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Column by Scott Green
Manga Preview Zombie Power
By Kubo Tite
to be Released by Viz in September
Zombie Power is a strong first work from the manga author who went on to produce the blockbuster Bleach, the manga version of which is currently released by Viz, with the anime scheduled for a fall premiere on Cartoon Network. Zombie Power, or Powder as it was originally called is a strong first work, but it didn't exactly set the original Japanese version of Shonen Jump on fire. Consequently, it was cancelled mid-story four volumes in.
So, in Zombie Power, you're investing in an incomplete story, but it's one that has a hero with a chain saw sword fighting a weird androgynous kid with rocket propelled blade, not to mention the manga version of John Steed. The presentation is Bleach meets Trigun. In terms of establishing personality, Zombie Powered is far from as fun, distinctive or smart as Bleach, but it's surprising how good the earlier work looked. Though more overtly flamboyant, Kubo Tite already had his sharp, thin figures, and expressive look.
Set in what looks like theatrical gunslinger architecture, a bus pulls in and drops off a man in a silver, fur trimmed coat. As in as onlooker points out "it takes a special man to wear something like that when he's sober", demonstrating that Kubo Tite certainly has a sense of humor about his characters. This is Gamma, one of many seeking the twelve rings of the dead, reputed to give their possessor the power over life and death. Getting off the bus he crosses paths with the young pick-pocket and knife thrower Elwood. A mix of tragedy in the boys life and fortitude encourage Gamma to let the boy join him in his (McGuffin) quest.
The illustration isn't as consistent as Bleach's. Kubo Tite hasn't mastered when and how to use short cuts, and at times the figures look sloppy or awkward. But, when on fire, such as in the lengthy sword fight that concludes the volume, he flings a potent concoction of dynamic figures and restraint-free inspiration into the action. The command of speed lines and cameras in the wake of the action's momentum as knifes are thrown or people leap, twist and skid across the floor keep the action interesting.
Zombie Power is serviceable genre material that shows the promise of a creator who would later generate a brilliantly fun hit. If you approach it knowing that a complete story isn't available, it's possible to appreciate the action and design. It isn't and probably wasn't going to be an equal to Bleach. The characters certainly don't have the same magnetic personalities to draw attention away from the over-familiar aspects of the work. If you a fan of the Trigun concept, you're a big fan of Bleach, or you're an action manga fan willing to forgo a satisfying story, Zombie Power is well worth reading.
Documentary Spotlight: Otaku Unite!
Directed by Eric Bresler
The documentary Otaku Unite! is a well shot overview of anime fandom. Not the study that might be hoped for. Not the gawking leer that might be feared. Given that it tries to near exhaustively cover the subject in a little over an hour, the examination is marked more by its width than its depth. Eric Bresler interviews people from dedicated fans to early voice actors, to adaptors, to respected commentators, with a view of the convention scene from niche audience gathering like Yaoi-Con to a view being the scenes of organizing one of the larger event.
The documentary is a crowd pleaser who's key appeal is the "that's my passion on film" reaction. It offers the familiar, or hoped to be familiar to people who already know the material. If you were strictly uninformed about anime fandom, the topic probably doesn't interest you and the documentary probably would not interest you. If you were mildly informed, it's a primer for the horizons of fandom. If you're already informed, it offers little new perspective there are point of interests appearances by familiar faces and people who are always interesting to hear from, but apart from the occasional jutting comment, like Helen McCarthy getting in that anime experts tend to be people without family commitments, the proceedings are a bit on the remedial side.
In Japan, "Otaku" was a highly pejorative word that came to mean a type of enthusiast whose passion for geek media (anime, manga, video games) reached heights that gravely interfered with the rest of their life. In some ways it has been softened and generalized in recent years. There are references to an "otaku economy" that covers not just fans of anime and manga, but rabid enthusiasts of anything from music to fashion, even to outdoor activities. On the other hand, the term has never recovered from its association with child serial killer Tsutomu Miyazaki, who reenforced the most negative stereotype of otaku as people who are actively dangerous.
A couple of fan-generations ago, to put an unresearched date to it, maybe in the 90's, American anime fans begun referring to themselves as "otaku", much to the chagrined of those familiar with Japanese culture. At the same time anime in the US was exploding. It went from commercially non-existent (beyond highly localized TV versions) to a trickle such that a person could follow every release, to a torrent, to a deluge. A point that the documentary misses, especially since it largely steers away from the business aspect is that anime is largely a fan built phenomenon. People researched the origins of the animated shows they loved, found that they were from Japan, and began the process of creating the current industry. A sizable portion of the current anime and manga distributors in North America can still claim that, to some degree, they were founded by fans.
What works best in the documentary is that it gives the subjects a bit of space, in most cases it isn't much in terms of time, but in many cases it is enough to paint excellent pictures of the character of fandom. Individuals like Carl Macek (Robotech), Steven R. Bennett (now defunct Studio Ironcat/IC Entertainment), Dave Merrill ( Anime Weekend Atlanta) express their strong personalities.
