Next Club Meeting: July 20, 2019, at the Fountaindale Public Library in Bolingbrook from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Animatrix Network is an anime & manga fan club located in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. We usually meet on the fourth Saturday of each month (except when holidays or conventions coincide). The meetings are free and open to the public. Join us for a day filled with anime.

This site provides news, reviews, commentaries, and previews of the world of anime and everything it inspires, such as live-action films, comics, music, art, and other weird things to enjoy and contemplate.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September Conventions

Kumoricon     9/5 - 9/7     Portland, OR
DragonCon     9/5 - 9/7     Atlanta, GA
Nan Desu Kan     9/10 - 9/12     Denver, CO
Anime Weekend Atlanta     9/17 - 9/19     Atlanta, GA

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Things to Look Forward to in North America



*

cereal:geek 7 is going to be available for pre-order soon

Beez
UK distributor Beez will be releasing The Girl Who Leapt Through Space, Lucky Star (Anime Legends line), Outlaw Star(Anime Legends line) and Sora no Woto 

Crunchyroll
Crunchyroll CEO told Anime News Network that the company has licended Makoto Shinkai's 5 Centimeters Per Second, and will be releasing it on DVD in October.

Del Rey
CLAMP in America has been delayed to February 22, 2011

FUNimation
Fumihiko Sori (the live action adaptation of Taiyo Matsumoto's Ping Pong, the CG Vexille) will be directing the animated adaptation of the Dragon Age games, produced in conjunction with Funimation

FUNimation's release of Eden of the East has been delayed 9/28 to 10/19
Blu-rays of Slayers Revolution, Slayers Evolution-R and Full Metal Panic FUMOFFU have also been delayed a week

November releases include
* Armitage III Movie Collection: 11/23/10 - 100 min. - $29.98
* Birdy the Mighty Decode Part 2: 11/30/10 - 300 min. - $59.98
* Blassreiter Complete Series: 11/2/10 - 580 min. - $49.98
* Comic Party Revolution Complete Series (S.A.V.E. Edition): 11/9/10 - 315 min. - $19.98
* Girls Bravo Complete Series: 11/23/10 - 560 min. - $49.98
* Initial D Stage 1 Part 2: 11/16/10 - 300 min. - $29.98
* Kaleido Star Season 1 Complete Collection: 11/23/10 - 650 min. - $39.98
* Oh! Edo Rocket - pars one and two - 11/2/10 for $49.98 each
* Sekirei complete series 11/23/10 $49.98
* Tsubasa Season 2 (Viridian Collection): 11/9/10 - 625 min. - $49.98

Right Stuf
THE THIRD: THE GIRL WITH THE BLUE EYE DVD Collection (Thinpak) will be available on December 7, 2010 for $49.99.
About THE THIRD: THE GIRL WITH THE BLUE EYE DVD Collection (Thinpak)
One Girl. One Tank. No Problem. In a devastated world overrun by monstrous bugs and ravaged by outlaws, there’s only one person to call when you really need a job done right: Honoka. With a sixth sense for danger, sword skills that are second to none, and a smart-aleck A.I. tank by the name of Bogie, she’s ready to tackle any job and solve any problem for her clients. But while crossing the desert one night, she finds a young man alone in the wasteland. It’s the first step of a journey that will challenge even Honoka’s amazing skills to their very limit! Contains the complete 24-episode TV series!

BOYS BE… DVD Thinpak Collection will be available for a new, lower SRP of $29.99 starting December 7, 2010.

About BOYS BE…

There are two sides to every love story, and Boys Be… reveals what’s really going on – from the guy’s point of view! Meet three normal high school guys with just one thing on their minds: girls. Quiet Kyoichi has been friends with Chiharu ever since they were young, but lately, his feelings have begun to change. Lecherous Makoto, a self-proclaimed master of the rules of romance, is ready to sweep the ladies off their feet. And Yoshihiko, a handsome sports nut, is unfortunately a bit clueless in matters of the heart. Join this hapless trio for a year of romantic misadventures that will change their lives forever! Contains the entire 13-episode TV series!

Section23
Section23 recently released SHIGOFUMI and TYTANIA complete collections.

SHIGOFUMI COMPLETE COLLECTION
Running Time: 325 min.
Age Rating: TV 14
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
CAT: SF-SGF100
UPC: 814131013217
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Format: DVD
SRP: $49.98
SYNOPSIS: Are some secrets best kept with the dead? For most Shigofumi Mail Carriers, charged with delivering messages from the recently departed to those left behind, the question is purely rhetorical as most Carriers are dead themselves and past the point of caring about the still breathing. The solemn girl known as Fumika, however, is all too aware of the mortal perspective, for she is still aging: an indicator that she is somehow, mysteriously, still alive. Yet, neither Fumika's own personal tragedy nor the knowledge that her mail may be a mixed blessing at best will stay her grim determination to make her morbid rounds. Though the postal scales of fate may be eternally shifted, Fumika will make sure each posthumous posting from the ultimate dead letter office reaches its intended target, even when there's deadly postage due! Neither rain nor sleet nor even death will stop the messages from beyond from coming in SHIGOFUMI - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION!

