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AICN Anime Report: Read or Die; RahXephon; Argentosoma; Lupin III; St. Seiya; Lain; Spirited Away; Battle Royale

Father Geek here with a double dose of our weekly Manga & Anime Column, sooooo I'll jump to the side and let you get on with it...

The AICN Anime Report...

with Scott Green

Anime Spotlight: Fruits Basket - A Great Transformation (Volume 1)

Released by FUNimation

One thing a potentional anime viewer should take away from these columns is to remember the name Akitaro Daichi. Catalogue it your memory with Joss Whedon, Warren Ellis, and the other modern pop art creators whose works are consistently entertaining, and elucidating. He has a viral energy that you can't help catching while watching his works, and Fruits Basket is one of his top works.

Fruits Basket is a structurally sitcom-ish, composed of episodic stories based on an amusing premise. Layered on that is a complex look at human personalities, nature and interaction, especially how people isolate themselves and each other. It's a richer, and more interesting picture than the more common shoujo pattern of romances and rivalries. The formula contains much of what worked for Buffy the Vampire Slayers, a fun situation, and story worth following, combine with a resonating character drama with personalities that have a level of abstraction that everyone can identify with.and set in the near universal crucible experience of high school.

Fruits Basket takes its name from a children's alienation game. You sit around, and the person in charge gives everyone a name. People are named after fruits, until you name someone after something that doesn't belong in a fruit basket, and everyone discards them.

The other story or theme central to the series is how the rat tricked the cat out of his position in the Chinese zodiac. Tohru Honda grew up listening to that story, and pitying the cat. Fruits Baskets opens with energetic, and highly empathic Tohru living in a tent. Her father died when she was young, and her mother died recently in an accident. She had been living with her caring, but elderly grandfather until they were force move out for construction on his house. Though she tries to keep her spirits up, taking inspiration from a picture of mother, but late nights janitorial jobs, and school life where she at the bottom of the pecking order have about worn her out. Nor will she allow herself to ask one of her two friends for help. She shares a deep connection with Uo, a rough former gang member with a background similar to her mother, and Hana, a strange quiet girl who believes she senses things about people from their electromagnetic waves, but doesn't want to burden them with more problems.

Her life beings improving when she stumbles upon the house of several males members of Sohma family. The Sohma family members are friendly, and nice people, and would very much appreciate a housemate who could compensate for their cooking, and cleaning deficiencies. The catch to the Sohma family, and the comedic premise of the series is that they are cursed to turn into animal when they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex.

The members of the family who she chiefly interacts with are Yuki (the mouse), handsome, brilliantly competent in all endeavors, the idol of his class mates, but with a cool to ice cold personality, Shigure (who turns into a dog), a good natured twenty something whose occupation as a writer means he's always around the house, and Kyo, a fire tempered contemporary/wannabe-rival of Yuki who is technically left out the clan because is animal is the cat.

The majority of the series' humor is slap stick or situational regarding this premise. It provides a perfect mix of running gags, the unexpected which Daichi capitalized on with his fast cuts, shifting physical exaggerations, and great timing. The Yuki/Kyo rivalry is the best re-imagining of the cat/mouse conflict since Itchy and Scratchy. The condensing of the character into ultra-abstract animals is genius site gag. There's nothing like a sullen ultra cute mouse.

As the jokes flow by, or the character meet hurtles, they evolve. Characters' flaws are revealed and dealt with. It is a collection of people who have had it very rough, and who have build up some destructive defense mechanisms, but have now found themselves in a positive feedback loop. They are now going reshape themselves into something with a sense of normalcy. It is not as hokey as it may sound, thanks to the humor and empathy established with the character, thanks to Daichi's direction, which is never sappy, and always moving forward at a quick pace. It is a complex web being spun, that is pleasure to see develop. In this the series is inspirational. It's a great illustration of the consequences of action and words, and overcoming the flaws of human nature.

For shoujo fans, Fruits Basket is the epitome of shoujo aesthetic, with exaggerated emotion, strange relationship, stylistic elements of smash hits KaraKano, and Utena, and a huge library of its own. For those not incline to consider themselves shoujo fans, a chief reason many watch anime is to find quality absent in other media. Fruit Baskets is a comedy with rare inventiveness, and humanity.

