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AICN Anime: Miyazaki's Ponyo On A Cliff, Kurau: Phantom Memory, Baki, GaoGaiGar

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Anime Spotlight: Kurau: Phantom Memory Volume 1 Released by ADV Films

In anime circles, Kurau: Phantom Memory's claim to fame was that the BONES (Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Full Metal Alchemist, Wolf's Rain) series was announced for North American anime distribution as it ran on Japanese TV in 2004, but sat unreleased for nearly three years. That notoriety as a missing release might help the series, because, not following any of the noticeable trends in anime, Kurau: Phantom Memory easily could have become an overlooked title. The sci-fi fugitive series bears a resemblance to the anime version of the Hollywood version of a Philip K. Dick work. Modern day society with new flourishes such as over-ground motorways and floating info screens certainly calls the Minority Report movie to mind. As in one of those films, a key feature is the use of sci-fi as more than excuse to introduce elements that would separate the work from the everyday world. In anime's recent output, this approach to exploring an idea and its ramifications is rare; more so in that the idea is not strictly technology based. (Noein being the other example.) Knowing too many details beforehand would detract from the experience, but essentially Kurau: Phantom Memory is a "what if X was introduced into society" story, where X is the Rynaxes, life forms that naturally like a binary, energy based existence. Despite an early plot development rush, the first episode is quick to direct attention to the first of many indications of how circumstances shape personalities. Kurau may not be strictly spoiled, but since the death of her mother, her scientist father gives upbringing extra concern, especially as a reaction to possibly overlooking her needs. Plot strikes with sci-fi opening 1A: lab experiment gone awry and Kurau is changed by the Rynaxes. Even then, the crammed experience does not let up. Not only is there a time leap, a new status quo is introduced, then a scene later, shattered. From these early episodes, one would think that the series had a 12 episode run to work with rather than its 24. While the speculative brand of story might be a gift to sci-fi fans, these early episodes offer reminders that this is still popular, televised anime. Beyond the mandate to keep the action moving, the series does not entirely demonstrate faith in its ideas and its audience. To imply someone is killed by a cadre of thrill killers, then a scene later reveal the character was merely subdued, is not only a cheat, it suggests a degree of uncertainty as to the audience's maturity. Then, there is the prominent presence of an early teen girl named Christmas who cooks and demurely minds emotional matters. That dip into the "moe" character type suggests more was involved with putting this character on the stage than the speculative development of her unique personality. Fortunately, the shadow of condescension does not blot out the anime. It owes its success less to originality than to its ability to use its high concept as a tool for inspecting human relationships and a launching point for animated action. BONES' creative staff takes up the task of making a series that stands out. This starts with Tomomi Ozaki's character design which employs an approach to hair styles and body models that say more about the character than blatantly reaching out for coolness. Director Yasuhiro Irie handles super powers in a striking manner. The effect not showy, but use the touch of dullness to suggest real leaps beyond human constraints. The dead-stop impressive the abilities of a pulp work like Read or Die is linked to sci-fi with a touch of grounded science, and a look that calls realism to mind. Mix in some amazing set pieces that leverage the sci-fi fiction elements of the settings or the powers involved, and the series does offering something of a spectacle. There does appear to be an attempt to present a speculative case study through the series. At the same time, characters are too busy reacting to be terribly introspective, which dodges the post-Evangelion trap of a pretentious show. This is demonstrated through an open window to the characters, in which they bare their souls without the series making overt, artificial. Events happen quickly, with character reacting in highly emotional, but credibly real ways. Especially in these early episodes, the series needs to suggest the effects of experience quickly. There's enough reality in the design and direction that empathy allows the viewer to accept the rapid changes. Kurau: Phantom Memory does an admirable job of not being every other anime. It is not shaping up to follow the late night classics such as Serial Experiments Lain and Boogiepop Phantom, but it will provoke a thought or two. Personal drama in the middle of a run and hide scenarios, influenced by energy beings has room for novelty, and implemented with the talent at Bones, the results are satisfyingly distinct without strictly ringing in anything new.

