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AICN Anime - A Sci-Fi Survey with 7 Billion Needles, Twin Spica, Saturn Apartments & Gantz, Plus VAMP Concert Ticket Give-Away

Logo handmade by Bannister Column by Scott Green

Wanna Win a VAMP Concert Ticket?

Courtesy of New York-Tokyo, AICN Anime has two tickets for October 9th, New York concert by Japanese rock duo VAMP (L'Arc-en-Ciel's Hyde L'Arc-en-Ciel and Oblivion Dust's K.A.Z). If you're interested in one, send an e-mail to with the subject "VAMP" by end of October 3rd.
VAMP's upcoming tour dates include October 1 - Avalon Hollywood, Los Angeles, U.S.A. October 3 - Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, U.S.A. October 9 - Roseland Ballroom, New York, U.S.A. October 12 - SALA APOLO, Barcelona, Spain October 16 - Espace La Grande Arche, Paris, France October 23-24 - INTL. Gymnastics Center, Shanghai, China November 6 - Teatro Caupolican, Santiago, Chile

Manga Spotlight: Twin Spica Volume 3 by Kou Yaginuma Released by Vertical

Volume three of Twin Spica dances with formula, both the patterns it sets up itself and the patterns of its type of story. It steps towards what is expected of it. It steps away, and it steps back towards. Author Kou Yaginuma's talent comes through in affecting moments, and the potential for what this dance is establishing is intriguing. However, without the impact of what came before it and what might come after, volume three itself doesn't catch the manga on one of its more sure-footed moments. In 2010, Japan's first manned space craft, the Lion, crashes into the city of Yuigahama. Though one of its victims is Asumi Kamogawa's mother, the small girl grows up with the aim of being a "rocket driver." Towards that end, she manages to overcome physical and finical hurtles to make it into the program set up to train a new generation of astronauts and space scientists. At least in the manga's early going, its appeal seems build on its presentation of a small, sympathetic girl with the big, significant dream. Despite its cute simplicity and what could be thought of has pan age/gender appeal, it is worth acknowledging that Twin Spica was written for the older-male audience reading the anthology in which it was serialized, Comic Flapper. What it offers that audience is a counterpoint. They may be slogging their way through school or work, and might question the purpose of that effort, but here's a wide-eyed dreamer laboring towards a ride into space, something anyone can acknowledge as big. Though it’s more near future and hard sci-fi-ish than most, Twin Spica isn't blazing a trail into untread ground with its girl in space academy premise. The setting works well with the pursuits that drive many manga stories. In volume three, the overlap looks less superficial that it previously had. The running away, the gathering of a cadre of students, and the revelation of their secret pains that moves this volume are familiar steps. In its own domain, Twin Spica has waltzed back a bit. Asumi's entrance into the space academy didn't rework her relationship with her lion masked astronaut ghost mentor as much as it appeared to have in the last volume. Furthermore, the manga has increased its establishment of how the parameters of Asumi's world were defined by the Lion tragedy such that it’s not longer just an emotional background. Movement along these patterns does not signify that Twin Spica has become predictable. Some of its developments in volume three were what might be expected, while others went against expectations. What they have done is recast the manga. Where once it seem built around Asumi and her dreams, it now seems less strictly concerned with those hopes. I thought that the appeal of Twin Spica, at least to the Comic Flapper reader, was the opportunity to get caught up in the little Asumi's big dreams. With newly broadened attention to the hopes and pains of others, the way that Twin Spica has filled in its context has defused that presumed appeal. With these shifts, Twin Spica has lost some of its center of gravity. Vertical commented to the effect that the manga is particularly tightly plotted. However, if it is going to become plot driven, it certainly hasn't yet. With some revelations, but not a lot of resolution, the manga isn't teasing something big. Kou Yaginuma has done more to develop faith that the manga is going somewhere than intrigue or anticipation to see where exactly it is going. There's a scene in the volume in which Asumi's lion masked ghost astronaut guide is confronted with what might have been had he not died in a rocket crash. His face is hidden by an amusement park mascot-like head piece, so you don't see his expression. In the from the knees upward angle panel illustration, you do see a bit of chin, and that small reminder of his humanity is powerful. The subtly is quickly blown, because turn a page and you see the outline of his face under the mask as he weeps, but that initial panel stands as an indication of how Yaginuma can get to Twin Spica's readers. It's been a while since I've read any non-manga school based stories. Still, from what I recall of them, the affecting scenes in Twin Spica measure up well against the prose classics. The best bits of scholastic friction in Twin Spica rank with Chocolate Wars, but it does have some potent resonance. There is definitely an ends in mind... getting to space. In this volume, Kou Yaginuma's talent and that goal aren't aligned. Fine, if it’s building needed context, but in volume three, Twin Spica lacks the clarity that makes the series compelling. Asumi needs to drive Twin Spica and not just be a point in a constellation of dreams chased and lost.

