Anime News Service - February 20-28 Anime News
2-28-07 (7:56AM EST)---- Tokikake Director Mamoru Hosoda To Speak At MITOn Wed., Feb. 28, at 7pm at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, anime director Mamoru Hosoda will screen his award-winning film "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" (Toki o Kakeru Shojo) and take questions from the audience. The screening and discussion will take place at MIT in Room 32-123 (map at http://whereis.mit.edu ). The dialogue with the director will be led by Prof. Ian Condry (MIT) as part of the conference "Cool Japan 2007: Love and War in Japanese Popular Culture" at MIT and Harvard, 2/28-3/3. More info at: http://iancondry.com/cooljapan/ Free and open to the public, but seating will be limited to first 300 guests.
The conference also includes a Japanese rap music concert featuring Miss Monday (from Tokyo) on Thursday, 3/1, 9pm, as well as, on Friday, 3/2, 7pm, a screening of an episode of the SpikeTV series Afro Samurai and discussion with the creator of the original cult manga of the same name by Takashi Okazaki. The conference will also feature scholarly panels including Prof. Susan Napier (author, Anime: From Akira to Howl's Moving Castle) and Roland Kelts (author, Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Invaded the US) as well as a dialogue with Prof. Condry about his new book "Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization" (2006, Duke U Press).
2-28-07 (7:31AM EST)---- Witch Cafe Opens In AkihabaraFirst, maid cafes and now, witch cafes can be found on the streets of Akihabara. Unattico Strega opened its doors to the otaku's sacred ground on February 9. The amusement bar's title means "Witch's Retreat" in Latin. Those entering are welcomed by the greeting: "Welcome To Witch's Retreat". The leaving greeting is transalted as roughly "Start your journey from the retreat" and "good travels". The establisment holds 21 seats total and the target customer demographic are men in the latter half their twenties-thirties. Besides the usual assortment of pizza, fried rice, liquor, bear and alcoholic and non-alcoholic mixed drinks, the shop serves up a specialty cocktail called "Magic". The shop's owner picked the theme becuase maid cafes have over saturated Akihabara. It's open weekdays 18:00-23:00.
2-28-07 (7:15AM EST)---- Isamu Tanonaka Writes One For The History Books With New Gegege No KitaroWhen the latest Gegege No Kitaro animation arrives on Japanese TV in April, 74 year old Isamu Tanonaka will make history. The veteran voice actor will have voiced the same character, Daddy Eyeball, Kitaro's father in all 5 animation incarnations of the series stretching back to 1968. No other Japanese voice actor can make a claim to voicing the same character over such a length of time.
2-28-07 (6:58AM EST)---- Darth Vader Samurai ArmorYoshitoku Co., Ltd. will market a full suit of "Yoroikabuto Darth Vader" samurai armor at the beginning of March. The helmet alone is 180,000 yen, and the armor is 330,000 Yen.
2-28-07 (6:36AM EST)---- SuperVision Issues Dragon Quest Single DVD VolumesSales of the Dragon Quest animation DVD BOX were so good when it was released in Japan in October, 2006 that distributor SuperVision plans to market single DVD volumes. The DVD's collect the 1989-91 Fuji Television Network TV series. The full set sold last last year moved in excess of 10000 boxes. The figure 10,000 units sold is often cited as the benchmarket of hit DVD release in Japan. Akira Toriyama of Dragonball fame did the chara designs for the show. Volumes 1 hits the market on April 27th retailing at 5985 yen.
2-28-07 (5:58AM EST)---- Initial D Arcade Stage 4 Released In JapanSega's Initial D Arcade Stage 4 hit Japanese arcades on February 21st. Play charge is 200 yen per play, and an Initial D licence integrated circuit card is 300 yen. New in this version is real time network battling via the service service "ALL.Net". Classes are divided depending on your win/loss record, and a "nationwide fighting mode" allows players to compete within anyone in Japan. The game uses the same "LINDBERGH" arcade board as Virtua Fighter 5 and the graphics quality is said to be a big improvement over past versions. A corresponding pay service "Initial D.NET" for cellular phones is scheduled to begin in March.
Users will be able to check battle records, form racingteams, and customize cars with their mobiles.
2-28-07 (5:09AM EST)---- Haruhi Suzumiya Single Sales Break 100,000 MarkThe Suzumiya haruhi no Tsumeawase - TV Anime Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu Gekichu Kashu Single has sold over 100,000 units as of this week in Japan according to Oricon. The CD features 3 tracks: 1. God knows . . ., 2. Lost my music and 3. Koi no Mikuru Densetsu. In all time single rankings it's remained on Oricon's chart for 34 days and places 3rd overall behind the #1 Pokemon theme single (56 Weeks) and #2, the FictionJunction Yuuka Gundam Seed Insertion song "Car At daybreak" (45 Weeks).
2-28-07 (4:55AM EST)---- Grimm Fairy Tales Go MoeEnterbrain released the light novel "Tsunguri! Hontouha Tsundere Na Grimm Douwa" on February 28th for 1575 Yen. Written by
Izumi Makoto with illustrations from Kazu, Izumi and others, the book takes classic Grimm fairy tale heroines such as Snow White, Red Riding Hood (8 in total) and parodies them with an extra special moe twist.
2-28-07 (4:14AM EST)---- Voice Actress Yuriko Yamaguchi Takes A Break From One PieceYuriko Yamaguchi, the Japanese voice of Nico Robin will take a rest from her duties on the One Piece Television series.
Yuko Kobayashi will fill in for her on the Fuji Television Network animation from March 4th. Yuriko Yamaguchi will perform her role as normal in the latest One Piece Moive due out March 3rd.
2-28-07 (3:39AM EST)---- ToyWorks And Bandai To Market Hayate x Blade USB FigureSomething of a new concept, Bandai and Toyworks have come together on producing a line of "USB Figurines". The idea is, you have an average looking, finished 3D real world statuette style figure you can set on your shelf and showoff. In the figure's pedastal however is a USB port, plug it into a computer and added play value pops onto your screen in the form of a piece of software hidden away on IC integrated into the figure. One of the first shots at the concept is the manga based heroine Hayate USB Figure from Hayate x Blade due at the end of March for 4,800 Yen. Special software lets you listen to over 70 lines performed by voice actress Kurumi Mamiya who played the character on the Drama CD.
