Tsubasa Chronicles is the first anime from the internationally popular team of women manga creators known as CLAMP to be produced at Bee Train. The studio is known for girls-with-guns series including Noir and its spiritual descendants, and for the anime side of the .hack multimedia franchise. Tsubasa is a notable CLAMP centric CLAMP work. This is apparent from Tsubasa's earliest moments, which feature a variant take on the leads from Card Captor Sakura, their look at magic girl style storytelling, recast as a pair of fairytale-style young lovers. As the young man quests through strange worlds, meeting recast faces that are familiar to him and or the reader, CLAMP takes the opportunity to shift the look and context of other prior creations. At the same time, it is noticeably event that Bee Train is driving the anime. With familiar faces from that studios' prior works, including director Koichi Mashimo (most of .Hack, Noir and follow-ups Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja, as well as the classic Dirty Pair Project Eden), character design by Minako Shiba (.hack//Sign, Noir and Madlax) and music by Yuki Kajiura, CLAMP's style is inescapably mediated by Bee Train's. The affair starts in One Thousand and One Nights mode. Sakura is a princess who looks like a young teen version of the eponymous heroine of Card Captor Sakura. She might not be the tomboy of her Card Captor incarnation, but she is a free spirit, and against the wishes of her ruling brother, she goes across the capital of her graceful monumental, pastel hued desert kingdom to meet up with her close childhood friend, Syaoran, a young archeologist who has taken on his father's mission since the death of that mentor. While Syaoran is showing Sakura one of her kingdom's mysterious ruins, a set of glowing wings appear, fragment, and disappear along with Sakura's spirit. Syaoran tracks down the "dimensional witch" Yuka (a principal in Tsubasa's sister series xxxHoLiC), who grants him the tools to track down the fragments of Sakura's soul scattered throughout the multiverse in exchange for what's most dear to him. Yuko also introduces him to partners Kurogane, a violent warrior from an alternate Edo-period like Japan and Fai, a cultured wizard with a troubled smile. Though the first stop for Syaoran and his companions is a version of modern Japan, distinguished in that its inhabitants are gifted with spirit familiars, there is a fantasy air to the Tsubasa. It's a party based quest. While the volume does not conclude that visit to a super-powered Japan, to the core of the concept, it should be constantly moving. In theory, the characters will be moving on sooner rather than later. Even through the anime has spent a few episodes in the location; it has not set up roots there. The world's characters are treated as short-timers, on screen to give a quick impression. If they are going to evolve based on their meetings with the heroes, by necessity, they do it quickly. The work recognizes the value in an attachment to CLAMP's previous creations. Rather than a bird watching, spot the reference approach, familiar faces are reworked in such a way that the initiated will be excited or pleased by the new roles. Given the reality jumping nature, these changes are quick and temporary, but still should be a spark excitement for any CLAMP aficionado seeing favorites from Magic Knights Rayearth working with or against Tsubasa's heroes, generally in a fashion that complements their roles in their original stories. The converse trouble isn't that fans who aren't CLAMP fans will find Tsubasa unwatchable or incomprehensible. Rather, standing alone, Tsubasa is probably not the most exciting adventure. Despite new characters like Kurogane and Fai, Tsubasa relies on an existing appreciation for the standards of CLAMP's works and enthusiasm for seeing a new perspective on the CLAMP mystique. Beyond those ties, there is little more than the knight/princess relationship between Sakura and Syaoran to latch onto. Tsubasa has the marks of a late career work. They seem to be taking a short cut through the full exercise of a CLAMP venture in order to quickly deal with a wider breath of material. This series doesn't take the group's historic track of establishing something that is a solid work of one genre, capitalizing on the appeal of that target mode of story, then, turning that chosen genre on its head. Here, they seem to be dashing through a list of targets, bringing each in line with their tastes. There's an exchange in which they shape other settings to feature the hallmarks of their design and writing, and shape their own creations to feature the hallmarks of those settings. The results might be interesting, but each venture is set up as a sampling, rather than even a short story. Bee Train goes at CLAMP's material full out. This is not a subtle anime. Everything about the characters, their sacrifices and trade-offs are explicitly spell about. Apart from the plot based, longer running mysteries of the anime, the viewer is told everything about the characters and situations, with little room for applying external analysis. Bee Train is similarly unsubtle about integrating their own elements. Designs are adjusted to look like the style prevalent in Bee Trains works. Kajiura's score adds a powerful mystical atmosphere to the work, and her music has been well received elsewhere. Here, the score is oppressive. By the time the first episode finished repeating one melody for a third of its run, that tune had been killed.
