Production of a 3rd ARIA TV animation season has been announced. ARIA The ORIGINATION is expected to be detailed in an upcoming issue of monthly Comic Blade.
Production of a 3rd ARIA TV animation season has been announced. ARIA The ORIGINATION is expected to be detailed in an upcoming issue of monthly Comic Blade.
An unusual new System Soft Alpha Windows PC computer game is generating some buzz in Japanese otaku circles entitled Moe Moe 2 Ji Taisen. In the game, you literally take on the role of cutesy anime style girls who have the appendages of World War 2 Era aircraft and tanks. The game system follows an adventure/simulation strategy / visual novel format. The various girls hail from and sport dress styles, and mecha weaponry from their respective countries. The release is scheduled in November for 9,240 Yen. The cadre of high profile character designers assembled for the project is generating a lot of attention. They include; Mikimoto Haruhiko (Macross), Hiroyuki Kitazume, Rokudou Shinshi, Fujisawa Takashi, Usami Haruka, Jiji, and Kanke Tomonori. Tora Yamamoto conceived the original project.
Based on the long running comedy fishing manga by Juuzou Yamazaki and Ken’ichi Kitami, a new sequel series to Tsuribaka Nisshi (The diary of a fishing fool) has been revealed through recently running print ad spots. The original serial began in “Big comic original” in 1979 and today is up to 71 collected volumes. The storyline features the fishing excursions across Japan between white collar worker Densuke Hamazaki and his construction company President Ichinosuke Suzuki. The story was adapted to animation by Toei in 2002 and enjoyed a respectable 9% ratings share on average in its prime time Saturday slot. Although it ocasionally beat out slot competitor Crayon Shin Chin, it was never able to gain ground on Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo which was serializing in Shonen Jump at the time. In the moving pictures medium, Tsuribaka Nisshi is best known in Japan for its 20 film strong live action film series produced by Shochiku. The latest film has just been released to theaters. Actor Toshiyuki Nishida plays lead Densuke Hamazaki in the films, Rentaro Mikuni portrays Suzuki Construction president Ichinosuke Suzuki. The new spinoff manga is being titled “Tsutte! Koi Tarou” and Hamazaki Densuke’s son becomes the hero. The serial begins running in Shougaku Go Nensei from the October edition. Given the long running success of the film franchise there are many expectations that the new story could also be adapted to a live action movie at some point.
Sankei Sports reports Toshiaki Takemoto (Novala Takemoto), author of the original Kamikaze Girls novel was arrested by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Shinjuku station for suspiscion of violating the Hemp Control Law (for possession of 0.22 grams) on September 3rd. Police say the suspect made a suspicious-looking gesture, quickly turning his eyes away soon after seeing a policeman. Takemoto has already testified he first smoked it out of curiosity in foreign countries. The station is examining the possibility of cannabis trafficing routes coming in from foreign countries. The author was wering a black jumper and trousers and concealed a black drawstring bag in his right pocket which contained the drug. His early novels Emily and Lolikita were nominees for the Yukio Mishima Prize. He also wrote Shimotsuma Monogatari (Kamikaze Girls) which inspired a later live action film and manga series and worked with the Hello Kitty brand.
Variety Asia reports The Pusan International Film Festival has announced a 275 film line up for its 12th edition (October 4-12). Among them is Hikeaki Anno’s just released anime film Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone.
The Executive Committee for the Japan International Contents Festival (Cofesta) have announced the appointment of actor Koji Yakusho (Babel) as their official spokesman. The festival will combine anime, manga, music, movies and video games into a large collection of events to occur between September 19th – October 28th, 2007. At a press event on the 4th Yakusho was asked what hos favorite animation was. He responded that he thought the work of the Miyazaki Hayao was “really wonderful”. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Amari, who’s a big supporter of the event revealed his manga love of Dragonball Z and Slam Dunk, saying he bought Weekly Shonen Jump every Monday even after becoming a diet member.
TV personality and gravure idol Mikie Hara spoke at a press conference today for the new live action TV series Cutie Honey: The Live. It begins running in October on TV Tokyo. The show marks the first TV drama adaptation of one of mangaka Go Nagai’s works. The demands for any woman tackling the lead role of Honey Kisaragi are quite high as she has a G cup, 94 centimeter breast size. The actress says she’s trained three times a week for two months to prepare for the part.
Japan based Tezuka Productions will start offering video content on Apple’s US-based iTunes Music Store starting September 4th. In the TV Shows category Astroboy will be offered, as well as 13 episodes of 2004’s Hi No Tori and all 10 episodes of the 1993-2000 Blackjack OVA. All are English-dubbed versions, each episode will be $.99 cents. In the Movie vategory an English dubbed version of Gekijou-ban Jungle Taitei (Jungle Emperor Leo) will also be offered. 8 of Tezuka’s much touted experimental animation shorts produced between 1962-1988 will be avaialble in the Short Films category. While you may have seen some of the above titles being sold commercially in the USA in the past this time around TP has contracted directly with Apple. While anime is nothing new on iTunes this marks the first such direct partnership between a Japanese animation distributor and retailer.
The Tokyo Game Show 2007 which kicks off at the end of this month will host a special movie square showcasing movies and animation works with a “born from videgames” theme as part of the 1st ever Japan International Contents Festival. On September 20th GONZO will hold a production symposium for a little publicized animation project titled “Tower of Druaga”. GDH acquired the rights to develop the property in animation and in online game format in March, 2006 and new updates on the project went stale shortly therafter, leading many to believe the production had been discontinued. TOD was originally a Namco arcade game originally released in June, 1984.