Manga Spotlight: Gantz Volumes 11 and 12 by Hiroya Oku Released by Dark Horse

The "expect the unexpected" cliche holds true for Gantz, so maybe the manga is going to submerge itself into some conceptual sci-fi exploration at some point in the future. That said, I'd bet against it. I think it's safe to assume that the science fiction of Gantz is a conceit that allows for its projection of shooting based video game action into urban environments. That the scant explanations were nebulous, arbitrary or unfair fed the manga's reflection of its unhappy teen lead's attitude. Early Gantz looked like it would be commenting on its teen lead's narcissistic sense of entitlement as it brutally sent up the notion of fulfilling the reader proxy's wishes. Abandonment of this commentary is a function of how the manga has developed. Gantz is like a person who says some provocative things after a few drinks. At that point, I thought that Gantz may have had something interesting to say. And, if someone found it distasteful, I would have suggested that they stick with it and see where it went with that provocation. But, then Gantz continued to pound and proceeds to get spectacularly messy drunk. In volume 11, it walks into its new, blue season fully inebriated. It's now stained by its divisiveness such that a guiding suggestion has become easy to formulate. If watching screaming violence is to your liking, hang on. If it isn't, stay away. Exemplifying where Gantz has gone, volume 11 features a jaw dropping racially charged development. Skip the next paragraph if you'd like to avoid spoilers. Gantz frequently relies on sideswiping its reader, so it is a manga particularly effected by knowing what's going to happen. That said, this is a particularly revealing set piece in the manga. Gantz's hero Kei Kurono thinks himself better than the dull population around him, but though he occasionally shows promise, he's a typical malcontent teen. In contrast, new rival Shion Izumi, is handsome, magnetic and accomplished at everything. Dissatisfied with mundane accolades, Izumi wants in on the savage goings-on that have turned Kurono's life into a mortally threatening video game. To be topical, you know how in the Boston Tea Party the protesters dressed up as Native American's before dumping the tea? Well, tall athletic Izumi wanted some attention, so he put on black face, packed an arsenal of guns and shot up Shinjuku. Gantz aims to be charged, and I get the impression that the way the shoot out was staged as slightly naughty from a Japanese perspective. It's pretty inflammatory from an American one. If Gantz were a person, more than an adolescent yelling the racial epithets on video game voice chat, I imagine its antisocial defense would be along the lines of "I'm not racist, I hate everybody." In its blue phase (named for the cover motif) Gantz dials up its trangressiness, pasting itself with exploitation. The semi-dress women in the pin-up shots employed as chapter title pages are now naked, featuring the likes of a woman who is pretty much Lupin III's lust interest Fujiko Mine (whose name is a Bond-ish pun on her mountainous chess) appearing wearing only the latex gloves with which she grasps a sci-fi pistol. It's not that I find Gantz's political incorrectness appealing. When I'm feeling charitable I chalk the offensiveness up to the product of the damn the torpedoes approach that sees the manga drunkenly throwing punches every which way. I'm aware that I'm amorally leaning towards a bit of sensationalism in my appreciation of Gantz. Wrong headedness in genres that I don't like or toward which I am indifferent can drive me up the wall, and I might have expressed some righteous indignation if I didn't find Gantz entertaining. If Gantz were only getting more indefensibly offensive, I'd be inclined to write it off. But, the manga's action has hit a similar drunken pitch. As it's moved away from the earlier apparent genre/power fantasy commentary, its largely stopped drafting conventional demographic slices into its alien hunts. By volume 12, it has begun engaging in fight booking along the lines of introducing a colorful human combatant, setting them up to fight some soon to be unveiled monstrosity. There's intelligent, violent Izumi; there's a guy who is basically Ryu from Street Fighter; there's a pair of psychics who developed their powers to kill the people brutally bullying them. And in this outing, that crew deals the most dazzling dinosaur smackdown since the lizard-man MMA match in the opening episode of Neo Getter Robo vs Shin Getter Robo. As a fan of sensational action, all is more than forgiven when Izumi takes a sword and stares down a bipedal triceratops or psuedo-Ryu calmly side steps a velociraptor, gets it to the ground and throat punches it. That's championship grade action manga material there.

Manga Spotlight: Saturn Apartments by Hisae Iwaoka Released by VIZ Media

Serialized online at Before creating Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo worked on the psychic horror Domo: A Child's Dream, in which a young girl with telekinetic powers faced off against an old man whose mind deteriorated into a child-like state. What complemented the deranged threat to make the manga chilling was its sprawling "rabbit hutch" apartment complex setting. Every scene was claustrophobically framed by the concrete and windows of the housing project. Neighbors were everywhere in the tightly wound social ecology. Not a traditional haunted house, and not simply a place to live, the apartment complex had its own imposing presence. Minus the psychics, Saturn Apartments imagines this has a future for our species. In order to allow Earth's environment to recover, humanity has emigrated to an artificial satellite orbiting 35 kilometers above the planet's surface. It's tellingly described as an "apartment complex" that residents are born in and never leave. Organized by social order, the cylindrical environment is class stratified, with the working class living at the bottom, the upper class living at the top and the middle as public space, used for functions like schools (which do require tuition). Mitsu's mother died shortly after his birth. His father died on the job, working as a window washer. Encased in a protective suit, scrubbing the satellite apartments; exterior, Mitsu figures that his father became transfixed looking at the Earth below, cut his tether and gave up. Still, upon graduating middle school, Mitsu follows in his lost father's footsteps, taking work as a window cleaner. To place Saturn Apartments in the constellation of working-person sci-fi manga released in North America... compared to Sebastian Junger-ish Planetes, about a crew employed removing orbital debris, Saturn's muted view of the science and especially the personalities contrasts with Planetes' hot-head peppered cast. There is tension in Saturn Apartments, but even at its most pronounced, it's at some contemplative remove. At the other end of the spectrum, there's Aria, an almost pastoral about a girl who aspires to be a gondolier on a terraformed Mars. In the case of Aria, the calmness is the manga's raison d'être. With plenty of people looking after Mitsu, Aria and Saturn Apartments overlap in their sense of community. Both are concerned with work. Both are also more involved with living than struggle. Yet, Saturn is more concerned with working through reconciliation than the small pleasures that drive Aria. It might not be ostentatious, but Saturn Apartments’' residents are grappling with finding the meaning of their work. Though Saturn Apartments’' vision of the future is stylized, it isn't idealized. Mitsu is engage in dangerous, dirty work. He enters the occupation knowing that it could cost him his life, and winds up mostly trying to please the finicky well-to-do's on the upper levels of the complex. Though not the subject of consternation, the social stratification of Saturn Apartments is neither just nor is it a meritocracy. Defined by location and look, Saturn Apartments is quiet, low key, and most importantly, situated at a Small, sad remove from Earth. Creator Hisae Iwaoka is part of the superlfat art movement, with her “Tokyo Girls Bravo” exhibit curated by the much talked about pop artist Takashi Murakami. Superlat ideas about what lies beneath cute design inform Saturn Apartments. Iwaoka's child or dolls like characters are simple and charming, but still able to express complex sadness. The reaction provoked by this stylization is as significant to the manga has its views of the planet Earth filling the horizon from outside the colony. Speculation about how humans might relate to living in space has proven to be fertile ground for manga like Saturn Apartments. As much as the narrative explores the sentiments and lives of Saturn Apartments' residents, the way in which those people are illustrated speaks volumes.

