June 2, 2005 / by Anime News Services / Archived News / No Comments

Anime News Service – June 2 – September 13 Anime News

6-16-05 (6:16AM EST)—- Gunbuster 2 Fan Mecha Design Contest Winner

GAINAX has posted design illustrations for it’s TOP2 “Buster Machine Design Contest”. Over 200 fan entries were recieved from across Japan. The grand prize winners were “Toransan” and “Sowasandu”. The 2 designs will appear in the animation from the 5th episode.

6-16-05 (6:15AM EST)—- Beijing Imitation Pavilion

JETRO has assembled a best of the best collcetion of Chinese knockoffs based on well known Japanese brands. The JETRO Beijing center imitation exhibition pavilion established last April was just renewedly opened and includes discovered / confiscated goods numbering about 150 items totalled. There are many images at the above link.

6-16-05 (5:21AM EST)—- Final Fantasy: Advent Children Update

FF7AC Reunion has information Square ENIX’s coming OVA adaptation of the FF7 game: Final Fantasy: Advent Children. JUMP #29 (on sale from 6/20) will include a spread on some of the special edition goods including baseball cap and key ring. Of note is a rather low res digicam shot of the spread which nonetheless contains some of the first screenshots of the animation.

6-16-05 (5:01AM EST)—- Japan Weekend Movie Rankings

Movie@Nifty has a pictorial guide to this past weekend’s top movies currently playing in theaters. Taking top spot this week is Warring States Self-Defense Force 1549. Based on the 2ch love story, Trainman moves to #2 while Zeta Gundam: Heirs To The Stars moves to 7th.

6-16-05 (4:11AM EST)—- DC Anime Art Show

DC Anime Art Show:
Who:DC Anime Club
What: DC Anime Ar show When: Oct 22,2005 11am -5pm
Where: Martin Luthur King,Jr Memorial Library 903 G st NW Washington,DC 20001 in Exhibit Hall A-2 and Room A9.
In a nut shell: We the DC Anime Club will be running our own Art Show at the Martin Luthur King,Jr Memorial Library in Exhibit Hall A-2. The DC Anime Art Show will consist of the following activities: Fan Art Display by our club members Cosplay Gathering Anime Screening of the scariest anime known to anime fans.
Website: http://dcanime.umd.edu/events/artshow.html

6-15-05 (8:04AM EST)—- Tokyopop Begins Publishing Business In Japan

Already a factor in European and American markets, Tokyopop has now officially announced the launch of it’s publishing division in Japan. The new venture kicks off with commitment to introducing Hollywood related material in manga / cinemanga format. The current goal will see the release of about 10 seperate titles, generating sales of around 500 million Yen annually. 3 Star Wars cine-manga books will be the first released under the imprint on the 21st this month. Sales of around 200 million Yen are expected on this property alone.
Source: Manga News Service

6-14-05 (5:54AM EST)—- Animation RE Magazine Launches

Taking aim at giants such as Newtype and Animage, Japan’s myriad of character related publications gets a little bit denser this July with the release of Index’s bimonthly Animation RE magazine. Index has been a large shareholder in companies such as Madhouse and Takara. Plans are to take the mag monthly in the future.

6-14-05 (5:44AM EST)—- Tokuyama University Establishes Manga Room

Tokuyama University has opened a special manga section of it’s library consisting of 5,000 books. Title were said to have been chosen based on character and title popularity. The purchase of the books was made for the cost of about three million Yen via a second-hand bookshop in Tokyo according to a Chinese newspaper. The school recently announced it’s anime / manga production study course.
Source: Manga News Service

6-14-05 (5:42AM EST)—- Gundam Zeta Movie 2 Release

The second Mobile Suit Gundam Zeta film “Lovers” has been announced to open in theaters nationwide across Japan on Saturday, October 29. Advance tickets have already began selling and the number of theaters selling such tickets has increased after the proven success of the first movie.

6-14-05 (5:16AM EST)—- China Could Ban Foreign Animation Broadcasts To Boost Domestic Industry

State run news agency Xinhua reports China could ban foreign-made cartoons from prime time television once the quantity and quality of domestic cartoons reach a certain level, Chinese language newspaper reports quoted officials at the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television as saying Wednesday. The ratio of foreign-made cartoons to domestic ones had already been set to 4:6, said an official at the agency’s cartoon department, who refused to give her name. Japanese and American content currently composes the bulk of televised animation in China.

6-14-05 (4:59AM EST)—- Tezuka Productions Announces Chinese Subsidiary

Following TYO’s recent announcement, Tezuka Productions has become only the second Japanese animation producer to establish a subsidiary in China. The news came at a business briefing on the 13th in Beijing. Named “Beijing Sharaku”, the firm which will begin creating original works immediately has already confirmed their first film. The 2 two hour feature which deals with the relationship between man and nature, “Butterfly On The Shoulder” will be directed by Jacob Chang in Hong Kong. To be mainly a Chinese market release, Tezuka Pro will supply technological support.

