May 26, 2010 Update:Another month has gone by...
To bring the end of May 2010, we are going hit you up with two new things to look forward to! The first one is the famous Fanime Convention being held in San Jose! It is one of those can't miss convention for all Anime Fans out there. If you are in the area or visiting San Jose, come check us out our booth #605 & #606. The second must see is the Pasadena Rock N' Con in Southern California own Pasadena Convention Center. We hope to see you there!
May 20, 2010 Update:
NEWS!!!High and Mighty Color Rock Band to Break Up
The Japanese rock band High and Mighty Color will disband after the release of its next single, "Re:ache," on August 11. The band members cited differences in their attitudes toward music and future goals as the reason for the breakup.
The Okinawan group performed theme songs
for Bleach, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, Darker than BLACK, and Jyūshin Enbu - Hero Tales. High and Mighty Color also contributed to the soundtracks of the Sengoku Basara 2 and Shinobido Imashime games as well as the tribute album for the live-action Death Note: The Last Name film. In 2008 the original vocalist Maki left the band and in 2009 the band brought on vocalist Halca.
High and Mighty Color performed at Sakura-Con in Seattle in April.Source: Anime News Network
May 18, 2010 Update:There are a few changes going around our site recently that we should tell you. Hopefully, you see them, too! We are trying to make it easy for you (our customers) to maneuver around our site. We will be doing this in and out, but it won't effect your purchasing and viewing time. Also, if you have time, please tell us what you think. Suggestions are always helpful and welcome.
NEWS!!!DC Comics to Shut Down CMX Manga Imprint in July
Details on unfinished titles to be worked out; Megatokyo to continue under DC
The American publisher DC Comics will shut its CMX Manga imprint down as of July 1. DC Comics Co-Publishers Jim Lee and Dan Didio offered the following statement:Over the course of the last six years, CMX has brought a diverse list of titles to America and we value the books and creators that we helped introduce to a new audience. Given the challenges that manga is facing in the American marketplace, we have decided that CMX will cease publishing new titles as of July 1, 2010.
The shuttering of the CMX line does not affect the best-selling series Megatokyo which will continue publication, now as a DC Comics title with story and art by Megatokyo's award-winning creator Fred Gallagher.
We'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the efforts and dedication of the CMX staff and to thank our fans who have supported CMX.
The About.com website reports that details about CMX's other unfinished titles are still being worked out.
Update: Seven books — Musashi No. 9 Vol. 17, Venus Capriccio Vol. 4, Two Flowers for the Dragon Vol. 6, Polyphonica: Cardinal Crimson Vol. 1, Stolen Hearts (Toraware Gokko) Vol. 2, Teru Teru × Shōnen Vol. 7, and Orfina Vol. 8 — will still ship to stores next month.
DC Comics launched CMX in October of 2004 with three titles: Madara, Land of the Blindfolded, and From Eroica with Love. Tenjho Tenge, GALS!, The Devil Does Exist, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, and Swan would join the imprint's lineup in the following year. The CMX edition of Tenjho Tenge drew criticism for its editing, although CMX's other titles would largely remain unedited.
Later CMX titles included Crayon Shin-chan, Emma, Venus in Love, Apothecarius Argentum, Dokkoida?!, and A Girl Who Runs Through Time. DC Comics signed an investment agreement with Japan's Flex Comix in 2007, and the partnership led to CMX's release of Broken Blade, Polyphonica: Cardinal Crimson, and other titles.
Japan's SoftBank Announces Gundam HD Video Phone
945SH G phone to ship with 1st Gundam plastic model with internal metal frame
Not-So-Daily Link of the Day: The Japanese mobile phone service provider SoftBank has announced on Tuesday that it will release a limited-edition phone to mark the 30th anniversary of the first plastic model kit from Sunrise's Gundam robot anime franchise. The SoftBank 945SH G Ver.GP30th phone follows in the footsteps of the 913SH G Type-Char Zaku phone that was released in Japan in December of 2007.
The 945SH G phone will bundle a 180-millimeter-tall, 1/100-scale plastic model kit of the first Gundam mobile suit robot. According to SoftBank, this kit will only be available with the phone, and it will be the first Gundam plastic model with an internal metal frame. The model's custom catapult display base will double as the phone's charger.
The phone itself is capable of recording high-definition (1280x720-pixel) video, although the phone only has a 854x480-pixel main screen. Users can customize the phone with a battery cover modeled after the Gundam's shield and exclusive decals. SoftBank will pre-install original Gundam content on the phone, such as images for the standby/menu screens and ringtones.
