July 27, 2004 / by Anime News Services / Archived News / No Comments

Anime News Service – July 22-27 Anime News

7-27-04

The Australian has a preview of the Brisbane International Film Festival coming up soon. The late Japanese director Hiroshi Shimizu will get some play. Shimizu’s once-forgotten films have been undergoing something of a global revival of late. Last year, his wartime comedy Ornamental Hairpin scored the audience prize at the Tokyo Filmex.
Digitally Obsessed reviews the Hollywood animation release of Van Hellsing: The London Assignment and draws a similarity with the anime version of Hellsing.
Wired Magazine has an article on the current trend of Anime piracy and looks at Bandai Entertainment’s recent moves in legal prosecution of accused pirates. Wired mentions there are suspiscions that a full 3rd of Japanese animation products in the United States may be counterfeit. The unauthorized products may be worth $300 million a year, estimated Bandai attorney Cynthia Nishimoto. Anti-piracy advocate Joe Curzon is interviewed as is Tokyopop national sales manager Alan Payne who talks on the fact that manga remains essentially untouched by pirates currently.
Asians In Media looks at the recent music trend of British / Asian compilations in the UK.
Fangoria has posted part one of new article series “Shocking Cinema Central”. Japanese director Takashi Miike is the focus of part 1 with an in-depth interview.
Engadget mentions some of the 685 Japanese viewers who went to the hospital in 1997 from alleged Pokemon-induced epileptic seizures are being studied by Japanese scientists for after effects. The conclusions so far are that Pokemon did not create new boughts of epilepsy in viewers, and only affected the already epileptic.
GamePro reports Atlus has revealed that an MMORPG is in the works based on the anime/console RPG franchise Shin Megami Tensei. Entitled Shin Megami Tensei Online: Imagine, it will be the first MMORPG for the developer.
TechTV examines the question: “Comic-Con Analysis: What Cosplay Choices Tell Us About Franchise Trends”. The article notes Star Wars, and Kill Bill costumers were in abundance among others.
Daily Variety reports on the Anime Network’s recent successes in the article, “Anime TV Goes Legit”. Broadcasting & Cable also covers the news.

7-27-04—- Viz Store Manga Discount

Get a 30% promotional discount off a Graphic Novel purchase from VIZ.com! Here is how it works:

Buy two or more VIZ Graphic Novels at Mediaplay, Suncoast or Sam Goody’s at the normal price (between July 21st and August 30th 2004)
Write your email address on your receipt and send it to:
VIZ LLC
C/O Summer Madness!
655 Bryant St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(Please send the original receipt, photocopies not accepted)
VIZ will email you a promotional password that you can use at online store store.viz.com to get a onetime 30% promotional discount off of any Graphic Novel! (Viz.com promotional discount needs to be used by October 31st 2004.)

7-27-04—- Miami Guns Volume 4 From AN Entertainment

AN Entertainment is proud to announce the release of the final Miami Guns DVD throughout North America on October 26, 2004. With the outrageous fourth disc, the fan favorite adventures of Miami’s most notorious, dangerous and lovely police, Yao Sakurakouji and Lu Amano, come to their explosive conclusion. As the series approaches its climax, the crazy comedy that Miami Guns is famous for shares equal time with thrilling action and drama certain to satisfy viewers and provide a gripping and entertaining series conclusion.

