Anime News Service - October 1-15 Anime News

10-15-05 (7:02AM EDT)---- IGN Covering Anime And Manga

Longtime a leader in the games content arena, our friends over at IGN have began devoting their resources to covering anime and manga on more solidified basis. You can click the above link and see the first report of their new resident anime guru KJB. Moving from Film Force to report on the regular going on in the USA release market, KJB tell ANS he would like readers to send feedback to IGN if they would like the site to cover anime more. Also be sure to mention what you would like to see covered in detail.

10-14-05 (5:49AM EDT)---- Anime Promotes Dialect Usage Among Japanese

According to new research in Japan among female high school students, 30% use various Japanese dialectic speech in their daily conversation, and 30 percent or more in writing e-mail on their mobile phones. C-NEWS and Infoplant Ltd. conducted the recent survey in a search to see if dialects were becoming popular among high school students. Answers were tallied from female net users in junior and senior high schools who live in metropolitan areas. 124 junior high school students, 276 high school students (400 total) were the sample group being polled. Main influences were cited as hearing the dialects used by music artists, in TV shows, in Movies and animation. Entertainment found to use dialects included the manga Love Com (Lovely Complex), the recent hit film Swing Girls ), and the television program Mathew's Best Hit TV.

Linguists generally consider mutual intelligibilty to be the best test of language dialects. Japanese Dialects can be a hard thing to comprehend for a native English speaker with little grasp on the language. "It all sounds the same?" most will say in the face of Kansai or Tokyo dialect. The closest thing English speakers have to relate to are our various regional accents (Australian, British, American etc..) and they are not even developed into proper dialects as of yet. For a better sample of the effect a dialect can have on your understanding of a common language, check this resource on the history of English.

10-14-05 (5:35AM EDT)---- Gundam Motorcycle Helmets

Bandai Network's online store Lala Bit Market is taking reservations for a new Motorcycle helmet styled after the TYPE RX-78 original series Gundam. Delivery is expected by the end of March 2006. 20790 Yen is the cot of the helmet. This the tenth motorcycle helmet series for Gundam following TYPE CHAR which was limited to 2500 pieces when it was sold in September, 2002. The Motorcycle helmet is built to "Tereos 2" spec, manufactured by Orgaka sales Ltd. The "SG mark" and "PS mark" rating means the helmet is ok to be used with motorcycles of 125cc or more displacement. Sizes are M(57-58cm), L(59-60cm) and XL(60-61cm).

10-14-05 (4:58AM EDT)---- Miyazaki And Nick Park Team Up For TIFF Talk

It's been announced that director Hayao Miyazaki will attend the Tokyo International Film Festival. A special talk event will feature the famed director of Howl's Moving Castle along side Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park. The event will occur at 14:30 on October 23rd. The special talk pairing was agreed upon due to recent friendly work relations between Aardman Animations Ltd. and Studio Ghibli.

10-14-05 (4:14AM EDT)---- I.G. Interview Round 2

We previously linked a running interview series Nikkei BP's Kajiyama Sumiko has been conducting with Production I.G. in her business style blog. Today, round 2 has been posted and this installment focuses on CEO Mitsuhisa Ishikawa's collaboration with director Mamoru Oshii. It's mentioned that Ishikawa undertook a drastic strategy when Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence was produced. Avoiding Japan entirely, the plans for the film were taken directly to major Hollywood studios initially. Negotiations were carried out with them in regards to securing funding. With the film's scenario in hand, Ishikawa personally knocked on the doors of studios including Warner and FOX. Finally a contract was attained with DreamWorks. The huge project's production costs were estimated at 2 billion Yen.

10-14-05 (2:49AM EDT)---- Learn English The Moe Way

English learning software originating out of Japan is always interesting because by it's very design, if you are already fluent in English and have a basic grasp of Japanese and katakana+hiragana script, you can actually play it and in a roundabout sort of way, and end up learning some useful Japanese. Studio Sagitarius plans to have their Moe characters teach Japanese Otaku English with the just announced Moegaku game software coming to PC. With both written spoken word provided by a cast of well known seiyuu, moegaku hits the streets on November 25th, retailing at 6,090 Yen. The DVD-ROM will correspond to Windows XP/2000/Me. The game follows a role playing style format with many nymph styled characters appearing to teach the player different useful phrases. Over 50 reactions to your responses can be expressed by each character. Difficulty levels are set according to the National Center Test for University and Employment Examination. Many Otaku exclusive terms are taught in English such as "Coterie Magazine" and "girls simulation game" etc. The learning effect of the software is expected to be high becaue players will engage it repeatedly for the multiple endings. What's more, Studio Sagitarius mentions the game was developed American Otaku cooperation. Yoshimura Shi, a former APEC interpreter who performed in the short animation "Theater" gave special English pronunciation instruction to the cast. Higashiyama Genshi (PS2 sou koi) has written the scenario. Those interested can try out a Flash demo at the above link.

10-14-05 (2:29AM EDT)---- Full Metal Alchemist Movie DVD Release Announced

The BONES animated Full Metal Alchemist Movie which screened in Japan over the summer of 2005 has been confirmed for DVD release. Hardly any details exist at this point (such as planned extras) except for the January 25, 2006 street date.

10-14-05 (2:18AM EDT)---- Tokyo To Enforce Software Sales Restrictions To Minors

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced Thursday it will demand special labeling aimed at those under 18 for software titles containing graphic material. The government aims at the inclusion of video game software in the definition of "publications" covered by the local ordinance at the meeting with video game companies. Industry sources have told the Daily Yomiuri newspaper that the labeling requirement in the nation's largest market will have a large effect on national distribution channels for video game software. Source: Daily Yomiuri

10-14-05 (1:05AM EDT)---- Unaired Kamichu Episodes To See DVD Release

Aniplex and Studio YOU announced DVD release details Friday on it's recently wrapped Kamichu TV animation (broadcast in Japan on AT-X). The announcement itself is rather routine, with the expected extras such as interview clips with writer Hideyuki Kurata and director Koji Masunari. What has Japanese fan interest piqued about this set is the number of episodes attached: 16 for a series that only went for 12 during it's broadcast run. According to the animation studio behind the show, 4 never broadcast episodes will be included. What's more, the extra epsiodes will fall chronologically in between the already broadcasted episodes (corresponding to eps. 8,11,13,16). Cut scenes and a director's commentary track will be other extras on the discs as well as 16:9 image presentation. On the whole, the DVD's are being considered very much a Director's cut package. Each DVD will be 5250 Yen and one volume will be released monthly from October through March, 2006.

10-13-05 (11:33PM EDT)---- Taekwon V Movie Restoration And Plagiarism Claims

Debuting in 1976, creator / director Cheong-gi Kim's Taekwon V was the first full length animated feature to be released in South Korea. It enjoyed wide commerical success and is seen today as a classic and masterpiece. Original prints of the film were thought to have all but rotted away and vanished. Seven sequels spun off, running through the early 1990's. The work has come to the news forefront in Korea and Japan recently due to a miraculous find a few years ago by the Korean Film Council. What they discovered was an original 35mm reel containing the '76 feature. In 2002, Cheong-gi Kim commented to Korea Today regarding the find: "When I heard the film had been found, I felt as if a long lost child had returned to me." which was very popular in the Korean television.

In September of 2005 the KOFIC announced the completion of a two-year effort to restore the film from various sources, including the newly discovered print. Transferred to digital format and restored by a team of 72 people, the effortcost a total of one billion won (US$1 million). Employing color correction, reducing grain, erasing the effects of dirt and scratches and providing a new 5.1ch Dolby soundtrack in addition to the restored original soundtrack, the team worked on every one of the film's 108,852 frames, one-by-one. The restored film first screened during the Pusan International Film Festival held October 9-11. A future commercial release is also under consideration. The work has long been compared to the Japanese animation Mazinger Z. Some have said the content is a little too similar the Go Nagai anime. Mazinger enjoyed incredible success on South Korean TV when it first appeared, and Kim admits when coming up with Taekwon V, "I wanted give Korean children another hero". In a September 22nd interview conducted by the Kuki News, Kim, now 65, addressed recent claims appearing on Japanese internet message boards, blogs and forums that the content was copied from similar Japanese animation works. "I grow melancholic every time the story of plagiarism is heard" he said. "It is true that Magengar Z had existed previously with the concept of a super-humanoid robot". The creator uses the metaphor of a car in relation to the debate. "Imagine the way a car looks in your head. If seen from a long distance, all basically have 4 tires and a body." "If seen up close, each design can appear unique." "To tell the truth, people in Japan have mimicked German car designs." He adds that in the strictest sense the story conatined in Mazinger Z was not of 100% original composition, when Mazinger first appeared in 1972 cartoons featuring giant robots had existed as many as 20 years beforehand.

A bit of a sidenote, the "Japan VS Taekwon V" row has escalated as of this week. The fight itself has litteraly been manifested in animation form with the TV broadcast of a new CG spot featuring the giant robot staving off apparant Japanese attackers at sea. You can watch the short in Windows Media Player format here.

10-13-05 (3:30AM EDT)---- Sayuri Iwata To Sing New Conan Theme

It was announced Thursday in Japan that the popular teen actress / singer, Sayuri Iwata, will perform the new ending theme to the Detective Conan Series. Having debuted as a professional singer about 8 months ago in Japan with 4 hit singles under her belt, her latest, "Thank You For Everything" will be released on the November 9th. The track will be incorporated as the ED theme to Conan as of the October 24th episode. 2006 marks the 10th anniversary since the debut of the animation.

10-13-05 (2:02AM EDT)---- Anime And The iPOD Effect

Leading up to the Wednesday announcement (Quicktime 7 Video) in the USA, Japan's otaku blogs have been buzzing about the latest iPOD. In a San Jose presentation, Apple Computer's Steve Jobs pulled the wraps off the new portable device which features MPEG4/H.246 video playback and a 2.5 inch QVGA liquid crystal display. Video quality under H.264 comes in at a 320x240 maximum resolution, 768kbps and 30fps of the frame. Likewise MPEG-4 video quality at a max res of 480x480 is 2.5Mbps and 30fps. 30GB ($299) and 60GB ($399) memory capacity versions will be sold. In additon to playing music files, storing digital pictures, Video Podcasts and your own video files, video content will be able to be purchased and downloaded from Apple's iTunes Music Store.

Apple has lined up including over 2,000 music videos, six short films from Pixar Animation Studios, and five television shows from ABC and Disney Channel in the way of content to be available for purchase soon. The audio version of iPOD became the personal music player killer app. These devices can be routinely seen in abundance at anime cons across America with fans bobbing their heads to their favorite J-Pop and anime soundtrack themes. The question now is: What type of content support (if any) will Apple's new personal video format receive from American and Japanese anime companies? On the flipside, for several year now, MPEG4 has been codec of choice for fansubbers, raw l33t leakers and movie pirates in general. In August, iTunes Japan launched and just as suddenly as Japanese users could download their favorite native pop-tunes and anime tracks, so could users around the world. So the Japanese version of the iTunes store will definetly merit watching for video content.

Many anime vendors in this country (USA) will certainly be watching the sales progression of the new iPOD and pouring over marketing data in a search to find out how economically viable offering content on the portable device may be. In the past, anime video has been sold on Nintendo GBA carts and Sony PSP UMD media. As of September, Sony announced 17 million total UMD's had been sold. 8.2 million (around 50%) of these were video UMD's (non-game). The company is currently banking on video UMD's to make up more than 60 percent of all UMD sales as of 2008 with 130 million total UMDs to be sold.

10-12-05 (1:59PM EDT)---- Sakura Taisen Slot Machine

Aruze has details and images of a new Sakura Taisen casino-style slot machine. 2 bonus systems will be included within the game.

10-12-05 (1:33PM EDT)---- XXXHolic Anime Coming

Kodansha has announced CLAMP's XXXHolic manga will be adated to TV animation. The series will debut in the spring of 2006.

10-12-05 (12:43PM EDT)---- Advent Children Anime Breaks 700,000 In Sales

Square-Enix Japan has announced it's CG anime Final Fantasy VII has broken 700,000 units in sales on DVD. The initial release of both a regular (3,840 Yen) and special edition version was made on September 14th. The special edition pack included a special figure and limited edition DVD-BOX has now fully sold out as well as the first print version, which sold out on the first day, Sales of the UMD version are also said to be good. Producer producer Shinji Hashimoto said: "We believe that this result is due to the movie getting attention not just from game fans but from many people in general. We have extremely high expectations for the upcoming releases in America and Europe. We're aiming for a stronger result with continued sales in Japan." The work is currently scheduled to screen at film festivals around the world including the Catalana Film Festival (Spain) and the Montreal Film Festival (Canada) this month.

10-12-05 (12:14PM EDT)---- eigoMANGA Launches Anime Radio Program

San Francisco, CA - eigoMANGA Ltd. and KYOU RADIO have announced their new on-air radio broadcast, Shibuya Airwaves. eigoMANGA being the first-movers to produce an on-air anime-themed radio broadcast, Shibuya Airwaves first aired on September 24th 2005 and is in current rotation on AM 1550 KYCY San Francisco, CA. Shibuya Airwaves also has a simulcast streaming show on KYOU RADIO's website. The San Francisco based on-air radio broadcasting program, produced by and hosted by Oscar Gutierrez Jr. (Bhodee) and Tetsuro Mori (Tetsu), expresses a side of Japanese music. The program is composed of a music line-up ranging from anime soundtracks, basanova, Japanese hip hop, Japanese rock, visual K, mixture K, and much more. Shibuya Airwaves also features special interviews with Japanese artists. "Producing such programming that holds substance on many levels is a dream come true for me", says Oscar Gutierrez Jr., General Manager of eigoMANGA. "Pod casting is the new wave for individuals who want to share a more worldly perspective beyond the borders of what record label machines are pumping out. As Americans we have a stigma of ethnocentrism and thus I like to lead by example by sharing my enthusiasm of what Shibuya Airwaves exemplifies-- understanding other cultures brings me closer to understanding ourselves as one race."

Also excited about the airing of Shibuya Airwaves for the first time is Austin Osueke, CEO of eigoMANGA. He says, "This radio program has become a viable platform for Americans to actually learn about Japanese music and that's why we decided to go ahead with the show. This built a bridge for people to learn more about the Japanese music scene and to explore other genres of Japanese pop culture besides anime." Proudly being the pioneers of this new and innovative venture, eigoMANGA hopes to spark significant changes in the industry, to further entertain and generate awareness of Japanese pop culture.

"This radio program is an avenue that is seldom heard, it is not mainstream though it's slowly using back doors to enter into a larger audience on a local and global aspect", says Oscar Gutierrez Jr. "It is significant that eigoMANGA is using such aggregated tools to further the industry of Japanese culture particularly in the anime and manga world, by presenting a side of Japanese music genre that goes hand-in-hand in this growing market." "Shibuya Airwaves is a very good gate-way for anyone who is not Japanese, who doesn't know the language or the culture. Americans can learn about the broad diverse music scene in Japan, and also use the airwaves as a platform to talk about anime as well as hear about the latest news from the industry experts themselves," says Osueke. "We're very excited about this new radio program, we hope it will work out; its exciting times right now!"

10-12-05 (4:39AM EDT)---- Tomy Gets North And South American Naruto Video Games License

On Wednesday in Tokyo, Tomy Ltd. announced it has obtained licensing from Viz Media that will allow it to sale and market 4 video games based on Naruto. The agreement will see several titles arriving on Nintendo platforms across North and South America from the spring of 2006. Tomy will enter the American market for the first time in full scale as a publisher. They aim to strengthen it's brand in foreign markets. 9 NARUTO games have been released in Japan since April, 2003. Sales there have been of a blockbuster stature with 2.3 million units sold. 1 million units in the first year is the American sales goal. The first title to be marketed will be on the Game Boy Advance, the title is NARUTO NINJA COUNCIL. Following that a Gamecube title, CLASH OF NINJA will be sold. 2 undetermined NARUTO titles remain, one will go to each platform.

10-12-05 (4:24AM EDT)---- New Book: 70 Japanese Gestures

Animation Insider reviews the new Stone Bridge Press book, 70 Japanese Gestures: No Language Communication.

10-12-05 (4:18AM EDT)---- PSP Ghost In The Shell: SAC Goes Gold

Bandai Games Inc. today announced that "Ghost in the Shell(R): Stand Alone Complex(TM)" for the PSP(TM) handheld entertainment system has gone gold. Featuring up to six-player multiplayer gameplay, this sci-fi first-person shooter also offers gamers the chance to control their own mini-tank, the Tachikoma. "The complex world of the 'Ghost in the Shell(R)' anime and manga series presented a wealth of source material for the game," said Rika Maruya, Co-Producer of Bandai Games Inc. "With the PSP [system] title, we took care to incorporate Masamune Shirow's multifaceted characters, as well as the tense drama and edge-of-your-seat action that are trademarks of the series." "Ghost in the Shell(R): Stand Alone Complex(TM)" will be in stores October 25th.

10-12-05 (4:16AM EDT)---- Gundam Otaku May Become 4th Space Tourist

Yahoo News reports:
A Japanese Internet whiz is tipped to become the world's fourth space tourist -- and he wants to orbit the earth dressed as an ace pilot from a hit Japanese animation series. The candidate for the 20-million-dollar trip is Japanese investor Daisuke Enomoto, a 34-year-old former board director of the Livedoor Internet firm headed by flamboyant entrepreneur Takafumi Horie, local media said. Enomoto has already passed medical checks and started flight training for a trip in late 2006, Jiji Press news agency reported Tuesday. Enomoto said in January that he was likely to be the first Japanese to make a paid space trip. "I'm planning to do something amusing," he wrote then on his website. If he gets Russian approval, Enomoto said he wanted to dress up on the trip as "Char Aznable", a character in the popular "Gundam" hero robot series of animation whose name is inspired by French singer Charles Aznavour. Enomoto describes himself as a "Gundam otaku (geek)". The third civilian to pay for a space flight, US millionaire businessman Greg Olsen, returned to Earth on Tuesday in the Soyuz space capsule. The 60-year-old American paid Space Adventures 20 million dollars for a seat aboard the capsule and eight days of gazing down at the Earth from the International Space Station, 230 miles (370 kilometers) up. He was preceded into space by two other millionaire tourists, American Dennis Tito in 2001 and South African Mark Shuttleworth the following year.

10-12-05 (4:00AM EDT)---- GAINAX Angel XX Site

GAINAX has launched an official web section for it's Angel XX (Apostle XX) action figure project. There one can find details the 2 previous Angel figures reported on here as well as a 3rd, just announced and based on a female version of the Kaworu Nagisa character.

10-12-05 (3:28AM EDT)---- Puffy AmiYumi On Cyndi Lauper's New Album

The J-Pop duo Puffy AmiYumi will perform a track on the American singer, Cyndi Lauper's upcoming album, The Body Acoustic. Jeff Beck, Shaggy and Sarah Mclachlan's will also participate on the new CD which will feature a number of classic Lauper covers. The album commemorates the 25th anniversary debut of Lauper as a professional singer. The duo will record the clasic hit "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". A Promo Video featuring the girls with Cyndi will be filmed when she comes to Japan on the 28th. American release for the album is schedule for 11/08/2005 under the EPIC/DAYLIGHT label.

10-12-05 (2:12AM EDT)---- Overseas Interest In Ichiro Sakaki's Strait Jacket

Originally hinted at last week as being part of the Project Gathering Tokyo presentation works section, more details have been announced by T.O Entertainment (Dead Leaves) on their Strait Jacket animation. Featuring original story by Ichiro Sakaki (Scrapped Princess), plans for both a anime TV series and film are reportedly progressing now. Negotiations have began with two or more manufacturers / overseas publishers. The story is action fantasy involving magic and a war between peace loving humans and demon tribes. Based on an ongoing light novel series totalling 7 books presently (400,000 copies sold), the work is already supported by many Japanese fans. Author Ichiro Sakaki won the 9th Fujimi fantasy Novel Grand Prize for the series. The animation project will be promoted within the company's booth at the TIFF at the end of this month.

10-12-05 (1:48AM EDT)---- LoveBerry Card Game Hot Among Japanese Girls

Over the summer of 2005, Sega's OshareMajo Love & Berry arcade / collectible card game has quickly become the latest popular trend among elementary school girls in Japan. The premise involves becoming one of the witches, Love or Berry, and accessorizing, dressing up one's character and dancing. In the persuit of this the player collects and trades various cards, enhancing their characters fashion sense and dancing prowess. The goal is to acquire as many cards as possible (164 different ones are available). On the arcade machine there are buttons for each character and a slot to scan collected cards. Play is 100 Yen and upon winning, one gets a new card. Players scan their colected cards in the machine in advance of a game, setting up the characters outfit etc.. School girls can routinely be seen lined up at machines across Japan, some with thick binders containing hundreds of the cards. Indeed, collections have sold for 10,000 Yen or more on internet auction services. The game is a female follow up to the "Mushiking" game which was a hit among boys. The phenomena is interesting becuase such a card related game marketed to girls has never seen such success in Japan. Sega reports the number of cards shipped from the game's launched in October of last year is around 43 million. By comparison, Mushiking had sold about 280 million cards over the two years it's been in release. The Pokemon game was sold in 40 countries worldwide with card shipment totals approaching about 14 billion cards.

10-12-05 (1:18AM EDT)---- Howl's Moving Castle UK Boxoffice: Week 2

Boxoffice Mojo has the UK boxoffice stats for Studio Ghibli's Howl's Moving Castle, now in it's second weekend of theater deployment. For the period of September 30th - October 2nd, the animated feature dropped from 10th to 12th place. A three day profit of $314,216 was had, bringing the total for the 2 weeks running to $866,113. 1 new theater screen was added bringing the total number of venues to 96.

10-12-05 (12:56AM EDT)---- Japanese Weekend Boxoffice

Japanese weekend (Oct 8-9) Movie Boxoffice snapshot courtesy: Kogyo Tsushinsha
1. Stealth
2. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
3. A Heartful of Love
4. Semi Shigure
5. Nana
6. Sin City
7. April Snow
8. Shinobi
9. Cinderella Man
10. Touch

10-12-05 (12:54AM EDT)---- Toranoana: Sales Excede 10 Billion Yen

As of June this year, Japanese character merchandiser / publisher Toranoana announced it has seen it's sales earnings had reached 11.06 Billion Yen with a 17.26% increase over the previous year's performance. The benchmark exceeds the psychological benchmark of 10 billion yen. The boost came from manga sales and continued ordering from their mail order section. The business was founded in 1994. Toranoana has 13 stores across Japan including three shops of Akihabara.

10-11-05 (11:39PM EDT)---- Kakurenbo Coming To Adult Swim

Thanks to Peter for the following:

Central Park Media and Adult Swim are proud to announce CPM's award-winning CG sci-fi horror anime "Kakurenbo: Hide & Seek" is to be broadcast just in time for Halloween on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block. An Adult Swim Halloween special and the "Kakurenbo" worldwide network television premiere, CPM's "Kakurenbo: Hide & Seek" will air at midnight on October 29th between episodes of Adult Swim favorites "Fullmetal Alchemist" and "Samurai Champloo."

"Kakurenbo: Hide & Seek" is the first film by the new animation studio YAMATOWORKS, an independent computer graphics production house founded by Syuhei Morita, a veteran of the prolific Studio 4C (The Animatrix, Steamboy). Morita left Studio 4C to found YAMATOWORKS to create CG productions with the look and feel of a traditional 2D animation. Despite "Kakurenbo" being YAMATOWORKS's first project, "Kakurenbo" attracted some of the biggest voice acting talent on both sides of the Pacific - its cast led by Junko Takeuchi (Naruto) in Japan and Michael Sinterniklaas (Alien 9, Fullmetal Alchemist) in North America.

Screened at more than twenty of the most-prestigious film festivals around the world including the Tokyo Anime Fair, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, and Fantasia International Film Festival, "Kakurenbo: Hide & Seek" has won awards including Best Short Film at Fantasia and the Exemplary Production Award at the Tokyo Anime Fair. Preview showings at Anime Expo, Comic-Con, and Otakon this past summer have been standing room only, and "Kakurenbo" continually receives critical acclaim. Play Magazine recently called "Kakurenbo" "as timeless as it is beautiful." Anime on DVD has said of "Kakurenbo" simply "Haunting. Beautiful. Tragic. Brilliant."

10-11-05 (4:12AM EDT)---- Retailers Get Their Own Section At TAF 2006

The Tokyo Anime Fair Executive Committee has announced retailer specialty goods shops will get a dedicated and seperate section from the "business" side of the exhibition from the 2006 show. A briefing in Tokyo on October 14 will clarify details. Up until this year, one could find smaller goods shops (some with a single table on which to display their wares) intersperesed with the larger trade show calibur corporate studio booths. The move is expected to organize things better for the general day-goers.