Macek, for example, does a wonderful job of illustrating the worst zealot tendencies of fandom (and that he's not the easiest or most endearing person to defend).
Then there's Jonathan Cook or Jonny Otaku, almost the showcase of the feature. Cook is the kind of fan that is guaranteed to make his presence known. With a tin ear for social interactions, the brand of stereotype he embodies are magnitudes less severe than Tsutomu Miyazaki, but enough to cause a geek to do a little introspection to ensure that there own behavior has been in check.
Grouping the interviews and segments into topical clusters, the feature is missing a narrative. Ther's a beginning that introduces the concept of the "otaku", and an ending that talks about the booming popularity, but in between the constillation of points and clusters of topical discussions don't form a picture.
The lack of an agenda and, apparently, of preconceived notions is in assets in allow fans to free demonstrate their determining characteristics. The liability is that the documentary is caught up in the apparent and doesn't always dig below the surface. This is particularly the case with visual expression, like cosplay. Cosplay (dressing up as characters)is a defining element of the documentaries view. It's the DVD cover. It's how anime fans are visually distinguished from other geeks, its how you differentiate the social activity from the solo appreciation of the medium (see the cover of Fred Patten's collected writing Watching Anime, Reading Manga for the solo side). Yet, there's very little of the craft or thought behind cosplay. The how's of cosplay aren't addressed. The why's are left at attention seeking.
For better or worse, the documentary doesn't spend its time digging deep into the appeal of anime. Presumably, the time would be better spent on other topics, especially since viewers will tend to already be fans. Fans have embarising mechanical and inelliquent responses to the appeal of anime. "Melodrama" seems a strange, dated answers, reflect more of the Start Blazers days. But, you can't expect a good answer to that question without active probing. If you ask concert goers "why do you like rock music?" the answers aren't going to be as interesting as if you followed up by "what performers do you enjoy?" "what do you specifically like about Bruce Springsteen?" "What do you like to about a medium that runs from Hello Kitty to Urotsukidoji?" "The melodrama" is an odd answer, but in truth there aren't many people you'd expect to feed back a cogent response.
A point of arguable disagreement rather than a flaw in the presentation of the film, but Otaku United seems to hold the convention as the culmination of anime fandom. While it captures the divide of older fans who built what they viewed (through trades and translations) versus the younger fans with immediate access through a host of stores, rental outlets and the internet, it doesn't capture the ambivalence some feel for the convention experience as an outgrowth of anime fandom. The counter point would be that there are anime fans without any interest in conventions and convention goers with only mild interest in anime itself. At some point passions for anime and anime conventions became overlapping rather than conjoined spheres. The fine point difference between fascination with the media and a following of the social activity that stemmed from the media seems mostly lost.
Otaku Unite is an ideal first/early anime fandom documentary. Now fans have the overview to work from. Hopefully this will be built on and other can expand on the foundation.
Manga Spotlight: Genshiken
By Shimoku Kio
Released by Del Rey
The Genshiken or "the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture" is a college club with a nebulous mission statement to examine anime, manga and video games. There's half-irony in that Genshiken, a comedy that among other things jokes about faux-academic spin that geeks going into their twenties and above start putting on the objects of their fanaticism continues to prove itself as the perfect cultural anthropologic examinations of the geek mind. You don't have to specifics be an anime and manga fan to appreciate the humor and honesty brings to his examination of what makes the geek mind tick. Genuinely funny and genuinely true, it's a laugh out loud funny mirror for geeks to hold out for examination. Kio not only captures the mindset, but finds illumination ways to present it. Reactions are a nice mix of "that's what I've always said" and "huh, I never thought of it like that" . It's always flattering, and not just the social maladjustments, but as someone, maybe Evan Dorkin, said, geeks with power are as obnoxious as anyone when given power.
Five volumes sound like a stretch for a geek comedy. There aren't many others that sustain anything approaching the length. Once charge gathered from seeing like minded people depicted affectionately in media dissipates, if the story isn't concise its often becomes shrill, obvious or shallow the series. This exercise treats and builds the participants as as fully developed characters . It might not be high drama to see people squabble on assigning tasks in the creation of a pornographic fan comic, but it is fascinating. The characters' personalities are realized and dynamic. They're thought through as well as any slice of life character.
Volume five advances the work, demonstrating that not only is time advancing in the series, but that the characters are evolving. Several are edging along their preparation from college life to professions. Some interesting layers are cracked in the process. The manga finishes hinting at the subject and finally stares down the talented and passionate illustrator who actively has not considered taking his work into the professional field. One of the manga classic, perfect portrayals of the keep mind comes while tracking the process as the groups most die-hard, everything-for-anime characters has a break through discovering how to dress well.
