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AICN Anime Report: ExcelSaga; Ghibli; Metropolis; Evangelion; VampireHunter; CowboyBeBop; Ah!MyGoddess; 8ManAfter

Well, its Wednesday again and time for Father Geek to post another great fact filled Anime & Manga column from AICN Anime Editor Scott Green, buuuuut as is usual there are a couple of items ol' Father Geek will ad before hand...

, I've reported some things to you in the past, and thought you should know this. This mainly has to do with the concern that I and several of my friends have over Disney's idea to not even consider any more of Hiyao Miyazaki's films to see the light of day in the USA (I'm still hoping for "Castle in the Sky" on DVD/Video).

In these times, I've found my "Miyazaki fix" in the website www.nausicaa.net. These guys know almost everything under the sun, talking about the films of Miyazaki, and having certain articles translated. Just the other day, I found out the following information about "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi," a.k.a. "Spirited Away."

(The information provided below was found by a translator of a Japanese article for the site):

1) "Spirited Away" has ousted "Titanic" from the Japanese Box-Office's #1 spot.

2) There are negotioations going on to try and get this film release. The two that "Tokuma" are talking with are Dreamworks and Disney.

This could be very interesting. Even though word is that Disney contributed 10% to "Spirited Away's" budget, they still seem reluctant to commit to giving other animated films the kind of publicity that they would exhibit towards their feature animated films like "Atlantis: The Lost Empire."

In my opinion, I hope that Jeffrey Kahtzenberg is able to obtain distribution rights to Studio Ghibli's films. Their idea to distribute films by Aardman Animations in England was a great alliance, and hopefully, Dreamworks wold give "Spirited Away" the kind of promotion the film deserves.

Sincerely, uruseiranma

P.S. nausicaa.net also reports that Miyazaki's next film would possibly be released in summer of 2004. According to the translated news, Miyazaki says " I have to go into the totally different field (from where I've been) before."

Father Geek back with this bit about Disney...

Just thought you might like to know that Disney's upcoming Peter Pan sequel disgrace does have one cool thing. Their finally releasing the John Henry short to theatres after a couple of years of it being stored away in the vault. I think i heard sir etch a sketch talk about this animated short saying that it was so good the disney execs got scared. More than likely their adding on John Henry because of the short running length of Peter Pan (i think its barely over an hour) thought you might like to know

THE Big T

Th-Th-Th-That's all Folks... from Father Geek at least, Scott's got tons more interesting info for you below, sooooooo, check it all out now...

The AICN Anime Report

Crest of the Stars; Volumes 1 & 2

Crest of the Stars opens with orders being given in a strange language as an armed invasion fleet surrounding the colony of Martin. Humanity harnessed the power a newly discovered particle of unknown origin to colonize the galaxy. The invaders are the Humankind Empire of Abh, a race genetically altered to thrive in space. They appear like attractive, youthful humans with blue hair, and long elfin ears (possibly for political reasons, they look like "harmless elves"). A sensory organ on their forehead feels the space around them, allowing space piloting with a simple interface. Jinto Lin is the young son of Martin's elected president, Rock Lin. After determining his colony's defense are hopelessly out matched, Rock surrenders his colony without a fight. The Abh make Rock Lin the lord of their new possession, immediately angering the democratic population of the planet, who branding him a sell out. Jinto's innocent child's question are instantly met with sarcasm. He i! s accused of "already talking like a member of a higher class" when he asks about his father's deal.

After seven years away at military school, Jinto returns home on route to the Star Forces Academy at the Abh capital to train for the position a war secretary. The first Abh he meets is Lafeel, Crown Princess, and granddaughter of the Abh empress.

During the journey their ship comes into conflict with the forces of the Four Nation Union in the opening shots in a war between the Abh and the consolidated forces of the of the nations of human colonies. Lafeel and Jinto take a small craft to a human populated Abh vassal state where their arrive sets off a conflict with the state's duke.

The scope of the series is a narrow and personal take on space opera-esque galactic war. Space battles are montages are shown out of context with disjointed phrases flashed on the screen. It focuses on Jinto and Lafeel as a vehicle to explore the Abh and human cultures.

The series is told nearly equally through the eyes of Jinto and Lafeel, exemplified by the ending animation which is a montage of each characters' childhood that alternates by episode. Both Jinto and Lafeel are outgoing, likable characters with complex backgrounds. Both are very open with the other, and explain the circumstances of their childhood with a great deal of honesty, but some gaps.

There is good deal of culture clash tension between the two. The situation is made more awkward in its uniqueness. Jinto has never dealt with an Abh before. Lafeel has never known anyone without prior knowledge of her royalty. Jinto is questioned about basic reactions such as why he took a step back when Lafeel saluted him on their first meeting. The complexity of Abh society, and the foreignness of Jinto's make understanding difficult, but the two are intelligent enough to guess each other's intentions.

The appeal of the series is understanding the Abh culture. The thirteen episode television series is the first chapter of the anime adaptation of popular Japanese novel series. The cultural and scientific details of the series are all present and worked out. The high light of the series is the teasing clues when the working of these systems are explained, either in the episodes' opening monologues, or the series' many conversations. The Abh are interested in space, not the planets that litter it. The irony is that they decorate their war ships with paintings of the planets' surfaces. Sunflower fields, veldts, sea shorts and the like. The DVDs feature extra text section explaining details about Abh society. For example Abh nobility are conscripted in their Star Forces, and royalty must join combat groups, where performance dictates who is in line for the thrown.

