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Manga Spotlight: Leave it to PET: The Misadventures of a Recycled Super Robot Volume 1 By Kenji Sonishi Released by VIZ Media
Leave it to PET, the story of a boy and his recyclable polyethylene teraphalate plastic Poke-thing is not exactly manga's Captain Planet. Nine year old Noboru Yamada recycles a plastic bottle and the good deed is rewarded when the empty is rebuilt as an over enthusiastic pint-sized super-robot. So, PET shadows Noboru, hoping to protect his once savior and proving to be a source of comedy grief. When Noboru's mother's car breaks down, PET deploys a winch from its head, gives Noboru the rope to pull, then transforms into a kung fu guy, whacking Noboru with nunchucks to encourage the boy to tow the car. PET and Noboru meet a foreigner, and PET responds to the loud, incomprehensible man by attempting to converse with him in Pig Latin. This is theoretically educational and concerned with conservation. It does feature a few ideas for projects involving re-using plastic containers, but for the most part, this isn't manga that's overly concerned with "teachable moments." The characters will throw batteries into a portable game system without any accompanying message about alleviating the environmental impact. It's even a bit unPC, with jokes revolving around ethnic stereotypes or putting two insects in a jar in order to watch the bugs fight it out. Instead of learning and betterment, the irreverent manga is concerned and quite good with exercising the comedy duo routine of energetically useless PET and straight man Noboru. Here's the typical caveat that I include when addressing children's media. I don't have kids. I don't deal with kids. I see college friends' a couple times a year; I see neighbors out with theirs around my apartment complex. That's about it. As such, when I talk about kids' manga and anime, it's largely speculation. What I do have a strong opinion about on the subject is that North America does not get much in the way of good children's manga. Yotsuba&! is frequently mentioned, but that manga is about a child and childhood, not for children. In fact, it runs in an anthology for males in their upper teens. Aria is in a similar situation. At least it's home anthology is for a young male, shonen audience, but beyond that, it gets an "Older Teen, 16+ rating for "non-sexual nudity, mild fan service and alcohol use." PET is the rare kids' manga that is not just age appropriate. I can actually imagine them enjoying it. Especially if the child has geek inclined parents, I can picture the youngster giggling at PET turning into a soccer ball ninja or ruining Noboru's video game save file. Paced with the patter of classics like Akira Toriyama's Dr. Slump, PET's eight page stories move quickly from one joke to another. Pages are often divided into three horizontal spaces; sometimes with one of the rows vertically split. This yields large panels, with large text that younger readers will probably be able to grasp easily. With frequently situational turn over, the volume doesn't tire itself out, and should be easy for older audiences to read as well. Though funnier than substantial, PET is a rare, winning, truely all-ages manga.
Manga Spotlight: Gantz Volumes 3 and 4 Released by Dark Horse Manga
Few manga gleefully embrace a "mature" tag the way that Gantz does. It's purview is a first person shooter on familiar streets, with familiar people. Normal Johns and Janes, armed with sci-fi gadgets, try to chase down alien creatures, and Gantz watches as things get very nasty. Punctuated with shower scenes and teeth loosening beat-downs, Gantz is seinen manga with the commitment to deliver on the more graphic, more charged brand of violence found in manga like Hellsing, Berserk, Blade of the Immortal or Eden: It's an Endless World. And, it is very refined in its approach to going about playing to primal interests. Creator Hiroya Oku's background includes risqué relationship stories, most notably the gender-swap manga HEN. Gantz builds off that, along with his experiments integrating digitally inked 3D models and manga, in order to construct a title that's both smart and salacious. When a manga is still running after 25 volumes, the way Gantz is , it can be difficult to determine what an accurate, representative sample looks like. The impression suggested by Gantz's first four volumes is a bit different than the impression suggested by the first two. After a character revealing third volume and a fourth that gives revived meaning to the cliché "action packed;" after a female character asks the male lead "will you keep me as your pet?" I'm more inclined to say that Gantz is more intended to be smartly salacious in giving the audience what they want than it is smartly salacious in commenting on those expectations. Upon finding himself standing next to long separated childhood friend Kato Masaru, Kei Kurono is guilted into jumping onto a subway pit to save a disheveled man who fell onto the track. This reluctantly performed good deed is swiftly and brutally punished when an oncoming express train splatters pair. Instead of what typically follows death, they're reconstituted in an apartment, bare except for a large black sphere, along with female peer Kei Kishimoto, devious looking middle school student Joichiro Nishi, and a host of other representatives of the recently deceased. The ad hoc squad are outfitted with form fitting, shiny, black suits, armed with sci-fi looking guns and told to go out into the city and kill off a group of child-sized "onion aliens." The mission doesn't go well, and ultimately, the aliens and humans do a fairly thorough job brutalizing each other. Volume four delivers more of Gantz's attention commanding human versus "alien" battles of attrition. This time Kurono, Masaru, Kishimoto and Nishi are teamed with four members of abiker gang, just dispatched from the losing end of an ambush by rivals, an old lady and her grandson, who were just in an auto accident that also carried off a teen idol on a motorcylce with a girl he picked up. The adversaries on this go around are "Tanaka Aliens:" bird-men with a grotesque just-hatched quality about them, housed in bowl-cut headed robot-man bodies. Given that the scream from one of these guys can turn the insides of a human into mush, a lot of which seems to ooze out the eyes, nose, ears and mouth of the victim, the bug hunt certainly delivers a barrage of Gantz's caliber of unrestrained, disturbing violence. Gantz's violent exchanges maintain their vigor going into the second outing. While the ferocity and abandon of this remain impressive, it is not fundamentally different from the Onion Alien battle. Volume three is the point at which I feel that the series evolved, or at