January 30, 2007 / by Anime News Services / Archived News / No Comments

Anime News Service – January 25-30 Anime News

1-30-07 (3:42PM EST)—- Evangelion Postage Stamps In Japan

Japan Post announced on December 22nd that they will put postage stamps bearing the illustrations of the Evangelion animation on the market as part the 5th series of their “Animation Hero And Heroines” line from February 23rd. One sheet of 10 stamps will be 80 Yen. Source: Nikkan Sports

1-30-07 (3:10PM EST)—- Is Les Miserables Anime Moe?

Asahi poses the question of the 52 episode “World Masterpiece Theater” revival TV series. Running between 69 and 97, the series was discontinued 10 years ago due to languishing ratings. Compared to past “classy” series in the line, the new work seems to be a surefire anime with an ox-eyed, fluffy haired bishoujo lead heroine. Asahi put the question to Director Sakurai Hiroaki (DiGi Charat): “That is also one of the views. While appearing as bishoujo animation, its makes one a captive of a tale….. it may be one of the strategies.

1-30-07 (3:08PM EST)—- Temp Agency / Hataraki Man Cross Promotion

The Television animation “Hataraki Man” started broadcasting in the wee hours on Fuji TV in October 2006; the final episode aired on December 21, 2006. Working people in their twenties and thirties empathize with the hard working protagonist, Matsukata Hiroko, and the show scored high television audience ratings. Furthermore, a television commercial for the temporary employment agency “DIP” which uses the image of Matsukata Hiroko has attracted attention. The project to choose a new promotional campaign for agency began around June 2006, and information on the Hataraki Man animation was obtained while conferring with advertising agencies, etc. Having read the original Hataraki Man manga by Anno Moyoco thoroughly, marketing director Aihara/Aibara Hidenobu felt, “The manga readership and the viewers that the anime aims at, to say nothing of the theme, are the same.” Source: Mantan

1-30-07 (12:17PM EST)—- Cheapest / Most Widely Available DVD Player Yet?

Through Wal-Mart stores, Yasui / Asda have a released a DVD player that’s selling for only 9 quid ($20) in the UK.

1-30-07 (12:12PM EST)—- NANA Glamorizes Underage Smoking?

Ai Yazawa’s manga, NANA has sold over 36.5 million copies in Japan, the live action movie version has brought in box-office profits in excess of four billion Yen. A sequel film is now in the works. The TV anime is broadcast by Nippon Television Network. The mix media franchise has excelled to heights of popularity. Recently, accusations have been levied that the series, which features excessive smoking in all its forms, possibly glamorizes the unhealthy habit, especially among minors. Manabu Sakuta, professor of Kyorin University’s Department of Medicine and president of the Japanese Society Of Tobacco Control recently made some comments on the issue to the Gendai Weekly: “ Scenes are being broadcast in which minors are seen smoking in a dignified manner.” He added in that in some of the illustrations of the TV anime the brands, cigarette brands could even be made out. “Such TV animation is unprecedented.” The society posted an official letter of protest to both Nippon Television Network Corporation and JT (Japan Tobacco) on January 18. NTV made the following comments to Weekly Gendai regarding their coverage: “Though it has been decided not to handle the situations in a was as to beautify smoking, the descriptions concerning smoking in the work are essential to the story.” The same society listed above supposedly sent a sent a similar letter to Yazawa last June.

1-30-07 (10:44AM EST)—- Your Face On A Maid Doll

Akihabara based Don Quijote will take your picture and plaster your face on a Maid Doll in 3 minutes for 850 Yen.

1-30-07 (10:27AM EST)—- 450MM Yen Boxoffice Start For Dororo

Movie Walker reports the live action movie adaptation of Osamu Tezuka’s Dororo became the #1 film in Japan this past weekend. Opening in 296 theaters nationwide, 337,000 people paid to see it on the big screen to the tune of a 450 million Yen boxoffice take. Movie industry analysts there agree its a very good start. Actor Kou Shibasaki and Actress Shibasa Hao star and Akihiko Shioda is the director, most of the filming was done in New Zealand.

1-30-07 (10:15AM EST)—- 20 Million+ Registered Hangame Users

On the 29th NHN announced their Mega MMORPG hub site Hangame now has over 20 million registered users.

1-30-07 (10:12AM EST)—- Mixi Has 8 Million Registered Users

On the 29th Japanese SNS Mixi announced their number of registered users had exceeded eight million.

1-30-07 (8:39AM EST)—- Anime HD-DVD Release Changes

Japan’s HD-DVD Promotion Group updated a list of pending releases on the medium on January 29th. Wings Of The Honneamise and Patlabor Movie 1 were added and confirmed for release in the Japanese market. On January 9th Bandai Visual Co., Ltd., Memory-Tech Corporation and Microsoft Co., Ltd. agreed to release the following 4 HD DVD titles during 2007: “Freedom”, a brand new digital OVA series, and feature-length anime movies “Royal Space Force-The Wings of Honneamise”, “Patlabor The Movie”, and “Patlabor 2 The Movie”. The region for the releases were unspecified at that time. Release dates remain undecided. In another twist 2 anime mentioned in this list on January 11th for a North American HD-DVD rollout, Cowboy Bebop and Ghost In The Shell, were removed.

1-30-07 (8:10AM EST)—- Real Life Lupin III Car And Bike Used In Promotion

For the upcoming release of the latest Lupin III PS2 videogame publisher Banpresto has wheeled out real life replicas of the 1929 type 38/250 model SSK Mercedes-Benz car and Harley Davidson motorcycle from the series for promotions. According to Yukan Fuji, a beautiful Japanese model xosplaying as Fujiko drove the Mercedes right up to their newsroom for a photo session. Fans can answer a quiz on both machines and win special prizes related to game release.

1-30-07 (7:32AM EST)—- Gedo Senki Japan’s #1 Film In 2006

The Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan announced their annual national movie statistsics On Tuesday. The box office revenue of domestically produced and released Japanese films in 2006 was 107.75 billion Yen, outpacing foreign produced and imported films’ 94.8 billion Yen share in the same market. This marks the frist annual period in 21 years (1985) that Japanese cinema has outsold foreign cinema at the box office in Japan. As for the top grossing pictures of the year, Goro Miyazaki’s Gedo Senki (Toho) released in July arrived in the #1 spot, earning 7.65 billion Yen in ticket sells. Other anime related entries in the top 10 include #5: Death Note: The Last Name (WB), released in November, which drew 5.2 billion Yen; #7 July’s Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea (Toho), which earned 3.4 billion Yen; #8 March’s Doraemon: Nobita’s Dinosaur 2006 (Toho), which earned 3.28 billion Yen and #10 Detective Conan Movie 10: The Private Eyes’ Requiem which took 3.03 bill Yen when it hit theaters in April courtesy Toho.

1-30-07 (6:37AM EST)—- 2007: Interesting Times For Manga Publishers?

Japan’s Mainichi newspaper reports 2007 could spell rough times and significant changes in the way Japan’s manga publishers go about their business. As free manga magazines spring up such as Comic Gumbo, Yoshimoto Kogyo prepares to enter the market with their unique offerings, and independently published web serials and cell phone manga reading trends continue, the mainstream publishers are losing readers. Weekly Young Jump’s readership went from 1.08 million to 1 million, Big Comic Spirits from 410,000 to 390,000, and Morning from 430,000 to 460,000 between 2005-2006 according to the Japan Magazine Publishers Association.

