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ANIME AICN - Little Prince Revolution (Updated with Voltron and Bleach)

Little Prince Revolution
Logo handmade by Bannister
Column by Scott Green

Kaiju Rally Party In Boston

Man-in-suit giant monsters-meets pro-wrestling performers Kaiju Big Battel will be having a Kaiju Rally Party on April 1st in Cambridge, MA.

Featuring: Peelander-Z
Gelatine
Carlisle Sound as The Kinks
Kaiju G4TV Video Installation

When: April 1st, doors at 9PM
Where: Middle East Club Upstairs, Cambridge, MA
Tix: 18+, $9

Studio Kaiju, an independent Boston-based performance and media group, is the creator of Kaiju Big Battel, the world's only live monster mayhem spectacle. Producer of consistently sold-out events, Studio Kaiju is best known for its live tournament-style performances, which are a character driven, tongue-in-cheek hybrid of American pro-wrestling, Japanese monster-movies, and lowbrow pop-culture. These multi-media events, complete with over-sized monster-movie props, a towering "Danger Cage", and miniature cityscape, can also be enjoyed from a safe distance thanks to "Kaiju Big Battel: A Practical Guide to Giant City-Crushing Monsters" from Hyperion Books and the Kaiju Big Battel DVD series from KOCH Vision.

To fund its live event series, monster creations and metropolitan destruction, Studio Kaiju produces and distributes its own line of merchandise including T-shirts, "real" monster meat, magnets and a whole catalogue of other cool but useless, limited-edition collectibles. The world of Kaiju Big Battel is also supported by Studio Kaiju's acclaimed web site, kaiju.com, which hosts Big Battel news, monster profiles, live event videos, arcade-style games, comics, and the most fun online mall ever.

Currently, the Kaiju Universe maintains an active roster of approximately 40 monsters, including a blue alien-glutton named Sky Deviler, a factory-worker-turned-soup-can called Kung-Fu Chicken Noodle, a dirty hare-sage dubbed Dusto Bunny, Uchu Chu the Space Bug, and a despicable, square-headed mad scientist known as Dr. Cube. In addition to the Kaiju Commissioner, a few other privileged humans also get a piece of the action, including Referee Jingi, a mustachioed official who enforces fairness and civility in the ring, Anthony Salbino, an urban renewal expert who reconstructs crumbled cityscapes between Battels, and one tuxedo-wearing, mouth-running MC, Louden Noxious.

Yours truly, Scott Green, will be attending, so look for the guy with the AICN Anime t-shirt in the crowd.

In other Kaiju news, The New England Anime Society has announced that is pleased to announce that Kaiju Big Battel will headline the Anime Boston convention.

Witness the epic struggle of Kaiju Big Battel happen before your very eyes. Watch Dr. Cube defend his Kaiju Championship from Uchu Chu and Kung-Fu Chicken Noodle Soup. Party with the freedom loving Plantain Twins as they take on the Apes of Wrath tag team. And see Kaiju's long lost Hero, Silver Potato make his grand return to the Kaiju Big Ring. Don¹t miss this year's greatest night of live monster mayhem for the fate of the world is at stake!

Anime Boston 2006 will be from May 26, 2006, through May 28, 2006, at the Hynes Convention Center and the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.


Anime Preview: Michel
Volume 1: The Pilot and the Prince

Based on Episodes 1-3
Released by ADV Kids

Michel is food for a young animation fan, and a few degrees less mindless than some of what's on TV, but not the caliber of classic animation many look for in work aimed at younger audiences. About the extent of what can be said in favor of Korean animated children's series Michel is that it features good creature design with iconically cute mini-creatures and grandious big creatures, and it showcases a giant robot ape. If the ape had fought the giant dragon that carried an island on its tortoise shell on its back, the series would have had something to get childishly giddy about, but despite some catastrophes, it maintains are fairly mellow tone.

Speaking of the positives, can also throw in that in the 2003 series, Dr Movie, who has done the in-between animation for many high profile anime projects, including Spirited Away and Metropolis, did a respectable if not spectacular job on the first series they directed themselves.

The series is a faint echo of Miyazaki, sure to keep children's eyes on the screen and not drive older audiences out of the room. It nods towards the themes of conversation of nature and personal virtue, but not with much conviction. While it is a too light to feel condescending, the allegories are real simple, such as: stealing the spirit of nature world tree with lead to verdant land becoming barren rock.

Presumably one of the nice things about kids is that they haven't seen as much as older audience. You can tell them a joke and they wouldn't have heard it. You can show them a series that borrows heavily from The Little Prince and Nadia of the Blue Water and even Pokemon, and they probably will not have seen the originals.

The daring pilot daughter of an inventor is chasing thieves when she stumbles onto a small island with a tree growing in the middle.
There, she encounters rocks and drops of water with button eyes and stubby appendages, leaf elves and flower pixies. Then she meets Michel, the protector of nature and fairies, who, except the for the wings that occasionally appear on his back, looks spot-on for how Saint-Exupéry's drew his Little Prince. The Black Hammer Gang, a flamboyant red-headed woman, reminiscent of Jesse of Pokemon, or more specifically her forbearer Grandis of Nadia, along with her three, not-exactly bumbling henchmen, show up and grab the fairies. The action upsets nature, and the girl, Michel and the free faries are set out on a journey to free their friends.

For better and worse, the series is a gentle purveyor of messages. It is not scolding the lesson of morality. People who makes mistakes are allowed to correct them without being berated. Even the Black Hammer Gang are greedy adventurers that are more amusing and troublesome than outright villainous.
Consequently, when the series has the opportunity to touch on concrete environmental issues, it passes on commenting. The characters rip apart an island searching for treasure, and the process begins looking like strip mining, but the characters don't address the parallel to the real issue.

