9-30-05 (7:57AM EDT)—- Gackt: Admitted Gundam Fanatic
Japanese rockstar Gackt is currently providing the theme music for Sunrise’s Gundam Zeta movies. His song Metamorphoze was released in May as the first movie theme. For the occasion, Gact was in studio at TOKYO FM on the 28th for a live performance of the single and hsi song “Sound In My Life”. Gackt mentioned he was under alot of pressure producing the song because of being such a big Gundam fan. The key focus for him was matching the tune mood correctly to the animation.
9-30-05 (7:57AM EDT)—- TM Revolution’s Nishikawa Pledges Anime Culture Support
Japanese Pop artist T.M.Revolution just released his latest single “Vestige” in Japan last month on the 20th. There was a live perfomance on TOKYO FM shortly after the release. The single has become the new theme song of the TBS animation Gundam SEED DESTINY. After the performance Nishikawa mentioned: “I want to support the animation culture of Japan in music. ” The artist has enjoyed a great amount of success in supplying anime themes, next year will mark the 10th anniversary since his debut. “HEART OF SWORD -Yoakemae (before dawn)-“, his third single released in November 1996 became the theme song for the television anime “Rurouni Kenshin,” and he gained a strong following among both anime and music fans.
9-30-05 (6:45AM EDT)—- Gundam Art Exhibition In Tokyo
The “Kitaru Beki Mirai No Tame Ni” Gundam art exhibition that ran at the Suntory Museum of Art in Osaka from July will be coming to Tokyo. The Ueno area of Tokyo will host the exhibiton November 6th – December 25th at the Ueno Forest Museum. The concept of the exhibition includes modern art renditions based on the first Gundam series.
9-30-05 (6:14AM EDT)—- UPDATE: Takashi Miike On Waru – FINAL
Director King of Japanese Shock Cinema, Takashi Miike has began filming a new movie based on the Maki Hisao (not Hashida Yukari) manga, Waru – FINAL. The news was announced on the 24th in Tokyo. The film will star Matsusaka Keiko (Fall Guy), Aikawa Shou, and Ishibashi Ryou and Maki Hisao (Miike adapted Hisao’s own Yakuza manga into the 1999 feature, Silver). The manga was originally serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine in the 1970’s. Going along with the film’s title, this will be an adaptation of the final section of the original manga. Waru – FINAL opens in theaters nationwide across Japan next spring.
9-29-05 (7:06PM EDT)—- FUNimation Announces 24-Hour Digital Anime Network
FUNimation Entertainment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Navarre Corporation (NASDAQ: NAVR), and one of the nation’s leading brand management and independent home video entertainment companies, is launching the FUNimation Channel(SM), a 24-hour digital network featuring programming of top-rated anime brands from Japan. “The broadcast success we’ve experienced with our anime brands proves that solid TV exposure gives fans the chance to see more great anime and it increases sales and licensing opportunities. This has driven us to pursue additional avenues to get more of our shows broadcast exposure in the United States,” said Gen Fukunaga, president and CEO of FUNimation Entertainment. “The FUNimation Channel will give us the opportunity to bring more of our proven, high-rated anime titles from Japan to fans throughout the United States and expand awareness of anime to whole new audiences.”
FUNimation is a brand management company that manages a full spectrum of rights for many of its brands including broadcasting. The company has already experienced notable broadcast accomplishments with network partners in the United States. “Thanks to engaging content and strong titles, both FUNimation and our network partners have experienced success and we look forward to continuing our relationships going forward,” explains Fukunaga. “The FUNimation Channel is the first step in getting more of our top-rated anime shows broadcast and grabbing a larger share of the growing U.S. anime market.”
FUNimation recently signed an agreement with OlympuSAT, a leading distributor of independent digital programming networks, for the distribution of the FUNimation Channel. OlympuSAT is the exclusive distributor and the FUNimation Channel is now available to video service providers throughout the nation. “FUNimation is dedicated to bringing the best anime to the United States and we are extremely excited to begin working with OlympuSAT to bring these leading shows into homes across the nation via the FUNimation Channel,” said Fukunaga. “OlympuSAT is one of the top distributors of independent digital programming in the United States, and coupled with the high quality anime programming from FUNimation, the FUNimation Channel will be an attractive offering for operators across the nation.”
“The FUNimation Channel features great programming from some of the most engaging anime brands in the United States,” said Colleen Glynn, Senior Vice President of Affiliate Sales and Distribution for OlympuSAT. “We are confident that U.S. operators will see that the FUNimation Channel is the perfect complement and addition to their digital line-ups.” FUNimation also announced plans to launch the FUNimation Channel website (www.funimationchannel.com) within a few weeks. Fans will be able to find more information on the programming, the schedule and the shows. For interested video providers, detailed programming and other exciting network information is available exclusively through OlympuSAT.
9-29-05 (11:30AM EDT)—- ‘Hate Korea’ Manga A Bestseller In Japan
There was a manga published this past summer in Japan that was so controversial that the author simply couldn’t find someone to print it at first, newspapers refused to promote or advertsie it and finding coverage in the media was even difficult. That is, until it started flying off shelves. “Kenkanryu” (Hating Things South Korean) is the creation of Sharin Yamano, who insists the “comfort women” kept in South Korea by imperial Japanese occupational forces during WWII was an entirely fabricated issue. He says he has done his own research and made the manga to dispell the above and other “lies spreading in The Republic Of Korea”. All this comes in the middle of the recent South Korea Style Boom in Japan, Yamano mentions “South Korea Style Boom was produced recently due to mass communication initiation by Japan, it became popular, and there were a lot of people who had the sense of incompatibility on the other hand, too”.
The comic tells the story of a Japanese high school student interested in Japan-Korea relations around the time of the joint world cup event in 2002. Several publishers passed up the book, calling the contents “historically incorrect”, “right wing” etc.. Shinyusha finally decided to carry it and upoin it’s debut on July 26 it immediately topped Amazon Japan sales charts. As of August 10th, with a 30,000 1st print run selling out immediately the publisher ordered a second printing of 70,000 copies.
9-29-05 (7:42AM EDT)—- Initial D Spurs Drifting In Japan
Ramping up to the release of the live action Initial D film this month, police across Japan have reported incidents dealing with drifting this summer. In early June Saitama prefectural police executed a togue team bust near the infamous Shomaru Pass (between Hanno and Chichibu city). Shomaru is known to Initial D animation and game fans as a trecherously narrow course where it is nearly impossible to overtake. Saitama police setup their sting operation four times on the weekend, handling all violations of Road Traffic Laws. What’s more, they called in the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Kanto transportation bureau (Saitama Land Transport Office) to inspect and enforce violators of the Road Transportation Vehicle Law violation which involves illegal car modifications. For the past 5 years the region has attracted numerous togue teams from across the Kanto region who participate in real life drift battles and time attack drills. Police say one group recently began racing on newly created road where it’s curves can be attacked at high speed. Cars there regularly hit 100 km/h there where the limit is 40 hm/h. As a result, the cars involved in racing usually occupy both lanes when engaging the corners. 41 accidents occurred near Shomaru between January and June 2005. Seven accidents were said to be serious or resulted in death. The major modifications discovered included excessive drop in height and increased lighting beyond regulations. Police buffed up their presence throughout the summer where more drift teams can be found on the togue. They also have increased the number of random stops of suspect vehicles (aka race cars).
9-29-05 (5:11AM EDT)—- Cosplay USB Drive Series
Remeiniscent of Hand Maid May, the Japanese branch of Taiwanese costumer Angel Kitty has just announced the releases of their new “Cosplay USB Drive Series”. The first release in the new costume series is the outfit of the black cat housemaid. Unique to this outfit is a USB flash memory module slot with a connection that doubles as the cat’s tail. The memory corresponds to the “RUF-C” made by Buffalo. The price for the costume minus memory is 15,750 Yen. The price of costume with 256MB unit is 21,250 Yen and with 512MB unit is 19,250 Yen. The size is adjustable between Small and Large. The bell is considered an antitheft countermeasure. Further costumes with strategically placed USB access points are planned for the future.
