Ain't It Cool News (
Animation and Anime

AICN Anime - Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu, Kill Bill, Sailor Moon, Ultraman... How's That For Eclectic Topic Selection?

Logo handmade by Bannister Column by Scott Green

In Depth on the Astonishing Work of Tezuka Osamu

Manga Spotlight: Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu Vol. 1 By Junko Mizuno Released by Last Gasp / jaPRESS

In an Indiana Jones movie, Spielberg would take a skeleton and accessorize it with something that would accentuate the shock value: blood, snakes, rats. For this conversation, swap the skeleton for a baby doll or other imagery that hugs onto the label "girly." I can't pin-point when that juxtaposition would be considered new, but I can attest to the fact that the concept has been productized and merchandised to the point where a 60 year old 2nd grade teacher can identify Emily the Strange and Gloomy Bear. That said, it is gratifying to observe that luminary Junko Mizuno is still bringing provocative innovation to the space. There's nothing staid in her chimera creation of Sanrio/Hello Kitty cherubic puff spliced with Hideshi Hino style nauseating grotesque. Her new Fluffy Gigolo Pelu suggests that her work is only veering into more vividly mischievous territory. It offers a look at an exercise that is comparable to taking the broken crumbs from the bottom of a bag of candy and trying to melt them into a lollipop - bright and supposedly sweet, but deformed and foul smelling where it's burned. Pelu's stories of alienation, unconventional pregnancy and huffing are overtly cracked, but the view that it presents of less incendiary subjects like office work dreariness and career dissatisfaction similarly fit into its scheme of candy colored unhappiness. Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu finds Mizuno jumping onto the stack of voices to rework fairy tales. It occupies a place between Mizuno's fairy tales, published in English by Viz (Cinderalla, Hansel & Gretel, Princess Mermaid) and Pure Trance, published by Last Gasp. The former reimagined the classic European tales with zombies, yanki delinquents, dietary disasters and prostitution. The later was originally serialized across the booklets from a line of CD releases and lampooned a merchandise minded knick knack obsession with consumption. Its story followed saintly nurse Kaori Suzuki in her dedicated work to preserve the many women who harmed themselves through Pure Trance (covered here) related eating disorders. At the same time, the manga's panels, and even margins, were crowded with objects that succinctly presented an idea that was both eye catching and shocking, ready to be copied onto a t-shirt or realized as a three dimensional vinyl figure. From oral tradition, to writers and scholars like Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm to Disney and Warner cartoons, fairy tales are bound to be profoundly marked by the last hand to touch them. Shoujo manga has had a long history of spinning a gender discussion out of the genre. Osamu Tezuka's proto-shoujo Princess Knight followed a girl, raised as a boy to protect her kingdoms throne, who adopts the third identity of the "Princess Knight" to fight for justice. These themes were later elaborated upon by the vanguard of women writing shoujo, including Riyoko Ikeda ( Rose of Versailles), Moto Hagio (They Were 11, To Terra) and the Year 24 Group. Mizuno's work puts a bear hug like violent embrace on shoujo. With Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu returning to the idea of subverting a fairy tale, she is continuing to stack impressions onto the sediments laid down by other manga artists Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu opens on the "cute and pink planet" Princess Kotobuki. It's a place that looks like what might pass before you're eyes in the sickness following a bender of Tequila and marshmallow peeps, the population of which is comprised of the beautiful women-like Princess Kotobukians, "a calm but carnivorous giant space hippo" and Pelu. As with other fairy kingdoms, Princess Kotobuki is in proximity to, but invisible from Earth. It's not just a disconcerting juxtaposition along the lines of Hansel and Gretel's Japanese youth toughs of the 70's meets Germanic stories. In Princess Kotobuki's abrupt detachment from the familiar, Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu resembles Pure Trance. Beyond being the equivalent of a fairy kingdom, Princess Kotobuki also broadcasts Mizuno's sense of uber-feminine aesthetic. Imagine a planet of shirtless muscle guys from an MMA gym hitting each other... something out of Dragon Ball or the like... then reverse it. There's lots of nudity and gender identification, without much to titillate. For Pelu himself, as the song goes "he's not a cat, he's not a dog. He's an alien and his name is Pelu." Tragically, the knee high green cotton ball finds himself alienated from the Princess Kotobukians, because... spoilers... he's a reproductive organ. The revelation is inconceivable, even for a being that's used to listening to a hippo grouse about lightning storms. So, noting the diversity of Earth's population, Pelu leaps into a magic mirror hoping to find someone like himself. His mad anti-trip-to-Oz whirlwind is captured in a montage of dreary meetings, lottery wins, and over eating - framed by a psychedelic expectoration of bubbles. "He's not a cat, and he's not a dog. Forgive me mama, I'm going on a trip. I'll come back to Princess Kotobuki someday. With a beautiful bride at my side." So, after Following Sex Education on a Fantastic Planet, the first volume of Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu launches into a series of fairy tales of a fabulized state of current affairs including The Naked Enka Singer The Sassy Girl and the Bad Boy Beach Maidens The Mysterious High School The pattern for the four latter stories is simple. Pelu shacks up with a needy young woman. He tries to make her happy. It goes disastrously awry, and he's forced to hit the road to the Pelu equivalent of the Lonely Man Theme. Well, maybe he's not entirely lonely. There is a transient who cuddles with Pelu between the ventures of attempting to help women find acceptance, love and fulfillment. In its mirth at Sisyphean bleakness, Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu reminds me of one of my favorite manga - Toru Yamazaki's Octopus Girl. That title refers to a girl reborn as a sort of were octopus after being bullied to death by classmates. Along with her companion/rival Eel Girl, the pair pursue their dreams of beauty and adoration into horrific consequences. For example, with dreams of being the idol who commands the focus of tabloid covers, Octopus Girl enters a pageant. She puts stinging centipedes into the swim suit of one contestant (queue panel of a skin marked with horrific welts), then cuts off a bit of one of her fingers, drops it into another contestant glass of water, and allows it to become a tentacle when the other girl attempts to swallow (queue panel of girl choking on octo-tentacle). Our heroine is karmically rewarded when the plane taking her to Okinawa for a beach photo shoot crashes into the ocean. She survives thanks to her were-octopus existence, figures that with everyone likely believing she's dead, she's wasted her efforts, and with a bemused smile, she begins swimming back to Tokyo for another shot at appreciation. It's like reality TV desperation meets Kazuo Umezu gross-out horror. Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu has Octopus Girl's MO of laughing at the disastrous consequences of misguided attempts at finding happiness. Pelu functions as the catalyst that brings these stories of unhappy young women to a climax, whether its the shellfish diver living in the sewer with her basket of robot arms or the chubby plain looking orphan, working her way through Shirley Temple High. For example, Pelu wanders past a poodle ranch into a wealthy area. He falls for the sparkling cute daughter of a best selling romance writer. With her mother forced to devote all of her attention to editors, the "Sassy Girl" has rebelled by falling for an easily distracted glue sniffing biker. Pelu allows her to briefly capture the guy's attention, but the puff ball fails to keep him interested or the girl happy for long. Pelu tries to make the teen happy by bringing her some booze. That works, but not as well as an appearance by the space hippo... Hungry Hungry Hippo + poodle ranch = unhappiness for all. The consequences are hilariously worse than you might imagine... in a Stand By Me campfire story kindof way. Where as Octopus Girl stories end with the girls nihilistically smiling and pushing towards the next grab at fame and addoration, Pelu's end with the guy huffing and crying rainbows. Jason Thompson's Manga: The Complete Guide notes that the term "manga" can be translated to "whimsical sketches." "Irresponsible pictures" is another translation commonly used by English speaking commentators. In keeping with that label, it's a medium that has produced more than its share of transgressive works over the years. Show an unprepared person a panel of "Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu" and their reaction is likely to be along the lines of "weird! why is the girl with the Disney Princess hair covered with bandages and why is she feeding a bag of pills to the bunnies?" Though Mizuno is an emphatically visual story teller, you actually have to read Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu to pick up on the affront - that it sets up an infinity effect of laughing at something terribly bleak, then feeling bad about finding mirth in sorrow, then laughing at the absurdity of it all, and so on. Mizuno can be a divisive creator. I believe that you do need to "get" her work to appreciate some of her manga. However, I don't believe that's the case here. Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu features enough dire absurdity that it'll force you to laugh.

