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Anime AICN - Priest, Ghibli, Robotech, Gundam, and More


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Column by Scott Green


Manwha Spotlight: Priest
Volumes 1-14
by Min-Woo Hyung

Released by TOKYOPOP

Like many of the best horror stories to utilize the undead, in Priest they're a symptom of something deeply corrupt with the world. In the case of this story, a rudderless cosmos has lead to a frenzy of prideful impositions of schemes for order. In turn these new gospels for how humanity should function have lead to rushing currents of hatred. A circle of angels, devils and their avatars who have thoroughly earned each other's enmity play a round of brutal metaphysical chest thumping and tit for tat in the American west.

With a "Desperado meets Living Dead" premise, along with Min-Woo Hyung's stark, clear design, it isn't surprising that Priest is one of the, if not THE, first manwha to be picked up by Hollywood. Especially with even mediocre horror movies taking considerable box office returns, this gun blazing horror western with plenty of large holes being punch into the bodies of shambling undead and undead gnawing on the living is practically license bait. It would have been a perfect project for Robert Rodriguez, especially in light of Dusk Til Dawn and his upcominh Grindhouse project. The Amityville Horror's Andrew Douglas set to direct you might need to handicap the odds a bit when better on the quality of the upcoming adaptation

The story of a priest who traded half his soul to a devil for an undying body that will allow him to exact revenge on the legion of undead who removed happiness from his life is considerably more than Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider as Spawn. In addition to being both philosophical and explosively violent, Hyung constructs a cogent and intelligent epic with best qualities of a finite, long running, planned comic series.

The series probably attracted Hollywood attention because of its membership in a commercially in-demand genre (clearly horror, western fans still have to settle for stories that are western and... some other genre), but the road to the screen here has the advantage of high quality source material.



The manwha is a satifyingly long and complex story that takes advantage of the slow story telling that fast action affords, but it is one that does lend itself to movie script adaptation. You don't need the full complexity and width of history and characters to get to the core of the work. Many roles can be greatly d or eliminated without eating into what makes it interesting. Yet conversly even if the movie is adapted perfectly, it will be no substitute for the manwha. Rage fueled, Vicious combat is a hook from the first volume, but watching the scope and mythology unfold is the real in pleasure to be found reading series.

In a sense a live action adaptation of Priest is a perfectly fitting idea. Min-Woo Hyung's vision of America is clearly informed by cinema from John Ford and Sergio Leone to Gone with the Wind (consequently Tara's a brief distance from Monument Valley buttes). While not a blindly patch worked quilt of movie scenes, cinema-philes can spot frequent influences from a variant of source material. Hyung's understanding of how the originals worked allows him to restage the influenced material as needed, whether its High Noon's train arrival or Once Upon a Time in the West's Fonda introduction, even if the scenes are outside their original context, they maintain most of the impact.



Also, the manwha's storm of hatchets, knives and tommy guns (yeah, it kindof concedes that mapping the work to real history is futile) against swarms of undead set with the backdrop of boom towns and rock formations is almost story boarded for a movie. Hyung's fight choreography has the flow and complex as well as twist and surprises of action that surpasses bland bloodletting. For the most part, the angles are those of comics rather than movies, but the staging is progression has the needed full logic of complete scenes. Film it in the American Southwest and Andalucía, Spain (like Once Upon a Time in the West and the recent Renegade/Blueberry), where the unrealness of landscape that doesn'tt quite look like America, the rage and motivation found in the comic could provide a good director without a large budget could work the material into intense classic.

Yet, fans are going to be worried that the knife of Hollywood is poised to neuter the work. The transition from the comic Hellblazer to Constantine is one thing, at least that comic only generally reshaded the outline of Christian cosmology. The concern with Priest is similar to that of His Dark Materials. Without going to cheap shocks, the story of the characters is intertwined with a cosmology that is antithetical to the fundamental (not necessarily fundamentalist) believes of Christianity concerning God's plan and path for salvation.



The conflict is rooted in complicated history laid out in the crusades, with antecedents in Lucifer's rebellion (laid out through a number of the series' volume). The titular priest is drawn into a battle between the mad angel Temozarella, a soldier in God's army driven to expound his own dogma after deciding God was more interested in humanity than the angels and the devil Belial, who's driven by hatred of Temozarella.
Without necessarily betraying what proceeded it, it's fully possible that there's a divine plan that even the angelic forces don't know and that the eventual conclusion of the series will recast the message of the series, but the central motivation is a cycle of revenge between forces driven made by God's disinterest in the affairs of the celestial and physical worlds.

In its latest iteration priest Ivan Isaacs's curiosity drove him be one of the witnesses at mad angel's resurrection. Exchanging half his soul with the devil Belial, Isaacs takes to the planes to hunt down Temozarella's acolytes and eventually the rogue angel himself.

It's difficult to discuss the theology in depth without spoiling the series. It's one of the thing the series does well, as soon as the pain dulls, it twists the knife and sharpens the pain for the reader and characters. Hyung manage the element like a magician, hiding pieces, even in plain sight and misdirecting attention it's time to the reveal.



The manwha exhibits an interesting set of boundaries. The violence is intense and savage. People are eaten alive, undead create are blow apart. There are numerous scenes of dismemberment. It features a number of horrific sights that are worse than you'd imagine from the build-up. The results of surgical operations on an adolescent girl late in the series is particularly chilling. Death and supernatural transformation aren't clean affairs in Priest. Yet, nudity is surprisingly masked. It is evidenced in a handful of scenes, but it is always detailless shapes.



