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AICN Anime - Hellsing Ultimate Preview, GaoGaiGar - King of Braves and More!

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Hellsing Ultimate To be Released by Geneon 12/05/06 ($44.98) based on English dub

The direct to video OVA Hellsing Ultimate was produced as a response to the dissatisfaction with Studio GONZO's 2001 tv series adaptation of the popular horror/action manga. Or at least by continued interest in the franchise coupled with an existing anime work that was painted into a corner. The direction taken by director Tomokazu Tokoro, probably best known for his work on the Yoshitoshi ABe anime (key animation for Lain's opening, director of NieA_7 and Haibane Renmei) is an inventive approach remarkablely reproducing the effect of Kohta Hirano's original manga. Satelight (Geneshaft, Noein, Heat Guy J), a studio that isn't overly new, but isn't the primary animation production house behind that much anime, gives this higher profile project a bit of an experimental spin. While not as obvious as a work like Gankutsuou, Studio 4C's projects, or some of the new MadHouse output, the techniques of Hellsing are decidedly distinctive. Movement isn't reduced or made more static, but the particular frames of view utilized do suggest an original take of anime as animated manga. This does effect the storytelling. It does ensure that Hellsing Ultimate will stand out from the crowd of anime in general and action works in particular. Not every viewer is going to be entirely satisfied with the results, which are more forceful in conveying the nature of the Hellsing manga than in establishing concussive force action. The effect IS enormously intriguing. The story of this volume's particular phase of Hellsing was caught fairly closely in the previous anime television series, and it is considerably more genre-conventional than other stretches of the original manga. As Hirano's work begins paddling closer to the deep end, and Hellsing really starts howling at the moon, there's a lot of potential for the anime to become enthrallingly demented. Hellsing's multi-front war between semi-secret militaries is informed by what looks to be Hirano's interest in World War II black-ops. In its early phase pastoral or suburban settings are torn up with small, but bloody conflicts between various undead, and hunters of evil creatures, and between agents of the feuding armies dedicated to protecting specific ideologies against the dark forces. Police officer Seras Victoria is introduced to the conflict between the royally commissioned Protestant Hellsing Organization, the Catholic Vatican Section XIII: Iscariot, and the demonic world when her police squad mates are turned into zombies after an unprepared engagement with a vampire. Taken hostage by the creature, she is rescued, after a fashion, by Hellsing's prime operative: Alucard, a vampire in overcoat, fedora and Natural Born Killers glasses, more than willing to put a shell into his own kind. The 50 minute episode follows the first volume of the manga about as closely as an anime would follow source manga. There are a few additions, such as a trippy interlude used to exercise Hirano's style of doodle comedy. Whether the anime continues to map to the progression of the manga this closely is open to question. The end credit sequence does feature a cameo by Alucard in the radically different appearance used in the prequel manga Hellsing:Dawn. Except for the disproportionally long, spindly limbs, character designer Ryoji Nakamori captures the deep black outlines, whisking interior details and even slight crookedness of Hirano's work. Rather than tight form, the loose shapes with heavy contrast gives the manga and this anime a sort of bouncing swagger. The characters, and by extension the story, look like they can move quickly and hit hard. Beyond the boldness, the look offers a freedom to portray intent characters without carrying itself too seriously. Rather than a claustrophobic horror/action, Hellsing's look immediately establishes itself as big and pulp. As in the majority of manga, Hellsing was printed in black and white. Apparrently, Seras was introduced wearing a blue police shirt, which was traded for a yellow tunic when she joined the Hellsing organization. In the previous anime, the outfit remained blue due to fears that yellow would not look good on a TV screen. In Hellsing Ultimate, they go for the yellow, and it seems like the decision of the first anime was the wiser path. Not that blue can be discerned from yellow in black and white manga, but the light color did offer an effective contrast in the original work. Yellow for a uniform, especially in a horror work comes across as aesthetically messy. Isn't yellow a color reserved for safety guards, occasionally sports teams and race drivers and at one point Hughes flight attendants? Bordering on silly, it at least looks out of place: not quite officious or ceremonial, odd for field work, and plain foreign. The action sequences of Hellsing Ulitmate are conveyed in a deliberately viscous manner. Motion is not captured in quick snake bite movements the way it might in a work like Yoshiaki Kawajiri's (Ninja Scroll). Instead, in most cases, time dilates to capture more of the motion detail. Because of the narrow visual focus of these movements, the effect is more similar to a moving manga panel than Matrix bullet times. The manga featured many panels of weapons being leveled and close ups of the bullet being fired before cutting to the impact and results. The anime captures this, with the exact movement as the body positions the gun, then slow detail capturing the mechanisms of the weapon. "Focus" is not just applied in the sense of the frame of vision, but in time taken to capture the motion. One wouldn't suspect Hellsing to be a candidate for avante-guard, but in some instances it gets close. This impression is further enforced by the amount to dialog, not only mid-battle, but mid action. Again, as in manga, words float in the air as the scene moves. Hellsing Ultimate has its own notion of spectacle that is not just exact, but in many cases more elemental than neon. The visualization of moving shadows and eyes peering out of holes into a nightmare don't glow in unnatural shades the way it might in many digitally animated works. Instead, there is a grainy look of spark of dust and soot. Frequently told with off set framing, skewed angles, and strange close ups, the crookedness of the anime is marvelous. Down to small details, like an angle in which a character's narrow glasses split their piercing eyes, the vision is constantly surprising.

