Animation and Anime

AICN Anime-Persepolis, Anime Classics Zettai, News and More

Published at: Jan. 18, 2008, 5:40 a.m. CST

Logo handmade by Bannister Column by Scott Green

Animation Spotlight: Persepolis

If you have a chance to see Persepolis on the big screen, make sure to seize the opportunity. As a work of visual storytelling and a cinematic memoir, it is a work of art not to be missed. Between TekkonKinkreet, Paprika, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and now Persepolis, the last year or so has been a great time to be a fan of animated movies. Whether it was Akira or Beauty and the Beast, for a while, a point to trumpet about theatrical animation was that it could provide a caliber of grand spectacle that was not available in live action. As CGI effects have advanced, that point lost its distinction. But, what this quartet of films demonstrates is that animation still has a unique, vital role to play in cinema. Each of these four films showcased how animation can be used to seamlessly convey a perspective. Or, more precisely, two perspectives: that of the film's subject and that of the film's creator. Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's adaptation of Satrapi's two like named graphic novels concerning her childhood in Tehran, seeing the overthrow of Iran's Shah and the transition to an Islamic state, then her expatriate life in Vienna. Satrapi does instruct an audience who may not be entirely familiar with the history about the nature of the Iranian Revolution, the Iran-Iraq War and social/political changes to Iran, but first and foremost, it is Satrapi’s story. As much as the film concerns itself with Satrapi's struggle to acknowledge being Iranian as part of her self-identity, there's no pretense that her perspective represents a unified Iranian perspective, without any suggestion that one unified outlook exists or that her life was a representative sample of the Iranian experience. Her background sets her part in that she is one of the many descendants of the Qajar emperor who was deposed by the Shah, but more significantly, she was the daughter of an engineer of some means and a child of parents who were cosmopolitan, active in Marxist politics and who fostered their child's individualistic nature. While character and personality certainly weren't absent from the graphic novels, the film offers more of Satrapi as a person rather than a vantage point for seeing the events and people that shaped her life, and at that, it emerges as a decidedly unapologetic self portrait of its author. Initially, it allows her to be an uncynical, excitable child; one who would aggravate her family by parroting the political upheaval in the streets, ceaselessly parading around the apartment proclaiming "death to the Shah!" and hear stories of tortured political prisoners one day and turn horrific details into the inspiration for games with her friends the next. Experience tragically demonstrates the significance. She becomes angrier and more sophisticated, but she also remains a rebellious, ego driven person. As a child, she imagined herself the last prophet, and decreed that when she grew up she would eliminate evil deeds, inequality and suffering. As she aged she maintained, and at times struggled to keep that sense of self-determinism. It's evident that as a result of this struggle, for her part, she was not the easiest daughter or student or friend or lover, but, for who she is, and not just for the circumstances of her life, watching the movie, one has to appreciate and respect Satrapi. Ultimately, the movie illustrates the sacrifices that Satrapi made to obtain and hold on to her identity. Reading the original graphic novels and interviews with Satrapi, down to its final monologue, one could look at what was included in the movie, what was omitted and what was emphasized and call the film "manipulative." But, that could be said of many great stories. To peg Persepolis to Dickens, it's more David Copperfield than Oliver Twist. It is clearly not factually exact, but it aims to honestly convey how the author saw her life. By extension, it is political, but its politics are personal, not reductively pro-east or pro-west, or confirming to any broad agenda. This story is informed by the perspective of a person who grew up in a political household, witnessed historic events, and studied the issues and the theories behind them. Though the movie is far from a lecture, if there was some one who would be justified in articulating a political sentiment, on these matters, it would be Satrapi. An American audience might be interested to see how the relationship between Iran and America is expressed indirectly through the texture of Iranian life. On one hand, American popular culture leaves its print on Iran, on the other, Satrapi walks by anti-American murals as she strolls by enthusiasts of that pop culture. It is noteworthy that the film left out the graphic novel's single page on the embassy hostage situation, but its absence reflects the same sentiment expressed in the graphic novel: it was further reason for the family not to pursue emigrating to America, but it also was not significant to their lives. It's a cliché to comment that a film humanizes a national adversary, and it's a notion that suggests that the subject was not given much deep consideration beforehand. However, what Persepolis does, similar to the recently discussed Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms, is make a set of events and circumstance tangible. Rather than present a family of Iranians and make it a the point draw the parallels between them and you, Persepolis expresses how they related to the events, what it's like to be an eyewitness and what it is like to experience. Personally, I haven't seen Cloverfield and can't comment on that film's treatment of the parallels to real devastation that a giant creature rampaging through a populated urban center evokes. Seeing the concern demonstrated by Satrapi's father during a bombing of Tehran and instantly comprehending that Satrapi was recreating real horror and real panic that she witnessed, I immediately began questioning the thrills of the giant monster movie genre. It's common knowledge that Godzilla/ Gojira was a metaphor staged to comment on atomic weapons, but as a fan of kaiju movies and someone with proclivities to overanalyze and take media too seriously, I can attest to the fact that people approach the genre looking for spectacle. Not to dismiss Cloverfield without seeing it, but the excitement around Cloverfield seems concerned with guessing what the monster looks like and piecing together plot clues. Are the implications to fiction like Cloverfield worth considering? Are we disrespectfully treading on real tragedy by approaching manufactured, fictional devastation looking for thrills and spectacles? The same concerns or ironies may have occurred to Satrapi, because not long afterwards the movie presents a scene in which she accompanies her grandmother to see Godzilla. This is presented as a comic interlude with the grandmother embarrassingly making loud, scoffing comments in the midst of a crowded theatre. The use of animation reflects the deeply personal nature of the story. Initially, the graphic novels were created by one person, and though Satrapi is a studied artist, there is an immediate, sketched quality to her illustrations. They are precise and exactingly convey an intended idea, but they also suggest drawings inked in a margin or on a sketchpad, indented only to be seen by their creator. The animated movie adopts this hand-drawn aesthetic. The immediate effec is that though the movie was a collaberative work, it looks like the results of one person's effort. Secondly, these character drawings become interpreted as specific people. Though it has since been adapted into live action works, it is said that Akiyuki Nosaka wanted his semi-autobiographical novel Grave of Fireflies to be animated, so watchers would not be distracted from the subjects by thinking about the actors portraying them. That notion is a factor for Perspolis. Especially when hearing the movie in a foreign language (French), one sees these images of a girl growing up a Satrapi, or as Satrapi sees herself, and not as a succession of varying aged actresses trying to mimic her. Starting with the opening of jasmine flowers falling over animated chalk drawings of a mythical past, there is a constant fluidity to the movie that is evened out by the black and white images. Though it almost has the same degree of intrusion of memory, imagination and the subconscious as a Satoshi Kon movie, Persepolis' shifts are complementary to the narrative rather than challenging. When a history lesson concerning western involvement is presented as a puppet show, the humorous aburdism hits the right, sadly farcical notes. When Satrapi trecks through a alley full of men in black overcoats hocking contraband "Jichael Mackson" tapes in order to buy an Iron Maiden cassette, only to be assailed by a pair of fundamentalist women who move like inky shadows, the incident is appropriately like an exaggerated anecdote. The animation shapes itself around the narrative. In turns, it's funny, and clever and moving.

