March 3, 2005 / by Anime News Services / Archived News / No Comments

Anime News Service – February 24 – March 3 Anime News

3-3-05 (6:45AM EST)—- NASA Teams With Pokemon On Education

NASA and the Pokemon Trading Card Game have developed an in-school program. The program incorporates science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) themes into learning activities for K-6 students nationwide. The collaboration coincides with the recent release of the Pokemon Trading Card Game called EX Deoxys. Deoxys is a space virus with extraordinary origins. It came from space and mutated into a Pokemon when exposed to a laser beam. Deoxys’ name is derived from deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the genetic material of living organisms, including viruses. The STEM learning activities were developed based on the game. The collaboration will provide NASA a unique opportunity to teach children about real world science. Students can learn and use free activities on the Web developed by NASA that explain extraterrestrials, viruses, meteorites, DNA, and the ozone layer. The learning activities are posted on NASA’s Langley Research Center’s Kids Science News Network (KSNN) Web site, and they are accessible to students and teachers. As part of the program, Nintendo of America Inc. has produced awareness bracelets and postcards that have been distributed to educators nationwide. These items are some of the prize-winning incentives for students, as their teachers engage them in science activities. The collaboration is one of many led by Langley’s Center for Distance Learning to reach students from diverse communities. Langley also produces award-winning television and Web series’. Since 1996, children worldwide have collected and traded more than 13 billion Pokemon Trading Cards. Pokemon USA, Inc., a subsidiary of The Pokemon Company in Japan, manages and oversees the property outside of Asia. It manages licensing activities; brand promotions; publication of the trading card game; TV animation; home video entertainment; and the official Pokemon Web site. For more information about the NASA and Pokemon Trading Card Game collaboration, visit the Kids Science News Network on the Web, at:
http://ksnn.larc.nasa.gov/pokemon

3-3-05 (6:32AM EST)—- AU Mobile Phone Anime Site Opens

Japanese Mobile giant AU has opened their online Anime store, “ani doku me” on March 3. There, users can download and view series such as Giant’s Star, Attack No.1, Adventure of GAMBA, Tomorrow’s Joe, Cat’s-Eye, and Great Detective Holmes. The 525 Yen fee includes the access of 10 files per month. Even if limit is exceeded, it is possible to download additional one for 53 Yen per file. TMS is partnering on the content end.

3-3-05 (6:21AM EST)—- Radio Controlled Iron Man 28

With the new movie out, Ironman 28 fever is sweeping Japan. A new Tetsujin 28 robot which is RC operated was announced Thursday in Osaka by the company Viston. The robot is 38 centimeters in height and weighs 2.5 kilos. The joint of the arm and the leg can move smoothly, and walking close to the style of people can be done. Retail is 351,750 Yen. The scale V.S. that of the new movie version is estimated at about 1/50 (the movie Tetsujin 28 is listed as being 20 meters tall).

3-3-05 (6:51AM EST)—- Japan’s Largest Animation Distributors Headline 27 Companies Signing On To PSP Video Format

SCEI has clarified that 27 Japanese contents manufactures will be producing video releases for it’s PSP (PlayStation Portable) UMD video format with sales beginning on April 13. UMD Video is based on a 60mm in diameter optical disk format which is propriatary to the PSP. Both UMD Video and UMD Music discs are planned. Storage capacity is 1.8GB and copyright protection measures include individual disc ID code and 128bit AES. The only confirmed Anime title thus far has come from Bandai Visual which announced the sale of “Mobile Suit Gundam back in October, 2004. So far no North American Japanese Animation distributor has announced a commitment to the format. The following companies will be doing UMD Video releases:
Aqua Plus Ltd., Asmik Ace Entertainment Ltd., Aniplex Ltd., Enterbrain Ltd., Capcom Ltd., Kabushikigaisha Cora Ltd., Yuugengaisha Saidera Paradeiso, JSDSS Ltd., GDH Ltd., Shogakukan, Inc. Production, Square Enix Ltd., Spike Ltd., Sony Pictures Entertainment Ltd., Sony Music Entertainment Ltd., Digital Media Laboratory Ltd., Azuma North nNew Company Ltd., Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., Tommy Ltd., Nikkatsu Corporation, Hudson Ltd., Happinet Ltd., Bandai Co., Ltd., Bandai Visual Ltd., Pony/Canyon Ltd., Marvellous Entartament Ltd., Media Works Ltd.

3-3-05 (3:51AM EST)—- Korean Studio Behind Simpsons Profiled

Yahoo News has an in-depth report on AKOM, the Korean-based animation studio responsible for the animated hit series, The Simpsons.

3-3-05 (2:35AM EST)—- First Look: Star Wars Cine-manga

StarWars.com has posted the first images from a trilogy of Cine-Manga books from Tokyopop adapting the original Star Wars films. The Cine-Manga series takes popular films and anime and digitally freeze-frames the actual moving image, breaks it out into comic-style panels in a lively and innovative layout, and peppers the action with manga-style text balloons and sound effects. For the first time, the Star Wars saga is getting the Cine-Manga treatment, and there’s no better place to start than with the films that started it all. These digest-sized books are due out this spring and are exclusive to the UK, Germany and Japan. More Cine-manga books are on their way, including the Clone Wars and the prequel trilogy. Source: Manga News Service

3-3-05 (2:35AM EST)—- Square Enix TV Program

A brand new ‘Variety’ TV show is Square Enix’s latest attempt at diversification, and the programme for TV Tokyo will be revealed fully in Shibuya (Tokyo) today. The first episode will air on April 6th at 1am in Japan, and is called Heavy Metal Thunder. Yoko Kumada will host the show of which Square Enix has high hopes, having also confirmed a tie-in videogame. The show sounds vaguely like a chat show, though may contain ‘Pop Idol’ elements too, which would make the idea of a videogame more sensible. Vaguely punky Japanese band Sex MachineGuns have provided the show’s theme tune, and will perform at today’s showcase in Shibuya, while Kumada interviews special guests. Square Enix has enjoyed previous success by diversifying into manga and anime, though the giant games firm’s first foray into the cinema with their Final Fantasy flick was something of a flop. We’ll keep you posted. Source: Ferrago

3-3-05 (1:21AM EST)—- Newtype 20th Anniversary Appreciation Fair

Kadokawa Shoten announced it will host the Newtype 20th Anniversary Appreciation Fair March 5 – April 9 which will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the magazine. Touring 5 cities across the country, screenings and seiyuu talks featuring Kenichi Suzumura and Akira Ishida will be included.

3-3-05 (1:19AM EST)—- Anime Legends In Lorelei Credits

The Japan Times has posted an English language interview of the Japanese submarine film Lorelei, opening in theaters there Friday. Producer Chihiro Kameyama is interviewed in a seperate article. Lorelei’s previously mentioned manga-feel is expounded upon and it’s revealed that besides Yoshiyuki Tomino’s walk-on role, Mamoru Oshii designed the B29 Mark, Yutaka Izubuchi designed seasuits, and Hideaki Anno drafted some storyboard componenets. As for an international release, the producer mentions they are actively selling it abroad, starting with the Berlin Film Festival.

