Animation and Anime

AICN Anime - Ninja-ing into November

Published at: Nov. 12, 2010, 3:54 p.m. CST

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Manga Spotlight: Tenken by Yumiko Shirai Released by One Peace Books

Shirai Yumiko (also a children's illustrator, her series Womb runs in the Japanese edition of alternative manga anthology Ikki) did not create a disposable pop read, and her work was recognized with the Japanese governmental Agency for Cultural Affairs' 2007 Japan Media Arts Festival Encouragement Prize . While re-architecting a legend into a 300 page, sci-fi romance epic manga, Tenken removes the familiar handrails. It has its own identity, and asks for a thinking audience, willing to read into implications. Though its approach to engaging the audience differently is not recommendable without qualification, Tenken is a noteworthy choice for adventurous readers of manga and comics in general. Tenken isn't an easy hike for any reader, but it's a decidedly rockier trip for audiences outside its native target Coined by Koichi Iwabuchi, there's a concept of "cultural odorlessness" that plays into the "Cool Japan" conversation. The origin doesn't stick to the product. With Hello Kitty or Pokemon, the appeal is global. You don't read "Japanese" from it. Sailor Moon might be spun from the East Asian folktale of a rabbit on the moon, Dragon Ball might have launched from as a parody of a Buddhist epic, Naruto might be informed by a history of ninja and their use in times of inter-state warfare, but each has been adopted by non-native cultures often without a key sense of where they're from. The metaphorical contrast is "natto," resembling, smelly, sticky bean paste. John Ford may have influenced Akira Kurosawa, and it's been said that a reason why Kurosawa is so popular in America is because his movies looked to western cinematic traditions, but, there's no mistaking that Seven Samurai is a Japanese movie. It's not "culturally odorless." You might prefer to watch Sailor Moon or Naruto anime in the original Japanese, but it is not necessarily strikingly wrong to see the characters speaking English. On the other hand, the notion of Seven Samurai in English is jarring. Manga readers have undoubtedly hit works that were unmistakably Japanese; intrinsically bound to the nation's history, legends or its modern condition. That said, there aren't many manga in North America that read as Japanese as Tenken. Even, the chapters of Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix that deal with Japanese history and spirituality, such as Karma, about the establishing of Buddhism in Japan expressed through the story of an 8th century bandit turned carver, doesn't compare. Tenken is built on the Shinto myth of Yamata no Orochi, the eight headed dragon. As recounted in the volume's introduction, storm god Susano was walking along a river when he encountered an elderly couple crying. They informed Susano that once a year, the great serpent Yamata no Orochi came and eat one of their daughters. With only one daughter left, they were despondent. Susano requested the daughter's hand in marriage. When granted, he turned her into a comb, which he proceeded to put into his hair. He then arrange for a vat of strong liquor and the construction of eight gates. Yamata no Orochi went to drink the liquor and as the drunken serpent became entangled in the gates, Susano chopped the monster into pieces. Orochi is all over Japanese pop media, from Blue Seed to King of Fighters. Even in Ghost in the Shell, Motoko Kusanagi takes her name from Susano's sword. However, mostly it's just a dragon slaying story. Here, be ready to grasp the metaphor, because it’s essential to the significance of what's happening. Yumiko Shirai projects the myth into a science fiction romance. Set in a post apocalyptic future, brought upon by dirty war, a sky scraper tall bamboo scaffold is being erected for the Tenken Festival, a twice a century ceremony in which a young girl is sacrificed to appease Yamata-no-Orochi. There are signs and mysticism, but this is the reenactment of a pattern and not a Harryhausen legend come to life. These people believe in the dictates of their faith, but don't necessarily expect snake godzilla to erupt out of the earth. Tenken's Japanese-ness is essential, but it's also only a starting point. It's a work of a particular vision and the years it took to develop the manga are evident. It's a reforested landscape, in which monumental, semi-urban environments have been built from bamboo. Though, in this sphere, the notion of a poisoned world calls to mind Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa, Tenken doesn't look like that, or any other work. While manga can be an enable genre works, that doesn't always translate into unique landscapes. Tenken is a beautiful member of the subset of manga that consistently pays attention to visually establishing its world. The walls that characters move around, the forests that frame its buildings, it is all specifically Tenken. This unique look is further pushed out by a brush illustrated approach, whose wispiness and space give the manga a half dreamlike feel. The participants in this reenactment of the Orochi legend have histories and perspectives. It is possible to grasp and relate to what is human about them, and to emotionally invest in their relationship. Yet, the heft of the manga is in their relationship with the Orochi story, and to get to that, the manga needs to be engaged. What Shirai Yumiko intends the reader to pull from what her characters go through is not spelled out with complete explicitness. It's welcome to find a manga that is unique and a bit difficult. However, for all its laudable qualities, Tenken is more recommendable to adventurous readers than casual ones, and even with the best of intensions, it's ultimately more interesting than fascinating. The English version of the manga reads like a translation with little adaptation, and that makes the task of paying attention more difficult. The writing is always clear and appropriate, but it can also be a bit cold. However, that is not the entire reason that Tenken should probably be read by people who want to read Tenken. Unlike most manga, Tenken was not first published in serialized from, and as such, doesn't have the hooks that typically pull a reader along. Not taking up the business to do so, the manga is not going to convince a disinclined reader to make it through the volume.