TYTANIA COLLECTION 1. It’s on sale today wherever fine DVDs are sold.
Running Time: 325 min.
Age Rating: TV 14
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
CAT: SF-TYN100
UPC: 814131016508
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Format: DVD
SRP: $49.98
SYNOPSIS: Through fear and conquest, the Empire of Valdana holds the future of most of human space within it’s the iron hands … and for generations, those hands have belonged to the Landless Lords of the ruling Tytania dynasty. But now the foundation of the empire is crumbling, pockets of rebellion are forming and when a mission sent to punish the city-state of Euriya is shockingly defeated, the man responsible becomes the target of a galaxy-wide manhunt! For Fan Hyurlick, architect of Tytania's first defeat, glory becomes desperation as his own side betrays him. Now Fan must not only save his own life, but somehow turn the tables on opponents who have whole worlds to command! The legendary team of character designer Haruhiko Mikimoto and director Noboru Ishiguro, who redefined action anime in the legendary MACROSS, reunite to create a new epic space opera for the ages in the spectacular TYTANIA Collection 1!

Newly scheduled November releases include:

UTAKATA COLLECTION 1
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 11/2/2010
Format: DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98
SYNOPSIS: Before you make a deal with a girl in a mirror, reflect seriously on the source of the offer. Ichika Tachibana fails to take this advice in order to retrieve a lost charm, and as a result suddenly ends up with the magical forces of a Djinn at her command. Sounds like a good deal, right? Wrong. At first things seem wondrous, with her new friend Manatsu assisting her via text messages and the occasional spell; but as her powers grow, Ichika's situation quickly goes from magical to nightmarish, and she finds herself drawn into an ever expanding web of deceptions, lies and increasingly dangerous situations. For what she's really done is subjected herself to seeing mankind as the Djinn see them. Unfortunately, they don't seem to place a high value on human life. Not all fairy tales are for children as small charms lead to deadly conclusions in UTA-KATA- THE COMPLETE SERIES! 

XAM'D COLLECTION 2
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 11/9/2010
Format: DVD
Language: English, Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98
SYNOPSIS: Get ready for a second collection of awesome mecha action with the anime hit XAM'D! Akiyuki isn't the only one who's become possessed by the mysterious power that is Xam'd. Seems his friend Furuichi is also filled with the dangerous energy. But while Akiyuki tries to harness it, his friend seems hell-bent on letting the Xam'd control his every dangerous move. There are more powerful and dangerous Xam'ds working in every action-packed episode! So don't miss XAM'D, the high-flying, heavy-armored action-adventure takes mecha anime to a whole new level!
XAM'D COLLECTION 2 BLU-RAY EDITION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 11/9/2010
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

TAISHO BASEBALL GIRLS COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 11/16/2010
Format: DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98
SYNOPSIS: 1925 - six years since the end of the Great War, four years since women were allowed to join political associations and one year since Emperor Hirohito assumed the throne. Only thirteen years after the death of the Meiji Emperor, Japan is a nation re-inventing itself, swept by wave after wave of wars, disasters and political unrest. War looms in China, males over the age of 24 are about to receive the right to vote and a strange new type of school uniform called the "sailor suit" is being introduced. But at least the national pastime, baseball, remains bound by tradition, the exclusive realm of men and boys. Until now. When a local player arrogantly states that girls should become housewives instead of going to school, teenage firebrands Koume and Akiko respond by forming their own baseball team. It's shocking. It's scandalous. And yet, in a nation in which almost anything seems suddenly possible, it may just be the start of something greater than any nine girls can imagine. It's not just a game, its history in the making in TAISHO BASEBALL GIRLS - COMPLETE COLLECTION!

GHOST SWEEPER MIKAMI COLLECTION 1
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 11/23/2010
Format: DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98
SYNOPSIS: You say you got a ghost in your prefecture? In Japan that means you need to call Ghost Sweeper Mikami, the paranormal detective agency that's a little abnormal. Okay, make that a LOT abnormal, but they DO specialize in disposing of things that most people don't even believe exist. Run by the visually delicious and even more avaricious Reiko Mikami, and aided by the very perverted (but also very loyal) Tadao Yokoshima, they'll take any case that pays. And Tadao will do anything that might let him sneak a peek at Reiko's magnificent physique. How unfortunate for him that Reiko basically sees him as cannon-fodder, something that's quite useful when your day to day business involves exorcising oni, yurei, yokai and anything else you might find in The Illustrated Bag of One Hundred Random Ghosts. For the supernatural services where the biggest bangs command the biggest bucks and the unexplained is usually expected, call on the first spectacular collection of GHOST SWEEPER MIKAMI!

HEL GIRL: THREE VESSELS (SEASON 3) COLLECTION 2
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 11/30/2010
Format: DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98
SYNOPSIS: Possessed by the spirit of Ai Enma and pulled into the fate of the Hell Girl, Yuzuki has struggled to cope with the terrifying burden. But even as she desperately attempts to maintain her own humanity, she finds the world around her slowly shattering into a terrifying series of riddles. Why has she been drawn into the world of the Hell Correspondence? What is her relationship to Ai? And has her ultimate destiny already been predetermined? As the powers of the Hell Girl continue to grow inside her, Yuzuki's very existence is now at stake. Who and what is she, really? The shocking secrets of Yuzuki's past are unlocked, the tragedies of Ai's are revealed; and the torch of the Hell Girl is passed in the shocking final collection of HELL GIRL - THREE VESSELS. 