ABOUT MIAMI GUNS VOLUME 4 Loose ends (and a scantily clad Yao) get tied up when the revenge seeking Nagisa Tojo springs her ultimate trap on her unsuspecting arch rival. It’s a battle of Yao’s ignorance versus Nagisa’s bloodlust in a story of loyalty, trust, betrayal and friendship that tears the Miami Guns apart. But the duty bound Lu Amano and the vengeance seeking vigilante Yao Sakurakouji find themselves working together again when a vicious terrorist organization takes the Miami Police and Yao and Lu’s fathers hostage, threatening to destroy all of Miami City. The Organization had better be prepared, because two violence prone police ladies, a mysterious lone gunman, a pair of gay lovers and a hyper intelligent alligator are a force to be reckoned with! The fourth Miami Guns DVD will be criminally packed with three bilingual episodes featuring optional English subtitles and English language dubbing provided by the internationally respected Phoenix Post Sound studio, extensive liner and translation notes, a gallery of original production art, an exclusive Japanese promotional Miami Guns anime music video, and an amazing 20 minute long video interview with Miami Guns director Yoshitaka Koyama and original voice actresses Megumi Toyoguchi and Yukari Tamura!

Miami Guns DVD Volume 4 Street Date – 10/26/04 Pre-book Date – 9/28/04 SRP: $29.95 Catalog #: AN-MG04 UPC: 828311121067 ISBN: 0-9741545-6-3

DVD Features: Spoken Languages: Japanese 2.0 stereo & English 2.0 stereo Subtitle Languages: English Suggested Age Rating – 17+ Running Time – 75 Minutes Region – 1 NTSC

7-26-04—- Japan’s Cinema – Anime Industries Gather To Back HD-DVD Standard

Toshiba Corporation, NEC Corporation and Memory-Tech Corporation today announced a three-day “HD DVD Showcase” that will present the latest advances in the HD DVD format to 1,000 key executives from 150 companies in Japan’s entertainment industry. The three companies, proponents of the High-Definition DVD format (“HD DVD”), will host the event from July 26 through 28, 2004 in downtown Tokyo, providing leaders from major Japanese movie studios, animation film creators, the broadcasting, music and publishing industries and the retail sector, with a total venue for experiencing the impressive advances HD DVD has achieved as it moves toward its 2005 launch as the next-generation DVD standard.

The Tokyo Showcase will shine a light on the very latest hardware prototypes supporting the format, including HD DVD players and PC ROM drives. It will include demonstrations of film clips from major studios authored and recorded on to HD DVD discs for technical evaluation purposes, and also deliver an update on disc manufacturing status, all in preparation for the volume launch of HD DVD hardware and discs when they are commercialized in 2005.

Japan’s Largest DVD Distributor Announces Support for HD DVD On the eve of the Tokyo event, Pony Canyon Inc., Japan’s largest distributor of DVD titles, became the first company in the world to announce its clear support for HD DVD. “HD DVD is a promising format that will secure continuous growth of the DVD industry as well as bringing about fresh innovation to the consumer experience,” said Hideki Oyagi, General Manager, Visual Entertainment Headquarters, Pony Canyon. “We very much look forward to launching HD DVD titles at an early stage of 2005, in line with the expected launch of HD DVD players and recorders.” The initial titles for release include “Moonlight Jellyfish,” a Japanese Hi-Vision movie.

Commenting on Pony Canyon’s decision, Mr. Yoshihide Fujii, Corporate Senior Vice President and President and CEO of Toshiba’s Digital Media Network Company, noted: “We are pleased by this formal announcement of support for the HD DVD format by Japan’s largest supplier of DVD titles. This is a clear sign of recognition of the benefits and potential this advanced format offers the entertainment industry as the most affordable, the most realistic package media for inheriting and building on the legacy and success of the DVD industry. We are confident we will see a number of major studios and software companies launch titles to coincide with our release of HD DVD products in 2005.”

Continuity: Extending the Successes of Today’s DVD Industry DVD burst on to the market in November 1997. Toshiba introduced the world’s first DVD player in Japan, while a number of international movie studios launched a handful of DVD titles. The rest is history, as the DVD market has grown explosively, to embrace and change the entertainment, consumer electronics and computing industries.

More than 60 million DVD players and recorders were produced worldwide in 2003 alone, and an estimated 800 DVD disc production lines manufacture now produce more than 240 million discs a month. Digital Entertainment Group of the US reports that 649 million DVD titles were shipped to retailers in the first six months of 2004 in the United States, a huge 52 percent increase over the same period a year earlier. In the US and Japan, DVD revenues exceeded movie theater ticket sales in 2003.

