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AICN Anime Report: Lone Wolf & Cub; Gundam G Generation Neo; Millennium Actress; Cowboy BeBop; Carried by the Wind

Father Geek here with Scott Green and another great regular mid-week edition of our column concerning ALL things Manga and/or Anime. !st I've got a bit Scott sent in at the last minute, just as I was posting, that I'm just going to put up front...

I got a good article about the anime network...

ADV Films Announces Launch Of The Anime Network(Tm) On Digital Cable ADV Films has released a press statement announcing a 24 hour Anime Network on digital cable.

"This has been in the works for some time," said ADV Films President, Founder and CEO John Ledford. "Until now, the market and the culture haven't been ready for it. But today ever-increasing numbers of Americans are becoming familiar with anime and its distinctive aesthetic; they're curious about anime, they're hungry for it, and The Anime Network(tm) is going to deliver it right to their televisions."

The Anime Network model is structured around four categorized content areas: Action Zone, Sci-Fi, Comedy Incorrect, and Horror/Martial Arts. These categories are designed to include virtually the entire spectrum of quality anime, while contextualizing content for new viewers unfamiliar with specific titles.

Father Geek back... now on to the regular...

AICN Anime Report...

Manga Spotlight: Black & White by Taiyo Matsumoto

Released by Viz's Pulp Line

Black & White is a bit like the comic equivalent of... name your favorite pre-over commercialized youth music movement. It's urban Steinbeck by way of Clockwork Orange violence. It's an honest and spirited story of a pair of opposites forcing their way in the world (and much more entertaining, and less pretentious than sounds). A pair of roof top inner-city avengers patrolling the city, issuing beat downs to those who slighted them, or the miscreants they protect. It's "bloody the guys that that try to screw you", " don't accept disrespect from anyone", and "don't bend to the system".

Despite it's unique appearance (schlock pan-culture amalgam architecture, gangs in Mad Max dress, conservative "good citizens" in numbered black body suits), the mechanics of Treasure Town is identical to any other city in human history. Business, organized crime, and police contend for control, but at the top of the food chain is Black and White. Black is the spirit of the city: scheming, studied, quick thinking, cynically analytical, both brutally efficient, and viciously temperamental, and his partner/charge White is an innocent unaffected by the quagmire of a rotting city, a mentally deficient boy with a natural, savage tendency for violence, he can't dress himself, he can kick and fight like his partner, and unlike Black, he can dream of apple trees and bright possibilities. No individual or institution can control them. Those who try end up beating into unconsciousness with a studded rod, If anything can shape them, it's the city as a whole.

Taiyo Matsumoto's art has a heavy European comic influence. The character design are more abstract character flaws and slight ugliness, rather than idealization prevalent in most American and Japanese illustration.

Between No.5 and Black & White, Matsumoto is demonstrates a real talent in creating uniquely odd landscape. Mixes of planet's cultural icons, architecture, and animal populations. The surreal touches extend beyond the design. For example Black & White may walk past a fortune teller, and his costumer who are bent as if reflected in the crystal ball that they are studying.

There's a broken record that plays when talking about translated manga, particularly in Viz's Pulp label. It's fresh, graphic, and rarely if ever seen anywhere else. Here's a fun, and maybe the word is too trite, and tired, but "touching" angry youth story, that you're unlikely to find in television, that's very rare in movies, rarely seen or toned down in anime, that you may find in music, but is buried or less accessible.

Spotlight: Newtype USA

The Japanese Newtype magazine is always a pleasure to page through, even if you can't read a word of Japanese. The English edition captures this with the same oversized format, and full capacity packing of images from the latest Japanese anime releases. It's announcement was one of the most exciting and potentially industry changing moments in the recent history of the American anime industry. There is a new immediatecy. For the first time, Americans can see what they're missing. Brand new shows like Gundam Seed, or Headguy-J, and shows that are eagerly anticipated in Japan like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, all on huge printed pages.

The driving force of Newtype is graphical intensity. The magazine emits a siren's call asking you to flip threw it again, and again. The size of the images, the resolution, and their appearance of glossy paper need to seen to be appreciated. It's not likely to win any points with design purists, but its an optical black hole. You can't help but want to look at it.

The issue features a number of what are best described as extras, include Raxephon post cards, a centerfold poster of Cowboy Bebop fem fatale Faye Valentine, a Bandai sample DVD, internal, and detached chapters of the manga series Full Metal Panic.

The issue features several impressive creator interviews, including one with director of the manic comedy Excel Saga Shinichi Watanabe, who included himself in the series, as afro hair man of action Nabeshin (though is a little tacky that a statement was redacted because of spoiler information.