Manga Spotlight:The Battle of Genryu: Origin Volume 1 by Shoko Fukaki Released by CMX/Flex Comix

Reading The Battle of Genryu affirmed a self assessment of my status as a fight manga apologist. While I probably would have had to force myself to complete a qualitatively similar relationship comedy manga, I found Genryu to be a sufficiently lively exercise in unarmed violence. Neither fresh nor well crafted, it's both a catalogue of fight manga standards prone to irking ambivalent readers and tropes that are likely to bother devotees. And yet, it skirts truly repulsive flaws. Though, as someone given to embracing its genre, I wish The Battle of Genryu were better, I found it to be kinetically impactful enough and sufficiently inoffensive to be an enjoyable diversion. Normally I don't reproduce official synopses in these features, but Genryu's is so perfectly indicative of the character of the work that I had to make an exception. "Jin's a happy, irresponsible high school kid with extraordinary powers. The problem is, they only show up once a month. He's got a great group of friends, including the attractive Fusano, who takes her own fighting skills way more seriously than Jin does. But that all changes when some tough guys challenge him on one of the days when he isn't powered up. Turns out they were hired by his estranged brother Soichiro, who is after something that Jin possesses. And when Soichiro later attacks Fusano, the war between brothers is on." Distilled to a high concept, it's as simple as "male goof becomes entangled in fights." As such, the manga's hook is the presence of the physical engagements and not themes or personalities. On page 14, a character actually says "today's the day I'm getting revenge on you for eating my sweet honeys!!" Shortly there after a young woman judo tosses the lead after he accidentally bumps into her chest. As she's heaving him, the manga captures the move with a ground level view up her skirt. While readers who are less than enthusiastic about the fight might find reason for there disinterest in the flimsy conceits for conflict or the sexualization of young women in fights, Genryu does not approach the egregious distastefulness of some entries in its genre. At its worse, it prompts a bit of eye rolling. Shoko Fukaki's action is not without flair. Figures and speed lines do complement each other well enough that the manga does establish the impression of physicality as the combatants exchange attacks. Read quickly, its focus on the essential elements of its genre ably delivers what the tin promises. Young, attractive people, knocking each other around. Occasionally some clothes are torn, making it not entirely light hearted, but that takes little away from what is a clean, teen fight manga, focused on little beyond the essential elements of young people fighting. However, the airy quality to the manga that keeps it above the bogs of salaciousness and over complication can also be a liability for fight fans. Fukaki shows an inattention, or possibly disinterest, in the mechanics of fighting. Genryu looks a bit real, but that sets the wrong expectation. In stark contrast to last week's reviewed Shaman Warrior, where Park Joong Ki maintains a strict logic of space and position, nearly anything can happen between one panel of Genryu and the next. On its second page, a characters right arm goes on three entirely different vectors on three contiguous panels. This is not an impossible sequence of actions, but given some thought, it's apparently incredible. Half way through the volume, Genryu features a mixed martial arts bout between a Japanese striker and a Brazilian jujutsu grappler. The cocky Japanese fighter sits down in the ring, holds out his arm and allows the Brazilian to pull that extended arm back and throw his legs over the Japanese fighter, such that the Brazilian is locked along the arm, with the two bodies perpendicular. The Japanese opponent is now in the Brazilian’s "arm-crushing reverse cross." With his arm still out at 90 degrees, the Japanese fighter proceeds to shake the Brazilian’s hold free. The volume will dwell on this and expound on the feet of muscle needed to release the "nearly unbreakable hold." Shoko Fukaki's "arm-crushing reverse cross" is a well drawn arm bar, a grappling lock that aims to hyperextend the elbow or shoulder. It's not a "crunching" attack. It can be difficult to free oneself from, but it's reputation is not "unbreakable." And, the approach to extricating oneself from an arm bar has little to do with a wiggle that causes the hold to be released. Pointing out the discrepancies does border on nitpicking, and the manga's credibility does benefit from Fukaki establishing concrete rules for the move . As such. if you're interested in fight manga, but not fight sports, there's satisfying realism to the attack. Conversely, if you do practice or watch martial arts, the un-exaggerated depiction of the hold suggests that it to be measured against the reality. In that case, with the manga going into detail in its incorrect depiction of the hold, the error becomes a distraction. Other problems are noticeable with some consideration. A close-up shows a clenched right fist in a mixed martial arts glove facing palm inwards, pointing downward. Given how a punch works, this could be an uppercut about to start rising or possibly a karate punch chambered at the hip. Well, the page's dominant panel is a downward punch to the recipient’s head, with the palm of that hand facing towards the guys throwing the punch. Afterward, the consequence panel shows the recipient falling backwards, away from the puncher. Hold your right