10-10-05 (3:37PM EDT)---- University Of Tokyo Story To Become Film

Mangaka Tatsuya Egawa's (Golden Boy) popular work Tokyo Daigaku Monogatari will become a live action film. 20 year old actress Yoko Mitsuya will star in the lead role. Mitsuya is known widely for her 87cm (E-cup) chest size. A photo-op occured on the sixth in Tokyo at the Komazawa Olympic Park. An adaption of the story to TV drama and animation has already been done. The film's opening is scheduled for next spring. The story is centered on high school students aiming for entry into prestigious Tokyo University. When high school boy Murakami falls in love with his classmate Haruka, it's love at first sight. But as luck would have it his friend Sano also falls in love with her and is getting in the way.

10-10-05 (1:06AM EDT)---- GBASP Gets Brighter Screen

The Game Boy Micro isn't the only handheld system Nintendo has just launched to retailers. IGN has a hands on review of Nintendo's quietly released updated Game Boy Advance SP. The updated screen uses backlit technology on par with the DS and Gameboy Micro unlike the previous version which lit the screen from the front.

10-9-05 (6:29PM EDT)---- I.G.'s Ishikawa Interviewed On Kill Bill

Nikkei BP's business style section has recently interviewed Production I.G. CEO Mitsuhisa Ishikawa. There, one can find a great image from the Kill Bill Vol. 1 autumn 2003 Imperial Hotel debut screening / press conference in Tokyo. Ishikawa stands on stage with the film's key princples such as director Quentin Tarantino and stars Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu. He relates some interesting never before revealed details surrounding the event in particular as well as I.G.'s collaboration with the eclectic Pulp Fiction director. The hotel's hall that night was crammed past over-capacity with reporters. Production I.G. contributed the ultra violent animated sequence in the film's 1st part. It's said Tarantino held Ghost In The Shell and Blood The Last Vampire among his favorite works from the studio.

Ghost in the Shell wasn't a big hit in Japan although it did secure 1st place on the Billboard video sales charts when it was released in America in 1996. Those in Hollywood who were influenced by the film are James Cameron (Titanic), Wachowski Brothers (Matrix). Tarantino was also inspired and sought out the film's producers personally to develop the piece of animation to be used in his film. Back to the photograph, Ishikawa says he was personally overcome with great emotion upon seeing the name of his company for the first time on that stage in the opening credits of Kill Bill. This mention was seen as a surprise becuase only main cast and staff's credits appear there and the anime sequence itself only represents about 1/10th of the entire film. Tarantino's other big surprise for him that night was by calling him on stage in the first place to be featured with the movie's principles. He said he was called out of his seat by the director to go up on the platform becuase of his role as an important staff. Ishikawa said he had to reatain his tears at being so honored at this purely generous offering. He realized by being up there his company was seen as a true partner to Hollywood and not merely a subcontracted firm.

10-9-05 (5:38PM EDT)---- Advertising In Video Games: Fastest Growing Segment

Double Fusion, a leading provider of in-game advertising services, has released findings of a Nielsen Interactive Entertainment study indicating that advertising in video games has a significant influence on purchase decisions and brand recall. The study showed that the in-game campaign resulted in a 60 percent increase in awareness for a new product, and also showed that, while all ad formats had significant impact, animated 3-D advertising insertions achieved twice the recall of static billboards. Additionally positive perceptions of brand attributes for the product such as being "easy to use" and "time saving" all showed consistent increases.

The study looked at a variety of advertising insertions within the downloadable version of London Taxi, a PC game published by Metro3D. The objective of the study was to assess the brand impact of advertising within the recently released game environment, and to compare the efficacy of the different types of advertising formats supported by Double Fusion's in-game ad serving technology. Together, Double Fusion and Nielsen Interactive Entertainment conducted a pre- and post-exposure study exploring changes in ad awareness, recall and purchase intent for a Procter & Gamble product called Flash Car Wash, a new cleaning product distributed in the United Kingdom. As part of the study, Nielsen also looked at user attitudes towards the presence of real advertising within the game.

"The study provides continued evidence that in-game advertising is a medium which brand managers across categories should be exploring, particularly if they want to reach the highly valuable 18-34 year old male audience," said Henry Piney, managing director Europe, Nielsen Interactive Entertainment. "What we learned is that even for new brands, the impact that in-game advertising can have is significant. The study also shows that, by using video games' unique attributes and offering insertions through which players can interact with brands, the advertiser can gain even greater value."

"Video games are the fastest growing consumable entertainment medium on the market," said Guy Bendov, co-founder and executive vice president for business development, Double Fusion. "More and more 18-34 year olds are spending both time and money on gaming, and reaching this highly desirable audience is of the utmost importance for advertisers and marketers. Double Fusion is the only company in the market that offers the 3-D insertion capability so it is very encouraging to find that this tool resonates with consumers."

Other key findings include:
- Brand Perceptions - Positive perceptions of brand attributes for the product such as being "easy to use," "time saving," "convenient" and "more effective than traditional methods" all showed small but consistent increases.
- General Perception of In-Game Advertising - General perceptions of in-game advertising are relatively positive: in the pre-survey (among 900 respondents) 50 percent of respondents agreed that in-game advertising makes a game more realistic while only 21 percent disagree. Likewise 54 percent agreed the in-game advertising 'catches your attention,' while only 17 percent disagreed.

10-9-05 (5:37PM EDT)---- TMS Acquired By Sega Sammy

According to the official press release issued by Nagoya based TMS Entertaniment (Lupin III, Angel Heart, Anpanman), Sega Sammy Holdings have acquired the majority of the stock in the company as of October 7, thus making the well known animation house a consolidated subsidiary. Sega Sammy has much experience in the video games industry on a global scale, they've stated their aim with this move is improving the two companies via a synergy effect between the game and animation businesses. Sega Sammy's stock holdings in TMS now equate a 50.24% share.

10-9-05 (4:01PM EDT)---- 0083 Site

Bandai Visual's official website for their forthcoming Gundam 0083 5.1ch DVD BOX set has gone live at www.gundam0083.net. There, one can find an exclusive flash intro, streaming trailers, associated product releases, series background and more.

10-7-05 (3:01PM EDT)---- HD-DVD: Region Coding Could Be History

The DVD Forum Japan Conference 2005 was held on Friday in Tokyo. Standardization developments on both DVD and HD DVD fronts were discussed by Toshiba and the road map toward the future was covered. One of the main topics of the event was the fate of region coding on their new high definition format. For American anime fans, this is the thing that prevents you from playing DVD's imported from Japan or Europe on your average store-bought DVD player. Toshiba Digital Media's Chief Engineer Yamada Takashi spoke on this issue. On traditional DVD, 6 regions globally are allocated into special lockout zones. Players sold within markets exisiting in these zones can generally only be compatible with the same region coded media. According to Yamada, "Maybe, the region playback control will not enter HD DVD." During the development of HD-DVD, region control was privy to all shades of opinion. He didn't consider the technology as a very positive feature and it wasn't introduced into their Steering Committee.

What's more, the concept of copy control within the contents industry has changed also. DVD sales had began stagnating in Japan as of 2005, and with over 300 units hitting the market every month, securing shelf space is difficult. Therefore, Only selling titles are arranged in the shopfront with no space for many catalog titles. Some copy protection measures are still being considered such as the AACS introduced "Managed Copy" and the use of "Localized DTCP" in the case of LAN network video delivery. This technology would delay playback transmission for 7ms or less while the user's network IP is scanned and deterimined to be to be a local environment. Playback would then only be permited within this range. Piracy is also being tackled by the AACS, one current plans calls for a digital watermark to be placed in the audio of films being screened in theaters. Then, when someone trying to sneak a personal videocam in and record it illegally, goes on to make copies, they would be stopped instantly during the reproduction process when this signal is detected. The medium standards are expected to be finalized by November.

10-7-05 (12:55PM EDT)---- Bandai Visual: US Gundam Sales Lagging

Bandai announced interim sales results for the period running from August-February, 2006. Their Bandai Visual division, who handles animation project development revealed Gundam sales domestically in Japan supported company income well with increased profits being seen from the license in the first half of the year. Overseas sales have been lagging somewhat centering on the US market. Gundam SEED DESTINY was released to the market in DVD form from February this year achieved 686,000 units shipped and 3 billion 16 million Yen in sales. However, the overseas license business was a tough fight with a 17.0% decrease compared with first term results of 348 million Yen. This is cited as a slump being experienced in the North America market.

10-7-05 (12:41PM EDT)---- 150 Million Pokemon Games Sold

Nintendo announced the US release of Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness for GameCube on October 4. The company clarified the total global sales of game titles related to Pokemon has exceeded 150 million. Sales of about 15 billion US dollars have also been recorded related to products based on Pokemon.

10-7-05 (11:29AM EDT)---- 2005: What's Hot In France?

French anime magazine Anime Land conducted it's yearly reader poll to gauge anime / manga popularity in a number of areas. The new school term starts in September in France and the fiscal year will end next June, around the time most schools let out for summer vacation. Therefore, the survey is conducted in summer and the poll results are announced in autumn. Overwhelmingly, Hagaren (Full Metal Alchemist) has been the breakout hit property this year in the country, with TV telecast starting in February, 2005, and the manga being put on the market in September. 497 readers were polled, men and women breakdown is listed as 50%, ages 15-25 represented 65% of respondents.

Top Anime TV DVD Work (2004-2005):
1. Full Metal Alchemist
2. Ghost in the Shell STAND ALONE COMPLEX
3. 12 Country Record
4. Petite Cosette
5. Excel Saga

Top Classic Work (Sold Before July 2004)
1. Cowboy Bebop
2. Sage Fighter Hoshiya
3. Fruits Basket
4. The Asoki
5. GTO

Movie Top 5
1. Howl's Moving Castle
2. Princess Mononoke
3. Spirited Away
4. GITS Innocence
5. Grave Of The Fireflies

Top Anticipated Work
1. Chapter Ten Ninomiya Sage Fighter Hoshiya Hades
2. NARUTO TV
3. Full Metal Alchemist Movie
4. Tsubasa Chronicle TV
5. BLEACH TV
5. MONSTER TV

10-6-05 (8:06PM EDT)---- Japanese Otaku Market Worth 411 Billion Yen

According to just released research conducted by the Nomura Research Institute of Technology and Economics, Japan's total "Otaku" demographic for 2004 represents 1.72 million people and about 411 billion Yen. The criteria of this culture strata is defined as "One who spends almost all money and time on their hobby and leisure". Questioned via internet, about 10,000 respondents took part in the survey. They were then ranked together into about 12 subfields such as Idol, Anime, Manga, Game etc.. Comic fans took the largest share of the Otaku pie with an estimated 350,000 die hard fanatics (spending around 83 billion Yen), Idol fans were next with about 280,000 representitives. The institute's official website is http://www.nri.co.jp/.

10-6-05 (7:30PM EDT)---- Go Nagai Memorial Planned

Wajima City has announced the establishement of a project to construct a memorial to manga creator Go Nagai (Cutey Honey Devil Man). The city's mayor met with the artist in Tokyo this past August. Nagai mentioned he would like to cooperate completely. A committee of four people will now take on the development of the project and oversee construction survey, examination of the construction place, and negotiations with Mr. Nagai in the future. Eight million Yen is the current amount being spent on the shrine, a more thorough plan is expected to be clarified by the end of November.

10-6-05 (5:20PM EDT)---- 2008 World Cartoon Summit In Kyoto

The "World Cartoonist Rally (Cartoon Summit)" event has been announced to occur in Kyoto in 2008. The goal of the summit is to promote cartoonculture and an exchange among cartoonists from all over the world. Various exhibitions will be held as well as forums on issues such as copyright problems and the future of the artform. Cartoonists from 26 countries (about 300 people) participated in the 7th rally held in Tomikawa city in South Korea September 30th - October 3rd of this year. The "Kyoto International Cartoon Museum" is scheduled to open in the autumn of 2006 and will be a mjor draw for visitors of the summit.

10-6-05 (4:54PM EDT)---- Broccoli: Liabilities To Exceed Assets

Japanese character company Broccoli is expected to see it's financial liabilities to exceed assets of about 300 million Yen by the end of the current term. It was announced the company has changed it's earnings performance forecast on October 5 for the period stretching through February, 2006. Reasons cited include retail sales dropping off and a shortening of the product life cycle among it's existing properties. A new card game from the company was expected increase earnings and performed well when first released although sales were said to have dropped off.

10-4-05 (1:17PM EDT)---- First Anime Title On HD-DVD By Year's End

Toshiba has announced 35 commercial works will be marketed on their HD-DVD format in Japan by the end of 2005. The titles will originate from around ten Japanese movie companies. Japanese, South Korean and western films are to be released. The American film "The Aviator" is named by title. Although not specifically named by title, Japanese Animation works are mentioned by genre to be on the list. Because player units did not hit the market on mass scale in time for the year-end sales battle, disc releases have also been postponed.

10-4-05 (12:16PM EDT)---- Boy Manga Now The Faire Of Teen Girls In Japan

According to new research on Female manga trends by Index Digital, the traditional Shonen, Shoujo reader archtype demos are breaking down among school childern and junior high school students in Japan. They found Shonen Jump (61.9%) was overwhelming the most popular "non-shoujo" magazine selection among girls with Shonen Sunday and Koro Koro Comics scoring 18% share responses. 2094 opinions were sampled.

10-4-05 (10:40AM EDT)---- Chiba Tatsuya Says He Was Misquoted On 'Hate Manga' Apology

Ashita no Joe creator Chiba Tatsuya has released a statement to his official website on his interview this past weekend published in the East Asia Daily newspaper. He says there was no question put to him in the interview about the controversial "Hate Korea" manga "Ken Kan Ryu" although it was covered as a fact. "Moreover, there is no authority to say this naturally, and the fact is not talked about though there is an expression "Apologize on behalf of the cartoonist of Japan" in the description." Tatsuya mentions: "I will reflect more carefully in the future when doing correspondence in a public place." He plans to protest this inncident through the secretariat of South Korea. Finally, he mentions cartoon festival event held in the country (where he was interviewed) and the people were wonderful and that he was "overflowing very much in friendship with feelings of deep gratitude".

10-3-05 (9:57PM EDT)---- Katsuhiro Otomo Film Among Additional Tokyo Project Gathering Works

In addition to their main "Presentation Projects" manifest published here yesterday, VIPO has forwarded 14 additional "Catalog Projects" to us (not listed on their Japanese or English websites) that will be showcased at the upcoming Tokyo Project Gathering. Below are the direct English descriptions (Vermillion Souls was repeated twice in our release):

Akihabara@Deep Original
story by Ira Ishida Character Design: Ippei Gyobu The band of misfit programmers and punks digitally created an AI search engine called Crook. A huge corporation decides to obtain Crook even it costs the misfits-their lives."

Mysterious Horror In Okinawa - "Twighlight From The Darkness" "Peaple living in Okinawa adore ancestors for their emotional prop, there are some mediators in between human beings and spiritual things. Misaki, from Tokyo, shows interest in ""Kijimuna"", one of the indigenous monsters or fairies in Okinawa. That's the beggining of this incident."

In Between Days
International cast (Japanese and French stars) and New York City street locations are among the elements which makes the project has global appeal for international audience.

SOS! Tokyo Metro Explorers 2006
"Original comic strip concept: Katsuhiro Otomo 3DCG by the staff of ""Steamboy"" The tale of a boy who searchs for the hidden mystries of subterranean Tokyo."

In Paradise
In Paradise is a compelling thriller, about a father's desperate search for his daughter, and an unhinged criminal, who will commit murder in order not to send back to prison.

Ganger Dragon
"Animation, Fantasy Action and Drama A thousand years ago in Muu world, the justice had defeted the badness. Many years later, demon tribes has resurged, then killed many dragon tribes and started to attack the nation of human being."

Road to Pagodas' Love and War
During the World War 2, a Japanese war nurse saved a young Burmese. In the course of escaping, she met him again. They fled to Thailand together, but were cuptured.

Simultaneous Advance
This work which is the human group play in which six stories carry out simultaneous advance expresses vividly the air from which present-day [some of] shifted.

Vermilion Souls
"The cast includes some renouwned butho dancers. Set in Tokyo in 1952, this surreal story revolves around the dreams and realities of a young boy who strays into a strange mansion."

Midnight Organs
Hiroki Yamaguchi (The Ground Breaker Silver Award at Montreal Fantasia International Film Festival.) Being attracted to the large sum of payment Hayami takes a part in an experimental clinical test."

Madamme Hanako
"Producer : Shinya Kawai (""Love Letter"","Ring",""Yeokdosan"") At the beginning of the 20c, there was a fascinating Japanese actress, whose name is Hanako. Her performance attracted European celebrities such as Rodin a maestro of the modern sculpture. "

Harimao
An Australian intelligence cfficer meets a chivalrous Japanese robber called "Harimao", who was born and raised in Malaysia. Does Harimao stand up and fight for Malay people in a sever circumstance when the World War 2 breaks out?

Mukou-Hadan
When a Nameless samurai helps a fugitive boy hunted by foreign warriors, he is unwillingly drawn into a vortex of intrigue in war-torn feudal Japan.

Vermilion Souls
"Original story by Toshihiko Yasaku (17th Yukio Mishima Award winner) In 1968, in the midst of the big movement of students a man stowed away to China. When he came back to Japan after 30 years.

10-3-05 (1:38PM EDT)---- Puffy Mania As American Animation Debuts

The Cartoon Network TV Animation Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi has began running this month On TV Tokyo. The American producer of the series saw the Puffy video "Boogie-Woogie NO-5" and was inspired to adapt it. Broadcast in the United States from November 19 last year, the animation scored benchmarks in ratings, especially, being popular among young girls. Now, more than 20 kinds of goods such as the character dolls and alarm clocks have been put on the market in the USA. The duo's summer American tour drew 5000 people to the 5 east coast concerts and 9000 people to the 7 west coast dates in April. A member of the Irish rock group U2 took his child to one of the events. Foreigners have been spotted with children at the various recent Japanese concerts as well.

10-3-05 (1:24PM EDT)---- Yu Yamada Wears 1.2 Million Yen Dress At Paradise Kiss Press Conference

A press event for the highly anticipated Fuji Television Network animation Paradise Kiss was held in Tokyo on the Monday. There, series seiyuu Yu Yamada appeared with a silk dress retailing at about 1.2 million Yen. The series is heavily influenced by fashion design. Yamada mentioned she was glad to participate because she was a fan of Yazawa's work.

10-3-05 (11:33AM EDT)---- Top Creators Seek International Funding At Project Gathering

Tokyo Project Gathering has been debuted as a new section of the Tokyo International Film Festival. The project introduces new Japanese projects including live films, animations, comics "Manga", computer graphics and video games to foreign film industries. The goal is to promote international co-production and co-financing. The first event will introduce 6 selected Japanese content projects via a special presentation. It will occur October 26-28, in Rappongi Hills, organized by the VIPO (Visual Industory Promotion Organization) and METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industory). The project manifest includes some of Japan's most internationally well known creators:

[Elle is burning!]
Director & Producer: Kenta Fukasaku (Battle Royale II)
Script: Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell)
A big -budget action movie about a battle between the refugee and the armed forces of Tokyo Metropolitan Police in the near future.

[Strait Jacket]
Animation, original story by Ichiro Sakaki
The war between the peace loving humans and the demon tribes begins. This is the story of a lonely outlaw hero's endless battle.

[Legend of Young Wolf]
Animation, original story by Shuhei Nire
One young soldier who pledges the emperor's loyalty has been looked with suspicion by the emperor. He struggles against adversity and ...

[N.Y.SALAD ~Vegetable Fairies]
Full computer graphics animation
Illustration by Yoshitaka Amano (Final Fantasy)
The modern fairy tales of Vegetable Fairies born in the city. Copyright by (c)2002 Yoshitaka Amano, all rights reserved.

[Princess Ai ~Ai-land Chronicles~]
Totally new blend of live action and animation in Gothic Lolita fashion.
Original story by Courtney Love (ex-vocalist of Holes) & D.J.Milky.
Original character design by Ai Yazawa.

[Blaster]
Original story by Junya Okabe
A proposal of the new distribution model via internet and the character / figure business.

10-3-05 (10:05AM EDT)---- Ashita No Joe Creator Apologizes For Korean 'Hate' Manga

In a recent interview with newspaper, Dong-A Ilbo, mangaka Tetsuya Chiba (66) spoke about the impact of his works in South Korea. His boxing manga, Ashita no Joe, known as Hurricane Joe in the market, is widely recognized. Likewise, the animation version has screened there from the beginning of the 1990's. Chiba mentioned much of the influence in the plot was drawn from struggles the generation had to endure in Japan in the 1960's. The topic turned to the South Korean Style Boom, and the creator mentioned one of his favorite Korean artists is Lee Hyun-Se and he was impressed with the novel Junjou Monogatari. He said he was aware of the controversial manga Ken Kan Ryu released in July and the problems it had created. Although he didn't know the comic well, he said it shouldn't have portrayed South Korean culture badly. "In Japan, China, and the South Korean peninsula various cultures and ethnic bloodlines coexist," he said. "It's neccesary to respect and exchange different culture." "A person who didn't seem to understand this well has written the book." "As a Japanese writer I apologize."

10-1-05 (4:50PM EDT)---- Kia Asamiya Hospitalized

According to the Tron HP production committee, well known mangaka Kia Asamiya (Silent Mobius, Uncanny X-Men) was hospitalized for sudden head illness in August. His physical condition was said to have stabilized and he is recovering now, leaving the hospital just before the beginning of September. 2 months leave from his work have been taken. On the 15th he issued a statement mentioning he was sorry to trouble his fans with the hospitalization news. Get well mail sent in to him during this time really provided a source of strength. His serialization work is expected to restart in the middle of October. He pledged not to overwork in the future. His current manga in Japan include JUNK, serialize monthly in Champion RED and Her Carrera, serialized in Weekly Playboy.

10-1-05 (12:33PM EDT)---- Nihonbashi District To Become Osaka's Suginami

The outlying area of Suginami has been Tokyo's animation production engine for decades with 70 of the nation's 430 anime companies located there. Now plans have been unveiled to create a similar locus of productivity in Osaka, a city which is attempting to raise it's profile visibility in the grand scheme of the Japanese animation industrial complex. The Nihonbashi area of the city will become this place where Osaka's CG focused anime production interests will materialize from this spring. The main street there which used to be occupied by smaller electronics shops has for the most part been vacated as wholsale national chains have taken the business. Four of the larger enterprises such as Doga (Lost Universe, TANK SWAT 01) have began moving into some of these empty shops. This activity is part of the "Minami CG Animation Village Plan" proposed by the company. The idea is to accumulate the top CG art talent in the region as well as writers, chara designers, promotional companies, etc..

10-1-05 (9:33AM EDT)---- Seiyuu Kazuhiko Inoue Forms New Company

Japanese voice actor Kazuhiko Inoue has established a new company named "B-BOX", and became independent of his former project Genki-Pro.

10-1-05 (8:25AM EDT)---- Doragostea Din Tei-Love Animation Update

As we had previously reported, an animation released by AVEX entitled "Maiahi no Doragostea Din Tei-Love" had recently come under fire in Japan. According to an anti alcohol / drugs civic group, a portion of the animation promotes heavy drinking and have demanded it's deletion. The animatiion features the popular character nomaneko. It was announced on the 30th that Avex's application for a registered trademark on the character would be withdrawn. Protests came due to the cat's resemblence to the 2ch mascot.

10-1-05 (8:20AM EDT)---- Takashi Murakami On Nissan Concept Car Exhibition

Nissan Motor Co. has exhibited their their concept vehicle Pivo to the public in the Nissan Ginza gallery from the 30th. The vehicle, unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, is being exhibited with the collaboration of Japanese pop conceptual artist Takashi Murakami. Murakami is known around the world for otaku-inspirations incorporated into his work. In the past a life-size figure he created drew a 68 million Yen bid when auctioned by Christie's. Several large balloons, stuffed animals animation sequences were created for the exhibit by the artist. Murakami mentioned he only 3 months to prepare his.

10-1-05 (6:09AM EDT)---- Saikano Novel Will Serialize Online

Leading up to the release of the live action Saikano film in February, Toei Animation will serialize a novelization of the story online from October 3rd. The novel will be penned by Saikano scenario writer Itaru Era and updated online by about 800-1000 characters daily for three months. After the movie release Shogakukan is scheduled to publish the novel in book form.

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