9-4-07 (11:06PM EDT)—- Tsuribaka Nisshi Spinoff Manga Announced
Based on the long running comedy fishing manga by Juuzou Yamazaki and Ken’ichi Kitami, a new sequel series to Tsuribaka Nisshi (The diary of a fishing fool) has been revealed through recently running print ad spots. The original serial began in “Big comic original” in 1979 and today is up to 71 collected volumes. The storyline features the fishing excursions across Japan between white collar worker Densuke Hamazaki and his construction company President Ichinosuke Suzuki. The story was adapted to animation by Toei in 2002 and enjoyed a respectable 9% ratings share on average in its prime time Saturday slot. Although it ocasionally beat out slot competitor Crayon Shin Chin, it was never able to gain ground on Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo which was serializing in Shonen Jump at the time. In the moving pictures medium, Tsuribaka Nisshi is best known in Japan for its 20 film strong live action film series produced by Shochiku. The latest film has just been released to theaters. Actor Toshiyuki Nishida plays lead Densuke Hamazaki in the films, Rentaro Mikuni portrays Suzuki Construction president Ichinosuke Suzuki. The new spinoff manga is being titled “Tsutte! Koi Tarou” and Hamazaki Densuke’s son becomes the hero. The serial begins running in Shougaku Go Nensei from the October edition. Given the long running success of the film franchise there are many expectations that the new story could also be adapted to a live action movie at some point.
9-4-07 (10:23PM EDT)—- Kamikaze Girls Author Arrested On Hemp Possession
Sankei Sports reports Toshiaki Takemoto (Novala Takemoto), author of the original Kamikaze Girls novel was arrested by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Shinjuku station for suspiscion of violating the Hemp Control Law (for possession of 0.22 grams) on September 3rd. Police say the suspect made a suspicious-looking gesture, quickly turning his eyes away soon after seeing a policeman. Takemoto has already testified he first smoked it out of curiosity in foreign countries. The station is examining the possibility of cannabis trafficing routes coming in from foreign countries. The author was wering a black jumper and trousers and concealed a black drawstring bag in his right pocket which contained the drug. His early novels Emily and Lolikita were nominees for the Yukio Mishima Prize. He also wrote Shimotsuma Monogatari (Kamikaze Girls) which inspired a later live action film and manga series and worked with the Hello Kitty brand.
9-4-07 (6:33AM EDT)—- New Eva Film To Screen In Korea
Variety Asia reports The Pusan International Film Festival has announced a 275 film line up for its 12th edition (October 4-12). Among them is Hikeaki Anno’s just released anime film Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone.
9-4-07 (6:16AM EDT)—- Cofesta Appoints Koji Yakusho As Spokesman
The Executive Committee for the Japan International Contents Festival (Cofesta) have announced the appointment of actor Koji Yakusho (Babel) as their official spokesman. The festival will combine anime, manga, music, movies and video games into a large collection of events to occur between September 19th – October 28th, 2007. At a press event on the 4th Yakusho was asked what hos favorite animation was. He responded that he thought the work of the Miyazaki Hayao was “really wonderful”. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Amari, who’s a big supporter of the event revealed his manga love of Dragonball Z and Slam Dunk, saying he bought Weekly Shonen Jump every Monday even after becoming a diet member.
9-4-07 (5:36AM EDT)—- Mikie Hara Ready For Cutie Honey Role
TV personality and gravure idol Mikie Hara spoke at a press conference today for the new live action TV series Cutie Honey: The Live. It begins running in October on TV Tokyo. The show marks the first TV drama adaptation of one of mangaka Go Nagai’s works. The demands for any woman tackling the lead role of Honey Kisaragi are quite high as she has a G cup, 94 centimeter breast size. The actress says she’s trained three times a week for two months to prepare for the part.
9-4-07 (5:03AM EDT)—- Tezuka Productions Puts Out Shingle On iTunes Music Store
Japan based Tezuka Productions will start offering video content on Apple’s US-based iTunes Music Store starting September 4th. In the TV Shows category Astroboy will be offered, as well as 13 episodes of 2004’s Hi No Tori and all 10 episodes of the 1993-2000 Blackjack OVA. All are English-dubbed versions, each episode will be $.99 cents. In the Movie vategory an English dubbed version of Gekijou-ban Jungle Taitei (Jungle Emperor Leo) will also be offered. 8 of Tezuka’s much touted experimental animation shorts produced between 1962-1988 will be avaialble in the Short Films category. While you may have seen some of the above titles being sold commercially in the USA in the past this time around TP has contracted directly with Apple. While anime is nothing new on iTunes this marks the first such direct partnership between a Japanese animation distributor and retailer.
9-4-07 (4:49AM EDT)—- TGS2007 To Provide Venue For Anime / GONZO To Announce New Work
The Tokyo Game Show 2007 which kicks off at the end of this month will host a special movie square showcasing movies and animation works with a “born from videgames” theme as part of the 1st ever Japan International Contents Festival. On September 20th GONZO will hold a production symposium for a little publicized animation project titled “Tower of Druaga”. GDH acquired the rights to develop the property in animation and in online game format in March, 2006 and new updates on the project went stale shortly therafter, leading many to believe the production had been discontinued. TOD was originally a Namco arcade game originally released in June, 1984.
9-4-07 (4:09AM EDT)—- Hataraki Man Actor Confirmed
Hayame Mokomichi (ROUGH) will star in the TV drama adaptation of Moyoco Anno’s Hataraki Man. The series debuts on Nippon Television Network in October.