fist, palm up in front of you. Try reverse engineering the sequence of actions that would allow you to swing the fist down on someone's head. Rather than Genryu, I'd love if the rules of business could be circumvented enough to allow someone to pick up the license to Tetsuya Saruwatari's (co-creator of Riki-Oh of Daily Show 5 questions head-smashing fame) Koukou Tekkenden Tough (aka Street Fighter Tekken). It's a manga from which Viz published a 6 volume abridged best of, and I mention "circumvention," because while I doubt that Viz will be releasing any more of the manga, Tough was serialized in Weekly Young Jump, an anthology from Viz parent Shueisha. Featuring wannabe action star, and heir to prestigious martial arts legacy, "Kiibo" Miyazawa, the manga mixed some male goofiness with bone splintering, generally realistic fighting sequences. With few female characters and male characters who were over-muscled and/or deformed from combat, it wasn't much of a hit. For an audience who isn't necessarily looking for manga that prides itself on realistic, sweaty combat, it's notable that Genryu likewise rejects those qualities. It's a fight manga intend on providing attractive girls and handsome guys along with the knuckle dusting.

Manga Spotlight: Battle Angel Alita: Last Order Volume 11 - Angel Cake By Yukito Kishiro Released by VIZ Media

Yukito Kishiro creates the ultimate fight manga adversary in Alita: Last Order. From the nanomachine produced oceans of grey goo covering the surface of Mercury comes the Anomaly. "It eats! It mates! It butchers! A faithful translation of the principles of libido, the most despicable side of humanity on full display!" This daikaiju sized beast rages with its phallic cannon ejaculating energy blasts. "Pride! Greed! Combat ability! And all of us - powerless against this Freudian nightmare?!" It's opponent? Toji, the master of Electromagnetic Space Karate. "They say his karate goes beyond Newtonian mechanics and is on the level of the theory of relativity... I have no idea what that means..." So, a totem faced robot man in a karate gi is fighting PenisGodzilla. What more can you ask for in your gonzo fight manga? When James Cameron begins adapting his version of Battle Angel, presumably Last Order will have little if any bearing on the project. This isn't the story of a cyborg brain given the body of a young woman and a second chance of life amidst the material and social discard of a sci-fi Utopia. It's the geek version of an interminable tall tale, spun out of an interplanetary fighting tournament. Kishiro has been riffing off reader submitted designs, some of which are cogent and detailed, some of which look scrawled out with MS Paint. And, he's been welding together ideas that shouldn't be in the same thought process (super-human thumb wrestling). It's not the effecting, character focused narrative of the original Battle Angel, but it is Kishiro demonstrating his black belt in the nerd arts. This volume features almost no Alita, but it does have some Alita and Alita, and plenty of Alita. The Alita of the first manga series, and presumably the Cameron movie is off the playing field at this point. Cute, molecular wire wielding Alita clones Elf and Zwölf are side-lined, but present. On the other hand, transgender Alita clone Sechs makes his belligerent present felt - surfing Itano circus missile barrages, taking Alita's Damascus blade to foes like a can-opener, and otherwise serving as the primary agent for the protagonists. Already volumes longer than the original Battle Angel Alita, and with a fraction of its plot evolution, Kishiro is clearly in no hurry to pick up the pace of Last Order's story. Instead, he's leisurely sight seeing. Last Order is structurally based on the shounen fight manga formula. Those manga habitually digress into histories of the personalities battling in the competition, and Last Order is full of that. Previous volumes have delved into side stories, one of which filled two volumes. Volume 11 has at least one major plot point, but it's mostly taking advantage of the format to construct some exquisitely odd situations. It's difficult to top the near confrontationally odd spectacle of Space Karate versus the Anomaly, but Yishiro continues to have fun with the conventions of fight manga throughout the rest of the volume. After the above mentioned karate/kaiju smackdown, Sechs fights The Jupiter Union Delegate - Warmen 609. This opponent is a geometric muscle man with small, geometric, cyclops cat resting on his head, and the gag is that Jupiter has pooled all their resources to provide their champion with equipment that stops just short of the threshold of the limits placed by tournament rules. It would have been amusing if Kishiro worked in the metaphor of the fighter who cuts weight to outsize their opponent, but its just as fun to see rage-aholic Sechs battling the equivalent of an internet troll meets apparatchik. Lt Commander Chernov 727 rolls out in his battle sphere "at 500 metric tons and 50 meters in diameter, it's exactly under the regulation limit!" "Polymer capture: a high speed steam projection that instantaneously recrystalizes into a cube! A technology already in widespread use, this 'smart polymer can be recovered and recycled... so it isn't counted as 'ammo!'" "Since artificial intelligence guidance is banned, we have to use another approach! Metallic helium warheads should do the job! 'Ecological carpet-bombing' - that's our green friendly national policy!" Though Last Order isn't much of a character work, it certainly does know how to pull strings to establish who to cheer for and against in its fights.