6-7-05 (5:06AM EST)—- Japanese Weekend Box-Office

Movie@Nifty has the results of this weekend’s Japanese box-office rankings. The top position has been reclaimed by fandom, with the just released live action film adaptation of Densha Otoko (Train Man). Slipping 2 spots to number 5 on Nifty’s chart is Gundam Zeta.

6-7-05 (4:51AM EST)—- 1st Chinese Animation Festival Wraps

Sunday saw the final day of China’s 1st International Animation Festival in Hangzhou. 1.2 million people were the preliminary figures for attendence. The number shatters the projected 300,000 expected by festival organizers. Over 2,000 joined in on various business related panels and lectures. Masakazu Kubo of Shogakukan known for Pokemon was reportedly present.

Beyond the global exposure and fanfare for the industry there, however, were 2 main issues: One of combating piracy and counterfeit goods and many calls were heard for an overall domestic promotion chain revitalization. Lack of talent appears to be a non issue while avenues for production and promotion of Chinese creators and works are what is needed. Industry insiders say a comprehensive production chain is more complicated than producing and selling. Scientific research, education, exploration of valued cartoon products are all involved. Last year, derivative products of cartoon and online gaming has gained the industry over 500 billion US dollars in the world. And Chinese market is believed to generate 37 billion US dollars income by the end of this year.

Closing on the positve side, one of the biggest talks of the show was the coming film Xi You Ji, or “Journey to the West” which currently leads the Chinese animation industry in production fees, with a budget of 70 million yuan RMB or some 8 million US dollars. The story is adapted from the classic mythological novel, authored by Wu Cheng’en in the 16th century (also used for the basis of anime such as Dragonball and Saiyuki). Now in its last stage of production, the expected Chinese release is expected to coincide with the TV series, Journey to the West. U.S. and European markets are being examined for possible export.
Sources: CRI News | Xinhua

6-7-05 (2:58AM EST)—- Last Unicorn Live Action Film News

1982 saw the American theatrical release of animated film Last Unicorn. Based on the book by Peter S. Beagle, production of the movie was a joint project between Americans Rankin – Bass who provided story, music and dialog and Japanese studio Topcraft. Core Topcraft staff shortly thereafter joined Hayao Miyazaki’s studio Ghibli. Now, even as the original author readies the sequel novel TWO HEARTS, plans are advancing for a live action film adaptation of the original story. According to information just published in Peter Beagle’s newsletter The Raven, Continent Films recently paid $250,000, taking action on their contracted buyout clause with Granada Media who own the rights to the 1982 movie. This shows serious commitment on the part of the studio. However, the announced budget is reportedly a third of what Beagle believes it should be and the situation appears to stand at if that’s how things are going to be, he’d rather they not make the film at all. That being said, Continent says they are bringing a new producer on board who is a Hollywood heavyweight, someone with a background in this kind of movie, someone who can get things done and get the budget increased. Regarding sequels, which the author maintains all media rights on, now that TWO HEARTS is coming out, and a full sequel novel is in the works, Peter is free to try and start up his own direct cinematic sequel to The Last Unicorn if he can find an interested producer or studio. That search has reportedly begun. Whether the cache of anime appeal the original has ecrued is great enough to see a possible resulting film originating in Japan is yet to be seen.

6-6-05 (5:24AM EST)—- Toriyama Confirmed On Blue Dragon Manga

News first surfaced in mid May that Dragonball creator Akira Toriyama would be collaborating in a character design capacity on Mist Walker’s forthcoming Xbox360 RPG Blue Dragon. This would have the prolific mangaka be reunited with the original production team from Chrono Trigger: Hironobu Sakaguchi and Nobuo Uematsu. 1up.com has just posted an interview with Square and Mist Walker founder, Sakaguchi-san where he confirms Toriyama studios will produce a Blue Dragon manga to accompany the game. The manga will be serialized in Japanese magazine Shonen Jump, but will definitely be published in the U.S. and Europe as well.
Source: Manga News Service

6-5-05 (5:41AM EST)—- New Megazone 23 Animation Announced

Nikkei Characters Magazine issue no. 8 released May 25th in Japan has a mention that production has started up on a new Megazone 23 work. Aparantly returning will be the main characters including Eve and the transforming motorcycle Garland. Well known character designer Haruhiko Mikimoto (Macross) of the first series will return to design characters. Full details such as the nature (remake / sequel) or format (movie, TV / OAV series) were not disclosed.

6-5-05 (3:14AM EST)—- Planetes Featured In Japanese Astronomical Magazine

The August 2005 issue (on sale July 5th) of the Japanese astronomical magazine HOSHI NAVI will profile the PHASE PLANETARIUM vocal drama tour based on the Makoto Yukimura manga / Sunrise animation Planetes. The tour runs from May through 2006 in planetariums nationwide in Japan. Back stateside, Bandai Entertainment will officially debut the space drama in the US on DVD on the 14th of June.