9-4-07 (4:02AM EDT)—- KOTOKO On Hayate The Combat Butler OP
“Shichiten Hakki Shijou Shugi” by J-Pop sensation KOTOKO will serve as the opening theme for the forthcoming Hayate The Combat Butler TV anime. The single hits the market on October 17. An 1890 Yen limited edition version will be sold with special promo DVD.
9-4-07 (3:54AM EDT)—- Shoin-Oh TV To Debut In October
Based on the highchool heroine Japanese Chess themed Katori Masaru manga, Shion-Oh TV series has been given an October 13 broadcast debut via Fuji Televsion. After the lead character loses their family via murder, they are taken in through a professional Shogi player’s home. Five volumes of the manga have been published to date. Production by Studio Deen.
9-4-07 (3:06AM EDT)—- Rozen Aso To Japanese PM?
World Socialist Web Site reports on some recent shakeups in the Japanese political scene which involve manga fanatic Taro Aso who: appears to be positioning himself as Abe’s successor in more ways than one.
9-4-07 (2:58AM EDT)—- Cnet: Odex Offers Amnesty To Illegal Downloaders Who Stop Downloading
Cnet Asia has a new piece: “Relief for ODEX-phobia?”. Therein, an interview with Odex’s Stephen King reveals those they have found participating in illegal downloads might be spared letters if they stop downloading as of September.
9-4-07 (2:25AM EDT)—- Seiko Matsuda To Star In Live Action Grave Of The Fireflies
Japanese singer Seiko Matsuda will play the role of a war ravaged mother in the new film version of “Grave Of The Fireflies” due to open nationwide in Japan next summer. The original novel by Akiyuki Nosaka was adapted to anime by Isao Takahata and Studio Ghibli in 1988 and gained worldwide acclaim. Set near the end of World War II in Japan, the story focuses on 2 orphaned children who lost their mother in the firebombing of Kobe, and their father in combat with the Imperial Navy. This marks Matsuda’s first movie acting in 7 years. The last film she was in was Sennen No Koi Hikaru Genji Monogatari in 2001 where she played a fairy. Filming on Firelfies began in Hyogo Prefecture, Awajishima Island on September third. Kuroki Kazuo was originally scheduled to direct the project but following his death in 2004 his apprentice Taro Hyugaji has taken up the reigns. Seiko Matsuda became popular in Japan in the 1980’s as a teen idol, she went on to produce 24 consecutive #1 hits.
9-4-07 (1:06AM EDT)—- ARIA OVA 3 Promotions
A special site has gone up with images galleries and trailers for the ARIA OVA 3 due to street in Japan on September 21st.
9-4-07 (1:01AM EDT)—- Parabellum Special Site / Video Clip
A special website has gone up for mangaka Makoto Fukami’s Shissou Suru Shishunki No Parabellum. The main page hosts an impressive video promo of voliume 3 of the series.
9-4-07 (12:45AM EDT)—- Hana Yume Site Revamp
The official website for shoujo manga magazine Hana Yume has been totally revised.
9-4-07 (12:27AM EDT)—- First Look: Prism Ark Anime
Famitsu has some of the first cut frame stills from the new FRONTLINE Prism Ark TV anime, scheduled to debut on Chiba Television at 24:30 on Tuesday, October 7, 2007.
9-4-07 (12:22AM EDT)—- Oshii Completes Shin-Onna Tachiguishi-Retsuden
Production on Mamoru Oshii’s live action Tachiguishi sequel: Shin-Onna Tachiguishi-Retsuden is complete. The film is composed of segments and looks at 6 women and their offbeat exploits with fast food. Yuko Ogura, Yuriko Hishimi, Hinako Saeki, Mabuki Ando, Miki Mizuno and Yoko Fujita star. Oshii directed two of segements, as do Kenji Kamiyama’s, Takanori Tsujimoto’s, and Hiroaki Yuasa. The world premiere will occur at the Tokyo International Film Festival in October and theatrical screenings begin in Japan in November.
9-3-07 (11:46PM EDT)—- Square Games To Be Exhibited At TGS2007
Square revealed the games it will be showcasing at the Tokyo Game Show which occurs in Japan later this month: Playable: Dragon Quest IV (DS) Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon (Wii) Final Fantasy IV (DS) Final Fantasy Tactics A2 (DS) Crisis Core FFVII (PSP) Final Fantasy CC: Ring of Fates (DS) DS Style (DS) Dragon Quest Mobile (mobile) Ganmoba Comics (mobile) Dirge of Cerberus Lost Episode (mobile) Before Crisis Final Fantasy VII (mobile) Monotone (mobile) Tobal M (mobile) Makai Toushi Saga (mobile) Chocobo de Mobile (mobile)
Video Only: Final Fantasy XI Wings of the Goddess (multi) Last Remnant (PS3, X360) Dragon Quest IX (DS) Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy XIII (PS3, cell) Dissidia Final Fantasy (PSP) Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete (Blu-ray)
Kids Corner: Dragon Quest Monsters Battle Road (arcade) Dragon Quest Monsters Joker (DS) Slime Mori Mori Dragon Quest 2 (DS)
9-3-07 (11:31PM EDT)—- Abenobashi Terminal Building Poised To Become Japan’s Tallest
When Kintetsu completes their 300 meter Abenobashi Terminal Building in spring 2014 it will become the tallest such structure in Japan, topping the Yokohama Landmark Tower which has held the title at 295.8 meters since being finished in 1993. First announced last month, the Abenobashi complex will consist of department stores, 5 underground and 59 above ground levels. paints after an interval of 21 years when this Biru is completed and it will change. It will also house the new train station, taking the title of World’s Tallest Rail Station from JR Central Towers (245 meters) / Nagoya Station. Japan’s sharp proneness to earthquake activity has traditionally kept stratospherically tall buildings from being constructed. To put this in perspective, New York’s Empire State Building, completed in 1931 (76 years ago) is 381 meters high. Taiwan’s Taipei 101 is the world’s tallest in 2007 at 509.2 meters. Tokyo Tower (not a traditional brick and mortar building) stands at 333 meters.
