Anime News Service – March 9-16 Anime News

3-16-07 (8:02AM EDT)—- Paprika To Be Released On DVD – UMD – Blu-ray Disc In Japan

Sony Pictures has announced Satoshi’s Kon’s animated feature Paprika will arrive on a number of commerical media formats simultaneously on May 23rd. These include: Blu-ray Disc (5,980 yen), DVD (4,980 yen), DVD BOX (13,440 Yen) and UMD Video (3,990 Yen). The Blu-ray and standard DVD will feature the film which runs about 90 minutes in length with 2 Japanese audio channels (DD 5.1ch) and (DTS 5.1ch) along with an art direction featurette and a Megumi Hayashibara, Satoshi Kon and Susumu Hirasawa vocal commentary track. The DVD BOX will consist of a 2 disc set. The first disc will be the standard DVD release accompanied by a omake disk with about 30 minutes of extra material consisting of an interview with seiyuu Yasutaka Tsutsui, Megumi Hayashibaru and Toru Furutani. Additional featurettes will cover things like the filming supervision, 3DCG element construction, etc.. other extras with the BOX include a 760 page storyboard book, interview booklet and lavishly illustrated BOX enclosure. The UMD version will include the same features as the regular DVD version with 2 audio channels and Japanese subtitles.

3-16-07 (5:54AM EDT)—- Non-Exclusive: Shibuya Becomes Death Note Viral Promotional Vector

Yahoo has a photo of a real, life-size figure of the Death Note shinigami hero Ryuk being displayed at the Shibuya Tatsuya to commemorate the DVD release of the second film. Several other lifesize Ryuk displays showed up at HMV andTower Record Shibuya outlets on the 14th. Additionally, a promtional campaign for the coming spinoff “L” movie starring Ken Matsuyama has begun in the district centering on ad placements being made on the giant videoscreens such as Super Lisa and QFront which ring Hachiko Square. You can see an image of those ads here (click for enlargement).

3-16-07 (5:20AM EDT)—- Yoko Kanno In South Korea

Famed anime music composer Yoko Kanno will be in South Korea on March 26th, for a preview of “Yuuga Na Sekai”, a new film she scored. It stars Sung Ganho.

3-16-07 (5:10AM EDT)—- Blood Live Action Lead Adopts New Stage Name

Korean actress Jun Ji-hyun has taken on the acting name “Gianna Jun” for her Hollywood debut in the live action adaptaiton of Production I.G.’s Blood: The Last Vampire. She chose the pseudonym after as she’s run into the problem of foreigners not being able to remember her proper Korean name. Filming on Blood started on the 15th in Beunos Aires, Argentina, its scheduled to run about 3 months. The movie hits theaters in the summer of 2008.

3-16-07 (4:58AM EDT)—- Production I.G.’s Yoshiki Sakurai To Lecture In Eastern Europe

Ghost In The Shell: SAC scenario writer Yoshiki Sakurai has been elected to a special lecturer position to Eastern Europe by the Cultural Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He’ll tour the region giving several speeches in countries such as Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. The events will introduce the culture and the art of Japan via embassy and consulate general sponsorship. The tour will occur March 19-24th. Sakurai will talk about production and technology involved in the Japanese anime industry.

3-16-07 (4:45AM EDT)—- Sumomomo Momomo Episode 23-24 To Be DVD Exclusive

With the final broadcast episode having aired on March 15, 2007, it’s been revealed Sumomomo Momomo: Chijou Saikyou No Yome stories 23-24 will be appear exclusively as extras on the DVD release of the series. Then, let’s introduce the comment of the performer who finishes collecting

3-16-07 (4:09AM EDT)—- Sony Uses Moe To Sell Disc Drives In Taiwan

Sony’s been running an Taiwan exclusive “Be You” DVD/Blue Ray PC drive campaign utilizing Moe style anime characters in Taiwan.

3-16-07 (3:47AM EDT)—- New Versions of Vista Discovered In China

Watch Impress has images and details on the latest crop of Windows Vista pirate copies being sold on the black market (virtually everywhere) in China. Among them are some editions that don’t even legitimately exist from Microsoft including “Windows Vista Professional 2007.”

3-16-07 (3:31AM EDT)—- Yellow Tanabe Claims Shogakukan Manga Prize

As we first reported back on January 23rd, Yellow Tanabe’s manga Kekkaishi took the Shogakukan 52nd Manga Prize in the Childrens Division. The work has serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday since 2004 Web Newtype has pics from the awards ceremony.

3-16-07 (3:13AM EDT)—- Newsweek Japan Looks At World Of Moe

Newsweek Japan has a major feature article on the “Moe World” in its 3/21 issue which goes on sale in the country on March 14th.

3-16-07 (2:59AM EDT)—- Otome Road Video News Report

NTV News 24 has a television news excerpt on Ikebukuro’s female otaku locus Otome Road.

3-16-07 (2:49AM EDT)—- Bakugan Sets Sites On World Domination

The production announcement symposium for the coming Bakugan Battle Brawlers TV anime was held in Tokyo on the 15th. Broadcast begins on TV Tokyo on April 5th. The property will simultaneously launch a collectible battling card / toy game. The rock band “Psychic Lover” that will do the theme song to the show had a live performance at the event as did Elephant Girl who will perform the ED theme “Air Drive”. International distribution is already planned with a Canadian broadcast for the animation scheduled in May, followed by rollouts in Asian, American and European countries to occur in short order. Other product tie-ins extending to gashapon, chewing gum and videogames (including one coming up for the Nintendo DS) are in the works now. Staff includes: Director Mitsuo Hashimoto, Series Composition by Jun Maekawa, Character Designs by Yoshihiro Nagamori, Monster Designs by Susumu Imaishi, Sound direction by Jin Aketagawa, Animation Production by TMS Entertainment, Planning and Original Concept by Sega Toys, SPIN MASTER, Bakugan Project.

3-16-07 (2:22AM EDT)—- Shigurui To Be Adapted To TV Series

Illustrator Takayuki Yamaguchi and writer Norio Nanjo’s critically acclaimed Samurai comic Shigurui will be adapted to TV animation according to scans of handbill flyers that have been spotted in advance copies of Vol. 1 of the manga which streets on 3/20. The broadcast debut is set for July, 2007 in Japan.

