Anime News Service - November 10 - December 4 Anime News

12-4-06 (10:13PM EST)---- A-I-R Animation Team Tackles Short

Shirogumi who worked on the movie version of A-I-R has created a 3 part short work, "Poppura" for USEN and TLIP's 3DCG and VFX focused "Original Short Animation Theater" which went up in November.

12-4-06 (2:47PM EST)---- Wachowski / Silver Dream Team Helm Speed Racer

According to the Hollywood Reporter: After years of idling, the big-screen, live-action version of "Speed Racer" is ready to zoom, this time with Larry and Andy Wachowski behind the wheel. The Wachowski brothers are writing and will direct the movie, which will be produced by Joel Silver. The movie will be the duo's first directorial outing since completing the Silver-produced "Matrix" series in 2003. They are reuniting with several of the creative behind-the-scenes talent from the "Matrix" films, including executive producer Grant Hill and visual effects supervisor John Gaeta, who won an Oscar for his work on "The Matrix." Based on the classic 1960s series created by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida that later was retooled for North The plan is for the Wachowskis to shoot in summer 2007 for a summer 2008 release. Courtenay Valenti is overseeing for the studio. "Speed" will be a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, of a Silver Pictures production.

12-4-06 (2:11PM EST)---- Tokikake Gets Nominated For Japan SF Grand Prize

The annual Japan SF Grand Prize (Nihon SF Taisho) has seleceted Mamaoru Hosoda and Madhouse's theatrical animation Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo as one of five grand prize candidate works for the 2006 selection. Tokikake is the only animation nominated. Founded in 1980 this marks the 27th year for the awards. Original author Yasutaka Tsutsui took the 13th prize in 1992 with his work "Gaspar In The Morning".

12-4-06 (1:44PM EST)---- Mokke TV Series

Takatoshi Kumakura's Mokke manga will become an animated TV series to broadcast on Tokyo MX in 2007. Look for details in the next issue of Afternoon which serializes the manga.

12-4-06 (1:20PM EST)---- USA Howl's Moving Castle Box Office Final

According to JETRO Howl's Moving Castle earned 4.21 million dollars during its 2005 theatrical run in the United States.

12-4-06 (11:52AM EST)---- Kid Suspends Business / Declares Bankruptcy

Kid, developers of such fan favorite video game software as Ever 17 and Memories Off has suspended business on November 30 and declared voluntary bankruptcy in Tokyo District Court on December 1st. Liabilities are estimated at around 530 million Yen. Kid Game was established in 1988 and cranked out new titles at a frequency of one per month in 2006. Games on the table with uncertain futures include the highly anticipated 12RIVEN.

11-28-06 (2:37AM EST)---- Ikkitousen: Dragon Destiny To Be Animated

One page adverts making the rounds in Japanese magazines have spilled the beans on a new Ikkitousen: Dragon Destiny TV animation. Broadcast is set through AT-X from the end of February, 2007. Terrestrial broadcast will follow in the spring. An official website has launched concurrent with the start of the publishing campaign: www.ikkitousen.com. Confirmed staff on the anime include: Original Story by Yuji Shiozaki, Direction by Koichi Ohata, Screenplay by Takao Yoshioka and Character Designs / Chief Animation Direction by Rin Shin. Animation Production by Arms, Production by Genco and Ikkitousen DD Partners. Confirmed cast include: Masumi Asano - Hakufu Sonsaku, Eri Kitamura - Myousai Kakuen, Hajime Iijima - Gakushuu, Hitomi Nabatame - Unchou Kan'u, Kei Shindou - Gentoku Ryuubi, Kenta Miyake - Narrator, Kikuko Inoue - Goei, Kouji Yusa - Genpou Saji, Mai Kadowaki - Koumei Shokatsuryou, Minori Chihara - Ekitoku Chouhi, Satoshi Hino - Koukin Shuuyu, Shiho Kawaragi - Bunwa Kaku, Shuuhei Sakaguchi - Genjou Kakouton, Susumu Akagi - Moutoku Sousou, Takayuki Fujimoto - Houkou Kakuka, Yuko Kaida - Shimei Ryomou, Yuu Asakawa - Shiryuu Chouun.

11-28-06 (2:23AM EST)---- New Pretty Cure TV Series Broadcast Decision

Toei Animation's "Yes! Precure 5" anime TV series will debut via Asahi Broadcasting Corporation in the spring of 2007. 2 official wesbsites are now open: www.toei-anim.co.jp/tv/yes_precure5/ | asahi.co.jp/precure/

11-23-06 (4:41AM EST)---- Death Note Movie 2 Grosses 26 Million Dollars

Leading the Japanese Boxoffice for 3 weeks on the trot, Death Note 2: The Last Name has grossed $26,166,109 in theaters as of November 19th. Source: Box Office Mojo

11-21-06 (11:23PM EST)---- Big Names On New 2007 Toei Animation Works

Among Toei Animation's upcoming projects for 2007 are Tori No Uta (Bird's Song), A day of a girl @TYO and Eko Eko Azaraku. For Tori No Uta Yoshitaka Amano will create the script, storyboards as well as direct. Eko Eko Azaraku is of course based on the seminal horror manga by Shinichi Koga. The story was adapted to live action film in 1995. Koga will return to draft a scrip and storyboards for this new version, Directing will be Nagae Toshikazu (Ghost System). Look for the above 2 works in January. Due in March A day of a girl @TYO will be based on the original story by Hayashi Seiichi. Mikimoto Haruhiko (Macross) will do storyboards and character designs. Toei has partnered with ga-anime to produce these works with a new animation style in mind.

11-21-06 (9:23PM EST)---- Ichigo Marshmallow OVA Staff

Staff details for Ichigo Marshmallow have been released: Direction and Composition by Takuya Sato, Character Design by Sakai Kyuta, Scenario by Takuya Sato, Music by Watanabe Gou, Music Production by Music Brains, Animation Production by Doumu, Production by Ichigo Marshmallow OVA Partners.