SoftBank will begin taking reservations on the phone in its physical stores and its website on Wednesday. The phone will begin shipping in the middle of September.Source: Anime News Network
May 17, 2010 Update:
NEWS!!!California's FanimeCon to Host J-Rock Band FLOW
Naruto, Code Geass, Eureka 7, Heroman band to perform at May 28-31 event
FanimeCon has announced that it will host the J-Rock band FLOW at the May 28-31 convention in San Jose, California. FLOW has performed theme songs for Naruto, Naruto Shippūden, Code Geass, Eureka Seven, Persona -trinity soul-, and Heroman. The band will be performing on Friday, May 28, as part of the FanimeCon's 2010 MusicFest.
FanimeCon will also host Rune Soldier Louie illustrator Mamoru Yokota, Gainax studio co-founder and executive director Hiroyuki Yamaga, voice actress and singer Halko Momoi (Ai Yori Aoshi's Chika Minazuki, My Bride is a Mermaid's San Seto, Tales of the Abyss' Anise Tatlin), the J-rock band LM.C, and game creators Daisuke Ishiwatari and Toshimichi Mori.
New 'Lily' Vocaloid Virtual Idol Drawn by Miku's Kei
The June issue of Terajima Joho Kikaku's DTM Magazine announced on May 8 that a new Vocaloid virtual idol character, codenamed "Lily," is being developed. The Japanese illustrator Kei created the character designs for "Lily," just as he did for Crypton Future Media's previous Vocaloid characters Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin and Len, and Megurine Luka. The Character Vocal Series uses voice samples and Crypton's version of YAMAHA's Vocaloid software engine to create songs from scratch when ordinary computer users type lyrics and musical notes.
Black Rock Shooter Anime DVD Delayed by 1 Month
The official website of the Black Rock Shooter anime project has announced on Friday that the free DVD release of the anime has been delayed by one month. Instead of shipping with the August issue of Monthly Hobby Japan magazine on June 25, the DVD will now ship with the September issue on July 24. Similarly, Gakken's Megami Magazine and Monthly Animedia magazine will now bundle the DVD in their September issues on July 30 and August 10, respectively.
The website had already announced in March that the full 50-minute anime will be streamed for free to "everyone," although it did not specify if the stream will be available outside Japan.
Voice Actress Confirms Dub for Inuyasha: The Final Act
Voice of Sango said she started recording on Tuesday
Voice Actress Kelly Sheridan (Escaflowne's Hitomi, Inuyasha's Sango) has confirmed on her Facebook and Twitter accounts on Tuesday that the Inuyasha: The Final Act television anime series is being dubbed into English. According to Sheridan, Tuesday was the first day of her recording for the dub.
Inuyasha: The Final Act adapted the final 21 volumes of Rumiko Takahashi's original manga. Takahashi had ended the manga in the Shogakukan's Weekly Shonen Sunday magazine in June 2008. Viz Media has been releasing the manga in North America, and it has also released the 2000-2004 television anime adaptation.
Inuyasha: The Final Act had originally been simulcast on ShonenSunday.com and on Hulu. The full subtitled 26-episodes series is currently available on Viz Media's anime streaming website, VizAnime.com.Source: Anime News Network
May 13, 2010 Update:Many of our customers believe that we only sell books on our site. That is so not true! We do sell other stuff such as figures. Here are some new figures that we think you might enjoy:Gundam FIX Figuration Metal Composite - #1006 RX-0 Unicorn GundamSoul of Chogkin Evangelion Anima Super EvagelionCode Geass LeLouch of the Rebellion GUREN TYPE-02 1/35 Scale Model Kit
Viz: No Product or Business Line Cancellations Planned
Viz releases statement after Tuesday's restructuring with layoffs
On Wednesday, the North American manga and anime publisher Viz Media released a statement on its website regarding the news that the company had laid off up to 60 people, or 40 percent of its workforce, yesterday.
In the statement, Viz stated that it has "no plans at this time for drastic measures" like product cancellations or business line closures, adding, "your favorite series are not going away." Viz stated that it is "saddened" by the layoffs, but it is "confident that with these changes Viz Media will be more streamlined and able to withstand the climate of the economy at this time."
ANN has confirmed that the public relations and design departments were among the ones affected by the layoffs. Nick Mamatas, the editor who was hired to head Viz's new Haikasoru science fiction novel line, remains employed.
Power Rangers Re-Acquired by Saban for TV Run on Nick
The media company Saban has re-acquired the rights to the live-action special-effects franchise Power Rangers from Walt Disney Company, and a new season will run on the Nickelodeon channel in the United States in the first quarter of 2011. Power Rangers is loosely adapted from Toei's 35-year-long Super Sentai Series franchise of costumed heroes. The Saban Capital Group had established a new US$500-million company called Saban Brands, which is developing the 18th Power Rangers season as part of a multi-year deal with Nickelodeon. The Nicktoons digital channel spinoff will also show reruns of previous seasons.
