July 2010

July 30-31, 2010 Update:



Otakon's Convention Center Evacuated Due to Fire Alarm (Update 5)

Con chair states that there was no fire; all attendees ushered outside for 1 hour

The Baltimore Convention Center, the site of the ongoing Otakon event, was evacuated a little before 2:00 p.m. EDT due to a fire alarm. Although fire fighters and police officers were called to the scene, ANN has not witnessed signs of an actual fire. All Otakon attendees were ushered outside without major incidents, but the all-clear announcement has yet to be given.

Update: Otakon's official Twitter account is announcing at 2:20 p.m. EDT that all attendees must go across the street from the convention center so that the local fire marshal may clear the building.

Update 2: As of 3:00 p.m. EDT, the convention is allowing exhibitors back into the center. Translator and interpreter Toshifumi Yoshida reports that Guest of Honor Yuji Mitsuya led the audience from his interupted panel to the nearby Sheraton Hotel and continued his panel in the hotel's lobby.

Update 3: As of 3:05 p.m. EDT, the convention is allowing regular attendees back into the center.

Update 4: Otakon 2010 Chairperson Shawn Chiochankitmun told ANN that a fire alarm was pulled and emphasized that there was no fire. The Welcome to THE SPACE SHOW Creators Panel, which was scheduled for 3:00 p.m. EDT at the nearby Hilton Hotel, was delayed but was otherwise unaffected. The hotel was not part of the convention center's evacuation.

Update 5: Otakon is extending the operating hours for the dealers room (7:00 p.m. EDT) and art show (11:00 p.m.) on Saturday. It is also rescheduling some panels.

Funimation Reveals Dub Casts, New Site, Prepaid Cards

Black Butler, Oh! Edo Rocket, Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ casts announced

butler North American anime distributor Funimation has announced on Friday the English dub casts for the Black Butler, Oh! Edo Rocket, and Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ anime. The company also revealed plans for an online social networking website and anime-branded pre-paid debit cards.

Funimation listed the main cast of Black Butler (pictured at right) in a press release. J. Michael Tatum will perform as the demonic butler, Sebastian, and Brina Palencia will voice Ciel. The dub of Oh! Edo Rocket (pictured below left) was also revealed. Greg Ayres will play Seikichi, a young fireworks maker, with Palencia voicing Sora, the mysterious girl who approaches Seikichi. The cast for Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ includes Newton Pittman as Reiji and Lindsay Seidel as Ein.

edo In addition, FUNimation has announced that it is launching an anime-focused social media and video hub in an all new FUNimation.com. Some of the additional content include improved video environment, ability to post comments and reviews on certain content, and cosplay and fan art galleries. Membership is free and allows users to create an account and personalized profile. An Elite Membership will launch later this year and provide access to high-quality English dubbed episodes before they are available to the public. Users are allowed to sign up for beta testing which will take place in September. FUNimation will launch the service in October.

Also revealed was FUNimation's plans for anime-branded pre-paid debit cards. The cards will be available in August and will contain images from anime such as Afro Samurai: Resurrection, Fruits Basket, Sgt. Frog, Soul Eater and Tsubasa with more to come out. The cards will work anywhere Visa credit or debit cards are accepted.

Japanese Singer/Composer Bice Passes Away

Worked on Mahoraba, Kirarin Revolution music; sang Kimi wa Pet opening song

The official website of the Japanese musician Bice has announced on Friday that she passed away in her home on Monday, July 26 due to a heart attack. 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.

Bice's family held a private service.

Source: Anime News Network soel

July 28, 2010 Update:

We are happy to announce that we are very excited to be attending Otakon this weekend staring July 31 to August 1. We will be meeting a lot of Anime fans out there in Baltimore and we just couldn't contain ourselves. Greet us there as we storm into Otakon with a BAM (not literally). Join us there if you are in the neighborhood. We will welcome all to those that have come.



U.S. Kinokuniya Bookstores Stop Selling 5 Bishōjo Mags

Megami, Megami Deluxe, Nyantype, Dengeki Hime, Dengeki Moeoh removed

The seven American branches of Kinokuniya Bookstores have confirmed with ANN that they no longer carry five bishōjo magazines as of this month due to their "inappropriate content." The five magazines are Gakken's Megami Magazine and Megami Magazine Deluxe, Kadokawa Shoten's Nyantype, and ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Hime and Dengeki Moeoh.

A telephone representative at one West Coast Kinokuniya branch said the magazines were removed "to comply with state regulations and to observe the importer regulations in Japan and the U.S. [for magazines] that could be difficult to carry under the law." The representative added that these magazines "could carry some pictures that could be understood as child porn." The representatives at other branches just characterized the magazines as "having inappropriate content" or "sometimes having sexual content." These magazines contain no nudity and are not classified as "harmful publications" in Japan. ("Harmful publications" are a prefectural-level legal category of publications which may not be bought or read by anyone younger than 18 years old.)

Several of the American Kinokuniya stores still carried remaining back issues of Megami Magazine and Nyantype, but will no longer receive future issues due to a "company policy" that changed earlier this month. Two other Japanese bookstore chains with American branches — Asahiya Bookstores and Books Sanseido — have confirmed that they still carry these magazines or will special-order them upon request as of Tuesday.

Angel Heart Manga to Continue Despite Magazine's End

Also at France's Japan Expo: Masakazu Katsura says Zetman is at halfway mark

The ActuaLitte.com and Manga-News.com websites reported that manga creator Tsukasa Hojo reassured fans at France's Japan Expo earlier this month that his Angel Heart story will continue, despite the cancellation of the manga's Comic Bunch magazine. Hojo did not give any more details on how the manga will continue.

Angel Heart's story follows a young Taiwanese assassin codenamed "Glass Heart." After committing suicide by jumping off a building, her heart is pierced by a metal fence but she is miraculously saved by a heart transplant. During recovery, she begins to have strange dreams which leads her on a new journey to find the donor of her new heart.