1-30-07 (5:53AM EST)—- Rozen Maiden Manga Suspended

The March issue of Gentosha’s Comic BIRZ was released in Japan today. Absent was PEACH-PIT’s Rozen Maiden serial for a second month on the trot. As for a reason? A small note read “are not carrying by convienice“. Last month The author’s website first mentioned the February edition of the magazine would not carry the serial when it went on sale on 12/28/06: “I seem to have gotten the “Do not carry by the author’s convenience” treatment. Though the detailed circumstances cannot be told and it is very regrettable, I think a more thorough eplaination can come to light in the next issue of the magazine if there is a will to publish it on the editorial staff’s side. Hold on a little, please. I am really sorry to everybody who was looking forward.

1-30-07 (5:34AM EST)—- Bambino Drama Web

NTV on Tuesday launched the official website for the coming 12 episode TV drama based on Sekiya Tetsuji’s Bambino! manga.

1-30-07 (5:24AM EST)—- Mizuki Manga Awarded At Angouleme

Mangaka Shigeru Mizuki’s comic Non Non Ba by Shigeru Mizuki has won the the Prix du Meilleur Album at Angouleme, France’s Festival International de la Bande Dessinee. Its the first manga to take the prize.

1-30-07 (4:54AM EST)—- Reideen Epiosde 1 Online Free

AnimeBB is freely hosting the 1st episode of the new WOWOW / Production I.G. REIDEEN remake prioer to the March broadcast debut.

1-30-07 (3:17AM EST)—- New Anime Books From Stone Bridge Press

From the Stone Brdige Press newsletter:
APRIL
The Art of Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles By Tommy Yune; Foreword by Carl Macek ISBN 978-1-933330-29-7, $19.95, 144 pages The exclusive, full-color tie-in to the new Robotech film includes series history, characters guides, and many pages of film art and drawings, assembled by production insiders.
MAY
Anime Classics Zettai!: 100 Must-See Japanese Animation Masterpieces By Brian Camp and Julie Davis ISBN 978-1-933330-22-8, $18.95, 400 pages Extended reviews of 100 top Japanese animation films, TV series, and made-for-video series, from 1958 to the latest Cartoon Network hits. Engaging entries include data, personnel, summary, style, critical comments, and viewer-discretion guides.

1-30-07 (3:17AM EST)—- Lone Wolf And Cub In Hollywood

Dark Horizons notes that Darren Aronofsky is still working on the script for the American adaptation of the Kazuo Koike samurai manga. Kudos To Daniel Zelter for the news.

1-29-07 (6:00PM EST)—- Toriyama Working On New Dr. Slump Anime Movie

Toei Animation has revealed a new Dr. Slump animated film is being produced, to be released nationwide in Japanese theaters on March 3rd, screening simultaneously with the latest One Piece feature. The movie is described as a being based on “Dr. Slump Tokubetsu Hen”, a completely new work by creator Akira Toriyama. Details will be published on the animation and planned accompanying manga serial in the April, 2007 edition of the Japanese version of Shonen Jump to go on sale on 3/6/07.

1-29-07 (12:52PM EST)—- TWO-MIX On Kissdum – ENGAGE Planet Theme

Cyber-Jpop duo TWO-MIX (Gundam Wing – JUST COMMUNICATION) has signed on to provide the new theme and BGM of the anime Kissdum – ENGAGE Planet. The TV series is scheduled to telecast sometime in 2007. TWO-MIX has dropped off the scene so to speak in recent years with no new activity, reuniting as II MIX DELTA for 10th anniversary commemorative mini album releases.

1-29-07 (12:36PM EST)—- Record 920,000 Visitors To Mizuki Road In 2006

Tottori prefecture and Sakaiminato city revealed the 120 bronze Gegege No Kitaro statues and displays on what is called Mizuki Road (named after Gegege No Kitaro mangka Shigeru Mizuki) drew an alltime high record of 920,000 visitors in 2006. Sakaiminato is home to the Kitaro creator who is 84 this year. The popular tourist draw is a short 800 meter distance from the JR Sakaiminato Station. The display was first opened in 1993. 2005 saw 850,000 visitors.

1-29-07 (12:14PM EST)—- Nodame Cantabile Drama Finale Logs 21.7% Rating

While we were away for the holidays, the December 25th final episode of the live action TV drama version of Nodame Cantabile netted a high audience rating of 21.7%. This figure was derived from averaging tuned in Kanto households. Per minute the audience rating exceeded the 20% level at 21:04, just 4 minutes into the broadcast. Seconds prior to the final credits rolling at 22:03 the figure peaked at 24.1%. Additionally, just after the signoff acceses poured into the Fuji Television Network homepage and internal official drama website. The first episode of the anime version broadcast between 25:00-25:30 on Thursday, January 11th took the all time highest audience rating for a late night TV anime, netting a 5.4% share. The final episode of 1983’s Tsumiki Kuzushi Shinso is widely regarded to have achieved the highest Japanese TV drama viewership with a 45.3% share.

1-29-07 (9:44AM EST)—- Anime Tunerz: The Best Of 2006

Senkablog went through all of its photos of JDM rides with anime themed graphics and mods and compiled a huge gallery representing the cream of the crop for the 06.

1-29-07 (9:22AM EST)—- First Noda Junko Concert In 1 1/2 Years

After 1 and a half years away from the spotlight, superstar Japanese anime voice actress Noda Junko (Love Hina – Mitsune Konno) announced her first live concert ‘J.Noda LIVE 2007-my own self-‘ will be held at Takadanobaba’s CLUB PHASE on Saturday, February 3, 2007. You can buy tickets at Lawson and Animate. Junko has released 5 albums in Japan.

1-29-07 (9:22AM EST)—- Highest Quality DVD-R?

Japanese Mori Media has claimed to have developed one of the highest quality DVD-R media in the world. How good? So good that they charge 480 Yen per blank disc! They back the claims up through benchmark testing.

1-29-07 (9:12AM EST)—- Japanese Transformers Site

The official Japanese Transformers Movie website went live earlier this month. As soon as the front page loads up visitors are greeted to a special video preview with Director Michael Bay and Producer Steven Spielberg. The greeting is meant for the Japanese audience but is English with Japanese subs.

1-29-07 (9:04AM EST)—- Shogakukan Plans Spring Light Novel Market Assault

Come spring, Shogakukan and SPE will strengthen their marketing efforts in Japan’s booming Light Novel segment widely read by those in their 20’s. The initiative will use new writers, cell phone delivery and content derived from Sony Pictures properties. The light novel market encompasses sales of around 30 million books a year. Unlike the rest of the slumping publishing industry in Japan, over the last several years the Light Novel division has seen growth. Shogakukan will start a pocket edition series for high school students in the spring of this year.

1-29-07 (8:40AM EST)—- Evangelion: Portraits Figure Series

Bandai Candy announced a January release for their Evangelion: Portraits line of figures. If you thought you’d seen and collected every possible variation of figure related to Eva you’d be mistaken. Bandai has taken some of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s most memorable and widely seen original character design illustrations and tried to adapt them in figure form. Price is 420 Yen apiece, and you get a stick of chewing gum with each one you buy. 5 140mm tall figures are in the set. Images of 1-5 can be seen at the above link and the 6th one is secret.

