Animation and Anime

AICN Anime - Durarara!! Thundercats, Arrietty the Borrower, Battle Angel Alita and More!

Published at: Feb. 1, 2011, 9:11 p.m. CST


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Column by Scott Green

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Anime Spotlight: Durarara!!
Part One
Released by Aniplex of America


Durarara!! has been marketed to international audiences as an urban mystery. Key elements of that mystery are that, for a while, you don't really know what the mystery is, or even the rules by which it is operating. The hook pulling in Durarara!!'s viewer is the hook pulling in Durarara!!'s characters; the draw of a fantastic, surprising world.

Different time and place, different themes, but Durarara!! shares a creator (light novel author Ryohgo Narita), anime adaptation staff (director Takahiro Omori, writer Noboru Takagi and studio Brains Base) and a lot of the appeal of the highly recommended Baccano!

Baccanno! is staged as a violent confrontation on an American transcontinental train passage, so, that anime is a little more appealing to American audiences. Set in Tokyo's Ikebukuro entertainment district , dealing with some remarkably empowered otaku and drawing from Haruhi Suzumiya-esque ideas, globally, Durarara!! has a more devoted following among devoted anime fans. But, they both share a clever approach to capitalizing on the strengths of light-novel based anime. From the dispersed view points of arrays of captivating characters, they lay out jigsaw pieces of a fascinatingly (shared) built out world.

Though popular, Durarara!! isn't universally loved. Many of knocks against it are hard to entirely dismiss. It is weighed more towards mysterious convolutions than real action. It works to engender doe-eyed affection for some relationships that, when laid out in black in white, are quite creepy. I'd add that it softens some real violent problems and troubling social circumstances. I don't love the implications or the way in which it is given to complementing its audience either. And yet, it has a Celtic headless horeswoman who chats on IRC, is slightly concerned/fascinated by the possibility of alien grays, and whose sleep is troubled by existential nightmares. The first set of Aniplex Durarara!! doesn't get to the point, (the anime previously streamed on Crunchyroll), but, there is an episode in which a character explains that they went to Ikebukuro to seek out, and, if necessary, create a fascinatingly exciting world. Through its kaleidoscope of colorful characters and their mystifying relationships, Durarara!! accomplishes just that.

Like Baccano!, Durarara!! opening does a Guy Ritchie style cast introduction, identifying 15 significant characters. There are more reoccurring ones and later instructions too. This includes runaways, a pharmaceutical executive, an underground surgeon, insanely violent muscle for a debt collector dressed like a formal bartender, otaku with a taste for manga-inspired torture, an information broker, who, according to Wikipedia, is named for the Hebrew profit Isiah, an Afro-Russian sushi chef, and, a headless horeswoman whose horse has become a black motorcycle, clad in black herself, except for a yellow helmet with cutesy ears.

At the cast's center is a trio of first year high school students. These three don't stand out with the unmistakably exotic credentials of the maniacs and Irish fairies infamously inhabiting Ikebukuro . Mikado Ryugamine left his more provincial home to attend school in these urban environs; he's curious and green, but has wits such that he's not entirely unprepare for Ikebukuro's traps. Masaomi Kida grew up with Mikado, but in the years since the two parted company, Kida became Mikado street wise foil. He puts on a brave face. He's quite the extravert talker and joker, but behind the levity, he obviously got himself into some trouble in the city. The anime isn't too subtle about the suggestion that it had something to do with involvement with Ikebukuro's clashing "colors" gangs. Anri Sonohara admits that she was something of a social parasite in middle school, willing to slouch into the role of the quiet, less flashy counterpoint that made a more popular partner look better. With her friend absent, she seeks to reinvent herself in high school.

Mikado, Kida, and, especially, Anri are subject to the problems of school life, such as bullies and predatory teachers. Beyond that, there are the mundane threats of urban ecology, particular in an entertainment a district that sees constant coming and going. There are gangs and criminal enterprises. A kidnapping ring is seen operating in the background as Mikado is given his first tour of the city. Then, there's the exceptional dangers particular to Durarara!! The urban legends like the Black Rider headless biker and some attacker lurking in the shadows that gets labeled The Slasher. Mikado is told to keep a watch out for pretty much all of them.

While the ingredients for horror are laid out, the city and its denizens are introduced from Mikado's perspective, and, as such, that the anime picks up his quizzical fascination with it all. As apt to run to danger as away from it, the questions that start percolating are along the lines of who's really a threat to who? If a problem/threat is encountered, can be it be solved?

This is complicated by a narrative that alternates its first person voice. Episode by episode, a character narrates what's going on. The narrator of an episode is not always its subject and consequently, the narrator might be voicing more of their world view and philosophy than real familiarity with the on screen events.

It's complicated by how much rumor, falsehood, buzz and scuttlebutt are injected into the conversation. Regularly, a character will ask around the Ikebukuro crowds, and not only are the answers contradictory, they're full of supposition, lies, and resounding incorrectness. Technology also stands as a key channel of the conversation. Characters are frequently on their cell phones. They go online, assuming anonymous identities (sometimes multiple ones), and attempt to hash out what's going on in Ikebukuro. Even the honest ones have something to hide and as such, fail to explain or contextualize the assertions that they post.

The final, essential complication is what Durarara!! is all about. The cast, hero and villain alike, are in Ikebukuro to define themselves, and in most cases, assert those definitions of excitement or passivity or order or chaos onto the world. Durarara!! adeptly handles the proven otaku-catnip that you can be what you choose to be, or you're at least welcome to try. The series grounds it, such that it's not strictly about running down the streets away from dangers. Nor is it simply wish fulfillment or power fantasy. Since it's about attempting to shape a relationship with an environment, the protagonists trying to untangle the convolutions of Ikebukuro aren't doing anything radically different than the married person who overlooks infidelity to maintain a stable domestic life. And, Durarara!! establishes that this isn't entirely laudable, with some problem cases; not just villains, but irksomely pathological individuals.

Durarara!! welcomes active mental engagement. It builds its themes and it builds the mystery. Clues are laid out, inviting speculation and conjecture. Details presented visually or verbally that stand out in a when the anime is rewatched prove that it does play honestly with what it presents to the audience. However, while that part of the fun certainly holds up, Durarara!!'s appeal owes as least as much to emotional and visceral triggers as it does logical or intellectual ones.

Even if characters aren't actually throwing down to fight that often, there's the exhilaration of getting into it. The world of Ikebukuro is one of faceless crowds, from which bullies, or gangs looking to prove their alpha status or traffickers or even more exotic predators can emerge. Especially since the principal three are teens with which one can identify, the anime offers an opportunity to vicariously indulge in danger.

While there's the jittery impression that there is reason for concern, at the same time, there's a spirit of interconnectedness. All these headless riders and information brokers and violence heroes and teen nobodies meet each other online and offline. It's part of world building, and more than that, it's the idea that there's a vein running from the normal to the special/exceptional. The allure of Durarara!! has a lot to the do, with the sentiment that it's the wild, weird world that you want it to be out there, and, for the span of the anime, you can rub shoulders with it.


When I write out what Durarara!! is about, I go back and forth about whether I like liking the anime.
On one hand, anime is at its most winning when it manages a distinctive presentation of engaging characters. In the immediate flamboyance of its cast, then all of the curiosities and ironies that emerge when the puzzle pieces are examined, Durarara!! wins with its clever approach to anime appeal.

Alternatively, I'm inclined to second guess anime that makes self-identified anime fans feel included and special. That said, if I'm rationally reserved, with a knee jerk reaction against stories that tell the audience what they want to head, I'm irrationally won over. As soon as its theme song comes on, Durarara!!'s hooked me.



Upcoming in North America (or, Basically Outside Japan)


Disney has currently slated Ghibli's Arrietty the Borrower for a theatrical release February 17, 2012.

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An official image has been released for the upcoming Thundercats revival


Roaring to life through WBA and Studio4°C’s use of the Japanese animated artistry of anime, “ThunderCats” characters Lion-O, Mumm-Ra, Panthro, Cheetara and others will spring off the screen with realistic cat-like characteristics inconceivable in previous incarnations.

The new “ThunderCats” will appeal to viewers who have loved the characters all their lives as well as young newcomers to the franchise. A sweeping tale combining swords and science and boasting ferocious battles with the highest of stakes, the grand origin story of Prince Lion-O’s ascension to the throne – and of those who would thwart his destiny at any cost – takes on epic dimensions in this sharp new telling. As the forces of good and evil battle each other in the quest for the fabled Stones of Power, Lion-O and his champions learn valuable lessons of loyalty, honor and mortality in every episode.

“ThunderCats” is executive produced by Sam Register (“Teen Titans,” “Ben 10,” “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”). Michael Jelenic (“Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” “Wonder Woman”) and Ethan Spaulding (“Avatar: The Last Airbender”) are the producers.



“ThunderCats” © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. “ThunderCats” and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros.



MTV Splash Page spoke to producer Ethan Spaulding

A look at Snarf, and the toys

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James Cameron commented on his Battle Angel plans.


I’m obviously going to be pretty busy for the next five years [with Avatar 2 and 3]. And so I had to consider, do I hand this project off to another director? And then I thought, ‘No, I love it too much.’”

...

It’s such a rich world. What I’m going to do is take the spine story and use elements from the first four books. So, the Motorball from books three and four, and parts of the story of one and two will all be in the movie.



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Alexandre Aja (Piranha 3D) has commented on his adaptation of Buichi Terasawa's action sci-fi Cobra the Space Pirate


“The 25 mangas by Terasawa are incredibly rich. Its tone has no equal. This project is a huge challenge, because it’s going be a space opera. I envision it as a sort of Star Wars. I just have to convince all the financial partners now.”

“You have to respect the essence of Cobra. He’s an adventurer and a seducer. Its ’sexiness’ has to be included in the film, just like its humor and adventure. My Cobra has to remain true to Terasawa’s universe.”



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Power Rangers Samurai

Bandai Entertainment

Kurokami Part #6 DVD (BLURAY) (Eps #21-24) (English Dubbed) - Mar 22
Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya & Nyoron! Churuya-san! Part 1 DVD - Mar 22
The Girl Who leapt Through Time (BLURAY) - Apr 12
Girl Who Leapt Through Space Part #1 DVD - Apr 26
K-On! Vol #1 DVD - Apr 26
K-On! Vol #1 (BLURAY) - Apr 26

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Anime Legends) - moved Feb 8 to Mar 22



Upcoming releases include

FUNimation
Teasers for Evangelion 2.22










NIS America, Inc.
PandoraHearts Volume 2 Premium Edition has been released. Like Volume 1, Volume 2 will come in a premium edition package with 12 episodes on 2 DVDs and a hardcover art book.


About PandoraHeartsVolume 2
Oz Vessalius, who just turned fifteen, returns to a world 10 years in the future after being released from the eternal prison known as “Abyss.” A century old truth, the secret of Abyss, and the roles of the Citizens of Baskerville are among the mysteries Oz must solve. The true meaning behind his “sin” shall decide where his adventures will lead him in the end.




Right Stuf
Anime producer and distributor Right Stuf, Inc. and its Nozomi Entertainment announced the SHINGU: Secret of the Stellar Wars DVD Thinpak Collection will be repriced to $29.99 and rereleased on May 3, 2011.

The Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars DVD Collection includes all 26 episodes of the anime series – plus video extras and a 44-page booklet with production notes, an interview with series director Tatsuo Sato, and more – housed in an art box. This release features both English and Japanese audio options, English-language subtitles and English on-screen translations.

Shingu is an original story created, written and directed by Tatsuo Sato (Martian Successor Nadesico, Azumanga Daioh) and animated by Madhouse (Animatrix, Death Note, Paprika).


About SHINGU: Secret of the Stellar Wars

Hajime Murata’s world is about to be turned upside down. First, an alien ship appears over Tokyo. Then, a mysterious new student named Muryou transfers to his school, and everything begins to change. Classmates suddenly begin to display psychic powers. A giant, white guardian faces off with alien creatures in the skies. And men with threatening weapons lurk in the shadows. With all these strange events taking place, can Hajime unravel the truth behind the world he thought he knew? The complete 26-episode series!


SHINGU: Secret of the Stellar Wars (Gakuen Senki Muryou) © Sato Tatsuo / Madhouse / Team MURYOU

JUNJO ROMANTICA 2 DVD Collection (Season 2) has been rescheduled to be released on May 3, 2011


Three intertwining love stories threaten to unravel as each couple struggles to find its own path.

Romantica: College student Misaki and his unlikely lover, the eccentric novelist Usami, are slowly growing closer. But their relationship could be in trouble when Usami's older brother appears, and the two begin to vie for Misaki's attention!

Egoist: Nowaki loves Hiroki with all his heart, but sometimes, he's afraid Hiroki doesn't feel the same way. When Nowaki asks Hiroki for permission to address him by his real name, as others do, Hiroki flatly refuses. To Nowaki, this is just another reminder of the invisible gap that separates them... a gap that he must close, if they're ever going to truly be a couple.

Terrorist: Miyagi is growing anxious. Shinobu used to be relentless in his devotion, but recently, the relationship has gone quiet. As a 35-year-old university professor, is Miyagi really content with living at the mercy of a younger man whose actions are still such a mystery?




JUNJO ROMANTICA 2 © 2008 Shungiku NAKAMURA•KADOKAWASHOTEN/Romantica Club!!


Section23
the Guin Saga Blu-ray set has been delayed indefinitely

YOU'RE UNDER ARREST: FAST & FURIOUS COMPLETE COLLECTION has just been released
Running Time: 650 min.
Age Rating: TV PG (V)
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
CAT: SF-YUA200
UPC: 814131014207
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Format: DVD
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!



Shout Factory

The final two films from the original Gamera franchise, Gamera Vs. Zigra/ Gamera: The Super Monster double-feature DVD, will debut March 15.


Newly restored anamorphic widescreen transfers
English Dubs
Publicity Gallery
Feature running times: +/- 87 minutes and +/- 92 minutes

Final release details have been set for ReBoot Seasons 1& 2 DVD
The set will be release on March 1, 2011. This collectible 4-DVD set features all 23 episodes from the first and second seasons, along with special commentary by producer Christopher Brough, designer and storyboard artist Blair Peters and animator Zeke Norton. REBOOT: SEASONS 1 & 2 DVD set is priced at $29.93 SRP.


UDON Entertainment

Mega Man Gigamix Vol.1(Of 3) will be released on May 4 for $12.95


Gigamix Vol.1 sets the stage with an exciting outer space adventure, where Mega Man faces off against the Robot Masters of Mega Man 3, as well as the gigantic Gamma robot! The space setting of this tale acts as a prelude to Gigamix Vol.2 & 3, where all robots good and evil alike must join forces to defend the Earth from the ultra-powerful Stardroids! This two-part epic features every single Robot Master from the first eight Mega Man games, plus fan favorites like Bass, Treble, Proto Man, Duo, Rush, Beat, Roll, Dr. Wily, Dr. Cossack, Dr. Light, and of course the blue bomber himself – Mega Man!