The fact that the majority of its scenes are conversations and that battles that are shown are either montages for setting context, or emphasize strategy rather than adrenalin seems to suggest that a strict adaptation of the written source with few changes utilize the strength of the new medium that the story has been place into. However, it does exercise the medium's muscles a bit with some excellent, and highly detailed designs in the series' star ships.

Crest of the Stars is not a good source for an action or comedy fix. The pace is deliberate. Despite the youth of the characters, and the cute character design the ideas and implication of the series have a complexity that will appeal to older audiences. The appeal to the series is the ideas behind the events.

Rating: B+

This Week's Anime and Manga Releases

Manga:
  • Ceres Celestial Legend #6 (Of 6)
  • Eagle Vol 22 Father & Son
  • Gundam Wing Episode Zero #8 (Of 8)
  • Inu Yasha Part 6 #7 (Of 15)
  • Kazan Vol 1 Gn #6
  • Lone Wolf & Cub Vol 15 Brothers Of The Grass Tp
  • No Need For Tenchi Part 12 #4 (Of 6)
  • Seraphic Feather Tp

Anime:
  • 8 Man After: Perfect Collection
  • Ah! My Goddess - The Movie
  • Babel II: Perfect Collection
  • Dragon Ball Z - Frieza - Fall Of A Tyrant
  • Gasaraki - In The Spider's Web (Vol. 7)
  • Orphen - Ruins And Relics
  • Pokemon - The Johto Journeys - Azalea Adventures (Vol. 47)
  • Pokemon - The Johto Journeys - Buggy Boogie (Vol. 48)
  • Sailor Moon S - Heart Collection Vi: Tv Series, Vols. 11 & 12 (Uncut)
  • Shadow Skill

Inu-Yasha is Rumiko Takahashi (Ranma ½'s) genre shifting take of a school girl from the present time who meets up with a half-demon dog boy from Japan's Era of Warring states.

8 Man After is based on a popular 1960's Robo Cop-esque manga series. " With the recent disappearance of cyborg hero 8 Man, murderous drug-crazed gangs known as "cyber-junkies"the only super-android vigilante who can bring the lawless to justice and return order to a city consumed by corruption and violence. "

Babel II is a story based on the manga series by Mitsutero Yokoyama about a boy with untapped psychic powers who is lured by a beautiful woman into her evil cult.

AIC has opened their English website for Ah! My Goddess the Motion Picture

right here, The site features information, on the story, characters and staff, as well as many art shots. The movie's trailer can be seen at here.

The will take a deeper look at the characters that viewers of the OAV (direct to video release) and manga series have grown to love.

In the OAV the college student Keiichi is trying to order out for food when he accidentally dials the Helper Goddess Hotline. When the goddess Belldandy appears Keiichi, believes he's the victim of a practical joke and wishes Belldandy would date him. Eventually he ends up living with Belldandy, her older sister, the mischievous seductress Urd, her younger sister, the immature techie Skuld, and his younger sister Megumi. It's a fun romantic comedy that turns out to be very sweet.

Keiichi is trying to attract new members to the Nekomi motor club, but has problems with people being attracted to the goddess Belldandy and not racing. At a party being thrown to welcome four new members the normally quiet and shy usually shy and quiet Sora Hasegawa gets drunk and hits on Keiichi. When bottles begin to fly around Belldandy's jealousy is suspected. In the movie new goddess Operetta, the Systems Manager for the "Earth Assistance Center", joins Peorth as rivals of the goddesses known to OAV watchers.

Missing Bebop Episodes may Return to Cartoon Network

According to Cartoon Network's online schedule click here, the three previously unaired episodes of Cowboy Bebop are to air during the series second run. All three episodes are believed to have been removed from Cartoon Network's Schedule as a result of the events of September 11th.

According to the schedule, Sympathy For the Devil is scheduled to air on December 16th and 20th Waltz for Venus on the 23rd and 27th and finally Cowboy Funk is scheduled to air on February 10th and 14th.

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust Release Set

Urban Vision will be releasing Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust on VHS and DVD on February 12th.

'D' has been hired to track down Meier Link, a notoriously powerful vampire who has abducted a Human woman, Charlotte Elbourne. 'D''s orders are strict find Charlotte, at any cost. For the first time, 'D' faces serious competition. The Markus Brothers, a family of Vampire Hunters, were hired for the same bounty. 'D' must intercept Meier and conquer hostile forces on all sides in a deadly race against time. Despised by Vampires for his profession and by Humans for the blood in his veins, 'D' relentlessly pursues his prey. for a price.

DVD Special Features Include:

  • Behind the Scenes Featurette
  • Storyboard to Feature Comparison
  • Theatrical trailers and TV spots
  • Viewers' Top Ten Picks
  • Image Gallery
  • Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Motion Menus
  • Close Captioning
  • UV Trailers
  • Weblinks

Credits...

  • Producers: Mataichiro Yamamoto, Masao Maruyama
  • Based on a Novel by: Hideyuki Kikuchi (Asahi Sonorama)
  • Director/Screenplay: Yoshiaki Kawajiri
  • Based on Character Illustrations by: Yoshitaka Amano
  • Character Designer & Animation Director: Yutaka Minowa
  • Mecha Designer: Ken Koike
  • Conceptual Designer: Yasushi Nirasawa
  • Art Director: Yuji Ikehata
  • Animation Studio: MADHOUSE
  • Production: Filmlink International

Shounen Jump Founder and Editor-In-Chief Passes Away

Tadasu Nagano, the founder and editor in chief of Japanese manga anothology Shounen Jump passed away on November 24th at the age of 75. The periodical launch such wll known series as Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball, Nobuhiro Watsuki's Rurouni Kenshin, and Tsukasa Hojo's City Hunter, Cat Eyes.

