Archive for the ‘ Manga News ’ Category

Manga Releases for March 2008

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

March 4

pumpkin scissors 02Del Rey

  • Negima!, Vol. 17
  • Pumpkin Scissors, Vol. 2
  • xxxHolic, Vol. 11

Viz Media

  • Beauty Pop, Vol. 7
  • Black Cat, Vol. 13
  • Claymore, Vol. 11
  • Gin Tama, Vol. 5
  • High School Debut , Vol. 2
  • Honey and Clover, Vol. 1
  • Hunter x Hunter, Vol. 19
  • Kurohime, Vol. 4
  • Love Com, Vol. 5
  • Monkey High! , Vol. 1
  • Nana, Vol. 9
  • Naruto, Vol. 28
  • monkey high 01One Piece, Vol. 17
  • S.A, Vol. 3
  • Shaman King, Vol. 15
  • Skip Beat!, Vol. 11
  • The Gentlemen’s Alliance †, Vol. 5
  • The Prince of Tennis, Vol. 24
  • Ultimate Muscle, Vol. 19
  • Wild Ones, Vol. 2
  • Yurara, Vol. 4

March 5

CMX

  • Go Go Heaven!! Vol. 5
  • Teru Teru X Shonen, Vol. 1

Dark Horse

  • MPD-Psycho Volume 4

March 7in the starlight

TokyoPop

  • King of Hell, Vol. 18

March 8

Tokyo Pop

  • GetBackers, Vol. 23

March 10

Netcomics

  • In the Starlight, Vol. 3
  • Kingdom of the Winds, Vol. 1
  • Passionate Two-Face, Vol. 2
  • Two Will Come, Vol. 2

March 11can't win with you 03

Del Rey

  • Mamotte! Lollipop, Vol. 5
  • MyHeavenly Hockey Club, Vol. 4
  • Psycho Busters, Vol. 2

Digital Manga Publishing

  • Ai no Kusabi, Vol. 2: Destiny
  • Can’t Win With You, Vol. 3 (final)
  • Sweet Admiration

Tokyo Pop

  • +ANIMA, Vol. 7
  • Beck:Mongolian Chop Squad, Vol. 11
  • Devil’s Bride, Vol. 1
  • Fever, Vol. 1
  • flcl 01FLCL, Vol. 1
  • Fruits Basket, Vol. 19
  • Gakuen Alice, Vol. 2
  • Hands Off: Don’t Call Us Angels, Vol. 2
  • J-Pop Idol, Vol. 1
  • Kamiyadori, Vol. 5
  • LIFE, Vol. 8
  • Me & My Brothers, Vol. 3
  • Missing (Novel), Vol. 2
  • Never Give Up, Vol. 7
  • Psychic Power Nanaki, Vol. 2
  • The Queen’s Knight, Vol. 10
  • Queens, Vol. 5
  • Rave Master, Vol. 27
  • Rebirth — Vols 1-3 Collection, Vol. 1
  • Replay, Vol. 2
  • switch 01Samurai Deeper Kyo, Vol. 27
  • Seduction More Beautiful Than Love, Vol. 1
  • Silky Pink, Vol. 1
  • Someday’s Dreamers: Spellbound, Vol. 5
  • Suppli, Vol. 2
  • tactics, Vol. 4
  • The Third, Vol. 1
  • The Twelve Kingdoms – Hardcover Edition, Vol. 2
  • Welcome to the NHK, Vol. 6
  • Your & My Secret, Vol. 1
  • Yubisaki Milk Tea, Vol. 7
  • ZIG*ZAG, Vol. 2

Viz Media

  • Excel Saga, Vol. 17
  • Switch, Vol. 1
  • Togari, Vol. 5
  • Yakitate!! Japan, Vol. 10

orion 3rd editionMarch 12

CMX

  • From Eroica With Love, Vol. 12
  • Orfina, Vol. 2

Dark Horse

  • Orion 3rd Edition

Tokyo Pop

  • Princess Ai: Rumors from the Other Side, Vol. 1
  • Rose Hip Rose, Vol. 1
  • Spy Goddess, Vol. 1

March 18

Del Rey

  • case closed 22ES (Eternal Sabbath), Vol. 8
  • Gacha Gacha: The Next Revolution, Vol. 6
  • Nodame Cantabile, Vol. 12
  • Suzuka, Vol. 7

Viz Media

  • Case Closed, Vol. 22
  • Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 16
  • Phoenix, Vol. 12
  • Vagabond, Vol. 27

March 19

CMX

  • Moon Child, Vol. 10
  • Musashi, Vol. 14
  • The Young Magician, Vol. 11

blood +: the first kiss 01Dark Horse

  • Blood + Volume 1: First Kiss (Novel)
  • Color of Rage

March 25

Del Rey

  • Fairy Tail, Vol. 1
  • Fairy Tail, Vol. 2

Digital Manga Publishing

  • The Color of Love
  • Great Place High School
  • Don’t Blame Me, Vol. 1
  • Selfish Mr. Mermaid

March 26

CMX

  • junk 06Leader’s High, Vol. 1
  • Tower of the Future, Vol. 10

Dark Horse

  • Berserk Volume 22
  • Path of the Assassin Volume 10: Battle for Power part 2

March 28DrMaster

  • High School Girls, Vol. 9
  • Junk, Vol. 6
  • The King of Fighters, Vol. 4

Releasing throughout the month of February

801 Media

  • A Foreign Love Affair
  • hikkatsu 03Love is Like a Hurricane, Vol. 4

Aurora Publishing, Inc.

  • Nightmares for Sale, Vol. 2

Go! Comi

  • Hikkatsu: Volume 3
  • Cantarella: Volume 10
  • Love Master A: Volume 2

Seven Seas Entertainment

  • Kashimashi ~Girl Meets Girl~, Vol. 5
  • Strawberry Panic, Vol. 2
  • Venus Versus Virus, Vol. 3

Yen Press

  • With the Light, Vol. 2
  • leave it to piyoko 02ALICE on Deadlines, Vol. 2

Releasing sometime in 2008
Broccoli Books

  • Di Gi Charat Theater – Leave it to Piyoko volume 2
  • Di Gi Charat Theater – Dejiko’s Adventure volume 2-3
  • Disgaea 2 volume 3
  • E’S volume 6 – 14
  • Galaxy Angel Party volume 3
  • Galaxy Angel II volume 4 – 6
  • KAMUI volume 11
  • Kon Kon Kokon volume 2
  • Devil Princess volumes 3-6

Manga Releases for February 2008

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

February 5

Del Rey

  • Tsubasa, Vol. 16

Viz MediaD. Gray-Man 8

  • Absolute Boyfriend, Vol. 5
  • Baby & Me, Vol. 6
  • Bleach, Vol. 22
  • Buso Renkin, Vol. 10
  • D.Gray-Man, Vol. 8
  • Dragon Drive, Vol. 6
  • Eyeshield 21, Vol. 18
  • Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden, Vol. 6
  • Godchild, Vol. 8
  • Hoshin Engi, Vol. 5
  • Kaze Hikaru, Vol. 8
  • Knights of the Zodiac (Saint Seiya), Vol. 22
  • MegaMan NT Warrior, Vol. 13
  • Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation, Vol. 3
  • Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 10
  • Pretty Face, Vol. 4
  • Ral Ω Grad, Vol. 1
  • Tail of the Moon, Vol. 9
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Millennium World, Vol. 7
  • emma 7YuYu Hakusho, Vol. 14

