May 17, 2006 / by Anime News Services / Archived News / No Comments

Anime News Service – May 8-17 Anime News

5-17-06 (9:30PM EDT)—- Artificial Tree Business Grows Into Anime

Pittsburgh, PA’s Post Gazette reports on Michael Kao who spent 23 years — and earned a small fortune — making plastic Christmas trees in China and selling them to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other big retailers. Then his son, Francis, came home from college in the U.S. eight years ago and persuaded his father to trade in 10,000 factory workers for 350 computer animators and a long shot at Hollywood glory. Today, the company that once was the world’s biggest artificial-tree maker has morphed into one of Asia’s biggest digital-animation studios. It is now halfway through making a new, $35 million “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie, which Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. and Weinstein Co. are set to distribute in spring of 2007.

5-17-06 (9:00PM EDT)—- Bandai And NIKE Team On Character Branded Shoes

In the first collaboration between Bandai and NIKE, Naruto branded shoes will go on sale in Japan from June 17 for kids. The “NIKE AIR RIVAL GT AF GS (NARUTO)” sneakers will appear as part of NIKE’s “advanced fit” line. The hero of Naruto and color of orange and black appear on the shoes. Six sizes of 22.5cm-25.0cm will be available. Retail will be 7,140 Yen through NIKE direct-management outlet shops (eight stores) and some toy shops.

5-17-06 (9:00PM EDT)—- Otani Returns To One Piece

After a bout with bad health, seiyuu Ikue Otani will jump back into the role of Tony Chopper from the 264th episode of One Piece, to be broadcast on May 21st.

5-17-06 (8:36PM EDT)—- Prince Of Tennis Live Action Stage Greeting

Cinema Topics has images from the May 13th stage greeting and premiere for the live action Prince of Tennis Film held in Kawasaki Cinecetta.

5-17-06 (8:25PM EDT)—- BoA’s Contract Extended

This week, SM Entertainment announced an extension to pop diva BoA’s contract. According to the agreement the extension runs through 2012 and the reasoning is her strong presence in South Korea and Japan. BoA has become the top singer in Asia, and the most important person promoting the Asian cultural contents business according to SM. Regarding her voice acting role as “Heather” in Over The Hedge, the singer got invited to the “59th Cannes International Film Festival” that begins on the 17th. There she’ll meet with both Bruce Willis and Avril Lavigne (who provides the English voice of “Heather”).

5-17-06 (7:56PM EDT)—- Baseball Manga Master Backs Independent League

On May 15th, Mangaka Shinji Mizushima (Abusan, Dokaben, Otoko Do-Aho! Koshien, Yakyukyou no Uta) announced his backing of a new independent baseball organization to be tentatively named “North Shinetsu League”. A press conference the was held along with representative Satoshi Murayama in Niigata City. Toyama, Ishikawa, Nagano, and Niigata will provide the first teams, with play beginning next spring. The league management corporation is scheduled to be established on July 3rd. Mizushima will use his influence via manga and networks to push the project. He agrees baseball as a sport has seen little growth in the snowy country.

5-17-06 (4:20PM EDT)—- Negadon Reviews And Moves

The May 17th issue of the Village Voice has reviewed “Negadon”. The full review can be read online at http://www.villagevoice.com/art/0620,baker,73185,13.html. An excerpt is below.
“Completely computer-generated, Jun Awazu’s anime lovingly re-creates primitive filmmaking?lens flares, blurry focus, emulsion scratches, clunky miniature cities?as it traverses decades of Japanese monster movies. Dirty facial pores and cigarette smoke are astonishingly realized, while Bakelite rotary phones and snowy TV broadcasts of color bars provide a purposefully anachronistic patina. Opening with a mushroom cloud and closing with a children’s song, this obsessively crafted tale of hope amid apocalypse distills Japan’s postwar culture down to 26 densely packed minutes.”

Leading North American anime publisher Central Park Media announced today that its highly anticipated computer-generated monster movie Negadon: The Monster From Mars along with Kakurenbo: Hide & Seek and Cat Soup, two additional award-winning Central Park Media films, will play for a limited theatrical run at The Guild Cinema (www.guildcinema.com) in Albuquerque, New Mexico at 11 PM on Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27.

5-16-06 (1:19PM EDT)—- Toei Establishes Representative Office In China

Tentatively titled “Toei Animation (Shanghai) Representative Office”, leading Japanese animation studio Toei Animation is making a big move into the Chinese market by planting roots in the ultra-modern city of Shanghai. The representative office aims to help the company further leap into foreign markets at this time of the company’s 50th anniversary. Toei has had a positive business relationship with the Asian region since the 1970’s. An overseas subsidiary was established in Hong Kong to serve as a business base in the Asian region in March, 1997. Sales in the region at the period of March, 2005 exceeded one billion Yen. Toei admits their sales in the Chinese market are sluggish at present and they are looking to make positive progressions with the move. “Digimon Adventure” began broadcast in China in February, 2006 and “Dragonball” begins in June. The office will allow Toei to collect local information more closely and the business develops more effectively and efficiently.