Manga Entertainment Release Info (Evangelion Movies, Giant Robo)

According to Anime Tourist's report on Manga Entertainment Press Panel at Metreon Festival of Anime the dates posted on the company's web site are the outers bounds of the titles release date. They hope to get releases out as soon as possible. The release of the Evangelion movies has been delayed while they wait for a better Japanese audio track (a 5.1 version rather than the current stereo). An effort is being made to interview Evangelion creator and directory Anno Hideaki, but the likelihood is looking dim. Tsurumaki Kazuya will be providing an interview and possibly a director's commentary. English dub actress Amanda Win Lee will be providing a commentary track as well. Other special features include their own version of the "Red Cross Book", with images and information about the series, interviews (English dub actress Tiffany Grant has been named) and a look behind the scenes.

A recent flyer puts Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth on 4/30/02 and Neon Genesis Evangelion the Movie (AKA: End of Evangelion) on 7/30/02.

When the Neon Genesis Evangelion television series ended there was a great deal of controversy about the last two episodes. Many viewers where dissatisfied about the method in which the series was concluded. In response the Evangelion movies presented an alternative ending. The first half of Death & Rebirth is a summary of the events of the television series leading up to the last two episodes with new animation for transition. The second half features a new penultimate chapter. The first half of End of Evangelion is the same as the second half of death and rebirth. The feature then goes on to a new conclusion to the story.

Other manga release dates include:

  • Virus in May 2002.
  • Macross Plus Movie DVD is Feb.
  • Shadowskill is end of Nov. 2001
  • Gunbuster is late summer 2002.
  • Giant Robo is also late summer 2002. Currently trying to get the Gin Rei shorts as well.
  • Fist of the Northstar DVDs. Going to be as many episodes as possible on a dvd. So only 4-5.

Macross Plus: The Movie is a re-edited version of the four episode OAV series about three friends who have succeeded in the careers, but failed in their personally lives who are reunited when they return to their home planet, two of them as test pilots and the third of the manager to a popular virtual idol singer. The movie features two footage and a different take on the story than the OAVs.

Gunbuster is a OAV series from Gainax that has been compared to Evangelion with more of a traditional sci-fi bend.

Giant Robo is a pulp/retro take on the boy and his giant robot.

By popular demand, the Manga Entertainment website forum is coming back.

From Anime Tourist's "it was taken down because too many troublemakers were showing up and there was no way to keep them out. However, to get into the forum, you have to be part of Manga Fan Club. Keith is creating a manga membership card that has a serial number on it. That way only fans will be posting and not people who are trying to cause trouble. However if all you want to do is use the forum, then a membership card can be had for free by signing up at a convention that Manga is at or writing Keith and requesting one. Manga also plans to offer discounts to card holders and contests will be held for cardholders only. "

Metropolis Release Information.

The latest Diamond Comics Previews lists Metropolis for release in March with a retail price of 27.95$. According to the retailer Archonia, it will have only the Japanese language on it with English subtitles.

Second Ranma Box Set?

Viz's Holiday Shop By Mail catalogue list the Anything Goes Martial Arts DVD for release in March 2002 for $119.98.

TOKYOPOP Licensing News

TOKYOPOP's Smile magazine included an ad for the Marmalade Boy manga with the line "Look for the Marmalade Boy anime on VHS & DVD coming soon from TOKYOPOP".

Marmalade Boy is a comedy/drama about a girl whose parents return from a trip and announced that they are getting a divorce in order to swap spouses with another divorcing couple.

It has been confirmed that TOKYOPOP has licensed the Initial D anime series. Initial D a popular series in Japan about a street racer who excels due to his driving skill, despite the handicap of using a low power Toyota. Its known for its race scenes and beat music.

Cowboy Bebop Manga Starts February

The new Diamond preview soliciting for February releases lists the first two (of four) issues of Cowboy Bebop from TokyoPop. They are also listing the first issue of Ragnarok from TokyoPop, and Big O from Viz.

Bandai Japan acquires Ashi Productions

Animaxis reports the Bandai group Banpresto has added Ashi Productions, producers of Macross 7, All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku and Blue Seed to its list of subsidiaries. Bandai, which own 90% of Ashi Productions' stock, is seen as having made the move in order to improve its profit margins in the merchandising area.

Further Confirmation Of "Howl's" Ghibli Film

According to Nausicaa.net "A scan of the wraparound slip that is included with the Japanese version of "Howl's Moving Castle" is now available for consumption. The text says: "Planned to be made into an animated film by Studio Ghibli! The slightly strange love story of Sophie, an 18 year old cursed to become a 90-year-old woman, and Howl, a magician who cannot truly love anyone." "

Gasaraki 8 Release Information

ADV has set a January 29th release date for "To Be a Kai", the eighth and final volume of Gasaraki.