Shout! Factory
On September 21, 2010, Shout! Factory will further release four more Gamera movies (the original Japanese version) from the Showa series in two Double-Feature Collector’s Edition DVD sets: Gamera Vs. Gyaos/ Gamera Vs. Viras and Gamera Vs. Guiron/Gamera Vs. Jiger. Featuring all-new anamorphic widescreen transfers, each Double-Feature DVD set includes both the original Japanese and infamous English dubbed versions of each film along with publicity galleries. A must-have for film enthusiasts and collectors, aggregate your Gamera movie collection with these two Double-Feature Collector’s Edition DVD sets. Each DVD set is sold separately with $19.93 SRP.

GAMERA VS GYAOS / GAMERA VS VIRAS
DOUBLE FEATURES COLLECTOR’S EDITION DVD
As a competitor to Godzilla in the Sixties, Gamera developed a strong following in and out of Japan, and with Gamera Vs. Gyaos his most famous enemy emerged, one that would play a key role in the Gamera trilogy released in the '90s. Like a giant bat fused with a shark's head, the laser-spewing Gyaos is discovered in an ancient cave by a young boy named Eiichi and a reporter named Okabe, whose neglect of the child in crisis leads to his death. Once Gyaos is unleashed upon Japan, both Gamera and the country's Self-Defense Forces try to bring down the flying terror. And that's not going to be an easy feat!

While Gamera and Gamera Vs. Barugon established the colossal chelonian as both a force to be feared by mankind and a friend to children everywhere, the giant turtle began to live up to his potential as a kids hero in later movies, most notably in Gamera Vs. Viras, in which not only does the oversized turtle race Boy Scouts in the water, but he must save them from an alien menace that uses his compassion as a weakness and ultimately mentally manipulates him to destroy parts of Earth. Once the children free Gamera from his mental slavery, the aliens' non-human form is revealed, they bond together to form the squid-like Viras. Then a climactic beachside rumble begins! (And Frankie and Annette aren't sticking around for one.)

GAMERA VS. GUIRON / GAMERA VS. JIGER
DOUBLE FEATURES COLLECTOR’S EDITON DVD
Kids take an even more prominent role in Gamera Vs. Guiron as two star-gazing Japanese tykes get whisked away by a spaceship to a planet where two "groovy spacegirls" are the sole survivors of a once-superior civilization. But the seemingly hospitable women have sinister plans in store, and Gamera comes to save them and battle their rhino-like guardian Guiron, a formidable beast with a razor-sharp steel blade for a snout. This is one Gamera movie that needs to have the Japanese version seen as it features possibly the worst dubbing job in Japanese monster history. But it's still a camp gem. Space Gyaos makes an appearance, too!

Our favorite flying turtle gets a female foe in Gamera Vs. Jiger, which is set around the 1970 World's Fair in Osaka. When scientists discover a mysterious statue called The Devil's Whistle on a remote island, they steal it away to show at the Fair, which causes it to unleash a high-pitched sound that disturbs the Triceratops-like Jiger, who comes after them to stop the auditory pain she is in. And when she faces down Gamera, she proves to be a nasty foe, able to shoot quills from her head and a heat ray that can dissolve entire city blocks, plus she has a tail stinger that implants eggs into her victims. Gamera eventually has to cope with a baby Jiger growing inside of him. You've got to love the lovably twisted Japanese concept of family entertainment: No holds barred monster smackdowns!

On November 30, 2010, Shout! Factory, in association with Marvel Knights Animation, will debut IRON MAN – EXTREMIS on DVD for the first time. The motion comic adaptation of the story from Warren Ellis and Adi Granov will retail for $14.97. 

Special DVD Bonus Features include:
• A Conversation With Adi Granov
• Behind-The-Scenes Look At Marvel Knights Animation
• Marvel Super Heroes™: What The —? Starring Iron Man
• Visual History Of Iron Man
• Exclusive Music Video
• Trailers


VIZ Media
Simon & Schuster, Viz's book distributor, is listing a February 2011 launch of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan manga. The anime is currently streaming in North America
Simon & Schuster is also listing list releases of novels Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince by Noriko Ogiwara and Good Luck, Yukikaze by Chohei Kambayashi for a May 2011

Warner Home Video
11/2
Metalocaplypse Season 3
11/9
HALO LEGENDS - Blu-ray
11/30
Looney Tunes Super Stars Foghorn & Tweety

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Review of REDLINE

Synopsis:





[Source: Anime News Network] JP's biggest dream is to win the Redline – the galaxy's deadliest illegal road race, only held every five years at a secret location not unveiled until practically the last minute. In order to get there he needs to qualify by finishing in a ranked position in the Yellowline race – something it looks like he'll have no problem doing, until his Trans-Am mysteriously malfunctions and flips out just short of the finishing line. 

Waking up in hospital, with a bunch of his bones shattered along with his dreams, JP is shocked to find he's has in fact made the grade. It turns out the venue has been announced – and it's the fascistic, authoritarian military superpower state of Roboworld. As a result two racers have already dropped out – and not on ideological grounds either, more that they don't fancy being fired at while racing. It seems that the evil dictatorship that runs Roboworld are not too keen on hosting the event, and are already threatening to throw everything they have at stopping the racers before the starting flag even drops - including a couple of bizarrely terrifying peace-treaty defying weapon systems they've been keeping under wraps. Not, of course, that any of that is going to put JP off…


Review:

Redline was in development for over half a decade, finally being released several years later than originally planned. Given that it's the directorial debut feature of Takeshi Koike (key animator on The Animatrix, Dead Leaves and Samurai Champloo, and director of the short OVA Trava – Fist Planet) it seems slightly unusual that MADHOUSE allowed the production to drag on for so long, and presumably swallow up a hefty budget. All of which begs one obvious question – was it all worth it? 

