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Animation and Anime

When to Expect Miyazaki's Ponyo in Theatres and Afro Samurai: Resurrection on TV (Newly UPDATED 1-6-09)

Logo handmade by Bannister Column by Scott Green
Update for 1/6/09 Variety reports that John Pixar's Lasseter is working with Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy to make Hayao Miyazaki/Ghibli's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea "the studio's biggest hit ever Stateside." According to the piece, Ghibli has been frustrated that their films have only found a niche audience about anime fans and arthouse goers. From the Variety piece: The goal is to boost both the number of screens and the box office take beyond Ghibli's record for a U.S. release set by "Spirited Away," the Miyazaki toon that earned a little more than $10 million on 714 screens in 2002 and 2003. From 1/5/09 Anime News Network notes that Nikkei is reporting the Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea is slated to appear on North American theaters in summer 2009. Disney's John Lasseter (Toy Story, Cars), will produce the North American release as he had for Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away. In November, GhibliWorld reported that Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy will produce the English localization of Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, with a cast that includes Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, Betty White, Fankie Jonas, Noah Cyrys and Cloris Leachman. IMDB currently lists Madison Davenport in the role of Kumiko, while speculates that the cast break-down will be
  • Matt Damon: Koichi
  • Tina Fey: Risa
  • Cate Blanchett: Granmamare
  • Liam Neeson: Fujimoto
(Video grabbed from Toys R Evil For watchers of Miyazaki's home base, Ghibli, the studio is preparing to work on Isao Takahata's (Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko) first film since 1999's My Neighbors the Yamadas.
Spike TV has announced that the network will premiere Afro Samurai: Resurrection in a two our block on Sunday, January 25th at 10 pm (ET, PT), and split into four episodes on Friday, January 30th at 1:30 am FUNimation plans will released the feature on DVD and Blu-ray on February 3rd. Samuel L. Jackson will reprise the role of Afro (and Ninja Ninja), opposite Lucy Liu as new nemesis Sio. Additional casting includes Mark Hamill as Bin, Sio's manservant and protector and Yuri Lowenthal as Kuma, the teddy bear-headed warrior from the original "Afro Samurai" series. A few years have passed since Afro's nemesis Justice was finally defeated on Mt. Shumi. Afro is back in his Swordmaster's dojo meditatively carving statues as penance for those he has murdered. The blood cycle is broken - the wearer of the "No.1" headband shall rule the world and only the "No.2" shall challenge the "No.1," but Afro holds both headbands and so there is no challenger. The fragile peace Afro has created is shattered as ghosts from the past appear and wreak havoc in Afro's dojo, escaping with the No.1 headband and also with the remains of Afro's father. Afro is forced once again to take on the burden of the No.2 headband and go back out into the world in search of the No.1 and his father's remains. The power of the two headbands is felt in the world once more, the world is once again painted with blood and the spiral of violence begins once again.
Malaysia's The Star Online has an interesting article about character design for the upcoming Astro Boy. WHEN they saw the initial designs for Astro Boy in the upcoming computer animated flick, the one thing that the Japanese owners did not fancy was the size of his rear end. They found it too small. Recalled Ken Tsumura, executive vice president of Imagi Animation, the Hong Kong company behind the project: “We had discussions of how round and curvy his body proportions are and we designed him more lean.”
Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 5, 2009, 7:26 a.m. CST


    by GetEveryone

    When does the afro samurai movie air in the uk? the series was pretty good. not much in the way of depth, but the fighting was good and kuma was a decent character.

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 7:52 a.m. CST

    astro boy's butt not big enough =


    japanese guys are pedophiles.

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 7:59 a.m. CST

    the second trailer

    by Lain Of The Net

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 8 a.m. CST

    The second Trailer

    by Lain Of The Net

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Error Error Error ....

    by Lain Of The Net

    ...what now I forget how to post? The second trailer made me feel good. Looking forward to it.

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 8:35 a.m. CST

    A freakin' Jonas Brother?!?

    by geekzapoppin

    God damned Disney and their pre-fab teeny bopper piece of shit tween-panty-moistening product! Sorry. I'm just tired of people being chosen to voice animated characters in the U.S. not because they're talented voice actors, but because they're "famous". Seriously. When was the last time that a major animated film in the U.S. wasn't a product of stunt casting?

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 8:50 a.m. CST

    Will the bum size control developer get a film credit?

    by Fred

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 8:53 a.m. CST

    Jesus fucking christ DUBBED!

    by EvilWizardGlick

    learn to read America! Dubbing is shit!

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Who are the ad wizards...

    by wampa 1

    ...that came up with this one?

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Well at least Disney gives you both options...

    by Johnno

    And I find Disney's dubbing to be quite good. I usually check it out dubbed first then in Japanese with subtitles and after that watch whichever I prefer best... Everyone else I like to show the films too that are not anime fans will always prefer it dubbed or else not at all.<br><br>Well I enjoyed the first afro and am looking forward to this! And hopefully both Astrpboy and Gatchaman make it out, and the only problem see with Astro is that his eyes aren't big enough... they should be bigger, but whatever, looks good!

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Dubbing isnt always bad

    by Alientoast

    Cowboy Bebop stands out as a prime example...I thought the dubbed product was superior to the original language version. Also the Berzerk dubbing outtakes are worth the price of the DVDs alone...holy Gutsu on a cracker those outtakes are hilarious.

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 1:09 p.m. CST

    Saw PONYO in Osaka last year

    by jrb

    and loved it. I speak a little Japanese but not enough to follow the dialog. It didn't matter though since the visual storytelling was so well done. As for those who bitch about English dubbing... I too prefer to have the original Japanese with English subtitles. That's how I watch the DVD's. Remember that the Japanese version is Miyazaki's directorial vision and anything else is a sad imitation. He will not have directed the English speaking actors and so it won't be 100% his vision. That said, we must remember that alhough his films appeal to adults, PONYO is most definitely a movie appropriate for small kids (no wars or violence like that featured in the great PRINCESS MONONOKE) and small kids can't read subtitles! I hope it's true that they'll release a theatrical version with Miyazaki's original Japanese dialog and English subtitles - perhaps in art house theater chains?

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 2:08 p.m. CST

    gawd bless miyazaki

    by 1st and only

    uh, love miyazaki's more adult output of recent years and Princess Mononoke is one of the best films made but this looks closer to his simpler, cleaner 80's output like Kiki's delivery service and Totoro. the waves in this movie look like they were animated straight from those old Japanese prints in the 1800's, so although a simplified cuter style is being used it could still be a spectaculary animated movie. so while disney scrabbles about looking for their own lost identity and (disney) pixar continue to take 3D animation closer and closer to realism i think i'll continue to trust miyazaki for my big budget animated thrils.

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 2:44 p.m. CST

    1st and only

    by maelstrom_ZERO

    I totally have to agree with you: I got hooked on Miyazaki films because I watched Princess Mononoke first. That one movie was both epic and deeply emotional and I loved it. I've also seen Totoro, Spirited Away, and Castle in the Sky, and all of those pale in comparison to the greatness that is Princess Mononoke.

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 6:42 p.m. CST

    Hey Mr Green, re: Baccano!

    by Amy Chasing

    A little while back you did a piece on Baccano! saying, if I remember correctly, that it's anime for people who don't normally watch anime. I'm just wondering what you meant by that. <P> Having just watched it myself I thought it was a really well done story as seen from multiple angles, but if I didn't like anime I don't think I would have bothered. It holds to all the tennents that make anime what it is, and goes to the extreme in some ways too (again making anime what it is). The convoluted story, the extreme violence, the music, the characters, the stylistic choices - all what we've come to expect from anime. I did find it more fun than most though, is that what you mean perhaps?

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 7:56 p.m. CST

    More white people being cast as Asians.

    by CZ

    There they go again. Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy casting more white people in Asian roles and keep the yellow man down. (I kid of course, but those two better fix the damn "Airbender" cast.)

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 8:18 p.m. CST

    Astro Bum...heh heh

    by MR. MURDOCH

    Only the Japanese would have a problem with *ATOM*'s bum. Oh, and Miyazaki is still God. Well, OK, A god... Well, to me, at least... I'm not too fond of the Christian one, so I picked my own... :-)

  • Jan. 5, 2009, 9:55 p.m. CST

    re: Last Airbender casting

    by Amy Chasing

    Still no one has explained why having American voice actors was ok but American live-action actors is not...

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 12:06 a.m. CST

    Mayazaki film voice dubs

    by imageburn13

    are usually really enjoyable. Just recently saw Porco Rosso for the 1st time, and Michael Keaton as the voice of Porco did a GREAT job. The girl in it was really good too! Phenomenal film, but my all time fav remains Nausicaa. Miyazaki is truly a god.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 12:46 a.m. CST


    by Johnno

    All most care is that the actors look the part. What they sound like comes to a matter of practicality before authenticity so as to understand what they are saying. So given that the film is aimed at a North American audience, which I bet will also be targeted at a younger teen crowd, it makes practical sense. So the cartoon can get away easily with American voice actors, because you can draw them to look non American or the cartoon is so stylized that it doesn't matter. In a live action version depending on the setting we'd prefer ethnic looking cast members who hopefully can speak the target audience's language well. So that's usually some reasoning, voice is as much a part of the character when you're looking at them even if inauthentic, and if they can't get that done they settle for western actors. Anyway, in the case of Avatar, since it's a fantasy world I'd personally have no problem with an all western cast.

  • Jan. 6, 2009, 8:37 p.m. CST

    ...why having American voice actors was okay

    by CZ

    *American* voice actors? That's the problem right there. Iroh and Zuko and a couple of others *were* played by Asian actors. Asian people can be American, y'know. And since it's a fantasy world, that automatically makes everybody white by default? Geeeez. Katara and Sokko should at least by black or Latino or something with pigment.

  • Jan. 7, 2009, 8:19 p.m. CST

    Last word to CZ.

    by Amy Chasing

    As I don't live in the U.S. hearing American accents for most of the characters in the Avatar cartoon is just as offensive as seeing white (probably Americans) playing the characters in the live-action version. <P> If you're offended by one it's hypocritical not to be offended by the other. I'm not offended by either so I guess I have a less stressful life.

  • Feb. 12, 2010, 7:10 a.m. CST


    by orcus