11-21-06 (7:29PM EST)---- New Saiunkoku Monogatari Series Coming

Headed for NHK broadcast in Japan in April, 2007, Saiunkoku Monogatari will get a second series. The anime is based on the light novel by Sai Yukino and Kairi Yura published under the shoujo/josei light novel label Beans Bunko. The story is set in a nation similar to feudal China. The original aired in the 9:00 slot on NHK-BS2 on Saturday's weekly. www3.nhk.or.jp/anime/saiunkoku/

11-21-06 (6:19PM EST)---- School Days Animation Still On Track

Based on the 2005 hentai videogame by 0verflow, School Days is headed to an anime TV series adaptation in 2007. Confirmed staff on the project includes: Director: Aoki Ei, Script by Kouzan Katsuhiko, Chara Designs by Gotou Junji, Animation Production by Asulead.

11-21-06 (5:57PM EST)---- Late Night Shows Make Up 2/3 Of Anime Broadcast

As of late October, 2006 144 anime were broadcasting on television in Japan. 99 (roughly 2/3 of the whole figure) shows were classified as shinya or "late night" anime. The Tokyo suburb of Kanagawa ranked as the prefecture with the most anime broadcast with 135 shows hitting the airwaves there. 95 of those were late night series. For a greater understanding of the dynamics behind the rapidly growing phenomenon of late night anime please see Wikipedia's article.

11-17-06 (3:28PM EST)---- Naruto #1 On Gamecube In October

TOMY Corporation and D3Publisher of America, Inc. this week announced that NARUTO: Clash of Ninja 2 for Nintendo GameCube has dominated software sales for the Nintendo GameCube, and according to the NPD Group was the #1 selling game for Nintendo GameCube in the month of October. Based on VIZ Media's hit anime and manga series NARUTO, NARUTO: Clash of Ninja 2 is the sequel to the smash hit NARUTO: Clash of Ninja, and features more playable characters, new locations and added gameplay features including multiplayer modes for up to four players.

11-17-06 (12:30PM EST)---- Anime & Manga In Sex Exhibition

A recent West Fargo Pioneer article references Elizabeth Semmelhack, the curator of the exhibition titled, "Peeping, Probing, and Porn: Four Centuries of Graphic Sex in Japan" at the Museum Of Sex in New York City. Among other things, the exhibition "looks at how the visual vocabulary of Edo period eroticism continues to impact Japanese visual cultural, particularly the plethora of manga and anime which are currently exerting great influence on Western popular culture today." Starting on March 16, 2006, the exhibition is currently ongoing.

11-16-06 (1:59PM EST)---- New Quicktime Anime Related Trailers

You can now check out QT versions of Paprika (trailer 2), Black And White (Tekkon Kinkreet) and the second Nana Movie. Thanks To Daniel Zelter for the link.

11-16-06 (1:21PM EST)---- Mushishi Theatrical Release In Japan

Director Katsuhiro Otomo's second live action film (his first was WORLD APARTMENT HORROR in 1991) Mushishi will be given a widescale nationwide theatrical release in Japan courtesy Shochiku and Tokyu-affiliates from March 2007. Based on Yuki Urushibara's original 2.6 copy million selling award winning manga published by Kodansha in 2000, the film has already won praise internationally at festivals such as Venice. besides 2.6 million totals become best-sellers.

11-16-06 (1:15PM EST)---- Academic Style Exam To Test Anime Knowledge

A first of its kind effort in Japan, the "Zenkoku Sougou Anime Bunka Chishiki Kentei Shiken" (Nationwide, Integrated Anime Cultural Knowledge Permissibility Test) has officially been unveiled by the Anime Verification Executive Committee. To be held in partnership with the Tokyo Anime Center in 2007, the "Anime Verification" test (for short as its being called) will assay the overall Japanese animation cultural knowledge of participants through a wide vareity of questions. e-book Japan and Mainichi Newspapers will sponsor the effort. The examination can be taken through cellphone and written means. Composed of 6 stages, and a series of classes and tests, the 1st-5th tests will require personal attention, by going to 1 of 5 testing facilities around Japan. The 6th can be taken via cellphone for free. Look for the project to surface in the spring of 2007, being completed around Fall of the same year. An application charge of around 3000 Yen will be charged for tests 1-5. A textbook will be sold in the spring. An official website will be forthcoming next year. Through the organizers, ANS has learned an English version may be prepared in the future.

11-16-06 (12:02PM EST)---- Tensai Bakabon To Get 1st Japan DVD Release

Based on the the most important comic work of mangaka Fujio Akatsuka, TMS's 1971-72 TV series adaptation of Tensai Bakabon (Genius Bakabon) will soon get it's first DVD release in Japan. The story was adapted to animation a total of four times previously. The highly fan anticipated DVD BOX is expected from from Happinet Pictures on January 26, 2007 for 31,920 Yen. All 80 episodes of the first series originally broadcast between September 25, 1971 and June 24, 1972 will be included in the 8 piece set.

11-16-06 (11:42AM EST)---- Bandai Namco To Develop Deltora Quest Game

On Thursday in Japan it was revealed Bandai Namco Games will produce a video game based on the anime TV series adaptation of Australian fantasy writer, Emily Rodda's Deltora Quest novel. No other details were made available.

11-16-06 (9:42AM EST)---- Latest Rebuild Of Evangelion Details

The latest issue of the Japanese edition of Newtype Magazine includes many new details on Gainax's upcoming Rebuild Of Evangelion movies:
- No longer constrained by technological limitation of 12 years ago, Director Hideaki Anno is said to be happy that he can finally recreate Eva "as he wanted it to be" in the beginning.
- Production planning on the "first part" movie is now complete and now being passed off to the drawing phase.
- Anno is now working on the script for the second movie.
- The film project will retain many members of the TV series, allowing for the full chemistry that created Eva to work again.
- The first movie will occur around the time of the events of the episode 5-6 2 part story arch of the TV series with the climax being Operation Yashima involving Shinji's use of the positron sniper rifle. Anno says that because of technical limitations it didn't come out entirely as he planned the first time around and he wants to do his concept of the story right this time. Shinji Higuchi (director: Sinking Of Japan) will collaborate on the Yashima segments.
New characters will begin to appear as of the second movie.
- Uniform designs will be the same as the "Kou Gekijouban" works. The Nerv and Seele logos will be changed to reflect a symbolism surrounding the garden of eden story and the tree / fruit of forbidden knowledge. The NERV logo will be changed to show a fruit with a chunk bitten out of it, the new SEELE logo will reflect the image of a fruit with a serpent (Satan) coiled around it.