3-3-05 (1:02AM EST)—- Gankutsuou Manga Announced

The manga version based on GONZO’s Gankutsuou (Count of Monte Cristo) TV animation has been announced to run in Afternoon. Series Director Mahiro Maeda will pen the comic based on the story drafted by Arihara Yura. Gankutsuou is based on the original novel by Alexandre Dumas. Details were published in the April issue of “Monthly Afternoon” released on February 25. Source: Manga News Service

3-3-05 (12:45AM EST)—- 2nd Gash Bell Movie Announced

Toei Animation announced on Wednesday, the 2nd Gash Bell animated film which will have a August 6th theatrical release. The running subtitle reads “Attack Of Mechavulcan”. A presite can be accessed at the link. Some teaser images can be seen there now and video clips will be uploaded on the 7th of March. Advance tickets begin selling on April 29th.

3-3-05 (12:27AM EST)—- USJ Announces Alchemist Premiere Tour

Universal Studios Japan has planned their Full Metal Alchemist Premiere Tour event launch for March 17th. There, staff and fast from the TV series and movie will be on hand to launch the attraction. 80 tickets will be given away. The park has posted a website with details and even a video clip preview.

3-2-05 (11:16PM EST)—- Otaku Culture Facts And Figures

Bitway Books has a small writeup on Otaku culture:
Japan’s Animation art style is spoken of very highly in foreign countries. Takashi Murakami’s anime-style nymp art piece “Miss ko2” was auctioned at Christie’s in New York for $567,500 in 2003. It was only projected to sell at about $300,000-$400,000. Likewise, a similar work by the artist, “Hiropon” was bought at a public sale for $430,000 dollars in May, 2002. Mr. Murakami toured foreign countries widely in the latter half of the 90’s exhibiting his works. He used styles rangin from animation-based to original concepts like “Super-flat”. Much of his success is due to the global rise of otaku culture. Elbe Shandes was director of the Cartier Modern Art Foundation which hosted Mr. Murakami’s one-man show in Paris in October 2002.

The progress Japanimation has made in the global scene in recent years is remarkable. The anime market in the United States in 2002 was estimated at $4,359,110,000 according to an estimate published by JETRO. It corresponds to about four times the exports of steel from Japan to the United States. Anime’s big global push started in 1970’s-80’s. Anime saw an average of 30 hours+ broadcast time on French TV weekly, this greatly influenced France’s protectionism cultural policy in the mid 90’s. The Pokemon Phenomena in the USA did about 85 million dollars in business and was later marketed in 68 countries. In 2003, Hayao Miyazaki’s film Spirited Away won an U.S. Academy Award in 2003 for best feature length animation.

The market expansion Japan is experiencing through this foreign export of popular culture is welcome news for the Japanese economy which is still struggling. For instance, it is said that an economic effect of 2.3 trillion Yen globally can be accounted for when just considering the Pokemon character franchise. According to the ten year “Table of revenue and expenditure related to the culture” issued by Marubeni Corporation Economic Research Institute and compiled from customs statistics from 1992, exports related to cultural art such as films, books and art have increased in increments of 0.5 trillion Yen to 1.5 trillion Yen about 3 times. Total exports have increased from 43 trillion only to 52 trillion Yen and 1.2 times compared with this.

This led the American journalist Douglas McGray to take play off the term GNP (gross national product) and coin the phrase GNC(Gross National Cool) refering to growing pop-cultural power of Japan. A thesis based on this idea was written by McGray in June, 2002 and submitted to the diplomatic technical journal, “Foreign Policy”. This has given Japan great “Soft Power” (a theory created by Professor Joseph Nye of Harvard University). Soft Power infiltrates widely and deeply into other cultures and can exert influence on not only economy but even also the sense of values of another country. The USA has been a Soft Power giant for years on the world scene and now it seems Japan has joined it.

In Japan itself Animation, Manga and Games are widely disregarded and recognition that the industry is an important expression is non-existant, the influence on the global scene widely disregarded. So cultivating new talent in the current age is increasingly difficult. Likewise South Korea is relied on as the main subcontractor of Japan’s contents related grunt work. Seoul is said to have greater numbers of animators than Tokyo. To promote the animated cartoon industry, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has began several intiatives.

3-2-05 (10:21PM EST)—- Animation To Remember War In Japan

September 2nd, 2005 will mark 60 years since the end of World War II. Leading up to that date in 1945 as the Allies moved in closer to Tokyo, through firebombing raids and the atomic bomb drops, Japan’s main islands saw some of the most senseless and brutal killing en-masse that the world has probably ever witnessed. While not being played up as potential surefire hits at all, there are several anime works due soon that will highlight this tragic period of Japan’s WWII experience.
– Essayist Kayoko Ebina is lecturing on her experiences in the war on the tenth. She lived through several air raids on Tokyo including one that took the lives of 100,000 people in one night on March 10th, 1945. She lost 6 members of her own family in the raid. Commemorating this, Taito Ward’s Asakusa Hall will host the Heiwa Notsudoi event then, exactly 60 years from the date of the bombing. Ebina made her experiences during the war a lifeswork through her writings. A new animation film, “ashita genki ninare ! hanbun nosatsumaimo” adapted from her book will be screened there. In 1990, the film “ushirono shoumen daare” based on her experiences drew 2.5 million viewers.
Tokyo MXTV has a streaming video report on the coming animated feature Usagi No Glass that also tells the horrofic story of life and death during the air raids on Tokyo in WWII. Based on the best-selling novel by Toshiko Takagi, the author felt it neccesary to relay the fear of war to current generation. Takagi lived in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward and was 12 years old during the war. Both the author’s Mother and two younger sisters were evacuating to Kanagawa when they were lost in sea of flames. Takagi’s Father was machine-gunned by a USt Airforce plane in the summer and died. The original book published in 1977, sold more than 2.1 million copies. The title was taken from a rabbit ornament made of the glass that melted in the fire that consumed his house. Production on the anime is being shared between GoGo Visual Kikaku, Magic Base, Kyoudou Eiga, Amusement Media Sougou Gakuin and Tokyo MXTV terebi. The official Usagi No Glass website can be viewed at www.ggvp.net/usagi.

3-2-05 (7:31PM EST)—- Saku Saku DVD Discontinued

The Biglobe Store announced Wednesday Amuze Soft Entertainment Ltd. it is discontinuing the DVD release of the quirky Japanese TV program Saku Saku. Ver. 1.0 is affected and the Circumstances surrounding the move were supposed to be mentioned in the re-broadcast of the series Wed. at midnight. Saku Saku has the appearance of a children’s show (something like the American show sesame street) at first with cartoony sets, puppets, and constumeed characters. Whats more is it’s aired in the 7:30am timeslot, Monday to Friday on TVK (Yokohama). What seperates it from most children’s shows in Japan is the sort of irreverant, MTV/Nicktoon feel. The puppet character Zigorow a bit rude, constantly using the pronoun “ore”. The main human lead, Kimura Kaela (blog) debuted last year as a musician in the rock genre she was also model for Seventeen. Much of the music used in Saku Saku is borrowed from old Famicom game titles. Viewers will find a mix of things going on in each episode such as J-Pop video clips, viewer mail reading and a very energized pace thanks the range of kooky characters.

