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AnimAICN: Fifth Anniversary Column!!!

Five Years of AICN Anime

I haven't been good at keeping track of the milestones, but some time around November 2000 I responded to "Father Geek"'s appeal for an anime correspondent to contribute to Ain't It Cool New's then Asian media column. The anime column split off and the Asian media column faded away.

Up until several months ago, this column was put together, without fail, weekly. You might be incredulous about this; there have been weeks and longer stretches with no column. Well, the AICN posting procedure is an archaic mess like you wouldn't believe. It hasn't helped that if Harry's been the red headed step child of Hollywood; this column has been the black sheep of AICN.

I've been covering anime longer than I care to remember. Approaching 2 years of before that this column I turned a college anime club web site, UMJAMS, into a moderately successful news page. That work ran concurrent with this one for a while. And before that there were contributions to some projects few people still interested in the hobby probably remember, at sites called Animecca/AnimeOnline.

It's been an exciting period of time in the industry, as it rose, and now falls or at least stabilizes. With the wider acceptance and fiercer financial competition in the anime and manga media there are still some interesting releases, but more look for broader appeal.

In other words, things may go on for a while longer, or they may not.

Spotlight: Golgo 13

Created in the cusp of the 60's turning into the 70's, the man known as Golgo 13 is James Bond, Dirty Harry Callahan and the Terminator, only darker. He gets to dress immaculately, use the best cars and weapons, travel the world commanding vast sums of money to assassinate people, sleep with all the beautiful women who throw themselves at him, and never show an inch of humanity. He probably owes the most to Bond, engaging in the same sort of high, world stage adventure, but without the national or idealistic ties. Golgo 13 has another name, Duke Togo, but generally he's little more than a force behind a gun. A darkly elegant guy, well dressed and groomed, who's a paid assassin, detached from any larger ideology. Sex is frequent, at almost formulaic intervals but passionless on his part. His redeeming quality is that he generally kills people more vile than himself. The only human quality he brings to the equation is intellect.

The hero of well over 100 volumes of manga, Golgo 13 has become a bit of a comic strip punch line in current popular culture. The extreme on one end to set against another extreme, a chiseled faced assassin staring down his scope at some target and popping Hello Kitty or the like. Still. he's remained one the enduring characters from the time period along side the likes of Cutey Honey and Lupin III. Older North American fans may remember that he made a splash here after starring in one of the racier games for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Golgo 13 is more than slightly a cipher. He's able to star in such an extraordinary volume of material because he's not a character constructed to grow. You don't expect Uncle Scrooge to be something other than a miser with a hidden sentimental core, and he's more dynamic than Golgo 13. You don't expect Golgo 13 be something other than a dark angel with a carved scowl. The key is the how the mission is built around him.

Golgo 13 Manga volume 1
By Takao Saito

To be Released by Viz February 2006

Viz made a rounded selection for launching Golgo 13. Without an arcing story, they are open to cherry pick material. The first story, set in 1996 around a conflict between the Clinton administration (circa Dole campaign) and Saddam Hussein highlights the situation construction of the series. The second short highlights the visuals storytelling ability with a mobster mentally imploding upon learning that Golgo 13 had been hired to assassinate him.

What this story does, almost exhaustively, is build out the politics and science of the situations. There are plenty of tech diagrams and war room conversations backing a man sent into the danger zone with an M16. It starts when UNSCOM inspectors notice something odd in the pipes shipped to a dam project in Iraq. Fears prove well founded when the constructs prove to be masking a concealed weapons program somewhat based on a real life ballistics genius who sold his plans to any country with the money and the will to realizes his ideas. The American reaction seeks to avoid to attacking directly for fear of international backlask, but the nation quietly hires Golgo 13 to stop the super-gun.

The story is far from pro-American (it wouldn't be called exactly anti-American either), despite how it may be been recast by the recent conflict. Despite having the wisdom(?) to hire Golgo 13 the country comes out looking ineffectual in this situation and historically, pointing out the scud missile interception track record and playing into the Iraqi agenda most of the way here.
The Iraqi agenda is clearly presented as a threat, but apart from one comment about Japanese people looking alike, there really isn't much negative about them. They're using aiming to use a weapon of mass destruction, but its toward a strategic end rather than the work of mad villians

While Lupin III has kept his leisure suite from the 70's. Golgo 13 is even more of a throwback/ In this entry, which goes to some length to keep everything up to of date, it's nice to see digital camera rather than film, Golgo 13 looks like a relic out a time capsule. From side burns to free sex, he seems like something out the 70's. It's almost as if the '71 Jack Carter showed up in the 2002 Bourne Identity.

