ANS Exclusive Interview: Inside The Fillipino Manga Industry With Nautilus Comics

By: Jonah Morgan

As evidenced in recent months, Southeast Asia is currently experiencing a boom in the areas of Comics, Animation and character licensing from abroad. Over $1,000,000 in manhwa licensing over the weekend of San Diego…. Lucasfilm’s animation studio move into Singapore… These events and many others have shifted the absolute focus of character related licensing in the Asia region away from Japan. Today we’re going to enter The Phillipines, another local vibrant area of talent and creative force. There, a relatively small and young studio called Nautilus Comics has been making very large waves in the local market. Their title Siglo: Freedom, has just won the Manila Critics Circle’s National Book Award for 2004. We recently talked to Jamie Bautista of the studio:

1. First of all can you tell us a little about yourselves and where you come from in relation to CAST? Who are some of your influences as far as art, character design, and storytelling?

I’ve been reading comics for quite a while, but I’ve been collecting comics religiously since 1994. I majored in Communication Arts and graduated cum laude. My first job was as a writer/graphic artist for a glossy magazine here, but then I left to do freelance graphic art. Later, I did a part-time teaching stint at my old college, the Ateneo de Manila, teaching freshman English (fiction and general writing classes) and a summer elective on comics theory. This is where I met Elbert, who was one of my students. He was one of those “nightmare students” in that he knew more about comics than I did! We kept in touch and when I decided to put up my own comic company, I tapped Elbert to help me out as an editor and pretty much as a COO.

Cast came about when Elbert suggested that we pitch a comic to one of the local publishers here. He would draw and I would write. I join two school plays in high school and I always thought the people and the world of theater was very fascinating and fun. So one idea I gave was this series about high school kids doing a play. But as we found out about the story limitations the publishers had (number of issues allowed, content, etc), we decided to go ahead and publish the story ourselves. One of my uncles had an existing publishing company that wasn’t doing anything, so we pitched the idea of doing comics to him and asked for control of the company.

Cast allows me to do all the romantic comedy/ drama type stories that I love and yet it allows for some exotic and almost fantasy-styled elements to be used due to the theatrical element of the series. So I get to do heart-warming teen hi-jinx while our artists can still dabble with some elaborate costumes, sets and even fantasy scenes from the script.

Personally, I was heavily influenced by the “slice of life” comic creators like Alex Robinson (Box Office Poison), Craig Thompson (Blankets, Goodbye, Chunky Rice) and Tom Beland (True Story, Swear to God). But my biggest influence would probably be Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise), who is a master of emotional storytelling, expressive character art and inventive layouts. Films like “Shall We Dance” and “Almost Famous” also influenced the themes and storytelling styles I use. While I never really intended Cast to be manga style (this came out mainly due to market demands and the available artists), some anime series that did influence me were Cooking Master Boy and Slam Dunk, in the way they explained their core concepts (cooking and basketball) in such interesting detail yet managed to weave these descriptions into the plot so well and seamlessly. It definitely made me want to do something similar with Cast and the world of theater.

2. And so you guys based alot of the reality elements of CAST on things you saw in your own and others’ life experience being young?

Though a lot of the elements of Cast are based from my experiences, it isn’t really autobiographical. If anything, it’s more of a “What If” type of deal where I try to imagine how things would have been if certain events in my life had turned out differently. Other storylines are amalgamations of certain experiences from other times in my life. While other ideas are just wild stuff that grew out of the setting of high school theater.

I was actually in the play “Camelot” back in my old high school and another play called “Thirteen Daughters” which was done by an all-girls’ school. The basic story of Cast is a mix of these two experiences. Many of the characters are not based on any particular friends but rather combinations of different people I knew back in those days. My own life stories are really more of springboard for ideas rather than actual sources.

Personally, the main attraction of doing this type of story is nostalgia. In a way, writing Cast lets me travel back in time and relive some of the most fun moments in my life. At times it allows me to relive those memories differently. That’s the sort of my selfish motivation for doing this.

3. CAST is said to be illustrated in Manga style with distinct Fillipino art overtones. For those outside of the Phillipines, can you elaborate on what defines those Fillipino styling cues? I understand it must be a difficult question, translating an art technique into words……

One of the biggest debates in this country among local creators is about what constitutes a “Filipino art style.” Considering the overwhelming popularity of manga here, a unique national style doesn’t seem to be emerging. But then again, we’re a country that is known for taking in the traditions and ticks of other cultures then remolding them slightly into something new. We were under the Spanish, Americans and Japanese for decades (and dealt with the Chinese for centuries) and our culture is really a

Exclusive: Dreamworks GITS: Innocence – PS2 Demo Details At San Diego Comic Con

Dream Works has informed ANS that Go Fish Pictures and Bandai America will be presenting two of a slate of upcoming projects based on Shirow Masamune’s popular manga GHOST IN THE SHELL at this year’s Comic-Con International, being held from July 22-25 in San Diego, CA. Attendees will be able to catch an exclusive look at the upcoming movie “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence” at the DreamWorks booth (#4321). Free posters and postcards from the anticipated sequel to Mamoru Oshii’s cult animé film “Ghost in the Shell” will also be distributed to visitors stopping by the DreamWorks booth.

“Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence,” which was the first animé film ever to screen in competition at the Cannes Film Festival this year, is the story of a solitary cyborg who desperately wants to hold on to what’s left of his humanity in a world where the worth of the human soul is fading almost into obscurity. “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence” will be released in U.S. theaters on September 17, 2004 under the Go Fish Pictures banner, a division of DreamWorks Pictures. Produced by Production I.G, the team behind the animé segments in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill: Volume 1,” this is the second animé film to be distributed by Go Fish Pictures, following the September 2003 release of Satoshi Kon’s “Millennium Actress.”

Attendees at the Comic-Con International will also have the opportunity to stop by the Bandai booth (#3629) and be among the first to play the upcoming PlayStation 2 “Ghost in the Shell” third-person action game. Scheduled for release in November, Bandai America’s “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” videogame is based on the TV show of the same name. The PS2 game allows users to play as one of three characters from the series: “Major” Motoko Kusanagi, Batou, and Tachikoma. It also features a single-player mode and multiplayer play for up to four players with such modes as team deathmatch and battle royal. The single-player game has about 12 different levels, in which players will be able to make use of about 15 different weapons and have access to various additional abilities like hacking into computers and having mind control over your enemies. The game’s multiplayer mode will make additional characters, costumes, and weapons available, along with an additional multiplayer-only level.

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 – November 11 – December 31 Anime News

12-31-03—- Hollywood Reporter Bit

Courtesy The Hollywood Reporter via Daniel on the last day of the year:

Bandai Korea, the Korean branch of Japan’s biggest animation house, opened a video-on-demand Web site in Korea at the end of November, bringing its vast and popular catalog to a cartoon-hungry country. By taking its product to the Internet, not only can Bandai avoid many of Korea’s Japanese culture restrictions banning such Japanese exports as music videos and films (many of which are scheduled to be repealed in the new year), it is also a sign of the significance that the online world is gaining as a broadcast medium. Individual episodes of programs like “Gundam” cost 800-1,200 won (about $0.65-$1) depending on the bandwidth of the broadcast. “We would like to afford cartoon fans a chance to watch our content,” says Shinsuke Kojima, the digital contents team manager at Bandai Korea. “We hope to have 1 million downloads in 2004.”

Also, a positive review of Tokyo Godfathers is at this link

12-29-03—– February Releases From ADV Films


HOUSTON, December 29, 2003-ADV Films today announced a February 17, 2004 release date for the seventh and concluding volume of Full Metal Panic!, the anime series that has astounded fans and critics alike with its intoxicating combination of side-spitting comedy and thrilling action, putting it on the fast track to becoming a modern classic.

The Tuatha de Danaan is under fire! A U.S. Navy captain with an axe to grind has targeted the sub. In order to stop this modern-day Ahab, Mithril’s Lt. Commander Kalinin goes straight to the top.

But aboard the de Danaan, the chain of command is missing a few key links, leaving Sousuke and Kurz to find out just who is running the ship. Meanwhile, Kaname has to call on every ounce of her power as a Whispered. Boatloads of intrigue, dynamite action, and a knockdown, drag-out fight to the finish! It’s all here in the final installment of Full Metal Panic!

Full Metal Panic!, which was directed by Kouichi Chigara (Gate Keepers, Phantom Quest Corps) and produced by GONZO Digimation (Hellsing, Blue Sub No. 6), successfully mixes mecha combat, martial arts, international criminal intrigue, and high-school politics with a final dash of teen romance to make this series an irresistible treat that appeals to everyone.

Critical Acclaim for the Series: Reviews of Full Metal Panic! have overwhelmingly endorsed the title:

“Full Metal Panic! is at once a farce, a romantic comedy, a mech fantasy that looks about as good as the big budget special effects in movies, AND a nail-biting, action-adventure thriller.”-Sequential Tart

“Full Metal Panic! is the anime of the year.”

“[Full Metal Panic!] is one of the most addictive and fun anime series that I’ve have seen in recent times.” -Japan Hero

Full Metal Panic! Mission 07 (SRP $29.98) is a DVD-only release, including three complete episodes. Includes English 5.1- and 2.0-language versions and a Japanese 2.0-language version, with English subtitles. Extras include a reversible cover; a foldout poster; production sketches; clean opening and closing animations; Japanese piracy warnings; and ADV Previews.

Collector’s Edition Available! The first volume of Full Metal Panic! is also available as a special collector’s edition, which includes the DVD and a custom art box sized to fit the entire series (SRP $39.98).