3-2-05 (12:42PM EST)—- Ghibli Theme Park And Miyagi Prefecture Plans

The Governor of Miyagi Prefecture, Shiro Asano has announced the upcoming event “miyagi kenmin bunka souzou no saiten” which will be cultural festival involving Studio Ghibli. Furthermore, one of the original studio founders, Hideo Ogata has been appointed as special ambassador, the “miyagi yume taishi” of the prefecture. A special exhibition in the region by Gehibli Museum may be in the offing in the near future. A plan to build a Ghibli Theme Park in Miyagi was struckdown in the prefectural assembly in December.

3-2-05 (12:12PM EST)—- ADV Films Wedding Peach DX OAV Release

After saving the world, it’s time for some well-deserved and well-earned rest and relaxation for the Love Angels?cwell, maybe not. This “respite” is FAR from relaxing! Look for a March 22, 2005 street date for the all new 4 episode OVA in the love-struck magical girl series, Wedding Peach: DX. Based on the hit manga by Sukehiro Tomita (Sailor Moon), Nao Yazawa and Tenyu, Wedding Peach’s animation was produced by KSS (Happy Lesson, Oh My Goddess!) and NAS (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Yu-Gi-Oh!).

This trying to save the world business is hard work, especially when you’re not even in high school yet. And just when you thought things were getting back to normal, a wave of new devils has begun to show up. Throw in a headless demon and a chocolate monster and somebody better go get the Love Angels real fast?cthat is if they still remember who they are!!! After purifying the evil Queen Raindevila and saving love on earth as we know it, our heroes’ memories were erased so that they could live happily as normal humans. But who’s going to save us now??? Wedding Peach: DX (SRP $29.98 DVD) is a DVD-only release, including four complete episodes in both English 2.0 and Japanese 2.0 language versions, with English subtitles. Extras include: original Japanese opening and ADV previews.

Collector’s Edition Available!
The new Collector’s Edition for Wedding Peach is still available! This collection includes Wedding Peach Volume 6, an attractive custom series art box to hold volumes 6 – 9 and Wedding Peach: DX, along with a bonus disc filled with extras ($39.98).

WEDDING PEACH: DX Volume: 10 of 10 Running Time: 100 minutes Age Rating: 13+ CAT: DWP/0010 UPC: 702727069222 Pre-Book Date: 2/22/05 Street Date: 3/22/05 Format: DVD SRP: $29.98

3-2-05 (3:17AM EST)—- I.G. At TAF LA

Production I.G. has coverage and pictures of the Hollywood Tokyo Anime Fair. In one photo, Kamiyama-san and Ishikawa-san can be seen posing with Marvel Comics guru Stan Lee. Thanks to Daniel for the news.

3-2-05 (3:17AM EST)—- Toei Prepares Fist Of The Northstar DVD Release

Even as North Stars Pictures prepares the future direction of the Hokuto No Ken franchise, Toei Animation will release the original 1984 TV series in DVD BOX on March 30th. Retailing at 3,990 Yen the set collects the series as it was broadcast on Fuji Television where it achieved an average audience rating of 16.1% and a high of 23.4%.

3-2-05 (3:11AM EST)—- Lorelei Figures

Kaiyodo and 7 Eleven of Japan have announced a limitated edtion movie figure collection campaign. Each of the 10 figures being offered will include special manual with information on the film and interviews with the staff and cast.

3-2-05 (2:38AM EST)—- Fans Can Help Produce NTT’s New Unique CG Anime Project

NTT has announced a new fully CG animation TV series project entitled Excel Nico. A very unique move, PC users will be able to download special software that will let them actually aid the production of the animation. It’s very Similar to the SETI@Home project which runs as a screensaver, using the spare computer processing power of millions of users to crunch potential alien radio signals. In this case the participants PC power help CG rendering. Nico will be a high definition program with cell shaded CG characters in a 30 frame pers second / 1800 frames per minute format. Software will be compatible with Windows XP PC’s.

3-2-05 (2:06AM EST)—- Satsuki And May’s House Drawing Attention

Reservations have been coming strong for the upcoming April opening of Satsuki and May’s House based on that seen in Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro. Those seeking to visit the replica can reserve their ticket via kiosk or telephone through the Lawson chain of conveinience stores. 37 people can fill the house at one time with about 800 people being able to tour it daily.

3-2-05 (12:35AM EST)—- Howl’s Moving Castle Current Japanese Viewership

According to information announced by Toho on Wednesday, Director Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film Howl’s Moving Castle has drawn 14,226,082 viewers to Japanese theaters since the opening November, 2004. With this figure reached it has surpassed Mononoke Hime in theatrical attendance. Spirted Away still holds the coveted spot of selling the most admissions in Japanese theatrical histroy with 23.5 million viewers.

3-1-05 (10:42PM EST)—- Pokemon Education Service

NEC and Pokemon Ltd. announced the forming of a new company that will use Pokemon characters in a computer education service. The capital of the new company being called “Pokemon Learning Ltd.” will be 130 million Yen. Pokemon Ltd. will invest 81% and NEC Corporation, 19%. The program aims at improving PC skills and Media communication ability of children. Over 35,000 kids are expected to use the software in the first year.

3-1-05 (8:28PM EST)—- Osaka University Of Arts Establishes Character Design Course

The spring of 2005 will see the Osaka University of Arts (Osaka Prefecture Kanan-cho) dropping it’s Music Educational Research Section of the Department of Art and newly establishing the character design subject that will yeach Manga, Animation and game production.

3-1-05 (8:00PM EST)—- MTAC Convention News

MTAC is proud to welcome Laura Bailey and Colleen Clinkenbeard as guests to MTAC Go (April 1st – 3rd, 2005). Both Laura and Colleen are fresh faces in the anime convention scene and we’re excited to be one of the conventions featuring them in the 2005 lineup of anime cons. We are also happy to announce that MTAC Go will be one of the stops on the 20th Anniversary Robotech Convention Tour sponsored by Harmony Gold. Robotech representatives Kevin McKeever and Steve Yun will be hanging out at the convention running panels, showing off special screenings, and geeking out with all their fellow Robotech fans. If you’ve EVER had any unresolved questions about Robotech, THIS will be your opportunity to have them answered! Our Conchair is getting old! In celebration of his birthday in nine days we’ve decided to extend the pre-registration deadline to March 9th! If you or your friends haven’t pre-registered for MTAC yet do so now. Pre-registering is the only way to guarantee access into the convention and we’ve already had over three times as many pre-registrations as last year (and they keep coming!).

3-1-05 (5:16AM EST)—- Toei Parnters On New Entertainment Label

Toei and Warner Mycal have announced their joint creation of a new distribution brand being tentatively named “Waatts”. The first film release under the label will be Pretty Cure Max Heart in April. Products will focus on works geared toward young men work and the independent movie producers.