2-28-07 (3:10AM EST)---- Game Companies Go "Genius Hunting" In AkihabaraPlaying off the terminology used to describe recent rather negative spates of "otaku hunting" and "maid hunting" 8 Fukuoka companies including many videogame developers setup shop in Akihabara to host their "Fukuoka Game Industry Employment Fair In Tokyo" on the 25th. They were "genius hunting" and signed up over
450 interested parties. They touted Fukuoka as the "Hollywood" of the Japanese videogame industry.
2-28-07 (2:16AM EST)---- Dowango To Launch Creative School As previously hinted, Tokyo based Dowango Planning And Development is laying has been laying the foundations to launch its own talent school for some time. The company handles a great deal of business related to anime voice actors and actresses, sound and singers. From April DPD will launch its "Dowango Creative School" to cultivate talent related to a range of sound production related areas. An official foundation briefing will be held on Saturday, March 3rd.
Subjects to be offered are as follows:
Voice Acting: 300 people capacity, Vocal Department: 25 people capacity,
DTM Composition Department: 25 people capacity,
Writer Promotion Department: 25 people capacity. entrance fee is 200,000 yen, and tuition is 30,000 yen per month.
2-28-07 (2:02AM EST)---- Inukami! Video Trailer OnlineStarchild has uploaded a streaming video trailer for the forthcoming Inukami! film.
2-28-07 (1:36AM EST)---- Rumor: Telecom On 2007 Lupin TV SpecialAccording to a post on the The Yahoo Lupin The Third ML the
company responsible for the bulk of Lupin episodes from the second series is
rumoured to be producing the newest 2007 TV movie special. Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news.
2-28-07 (1:13AM EST)---- Wonder Festival 2007: The Final WordWe've scoured the Japanese web for the most comprehensive reports with the best images from this past weekend's Wonder Festival 2007 at Tokyo Big Sight. Below we present our MEGALINKS list of the 82 best sites with the best Wonderfest coverage. From cosplayers, to corporate booths to figures to garage kits to plastic models and other goods, over 1700 companies were on hand to show off what they have coming out in Japan this year: 1
2-27-07 (11:00PM EST)---- New Rikujo Boeitai Mao-chan Series?Either a new or rebroadcast Rikujo Boeitai Mao-chan animation is currently scheduled to begin airing in April on Kids Station, Chiba TV and elsewhere, it will feature a newly produced opening and ending performed by AICE5.
2-27-07 (10:45PM EST)---- Production I.G. And Masamune Shirow's Shinrei Kari: GHOST HOUND Marking their first new property collaboration since 1994's Ghost In The Shell, anime studio Production I.G. and mangaka Masamune Shirow are co-producing the new manga Shinrei Kari: GHOST HOUND. The storyline will be co-created by both parties with cooperation from Crossroad and illustrations by Asahi Souta. The serial will start in the May issue of Mag Garden's Monthly Comic Blade. Given the parties involved, ANS is predicting an anime adaptation is almost guaranteed to be forthcoming. The anime announcement could either be sprung as a simultaneous effort with a short term announcement at an event like the Tokyo Anime Fair 2007 in 1 month or the manga could be allowed permiate among readers, generating interest while an anime is prepared in the background with a formal announcement coming forward in 6 months - 1 year's time.
2-27-07 (10:38PM EST)---- Howl Up For NebulaMania notes that Hayayo Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle has been
selected to compete for Best Script from the Nebula Awards. It will be
competing with the likes of Batman Begins and Dr. Who.
2-27-07 (10:38PM EST)---- Awesome Music & Ratings Figures For Hana Yori Dango Drama SequelIdol group Arashi's single "Love So Sweet" has taken the top position on Oricon's ingle chart for the week of February 19th-25th. The track is the current title theme for the Hana Yori Dango TBS TV drama sequel Hana Yori Danshi 2 (Returns). Released on February 27th, it's sold 200,000 copies. The eighth episode of the drama which aired during the same week managed a 22.7% audience rating. The original Yoko Kamio manga
was serialized in bi-weekly anthology magazine, Margaret, continuously from October 1992 - September 2003. The work has been adaoted to film and animation. 36 volumes manga volumes exist on the market in Japan, 55 million copies have been sold there. The previous drama theme "WISH" also sept the Oricon charts in first place. J-Pop superstar Hikaru Utada will have her tune "Flavor Of Life" featured as an image song on the original sound track when it's put on the market on the 28th.
2-27-07 (9:30PM EST)---- Oricon: Gundam SEED Special DVD Tops Japanese Chart"Kidou Senshi Gundam SEED DESTINY Special Edition Kanketsu Hen Jiyuu No Daishou" has become Japan's top selling DVD. The 5040 Yen special disc, released to the market on the 23rd has managed to sell 42,000 copies, debuting in first place on Oricon's DVD sales chart for the week dated March 5th. This marks the second time in 2007 that a Gundam DVD has topped the chart, following original Gundam DVD-BOX2 which went on sale on January 26.
2-27-07 (9:16PM EST)---- Otomo Mushishi Exhibition In Shibuya An exhibition combining Yuki Urushibara's 3.5 million seller manga and director Katsuhiro Otomo's live action adaptation film will be held in Shibuya. "The Movie Mushishi Katsuhiro Otomo: World Of Fantasy And Mystery" will be held in the PARCO museum from the 9th-26th of March to commemorate the theatrical opening on March 24th. On exhibition will be clothes, props, storyboards, illustrations and location hunting photographs in which Otomo travelled over 50,000 kilometers to capture.
2-27-07 (9:05PM EST)---- Always, Sunset On Third Street Sequel Tidbits The first film version of Ryohei Saigan's 1973 manga Always, Sunset on Third Street (Always--3-chome no Yuhi) drew over 3.5 billion Yen at the boxoffice during its 2005 run. A part of the set of the sequel was recently opened to the media in Japan. The stage in the new movie will be during the holding of the Tokyo Olympics and
though 1959 when Japan rushed into the era of high-speed economic growth. A street scene from the era has been recreated at Toho studios stage 9 in Tokyo, its area measures 1325 square meters. The film premieres in theaters in November.