At the same time, always considered a non-contributing, retrograde bunch in geek society, the Genshiken steps up their game, and decide to sell and produce a doujinshi (fan comic) for sale at Comiket, a huge bi-annual doujinshi market. The comic in question is a hentai (pornographic) version of popular anime Kujibiki Unbalance (a sortof fictitious title, some was produced for the anime adaptation of Genshin). A small, almost completely redacted version of the doujinshi reproduced is included in the volume's appendix). Saki, girlfriend of a Genshiken member and geek by association points out the disconnect of having a bunch of virgins produce pornography. The manga isn't turning into Comics Party, but it's still a good lesson on how Japanese fandom works, and a view into the mechanics of doujinshi production.
From a series storyline prespective, the thrill of this volume is plenty more Ogiue, the character not in the anime (unless you count a cameo). As a geek chick she's instantly fascinating. She previously endeared herself by escaping an argument with her formerly affiliated manga club by jumping out a window, then showing up to Genshiken in a sling, were upon she pronounced them a bunch of queers. As this suggests, she offers plenty of unchecked mouth humor. She's a bit unattractive (as opposed to the previously mentioned, and the slightly Rubenesque, but certainly cute cosplayer Ohno) mostly due to conscious, misguided choices such as paint brush mega-cowlick and antenna tuffs of hair, but she's a powder key, always worth watching. As the manga begins to layout reactions to various situations, the initial curiosity pays off.
An Amazing Dark Horse Fall
Banya: The Explosive Delivery Man Tpb
Written and art by Kim Young-Oh.
With a worldwide war raging between humans and monsters, the young delivery men of the Gaya Desert Post Office do not pledge allegiance to any country or king. They are banded together by a pledge to deliver. "Fast. Precise. Secure." Banya, the craziest and craftiest of the bunch, will stop at nothing to get a job done. Known as the "Explosive Delivery Man" for his risk taking, bold resolve, and impeccable record, Banya agrees to complete a wounded soldier's mission to transport a parcel of great importance‹not knowing what dangers lie in store for him and his friends! As their arduous journey begins, Banya promises, "There isn't a delivery I can't make. I always deliver." Kim Young-Oh's fantastical world is filled with unique monsters, vicious swordplay, and a dash of hotfooted humor. This series is presented in its original Korean format and translated by the mother/son team of Anna Kirk and Derek Kirk Kim.
184 pages, black and white, $12.95, in stores on Sept. 20.
Berserk Volume 13 Tpb
Written and art by Kentaro Miura.
240 pages, black and white, $13.95, in stores on Sept. 27.
(featuring an interesting strategically placed mature warning)
BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL #116
Written and art by Hiroaki Samura.
"On the Perfection of Anatomy," part 5 of 6. The return of Hyakurin!
32 pages, black and white, $2.99, in stores on Aug. 9.
COFFIN: THE ART OF VAMPIRE HUNTER D
Art by Yoshitaka Amano.
For over twenty years, the character Vampire Hunter D has haunted the imaginations of people around the world, its image forever etched in the mind's eye through the dazzling artwork of Yoshitaka Amano. As the original novels appear in English for the first time, American readers are clamoring for a more extensive look at this singular creation. Coffin obliges. This gorgeous retrospective embraces the full scope of Amano's work with the character: in the novels, as inspiration for the animators of the two theatrical films, rare paintings, and illustrations created for release as limited edition prints.
200 pages, black and white, $39.95, in stores on Sept. 13.
CRYING FREEMAN VOLUME 3 TPB
Written by Kazuo Koike, art by Ryoichi Ikegami.
408 pages, $14.95, in stores on Sept. 13.
Written by Kei Ohishi.
In Japan, ju-on is a deadly curse that takes on a life of its own. Always seeking new victims, it's a grudge that doesn't stop‹it can't be stopped. Anyone unfortunate enough to meet up with a ghost killed by the grudge is then killed‹and so it spreads . . . When a senior citizen outreach volunteer goes to work in a house in a quiet residential area, she soon starts to hear odd noises. As the strange events get more and more ominous, she discovers that some acts of violence can attach themselves to a house and that some evils can reach out and touch you‹even after death.
Few stories have influenced modern horror as much as Ju-on. The Japanese films set a new standard for horror filmmaking and storytelling with their blend of slow-burning terror and nightmarish
275 pages, $8.95, in stores on Oct. 13.
MUSEUM OF TERROR VOLUME 2 TPB
Written and art by Junji Ito.
Continuing with his "Tomie" stories, about an eternally youthful and perfectly beautiful girl who inspires people to commit murder, Volume Two promises to invent new ways to shock you. For instance, who'd have thought of making sake out of the remains of the killed and hammered-to-mush Tomie? See? It's crazy! Junji Ito promises to entertain you in the most cracked, yet pretty ways. 376 pages, black and white, $13.95, in stores on Sept. 6.
MUSEUM OF TERROR VOLUME 3 TPB
Written and art by Junji Ito.