3-1-05 (3:45AM EST)—- Navarre / FUNimation Update

Last week software and music distributor Navarre withdrew a planned stock offering that it had hoped to use to fulfill the initial cash portion of its expected purchase of Funimation Productions Ltd. In January, Navarre said it would buy the Fort Worth, Texas-based company for $100.5 million in cash and between 1.5 million and 1.8 million shares. Funimation is a home video distributor and licensor of Japanese animation and children’s entertainment in the United States. Navarre said it still expects to buy Funimation. Source: Pioneer Press

3-1-05 (3:45AM EST)—- Theatrical Release Of Gundam Zeta Movies 2-3 Dated

Information published in the March issue of Cinema Junpou lists the scheduled theatrical releases of Sunrise’s Z Gundam film remake sequels. Movie #2 is due in Autumn 2005 with Movie #3 following in Spring 2006. The information should be considered tentative at best due to the fact that the release of the first movie was pushed back several times.

3-1-05 (3:27AM EST)—- Japanese Weekend Boxoffice

Kogyo Tsushinsha has posted it’s Japanese boxoffice rankings for the weekend of Feb. 26-27. In it’s 15th week of opening, Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle has made a big advance climbing 2 positions in the chart from #4 to #2. Meanwhile, the American remake of The Grudge slips a spot from #9 to #10.

3-1-05 (1:50AM EST)—- Next Oshii Project Announced

News out of the weekend’s Howling in the Night 2005 event is that the next film Mamoru Oshii will be attached to in a directorial capacity is “Tachiguishi Retsuden”. Production has just began and it may turnout being a short film becuase current plans have it screening screening the Tokyo Fantastic Film Festival in the autumn of 2005. The format is being said use paper cardboard cutout stick puppets such as those used in the Mini Patlabor feature. Oshii’s column in Monthly Saizo first hinted at the move back in the summer. The story is base on the Director’s own novel serialized from 2001 to 2003 by Sneaker Pocket Edition. Theatrical distribution is being touted as limited with an opening perhaps a single theater in Tokyo possibly Osaka. Possible cast include Mamashi Higuchi and Toshio Suzuki.

3-1-05 (12:50AM EST)—- HK Live Action Initial D Site Launched

www.initialdthemovie.com is now up as the official web presence of the coming live-action Hong Kong Initial D Movie. According to information posted there since 1995, over one billion people in the world have been exposed to the original manga. Over 39 million copies of manga, 39 episodes of anime, 23 novels, and an animated movie have been spawned. Directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak who were responsible for the hugely successful Infernal Affairs trilogy are heading the project. The story features nightime drift battles on mount Akina which is actually modeled on Mt Haruna in Gunma prefecture, which has already become a tourist attraction thanks to the crowning success of the Initial D franchise. The film was actually shot there.
– Andrew Lau is described as a seasoned cinematographer (As Tears Go By, Chungking Express). He is also internationally recognized for his directorial works like the Young and Dangerous series and Stormriders. He was crowned Best Director at the 22nd Hong Kong Film Awards and the 40th Golden Horse Awards for his critically acclaimed work Infernal Affairs, a multiple record-holder in the Hong Kong film history. Its prequel, Infernal Affairs II, was also honored as Best Film by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society.
– Voted one of the 10 Most Promising Young Directors by Hong Kong’s City Entertainment, Alan Mak is a versatile cineaste most noted for his writing and directing credits in A War Named Desire. He was crowned Best Director with co-helmer Andrew Lau at the 22nd Hong Kong Film Awards and the 40th Golden Horse Awards for Infernal Affairs, a multiple record-holder in the Hong Kong film history. Its prequel, Infernal Affairs II, was also honored as Best Film by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society.
– Handling scrip writig duties is Felix Chong who is described as a veteran scriptwriter whose renowned works include action galore Tokyo Raiders and Gen-Y Cops, as well as romantic comedies Dance of a Dream and Cat and Mouse. The Infernal Affairs trilogy, co-written by director Alan Mak, is considered to be Chong’s most celebrated work to date, sweeping up Best Screenplay awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards, Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, and Golden Bauhinia Awards. The trilogy’s non-linear narrative is also critically acclaimed by the international film circle.
Cast includes Jay Chou as Takumi, Anthony Wong as Bunta, Edison Chen as Ryosuke, Anne Suzuki as Natsuki, Shawn Yue as Takeshi Nakazato, Capman To as Itsuki and Jordan Chan as Kyouichi Sudou.
Thanks To Daniel for the link

3-1-05 (12:18AM EST)—- Jackie Chan To Film In Japan?

Jackie Chan will play a bad guy, “world No. 1 Baddie” according to himself, next year in a new film co-produced by a Korean firm, according to Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily and The Sun. At a press conference in Tokyo, for promoting his New Police Story, he said he would recreate Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, because it would be very hard to shoot in the real Shinjuku district during the nighttime. BTW, Jackie Chan played baddie before, before he had a onscreen breakthrough two and a half decades ago. (Thanks to Paul Skelding for this one.)
Source: www.monkeypeaches.com via Daniel

2-28-05 (11:24PM EST)—- Monkey Punch At Metrocon 2005

As announced at Megacon, AnimeMetro is pleased to announce Lupin the 3rd creator Monkey Punch as the Guest of Honor at METROCON 3. Born in Hokkaido in 1937, Monkey Punch started contributing his manga works for local newspapers from his childhood. Influenced by the American comic book “MAD,” he made his debut by Playboy Nyumon (Playboy School) with his original drawing style. 1967 was the year that his series work, “Lupin the 3rd” was published, and he, along with the work, came to fame. He also won the INKPOT prize at San Diego Comic Convention in 1981.

Monkey Punch got his interest in digital manga creation and in its potential about 20 years ago. He is now creating many of his works digitally. His other works are as follows: Isshuku Ippan (Bed & Breakfast), Gyaku Isoppu Monogatari (Reverse Aesop’s Fables), Lupin Kozou (Lupin, the Kid), Shamu-neko (Siamese Cat). Monkey Punch is also Chairman of the Digital Manga Association (http://www.dma-j.net/dma_page/index.html). The goal of the organization is the sharing wisdom and knowledge about the technology necessary for creating cartoons based on digital expression; pursuing the methods of research and study to obtain more effective means of expression; and looking into copyright issues that will develop from digitization. The Tampa Bay, Florida-based anime convention is scheduled for June 24-26, 2005, at the Tampa Convention Center in Downtown Tampa, FL.

2-28-05 (7:12AM EST)—- EyeShield 21 Site

TV Tokyo has uploaded it’s presite for the coming EyeShield 21 animation TV series.

2-28-05 (6:36AM EST)—- Director Hiroyuki Nasu Dies

Hiroyuki Nasu, who directed films including Bebop High School, Pinch Runner, Gentlemen Alliance and more recently a live action version of Go Nagai’s Devilman died of liver cancer in hospital in the Chofu ward of Tokyo on the 27th. He was 53 years old. Mr. Nasu’s condition was said to have deteriorated rapidly from around mid-January and he had been hospitalized. He joined Nikkatsu Corporation as an assistant director in 1976 after graduating from the Department of Economics at The University of Tokyo. A funeral has been announced for only the close family, a chief mourner has not yet been named. Nasu leaves behind a wife, Machiko Nasu who is a writer.
Source: Sankei Sports | Yahoo Japan | Asahi Obituaries

2-28-05 (5:41AM EST)—- Lawson To Sell Satsuki And May Goods

In conjunction with the real life Totoro Satsuki And May house to open on the occasion of the Aichi Expo coming in March to Nagoya, the Lawson change of stores will be selling some limited character related goods. These include a teamup with the Japanese Postal Service to offer the sale of limited reservation stamp set with illustrations of Satsuki and May’s House.