3-16-07 (2:05AM EDT)—- Soranin To Be Adapted To Film

Inio Asano’s young rock and love themed Soranin manga will be adapted to a film according to Young Sunday 15, which streeted on March 15th. 2 volumes exits on the market. Details remain uncertain.

3-16-07 (1:33AM EDT)—- Detective Conan Author’s First New Manga In 13 Years

Goshou Aoyama’s (Case Closed) first original manga story in 13 years, “Tell Me A Lie: Watashi Ni Uso O Tsui Te” will be published in Young Sunday starting in No.16, to be releaed on 3/22.

3-15-07 (1:33AM EDT)—- New Boys Manga Magazine: Comic Yell

Honbunsha announced their next generation boys manga anthology Comic Yell will have its 1st issue on news stands in Japan on 5/11.

3-16-07 (1:20AM EDT)—- Gunbuster 2 Wins TAF Prize

Top Wo Narae 2 has won the Tokyo Anime Fair’s “Original Video Division Excellent Work Award”. A presentation ceremony will be held at the event on March 22nd.

3-16-07 (1:08AM EDT)—- Original Nadia OP Theme To Be Reissued

Miho Morikawa will cover her own song “Blue Water” which was the opening theme to 1989’s Gainax TV series Fushigi No Umi No Nadia. “Bluewater (21st century ver.)” hits retail in Japan on February 21st.

3-16-07 (1:07AM EDT)—- Pokemon Diamond & Pearl TV Special

On 3/29 a 1 hour Pokemon Diamond & Pearl TV special will broadcast. Content will cover the new double feature film due out this summer.

3-16-07 (12:11AM EDT)—- CLANNAD TV Confirmed

Building on the false start we first reported on back on March 9th, Japanese satellite broadcaster BS-i has confirmed the CLANNAD TV anime with a new page. Details such as the broadcasting date are presently unannounced, more news is expected out on the 20th. The story centers on Okazaki Tomoya, a third grade high-school student who sighingly repeats the same machinations of school life on a day to day basis. Tomoya can’t enjoy school life and is late almost every day. Meanwhile, anime film has just been given a September 19, 2007 theatrical release date in the country.

3-15-07 (12:52AM EDT)—- First Look: Kishin Taisen Gigantic Formula

Yahoo has one of the first animation images from Kishin Taisen Gigantic Formula. The giant robot TV series that will combine the talents of 14 famous mecha designers will be broadcast in April via TV Tokyo. Confirmed staff includes Director: Tatsuya Ishihara, Series Composition by Fumihiko Shimo, Scenario by Fumihiko Shimo and Animation Production by Kyoto Animation. Confirmed cast includes: Mai Nakahara as Nagisa Furukawa, Ai Nonaka as Fuuko Ibuki, Akemi Kanda as Ryou Fujibayashi, Houko Kuwashima as Tomoyo Sakagami, Mamiko Noto as Kotomi Ichinose, Ryou Hirohashi and Kyou Fujibayashi.

3-15-07 (1:08AM EDT)—- Dojin Work Manga Stats

Hiroyuki’s Dojin Work manga has sold over 200,000 copies in Japan across 2 volumes to date. Volume 3 is out on March 27th.

3-15-07 (12:40AM EDT)—- NTT DoCoMo Ends Pager Service

NTT DoCoMo announced they were ending all service in Japan related to “pocket beepers” / pagers effective on March 31, 2007. Government, municipal offices and health care practitioners were the first users of the massive devices when they were introduced in July, 1968. Since then the technology spread to the general public, with unit size decreasing drastically. Peak beeper useage in Japan occured in 1996, with 6.49 million active customer contracts. In that year Ryoko Hirosue and Riona Hazuki were hired by NTT to be spokesmodels for the devices. Episode 8-9 of the Sunrise TV anime Vision of Escaflowne (circa 1995) prominately features a characterization of one of NTT’s best selling models at the height of their popularity. The story had main character Hitomi receiving a text message on another world. Back to reality, in the years following, text features made their way into mobile phones, leading to a drastic decline in pager usage in Japan.

3-15-07 (12:00AM EDT)—- First Look: Tetsuko’s Travel Animation

Mantan has one of the first screen grab images from the TV anime adaptation of Kikuchi Naoe and Yokomi Hirohiko’s Tetsuko No Tabi manga. The story chronicles highlights of ultra train otaku Tetsuko’s travels which involved setting foot in all 9843 rail stations in Japan. Broadcast is set for June. The original manga is published by Shogakukan and serialized in the seinen manga magazine IKKI, it’s sold 300,000 copies to date. The story is said to be non-fiction, about a manga artist who is asked by her boss to accompany him and an ultra train otaku travel-writer on various train trips around Japan to go on and draw a manga about their experiences. Interestingly and somewhat surreal, a few of the characters who appear in the manga’s later serials do so because they read previous serials!

3-14-07 (11:40PM EDT)—- Red Garden OVA Storyline

The official Red Garden production blog has some new details on the plot for the upcoming 45 minute OVA “Dead Girls”. The story will be a standalone extra chapter from the existing TV story which will be self contained. The story occurs in New York, Manhattan in the near future.” I elbow my way through the mass of high-rise buildings of steel and endless repetitions of daily life. I have continued to fight as a bounty hunter while roaming the world that goes into ruin. Kate, Rose, Rachel, Claire.. four girls. They are running after the wanted man today. Women who live a the commonplace campus life usually, though every day is spent in a war. The voice is multiplied by a female transfer student one day. The girl who introduces herself as beautiful, lovely Louise to Kate et al.. It is offered, “I want to become your friend”. The handsome youth EDGAR also appears. A huge shadow of mystery approaches them. “

3-14-07 (11:24PM EDT)—- 11 Top Mangaka Seek Compensation Over Internet Distribution

47 News reports that March 14 a group of 11 well known manga authors (Inoue Takehiko, Uoto Osamu, Kitami Kenichi, Kurashina Ryo, Chiba Tetsuya, Hara Tetsuo, Hojo Tsukasa, Murakami Motoka andMotomira Hiroshi) led by Go Nagai have filed a lawsuit in Tokyo District court against the web company 464.jp and its 2 employees, claiming around 40 in total of their works were distributed without permission and their copyright had been violated. They are seeking a compensation for damages of 22 million Yen. Fukuoka prefectural police arrested the site’s employee’s in February, 2006 on suspiscion of violating the copyright law. Afterwards, the two people were prosecuted and a conviction with the suspension of sentence was fixed. The site was drawing around 100,000 accesses per day before the plug was pulled in January of last year.