9-29-05 (5:01AM EDT)—- Go Nagai Wants To Remake Tezuka’s Blackjack
Go Nagai (Cutey Honey, Devil Man, Mazinga Z) held a lecture event at the Osamu Tezuka memorial in Takarazuka City Mukogawa-cho on the 27th. There he mentioned he would like to remake the late god of manga’s work, Blackjack at some point in the future.
9-29-05 (5:01AM EDT)—- Katsuhiro Otomo’s Next Film Insured
Although no other details are available, Tokio Marine Nichido Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd. is insuring the new movie being directed by Akira and Steamboy’s Katsuhiro Otomo. The firm, which insures production costs against inncidents such as non-completion due to cast and staff injuries has also insured currently running features including Kamikaze Girls and Tanuki-Goten.
9-29-05 (4:39AM EDT)—- Live Action Evangelion Film Update
According to an article at Active Anime, Matt Greenfield was recently questioned on the status of live action Neon Genesis Evangelion film. Greenfield is heading the adaptation project, mentioning it is still go and he is planning visiting the Weta Workshop soon to find out what project they’re currently working on, and to see if there are changes to be made while in New Zealand in October.
9-29-05 (4:30AM EDT)—- Original Astroboy Available In America For First Time
Chicago, IL For the first time, U.S. audiences will be able to enjoy all 51 episodes of the original Astro Boy Japanese color TV series from Japan’s “God of Comics,” Osamu Tezuka on DVD. Manga Entertainment is proud to present the Astro Boy Collectors Box Set featuring 7 DVDs (over 25 hours of animated adventure) on November 22, 2005. Each DVD will offer these classic episodes with both the English language dialogue and, for the first time ever, the original Japanese audio tracks.
The premiere anime ever to broadcast outside of Japan, Astro Boy wowed American audiences in 1963 when the original black & white episodes first aired on NBC, finding their way into the highest rated time slot (6:30pm-7:00pm) for the New York metropolitan area. The show had a tremendous impact on American children and was extremely significant in establishing the popularity of robot heroes in the US, as well as paving the way for the current anime boom. In fact, due to the stregth of this ground-breaking program, reknowned Director Stanley Kubrick famously offered Tezuka a position as a production designer on 2001: A Space Odyssey. Though Tezuka declined, the influence of Tezuka’s work can readily be seen in Kubrick’s final project A.I. Since that time, Astro’s simple, recognizable lines have become an icon of the U.S. subculture and he remains one of the most internationally identifiable personas ever created.
In 1983, Tezuka Productions, in cooperation with the Nippon Television and Network Corporation, created a higher-quality, color version of the beloved character for this all new Astro Boy series. Additional information as well as a preview of this important series can be viewed at www.astro-boy.net
A fanciful combination of Pinocchio and Superman, Astro Boy conveys a timely message about the triumph of kindness, compassion and selflessness in the face of discrimination and human prejudice a message Tezuka tried to communicate not only to the children of the world, but also to their parents. With the massive success of other Japanese animated programs currently broadcasting on U.S. television (Full Metal Alchemist, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Cowboy Bebop and Dragonball Z), Astro Boy is sure to find a welcome home among children eager to enjoy Astro’s exciting adventures and embrace the value of aiding humanity.
The story of Astro Boy takes place in April 2030, when a brilliant robotics engineer named Doctor Boynton looses his son Toby in a tragic car accident. Distraught over his death, the dedicated but heart-broken scientist uses his technical expertise to construct a robot in the boy’s image. But all was not as he’d hoped, for the scientist soon realized that the robot could never grow into a human being capable of filing the void in his heart.
Abandoned to the care of Hamegg the cruel ringmaster of a carnival where androids are forced to fight each other, Astro Boy is rescued by the kindly Doctor Elefun an “android’s rights” activist who adopts the boy robot and guides him in the use of his special powers to aid and protect mankind.
9-29-05 (4:17AM EDT)—- AAA Anime To Distribute Tofu Records Product Exclusively
Los Angeles, CA September 28th, 2005 AAA Anime, Inc., one of the largest distributor of Japanese animation, manga, and related merchandise in North America has announced today an exclusive hobby and specialty retail market distribution arrangement with leading Japanese ‘JPOP/JROCK’ music record company, Tofu Records. Effective beginning September 29th, 2005, AAA Anime will assume administration over all of Tofu Records retailers accounts and distribution services to the anime and specialty market in a move that will significantly increase both the awareness and availability of ‘JPOP’ and ‘JROCK’ music in North America.
Tofu Records is the leading music label for Japanese (‘JPOP’ and ‘JROCK’) music in North America., Tofu Records represents well known Japanese Platinum recording artists and bands such as L’Arc~en~Ciel, T.M. Revolution, Nami Tamaki, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, and POLYISCS. Tracks from these best selling artists are prominently featured in some of today’s hottest anime properties on television including Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Naruto, and Full Metal Alchemist.
“Anime and Manga have both become very significant representations of Japanese pop culture in North America and we’re very excited to be able to increase the availability of JPOP and JROCK to the American audiences. Tofu Records has done a tremendous job and we are honored to represent such a recognized global brand,” states Richard Tong, CEO of AAA Anime, Inc.
The distribution arrangement between AAA Anime and Tofu Records will allow Tofu Records to concentrate on their stable of bands and label promotions in order to increase the visibility of Japanese music in the American market. More Japanese bands are slated to be introduced next year by Tofu Records. Several exclusive promotions will be offered to retailers of AAA Anime including concert ticket giveaways, promotional merchandise, autographed CD’s and Posters, availability of in-store appearances and signings, and more.
Tofurecords.com will continue selling products to direct customers until the end of the year. Art for these products are available at www.tofurecords.com and also at www.aaaanime.com.
Retailers interested in Japanese music products should contact sales by phone at 1-877-MYANIME, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
9-29-05 (4:08AM EDT)—- Bandai Readies Mashimo’s Avenger
Bandai Entertainment announced today the launch of the official North American website for the upcoming anime series, Avenger. Located on the world wide web at avenger.bandai-ent.com, the website boasts a vast array of information for fans about Koichi Mashimo’s (.hack//SIGN) new series and DVD information.
Years into the future, colonies have been established on Mars. Resources on the planet are thin and domed cities have resorted to a gladiatorial contest between the cities to determine which of them receives the most rations. Layla Ashley is the gladiator for Serena City and a powerful Barbaroi fighter with a vengeful and mysterious past. And with dark times falling, she roams the Martian landscape seeking answers and a send of cold vengeance that suits her moniker as an Avenger. A new era is about to begin.
Fans of Japanese animation will find full story and background information for Koichi Mashimo’s Avenger anime series. Other website features include character background, glossary, US and Japanese creative and cast credits, DVD information, trailers, and downloadable content.
The upcoming AVENGER Collection will contain all 13 episodes collected within an exclusive collector’s tin case. The DVD will feature both Japanese and English language tracks including English subtitle option. The animation will be presented in its original 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen presentation with plenty of DVD supplementary features like Image Gallery and Trailers included. DVD release date is set for October 25th. Please visit http://avenger.bandai-ent.com for more information
9-29-05 (2:50AM EDT)—- Napoleon Dynamite – Busman?
An interesting general observation in the current Japanese press is how the American Indy comedy Napoleon Dynamite is being cited as Busman. The title is of course based on the otaku love story Densha Otoko or Trainman which has spun off into manga, drama and film adaptations. Napoleon Dynamite will be available on DVD in Japan from November 2nd. The film was not released in Japanese theaters and it is assumed that the distribution agencies hesitated because of the niche genre and the purchase price was a large amount of money.
9-29-05 (2:45AM EDT)—- First Manga Exhibition In Belgium
India’s Hindustan Times has an article that mentions the first manga exhibition opened in Brussels last Friday with ‘manga’ artist Keiko Ichiguchi attending to promote her new work ‘1945.’
9-29-05 (2:43AM EDT)—- Keith Giffen On Battle Royale Manga Adaptation
Comic Book Resources interviews Keith Giffen on his Battle Royale comic adaptation work. He reports on the curretn status:
I’m halfway through the final issue. I loved the film, liked the novel. When I found out that Tokyopop had “Battle Royale,” I called Mark Panicia [then at Tokyopop] and told him, “I will crawl through this phone line and castrate you with my teeth if I don’t get this job!” I really pushed for it.
