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AnimAICN! ADV's Secret Project, Nihei's Blame!, Kamakazi Girls and More!!!

Anime Preview: Ghost Stories

Based on English Dub, episodes 1-3
To be released by ADV

Prior to this week's Otakon, one of North America's biggest anime conventions, ADV sent out a press release that after showing a featurette of goth sci-fi Gilgamesh, they would be unveiling their "secret project". The minds of many would go to live action Evangelion movie, or maybe some of ADV's co-productions. They're going to be disappointed. The key comment in the press release was marketing director Anne Armogida saying "One or two of the biggest, most popular actors in anime will be at the convention, and they?ve graciously agreed to attend the sneak. But they?ll be in disguise. And even they?ve been sworn to secrecy."

Instead, from the description of the announcement and presentation, it sounds like something English dub voice actor fans will eat up.

Ghost Stories is an entertaining, if not outstanding or innovative anime series about a group of students troubled by the ghosts emanating from an abandoned school that abuts their current one. The series had various assets going for it: it was colorful, it shared a sizable block of its creative staff with GTO, it had some interesting twists on traditional Japanese frighteners, it had an evil possessed cat, it had insane ending animation with painted scroll style illustrations of the series' monsters set to a theme some with the English works "Sexy Sexy" in the chorus. In summation, fun, but not a run out and buy purchase.

ADV decided to spice up the releasing by giving the English voice staff working on the series' more of a free reign in adapting the work. In other words if you're a fan of the ADV regulars (Chris Patton, Christine Auten, Greg Ayre, Hilary Haag, Illich Guardiola, Monica Rial and Rob Mungle), it becomes a run out and buy purchase.

Given the volume of material announce during the summer big convention season, the proposition sounded like a symptom of the industry's woes, where companies have had to get a little creative, but it also sounded like it could work. In stark contrast to how anime was initially received as it was becoming popular, English dubs and the actor who have performed English dubs have become very popular among a sizable contingent of fans.

The results don't play quiet so outrageous and desperate as might be feared from the initial announcement. The genuinely funny English language comedy works amd is degrees more enjoyable and natural than Super Milk Chan, with some rather intelligent and clever pop culture references. Though it evolves episodes by episode, the results are far from what you might expect from a comedy re-dubbing. It neither sounds like someone's attempt at comedy writing or a a parody, but a re-utilization of the frame work that reverse engineers the series and added new dimensions to the humor.

The experiment feels like a logical step from the direction of dub scripts. Barring disasters (such as Toei's releases or 4Kids' handling of unedited works), the once heated English dub/subtitle debate has settled on an everyone is happy solution. English dubs have become so good that even hard core subtitled advocates have been listening to them, while for the purist, who are looking for something as close to the Japanese experience as possible, most viewers haven't minded some experimentation and deviation in the English dub as long as the subtitle script is fairly literal.

English dubs scripts have been an opportunity to get a little creative and maybe alter some of the emphasis points. There have been plenty of cases in which one had to wonder if the script writer paid any attention to the original dialog.

One reason the Ghost Stories deviations work well is that the actors stay close to something that seems like the original script for the most part. Rather than make the character too witty, they work in sharp "what did that character just say?" barbs with references to subjects like Harvard president Lawrence Summers' comments on female students in math and science. The sarcasm and off color comment are kept punchy rather than inundating the conversation. That they are trying to stay in character and be funny rather than trying to impress an audience is evident, and the secret to why the idea doesn't collapse.

While it doesn't get too cheap, but it does do stereotypes. There are some quick hits. For example if a character talks into a scene with an odd pose, or two men set together at a play, they became homosexual. More of it seems to be gradually assigned to the leads. To some degree the actors walk a fine line between creating characters and hammering gimmick. Slowly all the character's have been receiving their emphasized attributes, such as the young child who spouts incoherent strings of syllables when scared, but during first episode they decided a character was a devout Christian and in the third it looks like they decided one of the characters was Jewish.

Novel Preview:Fullmetal Alchemist:
The Land of Sand Volume 1
By Makoto Inoue

To be Released by Viz

Japanese genre novels are frequently asked for by fans, but it's hard to gage reception once they're actually released. The move from visual media to manga or anime to prose risks some of the appeal of a work. The difference here from some of the novels many fans would consider nice is see is that is not the original source material or an extension of source material, but a work that does its best to project the qualities of the anime and manga into prose. The results are an entertaining read that doesn't bring anything new to Full Metal Alchemist (if your exposure to Fullmetal Alchemist is from the anime. The events of the novel don't appear in the manga, and fit better into the flow of the anime). It's compelling enough on its own, but assuming that you been following Full Metal Alchemist, which the novel assumes, it is reiterating a story you've probably seen in the anime. Fortunately, the characters are interesting and likable enough to sustain a retelling. The novel is offering another chance at the action and characters of Full Metal Alchemist. Pick up the novel if you just want to spend some time reading Full Metal Alchemist, or you want to revisit the series without owning the anime.

So far the sparse offering of anime/manga related novels to be released in English has a mixed bag. Battle Royale, which spawned the manga and movie, recently received a mention by Stephen King in Entertainment Weekly, while the really hotly desired novelization to have been released, Slayers come after enthusiasm for the series has died down.

Fullmetal Alchemist is currently and rightly one of the hot anime and manga properties. A combination of impressive action, characters that matter, and an interesting continuous plot make the semi-fantasy one of the most addictive and talked about serials currently being release. Trying to resurrect their mother Ed Elric lost an arm and a leg. His brother Al had his soul ripped from his body, and imprinted in a suit of armor. When they recover, the pair leaves home to find some way around the laws of alchemy in hopes of reforming their original bodies.

There's alot of great world creation and supporting cast in Full Metal Alchemist, but they aren't in play during the novel. The novel does have some of what makes the pair themselves compelling, especially the combination of the drive in the fiery Ed and compassionate Al, and that they are effected by their choices. It is not just the obvious ones, and the series isn't easy on its heroes. Intentions aren't enough to ensure results, leading to difficult trials for the characters.

"The Land of Sand" novel is a twist on the anime episodes with Russell and Fletcher Tringham, two young alchemist brothers with backgrounds that parallel Ed and Al's who assume the identities of the Elric Brother to further their work. The Tringhams arrive in town before the real Elrics, after which real Ed and Al are welcomed as impostors.

The town where the sets of brothers encounter each-other is a tapped out mining community that gave up its agrarian existence for mining and goldsmithing. As much as the wealth, the community became addicted to the prestige and artistry of crafting with the gold. When the gold ran out, a wealthy individual bought up the land, and promised to find an alchemist to turn base rocks into gold until a new vein is found. Ed and Al hit town and find that their trail towards the alchemy enhancing Philosopher's Stone intersect with the gold scheme.

"The Land of Sand" presents an unobjectionable take on the characters. It's true to pair and provides plenty of opportunities to showcase how the handle situations What it does well, and with some subtlety is what Full Metal Alchemist does best. It conveys a sense of consequence. Even though the alchemistic Law of Equivalent Exchange is never explicitly invoked, the harsh realties that ever decision has a consequence and that there are no short cut to ease the desired results, are effectively conveyed. It's a work for young-ish readers that's pretty clear about some darker sides of politics, economics and human nature.

The novel also features an amusing bonus story that similarly made into the anime. "The Phantom of Warehouse 13" is an amusing mystery featuring Flame Alchemist Roy Mustang, and his military support staff (Riza Hawkeye, Havoc, Breda, Falman and Fuery) comically overreacting to reports of a mysterious, unmapped warehouse. These fan favorites see plenty of battle when everything in said and done in the series, but here's a fun case of them acting like office works with not enough to occupy their time.

The characteristics of the novel don't differ much from the incarnations in other media, especial in that it is one of the title's one-off episode stories. It is build around its action scenes, which convey the dynamic exchanges well in prose. Conversely, it doesn't go into extra detail describing the world or getting into the heads of the characters. After introducing the community that the particular story is set in, and some of the characters, description is minimal.

Preview: Socrates in Love
Novel by Kyoichi Katayama
Manga written by Kyoichi Katayama, Illustrated by Kazumi Kazui

To be released by Viz

Shojo certainly has its deserved reputation for emotional power, but Socrates in Love is a tear jerker from page one. Kyoichi Katayama said in the novel's afterword that the book was inspired by thoughts of how affluence and its pursuits crowd out what's good in life, they book ties to the forceful inspiration of love to make one think. Specifically, the novel is considering what can be done for a dying lover. The results examine mortality without being morbid. It's a moving tribute to a true and energetic relationship that hits one of the unfortunate eventualities of life.

The story is staged a bit differently than most shojo in that it is told from the perspective of a teenage male who is less readily decisive than his girlfriend. Typically in shojo the roles are reversed, with the female lead making the troubled decisions. The story opens with a desolate Saku traveling with his girlfriend's parents to Australia to spread her remains in the place she had her heart set on visiting.

In the novel and manga, there are three tracks to the stories: Saku and Aki's relationship developing from friendship to deep love, with a linked series of events in which Saku's grandfather convinces Saku to help him steal ashes from the grave of a woman who he loved but wasn't able to marry; an outing in which Saku tries to arrange to have a sexual encounter with Aki, and Aki's losing battle with leukemia. Wit the exception of the opening journey to Australia, the manga is generally chronological, while the novel works the stories in parallel.

There are some significant differences between the original novel and the manga that stand out after reading both. For example, there's an early moment in each where a character makes light of death. In the novel, with bitter irony, Saku throws in a mention of leukemia to get a postcard read over a radio station. In the manga, its an acquaintance who makes an insensitive comment at the funeral for a teacher, which later changes his conversation in which his proposes a scenario for Saku to be alone with Aki.

Condensing the novel into the manga effects the tone of the adaptation. As a consequence the manga is a lot more emotionally potent but less meditative. The manga is dominantly emotionally high spots, creating a barrage of heart cracking scenes. In the novel, characters are able to explore matters more thoroughly. Saku gets to express misanthropic worries about what people are doing to the world,. In interesting asset of the novel is that a teenage boy is able to talk poetry with his grandfather without looking twee or artificial.

Neither incarnation is emotional bubblegum that loses flavor after a quick chewing. The manga will make you think, but more often it will make you tear up if you refer back to it. The novel will stick with you and force you to consider some uncomfortable topics. There's a significant core in they way in which they examine how people who seems right for eachother, beyond the fictional match of asset A with asset B story necessities deal with death in a way that gives both parties what they need.

Manga Spotlight: BLAME!
Volume 1
By Tsutomu Nihei

Released by TOKYOPOP

"Like a video game" tends to be a negative criticism, but think of watching a brilliantly designed first person shooter or a survival horror, and you might see that can be some appeal to "like a video game", namely the game mindset of creating an immersive atmosphere. As opposed to prose, which is the more familiar medium to leverage immersive techniques, games tend to be more of a sensory link to a participant rather than getting into the head of a protagonist. Blame puts the reader behind the eyes and ears of a man walking down never ending staircases into a subterranean world full of which death and slow corruption.

Blame drafts a frightening flesh and metal labyrinth contradictory with a crowded desolation that invokes claustrophobia and vertigo at the same time. Nihei puts his cave bleached humans and ghostly cyborgs into a leveled, enclosed world riddled with missile launching giant flees and the like that's part Miyazaki's spore forests of Nausicaa, par ancient near eastern temple and part Escher. Combining the scale, with the man made design, along with the organic corruption, the look is as if a techno-organic Lovecraft entity swallowed the Earth, and began bleeding the remaining humans for their cells.

What sets apart Nihei's illustration from Giger ripoff or other rote tech-organic environments is a sharp ability to draft structures. Simple actions such as walking are given grandeur when set against cyclopean, statue columned stair ways. Passing along the edge of metal columns, scale pounds the reader's vision.
The descent into the pit follows Killy, a man with no name style gun slinger questing for the Net Terminal Genes, which amounts to a blank killer chasing a McGuffin. During the cyber- dungeon hack, plot is plot a clear secondary consideration. With a cypher lead and minimal dialogue personalities blend into the landscape.