New and Upcoming in North America

Sci-Fi Japan spoke to Quentin Tarantino about Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair "I need to do one thing with it, though," Tarantino said. "I'm not going to monkey around with the movie itself, but we've actually done a whole new section for the anime as the last thing [we added]. I actually wrote a much longer script for the anime section during O-Ren's revenge chapter. Remember the guy with the long hair that kills her father? It's like, what happened to that dude? Well, I wrote it and it was the biggest, most elaborate thing I wrote—her taking him down." Tarantino said this material wasn't a separate story, but something always intended for the film—until other narratives took over, anyway. "This was when I thought Kill Bill was going to be one movie," he revealed. "So already I thought a 20-minute anime scene may be not the wisest move. So we didn't have them do it, so they were relieved they didn't have to do it because it was so big. [But] I actually showed it to Harvey Weinstein; I had the whole script written out shot for shot what it would be, so [I said], 'Harvey, this literally would make it complete. This is everything I came up with and wrote when I wrote it.' So Production IG just did it, and I just need to work with them a little bit and go over it with them—and I'll do that once this is officially behind me."
Posters for Imagi's Gatchaman adaptation Bandai Entertainment Robert's Anime Corner Stores notes that October Bandai releases include Code Geass Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 DVD Bundle #2 (DVD #3-4) Code Geass Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 DVD Bundle #2 (Limited Edition) My-Otome Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-26) (Anime Legends) Toward the Terra Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Anime Legends) Vision of Escaflowne Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Re-Release) (Super Legends) Schedule moves include Sola Complete Collection DVD Boxed Set (Eps #1-13 + 2 OVA's) (Anime Legends) - Aug 18th to Sep 15th Vision of Escaflowne, the Movie DVD (BluRay) - Sep 1st to Oct 20th Hayate the Combat Butler DVD Bundle #2 (2 Disks) (Eps #8-14) - Sep 1st to Sep 15th Mill Creek Enrtertainment Via Justice ACE FUNimation parent company Navarre recently shutdown their BCI label, which has released tokusatsu series like Red Baron, Iron King, and Ultraman. Now, Mill Creek Entertainment is releasing Ultraman: The Complete Series on September 26th for $14.98 No Starch Press This month, No Starch is releasing fith Manga Guide - The Manga Guide to Calculus (No Starch Press, August 2009, 256 pp, ISBN 9781593271947)
Noriko is just getting started as a junior reporter for the Asagake Times. She'll get her chance at journalistic fame and glory, but she'll only succeed with some mathematical guidance from Mr. Seki, her overbearing and analytical boss. In The Manga Guide to Calculus, readers learn how to: Use differentiation to understand a function's rate of change Apply the fundamental theorem of calculus, and grasp the relationship between a function's derivative and its integral Integrate and differentiate trigonometric and other complicated functions Use multivariate calculus and partial differentiation to deal with tricky functions Use Taylor Expansions to accurately imitate difficult functions with polynomials Calculus doesn't have to be difficult or dull. The Manga Guide to Calculus gives readers an entertaining and thorough introduction to this indispensable discipline. preview here Sony Sci-Fi Japan has previewed Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's release of ICONS OF SCI-FI: TOHO COLLECTION, a three-disc DVD set containing THE H-MAN (1958), BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (1959), and MOTHRA (1961). Tokyopop Via ICV2 Rescheduled releases include V.B. Rose volume 6 - September 29, 2009 Aria Vol. 5 - November 3, 2009 Fruits Basket Ultimate Edition Vol. 4 - January 5, 2010 Tactics volume 8 - May 1, 2010 Chibi Vampire novel 6 - April 6, 2010 Trinity Blood volume 3 - November 3, 2009 notes that Tokyopop has made a statement about their paper quality "Among other things, you had asked about our paper, and I mentioned we’ve been exploring our paper options since we made the change in March. When we did switch a few months ago to the current paper, we were still investigating other paper options to improve its quality with our main printer." "To cut a long story short, our printer has now found a mill in the U.S. that will produce the equivalent of our 50-lb paper -- that is, paper that is nearly identical in quality to what we used before we made the switch this past March. Books that will go on sale in October will have this new paper as well as all our reprints from now on." More work by Chinese artist Benjamin (Orange) is planned for release next year Viz Media Viz has debuted Karuho Shiina’s celebrated romantic shojo manga (graphic novels for girls) series KIMI NI TODOKE: FROM ME TO YOU. The new series, published under VIZ Media’s SHOJO BEAT imprint, is rated ‘T’ for Teens and carries an MSRP of $8.99 U.S. / $10.50 CAN. Bonus stickers are also included in limited quantities of Volume 1. Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine – for a horror movie! With her jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor, she’s often mistaken for the haunting movie character Sadako. But behind her scary façade is a very misunderstood teenager. Too shy to fit in, all she wants to do is make some friends. But when the most popular boy in class befriends her, she's sure to make more than just that – and she's about to make some enemies too!
Viz also launched BLACK BIRD, a brand new shojo manga (graphic novels for girls) series by Kanoko Sakurakoji. BLACK BIRD is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and will carry an MSRP of $8.99 U.S. / $10.50 CAN.
There is a world of myth and magic that intersects ours, and only a special few can see it. Misao Harada is one such person, but she wants nothing to do with magical realms and just wants to have a normal high school life and maybe get a boyfriend. But all that changes one day when Misao is attacked by a demon. Her childhood friend Kyo suddenly returns to save her and tends to her cuts – with his tongue! It turns out Misao is the bride of prophecy, whose blood gives power to the demon clan who claims her. But most demons want to keep her power for themselves – by eating her! Now Misao is just trying to stay alive and trying to decide if she likes it when Kyo licks her wounds.
OOKU: THE INNER CHAMBERS, Fumi Yoshinaga’s historical manga epic set in an alternate version of Edo-era Japan. OOKU which will be released under the company’s VIZ Signature imprint on August 8th, is rated ‘M’ for Mature Audiences and will carry an MSRP of $12.95 U.S. / $15.00 CAN. In Edo period Japan (1603 to 1868), a strange new disease called the Redface Pox has begun to prey on the country’s men. Within eighty years of the first outbreak, the male population has fallen to a quarter of the total female population. Women have taken on all the roles traditionally granted to men, even that of the Shogun. The men, precious providers of life, are carefully protected and the most beautiful of the men are sent to serve in the Shogun’s Inner Chambers. Fumi Yoshinaga is a Tokyo-born manga creator who debuted in 1994 with THE MOON AND THE SANDALS. Her series OOKU: THE INNER CHAMBERS has received numerous prestigious awards, including the 2009 Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize and the 2006 Japan Media Arts Festival Excellence Award. Fumi Yoshinaga was also nominated in the United States in 2008 for the Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist.