9-29-05 (2:27AM EDT)—- E-Books Now 4.5 Billion Yen Market
IMPRESS announced fiscal year 2004 in Japan saw the E-book market jump to around 4.5 billion Yen. Books custom taileroed for mobile phone access went from around 100 million Yen the previous year to 1.2 billion Yen in 2004. 2.3 trillion yen of the entire publication. The technology has been especially embraced by young people. Fist Of The Northstar and PLATONIC SEX are both popular downloads.
9-29-05 (2:23AM EDT)—- Puffy AmiYumi Big In America
Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura’s (Puffy AmiYumi) Popularity in the USA has been at an all time high over the last year. Tickets to their east coast tour held in August that covered five cities all sold out. Fans were said to have driven as long as 4 hours to see their live performance.
9-29-05 (2:10AM EDT)—- Hideo Kojima’s Blog
Metal Gear Creator Hideo Kojima has launched his own Japanese language blog at: http://www.blog.konami.jp/gs/hideoblog/index.html.The contents seem to be a mix of personal daily musings and a running production journal.
9-29-05 (12:23AM EDT)—- Namco Bandai Holdings Inc. Website
Resulting from their announced merger earlier in the year, an official website for Namco Bandai Holdings Inc. was launched Thursday in Japan.
9-29-05 (12:13AM EDT)—- JDC Trust To Manage Murdock Velocity Book
After it was announced earlier in the year that Gonzo would be adapting his book Murdock Scramble to animation, now comes word that To Ubukata’s next literary work will be entirely managed by Japan Digital Contents Trust Ltd. JDC’s future headquarters will be in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, the company’s president is Hiroshiaya Doi. Titled Murdock Velocity, the book to be published by Hayakawa Publishing, will be the first novel to be managed via a Japanese investment trust fund system. These trusts as ways gather investment and manage copyrights of films and animated works have recently became popular in Japan. The deal was negotiated by the agent group Tree Orentatamment Ltd. The current plan is to develop this work into a film, animation, and commercialization, etc. sometime in the future. The JDC trust will support the process on the funding side.
9-28-05 (9:52AM EDT)—- Howl Opening UK Box Office
Numbers from the three day opening weekend (Sept. 23rd-25th) performance for Studio Ghibli’s Howl’s Moving Castle in the UK are in. Screening in 95 theaters, over the period the film grossed an estimated $377,000 US dollars, landing a 10th place box office debut. Average profit per theater was $3,977.
9-27-05 (8:52AM EDT)—- Kindaichi Drama Ratings High
NTV released their ratings for the Kindaichi Shonen No Jikenbo special which aired Saturday, the 24th in Japan. Titled The “Legendary Vampire Murder Case”, the storyline involved the investigation of a mysterious vampire murder in Ueno village. The airing achieved a 18.6% share which surpassed the anticipated 16.7% mark. During the first 8 episode 1995 Kindaichi Drama mini series, a stunning 29.9% share was had.
9-27-05 (6:18AM EDT)—- Subaru Film
Mangka Soda Masahito’s Subaru work will be the premise of a live action Film to open in Japanese theaters next summer. The original manga serialized in Big Comic Spiritts between 1999-2002. The storyline centers on gifted ballet dancer. 2.2 million copies across 11 all volumes have been sold to date. Bill Kong (HERO – LOVERS – Fearless – Nae Yeojachingureul Sogae Habnida) will produce, Li Zhiyi (Mack The Knife, Heaven Can’t Wait, Lost and Found) will direct. Warner Brothers will handle production and distribution. Japan and Hong are the prime target markets although the release will be worldwide. Filming will be done in Europe and Japan. Budget is estimated at 700 million Yen. In an interesting twist, there will be an open audition held in October to cast some of the acting principles. Original Creator Soda Masahito will apparently have some oversight on the final selections.
9-27-05 (5:18AM EDT)—- Media Blasters To Release Yajikita
On Saturday in Japan it was announced that New York based Media Blasters has licensed the live action manga adapted film “Mayonaka no Yaji-san, Kita-san” with a planned summer 2006 release in the USA. The film is based on the Shiriagai Kotobuki manga which it self is based on Jippensha Ikku’s novel Tokkaidochu Hizakurige. Directed by Kudo Kankuro and starring Nagase Tomoya and Nakamura Shichinosuke, the storyline is a comedically insane period drama (ala Monty Python) following 2 motorcycle riding homosexual samurai. The current plan calls for a 40 theater opening in the U.S. The North American Premiere will occur at the Montreal Festival Of New Cinema that begins on October 13th. The tentative American title is “YAJI AND KITA ,THE MIDNIGHT PILGRIMS”. The film opened in Japan in April achieving a 160 theater nationwide spread and profits of 800 million Yen and 600,000 ticket purrchasers. The Japanese DVD release will occur October 7th. Current plans are for September 2006 DVD release in the USA. The official Japanese website is http://www.yajikita.com/.
9-27-05 (5:18AM EDT)—- Lolita Is 50
The Oregon Mail Tribune is running a AP article on Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel Lolita. The book has sold 50 million copies and publisher Vintage Books has already sold all 50,000 copies of a new, special 50th anniversary edition it released this month. “Lolita” and “nymphet” another word Nabokov coined have worked their way into the lexicon. Two movie versions, first by Stanley Kubrick in 1962 starring James Mason and later by Adrian Lyne in 1997 starring Jeremy Irons, have coaxed millions into theaters. Iranian author Azar Nifisi penned her own contemporary best seller, “Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books,” inspired in part by Nabokov, and the “Gothic Lolita” is all the rage among teenage fans of Japanese anime.
9-27-05 (5:13AM EDT)—- Heavy Anime Influence In Nicktoons Relaunch
Nicktoons, Nickelodeon’s 24-hour animation network, flipped the switch to become Nicktoons Network this past Friday, September 23. The network, which recently became ad-supported, will remain committed to being kids’ favorite channel for animated hits showcasing a variety of quality animation all day and night. Targeting kids 6-14, Nicktoons Network features programming that is 75% exclusive to the channel. In addition to a new name and logo, Nicktoons Network has unveiled a fresh look including, new packaging both on-air and on the network’s new web site, http://www.nicktoonsnetwork.com/. Read the entire press release here.
9-27-05 (4:28AM EDT)—- Hero Film Festival In Fukuoka
Mask Rider actor Hiroshi Fujioka was present at a press conference on Tuesday in Fukuoka City where the “Fukuoka Hero Festival 2005” was announced. The festival runs three days from November 11. Mr. Fujioka is the production comittee chairman. The plan is hold this event annually in the style of an international film festival. A special commendation of the performers from “Ultra Q” is being planned for this year. Animation and Live Action works from around the world will be screened.
9-27-05 (4:19AM EDT)—- Yamashina Business Tie-Up
On the 26th in Tokyo it was announced that Yamashina has formed a business tie-up related to sales and production of drama and anime contents with Sky Dream Entertainment. Joint production of programs destined for British and Chinese markets is being sought including sales of domestic and foreign image software.
9-27-05 (3:56AM EDT)—- Major Screening Of South Korean Animation In Japan
The upcoming event “Indy Animation Of South Korea” will screen over 48 animation works originating from Japan and The Republic Of Korea when it occurs in Tama City over 3 days from October 7th to the 9th. The Tama City Cultural Promotion Foundation will sponsor the event. Screenings will be arranged into bundles based on production chronology of individual works (91-96 – 97-00). Animation writers and critics from both Japan and South Korea are invited, and there will be a symposium entitled “Talk About The New Wave Of South Korean Animation”.
9-27-05 (3:34AM EDT)—- SPEED’s Hiro Advacnes In Her Career
Former j-pop unit SPEED’s youngest member, Hiro has been busy recently. Just turning 21 years old, she has tackled various forms of vocal expression including producing jazz tunes, anime themes and even trying her hand as a voice actress. She admits time has flied from her SPEED days. Debuting in 1996, Hiroko Shimabukuro, Eriko Imai, Takako Uehara, and Hitoe Arakaki formed the group, the average age of the girls at the time was 13 years old. SPEED broke up in 1999 at a career high with 20 million record units sold. Her 2004 CD was an all-English jazz album titled Coco d’or. The single “Hikari no naka de” was featured on the soundtrack to the movie Devilman. Currently Hiro has just recorded the main Theme to the TV animation Clover and it’s also just been announced she is to record the ending theme to the Blackjack TV series.
