Posts in Category: blog

Jojo’s Hirohiko Araki Illustrates Cell Cover

An illustration by Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure mangaka Hirohiko Araki dominates the cover of the current issue (Volume 130, Issue 3) of Cell Magazine. The American biweekly scientific journal publication focuses on exceptional research articles in areas including molecular biology, biochemistry, cancer research and cell biology. The issue is publicly available on September 7th. The cover image shows a character like that of an ESP powered member of Stand in Jojo’s stories destroying a harmful protein. From Cell’s own description: On the cover: Presynaptic plasticity is a fundamental, yet poorly understood, a neural phenomenon that is thought to be the basis of learning and memory. In this issue, Yao et al. (pp. 943?957) identify a novel ubiquitin ligase named SCRAPPER, which is responsible for tuning of synaptic vesicle release probability. SCRAPPER ubiquitinates presynaptic active zone protein RIM1, triggering its proteasomal degradation. Neurons from the Scrapper-knockout mice have hyper electrophysiological activity and contained an increased amount of RIM1, and these phenotypes could be rescued by re-expression of SCRAPPER or knockdown of RIM1. The results highlight the importance of protein degradation in the regulation of synaptic activity in vivo. On the cover, the purple SCRAPPER humanoid is putting blue heart-shaped ubiquitins on the red RIM creatures. Japanese manga artist Hirohiko Araki created the cover image with scientific direction from Drs. Setou and Ageta.

Life TV Drama Generates High Controversy

The Fuji TV live-action drama adaptation of Keiko Suenobu’s manga Life has recently been the subject of a viewer row due to its extreme depictions of high school bullying. At the center of the storm are both the sympathetic voices of high school students themselves and the harsh criticisms and protests of older parents regarding the content. Some of the scenes of contention involve a girl student being thrown out a window and another getting spray paint sprayed in her hair. The show which started broadcast in June has drawn around 2,000 criticism inquiries and 13,000 posts to the official BBS as of late August. 55 criticisms and complaints were publicly announced by the “Committee Concerning Broadcasting and Youth” and “Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement” on September 3rd. In the USA, the English-language version of the manga, published by Tokyo Pop has seen some changes due to the content of its own, originally having been rated OT (Older Teen; 16+), Volume 6 saw an abrupt and unexplained change of rating to M (Mature; 18+).

Zou No Senaka Manga Adaptation To Be Serialized By 14 Publishers

Author and Producer Yasushi Akimoto has revealed plans that his novel (and soon film to be released October 27th) “Zou no Senaka” (The Back of an Elephant) will get an unprecedented cross-media promotion when it is soon adapted by 14 publishers. Plans are in the works to adapt the story to a picture book, radio, TV, drama, and animation as well. Koji Yakusho (Babel) will star in the movie to be directed by Satoshi Isaka. For the manga adaptations, Akimoto’s words will provide the story and script basis and leave the illustrations to the various publishers. Magazines “Chorus” (Shueisha), “BE-LOVE” (Kodansha) and “Young King” (Shonen Gahosha) have all been confirmed to run the comic. The plot centers on the love story of a 48-year-old white-collar worker diagnosed with lung cancer in the advanced stages who is given 6 months to live. The highly acclaimed text was originally serialized by Sankei Shimbun and published as a book in 2006. Akimoto lost his own father in 2004 and drew from that experience in this fiction.

ANS Review – Dragon Ball Z Movie: Cooler’s Revenge

  • 19th Jul 2006
  • Blog

By Gage Lamay

Now uh days I take it not a whole lot of people are fans of Dragon Ball Z around the U.S. though there are still some around. Around other anime websites, there does not seem to be a whole lot of fans who feel the same way but I suppose I could say DBZ was a Classic indefinitely. Ah yes I can remember my first exposure to the Dragon Ball Z anime. Around 1994 or so, I remember buying action figures (unknown to me at the time) and when I got home, I remember seeing that a show on Cartoon Network was airing entitled “Dragon Ball Z” and I remember thinking that that name appeared on the toy boxes. So I went there and the Namekian Saga was in it’s early stages.