Also at Japan Expo, manga creator Masakazu Katsura said that he believes that he is only halfway finished with the story of Zetman. Katsura said at a panel that he chose to continue with Zetman rather than the three volumes of Shadow Lady as he wanted to develop the world of Zetman further. He added that he has total freedom over the story's development. When asked is he knew if Zetman would be adapted into a live-action Hollywood film, Katsura said he was not against the idea, and he noted that Tim Burton's Batman film was a source of inspiration for Zetman. A complete transcript of Katsura's panel, in French, is available on the Total Manga website.

Originally a one-shot in 1994, Zetman centers around Jin, a poor young man who lives with his grandfather. Jin has excellent fighting skills and a halo carved in his hand. A scientist named Amagi is searching for a professor to learn the whereabouts of Zet, who is a "Player" or a kind of genetically altered human created years before. Soon, Jin and his grandfather are attacked by a man who turns into a monster, and Jin learns that he has a personal connection to the professor and the Z.E.T. Project.

Japan Expo was held in Paris, France from July 1 to July 4. Japan Expo has not officially announced its 2010 attendance figures yet, but the organizers were expecting 180,000 unique attendees, up from 160,000 in 2009.

Kodansha Fined 550,000 Yen for Manga's Use of Real Person

Court: Shonen Mag's Zero-sen infringed on fashion figure's image

The Tokyo District Cout ruled that Atsushi Kase's Zero-sen manga infringed on a man's rights and defamed him by using his likeness, and the court ordered the manga's publisher Kodansha to pay a fine of 550,000 yen (about US$6,300) on Wednesday. The plaintiff had originally sued for 4.4 million yen (US$50,000).

The manga installment with the plaintiff's likeness appeared in Kodansha's Weekly Shonen Magazine on October 21, 2009. The court found that Kase used a fashion magazine photograph of the plaintiff for reference to draw a person with a ducktail hairstyle and sunglasses. Kase labeled the plaintiff's manga drawing as "Leader of the VIP car gang 'Oraora.'" Oraora-kei is a fashion offshoot from the larger yankii culture, and it features stylized hair and sunglasses, among other signature looks. The plaintiff happens to run an apparel company known for Oraora-kei fashion.

The story of Zero-sen revolves around Toshizō Asahi, a World War II military officer who was (literally) frozen in time. After Asahi is discovered and thawed in the present day, he becomes a teacher for a bunch of school delinquents. (The name of the manga is a reference to the nickname for World War II's Mitsubishi Rei-shiki Kanjō Sentōki, better known in English as the Zero fighter plane.)

Zero-sen has been running in the magazine since 2008, and the seventh compiled volume shipped last month. The infringing manga installment will be republished in future volume copies with the plaintiff's image replaced by a character with different looks. Kase is best known for Chameleon, an earlier gag manga about junior delinquents.

K-On!! Characters to Promote Japanese Census in Kyoto

Anime girl band to serve as image characters for this year's national survey

The official website for the anime adaptation of kakifly's four-panel manga K-On! has announced that the K-ON!! anime's characters will promote Japan's 2010 (Heisei 22) Census, which launches on October 1. The characters will serve as image characters for the census within Kyoto Prefecture.

The K-On! manga launched in 2007 in Houbunsha's Manga Time Kirara anthology. A television anime adaptation aired in 2009, followed by an April 2010 television anime sequel. The franchise has proven popular, propelling its fictional band to the #1 spot on the nation's music sales charts and spawning a video game. Alleged knock-offs have appeared in Taiwan, Denny's Japan, and Tokyo Zokei University's official website. (Inspired by the fan interest in the unintentional similarities in its earlier campaign, Denny's Japan launched an official K-ON!! dessert menu on July 20.) The original manga has been licensed in North America by Yen Press, while the anime adaptation has been licensed in North America by Bandai Entertainment.

Hugh Laurie's House, Tezuka's Black Jack Co-Star in Ad

1st collaboration between overseas live-action series & Osamu Tezuka's anime

The American live-action medical television series House and Osamu Tezuka's classic medical manga/anime Black Jack are joining forces to promote the Japanese DVD rental launch of House's fourth season on August 4. Dr. House (played by British actor Hugh Laurie) and Black Jack will appear together in a television commercial, which will be the first collaboration between an overseas live-action television series and a Tezuka anime.

Geneon Universal Entertainment is the DVD distributor of House in Japan, where it is known as Dr. House. Geneon Universal pitched the concept to Tezuka Productions, who readily agreed. The "Taiketsu" (Showdown) commercial will launch on the CS satellite television system's Fox channel on August 4. In the commercial, the two maverick doctors face off to see who has the best skills.

iscotek Adds 2 Galaxy Express 999 Films, Project A-Ko

Also: live-action Princess Blade, Aquarian Age films

The North American DVD distributor Discotek Media has announced on Tuesday that it licensed Rintaro and Leiji Matsumoto's Galaxy Express 999 space opera anime film and their Adieu Galaxy Express 999 anime film sequel. Discotek also licensed the first Project A-Ko action comedy anime film as well as Shinsuke Sato's 2001 live-action film adaptation of the Shura Yukihime (The Princess Blade/Lady Snowblood) manga and the 2007 live-action film adaptation of the Aquarian Age game and manga franchise.

Viz had once licensed the two Galaxy Express 999 films in North America, and Central Park Media had previously held the Project A-Ko license. Similarly, ADV Films once held the license for The Princess Blade science-fiction film, which reimagines a historical manga by Kazuo Kamimura (Shinanogawa) and Kazuo Koike (Lone Wolf and Cub). Broccoli International USA had indicated before the Japanese opening of the Aquarian Age supernatural fantasy film that an American release was possible, depending on the interest.

Arrest in Voice Actor Nobutoshi Canna's Blog Hack

37-year-old allegedly obtained Canna's password, left about 100 messages

Police in Chiba arrested 37-year-old company employee Rio Nagatomi on Tuesday for accessing voice actor Nobutoshi Canna's blog account without authorization. Nagatomi, who is from Yokohama, allegedly obtained Canna's ID and password through illlegal means and logged onto Canna's blog account between March and April of this year. The suspect reportedly accessed the account about 100 times to enter cryptic messages.