Manga Spotlight JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
volume 2
by Hirohiko Araki

Released by Viz

Rather using an object of connection and emulation who the reader would like to see grow and develop, Jotaro Kujo, protagonist of JoJo's Bizarre adventure (really part three of a hugely long manga series), is pure action hero. He might have to walk through broken glass or tear his hands over barnacles, but in the end, he's the guy who can out think, out fight, and outlast his foes, delivering the memorable lines along the way.

If John Carpenter worked with overt super heroes, he might come up with a protagonist like Jotaro Kujo, who's kindof a teen amalgam of the Kurt Russle heroes: intelligent, arrogant, generally quiet but sharp tongued, and brutal. With this sort of hero, there's little point to building the character up with loser adversaries. Why beat around the bush when you can burn down the tree? From the stories inception, Araki hammers his concept for all it's worth. And the concept is travel to interesting places meet variants on horror movie threats and beat them bloody before they carve arcane symbols into your corpse.

The volume's last fight epitomizes what might be hoped for from a series called "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure". The stone cold hero takes a large metal pad lock and beats the bloody hell out of an evil orangutan. Yes, the last foe of the volume is an evil orangutan, one that read porn, solved rubic's cubes and used his supernatural ability to control the matter an freighter ship to turn a group of sailors into shredded body parts.
During the fight JoJo uses his spirit form alter ego to collect a spray shattered class, then holds onto it for a little Taipei death match action. However, when brute force is countered, and the ape's ability traps Jotaro against a well, a multi phased strategy of of taunts and getting the right object in the right place soon leads to a ape receiving a near fatal head wound. Still, near fatal isn't good enough for Jotaro, who again breaks his silence long enough to level other verbal insult for offing the foe.

Jotaro travels with a group of more typical heroes. There's his grandfather, a pulp hero who was the protagonist of the second phase of the manga, a central Asian mystic, a cavalier French fighter and Jotaro's artistic schoolmate. The normally taciturn Jotaro does three things that cause his allies' jaws to drops a) he bluff, generally fight involve some gambit in which he Jotaro tricks his foe, usually with bold faced lies b) he doesn't hold back lethal force, in fact he goes out of his way to make sure confrontations are final c) he talks trash. Some times to get the foe riled up, but here's a guy who isn't fond of people in general an really doesn't like the ones with the audacity to attack him.

Araki brings in wide collection of interests to his hyper violent horror/action, from travel with a detailed view of real world locales to rock with plenty of famoyant 80's performers style looks for the heroes. The moast signiifant inspriation for the stories in this volume is horror movies. Many of the foes Jojo's battles are inspired by recognizable movies. There's a beutiful Creature from the Black Lagoon reference. Araki consistantly demonstrates that he knows when and how to be derivative and when and how to be creative.



OEL Spotlight: Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy Volume 2: Shadows of Fire
Written by Richard A. Knaak
Illustrated by Kim Jae-Hwan

released by TOKYOPOP

The illustration in this volume is degrees sharper than the first. It's now exactly the sort crackling fantasy action you'd expect from the Warcraft world. The improvement is a bit curious considering Korean manwha artist Kim Jae-Hwan isn't exactly a newcomer.

Hwan captures the imposing sights of raging minotaurs, dragons taking flight, attacking undead hordes and a few strange ones unique to this work, namely dwarves mining a mammoth out of a frozen cavern. The visuals are bold enough to even raise a charge in lapsed fantasy fans.
It possesses the qualities that may serve as one reason an older individual, uninterested in the familiar story might go see something like Chronicles of Narnia, and it possesses the Warcraft appeal of battling a bellicose variety of fantasy favorites.

Warcraft has always leveraged the generic components of fantasy. The human swordsman, the orcs, the undead, the dragons and such have all been from the common mold, but with back-story and action its found a way to encourage the participant to invest in the proceedings. In the case of this comic, the illustration makes the experience.

The plot finds itself hamstrung by the three volume format. It's a constraint that a number of the TOKYOPOP OEL creators are still struggling with. In a work like Warcraft, you can fit a smashmouth action maelstrom into three volumes or something more developed with a smaller scope. Sunwell tries and succeeds at smash mouth, but it also constructs a large cast with an abundance of back-story. Throughout the second of three volumes, it's still introducing characters and elements to the story. Too crammed with elements, there's no cohesive logical flow to events.



Anime Spotlight: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig
Volume 3

Released by Bandai Entertainment and Manga Video

The second season of Stand Alone Complex continues to build and confound expectations. At the creative and narrative levels it is hyperaware of the saturation point of culture ideas and its effect. Everyone has seen enough police procedurals, court room dramas and action movies, not just to know what to expect, but to fit their own real behavior into niche roles. The idea of identity inherited from dispread media is extrapolated into in speculative age of cybernetically augmented brains where this viral implementation of ideas becomes more immediately dangerous.

Where as the original Stand Alone Complex hovered around the central Laughing Man super-hacker case, 2nd Gig is concerned with a wider, but always interconnected set of problems. On one side, Japan is faced with ever more desperate disenfranchised refugee population, depicted with a real and haunting similarity to any number of current situations around the globe in which mistrust and violence is sparked by the friction been a majority population and an isolated and disadvantage minority group. On the other side is the Individual 11, insiders acting as would-be social architects through their own acts of terrorism. At the center is a puppet masters, pulling the strings by planting ideas into the social exchange of information.
The results are the next generation's Syriana in that its the complex equation that may give rise to terrorism in a post information age society.