Takao Saito's illustration is exquisite in some aspects and supremely quirky in others. The quirky first. His character work is odd. Faces are precisely lined exaggerated caricatures, especially interesting to see the Clinton cabinet, distinctive, but not excessively so, but postures are also exaggerated. Necks turned 120 degrees. Hand gestures appear detached from a faces and bodies. At times it looks like an odd cubism is at work.

His inorganic illustrations are outstanding. Large panels and multi-page spread of battle ships, dams and the like are breathtaking. The visual panels look like history in motion.

The second ,shorter story is set in 1979. It's a smart little story that keeps the tension building, and goes a long way toward establishing the mystique of Golgo 13. Putting in the right cityscape panels and the right scenes of a mind's eye view it is ability to create the effect dark, urban and perfectly '70s warped world view. It's comic story telling at its sharpest.

In a related note, if you're interested in hard, but human assassin stories, track down a copy of Benkei in New York.

Golgo 13: The Professional

Release by Urban Vision

Given the popularity of the Golgo 13 manga, the amount of anime that it spawned is surprisingly minimal. There's this grandly memorable mess from 1983 and Queen Bee from 1998. Previously released by Orion/Streamline, this is the type of release which in the post-Akira days earned anime a reputation as sex and violence cartoons. Mixing classic noir, 70's exploitation and almost Dario Argento like psychedelic violence the movie maximizes visual height of its action, but applying any sort of cognitive work to the series is a mistake. Better to get involved in Golgo 13's draw and plug gun violence, pornographic sex scenes with Barbie doll genitals, and its ability to twist and linger on images than start thinking about how heartless, illogical and misogynistic the movie is.

So many factors are at work in the movie that it starts looking far more complex than it actually is. Golgo 13 assassinates the son of a vastly wealthy industrialist, then apart from a brief side mission, spends the rest of the movie dealing with blow back. The industrial throws the world against Golgo 13: gangsters, freaks, commandos, children, an alphabet soup of American government agencies, up to a pair of legendary assassins who were the sole survivors of a platoon sent into the Amazon rainforest as a survival experiment. The concept of insane action is redefined. It's almost as if a planning meeting brainstormed a list of people than Golgo 13 could fight against, then scripted the list into a movie.

One of the movie's oddities is that it features very early CGI animation. It's fortunately brief because at this point it looks truly archaic. It must have been thought of as a novelty at the time because the selection for a scene to animate is almost arbitrary, and its clearly keenly aware of its limitation.

Anime Preview Hakugei: The Legend of Moby Dick
volume 1

Released by ADV Film

If you enjoyed the sci-fi anime at that aired on English language TV of the 80's you'll get a charge of this anime Firefly. It has an appeal for someone who would sit in front of a TV and drink up anything with space incursions, and eclectic design. If you feel that the more metal creatures and glowing objects the better Hakugei is a good flashback from 20 years ago. Animation quality aside, it seems more like it should have been from '87 than '97. If that doesn't get you, the series is decidedly not flashy looking with a plot that isn't telegraphing anything that looks promising.

The story makes reasonable sense. In a galactic depression groups of scavengers locate abandoned ships, referred to as "whales" to grab. sellable material. The equivalent of going through unused office space and stripping it for valuables. There's at least discernable reason and mechanics of the endeavors.

The meta rational for the series is a little tougher to figure. The series brings little from the Mody Dick name besides a peg-legged Ahab character, a Quequeg stand-in, and an opening in a place called Nantucket. More often its irrelevant or antithetical to the themes of the novel. It's best to detach the series from any conception of the novel.

The scavenging concept has potential. Space garbage collection in Planetes is fascinating, but so far there doesn't seem to be much meat to the activity here. It's the kind of random pursuit parodied in Galaxy Angel. The more considerable strike against the series is how noisy it is. The characters never shut up. There's a young constantly narrating lead, and his guide a presumably young person with large red hair who never stops boasting.
All of the crew that are fond of their voices. Even Ahab is garrulous. Tranquil is the last adjective you'd apply to Meville's Ahab, but this one, despite being requisitely chewed up physically, has a calm, shining blue pool for his remaining eye. He's more swashbuckler than demon driven man. The Nemo of Disney's 20000 Leagues Under the Sea is a less friendly man this gentle Ahab.

Further diverting from the original concept is the central importance of a mysterious cyborg with presumable ties to the fading but still powerful central government. A man in a tunic with glowing numbers on his neck offer little in their right. If there going somewhere interesting, its not apparent from its dry early introduction.

