Check out a review of Tokyo Zombie, along with a look at the manga at the prestigious Eisner Awards. And for Studio4C fans, note this Quiet Earth and Catsuka note this Second Genius Party Beyond trailer
Keanu as Spike?
After story that Fox is adapting Cowboy Bebop into a live action movie, with Erwin Stoff attached as producer, First Showing reports: a good friend inside the industry who is a very reliable source wrote in to tell me that the film is being fast tracked inside the studio and will most likely be out by 2010. He also revealed that Keanu Reeves has been attached as the lead character Spike for over eight months now and is still set for the role. Unfortunately there isn't a writer or director attached yet, but with some new forward momentum coming from last week's announcement, I don't think it will take too long.
The 26 episode Sunrise TV series and BONES movie followed a hard luck cadre of bounty hunters in the waning days of Wild West period of solar system wide colonization: haunted but slick ex-gangster Spike Spiegel, grizzled veteran ex-cop Jet Black, gambler/femme fatale Faye Valentine, incorrigible hacker Ed, and data dog Ein. Combining artful homages to Western media, inventive direction from Shinichiro Watanabe and eclectic music from Yoko Kanno, Cowboy Bebop won over many fans when it was released on DVD by Bandai Entertainment and aired on Adult Swim.
Me and the Devil Blues: The Unreal Life of Robert Johnson Akira Hiramoto Released by Del Rey Manga
Me and the Devil Blues becomes a phantasmagoric odyssey through a landscape of sorrow and punishment, but in it's early chapters, it fails to answer the concern as to whether a manga retelling of the Faustian legendary life of influential Blues musician Robert Johnson would offer anything beyond the unexpected pairing of subject and medium. Hiramoto's manga opens with a mythic history of the Blues as the story percolates out of the hazy blackness, starting with its birth in Paradise Lost. In a small, wooden structure that looks like the last dwelling on earth, situated on a barren landscape, Robert Johnson pulls himself out of sleep to answer a knock at the door. An expressionist face in the blackness greets him by moaning back "It's me... I've come for you." Then, he's woken up into his real world, and this time, he's greeted by his exasperated, pregnant wife haranguing him. The day does not improve when his arrival at the field is met by his sister striking him with a leaping kick before berating him. "RJ! You about to be a daddy, and just look atcha! A man who don't work ain't no bettah than trash!" The entire journey, from the time "RJ" spent in his home community, yearning to be a Blues man, to his pact with the devil and his later wanderings are abstract. RJ's visions of temptation bleed into his reality, smearing his sense of time and of himself, but beyond that, the people with which he interacts are frequently more shades than solidly defined individuals. Certain Blues men and his unlikely road-mate for the manga, Clyde Barrow, share RJ's depth, but much of the rest of the world seem to be merely playing out parts. At home, there is his hefty, church avowing sister and her cowed husband... the petite, flirtatious woman with the imposing, violent husband and so on. On the road, he stops in one inhospitable community with its own strict sense of judgment, then another. The mythical currents in the story of Robert Johnson open doors for Me and the Devil Blues. If RJ is a Blues Gulliver or Pilgrim, metaphorically washing up on the Southern equivalent of an island of the Cyclops is a compelling way of working with the fantastic without turning the manga into fantasy. However, race and racial sensitivity are dicey issues especially when the framework is constructed by an outsider. Regardless of the amount of reverence that went into creating Me and the Devil Blues, opening the manga with caricatures, and caricatures with a racial dimension, is problematic. Especially in the first chapter, when events have not begun to give RJ something substantial to react to, seeing lines like "we was s'posed to hit the juke, remember?," not knowing the linguistics of the time and place, the dialog itself provokes a "I just hope this was careful, and correct" sentiment. At least from the standpoint of an American reader, the manga could have benefited from starting from a more naturalistic footing before making its descent. Once RJ starts literally and figuratively moving down the road of the Blues player, the character and the manga assume the intrigue of mystery. Jordan falls sway to the pull of the Blues, though it isn't something that he can intellectualize or rationally understand. At the same time, the charisma behind the character in the manga is the impenetrable intensity behind his gaze and yearnings. Reading Me and the Devil Blues is a lot like staring at someone who is staring into the distance. Akira Hiramoto abandons genre accessibility. The drive to be the best is frequently its own justification in manga. That's not simply restricted to Pokemon, Naruto and other children's/adolescent manga. Business, golf, mahjong, pachinko, just about any endeavor that can hold someone’s interest has its own manga series, and in many cases, the impetus is "I'll be the best." In contrast, RJ's story is not so reducible. Nor does Hiramoto lay out an explicit alternative. In a telling scene, Clyde and RJ spend a night at a campfire, but as they pour out their souls, their thoughts are hidden, half formed or in the words repeated quotes. When the pair do match thoughts, it takes the form of a metaphor rather than something explicitly articulated. Me and the Devil Blues is a seinen manga, which ran in the anthology Afternoon, home of intelligent, violent titles like Blame!, Eden, Blade of the Immortal, Parasyte and Shadow Star, as well as older-ish audience comedies like Oh! My Goddess and Genshiken. For thoughtful seinen, Dragon Ball Z explicit exposition is not entirely expected, but it is not entirely alien either. For example, Manji, the scarred, stray cat ronnin protagonist of Blade of the Immortal is far from gregarious and far from a philosopher, but he does explain his history and his thoughts. Generally, a smart seinen is going to offer its reader a clear guidepost pointing out the direction to ponder. Like Vagabond, Takehiko Inoue's manga version of the fictional biography of the great swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, Me and the Devil Blues seeks to step into the head of an innovator whose genius is tied to his unconventional mind. Inoue used images to slow down the thought process, until the beading sweat and crackling synapses of Musashi and his rivals could be seen. Hiramoto takes an approach where he leaps into expressionism or alternatively, realism that is less abstracted than most manga, paired with telling eyes. Whether it is trying to read into the eyes of the characters or the wild representations of their thoughts, it's easy to drown in the images present by Me and the Devil Blues. Me and the Devil Blues offers far more than the novelty of seeing manga retell the story of a famous Blues musician. It is something other than fact and other than the stories told through Johnson's music. Yet, evoking the tension of the time and place as well as Johnson's personal demons, it still arrives at something effectingly similar to the spell of Johnson strumming his guitar. Despite any broad missteps, Hiramoto offers something sublime in the soulful eyes of his subjects.
Anime Spotlight: Lucky Star Volume 2 Released by Bandai Entertainment and Kadokawa Pictures USA
In its second set of episodes, Lucky Star continues to be anime anodyne for the otaku consciousness, but with a better handling of the transition from the title's four panel comic strip origins than the first set's. Offering comfort food rather than insight is not exactly the mark of lofty ambitions, and success in that endeavor is often more mellow then uproarious. Still, especially with the improved comic timing, even if it isn't shooting for the stars, it's a pleasant distraction done well. Despite her natural athleticism and intelligence, Lucky Star's defining character, Konata Izumi is defined by her shelving those gifts in favor of video game playing, anime watching, and manga reading. Like a good alpha geek, her role is to perpetually look for angles to consume more pop culture media, interrupt quiet moments with old TV commercial references and talk giant robots when the topic of conversation is dentists. In other words, for her, any thought or activity can, and inevitably will, be related back to what Genshiken called "Modern Visual Culture." Though they are a collection of potential comic foils, this obsession is not entirely to the consternation of Konata's trio of friends, hard working, serious 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. To repeat the often repeated, Lucky Star can be explained as 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. 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. In the absence of gag comedy's staccato beat of punchy payoffs, Lucky Star's charming uneventfulness could be mistaken for "slice of life." However, the intent here is not to explore the reaction to credible situations. Though a sense of proximity is achieved through unexceptional circumstances and bits with grounded subjects (various bits of human untidiness, such as bad teeth and weight gain) or causes of stress (keeping up a high school academic career), the effect is like hiding the horn on a unicorn. Nearness doesn't make the tenets of pastel shaded girls, engaged in comfortable friendship among people who can indulge their pop culture an ideal that is any less unreal and obtainable. As such, Lucky Star represents more of a pot of gold fantasy than a slice of life comedy. It's a Sex and the City for male geeks, without the drama, or even false drama. Most of the high spots in Lucky Star revolve around recognition humor. In the context of Lucky Star, something that is recognizable from geek life or from other anime becomes funny or at least grin-worthy. In the former case, the operative mode of building a joke might show a girl with long blue hair putting aside homework to spend a fraction of an hour grinding in a MMORPG, only to find a rare drop and get sucked into a whole night of gaming. In the latter, it might entail the characters karaoke singing Dragon Ball's "Head Chala," or an instance of aggressive driving turning into an Initial D spoof. Lucky Star succeeds at its aims of being mellow and cheerful, but it also has an interesting, almost artful way of tapping on the fourth wall without breaking it. Not only do the quartet of characters involved represent popular media character types, as fans of the media that they resemble, they are keenly aware of the resemblance. Like the cast of Swingers reenacting their favorite movie or the inhabitant of a Kevin Smith work drawing parallels between their experience and other popular media, Lucky Star's characters gleefully revel in life imitating anime/manga/games. If they spot two strangers accidentally bumping into each other at a park, they can't help but compare the happenstance to a branching point in a relationship game. In terms of presenting these jokes, the anime has improved. In the first set of episodes, Lucky Star felt like watching four panel comic strip. Each brief gag followed the metronome swing from introduction to development to climax to conclusion. Starting with episode one's extended conversation about the proper way of eating various food items, this had a lulling effect. At episode 5, the first of this volume, Yasuhiro Takemoto (Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, Nurse Witch Komugi) replaces Yutaka Yamamoto as the series director. In addition to more sound and more shifts and flares in the animation, Takemoto revisits how Lucky Star adapts the manga. While Lucky Star continues to generate strings of short, divisible set pieces around a general topic, Takemoto proves more likely to mix up the pacing, either for more emphasis or more unpredictability. He might draw out a character falling over for physical humor, or throw in the punch line as a quick interjection for naturalism. While this does not substantial change the anime series, those who like its humor before will probably enjoy it more after it's been tweaked for potency.
Manga Announcements from San Diego Comic Con
Bandai Entertainment Lucky Star, the manga by Kagami Yoshimizu that inspired same named geek comedy anime CMX Mikase Hayash's March on Earth is scheduled to premiere in March 09 and Nakaba Higurashshi's Genghis Khan (an adaptation of Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and the Sea) is scheduled for release in April 2009 Dark Horse Daisuke Moriyama's (Chrono Crusade) manga World Embryo is scheduled to be released in summer 2009 Featured in the same monthly magazine as Hellsing and Trigun, World Embryo delivers an action packed thriller that is like nothing else. This majorly dark seinen series puts a whole new spin on the apocalyptic sci-fi genre. Riku Amami was the kind of boy who always cried wolf…until the day he learned that demons are real. In a time where heroes are unrecognized and forgotten, viruses can be transmitted by a cell phone call, and unseen monsters hunt the innocent, the fate of the world rests in the hands of a secret organization called F.L.A.G. and on the shoulders of Riku. If that isn’t enough of a burden, Riku has a baby girl calling him "papa" ever since she emerged…from an egg inside his living room! Is she the embryo of a new world or the child of the apocalypse? Yoshitaka Amano (Vampire Hunter D, Sandman: The Dream Hunters)'s illustrated novel Shinjuku is scheduled for summer 2009 Paired with writer/director Christopher "mink" Morrison (Into the Sun, Dust), the team creates a sci-fi thriller that explores the possibilities of two mediums: comics and prose. Set in the year 2020, Shinjuku is the story of Daniel Legend: an American Special Forces soldier turned licensed private bounty hunter. A loner who travels the globe capturing criminals and now must journey to Shinjuku, Tokyo, to save his sister. Armed with only his wits, metal storm pistol, and a cryptic five-year-old postcard, Simon sets out to save his family, but ends up saving the world. A preview is online here Del Rey Negima!? Neo manga by Ken Akamatsu and Takuya Fujima Orange Planet by Haruka Fukushima (Instant Teen: Just Add Nuts!) Yoshiki Tanaka’s novel Sohryuden Del Rey is also developing a CLAMP in America book, written by Shaenon Garrity. Last Gasp According to Publishers Weekly Last Gasp will be releasing Junko Mizuno's three volume Fancy Gigilo Pelu starting spring of 2009. Patrick Macias details jaPress' involvement VIZ Media 20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa scheduled to be released bi-monthly starting in February 2009 The Stephen King-style story revolves around Kenji Endo, an unmarried 30 year and once almost-famous rocker who is trying to manage a convenience store and raise the infant daughter of his absent sister. Kenji begins to notice that a mysterious cult is using the symbols and outrageous plans that he devised with elementary school buddies devised as children. The first of a three part live action adaptation opens in Japanese theatres in August Bakegyamon: Backward Game by Mitsuhisa Tamura Captive Hearts by Matsuri Hino (Vampire Knight) Dinosaur Hour by Hitoshi Shoya Dogs by Shirow Miwa, a violent sci-fi crime manga Happy Happy Clover by Sayuri Tatsuyama (Hot Gimmick ) Ikigami by Motoro Mase Leave It To PET! by Kenji Sonishi Nora by Kazunari Kakei Pluto by Naoki Urasawa, a detective retelling of the classic "World's Strongest Robot" Astro Boy storie, scheduled to be released bi-monthly starting in February 2009 Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure by Shigekatsu Ihara Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai by Ryo Takamisaki Tegami-bachi (aka Letter Bee) by Hiroyuki Asada; to replace Slam Dunk in Shonen Jump starting in March 2009 Waq Waq by Ryu Fujisaki (Hoshin Engi) Yen Press Yen Press will publish the manga adaption of Darren Shan's vampire novels Cirque du Freak. Publication of the first three Cirque du Freak manga volumes ($10.99 each) will be coordinated around the release of the Cirque du Freak movie in 2009 by Universal Pictures. Directed by Paul Weitz, the film will star John C. Reilly, Salma Hayek, Willem Dafoe, and Ken Watanabe. Subsequent manga volumes will release every three months. Korean manhwa within its pages: Sarasah by Ryan Ruy and One Fine Day by Sirial. Yukako Kabei's novel Kieli will be released in April 2009 New manga licenses include Oninagi by Akira Ishida, GA Geijutsu Art Design Class by Satoko Kiyuduki and Ichiroh! by Mikage are alse scheduled for April 2009 releases. Yuji Iwahara's Cat Paradise is scheduled for July 2009 Toxic Planet by David will also be released by the publisher
Yamato Revival Immanent
Anime News Network notes Space Battleship Yamato producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki announced that he will be attempting to revive the franchise. "Yamato Studio" has opened in Tokyo with the intension of animating a new entry in sci-fi epic, set in 2220. Previous Nishizaki-Yamato revival attempts were derailed by legal disputes with co-creator Leiji Matsumoto, which Nishizaki reports are resolved. Nishizaki says the new Yamato project will be his last work, one which he hopes will "surpass director Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea." Nishizaki's 55-year-old son Shoji Nishizaki, 80-year-old veteran Yamato chief director Toshio Masuda, and 58-year-old chief animation director Tomonori Kogawa (Casshan: Robot Hunter, Densetsu Kyojin Ideon, Legend of the Galactic Heroes) will lead a staff of about 40 animators in the "Fukkatsu-hen" (Revival Chapter) project. For more, see here
Upcoming in Japan
Gunota relays that the cast for the second Gundam - MS IGLOO 2 CG animated series includes: Ben Barberry - Masaki Terasoma (Kambei Shimada in Samurai 7) Papa Sydney Lewis - Nobuyuki Hiyama (Shiro Amada in Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Muruta Azrael in Gundam SEED, Mr. 3 in One Piece, Viral in Gurren Lagann) Michele Corematta - Hiroki Touchi (Abel Nightroad in Trinity Blood) Kycilia Zabi (character only appearing in voice) - Mami Koyama (Kycilia Zabi in the orignal Gundam, Arale in Dr Slump, Kei in Akira, Talia Gladysin Gundam SEED Destiny) The first MS IGLOO looked at the One Year War of the original Mobile Suit Gundam from the perspective or the earlier anime's anthology Via Anime Nation The sites for the Queen’s Blade and Battle Spirits ~ Shounen Toppa Bashin have gone online. From Anime News Network A new Death Note special, Death Note: Rewrite 2: L’s Successors, abridging the final 10 episodes of the anime, will air on NTV on August 22nd.
Martial arts harem comedy Asu no Yoichi! will be adapted into a televised anime series. Triangle Heart eroge game spin-off Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha will in turn spin-off "Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st" Hanten Okuma and artist Takafumi Adachi have produced a manga adapatation of Kung Fu Panda for Kerokero Ace. The issue will also premiere sci-fi Slayers spin-off Slayers Light Magic. Makoto Kobayashi (What's Michael? and Club 9), will launch a "true-story" manga next week about being a manga creator 25 years ago in Kodansha's Weekly Shonen Magazine. Nitroplus and 5pb.'s Chaos;HEAd computer visual novel, psychological suspense story about a shut-in teen, willl be adapted into a TV anime that will air in Japan this fall. Koji Matsumoto's supernatural horror manga Higanjima, Ryo Ryumon and Koji Megumi's hacker manga Bloody Monday and Shuji Abe's Elite Yankee Saburow teen dellinquent manga will be adapted into live action. Previews/Trailers Kuroshitsuji Gundam 00 Season 2 Via Majoria's News, Casshen-Sins Linebarrels of Iron
Anime Game News
Kotaku has posted a translation of the Soulcalibur IV introductary manga here
A second is here a geek by any other name notes that Princess Maker 5, the latest in Gainax's game franchise will be ported to the PSP Based on Afro Samurai's San Diego Comic Con exposition 1up's impressions Kotaku Joystiq The same is scheduled to be released January 27, 2009 The Agitation of Suzumiya Haruhi for the Wii Naruto: The Broken Bond clips Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Gundam Meisters New screen shots of Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Cross Generation of Heroes feature characters including Morrigan from Darkstalker series, Kaijin no Souki from Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, Hurricane Polymar and Golden Warrior Gold Lightan. Speaking of crossovers, X Edge, featuring * Disgaea - Etna, Prinnies * Darkstalkers - Morrigan, Felicia, Demitri, Lillith * Ar Tonelico - Aurica, Misha, Shurelia, Lyner * Mana Khemia 2 - Roze, Lillane, Whim * Atelier series - Marie * Spectral Souls - Mue
Right Stuf Titles on Anime Network VOD
Anime Network has teamed up with anime distributor Right Stuf to add seven new shows to its VOD lineup, beginning with Boogiepop Phantom TV, Gravitation TV, and Shingu on August 7th. Boogiepop Phantom and Others, Gravitation OVA, Piano, and To Heart will be added in Fall 2008 Boogiepop Phantom TV Returns to U.S. TV In a world where monsters rule the night, young girls should be extra careful. Because some urban legends are terrifyingly real. Horror meets anime in Boogiepop Phantom. 12 Episodes Episode 1 available beginning August 7th Gravitation Shuichi always dreamed of becoming a pop star. A chance encounter with a mysterious stranger changes both his career and his love life for the better. 13 episodes. Episode 1 available beginning August 7th Shingu When a long-held secret begins to unravel, Earth’s future will fall into the hands of the unlikeliest of heroes. Get ready for twists, turns, and intergalactic mayhem in the most exciting anime invasion ever. 26 episodes. Episode 1 available beginning August 7th Boogiepop Phantom and Others Five students try to piece together the puzzle of a new drug and recent disappearances among the student populace. While the teachers believe them to only be runaways, the female students whisper among themselves about the urban legend of Boogiepop. Episode 1 available beginning September 3rd Piano Miu Nomura is a 14-year-old 8th-grader who has been playing piano since early childhood. She grows up gradually while her friendship, kinship, and love affairs evolve around her, but those relationships inevitably affect her piano performance. 10 Episodes. Episode 1 available beginning September 3rd To Heart Life flies by for two high school students. And a childhood friendship turns into something more. Will love bloom? Or will their eyes stray? Find out as a classic dating sim is brought to life. 13 episodes. Episode 1 available beginning October 1st Gravitation OVA Love trouble causes Bad Luck’s Shuichi to fall into a writing slump and thanks to his big mouth bragging to the press about how talented he is, the band can't even hire someone else to write the lyrics for them. If they don't manage to break Shuichi out of his slump soon, it could mean the end of Bad Luck for good! 2 episodes. October 2nd
Dentsu Inc. has launched a new U.S.-based division, DCI Los Angeles (DCI-LA), to develop, co-produce, distribute and license original animation programs.DCI-LA is actively seeking North American and European co-production partners to develop new animation series. Senior vice president for DCI-LA Yuma Sakata states "Working with Western partners in pre-production, and then production teams in Japan for animation, we can create content that will appeal to a wider audience." Additionally, DCI-LA announced the release of the animation series based on Deltora Quest by Australian writer Emily Rodda in markets outsider Asia Deltora Quest, which currently airs on the TV Aichi block of TV Tokyo, was the first project finalized under Dentsu's new strategy, and DCI-LA is currently seeking broadcast partners and licensees in all territories and categories. The Deltora Quest animation series is produced by OLM with investment support from Dentsu. Japanese licensing partners include Kodansha for manga, Bandai for card games, PVC figures and candy items, and Bandai-Namco for interactive games, all via Dentsu, which directly controls all rights to the series worldwide, and handles licensing, merchandising, television, home entertainment and all forms of digital distribution in Asia. Dentsu is the co-owner of Geneon, whose US brand distributed anime such as Black Lagoon and Hellsing before closing sales, marketing and distribution operations. a geek by any other name reports that Yohan Inc., the parent company of recently close Berkeley-based bookstore Cody Books has filed for bankruptcy. There was some confusion about Yohan being the parent of English language Japanese cutlural book publisher Stone Bridge. Stone Bridge Press' Peter Goodman clarified This is a much more complicated story, but one thing I need to make clear: Stone Bridge Press is NOT owned by Yohan. Our owner company did NOT go bankrupt. Stone Bridge is NOT a part of any bankruptcy filing. That said, the Yohan people are long-time friends, and we feel terrible about all the very good and experienced book people who have lost their jobs. Peter Goodman, Publisher Stone Bridge Press
Return Scheduled For Translucent, Manhwa
Via Mecha Mecha Mania Dark Horse editor Philip Simon posted that a number of delayed titles, including the must read action title Shaman Warrior, have been scheduled BRIDE OF THE WATER GOD manhwa Vol. 3 on sale May 2009 Vol. 4 on sale September 2009 SHAMAN WARRIOR manhwa Vol. 7 on sale June 2009 Vol. 8 on sale October 2009 Vol. 9 (FINAL VOLUME) on sale February 2010 TRANSLUCENT manga Vol. 4 on sale July 2009 Vol. 5 (FINAL VOLUME) on sale November 2009 "Why the wait with some of these?" you may ask. Well, I had to find new translators after three great teammates had to bow out of their projects. Tried out several possibilities, found two amazing new translators, and now we're on our way to finishing these series off! --Philip, DH editor
Stonebridge Press reveiled that Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, will be speaking at Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall on October 11. His reading and lecture in Japanese and English will be followed by a conversation with A Wild Haruki Chase Reading Murakami Around the World contributor (and Japanamerica author) Roland Kelts. The first animated film from Lucasfilm, Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be screened by NY Int'l Children's Film Festival USA, Animation, Dave Filoni, 2008, 90 min Rated PG, Recommended ages 8 and up Sun, Aug 10, 5pm - Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway (at 95th) With costumed Clonetroopers, Stormtroopers and other Star Wars characters, plus door prizes and giveaways. First 100 people in line get full size theatrical poster.
This first ever Star Wars animated feature takes place during the great Clone Wars, in the time period between Episodes 2 and 3, and focuses on the young Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, before he has gone over to the dark side to become Darth Vader. Anakin is reluctantly paired with a teenage Padawan Learner, the spunky and fearless Jedi trainee Ahsoka Tano, who proves her girl-power mettle by dueling various baddies, bailing Anakin out of tight spots, and generally saving the day. Director Dave Filoni drops you into the cartoon action mid-battle and proceeds without a comma with lightsabers a-blazing and eye-popping galactic battles a-raging, as classic characters Yoda, R2-D2, C-3PO and Obi-Wan Kenobi join Anakin and Ahsoka in a tense showdown with the sinister Count Dooku, notorious crime lord Jabba the Hut, and the deadly and mysterious Asajj Ventress. Ticket can be purchased here Costumed Star Wars characters for this event are provided by The Empire City Garrison. Speaking of the NYIFF, THE BFG (Big Friendly Giant), based on the Roald Dahl novel, will screen August 9 and 10 THE BFG (Big Friendly Giant) UK, Animation, Brian Cosgrove, 1989, 87 min Rated G - Recommended ages 4 to 8 Sat & Sun, Aug 9 & 10, 11am - IFC Center, 323 6th Ave (at West 3rd) For tickets, see here A preview of Otakon's Madhouse animated opening The New York Anime Festival (NYAF) announced that Gurren Lagann English localiztion stars Tony Oliver, Kyle Hebert, and Steve Blum will all attend its 2008 event as Featured Guests. Tony Oliver is directing the English-language version of Gurren Lagann, Mr. Hebert is featured as the voice of Kamina, and Mr. Blum provides the voice of the genius mechanic Leeron. The New York Anime Festival takes place September 26th through the 28th at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, NY. Imagi Studios and Summit Entertainment were at San Diego Comic Con, distributing special-edition Astro Boy bags and to styling hair to reflect the iconic title character's, promoting the CGI movie's fall '09 release. ASTRO BOY will feature the voices of Academy Award-winning actor Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland, Bill Nighy, Nathan Lane and Eugene Levy with Freddie Highmore in the title role. David Bowers (FLUSHED AWAY) is directing from a screenplay written by Timothy Harris, with Maryann Garger producing (FLUSHED AWAY). Astro Boy World collection interviews and images COL. T'EYE sends in a recording to Stan Lee's appearance at the VIZ Shonen Jump Comicon panel The Junko Mizuno My Little Pony, via Comics212's San Diego Comic Con photos a geek by any other name chronicles Hiro Mashima (also, a video of the manga creator drawing Fairy Tail's Natsu) and Tite Kubo at SDCC Also, an interview with Afro Samurai creator Takashi ("Bob") Okazaki Red Bull Flugtag meets anime convention Metrocon. bad things results
AICN Figures News
Super7 unveiled their Star Wars Stormtrooper Jumbo Machinder at San Diego Comic Con Organic Hobby, Inc in conjunction with Beagle will be releasing Shining EXA Force "Riemsianne" e in September with a SRP of $204.00. "Riemsianne" is one of the heroine based on an action role-playing game known as "Shining Force EXA" developed by Neverland and published by Sega for the Sony PlayStation 2 video game console as a part of the Shining video game series. "Riemsianne" is the current La Vaes, also know as the Queen of Fyrlandt, the southern territory belonging to the magnus. She is quite manipulative and tries to lure Toma to her side with her feminine wiles many times throughout the story. The crystal doll eyes "Riemsianne" is a 16" tall PVC figure fully painted and comes in a window box.
Organic Hobby and Beagle will also be releasing Fumikane Shimada "Elizabeth" in October with a SRP of $75.00. "Elizabeth" is based on the Japanese OVA anime known as "Strike Witches," directed by Kunihisa Sugishima and produced by Gonzo. When a mysterious force suddenly attacks the world, only the girls who have magic can fight against them. They install weapons in their own bodies and fight in the sky, the land, and the sea. The battle to protect the world begins. Directly inspired by Fumikane Shimada's Mecha Musume illustrations, Shimada himself acted as the character designer for the series. The first OVA episode was released on January 1, 2007. Along with a serialized light novel, a televised anime series has been announced which will premiere on September 3, 2008. The figure is a 6 ½" tall, fully painted and comes in a window box. Dark Horse Deluxe has just announced they will be releasing a black-and-white variant of the Vampire Hunter D bust scheduled for release in November 2008. Based on the character by Japanese author Hideyuki Kikuchi and illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano, the 8.5" variant bust will be limited and numbered and will include a certificate of authenticity. Edition size to be determined. Sideshow Collections posted their San Diego Comic Con coverage here. Specifically relevent to AICN Anime interest include Real Action Hero, 12" Solid Snake - Olive Drab Schedule for 3rd Qtr 2008, $174.99, pre-order here Cammy Sideshow Exclusive Edition Street Fighter 2 18-inch Mixed Media Statue Scheduled for 1st Qtr 2009, $249.99 wait list here Cammy Street Fighter 2 18-inch Mixed Media Statue Scheduled for 1st Qtr 2009, $249.99 pre-order here CollectionDX's SDCC Photos Their look at Toynami's booth and Organic Hobby's Also, CollectionDX dug up Maximillian From Figures.com's San Diego Comicon Galleries Classic Masters of the Universe Speaking of which, Mattel now has a Collector's Site TMNT villains Vampire Hunter D bust Robotech/Macross Jeremy Parish spots the Final Fantasy Shiva Cycle, as he refers to it, Two goddesses, one cup Other figure images... Fist of the North Star Revoltech, now with head bursting action. Storm Shadow Mighty Muggs Bad Robot Figure "Gothpunk" Asahina Mikuru of Haruhi Suzumiya by Griffon Enterprises Customs: Steam punk Empire Strikes Back figures LEGO Panda-Z Revoltech 7-11 Yotsuba
October FUNimation Releases?
Diamond Previews is not an 100% accurate guide, but according to Anime on DVD, they are listing the following releases for October: * Basilisk: Complete Collection (Viridian) - $49.98 * Case Closed: Double Feature - $19.98 * Claymore, Vol.1 - $29.98 * Claymore, Vol.1 + Artbox - $39.98 * FullMetal Alchemist: The Movie (Blu-ray) - $29.98 * Ghost Hunt: Season 1, Part 1 - $49.98 * Jyu-Oh-Sei: Complete Collection - $59.98 * Ouran High School Host Club: Season 1, Part 1 - $59.98 * School Rumble: Season 2, Part 1 - $59.98 * Suzuka: Complete Collection - $69.98 * Witchblade: Complete Collection - $79.98 * xxxHOLiC, Vol.6 - $29.98
Digitally Distributed Anime
Anime News Network notes Sci Fi Channel is episode one of Gurren Lagann on their anime site. The first episdes are available on iTunes. BONES anime Xam'd: Lost Memories was the number one downloaded title on the PlayStation Network's digital content in its premiere weekly. See the official PlayStation blog entry report here
Worth Checking Out...
Ghibli World features English language coverage of Extensive Talk With Miyazaki Hayao - Part 1 Part 2 Miyazaki Goro on layouts Enrico Casarosa On The Totoro Forest Project Right Stuf and Nozomi Entertainment have launched an official English language site for the recently released Maria Watches Over Us – Season 1 DVD Collection at mariasama.rightstuf.com. Right stuf is also collection questions for an interview with the creator of Maria-sama ga Miteru, novelist Oyuki Konno.
Anime News Network spoke with the makers of Gurren Lagann Alt Japan on Ghost in the Shell 2.0 Shellshock. Also on Lupin III's evolution and significance Patrick Macias and Matt Alt in Hot Tears of Shame - Episode Twenty-Seven Anime World Order posted their interview with veteran voice actor ADR director Richard Epcar Ronald Kelts' piece SOFT POWER, HARD TRUTHS / From black-and-white to dark and gray, talking the root of Astro Boy in Gotham Knight AniPages daily talks The Solo, "- the solo animator episode, where a single person draws all of the key animation for an entire TV episode." Mamoru Oshii's English language message concerning The Sky Crawlers Everything you every wanted to know about Galaxy Angel "Lost In Translation: Anime, Moral Rights, And Market Failure" in the Boston University Law Review Same Hat! Same Hat! looks at Vertical's Black Jack sampler WSJ on Lucky Star tourism MangaBlog previews the Yen+ anthology Anime News Network has launched a forum for the New York Anime Festival A video recording of Otaku USA's Anime Expo Panel Resident Evil: Degeneration Jamie Hewlett's (Tank Girl, Gorillaz) Monkey King interprettation for the Olympics
For more commentary see the AICN Anime MySpace.