The idea of social patterns is applied to the anime itself. The script confront the issue never conforming to the pattern that would expected. It takes recognizable pieces from a variety of media and genres and reconfigures them into a stream of unique shapes during the course of its interconnected cyber-police procedurals. For example three ring exercise into mental gymnastics joining a hacking caper to a technical level debate on philosophy and psychology joined a very real world suicide bomber drama. Also bending more familiar formats such as a more standard and recognizable, with a Law and Order crime and court sequence, only refracted through the lens of Ghost in the Shell technology.

Aiding this staggering diversity is the willingness not to volume a slavish set of story telling dictates. When you expect something from Stand Alone Complex, it provides something different. For example, while the series is generally very mechanically minded, with a sense even if every process isn't explicitly explained to the viewer, the people constructing the series could explain in depth the exact mechanism, there's a waking dream, art house style episode examining the early life of the central character Major Motoko Kusinaga that seems almost inexplicable. Similarly, while Ghost in the Shell made its mark with semi-plausible, but very flashy action, the volume's one case of Spider-Man physics is outweighed by an abundance of surpringly verite, graphic violence.

Speaking of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and Stand Alone Complex playing with cultural memes, fans of the JoJo's anime will fall out their seats when the Tachikoma Days short extra features featuring staring the series' AI mecha bring out a particularly famous Stand, one that has become a bit of an online catch-phrase.

Manga Spotlight: Oh My Goddess volume 22
by Kosuke Fujishima

Released by Dark Horse MAnga

With some familiarity with Oh My Goddess, it is possible to skip around through the series to some extent. The concept is straight forward college boy Keiichi is love in love and living with the goddess Belldandy. Her sisters Skuld and Urd are along for the ride. Still, while the second part of the volume is a simple, fun story, the first half concludes a mythology story with an ending that is rather unsatisfying, probably intentionally so.

The issue of fourth goddess Peorth, a kindof rival combination of Belldandy and sisters, and the curse she introduced in the previous volume is wrapped up half easily with the help of demon world CEO Hild. It's a quick solution, occurting rapidly after the problem was introduced but Hild has ties to Goddess family, and the price to be paid is obviously going to a factor in some upcoming story. It's probably meant to itch, and it does. While the vehicle for the solution isn't satisfying, the visual process certainly is. Fujishima throws in a nice big spell effect that looks beautiful and arcane. You can imagine it exploding across the screen in anime. It's what a reality re-writing events should look like.

The second half of the volume is a delightful short story that's at the essence of what makes Oh My Goddess work: magic, highly attractive design, cleaver gags, and a sweet outlook. It's also the a story that works far better in collected form that serialized. It's simple set up and execution really should be read in one sitting.

Hild decides to make a second play at the goddesses by hooking up with her subordinate and long time goddess antagonist Mara. Video game addicted, Mara has farmed out some R and D work to her rats, literally rats. Their efforts produce the Goddess Catcher, a tea kettle that will suck in anyone who kisses it. Not terribly useful in its own right, but a spell is placed on to make it appears as something kissable to onlooker. What exactly constitutes kissable to the various viewers is inspired comedy.

It gets silly. Then it compounds on how silly it is. Once rolling, it's the sort of snowballing story that drives many children's books. It's simple and obvious, but the strength of Fujishima's illustration is that he can propel a sight gag with a little character insight into a real mood improving experience. Mara's video game obsession and kowtowing to Hild are worth a few chuckles, but the reaction shots of the characters turning the corner to see something they'd want to kiss, and the depictions of the objects of their affection are priceless.

A few notes on the presentation of the volume. The swim suit shot of the young goddess Skuld on the back cover is very creepy in a "please don't think I'm a pedophile for reading this" sort of way. The argument isn't helped by the fact that the depiction has nothing to do with the contents of the volume.

Miyazaki/Ghibli Clips and News

Twitch points out that French animation site Catsuka has posted a reel of footage from the new Hayao Miyazaki short films commissioned by the Studio Ghibli museum online here

From Nausicaa.net, a clip about Hayao Miyazaki's work to clean a forest called Fuchi no Mori in a place over Higashi Murayama city in Tokyo, and Tokorozawa city in Saitama can be seen here

Ghibli World has posted an 8 minute interview with Hayao Miyazaki from Ohayo Nippon in their February 8th update.

The Gedo Senki/Legend of Earthsea section of the The History of Ghibli on the official Ghibli site states

The challenge in the production of Gedo Senki is a cost cut. Previous Ghibli film needed about 18 months for the drawing. This may be a reckless challenge, but it is the important thing to improve high cost constitution of Ghibli. The success or failure of this film will control the future of Ghibli.

Animation work began on September 6. Perhaps Gedo Senki will be completed in May.

Watch Impress reports that Buena Vista has announced a Blu-ray Disc lineup and Buena Vista Japan DVD campaign related to films released this year. Gedo Senki is included in this campaign, however, the content of the campaign was not announced.

1Up reports that Ubi-soft will be releasing Nintendo DS RPG "Lost Magic", a fame feature character design from Studio Ghibli's Yoshiharu Sato, this spring.