Anime Spotlight: Animal Treasure Island

Released by Discotek

Animal Treasure Island's claim to notoriety is that it features the work of Hayao Miyazaki on the key animation staff. It almost goes without saying that he went on to direct some of anime's most classic movie. Older watchers may remember this type of movie, if not this specific one, from when Nickelodeon used to show various imported movies. Like many of those movies its well constructed and sure to entertain younger viewers and older animation fans. It's a little too routine to be classic in its own right, but the animation craft is there to appeal to all ages and the adventure will certainly capture the interest of younger ones.

Most people probably don't know or remember the particulars of Long John Silver, Captain Flint, Ben Gunn and the like, but except for young children, the treasure map back and forth of Stevenson's Treasure Island is familiar ground. As is predictable by the name, Animal Treasure Island is Treasure Island populated by anthropomorphic animals, except for the young hero Jim Hawkings, a gurgling baby sister, and an added granddaughter of Flint, in the Miyazaki heroine mold, who are all humans.
There's some complexity in the Hawkings/Flint's granddaughter growing affection, but Silver is a comic villainous stand in without the force of the novel incarnation. It's swashbucking, and cannons, and monkey or walrus pirates, and not much of the novel's ethics or thoughts on emulation.

The animation is the best of what people remember fondly from their childhood cartoons. It employees the simple, telling designs with an attention to story that are missing from much of today's showier works. Some of the movie's battles and spectacle stunts are far more enjoyable than much of the forgettable movies in recent years.

It is an innocent story, with the of right mix of comic violence and seriousness, but more demandingly protective parents will find of host of material that they can object to: guns and booze and poisons, kids getting slapped around. It's nothing that's going to traumatize or put bad ideas into the heads of children, but the movie does have a fair amount of what some would prefer their children not see.

Manga Spotlight: Her Majesty's Dog
By Mick Takeuchi

Released by Go! Comi

So far Go Comi's selection of manga has been unimpeachable. Early on, when InuYasha was more experimental, it went through a few modern set horror mysteries. At first glance, Her Majesty's Dog looks something out of that mold. Yes, this one also has a relationship between a high school girl and a moody, centuries old dog demon. Together solving supernatural problems. But, in addition to being darker, more modernly concrete and quickly episodic than what Inu-Yasha became, the characters quirkier, more dynamic and less broad. For those who enjoy InuYasha, and for those who tired of it, and for those like a distinct combination of convincing, quirky relationships and sharp horror, Her Majesty's Dog is the perfect choice to pick up. Its worth tracking down at Borders/Walden Books, where it is exclusive until April 2006.

The supernatural problem solvers are Kamori and Hyoue Inugami. Dark hair, quiet Kamori has created a bit of a stir at school. She's subservient and bullied, but strangely, she engages in shocking public displays of affection, mouth kissing the tall, handsome Hayou.

Alone with Hayou or in the face of the supernatural, Kamori's plain domineering, using the power of names to control supernatural beings. Kamori's two sides make for an interesting character. Her social awkwardness is partially explained by the fact that she's in the city against the wishes of her rural clan, and partially because she's plain bad at reading people. She's has her area of knowledge, combating the supernatural, and everything else is an area of uncertainty.

It's a good twist on the last to no protracted love affair. Hayou knows, but is unhappy with the nature of the relationship. Kamori is congenitally oblivious. Also, the kisses are a needed aspect of the relationship. Its how Kamori transfer life to Hayou, which keeps him obedient and able.

There are plenty of shoujo trappings in Her Majesty's Dog, with hall marks all over the design and layout, but its able to move into some amazingly strong horror. It's as if the trauma familiar to shoujo readers have left being a world of troubled, angry spirits.
Takeuchi's ability to create a frightening sight and build on the initial revulsion with dialog are quite good. It's not Junji Ito work, but you'll remember who the creatures in the volume's second story were created long after you've forgotten a lot of horror manga.

Go! Comi's releases have been well presented, and this one is no exception. It's better than many rush jobs on the market, but there are a few QC issues. This are instances of words that fit poorly into panels, and supernatural explanation that seems slightly more ambiguous that they were meant to be.

Manga Spotlight: Genshiken volumes 2 and 3 by Kio Shimoku

Released by Del Rey

Genshiken could arguable be score above Kevin Smith's work as the champion of geek comedy. Not that Smith's works are guilty of these things, but it beats out the slim pickings in the competition in that it's not consciously pop culture referential, it's not going to cheap parody, and its not relying on a persecutions complex for drama. It's more akin to a smart ensemble situation comedy. A group of personalities, not terribly deep, but not broad archetype sketches either, jumbled through various situations, with some time passing and loose story progression. You could say that it does for geeks that Sex in the City did for single metropolitan women.

