Harry here, here we go with another ANIME-AICN column... you read these, and you know everything about what is going down with Anime these days. Enough to make El Cosmico go into a buying frenzy... Here ya go...
Phoenix: A Tale of the Future
Based on pages 1-76
by Osamu Tezuka
Published by Viz
Osamu Tezuka is a rare artist and innovator who invigorated a medium. His life's work was Phoenix a collection of story about the humanity from prehistory to the far future.
In the year 3404 the organism that is Earth has been ill for a thousand years. In that time human development has become stagnant. All that remains of the Earth's surface is a sea of grass spotted with swamps. The ebb and flow of nature and civilization has stabilized at a low points. The energy of fiery rebirth seems to be necessary to exit the nadir.
The human population has gone underground into five "Eternal Capitals" where the throngs of humanity talk about mundane matters as they are propelled through the tower cities on "auto-walks". "A Tale of the Future" focuses on a member of the elite space corp, which shepherds the people of the megalopis.
Patrolman Masato Yamanobe from the Yamato Megalopolis has fallen in love with a dream-inducing organism known as a moopie. When the shapeless extraterrestrials started living with humans they look the form of pleasing shapes, such as pet animal, flowers, , or even, like Yamanobe's, a human.. The lethargy that overtaken humanity was blamed on the psychotropic effect of contact with the moopies, and the space corp central command ordered them to be exterminated. When a superior discovers Yamanobe's moopie he orders Yamanobe to kill it, but Yamanobe finds he can‚t kill the creature he considers a woman, and the two flee into the damaged world.
Structurally, the story is simple. The art work is cartoony. But this simplicity is the emotionally expressive wrapper to complex ideas. The epitome of this is the phoenix, a Bambi-eyed crane shaped bird, whose appearance is almost comical, but serves as a serious messenger about the state of the earth. In the preview, „A Tale of the Future‰ appears to be looking at humanities creations, its system, and its objects, and their fatal flaws.
Tezuka's work specialize is capturing people at their emotional juncture points; at their whit's end, or forced to make decisions that were not willing or prepared to make. The character design is optimized to facilitate portraying these emotions. The best example of this if Yamanobe's attempt to kill the Moopie. From his initial crazed determination, to frustration, to exhausting, and finally tears, with transitions to his hand on the gun, and the Moopie's face, Tezuka captures a cinematic intensity, and utilizes a comics ability to catch the full details of a moment to their full effect.
The depth of the world Tezuka constructed is evident is comic's backgrounds. The city spaces, and interior shots combine a 50's sci-fi style work a look of a functioning, highly structured society. People are moved along like electrons on a circuit board. This sterility can also be seen the shots of the Earth's surface with its breathtakingly monotonous plains, and wind empty, windswept mountains. They aren't empty through minimalist backgrounds, they capture the texture of emptiness. Tezuka's backgrounds force the reader to feel the impact of the environment.
Because manga is not linked to a certain genre, or age group, its defies blanket statements about its appear; except for exceptions like Tezuka's work. Tezuka is for everybody. Phoenix is at the top of the short list of manga everyone should own.
It wound be wonderful it the sales will encourage Viz to release the other chapters of Phoenix, and other Tezuka works. Phoenix can be pre-order this month at you local comic shop through Diamond Comics. To find your local comic shop see the locater here.
Manga Spotlight: Vagabond Part 1 #4
By Takehiko Inoue
Releases by Viz
Vagabond is the manga adaptation of Eiju Yoshikawa's "Musahi", the fictional account of the life of Miyamoto Mushashi, the self taught swordsman whose journey towards perfection, and mastery of the Art of War, would make him a feared duelist and eventually lead him to write the "Book of Five Rings".
Miyamoto Mushashi was once Shinmen Takezo, the son of a country samurai from the village of Miyamoto. Takezo, and his friend Matahachi left the village to make a name for themselves in the Battle of Sekigahara.
A convalescence stay ends with Takezo killing a bandit general, and Matahachi abandoning his fiancÃ© to run off with an older woman. Tezuka returns home to find himself hunted by the authorities, Matahchi's family, and the brother of the bandit he killed.
Always a physical bully, anger, and life of the lam has made Takezo feral and brutal as he continues to kill he pursuers with a wooden sword. He is possessed by visions of his opponents' deaths With the spectacular failure of the samurai assign to capture Takezo, a zen monk named Takuan, and Matachi's fiancÃ© take up the task of bringing him to justice.