According to the police, the two were acquaintances, and Nagatomi allegedly said, "I thought that he would get in touch with me if I wrote strange messages."

Cannna once performed under his birth name Nobutoshi Hayashi on Macross 7 and other anime titles. He changed his stage name to Canna in 2000.

Source: Anime News Network soel

July 26, 2010 Update:




Tokyo Purin Singer Takashi Makino Diagnosed with Cancer

Singer on Doraemon, Tantei Shounen Kageman does not plan to quit his work

The Japanese singing duo Tokyo Purin announced on Saturday that member Takashi Makino, 46, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Makino revealed his condition during a live appearance on the Sendai Television variety program Ara Ara Kashiko.

Makino said he went to a doctor in mid-June because of stomach pains. He discovered that water had built up in his heart and both lungs. Makino underwent surgery to remove the water, and that was when his doctor found malignant cancer cells in Makino's lungs. The singer was notified on June 28. Makino said he was in disbelief when he was told about the cancer, since he quit smoking at the age 32. He also said he does not plan to quit his work, but the extent of his activities will depend on his doctor's advice.

Tokyo Purin has performed theme songs for anime shows such as Doraemon and Tantei Shounen Kageman.

Black Rock Shooter to Add Extra with Linkin Park's Hahn

Special Edition to include stop-motion video with Joe Hahn's remix of title song

The retail Special Edition of the Black Rock Shooter anime will include a stop-motion video as a bonus extra, and the video extra will feature a remix of supercell's "Black Rock Shooter" song by Joe Hahn, the DJ of the American rock band Linkin Park. The announcement was made during the Asa Made Nama Won-Hobby TV 8 web show on Sunday and in the September issue of Hobby Japan magazine on Saturday. The stop-motion film extra was "made in Hollywood."

Hahn had previously directed an award-winning animated music video for Linkin Park's "Breaking the Habit" song. Hahn worked with animator Kazuto Nakazawa (Kill Bill Chapter 3: The Origin of O-Ren, Samurai Champloo, Genius Party Beyond's "Moondrive") and Tokyo-based G.D.H. International on the music video, and the video inspired a graphic novel by Tokyopop.

Hobby Japan magazine bundled the Black Rock Shooter anime on a free DVD with its September issue, and the anime will also be included in free DVD extras in Gakken's Megami Magazine (July 30) and Gakken's Monthly Animedia magazine (August 10). The project's website had already announced in March that this anime based on huke's character illustrations will be streamed for free to "everyone." The anime is slated to have subtitles in seven languages, and the official website launched an English version on Friday.

Japanese, English Actresses at Australian Eva 2 Debut

Evangelion: 2.0 film screened in Australia & NZ in August, September

GrantMiyamuraReelAnime 2010 has listed the locations of its festival screenings in Australia and New Zealand and announced its special guests. Yuko Miyamura, the Japanese voice actress who played the character Asuka, will be present in the Australian premiere of Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (Evangelion Shin Gekijōban: Ha). Miyamura also performed as Asuka in the Evangelion television series and The End of Evangelion film. Another guest will be Tiffany Grant, who voiced Asuka in the English dub of the television series. They will appear at the Dendy Newton theater in Sydney on August 5 at 6:30 p.m.

All of the locations for ReelAnime 2010 have been listed for Australia and New Zealand in September. Other films included in the festival are King of Thorn, Summer Wars, Redline, and limited screenings of Evangelion: 1.0 You Are [Not] Alone.

New York Int'l Children's Film Fest to Show Earthsea

East Coast premiere of Goro Miyazaki & Ghibli's film on August 1

EarthseaThe New York International Children's Film Festival announced that it will screen Studio Ghibli's Tales from Earthsea (Gedo Senki) on August 1 in New York City. The 2006 movie is the first feature directed by Goro Miyazaki (studio co-founder Hayao Miyazaki's son), and it adapts the Earthsea fantasy novels by Ursula K. Le Guin.

This East Coast premiere of the film will take place on August 1 at 11:00 a.m. at the IFC Center theater. (The film will launch its regular run in New York City and other American cities on August 13.) The film is dubbed and features the voices of Timothy Dalton, Mariska Hargitay, and Willem Dafoe. The first families in line will receive Miyazaki DVDs and Earthsea posters.

Tales from Earthsea is set in a medieval world with castles and dragons. The world is threatened by an imbalance of magical forces when a dark sorcerer seeks to attain immortality. Three people rise to fight the sorcerer, including troubled young Prince Arren, master wizard Sparrowhak, and a young woman named Therru.

Tickets can be purchased at NYICFF's website.

New Maid Café Opens in Richmond, B.C.

Canadian Café features variety of cosplay styles, menu items

The Calgary Herald newspaper reports that a new maid cosplay café has opened this month in Richmond, British Columbia, near the city of Vancouver. The Magnetic Café features dishes from a variety of countries throughout East Asia (including Japan, Korea, and China) along with drinks, free Wi-Fi, and staff dressed in a variety of costumes. According to the Calgary Herald, those costumes can vary from maids to schoolgirls to policewomen, depending on the week.

The Magnetic Café's official website (available in English and Chinese) bills itself as "the one and only Cosplay cafe in Vancouver." Past attempts at maid or cosplay cafés include the iMaid Café in Scarborough, Ontario, which opened in 2006 and closed in 2007 due to unpaid back rent. A maid café and art gallery called the Royal/T Café opened in Culver City, California in 2008 and is still in operation today.

Maid cafés have become increasingly popular in Japan since the early 2000s, as have manga and anime revolving around maids or maid cafés, such as Maid Sama!, He is my Master, and Mahoromatic. In an effort to stand out from all the other cafés, new establishments have experimented with male servants, Gothic-themed outfits, waiters in schoolboy uniforms, and a boys-love theme. One maid café even offered visitors the chance to dub a short anime. Additionally, some cafés estabish tie-ins with anime or manga franchises, including a Gundam Café, a Nodame Cantabile café, and others.