More Gundam SEED 3 Rumors

MangaNews.net has repeated the rumor that a third series based on the latest Gundam incarnation, SEED, is starting to be mentioned in Japanese magazines. It's said to scheduled for a fall premiere on Japanese TV.
SPOILERS
SPOILERS
The story will take place five years after Gundam SEED Destiny. Athrun and the red haired girl (Meyrin?) are married with 2 children, and is expecting a third.
END SPOILERS
END SPOILERS

Bandai will be releasing Gundam SEED Destiny starting Marth 14

European Advent Children Release

Prog-G reports that Sony Pictures has announced that Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children will be released across Europe on April 24 on DVD and UMD on April 24 with a RRP of £19.99. The English language version of the film stars Jessica Alba (Fantastic 4), Mandy Moore and Steven Burton, who some people may recognize as the voice of Cloud in Kingdom Hearts.

Robotech: Shadow Chronicles Completed

Anime News Network Kevin McKeever, Operations Coordinator at Robotech.com / Harmony Gold, has informed them that production on the 90-minute Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles has been completed. "We are now in intense discussions with numerous distributors," stated McKeever, adding, "What remains [is to determine] which distributor will meet our marketing and distribution criteria."

Upcoming Tezuka from Vertical

MangaNews.net points out a Publisher's Weekly article that after completing their award winning release of Osamu Tezuka's fictionalized life of Buddha, Vertical Inc. will be releasing Tezuka's Ode to Kirihito (Eulogy to Kirihito) starting in December 2006. Kirihito follows a doctor attempting to cure a disfiguring disease that gives people dog like faces.

Hatori Hanzo at Dark Horse and May/June Releases
Dark Horse Manga will release the first volume of Path Of The Assassin , from Love Wolf and Cub creators Kazuo Koike, and Goseki Kojima on June 28th.

Path of the Assassin, called Hanzo no Mon in Japan, is the story of Hattori Hanzo, the fabled master ninja whose duty it was to protect Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ieyasu was the shogun who would unite Japan into one great nation. But before he could do that, he had to grow up and learn how to love the ladies! As the secret caretaker of such an influential future leader, not only does Hanzo use vast and varied ninja talents, but in living closely with Ieyasu, he forms a close friendship with the young shogun.

Blade Of The Immortal #113 will be released May 10th
Written and art by Hiroaki Samura.
"On the Perfection of Anatomy," part 2 of 6. This issue also features a color Blade of the Immortal pinup by Samura fan Becky Cloonan.

What's Michael? Volume 11: Planet Of The Cats Tpb will be released on May 10th
Written and art by Makoto Kobayashi.
Described as "Japan's version of Garfield, Heathcliff, and Krazy Kat all rolled into one," Makoto Kobayashi's What's Michael? mixes slice-of-life cat reality with out-of-this-world cat fantasy into one tasty dish of laughter that even cat haters will find delicious. This, the final volume of the collected series, includes the What's Michael? epic, "The Planet of the Cats," a sci-fi feline farce that will put you into comedy orbit!

Other June releases include
June 7th
Cannon God Exaxxion Stage 5 Tpb
Written and art by Kenichi Sonoda.

Harlequin Pink: The Bachelor Prince Tpb
Written by Debbie Macomber, art by Misao Hoshiai

Harlequin Violet: Blind Date Tpb
Written by Emma Darcy, art by Mihoko Hirose.

June 14
Crying Freeman Volume 2 Tpb
Written by Kazuo Koike, art by Ryoichi Ikegami.
Crying Freeman, the deadliest assassin of the 108 Dragons clan of the Chinese mafia has taken a bride, and she has passed the harsh tests of the Dragons and been given a new name, Hu Qing Lan, "Tiger Orchid." And despite Freeman's Japanese heritage, he has been chosen to become the eventual leader of the Dragons. But someone inside the Dragons wants Freeman dead, and Tiger Orchid should make a fine hostage to draw Freeman into the open . . . where a monstrous killer awaits!

Oh My Goddess! Volume 3 Tpb
Octopus Girl Volume 2 Tpb
Reiko The Zombie Shop Volume 3 Tpb

June 21
Lady Snowblood Volume 4: Retribution Part 2 Tpb

June 28
School Zone Volume 2 Tpb

Written and art by Kanako Inuki

Death Note Live Action Site

Warner Brothers Japan has posted an site for the upcoming live action adaptation of Death Note here

Media Blaster To Release Tekkaman

Anime News Network reports will be releasing the Teknoman, the edited, dubbed version of Tekkaman Blade, that aired on American TV. The first of three box sets will be released May 30th for $59.95. A remasterested version of the original Tekkaman Blade will be released later this year.

New Galaxy Angels Anime

AnimeNation reports Galaxy Angel II, a PC game based on sci-fi comedy Galaxy Angel will be adapted into a new anime series. The series will feature a different cast than the previous Galaxy Angel anime series. Kimitoshi Yamane will be the series new mecha designer.

New Full Metal Panic Anime Announced?

AnimeNation reports the Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid OVA "Warito Itoma na Sentai Nagano Ichinichi" (Romanization may be imprecise) will be released on May 26th.

New Takahashi Short

Rumic World reports Inu-Yasha creature Rumiko Takahashi will start a new short manga series starting Japan February 22 entitled "Positive Cooking".

New .Hack Anime Announced

AnimeNation reports Bandai Visual has announced a new series based on the .hack//GU Project. ".hack//Roots", a 26 episode series animated by Bee Train, will air on TV Tokyo stations beginning in April. The .hack anime and games follow players with an fictional immersive massively multipler online role playing game.

xxxHOLiC TV Series Site Open

Japanese TV network TBS has opened its official website for the xxxHOLiC anime TV series here, based on CLAMP's deviation on horror anthologies. The series is scheduled to premier this April.

