Anime News Service – November 24 – December 2 Anime News

12-2-04

The St. Louis Post Dispatch mentions artist Yoshitomo Nara is coming to the city this Friday. He will preside over the opening of his traveling exhibition, “Nothing Ever Happens,” at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.
The New York Sun reports on Art Basel Miami Beach where customers can buy contemporary art pieces and mentions the following:
“Certain recently hot artists – such as Japanese anime artist Takashi Murakami – who tanked at the November contemporary art auctions are nowhere to be found. “Use your eyes,” said New York art adviser Thea Westrich. “And be careful of work that is hot and just of the moment.” ”
– Japan’s top three entertainment conglomerates — Shochiku, Toho and Toei — are partnering to build, manage and operate a new multiplex theater in Osaka. With a projected cost of ¥150 billion ($1.5 billion), the 12-screen, 2,500-seat complex will be the largest in Japan, according to Shochiku president Junichi Sakomoto, who made the announcement Wednesday. The multiplex will be housed above Osaka’s main railway station as part of a new shopping mall and will be “the most technologically sophisticated” complex in the country as well as serving as the three companies’ flagship cinema operation, according to a statement from Sakomoto. The overall cost includes renovation of the station and the mall, with construction due to begin in late 2006 and be finished by 2011.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter Courtesy Daniel Zelter
– The Kyoto District Court has sentenced a file swapper to one year in prison for violation of Japan’s Copyright Law, signaling the first time a conviction has been made in the Asia Pacific region for the illegal distribution of films through the Internet. The sentence was announced Wednesday by the Motion Picture Assn. “The Kyoto conviction represents a judicial milestone not only in Japan but globally,” said Mike Ellis, MPA senior vp and regional director for Asia-Pacific. “It sends a message that illegally distributing copyrighted material via the Internet is not only illegal, but also that those doing so are not anonymous and will be caught. People need to understand that they are breaking the law and face serious consequences if they illegally swap movies online.”
Source: The Hollywood Reporter Courtesy Daniel Zelter

12-2-04—- ADV Films To Release Samurai X: Reflection – Director’s Cut

ADV FILMS ANNOUNCES DECEMBER 28 RELEASE OF SAMURAI X: REFLECTION DIRECTOR’S CUT The tale of assassin Ruroni Kenshin’s atonement for his sins continues with the December 28, 2004 release of Samurai X: Reflection Director’s Cut. This new feature length edition of the DVD hit includes plenty of hot new extras and footage never before seen in the U.S.

Samurai X (also known as Rurouni Kenshin) is an extraordinarily popular international franchise, including both a television series and four OVAs. The OVAs, which appeared after the television series, expand on and detail the background and history of the eponymous 19th-century samurai assassin.

Kenshin is a wanderer, a lost soul, cursed to seek atonement for his life in the bloody trade of the samurai, known throughout all Japan as the Hitokiri Battousai (“sword-bearing master assassin”). The peacetime after a long war to overthrow a corrupt government has brought no peace to Kenshin, despite a vow to draw his sword only for the protection of those in need. Now his wife Kaoru steadfastly awaits his return, mourning his absence as well as that of their son, Kenji. Will Kenshin return before she dies of grief? The past meets the present fifteen years since Kenshin left.

Samurai X: Reflection Director’s Cut ($29.98 SRP) is a DVD-only release with a 98-minute feature, including both English 5.1 and Japanese 5.1 language versions with English subtitles. Extras include: interviews with the original Japanese vocal cast, clean opening and closing animation, production sketches (video), commentary with J Shanon Weaver (Kenshin), Gray Haddock (Sanosuke) & Katherine Catmull (Kaoru), a reversible cover and ADV previews.

12-2-04—- Manga Prepares Ghost In The Shell: Special Edition DVD

Manga Entertainment is proud to release a newly re-mastered Special Edition DVD of the anime feature film that took the world by storm in 1996 — Ghost in the Shell. Nearly decade after the film’s creation, the characters, settings and ideas in this unprecedented, mesmerizing cinematic masterpiece resonate in Hollywood films such as “The Matrix” and the works of James Cameron (Titanic, Aliens, The Terminator) who describes Ghost in the Shell as “stunning…the first truly adult animation film to reach a level of literary and visual excellence”. Based on the ground-breaking comic book by Masamune Shirow, veteran director Mamoru Oshii skillfully created a movie that questions the very essence of human existence in the fast-paced world of the information age and produced one of the leading Japanese animation films of all time.

