Anime News Service - August 4-9 Anime News

8-9-04

- The Daily Yomiuri looks at the world that is looking back at Japan with interest. More than 2.35 million people around the world were studying Japanese in fiscal 2003, according to a survey conducted by the Japan Foundation. By nation, South Korea remained in the top slot in nations with the most people studying with about 894,000 students, about the same as in 1998. Katsumi Kakazu who was in charge of the survey mentioned to the Yomiuri:
"..."Those who become familiar with Japanese at an early age do not have prejudices against Japan and its language and so can easily become fascinated by them," Kakazu said. "There are also elements in Japan's pop culture--such as animation and comics--that can motivate people to learn the language.""
- GamePro reviews Gundam Seed: Battle Assault for GBA.
- The New York Times reports on a recent row stemming (for the purposes of this article) from the world of Football between China and Japan, but expanding into many other areas.
- Gamespot Reports Banpresto is developing a new 3D samurai action game based on the historical warrior Minamotono Yoshitsune, the weekly Jump Magazine reports. Titled Yoshitsune-ki, the game's character designs will be the handled by Takeshi Obata, the author of Jump Magazine's popular manga series, "Hikaru No Go" and "Death Note." It is scheduled for release in spring 2005 in Japan for the PlayStation 2.
- The Washington Post talks about youth violence in the historically docile Japanese society. Common for the west but again very uncommon in Japan where the world's most graphic and violent manga, animation and video game imagery coexist with one of the world's lowest crime rates, the finger is pointed at the media and pop culture. However, this assertion may prove valid in the latest instance examined by the post. The young killer in Sasebo, was allegedly an avid fan of "Battle Royale". According to the article, "...many Japanese youths have retreated into the virtual world of the Internet, now easily accessed out of adult view on their cell phones. Children can view popular short animated films -- anime -- such as "Gunslinger Girl," a tale about murderous cyborg schoolgirls in plaid miniskirts. Japan's top literary prize this year went to "Snakes and Earrings" by Hitomi Kanehara, 20. Shocking youth apathy, sex and violence are central elements of the book, a favorite of young people. ..."

8-9-04---- Latest At Midnight Eye

After a three-year absence, the director of Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl returns to filmmaking with The Taste of Tea, a change of pace that made it all the way to the Cannes film festival. http://www.midnighteye.com/interviews/katsuhito_ishii.shtml

FEATURE: YUSAKU MATSUDA: THE LOST REBEL He was Japan's undisputed movie star of the late 70s and the 80s. He made it to Hollywood just before his early death. He is one of the coolest men ever to grace a silver screen. And yet, very few outside Japan know his name. He is Yusaku Matsuda. http://www.midnighteye.com/features/yusaku_matsuda.shtml

8-9-04---- Vagabond Hiatus? Slam Dunk Omake

From Takehiko Inoue's Journal:

I'm currently taking a break from Vagabond. Once I regain some of strength and energy, Musashi and Kotaro will be involved in some new chapters. I think that will also be a big challenge for me. I'm grateful for the situation that I'm in.

Now for some news about Slam Dunk. With the figures for July, the sales of JC's Slam Dunk graphic novels have topped 100 million volumes. To be honest, After the numbers passed 1 or 10 million, I couldn't tell the difference anymore, but at the very least I know that there are more people reading it than I can imagine. I feel like I'm repeating myself over and over again but, thank you. Thank you very much. I really can't thank you enough. And thus ----I wanted to show my appreciation for you countless people, so I've decided to try something. 8/10 (planned). If you get the Yomiuri Shinbun, Asahi Shinbu, Mainichi Shinbun, Sankei Shinbun, Nihon Keizai Shinbun or Tokyo Shinbun, please take a look at the morning edition on 8/10 (planned). Please just take a look. To everybody, and everything, and my dog and cats -- Thank you.

Source: http://www.itplanning.co.jp/finouee.html

8-9-04---- Yu-Gi Oh! Burger King Promotion

This fall, kids everywhere are invited to "unlock the magic" of YU-GI-OH! THE MOVIE, as participating BURGER KING® restaurants get into the action with a series of collectible toys and BURGER KING exclusive collect-and-connect puzzle tiles. For five weeks beginning August 9, 2004, 20 pull-back mystical monster toys, inspired by the new film YU-GI-OH! THE MOVIE, in theaters August 13, 2004, will be available in Kids Meals at participating BURGER KING restaurants nationwide, while supplies last.