Legendary Visions: The Art Of Genzoman will be released in May. The 208 page full color book will retail for $39.99


LEGENDARY VISIONS collects the breathtaking works of artist Gonzalo Ordóñez Arias, also known as Genzoman! Inside you’ll find spectacular renderings of the gods and heroes of ancient Greece, Egypt, South America, Scandinavia, Asia and more. Also included are fantastic interpretations of real life historical figures so amazing that they have become legendary themselves, such as Caribbean pirates, Japanese warriors, Middle Eastern royalty, and Egyptian pharaohs.


Vertical
Vertical has announced manga licensed on Anime News Network, including Osamu Tezuka's Princess Knight (Ribon no Kishi, the shoujo club version), Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto's wine manga Drops of God (Kami no Shizuku) and Usamaru Furuya's manga No Longer Human.

The two 300+ page volumes of Princess Knight will be released on October 4th and December 6th for US$13.95 each.

Each Vertical volume of Drops of God (current running at 27 volumes in Japan) will contain the equivalent of two Kodansha volumes, for a total of about 400 pages, and carry a suggested retail price of US$14.95.

The first of three parts of Usamaru Furuya's manga adaptation of Osamu Dazai's novel No Longer Human will be released on September 27 and the second on November 22.

Viz

New Anime releases include
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN BOX SET, Volume 5 • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $49.95 U.S. / $71.99 CAN •
This latest NARUTO Box Set features Episodes 54-65.

VAMPIRE KNIGHT THE COMPLETE SERIES • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • MSRP: $49.95 U.S. / $71.99 CAN •


POKEMON ELEMENTS BOX SET, Volume 2 • Rated ‘A’ for All Ages • MSRP: $29.92 U.S. / $42.99 CAN •


Volume 50 of the Naruto manga has also just been released


NARUTO (C) 1999 by Masashi Kishimoto/SHUEISHA Inc.

Upcoming in Japan


Promos
Gainax x Subaru's Hokago no Pleiades


Blue Exorcist

Anime

The third Gundam Unicorn has been delayed three week

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Koji Yamamura ("Mt. Head," "Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor") will be art director and producing animated shorts for NHK's Purekiso Eigo

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Ahead of Tokyo Anime Fair, Gonzo has signaled a return to steam-tech air epic Last Exile with Last Exile ~Ginyoku no Fam~ (Last Exile -Fam, The Silver Wing-), "a new series of Last Exile [with] new story, [main] characters, and mechanical designs" for 2011.

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Rui-Tomo’s anthropomorphic cockroach girl doujinishi Gokicha will be adapted into an cel phone distributed anime

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A second anime adaptation of gambling manga Kaiji will premiere on Japanese TV in April.

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Hidekichi Matsumoto's four-panel supernatural gag manga Honto ni Atta! Reibai-Sensei will be adapted into an anime series

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Junichi Sato's (Aria, Kaleido Star, Princess Tutu) "healing anime" Tamayura Zenwa Joei Event ~Itsuka Omoide ni Natteiku will become a TV series

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Kenshi Hirokane's business man manga Shima Kosaku will be adapted into an "somewhat unusual anime."

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Bones' six-part theatrical project Towa no Quon will launch in Japanese theatres on June 18th

Manga

Sakigake!! Otokojuku's Akira Miyashita is doing a Hattori Hanzo manga in Super Jump

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Kadokawa Shoten will launch new 4 panel driven anthology 4-Koma Nano Ace on March 9

The first volume will include the following titles:

The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan by Puyo
Yuyuru Shikkobu by bomi
Hozuki-san Chi no Aneki by Ran Igarashi
Upotte!! by Kitsune Tennoji
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Force Dimension by Asuka Kanan
Baka to Test to Shokanju Dya by Koizumi
Nichijou by Keiichi Arawi

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Kei Toume (Kurogane) wrapped up her latest manga, Genei Hakurankai, in Comic Birz. Her next series will launched this fall.

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The Samurai Champloo is getting a new edition

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Kaiji Kawaguchi's (Eagle: Making of an Asian American President) will run new manga Hata Hyouma, about a samurai who travels to Russia, in Big Comic

Live Action

The second Gantz movie will be titled GANTZ PERFECT ANSWER, scheduled to hit on April 23rd


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Michiko Kichise will be back for a second season of teacher drama Hagane no Onna, based on Hagane no Onna manga

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Kenzi Taketomi's school teacher manga Suzuki Sensei will be getting a live action adaptation with Hiroki Hasegawa in the title role

Prose

Mamoru Oshii and illustrator Katsuya Terada will be writing a novel to complete Satoshi Kon's unfinished Seraphim: 2-Oku 6661-Man 3336 no Tsubasa, set to be collected in Spring 2012.

Digital Distribution News



IDA, Inc. announced that Cat Shit One's first episode can be viewed on YouTube starting February 5th, 2011 for two weeks.

DVD and Blu-ray edition will go on sale on Amazon.com, at the same time as the YouTube release. As a bonus feature, commentaries on the military action scenes by the tactical advisor and interviews with the production staff are also included.


Story:

A group of desert terrorists kidnap civilians. A team of rabbit commandos, Packy and Botasky, from the Carrot Military Service, a private military company, witness a murder of an escaping hostage. Afraid that the rest of the hostages will undergo the same situation, the team demands backup. However, the backup arrival time will be too late for the hostages. ‘Their lives are in our hands!’ Without any other options, the rabbit commandos charge for the enemy line on their own.






(c) 2010 Motofumi Kobayashi/ anima•IDA

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Toei is offering the 2005 update of super robot show Gaiking (the original anime ran on American TV as part of the Force Five programming) and Digimon Tamerson Hulu

Sentai Filmworks localizaed Highschool of the Dead is now available

The Zatoichi TV series is also on Hulu

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In January 24, FUNimation filed a lawsuit against 1,337 "John Does," identified by their IP addresses, for copy right infrigement of One Piece episode "Ace Rescued! Whitebeard's Final Order!" in the United States District Court For The Northern District Of Texas Dallas Division

from the complaint

Defendants collectively participated, via the internet, in the unlawful reproduction and distribution of Plaintiff’s copyrighted motion picture, “One Piece: no. 481, Ace Rescued! Whitebeard’s Final Order!,” by means of file transfer technology called, BitTorrent. Defendants initiated their infringing conduct by first visiting one of many BitTorrent websites known for its large index of copyrighted movies, television shows, software and adult videos.

...

With the reference file loaded, each Defendant then used his or her BitTorrent program to initiate connections to hundreds of other users possessing and “sharing” copies of the digital media described in the reference file, namely, Plaintiff’s motion picture. These connections were directed at other users throughout the United States and throughout the world. A group of users that is connected to each other to obtain content in this manner is called a “BitTorrent swarm.” Once connected, the Defendants began coordinating the unlawful copying of Plaintiff’s film from each other and from other users participating in the swarm.



Funimation seeks an end to the defendants' infringement of the episode, destruction of the defendants copy and compensation for legal costs.

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After ceasing their digital simulcast of Fractale after its producer insisted that they address piracy concerns, FUNimation has resumed their distrobution of the new anime series.

On their blog, Funimation commented


We want to take this opportunity to make clear that the recent postponement of the simulcast was made to protect the Fractale production committee’s international business interests while taking legal action against the illegal distribution of FUNimation’s episode one outside of our contractual US and Canada territory. The decision was made only after much deliberation and information gathering with FUNimation.
It is our responsibility to protect the rights of all of our partners and we will continue to fervently do so.



Marketing Director Lance Heiskell commented on related issues here

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Comic Rush will be going digital starting in March


Future issues will be available on personal computers, Apple iPhone/iPad/iPod touch devices, and Android smartphones on the 1st of every month for 450 yen (about US$5.50). T
The magazine currently publishes the following titles:

Imusanjo's Bushitsu no Dwarf-chan
Yoshihisa Inoue's Maru Dere
Yuichi Hasegawa's Yuusha Raideen spinoff God Bird
Hanamaru Nanto's Shinyaku Okami ga Kuru!
Renga Kijima's Brafman Over Boost
KEI's Copyhan: Saya to Sayu no Daisakusen
Yasuyuki Tsurugi's Tama Hime
Hidetaka Kakei's Tona-Gura!
Yuya Kurokami and Karuna Kanzaki's Shinakoi
Kaoru Mizuhara and Takashi Konno's Voice Actress's Theater Papaion! Mizuhara-san
Samui Kitagawa and Maika Netsu's Hokuto-chan no Nanatsuboshi
Miyao Nekoyama's Aku no Meshitsukai
Masahiro Takatani's Denki no Hanayome
Koha Hakoda's Brush Up
Aya Tsutsumi's Akuma de Moteru ×××
Monta Tokita's Mimi Mimic
Ashita Morimi's Cocoa no Kekkon Internet Marriage
Motoo Koyama's Ozanari Dungeon Tactics

The March issue features a Shinakoi cover by special guest artist Mutsumi Inomata to mark the release of the manga's fourth volume.

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Kodansha's Morning Two is being offered on iOS

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An excerpt of Osamu Tezuka's manga biography of Buddha is being offered free digitally on oOS and PC in Japan ahead of the premiere of its anime adaptation

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God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post-World War II Manga is now available on Kindle

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A Macross Frontier virtual concert will be offered on Playstation Home head of the upcoming Macross Frontier ~Sayonara no Tsubasa~ movie.

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Crunchyroll vice president of vice president of licensing Rob Pereyda announced that he has left the company

Anime x Games


Anime inspiring fantasy RPG/visual novels Utawarerumono and Tears to Tiara will be getting sequels

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Game On is developing an online game based on fantasy series Record of Lodoss War. Creator Ryo Mizuno will be involved with the production.

Naruto Shippuden: Ninrattai Emaki! Saikyou Ninkai Kessen!! screenshots

Akihrio Hino shows off the Playstation 3 version of Ni no Kuni


Awards and Recognition



Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon and The Illusionist got the Oscar's animated feature nominations, meaning that eligable Summer Wars was shut out.

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Urasawa x Tezuka's reiminaging of Astro Boy story World's Strongest Robot, Pluto, was recognized with the Prix Intergénérations at France's France's Angoulême International Comics Festival

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Manga winners of the 56th Shogakukan Manga Awards included

Children's Category - Yumeiro Pâtissière by Natsumi Matsumoto - Serialized in Ribon (Shueisha)

Boys' Category King Golf by Ken Sasaki, Advisor: Masaki Tani - Serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday (Shogakukan)

Girls' Category - Ooku: The Inner Chamber by Fumi Yoshinaga - Serialized in Melody (Hakusensha)
Published by Viz Media in North America

General Category
Ushijima the Loan Shark by Shohei Manabe - Serialized in Big Comic Spirits (Shogakukan)

Uchu Kyodai bu Chuya Koyama - Serialized in Weekly Morning (Kodansha)

This year's judging committee included Mitsuru Adachi, Akira Oze, author Mitsuyo Kakuta, Kaiji Kawaguchi, Chiho Saito, Kenshi Hirokane, novelist Yu Nagashima, and Buronson.

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Nominees for The Digital Entertainment Group Japan's 3rd annual DEG Japan Awards/Blu-ray Prizesincluded anime with Laputa: Castle in the Sky in Best Video Quality in Film and Summer Wars in Best Interactivity category for its "Summer Wars Navi" guide feature with BD-Java.


The Business


Funimation parent company Navarre announced its results for the fiscal third quarter, ending December 31.


Net sales from continuing operations increased 17 percent to $147.3 million, as compared to net sales from continuing operations of $125.8 million for the same period last year, an increase of $21.5. Continuing operations does not include the results of FUNimation Entertainment, which the Company is currently marketing for a potential sale and is classified as discontinued operations

...

Operating income from continuing operations during the third quarter was $2.1 million, as compared to operating income from continuing operations of $2.9 million in the prior fiscal year, a decrease of 27 percent.

...

Debt at December 31, 2010 was reduced to $12.5 million and includes the use of $8.1 million in cash in connection with the May 2010 acquisition of Punch! Software. Total debt has been cut in half from $25.0 million, at December 31, 2009.

...

The company has not yet received an adequate offer in connection with its efforts to sell FUNimation Entertainment. Although this sales process continues, if the company does not receive an adequate offer in the fourth quarter, it anticipates that these efforts will be halted.



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Following Tokyo's youth protection ordinence regulating sales of anime and manga more exhibitors are withdrawing from the Tokyo Anime Fair in protect.


The number of exhibitors in the Tokyo International Anime Fair in March has already fallen by 91 from the previous year to 153, a revenue loss of 110 million yen, according to the organizing committee headed by Gov Shintaro Ishihara. Of the 153, 125 are Japanese companies and 28 are overseas companies, the organizer said.


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X Japan and EMI Music have signed an exclusive three-year manufacturing and distribution agreement that will have
EMI Label Services handle the band's releases in North America.

The first release will be the track "Jade" on March 15, followed by the band¹s as yet untitled American debut set for a Summer, 2011 release.

To support the new album, X Japan plans to tour extensively in 2011.

 

 

 




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  • Feb. 1, 2011, 10:42 p.m. CST

    So overwhelmed!!! Lotsa info here.

    by CodeName

    ThunderCats looks promising. Glad Cameron is still doing Battle Angel. I can't see anyone else doing it.

  • Feb. 1, 2011, 11:20 p.m. CST

    Happy to hear about Battle Angel

    by Nerd Rage

    I'm glad Cameron is still going to do it.

  • Feb. 2, 2011, 12:23 a.m. CST

    2012!?

    by Rhuragh

  • Feb. 2, 2011, 12:24 a.m. CST

    Goddammit. 2012!?

    by Rhuragh

    Are you fucking kidding me? We have to wait 'til 2012 for Arrietty!? Fuck you, Disney! Oh well, I'll have downloaded it _long_ before then.

  • Feb. 2, 2011, 1:09 a.m. CST

    Yes!

    by kufirst

    I'm a big of Durarara, as I was Baccano and Natsume's Book of Friends. See a trend? I'm going to look into Shingu and keep tabs on Blue Exorcist. Thanks for everything!

  • Feb. 2, 2011, 5:16 a.m. CST

    Damn...

    by gopher

    Still no news on Rei Hiroe's Black Lagoon. When is that returning from hiatus???

  • Feb. 2, 2011, 10:18 a.m. CST

    on Thundercats:

    by VAwitch

    "realistic cat-like characteristics inconceivable in previous incarnations." Like what?? Laying in the sun, Cheetara going into heat every month,retractable claws? Ah well - at least its producing pedigree isn't bad.

  • Feb. 2, 2011, 2:04 p.m. CST

    Curse you, Cameron

    by maelstrom_ZERO

    I'm going to have to wait 5 years or more for a Battle Angel movie? Why focus on the boring, emotionally vapid universe of Avatar when you could be making a kick-ass sci-fi epic rife with sheer awesomeness? And I'll never understand why Avatar was popular. It was visually impressive, but that's as far as it went--a merely passable movie that transplanted the plot of Dances with Wolves into a sci-fi setting, without a single character to become emotionally invested in. I guess I'm just bitter because I expected something better than what I saw. If nothing else, at least Avatar 2/3 will give Cameron a chance to improve on the original.