9-3-07 (8:20PM EDT)—- Shigeshoshi To Be Dramatized
This year’s Asahi Breweries spokesmodel Shinohara Makinu will see her acting debut as the heroine in the TV Tokyo drama adaptation of Mitsukazu Mihara’s horror manga Shigeshoshi. Broadcast starts in October in a late night timeslot. Masato Wada of the young men’s acting group “D-BOYS” will play the hero.
9-3-07 (8:17PM EDT)—- Choco Mimi To Be Dramatized
Konami Sonoda’s 4 frame manga Choco Mimi (serialized in Ribbon) has its drama adaptation debuting on October 1st at 17:30 on TV Tokyo. The fashion comedy serialized from from June, 2003 – June 2006. The cast includes Teramoto Yukika, Masuyama Kayano, Tohko Miura and Kido Yuuya.
9-3-07 (8:00PM EDT)—- Negima TV Drama Actors Don Costumes
Mainichi has some images of the live action cast of the forthcoming Negima drama in costume.
9-3-07 (7:59PM EDT)—- Shueisha Confirms Hunter X Hunter Restart
The official Shonen Jump website has updated with some news on the restart of Yoshihiro Togashi’s Hunter X Hunter Manga. The serial went on hiatus for unknown reasons and has been following a very loose release schedule since mid-2003. After returning in January 2006, the mangaka took his longest vacation yet. A return was planned for April 2006 but did not occur, disappointing many fans. According to the latest news a big apology is given for the delays and a restart is now planned for October 6th, in WJC 45.
9-3-07 (7:39PM EDT)—- Gundam 00 Special Preview Spread
You can view the regional distribution of 28 points across Japan that are participating in previewing Gundam 00 at the official wesbite. Promoters expect 15,000 to see the advance screenings, which run through the end of September.
9-3-07 (7:25PM EDT)—- Cinnamon Website Renewed
Sanrio’s Cinnamon The Movie has seen a revamp of its official site.
9-3-07 (7:25PM EDT)—- Straight Jacket OVA Sneak Peek
The first OVA of author Ichiro Sakaki and illustrator You Fujishiro’s Straight Jacket will sneak preview on AT-X in November, 2007. America based Manga Entertainment is co-producing.
9-3-07 (7:25PM EDT)—- Shugo-Chara TV Debut
Peach Pit’s Shugo-Chara will begin its anime broadcast run on TV Tokyo, Saturday, October 6th.
9-3-07 (7:25PM EDT)—- Shakugan no Shana Sequel Broadcast Debut Given
Shanna II the TV animation sequel to Shakugan no Shana will see a MBS broadcast debut on October 4th, 2007.
9-3-07 (7:13PM EDT)—- New Shonen Ai Mag From Media Works
Media Works has a new Shonen Love information magazine debuting in Japan in October titled Cla Cla.
9-3-07 (9:27AM EDT)—- New Soccer Manga From Tartan Check & UFOTABLE
UFOTABLE’s entered the manga arena with artist TARTAN CHECK to produce a soccer based story “Kiyoku Tadashiku Utsukushiku”. Square Jump / Shueisha will publish. TARTAN is noted for the illustration of the manga version of Coyote Ragtime Show and Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight! The story centers on an female American high school exchange student / field kicker with blue eyes and blonde hair who comes to Japan.
9-3-07 (9:12AM EDT)—- Myself Yourself Anime Website Live
The official Japanese website for the forthcoming Myself Yourself anime series is now online. Myself Yourself
9-3-07 (8:54AM EDT)—- New Mask Of Glass Theatrical Play Due Next Summer
Its been announced that a new Glass No Kamen theatrical musical will debut in August 2008. Yukio Ninagawa will driect. Script to be written by Aoki Tsuyoshi. They’ll be holding open auditions to cast the leads and are looking for women 16-25 years old. Kansai and Kyushu performances are scheduled. The story is based on the long-running shojo manga by Suzue Miuchi, serialised in Hana to Yume from January 1976, and collected in 42 tankabon volumes as of 2006
9-3-07 (7:47AM EDT)—- Makoto Shinkai Shinano Mainichi Shimbun Commercial Spot
9-3-07 (7:23AM EDT)—- Fall Anime Season 2007 Class Portrait
The Autumn 2007 TV anime season is all but dialed in and a collage of the 38 works (with some SFX content thrown in for good measure) can be viewed at the link.
9-3-07 (7:09AM EDT)—- New Eva VS Old Eva Side By Side Scene Comparisons
So how much is different, how much is new and how much hasn’t really changed between the old Evangelion animation and the new film? A few Japanese fans have taken some of broken down frames of the released trailer footage of the new film and compared them scene for scene, side by side (more less spot on time wise) with the original TV series / movie. You can check them out here, here, here, here and here.