By adopting the same, fully backward compatible design concept as current DVD, HD DVD is the only practical medium that can secure seamless continuity and the sustained success of the current DVD industry. The new HD DVD format also assures maximization of business opportunities offered by the appearance of high-definition programming and content that is accompanying the transition to digital broadcasting in the United States and Japan and the exponential market growth in large-sized flat panel screens.

“HD DVD, the successor of DVD, will further encourage the convergence of PC and audio visual products, as it realizes crystal-clear picture quality in the personal computing environment,” commented Mr. Hiroshi Gokan, Executive General Manager, NEC’s Computers Storage Products Operations Unit.

ROM: Key for Momentum in the Next-Generation Format “The success of today’s DVD industry clearly indicates that the timely release of movie and audio titles on read-only memory discs will be key to triggering the take-off of the next-generation DVD format,” predicts Mr. Shiroharu Kawasaki, President and CEO of Memory-Tech Corporation, Japan’s leading disc replicator. “We are working with almost every major studio in the United States and Japan to establish the HD DVD format through extensive joint evaluation, and already getting strong, positive feedback from many of these companies.”

Memory-Tech installed HD DVD disc mass production line at its Tsukuba plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan in May 2004. The facility has a capacity of 1.4 million discs a month, and an authoring and mastering system that is already available for comprehensive disc creation. Production yields have already reached 90 percent, a level practical for volume production of commercial discs and comparable with the 95 percent yield rate of current DVD discs. The flexible convertible line can switch between standard DVD and HD DVD production in five minutes. Memory-Tech’s Kofu Plant in Yamanashi Prefecture will also be ready for HD DVD production this August, doubling the company’s total capacity to 2.8 million discs a month. In order to support and expedite the early diffusion of this promising format, Memory-Tech and Toshiba are preparing to disclose and provide expertise on disc manufacture to major disc replicators around the world, starting in late August.

Background What Is HD DVD? Why It Is Gaining Real, Worldwide Support HD DVD, or high-definition DVD, is the next-generation DVD format that allows recording of more than eight hours of high-resolution movies on a single ROM disc (in case of 30-gigabyte (GB), double-layer ROM disc), using a blue-laser diode and advanced video compression technology. Today’s DVD ROM discs contain 8.5GB on a singe-sided, double-layer disc.

HD DVD has made steady progress over the last six months as the only official format authorized and approved by the DVD Forum, the international association that brings together some 220 consumer electronics, entertainment, software and other related companies around the world. In November, 2003, the DVD Forum approved version 0.9 of the physical specifications for the HD DVD ROM format, followed by the release of the specifications Book version 1.0 in June, 2004. This February, the Forum approved version 0.9 of the HD DVD rewritable, with final approval expected this autumn. Technical studies have been also completed for HD DVD-R, a one-time recordable version of the format, and disk evaluation tests are being conducted by the DVD Forum in preparation for possible adoption of version 0.9 this September. MPEG4 AVC (H.264) and VC-9 were selected as the mandatory video compression schemes by the DVD Forum in June 2004. Both achieve three times the compression efficiency of MPEG-2, the video compression technology used in current DVDs.

In the area of copy protection, a key concern of film studios, a major step was taken this July, when the Advanced Access Content System License Administrator, comprising eight major US and Japanese firms in the entertainment, IT and CE industries, was formed to define and promote a highly advanced copy protection system for next-generation optical discs.