Manga Spotlight: 7 Billion Needles Volume 1 by Nobuaki Tadano Released by Vertical, Inc

7 Billion Needles... maybe it was some failing that I didn't figure it out earlier, but once the title's meaning became evident, it became pretty brilliant. On a clear night, Hikaru Takabe, an orphaned teen girl with a 10,000 mile stare and headphones nearly constantly affixed to her ears, wanders out of her room on a stroll to the beach. As she wades into the water, the serenity is shattered when a meteorite miraculously changes course to collide with the girl, designating her body. Cut to a school room scene. Hikaru is staring out the window, occasionally giving the ticking clock a glance. She begins experiencing odd stimuli, making her sensory relationship with the world as strained as her social relationship. Then, she begins hearing voices, informing her that she died; that an alien with, well... alien biology, had to bond with her in order to preserve her life. But, Hiraku's symbiot isn't the only extraterrestrial that made its way to Earth. The other is more parasitic, using its host to kill, and kill until it wipes out the population around it, potentially causing mass extinction if left unchecked. Hiraku's alien frames the relationships in another way. Hikaru, must help the police officer alien Horizon locate and apprehend the criminal Maelstrom before the latter begins its assult on humanity. 7 Billion Needles is based on Golden Age hard sci-fi writer Hal Clement's 1950 novel Needle. That's no secret. It's printed on the back of the book. Saying that a work recalls a classic is another way of saying that it's premise is nothing new. Sci-fi from various traditions have had configurations like this one. In manga, there's Parasyte, about an alien spore that is supposed to bore into the brain of a teenager, but, because the target fell asleep with headphones on, wound up in his hand; and there's Birdy the Mighty, about a female, intergalactic police offer who accidentally kills a teenage boy when transporting to Earth, then revives him in such a way that they can swap bodies. Informed by Hal Clement's original, 7 Billion Needles has its own approach to the material. Reading the manga, I found myself not so much thinking about the other manga that it resembled as I was the novel. Despite significant differences from Clement's, knowing 7 Billion Needles was an adaptation infected me. The ways in which the manga plays with perception, senses, and connection with alien intelligence are the ways in which sci-fi writing is made interesting. I couldn't stop thinking about how it would work as prose. When Hikaru starts feeling disconnected to her body, or reacts to the grievous damage that bodies takes, I couldn't help but consider how Hikaru's experience would be related in prose. A few big spectacle shots started to cure me of that mental re-engineering. A bit of bleeding, a person bisected by a clawed kick, some shots of dinosaurs framed by lightning strikes, and I'm thinking more visual driven sci-fi media. My perception shifted again upon introduction of the turn that Hikaru needed to start talking to her classmates in order to ferrit out who was hosting Maelstrom. Teenage personal issues projected onto a sci-fi struggle.. that engagement with the lead's social avoidance finally slapped me into manga-thinking. This is a title from Comic Flapper, that specializes in collecting series that explore subject through female leads, written for male readers (Twin Spica, Translucent, Dance in the Vampire Bund). Describing 7 Billion Needles like this makes it sound like it was built from distinct elements. However, thinking back on what I read, those impressions merged. It blended novel-style concept driven sci-fi, movie style spectacle and manga style approach to teen concerns. And, that multi-media mix of qualities became 7 Billion Needles' own strength. On one hand, 7 Billion Needles' manga/science fiction formula is one with the potential to keep its audience mentally, viscerally and emotionally engaged. On the other, it doesn't manage that to the extent that the series becomes one of the more urgently involving that you'll read. Working with a spacey, distant lead can be tricky, but, the barrier really keeping 7 Billion Needles away from being a hit is that execution in matter such as its illustration are often only as good as they need to be. It becomes noticeable when panels in which nothing essential happens are rendered with inexact propositions. Still, even if you're unlikely to be marking the days until the next volume's release, the manga's first volume balances out to be grabbing enough. Especially considering that 7 Billion Needles wraps up in a relatively terse four volumes, few readers, regardless of whether they preferences are based in manga, sci-fi or more general, will be disappointed.