February 6

CMX

  • Emma, Vol. 7
  • The Empty Empire, Vol. 7
  • King of Cards, Vol. 3
  • Swan, Vol. 12

Dark Horse

  • Blade of the Immortal Volume 18: The Sparrow Net
  • Blood+ Volume 1 TPB
  • Dominion: Conflict–No More Noise Second Edition TPB

February 8

TokyoPop

  • Divalicious!, Vol. 2

Viz Media

  • Bastard!!, Vol. 16
  • Cheeky Angel, Vol. 20
  • Inuyasha, Vol. 32
  • Project Arms, Vol. 18
  • Red River, Vol. 20
  • Togari, Vol. 4
  • shugo chara 3Yakitate!! Japan, Vol. 9

February 9

CMX

  • Canon, Vol. 4
  • Variante, Vol. 2

Tokyo Pop

  • Kung Fu Klutz and Karate Cool, Vol. 2

February 12

Del Rey

  • Air Gear, Vol. 7
  • Shugo Chara!, Vol. 3

Digital Manga Publishing

  • Camera, Camera, Camera, Vol. 2
  • Enchanter, Vol. 7
  • vanilla 2Love Training
  • Vanilla, Vol. 2

Tokyo Pop

  • .hack//G.U.+, Vol. 1
  • Aqua, Vol. 2
  • Archlord, Vol. 4
  • Battle Royale Ultimate Edition, Vol. 2
  • Blood Sucker, Vol. 6
  • Boys Be…, Vol. 16
  • Brave Story, Vol. 3
  • Chibi Vampire, Vol. 7
  • CLAMP no Kiseki, Vol. 10
  • Dark Metro, Vol. 1
  • Doors of Chaos, Vol. 1
  • Dragon Voice, Vol. 10
  • Fruits Basket Ultimate Edition, Vol. 2
  • Gothic & Lolita Bible, Vol. 1
  • GTO: The Early Years — Shonan Junai Gumi, Vol. 6
  • Gyakushu!, Vol. 2
  • I Wish…, Vol. 1
  • iD_eNTITY, Vol. 11
  • In The End, Vol. 1
  • Initial D, Vol. 29
  • Junjo Romantica, Vol. 5
  • Kami-Kaze, Vol. 7
  • Kare Kano — Vols 1-3 Collection, Vol. 1
  • King of Thorn, Vol. 3
  • 12 Kingdoms 1Little Queen, Vol. 5
  • Love Mode, Vol. 8
  • Love Pistols, Vol. 4
  • Missle Happy, Vol. 2
  • Nemesis: Who Me?, Vol. 1
  • Pantheon High, Vol. 2
  • Pet Shop of Horrors: Tokyo, Vol. 1
  • Platinum Garden, Vol. 6
  • Recast, Vol. 5
  • Rose Hip Zero, Vol. 5
  • Rure, Vol. 2
  • Satisfaction Guaranteed, Vol. 6
  • Shin Megami Tensei (KAHN), Vol. 1
  • Shinshoku Kiss, Vol. 2
  • Threads of Time, Vol. 11
  • Twelve Kingdoms – Paperback Edition, Vol. 1
  • Wild Adapter, Vol. 4

Viz Media

  • Basara, Vol. 26
  • Boys Over Flowers, Vol. 28
  • Flame of Recca, Vol. 26
  • Hayate the Combat Butler, Vol. 6
  • Inuyasha Ani-Manga, Vol. 25
  • No Need for Tenchi!, Vol. 12 (2nd Edition)
  • kamui 10O-Parts Hunter, Vol. 8
  • The Law of Ueki, Vol. 10
  • Zatch Bell!, Vol. 17

February 13

Broccoli Books

  • Kamui, Vol. 10

Dark Horse

  • Path of the Assassin Volume 9: Battle for Power part 1

Tokyo Pop

  • Tramps Like Us, Vol.14
  • Trinity Blood, Vol. 5

CMX

  • Dokkoida?!, Vol. 1
  • aegis 6Venus in Love, Vol. 2

February 15

Netcomics

  • Do Whatever You Want, Vol.1
  • AEGIS, Vol.6
  • Click, Vol.6
  • Let Dai, Vol.1

February 19

Del Rey

  • Alive, Vol. 3
  • Kitchen Princess, Vol. 5
  • Mushishi, Vol. 3

February 20

CMX

  • kurosagi 6Apothecarius Argentum, Vol. 4
  • The Palette of 12 Secret Colors, Vol. 2

Dark Horse

  • The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Vol. 6 TPB

February 26

Del Rey

  • Minima, Vol. 1
  • Yozakura Quartet, Vol. 1

Digital Manga Publishing

  • All Nippon Airline
  • Speed Racer: Mach Go Go Go, Vols. 1&2

February 27

Broccoli Books

  • tsukihime 5World of Disgaea, Vol. 2

CMX

  • Crayon Shinchan, Vol. 1
  • Orfina, Vol. 2

DrMaster

  • Chinese Hero, Vol. 5
  • Metro Survive, Vol. 1
  • Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Vol. 5

Releasing throughout the month of February

801 Media

  • Maybe I’m Your Steppin’ Stone
  • Love Circumstances

Aurora Publishing, Inc.

  • Black God 2Flock of Angels: Volume 2

Go! Comi

  • A Wise Man Sleeps: Volume 1
  • Cy-Believers: Volume 1
  • A.I. Revolution: Volume 2

Seven Seas Entertainment

  • no releases this month

Yen Press

  • Zombie Loan, Vol. 2
  • Black God, Vol. 2

December thru Early January 2008

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

A recent Business Week article noted the rising popularity of manga in Europe. The article concentrated on France, Germany, and a brief mention of Britain. It mentioned that readers are looking increasingly toward the east for their comics rather than the west. Svenja Malis, an 18-year old German reader was quoted:

“I could also read American comics, but I prefer the Japanese ones because they’re less clumsy.”

gothic sports 1According to Tokyopop Germany managing director, Joachim Kaps, manga accounts for 70% of all comics sales in Germany. It has become so popular, that they (as well as another publisher, Carlsen Manga) are producing and exporting manga from Germany. One example is Gothic Sports by Anike Hage (Vol. 3’s cover is shown in this month’s manga releases article).

From a units sold standpoint, manga is even more popular in France. Readers there say they prefer the graphics of manga over western comics. They also believe that the stories told in manga address more relevant issues for teens.

asterix and the falling skyPerhaps in reaction to the rising popularity of manga, French illustrator and author Albert Uderzo, best known for his Asterix series, published Asterix and the Falling Sky in 2005. This volume, while still set in 1st century B.C. Gaul (France), departs from the previous 32 volumes by introducing two sets of aliens from outer space. One is the evil Nagma (anagram of manga) who want to steal the Gaul’s druid potion so that they can conquer more planets. The comic also pokes fun at Americans. The other alien group is called the Tadsilweny (anagram for Walt Disney) and they want to confiscate the potion since they consider it a dangerous weapon.

The brief British reference said that Tokyopop UK had it sales double from $4 million in 2006 to $8 million in 2007. There was also mention of British experiments with publishing their own manga with adaptations of Shakespeare and the Bible.