Fears that coverage would be skewed towards anime licensed by the magazine's products ADV Films turn out to be completely unfounded. There does not appear to be any agenda is promoted anime licensed by any particular company.

The only format complaint is the right to left page flow (from what's traditionally the back cover, to the front, though within a pair of pages, reading is done left to right). There are a number of valid arguments for right to left publishing of translated manga (comics), mostly revolving around preserving the artist's original story telling, but there doesn't seem to be a call for this degree of authenticity for the sake of authenticity. The fact that most articles are only on two pages mitigates the issue, but it because very noticeable in longer episodes. Maybe there are production side economic benefits of the format, but it doesn't enhance the reading experience, it's more like a minor annoyance.

Though it is impossible to complain about the number and quality if the magazine's images, the written content is often a little lacking. It's pretty clear that at least for this issue, the emphasis was getting the visual format and style. Some article give a good sense of the anime being describes, but most are too superficial, and could stand to include a more qualitative and background content. Which is problematic considering the number of poor high concept anime series, and plenty more with tired concepts that are well executes.

Articles often consist of descriptions of the series plot, and characters without much in the way of execution. For example, a two page spread of the hot new series "Getbackers" focuses on the special powers of its two lead characters. The full page images of a grunge-youth with a fist full of lightning and his dark haired partner with purple John Lenin glasses hanging bellow is evil eyes is striking, but a super powers description is an awful introduction to an anime/manga, which is generating buzz for its interesting play character.

There are plenty of exceptions on both ends of the spectrum. There are articles in back section of the magazine that are as terse as their more graphical predecessors, but provide the background and description to get a good sense of the described show, but there are also articles that are barely comprehensible, or completely impossible to follow without a working knowledge of the series described.

Given the sparsity of text, it is hard to imagine more adding that much more information, while preserving the graphic format. More background information, such as connecting creators to projects known in the US in particular would be helpful, but it doesn't seem likely. The initial announcement of an English Newtype seemed to herald a force that would overshadow all other providers of anime information, but for better or worse, the final result is more a visual catalogue, unlikely to burry its competition. It's a pleasurable browse, and its going to create a splash, but not a tsunami,

This Week's Releases

Anime
  • Armitage III - The Complete Ova
  • Carried By The Wind - Tsukikage Ran - Shocking Secrets (Vol. 2)
  • Excel Saga 3
  • Fancy Lala - Taking Center Stage (Vol. 3)
  • Inu-Yasha - Down The Well ~
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam - Round 1
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam - Round 2
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam - Round 3
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam Boxed Set - Rounds 1-3
  • Yu-Gi-Oh - Attack From The Deep
  • Yu-Gi-Oh - Give Up The Ghost

Manga
  • Animerica Extra December 2002 Vol 5 #12
  • Banana Fish Vol 7 Tp
  • Big O Part 3 #1 (Of 4)
  • Blade Of The Immortal #73 Fall Frost (Part 1 Of 6)
  • Blade Of The Immortal On Silent Wings Tp (Re-Release)
  • Blood Last Vampire 2002 Gn
  • Dark Angel Vol 5 Tp Legend Of The Sacred Beast Ii
  • Gunsmith Cats Bonnie & Clyde Tp (Re-Release)
  • Magical Pokemon Journey Vol 7 Tp From The Heart
  • Medabots Part 4 #3 (Of 4)
  • Oh My Goddess Queen Sayoko Tp (Re-Release)
  • Project Arms Part 1 #3 (Of 16)
  • Ranma 1/2 Part 11 #9 (Of 11)
  • Super Manga Blast #26
  • Zoids Gn New Century

Also Marvel Mangaverse Tp Vol 2

Carried By The Wind

Tsukikage Ran is an episodic samurai tale featuring a wandering samurai woman, and her Chinese martial artist partner, that riffs on traditional samurai tales with a humorous take, and impressive cinematic action.

Inu-Yasha is the first volume of the anime series based on Rumiko Takahashi's "feudal fairytale", a mix of horror, action, and romance, about a girl from the modern era, and a half dog demon from Japan's era of warring states (not be mention of host of other interesting characters, including fox demon trickster, cursed priest with a lecherous street, and life long demon hunter with enormous boomerang).

See last week's column for a review of G Gundam, the tournament fight take on the traditional giant robot war story.

Super Manga Blast, Dark Horse Comics' manga anthology began Ghost in the Shell creator Masamune Shirows Appleseed Hypernotes in issue 25. Translators Studio Proteus has reiterated that the story will not be collected until Shirow finishes Appleseed 5, which given Shirows schedule, temperament and work rate is not likely in the forseeable future, if ever.