Museum of Terror volumes one and two introduced readers to the horrific, beautiful creature Tomie . . . the woman no man could resist. Now Junji Ito, creator and curator of this horrible museum, brings a new type of exhibit to thrill and chill your senses! First, his lovely violinists will escort you to dinner in a vampire den. Next, in a classroom full of grotesquely masked students, which one is a demon in disguise? A musician's possessed arm attacks a schoolgirl by way of his mouth, and another young man listens to the tape recording left behind by a suicide victim. Why did she kill herself, and is he safe from its influence? Swordplay, monk-ridden ruins, halls of upright corpses, infectious radio broadcasts, and murderous ceiling hair are among Ito's beastly offerings in this volume! Find out why Junji Ito is Japan's foremost creator of horror manga!
392 pages, black and white, $13.95, in stores on Oct. 25.
OCTOPUS GIRL VOLUME 3 TPB
Written and art by Toru Yamazaki.
In previous volumes, Takako Unabara‹the Octopus Girl‹has fought zombies, Satanists, school bullies, and the resilient Vampire Granny. Toru Yamazaki's latest collection of absurdist horror stories pits Octopus Girl and Sakae (her wicked companion who has the body of a moray eel) against alien aggressors, bathroom-invading mutants, jealous teen rivals, and (once again!!) the annoying, tough Vampire Granny. Three bonus, "real world" horror vignettes are also included! These shocking manga tales, available in English for the first time, will hypnotize fans of the macabre and the absurd.
192 pages, black and white, $12.95, in stores on Sept. 20.
Written and art by Hiroaki Samura.
These stories are told with the same bold, kinetic art style and brilliantly paced storytelling that Samura's Blade of the Immortal epic is famous for. The main offering, "Ohikkoshi," follows the turbulent paths of several twenty-something art students as they fall in love, fall in lust, play in rock bands, ride motorbikes, eat, sleep (together), and try to avoid making life decisions while drunk. This romantic comedy is a "Japanese art school confidential" packed with absurd humor, obscure death metal references, and some expertly placed, dramatic revelations. "Luncheon of Tears Diary" is a vibrant, genre-busting tale that also peppers its humor with sharp, dramatic moments. Natsumi Funabashi, a virgin, is an aspiring manga creator on a quest for love and a fulfilling career. Along the way, she has to cope with overzealous men, gang warfare, a mahjong addiction, and a lascivious manga editor. This collection is rounded off by Samura's hilarious "Kyoto Super Barhopping Journal: Bloodbath at Midorogaike," a rare, autobiographical travel piece. 248 pages, black and white, $12.95, in stores on Oct. 18.
OH MY GODDESS! VOLUME 4 TPB
Written and art by Kosuke Fujishima.
Ever since a cosmic phone call brought the literal young goddess Belldandy into college student Keiichi's residence, his personal life has been turned upside down, sideways, and sometimes even into strange dimensions!
Half-goddess, half-demon, Belldandy's big sister Urd continues her campaign of naughtiness when she brews up a luuuuuv potion that, of course, goes horribly awry, infecting everyone but her poor intended target‹Keiichi. But random passion in the streets may be the least of the gang's worries as a seemingly harmless CD could turn out to be a portal from the underworld, unleashing a most pesky demon, and any other random nasties that happen to be near her!
192 pages, black and white, $10.95, in stores on Oct. 25.
OLD BOY VOLUME 2 TPB
Written by Garon Tsuchiya, art by Nobuaki Minegishi.
Deciding that he must know the truth, the man who calls himself "Yamashita" follows a trail of clues that leads him back to the mysterious building where he was imprisoned and kept incommunicado for ten years. There, with the help of violence and a brutal imagination, he will try to find answers to the questions that haunt him. However, he will discover that his opponent will not yield to him so easily, and that his ordeal is far from finished.
208 pages, black and white, $10.95, in stores on Oct. 4.
PATH OF THE ASSASSIN VOLUME 3: COMPARISON OF A MAN TPB
Written by Kazuo Koike, art by Goseki Kojima.
Koike and Kojima's story of the famed ninja, Hanzo Hattori and his trials and tribulations protecting the shogun-to-be, Tokugawa Ieyasu.
312 pages, black and white, $9.95, in stores on Oct. 25.
REIKO THE ZOMBIE SHOP VOLUME 4 TPB
Written by Rei Mikamoto.
Reiko Himezono may make good money as a Zombie Shop‹a person who can raise the dead and summon obedient zombie servants straight from Hell itself‹but is all that cash worth all the trouble? Reiko has had to deal with crazed serial killers, vicious werewolves, and plenty of monsters, not to mention her wicked twin sister, Riruka!
200 pages, black and white, $12.95, in stores on Sept. 13.
SATSUMA GISHIDEN VOLUME 1 TPB
Written and art by Hiroshi Hirata.
Controversial, tough, angry, highly skilled, and lost in a time of peace, the characters of Satsuma Gishiden tell a quasi-historical tale of social caste and brutal reprisal.
Readers with a taste for Kazuo Koike's gritty Lone Wolf and Cub will go nuts for master gekiga artist Hiroshi Hirata's tome of samurai struggle. Hirata's art and calligraphy leap off the page during scenes of action, only to unfold upon a full bleed that looks like a fine plate print. It's art at its most expressive, accentuating the classic stoic samurai characters you've come to know, only with a little more true society thrown in to help the reader understand what it was really like to be a warrior without a war.