The article mentioned one interesting point. Europe is “the largest consumer of manga outside Japan“. They referred to a report by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) which said that the combined manga sales in Germany and France “totaled $212.6 million last year” (which probably means 2006). The article did not have a link to the report, but a similar report is mentioned in a ComiPress article. That article states that Germany and France combined for a range of 20.6 billion yen ($188.6 million) to 23.6 billion yen ($216.1 million) while the US that year (2005) had sales of 20 billion yen ($183 million).

On a related note, according to an ANN article, the Japanese government has allocated 147 million yen (about $1.34 million) “to spread anime, manga, and other elements of Japanese popular culture in Eastern Europe“. The money will be used to pay for 30 teachers to go to Hungary and three other countries to teach Japanese and Japanese popular culture.

Business Week Article (via ANN): Europe’s Manga Mania

ComiPress Article: New Report from JETRO on the Manga Market in Germany
JETRO Report (Japanese) and pdf link

ANN Article: Japan Plans 147M Yen to Spread Anime, Manga in Europe

ANN Japanese Sources: Nikkan Sports, Asahi Shimbun


Kami no Shizuku 1Manga has provided one surprising side benefit for Europe. According to the wine news site Decanter.com, it appears that the Kodansha series, Kami no Shizuku (The Drops of God), has helped the sales of several wines. Here is a synopsis of the series from mangatraders.com:

“The main character of the manga, a young man called Shizuku Kanzaki, discovers the beauty of wine after his father, a famous wine critic, dies and leaves an unusual will: a description of 12 wines he considers to be the best in the world, comparing them to Jesus Christ’s disciples.

The first person to find these “disciples” will inherit the father’s wine collection, a contest that pits Shizuku against his adoptive brother, Issey Tomine, who works as a sommelier.”

As wines have been introduced in the manga, readers have been going out to purchase them. According to Reuters, winemakers have noticed the Kami no Shizuku effect:

Mont Perat

“The minute it was translated into Korean, we had calls from three importers,” said Basaline Granger Despagne, whose family has grown wine near France’s Dordogne river for 250 years. Their Chateau Mont Perat 2001 Bordeaux appears early on in the manga.

“When it was translated into Chinese, people called us from Taiwan saying, ‘I bought some Mont Perat and sold 50 cases in two days because of the manga’,” she said in a phone interview.

Umberto Cosmo, whose family produces Colli di Conegliano Rosso Contrada di Concenigo, was pleased to hear that his wine appeared in the manga. In a phone interview with Reuters, he said that sales jumped by 30% after the manga came out.

The Decanter.com article also comments about how the manga describes wine:

“The books are notable for their unconventional descriptions of the wines featured. For instance, Mont Perat is likened to a concert given by the rock group Queen, with the wine’s acidity taking the place of Freddie Mercury’s vocals.”

Mangaka Yuko Kibayashi, under a nom de plume, and with the help of her brother Shin plan to continue the series for another four to five years revealing the identity of the 12 “disciple” wines during the course of the series.

Kami no Shizuku is currently published in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Not surprisingly, a French version is scheduled to be published in 2008 with the possibility of an Italian version to follow. Also, there are rumors of a live-action adaptation.

Image of Kami no Shizuku, Vol. 1 from beNippon.com
Image of Château Mont-Pérat (2001) from snooth.com

Decanter.com article (via ANN): Manga comics ignite interest in wine

Reuters Story: FEATURE-Taste of heaven: Manga spreads ‘Drops of God’ in Asia


The boost of wine sales due to the manga was incidental since none of the wine makers paid the mangaka to have their wines mentioned in the series. However, it is fairly common for anime and manga to be used to advertise products for companies.

pizza hut flyerwallpaper samplePizza Hut has recently been using anime as one way to promote their pizzas. They had product placement within the series Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion and Darker than Black. They had a promotional campaign tied to the theatrical release of the Evangelion: 1.0 You Are [Not] Alone movie. Now, they have a similar campaign under way tied to the shōjo series Maria-sama ga Miteru. According to the series official website…hopefully, I have interpreted the Japanese translation (Babelfish) correctly…customers who buy a medium pizza will get a limited edition Maria-sama ga Miteru design pizza box, while supplies last. Additionally, Pizza Hut Club members will have access to a special computer wallpaper and mobile phone graphic. The campaign will run from January 7 thru February 13. All orders made online will be entered in a drawing where the prizes are a stamp sheet signed by the main cast (1), a script signed by the “Red Rose” cast (3), a script signed by the “Yellow Rose” cast (3), a script signed by the “White Rose” cast (3), and the Season 3 OVA fan disc – Vol. 1 (20). Entry to the drawing can also be made by mail. The entry deadline is February 19. Note: This campaign is for Japan only.

Images © Oyuki Konno/Shueisha, Yamayurikai 02

Maria-sama ga Miteru official website

ANN Article: MariMite Pizza Hut Japan Campaign, Fan Disk Announced
Japanese Source: Moon Phase

Takeru with Cup NoodlesIn 2006, Nissin Foods celebrated the 35th anniversary of the introduction of one of their most famous products, Cup Noodles, with a campaign called the Freedom Project. It included the usual print and TV ads as well as special 35th anniversary designs for their Cup Noodles. What made this campaign different is that Nissin commissioned the creation of a 6 part OVA called Freedom as its centerpiece. It was created by Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), who also was the character and mecha designer. Of course, there was plenty of product placement throughout the series.

Last month, Nissin started airing two commercials for another of its products, Donbei Instant Noodles. For this campaign, they have characters from Mobile Suit Gundam sing the praises of Donbei. The “Mieru” commercial shows Amuro Ray delirious from hunger after a long battle and crying for joy when he sees floating bowls of Donbei Udon and Soba.

amuro and noodles

The other commercial features Zeon leader Gihren Zabi giving his “Sieg Zeon” speech, except he says “Juicy Udon” instead of “Sieg Zeon”.

Juicy Udon!
Tohru Furuya and Banjou Ginga, the seiyū for Amuro and Gihren, reprised their Mobile Suit Gundam roles for the spots.

Nissin has posted both the “Mieru” commericial (in low, middle, or high quality) and the “Eat up, my countrymen” commercial (in low, middle, or high quality). You will need Windows Media Player for playback.

Freedom, Noodle and Gundam Images ©Nissin, Sunrise, Sotsu Agency, and Bandai Visual

ANN Article: Gundam Characters Hawk Instant Noodles in Japan
Japanese Source: Nikkei Trendy Net

Bandai Visual

Last November, Anime Anime (via ANN) reported that Japanese retailer kamikau.com was offering 20 different styles of tissue boxes with designs from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Each style costs 525 yen (about $4.79 US) and includes 100 2-ply white tissues. Each features artwork from the series on 5 sides. The set of 20 is offered at 10,500 yen (about $95.82 US)…so no discount. To protect the tissue box, kamikau sells a clear acrylic cover for 2100 yen (about $19.16 US). They also offer a customization service, so people can create their own style (using the images found in the 20 pre-made styles) for no extra charge.

set of 20 Haruhi boxes one haruhi box

Images © 2006 Nagaru Tanigawa/Noizi Ito/member of SOS and © 2006 Morizane – Shoji Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Anime Anime Article (Japanese): 涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱」のボックスティッシュ インターネットで限定販売