Full Metal Panic! manga! Don’t forget to check out the bestselling Full Metal Panic! manga series, available in stores now from ADV Manga!

FULL METAL PANIC! MISSION 07 Running Time: 75 minutes; Age Rating: 15+ Pre-Book Date: 1/20/04 Street Date: 2/17/04 Format SRP DVD $29.98


HOUSTON, December 29, 2003- ADV Films today announced a February 17, 2004 release date for the fourth volume of the remarkable and completely original series Angelic Layer, a shonen anime created by all-female studio CLAMP (Chobits, Rayearth, Tokyo Babylon) and revolving around fighting action figures in tournament combat.

It’s the semifinal games in Kanto, and only the best player will survive and advance to the National Tournament. The stakes are high, and Misaki and Hatoko face their toughest competitors so far.

Tamayo and Kotaro are there to cheer the girls on, and it looks like Misaki has an important new supporter. The action heats up, and everything reaches a critical turning point, forcing each player to decide what it is they’re fighting for.

As secrets are revealed, discover the truth about Icchan, and learn about Misaki’s past while she gets ever nearer her destiny in the next thrilling chapter of Angelic Layer!

Angelic Layer was animated by BONES, the animators of the highly acclaimed RahXephon and Wolf’s Rain.

Angelic Layer: Faith, Hope & Love (SRP $29.98 DVD) is a DVD-only release, including four complete episodes in both English 5.1- and Japanese 2.0-language versions, with English subtitles. Extras include: clean and opening closing animation; production artwork; commentary; a mini poster; and ADV previews.

Collector’s Edition Available: The first volume of the series, Angelic Layer: Divine Inspiration, is also available as a collector’s edition, which includes the DVD and a custom series art box, sized to fit the entire series.

ANGELIC LAYER: FAITH, HOPE & LOVE Running Time: 100 minutes; Age Rating: 13+ Pre-Book Date: 1/20/04 Street Date: 2/17/04 Format SRP DVD $29.98


HOUSTON, December 29, 2003-ADV Films today announced a February 17, 2004 release date for the third volume of Pretear, the enchanting fantasy anime series created by Kaori Naruse and noted anime fantasy creator Junichi Sato (director of the first series of Sailor Moon and creator of Kaleido Star).

The title cleverly combines elements of the age-old fairy tales Cinderella (the heroine has a new family complete with a new stepmother and stepsisters) and Snow White (she finds friends, and romance, in seven handsome knights) under

Anime News Service – October 26 – November 7 Anime News

11-7-03—- Toycom Berserk Beherit Pendants

The possibility of giving one person their life long dreams and ambitions through a simple wish has an unforeseeable downside; a trade for your flesh and blood. The all-powerful Beherit stone is capable of such powers; all you have to do is ask yourself what is more important, flesh or fantasy? Toycom is proud to announce the upcoming release of an all-new collectible pendant based on this demonic pendant from Kentaro Miura?s bloody manga epic, Berserk.
At 2inches tall, the Beherit Pendants fits in the palm of your hand or can be hung around your neck with the included 12? rope strap. Choose from normal Beherit or the Beherit Tears Pendants, both beautifully hand detailed and created from solid resin and fully painted, sealed in a clear window collectors box. Available this December.

Item #: 24142-8, 24143-5
UPC #: 6-93904-24142-8, 6-93904-24143-5
MSPR: $11.99 ea.
Ship Date: December

11-6-03—- Tokyopop Adds 5 CLAMP Manga Titles

Los Angeles, CA (November 4, 2003)?TOKYOPOP Inc. is pleased to announce another feast of delicious new manga from CLAMP, the most popular manga creators in Japan… if not the world. TOKYOPOP will publish RG Veda, Suki, Legal Drug, The Legend of Chun Hyang and The One I Love, five titles that will feed the frenzy of hungry manga fans everywhere. This news comes on the heels of TOKYOPOP’s September announcement that it will publish CLAMP’s highly anticipated Tokyo Babylon series next May.

RG Veda (Fantasy, Volume 1 Release: TBD) CLAMP’s first professional work, RG Veda ran for 10 volumes, inspired an anime of the same name, and cemented the team’s reputation as one of Japan’s top manga talents. In this clever and beautifully illustrated story-which draws loosely from Hindu mythology-an evil emperor has controlled the once peaceful world of Tenkai for 300 years. The only hope of ending his tyrannical reign lies in a stargazer’s prophecy, which foretells the union of six warriors known as the “Six Stars.”

Suki (Romance/Drama, Volume 1 Release: 2/10/04) In this three-volume series, CLAMP explores what it means to be in love, a theme central to their biggest hits, Chobits and Cardcaptor Sakura. Suki is about a teenage girl’s first crush… the story of Hinata Asahi, a quiet and painfully shy high school student whose teddy bears are her only form of companionship. Her life becomes much more exciting when the handsome Shirou moves in next door. Not only is he really cute-and much older-but he’s also her new teacher!