9-27-05 (2:43AM EDT)—- Wonder Festival Cancels Special Event
Japan’s largest garage kit and otaku hobby show, Wonder Festival has just announced it is axing a special hobby training camp side event. This year’s WF20 20th anniversary show for Wonder Fest was scheduled to draw 400 participants to the training camp when it opened it’s doors March 18th and 19th at the Yokohama Prince Hotel. The reason cited by the production committee is a lack of dealer signups whose sponsorship backs the show financially. 100 was the target number of dealers sought with a bare minimum of 80 of the necessary. Neither number was reportedly reached.
9-27-05 (2:15AM EDT)—- Japanese Weekend Box Office
Sep 24 – 25 Japanese Movie Rankings courtesy Kogyo Tsushinsha:
1. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
3. April Snow
5. The Suspect Muroi Shinji
6. Fantastic Four
7. Cinderella Man
9. Masked Rider Hibiki And Seven Oni
10. Initial D
9-26-05 (8:51AM EDT)—- Crayon Shinchan TV Broadcast Goes Blank
On Friday night (the 23rd), a running broadcast of the the Crayon Shin-chan TV series lost video picture for about four minutes or more in Kagawa and Okayama prefectures. The technical difficulty was believed to originate in the broadcast equipment.
9-26-05 (8:02AM EDT)—- Compendium of 500 Ishimori Creations To Be Sold
A collection of 500 manga works created by the late Shotaro Ishinomori (Mask Rider, Kikaider Cyborg 009) will be put on the market for the first time as complete volume in Japan. It’s believed the figure is the highest ever for a cartoonist and an applicatio is being mad to the Guinness Book of World Records to be examined as “Cartoon World Heritage”. Starting with “2nd Class Angel” and spanning 54 years to his death in 1998, a meticulous effort was made by publisher Kadokawa Shoten in collecting the. 210 titles will be included in the first 256 page book with 12 books coming out in total every 3 months between February, 2006 and November, 2008. The weight of the completed 500 work volume will weigh in at 23.296 kilos. Retail is 617,400 Yen for book 1, store sale will not be done and the volume will on be available via reservation through http://www.ishinomori.com.
9-26-05 (7:32AM EDT)—- Chinese Anime / Manga Net Piracy Rampant
The online spread in China of pirated TV dramas from Japan and South Korea as well as anime and manga is on the rise. The most recent example can be seen in the widespread distribution of the Train Man TV drama finale episode which aired on the 22nd via Fuji Television Network. Chinese subtitled versions of all 11 episodes are making their way around the net courtesy file sharing networks and bit torrent. Dragon Cherry Blossoms, Queen Classroom, Water Boys 2005 and Sea Monkey are also popular drama downloads. The publishing industry has also been hit hard with Taiwanese releases of Sergeant Keroro, Prince Of Tennis and Inu-Yasha manga being available illegally. These programs are then often burned to DVD-ROM or CD and sold on the black market. Fuji Sankei Business interviewed one expert who said “For 1,000 Yen or less it is possible to buy a pirated DVD set of a popular DVD drama that would be about 20,000 Yen in Japan”.
9-26-05 (7:25AM EDT)—- Fate Of Satsuki And May’s House As Aichi Expo Ends
The dismantling process has began onsite near Nagoya as the Aichi Expo 2005 ended successfully on September 25th. Several exhibitions were torn down and taken apart as early as Sunday. Aichi Prefecture will now maintain the site as a park and schedules to plan the opening for next summer. Excluded will be “Satsuki and May’s House” which will be dismantled and removed. With Aichi now over, the future of the house will be moved to the forefront of public discussion.
9-26-05 (6:04AM EDT)—- Current State Of Osaka’s Animation Industry
On Monday, the Japan Research Institute Limited released a white paper on the “Current State and Problems Of Osaka’s Animation Industry”. According to the Tokyo Anime Fair Executive Committee there are 440 anime production companies in Japan, 360 (80%) being located in Tokyo. With this in mind, this new report outlines several interesting facts relating to a city whose overall contents industry profile is significantly less than that of her sister city in the east.
1. The government via the strategy headquarters of the Cabinet Secretariat has began an initiative to promote an intellectual property policy, and the Diet has passed two or more support measures laws. The expectation for the animation delivery business has increased with broadband internet rapidly coming online as the pipeline of choice.
2. The animation market scale of Osaka Prefecture was estimated at 40.8 billion Yen or an 8.6% share of the nationwide scale of 471.9 billion Yen as of a 2002 Osaka City calculation. Likewise, the number of related offices accounts for 5-16% of the nationwide total.
3. Problems include a low anime production base for the city as well as earning power. Likewise, animation production companies have not been supporting the cultivation of future talent as young people are not entering the industry. This comes even as Japanese animation is better known in the world than at any other time.
4. Personal animation as well as web animation produced in-house by singular individuals has enjoyed great success as the price of personal computers and software drops. This activity has been especially prevailing in Osaka recently.
5. The possibilities for Osaka in the animation industry has risen. The move to drawing in independent creators and cultivating talent within universities has recently began. A contents support policy subsidy in a regional fund has been accomplished. Star�ABACA�|JA�AJAWACON have setup their events to find new talent via CG animation contests. Projects related to the education and the local revitalization of animation production among young people is advancing as a possibility for the future.
6. Four points are proposed to promote the animation industry of Osaka: gaining recognition for the city as a center for personal CG and web animation production through the symposiums and the screenings; becoming a production base where new figure’s promotion can be done; Supporting the legislation side such as copyright agreement etc.; Production of animation via the regional contents fund.
9-26-05 (5:17AM EDT)—- GONZO Partners With School To Train New Animators
IT training and education company Digital Hollywood has announced it will establish a special school in Akihabara to train future digital animators. Opening on October 30th, GONZO (Blue Sub No.6, Count Of Monte Cristo) will assist on the courses utilizing their expertise and experience in 3D and CGI animation. 200 participants per year are expected.
9-25-05 (12:06AM EDT)—- Gundam Seed – Too Sexy For Japan’s Youth?
That was the issue before a May 24th 2005 meeting of Japan’s Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization (BPO). There, the Broadcaster’s Council For Youth Programs discussed 4 shows after examining viewer opinions collected from April 21th – May 16th. Among them was Mainichi Broadcasting’s TV animation Gundam Seed Destiny, specifically the May 14th episode. According to their polled viewers, “There are many sexual expressions for the time slot in which children are watching.” It was the conclusional collected view of the council that there was no specific depictions that were especially problematic, although they had received much feedback on the issue. It was decided the series will be monitored for any possible future comment. An earlier 1st series Gundam Seed episode stirred similar controversy where it was implied characters Kira and Flay had sex, technically marking it as the first Gundam work to involve characters in such a way.
9-24-05 (8:43PM EDT)—- New VOTOMS Animation Announced
According to the November, 2005 issue of Nikkei Characters magazine, a new animation is forthcoming soon from Studio Sunrise based on their Armored Trooper VOTOMS property. Directing will be original creator Ryosuke Takahashi, Production by Steve Tsukada with Character Designs by Norio Shioyama and Mecha Designs by Kunio Okawara. Containing one of the grimmer and grittier war storylines of any anime, VOTOMS debuted as a TV series in 1983, spawning off several OVA sidestories over the following years concluding with the last volume being released in 1995. Nikkei Characters is in a good position to be privy to knowledge of such a new project as Takahashi’s latest VOTOMS novelization “Votoms Ichibunno Ichi” has just began serializing within it’s pages since the July issue.
9-24-05 (3:35AM EDT)—- IGPX Exclusive Hi-Res Image
Below is an image from Production I.G. and Cartoon Network’s forthcoming IGPX TV series animation. Bandai Entertainment is handling American distribution. IGPX premieres on CN November 5th at 10:00 pm.
Download 864×476 400KB JPG
9-23-05 (6:14PM EDT)—- Civic Group Rallies Against Dragostei Din Tei Animation
Set to the hit single that could be heard across Europe last summer, an animation released by AVEX entitled “Maiahi no Doragostea Din Tei-Love” has now come under fire in Japan. According to an anti alcohol / drugs civic group, a portion of the animation promotes heavy drinking and have demanded it’s deletion. The animatiion features the popular character nomaneko.