264 pages, black and white, $14.95, in stores on Sept. 20.
SCHOOL ZONE VOLUME 3 TPB
Written and art by Kanako Inuki.
192 pages, black and white, $12.95, in stores on Sept. 27.
STYLE SCHOOL VOLUME 1 TPB
Japan's leading manga illustration instructional guide (titled SS Magazine in Japan) comes to America! Learn the techniques of Japan's top manga and anime artists in Style School, showing step-by-step methods to help today's up-and-coming illustrators master the use of pen, brush, paint, marker, screen tones, computer modeling, and other tricks of the trade. Gain insight into the weapons of choice of today's top creators, especially those brands and tools that are so hard to find outside Japan. See for the first time the eye-popping art of tomorrow's manga and anime stars, with page after gorgeous page of spectacular visual imagination. And find out how to submit your work to be considered for publication in upcoming issues of SS Magazine in Japan!
144 pages, $14.95, in stores on Oct. 25.
VAMPIRE HUNTER D VOLUME 5: THE STUFF OF DREAMS
Written by Hideyuki Kikuchi, art by Yoshitaka Amano.
280 pages, $8.95, in stores on Aug. 16.
WHO FIGHTER WITH HEART OF DARKNESS TPB
Written and art by Seiho Takizawa.
The first story in this anthology, "Who Fighter," is a play on the legendary "Foo Fighters," the nickname given to the mysterious, UFO-like fireballs that were sighted by World War II pilots. An ace Japanese pilot manages to shoot one of the fireballs down . . . or does he? As ominous signs and visions begin to follow in his steps, the bewildered pilot wonders if he's lost not only his memory of the incidentbut also his very mind! The second story, "Heart of Darkness," is Takizawa's unique take on the Joseph Conrad novel that inspired the film Apocalypse Now. A Japanese war hero, Colonel Kurutsu, has gone rogue, setting up his own private kingdom deep upriver in the jungles of Burma. A young captain, sent to execute Kurutsu, finds that the true reasons for the Colonel's "desertion" are very different from what he was told. Finally, a short piece, "Tanks," closes out the collection with a surreal voyage through one hundred years of armored vehicle battles! 208 pages, black and white, $11.95, in stores on Oct. 11.
TOYKOPOP Fiction Picks up 12 Kingdoms
Newsaram's examination of TOKYOPOP's fiction line has revealed that a significant entry in the Pop Fiction imprint is Fuyumi Ono's popular The Twelve Kingdoms series of novels, slated for March 2007.
Upcoming Manga Entertainment Release Info
From Anime on DVD's Anime Central convention report, Manga Entertainment's July 25th re-release of the Hayao Miyazaki directed Lupin III classic will feature a new digital transfer as well as the following features:
interview with MonkeyPunch (creator of the original Lupin III manga)
interview with head animation director asuo Otsuka
New art is coming but pending licensor approval
Manga is trying to make the move boxart more distinctive.
Street Fighter 2 Uncut will feature a new digital transfer
other features include
2 audio versions will be used - UK version (along with 90s music) and the original Japanese version along with original Japanese music
Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex (first season) boxset will be coming out after the last volume of Second Gig is released. Initially the standard editions will be boxed but they are looking into doing a limited number of the DTS sets as well. No tin box is planned
Manga Entertainment License Updates
From Anime News Network's Anime Central convention report, Manga Entertainment announced new anime licenses Noein, and Tokko, which Burgess described as a combination of Bleach and Vampire Hunter D. Manga has also licensed the live-action movie Tokyo Zombie.
Supernatural drama Tokko was directed by Masashi Abe (Blue Gender, Geneshaft, Shadow).
Noein, praised for its animation, is an alien invasion sci-fi, from Kazuki Akane (Escaflowne, Heat Guy J) and Hiroshi Ohnogi (Gundam SEED, the recent Area 88, Macross Zero)
For catalog titles, Manga still holds the rights to the Evangelion movies (Death and Rebirth and End of Evangelion). Manga will look at any 10th anniversary Japanese releases to evaluate whether a new US release is feasible. The company no longer holds the rights to the Angel Cop, Devilman, and Orguss 02 OVAs. This is in addition to the now-expired licenses for Guyver, Red Hawk, Gunbuster, Wings of Honneamise, and the first two Patlabor movies.
Ghibli World has translated Lawson's interview with Goro Miyazaki, son of Hayao Miyazaki and director of Gedo Senki/Tales of Earthsea here.
The running time of Gedo Senki is about 110 minutes.
The movie's sound track, along with a 10 track image album (an album inspired by a work, rather than a soundtrack), are scheduled for July 12th.
Toonzone's Podcast interviews Toonami's Sean Akins & Jason DeMarco here
Amano's Hero Resurfaces
Publishers Weekly reports that Hero, illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano, best known for his Final Fantasy designs, will be released from comic publish Boom Studios starting in July. The five volume series was to have been released by Speakeasy Comics before the publisher went out of business.