11-16-06 (9:42AM EST)---- 2006 Canadian Waterloo Festival Opens Today

The sixth edition of the Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema (WFAC) opens today, and runs through Sunday Nov. 19. 19 animated feature films will be screened, with 11 of the films Canadian, North American or world premieres. Anime highlights include:
- TOKI O KAKERU SHOUJO (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, 2006) - North American premiere. 35mm with English subtitles.
- GIN-IRO NO KAMI NO AGITO (Origin: Spirits of the Past, 2006) - Canadian premiere. 35mm with English subtitles.
- MIANHADA, SARANGHANDA (Sorry I Love You, 2006) - World premiere. Digital with English subtitles.
- ROBOTECH: THE SHADOW CHRONICLES (2006). DigiBeta with English dialogue.
- SHISHA NO SHO (Book of the Dead, 2005). 35mm with English subtitles.
- HOSHIZORA KISEKI (2006). Digital with English subtitles.
- HANARE TORIDE NO YONNA (Yonna in the Solitary Fortress, 2006). Digital with English subtitles.
- WAKUSEI KAIJU NEGADON (Negadon: The Monster From Mars, 2005). Digital with English subtitles.
For full details, visit www.wfac.ca.

11-15-06 (10:36PM EST)---- Naruto In Mad Magazine

According to Daniel Zelter The popular ninja gets skewered in the November 15th issue of the long-running spoof magazine MAD KIDS #5. Naruto is not the first anime/manga anime to get parodied. The publication has also lampooned Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh. A big thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news.

11-15-06 (9:26AM EST)---- Bandai Advances HD-DVD Plans

After years of sitting on the fence as it were, being a neutral a player interested in exploring both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray next gen disc formats, on Wed. Bandai Visual announced a major advancement on the HD-DVD end of the spectrum. Bandai has agreed on a technical cooperation between Memory-Tech Corporation (Japan's largest optical disc manufaturer) and Microsoft, to manufacture it's forthcoming HD-DVD releases. Just last month in Tokyo, Memory-Tech and Microsoft announced a major agreement on technical collaboration to optimize high-definition quality for animated contents using the VC-1, video compression technology for next-generation DVD standards including HD DVD. Noisey visual pixelation effects generated from movement specific to animation content is said to be annulled by using the Microsoft owned codec technology.

11-15-06 (10:07AM EST)---- Blade Engine Visual Novel Production Soft Releases

CuriousFactory and Buredo today released "Blade Engine" version 2.0, a free game engine and construction kit aimed at making English Visual Novel easy to construct. "Blade Engine 2.0", is an upgraded version of Blade Engine previously released in July, 2006.
Blade Engine 2.0 Additional Features:
- Compatibility with DirectX 9.0
- Movie Play
- Variables and IF/Else conditional statement
- Max choice selection text will be 32 characters
- Accept JPG for background
- Title screen customization
- Text window customization
- Client header customization*
- File Packing Ability*
- Membership to Blade Engine Pro Forum*
- No Blade Engine logo displayed *
*Pro version only
For more detail, please visit Blade Engine official site. www.bladeengine.com where you can try the sample Visual Novel created by Blade Engine.

11-15-06 (9:26AM EST)---- Schwarzenegger To Join Battle Angel Cast?

From Mania.com courtesy Daniel Zelter:
According to Virgin.net, Arnold Schwarzenegger may be returning to the movies, yet. James Cameron is said to be "waiting" for Arnold before he begins work on the movie Battle Angel Alita because he wants Schwarzenegger to play 'Ido' in the film. He might not be a part of KING CONAN anymore (which they're recasting) and TERMINATOR 4, but at least he's still likely to do BATTLE ANGEL.

11-14-06 (4:29PM EST)---- New DHS Law - 'No Fly' For All Americans In January

Are you a US citizen planning a trip to Japan? Wake Up From Your Slumber references a new draconian bit of legislation that would bar all Americans from passing in or out of the country without additional special permissions from the government:
If Uncle Sam gets its way, beginning on Jan. 14, 2007, we'll all be on no-fly lists, unless the government gives us permission to leave-or re-enter-the United States. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HSA) has proposed that all airlines, cruise lines-even fishing boats-be required to obtain clearance for each passenger they propose taking into or out of the United States.

11-14-06 (2:03PM EST)---- Aronofsky's Lone Wolf And Cub Could Happen

In spite of a previous comment at Dark Horizons that the Pi director couldn't get the movie rights to the Kazuo Koike movie, a recent item on the same site indicates that he's still planning on making it a reality. Daniel Zelter supplied us with this news, a big thanks.