A new season was created nearly every year between 1993's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and last year's Power Rangers: RPM, which ran on Disney's ABC. Disney had purchased the franchise in 2001, but decided not to place it underneath the Disney brand umbrella after focus group research showed that mothers disliked the violence. Disney has been shopping for a new owner for the franchise for more than a year.
Metal Gear Solid Creator Kojima Goes to NYC on June 11
The game developer Konami Digital Entertainment and the clothing retailer UNIQLO have announced on Tuesday that Metal Gear Solid
game franchise creator Hideo Kojima will sign autographs at UNIQLO's flagship store in New York City on June 11 from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. Kojima is appearing at the store to promote a collection of T-shirts inspired by his Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker game for the Sony PSP console.Source: Anime News Network
May 12, 2010 Update:Range Murata Anime Works 1998 - 2006 - PRISMTONE Art Book*PRE-ORDER ALERT!*
This latest limited edition Range Murata art book contains a lot of images from 1998 to 2006. If you are a Range Murata fans, such as us, you wouldn't want to miss this special opportunity to own this one of a kind book with this special price. For the first 20 customers who orders this this title from us, we will take $10 off from the original price! Hurry and get this special offer! This offer last until May 31!
*As a reminder, we won't ship any orders that contains this title until mid June. Thank you for your patience.
Life-Size Evangelion Bust Built Near Foot of Mt. Fuji
Life-size Evangelion cockpit, Kaworu Nagisa figure also at July 23 opening
Not-So-Daily Link of the Day: Japan's Fuji-Q HighLand amusement park has announced on Wednesday that it will open a new pavilion called "Evangelion: World - Life-Size EVA-01 Construction Project" on July 23. The pavilion will house the world's first life-size recreation of the scene where the Evangelion anime's main character Shinji Ikari encounters the Eva-01 unit for the first time. The recreation will have a mockup of the Evangelion unit from the bust up.
The pavilion will also have a life-size cockpit of an Evangelion unit (from where visitors can pay to have their photos taken), a life-size figure of the character Kaworu Nagisa, a video corner, a museum, a studio gallery for taking photographs, and a shop. Fuji-Q HighLand's website will present the first interim report of the pavilion's 150-million-yen (about US$1.6 million) construction on May 26.
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). Last month, the Yahoo! Japan website surveyed fans on whether they wanted a life-size Evangelion unit constructed — and if so, which Evangelion unit.
A life-size Gundam figure stood on Tokyo's artificial Odaiba island last summer, and it will stand again 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.
PW: Viz Media Lays Off Up to 60, Closes NY Branch
Publishers Weekly mag reports 40% of workforce is affected
The Publishers Weekly trade magazine reports that the North American manga and anime publisher Viz Media has laid off up to 55 people at its San Francisco headquarters and closed its New York branch, which had five employees. According to the magazine, the layoffs represents about 40% of the publisher's workforce. Viz confirmed the layoffs with Publishers Weekly on Tuesday, but not the number of layoffs.
Death Note Ban in Albuquerque High Schools Fails Vote
Also: 8th-grader in Pennsylvania suspended after "Death Note" was found
New Mexico's Albuquerque Public Schools held a Thursday hearing over a parent's concerns on the Death Note manga series, but a committee voted unanimously against a proposed district-wide ban on the manga. Peggy Salazar, a mother of a student at Albuquerque's Volcano Vista High School, advocated for the ban and added, "Killing is just not something we should put out there for our kids to read in this way." At least two of the district's 13 other high schools — Valley High School and Atrisco Heritage Academy — also carry the manga in their libraries.
In the Death Note suspense manga, live-action films, and anime adaptation, a teenager finds a notebook with which he can put people to death by writing their names and the dictated manners of death.
According to the KRQE News 13 program, this is the first time in five years that the district had considered banning a book, and a spokesperson told the program that the district had not actually banned a book in recent memory. Tom Genne, one of the seven committee members at Thursday's hearing, said, "High school age kids do grapple with questions about justice and morality, and whether civilization, or the societies of which they are a part of, are making good decisions." Eddie Soto, the district's associate superintendent for secondary education, will make the final decision on the manga.
In a separate development, the WPXI television station reported on Monday that a 14-year-old eighth-grade student from Pennsylvania's Avonworth Middle School was suspended after a "Death Note" list was found on a school bus last week. According to a mother of another eighth-grade student at the school, the notebook paper listed the names of several students in the same grade and teenaged Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber.