Legal Drug (Action/Fantasy, Volume 1 Release: 10/12/04) One of CLAMP’s newest series still running in Japan, Legal Drug is a perfect dose of mystery, psychic powers and those ornately drawn characters the femme-four creators are famous for. With cameos from the cast of Suki, the story revolves around the adventures of Kazahaya and Rikuou. By day, they’re two ordinary pharmacists. By night, their boss has them filling prescriptions for the peculiar… for clients’ “special” ailments that can’t be cured using ordinary elixirs.

The Legend of Chun Hyang (Fantasy, Release: 8/10/04) A departure from CLAMP’s usual fare, this stand-alone historical fantasy is set in Korea and features striking brushstrokes reminiscent of their work in Shirahime-syo. Its story follows a beautiful warrior princess who must protect a village from the tyrannical government.

The One I Love (Romance, Release: TBD) Combining CLAMP’s legendary manga storytelling, color artwork and elegant prose, The One I Love is a wonderfully unique 12-story anthology. The volume opens with a special eight-page full-color feature before diving into the single subject CLAMP seems to know best… love.

Other bestselling CLAMP manga published by TOKYOPOP include Chobits, Cardcaptor Sakura, Magic Knight Rayearth, Angelic Layer and Clover.

11-5-03—- 4KIDS Set To Release New Kirby Anime Titles

NEW YORK, NY (November 4, 2003) – 4Kids Entertainment Home Video, Inc., the home video unit of 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KDE), in conjunction with FUNimation, will release Kirby’s Egg-Cellent Adventure – part of the Kirby: Right Back At Ya! home video series – on November 4, 2003 at retail and at the Web site in both DVD and VHS formats.

One of Nintendo’s leading video game character franchises, Kirby made his U.S. television debut on 4Kids Entertainment’s Saturday morning broadcast network – the FOX BOX – in September 2002. Kirby’s Egg-Cellent Adventure contains three episodes from the action-packed animated television series and a bonus feature of a 15-minute Video Strategy Guide for the Kirby(tm) Air Ride video game.

The Kirby Collection – a special three-volume gift pack – also will be released on November 4, 2003 at select retailers in both DVD and VHS formats.

Kirby, a Warpstar Knight-in-training, crash lands on the Planet Popstar and accidentally ends up as the pink protector of villagers. When King Dedede conjures up all his maniacal monsters, Kirby inhales their powers and gives them back a taste of their own medicine! Don’t mess with Kirby. He’ll send it “Right Back at Ya!”

VOLUME 3: Kirby’s Egg-Cellent Adventure

Episode 7: Kirby’s Egg-Cellent Adventure The ancient bird, Dyna Blade, has reappeared in Cappy Town after 100 years to lay and hatch her egg. When the eggshell turns up empty, is Kirby’s unruly appetite to blame?

Episode 8: Curio’s Curious Discovery The burial site of an ancient Cappy King is discovered, proving King Dedede’s ancestor established the Cappy civilization. Unconvinced, Tiff does some digging and uncovers a big secret.

Episode 9: The Fofa Factor Ever notice how FoLolo and FaLala are always together? Why don’t they ever split up, and just where do they come from, anyway? Perhaps King Dedede knows the secret to FoLolo and FaLala’s attraction.

DVD extras:

Kirbyoke: Viewers get a chance to sing along with Kirby to his catchy opening theme song …Kirby Kirby Kirby…Right Back At Ya!

Who’s Who in Cappy Town: This DVD extra is chock full of information on Kirby and his cohorts, including character bios and video clips.

VOLUME 3 TITLE: Kirby’s Egg-Cellent Adventure RUNNING TIME: Approximately 60 minutes RATING: Not-Rated SRP VHS: $9.95 SRP DVD: $12.95 PRE-BOOK: September 30, 2003 STREET DATE: November 4, 2003

THREE-PACK TITLE: The Kirby Collection Volume 1: Kirby Comes To Cappy Town Volume 2: A

Anime News Service-Review: Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha

By: Jonah Morgan

Vertical Inc.’s highly anticipated market debut manga release of Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha Vol. 1: Kapilavatsu is expected to arrive at retail sometime in October across North America. Leading up to that, ANS has snagged a very advance peek of some of some publisher selected excerpts from the first book and relayed our opinions on the release below.

The existing manga market in North America is populated on the whole by very contemporary works out of the Japanese market. Take a look at best sellers compilations for titles sold here and most of the hottest properties originated out of Japan in the last 5-10 years. Most of these books were undoubtedly picked up for release in conjunction with associated media releases such as anime series etc.. be it an in-house extracompany release. And thusly the hopes for profitability of said titles pinned on the proven performance or expectations of the other media’s march. Such is the existing paradigm / “proven” business model of the import manga industry, I’m certain it’s not a phenomena isolated to America.