ANN Article: Not-So-Daily Link of the Day: Haruhi Tissue Boxes

In the past anime and manga have been used to promote beauty and personal hygiene products for women (The Rose of Versailles bath powder sets) and children (Shin-chan Eau de Toilette, Body Fresh Spray, and Cologne). Now, the hair product division of German-based company Schwarzkopf & Henkel (home care, personal care, and adhesives) will be introducing a new line of hair coloring products for men.

bleaching products

Pictured above and below are the current line of bleaching and darkening products.

darkening products

According to ANN, “the new lineup will include more unusual colors: beige, ash, gray, blonde, khaki (greenish tint), and blood (reddish tint)”. The projected price for each color is 700 yen (about $6.43 US). The launch date is February 4, 2008.

worst 1The characters used for the 2007 line and those that will appear on the 2008 line come from the high school fighting manga Crows and its sequel Worst by Hiroshi Takahashi. Here is a synopsis of Worst from DMP:

“Worst is a high impact gang-related title that deals with teenage boys fighting their way through high school on order to gain respect. There is no room for deceit and underhanded tricks at the notorious High School ‘Suzuran.’ These young men follow a strict honor code when it comes to brawling, very reminiscent of the mafia in the early days. Traditionally called a ‘Yankee Manga’ (’Yankee’ having a different meaning and pronunciation than in English) typically involves delinquent young men and thugs like ‘Hana Tsukishima’ who is making his way through the ranks to rule over the rest at school.”

facial tissuesYou will notice that the main character, Hana Tsukishima, doesn’t appear to have much hair and that he isn’t on any of the products above. Not to worry, Schwarzkopf & Henkel is using his image to sell their line of facial tissues.

On a related note, last October, a live-action prequel called Crows Zero directed by Takashi Miike opened in theaters around Japan and Korea. Schwarzkopf & Henkel used this as an opportunity for cross promotion. They gave away posters signed by Takahashi-san and the film’s star Shun Oguri (Hana Yori Dango).

Product Images: ©2007 Schwarzkopf & Henkel K.K. All Right Reserved
Character Images: © Hiroshi Takahashi (Monthly Shonen Champion) 2002-2007

ANN Story: Manga Used to Sell Hair Coloring Products…for Men

Japanese Source (which also shows a photo of the upcoming product line): Sankei Shimbun

hello kittyFinally, one more piece about products for men. It seems the juggernaut of kawaii, Hello Kitty, has decided to enter the arena. Sanrio Co. will be rolling out a line of products aimed at young men including bags, watches, and T-shirts. The products will go on sale in Japan this month with later releases planned in other Asian nations as well as the US.

men's products with presenterThere will be some minor modifications to the look of Hello Kitty for men. According to Sanrio (via the Associated Press), the shape of the head will feature:

“…a more rugged, cool look to appeal to men in their teens and 20s. For example, a picture of the cat on a $36 black T-shirt has the words, ‘hello kitty,’ instead of the usual dots for the eyes and nose.”

While this will be the first time Sanrio has developed Hello Kitty items specifically for men, they did have a trial run of sorts last fall. They collaborated on a “limited edition” of men’s clothing with designers in Tokyo’s Harajuku section. This was noted in the Hello Kitty World blog.

As to why Sanrio decided to enter the men’s fashion market, spokesperson Kazuo Tohmatsu said:

We think Hello Kitty is accepted by young men as a design statement in fashion.” He added, “Young men these days grew up with character goods. That generation feels no embarrassment about wearing Hello Kitty.”

products for men

Photos of Products: © Associated Press/AP Photo/Koji Sasahara
Images of Hello Kitty: © 1976-2008 Sanrio Co., Ltd.

Associated Press Story (via The Miami Herald): Hello Kitty targets hip young (tom)cats

ANN Story: Hello Kitty Takes on Men for Next Conquest

Retail News and Sales

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

There was some shakiness to the start of the New Year so let’s get the bad news out of the way first:

Mar vol 5 cover

Viz Media has discontinued DVD releases for the MÄR anime series after volume 4. This was originally reported by AnimeOnDVD and later picked up by ANN. When ANN questioned Viz Media, their public relations department gave them the following answer:

“As in the case with all entertainment companies, we are constantly evaluating the titles we release and how they are released, and at this present time these titles are under evaluation. We do however still have the license to produce these titles, and they are still available for viewing on Toonami Jetstream.”

However, only half the episodes have been dubbed and it is uncertain if Viz will have the remainder dubbed.

The other title referred to in the reply is the strategy game series Hikaru no Go. ANN has reported that some retailers have said that the series would no longer be released on single DVDs, which means there is still a chance that Hikaru no Go will be released exclusively in a boxed set. Viz has released some titles in this manner including The Prince of Tennis and Buso Renkin.

ANN Story:
Viz Responds to Questions about MÄR, Hikaru no Go DVDs

__________

Here are a couple more pieces of bad news, but at least they have a silver lining:

Earlier this month retailers Right Stuf and Robert’s Anime Corner Store reported issues with some releases from Bandai Entertainment. The affected titles are Gundam Seed Destiny Vol. 12 regular and special editions, Eureka Seven Vol. 11, Flag Vol. 2, and My-Otome Vol. 4. On January 9, Bandai Entertainment issued a press release which confirmed the defective discs. It described the problem as “a result of a duplicator’s error which created playability issues on some DVD consoles and personal computers“. The titles have been recalled from stores and replacements will be shipped when they become available. For customers who already purchased defective discs, the press release states:

“A special link on the http://www.bandai-ent.com site will be active beginning 1/17/08. Customers who purchased the above mentioned titles and are experiencing difficulties should click on the link and follow instructions for the replacement program. This link is only for replacement discs of the above listed titles.”

gundam seed destiny 12 eureka seven 11 flag 2 my-otome 4

ANN Story:
Bandai Entertainments Confirms Recall on 4 DVDs

Newtype USA Jan. 2008Also earlier this month, ADV contacted retailers to let them know that Newtype USA would be ceasing publication after the February issue. ADV had licensed Newtype USA from Kadokawa Shoten who publishes the original Japanese Newtype magazine. The first issue was the November 2002 issue (not counting the “0″ issue released at Anime Expo 2002). ADV is planning to replace Newtype USA with a new magazine called PiQ. In an email sent to subscribers who were concerned about the status of their subscriptions, ADV wrote:

We will be launching a new magazine that will be on sale in mid-March. Titled PiQ, the magazine will cover anime, manga, video games and other aspects of pop culture of keen interests to you. All existing subscribers will have their remaining issues fulfilled at a two-to-one ratio, meaning you will get double the number of magazines delivered straight to your doorstep! We hope you stick with us and give the new magazine a shot. We’re sure you’ll love it!

As to why they are ceasing publication of Newtype USA, the email ADV sent to retailers mentioned (according to AnimeOnDVD.com, January 10 listing) “the changes…relate to licensing needs that go back to Japan.” Additionally, AOD noted that this decision was also “likely the result of the changing landscape in the US market“. AOD pointed out, “Anyone who has a copy of the magazine can tell easily where a good chunk of their advertising came from when you notice just how much Geneon Entertainment pushed their goods there“.

Image of the January 2008 issue of Newtype USA is from the Newtype USA site.

