Anime News

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles ended its opening for Takashi Murakami‘s anime-influenced exhibition with a Sunday gala of celebrities, including music producer Pharrell Williams (live-action Voltron project) and actress Christina Ricci (live-action Speed Racer‘s Trixie). Rapper and anime fan Kanye West, who used Murakami’s art on his Graduation album and videos, performed a small live set. Ricci said her movie’s production was influenced by Murakami’s Superflat aesthetic. Actress Susan Sarandon (Speed Racer‘s mother) had previously said that the directors, the Wachowski Brothers, are compositing scenes in artificially flattened layers to emulate the look of the original Speed Racer anime.

Source: Los Angeles Times,

Vertical to Publish Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack Manga

Publishers Weekly’s Comics Week reports that the North American publisher Vertical Inc. will publish the entire run of the Black Jack medical suspense series from manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka. The story revolves around a gifted maverick doctor who treats patients at the edge of society without regard for rules. Tezuka himself was a medical student before he decided to pursue his passion of manga.

The original manga ran in Akita Shoten‘s Weekly Shonen Champion magazine in Japan from 1973 to 1979, with occasional one-shot installments up until 1983. Almost all of the installments were eventually collected into various book editions that totaled 22 volumes. The North American manga distributor Viz published several installments in the defunct Manga Vizion magazine and compiled two volumes in the 1990s.

The manga has been been adapted numerous times in animation and live-action formats for television, film, home video, and even Internet distribution. Tezuka’s frequent collaborator Osamu Dezaki directed ten animated video volumes between 1993 and 2000, which were later distributed in North America by US Manga Corps. Dezaki also directed a 1996 movie which Manga Entertainment distributed in North America.

A 2003 Black Jack animated television special mini-series spawned a series of 11 Flash-animated shorts that was one of the first anime to premiere exclusively online. (The net series also featured pop star Hikaru Utada as the doctor’s young companion Pinoko.) Those videos in turn spawned the first Black Jack animated television series, which ran from 2004 to 2006, as well as yet another animated movie in 2005. The Black Jack 21 television sequel followed in 2006.

Four different live-action actors played the doctor in a 1977 live-action film, a 1981 serialized drama, a 1996 video series, and three 2000 drama specials. Akita Shoten itself revived the manga after Tezuka’s passing with five different manga serializations, including three volumes by Kenji Yamamoto in 2006.

Source: Anime Newsnetwork

The Winter 2007 issue (on sale November 14) of Kadokawa’s Shonen Ace Assault magazine will debut Eulenspiegel, Shuji Sogabe’s manga adaptation of a light novel from Tow Ubukata (Le Chevalier d’Eon, Sōkyū no Fafner) about three cyborg girls in a police unit in 2016. The January 2008 issue (on sale November 30) of Mag Garden‘s Comic Blade will launch Tokumu Kikōtai Kuchikura (Special Operations Armored Unit Kuchikura), a “near-future military simulation drama” from Production I.G and scriptwriter Yoshiki Sakurai (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Evangelion movie remakes). The manga covers the battle for survival in a 21st-century Tokyo leveled by warfare.

Source: Moon Phase


Anime News

Biohazard (Resident Evil) CG Anime Film Announced

and Sony Pictures Entertainment of Japan have announced on October 29 a joint project to produce Biohazard: Degeneration, a fully computer-animated film in the Biohazard horror franchise (known as Resident Evil in North America and Europe). Sony Pictures Entertainment of America has already produced live-action films based on the franchise. The computer-animated movie will be an original story. The videogame franchise established the survival horror subgenre of games and have sold 33 million copies worldwide. Each of the three live-action films have earned over 100 million dollars in their worldwide box office receipts.

Source: Moon Phase

Bandai Entertainment Acquires Lucky Star

A teaser trailer included on the fourth Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya DVD reveals that the Lucky Star anime television series will be distributed in America by Bandai Entertainment.

Source: Anime on DVD

True Tears Website Opened

The official Japanese homepage for the True Tears anime television series is now online. The adaptation of the PC simulation game developed by Lacryma is scheduled to premier next year.

Source: Moon Phase

Yen Press Acquires Yaoi Manga

Yen Press has announced its first yaoi titles, all by Lily Hoshino. Three volumes are planned. Love Quest (Rabu Kue) will release in October 2008; Mr. Flower Bride (Hanayome-kun) in March 2009; and Mr. Flower Groom (Hanamuko-san) in July 2009.