2-27-07 (8:44PM EST)---- Doraemon Goes Live Action For The First Time Ever
22 year old actor Enari Kazuki will star in a TV Asahi live action adaption of Fujio Fujiko's Doraemon manga. This marks live action adapation first for the series. Tentatively titled "Gimon. Nanmon. Doraemon! Oshie Te Gurume Nazo Toki SP " will debut on March 25th.
2-27-07 (8:24PM EST)---- "Evangelion Pinky Ver.2" Shown Off At WonderfestEg has a rundown of a new line of Evangelion themed Pinky:St - Pinky:cos by GSI Clothes VANCE PROJECT that were shown off at Wonder Festival this past weekend. "Evangelion Pinky Ver.2" will go on sale this summer in Japan.
Interestingly, the set of 4 features Asuka, Rei, and 2 characters we've never heard of before. Varients include plugsuit version and school uniform version.
Each is about 10cm in overall height, price is 2,000 Yen for the set.
2-27-07 (7:25AM EST)---- New Evangeriwon Trailer To Hit Japanese TheatersA modified 15 second version of the first trailer released for the new Evangeriwon feature film will be screened in Japanese cinemas from the middle of March through April.
2-27-07 (6:45AM EST)---- Tone & Copy Paper Experience Industry Wide Price Hike In JapanAffecting several pertinent industries that we cover, Comic Deleter mentions
tone & copy paper of are undergoing a price hike in Japan due to materials cost and a sudden rise in the price of oil. One example cited is a certain screentone that has jumped from 280 yen - 350 yen.
2-27-07 (6:41AM EST)---- Shigeru Mizuki Receives Angouleme TrophyMangaka Shigeru Mizuki's comic Non Non Ba by Shigeru Mizuki has won the the Prix du Meilleur Album at Angouleme, France's Festival International de la Bande Dessinee. Its the first manga to take the prize. Sanin Chuo has image of the author holding his newly won trophy. The win was announced on January 27th, but it took the physical trophy sometime longer to reach the Gegege No Kitaro author.
2-27-07 (6:34AM EST)---- Illustrator Hiro Suzuhira Retires From NavelBishoujo games artist Hiro Suzuhira recently announced she was leaving studio Navel citing health reasons.
Suzuhira provided illustrations for Suzuhira Pia Carrot 3, Shuffle, Soul Link and other noteable games.
2-27-07 (5:52AM EST)---- Over 70,000 Shipments For Nodame Cantabile CD
The image album "Nodame Cantabile Orchestra STORY" which went on sale in Japan on the 21st had over 70,000 initial shipment orders. from a popular cartoon with the drama and the animated cartoon. The previous CD "LIVE!" sold over 350,000 copies.
2-27-07 (4:43AM EST)---- Japanese Ren Fair Adopts Magical Girl MascotThe Uzumasa Civil War Festival (a Japanese renaissance fair) has adopted the mascot character "Uju". Observers have noted the magical girl theme as resembling Pretty Sammy.
2-27-07 (4:23AM EST)---- Anime Screenings At Anima2007 In BelgiumThree feature-length anime movie works (Paprika, Full Metal Alchemist and XXXHOLiC) screened at the Anima2007 film festival in Belgium. The event kicked off on February 15th. is the animation film festival of Belgium that started on February 15. Anima has been running 20+ and has been intrumental at introducing new anime works in Europe. In the Past Hayao Miyazaki's Laputa: Castle In The Sky screened there.
2-27-07 (4:06AM EST)---- B'z On New Hokuto No Ken Movie Theme Japanese hard rock band B'z will provide the theme song "Lonely Stars" for the upcoming Fist Of The Northstar film "The Legend of Raoh II: Fierce Fighting Arc" scheduled for release on Golden Week, 2007 in Japan. The group is the best-selling Japanese musical act of all time with 75,000,000 records (albums, singles, and compilations) sold.
2-27-07 (2:58AM EST)---- Fans Line Up From 3AM to Enter Taiwanese Manga ConThe Taipei Times has a local report where people waited in line from 3am for an animation and manga festival that opened at the National Taiwan University stadium in Taipei over the weekend. The two-day event, in its ninth year, is organized every year by a magazine that specializes in Japanese animation and manga (Japanese comics). More than 20,000 visitors attended the first day of the festival, event spokeswoman Su Wei-tung said.
2-27-07 (2:50AM EST)---- Zero No Tsukaima 2nd Season UpdatesThe next stage if the Zero No Tsukaima anime began production in early winter, late 2006. The storyline will pickup from the fourth volume of the orignal books. A big rollout announcement is scheduled to take place at the "Tokyo International Anime Fair 2007".
2-27-07 (2:41AM EST)---- Adult Swim Picks Up 50 Episodes Of Blood+ According to the Hollywood Reporter
Sony Pictures Television has sold 50 episodes of the Japanese anime series "Blood+" to Adult Swim. Cartoon Network's sister channel is planning to air the half-hour series at Saturdays as part of its late-night anime block, starting March 10.
SPT and Adult Swim declined comment on the financial terms of the deal. A big thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news.
2-27-07 (1:13AM EST)---- Mushiuta TV Anime Director NamedUpdate on the coming Mushiuta anime based on
Iwai Kyouhei and Ruroo's light novel series. The story will also be adapted to manga serial starting in the May edition of Shonen Ace Magazine. Kazuo Sakai will make his directorial debut. The format will be a television series, broadcasting station, times, other staff and production companies are currently unknown. Big news on the project is expected in the next issue of Sneaker.
2-27-07 (1:53AM EST)---- Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuuutsu Light Novels 9 And 10 AnnouncedOfficial titles are out for Melancholoy Of Haruhi Suzumiya light novels 9-10. As per past iterations, it's widely believed their content will serve as the basic storyline for any future animation adaptations. Volume 9 "Haruhi Suzumiya No Bunretsu" (Division Of Haruhi Suzumiya) is currently scheduled to arrive in Kadokawa Sneaker paperback form on Japanese bookshelves on April 1st. Meanwhile, Volume 10, "Haruhi Suzumiya No Kyougaku" (Astonishment of Haruhi Suzumiya) will follow in the summer. Each book will be around 100 pages in length. The stories will be written by Nagaru Tanigawa and illustrated by Noizi Ito. An Evangelion style smattering of random words used to describe what will happen in the new stories has appeared in promotional ads for the books:
"An other worldly person, Promotion of the SOS group, class doesn't change either, Haruhi has a seat behind Kyon, 'Counterattack Episode 00 preview by Yuki Nagato' Screening, It took it during a spring vacation, Haruhi and the SOS group solicit new members,
Student council president Yoroko Midori reappears, Seemingly Haruhi is unstable on the unconscious level, although she is merry, but Miwabito goes on a wild rampage every night, something will happen to cause a recollection in the past, this happened on the last day of spring vacation, Kyon's friend Sasaki from junior high school will make an appearance.
2-27-07 (1:25AM EST)---- First Look At Blue Dragon AnimationTV Tokyo's official website for the forthcoming Akira Toriyama created Blue Dragon TV anime is hosting one of the initial cel-based illustrations. A trailer will be available there on March 1st, the series start broadcast on April 7th.
2-26-07 (11:02PM EST)---- Sumomomo Momomo: Chijou Saikyou No Yome Rumors Dispelled TV anime series which ended without broadcasting their final episode were a big topic last year in Japan. Often times you'd see the unaired stories appear as a DVD exclusive later on. Kamichu and Garasu no Kantai fit into this category. As of last week there's been some fan talk in the Japanese web, where fans have gotten a look long term schedules that RED GARDEN, Fist Of Ten and Sumomomo Momomo: Chijou Saikyou No Yome TV anime may all cut short their 26 episode runs early at 22 episodes. The reason cited is Asahi's coverage of the World Swim Meet, scheduled to begin in early March. In the case of Sumomomo Momomo: Chijou Saikyou No Yome, the series began on October 5th, 2006 and is expected wrap on April 12th, 2007. Apparantly this past weekend, series voice Actress Yui Kano who plays Momoko Kuzuryu came out on radio outright denying the rumor.
2-26-07 (11:02PM EST)---- Japan Post Releases Evangelion StampsMycom Journal has an image of the production sheets of Japan Post's new Evengelion stamp series which went on sale in Japan on the 23rd. A
sheet of 10 stamps is 800 yen, or you can buy individually for 80 yen per stamp. The series features illustrations of the Eva Unit 0 and 1 machines, hero Ikari Shinji, heroine Ayamani Rei, and Shinji holding the injured Rei. This latest edition follows a long line of anime related stamps from series such as "Gundam" and "Pokemon", "Galaxy Expess 999", and "Great Detective Conan".
2-26-07 (10:51PM EST)---- New Winny Computer Virus Uses Kanon ImageryA new Japanese trojan horse virus called Trojan.Pirlames has been discovered spreading through Japanese P2P apps and file sharing networks such as Winny and Share. The Trojan masks itself as a Windows screen saver file and is often named in file sharing lists as an anime episode such as Master Of Epic: The Animation Age. In some instances, upon execution the user gets an image popup featuring a screen grab from the Kanon animation / game series and the following message reffering to the creator of Winny: "Even though Mr Kaneko (Creator of Winny) was found guilty, you are still using Winny. I really hate these kinds of people."
2-26-07 (9:24PM EST)---- NTV Sees A Winner In Free Manga Magazine Comic GumboNippon Television Network Corporation announced on the 26th that it had invested 160 Million Yen in Dejima, the company founded by former Dentsu venture capitalist Akihiko Kai which publishes Japan's first free cartoon magazine "Comic Gumbo". After it's launch over a month ago, Gumbo and Kai, and the free manga anthology concept have remained in the Japanese headlines virtually daily. NTV wants to interlock its own properties with Gumbo in various ways. Gumbo is distrubted throughout the Tokyo metropolitan area, with a weekly circulation of about a 100,000, with distribution points centering on main stations along the JR Yamanote Line. NTV now holds a 16% share in the firm. In addition NTV animation division producer Toshio Nakatani who handled "NANA" and "Death Note" will assume the company position of under-executive director.
2-26-07 (8:29PM EST)---- New VOTOMS Animation Updates From Wonder Festival 2007Armored Trooper (Soukou Kihei) VOTOMS franchise "real parent" Ryosuke Takahashi held a presentation at Wonder Festival 2007 on the 25th, this past weekend. It's interesting that he's more or less exclusively picked Japanese hobby shows to make big announcements on the forthcoming Sunrise VOTOMS anime revival project but not really surprising considering that without an animation since 1994, the mecha-based property has flourished in the realms of figures, garage kits and plastic models during this interim period. Matching the grim and gritty style of the show, he was right a home with the hardcore Wonderfest hobbyists who like to get down and dirty working on their kits. Although it's been 13 years since the last VOTOMS OVA, it's been over 24 years since the original TV version first made its debut on TV Tokyo. For the upcoming production, Takahashi mentioned the medium (OVA, Movie, TV, etc..) has not yet been determined. Dropping the tentative project title "SCOPEDOG 21C", the new tentative title "Soukou Kihei VOTOMS: Perzen Files" has formally been adopted. Release start is currently scheduled for Summer, 2007, original creator and director Ryosuke Takahashi will once again assume direction duties. Companies such as Bandai Visual, Banpresto, Max Factory, and Hobby Japan have joined the "Bottoms Committee" which is handling prduction. The unit had a joint booth at the show, showing off some goods and an executive summary of the property. Goda Hozumi, the original voice actor for TV hero Chirico Cuvie appeared on stage with Takahashi at the symposium, drawing out tons of oldschool VOTOMS fans. The story will be a prequel when Chirico was in the Melkian Army, giving Goda's taciturn loner character more chances to speak. The director also gave the world a first peak at a "key visual" concept design (seen right) illustrated by original series character designer Norio Shioyama, who is noted for his gorgeous oil painting work.
2-26-07 (7:06AM EST)---- Record Of Loddoss War R2 DVD BOXFamitsu has images of the really lavish looking Japanese R2 DVD BOX set featuring complete runs of Ryo Mizuno's Record Of Loddoss War 1990 OVA and 1998 TV series. Release is set for March 23, 2007.
Retail is 31,500 Yen.
2-26-07 (6:59AM EST)---- Digital Hollywood University Opens International Animation Laboratory
Digital Hollywood university president Tomoyuki of Sugiyama announced the school would create an "International Animation Laboratory" on the 26th. As an attached institution of the university, accumulation of information on the production of Japanese animation will be conducted and researched. The lab will also aim at the establishment of animation study in foreign countries as well.
Active and noteable members in the anime world will be invited to do special work at the lab and formulating curriculum for domestic and foreign students.
2-26-07 (6:50AM EST)---- Highlights From Wonderfest 2007Eg has imagery of the latest and greatest character figurines and statues from Wonder Festival 2007 which occured this past weekend at Tokyo Big Sight. Haruhi Suzumiya related items were a dominate theme but Eg points out the number of Yuki Nagato related products was extremely high, possibly indicating a wave of popularity in the character. Fate/stay night, To Heart2, Rozen Maiden, Nanoha, Death Note, Votoms and Super-Robot Taisen were all noteable franchise draws. Over 1700 dealers had booths at the show. Admission was 2,000 Yen inclusing guide book.
2-26-07 (3:20AM EST)---- Rozen Maiden Fighting Game Media
Goo is hosting a ton of pics of the upcoming Rozen Maiden: Geppetto Garden PS2 fighting game from Taito. Release is March 22nd. Retail on the regular version is 7,140 Yen. A special version which includes a limited edition timepiece is 9,240 Yen.
2-26-07 (2:07AM EST)---- Hello Kitty Stump Village Merchandising Barrage PlannedSanrio and ITOCHU have announced a new merchandising rights deal related to Hello Kitty Stump Village.
C.Itoh & Co. Ltd. will develop clothing which include the Sanrio character designs. Sales of 1.5 billion Yen over three years are expected.
Stump Village is a claymation work that Sanrio produced with several South Korean businesess in 2006. Several popular Sanrio character franchises appear in the show. DVD release of the 26 episode TV series is planned to start in Japan on April 25th. Seven sublicensee companies will also develop nine categories of clothing including outerwear, the underwear, bedding, towels, and gloves.
2-26-07 (2:03AM EST)---- Bunsei Art University Establishes Animation Major Bunsei Art University of Utsunomiyashi announced they will establish an Animation Major to start in April, 2008. The current superintendent of the Suginami Animation Museum, Mr. Shinichi Suzuki will head the course as a full-time professor. Suzuki-san in the past worked with masters Fujiko Fujio, Fujio Akatsuka and was involved in the production of QTaro.
2-26-07 (12:25AM EST)---- Shuraki Drama CD And Figurines Coming / Anime And Game Possible Red Entertainment and Good Smile Company have announced the creation of their upcoming line of 1/8 scale figures and a drama CD series based on Shuraki. A big promotion for the cross media project is expected to occur at Wonder Festival to occur at Tokyo Big Sight on the 25th. Retail sales in Japan will follow in summer, 2007. An A5 size 24 page booklet containing illustrations, story description, etc. will be released. There agood deal of chatter in the Japanese online fan community that this project maybe rolled out to eventually supplant the Sakura Taisen franchise which has been running for over 10 years. As such, the character lineup is totally female and the story has the heroines battling monster, being set in feudal Japan. A promotional CD will be released and a video game series and possible anime adaptation is said to be in the works.
2-26-07 (12:20AM EST)---- Fate/stay night PS2 Details Fate/stay night Realta Nua has officially been announced for PS2 release. The format will be in the visual novel style sans the adult content of the PC versions. Release is set for April 19th, retail is 9,240 Yen. A special release "Extra Edition" will include a PSP disc with the games Tobidase! Trouble Hanafuda Douchuuki and Bust of the character Saber.
2-26-07 (12:10AM EST)---- Kodomo No Jikan StaffThe Kodomo No Jikan animation project has been revealed as a TV series. Directing will be Sugenuma Eiji, Script by Okada Mari, Chara Design by Ishikawa Masaichi and Animation Production by Studio Barcelona.
2-25-07 (11:56PM EST)---- Eroge Game Creator Takashi Iwasaki DiesIllustrator Takashi Iwasaki of Purple Software died of a stroke early in the morning on February 21st. He was only 28 years old. Purple is a eroge software developer brand under the publisher Clear Blue Communications.
2-25-07 (11:13PM EST)---- Mushiuta To Become MangaIwai Kyouhei and Ruroo's light novel series Mushiuta will be adapted to manga serial starting in the May edition of Shonen Ace Magazine. The animation project is progressing as well.
2-25-07 (10:30PM EST)---- Japanese Prime Minister Surprise Visit At Agency for Cultural Affairs Media Art Festival Awards CeremonyOn the 23rd the The 10th Agency for Cultural Affairs Media Art Festival Awards Ceremony was held. The event honors new excellent works in anime, manga and other media. Mamoru Hosoda's Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo took the grand prize in the animation division. Kawaguchi Kaiji's Taiyou no Mokushiroku (Spirit Of The Sun) won the Grand Prize in the manga division. Japanese
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a special surprise appearance at a post ceremony party. Reporters were shut out during the visit, creating a scene of temporary confusion.
2-25-07 (9:34PM EST)---- Detailed Gundam SEED Model Sells For Over 1MM Yen At Japanese AuctionMaster model builders WE Mesarion recently sold a completed and highly detailed Gundam SEED HG Strike Freedom for 1 million 356 thousand Yen on Yahoo Auctions Japan.
2-25-07 (8:53PM EST)---- Elite Yankee Saburo Drama Update Toshiyuki Itakura of well known comedy troupe Impulse will take on the leading role in the Elite Yankee Saburo TV Drama when it hits TV Tokyo in a latenight timeslot in April. Seven volumes of the original manga exist on the market and have sold four million copies to date. Ishiguro Hideo and Kurashina Kana will also star.
2-25-07 (4:34AM EST)---- Char Zaku Motorcycle HelmetBandai's Lalabit Market is marketing a newly designed, fully functional motorcycle helmet based on the red Char Zaku Custom MS from the original Gundam series. Retail is 28,800, release is planned in the spring in Japan.
2-25-07 (4:27AM EST)---- ARMS Web RevampAnime production studio ARMS Corporation has restyled their web presence. The firm worked on such titles as Elfen Lied and Mezzo.
2-25-07 (4:19AM EST)---- CLANNAD Movie Site Opens March 8th The official CLANNAD anime feature website opens on March 8th at: www.clannad-movie.jp.
2-25-07 (4:04AM EST)---- Tokikake DVD Extra: Concept To RealizationOver at the official site you can get a look at how some special omake gifts to be included in the Tokikake R2 DVD BOX went from anime prop top real life object.
2-25-07 (3:34AM EST)---- L 'Arc-en-Ciel Returns To Anime With Moribito Theme Japanese supergroup L 'Arc-en-Ciel will provide their track SHINE as the opening theme to the Seirei no Moribito TV series when it signs onto NHK-BS from April 7th, 2007. Production I.G. is producing the animation for the show, Kenji Kamiyama of GITS:SAC will direct. In the past, L 'Arc has scored Rurouni Kenshin and Full Metal Alchemist.
2-25-07 (3:00AM EST)---- Cosplaying Cage Otaku Crashes Japanese Ghostrider PremiereYahoo has a report on the Ghostrider stage greeting at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo this weekend. The movie's principle stars were on hand. A well known Nick Cage fanatic, Fuyuki Moto stole the scene, donning the garb of the enflamed American motorcyle riding comic book hero.
2-24-07 (11:59PM EST)---- Sakuran Stage Greeting In TokyoOn Saturday night in Tokyo the stage greeting and premiere of the live action feature adaptation of Moyoco Anno's manga Sakuran took place.
Yahoo has a group photo of the key staff and cast.
Directed by Mika Ninagawa, the film stars Anna Tsuchiya ans Kiyoha, Kippei Shiina as Kuranosuke, Yoshino Kimura as Takao, Hiroki Narimiya as Sojiro, Miho Kanno as Shohi and Masatoshi Nagase as Mitsunobu.
2-23-07 (1:22AM EST)---- Monthly Shonen Jump To Suspend PublicationShueisha's Monthly Shonen Jump manga anthology will suspend its publication indefinetly from the July edition which goes on sale in Japan on June 6th. Declining sales are cited, current sales are down about 30 percent from the alltime peak. Comic Magazine started as a sister publication to Weekly Shonen Jump in December, 1969. Last year's average circulation is about 420,000 versus an alltime high 1.4 million circulation in 1989.
2-23-07 (1:00AM EST)---- CLANNAD Movie Out By Years End
Frontier Works announced their popular PC / PS2 love adventure game "CLANNAD (Clannad)"will be adapted to an animated film version which will hit theaters in Japan by the end of 2007. Osamu Dezaki (BlackJack, GOLGO 13) is directing (we first reported on January 7th he revealed completing storyboard work on the project). Toei is handling animation duties and character designs are being covered by Itaru Hinoue (Kiddie Grade). The movie's production was first announced at the 2006 Tokyo Anime Fair in March.
2-22-07 (2:57AM EST)---- Liar Game To Be DramatizedFuji Television Network is planning a new Saturday programming block in the spring entitled "Drama on Saturday". The first show to air there will be "Liar Game" which begins on April 14th. The show will be adapted from the Shinaba Kailani manga which is currently serializing in Shueisha's "Weekly Young Jump". The comic has sold 300,000 copies in tankobon release (three volumes exist). Actress Erika Toda of Death Note fame will star.
2-22-07 (12:55PM EST)---- Live Action Dororo To Become Trilogy: 2nd And 3rd Films ConfirmedStarring cast Satoshi Tsumabuki, Kou Shibasaki, Kiichi Nakai and Mieko Harada, and director Akihiko Shiota will all return for the 2nd and 3rd Dororo films. Production will startup next year, look for a release of part 2 in 2009. Universal Pictures has acquired the North American distribution rights to the series. Dororo 1 has dominated the Japanese Box Office in 1st place for 4 weeks running. As of the 22nd Toho has revealed two million people have paid to see the film on the big screen, leading to a box office revenue total of 2.5 billion Yen. They expect to make 3.5 billion Yen before it exits the cinema circuit. The budget for 2 and 3 together is estimated to be around 6 billion Yen. Part 1 was made for 2 billion Yen.
2-22-07 (12:55AM EST)---- New Appleseed Anime Movie Due In Fall"Appleseed Saga Ex Machina", a new full 3DCG film set in the Appleseed world is set for a Fall, 2007 theatrical debut in Japan. It's being directed by Shinji Aramaki and produced by John Woo. The recently released PS2 title will have some undisclosed connections to the new film.
2-21-07 (11:35PM EST)---- Other Unannounced Shochiku AnimationAccording to Shochiku's Japanese website Sutorenjia - Mu Sumeragi Ha Tan to be directred by Masahiro Ando (Rahxephon) and animated by Bones is currently scheduled for an Autumn, 2007 premiere in Japan. Based on the Sanrio characters franchise, Cinnamon The Movie: Nezumi Monogatari: George To Gerald No Bouken is scheduled for a 2008 rollout. Gouda Yoshiie's manga Jigyaku No Uta will be adapted to live action film, theatrical release is scheduled for Fall, 2007. Check the official website here.
2-21-07 (11:05PM EST)---- Director Mamoru Hosoda To Attend Los Angeles Tokikake ScreeningAccording to a .pdf at
American Cinematheque , the screening is
actually part of a special panel on Asian animation, with Korean animated
film Aachi & Ssipak screening at 11:00 a.m. the same day. Of note is a
discussion with Ken Duer(an Animatrix producer) Aachi director Bum Jin-Joe,
Mamoru Hosoda, and USC professor Mimi Ito and various anime critics. While
admission is free, you have to RSVP at www.jflalc.org. Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news.
2-21-07 (11:04PM EST)---- Shochiku Shows Off 2 New Anime Films At BerlinThe official Shochiku website lists English summaries and images for several films it was soliciting at recently wrapped 57th Berlin International Film Festival's European Film Marquette. The EFM was held for one week from the 8th-18th. Besides the live action Kitaro, and Love And Berry, 2 previously unannounced anime films were unveiled. The family oriented SUMMER DAYS WITH COO (working title) (original title: Kappa no Coo to Natsuyasumi) is directed by Keiichi Hara ("Crayon Shin-chan") According to the summary:
Here is the forest between the world of human beings and imaginary animals. In an underground apartment, two rabbits lead happy lives. The story often seems heartwarming, but at the same, brings a cynical laughter. The film was screened twice at the show. According to this page it's currently scheduled for a July 28th, 2007 theatrical release in Japan.
directed by Fumihiko Sori (PING PONG, Producer - APPLESEED). The summary reads:
From the creators of APPLESEED, comes a Full CG animation Sci-Fi Action film. 2077 - 10 years has passed since Japan had decided to leave the United Nations to go into isolation. They have completely blocked the islands with an ultra magnetic field which prevents anyone to see what is going inside, nor for people to travel in/out of the country. This was a result to opposing to a treaty which UN has passed, preventing the development of all bio and robot technology which has evolved drastically and has become a threat to the human beings. When Japan finally begins to move, the US government sends in a special force team SWORD, lead by a female commander Vexille, to investigate what is really happening inside the closed country.
Genre: ACTION / CGI Animation
According to this page it's scheduled for an August 2007 theatrical release in Japan.
A preview was held via private screening at the event.
2-21-07 (6:14PM EST)---- Production I.G. 20th Anniversary EventCommemorating the pioneer anime studio's 20th anniversary since being founded by Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Production I.G. will hold the event: "Ki! Kata Talk Fest 07 Spring" on March 2nd at LOFT/PLUS ONE Shinjuku Ward, kabuki-cho Building B2. Tow Ubukata will talk about his work on Chevalier, Murdock Velocity, Eulen Spiegel and Sprite Speigel. Mangaka Yumeji Chirico and writers Uyasu Yu Sugema Satarou will also participate.
2-21-07 (5:31PM EST)---- C3xHOBBY To Occur Same Weekend As Summer ComiketIt's been announced the major Japanese character and hobby event Chara-Hobby or C3xHOBBY will take place at Makuhari Messe Kokusai-tenjijo from Saturday the 18th through Sunday the 19th of August, 2007. The event united the previous garage kit event HobbyExpo (aka: JAF-CON) and character event C3 in 2004. Attendence is ecpected to exceed 100,000. Comic Market 72 is scheduled to occur the same weekend, Friday, August 17 - Sunday, the 19th at Tokyo Big Site. Both also arrive at the tail end of Japan's summer vacation period.
2-21-07 (5:13PM EST)---- Cubby The Fox And Taekwon V Draw 1 million Viewers In South KoreaSince their respective openings the South Korean animation films Yeu Woo Bi Cubby The Fox and Robot Taekwon V have drawn in over 1 million theater viewers. As of February 20th, 680,000 people paid to see Taekwon V and 440,000 bought admission to Yeu Woo Bi Cubby The Fox. The distributors behind Taekwon V have stated they onlly expected around 700,000 people total to see the film during its theatrical revival.
2-21-07 (3:44PM EST)---- OVA AIKa R-16:VIRGIN MISSION OVA 1 DelayThe first OVA volume of AIKa R-16:VIRGIN MISSION has been delayed 1 month and is now due on R2 DVD in Japan on the 25th of April, 2007.
2-21-07 (2:34PM EST)---- Doujinshi Author Shinagawa Kaoruko Busted On Tax EvasionWell known Prince of Tennis Dojin artist Shinagawa Kaoruko was charged with tax evasion in the Nagano district court recently. The total amount found to be withheld was around 65.7 million Yen according the Nagano District Public Prosecutors office Nagano Prefecture Nagano Prefecture Matsumotoshi. Shinagawa paid about 93 million Yen including a heavy penalty tax etc. on the 19th of this month. It was found that the author drew in around 200 million Yen over a period of 3 years. Sales of the dojin began in 2002. Shinagawa has also been accused of plagiarism in the past.
2-21-07 (12:57PM EST)---- Galaxy Railways Movie Update: Ginga Tetsudou Monogatari Wasure Rare Ta Toki No WakuseiBased on the 2003-2004 and 2006-2007 Galaxy Railways TV series, the new anime film Ginga Tetsudou Monogatari: Wasure Rare Ta Toki No Wakusei condenses the 2006 extra chapter OVA's of the same title. The official premiere is at Cinemart Roppongi Late Show on Saturday, March 24, 2007. Screening time is about one hour and 30 minutes.
2-21-07 (12:57PM EST)---- Tokyopop 10th Anniversary StatementHailed by the New York Times as
"the American pioneer of manga," TOKYOPOP, the company responsible for
igniting the worldwide manga boom, is proud to celebrate its ten-year
anniversary in 2007. To kick off the festivities, TOKYOPOP continues to
set industry standards in manga publishing as it proudly announces the
launch of the most comprehensive graphic novel ratings system ever
developed. Designed to help librarians, educators, parents, retailers,
and consumers make informed buying decisions in a way that is
unprecedented in the graphics novel category, TOKYOPOP has worked with
an outside, experienced consultant to develop a thorough ratings guide
that not only reflects the graphic novel industry as a whole but also
provides detailed explanations of its ratings, akin to the video game
industry's ESRB ratings.
Expanding upon its creation of the very first graphic novel ratings
system nearly ten years ago, which is now the industry standard,
TOKYOPOP's all-new ratings guide includes more than 40 content
indicators divided among five age ranges. In Fall 2007, a general set of
content indicators in addition to the ratings icon will be printed on
the cover each new series; more specific information will be available
about ratings on the company's website, www.TOKYOPOP.com. With the help
of seasoned consultant Michele Gorman (Getting Graphic!: Using Graphic
Novels to Promote Literacy with Preteens and Teens and Connecting Young
Adults and Libraries), whose experience with graphic novels in the
library market has made her a respected expert in the field, the result
is the most methodical ratings system developed by a manga publisher to
Blazing trails and setting industry standards is not new to TOKYOPOP.
Founded by Stu Levy a decade ago, TOKYOPOP introduced North America to
Japan's manga craze with the company's first release Sailor Moon.