ANN Stories:
Newtype USA to Cease Publication
A.D. Vision to replace Newtype USA with PiQ in March

__________

Okay, let’s move on to some better news…first up a freebie of sorts:

SciFi Channel logo

Good news for US audiences…the Sci Fi Channel will be doubling their anime blocks. In addition to their Ani-Monday block (11pm – 1am ET), Sci Fi will start a 2-hour block on Tuesday nights in the same time slot. Okay so that amounts to just another 2 hours per week. Still, this is a promising development. If Sci Fi is planning to try to compete with the first two hours of Adult Swim’s weeknight block, then they will eventually strip their anime programming Monday thru Friday.

The new block…yet to be named, though Ani-Tuesday doesn’t have the same ring as Ani-Monday…will start in February.

Ani-Monday logo

Here is what will be shown on Ani-Monday in February:

  • Feb. 4 – Ninja Scroll
  • Feb. 11 – Tactics/Noein
  • Feb. 18 – Tactics/Noein
  • Feb. 25 – Tactics/Noein

Here is what will be shown during the Tuesday block in February:

  • Feb. 5 – R.O.D. (Read or Die)
  • Feb. 12 – Appleseed
  • Feb. 19 – Kai Doh Maru
  • Feb. 12 – X

It looks like Mondays will primarily be used to show series and Tuesdays will primarily be used for movies.
Starz Edge logo

In another bit of TV related news, the cable premium channel Starz Edge, is moving its Animidnight block to Mondays at midnight (i.e., Tuesday morning). Here is the upcoming schedule:

  • Jan. 28 – Desert Punk, Episodes 21 & 22
  • Feb. 4 – Desert Punk, Episodes 23 & 24
  • Feb. 11 – Hellsing Ultimate, Episodes 1 & 2
  • Feb. 18 – Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society
  • Feb. 26 – Black Lagoon, Episodes 1 & 2

Two points of interest…first the parent company of Starz Edge is Starz, LLC. Starz, LLC also owns Manga Entertainment which supplies the majority of Sci Fi’s Ani-Monday offerings. With this move, Animidnight will be aired at the same time as Ani-Monday and Sci Fi’s Tuesday anime block.

Second, Starz Edge was originally going to air Hellsing Ultimate, Episodes 3 & 4 on February 18. However, Geneon USA (not dead yet) has told ANN that “episode 4 will not be ready with an English-language track next month“. Another issue was the fact that episode 4 is not scheduled to be released in Japan by Geneon Entertainment (Geneon USA’s parent company) until February 22. It will be interesting to see when and if an English dub of episode 4 will be available for broadcast…and if it will ever make it to DVD.

ANN Stories:
America’s Sci Fi Channel Adds Anime on Tuesdays
Hellsing Ultimate 4 Unavailable for Starz Edge Next Month

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Now on to the sales:

amazon logo

Amazon.com is having a sale they call the Big Anime Sale. You can save up to 50% on a select list of over 225 DVDs. No end date is listed for the sale.

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Jan 2008 banner

AnimeNation’s current sale is called their New Year’s Sale and it is essentially a continuation of their Overstock Sale.

New Year Sale banner

You can save up to 60% on a select list of items. There is no end date listed for the sale.

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rightstuf logo

RightStuf! has a new sale called Take Note: Savings That Rule. You can save on products from Viz Media.

Take Note banner

You can take 33% off the retail prices of all books and graphic novels. You can take 40% off the retail prices of all DVDs. This includes pre-orders. The coupon code is takenote and it expires on January 20 at 11:59 pm CST.

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borders logo

Borders is offering a printable coupon for 20% off one item when purchased at a Borders store. Read the fine print for the exclusions. The coupon expires on January 21.

 

borders coupon

 

Manga Releases for January 2008

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

January 1

Tokyo Pop

  • Slayers, Vol. 7
  • Slayers, Vol. 8

Viz Media
Reborn! 6

  • Black Cat, Vol. 12
  • Dr. Slump, Vol. 14
  • Fall In Love Like a Comic, Vol. 2
  • Gin Tama, Vol. 4
  • High School Debut , Vol. 1
  • Hikaru no Go, Vol. 11
  • Hunter x Hunter, Vol. 18
  • Kurohime, Vol. 3
  • La Corda d’Oro, Vol. 6
  • Love Com, Vol. 4
  • Nana, Vol. 8
  • Reborn!, Vol. 6
  • S.A, Vol. 2
  • Sand Chronicles, Vol. 1
  • Shaman King, Vol. 14
  • Skip Beat!, Vol. 10
  • Strawberry 100%, Vol. 3
  • The Prince of Tennis, Vol. 23
  • Whistle!, Vol. 18

January 2

CMX
Shiki Tsukai 2

  • Presents, Vol. 2
  • Tears of a Lamb, Vol. 1

January 8

Del Rey

  • The Wallflower 14
  • Shiki Tsukai 2

TokyoPop
Gothic Sports 3

  • Arcana, Vol. 7
  • Aria, Vol. 1
  • B’TX, Vol. 14
  • Cherry Juice, Vol, 2
  • Chibi Vampire: The Novel, Vol. 4
  • Chobits Art Book: Your Eyes Only, Vol. 1
  • Chronicles of the Cursed Sword, Vol. 20
  • Dazzle, Vol. 7
  • Deja vu – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter – Vol. 1
  • Demon Flowers: Kuruizaki no Hana, Vol. 2
  • Dragon Head, Vol. 9
  • Elemental Gelade, Vol. 6
  • Fantamir, Vol. 2
  • Full Metal Panic! (novel), Vol. 2
  • Gatcha Gatcha, Vol. 6
  • Getbackers, Vol. 22
  • Good Luck, Vol. 4
  • Gothic Sports, Vol. 3
  • Harukaze Bitter Bop, Vol. 1
  • Judas, Vol. 5
  • King City, Vol. 1
  • The Knockout Makers, Vol. 1
  • Manga Sutra — Futari H, Vol. 1
  • Monochrome Factor, Vol. 1
  • Pearl Pink, Vol. 4
  • Phantom, Vol. 4
  • Rebirth, Vol. 21
  • Riding Shotgun, Vol. 2
  • Rozen Maiden, Vol. 7
  • Samurai Deeper Kyo, Vol. 26
  • Short Sunzen!, Vol. 1
  • Ultra Cute, Vol. 9
  • V.B. Rose, Vol. 1

Viz Media
Sgt. Frog 14

  • Bastard!!, Vol. 16
  • Cheeky Angel, Vol. 20
  • Inuyasha, Vol. 32
  • Project Arms, Vol. 18
  • Red River, Vol. 20
  • Togari, Vol. 4
  • Yakitate!! Japan, Vol. 9

January 9

CMX

  • Canon, Vol. 4
  • Variante, Vol. 2

Tokyo Pop

  • Sgt. Frog, Vol. 14

January 10

Tokyo Pop

  • MY-HiME, Vol. 5

January 12

Tokyo Pop

  • Lagoon Engine, Vol. 4

January 13

Tokyo Pop
Operation Liberate Men 2

  • Dogby Walks Alone, Vol. 2

January 15

Del Rey

  • School Rumble 8
  • Pastel 9

Digital Manga Publishing

  • Heroes Are Extinct! Volume 3 (final)
  • Everlasting Love
  • Prince Charming Volume 2

Netcomics

  • Honey Senior, Darling Junior Vol.1
  • Romance Papa Vol.1
  • Totally Captivated Vol.1
  • Operation Liberate Men Vol.2

Viz Media
Trigun Maximum 12

Gyo, Vol. 2 (2nd Edition)

January 16

Broccoli Books

  • My Dearest Devil Princess #2

CMX

  • Cipher, Vol. 10

Dark Horse

  • Trigun Maximum Volume 12: The Gunslinger TPB

Digital Manga Publishing

  • Trigun Maximum Volume 12

January 22

Del Rey

  • Kagetora 8

January 23

Broccoli Books
Puri Puri 4

  • Coyote Ragtime Show #3

CMX

  • Gon, Vol. 3

Dark Horse

  • Berserk Volume 21 TPB
  • Oh My Goddess! Volume 28

Digital Manga Publishing

  • Berserk Volume 21

January 29

DrMaster

  • SVC CHAOS: SNK vs. CAPCOM, Vol. 8
  • Puri Puri, Vol. 4

January 29

Del Rey
Family Complex

  • Hell Girl 1

Digital Manga Publishing

  • Party
  • Love Share
  • I’ll Be Your Slave
  • Body Language
  • Family Complex

Viz Media

  • Rurouni Kenshin, Vol. 1 (VIZBIG Edition)

January 30

Broccoli Books

  • E’S #5

CMX

  • Penguin Revolution, Vol. 5

Dark Horse
Pandora

  • Blood+ Volume 1 TPB
  • Gunsmith Cats: Burst Volume 3
  • Red String Volume 2
  • Translucent Volume 3

Releasing throughout the month of January

801 Media

  • The Prime Minister’s Secret Diplomacy
  • The King of Debt

Aurora Publishing, Inc.

  • Walkin’ Butterfly: Volume 2

Go! Comi

  • Night of the Beasts: Volume 2
  • After School Nightmare: Volume 2
  • TRAIN+TRAIN: Volume 1

Seven Seas Entertainment

  • First Love Sisters Vol. 1
  • Pandora: A Death Jr. Manga
  • Voiceful

Sales and Contest Update (end of year)

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Here’s a quick update on some current sales:

animenation xmas banner

AnimeNation has their ongoing Red Hot Overstock Sale offering up to 60% off a select list of items. Also, if you make a purchase (sale or otherwise) you are automatically entered in their Holiday Giveaway. No end date is listed for the sale, but the contest ends on December 30.

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Day 13 banner

RightStuf! has posted the full list of sale items for their 12 Days of Anime sale:

  1. Eureka Seven DVD Bundle (1-10) – $89.99 (63% OFF)
  2. Inu Yasha Movie DVD Box Set (Deluxe Edition) – $39.99 (55% OFF)
  3. Chobits Mini Box 1+2 DVD Bundle – $48.99 (59% OFF)
  4. My-HiME DVD Bargain Bundle (1-7) – $69.99 (59% OFF)
  5. Vol. 1 of Venus Versus Virus, Pumpkin Scissors, Innocent Venus, & Red Garden Xenosaga – $13.99 each (52% OFF)
  6. Big O DVD Collection & Big O II DVD Collection – $18.99 each (52% OFF)
  7. Rumbling Hearts DVD Bundle (1-3) – $19.99 (77% OFF)
  8. Initial D Season 1 DVD Box Set – $29.99 (60% OFF)
  9. Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA Ultra Edition – $24.99 (64% OFF)
  10. Burst Angel DVD Box Set – $39.99 (55% OFF)
  11. Boys Over Flowers DVD Bundle (1-12) – $89.99 (69% OFF)
  12. Scrapped Princess DVD Collection – $23.99 (52% OFF)

For Day 13, RightStuf! posted a list of an additional 16 DVDs/bundles/sets for sale with discounts between 52% and 78%. No coupon codes are necessary. The sale ends on December 25 at midnight CST.

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corner store xmas banner

Robert’s Anime Corner Store holiday discounts have ended, but they do have some Holiday Specials from a list of select DVDs and figures. Also, most of their figures and toys still have a 10% discount or more from their regular prices.

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CDJapan xmas logo

CDJapan is having a holiday sale…the 2007 CDJapan Holiday Offer. This sale offers discounts of up to 70% off of select CDs (music and drama) and DVDs (anime, live action, western, gravure, etc.). The sale ends on January 10. There are a couple of caveats. The prices are in yen and the DVDs are R2. If your purchase is 3000 yen (about $26.49 US) or more, you can receive an additional 500 yen (about $4.41) discount in the form of a coupon…if you purchase 5000 yen (about $44.16), you will receive another 500 yen coupon. These coupons are valid through December 31.

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yesasia holiday logo

yesasia.com is having their end of year clearance sale. You can save up to 80% on select items including manga, anime, live action (Japanese, K-drama, etc.), western films, games, etc. If your order totals $50 or more, you will receive a $5 coupon for your next purchase. The sale ends on December 31.

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Here are a couple of contests:

AOD xmas banner

AnimeOnDVD’s 44 Days of Christmas contest continues. Each day, AOD will be giving away a DVD (on December 17, the prize was Kodocha, Vol. 13). You have to enter every day. Check AOD’s home page and click on the 44 Days of Christmas link (under contests) to see the current prize and for entry rules.

Their other running contest is their Magic, Mayhem and Pretty Boys from ADV Films Contest. The winner will receive Vol. 1 of three different series…Magikano, Tokyo Majin,and The Wallflower. Check their contest page for entry details and rules. The contest ends on December 24.

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contest prize packageRed RightStuf logo

RightStuf! has a new contest…the Geneon Entertainment Contest. There will be 4 winners. Each will receive a package which includes the first volumes of Elemental Gelade, Bottle Fairy and Kamichu!, plus a full set of Sakura Wars pencil boards featuring art from the series. To enter, fill out their entry form before January 3. You have to be 13 years or older to enter…check their rules page for details. The winners will be announced on the January 4th edition of RightStuf’s Anime Today podcast.

Anime & Manga News (Interview Edition)

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Madness at Mokuba logo

Recently (Nov. 29 – Dec. 1), a play was staged at MIT’s Kresge Little Theater called Madness at Mokuba. It was described as a “live-action anime show”. The synopsis of the play (from MIT’s press release):

“The stage is set for the finals of the giant robot contest at the Mokuba Institute of Technology. But as the two teams prepare for battle, a strange disease called VIRTIGO is sweeping the school, causing unpredictable reality slippages. And it’s getting worse. Does it have something to do with Homeland Security’s suspicious arrest of undocumented workers nearby? Can our heroes solve the mystery of VIRTIGO, help the workers, and . . . find love?”

Dr. Ian CondryThe play was written by cultural anthropologist and MIT associate professor Ian Condry. He specializes in contemporary Japan specifically focusing on media, popular culture, and globalization. An example of this is his book, Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization.

To help promote the play as well as the lecture (Explaining Anime’s Global Power) which preceded the first show, the MIT News Office interviewed Dr. Condry. He briefly talked about how his students got him involved with the play, the convergence of hip hop and anime, and the globalization of anime. In the following excerpt , Dr. Condry explains how anime and hip hop are similar:

“Both hip-hop and anime are media forms that were initially denigrated by media elites as not being something that could gain a wide audience. They both show the power of globalization from below, and they provide hope that ideas and practices that are seen as unimportant, fringe or sub-cultural can nevertheless become global powerhouses in their own right.”