5-16-06 (12:16PM EDT)—- Austrian Manga Artist Wins Trip To Tokyo

Tokyo Shimbun has a piece on 20 year old manga artist Tara Starnegg of Vienna, Austria. After winning an art contest, she won a trip to Tokyo. Growing up in Europe, she saw anime such as Sailor Moon and then began to draw her own original manga stories at 15. Currentl, she says her art is most influenced by Naoki Urasawa (MONSTER). Tara’s professional debut comes in July when her work will be featured in a comic magazine to be released by a publisher in Germany.

5-15-06 (9:26PM EDT)—- Pokemon Pearl And Diamond

Watch Impress has images and details on Nintendo’s Pokemon Pearl and Diamond games due to go on sale in the autumn of 2006 for the DS. 10 years after the introduction of Pocket Monsters for Game Boy in 1996, the latest work from the series will release for Nintendo’s latest handheld. The titles reflect the fact that Nintendo wants these games to represent the ultimate expression of the Pokemon gaming experience. Gamefreaks Ltd. is co-developing the project. The DS’s communication features will be fully exploited and it’s said that players can import monsters from GBA versions.

5-15-06 (8:55PM EDT)—- Japanese Fans Pissed Over Estimated PS3 Cost

Yahoo News Japan is running a piece from Kyodo mentioning the projected 60,000 Yen pricetag of Sony’s new Playstation 3 is causing “rumblings of discontent” among potential Japanese buyers. Featurng next generation DVD “Blu-ray Disc” technology and an efficient semiconductor, the console will run an average of 10,000 Yen or more above the competition.

5-15-06 (8:55PM EDT)—- Shirayuki-Hime No Densetsu DVD Release

Billed as a distinctive “new interpretation” based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, the 52 episode 1994 Tatsunoko / Shaft TV series, Shirayuki-hime no Densetsu (“The Legend of Princess Snow White”) is set for a DVD release in Japan. The anime originally aired in Japan on NHK. A 5 piece DVD-BOX set begins release from May 31st. Buyers can download a special wallpaper. This won’t be the first Snow White anime, Nippon Animation did their own three episode version of the story as part of the 1987 TV series Grimm Meisaku Gekijo (released in English as Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics). Series Director is Kunio Okajima, original broadcast dates were 04/06/94-03/29/95, Yuri Amano (Ifurita – El Hazard, Inu Yasha – Tsukiyomi) starred as the voice of Snow White.

5-15-06 (8:40PM EDT)—- Dolby Features Anime In Hi-Def Audio Demo

Dolby Laboratories, Inc. today demonstrated how surround sound completes the high-definition experience at HD2 Emotion, an event in the exclusive Omotesando Hills retail center. The company exhibited Dolby TrueHD, its newest technology geared toward new high-definition DVD players, for the first time to Japanese audiences. Beginning today until May 28, visitors to HD2 EMOTION can experience Dolby TrueHD technology in a state-of-the-art high-definition home theater environment. Dolby is showing some of the best high-definition music and movie content on the latest devices to illustrate a rich and satisfying high-definition entertainment experience. HD2 EMOTION also reveals how artists and engineers are creating high-definition audio content in studio environments. The event, which is open to the public, features high-definition musical excerpts from Ayumi Hamasaki (“STEP You” and “Is This LOVE?”), Lee Ritenour (“Anthology Live”), Keith Jarrett (“Tokyo Solo 2002”), and the San Francisco Symphony (Stravinsky’s Firebird). In addition, Dolby is showing animation features, including Warner Bros. Pictures’ Brave Story and Production I.G.’s Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, 2nd Gig. Hollywood blockbuster clips include Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King as well as 2 Fast 2 Furious. Dolby TrueHD technology delivers true high-definition sound–audio playback that is bit-for-bit identical to that of a studio master recording. Dolby TrueHD can support up to eight full-range channels of lossless sound, including surround sound, on the HD DVD format with sample rates of up to 192 kHz. Dolby TrueHD also supports both 5.1-channel and 7.1-channel surround sound experiences. You can view some images from the event at ASCII Business Center.

5-15-06 (8:16PM EDT)—- Big Tokyopop Moves In May

The Cel Shaded column of Hawaii’s Honolulu Star Bulletin mentions a few recent Tokyopop announcements that taken on the day to day news cycle might have just pased by alot of people as routine. However, taken together they may represent significant changes for the industry as a whole, Tokyopop being the largest English manga publisher. – On May 2, Tokyopop announced the creation of a new imprint, Pop Fiction, that will be releasing novels starting in October that are targeted at the teen market. Included are novel versions of the anime properties “Kino no Tabi” (“Kino’s Journey”), “Scrapped Princess” and “The Twelve Kingdoms.” Nicole Monastirsky, Pop Fiction senior editor, told newsarama.com that the novels will be placed in young-adult sections of bookstores instead of manga sections.
– May 5 saw the publisher roll out a new term to refer to manga with origins other than Japan: “global manga.” The term “OEL,” or “original English language,” had gained popularity in recent months, but as Susan Hale told Anime News Network, the term has become inaccurate with the increasing numbers of non-English properties Tokyopop is picking up.
– Finally, last Monday, news broke of the creation of two more imprints: “Manga Chapters” and “Manga Readers,” for children ages 6 to 12. While there doesn’t seem to be anything that jumps out as being particularly mangalike in the titles announced — it seems to be traditional English fare, perhaps with manga-style illustrations — it’ll be interesting to see where this line goes in coming months