1-29-07 (8:00AM EST)—- Tokyo Anime Fair 2007 Details

The Tokyo Anime Center has announced the “Tokyo International Anime Fair 2007 2nd Executive Committee” was held by the Tokyo metropolitan government on January 25th. The implementation and budget plan for this year’s event were discussed at that time. The Tokyo International Anime Fair 2007 will take place March 22-25, 2007. The main events of the fair are the trade show, the 6th Tokyo Anime Awards and The Creator’s World section which gives new and unsigned animation talent a chance to shine by showing their works. A Special project this year is the “Anime to Robot” (anime and robot) exhibition. In addition a number of symposiums related to overseas anime distrubution and copyrights will be held. As of January 25th a total of 745 exhibitor stands and 230 domestic and foreign exhibiting companies have been confirmed. The 2007 event will aim at drawing 24,000 business day attendees and 76,000 public day attendees over the 4 days of the event. The business days are March 22-23. The fair will have its doors open from 10:00-18:00 for the first 3 days and from 10:00-17:30 on the final day. Admittance will be accepted up until 30 minutes prior to the closing time. The general admission fee on public days is 1,000 Yen (800 Yen in advance), high school students and the disabled can get in free of charge. The venue is halls 1,2 and 3 of the Tokyo Big Sight.

1-29-07 (6:34AM EST)—- Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni PS2 Date

The long anticipated release date for the Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni PlayStation 2 game was announced at a Tokyo event on January 28, 2007. The game had a generic winter release stamped on it for a long time but fans were pleased to hear it will be available from Frontier Works and Alchemist on February 22nd.

1-29-07 (6:26AM EST)—- Independent Yakuza Shorts Hit YouTube

893239 is series of 23 short (4-18 minutes in length) live action films themed around Yakuza and set in the 23 districts of Tokyo. Jingumae Produce developed the project over 2 years using creators from multiple independent genres. The featurettes have been freely released to the web via YouTube until February 14th. According to the studio, they just wanted people to see them. The clips have logged over 100,000 hits since being uploaded on November 27th. Afterwards they will be compiled for a DVD release and subtitled in English for international film festival exhibition.

1-29-07 (5:33AM EST)—- Ski Jumping Pairs 2 Clip

Until February 6th you can view a free video clip of Mashima Riichiro and Kobayashi Masaki’s is a hilarious independent 3D Japanese animation Ski Jumping Pairs 2 on Shockwave Japan.

1-29-07 (5:02AM EST)—- Rei Hiroe Art Collection: Barrage

Black Lagoon mangaka Rei Hiroe will have his first artbook released by Shogakukan at the end of this month. The 2000 Yen Barrage will include some of his work on Fate/stay night”, Phantom BULLET and Black Lagoon. Hiroe is a big fan of small arms and his work is known for the excruciating attention to detail that he puts into portraying them accurately. He traveled to a manga conference in France in 2001. He goes by the alias TEX-MEX for some of his Dojinshi titles.

1-29-07 (3:34AM EST)—- Kyoshiro Sora Broadcast Start / DVD Exclusives

The Kyoshiro Sora TV anime has gotten an April 25th greenlight to begin airing on ATX. Plans for a DVD release was announced simutaneously and among the planned extras are 1 unbroadcast episode per volume.

1-29-07 (3:22AM EST)—- Yeu Woo Bi Cubby The Fox Boxoffice

On Thursday, January 25th, Sun Woo Entertainment and Director Lee Sung-Gang’s (My Beautiful Girl, Mari) full length animated feature ‘Yeu Woo Bi Cubby The Fox’ opened in theaters nationwide across South Korea. On opening day the film drew 24,000 spectators (7400 in Seoul alone). Chosun Illbo reports it ranked 7th overall for the weekend.

1-29-07 (2:26AM EST)—- Creators Speak At Media Arts Exhibition

Eg has pics from the special “What Are Media Arts” exhibition being held in conjunction with the Agency for Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival 10th Anniversary “Power Of Expression Of Japan” innitiative. The exhibition runs through February 4th in Roppongi. To kick it off on January 26th an opening lecture was held including mangaka Takehiko Inoue (Slam Dunk, Vagabond), Anpanman creator and ever sharply dressed Takashi Yanase and Gundam creator / director Yoshiyuki Tomino.

1-29-07 (1:38AM EST)—- More International Interest For Dororo

Following up our January 20th entry, The official stage greeting for the coming live action adaptation of Osamu Tezuka’s Dororo was held in Tokyo on the 27th. Even prior to the Japanese release, distribution negotiations and agreements are underway with companies in 23 countires around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, and Germany. North American rights to distribute the film have been acquired by Universal.

1-29-07 (1:26AM EST)—- Bambino! To Become TV Drama

Creator Sekiya Tetsuji’s Bambino! manga will be adapted to a 12 episode Nippon Television Network TV drama according to information published in Big Comic Spirits No. 9 which went on sale in Japan today. Jun Matsumoto will star, marking his first return to a TV drama in 5 years. Broadcast start is set for April, 2007. The story deals with amateur cook skilled in Italian cusine who comes to Tokyo aiming at becoming an independent chef.

1-29-07 (12:52AM EST)—- Circuit Wolf DVD Mook

Mangaka Satoshi Ikezawa has announced his motorsport oriented Circuit Wolf manga will be released in a DVD mook form as ‘Legend Of The Circuit Wolf across 12 volumes. The first volume will be released in Japan on February 10th. Ikezawa is a huge car fanatic and has owned several supercars. You can see some images of his Lotus Europas here. One is done up as a 1/1 scale replica of the Europa SP hero car of his manga. The original manga serialized in Weekly Shone Jump between 1975 and 1979 and was an explosive hit in Japan, fueling a supercar boom in the country.

1-28-07 (10:30PM EST)—- Classics Revival: Nekketsu!! Coro Coro Densetsu

Shogakukan stole the show at last weekend’s Dai 25 Kai Jisedai World Hobby Fair (25th Next Generation World Hobby Fair) held in the University of Tokyo’s Association Hall in Chibashi, Makuhari Messe on January 20-21. Coro Coro Comics had teased readers to come to their booth for a big announcement. It turned out to be the unveiling of their new magazine Nekketsu!! Coro Coro Densetsu, the first volume hits the Japanese street on May 25th. The new anthology will target adults in their 20’s-30’s and collect and compile classic past serialized manga from the 1970’s through the mid 1990’s. Titles to be sampled will include Doraemon, Dodge Danpei, Obake no Q-taro and Bikkuriman. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Monthly Coro Coro Comics which began in 1977.

1-28-07 (10:16PM EST)—- Malaysia Cranks Up Late Night Anime

Malaysia’s New Straights Times reports that following the lead of Japan and other countries, a TV network in the southeast Asian nation is starting to broadcast more adult oriented anime after Midnight.

1-28-07 (10:16PM EST)—- Kill Bill Anime Sequels / Prequels Status?

From a January 28th New York Times interview With Kill Bill director Quentin Tarantino:
“Who knows if we’ll do it?” he said. “We say we’re going to do all this stuff. I was going to do a bunch of Japanese animation sequels and prequels to Kill Bill. Haven’t seen them lately, have you?” Thanks To Daniel Zelter for the link.