Second Edition Anime Encyclopedia

Stone Bridge Press will be releasing a second edition of the The Anime Encyclopedia, updated with the new anime released since in the first edition was published in 2001. The resource will be released later this year after is ongoing editorial process.

TOKYOPOP and Geneon Link Join Promotion Efforts

Anime News Network reports that Geneon and Tokyopop have agreed to cross promote several properties for which Tokyopop is releasing the manga and Geneon the anime, including Samurai Champloo, The Law of Ueki, Girls Bravo, and Saiyuki Gunlock For other properties, including Girls Bravo, Elemental Gelade and Petite Cossette, Tokyopop will use the same logos for their manga that Geneon has, or will, use for the anime releases.

Production IG Talks Otogi Ozoshi

Anime on DVD reports that Production IG's English language has posted a new text chat retrospective on the series with the director Mizuho Nishikubo and the character designer/animation supervisor Kazuchika Kise.

King of Fighters: Another Day Episode 3 Online

Twitch points out that the third episode of martial arts video game series King of Fighters is being shown online here in 480 x 360 2m Steaming and 320 x 240 500k Streaming versions. There is a form you must fill out before you can access the videos. The last episode (All Over) in this four part series will be online on March 3.

Games News

Bandai's PSP anime fighting game Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai for PSP can be seen here. The game features 18 playable characters, improved Saiyan Overdrive system, 7 different play modes and multiplayer battles over Wi-Fi.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood, to be release for the Playstation 2 in this Summer in Japan can be seen at The Magic Box, .

Gunota has posted a number of links to Gundam game news.

The Climax Universal Century (U.C. referring to the original Gundam, and other series set within its time frame) has new screen shots on the official site here

Alliance vs ZAFT II, set within the Gundam SEED franchise can be seen at this Alpha Station article, with screen shots here, and here. The Capcom developed arcade game will likely be available in Japan in April. It's said to feature over 40 mobile suit mecha.

True Odyssey, the Gundam series set in an original universe, separate from the different anime series, has now been labeled the lowest-selling original PS2 Gundam.

MangaNews points out Bandai Networks has released "Pirates Dodgeball," a dodgeball game that features characters from One Piece. The game is released through "One Piece Mobile Jack," an iMode game release site.

A Full Metal Alchmest collectable card game tournament is being launched this spring start with local level events.

The 2005 FMA TCG Championship Season consists of three major event categories: the Sensei's Trials, the Regional Championships, and the 2006 World Championship at Gen Con Indy in August. For more information see here, with applications here

ADV Films Acquires Korean Series

Anime on DVD reports ADV Films is currently running a guessing game for their upcoming release of the Korean series "Michel" right now. The show is described like this:

There is a place known as the Devil's Coast, but that name is far from the truth. It is really Sitel Island, a place of magic and wonder, and the home of the Tree of Life, the guardian of all of nature. Into this land of fairies flies Kim, a young girl in pursuit of a group of thieves, the Black Hammers. And there she meets Michel, a kind looking boy who is actually the protector of the Tree, the Island and all the fairies. But now, the Black Hammers are after the secrets of Sitel Island, and Michel alone will not be able to stop them. It's a good thing Kim believes in Justice. Michel will need her ingenuity if the Tree of Life, and the world, are to be saved!

Crayon Shin-chan Not Suitable For Children

MangaNews reports that after surveying students and parents the Hiroshima Prefecture Residence Conference (HPRC) surveyed programs that air from 6pm to 11pm and chosen 7 programs that are not favorable for raising youth:

- London Hearts
- Crayon Shin-chan
- Saturday Wide Theatre
- Wed 10! Mecha x 2 Iketeru!
- Kiss dake ja Iya!
- Bakushou Mondai no Baku-ten!

In its request letter, HPRC asked for "good judgment and attitude of refraining from airing those TV programs."

Crayon Shin-chan is a comedy about a precociously vulgar kindergartener. The manga was released in North America by ComicsOne.

Robotech Content For Cell Phones

Airborne Entertainment, a subsidiary of CYBIRD Co., Ltd., announced an exclusive deal with Harmony Gold USA, Inc. to bring the legendary anime series Robotech to mobile phones. As one of the first anime series to bridge the continental gap and truly take hold in North America, the Robotech suite of wireless content will include wallpapers, ringtones and ringback tones, with a mobile game just a few steps behind. The content will be made available across major carriers this spring.

School Rumble Preview

Del Rey has launched a page-a-day preview of teen relationship comedy School Rumble, to be released February 28 at www.delreymanga.com/schoolrumble

CPM Talks Second Utena Collection

Central Park Media announced that The Black Rose Saga - the second story arc in the popular Revolutionary Girl Utena television series - will be re-released on April 18, 2006. Based on the original manga by Chiho Saito and directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara (Sailor Moon), this complete 4-disc series, which will only be available in box sets, will be priced at just $39.95 SRP. The first story arc, The Rose Collection will be re-released later this month while the last story arc will be re-released in late spring.

For all those fans who wish to collect the entire Utena series (all three box sets) at one time, Central Park Media has created a special limited time offer. All three of the box sets can now be purchased for the low price of only $99.95 (which includes shipping) and each order will include an Utena t-shirt as a bonus. In order to qualify for this offer, orders must be placed on CPM's site at www.centralparkmedia.com/utena by no later than February 28, 2006.