The DVD release will feature the English-language version as well as the Japanese-language version with English subtitles. DVD extras for this volume include production staff interviews, "textless" open and close credit animation, production sketches, a comprehensive glossary of terms, and previews of ADV releases. Format SRP VHS $19.98 DVD $29.98

Excel Saga Dub Cast

Anime on DVD's forum has revealed that the dub cast for the highly anticipated comedy Excel Saga will be as follows:

  • Excel - Jessica Calvello
  • Ilapalazzo - Jason Douglas
  • Misaki Matsuya - Tiffany Grant
  • Great Will of the Macrocosom - Kelly Manison
  • Menchi - Hilary Haag
  • Hyatt - Monica Rial
  • Cosplay Excel - Cynthia Martinez
  • Nabeshin - Brett Weaver
  • Pedro - Rob Mungle
  • Watanabe - Jay Hickman
  • Iwata - Mark Laskowski
  • Kabapu - Mike Kleinhenz
  • Puchuu VA #1- Kira

The series should present a challenge to the actor due to the manic speed of its dialogue.

Fox and NBC Plan Saturday Morning Cartoon Changes

According to ICV2 Fox's removal of their afternoon animation block may be a sign of things to come for network televised animation. Variety reports that Fox is considering a number of scenarios, most of which will spell the end Fox's animated programming. The problem is that ad sales have softened and Fox's Power Rangers-led ratings dominance of the past has been eclipsed by competition from the WB (with Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh), ABC (One Saturday Morning), CBS (Nick Jr.), and the Cartoon Network. Now the four-hour, anime-laden Fox Kids Saturday lineup is in jeopardy, and shows like Transformers, Medabots, Mon Colle Knights , and Digimon could be looking for new time slots on a different network.

It is possible that Fox will "lease" the Saturday morning block to a "packager" like Nelvana, 4kids, or DIC Entertainment, but Variety also notes that Fox might use the time block to attempt to attract an older 18-34 audience by recycling programming from its FX network, which could eventually yield more in the way of ad revenue if the network could get the more mature audience to watch.

NBC, which currently fields a group of live-action shows featuring teen actors and aimed at slightly older demographic than the other networks' Saturday morning lineups, is reportedly looking to partner with a cable network that could help bring an audience to Saturdays by promoting the shows throughout the week. It is possible that NBC could return to an animated lineup at the same time that Fox dumps its toons, but it is unlikely that anime would be as well represented on NBC as it currently is on Fox Kids.

Bandai Sets Jin-Roh DVD Release

Bandai has announced that the Jin-Roh will be released on DVD March 5th. A standard edition will retain for $29.98; and a Special Edition, which includes a Jin-Roh CD soundtrack, a 12-page booklet, and Special Edition Slip Case packaging. The Special Edition, which also includes interviews with the cast and creators as well as theatrical trailers will retail for $59.98.

Central Park Media Delays

Central Park Media has officially indefinitely delayed the release of their Battleskippers movie and My My Mai DVDs, originally scheduled for release last month.

Changes at Guardians of Order

Guardians of Order has announced that they will be changing gears to focus on their fan guides. Their guides to Serial Experiments Lain and Trigun have been delayed to February and May respectively. Future guides include Fushigi Yugi, Dual, NieA_7, and Armitage III. The guides will try into their Big Eyes, Small Mouth RPG, but many of their other RPG licenses expire at the end of the 2001.

Come January 1, 2002 GOO is discontinuing the following RPG related products:

  • Sailor Moon RPG and Resource Book
  • Sailor Moon Supplement: Complete Book of Yoma
  • Sailor Moon Supplement: Sailor Scout Character Diary
  • Sailor Moon Supplement: Knight Character Diary
  • Sailor Moon Supplement: Dark Warrior Character Diary
  • Dominion Tank Police RPG and Resource Book
  • Demon City Shinjuku RPG and Resource Book
  • Sailor Moon Button Men

New Detail on US CCS Movie

Anime on DVD has learned that the upcoming release of the Card Captor Sakura movie from Pioneer will come in two different DVD versions. The "Cardcaptors" version will be dubbed only but uncut, cropped to be full-screen/pan & scan. The "Card Captor Sakura" version DVD will retain the original Japanese anamorphic 16:9 widescreen and include the English dubbed "Cardcaptors" version and the original Japanese dialogue with optional subtitles in Dolby 2.0 and 5.1. While no confirmation has been released yet, presumably this will be the first of the two Japanese CCS theatrical movies.

Upcoming Release Dates

12/1

Bubblegum Crash

12/17

Vampire Princess Miyu DVD 2

12/31

Vampire Princess Miyu DVD 2Otaku No Video

1/15

Blue Gender Vol. 2 (DUB / DVD)

1/08

Battle of the Planets 3 (VHS / DVD) and 4 (VHS / DVD

DBZ 28 Garlic Jr.: Black Water Mist DVD

DBZ 64: Cell Games: The Games Begin (D) (EDITED / UNCUT)

DBZ 65: Cell Games: Surrender (D) (EDITED / UNCUT)

1/22

DBZ Movie 5: Cooler's Revenge (Edited) (DUB / DVD)

DBZ Movie 5: Cooler's Revenge (Uncut) (DUB / DVD)

1/29

Beast Wars VHS 1 / VHS 2 / DVD

DBZ 39: Imperfect Cell: Encounter DVD

DBZ 40: Imperfect Cell: Discovery DVD

DBZ 62: Majin Buu: The Hatching DVD

DBZ 63: Majin Buu: Atonement DVD

Gasaraki Volume 8

1/30

Urusei Yatsura DVD 5

2/26

Rurouni Kenshin: The Firefly's Wish

Zenki Collection 2

3/12

Cardcaptor Sakura 8: Sweet Trouble (SUB / SUB DVD)