2-28-05 (5:20AM EST)—- 3 Million Howl Admissions In South Korea

On the 20th of February, Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle has sold over 3.01 million tickets in South Korea since it first opened in theaters there last December. The film has set an all-time record as the most viewed Japanese movie beating out Spirited Away which sold 2.01 million tickets.

2-28-05 (5:03AM EST)—- Yokohama City Seeks To Bring In Animation Business

Just south of Tokyo, Yokohama City has announced some it’s business initiatives for the coming year. Number 1 they are trying to draw in NPO (non-profit organizations) in a big way with a newly established fund. Being called the “Citizens Activity Promotion Fund”, will give immediate capital support to anyone wanting to start an NPO who applies and is approved. A Promotion initiative is also underway to attract production companies involved in image contents such as animation and CGI. They are setting these companies up in empty warehouse and office blocks in the Kannai and Yamashita districts.

2-28-05 (5:01AM EST)—- Eyeshield 21 Voice

The popular Japanese comedian Atsushi Tamura (31) will voice in the new anime TV series Eyeshield 21. It starts April 6th on TV Tokyo. The animation is based on the popular American football manga serialized Shonen Jump.

2-28-05 (4:47AM EST)—- Pokepark Attraction Will Use RFID

Nagoya’s Pokemon Park 2005 (Pokepark) which will run side by side with the Aichi Expo from March has announced their “Exciting Safari” attraction game. The game will have the participants actually experience the story of the animation allowing them to capture popular characters. Hidden “Safari Balls” will be hidden throughout a jungle type course. Inside each ball is an RFID tag. Combining this with a system developed by Fujitsu the player will bring back their ball collection to a central HQ point and scanners will read the data of each revealing which Pokemon they happened to capture. Both a printout image and internet access to each players record can be retrieved. The fee will be 900 Yen per play and the game is open to those three years old and up.

2-28-05 (4:21AM EST)—- Japanese Dolls Big In Germany

Kyoto-based Volks is one of Japan’s best known dollmakers. With a wesbite defaultly set to English, they have been trying to make inroads into the European market and will appear at a toy trade fair in Nuremberg, Germany this month. Opening in 1972, Volks first tried their hand at the plastic model business. Their doll line of Supardolfe has been a big hit and going strong for 5 years. VOLKS is exhibiting this line in Germany. A doll culture has existed in Europe for hundreds of years. Ten creators currently shape the product line at Volks. The company got a call from from a comics publisher upon announcing their appearance at this show, it’s being said that the Japanese nature and style of these dolls may possibly allow it to ride on the wave of success that manga and anime have enjoyed internationally.

2-28-05 (4:02AM EST)—- Lorelei Release Nears

In Japan SFX fans are eagerly awaiting the release of the live action WWII submarine movie Lorelei. The story occurs in the Summer of 1945 right after the USA dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. In an aim to stop further atomic bombing, the Japanese Imperial Navy requisitions a special submarine provided by Germany under utmost secrecy. The U-Boat is equipped with a special weapons package called the Lorelei System. Extensive use of CG gives emphasis to the awesome battle scenes in the movie but underlying this is said to be a gripping tale of comradery and betrayal. This is what earned Lorelei such hight regards in it’s first life as novel. The Yomiuri mentioned in recent review that the film version has the feel of alot of anime inputs and indeed Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino is said to have his first movie acting role here. Running time is Two hours and eight minutes. Release is March 5th in theaters across Japan.

2-28-05 (1:52AM EST)—- North Stars Pictures Launches

North Stars Pictures which is behind the new Fist Of The North Star animation project just itself launched in July of 2004. This marks is the first major effort by NSP. Thursday (2/24) a press conference and reception party was held then at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo the third floor grand ball room in Roppongi. Spanning from 5:30 PM to 9PM company reps greeted press, announced business policy, previewed their Fist anime project etc.. Mitsuru Imoto is the President of the company, established as a company to manage contents copyrights and develop business as manga artists and writer’s agent. Other influencial personalties that make up the board of directors of NSP include:
– Gutsoon! Entertainment founder and Coamix President Horie Nobuhiko. As the former editor of Shonen Jump at Shueisha, he led the publication to a 6.53 million circulation. He also edited the magazine ‘Men’s Nonno’ and ‘BART’. Coamix Ltd. was founded in June, 2000 and he assumed the position of representative director. To NSP Mr. Horie NSP brings deep knowledge of the publishing industry and production.
– Hara Tetsuo is best known for creating the original Fist Of The North Star manga as well as other series like Hana no Yoshi Tsugi and Kagemusha Tokugaw Aieyasu which have bee serialized in Shonen Jump magazine. His work Koukenryoku Ouryou Sousakan – Naka Bou Hayashi Tarou ran in BART magazine. His Fist sequel Souten No Kobushi is currently serializing in weekly Comic Punch magazine. Hara-sensei helped launch Coamix Ltd. upon it’s launch in June 2000.
– Hojo Tsukasa is the creator of manga works such as Cat’s-Eye, City Hunter and Family Component. His current work Angel Heart is being serialized the weekly Comic Punch now. He helped launch Coamix Ltd. in June 2000.
– Ryuji Tsugihara collaborated with writer Yoshiki Hidaka on the First President Of Japan Manga released by Gutsoon in America. His classic work Yoroshiku Mekadokku was serialized in Shonen Jump, enchanting car fans all over Japan. First President Of Japan was serialized in BART Magazine. His current manga is Restoring Garage 25, currently running in Weekly Comic Punch now. He helped found Coamix Ltd. in 2000.
– Shuu Yamamoto has participated in the sales promotion of a lot of starting magazines published by Shueisha. He has taken charge of the desk in politics and economics, sports, public entertainments, and a wide field in magazine. BART was started as a new journalism magazine. Especially, he has taken charge of the on-site coverage and the scenario of the political manga First President Of Japan. He helped found Coamix Ltd in June 2000. His business knowledge includes filmmaking, the book production, the new business development, and the overseas business development.

2-28-05 (1:32AM EST)—- Gundam Mini Bust Display Case

Gundamer has images and details on a new Gundam Mini Figure Selection Bust Type Display Case to be marketed by Bandai. Due at the end of April at 8,980 Yen, the case is a scaled down replica (300 mm in length) of the Rx-78-2 mobile suit from the original series. 16 figures (not included) can be stored or displayed within the chest cavity.

2-28-05 (1:00AM EST)—- North Stars Pictures Ltd. Managing Angel Heart Copyright

North Stars Pictures will be managing the contents work Angel Heart created by Tsukasa Hojo. The company will handle the property’s copyright as it heads to broadcast as a TV series in the spring of 2005 on YTV. The Angel Heart manga which is released by Coamix and Shinchosha is serialized in Comic Bunch Magazine and has sold 8 million copies. TMS will produce the animation. In the past they have worked on Cats Eye and Great Detective Conan.