From then on DBZ was my favorite show at the time. Heh, my only show I have ever watched that had to do with anime. Hell, I didn’t even know what anime was seems I was so young at the time. Anyway, enough about me babbling’ on about my past and let’s get started with the movie review, shall we? Good!!

Basic Movie Information
– Original release was in 1991 but the new version was released in 2001
– Licensed by FUNimation ProductionsR and was produced by Toei Animation
– Written by Akira Toriyama

The Story – Contains spoilers, my apologies
The whole timeline of this movie occurs during/”between” episodes 83 and 84. During the time after the battle between Goku and Frieza has ended on Planet Namek. Goku, Gohan, Krillin, Oolong, and Icarus go on a camping trip. Unknown at the time, there was evil lurking around. The evils of Frieza’s brother, Cooler.
Cooler is first introduced at the beginning of the movie when there is a flashback of the footage, which is shown in the DBZ feature, Bardock: The Father of Goku, which depicts Bardock, who has the ability to look into the future, and sees Planet Vegeta’s destruction, putting up a revolt against Frieza and his army who are just above the planet.

In the Cooler’s Revenge, it shows that a nearby ship is monitoring Frieza’s actions. Who is the monitor you ask? Why, it’s Frieza’s brother and his “Armored Squadron.” Cooler made a big mistake that would one day cost him his life; he let the Sayan space pod fly by him which held baby Goku. Though the order to destroy the pod was issued by the leader of the Squadron, Sauzu, Cooler delayed it saying “he isn’t a threat to us.”

So in a nutshell, years later, Cooler learns of Frieza’s defeat and now targets the person who put a mark of shame on his family. He “plots” a course for Earth where he finds Goku and the gang. Cooler orders his squadron to blast the planet until they find him and kill. Though, Cooler finds Goku in good health and finally fights the good fight he had been waiting for. Now, the story basically included a small retelling of the movie.

The Movie Overall for Me On a scale from 1-10 I give Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge a 9. Something that contributes to liking the movie is the music which is featured. Disturbed, Breaking Point, Deftones, and Drowning Pool is featured in the movie and it is pretty good music. It is a good movie and I think you would think so if you watched it. Pay attention to the music! 🙂

ANS Exclusive Interview: Musician Eric Zay

By Jonah Morgan

There is a song in the vast sea of anime music which has secretly been one of my favorites since I first saw it attached to the ED sequence of the Golgo 13 OAV: Queen Bee around 6 years ago. You wont find it listed on a single all time fan favorite songs lists or even downloadable from an online file sharing network, such is it’s obscurity. The song is “Turquoise Blue” with lyrics by Eric Zay, music composed and arranged by Fujimaru Yoshino, vocals performed by Fujimaru Yoshino and Hitomi Ono. With a bit of research I found the musician who drafted the lyrics for “Turqouise Blue”, Eric Zay, who has recently been taking his own career in Japan to new heights. Following is our brief interview:

1. Could you give us a brief intro into your background regarding music? Do you have any influences, particular style or are you more of a maverick and forge your own path?

I was born into a musical environment, having a very well known singer-song writer as a father, music was always in the air. Dad gave me much support in sending me to school at Berklee in Boston. We now run our own label .and Yes, My influence will always be my father.

2. I first became of your work through the release of Golgo 13: Queen Bee around 1998, can you tell us how you got signed onto the project?

I was playing in a band called Shogun at the time when Fujimaru (singer/gtr) asked me to write lyrics for a song he wrote.

3. The song, ‘Turquoise Blue’ called for English lyrics. How did you approach writing the song and were you given any pointers in which direction to go in lyrically speaking.

I don’t remember any of the lyrics or even have a cd to listen to. I was probably given the song and the lyrics were done. I usually try to write what ever comes out pretty and will avoid becoming waste of plastic.

4. Is having the skill of composing song lyrics in English a pretty hotly saught after talent [In Japan] these days?

I don’t really know about how saught after English writers actually are but, I think it’s all a matter who you know and the connections you keep.

5. Have you done much other work in the Animation industry in Japan?

not much. . . opening and ending theme for “Black Jack” by Tezuka Osamu with a band called Orange Vox

6. On to your present music career, what has been going on recently? Anything coming up?

I have a new album coming out in september called Not Afraid, I was touring with a guy named Sugizo from a band called Luna Sea for the past 3 years Presently touring with Monoral and Bloom UnderGround Writing for tv cms’ like KDDI, Coca Cola, Nissan andToyota. . . etc.

7. For those who may be unfamiliar to your music can you reccomend a good “jumping on” point album wise?

please come and visit the homepages for music and more info:

Anime News Service-Review: Initial D Fourth Stage: Project D Episodes 1-2

  • 12th Jan 2004
  • Blog

By Jonah Morgan

The latest season of Initial D started off 2 weeks ago in Japan, a friend of mine in Tokyo has been sending these. The car animation is now all cel shaded like this PS2 game that came out about a year ago. The first 2 episodes story arc deal with Takumi Fujiwara (AE86) and the younger Takahashi brother (Efini FD3S) racing an MX-5 and R32 GTR in Tochigi. They said in the show the Miata had 1.6 bored to 1.8 I think with some internal work. The touge course they are on has these deep uncovered gutters that run on both sides of the road that are really deep, like so deep that if Takumi tried to get a tire down in one and ride it like a rail it would spin him out. But unless he get his car to turn over this space he wont be able to pass the MX5, how he does it is pretty amazing as usual. Drift Legend Keichi Tsuchiya returns to oversee the racing physics and provide real world motorsports input. The end of the second episode has the latest competitor sitting on the hood of a Type R Civic. The new format for broadcast is 2 epsiodes at once on pay per view basis. Episodes 3 and 4 are expected to broadcast June 19th. OP and ED songs come via the cybertrance group Move who did the 1st 2 TV series themes.


Anime News Service- Event Report: Hollywood Takahata Screenings

By Daniel Zelter

When I heard through about screenings for Isao Takahata’s films, I instantly RSVP’ed for the event(s). So the first day, I was on Hollywood again, except that I ended up in a theater which was so dilapidated, they had to take the gate apart in segments so you could enter the building. While waiting in line, I noticed a few otaku with anime-themed backpacks and t-shirts, but an overall smaller crowd than the one which showed up for the Miyazaki-hosted Spirited Away event a few years earlier, and even smaller than the number of people at the Director and producer-hosted screening of the Cat Returns the year before. And I guess I could say that there were a lot more teens and college students here than there were at the former screenings, where the gathering for Spirited Away mostly consisted of parents and young adults, and the crowd for Cat Returns was mostly made up of children. I almost felt sorry for Takahata that he wouldn’t be getting as lavish a reception as Miyazaki, but when I later met him, he seemed like the kind of guy who’d prefer a more rustic welcome.

(Still, the people behind the Japanese cultural studies course at USC who co-sponsored the event were very polite, pleasant, and organized, which I appreciate, given the location they were assigned. Unfortunately, either they didn’t know how to run the projector, or they got the prints were too big for the screen, as the films would occasionally shift upwards, cutting off the top, or shift downwards, cutting off the subs. Nonetheless, it still worked out better than the BAAF screening of Tokyo Godfathers, during which the projectionist would frequently shut down the film.)

In the beginning, I learned that Takahata wasn’t going to show up until after the last show, which was fine by me, because up until then, I only had seen Grave of the Fireflies, and couldn’t judge his work across the board enough to ask him any questions. Speaking of Grave of the Fireflies, that was the first show of the day, which I guess, in retrospect, seemed appropriate, since I don’t think audience would want to end the evening on a downer. For those who still haven’t seen it, Grave of the Fireflies revolves around two Japanese orphans living during World War II, and trying to survive American air raids. It’s a touching and tragic film, which apparently was close to Takahata’s heart, as he was the only animator at Ghibli he knew of who survived a bombing. (Of course, if you actually enjoyed Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor, then Grave of the Fireflies may not be for you.)The crowd I was with seemed affected by it, and I might have even heard a few sniffles. As for myself, I probably would’ve appreciated it more if they hadn’t used a print which lacked accurate subtitles. (In certain places, lines were attributed to the wrong people.) Still, I will admit that Fireflies comes off more gripping in a theatrical setting-possibly because of the lights being off-than on home video. It also obviously seemed to garner the most questions later at the Q+A.

The next film to be shown was My Neighbors the Yamadas, which I’d been wanting to see for a while. Apparently, it’s based on a quirky family comic strip similar to the Family Circus, but with more believable characters. I guess the closest visual style I can think of is Crayon Shin Chan, but with better animation, including cel-shading, and obviously more taste. Based on the daily lives of the Yamada family, a grandmother, two parents, and two kids, the film consists of a series of interconnecting shorts where you learn more about members of the family. While amusing and cute, I didn’t find it hilarious, but that could be something I don’t “get”, as two Japanese girls in front of me seemed to be really enjoying it, and were laughing harder than me. Still, it’s a whimsical time-waster that doesn’t wear out its welcome.

The final film of the day was Pom Poko, which is about two warring groups of tanuki who settle their differences to deal with human encroachment. They eventually split again, when they can’t decide on the appropriate methods. Some tanuki settle their problems with violence, some believe in blending in as humans, and some just want to move out and look for another forest dwelling. I guess you could describe Pom Poko as a modern-day Princess Mononoke, but with more comedy and complexity. Plus the cultural elements in Pom Poko are less dumbed down than they were in Mononoke, particularly with a climactic parade scene which eclipses the one in Innocence with its variety of colors and images. The audience apparently seeemed to agree, as Pom Poko got the most applause of the three.

So when Takahata finally showed up, he obviously seemed worn out from his trip. (If I recall, he’d just gotten in L.A. the same day.) The Q+A started off light with me inquiring what samurai films influenced the way the tanuki in Pon Poko dressed, to which he replied that he was poking fun at Nemuri Kyoshiro.

I do know that, as I said earlier, Grave of the Fireflies got the most inquiries. But the only thing I(barely) remember is that he seemed to be indicating an anti-war stance, and that he accepted the fact that Japan was the aggressor, when it invaded China, which in today’s climate where certain manga is revised for politically correct reasons, is commendable for someone from his generation. After that comment, I had to settle for a question in which I inquired if he was trying to make a social statement, by having the children of prominent soldiers living in a shanty-town. He replied that he was just depicting the awful living conditions across the board. I wish I could remember everything else which was asked and answered there, but it’s

Anime News Service-Exclusive Interview: Luci Christian

By: Jay Levy

An Interview with Voice Actress Luci Christian

I had an opportunity to sit down and chat with four American voice actors from some of the most popular anime out there while at Metrocon in Tampa, FL, on July 20. Their answers are virtually unedited and hopefully give a little insight into their personalities and their work. To get to know them better, skip to the bottom and check out their speed round answers. Now, onto the interview:

Luci Christian pulled her legs up into her chair and wrapped her hands around her coffee mug as she took a sip. She was obviously a bit worn out after three days helming panels, signing autographs, and judging cosplayers at her first anime convention ever. Christian’s background that did not exactly prepare her for events with cosplayers prowling the hallways and otaku arguing about the viability of a battle between a Gundam and a Valkyrie.

Christian, who currently lives in Houston, has her Master in Fine Arts in acting from Louisiana State University and is a card carrying member of the actors union (with an agent to boot). Yet, exhausted and sitting here in the green room of Metrocon, she seems exhilarated by and thankful for where her career as an actor has taken her. While at ADV, she has done roles in Those Who Hunt Elves, Neoranga, and Gamera 2 & 3, but her first starring role is as Kaname Chidori in the current release Full Metal Panic. She is currently working on parts in Orphen Revenge as Lycoris, and Ran Kotobuki in Super GALS.

What was it about acting that pulled you into it?

I think it kind of chose me. My mother put me on stage when I was 3 to sing in a talent show, and I did beauty pageants in Texas from when I was 3 until I was 9, with big hair and big dresses and little pageant shoes. After that I got into high school and it turned out I wasn’t so good in sports, but I was really good at theater. Didn’t think about it going anywhere until I got a full scholarship going to college. They said if I’d change my major from journalism to theater they’d pay my way, and I went, ok! And, so I went and ended up going to grad school. And, again, things just fell into place. So, things continued being put in my path. And when I went to Houston I didn’t know anyone; my aunt lived there. The Alley Theater was there and I was like, “Oh, I want to work there.” Didn’t have any idea about anything, then within a year I started getting hooked into things again, so I think it found me.

Of the parts you’ve played, which is the most difficult and why?

Actually, Full Metal Panic is the hardest for me. [At this point, a hearty “Amen” echoed through the room from Chris Patton who was lounging on a recliner and who plays Souseke in Full Metal Panic] I don’t know if it was because it was the first lead I had or what. I think Don [Rush, director on Full Metal Panic] will tell you this, he really knows what he wants. It’s a different experience when somebody has a very definite idea and they want you to sound they way they want you to sound. It’s not quite as organic as some [acting situations]. That was kind of a trip, and knowing that it was a title that everyone was anticipating and being a relative unknown [She laughs] It was daunting and scary and you end up going, “Are they going to hate me?” And we had … Don, for episodes six through eight had a conflict, and someone else took over those episodes. So, having a different director in sort of the middle of the project was different, too, in terms of continuity.

Be a social commentator for a moment, what are some aspects of anime you would praise:

This is actually easy and I only have the answer because I came here [to Metrocon]. I’ve seen a lot of people here that are at a very formative time in their life, and, through this medium, they get to become somebody else with very positive qualities – brave people, courageous people, fun people, magical people, people with all kinds of magic around them. I think it’s very romantic. I really do. I think it’s romantic. I think people look to escape adolescence or whatever. And the thing is, when you grow older, you still retain the fandom of whatever it is you’re a fan of. That allows you that kind of escapism or role-play like when you were younger.

Nothing’s perfect, though. What aspects of anime deserve some criticism?

That’s interesting. I’m not sure. I think it is interesting how everything has in-house debate. Like the debate between the sub people and the dub people. And this kind of thing, voice actors come to things like this [Metrocon] and there are people who are angry. [She laughs] And you know, I guess that’s all just in-house stuff that happens with every medium … that’s certainly not just this genre. I guess it’s just hard, this is not the sort of medium the majority of people know much about. You know, when I said I was doing it [anime voice acting], people automatically jumped to maybe I’m doing the porn stuff, and I’m like “No no no no no!” you know?

Anime fans notoriously separate into camps, one of the most vocal being the sub vs. dub debate. If you could say something to the purists to get them to give dubbed shows a chance, what would you say?

Well, we respect the Japanese; we don’t think we’re better than the Japanese. We’re happy to have work [she laughs]. I don’t know how they do it in Japan, I really don’t. But, here the people I know at ADV who

ANS Pop Japan Tour Guide – The Yamanote Line

  • 21st Mar 2003
  • Blog

By Jonah Morgan

To the totally clueless gaijin who’s just landed in Tokyo and gets into the city, lost in a sea of meaningless Kanji, Katakana and Hiragana, having no idea where they may be or how to get somewhere else there is a saviour in a train that you cannot get lost on. Take a look at a map of the city’s maze of many train lines (never mind labyrinthine subway routes) and a light green circle sticks out, a coherent shape amongst a sea of weaving lines, imagine that, a train that goes in a perfect circle around Tokyo’s center.

Well, the idea is a circle but seen from above the actual line’s shape is somewhat that of a misconstrued oval, two ovals actually, one going in a clockwise and counter clockwise direction, both are about 6 kilometers horizontal and 12 km vertical, lengthing out to form a 34.5 kilometer long track. 29 stations/stops are on the Yamanote Line and one can reach all of the metropolitan area’s hotspots from this train, litteraly every stop represents another unique urban curiosity of the city. Hop on board and you will completely loop back to the point where you stepped on in 64 minutes (Japanese trains are notriously famous for being on time, make it to the platform late, just a little late in some cases and you might get left behind!). One loop around the city is 130 Yen minimum or the savy traveler can acquire a stylishy decorated Io Pass for 1000, 3000 or 5000 Yen respectively. These passes are made of a material unfamilar to most Americans, a kind of flimsy plastic, before passing into the gate, you’ll slide the card in to a reader, sometimes it takes more than one time to get a positive read.

Being the most useful access point for Tokyo the train line has been the subject of many “tour Tokyo from the Yamaote” books, countless picture perfect video game titles can be found in Akihabara stores where you can pilot the train. Yamanote oddities abound. Manga fans anxious to get that latest phone book of serials might just find it stashed in the bin above the benches, that’s where it often goes once one person is done with their copy. Same goes for newspapers or books even. One evening I saw a student finishing off the Battle Royale novel and prominently chunking it up towards the rack.

The trains shutdown between midnight and 1 AM, miss the last one and you’re screwed. Haha, well not really but you will definetly get a taste of what makes Tokyo one of the most expensive cities on Earth. One night scooped out in an Ikebukuro arcade trying to get that ever elussive UFO Catcher Domo-kun plush and 500 Yen/per shot Neo Geo Pocket I messed up and lost track of time, realizing this, I made a fast dash for the Train station, upon reaching the gate the JR worker just shook his head, I had missed the last one. My ryokan was in Ueno and now I was gonna have to charge it to tha game and get there via Taxi. First of all the taxi line wasn’t hard to find, it was right outside the train station. There were about 30 club / bar hoppers in various types of attire waited in vartying states of sobriety. Likewise taxis were lined up in queue for the passengers. When it came my turn I informed my driver of where I needed to go in the worst broken engrish/nihongo he’d ever heard. The inn was in Ueno and I don’t believe he knew the exact dropoff spot. Just great, 2 AM in the morning and I barely knew what the neighborhood around my place looked like beyond the walking distance to the subway. At anyrate he told me he’d try his best and we were off. On went the meter and I watched the digital numerals materialize and dematerilaze faster than any I’d ever seen on any gas pump in my life. “I’m about to pay out the ass” I thought, ” so this is the real Tokyo!” And I couldn’t be happier, I clutched a soft $10 domo-kun I spent $35 en-route to catching.

Turned out Ueno isn’t so far from Ikebukuro but who could tell that? My taxi fare was $47 US dollars. Compare that to a 2 dollar train ride on the Yamanote, you gotta pay to play late in Tokyo, if there were any previous doubts, this lesson was learned.





Wanna ride the Yamanote yourself? You can as part of the upcoming Pop Japan Travel tour coming up in April, go to the link to find out more! Be sure to mention ANS when signing up!

Yamnote Image (C) JR

Anime News Service – Marvel Mangaverse Goes Monthly

  • 16th Jun 2002
  • Blog

WhiledtheagangdinwtheyBullpenwthinks it’s cool whentbig rolloutsxlike THE

ULTIMATES and CAPTAIN AMERICAdlightmup the scoreboards,xweqalso enjoycwhatd

weacall “theblittle books thatdcould”. In this case, we’re talking about

MARVEL MANGAVERSE,bwhichzstarted out as a one-week event, but — due to fan

demand —whas grown into an ongoing series!d

In fact, it’sdnot just fans clamoring for more monthly adventures inythe

surprise-filled setting,dbutsretailerseas well! Here’s just aasampling of

comments thataran in the latestdissue ofpComics & GamesyRetailer:qn

Barry Osser of NorthpCoast RolezPlaying (Eureka, CA): “MARVEL MANGAVERSEt

stuffpexploded outsofqhere. I orderedg40%mover what I expected tocsell anda

still sold outcon thetfirst day.”m

John Tinkessdof Another Dimension (Calgary,fAlberta, Canada): “Quick

sellouts ofmthe MARVEL MANGAVERSEptitles really tookqmedby surprise.”

JeremynShorrtof Titan Comicsq(Dallas,dTX): “MARVEL MANGAVERSEbwasdanb


Darrell MintytofdWarp One Comics &eGamest(Edmonton, Alberta,gCanada): “Wee

underestimated the fan responsebtomthe MARVEL MANGAVERSE titleseand theyw

solddout quickly.”

Richard Spychalski of SpytComicsb& Cards (Federal Way, WA): “Positivee

Surprise: MARVEL MANGAVERSE — didn’t expectfthat.”

BillpWilliams ofxTime Warpc(Bartlesville, OK): “The MARVEL MANGAVERSEftitles

did ratherywell.dI’mygladpthat Marveledecided to do an ongoing series.”f

Andato give you an advance taste of the actiontcoming your way, feastcyourw

eyes on these full-color pagesefrom thebdebut issue (which, as iteme#

FEB021908D4, retailers can stillcorder fromdDiamond until March 14th)!

“Weaallcknew we hadfsomethingmspecial on our handstwhen we launched the

Mangaverse eventsback indJanuary, but I don’tethinkaanytof ustup hereeatyThe

House expectedfthisekind of overwhelming response to ourylittle EastzMeetsy

Westsexperiment,” admittedteditor C.B.yCebulski.d“Marvel aims to please

though,xand thedongoing series will uphold thegstandardqwe set on a monthlym

basis!xBeneDunnxwill not only continue topdevelop the universecandg

characters hetintroduced inxthe originalfstory, but alsoeexpand itxall

beyonddour wildest imaginations!”


Covergby Ben Dunn

BenqDunn & KevindGunstone (W)/ BenxDunn (P & I)

*qTHEeSCOOP:aBecausegyou clamored for it, The House proudlysannounces thea

return of the Marvel Mangaverse as its own monthly title!

* THEmSTORY: Meet Marvin Elwood, timid teenager…gand possiblexsavior ofp

Earth! Heir to alien Kree technologyyandgthe awesomeaNega Bands, Marvin musts

facezhisclegacy as —dCaptain Marvel! Butecanpeven thisscosmicacrusaderdsavec

the worldpfrom the gigantic threatpofqGalactus? Guest-starring the Megascale

Metatalent Response Team FantasticyFour!

* THE CREATOR: Youqthought hisxMARVEL MANGAVERSEybook-ends rocked… now see

what writer/artist Ben Dunn can do when allowed to reallyxcut loose!

* THE FORMAT: The debut issue of thisnongoingpmonthlyxseries is 32fpages,m

with ads.

Anime News Service-Review: Ichi The Killer

  • 22nd Mar 2002
  • Blog

By Nicholas O’Malley

“Ichi the Killer”

Kakihara … Tadanobu Asano
Nao Omori … Ichi
Shinya Tsukamoto … Jijii
Based on the manga by … Hideo Yamamoto
Directed by … Takashi Miike
126 mins.