11-14-06 (1:50PM EST)---- AVEX's Push Into Anime: Amazing Nuts Details

On Tuesday, AVEX and Studio 4C put out a major press announcement on their forthcoming Amazing Nuts Anime / Music Video Collaboration. There's a background story with the title's release and that involves AVEX's (Japan's largest record label) major push into the anime business with last week's announcement of Sisters Of Wellber, animated by Production I.G. and sold under it's new Zoom Flicker imprint, and this title, to be distributed under it's new Rhythm Zone label. In the past AVEX delved into animation and video games through contributing it's Super Eurobeat music to Konami's Para Para Paradise dance game and the Initial D franchise. The Amazing Nuts DVD will street in Japan in December. m-flo, RAM RIDER, Kumi Koda, and Mink will provide music to 4 individual short animation love stories, each about ten minutes in length. A CD+DVD Music Video combo will market on December 6th for 1,990 Yen. All of the songs featured on these discs include English titles, they are: . "she loves the CREAM -Amazing Nuts! Ver.-" by m-flo loves, "Smile Again" by RAM RIDER, "Twinkle" by Kumi Koda and "Here by my side" by mink. The standard DVD release follows at 2,999 Yen on December 20, 2006. Additionally a special edition version also releases on December 20th for 6,090 Yen. The titles of the animation featurettes are Global Astroliner Gou, GLASS EYE, Tatoe kimi ga sekaijuu no teki ni natte mo and Joe and Marilyn. Specs include a 37 minute running time, Dolby Digital 2ch and 5.1 audio and 16:9 video. Extra features on the special release include additional video clips (40 mins extra), a 2 DVD set, a guidebook, storyboards for Global Astroliner Gou and Tatoe kimi ga sekaijuu no teki ni natte mo, Joe and Marilyn Design development book, "The Story of Amazing Nuts!, specially made storage case, picture label, exclusive box illustration to the special edition. An official trailer has been uploaded to the above linked Amazing nuts website.

11-14-06 (12:50PM EST)---- Japanese Paprika Atsuko Lookalike Contest

For the Japanese release of Paprika on November 25th, Sony Pictures is holding a competition to find an attractive real life woman who shares some of the physical and personality traits of Atsuko, the hero of the Staoshi Kon / Madhouse film.

11-14-06 (10:00AM EST)---- Aniplex Cancels Blood On Blu-Ray

Aniplex has clarified it's planned sale of Production I.G.'s anime film "BLOOD THE LAST VAMPIRE Digital Master Version" that had been scheduled for a November 22nd release in Japan has now been discontinued. The title was first announced in August complete with a package mockup. The reason for cancelation was cited as "Convenience In Production". Aniplex mentioned this was their first and only planned BD product and they want take a step back and examine the market and release trends a bit more.

11-14-06 (9:27AM EST)---- PS3 Japanese Launch / Gundam Top Game

Kotaku has a report and videos from the frontlines of this past weekend's Playstation 3 launch in Tokyo, Japan's Akihabara district. Highlights of the launch weren't always pretty, with foreigners, fights, human tidalwaves and other elements making for some colorful action. Sony says they sold sold 88,400 units in the first 2 days, the top selling game being Mobile Suit Gundam: Target In Sight, which moved 30,000 copies.

11-14-06 (4:47AM EST)---- Universal Pictures Investing In Anime?

A big thanks to Daniel Zelter who sends in the following prescient observation:
According to Universal Pictures Japan, the Japanese arm of the distributor behind such recent films as "The Break Up" and "United 93" will be releasing a dvd of Souten No Ken on 12/22. Also, recent Youtube uploads of the credits of the show indicate the company is a licensee of the other Raijin-based anime, Zaizen Jotaro. While Universal has had no known (to my knowledge) previous experience in releasing anime in the U.S., they were responsible for the controversial R1 dvd of "Ghost in the Shell 2:Innocence" which was released shortly before Dreamworks' Go Fish Division became inactive. In addition, they have the domestic rights to the live-action Crying Freeman film featuring Mark Dacascos as the main character.

11-13-06 (1:18PM EST)---- English Trailer / Special Report: Be Rockin'

ANS has been granted special permission by ANON PICTURES to exclusively host a 3 minute English subtitled Windows Media video trailer for their upcoming 2007 anime TV series Be Rockin'. Unveiled only 3 weeks ago to a mere handful of the world's anime elite, industry professionals and other VIPS attending Tokyo Project Gathering, ANON just finished putting the final touches on the English trailer last week. You can view it and the 1st of our special TPG in-depth reports on the presentation of this just announced anime here.

11-13-06 (11:14AM EST)---- Dream Hunter REM DVD BOX

Never released in America, the Dream Hunter REM OAV series relased irregularly between 1985-1992 is headed for DVD on R2 in Japan. More than 10 years have passed since the last REM video product was placed on the Japanese market. Now, DVD-BOX 1 will street there courtesy BM.3 and Onlyhearts on November 22nd for 18,270 Yen. The story centers on Rem Ayanokoji, a dream hunter who can enter a peoples dreams, fighting demons that cause nightmares. The voice cast (Naoko Matsui, Emi Shinohara, Kazuko Yanaga, Kenji Utsumi, Masako Katsuki, Naoki Tatsuta, Sanae Miyuki, Sho Hayami, Shuuichi Ikeda, Tamio Ohki and Mephist) includes some classic talent previously involved in series such as Mobile Suit Gundam, Fist Of The Northstar and Dragonball. Originally conceived as a Hentai project and then changed around for a more mainstream release, midstream, many of the original scenes created for the 1st episode were edited out and then later compiled in a special. Directed by Seiji Okuda, Character Designs by Kazuaki Moori. www.dreamhunter.jp

11-13-06 (10:36AM EST)---- Dr. Slump DVD Box CM

Toei Animation uploaded a special promotional commercial video to the official site of their pending Doctor Slump DVD BOX Sets. The 2 piece set will retail at 105,000 Yen apiece and release in spring and fall 2007. www.toei-anim.co.jp/tv/arale/

11-13-06 (10:31AM EST)---- Hayashibara On Manabi Straight! Themes

Anime Voice Actress Superstar Megumi Hayashibara will perform both the Opening and Ending Themes to the Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight! TV Animation. Broadcast is set for Television Tokyo Channel 12 on Sunday, January 7, 2007 25:30-26:00.

11-13-06 (10:09AM EST)---- Deltora Quest TV Start

The broadcasting date of the new TV animation Deltora Quest has been announced as Saturday, January 6, 2007 via TV Tokyo Channel 12. www.deltoraquest.jp

11-13-06 (10:08AM EST)---- Getsumen To Heiki Mina Site Opens

GONZO has opened the official wesite for their Getsumen To Heiki Mina TV series at www.mi-na.jp.