Gatekeepers 4 (DUB / DVD)

Vandread 2: Nirvana (DUB / DVD)

3/19

Sailor Moon Super S TV 3-4 DVD: Pegasus Collection II

Sailor Moon Super S TV 3: Amazon Trio Uncut DUB

Sailor Moon Super S TV 4: The Dream Mirror Uncut DUB

3/26

Cardcaptors the Movie (DUB / DUB DVD)

Cardcaptor Sakura the Movie DVD

Pokemon: The Johto Journeys 51 (DUB / DVD)

Gatekeepers 4

4/2

Cardcaptors 8: Times of Need (DUB / DUB DVD)

4/9

Adventures of the Mini-Goddess 2: The Belldandy Files (DUB / DVD)

AD Polic DVD set

Gundam: First Gundam 8 (DUB / DVD)

Gundam: First Gundam 9 (DUB / DVD)

Tenchi Muyo 12: The True Prince! [Toonami] DUB

Zoids 1 (DUB / DVD)

4/16

Soul Taker DVD 2: Flickering Faith

4/23

Gundam 0080 DVD 2

Love Hina DVD 2

Ronin Warrior 1 DVD

Saber Marionette J-X DVD

4/30

Metabots

AD Police will feature the 12 episode series on a double disc set. The series, about a police force who protects people from rampaging androids is a companion piece to Bubblegum Crisis 2040.

ADV has also picked up the Saturday morning robot battle favorite - Metabots. The show has been tentatively scheduled to begin release on 4/30/02.

Rurouni Kenshin: The Firefly's Wish on VHS and DVD contains episodes 63-66. These episodes, immediately following the Kyoto story, feature Kenshin, the wandering swordsman, and his companions, the young dojo instructor Karou, her student Yahiko, and the reformed gangster Sano, to Tokyo. They are self contained, humorous episodes, about matters such as mistaken identities, dogs, and engagement rings. A dramatic change of pace from the long, continues, and dramatic story that just ended.

The next volume will start the first continuous story that did not appear in the original Kenshin manga, in which Kenshin figts the semi-historical figure Shogo Amakusa, a powerful swordsman who fights tom protect Japan's Christian population

FUNimation's Blue Gender Volume will contain extras like cast bios, image galleries, character profiles and something called 'Blue File' which describes the show from concept to finished product.

The 325 minute long second DVD collection of Zenki including the North American premier of episodes 14-26

Well, That's it for Scott this Wednesday...

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Nov. 28, 2001, 1:52 p.m. CST

    Can't wait... Such a huge fan.

    by cthulhu_

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 2:51 p.m. CST

    Wouldn't it be great if Dreamworks released "Spirited Away"

    by IAmLegolas

    I bet they would put some effort in advertising for it. I can hear the collective "D'oh" coming from the Disney camp already...

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 4:23 p.m. CST

    Disney = BAKA!

    by desslok

    I hope that Disney burns in hell for sitting on these treasures. Why cant they release it to the (not so) nich Anime market? They'd more than make their money back. Oh no, they have to move 100,000 units before they'll even consider putting something out. Idiots.

  • http://www.animenation.net/news/aj-index.php3?id=389 Subject: Is the American Movie Industry Scared of Anime? November 19th, 2001 Question My question is, why do U.S. movie makers like Buena Vista have a problem with anime movies that make it big in Japan? Like Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, what I am hearing is that it will not be that successful at all in the U.S. and it's too over-the-heads of American's. And why did Buena Vista cancel it's contract with Ghibli. I am wondering if U.S. movie makers are worried that a standard 2D animation would kill the box-office of live action movies. Like what if Mononoke Hime, in the U.S. was a wide release? It would have done very good. I would like to know what your answer will be. ___________________________ Answer The problem is not that American distributors are "afraid" of anime; the problem is that anime isn't profitable enough to be worth their time or effort. Allow me to address your points in order. It's true that Buena Vista did have "some problem" with the violent content in Mononoke Hime, but that did not prevent them from spending a lot of money on the film, hiring major Hollywood actors to provide voice roles, creating and distributing a theatrical print, then distributing a home video version that was delayed in order to accommodate the fan demand for the inclusion of an English subtitled version. No matter how much it may pain me to defend the Disney company, Disney did take significant steps toward treating the American presentation of Mononoke Hime better, and with more respect for its artistic integrity, than even a lot of America's recognized "anime companies" have done with other major anime releases. The reason why Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi may not come to America is because, even after Disney went through as much trouble as they did to create a faithful and respectful American version of Princess Mononoke, the film still didn't make any money. If, after that kind of effort, the Disney company saw no results, it's difficult to blame them for being hesitant to try again. Understand that it's not the Disney company that has publicly predicted that Sen to Chihiro wouldn't do well in America, it is Hayao Miyazaki himself who has publicly stated his lack of faith in the American market. Miyazaki-sensei stated in a Japanese press conference that Sen to Chihiro was created specifically for Japanese audiences, and while he'd be happy to see Americans embrace the film, he doesn't think that Americans will understand or appreciate the themes in the film that are intended specifically for Japanese viewers. _______________________________ Buena Vista has not canceled its contract with Tokuma Shoten or Ghibli. Disney partnered itself with Tokuma Shoten in order to gain control of the very profitable international home video distribution rights to the Ghibli films. The "Disney deal" never guaranteed American release of any of the Ghibli films, nor was even the release of Kiki's Delivery Service or Princess Mononoke necessary for Disney. Disney managed a wide release of two Ghibli films, and neither one turned out to be a major hit in America. It's difficult to justify why Disney should be obligated to continue to release foreign films in America that don't make a significant profit. And that may be what many American anime fans don't realize. It's unreasonable to expect Disney to have released an untested film from an untested genre to thousands of American movie theaters nationwide. It's true that Princess Mononoke had a very limited theatrical release, but that alone is not what sunk the movie in America. That limited theatrical release just didn't generate increasing interest or demand for the film. The limited theatrical run for Princess Mononoke simply didn't justify a wider release. In comparison, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon also open in a very limited number of art theaters, but word of mouth and positive critical praise kept it moving from theater to theater through an ever widening market. Crouching Tiger had been in American movie theaters for 6 months or more before it received its American wide release. If the same support from movie-goers and critics had been there for Princess Mononoke, Mononoke too would have eventually made it big. _________________________________ American studios aren't "afraid" of anime because, in America, anime still is no threat to the established American movie industry. In fact, the theatrical support that films including Princess Mononoke, Spriggan, Jin-Roh and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust have received just continue to validate the fact that anime in America simply isn't popular enough to deserve theatrical distribution beyond limited art theater runs. American anime fans may believe that anime has the potential to overtake the biggest Hollywood releases, but this simply isn't true. If there really was a major interest in anime lying just below the surface of the American public, that interest would be swelling in reaction to the current theatrical screenings of Jin-Roh, Spriggan and Vampire Hunter D, but it's not. Parents still consider anime "children's cartoons" or "that Japanese stuff my kids like." Film critics continue to criticize anime as a hyper-stylized substitute for live-action rather than a viable cinematic art-form in-and-of itself. Anime will never be mainstream in America until these same parents consider anime not only entertainment for their children, but a legitimate entertainment for themselves as well. Anime will never be mainstream in America until film critics recognize it as a legitimate form of foreign art film rather than "fanboy entertainment;" or novelty; or testosterone laden cyber-punk that uses animation to film what's too expensive or too difficult to produce in live-action. Anime is simply still too foreign for the American mainstream. The average American does consider the opinions of mainstream film critics, and film critics are the voice of the masses. Anime may be massively popular among American teens and the relatively small American hard-core anime fan market, but several thousand American "otaku" and a fraction of the teen-age consumer market simply can't compete with the millions of dollars and millions of fans that mainstream American movies bring in. If there was genuinely a lot of money to be made off of anime, you can be certain that the American entertainment industry would be licensing and commissioning and distributing anime with unprecedented fervor, but that's not the case. The mainstream Hollywood movie industry isn't trying to bury the anime industry. Anime is simply too insignificant to be noticeable by the major American entertainment industry.

  • http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/archives/editorial/finalfantasy.php I'm not sure if I've cut-and-pasted this editorial from Anime News Network here before (I won't repost it now), but it covers much of the same territory as the "Ask John" column above, looking at the lessons learned from the disappointing performance of the Final Fantasy movie, and touching on the Ghibli/Disney issue as well. The primary reason for Mononoke's disnal performance in limited release wasn't the marketing (which was par for the course for an art house release), but the market. There just isn't enough of a domestic (North American) market for adult animation to warrant anime being shown in wide theatrical release. So what if Dreamworks does get the theatrical rights to Sen to Chihiro? Mark my words, whether Disney or Dreamworks, Sen will only see an art house circuit release, if it gets a theatrical release at all and doesn't just go straight to video. If only Disney had released Mononoke direct-to-video; they would have considered it a moderate success, and we'd probably have several of the other films from the deal released on video Stateside by now. As for Disney not bothering with a Ghibli film on video/DVD if they can't be assured of at least 100 000 units sold, well, considering the amount of money and talent they pour into producing a high-quality dub, on top of the millions of dollars they already had to pay to Ghibli for the rights to EACH film ($10 million for the rights for Mononoke alone), I don't blame them for actually wanting to make back more than they spend, and if 100 000 units is the bare minimum required to turn a profit, so be it.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 7:45 p.m. CST

    helloeverybody- they're not my arguments.

    by Kiyone

    Read the subject line of my first post clearly; they're not my arguments. I cut-and-pasted an "Ask John" column from the Anime Nation site... see the URL. I agree with pretty much everything "John" (don't know if it's his real name; I couldn't find his full name anywhere on the site) said in the piece, but I didn't write them. (I did write the ones in the second posting, though.) And good animation is good animation, no matter where it's from, no argument there. What "John", and the ANN editors, and I are attempting to put forward is that there are not enough of us adults who appreciate good animation to warrant anime films being shown in wide release theatrically on this side of the Pacific. Adult animation on the big screen is a tough sell, period, and foreign animation is even tougher. Persoanlly, I don't even blame Disney for the fact that most North American adults only think of animation as strictly "kid's stuff"; Hanna-Barbera's TV stuff from the late 40s through the 70s is more directly to blame for this attitude (though I enjoy the stuff they do now, like Dexter's Laboratory and the Powerpuff Girls).

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 8:07 p.m. CST

    Ok, fine, great but...

    by IAmLegolas

    ... at least release Miyazaki's films to DVD. I can live without the films being released theatrically. What? That still wouldn't be profitable? Then release them in a limited quantity, like say 10,000 or whatever. Why not if the American anime audience is supposed to be so low. Miyazaki's DVDs are already made or are currently being made in Japan by Buena Vista so how hard is it to port them over to the U.S. Don't they have English subtitles on them already? Maybe I should just get a Regionless DVD player like people have been suggested, but to tell you the truth, that Miyazaki "bootleg" DVD collection that's all over eBay is getting more and more tempting by the day...