5-15-06 (8:06PM EDT)—- Viz Rep Interviewed On Anime Piracy

Active Anime has interviewed VIZ Media’s Director of Public Relations, Evelyn Dubocq on issues of internet anime piracy. Right out the gates we learn the following:

How do you think “Bittorrent” and other forms of downloading are affecting the anime and manga industry in the United States?
EVELYN DUBOCQ: If anime piracy continues to grow in North America, at the expense of legitimate product, then studios will be forced to increase prices and/or slow down the number of anime releases, to compensate for lost sales. For some of the less popular, but critically acclaimed anime series, this could mean that new seasons would never be officially released here. Similar, new anime properties may never even make the leap from Japan to North America. Ultimately, if piracy continues to extend to a greater scale and sales of legitimate anime DVDs in the US fall as a result, there could be less anime produced in Japan. Part of what makes the anime genre so unique and attractive to fans is the diversity. Unfortunately, piracy could undermine this, leading to fewer anime series being created and even fewer being released in North America

5-15-06 (7:50PM EDT)—- Maid Cafes For The Guys, Butler Cafes For The Ladies

The Mainichi Daily News reports that while maid cafes employing waitresses dressed as maids appeal to male customers in the anime-based “moe” market, a cafe in Sapporo staffed by good-looking men has become a hit with women. Le Salon Rever, located in Sapporo’s Chuo-ku, opened in late April. Cafes that base their sales strategy on good-looking guys, or “ikemen” in Japanese, are rare, and the store is reportedly attracting interest from women in their 20s and 30s. The Malaysia Star echoes this sentiment, mentioning two additional female-only outlets which opened recently in Ikebukuro’s Otome Road. They are Butler Cafe Swallowtail and Otome Cafe B:Lily-rose. While patrons to both places are served by butlers, diners at B:Lily-rose, however, will be greeted by girls dressed as male butlers. This concept happens to be a popular theme in shojo manga.

5-15-06 (7:47PM EDT)—- Sony VAIO UX

Probably the number 1 item stirring interest in the Japanese otaku web on Monday was leaked images and data surrounding Sony’s new VAIO UX. Among other things at this time, the unannounced portable computer is rumored to support Blu-Ray. Sony has launched a preview site for the device, which will be anounced on May 16th.

5-15-06 (7:11PM EDT)—- Gedo Senki Nears Completion / 2nd Trailer

Nausicaa.net reports the May 15th Studio Ghibli production diary reports the latest progress: Key animation: completed Key animation check: completed Animation: 1,233 (99.8%) cuts Animation check: 1,223 (98.9%) cuts Background painting: completed Effects: 1,191 (96.4%) cuts Sound production continues until next month. A final release date has yet to be announced. The second trailer was uploaded at noon on the 15th and is now available at the official site.

5-15-06 (6:06PM EDT)—- Haruhi Suzumiya Single Moves Up Charts

After a May 10th release in Japan, the Hare Hare Yukai CD single (ED theme of Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) has appeared in a 5th place ranking on the Oricon Weekly sales charts. Although the show has developed quite a strong grassroots fan following in Japan and beyond, it was not enough thus far to reach 1st place. Source: http://www.oricon.co.jp/news/ranking/21680/

5-14-06 (11:06PM EDT)—- IG At Cannes

Production IG has now updated with a summary and screening schedule for their new anime series, Le Chavelier D’Eon. A promo of the show will play at Cannes. Thanks to Daniel for the link.

5-14-06 (12:47AM EDT)—- Puffy AmiyYumi Wraps Japanese Tour

Pop unit Puffy AmiYumi did the final performance of their tenth anniversary tour in Tokyo on the 13th. After suffering an unfortunate downpour, a crowd of 3000 people turned out. They announced for the first time their new album “Splurge” will go on sale in Japan from June 28th.

5-14-06 (12:43AM EDT)—- Waseda Cosplay Event Aims At World Record

The costume parade “Honjo – Waseda 100 Kirohaic” drew around 1,200 people over 2 days, this weekend. The parade runs between Waseda and Honjo City. 2006 marks the 44th year. A special contingent from Hong Kong participated this year. The event is applying to the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest costume parade in the world. There were many anime, manga, movie and housemaid characters.

5-13-06 (10:15AM EDT)—- Demonbane Video

www.demonbane.com now hosts a video trailer the Kishin Houkou Demonbane OAV.

5-12-06 (12:10PM EDT)—- Ohzora Publishing Establishes American Subsidiary

Japanese mainstay manga publisher Ohzora Publishing Co. has announced plans to enter the North America market in full scale by establishing and US based subsidiary. Plans went forward in the middle of March to form Aurora Publishing, Inc., physically located in Los Angeles, California with a startup capital of $200,000. An official announcement event occured on April 28, drawing over 100 people including those related to the Hollywood Movie Production. President and CEO Nobuo Kitawaki wants to introduce new works from Japan to America and in turn, original manga created in the USA to the rest of the world. The company will start it’s business by translating / publishing Japanese works and then selling them in North America. Ohzora has had it’s properties translated and sold in the USA, Germany, France, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. They claim to be the number one publishing house in Japan in terms of number of female manga franchises and number of publications (monthly comic magazines = 14, annual issues = 316, according to 2004 Data). In total their publications are read by 15.8 million people a year in Japan The official English website is www.ohzora.co.jp/english

5-12-06 (11:23AM EDT)—- Takahata To Visit South Korea In Late May

Studio Ghibli Director Isao Takahata is due to visit South Korea on the 24th of May. Officially, he will particpate in the Seoul International Cartoon Animation Festival (SICAF2006), and do some promotion for the “Takahata Isao Kantoku Ten” exhibition that will display at CJCGV for eight days next month. A media preview, informal social gatherings, South Korea-Japan Direcor talks, and a scheduled conversation with visitors etc. will be crammed into his 3 night stay.

