Anime News Service - October 18 - November 9 Anime News

11-9-06 (7:00AM EDT)---- Madhouse To Animate Maple Story

Japan's Madhouse animation studio will take charge of creating an animated adaptation of Nexon Japan's popular online MMORPG Maple Story. The online game first beta tested in Japan in August 2003 and today claims 1.4 million memberships there, mostly made up of those in their teens. The free, 2D, side-scrolling MMORPG boasts several versions of the game available for specific countries or regions and an estimated 50 million players have participated in all of its versions to date. No further details are available although Nexon Japan does mention they hope to telecast the animation in each country where the game is available in the future.

11-9-06 (6:11AM EDT)---- Paprika FYC Image

Oscar Watch currently hosts a FYC image ad created for Sony Pictures Classics' release for Paprika. The film currently contends for a possible nod for an Best Animated Feature Oscar. Huge Thanks To Daniel Zelter for the news item.

11-9-06 (5:49AM EDT)---- Additional Reideen Details

Unrelayed details in the official English press release for the new Reideen anime are:
- Production I.G. mentions Karasuma Tasuku with illustrate a manga based on Tohokushinsha's original story. It will be published in Kadokawa's Monthly Shonen Ace from the January issue, to be released in Japan November 25th.
- Tohokushinsha in their unique release mention the original REIDEEN aired via 50 episodes from April 4 1975 - March 26, 1976 on what is now TV Asahi.

11-9-06 (5:39AM EDT)---- Production I.G. Announces New REIDEEN For 2007

Production I.G and Tohokushinsha Film Corporation are teaming to produce a new animated TV series entitled Reideen, inspired by the TV classic "Reideen The Brave" (Yusha Reideen). When aired in Japan in 1975, "Reideen The Brave" undoubtedly represented a turning point in the history of super robot animation, and a few years later, director Yoshiyuki Tomino and character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko became the creative duo behind the success of "Mobile Suit Gundam". While inheriting the DNA of "Reideen The Brave", the new TV series is not going to be a mere "re-make", but rather a true "re-birth" of its glorious forebear, featuring lavishly detailed mechanical designs by Atsushi Takeuchi ("IGPX", "Innocence") and Shinji Aramaki ("Appleseed"), stylish character design by Takuya Saito ("Sakura Wars: The Movie") and visually stunning 3D animation created with the know-how that made "IGPX"a milestone in computer-generated animation. The music score is entrusted to Yoshihiro Ike, the composer of "Blood: The Last Vampire". Coming up in spring 2007, Reideen will be directed by Mitsuru Hongo ("IGPX", "Outlaw Star"). More information coming soon!

official website (Japanese only) www.reideen.jp
Production I.G official English website www.production-ig.com

STAFF
Director: Mitsuru Hongo
Assistant Director: Shunsuke Tada
Story Supervisors: Mitsuru Hongo, Masahiro Yokotani
Character Design: Takuya Saito
Mechanical Designers: Atsushi Takeuchi, Shinji Aramaki
Music: Yoshihiro Ike
Sound Director: Masafumi Mima
Animation Production: Production I.G

11-9-06 (5:14AM EDT)---- Seto No Hanayome To Be Animated

According to a promo image circulated by Square Enix and info published in the December, 2006 issue of Monthly Gangan WING, Kimura Tahiko's shounen manga Seto no Hanayome will be animated. 10 tankobon volumes are currently in release in Japan. The manga remains unlicensed in America. Courtesy Anime Waves, the comedy / romance plot focuses on male lead Nagasumi who visits his grandmother near the sea during the summer. While visiting, he goes for a swim, and drowns right after entering the water. Fortunately for him he is saved by a young mermaid. Later as he tells the story to his family, a young girl named San appears at his home and begs Nagasumi to marry her. She's followed by two large thugs and they take both him and his parents to San's home under the sea. If that wasn't strange enough, it turns out San's parents are mob bosses. Nagasumi is left with the choice of either death or marrying San. He chooses to marry a mermaid. This would likely be that, except San's father and some members of the mob are not exactly thrilled to have Nagasumi courting San and are determined to bring an end to their relationship--or him. And there is also the matter of keeping it a secret that San is a mermaid.