Seamlessly merging traditional cel animation with state-of-the-art computer graphic imagery, Ghost in the Shell challenged the boundaries of mainstream animation with its detailed artistic expression and uniquely intelligent story line. Winner of the 1997 World Animation Celebration Awards for “Best Theatrical Feature Film” & “Best Director of a Theatrical Feature Film,” Ghost in the Shell has since become a an international phenomenon, spawning not only a second theatrical feature (Ghost in the Shell: Innocence currently being distributed throughout the U.S. by Dreamwork’s Go-Fish label) but an animated Television series, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (currently distributed by Manga Entertainment), a PlayStation2 videogame, a second comic book series (Ghost in the Shell: Man Machine Interface published in the U.S. by Dark Horse Comics) and countless pieces of merchandise.

Synopsis: In 2029 – A female cybernetic government agent, Major Motoko Kusanagi, and the Internal Bureau of Investigations are hot on the trail of “The Puppet Master”, a mysterious and threatening computer virus capable of infiltrating human hosts. Together, with her fellow agents from Section 9, they embark on a high-tech race against time to capture the omnipresent entity.

“Ghost in the Shell – Special Edition” Studio: Manga Entertainment Sales & Distribution: Anchor Bay Entertainment Street Date: January 11, 2005 Pre-Book Date: December 11, 2004 Running Time: 120 minutes Suggested Retail Price: $34.98 Barcode: 0 1313 82004-9 5 Selection # M2004

Disc One: Digitally Re-mastered Anamorphic Widescreen Feature, Custom Motion Interactive Menus English 6.1 DTS-ES Surround, English 5.1 Dolby Digital-EX Surround Japanese 6.1 DTS-ES Surround, Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital-EX Surround Spanish Dolby Digital Stereo, French Dolby Digital Stereo, Italian Dolby Digital Stereo German Dolby Digital Stereo, English Subtitles

Disc Two: Character Dossiers, Creator Biography, Director Biography, Digital Works Production Report, Ghost in the Shell Trailers, Previews, DVD Catalog & Web Links

12-1-04

– According to The Daily Times Of Pakistan, Japan’s Hayao Miyazaki and Frenchman Moebius, have teamed up their imaginery characters for an exhibition in Paris. Some 300 original drawings from the two designers’ personal collections have gone on display at the Musee de la Monnaie. From conceptual drawings to animation production, celluloid, storyboards and posters, the exhibition explores the similarities and singularities of the two men’s works. Miyazaki, and Moebius are of the same generation though hail from very different cultural backgrounds, but they shared an appreciation of each other’s work before meeting.
– The U.K.’s Music From The Movies reviews the Steamboy Soundtrack.
The People’s Daily Online has an an interesting look at the state of China’s third generation art and artists since China’s reform and opening. What it finds is described as “dramatic changes”
The Boston Globe also has a piece recently on the MIT Anime Club.
The River Front Times takes a look at the unique Japanese drink, Kamata Shoten brand ramune soda flavored with lychee.
Silver Bullet Comics mentions the debut issue of UDON Comics’ adaptation of Capcom’s Darkstalkers have completely sold out less than a week from the release. The series will be rushed back to press with DARKSTALKERS #1 Second Printing (SEP042585), shipping with a brand new cover 2 weeks later on December 8 at the regular price of $2.95. “We are delighted that there is such a demand for a project that has been a true labor of love for the whole team,” says UDON’s Erik Ko. “Considering that Darkstalkers’s strong appeal is not limited to Street Fighter and video game fans, but anime and horror fans as well, we knew that the new series would garner a lot of interest.”
– The Los Angeles city paper, LA Weekly talks with the director of Hero and House of Flying Daggers. Thanks to Daniel for this news link.
The website of author Patrick Macias mentions that Cruising the Anime City should be out by now, that he’s doing more liner notes for upcoming Japanese films on dvd, such as G.I. Samurai and that he’s in various articles he linked on his site. Thanks to Daniel for this news item.
The Boston Globe has published an article on anime which refers to Miyazaki as a a “maverick auteur”.
– Japan’s Asahi Newspaper covers the current trend of game developers in Japan of bringing back tried and true titles from the past when new concepts fail.

12-1-04—- Anime Next Convention News Updates

HAPPY HOLIDAYS: PRE-REG DEADLINE EXTENDED THROUGH 2004

As a gift to you, we’ve decided to extend our registration deadline and allow everyone a chance to save money through the holiday season. Register before January 1st for an incredible savings on membership. Only $30 for adults and $20 for children (7-12) for a 3-day pass!

This gives you access to everything at the convention for less than a 1-day Saturday membership! After January 1, rates will rise, so hurry and take advantage of this offer. Happy Holidays from the staff at AnimeNEXT! http://www.animenext.org/register

* ANIMENEXT 2004 ATTENDANCE INFORMATION

3401 people attended AnimeNEXT in 2004! It’s no wonder the place was packed! Our new venue, the Meadowlands Expo Center will provide us with much more breathing room. We wonder how many people will attend in 2005? Here’s the breakdown for 2004:

57% of our attendees live in NJ (Go Jersey!) 33% of our attendees live in NY (What’s up with that, NY?) 05% of our attendees live in PA (Not a bad showing) 02% of our attendees live in CT 01% of our attendees live in MA

We also had attendees from the following states: MD, VA, DE, AZ, MN, RI, MO, IL, IN, FL, CA, DC, NH, ND, NV, OK, SC, TN, and TX. That’s 24 of the 50 states, plus we had people from Canada and Britain. That’s pretty amazing!

12-1-04—- Anime At The 7th Future Film Fest In Bologna Italy

The 7th edition of the event will be held in Bologna, Italy from 19 to 23 of January 2005. For seven years now Future Film Festival has been focusing its activitity on animated cartoons and new technolgies applied to cinema or other media. The programme always includes various artist retrospectives about traditional cartoons, coming from all over the world. There are as well competitions for young talents and companies which deal with cartoons and special effects.

Anime content will include Japanese animated films from the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s by masters such as Noboru Ofuji, Masaoka Kenzo, Yasuji Murata. On Sunday 23 of January 2005, Future Film Festival and Musica! (Repubblica) will present the first edition of The Cosplay Contest. Occuring during the closing evening party, the coolest costumes will be awarded by an expert jury.

www.futurefilmfestival.org

11-30-04—- Yamato Toys Announces Spring Releases

Yamato USA, the North American subsidiary of Japan’s Yamato Co., Ltd. is pleased to announce that it is now accepting retailer pre-orders for its latest assortment of miniature collectible figures, action figures and PVC statues scheduled to ship late Spring 2005.

Capcom Figure Collection: DarkStalkers – Morrigan & Lilith Miniature Collectible Figures Continuing with last year’s highly successful Capcom Figure Collection: Street Fighter II – Chun-Li and Cammy, Yamato is pleased to place the spotlight on DarkStalkers’ Queen of Vampires, Morrigan, and everyone’s nightmare of a little sister, Lilith. As before, this six piece assortment features a pair of figures fashioned by three of the leading Japanese “garage kit” artists. Standing at approximately 5” in height and sealed in a blister card, these beautiful ladies are sure to sweep their way into your heart and leave you hungry for more.

Please Teacher – Mizuho in Space Suit Resin Statue Teleporting to a specialty shop near you is the new Please Teacher! Mizuho Kazami in Space Suit Resin Statue. This eloquent sculpture by Toy Fujiura features the title character from Bandai Entertainment’s popular series Please Teacher! dressed to the nines in her skin tight, black space suit with revealing midriff beneath her flowing red hair and purple eyes. Measuring approximately 5.25” in length, Mizuho Kazami in Space Suit comes sealed in collector’s style closed box. This is one space explorer that belongs in your constellation!

SIF EX: Love Hina Again – Naru, Mutsumi, Motoko & Shinobu PVC Statues Story! Image! Figure! EX A Yamato Original! Relive all the fun, the charm, and misadventures of Bandai Entertainment’s wonderful anime OVA, Love Hina Again with an all-new line of collectible PVC statues of some of the Hinata Hot Springs most memorable occupants. Available individually are Naru, Motoko, Mutsumi, and Shinobu, each pre-painted and wearing their unique hot springs bathing apparel. Each figure either sits, lies, or stands between 3.25” and 8.50” tall and comes sealed in collector’s style window box with display base. Items sold separately.

SIF EX: ROD the TV – Maggie PVC Statue Torn from the pages of R•O•D the TV (distributed by Geneon Entertainment and featured on G4TechTV’s Anime Unleashed), the Paper Sisters second sibling Maggie is making her way to the U.S.! Standing approximately 7.25” tall, this attractively detailed PVC statue by Miki Ousaka of Cherry Blossom High displays Maggie ready for battle, pre-posed with the same stern and serious attitude that shines so brightly in the popular anime series. Maggie comes pre-painted with a display stand, sealed in collector’s style window box. It’s like a reading rainbow filled with adventure, excitement, imagination.

SIF EX: Guilty Gear Isuka – Ino PVC Statue Story! Image! Figure! EX A Yamato Original! Debuting in last year’s exceptionally popular arcade videogame Guilty Gear XX, Ino is a woman whose origins and motives are enigmas wrapped in mysteries. Now this sexy, red leather clad rocker is one of the main stars in Sammy/Sega’s latest installment of the Guilty Gear console series, Guilty Gear Isuka… and the follow-up to Yamato’s Millia Rage PVC Statue. From an original sculpture by Kazunori Oomoto, Ino stands approximately 8.25” in height and comes with display base and her mystical guitar, sealed in a collector’s style window box. She’s gonna’ rock your world!

SIF: Iron Leaguer Miniature Collectible Figures Story! Image! Figure! A Yamato Original! Imagine the ultimate sports team… a team of robots that can take on almost any sport from baseball to football to ice hockey. Mix this idea with the popular “super-deformed” Japanese art style and you have Iron Leaguers! Now the characters from Iron Leaguers can pass, shoot and score their way from the TV into your homes with this new assortment of miniature collectible figures from Yamato’s Story! Image! Figure! line. Each figure stands approximately 4” tall and comes blister packed.

Cyber Formula – Asurada GSX Vehicle Yamato proudly introduces the future of formula car racing… the Asurada GSX! Designed by Shoji Kawamori, this is an amazing 1/24 scale replication of the Asurada GSX from Cyber Formula (available from Bandai Entertainment). The Asurada GSX comes with boost engine, detachable upper body, free-rolling wheels, and a collector’s style display case. Sweet!

For more information, visit the Yamato USA website at www.YamatoToysUSA.com

11-30-04—- JADA Toys Releases Initial D Hobby Edition Diecast

Targeting the collectors and fans of anime, Jada Toys is proud to announce the release of our Initial D hobby edition diecast. From the hit anime series comes a much awaited new collectable in 1:18 scale cars and their beloved figurines. The Initial D hobby edition vehicles consists of the infamous Toyota Trueno AE6, Nissan Skyline GTR R32, and the Mazda RX-7 FD3S. These are a must have for diehard fans of the runaway hit anime. Just in time for the holidays, look for them at a hobby or collectable store near you on December 11th. For additional information and the hottest news on Jada Toys products, check out www.JadaToys.com.

11-30-04—- Tokyopop Announces 5th Rising Stars Of Manga Competition

TOKYOPOP Inc., the country’s leading manga publisher, is pleased to announce the highly anticipated fifth Rising Stars of Manga competition, launching on December 1, 2004 and running through February 15, 2005. Aspiring artists and writers are encouraged to submit their 15-to-20-page manga—along with completed entry forms—to TOKYOPOP for the chance to join the next generation of nationally published manga-ka. A handful of talented winners will score cash prizes and have their winning entries presented in the next Rising Stars anthology, to be published in Summer 2005. Due to overwhelming demand, the competition will introduce a brand-new People’s Choice on-line component where the top 20 finalists will have their entire entries posted on the TOKYOPOP website and judged by the fans.

“We are really pleased to open up the Rising Stars judging to the fans,” comments Rob Valois, TOKYOPOP editor. “Since so many people have been vocal on the message boards and at industry conventions, we’re offering them all a chance to shape the future of manga. I’m personally excited to see how the fans’ favorite will compare to our own.”

As the U.S. market leader in localized manga and the sponsor of the first-ever manga competition in the country, TOKYOPOP is on a mission to identify and nurture the artists and writers who will define American manga in the years ahead. A manga revolution is sweeping the U.S., and a new generation is being inspired by this innovative art form. The essence of manga is not restricted to work from to its birthplace in Japan—it can embrace Western characters, storylines and culture. TOKYOPOP’s expanded competition invites creators living in America and working in English to submit their work. The top seven entries, as selected by TOKYOPOP’s editorial staff and the on-line People’s Choice selection, will receive monetary prizes and be published by the fifth Rising Stars of Manga anthology. In addition, all the winners will have an exclusive opportunity to pitch a full-length manga story idea to TOKYOPOP executives for possible development as a graphic novel series. Entrants are encouraged to submit content from all genres—comedy, drama, horror, science fiction, action, fantasy, romance—and even under-represented subjects such as political, historical or instructional manga. Complete details for the fifth Rising Stars of Manga competition are available NOW on TOKYOPOP’s website at: www.tokyopop.com/news/mangatalent/index.php.

11-30-04—- Gaijin Geisha Fashion Label Launches

www.gaijingeisha.com
Gaijin Geisha is a fresh street fashion Label combining Fun and traditional elements of Japans wide spectrum of fashion with bright and playful styles we all know and love. A hysteric juxtaposition colors and techniques.

All eyes are on Japan these days. Animation, fashion and food trends. We are beginning to see a new wave of Japanese style fashion infiltrating the US consciousness. High profile artists such as Gwen Stefani are showing a decidedly Harajuku look, and the up coming release of the Memoirs of a Geisha movie is sure to spark a deep interest in Geisha and Japan inspired fashions. Gaijin Geisha offers an ever changing collection of hand made tsumami kanzashi. Traditional hair pins worn by the Geisha in Japan. One of the few places to sell these hair ornaments outside of Japan, and one of even fewer to make them.

Street fashion in Japan is about mixing chic and kitsch, high fashion with street finds. Gaijin Geisha takes this idea of high art and low art to create a dynamic line with an emphasis on fun and originality. Where silk is the star of our Kanzashi section. Resin, glitter and a rainbow of faux fur create a playground of fun and original accessories. Sparkling wrist cuffs made with Chopstick wrappers and Swarovski crystals. Shishi Lions play happily across the front of sweatshop free tank tops. Exciting designs that capture current interests in Japan, and the playful irreverent mood of these fun street fashions. Come check us out and get ahead of the trend!

11-30-04

Central Park Media’s heartwarming family film, Doggy Poo has been presented with a Gold Award from the National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA). The film excelled in the category of 2004 Videos and DVDs for Preschoolers. As an award recipient, Doggy Poo will be covered on Parenthood.com, in all 13 United Parenting Publications magazines spanning 6 states, and in NAPPA Editorial Partners covering an additional 15 states. “Doggy Poo continues to win many awards all over the world, but a Gold Award from a respected organization like NAPPA is especially gratifying since Doggy Poo is one of only three Gold Award recipients selected among more than 600 entries,” stated Shigeki Morii, Marketing Manager.
– Young East Asian Art is growing in momentum according to The Korea Times who says the convergence and proliferation of media blur boundaries while international art events and alternative, public and privately owned gallery spaces are eager to snap up the essence of youth in order to glimpse visions of the future.
– From Taiwan’s Taipei Times:
The nation’s animation industry could learn from Japan and South Korea — some of whose animation products tell profound and dramatic stories — to sharpen its competitiveness in the world market, a Taiwanese official said yesterday. Huang Kuo-chun (???), director of the digital content industry promotion office under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, said at a workshop that Taiwan’s digital creations, including video games and animation films, display scenes lacking drama. Forging cooperative relations with Japanese animation creators, whose products have already successfully made inroads into world markets, could be a good way to develop Taiwan’s animation industry, he said.
The Mainichi reports a former trash disposal company employee has been arrested for stealing about 120 dolls modeled on the Kinnikuman series of cartoons, police said.
The Detroit Free Press lists 12 interesting things about Japan.
Indian Television reports The Japanese Anime channel Animax will kick off an on-ground school contact initiative from 29 November touching 100 schools in five metros. The contest will span over five weeks closing on 31 December. The Animax brand ambassador Irfan Pathan’s youthful image will be marketed to connect with kids, youth, trade and advertisers.
The KRT News Service is carrying an interview with Producer Toshio Suzuki of Studio Ghibli.
Total Video Games reports that according to a report featured within the pages of the respected Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nintendo are set for a foray into the film industry in 2006. It’s believed that an anime feature-length film is the most probable project, although exactly what this will be based upon is unclear at this stage. The comments come soon after the former Nintendo president, Hiroshi Yamauchi, hinted at the development back in September.
– The Guardian reviews Peter Carrey’s new book Wrong About Japan. The tome was inspired by the passion for Japanese pop culture held by the author’s 12 year old son.
Yahoo News courtesy the AP has an update on the developing story of James Cameron’s new film project based on Battle Angel Alita. Cameron told The Associated Press he’s in preproduction now and expects to start shooting in May or June. The film will take two years to make and will include about 1,500 visual effects shots. The director was quoted as saying “It’s based on a series of graphic novels done by a Japanese artist called Kishiro”. He wouldn’t discuss casting for the movie, but said, “It’s going to be a combination of live action and (computer graphics) but done photorealistically. There will be CG characters and live-action characters.”
Click On Detroit mentions Jaguar’s Peter Chung Anime Promotion in it’s focus on net film series as entertainment / marketing tools.
DTV Professional reccomends ten great animated DVDs for building your home theatre collection. Several anime mentions make the cut.
Gamespot talks about Bandai of Japan hiring Space Channel 5 creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi to head their new software divisions. Gamespot also covers the release of Dragon Quest VIII in Japan. Thanks to Daniel for the link.
The following link expresses Inoue’s condolences for Phoenix Suns guard Yuta Tabuse’s injury, mentions that a new volume to his B-ball manga Real has been released in Japan after being on hiatus for a year, adds that he released a new edition of Chameleon Jail which is now condensed from two volumes into one and includes a new short story, and finally announced a Slam Dunk event in Japan which can be read about at http://www.itplanning.co.jp/slamdunk/. Also, Inoue requests fans to be patient on his return to Vagabond, as he wants to make his next venture into the series a successful one which satisfies both him and his readers. Thanks to Daniel for the links.
Yahoo News has an article from E! on how the kaiju will be celebrating his birthday. Thanls to Daniel for the update.
http://kristinesa.com
Kristine Sa returns with her long awaited follow up to “I Never Knew” called “reBIRTH” – A collection of brand new songs, remixes and rare re-mastered and re-recorded fan favorites. Though it’s been 2+ years since “I Never Knew”, we promise the wait will melt away when you hear the clips from “reBIRTH”. Everything has been stepped up for this album. From the music production, to the songwriting, to the mixing and mastering. And even though it may sound impossible, Kristine’s voice sounds more beautiful now than it ever has. That’s right kids, the Queen is back!
Although reBIRTH will officially be released on December 7th, the new CD will go on sale as a pre-order starting this Monday, November 29th. The first 50 orders will receive an autographed copy of reBIRTH. The reBIRTH preview site will feature 9 song clips from the new album in both streaming and mp3 downloadable format. If you’ve been waiting for new Kristine Sa music, not only is the wait over, it was worth it.

They’re Baaack! Psycho le Cemu will be invading Katsucon (www.Katsucon.org) in 2005, with a brand new live performance. There will be new costumes, and new songs during this upcoming three city campaign. The 2004 “Psycho Invasion” tour in Anaheim and Dallas was a huge success, and the overwhelming fan response demanded their return in 2005!
– The closing date for competition entries to the International Manga and Anime (IMAF) festival has been extended to 31st December. The first-ever annual international competition to identify the best in Manga and Anime talent in the world has been launched, with $75,000 worth of prizes to be won. www.imaf.co.uk
– All purpose rocker and Yoko Kanno collaborator, Steve Conte passes on a link to the site of brilliant British music photog Ami Barwell who took some amazing shots of the musician with the New York Dolls this summer (in additon to many other great bands.)
http://musicphotographer.co.uk/nov04/nydolls/

11-30-04—- Deepak Chopra Behind Indian Effort To Bring The Challenge To Manga

The spiritualist and intuitive Deepak Chopra and director Shekhar Kapur have joined with Gotham Ent. Group, the leading publisher of comic magazines in South Asia, to announce the launch of Gotham Studios Asia, a new company focused on creating original comic books and character properties for a global audience. Over the next year, the studio intends to attract more than 150 of India’s most talented artists and writers to create a portfolio of original character properties for comic book publishing and licensing into movies, animation, toys, videogames and consumer products. The firm intends to produce original content, infused with Indian and Asian mythology, to meet the growing demand of the industry for properties and stories that cater to this emerging global audience.

Deepak said, “As the narrow walls of nationalism come down, and as a new collective humanity, we break through our tribal identities, Asia will become the home of the entertainment, media and business activities of the world. Through the studio, we plan to reinvigorate some of civilization’s greatest mythologies, to tap into the primal energies of India and Asia’s great tradition of storytelling. The Super-Powers of tomorrow will not be defined by their military prowess but by their cultural contribution and we firmly believe our new venture will be at the vanguard of this global, cultural and economic shift.” “Similar to the phenomenon we have seen with Japanese anime and manga, which has influenced virtually every aspect of popular media today, our mission is to reinvent contemporary Indian popular art and permeate this new style and vision throughout the globe,” said Gotham Ent. Group ceo, Sharad Devarajan. Shekhar said, “Comics are becoming the new pop art. The new pop communication. The new drug. This is not just comics, but a breathtaking new multi-media format. Comics are the new culture.”
Source: Silver Bullet Comics

11-30-04—- Upper Deck Invades Gen Con With Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game

Bringing the ultimate gaming experience to Anaheim, Calif., Upper Deck Entertainment (UDE) is pleased to bring one of the biggest Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME and Vs. System events to Gen Con So Cal. From Thursday, December 2 through Sunday, December 5, savvy Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG and Vs. System players have the chance to win large cash prizes, exclusive TCG products, and state-of-the-art gaming systems simply by participating in UDE tournaments. UDE tournaments will be held in the Trading Card Game Hall throughout the weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Next month’s tournaments include the highly popular Vs. System $1 million Pro Circuit. The second of four annual stops, the Pro Circuit tournament at Gen Con So Cal will allow super hero trading card game fans to put their skills to the test and compete for over $250,000 in cash prizes. The main event will begin on Friday and Saturday, December 3 and 4, with the finals running on Sunday, December 5. Players in the Pro Circuit Tournaments are qualified entrants, who have won a previous Pro Circuit Qualifier Tournament at the local level, or by earning an invitation based on their UDE rating. Players can also earn a spot by winning one of the “Last Chance Tournaments” on Thursday, December 2.

It’s Marvel vs. DC in UDE’s $10,000 Vs. System Convention Championship at Gen Con So Cal. Vs. System pros can put their favorite comic characters to the test as they compete in UDE’s new $10,000 Convention Championship format. Vs. System fans are encouraged to bring their pure DC or Marvel decks on Saturday, December 4 at 9 a.m. and compete against others in their deck bracket for $5,000 in cash prizes. On Sunday, December 5, the winners of each bracket will face-off and battle for double the prize money for those players in their bracket.

Also next month, Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG enthusiasts will have a chance to be a part of one of the largest Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG events in history with UDE’s first-ever Shonen Jump Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Championship Tournament. This advanced format tournament will be held on Saturday, December 4 at 1 p.m., and Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG fans will have a chance to win the incredibly popular and powerful “Cyber-stein” card – which will be the first time ever officially printed outside of Japan. The top winner of the tournament will win a trophy, the exclusive “Cyber-stein” card, a sheet of uncut foil rares from Rise of Destiny, and a Dell Inspiron XPS gaming laptop.

The second place finisher will receive a new “Slim” Playstation 2 game console and a brand new Nintendo DS gaming system; the third through fourth place finishers will be awarded a new “Slim” Playstation 2 game console; fifth through eighth place winners will receive brand new Nintendo DS gaming system; and all top-eight contenders will be awarded an invite to the upcoming Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG National Championships in 2005.

Southern California’s best Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Duelists will also have tons of chances to win an invitation to the upcoming Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG National Championship event as UDE hosts Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Regional Championship Tournaments on Friday, December 3 at 4 p.m., Saturday, December 4 at 1 p.m., and Sunday, December 5 at 10 a.m. The top four winners of each tournament will be awarded an invite to the upcoming Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG National Championship Tournament in 2005.

For information on additional tournaments, Upper Deck Entertainment, and its products, Internet users can log onto www.upperdeckentertainment.com

11-24-04

BBC News mentions Hayao Miyazaki’s Howls Moving Castle set a new Japanese box office record last week, with 1.5bn yen ($14.3m) in two days.
The Japan Times covers at the staying power as an artform as well as the marvels and majesty of 2D animation in it’s review of Miyazaki’s Howls Moving Castle.
Business 2.0’s Thomas Mucha has posted a scathing review of Jaguar’s latest Peter Chung online animation spot campaign.
– Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald interviews the author of a new book on the unique facets of Japan.
The Manilla Bulletin Online refrences an informal study of 150 Fillipino kids and finds 132 of them were avid cartoon and anime lovers, many of them unable to distinguish between the two genres. Their best bets for entertainment were Crush Gear, Slam Dunk, Knock Out, Cooking Master Boy and Dragon Ball Z, Bey Blade and Sakura.
Elites TV is carrying news that director James Cameron confirmed via an NPR interview last week that production for a feature film adaptation of ‘Battle Angel Alita’ (Gunm) has begun. “We’re finishing up the shooting draft right now. We’ve been designing, it’s a big science fiction film and a couple things that will be interesting about this project,” says Cameron in the interview.
Financial Express reports advertisements resembling graffiti by US footware giant Nike Inc are provoking controversy and protests in ultra-tidy Singapore. The Nike advertisements — using martial arts fighters and Japanese-style anime to target Asian youth — were posted over other advertisements in a graffiti-like fashion. “We had a good laugh when we received this feedback,” Henry Goh, a sales director at outdoor bus advertising firm Clear Channel, told the Straits Times newspaper.

11-24-04—- Pop Goes Asia Announces Online Music Initiative

From the Pop Goes Asia release:
Forget your preconceptions of Asian pop music. Today’s artists are blending western styles with Asian sensibilities and spawning whole new genres. A few have forged inroads into the US market but some of the biggest stars in Asia are poised for a full-on attack to win American Ears . Will this be an Asian Invasion rivaling the British Invasion of the ‘60s? “It will be more like a foothold than an invasion.” according to Rhys Ludlow, founder of Pop Goes Asia, a pan-Asian internet radio station. “But it is only a matter of time before an Asian pop star strikes gold here in the US.”

“Thanks to the internet, the world is shrinking and musical borders are disappearing,” says Ludlow. “In Asia, musical exchange among countries is common. For example, Korean teen phenom Boa Kwon often holds the top position on the Japanese pop (Jpop) chart. Japanese superstar Ayumi Hamasaki is commonly heard in Hong Kong, and Taiwanese radio will feature songs in Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese and English.”

While radio stations across Asia play English-language artists alongside Asian hits, there is almost no reciprocation here. It isn’t for a lack of good music. When you consider that Southeast and Eastern Asia, have nearly a third of the world’s population, and the Japanese music market alone is 1/3 the size of the US market, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of artists that know how to craft a good pop tune.

That said, Asian pop can take some getting used to. Female Jpop singers often strike American ears as overly shrill and frenetic, while Chinese ballads seem like a throwback to an earlier, more innocent era – but with modern stylings. “I happen to think love songs are better when you don’t understand the words,” jokes Ludlow, who is himself an American Caucasian. “Songs that I didn’t like when I first discovered Asian pop are now among my favorites – I’ve undergone a shift in my taste. It reminds me of the punk songs that once sounded harsh and now seem tame.”

But will it ever play in Peoria? “It is happening more and more.” Many American kids already know some Asian Pop hits through video games and anime. They may not be able to name the artists, but they certainly know the songs (at least the English translations). This year, Japan’s top R&B singer, Hikaru Utada released her US debut album on Island/Def Jam records, and her song “Devil Inside” reached #2 on the Billboard dance chart. The Cartoon Network has created a new prime-time series based on Japan’s best selling pop duo, Puffy Amiyumi. Meanwhile, Chinese artists have been selling out arenas in Las Vegas and San Francisco. Albeit to predominantly Chinese-American crowds.

But the internet is where the curious listener goes to proactively explore Asian music. Asian music has become a genre on the internet, along with its sub genres, Jpop, Cpop, Kpop and Tpop – Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Thai pop, respectively. In reality, these aren’t genres, but rather geographic and linguistic divisions. All countries produce their own take on pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop and dance music. There are even Chinese songs that fit the American country-music format. “On Pop Goes Asia, we play all genres of music and try to alternate languages on every song. There’s something for everyone to love (and hate)”.

11-24-04—- eigoMANGA Readies New TV Commercials

San Francisco — eigoMANGA, a California-based independent comic book publisher, has produced its first series of television commercials for its American Manga comic book anthology series, RUMBLE PAK. The 30 second commercial is slated to broadcast on select television markets through Comcast in December and begins airing nationally on the U Network during the week of November 22, 2004. The RUMBLE PAK commercial is part of eigoMANGA’s campaign to highlight the emergence of Japanese-influenced comics (called “manga”) produced by independent American artists.

The commercial was produced utilizing footage from RUMBLE PAK’s mainstream release-concert event on October 24, 2004, called RUMBLE INVASION. The commercial also features the single “Watching Goodwill Hunting” from the debut self-titled CD of the rock band, Ludo. The band makes an appearance in the commercial. eigoMANGA is currently broadcasting the commercial on its website and is allowing fans to download or link to the commercial to publish on their own websites. Fans are also encouraged to send state their feedback in order for the company to refine the commercial before its official television broadcast to select television markets within December.

11-24-04—- Stone Bridge Press Releases Otaku Guide To Tokyo

Cruising the Anime City An Otaku Guide to Neo Tokyo
by Patrick Macias and Tomohiro Machiyama
“This is the easiest, cheapest, and safest way to cruise into the maniac’s world.” Junko Mizuno, artist and author of Cinderalla and Pure Trance November 2004 (Berkeley, CA) ­ Stone Bridge Press, now in its 15th year of publishing books about Japan, is excited to provide the first street-smart guide to a part of Tokyo that is shaping cultural tastes around the globe. Cruising the Anime City is a travel guide, a social commentary, and a sneak peak into the trends that will hit the West in the near future.

In Neo Tokyo, otaku dress up cosplay style for real, fans crowd cons to buy and trade, and anime soundtracks are heard in concert halls. Neo Tokyo is where anime has become both urban fashion and cultural zeitgeist. Featuring interviews with tastemakers, authors Patrick Macias and Tomohiro Machiyama cover studios, toys, museums, games, film “locations,” music, plus where to hang and how to cruise.

“American Patrick Macias and Japanese Tomohiro Machiyama are your super team-up guides to this alternate pop-culture dimension next door,” says Japan Edge co-author Carl Gustav Horn. “They drop anecdotes that will make you gape and treasure maps to stores that will make you start booking your airline tickets now.” For anime fans, gamers, pop idol worshippers, fashion freaks, cosplayers, toy collectors, movie nuts, or just the curious, Cruising the Anime City takes you to Neo Tokyo, the pop cultural homeland of otaku around the world. Patrick Macias is a specialist in Asian film and Japanese pop culture, is also author of TokyoScope.

Tomohiro Machiyama, a movie critic and journalist, helped popularize the word “otaku.” Cruising the Anime City: An Otaku Guide to Neo Tokyo retails for US$16.95. It is 144 pp., paperback, with 100+ color photos & maps. ISBN 1-880656-88-4. See www.stonebridge.com for other books on anime, manga, and more.

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