9-23-05 (10:53AM EDT)—- Southern Masquerade Experience Convention
The guys from Anniston, Alabama’s East Meets South convention have just unveiled their official website for sister con Southern Masquerade Experience. This event will occur October 28-30, 2005 and is described as a “cosplay, horror, goth, gaming blowout.” East Meets South will be giving a portion of the door proceeds of Southern Masquerade Experience to the Red Cross to help in the relief efforts.
9-23-05 (3:33AM EDT)—- Tomino Interviewed On Zeta Gundam II
The Official Zeta Gundam Website (Japanese) has interviewed series creator Yoshiyuki Tomino as the days until his Zeta Gundam II: LOVERS film’s October 29 opening shorten. Firstly the second film’s subtitle is examined and it’s revealed the reason is becuase the storyline focuses on interpersonal relationships and group play. It’s said a connection between the generations was being sought (old and new). Tomino says he wanted to draw a distinction between a companion VS comrade-in-arms with the title and the word LOVERS came to his mind naturally.
9-23-05 (3:09AM EDT)—- Live Action Saikano Premiere
Toei Animation Ltd. announced their world premiere screening for the Live action Saikano (She The Ultimate Weapon) will occur at the Tokyo International Film Festival on October 29th. The venue will be the Bunkamura theater in Shibuya. Aki Maeda (Battle Royale) is cast in the lead role of Chise, a deadly war cyborg disguised as a schoolgirl. CG technology is intricately combined with live action photography to flesh out the film’s heavy SFX’s. Saikano opens nationwide in Japanese theaters from February 2006.
9-23-05 (2:34AM EDT)—- Hajime Chitose On Blood+ TV Theme
Pending the November release of her first new single in 2 years, Hajime Chitose has been announced to provide the ending theme to Production I.G.’s BLOOD+ TV series. She will perform in Okinawa on October 22nd.
9-23-05 (2:16AM EDT)—- Glass No Kamen Theatrical Play
With the most recent TV animation adaptation of Suzue Miuchi’s manga Glass No Kamen (Mask Of Glass), now it has been revealed the clasic work will form the basis of a new theatrical play. The original story dates back 1976 when Miuchi serialized it in Hakusensha’s Hana to Yume Magazine. Mask Of Glass was made into to a TV anime in 1984 and then later an OAV seris in 1998. A new TV series has began running this year. With the title “Bright Red Angel” the new play will be presented in Tokyo’s National Noh Theater on the 24th and 25th of February next year. Original creator Suzue Miuchi-san will direct. Shiji Ueda, fomrerly the chief director of Takarazuka Girls’ Operetta Troupe will write the scenario. The storyline has yet to be clarified.
9-23-05 (12:50AM EDT)—- Facsimile Editions Dominate Japanese Toy Industry
The All Japan Plamodel Radiocon Show 2005 occuring at Tokyo BigSight this weekend rounds out the three largest venues of the year in which Japanese toy companies exhibit their latest creations. Lately there has been a trend of “facsimile edition” toys being introduced to the market. The term isn’t synomynous with the flood of fake toys usually originating in Asia, but replicas based on originals produced by the same companies who also made the originals. These facsimiles just happen to be based on many extremely rare originals which were best sellers in the distant past. For example, Bandai has marketed it’s “Superalloy clinkety-clank Doraemon” originally sold in 1979 and a Galaxy Express 999 train kit sold over 20 years ago. Takara has capitalized on the upcoming rerelease of the robot adventure anime, Wataru, by releasing a series of plastic models based on the 1988 original spec editions. Tamiya has marketed RC buggies based on 1984 era originals. A particular one that originally sold 30,000 Yen has been reprinted as a cheap edition now listing at 20,000 Yen. It’s best selling 1986 “Mini 4WD” is being rereleased in a special “Mini 4WD memorial box”. The target of these toys are those now in their 20’s who happened to know of the originals as kids even if they weren’t able to own them at that time.
9-23-05 (12:11AM EDT)—- Mushiking Card Greed Motivated Swindle
A former 37 year old Japan Post Osaka office manager is accused of puposely damaging packages and claiming the compensation funds issued by the postal service for himself. He admits the money was used to buy Mushiking cards. All told 903,531 Yen was found to be claimed divided among seven different times from the beginning of February to the middle of June in a similar way.
9-22-05 (8:39AM EDT)—- 3rd Ghost In The Shell TV Series Forthcoming?
The prize ceremony for the 9th Kobe animation awards was hosted several months back and there Director Kenji Kamiyama took the stage to recieve the Individual Award for his work on Production I.G.’s Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series. Longtime cermonial emcee Kazuo Iwasaki of AM KOBE conducted the interview portion of the show and started off by mentioning the work had now been circulated around the world. He asked the director if he had something secret he wanted to share, at this point Mr. Kamiyama was slightly hesitant, saying “well… I’ll tell you what..”. After a couple of glances in the direction of Mr. Ishikawa of Production I.G. Kamiyama said “Think of… a sequel to 2ndGIG. ” The audience which filled the hall erupted into “oooooo”. Kamiyama followed up by saying he didnt know what shape it would yet take.
9-22-05 (6:23AM EDT)—- Apostle XX: Evangelion 10th Anniversary Project
First announced July 26th with a color page teaser in the September issue of Shonen ACE, GAINAX has released further details on the first element of their “Evangelion Tenth Anniversary Project”. Apostle XX (ShitoXX) is initialy a new line of of PVC pre-painted action figures designed by Mine Yoshizaki of Sergent Keroro fame and manufactured by Japanese toy factory WAVE. GAINAX has released close to zero background information on what the Apostles represent in EVA universe besides the fact that they are combination of MAGI and angel. Look closely and you can see the apostle’s costume is actually composed of the angel they are named after. Shipping in mid-late December 2005, the figures are non-scale but measure 14cm tall. The two apostles are: (A) Evangelion Apostle XX Sachiel A-03 (The Third Angel) and (B) Evangelion Apostle XX Zuruel A-14 (The Fourteen Angel) Pricing is set at 2500 Yen apiece. Wave has only released artistic renditions of the figures thus far but this changes from this weekend when 2 finished versions will exhibited for the first time at the the company’s booth in the All Japan Plamodel Radiocon Show 2005 occuring at Tokyo BigSight.
9-22-05 (12:48AM EDT)—- Anime Advances Into Taiwan
Japan’s major animation production companies have increasingly been strengthening their business ties in Taiwan. Now, three works are scheduled to be available in the nation via a new internet pay service from November. Courtesy the tentatively named “World Masterpiece Theater” Channel, 23 episodes World Masterpiece Theater series including “Raccoon Rascal”, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, and “My Daddy-Long-Legs”. The shows have already screened on TV in Taiwan and will be available dubbed in Chinese.
9-22-05 (12:41AM EDT)—- Soundly Focused – Keiichi Momose
Anime films, so often compared on the purely visual level has a number of inovators working behind the scenes ensuring the audio experience is always on or above par. One of the most respected figures working in anime sound today is Keiichi Momose who is a self admitted audio-phile. Momose is a featured speaker at the “A&V Festival” running currently at Pacifico Yokohama through September 24. The event is a chance for industry heavyweights to exchange ideas on where audio in entertainment is going. Momose writes articles regularly in Japanese AV review magazines on various software / hardware in sound production from the creator’s standpoint. After studying Hollywood techniques in Los Angeles he debuted as sound supervisor for the Production I.G. film Blood: The Last Vampire and went own to work on Returner, Satorare, and Steam Boy.
9-21-05 (11:55PM EDT)—- Jigoku Shoujo Video
Video Clips for Studio Deen’s latest TV series Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl) have been posted in 15 and 30 second windows media and Real formats. The story follows a net-grudge theme where school girls access a magic website at the stroke of midnight and curse anyone who has crossed them.
9-21-05 (11:36PM EDT)—- Death Manga At Center Of Bizzare Murder
Aichi Prefecture, Iwakura City is the stage of an unfolding murder investigation involving a 17 year old girl. The suspect in the case is a 27 year old male who happened to manage a website and BBS on which the girl interacted. An interest of the suspect happens to be the corpses of schoolgirls, stemming from a manga he had read at a younger age depicting them. Videotapes, manga, etc. have been confiscated as evidence as well as the content of the website. Following the death of the girl the suspect reportedly created a special section of the site to dcument it. The title of the manga work the suspect refers to has not been revealed.