While it doesn't seem like a gaping hole in Blame, Nihei's cleverness is clearly not in his ability tell a story either over an extended period or in a scene. His exquisite traps melt the Cube. His beasties work both of primal fear and big firepower. Action that's a Miike blood soak Equilibrium. There are panels that are genius and even some sequences. Silhouettes of hunched cyborgs walking up stories high stair case with a couple of running across a sun set beach projected on a screen behind them. The protagonist and guide cling to a walk as they walk around a ledge, blocked by dangling exhaust pipes. they urn the corner and see a towering but formless bio mass with embedded blocks of circuitry.

Nihei is a master designer, and a journey man at other aspects of comic story telling. By nature and ability the stories look rote next to the unique impact of his design. There's twitchiness in the quick deadliness of the world and the hair trigger of the lead, and there's a weakness in his progression of panel to panel view angles that makes following a progression less interesting than getting lost staring at a single panel.

The problem isn't necessarily that he's working largely silently or largely episodically. There are plenty of illustrators who can tell great stories in silence, though its tends to be the truly great creators who pull it off well. Page turn placement is something he has found a way of using for effect. Beyond that flow is perfunctory.

TOKYOPOP's release of the series is a mixed blessing. On the positive side of the ledger, sound illustrations are translated, with English translations appearing in the margins. On the negative side, reproduction isn't as crisp as on might hope. With the series' mix of fine lines and blackness, it seems that shapes are lost in the shadows. While it doesn't destroy the effect of Nihei's work, it's sub-optimal.

Resource Spotlight: Takuhai
Available from TOKYPOP at

Takuhai is North American manga distributor TOKYOPOP's quarterly promotional give-away. For a freebie, it would make a recommendable for-sale product. It's magazine style presentation looks better and writing is better than some of the notable print anime/manga periodicals. It's not Protoculture Addicts, but few of the periodicals are. Given everything about some of the others, that it is directly a promotional piece for a publisher doesn't seem too out of line with what is read in their coverage. As much as anything, its the quality of the presentation as a magazine, with its quality paper and eye catching layout that makes TOKYOPOP's effort impressive. Given its attractive layout, it's a good piece to have around to flip threw, pick up some interesting information, and with annotated samples of work like maybe Bizenghast, Sokora Refugees, MBQ, Sakura Taisen and Van Von Hunter maybe find some manga worth further investigating.

Again, based on what's available in print, the periodical doesn't read too badly like shameless promotion. Articles in the first issue include editorial comments, behind the scenes such as in the manga illustration and figure modeling for Princess Ai, an interview with Paradise Kiss' Ai Yazawa and pretty series reminders such as a two page spread on the weapons of Battle Royale. Some are useful, such as an update on current status of past winners of the Rising Stars of Manga talent competition, others are just good looking and worth killing a few minutes flipping through.

The annotations often offer some useful background information and trivia. Generally nothing too esoteric, but facts worth knowing if you're newer to manga or a specific work. Some times the comments are very guilty of repeating the obvious (ie Felipe Smith does an excellent job expressing himself in the semi-autobiographical MBQ, there's no need for side bar captions paraphrasing his rants or pointing out his parodies), but it isn't too bad about talking down to the reader. The samples are well picked for representing larger series. It's a good bet that if you're intrigued by what you see in Takuhai, the series is worth further examination.

Anime Spotlight: Kyo Kara Maoh
God(?) Save Our King
Volume 2

Released by Geneon

Kyo Kara Maoh! is having a contagiously fun time subverting genre standards. Not only is it working backwards with a hero who is the fated demonic lord of a kingdom, going on unholy quests, but it is sitting plainly on top on the shojo/shonen fence. The series stars Yuri, and average guy, who is secretly half demon. An interest in baseball and a habit of speaking up in bad situations keep him from being a dull shonen hero doormat. The series go into action when he starts getting transported to a feudal world ruled by demons, where he learns he's their next king.

So far, so shonen, but here's where it gets complicated. First rather than strait action and conquest, it's politics, relationships, juggling opinions of the public and the powerful with a heavy dose of humor. The conflict mixes political feints and manipulation with a look at ruler-ship, comparable to 12 Kingdoms. The not as bloody as Oliver Stone's Alexander, but often more engaging, with a discourse on pacifism that's more convincing than most Gundam entries. With five episode volumes it is moving quickly in large blocks, raising good conundrums such as desiring a weapon for defense, but finding that possessing the weapons causes a reactions as dangerous as the threat it was meant to neutralized.

The second point of divided appeal is the look of the series. Its demons look like regular people, though their upper echelons dress in the style of late 19th/early 20th century military ceremonial uniforms. There are some attractive women in the series, including some in maid outfits, including an anime MILF (two actually), but the heroes' contentious entourage is almost exclusively male and the series is constantly finding excuses for male nudity. More to the point, while there is very little emotional romantic interaction, the series is packed with cute semi-romantic yaoi fan service. In other word, alot of guy X kisses guy Y, generally wearing uniforms, to please a female audience.
The treatment is matter of fact enough that it is homosexual humor that isn't homophobic and despite the frequency, it isn't obtrusive enough to bother the non-yaoi interested.

If there's a flaw in the series it is that its not good at selling non-character visuals. IE if there's a sword with a face on its hilt that is supposed to be shockingly disturbing, its a Scream mask. The direction relies heavily on character reactions to convey the impact of experiences since it can't rely on invoking the same reaction from the viewer

Character profile extras tend to be space fillers whose presence look to be functions seems to be an extra point on the extras list. In this case, the series could really use them. Not that their are that many characters, but some quick reference to the stations and relations of the various characters would be a help in the series.

Manga Spotlight: Guru Guru Pon Chan Volume 1
By Satomi Ikezawa

Released by Del Rey

From the creator of bipolar shojo series Othello Guru Guru Pon Chan is a hilarious and lovablely adorable shojo comedy about a labrador retriever who turns back forth into a teenage girl. Revolving around the dog Ponta's infatuation with a cute young man, the same story concept could easily been worked as a shonen manga series, but as a shojo, without as shojo is appears without any aspect of submissiveness or sexual implications. Without this extra baggage of fetishism, it is more light and fun than many shonen series that use similar elements.