Anime Classics Zettai!: 100 Must-See Japanese Animation Masterpieces by Brian Camp and Julie Davis Released by Stone Bridge Press

Of all the English language anime guide books, Anime Classics Zettai! offers one of the best gateways to a literacy of the anime tradition. For anyone who wants to speak intelligently about anime, and isn't sure what Rinataro or Osamu Dezaki are responsible for, Zettai is an essential starting point. Brian Camp and Julie Davis take a selection of 100 anime titles (available in North America, at least at some point, except for a few like the Tomomi Mochizuki/Ghibli TV special Ocean Waves) that mix the representative and the recommended, and for each, they break down the anime, its creators, its influence, its look and its plot. With more obscure titles like Arion, or Crusher Joe discussed alongside the well known likes of Dragon Ball, Ruruoni Kenshin and Pokemon, it's the kind of book to sit down with in front of a Netflix queue or an Amazon wish list in order to round out your anime watching frame of reference. Brian Camp kicks off the book with essays "Anime Classics-It's About Time", a landscape of anime watching in North America, "Creating Great Anime: Format, Style, Experience", an overview of anime distribution formats , series, direct to video OVA's, movies) as well as how genre and content fit into these formats, and "14 Great Anime Directors." Entries are divided between a block of facts (date, format, number of episodes/run time, and creative staff; production company or North American distributor may be discussed in later sections, but aren't listed in this block), then icon identified blocks of text, including summary (plot), style (look and animation), comments (critique, why this is an essential work, connections), pre/sequels, personal notes (a broader view of the career of people who worked on the given anime), highlights (a description of memorable or representative scenes), notes (eclectic comments about how the anime was released, related cultural explanations and trivia, sometimes very tangential, such as discussing pop group Morning Musume because it was founded the same year that a given anime was produced) and viewer discretion. If there's a gap in this layout, it's that there isn't a compass for locating the subjects of the entries. For example, good luck finding Phoenix 2772. The book excels at presenting information in a clear, non-overwhelming format. Entries run two to six pages, but thumbing through, it is possible to immediately identify what facet of what anime you are looking at. While there are images, they aren't the book's attraction. More as an observation than a criticism, the images seem present or absent based on availability. One can easily conjecture who did and didn't cooperate. Consequently, there are two pages of images for Naruto and two pages for Spirit Warrior/Peacock King, but none for Ghibli/Miyazaki movies or Gundam. Camp and Davis demonstrate a superb ability to collate information. Mixing the essential with the interesting, analysis with conjecture, they construct a resource that is both densely informative and approachably readable. The individual entries are written with a more objective voice than The Anime Encyclopedia or Manga: The complete guide. It is possible to suss out some vague sense of preference, but while a given person is unlikely to truly enjoy every work of anime discussed; every anime is described and evaluated in an even manner. Comparing three adjacent entries from the G's: Gigantor, Golgo 13 and Grave of the Fireflies, is a stark reminder that anime is not a monolithic tradition. While the intend of the book seems to be to give an overview of each of these 100 works, a holistic image emerges that provides insight into how all these separate piece fit together, how the styles of anime evolved and how the tradition has works to address different audiences. If you are of the audience that already knows the who's who of anime production and you're familiar with everything from Chobits to Tale of Genji, the book makes some provocative comments, but you might find its agenda too broad to offer anything substantive. At its core, it looks to provide a broad introduction. There is analysis, but it is meant to point in the direction of interpretations rather than develop them. For example, it repeats the theory that Spirited Away is a metaphor for the sex industry, without elaborating on that point. Any book of this sort will provoke disagreements and, unavoidably, it will not entirely please everyone. Most anime fans will find some title that they could wish were included. In North America, Hayao Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon are two of the most universally recognized and praised anime directors, but including all of the Miyazaki from Nausicaa onwards and all of Satoshi Kon movies and TV series prior to Paprika means that other works are crowded out. Titles that are interesting for their creativity, such as Voices of a Distant Star, My Neighbors the Yamadas and The Cat Returns, and titles that are interesting for what they represent, such as Fist of the North Star and Love Hina, don't make the cut. And, as a discussion of the anime tradition, restricting the book to anime released in North America does present a challenge. A host of critical anime, from the popular (the big three children's/family shows Anpanman, Sazae-san and Doraemon, which is mentioned in passing in the opening format explanation) to the artistic (Mind Game) are not discussed. Anime fans who bring a wealth of knowledge into reading the book will likely quibble on omissions and degree of emphasis. The Troma distributed theatrical run of Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro is mentioned, but the excoriated "Warriors of the Wind" edit of Nausicaa is not. Many designers are named and discussed, but while influential 80's character designer Kenichi Sonoda is listed in the credits of Bubblegum Crisis, the entry's "Style" block is generic in its description, stating: "The female characters in the OVA episodes were rather simply designed, with two of them, Lina and Nene boasting the huge vertical oval eyes that mark so many a 1980's heroine." Which is true, but fans of 80's animation might wish for more elaboration on the point. It's a sub-set of elite fans who will not find Anime Classic Zettai! useful. For the rest of us, and for those with marginal interest an anime, Zettai offers a host of key recommendations, and a legend to map out the anime tradition. It's the perfect stepping stone from half-smart to informed.