All three titles are licensed from Houbunsha. U.S. retail price will be $12.99 each.

Source: ICv2

The December issue (on sale October 30) of MediaWorksDengeki G’s magazine will announce details of School Days: Magical Heart Kokoro-chan, the video spinoff from the School Days television anime series. The March 28 video is intended to be a more comedic parallel-world story about a magical girl team. Director Keitaro Motonaga, series script supervisor Makoto Uezu, character designer Junji Goto, and the animation studio TNK will all return for this project. Most of the anime cast will also return, including Daisuke Hirakawa (Makoto), Tae Okajima (Kotonoha), Shiho Kawaragi (Sekai), Keiko Imoto (Setsuna), and Megu Ashiro (Kokoro). Source: Moon Phase

Hiroshi Ōsaka Memorial Exhibit Announced

The Suginami Anime Museum (SAM) has announced that they will hold a memorial exhibit for well-known anime illustrator, artist and BONES co-founder Hiroshi Ōsaka from November 27 until December 9 at the museum. Ōsaka passed away on September 24 after suffering from cancer. He was 44. The exhibit will feature original art from Clockwork Fighters, Mobile Suit Victory Gundam and many of the other anime series that Ōsaka worked on.


Manga Publishers Help California Fire Victims

Manga Publishers Help California Fire Victims
Along With the Society for the Preservation of Japanese Animation

The Society for the Preservation of Japanese Animation, the organization behind Anime Expo and manga publishers Tokyopop, Aurora Publishing, Go Comi, Digital Manga Publishing, and Viz Media are aiding victims of the California fires by supplying free manga volumes to Southern California wildfire evacuees currently residing at Fire Relief Shelters/Evacuation Centers.

Driven by hot, dry, powerful Santa Ana winds numerous wildfires raged across Southern California this week, and at their height these raging infernos forced the evacuation of 500,000 people, one of the largest disaster-caused migrations in U.S. history. Over 1,500 homes were destroyed in the blazes that charred over 410,000 acres. All four manga publishers participating in the efforts to aid fire victims are based in California and their efforts were undoubtedly appreciated at the relief centers where sources of entertainment were few and the hours long as evacuees waited until it was safe to return to see if their homes had survived the conflagrations.

Source: ICv2

Anime News

The North American anime retailer Right Stuf International has reclassified the DVDs of B’tX Volumes 3-5, Beet the Vandel Buster Volumes 2-5, and BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo Volumes 2-8 as “discontinued” this week. Illumitoona Entertainment had released all three titles, and some of the DVD volumes had been scheduled for later this year and next year. The first three volumes of AM Driver, another Illumitoon title, is still available for purchase. Illumitoon did not respond to requests for comments before this article’s posting. Update: AM Driver is now unavailable for purchase from Right Stuf as well.

Source: Anime News Network

The American Cinematheque film appreciation group and the Outfest gay and lesbian film festival organizers are screening Love My Life, Koji Kawano’s Japanese live-action film based on Ebine Yamaji‘s Yuri Manga of the same name, at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, California on Sunday, December 2. The 3:00 p.m. showing is part of the weekly Outfest Wednesdays series, which is devoted to gay- and lesbian-themed films. The story revolves around the relationship of two college girls and the complications that arise between the couple and their families. Thanks, Daniel Zelter.

Source: Anime News Network

Wired History of Manga in America Online

The illustrated history of Japanese manga’s introduction into America, published in this month’s Wired Magazine, is now available from the Wired homepage. The illustrated short was written by American manga scholar Jason Thompson and illustrated by Japanese artist Atsuhisa Okura.

Source: AnimeNation News

New Takashi Murakami Anime Short to Premier in America

The latest animation work from internationally respected artist Takashi Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki studio is scheduled to premier on Monday, October 29th at the Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art as part of its “©Murakami” exhibition of Murakami’s work. The ten minute long animation short titled “Kaikai & Kiki,” is reportedly the first in a series.

Murakami directed a 5 minute long anime film titled “Superflat Monogram” as an advertisement for French fashion label Louis Vuitton in 2003.

Source: Variety

Live Action Anmitsu Hime Drama Announced

The Sankei Sports newspaper has reported that 20 year old actress Inoue Mao will star in a live action TV special adaptation of Shosuke Kurakane’s 1949 historical fantasy comedy manga series Anmitsu Hime (“Sugar Princess”). The special will air on the Fuji TV network in January 2008.