The simple answer is a resounding yes. Whatever you might think of MADHOUSE's creative and economic risk taking with Redline, there's no denying that for the film's entire 100-minute runtime you are watching something very special, very different, and insanely exhilarating. 

For a start, Redline looks like nothing you've seen before. It's easy to see that Koike is a huge fan of western graphic art, and has been influenced as much by French comic artist Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud (possibly best known for his design work on The Fifth Element), the US animated film Heavy Metal, cult UK sci-fi comic 2000 AD, and even the Star Wars movies as much as he has by the likes of Katsuhiro Otomo, Hiroyuki Imaishi or Leiji Matsumoto. Not that Redline feels or looks like a mash-up of different styles – somewhere in the visual chaos it unrelentingly throws at its audience it becomes something that is far more than the mere sum of parts, a unique piece of animation that at times doesn't even feel like anime in the traditional sense. 

Take the character designs for a start – the film feels like it is crammed with literally a cast of thousands of extras, all of different alien races and species. In fact it's only really JP and his love interest Sonoshee that appear to be baseline humans here, meaning that they are the only characters designed in a ‘traditional’ anime style, and are vastly outnumbered by the freakish and unusual looking. The same goes for the mechanical and set designs – there's little here that is reminiscent of a traditional anime production. Instead everything – buildings, vehicles, spacecraft, the Roboworld military's insane planet wrecking weapon systems – all seem warped out of scale, hideously impractical and with the apparent ability to be twisted and stretched out of shape despite how solid they might first appear. 

It's amongst this onslaught of graphic insanity that Redline accomplishes something truly surprising. Somehow, without the audience realising it, Koike has managed to make all this chaos believable. Perhaps through the pure density of detail or just knowing when to pull in the reigns slightly, he makes everything from the busy alien crowd scenes to the full-throttle, explosive race sequences seem like events in a real, tangible world. Exactly how he manages to pull this off is impossible to work out after just one viewing, and may never be revealed fully, but it does seem to hint that Redline is the work of a genuine genius. 

Not that everyone will love this film – it could be that some will be put off by its soundtrack, comprised almost purely of high-octane, scratch-mixed techno. It might not be to everyone's taste, but it fits the film's visuals beat-perfectly, and it's hard to imagine any other style of music doing the job as well. Some critics are going to look at the film's minimal plot and decry it as ‘style over content’, but to do so will be to reveal themselves as not even within driving distance of the point. Redline is animation not only at its best, but also largely animation for animation's sake – not a story that had to be made in anime form to due to budgetary restrictions, but a story that could only exist in this medium. It is experimental, challenging and most importantly exhilarating in its artistic style in ways that most works could not even dream of reaching through script writing or thematic devices. 

There will probably also be some more conservative anime fans that just won't get Redline, that will look at it's unconventional character designs and over the top action sequences and see something they don't consider to be anime. And that's fine, because ironically what will be turning them off is exactly what gives Redline the potential to be a huge cross-over hit – its unique blend of art, music and groundbreaking animation sure to pick up fans from outside the scene, as well as making it potentially one of the most daring and important anime movies for a very, very long time.
Overall : A+
Story : B+
Animation : A+
Art : A+
Music : A
+ This is the most insanely exciting, visually exhilarating anime film you've seen in decades. Incredible fun.
It's so good it seems to be all over in about 10 minutes. You don't own the bluray yet.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Event News

[Source: aicn.com] If you look to anime as a medium that offers new, exciting experiences, the beacon of the horizon has been Redline, from Takeshi Koike (Ninja Scroll, Animatrix) and Madhouse, makers of a lot of popular anime, such as Ninja Scroll, Black Lagoon and most of the CLAMP adaptations, and a lot of boundary pushing anime, such as Paprika, the Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Kaiba (regrettably, unlicensed), Denno Coil (regrettably, unlicensed), and Kemonozume (regrettably, unlicensed). Many who would like to see anime evolve into a spectacle and not just a production line of cute series made by dedicated enthusiasts for dedicated enthusiasts have pinned a lot of hope of this feature. 

Well, now the movie's North American pre. Redline will show at Austin, Texas' Fantastic Fest 2010.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Industry Passings

[Source: aicn.com] Regrettably, Satoshi Kon wasn't the only figure anime has recently lost.

Animator Shojuro Yamauchi passed away on the same day. Yamauchi worked on Ghibli and Miyazaki works including Grave of Fireflies, Cagliostro’s Castle, Spirited Away, and Future Boy Conan
*
Puppet master Kihachiro Kawamoto, whose work was featured on experimental anime Shijin no Shougai and Winter Days passed away at age 85

Remembering Satoshi Kon

[Source: aicn.com] Visionary anime director Satoshi Kon passed away on August 24 of pancreatic cancer.

Madhouse tentatively plans on concluding work on his final project, children's feature The Dreaming Machine


May 18 of this year, an unforgettable day.

My wife and I received the following prognosis from a cardiologist at the Musashino Red Cross Hospital:

"The pancreatic cancer is terminal and has metastasized to the bone. You have at most a half year left."