Same Disc Structure as Today’s DVD With 0.6-millimeter thick discs bonded back to back, HD DVD discs adopt completely the same disc structure as current DVD discs. Because of that, disc manufacturers will be able to utilize their current disc manufacturing lines with only minimum upgrades. To cover the anticipated global demand for next-generation, high-capacity optical discs, building new plants to produce discs with a completely different disc structure that adopts a 0.1 millimeter-thick cover layer, for example, is estimated to require a gross new investment in excess of 400 billion yen worldwide. Meeting the same capacity with HD DVD will require far less investment, as currently operational DVD plants around the world can be fully utilized with minor modifications, while additional capacity can be filled with brand-new convertible lines built from scratch.

For further information about the companies mentioned in this press release, please access the official web sites indicated below.

http://www.toshiba.co.jp/index.htm
http://www.nec.com/
http://www.memory-tech.co.jp/index_e.html
http://www.ponycanyon.co.jp/

7-26-04

The Daily Yomiuri reports on the bridge of culture connecting Italy and Japan. Anime has played a roll in this as it’s viewed by many in the European country.
Michigan’s South End carries a review of Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence that comes from contributing writer Robert McTyre Jr.’s viewing of the film at Cannes. McTyre also saw the Japanese edit of Tarantino’s Kill Bill and questioned the eclectic cult director.
Yahoo News talks about the weepy Sekachu, based on a Shogakukkan novel, which is making waves in Japan. (Thanks to Daniel for the info)
Absolute Arts has a mention of the upcoming San Jose Museum of Art exhibition of Yoshitomo Nara: Nothing Ever Happens which runs through October.

7-25-04

The San Diego Union Tribune covers the final day of Comic Con.
The Japan Times examines inventions and inventors that changed Japan and the world. One inventor, Hideo Nakazawa, draws his inspiration from Japanese comics and cartoons.
– The Seattle Times has 2 anime related pieces this morning Article #1 “Seattle sisters teach others the Japanese style of cartooning” is a very in-depth look at manga and anime business around Seattle Washington and beyond. 2 sisters are interviewed there who have started their own manga publishing company there. Some interesting figures on the overall manga industry in the USA are relayed:”…For a fledgling and far-flung industry, accurate growth numbers are hard to come by. But ICv2, a pop-culture trade Web site, estimates manga took in about $100 million in retail sales in 2003, about a quarter of the $400 million sales for all comics that year. TOKYOPOP, one of the largest manga publishers in the U.S., said it has doubled its revenue every year since it started in 1996.
Seattle Times Article #2 “The History Of Manga” looks at the background of the artform in Japan and it’s matriculation to these American shores and the rest of the world.
The Cincinnati Enquirer examines how library meetup groups are bringing together young people to discuss and trade comics and anime.
worldfilm.about.com has an online review of Blood: The Last Vampire.
– My Neighbor Totoro made number 45 on the The Top 100 Overlooked Films of the 1990s at Rotten Tomatoes. Also included are Takeshi Kitano’s Sonatine and Hana-Bi. Thanks to Daniel for the news tip

7-24-04

The Honolulu Star Bulletin talks about comic creator Scott Morse’s new book “The Barefoot Serpant” which is bookended by a brief, full-color appreciation of the life and artistry of legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. In his forward to the book, local-born “Usagi Yojimbo” creator Stan Sakai writes that he sees a lot of Kurosawa’s cinematic influence on Morse’s work in their common “economy of dialogue, letting the visuals carry the story.” Sakai also writes that “I was raised in Hawaii … (and although) I grew up (with) high-rises, traffic jams and blazing humidity, I much prefer Scott’s version.”
The Manila Times says CEBUANO rappers Dice & K9 were almost about to call it quits as a group when they produced a song that barely made it to the final tracklist of their album. The song is titled “Itsumo” (“Always”), an English love rap song with a Japanese chorus that was inspired by the duo’s favorite Hentai (a form of Japanese animation) classics.
Japan Today has an article on the auction house Christies-Japan. The subsidiary of the world famouse British Auctioneers helped facilitate the sale of Miss ko2, an 188-cm, cartoon-like figure by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami which sold for $567,500 at an auction in New York last year.
The New York Times has a brief mention that robots are becoming entangled with the popular culture in America at present, the piece mention Gundam and has an image of one of the SD toys.
Engadget mentions the Japanese company Omronsoft (www.omronsoft.com) come up with a Java app that lets you send and receive email in Japanese from western cellphones.
G4TV has an article on what the network has seen at San Diego Comic Con anime wise and games wise.
The Pal Beach Post is carrying a story about a sixteen year old aspiring anime creator who is seeking higher education.
– As reported in the Flint Journal: Anime viewing: University of Michigan-Flint club Fanimania will host a free Anime viewing 10 a.m.-11 p.m. today in Rooms 302 and 306 of the Murchie Science Building. Details, awendell@umflint.edu

7-24-04—- Di Gi Charat Illustrator Koge-Donbo To Appear At Anime Gamers

Koge-Donbo, the popular illustrator/manga artist of hit series such as Di Gi Charat and Pita-Ten, will be making an appearance at the Anime Gamers retail store on August 3rd from 11am to 12pm to sign autographs. Many of Koge-Donbo’s works have been published in the United States, including Di Gi Charat, Di Gi Charat Theater – Dejiko’s Summer Vacation, Di Gi Charat Theater – Piyoko is Number One!, Di Gi Charat Champion Cup Theater, and Pita-Ten. Her annual illustration books, the CHOCOLA series, are also available at select Waldenbooks, Borders Book & Music stores, and AnimeGamers.com.

About Koge-Donbo Koge-Donbo is one of the most talented and revered illustrators in the world, mostly due to the popularity of Di Gi Charat. She is also active as a character designer; these projects include A Little Snow Fairy Sugar and Princess Concerto. Her newest work is a manga series Kamichama Karin, currently running in the Japanese monthly magazine Nakayoshi.

About Anime Gamers Anime Gamers is the United States’ branch of Gamers: Japan’s second largest anime retail store, owned and operated by Broccoli Co., Ltd. Anime Gamers can also be found online at www.animegamers.com. Information about other Broccoli International USA divisions can be found at http://www.bro-usa.com.

7-23-04—- Hikaru Utada’s EXODUS Arrives On CD in the USA Oct. 5th

21-year-old singer/songwriter Utada (www.utada.com) will offer a fresh new sound for music fans this Fall when her US debut album, EXODUS, is released Oct. 5 on Island. An enigmatic fusion of alternative, pop, dance and funk grooves, EXODUS features witty lyrics and well-crafted melodies. The first remix single on the album is “Devil Inside,” an hypnotic dance track laced with electronic Asian-flavored beats that is sure to be a club favorite. Another winning track is the sunny pop melody “Easy Breezy,” which will be the first radio single off the album. Utada is also joined on her debut album by some outstanding special guests such as drummer Jon Theodore from Mars Volta, who delivers an infectious groove on “Kremlin Dusk,” and master producer Timbaland who adds his funky touch to “Exodus ’04,” “Wonder ‘Bout” and “Let Me Give You My Love.” Here’s what they had to say about recording with Utada: “She’s above the typical trappings of pop music because her voice is beautiful and she writes her own music. She has discerning taste that sort of transcends the genre. It’s not really classifiable.” –Jon Theodore of Mars Volta “We did some great work together-Exodus is such a fabulous song and Utada is the best!” –Timbaland

7-23-04—- Cartoon Network Puffy AmiYumi Original Animation Series To Debut In November

The International Herald Tribune has first details of a new Cartoon Network-bound weekly original animation series titled “Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi”. The show will feature the Japanese pop duo Puffy AmiYumi (Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura) who are enormously well known in their native country. In March 2000, Puffy made their American debut at the South by Southwest music-industry confab in Austin, Texas. And in 2002 Puffy AmiYumi did a full-scale tour in which they traveled around North America by bus. The piece interviews Sam Register of CN who is overseeing the project in-house. “For Cartoon Network, this is our first ‘people’ cartoon,” he said. “It’s the first time we’ve had stars that really exist.” “We have to take Japanese culture and adapt it for our audience,” he said. “Let’s bring Japanese culture onto the TV screen. The whole thing is to keep the balance between the U.S. and Japan.”