In 1986, Fuji TV broadcast a 51 episode anime adaptation of Anmitsu Hime produced by Studio Pierrot.

Source: Ultimatum

New Anime Distributor Announces First Title

California based New Galaxy Anime has formally announced its entry into America’s anime distribution business. New Galaxy Anime will specialize in licensing family-friendly titles, especially family friendly shoujo titles, and vintage anime with high nostalgic value. New Galaxy will reportedly “avoid altering original dialogue or editing scenes out in their U.S. releases.”

New Galaxy’s first announced title, the 1981 Fantastic Adventures of Unico movie, will be released on bilingual North American DVD with a retail price of $24.95. An exact release date for the movie has not been determined.

Source: AnimeNation News

Media Blasters Moving into Online Card Gaming

Media Blasters has announced a partnership with Japan’s Dex Entertainment to produce an official English language version of the Alteil online collectable card game. The original Japanese Alteil game is Japan’s “number one” online fantasy card game.

Alteil is easy and fun to pick up and play, anytime, anywhere. Alteil has no downloads, no clients and is 100% web-driven, making it playable on any computer with a web browser. Best of all, it’s totally free. Simply sign up for an account and you can choose and customize your own free starter set that will allow you to play immediately. While you can buy additional cards to expand your capabilities, it is not required for a complete experience.

The English language version of Alteil is scheduled to debut next spring.

Source: Japanator

Afro Samurai Sequel Confirmed

Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki has confirmed that a second Afro Samurai anime television series, continuing the storyline from the first series, is now in production. The second series will air on the American Spike TV network in early 2008.

Source: International Herald Tribune

New Yatterman Anime Teaser Trailer Available

The official Japanese website for Tatsunoko’s upcoming Yatterman anime television series now hosts a streaming teaser trailer. The new anime is scheduled to premier on January 14th.

Source: Anime News Network

Amatsuki Anime Announced

Official confirmation that Shinobu Takayama’s historical fantasy manga series Amatsuki will be adapted into an anime television series by Studio Deen has appeared in the form of an Amatsuki anime homepage.

Source: Moon Phase Message Board

Hatenkou Yugi Anime Formally Announced

Although Hatenkou Yugi manga author Endou Minari announced last March that Hatenkou Yugi would be adapted into an anime television series, an official website announcement confirming the anime series is now online.

Source: Moon Phase

TOKYOPOP To Produce Live Action Ikkitousen?

At this week’s TIFFCOM film trade show in Tokyo earlier this week TOKYOPOP revealed a proposal for an American produced live action film adaptation of Yuji Shiozaki’s Ikkitousen manga series, published in English by TOKYOPOP under the name “Battle Vixens.” TOKYOPOP’s proposal reportedly involves turning the Chinese history infused contemporary action story into an adolescent comedy set on American college campuses.

TOKYOPOP has previously announced plans to develop live action film versions of Kei Toume’s Hitsuji no Uta (“Lament of the Lamb”) manga and the TOKYOPOP original “Princess Ai” franchise.

Source: Anime News Network

Blu Manga Price Increase Announced

TOKYOPOP has confirmed that the retail price of yaoi manga published under the “Blu” imprint will increase from a typical $9.99 to $12.99 beginning in January. Reportedly, the increase will make the price of Blu titles comparable to yaoi manga published by other American publishers.

Domestic yaoi manga require slightly higher retail prices to offset their smaller domestic distribution and sales.

Source: ICv2

Live Action Someday’s Dreamers Movie in Production

The Yomiuri Sports Hochi newspaper has reported that a live action film adaptation of Norie Yamada and Kumichi Yoshizuki’s Maho Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto ~ Someday’s Dreamers manga series is currently filming in Japan with 15-year-old model and actress Rio Yamashita starring and Shun Nakahara directing. The film is tentatively scheduled for Japanese release next summer.

Geneon USA released the Someday’s Dreamers anime television series on American DVD in 2003. TOKYOPOP released an English translation of the original manga series in 2006.

Source: Anime News Network

Japanese Government Acknowledges International Anime Piracy

The seventh year dialogue of the “Japan-US Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative” was issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan on October 18th. Page 52 of the 53 page document dealing with multiple aspects of international trade between Japan and the United States includes a single paragraph urging the United States to do more to combat the unauthorized distribution of Japanese animation through internet video-sharing websites and peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.