6-5-05 (2:24AM EST)—- Shinichi Watanabe On t.A.T.u Anime

The June 2005 issue of the Japanese URA BUBKA Magazine has published an interview with famed director Shinichi Watanabe (Excel Saga – Tenchi Muyo GXP). The article covers a number of projects he’s involved in currently including an animated film featuring the Russian female singing duo t.A.T.u. Late 2003 saw the announcement of the movie along with the website www.tatu-paragate.jp. Plans at the time were for a Japanese release in Japan in November 2004. Directing would be Norio Kashima and Susume Kudoh with Watanabe directing only the opening. When the website was pulled at the start of this year the status of the project came into question in fan circles.

According to the article (which lists the director’s answers under his alter-ego Nabeshin) Watanabe isn’t quite sure as to where it currently stands, mentioning it could have been lost. A character designer aquaintance of his at the production company contacted him and said they would like to be involved. A hotel meeting supposedly took place with a Russian man named Ivan who was involved with production. There was talk regarding Watanabe maybe being brought on as overall supervisor but after it was confirmed they already had one the first segment directorial role was offered to him. Upon accepting, he says he was interested in doing something that could convey the feeling of the Animatrix although the budget would need to be increased by about 5 times. The budget increase was initially approved but when the money did not come through the production status was relegated to limbo status.

6-5-05 (2:24AM EST)—- Classic Japanese Anmation At L.A. Film Festival

Daniel sends in a screening schedule link for the upcoming Los Angeles Film Festival occuring June 16-26. On the roster are many early examples of Japanese animation dating from as far back as the 1920’s.

6-5-05 (2:18AM EST)—- Geneon Anime Festival Announced

GENEON ANIME FESTIVAL FEATURING THE NORTH AMERICAN DEBUT OF JAPANESE ROCK SENSATION KOTOKO

Performing top hit songs from her current releases and upcoming album, Japan’s rising new music artist, KOTOKO, will be appearing live in concert on Saturday afternoon, July 2, as part of the “Geneon Anime Festival” (starting at 1pm inside the Anaheim Convention Center’s live programming room) at Anime Expo, the largest anime convention in the United States. Anime Expo (July 1-4, 2005) takes place this year at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California and is expected to draw over 30,000 attendees. Firmly established in Japan as a driving new force in the J-pop and techno/trance culture, KOTOKO is appearing in the U.S. for the first time. Anime fans and music fans will be able to see KOTOKO at the “Geneon Anime Festival” sponsored by Geneon Entertainment.

In addition to a full-scale concert, the Geneon event will showcase sneak-peek screenings of the latest and hottest anime features licensed by the company, as well as a bomb-shell surprise appearance by an anime industry guest involved with the much-anticipated new HELLSING ULTIMATE OAV SERIES. In keeping with the program’s anime theme, popular anime voice actors Johnny Yong Bosch and Wendee Lee will be hosting this event spectacular.

6-5-05 (2:16AM EST)—- Novels Coming From Viz

VIZ Media, LLC. (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive manga and animation licensing and publishing companies, has announced the launch of an expanded library of new Fiction Imprints that will include Novels based on popular anime and manga properties.

Among the titles that will be released in the Fall of 2005 will be novelizations of popular action and science fiction titles such as FULL METAL ALCHEMIST, GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE AFTER THE LAST GOODBYE and STEAMBOY, all to be published under the VIZ Media brand. Two additional Fiction Novels aimed at female readers include SOCRATES IN LOVE, the best-selling Japanese novel of all time, and KAMIKAZE GIRLS and will be published under the newly launched Shojo Beat Fiction imprint. This summer, VIZ Media will debut the live action film of KAMIKAZE GIRLS to audiences in North America. The film drew critical acclaim in Japan and was based on this original novel. VIZ Media first began offering novelizations based on popular manga series in 1999, when it published Koushun Takami’s modern day pulp classic, BATTLE ROYALE. The unique presentation and unprecedented success of the title was a driving force behind this latest expansion of the library. The Fiction Novels present narratives featuring the same characters and storylines that mirror those in the manga or anime counterparts. However, the novels often expand the characters and stories depicted, providing greater insights into the background of many notable plot points.

“Good stories are extremely versatile and the expansion of our library of Fiction Novels continues to demonstrate how the plots and characters portrayed in various anime and manga titles can transcend the original medium to be depicted in a variety of formats,” said Liza Coppola, vice president of sales and marketing for VIZ Media. “We are pleased to publish a variety of novels that will appeal to young readers, fans of science fiction, action and shojo stories.”
Source: Manga News Service

6-4-05 (3:36AM EST)—- MOMA Ghibli Exhibition

The June 4th Japanese edition of the Asahi Shimbun mentions the MOMA “Great masters of the animated cartoon” Ghibli retrospective that kicked off Friday. 13 works of Hayao Miyazaki and Takahata will be screened at the Museum of Modern Art, New York including Howl’s Moving Castle. Asahi reports cultural projects themed around Japanese animation are springing up one after another in New York currently. They cite the Japan Society’s various initiatives this summer.