Women in Manga/Mobile Device Tempest
Manga and mobile electronics may first have been competitors for the hearts on Japan's commuter culture populous, but it is now looking more that the two are becoming bedfellows. The Beat points out a JIN BNarticle about the increasing number of women reading manga downloaded to their mobile phones.
The comic distribution business was primarily targeted at male salaried workers in their 30's and 40's. Thus 80% of the receivers of the service at first were men. By coordinating with the publisher Shogakukan Inc. in April last year, however, NTT Solmare increased more comics that are targeted at women, such as the "Tokyo Love Story." As a result, women now account for more than one half of the clients.
The fact is that women are behind the popularity of mobile phone manga. It was in April of last year that another company, eBOOK Initiative Japan Co., Ltd. , launched mobile phone manga business. The company made its policy to serve mainly teen-age girls and women in their 20's by distributing such manga works as the "Berusaiyu no Bara (Rose of Versailles)" and "Yokubari na Kuchibiru (Greedy Lips) Works of Erika Sakurasawa." As a result the monthly sales have gone up by 10 folds in the past year, and the number of monthly down loading has topped 100,000. This company offers manga pieces for men as a matter of course. But the majority of the recipients are women.
Missing Tezuka Discovered in US
Asahi Shimbun reports five missing manga works by the "God" of the medium Osamu Tezuka were discovered in a collection of Japanese publications gathered by a U.S. censorship unit after World War II.
Takeshi Tanikawa, an associate professor on cinema history at Waseda University, said he found the short pieces in the Gordon W. Prange Collection at the University of Maryland. The very existence of those pieces had long been forgotten because both the manuscript copies and the records could not be found.
According to Tanikawa, the five pieces come in a form of cartoon strips with three to 12 frames.
They include a six-frame strip titled "Tameshi-giri" (trial sword-cutting), in which a subordinate uses his wits to fend off his lord's violence.
A four-frame strip titled "Tarikiremasen" (I can't take it) features a mannequin that gets embarrassed when someone peeks up her skirt.
A 16-page short manga, called "Hans to Kin no Kaminoke" (Hans and golden hair), was also found in the collection.
The title had been known to some, but its contents had remained a mystery because there were no copies.
The manga is drawn in a Disney-like style and deals with a story similar to something out of "Grimm's Fairy Tales."
"Girls' Comics from Japan" in NYC
"Girls' Comics from Japan" a touring exhibit featuring historic Japanese manga, with a special emphasis on shojo manga—comic books for girls will be appearing at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NYC. The exhibit features 23 renowned shojo manga creators and more than 200 works from World War II to the present. The exhibit launches Thursday June 1, 5-7 pm
IGN hosts a trailer of Gainax's This Ugly Yet Beautiful World, due from ADV on July 4th here.From Anime News Network and AnimeNation:
GAINAX And SHAFT On Negima 2nd Stage
Anime News Service reports animation studios GAINAX and Shaft will be teaming on the production of a second Mahou Sensei Negima! TV series, based on the Ken Akumatsu manga, to be directed by Akiyuki Shinbo (Nanoha / Paniponi Dash). The show is expected to start Fall 2006 in Japan.
Kaiju Big Battel's Anime Boston Card
Pro-wrestling meets man-in-suit monster crushing Kaiju Big Batte will be returning to Boston with its first live performance in over two years to headline Anime Boston 2006 on Friday, May 26th. The event will feature thirty-two blocks of crushable cityscape (including a scale model of the Prudential Center), 2 Kaiju Jumbotrons, the fan favorite Danger Zone (a Double-Dare-inspired audience participation area), and twenty Kaiju fighters including two new monster creations.
In addition to the performance, Kaiju will host several workshops and panels throughout the weekend on a variety of topics including costume creation, cosplay performance, and Kaiju's recent work on G4 TV's daily cable program, Action Blast.
The event will take held at the Hynes Auditorium, 900 Boylston St., Boston, MA. Doors open at 7:30PM, the show starts at 8:00PM. For tickets see www.animeboston.com/events/kaiju/
Experience this year's greatest night of live monster wrestling and see if the evil Dr. Cube delivers on his threat that "Someone Must Die!" This is Kaiju's only scheduled New England performance, so don't miss this rare chance to catch one of Boston's best live-action comedy shows.
Schedule of events for Kaiju Big Battel: Someone Must Die!:
Pre-fight music by DJ Rofo
Match 1) Tag Team Urban Conflict: Los Plantanos VS The Apes of Wraths
Match 2) Intern Promotion Match: Hero Intern VS Vegetius
Match 3) Fight City, Population Kaiju: Force Trooper Robo VS Mystery Opponent
Match 4) Pocky Tomb of Doom: Unibouzu VS Dai Hachi Hachi
Main Event) Kaiju Championship Contest: Dr. Cube VS Kung-Fu Chicken Noodle
Visit kaiju.com for more info and full descriptions of the match ups.
Animevillage.com Announces E-Commerce
Bandai Entertainment Inc. announced that its newly revived on-line channel Animevillage.com now includes e-commerce featuring Bandai Entertainment's catalog of DVD product.
Animevillage.com's store will sell Bandai Entertainment's catalog of DVDs at a 20% discount off SRP for e-commerce consumers.
In addition, Animevillage.com is continuing its program of digital distribution with free streaming of Bandai Entertainment's new hit series Eureka Seven. Each week, the episode that airs Saturday night on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim begins a week of free streaming on Animevillage.com the next Sunday night. Following a week of free streaming, each episode is made available as a purchasable download. Eureka Seven is a 50 episode anime epic from Bones, the anime studio responsible for such hits as Fullmetal Alchemist, Cowboy Bebop-the movie, and Wolf's Rain.
Streaming YU-GI-OH! CAPSULE MONSTERS
4Kids Entertainment Home Video, Inc., the home video unit of 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. , will offer Yu-Gi-Oh! fans an exclusive online advance viewing of Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters, the new direct-to-DVD release. www.yugioh.com, the official Yu-Gi-Oh! Web site, will stream the entire 90-minute DVD on Monday, May 22, 2006 beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. PT. This premiere event comes on the eve of the DVD release of Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters on May 23, 2006.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monsters pits Yugi, Tea, Tristen and Joey against a new crop of ancient monsters who are out to destroy them. To defeat the monsters, the kids must now work together as a team and abandon their trusty Duel Disks for different technology — Capsule Shooters.
Anime Expo News
Anime Expo 2006 brings back the Pre-Registration Contest, with a line up of prizes from DVD prize packs, Manga Books, Copic Markers, Anime Cels, Electronics to even highly prized official products by CLAMP More information is available at www.anime-expo.org .
From a random drawing, early registration attendees are eligible to win prizes. Images of prizes can be found on the official Anime Expo 2006 website.Deadline to qualifying for any of the aforementioned prizes is June 15, 2005. Winners will be announced online and must attend Anime Expo 2006 to claim their prizes.
Anime Expo 2006 and Bang
Zoom! Entertainment joined forces to bring the biggest and best AX Idol contest (Sunday; July 2, 2006; 3:00pm) ever, to celebrate the 15th year anniversary convention. This year, the talented and charismatic Johnny Yong Bosch (Best known as one of the Power Rangers from the American Series and Voice Actor star of TRIGUN, AKIRA and many others) will host this exciting event and audience members will select the grand prize winners via text messaging.
AX Idol is your opportunity to showcase your talent, AND win some cool
prizes! Bang Zoom! Entertainment, (English language Studio for IGPX, SAMURAI
CHAMPLOO, RUROUNI KENSHIN and WITCH HUNTER ROBIN, to name a few), is looking
for "The Future Voice of Anime" and the next ³AX Singing Idol.
AX Idol is holding an open call to everyone who would like to try his or her hand at being the next Anime Voice Acting and Singing Superstars. Contestants will audition for industry professionals that will provide valuable critiques. Ten finalists will be selected to perform in front of a live audience of over 5000 people! An audience that will have the power to decide the contestants¹ fates via text messaging!
Best Voice Actor
"The Future Voice of Anime" AX Idol Grand Prize Winner will be invited to Bang Zoom! Studios where they will receive a studio tour, sit in on a recording session, and have the chance to audition for an upcoming Anime title!
³AX Singing Idol² AX Idol Grand Prize winner will also be invited to the studio to where English Language versions of anime songs such as the opening and ending themes from RUROUNI KENSHIN for Cartoon Network were recorded. There you will record a demo produced by Chris Many (esteemed composer and music producer Music for Fox¹s American Idol, to name one!). The Grand Prize Winner will also be given a chance to audition for future recordings and invited to Bang Zoom! Studios for a tour and a chance to sit in on a recording session.
All finalists will receive AX Idol/Bang Zoom! Studios T-shirts!
Individuals can now register via online (www.anime-expo.org
Madman Acquired by Funtastic
Anime News Network reports Funtastic Limited has announced the purchase of the leading Australian anime distributor Madman Group of companies for $34.5 million AUD (US$26.5 million). More information can be found here
Digital Manga Inc. Announces New Title Acquisitions
Digital Manga Publishing, has announced the acquisition of two new titles.
Coming this Fall are:
Princess Princess by Mikiyo Tsuda
Street Date: 11/1/2006
Peer pressure has never been this intense!
Why is Kouno receiving such an overly warm welcome at his new all boys' school?!? Sure he is pretty handsome for his age, but such a response is usually reserved for cute girls. Little does Kouno know about the secret Hime, or Princess, system in effect at the school. Cute boys are chosen to dress up as girls at school events to provide a touch of femininity in the sea of testosterone! By the time Kouno finally catches on to the oddities of his school, he discovers that he has been elected as a candidate! Kouno, lured by the "benefits" of being a princess, takes on the job with the other two princesses Mikoto and Shihoudani; and the chaos begins.
From the author of The Day of Revolution, comes a hyper active high school story. What's in store for our three princesses as they don Gothic Lolita-styled outfits and are forced to cheer for clubs every day??
Currently being adapted into an anime in Japan, don't miss out on this tale of cross-dressing gone haywire!
Enchanter by Izumi Kawachi
Street Date: July 1, 2006
Fulcanelli is an "Enchanter," an ancient engineer/alchemist who is able to imbue the weapons and gadgets he constructs with magical powers. Transformed into a demonic being after his death, he is always accompanied by his demon lover Eukanaria. Due to circumstances still unknown, his is in need of a new body. Until one can be found, Eukanaria must guard the pendant containing his soul from the many demonic forces that wish to obtain his great power for their own.
In the present day, Haruhiko Kanou is an ordinary boy good with machines and nursing a crush on his science teacher and neighbor Yuki Fujiwara. Little does he know he is Fulcanelli's perfect double and Eukanaria has tracked him down… Izumi Kawachi will be DMP's guest at Anime Expo (July 1 - 4) to celebrate the release.
Tokyo Tribes TV Anime in October
Anime News Network points out that TOKYOPOP (who releasex the associated manga) stated that Santa Inoue's Tokyo Tribes will be adapated into a 13 episode anime series, schedule for Japan's WOWOW in OCtober. Previously the anime was thought to be planned as a movie.
"World Manga" Update
Anime News Network reports that "World Manga", the term that TOKYOPOP now perferrs of Original English Language (OEL) manga. Adam Arnold of Seven Seas Entertainment has pointed out, "Jason DeAngelis of Seven Seas actually coined and used that term when the company launched in October 2004."
Gonzo's 'Brave Story' at Cannes
ICV2 reports Brave Story, Gonzo's feature adapation of Miyuki Miyabe will be shown as the International Film Festival at Cannes on Monday, May 22nd. Warner Bros. acquired the distribution rights to Brave Story.
Manga Awards Announced
Shissou Nikki by Hideo Aduma (Eastpress)
Shinsei (New Hope) Award:
Ookiku Furikabutte by Asa Higuchi (Kodansha) for showing new possibilities of expression in baseball manga.
Kousei Ono for Many Years of Introducing Foreign Comics to Japan and Activity as A Commentator (Basically a lifetime achievement award)
comipress reports that Winner of the 30th Kodansha Manga Award, presented for works published in the previous year by Kodansha - one of the largest Japanese publishers. This year the winners are:
Children's manga category:
- Kitchen no Ohime-sama by (serialized in Nakayoshi) by Natsumi Ando (Orginal Story by Miyuki Kobayashi)
Shounen manga category:
- Air Gear (serialized in Weekly Shounen Magazine) by Oh Great!
Shoujo manga category:
- Life (serialized in Betsufure) by Keiko Suenobu
General manga category:
- Mushishi (serialized in Afternoon) by Yuki Urushibara
Volume 5 of Death Note has opened at number 126 in USA Today's top 150 fiction sales chart.
FullMetal Alchemist has moved to number 100 in USA in the list.
Zeta Gundam: A New Translation US premiere
Gunota reports that the new compilation Zeta Gundam movie will premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 7th. Yoshiyuki Tomino will appear to give a special lecture. Special screenings of Char's Counterattack and Gundam F91 are also planned.
Fox to Distribute Broken Saints
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will be releasing the 24 episode Flash animated, anime/manga inspired novel Broken Saints on August 1st. The four disc collection will retail for $49.98.
"Saints" tells the story of four strangersand what they must do to save the world.
The DVD collection includes optional commentary tracks from the series' creators, fan films, several featurettes, a "making of" documentary and other extras, including a lecture session with writer-director Brooke Burgess filmed at the Walker National Art Center in Minneapolis.
Comics on iTunes
ComixPedia reports Clickwheel, the iPod comics company, has set up shop on iTunes, debuting with four features with more to come in succeeding weeks.
The current setup of iTunes allows the transfer of mpeg files in the m4v format, a format traditionally assigned to movies and animation, not comics. Since most of the features on Clickwheel are rooted in the art of the still frame and speech balloon, Clickwheel has developed a house style of limited animation that preserves much of the look and feel of comics artwork... very close to what storyboard artists and advertisers call "animatics." "The name 'Clickwheel Animatics' communicates what we're about," says Simons. "Our cartoonists can venture into full animation but the vast majority of them are more interested in this kind of work, which shows its roots."
Clickwheel's first features on iTunes are the movie-themed gag strip Joe Loves Crappy Movies by Joseph Dunn, the punning gag strip Silent Kimbly by Ryan Sias, the fantasy sitcom Sebo by Jamie Robertson, Colin White's autobiographical, politically charged Colin White Comix and Joe Alterio's youth-and-quest story Fading Fast.
To find out more about Clickwheel, go to www.clickwheel.net.
Trailer for Noboru Iguchi's Nekome KozÃ´
Twitch has details on a trailer for Nekome kozÃ´ was written by Mana Yasuda, based on the eponymous manga serial by Kazuo Umezu here.