Upcoming in Japan

Anime “politics x mahjong ” The Legend of Koizumi will be adapted into anime. Hideki Ohwada's comedy parodies international politics with former prime minister Koizumi and other world leader playing mahjong Studio Deen and the voice cast of the 2005 anime TV series will be back for the Fate/Stay Night movie Via Anime News Network Satelight, Hal Film Maker, and JM Animation studios are producing an Anyamaru Tantei Kiruminzuu anime series for an October television premiere. Shoji Kawamori (Macross, Escaflowne, Basquash!) and the three studios reportedly conceived of the project. Soichi Masui (Scrapped Princess) will be directing the anime. Sumie Aizawa (Kemeko-DX episode animation director) is on board with character design characters. Yosuke Yuki and Eriko Matsuda (Itazura na Kiss scriptwriter) are supervising the scripts. The "heartwarming comedy" follows cute sisters Riko, Rimu and Nagisa Mikogami who wear costumes that allow them turn into real animals
The remastered Dragon Ball Kai will feature voice actresses Aya Hirano (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) and Satomi Satou (K-ON!) as the Namekian alien brothers Dende and Cargo. Darker Than Black: Ryusei no Gemini teaser and promo
A new One Piece Film Strong World trailer Misc Via ANN The primary voice cast for Shonen Jump supernatural action adaptation Yu Yu Hakusho with return for a Picture Drama (stills with audio) packaged with Yu Yu Hakusho Blu-ray Box will ship on October 27

Ponyo, Miyazaki and Ghibli

Hayao Miyazaki in conversation with Roland Kelts SF Gate talked to Miyazaki Wall Street Journal on Miyazaki and Ponyo NY Daily News on Miyazaki's "old fashion" approach to animating LA Times on Miyazakis work Filmwell considers the Next Miyazaki? Tim Maughan has confirmed that Ponyo will be released in UK cinemas on February 5th 2010. The DVD will be released in mid June 2010. Whether or not it will be released on Blu-ray is yet to be confirmed. Also, Tim Maughan on early Miyazaki work Panda! Go Panda! Ogiue Maniax on the World Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Anne of Green Gables

Cool Figures

plenty of nice Wonderfest figures including slightly too cute Moribito Balsa wow, Gasaraki's Miharu (Gasaraki was a very dry, very Japanese post-Evangelion mecha series)
and plenty of Yotsuba here here here here here
More here Brave Gokin Gordian & Reissued 1/60 VF-1A, VF-1J GN-U "Do" VF-1S Roy Focker's Unit & Others - shown at figurine producer company exhibition held in Akihabara. 1/100 Fei-yen & Macross large guntank images Gunpla (past Gundam models) at Animation-Comic-Game Hong Kong (ACGHK) 2009 Figurine Producer Company Exhibition at Akihabara Part 1 Getter Amrageddon Series - Superobo Project Series 5 by Rotobox
Cat Shit One figures and more from WonderFest

Sailor Moon's Return

Moon Chase has been collections indications that Toei is relaxing their vice grip on Sailor Moon. It will be returning to Japanese TV with ANIMAX will be airing the 200 episode series from Monday to Friday at 4:00 starting in September. The Toei Channel will also air the three movies (R, S, and SS), Make-up Sailor Senshi and Ami's First Love afterwards, in a marathon at 10:00 AM on September 5th There are also rumors that rights have been unblocked for Italy, with the series returning to the territory in 2010.