"We are very excited to be working with Warner Bros. Pictures and 4Kids Entertainment to bring the spirit of the Yu-Gi-Oh! film into our restaurants," said Brian Gies, vice president, Marketing Impact, Burger King Corporation. "Yu-Gi-Oh! has captured the imagination of kids all over the world by using his magical powers to save the day. Yu-Gi-Oh! is the 'king of games,' and with 20 pull-back toys and 100 different puzzle tiles, kids can collect and connect them all." There are 20 YU-GI-OH! THE MOVIE toys, -- one per kid's meal -- each packed in a five-piece pyramid-shaped puzzle. It's discovering the mystery of the pyramid that's half the fun, as kids will not know which monster they have received until they separate the pieces of the puzzle.

The Quest To Collect Them All The collection features 20 different pull-back monster toys that kids can collect. Each monster toy comes inside five interlocking puzzle pieces that they can connect. Each puzzle piece is designed with the likeness of one of the different mystical monsters for a total of 100 monsters. The puzzle pieces come in four metallic colors -- gold, silver, pewter and bronze -- so that kids can mix and match all of the interlocking pieces to create their own puzzle.

8-8-04

- The Sacramento Bee reports on local arts budget reductions and lists Sacramento's Japanese Music Institute of America which took a reduction of $4,500 to a budget normally around $10,000. It cut its season of free community concerts in half. "A small cut is big for us," said director Masayuki Koga.
- Florida's Sun Sentinel reviews Zatoichi.
- Canadian composer Peter Breiner will be the musical force behind the national anthems of participating countries in next week's Summer Olympics 2004. The melodies are heard each time Olympic medals are awarded – are arranged, conducted Breiner, the Canadian composer, conductor and pianist. The composer has recently worked on the Chinese animation feature film Thru the Moebius Strip and plans a tour of 25 Japanese cities in 2005.
- Flordia's Sun Sentinel interviews Japanese culture devotee Larry Rosensweig who has been on a county arts and cultural scene for 28 years as director of The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens west of Delray Beach.
- South Korea's Chosun references a Financial Times article that ran on Saturday that says pop music is healing the historic rift between Korea and Japan which has not been solved by diplomacy and sports. Last April, ahead of a concert in Osaka, BoA had an interview with FT and said, “Older people still have some bad feelings but among young people attitudes are changing. We like Japanese animation and games. Hopefully my success in Japan will help improve relations further. More than 100,000 Japanese tourists flocked to Korea last year to visit the setting of "Winter Sonata," a hit drama. FT pointed out that Korea’s most popular internet portal, Daum, hosted 10,000 blogs and cafes dedicated to introducing Japanese culture, compared with just 50 that promote anti-Japanese views, and introduced a survey by a newspaper that indicates that only a quarter of Koreans in their 20s said they "did not like" Japan.
- Boston Globe named Miike's Ichi The Killer in it's top 10 Gore Galore movie picks.
- The Mainichi reports A doctor who served as the model for the enormously popular "Black Jack ni Yoroshiku" manga has been ordered to pay a hospital where he once worked 4.4 million yen in compensation for claiming he was sacked for testifying against it in another court case..
- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel mentions Japanese cream puff maker Beard Papa's current and future plans in the North American market. The bakery, who has one USA store currently has surpassed it's own expectations say representative Mr. Ogihara. The 14-seat store located in NYC has been selling 3,000 to 5,000 cream puffs a day and is getting single orders exceeding 300. "More and more, we're getting corporate accounts, banquets, weddings, all sorts of party type sales," Ogihara says.
In a related article The Gothamist vistied the NYC Beard Papas location and has imagery of the interior and exterior of the store.
- The Washington Post and The New York Daily News follows the Yu-gi oh! Phenomena from TV series to runaway cardgame hit to bigscreen in the USA.
- Variety covers the Animax launch of 8 mini character clips on it's network.
- The Honolulu Star Bulletinreviews the ADV release of Gainax's Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi.