3-14-07 (8:33PM EDT)—- Haruhi Suzumiya Game To Be First Fruit Of New Kadokawa Company

Kadokawa Group Holdings plans to establish a new company who’s primary focus will be managing contents copyrights. The group’s companies have in the past had success in publishing animation and novels and the new spinoff will expound on this by tying those efforts into licensing, commercialization and media adaptation etc.. Kadokawa also plans to launch a new operation which will develop characters and handle creator management. The new company will handle the copyright of about 500 titles including Tokikake to start off with. A game unit spinoff will produce the first ever Haruhi Suzumiya video game adaptation as its initial project. The news comes in the wake of a major cross investment move on the part of Namco Bandai Holdings, Kadokawa and Toei.

3-14-07 (8:32PM EDT)—- Comic Charge Up

Kadokawa Shoten is gearing up to take its first crack at publishing a young person’s magazine, Comic Charge, which arrives on Japanese news stands March 20th. A trial copy of the planned biweekly publication can be bought at retail now offering a glimpse at some of the serials to be contained therein. Among the comics to be featured in Charge include Souichi Hon’s Brain surgery themed ‘Man Who Has God’s Hand’; Natsuno Kiyohara’s ‘Kazoku Hakkei (Eight Family Scenes/What The Maid Saw)’ adapted from the 1972 Yasutaka Tsutsui (PARIKA) novel; Kitagawa Shou’s ‘Desu Papaa’; Takashi Sho and Mori Yotami’s ‘Asahiyama Zoo Story’ and Evangelion character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s Archaic Smile. A launch event will be held on March 18th in Roppongi. Speed Wagon, Misako Hasubotoke, Yamamoto Azusa, the editor in chief and writers are all scheduled to appear. Given the relative state of sales decline the manga industry is undergoing in Japan with rampant piracy, legit online and phone reading dynamics and new business models (ala Comic Gumbo) being thrown into the mix, many industry watchers will be looking at the launch of Comic Charge with great interest.

3-14-07 (7:48PM EDT)—- Speed Racer Actor Decided?

Dark Horizons has a new article giving some indication of who might be cast in the role of Speed Racer. A big thanks to Daniel Zelter on this one.

3-14-07 (7:47PM EDT)—- Highlander Vengence Trailer

AICN has a link to a video trailer of the new Higlander: Vengence anime. Thanks To Daniel Zelter For The Link.

3-14-07 (3:45AM EDT)—- Nodame Cantabile Album Awarded

The CD “Nodame Orchestra LIVE” has won the Recording Industry Association of Japan’s “Japanese Gold Record Grand Prize” on March 13th. Its the first time a drama soundtrack has taken the prize. Conductor Toshiaki Umeda accepted the prize at the ceremony. Yahoo has an image.

3-14-07 (3:20AM EDT)—- Tokyo Anime Center Admits 300,000

The Tokyo Anime Center announced it had surpassed 300,000 on the occasion of its 1st anniversary since first opening to the public.

3-14-07 (1:41AM EDT)—- Red Garden OVA Announced

GONZO’s Red Garden will get an OVA adaption to be released in Japan in August, 2007. The subtitle is “Dead Girls”. Running time will be around 45 minutes.

3-14-07 (1:40AM EDT)—- Negima Drama In Doubt?

Yesterday’s blog entry over at actress Ai Tanimoto’s journal that mentions Negima will become a live action TV drama at some point in the future has been deleted. With the only source for the news now having fallen by the wayside, where does the idea of such a project currently stand? One opinion is that the news has to be genuine because according to Tanimoto’s comments she had a confirmed role in the series, passing some audition screening stage. The thinking being that no professional thesbian worth his or her salt would be caught dead prattling about online about getting a role that didn’t exist. On the one hand we have the record low TV ratings that have plagued the 2nd season of the anime in Japan. Can further renditions and extrapolations of the story endure economic viability? On the other we have series creator Ken Akamatsu who made a web journal entry back on February 27th indicating “There is an announcement that will become a big surprise when April comes. It is a project that has not been done before.” Meanwhile, an entry by the President of Negima rights manager Marvelous Entertainment over at their site mentions “The next term will also involve enriching the lineup of cost conscious live action dramas.” Still other uncofirmed fan rumors state the drama will happen in 2008 and to look in a future issue of Weekly Shonen Magazine (where the manga serializes) for the official announcement.

3-13-07 (11:50PM EDT)—- Anime / Manga Based Films Dominate Japanese Boxoffice

Courtesy Box Office Mojo’s figures for the March 10-11 weekend, Toho’s release of Doraemon: Nobita’s Great Adventure Into the Underworld debuted on 330 screens to take top position, drawing $4,725,406. Based on the Atsuko Asano manga and novel, Battery arrived in second, amassing $1,564,556 on 282 screens. One Piece 8: Episode of Alabaster: Desert Princess and the Pirates came in fourth, drawing $2,945,226 to date. The Osamu Tezuka-manga based Dororo came in 8th, making $27,082,688 since its initial January release and finally, the Moyocco Anno-based Sakuran ranked 9th, it’s drawn $3,045,236 over 3 weeks its been in the cinema.

3-13-07 (11:38PM EDT)—- Code Geass Scores Magazine Cover Trifecta

Sunrise’s Code Geass – Lelouch of the Rebellion has pulled off a rare feat by appearing on the April, 2007 edition covers of Japan’s top 3 anime print publications. Kadokawa Shoten’s Newtype, Tokuma Shoten’s Animage and Gakken’s Animedia all featured a Code Geass image on their respective covers when they hit news stands in Japan on the 10th of March. All of them seem to have been privy to advance information on the coming sequel as well. In the past 12 months, the series has been featured on the cover of Newtype 4 times.

