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Manga Spotlight: Bokurano: Ours By Mohiro Kitoh Volume 2 Released by VIZ Media

Serialized online at Sigikki If you connected the dots between the two Mohiro Kitoh manga released in North America, Bokurano: Ours and Shadow Star/Mukuro Naru Hoshi Tama Taru Ko/Narutaru, the picture that immerges is that of a manga creator who cracks popular anime/manga formulas with the sledge hammer of violence afflict by and to children. In this case, "sledge hammer" is not necessarily intended as a negative assessment. It's not so much a lack of subtly as it is intent to catch the audience in the impact. Mohiro Kitoh's MO has a cruelty to it. He employs an instantly recognizable, distinctive approach to stylizing his characters. Beyond the expected simplified abstraction, body shapes are fairly realistic. However, with the exception of emphasized contrasts, the forms have childlike litheness... as if none of preteen/teens subjects overeat. For example, One of the cast engages in manual labor, so he has slightly more pronounced shoulders and larger arms on a body that is as far from action hero build as your average school kid's. This thinness can convey youthful innocence, but it also conveys vulnerability. The slight physically is a tenant of the operating principle of Kitoh manga. Sell the reader on something tangible... limbs and postures that are reminiscent of a real people. Then, exploit that empathy. Working from that, Kitoh aims to hit hard and takes no chances in making his manga affecting. 15 children, almost all adolescents, take an educational summer outing to the sea side. There, they wander into a cave in which a strange man sells them on testing out a game in which they'll be mecha heroes. "Pilot a giant robot to defeat enemies! The planet Earth will be attacked 15 times! But a giant robot will rise to Earth's defense! A black colossus! Layer upon layer of armor! Unparalled strength! An indomitable goliath!" The man, later given the moniker Kokopelli, doesn't exactly win over the crowd with this speech, but he does manage to get them to put their hands to a contract. An expression of mixed relief and regret crosses his face as he passes the work of guiding the crowd onto a floating, grinning mascot creature called Koyemshi (dung beetle). Evangelion flipped the act of piloting a giant robot, making it a burden rather than an empowerment. Even in that light, the toll of piloting a robot in Bokurano is remarkable. Kitoh has expressed some interest in giant robot material, and he pulls off a remarkable sense of scale. These are true city topplers engaged in titanic duels. But, here, even more than in a work like Neon Genesis Evangelion, the mecha trappings are an means an not and ends. The manga's not even really a commentary on the genre. The genre is an instrument. Kitoh is not so much deconstructing the giant robot story as using it as an industrial grade excavation devise to drill into human nature. If there is a manga/anime story telling crutch that Kitoh's unscrewing, it's the explaining the deployment of personalities through single, identifiable defining factors. Think of the manga you've seen in which one trauma explains nearly everything about how a character developed their personality. Bokurano has a large roster of characters, but one child pilots the robot at a time, and when they do pilot it, it's them alone. It's one on one, like an individual sport. In front of their peers, In a cityscape ring, they alone are responsible for besting their foe. Kitoh works from how stressful and revealing that sort of one-on-one match can be. In stepping into the conflict, for the most part metaphorically, this cast is laid naked as they're forced to put their lives on display in front of the rest of the pilots. For example, the children are taken into the cockpit of their giant robot, which has been outfitted by chairs from their bedrooms. In that moment, the self conscious teens lose the ability to hide details about their lives from each other. Their economic situation and home lives are opened up. On has an executive chair... another has a floor cushion... "pretty ghetto man!" "what kind of life do you live anyways?" The pattern that the manga has settled into by volume two sees about three chapters dedicated to each child as they're thrust into the pilot chair. It opens with the circumstances in which the character lives, offering a window into their world view. Then, piloting the mech proves to be a defining challenge. It magnifies their behavior to giant robot scale and puts on onus on them to act out their views with lives on the line. In Bokurano, the crux of how the characters define themselves and approach any given challenge is shaped by their family, or more specifically, their parents. A father is a merciless executive; a father is missing, leaving care of the younger children to the subject; a mother unapologetically supports herself through prostitution. Beyond being stuck with the momentous burden of piloting the mech, they all believe that they are making their own decisions. And, they are. Yet, their parents inform every aspects of these subjects' lives, from the chair they sit in to how they sit in it. For anime/manga, these aren't new situations and they aren't new character types. Prostitute mother, associated alienation. Been done. And, three chapters doesn't open the manga to long, developing explorations of multiple facets. But, that's the grist that Bokurano needs. Popular, successful manga work formulas while attempting to keep their characters interesting. The mechanisms are arranged to keep the reader involved. Bokurano, which runs in the more creative freedom driven anthology Ikki, turns that on its head. It makes it a point to be hard on its audience. It's more interested in working the characters than working the attention maintaining formula. Kitoh gives all appearances of taking the characters seriously, with aims towards significantly testing them. Cast members are not catalysts in this process. Kitoh has no compunction against grinding them up in the process. In fact, he sets out to do just that, inflicting memorable bruises on the audience along the way. An adolescent’s idea of how the world should work and how they should behave in that world acts as one gear, grinding against far more terrible plot machinery. That it is forced and that the whole giant robot business is a conceit is leveraged in putting an edge onto the jaggedly sharp character studies. Bokurano: Ours moves from one character's view to another, seldom validating or invalidating any. By its unfair design, there is an extent to which what the characters think doesn't matter. Yet, it is not as nihilistic as it might sometimes sound and might sometimes seem. Nor is it tragedy porn. While Bokurano is not classifiable as horror, like a lot of horror, it is in part an exercise in masochism on the part of the reader. The question is, towards what end? There is credible seriousness here. Kitoh is careful to make it all cohere. Every detail about the characters is complementary in illustrating who they are, and it is possible to get caught up in their stories. Still, towards what end? It's the Icarus factor in evaluating manga. The more apparent ambition the manga has, the more scrutiny it invites. I've been told that I'm too critical of Hiroki Endo's Eden: It's an Endless World, and that's because I think the violent, political sci-fi has remarkable ambitions. I don't think Bokurano is just indulging in an exercise in trampling everything under a giant robot's feet. With the heaven weigh of its premise defining the parameters, as staggering as its character based stories can be, if the pieces don't have some cumulative significance, the pieces will not be enough. It is set up in such a way as to need its own point of view, and so far, no such statement has emerged.