8-7-04---- Blood Will Tell Media

Longtime site contributor Daniel forwards the following:
You can view photos and a clip of Blood Will Tell-Tezuka Osamu's Dororo at http://www.sega.com/games/game_temp.php?game=bloodwilltell. (Some material may be too intense for minors.) Summary is as follows:

Blood Will Tell Publisher: Sega of America Platform: PlayStation 2 Developer: SEGA Players: 1-2 Release: September 2004 Genre: Action/ Adventure ESRB: M Blood, Violence In this intense Samurai battle, you fight as Hyakkimaru with razor sharp double swords installed in your forearms, a bazooka inside your knee, and a rapid-fire machine gun in your elbow. At birth, devilish Fiends tricked his poor father and robbed Hyakki of 48 body parts. A physician with mysterious powers happened upon the forsaken infant and pieced him together with explosive weapons so that he could change his terrible fate. This modern day action epic is adapted from the classic manga by Osamu Tezuka (Astro BoyT), one of Japan's most famous storytellers. Control Hyakkimaru or his sidekick, Dororo - each with unique abilities to defeat enemies. Team up with a friend and take on enemies together as Hyakki and Dororo in two-player mode. Explore huge 3D environments and battle with over 30 weapons. Discover and destroy more than 100 demons and monsters. Original Story: © Tezuka Productions © SEGA, 2004 Character Design: © RED. All rights reserved.

8-7-04---- Initial D Live Action Film Completed

The Straights Times Of Singapore has an article on Taiwanese singer-songwriter Jay Chou who Initial D fans will know as starring in the live action HK version film which has just completed wrapping. According to the Times, Chou plays a race-car enthusiast alongside Hong Kong actors Shawn Yue and Edison Chen.

8-7-04

- The Times from the UK review's Grave Of The Fireflies.
- The Taipei Times mentions a youthful city Ximending where Japanese fashion is raging again.
- GamePro interviews Daisuke Uchiyama, the producer for Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 at Bandai.

8-7-04---- Toon Radio Acquires Fanboy Radio

TOON RADIO ACQUIRES FANBOY RADIO Toon Radio (www.toonradio.net) has acquired the rebroadcast rights to the Fanboy Radio talk show.

Fanboy Radio (FbR) is a radio talk show about the comic book industry, its art, creators, and fans. Each week, two hours of comics commentary are highlighted by insider interviews with top creators, news, and live calls from listeners like you. Some of the top names in comics have stopped by the show to talk about their crafts, give their opinions, and offer exclusive news items to FbR listeners. Artists, writers, colorists, letterers, Company Execs, etc, have all found their way onto FbR and its friendly environment. The world of Independent comics and creators, as well as animation, TV, and film, are also well represented in the FbR show archives.

Consistently breaking, celebrating, and poking fun at the geeky FANBOY stereotype is a staple of the show. From the most die hard fan to the newest of the new...all are welcome. Casual... loose... smart... fun... this is not your father's comic talk show!

Fanboy Radio broadcasts live from the KTCU studios in Fort Worth, Texas. Fanboy Radio is heard twice a week. On Sundays (7:00pm EST), FbR broadcasts live from the Fanboy Studios. During this show, There is usually feature Q&A sessions with some of the most important and influential personalities in our field. On Wednesdays (2:00pm EST), the show is a pre-recorded episode (not a re-run) that focuses on the lesser known aspects of the hobby. Small press, book reviews, DIY segments, debates, independent spotlight, and comedy bits can all be apart of this type of show. Rerun showings for Toon Radio’s European, Asian, and Australian markets will air Thursday and Friday mornings. It will begin airing on Toon Radio on August 15.

Toon Radio is an internet radio station that specializes in animation soundtracks from around the world from its website at (www.toonradio.net). Toon Radio is a proud member of the Audiorealm Radio Network (http://www.audiorealm.com) and SWCI (http://swcast.net). Toon Radio operates out of Buffalo, New York.

8-6-04

- The Oregonian goes into the complicated and super cool world of Japanese cell phones.
- The Seattle Post Intelligencer reviews Miramax's release of Zatoichi.
- The Charlotte Observer from North Carolina tells you where you may find Sushi in the metro area and says some shops even screen anime on televisions sets in the restaurant.
- Silver Bullet Comics has the piece today "Learning Japanese the Manga Way" which features a reprint of an article linked earlier by ANS but some new info on Stone bridge Press's upcoming book "Japanese: The Manga Way" written by former Mangajin writer Wayne P. Lammers, Japanese the Manga Way uses actual manga published in Japan to show how the language is used in real life, an approach that is entertaining, memorable, and for all learners at all levels. Japanese the Manga Way is available at retail shops and online this November. It is 304 pages with over 500 illustrations. It retails for $24.95. This is one of four books based on Japanese pop culture this Fall from Stone Bridge Press, including Fred Patten's Watching Anime, Reading Manga, a guide to new Japanese film from the guys behind MidnightEye.com, and TokyoScope author and Animerica staffer Patrick Macias' Cruising the Anime City written with Tomohiro Machiyama.