3-13-07 (11:30PM EDT)—- HUGE Lupin DVD Box Photos

Akiba Blog has potted the massive Japanese LUPIN DVD BOX in a local store and captured some images.

3-13-07 (11:15PM EDT)—- Astroboy Specialty Shop To Open In Fukuokashi Hakataku Sumiyoshi

Tezuka Productions has announced their 100% Tetsuwan Atom goods speciaty store “HAKATA ATOM” will have its grand opening in Fukuokashi Hakataku Sumiyoshi from March 16th – May 6th. The area of the store is about 16 tsubos (569.3 square feet). The target demo are families, children and tourists. They figure each visitor will part with an average of 1,500 Yen. Another branch, “KYOTO ATOM” opens on March 18th.

3-13-07 (10:41PM EDT)—- NHK Anime Docu TV Program Updates

NHK’s BS Manga Yawa is planning a 4 night Ashita No Joe Marathon between March 27th and 31st. Interviews will include directors Osamu Dezaki and Shinya Tsukamoto. Meanwhile, NHK BS2’s Anime GIGA helmed by former Newtype Japan editor Takashi Watanabe continues its evowed mission of interviewing charismatic personalities related to animation production in Japan. The first broadcast occured without a hitch on March 1st where voice actor Koichi Yamadera (Spike Spiegel – Cowboy Bebop) appeared as a guest. When the irregularly broadcast program returns to the airwaves on Tuesday, April 24th Haruhi Suzumiya (aka: Aya Hirano) will be interviewed.

3-13-07 (10:26PM EDT)—- Toward The Terra Trailer

A clip for the new Toward The Terra TV anime has been posted to the official website.

3-13-07 (10:13PM EDT)—- The Laughing Man Hacks You!

Tired of looking at those sites where the laughing man’s logo covers up all those people’s faces? A new site is up at thelaughingman.net that does the same thing to your own images automatically. The service claims to be able to coverup as many human faces as you can squeeze into a frame and make your photos 100% net legal in Japan.

3-13-07 (9:34PM EDT)—- NANA2 DVD To Feature Multiple Camera Angle Footage

When the NANA2 live action movie arrives on R2 DVD in Japan on June 22nd the 6,300 Yen “Special Edition” will include over 100 minutes of new footage including cut scenes and multiple camera angle shots.

3-13-07 (9:14PM EDT)—- Mushishi Debuts In Japan

Mycom Journal has pics of Katsuhiro Otomo and cast from the Mushishi Japanese premiere held this past weekend. The nationwide theatrical opening is March 24th. The film marks Otomo’s first return to live action after 16 years. Filming ocured over a 3 month period and production took 2 years total. Location hunting over 50,000km was undertaken. After a world premiere at Venice 24 countries have asked to screen the work, licensing offers from 30+ countries have streamed in to dsitribute it internationally.

3-13-07 (8:16PM EDT)—- Buena Vista Declares Next Gen Format War Over / Releases Ghibli Work On Blu-Ray

Buena Vista Home Entertainment held their “2007 SPRING CONVENTION” on March 13th at the Tokyo International Forum located in Yurakucho. There they announced their lineup and marketing plan for DVD Blu-Ray Disc for spring – early summer, 2007. Declaring the next gen video disc format war over the company’s marketing director Masami Takahashi announced their first high def media release will be Studio Ghibli and painter Inoue Naohisa’s Iblard Jikan to be made on BD Video on July 4th. Retail will be 4,935 Yen. A DVD version will street in Japan simultaneously for 3,990 Yen. Kiyonori Matsuo and Kazuyuki Komuro will score the animation. The discs will inlcude extras such as a video diary and commentary by the director.

3-13-07 (7:48PM EDT)—- Genius Party World Premiere Set

With their Tekkon Kinkreet film not even having seen its American debut yet, Studio 4C has announced the world premiere for their next anime feature Genius Party will occur as part of the “Culture+Hyperculture” exhibition at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in February, 2008. The Japanese premiere is set for July, 2007 via Shochiku-affiliated cinemas. Genius Party is a Robot Carnival like collage of 12 anime shorts by some of Japan’s top creators. It will include: “Dimension Bomb” Koji Morimoto “Twilight World” Shinichiro Watanabe “Nayorani” Mahiro Maeda “Space-Time Wars” Shoji Kawamori “Dream Machine” Masaaki Yuasa “Genius Party” Atsuko Fukushima “Moondrive” Kazuto Nakazawa “Touni” Tadashi Hiramatsu “Limitcycle” Hideki Futamura “Wanwa the Puppy” Shinosuke Harada

3-13-07 (7:35PM EDT)—- 500,000 Death Note DVD Sets Readied

Hochi Shimbun reports 500,000 2 piece DVD sets containing Death Note Movie 1-2 are being printed in anticipation of one of the biggest releases in Japanese history. Over 1 million Death Note 2 discs total will be shipped to retailers when the film go on sale on the 14th. Retail is 7140 Yen.