1-28-07 (6:50AM EST)—- Atsuya Uki’s Cencoroll

Goo has uploaded a trailer for an independently produced anime film directed by Atsuya Uki entitled Cencoroll. Uki won the Shiki Shou (4 seasons) grand prize in 2005 for his animation Amonge-mu. In 2004 he also produced the featurette Dragons Awake under the street name of Atsushi Omura. Learning of Anime Innovation Tokyo’s plan to promote individuals and small and medium-sized animation production company’s projects he submitted some sample material and was signed on. Think Corporation has a hand in the initiative of which Mr. Kosho Takeuchi of Comix Wave Films is the director.

1-28-07 (6:01AM EST)—- 39 Bishoujo Videogames Sold In Japan Last Week

As a benchmark of how big the ero-game market is now, there were exactly 39 new “bishoujo” videogame titles released in Japan last week. Most if not all would be considered to contain 18+ only, adult material.

1-28-07 (5:05AM EST)—- Makoto-chan Japanese DVD Release

The 85 minute 1980 anime film Makoto-chan will be released to R2 DVD for the first time in Japan on January March 24th for 3,990 Yen. The story is adapted from Kazuo Umezu’s classic gag manga of the same name. The comic ran in Weekly Shonen Sunday between 1976 and 1981. Umezu returned in 1988 and 89 to pen 2 additional volumes. The director of the film is Tsutomu Shibayama of Doraemon fame. Tomoko Konparu wrote the screenplay. Among the voice credits are Junji Chiba, Kazuko Sugiyama (Makoto) mangaka Kazuo Umezu himself and “The 2 Beats” Beat Kiyoshi and Kitano Beat Takeshi. This was the slapstick comedians’ debut film role. Distributed by TMS and TOHO. DVD production and sales by SPO.

1-28-07 (5:05AM EST)—- Laughing Man Logo Creator Revealed

Japanese Webzine UK Adapta interviewed British artist Paul Nicholson (aka: TERRATAG). He’s best known to anime fans for being contracted by Production I.G. to create the logo of Ghost In The Shell: Standalone Complex super hacker The Laughing Man. Subsequently, the marque has gotten out online being co-opted for an infinite number of uses in the otaku world from BBS avatars, to convenient masks to block out faces in digital images. Nicholson was born in southern Britain in 1970. His drew alot of influence from graffiti art and studied Japanese calligraphy in school. In 2002 he started the TERRATAG fashion label. He did a character design concept in the second Ghost In The Shell film: Innocence. He has an office setup in London currently where he is working as a graphic artist. After doing the Laughing Man logo his name has spread to prominent art circles throughout the UK. His work offers also drastically increased, most recently he did a design for the techno group Aphex Twin. Lately Nicholson has been working on a camouflage design that integrates Japanese characters. The artist is an admitted Gundam fan, gunpla builder and Japanese toy collector. He may be collaborating with a Japanese artist soon and hopes to open a studio in Japan.

1-28-07 (3:18AM EST)—- Live Action Gakkou No Kaidan Film Announced

Based on the early 1990’s novel series by Toru Tsunemitsu, Gakkou No Kaidan (Ghost Stories) is headed for a live action film adaptation in Japan. The premiere is set for Golden Week 2007 in Roppongi. The Director will be Hirohisa Sasaki who will also write the script. Starring will be Mei Kurokawa, Toshinobu Matsuo, Yuka Kosaka, Airi Toriyama and Kai Asami. Distribution via Unplugged, Production by Gakkou No Kaidan Production Committee (USEN, Kadokawa Herald, Pay Per Ciew Japan, Enterbrain, Die Mode). The story was also adapted to a 20 episode anime TV series by Studio Pierrot in 2000. ADV Films holds the North American anime license and released the animation in English in October 2005. Their English dub version was notable for script changes which diverted significantly from the original Japanese copy. Enterbrain recently released a series of 3 Gakkou No Kaidan pocket edition novels written by Kaima Takaaki and illustrated by Amafuku Amane late last year in Japan.

1-28-07 (3:07AM EST)—- World’s Largest LCD Display To Become Digital Blackboard In Schools

Asahi Shimbun has a pic of Sharp’s new 108 inch (1.35×2.4 meters) touchpannel LCD display that they are looking to get into schools as the first digital blackboard. The standard blackboard / marker board is around 1.2×3.6 meters. Japan has an estimated 49,000 schools including cram schools, prepschools, universities and graduate schools.

1-28-07 (1:47AM EST)—- Peko-san To Become Special Resident Of Niiza

Mayor Kenji Suda of Niiza city wants to register the character Peko as a special resident. Peko is the promotional mascot of Japanese confectioner Fujiya. On April 7, 2003 (Astro Boy’s birthday), the Japanese city of Niiza gave the character a special citizenship. In Osamu Tezuka’s Tesuwan Atom manga, Niiza is the same city where Professor Ochanomizu cared and brought up Atom. In the story though, Astroboy had to endure great hardships to be recognized as a citizen.

1-28-07 (12:58AM EST)—- Dracula’s Castle On Sale For $75.6 Million

From the AFP comes news that Bran Castle, better known as Dracula’s Castle, has been put up for sale for $75.6 million. The castle, which was built in 1212 by the Teutonic Knights, once belonged to the cruel fifteenth-century prince Vlad Tepes, who notoriously impaled his victims and inspired the character of Dracula in Bram Stoker’s novels. The Dracula story is also the inspiration for vampiric elements in countless anime, manga and Japanese video games.

1-28-07 (12:48AM EST)—- Mangaka Peach Pit Interviewed

Tokyopop recently talked to DearS author Peach-Pit. Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news.

1-27-07 (11:37PM EST)—- Nissan Launches Record Label

We’ve all seen those car commercials sampling various classic top 40 hit tunes. The auto firm marketing divisions usually sift through catalogs of material to find songs that match the style of the vehicle or vehicle line they want to promote. Royalties paid to artists from the usage can mean big bucks. Now Nissan is turning the tables. In an auto industry first, Japanese Nissan Motor has joined forces with Warner Music Japan to start the new recording label ‘CUBE LOVES MUSIC‘. Nissan wants to take the idea of cars in their model lineup appealing to various lifestyles of consumers and connect it to music that they produce. The first release under the label is ayaka x KOBUKURO’s new single “WINDING ROAD”. It will be featured as the theme of the television commercial pitching the latest rendition of Nissan’s Cube compact van.

1-27-07 (10:23PM EST)—- New NHK Anime Interview Program: Anime GIGA

NHK has announced Anime GIGA, a new TV program which will interview charismatic personalities related to animation production in Japan. The first broadcast is March 1st, 2007. Host and show developer is former Newtype Japan Magazine editor Takashi Watanabe. He entered Animage’s editorial staff in 1989 and become the magazine’s fifth editor in chief in 1995. Later he moved to become chief editor of Newtype in 2000 where he stayed for 3 years, In 2006 he was a producer on the Tokikake film. The first guest will be voice actor Koichi Yamadera (Spike Spiegel – Cowboy Bebop).

1-27-07 (10:11PM EST)—- New Trailers

New video previews have gone up for Sgt. Frog Movie 2, the AyuMayu Theater OVA and Sunrise’s Idolmaster Xenoglossia TV series.

1-27-07 (10:07PM EST)—- Mokke TV Series Due In October

Takatoshi Kumakura’s Mokke manga will become an animated TV series to broadcast on Tokyo MX in October 2007. Confirmed staff are: Director Nishida Masayoshi, Composition: Nagatsu Haruko, Animation Production: Madhouse.