Witchblade Sets 2007 Sales Record

According to recently released Nielsen VideoScan data, FUNimation’s Witchblade DVD volume 1 has become the best selling anime series debut in America so far this year, based on first week sales. Titles including Afro Samurai and the Dragon Ball Z season boxed sets have sold more first week copies, but are not American debut titles.

Exact sales figures for Witchblade volume 1 have not been released.

Source: ICv2

Sunadokei Live Action Movie Announced

The Sankei Sports Newspaper has reported that Hinako Ashihara’s romance manga Sunadokei (“Hourglass”) will be adapted into a live action feature film for Japanese theatrical release next April. The 5.7 million copy selling ten volume Sunadokei manga series was adapted into a live action TV drama this past spring.

Source: Tokyograph

Recent Anime News

Code-E Second Series Announced

The official Code-E anime series homepage reports that the series will be getting a second season.

Source: Anime News Network

Tokyo Marble Chocolate Trailers Released

The official homepage for Production IG’s upcoming anime OVA “Tokyo Marble Chocolate” now hosts two short, streaming trailers. The OVA is scheduled for Japanese DVD release on December 19th.

Matai Mashou trailer
Zenryoku Shonen trailer

Source: Moon Phase

Aurora Launches Josei Line

Aurora Publishing will launch its “josei” (“female”) line of English translated manga targeted at young adult and adult female readers in January. The “LuvLuv” line of translated manga will debut with the publication of Kanae Hazuki’s romance manga short story collection “Voices of Love.” Mitsuki Oda’s romance manga “Real Love,” will follow in March. All LuvLuv titles will be age-rated 18+.

Aurora Publishing is the American branch of Japanese publisher Ohzora.

Source: ICv2

Madhouse & Nikkatsu Partner in America

Anime production studio Madhouse and Japan’s oldest film production studio, Nikkatsu, have jointly established an American company named Index Holdings. The Index Holdings office will open in Los Angeles in January to concentrate on marketing Madhouse and Nikkatsu properties internationally and develop original films with Hollywood companies.

Source: Variety

Anime DVD Sales in Japan Up

The latest half-year report from the Japan Video Software Association reveals that mainstream anime DVD sales in Japan during the first half of 2007 have increased by 15% from 2006 sales. First half 2007 mainstream anime DVD sales in Japan totaled 28.5 billion yen ($246 million USD).

Total sales of Japanese and foreign animation released on Japanese DVD during the first half of 2007 have increased by one million dollars since 2006.

Anime DVDs account for an estimated 29.4% of all Japanese home video sales and rental revenue generated during the first half of 2007.

Source: Anime News Network

First Look at New .Hack Anime

Japanese portal site Goo now hosts the first released screenshots from the upcoming .hack//G.U. TRILOGY full CG OVA. The OVA is scheduled for Japanese released on January 25th.

Source: Ultimatum

Dark Horse Talks Blade of the Immortal

ICv2 now hosts an interview with Dark Horse Comics editor Philip Simon regarding the transition of publishing Hiroaki Samura’s Blade of the Immortal manga in monthly comic book form to graphic novel form.

Official English Translation of Manga Zombie Online

ComiPress has begun to host a serialized authorized English translation of manga scholar Udagawa Takeo’s 1997 book “Manga Zombie.” The book focuses on bringing attention to the work of 31 select “outsider” manga artists that were active primarily in the 1960s and 70s. Udagawa’s book asserts that these 31 artists, “represent the most authentic and exciting work being done in the medium before market forces… squeezed the artists’ freedom of expression to an absolute minimum in the late seventies.”

Source: Anime News Network

New Look at Live Action Blood Movie

French movie news website Films Actu has secured the first production still from the currently filming live action Blood: The Last Vampire movie. The still features Korean actress Jeon Ji-Hyun as Saya.

Source: Twitch

As the Ghost Hound “spiritual animation” series, Production I.G‘s 20th-anniversary project, premiered on Japanese television earlier this week, creator Masamune Shirow has written a message to fans that has been translated and posted on I.G’s website. He acknowledges that the anime series differs in some aspects from his original story but accepts these differences as inevitable. The original idea, which he created in 1987, deals with “recognizing and unlocking unworldly power.” In the anime, this has been changed to the theme of losing the unworldly power as children are transformed into teenagers and adults.

Source: Anime News Network