11-7-06 (10:50PM EDT)---- Hidamari Sketch TV Series Go!

The current issue of Houbunsha's Manga Time Carat Magazine features one of the first animation screen grabs of Hidamari Sketch TV sereies. Additionally, the cover mentions a TBS premiere in Januray, 2007. The story is based on the manga by Ume Aoki. Cast has been solidified as follows: Kana Asumi: Yuno, Kaori Mizuhashi: Miyako, Ryoko Shintani: Sae, Yuko Goto: Hiro, Miyu Matsuki: Yoshinoya-sensei. The second book volume based on Hidamri Sketch releases in Japan in December.

11-7-06 (10:24PM EDT)---- Dyogrammaton OAV Volume 1 Release

Based on the Clockup adventure game with original concept by Shinozu Katsuto, Dyogrammaton OVA ACT-1 is scheduled to go on sale December 15, 2006.

11-7-06 (9:43PM EDT)---- New Game From Ever 17 Supervisor

Sometime in 2007 Yeti is expected to release the love advanture game Myself;Yourself for PS2. Original concept / direction and production is being handled by Takumi Nakazawa (Ever 17). Character Design and Art Supervision by Sasaki Mutsumi (Happy Lesson), Scenario by Asaginu Nakano , art by Akino Shin, Masahisa Ito and others, title song and music production by Chiyomaru Shikura, development by Regista. The plot involves young men and women who fall in love in a school setting, the heroes being two people. Hirameki first released Nakazawa's Ever17 Visual Novel Suspense game in English in Fall 2005. From that time the creator has gained a small cult following in America and beyond.

11-7-06 (7:25PM EDT)---- Website Roundup

- The Kyoshiro Sora TV anime has been given a 2007 broadcast timeframe.
- Purple Software has released an extremely high quality anime trailer for it's new PC adventure game Primitive Link. Credited with production of the clip is Jellyfish, the same Jellyfish responsible for producing the OP sequence for Crossnet's Ayakashi.
- TBS renewed its official website for the TV Animation Rozen Maiden Oubuture. Similar to Winter Garden it will broadcast over 2 days on December 22-23 in the late night / early morning hours. As a surprise announcement a Rozen Maiden cultural festival will be held at some point in the future.
- The official website for the new RGB Adventure TV Animation is live.
- Konami's official website for Kirarin Revolution for Nintendo DS has opened.
- Konami's website for Negima 3 for PS2 now hosts a video trailer.
- NIPPON ICHI SOFTWARE INC.'s website for Disgaea Portable headed to PSP now hosts a video trailer.
- Konami has created an official websit for it's Nintendo DS anime based game title Otogi-jushi Akazukin (Fairy Musketeer Red Riding Hood) .
- Broccoli has launched it's official website for the upcoming DiGi Charat spinoff Winter Garden (listed in the official title as "From DiGi Charat"). The 2 part TV special is scheduled to broadcast over December 23-24 in the Late Night / Early Morning hours on TBS
- The official web presence for the forthcoming Saiyuki RELOAD: Burial OVA has gone live.

11-7-06 (4:58AM EDT)---- New Live Action Street Fighter Film

Capcom has announced a new live action movie based on its globally best selling Street Fighter Video Game series will be produced and distributed on a worldwide scale. American based Hyde Park Co. will be the game studio's joint partner, handling filmmaking and distribution from the United States. In this work, the story will center on the popular heroine fighter Chun Li. 2008 is currently scheduled as the year of release worldwide, starting off as part of a special project related to 'Street Fighter' in the United States, commemorating the 20th anniversary. The often believed less popular 1st game itself debuted in 1987, going on to sell 500,000 copies in Japan.

11-7-06 (4:58AM EDT)---- Wangan Midnight Anime To Debut Spring 2007

Based on the long running street racing manga series created by Michiharu Kusunoki, a decision has finally been made to adapt Wangan Midnight to animation. Look for the project to manifest in consumable form sometime next spring in Japan. The announcement came in last week's edition of Kodansha's Young Magazine where the manga has serialized since 1993. No details on the project were mentioned besides the the sole expression of intent to commence with the animation. 36 collected manga volumes now exist on the market. A number of related video games have been created in the past which have featured in-game anime sequences. Developer Genki is now working on a new PS3 version game for release in 2007. Additionally in 1994, 1997 and 2000 a series of live action Wangan Midnight movies were produced based on the manga storyline. Similar to Initial D, the hero, Akio, races a Japanese classic sportscar, the Fairlady Z (S30). Unlike Initial D's Touge hillside drift racing focus, Wangan Midnight concentrates on Shutoko "Expressway" racing along the actual long Wangan (Bayside) stretch of highway between Tokyo and Yokohama. Real street racing occurs along this stretch virtually every weekend and down the long straight a high horsepower and properly geared car capable of over 200mph is required to even begin to compete with top dogs.

11-7-06 (4:58AM EDT)---- Update: CLAYMORE To Be Adapted To TV Series

The Cover of the December, 2006 edition of Monthly Shonen Jump Magazine features text to the effect that author Norihiro Yagi's Claymore manga will become a new animated TV series. Japanese fans first spotted the announcement early last week through ads running for the issue which also hinted at the adaptation.

11-7-06 (4:43PM EDT)---- Last Ranma Manga Volume Out In America Next Week

San Francisco, CA, November 6, 2006 VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced the long-awaited conclusion to the RANMA manga series. The final edition, volume 36, will hit store shelves nationwide November 14 and will retail for $9.99.

Rumiko Takahashi's RANMA series has been a staple of the VIZ Media catalog for over 14 years and remains one of the company's longest running manga titles and one of the longest running manga series in North America. Many volumes are now in their second printing. Takahashi is one of Japan's most prolific and respected manga artists and is the creator of several long running series including MAISON IKKOKU, MERMAID SAGA, and INUYASHA all published in North America by VIZ Media. RANMA has sold more than 49 million copies in Japan, and is one of the most recognized and acclaimed series ever produced. A 7-season anime series with over 150 episodes, two feature length movies and an OAV set are also available from VIZ Media on DVD.

A hilarious story with plenty of eccentric characters, martial arts action and quirky romantic subplots, RANMA follows the comic problems of Ranma Saotome, a 16-year-old martial artist in training, and the unfortunate victim of a certain set of cursed hot springs whenever he gets wet he turns into a girl. Hot water returns him to being a boy. It could be worse his father also falls into a cursed hot spring and henceforth turns into a giant panda whenever he gets wet. Ranma's father has arranged a marriage for him with Akane Tendo, the beautiful daughter of a fellow martial artist. Akane is also a martial artist in training but she hates boys. For Ranma and Akane, it's hate at first sight but their initial loathing slowly turns into mutual affection and finally love as the series progresses. A quirky cast of supporting characters lends even more humor and complicates the romantic twists even more. A boy named Kuno has a crush on Akane but falls in love with the female Ranma, initially unaware of his alter-ego. Another boy named Ryoga has known Ranma since junior high and secretly wants to kill him, but is himself cursed after falling into a magic hot spring and turns into a piglet whenever he gets wet. Akane, not realizing this is the transformed Ryoga, adopts him as a pet naming him P-Chan. Then there is Shampoo, another martial artist from China. She was defeated by Ranma in his female form and has traveled to Japan to kill the female Ranma. But she doesn't know about Ranma's secret and falls madly in love with the male Ranma. She also happens to fall into a cursed pool and turns into a cat when she gets wet. And guess which animal Ranma is phobic about The final volume will provide a zany and fitting end to this much loved epic series and readers will delight in the crazy antics that happen when Ranma and Akane finally get married.