7-23-04

The San Diego Daily Transcript has a mainstream spin on details from this week’s Comic Con.

7-22-04—- Bob Sapp Real Sports Segment

The HBO network series Real Sports has done a segment this week on Japanese martial arts and media icon Bob “The Beast” Sapp. The piece looks at Sapp’s career spanning from his days in the NFL to his move to Japan where the fighter has enjoyed superstar status for several years.

7-22-04—- Bandai At Comic Con

CYPRESS, CA, July 21, 2004 – Renowned among fans for their popular toy and home entertainment properties, Bandai America Inc. and Bandai Entertainment Inc. (booth #3629) today announced a full slate of activities for this year’s Comic-Con International, being held July 22-25 at the San Diego Convention Center. “As the largest pop-culture gathering of its kind, Comic-Con is the perfect venue for us to bring our extensive toy lines directly to the fans and enthusiasts,” said Matthew Golding, director of marketing for Bandai America Inc. Fan favorites such as Gundam Seed, Superior Defender (SD) and Astro Boy will all be featured in Bandai’s numerous toy displays. In addition, special activities surrounding Bandai’s hottest new toy line, Teen Titans, will be held at the booth, including exclusive autograph signings with the talent behind the hit TV series. Fans will have the opportunity to meet producer Glen Murakami, producer David Slack and actor Ron Perlman, the voice behind the character “Slade.”

Most exciting for those who need to be “in the know” will be a sneak peak of Bandai’s newest entertainment property, D.I.C.E., set to debut in 2005. Bandai Entertainment will host a panel session featuring the creators of the animated series and unveil the details of the show that has, until now, been shrouded in mystery. An exclusive foil cover D.I.C.E. comic will be distributed throughout the convention.

“D.I.C.E. is unique in that it was created entirely by Bandai’s in-house talent, and it’s rare for one company to produce both the show and toys based on that property,” said Ken Iyadomi, executive vice president for Bandai Entertainment Inc. “It’s very important for us to offer the first sneak peek of D.I.C.E. to the Comic-Con audience. Their feedback and support will be integral to making a property like this a success next year.” Bandai will be highlighting Gundam Seed, the latest incarnation of the 25-year old Japanese property that can currently be seen on Cartoon Network. Gundam Seed toys will be on display and the home entertainment division will be screening preview clips from their upcoming DVD release of the series. Bandai also hopes Rear Admiral Buskin Alexander (B.A.) Avatar, Director of Enrollment, will be on hand to speak to potential cadets for the Gundam Pilot Academy (www.GundamPilotAcademy.com).

“The response to Gundam Seed has been phenomenal,” said Jerry Chu, marketing manager for Bandai Entertainment Inc. “As the latest and most dynamic series in the history of the franchise, Seed broke ratings records when it first aired in Japan last year, and the fan response in the U.S. has been the most enthusiastic we’ve seen since Gundam Wing first appeared here six years ago. I think people will be very pleased with the DVDs we have planned for later this year.” Bandai’s new Cards and Collectible Games division will make its Comic-Con debut with demonstrations of the game that has been building tremendous buzz on the summer convention circuit, Navia Dratp. In addition, a revamped version of the Digimon CCG will be on display, allowing gamers to get a taste of the new game mechanics.

