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Manga Spotlight: Aqua Volume 1 By Kazue Amano Released by TOKYOPOP

Kazue Amano's Aqua is the sequential art equivalent of a deep, peaceful breath. The intension is to relax and decrompress for the span of a few comic pages. This is manga pastoral... a sci-fi vision of the future in which humans can live, simple, aesthetically pleasing lives. In this case, Mars has been terraformed and flooded to the extent that the planet becomes known as Aqua. A young girl named Akari Mizunashi leaves Manhome (nee Earth) for the city of Neo-Venezia, where she hopes to land a job as an undine gondolier. To follow the typical manga line of thought, Akari would have to scrape and bleed to obtain that position, earning rivals and enemies along the way. And, in theory, the character has put in sweat equity to prepare for this, she continues to work hard as an apprentice, and she does acquire a "rival", but from the start, the occupational progress is all pleasant and well intentioned. When Akiri lands on Aqua, she immediately encounters a cat the size of a small child, wearing an ascot. The "Mars Cat" munches on some sea food, puts on Akiri's backpack and leaps off a ledge onto a gondola. What happens next could be called a "chase", but in fact in captures the pacific nature of the manga. Akiri leaps after the cat, then apologizes to the smiling middle age mailman rowing the gondola. The courier takes the opportunity presented by a charming newcomer leaping onto his boat to show Akiri around a city which has just the right amount of wear to make the exotic locale cozy. Offered the chance, Akiri enthusiastically takes the oar and begins propellings the boat too quickly. There's a near collision, but as she shifts her angle and glides past another undine, the moving water and the glistening sunshine lend a magical gracefulness to the moment. Later, after Akiri nods off in the boat, the mailman delivers the perspective undine to her future employer Aria Company, where, the girl she nearly hit is the senior gondolier, and incredibly, the Mars Cat is the president. Aqua shows some contented, working middle aged people on this planet, and cats, but mostly, it is adorable young women rowing through the canals of a picturesque flooded city. The experience is equivalent of a leisurely drive down a rural road. You can, and maybe should, consider that the vehicle is burning fuel and polluting the environment, and that, if you resided there, making a living away from larger businesses could be complicated, but, you can also relax your mind and appreciate the solitude and beauty of the trip. It is a bit disconcerting that there's a level of disrepair and a level of half finished construction in many of Aqua's buildings, and it does seem like maintaining life on a terraformed Mars should still be difficult, but the captivating aspect to the manga is the level of contentment that it portrays. These characters are doing a job well, they're happy to do it, and through the imaginative look of the world, Amano finds a way to share that experience with the reader. The history of this title in North America reflects some of the industry’s complication's in recent years. The two volume Aqua is serves a prequel to the nine volume Aria. ADV released three volumes of Aria as part of their licensing deal with Mag Garden, but the title was discontinued when ADV's manga line went dormant. Now, TOKYOPOP has picked up the licensed and has begun re-releasing both in chronological order.

Manga Spotlight: Translucent Volume 2 By Okamoto Kazuhiro Released by Dark Horse Manga

Translucent is not the only work that takes a quiet person's anxiety concerning the likelihood of being ignored and turns the metaphor into literal invisibility. In this case, Shizuka is a shy girl who feels banged around by the crowd, or easily unnoticed in a group. Worse still, she's afflicted with "Translucent Syndrome," a condition that causes people to fade into invisibility, cyclically or permanently. Not only is this a source of angst for a teenager trying to deal with the social complexities inherent to their age, it poses a threat to Shizuka's dreams of becoming an actress. However, she also has a counter-balance to her fading presence: Mamoru, an hyper-active, artistically imaginative classmate, who's willing to paint her skin if that's what it takes to keep Shizuka around. Though Translucent is a gentle romance, following the relationship between a pair of 13 year old students, the manga was published in Comic Flapper, a senein, older-male oriented magazine. In the tradition of Azumanga Daioh, Yotsuba, and Kamichu,it is a nostalgic flashback to simpler times. At their worst, series with that mindset can be reductive or regressive, as escapism is turned into a full fledge retreat. The results are think-like-a-child shows that could be mistaken for kid's media; Nanaka 6/17 or Bottle Fairy for example. To Translucent’s credit, it does not take an ostrich view of the world. One of Translucent’s central principles is that people do actually try to be considerate and generous, or at least they have the potential to be well meaning. Depending on your degree of cynicism, that might sound like a fictional conceit. In practice, during Translucent’s stories, faith in humanity is not armor against people hurting others and themselves, physically or emotionally. Each chapter of Translucent functions as a distinct arc in the lives of these characters. There is a lightly scripted situation, such as a date, an outing or a project, and that structure is used to hang some concern. While pitched emotions are displayed, the series never breaks into the relationship comedy play book for ideas of moves to fuel the conflict. Without fake rivals or fake hindrances, there is no false drama. Ironically, given that Shizuka needs to work through her shyness and Mamoru has the tendency to be an oblivious goof, the manga does not go the route of unadmitted feelings or painful fumbles. The direction of Translucent leans far more towards an idealized representation of relationships than concrete reality, but when a character falls into a certain pattern, the manga establishes why that behavior is credible. If someone is constantly breaking up with her boyfriend, there is a believable motivation for the action. It's thirty pages to reach a point where someone comes to an understanding about themselves or other's. Though that sounds trite, the casual style of design and storytelling suggests that this manga is really just trying to leave the reader with a positive impression. There is no grand notion or elaborate plotting. Simplicity is a key element of why it is hard to describe these stories with any adjective other than "nice." Shizuka and Mamoru care for each other; everyone else means well. As pleasent as that simplicity is in specific stories, it makes Transulcent a title that is far better tailored to serialization than graphic novel collections. The manga is a run of tonally identical stories. The development and continuity that does exist is not enough to push one story into the next, especially considering that there's no end game that is being worked towards. These characters have acknowledged their feelings towards each other in appropriate ways, and they are moving forward in their relationship naturally, but there is nothing that the reader for the reader to hope for in that respect other than continued happiness. Nor is there a point of personal advancement on the horizon. Shizuka is too young to achieve anything in her career goals other than landing school or local theatre parts, and a miraculous cure for her condition would feel false. While the manga does not wear out its welcome, the Shizuka/Mamoru dynamic remains pleasantly heartfelt and the supporting cast remains charming, Translucent is not a manga that lends itself to reading a volume worth of material in one sitting. Consuming a large dose at once does not kill the series the way over listening to a song might, but repeatedly revealing that people are nice in their own way does hit a point of diminishing returns.

Manhwa Spotlight: Bride of the Water God Volume 1 by Mi-Kyung Yun Released by Dark Horse Manhwa

Bride of the Water God starts with a legend and builds out the space using a shoujo framework. Because this is Korean manhwa rather than Japanese manga, the approach would more accurately be called "sunjeong" than "shoujo", but the work appears to be pulling visual touch points from accross the shoujo field. There's the regal air of some of the Nijuyon-nen Gumi work from the 70's. The men have a willowy bishonen (pretty boy) look. There's an edge of Ai Yazawa's slender, soulfulness in the female characters. When a person or creature is small and cherubic, there is a bit of simularity to CLAMP's small, .cherubic characters At the same time, Mi-Kyung Yun makes the amalgam her own. Though the style is flexible, fluidly moving from detailed rendering of elegant figures to whimsical outlines, there is a coherent consistency in the manhwa's literally mythical world. Soah's community sacrificed her as the bride of the water god Habaek in order to bring the village desperately needed rain. Send out alone in a boat, she's told that the villagers appreciate the magnitude of what she is doing, but she also gathers that they are mostly glad that it's someone other than themselves or their love ones that has to go. In a moment of resignation, a maelstrom appears, and rather than being swallowed by the water, Soah is taken to the strange home of Habaek. What happens in the land of the gods falls into the comfortable pattern of shoujo drama. Personal connections are established and tested as the players work through the uncertainties that they feal about themselves and each other. People are mistaken or mislead about identities. Plot contrivances and all, the short incidents collect what has come to be expected from a teenage romantic drama. Yet, the difference here, is that Soah has been taken out of the human world and put into a spiritual plane. She suffered a detachment from the typical cycle of growing, finding a mate, and living a normal life. Part of that detachment was that for the villagers who sent her to become the Bride of the Water God, she was just a beam used to sure up the stability of the village. As part of a process that is taken for granted as long as the formula of ritual and reward is followed, her only human connection becomes her memories of her family. That disconnect bends the tone of the manhwa. When Soah was sacrificed, she ceased to exist in the normal sense. The story is not exactly like a modern, western after-life tale, but it feels a bit like one. Everything seems metaphorical, and to a large extent, within the context of the story, it is. Problems are far more abstract because Soah is dealing with the absolute, platonic ideal version of the problems. She's married a water god whose form shifts like the tide. His mother is not just a threatening mother in law, as the goddess of Love and Beauty, Torture and Punishment, she is THE threatening mother in law. The series is more often serious than light hearted, but it is also tuned to provoke muted emotions. Soah is not a girl sitting in a classroom, or a girl who was sitting in a classroom before being transported to a distant time and place. That she recognizes what she is doing and does not put on an overwrought performance solidifies the difference. There is room for empathizing with her feelings of abandonment and homesickness, but, dealing with this character, there isn't a instant connection with the familiar. As recognizable as Soah's feelings are, and as every-person as she seems, the context makes a difference. This is myth, not fantasy. Bride of the Water God is more about appreciating the situation than sharing in it, and Mi-Kyung Yun's illustration re-enforces that. She creates a skewed near-earthly world. Habaek's domain is full of painstakingly rendered artifacts, such as beautifully architected buildings or intricately constructed objects. Mi-Kyung Yun then offers glimpses at these through disorienting angles, then, tones the background with unexpectedly vague shdes and patterns. With strange flowers and birds creeping in, Bride of the Water God becomes a manhwa that is beautiful and beautifully strange.

A Look at "How to Hookup Your Home Theater"

"Nonsensical" has been gracious enough to send in some thoughts on some non-anime, animated work... Hey Talkbackers, Nonsensical here to talk about some animation things. This last Sunday I had the opportunity to attend the Animation Show of Shows. This is an event hosted by Ron Diamond in which Animators get to hang out with our peers and check out the latest shorts. This usually happens once or twice a year depending on how many shorts are finished at the time. Last time we were treated to the first screening anywhere of Disney/Pixar’s Lifted as well as Blur Studios A Gentleman’s Duel. (So they told us.) There are also many student and foreign films that are included but the point is to watch the films with our peers and then talk about them. This time the film that stands out the most from the group has got to be Walt Disney’s Animation Studios How to Hookup Your Home Theater. If you remember AICN ran a link to an interview with the director of this short here in April of 2007. However, the film wasn’t finished then and it was all just speculation as to whether or not this film would be any good. For me, I subscribe to the idea that you are only as good as your latest work. So Disney hasn’t been on my list of "great animated studios" for a long time. At least, not until Meet the Robinsons which to me was Disney’s first step in the right direction for animated storytelling. It wasn’t classic Disney, but it was still way better than they had been before. While Meet the Robinsons was a step, How to Hookup Your Home Theater is a giant leap in the right direction. The short features Goofy and it is his first solo outing in about forty-two years, unless you count the series Goof Troop, and the two Goofy movies. The short is supposed to open with Disney’s Enchanted on November 21 and though I can’t say for certain if Enchanted will be any good; I can say for certain that the Goofy short alone is worth your eight bucks. The best way I can describe this short is to simply say that watching it was like coming home. The Goofy How To shorts have always been fun and entertaining and this newest, and hopefully not the last, How To short is nothing less than perfect. If you remember the How To shorts on the Disney Channel back when it wasn't a "Tween Network"; then you will know what I am talking about. This animated short is just plain great. It is well animated, uses a familiar character to tell us a familiar story that we can all associate to and enjoy, and if the animated portions of Enchanted are as well done as they are in How To; then the film stands a decent chance of being pretty good. Now considering that Disney does have a new "Princess" feature in the works for next year with The Princess and the Frog I have to say that as long as Disney continues this transition back to great 2D animation, then we are in for some very entertaining animated work that might just be the start of a new age of classics from the "House of Mouse".

Vertical to Release Tezuka's Black Jack

Publishers Weekly has learned that Vertical Inc. will be releasing Osamu Tezuka's classic medic adventure Black Jack starting in fall 2008. The classic manga utilizes Tezuka's medical background in telling the story of an unlicensed, mercenary surgeon, Viz previously released the first two volumes of the title. Same Hat! Same Hat! has a preview here

CG Resident Evil Announced

Capcom and Sony Pictures have announced that a CG animated film based on Resident Evil, or Biohazard as it is known in Japan is in development. The subtitle for the animated project is "Degeneration."

Bandai Entertainment To Handle Lucky Star

Anime on DVD and Anime Nation note that the fourth volume of Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya has a teaser trailer for Lucky Star. The Kodokawa series will be distributed by Bandai Entertainment. The Luck Star anime adapts a four panel comic strip from Comptiq about a girl who is an underachiever due to her geek passions. Speaking of Lucky Star, a new manga called Lucky Star: Pocket Travelers is coming on from Comp Ace.

FUNimation to Release Ghost Hunt

FUNimation has announced that the distributor will be releasing the anime version of supernatural procedural Ghost Hunt in North America. The manga version is currently being released by Del Rey. The title is tentatively scheduled for release starting in Fall 2008.

Illumitoon's Titles Discontinued

Anime News Network reports that Right Stuf new list Illumitoon's released of B'tX Volumes 3-5, Beet the Vandel Buster Volumes 2-5, and BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo Volumes 2-8, as well as upcoming volumes of AM Driver as "discontinued". The Fort Worth, Texas based anime distributor, founded by three former executives of FUNimation Entertainment, recently entered into the North American market. It was criticized for the quality of its release, particularly the use of "dubtitles" (the same script being used for subtitles and English audio dubbing.)

Figures News

Organic Hobby, Inc announced that they will be overseeing the release of the 4" Tezuka Moderno Labo Series [Atom, Pinoko, Tink, Pluto, Unico, Leo & Coco.] articulated miniature PVC figures "Atom" is a fictional character created by Osamu Tezuka, introduced in the 1951 Captain Atom manga. Astro Boy has appeared in animated television series and feature film adaptations of its eponymous manga and other works by Tezuka. "Atom" stands 3" tall and comes in a clear box. The figure has swivel joints located at the neck, shoulders and legs. [Master case: 48 pcs] "Tezuka Moderno Labo - Atom" will be available in December’07 with a SRP of $9.50.
Black Jack's sidekick "Pinoko," is a fictional character originated from the manga named "Black Jack" written by Osamu Tezuka in the 1970s, dealing with the medical adventures of a doctor named Black Jack. Black Jack consists of hundreds of short, self-contained episodes, on the order of 20 pages of manga each. "Pinoko" is 3" tall PVC figure and comes in a clear box. The figure has swivel joints located at the neck and shoulders. [Master case: 48 pcs] "Tezuka Moderno Labo - Pinoko" will be available in December’07 with a SRP of $9.50.
A pint-sized angel who dresses in green,"Tink (also known as Choppy or Ching or Chinky)" is Princess Sapphire's sidekick in the Japanese manga "Princess Knight." The original Japanese animation was created by Tezuka Osamu, the "father of manga", who is probably best known in the West as the creator of Tetsuwan Atom, aka Astro Boy. "Tink" is 3" tall PVC figure and comes in a clear box. The figure has a swivel joint located at the neck. [Master case: 48 pcs] "Tezuka Moderno Labo - Tink" will be available in December’07 with a SRP of $9.50.
The world's most powerful dark blue horned robot "Pluto" is a fictional character created by Osamu Tezuka, introduced in "The World's Strongest Robot" story arc of the Astro Boy manga. "Pluto" is 4 ½" tall PVC figure and comes in a clear box. The figure has swivel joints located at the neck and shoulders. [Master case: 48 pcs] "Tezuka Moderno Labo - Pluto" will be available in December’07 with a SRP of $9.50.
The baby unicorn with red hair "Unico" is a fictional character based on a Japanese anime and manga with the same title created by Osamu Tezuka. "Unico" is 2 ½" tall PVC figure and comes in a clear box. The figure has a swivel joint located at the neck. [Master case: 48 pcs] "Tezuka Moderno Labo - Unico" will be available in December’07 with a SRP of $9.50.
"Leo & Coco" are fictional characters originated from a Japanese anime series from the 1960s named "Jungle Emperor" (or also known in the United States as Kimba the White Lion), created by Osamu Tezuka, and based on his manga of the same title which started in 1950. It was the first color TV animation series created in Japan. The entire series of manga was first published in serialized form in Manga Shonen magazine. "Leo" is 7" tall and Coco" is 3" tall and comes in a window box. [Master case: 8 pcs] "Flockies Tezuka Moderno - Leo & Coco" will be available in December’07 with a SRP of $65.00.
SideShows is taking preorders for the 1/6 Hot Toys Deunan Knute ($149.99) and Briareos Hechatonchires Appleseed Saga Ex Machina poseable model kits Deunan is packaged with
  • Weapons
    • Large Knife
    • ES.W.A.T. Rifle - HECATE stg 1002
    • ES.W.A.T. Hand Gun - HECATE P-08
  • Accessories:
    • Analog Watch
  • Display base with Ex Machina logo and Deunan's name plate
Briareos is packed with
  • Weapons
    • Prometeus M-08 Cyborg Pistol x 2 units
    • Enigma M-117 Anti Material Rifle
  • Accessories:
    • Analog Watch
  • Display base with Ex Machina logo and Briareos's name plate
The man-in-suit monster wrestling organization Kaiju Big Battel has announced that the upcoming release if its exclusive color variant of Sky Deliver available only at and at Kaiju live events. The exclusive "Kyoho" variant of Sky Deviler is purple vinyl with metallic green spray and orange horns .This variant (100 pieces total) stands approximately 22cm sells 5500 yen (about $50 U.S.). Pe-order are being taken now, and shipping will start the second week of November. Speaking of Kaiju, the next live event, Kaiju Big Battel: More Better Fighto, will be held November 9th at 9:00 pm at The Warsaw, 261 Driggs. Ave. Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY Tickets are $20 advance, $23 day of show, and can be purchased at
Clockwork Machina! has images of the Keroro Gunsou (Sgt Frog) keychains that are being given away in Japanese McDonald's here

Manga Announced at Yaoi Con

ComiPress and Anime News Network compiled a list of new manga licenses announced at Yaoi con Production I.G posted an interview with Masaya Suzuki (Chevalier d'Eon Digital Effects) By publisher... 801 Media (Digital Manga): * A Gentlemen's Kiss (Tsumaki ni Kiss) by Shinri Fuwa * A Love Song for the Miserable (Ochibure Shinshi ni Ai no Uta) by Yukimura * A Promise of Romance (Keiyaku - Brand Romance -) by Kyooko Akitsu and Tooko Miyagi * A Strange and Mystifying Story (Konoyoibun) by Tsuta Suzuki * Author's Pet (Sakka Dorei wo Kau) by Deathco Cotorino * Better than a Dream (Me wo Tojite Miruyumi Yorimo) novel by Katsumi Asanami and Raika Sakuragi * Blue Sky (Aoi Sora ga Aerba) by Yuko Kuwabara * Candy (Ameiro Banyu Inryoko) by Satomi Sugita * Clear Skies! A Charming Love Story (Mainichi Seiten) novel and manga by Etsumi Ninomiya and Akira Sugano * Endless Rain (Oto no Nai Ame wa Furi Tsukuzu) by Yuuya * Eternal Love (Eien no Ai wo Waga Hanayoume Ni) novel by Yukariko Jissoji and Mizumi Takaoka * Feverish (Netsubyou) by Takaki Kusaka * Gentle Cage (Yasashii Ori) novel by You Shizaki and Kamiko Sazaki * Golden Prince and Argent King (Kin no Ouji to Gin no Ou) by Kouko Agawa * Happiness Recommended (Koufukuno Susume) by Souya Himawari * Hard Rock (Seifuku no Tameno Love Song) by Akane Abe * Hot Limit by Minori Shima and Akira Kanbe * Immoral Darkness (Fudoutokuna Yami) novel by Miya Matsuda and Yukariko Jissoji * Kiss Blue by Keiko Kanoshita * Like a Love Comedy (Love Comedy no You Ni) novel by Aki Morimoto and Yutta Narumi * Loving Gaze (Otonarino Birunikoino Shisen) by Akira Kanbe * New Beginnings (Harete Bokutachi Wa) by Kotetsuko Yamamoto * One Night Lesson by Ryou Takagi * Pathos by Mika Sadahiro * Red by Sanae Rokuya * Restart by Shouko Hidaka * S novel by Saki Aida and Chiharu Nara * Sleeping with Money (Satsutaba no Bed de Nemure) novel by Barbara Katagiri * Steal Moon by Makoto Tateno * Sweet Regard (Mitsumeru Manazashi) by Juji Fusa * Today's Ulterior Motives (Kyou mo Dokokade Himitsu no Jouji) by Sakuya Fujii * Wild Butterfly (Kokkyo no Chou) by Hiroki Kusumoto BLU (Tokyopop): * Alley of First Love Love by Ellie Mamahara * Baseball Heaven by Ellie Mamahara * Dekiru Otoko ga Sukinanda by Hinako Takanaga * Flesh & Blood (novel) by Matsuoka Natsuki * Gakuen Heaven (Nakajima version) by You Higuri * Kimi ga Koi ni Ochiru by Hinako Takanaga * Sensei no Jijou by Temari Matsumoto Boysenberry (Broccoli): * Cigarette Kisses (Kuchibiru no Yukue) by Nase Yamato * Koi Cupid by Mia Ikumi * Pandora Hearts by Jun Mochizuki Deux Press (Ohzora Shuppan): * Future Lovers by Saika Kunieda * Kiss All the Boys Volume 1 by Shiuko Kano * Make Me Happy by Kano Miyamoto * Mister Mistress by Rize Shinba * Say Please by Kano Miyamoto * Seduce Me After the Show by Esti Em * Tomcats by Mashiro Minamino * Tough Love Baby by Shiuko Kano * Two of Hearts by Kano Miyamoto * Yakuza in Love by Shiuko Kano Yen Press: * Love Quest by Rabu Kue * Mr. Flower Bride by Hanayome-kun * Mr. Flower Groom by Hanamuko-san

Viz To Release Shojo Manga Based Live Action

VIZ Pictures, an affiliate of VIZ Media LLC that focuses on Japanese live-action film distribution, has licensed the live action versions of four films based on popular shôjo manga titles released under VIZ Media’s SHOJO BEAT imprint. These include HONEY AND CLOVER, LOVE*COM THE MOVIE, NANA and NANA 2. HONEY AND CLOVER will be released theatrically in select cities beginning in December. LOVE*COM THE MOVIE will be released straight to DVD in February 2008 and distributed by VIZ Media. NANA will be released theatrically in early 2008 and NANA 2 will have a theatrical release in the spring of 2008. HONEY AND CLOVER, LOVE*COM THE MOVIE and NANA will have special premiere screenings at the upcoming New York Anime Festival December 7-9, 2007. HONEY AND CLOVER Based on the bestselling shôjo manga by Chica Umino, HONEY AND CLOVER is a romantic comedy that focuses on five college students and the art school they attend. When talented painter Hagumi Hanamoto enrolls in the program, her presence and unique approach to art affects the entire school and her new friends. The plot thickens as Hagumi becomes embroiled in a complicated love triangle as she struggles to find her artistic voice. HONEY AND CLOVER showcases the journey that everyone must take to transform from adolescence into adulthood and the long and challenging road these five young people must navigate to balance the demands of school, work, and love. The English version of the HONEY AND CLOVER manga is currently serialized in VIZ Media’s SHOJO BEAT magazine. VIZ Media is set to publish the title as a self-contained manga in March 2008. LOVE*COM THE MOVIE Based on the bestselling comic by Aya Nakahara, LOVE*COM THE MOVIE is a high-school romantic comedy centering on two students. Risa Koizumi is the tallest girl in class, and the last thing she wants is the humiliation of standing next to Atsushi Ôtoni, the shortest guy. Fate and the whole school have other ideas, and the two find themselves cast as the unwilling stars of a bizarre romantic comedy duo. But as their friendship develops, so do Risa's feelings toward Otani. The English version of the manga series is currently available under VIZ Media’s SHOJO BEAT imprint. NANA, NANA 2 Based on the popular manga by Ai Yazawa, NANA and NANA 2 follow the adventures of two girls both named Nana. While they share the same name, they couldn’t be more different. Nana "Hachi" Komatsu hopes that moving to Tokyo will help her make a clean start and leave her capricious love life behind, while Nana Osaki, who arrives in the city at the same time, is a punk rock beauty who has plans to score big in the world of rock and roll. Although these two young women come from different backgrounds, they quickly become best friends. Japanese Naruto Voices Offered as Game DLC Ubisoft announced that Naruto: Rise of a Ninja for the XBox 360 will have the voices by the official Naruto Japanese cast available post-launch as free downloadable content on Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Voices will include:
  • Junko Takeuchi - Uzumaki Naruto
  • Kazuhiko Inoue - Hatake Kakashi
  • Chie Nakamura - Haruno Sakura
  • Noriaki Sugiyama - Uchiha Sasuke
  • Kujira - Orochimaru
  • Akira Ishida - Sabaku no Gaara For more information on Naruto: Rise of a Ninja, please visit the game's official website at
  • Upcoming ADV Releases

    Anime on DVD notes that Right Stuf lists the following ADV releases scheduled for January 2008 1/1 Jinki: Extend Complete Collection - 325 minutes - $59.98 Kanon Vol. #1 - 100 minutes Martian Successor Nadesico Perfect Collection (Thinpak) - 650 minutes - $49.98 1/8 Ghost Stories Collection - 550 minutes - $49.98 1/15 Get Backers Complete Series Collection (Thinpak) - 1225 minutes - $89.98 1/22 Comic Party Revolution Box Set (Thinpak) - 325 minutes - $44.98

    UDON Talks Re-Commencing Robot

    UDON and d/visual will be working together to bring the Robot art book/manga anthology back to North America starting in December. Conceived and edited by Range Murata ("Last Exile", "Blue Submarine No.6"), and published in Japan by Wanimagazine, ROBOT is a unique, full color anthology series which unites Japan's greatest Manga creators, many of whom are experimenting with color stories for the first time. New volumes of the series' English language version have been absent from store shelves for nearly a year. The first three volumes were released in North America by Digital Manga Publishing. ROBOT Volume 4 features the work of such greats as yoshitoshi ABe(Serial Experiments Lain), Kouji Ogata (Boogiepop Phantom) and over a dozen more of Japan's finest artists. "Pretty much everyone at UDON is a huge fan of the ROBOT series," says UDON Chief Erik Ko. "d/visual has already done a spectacular job bringing ROBOT to Italian, and Chinese readers, so when they asked us if UDON wanted to co-produce and continue ROBOT in English we jumped at the chance. We're quite excited to be working alongside d/visual and with Wanimagazine." "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue releasing the English edition of ROBOT", says d/visual director Federico Colpi. "In only three years, d/visual has become one of the most valued publishers in Europe and Asia in the field of art books, classic manga, and innovative Japanese graphic novels. We have also been selected by many publishers worldwide as a printing service. We are glad that books we have printed in the past such as ROBOT #2 and #3 and the 'yoshitoshi ABe illustrations’ art book, released last year by DMP, have been so well received by North American audiences. Most of all, we are excited to partner with UDON Entertainment, a company we love for their astounding comics and videogame work." Koshi Yamazaki, president of Wanimagazine Inc., commented as well: "It was a real shame that a successful series such as the English edition of ROBOT was stopped after only three volumes, so I am incredibly happy about the return of ROBOT to North America and to the worldwide English audience. It is a pleasure to start this new venture with a skilled partner such as Udon Entertainment, and of course with d/visual, with which we already enjoy a strong relationship. Most of all, I am happy to know that our English readers around the globe will once again have a chance to enjoy the works of our outstanding artists." Nine volumes of the series have been released in Japan ROBOT Volume 4 Release: December 2007 US Price: $29.95 Format: 160 pgs, Full Color, Artbook, 8 ¾ X 11 ¾ inches

    Dragon Ball Licensing Shifts

    Bandai America has announced is returning to FUNimation Entertainment's Dragon Ball Z franchise as the North American master toy licensee. Bandai America last released Dragon Ball Z products in 2000. "We are proud of this partnership with Bandai America and we look forward to unveiling the new line," said Bob Brennan, director of licensing at FUNimation Entertainment. "We are confident that together with Bandai we can move into the new era of Dragon Ball Z." "Beginning Spring 2008, the Dragon Ball Z toy line will be reborn like no one has ever seen before," said Colleen Sherfey, director of marketing, Bandai America. "With our expertise in action figures, existing fans will have their ravenous demand for exclusive Dragonball products satiated, while new kids will be drawn in by the unique play patterns and toys." Speaking on Dragon Ball licenses, Gamespot and Anime News Network, a SEC file has revealed that Funimation Production delivered a notice to terminate Atari's two Dragon Ball Z software licenses on October 18, citing an alleged breaches of license agreements. Atari disputes the claims, and the two companies fan to arrange further meetings.

    Upcoming in Japan

    From Anime Nation Former School Rumble based April Fool's gag Magical Heart Kokoro-chan will be adapted into a OVA spin-off from the staff of the School Days TV series. The DVD is scheduled to be released March 28, 2008. The School Rumble manga was released in North America by Del Rey. The anime is released by FUNimation. From Anime News Network Tow Ubukata's (Le Chevalier d'Eon, Sokyu no Fafner) sci-fi light novel Eulenspiegel will be adapted into a manga series by Shuji Sogabe. The Winter 2007 issue (on sale November 14) of Kadokawa's Shonen Ace Assault magazine will debut Eulenspiegel, Shuji Sogabe's manga adaptation of a light novel from Tow Ubukata (Le Chevalier d'Eon, Sokyu no Fafner) about three cyborg girls in a police unit in 2016. Production I.G and scriptwriter Yoshiki Sakurai's (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Evangelion movie remakes) Tokumu Kikotai Kuchikura (Special Operations Armored Unit Kuchikura) will debut in the January 2008 issue (on sale November 30) of Mag Garden's Comic Blade . The "near-future military simulation drama" looks at the battle for survival in a 21st-century Tokyo leveled by warfare. Source: Moon Phase Monthly Magazine Z will feature a manga series based on Ayakashi - Samurai Horror Tales from Grandia 2 character designer Youshi Kanoe (Yushi Kanoe).

    Event News

    Stonebridge Press points out that Brian Camp, co-author of Anime Classics Zettai!: 100 Must-See Japanese Animation Masterpiece will be giving a "Lost Classics of Anime," a special visual presentation at Kinokuniya Bookstore's new Bryant Park location in New York City. Camp will take viewers on a guided tour through undiscovered classics of Japanese animation, including clips from the very first Japanese animated features. He will explain how animation developed into an art form, and answer questions about why some films make it, and some don't. Copies of ANIME CLASSICS ZETTAI! will be for sale at the event. "Lost Classics of Anime" Saturday, November 3rd, 2007 5:00 p.m. free Kinokuniya Bookstore (note new location!) 1073 Avenue of the Americas Across from Bryant Park between 40th & 41st Streets New York, NY 10018 (212) 869-1700 Presented by Kinokuniya Bookstore and Stone Bridge Press Del Rey Manga, an imprint of Ballantine Books at the Random House Publishing Group, will conduct a panel, Your Career in Manga, as part of Kinokuniya's New York store opening celebration on Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 2 p.m. Panelists include: Dallas Middaugh (Associate Publisher), Tricia Narwani (Publishing Associate), Ali T. Kokmen (Marketing Manager), Caron Harris (Production Manager) and April Flores (Associate Publicist). Also included in the panel is freelance translator Mari Morimoto, who has worked on projects such as Del Rey Manga's Dragon Eye and manga publisher Viz's Naruto. The MIT Dance Theater Ensemble will demonstrate the possibilities with its performance Live Action Anime 2007: Madness at Mokuba on Nov. 29, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 (Thu.-Sat.) at 8 p.m. The shows will be held at the Kresge Little Theater on the MIT campus (free and open to the public, seating limited to 200 each night). In conjunction with the performances, Prof. Ian Condry will give a kickoff lecture entitled "Explaining Anime's Global Power," on Thursday, Nov. 29, 4:30 - 6:00 p.m., Room 56-114 on the MIT campus (also free and open to the public). Directed by Prof. Thomas F. DeFrantz (Music and Theater Arts, MIT) with original script by Prof. Ian Condry (Foreign Languages and Literatures, MIT), the play features a cast of MIT students, faculty, and other members of the MIT community as they attempt to do the impossible: create live action anime. Don't miss this opportunity to see anime history in the making. In conjunction with the performances, Prof. Condry will give a lecture entitled "Explaining Anime's Global Power," on Thursday, Nov. 29, 4:30 - 6:00 p.m., Room 56-114 on the MIT campus (free and open to the public). Prof. Condry will discuss his current book project, Global Anime, including discussion of how his fieldwork research in Tokyo anime studios informed the play's conception (spoilers will be avoided). The NY Int'l Children's Film Festival will be showing Lisa Helminen's Pelicanman at the IFC Center - Sat & Sun, Nov 3 & 4 - 11:00am and Symphony Space- Sat & Sun, Nov 24 & 25 - 2:00pm In Finnish with English subtitles - Recommended ages 7-14 A festival favorite (Cannes, Toronto, Berlin), Pelicanman is a fantasy-allegory about a pelican who becomes human, imitating our looks, learning our culture, getting a job at the opera, and even falling in love with a graceful dancer. Ten-year-olds Emil and Elsa, his new neighbors, immediately see through the disguise and, as they teach him to read and navigate the human world, the Pelican discovers the best humanity has to offer: poetry and science, philosophy and friendship. But the Pelican also learns the dangers, when his bird-allergic landlady becomes suspicious and convinces the townspeople to capture the Pelican and place him in a zoo. Critics have compared the film to everything from Felini's Amarcord to "the Finnish E.T.," but we see Chaplin-esque innocence and naiveté in Kari Ketonen's delightfully absurd portrayal of the Pelican who teaches us about our world as he experiences it for himself. Q&A By Producer Hanna Hemila Following Nov 4, 24 & 25 Screenings Tickets can be purchase here NYICFF will be showing shorts collection "KID FLIX MIX" at Sympony Space - Sat & Sun, Nov 24 & 25 - 11:00am This includes The Dog Who Was a Cat Inside UK, Animation, Siri Melchior, 2002, 3.5 min In this beautifully animated parable, a dog struggles with his "inner cat." 2CV France, Experimental, Charlotte Lowe/David Lowe, 2004, 3 min On a moonlit night Little Peter runs away with his true love, driving a car through land, sea, and sky, eyes open to the intoxicating mysteries of the night. A glorious helter-skelter, dreamlike romp, set to the music of Sergei Prokofiev. Shaun the Sheep: Bathtime UK, Animation, Christopher Sadler, 2006, 7 min A tale of ovine mayhem from Aardman Animations. The flock refuses to have a wash in the freezing sheep dip, so Shaun goes on a commando raid to hijack the hot water from the farmer's bath tub. Field Guide to Snapping Canada, Animation, Nihhil Adnani, 2003, 3 min. When a young girl breaks out her turntable in the woods, the animals have just got to get down! Tom and the Strawberry Mouse Germany, Animation, Andreas Hykade, 2003, 5 min Tom craves a slice of bread with strawberry jam and honey and must pick his way through a funny and unpredictable adventure before his appetite can be satisfied. Despite some mishaps, he never loses heart! Happy Horse and the Monster Germany, Animation, Gerhard Hahn, 1997, 3 min A cheerful and delicate ballet-dancing horse charms a toothy monster. Driving Alone Brazil/Germany, Animation, Rosangela De Aruajo, 2003, 6.5 min A film about creativity and imagination. With only a toy truck and a lime, a little boy creates a fantastic landscape full of joy and surprises. But when his colorful daydream is abruptly ended he is brought back to the reality of life on the street. Color Combination USA, Experimental, Kota Ezawa, 2000, 2 min An experimental animated video exploring the relationship between color, rhythm and words. Laughing Moon Japan, Animation, Kiyoshi Nishimoto, 2000, 6 min A moving tangram, twelve pieces divided from a circle and square combine to form different shapes and figures and act out elegantly simple scenes. Big Cat Little Cat Germany, Animation, Alexandra Schatz, 2000, 5 min Big Cat is worried that Little Cat's naïve honesty will offend the clientele of a neighborhood clothing boutique. But as it turns out, Little Cat's advice is just what these customers need. Fowl Play USA, Animation, Christopher De Santis, 2003, 3 min Ducks and penguins face off on a virtual soccer field in the hopes of finding out which is the dominant species. Bring it on! Marbles Israel, Experimental, Maya Tiberman, 2005, 3 min Video image manipulation gives a new perspective on everyday surroundings. Montrose Avenue Canada, Animation, Marek Colek/Pat Shewchuk, 2006, 5.5 min Drawings feel as if they've leapt directly from the pages of a picture book in this colorful day in the life of Montrose Avenue, a bustling street in a Portuguese neighborhood.

    Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Second Gig -- The Complete Season Two on DVD November 20th from Manga Entertainment

    Manga Entertianment has announced Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Second Gig - The Complete Season Two will be available on November 20 in a 7-disc box set and Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Second Gig: Individual 11, will be available on December 18. SRPs are $99.97 and $29.97, respectively. In the 2nd season of Ghost In The Shell: SAC, Major Kusanagi and Section 9 continue to fight terrorists in both the real and on-line worlds. Individual 11 opens on a Japan destroyed by World War IV.

    Newtype USA celebrates 5th anniversary

    NewType USA as announced that it will be marking its fifth anniversary in Newtype USA Vol. 6, Issue 11. The manga magzine will feature a 2008 calendar with art from anime including Code Geass, Devil May Cry, Sergeant Frog and Strait Jacket. A packaged DVD will feature five preview episodes, including Venus Versus Virus, Rozen Maiden Träumend, Hell Girl, Flag and Tokyo Majin. The issue's cover story is Gundam 00 while other articles feature Death Note, Super Robot Wars and Honey and Clover;

    New and Improved Sites

    Anime distributor/retailer The Right Stuf International has launched a new version of their site. The new look for to mark their 20th Anniversary features an expanded store, and section for their distribution arm Nozomi Entertainment and podcast Anime Today. Right Stuf Chief Technology Officer Richard Harms said "We wanted to better showcase the things that make Right Stuf special. From RSS feeds that allow you to subscribe to news and new product additions in the store, updates from Nozomi Entertainment and podcast episodes to making the answers to those ‘frequently asked questions’ more readily available." Viz has upgraded their Naruto site at to feature 109 comprehensive episode summaries, illustrated character bios, new e-cards, new art, and a map of the world of NARUTO. An extras page features downloadable NARUTO wallpapers and an interactive Ninja Academy online game. The VIZ Media NARUTO online store ( also offers a vast collection of manga, DVDs, apparel, collectable figurines and other items. News and new episode and product information will be added regularly, along with other web games and online-only content. On the coverage side, MangaCast has gone to WordPress at

    Worth Checking Out

    Episode 52 of Right Stuf’s ANIME TODAY podcast (available on iTunes) features an interview with Fred Ladd, the pioneering TV producer responsible for the English adaptations of early U.S. anime hits, including Astro Boy, Gigantor and Kimba the White Lion Matt Alt points out an interesting article that quotes him on the topic of mascots Patrick Macias notes that he is now blogging on the Otaku USA site. Awesome Engine look at what UK anime/manga magazine Manga Mania was saying in 1993 ComiPress on Sakaki Masaru: A full-on Fleshbomb atmosphere, overflowing with claustrophobia MangaCast on manga in the Indonesia Same Hat! Same Hat! has Kazuo Umezu commemorative Chucks here, and if you haven't seen it before, how to paint yourself like an Umezz character Via Canned Dogs, a disturbing Yoshitoshi ABe shirt Manga: The Complete Guide version 1 Via MangaBlog, has interviews with Dallas Middaugh (Del Rey) and Kurt Hasslet (Yen Press) Via NewsaramaBlog and Cartoon Brew, the english trailer for animated horror anthology , scheduled to open in France on February 13th.

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