Shortly thereafter, TOKYOPOP engineered prominent book distribution via
top retail stores, standardized book trim size, created a basic
industry-wide rating system, developed the first-ever retail manga
displays and introduced the world of graphic novels to a previously
untapped audience: teenage girls. TOKYOPOP continued to send the
publishing industry reeling with the launch of its line of 100%
Authentic Manga (printed right-to-left), an instant hit with consumers
that far exceeded sales expectations. In one of its most courageous
moves, TOKYOPOP launched the first-ever Global Manga Publishing Program
in 2003 via the introduction of its "Rising Stars of Manga" talent
competition which, as of today, has resulted in the creation of more
than 10,000 pages annually with hundreds of artists from all over the
world. Through the years, the company pioneered the Cine-Manga(tm)
format, a blend of cinematic properties and manga that uses actual
imagery from hit movies and television series, and successfully launched
an international line of teen fiction novels under its "Pop Fiction"
With offices in Los Angeles, Tokyo, London and Hamburg, and partnerships
in Australia and China, TOKYOPOP boasts the largest worldwide manga
brand recognition, shipping approximately 8 million books globally, with
more than 30 million books in print. TOKYOPOP currently syndicates manga
to more than 40 newspapers and to the world's #1 teen fashion magazine,
CosmoGIRL! Additionally, TOKYOPOP has secured partnerships to co-publish
manga with major entertainment brands including its distributor
HarperCollins, Paramount, Universal, Nickelodeon and Disney. Along with
its booming publishing business, the company licenses, creates and
co-creates a multitude of extended manga products including digital
entertainment (manga tones, manga pods, manga movies, manga-strology,
manga games, manga dating); merchandise (T-shirts, jewelry, toys); music
(several albums of the hottest music available from TOKYOPOP Music on
i-Tunes); feature films (Priest, Lament of the Lamb, Princess Ai) and TV
shows (Initial D, Rave Master, Reign the Conqueror, GTO).
According to TOKYOPOP founder and CEO Stu Levy, "For 10 years, TOKYOPOP
has bridged cultures through the power of manga and our Manga
Revolution. As a result, a new generation is learning to respect and
appreciate--as well as enjoy--each other across the globe. The Manga
Lifestyle truly knocks down borders. What's ahead? Over the next 10
years, manga will literally jump off the page into computers, mobile
phones, TV screens, fashion, and theaters, and TOKYOPOP will be there,
leading the way. As we forge ahead into TOKYOPOP's second decade, I
would personally like to thank our dedicated staff, our business
partners, our fans and of course the passionate, talented creators who
are leading this global revolution with us. Viva Manga!"
2-20-07 (4:46PM EST)---- Nielsen: FUNimation Dominates USA Anime Industry In 2006FUNimation Entertainment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Navarre Corporation, today announced that the company maintained its position as the anime market share leader for the home video sales of Anime for the sixth straight year. According to an analysis of Nielsen VideoScan data for the year 2006, FUNimation controls 23.2 percent of the market. The company's next closest competitor held 12.6 percent of the market.
"We knew when we started this company that our commitment to quality over quantity would put us into the leadership position in the United States," said Gen Fukunaga, president and CEO of FUNimation Entertainment. "We have achieved this honored position through the hard work of all the employees of FUNimation and with the help of all of our great business partners in Japan."
Nielsen VideoScan collects sell-through POS (consumer purchase) sales data weekly from traditional channels of video distribution including mass merchants, audio/video and video specialty retailers, electronics outlets, grocery stores, drug stores, and some Internet sites. Nielsen VideoScan maintains this weekly POS data in one of the largest databases of VHS and DVD products in the country.
FUNimation compiled data from Nielsen VideoScan reports for 2001 through 2006. The analysis showed that FUNimation has been the market share leader since 2001 and has continued to outdistance its competitors with a solid catalog of titles. "This has been one of our biggest years and we plan to keep growing our market share in the years to come," continues Fukunaga.
In 2006, FUNimation had DVD releases from such popular titles as Dragon Ball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist, Trinity Blood, Negima, Gunslinger Girl, Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid and many others. For 2007, FUNimation plans to continue its number one market share presence with releases from such titles as Afro Samurai, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles, Witchblade, School Rumble, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles and new releases from franchise titles such as Dragon Ball Z and Fullmetal Alchemist.
2-20-07 (1:15PM EST)---- Otaku New York Yankees Pitcher Kei IgawaSports Illustrated has an update on how star Japanese baseball pitcher Kei Igawa is adapting to life in the USA. He played for the Hanshin Tigers from 1998-2006, becoming a three-time Central League strikeout champion and earning consecutive All-Star berths from 2001-03. The Yankees signed him to a $20 million, five-year contract last year. Igawa's otaku tendancies are widely known, he's a huge fan of videogames, radio control aircraft and anime. One of his favorite shows is Detective Conan and he reportedly missed a team meeting back in Japan so he could catch the broadcast of an anime TV episode.
2-20-07 (12:50PM EST)---- Patlabor Slot MachineAbilit has produced a slot machine based on Mobile Police Patlabor. Click the "body" link to see an image of it.
2-20-07 (12:35PM EST)---- AVEX Launches Special Tokyo Anime Fair 2007 SiteThe last 6 months saw AVEX make its major foray into animation production in Japan and the entertainment group plans to make a big showing for its cache of related properties at the Tokyo International Anime Fair to be held next month. Heralding the large promotinal efforts to come, AVEX recently launched a special TAF2007 website. There you can find info on a large concert event planned ot occur at TAF titled "TAF2007 presents avex mode LIVE" and info on some of their anime which include: Sisters of Wellber, Manabi Strait, Claymore, and Murder Princess.
2-20-07 (12:23PM EST)---- Skullman To Be DramatizedFinally giving some explaination to circulating images of someone dressed in a high quality Skull Suit costume (see our January 25th item), in addition to an upcoming anime adaptation, Shotaro Ishinomori's Skullman will also become a new Fuji Television live action drama special starring singer Tsugumi Suzuki and Hosokawa Shigeki. The one shot drama "Introduction Of The Dark Skull Man" will air on April 21st in a late night timeslot. It will use a great deal of CGI. The single episode is being called "episode 0", the anime series begins airing regularly the following week. Ishinomori concluded his manga in 1970 and the next year started Mask Rider. Its often been touted that Skull Man was the prototype for Mask Rider which has enjoyed worldwide success as live action drama.
2-20-07 (12:05PM EST)---- My Melody Anime 3rd StageBased on the popular Sanrio character franchise, My Melody is headed for it's third animation series "Onegai Mai Merodi" in Japan in April, to be broadcast via TV Tokyo. Its rumored the length of each episode could be scaled back from 30 to 15 minutes, in which case it would comprise a double feature with another 15 minute program aimed at small boys.
2-20-07 (11:45AM EST)---- Elite Yankee Saburo To Be DramatizedAbe Shuji's Elite Yankee Saburo will become a live action television drama according to the latest, just released issue of Kodansha's Young Magazine.
2-20-07 (10:33AM EST)---- Boondocks Airs In Japan American Aaron McGruder's anime inspired TV series Boondocks telecast dubbed in Japanese for the first time today at 4:00 on Animax.
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