11-13-06 (9:58AM EST)---- Live Action Blood The Last Vampire

The Hollywood Reporter has announced that South Korean actress Jun Ji-hyun will star in Blood Vampire, the live-action English-language remake of the hit Japanese animated film. Blood Vampire, to be helmed by Hong Kong director Ronny Yu (Jet Li's Fearless), is a $30 million production from Bill Kong and France's Pathe Entertainment and is in preproduction. The live-action film is based on the Oshii Mamoru anime hit about Saya (Jun), a vampire employed by the U.S. government to hunt demons in post-World War II Japan. "Vampire" is set to start shooting in March in China and Argentina and is scheduled for release in 2008.
Source: The Film Asylum

11-13-06 (7:43AM EST)---- Higa Romanov's All English CATBLUE:DYNAMITE

3DCG / cell shade anime pioneer Higa Romanov's (TANK S.W.A.T.) latest work 'CATBLUE: DYNAMITE' was announced in late October. It will be available free online via the Japanese Internet portal site goo on December 22, 2006. The 40 minute action film written, directed and wholly produced by Romanov occurs at the end of the 1970's. The main character has the external features of a moe-esque 20 something year old woman with cat ears and tail. She is in reality only 3 years old (cat years), is a detective, can talk to ghosts, carries three guns and katana swords and can fight with either weapon using her tail. Romanov, known for his love of hard action storytelling, adopted the cat-girl image specifically to allow his female fighter to fight with 3 weapons at a time, he added the tail appendage to the character first and then the cat ears naturally followed. The film opens with an intense firefight and car chase, set in the USA and features conversations with the dialogue 100% in English. Romanov lived in Okinawa as a child in the 70's and the only channel his family television could pickup was NHK. He says he gave CATBLUE a sort of styling similar to African American "Blacksploitation" action films of the era such as 'Shaft', 'Coffy', 'Foxy Brown', 'Cleopatra Jones', and 'Black Belt Dragon'. His fight scenes are of a high quality thanks to the employment of a professional choreographer. Interestingly, at the dubbing stage, one of the production themes for the films became "Ad-lib" and it make for a totally unexpected end product with dialogue that was difficult to matchup to character lip movements on the screen because the mouth action had already been created and couldn't be altered. As a result CATBLUE became something closer to a theatrical play rather than a traditionally dubbed anime. Although the entire dialogue is English language, Romanov admits he can't speak that much and the script was written in Japanese and the translated into English. Following the ad libbing revisions were made to the script. Production time was around 1 year. The film itself is a Wedge Holdings and Organic production and investments came from those 2 companies althugh Higa Romanov's personal label ROMANoV Film retains copyright. The way this happened was Mr. Ikegamei of Organic first met Romanov at the 2005 Tokyo Anime Fair. Seeing his CATBLUE pilot there for the first time he was highly impressed and decided to let the director keep the copyright despite investing into the project. Masafumi Fukui of Wedge Holdings mentioned his company's involvement stemmed from a desire to develop a new business model, destroying the existing anime production style with this joint project. Produced with overseas distribution a prime consideration an American release strategy is currently underway. Source: Moura

11-12-06 (1:12PM EST)---- New Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien OAV Production Starts

According to a splash image on Age Soft's Kiminozo Radio site, production started in late October on a new Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien OAV series.

11-12-06 (11:48AM EST)---- Tetsuko No Tabi To Be Animated

Kikuchi Naoe and Yokomi Hirohiko's Tetsuko's Travels manga will be adapted to an animated TV series in Japan sometime in 2007. In advance the official anime website opened on October 23rd at www.tetsuko.jp. SUPER BELL "Z will create and perform the theme song. 5 collected manga volumes now exist on the market. The original is published by Shogakukan and serialized in the seinen manga magazine IKKI. The story is said to be non-fiction, about a manga artist who is asked by her boss to accompany him and an ultra train otaku travel-writer on various train trips around Japan to go on and draw a manga about their experiences. Interestingly and somewhat surreal, a few of the characters who appear in the manga's later serials do so because they read previous serials!

11-12-06 (6:38AM EST)---- Romeo x Juliet Anime Details

On Friday GONZO opened the official website for their upcoming Romeo x Juliet TV series at www.romejuli.jp. Featuring state-of-the-art visuals and a story based on the immortal example of world romance, Romeo x Juliet will be adapted in the grand GONZO style the studio became famous for with The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas / Gankutsuou. The worldview is the same seen in the original theatrical works set in the Middle Ages with a twist of phantasy. Music will play a key part in setting the mood of the story and relaying the feelings of characters. In his first anime project, Hitoshi Sakamoto, known for his soundtrack work on the highly acclaimed Square RPG Final Fantasy Tactics will score the animation. The actual plot tells the story of young and tragic love set in the aerial city of Neo Verona. Tyranny rules this isalnd in the sky after the Montaugue family took control 14 years prior. The disparity among the wealthy and poor is apparent in the present state, the earth dries and water stagnates. The sky itself is wrapped in a deep dense fog. Both Romeo and Juliet's lineages are of present and past ruling families of Neo Verona. Romeo is the son of the current Montaugue dictator, Juliet (a beautiful woman) masquerades as a man (Odin), she's the last descendent of Kyupiretto the previous rulers, killed by an assasin's dagger 14 years ago. Her true background is not to be revealed to her until her 16th birthday. She's been raised by her sister. The cruel destiny introduces two people that eventually fall in love.

Staff: Original Concept: William Shakespeare, Director: Oizaki Fumitoshi (Pretear), Series Composition: Reiko Yoshida, Character Designs: Daiki Harada (Fullmetal Alchemist Movie), Sound Supervision: Junichi Sato. Cast is undecided at this time.

11-12-06 (6:24AM EST)---- Gunbuster Movie Release Expanded To Osaka

Gainax announced Top Wo Narae 2! & Top Wo Narae! Gattai Gekijouban screened in Osaka at the venue Planet from October 30 - November 10th.

11-12-06 (5:55AM EST)---- Afro Samurai American Debut

GDH K.K. has announced that AFRO SAMURAI, the animated series produced by its main production subsidiary GONZO K.K. (Head Office: Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Managing Director: Koji Kajita, hereafter GONZO) will premiere in the US on male skewing cable network SPIKE starting January 4th, 2007.

Based on Takashi Okazaki's comic, AFRO SAMURAI is a five episode animated series in which the protagonist - Afro Samurai - sets out on a journey to avenge his father against a unique backdrop of mixture of samurai culture and soul culture.. The series stars and is also co-produced by Academy Award-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson as the voice of the hero. Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and Kelly Hu (X2: X-MEN UNITED) also participate as voice actors. The soundtrack of the series is composed by the revolutionary hip-hop artist The RZA, adding another outstanding creative talent to provide a whole new experience never seen in the animation history. The series will be aired in Japan in 2007 after US broadcast. The animated TV series will initially be aired in the US and will then be aired in Japan with the original English voices and Japanese subtitles. Original concept by Takashi Okazaki. For more information, visit www.afrosamurai.com.

11-11-06 (8:58AM EDT)---- Penelope Anime Website Opens

The website for Nippon Animation and NHK's production of Penelope has officially opened at www.penelope.tv. The series is based on Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben's "Penelope" series of childrens picture books. The husband-and-wife author team lives in Paris, France. Nippon Animation has also acquired the commercialization rights to the series. The book series is a worldwide bestseller with 213,000 copies sold as of October, 2005. Iwasaki Shoten is the Japanese publisher.

11-11-06 (8:51AM EDT)---- Imagawa To Direct New Tetsujin 28 Film

The full length anime feature Tetsujin 28 Gou Hakuchuu No Zangetsu has been announced by collaborators Palm Studio, GENCO, Ganges, King Record and Media Suits. Theatrical release nationwide in Japan will occur in March, 2007. A huge fan of the original author, Yasuhiro Imagawa will direct and this marks his first directorial roll in a film project. The original story (with new elements not part of the original manga) follows in the same vein of the new 'Tetsujin 28' TV anime telecast via TV Tokyo in 2004. This marks the 4th time Mitsuteru Yokoyama's original manga has been adapted to animation. For his past work on Tesujin 28, Imagawa earned high praise in Japan for creating "Animation adults". Occuring in a slightly postwar Tokyo, elder and younger brothers enounter each other after being seperated in battle. The secret super weapon "Haikyo Dan" will represent the main rivalry / threat. Above all the story will carry a theme of the sadness of war. This idea is extremely pertinent at this time in Japan with the nation currently faced with remaking itself as a potential military superpower through talks of amending the constitution and ties to the empire of past through cabinet ministers paying visits to the Yasukuni Shrine. Cast includes: Motoko Kumai as Shoutarou Kaneda, Awano Fumihiro as the lost Shoutarou brother, Minoru Inaba as Chief Ootsuka, Shigeru Ushiyama as Professor Shikishima, Rie Ishizuka as Taka misawa and Hiroko Suzuki as the narrator. Staff includes Project Directors Toshimichi Ootsuki and Taro Maki, Direction / Script and Storyboards by Yasuhiro Imagawa, Character Designs by Shingo Ishikawa, Production by Furukawa Junko, Art Direction by Sakurai Kunihiko, Music by Akira Senju. Animation by Palm Studio.

11-11-06 (7:39AM EDT)---- Sisters Of Wellber To Be Animated

The official website for Sisters of Wellber / Wellber No Monogatari is now online. The new TV animation is set for a sign-on via Japanese airwaves from April, 2007. The series is a joint production between Production I.G. and Avex Entertainment (Japan's largest record label). Animators Production I.G. and Trans Arts will completely produce this original animation with some inputs from Avex's new ZOOMFLICKER label which will distribute. Look for a small spread with character image profiles and screen grabs in the December, 2006 Japanese issue of Newtype Magazine (just released in Japan).

The story centers on the nation-state of Wellber, on a sort of alternate Earth similar to middle ages Europe. Differences include mythical creatures such as Fairyfolk and an infusion of high technological elements such as tanks equipped with artificial intelligence. 10 years have passed since a great war. Tensions ran high and war could breakout at any time with neighboring country, Sangatras. The king of Wellber, Haidel, moves to marry off his daughter, Princess Rita, to Sangatras' Prince Guernia in order to avoid conflict. Rita cuts this plan short by stabbing her potential future husband, fleeing to an unknown fate afterwards. The King of Sangatras, Ranbahnhof, is left enraged and threatens war unless Rita is captured and publicly executed within 14 days. Rita learns of the death warrant and runs to the neutral country Greedom. A female thief after the royal family's treasures whose name is Tina infiltrates Castle Wellber, unexpectedly witnessing the stabbing first hand. Tina learns a man she was seeking after for vengence after he killed her parents named the "Wasp Man" is in Greedom. She travels with Rita as her bodyguard to the neutral country, an uncertain path lays before them.

Confirmed staff includes: Director: Hamana Takayuki (The Prince of Tennis/Idaten Jump), Series Composition: Maekawa Jun (The Prince of Tennis/Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters), Character Design: Iizuka Haruko (The Prince of Tennis, Two Samurais, The First Game/Tsubasa Chronicle: Torikago no Kuni no Himegimi) / Takahashi Nariyuki (Detective Conan: The Phantom of Baker Street), Music: Dobashi Akio (ex-Rebecca). The cast will be as follows: Rita Ciol: Takahashi Mikako, Tina Lawter: Takeuchi Junko, Sherry: Sendai Eri, Girano D'Vorjulak: Chou, Guernia Han: Kakita Toshiyuki, Galahad Eiger: Namikawa Daisuke, Haidel Ciol: Kamibeppu Hitoshi, Roden Ciol: Sugita Tomokazu, Jin: Terashima Takuma, Vice: Tsuruoka Satoshi.

11-11-06 (5:48AM EDT)---- Nagasarete Airantou TV Updates

First announced via ANS July 31st, based on the shounen / comedy manga by Takeshi Fujishiro, serialized in Shounen GanGan magazine, animation studio Feel will adapt Nagasarete Airantou to an animation TV series in Japan. Debut is expected in April on TV Tokyo. Confirmed staff now includes Director Hideki Okamoto (Iketeru Futari, Zipang), Character Designer Naoto Hosoda (Shuffle!, Jinki:Extend) and Script by Mamiko Ikeda (Fruits Basket, Gravitation). The 26 episode series will follow the story of a 14 year old boy runaway who stows away onboard a ship. After falling into the ocean and being being caught up in a storm he finds himself washed ashore the remote island of Airantou. The only inhabitants of the island are teen girls who have never seen a boy. The official website at www.starchild.co.jp/special/airantou/ launches November 22nd.

11-11-06 (5:48AM EDT)---- 4th Makoto Shinkai Charity Auction

Unknown to many, independent anime pioneer Makoto Shinkai (The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Voices Of A Distant Star) has holds a regular charity auction with all proceeds from successful bidders going to various welfare organizations. This time around, Yahoo hosted the 4th such auction between November 1st - 8th, 2006 and the item up for grabs was a "No. 2" pen drawn frame "cell" actually used in Kumonomukou (The Place Promised In Our Early Days) as well as a signed seiyuu voice script. Director Shinkai's autograph and special notes appear on both items. The auction closed with a successful bid of 86,010 Yen. Proceeds goto the Central Community Chest of Japan (www.akaihane.or.jp) to fight child abuse.

11-11-06 (5:28AM EDT)---- Special Japanese Paprika Site Opens

On November 1st Sony Pictures Japan launched a special Japanese website for its nationwide November 25th release of Satoshi Kon and Studio Madhouse's film Paprika. A secret page exists in this site and getting there involves a little word game of searching for the "DC Mini". A hint can be found in the upper right hand corner of the main page.

11-11-06 (5:18AM EDT)---- Outotori Release Extended / Screens Expanded

Studio Ghibli has announced their Japanese revival release of the French animated film Outotori (Le roi et l'oiseau / King And Bird) will have its run extended and the venues across Japan in which one can see it, expanded. The work which heavily inspired Ghibli Directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata will get new screens in Kyoto, Nagoya, Hokkaido, Okinawa, Okayama, Miyazaki, Kanazawa, Fukuoka and Ehime.

11-11-06 (5:09AM EDT)---- Online Video Misc.

- Kashimashi Gaaru Miitsu Gaaru TV's final DVD volume will feature an unbroadcast 13th episode. A special commerical promoting the release can be viewed at the official website.
- The official Marginal Prince website now hosts a promotional commercial.
- Bandai has launched a new flavor of its Bandai Channel network aimed at younger viewers. Bandai Channel Kids kicks off their new lineup with anime like SD Gundam Force and Dinobreaker.

11-11-06 (3:16AM EDT)---- CoMix Wave Global Screenings Through November

Best known in the west as the studio behind independent anime and SFX live action films such as Makoto Shinkai's Hoshi No Koe (Voices Of A Distant Star) and Awazu Jun's Negadon, November is a turning out to be a very significant month for CoMix Wave Films as it screens its works around the world.
- Nov. 16-22 - Animation Nation 2006 in Singapore will screen Negadon and Yonna in the Solitary Fortress. Yonna Director Takeuchi Kengo will be on hand for a special event on the 18th.
- Nov. 16 - WATERLOO FESTIVAL FOR ANIMATED CINEMA will show Akio Watanabe and Toshikazu Matsubara's Hoshizora Kiseki, Negadon and Yonna in the Solitary Fortress.
- November 2 - Seven CW film works such as Hoshi No Koe were screened Fuchuan international student animation film festival held in Fuchuan City, South Korea.

11-11-06 (1:25AM EDT)---- Sgt. Frog Movie 2 Announced

A production announcement for the film sequel "Chou Gekijou Ban Keroro Gunsou 2 Shinkai No Princess De Arimasu!" (Sergeant Frog Super Movie 2 - Princess In The Ocean!) was held as part of the EntaMatsuri 2006 event in Akihabara on October 22nd. Besides the alien frogs, ANS founder and chief editor Jonah Morgan was the only non-Japanese on hand at Akiba Sqaure and got to meet 1 on 1 with Kororo and friends before they took the stage. The 1st movie opened to the public amidst high praise in March of this year during Japanese school spring vacation. It was revealed that the manga has sold eight million copies. The TV series airs Fridays weekly at 00:30 on Television Tokyo Channel 12. The announcement kicked off with mini character play featuring 5 members of the Keroro Platoon . The full voice cast was on hand and did a live dubbing session to match the events of the costumed characters. Kumiko Watanabe (Keroro), Tomoko Kawakami (Fuyuki Hinata), Jouji Nakata (Giroro), Chiwa Saito (Natsumi Hinata) then joined their alter egos on stage and gave their own impressions on the project. Kumiko Watanabe said "No matter how strong my power in performing Keroro is, I'm still at a loss of words..... I've had strong feelings on this role since first learning of 2nd movie plans. The storyline is expected to carry a deep family theme. www.keroro-movie.net

11-10-06 (11:35PM EDT)---- BIG Lupin III DVD BOX Set For Japanese Release

2007 marks the 35th anniversary since the original Lupin III TV anime first debuted in Japan and 40 years since Monkey Punch created the manga. To commemorate, an absolutely HUGE 42 disc BOX set collecting the entire original Lupin III TV series archive and 3 movies will be released by VAP in March, 2007 for 100,000 Yen (VPBY-12974). The official title of the set is "-LUPIN THE BOX -TV & The Movie-". All video material was sourced from a new HD master. Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1. The 23 episode 1st ("old Lupin") TV series (October, 1971 - March, 1972), the 155 episode 2nd ("new series") TV series (October, 1977 - October, 1980), The 50 episode 3rd series (March, 1984 - December, 1985) and the movies 'Golden Legend of Babylon' (1985), Cagliostro's Castle (1979) and the original 1978 movie 'Lupin vs Fukusei-ningen' (Lupin vs Clone Man / The Mystery Of Mamo) are included. Additionally a lavish booklet bundle is said to be provided with the set. Mamo Director Yasuo Otsuka provides the original box illustration.

