August 2010

August 23, 2010



Ouran High School Host Club Manga to End in September

Ending marked by art contest, CD of favorite quotes by anime cast

The October issue of Hakuskensha's shōjo manga magazine LaLa has confirmed on Tuesday that Bisco Hatori's romantic comedy manga Ouran High School Host Club will end with a 52-page chapter in the next issue on September 24. The magazine had already announced in June that the series was entering its final story arc.

In the story, high school freshman Haruhi pretends to be a boy so that she can take part in the wealthy school's Host Club, to which she owes a large debt. The manga launched in LaLa in August of 2003, and Viz Media licensed the manga and launched its North American release in July of 2005. The manga has been among the top-ranked titles both in Japan and on the New York Times manga best seller list.

In April 2006, a 26-episode anime began in Japan with Maaya Sakamoto as Haruhi and Mamoru Miyano as Host Club president Tamaki. Funimation licensed and released the anime in North America in 2008.

To mark the end of the manga, LaLa launched a "Host Club: The Last Party" fan campaign to give away presents. The campaign included an illustration contest for fan art, as well as votes for the fans' favorite "Title Page Illustration Selection" and favorite quotes from the manga ("The Best Collection"). The cast of Ouran's anime adaptation then recorded the top-ranking quotes for a CD. The CD is being offered to readers via a mail-away offer starting in the October issue.

Life-Size Gundam's Parts Auctioned for 4 Million Yen

3 spare parts, 3 decals for 59-foot statue fetches US$46,900 for kids' vaccines

The online website Yahoo Auctions! Japan sold three spare parts and three decals from the 1/1-scale, "life-size" Gundam statue for charity for 4,001,000 yen (about US$46,900). The auction ran from August 16 to August 23 and ended after 224 bids. The charity benefits the Japan Committee "Vaccines for the World's Children."

The fiberglass-reinforced plastic parts with an urethane-resin coating were for the 18-meter-tall (59-foot-tall) statue that once stood at Tokyo's artificial Odaiba island last year. The statue now stands at the central Japanese city of Shizuoka, the "model capital of the world" and the home of Bandai's factory for Gundam plastic models.

In particular, Part A is from an operating part of the hip joint, Part B is from the tip of the feet, and Part C is an exterior detail used throughout the body's surface. The clear acrylic film decals were made on a thermal wax printer and would have been used on the lower arms and lower legs.

The parts from the Gundam statue were on display at the Gundam Super Expo, which ran into Tokyo from August 10 to 19. A second set of spare parts will go on auction on September 13.

Miyazaki Considers Porco Rosso Film Sequel

"Last Sortie" is not Ghibli's next film; studio planned downsizing if Arrietty was not successful

In the September issue of Cut magazine, director Hayao Miyazaki revealed that he is considering a film of his "Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie" concept — although this hypothetical film will not be made, if at all, until after Ghibli's next film at the earliest. The current issue of Rockin'On's Cut shipped on Thursday with a 20,000-character interview with Miyazaki, as well as interviews with his longtime Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki, this summer's The Borrowers (Karigurashi no Arrietty) director Hiromasa Yonebayashi (a.k.a. "Maro"), and young voice actor Ryunosuke Kamiki (The Borrowers' Sho).

In his interview, Miyazaki discussed his studio's plans for releasing two films in the three years after 2008's Ponyo film, as first revealed on the studio's official website. Both films have relatively new directors; the first of those film projects became this summer's The Borrowers.

Had The Borrowers not been a success, Suzuki was considering downsizing Ghibli to just five staff members. This smaller hypothetical Ghibli would not make any more films, and just handle the copyrights for the studio's existing works. (The Borrowers earned almost US$75 million in Japan as of last weekend.)

The next Ghibli film by a young director has a girl as the leading character, and Suzuki suggested that Miyazaki can make a film after that one as a "hobby." Miyazaki wants to make "Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie," his previously introduced sequel idea which would be set during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Miyazaki's first Porco Rosso film was set between World War I and World War II.

The July 2009 issue of Model Graphix magazine described the "Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie" concept in which the title character pilots a Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 bomber from Italy. Miyazaki drew an irregularly serialized collection of manga and graphical essays called Zassō Note (Daydream Data Notes) in the same magazine from 1984 to 1992. Viz republished "Hikōtei Jidai" (The Age of the Flying Boat), Zassō Note's 1990 prototype manga story for Miyazaki's Porco Rosso film, in English in Animerica Magazine.