Ponta or Pon-chan is a troublesomely high spirited puppy whose rambunctiousness causes a bit of stress for her owners, especially her frazzled mistress (there are some amusing side dynamics with the family, including a husband who walks on egg shells around his wife, a momma's boy older son, and a cheery daughter who's a good companion/side-kick to the dog). Ponta sneaks off in the middle of a crisis she's caused and wanders into an elderly neighbor's house. The neighbor happens to be an inventor, and cracked one at that. He feeds her his new "chit-chat bone" which is supposed to grant animals the power of human speech. Instead, Ponta swallows the bone and turns into a human. The puppy becomes an infant human and begins running around in a mini-rampage. She chases a soda can into the street, and is rescued from an oncoming car by an attractive young man who had been doing lawn work. Ponta falls for him, but then vomits the chit-chat bone onto his shirt and turns back into a dog.

Nine months later, Ponta sees the young man again and chasing him down re-obtains the chit-chat bone. This time when she eats it she's a teenage-human. Returning home to her dumbfounded owners, the situation is eventually dealt with by preparing Ponta for the human world. The inventor dresses like Anne Sullivan to teach her how to speak, and Ponta winds up in the highschool world.

In part it is the cute innocence at work that makes the frenzied dash of gags effective. It's almost paced like an exuberant puppy running around a room, barreling through jokes that range from scatological to comedy routine style interaction. Ikezawa puts the physical humor on a level above Othello's as Ponta wears her emotions on her sleeve and mixes humanisms with dogg-isms (such as a fear of lightning).

Live Action Preview: Kamikaze Girls

To be Released By Viz

It is hard to think of more fun to be had with lace than Kamikaze Girls. Regardless of the movie's short comings, it is hyper enjoyable pop effect cinema in line with kitsch -retro live action such as the recent Cutey Honey. Under the brilliant of light Kamikaze's girl's stylishness, an adequate teen friendship story flowers into a breathtaking bloom of Amelie meet Ghost World with a bit of Kung Fu Hustle. Two Japanese idol personalities, one dressed loli-goth, the other Yankee biker girl, try to figure out their teen years in an environment of gaudy vibrancy. The results make for an experience movie: mimd consuming when you watch it, melting a bit if you try to think about it afterward.

Anime fans take note, the movie not only features music by fav-composer Yoko Kanno(Cowboy Bebop), but animated sequences by studio 4°c (Animatrix, Mindgame, Spriggan).

In the vein of the saying that everyone is the hero of their own life's story, Kamikaze girls is the Rococo vision of a Lolita fashioned adorned teen whose aspiration is for a robot janitor to dispose of her peaceful dead, and frilled-silk dress body at the age of 80. With her head, at times literally in the clouds, the film dwells in the fuzzy line between reality, and how the protagonist sees the world. It's one in which she pops into TV shows to expound their philosophy in front a live studio audience. Riffing on TV commercials, dark drama, action movies the movie has the looks of post-modern fan cinema of creators like Tarrintino who try to pay tribute to and one up their favorites.

Momoko Ryugasaki's story begins in a trashy city where everyone is born in track suits, and dies in track suits. A woman walks out of a bar and vomits like a fire hose, turns around to see a man crying on against a wall. With this Momoko's parents to be meet. While giving birth, Momoko's mother falls for her gynecologist, and several years later, with some encouraging words from Momoko, leaves her husband to get a make over and enter beauty contests. Momoko's father becomes a small time yazuka whose luck runs lukewarm to cool. After making some money selling Ver**ace counterfeits on the street he presses his minor success by inventing duel brand knock-offs, emblazoned with the logo of Ver**ace and a movie maker whose name rhymes with Luniversal Studios. What passes for ambition brings corporate wrath down on the local yazuka, leaving Momoko and her father exiled to a rural cabbage patch whose residents only get to share in consumerism through the super-department store.

Without the bustle of city, Momoko's obsession with the French aristocratic Rococo design, and "Lolita" fashion blossoms. To fund her shopping expeditions to Baby, The Stars Shine Bright she resurrects her embroidery skills, and the counterfeit business. This it's time online rather than the street corner.

Forewarned with a letter, badly scrawled and covered in "juice stains", Momoko learns a customer will be coming to pick out some merchandise. Rather than the child she expected, Ichigo, a yankee gang chick shows up on her motorcycle (more a moped with some extra shell and samurai heraldry). Momoko isn't looking companionship, and Ichigo rolls with her own crowd, but as deviations from a small community, they find themselves spending time together.

Pairing Momoko's puppy dog expressions and with Ichigo's head butts, swagger and spitting make the ambivalent buddies a perfect comic duo. Kyoko Fukada and Anna Tsuchiya are both very pleasant on the eyes, comfortable in their roles, and their comic timing is staggering considering their slim acting resumes. If you were to pick to someone to rant about their lives for an hour forty, Momoko or Ichigo wouldn't be bad choices.

At first glance they don't look like traditional geek characters, and they aren't members of a generally recognized geek interest group. But, the movie expresses a sentiment geeks will appreciate. These are people trying to shape their world in the image of their sub-culture.

Both Momoko and Ichigo operate with the aspiration for every person to be an island who can define their own lifestyle or opt into a microculture that would fit their ideal. As they begin dealing with transition to when things become important it becomes an issue that this motivation clashes with human needs and realities.

The movie has some trouble making its point here. While not a typical dumb teen flick, it isn't the cleverest kid in the cinema class, especially running into trouble when its time to bring the story to a point. A message about disappearing into shallow goals is overshadowed by how the lead to pictures her life. A direct quote of the character being cloy, spouting word of wisdom from a shallow base as a child is repeated as an important point leading up the movie's climax. While it isn't a case of no there being there, isn't a completely hospitable environment for thoughts to flourish.

Ghibli News

Disney has posted a Flash trailer for their Studio Ghibli DVD catalogue, which reveals that Howl's Moving Castle and My Neighnbor Totoro will be released in Spring 2006.

Disney release the Studio Ghibli/Isao Takahata directed films My Neighbors the Yamadas and Pom Poko on Tuedsay August 16th.

NASA played My Neighbor Totoro theme song "Sampo" (Stroll), sung by Soichi Noguchi's two daughters and classmates at the Houston Japanese Language School as a wake up call on the recent Discovery mission. An MP3 is available here

Howl's Moving Castle will receive the "Hollywood Animation of the Year Award" at the Hollywood Fest.

Robotech Box Set Info

ADV announced that the 21 disc Robotech Protoculture Collection will go on sale November for $129.95. The 85 episode English adapted sci-fi epic taken from Macross, Mospeda and Southern Cross will be included along with 7 discs of supplementary material.

Inu-Yasha Movie 2 On Cartoon Network

Anime News Network reports Cartoon Network will be airing Inuyasha: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass will air on August 28th at Midnight and 3am.

Production I.G Commercial

AniMania points out that Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell) produced a TV commercial for the beverage Kirin Lemon 77 back in March. It is only a short animation film, but has such an elaborate background and characters revolving around the imaginary sport called "skyshoot" that everyone wanted to know who made it. with general director Ishii Katsuhito who designed anime characters for Kill Bill.

With Kirin Lemon Black, came to be on sale this summer, a new version appeared on TV.

Both versions can be seen here.

Gundam SEED Rumors

From Gunota and some second hand sources, Gundam SEED Destiny's rating have been down compared the first Gundam SEED series (averaging 5.2% currently). It is doing better than the 90's Gundam series, but not as good as other programs from the time spot. Merchandise sales have been similarly poor.

However, according to a Bandai staff member quoted in the rumor, they planning on leaving the ending of Gundam SEED open for a third series that would focus on Kira and Athrun and conclude a SEED trilogy. The time-slot is filled through the 2006-2007 season so the next part would not happen for another year.

Brave Story Trailer

Twitch points out that Gonzo's site for their upcoming official website has posted a trailer for the 2006 movie. An English language synopsis can be read here.

Jakes Forbes Talks Sound Effects

Jakes Forbes has posted a run down handling sound effect translations in manga on Go Comi's blog here

Collected Works of Tezuka points out that eBook Japan is offer the Osamu Tezuka Complete 382 Volume Set here

Ending and Starting Manga in Japan


Ai Yori Aoshi by Kou Fumizuki (will probably end up as 17 vols) -Spotlight- from Young Animal No.17 (8/26)
Dodeka Boruke by Atsuki Nakajima from Comic Beam September issue (8/12)
Mikumoki by Kazuo Katoh in Champion RED October issue (8/19)
S60 Children by Souichiro Kawabata from Evening No.17 (8/9)
Yasashii Karada by Chisumi Yasunaga from Comic Beam September issue (8/12)

Aidoru Days by Art: Masatoshi Shinri; Story: Masaki Kitahara from # Mankawa Vol.47 (8/11)
Akihabara @ DEEP by Art: Makoto Akane; Story: Ira Ishida (Ikebukuro West Gate Park) from Comic Bunch No.37+38 (8/12)
Awayake by Hanyu-new from Comic Beam September issue (8/12)
CROWN by Art: Yuu Higuri; Story: Shinji Wada from Princess GOLD September issue (8/16)
Kan'nou Shousetsu-ka by Mio Murao in Business Jump No.19 (9/1)
Lady Love Ai suru Anata e by Yume Onoya in Be Love No.18 (9/1)
Masurao Shoujo by Gentlemen Nakamur from Young Magazine, Bessatsu No. 11 (8/12)
PRISM ARK by Tatsuya Saeki, Original Story by Pajamas Soft from Dengeki Daioh December issue (10/21)
Saishuu Hoken-ya Tamotsu Seimei by Untaro Oshikawa from Super Jump No.18 (8/24)
Saruyama! by Seiko Akira in Betsucomi (Bessatsu Comics)
Sekai no Chuushin de Kuda o Maku (temp) by Inosuke Rodriguez in Big Comics Superior No.18 (8/26)
Spraut by Atsuko Namba in Betsufure (Bessatsu Friend) October issue (9/13)
Toire no Hana-chan by Arata Yoshikawa from Super Jump No.18 (8/24)
Yasuko and Kenji by Aruko in Betsuma (Bessatsu Margarett) October issue (9/13)

One Shots
Akai Mi by Masami Tsuda (creator of KareKano) LaLaDX November issue (10/8)
Hitai ni Mikazuki by Tokeino Hari
Imouto-Rei 2 by Yasunori Mitsunaga
Mahou no Kusuri by Shin'nosuke Sugiyama from Young Animal No.17 (8/26)
Seruzio Echigo Monogatari Part 1 by Art: Hidetoshi Gouma; Story: Kei Tozuka from Young Animal No.17
Shiryou Hen'i Dai x Dai by Katsuhisa Kigizu

Sites for Upcoming Anime in Japan

From Moon Phase
Akagi October 4th premiere

Animal Yokomachi and here, premieres in October

Angel Heart fall premiere, based on action manga from the creator of City Hunter

Arusu THE ADVENTURE summer premiere

AIR Summer Special Ep 1 August 28th, episode 2 September 4th

ARIA The Animation, also here fall premiere

BLACK CAT October 6th premiere

Black Lagoon also here fall premiere

BLOOD+ October 8th premiere

Bokusatsu Tensi Dokuro-chan episodes 7&8 premieres September 10th

Canvas2 ~ Niji Iro no Sketch ~ October premiere

capeta October 4th premiere

Cluster Edge fall premiere

Ginban Kaleidoscope also here fall premiere

Ginga Densetsu WEED September 17th premiere

Gunparade Orchestra fall premiere

Happy-7 ~The TV Manga~ October premiere

Hotori ~ Tada Saiwai wo Koinegau from August 28th

Idaten Jump October 1st premiere

IGPX -Immortal Grand Prix- October premiere

Jigoku Shoujo ("Hell Girl") October 8th premiere

Karin fall premiere

Kashimashi ~Girl Meets Girl~ fall premiere

Kotencotenko English page here and preview here premieres in October

Lamune October premiere

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's October premiere

My-Otome HiME, the sequel to My HiME, also here a teaser is online here

Mushishi October premiere

Noein ~Mou Hitori no Kimi e~ October premiere

Nurse Witch Komugi-chan MagicArte Z Ep 2 August 20th premiere

Paradise Kiss October premiere

Rozen Maiden ~Träumend~ October 20th premiere

Saishuu Heiki Kanojo - Another Love Song (Saikano) September 25th premiere

Shakukan no Shana fall premiere, licensed by Geneon

Solty Rei October premiere from Gonzo

Stratos Four Advance Code:204 premieres September 10th


UFO Princess Valkyrie Season 3 episide 5 August 19th premiere

New Manhwa From ICE Kunion

ICE Kunion has announced the following Korean Manhwa releases

The Antique Gift Shop by Lee Eun Chiwoo by Park KangHo and Lee HaNa

Cynical Orange by Yoon JiUn
One thousand and One Nights by Han SungHee and Jeon JinSeok

Upcoming Sets Releases

FUNimations will be releasing two 150 DVD sets of Kiddy Grade and two of Tenchi Muyo GXP on November22nd for $29.98 each.