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 8:09 p.m. CST

    Another thing...

    by Kiyone

    One more thing... I don't recall anywhere in the piece John arguing that "American animation = GOOD, Japanese animation = BAD". Uhh, this guy works for Anime Nation, unless he's a very disgruntled employee, he probably has a pretty high opinion of anime in general. Just because an anime fan does not believe silly fanboy conspiracy theories about American studios scheming to bury anime as the reason that anime is only a niche market domestically(N.B. I'm referring to what the person who asked John the question seems to think, not anything specific posted in this Talkback, does not make him any less of an anime fan.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 8:12 p.m. CST

    Great anime report

    by Sean Whitmore

    Finally, one of these reports with a few anime titles I actually give a damn about.***I'm not holding out any hope that "Spirited Away" or any other anime movie will be released theatrically in the US. They never make any money. I'm not blaming the movies or the audiences or the marketing or anything, they just don't make any money over here. That's why I never look forward to a theatrical anime, and every time one on them appears ("X", "Bloodlust"), I just consider it a fun little gift from God. If not, I'll get the DVD when it comes out.***Never paid attention to "Crest of Stars" before, but this little review actually has me a little interested. Is this out yet?***It's great that the missing "Bebop" episodes are being reaired. I was never concerned about missing them since I'm gonna buy the DVD collection, but I just hate the idea of anything being censored ever. The terrorist action was a tragedy, but what that has to do with a FUCKING TV show is BEYOND me.***Jesus, it's starting to looks like the "Eva" movies are never coming out. But at least it was delayed for a good cause. A Japanese audio track in 5.1 would kick ass. And I'm looking forward to the commentary track even if it is by the dub actors (like I'd ever watch these things dubbed...). An interview with Anno would be great, but I'm not counting on it. From what I've heard, the guy doesn't sound at all well.***Aww, Fox is losing their anime shows? What a shame. Maybe they'll hand it over to a talented network.***Did I read that right? A "Beast Wars" DVD is coming out? This isn't that silly "BW2" anime, is it, but the real thing? That would kick seventeen types of ass. Between this and "Batman", two of America's three greatest cartoons are getting DVD treatment. Now we just need "Gargoyles"...

  • Why won't Disney just release 10000 copies of a Ghibli title straight to DVD, if the anime market's so small? Okay, let's pretend Disney had done just that for Mononoke, since this is the one I know for certain Ghibli's asking price for the domestic rights- $10 million. $10 million divided by 10 000 = $1000 per DVD; and that's before you take into account the DVD production costs and distribution. And I'm assuming that it won't be dubbed. Of course, I know that any Miyazaki film would sell a couple of hundred thousand copies on video and DVD, it's just that, for the amount of money Disney spent on the rights alone, they have to sell a few hundred thousand copies just to make a tiny profit.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Ah! My Goddess DVD

    by Kiyone

    On Monday, I got the DVD of a movie I've been waiting for ever since I first read about it going into (lengthy) preproduction in 1997, the AH! MY GODDESS DVD, and my only real disappointment as far as the film itself is that the hapless demoness Marller (Mara) doesn't make even a cameo appearance. We do see Peorth, my tied with Belldandy favourite goddess, at last. The other disappointment was with the DVD itself; not that it makes too much difference, but when Pioneer first announced this, wasn't the sound supposed to be in THX, like Akira and the Tenchi films? The DVD still sounds great, but I miss the THX "sound" (how do you transcribe it?) that they play when they display the THX logo. You know, the one that broke the guys glasses in that Simpsons episode? I also wonder why we haven't seen more Oh My Goddess animated? There's over three times the amount of source material as You're Under Arrest (there are at least 24 volumes, last time I checked, of the Oh My Goddess manga vs. just 7 of You're Under Arrest) yet You're Under Arrest got four OVAs, two TV series, 18 short format TV specials, and one movie, compared to just 5 OVA episodes and one movie for Oh My Goddess (excluding the Mini-Goddess TV shorts, based on the spin-off comic strip that fills in blank space in the manga volumes and has little to do with the main manga serie sproper). Not that I'm bashing You're Under Arrest; I enjoy both Fujishima series (except for the short format YUA TV specials, which were mostly unecessary T&A, though I'd still buy them if AnimEigo released it on DVD), but the Oh My Goddess anime produced thus far have barely scratched the surface of the wonderful source material.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 10:48 p.m. CST

    More Miyazaki on DVD

    by ll1234

    There's an interesting trend happening in the Far East regarding Studio Ghibli, Disney, and DVDs. Just recently (like, past 3 days) legit DVDs ("Totoro" and "Kiki") from both Hong Kong and Taiwan were announced. Disney, via subsidiaries in both countries (IVL and Buena Vista), is behind the releases. Note that these two films are already on DVD _in Japan_. (Please remember this, NOT EVERY GHIBLI FILM IS OUT ON DVD!) I expect this trend to continue with the other films, Japan first, then rest of Asia. Where does that leave the US? Hopefully somewhere after "rest of Asia". Write a letter!(1) More details at: http://www.nausicaa.net/ (1): http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/disney/writetodisney.html

  • Nov. 29, 2001, 12:29 a.m. CST

    Well, GOO sure has balls.

    by Zone Zero

    I mean, the TEMPORARY move of putting it's Sailor Moon line out of print obviously means they're tooling up for a "2nd Edition" since the first had some glitches to it. Not to mention it has to catch up to BESM 2nd ed. Sailor Moon will be around for a while. As for an Armitage III fan guide? WOOT WOOT! Guardians are TOTALLY on the right track. WotC is licking Guardian's N**S! Forget D20, I'm all about Tri-Stat yo.

  • Nov. 29, 2001, 2:44 a.m. CST

    "missing" Bebops

    by Ambrose Chappell

    Be sure to catch the three unaired Cowboy Bebop episodes. All 3 are great little stand alone, character-driven stories. "Sympathy for the Devil" has a great scene that defines Spike's cowboy nature (individual justice vs. lawlessness), "Waltz for Venus" has some good interaction between the Bebop crew and others that populate the solar system, and "Cowboy Funk" is one of the funiest episodes in the series (next to "Mushroom Samba"). They're worth your valuable time.

  • Nov. 29, 2001, 3:05 a.m. CST

    Miyazaki

    by Tokyo Joe

    I got my new Mononoke Hime Box set the other day, its great! And tomorrow I'm gonna go and watch 'Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi' at the local multiplex AGAIN! Actually I don't have anything of any use to say other than, at the current rate 'Sen' won't be out on DVD in Japan for a few years yet.

  • Nov. 29, 2001, 4:22 a.m. CST

    Disney, anime, and how the greek tv world goes....

    by shenbaonu

    Well judging from the Atlantis thing (in Greece it will be around December), well I'd say they are going to do a ripoff of the anime series in a disney series just as they did with alladin, little mermaid and the rest of the movies... As for the anime, I only seek for european titles on dvd (because I don't have any other option -- I own a home dvd not a computer dvd), and so far I am waiting for a lot of titles to come out... (NOT! the european policies are somewhat like the x-files : deny everything)... BTW I am looking at medabots (which the Greek Channel ALTER plays it on saturdays but with a very lousy translation... I've seen better in the spaggeti films), and the only thing that comes into my mind is yuck! I think I'll stick with toryiama's dragonball Z... BTW Pokemon has turned out lame, and digimon is like on a ground hog day... the moment the series go after rescuing kari they loop back :( But what can you say about people who cut down trek series, farscape and other "Sci-fi" to put an extra hour of greek songs? The word is "Y-U-C-K"

  • Nov. 29, 2001, 9:59 p.m. CST

    Eva films are a second ending

    by Sean Whitmore

    Anno has stated that the last two episodes of the television show were exactly how he wanted to end the show, focusing on Shinji all the way. Although if Gainax really was running out of money (which seems unlikely, since the series did so well), it might explain why the final episodes used so much recycled animation. Then again, the entire series is notorious for that. And I agree that the personalities of the characters in the movie seemed a little off. Some think that Anno went the way he did with the films as a way of saying "eff off" to all the fans who complained about the TV ending. I can't argue with that, because as beautiful as the movies were, they were also the most tragic anime I've ever seen.

  • Nov. 30, 2001, 12:42 a.m. CST

    American audiences

    by Sofa King

    The reason that serious anime (I'm not talking pokemon or funimation's butchery of DBZ here) hasn't become mainstream is very simple: America produces more than enough movies to keep people satisfied. Just look at the box office this summer- the only movie to stay #1 for more than a week was Shrek. Everything else got knocked out of the top spot by the next big movie to come out the following week. With all these movies coming out, who has time to experiment with watching cartoons from Japan? That's what they are to the vast majority of American people- you can't expect Americans to identify anime with any of the serious, adult stuff listed above. YOU may know better, your circle of freinds may know better, but most people don't. How could they? What has come along to REALLY give the American public a glimps of what anime is really about? A few films released in art theaters? Most Americans don't even have the slightest clue as to what AMERICAN films are being shown there- and they just don't care. Most Americans' expirences with anime are limited to Pokemon and a word-of-mouth reputation for being weird and sick. So, they aren't particularly inclined to seek any of it out. They don't need to. Between TV and movies, we have plenty of domestic stuff to sort through. And, for any Americans who do seek entertainment from other countries, there are more choices than just anime. If you don't already have the apperciation for anime that most people here do, what would draw you to it over other foreign entertainment? The bottom line is that to expect American audiences to start coming to Japanese anime on their own is just unrealistic. If Japanese anime is to make it in America, someone has to bring it to us. And, so far, that hasen't been done. The problem with art house audiences is that they don't represent the mainstream anyway, so trying to get anime into the mainstream from there is silly. Straight-to-DVD isn't going to get anyone's attention. You're asking people to shell out 24 bucks for something they've never heard of before on DVD, and they'd have to notice it on a store's shelf just to get that far. The current, and rather underground American following just isn't big enough and isn't spreading fast enough. The American people have tons of crap from the entertainment industry thrown in their faces on a daily basis, and marketing for Japanese anime is going to have to be just as aggressive. So, why hasen't it been? Quite frankly, I have to place more blame on Japanese entertainment companies. It's their product, so if they want to sell it here, shouldn't they be the ones pushing it? Right now they just sell the rights and just seem to forget about it. So, as long as companies like Toei show so little interest in how anime is being handled on American markets, anime won't take off. Don't expect Disney to do it- they don't have enough to gain to justify an expensive advertisement campaign and distribution. It isn't even a matter of competition. Disney isn't worried that their products won't sell if anime hits it big- but why should they foot the bill for all the expensives of getting it big?