8-6-04---- eigoMANGA Reboots Rumle Pak

eigoMANGA REBOOTS: Pioneer American manga publisher reissues flagship title, RUMBLE PAKK, in Barnes & Noble, Media Play, and Tower Records stores nationwide SAN FRANCISCO - Former web-comic "e-business" turned independent comic book publisher eigoMANGA will re-release issue #1 of its flagship anthology series, RUMBLE PAKK, to be offered for sale in Barnes & Noble, Media Play, and Tower Records stores nationwide, while expanding the title's reach to include independent bookstores throughout Canada starting in October 2004.

An anthology series comprising original, Japanese-influenced comics (or manga) created by American artists, RUMBLE PAKK has received industry-wide acclaim, developing an underground fan following throughout California and beyond. The premier issue of RUMBLE PAKK is currently on exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Art in San Jose, California. "Our expansion of RUMBLE PAKK's distribution into stores like Barnes & Noble, Media Play and Tower Records provides just one more example of how the mainstream American audience has discovered and embraced the world of manga," said Austin Osueke, President and Chief Executive Officer of eigoMANGA.

8-5-04

- The Alien Online mentions The Edinburgh International Film Festival which runs from August 18 - 29 in the UK will screen 2046 from Wong Kar-Wai (UK premiere) and Hero as well as some animation. http://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/
- Non Starving Artists reviews Yoshitomi Nara's "Nothing Ever Happens Exhibition".
- The Williamson County Review Appeal from Tennessee interviews a librarian who mentions the Bretwood branch has recently added a graphic novel section. “We’ve started a graphics novel section with some of the Japanese-style books. The term for them is ‘manga,’ and they read from back to front and from right to left. I find them confusing,” Dillingham admitted.
- Michigan Live is runing a Wall Street Journal is running a piece on how learning Japanese in America has gone from being a job essential for some to being just plain cool. According to the Modern Language Association, an organization of scholars promoting the study of languages and literature, both Japanese and Chinese are gaining popularity among U.S. students. In the fall of 2002, the number of students studying Japanese in U.S. institutions of higher education rose to 52,238, a jump of 21 percent over 1998, when the previous survey was conducted. There were 34,153 students studying Chinese, an increase of 20 percent.

8-5-04---- New Book Looks At Japanese Video Gaming's Contribution To World Culture

Chris Kohler, one of video game journalism's most important new voices, has joined forces with BradyGames, the leader in video game strategy guides, to launch a new book designed to give readers an entertaining and authoritative look at the indelible influence that video gaming, specifically Japanese gaming, has had on the world. Whether a hardcore gamer, a fan of Japanese films and anime, or a student of Japanese culture, Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life is a must-have.

The book, scheduled to release in early September, is the first English-language work of its kind to examine the reasons behind the success of Japanese video games, rather than focusing on the history of video games. At over 300 pages, this compelling paperback profiles some of the most fascinating Japanese video game designers in the industry and takes a critical look at Japanese video games from their earliest beginnings to new, exciting trends that ride the bleeding edge of popular culture.

"Chris Kohler's writing style draws in the reader. He successfully recreates the era and makes the connection from then to now, entertaining the reader all the while," said Tim Fitzpatrick, Title Manager for BradyGames.

In addition, Kohler explains why Japanese video games are unique and why they resonate so well with young American players. Power-Up offers fresh insight into classic Japanese video games and the elements that made them so different from American games, the origin of Nintendo, Japan's oldest and largest video game producer, Japanese Role-Playing Games, and much more.

"This book is not just for video game fanatics," Fitzpatrick continues. "Chris draws from the worlds of animation, comic books, and Japanese culture as a whole. Anyone interested in the social phenomenon that is video gaming and its undeniable influence on America (and the world) will find this book fascinating."

For additional information and updates about Power-Up, including sample excerpts and chapters and the book cover image, please visit BradyGames' homepage at www.bradygames.com. - - -

Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life (ISBN 0-7440-0424-1) will be available September 1, 2004 at online bookstores, electronics, book and software retailers for $19.99 US / $28.99 CAN. It also will be available for purchase online at http://www.bradygames.com.