FUNimation also announced Samurai 7 volume 3 will be released December 13th.

Bandai will be releasing collections of Pilot Candidate ($29.98) and Please Teacher ($49.98) on October 11th, and Please Twins on November 8th.

Unconfirmed by ADV, Diamond previews lists that Eden's Bowy Complete Collection Thinpak ($39.98), Happy Lesson Complete Collection Thinpak ($39.98), Hello Kitty Animation Theater Collection ($29.98), Kaleidostar Complete Collection Thinpak ($49.98), Neon Genesis Evangelion Platinum Collection Thinkpak ($89.98), Original Dirty Pair Movie Collection Thinpak ($24.98), and Peacemaker Complete Collection Thinkak ($89.98) will be released in December.

Previews also lists the first volumes of Hakugei Legend of Moby Dick and Shadow Skill TV for a December release.

World Cosplay Summit 2005 Winners

From AniMania
40 cosplayers from 7 countries (America, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and 4 teams from Japan) who had won in their domestic competition at World Cosplay Summit 2005

The winners of each award
Grand Champion (The best country): Italy
The best team: France
The best individual: Giorgia Vecchini (Italy)
Brother: Middle Japan

The themes each team performed
America: Rosen Maiden
China: Samurai Spirits
France: Tokyo Mew Mew
Germany: Magic Knight Rayearth
Italy: Soul Calibur 2
Spain: Fullmetal Alchemist
East Japan: Inuyasha
Middle Japan: Lupin III
West Japan: Aim for the Top
WWW Japan: Sailor Moon

The Grand Champion was Silen was played by Giorgia Vecchini from Italy. After singing the theme, she played a scene from Devilman in Japanese.

You can view the photos on the websites as follows World Cosplay Summit 2005 result report
Aichi Expo Official Site
Emperor System Zero
Golgo 31
Sazamani Kaihen

November CMX Manga Releases

Ower Of The Future Vol. 1
Written and illustrated by Hiwatari Saki.
Matsuyuki Takeru could not have anticipated the decidedly different turn his life has taken. After his mother's death, life continued at a reasonably normal pace -- he studied hard for exams, played fantasy role-playing games, even fell in love. But things began to change when he discovered a half-sister he didn't know about. A strange boy started appearing, claiming to be a warrior reborn who must fight an epic battle against forces of evil! When fantasy becomes reality, will every choice he makes affect the outcome?
192 pages, black and white, $9.99, in stores on Nov. 2.

Young Magician Vol. 2
Written and illustrated by Narushima Yuri.
Carno continues his combat with the mysterious Jack the Ripper! The emergent magician's lust for battle allowed him to easily destroy this demon's disciple, but his lack of experience and formal training puts him at a grave disadvantage. The demon before him possesses a weapon far more powerful than any magic -- the mystery to Carno's vanished past and the truth about what really happened to his biological family. 200 pages, black and white, $9.99, in stores on Nov. 23.

Testarotho Vol. 2
Written and illustrated by Sanbe Kei.
Converting heretics to the church of Arsenal is a difficult and sometimes deadly task, and Inquisitor Garrincha is the best Neo Arsen has to offer. It's no wonder the man has scores of enemies among non-believers and those faithful to his church. When an entire village of heretics is found dead, Garrincha and his entourage are brutally captured, and he's charged with the massacre. Now, freeing him and clearing his name is up to his fiercely loyal Rotho, led by the gun-slinging Leonedus -- but what if he doesn't make it in time?
172 pages, black and white, $9.99, in stores on Nov. 2.

Tenjho Tenge Vol. 4
Written and illustrated by Oh! Great.
232 pages, black and white, $9.99, in stores on Nov. 16.

Musashi #9 Vol. 5
Written and illustrated by Takahashi Miyuki.
192 pages, black and white, $9.99, in stores on Nov. 9.

Gals! Vol. 4
Written and illustrated by Fujii Mihona.
192 pages, black and white, $9.99, in stores on Nov. 23.

Swan Vol. 5
Written and illustrated by Ariyoshi Kyoko.
192 pages, black and white, $19.99, in stores on Nov. 2.

The Adventures of The Little Prince on DVD

Anime News Network and TV Shows on DVD report on September 6 Koch Vision will release a 4-disc boxed set with 26 episodes of The Adventures of The Little Prince, an anime TV series produced in the seventies and broadcast in North America on Nicholodeon and TV Ontario. In addition to the 4-disc set, two 3-episode single releases will also be released on the same day. The entire series is 39 episodes.

Merchandise News

Raving Toy Maniac has picture of the second wave of Batman figures design by manga artist Kia Asamiya (Nadesico, Dark Angel, Silent Mobius) at here. The line, scheduled to be released October 12th include Batman, "Evil Batman", Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.

Gunota points out images of Pepsi's Japanese Gundam SEED cap promo here and, unrelated to the promo, models of KIA Keroro Gunsou and KIA Giroro Gochou

Kenshin Creator News

From, Kenshin creator Nobuhiro Watsuki's Busou Renkin (Armored Alchemist) Final, featured in Akamaru Jump Summer Issue, a new extra magazine called "Jump the Revolution!" was mentioned, along with a new one-shot by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Set in 19th Century Europe, whether FRANKENSTEIN John=Doe and SIDE KICK Little Rose refer to the title or names of the characters remain to be seen.

Also, despite the title Busou Renkin Final, there will be another chapter called Busou Renkin Period in the Winter issue of Akamaru Jump.

Busou Renkin is a shonen action about a boy who gains super powers after almost being killed

Anime Games News

From The Magic Box

Sega announced they will release Sakura Taisen 1 & 2 for PSP in Japan in Spring 2006, remake of the two classic Saturn adventure + simulation mechha/girl team/steam tech alternate history games.

Banpresto announced Another Century's Episode 2 for PS2, the sequel to the popular mech action game, the game will have characters from 11 anime series including Macross, Gundam and Nadeisco. Screenshots can be seen here

New images of Bandai / Spike's PS2 anime fighting game DragonBall Z: Sparking! (DragonBall Z Budokai: Tenkaichi), which will be released in Japan on October 6 can be seen here.

Dark Horse Manga in UK

Comic book rumors column Lying in the Gutters reports it looks like the UK rights to the manga titles Dark Horse have been publishing have just been transferred, and that a number of titles will no longer be made available to UK shops to sell.

Simularly, Viz previously has problems distributing manga to Europe through Diamond after the extent of their license was questioned.

Japanese Anti-Korean Pop Culture Backlash

KCCinema reports that the Japanese debut of the manga KenKanryu or Hating Things South Korean, became a bestseller the moment it went on sale on July 26th, topping charts run by Amazon Japan and other online bookstores.

The manga tells the story of a young who became interested in the relationship between Japan and South Korean in highschool when the two countries co-host soccer's World Cup in 2002. In college he studies the history of the issue and discusses the issue with Japanese born Koreans. The manga disource becames anti-Korean in its view of current and historical disputes.

Korean media have been outraged by the manga; it's three largest newspapers already running pieces condemning it. The manga's creator Sharin Yamano has stated that his work is inspired by ultra-nationalist comic writer Yoshinori Kobayashi.

Byon Jil-il, managing editor of the Tokyo-based Korea Report, says he is not surprised that a book like this has come onto the market. Even I thought the South Korean boom that started with (Korean TV drama) 'Winter Sonata' was too much. The resistance to this boom has deep roots, Byon tells Shukan Shincho. This manga has effectively tapped into this sentiment. And I think that's why it's selling so well.

Blood Novel Release

The Right Stuf list that Dark Horse will be releasing the first Blood: The Last Vampire Novel on November 1st.

Manga's Karas Release Date

Manga Entertainment posted on their site that the two volumes of Karas will be released on April 25th 2006 and September 6th, 2006.

New Projects From CB Cebulski

Manga guru (from CPM and Fanboy Inc), and former Marvel creative manager CB Cebulski has posted images on his blog of what look to be upcoming project: "Drain" with Sana Takeda and "Shiki" with João.

Licensing News

4Kids Entertainment has awarded Bandai America the master toy license for the anime series Magical DoReMi. 4Kids' adapation will appear on Fox Saurday mornings starting September 10th.

Viz has licensed action anime Zatch bell to Exquisite Apparel Corp for a line of boys hanging and packaged boxers, briefs, loungewear, sets and sleepwear.

Rivkah Talks Comics, Causes Controversies

English language manga creator Rivkah, whose works will be published by TOKYOPOP caused a bit of an uproar with her comments at the WizardWorld Chicago convention when speaking about the changes in the comics industry. See her blog comments at here.

Aquarion 19 Talk

AniPages Daily has posted a series of comments of Satoru Utsunomiya's Aquarian episode 19 that are worth reads for fans of anime as animation. The blog also talks about the Naruto movies from an animation perspective.

Manga Flash Ads

From Art Book "KIRARA" by Yoshitomo Watanabe.
Shinso-ban Shinsen-gumi

Imon Peace Maker.

Late September ADV Releases

Angelic Layer: Complete Collection
Sakura Diaries: Secrets & Lies (1 of 2)
You?re Under Arrest: The Motion Picture

Sakura Diaries
Sakura Diaries is a romantic comedy taking place at one of Tokyo?s most prestigious universities, where a hapless young man pretends to be enrolled in order to win the heart of a beautiful co-ed. As if that weren?t complicated enough, he?s caught in the middle of a love triangle with his own cousin! Long considered a classic of the genre, Sakura Diaries was first released by ADV Films in 2001; it has since been given a new English dub featuring top voice talent like Monica Rial, Kira Vincent Davis, and Chris Ayres.

Urara likes Touma. Touma likes Mieko. Mieko might like Touma, but Mieko will only date a college man, so what?s a low achiever like Touma to do? Well, why not lie and say he got into the most prestigious college in Tokyo? Now all he has to do to win Mieko?s affection is show up for classes he?s not enrolled in and take tests he?ll never pass. But man-about-campus Mashu?s gunning for Mieko too, and he?s not buying Touma?s excuses. And then there?s Urara. She knows Touma?s no intellectual genius. Will she keep his secret or let the cat out of the bag? What lengths will she go to, to get her chosen man? The only way to find out is to take out your key, open the lock, and sneak a peek into Sakura Diaries!

You?Re Under Arrest: The Motion Picture
The hard-working men and women of the Bokuto Traffic Corps are back on the scene, but this time they've got more to worry about than everyday traffic violations! During a routine arrest, they recover a secret document. Contained in it are step-by-step instructions to terrorists on how to wipe Tokyo off the map! Even the precinct station isn't safe from the bloodthirsty murderers that want this information, or from the rogue who wrote it. Can Miyuki and Natsume rally their fellow officers in time to save themselves and the city? Or is Tokyo doomed to destruction at the hands of a vengeful madman?

Angelic Layer
Angelic Layer is based on the work of superstar manga collective CLAMP, four women who have blazed a trail for manga and anime in North America. Among CLAMP?s biggest contemporary hits are household names like Cardcaptor Sakura, Chobits, Magic Knight Rayearth, Legal Drug, and XXXholic. Perhaps more than any other manga studio, CLAMP has been responsible for today?s manga explosion. Angelic Layer is one of CLAMP?s greatest anime adaptations.

Take robotic dolls controlled by their owner?s thoughts, place them in a holographic playing field and you have Angelic Layer, the runaway smash game that is taking Japan by storm! That?s what Misaki finds as she arrives in Tokyo to start high school. Instead of being greeted at the train station by her aunt, she finds herself confronted by a bizarre man in a white coat who lures her into the addictive world of Angelic Layer, a world which will change her life forever, and lead her on a quest to discover the mysterious secret behind her mother?s disappearance!

Angelic Layer: Complete Collection (SRP $49.98 DVD) is a DVD-only thin pack release including the entire series on five disks, presented in both English 5.1 and Japanese 2.0 with English subtitles.

Also, ADV's box art has gotten good...

Inuyasha The Movie 3's Rolling Screening

"Inuyasha The Movie 3: Swords Of An Honorable Ruler" will launch as a theatrical title for thousands of lucky fans before going to the small screen via DVD on September 6. In an effort to break through the clutter of the straight to DVD and Anime market, VIZ Media looked to Revolution Marketing (www. to create a buzz worthy of one of the top titles in the very hot Anime category. Revolution Marketing?s answer is a 15-city world premiere mobile theater tour that launches in Seattle, WA on August 24.

In a joint effort with VIZ Media, Revolution Marketing has developed a 92-seat, state-of-the-art, mobile movie theater that will travel to one Wal-Mart in each of 15 cities, allowing the big-box giant the never-before-seen opportunity to host a theatrical premier of a DVD title they will then be selling.

More than four thousand lucky fans will have the opportunity to screen "INuyasha The Movie 3: Swords Of An Honorable Ruler" for free in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta and Seattle. Every fan will be treated as if they were attending a red-carpet world premier. One Wal-Mart in each city will host three viewings in the custom-built theater. In addition to a full screen viewing of this hot new title, fans will also receive limited-edition Inuyasha merchandise.

List of cities for Inuyasha Screenings

Seattle, WA
Marysville, WA
8924 Quilceda Blvd
Marysville, WA 98271
(360) 657-1192

San Francisco, CA
Stockton, CA
3223 East Hammer Lane
Stockton, CA 95212
(209) 473-2796

Los Angeles, CA
Covina, CA
1275 North Azusa Avenue
Covina, CA 91722
(626) 339-4161

Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas, NY (Central)
2310 E Serene Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89123

Phoenix, CA
Mesa (S), AZ
1955 So. Stapley Drive
Mesa, AZ 85204
(480) 892-9009

San Antonio, TX
San Ant. (Univ City), TX
16503 Nacogdoches Road
San Antonio, TX 78247
(210) 646-6077

Lincoln, NE
Lincoln (N), NE
4700 N 27Th Street
Lincoln, NE 68521
(402) 438-4377

Wichita, KS
Wichita, KS
11411 East Kellogg
Wichita, KS 67207
(316) 683-0735

Chicago, IL
Hammond, IN
1828 165Th Street
Hammond, IN 46320
(219) 989-0258

Clarksville, TN
Clarksville, TN (N)
1680 Ft Campbell Blvd
Clarksville, TN 37042
(931) 645-8439

Birmingham, AL
Birmingham, AL
5919 Trussville Crossings Pkwy
Birmingham, AL 35235
(205) 661-1957

Atlanta, GA
Atlanta (McDonough), GA
135 Willow Lane
McDonough, GA 30253
(678) 432-2023

Norfolk-Chesapeake, VA
Chesapeake, VA
1521 Sam's Circle
Chesapeake, VA 23320
(757) 436-6055

New York/New Jersey
Secaucus, NJ
400 Park Place
Secaucus, NJ 07094
(201) 325-9280

Boston, MA
Quincy, MA
301 Falls Blvd
Quincy, MA 02169
(617) 745-4390

CPM Re-Price Re-Releases

Central Park Media announced that it will re-price and re-release five very popular titles from its collection of mainstream anime products in October at just $9.95 SRP each! Pending re-release are the alluring comedy, Strange Love, the intense mecha-adventures, The Venus Wars and Battle Skipper: The Movie (From the director of The Slayers), Art of Fighting, and the unique science fiction feature Maetel Legend from the mind of anime genius Leiji Matsumoto.

All titles will be released October 25, 2005.

Strange Love
Busty and beautiful Yoshida is the sexiest coed in her class, and her professor wants her for some very special extracurricular activities. How will he react to being dumped for another woman? Hilarity ensues.

The Venus Wars
In the 21st Century, mankind has finally tamed the hostile world of Venus. But vicious gangs roam the streets and rivaling nations battle for supremacy. Hiro, a hotshot motorcycle jockey, and Susan Somers, a feisty Earth journalist, are caught in the crossfire as war explodes on Venus!

Battle Skipper: The Movie
From the director of The Slayers
Without regard for school property or regulations, the spoiled rich girls of the St. Ignacio Debutante Club are planning to unleash their awesome Battle Skipper combat suits in their mad scheme to seize control the school... and eventually the world! The only hope lies with the valiant - yet polite and proper - members of the Etiquette Club, who stand ready to oppose the Debutante Club's fiendish schemes.

Art of Fighting
From the director of Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle and Battle Angel Alita! The only witnesses to a mob hit, Ryo and Robert were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Since then, they've been shot at, run off the road, and nearly blown to pieces-but now it's getting personal.

Maetel Legend
From Leiji Matsumoto, creator of Star Blazers, Harlock Saga, and Queen Emeraldas!
The princess of a dying world, young Maetel must choose whether to become a machine to survive, or to abandon her homeworld to keep her humanity.

Ultraman in CA

Bay Area Film Events (BAFE) announced today that it will present the biggest superhero of all in an all-new feature film, ULTRAMAN: THE NEXT, in its Northern California premiere at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco on August 26-27, 2005.

As part of the premiere, two of the artists responsible for bringing Ultraman to life will be featured as special guests on both days. Shinichi Wakasa has been one of Japan's premier monster suit makers for over 20 years. He has worked on the Ultra series since 1980 and has made suits for Godzilla and his monstrous foes from GODZILLA 2000 through the recent GODZILLA FINAL WARS.

Hiroshi Maruyama is one of Japan?s premier designers. Having started in the animation field, Maruyama has done designs for Ultraman starting with ULTRAMAN TIGA in 1996 through the new ULTRAMAN MAX (2005). He also did all the designs for ULTRAMAN: THE NEXT.

Both guests will be giving on-stage interviews and will sign autographs for attendees.

Fore more information, and tickets, see

ADV Launching Godannar

ADV Films, announced that Godannar: Engage & Destroy, the first volume in the seven disc series, will hit store shelves everywhere October 4. Godannar is the first of four new ADV Films series to launch in October.

Godannar is a genre-bending mecha anime series best described as equal parts action, adventure, and domestic soap opera. While much of anime is populated by high school vixens, magical fairies, and femme fatales, it?s rare to find a married couple at the center of the story. And that?s just one of the reasons Godannar stand out. That, and a

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