The Society For The Study Of Modern Visual Culture or Genshiken is a college organization of die hard geeks who've squeaked their way into obtaining a club room, which they use for sitting around, discussing the latest anime, reading porno manga, building Gundam models, and generally consuming the fruits of pop culture. A majority of the material is in some way instigated by Saki, an moderately attractive girl whose passions are far from geek material, but angrily sits in on the Genshiken activities because her boyfriend Kousaka is handsome, a pretty good guy, and a hardcore geek (pretty much the only good looking male member of the group, the others are either non-descript, namely the chief point of view character Sasahara, or have the visual issues generally attributed to geeks). Ohno, the mousey girl with the big bust and a passion for cosplay (dressing up like characters), who joined late in the first volume, receives plenty more face time in these volumes.

By the end of the third volume, the material adapted into the Genshiken anime has been completed, and even finished off with a new cliffhanger. While not a plot driven work, its hard not to develop an attachment to the characters and wonder where events are taking them.

Because the characters are college age rather than teens, they're more able to self-segregate, setting up a situation like a pair of inwardly facing, parallel mirrors, where the geek-ness and infinitely bounce back into itself. The depicted situations cover the gamut from physical and mental unhealthiness to materialism, the strain of mass gathering to the total obsession with endeavors like model building. The ability to find humor in the situations is build on an understanding what appeals to geeks, and what dumbfounds non-enthusiasts. The characters are given the words to vocalize the self justifications, so that rather than straining the situation, the participants can just explain it better. The stories also points of comparable obsessions of non-geeks, bridging these stories into something more broadly human.

The perfect example of how Genshiken captures a look at geek relationship is when Saki finds herself at wit's end.

Saki wants to find a way to connect with Kousaka, who's into her, but that doesn't stop him from putting a tapestry of a porn game heroin next to the bed. They're hanging out, and she's starting to doubt him, but he breaks out of a video game trance, hugs her and expresses his affections. The moment is ruined when he notices the clock, and remembers he has to watch the latest anime on TV. She's explains her problems to Sasahara, Ohno and the Genshiken's most militant geek Madarame. Saki says that a friend told her that the friend's boyfriend puts the TV on during sex, saying the walls are thin, but then positions himself behind her so that he can watch TV. Sasahara and Madarame ask what time this happened, then deduced the boyfriend must have wanted to watch the hot new anime. Saki asks how to turn on a person like that. Cosplay is brought up, but rejected. Video games are settled upon, Puyo Puyo in particular. Saki goes to try it out. Of cource, since Kousaka is a video game savant, the evening doesn't go so well.

From volume 2 onward, it looks like Del Rey corrected one of the complaints leveled against the early volume. The characters of Genshiken talk about a fictitious anime series, but they also talk about plenty of real anime, manga and games. In the first volume the titles were psuedo translated, but now they're receiving the correct names.

Another Miyazaki on New Ghibli reports Toshio Suzuki, speaking at Meiji University, stated that Studio Ghibli's next movie, which will be officially announced on December 13th, will be directed by Hayao Miyazaki's son Goro Miyazaki. Hayao Miyazaki is reportedly "fiercely against the idea."

Advent Children Delayed, Possible Theatrical Release

Anime News Network and GATV

report that Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has been pushed back to January 10, 2006 in order to facilitate a possible limited theatrical release.

American Cyborg 009 Movie Coming?

Anime News Service reports Japan's Itochu group and Michael Uslan's American-based Comic Book Movie LLC will be collaborating on a Hollywood movie based on Shotaro Ishinomori's Cyborg 009.
Michael Uslan has been executive producer on all of Warner Brothers Batman films from 1989 through the present. Ishimori Entertainment is said to be connected with the joint production contract, it will have a role in the selection of the work to be adapted. Filming is scheduled to start in 2006.

CPM News

Central Park Media (CPM) announced the appointment of Ali T. Kokmen as Director of Book Sales. Mr. Kokmen was formerly the Sales & Marketing Manager for HarperCollins' Collins Design imprint. Prior to that, he served as Marketing Manager for Watson-Guptill Publications.

In his new capacity at CPM, Mr. Kokmen will be responsible for the North American sales of 40 to 60 new Japanese manga and Korean manhwa titles a year as well as a backlist of more than 200 books. "Graphic novels in general and manga in particular are the fastest-growing and most exciting segment of the publishing industry," he noted, "so I'm especially delighted at the challenge and opportunity of this new position. Our immediate task will be to investigate all options for effective distribution of our books, in the book trade channel and others, and I look forward to building a system that will serve not only the company's current needs but also its future growth."

The Sunday New York Times ran a story profiling CPM's iPod downloads here.

A trailer for the remastered release of Outlanders is online here.