Miyazaki previously directed Ghibli Museum's "Mei to Konekobasu" short, an unofficial 2003 continuation of his My Neighbor Totoro film classic (1988). Hiroyuki Morita directed 2002's The Cat Returns, Ghibli's film based on Aoi Hiiragi's Baron: The Cat Returns companion manga to her Whisper of the Heart (Mimi wo Sumaseba) manga (1989). The Whisper of the Heart manga inspired Yoshifumi Kondô and Ghibli's 1995 film of the same name. Hiiragi herself drew a direct manga sequel called Mimi wo Sumaseba: Shiawase na Jikan in 1995.

Also in 1995, a live-action television special was made of Umi ga Kikoeru II: Ai ga Aru kara, the sequel book to Saeko Himuro's Umi ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves) novel. Tomomi Mochizuki oversaw an anime adaptation of Ocean Waves at Ghibli in 1993, but neither Mochizuki nor Ghibli was involved in the live-action sequel.

Kamiki, another one of the interviewees in Cut, has the unusual distinction of starring as a voice actor in at least four Ghibli works (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Hoshi wo Katta Hi, The Borrowers) — and he just turned 17 in May. He also had lead roles in the Doraemon: Nobita no Kyoryu [2006] remake, The Piano Forest, and Summer Wars.

Source: Anime News Network soel

August 21-22, 2010



Love Hina Manga Returns with 1-Shot Story in September

1998-2001 romantic comedy returns with 6 full-color pages in Shonen Magazine

This year's 39th issue of Kodansha's Weekly Shonen Magazine is announcing on Wednesday that Ken Akamatsu's Love Hina romantic comedy manga is returning with a one-shot manga story in the next issue on September 1. The memorial revival special will have six full-color pages and feature the characters Keitarō and Naru. The same 40th issue of the magazine will also run the 300th installment of Akamatsu's Negima! Magister Negi Magi manga and offer an exclusive Negima t-shirt.

Love Hina ran in the same magazine from 1998 to 2001, and Tokyopop published its 14 volumes in North America. Del Rey published the 27th Negima manga volume in July.

Natsu no Arashi! Manga to End in September

Creator Jin Kobayashi (School Rumble) already planning new manga

The September issue of Square Enix's Monthly Gangan Joker magazine has announced on Saturday that Jin Kobayashi's Natsu no Arashi! science-fiction romance manga is ending in the next issue on September 22. This story from the creator of School Rumble centers on a boy named Hajime Yasaka who meets an older high school girl named Sayoko "Arashi" Arashiyama in an old town coffee shop. "Arashi" happens to have a secret that Hajime learns one fateful summer vacation.

The manga launched in Square Enix's Monthly Gangan Wing in 2006, and it moved to Gangan Joker after that magazine replaced both Gangan Wing and Shōnen Gangan Powered in 2009. The anime studio SHAFT adapted the story into a television series in 2009, and Crunchyroll simulcasted the anime outside Japan. A second television anime series titled Natsu no Arashi! Akinai-chū inspiredpremiered later that year.

Del Rey published the omnibus version of the 14, 15, and 16th volumes of Kobayashi's School Rumble manga last month. Kodansha's Bessatsu Shonen Magazine indicated in February that Kobayashi is planning a new series in that magazine, but has not revealed its title or launch date.

Voice Actor Blake Shepard to Hold Benefit Concert

Shepard's sister critically injured after being hit by drunk driver

The Anime Network has announced that voice actor Blake Shepard and his band Electric Attitude will be performing a benefit concert on August 26 at the event venue Walter's on Washington in Houston. Other bands slated to perform are The Live Lights, Young Girls, Roky Moon & Bolt, and the Sideshow Tramps.

The benefit was created after Shepard's sister, Mareshah, was critically injured by a drunk driver while crossing Washington Avenue at Thompson Street, an intersection near Walter's on Washington. Due to Washington Avenue's redevelopment over the years, the lack of safety measures for pedestrians has been a ongoing issue for local citizens.

The hope for the benefit concert is to help the family with medical bills and rehabilitation, as well as raise awareness about a need for crosswalks and other public safety measures on Washington Avenue.

To find out more information about the benefit or to make a donation, people can visit

Boom Boom Satellites to Perform at NY Anime Festival

J-Rock electronic duo at Far East to East Showcase in October with Puffy AmiYumi

The New York Anime Festival announced the J-Rock electronic duo Boom Boom Satellites will perform at the festival's Far East to East Showcase in New York City on October 10. Other bands announced for the event include Puffy AmiYumi, Zazen Boys, and Echostream. Members of each band will be present throughout the New York Anime Festival for panel discussions and autograph signings. Voice actress Minori Chihara will also attend the festival and the Japanese rock band VAMPS will be present as well. New York Anime Festival will take place from October 8 to October 10 and share its location with New York Comic Con.