One potentially problematic aspect of the series, depending on the opinion of the viewer's guardian, is that a gun plays a key role. The protagonist's father's greatest invention was the "mirage gun" in the subtitles or "mirage blaster" in the English dub. Though it looks like a "gun" and not a "blaster" it does shoot colorful beams like a "blaster" might. Perhaps more problematically, several times the heroine loses it and panics that she can't deal with foes without it.

In an ideal, commercial concerns free world, there's 22 years of the omnibus series World Masterpiece T

heatre anime that should be released before Michel. Though, with digital animation, Michel looks news, it's not even that it's animation is much more impressive than that of Romeo's Blue Sky. Surely there's a market for Hiedi and Anne of Green Gables animated by Miyazaki and Takahata. Well, again, back to the real world. There's nothing egregiously bad about Michel, it's just not very clever or convincing. Maybe adults hold children's work to a higher standard because they remember the classic and forget the mediocre, but it's easier to recommend an unexceptional older audience work than a children's work of the same quality.



Anime Spotlight: Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Black Rose Saga

Released by Cental Park Media

Like Evangelion, Revolutionary Girl Utena is an affectionate denouncement of it's genre from some amazingly skilled creators. Kunihiko Ikuhara packs expressionism into every aspect of the show's shoujo exploration. He super-condense as many incarnations of the genre as possible, from school drama that's most familiar to English speaking audiences to the classic melodramas like Rose of Versailles into the work. All of the adolescent and teenage secrets and fears are packed so densely in the cast, that they're exploding in the form of fencing duels with Utena, the girl determined to grow up to be a "prince", and the elite of the elite members of the Student Council fighting of the girl known as the Rose Bride.

The accent point on Utena is its over-indulged elegance. It bends elaborate design until logic breaks. The strange results look more like a gallery than a dreamscape, but still, there are obstructions like a curtained elaborators that reveals travelers a silhouettes, At the drop is a flat surface ending below the sky, often with random movements in the foreground and back, sometimes just wind, but other times passing trains or thrown baseballs.

There an abudance in reutilized design, especially in slightly altered patterns, but it is also regularly refreshes the material, especially as the series crescendo's the magnatidude and in many cases absurdity picks up pace.

Ultimately, it may have the same slim meaning to simple brilliant flash ratio of Evangelion, but there's enough beauty and emotional resonance in the shadow plays and surreal marble architecture that is a captivating enough to be never-tiring.

The second Utena box set, The Black Rose Saga is what would ostensibly be called a filler arc. "Filler" is the condemnation for material used to fill time in an anime series which would allow a source manga to restock its bank of material to adapt. Also, in the days when 26 episode seasons rather than 13 were the norm, filler was also used to build up the episode count. Utena was 39 episodes. It was also a special case it in that the anime was substantially different from the manga, and actually more of a co-development process than a typical source/adaptation relationship.

Sandwiched between the Student Council arc, which introduced the circumstances and scratched enough of the surface to reveal how intensely disturbing the key relationships were, and the lay everything bare End of World arc, Black Rose Saga was more designed to play with the idea of filler material than it was the typical poorly designed buffer-middle. Its antagonists, up to and including its architects are decidedly also-rans. They are secondary characters, the "best friend", the girl from the popular girl's "yes" chorus, or the troublesome young instructor, given the chance to step out of their support roles and burn up rather than fade away. In a confessional below an academically where 100 students died/were sacrificed, these characters are given fuel by anger of perceived inferiority.

The real evidence that is a filler arcs in later in the collection when the episodes return to the main narrative, and quickly throws kerosene of the fire.
The arc acts as a missing piece that is needed to round out the series. With all these exceptional people, with their exceptional secrets and exceptional conflict, The Black Rose goes back and builds a foundation of the angst of the average and subexceptional.

Simultaneously, these episodes run with purposeful motion, in a quick, punchy nattative, and leave an impression of lack of focus or a feint such that even Utena is a bit off-put by the seeming arbitrariness. Even though they feed into the central narrative to a lesser extents than most of the material, they maintain the viewer's level of interest.

The filler-within-the-filler is several stand alone episodes that humorously look at the character of Nanami, the young princess of the school. She's the archetypical queen bee who causes trouble for the more traditional sympathetically characters. The series doesn't tire of heaping embarrassing situations on her, which is ceaselessly amusing. It's even able to get away with doing a re-cap/clip footage episode dedicated to her woes.
Taking someone who greatly values poise and refinement, with a sneaky nasty streak, and subjecting them to the most overt embarrassments at first seems like a justified karmic retribution. And the series is able to continually get away with it.
Because the problems are so far departed from reality and the character is so resilient, with almost studied obviousness, the series is able to get away with mistreating her without seeming mean.

Perhaps because Utena encompassed the genre without strip mining it, perhaps because it is so distinctive, it hasn't been aped. Comparing Utena to Evangelion, Utena doesn't have it's Dual, Brain Powered or Rahxephon. It's one of the pinacles of the late 90's movements and anime, and it remains a strong canidate for the anime cannon of must-see's.



New Getter Robo
Volume 4

Released by Geneon

If your taste in anime skews towards old school giant robots, the final volume of the recent New Getter Robo locks it as smartly retro, enjoyable for older audience who grew up with the genre. The recent Getter Robo revival balances mature ideas with the wonder of giant robots, and though it never gets as in the mud trambling/ripping as it did in the ealy episodes, it still lives up to the spirit of the show that, in 1974, opened with a red yellow and white robot in a cape running forward, manically clutching an ax.

Go Nagai initiated the combining robot sub-genre with Getter Robo. For those unfamiliar with Nagai, he was a forerunner in many of popular tenants of anime, but his work was always either subversive or outright incendiary. New Getter Robo follows this path in two trains of thought. First, it plays up the unpleasantness of the characters. It starts with the idea that giants robots are not created by conventional engineers, and the people who pilot them aren't everymen. Even if they're protecting humanity, it is mad scientists building harness dangerous new energy sources to build the giant, demonic looking robots, and it's egomaniacs and savages piloting them.

You get the impression that inventor Saotome, a disheveled squat man whose name is a pun of his wooden sandals would be fighting Superman if he didn't have ancient oni (or in the original, hyper-evolved dinosaur cyborgs) literally howling at his door. Similarly , his pilots Ryoma, Hayato and Benkei who are respectively a pathologically belligerent martial artist, a terrorist plotter, and a priest with a barely contained barbarian nature, would be starting their own wars if they didn't have one handed to them. Yet, after watching emotionally handicapped teenagers fight monsters for years, New Getter Robo makes a convincing case that these madmen are the right combatants to face off against gods and monsters in mortal combat. unlike the weeping teen heroes of other giant robot works Getter Robo's are too determined and too crazy to bemoan the tragedy of their lives. Instead they spit blood and press forward.

The other facet to the Go Nagai edge is that like many of his works there's a barely hidden horror behind the hero's powers. In the Nagai cosmology, nothing advantageous is free of the taint of corruption. Often this isn't concealed, such as in the demon-possessed hero Devilman, but Getter Robo takes the post war prosperity icons of energy and metal industry and infuses them with explosively unpredictable danger.

There isn't just a reminder to be responsible about the use of the power, or to be aware of where it came from, Getter Robo and the source of its energy are the poisonous cure that's potentially worse than the disease. In a Lovecraftian context, it looks like New Getter Robo is following a fight between humanity and the young gods, with humanity holding the divinities in a death lock thanks to tapping into the power of the old gods. The series wobbles a bit as it progresses, but one thing it does well in the later episodes is conveying the depths of the hole that the heroes stepped into. Speaking of divinity fighting, it seems to be happening more regularly in popular media. Which might be a bit troubling. What's going to be subversive when killing malevolent gods becomes tiresome?

There's a lot that's not quite as good as it could have been, especially in light of the imaginative battles of the first volume. Abe Seimei, a mystic from the Heian Period comparable to the role of Merlin in British mytho-history, receives a staggeringly weak send-off. Still, it's a good change to see a return to old school anime physics. Where everything explodes, and in an amusing line even Hyatto points out the implausibility of some of the giant creatures.

Make a Difference in OEL Campaign

Original English Language Manga (oel) is the term coined for manga comics whose story telling techniques and or content has been influence by the conventions of Japanese manga. You can argue it's a marketing invention, you can argue it's a movement in the art of comic creation, but there's no denying that it is a real trend with an impact that will be felt for the foreseeable future. While still new, it looks to be moving out of its infancy. Before it calcifies, it is time to make a difference in establishing diversity in the genres offered. Commercially, series marketed for teenage girls have the heft of the momentum.

There are many great shoujo series, series inspired by shoujo or series appealing to a shoujo audience. Steady Beat, Dramacon and Bizenghast to name a few, are well worth a reader's time and money. However, there are some very innovative creators working outside the material that specifically target that audience. Now is the time to lend some commercial weight to the works that will encourage the publishers of OEL to look at the viable demographics beyond that of teenage girls.

Maybe it's justice that after the North American comic industry largely starved that audience for decades, the audience gets its own movement and pushes the other genres out. Unfortunately, with the finite resources in production and retail shelf space, there's a danger of outstanding works being lost in the narrowing focus.

Some highly recommended titles to try and support:

The Abandoned associate free Amazone Link and review here
East Coast Rising associate free Amazone Link and review here
MBQ associate free Amazone Link and review here

For the next five weeks, this column will be giving aways copies of the Abandoned. To enter the randoms drawing, send an e-mail to animecontest@gmail.com Residents of the United States over 16 only.

V-Day Has Arrived

Media Blasters has announced that, conjunction with World Events Productions, their Media Works line will be releasing Voltron: Defender Of The Universe, the combining robot series that air in North America starting in 1984. Special edition DVD boxed sets will be released in September 2006. For more information see www.VoltronDVD.com. Media Blaster also mentioned the Hollywood prohects from producers Mark Gordon (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) and Pharrell Williams (N.E.R.D.) that has been in preliminary stages of development for years and the all-new animation coming from Kickstart Entertainment.

Bleach to Air on Adult Swim

Anime News Network points on a Media Week article with the new shows to air on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block. Shonen Jump hit Bleach will be appearing will be added to the block in fall 2006. The manga version of the title is being released by Viz, who also has the license to the anime.

Tekkon Kinkurito Anime Online

Twitch reports that Studio 4°C's Tekkon Kinkurito, the adaptation of Taiyo Matsumoto's manga that was released as Black and White by Viz, now has a site ay Tekkon.net

One Piece Manga on Hold

Manga News reports due to illness One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda has put the Japanese serialization of his Shonen Jump pirate action on hold. Shonen Jump's D.Gray-man and Hunter x Hunter are also on hiatus due to theirs creators health problems.

Miyazaki Clock Footage

Ghibli World has posted footage on the Japanese coverage of the clock Hayao Miyazaki designed for NTV tower at Shiodome, Tokyo. The copper lock measures 10 meters high, 18 meters wide.

Puss in Boots Trailer

Nausicaa.net points out that Discotek, the US distributor of Puss in Boots has uploaded a trailer of the movie to YouTube here/ The 1969 Toei Douga featured Hayao Miyazaki as a key animator.

Sales Leaders

ICV2 reports Disney's release of Howl's Moving Castle debuted at #9 in Video Business Magazine's DVD sales listing, dropping to #11 in its second week on the market. Previously, Nausicaa reach #14 on the Neilson VideoScan list during its first week of release .

Love Manga reports that in to it’s 6th week, Naruto vol.09 has fallen to 37 places #123 in the USA Today weekly Top 150 books .