6-4-05 (3:21AM EST)—- Hino Amega Furu Screening

As previously reported, this spring and summer Japan has been screening many WWII setting anime that express the horrors of war visited upon it’s shores by Allied Forces 60 years ago. The 80 minute 1988 Mushi Pro film Hino Ame (Fire Rain) depicting the firebombing air raid in Fukuoka is set to screen in the very city on the 19th of this month. Screening in local elementary and junior high schools will also occur. The story is based on a book centered on the perspective of a puppeteer’s son’s experiences during the attack. Some survivors of the raid will be in attendence and the planning commitee is hoping young people will come so that Japan’s 1st hand experience with war will not be forgotten.

6-4-05 (2:45AM EST)—- Maid Hotel Opens

Those wishing to experience lodging in the spirit of Japan’s revived maid culture now have an option in the My Sweet Home Moe Room Maid Hotel opening this month in Shizuoka Prefecture, Atami City. A 25,000 Yen reservation gets one a room for a night, 2 meals (breakfast-dinner) and special treatment from the full staff compliment which happen to be dressed as sexy maids. Outdoor hotsprings and a fully stocked housemaid coktail bar awaits lodgers in the evening as well. Free options to the standard lodging include “Angelsmile”, “Call At Lovely Evening”, “Lovely Wakeup Call” and 2 souvenir pictures. Plus there seem to be some secret service that can be requested!?

6-4-05 (2:10AM EST)—- What Would FFXI Look Like On XBOX360?

Wonder No More, Square Enix recently conducted and experiment by rendering the game as it would appear on the Xbox360 hardware.

6-4-05 (1:30AM EST)—- Bandai Bringing Gashapon To North America

The May 31 Japanese edition of the Mainichi Newspaper reports Bandai will market character Gashapon (capsule toys) in North America. The company will utilize it’s new partnership with Namco who owns many arcades there. The plan calls for Bandai’s Gashapon to be incorported into the vending machines in these facilities. Power Rangers and Hello Kitty toys will be the first offerings.

6-4-05 (1:21AM EST)—- Tokyopop Announces .hack//AI buster Manga

TOKYOPOP, the #1 publisher of manga in the U.S., is thrilled to unveil the latest addition to its rapidly growing novel publishing program with the release of .hack//AI buster, the heavily anticipated prequel to the .hack mythology. With a unique layout incorporating design motifs from the .hack franchise and a peppering of manga-style illustrations, the .hack// AI buster novel successfully combines the best of the visual and literary worlds. Priced at $7.99, TOKYOPOP’s .hack//AI buster novel will be available in stores everywhere in August 2005.

.hack is a multimedia phenomenon unlike any seen before. Released simultaneously in Japan as a series of Playstation 2 games, two anime series and the manga series, each incarnation helps tell the greater story of .hack. The first anime series now airs on Cartoon Network in the U.S., the first of four Playstation 2 games is a top-seller in the States and now the thrilling TOKYOPOP adventure novel takes readers even deeper into the .hack saga.

Welcome to The World, the most advanced online game ever created. In The World you can be anyone you want to be, act out your adventure fantasies and through teamwork and determination, you can even become a hero. In .hack//AI buster, the avatar Albireo is a solo adventurer in The World. When he comes across Lycoris, a strange little girl in a dungeon, Albireo wonders if she’s simply nothing more than a bug in the system. As the two journey further into The World, Albireo watches Lycoris turn all of the rules of The World upside down. Slowly, he comes to realize that she may hold a very deadly secret–a secret that could unhinge everything in cyberspace…and beyond!

“Few people realize that a lot of the anime and manga out there actually began as text novels and was adapted into other mediums, says TOKYOPOP novels editor, Nicole Monastirsky. “And now, in Japan, that’s becoming the rule rather than the exception. There’s a wealth of great root material out there, and if you thought you loved the manga and anime, imagine reading the source stuff first generation details that lead you deeper into the characters and the backstory of the individual universes.”
Source: Manga News Service

6-3-05 (5:23AM EST)—- Fushigi Yuugi PS2 Game Trailer

On Friday afternoon in Japan Idea Factory has posted the first promotional video for it’s coming PS2 adaptation of the popular Yuu Watase series Fushigi Yuugi. Subtitled Genbukaiden – Kagami no Fujo, the love adventure will be released in Japan on June 23, 2005. The game’s theme will be performed by Yonekura Chihiro. The Studio Pierrot anime TV series achieved success among fans in America and was originally aired in Japan 1995-1996. The sequel manga is being issued by Shogakukan now. Retail is 7,140 Yen for the regular version and 9,240 for the limited edition. The 3 minute 52 second trailer is available in hi and low res MPEG 4 formats.

6-3-05 (3:52AM EST)—- Exclusive: Vie Durant Sequel: XOIC

Reaching back in our pile of documents picked up 2 months ago at the Tokyo Anime Fair we continue to find animation projects that were promoted there that have simply not been officially announced yet even in Japan. Today’s example comes courtesy Radix who are the folks behind Tenchi Muyo In Love, Master Of Mosquiton, Sakura Taisen and Haibane Renmei. 2003 saw the premiere of the web based serial Vie Durant Directed by Hiroshi Negishi. The 5 minutes X 8 episode series was styled as a next generation experimental type and streamed online before then later being released to DVD on Feb. 25, 2004.

The storyline focuses in on an era after the south pole ice cap has melted and most of the Earth’s land is submerged underwater. In the post apocalyptic environment a special evolutionary trait called “the factor” appears in people. Those possesing it become a dominate subspecies and in effect become vampires. Humans are left to hunt them down. Thus the story centers on members of the Durant who carry the factor and are on the run from human persecution. Following the animation 4 drama albums followed concluding with “Basilisk” released in 2004. The series included male seiyuu heavyweights like Hikaru Midorikawa (Heero Yui – Gundam W).

Now “XOIC” appears to be the next chapter in the Vie Durant saga although scant information exists on it. Character art released to us at TAF depicts 4 boys in WWII era German style military uniforms. The delivery method (web, OVA, TV etc..) the series will take is currently unknown. The only solid info included with the art is a production roster. The entire staff from the original work return and include: Director Hiroshi Negishi, Script by Takamitsu Kouno, Character Design by Yukari Watanabe and Producer Koichi Kikuchi.
Image Copyright (C)Durant Project 2005

6-3-05 (1:52AM EST)—- Man Accused Of Keeping “Cos-Slave”

Tokyo police are calling it a dominate / submissive relationship. Kobayashi, a 24 year old Sapporo man is accused of confining an unemployed woman (23) for about four months in a Setagaya Ward, Tokyo apartment, threatening to kill her if she ran away. The suspect was also said to have held another woman for about two weeks. During this period Kobayashi was said to host cosplay parties where he would order the woman to dress up as different anime characters.

6-3-05 (1:05AM EST)—- Yamazaki Vanilla Voices Doraemon

Singer, Voice Actress and Campaign Girl Yamazaki Vanilla has become the latest new voice to join the renewed cast of the Doraemon TV Animation in Japan. From the episode airing on June 3rd, Yamazaki will perform the role of the younger sister of Jiyan. The role calls for the 152 centimeter, 40 kilo actress to perform a charcter who is physically around the same size as her older brother.

6-3-05 (12:20AM EST)—- Gokujou Seitokai PS2

Based on the popular schoolgirl TV series by JC Staff and Konami, IT Media has images for the just announced Gokujou Seitokai PS2 title.

6-3-05 (12:18AM EST)—- Castlevania: Dawn Of Sorrow Site

Konami posted it’s pre-site for the coming Nintendo DS adventure Castlevania: Dawn Of Sorrow. The game which uses heavy anime style characterizations took the IGN best adventure game of E3. Look for it in Japan August 25th for 4,980 Yen.

6-2-05 (11:50PM EST)—- Merscom Seeks Fan Translators For Game Project

Greetings! I am a producer with Merscom LLC. We have recently acquired a major Japanese PC game based on a HOT ANIME PROPERTY slated for a tentative US release in Q1 2006. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you what it is just yet. But in thinking about what the fans want and deserve, we intend to do something previously unheard-of! Something a little REVOLUTIONARY. A huge anime fan myself, I know the feeling of connecting with a show and getting to know its characters inside-out. I also know the FRUSTRATION of sitting through AWFUL English translations of anime and games that are obviously done by a third-party company that neither cares anything for them, but are simply out to make a buck.

That’s why we are extending an invitation to YOU. The Fans. We want to give YOU a chance to HELP US CREATE A TRANSLATION that will show the industry how POWERFUL you are and help END THE HEARTLESS TREATMENT that goes into the production of translated titles. Help us MAKE OUR GAME RIGHT! Help us make our game the way that you and all other fans know it and love it! If you are a fan highly proficient in the Japanese language, or a fan translation unit or group wanting to make ANIME HISTORY, contact us. Together, we will change the anime and game industries forever!

Email: ming@merscom.com

6-2-05 (10:35PM EST)—- 1/1 Scale VOTOM Project Completed

Japanese industrial artist Kogoro has completed his 1/1 scale metal replica of the Scopedog AT used by Chirico Cuvie in Ryosuke Takahashi’s Armored Trooper Votoms Anime series. The finished 4 meter tall AT can be viewed at Kokoro’s Monkey Farm blog report. The project has drawn interest from around Japan, being publicized in the national media. Others interested include original animation producers Bandai Visial and Sunrise, toy makers Takara and even the original staff. Series creator Ryosuke Takahashi, chara designer Norio Shioyama and mecha designer Kunio Okawa happened to pop into Kogoro’s shop see the finished work. The three were brought to together for an interview on the creation for one of many magazine articles being produced.

6-2-05 (9:55PM EST)—- Pink Pineapple Returns

Although the official website lapsed into stagnation for a period of about 6 months, prompting some fans to question the status of the fan favorite hentai anime label, Pink Pineapple is back with a new title due on DVD Japan on July 22. Kisaku Revival will retail at 7,140 Yen.

6-2-05 (9:08PM EST)—- Rats Invade Aichi Expo

Yahoo Japan has a picture of one of several large rats spotted near the Aichi Expo’s Nagakute Hall in Nagoya on May 29th. It was said the rats are from South America and were seen in a brook flowing from the grounds. Apparantly they found a food source in disgarded ramen bowls.

6-2-05 (9:08PM EST)—- Bi-Showjo Figure Convention

Japan’s largest city gets another hobby show in the form of the Bi-Showjo Figure Convention Tokyo scheduled for September 25th at the Ota Ward Industrial Plaza Grand Exhibition Hall. Admission is 1,000 Yen

6-2-05 (9:00PM EST)—- Tamago Association Rounded Up

After a thrown raw egg was found to have damaged a Taxi in Tokyo recently, the metro police assumed that the projectile was thrown out from a seventh floor window and four private university students were arrested. The 18 year olds have named their group the “Tamago Association”. They admited to throwing eggs repeatedly from December 2004 to March of this year. The leader of the group was a pitcher for a private highschool in Tokyo well known for their softball team.

6-2-05 (8:45PM EST)—- Anti-Masturbation Notices Appearing In Japanese Lingerie Catalogs

The site links a page from contemporary Japanese Language woman’s lingerie catalog. Note the text outlined in red on the righthand side. The rough translation is: “Please do not use this advertisement for the masturbation act etc.”

6-2-05 (8:06PM EST)—- Stone Bridge Readies Samurai Film Guide

Stone Bridge Press, publisher of books about Japan, introduces its third major book on cinema, this time celebrating one of the most beloved genres from Japan: the samurai film!

“Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves” is a critical guide to over 50 top samurai films, including such masterworks as the Oscar-winning ‘Gate of Hell,’ ‘Yojimbo’ (remade five times, including ‘A Fistful of Dollars’), the influential ‘Lady Snowblood,’ and newly released hits like Takeshi Kitano’s ‘Zatoichi.’

“Packed with great reviews and tons of background details, ‘Stray Dogs and Lone Wolves’ is a must for fans-or would-be fans-of the samurai genre,” said Robert Woodhead, CEO of AnimEigo. “I’ve already used it to make note of several films that we ought to release here in the U.S.”

Also here is information on the samurai era in Japan, the Japanese film industry, and the key actors and directors such as Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune, and Tatsuya Nakadai who turned these warrior tales of loyalty, duty, revenge, and explosive swordsmanship into a great dramatic art that has captivated the world.

Author Patrick Galloway is a lifelong student of Asian philosophy, film, and culture. Tired of how his favorite film genre is mistreated by most academic film critics, he took matters into his own hands and wrote the book for which he and his fellow samurai movie fans have been waiting.

“It is rare even among the Japanese to find anyone so well informed and passionate about Japan’s unique genre of samurai films,” said legendary actor Tatsuya Nakadai. “I admire Patrick Galloway’s great enthusiasm, and I hope his book will help you enjoy these films too.”

Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves: The Samurai Film Handbook is 240 pages, paperback, with 40 black & white photos. It retails for US$19.95. ISBN 1-880656-93-0. See the cover here

ACTORS AND DIRECTORS PROFILED: Hideo Gosha — Shinobu Hashimoto — Raizo Ichikawa — Shintaro Katsu — Masaki Kobayashi — Akira Kurosawa — Toshiro Mifune — Tatsuya Nakadai — Tetsuro Tamba — Tomisaburo Wakayama

FILMS REVIEWED: Adventures of Zatoichi — Band of Assassins — Chushingura — Daimajin — Destiny’s Son — Gate of Hell — Harakiri — Heaven & Earth — Hunter in the Dark — Kagemusha — Kwaidan — Lady Snowblood: Blizzard from the Netherworld — Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance — Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx — Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades — Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance — New Tale of Zatoichi — Rashomon — Red Lion — Roningai — Samurai 1: Musashi Miyamoto — Samurai 2: Duel at Ichijoji Temple — Samurai 3: Duel on Ganryu Island — Samurai Assassin — Samurai Banners — Samurai Rebellion — Samurai Reincarnation — Sanjuro — Seven Samurai — Shogun’s Samurai — Sleepy Eyes of Death: Sword of Seduction — Sleepy Eyes of Death: The Chinese Jade — Sword of Doom — Taboo — Tenchu! — The Hidden Fortress — The Razor: Sword of Justice — The Razor: The Snare — The Razor: Who’s Got the Gold? — The Secret of the Urn — The Tale of Zatoichi — The Tale of Zatoichi Continues — Three Outlaw Samurai — Throne of Blood — The Twilight Samurai — Wicked Priest: Cast a Net of Drunken Anger — Yojimbo — Yokai Monsters: 100 Monsters — Zatoichi — Zatoichi Challenged — Zatoichi: The Festival of Fire

6-2-05 (5:28PM EST)—- Hiroki Takahashi Announces Fight

Anime voice actor Hiroki Takahashi has opted for the role of ring announcer in the upcoming “HERO’S” fighting event to be held in the National Yoyogi Gymnasium on July 6.

6-2-05 (5:05PM EST)—- Japan Post Releases Gundam Stamps

The second series offering in the Japanese Postal Service’s animation “hero and heroine” campaign officially commenced from May 27th. Gundam is the focus of this series and 10 different designs will be offered until August 1. A set will retail at 680 Yen. Characters to be featured include classics like Amuro and newer Gundam universe fixtures such as Gundam Wing’s Heero Yui.

6-2-05 (4:33PM EST)—- New Animation Museum Planned In Japan

The Japanese firm Anido Film has drafted a plans to establish a new Animation Museum in Japan. A preparation site has been setup to ask companies, researchers, collectors and fans of anime for the contribution of material to be exhibited in the new museum. Material from any animation is being accepted meeting the following criteria: set materials, storyboards, magazines, cells, backgrounds, scripts, screenplays, original illustrations, pictures, posters, videos, and toys. Duplicates of the same item will be returned. Anido is also wanting to facilitate a cultural exchange both within Japan and abroad and to that end is wanting to compile information on various animation.

6-2-05 (4:32PM EST)—- Appleseed A Big Success For Geneon

Geneon Entertainment, a leader in introducing anime to the United States, reported today that home video sales of Appleseed have exceeded expectations with over 85,000 units sold to-date since the title1s DVD debut May 10, setting a new standard for anime titles released in North America and shaping up to be one of the top anime releases of 2005. Major retailers have sold the majority of their initial orders within the first two weeks, with reorders already in place. Geneon Entertainment supported the release with a major marketing campaign, including and breaking out of the traditional anime mediums. American audiences are hungry for complex adult animation and Appleseed’s record pace is an indication of the broadening appeal of the anime genre, said Yosuke Kobayashi, president/CEO, Geneon Entertainment.

From Masamune Shirow, the creator of The Ghost In the Shell, Appleseed opened in a limited theatrical run earlier this year. The sci-fi anime action-adventure features 33D Live Anime, a revolutionary animation style blending motion-capture technology and 3D computer animation, enhanced by the latest in 2D character animation. A riveting soundtrack that includes tracks from world-reknowned techno DJ Paul Oakenfold and Academy Award winner Ryuichi Sakamoto, combines with mind-blowing visuals for edge-of-your-seat action sequences until the awesome, white-knuckle finale.

6-2-05 (3:52PM EST)—- IMAF 2005 Announced

We would like to introduce you to IMAF 05 (International Manga and Anime Festival), which is kicking off in London on the 21st October for 5 days devoted to all things Manga and Anime related; offering visitors everything from exclusive film screenings, work shops, body painting, talks, trade sections, cosplay, a drawing studio, performances and a chance to meet professional animators. The event follows up on a very popular and successful IMAF 2004 and we hope to make IMAF 05 bigger and better.

The main objective of the event is to find new, original and talented animators through a drawing/animation competition, currently open for entries in a total of 10 subject categories, with an amazing prize fund of $75,000 on offer. You are all invited to enter the competition as entries will be accepted from anyone from a beginner through to professionals, and we hope to display all entries throughout the event with a professional judging panel deciding on the final winners.

There will be a total of 9 different categories:
Best Character
pre-teen, teen and adult
Best Story Board
pre-teen, teen and adult
Best Animation
pre-teen, teen and adult

There will also be a special prize awarded for best overall Outstanding Entry We will shortly be updating our website www.imaf.co.uk to include loads of Manga and Anime related entertainment and you will get a chance to see last year�fs winners and entrants and get much more information about the competition, including an entry form for IMAF 05.

6-2-05 (4:10AM EST)—- First Drift Suspicion Arrest In Japan

As much a tire scorching place as the togue layout motorways of Japan are made out to be in Anime and Manga the Osaka Prefectural Police Traffic Investigation devision relayed this week that they have logged the first incident in the history of the whole country that someone has been arrested on the suspicion of drifting a car on a public motorway. Drifting or oversteer usually involves a car and is a popular racing technique used for clearing especially tight corner on a given course. It’s also an insanely popular exhibition sport in Japan which recently cuaght fire in America. Osaka Police arrested a 30 year old Mr. Konishi on the suspicion of traffic law violation (cooperation and dangerous act) on May 30th. And following the nation’s recent worst train accident in history claiming over 100 lives, where fingers are being pointed at irresponible staff, the Japanese press have in no way downplayed the occupation of the man who is an engineer for the JR West rail company. Suspect Konishi’s car was said to have been lowered. 2 others were arrested in conjunction with the incident that was supposed to have occured in the wee hours of May 3rd near the intersection of Osaka City Suminoe Ward south Konan 4.

6-2-05 (4:10AM EST)—- Single Chip MSX Campaign

ASCII Corporation of Japan is making a stab at cashing in on the retrogaming craze in Japan by offering a 1chip version of the popular 1980’s MSX microcomputer system. The incredibly dynamic platform for the time period served as the springboard for such game classics as Hideo Metal Gear series. The 19,800 single microproccesor unit is currently under reservation only with 1300 signups so far. ASCII needs 5,000 reservations minimum to mass produce the device. If customers meet the deadline it will ship in autumn 2005.

6-2-05 (3:42AM EST)—- 30 Minutes Of AIR Movie To Stream Free

Directed by Osamu Dezaki (Blackjack, Golgo 13 Queen Bee) and originally opening in Japanese theaters in February, 2005, the AIR motion picture is due on region 2 DVD in Japan August 5th. To get potential buyers fired ip about buying the disc, Animete.TV will stream a 30 minute sample online for 15 days between June 2 and 16.

6-2-05 (3:18AM EST)—- Maaya Sakamoto Latest

-Voice Actress and Vocalist Maaya Sakamoto’s latest single Single “Loop” was released in Japan May 11. The cd achieved 36th place selling 34,695 units according to Oricon.
-Sakamoto will of course make her first overseas convention apparance at Anime Expo 2005 in Anaheim, California USA 7/1-4. Her production staff has setup special tour package to Los Angeles that fans in Japan can signup to and come along on to see her performances. The deal has been arranged with Kinki Nippon Tourist Co. Ltd. Shinjuku corporate travel branch. Consisting of 40 people max, the package from Narita is 99,800 Yen. Applicant priority is being given to official fanclub members. Japanese Language details can be seen here.

6-2-05 (2:58AM EST)—- Moe Ken TV

The website of popular seiyuu Ai Orikasa mentions the decision has been made to adapt Enterbrain’s 2002 PS2 RPG Moe Ken to TV animation format. Kids Station will carry the series starring Orikasa as well as Mayumi Tanaka and Satoshi Yokoyama.

6-2-05 (2:26AM EST)—- Detective Conan Creator Gosho Aoyama Weds

Detective Conan mangaka Gosho Aoyama (41) successfully married seiyuu Minami Takayama on May 5th. The day happened to fall on Ms. Takayama’s birthday. The voice actress plays the lead role of Conan in the animation and has also had starring roles in Hayao Miyazaki’s film Kiki’s Delivery Service.

6-2-05 (2:13AM EST)—- Full House TV Airs In Thailand

Based on the manhwa by Soo Yon Won (sold in America by CPM) the KBS TV mini series adaptation of Full House starring Bi and Song Hye-gyo aired on Thailand state-run channel 7 in May. Song Hye-gyo has achieved some fanfare in the country after gaining notice from his role in Autumn Fairy Tale which aired in 2001. The series went on location to film the drama’s honeymoon scenes in Phuket, Thailad.

6-2-05 (1:49AM EST)—- Gundam Zeta Film Opening Sets Records In 6 Theaters

Bandai Visual reports their new Gundam Zeta movie got off to a good start upon it’s opening on May 28th across 83 screens in Japan. As previously reported the film scored a 3rd place finish overall for the weekend. Beyond this Gundam drew in record opening day profits for openings in Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Umeda, Osaka, Kobe and Hakata theaters.

6-2-05 (1:39AM EST)—- Be Beutiful Announces 1st DVD

Be Beautiful, America’s leading publisher of yaoi graphic novels, announced its first DVD release, Kizuna 1, to be released in August with a $14.95 SRP. Based on the popular yaoi graphic novel series of the same name by Kazuma Kodaka, which the Village Voice called “a romantic epic”, Kizuna 1 is a scintillating tale of romance, with intriguing plot twists and passionate conflict. “Yaoi” is a popular Japanese publishing genre created by female artists and writers for the enjoyment of female readers, usually featuring relationships involving impossibly beautiful men, and diverse interpretations of the “pure love” concept. The DVD features Japanese language with English subtitles, a pre-order date of July 12, 2005, and a street date of August 9, 2005.

Kizuna 1 Three’s a crowd. Ranmaru and Kei have a strong and passionate relationship built on years of trust, sacrifice and love. But when the mysterious son of a Yakuza boss begins to pursue Ranmaru’s affection, tempers flare, and hidden emotions rise to the surface. Will Ranmaru and Kei’s love survive, or will the emotional conflict finally come to a head?

Running time: 30 minutes Genre: Romance/Drama Rating: 16UP WEA Selection: 722501 SRP: $14.95 UPC: 8-51988-00108-0