The Boom Boom Satellites include bassist and programmer Masayuki Nakano, with guitarist and vocalist Michiyuki Kawashima. The duo first debuted in Europe in 1997. The group has created music for anime projects such as Appleseed and Vexille - 2077 Isolation of Japan. They also performed a theme song for Xam'd: Lost Memories.

Bamboo Blade Manga to End on September 3

Masahiro Totsuka, Aguri Igarashi's kendō manga inspired 2007 AIC A.S.T.A. anime

This year's 17th issue of Square Enix's Young Gangan magazine has announced on Friday that Masahiro Totsuka and Aguri Igarashi's Bamboo Blade manga is ending in the next issue on September 3. The manga revolves around a high school kendō (Japanese fencing) team. Yen Press launched the North American version of the manga in its Yen Plus magazine in 2008, and Yen Press has scheduled the sixth of the 13 current volumes for next month.

AIC A.S.T.A. adapted the manga into a television anime series in 2007, and Funimation released the anime in North America.

Oxford Dictionary of English Adds 'Hikikomori'

"Abnormal avoidance of social contact" depicted in many anime; "otaku" already added

Oxford University Press published the third edition of its Oxford Dictionary of English (not to be confused with the much-older and much-longer Oxford English Dictionary) on Thursday. According to the Japan Today website, the dictionary has added the word "hikikomori," along with about 2,000 other new words. Oxford's online entry for hikikomori is as follows:

Pronunciation: /hiˌkēkəˈmôri/
noun (plural same)
(in Japan) the abnormal avoidance of social contact, typically by adolescent males
• a person who avoids social contact

Japanese, literally 'staying indoors, (social) withdrawal'

Hikikomori is a Japanese phenomenon in which a young person, usually male, withdraws entirely from society, isolating and often confining themselves to their home. The concept has been depicted in anime several times, most notably in Welcome to the NHK (pictured at left). Hikikomori characters also appear in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Eden of The East, Rozen Maiden, and others. Japan itself is depicted as having been a hikikomori prior to meeting America in the manga Hetalia - Axis Powers.

The Oxford Dictionary of English is a single-volume "shorter" alternative to the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary (OED). The Oxford Dictionary of English already added the word "otaku" to its second edition in 2005. The OED also added "otaku" in 2004.

Source: Anime News Network soel

August 18, 2010

This just in! We have new titles this month. Come check out these artists wonderfully drawn illustrations, series that we love to read, and all around good stuff.

I AM MARU 2 DVD Photo Collection Book of Maru "Maru desu! 2"

Kazu Aki Artworks

Takeshi Okabe Art Works - RE BOOTMasamune Shirow - Pieces 3: Wild Wet Quest

Udon's Art of Capcom 2




Composer Bice Wrote K-On!! Song Before Passing Away

"Gohan wa Okazu" appears in ep. 20, 3 weeks after Mahoraba/Kirarin/Kimi wa Pet composer's passing

The listings for the newest K-ON!! CD singles have revealed that the late singer-composer Bice wrote a song for K-ON!! before she passed away in July. As reported last month, Bice's official website announced on July 30 that she passed away in her home on July 26 due to a heart attack. The K-ON!! song she wrote, "Gohan wa Okazu," appeared in episode 20, which just aired on Tuesday. As recently as two days before her passing, she wrote on her blog about writing a song for a popular anime.

Bice made her debut on a major label with her self-titled maxi-single in 1998. She worked on the soundtracks for the Mahoraba ~Heartful days~ and Kirarin Revolution television anime series, as well as the soundtrack for the PlayStation 2 game Rimokokoron. (She worked on Mahoraba ~Heartful days~ under the stage name Anne.) She also performed the "Like Someone in Love" opening theme song for the Japanese live-action television adaptation of Yayoi Ogawa's Kimi wa Pet (Tramps Like Us) manga.

Hen Zemi's Tagro Addresses Illegally Streamed Videos

Current Japanese law does not prohibit watching unauthorized streams

TAGRO, the creator of the Abnormal Physiology Seminar (Hen Zemi) manga and the artist of Gainax's Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt manga, weighed in on the issue of illegally streamed anime on his Twitter account on Tuesday. (The fourth Hen Zemi manga volume shipped last month with the first of two planned original anime DVDs.)

TAGRO first noted that he was encouraged that a recognized creator such as Yana Toboso (Black Butler) raised her voice on the issue on Sunday. TAGRO then talked about a young woman who said she put an illegal video of Hen Zemi on her blog for all to see. When he warned her about it, she responded, "I understand the feelings of annoyance that creators get when their material is watched for free. I get annoyed when an anime BD I just bought is posted on the net!" TAGRO expressed his incredulity at her response.

Japan's Copyright Law prohibits unauthorized uploaders but had expressly allowed people to download for private use until this year. In June of 2009, the Japanese parliament passed an amendment that would make it illegal to knowingly download copyrighted material without authorization for the first time. The new law went into effect on January 1, 2010.

However, the Internet Watch website reported that the Japanese government's Agency for Cultural Affairs specifically stated in 2007 that watching an unauthorized stream from YouTube and similar video websites is not considered a prohibited "download," even under the legal definition of the term in the amended law. (Posting an unauthorized video online, on the other hand, was and remains prohibited.)

After the agency's pronouncements, the Gigazine website noted that YouTube users technically do download, if temporarily, a video file when they "stream." On the other hand, the Japanese copyright laws already had an exception to permit temporary file copies in browser and video player caches.

Source: Anime News Network soel

August 16, 2010



Ghibli's Earthsea Opens with US $20,100 in 5 Theaters

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World also opens in U.S. at #5 with estimated US$10.5 million

The Box Office Mojo website reports that Goro Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's Tales from Earthsea (Gedo Senki) anime film earned an estimated US$20,100 during its opening weekend in the United States. With five theaters, the film release had an estimated per-screen average of US$4,020. By comparison on their first full weekend of release, Princess Mononoke (1999) earned US$144,446 in eight theaters, Spirited Away (2002) earned US$449,839 in 26 theaters, Howl's Moving Castle (2005) earned US$427,987 in 36 theaters, and Ponyo (2009) earned US3,585,852 in 927 theaters. These previous five films were directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Ghibli co-founder and Goro Miyazaki's father.

Tales from Earthsea adapts Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea fantasy novels with the English dubbing cast of Blaire Restaneo, Matt Levin, Timothy Dalton, Cheech Marin, Mariska Hargitay, and Willem Dafoe. The film opened in Japan and other countries in 2006, and earned US$63,786,538 in Japan and US$68,625,104 in countries outside the United States.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Edgar Wright's adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, also opened in the United States on Friday. It landed at #5 with an estimated US$10,525,000 in 2,818 theaters. The film (and the original graphic novels) included numerous references to Japanese videogames, manga, and anime such as Astro Boy (Mighty Atom) and Akira.

Black Rock Shooter Gets Role-Playing Game

A website has opened to announce that the Black Rock Shooter franchise will be adapted into a role-playing game. The domain is registered to Ryu's Office, the company headed by publicity producer and creative director Ryuta Konuma (Valkyria Chronicle II, Persona 3/4). The website is running a movie which says, "In the year 2032 AD, mankind was decimated. Before she wakes up…. She becomes RPG."

The Black Rock Shooter character illustrations by the artist huke already inspired a song by the musician Ryo and an anime by director Yutaka Yamamoto (Kannagi, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzuymiya, Lucky Star) and his studio Ordet. A free "Black Rock Shooter Matsuri 2010" event just ended in Tokyo's Akihabara UDX building on Sunday.

2nd Macross Frontier Film Dated for February 26, 2011

The official Twitter account of Bandai Namco's Bandai Collectors division has confirmed on Sunday that the second Macross Frontier film, Macross Frontier ~Sayonara no Tsubasa~, will open in Japan on February 26, 2011. The announcement was made at Girasama Carnival, the summer Macross Frontier event which ran at the Pacifico Yokohama on Sunday.

The first film based on the Macross Frontier television series, Macross Frontier ~Itsuwari no Utahime~, opened on November 21, 2009 and ended with a teaser for the second film.

Naruto, Bleach, Tensai Bakabon Cameras for Sale

Cameras can insert anime characters into photos; Kamen Rider, Ultraman also available

The electronics manufacturer Casio has announced that one of its popular camera models will come in anime editions: a Naruto version, a Bleach version, and a version for Fujio Akatsuka's gag anime Tensai Bakabon. The camera is the Casio Exilim Zoom Z330, a 12-megapixel point-and-shoot originally available in multiple colors. The new tie-in versions feature special art on the camera body, special animated start-up screens, and the ability for users to insert images of the respective series' characters into photos on the camera.

The Bleach version of the camera is a limited edition, with only 300 units on sale starting in late August. It also comes with a specially designed camera case and costs 29,800 yen (about US$350.00). The Tensai Bakabon camera comes in two versions — one with Bakabon's Papa and one with the Unagi-Inu (Eel-Dog) character. The camera itself is not limited, but it comes with a special case that is limited to 500 units for each version. It is also due in late August for 29,800 yen. The Naruto camera is due out in mid-September, is not limited, and does not feature a special case. Its price is 27,800 yen (US$320.00).

Similar cameras are also available for the live-action Kamen Rider and Ultraman franchises; they are not limited but do come with special cases for 29,800 yen. Both are due in late August. Another version features five female "Miss Magazine" models who have adorned the cover of Kodansha's Weekly Shonen Magazine, and still another version is dedicated to the Hanshin Tigers baseball team. All of the cameras are currently available for pre-order.

Source: Anime News Network soel

August 12, 2010



Bookstores Struggle, Blockbuster Nears Bankruptcy

Borders has layoffs, Barnes & Noble is up for sale

BordersThe Borders Group book and media store chain had layoffs at its Michigan headquarters on Wednesday according to the local news website, but the number of affected employees was not announced. The company has made frequent cutbacks, including 88 corporate workers and 40 warehouse employees in January. On May 27, the company reported a net loss of US$64.1 million for the fiscal quarter that ended on May 1.

B&NIn a separate development, the more financially stable Barnes & Noble chain of bookstores is close to a settlement with investor Ronald W. Burkle according to The New York Times newspaper. Burkle sued the company to remove a provision which prevented anyone from gaining more than 20 percent of business without board approval. Burkle owns 19 percent. Barnes & Noble announced that it was putting itself up for sale on August 3. The company's largest shareholder is also its founder, Leonard Riggio.

BlockbusterAnalysts suspect Blockbuster, with a debt of US$980 million, will make a pre-packaged bankruptcy filing according to Home Media Magazine. The company was delisted by New York Stock Exchange , but secured a temporary forbearance agreement allowing it to miss a US$42 million debt payment. However, the agreement must be extended this Thursday or it will be in default. Blockbuster is due to announce its earnings on Thursday.

Dengeki Comic Japan, Haikasoru Novels on iPad/iPhone

Dengeki Comic Japan in December; 1st Haikasoru iBooks "within weeks"

The Comic Natalie website reports that ASCII Media Works (the Japanese publisher of Yotsuba&!, Those Who Hunt Elves, and Gunslinger Girl) will be launching a digital magazine called Dengeki Comic Japan on Apple's iPad and iPhone devices this December. The new anthology was announced last Wednesday as the first such manga magazine for the iPad and iPhone.

Each magazine issue will cost readers about 500 yen (about US$6.00), but the first issue will be free. There will also be a free 120-page pilot edition around this fall. The magazine is slated to expand onto personal computers eventually. The current slate of artists for Dengeki Comic Japan line include Masuya Hokasono, Rensuke Oshikiri, Eiji Miruno, Yōichi Abe, Chen Shu-Fen, Takahiro Shinoda, Chie Ogata, and Tsukiko Iwamura.

In separate development, Nick Mamatas, the editor of Viz Media's Haikasoru science-fiction novel imprint in North America, has announced that Haikasoru will release ebooks on the iBooks electronic book store for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Haikasoru is currently working out a release date, although Mamatas said that some iBooks should be available "within weeks."

Titles fans can expect to see are Harmony, The Next Continent, and Slum Online. Mamatas added that Haikasoru will soon release details about the other formats and titles fans can expect. Haikasoru is the first imprint dedicated to bringing Japanese science fiction to North America.

Animerca Mag, New Strike Witches Dōjinshi in English

Collaborative website launched for legally authorized translations of visual novels

animercavol2 Internet researcher Alex Leavitt has made an unofficial announcement that he is working on the English translation and international distribution of the Japanese fanzine Animerca. On the fanzine's website are images from Animerca volumes one and two, while it also mentions the English-language international issue is "Coming soon." Leavitt has an article in the second volume which focuses on how Toonami was an influence on a generation of anime fans in the United States.

sw Translator Dan Kanemitsu revealed on Monday that he translated The Witches of the Sphinx Vol.2 – The Waterpipe from the Bazaar, a Strike Witches dōjinshi which will first be offered at Tokyo's Comic Market 78 event on Sunday. The dōjinshi's creator Takeshi Nogami (Panzer fräulein ALTESEISEN, Sailor-fuku to Jūsensha) will appear at the event himself, and Takaaki Suzuki, the historical advisor on the Strike Witches anime series, co-created the work. The staffers are still working on international sales for the dōjinshi. Dan Kanemitsu translated the manga and a short story by Suzuki titled, "A Midnight Dream in the Desert," which focuses on The Battle of Fusō Sea. Kanemitsu had also translated the first volume of The Witches of the Sphinx.

A site adminstrator who goes by the name Agilis has launched a collaborative website for legally authorized translations of visual novels. The first project on the site is Waitingforyouguys' Kisaragi no Hogyoku for the Apple iPhone.

Source: Anime News Network soel

August 10, 2010

Can you believe it?! We couldn't believe it when we opened our packages to find new doujinshis from the famous Ugetsu Hakua and Tony Taka!!! Brand new and right off the press!