5-12-06 (11:15AM EDT)—- NYT Negadon Review

The May 12th edition of the New York Times reviews Central Park Media’s “Negadon: The Monster From Mars,” “Kakurenbo: Hide and Seek,” and “Cat Soup.” All three films are currently playing at the ImaginAsian Theater in Manhattan. The NY Times review can be read here… http://movies2.nytimes.com/2006/05/12/movies/12nega.html

5-12-06 (10:51AM EDT)—- Puffy Announced as Goodwill Tourism Ambassadors

Puffy Ami Yumi, has been named Japan’s Goodwill Tourism Ambassadors by the Visit Japan Campaign. At New York’s Yankee Stadium on July 17, 2006 they will throw the first pitch at the Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners game. Posters of Puffy are scheduled to be placed around the United States to draw tourists to Japan.

5-12-06 (10:15AM EDT)—- VIDEO: Deprived Fans Throw TV Tokyo Bone & Threat Letter

On May 8th TV Tokyo’s Tokyo, Minato Ward Headquarters alledgedly recieved a package and letter of protest regarding a recent programming change. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is examining it, believing this to be a case of malignant mischief. The package contained a human-like bone. According to the included letter, the sender was not able to record an anime episode because of the pre-empting of the “World Table Tennis 2006” special broadcast on April 26, the coverage of which was extended for 30 minutes beyond schedule. YouTube is now carrying a 4 minute long video report that Fuji Television did on the situation. The anime in question is revealed as Inukami.

5-12-06 (10:01AM EDT)—- New Super Mario Brothers

Based on the original SMB, Nintendo’s site for the DS 3D / 2D sidescroling New Super Mario Brothers is now live. You can scope a trailer by following the links that say “TV CM”.

5-12-06 (9:45AM EDT)—- Mangaka At Comic-Con

www.comic-con.org indicates that Yoshitaka Amano, Kazuo Koike, and Yoshihiro Tatsumi (“The Push Man and Other Stories”) are confirmed for the San Diego con. Thanks to Daniel for the news.

5-11-06 (10:04PM EDT)—- Metal Gear Solid Digital Graphic Novel

Lost in the shuffle of bigger news, Konami has uploaded a special site for their MGS Digital Graphic Novel due on PlayStation Portable in the Summer of 2006. The DGN will be a sort of manga that the viewer can interact with in many ways.

5-11-06 (4:02PM EDT)—- Project BLUE Earth SOS Promises High Quality

On May 10th in Tokyo Producers Amuse Soft Entertainment and Animation Studio A.C.G.T. held a production symposium for their upcoming OVA “Project Blue Earth SOS”. Based on a series of illustrations drafted by Shigeru Komatsuzaki over 60 years ago titled “Earth SOS”, the anime is directed by Tensai Okamura (Wolf’s Rain), with script by Ryota Yamaguchi, Character designs by Noriyuki Matsutake and Mecha designs by Shinji Aramaki and Jin Fukuchi. To be released on 6 DVD volumes from August 25th, each one hour episode will also broadcast on AT-X starting July 2nd with a new epsidoe airing every month. Komatsuzaki’s originals first serialized in “Adventure Action Film Pocket Edition” in 1948. After World War II, Komatsuzaki published his works in a lot of boy magazines. He took charge of mechanical design in special effects movies such as “Earth Defense Army”. In Japan, such is his status that even if one doesn’t know Komatsuzaki’s name they have probably seen his illustrations somewhere. TRILOGY developed the CG for the project. Those who saw the preview at the event thought the unique mecha (Think Japanese Thunderbirds) of Mr. Komatsuzaki stood out as the best feature. Likewise, it is said the plot is no old-fashioned, monotonous story. The power of the action and battle scenes are said to be on par with that of modern high quality Japanese animation product. The anime was produced in HD resolution, and 5.1ch Dolby Digital audio. It’s being said the audio and visual experience is very near that of a quality approaching theatrical film. Mr. Komatsuzaki will unfortunately not be able to see this great homage to his artistic vision, having passed away in 2002 at 86 years of age. Official Website: www.projectblue.jp

5-11-06 (2:38PM EDT)—- “Instant” Anime Delivery on 3.5G FOMA Phones

NTT DoCoMo announced on the 11th, their new 3.5G handset terminals. They are due on the Japanese market in August, boasting data transmission rates 10 times that of of the 3.6 Megabit speeds currently offered by 3G. 11 new kinds of phones were unveield (you can see pics of them at the link). 1 hour Animation clips that would have taken 5-10 minutes to download in the past are expected to comedown “instantly” with the new system. On down the road (not very far away) 4G promises 100mbit speeds.