Manga Spotlight: Uncanny X-Men 416

Released by Marvel Comics

Uncanny X-Men marks the beginning of Kia Asamiya's run as artist of Uncanny X-Men, one, if the not the, first runs of an established manga artist on a major American comic. Uncanny X-Men is some impressive work from the manga innovator, and it brings something new to the American comic market.

The most noticeable feature of the work is Asamiya's character design, and his faces in particular. For some it is an acquired taste. Many of the features are prominent, especially the nose. This allows for more structural variation and expressiveness, but some viewer's immediate reaction is to dislike the "big noses". These qualities aid in humanize a non-human looking cast which includes familiar faces such as the blue elfin Nightcrawler, Iceman, and the towering former villain Juggernaut, as well as some new faces such as the lizard-like former prostitute Stacy-X, and the fish faced Squid boy.

His work looks great colored. It doesn't detract at all from his style, and add makes it stand out more, with some extra dimension. If there is one thing that doesn't quite work in collaboration, it's the sound effects, which look a bit too tacked on. They are too bright and bold. Black and white adaptations of his work, with translated sound effect design that isn't too radically different meld much better with his design.

If there is anything limiting Asamiya's illustration, it's seems like he is too constrict by the designs of others. He has tweaked the costumes, and has a nurses' uniform to work with, but in this issue, there are a lot of other people's costumes and characters, and not enough for his own ideas.

The issue is a between stories shifting of gears, so there isn't a much room for Asamiya to depict action, but small Juggernault rampage that mixes Ayasamiya shadowing and speedlines with motion blurring that is presumably a digital effect from the colorist. Each works well in depicting the crushing physical power of the moment.

Uncanny X-Men features an impressive cover by Asamiya, and his Studio Tron. It is colored to bring out the strength and impact of his design.

Storyline wise, love it, bored with it, or not familiar with it, it is the same super powered soap opera staring the band of mutants, sworn to protect a word who hates them. At times it goes a little too soapish, to the degree that there is a woman pining in love for a man she never met who is in a coma, but it is populated with some nice character moments, with Juggernaut trying to come to terms to with his childhood abuse, and the fact that he's really damage his life with his own lousy decisions, and with Stacy X explaining why she misses or remembers fondly her former life in a mutant brothel.

Between a summary page, and new reader friendly dialogue, it is an easy book to pick up, but aside from Kia Asamiya's art there isn't much of a hook to the new reader. If you're a fan of Asamiya, you'll love the cover, and you'll probably enjoy the interiors, it is certainly nice to see his work colored. However, if you're not a fan or Asamiya, or X-Men, it doesn't have much pull. There are no turn offs, or miss fires, but nor is there anything in the characters and story that is going to get someone testing the waters to dive in. You might look for the next issue, but it's not a must buy.

Anime Spotlight: Kimera

Released by ADV

Kimera is from a period where ADV was releasing a lot of short, interesting (re: odd) works, with excellently cut promo trailers, and mixed success (anyone looking for a DVD release of Ellcia?) The Kimera trailer stuck out its haunting violin-ish music, and green haired woman, and being on VHS, it was released about the same time as a phonetically identically named hentai (adult) work. Now ADV has begun releasing that section chapter of their catalogue on DVD.

The 45 minute feature is a late night B movie with two cereal salesmen stumbling into an installation of mad scientists, and vampires from outer space. It has gallons of blood, dog exsanguination via tentacle, plenty of mummified corpses, a cathedral destroying, energy ball hurling finale, and a great Twilight Zone/"watch the skies" ending. However, it also skims the surface of the very strange biological and sexual material.

Jay and Osamu were traveling the country, making their way in the cereal business, when they stumble into a battle between some armed security guard types, and cloaked creatures. They find their way into a parked van where Osamu becomes enthralled by Kimera, a green haired, androgynous woman, who is sleeping in a class tube. The woman in turn wakes up at the sound of the clinking of a charm Osamu wears around his wrist. Osamu and Jay follow the van back to giant facility where Osamu's love for Kimera thrusts him into the center of a war between factions of an ancient, alien race of vampires that recently came to a head with the Earth arrival of their queen (in an insect sense of the work), Kimera. With Kimera a faction of the race, who have been playing a group of human scientists by acting as their servants, hope to repopulate Earth with their own species, and exterminate humanity in the process.

The catch to the feature is the biology of the vampire race. There is a quick, slight obfuscated overview, but the kicker is, their reproduction seems to be human enough, and not human enough to be very. the scientific term is probably "icky". Kimera is consistently referred to as a woman, but she is clearly not female in a human sense. She looks at least as male as she does female, and in the manga from which the anime adapted, she is explicitly hermaphroditic. Couple that with the facts she was meant to mate with a brother, and that her relationship with Osamu seemed to be based on each catching the other with some subconscious trigger, and you arrive at some pretty unique concepts. They might not be ones anyone wants to explore, the creators of the Kimera anime didn't seem to be too hot on them, but there presence adds a memorable edge to the feature.

Kimera is a watchable feature, and something that's neither standard science fiction, or standard action horror. It mixes slick visually with interesting ideas. Unfortunately, its potential isn't really released. The implication and ideas aren't explorer beyond a preliminary sketch, diminished by too typical, too Dragon Ball-ish climax.

This Week's Anime and Manga Reeleases

    • Banner Of Stars - No Turning Back (Vol. 1)
    • Burn Up Excess - The Case Of The Black Diamonds (Vol. 4)
    • Dangaizer 3, Vol. 2
    • Dragon Ball Z:Garlic Jr Box Set
    • Fruits Basket:What Becomes Of Snow
    • Hellsing - Eternal Damnation (Vol. 4)
    • Medabots - Back In The Robattle Again (Vol. 7)
    • Megaman - A Hero Is Born (Vol. 1)
    • Ronin Warriors - Fate Of Evil (Vol. 10)
    • Vandread - Second Stage - Revelations (Vol. 3)
    • Yu Yu Hakusho:Dark Tournament-Death
    • Yu Yu Hakusho:Dark Tournament-Evil Dr

    • All New Tenchi Muyo Part 2 #4 (Of 5)
    • Battle Angel Alita Last Order Part 1 #5
    • Bride Of Deimos Gn #2
    • Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Gn #2
    • Dragonball Part 6 #1 (Of 8)
    • Gundam The Origin #4
    • Hyper Dolls Vol 2 Gn
    • Initial D Vol 4 Gn (Of 20)
    • Medabots Vol 4 Tp Finale
    • Raijin Comics #7
    • Silent Mobius Part 12 Hell #2 (Of 5)
    • Spirited Away Vol 4 Tp
    • Super Manga Blast #28 (Mr)
    • Zoids #12 Chaotic Century

    Last Week's Releases

    • Descendants of Darkness: Vampire's Lure
    • Excel Saga - Doing Whatever It Takes (Vol. 4)
    • GTO - Holy Forest (Vol. 6)
    • Revolutionary Girl Utena - Impatience and Longing (Vol. 4)
    • YuGiOh - Evil Spirit (Vol. 05)
    • YuGiOh - The Scars of Defeat (Vol. 06)
    • Zone of Enders Dolores i : Operation Escape! (Vol. 2)

    • Big O Part 3 #3 (Of 4)
    • Bride Of Deimos Gn #1
    • Cannon God Exaxxion Stage 2 (Part 5 Of 5) #13
    • Crayon Shinchan Gn #2
    • Fist Of North Star Master Ed Vol 1 Gn
    • Geobreeders Book 5 Big Trouble At Tokyo Tower
    • Inu Yasha Part 7 #6 (Of 8)
    • Iron Wok Jan Gn #2
    • Project Arms Part 1 #5 (Of 16
    • Raijin Comics #6 (Mr)
    • Ranma 1/2 Vol 21 Tp
    • Rayearth Special Gn Box Set Collection Vol 1 (Of 2)
    • Red Prowling Devil Gn #2
    • Storm Riders Gn #8
    • Vagabond #15 (Mr)
    • Vampire Yui Vol 5 #1
    • Weapons Of The Gods Gn #4
    • You And Me Vol 1 #3

    There is still no sign of Ghost in the Shell 2: Man Machine Interface on Diamond's shipping list, this week or next.

    Descendants Of Darkness: Vampire's Lure

    In this action-packed, supernatural series, a vampire is on the loose, and it's up to dashing supernatural detective Tsuzuki to stop her! But are good looks, charm, and preternatural powers enough to bring this fiend to justice? Tsuzuki may have bitten off more than he can chew, and the Ministry has sent him a new partner, a volatile young man with a mysterious past. Together, they embark on the most dangerous mission of their afterlives! Contains episodes 1-3.

    Revolutionary Girl Utena: Impatience And Longing

    In this latest series from some of the top talents in Japanese animation today, including Kunihiko Ikuhara (Director of Sailor Moon) and Shinya Hasegawa (Key Animation Supervisor of Neon Genesis Evangelion), Utena's best friend Wakaba entertains a secret gentleman caller. But mysterious forces twist her tender feelings into jealousy and hate. Will Utena lose her friend forever? Fans of Revolutionary Girl Utena will find out if Utena has the strength and courage to duel for the life and friendship of the Rose Bride, Anthy Himemiya. Contains episodes 18-20.

    Battle Royale Manga Coming From TOKYOPOP

    From the press release: TOKYOPOP, the #1 U.S. publisher of graphic novels, will bring one of Japan's most disturbing and macabre properties to North America. Recognized as a modern day Lord of the Flies, Battle Royale introduces readers to a horrifying world in which reality games like today's Survivor get a homicidal maniac twist and are taken to the ultimate extreme. TOKYOPOP has tapped Keith Giffen -- one of the comic book industry's most revered writers -- to do Battle Royale's U.S. adaptation. Giffen is known for such popular U.S. comic books as Justice League and The Legion of Super Heroes, among others.

    "He's perfect for the series," says TOKYOPOP Senior Editor Mark Paniccia. "He understands the nature of the story, the subtext and the delicate nature of the social message that's being sent through one of the most graphically violent comics of the century."

    "I am very excited about working on this project for TOKYOPOP," Giffen adds, "I thought I knew the limits to which 'extremes' could be taken - I was wrong!"

    In this manga series' chilling future, random Jr. High School classes are chosen to compete in a game called "Battle Royale." The rules: one student must become the sole survivor after three days or ALL will perish. With an island as their backdrop, the students are armed and sent out into the fields alone and unprepared for the horror that awaits them. Classmates turn on each other in a battle for survival, where treaties are made and broken, and former friends become foes as the relentless countdown continues. Amid the betrayals and rising body count, two classmates confess their love for each other and swear to survive the deadly game together.

    The infamous Battle Royale manga was originally created by author/artist team Koushun Takami and Masayuki Taguchi. Its shocking social commentary has also spawned a movie adaptation by the late veteran Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku, cited as the inspiration for such famed U.S. filmmakers as Quentin Tarantino and John Woo.

    Matrix Anime Update

    WhatIsTheMatrix states that "The 2nd Renaissance: Part One" the first of nine "Animatrix" shorts will launch in February. The first sgiw was written by the Wachowski brothers, and directed by "Blue Sub No. 6"'s Mahiro Maeda. Future episides will feature work by Madhouse, Production I.G., Bones, and Square.

    Region 1 Miyazaki DVD Releases

    It appears that Disney will be releasing Castle in the Sky (Laputa), Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away on region 1 DVDs on April

    Suzuki Talks about Spirited Away Red Tint

    Anime News Network has translated some highlights of HiVi Magazine, a Japanese Home Entertainment interview with Toshio Suzuki regarding the red tint on the Spirited Away DVD.

    Excerpts of some of his comments can be read below:

    Miyazaki said he would like to have Chihiro's heart expressed with subtle tone.

    When producing the film, we added subtle red tint to the film, especially in the beginning scenes.

    When we converted the digital master for the digital theater into NTSC format, we found that it contained a blue tint.

    Therefore, we adjusted the tone again in NTSC format (It was the first time that we did it after the adjustments done to the digital master) .

    We did not do it for the trailer contained on the DVD because we didn't have enough time.

    This is just the tone we aimed at.

    When claims [of the improper Red Tint] first started, we checked out all the processes of the DVD production, and were convinced that there were no errors.

    The DVD is made for the 9300K [color warmth] TV set, and many of the TV sets made for Japanese consumers use the 9300K system.

    The US version is not available yet, but it will be made for 6500K TV sets .

    Some of the TV sets in Japan are not 9300K. That's why some buyers found that the DVD's image looked a bit red on their sets.

    Miyazaki has no involvement with this issue because he was no involved with the production of the DVD version, nor did examined it. I (Suzuki) gave the final 'OK' to the completed DVD version.

    Techn TV Anime Unleashed Info

    From the press release: TechTV, the lifestyle network that uses technology as a backdrop to entertain, amaze, and engage viewers, today announced "Anime Unleashed." The series premiered December 30 on TechTV and currently airs nightly at 1am EST. "Anime Unleashed" provides viewers with a new strand of anime, featuring series never seen on television in the U.S.

    "Anime Unleashed" is not just a style of animation, but rather an entire genre encompassing sophisticated science fiction, fantasy adventure, romantic comedies, teen dreams and even adult-themed titles. These half-hour series and feature-length movies from Japan explore the depths of each character and contortions of plot.

    "'Anime Unleashed' is a natural extension to our programming mix. The demand for this provocative programming is quite high," said Greg Brannan, senior vice president of programming and production for TechTV. "We wanted to expand TechTV's breadth of lifestyle-entertainment programming; adding Japanese animation is a perfect stepping stone for what is to come in the future."

    "Anime Unleashed" will include various series and movies such as "Crest of Stars," the premiere series about a human boy, a distant planet and a new race of beings, "Betterman," "Serial Experiments: Lain," "Silent Mobius," "Dual!" and "Armitage III: Poly-matrix."

    New episodes will appear Monday through Friday at 1am-1:30am EST with additional airings on Fridays at 11pm-1am EST and 1:00am-3am EST.

    Lain on TechTV

    According to Anime News Service the hit cyber thriller Serial Experiments Lain was discussed on TechTV's "The Screen Savers" program on the 7th. serial experiments lain is slated to be shown on TechTV's Anime Unleashed programming block, and today's "The Screen Savers" (airing at 7PM, 10PM, and 2AM) will feature a segment where Morgan Webb will explain the "essential things you need to know before you dive into the weird world of Serial Experiments Lain."

    See here and here TechTV will air "Lain" as part of our new "Anime Unleashed" series. See the entire "Serial Experiments Lain" first series on TechTV beginning January 20 at 1 p.m. Eastern.

    In related news Boa, who performed the opening to Lain took the 2002 SBS Music Awards by storm on December 29th, where she won the 2002 SBS Music Awards amongst fifteen nominees.

    Theatrical Releases

    Pioneer has opened Patlabor WXIII movie site at

    The movie opened in California on the 10th at

    AMC Beverly Connection 100 N. La Cienega at Beverly Blvd. Beverly Hills, Ca. 90048 (310) 659-5911

    The Cowboy Bebop is currently schedule to open for a limited release in April

    Yahoo is stating that the fifth Pokemon movie will be released on May 16th.

    Zeta Gundam Toys reports Bandai's US toy arm has announced they will be releasing in 2003 toys based off the Zeta Gundam series. No word from Bandai Entertainment as to when the tv series the toys are based off of will premier on DVD or on a television network

    Cartoon Network Debuts

    Originally expected to start airing on January 13th, Reign will actually premier on Cartoon Network as of February 10th.

    IcV2 is reporting cartoon network will debut .Hack//SIGN Saturday February 1st.

    ADV To Release Two Varieties Of St. Seiya

    Anime on DVD reports ADV will dub the series for television distribution by DiC under the name Knights of the Zodiac. This release will be edited and rewritten. There will also be an uncut bilingual DVD, with a dub that is true to the original series.

    Doraemon Comes to Life

    Doraemon, the cat-robot anime instatution will be brought to life by Bandai by 2005 and targeted as an entertainment and educational Personal Robot at families in Japan and Asia.

    Evolution Robotics Inc. that Bandai Co, has chosen to license the Evolution Robotics Software Platform to develop a new personal robot product modeled on the popular Doraemon character.

    See the announcement for more information.

    Lupin III Release

    Pioneer Entertainment Debuts First Volume Of Highly-Anticipated Series On DVD January 28; Soundtrack Also Debuts Same Day

    A partner-in-crime, the Cartoon Network licensed Lupin The 3rd from Pioneer Entertainment and will begin airing the series on its popular Adult Swim franchise in January. Lupin the 3rd, Vol. 1 DVD will be available on January 28, priced at $24.98. Pre-order is December 17, 2002

    Lupin the 3rd - synopsis

    Lupin the 3rd is the greatest thief in the world, but he's a gentleman too. Aided by two partners, expert marksman Jigen and samurai master goemon. Lupin's zany adventures take him around the world stealing extraordinary treasures, helping damsels in distress, staying one step ahead of Inspector Zenigata and matching wits with rival thief, beautiful and dangerous Fujiko.

    ADV Opens Wild Arms Site

    ADV has opened the site from video game based fantasy western Wild Arms here

    Ultra Rate Card with Shonen Jump 3

    Part of the success of the Viz' launch issue of the Shonen Jump manga anthology is credited to the inclusion of an "ulta rare" YuGiOh. With the third issue, which will be the debut of Shaman King, Viz will be packaging an ultra rare Dragon Ball Z collectable card game card, the "the Trunks Energy Sphere".

    Central Park Media Sets January 28 For Dynamite Dozen -- 12 Pack DVD

    Release Central Park Media has set January 28 for the 12 Pack DVD release date for Dynamite Dozen, offering fans a chance to purchase the newly packaged ongoing series at a lower price for only $19.99 each!


    Pack includes all 12 dynamic DVDs: Venus Wars, Garzey's Wing, Wild Cardz, Darkside Blues, Battle Skipper, Strange Love, NightWalker: Midnight Detective, NightWalker: Eternal Darkness, Demon City Shinjuku, Silent Service, The Complete Shamanic Princess, and Knights of Ramune.


    RUNNING TIME: Over 20 Hours RATING: Ages 16 & Up

    MSRP PRICE: $239.99

    Bandai Entertainment To Premiere "Argentosoma" And "Kikaider" At The Los Angeles Comic Book And Science Fiction Convention

    Bandai Entertainment announced the premiere of two new upcoming anime series, Argentosoma and Kikaider at the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention on February 9, 2003 - Sunday from 11:00 to 1:00 PM.

    Argentosoma is the latest science fiction offering from the acclaimed Sunrise Studio, creators of Gundam Wing and Cowboy Bebop. Directed by Kazuyoshi Katayama (The Big O), character designs by Shukou Murase (Gundam Wing), and mechanical designs by Kimitoshi Yamane (Escaflowne). The first two episodes will be screened.

    The story begins as life ends.

    Takuto Kaneshiro is a gifted young man and considered by most to be something of a genius. With a sweet, lovable girlfriend, he's got a lot of dreams for his future. But those dreams soon turn to nightmares when Takuto is involved with a freak accident during a secret experiment. He will have the things most dear to him...taken away. With Takuto Kaneshiro dead, Ryu Soma is born. And the only thing on his mind is revenge.

    Kikaider the animation is inspired by the live action works of the late, Shotaro Ishinomori (Kamen Rider "The Masked Rider" and Power Rangers). Directed by Tensai Okamura with character designs by Tadayuki Konno - Kikaider the animation should not be confused with the other popular "Kikaida" live action series currently enjoying a revival in Hawaii. The first two episodes will be shown.

    The genius robotics professor, Dr. Komyoji has created Kikaider - a humanoid robot tasked with the protection of Dr. Komyoji's son and daughter. Gifted with the conscience circuit, Kikaider is given the power to simulate real emotions that helps to distinguish between "right and wrong". Can Kikaider protect Dr. Komyoji's children and battle against the evil Dr. Gill and his army of androids? The fight against world domination lies in the hands of Kikaider.

    Fans of Japanese animation are encouraged to come and check out these latest anime offerings from Bandai Entertainment. Come early! Argentosoma t-shirts, .hack//SIGN posters, Cowboy Bebop postcards, and other promotional items will be given away to convention attendees while supplies last.

    For more information about the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention, please call (818) 954-8432. Admission to the event is $5.00.

    Adv Announces Release Date, Specs For Rahxephon-Orchestration One: Threshold, First Volume Of The Series

    From the press release: Adv's March 25 Release Rockets The Most Anticipated Title Of Early 2003 To American Shores

    ADV Films officially announced a March 25, 2003 release for RahXephon-Orchestration One: Threshold.

    RahXephon was created and directed by Yutaka Izubuchi (Gasaraki, the Gundam franchise), and produced by Bones (Angelic Layer), Victor Entertainment (Noir) and Fuji TV (Astro Boy, Battle of the Planets). The RahXephon series debuted on Japanese TV earlier this year and became an immediate sensation, with fierce action and the multilayered complexity of the plot and characters drawing in viewers by the tens of thousands.

    The Story: The city of Tokyo has been overthrown, taken over by the Mu, invaders who have devastated the rest of the planet. Within the domed walls of the city, however, time flows in a different path, and none of the citizens even know they've been conquered. Outside Tokyo, the remnants of the human race have fought a desperate 15-year war against the Mu, knowing only that the key to victory lies within the occupied city. But no one has been able to get into Tokyo-until Ayato Kamina, a young resident fleeing a horrifying attack on the city, unwittingly breaks out. An extraordinary mystery unfolds as Ayato confronts a world he has never known, and begins to learn the horrifying secrets of RahXephon, a humanoid super weapon which apparently only he can control.

    April ADV Releases

    The fifth volume of corporate life/giant robot parody Dai-Guard, entitled "In the Red" will be released on April first.

    The third volume of Go Nagai's action/horror. Devil Man: Lady, entitled " The Strengthening" will be released in April 1st.

    The second volume of Noir, entitled "Hit List" will be released on April 8th. From the press release: The mysteries deepen as professional assassins Mireille Bouquet and Yuumura Kirika, now working together under the code name "NOIR", ply their chosen trade even as they search for the mysterious link that connects them. Is there someone out there who already knows? And if so, is it the same mysterious person-or people-who've been playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with them since they first met? Secrets wrap around secrets and the body count continues to rise in the second stunning volume of NOIR.

    For Excel Saga Volume 6: Going Way Too Far! Will also be released on April 8th.

    The third volume of Chance Pop Session, the anime series take on the pop music/idol industry will be released on April 8th.

    The action comedy movie City Hunter: .357 Magnum will be released on April 8th.

    The assumingly titled (if you're a computer geek) Assembler, based on Kia Asamiya's manga will be released on April 8th.

    From the press release:

    When a 2-D universe discovers our 3-D existence, they send a two-member team of beautiful Domni-Matrixes to prepare us for total integration. But once the lovely Compiler and Assembler get a taste of 3-D love, their plans change. When Compiler and Assembler's 2-D Masters get wind of the amorous hijinks, however, they set out to eliminate the Earth, the Domni-Matrixes and the cute young earthlings they've shacked up with. Add the sinister duplicate White Compiler, dispatched to eliminate Compiler's Earthling allies, and you've got one strange, spicy, deadly tale!

    Rune Soldier: Enter The Klutz the first volume of the fantasy comedy series from Lodoss War's Ryo Mizuno will be released April 8th.

    From the press release

    Armed with Merrill's cunning, Genie's strength and Melissa's prayers, this all-female band has no trouble raiding ancient ruins-unless a magic seal blocks the way. As an investment, the girls decide to hire a magician. Any magician. Alas, all of the available magicians prefer reading to raiding-except Louie. Swallowing their pride (and several pints), the girls take on the loud, brash novice. In return, the hapless Louie gives them all the adventure they can handle-and then some.

    Image Manga Month

    Image Comics has labeled April "manga month", launching four manga style series, including The Agents By Ben Dunn And Kevin Gunstone, Heirs Of Eternity By Jose Torres, Jae Tsai And Jim Royal, Rotogin: Junkbotz By Jay Lee And J. Korim And Soul Of The Samurai By Will Dixon.

    For more information, see

    Manga Not Editing Read or Die

    There had been reports that Manga entertainment would be editing their release of Read or Die into a movie movie-like format by removing the opening and end animation in middle episodes. AnimeNation reports Manga's Keith Burgess has stated :

    I wanted clear up the rumor that started on AoD about Read or Die. I did not say they were going to be edited into movie form, what I said was that instead of making it one episode plays and credits play and so on. That it may play and have the screen boards for the blank commercial spots. Which is what happens with Virus, the episodes are barely 30 minutes there is nothing to cut. So here is what I got directly from production all the episodes will run together but not edited they will simply play and end with all their credit stuff and then the next one will start. There may be an option to skip over the credits until the end but I don't know about that just yet.

    Read or Die is a suspense OAV about a teacher/secret agent searching for a secret message written in the margin of rare books.

    First Details About New Manga Entertainment DVDs

    AnimeNation has confirmed some facts about Manga Entertainment's upcoming DVD releases of Hyper Combat Unit Dangaioh and Bounty Dog. Both DVDs are dubbed only, and Dangaioh is heavily edited.

    The insert included in the forthcoming Manga Entertainment Dangaioh DVD explains that, "This feature is comprised of two episodes originally known as 'The Spiral Knuckle of Tears' and 'Gil Burg: Demon of Revenge.'" While the original 1990 American release of Dangaioh from US Renditions included all 3 Dangaioh OAVs uncut and subtitled, the upcoming Manga Entertainment DVD is a "movie" version of OAV episodes 2 & 3, editing the original Japanese series running time of 120 minutes down to a single 70 minute long American DVD. As a result of the heavy editing and alteration, the Dangaioh DVD includes only 2.0 and 5.1 English dubbed audio, no subtitles or original Japanese language audio.

    The Manga Entertainment DVD version of Bounty Dog is uncut and unedited, but is presented with 2.0 and 5.1 English dubbed audio only.

  • Readers Talkback
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    • Jan. 24, 2003, 2:25 a.m. CST


      by Noriko Takaya

      I come here to post some joy about the Battle Royale manga and I walk into this homoerotic cluster fuck! Niz-assteee! Won't someone please think of all de little chillunz?? Clean it up youse guys, else Reichsfuhrer Himmler--er, Attorney General Ashcroft arrive to administer the rightous Christian smackdown of Justice! O.K., gotta go shoot the triple penetration scene with the donkey now. Toppu o Nerae!

    • Jan. 24, 2003, 4:53 a.m. CST

      BadAssUncleFucka's Bnd query

      by Glawen

      I think it's because he's a remedial clamshucker with problems spelling Bender.

    • Jan. 24, 2003, 8:41 p.m. CST

      Lain is great, but somebody needs to tell TechTV to shove the "u

      by Pulzar711

      because the fucker pops up RIGHT in the WORST moment POSSIBLE to completely destroy the creepy tension build-up. I love the channel, think it's great they're bringing more anime out for the geeks, but that "update" bar HAS GOT TO GO. Nobody wants to read about how the THunderbirds are coming up next when some crazy bastard is about to blow his brains out all over a schoolgirl. Kills the mood. End of rant, you may go back to your stupid homoerotic food-fucking now.

    • Jan. 25, 2003, 9:28 a.m. CST


      by Radd

      "Read or Die is a suspense OAV about a teacher/secret agent searching for a secret message written in the margin of rare books." Did the person who wrote that even see 'Read or Die'? Well, hopefully Manga won't Mangle it like they did the Macross Plus movie release. Hmm, and why hasn't AICN covered anything on the Macross lawsuit going on?

    • Jan. 26, 2003, 7 a.m. CST

      BOA and BoA

      by kamykami

      BOA the idol singer and BoA the British band who performed the Serial Experiments Lain opening song, are not the same. I don't think the band is even together anymore

    • Jan. 27, 2003, 12:02 a.m. CST

      But BadAssUncleFucka--

      by Noriko Takaya

      --there's nothing wrong with Cutey Honey! She's how I first learned about (very) pneumatic robotics! And tentacle sex is how I first learned about interspecies biology! And--uh--never mind. Toppu o--oh hell, what a give away. . .

    • Dec. 20, 2008, 6:56 p.m. CST

      mark my words

      by The Amazing G

      Read Or Die will one day be a series of movies directed by me

    • Oct. 14, 2009, 5:34 a.m. CST

      I AM The Amazing G btw...

      by The_Crimson_King

      I decided to get a name change