Central Park Media announced that the first episode of Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knigh is available for promotional download for Macs, PCs, and iPods at and the 4 DVD box set of the series has been repriced to $39.95 SRP.

Right Stuf Premieres Podcast

Right Stuf Internation has launched a Podcast (RSS aggregated media, in this case the usual MP3's) with an audio variety show dedicated to Japanese Animation and Manga.

Anime Today, the first ever commercial podcast dedicated to Japanese animation and manga Anime Today can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes Music Store and directly from the companys website at, and the podcast can be played on a variety of PC MP3 players and hand held devices, including the Apple iPod. The feed can be found here.

The show will feature two podcast personalities discussing the in's and out's of Japanese animation, manga, industry news, insights, prepared feature stories and special reports.

The Anime Today podcast will be offered as new vehicle for delivering anime informational content and advertising direct to consumers focusing on todays latest news and insights on Japanese animation. Every other week, Anime Today's hosts, along with a team of special guests, bring listeners a glimpse into what's new and what's hot in the world of anime and manga. Each episode features reviews of titles from all major anime studios, along with a special insider's look at the anime industry from Right Stufs own production team. Other segments include "The Anime and Gamer's Guide to Japan" and "Anime Today Q&A," where listeners can call in and leave their own questions on anime and Japanese culture! Plus, in the debut episode, Anime Today will also be promoting two exciting contests that will be running throughout the month.

Seven Seas To Publish Three Hit Webcomics

Seven Seas Entertainment announced that it is expanding its publishing line to include fan-favorite webcomics Chugworth Academy, Earthsong, and Inverloch in mid-2006, the first volumes in a series of full-color trade paperbacks.

Chugworth Academy (Story by Dave Cheung and Jamal Joseph Jr., Art by Dave Cheung): A hilariously irreverent online comic strip with an estimated fan base of over 100,000 readers! Beautiful, intelligent, and athletic, Sally has it all, including an idiot boyfriend, Kiyoshi. Along with Kiyoshis best friend, the ever-slutty Ellice, and Chloe, Sallys hyperactive cousin, can the four friends navigate their teenage years without going completely mental?

Earthsong (Story & Art by Lady Yates): Rated #1 webcomic on! A young woman named Willow awakens to find herself on a mystical world with no memory of her former life. She soon discovers that not only are the residents of this world fantastical creatures of ancient lore, but the planet itself is alive and conscious and in grave danger!

Inverloch (Story & Art by Sarah Ellerton):
Rated #1 webcomic on and ranked #1 for popularity on
Meet Archeron, an innocent young pup from the horned wolf-like race the dakor. After his heart is captivated by a beautiful elf, Archeron leaves behind his peaceful existence forever and sets out on a quest full of danger and unexpected mystery.

Early January ADV Releases

Misaki Chronicles 1 (of 3)
Yumeria: The End Of A Dream (3 of 3)
Zone Of The Enders Complete Collection ($49.98)

Misaki Chronicles The follow up series to Divergence Eve with Misaki Chronicles, a new three-part series featuring the beautiful babes of Watchers Nest. The first volume of Misaki Chronicles will be available everywhere anime is sold January 3.

When a bevy of beauties is forced to put their lives on the line to answer the call of duty, they begin a voyage leading directly into the heart of evil. A dark tale enlivened by a shocking mystery, which will have you guessing until the final fade out. Featuring deliciously ripe character designs by fan-favorite Toshinari Yamashita (Burn Up W), Misaki Chronicles is an addictive sci-fi series in the modern mold.

Synopsis: For a hapless young cadet, boot camp is no picnic, and Misaki is as hapless as they get. With the help of friends Luxandra, Kiri, and Suzanna, however, she advances in her training. Pretty normal, right? Wrong. Luxandra should be dead. Suzanna should be discharged. Misaki herself should have vanished in the exodus from the Watchers Nest outpost. And the mysterious life form known as the Ghoul still keeps popping up. Its up to Lieutenant Commander Ertiana and the rest of the survivors from Watchers Nest to find out why everything on Earth is back to normal when everything else in the universe is anything but. Get ready for a high-octane, faster-than-light ride through space and time in Misaki Chronicles!

Zone Of The Enders Synopsis: Earth wants her, Mars wants her, everybody wants Dolores except the one man whos got her! James Links is just a hard-working, hard-drinking, cargo-carrying all-American trying to reconcile with his estranged family as the planets teeter on the brink of war. But when Orbital Frame Dolores finds herself aboard his carrier ship Ender, the whole Links clan is saddled with mystery, murder, and mayhem. Will the Links family save themselves and unlock the enigma of Dolores destiny? Move over Swiss Family Robinson! Blast off with a crew of unlikely heroes in this high-speed interplanetary adventure!

Viewtiful Joe DVD Premiere

Geneon will be releasing the first volume of game adaptation of Viewtiful Joe on DVD and UMD on February 7th. The release will only feature an English audio track, and not a Japanese one.

Joe is a dude just like you and me. He has two great loves: his girlfriend Silvia and Captain Blue, the action-movie superhero. When Silvia is magically captured by a celluloid monster, Joe gets himself swallowed into the screen to save her. Joe meets Captain Blue just as the superhero is about to retire, exhausted from his lifelong battle against villains known as Jadows. With special superpowers bestowed by Captain Blue, Joe transforms into "Viewtiful Joe" to bash the enemies in the Movieland.

Viz Talks Holiday Anime Releases

Viz will be releasing the following anime collections in fourth quarter 05 leading into the holiday season.

Named the #1 Anime for 2004, INUYASHA continues to be one of the most popular and successful manga/anime properties in North America and Japan due to its stunning artwork, beautiful animation, compelling characters and sophisticated storytelling.

Many years ago, the Great Dog Demon wielded the Tree Swords of the Fang. Upon his death, he bequeathed a sword to each of his sons, Inuyasha and Sesshomaru, leaving the third sword, the wrath-filled Sounga, locked away forever. Now that the Soungas owner has been awakened, these two battling brothers must put away their sibling rivalry and face off against a force that spells doom for all mankind!

- and
INUYASHA SEASON 2 Box Set Deluxe Edition MSRP: $119.98
These two new box sets feature over 11 hours of INUYASHA action, all 27 episodes of the second season of the popular series seen on Cartoon Network. The episodes continue to follow Inuyasha, his, spunky sidekick Kagome and their friends Miroku, Shippo, Sango and Kirara as they continue on their journey to find the fragments of the fabled Shikon Jewel. The task is not made easy when their nemesis, Naraku, consistently tries to thwart their progress with new traps and schemes. From adventures to battles to sibling rivalry, journey through the quest against demons, in the second exciting season of INUYASHA. The special deluxe edition includes a set of beautiful imported Hanko signature blocks, each featuring the name of Inuyasha, Sesshomaru, Kagome or the original Japanese logo for the series. These are destined to become highly sought-after collector items among fans.

SAIKANO: The Complete Box Set MSRP: $79.98
Shuji and Chise are high school seniors in a small town in Japan and have just started dating when Shuji discovers that his new girlfriend has been secretly engineered by the government into a powerful weapon to defend the country as it enters a violent war. While the couple tries to nurture their relationship, Chise continues to grow even more powerful as this Ultimate Weapon, and becomes increasingly torn between being an instrument of destruction and remaining an ordinary teenager. SAIKANO has received overwhelming critical acclaim for its unique story that asks the question, what do you do when the girl you love becomes a weapon of mass destruction? This exclusive box set features all 13 episodes of the series as well as a host of extra features including cast and director interviews and art galleries.

ZATCH BELL!, Volume 1 The Lightning Boy from Another World MSRP: $19.98
ZATCH BELL! tells the story of 14-year old Kiyomaro Takamine, a genius but introverted middle school student who has trouble making friends. Kiyos father decides to try to help his son with the aid of a mysterious birthday present a strange little boy named Zatch whom he finds unconscious in the woods in England. Zatch has no memory of who he is, but it turns out he is a mamodo, an imp-like creature from another world, sent to the human world along with 99 other mamodo children to fight a battle to determine who will be the next king of the mamodo world. Exciting, hilarious, and heartwarming adventures ensue throughout the series as other mamodo children keep coming to Zatch and Kiyomaro to try to beat them, and the duo tries to defeat their enemies, make friends, and find out more about Zatch's shadowy past! This volume features the first 4 episodes from the unique and captivating series.

POKMON ADVANCED CHALLENGE, Volume 1 Love at First Flight MSRP: $14.98
A new DVD with 5 episodes that features everyones favorite Pokmon. In this volume, Ash, Pikachu and friends reunite with old acquaintances Misty and Togepi and fun and adventure ensues. POKMON remains a powerhouse on home video and DVD, selling more than 25 million units to-date and is consistently a top-rated television show among boys aged 6-11. This latest volume is sure to delight any young fan.

POKMON ADVANCED Box Set Volume 1 MSRP: $14.98
This new box set features the first 20 episodes from the POKMON ADVANCED series on 3 DVDs. In these new adventures, Ash, Brock and Pikachu meet the sibling team of May and Max and begin their journey into the Hoenn Region. For the diehard POKMON fan this box set will give hours of fun and enjoyment.

FUNimation Requests Imports Pulled

FUNimation has sent retailer Akadot a cease and desist order requesting that they pull sounds track CDs of Full Metal Alchemist, a series licensed by FUNimation. The CDs in question are imported official CDs and not the bootlegs founds elsewhere. Akadot responsed a href="">here.

Anime News Network has extensive information here.

Some have wondered what the implication are to the upcoming Full Metal Alchemist movie DVD release, scheduled for January 25th on Region 2, with English subtitles.

Azuma Fan Parody

AnimeNation points out Japanese fansite Kissa Chachamaru e Youkoso's flash paridt if Azumanga Daioh and Yosuba&!

Utena on AN TV

Anime News Network reports that AZN TV has begun showing Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie.

Disgaea Website

Anime News Network points out that the official site for the anime adapation of popular game Makai Senki Disgaea is online here.

Digital Manga Delays Releases

Anime News Network reports that Digital Manga has delayed October and November releases of Antique Bakery volume 2, Bambi and the Pin

k Gun volume 2, Let's Draw Manga Fantasy, and the first Edumanga title: Helen Adams Keller until December.

Mashima Hiro's New Manga

Anime News Service reports that Rave Master creator Mashima Hiro's next project, Monster Soul, will begin the January issue of Kodansha's Comic Bon Bon.

Manga Ending

Anime News Network and Animaxis report that the manga version of Baki the Grappler will be ending with the installment in issue 52 of Shonen Champion, on Sale November 24th.

Anime News Service according to a new entry in the online diary of mangka Lynn Okamoto, the she's officially finished the Elfen Lied manga which began in 2002. The serial version, which ran in Shueisha's Young Jump was completed recently and she thanks all her fans for sending in appreciation mail. She adds "Elfen Lied was a very happy cartoon." Okamoto had just completed penning 20 pages of new material which comprises the epilogue of the series for the 12th volume tankabon. Work on the epilogue was apparantly delayed as she had wisdom teeth pulled. Street release on vol. 12 is November 18, 2005

Ergo Proxy Site Updates

AnimeNewsNetwork points out that the site for Shuko Murase, Dai Sato and Naoyuki Onda's sci-fi at / has been updated with new information and trailer.

Live Action Junji Ito

Twitch reports that Eleven Arts will be releasing a live action adaptation of Junji Ito's Shibito no Koiwazurai aka Love Ghost. For information and a trailer see here.

TOKYOPOP Premieres

TOKYOPOP will be releasing the first volumes of Rozen Maiden, Shrine of the Morning Mist and +Anima on May 9th.

One Piece And Mew Mew Power Dropped From 4Kids Schedule

Anime News Network report that One Piece And Mew Mew Power have been removed from the listings of the 4Kids block on Fox's Saturday morning lineup.

The current schedule is
8 AM- Magical DoReMi New Episode)
8:30- Winx Club (reruns)
9 AM- Bratz (reruns)
9:30- Winx Club (New Episode)
10 AM- Bratz (New Episode)
10:30- Teenage Mutant ninja Turtles (New Episode)
11 AM- Sonic X (New Episode)
11:30- GI Joe Sigma 6 (reruns)

Hunter X Hunter on Hiatus

AnimeNewsNetwork reports Shonen Jump announced that Yoshihiro Togashi has put Hunter X Hunter on hiatus until late January due to illness.

Viz Media Names Mattel Master Toy Licensee Naruto

VIZ Media, LLC. announced that it has named Mattel master toy licensee for SHONEN JUMPs wildly popular NARUTO by Masashi Kishimoto.

Since 2003, the NARUTO series has been serialized in the U.S. edition of the monthly SHONEN JUMP manga anthology, and published as a graphic novel series by VIZ Media. At retail, NARUTO consistently ranks as one of the top graphic novel titles in the U.S. and one of the most popular titles serialized in SHONEN JUMP magazine.

Anime Crash to Screen Shiden

Anime Crash calls Shiden the first anime production to be co produced by an American and Japanese studio from the ground up. Shiden is the brainchild of Japanese anime producer Kimio Ikeda, who is best known for bringing the world Speed Racer.

The National Comic Book, Art & Sci-Fi Expo is held from November 18th through the 20th in New York City, at the Penn Plaza Pavilion. The pilot episode of Shiden will be shown to the public for the first time in the U.S. on Saturday, November 19th at 1:30pm at the show. For more information about The National Comic Book, Art & Sci-Fi Expo, check out

ImaginAsian TV Expands into Time Warner New York And New Jersey

ImaginAsian Entertainment, Inc., announced that ImaginAsian TV (iaTV), Americas first 24/7 Asian American television network, will premiere in the New York metro area on Time Warner Cable of New York and New Jersey. Beginning November 17, the network will be carried on Channel 560, bringing top pan-Asian programming to digital homes in the number one Asian market in the U.S.