5-11-06 (2:02PM EDT)—- Fuji’s Manga Films At Cannes

Fuji Television Network announced it will host a special symposium presenting it’s lineup of films at the Cannes Film Festival in France. Fuji has already had great success in recent months with The Uchoten Hotel (which earned six billion yen) and Kencho no Hoshi (which earned 2 billion yen). As part of a global strategy, the GONZO animated Brave Story will screen in North America this summer, distribution rights including with a global option having been taken up by Warner Brothers. The film screens at Cannes on May22. Fuji will also take the manga based Always 3 Chome No Yuhi and mentioned they have gotten requests from film festivals in 20 countires who would like to screen it.

5-11-06 (12:13PM EDT)—- Manga Prize Winners Aplenty

With Golden Week now behind us, it’s Manga awards season. Winners of the The 35th Nihon Mangaka Kyokai Awards, The 30th Kodansha Manga Prize and 10th Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prizehave been revealed. In the Case of the Nihon Mangaka Kyokai, Susumu Katsumata’s Akai Yuki and Aki Ryuzan’s Aki Tatsuyama Manga Tsuushin were awarded the Grand Prize. The Special Prize was granted to Chon Inkyon’s Document 2005 and JAPON created by 16 Japanese and French authors. The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology prize went to Machiko Satonaka for Zen Sakuhin Oyobi Bunka Katsudou.

For the Kodansha Prize, the Children’s Section was taken by Kitchen no Ohime-sama by Natsumi Ando, created by Miyuki Kobayashi and serialized in Nakayoshi Magazine; The Boy’s Section was won by Oh Great!’s Air Gear serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine. The Girl’s Section was won by Life authored by Keiko Suenobu and serialized in Betsufure. Finally, the General Section prize went to Mushishi by Yuki Urushibara, serialized in Afternoon.

Winners of the Tezuka Prize include Manga Grand Prize winner Grand Prize: Shissou Nikki by Hideo Aduma, The New Hope Award went to Ookiku Furikabutte by Asa Higuchi, The Short Manga Prize went to Risa Itou for One Woman, Two Cats; Hey Pitan!; A Woman’s Window. Finally, the Special Award went to Kousei Ono.

5-11-06 (10:30AM EDT)—- Anna Tsuchiya On Silent Hill Theme

Japanese actress and model Anna Tsuchiya will provide the theme to the U.S. movie “Silent Hill” when it debuts in Japan. “Lovin’ You” will be her first all English song. Opening on April 21st in the USA, it’s already grossed about 50 million dollars. Tsuchiya will play a strong part of the film’s promotion in Japan. The story is based on the 4 videogames by Konami released between 1999 and 2004. The series has sold 5.3 million copies worldwide. The actress is in the midst of efforts to breakout into music after her debut solo in January of this year. She sings the opening theme to the “NANA” anime TV series. The Japanese opening is due on July 8th, followed by a CD to be put on the market on June 28th.

5-11-06 (10:20AM EDT)—- Anime Central Covered In The Japanese Press

Excite Japan was at Anime Central last weekend in Chicago and has a writeup focusing mainly on con-goers desires to visit the land of the rising sun.

5-11-06 (9:38AM EDT)—- Japanese Weekend Box-Office

May 6-7 Japanese Box-Office Performance courtesy Kogyo Tsushinsha:
1. Limit Of Love Umizaru
2. Detective Conan The Private EYES’ Requiem
3. Crayon Shinchan 14
4. Check It Out, Yo!
5. ICE AGE 2 : THE MELTDOWN
6. V FOR VENDETTA
7. THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA:THE LION,THE WITCH AND THE WORDROBE
8. Gamera, The Brave
9. THE PRODUCERS
10. Catch A Wave

5-11-06 (8:44AM EDT)—- Korea Adapts Japanese Lit Left And Right

The Korea Times has a lengthy article on the current frenzy brewing in the entertainment industry there to adapt Japanese manga and novels into movies. The crossover success of existing Japanese film and TV is also examined and it’s mentioned that 70 percent of animations aired through Animation-only cable-TV channels such as Champ and Animax are Japanese. Including “Fly Daddy,” scenarios of more than 20 films currently in production in Korea come from Japanese novels. Considering about 80 Korean movies are produced each year, this means about a quarter are based on Japanese novels. Director Kwak Kyong-taek, known for his 2001 mega-hit “Friend,” is working on turning popular Japanese writer Ryu Murakami’s novel “Get away from the Peninsula” into a movie.

5-11-06 (8:01AM EDT)—- E3 MGS4 Trailer

What alot of gamers have been waiting for from E3, Konami has uploaded a special Special Site which is hosting a new 15 minute long trailer for MGS4.

5-11-06 (8:01AM EDT)—- Broken Saints Acquired By 20th Century Fox

Special thanks to Daniel who sends in the following: Yahoo News reports cult anime-style hit “Broken Saints,” a graphic novel-style fantasy epic serialized over the Internet, will soon be available in retail stores on DVD. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has acquired distribution rights to a four-disc collector’s set containing all 24 episodes of the groundbreaking Flash-animated program. The DVD set, previously available only online directly from the creators, has been remastered by Fox and will arrive in stores August 1 at a suggested list price of $49.98. The original Web premiere of “Saints” in 2001 drew more than 5 million visitors and is credited with helping establish the Internet as a creative and pop cultural force. A series of byte-size mini-episodes totaling 12 hours in length was gradually unrolled over a three-year period on the dedicated Web site: www.brokensaints.com.