Anime Spotlight: GaoGaiGar Volume 1 Released by Media Blasters' Anime Works

The beauty of the titular machine in GaoGaiGar is that it is just about the most inelegant giant robot ever launched onto the television screen. Its complexity practically defies ocular focus. Every sort of mechanized and animal kingdom emblem of power was welded together in the Franken-Robot. The combination Transformer/totem pole features a lion's maw dominating its chest, a multi-crested, flame crowned head, a bullet train for shoulders, drills on its knee, talons on its feet, and a stealth bomber on its back, with split segments resembling a raptor's spread wings. To really geek out, it looks a bit like PredaKing, the combined form of Transformers' Predacons. Kunio Okawara is probably one of the most underappreciated names in anime. Many of the most recognizable giant robots, including GaoGaiGar, look the way they do because of Okawara's work. He started with the super-hero/machines of studio Tatsunoko's output, including Gatachman, Time Bokan, and the original Tekkaman. He then became the mecha designer for the original "real robot" movement, which sought to add a logical dimension to giant robots. Both prime examples Gundam and VOTOMS featured Okawara's design. He also continued working on the larger than life "super robot" sub-genre, including the Yusha or Brave series. The Brave series was toy manufacturer Takara's answer to their faltering Transformers line. Takara, teaming with Sunrise, the studio behind Gundam and plenty of other robot works, including Escaflowne, Gasaraki, and The Big O among others, every year, for eight years, would put out a new stand alone Brave series work: Brave Exkaiser, The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird, The Brave Fighter of Legend Da-Garn, The Brave Express Might Gaine, The Brave of Gold Goldran, Brave Command Dagwon, and finally, in 1997, two years into the Evangelion revolution, The King of Braves GaoGaiGar. So, yes, GaoGaiGar is a toy advertisement. And, for an American audience, it isn't even one of OUR toy commercials. There are certainly deficits that the series has to overcome. It doesn't have the nostalgia weight of Voltron or Transformers. And, for many viewers, a factor will be that while GaoGaiGar doesn't look 20 years old like those venerable favorites, at 10 years, technology shifts in the medium do mean that it does look its age. GaoGaiGar works hard to rise to the challenge. Sitting on the evolutionary zenith of media bred to hold the attention of young males for 25 minutes, and keep them coming back week after week for a year, GaoGaiGar offers an inventiveness and loud zealousness that is forceful enough to sway older audiences a decade after the fact. A viewer who is predisposed to enjoy vibrant metal titans fighting bestial chimera foes will be won over by GaoGaiGar. Here's where the lack of nostalgia cache comes into play. Mecha fandom is rarely fashionable. Aside from a generation's appreciation for Transformers, it is typically a niche among niches. More often than not, some reluctance needs to be cast aside to approach a work like GaoGaiGiar. An argument can be made that, while this aversion makes sense to an extent, giant robots can be a fine, empty calorie pleasure. Accepting that, if you are going to go for a retrograde treat, you might as well go for the premiere one. On one hand, the giant robot passion does require a bit of a juvenile heart that isn't too far removed from a child's fascination with fire engines and construction machinery. On the other NASCAR, History Channel/Discovery Channel programming, and such would seem to indicate that the instinct isn't shared by quite such a slim minority. As opposed to this giant robot interest, a fascination with extravagant fighting stories, the big, hierarchical tournaments and the endless