Anime Spotlight: Sea Prince and the Fire Child Released by Discotek Media

I can't decide whether Sea Prince and the Fire Child is an encouraging or discouraging indicator for the possible evolution of anime. What I can say for certain is that the star crossed romance between the Disney looking aqua-Peter Pan and Fantasia Nutcracker Suite fairy is spectacular. Anime movies exercise the form in a way that more spare television productions can't, and animated over the course of three years with 90,000 cels, Sea Prince and the Fire Child demonstrates how gorgeous the results that sort of attention can be. When Osamu Tezuka brought Astro Boy to Japanese TV, he underbid competition with his roughly $3000 an episode deal with Fuji TV. From that beginning, the business of producing anime for Japanese TV was launched with tremendous economic strains, prompting the sort of limited animation and optimization seen in Astro Boy, and as the business developed, reliance on sponsors for funding. Though theatrical anime features predated Astro Boy, despite these challenges, TV became by far the dominant focus of anime TV production. Direct to video OVAs had a good run when the economic boom allowed supported investment and purchasing of shorter works, often testing new ideas. As the bubble burst, the role of the OVA in the anime industry collapsed. Theatrical anime productions have always been uncommon to rare. Especially if you remove the annualized feature series (the latest hot Shonen Jump property: Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, Dragon Ball; the flagship magic girl: Sailor Moon, Pretty Cure; Crayon Shinchan; Detective Conan; Doraemon), there has never been an abundance of anime movies. Look over a list of televised anime or even OVAs, and you'll likely make some discoveries. However, look through a list of movies, and if you know anime, you'll probably recognize almost every name. Anime industry observers have begun to question whether television can sustainably remain the focus of production. Factor in slides in ratings that have seen the loss of prime scheduling slots once thought to be the entrenched domain of anime, increased specialization toward niche consumers, reliance on a less interested international audience for "Cool Japan" and brain drain to the video game industry, and the always present squeeze on anime has gotten far tighter. And, some of those observers have suggested that pouring effort into a few anime films rather than numerous TV series might offer some hope to the flagging financial and creative health of anime. Rather than multitudinous drone, create a declaration; works really capable of grabbing attention. "We have no intent to make TV anime. We'll take our time to make high-quality films. Any profit will be made in the long-run as those films are seen by many people over the years. Our philosophy is: Films are our fortune." ... "When you're making a film, the staff should have about a year to spend playing around. Once a creator is chosen for the film, that creator should be allowed to become the "star", so to speak, though that term may not be appropriate. To make an analogy: You have to let a battery charge up all the way, otherwise you'll just be squandering it." Unfortunately for those dreaming of a theatrical future for anime, it is a bit disheartening to know that those thoughts were articulated by Sanrio producer Tsunemasa Hatano in a 1979 Monthly Animation article, translated online at AniPages Daily. "The idea of marketing a film over a long time may be unthinkable in today's TV anime industry, but that is in fact the more orthodox strategy. Disney's Snow White, for example, still brings in good business. Sanrio's aim is to produce films which the next generation can still find entertaining; in other words, films which will stand up to the test of time." From 1977 to 1985, Sanrio Films worked to dazzle audiences with their animated features before refocusing their production efforts on shorter works, mostly associated with the character goods that they're best known for (Hello Kitty). 1981's The Sea Prince and the Fire Child (aka Sirius no Densetsu or Legend of Sirius) was in the thick of this, following the other Sanrio Films works best known in North America, 1978's Ringing Bell (Chirin no Suzu or Bell of Chirin) and 1979's Osamu Tezuka developed Unico. Producers Tsunemasa Hatano and Shintaro Tsuji (Sanrio's founder, occasional script writer, and developer of The Little Twin Stars characters) brought together real pillars of anime for Sea Prince. Director Masami Hata was part of the generation who got their start working under Osamu Tezuka. Hata wasn't on Astro Boy the way that Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino or noted directors Rintaro and Osamu Dezaki were, but he did work on animating Wonder 3 (or Amazing Three), an amusing oddity concerning three aliens who take the forms of a rabbit, a horse and a duck in order to weigh whether humanity was a redeemable species, to be preserved or destroyed. Following the bankrupt of Tezuka's Mushi Pro and other stints in televised anime such as Osamu Dezaki's sports classics Tommorow's Joe and Aim for the Ace!, Hata signed on at Sanrio, where he was a director on their first, Little Jumbo, and well remembered films like Ringing Bell. Post-Sanrio, he was on The Little Nemo in Slumberland adaptation with William T. Hurtz - a production that saw Osamu Dezaki and Ghibli's Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata almost sign on, with Rintaro on Tezuka Osamu story: I'm Songokû - producd in Tezuka's dying days, he adapted Ruth Stiles Gannett's My Father's Dragon, he adapted Furuya Minoru's raunchy highschool loser comedy Ping Pong Club (released in North America by Central Park Media), and even directed episodes of Initial D and Inu-Yasha as well as the anime series based on Disney's Lilo and Stitch. (See Mike Toole's article on Hata's work). Music for Sea Prince was by Koichi Sugiyama, who worked on Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and Cyborg 009 before becoming a key figure in game music, inspiring current creators like Final Fantasy's Nobuo Uematsu. The principal voice actors included a perennially significant pair recently discussed with Casshern Sins... Tohru Furuya (Amuro in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Yamcha in Dragon Ball, Tuxedo Mask in Sailor Moon), and Mami Koyama (Kei in Akira, Arale-chan in Dr Slump, Lunch in Dragon Ball, Kycilia Zabi in Gundam, Balalaika in Black Lagoon). The foundation of Sea Prince and the Fire Child is an attempt to be universal. When it was being produced, Sanrio was wary of global resistance to shoujo-style character design. Aiming for international acceptance, the studio opted for a look remininsct of Disney. And part of that purposeful universality is projecting Romeo and Juliet into a fairy tale. The outline for that story of lovers from warring groups has probably had the power to connect to audiences as long has our species has divided into tribes. At the same time, this isn't Disney. The prints of an anime tradition have deeply made their impression on Sea Prince. Sanrio movies can be disturbing. Ringing Bell for example is a dark story about a lamb who responds to his family's deaths by becoming like the wolf who slaughtered them. Sea Prince and the Fire Child opens with a bit of mythical incest as the queen of fire Themis (called Hyperia and sometimes Titania in the English dub) and the lord of the sea Glaucus (Oceanus in the English) release steam in their passionate embrace. The lord of wind Argon (Algaroch) poisons their relationship with lies and the fall out turns violent. The enmity becomes engrained in the fire and water peoples. Fire fairies die when submerged in water. Mer-people die when exposed to sunlight. The prologue gives way to the antics of a young sea-Pan like waterling named Teak (Pibble), who is generally intent on drumming up rambunctious energy around Sirius, soon to be given the eye of the defeated argon to signify his coronation as the new lord of the seas. The movie then introduces a parallel relationship with the winged flame girl Piele, embracing Malta and drumming up her courage as she tends the calming sacred flame in preparation for maturing into the position of fire queen. Working the expected cycle, happenstance brings Sirius and Malta together, and the pair fall in love. But, the flame and sea pairing isn't meant to be, with the relationship igniting waves of tragedy and destruction that extend well beyond Malta and Sirius. Sanrio proves perfectly willing to unload on characters that it intended its audience to identify with. Very young children might be a little put off by its bats and ghosts. Older ones are apt to be affected by the total abandonment of safety in the latter parts of the movie. I don't have kids. I don't pretend to know what's best for them or how to recommend what to show them. In fact, I enjoy giving friends with kids movies that I know will be a bit troublesome. Previous Discotek release Taro: The Dragon Boy being a classic example, with some of its weird physical contact and the decay and rebirth elements of its foundational myth. That said, in the long run, I think children often think fondly of the movies that traumatize them, such as Watership Down or even Gremlins. Sirius and Malta's adolescent love, Teak's boyish exuberance, Piele's ... ah... attachment, it's all played to the hilt. While it can border on eye-roll inducing obnoxiousness, it does feel honest. From that point, the way that it transcribes those characters trajectories ends up looking a bit haphazard. The movies knows where it wants to take these characters, and it is by no means confusing, but it does get confused. A young audience will be able to follow what's happening and feel that it makes sense for the characters. An adult audience will know the rules by which the story is operating and see it carrying out the formula. More than pacing, it runs into a problem of spacing as the movie inelegantly tumbles into its conclusion. Event falls on top of event, burring the previous one's significance. Anime movies are a minority of the anime produced, and well written anime movies are a minority of that minority. As stated in a recent column, maybe because the medium has been so TV focused for so long, the few creators who can structure and pace an anime movie are often those thought of as the geniuses of the field, the Hayao Miyazaki's and Satoshi Kon's. Unlike many anime film fumbles, the flaw here isn't that the movie is built from a loosely coordinated chain of spectacles. Instead, the movie has a concept of its plot and a production with its head into working on developing the animation. That plot and that animation were imperfectly mapped onto each other. The narrative might have stumbled, but the production's attention did result in stunning animation. Sea Prince and the Fire Child has to be called beautiful. It's not a perfected object of art. It's too clever or maybe too sloppy with cutting at times. Given the amount of character motion, the attempt, or lack thereof, to precisely match voice to lips in common in Japanese animation becomes highly noticeable. Taking full advantage of the "full animation" of theatrical anime, work on Sea Prince was split between teams specializing in working on character animation and natural animation. Some effects are subtle, such as the bubbles as a treading Sirius speaks into the water's surface. Others are truly grand, such as a sequence of the raging seas subsiding to the calming effects of the Sacred flame. It adds up to a captivatingly realized world. There's a joy to seeing the movie explore the rules of light and movement in the two alien worlds of seas and rock cliffs. Light streams into the water, falling on corals. Fish begin waking up and swimming into and out of those beams of light. That's not a comedy gag. It's not some swelling spectacle. The movie offers plenty of both the physical humor and the grandeur, but it's amazing, less purposeful details that distinguish Sea Prince as a movie made by a team invested in animation. As theatrical features can be, as Sanrio intended it to be, Sea Prince and the Fire Child is as broadly appealing as any anime. Yet, the history of Sanrio Films suggests that a refocusing on theatrical anime might not be the solution to the anime industry's woes. This affecting, fantastic looking movie did not find a large international audience. Sanrio's model for making anime movies is the model that anime movie proponents would like to see more widely adopted, though often with older audiences in mind. Sanrio moved away from that model. As glorious as Sea Prince is in its best moments, its history works as a counter argument to suggestions that anime's theatrical past could be prologue to a grand, film driven future. Check out Discotek's new DVD release of Sea Prince and the Fire Child, especially because there's little evidence that anime movies won't remain rare gems into the future.

Digital Distribution News

Classic Journey to the West adaptation Alakazam the Great, one of the first anime released in North America is now streaming on Netflix
Crunchyroll is working with Kadokawa Pictures to cover simul-streaming the new season of anime, including Gainax's (Evangelion) anticipated Panty & Stocking. In addition to three new series, Sora no Otoshimono Forte, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt and Fortune Arterial, being added to the Crunchyroll Network the same day as each airs in Japan, the back catalog offerings of Kadokawa Pictures will be greatly expanded as well, with the 13 additional series from the Kadokawa Pictures library of anime titles. Sora no Otoshimono Forte, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt and Fortune Arterial will be available in North and South America, the Middle East, Africa, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Crunchyroll, Inc., also announced rights partnership with Sotsu Co., Ltd., on the blockbuster anime series Super Robot Wars OG: The Inspector. Title features the voice talents of Toshiyuki Morikawa in the lead role of Alteisen pilot Kyosuke Nanbu Super Robot Wars OG: The Inspector will be available throughout all of the Americas, Europe and Asia every Sunday starting October 3, 2010. The streaming from TV Tokyo will also be expanding with anime from the Fall 2010 line-sup, including Masahiro Anbe¹s Squid Girl and Tamiki Wakaki¹s The World God Only Knows will join Hiroyuki Asada¹s Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee, which returns from a six-month hiatus, and five continuing TV TOKYO titles which will simulcast on Crunchyroll following their broadcasts across Japan. Continuing TV TOKYO simulcasts are Naruto Shippuden, BLEACH, Fairy Tail, Kaasan Mom¹s Life and Lilpri. Crunchyroll has begun streaming the 2003 anime series Mouse The first six episodes of MOUSE, directed by Yorifusa Yamaguchi, will be available to premium anime and all-access members, while only the first episode will be available to free users. The other five episodes will become available one month later on September 21 for free users. Mouse is surrounds the story of a highly skilled thief who is always in search of the world's most valuable artifacts and unique objects d'art. For over 400 years , a mysterious family tradition requires that every generation select an heir to perpetuate and fill the role of MOUSE, a super stealth thief. The latest incarnation of MOUSE is Professor Severin, a handsome but nerdy young man in his 20s who is, surprisingly, the most popular art teacher at the local college. MOUSE's team of three fearless, flirtatious females specializes in the technical and physical skill to expertly assist him in some of the most daring heists in the annals of crime!
Jonathan Clements collection of essay of anime and the anime industry Schoolgirl Milky Crisis is now on Kindle
Tokyopop has launched Hetalia, a comedy concerning anthropomorphized countries, on the Comixology iPhone app, coinciding with the print release. The first volume of Hetalia has been divided into six issues and will be available through the Comics by comiXology app and on the Web for $0.99 each. The first issue will be free. Also coming soon is a deluxe teaser app that fans can download from the iTunes App Store, which includes a preview of the first chapter, manga trailer, and photos of elaborately dressed fans in Hetalia cosplay (short for “costume play”).
Square Enix outlined their plans for providing digital manga in North America and France during the Tokyo Game Show. Launch is currently scheduled for this winter. The publisher will use its existing Square Enix Members website for its online manga store. Square Enix also showcased the Apple iPhone/iPad version of its Gangan Online manga service, but stated that it has not finalized plans for portable devises outside Japan.
Itochu Corporation will release Japanese manga on mobile devices in the United States and Canada. Shotaro Ishinomori work including Kamen Rider and Cyborg will be offer for the Apple iPhone in October.
4Kids' Toonzaki brand is now offering streaming anime via embedded Hulu videos.
The Anime Network has begun streaming Xam'd and Shigofumi
* has begun streaming Claymore
widely praised, Swiftian Kino's Journey is on Amazon's on-demmand Hulu has Eden of the East - from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex's Kenji Kamiyama and the widely praised Mushishi Tokyopop's live action Van Von Hunter is in Hulu Little Norse Prince Valiant is also on Hulu Say Hello to Black Jack creator Shuho Sato wrote on Twitter that he provisionally accepts unauthorized uploads of his work
Deb Aoki spoke to Jiro Nemoto of ComicLoud, a Kindle based manga anthology
"Illegal manga uploads have become a problem at times, but I think it is more constructive to use their influence for promotion instead of regulating them. Regulation is not for the benefit of the readers or the works, but for the self-satisfaction of those who regulate." "At the risk of repeating myself, illegal uploads are, after all, illegal. So, one shouldn't do it, but if the author authorizes it, then it's legal and I think they should be used for publicity. As for my own works, as long as it is for noncommercial use, please do what you like with them."

Upcoming in North America

Prospective Spike Keanu Reeves is suggesting that progress on a Hollywood Cowboy Bebop is halted on a script that is too expensive to produce. "I haven’t heard anything back. They turned in the script and it was very expensive. I don’t know if they’re going to…it would cost, like, half a billion dollars to make that script. So, I don’t know where it’s at right now."
In case you missed it elsewhere, JoBlo has posted concept art by Andree Wallin from a Voltron movie pitch
Villain Lord Death Man, who appeared in the stories collected in Bat-Manga! will be making his North American debut in Grant Morrison's Batman Inc. #2
Stan Sakai on plans for upcoming Usagi Yojimbo, including "Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition," a two-hardcover slipcased collection of the original run
Issue 7 of 80's animation fan magazine cereal:geek is available for preorder
If you're a fan of doujinshi, make sure to check out Katana Studio's Hon art book at New York Comic Con
Ax: Alternative Manga editor Sean Michael Wilson has posted a preview of his upcoming 'The Story of Lee'
In December, IDW will begin publishing the four issue El Torres/Gabriel Hernandez comic series based on the real Aokigahara forest. The Suicide Forest #1 (of 4) El Torres (w) • Gabriel Hernandez (a & c) Just outside of Tokyo lies Aokigahara, a vast forest and one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in Japan... which is also the most famous suicide spot in the entire world. Legend has it that the spirits of those many suicides are still roaming—haunting deep in those ancient woods. This series from the creators of the acclaimed The Veil examines the lives of Alan, an average worker from Tokyo and his rather unhealthy relationship with Masami, and Ryoko, a forest ranger who recovers the suicide victim's bodies from the woods. We discover that behind Ryoko's unconcerned surface lies a secret, and these three lives will be forever changed by the darkness waiting for them in the Suicide Forest. FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Priest character posters, loosely based on the Min-Woo Hyung manhwa
4Kids 4Kids Entertainment has licensed Yu-Gi-Oh! 3D: Bonds Beyond Time Bandai Entertainment/Manga Entertainment Right Stuf is currently listing Blu-ray releases for Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Laughing Man and Individual Eleven compilation movies, as well as the Solid State Society movie for US$34.98 each. Dark Horse
THE KUROSAGI CORPSE DELIVERY SERVICE VOLUME 12 Eiji Otsuka (W), Housui Yamazaki (A), and Bunpei Yorifuji (Cover) On sale Feb 9 b&w, 224 pages $11.99 TPB, 5" x 7"
OH MY GODDESS! VOLUME 17 Kosuke Fujishima (W/A) On sale Feb 23 b&w, 256 pages $11.99 TPB, 5 1/8" x 7 3/16" FUNimation The Legend of Phoenix - Layla Hamilton Story OVA, not included in ADV's release of the Kaleido Star circus anime series will be packed with FUNimation's upcomng release Via Robtert's Anime Corner Store, December releases include Baccano! Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Viridian Collection) Dragonball Z Kai Season 1 Part 3 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #27-39) Dragonball Z Kai Season 1 Part 3 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #27-39) (BLURAY) Dragonaut: The Resonance TV Series Complete DVD Boxed (Eps #1-26) Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Part 3 DVD Boxed Set Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Part 3 DVD Boxed Set (BLURAY) Gad Guard Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (S.A.V.E. Edition) Gun X Sword Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-26) Guyver Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Viridian Collection) (Re-Price) Ikki Tousen (Battle Vixens) Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Viridian Collection) Kaleido Star Season 2 Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #27-52 + OVA) Le Chevalier D'Eon Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-24) (S.A.V.E. Edition) One Piece Season 3 Part 4 DVD Boxed Set (Eps #179-191) Ragnarok Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-26) (S.A.V.E. Edition) Sands of Destruction DVD Complete Series DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-13) (Viridian Collection) Spice and Wolf Season 1 Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-13) (Viridian Collection) Tenchi Muyo GXP Complete DVD Boxed Set (Re-Release) (Viridian Collection) The Tower of Druaga Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-24) Media Blasters Rescheduled releases include 10/19 Blade of the Immortal Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set 10/26 Ikki Tousen Dragon Destiny, Vol #3, Sousou's Ambition Ikki Tousen Dragon Destiny Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set Genshiken DX Collection DVD Boxed Set Dairugger DVD Collection 3 11/2 Genshiken 2 - The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture Complete Collection DVD Box World of Magic Knight Rayearth Complete Collection Season 2 DVD Boxed Set Section 23 Section23 Films announced the release of the hit series XAM'D. The first 13 episodes are available on both DVD and Blu-Ray. XAM'D COLLECTION 1 Running Time: 325 min. Age Rating: TV 14 (V) Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles CAT: SF-XM100 UPC: 814131013316 Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Street Date: 9/21/2010 Format: DVD SRP: $59.98 XAM'D COLLECTION 1 BLU-RAY EDITION Running Time: 325 min. Age Rating: TV 14 (V) Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles CAT: SFB-XM100 UPC: 814131019202 Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Street Date: 9/21/2010 Format: BD SRP: $69.98 SYNOPSIS: When a young boy on a peaceful island becomes the victim of a terrorist attack, he transforms into Xam'd, a powerful mecha capable of extreme power. Now he must discover the depth of his power, and the role he plays in a world where metal and rock meet flesh, desire, and destiny. Home video distributor Section23 Films today announced its DECEMBER slate of releases, including the wildly popular series NYAN KOI! The complete collection which will be released from Section23 client Sentai Filmworks. KIMIKISS: PURE ROUGE COLLECTION 2 Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Run Time: 300 min. Street Date: 12/7/2010 Format: DVD Language: Japanese with English Subtitles SRP: $49.98 SYNOPSIS: Making a movie is supposed to be difficult, but as production begins on the movie club's film, the complicated web that ties the members together quickly threatens to become far more complex than the movie itself. After all, any problem that occurs in a movie has to resolve itself in just a few hours, whereas things that happen in the real world have ramifications that last forever. As the relationships between Kouichi, Mao, Kazuki and the rest continue to evolve and unravel, however, it soon becomes obvious that the movies and real romance have at least one thing in common: not every ending is going to be a happy one. Get ready for role reversals, cast changes, unexpected exits and 12 episodes filled with heartrending teen drama galore as the drama builds to a cinematic climax in the second stunning collection of KIMIKISS PURE ROUGE! NYAN KOI! COMPLETE COLLECTION Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Run Time: 300 min. Street Date: 12/14/2010 Format: DVD Language: Japanese with English Subtitles SRP: $49.98 SYNOPSIS: When cat-allergic Junpei Kosaka damages a statue of a cat deity, the cats don't just get his tongue, they put theirs in his mouth! Now cursed with the ability to understand felines, Junpei must perform one hundred great favors for cat-kind or face the fate of being turned into a cat himself! (Hey, would you want to spend the rest of your life licking your own backside?) Life quickly becomes a purrfect hell as every cat in the neighborhood starts sending Junpei their list of "requests." And if the kitties weren't already whipping him into a catatonic stupor, the women in his life are making things even worse. His sister, mom and the girl he has secret feelings for are all cat-crazy; the local Yakuza's daughter is playing cat and mouse; the local cat-owning monk's daughters are acting catty; and Junpei's childhood best friend is ready to use him as a scratching post! Get ready for the ultimate catfight on the road to purrdition in this cataclysmic complete collection of Nyan Koi! EYESHIELD 21 COLLECTION 3 Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Run Time: 325 min. Street Date: 12/21/2010 Format: DVD Language: Japanese with English Subtitles SRP: $49.98 SYNOPSIS: As if the Demon Bat's training couldn't get any more bizarre, Hiruma drags the entire team to Houston, Texas for a bootcamp from Hell. But that's the least of the team's problems, as things go unpredictably (or actually, at this point, rather predictably) awry. Not only does Cerberus get "borrowed" by a little girl, but the team must face a grueling death-march, the NASA Aliens are back with a sly and cunning plan to outmaneuver the Demon Bats, and somewhere in the middle is an epic battle over a thousand dollars and a whole lot of barbeque. And then everyone realizes that Las Vegas is "reasonably close" to Houston and the trouble really begins! American style football takes Japan by storm and Japan returns the favor by sending the Demon Bats back to the ranch in EYESHIELD 21 - COLLECTION 3! GINTAMA COLLECTION 3 Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Run Time: 325 min. Street Date: 12/28/2010 Format: DVD Language: Japanese with English Subtitles SRP: $49.98 SYNOPSIS: Space cockroaches? Shepherding senile fireworks masters? Building snowmen? In a world where aliens run feudal Japan, no job is too strange or bizarre for Gintoki's Odd Jobs agency. Which is a good thing, because things only get stranger and more bizarre as their reputation grows. But when they're called in to assist a certain "reindeer-owning" individual with improving his image and the whole situation devolves into a "very special holiday episode" the level of weirdness may set a new record. Of course, if action and drama are more your thing, let's not forget that oh-so inconvenient case of accidental amnesia, dodging crazed sword collectors, the frantic battle to get a hold of the last copy of a rather popular manga and the unexpected rescue of a… whoops, getting a bit too close to spoilers there! Suffice it to say that if you're looking for the perfect hybrid of wild adventure and plain old wacky fun, Japan's number one animated comedy delivers again in the third breathtaking collection of GINTAMA! Tokyopop Tokyopop's Blu boys-love imprint will release Tomoki Hori's manga Crimson Snow (Ake Nure Goyo ni Furu Yuki wa) in March Chibi Vampire: Bites, the official fan book, will be released in December UDON Entertainment UDON has posted a preview of their VENT 10th anniversay art book
Vertical Vertical announced at Anime Weekend Atlanta that they'll be releasing Jiro Matsumoto's (Freesia) one volume zombie schoolgirl work Velveteen & Mandala in August 2011 VIZ Media VIZ has released Sigikki title House of Five Leaves under the Viz Signature Imprint
Masterless samurai Masu is a skilled and loyal swordsman, but his naïve, diffident nature has time and again caused him to be let go by the lords who have employed him. Hungry and desperate, he becomes a bodyguard for Yaichi, the charismatic leader of the Five Leaves gang, and is drawn into their world despite his misgivings... The more he learns about each member, the more he finds himself fascinated by these mysterious outlaws! SARAIYA GOYOU (C) 2006 Natsume ONO New BLEACH Releases Include: BLEACH Volume 32 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • MSRP: $24.92 U.S. / $35.99 CAN • Available September 21st Contains episodes 132 thru 135. BLEACH UNCUT BOX SET SEASON 6 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • MSRP: $49.95 U.S. / $71.99 CAN • Available September 28th
VAMPIRE KNIGHT Volume 2 • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $19.97 U.S. / $28.99 CAN • Available September 28th Contains episodes: 5-8
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN BOX SET 4 SPECIAL EDITION • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $69.97 U.S. / $99.99 CAN • Available October 19th The Special Edition Box Set contains 14 episodes (episodes 40-53) on 3 discs, and a special limited edition collectible Sasuke figure. NARUTO SHIPPUDEN BOX SET 4 STANDARD EDITION • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $49.95 U.S. / $71.99 CAN • Available October 19th DVD-only collection featuring 14 episodes on 3 discs. Limited edition collectible figure not included. NARUTO UNCUT SEASON 4, PART 1 • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $49.95 U.S. / $71.99 CAN • Available October 26th Contains episodes 164-191. Warner Archive A remastered edition of Kinji Fukasaku's (Tora! Tora! Tora! and Battle Royale ) Japanese/MGM co-production Green Slime will be released on 10/26
Thundarr the Barbarian is being released on 9/28

Upcoming in Japan

Random Curiosity's fall anime preview Promos
a trailer for the Space Battleship Yamato Aerosmith's Steven Tylor has theme song/single Love Lives for the Yamato movie Redline - coming to North America via Manga Entertainment The live action adaptation of alt-history manga Ooku More commercials are collected here Live Action Gantz Toaru Majutsu no Index II Veterinarian Dolittle live action manga adaptation Anime “reverse harem” game VitaminX will be getting an anime adaptation Previews Bleach Movie 4: Hell Chapter Psychic Detective Yakumo onnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai! Anime the limited edition of volume 42 of the Ah! My Goddess manga be packaged with a new, original anime directed by Hiroaki Gohda
The December Japanese DVD/Blu-ray releases of the Trigun: Badlands Rumble movie will be apackaged with the Gekijoban Trigun Bangai-hen: Dodongo Kyodai Honeycombed Village no Ketto manga
A second Warring States period comedy Tono to Issho anime is being produced
ufotable will be animating Anime Tenchou x Touhou Project, featuring the mascot of the Animate anime merch shops Manga Weekly Shonen Jump will publish one-shot works from "Legends" * Issue 45 (10/9): Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto) * Issue 46 (10/18): Hideaki Sorachi (Gintama) * Issue 47 (10/25): Takeshi Konomi (The Prince of Tennis) * Issue 48 (11/1): Kyosuke Usuta (Pyu to Fuku! Jaguar) * Issue 49 (11/8): Osamu Akimoto (Kochira Katsushika-ku Kamearikouen-mae Hashutsujo) * Issue 50 (11/15): Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball)
The next issue of Monthly Comic Ryu will feature a "Satoshi Kon Memorial Book", containing several chapters of Seraphim: 2-Oku 6661-Man 3336 no Tsubasa (Seraphim: 266,613,336 Wings) from Satoshi Kon and Mamoru Oshii Anime News Network describes the story as set after the world has been ravaged by "tenshi-byo" (angel disease), an affliction that eventually leads to death for all the victims. To solve the mystery of this disease, three wise men and a girl named Sera embark on a journey to the heart of Central Asia. Many enemies and conspiracies await them along the way.
College fan group manga Genshiken will be returning to Afternoon with a new series, Genshiken Nidaime (Genshiken II/The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture II).
According to Armour Modeling magazine, Hayao Miyazaki is considering creating a new "Teppou Samurai(Rifle Samurai) new manga Live Action Rumors have begun swirling around live action Lupin III Music Macross F Christmas Album “cosmic cuune” is set to be released in November There is also a Choujiku Super Live Merry Christmas Without You concert planned for December at Japan Budokan and Kobe Port Island Hall (World Memory Hall) Confirmed performers include Yoko Kanno, Megumi Nakajima and May’n …and others! Misc CLAMP is illustrating a translation of Peter Pan and Wendy

Event News

At San Franciso's New People, VIZ Cinema will screen Takeshi Koike's Redline for one week only – October 8th -14th, the same week of its release in Japan. Tickets are $10.00. Screening times, trailers and tickets are available at: Written by Katsuhito Ishii (Director of The Taste of Tea, Funky Forest, Shark Skin Man & Peach Hip Girl and the anime segment of Kill Bill Vol.1) and directed by the up-and-coming Takeshi Koike, who participated in the “World Record” segment of Animatrix (2003), Redline was 5 years in the making and proudly demonstrates the new possibilities of 2D animation, amidst the current prominence of 3D. Redline is a racing film created by studio Madhouse (Paprika, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars). The toughest and the most destructive underground car race in the universe, REDLINE, has just begun! JP is a reckless driver oblivious to speed limits, and Sonoshee, one of his competitors with whom JP is secretly in love with, is a hot girl determined to do whatever it takes to stand on the winner’s podium. In order to win the finals, they’re up against the craziest drivers with their heavily armed and awesome road-tearing vehicles. On top of that, during the race, they have to avoid military crackdown by the government because the race is actually prohibited in Roboworld. The only help JP wants is the engine obtained and custom tuned by his long time buddies, Frisbee the mechanic and Mogura Oyaji the junk shop. While cars crash and burn into flames, the race course becomes a merciless hell and JP whips his ride into a dead heat. Who will survive to win in this mass-destruction race?
Upcoming NY Int'l Children's Film Festival screenings include BEST OF AARDMAN SHORT FILMS In English - Recommended ages 6 to adult Sat & Sun, Sept 25 & 26 - 11:00am - IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue (at West Third) This brilliant collection includes the original Academy Award winning Creature Comforts, the NYICFF Grand Prize winning Humdrum and A Matter of Loaf and Death, plus Rex the Runt, Shaun the Sheep, and other mini masterpieces encompassing 25 years of creative output from Nick Park, Peter Lord, Richard "Golly" Goleszowski, Peter Peake, Chris Sadler, and the other claymation geniuses at Aardman Animations. These inspired plasticine creations embody the best of Aardman's slyly subversive wit and expressive style, and bubble over with a warmth and humanity that only such lovingly handmade films can convey.
THE SECRET OF KELLS - DVD RELEASE PARTY WITH DIRECTOR TOMM MOORE IN PERSON Free DVDs for first 50 families, both days! Sat & Sun, Oct 2 & 3, 11am - IFC Center Magic, fantasy, and Celtic mythology come together in a riot of color and detail that dazzle the eyes, in a sweeping story about the power of imagination and faith to carry humanity through dark times. Young Brendan lives in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids. But a new life of adventure beckons when a celebrated master illuminator arrives from foreign lands carrying an ancient but unfinished book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers. To help complete the magical book, Brendan has to overcome his deepest fears and venture into the enchanted forest where mythical creatures hide. It is here that he meets the fairy Aisling, a mysterious young wolf-girl, who helps him fulfill his dangerous quest. Comment: Viking attacks and mythic monsters may be scary for younger children. RACING DREAMS ""The best film of the year!" - LA Times, "Ridiculously engaging!" - NY Magazine Sat, Sun & Mon, Oct 9-11, 11am - IFC Center Academy-Award nominee Marshall Curry unearths the world of competitive go-kart racing in this simultaneously intimate and thrilling documentary on the World Karting Association's National Series. Three of the country's most talented drivers vie for the championship title before any of them are even eligible for a driver's license. Yet for top racers Annabeth (11), Josh (13) and Brandon (12), scarier than spinning out or losing a race are the perils of school work, family life and first love. As Curry documents the tweens' extraordinary dedication to go after their dreams in a sport where every second can become a life-changing decision, these three must come to terms with who they want to be - both on and off the track.
NYICFF also announced the launch of a new festival in San Francisco, presented in partnership with SF Film Society. NY/SF INT'L CHILDREN'S FILM FESTIVAL brings NYICFF's award-winning lineup to Bay Area audiences next weekend at SF's Landmark Embarcadero Center Cinema NY/SF HIGHLIGHTS MIA AND THE MIGOO - w/Director Q&A - Winner Best Animated Feature, European Film Awards THE SECRET OF KELLS - Director Workshop - Oscar Nominee, Best Animated Feature SOUNDS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT - Opening Night Film - w/Director Q&A SUMMER WARS - "Spectacular! Visionary! Mind-Bending! Staggering!" - Variety ELEANOR'S SECRET - Winner 2010 Annecy Animation Festival FLICKER LOUNGE - Award-winning short films for teens and adults only! Full line-up of sixty shorts and features for ages 3 to 18 (and adult film lovers of all ages), plus opening night party, audience voting, awards, and much more
New York-Toyko announced that Japanese rock duo VAMP (L'Arc-en-Ciel's Hyde and Oblivion Dust's K.A.Z ) will be reforming at NYC's Roseland Ballroom on October 9th Other tour dates include October 1 - Avalon Hollywood, Los Angeles, U.S.A. October 3 - Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, U.S.A. October 9 - Roseland Ballroom, New York, U.S.A. October 12 - SALA APOLO, Barcelona, Spain October 16 - Espace La Grande Arche, Paris, France October 23-24 - INTL. Gymnastics Center, Shanghai, China November 6 - Teatro Caupolican, Santiago, Chile The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (MFIT) presents Japan Fashion Now, an exhibition exploring contemporary Japanese fashion in all its radical creativity, from avant-garde high fashion to street and subcultural styles, from menswear to new designers. Approximately 100 ensembles from featured designers, Jun Takahashi (Undercover), Hirooka Naoto (h.NAOTO), Takeshi Osumi (Phenomenon), and others will be showcased. The exhibition will be on view from Sep. 17, 2010, through Jan. 8, 2011. For more info, visit the museum's website.
The Portsmouth Museum of Art in New Hampshire will present the SugiPOP! exhibition starting October 13th. The show is a collaborative effort, co-curated by Beau Basse of LeBasse Projects in Los Angeles and Katherine Doyle of the Portsmouth Museum of Art, with John Wolf as Assistant Curator. It features the work of approximately 30 established artists, and includes examples of original manga and comic art, as well as original cels from some of the most significant anime films ever made, including Cowboy Bebop and Princess Mononke. Starting with the origins of manga, the show visits such Japanese masters as Hokusai and Kuniyoshi in a display of original Edo period woodblock prints, on loan from the Collection of the Museum of Art at UNH.
The Ottawa International Animation Festival will offer an Influence of Osamu Tezuka presentation with Yoshihiro Shimizu, General Manager, Tezuka Productions Co. In Japan the art forms of Manga and Anime are regarded as widely influential components of the nation’s culture, this is due in large part to the work of Osamu Tezuka. Inspired by Walt Disney, Tezuka went on to create some of the most memorable characters in animation such as Astro Boy, Black Jack and Kimba the Lion. Yoshihiro Shimizu encountered Osamu Tezuka in 1978 during his college days and first became involved in Tezuka’s animation production as a contractor. When he officially joined the company in 1980, he worked on the production/direction of many Tezuka projects, including Phoenix 2772 (movie, 1979). Shimizu became Production Director in 1989 and produced several animations including Black Jack (movie/1966), Jungle Emperor (movie/1997), and Astro Boy (TV series/2003). He was involved with the movie “Astro Boy” (2009) as Creative Consultant, supervising production of the movie at large. In addition to his work with film and television, Shimizu produced the “Osamu TEZUKA Exhibition” at National Modern Museum (1990), Osamu TEZUKA Manga Museum in Takarazuka (1995), and “The Exhibition of Osamu TEZUKA - past and future“ sponsored by the Asahi Newspaper (1995). Shimizu has been General Manager of Tezuka Productions since 1999. The event will also be screening Keita Kurosaka's Midori-ko
A site has been launched for X Japan's tour SEPTEMBER 25 Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, CA 28 Fox Theatre, Oakland, CA OCTOBER 1 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA 3 Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, BC CANADA 6 Riviera, Chicago, IL 7 Massey Hall, Toronto, ON CANADA 10 Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY
Dark Horse Comics, NW32, Things From Another World (, and FUNimation Entertainment will be presenting a Blood and Guts Bash Halloween celebration at the Bagdad Theater (3702 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR 97214) on October 29 from 9 p.m. until midnigh.! Admission is free to the public, and this is a 21-and-older event. The Blood and Guts Bash will be hosted by local geek impresario Rick Emerson, host of NW32's Outlook Portland. Attendees will get to see a special Halloween episode of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ on the big screen before Dark Horse Comics and FUNimation present choice anime episodes from the vampire epic ‘Hellsing Ultimate’ and a very special late-night look at the hyper-violent ‘GANTZ’
Giant monster wrestling
Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 24, 2010, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Thanks for the post!

    by Naboo_the_Enigma

    And thanks very much for the heads-up about the Satoshi Kon double feature in LA from your previous article. I went and it was really great! First time I had seen Millennium Actress, and on the big screen with 50 other anime fans. It was a great experience. =D

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 1:05 p.m. CST


    by lead_sharp

    Is amazing, truely truely amazing :)

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 1:19 p.m. CST

    When is Redline scheduled for blu-ray release?

    by Johnno

    That's my most anticipated anime this year.

  • Sept. 24, 2010, 4:21 p.m. CST

    X Japan is fucking legendary.

    by nico_laos

    When their guitarist, Hide, died back in the late nineties, to the Japanese it was the equivalent of Kurt Cobain dying. That's how huge they were/are.

  • Sept. 26, 2010, 3:21 a.m. CST


    by skywise404

    I dont really watch anime anymore but i really enjoy these posts.

  • Sept. 26, 2010, 11:02 a.m. CST


    by Harry Weinstein

    I really, really, REALLY wish MGM would get on the ball, get the proper materials from Toei, and put out definitive English-friendly versions of SAIYUKI/ALAKAZAM THE GREAT and HOLS, PRINCE OF THE SUN/LITTLE NORSE PRINCE. That pan & scan TV version of the 2.35:1 ratio HOLS that MGM put up on Hulu is painful to look at.

  • Sept. 26, 2010, 11:10 a.m. CST


    by Harry Weinstein

    The UK release of LITTLE NORSE PRINCE is NTSC to PAL converted rubbish - a total mess.

  • Sept. 28, 2010, 8:42 a.m. CST


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