Kenichi Sonoda's creative process must be fascinating. He pilots his manga like a teenage driver, but packs his illustration with meticulous detail. The care and the deliberate recklessness seem entirely at odds with each other. Throughout his images, attention is not just given to the guns and muscle cars. Even less flashy objects like bicycles are beautifully rendered through what looks like labored efforts. Considering that Gunsmith Cats has to be one of the most incessantly action driven works of manga, it is amazing that in the rare page where no one is flat out weaving their car in high speed pursuit or trading bullets, Sonoda takes the time to exactingly draw a plate of food. Then again, that attention to detail might just be another facet of the geek passions that evident throughout the manga. There's nothing pandering here. If the manga is overloaded with masculine hardware, and you never have to wonder what one of the cute female characters looks like naked, those qualities doesn't simply look like a commercial ploy. Given the dedication to Maxim-ized genre fiction in Gunsmith Cats and his follow-up Cannon God Exaxxion, it really seems that those elements are simply Sonoda's stock and trade. Volume 2 of Gunsmith Cats opens with a mob soldier getting hip tossed and cuffed. It's six more pages before exotic handguns are pulled out in fired, but only two more pages before there's a Cobra GT500 peeling away. It's 10 more pages before there's an up-skirt view of a high kick. Point being, Sonoda presents the good stuff fast and frequently. Thinking of the entire manga as one shoot out/car chase would not be inaccurate. Gun shop proprietor, bounty hunter, firearms and cars fanatic Rally and her partner Minnie May, a disturbingly young looking explosives expert and former call girl, just periodically trade one bent crime boss for another. As the second omnibus opens, it's Grey, a vicious drug trafficker who lost an arm to the Cats in their meeting in the previous collection. Eventually Grey is passed up for someone even more colorful. The sadistic mafia captain and drug pusher Goldie immediately makes an impact on the manga with passions for bondage, breaking limbs, kidnapping and brainwashing. Gunsmith Cats always had a kinky side. May takes drugs to stunt her growth to stay young looking as a turn-on for her lover. Early in the volume, for at a least the third time, one of the Cats loses her skirt/pants in a confrontation. Goldie kicks that trend into high gear. With hostages in bondage-gear, confrontations in bathroom stalls where one party has their pants down, or drug addled women in varying stages of undress, the sexual suggestiveness crosses deep into uncomfortable territory. Gunsmith Cats is all spectacle. The transitions between the serial set pieces are as short as possible. There are highlights, especially based on one's tastes, but it rather than building to bigger things; it is always as grand as possible The end game of the Grey conflict offers a selection of modes of action. Sonoda captures the force of high speed chases in manga well, and Grey's police helicopter lit game of capture/re-capture the hostage tag fully suggests the impression of screeching tires. By the same token, all the bullets, blades and even crane hooks to the chest look pretty painful. The Goldie material is weighed heavily towards sexed up pulp, but with scenarios such as Goldie catching a punch, pulling some small circle ju-jitsu, high kicking the guy to the face, taking the guy's knife and cutting off a thumb, it still good for same straight action. Other than minor differences dictated by the villains, more Gunsmith Cats is more Gunsmith Cats. If you're a fan, these 450+ page omnibus editions are quite nice, and if you aren't, small doses can still be quite diverting. The consistent momentum means that there is no build to anything of consequence. Snippets of back story do not deepen these characters. Nor do threats or legal danger. Operating as it does, there is every suggestion that Rally and May are static characters. It is hard to give credence to any possibility that they will be killed or become outlaws.
Apart from the rare Satoru Ozawa (Blue Submarine No. 6, Submarine 707R) fan, is anyone lining up to check out a 13 episode post apocalyptic submarine anime from the director of the Hellsing TV series and Telecom Animation Film, a low profile studio who assisted on a few Ghibli features? Even the androgynous blonde teenage lead suggests "nothing of note." Except in this case, it really seems like the in-between animators had their day. They produced a cleverly energetic, charmingly animated work with touches of Ghibli and social elements with enough relevance to make the goings bit provocative. With a world operating very much unlike ours, but with solid touch points in how people and nations go about achieving goals; the series is a bit reminiscent of an aquatic rather than aerial Last Exile. In this case, ideas might not have the depth or space of solid sci-fi and the characters might not be as memorable as anime's most popular, but it does demonstrate an enthusiasm for the material that distinguishes the series from the grind of many re-packaged action anime. Using an exotic setting, paired with animation that achieves a captivating fluidity in everything from throwing dice to launching missiles, Tide-Line Blue is an attention commanding anime. In Tide-Line Blue's timeline 14 years ago, an event known as the Hammer of Eden flooded most of the world. A figure of 90% is tossed out, but whether that refers to 90% of the planet's surface or 90% of what was dry land is not entirely clear. There are hints that the event was tied to a middle-eastern oil conflict. Like many post disaster anime, from Evangelion to Gonzo's recent origin, the protagonist is tied to the generation who reacted to the event and established some post-crisis organization. Keel and his twin brother Teen grew up on a small orbiting science station. As such they are some of the only people on Earth who are familiar with the new map of the world, and they are among the rare members of their generation who are literate. As the series opens, Keel is a skinny teen grifting the sailors visiting a relatively thriving island. He's been well cared for by a world leader, but he's rebellious and ungrateful. With long hair tied into a tail and a pink vest, he looks more like a twit or a young Lupin III than he does a young Han Solo. Part of what works in the series is that this character are allowed to screw up and aggravate the other characters, but maintain some slacker charm. And, the series itself take some delight in showing up Keel, having him get slapped around a bit, or embarrassed. There's some glee when a cold lieutenant loses her cool and yanks him back via his pony tail, or when some crew members free a hand that had been frozen to the side of the vessel by urinating on it. After a fashion, Keel is kind of looking after a pregnant young woman as a new UN meets to reestablish its power. During a debate in which the world's new population and food production centers insist on veto power, Teen appears in military uniform. Teen informs the assembly that they have ignored the warnings of Captain Gould of the Ulysses for too long, where-upon a submarine surfaces and bombards the island. During the chaos, Keel and the pregnant Isla end up fleeing on Gould's submarine and Teen ends up with the evacuated UN representatives. Tide Blue Line creates room for its goofy side through the zeal it shows in its animation. The anime follows through with a good natured depiction of the less appealing side of people, whether it is on a superficial level, like Keel's foolish rebelliousness or to more profound digressions. The series is full of things that should not work, that should be too tacky or too goofy, such as the previously mentioned urination gag or the mascot ostrich. Even if this does not approach Ghibli levels of craft, there are enough touches of the studio's influence in the design that lends Tide Blue Line the right air of caricaturized humanity. Even as the characters move, the motion is paired with a solid attention the to character's expressions. By being personal in that way, it is difficult to write off the players, regardless of whether they are acting admirably, silly or criminally. Handling characters in that manner, the playfulness throughout this set of episodes remains permissible even given toll of its events, both the disaster that predates the series and the attacks shown in its early episodes. On the headier side, there is some hard-ish sci-fi. Nautical action fans will find some welcome strategizing and under-water warfare. The harder conceptual territory is not Children of Men or Now and Then, Here and There. It may develop a solid social perspective, but as of its fourth episode it's not just being cagey about the full significance of the depicted actions, it is being cagey about whether it has anything real to say. Still, from this sample of episodes, there does seem to be a spine of tangible reality to the issues. Considering that this is televised anime, the pregnancy angle surprisingly gets to the needs and the responsibility of that situation. Anime has had its share of destruction, particularly of civilian centers, but, again considering what Tide Line Blue is, the bombing, the panic and the aftermath of the early episodes is powerful and calls to mind the consequence of real world, current military action. That Captain Gould, the perpetrator is a Captain Nemo figure, quickly set up to be a heroic figure or at least an anti-hero, gives the series some intriguing ambiguity.