8-5-04---- Central Park Media Unveils Fourth Quarter Promotion

Central Park Media announced its best deal ever! This tremendous three-tiered program for the fourth quarter combines three powerful elements – cool anime titles, great value, and super savings, which are sure to drive consumers to their favorite retailers. The first tier of this program centers on DVD box sets. Consumers who purchase specially marked DVD box sets of Black Jack and ShootFighter Tekken at $49.99 SRP each, Now and Then, Here and There at $69.99 SRP and the Creator Spotlight: Yoshiaki Kawajiri DVD brick pack, which includes: Demon City Shinjuku, A Wind Named Amnesia, Birdy the Mighty: Double Trouble, and Birdy the Mighty: Final Force at $39.99 SRP will be able to choose a free DVD from a pre-determined list of 12 titles. This list of free DVDs includes some of the best and most memorable anime series produced by Central Park Media to date and has a suggested retail value ranging from $9.99 to $29.99 SRP each. The second tier centers on the incredibly popular anime and manga series The World of Narue. Consumers who purchase The World of Narue DVD Collection/Book 1 Brick Pack for $79.99 SRP will receive the first graphic novel for this series packaged with the box set, as well as a coupon redeemable for a free copy of The World of Narue Book 2, increasing the value of this DVD box/book set to $99.99 without increasing the SRP!

The final tier of this program gives consumers the opportunity to own some of Central Park Media’s best-selling and most popular anime titles at a great low price. The supernatural action/adventure Nightwalker and the fantasy/action adventure The Heroic Legend of Arslan will each be available as special double disc releases with English audio tracks. These value-versions priced at $19.99 SRP each will give consumers many hours of programming at an unbelievable price. Collector’s versions for Nightwalker and The Heroic Legend of Arslan are still available for consumers wanting English and Japanese audio tracks, English subtitles, and DVD bonus features. Complementing and completing the third tier are 5 single disc DVDs from some of the best-known creators of Japanese animation priced at $9.99 SRP each. The action/adventure Mask of Zeguy and the erotic Tales of Seduction by U-Jin are just a couple of great titles that will be reduced to this extremely attractive price point.

8-5-04---- Microsoft Interested In Nintendo

VIENNA U.S. computer giant Microsoft Corp Chairman Bill Gates has expressed interest in buying Japan's Nintendo Co, the German economic weekly Wirtschafts Woche reported in its electronic edition on Wednesday. Gates revealed his interest at a meeting of economic analysts in the United States. The magazine quoted Gates as saying he would immediately make an offer if Nintendo is ready to sell itself. If Hiroshi Yamauchi, the biggest shareholder of Nintendo and its adviser, calls, "he will be directly transferred to me," Gates said. (Kyodo News)
Source: Kyodo News

8-5-04---- Bandai Entertainment Escaflowne: Perfect Collection Release

Hitomi Kanzaki is a typical high school girl, with typical high school problems. But when a vision of a young man battling a dragon becomes a reality, her life changes forever. Drawn into a strange vortex with the swordsman, Van, Hitomi is thrust into the strange world of Gaea. Entangled in a struggle over life and death, Van must learn to master the suit of armor, Escaflowne. Chased by the Empire of Zaibach, Van and Hitomi will encounter both allies and enemies in an effort to unlock the secrets within Escaflowne. Hitomi's heart, stirred by love and adventure, but at times aches with sorrow. But why was she sent to this world? Her journey as just begun.

. Collects the ENTIRE Escaflowne 26 episode TV series including the Escaflowne Movie
. Created by Shoji Kawamori (Macross, Macross Plus)
. Directed by Kazuki Akane (Geneshaft, Heat Guy J)
. Music by Yoko Kanno (Macross Plus, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Cowboy Bebop)

Title Cat# UPC# SRP Rating TRT Escaflowne 21008 669198210082 $99.98 13UP min. Perfect Collection Pre-Book Date: 9.14.2004 / Street Date: 10.26.2004

Escaflowne TV DVD Features: Interactive Menus English/Japanese Language English subtitles Dolby Digital Sound Escaflowne TV DVD Extras: - Textless Opening - Textless Ending - Music Video Collection - ‘Club Escaflowne’ Cast Interviews - Playstation Game Footage Escaflowne Movie DVD Features: English/Japanese Language English subtitles Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound DTS Surround Sound Escaflowne Movie DVD Extras: - Overlapping Realtime Storyboards - Isolated Score Audio Track Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround

8-5-04---- Tokyopop And Blizzard Entertainment Developing Warcraft Manga

TOKYOPOP Inc. and Blizzard Entertainment® are proud to announce a groundbreaking project based on the immensely popular Warcraft® game universe. The publishing powerhouse and gaming gurus have joined forces to develop a three-book manga series titled Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy! The Warcraft manga will be penned by New York Times best-selling fantasy author Richard Knaak--who is also writing a trilogy of Warcraft novels--and illustrated by Jae Hwan Kim, artist of TOKYOPOP's fan-favorite King of Hell series.