When I conveyed my concerns for Yume-Miru Kikai (Dreaming Machine) to Mr. Maruyama (MADHOUSE founder Masao Maruyama), he said, "It's fine. Don't worry, we'll do whatever it takes."

I cried.

I cried aloud.

With feelings of gratitude for all that is good in this world, I put down my pen.

Well, I'll be leaving now.

Satoshi Kon


 
Nina "Space Coyote" Matsumoto's tribute illustration





On Catsuka Player - MAD Paprika

from which the Satoshi Kon movie was adapted. It's not available in the US, but you can get a UK copy of the English translated Paprika novel Stone Bridge Press has posted preview pages of Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist - reviewed here

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Doug Liman to Direct Adaptation of Japanese Sci-Fi Novel "All You Need is Kill" [Source: aicn.com]

It might actually by oldish news, but Variety reports/confirms that Bourne Identity's Doug Liman will be directing the Warner Bros. adaptation of Hiroshi Sakurazaka's Forever War compared sci-fi novel "All You Need Is Kill."
According to Variety, The studio's been developing "All You Need Is Kill" since April when it bought Dante Harper's adaptation. Producers are Erwin Stoff, Tom Lassally and Jason Hoffs with Hidemi Fukuhara exec producing.
An English translation of the novel is available in North America via anime/manga publisher Viz Media's Haikasoru sci-fi prose line. ("Haikasoru" being Philip K. Dick reference.)


When the alien Mimics invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his 158th iteration, he gets a message from a mysterious ally--the female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she the key to Keiji's escape or his final death?

An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

Is Anime Expo 2011 the last one?

Controversy and Trouble for America's largest Anime Con
We are two months removed from Anime Expo 2010 and there are things that came out of this year's convention that might have a negative impact for next year. I kind of want to get it out of the way since it is still fresh in my mind and let you all know is Anime Expo 2011 the last Anime Expo ever?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Satoshi Kon has Passed Away


[Source: AICN.COM] The sad new is coming out of Studio Madhouse that anime director Satoshi Kon has passed away at age 47.

His work included
Perfect Blue - 1998
Millennium Actress - 2001
Tokyo Godfathers - 2003
Paranoia Agent - 2004
Paprika - 2006
And the Good Morning short for the Anime*Kuri 15 compendium.
He had been working on children's feature Dream Machine.

I remember when Satoshi Kon's pyscho-thriller Perfect Blue hit the US. The to be revered director's initial calling card was actually divisive. Many anime fans laughed at and rejected it. Didn't like its lost lead. Snickered at its depiction of proto-blogging. However, it wasn't long before Kon became one of the paramount names in anime being produced for older audiences. Anime might be a medium of artistic possibilities, but given its economics, more often than not, it turns out works for children and specialized audiences. A thinking artist like Satoshi Kon producing works as tricky as Kon's was truly special.

In the last decade, movies and video games have made deep incursions into territory that was once the domain of anime and animation in general. There were images that were tremendously difficult to realize in live action and impossible in games, but available to animation. CG and improved game hardware have flipped the script. As a consequence, whole genres of anime have lost their importance. Who wants to sit back and watch elves and dragons fantasy anime, when games often offer a comparable visual experience, while allowing a player to participate.

Yet, an area in which anime/animation can still assert an advantage is narratives in which the fantastic is blurred with the objective. Leveraging animation's ability for a director to erase boundaries and exercise nuanced control of the entire image, Kon is the master at this. There's the world as it theoretically is. Then, there is the world as it is reflected in media. Then, the world as it is interpreted by the human mind... subdivisible into conscious and subconscious, rational and irrational. In Kon's anime, these distinctions all collapse in on each other.

Often starting with the foundation of a live action associated genre, whether it is Hitchcockian thriller (Perfect Blue), a Christmas story (Tokyo Godfathers) or life in retrospect drama (Millennium Actress), Kon convolutes it with the mind's paradoxes, contradictions and chambers of mirrors. His subjects project their interpretations out onto the world, at times seeing themselves as fantastic beings, dancing through the air or skipping through a city's neon signage. And yet, those interpretations are shaped by pressure from those around as well as a saturation of media influence. Rather than mechanistic stories, Kon's are shaped into knotted feedback loops.

As a fan of anime and animation in general, this lose is deeply felt. Beyond technical considerations, business concerns makes anime a difficult medium to work in. Creators able to produce works like Kon's have been and will continue to be rare. You probably will not see many replicating works like Kon's. Anime had its boom and contraction of the 00's, but I'd argue that it turned out to be great decade for works for adults, in large part thanks to the unforgettable contribution of Satoshi Kon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hayao Miyazaki Talks Futures... and This Time, Retirement Isn't on the Tip of His Tongue [Source: aicn.com]

Nausicaa.net has translated highlights from Cut magazine's extensive interview with widely hailed animated film director Hayao Miyazaki. As plans now stand, retirement doesn't seemed to be in the card for the 69 year old director of Oscar winning Spirited Away, Ponyo, My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo.


Miyazaki aims to develop two films over the next three years (as in preparing a project proposal paper, forming the staff, and writing a script). Rookie directors may helm the film productions.
On one hand, Miyazaki has some thoughts for what he'd like to do if his home base at Studio Ghibli flourishes with its next slate of films. A "Last Sortie" follow up to 1992's Porco Rosso is on his mind. That more adult mind animated movie followed a once World War I fighter face living as a pig faced bounty hunter on the Adriatic Sea.