Resourse Spotlight: Ninja Attack! True Tales of Assasins, Samurai and Outlaws by Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt Released by Kodansha International Excerpt can be read here Also See Matt Alt's Blog

I adored Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt's previous book, Yokai Attack!, and since it hit around this time of year in 2008, I bought at about a half dozen copies to hand out for the holidays. Informative and charmingly illustrated, the books were well received regardless of whether the recipient was already intrigued by the subject or were to have their interest newly piqued. I'm now inspired to repeat this with Yoda and Alt's new book. The subject doesn't lend itself to adorability quite as well as the supernatural folktales of the yokai, but Ninja Attack! is as captivating as its predecessor. For geeks, its genealogical tree of international pop culture ninja in and of itself makes the book worth having. But, everyone has at least a general familiarity with ninja. Ninja Attacks spring-boards off what sometimes seems like a biologically ingrained fascination with hyper-competent, clandestine operatives for an informed and informative exploration of the subject. The well researched book relates an understanding of the subject through profiles, mostly of historical figures, along with key legendary or fictional ones, and supplemented by "Illustrated Ninja" guides to matters such as weapons, dwelling and techniques. Yokai constitute a folklore of hang-ups, they're monsters formed from matters that people worry or wonder about. Drawing out the origins and illustrating the colorful beings, Yoda and Alt directed attention to the captivating nature of the subject while explaining it. As in Yokai Attack, Ninja is dealing with a subject that draws the mind; the word is synonymous with stealthily getting job done. Incognito forces capable of amazing feats, creeping out of hidden villages to take care of business. These authors can be clear eyed about it and still capture the spark of what's fascinating about it. The idea here is to understand ninja rather than be over wowed by them. Impressed when appropriate and never diminishing the subject, the book looks for sensible explications. Colorfully cartooned illustrations and a conversational, occasionally off hand tone makes Ninja Attack more enjoyably informative than harshly debunking. Ultimately, Ninja Attack manages the trick of offering the explanation and historical context that demystifies the ninja without deflating them; casting them more along the lines of James Bond, Carlos the Jackal or Warring States OSS than inexplicable shadow warriors.
The set of profiles includes ninja that fans of the domain might know, or would benefit from knowing, along with some more obscure figures. This listing is divided into: Ninja's Ninja: the individuals that set the template for the "ninja." This includes master ninja like associate of dynasty founding shogun and often fictionalized Hattori Hanzo; known examples of a supposed class of ninja, such as the rare documented woman ninja Mochizuki Chiyojo (includes a sex to legendary sex-as-as-weapon techniques); and, representatives of an age, such as Sawamura Junzaburo Yususuke, who, as the last recorded ninja, gathered intelligence from Commodore Perry's Black Ships. Ninja Gone Bad: individuals who contravened ninja dictates by going into business for themselves, often to the enduring fascination of pop culture, such as thief Ishikawa Goemon (of modern fame in the likes of Goemon: Mystic Ninja and Lupin III) and bandit Fuma Kotaro the Fifth. Ninja Magic: the illusionists and presumed mystics of the field, such as historic shamen, Shugendo founder En no Ozunu - reputed to have tamed a pair of oni (in the Ring novel, Sadako's father), and giant toad summoning Jiraiya, the hero of the 1806 book Jiraiya Setsuwa - borrowed to play a key role in Naruto. Ninja Rivals: figures who weren't ninja, but met them on their own terms, such as swordsman and Book of Five Rings author Miyamoto Musashi, whose tale includes a duel with a likely ninja, and swordsmanship tutor to the shogun and legendarily reputed secret agent Yagyu Jubei. Ninja Masters: The leaders who employed ninja, such as shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu and warlord and future video game star Sanada Yukimura, who agents legendarily include the Ten Heroes of Sanada (generally reconnected to include at least Sarutobi Sasuke and often Kirigakure Saizo) The Ninja Destroyer: "a category of one" Oda Nobunaga - the rival crushing lord who nearly unified Japan and nearly wiped out the two most significant ninja clans (Iga and Koga) - the entry includes an inset concerning Nobunaga's retainer, "The Real 'Afro Samura'" Yasuke. Specific entries at least contain a prologue describing the subject's context and introducing their notoriety, a description of the person themselves, their key moment of glory, and, their ultimate fate.
That Ninja Attacks lends itself to opening to an arbitrary page and spending a few diverting minutes reading the account of a notable ninja is what makes the book an excellent gift. But, beyond that, an insightful framework emerges. Ninja Attack! is up front about what is and what is likely fiction, starting with the ninja's attachment to the familiar trappings. The idea is that the ninja non-dogmatically, secretly worked toward achieving the goals of their masters or clients. From this point of view Ulysses' ventures into Troy and the biblical spies sent into Jericho could be thought of as ninja equivalents in other times and places. However, just because the niche filled by ninja spans human history doesn't mean instances and individuals weren't fascinating in their own rights. The history of these secret operatives from their origins as guerilla fighting invaders of their isolate mountain villages to their days as political weapons captures the imagination. The information imparted by Ninja Attack! proves to be an excellent complement to the pop culture love of the subject.

Anime Spotlight: Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings - The Complete Series Released by FUNimation

also streaming online Sengoku Basara's identity could cast the anime in the direction of being either excellent or terrible. It's from, Production I.G, and their works have generally been excellent (Ghost in the Shell's anime incarnation, most of Oshii's movies), or experimental (Blood: The Last Vampire, Kai Doh Maru, Otogi Zoshi) or they're both. Then again, this is an anime adaptation of a video game... not a path that has traditionally been responsible for the better anime. Beyond that, it's based on a poorly reviewed (61/100 on metacritic) representative of a maligned genre (it's Capcom's take on the Koei/Dynasty Warriors popularized legendary historic hero takes out legions style of game). Sengoku Basara winds up on a middle road in an instance where a middle road is a perfectly fine one. It is bad. There is no mistaking the deformities bred into video game to anime adaptations manifesting here. The ramshackle plot put together by Yasuyuki Muto (the genre appropriate write of the anime versions of Afro Samurai and Basilisk) is a mess, with hosts of characters popping in and out and events erupting from the ground. Despite, or perhaps in part because it’s a bit knocked in the head, Sengoku Basara is exceedingly fun. It's as if Stan Lee were writing an account of the Battle of Waterloo. There's a real core. There's principles and politics, family dynamics and territorial disputes, but that is thrown into a mix with intoxicating absurdity. To get a sense of what you're dealing with, look no further than the opening - a sort of military drill turned into a dance routine. Historical figures and events are exaggerated well past the breaking point for a laughably colorful spectacle. Figures out of history shout rallying speeches, knock each other through walls, and occasionally fire lightning bolts. It feels like it shouldn't work; that it's an odd idea made odder by a translation from one medium to another. But, amazingly, it's stupefying entertaining. If you know the personalities, from history or from the games, watching Sengoku Basara light them off like firework rockets is quite the spectacle. If you don't, all the better. If it's inexplicable, the ignition have got to be even more dazzling. If you've been educated in Japanese history through pop culture, there are handful of eras with which you're are, or should be, familiar. You'll find that this isn't exhaustive (Princess Mononoke was set in the Muromachi Era, around the 1400's), but the key ones include The Heian period (794 to 1185) gets a little attention, but marked by imperial strength, it's left a courtly impression on the popular imagination and as such, it doesn't often inspire the kinds of genres that translate internationally; the exception to that is the onmyoji mystic Abe no Seimei who does find his way into a host of broadly appealing anime and live action. The bulks of the samurai material that you've seen was set in the Tokugawa period (1603–1868). Consolidated shogun rule instituted policies set to pacify the unified country, which in turn set the stage for stories of wandering swordsmen who'd likely have been attached to armies in an earlier era. Lone Wolf and Cub, Blade of the Immortal, and Yojimbo are among the many period pieces set during the shogunate. Meiji period (1868–1912), following the overthrow of the shogunate, the reinstitution of imperial power and rapid modernization has been used to mix unfinished business with politics in stories like Ruruoni Kenshin and Lady Snowblood. The Sengoku or Warring States period (1467–1573) began with weak emperors, disease and natural disaster setting the stage for local lords contesting control. Film, manga and anime with bandits, chaos and armies of samurai (Seven Samurai, Ran, Dororo, Inu Yasha) are generally set during the Sengoku. Relevent to this anime, the era came to a close when the major daimyo Oda Nobunaga nearly succeeded in unifying Japan thanks in part to a cocktail of military tactics that included use firearms, castle fortifications and merit based military specialization. Pop culture has literally demonized Oda Nobunaga. When he's not simply burning out his opposition as the archetypical evil warlord, he's demonically aligned as in Yotoden: Wrath of the Ninja or even working with space aliens, as in Go Nagai's early Black Lion. After being betrayed by Akechi Mitsuhide, the work of consolidating power fell to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, whose successors fell at the Battle of Sekigahara to shogun to be Tokugawa Ieyasu. Though there are more than nods towards the real chronicles, historicity is not among Sengoku Basara's list of priorities. It vaguely reflects the reality and myth with a scheme in which factions of war lords, generals and ninja fight for territory. Eventually, the righteous, and some less righteous leaders determine that they must put aside their conflicts to end the campaign of the blatantly evil Nobunaga. And, though they're itching to fight each other, they're pretty much driven up a wall by the necessity to stop Nobunaga. The cast of characters, along with their anime-fan-favorite, voice actors offer a perfect sense of what the anime is Sengoku Basara is all about. One of the marquee protagonists is veteran "One Eyed Dragon" Date Masamune (voiced by Kazuya Nakai, One Piece's Zoro, xxxHoLic's Shizuka Doumeki), ironically given his role as opposition to an evil overlord, wearing the helm that said to have inspired Darth Vader's. Here, he is wielding six swords in Wolverine light fashion. Haloed with excessive anachronism, the character shouts English rallying cries, riding a horse decked out with motorcycle like accoutrements at the head of a band of biker delinquent like warriors. Where other heroes of have ninja as their seconds, Date Masamune has surprisingly straight for Sengoku Basara samurai Katakura Kojuro (Toshiyuki Morikawa - Berserk's Griffith, InuYasha's Naraku) at his side. Date Masamune's rival is future shogun-antagonist "Crimson Demon of War" Sanada Yukimura, here, a young, brash, dual spear wielding field commander (Souichiro Hoshi - Gundam SEED's Kira Yamato, Saiyuki's Son Goku). His patron, the hulking, noble minded Takeda Shingen (Kratos in the Japanese God of War dub, Batman in the animated series, Morpheus in the Matrix, Optimus Prime) makes a big impression. And, fans of ninja lore may be interested to see fame ninja commander Sanada Yukimura's assistant, the modern ur-ninja myth, easy tempered, dynamically physical Sarutobi Sasuke, (Takehito Koyasu: Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Ilpalazzo in Excel Saga, Mu La Flaga in Gundam SEED) for whom two Naruto characters are named . Among the lesser, but still key factions is light and feminine, but mighty justice focused Takeda Shingen rival Uesugi Kenshin (Romi Park, Full Metal Alchemist's Ed), with his ninja Kasuga (Natsuko Kuwatani, Royoko in Haruhi) - one of the few original characters - a busty bold who pretty much orgasms when praised by her lord. Future shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa has a minor role in which the young man deploys Tokugawa Four Heavenly Kings representative Honda Tadakatsu as a giant, Gundam-esque warrior. The Team Evil faction includes Akechi Mitsuhide, as a silver haired, dual scythe wielding psychotic (Sho Hayami - Macross' Max Jenius, Trigun's Wolfwood), Mori Ranmaru as a child archer whose tsunamis of arrows are capable of slaughtering armies, Nobunaga's sisters Oichi as a tormented accomplice, married off to a rival (Mamiko Noto - Ai Enma in Hell Girl, Angol Moa in Sgt Frog, Rin in InuYasha, Nodoka in Negima) and Nobunaga's butterfly tattooed wife Nohime, packing firearms from pistols to some real shock and awe cannons. Oda Nobunaga himself is spectacular; transcending even the rest of the extravagantly characterized cast, framed by a red cape, clad in plate mail that protrudes out from the shoulders in blades, voiced by the fantastically recognizable Norio Wakamoto (Street Fighter's Bison, Dragon Ball's Cell, Code Geass' Emperor, Cowboy Bebop's Vicious, Gunbuster's Coach) at his most defiantly slurring. I once saw a bootleg Doors concert recording advertised as "Jim Morrison at his fattest and drunkest." It's undoubtedly not the case, but that's how I imagined Wakamoto voicing the character as he swills sakes from human skulls. For the most part, these are types that have been traded in many times before, and Sengoku Basara doesn't embellish them with anything like a coherent, interesting plot. Yet, if it is a childishly outlined paint by numbers, Sengoku Basara manages to fill in the entire space with colorful splashes of a "special kind of stupid." With all its yelling, shot gun pulling and battle field bombing, Sengoku Basara maintains its diverting spasticness through the course of its 13 episodes.

Industry Passings

Space Battleship Yamato producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki passed away at age 75 after a fall from a steamboat Yamato, the week that the live action Space Battleship Yamato was screen. Nishizaki also produced the infamous Legend of the Overfiend: Urotsukidoji and Osamu Tezuka adaptation Umi no Triton Patrick Macias' rememberence Jonathan Clements' Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino on Nishizaki (the two worked together on Triton) Yamato cast responds Hollywood report on his passing
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Takeshi Shudo, creator of Fairy Princess Minky Momo and writer for the Pokemon anime passed away at age 61 after suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage - Jonathan Clements has written an obituary
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Nippon Animation president and executive producer on the classic World Masterpiece Theater omnibus Koichi Motohashi passed away at age 80
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Nachi Nozawa, best known as the voice of Cobra in Space Adventure Cobra passed away on October 30th at age 72. He also voiced Hans Axel von Fersen in Rose of Versailles Anderson in the Hellsing TV series, C3PO in the Japanese dub of Star Wars, John McClane in Die Hard Minneapolis Film Fest will be screening Mamoru Hosoda's (Girl Who Leapt Through Time) Summer Wars on November 13th
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The The Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema in Ontario will screen Summer Wars, Redline, Trigun: Badlands Rumble and Happy Science's Rebirth of Buddha
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Event News

Scion presents: 'Pixel Pushers' Curated by Giant Robot opens at Scion Installation LA in Culver City, CA Saturday November 14th at at 7:00pm and runs through December 11 at 6:00pm Centering around the Famicom inspired custom Scion art car, which will project the Giant Robot produced video game, Return of the Quack, Giant Robot’s Eric Nakamura curates an exhibition featuring not only video game inspired art, but a bank of retro custom pachinko machines in a pachinko parlor-like installation, an interactive environment, by a renown digital conceptualist artist, 8-bit sculptures, projected digital visuals, and 4 mini game consoles. Opening Reception: Saturday, November 13 | 7-10pm Exhibition is free and open to the public. featuring: Jude Buffum, Matt Furie, Zach Gage, Len Higa, Chevy Ray Johnston, Nullsleep, Daniel Rehn, Shawn Smith, and Kohei Yamashita Complimentary Valet & Open Bar Scion Installation L.A. 3521 Helms Ave, (at National) Culver City, CA 90232 Gallery Phone: 310.815.8840 Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 11AM – 6PM
(Picture from the presented custom game)
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Eric Bresler's Love After Tezuka art exhibition is running through December 4 at Atlantis: The Lost Bar, 2442 Frankford Avenue, Philly, PA
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NYICFF will present the premiere of the English dub of Summer Wars on November 20th. With influences ranging from anime to The Ramones, neo-pop artist Yoshitomo Nara has acheived rock-star status in Japan. This inventive and user-friendly art exhibit is perfect for young people and museum-phobes alike - and is recommended by Time Out New York Kids.
Image Credit: Yoshitomo Nara. Pyromaniac Day and Pyromaniac Dead of Night, 1999. Acrylic on canvas. Each H. 47 1/4 x W. 43 5/16 in. (120 x 110 cm). Collection of Lyor Cohen SUMMER WARS - English Language Premiere Recommended ages 9 to adult Sat, Nov 20 - 1:00pm - Asia Society and Museum, 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street) OFFICIAL 2011 OSCAR SUBMISSION - BEST ANIMATED FEATURE! Kenji is a teenage math prodigy recruited by his secret crush Natsuki for the ultimate summer job - passing himself off as Natsuki's boyfriend for four days during her grandmother's 90th birthday celebration. But when Kenji solves a 2,056 digit math riddle sent to his cell phone, he unwittingly breaches the security barricade protecting Oz, a globe-spanning virtual world where millions of people and governments interact through their avatars, handling everything from online shopping and traffic control to national defense and nuclear launch codes. Now a malicious AI program called the Love Machine is hijacking Oz accounts, growing exponentially more powerful and sowing chaos and destruction in its wake. This "intriguingly intelligent" cyberpunk/sci-fi story is a visual tour-de-force, with the amazing world of Oz as the highlight. Like the Internet as conceived by pop artist Haruki Murakami, Oz is a hallucinatory pixel parade of cool avatar designs, kung fu jackrabbits, toothy bears, and a bursting rainbow of colors.
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November screenings at the VIZ Cinema in San Francisco's New People include Live From Tokyo Friday, 11/12 at 7:15pm (Directed by Lewis Rapkin, 2010, 79min, HDCam, Japanese with English Subtitles,) “Live From Tokyo” is a documentary film about underground music culture in Tokyo. The city’s reputation as a media-saturated hub for global information and cutting-edge innovation makes it the perfect setting for addressing a new outlook on music culture. This documentary takes the viewer through the back streets in Shinjuku, the intersections in Shibuya, the alleys in Koenji, and all over Tokyo, as it highlights the innovative musicians who create this multi-faceted artistic culture. The film features interviews and performances by DMBQ, Tenniscoats, Shugo Tokumaru, Nisennenmondai, PARA (ex-Boredoms members), Kirihito, d.v.d., and many more. After the film screening, the band Sajjanu (featured in the film) will simulcast a live performance from Tokyo! Patlabor The Movie, November 13th (Subtitled) & 14th(Dubbed) (Directed by Mamoru Oshii, 1989, 99min, Digital, Japanese with English Subtitles) Set in an alternate 1999 in Tokyo where advanced robotic vehicles called Labors are heavily relied on to reshape the city, a maverick team of the Metropolitan Police force tries to uncover and thwart a devilish computer crime aimed at the heart of the Labor industry. As a powerful typhoon approaches the city and the schemes of a mad genius start to take full effect, time is running out for the team of Special Vehicles Section 2 to act on the offensive, or risk citywide devastation by eight thousand Labors gone berserk!
Patlabor The Movie 2, November 13th (Subtitled) & 14th(Dubbed) (Directed by Mamoru Oshii, 1993, 113min, Digital, Japanese with English Subtitles) Set three years after the first film, PATLABOR 2 draws police commanders Ki'ichi Gotoh and Shinobu Nagumo into the hunt for Tsuge, a rogue officer of the Japan Self-Defense Forces connected with an escalating wave of terrorist attacks. But the investigation into the plot is guarded by secrets both personal and political, as the awakening fear of terror in Tokyo is slowly answered by the dream-like fade of democracy into martial law... Ominous, beautiful, suspenseful, and poetic, Patlabor 2 deserves the term visionary in every sense of the word. Electric Button (Moon & Cherry) Saturday, 11/13 – Thursday, 11/18 San Francisco Premiere! Recalling the traditional “Pink Film” in form – but radically different in the particulars, Yuki Tanada’s ELECTRIC BUTTON manages to be as sweet as it is unsentimental, while effortlessly dancing across the lines of comedy, drama, romance and eroticism. 21 year-old Kenichi Tadokoro (Tasuku Nagaoka) has finally been accepted into a university after his third try at the entrance exam. One day he is virtually shanghaied into joining an erotic fiction writing club by an odd character who seems much too old to be a proper student (veteran film actor Akira Emoto). The club is populated by an odd assortment of characters, including the sole female member, Hazuki Mayama (Noriko Eguchi), who, under a male nom de porn, is also the club’s only published member. When the group engages in a sexually explicit round of shop talk, Tadokoro regales them with his expertise. Mayama, however, to Tadakoro’s horror, easily identifies him as a virgin – out loud, casually, and in front of everyone. Kamui Gaidan Friday, 11/19 – Wednesday, 12/1 San Francisco Premiere! (Directed by Yoichi Sai, 2009, 120min, Digital, Japanese with English subtitles) Based on the legendary 1970’s Japanese comic book by Sampei Shirato, Kamui Gaidan boasts one of the largest budgets in the history of Japanese film history. Taking you on a journey by land and by sea, Kamui Gaidan is sure to capture the attention of audiences world-wide with its amazing action and colorful story. Set in 17th Century Japan, Kamui Gaidan tells the story of Kamui, an outcast from society who dreams of someday escaping his miserable existence. Feeling that he is left with no alternative, Kamui trains to become a deadly Ninja, killing just to survive. A life of that revolves around kill after kill starts to get to the warrior. Kamui grows to despise the lethal rules that govern the Ninja, prompting him to leave the only world he knows. Now a fugitive from his former clan, Kamui goes on the run towards an uncertain future. The Ninja’s view on life changes after an incident brings him to a fisherman’s family. It is there he finally starts to open up to other people. Meanwhile, those hunting him are setting their trap. TokyoScope Talk, Vol. 7 – NINJA ATTACK! Saturday, 11/20 at 12:15pm The ninja – Japan’s famed shadow warriors of legend – are the subject of the next TokyoScope Talk film event. Presented by host Patrick Macias (Editor, Otaku USA) and produced in association with Matt Alt, co-author of the new book Ninja Attack! True Tales of Assassins, Samurai, and Outlaws (published by Kodansha International), this presentation will explore the historical and pop culture legacy of the original men (and women!) in black. Gasp in amazement as rare clips from assorted movies, anime, and TV programs such as Shinobi no Mono, Red Mask, Shogun Assassin, Dagger of Kamui, and Alien vs. Ninja reveal the over-the-top skills, weapons, and deadly techniques of these fearsome martial artists! All attendees will be entered into a raffle to win free copies of the Ninja Attack! book! Mishima Retrospective 11/26 Fri – 12/1 Wed To honor the 40th anniversary of the death of renowned actor Yukio Mishima on November 25th, 1970, VIZ Cinema proudly presents the Mishima Retrospective which showcases three films inspired by his novel, his life and his work as an actor. Ken Directed by Kenji Misumi, 1964, 94min, Japanese with English subtitles) Based on Yukio Mishima's short story published in 1963, the story revolves around the story of the captain of a university kendo club – Kokubu – and his relationships with other members of the club, his family, women, and modern society in general. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (Directed by Paul Schrader, 1985, 120min, Japanese with English subtitles) A visually stunning, collage-like portrait of acclaimed Japanese author and playwright Yukio Mishima (played by Ken Ogata), this film investigates the inner turmoil and contradictions of a man who attempted an impossible harmony between self, art, and society. Taking place on Mishima’s last day, when he famously committed public seppuku, the film is punctuated by extended flashbacks to the writer’s life as well as by gloriously stylized evocations of his fictional works. Afraid to Die (Directed by Yasuzo Masumura, 1960, 96min, Japanese with English subtitles) Yukio Mishima stars in this New Wave cult film playing the role of Takeo, a youthful yakuza who turns back to his criminal ways after leaving prison. Takeo finds himself embroiled in the business of assassinations, revenge and violence, and must struggle to keep alive for the love of his family and girlfriend, Yoshie.
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Wasabi Anime announced their upcoming calendar including INVADERCON 2011 (March 26-27, 2011 in Atlanta, GA) Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Invader Zim Along with previously announced guests Richard Horvitz (ZIM) and Rikki Simons (GIR), the event will be hosting Andy Berman (DIB) THE FLORIDA ANIME EXPERIENCE (May 27-29, 2011 in Orlando, FL) We're working on announcing details about a our new anime event project in the next month with a few friends and partners. Stay tuned! Other 2011 include Ancient City Con and Florida Supercon.

Upcoming in Japan

Promos Kara no Kyoukai - Garden of Sinners Armored Trooper Votoms Case;Irvine Mardock Scramble Paradise Kiss Gon Gainax Suburu collaberation Makoto Shinkai's upcoming Hoshi o Ou Kodomo - Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below - scheduled for May 2011. GeGeGe no Nyobo Anime Ghibli will be announcing their next movie on December 15th. The director on the project has not been indicated.
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retailer Mangaoh listed, then removed the listing for a game based on a second Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha movie
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Tokyo International Anime Fair announced the four pilots it will sponsor in 2011 for the "Creator's World Anime Pilot Production Support Project" Tokyo Int'l Anime Fair Sponsors 4 Anime Pilots for 2011 posted on 2010-10-22 16:13 EDT From Mardock Scramble CGI's Kodama, Catblue: Dynamite's Higa, Shadow Skill 3's Ichikawa, Cavity Express' Muto The Tokyo International Anime Fair has announced on Friday that it is sponsoring four anime pilots which will be unveiled at next year's fair in March. The "Creator's World Anime Pilot Production Support Project" selected the following works: • Interior Creator: French curve/Tetsuro Kodama (Mardock Scramble CGI director, Yasai no Yousei - N.Y. Salad art director, Namie Amuro's "Wild/Dr.") • Kanai Creator: Studio RF/Romanov Higa (Catblue: Dynamite, TANK S.W.A.T. 01, Metal Gear Sold: Peace Walker cut scenes, Hellsing Ultimate action director) • Monster ni Natta Domerika Creator: Kazuya Ichikawa (Shadow Skill 3/SOS TV Walpurgis Night Fever director, Appleseed: Ex Machina CG layout and motion team leader) • Kaseki Dorobo to Kyoryuseki Creator: Kenji Muto (Cavity Express, Gift)/Sugarless Factory/Honesuta
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Ghost in the Shell creator Masamune Shirow's Appleseed, previously adapted into an OVA and two CG movies, is now slated to be adapted into 13 episode OVA Appleseed XIII planned staff includes director Takayuki Hamana, screen writer Jun’ichi Fujisaku, character designer Takayuki Goto and mech designer Atsushi Takeuchi Following a world war that killed half the world's population, the city-nation of Olympus stands as a beacon of hope in a world of chaos and conflict. The utopian metropolis is governed by Gaia, a vast artificial intelligence, and administered by a genetically engineered humanoids known as Bioroids. Although Olympus seems like a peaceful city on the surface, racial (human vs. bioroids vs. cyborgs), religious, and political conflicts lurk underneath — threatening to overturn the delicately balanced "peace." Security threats such as terrorists and anti-government criminals abound, so the use of force becomes a necessary evil even in this so-called "utopia." Deunan, a young female warrior, and Briareos, a veteran cyborg-soldier, are both partners and lovers, as well as members of ES.W.A.T., the elite special forces serving Olympus. They are deployed wherever trouble strikes. Conspiracy, terrorism, deadly military weapons technology, greedy corporations, and power-hungry politicians — these are just some of the threats that Deunan and Briareos must contend with as they fight to protect Olympus and save mankind from plunging into another war.
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preciciously vulger child comedy Crayon Shin-chan is being spun off into Shin-men, staring five elemental super heroes.
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Yoshihiro Togashi's Level E will be adapted by in a Studio Pierrot / David Production co-production
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s&m 101 seinen manga Nana to Kaoru is getting an anime to be packed in with a limited edition of volume 6
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anthropomorphized fighter plane girls vs aliens Strike Witches is getting an anime movie
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a third Isshoni Training cute girl training OVA, Isshoni Training 026: Bathtime with Hinako & Hiyoko is slated for December release
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A two episode Valkyria Chronicles 3 OVA tie-in has been scheduled for Spring, 2011
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Fractale will be on Noitamina starting in January cast includes Crane: Yu Kobayashi Furyune: Minami Tsuda Nessa: Kana Hanazawa Enrico: Yuka Iguchi Sunda: Shintaro Asanuma
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Volume 31 of the Air Gear manga will include an original "Trick" anime episode, animating a fight from volume 24,
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Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra will be doing their first anime work, providing the theme songs for the One Piece and Toriko 3D movie double feature. The band's keyboardist, Yuichi Oki, composed the song that will be used in "One Piece 3D." It is the series' first instrumental theme song. Trumpeter NARGO was put in charge of the "Toriko 3D" song, and the result is described as a rhythmic tune that fits the manga's themes of gourmet food and fighting. No release date for the theme songs has been announced yet. Preview images of the anime can be seen here
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Shaft's Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica from director Akiyuki Shinbo (Bakemonogatari, Hidamari Sketch) will direct. Hidamari Sketch creator Ume Aoki will provide the original character designs which Takahiro Kishida (Durarara, Noein) will adapt for animation. Phantom & Blassreiter TV series screenwriter Gen Urobuchi will compose the screenplay. Composer Yuki Kajiura (Noir, Kara no Kyoukai) will score the series.
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Precure All-Stars DX3: Deliver the Future! The Rainbow-Colored Flower That Connects the World will hit Japanese theatres in March A trademark has been registered “Suite Precure,” presumed to the title of the eighth Precure series
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Hiroyuki Kitakubo (Roujin Z) will overseeing Gonzo's 26 episode Satria: The Warriors of the 7 Elements
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Producer Kouji Yamamoto confirmed that well regarded Aoi Hana will not be getting a second season due to low DVD sales of the first
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Unlike the first, second Saint Seiya: Lost Canvas OVA will only be made available as a direct to video OVA
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Sora no Otoshimono Forte will be continued in a theatrical film
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Staff for the prison scape OVA Norageki! , scheduled for January 22, includes director Hiroaki Ando (Digital Juice, Steamboy & Tekkonkinkreet CGI director) writer Dai Sato (Freedom, Eureka Seven). Masaru Gotsubo (Shounen Tantei Inugami Geru, Samurai Champloo manga) and Kimitoshi Yamane (Escaflowne, Cowboy Bebop) are responsible for the character and mechanic designs, respectively. Masayuki Okubo and Yusuke Takeda (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo) are overseeing the CG and art, respectively. Masanori Tsuchiya (Halo Legends' "Homecoming") is directing the sound, and Yuji Tone (Koisento) is directing the photography. The cast includes Miyu Irino (Koseinen, "Good Young Man"), Takako Honda (Ii Onna, "Good Woman"), Kazuma Mori (Chunen Otoko, "Middle-Aged Man"), Meg (Ota-Onna, "Female Otaku"), and Seizo Katou (Rojin, "Old Man")
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The eighth volume of light novel series Shinichi Kimura's Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? will feature an original anime episode Manga CLAMP's Gate 7 one-shot will be spun into an ongoing manga in Jump Sqaure.
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A new kids focus Jump spin-off, Super Strong Jump will start December 3rd. Younger audience takes on Jump titles include Rock Lee no Seishun Full-Power Ninden (from Naruto) by Kenji Taira Chopperman (from One Piece) by Hirofumi Takei Vongola GP (Grand Prix) Kuru! (from Katekyo Hitman Reborn!) by Toshinori Takayama Gourmet Gakuen Toriko (from Toriko) by Akitsugu Mizumoto Digimon Xros Wars by Akiyoshi Hongo/Yuuki Nakashima Slime MoriMori (from Dragon Quest) by Osamu Kaneko MonHun Manga PokaPoka Airu-mura (from Monster Hunter) by Akihiro Kikuchi Yokai Gakkyu Rock Rock Be!!! by Naoaki Ito An army of supernatural creatures appears at a school ruled by a gang leader God Cooking Gourmet Ryori-Kyo! by Kazufumi Yuki Divine gourmet cuisine in the classroom Golem a Go! Go! by Katsuya Kazama
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Gainax's classic mecha anime Gunbuster will be adapted into a manga series running in Shonen Ace
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Shogakukan Creative will publish Tezuka Osamu Sosaku Note to Shoki Sakuhin-Shu, a collection of conceptual notes and early works from the manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka, on December 24 in Japan. Live Action Shohei Manabe’s Smuggler smuggler, released in North America by Tokyopop, is getting an adaptation. Misc Gamera is getting a 40 minute, 3D movie, scheduled for 2012

New and Upcoming in North America (and Other English Speaking Territories)

Hollywood Reporter mentioned Crystal Sky is still developing Ghost in the Shell, with producer Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks
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MTV Splash Page spoke to producer Michael Jelenic about the upcoming animated Thundercats "We have some great artists [on 'Thundercats']," said Jelenic. "We're using a very famous Japanese animation studio, Studio4C, which did 'The Animatrix.' They're going to have their signature stuff on it. It's going to be pretty epic." "One thing is that I tried to simplify the mythology a little bit," he said. "It's a pretty complicated backstory that borrows from a lot of other sci-fi stuff, like Superman and Star Wars. In developing this, I wanted it to be a little more simple. In the other version, there's something like three different planets involved, and they all converge onto one planet, and nobody's really connected. I just wanted to bring that all together." "It's reimagined in that way, but at the same time, we're going to see the characters that we love," he promised. Asked specifically about the presence of classic characters Panthro, Cheetara, and Tygra, Jelenic said "all those characters will still be in it" —even Snarf, apparently. "Everyone always wants to know about Snarf," he laughed. "He will be in it, and he will not talk. Don't worry."
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Slash Film notes that there's talk that the adaptation of the Oldboy manga, previously adapted by Park Chan-Wook may still be in the works. Oldboy’ Remake Reportedly Gaining Steam Once More; Director Wishlist Includes Steven Spielberg, Matthew Vaughn, Danny Boyle Posted on Monday, November 8th, 2010 by Russ Fischer Mandate Pictures is said to be high on a new draft that Mark Protosevich is ready to turn in, and that it will go out to Steven Spielberg, Matthew Vaughn and, should they pass, Danny Boyle.
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Anime News Network notes a Screen Daily report that Anthony LaMolinara (animator on sequences in Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Hollow Man) will direct the live action adaptation of girls in mecha suits versus androids anime Bubblegum Crisis. Australia's Arclight Films, Canada's Wizzfilms, the Infotainment China Media Company, and the United Kingdom's Latec International agreed in May of 2009 to produce the live-action film. Aniplex Aniplex has finished announcing the English language dub cast for urban mystery Durarara Celty... KARI WAHLGREN Mikado... DARREL GUILBEAU Masaomi... BRYCE PAPENBROOK Anri... MICHELLE RUFF Izaya... JOHNNY YONG BOSCH Shizuo... CRISPIN FREEMAN Kyohei... STEVE BLUM Erika... MELA LEE Walker... BRIAN BEACOCK Shinra... YURI LOWENTHAL Simon... PATRICK SEITZ Beez UK distributor Beez will be releasing House of Five Leaves and The Tatami Galaxy Digital Manga Publishing newly licensed titles include Butterfly of the Distant Day (Tooi Hi no Cho) Tooko Miyagi (Taiyoh Tosho's Million Comics Craft Series) May 15, 2011 (1 volume) Men of Tattoos (Shisei no Otoko) Yuiji Aniya (Akaneshinsha's Edge Comix) May 23, 2011 (1 volume) Rabbit Man, Tiger Man (Usagi Otoko Tora Otoko) Volume 1 Akira Honma (Shinkosha's Chocolat Comics) May 23, 2011 (2+ volumes) Moon and Blood Nao Yazawa May 2011 Digital Manga Publishing has announced the Digital Manga Guild program, partnering with six Japanese publishers to bring fans on board for localization in return for "a revenue percentage from all future sales of that book." an interview concerning the program FUNimation FUNimation has picked up the rights for former ADV releases Bubblegum Crisis 2040, Excel Saga, and Noir. The three will be re-released in 2011.
Funimation recently told Anime News Network on their ANNCast that the second half of D.Gray-man due to issues with Dentsu. The Dragon Ball Z Dragon Boxes are limited releases. IDA Entertainment The first episode of CG animated anthromorphized animals military story Cat Shit One will be available on DVD and Blu-ray starting in December Manga UK The British Manga Entertainment will be distributing Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya film on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in summer 2011. The second season of the tv anime and Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya are also coming from Manga Ent. Releases of Birdy the Mighty Decode and K-On! are also planned. Section23 Canaan Complete Collection has been released on DVD and Blu-ray CANAAN COMPLETE COLLECTION DVD Running Time: 325 min. Age Rating: TV 14 (V) Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles CAT: SF-CN100 UPC: 814131013514 Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Street Date: 10/26/2010 Format: DVD SRP: $59.98 CANAAN COMPLETE COLLECTION BLU-RAY EDITION Running Time: 325 min. Age Rating: TV 14 (V) Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles CAT: SFB-CN100 UPC: 814131019301 Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Street Date: 10/26/2010 Format: BD SRP: $69.98 SYNOPSIS: Colors have scent. Sounds possess images. In this future world, where biochemical weapons have changed the game, an unlucky few have their senses blended. They are gifted with abilities beyond what normal humans feel. They possess synesthesia. XAM'D COLLECTION 2 Running Time: 325 min. Age Rating: TV 14 (V) Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles CAT: SF-XM200 UPC: 814131013712 Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Street Date: 11/09/2010 Format: DVD SRP: $59.98 XAM'D COLLECTION 2 BLU-RAY EDITION Running Time: 325 min. Age Rating: TV 14 (V) Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles CAT: SFB-XM200 UPC: 814131019400 Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Street Date: 11/09/2010 Format: BD SRP: $69.98 Coming February 2011 YOU'RE UNDER ARREST: FAST & FURIOUS COMPLETE COLLECTION Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Run Time: 650 min. Street Date: 2/1/2011 Format: DVD Language: Japanese with English Subtitles SRP: $59.98 SYNOPSIS: Get ready for non-stop, pedal to the metal action and hijinks galore as Japan's most irregular team of police officers hits the streets again on an all new tour of duty! As usual, the Bokuto Police station is a magnet for the weird and UN-usual, and that's about the only rule this duty shift isn't going to break! Fortunately, car crazy Miyuki, insanely strong Natsumi, sexually ambiguous Aoi and the rest of the station's enforcers of justice are always ready to place their well-drawn bodies between the public and the line of fire, and now new Junior Officer Saori has also joined the thin and svelte blue line! From drunken karaoke binges to the bizarre activities of a baseball-themed vigilante and the general nuisance of Strikeman, there are plenty of bad boys, naughtier girls and all around arresting behavior ahead in YOU'RE UNDER ARREST: Fast & Furious Complete Collection! EYESHIELD 21 COLLECTION 4 Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Run Time: 325 min. Street Date: 2/8/2011 Format: DVD Language: Japanese with English Subtitles SRP: $49.98 SYNOPSIS: As the Deimon Devil Bats' continue to evolve and grow their own unique version of American-style football, Sena has a major breakthrough: a revolutionary technique called the Ghost, combining speed and illusion to fool the opposing players. However, when Hiruma forbids him to use it outside of a "real" game, it throws Sena's plans of competing in a side league for practice into a tailspin. With Shin once more pitted against him, will he be able to resist the temptation? Meanwhile, Taki is proving unfortunately worthy of his nickname of "the Idiot," as besides being incredibly challenged about getting on the correct bus, he also seems to be unable to pass his crucial exams. Will he be able to break the dreaded cut-off barrier of 200 so he can play? And then, what is this rumor about another Eyeshield 21? There's a whole pile of trouble waiting to tackle our fearless heroes in EYESHIELD 21 - COLLECTION 4! NEEDLESS COLLECTION 1 Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Run Time: 300 min. Street Date: 2/15/2011 Format: DVD Language: English, Japanese with English Subtitles SRP: $59.98 SYNOPSIS: They're called Needless-mutants who wield amazing powers such as super speed, the ability to change form, and some, like Blade, the power to "learn" other opponent's powers. It's Blade's greatest ability. But is it powerful enough to overcome his weakness for cute young girls in revealing little skirts? Find out in the craziest action comedy anime of the year! NEEDLESS COLLECTION 1 BLU-RAY EDITION Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Run Time: 300 min. Street Date: 2/15/2011 Format: BD Language: English, Japanese with English Subtitles SRP: $69.98 SYNOPSIS: They're called Needless-mutants who wield amazing powers such as super speed, the ability to change form, and some, like Blade, the power to "learn" other opponent's powers. It's Blade's greatest ability. But is it powerful enough to overcome his weakness for cute young girls in revealing little skirts? Find out in the craziest action comedy anime of the year! GINTAMA COLLECTION 4 Published by: Sentai Filmworks Distributed by: Section23 Films Run Time: 250 min. Street Date: 2/22/2011 Format: DVD Language: Japanese with English Subtitles SRP: $49.98 SYNOPSIS: Things get really crazy… that's like, crazier than usual, which just goes to prove that the universe really must be composed of infinite possibilities… when Kagura's father shows up in Edo to visit his daughter. Oh, and he's also in town to take on the deadly alien menace that he might be on the trail of. When Yakuza takes on Aliens, who will lose? The innocent bystanders of course. And needless to say, Kagura's associates respond to her possible (and not particularly voluntary) exit from the franchise in predictable fashion: by trying to grab female lead status for themselves. Meanwhile, Sadahara discovers a devilish aspect of his own personality while becoming a demon, which leads to inevitable difficulties with the High Priestess types. So what's Gintoki doing during all this? Dodging, mostly. Japan's hottest anime series continues as aliens on the loose and underemployed samurai make total assassins out of themselves in the insanity that is GINTAMA COLLECTION 4! Solid Objects Solid Object has released Jim Shepard' GOJIRA, KING OF THE

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