Oh, and it gets better! We have LIMITED AUTOGRAPHED COPIES of Ugetsu Hakua's Yellow Tag and Raven!!! There are only a few left some come and get them before they are all gone. You can check what else we have in stock of these famous artists in the Ugetsu Hakua's section and Tony’s section. (Please remember that these doujinshis are for ADULTS ONLY. Do not purchase them if you are 18 years or younger.)

Ugetsu Hakua - Raven DoujinshiUE5 Rough Sketch Doujinshi

Ugetsu Hakua Doujinshi - Yellow Tag *SIGNED*

Don't forget to check out our latest products from our New Arrival sections. You might something you would like in addition to the new doujinshis that we received.



Fullmetal Alchemist Special Side Story Manga Next Month

Hiromu Arakawa to print new story in Shonen Gangan mag in September

The September issue of Square Enix's Monthly Shonen Gangan magazine is announcing on Thursday that Hiromu Arakawa is drawing a new special Fullmetal Alchemist side story manga in the next issue on September 11. Arakawa just ended the main Fullmetal Alchemist manga series in June, and the second television anime series based on the manga, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, also ended in July.

Fullmetal Alchemist will also adorn the cover of the October issue, and the issue will bundle miniature Hagaren W Swing figures of the character Roy Mustang and the dog Black Hayate. Readers can then send in forms to receive a comic box (shaped like the suitcase of the main character Ed) and travel stickers in the mail.

The issue that contained the 108th and final Fullmetal Alchemist manga installment sold out throughout Japan, so Square Enix had already announced that the September issue will include a reprint of the final installment.

Viz Media will publish the 24th volume of the manga in North America in January. Funimation has been releasing both of the Fullmetal Alchemist television anime series and the 2005 anime film Fullmetal Alchemist: The Movie - Conqueror of Shamballa. A new Fullmetal Alchemist movie has since been green-lit.

Dragon Ball: RB2 Game to Add New 1/2-Hour Anime

"Super Saiya-jin Zetsumetsu Keikaku" remakes 1993 story with all-new footage

Bandai Namco Games has announced on Monday that production on 30 minutes of new animation footage has been green-lit for the Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 fighting game, which will ship for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles in Japan on November 11.

The new "Dragon Ball: Super Saiya-jin Zetsumetsu Keikaku" (Dragon Ball: Plan to Destroy the Super Saiyajin) animation will remake the story first told by the 1993 Nintendo Famicom (Nintendo Entertainment System) game Dragon Ball Z Gaiden: Saiya-jin Zetsumetsu Keikaku (Dragon Ball Z: Plan to Destroy the Saiyajin). That game had already spawned a two-volume 1993 original video anime (OVA) project, but the new game's "revival animation" is being produced with all-new footage.

The Dragon Ball Kai television anime series is now running in Japan (and in the United States under the name Dragon Ball Z Kai). However, unlike Raging Blast 2's all-new animation footage, Dragon Ball Kai is mostly composed of remastered archival footage with new digital effects on selected scenes.

Bandai Namco Games has already confirmed that the Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 game will ship in North America this fall.

Singer Hikaru Utada to Go on Indefinite Break in 2011

Eva, Freedom, Hana Yori Dango 2 singer to take time off for personal growth

Singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada has announced on her web diary on Monday that she will go on an indefinite hiatus from her musical career starting next year. Before she takes time off, she will release her Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 2 album this fall. This will be her first "best-of" album in six and half years, and it will include her recent songs such as "Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro," "Be My Last," and "Beautiful World," as well as new material.

Utada explained in her Monday message that since she began her musical career at the age of 15, there is a part inside her that stopped growing. When she will return to music is still undetermined, but she said that she feels it will probably be after she has had time to grow a little as a person and naturally wants to share her music again. She added that she does not know if it will take two years, five years, or however long it will be.

Utada is an internationally known, bestselling pop artist born in New York City and raised in Japan and the United States. Her debut album, 1999's First Love, is still Japan's bestselling album ever with about 8 million copies sold. Bandai Visual used Utada's "Kiss & Cry" and "This is Love" songs for the Freedom anime project. Utada also sang the theme songs for the Casshern live-action movie remake and the Hana Yori Dango 2 live-action television adaptation.

More recently, she provided a 2007 remix of her 2000 cover of Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)" for the trailer to Evangelion:1.0 You are (Not) Alone (Evangelion Shin Gekijōban: Jo), as well as her "Beautiful World" song for the anime film itself. She also contributed the "Beautiful World -PLANiTb Acoustica Mix-" for the second film, Evangelion:2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (Evangelion Shin Gekijōban: Ha). In addition to her singing career, she played the heroine Pinoko in the 2001-2002 Black Jack net anime series. She toured the United States and the United Kingdom last year.