battles for supremacy, at least seems like evolutionary coding. This sort of primal wiring to keep tabs of who is on top doesn't seem that much more sophisticated than being enthralled by big, powerful objects, but it does seem a characteristic of greater biological maturity. Shonen fighting isn't necessarily a better genre than giant robots, and there is no gold star for enjoying either if you're older than the target audience, but, it is worth noting that the audience for the former tends to be older than the audience for the later, and that sometimes keeping this in mind when appreciating a representative work is worth while. The point of this speculation as to why a person old enough to buy DVDs , such as the writer or reader of this review, would want to watch something like GaoGaiGar is to reconcile with the fact that GaoGaiGar is feeding one's child-mind. If you are going to be party to the type of entertainment that works on that level, you might as well celebrate a work like GaoGaiGar that does it well. Fortunately, GaoGaiGar isn't going to insult your intelligence. Intelligence simply isn't part of the equation. All of the thought is front loaded into the creation of the work, visible on screen. The viewer is free to just gape at the results. A crammed density of vehicles and weapons and support characters is churned out episode by episode. The anime neither holds back or exhausts itself. Rather than an over ritualized model for its action, the series isn't terribly formulaic. Despite a regular method of introducing foes each episode, the shape of the battles themselves have so far been sans 'Blazing Sword' syndrome and unpredictable. Like the title robot, episodes and fights are a kludgey assembly of EVERYTHING. While hideous under a rational lens, in terms of overwhelming spectacle, its attack on the senses has rationality beat, cold. The thrust of the storytelling is explicitly fueled by bravery and the belief that fortitude will win the day. The Gutsy Geoid Guard, something between a corporation, secret society and government agency fiercely creates the technology and fields the warriors that will protect humanity from the Zonder aliens. The dual protagonists are an innocent young boy with the strange ability to reach out to the men who the Zonders have transformed into monsters (he was delivered to his surrogate parents as an infant via the mouth of a robot lion), and a 20 year old man, formerly an astronaut, who after a shuttle disaster was rebuilt as a cyborg through extraterrestrial technology. In other words, a pair of messianic figures do battle with interlopers hoping to corrupt humanity by exploiting the species' flaws. GaoGaiGar certainly doesn't appear to be an allegory of any sort. There is little subtext beyond hurrahs for bravery. Which isn't to say that there is no subtext. The series does get a bit subversive in its moralizing. To a slightly antithetical degree, the moral of given episodes call for almost a zen calm: a truck driver who learns to accept Japan's overpopulated urban congestions, a pro-wrestler who can throw opponents into the exploding, barded wire of a cage match without being tormented by the need to be the best. In the first episode, this current is used to critique the meta-purpose of the series itself. In a garbage dump, bemoaning the wastefulness of working, discarded objects, the child-lead finds a toy-robot, notes it wasn't broken, and ponders whether its former over ever really wanted it. Especiallly in that GaoGaiGar is a mecha series that stands outside the long shadows of Evangelion and Gundam, it is an uncommon work. It is not looking to rewrite the rules or plumb any new depths. Bravery spurs people to become heroes. Machines change shape and battle. It's a simple concept paired with fascinatingly convoluted implementation at its finest.

Afro Samurai News

ICV2 reports that the Afro Samurai anime is now scheduled to premiere on Spike TV on January 4th. Newly announced voice actors attached to the prject invlude Ron Perlman and Kelly Hu.

Le Chavalier D'Eon Licensed

Anime News Network reports Production I.G's (Ghost in the Shell) Le Chevalier D'Eon has been licensed through Shochiku and a release is expected as soon as February 2007. While an official announcement has not been made, and confirmations have been declined, ADV Films is believed to the distributor

Production I.G Announces Reideen "Re-Birth"

Production I.G and Tohokushinsha Film Corporation are teaming to produce a new animated TV series entitled Reideen, inspired by the 1975's super robot TV classic "Reideen The Brave" (Yusha Reideen). STAFF Director: Mitsuru Hongo ("IGPX", "Outlaw Star") Assistant Director: Shunsuke Tada Story Supervisors: Mitsuru Hongo, Masahiro Yokotani Character Design: Takuya Saito ("Sakura Wars: The Movie") Mechanical Designers: Atsushi Takeuchi ("IGPX", "Innocence"), Shinji Aramaki ("Appleseed") Music: Yoshihiro Ike ("Blood: The Last Vampire") Sound Director: Masafumi Mima Animation Production: Production I.G

Figures News has a preview of Art of War's "Guts and Farnese" Statue here. The figure, limited to 350 pieces is available for preorder for 38000 yen (approx. $350.00 US). Photos from Fall Toy Show 2006 can be seen here.

Games News

From The Magic Box Bleach Wii: Shiraha Kirameku Rinbukyoku, set to be released in Japan on December 14th, can be seen here New screen shots Super Robot Taisen XO for the Xbox 360, to be released in Japan on November 30th, can be seen here. The game is an expanded port of the GameCube version of Super Robot Taisen GC. The Battle of YuYu Hakusho for the Playstation 2, an expanded arcade port, can be seen here

Viz Media Signs New Representative In Latin America For Zatch Bell! and Naruto

VIZ Media has selected Licensing & Promotions Latin America as its new representative for ZATCH BELL! and NARUTO in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia. Licensing & Promotions Latin America represents King Features, Spellbound, Sulake, New Line Cinema and Rainbow among others. They will be an extension of VIZ Media within these markets and represent VIZ Media to local licensees, retailers and promotional partners. Licensing and Promotions Latin America also has local presence in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru. They are headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico.

