Shuichi Shigeno’s manga, the acclaimed Hong Kong director Andrew Lau (INTERNAL AFFAIRS and THE STORM RIDERS), has turned the wildly successful Japanese manga and its adapted anime about the furious streetcar sport of “Drifting”, into a thrill-seeking this live-action spectacular, with an international cast including Jay Chou, Anne Suzuki, and Edison Chen. INITIAL D raced its way to the very top of Asia’s summer box office. High school boy Takumi livens up his dead end job delivering tofu in his dad’s obsolescent Toyota Splinter AE86 Trueno by speeding up and down Mt. Akina. When he beats an area road-racing star in an impromptu race, Takumi finds himself thrust into the high octane world of drift racing. So fasten your seat belt and feel the adrenaline pumping full throttle as INITIAL D unleashes a new generation of racers .. where speed alone is just not enough. Film courtesy of Tai Seng Entertainment.
MDS Website: http://film.newyork-tokyo.com

12-7-05 (11:01AM EST)—- Ireland Con

The University Of Ulster Magee campus will next year play host to Ireland’s premier Japanese Animation Convention, TOMO-DACHI 2006, to occur July 7th, 8th, and 9th. Voice Actress Tiffany Grant will be a guest of honor.

12-7-05 (10:55AM EST)—- Vietnam And Japan To Partner On Contents

Vietnam Net Bridge has more info on an anime / manga seminar held in Hanoi December 2nd. According to their findings Nguyen Thang Vu, Adviser of Kim Dong Publishing House said “Returns from manga compensated losses for Kim Dong, which invested a lot for other books that were unmarketable”. Currently, manga equates to 50% of Kim Dong’s market-share, with about 20mil 7-17-year-old readers. The Seminar is expected to trigger cooperation between Vietnam-Japan.

12-7-05 (9:57AM EST)—- Sunrise Prepares ZEGAPAIN

The ZEGAPAIN animation project has been somewhat of a mystery since Japanese fans discovered the name had been trademarked by Sunrise around last summer. A subsequent website at www.zegapain.net was discovered and currently only redirects to the Sunrise main site. Animation production is progressing presently and several staff members have been announced includng Director Masami Shimoda (Saber Marionette J, Ai Yori Aoshi), Script by Satoru Akahori (Darkside Blues, Ko Beast Century), Original Character Concepts by Hataike Hiroyuki (Escaflowne, Outlaw Star), Character Design by Yamashita Akihiko (Princess Nine, Giant Robo), 3 Mecha Designers= Nakahara Rei (KO Beast, Nadesico), Kunyuki Jinguji (Trigun), Yanase Takayuki (Eureka7), Animation Director Maki Takao (EX Driver, Eureka 7), Total Mechanical Supervisor Fukushima Hideki (Sakura Wars, Kite). The premise is mecha heavy with apparantly all robot action to be CG. According to the story, which occurs in Chiba Prefecture and Maihama follows a highschool boy who participates in extracurricular activities and is suddenly drawn into the center of combat in group of giant robots.

12-7-05 (9:18AM EST)—- 12 Episodes For Demonbane

The new TV anime Kikami Houkou Demonbane, due to begin broadcast in April, 2006 will get a run of 12 episodes. While some Japanese fans feel the run is maybe too short to encapsulate the world, staff member Yosuke Kurota says he was able to fathfully reproduce it over that span.

12-7-05 (9:18AM EST)—- Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo To Become Animated Film

Update on the Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Conquered Time) anime project we first learned about last week. New details say Yasutaka Tsutsui’s 1972 juvenile sci-fi novel will be adapted to an animated feature film produced by MADHOUSE, with a schedled theatrical release in Japan in the summer of 2006. Confirmed staff inlude Director Mamoru Hosoda (who was originally attached to direct the animated film adaptation of Diana Wynn Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle in spring 2003 but left the production and Studio Ghibli midway, he’s also know for his roles on Digimon and directing the last One Piece Movie “Omatsuri Danshaku To Himitsu No Shima”). Okudera Satoko (Makai Tensho) will provide screenplay, GAINAX’s own Yoshiyuki Sadamoto will provide original character designs.

12-7-05 (9:18AM EST)—- Play Ball 2nd

The second season of the Play Ball TV series begins in January, the title is Play Ball 2nd.

12-7-05 (8:13AM EST)—- Getsumen Usagi Heiki Mina OVA

It’s been revealed the fictional anime series Getsumen Usagi Heiki Mina seen repeatedly in Fuji TV’s live action drama Densha Otoko (Trainman) will itself be animated in the form of an OVA. In the drama, actor Itoh Atsushi plays the character of otaku, Yamada who’s main love in life is the Mina anime, a cutesy busty heroine with floppy rabbit ears and carrots sticking out her rear. A column in Comic Gum Magazine talked about the animation advancement although it’s been said that working out the copyrights to the character may be complicated. No further production details are available at this time for the real world OVA although GONZO presently produces the Mina anime sequences for Densha Otoko and 17 year old Takeda Karin voices the character. The fictional anime has become somewhat of a underground fan favorite among Japanese otaku and this past summer model / toy company VOLKS produced a 1/6 resin cast garage kit of Mina, selling it in limited fashion for 8,800 Yen at Comike.

12-7-05 (7:18AM EST)—- New TV Series: Himawaritsu

The newly announced Himawaritsu! (Sunflower!) TV series will begin broadcasting in Japan from April, 2006. Based on an original story by GoDo, confirmed staff include: Director Shigenori Kageyama (Kakyuusei 2 TV, I’s OVA), Screenplay by Ikeda Mamiko (Fruits Basket TV, Tsukikage Ran TV), Original Chara and Production by Okama, Character Design by Kishimoto Seiji (Elfen Lied, Cyber Team in Akihabara TV), Animation production by ARMS. The storyline ius said to be a Ninja action comedy in the remote countryside of Japan.

12-7-05 (6:28AM EST)—- New Tekken 5 / Soul Calibur 3 Figures

Dengeki Online has images and info of some really slick looking Soul Calibur III and Tekken 5 figures due for release from Mega House at the end of February, 2006.

12-7-05 (4:41AM EST)—- Next Gen Shinkansen Mascot Figures

Over the summer of 2005, East Japan Railway (JR East) started highspeed track testing of it’s Fastech 360S next generation shinkansen (bullet train). To be the world’s fastest passenger train in commercial service with an estimated 405kph top speed it has so far achieved 360km (220mph). Trial runs between Sendai and Kamikita cities in northern Japan first occured on June 26th. Tests will wrap in 2008 and the train is expected to go into service in 2011 between a newly opened Aomori Station and Tokyo within 3 hours. To comemorate the new bullet train, Pink Company has unveiled a PVC character figure set called “Sharyou Gijinka SuperExpress Train Girls” (Vehicle Personification SuperExpress Train Girls). The 12cm tall figures were designed by Sugimoto Yoshiaki and will be released in Japan February 19th, 2006. Price has yet to be determined. During the 360S media blitz this summer kawaii watchers quickly pointed out in images that when special yellow air braking spoilers were deployed to help slow it down from high speeds, it made the engine appear to have cat ears. Keeping with this theme the figure design is that of a cat girl with yellow ears in the same style as the train air brakes.

12-7-05 (4:18AM EST)—- Miyamoto Talks Controllers

CNET reports on a recent lecture by Nintendo head Shigeru Miyamoto on the history of home video game controllers. He says the cross shaped d-pad Nintendo adopted for the NES / Famicom can trace it’s roots back to an application first used in the Game & Watch version of Donkey Kong. For the SNES, Capcom’s Street Fighter II is said to have influenced it’s evolution in complexity. On the “love it or hate it” remote design of the upcoming Revolution’s controller, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell (who spoke at the same event) criticised the current game industry on the same two points often stated by Nintendo. He said that the rise of development costs is not allowing game makers to take on new challenges or delve into new innovations. He also said that today’s controllers are getting as complicated as a PC’s keyboard, and general consumers are reluctant to use them. Bushnell complimented the Revolution’s controller during his lecture, saying that it’s “on to a good idea.”

12-7-05 (4:01AM EST)—- Cosplay Marathon To Be Discontinued

The 27th running of the cosplay “Oshare Marathon (Dressing Up Marathon)” will see it’s last running in Miyazaki Prefecture Miyakonojo City on December 25. The route is 42.195km. You can view pictures of what the event looks like at The official website.

12-7-05 (2:40AM EST)—- Evangelion Film Update

Yahoo Japan is carrying an EIGA.com article which mentions this recent Fortune Magazine article which includes and interview with ADV Films’ John Ledford. According to Ledford, ADV has raised nearly half of the $100 million to $120 million he estimates he will need to make the movie correctly.

12-7-05 (1:23AM EST)—- Bonenkai 2006 In Germany

The German Anime/Manga/Asian-lifestyle magazine Mangaszene has announced support for Bonenkai 2006, a convention for anime-, manga- and Japan-fans. It will take place in Neustadt an der Weinstrase in Germany from January 20th to January 22nd 2006. This time the convention is going to feature a special doll event. Japanese doll companies like sekiguchi (Momoko doll) and Azone will be there. The convention will also feature an exhibition of the Japanese artist Araki Gentaro presenting figures, artworks and the famous U-Noa dolls, there will also be a small exhibition of the clothes-designer “Shitate-ya”. One of the most interesting objects will be the new Rei Ayanami figure designed by Araki Gentaro. There is a picture here. The artist also created the front page image of the MangaZsene 30, the current issue that has just hit the streets at the beginning of December.

12-7-05 (1:53AM EST)—- Real Life Blackjack Practiced Medicine For 8 Years

Sankei Sports reports the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Consumer and Environmental Protection Division arrested a man for practincig medicine without a license on the 6th. The 33 year old man who lived in Meguro Ward, was charged with violation of the Medical Practitioners Law. Amazingly, the rogue surgeon worked for medical institutions in about 20 places as doctor for about 8 and a half years from April, 1997. Upon arrest he was employed doing diagnosis and treatment in three private hospitals in Tokyo and earning an annual income of about 20 million Yen. There were reportedly no complaint from patients at all. In past employment he used the data from a counterfeit license of a female doctor and claimed he received education as a Keio University Department of Medicine graduate. An investigation was launched last year after he began working in a hospital and did not respond to a request of submitting his original license.

12-7-05 (1:40AM EST)—- Mushiking Movie Premiere

Gpara has images from the debut / stage greeting of the Mushiking animated fillm “Kouchuu Ouja Mushiking Greatest Champion Heno Michi (Road To Beetle King Mushiking Greatest Champion)”. It’s due to open in theaters across Japan from December 17th.

12-7-05 (1:28AM EST)—- Super Jetter Pachinko Machine

TBS has commisioned Sammy to craft the new CR Super-Jetter MNV Pachinko Machine. Both Middle and advanced age generations are targeted with the cabinet based on the popular classic anime TV series from 1965.

12-7-05 (12:58AM EST)—- Tactical Roar Broadcast Start / OP – ED

The initial Broadcast Start for the Tactical Roar TV series has been announced. For Tokyo metro that will be Sunday, January 8 23:30-24:00. The starts for several other areas are also mentioned. The OP (“tattahitotsudake” by Yozca) and ED (“Monochrome” by Nakahara Mai) themes for the show have also been revealed. The single CD versions wil be released on February 8th.

12-7-05 (12:48AM EST)—- Battle Angel Project Advances

According to the The Hollywood Reporter: James Cameron is moving forward on his next helming project, the sci-fi thriller “Battle Angel” for 20th Century Fox. The film marks the director’s long-anticipated follow-up to “Titanic,” which Fox co-financed with Paramount Pictures. Fox declined comment and would not confirm that the project has been greenlighted, but Mali Finn Casting has placed an open casting call online for the lead actress in the new Cameron film. The ad calls for female applicants age 16 to mid-20s who are athletic and agile with graceful movement and have an ear for languages and dialects. Submissions are due Dec. 19, the firm said.

12-7-05 (12:31AM EST)—- Bandai Visual USA / Honneamise Official American Press

Image Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq:DISK), a leading independent licensee, producer and distributor of home entertainment programming in North America, today announced the signing of a North America distribution agreement with Bandai Visual USA Inc., the newly established US subsidiary of renowned Japanese animation producer and distributor Bandai Visual Co., Ltd.

The initial terms of the distribution agreement call for Image to exclusively release both a newly remastered standard DVD version and a limited collector’s edition box set for each of two of the most highly regarded Japanese animation (“anime”) films ever produced in the history of the genre, “Patlabor The Movie” and “Patlabor 2 The Movie.” The street date for both versions of “Patlabor The Movie” will be April 25, 2006, followed by both versions of “Patlabor 2 The Movie” in the summer of ’06. Additional titles are currently being discussed between the parties and will be added to the distribution agreement by amendment.

Bandai Visual USA, based in Torrance, Calif., will oversee the production, creative design and manufacturing of the programming released under this agreement, with Image handling all North America sales, marketing and distribution responsibilities. The films will be released in North America under a newly formed Bandai Visual label called HONNEAMISE, named after the 1987 animation film that Bandai Visual first produced.

“Patlabor” and “Patlabor 2” are directed by Mamoru Oshii, who rose to prominence internationally with the production of his award-winning “Ghost In The Shell.” Mr. Oshii’s distinct cinematic style has proved influential to filmmakers all over the world, including Hollywood. Mr. Oshii’s two most recent films, “Avalon” (2001) and “Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence” (2004), were selected to be shown in the main section of the Cannes Film Festival.

Bandai Visual USA is currently producing extra materials for the newly mastered DVD releases of “Patlabor 1” and “Patlabor 2.” The limited collector’s editions will include such items as exclusive package illustrations by Yutaka Izubuchi, remastered 5.1 channel audio, new English-dubbed audio tracks, a making-of documentary, Japanese trailers and TV commercials, the complete 300-page original storyboard drawn by the director Mamoru Oshii with English translation and a second book, which includes a full collection of past interviews, articles, artwork and drawings. The final release details of the Patlabor films will be made available early next year.

Akio Maeda, chief executive officer of Bandai Visual USA, stated of Image, “Getting to know the people at Image, we are struck by how the two companies followed similar paths over the past twenty years. We feel there is a true kinship in our corporate cultures and we are looking forward to building a strong, long-term relationship with them.”

Mr. Maeda continued, “Image’s sales and distribution strength in the marketplace provides Bandai Visual USA with all the elements necessary to achieve success in North America.”

Chief operating officer of Image Entertainment David Borshell said, “Bandai Visual is the recognized worldwide leader in the development and production of Japanese animation. Over the years, they have built an impressive and sought-after catalog of high-profile animated films. This agreement further expands Image’s diverse library of exclusive content and immediately gives us credibility at retail as a supplier of Japanese ‘anime’ programming.”

Mr. Borshell continued, “We’re honored to have been selected by Bandai Visual USA as their North American distribution partner and will work very hard to ensure the success of this new venture.”

12-7-05 (12:22AM EST)—- Lemon And Lime Editions Of Animetoonz 3 Released

Kristine Sa’s AnimeToonz 3 [Lemon & Lime Editions] have officially been released! Listen to remixes of songs from Inuyasha, Cowboy Bebop, Ranma 1/2, Gundam Seed, Urusei Yatsura and more! All sung in the original Japanese by Kristine Sa. Remixers include Nemesis’ own DJ Jinnai, superstar DJ John Creamer, Gomi, Masi & Melo, BitShifter, YMCK and Architekt 9. Kristine Sa and DJ Jinnai’s versions of “The Real Folk Blues” from Cowboy Bebop, “Yapapa” from Ranma 1/2 and “Every Heart” from Inuyasha will send fans of those series right over the edge of otaku delight. It’s like music Pocky. Don’t just take our word for it, listen to the samples at KristineSa.net. And don’t miss Kristine as she continues on her Anime convention tour. She’s already set the roof on fire at Youmacon and AnimeUSA. Stay tuned at KristineSa.com for more cons to be announced soon.
www.kristinesa.com | www.kristinesa.net | www.nemesisrecords.com

12-7-05 (12:15AM EST)—- CPM Readies VOTOMS Preorders

Central Park Media announced the long awaited DVD release of the anime masterpiece Armored Trooper VOTOMS as well as an exclusive pre-order campaign enabling fans to purchase the entire VOTOMS series and bonus materials at a very special price.

The story of VOTOMS spans four story arcs spread across four vastly different worlds, and throughout 2006, CPM will be releasing the chronicles of Armored Trooper pilot Chirico Cuvie in four digitally restored digipak collections, each completing one of the arcs. The sets will be released in March, April, June, and August 2006, each priced at $34.95 SRP. The ultimate Armored Trooper VOTOMS Collector�fs Edition DVD Set will be available in August and priced at $149.95 SRP.

Central Park Media has designed a pre-order campaign specifically for the most dedicated VOTOMS fans so that they will have a chance to own all of VOTOMS at a very special price. Those who visit CPM’s VOTOMS site at www.centralparkmedia.com/votoms/ can pre-order all four volumes of Armored Trooper VOTOMS as well as the limited edition VOTOMS ammo case and bonus materials for only $99.95 and save $50.00. Each volume will be automatically shipped by its respective street date with the metal VOTOMS ammo case, which will hold all four volumes of the television series plus the bonus materials, shipping at the same time as the last volume. Orders will be accepted for this very special offer through February 7, 2006.

The limited edition VOTOMS ammo case will include a VOTOMS guide exploring the many worlds, characters, and robots of Armored Trooper VOTOMS as well as a special bonus DVD documenting the VOTOMS universe. As a final bonus, CPM will be rewarding the first 200 fans who pre-order this ultimate collection with a copy of the rare, out-of-print Armored Trooper VOTOMS Supreme Survivor graphic novel. This book will be included in the first shipment.

12-7-05 (12:06AM EST)—- UPDATE: Honneamise News Scrambled Across Sites

A bit of a disconnect has hit the internet anime news scene this evening with both Anime On DVD and Anime News Network reporting incorrectly on news coming out of a Bandai Visual USA press conference held in Beverely Hills today. According to the erroneous reports, the company announced American plans to re-release studio GAINAX’s 1987 debut film “Wings Of The Honneamise” on DVD. Anime On DVD went live shortly therafter correcting the news saying there was a “misunderstanding of the information as it was coming in, Bandai Visual USA will not be releasing Wings of Honneamise. What they are doing is creating a release label under their company called Honneamise. What was said about their releases is that they will be “criterions style releases, with limited edition releases heavy on extras, and “feature only” type releases as well. Booklets and similar materials. The two Patlabor movies will be released in a boxed set.” In the case of ANN, their incorrect writeup simply vanished several minutes after it was posted (apparently going against a pledge made to their readers in 2003 which states “no news article will be altered in any way after it has been posted to the public”). No formal written statement, explanation, retraction or correction has been posted there as of this writing. (Editor’s Note: 2 news sites reporting the same incorrect news leads me to believe there is a common source here which has yet to be named.)

ANN wrtites into ANS mentioning The original article was removed from their main page but is still able to be accessed via their search engine and here. They say the move is perfectly in keeping with their policy (which also includes “Like a newspaper, ANN may only add to its content, never remove.”). They did admit to forgeting to make a corrective note at the bottom of the news article, you can now view that at the above link. For where it may be applicable ANS apologizes for any misconceptions.

12-6-05 (10:56AM EST)—- Bandai Visual USA Official Website

bandaivisual.us appears to be the future web home of the newly launched Bandai Visual USA. Currently only a placeholder exists there along with a redirect link to the Bandai Visual (Japan) English website.

12-6-05 (8:20AM EST)—- Le Portrait de Petit Cossette UMD

The 2004 special TV-Movie made from an edit of all 3 OAV’s of Le Portrait de Petit Cossette will be sold on UMD Video on December 7th for 3,990 Yen.

12-6-05 (8:09AM EST)—- Special TOP2 CD-ROMS At Comike

GAINAX announced they’ll be distributing special “Life” CD-R’s containing illustration media at Comic Market 69 held on Dec. 29th-30th in Tokyo. 5 different versions will be passed out, distinguishable by their different label illustrations. Top O Nare! 2

12-6-05 (6:00AM EST)—- Bandai Visual USA / Honneamise Official Japanese Press

Bandai Visual USA has released official details expounding on their new Honneamise label and their initial offerings. DVD’s of “PATLABOR THE MOVIE” and “PATLABOR THE MOVIE LIMITED COLLECTOR’S EDITION” will be the first products, sold by the new company in America. The presently scheduled release date is April 25th. Image Entertainment has revealed they’re partnering with Bandai in the new venture. Their high quality, colletor style “Criterion Collection” of Laserdiscs and DVD’s will serve as the standard trying to be achieved with Honneamise’s releases. Image Entertainment will also takes charge of distribution. Bandai mentioned it wants to establish the same style of value-added, extras laden Box sets that have become famous imports from Japan. Details on their next release, “PATLABOR 2 THE MOVIE” are expected to be released in the summer of 2006. Regarding the release of the first Patlabor several details have been announced on the limited collector’s edition although pricing has yet to be determined. The 2 disc set will include Japanese and English audio tracks, packaging illustrations by Yutaka Izubuchi, remastered 5.1 audio, new English audio track, making of documentary, Japanese trailers and TV commercials, complete 300-page storyboard book drawn by Mamoru Oshii with English translation, and a 184 page manual with past interviews, articles, artwork and drawings. A sample photograph of the prototype version has been released although it’s said the actual retail version may differ.

More details have been made available on the selection of Honneamise for the label’s name, synonymous with that of the fictional protagonist’s kingdom in GAINAX’s 1987 film, Royal Space Force: Wings Of The Honneamise. According to the release “This movie, It becomes the shocking debut work of young people who names were unknown at that time. They are taking an active part as creators who represents Japan in every area now. Moreover, this work has been introduced in every country in the world. The high appraisal is undertaken by the height of the quality now. For Bandai Visual, the challenging spirit is not forgotten like this movie. ‘Honneamise’ was assumed to be a new label name from the wish that we wanted always to offer a high-quality work.” The design of the label’s insignia The design of the mark is said to stand for “New one and old one”, “Japan and foreign countries” or the cycle representing “Writer, circulation, and consumer”. It shows the co-integral nature of each and a whirlpool is made. “It is imaged to aim at the impression of a new dimension.”As for the color choice of Blue, Red and Yellow: Blue and Yellow have been the official colors of their representative label “EMOTION” for several years. Red represents the corporate color of Bandai Visual.

12-6-05 (5:46AM EST)—- Makoto Shinkai on Haruno Ashioto – Step Of Spring

Minori/Alchemist has announcd their upcoming PS2 interactive novel game Haruno Ashioto – Step Of Spring. The title is a port of the PC software version put on the market from Minori in July, 2004. The storyline is a coming of age tale following several young school girls. The Difficulty Level as an adventure game is said to be extremely low. A mix of the usual single keyframe shots common to interactive novels and some flowing CG are mixed in. For anime fans, the big draw to this game is the specially added OP and ED animation sequences provided by revolutionary anime creator Makoto Shinkai (Voices Of A Distant Star, Place Promised In Our Early Days). Release is scheduled in the spring of 2006. The regular version has yet to be priced although the limited edition version will retail at 7,140 Yen.

12-6-05 (5:33AM EST)—- Jakarta Corporate Investigation Uncovers Otaku

The Waseda Weekly is currently running a student section article entitled “Corporate investigation @ Jakarta”. Besides finding out how warm it is there versus a presently chilly Japan, the author mentions finding a local resident to Indonesia who’s an anime and seiyuu otaku.

12-6-05 (5:17AM EST)—- ANI*ROCO Music Service For Japanese Mobile Phones

Bitway has announced a new music delivery service for cellular phone users in Japan specializing in animation, SFX, and the seiyuu. ANI*ROCO as it’s being called will be available to user of multiple phone companies, and their support sites will launch now through February. About 1700 tunes related to anime such as Gundam, My Hime, Rozen Maiden, Ultra-man, Mask Rider, Dragonball, and Sergeant Keroro will be able to be accessed immediately with around 40 or more scheduled to be added every month.

12-6-05 (2:23AM EST)—- “How Poor Is The Japanese Animator?”

Hotwired Japan has a new in-depth feature today titled “Nippon No Animator Ha Dorehodo Mazushii Ka” (How Poor Is The Japanese Animator). The piece looks at one of the facets of the so called “crisis” facing animation production in Japan, discussed here before. It also includes many reference links. Below is our paraphrasal translation:

The Animation business of Japan, known as “anime” has allowed the domestic contents industry to stand on the global stage of competition with very few peers. Recent books published in a rapid fire style manner on the topic of Japan’s contents domination have failed to properly investigate the actual conditions of the animation industry in a timely fashion. Official organizations have only persued the matter belatedly. This is the case because the commodity of animation is a factor of international competition. The Japan trade promotion organization (JETRO) published the report “Realities and view of the United States animation market” in March, 2003. Similar investigation reports concerning the animation market of Japan in foreign countries were announced one after another such as: “Infiltration situation of contents that center on Japanese animation in France” published in March, 2005; “Chinese animation marketing research” published in June, 2005 and Trend Of The Animation Industry Of Japan published in June, 2005.

In all types of business it’s the same story, especially, in the world of the entertainment that sells the dream. It is extremely taboo to make the numeric data of the production cost and pay, etc. public. If you are dealing with industry people, anyone knows that the figure of the production cost ballied about by the mass media is usually exagerated or a lie. However, since the accurate data put out to draw in industrial support is indispensable, though small, the investigation of actual conditions is done belatedly. A view into the reality of the situation is often rarely seen.

Following are some excerpts of note regarding animation employment conditions:
– The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry – Animation Industrial Society Report (Page 4) published June, 2002: “It flows out to other types of business evading a low wage and a severe working environment even if an able creator exists.”
– Independent administrative agency labor policy research – Trading Organization – Employment And Personel Training In Contents Industry: Animation Industry Investigation Of Actual Conditions (Page 4) published March, 2005: “Newcomer’s reward is low and the unemployment turnover rate is high.”
– Suginami division new-industry survey report – New Industry And Animation Industry (Page 191) published March, 2005: “The reality that able talent who has the will and jumped into the industry resigns because of uneasiness on the life side exists. When part is excluded in the animated cartoon industry, the pay market price is low.”
– JETRO – Trend Of Animation Industry Of Japan (Page 4) published June, 2005: “Reluctance is because of the low wage. The talent outflow to the game industry etc. continues.”

The term “low wages” has become the pillow word of the animator, however, upon seeing report following report expressing the same thing, the seriousness of the matter begins to sink in. Japanese companies farm out production work to overseas firms in order to reduce work expense. Often a Japanese animator finds him or herself up against a fight with foreign workers earning lower wages for the same job. It is almost aimless to employ a Japanese animator at all but when renumeration is shifted to “pay on progress” the wage level is even more severe.

With all the talk of low wages you may wonder why no concrete data on actual wages has been published until now. There has been some documentation made public that would allow one to analogize actual pay scales. The joint struggle of industry related to the movie labor union conference was held on November 10th, 2004. A “Request Document” was ratified there and presented to the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters of Japan. Included therein is a section titled “Request Concerning TV Animation Production”. Sub clauses include “The broadcasting station should make an effort to lose the violation of Labor Standards Law from the production site of the TV animation program.”; “…should agree to ‘Employment standard of TV animation production’ that we propose.”; “To achieve the purpose in clause 1 and 2, the production cost of a 30 minute episode TV anime series should be made 23 million Yen or more.”; “The broadcasting station should make the production order of the animation program eight months in advance of the broadcast start date.”

Following is the above-mentioned ‘Employment standard of TV animation production’:
1. Regarding Pay:
– A newcomer animator’s minimum wage – (710 Yen x 8 hours work) x 22 days of work = 124,960 Yen per month. (710 Yen was Tokyo’s universal minimum wage at the time of the writing) (The monthly figure includes training period)
– 2. An animator’s model wage – Original image model: One cut [3500 Yen] x day of 40 cuts + security of 70,000 Yen= 210,000 Yen per month.
Animation model 450 one-sheet animation [250 Yen] x day + security of 50,000 Yen= 162,500 Yen per month. (The figures are arrived at by using common wages in the industry.) (the “piece wage + monthly amount fixed salary” system of a model is adopted from an interpretation of Article 27 of the Labor Standard Law, a reimbursement method and other contracts).

The hourly wage for a rookie animator in Hollywood is about 2500 Yen by comparison. While the above Japanese union request represents a mere target, America’s substantially higher animation wages across the board are considered compulsory. If the American animation union’s price is not met a picket line can be formed. What’s more, in Hollywood you usually have to belong to a union to be empolyed. Finally the results of the GEIDANKYO. The represented the first ever public data released on the actual payscales Japanese animators faced. However, it’s mentioned the accuracy of a wider trend may be difficult to ascertain through their findings becuase the response rate was so low (83 out of 307 responded = 27%). The full report can be bought from the company.

12-6-05 (2:06AM EST)—- Wang Film Productions and Fire Ball

Sinorama Magazine has a lengthy feature on Wang Film Productions and the Taiwanese animated hit, Fire Ball. The film scored box-office earnings of over NT$10 million.

12-6-05 (1:53AM EST)—- Nadesico CD-BOX

Gearing up for a big 10th anniversary DVD-BOX release in March 2006, Starchild has also just announced plans for a “Complete CD-BOX” to arrive ahead of it on February 8th. The set is said to be really lavish with 10 pieces in total. The retail will be 10,500 Yen.

12-6-05 (1:32AM EST)—- New South Korean Anime Co-produced With Japan

The Doki Doki Himitsu No O Tomodachi TV anime has been announced to broadcast weekly on SBS at 5:00PM on Tuesdays from December 6th. Despite a distinct Anime likeness, the Japanese edition of Joong Ang Illbo reports this work is Korean, jointly-produced by Dong Animation, SBS and Dentsu. The target demographic is kindergartners, five years of age. The story features cute animals that talk. They crossed over into man’s world from the 4th dimension via some sort of gate. To keep themselves from being discovered they wear special masks.

12-6-05 (12:58AM EST)—- Howl Nominated For Annie

Nikkan Sports has a Japanese perspective on the Annie Award nomination of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki’s film Howl’s Moving Castle. Nikkan equates the Annies as the “Academy Award of the animation field”. The selection result will be announced on February 4th next year. Other candidate works in the category include “Madagascar” and “Chicken Little. “, etc. Miyazaki’s Spirited Away took won an Annie in 2003.

12-6-05 (12:51AM EST)—- Japanese Manga Sales 3X That Of Cars In Vietnam

In an ongoing tour of Asia, Matsutani Takayuki, Chairman of The Association Of Japanese Animations spoke in Hanoi, Vietnam on December 2nd. He was there as part of special The seminar concerning manga and the animation of Japan. He cited research done in 2004 that mentions “sales concerning Japanese manga reached three times that of car sales sales in Vietnam”. Manga had a large boom in the southeast Asian country after 1994 when Doraemon was published. Domestic publishing house Kim Dong reportedly released 100 Japanese Comic titles in 2000, and has reached up to 400 titles this year. As in many Asian countries, manga has eclipsed Vietnamese comics.

12-5-05 (11:31PM EST)—- Super Eurobeat 163 Tracks

The track list for AVEX’s Super Eurobeat Volume 163 is out. The album is due on 12/21 in Japan, the retail price is 2,548 Yen:

01. SUPER STRIKER / GO 2
02. EVERYBODY’S LOOKING / PAUL HARRIS
03. GOT TO BE YOUR LOVER / KEVIN JOHNSON
04. LOVE IS DANGER 2005 / LINDA ROSS
05. GUN BOY / THE FACTORY TEAM
06. MORE THAN A FEELING / QUEEN 26
07. I WANNA ROCK WITH YOU / JOCK LEE
08. CHILLY BOY / LOLLY’O
09. FAHRENHEIT EURONIGHT / D.ESSEX
10. FALLING DOWN / NORMA SHEFFIELD
11. MOVE INTO MY HEART / RICK CASTLE
12. VIVA THE NIGHT / GROOVE TWINS
13. TOUCH ME TOUCH ME / SOPHIE
14. TAKE ANOTHER CHANCE / VAN T.K.
15. NEVER MIND / MICKEY B.
16. JUST FOR ME / VIVI
17. I WAS BORN FOR BURNING / NEO
18. SUPER GUTS / JEFF DRILLER

12-5-05 (9:35PM EST)—- Noriko Ogiwara’s ‘Good Witch’ To Be Animated

Japanese fantasy writer Noriko Ogawara’s novel “Nishi No Yoki Majo” (“The Good Witch Of The West”) will be adapted to an anime TV series to broadcast throughout Japan in the spring of 2006. Chukuoron Shinsha is the original publisher. Wikipedia mentions The Good Witch of the West is a western-styled high fantasy series featuring a girl on the quest of finding out the mysteries surrounding the legends of her country and her friends. Five books of this series had been published in Japanese so far, along with several other books of related stories also penned by her. Her first book, Sorairo Magatama (“Sky-colored Jade”) won her several awards for children’s literature and was translated into English by Cathy Hirano as Dragon Sword and Wind Child; the English version is now out-of-print. The two sequels, Hakuchou Iden (“swan’s strange legend”) and Usubeni Tennyo (“pink nymph”), have only been published in Japanese. These three books together were called “The Jade Triology”. The storyline has been adapted to manga form, illustrated by Momokawa Haruhiko and serialized in Mag-Garden’s Comic Blade. It’s been speculated the anime version may parallel the manga version’s telling of the story. Mag-Garden had announced in a November news update that after this season, animation and live action film adaptations of 3-4 of their associated works per year would be scheduled.

12-5-05 (9:09PM EST)—- Japanese Weekend Box Office

Kogyo Tsushinsha has posted it’s Japanese Movie Box Office Rankings for Dec 3-4:
1. Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
2. Mr. And Mrs. Smith
3. Always -Sunset on Third Street-
4. A Moment To Remember
5. Until The Lights Come Back
6. The Brothers Grimm
7. Spring Snow
8. In Her Shoes
9. Elizabethtown 10. Into The Sun

12-5-05 (8:09PM EST)—- How TM Precure Was Named

An update on the story we reported earlier, regarding the Japanese racehorse named after Toei Animation’s Pretty Cure animation. the origin of the anime reference stems from owner Takezono Masatsugu’s five year old daughter, Midori (pictured right on the center podium). She’s apparantly a huge fan of the show and chose the name.

12-5-05 (8:09PM EST)—- Saint Beast Site

Animate TV has established a special site for the coming OVA Saint Beast: Ikusen No Hiru To Yoru Hen. The OP and ED sequences will be available for download there for free from December 17, 2005. Presently you can find OVA information, seiyuu post recording comments, wallpaper and more.

12-5-05 (9:23AM EST)—- Otome Road Ikebukuro

As we’ve previously mentioned, while Akihabara is often associated with male otaku, Tokyo’s Ikebukuro area is more and more being recognized as the woman otaku’s sacred ground. Livedoor reports the main draw for girls is the large number of yaoi manga and dojin stocked in the numerous bookshops here. From the JR Ikebukuro station east exit it can be found in 10 minutes on foot. This part of Ikebukuro even has a nickname now, “Otome Road (Maiden Road)”. The stores “Character Queen”, “Animate Ikebukuro Headquarters”, “K-BOOKS Animation Pavilion”, “Mandarake” etc. can all be found about 200 meters from each other.

12-5-05 (8:46AM EST)—- Sailor Moon Otaku Busted For Indecent Exposure

Nikkan Sports reports Kagawa prefectural police has arrested a man for exposing the lower half of his body while putting on the clothes of a waitress on a local road. The 25 year old part-time clerk was interogated on Monday. At around 3:40PM on July 4th he’s suspected of approaching an 8 year old third grade girl in waitress garb. Around 146 articles such as the clothing out of Sailor Moon were confiscated from his home. He admitted when he dressed as Sailor Moon children were interested.

12-5-05 (8:27AM EST)—- Most Popular Animation Portals Of Japan

According to recent market research conducted among 2420 men and 2420 women, Nikkei BP has uncovered Yahoo and Gyao have the most popular Japanese animation delivery / portal websites. In recent years the number of users has rapidly increased the number of users. Nikkei did the polling over 2 days from November 9th-10th. Out of 18 sites offering similar content, it was found Yahoo Animation actually leads in raw number of users. However, it was found Gyao actually leads in terms of satisfaction users feel when using a site.

12-5-05 (6:38AM EST)—- Solty Rei Manga

Ichijinsha will publish the Solty Rei manga based on the GONZO TV series of the same name. The serialization will take place in Monthly Comic REX from the issue released on Friday, December 9th. TV Screenplay writer Noboru Kimura will also draft the story of the manga, Takimiya Kazutaka will illustrate.

12-5-05 (6:21AM EST)—- xxxHOLiC Broadcast Start And Staff

The anime TV series adaptation of CLAMP’s xxxHOLiC will begin broadcasting on TBS in April, 2006. Staff includes: Director Tsutomu Mizushima, Series Composition / Screenplay by Michiko Yokote and Ookawa Ageha, Character Design by Kazuchika Kise, Animation Production by Production I.G.

12-5-05 (6:13AM EST)—- Second Season For Negima?

An 11/24 Online Diary entry by Mahou Sensei Negima! creator Ken Akamatsu has led some Japanese fans to speculate on a possible second season for the TV anime or some further media adaptation.

12-5-05 (4:48AM EST)—- Blood PSP Game

Famitsu has details and images on SCE’s upcomig “Yaru Dorapotaburu Blood The Last Vampire” PSP game. More or less a port of the PS2 game, subtle changes include on screen flow chart, special movie clips and a double size CG gallery over the original. Sale is scheduled on March 2nd, 2006 for 5040 Yen. The official website can be viewed here.

12-5-05 (4:48AM EST)—- Official Daiei Papers To Be Marked With Conan

San-in Chuo Shimpo reports Conan creator Gosho Aoyama’s hometown of Daiei (located in Tottori Prefecture) has began issuing official documents (such as resident’s certificates) on forms illustrated with Japan’s most well known boy detective. Conan has become a hero of the town and you can already find a museum and statues related to the bestselling manga / anime work there. The images will also serve as a forgery deterent / watermark on official city documents pertaining to Income, payment of taxes, and fixed assets proof, etc.

12-5-05 (4:36AM EST)—- Bandai Cancels Capital Tie-up With Ashi Productions

Bandai Ltd. has announced it’s calling off a capital tie-up with animation producer, Ashi Productions. Further, all stocks held in the company (90% – 18,000 issued shares) have been sold off to President and Representative Director Toshihiko Sato. Bandai partnered with Ashi in 2001. Despite the move ther partnership is scheduled to continue. Ashi is an animated production company with rights to such original productions as “Magical Princess Minky Momo” and “Dancougar”. Fully-integrated operations including everything from planning and direction to animation, filming, and recording, with a series of hits in Japan and overseas, especially in the North America and Europe. Joined the Bandai Group in November 2001, where it is involved in the development of new content.

12-5-05 (4:14AM EST)—- Blackjack Christmas Cake

Asahi Shimbun has images of a special Christmas cake ment to resemble the face of Osamu Tezuka’s Blackjack. The cake is a product of Takarazuka Hotel located in Hyogo Prefecture, Takarazuka City. Measuring 15 centimeters in diameter, the cake is 3/4 white with whipped cream, the remainder is colored brown with the chocolate. The pirate medical doctor’s own signature facial operation marks were faithfully reproduced with chocolate. The latest Blackjack TV anime has gotten an average audience rating of 14%. The cake costs 3300 Yen and reservation is accepted.

12-5-05 (3:32AM EST)—- TM Precure Crowned Queen In Ongoing Win Streak

We previously reported on Japanese race horse phenomenon TM Preure (named from the initials of the owner and the Toei anime, Pretty Cure). Japan Today reports the eighth-pick dark horse TM Precure surged strongly in the final furlong to win the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies on Sunday, claiming the title of the fastest 2-year-old filly in Japanese horse racing. TM Precure stormed out of the pack after the final turn and moved past early leader Asahi Rising from outside before edging Secret Code for a 1-1/2 length victory in heavy rain at Hanshin Racecourse. TM Precure clocked 1 minute, 37.3 seconds in the Grade One mile race on turf, stretching her unbeaten streak to three in as many career starts. The race marked jockey, Keiba Kumazawa’s first win in 14 years. Owner Takezono Masatsugu says he paid only 2.5 million Yen for TM Precure and it’s by far the cheapest racehorse he’s bought. Sanspo has images of the horse, emotional jockey and owner.

12-5-05 (2:42AM EST)—- Pretty Cure Train

A specially decorated train, done over in the theme of Toei’s upcoming Pretty Cure Max Heart 2 film (opening nationwide there on the 10th) began running a 24.2 km route between Shibuya and Yokohama on the 4th. The train operates on Tokyu’s Toyoko Line. It will be operational in it’s Pretty Cure manifestation until January 5th of next year. Berryz Kobo, the idol unit responsible for the 2nd film’s theme song “Gag 100kai Bun Aishite Kudasai” were at a ribbon cutting / preview event. The seven members boarded the train. About 1000 parents and children were there also. You can view Tokyu’s official website for the train, images of how it looks with the overlayed illustrations, schedules and even details on some special Pretty Cure tickets being offered here. Trains being used as promotional / advertisement vehicles (no pun intended) for anime is nothing new. In April of 2005 a Seibu Shinjuku Line train was done over to promote the first Pretty Cure movie, and in the past trains have been done up to showcase anime such as Inu Yasha and Ja Witch. You can view images of all these here.

12-5-05 (2:02AM EST)—- Koizumi Cabinet Looks At Contents Field

The Cabinet Office’s Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters held their second meeting on December 2nd. The topic of the meeting related to a special investigation into Japan’s contents industry. Under special examination at the first meeting in November was the trend of digital contents and it’s prominance presently and stretching into the future. For the second meeting, problems facing creators was looked at. Copyrights, international business and the cross promotion strategy of digital contents among creator’s became a focus and GAINAX’s representative director Hiroyuki Yamaga and Shigeo Maruyama, a representative of 247music were invited to the meeting to share testimony from their various fields of experience.

12-5-05 (1:42AM EST)—- Cute Anime Festival: Cute’em All 2005

Touted as an independent short animation festival featuring entirely “cute” themed works, Cute’em All 2005 will take place on December 9-10, in Tokyo. Sponsoring is independent Japanese label PIX. Both 2D and 3D works have been entered. There are some interesting characters involved in the production of some of featured works, they include staff involved with the recently released film “Always -Sunset on Third Street-“, “Nasu Andalusia No Natsu”, “Demon Warrior 3” and the “RIDGE RACERS Series”. There seems to be some staff overlap of some of the staff of the Osaka-based indie festival JAWACON as well.

12-5-05 (1:07AM EST)—- Tokuyama University Manga Contest Winners

Winners of the second Tokuyama University manga contest were revealed on November 21st. Asami Kudo’s “Honobono” took the Excellent Award in the illustration section. Shiraishi Yashihira’s “Orihime” took the YAB Special Encouragement Prize in the manga section. As For the main selections: Hisako Kokura’s “Tabibito Tanpopo”, Seiko Fujimoto’s “Jun” and Yonehara Takuya’s “Honobono…?” Professor Usui Minoru has some select comments on each at the above link.

12-5-05 (12:09AM EST)—- November Toonami Ratings Up

Animation Insider has some ratings figures for Cartoon Network’s Toonami block in November, 2005. Cartoon Network’s Saturday night anime has earned double-digit growth in the month of November 2005. Television programs such as the wildly adventurous Zatch Bell, the crazy ninja romp Naruto, and the pirate-driven One Piece all proved to be compelling programs this past month. AI has a detailed numbers breakdown at the above link.

12-4-05 (11:50PM EST)—- Nikkei Closes At Best Level In 5 Years

Forbes mentions share prices closed sharply higher on Friday, the 2nd, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 finishing at its richest level in more than five years, as investors snapped up shares of exporters like electronics firms with the dollar at over two-year highs against the yen and following a rally in US markets overnight, dealers said. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average closed up 291.10 points or 1.9 pct at its intraday high of 15,421.60. It was the index’s best closing level since Oct 16 2000 when it finished at 15,512.32. The Financial Times reports The Nikkei 225 stock average closed 0.3 per cent up at 15,461.57 by midday, Monday, the 5th. The Topix also rose 0.3 per cent to 1,588.19.

12-4-05 (10:55PM EST)—- Ayakashi To Feature Amano Character Designs

Fuji Television has announced the 3rd work to broadcast in it’s “NOITAMINA” late-night anime time slot which begin last spring will be Ayakashi. Yoshitaka Amano (Final Fantasy / Vampire Hunter D) will provide character designs. “NOITAMINA,” is a play on the word “ANIMATION”, just spelled backwards. The concept of the segment is “anime resembling serial dramas”, and the series broadcast therein are all touted to be groundbreaking and challenging the cutting edge of animation storytelling. The block is aimed at adult women viewers. Honey And Clover and Paradise Kiss have also aired there. Ayakashi will broadcast at midnight on Thursday, every week from January 12th, 2006. Ayakashi is horror themed, based on the classic Japanese horror tales Yotsuyakaidan, Ten Shu Monogatari and Bakeneko. Kozo Nagayama will direct, his past work includes a directing position on the Fuji TV drama, “Tokyo Love Story”.

12-4-05 (10:34PM EST)—- Papillon Rose TV Update

The “Papillon Rose New Season” TV anime project is progressing, with 6 episodes thus far completed according to the January issue of Animedia Magazine.

12-4-05 (9:56PM EST)—- New Spring TV Series

The spring, 2006 anime TV season gets several new entries with the highly anticipated Witchblade, Suzumiya Haruhi and Love Get Chu series having all been given an April broadcast start date. Love Get Chu is anticipated to air in a late night time slot. Part 2 of WOWOW’s Dengeki Light Novel Gekijou, Shinigamino Baraddo (Momo The Girl God Of Death) has a March start date. Ah! MyGoddess Second Stage will air on TBS/BS-i in the spring of 2006.

12-4-05 (9:54PM EST)—- Mari Iijima Fan Interview Part 1

The official Robotech Website has uploaded the first part of an interview with seiyuu Mari Iijima. There, she answers fans’ questions about Macross and Minmay.

12-1-05 (6:33AM EST)—- Demonbane TV Animation Start

Based on the Nitroplus PC game, the TV anime adaptation of Kikami Houkou Demonbane has been given an April, 2006 broadcast start. Animedia Magazine, who recently reported the character Aru Ajifu would be voiced by seiyuu Noto Mamiko in the series has issued a retraction and apology.