“Our presence with Navia Dratp has mostly been at game oriented conventions so far this year,” said Danny Satyapan, head of Bandai’s cards and collectibles division. “This will be the first time such an expansive audience sees just how eye-catching this game is to display, and how easy – yet challenging – it is to play.” On the video game front, Bandai (www.BandaiGames.com) will be showcasing some of its most anticipated titles, including Ghost In The Shell, Gundam Seed Battle Assault, SD Gundam Force – Showdown!, Galactic Wrestling featuring Ultimate Muscle, and Inuyasha – all for PlayStation®2. Panels and events currently scheduled for Comic-Con are:

Friday, July 23rd 12:30-1:30PM (Room #9) – What is D.I.C.E.? – As the premier distributor of Japanese animation, Bandai Entertainment is proud to unveil its upcoming animated feature, D.I.C.E. Come check out all the details surrounding this new 2D/3D CG series and toy line coming to North America in 2005. An exclusive foil cover D.I.C.E comic will be given away to those in attendance. 1:00-3:00PM (Bandai Booth #3629) – Teen Titans Celebration & Autograph Signing: Bandai America invites you to meet the creative talent behind the hit animated show on Cartoon Network and Kids! WB. Legendary producer Glen Murakami, writer David Slack, actor Ron Perlman (the voice of “Slade”), actor Greg Cipes (voice of “Beast Boy”) and story editors Rob Hoegee and Amy Wolfram will be on hand to sign autographs for fans and celebrate the successful launch of Bandai’s Teen Titans toy line. A limited number of exclusive Bandai 1.5″ Robin (as “Red X”) figures and Teen Titans Go! comic books will be given away.

Saturday, July 24th 10:30-11:30AM (Room #2) – Bandai Entertainment Panel: Executive VP Ken Iyadomi and marketing manager Jerry Chu will be on hand to answer questions on such favorite anime titles as Witch Hunter Robin, Wolf’s Rain, Gundam Seed, and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Check out the next wave of cutting-edge anime coming to North America from BEI, as well as score exclusive DVD and T-shirt giveaways.

3:30-5:30PM (Bandai Booth #3629) – Teen Titans Celebration & Autograph Signing: Bandai America invites you to meet the creative talent behind the hit animated show. Producer Glen Murakami, writer David Slack, actor Greg Cipes (voice of “Beast Boy”), story editor Rob Hoegee and more will be on hand to sign autographs for fans and celebrate the successful launch of Bandai’s Teen Titans toy line. Additionally, a limited number of Comic-Con exclusive 1.5” Robin (as “Red X”) figures and Teen Titans Go! comic books will be given away. Those attending Comic-Con should check the daily show schedule and booth #3629 for a complete listing of all activities taking place at Bandai’s massive 50-foot display.

