Animation and Anime

AICN Anime-Lucky Star, Honey and Clover, Ponyo and More

Published at: June 6, 2008, 9:11 a.m. CST by scottgreen

Logo handmade by Bannister Column by Scott Green

Anime Spotlight: Lucky Star Volume 1 Released by Bandai Entertainment and Kadokawa Pictures USA

Lucky Star is a case where the fan-conventional wisdom is on target: that Lucky Star is Azumanga Daioh mixed with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Like Azumanga Daioh, Lucky Stars is based on a 4 panel comic strip manga, that concerns a group of high school girls in their lull moments: between classes, on school break, during lunch. And like Azumanga Daioh, despite the gender of the cast and the feminine aesthetic employed, it's for a male audience. The manga version of Lucky Star ran in Shonen Ace, the home of Welcome to the NHK, MPD Psycho, the manga version of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Girls Bravo. Like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star is a Kyoto Animation adaptation of a work that projects experiences through a decidedly geek-minded lens. Its defining character is Konata Izumi. Despite her natural athleticism and intelligence, she closes the door on what are generally regarded as productive endeavors, such as school and sports, in order to dedicate herself to indulging in otaku passions, namely manga, anime and video games. The anime's humor is build around conversations between Kona, her hard working comic foil, Kagami Hiiragi, Kagami's flighty, more domestic minded fraternal twin Tsukasa Hiiragi, and their well to do, proper, intelligent, but preciously inept friend Miyuki Takara. Most of the anime is composed of banter, and for at least the first DVD's worth of episodes, before the initial director Yutaka Yamamoto is replaced with Yasuhiro Takemoto (Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, Nurse Witch Komugi) at episode five, the comic timing of these conversations bear the marks of the anime's four panel origins. It will start off on a topic, then run a stream of micro-gags with a setup and a payoff. Miyuki will express embarrassment as she bemoans her tooth ache and fear of dentists. Tsukasa will concur. Finally, Konata will express befuddlement, saying that she's never had to go to the dentist. Then, the scene proceeds with characters describing a fanciful notion of dentistry, and the anime depicting what its subjects imagine. For example, Miyuki and Tsukasa will mention their reaction to the sound of the dentist's drill, and Konata will respond by picturing the drill armed from of the classic mech Getter Robo. Having never seen a Lucky Star strip, it's still easy to mentally recreate the original exchange. Panel 1, introduction: talk of drills. Panel 2, development: Kona says something like "drills?!" Panel 3, climax: Kona's vision of Getter Robo. Panel 4, conclusion: Miyuki and Tsukasa exchange quizzical looks as Konata's eyes gleam. Konata's otaku world view permeates these conversations. Lucky Star is packed with references, including a closing credit sequence that changes every episode as Konata and company sing karaoke to songs inspired by classic anime themes. However, Lucky Star is less about explicitly invoking or mirroring anime than it is about thinking like the anime obsessed. When it isn't about fitting people into fandom labels, such as ascribing "moe points" to Miyuki, it's obsessing over categorizing and the proper handling of minutia. After expressing that she can't join a sports team because it would conflict with her prime time anime watching, the first episode launches into about five minutes of the girls discussing the best way to eat various snacks and deserts. Aside from a dancing number during the opening credits, by virtue of thinking anime rather than doing anime, Lucky Star is far more subdued than flash card style parody like Excel Saga or Pani Poni Dash. With an aesthetic marked by pastel colors and a predictable repetition of simple faces, the visual storytelling of Lucky Star is more about a general impression than visual narrative. In that, it runs with slight variations on the four primary characters, in what often amounts to talking head situations, or given its dedication to time wasting activities such as clicking around the internet or MMORPG's, non-talking head situations. While a pitched shoujo drama might employ similar neck-up perspective, here, the characters are expressing minor emotions. Because the anime is low key in this way, for every case where Lucky Star nails an aspect of the geek psyche, and that the sudden recognition provokes laughter, there's a far longer stretch in which Konata's content pop culture consumption and Kagami's irritation provoke an amused grin at best. If there is a continuity of introspective, critical, geek focus anime/manga with skewering Welcome to the NHK at one extreme, and Genshiken's smartly insightful, but ultimately complimentary holding the middle, Lucky Star occupies the comfort ego-pat end. There's no more debate in Lucky Star as to whether Konata’s pop culture channeled approach is more viable or healthy than Kagami's dedication to conventional goals than Looney Tunes seriously considers the merits of Bugs Bunny's outlook versus Daffy Ducks. For this sort of comic duo, it's beside the point. The New Yorker recently captioned a caricatured illustration of Sex and the City's cast with the comment " superannuated fantasy posing a slice of modern life." Lucky Star is similarly an escapist fantasy. A conversation between Konata and company starts with the group talking about dressing up like female anime characters and without turning ironic, it mutates into a conversation about what female character type they would marry. Point being, these characters aren't thinking like teenage girls, or even like people. Kagami may be defined by her conscious dedication to work and worries about how other perceive her, but Konata's presence pushes aside weighing concerns. The soul of Lucky Star is the illusion that a cute girl can melt away time gaming and clicking around online, squeak by academically by cracking a few books the night before, and maintain social bounds with a close group of friends. This is the geek equivalent of Carrie's million dollar wardrobe and perpetual ability to hook up with friends for drinks and chit chat. Surveying some of the harmful, hateful ideas that sometime sneak into anime/manga comedies, Lucky Star's desire to indulge in having it all might not be sharp, but it is not terribly disagreeable either. There are no pretences toward normalcy or special insight and no way in which these characters are defined by their relationship to a male presence. In that way, at least the manga is not offensively pandering. The geek defined world is not handled as intriguingly or gracefully as Haruhi, nor does the manga share Azumanga Daioh's ingratiating comfort. Ultimately, Luck Star serves as a pleasant distraction and tribute the geek life.

Manga Spotlight: Honey and Clover By Chica Umino Released by VIZ Media's Shojo Beat Manga

My brother was running late. Rushing to the subway station, he passed a scooter lying among some curbside trash. He grabbed the scooter, rode it to the station, and arriving there, left it outside. On the return trip, he found that the scooter was still outside the station, so he rode it home and left it outside his apartment. The next day, he was going to use it again, but found that someone else had taken the scooter. Plenty of anecdotes don't work if you don't know the subject. However, a mix of inclusiveness and maturity makes Umino's anecdote style stories a winsome experience. Honey and Clover drops right into a situation that is not intrinsically funny, dealing with a cast of individuals who aren't instantly definable. In a cheap apartment building, comprised of one room 9'x12' units and a communal kitchen, sans bath or shower, one of the art-student tenants returns from some unspecified work with a pocket full of cash and pounds of croquettes. With free food available, the students begin to collect in hus room and start cooking. Shinobu Morita, this occasionally fall-down worker, a 24 year old sixth year super-super-senior is one of the more exotic characters. Hagumi Hanamoto, aka Hagu or Mouse, the eighteen year old wunderkind who, as depicted on the cover, looks far younger, is the other concept character. Trends in popular manga make it impossible not to group "Hagu" with the prevalent lolita fetish, and the sense that many of the male characters have to look out for or protect her is terribly "moe". Beyond the fey aesthetic, the appeal of this character is weighed towards credible quirks of her personality and how she meshes with the rest of the cast rather than a duplicitous mix of innocence and sex that makes moe troublesome. After Morita and "Hagu" the cast is generally comprised of characters like sophomore architectural student Hagumi Hanamoto, who do not nicely encapsulate into personality-appeal pitches. In terms of a clinch, this isn't about to cease hold with bold personalities or exotic circumstances. If Honey and Clover was playing out directly in front of you, it is not something you'd stop to look at. Its conversations aren't ones that you'd try to listen in on. Umino initiates the first chapter with a bit of logistics; what domestic life is like for its characters. As they gather around to cook up croquettes, there's a sense of sitting in with a community. It's unavoidable, like hearing someone in an upstairs apartment vacuum and open/shut their door. The sense of proximity, along with the mix of the trivial, and non-showy profound plays to a curiosity about what is going on with those neighbors and what their lives are all about. Given that nothing salacious is being promised, this is less about voyeurism than it is about a desire to connect to other people. Umino further fosters this with a sketch look to her illustrations, as if she was sharing renderings of people she knew. Despite the "Shojo Beat" banner, Honey and Clover is a josei title with an intended audience older than the girls/teenager shojo crowd. Before the publication was discontinued the manga ran in the anthology Young You. In terms of creators that might be known in North America, the best known alum of Young You might be Erica Sakurazawa, whose works were localized by TOKYOPOP. Like Nodame Cantabile, whose characters are preparing for careers in classical music, or even Genshiken, whose characters are about to graduate college and figure out how their geek passions fit into their post academic lives, the cast of Honey and Clover is on the cusp of transitioning out of the transitional phase of their lives. Their friendships are still collegial, but some of their romances have more adult complications; they're dealing with finances; their studies are concrete paths to careers. High school anime/manga are often shaded by a bittersweet sense that there is a cut of point for that phase of life. Here, everyone is awash in near-adulthood. There aren't the histrionics and melodrama of teenage relationships or the manga based on those relationships. At the same time, these are people who are at a point in their lives where they are supposed to find the mates and jobs that will carry them into the rest of their lives. For an older reader, this makes Honey and Clover far more intriguing and involving than the general body of relationship anime/manga.

Recent Manga Reviews in AICN Comics

Dororo Volumes 1 and 2 Ral Grad

Ponyo US Release Planned

Nausicaa.net reports Studio Ghibli president Toshio Suzuki announced a US release for Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo has been officially decided. Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy have been selected as producers. Suzuki indicated that a a large scale release is planned, but not release date was announced.

TOKYOPOP Restructures

North America publisher TOKYOPOP has eliminated 39 positions in a restructuring initiative that sees the company spinning off OKYOPOP Media LLC to handle comics-to-film and digital initiatives. Group President & COO John Parker has taken over the publishing reigns at TOKYOPOP Inc. with veteran Director of Marketing Marco Pavia being promoted to Associate Publisher. Current Publisher Mike Kiley has been promoted to the key senior executive role in TOKYOPOP Media, reporting to Levy, who will helm the new company. As part of the reorganization, TOKYOPOP's Japan entity will be separated into two units--one under TOKYOPOP Media and the other remaining the TOKYOPOP Group's holding entity. TOKYOPOP's European operations will not be affected. According to Stuart Levy, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of the TOKYOPOP Group, "This reorganization is the right business move, but we are doing it with a heavy heart. It involves saying goodbye to 39 of the most talented, creative and compassionate people I've ever known. While it goes without saying, it's important to note that our restructure is not at all a negative reflection on them. The time is now for us to focus our publishing business to overcome current market challenges. Fewer releases will allow for less cannibalization at retail. At the same time, the opportunity is significant in the digital and comics-to-film space. As one of the largest comic book companies worldwide, we must adjust our overhead to properly execute this new business plan." Tokyopop informed Anime News Network that, due to current market challenges, Tokyopop Inc. will be scaling back its publishing activities, from about 470 volumes a year to 225-240 volumes a year. Notable analysis and reaction online includes: Yaoi line Blu's editors Christopher Butcher puts online reaction into perspective giapet on the caliber of their recent manga releases a strong reaction to how the layoff was handled Comic Snob looks at the business An educated guess on what will make the cut a list of downsized editorial staff. Head of PR Susan Hale, this column's TOKYOPOP contact has also been let go. The Beat compares the move to other corporate crises in comics and comments on the company's reputation. Rivkah weighs in on the impact to her work, and previews Steady Beat volume 3 Publishers Weekly notes that TOKYOPOP will be opting out of San Diego Comic Con Simon Jones' comment threads that Kodansha will be pulling their manga licenses to start their own North American manga operation. Shutter Box's Rikki Simons on the future of that title Roadsong's Joanna Estep

ReBoot Return

In non-anime news, CG series ReBoot is returning as a web comic and a trilogu of movies. From the site Rainmaker Entertainment teamed with Zeros 2 Heroes Media to give ReBoot fans the power to decide which of five new concepts have the most merit. Over four weeks, thousands of comments, ratings, blog posts and votes poured in. The ReBoot saga continues with this first installment of the Code of Honor storyline: Paradigms Lost. Two mortal enemies set aside their differences to battle a viral outbreak that threatens the stability of cyberspace. Will the unlikely allies cooperate... or stab each other in their backups? This online comic represents a first in producer-fan collaboration: during the creation of Paradigms Lost, fans were consulted on details as specific as the color of Bob’s tongue. So, enjoy the comic and give us your ratings, feedback and concerns.

Kids Titles

VIZ Media has announced that the 10th Pokemon movie, "The Rise of Darkrai" has shipped on DVD. POKeMON (©) 2005Pokemon. (©)1995-2008 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. TM & (R) are trademarks of Nintendo. Speaking of Pokemon ICV2 reports Warner Home Video will release the first DVD of the Bakugan anime on August 26th. The Bakugan: Battle Brawlers, a single-disc release, will include the first five episodes at a $14.98 MSRP, along with trading card pack-ins. A spokesperson from Spin Master, which makes the game, recently told the Boston Globe that the company expects to sell $100 million worth of the "games, cards, and characters" in the U.S. this year. ICV2 reports Svetlana Chmakova of Tokyopop’s Dramacon and animation vets JC Little and Cindy Filipenko will be producing animated series "My Life Me" for a Fall 2009 release. Fifty-two 11-minute episodes are slated, along with 26 original shorts for mobile and VoD platforms. The target audience is kids 8-12. TV-Loonland and CarpeDiem Film & TV are producing, backed by Canadian broadcaster Teletoon Canada and French broadcasters France 2 and Canal J.

Figures News

Organic Hobby, Inc in conjunction with Kaiyodo will be releasing three Revoltech figures based on etroit Metal City (or DMC). Krauser II - Jagi - Camus" will be released in July with an SRP of $24.00 each. Krauser II, (or Soichi Negishi off stage) is based on a Japanese manga known as "Detroit Metal City" created by Wakasugi Kiminori. Soichi Negishi is a shy young man who came from the rural Ota Prefecture to Tokyo for college and wished to become a kindergarten teacher. However, for some reason he became the lead singer and songwriter of a metal band named "Detroit Metal City," with a stage name "Johannes Krauser II." Whenever he wears the heavy makeup, Negishi becomes a completely different person, shouting the most vulgar profanities beyond anyone's imagination. With the popularity of DMC increases, Negishi starts worrying his double personalities can have negative effects on his (romantic) life off stage.The figure is 5-6" tall and has 42 articulation points with 14 joint parts (his cape includes 3 joints). "Revoltech DMC - Krauser II" comes equipped with interchangeable accessories and parts (1 legendary guitar, 1 roar microphone, 1 interchangeable head, 6 optional hands, 2 optional high speed play hand and 1 display base).
Jagi is one the character based on a Japanese manga known as "Detroit Metal City" created by Wakasugi Kiminori. Jagi is the second musician/metal band member of "Detroit Metal City." The figure is 5-6" tall and has 42 articulation points with 14 joint parts. "Revoltech DMC - Jagi" comes equipped with interchangeable accessories and parts (1 legendary guitar, 1 mike stand, 1 Jagi's flame, 4 optional hands and 1 display base).
Camus is also one the character based on a Japanese manga known as "Detroit Metal City" created by Wakasugi Kiminori. Camus is the third musician/metal band member of "Detroit Metal City." The figure is 5-6" tall and has 42 articulation points with 14 joint parts. "Revoltech DMC - Camus" comes equipped with interchangeable accessories and parts (1 lyric bubble/balloon, 1 DMC sign board, 2 drumsticks, 2 Cobra drumsticks, 3 optional hands and 1 display base).
Organic Hobby, Inc in conjunction with Happinet proudly will release Wonderland - Little Red Riding Hood in October for $105.00.
Yamato USA is now selling TANDEM TWIN Animal Girls: Dog Annerose for $72.00 The 11.5" is limited to 300 in North America.
ToyEvil's I Like Toys looks at Detroit Metal City bearbricks and DMC in general remote control Guntank Revoltech's summer Yotsuba Custom Devastator Speaking of custom, LEGO Iron Giant Hell Girl's Enma Ai CollectionDX looks at Gurren Lagann Yoko Eye Up Ver. Gurren Lagann Kamina Saint Seiya Aries Mu (with Appendix) Neo Getter Black Version Anime Export Exclusive Grendizer 1/12 Gundam Beam Saber Haruhi Suzumiya Fate/Stay Night's Saber Imperial Japanese Navy Battleship Yamato (the real Battleship Yamato) Arcadia Galaxy Express 999 (movie version) Dragon Ball/One Piece mash-up figures Lots of Macross at An Enternal Thought In the Mind of Godzilla

Event News

New York Int'l Children's Film Festival will be screening the following this weekend SWORD IN THE STONE USA, Wolfgang Reitherman, 1963, 79 min In English. Recommended ages 4 to 10 (rated G) IFC Center - Sat & Sun, June 7 & 8 - 11:00am Based on the T.H. White book The Once and Future King, Disney's The Sword in the Stone is the story of young Arthur, a hapless squire rejected by his family, who is taken into the care and tutelage of the bumbling wizard Merlin and Archimedes, his grumpy pet owl.
HELP! I'M A FISH Denmark, Fjeldmark/Hegner, 2000, 72 min In English, Recommended ages 4 to 10 Bronxville Cinemas, Red Bank Art Cinemas - Sat & Sun, June 7 & 8 - 11:00am From the Academy Award nominated director Stefan Fjeldmark comes this beautifully animated undersea adventure about three kids who stumble upon the hidden cave-laboratory of mad professor MacKrill and drink a potion that transforms them into sea creatures. Action is propelled by a super-catchy Europop soundtrack and the mix of computer and cel animation includes stunning, hand-painted undersea backgrounds. Featuring the voices of Monty Python's Terry Jones as MacKrill and Alan Rickman as the devilishly campy villain, Joe.
SKYMASTER Denmark, Steen Rasmussen/Michael Wikke, 2006, 83 min In Danish with English subtitles, Recommended ages 7 to adult Bronxville Cinemas, Red Bank Art Cinemas - Sat & Sun, June 7 & 8 - 11:00am This euphorically oddball musical is a tongue-in-cheek, comic adventure filled with hyper-saturated colors, dreamlike landscapes, and a deliciously kitschy soundtrack. When Kalle's sister, Little, is born, the doctors make a very unusual discovery: she has wings! The doctor and family counselor both insist they perform a cosmetic operation or risk making Little a social outcast, but Kalle's parents want to take her as she is. Determined to prove his sister's skin flaps are more than they appear, Kalle takes her out riding on his bike, and is astonished to soon see her flying beside him. But he can't get Little to repeat the feat, and he returns home one day to find a note saying his parents have taken Little to the Plastic Palace, a cosmetic surgery emporium. Now Kalle in on a race to rescue his sister from the scalpel and prove normality is overrated.
New York Tokyo has previewed Tim Evans' manga inspired watercolor work, which will be exhibited The Proposition in New York, as part of the Not Exactly a Mountain. Not Exactly a Mountain - Mike Park & Tim Evans June 4 - June 28 Opening Reception: Saturday, June 7, 6-8 pm Also via New York - Tokyo, Metal Gear's Hideo Kojima will be at UNIGLO Soho on June 12th to promot Metal Gear Solid4: Guns of the Patriots and to commemorate UNIQLO’s LIMITED edition series of MGS4 collaboration t-shirts. The event will feature autograph signing with Metal Gear Solid series creator Hideo Kojima and Yumi Kikuchi, actress for Raging Raven (featured in MGS4). They will be signing MGS4 box art sleeves for the first 300 attendees. Trading card maker Score Entertainment will be promoting the BLEACH Trading Card Game at Anime Expo 2008 in Los Angeles (July 3-6, 2008; Los Angeles Convention Center The Score Entertainment panel "Anime and Gaming," by trading card game designers Aik Tongtharadol (BLEACH), Garret Wilkinson (InuYasha) and Marketing Coordinator Joshua Morris will offer a behind-the-scenes look at how Score Entertainment produces its trading card games and how to go about getting a job in the games industry. Score will also be running a BLEACH Fan Appreciation Party and the Bleach TCG Squad 12 Regional Tournament. Anime Expo announced that they will be hosting Madhouse animator Hiromi Kato (Beck, Paradise Kiss) and character designer Akemi Takada (Urusei Yatsura, Creamy Mami, Kimagure Oragne Road And Mobile Police Patlabor) as an official Guests of Honor. Finally, the convention will be screening Batman Gotham Knight, a collaboration between DC Comics, WarnerPremiere, Warner Home Video and Warner Bros. Animation, the production wasdivided among three renowned anime studios - Studio 4ºC, Production I.G andMadhouse - and included the truly inimitable visions of directors Shojiro Nishimi,Futoshi Higashide, Hiroshi Morioka, Yasuhiro Aoki and Toshiyuki Kubooka. The original movie will arrive July 8, 2008 onDVD and Blu-ray Disc, and will also be available OnDemand and Pay-per-View as wellas available for download on the same day as release date. BLEACH Character Designer Masashi Kudo and Producer Ken Hagino will be appearing at the New York City theatrical screening of BLEACH THE MOVIE: MEMORIES OF NOBODY on Wednesday, June 11 at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 Theatre at 7:00pm. The first 100 attendees on June 11, at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 location, will also receive a special BLEACH armband courtesy of Great Eastern Entertainment, Inc., a leading licensed manufacturer of animation and entertainment merchandise.
New York Anime Festival, Del Rey Manga, Samurai Beat Radio and VIZ Pictures will be celebrating "International Lolita Day" at Books Kinokuniya in Manhattan Saturday June 7, 2008 About.com:Manga has a schedule here The Film Society of Lincoln Center will welcome Satoshi Kon to the stage at the Walter Reade Theater during Satoshi Kon: Beyond Imagination, a complete retrospective of the acclaimed director and animator's work, June 27 - July 1. The series will highlight all four of Kon's feature films, as well as the animator's cult-favorite television series Paranoia Agent, presented on the big-screen in its entirety. Kon will join in an onstage conversation with Film Society program director Richard Peña following a screening of his most recent film, Paprika, at the Walter Reade Theater on Friday, June 27, at 6:15 p.m. Admission for the June 27 screening including the conversation with Satoshi Kon is $15; $12 for Film Society members and students. Tickets for all other Satoshi Kon: Beyond Imagination screenings are $11; $7 for Film Society members, students and children (6-12, accompanied by an adult); and $8 for seniors (62+). They are available at both the Walter Reade Theater box office and online at www.filmlinc.com. A series pass admitting one person to a total of five titles in the series can be purchased at the Walter Reade Theater box office (cash only) for $40; $30 for Film Society members. Manga: The Complete Guide's Jason Thompson will be at Santa Rosa, California's Mysterious Future June 8 at 2:00 p.m. Subatomic Brainfreeze put together a look at potential set list for JAM Project's Otakon concert Otakon has detailed their modeling contesting Toronto'sWorldwide Short Film Festival will be screening Studio 4C’s Genius Party anthology and hosting director Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, AniMatrix) Wizard World Chicago will be hosting "entertainment ska rock" Oreskaband

Upcoming in Japan

Madhouse will be produced an OVA adaptation of Hells Angels, the manga by the very underrated Hiromoto Sin-Ichi (who adapted Return of the Jedi into manga) New York Tokyo notes that Young Sunday Comics' popular rock manga "Go-On!" will feature American Rock band Weezer as a guest. A new girls superpower My Hime anime, with a new heroine, is in development. Fantasy light novel series To Aru Majutsu no Index (A Certain Magic Index) light novels will be adapted into an anime series. Eastern Standard comments on the novels A live action show based running manga domestic comedy manga Cooking Papa is in production. Street Fighter IV will feature anime cut scenes. Screenshots can be seen here. A trailer here A trailer for Mahou Sensei Negima Ala Alba OAD has gone online Anime News Network reports comedian Hiroshi Shinagawa will write and direct a film adaptation of his own autobiographical Drop coming-of-age novel and manga. Drop's story follows Shinagawa's early life as he grew up in the streets of 1980s' Tokyo. Young Shinagawa decides to become a delinquent after reading the manga classic Be-Bop High School and transfers from a private middle school to a public one. A trailer for Sega and Production IG's World Destruction has gone online Lucky Star OVA is scheduled for an August 29th release

New DrMaster

DrMaster Publications has announced that Metro Survive vol. 2, the final volume of the series by Yuki Fujisawa, Chinese Hero vol. 6 by Wing Shing Ma, and the new series Magic Lover’s Tower vol. 1 & 2 by Kao Yung & Kuan Liang, are all available now. Both volumes of the two-volume series, Magic Lover's Tower will be specially released together this summer so readers won’t have to wait to find out the ending. Metro Survive vol. 2, Magic Lover’s Tower vol. 1 and 2 are each priced at $9.95, and Chinese Hero vol. 6 will be priced at $18.95. Metro Survive vol. 2 A glimpse of hope comes to the survivors as they are joined together with another party that was stranded in the upper basement. However, their relief is short-lived as they see no signs of rescue and the shortage of food creeps up on them. Frustration ensues. After a hostile takeover the other party's leader, Mishima and his party are threatened to leave the basement back to the Metro. How long will they be able to survive in the rodent-infested Metro without food and water?
Chinese Hero vol. 6 After heeding the Heavenly Umbrella Elder's advice, Jian finds the Heavenly Umbrella to uncover the secrets hidden within it, and learns several new mysterious techniques. However, Jian's arrogance leads to the death of someone close to him... Meanwhile, Wu Yuan has arrived in Shafe Town to find Lohan's friends, Luna and Lupin. But shortly after their introductions, Lupin is kidnapped by a mysterious vampire, who is one of the Q level Face Card Assassins!
Magic Lover’s Tower Roxanne the nerdy class cleanliness rep is secretly in love with the bad boy of the class, Logan. One day, she accidentally releases Baphalen, a magical being who was sealed by the Heavenly Courts as punishment. Baphalen is the guardian of the incense urn of the Old Man Under the Moon, and in return for Roxanne’s help, he decides to use his Magic Lover’s Staff to grant her wish of winning Logan’s heart. However, in order for her wish to be fulfilled, Roxanne must participate in a magical game in the realm of the Magic Lover’s Tower, where she must get Logan to kiss her and say "I love you," within the time limit. Or else, Logan will hate her even more when she returns to reality! In the meantime, Baphalen has moved into Roxanne’s room and starts attending her school as well. Commotion ensues, and Roxanne’s once-peaceful life soon heads off in a totally unexpected direction!

VIZ BEA Announcements

VIZ Media showcased the following at the Book Expo America tradeshow POKÉmon: the rise of the darkrai • Rated "A" for All Ages • MSRP: $7.99 • Available June 3, 2008 From the VIZKIDS imprint THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE OCARINA OF TIME • Rated "A" for All Ages • MSRP: $7.99 • Available October 7, 2008 CAT EYED BOY • Rated "T+" for Older Teens • MSRP: $24.99 • Available June 10, 2008 From the VIZ Signature imprint The latest horror masterpiece from Kazuo Umezu, the creator of DRIFTING CLASSROOM (also published by VIZ Media), Cat-Eyed Boy is a half-human, half-monster child who mostly resembles a human, and therefore cannot live in the demon world. He lives hidden in the shadows of the human world, hated by demons and humans alike, but wherever he goes, awful events occur. Humans interact with demons, but surprisingly it’s the humans that act more evil than the monsters. Cat-Eyed Boy acts like a Trickster, saving the innocent and helping the wicked receive the punishment that fate metes out. CAT EYED BOY features gripping tales of revenge and retribution for the evil acts that people commit. The series is broken into 11 individual stories, many full of extremely grotesque and disturbing images. Kazuo Umezu started drawing professionally in the 1950s and is considered the most influential horror manga artists. Umezu's weird style, incredible ideas and sometimes terrifying imagery have made him a fixture of Japanese pop culture, and his work has been adapted into movies, anime and collectibles. REAL • Rated "T+" for Older Teens • MSRP: $12.99 • Available July 15, 2008 From the VIZ Signature imprint REAL is a gritty drama from Takehiko Inoue and offers a unique twist on the sports manga genre as it focuses on wheelchair basketball. A motorcycle accident, bone cancer, and a speeding truck crashing into a boy on a stolen bicycle all present tragic, life-changing events that turn the worlds of three young men upside down in this gripping new series. Three very different personalities have only one thing in common - their passion for basketball. SOLANIN • Rated "T+" for Older Teens • MSRP: $17.99 • Available October 21, 2008 College graduates struggle to cope with the real world and music offers refuge in this modern manga with an American attitude. Meiko Inoue is a recent college grad working as an office lady in a job she hates. Her boyfriend Naruo is permanently crashing at her apartment because his job as a freelance illustrator doesn't pay enough for rent. And her parents in the country keep sending her boxes of veggies that just rot in her fridge. Straddling the line between her years as a student and the rest of her life, Meiko struggles with the feeling that she's just not cut out to be a part of the real world. SOLANIN was created by Inio Asano and was originally published as a two-volume series but will be released by VIZ Media as a single omnibus edition and will have six color pages. SHONEN JUMP FIFTH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTOR’S EDITION • Rated "T" for Teens • MSRP: $24.99 • Available August 5, 2008 Collected in this special edition is all the manga from the very first issue of SHONEN JUMP, published in December 2002—plus the first chapter of NARUTO, now one of the most successful manga series, which originally appeared in the second issue of the magazine. Also included are feature stories from the first five years of SHONEN JUMP, including Japanese lessons, manga sudoku and rare interviews with great manga creators such as Masashi Kishimoto (NARUTO), Akira Toriyama (DRAGON BALL Z), Tite Kubo (BLEACH) and Eiichiro Oda (ONE PIECE)—over a dozen in all. Plus a valuable YU-GI-OH! trading card, and essays by SHONEN JUMP’s American and Japanese editors. SLAM DUNK • Rated "T" for Teens • MSRP: $7.99 • Available August 11, 2008 SLAM DUNK is the highly anticipated 31-volume basketball drama from Takehiko Inoue that was a smash hit in Japan. Sakuragi Hanamichi's got no game with girls - none at all! It doesn't help that he's known for throwing down at a moment's notice and always coming out on top. A hopeless bruiser, he's been rejected by 50 girls in a row! All that changes when he meets the girl of his dreams, Haruko, and she's actually not afraid of him! When she introduces him to the game of basketball, his life is changed forever. SLAM DUNK sold over 100 million copies worldwide and catapulted Inoue into the top ranks of Japanese manga artists. An ardent fan of the sport, he also worked on character design for the PLAYSTATION basketball game ONE ON ONE. Takehiko Inoue is also the creator of the VAGABOND manga series, also published by VIZ Media in the US. NORA: THE LAST CHRONICLE OF DEVILDOM • Rated "T+" for Older Teens •MSRP: $7.99 • Available October 7, 2008 From the SHONEN JUMP ADVANCED imprint Nora is an unruly demon that has defied his Dark Liege one too many times. For the sake of his "education," Nora is sent to live among mortals and enters a bond of servitude with cool-as-ice star student Kazuma Makkari. Kazuma is about to learn the ways of the underworld - and Nora will learn more from the "real world" than he ever thought possible! NORA: THE LAST CHRONICLE OF DEVILDOM is Kazunari Kakei's first manga series and debuted in Japan in the April 2004 issue of Monthly Shonen Jump and also spawned a sequel, SUREBREC: NORA THE 2nd, which premiered in Monthly Shonen Jump's March 2007 issue. VIZKIDS Naruto Chapter Books #1: NARUTO: THE BOY NINJA • Recommended for Ages 7 - 10 • SRP: $4.99 US/$5.99 CAN • Available October 7, 2008 Naruto's training to be a ninja, but he's having trouble keeping his jokester ways under control. He's causing all kinds of trouble at the Ninja Academy and his teachers think he's annoying. Naruto himself thinks he's going to be the best ninja that ever lived, but first he'll have to prove to everyone that he's more than just the class clown! #2: NARUTO: THE TESTS OF A NINJA• Recommended for Ages 7 - 10 • SRP: $4.99 US/$5.99 CAN • Available October 7, 2008 After graduating from Ninja Academy, Naruto makes new friends including the pretty and smart Sakura and the moody and popular Sasuke. He also meets his new sensei named Kakashi. But Naruto's jokester ways won’t help him to keep up with his talented new pals. If he wants to be the best ninja ever, he's going to have to work for it!

TOKYOPOP Release Plans

TOKYOPOP announced their plans to release GOTH: A Novel of Horror this October during Book Expo America. In in September, TOKYOPOP will release the one-volume manga adaptation by Kendi Ohishi (Welcome to the N.H.K., Calling You) Fox Atomic has optioned the hit novel for feature film development, with horror director and videogame scribe J.T. Petty set to write and direct. According to TOKYOPOP Senior Editor Jenna Winterberg, "Mastermind Otsuichi’s page-turner about two high school sociopaths and half a dozen murder cases will leave you breathless. And if the suspense doesn’t get you, the gore surely will." Winterberg continues: "GOTH goes for the jugular. But it isn’t a B-movie blood bath: The psychological profiles are real and vivid, and the twists are guaranteed to blow your mind, turning perception on its head time and time again." TOKYOPOP and HarperCollins Publishers announced their 2008 new series release slate of co-branded manga. June Bad Kitty: Catnipped, the story of aspiring detective Jasmine Callihan, created by novelist Michelle Jaffe (Bad Girl, Loverboy). July Warriors: The Rise of Scourge, a single-volume story set in the Warriors novel world. September Warriors: Tigerstar and Sasha, volume 1 on a new trilogy

Business News

Anime News Network reports that despite recently securing an additional US$4 million , the video-on-demand service provider Akimbo, which offers anime by ADV Films, AnimEigo, Geneon Entertainment, and Right Stuf is going out of business. Also via Anime News Network the Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA) have established an unlimited liability intermediary corporation to aid in their work to improve the working conditions of Japan's animators. Specifically, as a corperation JAniCA will be able to officially negoiate with other entities and receive financial support, Studio Live's Toyoo Ashida (the director of Vampire Hunter D and the first movie and second television series of Fist of the North Star) heads this group which includes 447 members (as of the end of April). Ashida, Paprika director Satoshi Kon, and Eureka Seven director Tomoki Kyoda are part of the 15-member steering committee. a geek by any other name has heard that the reason MythWear is no longer producing anime branded merchandise is due to serious health problems on the part of the company's operator. Reportedly, the company has suspended activity - unfortunately without contacting many retailers. Yaoi publisher DramaQueen reportedly needs to secure funding before continuing with their printing efforts. Publisher Iris Print is reportly closing operations. GDH K.K. has announced that its group company GONZO Rosso K.K. has agreed today to form a business alliance with TOMY Company, Ltd. for the purpose of establishing a partnership in the online game business field, and GDH is transferring a portion of GONZO Rosso shares to TOMY. GDH's main online game subsidiary GONZO Rosso and TOMY will aim to co-produce diverse content by combining and mutually exploiting expertise and property. In addition to servicing in Japan, GONZO Rosso and TOMY will also strive for roll out of their co-developed content in the overseas market via GONZO Rosso's strategic subsidiaries such as Goldsky Digital Technology Limited and GONZO ROSSO(M) Sdn. Bhd., both of which license MMORPGs to Asian and other territories. The capital transfer will fortify the partnership between TOMY and the GDH Group, leaving GDH holding 54.56% of outstanding GONZO Rosso shares and TOMY holding 15.43%.

Upcoming Anime Releases

Via Anime on DVD ADV 8/05 Godannar Complete Collection (Thinpak) - 650 minutes $89.98 - 8/12 Angelic Layer Box Set (Thinpak) - 650 minutes - $49.98 DNAngel Box Set (Thinpak) - 650 minutes - $89.98 Rune Soldier Complete Collection (Thinpak) - 600 minutes - $39.98 8/19 Hakugei: Legend of Moby Dick Complete Collection (Thinpak) - 650 minutes $59.98 Pretear Complete Collection (Thinpak) - 325 minutes - $39.98 8/26 Devil Hunter Yohko Complete Collection (Thinpak) - 225 minutes - $29.98 Red Garden Vol. #6 VIZ Media 9/02 Naruto Vol. #27 - 100 minutes 9/16 Blue Dragon Vol. #1 - 138 minutes - $14.98 Pokemon Battle Frontier Set 2 Pokemon Diamond and Perl Vol. #01 Pokemon Diamond and Perl Vol. #02 Pokemon Diamond and Perl Box 1 9/23 Bleach Vol. #12 9/30 Naruto Vol. #28 10/07 Buso Renkin Box Set 2 - 300 minutes - $49.98 10/14 Bleach Movie 1: Memories of Nobody - 93 minutes - $29.98 Naruto Box Set 10 (also w/special edition) 10/28 Death Note Vol. #7 (also w/limited edition) Pokemon All Stars Vol. #13 Pokemon All Stars Vol. #14 FUNimation (tenative) 9/2 Release: Baki the Grappler Complete Box - 69.98 Robotech: Shadow Chronicles Blu-ray - 39.98 9/9 Shuffle Vol. #6 - 29.98 Shuffle Vol. #6 w/box - 39.98 xxxholic Vol. #5 - 29.98 9/16 Dragon Ball GT Season 1 Box Set - 49.98 Dragon Ball Z Season 6 Set - 49.98 DBZ Spanish Vol. #9/10 - 12.98 each Dragon Ball Z Movie 3/4 - 29.98 Dragon Ball Z Movie 3/4 Blu-ray - 34.98 Shin-chan Season 1 Part 2 - 39.98 9/23 One Piece Season 1 - Second Voyage - 49.98 Yu Yu Hakusho: Season 2 Box - 34.98 Case Closed Sesaon 2 Box Set - 49.98 Tsubasa Vol. #8 - 29.98 Bandai Entertainment has licensed My-Otome Zwei OVA and the 1997 Tamagotchi movie, based on the virtual pets

Classic Anime on Japanese Blu ray

Anime on DVD reports Bandai Visual will be releasing the following on Japan, remastered off of 35mm prints 10/24 Zeorymer (112min/ Dolby true HD(stero) / AVC/ BD50G/ 4:3 1080P - All 4 ep/ 8190 yen) 11/21 Bubble Gum Crisis (Series 1) (333min/ Dolby true HD(stero) / AVC / BD50G X 2 / 4:3 1080P - All 8ep/ 21000 yen) Riding Bean (45min/ Dolby true HD(stero) / AVC / BD25G / 4:3 1080P - One ep/ 6090 yen)

Full Dojinshi Printing Information from Pop Japan Travel

Pop Japan Travel has posted the full details for their Mind Over Manga tour, which offers participents the opportunity to sell their own dojinshi (with translation and lettering in Japanese by Digital Manga) Comitia here. The tour runs August 21 to 27

More From Gotham Knight

Via Blog@Newsarama, from Josh Olson's (the screenplay for A History of Violence) segment

Fred Ladd’s Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas

Harvey Deneroff and Fred Ladd’s book Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas: An Insider’s View of the Birth of a Pop Culture Phenomenon by Fred Ladd will be released by McFarland on November 30th From Deneroff's blog The book is Fred’s story of his involvement in producing the English-language versions of Astro Boy, Gigantor and Kimba, the White Lion, among other pioneering anime series, and his dealings with the such figures as Osamu Tezuka. In addition, he gives a personal history of the phenonemon that is anime.

Tatsumi Autobiography from Q&A

ICV2 reports Drawn and Quarterly will be publishing A Drifting Life, a 810-page manga autobiography by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, the manga-ka who originated the gekiga (literally "dramatic pictures") style of manga in the late 1950s. Tatsumi has been working on A Drifting Life for 11 years. D&Q previously released two volumes by Tatsumi, The Push Man and Other Stories in 2005, Abandon the Old in Tokyo in 2006, with a third, Goodbye, scheduled for July 2008, the same month D&Q is releasing another gekiga classic, Red Colored Elegy by Seiichi Hayashi.

Scandal Sheet

Via Canned Dogs After promising to never work with Shounen Sunday after his manga series Zatch Bell aka Konjiki no Gash ends, Raiku Makoto has sued publisher Shogakukan for 3.3 million yen (US$33,000) in damages for losing the original copies of several pieces of colour art During art exhibit for the chapter 4 Kara no kyoukai at the ufotable cafe, anime studio ufotable blogged that in the previous 5 Kara no kyoukai art exhibitions that they’ve held at the cafe, they’ve experienced a total of 3 cases of art being stolen from the displays. The studio opted not to increase security so as not to destroy the community atmosphere. A Transformers shirt gets a man thrown on a plane

Worth Checking Out

dot-anime.us, the ecommerce site operated by Bandai Visual USA, has begin streaming the first episode of moe, sci-fi comedy Galaxy Angel Rune here FUNimation on vSide FUNimation is also announced the cast for Ouran High School through their series site The first episode of Studio 4C's Detroit Metal City anime is streaming in raw Japanese. Tamashii has launched an English language site Publisher's Weekly looks at Del Rey’s upcoming release of Faust Right Stuf has launched their site for Emma: A Victorian Romance. Emma Season 1 DVD Collection will be released on June 24, 2008 for $49.99. A historical drama set in late 19th-century London, the series chronicles the love story - and the complications that result - when Emma, an honest and hardworking young maid, and William, an earnest suitor and member of the "gentry" class, fall for each other. Production I.G on A Golden Light In The Dark: The Making Of Reideen CG Animation . The studio also posted an interview with Naoyoshi Shiotani PW talks to Togari/Batman: Death Mask creator Yoshinori Natsume Japanator on A-Kon's panel with Helen McCarthy (The Anime Encyclopedia) and Peter Beagle (the Last Unicon) Giapet looks at Nabeshin's panel Omonomono reports on Animazement's Gundam panel and Voice Actress Mecha Mecha Media on multi-media franchises such as Blood+ Chris Butcher gives his Eisner thoughts ComiPress has a detailed breakdown of Kara no Kyoukai Part I Shintaro Kago's DANCE! KREMLIN PALACE! volume 3

For more commentary see the AICN Anime MySpace.

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Readers Talkback

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  • June 6, 2008, 9:13 a.m. CST

    I won't say it.

    by FlickaPoo

  • June 6, 2008, 9:14 a.m. CST

    I will NOT say it.

    by FlickaPoo

  • June 6, 2008, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Oh fuck it.......first.

    by FlickaPoo

  • June 6, 2008, 9:20 a.m. CST

    SOMEBODY.......

    by TiNSeLToWN TeRRoR

    ....pick up HELLSING!!!!

  • June 6, 2008, 9:21 a.m. CST

    So, the two headed prostitute said......

    by FlickaPoo

    ..."you can have anything you want.....but it will cost you double...."

  • June 6, 2008, 9:28 a.m. CST

    I won't say it.

    by LordPorkington

  • June 6, 2008, 9:28 a.m. CST

    I will NOT say it.

    by LordPorkington

  • June 6, 2008, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Oh fuck it...

    by LordPorkington

    FlickaPoo, you're a cunt.

  • June 6, 2008, 10:11 a.m. CST

    A Transformers shirt gets a man thrown ON a plane

    by Acne Scarface

    the geek shall inherit the earth. another sign of the zombie apocalypse.

  • June 6, 2008, 11:27 a.m. CST

    DANNYGLOVERS_DICKBLOOD...

    by LordPorkington

    I agree, hence my need to call everyone who posts 'First!' a cunt. Actually, I'd do that anyway, but still, there doesn't appear to be anything genuinely 'cool' to report lately. So sad.

  • June 6, 2008, 12:13 p.m. CST

    More tentacle rape please.

    by Baron Karza

    A man can live on tentacle rape.

  • June 6, 2008, 12:28 p.m. CST

    I pity the fool

    by Iowa Snot Client

    who skips this article and misses out on the Detroit Metal City figures. I haven't read the manga, but you've gotta love those character designs.

  • June 6, 2008, 12:48 p.m. CST

    Interesting about that Gotham Knight segment!

    by Johnno

    So it seems that it's probably not manbat or anything like that, but some kids sharing exaggerated stories about encountering Batman. So maybe this whole thing fits in more with Nolan's realistic universe after all for those wondering about that...<br><br>Anyway, I'm off the internet until I have watched and played through the best game and movie ever!!! MGS4 in less than a week bitches!! And I'm outta here before some spaz decides it's a good idea to spam a talkback with spoilers from the game...

  • June 6, 2008, 1:22 p.m. CST

    Reboot and whatnot

    by WarpedElements

    that news is a lil over a year and a half old. Where were you when they were voting on which storyline to go with dammit?! they needed publicity THEN! Anyway, has there been ANY changes s'far as Geneon goes? I needs Hellsing and Black Lagoon goodness...

  • June 6, 2008, 3:07 p.m. CST

    Why would someone spam the TBs

    by SilentP

    with spoilers about MGS4? This is a movie site. They would do that at a game site, presumably.

  • June 6, 2008, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Lucky Star...

    by Saithus

    I purchase the first dvd base on the fact I read it was like Azumanga Daioh mixed with Haruhi Suzimiya (spelling probably I am too lazy to check). Anyways its a great show. Funny as hell so far. But I have to watch more for me to like it more then Azumanga Daioh... it will take a lot.

  • June 6, 2008, 6:19 p.m. CST

    DMC

    by Hikaru Ichijo

    KISS is the Star Trek of rock'n'roll, and Gene knows it. I'll be more interested in the lawsuit.

  • June 6, 2008, 6:39 p.m. CST

    re: Hikaru Ichijo

    by ScottGreen

    Gene Simmons plays "Demon God of Rock and Roll" in the live action Detroit Metal City movie

  • June 6, 2008, 11:14 p.m. CST

    TokyoPop had it coming

    by DigitalDong

    Something was bound to happen to that degree. But Rivkah cracks me up. 4 years with them and only 3 books done....Good luck finding something else. At least Tentopet got smart and took off, she was by far the most talented of the OEL's but her skills were dumbed down at TP. Now she's at Vertigo and soon everyoen will know her name.

  • June 8, 2008, 9:14 p.m. CST

    Lucky Star is like Azumanga crossed with the Food Network

    by crayon

    although the gratuitous Haruhi merchandising tie-ins may make Scott's first simile more valid.

Top Talkbacks