2-27-05 (11:58PM EST)—- New Fist Animation Coming

North Stars Pictures (not North Star Pictures as has been reported elsewhere) has announced several new animation projects based on Tetsuo Hara’s original manga coming up soon. From the official Japanese website info release, first up is a new Fist film due in the spring of 2006 to be distributed by Toho nationwide in Japan. Titled Hokuto no Ken: Raoh Gaiden Junai-hen, Kenshirou will be voiced by Abe Hiroshi, Reina will be voiced by J-Drama star Shibasaki Kou. In a grand project that will unfold over 3 years, Hokuto no Ken Shin Kyuseishu Densetsu will cover 3 theatrical releases and 2 OAV’s. The OAV will hit the market in Autumn of 2006, to be named Hokuto no Ken: Raoh Gaiden Gekito-hen. In Spring of 2007, the 2nd planned film will open subtitled Yuliya Densetsu. Autumn of 2007 will see the 2nd OVA release entitled Hokuto no Ken: Toki Densetsu. Finally Spring of 2008 will see the release of the 3rd film subtitled “Kenshirou Densetsu”. Fist has acquired a large popularity in the realms of comics, pocket edition novels, DVD, figures, game software, pinball games etc.. According to NSP, they will adopting a fund type movie production method for the new animation. The company will undertake a uniform management including funding, production, distribution, video sales, and the copyright management, etc. Angel Heart and City Hunter’s Hojo Tsukasa will serve as character designer. Toho Co., Ltd. will handle the distribution and TMS (Tokyo Movie Shinsa) will produce.

2-27-05 (10:53PM EST)—- Tyo Announces Profits

TYO Group has announced it’s (September – December 2004) sales results. Profits is 131 million Yen (a 201.2% increase over the previous year), Gross sales were 3 billion 279 million Yen (63.1% increase) and finally the operating profit is 106 million Yen (512.2% increase). The extremely favorable results are a good inication of the stateof the digital contents industry, with animation, game production, and music production standing out. Tyo partner company Digital Frontier which produced Apple Seed contributed to this number greatly with it’s release. Partner firm Genco which produced Tokyo Godfathers and Iron Man 28 , is currently developing an animation project based on Tenshi Kinryou Ku.

2-27-05 (10:40PM EST)—- Wao Corporation Holds Symposium

Wao Corporation, who slated 2006 as the opening date of it’s animation graduate school has just announced it will execute a press conference at the Tokyo International Anime Fair on March 31. Titled ‘Personnel Training In The Animation Industry’ will occur in a specially-installed theater on the location of Tokyo Big Sight. is held on the same day. Apple Seed Director Nakamura Hitoshi will speak along with TV Tokyo Animation Production Director-General Keisuke Iwata and Morita Takahide. Hiroshi Yamada who is the Suginami ward will lead a panel discussion.

2-27-05 (10:26PM EST)—- Anime Boston Announces New Guests

The New England Anime Society is pleased to announce that voice actors Johnny Yong Bosch, Melissa Fahn, Cynthia Martinez, and Chris Patton will be Guests of Honor at Anime Boston 2005, New England’s largest anime convention, the weekend of April 29th through May 1st, 2005.

Johnny Yong Bosch made his debut as Adam, the Black Ranger on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. He appeared in over 200 episodes and both big screen versions of the series. Heis also known for his voice work as Vash in Trigun, Kaneda in Akira, Reiji in Gate Keepers, Claus in Last Exile, Clair in Heat Guy J, Sakaki in Witch Hunter Robin, Mike in Please Twins and Kiba in Wolf’s Rain. Johnny has recently completed his directorial debut on a live action horror film called Devon’s Ghost with Artist View Entertainment. Aside from acting and directing Johnny has an alternative rock band called Eyeshine.

Melissa Fahn grew up in Southern California the youngest of four very talented siblings. Melissa has since voiced many beloved characters including Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV in Cowboy Bebop, Rika in Digimon, Gaz in Invader Zim, Etsuko Sarutobi in Kikaider, Tachikoma in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Compl ex, Kaede Misumi in Please Teacher!, Eri Ninamori in FLCL, and many others. In the Fall of 2000, Melissa was asked to take part in a workshop for the new musical, “Wicked”. In the Broadway production, Melissa performed in the ensemble and understudied as Glinda. Prior to “Wicked”, she graced stages from Los Angeles and Denver to Paris and Avignon, France in Hal Prince’s “3hree”, “Gilligan’s Island the Musical”, and the rock-opera “Vox Lumiere”. Melissa was nominated for a prestigious Denver Critics Circle Award as Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Maria in “West Side Story”. Most recently, she has performed as Tillie in the musical murder mystery, “Redhead”, and as Marty Maraschino in the Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities’ production of the classic “Grease!”

Cynthia Martinez was first introduced to anime when ADV cast her in her first acting/voice acting role ever as the dragon slayer sorceress Lina Inverse in Slayers. Since then she has voiced a variety of roles such as Sora in Kaleido Star, Hermes in Kino’s Journey, Poemy in Puni Puni Poemy, Hiroko in RahXephon, Mikako in Voices of a Distant Star, Yuna in Galaxy Fraulein Yuna, Hikaru in Princess Nine, Hikaru Amano in Nadesico, Harue in Super Gals, Mint in BASTof Syndrome, Meek in Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat, Pike in Princess Tutu, and Kaho in Sister Princess. Other titles include Gravion, Aura Battler Dunbine, All-Purpose Cultural Cat-Girl Nuku Nuku, Azumanga Daioh, Excel Saga, Najica Blitz Tactics, Neo Ranga, Noir, Nurse Witch Komugi, and Those Who Hunt Elves.

Chris Patton has been acting since the age of nine and providing voices for ADV Films for the last five years. Some of his roles include Joshua Christopher in Chrono Crusade, Shiro Sugino in Chance Pop Session, Sousuke Sagara in Full Metal Panic, Ayato Kamina in RahXephon, Sasame in Pretear, Rei Otohata in Super Gals, Yushiro Gowa in Gasaraki, Eiji Shigure in Gravion, Eustis in Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, and Daley Wong in Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040. Chris can also be found in titles such as Angelic Layer, Aquarian Age, Aura Battler Dunbine, BASTof Syndrome, Case Closed, E’s Otherwise, Excel Saga, Full Metal Alchemist, Legend of the Mystical Ninja, Nadesico, the Neon Genesis Evangelion director’s cut, Peacemaker Kurogane, Princess Nine, Puni Puni Poemy, Saint Seiya, Saiyuki, Slayers Premium, Spriggan, Super Milk Chan Show, Tree of Palme, and many others. Beyond anime, Chris can be heard as Obitsu in the live action Gamera II: Attack of Legion movie and Ventus in the Unlimited Saga video game.

2-27-05 (10:23PM EST)—- Yuri Revelation Tokyo Event Update

Yuricon, a celebration of yuri and shoujoai in anime and manga, is pleased to announce special guests who will be joining us for our historic Yuri Revolution event in Tokyo, Japan, on April 16, 2005! Novelist and essayist Mori Natsuko – Mori-san is a popular writer of science fiction and had contributed essays to “Anise” magazine. Her recent essays for “Yuri Shimai,” Japan’s most recent all-yuri manga magazine have piqued the interest of fans around the world.

Scholar and lecturer Mizoguchi Akiko – Mizoguchi-san has lectured widely on queer identity and yaoi comics, from a uniquely lesbian perspective. Yuri manga artist Tadeno Eriko – Tadeno-san returns as a special guest to a Yuricon event for the second time and we’re thrilled to have her join us once again. Tadeno-san is a well-known yuri mangaka, whose collection “WORKS,” was translated into English in 2004 by ALC Publishing.

Yuri manga artist Rica Takashima – Author of the collection “Rica ‘tte Kanji!?” Rica Takashima has made a name for herself with her involvement in “Phryne” and “Anise” magazines, and her collection has just gone into a second edition here in the US. It’s very exciting to have her helping out on this historic occasion! To learn more about the Yuri Revolution tour and event, please visit our Events page at http://www.yuricon.org/events/ or join the Yuri Revolution mailing list at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ Yuri_Revolution

2-27-05 (10:22PM EST)—- Johnny Robo Released Online

Experimental Amateur Hero Productions is proud to announce its first mini-series, “Johnny Robo” ( http://johnnyrobo.cjb.net/ ), is being offered online in its entirety for free for a limited time. Originally released on DVD in late 2004, “Johnny Robo” can now be downloaded directly at http://homepage.mac.com/tatara/robo/downloads2.html. “Johnny Robo” will be offered at the above address until this May, afterwards Experimental Amateur Hero Productions distributing it officially via BitTorrent. “Johnny Robo” can still be purchased for $10 on DVD.

2-27-05 (10:12PM EST)—- ADV Films Five Star Stories Anime Release

Cloak and dagger intrigue, epic tales of heroism that span the cosmos, and titanic battle robots with the power of gods?cit’s all unleashed with the March 15, 2005 release of The Five Star Stories. The classic tale of chivalry is available for the first time on DVD in the U.S. in its original Japanese language version. Based on the long-running manga by Mamoru Nagano (mecha and character design work in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Brain Powered), Five Star Stories chronicles the endless war for dominance of the four solar systems that make up the Joker System. This epic sci-fi / fantasy OVA is perfect for fans of Robotech and RahXephon.

Across the galaxy’s four solar systems, countless kingdoms vie for ascendancy with mortar headds, war machines of godlike capacities. Only select pilots known as headdliners can exercise control over these titans, and then only with the aid of the Fatima, beautiful female androids created to serve their masters without question. But in the secretive confines of his lab, the skilled craftsman Duke Ballanche works to subvert the oppressive system under which Fatima are pressed into service. His latest creations possess two volatile new features: emotion and free will. The fate that lies before them will change the course of history forever. The Five Star Stories (SRP $29.98 DVD) is a DVD-only release, including a 70-minute feature film presented in Japanese 2.0 audio with English subtitles. Extras include: original Japanese promo, Japanese staff profiles and ADV Previews.

THE FIVE STAR STORIES Volume: 1 of 1 Running Time: 70 minutes Rating: TV 14 (V, D) CAT: DFSS/001 UPC: 702727147326 Pre-Book Date: 02/15/05 Street Date: 03/15/05 Format: DVD SRP: $29.98

2-26-05 (8:49AM EST)—- NAPOLI COMICON – 7 SALONE INTERNAZIONALE DEL FUMETTO E DELL’ ANIMAZIONE

The NAPLES COMICON – 7 INTERNATIONAL HALL Of the COMIC STRIP And the ANIMATION is set to occur March 4, 5 and 6 2005 in Castel Sant’ Elmo, Naples, Italy. This year the country focus is Japan and Korea and over 17,000 visitors are expected. Both Japanese anime and manga and Korean animation and Manhwa will be celebrated. Sponsorships include that of the Ministry for the Cultural Assets and Activities; Campania region – Councillorship to the Cultural Assets; Province of Naples – Presidency, Direction of the Cultural Political; Common of Naples – Councillorship to the Tourism, Councillorship to the Education; Local tourist office, Cure and Tourism of Naples; Provincial agency for the Tourism; UnicoCampania Consortium; Embassy of Japan; Embassy of the Republic of Korea; Japanese institute of Culture – Japan Foundation; University of the studies of Rome “the Wisdom”; Academy of the Fine Arts of Naples; French institute of Naples “the Grenoble”. Special guests include Haruhiko MIKIMOTO, Hiroyuki KITAZUME, Shinichi HIROMOTO, Young-man HUR, Dong-hwa KIM, Song-hee CHOENG, Tae-joon HYEON, Jeong-hyeon LEE, On-bak KIM, Dae-joon KIM, Sergio TOPPI, BARU and Keiko ICHIGUCHI. For more information: www.comicon.it

2-26-05 (8:27AM EST)—- Naruto Animation Global Launch Announced

On Friday in Japan TV Tokyo announced the global launch of popular anime ‘NARUTO’. The work is scheduled to broadcast in prime time on the major American cable channel Cartoon Network from September. A video game and the toy merchandising blitz are scheduled to be developed on a large scale in the American market coinciding with the debut. Advance reviews for Naruto in the United States are very good. CN was chosen as the platform for broadcast because it reaches such a wide audience of the projected target demographics. Besides the USA the animation’s debut in the EU sphere also advances with telecasts plannd for Britain and Italy. The broadcast licensing agreement includes these countries final stages of production are underway there. Naruto has to-date broadcast in eight countries including Taiwan and Hong Kong. Commercialization of the property has been a huge success in Asia. Advance reviews have been high within fan, media, and the business circles within each country according to TV Tokyo. In the past the network cultivated the foreign rollout for properties such as Pokemon and Yugi-oh!

2-25-05 (3:41AM EST)—- “Distress” In Japan’s Animation Industry

The Japanese tabloid trade publication, the EIZO Shimbun which is released weekly on Mondays in Japan has recently devoted a large amount of coverage to the issue of an apparant crisis which may be facing the backbone of the anime industry there. Running with the headline “Nippon no anime seisaku genba no kyuujou” (“Distress on the site of the production of animation in Japan”), the paper published the first installment of a multi-part focus serial by Hiromi Ito on January 17th. The article came as the result of Ito-san’s interactions at recent events including an informal social gathering of the animation industry movers and shakers outside the animation entrepreneur society, a Japanese actor’s union departmental meeting, a joint struggle of the animated cartoon conference of meeting and an All-Japan Federation of Private Broadcasting Employees’ Union meeting. What underlies the percieved crisis? According to the piece, 100 people or more agreed with misgivings in a shortage of skilled people in the animation field, with taxing of the industry’s infrastructure by the foreign explosion in popularity, the ever sinking wage of the average production worker and finally an severe working environment.

2-25-05 (1:57AM EST)—- Mamoru Nagano Interview Video

Kadokawa Shoten has posted a new Flash video interview with prolific Five Star Stories manga artist and writer Mamoru Nagano. The occasion is the release of the long awaited revised compilation: Five-Star Stories Volume 2 2005 EDITION. Source: Manga News Service

2-25-05 (12:35AM EST)—- Manga Shoplifting Lawsuit

A female office worker who allegedly shoplifted 15,000 Yen worth of manga from a bookstore in Tokyo got an unsuspected surprise when besides criminal charges she was slapped with a lawsuit for the purported theft. The plantif were was asking for 230,000 Yen or more in the judgement, however a settlement was reached to the tune of 70,000 Yen was announced on Friday in Japan. This is the first instance in Japan in which a bookstore has used a lawsuit of this type in crime prevention of shoplifting. The female office worker reportedly stole at least 38 comic books and was selling them off to second-hand bookshops. Damages to bookstores in Japan stemming from shoplifting equal about 2.1 million Yen a year according to a nationwide investigation of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 2002. Source: Manga News Service

2-24-05 (11:21PM EST)—- Glass No Kamen TV Series Announced

Friday in Japan the first details came to light on the most recent animation adaptation of Suzue Miuchi’s manga Glass No Kamen (Mask Of Glass). The original story dates back 1976 when Miuchi serialized it in Hakusensha’s Hana to Yume Magazine. Mask Of Glass was made into to a TV anime in 1984 and then later an OAV seris in 1998. The latest TV work will air on TV Tokyo affiliates from Tuesday, April 5th, spanning 52 episodes. TMS is producing the animation.

2-24-05 (11:13PM EST)—- Overman King Gainer Site Launches

The Official website for Bandai Entertainment’s release of Overman King Gainer (http://overman.bandai-ent.com/) has been updated into a full-fledged website. The Overman King Gainer website features all sorts of news, information, character bios, a gallery, series trailer, and much more.

2-24-05 (11:09PM EST)—- MovieFone Backs Nausicaa

Daniel sends in MovieFone’s Indie Film Guide review located at AOL:

Why You Should See It: Anyone who fell in love with Miyazaki’s Oscar-winning animated movie ‘Spirited Away’ should put Nausica at the top of their queue. This early work by the Japanese master ranks as a pivotal achievement of modern animation, inspiring a generation of releases from ‘Cowboy Bebop’ to ‘Toy Story.’

2-24-05 (11:06PM EST)—- Bandai Games At E3

Bandai Games Inc. will attend the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)*, May 18-20, 2005 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California. Bandai will be located at booth #2216 in the West Hall. Stay tuned for more E3 coverage and press releases from the show. *Please note: E3 is a trade event open to professionals in the interactive entertainment industry, and is not open to the general public.
Source: http://www.bandaigames.com Thanks to Daniel for sending in the news

2-24-05 (1:56PM EST)—- Net Being Looked At As Medium For Pan-Asian Manga Distribution

The forum event “Asian IN Comic 2005” sponsored by the Japan Foundation began on the 19th in Tokyo. Including Japanese, Chinese and Korean industry representatives, the top of online comic delivery was dsicussed. Both broadband access to the inernet has increased on wide scale among the member countries and environmental considerations were taken into account. Importing and exporting of comic content internationally appears to be a possibility of the near future. Several problems are being adressed now such as character rights, account method issues and security. Manga as an industry in Japan has recently leveled-off at the 500 billion Yen market level and reasons are cited as the falling birthrate and the absence of any significant hit titles to come out in the last few years. Contrasting this, PC and portable terminal users manga downloads within the country as well those who view it on mobile phones have increased dramatically. Net delivery of manga became a full scale industry about 5 years ago. Sites like the online bookstore Ebook Japan prove the viability of the online market with their 100,000 registered users. Ten sites currently deliver comics in South Korean, catering to about 40,000 readers. 10% of the online comic content there is Japanese manga. Meanwhile in China there are 37 companies delivering comics online in China and international import works make up about 60% of the content seen there. Source: Manga News Service

2-24-05 (1:29PM EST)—- Steamboy International

The official Japanese Steamboy Website has updated with news of film’s upcoming premiere in NYC. Linked are several more Film Festival venues across the globe that Steamboy will be screened at in 2005. These include the Istanbul International 2005 in Turkey (February 17th-27th), The 16th Nut Film Festival in Denmark (April 1st-17th) and The 5th Japanese Connection Film Festival in Germany (April 13th-17th).

2-24-05 (1:06PM EST)—- Another Japanese Howl Pirate Bust

Nagasaki police made an arrest on Thursday involving a man suspected of selling a pirate edition DVD of Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle. This occured in Osaka Prefecture Suita City which is a residential area town. The suspect was charged with breaching the Copyright Act. In the police examination interview it was disclosed the man sold an illegal DVD for 2000 Yen last December. The master was believe to have been taken by someone sneaking a video camera into a movie theater.

2-24-05 (12:54PM EST)—- J-POP / Anime Themes Adapted To Samisen

The Samisen is an indigenous Japanese stringed instrument resembling a guitar or banjo. Student at the Naruto University of Education attached junior high school have created a score collection that arranges many different tunes sourced from nursery rhymes, animation themes, and J-Pop with the Samisen. Score collections of this type associated with the instrument are considered extremely unusual. 14 people in total worked on the arrangement which was selected by third graders between 2003-04. The score collection book “Samisen101 let’s play the samisen – anatamo ima kara syamisenist!!” was released in A4 format with163 pages in 2004. Among those in the selection are the theme from My Neighbor Totoro and SMAP hits.

2-24-05 (11:26AM EST)—- Gonzo Gets Murdock Scramble Sci-Fi Novel Rights

Thursday in Japan, Gonzo Digimation Holdings announced their acquisition of the story to the popular Japanese science fiction novel Murdock Scramble, with plans to adapt it to animation. The project is currently in pre-production. Murdock Scramble is the product of author To Ubukata who has also played a creative role in video game and manga production in the past, most recently in 2004 he worked on his first anime, Soukyuu no Fafner. His novel won the Japanese SF Grand Prize in 2003, and has sold 160,000 copies across three volumes in Japan’s domestic marketplace. This marks the first time GONZO has adapted the work of a Sci-Fi novel. In another first for the studio which became well known across the world for it’s role in Warner Brothers Animatrix, all of the characters in the new work will be fully rendered in 3DCG. The format of release will be OVA (original video animation), with scheduled release at the end of 2006. According GONZO’s release, their plans are to create a distinctly Japanese feel with the fully CG production that differs from offerings coming from outside Japan. The original novel is published by Hayakawa Publishing Ltd.

2-24-05 (11:26AM EST)—- 2nd Dr.Koto Shinryoujo Series

Dr. Koto Shinryoujo (Dr. Koto’s Clinic) has boomed in Japan recently. The story, based on the manga by Takatoshi Yamada was made into a popular TV drama in 2003 which was shown on Fuji Television starring Yoshioka Hidetaka Takashi and Shibasaki Kou. In 2004 Koto took the Shogakukan Manga Award in General Category. Thursday it was revealed in Japan the second series is to begin in Weekly Young Sunday Magazine No.13. In the story, Koto leaves behind his former girlfriend, an obstetrician-gynecologist at a university hospital in Tokyo, to take this job and she cannot fathom why Koto, a fairly skilled surgeon, would want to practice in the Pacific. The work has been responsible for a recent medical themed manga boom in Japan. Source: Manga News Service