5-11-06 (7:59AM EDT)—- Godzilla Composer Dies At 91

A leading figure in the Japanese composition field, Godzilla movie score composer Akira Ifukube has died on the night of May 8th of multiple organ failure, he was 91 years old. Funeral date and chief mourner are as yet undecided. Ifukube’s home is located in Tokyo, Setagaya Ward Oyamadai 2-7-7. He was born in Hokkaido, Kushiro City and later studied at Hokkaido University in the forestry department before graduating. Participating in a composition contest, his entry: “Japanese Rhapsody” was opened in Paris in 1935. It was the first recipient of the “Cherepnin Prize”, and was later evaluated very highly internationally. At 46 the composer became a lecturer in the Tokyo University of Arts composition department lecturer. At 76 he served as president of the Tokyo College of Music for 11 years (1976 and 1987). His career scoring Japanese cinema began in 1947, Ifukube would go onto to write music for 300 films in total. He received a Cultural Merit in 2004. The composer was hospitalized in Tokyo for intestinal obstruction since January 19th.

5-10-06 (10:10AM EDT)—- Akihabara@Deep Due In 2009

The American children’s network Nickelodeon has announced a deal with Japanese 3D animators Polygon Pictures to create a animated TV series based on the Ira Ishida (Ikebukuro West Gate Park) manga, Akihabara@Deep. The Shinjuku, Tokyo based animation house vows to create a work that aims at foreign markets as a goal while using the full animation technology of Japan. Production starts next spring, and a telecast start is planned for America and Europe by 2009 at the earliest. The story features six young people who are fighting against a criminal organization in Akihabara.

5-10-06 (9:15AM EDT)—- Brave Story Seiyuu Reunite In Gegege no Kitaro Film

It’s been announced the new live action film adaptation of Gegege no Kitaro, due in Japanese theaters from April, 2007 will star Eiji Wentz (Brave Story). Wentz will take on the lead role of hero Kitarou, following the supervision of famed director, Masahiro Motoki (Shall We Dance). Yoh Oizumi, who also voiced in Brave Story, co-stars. Wentz mentioned he was familiar with the character as a child and could still hum the theme song. The director explained his appointment on the project, saying “He had mysterious, fantastic looks and a pure, mischievous character”. Based on the manga by Shigeru Mizuki, Kitaro served as the basis for 4 animation adaptations from 1968 (directed by such luminaries as Ghibli’s Isao Takahata). The Tv series drew a high audience rating of 29.6% in 1985.

5-10-06 (9:02AM EDT)—- Telecom Animation Film USA Changes Name

A subsidiary division of TMS Entertainment, TELECOM ANIMATION FILM USA, INC will receive an official title change. The company is responsible for overseas sales of TMS animation in North America. The new title will be TMS ENTERTAIMENT USA, INC. The official English website (at www.telecom-anime.com) currently makes no mention of the name change.

5-10-06 (8:30AM EDT)—- TMS To Relocate Hedquarters To Tokyo

TMS Entertainment has announced it will move it’s Japanese corporate headquarters from Nagoya to Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo. Tokyo Movie and Tokyo Movie Shinsa first established their anime business center in Suginami Ward, Tokyo in 1964. The move allows main corporate body to be physically closer to their animation arm, still located in Suginami today. Animation represent 2/3 of all company sales at present. TMS made Nagoya their HQ home in 1995 after amalgamating with fiber company Kyokuichi. The company later withdrew from the fiber business, changing the name of the company from Kyokuichi Kyokuichi Tokyo Movie Shinsha to TMS Entertainment, turing the corporate focus to entertainment. The company is currently listed on the Nagoya Stock Exchange and it’s not clear if they will change their listing to a Tokyo echange with the move.

5-10-06 (8:10AM EDT)—- Missing Tezuka Manga Found In America

Asahi reports:

Five missing works by manga legend Osamu Tezuka, creator of “Astro Boy,” were discovered in a collection of Japanese publications gathered by a U.S. censorship unit after World War II.
According to Tanikawa, the five pieces come in a form of cartoon strips with three to 12 frames. They include a six-frame strip titled “Tameshi-giri” (trial sword-cutting), in which a subordinate uses his wits to fend off his lord’s violence. A four-frame strip titled “Tarikiremasen” (I can’t take it) features a mannequin that gets embarrassed when someone peeks up her skirt. A 16-page short manga, called “Hans to Kin no Kaminoke” (Hans and golden hair), was also found in the collection.

5-10-06 (7:45AM EDT)—- XBOX 360 HD-DVD Add-on By Year’s End

Watch Impress has images from E3 of Microsoft’s XBox 360 HD-DVD drive. Accoridng to new info released there, the periphreal drive will be available in the USA by the end of 2006.

5-10-06 (7:30AM EDT)—- GAINAX And SHAFT On Negima 2nd Stage

It’s been revealed animation studios GAINAX and Shaft will be teaming on the production of a second Mahou Sensei Negima! TV series to be directed by Akiyuki Shinbo (Nanoha / Paniponi Dash). Star Child Records will also be involved and this will mark the first time in many years since they last partnered with GAINAX. No other details are available but expect a Fall 2006 broadcast debut in Japan on TV Tokyo.

5-9-06 (6:56AM EDT)—- ANS Gets Sociable With Mixi and Myspace

At the risk of doing something extremely tripe these days, we’ve sold out bigtime and created 2 community / networking accounts with Rupert Murdoch’s American based Myspace and the Japanese SNS Mixi. So if you are EMO, hold us in high estreem, read our news, and wanna join our roll call, just post up to either one and we’ll add you as a friend.

