Manga Spotlight: Tanpenshu Volume 1 By Hiroki Endo Released by Dark Horse Manga
Discussing the work of Osamu Tezuka, Roland Kelts's Japanamerica asserts that part of Tezuka's innovation in manga was to break the form away from a restricted stage-minded view of the medium's visual possibilities. Hiroki Endo is not exactly carving a new trail in Tanpenshu, but, here, he does establish his own pattern for constructing stories that are both ordinary and profound. Tanpenshu collects three remarkably literate manga short stories from Hiroki Endo, the creator of the Gnostic inspired sci-fi Eden: It's An Endless World! Endo's work in Tanpenshu is exceptional, especially in the atypical nature of the collection's stories. This approach is initiated with the volume's cover, which isn't so much misleading, as it is duplicitous. It features a young woman whose Rapunzel like hair bleeds into the red cloth covering her naked form. She holds a Bowie knife skewering a stuffed panda. In fact, she's standing in a mass grave of stuffed pandas similarly inflicted with mortal wounds by combat blades. While this is a stark, memorable and disturbing image, it is liable to cryptically blend in with racks of violence driven genre manga. And in a sense, Tanpenshu does rely on familiar models as handles for its stories. Vaguely, one is a yakuza work, one is a school girl work, and one is a young adult social work. However, its content is less filtered and less driven by those conventions than a glance at the cover might suggest. The image directly references the story "Because You are Definitely a Cute Girl" and as such is less concerned with literal violence than an internal conflict of ideas. Throughout the three stories, people attempt to apply some metaphor to reconcile how they were formed into the people that they are. They map events that they see as significant within their own histories to psychological theory, mythology or other more universally accepted observations of the world. In this exercise, by dramatizing what are ultimately small conflicts without leaning too heavily on familiar crutches, Endo engages the reader, challenging them to recognize the significance below the surface in the lives of his characters, and by implication in life. Endo avoids the potential draw to establish a ponderous weight for the metaphysical topics in a set of stories populated by teens, college students and introspective adults. In a sense, the characters don't pass the test of whether you'd be tempted to listen in on their conversations if you overheard them. However, Endo bypasses this by making what the characters do and say of secondary importance to deciphering why they believe what they believe about themselves, and how those ideas shapes them. There is a conversation between two drama club early-twenty somethings in collection's third story, "For Those of Us Who Don't Believe in God" Kusano (male lead of the production, self described big, but gentle): You ever thought about killing yourself? Katayose (sound, the group's psychologist): What are you worked up about? ... If you've been troubled, you still have to eat. If you cry, morning still comes. Kusano: Don't take it seriously. I was only thinking, if I thought I could choose when to die--it might making living easier. Katayose: The kind of people who say stuff like that are the ones who've never really suffered. While conversations like this invoke the idea, Tanpenshu is ambivalent about setting the benchmark for a "bad" life. Almost all of the stories' subjects are troubled, and almost all of the troubles are routed in personal histories. Endo emphasizes a circumspect view of tragedy in his post script. He explains that he grew up in a seedy part of Tokyo, surrounded by brothels. This environment was both a distraction and an actively discourage demonstration of the uglier side of the human condition. Yet the final post script is "Aaah... I'm truly lucky to have escaped Tokyo!" Through the stories, there is an implicit current that circumstances are bad, but not inescapably bad. Characters are demonstrated to be a product of their environment, and at the same time, it is not simply blaming their upbringing for the current lives and actions of the characters. There is always some component of what the characters ultimately chose to make of themselves. The stories are neither free of authorial judgment or dictated by overt moralizing. They exist to be inspected and re-read for further thought. A dimension of what makes Tanpenshu appealing is the quality of Endo's illustration. With a human, imperfect look, Endo makes his characters look attractive without over idealizing them. Antagonists look like mundane people. It's impossible to hate or ignore them, because they aren't simple caricatures. For example, one panel in "The Crows, the Girl, and the Yakuza" has the piece's scheming villain and his crew. The villain’s gelled, maintained hair, set his against unkempt suit paints him as someone whose ambition has outstripped his abilities: a heel, a man who you wouldn't want to deal with as a foe or as a peer, and pitiable in his own way. His crew don't speak, but there is weigh in with a powerful presence. While they look dangerous, at the same time, they look thin, beat up, worried or frustrated. In the case of his protagonists, there is an instantly endearing quality in Endo's style. A combination of well formed, accurate, if slender shapes and consistent attention to a spark in the characters' eyes gives them living presence. Even when they are grievously wounded, committing deplorable actions, or in abnormal mental states, the look doesn't allow the reader to be repulsed by the characters or detach from them. If there is a slight negative to Endo's visual approach is this that while the line work is such that within a particular story's cast every face is distinctive, in a larger sense, faces start looking familiar. To some extent, Endo has to keep varying hair lengths and styles so all his young women with long, dark straight hair don't collide into one character. As short stories, Tanpenshu's narrative has a greater flexibility than most chapter, anthology published works. Further freed by a lack of genre expectations, Tanpenshu is manga without a safety net. The work might be nine years old, but it is tangibly a "current" work of manga. There is a spirit of settled and set world in through the work. It's not post-war, or bubble, or a genre birthed by those social phases. As it was in 1998 when the work was first published, the future is now, and as such, nothing is left, but for characters to deal with themselves.