Unlike samurai comics such as Lone Wolf and Cub, or Blade of the Immortal, which require conscious interpretation on the part of the reader to follow the action, Vagabond's action sequences can be followed quickly. Scrutiny of Tezuka's wild swings provides insight into his strategist, but reading can be done at the rapid pace of the action.
Reading the novel in conjunction with the manga greatly
benefits both. The novel, or at least the English
translation can be subdued at times, often without
great detail in the visual aspects. Conversely, the
manga dwells on them, lingering in frequent, and brutal
fights scenes, and blatant symbolism.
Anime Spotlight: Legend of Crystania: The Chaos Ring
"The Chaos Ring" is chronologically the last of Ryo Mizuno's fantasy epics adapted in into anime to be release in English.
The Chaos Rings in a three forty minute episode OAV (direct to video) series released on one DVD. It is a surprisingly interesting feature. A first it looked like the high light of the series would be its slick action sequences, but the second episode introduces a some unique ideas. Fantasy epics often lack an original motivation force, but Legend of Crystania wraps the familiar resurrection of an evil god, in an innovative package. Because the series is at its best when its examining the fantasy setting, tf you are not a fan of fantasy, or prefer comedy fantasy (Slayers, Those Who Hunt Elves, ect), The Chaos Ring likely possesses little to interest you.
After the end "Record of Lodoss" the black knight Ashram, his dark elf lover Priotess, and the remnants of his followers fled from Lodoss to Crystania. Ashram enters into the possession of the demon god Barbas is order to protect his people. In the first "Legend of Crystania" movie, after 300 years, Priotess, now know called Sheru gathers a band of adventurers to free Ashram.
The island, or world, of Crystania is governed by a unique set of rules that came about when its pantheon of gods took the form of animals. Each god has its own tribe that inherited some of its god's animal powers. The gods imposed a unique and rigid order on the island that superceded the natural "cycle" of life, from weather to life and death. Threats to this order where imprisoned in crystal, and hidden in a remote cave. Amongst the imprisoned where a dragon who was the slayer of gods, one of a group of heroes from the Legend of Crystania movie who, as an outsider to the land of Crystania was not governed by the gods' laws, and the dark god Barbas, the self proclaimed king of the gods, who was tied to the forces of chaos.
Like the story, the visuals go beyond bloody monster slaying. Two of the best are the cave of the gods' prison, and the realm of chaos where Barbas has taken Ashram. The cave was filled with mounds which, upon close inspection, revealed the trapped, might be a person, or a demon god. As the prisoners where freed sudden flashes of light would illuminate the cave, and reveal that each mound has a monk preying next to it. As the mound disappeared the monk would unravel into nothingness.
The realm of chaos featured some memorable depictions of disorder, perhaps the best was when a male character envisioned his guts bursting out, take the form a baby, then his parents.
However, given the series' large cast, and the amount of ideas and story threads visible, it seems like many details were dropped in the transition from novel to anime. This flaw is seen is plots with only skeletal development, and abrupt shifts is the flow of the story that almost seems like the script lost interest in one idea, and decided to move to the next.
Chaos Ring befits from having seen Lodoss War, and the
original Legend of Crystania movie, but neither are
necessary. The story distinguishes Chaos Ring in the
sea of anime fantasy epics. If the series has the time
to fully flesh out the ideas, or made the plot more
cohesive, it would have made for a top notch epic. As
it stands, it has the ideas and visuals to make for a
memory outing, even its not going to make any favorites
This week's anime and manga releases
GTO - Great Teacher Onizuka (Vol. 1)
Legend of Crystania - The Chaos Ring
Mobile Suit Gundam - The 08th MS Team - Miller's Report (Movie)
Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 - Stardust Memories (Vol. 2)
Ranma 1/2 - Random Rhapsody - For the Love of Akane (Vol. 8)
Robotech - Genesis (Vol. 13)
Robotech - Hollow Victory (Vol. 14)
Robotech - The New Generation - Legacy Collection 7
Sailor Moon SuperS - Pegasus Collection II
Samurai Jack - The Premiere Movie
Banana Fish Vol 6 Tp
Cardcaptor Sakura Vol 6 Pkt
Ceres Celestial Legend Part 2 #4 (Of 6)
Inu Yasha Part 6 #11 (Of 15
Kodocha #3 (Of 5)
Love Hina #2 (Of 4)
Marmalade Boy #4 (Of 5)
Saint Tail #17
Saint Tail Vol 4 Pkt Tp
Sorcerer Hunters Vol 9 Pkt Gn
Banana Fish is a collected from Viz‚s mature manga anthology Pulp. From Pulp‚s description of the series „1980s New York: Corsican Mafioso Dino Golzine took in runaway Ash Lynx as a boy, forcing him into prostitution even while grooming him as his heir. Ash rebelled, gathering a gang around his personal charisma and deadly skills. Their truce shatter over Dino‚s plot to exploit a nightmarish drug ˆ code named „Banana Fish‰ ˆ that drive Ash‚s late brother mad in Vietnam.
GTO is about a former slack/biker gang leader who, somewhat earnestly decides to become the world‚s greatest teacher.
Z-Mind collects the six episode series 70‚s style retro giant robot show about a trio of girl who pilot the giant robot.
Zoids is based on the anime series/robotic toy line by the same name.
Excel Saga Release Date Announced There is little doubt that in recently years the release that anime have most clamored for is Excel Saga. ADV Films will be releasing the first 5 episode on DVD on 6/11. Extra include ADV Vid-Notes, Clean Open/Close, Japanese Open/Close, Japanese Video Piracy Warning, Original Japanese Trailers, Production Sketches.
Excel Saga is an amphetamine paced comedy about Excel, a girl who recently graduated, who takes a job working for an attractive manga who wants to take over the world. Excel isn't the model for sanity, for example, she takes is a stray dog to server as emergency food. Her partner is Hyatt, a low energy girl who coughs up blood and dies a lot.
There series features episodic parodies of genres of Eastern and Western media, but adds in odd mixes, such as mixing Rambo style action, and character design and melodramatic moments from Leiji Matsumoto (Battle Ship Yamato/Star Blazer), or Fists of the North Star, the same martial arts anime about a man whose punches cause people to explode, with Digi Charat,a super cute cat-girl like mascot.
China Bans "Hana Yori Dango"
According to an article in Japanese Economics the
Chinese government has banned Hana Yori Dango or "Boys
Before Flowers". The series is about the daughter of a
poor family who gets a scholarship to a prestigious
school who becomes involved with a group of boys from
Pioneer To Release Strawberry Eggs
From the press release: Hibiki Amawa is an ordinary working stiff, but he can't seem to get a job ˆ or pay his rent. When his volatile landlady goes ballistic and threatens to kick him out by the end of the day, his desperation to find a teaching job reaches a critical level - and he pursues a job he couldn't get before - as a PE teacher at a local school. The catch is that the school only hires female teachers!! So, with a crash course in fashion and a special voice modulator, Hibiki slips right into his new role as Ms. Amawa ˆ with surprising results!
The DVD series is chock full of extras ˆ a full color art gallery, a glossary of Japanese school terms and culture, live-action television ads for the show that ran in Japan, and interactive character commentaries on the other students!
Released in Japan in 2001 as „I, My, Me - Strawberry Eggs,‰ the show was produced by Pioneer, LDC and animated by TNK, the creators of the hit series HAND MAID MAY. Vice-President of Marketing, Mark Roche said, „For fans of TOOTSIE or BOSOM BUDDIES, this show features the entertaining backdrop of the Japanese school system and the fight for one teacher to demonstrate his worth ˆ even if he has to wear a dress to prove it!‰
A Pioneer representative posted the following information on Anime oon DVD's forum:
Title: It was decided that Strawberry Eggs is an easier selling title to our retailers and distributors than something called I, My, Me. The Title on the video itself will retain the words, I, My, Me in a smaller font above the larger text of Strawberry Eggs.
Since the Japanese release was 5 volumes long, a reversible cover would not numerically fit 5 covers evenly. Single-sided wrap has been chosen with white Scanavo case, like Hand Maid May.
Release is 4/3/3/3, bimonthly with SRP $29.98.
Each DVD will have an added bonus that we were able to obtain from the Japanese DVDs. We were able to acquire usage of the classroom/faculty/tenant introduction video pieces. Each video is close to 15 minutes in length. They are going to be bilingual with English removable subtitles. Since each video segment has tons of Japanese text, we are going to attempt to create an alternate angle piece with English text.
There will be two subtitle streams. One with English translations of the dialogue and on-screen text and the second to be on-screen text only.
Spaced over the 4-volume release, we will have the Japanese commercials, Non-credit Opening, Non-credit Ending, the video segments mentioned earlier, and some art galleries.
We will be using a version of the Japanese R2 Menus for our menu design. (similar to how Hand Maid May was done without the Nanabara Opening)
Bilingual Menus like Hand Maid May.
There will be Japanese term/culture liner notes on the insert. Some Japanese surnames and terms will be used in the dialogue/subtitles and defined in the liner notes.
The English ADR production is being done by New Generation Pictures, Directed by Crispin Freeman.
Hibiki will be played by two different voice actors.
We will more than likely be using DVD9s for each volume because of the bilingual length of the DVD extras.
We were unable to acquire the Seiyuu segments which
were kept as an R2 premium extra by the licensors.
ADV Release Information
Anime on DVD has reported that ADV's 2002 catalog lists the following releases, some of the dates are tenative.
801 T.T.S. Airbats, coming Summer 2002. Contains 7 complete episodes, Production Sketches, Textless Credit Closin, 801 T.t.S. Airbats Trailer, Japanese Cast Tidbits. $34.95.
Burn Up Excess listed, 3 volumes, coming Summer 2002 for the first volume "To Serve and Protect." Contains English, Spanish and Japanese languages, and Production Sketches. $29.98 each volume (Volumes 2 and 3 are listed as Fall and Winter 2002 releases...)
Dai-Gaurd, 5 episodes on the first DVD and 4 on the second. Coming Fall 2002, with the second listed as Winter 2002.
Devil Hunter Yohko, first volume (already announced) as well as the second volume listed for Summer 2002.
Galaxy Fraulein Yuna. 5 Episodes, Original Trailer, Clean Credits. $29.98, coming Summer 2002.
Princess Nine DVDs lists extras we can expect on the upcoming DVDs. Vol. 4 has Voice Actress Profile, and OUTAKES. Vol. 5 has Hot springs Special, and Original Japanese Covers. The final volume has Voice Actress Commentary and Original Japanese Covers.
Super Atragon. 2 complete episodes, $19.98 SRP, coming Summer 2002.
Steel Angel Kurumi volumes listed. Extras on Volume 2 listed as "A Steel Angel Photo Shoot: Behind the Scenes Part 2", Original Cover Artwork, Original Manga Covers, Production Sketches, US Teaser, Translated Notes, Extended Episode Previews, and Saki Fortune Teller. Vol. 3 extras listed as Series Background Information, Interview with Kaishaku (Manga series creator), Interview with Naohito Takashi (Anime Director), Interview with Yuriko Chiba (Character designer), Production Sketches, Extended Previews, and Karika Fortune Teller. Vol. 4 has "Conversations with Angels: Behind the Scenes Part 3", ADR OUTAKES, US Trailer, Character Bios, a Kurumi Travogue, Production Sketches, extended previews, and Nakahito Fortuen Teller.
Triangle Session, volume 1 Coming Winter 2002. 4 complete episodes, $24.98.
Wild Arms in Winter 2002, with 5 episodes, and Zone of Enders: Idolo in Fall 2002, followed by the first volume of the series in Winter 2002.
The catalogue cover also features a character the from
the popular new show Noir, which ADV has not publicly
confirmed to own the licensee.
New Escaflowne Showing
Bandai has announced the Escaflowne movie, A Girl in Gaia will be shown in Seattle on March 29th:
GC Pacific Place 11
600 Pine Street
Seattle, WA 98101
Initial D Volume 1 Release Date
TOKYOPOP will be releasing the first volume of their
upcoming street racing series, Initial D on September
Lodoss War OAV DVD Re-Release
Central Parl Media will be releasing a "enhanced" version of the Record of Lodoss War OAV series on DVD on 07/09/2002. The remastered version will retail for $59.99. The original release was subcontracted through Image.
CPM has also release the Lodoss War: Chronicle of the
Heroic Knight TV series.
From Anime News Service
According to the Chobits TBS website, the following seiyuu (voice actor) have been confirmed for the series:
Chii: Tanaka Rie
Motosuwa Hideki: Sugita Tomokazu
Shinbo Hiroshi: Seki Tomokazu
Sumomo: Kumai Motoko
Kokubunji Minoru: Kuwashima Houko
Yuzuki: Orikasa Fumiko
Hibiya Chitose: Inoue Kikuko
Shimizu Takako: Yuzuki Ryouka
Oomura Yumi: Toyoguchi Megumi
Anime Convention Guests.
Animazement to be held May 24-26, 2002 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham, North Carolina has confirmed Yuu Watase as attending their 5th anniversary convention.
Scott Houle - Owner, Coastal Carolina Studio.
Hiroyuki Kitakubo - Director of "Blood: The Last Vampire."
Hiroaki Sakurai - Director of "Di Gi Charat."
Koichi Tsunoda - Cel painting director from Toei Animation.
Pamela Weidner - Voice Director, Coastal Carolina Studio.
Yasuo Yamaguchi - Director of "Getta Robo" and "Devil Man."
Anime Central has confirmed Hidenori Matsubara will be attending the convention, which takes place April 19-21, 2002 at the Hyatt Regency O Hare in Rosemont, Illinois American fans will best know him for his character design and animation direction on "Oh! My Goddess" and "Sakura Wars." Transformers: Armada," "He-Man" Join Toonami This Fall
From Toonzone.net's news forum After months of speculation and pleas from fans, Cartoon Network announced yesterday at an upfront sales presentation in New York that Toonami will be expanding this fall. The block, which currently runs weekdays from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM, will gain an additional hour, airing from 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM.
Prompting this expansion is the addition of two brand
new series to the Toonami lineup: "Transformers:
Armada" and "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe."
Both series are based on exciting new toylines from
Hasbro and Mattel, respectively.
Paul Pope Interview
Comic Book Resources has posted an interview with comic
artist Paul Pope here, who has recently returned from
five years with Japanese manga publisher Kodansha. His
new series "100%" will be released by DC Comic's
Vertigo imprint this June.
Sen To Chihiro wins Japanese Oscar
Following the Golden Bear that it won last month, Hayao Miyazaki's latest film, Sen To Chihiro no kamikakushi, has won the Japanese Academy award for best Picture. Despite the Golden Bear and its status as the biggest ever japanese box office earning film, the award was actually a surprise for most. Isao Yukisada's Go was the popular favorite for the award and did manage to take home more academy awards than any other film, a total of 8 awards for Best Director (Isao Yukisada), Best Actor (Yosuke Kubozuka), Best Supporting Actor (Tsutomu Yamazaki), Best Supporting Actress (Ko Shibasaki), as well as prizes for screenplay, cinematography, lighting direction and editing.
In addition to the Academy Award for Best Picture being awarded to his film, Hayao Miyazaki also won the Outstanding Achievement Award for his contributions to Japanese Cinema during his fourty-five year career. Contributions which include the two most successful Japanese films ever produced (Sen To CHihiro and Mononoke Hime) and a host of other favorites such as Kiki's Delivery service and Nausicaa.
Sen to Chihiro, Spirited Away in English, has been
licensed for North American release by Walt Disney and
will premiere at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco on
Whisper of the Heart on R2 DVD
CD Japan is currently listing the May 24th release Region 2 DVD of Studio Ghibli's Whisper of the Heart (Mimi wo Sumaseba) with English subtitles.
Whisper of the Heart was a film that was not directed
by Miyazaki, though he did work on the script and
storyboards. It is a great story of a young artist as
a young student tries to determine the direction she
wants to life to take. The movie features a wonderful,
surreal fantasy scene.
Anime on DVD reports a new interview with English dub voice actress Wendee Lee (Dirty Pair, Cowboy Bebop, Love Hina) here reveals the English dub for the recent X tv series will soon begin at "Bang Zoom!". She not no reveal which company has licensed the series.
After problems with the X manga license were worked about, Viz is ready to start releasing the series again.
Service reports a recent edition of the Animerica
Extra manga anthology included a note stating
"The End of The World is Coming Back!
X/1999 fans rejoice! You get to see the pain and misery of your favorite characters as we resume the countdown to the end of the world in graphic novel format!
Our apologies for the wait, but starting in may, the
long awaited X/1999 volume Volume 7:Crescendo will see
it's North American debut! Volume 8 will come out in
August, and Volume 9 will come out just in time for
Christmas! It's been a long time and a lot of work, but
it's finally happening! "
Votoms Production to Stop
Nutech Digital, whose production of Votoms was plagued
by delays, and price increases, will be discontinueing
the title. Right
Stuf is running a sale on the series' box sets.
Ghost Sweeper Mikami DVD Release
Manga Entertainment will be releasing the DVD version
of Ghost Sweeper Mikami on 06/25 featuring a money
obsessed ghost buster. And her lecherous assistant.
Anime Game News
From The Magic Box
Konami will release a new 3D action battle game Rave Groove Adventure: Fighting Live for GameCube in Japan on March 20, for 6800 yen. The game features 3 game modes: Story, VS (up to 4 players), and Free Battle. There are 8 playable characters, each character can equip different kinds of weapon and perform 3 - 4 different special attacks. You can also use the Rave Stones and DB Stones to powerup your attacks and recover strength. Screen shots can be seen here
Bandai has announced the release date of their PlayStation 2 war simulation RPG Mobile Suit Gundam: Giren's Ambition - Independence Wars, the game is scheduled for release on May 2, for 6800 yen.
Trailers for Sakura Taisen (Wars) 4 can be seen here