Contains episodes 14-26 on 4 DVDs.
Running time: 325 minutes
SRP: $39.95

Frederik L. Schodt Appearances

Stone Bridge Press announced that manga scholar Frederik L. Schodt author of several titles such as 'Dreamland Japan,' 'American and the Four Japans,' 'Native American in the Land of the Shogun,' along with translator of 'The Four Immigrants Manga' and 'Mobile Suit Gundam,' will be speaking and signing copies of his books at a number of events in the upcoming months.

February 17
Mr. Schodt will speak on "The Manga Way" at a symposium called "Marauding Rabbits, Starry-Eyed Girls, Battling Boys, 'Ordinary Ladies': Japanese (American) Manga in Review." Also speaking is Stan Sakai, Kinko Ito, and Matthew A. Thorn. This event runs all afternoon in room Hahn 101 at Pomona College in Claremont, CA. Please contact Professor Lynne Miyake at 909-621-8931 for more information.

February 22-24
Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA will host Mr. Schodt for three days to discuss learning Japanese, manga in the US, and the story behind 'The Four Immigrants Manga.' The manga in the US topic will be open to the public.

March 9-13
One of the themes of the Honolulu Festival will be Ranald MacDonald, Mr. Schodt's subject in 'Native American in the Land of the Shogun.' Mr. Schodt will be participating in a seminar about the explorer on March 11.

March 20
The Asiatic Society of Japan in Tokyo has invited Mr. Schodt to speak about Ranald MacDonald and the adventures of this man who snuck into Japan when it was completely shut off from foreigners.

To celebrate this tour, Stone Bridge Press has named 'Native American in the Land of the Shogun' as this month's 'Win this Book,' the deadline to which will be extended to late March. Just visit the Stone Bridge Press website or blog to enter.

Prince of Tennis OAV

MangaNews reports Bandai Visual (Japan) has announced that it will release The Prince of Tennis: The National Tournament starting on March 24, 2006. The 7-volume series will be animated by M.S.C., in collaboration with Production I.G. Shunsuke Tada will direct.

Early April ADV Releases

April 4 Diamond Daydreams: Kyoko / Suomi (2 of 3) Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok: Destiny's Children (4 of 7)

Diamond Daydreams
Directed by Bob Shirohata (Gravitation) and created by Oiji Hiroi (Sakura Wars), Diamond Daydreams is actually six stories of love and loss that become intertwined in the bitter cold winter of Hokkaido. Based on the popular Japanese videogame for the PS2, Diamond Daydreams is lushly animated by fan-favorite Studio DEEN (Fruits Basket, Maison Ikkoku).

Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok
Directed by Hiroshi Watanabe (King of Bandit Jing, Video Girl Ai), Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok is funny, charming, and macabre. Loki is the Norse god of mischief, now banished to Earth by Odin. Forced to exist in exile in a little boy's body - but with all the powers of a god - Loki runs a private detective agency. Alongside his trusted assistant, Yamino, and a beautiful high school girl, Mayura, they set out to shine a light into the deepest corners of the paranormal. But there is one metaphysical mystery remains: Just what in the Heavens has Loki done to find himself banished to Earth?

Oyayubimihime Infinity Details

DC Comic's CMX line will debut Toru Fujieda's "Shibuya- style" (young, punky, anarchy) manga Oyayubimihime Infinity in June.

The romantic comedy follows a circle of friends from long ago has been reincarnated in today¹s world as a group of modern teen-agers. They are able to identify each other by a butterfly-shaped birthmark that they each possess, and when these marks touch, they catch a glimpse of their shared past, though what they see doesn¹t always match.

Kanoko carries a butterfly birthmark on her thumb. Tsubame, a classmate, makes the startling claim that the mark was the symbol of their promise made to each other from their previous lives, and that they are meant to be together. While Kanoko is initially on her guard against Tsubame, she eventually finds herself falling for him. But these two are not the only ones to share this mark, or a past life connection. They, along with several others, have been journeying through the ages together, but each one carries a different piece of information about their mutual pasts. And when Kanoko finds out that she is not the person Tsubame is fated to be with, it's too late; she has fallen in love with him.

Princess Tutu 4 Release

Anime on DVD reports that the fourth volume of Princess Tutu, entitled Prinz und Rabe, will be released on March 21st. The five episode disc will feature Staff Commentary with Sarah Alys Lindholm (Translator) and Mike Yantosca (ADR Writer), Egg Suite (New Year's Special), Etude, In the Studio, Clean Open and Ending Animation, Split Episode Previews, Split Episode Clean Open and Ending Animation.

Future of Princess Ai

TOKYOPOP has recently released the third and final volume of Princess Ai written by D.J. Milky (Juror 13), illustrated by Misaho Kujiradou with design by Ai Yazawa (Paradise Kiss). (that the series featured a manga alter ego of Courtney Love has been down-played. Her involvement has not been mentioned in the latest announcement.) Plans are underway to look at the princess/punk singer's return to her home magical kingdom with The Ai-Land Chronicles, a feature film scheduled for 2008.

D.J. Milky is currently in post-production on a sizzling three-minute presentation reel that showcases the the blend of live action and animation he has in store for the film. Featuring the original song "Broken Leash," composed by D.J. Milky, who serves as both writer and director on the project, the reel's green-screen footage showcases the singer Skye, starring as Princess Ai, backed by members of the indie-pop band, Nude.

Plans are in the works for an all-new line of Ai-Land Chronicles novels, as well as a series of episodic mangapods, (dramatic audio interpretations of the manga complete with music and sound effects), wallpaper downloads, clothing and merchandise.

Digital Manga Publishing to Start a New Yaoi Imprint

Digital Manga Publishing (Yellow, Passion, and Only the Ring Finger Knows) will launch a brand new yaoi imprint called Juné. The new imprint will be including existing titles in publication by DMP as well as upcoming titles.

The first of DMP's yaoi titles under the new imprint Juné will be The Art of Loving by Eiki Eiki, which will be available in stores April 5th, 2006. All yaoi titles following will also be available under the Juné imprint.

Named after the famous French novelist Jean Genet, whose identity is well established amongst the yaoi community, Juné was first coined from the Japanese pronunciation of his name "Jan Jooneh". Jean Genet was famous for writing several novels post World War II depicting the subtle erotica between beautiful boys. In homage to Jean Genet, a Japanese magazine was name Juné after him. Genet's famous works include Journal du Voleur (1949), The Thief's Journal, and Notre-Dame des Fleurs (1944), Our Lady of the Flowers.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Individual Eleven Compilation

Anime News Network points out Production IG's English description of their compilation retelling of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig, released in Japan January 27, 2006.

Unlike The Laughing Man, which stuck to the storyline of the TV series, Individual Eleven has gone through a bold editing phase, and the relationship between Kuze and Motoko is even more highlighted than in the TV series. This is a re-born 2nd Gig.

The year is 2030. Six months passed since the Laughing Man Incident was solved. About 3 million refugees are living in Japan, invited to fill the labor shortage. However, the emergent presence of the invited-refugees intensified their confrontation with the "Individualists", who called for national isolation, which then led to the increased incidences of terrorist attacks. Under these circumstances, a terrorist group called the Individual Eleven carries out a suicide attack. But was a greater scheme behind their action. When Section 9 learns this, they attempt to nail down the mastermind of the incident.

Meanwhile, Kuze, a surviving member of the Individual Eleven, becomes a charismatic leader of the invited-refugees and intensifies the confrontation against the government. And Motoko starts feeling a strange sense of fate connecting her with Kuze...

Invited-refugees from Asia: At the time of the Third and the Fourth World Wars, about three million Asians became refugees. As a source of cheap labor, they were invited into Japan. Thus they were called "invited-refugees." As post-war Japan recuperated, the unemployment rate of the invited-refugees increased. This developed a circumstance that could lead to a conflict. The problems surrounding the invited-refugees might explode any minute...

Howl's Loses to W&G At Annies

The three categories in which Howl's Moving Castle was nominated for at the recent 33rd annual Annie Awards, Best Animated Feature, Directing in an Animated Feature Production and Writing in an Animated Feature Production, were won by Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The complete list of winners and nominees can be seen here

Live Action Adapatations

Anime News Network and Spirits report that Monster creator Naoki Urasawa's "Happy!" will be adapted to Live Action Drama this spring on Japanese station TBS with Saki Aibu as Miyuki Umino. The manga followed a young woman who inherit a Yazuka debt, and seeks to earn the money as a tennis pro despite pressures in other directions.

Twitch reports Toei will be producing a new Sukeban Deka live-action movie with director Fukasaku Kenta of Battle Royale II (33) and idol Matsuura Aya (19). The "Sukeban Deka" (literally 'Female Delinquent Detective') follows an undercover cop/yo-yo-wielding teenage girl with a bad attitude. The 80's series will be updated with the characters moved to New York where the issues of bullying, terrorism, and internet crime are brought to the forefront. See Sanspo and idollica

Twitch points out a Sapporo University report that Daijiro Morohoshi's horror manga Kabe Otoko is being adapted into a live action movie directed by Wataru Hayakawa with Masato Sakai and Maya Ono.

MangaNews.net reports Team Medical Dragon, by Akira Nagai (Story: Taro Nogizaka), will be adapted into a Live-Action Drama, with Kenji Sakaguchi playing the lead role.

Annotation Hunter X Hunter Hiatus

MangaNews reports Shonen Jump Early Edition announced that Yoshihiro Togashi's Hunter X Hunter will go on hiatus starting with Shounen Jump issue 12, and will resume serialization in early April.

Air Gear Page

Toei has launched a page for the anime adaptation of Oh! Great's Air Gear here. The manga version of the action series will be released by Del Rey.

Gonzo to Animate Master of Epic

AnimeNation reports Japanese online PC role playing game Master of Epic will be adapted into a anime series by Gonzo.

Merchandise News

New York Toy Fair 2006 has begun. Toynami news has so far dominated Figures.com's anime coverage. Toynami will be releasing a 6" cold-cast porcelain Naruto Shadow Clone Jutsu statue for $129.99 this May. The statue can be seen here and here. Further detailed cold-cast collectibles will follow this year, including Sasuke- Demon Wind Shuriken (June, $99), Kakashi Lightning Blade (July, $119.99), and Sakura (July, $99). Again, each will be limited to 2000 pieces. Toynami will release Naruto Team 7 Bookends. Standing 7" tall, this set (Naruto and Sakura, Kakashi and Sasuke) is slated for release this July for $174.99 and will be limited to 1000 pieces.

Toynami will also be releasing 6" transformable 1/100 scale Variable Fighters and a line 12" Macross action figures.