Buddha Vol. 1Enter Vertical Inc. who approaches the market from a very different perspective. An outside player to the usual mechinations of the industry, they have dusted off a classic work of the undisputed father of manga and breathed into it a new life with a very contemporary flavor. Before the days of where the hype was bigger than the property attached to it there was just a man with an unmatched talent of telling a wonderful story via compelling dialogues / themes and vivid artistry, that’s what I seen in this title. This work, dating from 1987 is especially compelling when one considers it was one of Tezuka’s last great works published before his death in 1989.

The first volume due in a few weeks contains 12 chapters, Siddharta (The Buddha) is not born until the 7th chapter. “Kapilavatsu” is the historical captial of the Shakya Kingdom where Siddharta was born as a prince. The hero of the first volume is Chapra, who attempts to escape slave status, the historical background of ancient india is magisterially laid out throught the first story.

The story is a classic yes, however, the translation and translitteration work that has gone into this release of Buddha is some of the best I’ve seen in both the academic and contemporary senses. Discover why Tezuaka is called a master of the art in October with the release of Buddha Vol. 1.


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 – September 25 Anime News

9-16-03—- UCI Campus Screening Of Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade

Cypress, CA (September 15, 2003) – Bandai Entertainment announced today a special 35mm film screening of Mamoru Oshii’s animated classic, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade at the University of California, Irvine. The screening of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is organized by the UC Irvine Cal-Animage Epsilon anime club in association with the UC Irvine Film Society and will be screened on September 25th, 2003 at 7:00 PM in the UCI Film and Video Center / 235 Humanities Instructional Building. For more information please visit

In his first directorial debut, Hiroyuki Okiura (Ghost in the Shell) brings to life Mamoru Oshii’s (Ghost in the Shell, Patlabor) haunting tale of innocence caught in a web of politics and intrigue.

Set in an alternate history of Japan, Constable Fuse is part of an elite Special Forces unit known as the Capital Police whose mission is to maintain peace during a time of civil unrest. Battling with guerillas deep within the underground tunnels of the city, Fuse encounters a young girl armed with explosives. Hesitating to the stop the girl, the terrorist triggers the explosive killing herself and injuring Fuse. Sent for retraining, Fuse searches for the reason behind his and why her image continues to haunt him. Upon a chance meeting with the terrorist’s sister, Fuse becomes entangled in a web of intrigue and politics between the Capital Police, the government intelligence bureau, and a secret society known as Jin-Roh – the Wolf Brigade…with the lives of those he cares most at stake.

9-16-03—- 5 Soundtracks Coming From ADV Music In October

HOUSTON, September 15, 2003-ADV Films today set a street date of October 28, 2003 for the release of the ADV Music titles Destroy All Monsters; Rebirth of Mothra: Original Soundtrack; Rebirth of Mothra 2: Original Soundtrack; Rebirth of Mothra 3: Original Soundtrack; and Spriggan: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. All five of these soundtracks boast high-end production, including artwork sourced directly from the respective film studios that created the titles.

Soundtracks are highly popular among film and anime fans as collectibles, and for their content-including stirring and evocative orchestral music, Japanese pop and electronica.

Destroy All Monsters Music from the classic all-monster film, composed by Akira Ifukube.

Rebirth of Mothra: Original Soundtrack Composed by Toshiyuki Watanabe. Additional music by Yuji Koseki and by Akiko Yano, with vocal performances by Megumi Kobayashi and Sayaka Yamaguchi.

Rebirth of Mothra 2: Original Soundtrack Composed by Toshiyuki Watanabe. Additional music by Yuji Koseki, with vocal performances by Megumi Kobayashi and Sayaka Yamaguchi.

Rebirth of Mothra 3: Original Soundtrack Composed by Toshiyuki Watanabe. Additional music by Yuji Koseki, with vocal performances by Megumi Kobayashi and Misato Tate.

Spriggan: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Composed by Kuniaki Haishima, with vocal performances by Säju.

9-16-03—- Studio Zero G Launches

Chicago, IL. September 15, 2003 -Created by a group of international artists, Studio Xero G now provides access to uniquely thrilling, anime- style action at the click of a button. Studio Xero G’s debut studio release is Black Daze, an anime-style manga now available online exclusively through the studio’s website: offers fans around the world the ability to experience the anime-style action they crave in a portable, color, high-intensity manga format anywhere they have access to the Internet. Black Daze was created to deliver the hard hitting, eye-popping excitement that is Japanese anime in a visually stunning, cell-shaded style directly on any personal computer or laptop screen. No one before has truly captured the actual cinematic feel of anime in a alternate medium. Studio Xero G differs, bringing all the pulse-pounding motion and emotion fans expect of anime in a revolutionary, online manga format.