12-1-05 (6:07AM EST)—- Renkin 3-kyuu Magical? Pokan Staff

Staff details have been released for the forthcoming Renkin 3-kyuu Magical? Pokan TV series. Broadcast is due in the spring of 2006. The official website went live this week at www.magipoka.com. Original Concept: Garakuta Hautsu, Director: Hachiya Kenichi (Idol Fighter Su-Chi-Pai), Composition and Screenplay: Yasunori Ide (D4 Princess, Please Teacher), Character Design and Total Illustration Supervisor: Yuzo Hirata (Armitage III, Kiddy Grade), Music Production: Lantis, Animation Production: REMIC – Sutajio Gasshu, Production: Genco – Majipoka Dan.

12-1-05 (5:50AM EST)—- The Third TV Update

New details are out on the upcoming “The Third” TV Animation scheduled to broadcast on WOWOW in April, 2006. Original Story: Ryo Hoshino, Director: Kamiya Jun (Blue Seed, Hikaru No Go), Original Character Concepts: Nao Goto (Neppu Kairiku Bushi Lord), Character Design: Shinichi Yamaoka, (Candidate for Goddess, D.N.Angel), Mechanical Design: Washio Naohiro (Fafner, Stellvia), Animation Production: XEBEC.

12-1-05 (4:48AM EST)—- Animation Business Forum 2006

Nikkei Characters has announced it’s is holding “Animation Business Forum” on December 20th, 2005. Admission is 5,000 Yen. Several lecture panels will be held there discussing the current state of the industry across several mediums.

12-1-05 (4:45AM EST)—- Mangaka Souichiro Kawabata Dies

31 year old “S60 Children” manga author Souichiro Kawabata died of cancer at 23:20 on November 22nd, you can view his obituary here. S60 Children, which ran in Evening Magazine wrapped in the August 9th, 2005 issue. Kawabata is said to have been planning his next work. An aquaintance announced the news on his blog and has a first hand account from the funeral held in Kagoshima.

12-1-05 (4:20AM EST)—- Amazon Japan Picks

Amazon Japan has updated with listings for the Cromartie Highschool Movie and the Masamune Shiro 2006 Wall Calender.

12-1-05 (4:17AM EST)—- Turn Your Super Famicom Cart Into A Famicom

This guy did so with a Street Fighter II Cartridge.

12-1-05 (3:51AM EST)—- New M.O.V.E. Music Video By Initial-D CG Staff

J-Pop Group M.O.V.E.‘s latest single “OUT OF KONTROL” was released in Japan on November 23rd. It’s been announced the CG staff behind Initial-D will be producing animation style music video to promote the single. You can listen to an audio sample and view a sample video at the official website linked above.

12-1-05 (3:14AM EST)—- Puffy Thanksgiving Day Parade Pictures

Marking a first for a Japanese recording artist, Sponichi Annex has images of Puffy Amiyumi on their float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade held on November 24th. The duo sang a song at the last point on the route to the cheers of children. The parade signals the arrival of winter to New York City. An accident with one of the floats in which a woman and child were injured did not interupt the progression of Puffy’s float.

12-1-05 (2:24AM EST)—- Manglobe On Mu Online

It’s been revealed that Manglobe (Samurai Champloo, Ergo Proxy) has taken on world redesign duties for the PC MMORPG MU Online. The redesign comes with a slew of other changes as the game sees a major update to be released on Thursday, December 8, 2005. Hideto Komori (Samurai Champloo, Black Cat, Blood+) has been appointed as character designer, you can see his illustration for an elf character to the right.

12-1-05 (2:12AM EST)—- Restored Tetsujin 28 Manga In Time For 50th Anniversary

Mitsuteru Yokoyama’s classic robot manga Tetsujin 28 (Gigantor / Iron Man 28) marks it’s 50th anniversary in 2006. In time for the birthday, a new compendium “Tetsujin 28 Gou Gensaku Kanzenban” (Original Complete Version Of Iron Man 28″ is being produced. Therein, all 24 volumes of the original manga will be featured. Until now, a “Complete Version” has yet to be compiled into a single book. Many original illustrations of the mangaka were sought out and colated for the release. His former assistants have undertaken the art material search and restoration work. 61 year-old Tadashi Mori, Yokoyama’s assistant for 26 years is heading up the retoration project. He’s said to know the author’s techniques the best although he admits the feeling of undertaking such a huge project is somewhat scary. He currently sits at a desk for about 12 hours a day, touching up and redrawing some of the original panels. Tetsujin 28 originally serialized monthly in Shonen Magazine from 1956-66. The telecast of a TV animation adaptation followed in ’63. The storyline follows a boy detective, Shotaro, who controls a huge robot. The work had a big influence on later robot series such as “Mazinga Z” and “Mobile Suit Gundam”. The story was adapted to book form a total of 7 times. Though all the original serials from Shonen Magazine were collected for a facsimile edition release published by Kobansha between ’96 and ’97, Japanese fans have long hoped for a proper “Complete Version”. Mitsuteru Yokoyama died last year in a fire in his home, he was 69 years old. It was at this time that publishing house USIO decided to undertake the massive effort which will reunite the original Shonen Magazine serials with those published by other companies. According to Nagaoka Nobaki of USIO’s manga editorial department, the entire project might have been difficult if attempted while Yokoyama was alive due to the fact that he didn’t like touching / altering his past work. He was said to have drawn about 30 pages of the manga per day. Source: Tokyo Shimbun

12-1-05 (12:42AM EST)—- The King of Fighters: Another Day Update

First revealed at the Tokyo Game Show 2005, Production I.G.’s King of Fighters: Another Day animation will be available for viewing on the web starting December 2nd. There will be four epsiodes total, each mainly focusing on a different hero. The plot is said to be linked with the story of the upcoming game “KOF Maximum Impact 2”, due in the spring of 2006. Showtime will be first web channel of distribution channel to host the anime in December with GyaO following on Saturday, April 1, 2006. Animax / Kids Station is scheduled to broadcast it on Wednesday, February 22, 2006. Watch Impress has several stills from the anime.

12-1-05 (12:36AM EST)—- Gin-iro No Kami No Igito Yahoo Site

GONZO And Yahoo have come together to setup a special Yahoo Movie Japan site for the upcoming animated film Gin-iro No Kami No Igito. You can view some exclusive video clips from the film (one is over two minutes long), due in theaters January 7th, 2006. Gin-iro No Kami No Igito marks the first original animated movie work from GONZO.

12-1-05 (12:07AM EST)—- Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Championship Hits San Francisco

On December 10, Upper Deck Entertainment and Cascade Games will welcome duelists from around the world to compete in a Shonen Jump Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Championship. The winner of the tournament will receive a decked-out gaming laptop and a Des Volstgalph promo card. Other top finishers will win prizes including Sony PSPs, Nintendo DSs, and a 60 GB iPod Photo. A second Des Volstgalph will be given out to a player in side events based on participation. For more information, please visit www.yugiohchamps.com.

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