Anime x Games

Anime style digital collectable card game Alteil has launched a new engine. New features include
-Single Player Mode -Duel Spectators -New Avatar System -New Website -New Rulebook -Demo Mode
Super Robot Wars Neo trailer and a compilation of the new source anime
Ahead of Tatsunoko vs Capcom, the official blog introduces Yatterman No. 1 and Saki
Young Kakashi will be a bonus character in fighting game Naruto Shippuden: Narultimate Accel 3
Jostiq reports Namco Bandai posted a ¥2.85 billion ($30 million) loss in its first fiscal quarter this year, compared to a ¥1 billion profit during the same quarter last year. One of the few bright spots was Afro Samurai, which managed to move 412,000 units.
Halo: Legends posters 1Up quotes Halo Legends creative director Shinji Aramaki's (Appleseed CG movies) Famitsu interview saying that he would not have been involved with the project had his wife not been a XBox 360 fan. "I've always been a fan of video games, and my wife told me that Halo 3 is the best game on the 360," Aramaki said. "I just sort of got addicted after that. It's a very intricate world. It's hard to do such an epic story in movie form these days, but it's easy to get into it as a game. There's just enough humor in it, too. It's a great piece of pure entertainment."

Event News

Patrick Macias (Otaku USA EIC) talks up this weekend's grand opening of San Franciso's Japanese media destination New People Yuichi Yokoyama (Travel will be conducting an interactive painting performance at the corner of Post and Buchanan in San Francisco's Japantown. The show starts on August 15th at noon, as a part of the J-POP SUMMIT
Fantastic Fest is presenting a special free screening of EVANGELION: 1.0 YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE next Sunday, 8/16 at the Alamo Drafthouse Village in Austin. It'll be the original Japanese-language version with English subtitles, presented in digital HD projection with thanks to Funimation and Omega Broadcast Group. EVANGELION: 1.0 YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE is the first of a planned tetralogy retelling of seminal 90's metaphysical giant robot anime Neon Genesis Evangelion.
New York-Tokyo announced ANA Presents Nippon Eiga Series Part 19 that the NY premiere of Detroit Metal City will screen Thurs., Aug. 20 - Doors open 6:15pm - Film starts 7:00pm at the The ImaginAsian, 239 East 59th Street (Bet. 2nd & 3rd Ave.), NYC
Souichi Negishi is a conservative and pure-minded boy, who came to Tokyo from the country in Japan with a dream of becoming a fancy pop-song musician. He writes a song “Raspberry Kiss“ to send to a music label, however, by a mere accident, he is forced to make a debut as the member of the satanic Death metal band “Detroit Metal City” (DMC), whose trademark is an eccentric make-up and destructive performance. Despite of Souichi’s hope of becoming a lovely pop musician, DMC’s debut single “SATSUGAI - genocide” (which used to be “Raspberry Kiss” before arranged by the madly strange music label’s owner) achieves explosive sales, and Johannes Krauser II bounces up to the position of charisma in the Japanese Death Metal music scene. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Ms. Aikawa, who loves cute outfit and French pop songs, does not know the fact that Souichi becomes Johannes Krauser II. Therefore, Souichi has to live with the extreme caution to keep this biggest secret not to disappoint her. After its sensational debut, DMC continues to build up “legends” as a Death Metal band – defeating a rival band on stage and messed up the live show of the No. 1 Japanese HIP-HOP artist, to name a few. Souichi always, in all of the cases, first tries to act nicely but presses all the wrong buttons to end up in creating the image of furious Johannes Krauser II. One day, when DMC is totally recognized as an up-and- coming Death Metal band throughout the country, Souichi has received unexpected news. The legendary Metal artist, Jack IL Dark, starts his world tour and DMC is named to perform on his stage in Japan. The members of DMC and the fans are thrilled to hear the news, but it gives Souichi (chicken-hearted) a shudder•••
Aniplex will be holding a special screening of “CENCOROLL” at the New York Anime Festival, at the Jacob K Javits Convention Center September 25 – 27. “CENCOROLL” animation has been done by only one creator, an award-winning creator/manga artist, ATSUYA UKI. Overwhelmed by requests from fans who watched UKI’s pilot movie uploaded in the Japanese UGC site in 2007, UKI decided to complete the 30-minute-movie which is about to appear at theaters in Japan in August 22, 2009. Music has been created by ryo (supercell) who is also an UGC fame and one of the top young music creators in Japan. Story A huge monster suddenly appears on the top of a building in an ordinary provincial town. The local Defense Forces go into action, and the people of the town are in uproar. A young girl Yuki, happens to know the secret is that Tetsu keeps a strange creature called Cenco. Yuki, being brave-hearted and naturally inquisitive, becomes fascinated by Tetsu and his unusual pet, Cenco. A mysterious boy – who has control over the huge monster threatening the town – then appears and an unexpected battle begins. Who do they fight for? Who are they? By getting involved with a battle, how is Yuki’s fate going to be?
Upcoming NYCFF screenings will include "AZUR & ASMAR" - SPECIAL WEEKEND MATINEE ENGAGEMENT SAT & SUN, AUG 15 & 16, 10AM - IFC CENTER