9-21-05 (10:41PM EDT)—- Gundam Creator’s Wings Of Rean To Be Animated
According to the November 2005 issue of Gundam Ace, Mobile Suit Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino’s Wings Of Rean storyline will be adapted to animation once again. Previosuly being adapted as the basis for the Aura Battler Dunbine TV series, Sunrise will produce the animation. Beginning it’s run in December, distribution may possibly be carried out via Bandai Channel.
9-21-05 (12:10PM EDT)—- Live Action NANA Sequel Announced
On Monday Toho announced production on a live action sequel to it’s just released NANA has now started up utilizing the existing cast and many key staff facets from the original. Director Kentaro Otani is among them, aiming for a theater release in 2007. The news comes as the current film records 1.76 million in attendence as of the 19th and the theme song “GLAMOROUS SKY” has toped the Oricon charts for 2 weeks on the trot. Openings in 7 Asian countries such as Taiwan and Hong Kong and Singapore has been decided. A Toho representative mentioned giving the greenlight to a sequel at such an early stage in the original’s run is truly exceptional. The NANA films may become a series beyond the sequel.
9-21-05 (11:51AM EST)—- Northstar Revival Aims To Be “Japanese Star Wars”
New information from last week’s Tokyo Imperial Hotel Press Conference for the first Fist Of The Northstar revival film Hokuto no Ken – Raoh Gaiden Junai-hen. There, the 3 principal voice stars appeared along with series creator Hara Tetsuo and Northstars Pictures’ Nobuhiko Horie. According to him, the scale and scope of the new Fist project is massive and he would like to achieve the same status of Star Wars.
9-21-05 (11:25AM EST)—- Pretty Cure: An Integral Component Of TOEI’s Overseas Strategy
Toei Animation Ltd. has annnounced the overseas deployment of it’s Pretty Cure TV animation series. In Germany broadcast will begin on RTLII bureau from September 5th. Italian RAI2 broadcast is scheduled to follow in October. The series achieved top popularity status among Japanese girls when it was broadacast at 8:30 AM Sunday’s weekly via ABC TV. A flurry of related goods and animated films soon followed to much success. Toei Animation established it’s overseas subsidiary in Los Angeles, USA and Paris, France last year, aiming at maximizing overseas business earnings. The company is headquarted in Tokyo, and has maintained a Hong Kong subsidiary since 1997. According to Toei, Pretty Cure is an important work in it’s overseas strategy, and positive development is hoped in the Latin American, Asian and European regions.
9-21-05 (10:33AM EST)—- Gundam 0083 5.1 HD Remaster DVD BOX
Bandai Visual just announced a January 27th, 2006 release date on it’s forthcoming Gundam 0083 5.1 HD Remaster DVD BOX. Retailing at 26,250 Yen, the BOX encapsulates the entire 1991-92 13 episode OVA series in 5.1ch audio and video mastered from a new high-definition telecine.
9-21-05 (10:28AM EST)—- Japanese Box Office Ranking
Sep 17 – 18
1. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
2. April Snow
5. Fantastic Four
6. The Suspect Muroi Shinji
7. Cinderella Man
8. Initial D
10. Masked Rider Hibiki And Seven Oni
Source: Kogyo Tsushinsha
9-21-05 (9:15AM EST)—- Sergent Keroro Broadcasts In South Korea
The animation TV series Sergeant Keroro will broadcast in South Korea on the Tunebas network at 4:00PM – Monday-Thursday. Junichi Sato directs the Sunrise series which has ran in Japan on TV Tokyo from April, 2004.
9-21-05 (8:58AM EST)—- Digimon Brand To Get Boost
Wiz Inc. has announced they will be greatly strengthening the Digimon franchise in Japan in beyond from this November. New goods, cards, DVD’s and portable games are all planned. A new animation based on the popular Bandai digital pet has also been hinted at.
9-21-05 (8:40AM EST)—- Pacific War Animation Ketsudan To Be Released On DVD
Marking the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, Japan has seen a number of animated works released throughout 2005 that that dramatize the effects of the conflict upon it’s shores. Although some will debate if there are ever any winners in a war, the Japanese view on these events is not often seen by an outside world where “winners” write the history. On Tuesday in Japan, it was announced that Tatsunoko Pro’s 1971 TV series, Ketsudan, will soon be released to DVD. The animation which focuses on the Pacific theater of combat was broadcast on Nippon Television Network. In a a full featured 5 disc DVD-BOX set, Yuzuru Kojima’s 26 episode documentary style story covers the entire period of combat with the allies from the Pearl Harbor surprise attack on December 8, 1941 to the end of the war on August 15, 1945. Singapore’s capture, the Mare naval battle, the Catou combat corps, the Rabaul Air Squadron, the Kiska island withdrawal, the special attack corps (Kamikaze) birth, the Mariana naval battle, the Ioto operation and more are portrayed in the course of the series. The battle of Midway and the battle of Leyte Gulf are especially covered in detail in the latter part of the work. The story goes inside the various Commanding officers’ heads, analyzing their strategy and presenting historical facts. Mechanical Design was a detail especially paid attention to in Ketsudan as were special effects such as explosions and gunfire.
9-21-05 (7:24AM EST)—- Doraemon TV Theme Sees First Change In 20 Years
The opening theme of the popular children’s animation Doraemon broadcast on TV Asahi (7:00PM on Fridaya) has been totally revamped, marking the first change for the song in 26 years. Rimi Natsukawa performs the new theme which will be incorporated in the series from October 28. Doraemon also saw a total renewal of it’s voice cast in April.
9-20-05 (7:11AM EST)—- Evangelion Game Being Developed For PSP
Namco/Bandai had word at the TGS2005 on their forthcoming Evangelion game port. It progresses as part of the “Evangelion Tenth Anniversary Project”. Building upon the PS2 “Evangelion 2” game released in November, 2003, many new elements are being added including FMV animation sequences.
9-20-05 (7:11AM EST)—- Live Action Initial D Film Opens In Japan
A good start can be said for the Japanese theatrical release of the Hong Kong produced live action Initial D. Opening in Japan on the 17th on 180 screens, several theaters reported overcapacity according to distributing agency Gaga Communications. 2 days from the opening 120,000 people were recorded to have purchased tickets to the tune of a 170 million Yen. This exceeds the animated Initial D Movie’s own opening by around 2x. A one billion Yen total box office is currently forecast. Several high power rivals opened simultaneously with Initial D this weekend including Shinobi.
9-20-05 (6:53AM EST)—- Toei Begins Internet VOD Service
Toei plans to rollout an online video on demand (VOD) service which will launch in November. This marks the first VOD internet service entry of any major Japanese movie company. At first, those in hotels, senior citizen nursing home facilities, and hospitals will have access. The new company, Cinema Plus, is being formed to facilitate the service with a startup capital of 240 million Yen. Toei has invested 51% into the venture with Nomura Research Institute of Technology and Economics investing 25%. 400 titles including films and animation are scheduled to be delivered. a charge of 2000-3000 Yen per month to access the service is expected.
9-20-05 (6:39AM EST)—- TMS Entertainment Begins DVD Production
TMS Entertainment, the company best known for it’s Lupin III animation, formally announced plans to produce and distribute DVD and video media in-house as a newly formed business. The move comes as TMS, founded in 1964, seeks more independence as a studio that has been involved in planning, property production and sales as well as importing and exporting animated works. Until this point outside companies had contracted for DVD production rights on various licenses. TMS aims at sales of one billion Yen and a release of a scheduled of five works by March of next year. The first product from the initiative, Monkey Punch – Mankatsu, is already in stores across Japan. Retailing at 25,000 Yen, the Box Set includes 7 discs.
9-20-05 (6:16AM EST)—- Kami no Hidari-te Akuma no Migi-te Film Project
Based on the manga by Kazuo Umezu, there are some new updates on the live action film project surrounding Kami no Hidari-te Akuma no Migi-te (God’s left hand Satan’s right hand). Shusuke Kaneko (Gamera) has been appointed to direct. He picks up the film which was being prepared by Hiroyuki Nasu (Devil Man) before his unfortunate death at the hands of liver cancer in February this year. Kaneko plans to preserve the vision of Nasu in the film and will credit the deceased director at the beginning of the finished version. Theatrical release is planned for 2006.