The agreement comes less than a month after iaTV and Time Warner Cable announced a corporate MSO carriage agreement and the launch of the network in Los Angeles, and four months following iaTV and Time Warner Cable of New York and New Jerseys successful Hit Asian Film Festival, made available to the systems digital subscribers through a partnership with iN DEMAND Networks from May through July. Via Time Warner Cables Movies on Demand Channel 1000, viewers were exposed to popular and critically acclaimed films from all over Asia which spanned multiple genres - from Bollywood to Hong Kong action, Korean horror, anime and more. iaTV plans to offer additional video-on-demand services to Time Warner Cable subscribers, to be announced at a later date.

Howl's Moving Castle R2 Special Edition Missing English Subtitles reports the Special Edition DVD (4 discs) contains the Japanese DTS-ES audio track on the first disc but no subtitles (Japanese or English).

Tezuka News

From Anime News Service Osamu Tezuka's 1967 Dororo manga will be adapted to a live action film starting Kou Shibasaki and Shibasa Hao, directed by Shioda Akihiko, with fights choreographed by Ching Siutung . The will film in New Zealand with a 2 billion yen budget. It's scheduled for theatrical release in 2007.

The series follows the son of a samurai born with the body of a worm as a result of his father's demonic pact. After recieving a wooden body, the body learns to become a skilled swordsman.

KDDI (au) and Tezuka Productions will be offering 700 of Osuma Tezuka's manga work for mobiles fones, including rare out of print work, and classics like Astro Boy and Blackjack called "Osamu Tezuka Manganomushi".

Production I.G. To List On JASDAQ

Anime News Service reports Production IG will be listed on the Jasdaq Securities Exchange starting on December 21.The company will offer 2,500 shares to the public in its initial public offering. Of those, 1,400 are newly issued shares and 1,100 are shares currently held in private. The company expects to net Y675 million from the IPO, which will be used to fund equipment and pay debts. For the current fiscal year through May 31, 2006, the company forecasts a group pretax profit of Y506 million, net profit of Y305 million, revenue of Y5.85 billion, an earnings per share of Y21,975.46. Last fiscal year, the company posted a group pretax profit of Y447 million, net profit of Y282 million, revenue of Y5.68 billion, an earnings per share of Y22,386.86.

Upcoming TMNT Release

4Kids Hme video will be releasing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Volume 3.6 on DVD January 31, 2006. powers hidden throughout the DVD.
Episodes include:

H.A.T.E. Our heroes are mistaken for aliens by a group of unruly survivalists, H.A.T.E. (Humans Against the Extraterrestrials), who intend to eliminate the Turtles with a thermonuclear device.

Mission of Gravity The Shredder causes the city of Beijing to come crashing back to Earth.

Time Travails The Turtles get sucked into a time traveling adventure by the uninteresting, but totally cute Apprentice Timestress, Renet.

The Peoples Choice Out camping for the night, the four Turtles find themselves in the middle of an election where the political process is trial by combat to the finish. The Turtles cast their vote, and it may cost them their lives.

Sons of the Silent Age Taking a trip down a local river, the Turtles, Casey and April discover a nuclear power plant and the mermen of YLantis, who are the last of their kind. Or, at least they will be, if the Turtles cant help save the last merwoman and her vital secret.

More Cebulski At Marvel

Marvel will be releasing a series of romance one shots in February 2006. I (Heart) Marvel: Marvel Ai will be written by CB Cebulski, and pencilled by Kei Kobayashi & Tomoko Tamiguchi, with a cover by Gez Fry.

OEL Dark Crystal Manga creators

Love Manga points out that the creative team for TOKYOPOP's release of a Dark Crystal original English language manga will be Barbara Kesel as writter and Max Kim as An illustrator. They're also said to be getting closer to signing an artist for the OEL based on Labyrinth.

Seven Seas Revises Copyright

Love Manga reports Seven Seas has revised its creators contract to give authors of series developed without Seven Seas input full ownershup of the titles. There's appears to be a distinction here between series developed in-house at Seven Seas and the recently announced round of collected web comics. The move is partially in response to the online discussions of TOKYOPOP's contract with their OEL creators.

Fuccons Preview Torrent

ADV has posted a bittorrent distributed torrent preview of live action-ish comedy the Fuccons here.


Last week's column applied the incorrect price to Anime Works/Media Blaster's release of Sukisho Vol 3. The title will be released on 2/28 for $19.95.

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