7-22-04

– The Daily Herald from Washington has an article on new Japanese electronic book readers, the Sony Librie and Panasonic SigmaBook. One of the most popular content items in Japan to use these with is manga apparently.
– Canada’s Georgia Straight has an interview with a director there who lists Japanese “shock” director Takashi Miike as one of his idols.
Korea Times has a review of a new live action film there that combines high school students with Taekwondo.
Game Industry has sifted through Famitsu’s headlines and found Final Fantasy’s Hironobu Sakaguichi has founded his own independent development company, which is working on a new console role-playing game and is considering next-generation development. Called Mist Walker, the studio has apparently been running in some form since mid-2001, and Sakaguichi hopes to attract significant talent to work on its projects – naming famous artist and Final Fantasy character designer Yoshitaka Amano and hugely popular manga artist Takehiko Inoue as possible future collaborators in an interview with Famitsu Weekly.
TokyoPop has put out a press release on a new manga project based on the Warcraft computer game franchise.
The Sandiego Union Tribune reports on the sights and sounds from this week’s Comic-Con.
– Washington state’s The Olympian has a report from the American summer rock festival OZZFEST and reports on Italian metal band Lacuna Coil (“Empty Spiral” in English). The band’s front-woman Cristina Scabbia is a fan of Japanese anime films and video games according to the piece.
The Sacramento Bee mentions the site www.meetup.comand how some fans in Birmingham, Ala. are using it to plan real life meets.
The Cincinnati Post and Chicago Tribune both have reviews of Tales Of Symphonia for Nintendo Game Cube.
Wrestling News reports the American Pay Per View network In Demand will air “Japanese Hardcore Wrestling 4” PPV. It features men’s and women’s hardcore matches from Big Japan, All Japan Women, and Michinoku Pro. It airs 7/25 @ 8PM & 11PM, 7/26 all day long, 7/27 @ 1AM & 6AM, 7/28 @ 3:30PM, 7/29 @ 2:30AM & 10PM, 7/30 @ 6PM, 7/31 @ 7AM, 1PM, & 10PM. Price is $14.95.
EXTRA mentions the women’s Japanese skincare line SK-II (www.sk2.com) is now being released in America. Actress Jennifer Connelly and Portia de Rossi are reportedly fans and users of the high-end serums and creams made with sake extract.
The Daily Iowan explores “Redrawing Eros” and modern adult / sexually based themes in comics. One local artist mentions a healthy women’s market is emerging in comics, especially because of the popularity of manga, a Japanese style that crosses into nontraditional comic territories such as mystery and romance.
IGN playtests San Nen B Gumi for PS2.
Asahi News tells of the Hawaiian radio station KZOO which it describes as having become a bridge between Japanese and the island state for 40 years.
The Auburn Plainsman relays that the Capri Theatre in Montgomery, Alabama is running the Japanese film, Twilight Samurai which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Picture. The screening began July 16 and runs through today.
The Mainichi Newspaper covers the latest in the long running Candy Candy court affair which it describes as having “erupted into a no holds barred legal battle”. The Tokyo High Court’s latest ruling against artist Yumiko Igarashi oders her to pay 1.75 million yen in compensation to toymaker Apple One, which lost millions of yen when she gave it permission to merchandise the comic star though she did not have the right to do so.
Animation Wolrd News has it’s detiled AX2004 con report posted via Fred Patten who has titled the writeup “Anime Expo 2004: Bigger But Not Necessarily Better”.

7-22-04—- Business Week: “Is Japanese Style Taking Over The World?”

2 very significant mainstream American press articles today on Business Week Online. #1 covers the topic is Japanese style and pop culture’s proliferation beyond it’s borders and into the western world. According to the piece

“…in an April report, Tsutomu Sugiura, director of the Marubeni Research Institute, figured Japan’s cultural exports, including music, books, magazines, films, handicrafts, collectibles, patent royalties, and performances at $15 billion in 2002, up from $5 billion in 1992. That, of course, doesn’t include Japan’s influence on products made elsewhere. As evidence that this is just the start, Sugiura estimates that almost 3 million people outside Japan are now studying the Japanese language, up from 1 million in 1990.

Article #2 is titled “A Tsunami of Japanese Pop Culture”

7-22-04—- Inu Yasha Coming To Mobile Phones

Fresh from the San Diego Comic-Con, Sorrent, Inc. (www.sorrent.com), and ShoPro Entertainment, today announced a multi-year partnership in which Sorrent will develop and publish mobile content based on the Inuyasha animation TV program and graphic novel series in America. Through the agreement, fans will be able to access Inuyasha messaging, wallpapers and games directly from their mobile phones.

“We are thrilled to be working with Sorrent to offer Japanese animation and manga fans innovative means to enjoy Inuyasha wherever they go,” said Cynthia Money, Vice President of Consumer Products, ShoPro Entertainment. “Whether it’s through text messaging, wallpapers, or game applications, the mobile component is critical in further integrating Inuyasha into the everyday lives of passionate fans.”

“Inuyasha has a vast and dedicated fan base whose popularity spans many age groups, which complements that of the mobile phone,” said Robert Nashak, vice president of development, Sorrent. “Our partnership with ShoPro Entertainment is critical in deepening the unique relationship customers have with their mobile phones and giving fans the ability to access Inuyasha content wherever they are.”

Go to Viz.com for further developments.