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When to Expect Miyazaki's Ponyo in Theatres and Afro Samurai: Resurrection on TV (Newly UPDATED 1-6-09)

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Update for 1/6/09 Variety reports that John Pixar's Lasseter is working with Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy to make Hayao Miyazaki/Ghibli's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea "the studio's biggest hit ever Stateside." According to the piece, Ghibli has been frustrated that their films have only found a niche audience about anime fans and arthouse goers. From the Variety piece: The goal is to boost both the number of screens and the box office take beyond Ghibli's record for a U.S. release set by "Spirited Away," the Miyazaki toon that earned a little more than $10 million on 714 screens in 2002 and 2003. From 1/5/09 Anime News Network notes that Nikkei is reporting the Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea is slated to appear on North American theaters in summer 2009. Disney's John Lasseter (Toy Story, Cars), will produce the North American release as he had for Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away. In November, GhibliWorld reported that Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy will produce the English localization of Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, with a cast that includes Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, Betty White, Fankie Jonas, Noah Cyrys and Cloris Leachman. IMDB currently lists Madison Davenport in the role of Kumiko, while speculates that the cast break-down will be
  • Matt Damon: Koichi
  • Tina Fey: Risa
  • Cate Blanchett: Granmamare
  • Liam Neeson: Fujimoto
(Video grabbed from Toys R Evil For watchers of Miyazaki's home base, Ghibli, the studio is preparing to work on Isao Takahata's (Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko) first film since 1999's My Neighbors the Yamadas.
Spike TV has announced that the network will premiere Afro Samurai: Resurrection in a two our block on Sunday, January 25th at 10 pm (ET, PT), and split into four episodes on Friday, January 30th at 1:30 am FUNimation plans will released the feature on DVD and Blu-ray on February 3rd. Samuel L. Jackson will reprise the role of Afro (and Ninja Ninja), opposite Lucy Liu as new nemesis Sio. Additional casting includes Mark Hamill as Bin, Sio's manservant and protector and Yuri Lowenthal as Kuma, the teddy bear-headed warrior from the original "Afro Samurai" series. A few years have passed since Afro's nemesis Justice was finally defeated on Mt. Shumi. Afro is back in his Swordmaster's dojo meditatively carving statues as penance for those he has murdered. The blood cycle is broken - the wearer of the "No.1" headband shall rule the world and only the "No.2" shall challenge the "No.1," but Afro holds both headbands and so there is no challenger. The fragile peace Afro has created is shattered as ghosts from the past appear and wreak havoc in Afro's dojo, escaping with the No.1 headband and also with the remains of Afro's father. Afro is forced once again to take on the burden of the No.2 headband and go back out into the world in search of the No.1 and his father's remains. The power of the two headbands is felt in the world once more, the world is once again painted with blood and the spiral of violence begins once again.
Malaysia's The Star Online has an interesting article about character design for the upcoming Astro Boy. WHEN they saw the initial designs for Astro Boy in the upcoming computer animated flick, the one thing that the Japanese owners did not fancy was the size of his rear end. They found it too small. Recalled Ken Tsumura, executive vice president of Imagi Animation, the Hong Kong company behind the project: “We had discussions of how round and curvy his body proportions are and we designed him more lean.”
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