Kurogane's protagonist might sound strange: a young samurai with an iron mask who is kept animated through a clockwork version of a cyborg body. Though he has no voice, he can share thoughts with a sentient sword, and that weapon can speak for him. As odd as that fantasy/anarachronistic character might sound, he's very much in keeping with the patterns of samurai manga. The damaged swordsman driven violently forward works a lot like Samura's Blade of the Immortal or that manga's predecessors such as Tezuka's Dororo/Blood Will Tell or the one-eyed, one-armed pulp hero Tange Sazen. Here, despite his history as a raging demon, he plays the role of soulful observer, and sometimes ultimate arbitrator to the conflicts found in his wanderings. What's interesting about that the manga is that Kurogane's episodic stories follow the tragedies of revenge and obsession in the kabuki tradition. In that sense, it almost seems like a manga performance of that brand of story. Fans of samurai action are not going to be enamored with Kei Toume's depictions. Once swords are drawn, the sequences jerk around from panel to panel with little coherent choreography. It's hard to get excited about fight scenes that don't adhere to solid sequential or physical logic. (for example, a static panel that is actually discernable shows a man holding an ax in his teeth.) Alternatively, Toume is effective in constructing an atmosphere in which people are dashed in the aftermath being caught up in the wash of social pressures. Though the stories are predicable, the reader is kept a bit off balance in that sometimes the mode in which revenge is enacted is supernatural, sometimes it is mundane plotting, and sometimes it is through uncontrollable fate. While the mood is set by trees or buildings that wall in events, along with stylized elements of the setting, such as a night inked with a wispy moon and clouds, the period is established with a detailed look at the art of the time. Toume's artifacts, such as kimonos are given great amounts of detail and as such forcefully suggest the differences between the present and the period being depicted. Rather than solid characters or plot, Kurogane relies on a dynamic in which people attempt to mask their objectives in order to right the wrongs their pasts. That sort of atmosphere and attention to intensions does not emphasize the energetic qualities that are prevalent in popular manga. While those differences could make for a compelling read, the combination of themes isn't as interesting in execution as it is in theory. With stories that are familiar to those who have been exposed to Japanese horror and conceits that are familiar to well read manga consumer, Kurogane can feel like a samurai retread.
Inoue's Vagabond is a positively beautiful deconstruction of the mythology of samurai and genius. A leading figure in the pantheon of samurai legends is Miyamoto Musashi, the "sword saint" known for his many duels and writing "The Book of Five Rings." Since the 20th century, accounts of the historical figures life have been intertwined with Eiji Yoshikawa's fictionalized biography. In brief, Shinmen Takezo was a violent youth looking for danger. Lashing out in a reckless grab at recognition, he finds his way to the Battle of Sekigahara, the meeting of forces the opened the way for the Tokugawa shogunate. Eventually, the young man is tamed. He was captured by the Zen monk Takuan and forced to learn the refined gifts of knowledge and culture. Renaming himself Miyamoto Musashi, he embarks on a quest to master the sword arts, which leads him into a series of duels with renowned the Yoshioka ryu school, the Hozoin spear-trained monks and his rival Sasaki Kojiro. Volume 24 is leading up to Musashi finishing his business with the Yoshioka. Despite touching moments as the Yoshioka family's lives come apart, particularly with the serious but ungifted younger brother Denshichiro, Inoue never seemed to latch on to the conventionally minded school. They play their role and stand in for social forces that resist the likes of Musashi. They are needed for the story of Musashi's life, but the manga itself is far more interested in getting into the minds of its artists and picking apart how they think differently. If Musashi's face wasn't etched with scars and the manga wasn't punctuated with two characters sweating as they prepare to lethally settle the debate over the supremacy of their form, the mental intensity on display could just have easily been the product of great painters or musicians. That speculation of the process of genius, rather than constructing action set pieces, drives the manga and seemingly drives Inoue. The detailed realism of Inoue's illustrations finds an intriguing counterpoint with the rich symbolism of the volume's opening dream. With a dizzying stare into a forrest from the brush up into the canopy, he creates an almost photographic re-creation of the scenery. Even is this setting is calm and serene, it still seems natural for Musashi to confront his past in this landscape. As Musashi prepares to finish his business with the Yoshioka school, the manga gets invested in an unconventional meeting of the mind between Musashi and Kojiro. Specifically, the pair slices into a frozen snow man with twigs. Inoue radically reinvents Kojiro. The manga is still coming out of a six volume side track in which a history is given for the the rival. Rather than a brash super-star, this Kojiro is deaf, and like Musashi, his genius is tied to his ability to see the world differently. After going Kojiro crazy for an extended stretch, the series itself is certainly back to focusing on Musashi. However now it is time for the character to be fascinated by Kojiro. This experience with his rival represent something new for the character to react on. Vagabond concerns a martial culture in peace time. Value is given to the art of dueling, but there is little to force actual innovation. While Musashi has met other greats throughout the series, this time, the compelling difference is that he is reacting to a peer who, like himself, is not just intelligent and skilled, but taking a different approach to the art. A key aspect of Yoshikawa's novel was that Musashi innovated the samurai arts by studying natural patterns. Inoue takes that a step further in questioning the implications that that manner of intuition might have on the accepted transformation from the man named Takezo to the one who would become famous as Musashi. While this is more subtle than turning making Kojiro hearing and speech impaired, Inoue is profoundly challenging the accept myth of Musashi's legend. Both the dream and the confrontation do not follow the well trodden patterns for action and drama. These are not rational thinkers and while they are working towards greatness, this is not iterative the process sound throughout shonen manga. The appeal here is the visualization of Musashi's thought process. Seeing something like Kojiro doing what should be impossible, then experimenting, thinking through past physical and emotional experiences, then producing something that is his own. Because of Inoue's skills illustrating faces and graceful way of jumping with his images along the character's though process, this is amazing to watch. The volume does conclude with something like a conventional samurai duel. Samurai fiction has frequently featured engagements where two opponents stand still, sizing each other out and waiting for their opponent to make a mistake in their movement. Manga has played with what goes through the mind of the samurai in that moment. Lone Wolf and Cub, for example, featured Ogami Itto and an opponentâ visualizing scenarios before they move, and Vagabond does take a path along that route. However, Inoue expands that, using the extra flexibility inherent in manga. In the stare down, Inoue cuts to various what-if scenarios, along with associative jumps, and soul penetrating looks into the combatants' eyes. The moment is draw out nearly to the point of absurdity, with a lot of manga pages for what is a few real actions. Still, there is plenty excitement and tension to the confrontation. There is enough that is convincing and enough as been invested in these character, that when they attack each-other in earnest, it matter.