Hayame Mokomichi (ROUGH) will
At a strategy briefing for partners in Tokyo titled “CONNECTED” on August 29th, American software firm Microsoft continued their promotion of a digital lifestyle campaign which is ongoing this year, seeking to make Windows Vista and the PC a nucleus. President & CEO of Microsoft Co. Ltd., Japan and Corporate Vice President Darren Houston delivered a keynote address stressing the importance of contents providers and revealed three television broadcasters (Nippon Television Network Corporation, TBS and TV Tokyo) would be partnering with them on some of their Media Center offerings. TV Tokyo announced their plans to synch up their Ani-Tele anime exclusive channel up to Windows Media Center, mentioning their main site draws 50 million accesses per month. Features involved a simple user interface, easily navigable via remote control. They plan on offering rebroadcasts of new shows there just days after they’ve aired on television and many older shows for free.
The official website for Japan’s largest anime festival / trade show, The Tokyo Anime Fair, has been revamped in 2008 livery at www.tokyoanime.jp. There you can view a greeting from the senior staff and some other basic information. Exhibition applications are being recieved as of Sept. 1st. The seventh holding of the fair will occur March 27-30th, 2008. 270 companies and 107,713 people attended over the 4 days in 2007.
A recent IT Media interview with GDH Vice President Yasufumi Uchida has revealed how one of the industry’s giants could be looking toward a time in the not so distant future when the primary distribution method / business model sees a shift from physical media such as DVD, to an internet downloadable format. The business environment of Japan’s animation production houses is currently undergoing a transitory period of change where sales of anime on DVD inside and outside the country is becoming inactive even as more and more programs are being broadcast on television. With the boom of late night TV anime in the mid 1990’s, a popular business model closely tieing the production budget of those shows to DVD sales seems to be coming undone even as more delivery options emerge such as high def disc, internet stream, mobile phone, etc.. Gonzo is said to have been hit especially hard in the DVD sales arena and has been exploring other distribution channels. They recently established joint video streaming site with You Tube titled: GONZO DOGA. Uchida admits: “though there is not any single reason in the sales slump, and anime DVD sales remain inactive across the industry, one of the main factors is a power shortfall in our works”. He adds he believes especially the spread of HDD&DVD recorders and illegal video downloading / sites like YOU TUBE are to blame also. He believes the practice of burning off episodes to DVD direct from TV broadcast and opting out of commercially sold discs is becoming common domestically and programs being uploaded (in short order following their Japanese broadcast) to video sites are affecting disc sales internationally. A distribution model such as that used by Hollywood which sees major films and DVD’s release simultaneously worldwide (to minimize profit losses via time delay) is difficult for a company without a global network like GDH. Today, Gonzo deals out their licenses to multiple international firms and the attraction, negotiation phases involving those businesses as well as the production localaization / produciton phase (including subtitles, dubbing, packaging) differs from country to country creating a time gap and hence missed opportunity. An internet release method would allow both global simultaneous release and a venue to seek recognition / acknowledgement and promotion. The VP says their new You Tube channel will be used to pull in more customers and will be the spot where viewers can find out about their new animation first. It was the first jointly established site with an animation production company when it went live on August 1. Gonzo plans aggressive use of You Tube and has had over 110,000 video views as of August 27th although it hasn’t solved the problem of copyright infringement in other areas of the site. The net option is expected to be persued explicitly in the future. Uchida thinks a challenging environment will exist in the video production industry for sometime to come. He says content distribution needs to go into the next generation with product being adapted for all the emerging technologies from handheld video player to hidef disc and cites the advent of the video cassette in how change is nothing new in the industry.
There’s been some unconfirmed speculation in fan circles that the latest Gundam TV animation, Gundam 00 (official title: Kido Senshi Gandam double-o”), will only get a 6 month (26 episode) run in Japan when it starts broadcasting in hi-vision high definition format (the first ever Gundam series to do so) on October 6th on MBS and affiliate networks. The traditional format for Gundam television series almost exclusively since 1979 has been a 1 year run and currently the latest series is also currently officially slated to go 1 year as well. 00 will be directed by Seiji Mizushima with scenario written by Yosuke Kuroda and character designs by Yun Koga. Breaking from past traditions, the series will be set in 2307 AD of the Gregorian christian era calendar system.
Shoplifting by so-called “net cafe refugees” is said to be on the spike recently around Tokyo. The term is applied to otherwise homeless working poor who use manga / internet cafes as permanent / semi permanent housing. Reports include stolen DVD, manga, game software and electronic products such as PCs and digicams which are being hocked in second-hand goods shops and via net auction. The revenue is then
Today ADV Films co-founder Matt Greenfield announced that ADV has acquired exclusive home video and broadcast rights in North America for the anime series Air and the 85-minute Air Movie. Greenfield made the announcement during a panel at Anime Matsuri, South Texas’ largest anime convention. Volume one of the four-disc Air series will hit store shelves August 14, and the Air Movie is slated for release in late 2007. Air is a fan-favorite series in Japan, having placed #32 in TV Asahi’s all time Top 100 Anime list (2006). A product of the famous production studio Kyoto Animation (Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, Inuyasha) and director Tatsuya Ishihara (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kanon), Air is easily one of the most-anticipated series to reach our shores this year. The standalone Air Movie, which was produced by Toei (Air Gear, Kanon) and directed by Osamu Dezaki (Black Jack The Movie), is a fitting finale to the Air mania sweeping North America. In announcing these acquisitions, Greenfield said “as anime fans ourselves, we’re very excited to announce that ADV will be releasing Air, as it’s already being ranked as one of the most popular anime titles of all time in Japan, and the fans who have seen it here the States are equally enthusiastic in their praise.”
Greenfield continued, “we’re also pleased to say that, while negotiating a title that’s split between two different licensors can be tricky, we have indeed secured the rights for both the TV series and the movie, thereby insuring total continuity between the English language versions.” Synopsis: Yukito Kunisaki is a wandering puppeteer on a jouney to find “the girl in the sky,” a tradition his family has held for generations. Upon arriving in a new town, he is befriended by a lonely young girl named Misuzu, who offers him a place to stay. Yukito soon begins to suspect that Misuzu has ties with “the girl in the sky” when she begins to speak of dreams of flying, but before his suspicions are confirmed, Yukito meets two more mysterious girls. Now Follow Yukito as he pieces together the lives of three different girls to discover the truth of “the girl in the sky.”
According to the June, 2007 edition of Megami Magazine, the official title for Zero No Tsukaima TV series 2 is “Zero No Tsukaima: Soutsuki No Kishi”. The title is apprantly sourced from the 9th light novel volume.
We’ve got some never before revealed staff details on Takeshi Koike’s still in production anime film Red Line in a new report.
When asked if FUNimation could work with Dr. Master to re-release the manga in conjunction with the Crayon Shin anime, the response given to Shin – AKA: Pocket Rocket Boy’s Myspace Blog was:
“There are several people bidding for the comic/manga license for Shin chan. I don’t know how it will all wash out just yet. Rest assured, I love to share info. So as soon as we know one way or another, I’ll pass the word on somehow…” Also of interest is that, besides dvds, FUNimation plans to sell other merchandise in the future.
Huge Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news.
Anchor Bay has sent over the first details on Bandai’s forthcoming DVD release of Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. – Solid State Society. The film will be released on DVD on 7/3 in two versions. There will be a Standard Edition (SRP $19.98) that includes the film in anamorphic widescreen video with both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio (English and Japanese with English subtitles), as well as the Uchikoma Days featurette, interviews with the English production team, a storyboard gallery and the trailer. There will also be a 3-disc Limited Edition (packaged in a “steel book” case) that includes everything on the standard edition along with 3 more featurettes (World Work File, Anime+Car Design: Designing the Future Car and Making of Tachikoma Robot), an interview with Mitsuhisa Ishikawa (of Production I.G) and the film’s soundtrack on CD.
Source: The Digital Bits | Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news.
To Heart 2 OVA Volume 2 has been given a Wednesday, June 27, 2007 release in Japan.
One of Gainax’s founding members, Director Takami Akai has announced his resignation after comments he published on co-worker Mimori Keiko’s Mixi Diary were scrutinized by fans for being “discomforting”. He was a producer and prominent force behind Gainax’s latest animation, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann which started running on Japanese TV this month. Akai published his resignation on the Gainax website on April 27th. He’s well known as the creator of the popular “Princess Maker” girl grooming simulation games. The comment in question lashed out at alleged criticism of Gurren Lagann made on 2ch with some rather graphic language (something about one bringing one’s face to one’s anus and breathing deeply). A wave of fan comments subsequently poured into the main Gainax blog indicating they had collectively been insulted. Akai posted an apology along with his resignation, saying that there was no room for an excuse to his actions. His mixi diary was open to the general public. His name will disappear from the credits of Gurren Lagann from the 5th episode, scheduled to broadcast on the 29th. He expressed heartbreak at leaving the staff of the show after having been intimately involved on the production for over 5 years. Akai has his own company titled NineLives and is married to mangaka Kimiko Higuchi. He did the original character designs for the DAICON III animation and was a classmate of Evangelion director Hideaki Anno in
The Tokyo International Anime Fair Executive Committee has treated ANS to an exclusive sneak peek at their official 2008 promotional poster. Next year’s event is scheduled to run from March 27th – 30th at Big Sight. Features include: International Trade Fair – Exhibition, Creators World, Anime Rookies, Buyers World, Screenings, Press Center, Press Conferences, Sales of character goods, TAF Welcome Night Party, Anime Bazaar, Special Project Exhibitions, Symposiums, Animated Cartoon Theater, Stage Events, Kids Zone, Charity Auction, Quiz Rally, Special Stage, Tokyo Animation Song Festival, CGAC2008, Tokyo Anime Awards, 4th Special Contribution Awards, MX TV Special Program, Animation Congress. The Committee will begin solicitng art submissions for next year’s mascot character starting May 1st. The deadline is June 29, 2007. The character will then be selected and announced towards the end of summer. Last year’s character was submitted by Mariko Tokida. Her design was chosen out of 392 entries. TAF representatives tell us they retain exclusive use copyrights to their mascot characters for 2 years and actually only heavily use the character for around 1 year total. After a 2 year period the rights fall back to the original creator. Besides positively influencing aspiring artists’ careers, a cash purse of 200,000 Yen stands to be won for 2008. TAF aims at drawing new talent especially to this competition. Guidelines include: a) the character must be original and previously unpublished and b) must represent Tokyo And Animation. The contest is open to all nationalities.
The 19th CG Anime Contest selected works screening event will be held on May 5th in Nakano. The longest running CG competition of its type in Japan, over 400 entrants have submitted their works this year. Past Grand Prix winners include Romanov Higa’s TANK S.W.A.T 01 and Makoto Shinkai’s Hoshi No Koe.
The Kawasaki City Museum will present an exhibition on South Korean Comics from April 21st-June 3rd. The project is part of a greater aim to deepen the cultural exchange and friendship between sister city Buchon on the 10th anniversary since their avowed urban coalition. Much of the exhibit material is coming from the Fuchuan comics information center. Original illustrations of over 30 popular manhwa authors who were active from the 1980’s through the present day will be included. Additionally a special corner will feature over 350 manhwa examples Japanese visitors can read in their native language. Kim Dongwha (A Story of Kisaeng and Bug Boy), So-Hee Park (Goong) and 4 other creative luminaries will appear as special guests of honor on Saturday, the 28th for talk and autograph sessions.
In a new screening report Daniel Zelter shares his experience from the West Coast debut of Aachi And Ssipak and Mamoru Hosoda’s Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo 1 month ago.
The summer previews issue of Entertainment Weekly includes Paprika as number 2 on columnist Lisa Schwarzbaum’s anticipated movie list for the quarter. It’s listed before Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up” and after Danny Boyle’s “28 Weeks Later”. Thanks, Daniel Zelter.
Based on the cult hit Asimk Ace game series which debuted on the PS1 in 1998, the 14th and final episode of Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpucho broadcast on April 20th in Japan mentioned a new TV series “Tokyo Majin Manabu Enken Fuujou Ryuu Ryuu Kenbu hen” will begin in July.
The tentatively titled Kimi ga Nozomu Eien: Haruka Route (Rumbling Hearts) OAV (first reported here on August 28th) has gotten some updates courtesy the Age FC Bulletin No.13. Staff will include Director takayama hideki, Character Designs by Tamura Kazuhiko, Scenario by Kouno Takamitsu, Animation Production: Brains Base. Release date remains unknown. Based on Age Soft’s 2001 love adventure videogame.
Banpresto has posted their official Japanese website for the upcoming anime style RPG Ar Tonelico 2. An OVA based on the first game was released in 2006.
The TV anime version of Idolmaster: XENOGLOSSIA will be adapted to light novel form. Serialization will begin the July issue of Dragon. Original Story by Hajime Yatate and Suzukaze Sayaka, Illustrations by Ein.
The anime TV series adaptation of Koji Kumeta’s Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is scheduled for a summer start in Japan. Much of the current Negima staff from Studio Shaft will carry over. The Director will be Akiyuki Shinbo, Character Design by Hideyuki Morioka, Series Composition by Kenichi Kanemaki. Production by Starchild (King Record). For more info read our original mention on March 8th.
Kyo Kara Maoh! is scheduled to run 5 OVA volumes to begin releasing in Japan in Fall. ANS first got onto this story on March 5th. The Spring edition of Newtype Romance magazine first reported the adaptation. Based on the light novel and manga by Tomo Takabayashi, the work was previously adapted to 2 39 episode TV animation series which ran between 2004-2006.
Famed director Tetsuro Araki and character designer Masaru Kitao announce their attendance at Anime ExpoR 2007 as Official Guests of Honor. In addition, Anime ExpoR has also obtained the rights to screen the blockbuster films, starring Tatsuya Fujiwara, from Japan DEATH NOTE (123 minutes) and DEATH NOTE: THE LAST NAME (140 minutes) on 35 mm print at the highly anticipated 2007 convention June 29-July 2 at the Long Beach Convention Center. More information can be found on the website www.anime-expo.org.
Born November 5, 1976, in the Saitama Prefecture and a graduate of the School of Literature at Senshu University, Tetsuro Araki gained mass fame and media attention as the director of the “Desu noto” (2006 also
Internet / digital book seller Renta has begun a new service to rent electronic manga on April 10th in Japan. 100 Yen nets users a loan period of 24 hours. An electronic ticket system, allows transactions via credit card and cellular phone. Buyers won’t have to use a propriatary software browser as was the case with similar past services. New material will be added on Tuesdays weekly, the company aims at 3000 book offerings in the first year. Titles such as Salary Man Kintaro and content from publishers like Mag Garden will be sold. The company behind Renta was a digital books pioneer in Japan, first going online in 1995. They’ve done business with 395 cooperating publishers 60,000 titles as of March.
Bandai and Itochu have announced a business and capital tie-up with the Ishimori Entertainment Group (www.ishimori-e.jp) which manages the contents copyrights of the late manga master Shotaro Ishinomori. In the offing is a strengthening of the business deployment efforts of the work of Shotaro Ishinomori inside and outside Japan. New business deployment in foreign countries will include merchandise, toys that do whether this cooperation, and character merchandising. Europe, America and Asia are prime first targets. Ishimori Entertainment will change its official operating title to Ishimori Professional from June 1. Things on the horizon include moving plans forward for a Hollywood film based on one of the author’s creations. Bandai is joining in and hopes to capitalizes with character merchandising.
Winners are out for the EZ Award 4 Digital Entertainment competition. KDDI and Digital Hollywood jointly put on the effort. Winners were announced at ceremony at the KDDI Design Studio in Harajuku. Divisions included “graphic” and “general contribution”. Each enterant had to work with theme “BLACK”. This included the color, dark humor, and black jokes. Winners included: Grand Prix: “Experiment” Megumi Terada, Semi-Grand Prix “Vegita Strike” Aya Techno, Sayoshi Sato Prize: “Net Cooking Consumer Electronics” Changu, Riichirou Mashima Prize: “Juggling” Yukiko Uehara, Nagai Hidekazu Prize: “Black Ball1,2” Sawai Fumiya.
Kyoto Animation, the studio behind Haruhi Suzumiya has launched Kyo Ani Bon, a new web exclusive magazine project. There you’ll find original content submitted byt the various creators, cast and staff involved with the producer. 10 projects will be presented which all have the opportunity of being adapted to anime by the studio. Feedback from the public will determine which actually do make the transition to animation. The offering is extremely unusual as the planning stage for new anime is usually a strictly confidential in-house affair. Those series in the running in the first issue include MUNTO 3.
Bandai will open the first ever Anpanman kids hair salon at the Anpanman museum in Yokohama, Minatomirai on April 20th. The long running series is still a favorite among Japanese children. It becomes the one that it drinks and the character was made a theme. The target demographic are 0-6 year olds. A revenue somewhere in the ballpark of 40 million yen are expected by the end of March, 2008. 22 companies have co-invested in the new 6,800 square meter museum which also opens its doors for the first time on the 20th.
Animelo Summer Live 2007 Generation A will occur at Nippon Budoukan on July 7. The large anime songs concert will feature many popular artists and seiyuu. Similar events were presented in 2005 and 2006. 10,000 people showed up last year. Hironobu Kageyama, Masami Okui, Nana Mizuki, and Momoi of JAM Project are confirmed participating artists this time around. A CD featuring the particpating artists songs will be put on the market on June 20th.
VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies announced today that it has secured from a consortium including TV TOKYO Corporation and Shueisha Inc, the television, home video and non-video game merchandising rights for the Americas, Europe and Oceania to BLUE DRAGON, a new anime series based on the popular Microsoft Xbox 360 Role Playing Game. VIZ Media makes the announcement in conjunction with its participation at the MIPTV conference, the world’s preeminent audiovisual and digital content market, taking place in Cannes, France, April 16-20. VIZ Media has a prominent presence at the show in Booth #AO12.
The Xbox 360 game “BLUE DRAGON” is developed by Hironobu Sakaguchi (the creator of Final Fantasy). BLUE DRAGON also features characters by Akira Toriyama, the creator of the best-selling DRAGON BALL series of manga (which is published in North America by VIZ Media and featured in SHONEN JUMP Magazine). The anime series debuted in Japan on TV Tokyo on April 7, 2007 and is produced by Studio Pierrot, which is well known for its work on NARUTO and BLEACH, also licensed by VIZ Media. BLUE DRAGON television broadcast and key licensing partners will be determined shortly. The BLUE DRAGON video game has already established itself in Japan as one of Microsoft’s hottest releases in the RPG category and will be released in North America and Europe in August 2007. In the European market, VIZ Media will proactively distribute and market Blue Dragon through VIZ Media Europe, S.A.R.L, (VME) its Paris-based subsidiary established in late 2006.
The BLUE DRAGON Anime is a classic adventure story of magical Shadow powers, flying air fortresses, and unbounded heroism! Brought together by fate, Seven Soldiers of Light must awaken the Shadow within themselves in time to overcome a despotic power and bring peace to their land. Their ensuing journey through a rich fantasy world is also an internal journey to awaken the great power within each of them. Journey with them into the world
When I first came to Japan’s largest convention center, Tokyo Kokusai Tenjijo (Tokyo International Exhibition Center) or colloquially known as Tokyo Big Sight in 2000 for Winter Comiket 59 I was utterly awe-struck at the immense spaces the venue had on offer for exhibitors and the visiting public. Although the event 7 years ago still eclipses this year’s Tokyo International Anime Fair many times over in terms of attendance and space used, organizers were still able to cram 107,713 people and over 270 company booths into East Halls 1-3 of the facilities over 4 days. Each hall has a floor area of 90m x 90m (295 feet x 295 feet), the ceiling is 31 meters (100 feet) from the ground.The roof can supposedly move about to allow control of the amount of natural light that flows in although apparently climate control is impossible within the halls themselves. That said, by adding more human bodies, the temperature soared on the 2 public days, culminating on Saturday, where the attendance would see it’s 45,764 person / day peak. The climate yielded sweaty results for an active person in a business suit. By the end of each day I could wring out my undershirt like I just pulled it out of the wash (joking). Thankfully, Japanese beverager Suntory, sponsored TAF by supplying drinks, allowing everyone to retain vital liquids. Out of curiosity, I probably logged the strangest question asked during the event when, towards the middle of Sunday I stuck my head in staff control and asked if they knew the ambient temperature in the combined halls 1-3 at that point in time. A girl behind the counter took my question to the backroom of 10+ staffers who I was in clear view of. After she asked, I got this blown away look of perplexity from all of them that made me wonder if maybe I had asked the wrong question. She said they didn’t know although I was certain a facility of this prominence would have the ability to gauge its own in-house temps. Later on I dug around online and found some fans had taken thermometers to recent Comic Market events at Big Sight and recorded upwards of 90 degrees F within the halls around mid-day.
Getting back to the 3 story high ceiling, I like high places and spotted a few rafters and catwalks up there that would be ideal vista locations for some birdseye view photos of the fair floor. I put in a request on Saturday to go up and 5 minutes later one of the Big Sight staff came around with 2 hardhats in hand to guide me there. Apparently, I was the first foreigner in the 11 years since Big Sight was built to make the climb to the roof’s underside. The journey began on the floor level toward the back of Exhibition Hall 2, the staffer used some special keys to gain access to a small room with a tight metal stairwell. A healthy climb and several flights later, the staffer ducked down and to the left and opened a barely 1 meter square hatch which he climbed through. I followed suit, and we emerged dead center over the convention space on the other side on a metal platform with rails and more stairs. After some more climbing we were as high as you could go and still be inside the structure.
The view was amazing and all-encompassing. You could make out every balloon, booth and person from Avex’s cubicle down near the main exit to NTV’s which was right in front of the main entrance and everything in between. We’re happy to share this exclusive look from “the top of the world” as it were below in a series of high resolution shots. Click on each one for full size (3264 x 2488 1.6MB):
Kabushiki-gaisha Madhouse was one of the studios at the The Tokyo Anime Fair 2007 that really let it all hangout, putting alot of new project data on the record in a big way at their booth which featured a walk through gallery of many giant sized posters suspended from the ceiling. One of them (seen left – click here for high-res enlargement) mysteriously alluded to 2 live action films based on Madhouse animation “features” being produced in world movie capital Hollywood, California, USA right now. The first project was said to be currently underway, and another “is listed for a possible remake”. According to the text of the poster, there’s still a long way to go before any of the details can be made public. Their statements “as far as we know” and “if the projects come true” lead me to believe that the studio is maybe not so close to the action in tensiletown, however. We tried our damndest but couldn’t get Madhouse representatives to stray too far afield from the text of the poster.
We simply don’t know if these are projects already known in the realms of outed facts, rumor and speculation which we so love or if they may be entirely new quantities. Right off the top of my head though, I’m willing to hazard a guess that the first project “now underway” is almost certainly Threshold Entertainment’s Ninja Scroll (which we were the first in the English speaking world to break news on way back on March 13th, 2002). The second one is a bit more elusive, but just to throw something out there to think about, on August 17th, 2006 ANS reported Hollywood was looking at remaking the live action Death Note (Madhouse produced the Anime TV series). Additionally, on November 6th, 2006 we mentioned Capcom was remaking their Street Fighter II video games into an American film with a slated 2008 USA theatrical premiere (Madhouse produced the “V” TV series). On February 1st we also relayed Hollywood could remake NANA (Madhouse produced the TV series there). In 2005, New Line Cinema announced they had acquired the film rights to Naoki Urasawa’s Monster (Madhouse produced the TV series there as well). Lastly, Daniel Zelter reminds us Vampire Hunter D author Hideyuki Kikuchi has recently written that his work will be adapted in Hollywood. Though, as real as these projects are, and as real as the possibility may be that the anime could be used as source / research material in their production, my gut instinct tells me none of these really qualify. The most likely candidate in terms of worldwide publicity in my mind remains James Cameron’s planned remake of Madhouse’s 1993 OVA Battle Angel (Gunnm). It could also be something entirely unknown. Regardless, it should not be ignored that this studio shares an intimate relationship with many high profile properties which are moving forward in the film houses of Hollywood at this very second. As they are well positioned, the trend is likely to continue into the future.
Madhouse made no bones about the fact that they are cozying up to Hollywood at this year’s Tokyo International Anime Fair. In fact, they put the information out into plain view. Checkout our exclusive high resolution pic of their poster heralding the news and follow our deductive reasoning on which of their anime will be remade into potential American blockbusters in the new feature: TAF2007 Exclusive Report: Hollywood Developing Films Based On Madhouse Anime.
Back on February 27th ANS was the first (and only) English source to break details on Masamune Shirow and Production I.G.’s first collaboration since 1994’s Ghost In The Shell. The duo are co-producing the new manga and anime Shinreigari: GHOST HOUND. Following our short-line prediction, anime details were indeed announced at the Tokyo Anime Fair 2007: Celebrating the 20th anniversary from its foundation, Production I.G announces at TAF 2007 a new project, “Ghost Hound” (original title: Shinreigari / Ghost Hound), written by Production I.G and Ghost in the Shell-famed Shirow Masamune. The main staff includes director Ryutaro Nakamura (Serial Experiments Lain, Kino’s Travels), scriptwriter Chiaki J. Konaka (Serial Experiments Lain, The Big O) and character designer Mariko Oka (Jigoku Shojo, Jing: King of Bandits). The story will be co-developed by Crossroad. “Ghost Hound” will premiere in Japan fall 2007 on WOWOW. The comic version of “Ghost Hound”, drawn by Kanata Asahi, will start serializing in Japan on Monthly Comic Blade (published by Mag Garden) from March 30, 2007. www.productionig.com
New Guests of Honor at this years AnimagiC, germanys biggest anime- & manga-convention We are pleased to announce the next guests of honor for AnimagiC 2007: Founder & President of Studio GONZO Shoji Murahama, Last-Exile-Character-Designer Range Murata and Black-Cat-Director Shin Itagaki. Together with the concert-agency Rock Identity we proudly present Plastic Tree as this years j-rock-act. More guests of honor to be announced. The ninth AnimagiC will be held in the famous Beethoven-Hall in Bonn from july 27th to july 29th 2007. AnimagiC, germanys biggest anime- & manga-convention, is famous for its guests of honor. This year we already announced the following guests: Kouta Hirano, Tomokazu Tokoro, Yasuyuki Ueda, Hideyuki Kurata, Thorsten Munchow, Koh Kawarajima and Haruka Fukushima. AnimagiC is presented by AnimaniA, Germanys leading magazin for anime, manga and japanese popculture (since 1994). The magazin ist published monthly and available in a normal and a special DVD-edition. AnimagiC July 27-29, 2007 estimated attendee: 12.000 + Beethovenhalle, Bonn, Germany www.AnimagiC-Online.de
TORRANCE, Calif., March 20, 2007 – Bandai Visual today announced the simultaneous U.S. and Japan release of the bestselling OVA “Freedom” Vol. 1 in HD DVD/DVD Twin disc format. “Freedom,” which is the first HD DVD product from Bandai Visual, will be released in North America by Bandai Visual USA through their distributor Geneon Entertainment (USA). The product will also be available in Japan at .ANIME (www.dot-anime.com), an integrated online anime portal operated by Anime Channel Co., Ltd. After “Freedom” Vol.1, Bandai Visual will start releasing other HD DVD and Blu-ray titles in Japan, with plans to distribute overseas under its flagship international label Honneamise.
Bandai Visual is vigorously developing product for next generation formats and has previously announced a collaboration with Memory-Tech Corporation and Microsoft Co., Ltd. on a project to improve image quality for the latest HD DVD video compression technology for the global anime software market. The “Freedom” Vol. 1 release in HD DVD/DVD Twin format will be the first result of the collaboration. The three companies have fine-tuned VC1 specifically to achieve higher visual quality for Japanese anime. The “Freedom” HD DVD/DVD Twin disc will also include HDi network function which will offer new ways to enjoy the product. Bandai Visual intends to utilize the expanded technological capabilities of the new formats and hopes to present viewers with added-value on its new products. Its goal is to create a companywide structure to produce and release premier anime titles simultaneously in North America and internationally.
“Freedom” is a science fiction anime series whose use in Nissin instant noodle TV ads created much attention in Japan. The drama unfolds on the moon’s surface in the city of Eden, the last human settlement, and focuses on a youth whose actions threaten to shake the freedom and peace of Eden. The scale of the story and the dynamic action have earned the series high marks. Bandai Visual is confident that this work, which uses the latest concepts and technology to combine 3DCGI with the 2D animation that has long been a key strength of Japan’s anime industry, is ideal as a technology development source for the next generation medium of HD DVD. Two volumes of the six-part series “Freedom” have been released so far in Japan on DVD and already more than 100,000 units have been shipped. The June 26 HD DVD/DVD Twin release will be the first introduction of the title in North America.
Title: FREEDOM Vol. 1 (of 6) Format: HD DVD/DVD Twin Catalog #: BUHH0117 UPC#: 858604001172 Street Date: June 26, 2007 SRP: $39.99 Spec: Japanese audio with English subtitles Extras: Special prologue to the series and trailers Further information will be available at www.bandaivisual.us/freedom and also at www.myspace.com/honneamise.
New York-based integrated family entertainment company Big Tent Entertainment has named toy industry powerhouse Play Along, a division of JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAKK), master toy partner for the Japanese animated character and viral sensation Domo. Through the long-term agreement, Play Along, known for creating innovative, blockbuster toy lines for such hit properties as Cabbage Patch Kids and Care Bears, has acquired the North American licensing rights to develop a wide range of captivating Domo toy products. Play Along’s line will be highlighted by Domo plush (with and without articulation and sound)
Shochiku chose this year’s Tokyo Anime Fair to rollout its upcoming SF Action / CGI animated film Vexille: 2077 Nippon Sakoku. A symposium held on March 22nd introduced cast, staff and a first ever video sneak peek. Over 1000 people attended making it a standing room only affair. Principal Photography on the project began in May 2006, completion is expected June, 2007. The tentative budget is $10 million. Production: OXYBOT, Avex Entertainment, CCRE, Shochiku, TBS, Shogakukan, Shogakukan Production. Directed by Fumihiko Sori (His second film as director, following Ping Pong / Producer on Appleseed), Scenario written by Fumihiko Sori and Haruka Handa (Appleseed), Music by Paul Oakenfold (Matrix Reloaded). The nationwide theatrical premiere in Japan is scheduled for August 2007. Cast include Meisa Kuroki, Yasuko Matsuyuki, and Shosuke Tanihara. The director mentioned the movie is the result of a highly technically advanced production process.
From the beginning of the 21st century, the progression of biotechnology has evolved drastically to improve human life spans and medical treatments. However, with no global guidance on safety, there have been setbacks such as the creation of dangerous viruses and medical accidents. Due to all the issues occurring around the world, the United Nations created an international treaty restricting the research and developments of biotechnology.
Around the same time, the year 2067, the development of high tech robots were also expanding. Japan was especially in the lead of robots, developing and producing robots from home to military useages, monopolizing the global market. Robot technologies were also advancing into fields such as developing robot parts to live longer and androids (human-shaped robots). Similar to what they did for biotechnology, the United Nations issued another restriction treaty for robot technology as well since they were considered a threat to mankind. Japan, the leading nation for these cutting edge technologies objected to this proposal, however failed to veto the treaty and decides to leave the United Nations to take the path of isolation by closing its doors. The year is now In 2077 – 10 years has passed since Japan had decided to leave the United Nations to go into isolation. They have completely blocked the islands with an ultra magnetic field which prevents anyone to see what is going inside, nor for people to travel in/out of the country. Japan has become an extremely mysterious country and also a leading nation in producing weapons of mass destruction.
United States intelligence obtained information that Japan was developing a new weapon that would be a serious threat to not only the USA but the entire world. A US special forces unit, SWORD was ordered to go on a secret mission to enter Japan and find out what they are developing. Lead by a female commander, VEXILLE and LEON, who is also her boyfriend, the members of SWORD head to accomplish this dangerous mission.
With carefully scheduled plans, SWORD finally makes their way into Japan from the Tokyo Bay area. Already they have lost most of their men, but Vexille and Leon move forward. With attacks from every side possible, Vexille makes the lone escape into the sea and is helped by a group of Japanese, the underground forces which is lead by a woman named Maria/ The group lives in a neighborhood, where the streets are full of life but this is now way “developed,” where one would dream about the high-rise and the neo-futuristic city, which Vexille had expected to see in Japan. Instead the city keeps the nostalgic atmosphere, a life before all the technology had developed. Suddenly, without warning a nearby man clutches his head, then his body, and as he writhes in pain, collapses to the ground. People peer at the sight but do not assist him. Vexille stares at the scene and to her surprise, the man works through the pain to suddenly pop back up on his feet, with the only feature different from before being his empty, lifeless eyes.
The man looks into Vexille’s eyes and locks it as the target. Vexille suddenly notices that she is surrounded by the forces created by a mega corporation DAIWA, who is desperate to exterminate her.
In the meantime back in the SWORD HQ, with the help of the penetration of their members, they are finally able to decode the electromagnetic field that had blocked Japan out of the entire world map. As the shape of Japan is revealed, the command room staff members open their eyes widely to the sight. Almost the whole of Japan is wasteland, where strange, gigantic creatures roam all over. The only residential area that could be seen in sight is around Tokyo, and also an artificial island created in Tokyo Bay, with the words “Daiwa Heavy Industries” coming into view. They also find that there is scarcely no sign of biological activity on the map; ie: there are hardly any humans left in Japan. The staff can hardly believe what they see. This is Japan, 10 years after isolation. What has become of Japan? Why did this happen? What is Daiwa trying to do? Who is Maria, and why is she helping Vexille? Will Vexille be able to find out the answers to avoid the world from falling apart? One mystery leads to another which directs to the dramatic ending….
Sony Pictures has announced Satoshi’s Kon’s animated feature Paprika will arrive on a number of commerical media formats simultaneously on May 23rd. These include: Blu-ray Disc (5,980 yen), DVD (4,980 yen), DVD BOX (13,440 Yen) and UMD Video (3,990 Yen). The Blu-ray and standard DVD will feature the film which runs about 90 minutes in length with 2 Japanese audio channels (DD 5.1ch) and (DTS 5.1ch) along with an art direction featurette and a Megumi Hayashibara, Satoshi Kon and Susumu Hirasawa vocal commentary track. The DVD BOX will consist of a 2 disc set. The first disc will be the standard DVD release accompanied by a omake disk with about 30 minutes of extra material consisting of an interview with seiyuu Yasutaka Tsutsui, Megumi Hayashibaru and Toru Furutani. Additional featurettes will cover things like the filming supervision, 3DCG element construction, etc.. other extras with the BOX include a 760 page storyboard book, interview booklet and lavishly illustrated BOX enclosure. The UMD version will include the same features as the regular DVD version with 2 audio channels and Japanese subtitles.
Yahoo has a photo of a real, life-size figure of the Death Note shinigami hero Ryuk being displayed at the Shibuya Tatsuya to commemorate the DVD release of the second film. Several other lifesize Ryuk displays showed up at HMV andTower Record Shibuya outlets on the 14th. Additionally, a promtional campaign for the coming spinoff “L” movie starring Ken Matsuyama has begun in the district centering on ad placements being made on the giant videoscreens such as Super Lisa and QFront which ring Hachiko Square. You can see an image of those ads here (click for enlargement).
Famed anime music composer Yoko Kanno will be in South Korea on March 26th, for a preview of “Yuuga Na Sekai”, a new film she scored. It stars Sung Ganho.
Korean actress Jun Ji-hyun has taken on the acting name “Gianna Jun” for her Hollywood debut in the live action adaptaiton of Production I.G.’s Blood: The Last Vampire. She chose the pseudonym after as she’s run into the problem of foreigners not being able to remember her proper Korean name. Filming on Blood started on the 15th in Beunos Aires, Argentina, its scheduled to run about 3 months. The movie hits theaters in the summer of 2008.
Ghost In The Shell: SAC scenario writer Yoshiki Sakurai has been elected to a special lecturer position to Eastern Europe by the Cultural Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He’ll tour the region giving several speeches in countries such as Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. The events will introduce the culture and the art of Japan via embassy and consulate general sponsorship. The tour will occur March 19-24th. Sakurai will talk about production and technology involved in the Japanese anime industry.
With the final broadcast episode having aired on March 15, 2007, it’s been revealed Sumomomo Momomo: Chijou Saikyou No Yome stories 23-24 will be appear exclusively as extras on the DVD release of the series. Then, let’s introduce the comment of the performer who finishes collecting
Sony’s been running an Taiwan exclusive “Be You” DVD/Blue Ray PC drive campaign utilizing Moe style anime characters in Taiwan.
Watch Impress has images and details on the latest crop of Windows Vista pirate copies being sold on the black market (virtually everywhere) in China. Among them are some editions that don’t even legitimately exist from Microsoft including “Windows Vista Professional 2007.”
As we first reported back on January 23rd, Yellow Tanabe’s manga Kekkaishi took the Shogakukan 52nd Manga Prize in the Childrens Division. The work has serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday since 2004 Web Newtype has pics from the awards ceremony.
Newsweek Japan has a major feature article on the “Moe World” in its 3/21 issue which goes on sale in the country on March 14th.
NTV News 24 has a television news excerpt on Ikebukuro’s female otaku locus Otome Road.
The production announcement symposium for the coming Bakugan Battle Brawlers TV anime was held in Tokyo on the 15th. Broadcast begins on TV Tokyo on April 5th. The property will simultaneously launch a collectible battling card / toy game. The rock band “Psychic Lover” that will do the theme song to the show had a live performance at the event as did Elephant Girl who will perform the ED theme “Air Drive”. International distribution is already planned with a Canadian broadcast for the animation scheduled in May, followed by rollouts in Asian, American and European countries to occur in short order. Other product tie-ins extending to gashapon, chewing gum and videogames (including one coming up for the Nintendo DS) are in the works now. Staff includes: Director Mitsuo Hashimoto, Series Composition by Jun Maekawa, Character Designs by Yoshihiro Nagamori, Monster Designs by Susumu Imaishi, Sound direction by Jin Aketagawa, Animation Production by TMS Entertainment, Planning and Original Concept by Sega Toys, SPIN MASTER, Bakugan Project.
Illustrator Takayuki Yamaguchi and writer Norio Nanjo’s critically acclaimed Samurai comic Shigurui will be adapted to TV animation according to scans of handbill flyers that have been spotted in advance copies of Vol. 1 of the manga which streets on 3/20. The broadcast debut is set for July, 2007 in Japan.