Kite Liberator Scheduled

Media Blasters has scheduled a March 25 release date for the co-produced anime OVA Kite Liberator. The sci-fi follow-up to Yasuomi Umetsu's action tragedy will be released on March 21 in Japan.

Next Naruto Movie

A fifth Naruto movie, the second to be based on the Naruto Shippuden phase of ninja franchise, will premiere in Japanese theatres this summer.

Haruka From BV

Anime on DVD notes that the store manager blog at dot-anime mentions that Bandai Visual USA will be releasing Haruka - Beyond the Stream of Time: A Tale of the Eight Guardians on 04/22/2008.
The release schedule will be:
  • Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time Vol. #1 - N/A minutes - $29.98 - 04/22/2008
  • Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time Vol. #2 - N/A minutes - $29.98 - 05/27/2008
  • Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time Vol. #3 - N/A minutes - $29.98 - 06/24/2008
  • Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time Vol. #4 - N/A minutes - $29.98 - 07/22/2008
  • Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time Vol. #5 - N/A minutes - $29.98 - 08/26/2008
  • Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time Vol. #6 - N/A minutes - $29.98 - 09/23/2008
  • Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time Vol. #7 - N/A minutes - $29.98 - 10/28/2008
  • Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time Vol. #8 - N/A minutes - $29.98 - 11/25/2008
  • Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time Vol. #9 - N/A minutes - $29.98 - 01/13/2009
"HARUKA" is originally a hit Japanese romance adventure video game franchise from KOEI Co., Ltd. which has been made into a successful on-going manga in Japan. Now Director Aki Tsunaki brings an animated adaptation of the story across twenty-six episodes in nine volumes. The manga is now being serialized in SHOJO BEAT magazine and the first volume of the graphic novel is expected to release in April. Both the manga and SHOJO BEAT magazine are published by VIZ Media. The plot revolves around an ordinary high school girl, Akane, who is mysteriously transported to a world resembling the Heian period of ancient Japan. Akane discovers she has been pre-ordained as the Priestess of the Dragon God. However, the purpose of her transportation to the past is clouded by the involvement of Akram, the head of the Demon clan, which has sworn death and destruction on the capital. Akane is therefore appointed eight male protectors, the Eight Guardians, to stand by her side and guard her from the danger that awaits...
Images © Tohko Mizuno, HAKUSENSHA, KOEI Co., Ltd. / Haruka Committee All Rights Reserved.