Set in the same rich universe as Blizzard's upcoming Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game World of Warcraft(TM), Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy is a fresh take on the events in Warcraft III using original characters and storylines. The three manga volumes follow the adventures of Kalec, a blue dragon who has taken human form to escape the forces that seek to destroy his race, and Anveena, a maiden with secrets of her own. What starts as a flight for survival turns into a quest to save the entire High Elven Kingdom from the forces of the Undead Scourge.

"Blizzard consistently produces the highest quality PC games on the market, and we brought together a winning, international creative team to uphold the Warcraft standard," said series editor Jake Forbes. "We knew Richard Knaak would be the best writer for the series, but we were still blown away by the magic and intrigue-filled story he delivered. Jae Hwan Kim, one of the most talented manga artists in Korea, was already a fan of the Warcraft games, and we love his take on the world...we know fans will too."

"We're very pleased to be entering into this partnership with TOKYOPOP," stated Paul Sams, Blizzard Entertainment's senior vice president of business operations. "We look forward to offering gamers a new perspective on events taking place within the Warcraft storyline while also introducing a new universe to manga fans." Since its debut in 1994, the #1-selling Warcraft game series has won industry acclaim and has shattered sales records worldwide with over 14 million copies sold*. In 1995, Blizzard followed the well-received Warcraft: Orcs and Humans(tm) with the critically acclaimed Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness(TM), which won multiple Game of the Year awards and is still considered by many critics to be one of the best games ever made. In 2002, Blizzard expanded the boundaries of the epic Warcraft universe with the release of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos(TM). This third chapter in the legendary saga quickly reached the #1 position on sales charts around the world and has also since garnered Game of the Year awards from numerous gaming publications. The upcoming World of Warcraft is Blizzard's most ambitious effort to date, and will undoubtedly introduce millions of new players to the Warcraft universe.

Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy Volume 1: Dragon Hunt debuts in early spring 2005.

8-5-04---- Exclusive: Latest Amano Collaboration To Include Neil Gaiman And David Bowie

Amano's World has updated with news of Yoshitaka Amano's latest project alluded to in our recent exclusive interview. Neil Gaiman once again teams with Amano in V-magazine vol.29 (summer/04 issue) "The Return Of The Thin White Duke". Fantasy story by Neil Gaiman illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano. The image of the main character is David Bowie. Images can be seen at the above link.
Special Thanks to Daniel fore the link.

8-4-04---- J-Pop Splices Into Summer Hollywood Blockbusters

The soundtracks of America's as always media hyped and hot film season of summertime have made way for several Japanese entries this year on that country's release slate. Among them, Takanori Nishikawa (T.M. Revolution) was spotted on the red carpet at the Spiderman 2 premiere Mann's Bruin Theatre in the American state of California. His latest single, "Web of Night" is featured as the closing theme of the Japanese dub of the film, included on the Japanese soundtrack and even television commercials. Nishikawa was quoted as saying "I'm truly honored that I was able to participate," he said. "I want people to know about Japanese artists and Japanese culture from a chance like this."

Likewise the J-group V6 have provided not only song to the Japanese dub of Thunderbirds, but all six members will provide voices for major characters in the dubbed version. A limited edition CD/DVD package, with movie trailers and footage of the pop group's voice-acting sessions, will be available from Avex.
Source: Yomiuri News

8-4-04

- emedialive.com has an overview of software developer - Newtek's release of Lightwave 3D8. Among the notables in this release is the ability to cell-shade your CGI creations.
- Yomiuri News mentions singer Maki Oguro and her husband, a 34-year-old IT company employee, held their wedding reception July 19 in a central Tokyo hotel. The 4-1/2- hour ceremony was attended by over 250 guests. Their marriage was registered last November. Oguro is best known as the husky-voiced singer who supplied the ending theme for hit anime series, Slam Dunk.
- Synthesis reviews the anime inspired American film Demon Lover in which a business merger threatens to create a vertical monopoly in the world of Japanese pornographic animation. The Unrated version of the DVD will be released September 14th.
- The San Francisco Chronicle gives a very detailed review on the history of Zatoichi in live action format. According to the article three companies -- AnimEgo, Media Blasters and Home Vision Entertainment -- split the U.S. video-distribution rights for the original Zatoichi series. All but film No. 14 are available on DVD, but none of the television episodes are.

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