The West is finally starting to take notice of something that rest of the world is already experiencing: Japanese anime and manga are not just a cult phenomenon of the moment, but rather a strong, and engaging form of art that speaks to all ages. Many fans continue to be disappointed by the lack of accessibility to anime and manga. As diehard fans of both anime and manga, the founders of Studio Xero G felt there was no reason why the exciting elements of both mediums should not be brought together within the same space and made conveniently available to everyone, anytime, anywhere; hence Black Daze.

Studio Xero G is fully dedicated to reproducing the mind-blowing, captivating visual movement and storytelling of anime in their manga productions.

9-16-03—- Millenium Actress Limited Release Opening Box Office

Box Office Mojo says the film made $18,000 for the weekend of Sept. 12-14. Thanks to Daniel for the info.

9-16-03—- Polysics Tour USA This Month

Courtesy and The Japan For Sale Mailing List:

?Sept.17 (wed) Los Angeles at SPACELAND open: 21:00- address: 1717 Silver Lake Bl. LA,90026 tel: 323-661-4380 age: 21+ acts: Pine Marten/ Rex Aquarium/ Vagenius/ POLYSICS

?Sept.19 (fri) San Francisco at BOTTOM OF THE HILL open: 18:00- address: 1233 17th Street San Francisco, 94107 tel: 415-621-4455 age: all acts: RX Bandits/ Locale AM/ Desa/ POLYSICS

?Sept. 20 (Sat) Portland at MEOW MEOW open: 18:00- address: 527 SE Pine St. Portland, OR. 97214 tel: 503-230-2111 age: all acts: RX Bandits/ Locale AM/ Desa/ POLYSICS

?Sept. 21(Sun) Seattle at STUDIO 7 open: 18:00- address: 110 S. Horton Street, Seattle, WA 98134 tel: 206-442-2993 age: all acts: RX Bandits/ Locale AM/ Desa/ POLYSICS

?Sept. 24(Wed) Detroit at ALVIN’S TWILIGHT BAR open: 18:00- address: 5756 Cass Ave. Detroit, MI. 48202 tel: 313-873-3000 age: all acts: RX Bandits/ The Exit/ The Format/ POLYSICS

?Sept.25(Thu) Cleveland at GROG SHOP open: 18:00- address: 1765 Coventry Rd Cleaveland, OH 44118 tel: 216-321-5588 age: all acts: RX Bandits/ The Exit/ The Format/ POLYSICS

?Sept. 26(fri) Philadelphia at THEATRE OF LA open: 18:00- address: 334 South St. Philadelphia, PA 19147 tel: 215-922-1011 age: all acts: RX Bandits/ The Exit/ The Format/ POLYSICS

?Sept. 27(sat) Buffalo at CONTINENTAL open: 22:30- address: 212 Franklin St., Buffalo, NY 14202 tel: 716-842-1292 age: 18+ acts: POLYSICS(headliner)/ Burn like Nero/ Neyko

?Sept. 29(mon) Boston at Middle East open: 20:00- address: 472 Massachusetts Ave.Cambridge, Mass. 02139 tel: 617-864-3278 age: 18+ acts:

Anime News Service – Part 1 – Project AE86: Diamond In The Rough

By Jonah Morgan

And so it begins. What originally had it’s roots as a personal project has turned into something I think I will share with the site. As part of an ongoing feature here on ANS we’re going to build a car and bring everyone along for the journey step by step for the duration of the restoration and modification period. What better choice than a car anime fans will probably be intimately familiar with by the fall of 2003 than the Toyota Trueno AE86 “Hachiroku” (sold in the USA as the Toyota Corolla GTS). This car holds a special place in the hearts of many, it is of course the star of the Initial D anime and manga not to mention the car du choice of togue and drift freaks the world over. Our example was found with litteraly a forest growing up all around where it has apprantly sat for some time. Closer inspection revealed a good condition intact interior, and solid exterior shell with few dings and a few spots of rust. In Alabama where American Muscle dominates the hearts of car enthusiasts, such a car is very rarely appreciated, and thusly the asking price: $200, what a steal if you are familiar with the market. Popping the hood we discovered there was no battery, no radiator and half an engine. The head was blown and then removed to be replaced or reworked, aparently that never took place. No big deal as the plan is to replace 80% of what’s to be found under the bonnet anyways.

Next: Refresh!

Anime News Service – July 27 – August 19 Anime News

8-19-03—- Latest Details On HK Initial D

….Location scouting has begun for Initial D which will most likely be set in parts of China and Japan, and shooting is set to begin in October. This Cantonese language film, about a delivery boy who turns to street racing, will be produced by Media Asia and cast Edison Chen as the lead.