11-10-06 (8:45PM EDT)---- PUFFY AMIYUMI Sings Hatarakiman Theme

Japanese Pop Duo PUFFY AmiYumi will perform the theme song to the seventh episode of the Hatarakiman TV animation. The series dealing with passionately working women is based on the manga created by Hideaki Anno's wife.

11-10-06 (8:35PM EDT)---- Production I.G. Will Animate Yume Da Maya Kidan

Production I.G. has announced they will produce an animation adaptation of Tsukino Akari's manga Yume da Maya Kidan. Set for a Japanese broadcast debut in summer, 2007, the work was the winning submission of the 5th Animax grand prix. The year's theme was "Story that you want to make into animation". The grand prix has been held annually since 2002 and seeks to find top new talent for the animation field.

11-10-06 (8:05PM EDT)---- New Live Action From Viz

www.kfccinema.com says that Viz Pictures has picked up Linda Linda Linda, the live-action high school comedy about an all-girl Japanese band which hires a Korean exchange student to play a classic Japanese punk song for their school event. Their source at Twitchfilm also indicates that Viz has picked up A Taste of Tea, a surreal comedy featuring an appearance by GAINAX Director Hideaki Anno. Thanks To Daniel Zelter For The News.

11-10-06 (7:01AM EDT)---- Be Rockin' English Website Goes Live

One of the featured projects at TIFF and TIFFCOM's Tokyo Project Gathering this year, the official English website for ANON PICTURES' anime production Be Rockin' is now live at: www.be-rockin.jp/endex.html.

11-10-06 (6:20AM EDT)---- Dancougar Nova Mega Updates

IT Media has caught wind of new character design profiles and associated voice actor / actress data on the new TV animation Kemono Soukikou Dancougar Nova. The series revives the storyline first told in the 1985 anime work. Broadcast debut in Japan is set for February 15, 2007. The production committee has also been revealed and is composed of companies such as Paradise Resort, Sega, SONY Pictures Entertainment. Ashi Productions serves as manager of the committee. The whole premise of the show has been revised for the 21st century and this can be seen in the mecha, macha transformation / union sequences, characters and story. Details of the story have yet to be clarified. A special program that introduces the viewpoint of this work is being produced and will be broadcast on February 8th. Cast includes: Hollyhock (Aoi) Seki: Haruna Ikezawa, Kurara Kanhana: Noriko Kuwajima, Shiina: Suzuki Tatsuhisa, Johnny: Tai Yuuki, A man of mystery: Kazuki Yao.

11-10-06 (5:47AM EDT)---- New Bandai Visual Commercials

Bandai Visual Digital Beat has uploaded several new commercial video trailers for upcoming BV products including Mobile Suit Gundam DVD-BOX 1, Super-Robot Taisen OG Divine Wars I, Gundam SEED C.E.73,.-STARGAZER-, Ghost In The Shell STAND ALONE COMPLEX Solid State Society, Slayers Movie Version & OVA DVD-BOX, Wings Of Rean 5, My Otome Zwei 1, GUNDAM EVOLVE, FREEDOM Previsited, Sakura Tasien TV DVD-BOX and others. The latest videoclip additions are marked "NEW".

11-10-06 (3:51AM EDT)---- Ayu Mayu Theater OVA Release

Ayu Mayu Gekijou (Ayu Mayu Theater), seen as 30-second shorts shown following the credits of several episodes of Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien TV series and the Akane Maniax OVA, is getting it's own entirely new and dedicated OVA in Japan. Character designs are expected to remain in the same style of the shorts. February 23, 2007 is the release date, retail is 6,090 Yen. The official website is www.ayumayu.net. The segments as they've played out so far show the characters AyuAyu and MayuMayu portrayed in chibi form in a comical situation totally irrelevant to the main story of the given headliner animation episode.

11-10-06 (3:39AM EDT)---- YouTube Deletes 30K Videos On Behest Of JASRAC

We all knew it was coming......... right? At the request of Japanese broadcasters and copyright groups (The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers was a focal point of many requests) a total of 29,549 videos were deleted from the video hosting / streaming site on Friday, October 20th. In total, 23 businesses and organizations pooled their requests in a stance of industry solidarity. Much of the content deleted was Japanese Animation.

11-10-06 (2:40AM EDT)---- Strange Kind Of Woman OAV Release

One of the prominent Hentai OAV series to keep an eye on coming out in Japan in the foreseeable months is Pink Pineapple's Strange Kind Of Woman. First announced in an August issue of Issuisya's erotic manga magazine Bishoujo Teki Kaikatsu Chikara, mangaka Inu's serial will be adapted to a 2 part 18+ OVA. Act 1 has been given a 2007 release date. A few new staff details have come out through the magazine such as appointed Director and storyboard drafter Watase Toshihiro (Moeyo Ken). Screenplay will be by Hanayama Tenkichi, character designs by Kizaki Yuu and animation production by Cafe de Jeilhouse. The first character sketches are out too in Bishoujo Teki Kaikatsu Chikara pages and can be seen right.

11-10-06 (2:20AM EDT)---- Master Of Epic The Animation Age Broadcast Date

GONZO Rosso And Hudson Soft's Master of Epic The Animation Age TV series has been scheduled for a January, 2007 start. Nicknamed (MOE), the story is an adaptation of the popular MMORPG. Although first announced in January of 2006 with an expected autumn, 2006 telecast complete with terrestrial stations and schedule, it seems the start has been postponed a bit. http://moepic.com/anime/

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