Trouble at Timpetill (Les Enfants de Timplebach), a Roald Dahl-flavored spin on The Lord of the Flies set in a lavishly designed fantasy world reminiscent of the films of Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. The children of the rustic village of Timpetill are unmanageable: they play pranks, destroy shops, get into fights, and are generally dismissive of adult authority... until one morning, the kids wake up to discover that their parents have abandoned the town and left them to run things on their own. After a brief binge of freedom, in which the anarchic youth trash the school and overdose on candy, toys, makeup, and motorcycles, the food runs out and the chaos takes on a more sinister tone, with the kids splitting into rival factions to battle for control the town's scarce resources. tickets can be purchased here
Anime Weekend Atlanta announced another round of guests for its 15th annual convention on September 18-20, 2009, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Newly announced guests include YASUHIRO IMAGAWA (director of Giant Robo, Shin Mazinger Shogeki Z-Hen, Tetsujin-28, Z Gundam, Dunbine, G Gundam, Xabungle),TSUYOSHI NONAKA (D.I.C.E., Shin Mazinger Shogeki Z-Hen) HELEN McCARTHY( Author, The Art of Osamu Tezuka, God of Manga ) RIKKI AND TAVI SIMONS (Shutterbox, Invader ZIM) SAMANTHA INOUE HARTE (Wedding Peach, Ninja Resurrection, Sakura Wars) musical guests OMODAKA PEELANDER-Z! Other AWA guests include TROY BAKER (Full Metal Alchemist, Trinity Blood) CAITLIN GLASS (Shin-chan, Baccano!, One Piece, Gunslinger Girl) VIC MIGNOGNA (Full Metal Alchemist, Macross, Dragonball Z, Saiyuki) AMY HOWARD WILSON (Star Blazers, Irresponsible Captain Tylor) MISAKO ROCKS! (Savage Love) JENNIE BREEDEN (The Devil's Panties) ROBERT AND EMILY DEJESUS (Studio Capsule) CAMILLA d'ERRICO (Burn, Tanpopo) CARL GUSTAV HORN (Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Evangelion, Oh My Goddess, Ghost In The Shell) NEIL NADELMAN (Gundam, Macross, Utena, Code Geass, Slayers, Fist Of The North Star) JONATHAN TARBOX (Raijin Comics, CMX Manga) DAVID WILLIAMS (ADV Films). (I saw Imagawa at Anime Boston. He was one of the rare Japanese anime figures to speak freely about the industry and was one of the most interesting I've had the privilage to hear. It's worth attending a convention just to hear him.)
Pop Japan Travel announced The Tokyo Game Show Tour 2009 with a trip to Japan's major video game expo September 23rd through October 1st
The Tokyo Game Show tour is $1998, tax and fuel included
New NFB animation will be shown at the 34th Toronto International Film Festival (September 10 -19) Runaway Cordell Barker’s Runaway, debuting in North America at the Festival, is the director’s third film with the NFB. His The Cat Came Back (1988) and Strange Invaders (2001) were madcap, brilliantly rendered cartoons that won 30 international awards and received Academy Award nominations. In his prescient new short, Barker asks what would happen if the world were a driverless train thundering recklessly over bumpy tracks? Driving the film’s vertiginous plunge toward disaster is music by Benoît Charest, whose score for The Triplets of Belleville, contributed to the animation feature’s popularity. Runaway was produced in Winnipeg by Derek Mazur for the NFB. Vive la Rose Bruce Alcock’s Vive la Rose, debuting in Toronto at the Festival, visualizes a plaintive song about lost love. When illness takes the woman he loves, a simple man sings to her in a last farewell. Coproduced by the NFB and Global Mechanic, Alcock’s film is based on a version of the 18th century song by the late Newfoundland musician, Émile Benoit. Anchored in a beautiful corner of the province, Vive la Rose uses an innovative, triptych structure as it pays homage to its land, sea and the harsh lives of the local fishermen. Vive la Rose was produced by Global Mechanic’s Tina Ouellette and the NFB’s Annette Clarke and Michael Fukushima. . The Spine Chris Landreth’s The Spine expands on the unique, emotionally powerful techniques the filmmaker developed for Ryan (2004), his Academy Award-winning depiction of fallen NFB animator Ryan Larkin.Produced by the NFB in association with Copperheart Animation and C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures, and with the creative participation of Autodesk Canada CO. and Seneca College School of Communications Arts, Landreth’s latest is a twisted, beautiful and highly original look at a man and a woman trapped in a spiral of mutual destruction after 26 years of marriage. The NFB’s Marcy Page produced this poignant story of redemption with Copperheart’s Steve Hoban and Mark Smith, the team that collaborated with Landreth on Ryan.
Eisner Award winner Nina "Space Coyote" Matsumoto's San Diego Comic Con report The Beat looks to rethink the Hollywood invasion of SDCC Akibanana's World Cosplay Summit report Otaku USA looks the US tour of Fujiko-chan

And the Award Goes To...

MangaBlog's Brigid Alverson has been named a judge in the Lulu Awards - "The Lulu Awards are given every year to the creators who have fostered the success of women in the industry (or enjoyed their own), to publications that displayed literary excellence, and to people and projects that helped to open eyes and minds to the amazing comic and cartooning work by women." Other judges include: Jennifer Babcock – comic book historian and creator Abby Denson – writer, cartoonist, and teacher Cheryl Lynn Eaton – blogger and writer Chris Eberle – comics retailer Karen Green – academic librarian and columnist Robert Randle – purchasing assistant manager, Diamond Distributors
Gundam co-creator Yoshiyuki Tomino and Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko) were recognized with an Honorfic Leopard at the 62nd Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland. A number of Takahata's films Horus, Prince of the Sun, Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko, and My Neighbors the Yamadas - and Hayao Miyazaki Nausicaa, Sprited Away were shown at the festival.

