Posts in Category: blog

Anime News Service – Joe Hisashi Music To Air In New England

  • 29th Oct 2001
  • Blog


Adventures in Anime Music to Air Joe Hisaishi Anthology This Evening

Lakeville, CT — Anime music comes to the tri-state areas of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York State this evening at 10:00 PM EST, as the weekly music program, Adventures in Anime Music broadcasts live for it’s two-hour program. This week, Joe Hisaishi’s music will be featured. Discover the many facets of this unique artist, as show host Mark Weiss explores the many musical styles of Hisaishi, as he features works from a wide variety of albums produced by Hisaishi over a 20-year period. The show may be heard on WQQQ-FM at 103.3 on the dial. From Putnam to Berkshire County, Fairfield to Dutchess and Columbia Counties and beyond.

Jonah ANSwers

  • 15th Oct 2001
  • Blog

Is your search for the answers to Anime / Manga and J-pop culture questions driving you insane? Tap our vast oceans of talent and Ask ANS now by emailing editor Jonah Morgan and look for his answer to your questions here:

10-15-01—- Michelle asks: I would like to ask a question about your report about Kodansha discontinuing with the export of their bilingual manga’s. 1. Have they just discontinued the exportation of the manga or is the publication of the manga’s still continue? 2. Have they only discontinued exporting in the United States or Will they still export it to other english speaking countries (United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand etc.)?

Dear Michelle,
Sure, I’ll see what I can do: 1. Publication appears to still be continuing, the manga is actually seized upon in Japan to help teach Japanese speakers (as well as other foreign language speakers) English. 2. My sources tell me export has stopped more or less alltogether, which means it’s not leaving Japan commercially unless you buy it in the country (if information comes my way to indicate otherwise I’ll be sure to post it), so then it’s not in theory totally impossible to get the manga still, just find it in a Japanese shop online or in bricks or print. More than likely, it would seem like an interesting business idea now for some shops in the west to go about some posturing and buy bulk quantities of the manga from the same shops I mentioned above in Japan and still continue to sell it. Remember supply and demand theory. Just try to look around for a competitive price because this gives those retailers with access to a rare product a chance to gouge you for your hard earned dollars, pounds (and Euro notes very shortly).

Anime News Service-Review: Cowboy Bebop: Knockin On Heaven’s Door DVD Region 2

By Jonah Morgan

It may have been a fitting coincidence that on the heels of the major news that Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment plans to release the Cowboy Bebop Movie in North America last Friday, at almost the same time on the other side of the globe in Japan, retailers were gearing up to release Bandai Visual’s region 2 DVD version of the film. As I type this in it’s first week of release, acccording to several leading ranking charts for the sales of DVD’s in Japan, the release of Cowboy Bebop: Knocking On Heaven’s Door has achieved the #1 slot for Japanese DVD sales. With the recent announcement surrounding CTHE’s plans for the Metropolis DVD there is a good chance fans may be looking forward to many if not all of the below features in an American release. On Saturday the 25th, Yukio-san, a close friend of ANS and editor Jonah Morgan picked us up a copy and put in express mail where it reached us on Wednseday.

The Cowboy Bebop Knockin On Heaven’s Door DVD lists a running time of 114 minutes with 13 minutes of extras, Sound Track is Dolby digital (5.1ch), DVD is single sided dual layer, aspect ratio 16:9, retail is 7,800, serial: BCBA – 1065. Extras include Special information for theaterical release, TV ads, textless OP and ED, special I.S.S.P. FILE (16 page booklet). As for the contents of the disc, director Watanabe personally selected the chapter marks for the Movie chapter menu. Release was on January 25.

Before going down the list I will say this release is aimed at the collector with a retail price of 7800 Yen. Fans are greeted to this disc with a transparent clear Amaray case with Chronium silver / orange / black slip cover with original illustration by series character designer Toshihiro Kawamoto. Open that up and the DVD disc itself reveals a color print of Vincent, the film’s dark bioterroist villian, removing that, a pic of Spike aiming his hand pistol at the viewer can be seen.

The liner notes section of the case is semi packed with the 16 page full color I.S.S.P. booklet. The booklet is content heavy, with lots of Kanji. The various backgrounds of of figures in the film are explored including Vincent. Other paper documents are a few Bebop promotionals and a Beat ad book from Bandai. Get through all of that to the inside of the shell and the fan / collector elements of this dvd keep revealing themselves, there one can find an easy check chapter listing personally selected by director Watanabe.

Stick the disc in and we have fluid video menus, not that animated menus are not fairly common with DVD releases these days in Japan but the menues featured here are truly on par with some of the work’weve seen coming out of Bandai Entertainment and their Bebop releases.

Extras are all pretty common fare for a film release but skipping back to the chapter select we take a major depart from the chapter select quality used by Bandai Entertainment’s releases. Although we do have Mr. Watanabe’s chapter marked tracks listed unnumbered as Japanese katakana, hiragana and Kanji titles, fans of the American Bebop DVD’s who grap the Region 2 Movie may be disapointed to find no video cut-scene chapter selection. However, this is where the chapter printout on the DVD case itself comes in handy , although it unfortunetly is also not number / track listed either but it can aide the viewer quite well in-film.

Onto the movie, alot of things about Knockin On Heaven’s Door struck me as it being TV Bebop like, before I go into that I will mention that within the movie are a great deal of interesting camera angles and shots (in the grocery store notice the shot from in the corner like a security camera angle). When some films go to the big screen conversion they can alter drastically from previous anime or manga incarnations but with the Bebop Movie we have very little X media – film transtion feel or even that general big cinematic feeling at least visually (Audio wise- it’s a whole different story with a shaking Dolby Digital 5.1 track ondisc). That’s not a slam either, with Bebop TV we had already assembled perhaps the most talented group of people that were in a position to create Bebop, characters were so detailed, the plotlines deep, wittily written and wrought. Backgrounds filled with unrelenting details. With the film it’s my personal opinion that we basically see the TV version transfered fully intact onto the big screen, we can see the movie’s extra budget in the use of the latest CGI effects, the souoped up budget at play with more fluid animation scenes, more detailed backgrounds, more richly colored and penciled cels, but in the end it’s same (good) old bebop fans are used to.

After a brief scene we get an Opening Sequence accompanied by one of many of Yoko Kanno’s wonderful new upbeat melodies for this rendition, then it’s back into the plot, without giving the story away, story setting is in virtually the same 2071 (betweeen eps. 22-23) but the story of the movie could be looked at as an alternate series of events that the characters come into contact with and not neccesarily within the TV series universe. The 4 bounty Hunters are on the trail of a terrorist (Vincent) who commited a massive attack at the Mars crater capital injuring and killing 500, a pricetag of 300,000,000 Woolong rests on his head. Supporting TV characters Punch and Judy (hosts of the TV bounty hunters program) and the 3 old guys Carlos, Antonio, and Jobin return. TV mecha also return (images here) with an upgrade for Spike’s SwordFish II, and the introduction of a new black diamond shapped Martian fighter that is be piloted by the movie’s main villian.

Video Wise, the transfer is great on the dual layer release, you can tell

Anime News Service-Review: Outlaw Star DVD Collection 1

Gene Starwind and crew are headed to DVD en masse with the pending release of Bandai Entertainment’s Outlaw Star DVD Collection 1.

Longtime fans or those who may be looking to pick up many epsiodes of a series with all the works are in for treat. This 1st set packs 9 episodes (5 on disc 1 – 4+ extras on disc 2) on 2 discs with Japanese and English dubbed audio tracks, and English subtitles, liner notes include “The Technology Of Outlaw Star”, the supplement in this first volume focuses on Gene’s Caster Gun. The disc design is rather creative with the red and black yin yang and a stencilized Gene holding his gun out – the barrel envelopes the center of the dvd.

The DVD menu system is well done, with nice integration of elements. The main menu features a shiny metalic Outlaw Star logo with scenes from the series “glinting” like a reflection of light, very cool. The episode sub menu disolves the main logo menu and the animated background opens up to take on the theme of Melfina’s liquid stasis tank. Episode selections appear in “bubbles” and selecting an episode reveals more bubbles. Extras include: trailers (that appeared on the Wanted 2000 DVD) for Escaflowne, Gundam Wing, Jubei-chan, and Blue Sub. No 6; a character cel / discription gallery, very nice for fans, descriptions of each character are in Japanese; finally a music video style “no-credit opening” of the Outlaw Star OP sequence.

Outlaw Star is based on the original character and story created by Takehito Ito, serialized in Shueisha Ultra Jump. Sunrise adpted the story to this Anime TV series which ran in Japan in 1998. Character designs, speceship / mechanical designs and animation is very high quality for a TV series. The Production I.G. affiliated Xebec studios, responsible for bringing Kia Asamiya’s Nadesico to animation co-produced Outlaw Star. Music is also exceptional, the ending sequence featuring absolutely gorgeous artwork and the song “Tsuki no Ie” by Akino Arai is quite memorable.

The story of the TV series centers on Gene Starwind and his younger partner Jim Hawking’s adventures. Gene is a Jack Of All Trades mercenary adventurer a la Bolt Crank of Eat Man. But where Eat Man’s story is very ironic, drycut, and painted in darker tones (especially in the highly recomended first series), Outlaw Star is more settled and humerous with fast paced action sequences. Gene and Jim have setup a trouble contracting shop on a planet full of Outlaws, they get a call from a shady lady with a request for a bodyguard and some expensive hardware. The two take the job and Gene soon finds out there is more than meets the eye with this job when he is attacked by a band of ninjas and magic wielding taoists. A mysterious girl in a stasis trunk named Melfina is revived and Gene and Jim take off with a pirate girl to space with more sinister interested parties in tow than they even realize.

The Outlaw Star DVD Collection is some serious bang for your buck, with a good chunk of a TV series with 9 episodes, features, neat extras, and an awesome story and characters. Wanna see what this series is really all about in advance of a possible cable TV broadcast? The set is scheduled to hit retailers across the U.S. in October, it has a parental rating of 13UP and a retail pricetag of $44.98.