Animation and Anime

AICN Anime - Gurren Lagann: Childhood's End, Live Action Akira, Oshii's Assault Girls, Ghibli Goes Gaming and More...

Published at: June 28, 2010, 6:04 p.m. CST

Logo handmade by Bannister Column by Scott Green

Anime Spotlight: Gurren Lagann: The Movie : Childhood's End Released by Aniplex Exclusively available on the Bandai Store starting July 1

Childhood's End is the first of two movies re-relating the action of a favorite among the last decade's giant robot shows, Gurren Lagann. While these compilations can be iffy prospects, Childhood's End is one that serves this series well. It's jus too bad that the release's availability isn't as broad as the its appeal. Set in a future in which humanity has been living underground for countless generations, every day, anonymous workers burrow with small hand drills hoping to expand their subterranean village and earn a "pig-mole steak" as their reward. Beyond the endless rock and endless work, young, unimpressive Simon has a notion that someday he might find a treasure buried in the rock, and that personal hope drives him to dig further. And, one day he finds a small glowing drill-bit like spiral that pleases him, if no one else. The other dream to which Simon is party is his elder friend/mentor/"brother" Kamina's wish to rebel against the village's slovenly task master as a first step in the ultimate ambition of moving from their enclosed cavern to the surface. Kamina, a bit of a braggart with tribal tattoos and an oversized sword, refuses to listen to the stubborn insistence that humans need to stay where they belong, off the beastman controlled surface. Except in the wake of one of Kamina's rebellions, a beastman's giant minotaur-esque robot gunman brakes through into the village, with the sniper rifle wielding, bikini wearing hottie named Yoko in pursuit. In the midst of this battle, Simon manages to dig up his own gunman: a rather unimpressive machine that's pretty much just a person-tall head with arms and legs. But, due to irrational bravery, desperation, savage impulse or maybe just their ability to psyche themselves up, the heroes don't back down. They win, and manage to break through to the surface. Once above ground they find that there's always some new metaphorical surface above them, and in a constantly escalating conflict, they're perpetually urge forward to break through to the next level. Anime, particularly mecha anime, has a history of being re-sculpted and re-released in compilation movies. They were, for example, instrumental in cementing the original Mobile Suit Gundam, which, despite its decades long popularity, was abbreviated in its initial TV airing due to low ratings. These movies retell the story originally presented in a longer TV series or direct to video OVA with edited footage, along with some quotient of original animation. As often as not, some elements of the story are tweaked. For example, Macross Plus, a very recommendable, more adult minded take on Macross/Robotech with work from Shoji Kawamori, Shinichiro Watanabe, Koji Morimoto and Yoko Kanno, alters the fate of one of its principal characters. Rarely do I think that these movies are the best first exposure to the material. They're secondary considerations. When someone conceived and animated the subject, they had the original TV or OVA format in mind. I expect that you can follow Childhood's End without having seen the Gurren Lagann TV series, but, as an introduction to the story, it has significant problems. For example, an important character development moment is re-presented in such a way that its significance isn't just ambiguous; it's completely unknowable. A quiet key character is introduced during a montage sequence, then is referred to by a nickname as often as his real one. Instead of an alternate first exposure, the value proposition for a compilation movie like Childhood's end is to allow fans of the original work to recapture its spirit with less of a financial/time commitment than buying/re-watching the source work. In the case of some of these mecha anime works, the compilation is feeding on the dedicated, completist nature of its niche fanbase. There's been some backlash against Gurren Lagann. That it's kids anime. That it's rehashing old tricks of the genre. On the former count, I'd give them that, but counter by noting that few anime could really qualify as mature minded, and Gurren Lagann is far from exceptionally juvneile. Beyond that, playwright Kazuki Nakashima and director Hiroyuki Imaishi breathe fresh, enthusiastic spirit into the inflated scale of this anime. This was Evangelion creator Gainax's return to giant robots after years in the maid populated wilderness. Leading up to it, there was some befuddled confusion about what Gainax was going to do with previewed totemic mecha design from FLCL's Yoh Yoshinari and the busty girls and skull emblazoned guys from Atsushi Nishigori. It certainly wasn't the buttoned down military or bright super hero look of prior mecha traditions. When it opened with a little constrained environment and small, weird, head mech, that confusion was compounded. But, Gurren Lagann proceeded to open up and bloom/explode in a way that few anime have. That said, I remembered loving Gurren Lagann more than I actually continued to love it. If I see certain images for Gurren Lagann precursor, Gunbuster, they'll provoke an echo of the reaction I felt when first seeing them occur. That's not the case for Gurren Lagann. My lingering affection for the has been more intellectual than visceral. Consequently, a movie compilation that distills what I liked about the series into two hours is an appealing prospect. What impressed me more than my own reaction to Gurren Lagann was my friends'. Said college associates got married, had kids, ceased budgeting the time and finances to watch anime. When they weren't working or minding the spawn, they watched television and played video games. Then, Gurren Lagann began airing on the Sci-Fi/SyFy Channel, and for the first time in years they mentioned anime to me. I got asked by them if I had a copy of it that they could borrow. Once hooked by the TV version, an abridgement is perfect for an audience like that. Over the last decade, anime built itself a reputation that suggests anime is for anime fans. You string together enough series focusing on pastel shaded, 2D virtual girlfriends, and you can effectively scratch out the "cool" in "Cool Japan." In fact, I'd say that were once many geeks were excitedly curious about Japanese media, the reputation of its origin has now become a liability for anime, manga and Japanese video games among non-enthusiast consumers. Gurren Lagann is firmly rooted in anime traditions. Geek enthusiasm was the raison d'être for Gainax, a studio that was a significant part of a generation of anime makers who grew up as anime fans. And, Gurren Lagann makes much of the "gattai!" combination sequences and other tropes, to say nothing of the TV series' injoke references to prior Gainax works. Yet, the series doesn't beg too much faith. It bursts in and the magnitude and sometimes wackiness proves to be hard evidence of Gainax's zeal. It is convincing, not just to a genre-reluctant or a genre-weary audience, but anyone who would accept the operating tropes of a boy and his robot challenging the universe. There's a scene that I believe has been reanimated for the movie. The core cast in their small robot head break through Earth's surface for the first time, and, over doing it, are launched into the atmosphere. High above the Earth, they spin for the moment, seeing the expansive desert vista for the first time. It's capturing a new freedom, comparable to that initial hyperspace jump in Star Wars. Gurren Lagann, is an escapist pleasure, but it's a wonderful escapist pleasure that has appeal to adults. In Gurren Lagann, through acts of pure audaciousness, humanity works to regain Earth's surface from the Beastmen looking to exterminate our species. Human's charge the beasts. We counter their ploys by throwing rocks at them. We claw our way to victory. There's a seemingly intractable problem and the solution is gritted teeth, faith in self, and a robot with two heads and giant sunglasses. Few anime have put together a better supporting cast of misfits, more like a rugby team than a military. These folks managed to commandeer a squad of mecha that appear to have been dropped out on a bin of MUSCLE figures. What better diversion is there to occupational stress and oil spills and stock markets... a bit of vicarious thrill concerning how sufficient guts can win the day. It might not be the most adult sentiment, but it is a sentiment that adults sometimes need. Childhood's End does try to sculpt a coherent story out of its abridgement. Even if there's not much development, maybe not as much as a newcomer might need, it does manage to establish what to care about and why. The movie puts forth a more concerted effort to align the highs and lows for the new space, embellished by musical cues to trigger the reactions of those familiar with the material. The lows feel laid over a larger space in this configuration, and fans of the original looking to recapture its acceleration may find themselves wishing it would cut to the chase. But, the movie also endeavors to reward that audience. Bikini clad heroin Yoko receives some new spotlight material. There are fanservicy shots of her in target practice, and a new bikini top-endangering fight with a lips licking beast woman, and few are going to complain, because even if the prime factors in the equation are girl, gun and bikini, the new material is executed with real highlight character animation. The movie similarly rewards with a nice new wacky mecha spectacle for its final obstacle. Nothing new is likely to floor Gurren Lagann faithful, but there are nice bonus elements integrated into this opportunity to recapture the qualities of the original. Unlike a lot of anime released in North America, Gurren Lagann is not necessarily niche. It's not tuned to appeal to anime fans to the extent where that becomes a detriment. Instead, there is plenty for lapsed anime fans to enjoy in Gurren Lagann. Unfortunately, though the appeal of the movie is broader than many other anime, its availability is more narrow. If you want it, you have to order the Japanese audio only DVD online from Bandai Entertainment. There's a special edition, that includes four of the exciting animation showcase Parallel Works music videos, but, in that case, the bothersome thing about that edition is that the behinds the scenes booklet included is untranslated. So, if you want to read a bit about how the effects and design of the Gurren Lagann movie were constructed, better know Japanese. Any following the weakness of media markets in general and anime specifically can understand the economics behind this. In that respect, it's hard to rail against these decisions. Yet, anime has been digging itself into a niche position. So much of its is content to dwell in that slot, that it's exciting to see something transcendently big, bold and attention grabbing. When you see a work accomplish that broader appeal, only to have business decisions tuck it back into the corner, it frustrates this anime booster.