Ohio Township police said a student wrote "Death Note" on the upper right corner of the paper, but added that the list did not constitute a crime. Although the police are still investigating, Chief Norbert Micklos told WPXI, "There was nothing that substantiated a threat; just names and a date on it."
There have been at least six previous incidents in the United States where school officials linked "Death Notes" to students being disciplined. A high school senior in Richmond, Virginia was suspended in 2007 over a list of his classmates that the school principal linked to Death Note. A middle school student in Hartsville, South Carolina was "removed" from school over a "Death Note" notebook in March of 2008. In Gadsden, Alabama, two sixth-grade students were arrested in the following month for a notebook that allegedly listed their school staff and fellow students in a manner similar to the Death Note anime. A middle school in Gig Harbor, Washington expelled one student and disciplined three others in May of 2008 for writing 50 names in their own "Death Note" book. Two elementary school students from Oklahoma City were to be disciplined last December for allegedly listing two other students and the manners of their fictional deaths in a "Death Note" notebook. An eighth-grade student was suspended indefinitely from a middle school in Owosso, Michigan after a "Death Note" notebook was found this past March.
On the other hand, a Washington state librarians' group nominated the manga for a young adults' book award. The manga's Taiwanese publisher and a non-profit Taiwanese watchdog group supported the work for raising issues.
Canada Outlines Which Anime Can Cross Border
Canada Border Services Agency releases documents outlining searching policy
On Monday, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) posted the policies that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) uses for searching "documents, personal papers, and electronic information" on laptops and other personal effects. BCCLA obtained the documents through an official Access to Information request that it filed on October 21, 2009.
In a slide-show-style presentation about "Classification of Child Pornography," one of the documents lists (on page 13) a brief bullet point: "Japanese Anime — most not porn." However, it adds that anime can be classified as child pornography in Canada "only if characters are explicitly depicted as children involved in sex acts e.g. lack of secondary sexual characteristics, breast development, pubic hair." Although these guidelines exist in the CBSA document, they are not part of the legal definition of child pornography in Canada.
Child pornography, whether involving persons real or imaginary, is illegal in Canada. The original law 1985, law C-46 section 163.1, was upheld and clarified in the 2001 R v. Sharpe case where the Supreme Court of Canada found that "[the law] should include visual works of the imagination as well as depictions of actual people. ... "person" in s. 163.1 includes both actual and imaginary human beings." Exceptions exist for cases where the work serves a "legitimate purpose related to the administration of justice or to science, medicine, education or art; and does not pose an undue risk of harm to persons under the age of eighteen years."
In 2005, an Edmonton area man pleaded guilty to importing manga containing explicit depictions of minors and was handed an 18-month conditional sentence, 100 hours of community service, and a C$150 fine. Canadian Bill C-2, passed in November 2005 (after the conviction), requires mandatory jail time for any person convicted of importing child pornography. In 2006, the Canadian National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, a Canadian government initiative, created a hentai and anime "fact" sheet that did not differentiate between explicit and non-explicit forms of anime and manga.Source: Anime News Network
May 8-9, 2010 Update:HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL THE MOTHERS AROUND THE WORLD!!! WE HOPE THAT ALL THE MOTHERS OUT THERE ARE HAVING THE BEST TIME EVER THIS WEEKEND!
Bandai Responds to Bang Zoom CEO's Comments on ANNCast
The North American anime distributor Bandai Entertainment has provided ANN with a comment regarding this week's ANNCast with guest Eric Sherman, CEO of Bang Zoom! Entertainment. In the podcast, Sherman talked about what he has heard regarding the state of Bandai Entertainment and the anime industry as a whole.Here is the statement of Bang Zoom's CEO:
Many of you may have heard already, but just in case you haven't: Bang Zoom's CEO, Eric Sherman, is ringing the death bell on anime here in the US with his piece entitled "Anime - RIP." It's stirred up a lot of people to say a lot of things, and naturally I'm going to take my stab at it.
Bang Zoom, for those of you who don't know, is a dubbing studio that handles a lot of titles for Bandai, did Geneon's stuff, and does a lot of West Coast recording. In this piece, Sherman is saying that anime fans and their "urge to get their fix illegally" is what is going to cause the death of the industry.
This debate could easily stretch over to the Japanese market as well, which would be a whole basket of worms that I'm not looking to get into today, even though the two markets and the changes needed are closely intertwined. Today, let's just focus on the American market and what needs to be done over here.
When people talk about illegal downloading, as Sherman did here, I don't necessarily think he's talking about fansubs of unlicensed, unstreamed material. If you poke around online, there are an innumerable number of torrents and downloads available for properties that are already available here in the US. Everything from the first season of Higurashi with dual audio to the latest episode of Naruto Shippuden.
The problem here is that these things are easily available, and people just go ahead and download them. This is terribly problematic because, unlike the music scene, we're a very small niche community, and the great majority of the fanbase is hip to how the whole fansub business works. Plus, there is only a single product here that's at stake. With music, you have a number of ways of generating revenue: radio play, CD sales, concerts, promotional goods, etc. With anime, especially anime here in the US, you have a single stream of income: DVD sales. Secondary goods, like figures, messenger bags, shirts, etc. are largely non-existent here, and manga and light novel sales go to different companies. So there's a very limited way to capitalize on the fanbase.
Think streaming media or any sort of digital distribution will come to save anime? Fat chance -- it's not even a savior in Hollywood. Recently in Variety, one analyst was quoted as saying " digital isn't a big line item at this point for studios. If it doubled every year it still wouldn't be a big number in five years." The reason why all the companies have digital distribution is to try and reach out to those who refuse to buy discs, in order to placate you somehow. But it's not like that is actually going to go far to keep things going.
This is why I, and every company here, stress the importance of buying DVDs. If you enjoy something, this is really the only way to show your support. When the product is first released, it may not be the perfect version, but using any of those arguments such as "I want it in HD," or "I won't buy it because it does/doesn't have a dub" are simply straw man arguments. If you don't buy it, then it won't ever come out in HD, or it won't come out as you want it because it didn't make enough money to justify it.
With Nippon Ichi's upcoming release of Toradora!, that show had better sell through the roof, otherwise it'll just prove my point that things are broken. It has a huge following. Nippon Ichi is doing right by the fans with a worthwhile package. They're hedging their bets by forgoing a dub. There is no reason why you shouldn't buy this day one if you've already seen it. Because if you don't, that would simply end Nippon Ichi's venture into anime. Naturally, the sales of their first two titles are going to bankroll any future ventures into anime, and if Toradora! doesn't sell, since it's clearly the leader over Persona Trinity Soul, then we'll be out of luck for Nippon Ichi making its way in -- and probably most other US companies, because they saw what should have been a successful business model fail.
"So what? Screw those money-grubbing American import companies. I'll still enjoy myself at cons." Take a look at most major cons. Otakon, Anime Expo, etc. If you look at their sponsors, you'll often see a handful of publishers, along with ANN, up in the top tier of sponsorship. They put out a lot of money to prop up these events. They spend even more to set up key booths at the dealer's room. If all that support got pulled out? We'd see a pretty big change in what the convention scene would look like.
My point is this: unlike many other areas of entertainment, anime only has a single entry point. Anything that you do besides buying the DVDs of shows that you watched isn't supporting the product, the fandom, or the industry both here and abroad. As the animation industry itself shrinks, foreign revenue becomes increasingly important to the companies over in Japan. If the market collapses here, it's going to be a forerunner to what will happen in Japan. The canary in the coal mines, so to say.
The US anime companies have offered up olive branches, simulcasting shows, putting shows in their entirety on YouTube and Hulu and offering digital downloads. They've done all that's feasible, going a step further than even what the TV industry is offering. They're already at their limit. Now it's up to you to do your part.
Japan, meanwhile, needs a complete re-working of their system in order to make the anime industry healthy again. That is an issue for another post, though.
===== Here is the DVD debate:
The cost corollary
Many of you have complained about the cost of anime here in the US as a reason why you don't buy anime. First off, let me quote Chris Beveridge, who frequently reminds us, "Anime is a privilege, not a right." Downloading anime because you cannot afford it means that you are unable to live within your means. Anime is not required for you to continue living a life day-to-day, so you are simply saying that you refuse to budget your money properly, work harder in order to get what you want, and instead resort to stealing in order to entertain yourself.
There are no two ways about it.
Realize that the costs of anime have come down dramatically over time. Just within the lifespan of DVDs, they used to be $30 for 3-4 episodes on a disc. Now you pay $40 MSRP in order to acquire three times as much on a half-season box. Anime distributors have cut packaging costs and their own margins in order to keep fans happy and try and keep their products on store shelves. Beyond that, if you actually look at pricing for DVDs at most retailers, they're further discounted. $23.99 for 13 episodes of Gintama, the week of release. 52 episodes of School Rumble, plus the OVA, for $45. Nana box sets for $35. FUNimation's entire SAVE line.
These shows are easily affordable. They've fallen very closely in line with American television programs, which has often been the comparison for DVD pricing. Look back to my point about how anime has a single point of entry for cashflow here in the US. With American television, the shows are made profitable by the commercials aired during original broadcast, the syndication rights, and other deals. DVD sales, while a large part of the profit for a program, are solely icing on the cake. The few number of shows that do make it onto TV? FUNimation or Bandai usually pay Adult Swim or Sci-Fi channel in order to broadcast them. It's simply a promotional tool.
The argument that discs are too expensive have been around since, well, the existence of DVDs. Prices have continually dropped, but the argument seems to persist, almost illogically. More episodes have been added to fewer discs. The prices have been brought within spitting distance of American TV shows. There is no reason to download these programs.
Anime Expo Hosts Hayate/Shana Singer Mell
Singer-songwriter also performed in Rideback, Black Lagoon, Sky Girls
Anime Expo has announced that it will host Japanese singer-songwriter MELL at the July 1-4 event in Los Angeles. The singer's voice can be heard on the soundtracks of such anime series as Black Lagoon, Hayate the Combat Butler, Rideback, Shakugan no Shana, and Sky Girls. She also wrote the lyrics for many of the theme songs she sang.
MELL first became popular as the original vocalist of Kazuya Takase and Yasutaka Ipposhi's techno/trance group I'VE Sound. She launched her successful solo career with her 2006 single "Red fraction," which became the opening theme song for the first Black Lagoon anime series. She released her first album, Mellscope, in August 2008.
Konishi will join Anime Expo's previously announced guests: musical group AKB48; singer Erina Mano; voice actor Katsuyuki Konishi (Gurren Lagann's Kamina, D.Gray-man's Komui Lee, Skip Beat!'s Ren Tsuruga); director Kenji Kamiyama, chief animation director Satoru Nakamura, and producer Tomohiko Ishii of the Eden of The East television anime series and films; director Shinichi "Nabeshin" Watanabe (Excel Saga, Puni Puni Poemy, Tenchi Muyo GXP); voice actress Yuu Asakawa (Love Hina, Azumanga Daioh, Bubblegum Crisis 2040); animation director and co-founder of the BONES animation studio Toshihiro Kawamoto (Cowboy Bebop, Wolf's Rain); voice actor Kyle Hebert; J-rock band SOPHIA; and six Japanese DJs.Source: Anime News Network & Japanator
May 6, 2010 Update:
FMA's Irie Confirms Animating Manga's End in 2 Months
Yasuhiro Irie's staff writes, lays out end based on Hiromu Arakawa's manga end
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood director Yasuhiro Irie has confirmed on his Twitter account on Thursday that original manga creator Hiromu Arakawa has planned out the final manga installment, and that his staff is writing and storyboarding the material for the anime based on that ending. He added that he was shocked by the enormity of the final chapter and noted that there are only two months left.
Gainax's Newest Is Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
More Gurren Lagann staffers animate 2 angels battling Ghosts on Earth
The June issue of Kadokawa Shoten's Newtype magazine is revealing on Monday that the Gainax anime studio's new work is titled Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. Hiroyuki Imaishi (Gurren Lagann, Dead Leaves) is directing the project with assistant director Masahiko Otsuka (FLCL, Gurren Lagann, Pom Poko.) As revealed at the Gurren Lagann Parallel Works 2 event on Tuesday, Atsushi Nishigori (Gurren Lagann) is the main character designer of the new anime, and another Gurren Lagann veteran, Yoh Yoshinari, is drawing the concept art. Designer Shigeto Koyama (Eureka Seven, Gunbuster 2, Gurren Lagann) is acting as a "coordinator."
The story centers around a teen-celebrity-like blond-haired girl named Panty and a black-haired Goth Loli girl named Stocking. The two are angels sent from the heavens to battle the "Ghosts" on Earth.
Totoro's Granny Voice Tanie Kitabayashi Passes Away
Accomplished actress made a career in both live-action & anime
Tanie Kitabayashi, the accomplished actress who made a career of playing grandmother roles including the Granny in My Neighbor Totoro, passed away due to pneumonia in Tokyo on April 27 at 8:40 p.m. She was 98.Source: Anime News Network
May 5, 2010 Update:Feliz Cinco De Mayo, everybody! We hope that everybody will have a safe and wonderful holiday!
Strike Witches Staffer Prints Japanese/English Dōjinshi
Panzer fräulein ALTESEISEN's Takeshi Nogami draws The Witches of the Sphinx
Takaaki Suzuki, the historical advisor on the Strike Witches anime series, has co-created a dōjinshi titled The Witches of the Sphinx which is being published in both Japanese and English worldwide on May 6. The story centers around the Witches of Africa campaign of the war storyline first described in Noboru Yamaguchi's original light novels. Takeshi Nogami (Panzer fräulein ALTESEISEN, Sailor-fuku to Jūsensha) drew the "Three Generals and a Fuso Witch" manga in the first 90-page volume of the project, and Suzuki wrote a short story called "Before the Storm." The online store Manga Pal will ship the dōjinshi overseas.
Dan Kanemitsu translated the dōjinshi before Nogami's dōjinshi circle Firstspear debuted it at the Comic 1 convention in Tokyo last Thursday. The next volume is slated for August's Comic Market 78 convention in Tokyo. Nogami made news last month when he responded to CNN's April 2 article regarding the controversy over the Japanese erotic game Rapelay. Both Kanemitsu and Nogami are involved in the campaign against the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's proposed restrictions on sexually provocative depictions of "nonexistent youths." The Witches of the Sphinx itself is not sexually explicit.
The dōjinshi portal site Circle.ms launched its emes service for creating bilingual dōjinshi apps on Apple's iPad and iPhone mobile devices last week, and it offered a demo iPhone/iPad/iPod touch/Kindle e-book version of The Witches of the Sphinx exclusively to Comic 1 attendees. Other creators who have self-published their works overseas include Yoshitoshi ABe (Serial Experiments Lain, Haibane Renmei) and Range Murata (Blue Submarine No. 6, Last Exile, Shangri-La).
Gurren Lagann's Director, Designers on New Gainax Work
Hiroyuki Imaishi, Atsushi Nishigori, Yoh Yoshinari to work on "Pansuto"
Tomoyuki Uchikoga, an art director and graphic designer on promotional materials for Gurren Lagann, Trigun: Badlands Rumble, and other titles, has reported that Gainax announced its new project at the end of its Gurren Lagann Parallel Works 2 event on Tuesday. Hiroyuki Imaishi (Gurren Lagann, Dead Leaves) is directing the project, which is nicknamed "Pansuto," and Atsushi Nishigori (Gurren Lagann) is designing the characters. Another Gurren Lagann veteran, Yoh Yoshinari, is drawing the concept art. More details on the new project will be revealed in the June issue of Kadokawa Shoten's Newtype magazine on Monday.
Gainax had previously revealed in a job listing that it is working on a new anime production from May to October, and the job listing indicated that the project is set in Great Britain from 1900 to 1930.
Funimation Adds Tsubasa: Tokyo Revelations, Shunraiki
2 original anime DVD series shipped with CLAMP's Tsubasa manga in 2007-09
The North American anime distributor Funimation has confirmed with ANN on Tuesday that it has licensed the Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations and Tsubasa: Thunder Spring Chronicles (Tsubasa: Shunraiki) original video anime series. Vic Mignogna (Fay D. Flourite), alongside fellow voice actor Chris Sabat (Kurogane), had actually made the announcement at the Anime Milwaukee convention in Wisconsin in March.
Kodansha released the Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations video series on three DVDs that were bundled with volumes 21, 22, and 23 of CLAMP's original Tsubasa, RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE manga in Japan. Although this 2007-2008 anime series was not the first anime to be bundled on DVD with manga, it popularized the term "original animation DVD" (OAD) to describe these kinds of tie-ins.
The success of Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations spurred a new two-volume video series called Tsubasa: Shunraiki last year. The Tsubasa: Shunraiki DVDs shipped with volumes 26 and 27 of the Tsubasa manga in Japan.
The 2003-2009 Tsubasa manga tells a parallel-world fantasy adventure with alternate versions of characters from many of CLAMP's other creations. The manga is known in particular for its crossovers with another recent CLAMP manga, xxxHOLiC. (The Tsubasa manga ended last October, but the xxxHOLiC manga is still running.)
Tsubasa has already been adapted into Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE The Movie: Princess of the Birdcage Kingdom and the Tsubasa, RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE television series. Del Rey will ship the last two Tsubasa manga volumes (#27 and #28) in North America in July and November, and Funimation already released the Tsubasa anime movieSource: Anime News Network
May 3, 2010 Update:Welcome to a new month - MAY! This month is Asian Heritage Month where we celebrate everything Asian! Not only do we celebrate Asian Heritage Month in May, we are also celebrating Mother's Day. So, get ready! Another special month just waiting around the corner!
We also don't want you to forget what we had in our new arrived books. Here are the last three titles: Shirow Masamune - Pieces 2: Phantom CatsNoboru Kannatuski Illustrations - Shinkyoku Soukai PolyphonciaTengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Double Feature Movies Works Art BookOh, and don't forget our continuing sale on these selected titles:Granado Espada Plus Visual Chronicle Art BookMetal Gear Solid 4 Master Art Works Guns of the Patriots Art Book
NEWS!!!Anime Expo to Premiere Erina Mano's 1st Lead Film Role
The Cinema Today website and other Japanese media outlets are reporting on Friday that Anime Expo will host the world premiere of Kaidan Shin Mimibukuro Kaiki, the first live-action film in which J-pop idol singer Erina Mano has a lead role. The convention will run in Los Angeles during the July 1-4 holiday weekend, and the organizers at The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation had confirmed with ANN that Mano will be attending the convention as an industry guest.