3-13-07 (7:13PM EDT)—- Wii Naruto Game To Feature America-Exclusive Content

The rumors have been confirmed, but they were only the tip of the iceberg! TOMY Corporation and D3Publisher of America, Inc. (D3PA) today announced the upcoming release of NARUTO: Clash of Ninja MVZ (working title) for Wii a head-to-head fighting game with content created exclusively for the North American market! Anticipated to ship in Fall 2007, NARUTO: Clash of Ninja MVZ is based on episodes from VIZ Media’s hit anime series SHONEN JUMP NARUTO and will include characters that have never been featured in the hit Clash of Ninja game series. The game will take advantage of the Wii Remote in fast-paced ninja action for up to four players in nine different gameplay modes. “For some time we have wanted to give NARUTO fans in North America something they could not find anywhere else, and in NARUTO: Clash of Ninja MVZ we have a game with original, exclusive content that will amaze them,” said Mark Shinohara, executive vice president, TOMY Corporation. “For TOMY, 2007 and the release of NARUTO: Clash of Ninja MVZ will mark a significant milestone in not only our relationship with D3PA, but in TOMY”s expansion in the video game industry.” “NARUTO proved to be a significant brand on the Nintendo GameCube in 2006 staying near the top of the sales charts from the release of the first Clash of Ninja in March 2006, to the release of the second Clash of Ninja game in September 2006 and through the holiday season,” said Careen Yapp, vice president of licensing and business development, D3PA. “NARUTO: Clash of Ninja MVZ will take advantage of this exciting new entertainment platform and will reach out to a whole new audience for NARUTO.” The next generation in NARUTO games will include all new character animations, new special attack animations and for the first time new interactive environments. Developed by Eighting, NARUTO: Clash of Ninja MVZ takes advantage of the Wii system by allowing players to launch attacks with the Wii Remote using Ninja-like movements, and features special mini-games created exclusively for use with the Wii Remote. NARUTO: Clash of Ninja MVZ will include 14 characters including some that have yet to be featured in the Clash of Ninja game series. The fast-paced ninja action for up to four players will have nine different gameplay modes including Story Mode, Single Player and Multiplayer modes.

3-13-07 (7:12PM EDT)—- Dragon Dynasty Gets Riki Oh

According to Bey Logan’s blog at Dragon Dynasty Masahiko Takajo and Saruwatari Tetsuya’s splatter martial arts manga-based film is now being handled by The Weinstein Company’s new Asian specialty label. Thanks to Daniel Zelter courtesy “wolf” for this link.

3-13-07 (7:10PM EDT)—- Viz Gets Live Action Ping Pong

Viz Pictures has just updated with a page for the live-action film based on Taiyo Matsumoto’s sports manga. Thanks go out to Daniel Zelter for the item.

3-13-07 (2:35AM EDT)—- 2006: Anime Dominates DVD Sales In Japan

JVA (Japan Video Software Association) came out with its 2006 report on the Japanese home entertainment market. DVD sales fell 6.6% over the period, the second straight year for a negative result. Anime represented 24.5% ($460 million) of the total Japanese DVD market, though the figure shows a 14.1% drop compared with last year. HD DVD, BD, and UMD accounted for 0.3% of overall format sales, Videotapes had a 1.7% share, DVD’s held a 98.3% share.

3-13-07 (1:51AM EDT)—- Shoko Nakagawa To Release Anime Cover Songs Mini-Album

The anime powers that be in Tokyo have apparantly put idol Shoko Nakagawa on the fast track to becoming one of 2007’s most noted anime singers. Besides themeing GAINAX’s coming Gurren-Lagann, popular idol Nakagawa will do a moe cover of the Evangelion TV OP “Cruel Angel’s Thesis” on her new “shikotankaba (anime hen)” mini album which goes on sale in Japan on May 2nd. 5 other anime theme covers will appear on the cd. The original Yoko Takahashi single, first sold in 1995 has sold over 1 million copies. Nakagawa has cosplayed at public events as Rei Ayanami many times.

3-13-07 (1:19AM EDT)—- Kissdum: Engage Planet – Production Dry Run Before Macross?

It’s looking as if animation studio Satelight’s Kissdum: Engage Planet TV anime coming up for an April debut in Japan will test out alot of the key production concepts that will go into their future Macross revival project. Macross mechanical designer Shouji Kawamori has comeup with several new Macross like fighter planes for the series. Satelight will be taking those and transitioning them into 3DCG models for the work. Writers and character designers will likewise be busy supplying content for a story involving pilots, support personel, lots of young pretty girls and love triangles. Look for alot of the staff to transition over to the new Macross from this one with their hard earned production experience on a very similarly themed show.

3-12-07 (8:26PM EDT)—- Negima To Be Dramatized

Actress Ai Tanimoto has mentioned his Negima manga will be adapted to live action drama at some point in the near future in a blog entry made on March 13th.

3-12-07 (8:25PM EDT)—- Red Shoulder March Origin Discovered

After 24 years of being shrouded in mystery, the internet has allowed some Japanese fans to find what appears to be the original “Red Shoulder March” song adapted by musician Hiroki Inui for Ryosuke Takahashi’s 1983 TV anime Armored Trooper Votoms. Titled “Arrivano I” by Piero Umiliani, the theme was found on the infinitely obscure soundtrack to the Italian 1966 WWII film Due Marines e un Generale. You can buy it via the Itunes Musicstore and listen to 30 seconds of it at the link. In VOTOMS the red shoulder “bloodsucker battalion” represented an elite unit of crack gilgamesh AT stormtroopers damned across the galaxy for their ruthless “total war” tactics which often involved killing and destroying everything in site. The march was a pivotal part in a Votoms episode in which it was played on a starship PA system inducing the main hero Chirico Cuvie into a psychotic rage as he recalled memories of slaughtering thousands of innocents. Oddly enough, as important as the song was in the series, it never appeared on any soundtrack record, casette or CD release due to the copyright issue (and stranger still, as much claptrap is made over music rights these days it did make it onto foreign licensed audio channel releases of the anime). It’s believed the sample was either freely available to TV Tokyo, allowing the initial broadcast or licenesed for a short time by a Sunrise producer. Some reports had Director Ryosuke Takahashi planning a scene in the anime and asking for march tune. When this one was found it was decided to use it. Previous to this finding, the only clean source for the tune was a seperate digital voice track on the “Roots Of Ambition” OVA Laserdisc, although it was incomplete. About 7 years ago a rumor got going that the origin was a Italian 70’s folk / rock song titled “AVANZADA” by a “M. Zalla”.

3-12-07 (8:24PM EDT)—- Final Hana Yori Dango Sequel Episode To Feature 11,500 Extras

The climax scene to the final episode of the Hana Yori Dango sequel TV drama was filmed at Nippon Budoukan in Tokyo on March ninth. Over 11,500 extra actors were used for the story and over 150,000 requests to be an extra in the program poured in to production. The episode will be broadcast on the 16th. Virtually everyone is predicting a high rating finish for the series, some are calling for as high as a 30% share.

3-12-07 (8:10PM EDT)—- Code Geass Sequel Format Undecided

A new post up at Sunrise Production’s official Code Geass blog backs up news of a forthcoming sequel. It’s mentioned the format (OVA, TV, Movie) is currently undecided. In addition the schedule for the broadcast of STAGE 24-25 has yet to be revelaed, meaning the 1st series will effectively end when episode 23 is telecast in the coming weeks.

3-12-07 (8:08PM EDT)—- DLSite Announces “Please! Shooting Star!” Game Release

DLSite.com today announced the release of a fully localized, English version of popular interactive full 3D Japanese game, “Please! Shooting Star!”. “Please! Shooting Star!” is a beautifully animated, story based 3D movie product which consists of “Story Mode” and “Interactive Flash Mode”. In the story mode, while the story progresses, a player is able to choose his ideal camera angle for a scene from a variety of angles. In the Interactive Flash Mode, a player can obtain interactive responses by dragging and clicking hidden reaction points on a female character.

Story
On my way home one day, I casually glanced upwards at the night sky, Where I saw a twinkling, shining object. At that moment, I saw a shooting star – a thing I had never seen before in my entire life. “That’s right! If you wish upon a shooting star, then it’s meant to come true!” Even while I was thinking that it was a stupid idea, In the depths of my heart I was desperately calling. “I want a little sister! Please! Shooting Star!!” But then I came to my senses, and was immediately set upon by a sense of self-disgust. “Oh, what am I wishing for…ha ha ha.” I was walking alone all the while, and I finally arrived home but, There, something that I’d thought impossible (but still good) was waiting for me… For more details on “Please! Shooting Star!”, please visit: http://eng.dlsite.com/work/=/product_id/RE029098

3-12-07 (8:01PM EDT)—- Viz Manga News

The latest issue of Shojo Beat indicates that Yurara and Sand Chronicles will be published in the anthology, while the recent issue of Jump indicates that Gin Tama will be published separately from its respective anthology after the May issue. “Fall In Love Like a Comic” has been scheduled for October. Thanks To Daniel Zelter For The News.

3-12-07 (7:54PM EDT)—- CLANNAD Mass Spectacle In Akihabara

Dengeki Online has images from a huge Frontier Works promotional event for the new CLANNAD anime film held in Akihabara on March 10th. A black bus done up in CLANNAD livery rolled up the main drag (Chuo-Dori) bringing virtually all wheeled and foot traffic in the district to a screeching halt. 6 cosplaying models exited the bus, drawing tons of attention. The movie is scheduled to open in Japan in early fall of 2007. Osamu Dezaki will direct, Screenplay by Makoto Nakamura, Character Designs by Megumi Kadonosono. Story and cast remain unpublished at this time. The official movie poster was shown at the Akiba spectacle for the first time, giving fans an idea of what the anime will look like.

3-12-07 (7:35PM EDT)—- First Look: Overdrive & Kamicha Makarin

The official ani.tv websites for the coming Overdrive TV series and Kamicha Makarin have gone live, showing some of the first images from the animation.

3-12-07 (7:17PM EDT)—- Live Action Shin Shonan Bakusozoku Arakure Knight Details

Updating some news we first broke in the anglosphere back on January 5th, Satoshi Yoshida’s Shin Shonan Bakusozoku Arakure Knight is currently being adapted to live action film in Japan. A spot in the November, 2006 issue of De-View Magazine magazine leaked the news in Japan when it discussed casting for the film. The original manga serialized from 1995-2005 in the pages of Shonen Gahosha’s Young King Magazine, in addition a special story ran after that in Gekkan Arakure KNIGHT Magazine, wrapping in November of 2006. 10 million copies have been sold spanning 28 collected volumes. Several new details have been announced on the movie project. Masaru Shirota of young men’s acting group “D-BOYS” will star with Yosuke Eguchi (who starred 1987’s adaptation of Yoshida’s SHONAN BAKUSOZOKU), Misako Yasuda and Yuji Ota. Mikio Hirota directed the film. Filming occured over 1 month in November, 06. The nationwide theatrical opening is set for the end of April.

3-12-07 (6:07PM EDT)—- SLAM DUNK Creator Denies Film Being Made

In a March 11th, 2007 entry at his studio’s official website, Slam Dunk creator Takehiko Inoue denied reports that circulated last week regarding a feature film being made in Taiwan. His quote “Making into a film has not been permitted” shoots down a March 7th report from well respected American entertainment paper Variety. ANS reported the news on the 8th and has changed the item to HOAX status accordingly. The story’s true origins seem to lie in a Chinese source and the wording of the actual article appears to based on a Capatain Tsubasa press release from years back.

3-12-07 (6:06PM EDT)—- Detective Conan Movie 11 Webs

TMS has launched a special page for Detective Conan Movie 2007: Meitantei Conan: Konpeki no Hitsugi Jolly Roger. In addition, the official site proper has been prepared with a new livery for the film which releases in theaters on April 21st.

3-12-07 (5:56PM EDT)—- My Otome Zwei OVA Volume 3 And New Manga

The R2 DVD volume 3 of My Otome Zwei has been given a street release of May 25, 2007. Additionally, Weekly Shonen Champion No.16 2007 which goes on sale March 15th in Japan has announced the manga will resume with serial 54 from the 17th issue due on stands March 22nd.

3-11-07 (8:59PM EDT)—- Latest Macross Animation To Be Announced At Tokyo Anime Fair 2007

Animation production company Satelight will host a Macross 25th Anniversary booth at the Tokyo Anime Fair to be held in 2 weeks in Japan. Plans are to formally announce the new work at the event. ANS was the first English source to break news on the new Macross way back on February 5th, the news was then confirmed by Victor and through a revamp at the official website this past week.

3-11-07 (8:34PM EDT)—- Ai Iijima Retires

Oricon mentions adult star Ai Iijima who authored the hentai manga Time Traveler Ai, has announced her professional retirement. The news broke on her TBS “Sunday Japan” program. She denied reports she would be moving to New York. Additionally she attended a recent fan event with American singer Michael Jackson.