The first assortment of 6" figures, slated to hit retail this July for a SRP of 20-$25 each, will consist of:
* Roy Focker's VF-1S
* Hikaru Ichijo's VF-1A
* Max Jenius' VF-1A

Assortment 2, due this fall, will star:
* Hikaru Ichijo's VF-1J
* Milia's VF-1J
* Max Jenius' VF-1J

Toynami and PopBox Collectibles have collaborated on a new series 12" action figures. Hiraku Ichijo will launch the series this April for a SRP $79.99. The next confirmed character to be released in 2006 will be Max Jenius. See a preview here.

Toynami's upcoming Inu Yasha figures can be seen here and here InuYasha Series 4, which is in stores now, includes the evil Naraku and the half-demon, half-human form of InuYashu with "Tetsusaiga" sword. InuYasha Series 5 will include Koga, the chief of the wolf-demons; and Kagura, a demon created from a part of Naraku's body. Expect to see these new figures in stores later this year.

The 12" InuYasha was also on display here Spring Toy Fair and, with real cloth clothing, the "Tetsusaiga" sword, and over 30 points of articulation

There are no plans for Toynami to renew the InuYasha license after 2006.

Other Toynami lines include Voltron and Chobits

Southern Island will be releasing 3.5" and 6" FullMetal Alchemist figures which can be seen here.

FUNimation Under Performing

ICV2 related that Navarre Corporation reported its financial results for the quarter ending Dec 31st, and in contrast to a net income of $7.2 million for the same quarter a year before, the parent corporation of FUNimation Productions and BCI reported a net loss of $6.1 million. The loss came despite a 17.1% increase in net sales for the quarter, and was largely the result of a write-off of $12.7 million related to the Musicland bankruptcy Navarre also took a $4.1 million charge associated with the write-off of an independent music label. For more information see here

More Live Action Horror From Urban vision

AsiaVision, the live-action Asian film label under Urban Vision Entertainment, will release the brutal Japanese slasher film KILL DEVIL on April 4, 2006. A theatrical release in Japan, KILL DEVIL has been compared to the international cult favorite Battle Royale, with a youthful cast of characters involved in a blood-spattered, kill-or-be-killed story. Urban Vision has built its reputation specializing in horror and action anime titles, and AsiaVision will likewise tailor its live-action film releases to this genre. Launching in March 2006, AsiaVision's first release will be Hideo Nakata's CURSE, DEATH & SPIRIT, an anthology of three short horror stories from the director of Ringu and The Ring 2.

KILL DEVIL follows as a violent, futuristic shocker involving teenagers who are unwilling participants in an experiment involving a "murder gene." Scientists analyzing the link between DNA and criminal behavior isolate a specific gene that marks one in 7,500 youths as a potential killer. In the year 2025, the government decides to send juveniles with this murder gene to an uninhabited island in the Pacific under a premise of rehabilitation. Conducting various studies to determine the ferocity of the hidden gene, they unleash murder impulses in each subject, and one by one, set them on the rest of the group. The only hope of surviving is in being the last one alive.

New Ocelot Film

French animator Michel Ocelot, creator of the beautiful Kirikou films based on African folklore, will next be adapting Arabic folklore with Azur et Asmar. For stills see here. See here for more.

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 11, 2006, 3:39 p.m. CST

    I know you probably don't get as many hits on these-

    by seppukudkurosawa

    Anime AICN columns, but I just want to thank Scott Green for all his hard work, I probably love these more than anything else on AICN (apart from the talkback bitching).

  • Feb. 11, 2006, 3:48 p.m. CST

    Priest sounds very cool...

    by seppukudkurosawa

    Like a cross between Good Omens, Ninja Scroll and Once Upon a Time in the West. I'll look out for it.

  • Feb. 11, 2006, 10:24 p.m. CST

    brocoliskism

    by BigTed

    Watch Mind Game.

  • Feb. 12, 2006, 3:22 a.m. CST

    Anime hasn't been cool since..

    by Agent sith

    The good ol days when most of the stuff was one-two shot OVAs. now we get these lame ass 27 eps with tons of fillers. if not for Hellsing,Gantz,Gungrave,Baki the grappler.etc. i wouldv'e given up on this stuff a long time ago. And those pissants (the posters on Anime News Network) will watch anything these days. Dweebs! BTW WTF happened to the Hellsing OVA?

  • Feb. 12, 2006, 11:30 a.m. CST

    Hellsing OVA...

    by Johnno

    I tihnk is being released in Japan on Valentine's day or something? sometime this month anyway... no word on when we'll see it here.

  • Feb. 12, 2006, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Anyway, can't wait till Robotech gets released...

    by Johnno

    Also I suspect Advent Children to release over here closer to Christmas... I'm pretty sure, Sony's holding it back til Blu-Ray hits...

  • Feb. 12, 2006, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Is Gedo Senki/Legend of Earthsea Miyazaki-directed?

    by SpacePhil

    I know that there are other directors at Ghibli. But if that's the case, the guy's a machine.

  • Feb. 12, 2006, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Oh, ho, it is Miyazaki-directed...

    by SpacePhil

    By not by Hayao Miyazaki - by Goro Miyazaki, who unless I'm mistaken is his son. Awesome.

  • Feb. 13, 2006, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Any news on a WONDERFUL DAYS release in the U.S.?!?

    by Monkey_King

    I've had the Japanese dubbed version from Gainax for the past 2 years, when will Western audiences get to see this incredible film from the folks responsible for the forthcoming Robotech:The Shadow Chronicles?!?!?