1-27-07 (7:52PM EST)—- New Slayers Movie To Become DVD BOX Exclusive

According to the March issue of Dragon Magazine, buyers of all 3 Japanese R2 Slayers TV series DVD-BOX sets will get a disc containing a completely new Slayers feature with theatrical quality animation. The story will focus on a love romance in the southern islands between Lina and Gourry. Megumi Hayashibara’s song ‘MEET AGAIN’ will be the theme.

1-27-07 (7:36PM EST)—- Anime / Manga Misc.

More from the March issue of Dengeki G’s Magazine: Unison Shift announced Nanatsuiro Drops will see a July TV broadcast debut. Bandai Visual revealed their association to the Sola TV Anime project. Star Child says they are working on a completely original science fiction concept work. Media Factory will begin developing PC games based on popular manga after the summer, 2007. GN Software will adapt their Castle Phantasy games series to various other media including manga. Avex Entertainment’s Sister of Wellber will get a manga adaptation starting in the April edition of Comic Blade, Original story by BOYAKASHA and illustration by Kouken Naruse, story cooperation by Atsushi Maekawa. Princess software is going to adapt a number of its works to manga this year. Pony Canyon is working on remaking an undisclosed “former robot animation masterpiece”.

1-27-07 (7:36PM EST)—- Marvelous Entertainment Moves

Some updates on the forthcoming Kono Aozora Ni Yakusoku Wo anime TV series have come out in the just released March issue of Dengeki G’s Magazine. Marvelous Entertainment came out for the first time, announcing their connection to the project. The company is heading animation production and shooting for a spring (possibly) April, 2007 release. Kadokawa Shoten has signed on to produce the manga adaptation. ME is developing the Kodomo No Jikan TV anime as well and want to bring it to air possibly around summer. The Marvelous Interactive video game division will create original software titles based on anime for Nintendo Wii.

1-27-07 (9:15AM EST)—- Production I.G. Short On Maaya Sakamoto DVD

Singer and voice actress Maaya Sakamoto (Hitomi – Escaflowne) is preparing to release her latest album, ’30minutes night flight’, in Japan. Shoko Suzuki will produce the 6 track CD. The album by itself will sell for 2,625 Yen, the album bundled with special DVD will retail at 3,675 Yen. The DVD will include a 5 minute original animated short entitled Universe produced by Production I.G. Release is scheduled for March 21st.

1-27-07 (7:35AM EST)—- Princess Maker 5

GAINAX and Cyberfront’s bishoujo grooming sim Princess Maker 5 releases in Japan on March 3rd for Windows PC DVD-ROM, retail is 9,240 Yen. Takami Akai who has been there since the 1st game in 1995 serves as the general superintendent, producer and character designer. GAINAX also had a hand in development. Unlike the past games, PM5 occurs close to modern times, including TV and mobile phone technology. Heaven, hell, the fairy realm, and the spirit world also coexist in this world. Games 1-5 will be bundled and sold as a “Princess Maker Memorial Box” set for 15,540 Yen, details have not yet been announced.

1-27-07 (7:30AM EST)—- Chisa Yokoyama To Star In Theatrical Play

Veteran anime voice actress Chisa Yokoyama (Sasami and Tsunami in Tenchi Muyo!) will star in her first theatrical performance with the play Itoshi No Hakana. The debut will occur at the National Theatre mini-theater in Shibuya Ward, January 24th. The play will run through March.

1-27-07 (7:21AM EST)—- Shonen Jump Japan’s Top Selling Weekly Magazine In 2006

Oricon reports a survey of 223 Bunkyodo stores reveals Shueisha’s Shonen Jump as Japan’s Top Selling Weekly Magazine In 2006. Other manga entries in the list include Weekly Shonen Magazine at number 3 and Weekly Shonen Sunday at number 7.

1-27-07 (7:10AM EST)—- Ultraman To End Due To Ratings Slump?

According to an article in Josei Jishin Magazine No. 2/6 which went on sale on 1/23/07 the latest Ultraman TV series, Ultraman Mebius could signoff in March and not be renewed due to decreasing ratings. The move could possibly wrap the 40 year old series in live action form for good, or at least, for the foreseeable future. More or less for the last 11 years, April spelled the start of a new Ultra work from Chubu-Nippon Broadcasting (CBC). According to Mr. Endani of the company there has been no formal proposal for a new Ultra series. Ratings for Mebius are gauged at around a 4% share according to one unnamed affiliate. Edani-san however adds that even if Ultraman ends, the series’ title character is an immortal hero.

1-27-07 (6:29AM EST)—- Ultraman Taiga DVD BOX

With rumors circulating that Ultraman could disappear from Japanese TV in March, the 1996 Ultraman Taiga TV series has been announced to arrive on DVD for the first time. Bandai Visual will release the DVD-BOX on March 23rd for 39,900 Yen.

1-27-07 (5:29AM EST)—- JASRAC To Meet With YouTube In February

On the 25th JASRAC clarified executives of YouTube will come to Japan in the beginning of February to discuss matters and request countermeasures related to illegal video contributions to the site. 23 groups in Japan have announced they are jointly undertaking the advancing of countermeasures to illegal video uploads. Their requests achieved about 30,000 file deletions on YouTube in October, 2006. In addition a formal letter was sent to the company in December. Mizuo Sugawara of JASRAC mentioned that both the CEO and CTO YouTube along with a representative of Google will be in Japan on the week of February 5th. JASRAC backs the implementation of a system that can prevent the contribution of pirated contents to YouTube. What they propose is 3fold: A caution warning in Japanese, the registration of a users name and address, a “3 strikes and you’re out” policy on video upload accounts found to have contributed pirated material.

1-27-07 (5:29AM EST)—- Yu Kobayashi Tours Yoyogi Akiba Campus

Anime Voice Actress Yu Kobayashi (Negima! – Setsuna Sakurazaki) recently visited The Yoyogi Animation Institute in Akihabara where she was a guest lecturer. You can view quite a few pictures from school, including animation, figure building, manga and seiyuu departments.

1-27-07 (4:15AM EST)—- Anime And Manga Toy Wrapup From Toy Forum

Watch Impress has images from the business confab Toy Forum 2007, which occurred on January 23rd at the Tokyo International Forum. You can view pics of everything mentioned in this writeup there. Tomy Takara stunned audiences by introducing a mini SD card compatible Transformers Soundwave Audio Player (10,500 Yen due in July). A cradling “Convoy Playing iPod Speaker” (15,750 Yen due in July) and “Frenzy & Rumble Playing Earphone” (3,150 Yen due in July) were also announced. All are fully transformable into robots. Epoch Inc. showed off its latest editions to the Doraemon Secret Tool series. Its “Kuuki Pistol” will go on sale in the summer of 2007 for 2,625 Yen. The device will fit on the tip of your finger and be equipped with an IR remote control which can manipulate TV’s and airconditioning units. Konami was showing off its Gurren-Lagann goods which will include a small figure “FIGUMATE” series set due on March 21st. Shimada Fumikane’s “Mecha-Musume” will get a FIGUMATE line. They’ll be 473 Yen apiece and go on sale on May 17th. In addition the third “MECHA-MUSUME” figure series was announced to sale for 630 Yen each when they market on March 22nd. Haruhi Suzumiya will get “regular size” figure series in the summer and FIGUMATE series as well with a March release. PIT-ROAD is planning a lineup of 1/16 scale anime style female JSDF officers with its Sore Yuke! Josei Jiei Kan, to go on sale in Japan at the end of February for 630 Yen. The first series will have a dress uniform theme. in a similar vein, TOMYTEC is producing its 4th series of railway girl themed “Tetsudou-Musume” figures set for a June release at 525 Yen each. The past 3 series will be reissued in the “Tetsudo Musume Express” series in March.

1-26-07 (11:30PM EST)—- Blu-Ray Owns 80% Of Japanese HD Hardware Market Not Including PS3

On Friday in Tokyo, independent reseach firm BCN revealed Japanese sales figures related to both the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD high definition video disc hardware. Between the period of autumn, 2006 through the beginning of 2007, BCN tabulated sales of standalone decks, recorders, and personal computer drives. The figures exclude game machines (ie: PS3). According to their findings Sony and Matsushita’s Blu-Ray standard commanded 78% of hardware sales while Toshiba’s HD-DVD saw a 22% share in hardware-related sales. In the category of 1st party in-house created / marketed hardware Sony and Matsuhita’s 300,000 Yen players / recorders also dominated with 83% sales.

1-26-07 (11:20PM EST)—- Celsys To Market Mobile Anime / Manga Creation Internationally

Celsys has announced its working to make its software for anime and manga content production on mobile phones available internationally. Through its “Comic Global Surfing Partners Program” Celsys is aiming to get its product into the Asian, North American, and European markets. A formal press event will be held in February outlining its plans.

1-26-07 (10:57PM EST)—- Dowango Acquires Masami Okui’s Evolution Label

Dowango has acquired star anime voice actress Masami Okui’s Evolution in dependent record label. The move will see Dowango, who has had alot of dealings in the animation business make the label a subsidiary with the goal streghting their animation music production resources. Dowango is looking at the establishement of a voice acting school in the future. Evolution is involved in music production, talent scouting, promotion and sales. Masami Okui has created and performed music for Revolutionary Girl Utena, Slayers, Sorcerer Hunters, Di Gi Charat, Magic User’s Club, Jungle de Ikou, Akihabara Dennou Gumi, Ray the Animation and Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters. She has performed material for 51 singles and released 17 albums to date.

1-26-07 (10:16PM EST)—- First Live Action Gegege No Kitaro Images

Sankei Sports nabbed some of the first image stills from the live action Gegege No Kitaro due to release in Japanese theaters on April 28th. Based on the classic Shigeru Mizuki manga, this is the first live actio adaptation for Kitaro, directed by Katsuhide Motoki and starring Eiji Wentz as Kitaro, Yoh Oooizumi as Nezumi-Otoko in adition to Mao Inoue, Rena Tanaka, Go Riju, Satoshi Hashimoto, You, Kanpei Hazama, and Shigeru Muroi.

1-26-07 (9:09PM EST)—- Week Of FUNimation Licenses

Over the past week (January 22-26) FUNimation has announced a new anime license each day at noon on its 2007 Kickoff website:

Monday
FUNimation Entertainment announces the acquisition of Ragnarok, the 26-episode anime series based off the popular MMORPG, from GDH, the company behind hits such as Samurai 7, Basilisk and Trinity Blood. The series follows two young travelers who set out on a journey of epic proportions and begin the mysterious and legendary battle of Ragnarok! Ragnarok brings what 300,000 online players across the world have discovered to TV. The DVDs are currently scheduled to hit the streets in Fall 2007.

Tuseday
FUNimation Entertainment today announces the acquisition of the 26-episode Suzuka anime series from Kodansha. The anime series is based on the manga by Kouji Seo and follows Yamato Akitsuki as he begins life in a new city and a new school. His first day at school is one he will never forget as he gazes on Asahina Suzuka and falls in love. Love triangles will tangle, hearts will be broken, and dreams will both be realized and shattered. The Suzuka series will come to DVD in spring 2007. The Suzuka manga is published by Del Rey in the United States and we are in the early stages of discussing cross promotions. Fans can expect Suzuka promotions during FUNimation’s 2007 convention tour. More details to come as they are developed.

Wednesday
FUNimation Entertainment announces the acquisition of Aquarion, the 26-episode series from Satelight. Aquarion chronicles the story of a battle between mankind and the mysterious “Shadow Angels,” and life itself is at risk. 12,000 years ago a great battle was waged in Atlantis. With the help of the Mechanical Angel Aquarion, the Shadow Angels were banished to another dimension. The Shadow Angels are back and they are harvesting humans in order to reclaim their dominion over Earth. There is hope. The Mechanical Angel Aquarion has been discovered and a boy appears to be the reincarnation of Aquarion’s pilot, the great warrior Apollonius. Can he lead the battle against the Shadow Angels? The first volume of Aquarion is scheduled to hit the streets in Fall 2007.

Thursday
FUNimation Entertainment has acquired the 24-episode Shuffle anime series from Kadokawa. Shuffle follows Tsuchimi Rin, who is a high school student attending the National Verbena Academy. He has a pretty normal life and always spends time with his childhood friends Fuyo Kaeda and Midoriba Itsuki. That is until one day two beautiful girls transfer in to his class, one a demon and one a god. A true war of the worlds ensues as these women vie for his affection. Shuffle is set for release from FUNimation in Summer 2007.

In case you missed the leak of our online anime announcements, today FUNimation Entertainment announced the acquisition of two properties: Shuffle and My Santa. One thing the leak didn’t know is that we have more information that we are going to release today. Many fans know that FUNimation has acquired Tsubasa, but no street dates have been announced. Well today is the day. Tsubasa v.1 DVD has been scheduled for release on May 22, 2007.

Today FUNimation Entertainment announces that it has acquired the 2-episode OVA My Santa from Kodansha. This OVA follows Mai, a Santa-in-training, who meets a down-on-his-luck boy named Santa on Christmas Eve. This is one Christmas Santa won’t forget. My Santa is adapted from the manga Itsudatte My Santa. The DVDs are scheduled for release in Fall 2007.

Friday
In Mushishi, the essence of the natural world is personified by strange, ancient natural forces called “Mushi” that influence the lives of people for reasons yet unknown. The main character, Ginko, is a “Mushi-shi” who seeks the rare Mushi sightings and uses his shaman-like knowledge of them to help the affected people come to terms with their Mushi afflictions. At the 2006 Japanese Media Arts Festival, both the Mushishi anime and manga were ranked in the top 10 anime and manga series of all time. FUNimation has scheduled the DVD release for Summer 2007.

1-26-07 (8:49PM EST)—- Plastic Surgery Manga Popular In South Korea

Another genre of manga that’s gotten big in South Korea recently deals with plastic surgery. Based on the Yumiko Suzuki romantic comedy manga which has sold 300,000 copies in the country, “Mi-nyeo-neun Gwae-ro-wo (200 Pounds Beauty)” has become a big hit since opening in Korea on December 14th, 2006. It’s managed to draw 5.86 million viewers as of the 24th of this month.

1-26-07 (8:48PM EST)—- Mushishi Distribution Offers Stream In From Overseas

Goo Movie reports live action Mushishi rights holders Toshiba Entertainment has announced they have received overseas distribution offers from 10-odd countries including the USA and Australia. A number of these offers were made at the Sundance International Film Festival where the Katsuhiro Otomo directed work screened last week.

1-26-07 (8:26AM EST)—- KiddyGrade 2 Presite

The official Presite for the coming KiddyGrade 2 series is now live at: www.kiddygrade.com.

1-26-07 (3:00AM EST)—- Spring Premiere For Kotetsu Shin Jeeg TV

Go Nagai’s classic 1975 mecha manga Kotetsu Jeeg will have it’s 1976 TV anime adaptation remade in the form of Kotetsu Shin Jeeg. The premiere for the new series via WOWOW is Thursday, April 5th, 2007. Seiyuu cast will include: Daisuke Ono, Kana Ueda and Chiba Susumu. Confirmed staff are: Director: Atsushi Kawagoe, Series Composition: hayakawa Tadashi, Screenplay: Shoji Tonoike/Natsuko Takahashi/Yuko Kakiharu, Character Designa: Akira Kikuchi, Mechanical Design: Toshuki Horii, Music Producer: Toshiji Inoue, Music Production: Lantis, Animation Production: Actus, Production: Build Base.

1-26-07 (2:10AM EST)—- Tokikake Wins AMD Prizes

Mamoru Hosoda’s animated movie Toki Wo Kakeru Shojo has taken the 12th AMD for prizes for best director and the Minister For Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Grand Prize. Rarecho’s cult web animation Yawaraka Sensha (Fragile Tanks) took the Best Visual Design Prize. The awards ceremony will occur January 30th.

1-26-07 (12:57AM EST)—- UART Paprika Figures

Some of the only toy merchandise we’ve seen rĂ’\ated to Satoshi Kon’s film Paprika (or any of his other films for that matter) are a set of 1/8 scale 20cm tall cold cast figures, to be released at the end of the month in Japan by UART. The exclusive run if 120 sets will be sold exclusively through Hobby Stock online with pre-bid price of 14,800 Yen. GILGIL produced the prototypes. Included in the set is the infamous frog band from the film.

1-26-07 (12:30AM EST)—- Korean, Japanese Creators Exchange New Years Greetings

121 Japanese and South Korean Comic Book writers and illustrators exchanged New Years at the “Korea and Japan Cartoonis New Year’s Card Exchange Exhibition” being held at the Seoul Animation Center until the ninth of next month. 61 Japanese and 60 South Korean manga and manhwa creators created illustrated cards to usher in the year of the wild boar, 2007. A TV program is expected to be created around the exhibition.

1-25-07 (11:48PM EST)—- Maid Hunting Occuring In Akihabara

Back in late October, 2006 an 18 year old woman who was working part-time at a maid cafe was distributing handbills in front of her shop near JR Akihabara Station in Tokyo when she was threatened and her breast grabbed by a young man wielding a knife. Similar inncidents occuring in the surrounding area have been labelled “Maid Rage” or “Maid Hunting”.

1-25-07 (11:20PM EST)—- Tokyo Australian Embasy Holds Emily Rodda Event

Nichigo Press talks more about phantasy author and Deltora Quest creator Emily Rodda’s recent trip to Japan in December. You can see an image of here there screening the 1st episode of the DQ anime with a room filled with around 100 elementary school children. The Australian embassy in Tokyo hosted the preview event, co-sponsored by the Australia-Japan Foundation. It commemorated publication of her work in 31 countries around the world. Japanese sales of the books exceeded four million copies. Australian Ambasador to Japan Mr. Murray McLean spoke before the preview, saying “This book is sensational to school children in Japan. The television version produced by Japan’s animation production technology is excellent. In addition, I think that a lot of Japanese enjoy it.” The popular 6 member girl band MARIA which performs the Deltora Quest theme song gave a live performance and a bouquet of flowers was presented to the author. The series began running at 8 AM from January 6th on TV Tokyo Channel 12.

1-25-07 (10:37PM EST)—- Ji-hyun Jun In The USA

Korean Actress Ji-hyun Jun is currently cast to play Saya in the live action film version of Blood The Last Vampire. Preparing for her stint in Hollywood, she reportedly visited the USA just before the turn of the new year. Returning to Korea to spend the holidays with her family, she also filmed a television commercial. Jun is expected to return to America early in 2007 to continue her English studies prior to production beginning on Blood in February.

1-25-07 (9:29PM EST)—- 1/350 Scale Plastic Model Space Battleship Yamato

Bandai is continuing its first line of Space Battleship Yamato models to hit the market in Japan in over 23 years with the release of its enormous 47,350 Yen 1/350 Scale Plastic Model Space Battleship Yamato on January 27th. Besides being incredibly detailed and absolutely huge, it features metal components, interior bridge detail, visual and sound effects, and moving gun turrets operable via remote control. To get a feel for the size, ASCII has posted images of the model in a typical Akihabara hobby shop. Based on the fan expectation and low production numbers, shop staff admit that after this weekend’s launch supply may dwindle considerably.

1-25-07 (8:40PM EST)—- Animage Chief Editor Hideo Ogata Dies

Animator and Animage Magazine Editor In Chief Hideo Ogata died of stomach cancer in Japan on January 25th, he was 73 years old. Animage is widely regarded as the #2 magazine covering animation content in Japan behind Newtype and routinely includes scoops and exclusives on a number of new works. Ogata hails from Miyagi Prefecture, his funeral will include only family and close friends. Joining Tokuma Shoten after college, he founded Animage in 1978. It was Japan’s first widely available and commercially successful animation magazine, serializing Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind manga in 1984. Ogata was Executive Editor of the serial and a planner on the film. The promotional move helped to get the then fledgeling Studio Ghibli off the ground. He’s credited in a number of other roles related to Ghibli animation, including being one of the studio’s principal founders. He created the concept for Big Wars, and assisted in planning related to Legend of the Galactic Heroes movies and one of Mamoru Oshii’s first films Angel’s Egg.

1-25-07 (8:38PM EST)—- Kimera Manga Endings And New Beginnings

Kazuma Kodaka’s Kimera manga will conclude in Shueisha’s Super-Jump” No. 4 which went on sale in Japna on 1/24. The final series serial “Kimera Final Chronicle” will start in the June issue Oh Super Jump, to go on sale on 5/16/07. ADV Manga holds the USA license.

1-25-07 (8:32PM EST)—- Zeiram Japanese Track Version Review

Kung Fu Cult Cinema covers the classic Japanese sci-fi action film previously only available in a dub-only version from Fox Lorber, but now available with the Japanese track from Media Blasters. Zeiram later led to the anime spin-off Iria. Thanks Daniel Zelter.

1-25-07 (8:20PM EST)—- Shoujo Manga Test Goes Digital

eBookJapan’s I-Book Initiative Japan will begin its internet “Shoujo Manga Verification” test on January 26th. The project testing reader knowledge on shoujo genre manga will involve publisher Kobunsha’s Josei Jishin magazine. Mangka Machiko Satonaka will serves as a verification supervision. Real world lectures will beheld, free to the public.

1-25-07 (7:43PM EST)—- Tsutaya To Rent Manga In Japan

Culture Convenience Club (CCC) and Japanese A/V entertainment store chain Tustaya will launch the nation’s largest manga rental business in April. The service, renting out 30,000 copies of manga will start in 100 shops in the first year. You can rent the manga for 4 days at 60 Yen per copy. CCC will manage special rental counters inside the Tsutaya outlets dedicated to book rentals.

1-25-07 (7:10PM EST)—- Highlander Producer Joe Pearson Interview Teaser

ANS is working on an upcoming exclusive interview with Highlander: Vengence co-producer Joe Pearson. Briefly, Joe mentions that at this time he’s in the middle of helping on the editing of some behind the scenes extra features for the Highlander DVD due out in the USA from Manga Entertainment on 06/05/2007. He says there are some real gems to be had therein including a 20 minute filmed interview with Director Yoshiaki Kawajiri. Last week he viewed a 35mm test print of the “Highlander: The Search For Vengeance” which was “timed” (color corrected) by Kawajiri himself: “Man, it was BEAUTIFUL. Really beautiful. The colors were VIVID.”

1-25-07 (5:20PM EST)—- Tokyopop 2007 Princess Ai Deployment

The “Year of the Boar” will be anything but a “bore” for TOKYOPOP’s top manga franchise property, Princess Ai and the world of Ai-Land, the chart-topping melange of music, fantasy and Gothic fashion created by D.J. Milky and Courtney Love. This year, the company plans to launch an exciting slate of new Ai-Land related properties across multiple entertainment platforms including art and poetry books, novels, newspaper comic strips, music and film. Read on for more details!

The Daily Newspaper Comic Strip: Princess Ai of Ai-Land: In a landmark move a year ago, TOKYOPOP became the first company to publish manga in Sunday newspapers across North America. The launch was so successful that Princess Ai of Ai-Land, the all-new East meets West co-production written by D.J. Milky and illustrated by Pauro Izaki, will be the first manga ever to appear in American newspapers seven days a week. Based on the bestselling manga series created by D.J. Milky and Courtney Love, currently published in 18 countries and 17 languages, Princess Ai of Ai-Land captures the early teen years of the lovely Ai and her comedic struggle to cope with the doubled pressure of being a teenager and a royal princess. Fifty U.S. and international newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, as well as papers in Australia and China, have acquired the series beginning July 9, 2007

The Novels: The Ai-Land Chronicles: Book of the Second Revolution: This five-book novel series releasing under TOKYOPOP’s young adult publishing banner Pop Fiction expands upon the rich fantasy world of the Ai-Land universe as it examines the history of Ai’s homeland and her adventures with Nora, her half-brother. A collection of writings by renowned reclusive scholar and religious cult figurehead Sir Edwin See, along with his scribe Brian James, The Ai-Land Chronicles: Book of the Second Revolution will be available in bookstores everywhere in August 2007.

The Art and Poetry Book: Princess Ai: Roses & Tattoos: TOKYOPOP invites fans to beautify their surroundings with gorgeous art and poetry from Princess Ai: Roses & Tattoos. This limited edition collectible book, in stores now, presents never-before-seen illustrations by Misaho Kujiradou, along with poetry by D.J. Milky, and includes stickers and mini-posters for d’Ai-hard diva fans!

The Music: The Princess Ai Soundtrack: This summer, music fans can look forward to the long-awaited Princess Ai soundtrack featuring 8 songs from the Princess Ai manga trilogy. Written and produced by D.J. Milky and b_nCHANt_d, featuring Skye as Princess Ai on vocals and the indie-pop band Nude, the album will feature songs performed by Princess Ai in the best-selling manga series and will be available via iTUNES and wherever downloadable music is sold.

The Film: The Ai-Land Chronicles: With an Ai looking toward the 2009 feature film debut of The Ai-Land Chronicles, D.J. Milky and top anime studio Satelight (Macross Zero, Arjuna, Heat Guy J) are currently in post-production on a sizzling pilot that showcases the film’s groundbreaking blend of live action and animation. Written and directed by D.J. Milky with animation direction by Eiichi Sato (Full Metal Manic, Fortune Quest L), the reel features the original song “Broken Leash” that showcases the singer Skye starring as Princess Ai, backed by members of the indie-pop band Nude.

All of the above just adds the Ai-cing on the cake to an already dizzying array of dazzling Princess Ai merchandise available now, including dolls from Bleeding Edge, journals, T-shirts, stickers, postcards and all sorts of exciting accessories.

1-25-07 (7:16AM EST)—- JTB Official Travel Agent For TAF 2007

JTB Global Marketing & Travel Inc has bee chosen as the official Travel Agent of the Tokyo International Anime Fair 2007. JTB USA is offering a special travel package to the fair which you can look into here.

1-25-07 (5:00AM EST)—- Kono Aozora Ni Yakusoku Wo To Be Animated

Japanese videogame publisher GIGA’s smash hit adult PC love adventure Kono Aozora Ni Yakusoku Wo: Melody of the Sun and Sea will be adapted to animation according to information published in Comptiq Ace Magazine Vol.011. After first hitting the market on March 31, 2006 the game swept the 2006 Bishoujo Game Awards wining The Grand Prize, The Scenario Prize, The Theme Song Prize, Best Pure Love Game and The User Support Prize. A seiyuu voice cast composed of mostly fresh talent was used to portray the 6 main heroines of the work. In a unique promotion campaign, the main theme song, opening movie, trial version and voice dramas were all released freely on the web. A major promotional effort also took place at Comic Market 70 and Comic Treasure 8. A PS2 port is is expected sometime in 2007.

1-25-07 (4:24AM EST)—- Street Fighter Alpha Manga Announced

Hot off the success of ONIMUSHA: NIGHT OF GENESIS, Udon is kicking its Capcom Manga line into high gear with three new STREET FIGHTER manga series!

First up, April sees the release of the STREET FIGHTER ALPHA Vol.1(of 2) Manga, an eagerly anticipated manga series finally adapted for the English audience. Fan-favorite characters Like Ryu, Chun-Li and Akuma are brought to life through the explosive story and art of popular manga creator Masahiko Nakamura (Anime: Sadamitsu the Destroyer). Prepare for all-out martial arts action as Street Fighter heroes battle against the forces of the evil Shadaloo crime lord M.Bison.

Next, in June, Udon brings you the STREET FIGHTER II Vol.1(of 3) Manga by popular Japanese artist Masaomi Kanzaki (Xenon, Gun Crisis). For the first time, fans can enjoy this classic manga faithfully adapted, uncut and unedited. See the best fighters from around the world face off in the ultimate martial arts tournament. But behind the scenes, an evil crime boss has a hidden agenda to use the world’s greatest warrior as his next living weapon!

Then in July, the spotlight falls on one of Capcom’s loveliest ladies in SAKURA GUNBARU! Vol.1(of 2), a high school action-comedy sure knock your socks off! See how Sakura established herself as one of the most valuable players in the Street Fighter universe. Beautifully illustrated by artist Masahiko Kanzaki, this series also features the introduction of the popular SF Alpha character Karin, Sakura’s archrival!

And there are even more new Capcom Manga series just around the corner! Stay tuned to www.CapcomComics.com for the latest news on Udon’s Capcom Manga line, as well as previews of each upcoming volume.

1-25-07 (4:08AM EST)—- Is Interest In Print Anime/Manga Journalism Dying?

Tokyopop is hosting the following webpoll: “What Magazines Do You Read For Your Anime/Manga News?”. The fact that 14% of the 452 (as of this posting) polled said they don’t read magazines is interesting, as are the publications that haven’t even appeared on the radar screen.

1-25-07 (12:11AM EST)—- Bandai To Market First Yamato Model In 23 Years

Bandai will release a highly detailed 177mm long plastic model of the space fighter Cosmo 0 from the original 1974 Space Battleship Yamato television anime. “EX model 1/100 Kosmo Zero” as the product is being called will appear on the Japanese market on January 27, 2007 for 3,674 Yen. It will marke the first such product to be sold by Bandai in 23 years. The Black Tiger Fighter will follow in February. www.bandai-hobby.net