Ghibli Updates

According to Nausicaa.net, the track list on the "Ponyo On A Cliff" Image Album will be 1. Gake no ue no Ponyo (Ponyo on a cliff) singer : Fujioka Fujimaki and Nozomi Ohashi 2. Sango Tou (A coral tower) 3. Umi no Okasan (Mother of the sea) 4. Imouto-tachi (Younger sisters) 5. Ponyo Kuru (Ponyo comes) 6. Fujimoto no theme (Fujimoto's theme) singer : Fujioka Fujimaki 7. Hakkou Singou (A flash signal) 8. Ponyo no Komori-uta (A lullaby of Ponyo) singer : Nozomi Ohashi 9. Hontou no Kimochi (A true feeling) singer : Fujioka Fujimaki 10. Himawari no Ie no Rinbu-kyoku (The rondo of the house of the sunflower) singer : Mai The DVD will be released on March 5. Image albums are collections of music inspired by a work. The site also notes that according to the January 7 "Ponyo" production diary Miyazaki has completed the storyboards. There are 1,138 cuts. For comparison:
  • Howl's Moving Castle: 1,384 cuts, 119min 11sec, 148,786 animation cells.
  • Spirited Away: 1,415 cuts, 124min 35sec, 112,367 animation cells.
  • Princess Mononoke: 1,676 cuts, 133min 24sec, 144,034 animation cells.
  • Porco Rosso: 1,060 cuts, 93min 18sec, 58,443 animation cells.
  • Kiki's Delivery Service: 1,179 cuts, 102min 46sec, 67,317 animation cells.
  • My Neighbor Totoro: 953 cuts, 86min 20sec, 48,743 animation cells. Ghibli World looks at what the studi said about this here Ghibli World also relates the content of the Porco Rosso centric Fifteenth Radio Ghibli Totoro appears beside a bus stop in Nagasaki
  • Batman Adaptations

    From Anime News Network According to WorldsFinestOnline.com a book adaptation of the upcoming Batman: Gotham Knight anthology will be released on May 26 in anticipation of the June DVD release of the six Japanese-animated shorts. The animated project related stories between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The project is Jordan Goldberg, with Bruce Timm directing. Individual writers include Brian Azzarello, Greg Rucka and Josh Olson, which segment animators include Production I.G, Studio 4°C, and Madhouse Studios. Yoshinori Natsume (Togari) will be creating a Batman: Death Mask manga for DC Comics' Wildstorm imprint. The first 48-page prestige-format issue ships in April. On a tangential topic, Blog@newsarama points out a video interview on Dwell with Chip Kidd discussing his upcoming Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan among other topics. ICV2 has book on Bat-Manga here