So here we are at the historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. And here I am trying to pry Daniel Zelter away from Patrick Macias, author of “TokyoScope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion”. Macias was doing a book signing today and now I had to pull Daniel, long time contributor to ANS, away so we could find a couple of seats before the movie starts. When Daniel had gone into his “I hate Animerica” rant, I knew time was up. “Dear God, man.” I said, and dragged him away. I knew if I had not interacted, Daniel would still be hanging on to Macias’ every word. That Patrick, he must be the devil himself! Just kidding, that was a lie. The Macias devil bit that is. He’s a cool guy. Into the theater we went.

Before we get to business, I want to talk about Chuck D. Now Chuck has been a great supporter of Japanese film festivals in the U.S. and is the organizer of the Japanese Outlaw Masters festival held at the Egyptian. I want to thank him for coming up with such a prestigious or notorious selection of new, recent, and old films. Now on to the film.

There isn’t a lot in ‘Ichi’ that can be said without giving some surprises away. Here’s an example:


Don’t worry he won’t rape you anymore.


Did you kill him?


Yes. Now I can rape you.

If you can comprehend something like that, you’re halfway to feeling the disturbing nature of the film. Its two main characters are both equally sick. Kakihara, a man with hideous open wound scars on his face, is on the trail of Ichi after he killed his boss, the Shinjuku Yakuza leader of the Anjo Group. Ichi, a sad crybaby who’s been bullied all his life, is the hitman for Jijii and his group, who want Anjo Group out of the way for reasons never really explained. Ichi dons a rubber super hero outfit with ichi-ban (1) on the back and razor blades on the back heels of his shoes. Jijii tells Ichi that the yakuza are bad men, worse than the bullies that beat him up and that he has to kill them. When Ichi gets mad, he goes homicidal, killing and dismembering everything in his path. Kakihara is excited that someone as destructive as Ichi exists. He wants to kill him badly.

Forty percent of what I liked about ‘Ichi’ is listening to the audience squirm, moan and tap their toes at what for them must be an excruciating experience. I did my share of squirming as well but as my dad always told me, when there’s a gory or scary moment in the movie, just think of all the people behind the cameras bored, drinking their millionth coffee, and listening to the director drone on take after take. Kind of detracts from the onscreen horror presented to you or just a little. I was expecting rows of people to start disappearing but amazingly a lot of them stayed. I was even surprised to see an elderly couple hanging in to the very end of the flick even though they thought it was sick. But unfortunately ‘Ichi’ has awfully realistic violence and upon that there are tons of scenes that will make you squirm.

But as I thought about it, if you take away all the violence in ‘Ichi’ you basically have a thirty-minute film of actual narrative. The narrative itself is weak and contains an ending that makes the film fall apart. ‘Ichi’ based on the manga by Hideo Yamamoto (Voyeurs Inc.) didn’t especially rely on an involving story to sell the book but instead sheer shock value. The manga has actually been banned in a few prefectures in Japan. It’s this kind of formula that works for the dangerous filmmaker, Miike who has always made absurd movies with unbelievable scenes of violence and action. I myself have advocated most of these films to friends but I can honestly say with Ichi, I felt jerked around.

Technically, ‘Ichi’ is a superior film in make-up and special effects. It’s rare to see a man split in half by razor blades with his guts spilling out, look so well.

The casting is awesome. Asano (Gohatto, Electric Dragon 80,000 Volts) as Kakihara is a performance that makes you both laugh and shudder to think what he’ll do next as he enters a room. Shinya Tsukamoto (director of Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Gemini, and Tokyo Fist) who last appeared in Miike’s Dead Or Alive 2: Birds, gives a rare full-fledged performance that actually includes lines and nudity! And Nao Omori as Ichi a strange twisted character, so unbelievable that to even think of having empathy with someone like that may very well bring you certain death.

As I said earlier, there isn’t a lot in ‘Ichi’ that can be said without giving some surprises away. So much of this movie is riding on the absurd violence and the absurd comedy of that violence. On that level, I enjoyed it a lot. This isn’t a film for everyone. Don’t take it seriously.