Samurai 7 on IFC

The Gonzo (sci-fi adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's classic Seven Samurai, entitled Samurai 7 begins its 26 week run on the IFC network Saturday April 1st at 10:30PM following The Henry Rollins Show. It will re-air Thursdays at 11:30PM

Eureka 7 on Adult Swim

Anime News Network reports Adult Swim pulled a banner stating that the Cartoon Network block would be running Eureka 7 starting April 14th.
The mecha series was directed by Tomoki Kyoda of RahXephon and written by Dai Sato (GITS: Stand Alone Complex, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Wolf's Rain)

More Honey and Clover

Anime News Network reports that a second season of Honey and Clover< will premiere this summer in Japan. A live action film is also being produced. Honey and Clover is a slice-of-life comedy about college students.

OMG OAV Pre-Packaged

Anime on DVD reports AnimEigo will be releasing the original 5 episode Oh My Goddess direct to video OAV on June 6th for $39.98. The TV series version of the relationship comedy about a student and his goddess girlfriend is being released by Media Blaster's Anime Works line and the original manga is being released by Dark Horse.

Tokyo Anime Award 2006 winners

Gunota reports that the winners of the 5th Tokyo Anime Award competition were announced at the Tokyo International Anime Fair.

Animation Of The Year
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala

Television category
Eureka 7
Black Jack
Mushishi

Feature Film category
Detective Conan: Strategy Above the Depths
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: Heirs To The Stars

Original Video category
Karas
Yukikaze

Overseas Feature Film category
Mr. Incredible (aka The Incredibles)

Individual category: Best Director
Yoshiyuki Tomino ("Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: Heirs To The Stars")

Individual category: Best Original Story
Hiromu Arakawa ("Fullmetal Alchemist")

Individual category: Best Screenplay
Dai Sato ("Eureka 7")

Individual category: Best Art Direction
Takeshi Waki ("Mushishi")

Individual category: Best Character Design
Kenichi Yoshida ("Eureka Seven")

Individual category: Best Voice Actor
Akio Ohtsuka ("Black Jack")

Individual category: Best Music
Michiru Oshima ("Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala")

FUNimation tentatively plans to released the Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala movie in October, following the completion of the TV series DVD release.

Black Jack is the latest anime adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's medical action

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: Heirs To The Stars is the new compilation/re-animation of the classic Gundam series.

Yukikaze is a sci-fi about a pilot and his increasingly self-aware UI fighter, animated by Gonzo and released domestically by Bandai.

Karas is a super-natural action soon to be released by Manga Video.

Mushishi is a strange series about a new form of life.

Tokyo Anime Fair Photos

Anime News Network points out that Mainichi Online has posted photos from the Tokyo International Anime Fair here.

Industry Deaths

From Anime News Network
Hiroshi Miyagawa, composer for Battleship Yamato/Star Blazers died at age 75.

Voice actor Bob Papenbrook died at age 50. His over 200 roles in movies, TV shows, videogames, and commercials included voice work in Cowboy Bebop, Digimon: The Movie, and Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.

Old School Shows on DVD

From Anime News Network
Volume 1 of World Events Productions' Best of Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs is now available through the company's website here.

MS IGLOO Trailer

Gunota points out Universal Century/original Gundam cgi Apocalypse 0079 is featured in a 15 promo for here

Evangelion Fan Game

Eva Monkey has posted instructions for downloading and installing the Evangelion doujinshi (fan made) fighting game.

School Rumble Anime Site Update

Anime Nation reports official Japanese School Rumble anime homepage has updated for the show's upcoming second series.
The manga version of the relationship comedy is being released in North America by Del Rey.

Evangelion Bike

Isaac Alexander points out that Gizomoso looks at an Evangelion bike from the Tokyo International Anime Fair here.

Advent Children Screening in LA

Square Enix and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will be showing FINAL FANTASY VII: ADVENT CHILDREN with a one-night only special screening at the Cinerama Dome at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood in preparation for the April 25th launch of the DVD and UMD video. The public screening will be 7:00PM on Monday, April 3rd. Guaranteed admission to the screening will be handed out at noon in front of the Dome while supplies last. Any additional open seats will be distributed at the time of the screening, but they strongly recommend trying to secure a seat at noon to be guaranteed entry.

Business News

ICV2 reports that Ventura Distribution who distributes anime for North American DVD publishers Viz, TOKYOPOP and Urban Vision will is being purchased by First Look Studios.

HarperCollins Publishers and TOKYOPOP announced the companies will join forces in a unique co-publishing agreement to create a progressive new line of co-branded manga titles. The program will include several projects from bestselling author Meg Cabot, whose HarperCollins novels have sold more than six million copies to date. In addition, HarperCollins will sell and distribute the entire TOKYOPOP line in North America.

The new line of books from TOKYOPOP and HarperCollins will include manga titles based on existing HarperCollins works, as well as original manga titles conceived by HarperCollins authors. All books will be developed in manga format by the award-winning TOKYOPOP team, who will manage the creation of manga text and artwork in close consultation with the originating authors and HarperCollins editors. The first books are scheduled for publication in 2007, and HarperCollins and TOKYOPOP are anticipating growing the line to as many as 24 titles per year.

The first manga titles produced by the partnership will be based on Meg Cabot's bestselling young adult novels.

As of mid-June, HarperCollins will begin selling and distributing all TOKYOPOP books to the North American trade book market. All back office functions including customer service, warehousing, billing and credit will be performed by HarperCollins.

ICV2 talks to TOKYOPOP Publisher Mike Kiley about the agreement here

Naruto: Ninja Ranks Trading Cards

Raving toy Maniac has images and a run down of Panini and Inkworks Naruto: Ninja Rank trading cards game here

Manga Confirms Tactics

Manga Video has confirmed that they will be releasing the anime series Tactics, from the creators of Mystical Detective Loki Ragnorok starting in June.

Samurai Champloo Game Trailer Distributed on Podcast

Geneon's Podcast RSS video feed has been updated with a trailer of the upcoming Samurai Champloo PlayStation2 game.
The Podcast can be found by searching for "Geneon Entertainment" through iTunes.

Kristine Sa Anime Con Performance Video

Kristine Sa performing her remix of "Every Heart" from Inuyasha at last year's Anime USA convention can be seen here
Kristine's upcoming convention appearences include:

June 9-11 A-Kon, Adam's Mark Hotel, Dallas TX (still confirming)
June 16 AMA, The Greater Richmond Convention Center, Richmond VA
August 19 Ani-Jam, The Fresno Fairgrounds, Fresno CA

Boys Be 4 Scheduled

The Right Stuf International will be releasing volume 4 of Boys 4 on June 27th.

This 13-episode series is a romance story with a unique twist, from director Masami Shimoda (AI YORI AOSHI / MACROSS 7 / SABER MARIONETTE J), with character designs by Itsuko Takeda (GHOST IN THE SHELL / PARADISE KISS / MAGIC USER'S CLUB)!

Just another love story? No way! After ages about hearing what girls have to say about relationships, BOYS BE... steps forward to reveal the flip side of love – what's really going on from a guy's point of view! Meet Kyoichi, Makoto and Yoshihiko – three normal high school guys with just one thing on their minds: girls.

It's Christmas Eve, but Yoshihiko isn't spending it with his family – he's being dragged all over town by a sexy supermodel in a Santa suit! Jyunna Morio is one of the biggest pop idols in Japan, but when she runs into Yoshihiko (literally), she whisks him off on a whirlwind tour of all the hottest dating spots in town. Has Yoshihiko accidentally struck gold with this pop-star princess, or is something going on that he doesn't know about?

Then, it's almost time for the New Year's bash! The countdown to the turn of the millennium is fast approaching, and everyone is busy making plans. But what about Kyoichi and Chiharu? When the clock strikes 12, will the New Year find them together or apart?

Contains episodes 11-13.

uclick and TOKYOPOP's New Mobile Manga Application Delivers Manga to Go TOKYOPOP

TOKYOPOP Inc., has teamed up with uclick, LLCo bring "TOKYOPOP Mobile Manga" to mobile phone users worldwide. This unique, downloadable manga application plays TOKYOPOP manga titles in their original multi-panel format on mobile phones.

uclick has developed a new JAVA and BREW subscription application that offers new manga content every day. With a clean, rich graphic presentation coupled with a simple user interface, the manga application puts this popular Japanese art form into the hands of dedicated fans looking for that dose of manga on the go. Ultimately, this panel-by-panel format for quick viewing makes for a great user experience.

Launching Q2, TOKYOPOP Mobile Manga has six titles including: "Princess Ai," which follows the adventures of the eponymous heroine as she navigates the dangers of modern life while trying to return to her angelic roots; "ShutterBox," the story a young girl attending an otherworldly school; "PSY-COMM," featuring enhanced soldiers in a corporation-run future war; "Peach Fuzz," the tale of a girl and her ferret; "Van Von Hunter," the comedic monster hunter adventure series and "Dramacon," the story of an aspiring manga writer and her adventures at her very first convention.

uclick has optimized the original titles for the mobile screen, subtly adjusting and refining layouts and improving legibility and readability. This process has paid off, giving an essential vibrancy to this new manga format.

uclick and TOKYOPOP will also offer wallpapers and animations featuring favorite characters from each title. To view our evolving collection of great manga wallpapers and other mobile content, visit: http://www.gocomics.com or text "TOKYOPOP" to 26642.

Pokemon/Yu-Gi-Oh News

Anime News Network has heard from several confirmed sources that the entire English voice cast of Pokemon is set to be replaced with "sound alike" voices for the Tenth Anniversary Special and following seasons. "We who work on the show care very much about it and are heartbroken over the possibility of not continuing production," says Veronica Taylor, who has played Ash since 1998. "Unfortunately we have no say in what is going on. We are simply forced to wait for the outcome."

Anime Nation reports that the official Yu-Gi-Oh site lists that the first of two new Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster movies will be released directly to DVD in America.

My Otome OVA

AnimeNation reports that the May issue of Japan's Megami Magazine reveals plans for a four episode My Otome OVA series. My Otome is the follow-up to My=HiME, the first volume of which has recently been released in North America by Bandai.

BattleTech Revival

ICV2 reports that Fanpro, who re-launched the Shadowrun cyberpunk RPG last year will be doing the same for the classic mecha table-top RPG Classic BattleTech, starting on late August. Upcoming products include he Classic BattleTech Total Warfare hardcover, the Classic BattleTech Starterbook: Sword and Dragon, and the Sword and Dragon MechPacks. For more information see here

What Manga Japanese Fans Want to See Live Action

For those who missed last week's talkback, Irresponsible Pictures has posted a translation of the results of a poll as to which manga titles Japanese fans would like to see adapted into live action. Basketball manga Slam Dunk lead the overall, male and female categories.

Stonebridge Fall Releases

For those looking for resources on anime, and Asian culture, Stonebridge Press has announced their fall releases.

The Anime Encyclopedia, Expanded & Revised Edition
by Jonathan Clements and Helen McCarthy
Nov, $29.95, Paper, 7" x 9", 850 pp, 150 b&w illus, 1-933330-10-4
Bigger, better! This new edition follows the best-selling first edition with hundreds of new entries and updates, now including stand-alone entries on studios, creators, and anime history in Japan. This is still the best single source for anime information.

Asia Shock: Horror and Dark Cinema from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, & Thailand
by Patrick Galloway
Nov, $19.95, Paper, 7" x 9", 248 pp, 50 b&w illus & photos, 1-933330-12-0
Another film survey from the author of Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves, this book focuses on Asian horror, exploitation, black comedy, arthouse, supernatural, and psychological thrillers. Containing more than 50 reviews, half of them on 1950s-60s film classics, the rest of them on contemporary film. The book is full of fan (and critics') favorites including Ringu (The Ring), Ju-on (The Grudge), Oldboy, Battle Royale, and The Eye. Asia Shock has overviews of genres, cultures and tips on viewing. Illustrated.

Waiting on the Weather: Making Movies with Akira Kurosawa
by Teruyo Nogami with Foreword by Donald Richie
Sep, $24.95, Paper, 5.5" x 7.5", 304 pp, 24 b&w illus & photos, 1-933330-09-0
Here are fascinating recollections of Akira Kurosawa, from the production of his film Rashomon to his death in the 1990s, along with insider details on how films were made and profiles of many other Japanese film giants. Longtime assistant Teruyo Nogami affectionately presents Kurosawa's genius and flaws (for example, his raging temper).

The Japanese Way of the Artist: Living the Japanese Arts & Ways, Brush Meditation, The Japanese Way of the Flower
by H.E. Davey
Oct, $19.95, Paper, 6" x 7 7/10", 512 pp, 512 b&w illus & photos,

The Care and Use of Japanese Woodworking Tools: Saws, Planes, Chisels, Marking Gauges, Stones
by Kip Mesirow and Ron Herman
Sep, $19.95, Paper, 8.5" x 11", 96 pp, 155 b&w illus, 1-933330-13-9

Yoga Poems: Lines to Unfold By
by Leza Lowitz with illus. by Anja Borgstrom
Sep, $9.95, Paper, 5" x 7", 128 pp, 12 b&w illus, 1-933330-11-2

Kanji Starter 1 and Kanji Starter 2
by Daiki Kusuya
Sep, $9.95, Paper, 4.125" x 5.75",
KS#1: 200 pp, 200 b&w illus, 1-933330-14-7
KS#2: 208 pp, 300 b&w illus, 1-933330-15-5

How to Take a Japanese Bath
by Leonard Koren with illus. by Suehiro Maruo
Sep, $9.95, Paper, 5.5" x 7", 40 pp, 12 b&w illus, 1-933330-08-2

Divining the Asian Zodiac: Ancient Guide to Life and Love
by Fumio Shiozawa
Dec, $18.95, Paper, 8.25" x 9.5", 128 pp, 80 color illus, 0-893469-49-1

Vietnamese Fables of Frogs and Toads
by Masao Sakairi with illus. by Shoko Kojima
Nov, $16.95, Paper, 8.125" x 11.25", 32 pp, 30 color illus, 0-893469-48-3

Vietnam Tales of Rabbits and Watermelons
by Masao Sakairi with illus. by Shoko Kojima
Oct, $16.95, Paper, 8.125" x 11.125", 32 pp, 30 color illus, 0-893469-47-5

Covers can be seen here

Asterix and the Vikings Trailer

Anime unrelated, Twitch points out that trailers of the soon to release (in France) Asterix and the Vikings are online.

officiail site Asterix site
Official Asterix and the Vikings website 2
Hi-Res poster
trailer

Readers Talkback
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  • March 30, 2006, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Yesss

    by garcicr

    im am the champion

  • March 30, 2006, 11:30 a.m. CST

    Hmmm

    by garcicr

    I liked Exo squad how come it dosent have a DVD box set &#39;nuff said

  • March 30, 2006, 11:35 a.m. CST

    The Studio 4

    by talbuckin

    looks awesome. As always.

  • March 30, 2006, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Prince should totally reform The Revolution

    by +

    Are Wendy & Lisa still hot?

  • March 30, 2006, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Kaiju

    by Shigeru

    I was working Anime Boston a couple years ago and made the mistake of mocking Dr. Cube.

  • March 30, 2006, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Asterix should get its own news section, surely?

    by AtomicHyperbole

    I mean... it&#39;s ASTERIX!

  • March 30, 2006, 1:13 p.m. CST

    Which Voltron will it be?

    by John Maddening

    The awesome Voltron I, with 15 vehicles forming one big robot; Voltron III, with the five lions; or (the unseen in America) Voltron II, with the three robots? GAH! I have to know! Er, shoot me.

  • March 30, 2006, 2:01 p.m. CST

    Which Voltron will it be? (433)

    by amievil

    uhhhhh.....try going to the website listed....maybe its just me but&#39;s it pretty obvious what it is as soon as you see the website...

  • March 30, 2006, 2:21 p.m. CST

    Greetings from Planet Peelander!

    by Lau Kar Leung

    If any of you go to this, you will be witness to one of the craziest live shows ever. Peelander Z is the greatest! Long live the Mad Tiger!!! And regarding Voltron...Sven ruled. The Princess was a waste.

  • March 30, 2006, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Studio Ghibli reissues

    by Zoviet Squid

    Does anyone have any idea if Disney plans on reissuing in fancy two-disc DVD editions some of the other Studio Ghibli movies such as Kiki&#39;s Delivery Service, Castle of Cagliostro, Castle in the Sky, Only Yesterday, Open Waves, etc...? Or were they not included in the deal? I need to know in case I should be holding out on purchasing them now or wait until better versions come about.

  • March 30, 2006, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Prince performed with Wendy & Lisa last month...

    by Swarmy

    ...the answer to MandyDinsmore&#39;s question is &#39;No&#39;.

  • March 30, 2006, 3:13 p.m. CST

    Does ScottGreen...

    by veritasses

    average more words posted per week then all other AICN editors combined? The anime/manga world (not to mention the video game tie-ins) is huge and I&#39;m always impressed at how much stuff I have to scroll through. As near as I can tell, there&#39;s minimal copy/paste too. Good job Scott. On a different note regarding old-school giant robot anime, can anyone tell me what happened in the very last episode of Yuusha Raideen? It aired in the US in the mid 70&#39;s and I watched it religiously every week but missed the last episode and never found out how the show ended. When you&#39;re a little kid, missing the last episode of something that meant so much is a big deal. Sad note about Hiroshi Miyagawa. The theme to Yamato is one of the most recognizable (and in my opinion one of the best) scores ever.

  • March 30, 2006, 3:16 p.m. CST

    re: Studio Ghibli reissues

    by ScottGreen

    Disney doesn&#39;t have the licenses to Castle of Cagliostro (a great must see anime, no on will dislike it) or "I Can Hear the Sea/Ocean Waves". Only yesterday was supposed to be released as part of a Takahata wave a couple years ago, but the schedule as been suffled several times since then. Aren&#39;t the Disney version of Castle and Kiki&#39;s their 2 disc editions they gave the other titles?

  • March 30, 2006, 3:37 p.m. CST

    re: Yuusha Raideen

    by ScottGreen

    Yuusha Raideen or Brave Raideen was an interesting show. A number of people have commented that RahXephon owes as much to Raideen as it did to Evangelion. I&#39;m not sure if I&#39;ve seen the ending, and I haven&#39;t been able to find out what happens. There don&#39;t appear to be any summeries online.

  • March 30, 2006, 4:24 p.m. CST

    re: Studio Ghibli reissues

    by Zoviet Squid

    Gah, are we ever going to see &#39;Ocean Waves&#39; or &#39;Only Yesterday&#39; over here? And yeah, about &#39;Kiki&#39;s&#39; and &#39;Castle,&#39; I just didn&#39;t know if they were going to be reissued along with this new trend of Disney/Ghibli releases, sort of like &#39;Totoro&#39; was. Nothing on Amazon indicates the current versions are 2-disc, though I suppose they could be - I just can&#39;t tell. Thanks, Scott! And keep up the excellent work.

  • March 30, 2006, 5:51 p.m. CST

    Ocean Waves, Whisper of the Heart, and Only Yesterday

    by Gay Jesus Christ

    suck. They are damn boring. Why are they even anime? they could have done a live action movie of people just sleeping and eating and daydreaming and it would have been the same....

  • March 30, 2006, 6:36 p.m. CST

    re: GJC Comment

    by ScottGreen

    That&#39;s an interesting point of debate. Satoshi Kon has made a host of outstanding movies including thriller Perfect Blue, Christmas story Tokyo Godfathers, and ode to Japanese cinema Millenium Actress. You can argue that there are not reasons for the movies to be animated. Amid Amidi http://www.cartoonbrew.com/ certainly argued this. See his review at http://tinyurl.com/lof2m from Amidi&#39;s conversion with Ray Harryhausen "Ray then gave his review of the film, and in the process showed me why he&#39;s a legend: because he has great taste. Ray said there was absolutely no reason to produce GODFATHERS in animation because it didn&#39;t take advantage of the medium. He also pondered why the filmmakers had designed all the characters to be so unappealing and ugly. I didn&#39;t think there was any way I could have more respect for Ray Harryhausen than I already did, but he showed me a way."

  • March 30, 2006, 6:42 p.m. CST

    GJC and Satoshi Kon Continued...

    by ScottGreen

    Kon responds to that type of criticism saying that animation is the medium he knows, so that&#39;s the medium he works with. Same could be said with Studio Ghibli and Ocean Waves, Whisper of the Heart, and Only Yesterday. I&#39;d personally argue that telling a largely mundane story that steps out of reality is well servered by animation. In Perfect Blue, no matter how bent Mima&#39;s reality becomes, it looks like the surround relationity. If course Whisper of the Heart, a movie whose look and story I find to be exceptionally beutiful contradictions this. When it goes into its fantasy sequence, the style of animation makes a radical shift. The net is that animation is a medium that&#39;s capible of telling any short of story. If the story doesn&#39;t interest you, in many cases animation isn&#39;t going to change that.

  • March 30, 2006, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Utena

    by Johnno

    I have the Rose Collection set with the movie, so then I take it this &#39;Black Rose Blooms&#39; is the continuation right? Also the movie was beautifully bizarre and I loved the visuals, but it never made a damn bit of sense to me... I suppose it&#39;ll be more clear after watching the entire series... and like one thing, so do they turn out to be lesbians or is that just symbolic or something? Help me out here... Also that Eva bike was pretty cool... Also Asterix looks awesome!!! Fuck, I love those comics!

  • March 30, 2006, 7:02 p.m. CST

    animated vs. Live action

    by Johnno

    I think it&#39;s stupid to think that films like Whisper of the Heart shouldn&#39;t be done in animation... for one thing I&#39;d never even think to watch a movie like that Live Action, live action romances bore me... but for some strange reason, movies I&#39;d otherwise avoid in live action films I enjoy in animation, perhaps it&#39;s simply because I&#39;m deeply interested in the artform and work as a whole... but it has it&#39;s distinct charm... also visuals within works as Whisper or more obviously in &#39;only Yesterday&#39;... things like the &#39;chasing the cat&#39; or the &#39;story scenes&#39; in whisper, or all those other random things in Only Yesterday for example, when the &#39;I like cloudy days scene&#39; where she meets the boy who likes her and then runs upward into the sky and other humourous moments and images are significantly better done in animation, whereas in film it would require effects and may not come off properly... what it comes down to is... yeah, you can do the same story in live action, but animation allows for cool styles and scenes as the aformentioned that may come out awkward if you tried to copy them in live action... for example, take Animatrix&#39;s &#39;Second Renaissance&#39; and the images you see there... if done as live action the abstract images etc wouldn&#39;t work as well and it would be done very differently. The good thing about animation, particularly the way the Japanese do it is that you can easily do any scenes live action does and then really create some very intriguing and bizarre sequences that would be hard to do live...

  • March 30, 2006, 7:03 p.m. CST

    re: Utena

    by ScottGreen

    CPM is releasing/re-releasing Utena in three box sets: The Rose Collection/The Movie Boxed Set (episodes 1-13 and movie), The Black Rose Collection (14-26), and Apocalypse Saga (27-39). I haven&#39;t seen all of Utena, but to me Utena and Anthy seem intimate, but not sexual. I think lot of the symbolism is very open to intepretation, but yes, their definately symbolism working in the series, with I take to be vissuals of emotional connections. I don&#39;t think a swords getting drawn from a woman&#39;s just is chest a sword getting drawn from a woman&#39;s chest.

  • March 30, 2006, 7:09 p.m. CST

    GJC

    by Zoviet Squid

    *shrug* Whether or not they were animated, they were beautifully, delicately told stories that struck a cord with me. Why they were animated instead of live action could be argued extensivley; but for me, I take great joy in the way things are drawn, why certain decisions were made, line work, color, deliberate nuances and the subtle effects that are unique to animation that live action can&#39;t emulate. Take Akira Kurosawa for instance: here&#39;s a man who obsessivley, painstakingly plotted each detail of his movies for their intended effects, but one could argue "why didn&#39;t he just animate his movies?" That way he could have effortless, total control over each and every detail and subtlety, each image, action, result, and decision made with the utmost intention to create any effect imaginable. But this shouldn&#39;t be an argument over which medium is better - it all comes down to what the artist is comfortable with, or what they want to say and how.

  • March 30, 2006, 8:02 p.m. CST

    Eureka Seven will own your mother....

    by v1cious

    and you sister, and your dog... and your entire family.

  • March 30, 2006, 8:49 p.m. CST

    Vehical Voltron rules

    by Lennard

    I hope they put that series to DVD soon

  • March 30, 2006, 9:35 p.m. CST

    re: GJC

    by veritasses

    Before I comment on the Satoshi Kon thread, my thanks to ScottGreen for checking on Raideen. I

  • March 30, 2006, 10:38 p.m. CST

    "Taking advantage of the medium"

    by nemesisdarkside

    Im gonna have to side with veritasses and zoviet squid here. I believe that film makers should be able to bring their story to the screen using whatever medium they can use the most effective. I dont understand what is exactly meant by "doesnt take advantage of the medium". Surely that is subjective and could be said of any film (in these days of ILM and WETA) that doesnt include a special effect, camera/editing trick or scene of "action". By that logic talk-heavy dramas might as well be theatre productions. Veritasses hit the nail on the head with "...total control available in anime" and "A storyteller that holds this much detail in his mind could never be satisfied with the randomness and limitations of using actors and shooting live action". Dont get me wrong Im not saying that anime is superior to live action or vice versa, just that certain film makers are at their best in their chosen medium and shouldnt be expected to take their ideas to another medium just because it would be more "suitable". I agree with Zoviet Squid: ("Akira Kurosawa for instance: here&#39;s a man who obsessively, painstakingly plotted each detail of his movies for their intended effects, but one could argue "why didn&#39;t he just animate his movies?") I just think we need to open our minds and accept that anime (and other animation) can be used effectively to tell these types of stories as the film maker has total control and is therefore "taking advantage of the medium".

  • March 31, 2006, 12:34 a.m. CST

    Thanks For All The Info Scott, But....

    by Darth Pestilence

    "CPM is releasing/re-releasing Utena in three box sets: The Rose Collection/The Movie Boxed Set (episodes 1-13 and movie), The Black Rose Collection (14-26), and Apocalypse Saga (27-39). I haven&#39;t seen all of Utena, but to me Utena and Anthy seem intimate, but not sexual. I think lot of the symbolism is very open to intepretation, but yes, their definately symbolism working in the series, with I take to be vissuals of emotional connections. I don&#39;t think a swords getting drawn from a woman&#39;s just is chest a sword getting drawn from a woman&#39;s chest." were u drinking when u posted this last one?

  • March 31, 2006, 6:33 a.m. CST

    I just wanted to say, nice to see a good talkback...

    by DigitalDong

    to what is probably the best column AICN has. At least I think it is.

  • March 31, 2006, 7:37 a.m. CST

    How sad is it...

    by Anna Valerious

    That they felt they needed to update "The Little Prince"?! There already is a French-produced anime out there that ran on Nick Jr. way back when...why doesn&#39;t that get released?

  • March 31, 2006, 7:45 a.m. CST

    amievil...

    by John Maddening

    ...yeah, I would think the "shoot me" comment would have let on that I wasn&#39;t serious. ANYHOO, Why the hell does the mediocre Lion Voltron (the third one) show get all the attention? Eight releases means we&#39;ll have to wait until at least 2008-9 to see Vehicle Voltron, if we ever get it at all.

  • March 31, 2006, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Re: TLP Update

    by veritasses

    I

  • March 31, 2006, 9:27 p.m. CST

    Anna Valerious

    by v1cious

    no more sad than all the american comics that are taking long forgotten characters and making them "Dark"

  • April 3, 2006, 9:46 a.m. CST

    more the merrier

    by meersan

    I&#39;ve never read a book that was ruined by a movie. Look at all the adaptations of Oliver Twist or Pride and Prejudice. Some are clearly better than others but the book is just as loved. So for me, the more adaptations the better. If something isn&#39;t good, it will be forgotten, but the good lives on forever. Especially now, when everything gets digitized we can worry less about companies not releasing the older, better version when it exists. The real objection, like veritasses points out, is publishers like GL who self censor by removing the first version from the marketplace. Let the people decide.