Anime Spotlight: Gaogaigar - King of Braves Volumes 2-4 Released by Anime Works

Thanks to DVD and various online modes of distribution, most of us have caught up on our favorite childhood programming. Aged a couple of decades, some are embarrassing, other are entertaining for their ironic of kitsch value. In contrast, GaoGaiGar is like the best bit of Transformers you never saw. Despite the familiarity of the giant robot genre, GaoGaiGar offers an opportunity for a work of anime to provide something that is not available elsewhere. In this case, it is an experience akin to finding a great NES game that you never played. The chance to recapture some of the youthful excitement of seeing a new transforming robot for the first time isn't just nostalgic, it's fun. Even though a police-car-ninja-robot at age 20 or 30 isn't as wowing as a dinosaur robot at age 8, GaoGaiGar still offers the giddy thrill of possibility. At least up to volume four, it is still structurally the typical giant robot show. What makes the series more fun than a baseline work is that it plays games with the formula. Leaving dangling clues, it teases and fosters anticipation. While the series can serve as prime giant robot escapism for an older audience, it is also blatantly a toy commercial, appealing to the grade school intellect. Though a popular, younger audience adventure, the series is not going to offend critical thought. An episode to episode continuity leads the series dramatic weight. Scenes where heroes and villains plan and discuss how to stop their foes serve to establish the gravity of the conflict and the capabilities of the combatants. Significant revelations, such as the suggestion that a villainous general might be working for the opposing force under duress give the impression that at any moment, something exciting is about to throw everything else into chaos. GaoGaiGar was actually developed at least a decade after the 80's toy cartoon pantheon. Running in 1997, it was the final entry in the Yuusha or Brave series. Following the decline of Transformer's Japanese popularity, toy company Takara began developing annual robot shows with the animation studio Sunrise. These ran from 1990 to 1997, culminating with The King of Braves GaoGaiGar. GaoGaiGar is positioned at in interesting spot on the mecha anime timeline. You wouldn't know it from its gleaming heroes, who never waiver, at most admonishing themselves for letting down the ideal, but GaoGaiGar is actually post-Evangelion anime. The plot is both as simple as a good versus bad conflict can be, and royally complex. Mapping out the characters, relationships and rivalries would make for a nice, mad diagram to scrawl out on a chalk board if you ever wanted to scare someone. The series' heroes are the Gutsy Geoid Guard, primarily represented by Guy, the robot pilot who was a dashing young astronaut, revived as a cyborg after a shuttle collision, and Mamoru Amami, an energetic eight year old of alien origin, raised by human foster parents. The GGG heroes are hyper-competent in a pulp/wuxia way. Brave, principled, intelligent and moral to a fault, they are almost humorously idealized. The various verbal and physical flourishes go a long way to making that impression more pronounced. GaoGaiGar can't be thought of with remembering the CEO bellowing GGG's "Final Fusion Approved" before robot combination sequences or lines like "courage can turn a 10% chance into 100%." This aids the series in ensuring that its heroes are not bland. 20 years after the piloted robot was introduced with Mazinger Z, GaoGaiGar is determined to make its cast as colorful as it robots. With the likes of a dandruff plagued secret base CIO and the VERY American Swam White, that is a sure bet. The opposing side is the alien Zonders, primarily presented by the Four Machine Kings: Pizza, Pinchernone, Primarda and Pollonaise. These generals corrupt people who are out of sorts with the world, turning them into giant metal monsters. Many of these are forgettable one-appearance foes, but a few are quite, impressive, such as the stressed out college exam-taker who turns into a soaped up, purple version of the German Gustav Gun to shell schools at noon, or the military geek who turns into something that looks similar to a Gundam Zaku, but puts GaoGaiGar through the paces of a exciting battle. With 49 episodes to work with, the series appeared to be fill these early episode with an exploration of an almost a Pokemon style host of machinery. Especially around volume two, the effort to stretch the excitement of intruding of new robots that transform, connect and combine briefly becomes tedious. Kunio Okawara, one of anime's most important mecha designers, in works from Gatchaman to Gundam, produces a host of colorfully baroque super robot creations. However, if the series spent any more time with the likes of HyoRyu and EnRyu, crane and ladder trucks that transform into robots and combine into ChoRyuJin, this simply would have been a nostalgia work. Episodes later into volumes three and four do go further into the situations and character, but they also offer more compellingly strange machines, such as Volfogg the police car that turns into a ninja robot and combines with a helicopter and motorcycle to form Big Volfogg, or the three construction orange beeping robots that combine to form one of GaoGaiGar's various tool box theme armaments, the Dimension Pliers

