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Anime AICN - Eureka 7, The Next Anime Phenomenon?


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Column by Scott Green

Anime Spotlight: Eureka 7
Volume 1

Released by Bandai

Most current anime seems to be conceived in a conference room. There are visible exceptions: smaller projects of Akitaro Daichi, Studio 4°C's works, Madhouse has a number of exceptional project slated for the latter half of the year, or just off series like Haibane Renmei. Eureka 7 was conceived by Bandai and 11 partners as a super-media entity that would span animation, manga, and video games; comparable, maybe to .hack, but less ambitious on the interactive side, and more on the media.

Ironically, it seems to work with characters who hold political views, who aren't just cartoonish, and aren't just artificial pieces in a political message. More surprisingly, it is able to pull off sky-surfing robot mecha. A spontaneous reaction to the series could be to think of the design as a condescending move to pander to demographics interested in extreme sports, but in a sign of what the series does well, you can believe its population could be a real social entity. You can believe that they could and would develop a surfing mech. And you can believe that Shoji Kawamori in his Buddhist, macrofood Arjuna/Macross Zero world view would come up with the idea.

Besides the surfing mecha, the most immediate impression of the series is that it is beautifully animated. Good imagined machinery can often be said to appear to look like it works. That the designer had the skill to construct something that didn't take lazy advantage of the non-physicality of animation, but instead exhibit a mechanical logic. Studio Bones (Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Rahxephon, Full Metal Alchemist, Wolf's Rain) art director/Scenic Director Kazuo Nagai(Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle) and a large staff of background artists put together a world with a subtly alien landscape that, above all, makes sense. The initial city with its gradual bowl, depressed area of urban sprawl, and fenced off, dirty water front is ideal for invoking a place from which the young hero to desire. The look has been compared to city from FLCL, but the similarity owes more to emotional resonance than visual similarity. When the lead leaves its boundaries and hits a mecha dog fight in the surrounding plateaus, the natural emptiness makes for an ideal proving ground. As the series begins to demonstrate what makes it larger than reality, the currents of energy that rise from the ground and the giant blast crater have to be called majestic.

The flaw of the volume isn't just that it is drawn out, or as the American comics buzz word goes, decompressed. The series has expectation of faith the side of the viewer. There's no personality, dilemma, conversation or crackle of action that demands more attention. Besides a notion of quality and cleverness, the first episodes don't feature a hook to ensure a returning attention

In the melting of teen malaise, the lead is picked up by a revolutionary/outlaws/x-sport star/commune group, who for the most part aren't too interested in him (and/or are currently masking it) at this. None of which translates to something intriguing without speculating where the series will take the material.

The series run 50 episodes, so at 8% of the total, the first volume assumes an allowances not to demonstrate a full indicator of it's capicity. Even if Dai Sato (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Wolf's Rain) opened his previous works with kung fu, and train assaults and scratch chambara, teen boredom is the initial state of Eureka 7 and it will go somewhere from there. But, damn the thematic logic. There's a of lot anime jockeying for attention and it would have been nice if it could find a way tip its hand beyond the familiar routine of the hero blacking out at the moment of truth, then later, when the aftermath as been dealt with, there's a flash back to where he awakened his potential... big boom. Not new.

There are signs of promising elements in the series, especially in its harsh realities and sadness. A minor example is the questionable activities used to fund the protagonists' operation. A more striking one is the view of the hero's crotchety grandfather who had his wild younger days, but settled down to a stable occupation, only to have his soul crushed by seeing his family leave him to follow their own crusades.

In addition to lacking the tight scripts Escaflowne or a Gundam, and missing the sizzling wow spectacles, the series character and political examination are slow to coalesce. It's packed with the expectations that it sets up, but of which it is in a hurry to realize. Not a bad series, it's a frustrating series to just watch and it and get mildly entertained.

Maybe it's reading too many hopes into episodes that offer the space to apply plenty of hopes, but in one of its goals, it seems that the anime wants to pay more than lip service to unconventional agendas without being Earth Girl Arjuna preachy. Maybe it wants to step out of the confines of popular entertainment. Maybe it wants the view think about a few things. If that's the case, it rides openness a bit too far into blandness. Piss on Evangelion all you want, but the argument that it's ultimately an empty shell is just that, an argument. Evangelion inspires passioned reaction, and punching holes it in requires some analysis. Any conversation about early Eureka 7 is going to speculation about whether and how it will turn up the intensity.



Anime Spotlight: Ah! My Goddess
Volumes 3 and 4

Released by Media Blasters' Anime Works

Ah! My Goddess was a forerunner in what has been dubbed the magical girlfriend genre of male-target shonen romance. More than much of what followed it, Ah! MY Goddess put the girlfriend in the magical girlfriend genre. Charming and monogamous, at times, it's possible to forget it's a nebbish dating a knockout. It offers the comfortable example of a relationship working, if not flawlessly, then exceptionally well. Though the romance a little is timid, especially for two people probably in their early twenties living together, there's little drama from the relationship itself. Even if the series doesn't have the most progressive sense of relationship politics, she mother's him due to her nature, it's not as if he has a mother complex (though one of the characters does joke about the possibility). Even if the series doesn't have the most progressive sense of relationship politics, it doesn't fall into the too common trap of being stuck on hang-ups. Though she mothers him due to her nature, it's not as if he has a mother complex (still, one of the characters does joke about the possibility).

Unlike many anime, the point of the series isn't to raise your blood pressure for one reason or another. It isn't going enlighten you or make you think either. It's an anime that succeeds at its aim, which is to induce a state of content happiness in the viewer. Because it isn't a punchy series, it's one that that needs to be viewed sparingly. There's a point where, after too many consecutive episodes, it begins to dull.

Both a fantasy in that it's a luckless college student dating a dream girl and in a reliance on the supernatural, the series follows Keiichi Morisato who accidentally summons the goddess Belldandy via telephone. They hook up when he is granted the wish that she become his girlfriend. Their lives are complicated by her world of gods, demons and spirits, and his, relatively more mundane world of his technology focused college and his social circle of the Auto-club (especially Keiichi's two sempai/upper classmen, Tamiya, a large, possibly Kansai, gear head, and biker Ootaki, who are always good to a laugh, and good natured, if a bit thick and excitable). One conceit to the relationship in these volumes, especially the latter is that, in the earlier volumes, some mix of powers and personality made Belldandy a super-humanly good judge to character, while here it's diminished a bit. What seemed like a zen combination of patience and prescience is now played as a pokerface. Where as previously it seemed her placid gaze hid gears turning that projected what she knew several steps along the process before her, in these episode it is evidently that she's flummoxed.

These volumes gradually roll out a moderately large cast. With what is a now somewhat unusual 26 episode season to work with, and recently a second season, there's no point rushing things. Fans of original manga would no doubt like to see personalities like the fourth goddess Peorth rendered in the anime's true and elegant style, but the slow, comfortable motion of the series is perfect for the tone.

Skuld, the youngest of the three goddess sisters is introduced (older sister Urd, kindof a sorceress ne'er do well, was introduced in the previous volume). The series' theology is modeled after human institutions in a number of ways. One is an IT department. There's a world computer system called Yggdrasil. Belldandy is the help desk, which is why she was manning the phones when Keiichi called. Urd, believe or not, is the system admin. Skuld is the debugger. Literally she chases spider-bunny bugs and hits them with a debugging hammer

Skuld is one of a number of elements in the series that reaches critical mass on occation. She isn't quite worthy of a the backhanded complimented "a little goes a long way", but she does invoke the child who acts wildly childish despite their inistance to the contrary. A winning quality of the series is that characters are allowed to show maturity and reason, so a character who walks the line between sassy and obnoxious, even more than the perpetually irresponsible Urd comes across more as an affliction than a full participant in the ongoings.

In addition to her inherent cuteness, Skuld, a tinkerer and techette enhances the series fanciful, but often well designed mechanical creations. Watching Skuld whip out her "skuld bombs", exploding tubed orbs, like a Dr Who prop, is adorable, but they're more part of a comedy routine than Banpei-kun RX. Banpei-kun RX is Skuld's helper/guardian robot, created/introduced shortly after she moves into the Keiichi/Belldandy household. looks like an Asimo build out with some Tokugawa magistrate trappings. Watching the robot slowly walk across a room and try to poke Keiichi with a stick exemplifies the series' darling sub-manic spirit.

The other introduction of the volume is Mara (or Maller), Belldanday's demon opposite number. Like Tamiya and Ootaki she can be relied upon for a laugh, and the senpei are used to introduce the demon. The two pick up a CD at a used record shop. They use a market to color it black, and put it on a record player, which releases Mara. There's something comforting about half competent enemies. Though she intends misfortune for Belldandy, she seems only mildly malicious. The running gags with her reacting badly to good luck charms and being mistaken for male maintain their humor, and there's something fun about a half competent enemy.

The general thrust of Ah! My Goddess weighs more to comedy than drama, and it does well, especially when introducing quirky personalities and situations. Hiroaki Gohda, director of all My Goddess anime, except for the super deformed Mini-Goddess shorts, handles tableaus perfectly. The inflection, posture, and staging clicks. Specific scenes becoming classics, like Urd being trapped in a TV; bored she attempts to do what she does when board, watch TV, only to see infinitely recursive copies of herself, reclined, irked, eying another TV. His ability to carry a sustained comedy beat isn't as good. When handling a routine that relies on repetition, his timing merely competent, especially when compared to some one good at it like Utena's Kunihiko Ikuhara.

Next Miyazaki Films Revealed May 5th

Nausicaa.net reports Hayao Miyazaki will be revealing his next project in a 15 minute episode with the Japanese TBS network's NEWS23. In Japan, May 5 is a holiday known as Children's Day.

Tales from Eathsea" Production Nearly Complete

Nausicaa.net reports according to the May 1 production diary, 997 of 1,236 (80.7%) cuts of "Gedo Senki" were completed.

Details of production situation: Key animation: 1,233 (99.8%) cuts completed. Animation: 1,121 (90.7%) cuts Background paintings: 1,221 (98.8%) cuts



Why is Sgt Frog on the Cover of NewType USA?

The May issue of NewType USA will feature a cover story on Sgt. Frog, "Amphibious Alien Alert! Sgt. Frog: Prepare for the Invasion!". From a Japanese perspective, an Sgt. Frog, called Keroro Gunso has run over 100 episodes, with a additional movie that premiered in March. In North America, the manga is being released from TOKYOPOP, but no distributor has announced that they hold the license for the anime.

The issue will also look at the anime Eureka Seven, My-HiME, Gun Sword, Kaleido Star: New Wings and Gankutsuou, and profile Cromartie High creator Eiji Nonaka.

An extra DVD will feature episodes of Desert Punk, Midori Days, Nanaka 6/17 and The Fuccons.

Death Note News

Comipress reports according to Weekly Shounen Jump's early sales information, Death Note (Story by Tsugumi Ooba, Art by Takeshi Obata) will be ending in Shounen Jump issue 24, on sale May 15th. Jump also indicated a TV adapation is in the works, and a game adapation is scheduled for this winter. Takeshi Obata's Blanc et Noir book has been moved from 5/2 to 5/31 and tribute album is scheduld for June. ComiPress looks are the art book and collectors set, with mixed feedback here

Premiere Event for Trinity Blood at Anime Central

On Friday, May 5 at Midnight, the U.S. anime series premiere of Trinity Blood will be hitting the big screen as FUNimation Films presents Trinity Blood: Genesis starting at Loews 600 in Chicago. This is an exclusive premiere coordinated with Anime Central, the Midwest anime and manga convention.

To make this a very special fan event, FUNimation will provide buses to transport lucky convention goers to the theatre as well as official movie posters. At the theatre, the director and voice actors from the series will be on hand to meet fans and have a discussion panel on this gorgeous anime series from Studio GONZO.

This is a limited engagement. Anime and entertainment fans attending Anime Central can stop by the FUNimation booth to get more information. Convention goers will need to receive a complimentary "Trinity Blood Money" coupon to get a spot on the buses to and from the event. For more information see here

The BMW Manga That Wasn't

The Ninth Art points out in their examination of the comics solicited in Diamond Previews' may edition that Dark Horse is listing a collection of Bmwfilms.Com Presents The Hire. The collection features work by Matt Wagner, Bruce Campbell, Mark Waid, Kurt Busiek, Steven Grant, Francisco Ruiz Velasco, Kilian Plunkett, and Claude St. Aubin. Dark Horse abbreviated the series from a planned six issues to hour, reportedly due to difficult working with BMW's licensing group. One of the planned, but never executed issues was to have featured the work of Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira, Steam Boy) and Katsuya Terada(Blood: The Last Vampire, Monkey King).

Akitaro Daichi To Direct Bokura Ga Ita TV

Anime News Service reports that Akitaro Daichi (Kodocha, Fruits Basket, Jubei Chan) will be directing an adaptation Yuki Obata's Bokura ga Ita into a TV series that will debut in July. . Obata took the 50th Shogakukan Manga Prize in the girls' comics section. Other staff include
Screenplay: Mamiko Ikeda (Di Gi Charat Nyo!)
Ogawa Mizuki and Yuka Yamada
Music: Double Oates (Fruits Basket)
Sound Supervisor: Tanaka Kazuya (Kuromi)
Animation Production Art Land.
Official Website: www.bokuragaita.com

More on Nickelodeon Domo-Kun

ICV2 reports Nickelodeon has announced a deal with the Domo Production Committee to co-develop and produce 26 two-minute episodes of a series featuring the popular Domo-Kun character (the mascot of NHK, Japan's leading broadcaster). The American cable giant has also inked a pact with Polygon Pictures, a leading Japanese 3-D animation house to co-develop a new animated series based on Ira Ishida's manga, Akihabara@Deep.

Domo-Kun, who has been NHK's mascot since 1998, is a cultural phenomenon in Japan. Domo is a strange creature born from an egg who lives in an underground cave with a wise old rabbit. Domo and his friends watch way too much television, listen to a lot of rock 'n roll, and when he is nervous or in a bad mood, he breaks wind -- an activity which has endeared him to Japanese kids and tweens.

Power Puff Girls Anime Scheduled

AnimeNation reports Toei has announced that the Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z anime TV series will premier on July 1st in Japan. The show will replace the concluding Sugar Sugar Rune.

New Astray Series

Gunota reports Koichi Tokita posted a notice on his blog about the newest Astray series, to appear in Gundam Ace starting in the June 26th edition. The title is partially revealed to be "Mobile Suit Gundam SEED C.E. 73 * Astray" Astray is a spin-off of the popular Gundam SEED mecha-war series.

Game News

ICV2 reports that the Naruto collectable card game (CCG), sold out at the wholesale level the week after it was released (street date of April 28th).ICv2 spoke to Andrew J. Lupp, the National Sales Manager at Bandai Collectible Games here. Initial orders came in far stronger than Bandai expected, which meant that the publisher was only able to fill about 50% of those orders. Bandai will not release product to the mass-market (as opposed to hobby/specialty) retailers until June.

Score will be publishing a stand-alone card game based on Sonic X (from the Sonic the Hedgehog anime and games), to be sold at $9.99 for the set.

Geneon Entertainment has announced an new PSP? dedicated site, a portal designed by Nightjar, LLC. to allow owners of the PlayStation Portable? to access multimedia content directly over any wi-fi network. Supporting Sony's release of the second generation PSP? firmware that is introducing Internet capability for the handheld device, Geneon has developed a PSP? dedicated version of their own anime homepage… one of the first official sites designed strictly for handheld browsing. The Geneon Entertainment PSP? dedicated site can be found at www.geneonanimation.com.

ARComics.com has announced that they will take advantage of the support for Flash in the Sony PSP firmware upgrade v2.70) to produce animated web comics for the portable device. The company's site has a teaser here. the ARComics.com is looking for assistance from the comic book, technical, art and videogame communities to showcase up and coming pencilers, inkers, colorists and flash animators (the potential to have your work seen is enormous). You can find out more about the submission process here

Gamepsot has an E3 Pre-show preview of the Gundam game for the Xbox 360 Mobile Ops: The One Year War here.

From The Magic Box

Several games are being developed based on Brave Story, the upcoming Gonzo movie directed by Koichi Chigira (Full Metal Panic!, Last Exile, Gate Keepers and older titles like Doomed Megalopolis and Kimagure Orange Road). The Playstation 2 game can be seen here and the PSP game can be seen here.

Blood+ The Battle Rondo of Twin Wings, based on the TV follow-up to Production IG's Blood: the Last Vampire can be seen here

Screenshots for Dragon Ball Z Sparking! NEO for the Playstation 2 can be seen here

Negadon Non-Contraversy

Twitch experienced an interesting cultural phenomenon when Korean fans thought that they noticed that CGI animated kaiju (giant monster) movie Negadon left their country off a satellite view of Asia. The films producer later clarified that the Korean peninsula came into the shot after the controversial screenshot was taken. See the history here.

Her Majesty's Dog Creator at AX

Anime Expo 2006 (AX2006) and Go! Comi have announced that Mick Takeuchi, creator of the highly popular manga series Her Majesty's Dog will attend the 15th year anniversary convention at the Anaheim Convention Center July 1-4, 2006. More information is available at www.anime-expo.org

Ms. Takeuchi has been making manga since 1994. Her breakout series was Ayakashi Hime Kurenai, published under Kadokawa's Asuka imprint. Other early works include Miharu Shinjo Jewelry File and A Wise Man Sleeps. In 2000, she began Her Majesty's Dog (Jo-ousama no Inu), her longest and most popular work-which is also GO! Comi's best selling title. Her Majesty's Dog is a supernatural romance about a shy transfer student and her protector, a hot-looking demon who can only survive on her tender kisses. Ms. Takeuchi will be celebrating her birthday (July 4th) during Anime Expo.

Ms. Takeuchi joins, previously announced, CLAMP, Seiji Mizushima, Vic Mignogna and Laura Bailey as Anime Expo 2006 official Guests of Honor.

July ADV Schedule (Including Ganz Box 2)

From Anime on DVD:
7/4
Cyberteam in Akihabara Box Set (Thinpak)
Gantz Season 2 Complete Collection
This Ugly Yet Beautiful World Vol. #1 (also w/box)
UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie Vol. #3


7/11
Godannar Vol. #6
Macross Vol. #4
Michel Vol. #2

7/18
Hakugei: Legend of the Moby Dick
Kaleido Star: New Wings Vol. #4
Nanaka 6/17 Vol. #2
Petite Princess Yucie Box Set (Thinpak)

7/25
Area 88 OVA Series
Gravion Zwei Complete Collection (Thinpak)
Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok Vol. #6
Princess Tutu Vol. #6

This Ugly Yet Beautiful and Petite Princess Yucie are from Evangelion/FLCL's Gainax.

The twelve episode This Ugly Yet Beautiful World follows a courier who stumbles onto a strange girl being harried by monsters.

Petite Princess Yucie is a 26 episode fantasy about a 17 year old girl tried to break the curse that trapped her into a child's body.

Godannar and Gravion Zwei are both delightfully over the top giant robot series.

Gantz is a brutal sci-fi action about a group of people, copied in the moment before their deaths and sent out in a game to kill creatures that labeled to be aliens. It's second, 13 episode season diverted from its original manga, and ran into some problems with the material.

TOKYOPOP Announced Prose Line

Manga Publisher TOKYOPOP will be expanding into teen prose fiction with a new "Pop Fiction" line. The line will be launched in October, with volumes priced between $7.99 and $10.99. Novels will include:

Kino no Tabi: Book One of THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD
In this sensational bestseller from Japan, young Kino roams the world on the back of Hermes, her talking anthropomorphic motorcycle, only staying in each country for three days. Throughout their adventures, they experience happiness and pain, decadence and violence, and beauty and wisdom-all in a strange and beautiful world. This eight-volume series, a critique on the inherent beauty of imperfection, oscillates between philosophical and winsome, while remaining consistently and overwhelmingly imaginative. Kino no Tabi: Book one of THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD contains 208 pages, includes black & white illustrations, and is priced at $7.99 (SRP).

Magic Moon
Created by Wolfgang and Heike Hohlbein, two of Europe's most renowned fantasy writers, Magic Moon ranks as one of the hottest international teen novels, having sold more than two million copies worldwide and translated into more than 20 languages. Magic Moon, chronicles the adventures of Kim, who enters an enigmatic realm where he battles unthinkable monsters and fantastical beings in order to unravel the secret that keeps his sister locked in a coma. With three volumes slated for release, Magic Moon contains 344 pages and is priced at $10.99 (SRP).

Scrapped Princess: A Tale of Destiny
Written by Ichiro Sakaki and inspired by the successful anime series, Scrapped Princess: A Tale of Destiny details the story of a young girl, prophesied to bring about the end of the world should she live to her 16th birthday. But despite all attempts to destroy the baby, the myth of the Scrapped Princess lives on. With thirteen volumes in the series, Scrapped Princess contains 208 pages, includes black & white illustrations, and is priced at $7.99 (SRP).

Witches' Forest: The Adventures of Duan Surk
Based on the famous Fortune Quest world, a monster franchise that includes comics, video games, tabletop RPGs and a TV series, Witches' Forest: The Adventures of Duan Surk tells the tale of Duan Surk, a 16-year-old amateur fighter who gets lost in the spooky Witches' Forest, and hooks up with two other adventurers, in the quest of a lifetime. In this four-volume series, Mishio Fukazawa weaves a tale of wonder and courage that proves the heart makes the hero. Witches' Forest: The Adventures of Duan Surk contains 328 pages, includes black & white illustrations, and is priced at $10.99 (SRP).

Crayon Shin-Chan Vissual Evolution

AniPages's daily has examined the stylistic evolution of Crayon Shin-Chan, a series recently licensed by FUNimation. The comedy about an obnoxiously (and often sexually) precious kindergarten boy was blamed by Japanese parents for the advent of a rude generation. The character depictions in it's anime incarnation went from a traditional, rounded look to the rough sketch like appearance of the original strip manga.
See here

Pom Poko Thesis

Oliver Coombes is posting his thesis on the Isao Takahata/Studio Ghibli film Pom Poko on his blog here

Directed by Takahata, who, perhaps undeservedly, has received less international notice than Hayao Miyazaki, the film looks at the clans of shape changing tanuki (often called raccoon dogs) who attempt to preserve their home from encroaching human development. It was distributed on DVD in North America by Disney.

Final Fan American Godzilla '94 Designs

The final pencil designs for the American Gondzilla '94, a fan project looking to adapt the American Godzilla script from 1994, can be seen here. The products main page is at here, with more information here and the Yahoo forum here

Tetsujin 28 The Movie and Texhnolyze in July

Geneon will release Tetsujin 28 The Movie, the live action/CGI adaptation of the giant robot forerunner, known as Gigantor in North America, in July 4th.

Texhnolyze, a hard edge cyberpunk noir will be collected in a Lenticular Box Set for $124.98 on July 25th.

ADV Talks Live action Evangelion

Eva Monkey covers ADV's Matt Greenfield's comments on the live action Tekkoshocon here. A Google video of the panel can be seen here. Greenfields commented a director will likely be announced by the end of the year.
Amoung ADV's assertions about the project: (more on Eva Monky)

* Matt Greenfield says that Weta approached ADV about approaching Gainax to do a live action Eva movie.
* Three "A List" directors that are also fans of Evangelion approached ADV about the project, not the other way around.
* Celebrities have been inquiring directly to ADV about being involved in Live Action Evangelion.
* The director to be signed will most likely be the first to have room in their schedule.
* The slug script was written by a well known writer who has written several well known sci-fi movies. The slug script will be re-written to fit the tastes and vision of the director selected.
* Tiffany Grant asserts that Weta gets 20 times more email about Evangelion than Lord of the Rings.

ICv2 Releases 2005 Manga Market Size Estimate

ICV2's Retailers Guide to Anime/Manga #14 has estimated the size of the North American manga market in 2005 at between $155 and $180 million at retail. A year ago they estimated the size of the North American manga market in 2004 to be in a range between $110 and $140 million. For more information see here

Trigun Re-Releases

Geneon will be released a "ReMix" edition of sci-fi western Trigun, starting with a 5 episode volume on June 27th for $29.98.

Other June releases in Viewtiful Joe 4, Kannazuki No Miki 3, and Strawberry Marshmellow 2

Interviews and Commentary

CBC has an interview with Cowboy Bebop/Samurai Champloo director Shinichiro Watanabe here.

Anime Pulse had a recording of the MIT's "Violence and Desire in Japanese Popular Culture" symposium here

Plans for Metal Gear Solid Movie Revealed

AnimeNation points out Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima has revealed in his audio "Hide-chan Radio" podcast that Konami has plans to produce an American Metal Gear Solid motion picture.

Sales Charts

Anime News Network reports Final Fantasy VII ranked #2 in VideoScan's First Alert sales chart in its first week.

ICV2 reports Tokyopop's Fruits Basket Vol. 13 remained in the top spot on the BookScan list of graphic novels sold in bookstores for the third straight week, while Kingdom Hearts Vol. 3 (also Tokyopop) remained at #2 for the second week in a row.

Rintaro, Maruyama at AnimeNext

Anime News Network reports Rintaro (Metropolis, the X Movie) and Masao Maruyama (producer of an extensive range of anime from Ashita no Joe to Trigun) will attend AnimeNext as Guests of Honor. AnimeNext runs June 16-18 in Secaucus, NJ.

Hikaru no Go on iaTV

ImaginAsian TV (iaTV) announced that it has acquired the hit anime series SHONEN JUMP’s HIKARU NO GO from animation, publishing and licensing, company VIZ Media, LLC. Based on the best-selling manga written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, HIKARU NO GO is scheduled to premiere on iaTV on May 2, 2006 at 8 p.m. PT/ET. ImaginAsian TV, America’s first 24-hour Asian American television network, will be the first U.S. network to broadcast both the subtitled and dubbed versions of the series.

In Japan, HIKARU NO GO has enjoyed tremendous success as a manga and anime series since its debut in 1998 in the weekly Shonen Jump comic anthology magazine. Twenty-three volumes of the manga were published, and the creation of the 75-episode animated series later followed. The popularity of HIKARU NO GO spurred a massive interest in the ancient strategy Go game among the youth in Japan, Korea and Hong Kong. North America has also seen a similar resurgence in the game’s popularity since VIZ Media began publishing the manga series in its monthly SHONEN JUMP magazine in 2004.

HIKARU NO GO tells the story of Hikaru Shindo, a young student who stumbles across a dusty old Go board while exploring his grandfather’s attic. Trapped inside is Fujiwara-no-Sai, the ghost of an ancient Go master that enters Hikaru’s consciousness, allowing him to communicate with the spirit. Sai, newly awakened, wishes for nothing more than to play Go again. Urged on by Sai, Hikaru reluctantly begins playing Go. As he begins to appreciate the complexities of the game, Hikaru makes it his quest to become the ultimate Go champion. Featuring high-quality a nimation by Studio Pierrot (Naruto, Bleach), HIKARU NO GO is a visual tour de force, fast-paced adventure, and compelling coming of age story in one.

Both subtitled and dubbed airings of HIKARU NO GO on ImaginAsian TV will also feature a live-action “How to Play Go” segment, originally aired on Japanese television.

New Go Nagai OVA

Anime News Service reports Kikoushi Enma, a new direct to video OVA based on Go Nagai's (Devil Man, Cuty Honey) Dororon Enma-kun will released by Bandau Visual on August 25th.

Original Story: Go Nagai
Director: Mamoru Kobe (NieA_7)
Screenplay:Takawo Yoshioka (Elfen Lied)
Character Design: Komaru Toshiyuki (MAR)
Demon Design: Tanaka Makoto (My Neighbor Totoro)
Music Production: Lantis, Animation Production:
Brains Base. Official Website: www.k-enma.com. A trailer should be made available at sometime in the future at this URL.

Key animation and background painting production are completed this week. "Gedo Senki" production staff who finished their work take the vacation before starting the next project.

The official site for the movie has opened at http://www.ghibli.jp/ged/

Stonebridge Looking For Cosplay Photos

Stone Bridge Press, publishers of books about Japan that is well known for its titles on anime and manga, is coming out with two new books dedicated to cosplay. The publisher is looking to collect photos of "catgirls and various different creatures" for 'Cosplay: Catgirls and Other Critters' which arrives this summer.

Cosplayers of all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, etc., are asked to submit hi-res digital images or photo slides (no mere jpeg will do). For the themes of the books, cosplayers must be catgirls or "critters." Think 'Inu-Yasha,' various pets of heroes and villains, anything in fur, feathers, scales, etc. Stone Bridge Press will also need the actual name of the cosplayer(s) pictured and a model release statement.

There is no pay but there is glory, international exposure and a free book!

Cosplayers should email editorial@stonebridge.com before May 31, 2006 about what they have in terms of digital images, photo slides, or 8"x10" glossies, and the type of cosplay.

Right Stuf Announces Ninja Nonsense (2X2=Shinobuken) Release

Righ Stuf International has announced that the first volume of cult comedy Ninja Nonsense will be releasd on July 25th.

From Right Stuf's description:

Take the comedy of SOUTH PARK, combine it with one totally cute (and naive) ninja-girl trainee, a horde of ninjas under the perverse tutelage of her headmaster: a strange, yellow, spherical, pudgy... creature... named Onsokumaru, and you get the craziest, most hilarious anime show ever created!

Ninja trainee Shinobu is sent on a mission by her pervy headmaster to collect underwear from high school girls! Her first target? Kaede Shiranui! Then, Shinobu takes Kaede on a crazy adventure to the Valley of the Ninja to meet her Head Master! And just when things couldn't get any weirder, the rainy weather drives bored ninjas into looking for the Loch Ness Monster in their pond... only to find an Onsokumaru-eating crocodile instead!

Later, Onsokumaru's greatest reward may be at hand when Shinobu and Kaede are set to go on a date! Can this be allowed?! Ninja-master Onsokumaru and masked-nobleman Sasuke decide to keep a close eye on this spectacle of nature! Then, Onsokumaru's arch-enemy is about to arrive on the scene. It's Shinobu's little sister, Miyabi! Onsokumaru decides it's time for a little one-on-one... just her, him, and his crocodile power-suit! And poor Shinobu's being kicked out of the manor?! Maybe Kaede's family would be interested in adopting a ninja into their family...

Piano: The Melody Of A Young Girl's Heart Dvd Complete Collection will be releasd on July 11th for $59.99

From director Norihiko Sudo (DIRECTOR: COMIC PARTY / ASST DIRECTOR: CASTLE IN THE SKY), with character designs by Kosuke Fujishima (OH MY GODDESS! / SAKURA WARS) and art direction by Junichi Higashi (MY DAYS WITH MIDORI / AI YORI AOSHI: ENISHI TV)

Miu Nomura once loved to play the piano. As a little girl, the music made her heart soar and she eagerly shared her songs with all of those around her. Now an introverted teenager, Miu has become too shy to express her feelings – even through her music. Her playing has suffered and her piano teacher, the moody Mr. Shirakawa, has become impatient with her inability to reach the next level.

When Miu develops a crush on upperclassman Takahashi, her best friend Yuuki is the first to notice. Unfortunately, Yuuki's too distracted with her own emotional troubles – she's fallen hard for third year track star Takizawa! However, Mr. Shirakawa has also noticed something... a sudden and remarkable change in Miu's playing. Can he help her rediscover the joy of the piano and find the courage to share her heart and music once more?
Readers Talkback
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  • May 4, 2006, 11:06 p.m. CST

    Beers at work

    by halfmahalfn

    OK, I have no knowledge or inclination to learn on any of the above anime. However, with my name up in lights, potentially as first, I'll be adored and worshipped for years now. Yes, two beers in at work now. yay for me.

  • May 4, 2006, 11:10 p.m. CST

    Can't wait for

    by cannedpasta

    the new Miyazaki films!

  • May 4, 2006, 11:20 p.m. CST

    Some great news today...

    by Johnno

    New Miyazaki movie announcement... Evangelion movie sounds like it's coming along real well... and of course Metal Gear Solid is confirmed to be heading to the movies in some form...

  • May 4, 2006, 11:52 p.m. CST

    EVA Gear Solid

    by nemesisdarkside

    So, I guess the EVA film is actually moving forward. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I can't decide. Why? Well, because I still don't see how EVA can be compressed into a 2hr+ film. However, if the script turns out good, as well as getting a talented and passionate director and a perfect cast, I may be pleasantly surprised. As for MGS: The Movie, I've been wondering for years if it would ever happen. Guess Konami liked how Silent Hill turned out. This movie could be awesome, just everything needs to be perfect, no margin for error. Plus they definately need to find the perfect Solid Snake (whoever they cast won't top Hayter's definative voicing though). I'm genuinely excited, and I'm usually really suspicious of game-to-film adaptations!

  • May 5, 2006, 1:41 a.m. CST

    Eureka 7- Not the next anime phenom

    by Meta

    I watched the first 3 episodes on Cartoon Network and was seriously unimpressed. Surfing Giant Robots is considered to be innovative? Not everything has to be as groundbraking as Gundam or as creative as Cowboy Bebop or FMA, but this isn't the next phenom. Although if the kids like this drivel, I will be proven wrong. On the US production side, the dub is also lackluster, not horrible though. Johnny Yong Bosch is pitched way to high and whiny to make him sound like a real boy of that age, annoyingly so. The lead female actress (I forget her name) has the same issue. They are both talented actors and I have heard them in other anime sound much better and more realistic as younger characters, but not this show. Naruto and One Piece would have been the next phenom in the US if it Cartoon Network & 4Kids didn't dumb it down and Japan didn't have too many damn filler episodes. Well, I'm sure Japan will market the Robot toy product to death. Whether it sells will determine if this is the next phenomenon. Note to Japan, if you want to use English words in your anime PRONOUNCE THEM RIGHT! You-Ree-Kah, not Eh-reh-kah. You might as well call it Erection 7?

  • May 5, 2006, 2:29 a.m. CST

    That Powerpuff Girls thing...

    by Harry Weinstein

    Odd.

  • May 5, 2006, 4:29 a.m. CST

    X-treme? Nah

    by turk128

    Eureka 7 is more like Jap Pop Punk. Kinda like the Mod Squad for Japanese really.

  • May 5, 2006, 4:30 a.m. CST

    Re: Eureka Seven

    by Urge to Kill

    All I've got to say is give it time. It may not be the next big thing for American anime fans but it's still a really good series. I wasn't so sure about it myself but the show truly starts to hit its stride around episode 18.

  • May 5, 2006, 6:39 a.m. CST

    it'd be cool if David Hayter played Snake.

    by DigitalDong

    Also a MGS movie is just what we need these days. I miss the good ol days when movies about nuclear war and political motivated conflicts were a dime a dozen.

  • May 5, 2006, 12:10 p.m. CST

    nemesisdarkside

    by Johnno

    Their plan is apparently not to tell the whole Evangelion story in a 2 hour movie, they plan for at least a trilogy...

  • May 5, 2006, 12:11 p.m. CST

    Also that Watanabe interview with the CBC

    by Johnno

    is really interesting, get to know what hip hop is like on the other side of the globe... and also that beautiful scene in Samurai Champloo where Mugen is dying underwater. It's the equivalent of Spike's cathedral window scene in Bebop.

  • May 5, 2006, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Urge to Kill...

    by Meta

    If I have to wait 18 episodes for a series to get its stride, then there's something wrong with the writing of that series. A good anime can set everything set up and interesting in 4-8 episodes, even a long series.

  • May 5, 2006, 1:42 p.m. CST

    Miyazaki Swerve

    by ScottGreen

    According to nausicaa.net Hayao Miyazaki only spoke abstractly about future work. More was said about his current attitude towards film making than his next project.

  • May 5, 2006, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Johnno

    by nemesisdarkside

    Thanks for the info, I really need to read up on the EVA film, now that it is actually moving forward. Trilogy eh? Gives me a tiny bit more hope I guess that could work, but that still poses more questions. That CBC/Watanabe interview was quite interesting indeed. As I am more familiar with Japanese DJs/producers than MCs I had previously wondered if there were any Japanese MCs who dealt with the social issues of Japan/The World. Also I love how the underwater-Mugen-drowning scene came about from Watanabe being influenced from a trip to the Okinawa Islands.

  • May 5, 2006, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Dear Meta.....

    by Psynapse

    Pronunciation varies with geographic locales and 'ow-rek-ah' IS how it's pronounced (in Japan). Way to come off as a backwoods racist asshole, pal.

  • May 5, 2006, 5:48 p.m. CST

    Dear Psynapse

    by Meta

    No kidding?! Gee I never knew that, even having lived & studied Japanese in Japan for 3 years. I must have been such a racist backwards asshole to refuse to learn the difference between the English pronunciation of A E I O U and the Japanese pronunciation Ah Ee Ooh Ay Oh. Thanks for the education. IMHO, it's not racist to object to the re-interpretation of a proper pronounciation of an English word in an English dub, especially when a dub is forced to used that mispronunciation. If an anime used McDonalds as a location, would you insist that the English actors pronounce it Mac-doh-nal-doh as the Japanese do? Well here it's the same thing. If Japan wants to use English words in their dialogue and as the titles of their anime and pronounce it as they wish, fine. They don't have to insist that the US Production team uses the same pronunciation of long established English words. It's not racist, it's simply a matter of proper localization. But if you wan't to call me a racist backwoods asshole, by all means, keep fanning the flames! The AICN anime talkback gets so little posting activity, it could use a good flame war.

  • May 5, 2006, 7:01 p.m. CST

    Samurai Champloo, Full Metal Alchemist, Cowboy Bebop...

    by SirBiatchReturns

    animes at its finest, particularly Champloo.

  • May 5, 2006, 7:21 p.m. CST

    that Watanabe interview was really interesting

    by SirBiatchReturns

    as a brotha, its amazing to see how someone from a supposedly different culture like the Japanese, can make a show that is so authentically hip hop. People need to understand that as much as hip hop draws from 'black' experience, it is more importantly human experience. and once you understand its roots, you can do marvelous thing with the culture and make it speak for your own particular culture.

  • May 7, 2006, 8:45 p.m. CST

    to everyone bitching about about Eureka Seven

    by v1cious

    it hasn't fucking started yet! the series is 50 episodes long, you've only seen 5. on another note... how the fuck do you make a game out of Death Note?