5-9-06 (6:09AM EDT)—- DDR TV Show Coming To CBS

A live action- and video game-inspired series titled “Dance Revolution” that aims to make kids more active has been added to CBS’ Saturday morning lineup. Previously titled “Dance, Dance, Dance” and inspired by Konami Digital Entertainment Inc.’s game franchise Dance Dance Revolution, the competition series will have tweens and teens showing off their moves on the dance floor. The show is the latest addition to CBS and DIC Entertainment’s “Saturday Morning Secret Slumber Party” programming block announced in March (HR 3/31). The announcement is expected to be made today at the Konami press event at the Los Angeles Central Library as part of the game company’s Electronic Entertainment Expo-related coverage. Source: Thanks to Daniel for the link – Hollywood Reporter

5-9-06 (5:30AM EDT)—- BoA Jumps Into Voice Acting

6 years following her debut, Korean pop singer BoA, who performed the 4th ED theme song to the Inu Yasha TV animation, has announced she will try her hand at professional acting. This will come via a voice role a title hero character in the Korean dubbing of Dreamworks animated film, Over The Hedge.

5-9-06 (4:49AM EDT)—- GAGA’s First Anime Project – Night Head Genesis

Gaga Communications Ltd. of Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo has announced their first ever foray into animation production with the upcoming film, Night Head Gensis. Their movie production section started up in full scale from 2005. Based on the original story by Joji Lida, NIGHT HEAD was an highly acclaimed late night SFX/Sci-Fi TV drama which ran for 21 episodes between 1992-93. Broadcasting at midnight on Fuji Television, the show developed a cult following and was one of pioneers of late night niche programming, this has led to the popularity of so many late night anime and TV dramas today. A movie, novel, manga, and video game spinoffs were produced back to back. The strong fan following made GAGA select the work for revival in animation, they hope to leverage the brand power of the content to put forth an eminently perfect and pure SF work. Beyond Japan’s core fan-base, GAGA is aiming at a worldwide rollout for the film. Production funds are coming from the “Integrated Contents Fund” of USEN and The Daiwa Securities SMBC Group jointly established last year. Official Website: www.nighthead-genesis.jp

5-9-06 (4:40AM EDT)—- 2nd Chinese Animation Festival Draws 200,000

In it’s second year, the International Animation and Comics Festival, hosted in Hangzou, Chechang Province China drew 200,000 people. The festival ran for 6 days last week, ending on May 3rd. Events took place there such as creation forums, costume contests, lantern festivals, and exhibition of student works. Visitors came from over 20 countries such as the United States, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Denmark, Singapore and Thailand.

5-9-06 (3:59AM EDT)—- E3 Anime / Manga Gaming Roundup

– Square announced several flavors of Final Fantasy XIII for PS3.
– The next Dragon Quest game could go Nintendo Wii Exclusive.
Famitsu has Sony’s PS3 launch data for Japan (Nov. 11, 2006 – 20GB model 62790 Yen, 60GB Undecided), IGN for the USA (Nov. 17 – 20GB $499, 60GB $599), Game Industry for Europe (Nov. 17 – 20GB $499, 60GB $599).
– The official X-BOX website for Akira Toriyama’s Blue Dragon is now online here.

5-8-06 (1:51PM EDT)—- Anime Industry Needs To Be More Business Savy

The Yomiuri Shimbun is carrying an article today by Takashi Saito on the Japanese based animation industry needing more business sense. He mentions the roughly 10 year old business relationship between Disney and Ghibli. In tie-up negotiations with Disney, it’s said that it was then that producer Toshio Suzuki tapped Stephen Alpert to be the overseas business director for Ghibli and placed him in charge of negotiations. Supposedly, Ghibli at that time lacked the experience of international business negotiation. It is said that the Disney deal took three years to negotiate, and the contract became ten centimeters thick. The evaluation of Japan’s animation industry is high worldwide. However, Saito says, it is not always easy for industry companies to smoothly tie international business dealings. There are aparantly many instances where Japanese firms took a hit when deals were negotiated with inexperience. In these cases, regardless if the property becomes a success in the foreign country, a high profit would not always be forthcoming. Producer Suzuki mentioned Ukiyoe wood art which influenced current painting techniques in the world. From the end of shogunate to the Meiji era, this art flowed out to foreign countries in large quantities as exports. He worries, “Does not the same thing happen to animation as well?” According to the estimate of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry the market scale of the Japanese contents field was 11 trillion Yen in 2001. It is expected to swell to 15 trillion Yen in ten years. Author Saito’s analysis concludes: “However, the profit might flow out to foreign countries if “Business power” doesn’t accompany “Work power”. Parties concerned should hurry up measures.”

5-8-06 (11:42AM EDT)—- YOUTUBE – “Lawless Area For Japanese Contents”

In recent weeks, figures on domestic (Japanese) viewership of the American videoshare site YOUTUBE have been all over the media. It’s believed that more than 1/3 of all accesses to the site originating from Japanese IP’s. With all the fanfare dying down that an all English Language site could draw so many Japanese, the media has turned an eye toward the content that can be found there. IT MEDIA weighs in with a heavy sentiment that can be seen in the media now, describing the site as a “Lawless Area For Japanese Contents”. To those not in the know, one could, in the past, find complete commercialy copyrighted anime series runs there. Many in the Japanese press seem to be calling for heavier regulation of copyrighted, illegal content by the managers of YOUTUBE. Cases such as a recent one involving Advent Children being uploaded to Google Video and one where NBC requested their content be removed from the site are mentioned in the piece. The NBC case YOUTUBE complied. ITMEDIA wonders if it will only take the correctly placed persons and requests from Japanese companies to have some result.

5-8-06 (9:37AM EDT)—- Innocent Venus To Be Animated

With a scheduled telecast due to begin in July, 2006, WOWOW has announced it’s new TV Animation “Innocent Venus”. Original story by INNOCENT PROJECT, Director: Jun Kawagoe (eX-Driver OAV), Series Composition by Shinsuke Onishi, Original Character Concept: Takaya Hoshi, Chara Design by Nagamachi Hideki (Kamichu), Animation Production: Brains Base.

5-8-06 (9:22AM EDT)—- Otomo’s SOS Dai Tokyo Tankentai To Become OAV

Based on the 1996 manga by Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira, Steamboy), a winter 2006 release has been given to the Bandai Visual OAV “SOS! Tokyo Metro Explorers 2006”. We first reported on this project in October, 2005, where at the time, it was being shopped around at the Tokyo Project Gathering international investment / interest raising event. Following is the description of the project at that point in time: “Original comic strip concept: Katsuhiro Otomo 3DCG by the staff of “”Steamboy”” The tale of a boy who searchs for the hidden mystries of subterranean Tokyo.” According to new information, Steamboy director Takagi Shinji will direct, head picture continuity and production on the series. Murai Sadayuki (Cowboy Bebop, Millenium Actress, Perfect Blue, Steamboy) will provide script. Shuichi Ohara (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind) will handle Character Designs and Drawing Direction. CG Direction by Masashi Kokubo (Blood The Last Vampire), Art Direction by Junichi Taniguchi (Sailor Moon R Movie), Sound Direction by Keiichi Momose (Steamboy, Ergo Proxy), Animation Production by Sunrise.

5-8-06 (8:08AM EDT)—- Ishin To Write Death Note – XXXholic Novels

Popular Japanese author Nishio Ishin (Kubikiri Saikuru, Kimi to boku no kowareta sekai, Kubishime Syndrome) will be writing novelizations of Death Note and XXXholic. What’s interesting is the almost synchronized nature of these projects and advertisements. The theme is “Novelize restoration and Nishio Restoration”. Both are due for release in Japan on August 1st, 2006 for 1,300 Yen. You can find details on both at the above links.

5-8-06 (4:38AM EDT)—- Japan To Offer Manga Prize / Cultural Internships

The Foreign Ministry will launch a new effort in cultural diplomacy, making use of the growing global popularity of Japan’s pop culture, including manga, animation, and music, it was learned Saturday. Measures to be undertaken include the establishment of an international manga prize for which young manga artists abroad may apply, and a system to have foreign students work as “cultural exchange interns” for a couple of months at Japanese diplomatic establishments with certificates given upon completion, ministry sources said. The initiative is the brainchild of Foreign Minister Taro Aso, an admitted manga buff.
Source: Yomiuri Shimbun

5-8-06 (3:56AM EDT)—- Musician Masahiro Kawasaki Dies

If you’ve seen the MAPS OAV or The Cockpit, you know his work. Musician Masahiro Kawasaki died of liver cancer at his home in Chiba City, at 9:25AM on May 4, he was 56 years old. His funeral will be held in Chiba City, Inage Ward at noon on the 10th of May. The chief mourner will be his wife. Long active in scoring film, Kawasaki is a recipient of a Japanese Academy Award Excellent Music Prize. He’s probably best know to Japanese anime fans as providing the music to the Gegege No Kitaro TV series, and Movie which ran between 1985-1988. Other anime credits include: STREET FIGHTER and Dagger of Kamui.

5-8-06 (2:57AM EDT)—- Dragonball Game Announced For Nintendo Wii

Gamespot reports Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 for Nintendo’s Wii will be unveiled at E3 this week in Los Angeles. Thanks to Daniel for the news.

5-8-06 (2:49AM EDT)—- ROBOT 6 Due In June

The 6th volume of Range Murata’s highly popular illustration and designs book ROBOT has been given a market release in Japan near the end of June. Retail will be 2,300 Yen.

5-8-06 (12:44AM EDT)—- Actress Machiko Soga Dies

Machiko Soga, well known in Japan as the voice of the loveable ghost Q-Taro in “Obake no Q-Taro” (“Ghost Q-Taro” – TBS, 1965-1968) was found dead at her home in western Tokyo on Sunday, she was 68. Police have concluded she died of an illness. In August of 2005, it was revealed Soga revealed she had been fighting a terminal illness for almost two years. Americans will probably recognize Soga from her role as Rita Repulsa on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series. The actress played the basis for the character, Queen Bandora, in the Japanese basis for Power Rangers, ZyuRanger. For the American series, she played Repulsa from 1993-1994. When Power Rangers was reimported to Japan, Soga provided the voice overs for Carla Perez who played Repulsa from 1994 to 1996 and Julia Cortez, who played the character in the Power Rangers Movie.