Live Action Anime logo by Ashley Micks
Photo of Dr. Ian Condry by Stephanie Schorow

ANN Story: MIT Professors Write, Direct Anime-Themed Play

MIT News Office Interview: Condry discusses anime’s global reach


Inaugural New York Anime Festival

NYAF 2007 banner

In late November, Publishers Weekly Comics Week reporter Kai-Ming Cha spoke with John McGeary, Vice-President of Reed Exhibitions (a show organizer). He is the show manager of the inaugural New York Anime Festival. He talked about how NYAF came about after the success of New York Comc-con, that NYAF will have multiple tracks (fan, professional, and educational), as well as speculation on future NYAFs.

In this excerpt, Mr. McGeary explains why the NYAF was launched in December rather than the heart of the convention schedule (spring/summer):

“A lot of people have asked that and one of the reasons is dates of availability at the Javits Center. But fans feel a bit starved. They’ve gone to the major anime events over the summer. We had a volunteer meeting recently, and they say a lot of anime releases come out in January and February, and they can preview them in December. Also, it’s the holiday season, so why not celebrate anime?”

PWCW Interview: NYAF’s John McGeary Talks Anime


Takehiko Inoue Mural

Mural in progress

Back in October, I mentioned that manga-ka Takehiko Inoue would be creating a mural for the new Kinokuniya store in NYC. He worked on the mural from Nov. 16 through Nov. 19. It turned out to be a black ink work in the style of Vagabond on the wall plus a small omake on the ceiling.

Takehiko InoueDuring the unveiling event co-hosted by Inoue-san and Viz Media, ANN was able to have a short interview with him. Inoue-san talked about basketball (from his manga like Slam Dunk to his own experiences to his recent involvement with a scholarship for Japanese player/students), the artistic style used in Vagabond, and his involvement with the upcoming Xbox 360 game Lost Odyssey.

In the following excerpt, he expresses his feelings about working on the mural:

“When you create manga, you basically sit at a desk for a long, long time, and I’ve been doing that for many years. This, however, is a big space! I had to come here on a plane to draw it. It’s something different, and that’s refreshing. It gives me more motivation. I’ll be using that motivation for whatever I work on next.”

Photos from ANN

ANN Story (which includes more photos of the mural, omake, and event): Takehiko Inoue at Kinokuniya NYC


Voice Actors At The London MCM Expo

Colleen & LauraHopping across the pond, Nargis of Anime UK News recently posted an interview with voice actors Laura Bailey (Dragon Ball Z and Crayon Shin-chan) and Colleen Clinkenbeard (Full Metal Alchemist and One Piece) during their visit for the London MCM Expo. They spoke about how they first met, their feelings about Fruits Basket, playing male roles (specifically boys like Trunks and Luffy), and comparing US and UK anime conventions.

Here is an excerpt featuring Colleen:

AUKN: …how does being a director differ from being a straight up actress?
Colleen: Directing for me is far more difficult that acting. Acting, you have a director there and so you’re able to take someone else’s vision and help them make it a reality and as a director you have to come up with the vision on your own, which has a lot more responsibility attached to it and directing is much more technical and requires so much more time. It’s actually lower paying, it’s all a harder job.

And here is a lighter excerpt featuring Laura:

AUKN: Laura, you play Lust in FMA. You normally play goody two-shoes characters, so I was wondering what was it like having to switch over to play the very sexy villianess, Lust?

Laura: It’s nice actually. If I’m auditioning for film roles or on camera I don’t get to play the sexy vixen very often because I don’t have the boobs for it and Lust did have them.

AUKN: I can’t believe you just said that but I’m glad you did!

Laura: It’s nice to live precariously through my characters.

Photo of Colleen Clinkenbeard and Laura Bailey from Anime UK News

Anime UK News Interview: Interview with Laura Bailey and Colleen Clinkenbeard

Johnny Yong Bosch at Power MorphiconThere was another US voice actor who was at the Expo. That was Johnny Yong Bosch, who was also interviewed by Anime UK News in the form of a podcast. The interviewer is again Nargis. They spoke mostly about his role as Ichigo in Bleach. They also talked about voice actors using aliases rather than their real names, doing his own stunt work in live-action films, and his feelings about the Power Rangers.

This excerpt has Mr. Bosch describing how he started his voice acting career:

“After Power Rangers, I did a live-action film where all the audio was screwed up so I had to re-dub the film…and one of the producers thought that my voice sounded like a decent hero voice. And he wanted me to come in and asked me to come audition for a show called Trigun and then I went in, auditioned and got the part of Vash and then from there it’s just, you know, become a steady thing.”

Photo of Johnny Yong Bosch at Power Morphicon 2007 by HaiTien

Anime UK News Interview: Anime UK News podcast interview with Johnny Yong Bosch


Appleseed: Ex Machina

Japanese Appleseed Ex Machina promo

A new CG movie set in Masamune Shirow’s cyberpunk world of Appleseed, had its US premiere on December 15 at the 15th Annual Jules Verne Adventure Film Festival in Los Angeles. The film is called Appleseed: Ex Machina and its Japanese premiere was on October 20, 2007. The movie is set in the same world as the 2004 Appleseed film with many of the same characters. However, the movie is not a direct sequel to the earlier film. Here is a synopsis from the Jules Verne Festival website:

“Following the non-nuclear war that killed half the world’s population, the city-nation of OLYMPUS stands as a beacon of hope in a world of chaos and conflict. The utopian metropolis in governed by GAIA, a vast artificial intelligence, and administered by genetically engineered humanoids known as Bioroids, whose designer DNA suppresses strong emotions. With Bioroids being half of its population, peace and order are easily maintained.

DEUNAN, a young female warrior, and BRIAREOS, a veteran cyborg-soldier, are both partners and lovers. As members of ES.W.A.T the elite special forces serving OLYMPUS, they are deployed wherever trouble strikes. The two fighters find their partnership tested in a new way by the arrival of a new member to their rank – an experimental Bioroid named TEREUS.

TereusCreated by Gaia using DNA from Briareos, Tereus uncannily resembles Briareos before the wartime injuries that led to his becoming cyborg. Not only does this trouble Deunan, but Briareos’s DNA give Tereus more than just top-notch fighting skills, for this battle-ready Bioroid is like Briareos in another way: he has strong romantic feelings for Deunan!

At the same time, Olympus finds itself under a stealth attack by a mysterious cabal of scientists intent on imposing their own version of world peace upon the people of the world. Cyborg terrorism, deadly nanotech, fanatical zealots, and rioting citizens are just some of the threats that Deunan must contend with as she fight to save Olympus, and save mankind from plunging into a new kind of hell.”

Appleseed: Ex Machina was previewed at the recent New York Anime Festival. Shortly before the NYAF, ANN interviewed producers Joseph Chou and John Woo as well as director Shinji Aramaki.

Deunan

Joseph Chou was a producer for the Japanese version and executive producer for the English version. In his interview, he talks about the development of Ex Machina, how John Woo was brought on board, his duties as a producer, difficulties (and their resolutions) of creativity and communications issues, the appeal of the Appleseed franchise, and his acting role(s) in the film (his favorite seems to be the ‘brainwashed killer’ role). Here is an excerpt:

ANN – Tell us about how the film’s language tracks were produced, in terms of the differences between the English and Japanese versions.