Anime Spotlight: Beet the Vandel Buster Volume 1 Released by Illumitoon Entertainment and Westlake Entertainment
It's going to be hard for newcomer Illumitoon to curve out a strong position in the North American anime market given Beet the Vandel Buster's propensity for being overshadowed by other titles and flaws with its release. The Beet anime itself is a competent "also ran" shonen title. While not as well produced as Naruto, as frenetic as One Piece, or as well written as either, it does faithfully commit itself to offering the incremental tale of a young hero's advancing quest. Earlier episodes front load the series with enough action as hooks, and the pace is sufficiently energized that an audience with an interest in swords and monsters fantasy will find that the series can hold their attention. The anime ran a respectable 52 episodes, which suggests it wasn't unpopular and that its style of story telling has an appeal to some audiences. Based on a manga written by Riku Sanjo, of MD Geist infamy, and directed by Tatsuya Nagamine, who has done little in anime beyond Beet, the series looks like it was built simply to exercise the successful Shonen Jump formula. The eponymous lead fights the monstrous vandels that plague his world, with all plot and character drama acting in service to the action. Perhaps in a nod to the popularity of game tie-in franchises like Yu-Gi-Oh, Beet the Vandel Buster's heroes engage in very game mechanic like adventuring. Vandel hunting "Busters" have numerical levels. Once they've defeated vandels they appear before a sage who looks into their eyes, sees their accomplishments, then awards then with a monetary bounty for killing their foes, and if they've defeated enough, a level advancement. Ending animation and mid-episode eye catch sequences suggest the presence of trading card representations of the characters and vandels. Except for the possible Yu-Gi-Oh-style reference the game metaphor is a bit baffling. The series is based on manga, not a game. Video games were developed based on the anime/manga, but not the other way. Beyond that, it is a cheap, unclever way of suggesting advancement. Young audience action anime has traditionally had its share of simplistic storylines with interesting villains. Among the series vandel antagonists, there are animalistic or mindless creatures and there are intelligent, humanoid type creatures. These almost demonic beings have hierarchies, and while their morality is clearly villainous, the series does suggest that they rationally feel that they are at war with the humans. Perhaps rightly so. If you read too much into the series, its stance on ecology is truly dire. The hero spends plenty of these early episodes slaughtering biting snails, only to later return to his home village to kill off its entire population of mud-lizards. While the actions of the vandels are certainly unforgivable, the conflict does seem appropriate on either side. The series is not going to offer the complexity of a work like Naruto, but it at least makes an effort to suggest some thought in its conflict. The release itself is not quite as bad as Toei's venture into North American DVD distribution, but it is inescapably sub-standard. Typically anime is translated with separate scripts for the English language dub and for accompanying the original Japanese audio. Typically the subtitled one is more literal. Not only does Beet the Vandel Buster use one script for both, but the subtitle script includes audio queues (notes for laughter, or crowds screaming), and it is terribly mistimed. Single works are accompanied by sentences of subtitles. Subtitles appear seconds after a character completes speaking. Exacerbated by text formatting issues, it is not hyperbole to say that the subtitles are beneath the standards of most fan translators. It's damning with faint praise to say that the work here is slightly more manageable than Toei's North American DVD releases. Packaging is not always germane to the evaluation of anime, but here it is an issue. While Beet the Vandel Buster is a relatively recent work, originally airing on Japanese TV in 2004, like most aspects of the series the look and animation is serviceable rather than stand out. The look of the series itself is highlighted on the cover. Beet, looks high on energy, light on distinct personality and his angel wing-like sword looks needlessly overdesigned. The full effect is rudimentary "any action anime." Which leads to the next problem. At $24.98 it is priced a bit high for its station in the anime world. While some parents might object to the quantity and ferocity of the series’ bloodless violence, it is a younger audience work. Older fans might spend the money on the series for a source of mild amusement, but it is nothing to really seek out or budget for.
Manga Spotlight: Robot Volume 3: Works in Progress By Range Murata et al Released by Digital Manga Publishing
Manga fans will credit various qualities to the appeal of the medium, ranging from the presence of stories not carried in other traditions to its visual unique offering. Range Murata's Robot books fall squarely in the latter category. It's eclectic mix of short stories and serials aren't entirely without plot structure or narrative, but the impression is closer to that of an art book than traditional manga. Its strength is that its experimentation does yield unique or unusual imagery and its presentation allows the creators' works to fully stand out. Readers who insist on structure might not find anything to their liking, but those excited by new or unusual graphic territory in manga with find the material engaging. There are certain characteristics that are typically found in the manga tradition, but aren't necessarily essential to the form's definition. Most manga are written and illustrated by a single creator. Most are monotone. Robot is primarily distinguished by diverging with this latter point. Printed in 11.7 x 8.3 with glossy paper, the illustrations of Range Murata, Yoshitoshi ABe and others are literally stunning. Most of the creators both play to their strengths and add at least a bit of a spin to their own. ABe blends his style mix of recognizable humanity offset by jarring, alienating tones with a bit of a dungeon hack, swords and blood motif. Range Murata's entry is a series of portraits European comic style characters. It's a bit grainier than his typical work, but the fusion is a compelling direction. Given the range, there will be some works that readers actively dislike. One of the more contentious features is that the collection offers more than a preponderance of moe. Given that, as the title suggests, the collection cast more than a glance towards the mechanical re-creation of life, it does make some sense that the stories frequently look to young, innocent characters. From Pinocchio to Dr Slump, it is in keeping with past Robot stories. Both stories with decidedly human children and artificial ones are featured in the third volume of Robot. In most cases the manga creators appropriately use the characters to present stories through a lens of innocence or as babes in the woods for fairy tales. Yet, as with many manga/anime works that approach this topic, Robot's works doesn't always sit easily with generally accepted use of young characters. Okama, who started with adult manga before moving on to works like Le Portrait de Petite Cossette, Kamichu! and Gunbuster 2 does feature a young character showcasing his "gothic vinyl dress", but the single image is so weighted by the extravagance of his design that it is hard to really find anything objectionable. The one really sexually confrontational work has a good time with the approach. The pop, literally compared to bubble gum, short manga by Mami Itou, of Media Blaster's underrated Pilgrim Jäger, features a pair of demonic twins. The female sibling, who looks like a young, manga-fied Elizabeth Hurley, spend the course of the short work removing her brother's pants, docking his tail, and licking him. While this sounds off-putting, its such a kaleidoscopic trip that it is hard not to derive some enjoyment from the entry. The collection offers an excellent opportunity to sample the works of experimental visual artists. For example, Osamu Kobayashi, an anime veteran who has kept his work fresh in recent projects such as Gad Guard, Beck and Paradise Kiss, offers an off kilter view into the aspirations of a rock band. Its visual approach has an unprocessed look formed by loose lines without constrictive inking that offers the immediacy of captured life. On the other end of the spectrum, there is the work of Shigeki Maeshima , known for his contribution to the CG adaptation of Masamune Shirow's Appleseed, whose tight dramatic poses and digital effects give his swordplay religious warfare entry the feel of fluid animation. With media ranging from pastels to water color, to digital inking, this clash of aesthetics defies any notion that manga is monolithic.
Tekkon Kinkreet News
The latest work by the groundbreaking anime producers Studio 4C (makers of the criminally unlicensed Mind Game), Tekkon Kinkreet will be released in North America by Sony. The film adapts Taiyo Matsumoto's manga, which was released in North America by Viz as Black and White. The LA Times has looked at the film and its director Michael Arias here
Piers Anthony Anime Update
Anime News Network reports that fantasy writer Piers Anthony's site expands the information of the upcoming anime adaptation of his work. Split Infinity will adapt his work into a film.
Bandai Visual News
Bandai Visual announced that they will be releasing Gunbuster 2, The Wings of Rean and Demon Prince Enma in North America Spring 2007. Gunbuster 2 Sixteen years after the release of the original Gunbuster release in Japan, legendary studio GAINAX returns with an epic sequel! Directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki (FLCL), Gunbuster 2 is the story of country girl Nono's quest to become a Topless, the elite pilots whose Buster Machines protect Sol System from the mysterious space monsters! Set thousands of years after Gunbuster, the sequel focuses on a space pilot wannabe named Nono from a lonely snow-bound village. Her efforts lead her to join the elite teenage pilot group called Topless in order to defend the Sol System with their superpowers. Nono aspires to and seeks friendship of ace Topless pilot Lal'C even as Space Monsters encroach upon the Sol System and threaten the existence of mankind. The six episode OVA will be released across three volumes. The Wings of Rean The newest work by the famed Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino and a culmination of his personal vision in which he explores the family torn in war set against a sci-fi/fantasy backdrop. DVD will be released in 3 (three) volumes. Each volume will have original 32-page booklets and bonus features including interviews and other extras. In The Wings of Rean, Sakomizu, a WWII kamikaze pilot transported to an alternate universe returns to wreak havoc on present day Japan. His daughter Lyucus tries to stop her father from conducting his plot, and eventually falls in love with Aesap, a youth living in present day Iwakuni. The series will be released across three volumes Demon Prince Enma An action horror animation series based on a manga created by Go Nagai, a master manga artist who brought classics such as Devilman, Mazinger Z, and Cutey Honey. Working as a private investigator among humans, prince of demons Enma brings to justice those ghouls that stray into the human world. DVD will be released in 2 (two) volumes. Each volume will have original 16-page booklet and bonus features including interviews. In Japan, Bandai Visual will be releasing a six minute music video of CLAMP's Clover. Anime News Network and Anime!Anime! report Bandai Visual will be restructuring their operations to expand into international markets, and develop releases for next-generation video formats. The four production groups will be reduced to three, with more resourced focused on marketing and promotions team as well as expansion of Licensing Division, Next-Generation DVD Production, and Packaging operations.
Bandai Entertainment Licenses
Bandai Entertainment has announced that the distributor has licensed My-Otome and Tide Blue Line. Sunrise's My-Otome, which follows its popular series My-Hime, also released by Bandai Entertainment Inc, is a re-imagining of the story, with the characters from My-Hime now in a new world. Arika Yumemiya must accept her destiny in a feudalistic world and follow in her mother's footsteps of becoming an Otome. The 26 episode series will be released over 7 volumes with a story by Hiroyuki Yoshino (Gundam Seed Destiny) and music by Yuki Kajiura (.Hack//SIGN, Gundam Seed). The first volume will be released from Bandai Entertainment in June. Tide Line Blue, a 13 episodes series, is from Satoru Ozawa, the creator of the smash hit Blue Submarine No. 6 (also released in the US by Bandai Entertainment.) Tide-Line Blue features character designs by anime veteran Aikihiko Yamashiata (Giant Robo, Gin Rei, Princess Nine). When an apocalyptic disaster results in 90% of the earth's surface being flooded, mankind is forced to rebuild the world. When the commander of one of the few remaining nuclear submarines tries to take matters into his own hands, a group young mariners rises to the challenge. Tide Line Blue Vol. 1 is scheduled for a summer release.
NA DVD Release of Cutey Honey
Anime on DVD reports that Bandai Entertainment's release of Hideaki Anno's bubblegum adaptation of Go Nagai's classic magical girl Cutey Honey is scheduled for North American release on April 17th.
Girl Who Leapt Through Time US Premiere
The award winning anime feature The Girl Who Leapt Through Time will recieve its North American Premiere at the New York International Children’s Festival on March 3, at 6:30 PM NYICFF Tokyo teenager Mokoto Konno prefers to play baseball with the boys than gossip with the other girls. Stuck in a midpoint between child and adult and with graduation approaching, she's not too sure of what she'd like to do with the rest of her life that is, until a mysterious accident in the science lab gives Mokoto the ability to leap (literally) back in time. Once she recognizes the life-changing potential of her newfound power, Mokoto;s life becomes increasingly chaotic. In a series of breathtaking freeze-frame sequence, she plunges repeatedly into the past in an attempt to manipulate fate in her favor; yet, it soon becomes painfully clear that she cannot avert the inevitable. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a metaphorical tale of teenage angst: Motkoto's manic time ? leaping reflects her deeper fear of growing up, a denial of creeping adulthood, of uncomfortable romantic feelings, uncertainty about her future, and growing nostalgia for her simple high school life circumscribed by the baseball diamond and her two best friends. THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME Japan US PREMIERE Animation, Mamoru Hosoda, 2006, 98 min Japanese with English Subtitles Recommended ages 10 to 18 CANTOR Sat, March 3, 6:30 PM $10 www.gkids.com The NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S FILM FESTIVAL will run March 2-18 It's line-up of 108 animated, live action, documentary and experimental films includes "U" Call Me Elisabeth (US Premiere) The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (US Premiere) Grave Decisions (US Premiere) Belly Full of Dreams (NY Premiere) Mike's New Car (From Pixar) City Paradise (NY Premiere) The Ugly Duckling and Me! (US Premiere) Electric Sleep (NY Premiere) The Flying Girl (Ny Premiere) Heavy Pockets NYICFF 2007 takes place at the following theaters: CANTOR FILM CENTER 36 EAST 8TH STREET (AT UNIVERSITY PLACE) DGA THEATER 110 WEST 57TH STREET (AT 6TH AVE) IFC CENTER 323 SIXTH AVE (WEST 3RD) PETER NORTON SYMPHONY SPACE 2537 BROADWAY (AT 95TH ST)
Death Note has been adapted into a Nintendo DS game. New screenshots of the Gundam battle game Gundam Musou can be seen here. The game will be available in Japan as a distinct release and as part of a PS3 Gundam Musou Bundle Pack. Clips can be seen here Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: Rengoku vs. Z.A.F.T. Portable for the PSP can be seen here. Gunota points out that GA Graphic put up several galleries from the arcade Spirits Of Zeon Gundam shooting game: System Characters Stages Screenshots If you're a mecha geek, Majoria's News points out that Super Robot Wars W is online, featuring images of the original mech Valhawk and Valstork and the Ardygun family characters. And if you're really a geek, the Eucharis, Lapis Lazuli's corvette in Nadesico: Prince of Darkness, is playable. For the mecha geek bonus points, the trailer for Shin Kotetsu Zieg can be downloaded.
TOKYOPOP to Release Gustoon Title?
Anime News Service reports that TOKYOPOP has informed the site that they have licensed one of the manga titles that was formerly part of Gutsoon's defunct Raijin anthology. "It's not out of the question. In fact, we've already licensed one of the old Raijin titles. It isn't scheduled yet though, so saying which one it is would be premature."
DC Unlimited has licensed Afro Samurai to be adapted into a line of action figures and collectibles. The first series of products debuting at the American International Toy Fair, held in New York in February 2007. The planned line will include fully articulated 6.75" and 14" action figures, resin busts and statues. The first wave of figures, scheduled for Fall 2007. will include Afro Samurai, his Ninja Ninja, Kuma and Justice. Yamato USA has launched its new website at www.YamatoToysUSA.com TANDEM TWIN ANIMAL GIRLS and CREATORS’ LABO are now scheduled for release on February 28, 2007. TANDEM TWIN ANIMAL GIRLS: LYNX - AMETHYST: 1/6 Scale PVC Statue, complete with eyepatch; display base; and "evil" double-edge, sawtooth sword to retail for $68.00. The purple haired assassin was created by sculptor Kouichi Yamazaki (TANDEM TWIN)'s clan of Animal Girls. . TANDEM TWIN ANIMAL GIRLS: SHEEP GIRL - MERINO - 1/6 Scale PVC Statue by Kouichi Yamazaki $68.00 CREATORS’ LABO: BURST ANGEL – MEG (PINK) This repaint version of the first North American release showcases the work of sculptor Kang Yong of the four person sculpting team Cerberus Project TM. The 1/7 scale statue retails for $68.00. Organic Hobby will be releasing a 10" Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo vinyl which can be seen here Masked Rider Den-O figures can be seen here The March Revoltech releases will be Dangaioh Hyper Combat Unit and AV-X0 Zerosiki from Patlabor. Figures.com has posted a review of the Revoltech Cybertron Commander Convoy (Optimus Prime) figure here. Due to licensing issues, the figure is not scheduled to be released in North America.
Upcoming in Japan
From AnimeNation Shochiku will screen Summer Days with Coo by Crayon Shin-chan director Keiichi Hara, Vexille, a full CG sci-fi action film directed by Fumihiko Sori, producer of the Appleseed motion picture (Twitch looks at the project here) and The Country Doctor, the latest work from Oscar nominated animator Koji Yamamura at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival. The site for Kotetsu Sangokushi has been redesigned. Anime News Network points out that the official site for anime auteur Shinkai Makoto's Byousoku no 5 Centimeters (5 Centimeters per Second) announced that the film will debut at Cinema Rise on March 3rd. The first segment of the film will be offered free online to Yahoo Japan subscribers February 16-19 Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica (Divine Organization Polyphonica), from Scrapped Princess' Sakaki Ichiro will be adapted into a 12 episode anime series scheduled to debut on Japanese TV in April.
Black Sun, Silver Moon Preview
Go! Comi has posted a preview of their upcoming Black Sun, Silver Moon manga.
Vertical Picks Up Tezuka Title
Anime on DVD forum uses has noted that Amazon Canada lists Vertical's upcoming release of MW. The Comics Journal has confirmed that Vertical is indeed planning the release of MW, Andromeda Stories and Keichiro Ryu's The Guin Saga Manga: The Seven Magi.
Mushishi Live-Action Movie Interview
ComiPress has posted an interview with director Katsuhiro Otomo concerning his adaptation of Yuki Urushibara's manga Mushishi. The film was recently shown as Sundance under the title Bugmaster.
Doraemon Doujinshi Accused of Infringing Copyright
Doraemon, featuring a blue robot cat from the future is one Japan's longest running, best known anime. Comipress reports a doujinshi fan comic entitled Doraemon - Final Episode has raised the ire of Doraemon copyrights holder Shogakukan after selling 15,500 copies at Comiket 71. Shogakukan will be pursuing compensation and possibly prosecution fro the manga. While "re-creation" copyright infringement is illegal, it is traditionally overlooked in the arena of doujinshi.
Gokusen Manga Ending
ComiPress reports that Kozueko Morimoto's josei manga Gokusen will be ending in YOU No.5 on sale 2/15. The work, which is likened to a female lead GTO follows a Yakuza heiress who becomes a teacher in a troubled school. The anime version was released in North America by Media Blasters. A popular live action drama was also produced based on the manga.
Harvard Manga Book
Harvard University's Asia Center will be publishing Adam L. Kern book Manga from the Floating World: Comicbook Culture and the Kibyoshi of Edo Japan. The book promises to the the first full-length study in English of the kibyoshi pictorial fiction genre from late-eighteenth-century Japan. Artist Santo Kyoden will be featured among the books 200 illustrations.
American Anime Awards Nominees
After narrowing down the eligible based on the votes of 43,000 fans, the final nominations for the American Anime Awards have been announced. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony during the New York Comic Con Saturday night, February 24, to be broadcast on Anime Network. Over the month of January, North American anime fans voted on a web ballot devised by anime and manga companies working in North America, including VIZ Media, TOKYOPOP, Media Blasters, Geneon, FUNimation, Del Rey, CPM, Bandai, and ADV Films. Representatives from Anime Insider magazine and the popular internet fan sites AnimeNewsNetwork.com and AnimeOnDVD.com also contributed nominees to the ballot. The pop culture business news site ICv2.com oversaw the online voting. The top five finalists for the first American Anime Awards are as follows: Best Actor Johnny Yong Bosch (Akira, Bleach, Eureka 7) Crispin Freeman (Hellsing Ultimate, Noein, Revolutionary Girl Utena) Richard Hayworth (Rurouni Kenshin) Yuri Lowenthal (Naruto) Vic Mignogna (Fullmetal Alchemist, Macross) Best Actress Luci Christian (Princess Tutu) Susan Dalian (Naruto) Mary Elizabeth (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG) Maile Flanagan (Naruto) Michelle Ruff (Bleach, Lupin the 3rd) Best Actor in a Comedy Greg Ayres (Negima, Nerima Daikon Brothers) Johnny Yong Bosch (Akira) Liam O'Brien (Comic Party, DNA Squared, Girls Bravo) Tony Oliver (Lupin III) Dave Wittenberg (Zatch Bell) Best Actress in a Comedy Laura Bailey (Kodocha) Luci Christian (Desert Punk, Negima, Nerima Daikon Brothers) Debi Derryberry (Zatch Bell) Hillary Haag (Paniponi Dash) Michelle Ruff (Lupin the 3rd) Best Cast FLCL Fullmetal Alchemist Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG Inuyasha Naruto Best DVD Package Design Bleach Vol. 1 Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Fullmetal Alchemist Hellsing Ultimate 1--Limited Edition Steelcase Naruto Uncut Box Set Vol. 1 Best Anime Theme Song Asterisk (Bleach) Heart of Sword--Yoake Mae (Rurouni Kenshin) Rewrite (Fullmetal Alchemist) Ride on Shooting Star (FLCL) Rise (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig) Best Comedy Anime Ah! My Goddess TV FLCL Kodocha Ranma 1/2 Tenchi Muyo OVA Best Anime Feature Akira Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Fullmetal Alchemist--The Movie Inuyasha Movie 4: Fire on Mystic Island Pokemon Movie 8: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew Best Short Series Elfen Lied FLCL Gravitation TV Hellsing Ultimate Ranma 1/2 OAV Best Long Series Fullmetal Alchemist Inuyasha Naruto Rurouni Kenshin Samurai Champloo Best Manga Bleach Death Note Fruits Basket Naruto Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days
Eagle One Media To Produce Set Of Voltron Dvd Based On Comics
Eagle One Media, Inc. has produced a set of DVD adventures based on the Voltron: Defender of the Universe from Devil's Due Publishing's comic. The first DVD will be released June 2007 for $19.99. Eagle One Media anticipates securing an agreement with an established animation DVD distributor in the near future. An Eagle One Media animated digital comic production utilizes the actual artwork and story content from a series of comic books, generally 5 to 7 issues in length, and with the addition of animation, motion-style techniques, character voice-over, music, and special effects, creates a fact-paced, entertaining "feature film" that can be watched on any video device. Each animated digital comic production has a run time of 75 to 100 minutes and can be found at your local DVD retailer. According to this announcement, World Event Productions is working on a new interactive Voltron series, the release of the first-ever Voltron OVA, and a Voltron movie is soon to be announced.
New Manga Plagorism Controversy
ComiPress reports that Rin Yoshii's manga Switch has been removed from the anthology Cookie after fans pointed out the similarities between images in the manga and photographs from the November 06 issue of the fashion magazine Sweet. The content of Rin Yoshii's other works Kurabeyou mo Nai Hodo ni (So Incomparable) and Silent Summer Snow will be checked.
DMP Announces New Yaoi Title
Juné by Digital Manga Publishing has announced that Yaoi titles Don’t Say Anymore Darling and Not Enough Time are scheduled for be released in Summer 2007. Don’t Say Anymore Darling Written and illustrated by: Fumi Yoshinaga Rated 18+; MSRP: $12.95 – July 25, 2007 Kouhei is a doctor at the local university hospital who has lost touch with his high school friend Tadashi. While Kouhei grew up to become a successful young doctor, Tadashi became a jobless, poor-as-dirt, flaming gay writer. But one lonely night, at his wits end, Tadashi sends Kouhei a text message and receives a reply. Of course Tadashi has secretly harbored feelings for Kouhei for a long time. But when he finds out Kouhei is getting set-up for an arranged marriage… Not Enough Time Written and illustrated by: Shoko Hidaka Rated 16+; MSRP: $12.95 – July 25, 2007 Shoko Hidaka’s breakthrough comic is a collection of eye-opening love stories. Yousuke suddenly shows up on the door step of his old high school buddy Tanigawa after years of no contact. While the two had a budding relationship back in school, things fell apart and they decided to part ways and search for their true love. However, it might be that their relationship in the golden days of high school was what they have been looking for all along.
Gunpla Official English Blog
Bandai's official site has launched an English blog for Gundam modelling here.
Manga Format Version of Erin Hunter's Warrirors
TOKYOPOP and HarperCollins Publishers will be adapting Erin Hunter's Warriors into a series of graphic novels. The Lost Warrior, the first of a trilogy will be released in May 2007, with its follow-up scheduled for December. The comic will be created by Dan Jolley and James Barry. The comic will follow the adventure of feline hero Graystripe between the novels "The New Prophecy" and the "Power of Three."
Shingu Collection Release
Right Stuf has announced that the 26 episode Shingu: Secret Of The Stellar Wars will be released in a repackaged thinpak collection on April 24th for 2007 fo $59.99. The 26 episode culture-based sci-fi was animated by Madhouse. Staff included director Tatsuo Sato (Nadesico / This Ugly Yet Beautiful World / Azumanga Daioh), planning by Masao Maruyama (Gungrave / Death Note / Paradise Kiss), production by Masao Morosawa (Gungrave / Jubei-Chan / Trigun) and character designs by Yuugi Ikeda (Saiyuki / Gungrave / Monster). The SHINGU Complete Thinpak Collection includes: Entire 26-episode series, character bios, line art galleries, original production notes, textless opening and closing, scene access, Right Stuf trailers and a special 44-page booklet featuring English production notes, an interview with Director Tatsuo Sato and more!
New Dark Horse Release Anouncements
Appleseed Book 3: The Scales Of Prometheus (3Rd Edition) Written and art by Shirow Masamune. Life seems ideal within the utopian confines of Olympus, a shining beacon in a post-World War III wasteland, but perfection is always an illusion. Stalking the ruins of New York City is Artemis, a renegade, flesh-eating bioroid (enhanced artificial human) carrying data critical to the future of Olympus, and the elite ESWAT is sent in to tranq her and bring her back to Olympus. But when Artemis recovers during transit, the powerful combat bioroid brings down the transport ship and escapes into Olympus. ESWAT agents Deunan and Briareos are dispatched to bring in the feral Artemis, but will they emerge as heroes . . . or lunch? 216 pages, black and white, $14.95, in stores on July 4.
BERSERK VOLUME 18 Written and art by Kentaro Miura. 240 pages, black and white, $13.95, in stores on July 25.
BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL #125 Written and art by Hiroaki Samura. "Barefoot," part 4 of 5. 32 pages, black and white, $2.99, in stores on May 9.
CHUNCHU: THE GENOCIDE FIEND Written by Kim Sung-Jae, art by Kim Byung-Jin. In a time of chaos and war, a godforsaken era, twin sons are born to an emperor. But legend states that the son of the emperor shall be born a demon! But twins? Who is the demon, and who shall reign as emperor? Chunchu is the story of a young man saved from death by his mother, banished by his people, hunted by his brother, and tortured by the demons within. Living and fighting with a low-born warrior tribe who can never trust him, Chunchu lives a life of blood and violence, every day a struggle to survive. But something mysterious lurks within his cold exterior, something that could be awakened by the touch of a woman. 208 pages, black and white, $10.95, in stores on July 25. GHOST IN THE SHELL 1.5: HUMAN-ERROR PROCESSOR #8 Written and art by Shirow Masamune. A top government official has disappeared, and superstar-for-hire sniper Yuen Shohoi may have "disappeared" him. But the investigating agents of Section 9 begin to suspect something else afoot -- that the minister is in hiding, possessing secrets that others in the government are determined to make sure never see the light of day. And by tracking down the minister, are the agents simply leading the predators to the prey? Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor presents for the first time in America the "lost" Ghost in the Shell stories, created by Shirow Masamune after completing work on the original Ghost in the Shell manga and prior to his tour-de-force, Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface. This deluxe-format issue concludes "Lost Past," the final of four Ghost in the Shell tales. 24 pages, black and white, $2.99, in stores on May 16.
THE GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE DIRTY PAIR Written by Haruka Takachiho, art by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. Charged with keeping the peace and investigating crime among the stars, the Worlds Welfare Work Association (WWWA) prides itself on a reputation of safety and regard for life and property. If only someone would tell that to Agents Kei and Yuri, codename "the Lovely Angels," but better known as the Dirty Pair. Part female James Bond and part walking disaster, this duo gets the job done, though there are no guarantees that a city or two won't get razed in the process. In this adventure, the Angels are called in to investigate the cataclysmic destruction of the Gravus Heavy Industry facility on the planet Dangool. What they find there hurls the pair into a danger-filled trek across the galaxy. Created by popular science fiction author Haruka Takachiho in 1979, the Dirty Pair are among the most beloved characters in popular anime and science fiction circles. 280 pages, black and white, $8.95, in stores on June 13.
GUNSMITH CATS BURST VOLUME 2 Written and art by Kenichi Sonoda. 192 pages, black and white, $10.95, in stores on July 4.
HELLSING VOLUME 8 Written and art by Kohta Hirano. 208 pages, black and white, $13.95, in stores on July 4.
Solid State Society Wins Digital Content Grand Prix Jury Prize
Production I.G's "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society", directed by Kenji Kamiyama and released in Japan in November 2006, has been awarded with the Jury Prize at the 21st Digital Content Grand Prix. Production I.G was previously recognized by the Digital Content Grand Prix. In 2003 (18th Digital Content Grand Prix) President & CEO Mitsuhisa Ishikawa received the Chairman Prize for his achievements as producer and entrepreneur, and in 2004 (19th Digital Content Grand Prix) Mamoru Oshii's "Innocence" received the Grand Prix in the Hit Content Division. The 21st Digital Content Grand Prix, cosponsored by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Digital Content Association of Japan (DCAJ) to praise those people or companies who brought such technologies, service systems, and hit digital content as helped the Japanese digital content industry grow in 2006.
Upcoming Geneon Releases
Geneon has solidited the first volume of Black Lagoon for a 5/22/07. Expect the action series to be a huge it, potentially of Cowboy Bebop caliber. The action series follows a young Japanese buisnessman whose South East Asian buisness trip sets him up to be entanged by a trio of armed freelancers. Geneon's February releases include Street date: February 7, 2007 Viewtiful Joe Vol. 7 Street date: February 21, 2007 DearS: Complete Box Set $79.98 Elemental Gelade Vol. 5 Paradise Kiss Vol. 2 One year ago, an alien spacecraft crashed into Tokyo Bay, leaving the entire crew stranded on Earth with no means of returning home. In no time, the aliens are granted Japanese citizenship and begin participating in a home-stay program with the local people in order to learn all about human culture. When one DearS goes astray and wanders into the life of an ordinary high school student named Takeya, the adventure begins and this DearS is about to learn things they don’t teach you in school. Rating: 16 UP
Ghibli Casting for New Miyazaki Films
Nausicaa.net reports that the January 30 entry in Ghibli's production diary reports that the studio is auditioning a voice cast Hayao Miyazaki's next Films. 160 children attended the audition.
Afro Samurai Makers At New York Comic-Con
New York Comic-Con (NYCC) 2007, taking place in Manhattan's Jacob K. Javits Center on February 23-25, will be welcoming Takashi Okazaki, Fuminori Kizaki, Taito Okiura, and Eric Calderon -- the Creator, Director, and Co-Producers of Afro Samurai. Okazaki, Kizaki, Okiura, and Calderon will all appear as part of New York Comic Con 2007's Anime Program, discussing their work on the ground-breaking series on SPIKE TV and presenting never-before-seen clips from Afro Samurai. The five part series is produced by Japanese studio GONZO in association with GDH K.K. and FUNimation Entertainment. The animated action-adventure epic that is set in a futuristic yet feudal Japan stars Academy Award®-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson as a black samurai on a mission to avenge the death of his father. Jackson also serves as a series Executive Producer.
Shamo Preview Images
Twitch has posted28 preview image of director Soi Cheang's (Dog Bite Dog) adaptation of social rage fight manga Shama (gamecock). The films cast includes Shawn Yue, Masato, Dylan Kuo, Francis Ng, Bruce Leung, Annie Liu and Ryo Ishibashi. A review of the Shamo manga can be seen here Speaking of live action manga adaptations, Twitch points Unicorn Entertainment International Limited released Noboru Iguchi's Sukeban Boy (Oira sukeban) on DVD (NTSC, region-free, English subtitles) in Hong Kong on February 1st.
WildStorm Ninja Scroll Comic Collected
J. Torres' WildStorm comic of Ninja Scroll will be released as a collected edition in August 2007. The $9.99 volume will collect issues 1 through 5 of the comic.
Kadokawa Movie on Bittorrent
Anime News Network and Variety report that Kadokawa Holdings will be selling their Kadokawa Herald Pictures library on BitTorrent in America.
Abandoned Out At TOKYOPOP
Comics Worth Reading has posted a piece looking at Ross Campbell’s zombie graphic novel The Abandoned here. Campbell has opted to discontinue his relationship with the publisher: "i sorta quit Tokyopop after the first book, i had a crummy experience with them (requiring a long rant to explain, heh). but i’m pitching the sequel’s material to another publisher, but unfortunately without Rylie because Tokyopop owns the rights (d’oh!)."