Ghibli's Only Yesterday Film Gets Stage Musical

Nostalgic Omohide Poro Poro anime is 1st Ghibli work adapted into stage play

A stage musical version of Isao Takahata and Studio Ghibli's Only Yesterday (Omohide Poro Poro) film will run in Tokyo's Ginga Gekijō theater from April 16 to 29, 2011. It is the first stage play adaptation of any Studio Ghibli work.

The 1991 film follows a 27-year-old Tokyo office lady named Taeko as she takes a sabbatical to visit her brother-in-law's hometown in the countryside. The journey invokes nostalgic memories of her childhood and leads her to reconsider her path in life. The film was Takahata's second Ghibli work after Grave of the Fireflies three years earlier, and it featured actresses Miki Imai and Youko Honna in the shared role of Taeko. The film also included "Ai wa Hana, Kimi wa Sono Tane" — Harumi Miyako's Japanese rendition of "The Rose" song made famous by Bette Midler.

Hikaru Asami will play Taeko during the play's Tokyo run, and Keaki Mori will play Taeko's mother. Aoi Mieno will play Toshio, Taeko's new friend in the countryside. Tamiya Kuriyama is directing, and Masato Kai wrote the score.

After it closes its curtains in Tokyo, the play will move to Semboku City in the northern prefecture of Akita, where it will play from May 8, 2011 to January 3, 2012. Starting in April of 2012, the play will go on a national tour. The cast will vary between locale and dates.

The Only Yesterday film was released on DVD in the United Kingdom and Australia in 2006, but it has yet to be released in North America.

Tow Ubukata to Debut Mardock Scramble at NY Comic Con

Fafner/Le Chevalier D'Eon writer to present 1st film in sci-fi trilogy on October 8

The official website for the Mardock Scramble anime film trilogy has announced on Tuesday that creator Tow Ubukata will personally present the world premiere of the first film at New York Comic Con on October 8. Mardock Scramble: The First Compression, the first of three films based on Ubukata's science fiction novel series, will not open in Japan until November 6.

The North American book distributor Simon & Schuster is already listing a Mardock Scramble book by Ubukata for a January 2011 release by Viz Media. Simon & Schuster describes the plot of the book as the following:

Why me? It was to be the last thought a young prostitute, Balot, would ever have…as a human anyway. Taken in by a devious gambler named Shell, she became a slave to his cruel desires and would have been killed by his hand if not for a private investigator and his self-aware Universal Tool, Oefcoque. Now a cyborg, Balot has not only physical powers, but the ability to disrupt social environments. She chases after Shell, his partner-in-crime Boiled, and faces down a variety of insane villains in this pulse-pounding cyberpunk noir adventure.

Megumi Hayashibara will play the main character Rune Balot, and Susumu Kudo is directing the films at the GoHands anime studio with character designer Shingo Suzuki. The project was originally planned in 2005 as an original video anime series with the Gonzo anime studio, director Yasufumi Soejima, and character designer Range Murata, but that earlier version was cancelled in 2006 "for various reasons."

Ubukata won the Nihon SF Taisho Award from his fellow writers in 2003 for his original Mardock Scramble novel series. Besides Mardock Scramble, Ubukata created the stories behind the Soukyuu no Fafner: Dead Aggressor, Le Chevalier D'Eon, Heroic Age, and Pilgrim Jäger anime and manga projects.

Life-Size Gundam Gets 1/1 Zaku Counterpart — on iPhone

Augmented-reality app puts virtual 18-m Zaku mecha next to "real" Gundam statue

Yahoo! Japan announced on Tuesday that it will release a Gundam AR app for the Apple iPhone that will display a virtual, 360-degree Zaku II mecha next to the "real" 18-meter-tall (about 59-feet-tall) Gundam statue in Shizuoka, Japan. The iconic red MS-06S Zaku II mobile suit is the personal ride of Char "Red Comet" Aznable, the nemesis of the Gundam protagonist and pilot Amuro Ray.

Yahoo! Japan says that it will release the free augmented-reality app "soon," and the app will display the virtual Zaku II from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m every day until September 30. The "life-size" Zaku II will only appear if the camera on the iPhone 3GS or 4 with the app is pointed at a spot next to the Gundam statue. (The app uses the newer iPhone models' magnetic compass sensor and assisted GPS system to pinpoint its direction and location.) The app can also display a smaller virtual Zaku II (pictured below) anywhere that the user places a printable marker template.

The Gundam statue is officially open to the public from Saturday, July 24, 2010 to January 10, 2011. It once stood on Tokyo's artificial Odaiba island, but it moved to the central Japanese city of Shizuoka, the self-described "model capital of the world."

Earlier this year, a similar app displayed a virtual life-size Evangelion unit (from the anime franchise of the same name) against the real-life landscape of Japan's Hakone City, the city that inspired the anime's New Tokyo-III setting. However, the app's sponsor, the LAWSON convenience store chain, had to cancel this and other promotional campaigns less than two days later because the influx of visiting fans disrupted the lives of local citizens.

Source: Anime News Network soel

August 3, 2010



X Japan Rock Band's Yoshiki Launches Twitter Account

X Japan band leader Yoshiki Hayashi has launched his official Twitter account on Monday, and thus far, all of his messages have been in English. As of Tuesday, he has over 14,000 Twitter followers. Yoshiki and fellow band member Sugizo had just performed two songs ("Endless Rain" and "Forever Love") at Otakon 2010 in Baltimore on Saturday.

Navarre to Decide on Selling Funimation in 2 Quarters

Funimation's sector has lower profits compared to last year, when it had DBZ releases

logoNavarre Corporation, the Minneapolis-based parent company of North American anime distributor FUNimation, released its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011 on Monday. The financial results cover the three months which ended on June 30.

As Navarre had announced in the previous quarter, Funimation is now listed as "discontinued operations" — a financial term for a segment of a company that has been separated from the rest of the company, or has been approved for separation. Despite the connotations of the term, Funimation continues to operate as normal. Navarre is now reporting Funimation's financial information separately from the rest of Navarre's holdings because it is finding a possible new owner for Funimation. Navarre CEO Cary L. Deacon said, "We anticipate making a strategic decision regarding [Funimation] within the next two quarters."

Navarre's financial results showed a drop in profit for its "discontinued operations." The latest net income for that sector was US$895,000, while the same sector had a net income of US$3.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2010. According to Navarre, Funimation's net income was boosted during the first quarter of fiscal year 2010 by a relatively strong release schedule of Dragon Ball Z titles.

Italy Wins World Cosplay Summit 2010

15 countries participated; Thailand, Brazil are runners-up

The World Cosplay Summit 2010 finals took place in Nagoya, Japan this past Sunday with representatives from 15 countries and an audience of about 15,000. This year's grand prize winners were the representatives from Italy, Luca Buzzi and Giancarlo di Pierro, cosplaying as Link and Ganondorf from the Legend of Zelda video game franchise. The pair performed a three-minute action skit for the attendees.

Thailand's Orawan Aggavinate and Patawikorn Uttisen dressed as the protagonist Cloud Strife and summon monster Bahamut SIN from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and won the special Brother Award for outstanding costume. Thailand and Brazil were both runners-up in the main competition. This year's judges included voice actor Tohru Furuya, anime singer and JAM Project member Hironobu Kageyama, and Canadian anime theme song singer HIMEKA.

The World Cosplay Summit was launched in 2003 with four participating countries. Since then, it has expanded to 15 participating countries: Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and the United States. This year's win marks Italy's second; the country took the grand prize in 2005, and was a runner-up in 2006. The last three years' grand prize winners were Japan (2009), Brazil (2008), and France (2007).

Otakon Announces Early 2010 Attendee Count, 2011 Dates

The Otakon 2010 convention has announced that the July 30 - August 1 event had an unofficial unique attendance tally of 28,044 members, or 29,274 including all staff and dealers. The parent organization Otakorp reported that 26,586 members attended the 2009 convention, while 26,262 members attended Otakon in 2008 at the same venue.

Otakon 2011 will be held in Baltimore from July 29 to 31.

Kikaida's Daisuke Ban to Appear at Nisei Week in L.A.

Actor in live-action Kikaida, Kikaider-01, Inazuman TV series

Anime Jungle announced that Japanese actor Daisuke Ban will be appearing at the Nisei Week Festival in Los Angeles to sign autographs on August 14 and 15. Best known for his role as Jiro in the live-action series Kikaida (Jinzou Ningen Kikaida), Ban also appeared in several episodes of its sequel series Kikaider-01 and starred as the title character in the live-action series Inazuman.

Kikaida is a tale of good-versus-evil which pitted a guitar-playing, denim-clad biker named Jiro (Daisuke Ban) against DARK, a criminal organization bent on wreaking havoc upon the world. Kikaida would later be broadcast in Hawaii. Manga artist and writer Shotaro Ishinomori developed the original story for Kikaida and Kikaider-01, and he also created the Inazuma manga.

Nisei Week Festival is held each year in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles and will be held this year from August 14 to August 22.

Source: Anime News Network soel

August 2, 2010


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