9-3-07 (7:01AM EDT)—- Arias Signs With Asmik Ace
Leading indie distrib and producer Asmik Ace has entered the artist management biz, the company announced on Friday. The first to be signed is toon maker Michael Arias, who will work with Asmik Ace as a director, VFX supervisor, producer and coordinator. A veteran CG effects specialist who has been working in Japan since the early 1990s, Arias produced the “Animatrix” toon project for the Wachowskis. Last year he made his feature directorial debut with “Tekkonkinkreet,” a toon set in a retro-future Tokyo, based on a comic by Taiyo Matsumoto. Arias is in pre-production on a live-action pic that Asmik Ace will produce and distribute.
Source: Variety Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news
9-3-07 (6:56AM EDT)—- Crypton’s Virtual Anime Idol Can Sing Any Song You Want
Crypton Future Media is promoting its new Hatsune Miku virtual idol software that makes human singers obsolete. It allows musicians to inject the voice of their self styled 16-year-old pop idol into any melody and sing the lyrics to any song they choose. Voice actress Saki Fujita (Tokimeki Memorial) provided the model voice for the program. The software technology used in the process is “VOCALOID 2” by Yamaha. Lyrics can be input in hiragana, katakana, and Roman alphabets. You can save the work as a WAV. format file. The price is currently open although many expect it will be around 15,750 Yen. The company plans to add new “character idols” in the future. So how good does the computer synthesized singing voice sound? You can listen to a few MP3 clips at the above link.
9-3-07 (6:13AM EDT)—- Waruboro Manga Connections
Gag Mangaka Rieko Nishihara’s best friend Gettsu Itaya has a live action film adaptation of his semi-autobiographical novel, Waruboro, coming out in Japanese theaters on September 8th. The movie depicts a rather delinquent group of six high school students set in Tachikawa of the 1980’s. Itaya is known for his laugh out loud funny essays is originals. Yuu Shirota (The Prince Of Tennis) will be playing a main supporting actor. Shouta Matsuda stars as the main character along with Shirota’s Heat Island costar, Ryo Kimura and fellow D-Boys member, Masaki Kaji.
9-3-07 (6:11AM EDT)—- Learn Japanese Geography The Moe Way
Software developer Gakugei has announced their new Japanese geography study soft “Japanese Geography Charenja-zu” aimed at elementary and junior high school students, will hit the market on September 21 at price of 3045 yen. The title uses an innovative RPG style game interface and anime style cutesy characters that challeges users to master the 47 administrative divisions of the island nation. If you have a basic grasp of Japanese text or feel lucky with your point and click skills you can try a fairly comprehensive online demo for free.
9-3-07 (5:27AM EDT)—- 1 Million Tourists Visit Shigeru Mizuki Road
The highest ever number of visitors in one year have already been logged at the GeGeGe No Kitaro Bronze Statue shrine of Shigeru Mizuki Road. Observed on the 3rd in Tottori prefecture, Sakaiminatoshi, a commemorative signboard heralding the milestone was placed out in front of JR Sakaiminato Station. 1,065,388 people were recorded at the end of August. Up roughly twice the number of visitors from last year, around 216,000 visited the site during the lantern festival period. The boom follows the opening of the live action film in theaters in Japan.
9-3-07 (5:22AM EDT)—- First Look Kekkaishi Hits Wii
Watch Impress has images from Bandai’s upcoming Kekkaishi Kuro Susuki Rou No Kage game for Nintendo Wii. Release is scheduled for September 27 at 6,090 Yen. The player will be able to act out a number of the special techniques from the anime / manga with the wiimote.
9-3-07 (5:05AM EDT)—- New EVA Pwnz All Comers At Japanese Box Office
Opening Saturday, September 1st in Japan EVANGELION:1.0 YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE (Evangelion Shin Gekijoban: Jo) went on to take first place at the Japanese box office for the weekend period. Over the 2 days 236,158 people bought admission tickets to see it and the haul stands at 280 million Yen and climbing according to handler Nikkatsu Corporation (their goal is 1 billion Yen by the time it exits theaters). 84 screens are showing it nationwide. 12,500 alone saw it at Shinjuku Milano-za will which generated 15 million yen over the 2 day period. Rounding out the weekend movie rankings anime wise in the number 9 slot was the 2007 Pokemon film and in number 10 was Monkey Magic.
9-3-07 (4:29AM EDT)—- NTV Launches Neuro / Kaiji Sites
NTV went live with their official site for the Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro series due to debut this fall. The Opening Theme has been announced as “DIRTY” by Nightmare and the ending “Kodoku No Hikari” by Sarah Kagami. Likewise an official presence opened for the Kaiji anime due to begin in October. www.ntv.co.jp/neuro | www.ntv.co.jp/kaiji
9-3-07 (4:25AM EDT)—- Digital TV Signals An End To Cell Anime
Asahi reports as the countdown to the transfer to digital TV continues, the death knell of cell animation is sounding. The only program still being aired using animation cells is the 39-year-old “Sazae-san” series, a cartoon by Machiko Hasegawa featuring the family of the middle-aged “Sazae-san.” Cell animation is not 100 percent compatible with high-definition digital broadcasts, to which the country is scheduled to switch by 2011. Digital broadcast shows even the dust attracted to cells due to static electricity. Also, the thickness of cells can cause a disparity in colors or can blur lines when cell animation is broadcast digitally. Taiyo Shikisai, a leading maker of paints for animation cells in Tokyo’s Itabashi Ward, saw its monthly sales plunge from 20 million yen at its peak to around 500,000 yen now.