Anime News Network's "Hey, Answerman!" ignited a controversy when columnist Zac Bertschy, called attention to content issues with Seven Seas' upcoming release of the manga Nymphet (originally Kodomo no Jikan), a older-audience comedy concerning a teacher who has to fend off the sexual advances of one his young student. Initially, Seven Seas publisher Jason DeAngelis wrote to Anime News Network, informing the site that, in light of the controversy, the company would put the title on hiatus in order to better inform retail about the series. Later, DeAngelis announced the decision to cancel Seven Seas' release of the series.
From Anime News Network Satelight (Noein) has announced that the format of the upcoming 25th anniversary Macross will be a television series. The Macross 25th Anniversary Live Concert: Minmay Meets Fire Bomber event will be held on August 18th at Tokyo's Nippon Seinenkan Grand Hall. The event will feature Mari Iijima (Lynn Minmay from the first Macross series), Yoshiki Fukuyama (Macross 7'sBasara Nekki) , Chie Kajiura (Macross 7's Mylene Jenius), and the debut of the heroine for the upcoming new Macross project. Macross mecha designer/Macross Plus director Shoji Kawamori has developed the Dualis powered suit for a Nissan's new compact SUV. The Nissan Gallery exhibits a 3 meter model. For more, see here Macross director Noboru Ishiguro is writing and directing a movie based on the file of engineer Yoichi Hatta, who modernized Japanese controlled Taiwan.
ADV Films will release the first volume of Air on August 14th and the first volume of Innocent Venus on August 21st. FUNimation will release School Rumble starting on August 21st. A complete collection of Rumble Hearts will be released on August 7th. Geneon will release Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage volume 1, the start of the anime's second season, on November 20th.
From Anime News Network A teaser for a new Gundam series has run on Japan TV. Scheduled to start in October, Mobile Suit Gundam 00 will be a new incarnation of the franchise, with a distinct timeline from previous Gunda, works. See here for more. A new anime based on Kosuke Fujishima's pre-Ah! My Goddess traffic cop comedy You're Under Arrest is the work for Japanese TV. Koichi Ohata (Burst Angel) will direct and Natsuko Takahashi (Spiral, Gakuen Heaven) will write the prject. Toei Animation is developing a trilogy of 3D Galaxy Express 999 shorts for IMAX theatres. Both marking the 30th anniversary of Leiji Matsumoto's manga and providing educational astronomy lessons, the 32 minute feature include image provided by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Madhouse's adaptation of Makoto Isshiki's Piano no Mori will open in Japanese theatres on July 21. A trailer is online here Toei's financial statements indicate that their planned movie line-up include September 15 Clannad opening, the Yes! Precure 5 and the ninth One Piece in November 2007 and March 2008 respectively. A new Rose of Versailles movie and a Kitaro movie are also in the works. Rintaro (Metropolis) directing the CGI animated Yonna Yonna Peguin with Madhouse and Denis Friedman Productions. The movie is schedule to be released in Japan in December 2008, with a North American release also planned. The King of Shion, a mystery manga based on the game shogi (often referred to as Japan chess) has been announced Fumihiko Sori's (Ping Pong) CG Vexille - 2077 Nippon Sakoku (The Isolation of Japan) is now scheduled for August 18th. Twitch reviews the title here The site for Appleseed Ex Machina is online here The upcoming CG animated,12 episode Armored Trooper Votoms: Pailsen Files will take place before the orignal military mecha series. On the manga front, Ryoji Minagawa (Spriggan/Project Arms) will be starting a "lone gunman" manga called Peacemaker in the July issue of Ultra Jump. Fruits Basket creator Natsuki Takaya will start a new manga known as Hoshi wa Utau in the June 5 issue of Hana to Yume. Akimine Kamijyo of Samurai Deeper Kyo will starting the new manga Shirogane no Karasu in Weekly Shonen Magazine.