JC – We went through a bit of unique process for anime localization for Ex Machina. Normally you would have a finished Japanese language anime to dub the English lines. However, due to the time constraint, as well as the fact that this is a US-Japan production, required us to go almost simultaneously with Japanese dubbing. Having experienced the level of dubbing effort that was spent for The Animatrix, I wanted to make sure we do a ‘quality’ dubbing for Ex Machina. Furthermore, I did not want the English track to just mimic the Japanese track, but wanted it to be ‘culturally relevant’ for the English speaking audience who may not necessarily be anime fans who understand the conventions of Japanese anime.

Fortunately we had a great English script to begin with by a writer named Todd W. Russell (who happens to be the brother of the voice actor behind Disney’s Aladdin), and Steven Foster, our ADR director, did a wonderful job transferring and adapting the script to the screen.

Naturally, the audience will see some discrepancy in dialog between English dub vs. English sub versions, which affects the personality of characters and how the story unfolds. There were lines and English-specific humor that even had to be approved by director Aramaki, but the intention was clearly to make the ‘best movie experience’ possible.

When the DVD comes out, I recommend watching and comparing the dub vs. sub versions – you might feel like watching 2 different movies.

Tereus and Briareos

Producer John Woo is known for his live action directing work. His style of Hong Kong action films (A Better Tomorrow and Hard Boiled) influenced Western film makers like Robert Rodriguez (Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico) and the Wachowski brothers (The Matrix trilogy). In his brief interview, he talked about his introduction to anime, his interest in the Appleseed universe, and his future plans with respect to anime and Appleseed. Here is an excerpt:

ANN – How do you feel about working with animation, as opposed to live-action?

JW – In some ways it’s easier. You can put whatever you want in an animated movie. But you need to have good drama, not just action, which is hard to do in any medium. Aramaki is very good with emotion, as well as action, which is why I felt a good connection. Ex Machina has action, drama and romance. I think the audience is going to love it.

Ex Machina explosion

Shinji Aramaki was the director for the 2004 Appleseed movie. Besides directing (Madox-01 and Megazone 23), he is also a mechanical designer (Naruto The Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow and Oh! Edo Rocket – TV) and a production designer (Bubblegum Crisis – OVA and Fullmetal Alchemist – TV). In his brief interview, he compared Ex Machina with the first movie and spoke about the challenges with working on the new film. He also gave a short (and not very informative) glimpse into his future projects. Here is an excerpt:

ANN: You’ve been working in the anime industry for a long time; how have things changed in terms of production? Do you ever miss the old production methods?

ARAMAKI: The biggest difference is that the procedure of coloring the cels with paint is gone. I had always thought that the real thrill of producing anime was the moment of seeing the cels from the front (that was colored from the back side). Therefore, it seems a little sad that that process no longer exists.

Movie Poster from Ex Machina website (Japanese)

Images from Ex Machina from Jules Verne Festival website

ANN Interviews: Appleseed: Ex Machina – Interview: Joseph Chou, Producer
Appleseed: Ex Machina – Interviews: John Woo and Shinji Aramaki

State of the Anime Industry in the US Redux and Geneon Epilogue (?)

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

In October I wrote about the State of the Anime Industry in the US. I mentioned that it was difficult to get compiled statistics about the trends in anime sales in the US. ICv2, the retailer information site, would release limited information semi-annually. The full statistics and analysis would only be available to subscribers of their publication.

ICv2 banner

However, ICv2 has finally presented a free version of their compiled findings at the first annual ICv2 Conference on Anime and Manga: Inside the Otaku Generation. It was held on Dec. 6 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. This was the day before the start of the first New York Anime Festival. ICv2 CEO, Milton Griepp, presented a white paper which discussed “the latest North American trends in anime and manga, with a look ahead to 2008.”

The actual text of the paper has not yet been released, but here are some highlights as collected by ANN:

Manga sales in the US:

  • 2002 – $60 million
  • 2003 – $100 million
  • 2004 – $135 million
  • 2005 – $175 million
  • 2006 – $200 million

Anime sales in the US (does not include revenues from theater box offices or TV broadcast):

  • 2002 – $500 million
  • 2003 – $550 million
  • 2004 – $500 million
  • 2005 – $450 million
  • 2006 – $400 million

Mr. Griepp did mention that the anime market for both theatrical releases and broadcast TV looked healthy.

Manga releases in the US:

  • 2005 – 1088 volumes
  • 2006 – 1208 volumes
  • 2007 – 1468 volumes (projected)
  • 2008 – 1731 volumes (projected)

The paper did mention that while the volumes released has been increasing, available shelf space at the retailer shops has not been keeping pace. ICv2 speculates that this may cause some manga to be distributed by direct sales rather than through bookstores.

Anime releases (DVDs) in the US:

  • 2001 – 439
  • 2002 – 562
  • 2003 – 727
  • 2004 – 733
  • 2005 – 756
  • 2006 – 617
  • 2007 – 500+ (projected)

Mr. Griepp concluded with a look towards 2008. Though the manga market is still expanding, the main issue for manga in the US is if it can continue to expand to other demographics. He noted that some publishers were trying to attract adult customers. As for anime, here is an excerpt from ANN’s article:

“In his [Mr. Griepp’s] words, anime is now facing a ‘best and worst of times’ kind of situation. Market penetration is excellent, and there are more licensed products being sold for different properties than ever before, but the market for DVD sales is steadily declining. This decline is driven by a contradiction, as fans demand the kind of season-set pricing that is now commonplace for American television series, but the inherent costs of licensing, producing, and dubbing anime make this difficult. How to compete with online downloads of fansubs remains a major question for the industry, and declining sales across the home entertainment market mean that American anime companies often cannot afford to engage in experiments that may not be successful. Griepp also criticized Japanese anime production companies for continuing to insist on pricing many licenses without taking into account the actual potential of these series in the current U.S. environment.”

So, at least for the short term, manga’s future in the US looks bright. Anime, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. The TV and theater sectors are healthy, but DVD sales are looking a little grim.

ANN Story: ICv2 Conference on Anime and Manga – ICv2 White Paper

If you are interested in reading more, Mr. Griepp was interviewed by Publishers Weekly Comics Week shortly before the conference. He talked about the conference and discussed some of the issues that he would later present in the paper. Here is an excerpt where he answers the question, “Where do you see the anime DVD market in the short run?“:

Milton GrieppThere’s a great future but the old model for DVD sales—single episodes on a $30 DVD released every three months—is breaking down. These days you can’t wait that long to release the episodes, and the price is just too high. There’s a shift to DVDs offering a full-season collection, which lowers the per episode cost. The market is in transition, split between the two models, but it will eventually go straight to a season DVD collection.

There will be more legal anime material on the Web, which will help cut into the illegal download traffic. And anime companies are differentiating the content and the extras they sell on DVD, so that may help evolve that business model. The bottom line is that digital delivery is becoming more important than ever, from video on demand to streaming video and downloads, and how that affects DVD sales is an open question. What is the impact of digital delivery on the sale of physical products? We’ll be looking at all of this at the conference.

Picture of Milton Griepp from Publishers Weekly.

PWCW Story: Inside the Otaku Marketplace


On the Geneon front, there is a small bit of good news. In the rush to release Fate/Stay Night, Volume 6 Limited Edition before the November 6 cutoff deadline, quality control suffered a bit. Some of the Saber Clocks, which were part of the extras, were defective. Fortunately, though, everyone whose order came with a defective clock is eligible for a $10 gift certificate to RightStuf.com courtesy of Geneon.

Geneon/RightStuf form

Here is the link to the actual pdf form. The deadline is December 31, 2007.