least prompted a shift in my perception. While setting up the piece for the Tanaka Alien battle, the volume offers insight into the backgrounds and personalities of Kurono, Masaru and Kishimoto. While Masaru demonstrates genuine heroism outside the guns and birds mortal combat and Kishimoto seems desperate to clutch onto anything, Kurono continues to drive Gantz's conversation with its own wish fulfillment elements. In discussing the dramatic and ideological elements of the manga, it is worth highlighting that beyond its exhibition of skin and blood, Gantz is far from a subtle manga. Hiroya Oku's writing is packed with arch tendencies . The character centric third volume reveals that Kato Masaru is an orphan, beings housed long with his young brother by an aunt. The relationship could not be laid out any more explicitly. "I have to teach you and your brother how to make your own way in this cruel world. For your own good. You aren't a part of this family." The broad faced, hang wringing aunt then takes her own children out for a steak dinner. "Aren't they coming with?" "No. we can't spoil them." While these broad gestures are unmistakably obvious, there is a utilitarian purpose to them that leverages Oku's talent for cutting scenes. By packing heft into short exchanges, rather than slow development, Oku can allot more time to the manga's salacious marquee qualities. At the same time, these scenes are effecting. There are plenty of instances of school bullying captured in manga. Given that Oku doesn't do anything in half measures, Gantz's depiction of large, stubby roughs tormenting shorter geeky schoolmates is one of the medium most enraging. Because of these sharp moments, it only takes a few scenes to prompt a reevaluation of the manga. There is one in particular in volume three that takes place during a respite between alien battles, after Kishimoto has implored Kurono to take her in as "pet". Kurono lives alone, financially supported by parents who are working abroad. Kishimoto can't return home because of a quirk in how Gantz reconstitutes the recently deceased. Kurono sits on the side of his bed reading Young Jump (the anthology that serializes Gantz), while Kishimoto kneels on the floor, watching TV. Kurono thinks to himself "Why am I sitting here reading Young Jump? And why are we sitting so far apart?" Gantz does still seem to be commenting on the kind of power fantasy that an anthology like its own trades in. Through the first two volumes, Gantz seemed to be a power fantasy that had metastasized. The manga introduced Kurono in the midst of an internal monologue, thinking that he's cleverer than the dull humanity around him, but denied the excitement and gratification that he deserved. When given the tools and opportunity to demonstrate his supremacy on Gantz battlefield, he proves to be largely unimpressive in a painfully nasty conflict. In volume three, Kurono starts accumulating the spoils of being an action hero. He takes what he receive in his alien battles and applies it to combating school bullies with dominating results. This proves to be disadvantageous in the next alien battle, but that is more a function of his thoughtlessness. Then, there is the Kishimoto aspect. There is a real character there, but she is also used as a sex object, with plenty of petting scenes in which Kurono's hands don't seem to be where Kishimoto wants them. Gantz could go back to an anti-power fantasy stance, but I don't think that the manga is going to refute the Jump formula. I predict that this is going to blow up in Kurono's face to the extent that he's not doing the Jump hero routine correctly. From its inception, Gantz was unashamed to flaunt excessive displays of flesh and blood. Chapter title illustrations frequently feature context-free pin-ups of undressed and semi-dressed Kishimoto: parts of an incomplete black Gantz suit draped over her body, naked except for shoes and glove-smiling and holding a sci-fi pistol, chest exposed, holding a dog in her lap, or in one case just Oku seemed to be fitting as many naked figures as he could onto a single page. Beyond this, 5 page shower scenes and the like are worked into the manga. Personally, I can take or leave the titillation part, but I do have to say that few do it better than Oku. As someone who can go for a bit of exotic violence, Gantz is still a manga that I look forward to, that I get excited for. Yet, I feel that it is a let-down that Oku doesn't seem to be pursuing his pointed, dark commentary on the genre the way he seemed to in the opening chapters.
Variety revealed what many anime/manga followers were expecting. Sreenwriters Charley and Vlas Parlapanides have been tapped by Warner Bros. to adapted thriller Death Note. From Variety's description "Story centers on a college student who accidentally finds a misplaced 'death note,' infusing him with the power to kill merely by writing anyone's name on the page while picturing the person in his mind."
*Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group (SPWAG) has picked up domestic media rights for East Wing Holdings Corp. and SAJ's Blood: The Last Vampire. Samuel Goldwyn Films will release the feature film Blood: The Last Vampire in theatres later this summer. Directed by Chris Nahon (Empire of the Wolves, Kiss of the Dragon), Blood: The Last Vampire brings to life an English language live-action feature movie of the original Japanese anime feature film. Gianna (My Sassy Girl, Daisy) stars in the film as Saya, a 400-year-old demon-hunting vampire slayer working undercover in Japan for a secret organization, on a mission in the Vietnam War era. The cast also includes Koyuki (The Last Samurai, Always: Sunset on Third Street), Michael Byrne (Beyond the Sea, Gangs of New York), Colin Salmon (Resident Evil, Punisher: War Zone, Clubbed), and Allison Miller ("Kings"). The film features stunt choreographed by Cory Yuen (Transporter 3, Red Cliff), is produced by Bill Kong and Abel Nahmias, with screenplay by Chris Chow. *The trailer for the live action Last Airbender will reportedly be attached for Transformers 2 in theatres. *AstroBoy World got some interesting insight into the Hollywood adaptation of Naoki Urasawa's Pluto from Cristoph Mark Hi, I'm the writer of the original story. I don't know why I didn't include this in the original article, but Urasawa and Nagasaki both said the Hollywood version of Pluto would be live-action, not animated. There are also a few Japanese companies looking at it for different kinds of releases, but the Hollywood take on Pluto was something I thought we should all hope for... *James Cameron in his Battle Angel Alita shirt
One chapter in, the English simul-post of Rumiko Takahashi's RIN-NE has departed from its intended weekly schedule. Chapter 2 was moved from Wedneday, April 29 to Saturday, May 2. Chapter 3 is scheduled for Wednesday, May 13. Delays have been credited to Japan's condensed period of holidays known as "Golden Week." Sporadic Sequential looks at VIZ's explanation here
*Crunchyroll announced today that it is partnering with Bandai Channel to bring MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 00 to the streaming site. MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 00 (25 episodes) will be available to viewers in the United States and will be immediately available in its entirety in English dubbed, with the first nine episodes also available in Japanese audio English subtitled versions. The show will be available to all visitors in these territories, free of charge with advertisements, while Crunchyroll Anime Members can enjoy up to 480p high definition streams. Title Synopsis: MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 00 2307 A.D. - Humanity has obtained a new source of energy to replace fossil fuels: large-scale solar power generation system based on three huge orbital elevators. However, the benefits are available only to a handful of major powers and their allies. A private armed organization appears, dedicated to the elimination of war through armed force. Its name is Celestial Being, and it is in possession of "Gundam" mobile suits. With these Gundams, it begins armed intervention into all acts of war. Crunchy Roll is working with Kadokawa Pictures USA to stream new content in Tuesdays, starting with live action horror. Title Synopsis: MPD I Memories of Sin/Drifting Petals: A sadistic criminal is turning his victims into human flower pots. Detective Amamiya Kazuhiko is called out of early retirement to work on the case, which is tied to horrific events in his past. His new wife goes missing and a mysterious cult with barcodes tattooed on their eyeballs surfaces to wreak havoc on the city How to Create a World: A brutal serial murderer cuts babies from their mothers' womb in what appears to be a copycat crime from five years earlier. All of the women have barcodes tattooed to their eyeballs. The victims, under some sort of hypnosis, purchase the surgical quality knives used to kill them the day before their murders! As Detective Amamiya's wife wanders the city in a trance, he discovers someone from his past is involved in the crime wave... MPD II Life is a Constant Helix: Chiaki Kuriyama (KILL BILL) guest stars in the episode, which finds Detective Amamiya and the police team investigating the mass suicide of forty girls from a posh high school. Amamiya goes undercover as a high school teacher to find out why and learn more about a new generation of barcoders, many of whom are students at this militaristic school. The Crushed Ant: Perfectly severed body parts with numbers cut into them are discovered in a field. In a nearby arcade, two rival youth gangs battle each other and Amamiya's wife is taken prisoner by a gang leader. The Police Chief tries to put together more of Amamiya's hidden past with the assistance of a one eyed snuff filmmaker. MPD III Coronation of the Cursed King: Cult members spontaneously combust when the barcoder network is infected. The burn victims are taken to the local hospital where a lonely employee's cyber girlfriend tells him to kill people. Detective Amamiya and his team lock down the hospital, while strange things happen on the secret 13th floor. Soaring Souls and Human Bondage The Police Department denies that the barcode case ever existed in the massive cover-up attempt. Three remaining members of the investigation team decide to continue working on the case on their own. The Police Chief's entire family dies under mysterious circumstances. Amamiya tracks the baby stealer to a remote cabin in a snowstorm for a final showdown to recover his own missing child TOMIE: REBIRTH Hideo, an art student, is painting a portrait of Tomie when she suddenly dismisses it as a poor work of art and destroys her own portrait. In a moment of rage, Hideo picks up an art knife and ends up killing Tomie. Hideo's friends help bury her and try to cheer him up by throwing a party. A girl appears at this party, uninvited that resembles Tomie in many ways. Hideo has gone missing but this girl begins to appear wherever these friends go. TOMIE: FORBIDDEN FRUIT Tomie's father, Kazuhiko Hashimoto hasn't forgotten about the love from his youth. His daughter encounters a mysterious girl who is also named Tomie. The girls befriend each other and when Kazuhiko meets his daughter's new friend, he is surprised to see that she resembles the girl he fell in love with 25 years ago. It soon becomes clear that the meeting of the two girls was not by mere chance. New Korean Drama include new episodes of My Beloved Sister and newly launched series Night After Night, Thank You, What Planet Are You From? and Air City. DARK TALES OF JAPAN -THE SPIDERWOMAN "if you look at her, you die." There is a creature terrorizing the dark streets of Japan after dusk, an eight-legged beast known only through rumored attacks and the name of Kumo Onna "the Spiderwoman." After a group of teenagers die in a car crash just after they encounter what seems to be a strange creature on the highway, Yamazaki, a local tabloid journalist, begins to follow the building legend of the Spiderwoman, hoping to uncover her identity. As he traces the myth, the trail of clues leads him to Kamiya City, but it seems that none of his sources have ever actually seen the creature first-hand. Just as Yamazaki is losing hope, he meets a trauma-wrecked girl who claims to have been attacked by the monster. Can her tale really undo the mystery of the legend? And just what is the price of delving further into this deathly web? -CREVICES Have you ever felt like the walls have eyes? Like there is someone, something there, lurking behind you‹that shadow on the curtains, the blurred presence in the mirror‹that sound you thought you heard just now? Kodera is the guarantor for his high school friend, Shimuzu and is called over to his apartment when Shimuzu skips his rent for three months. Entering the empty room, Kodera finds that every wall and window‹every crevice‹has been inexplicably covered with red tape. Kodera cannot fathom what would possess Shimuzu to do this‹but then he stumbles upon a video that reveals the morbid truth of his last hours and his disappearance. Have you ever felt like the walls have eyes? Like there is someone, something there? -THE SACRIFICE Mayu, an office lady working in Tokyo, was asked out by her coworker Fukuda but she rejected him immediately. The next day, strange things begin to happen around her and her friend tells her the story of a girl who rejected Fukuda before. At that time, it's said that he told her, "I'll put a curse on you!" Mayu returns to her apartment to find a symbol on her door written in blood. Just as things are becoming more horrifying, she receives news that her mother has fallen ill and she returns to her house on the outskirts. There she relives the memory of her grandmother's unexpected death, just as her mother was sick "as if grandma died in mom's place." The next day, Mayu notices a symbol on the ceiling of her parent's house resembling the one smeared upon her door! Mayu rushes back to the city, convinced that Fukuda is somehow involved with her mother's illness and the strange things occurring around her. What will she find when she sneaks into his house to investigate the truth? -BLONDE KWAIDAN For his job, Ishiguro is sent to Los Angeles where he is instantly amazed by the number of natural blondes! Ishigura is to stay in the house of his Executive Director, Hirota, who is presently away on vacation with his blonde girlfriend. But then strange things start to happen in the house and he wonders if he is truly alone. Ishigura soon finds out that the presence of this blonde isn't quite the American dream he had in mind. -PRESENTIMENT Fukawa is finally on vacation‹so why is he still at the office? Alone, he drops to the floor‹dodging the sight of the security camera‹he crawls to the main cubicle and breaks into the company's computer where he steals the client database. All the while his cell phone goes off repeatedly: first it is his wife and young daughter, currently waiting for him at their hotel. Then a mysterious woman who waits for him too on a train station platform where she threatens to kill herself if he doesn't arrive before the last train! We do not know where he is going, but it would seem he isn't going to get there very fast once he steps into an elevator that first refuses to go to the first floor and then gets stuck. Fukawa is now trapped in a metal box between floors, unable to contact anyone on his dead cell phone while the clock keeps ticking closer to 7:45 and the final train. There are three other people in this elevator so why is he the only one who seems to care about ever getting out? ISOLA When Yukari, a psychic able to read the thoughts of others, comes to help survivors of the 1995 Kobe earthquake, she encounters a troubled girl named Chihiro who is suffering from a multiple personality disorder. Chihiro has 13 different personalities and her 13th personality is a revengeful ghost named, Isola. Can the psychic find a way to stop ISOLA without harming Chihiro? J-HORROR ANTHOLOGY: UNDERWORLD -CHAIN MAIL Sayaka's friends get their kicks sending out hoax emails in the name of one of their classmates who committed suicide. Though Sakaya feels guilty about not standing up to the hoax, things start to go terribly awry when her classmates begin dying, one by one, under mysterious circumstances. It won't be long before Sayaka herself receives a terrifying electronic message. -LEFT BEHIND THE MOUNTAIN Yoshimitsu is all out of luck when it comes to the ladies. After several unsuccessful attempts at internet dating, he turns into a human monster who finds pleasure in driving dates to remote mountainous locations and leaving them there. Unbeknownst to him, however, his luck in carrying out the evil schemes is nearing a startling end. -TATTOO Immersed in a self-indulgent lifestyle, Mina has no plans to change. One day, after finding a butterfly-shaped leaflet from a tattoo shop, she decides to drop by and take a look. Though unaware at the time, Mina meets a mysterious tattoo designer who turns out to be anything other than what she expected. -VIEWFINDER'S MEMORY Three childhood friends take a vacation to a seaside cottage. As one of them falls in love instantly, another who happens to be filming the couple discovers an appalling secret via his video camera. -GUARDIAN ANGEL Yumiko, down on her luck, sees no point in life and attempts suicide. However, she is repeatedly foiled in her efforts by unexplainable events that seem to conspire against her mission. -MORTUARY Medical trainee Yohei attends an operation on a boy involved in a car accident, but unfortunately, the boy does not survive surgery. Afterwards, the mother insists that something unspeakably terrible is wrong with the lifeless boy. RAMPO NOIR COLLECTION -MARS CANAL Within absolute silence, a naked man wanders through a dark and depressing landscape recalling the excruciating details of his last encounter with his former lover. -MIRROR HELL When a series of women are discovered with their faces burnt and skulls charred, a young detective investigates, discovering that a unique hand mirror is always found at the scene. -CATERPILLAR A war hero returns home with no limbs and only his eyesight remaining. His beautiful wife, tired of taking care of him, turns to torturing her crippled husband for amusement. -CRAWLING BUGS A sexy actress is returning home from a successful night on stage, until her limo driver decides that she should be coming home with him. SHIKOKU Hinako returns to her childhood home in the island of Shikoku after many years. She learns that her childhood friend Sayori has passed away and that Sayori's mother, a local priestess, has slowly gone insane with grief. When strange things begin to happen on the island, Hinako and an old friend Funiya learn that Sayori's mother has spent years conducting a pilgrimage around each of the island's 88 temples in reverse order, which, according to folklore, is supposed to release the sprits of the dead and turn the island into the "land of the dead". *FUNimation's release of Fruits Basket is now available on XBOX LIVE video market place and Shigurui is now available on iTunes for Download to own. The availability of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the new adaptation of the popular manga has expanded with episodes 1 and 2 on Hulu.com FUNimation posted episode 5 of Phantom April 30th, at 1:00 pm CDT, 45 minutes after the start of the episode on TV Tokyo. The Bee Train produced series is an adaptation of the "Phantom of Inferno" visual game software from the game production company Nitroplus and its original script writer Gen Urobuchi ("Blassreiter"). The story centers around a mysterious organization called Inferno and its "Phantom," the organization's most elite assassin. This assassin’s true identity is compromised by an unwitting witness. Witnesses are usually killed but this witness is brainwashed into become Inferno’s newest assassin and enters a world of intrigue and violence. Galaxy Express 999 and Captain Harlock have also live on www.funimation.com/video *Joost is now offering the complete Slam Dunk anime adaptation Takehiko Inoue's hit basketball manga. The site has also worked with Naruto Collector Magazine to package five Naruto Shippuden battles *Marvel Comics is now streaming the 90's X-Men comic in addition to a host of other content, including the Japanese live action Spider-man *Reports suggest that the making of risque fantasy anime Queen's Blade are attempting to halt unauthorized digital distribution *Anime Alemanac looks at Spring 2009 - The Season of the Simulcast *A look at the streaming ratings for Naruto Disney has bought a stake in Hulu
New and Upcoming in North America
Andrews McMeel Gilles Poitras notes that Andrews McMeel in the US and Ilex Press in the UK will be releasing Helen McCarthy's Manga Cross Stitch in June. The book and attached CD with feature manga inspired over 100 cross sticking charts. Drawn & Quarterly Same Hat! Same Hat! has a great find Drawn & Quarterly will be releasing THE BOX MAN by avant-garge painter Imiri Sakabashira in September 2009 (profiled here)
From the Amazon listing: Enter the strange world of Imiri Sakabashira, whose denizens are zoomorphic creatures that emerge from one another as well as their equally bizarre environs. The Box Man follows its protagonists along a scooter trip through a complex landscape that oscillates between a dense city, a countryside simplified to near abstraction, and hybrids of the two; the theme of hybridity permeates throughout. One is unsurprised to encounter a creature that is half elderly man, half crab, or a flying frog in this world where our guide apparent is an anthropomorphic, mollusk-like cat. Sakabashira weaves this absurdist tale into a seamless tapestry constructed of elements as seemingly disparate as Japanese folklore, pop culture, and surrealism. Within these panels, it becomes difficult to distinguish between the animate and the inanimate, the real and the imagined—a tension that adds a layer of complexity to this near-wordless psychedelic travelogue. Imiri Sakabashira (real name Mochizuki Katsuhiro) was born in Shizuoka, Japan, in 1964, the same year that Garo, the influential manga anthology in which he would first be published, was founded. According to Amazon, Drawn & Quarterly will also be publishing Red Snow by Susumu Katsumata. Continuing D+Q’s groundbreaking exploration of the fascinating world of Gekiga, this collection of short stories is drawn with great delicacy and told with subtle nuance by the legendary Japanese artist Susumu Katsumata. The setting is the premodern Japanese countryside of the author’s youth, a slightlymagical world where ancestral traditions hold sway over a people in the full vigor of life, struggling to survive the harsh seasons and the difficult life of manual laborers and farmers. While the world they inhabit has faded into memory and myth, the universal fundamental emotions of the human heart prevail at the center of these tender stories. Katsumata began publishing comic strips in the legendary avantgarde magazine Garo (which also published his contemporaries Yoshihiro Tatsumi and Yoshiharu Tsuge) in 1965 while enrolled in the Faculty of Science in Tokyo. He abandoned his studies in 1971 to become a professional comics artist, alternating the short humorous strips upon which he built his reputation with stories of a more personal nature in which he tenderly depicted the lives of peasants and farmers from his native region. In 2006, Katsumata won the 35th Japanese Cartoonists Association Award Grand Prize for Red Snow. Del Rey Del Rey Manga will be collaberating with Cartoon Network to produce two graphic novels based on action-adventure The Secret Saturdays. This deal follows on the heels of the successful debut of the Ben 10 Alien Force and Bakugan Battle Brawlers film-comics in Fall 2008. The first Secret Saturdays film-comics will release in September 2009 with a second volume to follow. In the same format as both the Ben 10 Alien Force and Bakugan Battle Brawlers film-comics, the book will feature detailed, full-color stills straight from the animated series and will be rated for all ages. The Secret Saturdays series, which debuted in October 2008, found its home on Cartoon Network’s "Action Fridays" animation block, and its combination of family life, fantastical creatures and action-packed adventures appealed to a large audience. The Saturdays, a family of cryptozoologists, dedicate themselves to protecting secret artifacts and mysterious, hidden monsters, cryptids, across the world. Their adventures—which take them from ancient ruins to bottomless caves—have lead to encounters with some of the weirdest and wildest creatures on the planet. Discotek From a new listing post Fist of the North Star the Movie Street Date May 19th Oh! My Zombie Mermaid Street Date: July 28th Hana Yori Dango Final: The Movie Street Date: August 25th Sex and Zen Street Date: September Uzumaki Street Date September Tokyo 10+1 Street Date October TBD: Stormriders Burning Paradise Taxi Hunter Crying Freeman Anime Series Complete Collection Female Prisoner Scorpion Jailhouse 41 Kani goalkeeper Crying Freeman and Fist of the North Star the Movie are anime. The other titles are live action FUNimation Last Gasp ICV2 reports that the September release of Junko Mizuno 's Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu will be the first of three "adult only" volumes. The large format (10" x 8") will retail for $17.95 Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu is the comic tale of a cute fluffy extraterrestrial who comes to earth determined to find happiness in the form of a human bride. The little guy lands in an off-kilter Japan where he meets aspiring idol singers, sassy tomboys, and a weird group of body-switching students from a very strange high school. Shout! Factory Shout! Factory will be releasing the three DVD The Transformers: The Complete First Season 25th Anniversary set on June 16th for $29.99. VIZ Media VIZ Media announced the North American release of THE STATIONMASTER, a collection of eight short stories by award-winning author Jiro Asada. THE STATIONMASTER available now with a SRP of $22.99 U.S. / $26.99 CAN. In the book’s eponymous opening story, railway man Otomatsu waits each day, as he has for most of his life, at the end of the line to greet the incoming trains. But where the cars once brimmed with passengers, they now carry only one or two or sometimes none at all. Facing the imminent closure of his station, Otomatsu reflects back on the quiet tragedies of his life. Then into the cold emptiness of his days, wanders a carefree young girl who bears an uncanny likeness to his infant daughter who died years ago. In the winter of his life, has spring returned to the stationmaster? In "Love Letter," a man who has seen the rough side of life finds comfort in the memory of a wife he never knew. A young boy witnesses the dissolution of his family under the influence of a strange tutor who seems, to him, to be none other than the "Devil" himself. In "Kyara," a clothing salesman meets a mysterious and beautiful boutique owner at the mercy of a scheming salesman from a rival company, but she may not be as helpless as she seems. The book continues with a young woman’s strained marriage as the topic of gossip at "The Festival of Lanterns," held to honor her husband’s deceased grandfather, but it’s her own grandfather who returns from the beyond to help her through to the next phase of her life. Next, a husband and wife struggle to recapture the love they once shared by visiting the movie theater where they met as children in "Invitation from the Orion Cinema." These stories and two more make THE STATIONMASTER an intriguing invitation for any fiction fan. VIZ Media has announced their lineup for second quarter 2009 New VIZ Media Manga Titiles for Q2 Include: DOGS PRELUDE, Volume 0 • Rated ‘M’ for Mature Audiences • MSRP: $12.99 US / $15.00 CAN • Available Now IKIGAMI: THE ULTIMATE LIMIT, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘M’ for Mature Audiences • MSRP: $12.99 US / $15.00 CAN • Available May 12 Congratulations! You have been randomly selected by the government…to DIE in 24 hours! Please enjoy your final day and take pride in the fact that your death will inspire others to live life to the fullest! Welcome to the world of Ikigami, the Death Notice, where to keep citizens on the straight and narrow path of productivity and prosperity, citizens are randomly selected by the government for termination! IKIGAMI was created by Motoro Mase and originally debuted in Young Sunday. The manga presents a wicked slant on crime deterrence as readers see the last 24 hours through the eyes of the very people slated to die for their country with no hope of reprieve. What happens when people have no hope of survival will shock readers to the core in this new frighteningly dark series! IKIGAMI has sold more than a million copies and recently debuted in Japan as a live-action film. An acclaimed artist and manga creator, Mase was also nominated for Shogakukan’s 43rd Grand Prize for best comic by a new artist. DETROIT METAL CITY, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘M’ for Mature Audiences • MSRP: $12.99 US / $15.00 CAN • Available June 9 Prepare to have your mortal soul devoured by the demonic Johannes Krauser II, front man for Detroit Metal City, the most outrageous death metal band on the Japanese indie rock scene! Soichi Negishi dreamed of moving to Tokyo and starting a bubblegum pop band, but now he’s fronting the most scandalous and demented metal band in Japanese rock! Deep down, Soichi still dreams of acoustic guitars and trips to Paris, but when the makeup comes on and he transforms into his alter ego, Krauser II, not even the denizens of hell are safe from his soul-devouring death metal sound. Can Soichi reconcile his sensitive inner yearnings with his wild on-stage persona – the vilest hard rocker in Japanese (and possibly world) history? GESTALT, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $8.99 US / $10.50 CAN • Available June 16 In the legendary past the gods battled for supremacy and cast out a demon whose name cannot be spoken. Banished to earth, the demon found refuge on the mysterious and dangerous island known only as "G." After experiencing a crisis of faith, Father Olivier of the Valaria Order decides to go there and find out the truth behind the legends. But Olivier’s journey is unsanctioned and the head of the Order engages the dark elf Suzu to stop him at any cost. As he begins his quest, Olivier encounters Ouri, a young girl from the south who cannot speak. When Suzu catches up to them, Ouri reveals herself as a powerful sorceress and quickly disposes of Suzu, at least for the moment. The pair continues their journey south, dodging the agents of Olivier’s order, the considerable native dangers of the island of G, and Ouri’s secret past. GESTALT was created by Yun Kouga, one of the biggest names in manga, and incorporates many visual facets from computer and tabletop role-playing games to give the series a video game-like ambiance. New SHOJO BEAT Manga Include: HONEY HUNT, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $8.99 US / $10.50 CAN • Available Now RASETSU, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $8.99 US / $10.50 CAN • Available June 2 A fantastic supernatural spin-off to the hit shojo manga series YURARA (also published by VIZ Media), RASETSU is about a girl named Rasetsu Hyuga who works for an exorcist agency where she uses her special powers to banish evil spirits. But there's a story behind the mysterious red flower mark on her chest. It's a memento left by a powerful spirit that vowed to claim her on her 20th birthday. Unless Rasetsu can find true love by then, she’s fated to become his. Yako Hoshino, a young man with spiritual powers and a past of his own, comes to the agency one day seeking help with a possessed book. He's seen a lot of strange phenomena in his day, but the last thing he expects to see is Rasetsu bearing a striking resemblance to his old love Yurara! Fans of Chika Shiomi’s popular shojo series YURARA won’t want to miss this exciting debut. TAIL OF THE MOON PREQUEL: THE OTHER HANZO(U) • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $8.99 US / $10.50 CAN • Available June 2 This is the one-shot prequel to the critically acclaimed romantic melodrama TAIL OF THE MOON and also serves as an addition to the popular shojo series created by Rinko Ueda. Set in feudal Japan, a young woman is found with a huge scar on her back and has no memory of who she is. She’s given the name "Kaguya" and taken in by a local brothel where she's put in charge of babysitting and housekeeping duties. Hanzou Hattori, the head guard of the nearby castle, starts to pursue her romantically. He eventually realizes that they’ve met before in the past...under very surprising circumstances! Later, a case of mistaken identity leads Kaguya to the village of Iga where she meets the high-ranking ninja leader Hanzo Hattori. Things get complicated when she figures out she’s gotten her Hanzo(u)s mixed up! New VIZKIDS Manga Include: DINOSAUR HOUR!, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘A’ for All Ages • MSRP: $7.99 US / $9.50 CAN • Available April 7 Journey back in time to an age when dinosaurs ruled the earth, fierce – and funny! In this world, dinosaurs are just regular dudes who may try to eat each other, but still have social foibles like the rest of us. With some of their antics, its no wonder dinosaurs went extinct. In each installment, DINOSAUR HOUR! introduces younger readers to exciting dinosaur species through fun and easy-to-read educational factoids mixed with wacky humor. Kids will also delight in dinosaur puppet cut-outs in the back of the book that readers can use to create fun dino-ramas. Educational and captivatingly illustrated, the humorous vignettes in DINOUSAUR HOUR! create the universal appeal of these creatures to make a captivating choice for even the most reluctant young reader. LEAVE IT TO PET!, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘A’ for All Ages • MSRP: $7.99 US / $9.50 CAN • Available May 5 One day, nine-year-old Noboru does the responsible thing and recycles a plastic water bottle, but little does he know that the bottle will come back to him as PET, a robot with a mission to pay Noboru back for recycling him! The only problem is that PET’s sense of "helping" isn't quite in touch with reality. LEAVE IT TO PET! combines the visual appeal of manga with episodic comedy, adorable characters, and a few gentle lessons about protecting the environment. The manga also features color pages and related activities and cut-outs, giving it strong all-ages appeal. This series an excellent candidate for book clubs and fairs, schools and libraries. Pokémon Adventures, Vol. 1 (2nd Edition) • Rated ‘A’ for All Ages • MSRP: $7.99 US / $9.50 CAN • Available June 2 Q2 DVD releases... New DEATH NOTE Releases Include: DEATH NOTE RELIGHT: VISIONS OF A GOD • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN • Available June 23 DEATH NOTE DVD Box Set Volume 2 • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $69.97 US / $99.99 CAN • Available Now Death Note: L, Change the World will be released on August 25 for $24.92 New NARUTO Releases Include: NARUTO UNCUT DVD Box Set Volume 13 Special Edition • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $69.97 US / $99.99 CAN • Available Now Special Edition Box Set features 14 episodes on 3 discs and includes a collectible Mininja figurine of Kakashi. NARUTO UNCUT DVD Box Set Volume 13 Standard Edition • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $49.95 US / $71.99 CAN • Available Now Standard Edition set features the same episodes as Special Edition but no collectible Kakashi Mininja is included. NARUTO UNCUT DVD Box Set Volume 14 Special Edition • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $69.97 US / $99.99 CAN • Available May 26 NARUTO UNCUT DVD Box Set Volume 14 Standard Edition • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $49.95 US / $71.99 CAN • Available May 26 Naruto Uncut Box Set 15 will be release on August 25 for $69.97 Standard Edition set features the same episodes as Special Edition but no collectible Neji Mininja is included. Special Edition includes Gaara figure, the 5th of 6 NARUTO Uncut Box Set Volume 15 • Rated 'T+' for Older Teens • MSRP: $49.95 US / $71.99 CAN • Available July 21 New BLEACH Releases Include: BLEACH Volume 16 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • MSRP: $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN • Available May 12 BLEACH Volume 17 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • MSRP: $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN • Available June 16 BLEACH Volume 19 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • MSRP: $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN • Available August 18 BLEACH Uncut Box Set 3 • Rated 'T' for Teens • MSRP: $69.97 US / $99.99 CAN • Available July 7 BLEACH UNCUT Box Set 3 w/ Limited Collector's Hollow Mask• Rated 'T' for Teens • MSRP: $89.97 US / $129.99 CAN • Available July 7 BLEACH Volume 18 • Rated 'T' for Teens • MSRP: $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN • Available July 14 New HUNTER X HUNTER Releases Include: HUNTER X HUNTER Box Set Volume 2 • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $49.95 US / $71.99 CAN • Available Now Hunter x Hunter Box Set Volume 3 will be released on August 11th for $49.95 New INUYASHA Releases Include: INUYASHA Season 7 DVD Box Set Special Edition • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • MSRP: $119.89 US / $169.99 CAN • Available April 28 The Box Set features 21 episodes on 4 discs. Special Edition also includes a collectible figure of Inuyasha wielding his powerful Tetsusaiga sword. INUYASHA Season 7 DVD Box Set Standard Edition • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • MSRP: $99.94 US / $142.99 CAN • Available April 28 New POKÉMON Releases Include: POKÉMON ALL STARS Volume 19 Torchic • Rated ‘A’ for All Ages • MSRP: $9.98 US / $14.99 CAN • Available Now POKÉMON ALL STARS Volume 20 Onix • Rated ‘A’ for All Ages • MSRP: $9.98 US / $14.99 CAN • Available Now POKÉMON ALL STARS Box Set 2 is due on August 25 for $39.97 POKÉMON: ELEMENTS Volume 1: Grass • Rated 'A' for All Ages • MSRP: $9.98 each US / $14.99 each CAN • Available July 28 POKÉMON: ELEMENTS Volume 2: Fire • Rated 'A' for All Ages • MSRP: $9.98 each US / $14.99 each CAN • Available July 28 New VIZ Pictures Releases Include: HAPPILY EVER AFTER • NOT RATED • MSRP: $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN • Available May 12 In this new live-action release, Yukie Morita (Miki Nakatani) works hard to make ends meet while her husband Isao (Hiroshi Abe) hangs around all day gambling away their savings and getting into trouble. Isao’s uncontrollable temper often results in the dinner table getting overturned and their meal on the floor. Everyone advises Yukie to leave Isao, but their unconditional love keeps them together through happiness and through hard times. HAPPILY EVER AFTER was a box-office hit in Japan and based on a best-selling manga. This bittersweet comedy combines a visually-striking cinematography, a heartwarming storyline with love and friendship and a top cast of actors and will be enjoyed by all members of the family. Warner Home Video Super Friends: The Lost Episodes will be released on August 11. The two disc set will feature 24 episodes. The animated Green Lantern: First Flight DVD, special edition DVD and Blu-ray are now scheduled to be released on 7/28/09 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 25th Anniversary Collections of the four movies will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 4th. The DVD is packaged with four masks, a travel case and temporary tattoos for $39.92 The Blu-ray features a comic, signed sketch, beanie, and character cards for $84.99 Bean 10 Alien Force volume four will be released on September 1 for $14.98 Smurfs: Volumes Two will be released on August 18th for $14.97
Otaku USA EiC Patrick Macias will be presenting J-POP in the USA – Past and Present at San Francisco State University Sunday, May 3 In this presentation, Patrick Macias will present an overview of the development of J-pop fandom in America, from fans of early anime like Astro Boy to today's breed of self-identified "otaku" who made manga such as Naruto bestsellers in the USA. Time and Date 1:30pm – 3:00pm Sunday, May 3 Location: San Francisco State University College of Humanities Room 133 (Humanities Auditorium) General $5 Students $2
*Bang Zoom! Entertainment will offer two new Adventures in Voice Acting workshops in May. Bang Zoom also announced a money-back satisfied guarantee on the programs. BEGINNER VOICE ACTING WORKSHOP - Saturday, 05/09/09 INTERMEDIATE VOICE ACTING WORKSHOP - Saturday, 05/23/09 Description: Each workshop is a full-day "Boot Camp" style course from 10am to 6pm that will allow for a lot of on-mic experience. The workshops will be held at the world famous Bang Zoom! Studios in Burbank, California, and you'll be working inside the studio and voice booth. The cost for each workshop is $299.00, and each workshop is limited to ONLY 12 students. The Beginner Level Voice Acting Workshop covers such topics as: How to break into the business How to develop a character How to use your voice and project Basic acting skills Studio etiquette and protocol for when you land your first audition The Intermediate Level Workshop covers such topics as: Creating original characters for Pre-lay shows and games Voice acting for Commercials and promos How to make a living as a Voice Actor Auditioning techniques: How to approach an audition script and book more jobs The Intermediate Level Workshop is only open to those who have already completed the Beginner's Workshop or have had some experience as a professional voice actor. Instructor: Tony Oliver (Director of GURREN LAGANN; Voice of Rick Hunter - ROBOTECH, Harry - GUNGRAVE, Arsene - LUPIN III) *The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences will be presenting the ANIME! High Art – Pop Culture exhibition May 15 through August 23, 2009 at the The Academy’s Grand Lobby Gallery and Fourth Floor Gallery "ANIME!" illustrates the fascination of anime and its dramatic, and often breathtaking, visual language. On view are rare collectors’ items and artwork that has seldom been seen outside Japan. A portion of the exhibition is devoted to manga and its relationship to anime, providing a historical overview of the development of this "comic book" genre from 19th century Japanese woodcuts and book illustrations to the mass-produced manga of the present. *FUNimation screenings at Texas' Alamo Drafthouse include May 5, 2009 May 5, 2009 Kanon May 12, 2009 May 12, 2009 Last Exile May 19, 2009 May 20, 2009 Heroic Age May 26, 2009 May 27, 2009 Murder Princess *LM.C announced We regret to inform you that in accordance with an official announcement made by Pony Canyon Inc. today regarding the outbreak of the swine flu made on April 30th, the upcoming LM.C appearance at AKON (May 29-31 in Dallas, Texas) has been cancelled. This announcement comes in response to the World Health Organization's decision to raise the swine flu pandemic level to phase 5. Pony Canyon Inc. and Ponycanyon Music Inc. announced that all employees and artists have been grounded and are prohibited from traveling overseas. This suspension of travel will remain until WHO officials determine it is safe. *Anime News Network notes that France's Annecy animation festival (June 8-13) will be screening Takeshi Koike's ( "World Record" short in The Animatrix, key animator on Dead Leaves, Samurai Champloo, and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust) new Madhouse produced anime Redline. Films in the Official Selection in the Feature Film category include: Battle for Terra by Aristomenis Tsirbas Boogie, el aceitoso by Gustavo Cova Brendan et le secret de Kells by Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey Coraline by Henry Selick Jeh-bool-chal-shee e-ya-gee by In-keun Kwak, Il-hyun Kim, Ji-na Ryu, Eun-Mi Lee, Hae-young Lee Kurt blir grusom by Rasmus A. Sivertsen Mary and Max by Adam Benjamin Elliot Monsters vs Aliens by Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon My Dog Tulip by Paul Fierlinger, Sandra Fierlinger Redline by Takeshi Koike *Osamu Tezuka artifacts are on display at Edo-Tokyo Museum in Sumida Ward, Tokyo
Upcoming in Japan
Previews Takeshi Koike's Redline MW - the adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's mature audience thriller First Squad - Misha Shprits and Aljoscha Klimo working with Studio4C Anime Production I.G has posted a report from the press conference for Musashi: The Dream of the Last Samurai, Production I.G's upcoming feature film, written by Mamoru Oshii and directed by Mizuho Nishikubo. Sunrise has indication plans for an international simultaneous release of the upcoming adaptation of the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn novels. Planned languages include Japanese, English, German and French. Via SRW Hotnes series details includes Staff credit: Original Story - Hajime Yatate, Yoshiyuki Tomino Director - Kazuhiro Furuhashi Screenplay - Yasuyuki Muto Original Character Design - Yoshikazu Yasuhiko Animation Character Design - Kumiko Takahashi Original Mobile Suit Design - Kunio Okawara Mechanical Design - Hajime Katoki, Yoshinori Sayama, Junya Ishigaki, Nobuhiko Genma Science Fiction Consultants - Shinya Ogura Story: Harutoshi Fukui Main Character: BANAGHER LINKS 16 years old. Main character. When his mother died, he has been entrusted to a father that he has never known and went to the Anaheim Electronics school on the Industrial 7 space colony. His encounter with the mysterious Audrey Burne will involve him in the trouble surrounding the "Box of Laplace". AUDREY BURNE 16 years old. Heroin. Important member of the antigovernment organization "Sotsudeki". For an unknown reason, she boards the Garencières to reach Industrial 7. Her fate will change when Banagher saves her from a deathly danger. Mobile Suit: RX-0 GUNDAM UNICORN A prototype Mobile Suit developed under the "UC project" in the secret base of Anaheim Electronics for the Earth Federation Forces. His characteristics are his pure white armor and horn. Nickname : Unicorn. This unit hides a secret that will change the future of mankind.
*The sixth and final episode of the Hellsing Ultimate DVD has been given a July 24th release. *Astro Fighter Sunred, a parody of tokusatsu heroes in mundane situation, will be continued in a second anime series. *The August 26 release of the first volume of the DVD/Blu-ray release of the new Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood will feature a bonus adaptation of manga creator Hiromu Arakawa's Momoku no Renkinjutshi (Blind Alchemist) story. *Gonzo's mecha-girl anime Strike Witches will be back for a second season, tentatively called "Strike Witches 2-ki." FUNimation recently announced plans to release the first season in North America. *The tv anime series adaptation of Tegami Bachi (Letter Bee) is on tape to premiere in October. *Hisaki Matsuura's ecology based novel Kawa no Hikari (River's Light) will be adapted into an anime series