Twitch notes that the site for the Death Note spin off L is online here Speaking of Death Note, Ikimashou has some amusing shots of SD Amane Misa and L figures Death Note Also from Twitch, Gordon Chan will direct an English language adaptation of the King of Fighters games. Chris Chow (Fearless) will script the project scheduled for 2008. A trailer for the live action Funukedomo, Kanashimi no Ai o Misero (Funuke, Show Some Love, You Losers) can be seen here The site reviews the Shamo live action here From Anime News Network: South African movie company, Distant Horizon is producing a Western live-action adaptation of Santa Inoue's 1993 manga Rinjin 13-go (Neighbor 13). Ken Akamatsu confirmed that a live-action adaptation of Negima! Magister Negi Magi is being produced. According to Latino Review, rumor has it that Jessica Biel will be Chun-Li, the focal character in the upcoming live-action Street Fighter. Kung Fu Cinema reported that Viz Pictures will be releasing the live action version of college drama Honey & Clover Magnolia Home Entertainment will release the new live action adaptation of the yo-yo wielding female delingquent/cop Sukeban Deka as Yo-Yo Girl Cop as well as Dynamite Warrior on July 17. YO-YO GIRL COP: From the award-winning director/writer of Battle Royal and Battle Royal II Â Requiem When an undercover agent is killed in the middle of a top secret investigation, the Japanese Metropolitan Police must take desperate and radical measures to re-infiltrate a new spy. It recruits the highly skilled daughter of a former agent known only as "K". Trained in martial arts and armed with a hi-tech steel yo-yo and a new secret identity, K must infiltrate the elite high school to find and stop the terrorists. On the classics front, AnimeNation notes that the Hawaii-based media company JN Productions Inc. will release the 1973 live action "tokusatsu" series Kikaida 01 in a special edition complete series DVD boxed. For more, see here
On the English language front, 2007 Nebula Awards recognized Howl's Moving Castle for Best Script. Friends of Lulu June Kim (12 Days from TOKYOPOP) and Rivkah (Steady Beat, TOKYOPOP) were nominated for Kim Yale Award for Best New Female Talent. The UK's Eagle Awards recognized Blade of the Immortal for Favorite Manga MangaCast looks at the winners of the 11th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Award Winners here. Winners include Grand Prix Maihime (Terpsichore) by Yamagishiri Ryoko Short Manga Osaka Hamlet by Morishita Hiromi Shinsei Award Divine Comedy by Oonishi Kyojin/Ozowe Nobuhisa The nominees are examined here ComiPress looks at the Tezuka awards here There's also a look at the 31st edition of the Kodansha Manga Award here. Winners include Children's Tenshi no Frying Pan by Ogawa Etsuji Shounen Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei by Kumeta Kouji Shounen Dear Boys II by Yagami Hiroki Shoujo InterSexual by: Rokuhana Chiyo Grand Prix Ookiku FuriKabutte by Higuchi Asa Comipress looks at the Kodansha awards here ComiPress looks at the 36th Japanese Cartoonists' Association Award winnershere. Winners include: Grand Prize: The Divine Comedy by Nobuhisa Nozoe (illustration); Kazuhiro Iwata (adaptation); Kyojin Onishi (story) Tama-chan and Chibi-maru by Shigehisa Sunagawa Award of Excellence: Kuishin Bo! by Shigeru Tsuchiyama Award of Special Recognition: 2007 Mamechan Calendar by Yuka Hamano Saitama Municipal Manga Hall Literary Giant Award: Shinji Mizushima Anime News Network looks at Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso's effort to establish a Nobel Prize for Manga here ANN also notes that Cup Noodles anime Freedom ad campaign has won the Silver Clio Awards for Integrated Campaign and the award for Content and Contact. The anime, which was storyboarded by Katsuhiro Otomo will be released in North America by Bandai Visual.
The Right Stuf International has announced that the company has entered into a distribution agreement with TitleMatch Entertainment Group, a division of Protocall Technologies Incorporated (OTC BB:PCLI.OB), to offer the classic titles Orguss, Nobody's Boy Remi and Cat's Eye, Season 1 via its RightStuf.com> storefront. This arrangement makes Right Stuf the only retailer to sell these series from Japanese animation studio TMS Entertainment, Ltd., a subsidiary of Sega SAMMY Holdings, Inc. The deal was brokered by ImaginAsian Entertainment Inc., which will air the titles on their television network, ImaginAsianTV. Each series will premiere on ImaginAsianTV as part of the "TMS Presents: Anime Classics" programming block prior to its DVD release. The DVDs will be published using "manufacture-to-order" technology from TitleMatch, with CSS encryption and region coding on DVD-R media. Each series will run for eight volumes, with four to seven episodes per volume. The first volume of each series, which will include a keepcase to house all eight discs, will be available for $12.99. Subsequent volumes will be offered for $9.99. The initial DVD releases are tentatively scheduled for early July 2007. Due to the already low price points, these discs will not be discounted or eligible for Right Stuf coupons. However, they will count toward free shipping. Orguss In the mid 21st century, the two superpowers that control the earth are engaged in a fierce battle for control of an "orbital elevator," which allows fast access to satellite colonies. In the midst of battle, one pilot accidentally activates a secret weapon destroying all of Earth's parallel dimensions and resulting in a world that constantly shifts between pieces of different realities. Suddenly, Earth is shared between four different human races! The first 17 episodes will include the English-language dub produced by US Renditions, but the remaining episodes will be subtitle-only. Cat's Eye Three sisters run a small cafÃ© during the day, but at night, they become Cat's Eye, an infamous group of fine art thieves who infiltrate museums, stealing priceless works of art (and completely evading police). But it's not greed that motivates these girls: Their father, a famous artist, has disappeared, and the only clues they have to his whereabouts might come from the art they steal. Subtitled only. Nobody's Boy - Remi Based on the classic 1878 book by Hector Malot, Nobody's Boy is the tale of Remi, a boy from a French village, whose life is forever changed when his father tells him that he is adopted and sells him to a traveling artist. Heartbroken and adjusting to the difficulties of life on the road, he is soon left alone, enduring hardships and loss, and desperately searching for his real parents. Subtitled only.
July 10 Ah! My Goddess: Flights Of Fancy: I Only Want To Be With You (volume 2 of 6), also available with series box. The first volume reviewed here
Godannar Complete Collection ($69.98) The over the top mecha series is reviewed here
Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor: The Secret Of Relic's Point (volume 5 of 7 ) The first volume is reviewed here
July 17 Ghost Train (live action) Synopsis: Nana thought her life was scary enough. Her graduation is looming, her mother is in the hospital and her sister Noriko is in a constant need of attention. But, the train ride between all her responsibilities will prove to be the most horrifying part of her day. Somewhere, deep underground in the tunnel near Mizunahsi Station, a dark spirit yearns for revenge. One by one, people begin to mysteriously disappear. Eventually, Nana's own sister falls prey to the wicked tracks. Together with her friend Kanae, she must now take one more trip into the darkness and confront the sinister force haunting below the depths.
Best Student Council: The Secret Life Of Students (volume 4 of 6) The first volume was reviewed here
Madlax Compelte Collection($69.98 ) "Girls with guns" is such a rich vein of material, it never gets tired especially when it's from BEE Train, the masterminds behind Noir. Synopsis: Madlax is an assassin, head and heels above the rest. Nothing can surpass her skill in the art of combat, except perhaps her skill in the art of deception. She will find you, she will charm you and then she will most certainly harm you. It doesn't matter who you are. It doesn't matter where you are. It doesn't even matter if you know she's coming. In the end, strong or wise, rich or hardened, friend or foe, Madlax will have you eating bullets out of the palm of her hand. Margaret Burton is an orphaned schoolgirl with issues far greater than mere homework. Haunted by bizarre and cloudy dreams, she must not only endure the horrifying images of her past, but she must also traverse the treacherous path of high school. Margaret is lost, lost in her way and lost in herself. Grasping for the truth, she flutters in and out of reality without ever letting her feet touch the ground. Her connection to Madlax is mysterious. It's dark, it's deadly, and of course, it's classified. The first volume was released here
July 24 Utawarerumono: The Price Of Freedom (volume 4 of 6) The first volume is reviewed here
8/7/07 Air Gear: Wings Reborn (Volume 4 of 6)
8/7/07 Dog Warriors - The Hakkenden volume 2 ($14.98) Kannazuki No Miko Box Set ($59.98) The Advent of the Priestess of the Godless Month! Shy, timid Himeko happily attends school with both the popular and beautiful Chikane and her childhood friend, Souma, blissfully unaware of what's in store for her. However, the destiny of these three changes on Himeko's 16th birthday when the mark of the sun appears on her chest. What does this solar mark represent? At the same time, why has a black aura of agony burst forth from Souma? Who is the enemy? The legend of the eight-headed beast returns to Japan! When They Cry volume 2 8/14/07 3 x 3 Eyes Legend of the Divine Demon volume 2 ($14.98) Popotan Bailey Box ($34.98) 8/21/07 Fate/ Stay Night Medea (volume 5) Toho Live Action Films (4 Packs $39.98) Four classic movies from Japan's eclectically diverse cinema landscape are assembled into this special 4-DVD pack collection, featuring "Rainbow Kids," the quirky, dark comedy directed by Kihachi Okamoto, "The Family Game," a scathing look at family values and society, directed by Yoshimitsu Morita, "My Secret Cache," a manic look at the excessiveness of materialism, directed by Shinobu Yaguchi and the domestic comedy "All About Our House," directed by Koki Mitani. Unpredictable, charming and entertaining, immerse yourself into classic titles from Japan's established auteurs of cinema. 8/28 Rozen Maiden War of the Rose (volume 3) 11/13/07 Karin Human or Vampire (volume 4) Kyo Kara Maoh, Season 2 7 Shonen Onmyouji volume 3 The Story of Saiunkoku volume 2 11/20/07 The Law of Ueki volume 10 Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage volume 1 Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage volume 1 Limited Edition ($39.98) Bandai Visual distributed titles: 8/14/07 Wings of Rean ($39.99) Galaxy Angel Rune volume 1 ($19.99) 8/28/07 Galaxy Angel Rune volume 2 ($49.99) 10/9/07 Galaxy Angel Rune volume 3 ($49.99)
Yamato USA announced the release of Megazone 23 Full Action Models with two new, improved 1/15 scale Garlands: Army Color and Metallic Color Box Set. Megazone 23 tells the story of young motorcycle enthusiast Shogo Yahagi who mistakenly comes into possession of a top-secret, government prototype bike/mecha (the Garland) through his friend/test driver, Shinji Nakagawa. Shortly thereafter, Shinji is killed by the mysterious B.D.; and Shogo must run for his life, repainting the Garland from its original army color to its now familiar red. Drawing upon original mecha designs by Shinji Aramaki (Wolf's Rain, Bubblegum Crisis), Yamato's 1/15 Garland - Army Color Version ($168.00) sports all the amazing features of the original, as well as a host of new accessories including an army test pilot action figure with interchangeable Shinji Nakagawa head, two style of figures -- standing & sitting -- of Yui Takanaka, and a laser orb gun all packaged in a distinctive window panel box. Also available exclusively through Yamato USA's Online Shop is the Megazone Complete Box Set($248). In addition to a special metallic version of the Garland, the Megazone Complete Box Set includes the Megazone 23 Part 1 DVD (region coded), the Megazone 23 Part 1 CD soundtrack, a newly edited 80 page Megazone 23 data/guide book, as well as a bonus preview of the PS3 game (region coded), all in their original Japanese packaging/language. Limited to 100 pieces in North America
VIZ Media will mark the two year anniversary of SHOJO BEAT magazine with a special July 2007 issue containing an exclusive 23-page excerpt from manga titan Osamu Tezuka's groundbreaking series, PRINCESS KNIGHT. The series, which has never before appeared in English, debuted in 1953 and is widely credited as the first example of contemporary "shojo" manga, or comics for girls. It remains a defining benchmark of the genre. SHOJO BEAT's second anniversary issue will also include an exclusive full-color poster from the hit manga NANA by Ai Yazawa, and a celebration of all things summer with a summer reading list, articles on summer food, music and festivals, and a collection of sexy shojo beach scenes by some of the most notable artists in the genre. The July 2007 anniversary issue of SHOJO BEAT goes on sale nationwide on June 5.