Cowboy Bebop Movie Theatrical Plans

Anime News Service reports Columbia Tristar plans to start a limited theatrical release of January 2003, with English dub, and Japanese prints provides to each theatre.

FLCL Volume 2 Release Date Set

Synch-Point has set a February 25th release date for the second volume of Gainax and Production IG's FLCL.

Features: -Bilingual DVD -Subtitles -2 episodes -Translation notes -Reversible cover -Bonus Booklet -Image Gallery -Commentary by Original Japanese Creator/Director And more!

Naota wants to be normal. But with a talented brother leaving Japan for the US to play baseball, everyone now looks at him a bit differently. His brother's girlfriend is acting strange and now there's an even stranger girl hitting on him. Literally. With a bass guitar. Oh, did I mention the robots that keep springing from his head? Produced by GAINAX (Neon Genesis Evangelion) and animated by Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell), FLCL takes animation to yet another level. Get ready for this shocking and funny digital animation about adolescence, expectations and alien intrigue. Ready, steady, GO!

Volume 2

Episode 3

Marquis de Carabas Naota is tired of being harassed to star in the school play, Puss and Boots, by that obnoxious class president Ninamori, but when she gets hurt in an accident with that violent alien Haruko, Ninamori is stranded at Naota's house for the night. Soon, Naota finds out that Ninamori has more personal reasons for wanting him in the play..

Episode 4 - Full Swing

Naota feels bad enough that he can't live up to his brother's reputation as a star baseball player, but when Haruko - who's been shamelessly flirting with his father - presumes to take him under her wing and teach him a thing or two about baseball.well, it's the last straw. But things take a strange turn after Naota confronts his Dad about Haruko: Who is that weird guy with the eyebrows searching for Haruko, anyway? And if Haruko doesn't stop a runaway satellite from hitting the town, who will?

Cartoon Network Anime Line-up Changes

Starting November 4thm Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh will airing on Cartoon Network weeknights 9:00-10:00pm, and G-Gundam returns at midnight weekdays, and 2:00-3:00pm on Saturdays.

Dragon Ball Z Finally on DVD in Japan

Toei has finally announced that Dragon Ball Z will be released on DVD in Japan. The 291 episode series will be released in two 26 disc sets on March 19th and September 18th 2002 for 100,000 yen each.

Viz Experiencing Licensing Problems

There have been recent issues with licenses comic properties being distributed outside the agreed license issue, stemming from issues around the hot new Transformers comic from DreamWave. Reports such as this week's "Lying in the Gutters" comic rumor column have been stating manga licensor/translator Viz has become entangled in the issue.

From the column:

Brazil has already suffered the loss of "DragonBall," "Akira," and "Lone Wolf And Cub" (the latter two being released by Dark Horse) when comics distribution company Devir Liveria had licensing restrictions placed upon it, and now has and Viz Communication titles withdrawn.

Viz has only just started to be mentioned - and non-US customers of the massive Diamond distributors can also expect to lose a number of Viz titles as well. Viz manga titles sell very well across Europe, some estimates being from 10 to 20% of total sales. South America makes up another sizeable chunk.

The implications of these restrictions is expected to have a number of knock on effects. First, the increase in online ordering, for both shops and customers - while Diamond and Devra may be unable to go against the licensing agreements, individual businesses and people are more likely to create a "grey" market, the same that fuels region specific DVDs being sold outside their respective regions. If businesses don't, then individuals will just bypass them.

Also, expect price increases across the board.

ADV Talks Up Anime TV Network

At ADV Films recent 10th anniversary party, ADV CEO, President and Founder John Ledford announced that ADV has just made arrangements to have a 24 hour All anime Cable channel.

Satoshi Kon Presents Millennium Actress

Director Satoshi Kon will be present for question and answer sessions at two screenings of his latest anime film, Millennium Actress, at the American Film Institute Film Festival on Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th at ArcLight Hollywood in Hollywood, California. Millennium Actress is the Perfect Blue director's dramatic tribute to Japanese cinema.

Upcoming and New Anime In Japan

The new official Zoids pages opened at ZoidsCore.com

Winter Anime Releases:

November 15

Princess Tutu:"Hiyoko no Shou"

Starting 11/21

Pokemon Advance Generation 1 (tv)

Starting 11/28

Weiz Kruez Gluehen

Start 1/8

Gunparade March ~Aratanaru Kougun See here and here (tv) .hack//Tasogare no Udew Densetsu starts (tv)

Nekketsu Denpa Club/Try Try Try/D.N. Angel starts (tv) Mahou Tsukai Ni Taisetsu na Koto(tv) Transformer Legend of Micron (tv)

Raimuiro Senkitan from Love Hina auther Akahori Satoru also starts in January.

February 19th

Hunter x Hunter OVA: Greed Island Story (2nd OAV series)

Upcoming OAVs

Sakura Taisen (Sakura Wars) website OVA Kanzaki Sumire Intai Kinen (Retirement Commemoration).

Makasete Iruka!based on a manga series by Daichi Akitaroh and Takashita Takashi

VAP's site for the Space Pirate Captain Harlock ~ The Endless Odyssey

New Manga From GTO Creator

From Natsume Maya Volume 22 of the bi-weekly Young Magazine Upcoming will include the first entry in Fujisawa (GTO) Touru's new manga Rose Hip Rose. . It's about Asakami Kasumi, the "cute hip" highschool girl (with a gun, of course), who's a specialist at dealing with terrible crimes.

Live Action Jin-Roh Movies on Japanese DVD

The live action movies in Oshii Mamoru's "Kerberos Saga" (stylistically and themeatically connected to the anime Jin-Roh), will be released in Japan. on DVD February 25th. The three DVD set will cinlude two movies from the "Kerberos Saga", Kurenaii Megane (Crimson Glasses) and Kerberos ~ Jigoku no Banken (Kerberos ~ Watchdogs of Hell), and the separate movie Talking Head.

Super Milk Chan Episode 2

The Super Milk Chan site has been updated with the second episode of Oh! Super Milk-chan Milk no IT Kakumei here.

Anime Game News

From The Magic Box

Images Bandai's 3D cel-shaded GameCube Shaman King: Soul Fight can be seen here

Images of the Playstation 2 SD (super deformed big head, small body) Gundam G Generation Neo battle simulation can be seen here.

Bandai's site features four movies of the game:

TVCM #1 (15 secs, WMV) Broadband, 56K/ISDN

TVCM #2 (15 secs, WMV) Broadband 56K/ISDN

TVCM #3 (15 secs, WMV) Broadband 56K/ISDN

TVCM #4 (15 secs, WMV) Broadband 56K/ISDN Konami's PS2 beat'em up action GetBackers: Recapture! All Sets! can be seen here.

Newtype Usa Doubles Print Run For Issue Two

With the entire 30,000-unit print run of Newtype USA Issue One shipped to subscribers and stores, and continuing retail demand for the magazine far outstripping aggregate availability, Newtype USA is doubling the print run for Issue Two, to a total of 60,000 copies.

More Anime Produced than Ever

From Natsume Maya A Japanese Language newspapers seen at Asahi.com is reporting that demand for anime in Japan is at an unprecedented level. More anime is being produced for broadcast, internet, and network television than ever before. International, and economic depression interest in the medium is encouraging further investment from major corporations.

In April 2000 there were 20 new anime TV series broadcast. Now there are 34 new works being broadcast, but critics have been concerned about reduced quality in what is being produced..

IC Entertainment Price Drops

IC Entertainment (formerly Studio Iron) will be dropping the prices of Vampire Princess Miyu, New Vampire Miyu & Vampire Yui from $17.95 to $15.95.

New ComicsOne Manga Sample

ComicsOne.com has include new sample of Bride of Deimos and Wild 7 on their site at here

Fushigi Yuugi: Eikoden Website Open

Pioneer has openned their site for the new Fushigi Yuugi: Eikoden OAV at FushigiYugiDVD.com. The series is schedule to be released November 12th.

Lone Wolf and Cub Back on TV in Japan

ICV2 reports Lone Wolf & Cub has returned to Japanese TV with a new live action series featuring Kinya Kitaoji as the awesome swordsman Ogami Itto, and three-year-old Tsubasa Kobayashi as Itto's son Daigoro. The new series, which is being broadcast in a widescreen format, includes some minor changes from the original manga series in the interests of greater historical accuracy.

Upcoming Funimation Releases

January 7
  • Kirby: Dark and Stormy

January 14:
  • Yu Yu Hakusho: The Spirit Detective Box Set 1 (the first 8 volumes for $99.95_
  • YuGiOh Vol.#05: Evil Spirit
  • YuGiOh Vol. #06: The Scars of Defeat

January 21
  • Fruits Basket Vol. #2: What Becomes of Snow?
  • Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #09: Deathmatch
  • Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #10: The Evil Dr. Ichigak

January 28
  • Blue Gender Vol. #8

March 4
  • Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #11: Fairplay
  • Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. #12: The Rising Storm

March 11
  • Kirby: Kirby's Egg-Cellent Adventure
  • Kirby: Escargoon Squad

March 18th
  • YuGiOh Vol. #07: Double Trouble Duel
  • YuGiOh Vol. #08: Face Off

March 25
  • Fruits Basket Vol. #3: Puddles Of Memories

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