"RANMA has been the longest running VIZ Media manga series and also one of the best loved by fans," states Liza Coppola, senior vice president of marketing for VIZ Media. "We are excited to publish the concluding volume to this critically acclaimed title, fans will delight in the culmination of this wild adventure, which has been in print for more than 14 years."

The final volume of RANMA will be celebrated with a farewell letter to North American fans from series creator Rumiko Takahashi.

11-7-06 (6:07AM EDT)---- Izubuchi On New Birdy The Mighty Anime?

Shogakukan has announced through it's Young Sunday magazine that a new animation adaptation "Birdy The Movement" will be produced based on the original manga by Yuuki Masami. Unconfirmed is Yutaka Izubuchi's (Rahxephon) name which is floating around with a possbile director connection on the project.

11-7-06 (3:51AM EDT)---- New Feature: A Room With A View On Anime History

Our writings take a more personal tone in a just uploaded report on our Japanese living accomadations during the Tokyo International Film Festival which wrapped a week ago. Find out what special conncetion our room had in the production of a classic Gainax anime in our new feature article: A Room With A View On Anime History.

11-6-06 (5:13PM EDT)---- Hollywood Gatchaman In 2010

Variety talks about Imagi, the animation studio behind the upcoming TMNT animated film, as well as a cg Astroboy scheduled for 2009. Thanks To Daniel Zelter For The News.

11-6-06 (5:20AM EDT)---- Haruhi Suzumiya Omnimedia Negotiations Underway For NA Market Now

Swinging by the Kadokawa Herald Pictures booth at TIFFCOM 2006 ANS was able to confirm licensing negotiations for The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya TV animation in the North American market are now ongoing among several USA-based distribution companies. The Kadokawa representative we spoke to could not confirm any complications to a US release stemming from any existing trademark issues related to Playboy and bunnies. A deal could be closed in several months' time. Besides the existing animation the Americans are interested in adapting the the manga and novels for the world's largest English Language market as well. The entire omnimedia product (anime, novels, manga, etc..) could be sold as a package deal to one company although the liklelyhood of that being the end result is currently unknown.

11-5-06 (5:34PM EDT)---- Death Note Anime Licensed For America

ANS has learned the Death Note TV animation has been officially licensed for release in the North American market in 2007. We'll leave the actual licensee to properly announce themselves at their preferred time and in their preferred manner. A few things have to come together before that can happen though. Look for some official word in the form of simultaneous / coordinated press releases anywhere from weeks at earliest to months at latest.

11-4-06 (7:21PM EDT)---- New Column Launches: The Loot Report

With 100+ lbs. of JDM animation promotional material goodness now sitting on the ANS main bureau desk and being scanned through vigorously for new anime and manga information we can pass on to you, we thought we'd create a dedicated outlet to share some of the more noteworthy finds with our readers. We start with column 1 of a new regular feature entitled The Loot Report.

11-4-06 (5:23PM EDT)---- Paprika Up For Oscar Nod

Variety reports the Satoshi Kon film made the cut for Oscar list for Best Animated Film. Sixteen films in total have been selected, making it possible for 5 finalists to be nominated. Paprika will be competing against the likes of Aardman's "Flushed Away", WIP's "A Scanner Darkly", and Dreamworks "Over the Hedge". Sony Pictures Classics will give Paprika a limited release this Nov. 20, so that it can qualify for an Oscar. Thanks To Daniel Zelter For The News.

11-4-06 (6:39AM EDT)---- Tokyo International Film Festival Coverage Kicks Off

Our coverage of the Tokyo International Film Festival starts with a lengthy written screening report of the Kyuu Seiki Ban Evangelion Movies which occured Sunday, October 22nd. Out of a nearly packed house of close to 170, ANS founding chief editor Jonah Morgan was the only foreigner in attendance.

11-2-06 (12:15PM EDT)---- Paprika Rated For America

The MPAA says the current Satoshi Kon film has been rated R for "violent and sexual images". Moviefone notes that it's expected to get a U.S. release this coming March. Thanks To Daniel Zelter For The News Item.

11-1-06 (7:56PM EDT)---- Update: Some Companies Slacking On License Payments

A recurring theme we picked up on while speaking with Japanese based anime rights holders in Tokyo last week involves North American companies not fulfilling their contracts or otherwise not paying for their licenses (the right to sale the English version in X market(s)) in a timely manner. Apparently, the relatively recent phenomenon is not necessarily limited to small companies dealing with tighter financial constraints either. The situation is so serious that several Japanese firms we spoke to now require the presence of a lawyer from the initial discussion phase between license holder and potential licensee. An unnamed representative for a major Japanese licensor told ANS that part of this could be said to be due to the blinding rate at which new shows are being made and licensed. A given licensee will have a "tab" of 5 or more licenses (acquired chronologically) for example with one licensor. As they go on to pickup the distribution rights to the 6th or 7th show they wind up still owing or falling behind on payments for show 3 or 4. And this comes down to how well the show sells in X market. Payments are sometimes cut from revenue accrued by a show only after it's been localized and released in the licensee market. Since many licenses are now sold when shows are still in the production phase many potential licensees can be making bets in the dark. Given recent years' pleas by American companies that fans buy anime from them rather than partaking in illegal internet downloads and fansubs, it's now supremely ironic that the original creators and sellers in Japan have told us to relay to American fans: "please tell your domestic anime company to pay for its right to sale anime to you".

11-1-06 (5:12PM EDT)---- New Column: Anime News Discernment

We turn the spotlight on our own field: anime and manga news, in a new feature: Anime News Discernment. Column 1 is Anime News Discernment: Take "All Powerful" Lists & "Once In A Lifetime Success" Declarations With A Grain Of Salt. Given the current state of affairs extant among the many players and their wares, it may be a fairly regular feature.

11-1-06 (3:01PM EDT)---- Return To Regular News Cycle

With 10 jam-packed days deep in Tokyo's anime, manga, game and film industries behind us, we're finally at a point of relative calm and collection back behind the keyboard. Over the coming days our thoughts and notes will be sifted through along with the 1000+ business cards and 100+ lbs. suitcase of loot, media and flyers we brought back from various screenings, staff, cast and corporate meetings, tours, interviews, Tokyo International Film Festival, TIFFCOM, EntaMatsuri, TPG, and other ancillary events. Look for ANS to resume normal site updates over the coming week and our special coverage to be interspersed therein.

10-22-06 (11:51PM EDT)---- World Exclusive: Rebuild Of Evangelion Updates

Tonight we met up with Evangelion Producer Toshimichi Ootsuki in Akihabara. According to Ootsuki-san the "contents" for the "1st part" of the new Rebuild Of Evangelion movies is now complete. The animation staff is also very close to being fully assembled. Building on past hints (the cover image of the October, 2006 issue of Newtype Magazine) Kaworu Nagisa and Rei Ayanami will be central characters in this new story. The theme of the "first part" movie will feature the characters in a school setting prior to the arrival of the angels.

10-19-06 (2:51AM EDT)---- ANS At Tokyo International Film Festival

Anime News Service is live at the Tokyo International Film Festival which kicked off Saturday and runs through October 29th. As the only English language anime news organization at TIFF we've been granted exclusive access in a number of areas. Keep checking back for reports and the latest news from the event.

10-19-06 (4:19AM EDT)---- New To Heart 2 OVA Series Announced

Following the Fall, 2005 broadcast of a TV animation, AquaPlus has announced a new To Heart 2 OVA series. Three volumes will comprise the release set for distribution this winter. Confirmed staff include character designer Yanagisawa Masahide (Rurouni Kenshin OVA, Bottle Fairy), Katsura Kenichirou (Imortal Grand Prix) and Kato Yasuhisa (Azumanga Daioh). Content is uncertain at this time but if the the videogame series by Leaf (which recently got an "X-Rated Version") is anything to go by, the medium of Original Video Animation could allow for decidedly greater artistic freedoms. On the game side Leaf is currently preparing the tentatively titled "ToHeart2 Anaza-Deizu". To Heart originally debuted as a hentai visual novel love adventure for PC in 1997.

10-19-06 (4:13AM EDT)---- New Mushiking - Love & Berry Films Announced

Sega Japan has announced new anime movies based on it's domestically successful children's trading card / videogame series Mushiking and Love & Berry. Nationwide release in Japanese theaters is set for spring vacation, 2007. The last Mushiking film was released in December, 2006. For the new work Sega says they are completely "changing the story and outlook on the world versus past works". First hitting the market in 2003, Mushiking card sales have exceeded 398 million pieces in total as of the end of September, 2006. For the girl's dress up focused "Fashionable Witch Love & Berry" however, this will be the first outing in as an animation. This series has sold 207 million card pieces in total as the end of September. Shochiku Ltd. will distribute both movies.

10-19-06 (3:43AM EDT)---- Nagasaki 1945: Angelus No Kane At Chanoma

www.chanomafilmfestival.org mentions that among the live-action films being screened there starting 10/20 is the recent WW2 anime drama from Seiji Arihara. Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news item.

10-18-06 (5:53AM EDT)---- What's Holding Haruhi Suzumiya's USA Release?

Arguably, in 2006, the top new anime which has gained the most ground in the hearts and minds of grass roots North American anime fans is Kyoto Animation and Kadokawa's The Melancholoy Of Haruhi Suzumiya. The TV series only debuted in the spring in Japan but quickly became a viral phenomena in the English speaking world mirroring it's rapid popularity explosion in Japan. By the time only a handful of episodes had aired and been fansubbed, if you happened to tap the pulse of online fandom you'd have every indication the property was going supernova in America. It then penetrated anime cons nationwide in the US, the American media and continued to enjoy strong support online. It's around this time that one would expect alarm bells to be ringing in some offices in Texas and California to start making phonecalls and booking trips to Japan. A license announcement was anticipated by AX at least and certainly at one of the major anime cons of the summer. But it never came. Meanwhile fansubs saturate file sharing networks on the internet and the whole series shows up on YOUTUBE.

So What's the hold up? There are several continuities of thought. Firstly, these days when an anime reaches the buzz level of a show like Haruhi you can bet several companies will be locked into a bidding contest for a period of time. A monetary figure is eventually put on the table that can't be surpassed by the others and that company gets the license. It's very possible this process could be going on right now. It's also been postulated that licensing Haruhi Suzumiya for the American market could come with a snag........ in a bunny girl outfit. Some are saying it may be very difficult to work around the issue of a major character whose trademark sexy bunny costume appearance is litteraly already trademarked in the United States and other countries as well. To the uninitiated, Hugh Hefner's Playboy empire happens to own the registered trademark to the traditional bunny girl costume in America. Acquiring permission to use the bunny image is admittedly what kept Gainax's American division General Products USA from selling the Daicon animation shorts there in 1989 (although it's interesting that Otaku No Video and even more recently, the videogame Dragon Quest 8 both feature bunny girls and did make it to release in the market). It's possible the costume frames could be retouched (or completely replaced with something new) as was done for US release Dirty Pair manga several years ago. In that case, Kei and Yuri ended up with cocktail-waitress dresses. For Haruhi, this kind of compromise sounds even more likely if one takes into account the fact that the entire TV series is right now being massively retouched with over 1,000 pieces of animation being added (including new scenes, props etc..) in Japan for the DVD release. It would make sense that new scenes sans bunny girls could be easily created with the artists already in the studio at this time churning out the new material. Perhaps when this process is complete international licensing activities and releases can commence.

10-18-06 (4:53AM EDT)---- Shin Dancougar Update

Scheduled for broadcast in 2007, the TV animation series project Shin Dancougar has a new tentative name: Kemono Soukikou Dancougar Nova. The main characters will be 2 male and 2 female teen soldiers. Their 4 beast machines transform from humanoid robot to Eagle, Elephant, Rhino and Liger.

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