Wasabi Anime will host a brand new entertainment event for Anime Festival Orlando 8: Wasabi Anime's ORIGINAL Anime Human Checkers Match. The show is scheduled for Friday, August 3rd at 8:00 PM (immediately following Opening Ceremonies). This live stage experience is a parody of the old Renaissance Fair and Anime Convention chess matches that have grown in popularity in recent years. The show will be cast with Wasabi Anime's performers and through open auditions that will be held for Florida's anime fans and cosplayers in the coming weeks. Audition times and locations will be made public soon on . The show's storyline will tie into Anime Festival Orlando 8's theme of "Swords of Orlandia" which is designed to give convention goers a storyline to follow the entire weekend of the convention. Anaheim, California's Anime Expo (June 29-July 2 at the Long Beach Convention Center) has added Animation director Eisaku Inoue to line up of Anime Expo 2007 Guests of Honors. Mr. Inoue has been involved in a great number of projects most notably, Devil Boy (Akuma-kun), Saint Seiya, Madoh Oh Granzort, Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, DNA, Street Fighter, B'TX, and Saint Seiya: The Hades Chapter -Sanctuary, etc. on which he served as animation director. Also, he served as key animator on Gunbuster, DIGIMON ADVENTURE 02 - Digimon Hurricane, DIGIMON ADVENTURE 02 - Revenge of Diaboromon?Iriya's Sky, the Summer with UFO, etc. On One Piece, he serves as chief animation director while creating the storyboards for the TV series. Moreover, Mr. Inoue has served as chief character designer and chief animation director for One Piece movies One Piece - Adventure of Spiral Island, One Piece the Movie: The Mecha Soldier of Karakuri Castle and the recent hit One Piece the Movie: Episode of Alabasta Kingdom, The Pirates and the Princess of the Desert. Halko Momoi (Under 17), Chiaki Ishikawa (See-Saw), and SKIN, the J-rock act featuring stars Yoshiki, Gackt, Miyavi, and Sugizo, will be performing at the convention. The convention's second U.S. Guest Of Honor is TEKKONKINKREET director Michael Arias. TEKKONKINKREET is Arias' feature film directing debut and will be screened at Anime ExpoÂ® 2007 in 35 mm format on [date/time]. TEKKONKINKREET, the first feature-length anime film written and directed by American filmmakers, will release in limited theatres on July 13. Announced Anime Expo Coslay events include Chibi Masquerade, Pop Shock Masquerade, Masquerade Ball and this year's debut event Midnight Tea in addition to the Anime Expo Masquerade (sponsored by IaTV). Industry Macquerade prizes include: Square Enix-will be awarding The Best Final Fantasy XI costume with a custom FFXI themed PC Toei Animation-will be awarding The Best ONE PIECE costume with a GoH Autographed Toei Animation Prize Package Bandai Visual-will be awarding The Best Mecha costume with a Bandai Visual Prize Package ADV-will be awarding The Best ADV Character costume with a ADV Prize Package Bang Zoom! Entertainment will be partnering with Anime Expo 2007 once again as co-producers of the AX Idol event as we;; providing voice acting workshops and an opportunity for fans to meet and watch a live taping online webcast AnimeTV . Bandai Entertainment Inc., and Kadokawa Pictures USA announced that the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya will be hosting the SOS Brigade Invasion Tour at Anime Expo 2007. The SOS Brigade is a reference to the school club formed by Haruhi Suzumiya, the eccentric lead character of this series, which has been nothing short of a phenomenon in Japan and is making its North American debut on DVD on May 29th 2007. Aya Hirano (Haruhi), Yuko Goto (Mikuru), and Minori Chihara (Yuki), renowned worldwide for their performances in both the Haruhi television series and the character soundtracks will be attending as Official Guests of Honor at this year's Anime Expo. In addition to appearing on panels and having autograph sessions, the three voice leads, will also be performing in a live concert on Saturday June 30th 2007 at 4:30 pm at the Long Beach Arena, next to the convention center. They will be performing such hit songs as Bouken Desho Desho? and Hare Hare Yukai. Winner of Bandai Entertainment Inc. Haruhi Dance contest will be allowed to come up on stage and perform the infamous dance with the voice actresses, live on stage. The concert will be free for Anime Expo attendees.
Del Rey Manga, an imprint of Ballantine Books at the Random House Publishing Group, announced that it has acquired an original graphic novel starring Odd Thomas, the character from Deen Koontz's novel series (Odd Thomas, Forever Odd, and Brother Odd) Koontz's characters including the charismatic young fry cook from Pico Mundo, California with the ability to communicate with the dead Odd, his girlfriend Stormy Llewellyn, Pico Mundo Chief of Police Porter, the ghost of Elvis Presley, and many more will be drawn by one of the top original-English-language manga artists working today, Queenie Chan. Chan, author of the popular mystery-horror series The Dreaming, will script the story as well. Publication is planned for Summer 2008. The graphic novel will follow Odd's race to solve the murder of a young boy whose killer appears to be stalking a second child. It is set in the time before Odd Thomas and takes place in Pico Mundo. The book will be edited by Del Rey editor-in-chief Betsy Mitchell.
The popular Gundam Musou game for the Playstation 3 is now scheduled to be released in the US as Dynasty Warriors: Gundam on the PLaystation 3 and XBox 360. The Gundam fighting game is scheduled for later summer. Atari has announced that Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 is in development for Wii and PlayStation2. Developed by NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. / Spike, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 is slated to release during the 2007 holiday season. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 delivers an extreme 3D fighting experience, improving upon last year's game with over 150 playable characters, enhanced fighting techniques, refined effects and shading techniques, making each character's effects more realistic, and over 20 battle stages. In addition to the unprecedented number of characters and improved Wii control system, the environments have also been enhanced to feature day and night stages, The power of the moon in the night stages gives players additional ways to transform their characters and letting fans recreate some of their favorite memories from the show.
VIZ Media will be increasing the momentum of Naruto DVD released with the NARUTO Uncut DVD Box Set Vol. 3 and a DVD of NARUTO THE LOST STORY MISSION: PROTECT THE WATERFALL VILLAGE, self contained story that will include an exclusive Bandai NARUTO CCG trading card and a never-before-seen extended trailer for the upcoming NARUTO movie which hits 163 theaters nationwide for a special one-night-only showing on June 6. NARUTO THE LOST STORY MISSION: PROTECT THE WATERFALL VILLAGE hit stores on May 22 with an MSRP of $12.98. The NARUTO Uncut Box Set Vol. 3 features 3 DVDs, hit stores nationwide on May 29 retailing for $49.98. A special Limited Edition box set will also be released retailing for $69.98 that features a NARUTO Sound Village Headband, Sound Village ID bracelet and a collectible NARUTO Sound Village bag. Viz also announced that Naruto The Movie: Ninja Clash In The Land Of Snow will run in Canada for one day on June 23rd. Tickets can be purchased from www.cineplex.com or www.empiretheatres.com
Right Stuf will released Weather Report Girl, based on Tetsu Adachi's sex comedy manga, on one DVD on August 7th for $19.99 A whirlwind is headed for Channel ATV in the form of one Keiko Nakadai new substitute weather girl for the prime-time news. In one quick flash of her panties, the ratings are sky-rocketing! Thanks to the public's overwhelming support of Keiko's brazen tactics, she's finally secured the bright and sunny future she's always wanted: the job of a weather girl. But a dangerous storm is just over the horizon. Michiko Kawai, the former weather girl, is furious that Keiko has stolen her job, and she'll stop at nothing to get it back!