Event News

The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation announced Chair Marc Perez will be assuming interim CEO duties following CEO Michael Lattanzio "leaving on good terms to pursue other projects." The SPJA organizes North America largest anime convention, Anime Expo. Lattanzio had a divisive tenure that saw the resignation of the majority of the convention's volunteer division managers.
Giant monster wrestling troupe Kaiju Big Battel will be at New York's Warsaw on Friday, October 15th, 2010 as part of Royal Flush Magazine’s annual art, film and rock & roll festival. Be there as Brooklyn’s premiere music venue crumbles to the ground as Kaiju Big Battel Presents: Save the Kaiju! This telethon style "fundraiser" will be a night of space bug slams and city crushing action! All for a good cause. Join Kung Fu Chicken Noodle, Cycloptopuss, American Beetle, Metal Wing and Hell Monkey of Dr. Cube’s notorious posse as we celebrate the festivities of Royal Flush Fest 2010!
ALL AGES! 7pm Warsaw at the Polish National Home 261 Driggs Avenue, Greenpoint/Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY 11222 $18 in advance, $20 day of the show Tickets at Ticket Fly Royal Flush Festival
NYICFF will present a DVD release party for The Secret of Kells this weekend In English - Recommended ages 6 to adult Sat & Sun, Oct 2 & 3 - 11:00am - IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue (at West Third) New York Director Tomm Moore in Person Film, Director Q&A, and DVD signing Free DVDs for ALL families A full screening of the Academy Award nominated film will be followed by audience questions with the director and a DVD of the film for each family
Giant Robot is proud to host Fare Thee Well, a joint show featuring new work by Oakland- and San Francisco-based artists Deth P. Sun and Ferris Plock at the GR2 location. October 2 - November 3, 2010 Reception: Saturday, October 2, 6:30 - 10:00 p.m. GR2 2062 Sawtelle Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025
Deth P. Sun's acrylic paintings on panels bring epic landscapes and cosmic occurrences into a private and personal world. Influenced by David Attenborough, as well as the Moomin series and films of Terry Gilliam, Deth seeks to create a fantasy world as a reflection of his own experiences and worldview. It is a place where cold mountains loom under the stars, cloaked figures arrive with the night, and lone dreamers struggle--a place where hope and belief still shine in dark times. For Fare Thee Well, Sun is making about 100 or so paintings that will be joined by an overarching theme and a new color scheme. Ferris Plock's work is primarily character-based imagery that incorporates his passion for storytelling. Based on sketches, his artwork more often than not incorporates animals or monsters in everyday human conditions: going to work, dodging splashes from cars, walking their pets, or some other scenario involving the amazing creatures. Using acrylic, watercolor, spray paint, dip pens with India ink, gold or silver leaf, collage and stains on wood panels, canvas, and found objects, Ferris attempts to build suitable environments in which his subjects can comfortably reside. Plock is creating a new cartoon (Seafarers 3) for the opening and basing 21-28 hand-pulled silk screens on it for the show.
Bandai Entertainment announced their booth lineup for next week's New York Anime Festival/New York Comic Con, October 8-10, 2010 at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, New York ( Friday 2:15pm K-On! Mini-Concert with Cristina Vee (Mio from the English dub) and After School Tea Time perform live with surprise guest! (Variant Stage) 4:00pm Gundam Unicorn Autograph session with Stephanie Sheh (Audrey) and English Director Michael Sinterklaas (Bandai Booth #1605) 6:00pm Minori Chihara autograph session (This will be limited to 100 people. A ticket will be given out to the first 100 who purchase any Haruhi item from Bandai Booth beginning at 1pm. (Bandai Booth #1605) No pictures with guest will be allowed due to time constraints. 8:00pm The Dissappearance Of Haruhi Suzumiya in 35mm with English subtitles. New York Premiere introduced by Minori Chihara (Yuki), Stephanie Sheh (English ‘Mikuru’), and ASOS Brigade (Room 1E09) Saturday 11:00am Bandai Entertainment Industry Panel (Room 1E13) 12:30pm Voice Acting Panel with Minori Chihara, Stephanie Sheh, and Cristina Vee (1E09) 3:30pm Masahiko Minami (Bones Producer of Cowboy Bebop, Eureka Seven and many others) Autograph Session with Exclusive Poster giveaway (Bandai Booth #1605) 4:30pm K-ON! Performance with Cristina Vee and After School Tea TIME (Bandai Booth #1605) 4:30pm Gundam Unicorn Screening and Panel with Stephanie Sheh and Michael Sinterniklaas (1E09) 7:30pm Minori Chihara Live In Concert! (IGN Theater ) Sunday 10:00am Haruhi/ASOS Brigade Performance! (Bandai Booth #1605) 10:30Am Haruhi Autograph session with Stephanie Sheh (Mikuru) and ASOS Brigade (Bandai Booth #1605) 12:00pm K-On! Cosplay Gathering with American Cosplay Paradise! All are welcome and will receive a free K-On! Poster (Bandai Booth #1605) 12:30pm K-ON! Performance with Cristina Vee and After School Tea Time (Bandai Booth #1605) 1:00pm K-On! Autograph session with Stephanie Sheh (Yui), Cristina Vee (Mio), and Special Guest K-ON! Producer Yoshihisa Nakayama (Bandai Booth #1605) 2:00pm Gundam 00 Movie-North American Premiere Japanese audio/English subtitles (Room 1E09) andai Visual Co., Ltd. will also be promoting “Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn)” Stephanie Sheh (voice of heroine, Audrey Burne), Michael Sinterniklaas (voice of Angelo Sauper, as well as voice director), Masayuki Ozaki (Producer and General Manager of Int’l Sales Dept. at SUNRISE, the production company of “Gundam UC”) and Akane Hagino (Int’l Sales & Promotion) will be hosting a Q&A Session as well as discuss behind-the-scenes information that would never be revealed to the public otherwise during the panel. Episode 1 will be screened immediately following the panel with a sneak peak of episode 2 exclusively shown for the panel attendees. In addition to Blu-ray sales at Bandai Entertainment’s booth (booth# 1605), the scheduled events are as follows (subject to change): Friday, October 8 4:00-5:00PM Autograph Session at Bandai Entertainment’s booth (Stephanie) Saturday, October 9 3:45-4:15PM Autograph Session at 1C01 (Stephanie, Michael) 4:30-6:30PM Screening & Panel at 1E09 (Stephanie, Michael and Sunrise) 6:30-7:00PM Autograph Session at 1C01 (Stephanie, Michael)