Mano is a solo artist from the recording collective Hello! Project, of which the all-female J-pop group Morning Musume is also a part. She joined Hello! Project in 2006 and was given a lead role in the Gatas Brilhantes music group Ongaku Gatas. She released a single titled "Otome no Inori" in March of 2009.
Director Makoto Shinozaki (Okaeri, 0093 Joō Heika no Kusakari Masao) is basing Kaidan Shin Mimibukuro Kaiki on the modern horror story collection Shin Mimibukuro. The film is split into two parts — "Tsukimono" and "Nozomi" — and Mano is starring in a different role in each half. The film will open in Japan in September.
The Shin Mimibukuro horror anthology had already inspired a 2003 omnibus-style live-action television franchise which eventually ran for over 100 episodes. Selected episodes have been released in the United States on DVD under the name Tales of Terror from Tokyo and All Over Japan.
Beyblade: Metal Fusion to Premiere in U.S. on June 26
Cartoon Network to run 51 manga/game-based episodes on Saturday mornings
The Canadian television production company Corus Entertainment has announced on Friday that the Beyblade: Metal Fusion anime series will premiere on television in the United States on Saturday, June 26 at 7:30 a.m. ET/PT. America's Cartoon Network had already announced last week that it will run this new anime series based on the Beyblade spinning top game and manga franchise.
Corus describes the plot as the following:Competing for dominance with their spinning Beyblade tops, the perilous organization of the Dark Nebula is vying for world domination. The only person standing in their way is teenager Gingka, who struggles to find his strength to honour Beyblade and save the world.
The series premiered in Japan last April under the name Metal Fight Beyblade. Corus describes the anime as a 51-episode series, although the 56th episode is airing in Japan this Sunday. The company is bringing the same series to Canada's YTV on May 15. (The "Metal" in the new anime and toy line's name is a reference to the use of metal in the new tops, instead of just plastic as in the earlier incarnations.)
Takara-Tomy launched the original game franchise in 1999, and sponsored three anime series between 2001 and 2003: Bakuten Shoot Beyblade, Bakuten Shoot Beyblade 2002 (Beyblade V-Force), and Bakuten Shoot Beyblade G-Revolution. New Beyblade episodes have not aired in the United States since 2005. Viz Media released Takao Aoki's original Beyblade manga, and Takafumi Adachi launched his new Metal Fight Beyblade manga in Shogakukan's Coro-Coro Comic magazine in 2008.
Windows 7 Gets Anime Ad with Nanami Madobe Mascot
Nana Mizuki voiced character aimed at build-it-yourself computer owners
The Akihabara PC Game Festa event has announced that it will unveil an original anime commercial starring the Windows 7 mascot character Nanami Madobe on May 9 in Tokyo. Nanami Madobe was created to promote the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system to build-it-yourself computer owners. Prolific voice actress and singer Nana Mizuki has been voicing the character since the mascot debuted last year as a bonus customization theme for Japanese premium sets of the Windows 7 Ultimate Edition.
Novelist Kōji Watanabe (Platonic Chain, @Run-City) and technical writer Toshiya Takahashi will appear at the Windows 7 Special Show on May 9, and the event organizers hint at other special guests.
The name "Nanami Madobe" can be interpreted as a wordplay on Nana Mizuki's name, as well as the Japanese words madobe ("by the window") and nana ("seven").
Crossbone Gundam/MAPS' Hasegawa to Draw Raideen Manga
God Bird spinoff to mark 35th anniversary of Sunrise's Brave Raideen anime
Manga creator Yuichi Hasegawa revealed in an April 24 blog entry that he will launch a new Raideen manga spinoff series titled God Bird in the July issue of Jive's Monthly Comic Rush magazine on May 26. "God Bird" was a transformation mode of the titular robot in Sunrise's 1975-1976 Brave Raideen anime series. The new manga will mark the 35th anniversary of this super robot anime, which was co-directed by Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino.
Hasegawa had previously created the MAPS manga and anime franchise. Besides God Bird, his other manga projects based on classic robot anime series include Gundam vs. Ideon: Counterattack of Gigantis, Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam, Mobile Suit Victory Gundam Side Story, and Chōjū Kishin Dancougar Burn. ADV Films released the 1994 video anime remake of MAPS in 2005.Source: Anime News Network
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