To Heart, Dvd Vol. 4: Love And Truth is scheduled for August 28. The fourth and final volume of the To Heart anime will be available in two variations: a disc-only edition and a limited-edition with exclusive, collectible art box. Designed to house all four volumes of this fan-favorite series, the art box will be strictly limited to a one-time run of 1500 pieces and also include a numbered "certificate of authenticity." To Heart, DVD Vol. 4 features episodes 11-13, plus the final two "mini" episodes ("omake") featured on the Japanese DVD release. Based on one of Japan's most popular games, To Heart follows childhood friends Akari and Hiroyuki, and their classmates, as they deal with life's everyday and not-so-everyday dramas. This tale of love, relationships and friendship has been a fan favorite since its 1999 Japanese television debut. Perceptive American fans may recognize the series from its numerous "cameos" in the best-selling Comic Party anime. Available to U.S. audiences for the first time ever, Right Stuf's release of To Heart features a complete video restoration of the entire 13-episode series. The standard edition will retail for $19.99 and the limited edition will retail for $24.99
Following up on the success of the Vampire Hunter D novel series, co-published in English by Digital Manga Publishing and Dark Horse Press, DMP will be releasing Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D manga in November 2007 as part of a worldwide, multiple language release. This will be the publisher's flagship title for the year, The website for Hideyuki's Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D will be launching on June 4th, 2007. Fans wanting a preview of the website can catch a sneak preview on YouTube at here, where an animated sequence has been uploaded. This animated sequence will contain the first glimpse of the actual English manga made to the public. Previously, raw Japanese images of the manga were previewed at Anime Expo 2006 at the Digital Manga panel.
Newtype USA Vol. 6, Issue 6, on sale June 1, 2007, will debut the serialization of CLAMP's manga Kobato, the charming tale of a klutzy gal who must fill a jar with all the hurts and worries of the people she meets The magazine will feature a preview DVD with ull episodes of 009-1, My-Otome and Kashimashi ~Girl Meets Girl~.
TOKYOPOP has announced a manga style graphic novel of Meg Cabot's magical Arthurian epic. Avalon High: Coronation #1: The Merlin Prophecy, the first installment of a three part manga sequel to Avalon High is scheduled to be released this July. Written by author Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries, Avalon High, Mediator, All-American Girl, Teen Idol) with art by Jinky Coronado (Banzai Girl), Avalon High: Coronation #1: The Merlin Prophecy expands on Meg Cabot's best-selling novel, replete with all the mythology and mysticism of Avalon High. As an added bonus for fans, the manga contains the first chapter of Cabot's new book, Pants on Fire. Being a new student at Avalon High has been exciting for Ellie, to say the least--she's an honor student, a star on the track team, and, oh yeah, dating the super-hot class president, Will, who also happens to be the alleged reincarnation of King Arthur. Ellie couldn't be happier to have Will in her life, but she's also worried that his estrangement from his parents is tearing him apart. To make matters worse, Will's doubt that he really is King Arthur could prevent the Merlin Prophecy--an age of enlightenment--from occurring. Can Ellie convince Will to believe in something that even she isn't sure about? And more importantly, can she get him to give his parents another chance?
According to ICV2 Viz will be releasing the art books Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: Watercolor Images, The Art of Angel Sanctuary 2, The Art of Naruto: Uzumaki, The Art of Fullmetal Alchemist 2 and The Cat Returns Picture Book. Prose includes the novels of Brave Story, Letters from Iwo Jima and Shana/ The upcoming Yen Press label has a schedule here MangaCast notes that Del Rey will be releasing the Masaki Segawa's (Basilisk) Yagyu Ninja Scrolls. The first volume is scheduled for October 2007.
AN Entertainment has announced that the license for cute death god anime Omishi Magical Theater Risky Safety will expire this fall. In the mean time, a three DVD pack is selling for $14.99
The Complete Matrix Trilogy will be packaged with a coupon to download the Animatrix shorts collection through the Xbox Live Marketplace. Fuse is launching a Midnight anime block on June 8th. Scheduled anime include Ergo Proxy, Petit Cossette and Tenjho Tenge ReelTime.com will be offering Video on Demmand of Enoki Films USA's anime, including Comso Warrior Zero His and Her Circumstances Revolutionary Girl Utena El Hazard: The Wanders GameTap is dveloping animated Toom Raider works for Lara Croft's 10th Anniversary. Creators involved include David Alvarez Peter Chung Warren Ellis hristos Gage Cully Hamner Jim Lee Brian Pulido Gail Simone Michael Stackpole Azureus announced an agreement with Geneon Entertainment to release anime through its P2P Vuze server. The Geneon series available for download on Vuze include Ayakashi (Samurai Horror Tales), Gankutsuou (The Count of Monte Cristo), Gun Sword, Last Exile as well as Lupin the 3rd, with the first episode of each series is available to download for free. With an extensive catalog of anime titles available on the site, Vuze already attracts more than three million global visitors after only a few months in existence. Ayakashi (Samurai Horror Tales), an 11-episode anime series produced by Toei Animation, collects three classic Japanese horror stories: Yotsuya Kaidan, Tenshu Monogatari and Bake Neko. Gankutsuou, a science-fiction retelling of the classic French novel, Le Comte de Monte-Cristo spans 24 episodes of eye-popping experimental animation and intense drama; produced by Gonzo and directed by Mahiro Maeda. Last Exile beautifully creates a steampunk world of dogfights and airborne navies; directed by Koichi Chigira and produced by Gonzo. Gun Sword, known by some fans as GXS, follows the revenge epic of a man seeking to avenge the murder of his wife in the wastes of an intergalactic penal colony over the 26-episodes directed by Goro Taniguchi and produced by AIC A.S.T.A. Lupin the 3rd, a manga and anime series created by Kazuhiko Kato (AKA: Monkey Punch) in 1967, follows the comic tales of a master thief and his gang as they go from one misguided caper to another. Highlander: Search for Vengeance will air on Sci-Fi Channel July 30th.
UDON Entertainment has partnered with Korean publisher Haksan to bring the best Korean Manhwa to North America and English readers everywhere in the Fall of 2007. UDON's new Korean Manhwa line launches this October with Star Project Chiro Vol.1, a romantic comedy that take a young girl through the