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Independent Animation Spotlight: Dear Beautiful

Roland Becerra's experimental animation work Dear Beautiful powerfully utilizes the tools of its medium to create an evocative experience, sure to leave a lingering impression of distress. With the Moving Pictures Magazine Short Film Contest selecting this deeply effecting 15 minute zombie horror as their winner, to be screened at Cannes, it seems that not only horror watchers will welcome this gravely off-putting take on the genre. The work roots its disturbing tone through the method in which the picture ties its presentation to the damaged perception of the subject. Without hiding the ugly truth of the depicted events, it views the world through an unfocused stare. Problems are caught through glimpses on the periphery. In place of reactive danger, painted backgrounds and inked characters, brought to life with stop motion animation and Flash, progress through an uneasy trip into a slow disassociated drop. The short is structured around the familiar pattern of zombie movies: a mysterious vector introduces the contagion; people become infected. In this case, within the dense fog of a New Haven spring, "crazy"little red flowers begin showing up. Paul is too busy fretting about the end of his relationship with Lauren to hear the uncertainty hidden in the newscaster's cheeriness. Cleaning in final preparation their separation, she comes into contact with the flowers. Dear Beautiful departs from the zombie tradition by creating emotional rather than physical impediments. Paul is trapped in a relationship and finds himself unable to leave Lauren, even as his suburban neighborhood becomes repopulated by zombies. What's disconcerting about the short is that rather than panicking, it's subject simply can't react to the situation. Instead of running, he pounds shots of JD and fails to clear his head. Even the zombies seem to desperately cling to false notions of an external solution to their affliction, producing unforgettable sequences of zombified individuals slathering cosmetic products onto their bodies. The distinctive qualities of Dear Beautiful are amplified by its hazy look and feel, which suggest that the narrative itself is at odds with the events and even the passage of time. Light seems to struggle to pass into the frame. Whether its the unexplained weather patterns mentioned in the background conversations, alcohol or zombie minded blinders there is a constant filter on the short's presentation of events. Motion is similarly effected. There are a few cases where transposed images call attention to the technology used for the animation, but in the majority of cases, the strange characteristics of the movement feeds the work's impression. Blurs, hops and odd combinations of panning and shaky cam contribute to the subjective method of capturing events. For an unforgettable and artful zombie experience, be sure to view the short online.

Independent Animation Spotlight: Flatland: The Film

The latest incarnation of Nintendo's Mario franchise plays with the idea of flipping a two dimensional world such that depth is added to the previously expected length and height. In Super Paper Mario, the famous Italian plumber can briefly transverse the third dimension in order to solve puzzles. Trying to perceive the world in fewer than three dimensions, then more than three is a fun parlor game that quickly goes from the comprehendible to the impossibly abstract. This allure of trying to process the world through a different set of parameters easily explains why Edwin A. Abbott's Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is a constant presence in the geek cannon. The hybrid mathematics teaching aid/Victorian satire follows a square as it introduces the society of two dimensional Flatland. After introducing his fundamental reality, the square attempts to explain his second dimension to the inhabitants of one no-dimensional Lineland. Then he attempts to comprehend a third dimension. Finally, he experiences the singular existence of a point in no-dimensions. Leaps of understanding are contrasted with the strict class definitions of Flatland, where women are separated as single lines; angles and sides prescribe the roles of male inhabitants. Ladd Ehlinger Jr. and Tom Whalen's Flatland: The Film maintains the overlay of Abbot's work. However, given that it is a movie and not a lecture, it becomes more plot driven than the original. Ideas are re-architected to accentuate the drama and conflict. The book's discussion on the conflict over color is magnified as it is reused as the excuse for an international war. On a smaller scale, a diagram driven explanation of how a citizen of Flatland might recognize the "configuration" (shape) of another citizen, as well as the cultural implications, is replaced by a heated father to son conversation. The effect on the tone is that Flatland loses it's didactic presentation, becoming a story of religious tribulation, by way of a Vonnegut apocalyptic collision course rather than a mathematic Gulliver's travels. Still, even if it laughs a few of the original concepts, the film respects them. Flatland is at its best when examining the transcendence of its square. Existing on one set of dimensions, interacting with beings of another is the cornerstone of the premise, and the movie's impassioned treatment of the topic lives up to the potential. Arguments and objections make the case for the premise effectively. The events are convincingly mind-blowing. It might only be an intellectual curiosity for the viewer, but the script sells how religious the experience is for its characters. Flatland's hour, forty minute run length might not drag, but beyond the square's story, the complexity of the world being explored does not coherently coalesce. The film is not shy about engaging divisive topics, but it does attack them with an undisciplined flurry of jabs. This shotgun approach to social issues touches on class, race, and leaders for whom the imagined morality of the ends justify the means among its host of political concerns. In any given action, it is rare for the work not to take the opportunity to suggests shades of current issues and obvious long standing concerns. In a positive sense, there is no pat moral, but that also comes as a result of implications canceling each other out. The, pardon the pun, point, might be that ultimately it's all a wash. The topical concerns and manner of presentation might be thought provoking, but the volume and organization of these touch points become unmanageable. Relevant issues, such as racism, extremism and suspect causes for war, and the antiquated issues, such as proscribed system of upward mobility do not complement each other. Nor are they segregated in a recognizable way between the monarchical Flatland and the small "R" republican spacial world. If there is anything to take away from how the issues are addressed, the suggestions are obtuse. An aspect of the movie that is more intriguing to ponder is its use of title cards. These text block provide a glib omniscient commentary on the narrative: explaining concepts and details, foreshadowing/spoiling events to come, backing or contradicting what the events on screen suggest. At times, these placards seem obtrusive, jumping when they aren't wanted. Given that this resembles the demeanor of some of the characters onscreen, there presence almost makes for a character in and of itself. Maybe a fourth dimensional character? The movie is captivating to view. With visible organs, the inhabitants of Flatland looks like single cell organisms. Watching the functions of their social systems, and within each member of that society, the biological functions of the individuals insights a bit of scientific curiosity. If way in which the script pulls in topics is a bit problematically undisciplined, the animation is commendable it its tight control. With all the moving shapes on screen, the small details like blinking eyes and undulating feeler hairs, and even a slowing shifting backdrop, it seems like the movie could have easily caused motion sickness or a complex tapestry that defied focus. Instead, its an something amazingly different and intriguing to watch. Regardless if you are familiar with the original work, watching Flatland visually realized is an enjoyable mental amusement park ride. While one's brain is likely to be stretched its perplexing qualities aren't entirely for the best. If you made it thought the book, then you can probably appreciated its passion and imagination for conceptual mathematics. However, will likely be ambivalent about the changes. For the uninitiated, the movie might be slightly inside, an introduction to the unusual ideas presented in Flatland should be memorable.

Status of Miyazaki's Next

According to Nausicaa.net, the production blog for Hayao Miyazaki's next movie Ponyo on a Cliff as of April 23 is Layout: 552 cuts Key animation: 290 cuts Chief animator check: 200 cuts Animation: 161 cuts Background painting: 210 cuts Paint: 151 cuts Filming: 115 cuts An estimated 1000 cuts are needed for the film, scheduled for summer 2008.

Titles for Upcoming Anime Eva Movies

Anime News Network reports that the titles for the last three chapters of the upcoming Rebuild of Evangelion movies were revealed during a preview at Dengeki Movie Festival. The complete list will be: "Jo" ("Introduction") "Ha" ("Exposition") "Kyu" ("Climax") "?"

Hints on Satoshi Kon's Next

TOKYOPOP has posted an interview with director Satoshi Kon, where he mentions that his next will be "a future folklore story." He expects the production to be completed in another two years. A second Kon interview can be read here

ADV Licenses "Air"

ADV Films acquired exclusive home video and broadcast rights in North America for the anime series Air and the 85-minute Air Movie. Volume one of the four-disc Air series will hit store shelves August 14, and the Air Movie is slated for release in late 2007. Air is a fan-favorite series in Japan, having placed #32 in TV Asahiv?s all time Top 100 Anime list (2006). A product of the famous production studio Kyoto Animation (Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, Inuyasha) and director Tatsuya Ishihara (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kanon), Air is easily one of the most-anticipated series to reach our shores this year. The standalone Air Movie, which was produced by Toei (Air Gear, Kanon) and directed by Osamu Dezaki (Black Jack The Movie), is a fitting finale to the Air mania sweeping North America. Synopsis: Yukito Kunisaki is a wandering puppeteer on a journey to find "the girl in the sky," a tradition his family has held for generations. Upon arriving in a new town, he is befriended by a lonely young girl named Misuzu, who offers him a place to stay. Yukito soon begins to suspect that Misuzu has ties with "the girl in the sky" when she begins to speak of dreams of flying, but before his suspicions are confirmed, Yukito meets two more mysterious girls. Now Follow Yukito as he pieces together the lives of three different girls to discover the truth of "the girl in the sky".

Creative Unrest

ComiPress notes that Peach-Pits' Rozen Maiden will end with a "grand finale" in the July issue (on sale May 30) of Monthly Comic Birz. The popular manga left in the anthology in the March issue (on sale in January) after what Peach-Pit referred to as issues on "the editorial department's side." ComiPress looks at the legalities of fans' looking to offload their Monthly Comic Birz subscriptions in the wake of the series' departure here. Kyoto Animation announced that Yutaka Yamamoto has been replaced as the directory of Lucky Star, a comedy based on Kagami Yoshimizu's four panel comic, currently running on Japanese TV. Reacting to "performance issues", Yasuhiro Takemoto will take over. Takami Akai, co-founder of Gainax, the studio responsible for Neon Genesis Evangelion and producer of the studio's latest work Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has resigned after reacting to disparaging comments made about Lagann's fourth episode on influential message board 2Channel. Akai said of the criticism, that is "like putting [his] face next to an anus and breathing deeply." Anime News Network has a rundown here
Outspoken manga artist Mimei Sakamoto, perhaps best known to English speaking audiences for her condemnation of moe, is now criticizing use of manga in school textbooks. ComiPress translates her comments here "I have to say that the publisher's idea is frustrating: 'Even bad students can read manga.' It sounds as if manga is a thing for idiots." In more good natured creator noise, comic writer Warren Ellis indicated that his script work for the animated Castlevania feature is moving into high gear. 1up notes that his blog has states: "The film is, of course, set in Wallachia in 1476. We've worked with Koji Igarashi to get the film solidly inside the Castlevania timeline, and he's approved everything I came up with, including some new embroidering to the timeline. To make it work as a film, I had to introduce new back-story, and I went through five drafts of the premise and three of the full outline to get the material where IGA wanted it. He remains absolutely passionate about Castlevania. After eight rewrites of pre-production material, I remain absolutely passionate about beating the crap out of IGA in a dark alleyway one day."

Upcoming English Language Manga Releases

According to Anime News Network, Fanfare's upcoming "nouvelle manga" releases include Jiro Taniguchi's Taniguchi's The Ice Wanderer,The Quest for the Missing Gi and The Summit of the God. Fanfare has also licensed Kan Takahama's Awabi and Hideo Aduma's Disappearance Diary. According to ICV2, Viz's upcoming shoujo premieres includes: September: Yume Kira Dream Shoppe by Aqua Mizuto' November Special A by Maki Minami Be With You (the manga adaptation by Sai Kawashima) December Wild Ones by Kiyo Fujiwara January High School Debut by Kazune Kawahara Non-shoujo news include: September Kurohime by Masanori Katakura Tekkonkinkreet (collects the three volumes of Black and White for $29.95) October Muhyo & Roji's Bureau of Supernatural Investigation November Yu-Gi-Oh! GX

Convention News

Otakon 2007 announced that the convention will host voice actors Mamiko Noto (Trinity Blood's Esther) and Tomokazu Seki (Fruits Basket's Kyo) Anime Expo has announced a Battle of the Bands event, in which amateur bands will perform song choices from two categories (Anime TV series/OVA/Movie and Anime Themed Videogame). For more information, see www.anime-expo.org">

Figures News

From Figures.com and Cool Toys Japan Sideshow Collectibles will be picking up distribution of the Revoltech 5 1/2" articulated figures. The Kaiyodo figures are imported by Organic Hobby. The Revoltech Doko Demo Issyo figure of Toro can be seen here The Revoltech Eva-01 Type Type F [AFC Experiment], a strange varient of Evangelion's famous mech can be seen here Sideshow will also be handling the distrobution of 12" Kerberus Panzer Cop from "The Red Spectacles" (as well other Oshii's based works such as Jin Roh). Scheduled for the third quater, it will retail for $149.99 For more see here
On the Fist of the North Star front, Medicom and Kaiyodo's 12" Kenshiro figure can be seen here. It is expected to be released in November for 8000yen ($152US). 4.5" Kaiyodo figures will be released in North America in May and June for $13. Kenshiro, Toki, Warden Uighur, Raoh and Ryuken can be seen here From the Matsumoto-verse, blind box mini-diorama figures from Goodbye Galaxy Express 999 -Last Stop, Andromeda can be seen here. The OVA version of Captain Harlock's ship, the Arcadia, retailing for 13,440yen ($112.50US) in June, can be seen here For mecha fans, Mega House's Metal Armor Dragonar figures can be seen here, CM's Corporation's DaikuMaryu Gaiking can be seen here and Max Factory's VOTOMS Light Scopedog and Eclbi can be seen here At look at Fewture's repaints of Mazinger redesigns of Borot and Doublas can be seen here Art of War's Berserk statue of "ZODD: Monster Transformed" can be seen here Art Storm's Chobits Chii statue, scheduled for a Japanese release in July for 6,800 yen ($57 U.S.) can be seen here The site has reviewed Jinki (Extend)'s Tsuzaki Aoba and Moribito Type 02 2-Pack, Konami's Demon Strarf & Angel Arnval Bandai's Masked Rider SIC Vol 37 Ikimashou has shots of a number of interesting statues including Shamshel from the Evangelion's Continuation Angel XX line
MoeartCollection Amane Misa from DeathNote Revy from Black Lagoon Yamato is now offering a all new color variation featuring Yamato's signature "see-through" paint application of SIF EX: IKKITOUSEN Kanu (Grey Version). The figure is limited to 1,500 pieces in North America.

Scheduled NA Anime Releases

Media Blaster's AnimeWork's schedule includes 5/8/2007 VOLTRON: DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE Collector's Edition 3, Episodes 31-45 (Green Lion) 5/29/2007 GAKUEN HEAVEN "School of Love" Volume 2 of 3, Episodes 5-7 6/5/2007 TEKKAMAN BLADE COLLECTION 2 of 3, Episodes 17-33 GAOGAIGAR Volume 5 of 10 Episodes 21-25 6/12/2007 KASHIMASHI: GIRL MEETS GIRL "Role Reversal" Volume 1 of 4 6/19/2007 TWELVE KINGDOMS Collection One (Volumes 1-5) TWELVE KINGDOMS Collection Two (Volumes 6-10) 6/26/2007 IRIA: ZEIRAM The Animation - Complete 7/3/2007 GIRLS HIGH "Teen Spirit" Volume 1 of 3 Episodes 1-4 7/10/2007 PRINCESS PRINCESS "Chorus of Cuties" Volume 2 of 3, Episodes 5-8 7/24/2007 GREEN GREEN Collection 7/31/2007 AOI & MUTSUKI: A PAIR OF QUEENS 8/7/2007 GAKUEN HEAVEN "Secret Summers" Volume 3 of 4, Episodes 8-10 8/14/2007 TEKKAMAN BLADE COLLECTION 3 of 3, Episodes 34-49 8/21/2007 KASHIMASHI: GIRL MEETS GIRL "Triangles Hurt" Volume 2 of 3, Episodes 6-9 9/4/2007 GIRLS HIGH Volume 2 of 3, Episodes 5-8 9/11/2007 PRINCESS PRINCESS "Family Secrets" Volume 3 of 3, Episodes 9-12 9/18/2007 RAMEN FIGHTER MIKI "Miso Mayhem" Volume 1, Episodes 1-4 9/25/2007 VOLTRON: DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE Collector's Edition 4, Episodes 46-59 (Red Lion) 10/16/2007 GAKUEN HEAVEN "A Traitor Revealed" Volume 4 of 4, Episodes 11-13 10/23/2007 KASHIMASHI: GIRL MEETS GIRL "Bittersweet Decisions" Volume 3 of 3, Episodes 10-13 11/6/2007 GIRLS HIGH Volume 3 of 3, Episodes 9-12 From Geneon 7/31 El-Hazard OVA volume 2 Hand Maid May Box Set (3 DVD + 1 CD-Rom) $36.33 8/28 The Story of Saiunkoku volume 1 From ADV July 3 Gravion And Gravion Zwei Complete Collection ($54.98) From Masami Obari (Bubblegum Crisis, Fatal Fury) and GONZO (Full Metal Panic!, Chrono Crusade)
Synopsis: When mankind faces an alien force with technology light years ahead of its own, will they be enough to save the Earth from destruction? The fate of humanity rests in the hands of the mysterious billionaire Sandman and a young band of orphaned misfits. Sandman's units control the Gravion, a robotic deity forged of circuits and steel. But can his erstwhile pilots stop fighting amongst themselves long enough to fight the Zeravire? Or will the Earth be lost before the fight has even begun? Hold onto your seats! With plenty of bouncing, gravity-defying breasts, enough merry maids to staff a small hotel, lots of deep, dark secrets and non-stop battles, the Gravion series has all the fan service, intrigue and outright action that you've been looking for. In Gravion Zwei Sandman and his ragtag crew of misfits and loners are back at it again, only this time, they won’t be the only ones on duty! Enter the elite G-Soldier Squadron, the first unit of the government’s attempt to mass-produce Gravion technology. Led by ace pilot Faye, will the G-Soldiers push the Earthgertz gang out of a job? Ufo Ultramaiden Valkyrie: Bride Of Celestial Souls's Day (2 of 2) Illumitoon Entertainment and Westlake Entertainment released Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo Volume 2: Scream For Ice Cream on May 1st. The animated series which features ?he of the golden afro' Bo-bobo, along with his sidekicks Beauty and Captain Don Patch, originally aired in the U.S. on Cartoon Network's Toonami Block. The volume features unedited versions of four episodes and the original Japanese soundtrack for $19.98. According to Anime on DVD, Illumitoon's schedule include 9/11 Beet the Vandel Buster Vol. #3 9/25 BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo Vol. #05 10/23 Beet the Vandel Buster Vol. #4 10/30 Beat BtX Vol. #5 11/06 BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo Vol. #06 12/4 Beet the Vandel Buster Vol. #5 12/18 BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo Vol. #07 12/25 AM Driver Vol. #3 1/29/08 BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo Vol. #08

Anime on NA TV

The Sci Fi Channel will launch an "Ani-Monday" two hour block starting June 11. Programming will consists of Manga Entertainment releases including: Black Jack The Movie Blood: The Last Vampire Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society Macross Plus Ninja Scroll Noein Read or Die Street Fighter II V Tokko Two hours (1:00-3:00 a.m) of FUNimation channel programming have been added to Ohio's MyTV Columbus and MyTV Dayton's line ups. Anime Network has added 500,000 households to its video-on-demand (VOD) service after signing carrage agreements with Suddenlink Communications and Canadian Cable Systems Alliance (CCSA). Hollywood Reporter revealed that Cartoon Network will be adding Adult Swim to their Friday programming starting in July.

Upcoming in Japan

Anime News Network notes that Ichijinsha announced that bishojo magazine Chara*Mel will run Ah My Goddess creator Kosuke Fujishima's latest, work "Mel." A trailer for Shin SOS Dai Tokyo Tankentai, to hit theatres May 19th can be seen here A site for the 3D animated Vexille is online at www.vexille.jp From ComiPress, Honey and Clover creator Chika Umino will begin a new series called "The Lion of March" this summer. A manga version of the upcoming Mitsuo Iso/MadHouse anime Denno Coil will run in the Ciao anthology. Kagetora creator Akira Segami will launch the series Kiss-Cry in Weekly Shonen Magazine issue 24.

Highlander Release Info

Manga Entertainment and the Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll) directed Starz Home Entertainment will release Highlander: The Search for Vengeance on DVD June 5th for $19.98. In this gripping new adventure, lone warrior Colin MacLeod travels across a desolate landscape searching for the immortal despot Marcus Octavius, who long ago murdered his beloved Moya. Together with his companion, the wise-cracking ghost Amergan, MacLeod discovers New York in ruins, with one monolith fortress dominating a city ravaged by a deadly virus. MacLeod can save the survivors, but his sword hungers for the blood of one man. He soon discovers the monolith is controlled by the one person he has spent an eternity chasing: Marcus Octavius! Can he finish what he started centuries ago and stop Octavius? Will MacLeod lead New York to freedom or be consumed by insatiable hate? The answer may lie with the beautiful and tough Dahlia, who has a mysterious connection to the departed Moya. Featuring voiceover talents Scott McNeil (Full Metal Alchemist, Inuyasha, X-Men) and Jim Byrnes (Highlander v±TV series), Highlander: The Search for Vengeance is produced by Imagi Animation Studios (TMNT) and Davis-Panzer (Highlander movies and series). Manga Entertainment and Starz Home Entertainment are backing the DVD release with a multi-tiered marketing campaign featuring online and print advertising, along with a grassroots publicity push. The DVD release coincides with the 20th Anniversary of the Highlander franchise and will be followed by other Highlander live-action productions, including a theatrical release in September 2007. The DVD features the song Sacrament from Gold artist H.I.M. Bonus features include: * Widescreen presentation (1.78:1), enhanced for 16x9 TVs * East Meets West Part #1 * Interview with Director Yoshiaki Kawajiri * Photo Montage * Original Teaser by Madhouse Five clips of the anime are online here

Naturo Events

VIZ Media announced a special road show to highlight Shonen Jump's Naruto to fans across the country. The tour kicks off on May 26 in Secaucus, NJ with subsequent stops scheduled for Baltimore, MD; Belleville, IN; Bentonville, AR; and Pleasanton, CA. The event will be free to attend. Updated information is available at www.naruto.viz.com. The event will feature multiple activity stations including a Ninja Academy, where visitors can learn special moves and techniques with an instructor, the Chakra Challenge, sponsored by Mattel, sneak peeks of upcoming anime episodes on a large main screen, a Bandai collectible card game area, several video game kiosks where fans can play the latest NARUTO video games from Tomy/D3P and NAMCO/BANDAI, a manga drawing area, and a green screen activity where fans can have their picture taken with a variety of backgrounds featured in the anime series. Upon entering, each visitor will be given a special NARUTO passport that will guide them to the various activities and after collecting passport stamps, each fan will receive an exclusive SHONEN JUMP NARUTO goodie bag filled with collectable premiums. Dates for the SHONEN JUMP NARUTO Road Tour Include: Saturday, May 26, 2007: WAL-MART 400 Park Place, Secaucus, NJ Event Hours: 11AM to 5PM Saturday, June 9, 2007: WAL-MART 6410 Petrie Way, Baltimore, MD Event Hours: 11AM to 5PM Saturday, June 16, 2007: WAL-MART 120 Carlyle Plaza Drive, Belleville, IL Event Hours: 11AM to 5PM Saturday, June 23, 2007: WAL-MART 406 South Walton Blvd, Bentonville, AR Event Hours: 11AM to 5PM Saturday, June 30, 2007: WAL-MART 4501 Rosewood Drive, Pleasanton, CA Event Hours: 11AM to 5PM NARUTO THE MOVIE will make its US debut in 162 select AMC, Cinemark, Regal Entertainment Group and Georgia Theatre Company movie theatres nationwide on June 6th at 7:00 p.m. local time. Tickets for this special one-night event can be purchased for $10.00 at www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theatre box offices. For a complete list of theatre locations, see the Web site.

Upcoming Stonebridge Releases

Publisher Stonebridge Press has scheduled the following upcoming releases Spring/Summer: THE ART OF ROBOTECH The Art of Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles By Tommy Yune Foreword by Carl Macek 978-1-933330-29-7 144 pages, TP, $19.95, 200 color illustrations The full-color tie-in to the new Robotech film will be available on June 15th Premiering in 1985, Robotech is fondly remembered for its transforming fighter jets, distinctive red logo, and pop-idol heroine. The new film, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles , picks up directly from the pioneering "space opera" in a breathtaking animated movie combining the talents of artists and producers from around the globe, from Los Angeles and Tokyo to Seoul and Prague. Now, the most fantastic art — both classic designs from Robotech's Japanese heritage and modern digital production techniques from the Shadow Chronicles — that went into putting Robotechnology and Protoculture back on the screen has been collected into one stellar volume. This gorgeous book includes everything fans are looking for: series history, plot, character, and mecha guides, and over 100 pages of concept art and production design, all assembled by production insiders. Anime Classics ZETTAI! by Brian Camp and Julie Davis 400 pp, 7" x 7", 100 B&W photographs, paper, ISBN-13: 978-1-933330-22-8, $18.95 Extended reviews of 100 top Japanese animation films, TV series, and made-for-video series, from 1958 to the latest Cartoon Network hits. Each entry includes data, personnel, summary, style, critical comments, and viewer-discretion guides. From Akira to Yu Yu Hakusho, fans will learn tons of new information about old favorites, or will discover films they zettai!!—absolutely—must see! Brian Camp is a TV programmer at CUNY in New York, and first wrote about anime in 1982. Julie Davis lives in the SF Bay Area and is the former editor-in-chief of Animerica. Fall The Astro Boy Essays: Osamu Tezuka, Mighty Atom, and the Manga-Anime Revolution By Frederik L. Schodt 978-1-933330-54-9, September 248 pages, TP, $16.95 This collection of essays is a long-awaited insight into both Osamu Tezuka and the culture of animation that he spawned. Those curious about graphic novels worldwide, Japanese culture, and the history of animation will be delighted by Schodt's witty, accessible style. Schodt was for many years a friend of the "Japanese Walt Disney." He is the translator of the 23-volume Astro Boy manga series, and often served as Tezuka's interpreter. He is the author of Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics, the first book in English on manga, published in 1983. Milky Way Railroad (Inspiration for the like named anime) by Kenji Miyazawa (128pp/TP/$9.95/October) Milky Way Railroad By Kenji Miyazawa Trans. by Joseph Sigrist & D.M. Stroud Illus. by Ryu Okazaki 978-1-933330-40-2, October 128 pages, TP, $9.95, 16 b&w illustrations Stone Bridge Fiction In this tender, timeless fable about afterlife from Japan's best-loved children's writer, a young boy, alone on a hilltop one night, is swept aboard a magical train bound for the Milky Way. Appropriate for ages 12 and up.

The Return of Worth Checking Out...

Patrick Macias', whose Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno is now available, features a YouTubed 1975 alien adbuction anime at the on An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla here. Cartoon Brew has YouTube'd the Astro Boy Prius promo here A clip of the non-anime, but of note, animated Drinky Crow Show can be seen here here Anime News Network has a Q&A with Goro Miyazaki here. The April 27th Episode 39 of Right Stuf's Anime Today podcast, which can be found through iTubes features an interview with Tatsunori Konno, the president of Bandai Visual USA. Matt Thorn's The Comics Journal interview with shoujo luminary Hagio Moto is now online here A English translation of an Italian Go Nagai interview is online here Vertical's blog notes that the LA Times has interviewed Mika Ninagawa about her film adaptation of Sakuran, which is originally a manga by Anno Moyoko. ComiPress translates an Q&A with Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure creator Hirohiko Araki here. The site only looks at the ramifications of the decline of manga sales here. Production I.G has posted the second part of their Mamoru Oshii interview, in connection to his Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters, here The studio has also posted an interview with composer Yoko Kanno in connection to his Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex here The Toronto Star interviewed Dramacon creator Svetlana Chmakova. Yuricon president Erica Friedman is interview here Anime News Network interviewed Viz Media chairman Seiji Horibuchi about Viz Pictures. David Welsh interviewed Viz's Gonzalo Ferreyra about their Naruto release plans. AniPages Daily's looks at Osamu Tanabe here Mac World looks at the North American market for Visual Novel's here. Jun Ji-Hyun as Saua in the live action Blood: The Last Vampire here Ikimashou's interactive calendar ikiKOYOMI now features events. More Unscrewed benefit auctions are online here. Profits will go to the Unscrewed! fund. Unscrewed! is happy to announce that groundwork has been laid to transform Unscrewed! into a non-profit organization that will champion artists' rights and assist in redressing abuses perpetrated by unscrupulous and exploitive publishers and promoters

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Readers Talkback
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  • May 10, 2007, 6:44 a.m. CST

    ƒ1®$7

    by Kragmose

    0® $3(0|\|Ð...

  • May 10, 2007, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Highlander's looking good

    by Johnno

    Just like a classic action movie oughta be... and it looks like there's a Yoda in there too ;)

  • May 10, 2007, 1:52 p.m. CST

    highlander sucks

    by darwinwins

    let's not beat around the bush -- there has never been a highlander movie that can be watched with a serious face.

  • May 10, 2007, 4:40 p.m. CST

    By the way...

    by Wingnut1A

    Yoko Kanno is a woman. ;)

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