Anime Spotlight: Baki The Grappler Volumes 11-12 Released by FUNimation

Compared to other action anime, Baki the Grappler is lean in the sense that there is very little other than the motivation and the fight. Even then, the motivation is essentially just the primal imperative to assert pack dominance. There are plenty of sports anime where the sport is a secondary point of attraction. While those series rely on compelling characters, Baki the Grappler is a fighting anime that is indifferent to the viewers’ reaction to the depicted personalities. Instead, it needs you to want to know what it looks like for a battle hardened karate master to throw down with a geriatric, but near homicidal ju-jitsu master. If this sounds wholly uninteresting, then Baki the Grappler has nothing for you. If it piques your interest, then the series doesn't require that you entirely buy the concept in order to find that the series has a compelling momentum throughout the course of its 12 volume run. The second season of Baki the Grappler satisfactorily concludes the bracketed Maximum Tournament , but not the Oedipal antagonism between Baki Hanma and his father Yujiro. In addition to tacking on an epilogue that leads into a never animated further storyline, less than subtle hints are dropped concerning a new direction for the protagonist. The series is essentially dedicated to masculine energy rather than drama, but clues to dark impulses for the character and diminished will to fight could have sharpened future fight match-ups. The first season of Baki the Grappler was appropriately uninhibited, mixing brutal beat-downs with a straight presentation of amusingly ill-advised foes, such as a yeti ape and a self-hypnotizing mercenary. It generated excitement by quickly introducing adversaries, then jumping into the fight with little plot padding. Unfortunately, the short quests and random arena match-ups fell into the trap of building one foe as a paramount challenge, then undercutting the adversary as soon as they were defeated. Considering that the point of Baki the Grappler is to capture the thrill of two men fighting, with non-stop excitement trumping realism or depth of intellect, drama or spirit, the anime's second season warrants accolades for implementing the perfect formula. Ultimately, the tournament functioned more like classic pro-wrestling than combat sports or any other athletic endeavor. For the course of some fraction of a 25 minute episode, Guy A fights Guy B. Without being outright superhuman, neither reflects the real abilities of an actual person. Both are fighting for dominance and neither has a strictly sympathetic motivation. In order for this to be entertaining, it needed to build up the intrigue of what would happen when the two lock horns. With all of the combatants revealed, the format allowed the viewer to speculate on a ranking system and potential match-ups. This encouraged forethought is what made the fights exciting. You might not care who actually won, but you were interested in seeing it happen. Upsets and even match lead-ins fostered a sense that either opponent in any given match could win. False leads were introduced both concerning who would take specific rounds and even who could serve as Baki's foe in the finals. The thrust of the series fight animation is watching someone getting beat badly. Considering that both fighters are testosterone stewed he-men, the approach is showy with absolutely no grounding in reality, the spectacle does not suggest that the viewer should feel guilty in enjoying the sight. The anime's equivalent of the pro-wrestling bump or stomp-punch would have to be the mount of times characters shrug of the likes of a full force punch to the neck. Similarly, it is fond of exposition, but its grasp of the fundamentals of physics and bio-chemistry are so divorced from science that they seem intentionally hilarious. Animating the fights, the priority is one real devastating attack rather than a fluid fight choreography. When blows are exchanged, attractive spinning chains of attacks and defenses are far less frequent than logicless flailing. Generally, the punch, kick, block material is only pacing out the deadlier looking scenes. Great attention is paid to earth shattering slams, someone ripping out their opponents nerves, or in a drugged system shock, spewing gallons of green bile. Every couple of episodes, there is sure to be at least one memorable stomach turning attack or wound. There is a Baki tag line that suggests something like of "at least once in every man's life, he wonders if he could be the strongest." If that only involves bruises and fractures, maybe, but if as in Baki the Grappler, it involves arteries being bit and fingers forcibly being shoved into the navel, that thought is a bit too chilling. In each encounter, both fighters are allowed to get in their devastating showcase attacks. After which, the recipient is bound to be laid out on the ground for some period of time to sell the impact. Unfortunately, this means that in most cases the declared winner seems arbitrary. There are spiritual victories and winners declared to establish a point, frequently, it seems that at almost any point, the judge could declare, "it's over, X wins!" It's almost ironic that the climactic battle comes down to what could be considered a marginally simple, or at least easily learned, mixed martial arts hold. While the Baki/Yujiro school all of fully embraced martial arts shines in the anime's final act, the series still plays games with supremacy. Thorough the course of the anime, there was a discernable pro-Japanese spin. This was more respectful in the Maximum Tournament than in the previous season, but fight arrangement still lined up to give traditional Japanese martial arts quite the boost. This ties into how the anime deals with Yujiro as an unrepentant bad-ass. Late in the anime, it treats the viewer to several flashbacks to the early exploits of the series' antagonist. At age 16, he went into what was more or less the Viet Nam war unarmed and commenced ambushing and killing combatants on both sides. This was made easier by the fact that every soldier who got Yujiro in their crosshairs talked to him before trying to shoot, but the anime-meets-Rambo: First Blood Part 2, damn history and good sense quality to this flashback is certainly entertaining. Then, there is a second flashback to end the series, in which the character injects himself into the South American narco-wars. The result is that he defeats the United States. Not in the South American theatre. Yujiro Hanma beats America. If nothing else, the occasion for that sort of wonky politics could be considered part of what makes anime great.