Source: Special Thanks as always to Daniel-kun

8-19-03—- Special Junkers Come Here Screening In Toronto

Cypress, CA (August 19, 2003) – After years of barking from enthusiastic fans, Bandai Entertainment, the premiere distributor of Japanese animation in North America, has slated August 19 for the DVD release of the animated feature film, Junkers Come Here. An anime family classic released in 1995, the film’s story has developed a diverse following from audiences who cannot seem to get enough of Junkers, a dog that speaks the human language and the companionship he provides his owner during troubled times.

“We are delighted to bring to North America one of the most compelling anime feature films produced in Japan,” said Jerry Chu, Marketing Manager, Bandai Entertainment. “Junkers Come Here is a story of life, hardship and growth told through the eyes of a young girl. With the recent success of Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, Junkers Come Here is a film that we believe American audiences can appreciate and relate to.”

Based on Naoto Kine’s two-volume novel published in 1989, Junkers Come Here boasts an impressive assembly of anime creators, including director Junichi Sato (Sailor Moon) and animator director Kazuo Komatsubara (Miyazaki’s Nausicaa: The Valley of the Wind). Junkers Come Here is a touching tale that illustrates the subtle and confused teenage emotions experienced by 11-year-old Hiromi, and her unique friendship with Junkers, a talking dog. As their relationship develops, Hiromi struggles with a longing for adulthood as she is faced with the challenges of her parents’ unexpected divorce. Will Hiromi be able to restore happiness in her life?

Junkers Come Here originally debuted during a limited theatrical release in Japan in 1995 where it received critical acclaim. To this day, independent screenings continue to be held annually throughout Japan at the request of the local communities, schools, and universities. Junkers Come Here has received the distinct honor of being officially approved by the Japanese Ministry of Education. As an advance preview to the DVD release, Bandai Entertainment will present Junkers Come Here on Friday, August 22nd in its original Japanese-language format (English subtitles) as part of the Canadian National Anime Expo in Toronto. The film will be shown at the Bloor Cinema (506 Bloor St. W / at Bathurst Subway Station). For pricing and showtime, please visit

8-18-03—- ADV Gears Up Hello Kitty Holiday Box

HOUSTON, August 15, 2003-ADV Films today announced a release date of October 28, 2003 for Hello Kitty’s Paradise: The Holiday Box Set, collecting all 16 episodes from the four volumes of the acclaimed animated children’s series Hello Kitty’s Paradise. The series has been enormously popular, with the title’s warm-hearted combination of learning and fun making it a favorite with parents and little ones alike. The Hello Kitty’s Paradise: The Holiday Box Set is a DVD-only release, including a custom seasonal art box!

Hello Kitty’s Paradise is another successful element of the Sanrio Company’s wildly popular Hello Kitty(r) franchise, built around the adorable, instantly recognizable kitten character. The title centers around the adventures of Hello Kitty(r), her best friend Mimmy(tm) and their friends from school. Hello Kitty’s Paradise is a joyful take on childhood adventures, with a healthy smattering of educational content about such important skills as sharing, having good table manners, writing letters and being polite.

Hello Kitty’s Paradise: The Holiday Box Set ($39.98 SRP) is a DVD-only release, including 16 complete episodes (32 segments) on four discs. Includes loads of “Fun & Games” special features, such as “Animals! Animals!,” “Guess the Shape,” “Kitty’s Caterpillar Quiz,” “Guess the Shape” and much more.

8-18-03—- 4Kids 2nd Quarter Statement

NEW YORK, August 13, 2003 – 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KDE) today announced net revenues for the second quarter ended June 30, 2003 climbed 185% to $23.4 million from $8.2 million in the same period last year. Net income for the quarter was $3.6 million, or $0.26 per diluted share, compared to net income of $1.2 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, in the yearearlier period, an increase of 200%.

For the six months ended June 30, 2003, net revenues rose 193% to $44.3 million from $15.1 million in the same period last year. Net income for the six-month period was $6.6 million, or $0.47 per diluted share, compared to net income of $2.8 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, in the same period a year earlier, an increase of 136%.

Al Kahn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Second quarter results reflect continuing momentum in our licensing segment as retail sales of Yu-Gi-Oh!T products remain strong. Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesT toys are also performing well at retail, adding significantly to our licensing revenues.”

Commenting on the FoxBox, 4Kids’ four hours of programming on Saturday mornings on the Fox Network, Al Kahn said, “While FoxBox ratings have been below expectations, the FoxBox has created additional revenue opportunities for 4Kids in merchandise licensing, home video and music publishing. These additional revenue sources, such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line, were one of the primary reasons for the lease of the FoxBox programming block. We will be launching a new FoxBox season on September 6 with exciting new shows, including Shaman King, Sonic XT and Funky Cops as well as new episodes of returning shows Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesT, Kirby: Right Back At Ya!T and Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman LegacyT,” said Kahn.

“We had a strong second quarter and are very pleased with the performance of our properties. Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon® continue to be among the most highly rated kids shows on network television. While Yu-Gi-Oh! products continue to drive our licensing revenues, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles products have gained substantial momentum at

Anime News Service-Review: .Hack//Sign Vol 1. Login

By: Jay

.hack//Sign Vol 1. Login

Content: B+
Video: A
Audio: A-
Presentation: B+
Overall: A-
Company: Bandai
Length: 125 min

Games and anime have always been tied together, each spawning the other in a regular succession of capitalistic glee. Usually this incestuous relationship between the two mediums breeds misshapen offspring, the games regularly being unplayable and the anime being unwatchable. Usually the original creation is far better than the marketing scheme that follows.

Enter .hack (pronounced .dot hack), a multi-media blitzkrieg, crossing pretty much every platform: anime, games, and manga. The difference is that .hack was created as such a creature; each aspect is supposed to carry its own weight and depth, while interacting with the others to create a complete world. This is not the first time such a feat has been attempted (Blood – The Last Vampire is a good example), this is the first time that America is receiving all of the products. Bandai is releasing the four games for the Playstation 2 (including the OAV series .hack//Liminality), while TokyoPop has recently announced the release of the manga, .hack//Legend of the Twilight (.hack//tasogare no udewa densetsu, in Japan).

With all of that background, we come to Bandai’s release of the TV series, .hack//Sign. The story focuses on interactions in The World – an online role-playing game with 20 million users. In the first scene, a character named Tsukasa wakes up to find that he has lost some of his short-term memory and that he can no longer log out of The World. Soon after awakening he is met by Mimiru, a female player character who attempts to become his friend. The viewer is introduced to other characters, including a group of players called the Crimson Knights who purport to uphold honor and morality in the game.

The viewer always has to remember that these are characters being played by someone else inside of the game. Periodically, there are glimpses into the real world, but they are fuzzy and indistinct. As well, there are some non-player characters that, in the game, appear just as real as anyone else. As different characters become awake of Tsukasa’s situation, each responds differently, as you would expect real people to that are playing a game. Some take it seriously, some just view it as another part of the game. In any case, .hack//sign is very much about the mysteries the characters try to unravel.

The video is amazingly sharp and clean for having five episodes on the disc. Colors are bright and clear with little or no bleeding. Action scenes remain crisp with no pixellation or macroblocking. The animation is good, but hardly groundbreaking in its execution. While the picture is something you might want to show off to friends, they would hardly be impressed by how the show is animated. Then again, you wouldn’t be embarrassed by it, either. The character designs are also nice, if somewhat generic (other than the main characters). The menus are animated and accessed quickly, and, while they are thematically nice, they are not the most exotic in the world.

The sound is quite good, solid across the board, although there seemed to be a drop-out during the beginning of the first episode on the English language track. It was noticeable, but may have had more to do with the player. In any case, it cleared up quickly. There are a few instances where the music seemed either too loud or too soft for the particular scene. It was difficult to tell whether this was intended or not, but the situation would not be distracting unless it was something a viewer was focusing on.

Then again, the music is so amazing, it is hard for one to not focus on it. Those who have not heard the work of composer Yuki Kajiura are in for a treat. A current fan favorite, she has composed the soundtracks for shows such as Noir and Aquarian Age and performs in the J-pop group See-Saw. She has unique stylings, yet consistently comes up with new sounds for her projects. Interestingly enough, a large number of the songs in .hack//sign are in English. The music stands on its own well enough for an enjoyable listening experience, but it so wraps itself into the show itself, the music is almost like a character itself. And, it’s an excellent character, at that.

Fortunately, if you can find it, the limited edition version of vol. 1 comes with the first soundtrack to the series, something well worth the investment. However, you also get a T-shirt, a plush grunty (an animal player characters can raise in the show/game), postcards, and a game demo. The extras on the disc are pretty Spartan, including a textless opening and closing, a character gallery, and the PS2 game trailer. However, this is fine, since the room on the DVD was obviously well used to keep up the video quality.

While The World is a fantasy role-playing game, viewers should not expect Lodoss War. These characters are actually players from the real world. So, while there is some great in-game action, most of the movement through these first five episodes comes from character interaction and dialogue. Whole scenes will often consist of characters in a picturesque environment talking about the mysteries before them and trying to decide what to do. If you are a big fan of mysteries that unfold slowly and plots that hold importance over action, you’ll definitely enjoy .hack//sign. Much like Boogiepop Phantom was to the horror genre, .hack//sign is to the fantasy/cyberpunk realm. It is a thoughtful exploration into folklore and how it envelops people, while being punctuated by moments of action. So far .hack is not as deep or mind-bending as Boogiepop, but it is enjoyable. If you are looking for an action-oriented show or something that does not require thought, stay away.

If there is a downside to the online RPG portrayal is that sometimes it is difficult to realize that these characters actually have lives outside the game. The World actually seems like their