    Figures News

    Organic Hobby, Inc will be releasing the new Fraülein Revoltech #003 – Soryu Asuka Langley figure. Fraülein Revoltech Soryu Asuka Langley is a 14 year old fictional character and one of the three primary protagonists from the anime, movies and manga Neon Genesis Evangelion. She is designated as the Second Child ("Second Children" in the original Japanese versions) of the Evangelion Project and pilots the Evangelion Unit 02. "Fraülein Revoltech Soryu Asuka Langley" is the third character/figure to be released as a part of "FRAÜLEIN REVOLTECH" line. The figure stands six and a half inches and has multiple articulation points (18 articulation points with 10 joint parts). "Fraülein Revoltech Soryu Asuka Langley" comes equipped with "Replaceable" parts and accessories (such as 1 gun, 1 stuffed doll, 3 set of hands and 1 display base).
    Gundamaniac looks at the Rei version here And speaking of Revoltech, Street Figher figures Organic Hobby, Inc and Happinet will be releasing Queen’s Blade Collection Figure" in March ’08 with a SRP of $20.00 "Queen's Blade Collection Figure" characters are originated from the "Visual Book for Duel" known as "Queen's Blade Lost Worlds Books." It is based on the Lost Worlds Combat Picture Books, the classic game book for duel. It takes two books to play the game. Your book is your character/fighter, and each book has its own advantages and weaknesses. To fight a duel you trade books, so you are looking at pictures of your opponent. Each picture shows what your opponent did last move. Now, fans of Queen's Blade will recognize Leina the nomad warrior, Listy zoc of wilderness & Nowa the guardian of forest. "Queen's Blade Collection Figure" is an eight piece assortment (x3 pcs normal color & 3 pcs color variant) of 5" scale trading figures and includes one secret item. Each figure comes in a closed box along with a handy eight piece counter display case.
    Kotobukiya's February product announcements include INDIANA JONES ARTFX STATUE SERIES KOTOBUKIYA Japanese imports INDIANA JONES 10 2/3" ARTFX Statue 1/7th scale, sculpted by Kouei Matsumoto
    DR HENRY JONES, SR 11 " tall, ARTFX Statue 1/7th scale, sculpted by Kouei Matsumoto
    ARTFX Statues are snap-fit kits that can be easily put together in seconds without glue or modeling skill Available in JULY STAR WARS: THE BOUNTY HUNTER SERIES KOTOBUKIYA Japanese imports Each of the Bounty Hunters will include special bonus parts for you to collect. Once all six Hunters have been released, you will be able to assemble the bonus parts into a brand new, full size DARTH VADER ARTFX Statue STAR WARS: THE BOUNTY HUNTER SERIES-IG-88 ARTFX STATUE 11 inches tall with articulated shoulders including his trademark BlasTech DLT-20A blaster rifle Available in JUNE STAR WARS: THE BOUNTY HUNTER SERIES-BOSSK ARTFX STATUE 11 ¾ in 1/7th scale includes his Rebley-v10 Micro Grenade Launcher Available in JULY
    STAR WARS: THE BOUNTY HUNTER SERIES-4-LOM ARTFX STATUE 11 inches tall Armed with his BlasTech LJ-90 Concussion Rifle Available in JULY
    STAR WARS X-WING FIGHTER CROSS SECTION 3D VEHICLE SET A KOTOBUKIYA Japanese import The X-Wing measures 12 2/3" long, in popular 1/35 military scale, and has "cutaway" parts that remove to reveal the inner workings. Over 100 removable parts help to create a full "cross section" in three dimensions! The craft is comprised of six sets of component parts: WING SET WING SHAFT SET A WING SHAFT SET B NOSE CONE SET COCKPIT SET BODY SET Each set has different bonus parts, such as mini figures and the diorama base parts, which help you to build the hanger base hidden within the Massassi ruins on Yavin IV. Eight different mini figures are included in the complete set, including two X-Wing Pilots, two astromech units, ground crew, mechanics, and more! Accessories such as the mini convoy, cables, and missile loaders are all part of the set. When completed, you can choose to display the s-foils in attack position (open wings in "x" formation) Sold in one master box, with the six component sets included within, the X-Wing Cross Section 3D is fully painted and made of durable abs and pvc materials. This replica is a fun to assemble, snap-fit kit that is put together (and taken apar!) without any glue or modeling skill. Available in JULY
    PATLABOR: HELLHOUND FINE SCALE MODEL KIT A KOTOBUKIYA Japanese import From Mamoru (Ghost In The Shell) Oshii’s PATLABOR THE MOVIE 2 comes the ADH-02 Hellhound Attack Helicopter. This Fine Scale Model Kit of the HELLHOUND includes a special swivel-arm base so that the completed model can be displayed in a "flying" pose. The side wings of the vehicle and rotor blades can be folded back for compact docking purposes, and the Vulcan Canon and rotors are fully articulated. This incredibly detailed kit requires snap-fit assembly of its 300+ plastic parts, and does require painting, although you may choose to customize or detail the chopper as you see fit. Measuring at 1/72 scale, the ship is approximately 7 ½ inches long. Also included are pictorial assembly instructions to guide you in the process of making this wonderful aircraft Available in JUNE
    SUPER ROBOT TAISEN – FINE SCALE MODEL KITS KOTOBUKIYA Japanese imports Kotobukiya will have a new SRW Fine Scale Model Kit available for collectors and hobbyists almost every month! Assembly of the figures is required, but painting is optional as the pieces are cast in different colored plastic. Each mecha normally has over 300 individual parts and is marvelously engineered, as once the kits are completed, they are highly poseable action figures (usually with at least 20 points of articulation). In addition, each robot includes weapons and additional moving parts, such as opening ventilation or exhaust ports. Included are pictorial assembly instructions. DYGENGUAR 8 ¼" (non-scale) tall and includes two types of sword: the giant broadsword and katana. DYGENGUAR with AUSENSEITER DELUXE FINE SCALE MODEL KIT The deluxe version which includes not only the Dygenguar robot, but also his enormous mechanical horse AUSENSEITER Measuring 15 3/4" tall/ 14" long with over 20 points of articulation. Available in JUNE
    ALT EISEN RIESE "Old Iron" is upgraded to its Riese form, with additional weapons and accessory parts. The robot is scaled in the popular 1/144th size (6 1/3’ tall) with articulated side wings, and also comes with the Claymore Avalanche cannon. Available in JUNE
    EVANGELION:1.0 YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE KAWORU NAGISA NON SCALE STATUE A KOTOBUKIYA Japanese import Over 5 inches tall, by Tsukuru Shirahige (in seated position), this large non-scale pvc statue’s base is a statuesque rendition of the winged Mass Production EVA units. For display options, the black cat is also removable. Available in JULY
    TO HEART 2 ~ANOTHER DAYS ~ 1/8 SCALE STATUES MAID COSTUME SERIES A KOTOBUKIYA Japanese import MANAKA KOMAKI 7 ¾ " tall
    YUMA TONAMI 7 ¾" tall
    Available in JULY CollectionDX on the Studio Half Eye comes the uber-expensive Perfect Docking Balking + Serpent here. The site also announced its Toys of the Year Via Kotaku

    Black Lagoon Manga From Viz?

    Anime on DVD forum posters not that Right Stuf list that Viz Media will be releasing Rei Hiroe's (aka Tex Mex) original manga version of gun-fu action manga Black Lagoon in August.

    Fan Translation Used for Girl Who Leapt Release

    Iwa ni Hana notes that a Russian fan translation (fansub) The Girl Who Leapt Through Time has been adopted as the official translation script for the R5, Russian release of the film.

    Yatterman Cast Update

    The villains have been cast for Takashi Miike adaptation of the Tatsunoko anime Yatterman. Kyoko Fukada (Kamikaze Girls) will play Doronjo, Katsuhisa Namase (Gokusen) will play Boyakkii and Kendo Kobayashi will play Tonzuraa. Previous announcements reported that the lead heroes will be played by Sho Sakurai and Saki Fukuda. While the movie is scheduled to hit Japanese theatres in 2009, a new anime news has recently begun airing on Japanese TV.

    Details on Cobra Anime

    AnimeNation notes Space Adventure Cobra creator Buichi Terasawa's homepage has announced that the revival of the "Cobra the Space Pirate" anime will consist of both an OVA directed by Terasawa, and a TV series directed by Osamu Dezaki, who directed the original Cobra anime in 1982. The new OVA and TV series will be animated by Magic Bus (Burn Up X, NieA_7).

    Wushu Comic Four Constables Return

    DrMaster Publications and DGN Productions have just announced that they will publish the 3-volume continuation of The Four Constables, The Four Constables: Secret of the Delirium Dagger! Four of China’s supremely skilled detectives loyally serve their Master Zhuge Zhen-Wo, the head bodyguard and advisor for China’s all-powerful Emperor. Emotionless is a master of weapons and devices. Iron Hand possesses incredible chi and can stop the sharpest blades with his bare hands. Life Snatcher is highly skilled in light-foot granting him undaunted legwork and kicks. Lastly Cold Blooded was raised by wolves and has since learned to convert his pain into strength - enabling him to defeat opponents much stronger than himself. Each of them is entrusted by the Emperor with the power to arrest and execute any corrupt officials or lawless criminals within the Chinese Empire. These Imperial Constables act as protectors. With their venerable skill as kung fu practitioners and meticulous sleuths, they root out potential usurpers and discern the cause of many strange occurrences during the Sung Dynasty! In this sequel to the first series, Emotionless lives! He was saved by the master of the West Town, Yuan-Shan Lan, BUT in return for his debt, Yuan-Shan Lan wants Emotionless to murder him! They engage in an intense fight like none other! At the same time, Iron Hands and Cold Blooded are on a dangerous mission to find the criminals wreaking havoc on local towns. When they accidentally pull in two unconscious bodies from the river who they discover were victims of the criminals’ crimes. Thus the two victims lead the brave constables on a trail after the evil mastermind behind the vicious crimes, and get entangled with his evil pursuit of the powerful Delirium Dagger. Who is he and what machinations does he have planned? The constables fight for their lives as they unravel more secrets and get closer to finding the villainous mastermind.... Don’t miss out on all the action, drama and intrigue! Volume 1 of The Four Constables: Secret of the Delirium Dagger will be available in June 2008. The full color 128 page graphic novels will be priced at $13.95.

    Anime Network Adds New Cable System

    Anime Network announced its carriage deal with Mediacom. Under the terms of the agreement, Anime Channel will be available to Mediacom customers in January 2008 as a subscription based video-on-demand (SVOD) service. Offerings include Project Blue SOS, Kanon, Magikano, 5 Centimeters per Second, Welcome to the NHK and Moonlight Mile, Cromartie High School and Nurse Witch Komugi.

    Appleseed Release Plans

    Warner Bros indicated that Appleseed: Ex Machina will be released on DVD March 11th, but the HD DVD has been pushed back to April 1st. There's a look at the Appleseed releases here Ex Machina will be making its European premiere at the 37th annual International Film Festival Rotterdam, then later it will be screened as part of the German Nippon Connection

    Anime Text Book Announced

    Anime News Network reports that academic publishing house M.E. Sharpe is publishing Japanese Visual Culture, a collection of essays on "historical, cultural, sociological, and religious dimensions of manga and anime." Content include Foreword Frederik L. Schodt Introduction Mark W. MacWilliams 1. Manga in Japanese History Kinko Ito 2. Contemporary Anime in Japanese Pop Culture Gilles Poitras 3. Characters, Themes, and Narrative Patterns in the Manga of Osamu Tezuka Susanne Phillips 4. From Metropolis to Metoroporisu : The Changing Role of the Robot in Japanese and Western Cinema Lee Makela 5. Opening the Closed World of Shojo Manga Mizuki Takahashi 6. Situating the Shojo in Shojo Manga : Teenage Girls, Romance Comics, and Contemporary Japanese Culture Deborah Shamoon 7. Intellectuals, Cartoons, and Nationalism During the Russo-Japanese War Yulia Mikhailova 8. Framing Manga: On Narratives of the Second World War in Japanese Manga, 1957-1977 Eldad Nakar 9. Aum Shinrikyo and a Panic about Manga and Anime Rich Gardner 10. Medieval Genealogies of Manga Horror Raj Pandey 11. The Utopian "Power to Live": What the Miyazaki Phenomenon Signifies Hiroshi Yamanaka 12. Heart of Japaneseness: History and Nostalgia in Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away Shiro Yoshioka 13. National History as Otaku Fantasy : Satoshi Kon's Millennium Actress Melek Ortabasi 14. Considering Manga Discourse: Location, Ambiguity, Historicity Jaqueline Berndt

    Upcoming From Media Blasters

    Media Blasters' Anime Works label will be releasing the first volume of Kujibiki Unbalance on April 29th. The third volume of Simoun will be released on April 8th. LONE WOLF AND CUB Television Series Vol is listed "Coming Soon" Other releases include: January 15, 2008: RED EYE (Redeu-ai, 2005) January 29, 2008: DELINQUENT GIRL BOSS: BLOSSOMING NIGHT DREAMS (Zubeko Bancho: Yume wa Yoru Hiraku, 1970) TAKASHI MIIKE COLLECTION 1- BODYGUARD KIBA (Contains BODYGUARD KIBA and BODYGUARD KIBA 2) February 19, 2008: GIRL BOSS REVENGE (Sukeban, 1973) ZEBRAMAN (Zeburaman, 2005) February 26, 2008: TAKASHI MIIKE COLLECTION 2- FAMILY (Contains FAMILY and FAMILY 2) March 11, 2008: DEVILMAN (Debiruman, 2004) ZATOICHI TV Collection One March 18, 2008: SUKEBAN DEKA Pack Two DVD pack containing SUKEBAN DEKA THE MOVIE (1987) and SUKEBAN DEKA: COUNTER-ATTACK OF THE KAZAMA SISTERS Coming Soon: HEROES TWO (Fang Shiyu yu Hong Xiguan, 1974) DEATH TRANCE Special Edition Tin (2005)

    Lensman Movie in the Works

    Dark Horizon reports that Universal Pictures are negotiating with the estate of author E.E. "Doc" Smith for film rights the "Lensman" novels, famously/infamously adapted into a Yoshiaki Kawajiri/Madhouse Studios anime movie and an 25 episode anime TV series. The deal includes an 18-month renewable option with another 18 month extension available if needed.

    cereal:geek Issue 3 Preview

    A preview image has been sent out for the third issue of 80's cartoon fan magazine cereal:geek

    Awards

    Viz Media is the winner of the 2008 Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the most outstanding children's book originally published in a foreign language and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States for "Brave Story." The award was announced January 14 during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, January 11-16. Originally published in Japanese in 2003 as "Bureibu Sutori," the book was written by Miyuki Miyabe and translated by Alexander O. Smith. The book tells the story of a boy named Wataru whose chaotic life leads him to enter the videogame-infused world of Vision to alter his fate. This complicated quest, with a real-world rival, and fierce and friendly creatures, unleashes a future Wataru could not have anticipated. The wisdom and power Wataru gains on his journey enables him to embrace the transformed reality to which he returns. Two Batchelder Honor Books also were selected: "The Cat: Or, How I Lost Eternity," published by Milkweed Editions, and "Nicholas and the Gang," published by Phaidon Press. The American Library Association's Great Graphic Novels for 2008 included After School Nightmare 1-5 Alive 1 - 2 Emma 1-5 Flower of Life Kekkaishi 7 - 8 King of Thorn 1 - 2 Love*Com 1 Mushishi 1 - 2 Pumpkin Scissors 1 To Terra 1-3 Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms Train+Train 1-3 Translucent 1-2 Yotsuba&! 4 The Second International MANGA Award Executive Committee has started to accept entries for the Second Award). Guidelines for application and entry forms are available here From Cartoon Brew Ratatouille took the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Perspolis failed to make the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' first cut in the Foreign Language Film category. The nine films still eligible for nomination in the category include Austria, "The Counterfeiters," Stefan Ruzowitzky, director Brazil, "The Year My Parents Went on Vacation," Cao Hamburger, director Canada, "Days of Darkness," Denys Arcand, director Israel, "Beaufort," Joseph Cedar, director Italy, "The Unknown Woman," Giuseppe Tornatore, director Kazakhstan, "Mongol," Sergei Bodrov, director Poland, "Katyn," Andrzej Wajda, director Russia, "12," Nikita Mikhalkov, director Serbia, "The Trap," Srdan Golubovic, director For more information see here Also, some historical context here The short list of works from which Animation Short Film nominees will be selected include Even Pigeons Go To Heaven (Meme Les Pigeons Vont Au Paradis) (Samuel Tourneux) How To Hook Up Your Home Theatre (Disney, Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton) I Met The Walrus (Josh Raskin) Jeu (NFB, Gerorges Schwizgebel) Madame Tutli-Putli (NFB, Chris Lavis and Maclek Szczerbowski) My Love (Moya Lyubov) (Aleksandr Petrov) The Pearce Sisters (Aardman, Luis Cook) Peter And The Wolf For details, see here The British Academy of Film and Television Arts nominees include ANIMATED FILM RATATOUILLE – Brad Bird SHREK THE THIRD – Chris Miller THE SIMPSONS MOVIE – Matt Groening/James L Brooks SHORT ANIMATION THE PEARCE SISTERS – Jo Allen/Luis Cook HEAD OVER HEELS – Osbert Parker/Fiona Pitkin/Ian Gouldstone THE CRUMBLEGIANT – Pearse Moore/John McCloskey

    North American Animation News

    New episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force start on Adult Swim January 20th at 11:45pm Newsarama interviews Carey Means (Frylock), continued here Blog@Newsarama notes that the new Spectacular Spider-Man animated series will be added to CW's Kids WB lineup at 10 am/ET For designs, see here From Toonzone.net CBS, who currently handles Paramount's properties, plans to begin releasing the cult animated series Duckman sometime in 2008. Unofficial statements indicate that the first release will contain the first two seasons. BCI Entertainment announced the DVD release of HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, the Emmy-Award winning 2002 revival of the classic ‘80s cartoon. The first of three planned volumes, HE-MANAND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE will arrive February 19 on a 3-disc set, which will include the first 13 episodes of the series for $26.98.

    Worth Checking Out

    Shunga! Shunga from Same Hat! Same Hat! Comic Book Resources talks about Kobun Shizuno's New York Anime Festival appearance and Evangelion 1.0: You (Are) Not Alone. 2 Seasons of NHK's Ani-Kuri 15 Shorts Posted Online Twitch looks at the works of Mamoru Oshii. Speaking of the Ghost in the Shell director, Oshii has taken a guest post at Tokyo Keizai University. Tokyo Keizai University happens to be located in the western Tokyo neighborhood of Kokubunji, which is where many anime studios such as Production I.G (Patlabor, Ghost in the Shell) are located. Also, Oshii's Avalon is out in "Region A" Blu-Ray. Magic Box looks at the Gundam Musou Special [Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Special] for PlayStation 2 herec Manga Jouhou translate an interview with Keiko Takemiya About.com: Manga interviews Dramacon creator Svetlana Chmakova Nationalism in manga here Photographer Kimiko Yoshida as a Pikachu Bride Photos of fight filming for Dragon Ball. Iwa ni Hana offers an introduction to yokai classic Hakaba Kitaro and impressions of the first episode. Also 'The Apple Incident' and 'Fantasy' from the director of 'The Diary of Tortove Roddle' From ComiPress Bonten Taro: a total artist on a slippery slope/road to perdition, and Ishihara Gojin: an artistic genius's one-and-only samurai swordfight gekiga AniPages Daily looks at Yasuo Otsuka's (Castle of Cagliostro) Tenguri on DVD and Yuichiro Sueyoshi's Coo sketches Via Patrick Macias' An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla Yamato pachinko Via Furu Anime Panikku Evangelion pachinko Via Vertical Inc., action figures based on the novel Salmonella Men on Planet Porno by Yasutaka Tsutsui. How to spot an otaku and an otakette comics212 - never safe for work visits the Kyoto International Manga Museum and Sapporo Snow Festival The final installment of An Illustrated Guide of Shonen Jump Series Part 6 Japan Probe and Zaeega Negima meet Russian history based on Right Stuf, Inc. and Nozomi Entertainment have posted a trailer for their upcoming release of EMMA: A VICTORIAN ROMANCE at emma.rightstuf.com. The series’ entire 12-episode first season is scheduled for release on June 24, 2008. A trailer for the Shinji Higuchi remake of Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress.

    For more commentary see the AICN Anime MySpace.

    Readers Talkback

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    • Jan. 17, 2008, 9:59 p.m. CST

      first

      by vaibhav

      first for the first time.. YAY!!!1

    • Jan. 17, 2008, 10 p.m. CST

      second

      by vaibhav

      second for the first time too.. YAY!

    • Jan. 17, 2008, 10:13 p.m. CST

      You may want to consider...

      by 5 by 5

      ...breaking up these articles so they're not so damn long. That way we can pick out the parts we're actually interested in.

    • Jan. 17, 2008, 10:47 p.m. CST

      Justice League not delayed...

      by fausti

      Justice League: The New Frontier isn't delayed for DVD and Blu-Ray. Those are still supposed to come out on February 26th. It's only the HD-DVD that is coming out on March 18th due to the Warners plan to go all Blu-Ray in May. It's mentioned here: http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Justice-League-New-Frontier-HDDVD-Delay/8807

    • Jan. 17, 2008, 10:48 p.m. CST

      Okay, I know....

      by Menchekia

      ....that the concept of "school girl gets transported to ancient China/Japan" has been done over and over again, but Haruka is pretty much Fushigi Yugi in a new wrapper. Right down to being proclaimed a Priestess and her harem, er, protectors having some kinda symbol somewhere on their bodies. Gotta love it.

    • Jan. 17, 2008, 10:55 p.m. CST

      Persepolis

      by Gungan Slayer

      I saw both copies on sale today and about picked them up, but decided not to. guess i will eventually

    • Jan. 17, 2008, 11:56 p.m. CST

      Nice!

      by veritasses

      Another Matsumoto Leiji reference! Lots of other classic series referenced too. The classic manga/anime icons from 20 and 30+ years ago just never die.... ahhh, the good old days...

    • Jan. 18, 2008, 2:13 a.m. CST

      Great Writing

      by Abhimanyu

      The piece on Persepolis is one of the best things I have read on this site. Thoughtful, analytical, explicatory and measured, it makes me applaud the writer who has not just "got" or enjoyed a work, but is also able to express it so well. I got no problems with longish blocks of text if what the text is saying is done like this. Kudos, indeed.

    • Jan. 18, 2008, 12:49 p.m. CST

      So wait... is Appleseed 2...

      by Johnno

      Also releasing on blu-ray? Or only HD-DVD? Since I'm in the other camp I'd prefer blu-ray, or I'll settle for the DVD.

    Top Talkbacks