Warner Bros. Television (WBTV) and Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) will be showcasing six series at New York Comic Con, including the upcoming Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9 2:00–3:00 p.m. Young Justice Signing at the DC Comics booth #2243 2:30–3:30 p.m. Green Lantern: The Animated Series Presentation/Q&A — Saturday will be NYCC’s “brightest day” as Warner Bros. Animation proudly unveils this new series coming soon to Cartoon Network and based upon characters from DC Comics. Join series executive producer Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series), producer Giancarlo Volpe (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and producer/story editor Jim Krieg (Ben 10: Alien Swarm) as these creative forces reveal their plans for one of the most highly anticipated new animated series. Room 1A14 3:45–4:45 p.m. Young Justice Video Presentation and Q&A — Join the league! Fans were given their first glimpse of Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis this past July at Comic-Con International: San Diego. But this panel will offer far more than just a glimpse, as producers Brandon Vietti (Batman: Under the Red Hood) and Greg Weisman (Gargoyles) answer questions from fans and show footage from this highly anticipated series. A one-hour special event of Young Justice will premiere in November 2010 on Cartoon Network, and the series begins in 2011. Young Justice is produced by Warner Bros. Animation and is based upon characters from DC Comics. Room 1A14 4:00–5:00 p.m. Green Lantern: The Animated Series Signing at the DC Comics Booth #2243
The Viz Cinema at San Francisco's New People has announced their October line-up 442: Live With Honor, Die With Dignity, October 1st – October 7th (Directed by Junichi Suzuki, 2010, 100min, HD, English Language) VIZ Cinema is pleased to announce encore screenings of 442: Live for Honor, Die with Dignity by popular demand! In World War II, the 442nd was an infantry regiment composed mostly of Japanese Americans that fought not only the Nazis in Europe, but also battled domestic prejudice, facing severe racial discrimination at home. The film features what are likely the final interviews with surviving 442nd veterans, many of whom are now in their mid 80’s and 90’s. The soldiers were in an ironic predicament, fighting for a country that initially branded them as enemies but went on to became one of the most decorated regiments in the history of the United States military. General admission tickets for the film screening are $13.00. Sayonara Itsuka – Goodbye Someday, October 1st – October 7th (Directed by John H. Lee, 2010, 133min, Digital, English Subtitles) Regarded as an ‘Asian collaborated masterpiece,’ Sayonara Itsuka - Goodbye, Someday is based on a novel by Tsuji Hitonari and directed by John H. Lee (A Moment to Remember). Known as the “good guy,” Yutaka is engaged to marry the daughter of the founder of an airline that he works for. While he is transferred abroad to the Bangkok branch, he meets Toko, a mysterious woman. They quickly develop a lustful relationship spending days in passion. For Yutaka’s wedding they choose to separate, but 25 years later they meet again and realize their love for each other remains, but reality continues to pull them apart. General admission tickets are $10.00. Redline, October 8th – October 14th (Directed by Takeshi Koike, 2010, 100min, Digital, with English Subtitles) More than 5 years in the making, Redline is a pedal to the floor anime racing film created by studio Madhouse (Paprika, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) and was written by Katsuhito Ishii (Director of The Taste of Tea, Funky Forest, Shark Skin Man & Peach Hip Girl) and directed by Takeshi Koike, (“World Record” segment of Animatrix). The toughest and the most destructive underground car race in the universe, REDLINE, has just begun! JP is a reckless driver oblivious to speed limits, and Sonoshee, one of his competitors with whom JP is secretly in love with, is a hot girl determined to do whatever it takes to stand on the winner’s podium. In order to win the finals, they’re up against the craziest drivers with their heavily armed and awesome road-tearing vehicles. While cars crash and burn into flames, the race course becomes a merciless hell and JP whips his ride into a dead heat. Who will survive to win in this mass-destruction race? General admission tickets are $10.00. Hatsune Miku U.S. Live, October 11th One Night Only (Directed by Takeshi Koike, 2010, 100min, Digital, with English Subtitles) Following a sold-out performance at NEW PEOPLE at the J-Pop Summit Festival 2010, Hatsune Miku returns to VIZ Cinema for one night only! By extremely popular demand, the virtual idol comes back, this time with a special guest, Hiroyuki Ito, the man behind the creation of Hatsune Miku! Don't miss this rare chance to see this virtual phenomenon on the big screen and purchase one of a very limited supply of Japanese First Edition Blu-ray disc sets in the New People Store! Miku Hatsune is a virtual pop idol that has taken Japan by storm. She was born as the premiere product in the Vocaloid2 Character Vocal Series developed by Crypton Future Media. Originally designed for musicians, Vocaloid enables users to synthesize singing by inputting lyrics and a melody. In Japan, Vocaloid singers have become the hottest new trend in the pop culture landscape The filmed concert features Miku Hatsune backed by a “live” band called the 39S Members. For the concert performance, she sang 39 songs while being projected on a transparent screen set up on the stage, making her look like a living-sized hologram playing with a live band. General admission tickets for the film screening are $20.00. OZU AND HIS MUSE: SETSUKO HARA October 15th – October 21st Yasujiro Ozu is one of the most influential film directors of the 20th Century and his classic film, Tokyo Story, is consistently is ranked among the Top 10 films of all time. Now catch an opportunity to screen four more of the director’s groundbreaking works in a special series. General admission tickets for each film screening are $10.00. Late Spring (1949, 108min, 35mm, Japanese with English Subtitles) One of the most powerful of Ozu’s family portraits, Late Spring tells the story of a widowed father who feels compelled to marry off his beloved only daughter. Ozu's muse, actress Setsuko Hara, commands this poignant tale of love and loss in postwar Japan Tokyo Twilight (1947, 141min, 35mm, Japanese with English Subtitles) One of Ozu’s most piercing portraits of family strife, Tokyo Twilight follows the parallel paths of two sisters contending with an absent mother, unwanted pregnancy, and marital discord. Late Autumn (1960, 128min, 35mm, Japanese with English Subtitles) Setsuko Hara plays a mother gently trying to persuade her daughter to marry in this glowing portrait of family love and conflict – a re-working of Ozu’s 1949 masterpiece Late Spring. Early Summer (1954, 125min, 35mm, Japanese with English Subtitles) The Mamiya family is seeking a husband for their daughter, Noriko (played by Setsuko Hara), but she impulsively chooses her childhood friend, at once fulfilling her family’s desires while also tearing them apart. TAIWAN FILM DAYS October 22nd – October 24th Celebrate Opening Night for Taiwan Film Days, a new film series at NEW PEOPLE! A limited number of tickets are also available for an exclusive reception directly after the first screening of Monga on October 22nd, with sponsored drinks and delicious hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are only available at and are $15.00 per screening for SFFS members and $20.00 per screening for non-members. Monga, Friday, October 22nd at 6:15pm & 9:40 pm (Directed by Niu Doze, 2010,141min, Digital, Chinese with English Subtitles) Niu Doze’s uncompromising gangster epic fictionalizes the real-life ascension of organized crime in Taipei’s rough-and-tumble Wanhua district during the 1980s. Let's Fall in Love, North American Premiere Saturday, October 23rd at 1:30 pm; Sunday, October 24th at 4:10 pm (Directed by Wuna Wu, 2009, 90 min, Digital, Chinese with English Subtitles) Welcome to the tragicomic world of matchmaking in modern Taipei, where one documentarian chronicles her frustrating search for Mr. Right. Seven Days In Heaven, North American Premiere Saturday, October 23rd at 4:00 pm; Sunday October 24th at 9:10 pm (Directed by Essay Liu, Wang Yu-lin, 2009, 93min, Digital, Chinese with English Subtitles) In the wake of her father's death, a resolutely urban woman returns to her backward hometown where she confronts the turbulent spectrum of emotions associated with the passing of a loved one. Hear Me, Saturday, October 23rd at 6:40 pm (Directed by Cheng Fen-fen, 2009, 109min, Digital, Chinese with English Subtitles) Director Cheng Fen-fen has crafted a winning tale of budding romance among the hearing impaired that became Taiwan’s most popular movie of 2009. Tears North American Premiere Saturday, October 23rd at 9:30 pm; Sunday, October 24th at 6:40 pm (Directed by Chen Wen-tang, 2009, 111min, Digital, Chinese with English Subtitles) A powerful drama about a policeman with a troubled past, Tears represents Director Cheng Wen-tang’s complex and passionate commitment to unearthing Taiwan’s repressive history. No Puedo Vivir sin Ti, Sunday, October 24th at 2:00 pm (Directed by Leon Dai, 2009, 92min, Digital, Chinese with English Subtitles) A widower struggles to reclaim his only daughter in this sharp, emotional feature which casts a magnifying glass on the gray areas of Taiwanese society. MIZOGUCHI AND HIS MUSE: KINUYO TANAKA October 25th – November 2nd Director Kenji Mizoguchi’s signature is the expression of strength, sorrow, and fragility of women, and his mastery of the long take and mise-en-scène are legendary. General admission tickets for each screening are $10.00. Life Of Oharu (1952, 124min, 35mm, Japanese with English Subtitles) A 1952 historical fiction starring Kinuyo Tanaka as Oharu, a one-time concubine of a daimyo lord who struggles to escape the stigma of having been sold into prostitution by her father. Women Of The Night (1948, 74min, Digital, Japanese with English Subtitles) Two sisters – Fusako, a war widow, and Natsuko, who is having an affair with a narcotics smuggler – along with their friend Kumiko, descend into moral chaos amid the postwar devastation. Sansho The Bailiff (1954, 124min, 35mm, Japanese with English Subtitles) When an idealistic governor disobeys the reigning feudal lord, he is cast into exile, his wife and children left to fend for themselves and eventually are wrenched apart by vicious slave traders. Miss Oyu (1951, 94min, 35mm, Japanese with English Subtitles) The story concerns a young man who falls in love with the beloved older sister of his intended bride, Miss Oyu played by Kinuyo Tanaka. The three-way relationship takes some tragic turns.
The second Club 2 the MAX event has been scheduled for July 1-3, 2011 in Anaheim, CA at the Anaheim Convention Center

Upcoming in Japan

Promos The English site for live action Yamato SoreMachi Star Driver Kagayaki no Takuto Bakuman Arakawa Under the Bridge Mamoru Oshii's "28 1/2 Mousou no Myojin" Anime popular girl rockband anime/manga K-On! is getting an anime movie
Mamoru Oshii, composer Kenji Kawai and Production I.G collaberated on a stereoscopic 3D animated short starring the characters from Shotaro Ishinomori's classic Cyborg 009, sponsored by Panasonic
The four minutes and 45 seconds short , will be unveiled at the Panasonic booth at the CEATEC Japan 2010 trade show. On a simular note Subaru and Gainax are collaborating on a project The project's staff includes director Shouji Saeki (Mahoromatic, Strike Witches 2 episode storyboarder), concept artist Daisuke Kikuchi (Gurren Lagann, Mahoromatic: Tadaima Okaeri), and character designer Mai Otsuka (Shakugan no Shana, Hanamaru Kindergarten).
Cthulhu inspired light novel cute girl series Haiyore! Nyaruani will be called Haiyore! Nyaruani: Remember My Mr. Lovecraft.
A 3D Toriki/One Piece double bill is being produced
rumor is that Evangelion 3.0 is scheduled for 2012 Manga Kazuya Minekura's Saiyuki Reload Blast is on hiatus due to health problems
Yukito Kishiro has confirmed that Battle Angel Alita: Last Order has moved from Shueisha's Ultra Jumo to Kodansha’s Evening as a result of a disput with his editor.
CLAMP's Gate 7 will be
running in Shueisha's Jump Square Live Action Moe Arai and Miu Nakamura have been cast for a new incarnation of Junji Ito's immortal girl horror Tomie. The Noboru Iguchi directed Tomie Ulimited is scheduled to hit Japanese theatres in 2011. Misc Yoshitoshi ABe (Serial Experiments Lain) will be overseeing an issue of poetry/criticism magazine Eureka

Digital Distrobution News

An English language dub is being produced for anthropomorphic animal military action Cat Shit One for free online distribution
The French-Japanese fusion anime TIME JAM: VALERIAN AND LAURELINE in conjunction with Satelight, a Japanese animation studio known for its production of Macross series, and Genesis of Aquarion is set to launch on Crunchyroll. All premium anime and all-access members will have access to all 40 episodes immediately, while only the first five (5) episodes will be available to free users now with the subsequent five (5) episodes rolling out henceforth. More information can be found on The story is based on a well know Sci-Fi graphic novel written by the renowned French graphic novel artists, Jean-Claude Mezieres and Pierre Christin. They are also known for their set design in the film The Fifth Element. VALERIAN AND LAURELINE, as a graphic novel, has entertained a wide age group for over 35 years since its inception in 1967. Finally in 2007 its unique futuristic vision was opened up to the world as an original animation series! VALERIAN AND LAURELINE has long influenced Hollywood’s Sci-Fi genre, as its graphic novel and art books has often been found in the offices of the most well-known Hollywood directors. Crunchyroll, Inc., also announced the simulcast acquisition of Yumeiro Patisserie Professional. Following-up on the title which has been simulcasting on Crunchyroll this past year and again animated by the legendary Studio Pierrot, the story continues with the adventures of Ichigo Amano (voiced by Aoi Yuki). Now in high school, Ichigo and the Sweet Princes work hard to polish their skills and get ready to join the ranks of professional patisseries. Though Ichigo herself may be a few years older, her sweets are just as fresh as ever
the Golgo 13 TV series is streaming on Netflix
NTT DOCOMO has begun trials on an e-book delivery system featuring manga for Android devices
NTT Solmare has announced four new titles for Apple's iTunes App Store in English: Cobra: On the Battlefield by Buichi Terasawa (Goku - Midnight Eye) - Chapters 1-4 Joan by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko (Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin) - Chapters 1-12 Jesus by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko - Chapters 1-12 Police Rocker Bofura by Yasuichi Oshima (Batsu & Teri) - Chapters 1-3 Each of these chapters costs US$2.99. ComicsOne had previously licensed Yasuhiko's acclaimed Joan and Jesus historical manga for North America, but they had limited retail availability, especially Jesus. The company also announced five new manga titles for phone manufacturer Nokia's Ovi store: Cat Eyed Girl (Nekome no Shojo) by Kazuo Umezu (Cat Eyed Boy, Drifting Classroom) - Chapters 1-7 Combination by Leeza Sei (formerly of CLAMP) - Chapters 1-20 Gold by Ryuichiro Yamamoto - Chapters 1-7 Kirin by Shohei Harumoto - Chapters 1-5 Stop! Hibari-kun! by Hisashi Eguchi (Eiji, Roujin Z anime designer) - Chapters 1-15 These titles have not been available in North America in a published English-language boo
comixology on their
digital comix release of Hetalia
Comic Book Resources reports that boys-love manga publisher Libre has has confirmed that they sent out cease-and-desist to group producing aunthorized translations of their manga
Trigun is now running on YouTube 80's racing cartoon Pole Position is on Hulu

Upcoming in North America

Del Rey It remains to be seen if Del Rey will be releasing any manga after November. Listings are hinting otherwise. More commentary here/ Image Entertainment Image Entertainment has picked up the rights to previous Sony Pictures licensed Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (the animated, Knockin' on Heaven's Door). The 12/7 release is priced at $14.98 NIS NIS America has released the second collections of the anime with which they entered the North America anime market, Toradora! and PERSONA - trinity soul- Right Stuf Anime producer and online retailer Right Stuf, Inc. and its Nozomi Entertainment division have rescheduled the release of the GRAVITATION Complete DVD Collection to January 4, 2011. This new release collects both anime adaptations of Gravitation – the 13-episode television series and the 2-episode OVA series – together for the very first time. The set will feature remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 English audio, plus Dolby Digital 2.0 English and Japanese audio options, and English subtitles and on-screen translations, and it will be housed in a thin-profile, collectors’ art box. VIZ Media VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has announced the launch of a new series from creator Kaori Yuki. Her latest series, GRAND GUIGNOL ORCHESTRA, will be published under the Shojo Beat imprint, is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. The series debuts on October 5th. Lucille loves heading up the traveling Grand Orchestra, roving from town to town, entertaining the masses and making money. But now the musicians have met their toughest audience yet: people infected with the Guignol Virus, turning them into zombie dolls intent on killing all humans!

The Business

Panchinko makers Oizumi has acquired anime studio Anime International Company (AIC) - makers of Tenchu Muyo, Bubblegum Crisis. As of September 30, Oizumi acquired 3,800 shares or 95% of AIC for 530 million yen from the ACA-managed investment fund MCP Synergy. The remaining 200 shares or 5% of AIC is owned by the TM Company, and AIC will buy back those shares on that same day.
Superflat pop artist Takashi Murakami has had a rough year ArtPrice reports that only 223 of his pieces were brought to auction during the year ending in June 2010, and only nine brought in more than €100,000. None hit the seven-figure mark.

On TV...

FUNimation Channel has been added to AT&T UVerse - Premium HD Tie
Hasbro and Discovery’s will launch new cartoon network the Hub on October 10th
SyFy Channel is working with Starz Digital Media to present non-anime science-fiction thriller “The Resistance” on the SyFy October 4th 11:00pm ET/PT. In partnership with Starz Digital Media, series creator Adrian Picardi was able to take what was originally envisioned as a web-series and transformed it into a multi-platform launch. The Resistance was discovered by Aaron Lam of Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures in 2008 when he found trailers of the then unproduced show on YouTube. Starz Media saw potential in the series and cleared the funding for the then 21-year-old Picardi to make 35 minutes, or the first installment. “The Resistance” will be released on October 5th as a multi-episode web series for EST purchase on iTunes, XBOX Live, Amazon Video and The PlayStation Network.
The unique series is based in the fantastical world of Aurordeca. Syrus Primoris, a powerful chemist, has taken over the remaining population by keeping them alive with his miracle suppressant in exchange for total power. Lana (Spartacus’ Katrina Law) powerful leader of the Aurordecan Resistance Movement (ARM) is determined to find a new cure and free the people from Syrus’ suppression.

Worth Checking Out...

Insight The widely respected Heisei Democracy is back A collection of the survey of Top Shelf’s AX anthology of alternative conducted on Twitter - part one and part two Three Steps Over Japan, takes their approach to surveying alt manga anthology Garo to Ax
Jason Thompson on the legendarily poorly selling Daigo of Fire Company M A Case Suitable For Treatment on comedy of anthropomorphized countries Hetalia Deb Aoki on A Drunken Dream and Other Stories Shaenon Garrity blasts Qwaser of Stigmata - "If you want to read a Russian Orthodox, breastfeeding-fetish fantasy manga, this is your one chance" Japan Cinema on Redline Otaku USA on Armitage III - House of Five Leaves
Mike Toole on anime remakes on the uncoventional side of things, Nishikata Film Review on Tsuki no Waltz and Gravitation
Let's Anime on RANPOU, or “Warped Boy Rampoo” a survey of prostitution in manga speaking of which, Genji Press look at the live action adaptation of Moyoco Anno’s Sakuran A look at the The challenge of companionable silence in regards to Ghibli's Borrowers adaptation On Japan Focus, Hiroshima: The Autobiography of Barefoot Gen Masters of Manga profiles Miyako Maki, whose work inspired Licca-chan (by Takara, now Takara-Tomy) –the “Japanese Barbie” - Akira Maruyama on early shojo manga
Yoshinori "Iko" Kanada, 1952-2009 - The life and times of Japan's Greatest Animator What happens when games are "too Japanese" Media (Anime Innovation Tokyo) Ichinrin-ra pilot film Moto Hagio Gallery Featuring A Drunken Dream and Other Stories and Photos from Comic-Con 2010 A collection of Satoshi Kon tribute art
Halcyon Realms look at “Hayao Miyazaki’s Daydream Note” Artbook and The Art of Steamboy Part I : The Storyboards Tetsuo Hara's fantastic poster art for the 410th anniversary of the Battle of Sekigahara Misc From the makers of Yokai Attack, Ninja Attack is now available in North America Seirinkogeisha Book Previews Online Three Steps Over Japan at Osamu Moet Moso Tokyo Scum Brigade at Nuri-E Museum
Katsuya Terada Designed iPad Case Fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto gets inspired by Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" following a scandel, Edison Chen has struck back with pop art exhibit " I Hate You For Looking!" in which he put his face on Dragon Ball statues Rose of Versailles, Sensual Phrase Creators Cosplay Photos from Superfestival 54 - be sure to check out the cosplay photos at the bottom Nausicaa gunship model Lego Reideen

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