Spotlight: Avatar: The Last Airbender The Complete Book 1 Collection released by Nickelodeon and Paramount Home Entertainment

Pre-AICN Anime column, when I was posting my anime coverage to my university's anime club site, I received an e-mail letting me know about an anime-esque Nickelodeon show in production, called Avatar. This was before the anime boom really took off, but even then, anime style in and of itself won few points for a perspective work. While the sampled fight scenes were somewhat impressive, I didn't put my faith in the results. I slept on Avatar, and that decision proved to be one of my few regrets in covering anime, manga and related media. But, in my defense, a work like Avatar is exceptional, because, it's, well... an exception from the norm... it's rare that to find a children's animated TV series this enthralling. Asserting that anime is better than other media or defending its merits has never particularly interested me. The definition of anime is that it is animation originating in Japan. It could be Naruto, or it could be The Diary of Tortov Roddle - it's not necessarily big eyes, or violent porn, or Sailor Moon or Dragon Ball Z. That said, observations can be made regarding trends, and the appeal of those trends. From Star Blazers and Robotech to Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z and Gundam Wing, to Naruto, Bleach and Fullmetal Alchemist, it won fans by giving viewers characters that developed over the course of the series, with consequences that extended beyond a given episode. Visually appealing animation, coupled with a fostered connection to its characters have been key ingredients to long form anime's success. (It applies less to spectacle anime of the Ninja Scroll/ Akira mode). The configuration of Avatar: The Last Airbender conforms to a familiar kids fantasy configuration. The world is divided into four elemental peoples... the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation and Air Nomads. Each group has benders capable of controlling their associated element. With theirs at the forefront, the Fire Nation began a campaign to conquer the world. The Avatar, a reincarnated individual capable of controlling all four elements, is supposed to maintain peace between the four groups. Anticipating his rebirth among the Air Nomads, the fire nation slaughtered that group. But, the killing turned fruitless when Avatar was not found. In fact, the destined peace maker wasn't seen for a century. While navigating the Antarctic ice drifts, novice water bender Katara and her impulsive brother Sokka find a frozen form. The child who thaws out proves to be Aang, the long missing, last of the Air Nomads, and reincarnated Avatar. This trio's activities soon draw the attention of Zuko, the disfigured, exile prince of the Fire Nation, given the seemingly impossible task of retrieving the Avatar to restore his honor. In contrast to what I expected from Avatar and what might be expected from a description of the familiar sounding scenario, the series is flush with identity. The characters, both principal and minor, the four peoples and their specific communities, even the particular martial arts associated with the elemental benders, they're all established with their own individual characteristics. Therein lies the reason why many were upset when the well defined, essentially Asian informed work saw its live action adaption cast with non-Asians in many of the key roles. In the way that a great anime series can draw you in with its characters, the foundation of Avatar's engagement with its audience is its well realized people and places. Rather than filling in episodes with an algebra of situation, moral lesson and static characters, each entry in this series is an opportunity to watch the effect of the interaction between complex pieces. What works is less that a wholly new take is being offered on heroes with weaknesses and antagonist with sympathetic characteristics and more that the evolving failings and triumphs of both are credible. Avatar rewards this investment in its characters and world. While there is continuity between episodes and it does use that continuity to build to larger scale, more consequential events, each episode offers a reason to be glad to have sat down and watched it. Seeing a few preview action sequences in isolation, I was dubious of the series' real potential to consistently offer solid super powered martial arts fights. When I actually watched the series, I was thrilled to find that the action animation throughout was remarkable. Along with visual references to martial arts, real styles and genre film, those thoroughly developed techniques are put through their paces in dynamically animated clashes. And beyond the action, it spreads a bit of its animation budget into the fun, in between moments. Outstanding attention is given to just depicting the goofy faces of its young cast make as they entertain themselves. While I don't have any allegiances to any specific medium, tradition or origin, I will say that the qualities of Avatar: The Last Airbender are the qualities that drew me to anime. Maybe the movie will surprise me the way the animated series did, but I'm gladder that the animated version is available on DVD than I am worried that a new telling might spoil the original. TV on DVD was made for works like this. I knew I liked the animated series, but rewatching it, I was surprised by how few episodes I skipped and how thoroughly it recaptured by attention.

Event News

JAPAN CUTS Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema July 1 -- 16, 2010 @ Japan Society 333 East 47th St. NY NY Full Schedule of 24 Films: http://www.japansociety.org/japancuts Anime Expo Masakazu Morita RSP Other guests include Masakazu Morita (Ichigo in Bleach) Bandai Entertainment will be selling Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn), previously only available online at Anime Expo. Stephanie Sheh (voice of heroine, Audrey Burne from “Gundam UC”) will sign autographs on Thursday, July 1 at Bandai Entertainment’s booth from 4:30PM to 5:30PM. Anime Expo confirmed to Anime News Network that there will be no SPJA Industry Awards ceremony at the 2010 convention as the program is being revamped "to feature a bigger, better, and more fan-oriented Industry Awards Ceremony." The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation has held the SPJA Industry Awards since the organization's inception in 1992.
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San Francisco’s NEW PEOPLE has announced the date for the 2010 J-Pop Summit Festival – Saturday, September 18th. The venue has also launched a web site at www.J-Pop.com to serve as a central information hub for updates on related events, film premieres and celebrity appearances planned for the day-long extravaganza that will take place in San Francisco’s Japantown.
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Patrick Macias, August Ragone, and Tomohiro Machiyama will be presenting TokyoScope Vol.5: “Japanese Superheroes”! Friday, July 9th at 7:00pm at San Francisco’s at VIZ Cinema Ultraman! Kamen Rider! The Power Rangers! These and many other colorful crusaders of justice are now recognized the world over as essential icons of Japanese pop culture. But where did they come from? Who created them? And what is it really like battling rubber monsters and the forces of evil on a regular basis? Join hosts Patrick Macias (editor, Otaku USA magazine), August Ragone (author, Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters), and Tomohiro Machiyama (founding editor, Movie Treasures magazine) as they explore the fascinating history and origins of Japanese superheroes using rare film clips and images from numerous tokusatsu, sentai, and henshin hero productions including Ultra Seven, Kikaida, Space Sheriff Gavan, and many others.
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Baltimore's Otakon will host X Japan's Yoshiki and Sugizo during the convention's masquerade, a week before the band's performance at Lollapalooza Production I.G will be animating an opening for Otakon, with a song from Hiroki Kikuta and Sarah Alainn. The last two conventions had opens from Madhouse.
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Rock duo VAMPS will be performing at New York Anime Festival in October
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Fan Expo Canada will be hosting Yoshitaka Amano (Final Fantasy, Vampire Hunter D)
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KAT-TUN's Jin Akanishi will make a US solor tour September-October with stops in Los Angeles (where he has already performed three concerts), New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Anaheim, and Houston.
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A special exhibition dedicated to director Mamoru Oshii will be held July 16 to Sept. 5 at Hachioji Yume Art Museum in western Tokyo.
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Takashi Murakami is planning a Qatar based exhibition in 2012, said to be much bigger than the recent one at the Palace of Versailles

Upcoming in North America

Warner Bros' plans for Akira live action are coalescing around a PG13, Albert Hughes, Andrew Lazar movie covering the first three books of the manga.
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The live-action movie adaptation of Min-Woo Hyung's Korean manhwa Priest has been moved back from March 4 to May 13, 2011
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Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt are following up on Yokai Attack with "Ninja Attack! True Tales of Assassins, Samurai, and Outlaws," illustrated by Yutaka Kondo. It goes on sale mid-July in Japan, in September in the USA, and this fall in the rest of the world.
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Staff from Aurora Publishing have launched new venture Manga Factory. Anime News Network reports Manga Factory advertises Naoyuki Sakai and Hisao Tamaki's Teen Apocalypse: Guilstein manga from Wowmax Media on Amazon's Kindle Store for electronic books. Wowmax Media had licensed this manga for mobile phones in 2006. A separate company, ANIMATE USA, has been releasing several former Aurora-published manga titles on the Kindle Store.
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A Million Movies a Minute has released ANIMATING REALITY, a film collection includes award-winning animated short documentaries by filmmakers from Sweden, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, France, Finland, Canada, Belgium and the United States on DVD and on Amazon VOD for rent or sale The films of ANIMATING REALITY also represent the wide spectrum of new and old animation techniques including stop-motion, claymation, flash, sketch, hand-painted watercolor, multimedia collage, manipulated archive footage and rotoscoping. The films in ANIMATING REALITY represent a broad spectrum of both contemporary documentary filmmaking and the possibilities of the animated form: • Yoriko Murakami’s Talking About Amy explores the life and work of Japanese pop artist Emi Iijima while she resided in the States. • Corrie Francis’s Conversing with Aotearoa explores the way New Zealanders are coping with technological encroachment despite a deep sense of connection to the country’s natural beauty. • In Blue, Karma, Tiger, co-directors Mia Hulterstam and Cecilia Actis interview three young, female graffiti artists. • Samantha Moore’s The Beloved Ones is an intimate portrait of two African women living with the repercussions of AIDS. • Davina Pardo revisits one of her famous father’s unfinished animations in Birdlings Two.? • In The Last Words of Dutch Schultz, Gerrit van Dijk presents an abstract interpretation of a gangster’s final words (voiced by Rutger Hauer) from his deathbed. • In Jeanne Paturle’s and Cécile Rousset’s One Voice, One Vote, two strangers come together on the eve of a major election to discuss their personal connection to voting. • In Learned by Heart, Marjut Rimminen and Paivi Takala explore the secret history of Finland’s post-WWII legacy. • In Sold Out Marie José van der Linden and Gerrit van Dijk depict a day in the life of a family of shopkeepers as a big box store looms.? • In A Shift in Perception, Dan Monceaux gives three recently blinded women the opportunity to illustrate how their lives have changed. • Maya Yonesho presents a micro-history of architectural destruction and creation in Vienna with Wiener Wuast. • Emily Bissland’s In the Same Boat tells the story of the unlikely friendship between a racist Vietnam War vet and an Iraqi refugee who meet while hospitalized. • Eric Ledune’s Do It Yourself is a wildly funny take on a found CIA manual’s step-by-step instructions on how to torture and kill.
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James Eatock's (cereal:geek) The Unofficial Cartoon Guide to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is now available for pre-order
Animeigo Upcoming chambara releases include Aug 2010: Samurai Vendetta: A Chronicle of Pale Cherry Blossoms directed by Kazuo MORI and starring Raizo ICHIKAWA and Shintaro KATSU. The film that made Sept 2010: Shinsengumi Chronicles: I Want To Die A Samurai Dark Horse
CARDCAPTOR SAKURA OMNIBUS BOOK 2 CLAMP (W/A) On sale Nov 10 b&w, 576 pages $19.99 TPB, 5 3/4" x 8 1/4"
GANTZ VOLUME 14 Hiroya Oku (W/A) On sale Nov 24 b&w, 224 pages $12.99 TPB, 5 1/8" x 7 1/16"
POP WONDERLAND: CINDERELLA Michiyo Hayano (W) and POP (A) On sale Nov 10 FC, 32 pages $16.95 HC, 10 1/8” x 8 1/4” Bandai Entertainment A Box set release of Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Season 2 will be released on August 17th Haruhi continues her search for exciting ways to keep her world from being boring. Unfortunately, for Kyon and the rest of the SOS Brigade, they are forced to go along for the ride. On the night of the Tanabata Star Festival, Kyon is transported back in time by Mikuru Asahina to what may be the source of what led Haruhi to search for aliens, time travelers and espers. In the last two weeks of summer vacation, Haruhi leads the brigade on a dizzying list of summer time activities that leads the brigade into experiencing what they think is dejavu but they're actually re-living the same two weeks of summer over and over again. It's up to Kyon to figure out what's missing to get them out of this endless loop. As fall rolls around, everyone prepares for the school arts festival, but Haruhi isn't content with their class's survey project. She, instead, hatches her own plan for the SOS Brigade to film and screen their own. Step behind the camera to see what went on to create the cinematic 'masterpiece' that is The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina Episode 00. Discotek Discotek has indicated the first Fist of the North Star set has been delayed to July 27th Sea Prince and the Fire Child will be released on DVD August 31 Del Rey Del Rey will be releasing two Odd Thomas graphic novels in 2011 and 2011. The first book, Odd Is My Co-Pilot, will be scripted by James Kuhoric (Legendary Talespinners, Battlestar Galactica, Dead Irons) and illustrated by Chan. The second new graphic novel will be scripted by Landry Q. Walker (Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, Little Gloomy) and illustrated by Ikari Studio. FUNimation Upcoming releases include 8/10 Masters of Martial Hearts - The Complete Series Tsubasa Season One Box set - re-princed to $39.98 - Blu-ray $49.98 8/17 Casshern Sins 8/24 Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood set 2 Fullmetal Panic! Season One (DVD and Blu-ray) 8/29 Kodocha - Season one and season two ($29.98 each) 9/14 Corpse Princess - Part One - Aka Corpse Princess - Part Two - Kuro Hetalia - Season One 9/21 Initial D Stage One Part One 9/28 Eden of the East (DVD and Blu-ray) Sengoku BASARA (DVD and Blu-ray) Live Action, Shaw Brothers 8/3 Shaoline Prince The Duel FUNimation announced that they will be re-releasing former ADV releases Chrono Crusade, Gantz, Kaleido Star, and Peace Maker Kurogane Media Blasters Robet's Anime Corner Store reports that Media Blasters had shelved plans to release Akihabara @ DEEP Vol. 6, Gay's Anatomy Episode 0 and Drawn to Him Right Stuf Anime producer and distributor Right Stuf, Inc. and its Nozomi Entertainment division are announced that Super GALS! Complete DVD Collection will be available on October 5, 2010 for $59.99. This new release collects both seasons of Super GALS! together. Season 1 (Episodes 1-26) will feature English and Japanese audio options, English subtitles and on-screen translations. Season 2 (Episodes 27-52) will feature Japanese dialogue, English subtitles and on-screen translations. The Super GALS! Complete DVD Collection will be housed in a single keepcase and will also include on-disc liner notes, The Super GALS! Explain It All 1-6, the series’ clean opening and closing, and more. Based on the manga by Mihona Fujii, Super GALS! features production by Studio Pierrot (Naruto, Fushigi Yûgi, Saiyuki, Yumeiro Pâtissière) and direction by Tsuneo Kobayashi (Emma: A Victorian Romance, The Twelve Kingdoms). About Super GALS! Sporting designer clothes, make-up, and nails, Ran Kotobuki is the very picture of a trendy, young Shibuya girl, but don't let that fool you. This girl comes from a family of cops, and she’s ready to lay you out flat if you even think about causing trouble in her town! At least, she will... when she’s not distracted with karaoke, shopping, and dodging her homework. Join Ran and her friends as they defend the streets of Shibuya and attempt to shop their way into the history books as the most famous Gals ever! All 52 episodes, every ironclad rule, and all the Shibuya slang packed into a single, complete set!
Super GALS! © 2001 MIHONA FUJII / SHUEISHA • TV TOKYO • GALS! PROJECT. Section23 September releases include 09-07-2010 Drop Complete Collection - $59.98 09-14-2010 Ghost Hound Complete Series - Blu-ray - $89.98 Ghost Hound Complete Collection - $69.98 Golgo 13 Collection 2 09-21-2010 Xam'd Collection 1 - $59.98 Xam'd Collection 1 - Blu-ray - $69.98 09-28-2010 Hell Girl: Three Vessels Collection 1 TOKYOPOP The fourth and fifth Full Metal Panic! light novels will ship in February 2011 UDON Entertainment UDON will be releasing The Art of Darksiders in October. THE ART OF DARKSIDERS will premiere with a limited hardcover edition available at the UDON booth during this summer’s San Diego Comic-Con. Joe Madureira will also be making a special appearance at the show to sign fans’ copies of this exclusive hardcover.
Well Go USA Nippon Cinema notes Well Go USA has licensed Mamoru Oshii's 2009 live-action sci-fi film Assault Girls and will be releasing it on DVD in North America on October 19, 2010.

Upcoming in Japan

Promos The first 22 minutes of Welcome to the Space Show Asobi ni Ikuyo! Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin Colorful Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Awakening of the Trailblazer Densetsu no Yusha no Densetsu (The Legend of the Legendary Heroes) Strike Witches 2 Future Diary Anime Via Nausicaa Preview images of Ghibli's Arrietty: The Borrower can be seen here. Toshio Suzuki commented "Arrietty is the character whom the present age needs like Nausicaa who saved the earth which was damaged by natural destruction." Hayao Miyazaki's bext original short film "Pan-dane to Tamago-hime" (Yeast and Princess Egg) is the story of Pandane-kun and little Tamago-hime who run away from a scary witch of a watermill to avoid being burned and becoming bread.
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via Anime News Network Gainax has confirmed that they will be animating an adaptation of Bibliotheca Mystica de Dantalian (Dantalian no Shoka), a series of supernatural light novels set in 1920's London
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Shounen Sirius Magazine announced that a new OAD episode of anime based on horror action manga Princess Resurrection is being produced
The next Naruto movie will be Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower, opening in Japanese theatres on July31 along with short Naruto, the Genie, and the Three Wishes, Believe It!
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Surreal comedy Arakawa under the bridge is getting a second season
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A DVD-exclusive 25th episode of Durarara!! has been confirmed for release with the 13th and final volume, scheduled for release next February.
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Toei Animation will be collaberating with Shanghai Media Group and SMG's Toonmax channel on a new anime movie based on the 70's series about 15th century money in training, Ikkyu-san
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A Certain Scientific Railgun is also getting a OAD, entitled "Entenka no Satsuei Model mo Raku Ja Arimasen wa ne." ("Being a Photo Shoot Model Under the Hot Sun Isn't Easy, Is It?")
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Manga/cat blog Kuruneko is setting a second season of shorts
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A special short for Stan Lee/BONES' anime series Heroman, entitled Portent, is being produced for the second volume of the video release.
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Card game based Battle Spirits is getting a third series
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Ko Amami and Aki Kuruwa's fantasy romance boys-love reimagining of Hakkenden is getting an anime adaptation
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a 3D adaptation of comedy manga Atashin’chi is scheduled for November
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action romantic comedy light novel series Izuru Yumizuru's IS (Infinite Stratos) is being adapted into anime
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production of a new Seikon no Qwaser has been confirmed bishonen samurai game Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan will be getting a second season of its anime Manga Via Maximum Cosmo Thee August 27 edition of the weekly magazine Comic Bunch, whose founding members included good people like Tetsuo Hara and Tsukasa Hojo, will be the last. The anthology, which once had a circulation of 700,000 has sunk to 140,000 as it failed to attrack new readers
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Ichijinsha will be ending Comic Yuri Hime S in September.
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Monthly Gundam Ace will carry a new Mobile Fighter G Gundam manga by director Yasuhiro Imagawa and Kazuhiko Shimamoto
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Shoji manga 81 Diver's Kamen Rider-esque spin-off Drone is ending in Weekly Young Jump
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Natsume Ono's House of Five Leaves will be ending in the July 24th issue of Ikku.
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Bisco Hatori's is entering its final story arc
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Miho Obana will be back Kodomo no Omocho's herione Sana Kurata for a two part cross over with Honey Bitter to celebrate her 20th year in the manga field. Koi Ikeno (Nurse Angel Ririka SOS) will launch her new if no Frame series , and Yukie Sato will launch her Hanamizuki manga.
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A dispute over between manga creator Yukito Kishiro and his editor over wording had lead a hiatus for Battle Angel Alita: Last, the fighting oriented sequel/revision to the original Battle angel Alita. Kishiro has also suggested that he might not resume the series.
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Gunsmith Cats creator Kenichi Sonoda is launching a new manga series called Bullet in Wizard in Afternoon. Genshiken's Shimoku Kio's Digopuri (The Princess of the Hell) is ending in the anthology Takuya Mitsuda's baseball manga Major will be ending its 15 year run in Weekly Shonen Sunday later this month Live Action Images have gone online for Mamoru Oshii's live action Tetsujin 28 adaptation, 28 1/2 Misc An audio drama version of volleyball manga Girl Fight will be packaged with volume 6 of the manga
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A biopic concerning gang manga artist Fujio Akatsuka (Tensai Bakabon, Himitsu no Akko-chan) is being produced.

Cool Figures News

Upcoming Kotobukiya imports include ARMORED CORE SILENT LINE PORTABLE CREST ASSAULT TYPE VER. FINE SCALE MODEL KIT anding almost 8 ½ inches tall (1/72nd scale), and has 20 points of articulation. AC kits require easy snap fit assembly with included pictorial assemblyinstructions and do not need to be painted. srp $44.99 Available OCTOBER
© 1997-2010 FromSoftware, Inc. All rights reserved. BROKEN BLADE FAFNIR STANDARD GOLEM FINE SCALE MODEL KIT The basic frame features approximately 30 points of articulation, fully functional even with the added components. The Standard Golem comes equipped with a Press Gun, “Giallar Sigma Type 4” Heavy Lance, “Gande Type 2” Sword, and “Scutum Theta” Shield! Standing almost 6 ½ inches tall, the robot is comprised of approximately 200 parts. srp $34.99 Available in OCTOBER
© Yunosuke Yoshinaga - Flex Comix / BBPC BROKEN BLADE ELTEMUS FINE SCALE MODEL KIT The Eltemus, like the Delphine, resembles a robotic knight in heavy armor and helmet. The basic frame features approximately 30 points of articulation, fully functional even with the added components. The Eltemus is ready to lead the invasion forces with its mighty “Press Gun” equipped with a wicked bayonet and a “Kite Shield.” Standing almost 7 inches tall, the robot is comprised of approximately 200 parts. srp $34.99 Available in SEPTEMBER
© Yunosuke Yoshinaga - Flex Comix / BBPC SUPER ROBOT TAISEN: GUARLION TRONBE FINE SCALE MODEL KIT The Guarlion Tronbe is composed of approximately 200 pieces cast in different colors, eliminating the need for painting. The fighting unit stands 6 ½ inches tall (1/144 scale). The aerodynamic robot comes with its signature weapons, the Burst Rail Gun, Assault Blade, and “Divine Arm.” Display the Guarlion Tronbe in any pose you prefer, flying or fighting, atop the included display stand. srp $49.99 Available in AUGUST
© SRWOG PROJECT SUPER ROBOT TAISEN: LALDABAOTH FINE SCALE MODEL KIT Standing nearly 7 ½ inches tall (1/144 scale), the Laldabaoth is comprised of approximately 250 parts that can be put together without any glue. The mecha engineers at Kotobukiya have revolutionized the articulation system for this model, taking advantage of the many armor pieces to come up with the highest possible degree of poseability. With over 30 points of articulation, the robot has independently moving shoulder armor plates, poseable shoulders, elbows that move 180 degrees, extra joints in the chest and hips, and advanced ankle joints that assist in recreating “flying kick” poses! The Laldabaoth comes with special parts to enact the “Goha Kishin Ken” Fist attack as well as three sets of hands (gripping, flat, and open fists with first two fingers open). srp $49.99 Available in NOVEMBER
© SRWOG PROJECT KOTOBUKIYA FRAME ARMS SA-16D KHANJA MULTI ASSEMBLE MECHANICAL UNIT MODEL KIT The Khanja is comprised of approximately 180 parts, with 30 points of articulation. The robot stands almost 7 inches tall and comes with its own unique armor and upgraded weaponry including the MSG/MW-04 “Machine Gun and Missile Launcher,” FA/MG-04 “Medium Machine Gun,” and the FA/ML-04 “Multi Missile Launcher!” srp $34.99 Available in SEPTEMBER
© KOTOBUKIYA Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. KOTOBUKIYA FRAME ARMS MULTI ASSEMBLE MECHANICAL UNIT MODEL KITS TYPE32 MODEL5 ZENNRAI The robot stands almost 7 inches tall and comes with its own unique armor and upgraded weaponry including the MSG/ MW-04 “Machine Gun and Missile Launcher,” FA/MG-04 “Medium Machine Gun,” and the FA/ ML-04 “Multi Missile Launcher!” Continuing the “main battle tank” motif, the TYPE32 MODEL5 ZENNRAI, a special “booster pack” version of the original Gou-Rai robot, mounts imposing heavy armor and tank treads. The frame features approximately 30 points of articulation, even with the added components. The Zennrai’s upgraded and expanded arsenal includes the FA/CH-13 “Chainsaw Unit”, LN- 13 “Laser Bayonet”, DBG-13 “Double Barrel Balkan,” and an exclusive bonus head. Standing over 6 inches tall, the robot is comprised of approximately 180 parts. srp $34.99 each Available in SEPTEMBER
© KOTOBUKIYA Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved. NEON GENESIS EVANGELION REI AYANAMI IN YUKATA ANI*STATUE Based on a new illustration by the original Evangelion character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Rei appears here dressed in a Yukata, a casual summer kimono. The Evangelion heroine stands on an exclusive environmental base with a slot in which you can display either of the two included background cards! Sculpted by Tatsumaki, Rei stands 8 inches tall (1/8th scale). srp $49.99 Available in AUGUST
©GAINAX khara/Project Eva. NEON GENESIS EVANGELION ASUKA TEST SUIT ANI*STATUE Langley’s trademark red hair is recreated with exquisite attention to detail, and is further accentuated by carefully applied paint applications over translucent plastic. Sculpted by Tsukuru Shirahige, the Eva pilot is approximately 6 inches tall (1/6 scale), and rests on an exclusive clear base. srp $69.99 Available in NOVEMBER
©??? SHINING WIND XECTY GODDESS OF WIND ANI*STATUE Based on the cover art illustration of “Tony’s Art Works from Shining Wind,” Xecty is the second in a sub-series of 1/6th scale goddesses following Elwyn Goddess of the Forest. The radiant beauty gracefully rises up out of a flowing windy base, appearing to float in the air. Xecty is posed with her arms above her head, highlighting the curves of her body. The goddess wears nothing but a tiny bikini-like garment that resembles translucent white ribbon and leaves very little to the imagination. As her hair flows down behind her, Xecty’s long ears and the white angel wings protruding from her head sweep backwards, away from her serenely attractive face. Sculpted by Hirotoshi Nakamura, Xecty is 12 ½ inches tall (1/6th scale) and comes packaged in an attractive window box. srp $89.99 Available in OCTOBER © SEGA STEINS;GATE ~ KURISU MAKISE ANI*STATUE Based on the cover illustration from the XBOX 360 Limited Edition Package, Kurisu sits serenely atop a wild gear base, seemingly floating in mid air! Look closely to see amazingly intricate sculpting on her clothing from the billowing jacket to her necktie and boots, while the base itself shows off a whole new level in artistry (there’s even a tiny broken cell phone!). The young woman has a distant look in her eyes, beautiful yet mysterious. Sculpted by MIC Corp., Kurisu is 9 inches tall (1/8 scale) and comes fully pre-painted so you can display her right away! srp $79.99 Available in NOVEMBER © 2009 5pb. Inc. / Nitroplus TO HEART 2 ANOTHER DAYS KONOMI YUZUHARA –INNOCENCE- ANI*STATUE Sculpted by Yuzo, Yuzuhara stands 9 inches tall (1/6th scale). srp $79.99 Available in SEPTEMBER
© 2007 Leaf/AQUAPLUS MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS: THE KOTOBUKIYA COLLECTION DEADPOOL FINE ART STATUE Deadpool stands approximately 10 inches tall, leaning over a detailed battle scene complete with crate and even a tiny Deadpool “plush” toy! Sculpted by Erick and William Valenzuela, the demented yet hilarious assassin is recreated in high quality cold cast resin. Get him... before he gets you. srp $174.99 Available in November
Marvel, Deadpool : TM & © 2010 Marvel Entertainment, LLC and its subsidiaries. Licensed by Marvel Characters B.V. www.marvel.com. All rights reserved MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS: THE KOTOBUKIYA COLLECTION AVENGERS REBORN IRON MAN FINE ART STATUE A KOTOBUKIYA Japanese import! A “cool exec with a heart of steel,” Tony Stark is the Sculpted by master artist Erick Sosa with William Valenzuela and constructed of high-quality cold cast porcelain, Iron Man stands over 13 inches tall (1/6th scale). One foot rests on his exclusive rocky environmental base that connects to those of the other members of the Avengers Reborn series, Thor and Captain America. Gather all three for the ultimate assembly of Avengers! srp $174.99 Available in NOVEMBER
Marvel, Iron Man: TM & © 2010 Marvel Entertainment, LLC and its subsidiaries. Licensed by Marvel Characters B.V. www.marvel.com. All rights reserved. MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS KOTOBUKIYA COLLECTION X-MEN DANGER ROOM SESSIONS WOLVERINE FINE ART STATUE Sculpted by Eric Sosa, Wolverine stands approximately 9 inches tall an amazing exclusive base. Every mutant in the Danger Room Sessions series is mounted on a unique Danger Room holographic environment with translucent parts that glow with a built-in LED light in the base! Don’t miss out on Wolverine and the entire Danger Room series. srp $169.99 Available in October
Marvel, Wolverine: TM & © 2010 Marvel Entertainment, LLC and its subsidiaries. Licensed by Marvel Characters B.V. www.marvel.com. All rights reserved.
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Yamato USA will be releasing Fantasy Figure Gallery: The Touch of Ice (Luis Royo), sculpted by Shunjii Hagii, this summer. Approximately 6.00" crouching, Yamato USA's Fantasy Figure Gallery - Touch of Ice (Luis Royo) comes complete with an art card, numbered display base, and certificate of authenticity all packaged in a collector's style window box with the first edition limited to 2,500 pieces worldwide.
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CLAMP x Blythe Collaboration: new Watanuki doll - a related interview Also, Manga Girls Inspiration Prize figure of Code Geass' Kallen Velocitron Ghouls
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From Dark Horse DOMO 7" QEE FIGURES On sale Oct 6 7" Wood Grain Limited to 500 $59.99 7" Glow in the Dark Limited to 500 $59.99

The Business

Kai-Ming Cha assesses the North American manga industry as down, but not out. Despite a serious downturn in the U.S. economy and a 20% drop in sales last year, manga, or Japanese comics, still represents more than $140 million in sales and continues to be a significant niche in the American comics market. Yen Press, Hachette's manga/graphic novel imprint, dominates the New York Times manga bestseller list with such works as Black Butler and the Twilight and Maximum Ride manga adaptations, and independent comics publisher Dark Horse reports sales of its manga have grown 13% this year.
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Digital manga distributor Bitway's Toppan division has made a $750,000 investment in Asian media streaming site Crunchyroll with aims towards the North American market
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Production I.G and Xebec parent company IG Port is attributing uncollectable bad debt and relocation expenses for a a 527 million yen ($5.8 million USD) loss for the fiscal year that ended in May, the company's first annual loss.
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Sony Music Enertainment announced that Hideo Katsumata, the founding CEO and President of SME's anime studio A-1 Pictures will take over as the representative director of Aniplex, SME's anime production company and A-1 Pictures' parent company. Masuo Ueda is succeeding Katsumata as the CEO and President of A-1 Pictures, since Katsumata is leaving that role but remains as a board director.
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Japanese online retailer Rakuten has purchased Buy.com for $250 million
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AnimeNation on New Voice Productions attempt to fan fund a license of sci-fi OAV Hoshizora Kiseki
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Bleeding Cool report that Hastings, a national media store, is talking to Diamond about building out their comic section. After the decision was made to pursue the comic industry, two test stores were chosen to see what impact a full comic presence would make in our stores. These stores would contain 32 feet of new comic releases, 32 feet of back issues, 44 linear feet of Manga and graphic novels, an expansion in action figures, role playing books, comic-related merchandise and supplies among other things. Almost immediately, these stores showed a double-digit improvement in comic sales, and a significant sales increase within the department in which the comics are featured.
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Fashion retailer Uniqlo has decided to employ Enlish as its official language.
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The projects to recieve funding from The Japan Animation Creators Association's (JAniCA) "2010 Young Animator Training Project" have been announced. Each will be awarded 38 million yen Ascension Director: Mitsuru Hongo (Spirit of Wonder, Outlaw Star, IGPX) Producer:

Readers Talkback

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  • June 28, 2010, 6:27 p.m. CST

    Bitches Leave

    by bobbyperusteeth

  • June 28, 2010, 6:27 p.m. CST

    Bitches Leave

    by bobbyperusteeth

  • June 28, 2010, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Ghibli PS3 game

    by Rhuragh

    In case you missed it in the information/visual diarrhea of this article, Studio Ghibli (Miyazaki's studio!) is making a PS3 game with game developer Level 5. It uses, presumably, a Studio Ghibli story and features the Ghibli/Miyazaki animation style. It absolutely looks like a Ghibli movie. To this Miyazaki fan, it's absolutely gorgeous. The environmental and character animation shown above is absolutely wonderful. I'm falling in love with it already. Oh, and Joe Hisaishi is supervising the music too! The only thing that doesn't look great to me is the turn-based combat at the end of the video. I'd far prefer this to be a simple adventure title, rather than have some extraneous combat system tacked on. Anyway, if you missed the video embed above, here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEsJpRpn4Pg

  • June 28, 2010, 6:30 p.m. CST

    Addendum...

    by Rhuragh

    I forgot. So far the title is only slated for a Japanese release. I pray daily for a North American localization and release, though. And again, if you missed it, it looks to be PS3 only.

  • June 28, 2010, 6:30 p.m. CST

    Regarding Akira

    by ur-vile

    If it's not hard R, they shouldn't even bother imo

  • June 28, 2010, 6:47 p.m. CST

    THE NEW HARRY POTTER TRAILER IS EPIC!

    by Orionsangels

    It's changing lives!

  • June 28, 2010, 6:49 p.m. CST

    Black Lagoon

    by PedroM

    How many more times do we get to see that fuckin old promo that shows absolutely no new footage, instead just a compilation of the old seasons?

  • June 28, 2010, 7:24 p.m. CST

    Herpes outbreak to hit seven cites in Sept/Oct

    by Losers_Game

    Who the fuck cares about some shitty boyband schmuck's tour?

  • June 28, 2010, 8:51 p.m. CST

    I'd much rather see

    by GroolDemon

    A Japanese produced 30 episode series based on Akira than a live action movie. Also... PG13? Are they fucking serious?

  • June 28, 2010, 11:41 p.m. CST

    this has nothing to do with anything, but...

    by RedHorseVector

    i just experienced the horror and sadness of catching up with the one piece anime. i thought it was going to go on forever! now what am i supposed to do, wait for new episodes like a goddamn rube??? poop.

  • June 29, 2010, 12:01 a.m. CST

    Childhood's End - Not based on Arthur C Clark's novel

    by Eyegore

    Had it been based on the novel, I'd be stoked, but instead it's some lame shit about morlocks. Fuck that.

  • June 29, 2010, 1:32 a.m. CST

    PG-13 Akira?!

    by Johnno

    There is no way in hell you'll get Akira to be Akira in anything but Rated-R... Either that or they have to really push the envelope on what PG-13 can get away with... But it is good that they're making two movies to adapt the manga properly. That is good!<br><br>And ninokuni looks awesome. It will definately come out in North America. The combat doesn't look fun to me however, I'm also kinda tired of the typical ho hum turned based stuff, unless it's Persona 3, that was turn based awesome!

  • June 29, 2010, 5:39 a.m. CST

    Akira rated PG-13

    by Tomarru

    They surely can't be that fuckin stupid can they? Everything about Akira screams R-rated, everything about it is adult, from the way the characters talk and act to the way the world is. Usually I can see how they can tone stuff down to make it work, but there is no way in hell they can make Akira work without its grit. I just have visions of T3 or T4 where noone is really in danger, noone is really hurt and there is no real menace or consequence to anything.

  • June 29, 2010, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Eyegore

    by lonecow12

    The studio's other work, Evangelion, is actually heavily influenced by Childhood's End. I might be wrong, but I think the Childhood's End is added by the American distributor, and has nothing to do with the original title.

  • June 29, 2010, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Gurren Lagann

    by unionmaster

    That show is loaded with phallic symbols and also takes the concept of escalation to whole new level. Someone had soemthing bigger in almost every episode. The mechs became insane by the end of the series.

  • June 29, 2010, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Rhuragh

    by SpookyOtaku

    The Ghibli/Level 5 game Ni no Kuni (The Another World) is being released on the Nintendo DS as well as the PS3. The DS game will most likely be released first as it has been in development for sometime, the HD version on PS3 was just announced last week.

  • June 30, 2010, 8:28 a.m. CST

    Redline, Now THAT'S Anime!

    by Stalkeye

    Just like the good ol days without the current trend of Filler laden TV series.Gimmie Movies and OVAs and I'm content.Can't wait for this and mazinkaiser SKL

  • July 1, 2010, 4:50 a.m. CST

    unionmaster

    by GroolDemon

    No fucking kidding! The mechs were literally "Galaxy Class" by the end of the series.

  • July 1, 2010, 4:57 a.m. CST

    Also...

    by GroolDemon

    I still can't wrap my mind around this whole PG13 Akira thing. It isn't just that the original film was graphic, but the original comic was extremely gory as well. Not to mention the comic (which I am assuming a lot of the script was taken from) was layered with tons of characters and different intersecting plot lines. All that said, I just don't think 2 PG13 films can do it any type of justice at all. Now an R rated trilogy? Perhaps.

  • July 2, 2010, 9:29 p.m. CST

    math

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  • July 10, 2010, 1:02 a.m. CST

    Sunglasses Oakey,coach,gucci $12

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    http://www.jordaner.com --------- a leading worldwide w holesaler company (or ucan say organization). We supply more than 100 thousand high-quality merchandise and famous brand name products all at wholesale prices.

  • Aug. 12, 2010, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Wholesale and retail brands

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    ▓█▇▅▂_ http://www.jorer.com _▂▅▇█▓ The website wholesale for many kinds of fashion shoes, like the nike,jordan,prada, also including the jeans,shirts,bags,hat and the decorations. All theproducts are free shipping, and the the price is competitive, and also can accept the paypal payment.,after the payment, can ship within short time. free shipping accept the paypal http://www.jorer.com