DMP and 801 Media Yaoi Con

June by Digital Manga Publishing, announced the following yaoi titles atYaoi Con 2006 1. Love Recipe by Kiriko Higashizato 2. In the Walnut by Toko Kawai 3. Picnic by Yugi Yamada 4. Othello by Toui Hasumi 5. Sweet Whisper by Hyouta Fujiyama 6. World's End by Eiki Eiki 7. Ordinary Crush by Hyouta Fujiyama 8. Can't Win With You by Yukine Honami and Satosumi Takaguchi 9. Words of Devotion by Keiko Konno 10. Nakimushi na Little by Keiko Kinoshita 11. Lover's Flat by Hyouta Fujiyama 12. Invisible Boy by Hotaru Odagiri 13. Ai no Kusabi (novels) by Reiko Yoshihara Love Recipe Volume 1 Written and illustrated by: Kiriko Higashizato Rated 18+; MSRP: $12.95 Ð June 18, 2007 Tomonori Ozawa has just landed a job at a large publishing firm. The catch? He is the new editor of a Boy's Love magazine?! On top of that, he is stuck with dealing with the artist Sakurako Kakyoin, a male yaoi artist who is notorious for missing his deadlines. To become a full fledged editor, Tomonori-kun has to start from the bottom Ð checking drafts, editing scripts and lettering. Now if only Kakyoin-sensei would stop sexually harassing him, he could actually get some work done! In the Walnut Volume 1 Written and illustrated by: Toko Kawai Rated 16+; MSRP: $12.95 Ð July 11, 2007 What do a gallery owner, Hideo Tanizaki, and a young, na•ve filmmaker, Sohei Nakai, have in common? Well, both of them are 24-years-old Ð that's a good start. They both graduated from the same art school Ð that can't hurt either. The fact that Tanizaki has a perchance for art forgery is just one "minor" difference between the two that Tanizaki hopes to rectify pretty quickly. Picnic Written and illustrated by: Yugi Yamada Rated 18+; MSRP: $12.95 Ð July 18, 2007 Relationships are tough, but relationships between friends can be even tougher. That's what Koreeda discovers when Noda Ð one of his college buddies Ð offers to become "friends with benefits." Until recently, Koreeda has had a serious girlfriend. But now he's on the rebound and looking for something different something real. Othello Written and illustrated by: Toui Hasumi Rated 16+; MSRP: $12.95 Ð July 18, 2007 After Atsushi dies in a horrible accident, his twin brother Ayumu decides to steal his identity and returns to school in his place. He attempts to hide his reckless behavior and assume persona of his honor student brother. However, for some reason, Ayumu is unable to hide his true colors and composure around his classmate Kirishima. Sweet Whisper Written and illustrated by: Hyouta Fujiyama Rated 18+; MSRP: $12.95 Ð July 28, 2007 "Do not deceive a person. Do not threaten a person. Do not handcuff people. Any illegal activity is forbidden." This is an excerpt from the deal between Natsume the salarymen in sales and the college kid Touji. It all began with a little stalking, some handcuffs, and an unexpected night in the slammer. Where will this budding love lead? World's End Written and illustrated by: Eiki Eiki Rated 16+; MSRP: $12.95 The shocking conclusion to Dear Myself. Ordinary Crush Written and illustrated by: Hyouta Fujiyama Rated 16+; MSRP: $12.95 Ð August 22, 2007 Nanase and Heiji are supposed to be two the only straight guys in a school where 90% of the students are rumored to be gay (or bi). When a simple White Day exchange of chocolates starts to go awry, however, sometimes the consequences are unavoidable. Can't Win With You Volume 1 Written by: Satosumi Takaguchi and illustrated by: Yukine Honami Rated 18+; MSRP: $12.95 Ð August 15, 2007 Shuuiku Academy is an elite all-boys school, home to a dormitory full of aspiring young students. But when the dorm's lights go out, the exited cheers of handsome young men fill the hallways! Watch as love and ambition bloom in this wildly popular boy's dormitory tale. Words of Devotion Volume 1 Written and illustrated by: Keiko Konno Rated 18+; MSRP: $12.95 Ð August 15, 2007 After graduating from high school, Tachibana and Otani have finally confessed their love for each other and are living together. However, their co-habitation is totally ruined when they run into an old high school buddy, Yuki. Otani has always been suspicious of the friendship between Tachibana and Yuki. And honestly, his suspicions may not be that far offÉ Nakimushi na Little (Little Crybaby) Written and illustrated by: Keiko Kinoshita Rated 16+; MSRP: $12.95 Ð August 1, 2007 College student Kishino-kun is a slightly blundering, but cute and adorable guy that everyone loves. Classmate Fujimoto-kun is resident ladies man, but you can always count on him to bail you out of a sticky situation. What happens when these two fall in love? Lover's Flat Written and illustrated by: Hyouta Fujiyama Rated 18+; MSRP: $12.95 Ð August 1, 2007 A bit of Christmas merriment leads to a night of passion between Natsu and Kouno. How do the two plan on handling "the morning after?" Invisible Boy Written and illustrated by: Hotaru Odagiri Ai no Kusabi (Novels) Written and illustrated by: Reiko Yoshihara Currently 5 volumes and counting, these novels tell the story behind the hit yaoi OVA, Ai no Kusabi. 801 Media Inc., a sister company of Digital Manga Publishing, launched at Yaoi Con 2006. The new publishing company will focus on edgier and more explicit yaoi compared to its sister June Manga. The company's initial line-up of titles includes: 1. Ichigenme The First Class is Civil Law by Fumi Yoshinaga 2. Love is Like a Hurricane by Tokiya Shimazaki 3. Bond(z) by Toko Kawai 4. Affair by Shuiko Kano 5. The Sky Over My Spectacles by Mio Tennohji 6. My Paranoid Next Door Neighbor by Kazuka (Haruka) Minami The books will be produced in the authentic Japanese style Ð retain dust jackets and the full color pin-up and read from right to left.