3-11-07 (8:07PM EDT)—- Fist Of The Northstar Influence In Latest Tarantino Film?

Of note at Dark Horizons about the “Grindhouse” director’s upcoming biker horror project “Hell Ride” is that one of the gangs is called the “666ers”. In Fist of the North Star, one of the gangs had the number on tattoed on their heads. Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the link.

3-11-07 (7:57PM EDT)—- Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan Sequel Site

A placeholder website for the forthcoming Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan sequel animation has gone live at www.bin-kan.com. ANS was the first English news source to report on the advancement back on March 7th.

3-11-07 (7:54PM EDT)—- Fist Of Hot Peppers

Japanese restaurant chain Hot Pepper has launched a new promotional campaign using the Hokuto no Ken media franchise.

3-11-07 (7:15PM EDT)—- Goshou Aoyama Manga Factory Up To Spec?

Prior to the grand opening of the Goshou Aoyama Manga Factory in Tottori, Kitasakae-cho (old Taieimachi) on the 18th, copyright managers Shogakukan got an advance tour of the facilities on March 6th. The publisher urged changes be made in around 30 areas due to low degrees of accuracy with the original content of the property. Quips such as a facial illustration not resembling “the real” Conan and extremely low attention to detail in certain other areas were asserted. Changes have supposedly been and are being made at this time pending another private inspection on the 13th. An agreement is in place that will bar the opening until such time as the production side (Shogakukan) and the town side both agree the facilities are up to par although town officials have vowed they are working around the clock to ensure the opening occurs on schedule on the 18th.

3-11-07 (6:32PM EDT)—- Shoko Nakagawa To Provide Gurren-Lagann Opening Song

Japanese pop idol and Akihabara otaku princess Shoko Nakagawa will perform Sorairo Days (“Azure Days”), the title opening theme for GAINAX’s latest TV animation Tengen Toppa Gurren-lagann. Sale of the single featuring the track is scheduled in June. Nakagawa a huge cosplayer, seiyuu and has gotten alot of play in the Japanese press recently regarding her quotes on entering national politics.

3-11-07 (6:03PM EDT)—- Anime Recording Enters The XML Age

Recording anime off of television feeds has come a long way since the days of Otaku No Video. In that early 90’s Studio Gainax mockumentary, after getting a call from a member of his VHS videotape trading circle a fan franticly and sloppily rips the plastic wrap off a VHS casette before shoving it into a VCR and hitting record manually just in time to start taping one of his scheduled anime programs. Flash forward to 2007, raws hit the net minutes after broadcasting in Japan, fansubs follow only hours later. With an average of 50+ TV series to keep track of any given season these days, coupled with a TV capture card mAgicAnime.NET is one of the programs modern day recorders in Japan are using to capture the latest TV anime with absolute precision. v1.7.14 was released on March 7th. By simply selecting a title the free Japanese recording management program allows fans to record any episode of their favorite programs entirely automatically using Microsoft’s NET Framework. mAgicAnime.NET works with proper recording programs such as mAgicTV5.

3-11-07 (5:15PM EDT)—- Blood Movie Shakeups

According to “Wolf” and Fangoria, CSI actress Allison Miller has joined the live-action Blood: The Last Vampire movie. Fearless and Freddy vs Jason director Ronny Yu has been booted from the production and Chris Nahon of Kiss of the Dragon has taken over. Filming is supposed to begin this week in Argentina. Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news tip.

3-11-07 (4:27PM EDT)—- Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho To Be Animated

Mitsuru Hattori’s comedic swimming manga Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho will be animated this summer according Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine No. 15 which goes on sale in Japan on March 14th. The story features perhaps the strangest high school swimming club on Earth including a talented young girl who likes to swim nude, who regularly substitutes undergarments with swimsuits and who always wears her swimsuit to summer festivals. Staff includes Director Sotome Kouichirou, Composition by Ikeda Mamiko and Production by Art land. The original comic debuted in SM No. 33 in 2005.

3-11-07 (4:26PM EDT)—- New Japanese Website Openings

The official Japanese language websites for Code-E, Neko Ramen and Sanrio + Shochiku’s 2008 feature Cinnamon The Movie: Nezumi Monogatari Jooji To Jerarudo No Bouken have opened.

3-11-07 (4:00PM EDT)—- Bandai Visual Prepares Gunbuster II & Enma Online

A promo and dvd specs for Bandai Visual USA’s forthcoming Gunbuster sequel is now available here. The Demon Prince Enma page is up here. Thanks To Daniel Zelter for the items.

3-10-07 (4:45PM EST)—- Taichi Senjimon To Go Global: Animation Announcement Planned This Week

KBS will hold a business briefing announcing the new joint Korean and Japanese production on the forthcoming “Taichi Senjimon ” animation in Seoul on March 14th. KBS, Iconics Entertainment, DONGSEO University, JM Animation and Toei Animations will participate as business partners on the project. Iconics Entertainment will handle the domestic and foreign licensing business, the full foreign sales and promotion strategy will also be announced. Current plans are to elevate Taichi Senjimon to a property with global distribution. For the South Korean launch, related merchandise such as cards, games, live action performances, toys and publishing have been confirmed. The plot follows an action phantasy storyline with builtin “chinese style characters” (widely known throughout many Asian countries) and card-fighting conepts. Broadcast debut via KBS 1TV is set for April 14th. Toei is referring to Taichi Senjimon as part of its “50th Anniversary” Commemoration Business”.

3-10-07 (3:08PM EST)—- Kyo Kara Maoh! OVA Website Opens

Previously reported here back on March 5th when the news broke in the 2007 Spring edition of Newtype Romance magazine, Kyo Kara Maoh! will be adapted to a new OVA series. Based on the manga by Tomo Takabayashi, the work was previously adapted to TV animation series format which ran between 2004-2006. The official website opened today at www.maruma-ova.jp.

3-10-07 (2:55PM EST)—- Dojin Work Site Live

The official website for the coming Dojin Work TV series has opened. Confirmed staff include: Director: Kenichi Yatani, Character Designs: Ikutomo Kimishima, Animation Production: REMIC.

3-10-07 (1:55PM EST)—- WB Backs Down From Memorial Weekend Opening For Speed Racer

Box Office Mojo notes that the live-action anime adaptation from the Wachowskis is now scheduled for a May 9, 2008 theatrical opening across the USA. The previous date had it going head to head against Indiana Jones 4. Credit goes to Daniel Zelter for sending in the news.

3-9-07 (9:04PM EST)—- Conan Producer Michihiko Suwa Speaks In China

Michihiko Suwa, Yomiuri Television animation producer who worked on, City Hunter, Yawara and Great Detective Conan held a lecture at the Shanghai Musicology Academy in Shanghai, China on March 7th. The topic of his speech was “Production And Advertisement Of Animation Programs In Japan”, he spoke on his experiences working on Conan and Inu Yasha, how those properties have come to be viewed and distributed in foreign countries and the buildup of Japan’s character and animation industry power. About 100 people attended such as students, researchers, engineers, and members of related industries.

3-9-07 (8:36PM EST)—- High Voltage On Gurren-Lagann Theme

High Voltage will perform the ending theme to Gainax’s latest TV animation Tengen Toppa Gurren-lagann. The single “UNDERGROUND” featuring the track will be released in Japan on May 2.

3-9-07 (8:30PM EST)—- PUFFY AmiYumi To Provide Theme For Oh! Edo Rocket

Continuing in the assembly of an allstar cast and staff, its been announced that pop duo PUFFY will take charge of the opening theme of the Oh! Edo Rocket TV anime which starts in Japan in April. The girls will perform an entirely new song “O Edo Nagareboshi IV ” (“Edo Shooting Star IV”) written by Pierre Taki and composed by Anders Hellgren and David Myhr. Anders and David (members of the sweedish pop band The Merrymakers) contributed to Puffy’s album “Splurge”.

3-9-07 (6:19PM EST)—- CLANNAD Animation / BS-i?

The official website of Japanese sat-broadcaster BS-i reportedly posted some info on a future CLANNAD animation broadcast about a day ago. The mention was pulled shortly thereafter, leaving many to speculate on what this means. The only existing CLANNAD animation currently known is the animated film which is due way out towards the end of this year. Logically, that would mean a DVD release 4 months + after a healthy theatrical run and an eventual TV broadcast sometime into 2008. A bit premature for a TV network web posting now? Could a seperate TV series also be in the works? The CLANNAD film is going to get a major announcement at the Tokyo Anime Fair occuring at the end of this month. All bets are if something is brewing it will be announced then.

3-9-07 (3:21PM EST)—- Tomino And Hosoda At Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival Awards Ceremony

Movie Walker has some new images from back on February 17th where Director Mmaoru Hosoda accepted his Agency for Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival Animation Division Grand Prize for Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo. Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino can be presenting Hosoda with his trophy.

3-9-07 (2:46PM EST)—- Wangan Midnight False Start

Kodansha’s anime TV page also recently mentioned Wangan Midnight would start broadcast via Animax on June 8th and SKYPerfecTV! on June 15th. These details were later pulled from the link leading many to suspect the news was published too early.

3-9-07 (2:45PM EST)—- CLANNAD Site Opens

The official website for the forthcoming CLANNAD anime movie has gone live at www.clannad-movie.jp. Theatrical opening nationwide across Japan is expected in the fall of this year.

3-9-07 (2:44PM EST)—- Code Geass Sequel Confirmed

The official Code Geass website is backing up reports of a planned second series.

3-9-07 (12:55PM EST)—- Production I.G. Teams On Blog Service

Trans Cosmos, Animo and Production I.G. have partnered on creating the new blog service Decoblog. The beta version launched on on the ninth. They want to have 500,000 users within three years time. I.G. will allow several of its character properties to be used in the venture. Users can choose over 500 styles for their blog. The site will have a booth at the Tokyo Anime Fair 2007.

3-9-07 (11:09AM EST)—- Anime / Manga Related Cinema At Brussels

this link notes that Tokikake, Mushishi and Death Note I+II will play at the Brussells film fest. Thanks To Daniel Zelter for the link.

3-9-07 (11:08AM EST)—- I.G. Animates New Maaya Sakamoto Music Clip “UNIVERSE”

Production I.G and Victor Entertainment have teamed up to produce a fully animated music clip for the song “Universe,” performed by Japanese pop singer Maaya Sakamoto and included in the artist’s forthcoming album, “30minutes night flight,” to be released in Japan on March 21, 2007. The video clip will be made available on DVD format in the limited double-disc edition of the album. The beautifully animated bitter-sweet atmosphere of “Universe,” that unfolds like a watercolor-painted picture book, is the creative accomplishment of a most promising duo concealed under the collective pseudonym of Gekidan INU Curry, who designed the characters and directed the film produced at Production I.G’s Studio 4 under the supervision of line producer Hidekazu Terakawa (“Jin-Roh,” “IGPX”). The “Universe” Story Concept: Under the night sky feebly illuminated by twinkling stars, a little girl wanders alone through a magic world that is not today and not tomorrow, inhabited by 6 billion of lonesome souls. What will she encounter in her solitary journey? Maaya Sakamoto was born on March 31, 1980, she started her professional career as a singer at 15, when her talent was discovered by world-famous composer and music producer Yoko Kanno. At that time, she performed the opening song “Yakusoku wa Iranai” (I Don’t Need Promises) for the animated TV series “The Vision of Escaflowne” (1996), while giving her voice to the main character in the same series, Hitomi Kanzaki. Her career as voice actor and singer continued in both animation and live action productions, her credits including Nathalie Portman / Padme Amidala in the Star Wars saga, Jessica Alba / Max in “Dark Angel,” and Reika Mishima in “RahXephone.” She has also been playing the role of Eponine for 5 years in the Japanese version the musical “Les Miserables.” So far she released 9 albums (the second one, “Dive,” was voted Best Japanese Pop Album by Music Magazine) and 13 singles. Maaya Sakamoto’s 10th and newest album “30minutes night flight” is a just-30-minute musical concept work that the artist herself describes as “a 30-minute night flight dedicated to all the people who experienced at least one sleepless night.”

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