9-20-05 (5:47AM EST)—- Wachowski Bros. Interested In Hollywood Shinobi Remake
Inspired by 1995’s Ghost In The Shell when creating their Matrix trilogy of films, the Wachowski Brothers are again looking to Japan for future project direction. An offer to remake the just released Futaroh Yamada Basilisk novel based film, Shinobi, was reportedly sent from the American director’s production company to Shochiku. This was announced at this past weekend’s Shinobi stage greeting by Shinobi director Ten Shimoyama. The current premise for the remake apparantly involves replacing the original plot’s ninja setting with a modern corporate espionage story.
9-20-05 (4:34AM EST)—- Japanese / Korean Animation Exhibition Opens In South Korea
Running between September 8th and October 30th at Seoul, South Korea’s Sungkok Art Museum will be the AniMate exhibtion on Japanese and Korean animation. The showing comes as the 2 nations are celebrating a special year of friendship. In recent years contemporary art has seen new trends trough interdisciplinary practice with different genres and various forms of visual culture on periphery of fine art, such as comics, animation, moving images, fashion and architecture. Especially Korean and Japanese artists who have grown up with comics and animation are making new expressions from them and literally “animating” the contemporary art scenes. This exhibition introduces works by seven artists and one duo from Korea and Japan The variant approaches in their works include: making of a new character by taking references from existing comics, utilization of expressional techniques that are specific to comics such as framing and narrative, and application of their techniques of animation. It is the museum’s hope that this exhibition provides an opportunity for people of the two countries to inspire and befriend each other by means of “Animate”, a cultural characteristic that is common to contemporary art in both countries.
Artists: Moon Kyungwon, Mr., Lee Dongi, Nishiyama Minako, 44[Sasa], Aida Makoto, Choi Hochul, Aoki Ryoko+Ito Zon
Grant from : The Korea Foundation, The Japan Foundation
Support from : Daewoo Construction Co., Ltd, SHISEIDO
9-20-05 (4:12AM EST)—- Gedo Senki To Be Ghibli And Miyazaki’s Next?
According to a blog entry of an anonymous editor working for a publisher in Tokyo, the next film animation work to be tackled by Studio Ghibli will be based on the Earthsea series of novels by American fantasy writer Ursula K. Le Guin. Specifically, the book Gedo Senki (Japanese Title). Hayao Miyazaki will reportedly direct. The editor learned of this news when a film rights option was being sought by the book’s Japanese publisher Iwanami Shoten. The America-based Sci-Fi Channel adapted Le Guin’s Earthsea series to TV in 2004 in it’s “Legend of Earthsea” miniseries. The author has expressed her disapproval of the faithfulness to the original works of the above TV version. Miyazaki has in the past admitted being an admirer of Le Guin’s writings.
9-20-05 (2:54AM EST)—- Satsuki And May Ticket Scalpers Offered Reprieve
Those hoping to stave off by legal means the gaggle of scalpers hawking tickets to Japan’s current most well known anime related attraction “Satsuki and May’s Houses” have hit another roadblock. The $1,000 tickets to the Aichi Expo attraction have been going for 40,000 Yen or more on the internet auction block. Now it has been revelaed the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department cannot apply a Tokyo ordinance against disturbing the peace that many interested parties would hope to be inacted to prohibit scalping sales. The tickets scalped online were judged to not fall within the “Discreet Place” qualification of the ordinance. Starting sale on April 1, all 20,000 of the tickets were snapped up in the period of about one hour.
In January 2002 a woman was arrested for purchasing and reselling a large number of tickets to the Ghibli Museum via internet auction channels. In this case the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department charged her with a violation of the above ordinance. However, in that case it was found that the act of resale was the prime reason for purcahse.
9-20-05 (2:38AM EST)—- Rozen Maiden Second Season – Video Game
At the Rozen Maiden stage event at TGS 2005 today it was announced the anime series sequel “Rorzemmaden Toroiment” would begin telecast beginning this autumn on MBS-BS-i and TBS. Also for the first time the story will be adapted to a video game with a PS2 version due out from Taito. Details on the content of the game are to be forthcoming.
9-19-05 (6:35AM EST)—- Production IG On Latest KOF Game Animation
At the Tokyo Game Show 2005 running this weekend it was announced that the FMV animation sequences for SNK’s latest fighter KOF MAXMUM IMPACT2 will be produced by Production IG (Ghost In The Shell). Also, an animation short featurette – The King of Fighters: Another Day will be made web exclusive. Release of both the game and short are scheduled for a winter release. Chara designs by Ichi Shimomura, Directed by Tachibana Masanori, Screenplay by Ayau Asanuma.
9-18-05 (5:45AM EST)—- “Sea Monkey” Manga Effect Cited In Highest Japan Coast Guard Enlistment Run Ever
The number of applicants to schools that train candidates for Japan’s Coast Guard are higher than ever recently and the reason for such an unusual spike in interest is said to be the effect of a manga whose story focuses on the maritime defenders. Umizaru or “Sea Monkey” by Sato Shuuho serialized weekly in Shogakukan’s Young Sunday for two and a half years from 1999. Over 4 million copies have been sold. The manga tells the story of 14 fresh recruits to the Japanese Coast Guard’s elite team of salvage and rescue divers, including their grueling initial training and intro into service. NHK adapted Umizaru to a TV drama in 2002, 1 year later a sequel second series premiered. 2004 saw an Film version which opened in June to draw over 1.24 million people to Japanese theaters. Hideaki Ito (Princess Blade), pop idol, Ai Kato and Tatsuya Fuji star. A sequel of the movie is due in May 2006.
The real life Japanese Coast Guard elite consist of 200 men and women in their 20’s assigned to 30 patrol boats based out of 5 locations in areas including Hokkaido, Hakodate and Kagoshima. Beyond the record number of new careers being created (8,617 people signed up this year to Japan’s Maritime Safety Academy and Maritime Safety Training School), many fans of the media phenomena have signed up for general diving triaining and tourists have flocked to see the realife kaiho facilities.
9-18-05 (5:38AM EST)—- Alice TV Staff Announced
Nagisa Miyazaki (DC DaCappo) has been decided as director on the forthcoming Kagi-hime Monogatari Eikyuu Alice Rinbukyoku (Key Princess Story, Eternal Alice Rondo) TV series. The story is adapted from the 2004 Kaishaku manga serialised in Comic Monthly Dengeki Daioh. Tri-net Entertainment will produce. Character Designs by Hisako Sato.
9-16-05 (4:20AM EST)—- First J-Rock Convention Planned In California
As you may have noticed, the Japanese rock (Jrock) fanbase has steadily grown in these recent years. Through influence of the ever popular anime conventions, we’ would like to introduce the first convention dedicated solely to Japanese rock. Because this is the first jrock convention, we need to be publicized as much possible in order to spread the word about one of the hugest steps in Japanese-music history in the United States.
What: The Jrock Connection is the first ever jrock convention in existance. We will feature events such as j-music Karaoke, a jrock costume masquerade, jrock costume construction panel, artists row. . . and most importantly, a live 3 hour concert. The concert includes 2 Visual Kei bands from Japan as well as three jrock influenced bands from California.
Where: Santa Clara Marriott 2700 Mission College Boulevard Santa Clara, CA 95054
When: November 26-27, 2005
Why: In terms of major Japanese trends overseas, Jrock has a huge fanbase located in the U.S. Never before has their been a convention where jrock fans could attend to with events 100% dedicated to the theme of jrock. Anime conventions have recently served as a source for Jrock fans to attend a few japanese rock related events, but the name, “anime convention” signifies that it is indeed targeted towards anime fans, not jrock.
Who: Organized and run by jrock fans themselves, our goal is to bring together jrock fans throughout the United States.
Contact: Denise Tan
9-16-05 (4:13AM EST)—- American Claims Hurricane Katrina A Yakuza Act
American TV weather forecaster Scott Stephens claims his research leads him to believe The Japanese mafia could have generated Hurricane Katrina which ravaged the US gulf coast region 3 weeks ago. The motive is revenge for the American atomic bombing of Japan 60 years ago. This could have been done utilizing weather modification equipment procured from the USSR, a technology which was perfected in in the 1970’s. The KPVI forecaster claims the cloud form of the storm was unatural leading him to consider the artificial origin. Stepehens has been interviewed around 40 times on American radio regarding his theory as well as granting interviews in the Japanese press.
9-16-05 (3:22AM EST)—- Company Chairman Reportedly Bites Hostess For 30 Minutes
Drunk on sake in a high-level nightclub of Osaka, police have reported a 48 year old president of a health food sales company repeatedly bit the shoulder and arm of a 23 year old hostess for around 30 minutes this week. The president was a patron and male clerks at the club are being charged with turning a blind eye to the inncident by the woman who has resigned.
9-16-05 (3:02AM EST)—- NANA Blitzs Movie And Album Charts In Japan
Director Kentaro Otani’s long-awaited big screen adaptation of Ai Yazawa’s best-selling girls’ manga “NANA” has been in Japanese theaters for 2 weeks now. The film is a rock and roll story pairing Aoi Miyazaki with Mika Nakashima and features Ryuhei Matsuda. The theme single GLAMOROUS SKY continues to top the Oricon charts as the film enters it’s second week running. At the box office NANA has drawn a profit of 1.5 billion Yen and 1.1 million viewers as of the 11th. One billion Yen is the measure of a hit in the Japanese movie world. Toho is aiaming for a 7.7 billion Yen target at this point. The Manga is still serialized in one of Japan’s most popular weekly comic magazines: “Cookie”. Comic sales of 13 published volumes have exceeded 25 million. NANA is now scheduled to open in 7 countries across Asia such as Taiwan.
9-16-05 (1:51AM EST)—- New Gaiking TV Date Set
Toei’s first giant robot animation in 14 years has been announced to broadcast on TV Asahi from 10:50 Saturday, November 12, 2005. Gaiking first debuted in TV anime format on April 1, 1976 where it ran through January 27, 1977. The comes in part due to the fan response of a special pilot film screened at the Tokyo Anime Fair 2004.
9-16-05 (12:51AM EST)—- Ikki Tousen TV Criticized In Chinese Press
Chinese language Sohu.com (Nanjing Newspaper Industry Network – Jinling Evening News) is currently running an article by Wang Xuemei which lambasts the recent broadcast of the Japanese Ikki Tousen animation series. Based on the Shiozaki Yuuji manga, the 2004 TV version features high school fighting in modern day Japan between reincarnated female warriors from China’s Three Kingdoms era. According to the reporter, the work “seriously twists national history” and is a “collection of violent pornography”.
9-15-05 (11:34PM EST)—- TV Tokyo Announces October Shows
TV Tokyo has posted a list of shows and times for it’s fall anime season to commence in October. New programs include: Capeta, Animal Side Street, Cluster Edge, ARIA The ANIMATION, Koten Kotenko (Terrible), King Adventure Bitoecserion, Dance – HiME, Rockman and BEAST, Super-Star Fleet Sazar X, Ten Idaten Jump, Grapple Bicamitakeruu (Uron), Skating Rink Kaleidoscope.
9-15-05 (10:33PM EST)—- New Fist Of The Northstar Cast Assembles
The 3 seiyuu that will compose the core of the first Fist revival film Hokuto no Ken – Raoh Gaiden Junai-hen appeared together at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo on the 15th. The animated movie will open to the public in March 2006. Ukaji Takashi (43) (Rao), Kou Shibasaki (24) (Lynn) and Hiroshi Abe (41) (Kenshiro) will star. Over 100 million copies of the original manga have been sold to date.
9-15-05 (5:31AM EST)—- Battle Brews Over Chusonji’s Earthly Remains
A 3rd mediation has reportedly taken place over the fate of late manga artist Yutsuko Chusonji’s inheritance. Both her mother and husband are fighting over her estate and indeed the physical remains and final resting place of the artist herself. Many fans have visited her former home in Yokohama City since her death in January.
9-15-05 (4:51AM EST)—- AAA On Initial D Movie Theme
8 member super pop group AAA’s debut release “BLOOD on FIRE” has been announced as the theme song of the live action Initial D movie Japanese release. The film hits theaters nationwide on September 17th. The single has achieved 8th place already on the daily Oricon charts after it’s 9/13 debut. AAA’s appointment on the musically focused series is being praised by many observers in the Japanese media. The mixed male and female group has carried out some special events for AVEX including street performances and some concert dates.
9-15-05 (3:20AM EST)—- EVANGELION [DECADE] Album In October
Starchild updated with a listing for the coming CD NEON GENESIS EVANGELION [DECADE] due October 26th. Original seiyuu Megumi Hayashihara will contribute a song on the album.
9-15-05 (12:40AM EST)—- Kawabuchi: Captain Tsubasa Vital To Pro Soccer’s Development In Japan
Youichi Takahashi’s football manga epic, Captain Tsubasa was integral in raising the national popularity of the sport in Japan according to a new Nikkei BP Interview with Founding Chairman of the J.League, Saburo Kawabuchi. The original manga was serialized between 1981 and 1988 in Shonen Jump and spawned several animation iterations. Kawabuchi mentioned that because the extension of the popularity base of the sport among children considerably high during the manga’s run (at a time in which baseball overshadowed soccer in national interest), that generation grew up to allow enough interest so the J. League could have been started and gone on to enjoy a higher level of success that would otherwise not be possible.
9-15-05 (12:30AM EST)—- Red And White Song Battle Selections
NHK has posted up song choices that internet users can vote for to set the stage for this year’s 56th Red and White Song Battle. The event airs on TV December 31st and pits the hottest stars in Japan against one anther as the compete in a team based singing contest. Current and past anime themes have always been popular song selections in the battle.
9-14-05 (11:54PM EST)—- Sumitomo Offers Investors Shares In Fist Of The Northstar
Japanese financial institution SMBC Friend Securities has established a “Movie Fund” for North Stars Productions forthcoming Fist Of The Northstar animated film revival. Through the Japanese fund individual investors can buy shares in the actual project. Shares will market for 100,000 Yen each. The uniquely Japanese fund system has recently become popular with individual investors. Shochiku used such a system for it’s release of the film Shinobu – SHINOBI due to open this fall. Capital of 500 million Yen for the film’s production was collected from around 1300 individuals.
9-14-05 (11:01PM EST)—- Wedge HD Acquires RADIX
Wedge Holdings has announced it’s purchase bid for Anime studio RADIX (Tenchi Muyo In Love, Sakura Taisen) due to close within the year for an estimated 300 million Yen or more plus all RADIX stock. The move comes as Wedge had announced it’s ambition to enter production and copyright possession of such media as video and music with a big push in this direction scheduled for September, 2006.
Marking it’s 15th anniversary in 2006, RADIX was founded in 1991 as the LLC ‘ZERO G ROOM’ by President Hiroshi Negishi. Negishi-san is well known inside industry circles as being an extremely hard worker and hands on with all aspects of company operation. He reportedly took on the duties of 5 staff (planning, original story, directing, producing and accounting) for one of the firm’s initial OVA works. Today, RADIX employs over 70 people and has launched a second studio, Radix-02. They are involved in 3D animation production as well as “mobanimation”, a term coined in house to refer to animation on mobile devices. Seminars are being scheduled throughout 2005 at different schools to teach techniques unique to the process. RADIX is based in Narima-Ku, Tokyo.
9-14-05 (10:45PM EST)—- VIZ Triglomorate Sets Site On Europe
With holdings in merchandising, manga publishing and animation, the recently combined Japanese firms of Shogakukan, Shueisha and ShoPro who have established a strong foothold in America through VIZ are now persuing oppertunities in Europe with new ventures to get underway starting next month. Attention is being focused to drawing local publishers and Television networks in licensing copyrights related to various properties. To this end the triglomorate will unite with the brokerage house Copyright Promotions based out of Britain to create a sales company to be established in the Netherlands on October 1. Europe Vizmedia will be based in Amsterdam City with London’s Copyright Pormotions and San Francisco’s Vizmedia contributing 50% of the initial startup funds. Initial capital will be $500,000 dollars.