Ponyo On A Cliff News

Hayaoi Miyazaki's next Studio Ghibli project Gake no Ue no Ponyo or Ponyo On A Cliff is currently scheduled for a summer 2008 Japanese release. Employing a water color and pastel appearance, the movie will tell the story of a five year old boy and a goldfish princess who wishes to become a human. Toho has images here. Beyond Miyazaki, currently announced staff for the project includes Katsuya Kondo as chief animator, Noboru Yoshida as art director and Michiyo Yasuda as chief color designer. Nausicaa.net notes that Miyaki will be addressing his relationship with his son, Tales of Earthsea director Goro Miyazaki through the movie's boy Sosuke. Parent/child relationship will influence the movie. In particular, Hayao Miyazaki found his work informed by what as saw as Goro actor of "resistance" directing Earthsea. Hayao Miyazaki was interviewed by neuroscientist Kenichiro Mogi in Miyazaki's workshop for NHK's Professional Nausicaa.net has translated comments here. The site notes that the movie's father looks like Howl and the goldfish Ponyo looks like Mei from My Neighbor Totoro as a human. Miyazaki notes the effects of his age several times and demonstrates a strained relationship with his son. GhibliWorld has media of the feature. GhibliWorld also comments on internet reaction to the feature. Some are accusing Miyazaki of plagiarizing the work of Yasuhiro Nakura, an animator who worked with Miyazaki on Laputa: Castle in the Sky as well Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Metropolis and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Message board 2Chan notes similarities to the book "The world of Nakura Yasuhiro." While some are saying that Miyazaki has gotten too hold, other state that the idea of gold-fish-princess is common, comparing Nakura's work to the older Ogiiwa Mutsumi manga "The gold-fish-princess in wonder land" and "Merumo in pointed hat" from Ogiiwa's "Fairy tale of Ginyoubi".

Toriyama's Final Anime?

Dragon Ball Z creator Akira Toriyama has contributed character design to the anime adaptation of the game Blue Dragon. Speaking about the title at the Tokyo Anime Fair, Toriyama indicated that this could be his final anime project. According to Anime News Network, he stated: This may be my final anime, I'm a little worried (about it). There's incredible pressure, but at the same time, there's a sense of accomplishment — that it's worth doing. Blue Dragon will be a masterpiece, not simply because I'm working hard on it, but because the staff is expecting nothing less.

Tachigui at The Cherry Blossom Anime Marathon

Production I.G has announced that Mamoru Oshii's movie "Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters" will be screened at the 5th Cherry Blossom Anime Marathon, held on April 14, 2007 at the prestigious Smithsonian Institution-owned Meyer Auditorium, located inside the Freer Gallery, Washington DC, USA. The Cherry Blossom Anime Marathon, a day-long festival of four Japanese Anime films, is part of the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, held in Washington DC from March 31 to April 15, in a celebration marking the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from the city of Tokyo to the people of Washington, DC in 1912. SCREENING SCHEDULE Date: April 14, 2007 (Sat) Time: 1:30 pm Place: Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery, 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC Tickets for all films (two per person) will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10:30 AM. Tickets for all films will be available throughout the day. For more information, see http://www.asia.si.edu/cherryBlossom.htm Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters retells Japan's history from 1945 to our days through the feats of self-proclaimed dine and dash professionals -the Fast Food Grifters. They are phantoms that rise and fall with Japan’s shifting diet-styles, dissenting heroes who carved their names on the dark side of dietary culture with their glare. And now their legend revives, strong than ever! The movie, in a mockumentary style, has received particular attention for the revolutionary visual technique adopted, called "superlivemation," in which real people still photos are first digitalized and then computer-animated. The extraordinary cast includes Toshio Suzuki (Studio Ghibli's producer), Kenji Kamiyama ("Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex" director), Shoji Kawamori ("Macross" and "Aquarion" director), and Shinji Higuchi ("Lorelei" and "Sinking of Japan" director). The music score is written by Oshii's most trusted composer, Kenji Kawai ("Ghost in the Shell", "Innocence"), who is also playing a role in the movie.

Tekkon Kinkreetat MoMA

Cartoon Brew points out that Studio 4C’s Tekkon Kinkreet will screen at The Museum of Modern Art during a one-week run from April 25–30, 2007. Director Michael Arias will appear at the April 25th screening. Wednesday, April 25, 8:30. North American premiere. (Introduced by Michael Arias) Thursday, April 26, 8:30 Friday, April 27, 8:30 Saturday, April 28, 2:00 Sunday, April 29, 2:00 Monday, April 30, 8:30

More Genius Party in the Works

ICV2 reports Studio 4C is developing a second Genius Party anthology with works from Mahiro Maedam(The Animatrix), Kazuto Nakazawa (Kill Bill), and French comic artist Nicholas de Crecy. The first Genius Parth will debut Kennedy Center in February 2008. The possibility of a third installment was also mentioned at the Tokyo Anime Fair.

New Manga Publisher in the Pipeline

Ohzora's Aurora Publishing division announced that they will be using Diamond Book Distributors for their upcoming release of manga in the North American and European markets. Planned titles include Project X and the Harlequin manga. Shoujo guru Matt Thorn responds to MangaBlog's item saying that he was been consulting Ohzora regarding Aurora.

Prince of Tennis Altered or DVD Release

Anime on DVD that Viz's release of Prince of Tennis on DVD features altered opening and closing animation. The music used in original Japanese version was replaced with new music.

Synch-Point To Localize Galaxy Angel Rune

Synch-Point's Blog has indicated that the company will be localizing the Bandai Visual release of sci-fi comedy Galaxy Angel Rune . Synch-Point previously released FLCL in North America.

Square-Enix At SDCC

ComiPres notes that Square-Enix will attend this year's San Diego Comic-Con to promote their manga division.

Gundam Wing Remasters

AnimeOnline reports that Banfai Visual has announced that Gundam Wing will be re-released in Japan across 12 DVDs with remastered video and dolby-digitally enhanced audio. DVDs will retail for ¥6300 each. A remastered version of the Endless Waltz OVA will be released in starting in October.

Convention News

Florida's JACON anime convention announced that The Manga Masquerade: Through the Looking Glass – JACON's Formal Dance Party will return for a second year. The event will trake place Saturday, May 5th 2007 at 8:00 PM. The dance is included with your paid admission to the convention and requires formal attire to gain entry. Attendees are also expected to be masked in tradition of a true masquerade. For more information see www.jacon.org and www.wasabianime.com. Anime Expo has begun announcing guests for the 2007 convention. Historically, AX has been North America's largest anime convention. Acclaimed voice actor, singer, writer and director Mary Elizabeth McGlynn is the 1st Guest of Honor for the highly anticipated 2007 convention June 29-July 2 at the Long Beach Convention Center. McGlynn is best known for performing the role of Major Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. She is currently directing the English audio version of Naruto. Anime Central, May 11-13 in Rosemont, IL, will host Trigun creator Yasuhiro Nightow and mecha designer Noriyuki Zinguji. Otakon announced that the convention will not be capping its attendance this year.

Dark Horse Talks Chunchu Release

Dark Horse will be releasing Kim Sung-Jae and Kim Byung-Jin's 2003 Manhwa of the Year Chunchu starting July 25th. In a time of chaos and war in a godforsaken era, twin sons are born to an emperor. But legend states that the son of the emperor shall be born a demon. But twins? Who is the demon, and who shall reign as emperor? Chunchu is the story of a young man saved from death by his mother, banished by his people, hunted by his brother, and tortured by demons from within. Living and fighting with a warrior tribe that can never trust him, Chunchu lives a life of blood and violence. Still, something mysterious lurks within his cold exterior, something that could be awakened by the touch of a woman.

Zatch Bell Added to Toonami Jetstream

VIZ Media and Cartoon Network have announced that Toonami Jetstream now features streaming episodes of Zatch Bell. The online service also offers SAMURAI JACK, NARUTO, MÄR, THE PRINCE OF TENNIS, HIKARU NO GO and POKéMON: The Johto Journeys. New episodes will be uploaded every week. ZATCH BELL! is based on the manga series by Makoto Raiku and tells the story of Kiyo, a brilliant 14 year-old boy who dislikes school and has no friends. His father sends him a special gift to help him: a strange little boy with a mysterious book of spells named Zach Bell. Through friendship and teamwork, Kiyo and Zatch discover that he is from the mamodo world, and must use his awesome powers, released from the spell book, to defend themselves an amazing collection of other mamodo, all competing to become King of the mamodo world.

More on CPM Yaoi Licensing Problems

MangaCast received a clarification from Japanese publisher Libre concerning their insistence that CPM is publishing works from the bankrupt BIBLOS without a valid agreement here Kokoro Media looks at what this problem says about dealing with Japanese IP holders. Publisher's Weekly looks at the issue here

Upcoming in Japan

Anime Online has a preview of the spring anime season here A handheld recording of Madhouse's Denno Coil, scheduled for May, has been YouTube'd here A trailer for the third episode of the Hellsing Ultimate OVA, scheduled for released in Japan on April 4th, can be seen here A trailer of Madhouse's Devil May Cry adaptation can be seen here. A new trailer for To Terra, also known as Terra e is online here. A trailer for a href=" http://www.kissdum.com/ " >Kissdum ~Engage Planet~ can be seen here A trailer for the anime adapation of L. M. Montgomery's Emily of New Moon can be seen here From Anime Nation Manga author Tetsuro Kasahara's mercha manga Rideback will be adapted into anime by Madhouse and Digital Frontier. Endou MinariHatenkou Yuugi is similarly scheduled for an anime. Japanese production/distribution company Wedge Holdings will be developing anime series Velvet Under World, Metal Hazard Mugen, and the "Kuma3." The official homepage for the upcoming crime drama anime television series BACCANO! now hosts a streaming three minute long trailer. The series is scheduled to premier this summer. The official homepage for the upcoming mecha drama anime television series Bokurano now hosts its Tokyo Anime Fair trailer, the first trailer to contain actual footage from the anime. The series is scheduled to premier on April 8th. Danny Choo has photos of plenty of promotional material for the various upcoming anime from Tokyo Anime Fair 2007 here On the manga front, ComiPress reports that Cheeky Angel creator Hiroyuki Nishimori started a new series called Ocha ni Gosu in in Shogakukan's Weekly Shonen Sunday issue 17

ADV Films Added to Microft Marketplace

Microsoft has announced that five video providers have been added to their marketplace, including Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, A&E Network, National Geographic, New Line Cinema, TotalVid and anime distributor ADV Films.

New TOKYPOP Manga

MangaCast has confirmed that TOKYPOP will be releasing the following manga in North America Don't Call us Angels by Katsumoto Kasane, 2 vols/shoujo Missile Happy by Kiritani Miki, 5 vol/shoujo NOiSE by Nihei Tsutomu 1 vol/seinen Psychic Power Chronicle Nanaki by Saenagi Ryo 3 vols/shoujo Shinshoku Kiss by Higashiyama Kazuko, 2 vols/josei?? Suppli by Okazaki Mari,5 vols/josei Voice or Noise by Enjin Yamimaru, 2 vols/BL Zig*Zag by: Nakaji Yuki, 5 vols/BL

Seven Seas Light Novels Delays

Active Anime points out a forum post from Seven Seas' Adam Arnold announcing that the publisher's Light Novel line has been pushed back to Fall 2007. Seven Seas hopes to better promote the titles.

Broccoli Talks Kon Kon Kokon

Broccoli Books will be releasing the first of two volumes of Di Gi Charat designer Koge Donbo's Koge-Donbo on June 13th. The series is humorous teen/high school story with fantastical elements and Japanese monsters. Ren just wants to be one of the cool kids, but it doesn't help that secretly he's just a nerdy monster fanatic. That is, until a young girl named Kokon shows up. She claims to be a fox that he had helped years ago and now she wants to return the favor. With the fox girl Kokon by his side, will Ren be able to become the most popular kid in school?

Next Aronofsky Not Lone Wolf

Twitch notes a Variety report stating that rather than the rumored Flicker or Lone Wolf and Cub adaptation, Darren Aronofsky's next film will be studio boxing picture Fighter with Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg.

Makihara Noriyuki Sues Matsumoto

Anime News Network reports that singer/songwriter Makihara Noriyuki has responded to Leiji Matsumoto's (Battle Ship Yamato/Star Blazers ) accusation of plagiarism by suing the influential anime and manga creator. Makihara is seeking 22 million yen (approximately $187,000 USD in damages for Matsumoto's public accusation that the rap Chemistry's "Yakusoku no Basho" album took lyrics from Matsumoto's Galaxy Express 999. Makihara has refused to apologize to Matsumoto and demanding that Matsumoto legally prove his claims. Additional details can be found here

Eagle Award Nominees

The Beat lists the comics nominated for the British Eagle awards here Of note: Award for Favourite Publisher DARK HORSE Award for Favourite Black and White Comicbook - American USAGI YOJIMBO (Dark Horse) Award for Favourite Manga BATTLE ROYALE (Tokyopop) BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL (Dark Horse) DEATH NOTE (Viz Media) NARUTO (Viz Media) PRIEST (Tokyopop) Award for Favourite Comics-Based Movie Or TV HELLBOY ANIMATED JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED Award for Favourite Comics Related Website MANGA LIFE (www.mangalife.com)

Upcoming FUNimation

Anime on DVD notes that Right Stuf lists the following FUNimation premieres and box set collection, including their distribution of TOKYOPOP titles 06/26 Desert Punk Box Set (w/Artbook) $89.99 07/10 Intial D Season 2 Box Set $49.98 07/17 Slayers Season 1 Set $39.98 07/19 GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka Box Set 1 $49.98 07/24 Marmalade Boy Box Set 1 $49.98 07/31 Mushishi Vol. #1 (also w/box) $29.99/39.98 The site did list The Full Metal Alchemist Box Set 1 and Burst Angel OVAs in this time frame, but FUNimation says that those titles were not currently on their schedule

FUNimation Debuts More Tsubasa at Sakura-Con

FUNimation has planned a Tsubasa debut event for the Sakura-Con anime convention, held at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center this year April 6 - 8. On Friday night, April 6 from 3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. in room 606 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, FUNimation will be screening the West Coast debut of Tsubasa episode 1, followed by the North American debut of episodes 2, 3 and 4. This will be followed by a panel discussion featuring the director of the series along with voice actors from the show.

Upcoming Geneon Releases

Geneon's June releases include Princess Raccoon(live action) Vandread Complete Collection, with Vandread & Vandread the Second Stage $99.98, early-ish Gonzo sci-fi gender war Tenchi Universe Collection (first tv series) $49.98 Tenchi in Tokyo Collection (second tv series) $49.98 Tenchi Muyo Movie Collection (Tenchi The Movie: Tenchi Muyo In Love, Tenchi The Movie 2: The Daughter Of Darkness and Tenchi Forever ) $29.98 Planned September releases include The El-Hazard2 OVA $14.98 Kamichu! Complete Box Collection ($79.98) Geneon will also be distributing Bandai Visual's Gunbuster II volume 3 of 3 6/26/07 (2 episodes, $39.98)

Wheaton on Star Trek Manga

Blog@Newsarama points out that Wil Wheaton's blog indicates that the Star Trek: The Next Generation will be writing an entry to the second volume of TOKYOPOP's Star Trek: The Manga. The story will feature character's for the original 'Trek.

Support The Undergrads

DECODE Entertainment Inc. has asked fans to show their support for the animated show The Undergrads by e-mailing the Candaian TELETOON network at suggestions@teletoon.com and asking for more episodes.

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