"I'm not thinking about a movie of a girl."
"I think that I must think about only a movie of a boy."
"I do not need to make a movie if it is not a tragic story of a boy."
"So I want to escape to "Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie". I have all its materials."
"It should be interesting."
"It is set for Spanish Civil War."

"If next two films succeed and [studio president Toshio] Suzuki-san lets me make it (Porco) while saying, 'It cannot be helped because it's a hobby of the old man', I'm happy. It's my hobby."

On the other hand, if the studio fairs poorly, he and Suzuki have developed a "dissolution program for Ghibli."
"For example, Ghibli should be able to continue with about five staff members as a copyright management company even if we smash the studio. So, Ghibli can say 'We stop film production. Goodbye'. I do not have to be there."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

ASP - ME


A little eerie gothic tale about love, fear and death. More about ASP and their projects: www.TheTalesOfASP.com

Cast:
Igor Riffen (Asp)
Mona de Lecontele (Nona)
Iwan Spanasskow (Schwarzer Schmetterling)

written by ASP
line producer & story consult: Matthias Ambre
film editing, wardrobe & digital matte painting: Jack Moik
puppet fabrication & stop-motion animation: Juergen Kling
puppet fabrication assistant: Susie Jones
compositing & miniature props: Mark Dauth
character design & concept art: Ingo Roemling
3D-modelling: Viktor Klassen & Sebastian Schminke
wardrobe assistance: Christiane Roemer
additional design: Miriam Wagner
color grading; Frank Vogt
directed by & cgi: Thomas Klieber

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sym-Bionic Titan Promo Clip

A short clip from the upcoming Cartoon Network animated series, "Sym-Bionic Titan," created by Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack). Coming soon to Cartoon Network!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wizard World Chicago Comic-Con 2010

AUGUST 19-20-21-22 THUR-FRI-SAT-SUN
at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Des Plaines, IL  

Join tens of thousands of fans as they converge at Chicago Comic-Con 2010 Wizard World Convention to celebrate the best in pop culture. Chicago Comic-Con brings it all - Movies, Comics, Toys, Video Gaming, Games, TV, Anime, Manga, Horror, Wrestling, MMA, Original Art, Collectibles & More! Chicago Comic Con is brought to you by the group who produces the most widely attended Comic-Con tour!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A pair from Italy took the grand prize for costume role-players at an annual world championship in Nagoya on Sunday, beating contenders from 14 other countries. The contest marked the climax of the World Cosplay Summit 2010, a signature summer event in the city which various entities including the Foreign Ministry jointly organized to enhance exchanges featuring characters in Japan-originated animated films, manga comics and games. The winning pair, dressed as Link and Ganondorf, characters in a game titled "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess," performed an action-filled three-minute play on stage in front of an audience of about 15,000. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

‘Legend of Korra’: The ‘Avatar’ Creators on the New Spinoff


[Source: Speakeasy] The creators of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” say that the new spinoff series “The Legend of Korra” will be more mature than the original show, but will still have the same sense of fun and adventure.

Nickelodeon, the network behind the original show, today announced that it will air the “Avatar” spinoff series “The Legend of Korra” (a working title) starting next year.

The first series took place in a world in which supernatural “benders” have the ability to manipulate the elements of air, earth, fire and water, and focused on Aang, a young airbender who turned out to be the Avatar, a person capable of controlling all the elements. The new series takes place 70 years later in the same world and follows the new Avatar, a teen girl named Korra who has learned to bend earth, water and fire and seeks to master air under the tutelage of Aang’s son, Tenzin.

Earlier this summer, director M. Night Shyamalan released a live-action theatrical version of the first series called “The Last Airbender” that was poorly received by critics, although it posted respectable numbers in early box office returns.

Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the creators of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “The Legend of Korra” took the time to talk to Speakeasy today about the new series.

The Wall Street Journal: How did you come up with the idea for the spinoff?

Bryan Konietzko: When Mike and I first created “Avatar: The Last Airbender” we always knew it would have an ending to it, that particular story. But as the show really took off, and found an audience all over the world, we knew that despite our intentions of ending that story there would probably be a time when Nickelodeon would come calling and want some more episodes….When that time came we had this idea for jumping ahead and telling a story about the next Avatar, this girl Korra.

If there’s a new Avatar, that means Aang has passed on. If he died around age 70, isn’t that pretty young for an Avatar?

Konietzko: You gotta keep in mind that he was frozen in a state of suspended animation for 100 years, so he kind of burned up some of his extra Avatar time.

The new “Avatar” is a woman. What inspired you to change the sex of the protagonist of the series?

Michael DiMartino: It’s not so much about changing because we had Avatar Kyoshi before Aang. We’d established that the Avatar can be male or female and we just thought let’s explore one of those more in depth, because Kyoshi was a popular character with a lot of fans and it seemed like a great opportunity to not retread what we’d done with Aang, who was a great hero, we all loved him, but we really wanted to try something different. And we have so many great female fans out there, who really responded to Katara in the first series, we thought we have the fan base who are really going to enjoy seeing the Avatar be a female.
Konietzko: Mike and I, we love those characters too, and we’ve encountered countless fans who are male who really like those characters too. We just don’t subscribe to the conventional wisdom that you can’t have an action series led by a female character. It’s kinda nonsense to us.

The one image that you released is Korra looking out on Republic City, where a lot of the new show take place. Tell me about that city.

Konietzko: That’s kind of a piece of concept art so when the show premieres next year it won’t look exactly like that but that’s the direction we’re headed. The first series was sort of a road show where every episode they were going to some new location. That was another new thing we wanted to do is root it in one big complex location but mainly one place. We were drawing inspiration from Shanghai in the 1920s and 30s and Hong Kong and even Western cities like Manhattan and even location-wise cities like Vancouver, a city that juts out on a peninsula or an island and has these big mountains around it.

Will we see characters from the previous series pop up?

DiMartino: I don’t want to give anything away, but rest assured there’s a definite link between the old series and this one.

Republic City is a city plagued by crime. There’s an anti-bender revolt. Does this new series deal with more mature themes?

Konietzko: Mike and I like a balance of tones. We never set out to make an overtly silly show or an overly serious dramatic show. We like dealing with all those things. It’s fair to say we’re dealing with some sophisticated things and the show is growing up a bit. But that said, we’re not in a calculated way trying to target another demographic. Even in the first series, it was about a world war and some pretty serious issues.

If Tenzin is Aang’s son, who is his mother?

DiMartino: [To Konietzko] We can say that, right? [To Speakeasy] It’s Katara. It’s not a huge surprise.

What did you guys think of the live-action version of “The Last Airbender”?

Konietzko: We’re just really focused on this new show right now, and kind of taking this off in its own direction and not concerning ourselves with that right now.

So you didn’t follow the casting controversy about the movie version of “The Last Airbender”?

Konietzko: We didn’t head up that film. We’re just happy to be back generating the original content in this mythology, which is what we do.

Would you like to bring a cartoon version of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” to the big screen?

Konietzko: We would love to. I think Mike and I would absolutely love to do feature animation. Either another story, or it if worked out, one in the “Avatar” world. We would be really excited.

Friday, August 13, 2010

 Viewing Schedule for  Saturday, August 14, 2010
Here are the titles we will be showing at this weekend's club meeting:

Noon- 12:25    Kiddy Girl-and (episode 4)
Twenty-five years after Éclair and Lumière, (from the flagship Kiddy Grade series), rescued the galaxy from destruction's doorstep, the GTO (Galactic Trade Organization), created after the defeat of the GOTT (Galactic Organization of Trade and Tariffs), act on behalf of universal peace by combating criminal activity. Their special ES division mirrored after the GOTT's ES (Encounter of Shadow-work) force, now includes publicly acknowledged ES member candidates. The series follows three such trainees, Ascoeur, Q-feuille, and Di-air as they work their way to ES membership.
 
12:25 -12:50    Senkou no Night Raid 4
Fuu Lan requests Aoi and Kazura to have some pictures taken of her restaurant’s food so that her menu can compete with a rival Japanese restaurant’s realistic replicas. Aoi agrees to do it so he can get a free baozi while Kazura reluctantly complies since they are both professionals. However, after the photo shoot, a cat takes the bag containing the film of Fuu Lan's menu as well as the film containing a summer vacation photo of a Japanese lieutenant. Aoi and Kazura are forced to investigate the Green Gang to recover the film, but learn afterwards that the cat took the bag due to the smell of the baozi.

12:50 - 1:40  Shiki 1-2
During a hot summer in a quiet town named Sotoba, bizarre deaths of the elderly in an isolated part of town surprises hospital dean Toshio Ozaki and his best friend, Seishin Muroi, a local priest who discovered the bodies. While the investigation is underway, a moving company arrives in the dead of night with the Kirishiki family, who will be occupying a long abandoned castle in Sotoba. Megumi Shimizu, a high school girl who is friends with Kaori Tanaka, constantly fails to befriend Natsuno Yuki, a boy who hates living in the town and wishes for city life. She often has a bad habit of stalking Natsuno around his house at night, though he is aware of her activities. One day, Megumi heads up the hill to the castle and meets the Kirishiki family, then disappears afterwards. Upon learning of her disappearance, most of the townspeople head out to look for Megumi, only to discover her lying catatonic in the woods. Toshio examines Megumi and only finds her to be suffering a case of anemia from insect bites, but nothing serious. However, Megumi passes away a few days later, to the shock of her family and friends. 

1:40 - 2:25    Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari 5
Kenshi Masaki is a 15 year old boy that unwillingly traveled from his homeland on Earth to the alternate world of Geminar. In Geminar, the countries usually wage wars against each other by using the Seikijin, humanoid weapons that were originally discovered within ancient ruins. After being deceived by a mysterious organization to participate in an attempt to assassinate Lashara Aasu XXVIII, the young princess of the Streya Empire, he ends up captured after he relucts to kill her when he had the chance. After Lashara and her servants figure about his situation, they decide to give him aid. Disguised as Lashara's servant, Kenshi moves with her to the Holy Land, a virtually impregnable fortress that serves as an academy to train Seikijin pilots selected from around the world. With his kindness, tenacity, and being gifted in a wide range of skills that vary from cooking and cleaning to advanced techniques of survival and combat, Kenshi eventually becomes a celebrity in the academy, becoming the object of affection of many female students and making some of the male students envious of him. However, the same organization who deceived Kenshi is secretly working behind the shadows inside the academy, and a widescale conflict which will engulf the entire world of Geminar is about to begin.
 
2:25 - 3:15    Angel Beats 9-10
Angel Beats! takes place at a high school in the afterlife in a Purgatory between Heaven and Earth where students learn to give up any lingering attachments they still have from life before finally going to Heaven. While the injuries or cause of death is gone, those in the afterlife school can still feel pain or other things as they did when they were alive, as well as dying again, only to awaken with no injures several minutes later. The story follows the main protagonist Otonashi, a boy who lost his memories of his life after dying. Upon awakening in the afterlife, he meets a girl named Yuri who invites him to join the Shinda Sekai Sensen (SSS) (死んだ世界戦線?, lit. Afterlife War Front), an organization she founded and leads which fights against God for the cruel fates the SSS members experienced in life. Their only enemy in the world is the school's student council president Angel, a being with supernatural powers who is in charge of keeping the status quo and fights against the SSS. Yuri believes that anyone who follows Angel's orders and behaves like a normal student at the school will eventually disappear and pass on to Heaven. However, those who fulfill their dreams in the afterlife will pass on as well. In the SSS, there are two sub-divisions which help in the SSS's operations against Angel. The first is a four-girl band named Girls Dead Monster whose objective in the SSS is to cause a diversion from other activities the SSS is engaged in, while on the surface appearing to be a normal all female band. This includes distracting Angel and a large number of "normal" students and teachers at the school Yuri deems "non-player characters" as they are not human, but look and act the part. Another organization in the SSS is the Guild, located far below the surface of the afterlife world, which serves to supply the weapons the SSS uses against Angel. Anyone in the afterlife is able to create anything out of dirt that they had memories of in life, and the Guild uses this ability to mass produce weapons. Angel uses a similar ability to create her supernatural powers.

3:15 - 3:30    Short break -  "Where's Mike?"  ^^


3:30 - 4:15    Hatenkou Yuugi 1-2
File:Dazzle.jpgA young girl named Rahzel is abruptly sent off to see the world by her eccentric, doting father. She is alone on her travels until she meets Alzeid, a attractive, mysterious loner on a mission to avenge his father's murder. After aiding Alzeid in retrieving his stolen gun from a thief, Rahzel decides to follow Alzeid promising that she would make his "lousy and boring" life "more intersting and fun!" Alzeid grudgingly acknowledges that Rahzel will be traveling with him from now on. Soon after, a womanizing (read: pervert) acquaintence of Alzeid's named Baroqueheat joins in their adventure.

4:15 - 5:05    Omamori Himari 3-4
200Seven years ago, Yuto Amakawa's parents died in a car accident, leaving him alone without a single relative. Ever since then, his childhood friend Rinko Kuzaki has woken him up, cooked for him, and generally takes care of him. The only thing he has from any relative is a mysterious amulet given to him by his grandparents (an omamori). On his 16th birthday, the amulet he wore has lost its effectiveness and Himari—a cat spirit samurai girl—suddenly appears in his life as his bodyguard. There is only one small problem: Yuto has an allergic reaction to cats!


5:05 - 5:55    Katanagatari 5
Katanagatari centers on Shichika Yasuri, the seventh head of the Kyotō-ryū (虚刀流, literally "swordless style") of Japanese sword martial arts. One day, a girl named Togame arrives on the island where Shichika and his older sister Nanami live with a favor to ask of him. Togame tells Shichika that she is on a mission to find and collect the final twelve swords forged by a master swordsmith by the name of Kiki Shikizaki, and that she needs his help. They both then leave the island together to seek out the swords.


 

5:55 - 6:45    Bakemonogatari 14-15 (end)     
Bakemonogatari centers on Koyomi Araragi, a third year high school student who is almost human again after briefly becoming a vampire. One day, a classmate named Hitagi Senjōgahara, who infamously never talks to anyone, falls down the stairs into Koyomi's arms. He discovers that Hitagi weighs next to nothing, in defiance of physics. Despite being threatened by her to keep away, Koyomi offers his help, and introduces her to Meme Oshino, a strange middle-aged man living in an abandoned building, who cured him of being a vampire. The series tends to introduce only one new heroine per chapter, each involved with a different "apparition". Most of them have an item which symbolises their spectres, such as Hitagi's stapler - the claw of a crab, Mayoi's back pack - the shell of a snail, Suruga's leggings - SARUMATA (猿股, the Japanese traditional underclothing. 'SARU' means monkey), and Nadeko's big hat and baggy jacket - the head and skin of a snake. The events of the previous chapters play an important role in the subsequent ones. The series primarily focuses on conversations between characters; it contains a fair number of parodies of other series, as well as Nisio Isin's trademark word play and metahumor.

6:45 - 8:00    Kuroshitsuji II 1-3 

In late-nineteenth century England, one year and three months after the dramatic conclusion of the original series, Kuroshitsuji II introduces a new butler and young master. The sadistic yet cheerful Alois Trancy has faced some harsh times. He was kidnapped as a baby, and was forced to work in a village as a slave. Gradually, he lost his parents, his best friend, and everyone he knew. Alois eventually returned home and became the head of his mansion, but seemed to exhibit some strange behavior ever since. Even more curiously, he returned with Claude Faustus, an enigmatic, emotionless butler with unfathomable talent...