Pirates Versus Ninja From Makers of Gold Diggers

Antarctic Press announced that the first issue of Pirates vs. Ninjas, written by Fred (Gold Digger) Perry and drawn by Craig Babiar (Gold Digger: Throne of Shadows) will be released in January 2007. What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? Is there a God? Who would win in a fight, pirates or ninjas? Since time immemorial, Man has pondered these cosmic questions. It is no secret that pirates and ninjas have always been at odds. At long last, two of history's most formidable opponents in physical combat will meet in the arena of destiny for the ultimate showdown. Throughout the millennia, these natural enemies have left death and despair in their wake. Now, they face each other to battle for supremacy. The burning question will finally be answered in this genocidal free-for-all. Let the greatest battle of all time commence!

Fights, Flights, & Tights! Costume Contest

In this a little late in getting the news out, but Project Rooftop announced their first annual costume contest. Send photos of a physical costume featuring a cool redesign of a classic superhero to by November 5th to win original art of their design by Project Rooftop's own Dean Trippe For example, if you send us some pics like you could win something like this.

Viz Media Europe Acquires Honey & Clover

AnimeNation reports that according to an update at the Viz Media Europe site, the European branch of the anime/manga distributor has acquired the rights to the Honey & Clover series, a popular college drama. Other Viz Media Europe licenses include Bleach, Deko Boko Friends, Grandpa Danger, M€R and Zoids Genesis.

Trailer for Second Sgt. Frog Movie

AnimeNation points out that the site for the Keroro Gunso(Sgt Frog) movie now hosts a short teaser trailer for the second Keroro Gunso movie, which will open in Japan next March.

Manga Premieres

From Anime on DVD, the volume 1 of the following manga series are scheduled for the following dates: Broccoli January 24, 2007 Galaxy Angel II February 28th Disgaea 2 CMX February 28, 2007 Empty Empire March 31, 2007 Go Go Heaven!! Time Guardian April 30, 2007 CANON Digital Manga June 18, 2007 Love Recipe volume 1 July 11, 2007 In the Walnut July 11, 2007 Othello July 28 Sweet Whisper August 1, 2007 Lover's Flat August 15, 2007 Can't Win With You Words of Devotion August 22, 2007 Ordinary Crush

TOKYOPOP Talks Trinity Blood

TOKYOPOP's schedule for Trinity Blood releases include: Manga Series Hits Retail Shelves November 2006 First Pop Fiction Novel Series Arrives April 2007 Second Pop Fiction Novel Series Follows August 2007 The anime series has been commenced by FUNimation TOKYOPOP, announced manga, and literary universes: The Trinity Blood manga series launches in November 2006 with the Pop Fiction novel series Trinity Blood: Rage Against the Moons and Trinity Blood: Reborn on the Mars, the source material for the hit anime franchise, debuting in April and August 2007, respectively. All three series follow the recent launch of the Trinity Blood anime on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. Set in a distant future after most of the world has been destroyed, Trinity Blood chronicles the disturbing conflict between the Vatican and vampires, with an intricately layered plot that weaves in centuries-old conspiracy theories, otherworldly mythos, and an underlying paranoia that casts a darkness in which the most nightmarish acts occur. The creation of the Trinity Blood series was the work of Sunao Yoshida, who passed away in 2004 at the age of 34 with the novel not finished. Kentaro Yasui--a friend of Sunao Yoshida and author of the Ragnarok novels--was asked to continue the storyline. Both the manga and novel series were completed by Yasui, with novel illustrations by Thores Shibamoto and manga illustrations by Kiyo Kyujo, based on Shibamoto's design. According to TOKYOPOP editor, Kara Stambach, "We are ecstatic to be able to bring the Trinity Blood manga and novels--the basis for the enormously popular anime--to English-speaking audiences for the first time. The books' intricate art, complex characters, and charged, fast-paced, no-holds-barred storytelling promise Trinity Blood fans nothing short of a wild ride!" About the Books: The Manga Series: Trinity Blood In this gorgeous, seven volume gothic-action manga series, Armageddon has given rise to the fabled Second Moon--and a perpetual war between the vampires and the humans. Esther is a nun in the city of Istavan. When she crosses paths with Abel Nightroad, a priest sent from the Vatican to combat the local order of vampires, the two form a holy alliance to battle the most evil of threats: Gyula, the leader of the vampires. The Pop Fiction Novel Series: Trinity Blood: Rage Against the Moons In this suspenseful six volume novel series, the war between humans and vampires rages on, playing out in a power struggle between two factions: the Vatican and the New Human Empire. A secret group of vampire extremists manipulate the two factions, pitting them against each other to ensure the war escalates. A Vatican special ops group led by Cardinal Caterina must use everything it can--even a Crusnik, a vampire who preys on the blood of other vampires--to protect the peace effort. The Pop Fiction Novel Series: Trinity Blood: Reborn on the Mars In this second set of Trinity Blood novels, a stunning series comprising six volumes, Abel and his love interest, Esther, are caught up in the brutal war between the New Human Empire and The Kingdom of Albion!

Publishers Weekly on CPM Rebound

Publishers Weekly has spoken to Central Park Media's John O’Donnell looking the anime/manga distributor's rebuilding process here. The piece addresses the perception that CPM declared bankruptcy and the effect of the closing of retail chains.

New Bleach Merchandise License

VIZ Media reports that the Bleach merchandising license has been granted to C & D Visionary Inc. Products include buttons, stickers, lucite key chain, magnets, shoelaces, and postcards. C&D Visionary is a manufacturer and wholesale distributor for licensed entertainment merchandise and original artworks. From specialty retailers such as Hot Topic and Claire's, to thousands of "mom and pop" stores around the world, C&D can service in-store and tour requests for just about any novelty item.

Online To Do

A couple of always worth visiting blogs are offering a wealth of unique perspectives on anime/manga/related points of interest. These particular institutions can always be counted on for brilliant content, but a few recent entries stand out as must-read. Junji Ito's Uzumaki, a grotesque horror springing from a town haunted by spiral patterns, stunned many readers and introduced them to the form. Same Hat knows horror manga like nobody's business and looks at Ito's omnibus Museum of Terror here, and the difficulty Dark Horse has faced with its release, with a follow-up here. The site also offers a fan translation of Ito's following here and here Same Hat also offers a photo-intesive tour of manga and comics in Europe here and here A look at the release of Osamu Tezuka's Ode to Kirihito is online here Patrick Macias' An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla ignites an interesting conversation with his list of 10 favorite anime movies here A clip from NHK TV's Eigo de Shabera Nighto here on “Otaku in USA” and more Maid Wars.

Serial Experiments Lain Contest Status: results are in the works

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