Steins;Gate Game Gets TV Anime

5pb. head Chiyomaru Shikura reveals anime adaptation of his company's game

Chiyomaru Shikura, the head of the 5pb. game production company, has announced via his Twitter account on Sunday that 5pb. and Nitroplus' Steins;Gate game is being animated for television. More details (which Shikura cannot reveal yet) will be provided in the September issues of Kadokawa Shoten's Newtype and COMPTIQ magazines, which will both ship on August 10. Singer/voice actress Halko Momoi also posted about the television anime adaptation in her Twitter account.

The game is the second "scientific adventure game" from 5pb. and Nitroplus, who also created Chaos;HEAd. The artist huke (Black Rock Shooter) designed the characters. The suspense story takes place in a realistic version of Tokyo's Akihabara otaku shopping district. The game originally shipped for the Xbox 360 console last October, and a Windows port is shipping on August 26. Yomi Sarachi launched the main manga adaptation in the November 2009 issue of Media Factory's Monthly Comic Alive magazine, and Kenji Mizuta launched the Steins;Gate: Bōkan no Rebellion spinoff in the February 2010 issue of Mag Garden's Monthly Comic Blade magazine.

Yoshihiro Tatsumi's A Drifting Life Wins 2 Eisners

Best U.S. Edition of International Material - Asia, Best Reality-Based Work

Alternative gekiga creator Yoshihiro Tatsumi won two Eisners Awards for his autobiographical A Drifting Life book in a Saturday ceremony at Comic-Con International in San Diego. The first award for this book published by Drawn & Quarterly was in the Best U.S. Edition of International Material - Asia category. The second award was for the Best Reality-Based Work of the year.

Naoki Urasawa, Takashi Nagasaki, and Jiro Taniguchi had also received nominations this year, but no other manga besides A Drifting Life won an award on Saturday.

Moto Hagio Receives Inkpot Award from Comic-Con Int'l

Shōjo manga pioneer awarded honor at Friday panel

Shōjo manga pioneer Moto Hagio has received the Inkpot Award from Comic-Con International in San Diego on Friday. The convention presented the award to Hagio, who is a special guest of the event, at the beginning of her ongoing panel.

Hagio helped pioneer both modern shōjo manga and modern science fiction manga. Along with To Terra's Keiko Takemiya and Rose of Versailles' Riyoko Ikeda, she co-founded the Year 24 Group — a group of innovative female manga creators who were born in or around the Year Shōwa 24 (1949) and who shaped the now diverse field of shōjo manga. Along the way, Hagio earned the Shogakukan Manga Award, Seiun Award, Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize, and Nihon SF Taisho Award.

Hagio's appearance marks the launch of Fantagraphics's new manga line in September. Fantagraphics will ship A Drunken Dream and Other Stories (a collection of short stories by Hagio) that month.

Comic-Con International presents the Inkpot Awards every year to a selection of its guests, as well as members of its committee and Board of Directors. Studio Ghibli co-founder and anime director Hayao Miyazaki received the award at the beginning of his Comic-Con International panel last year.

Life-Size Evangelion Bust's Grand Opening Streamed Live

Fuji-Q HighLand amusement park streams on Ustream at 4:30 p.m. PDT

Japan's Fuji-Q HighLand amusement park is streaming the grand opening of the world's first life-size bust of the Evangelion anime's Unit-01 at 4:30 p.m. PDT today. The "Evangelion: World - Life-Size Unit-01 Construction Project" pavilion recreates the scene where the anime's main character Shinji Ikari encounters the unit in its 7th Cage hangar for the first time. Besides the 16-meter-wide (52-foot-wide) bust, the pavilion also has a life-size Entry Plug cockpit of an Evangelion unit, life-size figures of the character Kaworu Nagisa and the Seele monoliths, a miniature video theater, a museum, two studio galleries for taking photographs, and a shop. The construction costs of the whole facility eventually added up to 150 million yen (US$1.6 million).

Source: Anime News Network soel

July 22, 2010 Update:


It is the day we have been waiting for (aside from Anime Expo 2011). Come in and join us as we rub elbows with all the stars and heroes of our time. Come hang with us as we reveal all our old and new titles that we have come to love. Oh, don't forget to greet us. We love meeting new and old faces.



Otakon Hosts Japanese Musicians from Its Anime Opening

Hiroki Kikuta, Hiroaki Yura, Shihori worked on Otakon's opening video from I.G

music Otakon has announced that three new musical guests — Hiroaki Yura, Hiroki Kikuta, and Shihori — will appear at the July 30-August 1 convention in Baltimore. All three have worked on Otakon 2010's new opening animation, which is being produced by the Production I.G anime studio.

Otakon had previously announced that it will open with an original short from Production I.G and the song, "Shackles of Night." Yura composed the song, Kikuta supervised the music, and Shihori performed the song.

Kikuta is known for his work with the developer Square on video games such as Secret of Mana, Secret of Mana 2 and Koudelka. Kikuta has also worked as a manga illustrator and has composed music for video games after leaving Square, while also releasing albums of his own work.

Yura is a violin soloist and founder of Eminence Symphony Orchestra and the Eminence Artists. He has directed orchestral recordings for works including The Tower of Druaga: the Aegis of Uruk. Eminence Symphony Orchestra also performed music for the anime Romeo × Juliet.

Shihori is a singer and songwriter from the classical pop unit "Shihori and Asuka," and she collaborated with Yoko Kanno on the song "Universal Bunny" for the Macross Frontier.

Otakon 2010 will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Manga Scan Site Says It Will Remove Manga

Site with unauthorized, translated scans says all manga will be gone by next week

One Manga, a site with unauthorized, translated scans of manga (scanlations), has posted a Thursday notice to say that "this is the last week of manga reading" on the site. The site cited what it describes as a recent change in the manga publishers' "stance on manga scanlations." According to the notice, all content will be gone from the site by early next week.

One Manga ranked #935 on Google's list of the 1,000 most-visited sites on the web in May. Another manga aggregator, MangaHelpher, announced last month that it is removing links while it prepares to launch OpenManga, a new platform to allow manga creators to distribute their work digitally.

Square Enix Plans E-Manga Store in N. America, France

Launch set for fall; free 1st chapters of FMA, Soul Eater, Black Butler already online

The Japanese manga and game publisher Square Enix has announced on Wednesday that it will launch a digital manga store in North America and France this fall.

The first chapters of Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater, Black Butler, and O-Parts Hunter are already downloadable for free from Square Enix's North American and European websites in advance of the paid service's launch, with other series planned for later. (The North American website lists The Record of a Fallen Vampire, Pandora Hearts, Sumomomo Momomo, and Spiral: Bonds of Reasoning as "coming soon.") The service requires Adobe Flash Player on Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X.

The service is on display at Square Enix's booth at Comic-Con International in San Diego this week.

Source: Anime News Network soel

July 20, 2010 Update:




Disney's Epcot Park Launches Anime/Folklore Exhibit

Exhibit traces anime, manga, game characters to Japanese folk tales

According to a Friday post on the official Disney Parks Blog, the Japan Pavilion at Walt Disney World Resort's Epcot theme park has opened a new exhibit called "Spirit Beasts: From Ancient Stories to Anime Stars." The Florida-based exhibit showcases classic creatures from Japanese folktales that have served as inspiration for modern-day anime and manga series.

Among the examples pictured are the kappa (a type of water sprite), the kitsune (foxes), the tsuru (cranes), the saru (monkeys), and the "moon rabbit" — all of which appear in many manga and anime. Kappa, for example, appear in the TV anime series Summer Days with Coo (Kappa no Coo to Natsuyasumi), while Naruto, Inuyasha, and Natsume's Book of Friends all feature kitsune characters. The moon rabbit legend is referenced in the Sailor Moon franchise, whose main character is named Usagi Tsukino ("rabbit of the moon").

Project Manager and Show Producer Wyatt Winter says that the exhibit should run for several years. Prior to the Spirit Beasts exhibit, the location housed exhibits on World Heritage Sites of Japan and Tin Toy Stories.

Disney's involvement with anime in North America consists primarily of its localization and distribution of Studio Ghibli titles. Recently, however, Disney added Naruto to its Disney XD television channel's lineup. Disney has also been creating original content for the Japanese market, including three television series spinoffs of its film Lilo & Stitch with anime studios MADHOUSE and Shinei Animation.

Arrietty Draws 1 Million Goers, 1.4 Billion Yen in 3 Days

Latest Ghibli film sells 83% the number of tickets that Ponyo did, earns 86%

The Mainichi Shimbun paper's Mantan Web site reported on Tuesday that Studio Ghibli's Karigurashi no Arrietty anime film sold 1,038,138 tickets and earned 1.35 billion yen (about US$15.6 million) between Saturday and Monday. This first feature film from veteran Ghibli animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi opened on 447 screens this past weekend.

The number of tickets that Arrietty sold is 82.9% of what Ghibli's last film, 2008's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, sold in its first three days. Due to its slightly higher average ticket price, Arrietty's box office take is 85.6% of what Ponyo earned. As a result, the film distributor TOHO is confidently predicting that Arrietty will eventually earn over 10 billion yen (US$120 million). Ponyo eventually became the #1 film — domestic or foreign — of 2008 at the Japanese box office with 15.4 billion yen (US$165 million).

On Arrietty's opening day, Yonebayashi made a special appearance at Tokyo's Scala-za theater with longtime Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki, Mirai Shida (the voice of the title character Arrietty), Ryunosuke Kamiki (Sho), Keiko Takeshita (Sadako), Tomokazu Miura (Pod), Shinobu Ōtake (Homily), and theme song composer/performer Cécile Corbel. Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki planned and wrote this film, which is based on The Borrowers (Yukashita no Kobito-tachi) novel by the late English author Mary Norton.

Honobono-kun Manga's Kimihiko Tsukuda Passes Away

Drew 15,451 strips in Japan's longest-running newspaper manga

Kimihiko Tsukuda, the creator of the longest-running newspaper manga in Japan, passed away in a Tokyo hospital on June 28 at 12:20 a.m. due to pneumonia. He was 80.

The Tokyo-born artist began drawing his four-panel Chibikko Shinshi manga strips in the Tokyo Shimbun paper in 1956. He renamed his work as Honobono-kun on February 6, 1984 — the day after publishing his 5,000th strip. He would finish the manga on March 8, 2007 after 51 years and 15,451 strips. Tsukuda won the Manga Artist Society's grand prize in 2004 for Honobono-kun, which was known as the "Japanese Charlie Brown" for its gentle, humorous touch.

Tsukuda had been in failing health since the end of 2006, and had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He eventually had to stop his manga when he could no longer hold his brush. Tsukuda's family held a private funeral service on July 1.

Savage Genius' Aa Reveals Marriage, Pregnancy, Hiatus

Vocalist, lyricist of duo that performed on Uta∽Kata, Elemental Gelade, El Cazador

Aa, the vocalist and lyricist of the Japanese duo Savage Genius, has revealed on the duo's official blog on Monday that she got married this year and is expecting a baby. As a result of discussions with her staff, she will go on hiatus from Savage Genius.

Aa formed Savage Genius with Takumi, who was the composer, arranger, producer, and guitarist of the group. Together, they performed theme songs for Uta∽Kata, Elemental Gelade, Simoun, El Cazador de la Bruja, Kiddy Grade -Maelstrom-, Kiddy Grade -Truth Dawn-, and Pandora Hearts. The two performed at Anime Expo 2007. Takumi already retired from the group in September of 2007.

Kinnikuman Voice Actor Tetsuo Mizutori Passes Away

Voice of Brocken Jr., Yosaku-san in Kinnikuman, Hideo Shimazu in Rival Schools The talent agency Arts Vision has announced on Tuesday that voice actor Tetsuo Mizutori passed away on July 14 at 4:01 p.m. He was 71. Mizutori had been under long-term medical care before his passing. Mizutori is best known for playing Brocken Jr. and Yosaku-san in the television and theatrical anime adaptations of Yudetamago's Kinnikuman wrestling comedy manga. He also played roles in Mobile Suit Gundam, Dragon Ball Z, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, and other anime, as well as Hideo Shimazu in CAPCOM's Rival Schools (Justice Gakuen) fighting game franchise.

Source: Anime News Network soel

July 17-18, 2010 Update:

For the upcoming two weekends, we will be attending the San Diego Comic Con (July 22 - July 25) and Baltimore Otakon(July 30 - August 1)!

Due to two upcoming conventions coming up for the next two weekends, we have dedicated our time, this weekend only, in preparing for them. For the upcoming weeks, all of our staff will be attending these conventions. Please be advised that there will be a delay in shipping your orders starting on July 21. We will resume taking orders as usual and shipping orders on August 3. We apologize for the inconvenience that this has incurred. If you have any questions regarding your order or anything in particular, please don't hesitate to e-mail us at order@animebooks.com.

Thank you for your patience.

July 15, 2010 Update:

For all you background lovers out there, we got some new books that we think you might want to check out!

The Art of "Welcome to The SPACE SHOW" Vol. 1

The Art of "Welcom to The SPACE SHOW" Vol. 2

If you have purchase the Kusanagi's titles and itching for more, then these two books above are perfect for you. These two books are made by the same studios that produce Kusanagi's artworks. You won't be disappointed once you flipped through the pages of these books. The images are smooth and calm that they look like you are actually there with the characters. If you haven't check out Kusanagi's titles, come check them out Kusangi section of our site.



Speed Racer Voice Actor Peter Fernandez Passes Away

Prolific actor, director worked on Lupin III, Astro Boy, Gigantor, Marine Boy, Star Blazers

William Winckler has informed ANN that Peter Fernandez, the actor and voice director best known as the title character in the animated Speed Racer series, passed away this morning due to lung cancer. He was 83.

Fernandez not only voiced Speed himself, but also his brother Racer X and several other characters in the English-dubbed adaptation of Tatsunoko's Mach Go Go Go anime series. He also directed the voice cast and even wrote the lyrics to the signature theme song. He later played Lupin III, Daisuke Jigen, and President Jimmy Carter in the JAL dubbing of the Lupin III: The Secret of Mamo film. His voice can be heard in such dubbed anime titles as Astro Boy, Gigantor, Marine Boy, Star Blazers: The Bolar Wars, and Superbook. He made a cameo appearance as an announcer in the 2008 live-action Speed Racer film.

Corinne Orr, the actress who played Speed Racer's romantic interest Trixie and younger brother Sprittle Racer, spoke with Fernandez as recently as last week. The two had worked together on 200 productions, and she noted that he was a big star on radio and Broadway and had starred in the 1949 film City Across the River "where Tony Curtis only had a bit part." Orr is the last surviving member of Speed Racer's main cast. Orr told ANN, "His great joy was doing all these conventions and receiving the acknowledgement and accolades from all his fans at the end of his life."

Winckler said that he was glad that, in the renewed interest that accompanied the Speed Racer film, Fernandez "finally got the attention and respect he deserved from the general public and mainstream press." He added, "Anime and Japanese live-action fantasy will never be the same without him. Peter's contribution to anime and Japanese live-action will live forever."

Fernandez's family is planning a private service, but there are plans for a public celebration of his life in September in Pomona, New York.

Life-Size Evangelion Bust's Grand Opening to Be Streamed Live

Media gets sneak peak before next Friday's public unveiling

Japan's Fuji-Q HighLand amusement park has unveiled the world's first life-size bust of the Evangelion anime's EVA-01 unit before members of the media on Thursday. The public grand opening of the "Evangelion: World - Life-Size EVA-01 Construction Project" pavilion will actually take place next Friday, and the theme park plans to stream the event live on the Ustream website.

The pavilion's main attraction recreates the scene where the anime's main character Shinji Ikari encounters the EVA-01 unit in its 7th Cage hangar for the first time. The bust measures 9 meters (about 30 feet) tall and 16 meters (52 feet) wide. The pavilion also has a life-size Entry Plug cockpit of an Evangelion unit (from where visitors can pay to have their photos taken), life-size figures of the character Kaworu Nagisa and the SEELE monoliths, a miniature video theater, a museum, two studio galleries for taking photographs, and a shop. The construction costs of the whole facility eventually added up to 150 million yen (US$1.6 million).

The pavillion's official website is streaming the sixth and final progress report video on its construction. The video includes a summary of the previous videos, a tour of the facility, and a sneak peak of the life-size bust. The following websites have posted images from the press tour:

* Jiji Press
* Walker Plus
* Sankei Sports
* Response.jp

Fuji-Q HighLand is located near the foot of Mt. Fuji, and it has already hosted two amusement park attractions based on the Gundam anime franchise in the past, including a life-size Gundam figure (lying down on the ground). A second life-size Gundam figure stood on Tokyo's artificial Odaiba island last summer, and it will stand again with a full-length beam saber in Shizuoka, the home of Bandai's main Gundam plastic model kit factory. The city of Kobe unveiled a life-size figure of Tetsujin 28-gō (Ironman 28 or Gigantor), the manga/anime robot created by Kobe native Mitsuteru Yokoyama.

New Crayon Shin-chan Manga to Launch on August 5

Shin Crayon Shin-chan drawn by the late Yoshito Usui's assistants at "UY Studio"

The Japanese publisher Futabasha is announcing on Friday that Shin Crayon Shin-chan (New Crayon Shin-chan), the new series based on the comedy manga by the late Yoshito Usui, will launch in the September issue of Monthly Manga Town magazine on August 5. Friday is also the day that Crayon Shin-chan Vol. 50 — the last book volume of four-panel manga strips drawn by Usui — will ship in Japan.

The upcoming Shin Crayon Shin-chan series will be officially credited to "Yoshito Usui & UY Studio." UY Studio is the team of assistants who had been creating the manga with Usui for many years, and the team will now inherit the manga title from Usui. The new manga will continue to tell the comedic misadventures of the mischievous kindergartener Shin-chan, his father Hiroshi, his mother Misae, and other familiar characters. The Daily Sports newspaper had already reported last November that preparations were being made for a manga "sequel" to Crayon Shin-chan.

Authorities determined that Usui had died from injuries sustained from a fall at Arafune Mountain on September 11, 2009. Usui had launched the manga in Futabasha's Weekly Manga Action magazine in August 1990, and he had continued to work on the series after moving it to Monthly Manga Town and other Futabasha magazines. Monthly Manga Town continued to publish previously unseen installments of Usui's work until this year's March issue, which shipped on February 5.

The original manga, which happens to be marking its 20th anniversary this summer, has sold 53 million copies in Japan alone. The final volume of the original manga is shipping simultaneously in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The television anime version, which will mark its 20th anniversary next year, will retain the original "Crayon Shin-chan" title. The 20th Crayon Shin-chan anime film will open in Japan in spring of 2012 as the final phase of the "Crayon Shin-chan 20th Anniversary Project."

CMX Manga releasd part of the original manga in English in North America. Similarly, Funimation adapted the television anime into dubbed English, and America's Adult Swim network used to run episodes every Sunday morning.

Source: Anime News Network & ICv2soel

July 14, 2010 Update:



Sasuga Japanese Bookstore Closes Its Doors 'for Good'

Sasuga Japanese Bookstore announced on July 6 that it was closing its doors "for good." The independent company cited "the current economic climate and the many changes in the international bookselling market" as reasons that it cannot continue operating. The company carried a selection of Japanese-language manga and magazines in both its online store and its physical store. The physical store, which was located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, had already closed in 2004. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts lists the voluntary dissolution of Sasuga Japanese Bookstore, Inc. on July 12.

Anime Expo 2010 Reports 105,000+ Turnstile Attendance

Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) CEO Michael Lattanzio announced during Anime Expo 2010's closing ceremonies on July 4 that the convention had a turnstile attendance of over 105,000. Anime Expo's website lists last year's turnstile attendance at over 109,000 with over 44,000 unique attendees.

"Turnstile attendance" is the number of attendees on each day added together, so a person who uses a four-day pass is counted four times. "Unique attendees" is the number of attendees regardless of how many days they attend, so a person who uses a four-day pass is counted once.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa visited Anime Expo 2010 and joined Lattanzio in announcing that next year's Anime Expo will be held during the July 1-4 holiday weekend. They added that Anime Expo will be in Los Angeles through 2013. SPJA predicts that the event will generate more than US$100 million citywide in the next three years.


December's Bleach: Jigoku-Hen Film Overseen by Kubo

The official website of the fourth Bleach anime film has launched on Monday with the movie's title and release date: Bleach: Jigoku-hen (Bleach: Hell Chapter) on December 4. According to the website, the Jigoku-Hen subtitle signifies that the story takes place in a place unvisited by Tite Kubo's original manga, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year. As Eiichiro Oda did with last December's One Piece Film Strong World, Kubo is personally overseeing the production of the new Bleach film.

Sales of advance passes bundled with nine exclusive double-sided character posters will start on July 13. The Naruto Shippūden: The Lost Tower anime film will open on July 31 with a trailer for Bleach: Jigoku-hen.

Toronto's CNAnime Hosts Mega Man/Big O's Hitoshi Ariga

Manga creator behind Mega Man Megamix (Rockman Megamix), Rockman Gigamix

Manga artist Hitoshi Ariga will be appearing at FanExpo Canada's CNAnime event, which will run during the August 27-29 weekend in Toronto. Ariga has been drawing the manga for CAPCOM's Megaman (Rockman) game franchise for 15 years, including the Mega Man Megamix run and the ongoing Rockman Gigamix series. He also created The Big O manga spinoff.

Fan Expo will take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The event is split into five separate sections: Comic Books, Sci-Fi, Horror, Gaming, and Anime — the last of which is also known as "CNAnime." Other guests will include artist Yoshitaka Amano, voice actress Megumi Ogata, Vic Mignogna, Johnny Yong Bosch, and Brad Swaile.

Source: Anime News Networksoel

July 8, 2010 Update:

Just in! We got new Square Enix Final Fantasy XIII Play Arts Kai Action Figures! They are sooooo cool that they are worth checking out.

Final Fantasy XIII: Fang Play Arts Kai Action Figure



Black Rock Shooter DVD to Be Subtitled in 7 Languages

Haruhi author Nagaru Tanigawa co-wrote script with director Shinobu Yoshioka

The producers of the Black Rock Shooter anime revealed at the project's Tanabata Premium Preview Screening in Tokyo on Wednesday that the DVD release will have subtitles in seven languages. They also revealed that author Nagaru Tanigawa (Haruhi Suzumiya light novels) co-wrote the anime's screenplay with director Shinobu Yoshioka. The project's website has since been updated to list the screenwriters, the voice cast member Kana Asumi (Yū), and THE GOMBAND — the performers of the theme song "Braveheart." The 50-minute anime project showcases the Black Rock Shooter character illustrations by artist huke.

Hobby Japan magazine will bundle the DVD with its September issue on July 24, followed by free DVDs in Megami Magazine (July 30) and Monthly Animedia magazine (August 10). Wonder Festival 2010 Summer will host not only a screening of the entire anime in Chiba on July 25, but also a live discussion with the production staff. The project's website had already announced in March that the anime will be streamed for free to "everyone." Anime Expo Special Guest Danny Choo previewed brief footage from the anime in Los Angeles on Sunday, although not "10+ minutes" of footage as Anime Expo had originally announced.

Right Stuf Rescues 'Revolutionary Girl Utena' And the 'Utena' Movie

At Anime Expo Right Stuf/Nozumi Entertainment announced the acquisition of the rights to the 39-episode Revolutionary Girl Utena anime series. Directed in 1997 by Kunihiko Ikuhara and based on the manga by Chiho Sato, Revolutionary Girl Utena is an allegorical, surreal, metaphysically challenging magical girl anime. Director Ikuhara was heavily involved in the development of Sailor Moon S, and fans of the Sailor Moon series helped make Revolutionary Girl Utena a success here in the States when the first 13 episodes were released here on VHS in 1998 by Central Park Media. Since the demise of CPM, the rights to the series have been in flux until the Right Stuf announced that it will release the series (with both English Dub and Japanese tracks) in three 13-episode DVD box sets in 2011.

Right Stuf has also acquired the North American rights to Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie (aka The Adolescence of Utena), an 80-minute feature film produced in 1999 and also directed by Ikuhara. The movie, which deals with themes from the series in very original and challenging ways, is even more daring visually than the series, and difficult enough to interpret that fans call it the ?End of Utena? in reference to the philosophically opaque End of Evangelion.

Apple: Manga App Seller Linked to Fraudulent Purchases

Thuat Nguyen removed from App Store after 42 apps landed in top 50 books chart

Dragon Ball On Sunday, the 50 top-selling book apps in Apple's U.S. iTunes Store were dominated by manga sold by one seller. Thuat Nguyen, who worked under the developer name "mycompany," was responsible for 42 books in the App Store's top 50 books by revenue in the United States. Nguyen's apps also appeared in the App Stores in Canada, France, Germany, South Korea, Taiwan, Norway, Hong Kong, and other regions. The apps contained scans — watermarked with the name of a Vietnamese website — from manga such as Dragon Ball (7 Vien Ngoc Rong), Detective Conan (Case Closed), and Hana Yori Dango (Con Nha Giau/Boys Over Flowers).

Detective Conan Coinciding with the rise in these apps' rankings was an increase in reports of hacked iTunes accounts. According to the reports, an unknown person or persons accessed these accounts and purchased anywhere from US$100 to US$1,400 worth of apps. Accounts have been hacked to purchased large quantities of apps with iTunes in the past.

Apple has removed the apps and Nguyen altogether from the App Store "for violating the developer Program License Agreement, including fraudulent purchase patterns." Apple told the Engadget website that customer information should be safe since "developers do not receive any iTunes confidential customer data when an app is downloaded." However, Apple also said that customers whose credit card or iTunes password was stolen and used should cancel the stolen cards, issue a chargeback for unauthorized transactions, and change the iTunes account password.

Puffy AmiYumi to Perform at New York Anime Festival

J-Rock duo to appear at con, play at Far East to East Showcase in October

The New York Anime Festival (NYAF) and Superglorious announced that the J-Rock duo Puffy AmiYumi will be performing at the Far East to East Showcase (FETES) in New York City on Sunday, October 10. Puffy AmiYumi will also be appearing at the NYAF and New York Comic Con throughout the weekend for panel discussions and autograph signings before appearing on stage at Irving Plaza.

Composed of singers Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura, the duo debuted in 1996, and since then they have had numerous hit songs, commercial appearances, and their own television show which aired in 110 different countries. In 2009, Puffy AmiYumi were appointed the Goodwill Ambassadors of the Visit Japan Campaign for the United States.

NYAF is taking place alongside New York Comic Con at the Javits Center in New York City this fall. The paired conventions have already announced that the Japanese rock band VAMPS, as well as comic legends Stan Lee, John Romita, Sr., and John Romita, Jr., will also appear as guests.

Otakon to Host Voice Actor/Sound Director Yuji Mitsuya

Voice of Ranma ˝'s Dr. Tofu, St. Seiya's Virgo Shaka, Touch's Tatsuya Uesugi

Otakon has announced that voice actor and sound director Yuji Mitsuya will be a guest at the July-August 1 convention in Baltimore.

Mitsuya has performed in such roles as Doctor Tofu in Ranma ˝, Virgo Shaka in Saint Seiya, Tatsuya Uesugi in Touch, and Hyouma Aoi in Combattler V. He has also worked as a post-production or recording director in Yu-Gi-Oh!, Samurai X: Reflection, and The Place Promised in Our Early Days.

Otakon 2010 will be at the Baltimore Convention Center. The convention will host other guests such as director Hiroshi Koujina, MADHOUSE studio founder and producer Masao Maruyama, An Café bassist kanon, X Japan members Yoshiki and Sugizo, pop culture diplomat Takamasa Sakurai, hip-hop group Home Made Kazoku, and traditional musicians The Yoshida Brothers.

'Bleach Movies,' New Episodes in August On Adult Swim

The Cartoon Network will air two Bleach movies, Bleach the Movie: Memories of a Nobody and Bleach the Movie 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion back-to-back on August 14th. A week later the final two rerun episodes of the Bleach series, number 167 and 168, will air on August 21st before ?new? episodes begin appearing starting on August 28th. But the addition of new episodes of Bleach also coincides with the shrinking of the anime portion of the Saturday night Adult Swim block.

Produced by Studio Pierrot and based on Tite Kubo?s popular manga series, the Bleach anime has now reached 278 episodes in Japan. Adult Swim last broadcast new episodes of Bleach in March. The hiatus is likely due at least in part to the time it takes to dub new episodes of the series.

While the airing of new episodes of Bleach followed by an episode of Kekkaishi is good news, the new schedule indicates that late night reruns of Adult Swim anime staples Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell are ending in August to be replaced by King of the Hill and Boondocks reruns, effectively slimming the anime portion of the Saturday night Adult Swim block from three hours to two.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Movie Green-Lit

Final TV episode ended with movie announcement on Sunday

The 64th and final episode of the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood television anime series ended in Japan on Sunday with an announcement that production on a theatrical version has been green-lit. The 64th television episode matched the ending from Hiromu Arakawa's original manga, and Anime Expo is hosting the episode's American premiere on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

Source: Anime News Network & ICv2soel

July 6, 2010 Update: