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AnimAICN: Elfen Lied; Worst; Sin City; Hellsing; Guyver; Yamato; Full Metal Alchemist; Gundam; Tsubasa; Battle B'Daman

Father Geek here, fresh from the Kickass Austin premiere of the Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller very hard "R", nuevo noir motion picture SIN CITY. They were both at the Paramount Theatre (1915) sold out screening along with some cast members and others connected to the Austin based production. The old joint rocked... HARD... real HARD... just like the flick that brought Miller's infamous graphic novels to life... and death. Take my word for it. You've never seen anything exactly like this on the big screen before. It's a Pen & Ink pulp-world brought to sleazy steaming life.

Afterwards, we along with Robert, Frank, Goldie, the Yellow Bastard among other noteables, and a host of $130.00 a head badge wearing VIP's packed into legendary STUBB'S on Austin's music district's Red River to rock out while gorging on fine Texas Bar-B-Q and gallons of dark Shiner Bok. We hung out on the second floor deck overlooking the stage (spittin' distense from the band) and rain swollen Waller Creek for hours, downing brews, beans and brisket, and catching the babes...yeah, real live babes... tons of'um, bouncing in and out of the night like twinkling stars dodging the evening's clouds...

Ol'Father Geek stumbled out on to the cracked concrete alittle after 2am to retrieve the "Argo" from its dock at the old, abandoned, burned-out ice factory just a couple of alleys away. I backed her out into the inky darkness to gather up Harry and the rest of our crew only to discover I was heading up the channel as opposed to correctly flowing downward. I tied up in mid stream, hustled Harry and the others aboard, swung her around to the right (legal) direction and sailed off into the pre-dawn without further incident... we'll be seeing SIN CITY again Saturday at the Alamo.

Now here's Scott with the worlds of Manga & Anime...

AnimAICN...

by Scott Green

Anime Preview: Elfen Lied based on English dub of episodes 1-3

To be released by ADV Films 05/17/2005

Elfien Lied takes the standards of the magic girlfriend series (Oh! My Godess or the like) someplace very dark. It might be a watershed in anime, blurring the lines between televised anime, and hentai (pornographic) material, and putting together a "bad things happen" situation that will likely stand as an extreme outlier for a while. Anime fans who want to see how far tragedy can be pushed (or the every irreverent minded) should give Elfen Lied a try.

Most sci-fi fans have pondered at some time what it would really look like to cut loose with a super power a-la Carrie. Elfen Lied puts to use a super power with viciousness that rivals any splatter movie, and then over the course of the early episodes reveals the novel nature of the power.

Elfen Lied does what it wants to do very well. Reminiscent of the unforgettable Kite, Elfen Lied pulls together slick animation, bright colors, looming tragety, and jaw-dropping violence. From its start Elfen Lied is sure to leave an indelible mark. The next hurtle, after whether the stomach can take bloodbath, whether the sensibility toward fetishistic attention of the violence is a turn off. A perspective viewer should as themselves if they want to subject themselves to a sadistic ride before starting the series.

The series grabs attention with an exceptional opening anime that shows some interesting intellect. Going with the title (lied as in German solo vocal and piano song, not past tense of lie), the animation reproduces the works of symbolist painter Gustav Klimt with the series' characters substituting for Klint's subjects. (On the flip side, is a lovey pop theme for the ending, which would fit if the series were just relationship misunderstandings.)

Elfen Lied commences with one of the most disturbing sequences in anime, more so that something like the Evangelion movies or the climax of Berserk, because at the time, there is no connection to the characters. A young woman, naked except the metal mask locked around her head, escapes her bounds and begin making her way out of the installation that housed her. Set to a solemn chant, armed security personal attempted to halt her advance and, in turn, are mutilated. Heads are snapped off, limbs wrenched off, pens fly through the air as lethal projectiles. The narrative cuts to a goofy young woman, maybe a secretary. A bit of her life is shown. She does an "I'll get it right" speech. She attempts to walk down the hall carrying a coffee mug on a tray. She stumbles into the battle field. A bloody hand print falls on her shoulder. Her head is pulled up and off. It hovers and bleeds, turns, and fall to the ground then her body rises up to be used to absorb gun fire. If reading this is tough, watching it will be tougher. The victims are not just killed, they're killed graphically, and not cleanly at that. Not much in the way of organs, but plenty of blood, bone and muscle. Along with Gantz, and even life action movie like Ichi The Killer is a runner in the new digital age of gore.

Perhaps because she takes an anti-tank shell to the head during her escape, the escaped woman, a subspecies known as a diclonus with magenta hair and small horn like cranial protrusions, develops two personalities. Lucy is the cold, almost gleeful killer who left a trail of limbs, heads and torso. Nyuu can't function on her own. Unable to talk, dress, or find a bathroom, she is found by a young man named Kohta and his recently reunited Yuka(Kohta's sister and father died and consequently doesn't remember much of his last meeting with his cousin)

Along the lines of the magic girlfriend story, Kohta is positioned into a semi-love triangle with Yuka and Nyuu, complete with requisite accidental, or not-accidental groping, discovery in compromising poses, misunderstanding. The elements are aligning to go badly, being physically abusive, emotionally abusive, or some combination almost every step of the way.

Elfen Lied is very effective, and not very constrained. It isn't always blood. The animators gets caught up in its own abilities when they succeed, such creating a beautiful falling cherry blossom effect, then including too much of it in a particular scene. They get rather creative with the blood letting, moving bloody hand prints being their crowning achievement.

The sadism of the series can get too fetishistic. While the narrative occasionally spares the viewer on occasion, it generally doesn’t. It doesn't get through an exposition scene without sucker punching an anonymous secretary bloody

Lingering on amputation and dismemberment is a stomach hardening exercise, but material like a happy purple hair haired girl, blood spattered, chained up in naked works on the heart. Between the nudity, the nudity doesn't always lack sexual connotations, and degrading scenes, such as Nyuu urinating on the flood after failing to communicate her need for a bathroom, mental warning light begin flashing. Like Gunslinger girl, Narutaru or even Now and Then, Here and There a little goes a long way and there's a lot here.

Manga Preview Full Metal Alchemist Volume 1 by Hiromu Arakawa Based on Galley Copy

To be Released by Viz

The Full Metal Alchemist anime picked some excellent source material to adapt. It's hard to put the extraordinary anime out of the mind, and give the manga the credit it is due. Maybe hindsight of working from a further stage in the manga run helped the anime alter the impression left by the early chapters, but, taking little away from the manga, the manga doesn't always have the stunning impact of the anime. Still, it's clear that the anime was built on a solid foundation. Hiromu Arakawa has put together a unique not-quite-fantasy with a discipline similar to magic, but with states competing with kingdoms, and technology from trains and firearms to radios, populated by engaging characters, well designed, and capable of top quality manga action.

Trying to resurrect their mother Alphonse Elric lost his body and his older brother Edward lost a leg. Quickly reacting to the disaster, Ed lost an addition arm binding Al's soul to suit of armor. Seeking to again press the limits of the matter transmuting power, this time to restore their bodies, Ed outfits himself with auto-mail prosthetic limbs and enlists as a State Alchemist. With his younger brother, now a looming armored figure, in tow, the Elric brothers begin searching for the Philosopher’s Stone to augment their abilities.

What Hiromu Arakawa does very well in her illustration is govern the readers' progress through the panels. Rumiko Takahashi has a similar skill, and it's one of the reasons why Takahashi’s so versatile in the genres she used. If you can lock the reader’s eyes in the right panels, and control the time between panels, the impact in the storytelling progression is magnified. Hiromu Arakawa has a real mind for where to put the focus through the progression of the scene, closing in on the right aspect, or reposition to right angle.

Something like the transition from a man reaching into his jacket to a panel of the man holding a gun to another's head seems simple. Done poorly, it's obvious and unexciting. Going from a tight shot of the draw to a tight shot of the gun against the head leaves an impression of speed and force. This is key to making the auto-mail and alchemy effects work. There's a real kick when Ed turns his metal arm into an oversized blade, or manifest a giant hand from the ground.

The manga is several degrees lighter than the anime. The laws of equivilent exchange that govern both alchemy and the lives of its practitioners aren't the looking bear traps that were in the anime. The bloody aftermath of Ed and Al's resurrection attempt is still gruesome enough to drive home the gravity of event, but the manga doesn't seem to dwell on consequences as much as the anime, or hammer some of it's individual points. The anime also added in a few chilling moments that improved the impact of at least one revelations. The manga seems more interested in laying down the tracks on plot and quickly moving along them than, than pondering their implications.

Conversely, not that the anime is without moments of levity, but the anime seems to toned down some of the exuberance in the fight. The manga is more cartoonish, quicker to distort characters into exaggerated expression. And the characters are little less pensive, a little more quick to roll with the punches. Manga Ed and Al are frequently cute characters, not too hard with a scrappy cow-lick-haired early teen, but a bit of an accomplishment with a large, spiked armor that has to also look imposing. The progression of the manga is fairly close to the anime, re-arranged. The Ed and Al episodic travels are put together in the first volume of the manga, uninterrupted by extended flashbacks to their early childhood or Ed's introduction to the State Alchemists. A few characters aren't introduced where they were in the anime, but that looks like work on the part of the adaptation to bring a more unified flow to the series. A chapter or two of the next volume is probably needed to untangle some of the particulars of how the time lines match up.

Manga Spotlight: Worst Volumes 2 & 3 By Hiroshi Takahashi

Released by Digital Manga Publishing

The first volume of Worst was interesting, but not convincing. It's exploration of male delinquent life seemed mostly aesthetic, excellent, elaborate design in the posturing thugs, but place holder fights, and plot that wasn't yet anything that grabbed attention. Starting in volume 2, and clinched by volume 3, Worst has become an amazingly complex and intriguing drama for guys (dear one say shojo-ish), possessing a teen gangster saga with a plot as good as any accession in an underground society. After these volumes the "over 1 million copys sold" cover moniker now seems a whole lot more credible.

The first volume sketched out the outline in the web of relationships that Worst would be traversing, Volume two initiates a journey to move up in a world of complex political and physical struggle from an easily crushed position of some power.

The unlikely champion is Hana Tsukishima, a headstrong and earnest country kid who is plenty more physically capable than he looks, and a bit more savvy than he acts. For some one who willfully walks into the world of juvenile delinquents, or for any social grouping, Hana's a remarkably good guy. He doesn't hesitate to get into a fight, or prove himself, but he has an unusually high regard for others. If a fight is necessary, but not something he's willingly put himself into, he starts it with "don't hold a grudge"

Worst is not strikingly a shonen "I'll be the best..." story, or even an outgrowth of that model. Instead, it's someone who want to what they do well who is positioned into a path of accession. Hopefully, this means that the journey will more complex and deep that subduing escalating threats.

There are several landmark moments of exposition that seem to setting an interesting path for the characters, and laying out see why the characters are undertaking their course of actions.

The first happens with Hana and his four boarding house mates, who attend his same school for delinquents, talk about how even though their Yazuka-looking tough land lord consistently bickers with his flamboyantly transvestite brother there are some legendary stories of the land lord violently and angrily depending his brother. The five housemates subsequently decide that despite their own agendas, divided loyalties, and different levels of ability they will regard each other as brothers.

The second happens after some upper classmen set up Hana to fight against someone he shouldn’t fight, in a confrontation he'll lose. They comment that compared to the pressures of most schools, grades, bullies, higher education and preparing for corporate life, their school for trouble makers should seem like a paradise. However, succeeding in their environment doesn't set one up for any future position. They bring up a news paper item about the death of a former student that was everything they aspire to be, physically impressive, a great fighter, a leader , but ended up disposed of by the yazuka, with only his mother attending his funeral. These upperclassmen decide Hana might be the right person to change the course of their community and to manipulate matters a bit to guide him onto the right path.

Hiroshi Takahashi's greatest asset as an illustrator in his characters' appearances. Clothes, hair, and scars, plays a significant role is establishing the characters, and looks amazing. It's odd the to comment on the quality of shirt design in a tough guy manga, but the wardrobe in Worst, is staggering in it's intricacy. In a way it fits with the characters and setting. These are people who take pride in expressing themselves in their unique attire and hair styles. Takahashi is also lavish with his designs, replacing outfits rather than having the game character always in the clothes.

No matter how drama Worst is, fight scenes are an important factor in a series about people who resolve differences violently. They've improved since their place holder staging in the first volume, and Takahashi has improved his ability to hide his deficits as an action illustrator within aspects of the story. Apart an idiotic jump kick trump moves, the characters, and significantly Hana do look tough and physically capable.

Anime Spotlight: Air Master Volumes 1 & 2

Released by Toei and Distributed by Geneon

Barring an allergic reaction to the untraditional, Go Nagai-ish design (known to happen in some cases), Air Master is one of the most fun anime series by any measure. If a fighting anime has entertaining action and characters, then plot and deeper meaning can be damned. Better to avoid significance than try to apply it poorly.

There isn't an anime heroin quite like Maki Aikawa. The now 16 year old was couched by her mother into prominence as gymnast when she was young, but has been living alone since the death of her mother (her father shows up in the series, he was 15 when she was conceived, and subsequently lived a separate life). Maki, now over 6 feet tall, and well muscled, has begun making her name on the street fighting scene as the Air Master, where she can strike and grapple with the best, but also command any situation where she leaves the ground.

The action is a level about what you'd expect from anime. The action is jaw dropping. It's like watching a martial arts movie, maybe not top tier of the Drunk Master 2 or Ong Bak caliber, but good enough to rewatch repeatedly.

Believe it or not, a series directed by the Dragon Ball franchise's Daisuke Nishio understands the mechanics of a real fight and exploit it. Moves are recognizable from real techniques and styles, then bent into anime spectacle. In the way that the fighters twist around each other, react, and dance there's a progressions single big moves. No one is going mistake Air Master's fights for anything realistic, but the flow and psychology put story telling into the engagements beyond the typical attach, block or evade, alternate attacker and repeat count down to a protagonists uber-technique.

No opportunity is wasted, ever fighters had a distinctive style, and puts on an entertaining fight. Even something patently stupid, like a combatant who fights with a BMX bike is made to look like what they are doing could work. At the top on the pile is Maki. In a relaxed physics environment where not everyone is jump punching or fighting mid air, a fighter who can not only leap, vault and swing, but master her momentum in reaction to a strike can be as impressive as any animate fight.

The plot doesn't take itself seriously, but from screaming wanna-be self made person/rival Kaori Sakiyama down to even extra Go Nagai-ish Renge, a high school girl with a grade school body, and a deep voice that sounds like Crayon Shin-Chan mixed with fingers on a chalk board (Azumanga fans will be amused, the voice actress is Chiyo's), it's an interesting and entertaining cast.

Despite Maki's size and commitment to street fighting, she's more of a quiet, uncertain teen. She's not a typical anime basket case, but someone who falls into bouts of depression symptoms when she has too many emotional stimuli to sort through. Maki's lesbian sexually orientation is unusually well handled in the series. It doesn't make a big point out of it, and for a often humorous series, it isn't a joke in of itself.

The last mini arc of the two volumes really take the opportunity to try and fluster Maki with the introduction of another of the series' great characters, Juiletta Sakamoto, a tall introvert, a genius ghost writer, who has shuffled way into position as the city's most feared fighters with simple, flash and devastatingly powerful kicks. He's one of the series more unPC creations, living with a beautiful trio of famous writer, a super model and a pop star, and responding to unwanted attention by kicking a few unwanted paid-daters about 30 feet down the street. After taking a shine to Maki, trying to seduce her, at first by buying her friends candy, sending her into system shock with his embraces, he becomes the first opponent she trains to fight.

Unfortunately, Air Master is another black eye for good, mature-ish fight series. by no means do the problems render the serious unwatchable, some with an ever more competetive anime market, it's amazing to see something with as many problems as air master getting out the door Toei is the 800 pound gorilla of anime Many of the most popular anime series, from Dragon Ball to Yu-Gi-Oh to Transformers, to the Evangelion movies have been tied to Toei. They've had very particular ideas about how to release their anime international, including the games played with Sailor Moon's availability (not renewing licenses, not licensing the fifth season), which has lead to them becoming a magnet for myths and conjectures (no outside the involved parties is sure why they haven't licensed Battle Royale). Apparently their management of licenses has not extended to a management of quality. The first series they've directly released to the North American market are plagued with annoying flaws.

From unskippable opening logos, to a lack of intra-episode chapter breaks, to lack to next episode previews or any extras, to the fact it goes back to menu after each episode, it isn't a good DVD package. Worse are the subtitles. In terms of unreadable size colors, and throwing huge amounts of text into one block it been hard find to fan projects this unreadable in recent years. Four feet away from the TV with decent eye sights, they are hard to read. The same script is used for the English dub and subtitles. It's more liberal than many subtitle scripts, it has all of the sound cues for the chief characters, down to the text "(battle cries & impact grunts -- very fast paced)" or "(grunts 'n stuff)" or "(3 confused huhs)" appearing on the screen. For a fight anime, it would be nice to have some concept of fighting terminology. In a fighting series, if some one is talking about Tai-Chi, it probably shouldn’t' be translated as Kung Fu and if masked guy who talks about training in Mexican wrestling, he's probably saying lucha and calling himself Lucha Master, not roo-cha and Roo-Cha Master (five episodes in a Japanese voice actor pronounces the name correctly, and it's still Roo-Cha Master, and the pronunciation makes it into the English dub).

Anime Spotlight Gundam SEED Volumes 8 and 9

Released by Bandai

Gundam SEED has brought everything to a boil in it's final act ,continuing to give the fans what they want, and don't make that wait for it in the piloted robot war serial. Socially or intellectually, SEED isn't the entry to argue the Gundam franchise's weight, but sustaining the kind of momentum SEED pulled over the course of what is now approaching 50 episodes, it's a marvel of the 13 episode TV series era. SEED has been a lesson in how to revive and update a franchise by intelligently cherry picking what, worked in the past, without strip mining it, how to manage a franchise, from the inclusion of spin-off characters, to the integration with music.

It's taken the structure , anti-authority angst and anti-confined role anger of the original Gundam, along with no just the teen drama, bright colors and pop music of Gundam Wing, but it's ability keep the plot shifting, and never allowed itself to go flat. SEED has no slow builds, and never asks the viewer to wait for good part. It's like a pop song with a rapid tempo that just swells.

Coming into the final stretch, battle lines in the war between natural born humans on Earth and genetically altered orbiting colonists are redrawn as extremists take command on both sides and the heroes from their own faction. Anyone following the series can't help but feel charged to see who gets drawn together. The opportunity to used to exercise the shifts of antagonist to protagonist, protagonist to antagonist that serial fans always remember fondly.

SEED musters a strong emotional force as the conflict heats to a boil, and the secret histories behind the characters' lives are revealed. The characters haven't always been sympathetic or easy to connect to but they've all been good for charged moments where their passions fuels the series. (The English dub cast, down through the minor roles has been excellent throughout the series, and turn in some heart felt delivery in these highly emotional senses. It's a shame that, for whatever reason, the series didn't find a strong audience on Cartoon Network).

Where SEED will distinguish itself in the mind of genre fans is the scale of his battle suit wars, fulfilling the promises of the genre. Rather than a few short scenes everything is thrown out, and left to the franchise geeks to pause the image and pick out the good stuff it delivers on the huge scale, juggling screens full of combatants, strategies, and recognizable fighters of both sizes. Elaborate giant robot equivalents of troupe movements, invasions and maneuvers are worked in with, as the series returns to space for its conclusion, the reintroduction of the equivalent of battleship confrontations.

Gundam SEED has moved so quickly, problems don't stick. It doesn't pause on aspects long enough for this to grate on the view. One rare, lingering annoyance has been the new, chief battlefield adversaries. The trio use Gundam armors that have been decked out with every sort of exotic weapon, and 2 of the 3 transform, qualities that invoke "action figure" rather than "war machine". The other problem is that at this point in the series, the heroes and their Gundams are at the stage where they need to be stopping doomsday weapons, and are too much for this sort of enemy. The opponents can act as gadflies, exacerbating problems and keeping the heroes engaged, but when they try to do more than harry the her, they get it handed to them. Maybe the definitive explanation of who these three are will come in the series' final volume, but there seem to also be an example of Gundam bad habit of taking information that could easily be explained in dialogue are shunted into the supplementary material (bonus features, websites or the like).

Anime Spotlight: ROD The TV Volume 5

Released by Geneon

It's disappointing to see a series with such stunning, creativity infused characters and action sit back for a while. For the first time in the anime franchise (the manga seems to generally get more mixed marks) ROD seems to have spent time just moving forward. The volume was just aligning pieces, bringing the television series in line with the original OAV, and explicitly revealing several of the big, but easily guessed secrets of the series. Some of the proceedings were necessary, but given the high expectations of the usually well paced series it seems to have held a moment for several more episodes than it should have. It allowed the fights to be too straight forward, while lacking quantity of character moments of the early, slower momentum build of the series. Anita, the youngest of the Paper Sisters, a trio of problem solvers with surprisingly eye and mind grabbing super power of manipulating the physical properties of paper receives some character development. Where the story takes the character is too much in familiar anime vein of past trauma and current position as a pawn in someone else game. It's more a battering than quirky characters dealing with interesting problems.

It's a logical progression from Ainta's disposition as a darling, frowning young malcontent in the early going, but it strips her of her initial novel degree of energy, even her monkey gymnastics fall aside. The series still manages some interesting character work, such as the hardening of the OAV's bubbly eye candy Wendy, and the moral ambiguity of some of its heroes, but series now has to make up room leading up to its final act.

Manga Spotlight: Hellsing Volume 5 By Kohta Hirano

Released by Dark Horse Manga and Digital Manga Publishing

The Hellsing manga keeps getting bigger, bloodier and better. It's the kindof fun, bombastic horror action that Hollywood usually attempts in the spring, pre-summer block buster season, and usually fails at. In volume five, the war between the Anglican supernatural problem solvers Hellsing and the Nazi Millennium projects gets some tooth, nail and fire arm action with the vampire versus vampress fight of pistol packing Alcucard against the Nazi's musket wielding Rip Van Winkle (badly wound, spectacled Nazi vampire chick, not Washington Irving over-sleeper).

As opposed to it's possibly more familiar anime adaptation, which dropped into a familiar well of anime mystery and angst, the manga get big and dumb, but very big and dumb in a smart way. The big confrontation opens with Rip, waiting on the deck of battle ship with a cartoon faced alarm clock and drug store umbrella, as the ship takes down fighter planes and troop helicopters, before Aclucard comes in on a spy plane and sets on the whole proceedings on fire. Volume 5 has an action chain that seems like a snowballing sequence of "and then..."'s, but Kohta Hirano is so gleeful about it, and capable of running with the scale that it works.

One of manga's best selling points is that it provides what other mediums lack, either in story or spectacle. Hellsing's plot is unabashedly fun in how gleefully over the top it can be, but it's appeal is most visual. And it isn't that one none else is attempting what Hellsing offers, but it's pulp Nazi fights, with an extrapolations of the visual effects big movies and video games promise, but don't always deliver on, Hellsing puts a bullet in all other contenders.

ADV News

From Anime News Network on anime distributor ADV's panel at the Houston Kamikazecon convention, co-founder Matt Greenfield and producer/director David Williams confirmed that their Austin Monster Island studio has been closed. The reason was attributed to less available work now that a "huge backlog" has been completed.

A number of series have been labeled "web exclusive", initially stated to ADV's online outlet, but later clarified through Anime on DVD, to other online retailers. The titles include Princess Tutu, Pettite Princess Yucie, and Wedding Peach. Competition for shelf space in brick and morter store provoked the action.

Greenfield stated that Japanese studios are increasing using the funds from American licenses to produce there shows. Nearly 1/3 of what airs in Japans is funded through ADV licenses, through the series aren't directly co-productions.

ADV is continuing to emphasize their video on demond (VOD) program for The Anime Network (TAN). The linear channel was introduced primarily because cable providers indicated that TAN had a better chance of being picked up if there was a linear channel to compliment the VOD portion. Greenfield cites carrier's limited bandwidth as the major reason TAN is not more widely available.

The live action Evangelion movie is still alive, and a directer is being sought. No directors were named, but several major ones, including an Oscar winner have looked at the project. WETA will be working on the projects, leading to New Zealand as the likely location of it's filimg. The movie is likely 3 or 4 years away from being ready.

Totoro Exhibit

Images of the very popular Ghibli Mei and Satsuki's House exhbit at the Japan Expo 2005 can be seen at...

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Anno on Anno

Josei (older female audience) manga creator Moyoko Anno (Happy Mania, Bees and Honey) has published manga Kantoku Fuyukitodoki (Out of Control) starring her stand in character for herself, and her husband, Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno.

Previews can be seen here

New Guyver

According to Anime News Network and the official Japanese site there will be a big announcement regarding a bio-power armor action Guyver at the Tokyo Anime Fair, ocurring March 31st to April 3rd. Update: it was later announced that ADV has co-produced a new Guyver which will air on Japanese TV this Summer.

New Blood Anime

Anime Nation reports Production IG has produced Blood Night, an anime tv follow up to their 2001 feature Blood: The Last Vampire.

Kare Kano Manga to End

Anime News Network reports Masami Tsuda's popular shojo school drama Kareshi Kanojo no Jijyou (aka Kare Kano or His and Her Circumstances) will end with the June issue of the Lala anthology, on sale April 23rd.

Up Coming Anime in Japan

Amaenaideyo

Basilisk, from Gonzo, a new tailer can be seen here

Comic Party: Revolution a new TV series based on the franchise about the makers of doujinshi (fan comics)

Eyeshield 21 a Shonen Jump foot manga released domesticalled by Viz

Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid

Fushigi Hoshi no Futago Hime also here

Gaogaigar Final Grand Glorious Gathering

Glass Mask (Glass no Kamen)

Okusama wa Mahou Shoujo

Onegai My Melody

Paradise Kiss, a late night adapation of Ai Yazawa's Paradise Kiss from Mad House with Heat Guy J team Osamu Kobayashi and Nobuteru Yuki providing character design.

Petopeto-san

Rozen Maiden TV, a second season is in the work

Shuffle

Sousei no Aquarion

Speed Grapher

Manga Cancellations

The following cancellations have been listed in the latested Diamond Distributors Previews

A. D. VISION

Louie The Rune Solider Volume 5

Daemon Hunters Vol 3

Eidron Shadow Manga Vol 1 Tp

Lythtis Manga Vol 1 Tp

Saint Marie Manga Vol 4 Tp

TOKYOPOP

Gundam Technical Manual Vol 3 Stardust Memory

Tokyo Tribes Gn Vol 3

Kindaichi Case Files Vol 12 Playing The Fool Part 1 Gn 2

Gundam Technical Manual Vol 3 Stardust Memory was sold out, Kindaichi Case Files Vol 12 and Tokyo Tribes Gn Vol 3 will be re-solicited.

Viz Manga Edits

Viz's has edited their manga release of shonen relationship drama I"s in their Shonen Jump Advanced line by imposing stars of nipples in the manga's nude scenes.

Anime on DVD reports that volume 4 of Descendants of Darkness, a T+ (i.e. 16+) title was edited to obscure a sexual scene by removing one of the characters from the scene entirely.

Anime (and Animation) on TV

Cartoon Networks 2005 Adult Swim line will include...

April

Tom Goes to the Mayor, new episodes start April 17th

(Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law: Volume 1 and Space Ghost Coast to Coast: Volume 3 will be released on DVD April 12th)

May

American Dad

Samurai Champloo, starting Saturday, May 14, at 11:30 p.m. (ET, PT)

Paranoia Agent, starting Saturday, May 28, at 12 a.m.

S-CRY-Ed, Saturday, May 28, at 12:30 a.m.

Inuyasha: A Love That Transcends Time (movie) shown May 14th at 12 a.m

Metropolis (movie) shown Saturday, May 21, at 12 a.m

June

Family Guy (new episodes) 11 p.m. (ET, PT) on Thursday and Sunday evenings

Inu-Yasha (new episodes) Time/date TBA

July

Harvey Birdman new episodes starting July 24th

August

Inuyasha: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass (movie)

(Sealab 2021: Volume 3 DVD has a street date of July 19)

Escaflowne (movie) Time/date TBA.

September

Stroker & Hoop

Ghost in the Shell: Second Gig

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie

October

12oz Mouse

Squidbillies

Perfect Hair Forever

Boondocks

November

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Volume 4 will be released on DVD on Nov. 22

Samurai Champloo is Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe's scratch take on samurai serials.

Paranoia Agent is the first TV anime from Satoshi Kon (Perfect Blue, Millenium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers). The pyschodrama follows a group of people linked by a mysterious bat wielding attacker.

S-CRY-Ed is anime take on an X-Men like story of super powered mutants, a group of independent powered indivuals in the wilderness fueding with a group working with authorities in the city.

Metropolis is Rintaro and Katsuhiro Otomo's anime adapation of Osamu Tezuka's early manga, loosely inspired by Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

Stroker & Hoop makes its series debut with six new episodes following the misadventures of John Stroker, a private eye still mastering the art of lock-picking, car hood-sliding and keeping his gun from falling out of his waistband when he bends over at the grocery store. Together with his partner Hoop, a self-proclaimed master of disguise, and his disobedient talking hatchback named CARR, Stroker is willing to help anyone dumb enough to respond to his 1/8-page ad in the yellow pages. An additional six new episodes of Stroker & Hoop will air in November.

12oz Mouse, Squidbillies and Perfect Hair Forever are upcoming series from Williams St. 12oz Mouse, from Aqua Teen Hunger Force co-creator Matt Maiellaro, follows a character, fond of beer and caught in a world of espionage and love, unknowingly delights in odd jobs. Squidbillies is the eagerly anticipated series about redneck squids from the mountains of Georgia. In Perfect HairForever, a young boy sets out on a mystical quest in a strange world.

Boondocks will be 15 hour-hour episodes adapted from the Aaron McGruder’s politically charged comic strip.

Accoding to Toonami Info Link Taiwanese martial arts puppet show Pili will air on Cartoon network this fall as "Wulin Warriors: Legend of the Seven Stars."

This April, Canadian YTV will air the InuYasha movie Affections Touching Across Time, add .hack//Sign to their Friday Bionix block starting April 1st, and add Battle B’Daman to their Saturday Vortex block starting April 23.

They will also be launched an Anime Video On-Demand, available on digital cable in select Canadian markets, including Rogers Digital Cable, Channel 100; SaskTel, Channel 900, and Cogeco Video-On Demand.

INUYASHA: AFFECTIONS TOUCHING ACROSS TIME

Two hundred years ago, Inuyasha's father sealed away a powerful demon from China named Hyoga. Now a Shikon Jewel shard has freed Hyoga's son, Menomaru, who plans to break the seal placed on his father's remains in order to absorb his power. But to do that, he needs Inuyasha's sword. Menomaru sends his minions, Ruri and Hari, to attack Inuyasha's friends. Inuyasha is tricked into breaking his father’s seal, and Menomaru becomes the new Hyoga, threatening the entire land. It's up to Inuyasha and his friends to stop this nearly invincible foe.

.HACK//SIGN

.hack//Sign revolves around characters in a virtual online world that are swept up in the mystery of Tsukasa, a player with unusual abilities who can do things no one else can. Following the adventures of Mimuru, Bear and other characters, the mystery deepens as the players discover connections to the outside and realize there is much more to "The World" than they had realized.

BATTLE B’DAMAN

Battle B’Daman follows the story of one special young boy – Yamato Delgato. Raised by cats until he was five, Yamato now lives with his adoptive mom, Mie. Up until now, Yamato has only dreamt of playing the official sport of the B-DaWorld – B-Daman. But all that is about to change when he is chosen to receive the Cobalt Blade, the most awesome B-Daman ever, and only Yamato has the skills and talent needed to harness its power. It’s going to take a lot of practice and training, but with the support of his friends – Terry, Bull and the mysterious Gray – and with his faithful cat Tommi by his side, Yamato is ready to set out on the journey of a lifetime.

Toonzone.net reports ABC Family and Toon Disney's Jetix block will be airing Bedaman as B-Daman starting April 2nd.

The International Channel will be changing to AZN TV and re-focusing itself on Asian culture. It's anime schedule can be seen at here

Concert Tours

Anime News Network reports J-Pop duo Puffy AmiYumi will beginings their North American starting with the west coast in April and early May, and the East Coast during the summer. They will also be performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live show on April 28th at 12:05am

West Coast dates include

4/22 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom (9pm)

4/23 - Seattle, WA - The Showbox (8pm)4/24 - Vancouver, BC - Vogue Theatre (9:15pm)

4/26 - San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theatre (8pm)

4/29 - Los Angeles, CA - Wiltern Theatre (9pm)

4/30 - San Diego, CA - SOMA (9pm)

5/2 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theatre (8pm)

Galaxy Anime and Anime News report The Dear Friends Final Fantasy Concert series has added four new performances, including its first two East Coast appearances:

May 20 in Hartford, CT at The Bushnell, performance by the Local Symphony Orchestra

June 24-25 in Atlanta, GA at Symphony Hall, performance by the Atlanta Symphony

July 14 in San Diego, CA at Embarcadero Marina Park South, performance by the San Diego Symphony

July 23-24 in Detroit, MI at Orchestra Hall, performance by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Tsubasa Theme Online

Anime News Service points out that a samble of popular vocalist/voice actress Maaya Sakamoto's new single, Loop, which will be the theme for the anime adapation of CLAMP's Tsubasa can be heard online here

Only the Ring Finger Knows Novels

Digital Manga Publications is running a petition to gauge fan interesting in a release of yaoi (homosexual male romance) novels of Only the Ring Finger Knows here

Di Gi Charat Nyo Delayed

Anime Nation list list Bandai's release of Di Gi Charat Nyo has been delayed, without a new release date given.

Late April ADV Releases

April 19

Cyberteam in Akihabara: Cyber Rebirth (4 of 6)

Hello Kitty’s Animation Theater: Far Away Lands (2 of 4)

Neon Genesis Evangelion Platinum: 07 (of 7)

Wandaba Style: Idol Invasion (volume 3 of 3)

Ninja Scroll TV Box Set

Urban Vision has announced that the Ninja Scroll TV series will be collected into an "Ninja Scroll: The Series Ultimate Collection" set with the 13 episodes collected in a new box packaging. They will also be releasing a limited edition collector's tin, packaged with an action figure.

Infinity Studios Signs with Diamond for Distribution Agreement

Anime News Network reports that publisher Inifinity Studios will be using Diamind Distributors for its manga and manwha releases such as Na Na Na Na and Hurrah! Sailor.

Scrapped Princess Manga In August

TOKYOPOP will be releasing the first volume of the manga version of Scrapped Princess in August. Studio BONES anime adaptation of the fantasy drama is being released by Bandai.

Leiji Matsumoto Superintendent Over Real-Life Yamato Exhibit

Anime News Service reports Space Battleship Yamato creator Leiji Matsumoto along with Professor and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency member Hiroyuki Agawa have been announced as honored superintendents for Maritime Affairs History Science Pavilion, a museum that will commemorate the World War II battleship Yamaya and Japanese naval history. The museum with will exhibiting a 1/10 scale (26.3 meter long) model replica of the warship from April 23.

Squiddies Add Manga Category

This year's Squiddies comic fans awards will be adding the category Best Manga Series of 2004. See the website for details on how to nominate titles.

Upcoming Manga Entertainment Releases

Manga Entertainments anime releases for the coming months will be:

6/14/05

Macross Plus - 2 DVD Box Set

7/26/05

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 7

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 7 Special Edition

Neon Genesis Evangelion - 2 DVD Box Set

8/23

Virus Buster Serge - 3 DVD Box Set

9/27/05

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (2nd Gig) Vol. 1

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (2nd Gig) Vol. 1 Special Edition

10/25/05

Street Fighter Alpha Generations

11/22/05

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (2nd Gig) Vol. 2

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (2nd Gig) Vol. 2 Special Edition

Galaxy Railways Release

FUNimation will be releasing the first volume of Galaxy Railways on July 19th.

NOW dropped by DrMaster

ListerX reports that DrMaster will not be picking up the Korean manwha series NOW from the ComicsOne licenses, but another publishers, maybe Infinity Studios will be releasing it.

Upcoming Yamato Figures

Yamato USA has announced that they are taking pre-orders for Trigun Maximum PVC Statue Assortment and Cowboy Bebop Miniature Collectible FIgures figures

Trigun Maximum PVC Statue Assortment

Included are Vash the Stampede, Nicholas D. Wolfwood, Zazie the Beast, Raidei the Blade, Legato Bluesummers and Midvalley the Hornfreak. Each comes with themed display base, packaged in a window box.

Cowboy Bebop Miniature Collectible Figures

Spike Speigel, Fay Valentine, Jet Black, Edward & Ein, Vicious and Julia

Anime Sales on the Upswing

ICV2 reports that although anime as a category was probably flat to down a little in 2004 (see "Anime Market Flat in 04"), early indications in 2005 are promising. A year-over-year comparison using Videoscan year-to-date numbers shows a 7.6% growth rate for 2005.

Two likely sources for the growth include ADV, which had the #1 share slot in the week we saw and which has had several titles do well in Q1 (Chrono Crusade, Gantz, and DNAngel), and Disney, which is riding the success of its Miyazaki titles. Gantz is particularly interesting because of its format. ADV packaged it two episodes per disc at a $14.98 MSRP.

According to the A.C. Nielsen VideoScan survey of DVD sales for the week ending February 26th, Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, reached #14 during its first week of release (it came out on February 22nd). Nausicaa sales amounted to 20% of those garnered by Shark Tale during its third week in the stores. The Cat Returns finished in a tie for 47th place with sales totaling 6.58% of those of the chart-topping Shark Tale DVD, while Porco Rosso finished close behind in 49th place with sales amounting to 6.54% of Shark Tale.

TOKYOPOP Announced Rising Stars Winners

TOKYOPOP pop has announced the winners of its fifth Rising Stars of Manga competition. In addition to monetary prizes and publication in TOKYOPOP's upcoming Rising Stars of Manga Vol. 5 graphic novel anthology, all winners will have the opportunity to pitch and score their own future book deals with TOKYOPOP.

Grand Prize winner, Mail Order Ninja, a hilarious tale about a boy and his pet ninja, was created by the dynamic team of writer Joshua Elder (age 24) from Chicago and artist Erich Owen (age 26), an illustrator from Knoxville, TN. Elder and Owen will split $2,500 and fight over the Grand Prize trophy in mortal combat. When alerted to the news, Joshua was heard to remark: "This is about the coolest thing that has ever happened to me... Especially considering that I totaled my car this morning!"

The ultra-cerebral story of people and their personal demons, Baggage, created by student Roald Muñoz (age 20) of Naperville, IL, took the Second Place nod: $1,500 in booty and a commemorative trophy.

Third Place, Can I Sit Here? takes readers inside the head of an angst-riddled teen grappling with indecision. Created by George Alexopoulos (age 19) a video store clerk from Tenafly, N.J., this entry earned a $1,000 prize and a trophy to boot.

What distinguishes the fifth Rising Stars of Manga competition from the previous ones is the People's Choice Award. Twenty finalists were posted online at www.TOKYOPOP.com, and over a one-week period the public was invited to vote for its favorite. With a total of more than 4,000 individual votes cast, the decisive winner of the People's Choice Award is Blue Phoenix: No Quarter by Michael Shelfer (age 24), an IT specialist from Sneads, FL. In addition to publication in Rising Stars of Manga Vol. 5, Michael also receives $500 in prize money!

The following Runner-Up entries have each earned $500 and an honorary plaque:

Pop Star - Writer T Campbell from Leesburg, VA and artist Amy Mebberson from Decatur, IL Chibi Zombies - Creator Ashley Cope from St. Petersburg, FL Seed - Creator Morgan Luthi of Sacramento, CA Modus Vivendi - Writer Andrew Yi from Chino Hills, CA and artist Jeong Mo Yang of Los Angeles, CA

Readers Talkback
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  • April 1, 2005, 7:42 p.m. CST

    lying headlines

    by RealDoubleJ

    If you put in your ANIME SECTION headlines the words SIN CITY yet there is nothing news-worthy relating the world of anime to Frank Miller's work other than to SHILL THE FUCKING MOVIE SOME MORE please don't. Kindly give us a break from the razzle-dazzle life you people get to lead cavorting with movie stars and nymphettes whilst we mere mortals are chained to the lesser things in life. That usually after a cinema trip we either bitch about the film or bitch about the lives we go back to after a happy interval. So spare me the frivolity of your adventures Father Geek and instead help your son actually put out something that would be useful for us to hear on this website of his.

  • April 1, 2005, 9 p.m. CST

    RealDoubleDouche

    by YourMomsLover

    Did you see the movie yet?

  • April 1, 2005, 9:14 p.m. CST

    no i haven't seen the fucking movie

    by RealDoubleJ

    i live in fucking england and I have to wait until June. Fuck's sake we don't get Seed of Chucky till the end of May or something ridiculous and we got screwed out of a lot of films that had special edition DVDs in america by the time they come out in "good ole' Blighty". Oh and nice touch on the name-calling, you really live up to your infantile username. I like, I like. It shows a lot about you. Mental age of 6 and most likely a dick size to match.

  • April 2, 2005, 12:12 a.m. CST

    Did anyone post about the new ROTS TV ads?

    by Orionsangels

    They have some new footage and new williams music. the one titled teaser is just a faster version of the original teaser--- http://www.starwars.com/episode-iii/release/trailer/tv_tragedy.html --- http://www.starwars.com/episode-iii/release/trailer/tv_unleashed.html--- http://www.starwars.com/episode-iii/release/trailer/tv_teaser.html

  • April 2, 2005, 1:58 a.m. CST

    more non-anime related news

    by Acne Scarface

    i saw one site list old school '80s flix rock & rule, starchaser: legend of orin as forthcoming dvds.

  • April 3, 2005, 8:37 p.m. CST

    I don't often read AnimAICN news (nor, by the talkback turn out,

    by Harrierthanthee

    And the reason for that is simple. The news is imposing. A lot of information to read, especially if you're not into Manga or Anime. Anyway, Full Metal Alchemists totally ripped the fans off. The show is great, and then the DVD set only has like five episodes. I swear, this people think we are all rich...