9-3-07 (4:21AM EDT)—- Odex Is Acting On Behalf Of Japan
ZDNet Asia has more coverage on the Odex anime copyright situation in Singapore. In a new twist, the company said today that it has been appointed by the Japanese anime companies to act on their behalf, and that it had first received authorization letters before going ahead with its initial proceedings. Satoshi Banno, vice president of Gonzo Digimation Holdings, acknowledged that Odex was given the authority: “DVD and TV revenues have been affected, and we need to protect our copyright.”
9-3-07 (4:10AM EDT)—- Labor Day Japanese Festival To Screen Yamadas
Those in St. Louis, Missouri looking for somewhere to get out and about to on the Labor day holiday Monday can go check out the following event courtesy St. Louis Today reports: Japanese Festival If you have even the slightest interest in things related to the land of the rising sun, this festival is a don’t-miss proposition. Sumo wrestling, traditional tea ceremonies, a geisha presentation and an anime film, “My Neighbors the Yamadas” (1999), are part of the mix. The event is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard. Admission is $3-$10; free to members’ children 12 and under. For more information, call 314-577-9400.
9-3-07 (2:39AM EDT)—- France And Switzerland Working On New Heidi Drama
In Europe production has began on a modern television drama retelling of author Johanna Spyri’s world reknown 1880 fiction of a young Swiss Alps orphan, Heidi. Television networks in France and Switerland are collaborating on the project. A broadcast of the first portion is scheduled within the year. Rights and localizations are already a done deal in many European contries including Norway and Bulgaria. Japanese broadcasters are said to already be eagerly eyeing picking up the series. NHK Japan has already looked into buying the show through the European Broadcasting Union. Aside from the roughly 20 film and television productions of the story, the 1974 anime Heidi, Girl of the Alps, directed by Isao Takahata is still today ranked as one of the top Japanese animation works of all time across all demographics. The anime never penetrated into the English speaking world but it was very popular across Europe, Asia and Latin American countries. In the new story Heidi leaves the mountains for the city but modern elements such as drugs, bullying, and immigration are examined. Filming is taking place in France.
9-2-07 (7:37PM EDT)—- Mamoru Oshii Talks On Directorial Future
Noted anime director Mamoru Oshii participated in panel discussion at the 46th Japan Science Convention / 65th World Science Convention this weekend, confirming his next project Sky Crow, and saying he plans to be involved in a new animation film project at least every 2-3 years.
9-2-07 (6:13PM EDT)—- Tokikake Anime Yokohama Manga Win Nebulas
At the ongoing jointly convening 46th Japan Science Convention / 65th World Science Convention being held in Yokohama the 38th Japanese Nebula Prize winners have been announced. Mamoru Hosoda’s Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Lept Through Time) took the media division award. Anime candidates in the segment included The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya, Zegapain and Paprika. Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou by Ashinano Hitoshi took the manga prize. Nominees included Busou Renkin, Karakuri Circus, Death Note and Yousei Koku No Kishi . Sakyo Komatsu’s Japan Sinks sequel took top honors in the novel category, he was one of two author Guests of Honor at the joint event which was the first Worldcon to be held in Asia.
9-2-07 (3:03PM EDT)—- Lance Of Longinus Auction Hits 10 Billion Yen
An update on our entry yesterday, GAINAX’s Yahoo Auction of a real life replica of the Lance Of Longinus has seen a high bid (out of 1075) as of this writing of 10 billion Yen ($86 million dollars). This figure approaches the territory where only maybe a government or the fictional NERV organization might be able to appropriate the funds for it. This comes as some highly detail oriented fans have pointed out critically that the real life art piece is different in several ways from the lance depicted in the anime.
9-2-07 (1:47AM EDT)—- Comic Market Exclusive: Coffee Of The Sacred Ground
An unusual drink could be spotted around Big Sight during Comiket 72 weekend last month (August 17th-19th). Cans decorated brightly with anime characters (and Big Sight itself in the background) bore the text “Seichi No koohii” (Coffee Of The Sacred Ground). It seems the hall itself was involved in the sales through their “Big Sight Service” original goods brand. They contracted a canned coffee seller and hired GA Graphic artist Karyudo (Shirayuki) to do the illustrations. Prices for the drinks were 50 and 150 Yen. A beta test was done at Woner Fest on August 12th where 600 cans were sold. At Comiket the vending machines on site included the coffee as an option. The speculation is it could make a return at the winter event in December.
9-2-07 (1:22AM EDT)—- School Days PS2 Site Opens
Interchannel has launched its official website for the coming PS2 version of School Days LxH. Release is set in Japan for Dec. 13th. The CERO rating has yet to be determined. A special OVA DVD will be bundled in the limited edition.
9-2-07 (1:18AM EDT)—- GONZO On Arcana Heart OP
GONZO is handling the opening animation for the PS2 port of the arcade fighting game Arcana Heart. Other new features from the original version include voice, gallery and story mode. Release is scheduled for October 11, 2007 for 6,090 Yen. You can view a clip of the OP sequence as it was shown at Comic Market 72 last month on You Tube.
9-2-07 (1:09AM EDT)—- ef – a tale of memories TV Date
The broadcast debut of the new TV animation ef – a tale of memories has been revealed as Oct. 6-8 on a number of networks including KBS and TV Kanagawa. www.ef-memo.com
9-2-07 (12:57AM EDT)—- Lucky Star PS2 Game To Use Anime Voice Cast
Famitsu uncovered the 4 lead heroines and much of the anime cast will reprise their roles in the upcoming PlayStation 2 release of Lucky Star: Ryou Sakura Gakuen Sakura Fujisai. Sale is scheduled for November 29, 2007 at 7140 Yen.
9-2-07 (12:54AM EDT)—- 1 Shot OVA To Be Bundled With Kodoma No Jikan Manga Volume 4
Featuring a plot that is said to precede the TV animation, a 30 minute OVA titled Yasu Mijikan Anata Ga Watashi Ni Kure Ta Mono will be bundled in the special limited edition of the 4th collected volume of the Kodoma No Jikan manga when it streets in Japan on Wednesday, September 12th. Retail is 3,980 Yen. Staff include screenplay by Migari Okada and story boards / production by Eiji Suganuma, Art Supervision by Ishikawa Masakazu. www.kojika-anime.com
9-2-07 (12:01AM EDT)—- Live Action Dragonball To Shoot In Montreal
Toonzone Forums have referenced a new article in yesterday’s Montreal Gazette which states 20th Century Fox is expected to shoot the live action DBZ film in the Quebec, Canada city along with 2 other “big-budget movies” over the next year; each is said to have a budget of at least $100 million. There are no details yet as to when the three shoots will begin, but they are expected to wrap production by next July.
9-1-07 (11:59PM EDT)—- Odex Crack Down On Anime Piracy And The Backlash
The Malaysia Star has a large article on the ongoing Odex saga. They say Netizens are waging a high-tech war against Singapore’s main anime distributor. The firm recently obtained court orders which force Singaporean Internet providers SingNet and StarHub to reveal the names of those who downloaded anime illegally.
9-1-07 (11:48PM EDT)—- New Evangelion Movie Opening Images
EVANGELION:1.0 YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE (Evangelion Shin Gekijo-ban: Jo) opened Saturday and Akiba Souken has some pics from a Shinjuku theater line where they counted over 1000 people (500 at 6:30 in the morning). On the film itself they noted a heavy CG presence and said Asuka fans will not get to see her in this installment as she appears after Operation Yashima. Famitsu has some cutframe still from the film itself and more pictures from outside theaters.
9-1-07 (11:14PM EDT)—- Blu Ray Holds 94% Market Share In Europe
The Blu Ray High Definition Disc camp held court in Berlin this weekend at the IFA show. There it was revealed the format has a 94% market spread in 6 major European countries presently.
9-1-07 (10:31PM EDT)—- New Eva Reviews Favorable
Some of the first media and user reviews of the new Evangelion film are starting to filter in. Eiga users have given it a A- rating (4.7 out of 5 stars with 169 votes) thus far. They say the content is virtually the same in structure as episodes 1-6 of the TV series with new editing and scenes interspersed throughout. In this regard they say the repetition might be a little tedious coming from having seen the original TV or Death film version. Highlights include incredible detail in the mechanics and buildings. The Yashima Operation in the latter half of the film that leads to the climax is almost entirely new material and editing. Meanwhile, 173 Yahoo Movies users have given their opnion online and a 4.14 out of 5 star rating. An apparant “next time” preview of the second film follows the ending credits.
9-1-07 (9:59PM EDT)—- 62nd Anniversary Of Japan’s WWII Surrender
Smack dab in the middle of a weekend dominated (like few will be this year) by a vicarious celebration of entertainment of Japan’s 2 top anime series dealing with war and robots is an interesting (and some would pose, ironic) historical footnote of the former real world empire’s emasculation. September 2nd marks the 62nd anniversary of Japan’s surrender to the allies in World War 2. The instrument of surrender was signed on the battleship Missouri warship in Tokyo Bay on Sunday, September 2nd, 1945. Brian Ruh wrote a piece back in 2003 examining the connection between Japan at war and how that culture has interacted with the mecha phenomenon. You can read more about the real world surrender here.
9-1-07 (9:57PM EDT)—- Comedian Teruyuki Tsuchida GOH At Gundam 00 Sneak
Comedian Teruyuki Tsuchida was one of the VIP guests at the big Gundam 00 stage greeting / preview event held in Nakano Saturday. Known as a huge Gundam model fanatic, today happened to be his brithday, he’s 35. He said he eagerly awaited the new model kits from the series.
9-1-07 (9:39PM EDT)—- EVA’s Economic Impact
GAINAX figures over 6000 merchandise products have been sold to date based on its Evangelion property, generating around 150 billion Yen of revenue. 15 million+ copies of the manga and over 10 million CD and video caopies have been sold. Over 600,000 units of pinball slot machines and 100,000 of 3 flavors of pinball slot machines have been successfully marketed. 180,000 copies of the latest PS2 game Evangelion CR have been sold since the release in February.
9-1-07 (8:44PM EDT)—- Negima! Drama Lead Selected
13 year old actress Kashiwa Yukina will play the roll of nine and three quarters-year-old child prodigy, mage and teacher Negi Springfield in the forthcoming TV Tokyo Live Action drama Maho Sensei Negima! Parallel. The news came out during a production symposium held in Tokyo September 1st.
9-1-07 (8:24PM EDT)—- First Images Behind The Scenes On LA Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
Both Famitsu and Dengeki Online have an exclusive first look, having gotten access to the set of the live action Higurashi no Naku Koro ni movie which is filiming now on location at a Shinto shrine in Nagano Prefecture, Takatomachi. Pics include Director Ataru Oikawa and cast Goki Maeda (Keiichi), Airi Matsuyama (Rena), Rin Asuka (Mion), Aika (Rika), and Erena Ono (Satoko). Original creator and light novel author Ryukishi07 revealed he’ll have a cameo in the film as an extra. The Japanese theatrical opening is slated for 2008.
9-1-07 (7:40PM EDT)—- Moon Costumes Expands Offerings
Moon Costumes has expanded it’s line of Anime character costumes to include sixteen children’s styles in two sizes. This is the first time a full selection of children’s cosplay styles are being mass produced and distributed in the US. This year’s limited release of children’s costumes are inspired by the Bleach, Naruto, and Kingdom Hearts manga and anime series. “We anticipate a huge response for Halloween 2007,” says CEO Erik Aronesty, “Cosplay had traditionally been an young-adult pastime, but this year we’re seeing more interest in children’s sizes.” Cosplay is a term for the Japanese tradition of dressing up as a favorite character, not necessarily for a holiday or special occasion. Moon Costumes produces high quality cotton, denim and vinyl cosplay costumes for children and adults. The costumes wear and wash like regular clothing. “The Anime-fan generation in the U.S. are becoming parents now. There are kids who have grown up with Naruto manga (comics) being read to them at bedtime, though perhaps censored a bit. It’s only natural for the tradition of Halloween to merge with Cosplay.”
9-1-07 (6:50PM EDT)—- Gundam 00 Sneak Preview Attendence Aims At 5 Figure Marque
Mantan mentions an early sneak preview of the new TV animation Gundam 00 was held at Nakano Sun Plaza in Tokyo on the first with and main cast figures and staff speaking at a kickoff stage greeting. Gundam has spawned 11 TV series since its debut in 1979. The storyline is set in a future world not to far afield from “the real world” in which nation blocks battle for energy resources. Around 2000 people attended the Nakano screening. Previews are being held in 28 places across the whole country, 15,000 people are expected to participate in those. Rumors that series will run 6 months (25 episodes) with a later resumed storyline via a sequel series were confirmed. Bandai and Sunrise found success in the past using this rollout model with the Code Geass and are trying it out with Gundam.
9-1-07 (6:50PM EDT)—- Ichigo Ichie To Be Animated
Stationary manufacturer Mindwave has announced characters from their popular series Ichigo Ichie will be adapted to an animation officially titled “Ichigo Ichie Koi Bana Tomo Bana”. A series of 13 5 minute episodes has been confirmed. Broadcast will occur through Kids Station from October. Mindwave’s company strategy has ben interesting in they don’t license chara from other firms but have developed their own brands in-house and actively licensed those out to other products with some success. The stationary are popular with female school students ranging from elementary through high schools.
9-1-07 (6:04PM EDT)—- Masumi Asano Grand Prize Winner For Self Created Fairy Tale
Famed Japanese anime voice actress Masumi Asano has the grand prize in Shogakukan’s 13th Ohisama Hon Douwa Taishou which acknowledges wholly self created and illustrated fairy tale picture books. Her prize includes a 500,000 Yen purse. The title of her creation is Chiisana Botan, Pucchi. 1429 works were submitted in the division.
9-1-07 (5:29PM EDT)—- GAINAX Auctions Lance Of Longinus Replica
With the release of the new movie GAINAX has continued their promotional campaign with Yahoo by auctioning off an authorized scale replica of the Lance Of Longinus object from the Eva series. The auction runs Friday, August 31, 2007 – September 7th, as of this writing its received 797 bids and the current bid is 350,003,008 Yen. It’s composition includes a biforked spearhead and helicoidal handle design reminiscent of the double helix structure of DNA. It was produced as part of the artist collaborative project “EVA AT WORK” which progressed from January – December, 2006 on the official GAINAX NET website in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the original TV broadcast. Ironworker Kaoru Watanabe created the flat-iron steel lance which is 2,200mm long, 200mm wide, and weighs 28kg. You can view some images of the lance’s creation and use in the series here.
9-1-07 (5:11PM EDT)—- Rare Beetles Threatened By Mushiking Inspired Trading Boom?
Stag beetles (Lucanus cervus) which are rare but particularly common in the southern Amanos Mountains region of Turkey are currently a hot international trading commodity, some would say, thanks to the popularity of the Mushiking franchise. The creatures are being sold to Japan (often ending up as pets) especially recently in large quanitities for equally big cash sums. Some in Turkey fear the beetles are on the verge of the sharp decline, possibly even to the edge of extinction status. Environmental protection officials Amanos Environmental Conservation and Solidarity Association President Nazam Sonmez has gone wide in the international press in the past months expressing great worry. The beetles are being sourced through a number of avenues ranging from German trading companies to direct international inernet auction. An individual can buy a stag beetle from a rural village trader from anywhere from just a few dollars up to a hundred dollars (American equivalency from Turkish Lira) but once sold in Japan they can go for anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $3,000 on internet auction sites. Unregulated international trade continues often under the guise of “research purposes”, and collectors have taken favor with the Turkish variety due to their unusual antlers. Groups like the Amanos association are appealing for the necessity of immediate protective measures to bar possible extermination of the creatures.
9-1-07 (2:35PM EDT)—- New American Manga Licenses
Amazon notes an April release from Vertical for the classic Osamu Tezuka samurai epic, Dororo. In the newest issue of Jump, Viz has published a chapter from the Akira Toriyama one-shot Neko Majin Z. In addition, they intend to sell the one-shot, Cowa, next year. Finally, Broccoli USA’s Blog hints at a new “moe” title which was licensed by the company. Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news.
9-1-07 (2:26AM EDT)—- I.G. To Animate Tokyo Marble Chocolate
Production I.G teams with BMG Japan to produce a two-volume OVA (direct-to-video) animation entitled “Tokyo Marble Chocolate.” The OVA, based on Production I.G’s original story, celebrates the 20th anniversary of BMG Japan. After premiering at the 20th Tokyo International Film Festival (Oct 20-28, 2007), it will be released in Japan on DVD December 5, 2007. This project, the first collaboration between Production I.G and a music company, is inspired by two songs by two leading Japanese musicians: SUKIMASWITCH and SEAMO. SUKIMASWITCH is a pop duo composed byTakuya Ohashi and Shintaro Tokita, who have already appeared in the annual Kohaku Song Contest in two consecutive years (2005, 2006) since their brilliant debut in 2003. On the other side, SEAMO is a hip-hop artist whose songs filled with love and humor have brought many passionate followers to this day. Their unique styles and powerful messages are what inspired the young creators at Production I.G to start this project.
Tokyo Marble Chocolate marks the directorial debut for Production I.G’s enfant terrible, Naoyoshi Shiotani, who mesmerized the fans all over the world with the hybrid animation techniques employed in the third opening of “Blood+” (selected in competition at the 11th Holland Animation Film Festival) and in some of the most graphically stunning episodes from the TV series “Le Chevalier D’Eon” (selected in competition at SICAF 2007). Shiotani is flanked by another of I.G’s young talents, Kyoji Asano, in charge of the animation direction. Asano is widely praised for his work in “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” series, “Tsubasa Chronicle – The Princess of the Birdcage Kingdom” and “Le Chevalier D’Eon.” Manga artist Fumiko Tanikawa (“Ohitorisama Monogatari”, “Kakueki Teisha”, “Kimi to Boku no Machi de”) plays an essential part in the production with her delicate, shojo manga-style character designs, while TV drama hit specialist Masaya Ozaki (“Kekkon Dekinai Otoko”, “Satorare”, “Love Generation”) writes the screenplay. Takuya Ohashi and Shintaro Tokita, from SUKIMASWITCH, and SEAMO will also be transformed into animated characters and make their appearances in this OVA.
Synopsis: A pure love story, colorful and sweet, yet a bit bitter. Just like a piece of chocolate. Serious and generous, but a bit shy, Yudai has been unsuccessful with the opposite gender. Chizuru is an energetic and cheerful girl, but when it comes to boyfriends, she’s been unlucky and clumsy, and never had a steady relationship. This is the first Christmas the couple spends together. Chizuru loves animals and Yudai plans to give her a rabbit in a box, but it turns out to be… a mini donkey?! As the funny creature escapes, Chizuru goes after it, and Yudai loses sight of them both. The time that should have been spent together… The important feeling that should have been revealed… Small, but precious things that tend to be buried in every day life. What answer will the two youngsters find while separated from each other? Yudai and Chizuru – their feelings and the time they spent far from each other are delicately unfolded in this double-sided pure love story told from two different perspectives!
STAFF: Original Story: Production I.G / Director: Naoyoshi Shiotani / Screenplay: Masaya Ozaki / Character Designer: Fumiko Tanikawa / Character Designer / Animation Director: Kyoji Asano / Color Setting: Idumi Hirose / Art Director: Shichiro Kobayashi / 3D CGI: Atsushi Sato / Director of Photography: Keisuke Sasagawa / Songs: “Mata Aimasyou” (See You Again) by SEAMO and “Zenryoku Syounen” (Full Powered Boy) by SUKIMASWITCH / Animation Production: Production I.G / Produced by: Tokyo Marble Chocolate Production Committee
Story Concept: The two videos revolve around a love story told from the different viewpoint of the two young lovers, a girl named Chizuru and a boy called Yudai. The first episode is seen through Chizuru’s eyes, and is inspired by SEAMO’s song Mata Aimasyou (See You Again), describing the mixed feelings just before the anticipated separation from the loved one. The second episode follows the story from Yudai’s perspective, and is inspired by SUKIMASWITCH’s song Zenryoku Syounen (Full Powered Boy) that portrays a young boy who breaks his defensive shell open and runs for the future.
9-1-07 (1:49AM EDT)—- 1st Rebuild Of Evangelion Film Opens Nationwide In Japan
Evangelion Shin Gekijoban: Jo the first part of Director Hideaki Anno’s new 4 part movie series retelling of the epic TV series has opened succssfully on screens across Japan on Saturday, September 1st. Hundreds could be seen forming lines outside several major theaters in Tokyo and Osaka in the early morning hours (700 were counted en queue at Shinjuku Milano 1). Some have been in line since Friday evening. The climax of the 1st film involves Operation Yashima and the angel Ramiel from episode 6 of the TV series. Distributor Nikkatsu Corporation hopes to see box office revenues exceeding one billion Yen. www.evangelion.co.jp