The Business

Paid Content reports that children media company 4Kids Entertainment is looking to put itself on sale, is currently going through a selective bidding process, and speaking to a few interested parties, The company is known to anime fans for its work localizing Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh. Other franchises managed in recent years include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Cabbage Patch Kids. The company went through a 15 percent staff reduction last year to cut costs. Its revenues dropped to $10.5 million for Q109, compared to $15 million in Q108.
ICV2 spoke to Viz Media Vice President of Sales and Marketing Gonzalo Ferreyra about their handling of Naruto and One Piece Viz Media Director of Home Entertainment Sales Brian Ige about how close their release of Naruto will be to the Japanese airing
ComicMix posted a report on Imagi's SDCC Astro Boy panel with a nearly publicity photo from the movie Imagi sent a cease and desist The matter was resolved, sort of
-Square Enix Co., Ltd.’s (Square Enix) copyright infringement lawsuit against Korean entertainment production company Fantom Entertainment Group (Fantom) and music video producer Hong Jeong-ho resulted in a damage award of 300 Million Korean Won (approx. US$244,000) to Square Enix at the conclusion of the trial in March 2008. Following an appeal lodged by the defendants, on July 3, 2009, the Seoul High Court ruled that Fantom and Hong Jeong-ho should pay 400 Million Korean Won (approx. US$326,000) to Square Enix. In light of this development, Mr. Yasuhiko Hasegawa, Square Enix's General Counsel: “We have been consistent in our claims during this lawsuit regarding the value of FINAL FANTASY VII ADVENT CHILDREN and our FINAL FANTASY series, as well as the damages the company has suffered as a result of the modification and adaptation made without obtaining permission. The initial amount awarded in this case, 300 Million Korean Won, was the largest the courts in South Korea have ever awarded in cases infringing one single work of art, and having this figure increased to 400 Million Korean Won following an appeal by the defendants is further affirmation of the severity of this copyright infringement as well as the recognition and value the FINAL FANTASY series has attained in South Korea. Square Enix will continue to take decisive action against any infringements upon our intellectual property, recognizing that this property is one of our most crucial resources.”
Helen McCarthy on the manga market, and specifically the BL market in Europe via Allons Gai: Be-Boy Magazine In French

Digital Distrobution

via ADV Nation Anime Network's Cable and Satellite VOD as well as the Anime Network Online Player has launched Revolutionary Girl Utena, Go Nagai's Demon Lord Dante, and Daphne in Brilliant Blue The player is also now available in the UK In honor of National Lazy Day, Anime Network is offering free premiere content beginning at midnight CDT Sunday and ending at 11:59 PM CDT Monday, August 10.
New Tai Seng Entertainment martial arts streaming on Crunchyoll include The Invincible Kung Fu Trio Killer From Above The Legend Of Bruce Lee Challenge Of Death
4Kids has posted the uncut Yu-Gi-Oh episodes 13 and 14 on YouTube
Uchujin no Yurei no Kan - episode 1
Regarding Viz's posting of alt manga on their Ikki site Video: IKKI at Comic-Con Deb Aoki talks to editor Hideki Egami Eastern Standard surveys the offering IKKI Trailer Music by Fujiko-chan Japanese props (in the original Ikki) for the US launch Look at another Viz site venture Manga Critic live blogs the Shonen Sunday site

Worth Checking Out

Insight Manga and Minimalism: The Shared Visions of Yoshihiro Tatsumi and Raymond Carver The SF Chronicle on the Pokemon Generation growing up, including talk with Viz founder Seiji Horibuchi Roland Kelts on the long awaited Speedline Ishii was immediately drawn to Koike's distinctive style and skills, which he describes as a next-generation cross between the action-oriented bravura of Yoshinori Kanada (who worked on many Studio Ghibli films), and the meticulous design and artistry of Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll). Daily Yomiuri on the translation of Hiroshima manga Barefoot Gen Mark Schilling on Mamoru Hosoda's (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) Summer Wars AniPages Daily on Crusher Joe Takizawa's directing does a great job of making both OVAs tremendously fun and exciting. Things start out slowly, but build up in both episodes to exciting climaxes that have a cinematic flow and intensity equaled only by Tomino, but more logical and restrained, without the quirkiness and histrionics. Takashi Murakami: A Retrospective Heralded as the ‘Andy Warhol’ of Japan, Takashi Murakami has made a name for himself by flooring audiences worldwide with his sculpture, paintings and prints, videos and even handbags. Taking the lowbrow and marrying the concepts with art has never been more lucrative and in demand. However, there is more to this artist than big-ticket luxury goods and mouse pads. Tokyopop editor Jake Forbes on Dark Horse's upcoming releases of CLAMP omnibuses - re-collecting manga once released by Tokyopop Normally, omnibus collections aren’t terribly exciting news as basically they’re just repackaged old material. What makes these volumes different is that they (like Clover before them) are coming from a new publisher. That means all of the translations, lettering and design will be totally redone. It’s Clamp Tabula Rasa. For 90% of readers, this fact is probably irrelevant, but for serious otaku, it’s a significant change, which will largely be for the better. These new books are reported to have Carl Horn on them, and he’s probably the most perfectionist editor in the manga business who will ensure the very best reproduction and translation. Tokyopop, on the other hand, has a shaky track record on both fronts, and these books came from the early days of the “manga boom” when the company was still refining its scanning and printing techniques. With Chobits in particular, there are tons of moirés turning the grey tones into plaid, and some pages that are downright blurry when held up to the Japanese editions. The font used for lettering has terrible kerning issues, giving the illusion of spaces in the middle of some words. A newly “remastered” edition is overdue for these wonderful series. And yet… seeing this news, I feel as if some of the best years of my manga career are being
Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus