News: Anime/Manga/Game Creators Hold Quake Charity in Tokyo on Sunday posted on 2011-04-09 10:18 EDT
Creators of Touhou, Darker than BLACK, Di Gi Charat, Kannagi, Maria-sama, Full Metal Panic!, 801-chan, Mirage of Blaze, Saiyuki, Kizuna, Loveless, Hakuōki & Seiendan group
Over 60 anime, manga, game, and voice-acting companies are banding together to hold a "Smile Heart" charity event in Tokyo on Sunday to raise funds for the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster. The free event will take place at Sunshine City's World Import Mart event center in the Ikebukuro district from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Among other items, the event will have bidding auctions, raffle drawings, charity good sales, and donation drive corners, and stage performances. In addition to signed items from many staff and cast members, the auctions will include sketches, signatures, and manga panels from the following creators and more:
Touhou Ibarakasen manga creator Aya Azuma
Touhou Project game creator ZUN
Darker than BLACK character designer Takahiro Komori
Shitorasu Encount manga creator Towa Oshima
Towa no Quon staff at BONES
Di Gi Charat creator Koge Donbo*
Kannagi manga creator Eri Takenashi
Maria-sama ga Miteru story creator Oyuki Konno
Anime Tenchō creator Kazuhiko Shimamoto
Devil Summoner: Kuzuha Raidō Tai Kodoku no Marebito manga artist Kirihito Ayamura
Full Metal Panic! author Shoji Gatoh
Dolls manga creators naked ape
Touch Me Again manga creator Tomoko Yamashita
Inu mo Arukeba Koi o Suru manga creator Ritsu Natsumizu
Tonari no 801-chan manga creator Ajiko Kojima
Mirage of Blaze author Mizuna Kuwabara
Kimi Shiruya - Dost Thou Know? manga creator Satoru Ishihara
Saiyuki manga creator Kazuya Minekura
Kizuna manga creator Kazuma Kodaka
Loveless manga creator Yun Kouga
Dozens of voice actors and actresses are standing by donation boxes to encourage people to contribute. At the event's stage, voice actor Kenjiro Tsuda will present the Hakuōki charity CD, and Seiendan — a volunteer gathering of voice actors and actresses — will perform.
News: Wai-Con changes 2012 theme in light of earthquake posted on 2011-04-11 12:18 EDT
Theme for 2012 Perth anime convention changed from 'Apocalypse' to 'Invasion'.
PAniC (Perth Anime Convention, Inc.) announced through a press release that it will change the theme of the 2012 Wai-Con anime convention from 'Apocalypse' to 'Invasion', in consideration of the North Eastern Japan earthquake disaster that occurred on March 11th. The 'apocalypse' theme, inspired by popular end-of-world predictions for the year 2012 and anime with apocalyptic settings was originally chosen by popular vote in August, 2010. However, the committee has decided after consultation with marketing experts and the general public that this theme would be inappropriate in light of the ongoing crisis triggered by the earthquake. The new theme, 'Invasion', was chosen by popular vote at PAniC's first General Meeting this year, held on April 9th.
News: No Grand Cosplay Ball In 2011 posted on 2011-04-13 18:08 EDT
Event will return in 2012; smaller parties being considered this year.
This message was sent to followers of "The Grand International Cosplay Ball' on Facebook:
We've been getting a lot of emails recently asking when the next ball will be......we can announce finally that we will NOT be running the Grand International Cosplay Ball in the UK in 2011.
This does NOT mean that this is the end for the Grand Cosplay Ball - in fact the opposite!
We want to expand the event and make it even better! In order to do this, we are currently searching for a larger, better venue; moving our website to a new server and taking on more staff. All of this doesn't leave us with a lot of time, and we didn't want to rush out a substandard event for 2011.
We felt that there were a lot of things we could improve on from our last event, and many ideas which we have been planning since 2008, but we haven't had the time or opportunity to make them a reality yet.
We are grateful to everyone who has supported our event in the last 4 years, and we're sorry if anyone is disappointed that we won't be running in the UK this year. Some of the new positions we are creating in our organisation will be open for the public to apply - more details will posted up in the next few weeks! 18 months is a long time to wait, so we are also looking at running some smaller parties during the year too. We look forward to seeing you again, even bigger and better in 2012!
News: New Zealand Passes Internet Copyright Bill posted on 2011-04-18 23:55 EDT
Multiple file-sharing infringers to be fined up to US$10,539 with 6-month net suspension
New Zealand's Parliament voted on Thursday to pass The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill. The law, which passed by a 111-to-11 margin, will go into effect on September 1 and will allow the government to monitor the file-sharing activity of more than three million Internet users.
The law repeals Section 92A of the current Copyright Act and replaces it with a new three-notice system for alleged copyright infringement. Internet users caught downloading movie and music downloads without authorization will be given warnings on their first two acts. On the third act, users can be penalize by up to NZ$15,000 (about US$10,539) and/or a six-month Internet suspension at the request of copyright holders.
Commerce Minister Simon Power introduced the bill in February of 2010. According to The New Zealand Herald Newspaper, Power said, "Online copyright infringement has been damaging for the creative industry, which has experienced significant declines in revenue as file sharing has become more prevalent. This legislation will discourage illegal file sharing and provide more effective measures to help our creative industries enforce their copyright."
Internet users responded in opposition to the newly passed bill by donning blacked-out avatars and making the #blackout hashtag a global trend on the Twitter service, in reference to the 2009 "blackout" Internet protest against earlier legislation on file-sharing. Additionally, over 10,000 users expressed their support for the "Opposing The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill" group on the Facebook social networking site.
News: Anime Director Osamu Dezaki Passes Away posted on 2011-04-17 23:20 EDT
Director of Ashita no Joe, Ace wo Nerae!, Rose of Versailles, Space Adventure Cobra
Anime director Osamu Dezaki passed away at 12:35 a.m. on April 17 due to lung cancer. He was 67. A wake will be held on April 20, and a service will be held on April 21 in Tokyo. He is survived by his older brother Satoshi Dezaki, another anime director. Among the many works Dezaki directed were Ace wo Nerae!, the Air film, Ashita no Joe, Bionic Six, Black Jack The Movie, the Clannad film, Ganba no Bōken, Genji Monogatari Sennenki, Golgo 13: The Professional, Hajime Ningen Gyatoruz, Mighty Orbots, Nobody's Boy - Remi, The Rose of Versailles, The Snow Queen, Space Adventure Cobra, Takarajima (Treasure Island), episodes of Mighty Atom/Astro Boy, and several Lupin III television episodes and specials. He developed a unique style of direction that included dramatic freeze-frames, split-screens, and lighting effects in pivotal scenes. He was born in Tokyo in 1943, and he debuted as a manga artist when he was still in high school. In 1963, he joined Mushi Productions, the studio founded by manga and anime pioneer Osamu Tezuka, and he made his directorial debut with Ashita no Joe in 1970. Dezaki and Masao Maruyama co-founded the anime studio MADHOUSE in 1972, and Dezaki and frequent character design collaborator Akio Sugino then co-founded Studio Annapuru.
News: Tokyopop to Close North American Publishing Division (Update 3) posted on 2011-04-15 13:31 EDT
Film, European divisions to continue; CEO Levy to make post-quake documentary in Japan
ANN has confirmed with Tokyopop Senior Vice President Mike Kiley that the company will shutter its Los Angeles-based North American publishing operations on May 31. The company's film and European operations will be unaffected by this closure, and its office in Hamburg, Germany will continue to handle global rights sales for the company.
A public relations representative working for Tokyopop CEO Stu Levy informed ANN that "Tokyopop will announce the future of specific titles and other releases in the coming weeks."
In a post on the website for Tokyopop's America's Greatest Otaku reality web series, Levy revealed that he will spend the next year in the Japanese prefecture of Miyagi, making a documentary about the effects of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake disaster (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) of March 11. The proceeds of the documentary will go to support the victims. He also posted a farewell message on the official Tokyopop website.
May 31 is less than three weeks after the first major feature film based on a Tokyopop property, Priest, will open in American theaters. Levy founded the company, originally called Mixx, in 1997 and published manga in serial form in its Mixxzine magazine. The company's titles included Naoko Takeuchi's popular Sailor Moon magical girl manga, Hitoshi Iwaaki's Parasyte science-fiction/horror manga, and CLAMP's Magic Knight Rayearth fantasy manga.
Tokyopop later pioneered the publication of "unflopped" manga (shown in its original right-to-left reading format) for all of its titles in 2002 and launched divisions in the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as an imprint devoted to Boys Love manga called Blu, between 2003 and 2005. Other Tokyopop endeavors have included a light novel line, the Rising Stars of Manga program, and more recently, digital and print-on-demand manga.
In 2006, the company announced that it had negotiated the rights to a live-action adaptation of Min-Woo Hyung's Korean manhwa Priest. In 2008, the company underwent a major restructuring that split the company into the publishing division and a new media and films division. The company also toured the United States throughout the summer of 2010, shooting the America's Greatest Otaku web series. In 2009, Tokyopop confirmed that all of its Kodansha licenses would lapse. Last month, Levy commented that the February bankruptcy of the Borders bookstore chain had played a significant role in its decision to lay off a number of the company's employees.
News: New Rurouni Kenshin Anime Green-Lit posted on 2011-04-18 04:55 EDT
BDs of 3 previous samurai OVA/film projects to also ship this year
The June issue of Shueisha's Jump Square magazine is announcing on Thursday that production on a new Rurouni Kenshin anime project has been green-lit. More information will be provided in future issues of Jump Square.
The magazine also noted that the Blu-ray Disc versions of the two Rurouni Kenshin original video anime (OVA) projects and the Rurouni Kenshin: Ishin Shishi no Chinkonka [Requiem] film will ship between August 24 and October 26. A compilation CD will ship on July 27. Rurouni Kenshin, Meiji Kenkaku Romantan Saisen, a new game for the Sony PSP system, already shipped last month. Nobuhiro Watsuki's original 1994-1999 samurai manga in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump inspired a television anime series that is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. Viz Media published the manga in North America, and Media Blasters' AnimeWorks label released the television anime. ADV Films released the two OVA projects and the film under the licenser's prescribed title Samurai X. Since he ended the Rurouni Kenshin manga, Watsuki drew Gun Blaze West and Buso Renkin. His current title, Embalming - The Another Tale of Frankenstein, has been running in Jump Square since the magazine's inaugural issue in 2007.
News: Man Arrested in Japan for Uploading via Share Program posted on 2011-04-20 23:57 EDT
On April 4, police in Japan arrested an unemployed 25-year-old man from Ashiyashi City, Hyōgo, on suspicion of using the Share file-sharing software to upload anime and manga online without the copyright holders' permission. According to the police, the man uploaded the 50th episode of Sunrise's Turn A Gundam television anime series on February 24. He also allegedly uploaded about 28,000 files from 300 different animated and comic titles. The police say that the suspect confessed to uploading the files to maintain download speeds and to "become famous."
The first three people to be arrested for allegedly using the Share file-sharing program were arrested in May of 2008 in three different prefectures. These three previous suspects reportedly shared anime from the Gundam franchise. 11 people were arrested in November of 2009 for also using Share after 26 locations were searched. Three more people were arrested last October for using Share to distribute anime, games, business software, and manga online, and 18 more were arrested in January.
An earlier peer-to-peer file-sharing software called Winny was developed in 2002 by a then anonymous computer engineering student. The software promised anonymity for its users, but the High-Tech Crime Task Force found flaws in its integrated forum feature. After two users were arrested for sharing copyrighted material using Winny in 2003, the developer was identified as Isamu Kaneko of the University of Tokyo and also arrested. He was convicted and sentenced with a 1.5-million-yen (about US$12,000) fine. During Kaneko's arrest and trial, another anonymous developer created the Share program which promised better protection of users' anonymity on Winny's file-sharing network. Since security researchers also found flaws in Share in 2006, other successor applications are being developed. However, three people have been arrested for allegedly using one of those successors, Perfect Dark. Japan's Copyright Law prohibits unauthorized uploaders but expressly allowed people to download for private use until last year.
News: Animazement Hosts Satoshi Kon's Widow & Madhouse Head posted on 2011-04-18 14:00 EDT
Hidenori Matsubara, Ryusei Nakao, Jouji Nakata also join Kyoko Kon, Masao Maruyama at North Carolina event
The Animazement convention announced on Monday that Kyoko Kon, the wife of the late anime director Satoshi Kon, and MADHOUSE co-founder Masao Maruyama will attend the Memorial Day weekend event in Raleigh, North Carolina. The convention also announced that it will be showing two of MADHOUSE and Kon's anime films: Paprika and Tokyo Godfathers, "[i]n recognition of his amazing talent and the beautiful anime [Kon] has given to us."
Additionally, the convention has announced that animator Hidenori Matsubara (Ah! My Goddess/Sakura Wars character designer, new Evangelion films' animation director) will attend the event, along with voice actors Ryusei Nakao (Dragon Ball Z's Freeza, Armored Troops Votoms' Murza Melym) and Jouji Nakata (Hellsing's Alucard, Gankutsuou's Count of Monte Cristo). Animazement will take place from May 27 to 29 at the Raleigh Convention Center. The convention will also host voice actor Hiroaki Hirata (One Piece's Sanji, Black Lagoon's Benny).
News: Studio Deen to Animate Hatsune Miku Music Video posted on 2011-04-19 14:15 EDT
Gwave game music brand, Studio DEEN launch Cosmic Record with Taishi, QP:flapper
The bishōjo game music brand Gwave and the anime production company Studio DEEN announced on Tuesday that they are launching a joint project team called Cosmic Record. The Cosmic Record label's first effort is a May 27 CD called Downloader by the musical artist Taishi with the synthesized voice of Crypton Future Media's Hatsune Miku virtual idol character. The limited first edition of the CD will bundle a DVD with a 3D animated music video produced by Studio DEEN. Cosmic Record describes Taishi's music as "progressive house and trance." The artist Tometa Ohara of the duo QP:flapper (MM!) is illustrating the CD, and the popular Lat-shiki Miku 3D model of Hatsune Miku will be used for the music video. Cosmic Record's website is still in the works, but the producers are planning to post a video and sample music between April 25 to May 2.
News: 2 Aki Sora Manga Books to No Longer Be Printed After July posted on 2011-04-21 19:30 EDT
Creator Masahiro Itosugi cites incest theme as to why 2 volumes will not be printed again
Manga creator Masahiro Itosugi announced on her Twitter account on Thursday that there will be no more printings of volumes 1 and 3 in her Aki Sora manga after July. She then explained that the biggest problem is their depictions of incest; she emphasized that the reason is not because they are erotically graphic. The manga deals with the taboo relationship between a high school boy named Sora Aoi and his smart, athletic, "perfect" older sister Aki.
The restrictions in Tokyo's recently amended Youth Healthy Development Ordinance go into effect on July 1. The amendment will expand the number of manga and anime that fall under "harmful publications," the legal category of works that must not be sold or rented to people under the age of 18. Erotic material was already restricted before the amendment, but the amended law will also restrict the sales and renting of materials that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government considers "to be excessively disrupting of social order." Itosugi said that it was not her decision to stop printing these two volumes, but did not elaborate on who decided the matter. She also said that she "probably" cannot release volumes 1 and 3 on Ken Akamatsu's J-Comi service or other forms of electronic publishing. When asked if these volumes can be released with an adults-only stamp, Itosugi acknowledged that "it is not out of the realm of possibility," but added that these volumes do not meet the criteria for an adults-only stamp. She noted that these volumes do not currently have an adults-only stamp. She also emphasized that she did not intend for them to be adults-only and that this manga would have been a completely different work creatively had she drawn it for an adults-only audience. Itosugi ended her Aki Sora manga in the 25th volume of Akita Shoten's Champion RED Ichigo magazine on April 5. The manga inspired an anime DVD that was bundled with the limited first edition of the third manga volume in 2009, as well a two-volume video anime last year.
News: J-Pop Unit Flow to Perform at Anime Central, FanimeCon posted on 2011-04-23 04:30 EDT
Naruto, Code Geass, Eureka 7, Heroman band in Illinois & California in May
The Japanese pop band Flow will perform at both Anime Central in Illinois and FanimeCon in Northern California next month. Since coming together in 1993, Flow has performed theme songs for Naruto, Naruto Shippūden, Code Geass, Eureka Seven, Persona -trinity soul-, and Heroman. The band members were even animated themselves for a bonus extra DVD included with the April 13 album, Flow Anime Best.
Flow will perform at Anime Central in Rosemont, Illinois on Friday, May 20. The band will then perform during the extended Memorial Day Weeklend (May 27-30) as part of FanimeCon's 2011 MusicFest for a second year in a row. Flow also performed at AnimeFest in Dallas in 2006.
News: Appleseed Films' Micott & Basara Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) posted on 2011-04-26 04:45 EDT
Kisaragi/Higanjima production company incurred 1.938 billion yen in debt
The financial research firm Teikoku Databank reported on Tuesday that the production company Micott & Basara filed for voluntary bankruptcy at the Tokyo District Court on April 21. Micott & Basara has been behind the animated Appleseed projects of the last decade, including the two computer-animated films and the upcoming Appleseed XIII series. The company had incurred 1.938 billion yen (about US$23.7 million) in debts at the end of March.
The company Micott was established in December of 1997 to plan, develop, and manage film and video projects. It formally incorporated in June of 1999 and changed its name to the current Micott & Basara moniker in March of 2003. It delved into live-action films (such as Kisaragi, Boku to Kanojo no XXX/Your and My Secret, and Higanjima), but it also focused on computer-animated works. The most well-known Micott & Basara production worldwide was Shinji Aramaki's 2004 computer-animated film adaptation of Masamune Shirow's future police manga Appleseed. The company would then produce Aramaki's 2007 film sequel Appleseed: Ex Machina. Micott & Basara announced Appleseed: Genesis, a planned computer-animated series, in 2008. However, the project was suspended at the studio Radix mobanimation, and Radix sued Micott & Basara over production costs. (Micott & Basara counter-sued Radix for restitution and compensation.)
Micott & Basara has been producing Appleseed XIII, a new 13-part computer-animated series adaptation of Appleseed, for release this June. The company's other animated projects included Koma Tori Eiga Komaneko, Atagoal wa Neko no Mori, Prologue of Blame!, and Samuroid Zero. Update: The animeanime.biz website reports that Appleseed XIII may continue production under a new future arrangement.
News: Man Convicted for Insider Trading on Gonzo's GDH, Other Firms posted on 2011-04-27 11:00 EDT
Ex-banker handed suspended sentence, fines of 60 million yen
The Tokyo District Court convicted Takeshi Matsubara, a 50-year-old former Aozora Bank employee, of insider trading on GDH (the former parent company of the Gonzo anime studio) and four other companies on Tuesday. The court, led by Judge Yukihiko Imasaki, sentenced Matsubara to a 30-month prison sentence — suspended for four years — a fine of 2 million yen (about US$24,300), and an additional fine of 58 million yen (US$705,000). The prosecution had asked for the same fines, but called for a three-year prison sentence with no suspension under the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law.
Among other activities, Matsubara was arrested last April for buying shares at low prices before GDH's partnership with So-net Entertainment Corporation was made public, and then selling the shares at high prices after the partnership was announced in 2007. He gained just under 14 million yen (US$170,000) in profits from these activities while he was in charge of financing at Aozora Bank from 2006 to 2009. If Matsubara is not convicted of another crime in the next four years, he will not have to serve the prison sentence. GDH has since absorbed its anime studio subsidiary and adopted the Gonzo name for itself in April of 2009.
News: Lawyer: Some One Piece Downloaders Settle Out of Court posted on 2011-04-27 23:30 EDT
Funimation counsel Evan Stone responds about negotiations, criticism
On Monday, Evan Stone — the copyright lawyer who represented Funimation in the recently-dropped lawsuit against 1,337 alleged One Piece anime downloaders — told ANN that he negotiated settlements with some One Piece downloaders.
Stone told ANN that in March, he filed 49 subpoenas, without a lawsuit, over allegedly unauthorized downloads of numerous Funimation-licensed anime series. According to Stone, the federal copyright law (as revised by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) allows copyright owners to file limited subpoenas in order to acquire the identities of "John Doe" defendants without judicial oversight. Stone noted that while some Internet service providers (ISPs) are fighting the subpoenas, others — including Comcast, Charter, Cox, Qwest, and AT&T — have complied with the subpoenas, which is how Funimation identified the One Piece downloaders who have settled. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization that deals with legal issues regarding technology, noted that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) attempted similar tactics in 2003. However, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled later that year that the RIAA had to first go before a judge and file an active lawsuit before it can seek the identities of alleged music downloaders. Stone asserted that the 5th Circuit in Texas has not addressed this issue in its jurisdiction. While Stone could not tell ANN the specifics of any one settlement (or the number of settlements reached), he stated that in general, Funimation demands a US$1,500 settlement. This amount is based on the minimum award of statutory damages in cases of willful copyright infringement; the minimum amount is US$750, but Stone says that since the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol typically have users redistribute parts of files along as they download them, the amount was doubled to cover both the downloading and the redistribution. Funimation declined to comment on the matter.
Dallas Observer Article on Stone
Last Thursday, the free weekly Dallas Observer newspaper posted a six-page article about Stone. The article focused on a series of similar lawsuits that Stone, who happens to share the exact same name as a well-known porn star, filed on behalf of pornography companies. "I know a whole bunch of people whose shit is pirated all the time that don't give a fuck about bad press," Stone tells the Dallas Observer, explaining his decision to work on behalf of the pornography companies. All of Stone's cases have been dismissed and he has since stopped working on behalf of pornography companies.
In the cases filed on behalf of the anime distributor Funimation and other companies, Senior United States District Judge Royal Furgeson said that the plaintiffs had to file individual, separate lawsuits for each defendant because the accused were not "acting in concert." Stone argued that Judge Furgeson did not understand how the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol works; Stone said that he, unlike others who have filed similar suits, made a point of suing defendants who allegedly shared copies of the same file in a BitTorrent swarm. Paul Alan Levy, a lawyer for the free-speech and consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, criticized Stone's strategy after hearing that Stone had sent subpoenas before receiving the court's go-ahead in one case. Levy said to the Dallas Observer, "When you sue 600 people, you're bound to make mistakes. […] He's a relatively junior lawyer, and junior lawyers make mistakes." Judge Furgeson assigned Levy to represent anonymous defendants in a copyright infringement case in which Stone represented the plaintiffs. Levy was not directly involved in the Funimation case and declined to comment to ANN on this article. Despite the setbacks, Stone said that he will continue to work against illegal downloaders, focusing instead on independent films. (Stone and his wife co-own Wolfe-Stone Productions, an independent music video and film production company.)
News: New Lupin III Project to Air This Fall (Updated) posted on 2011-04-29 10:18 EDT
1.5 years since The Last Job, the last new work about Monkey Punch's thief character
A television ad announced on Friday that a new Lupin III television project has been green-lit to air this fall on the NTV network. The Mainichi Shimbun paper's Mantan Web site notes that it will be about a year and a half since the last new Lupin III work, Lupin III: the Last Job. The Last Job earned a 17.6 rating in Tokyo's Kanto area when it aired in February of 2010.
The various Lupin III anime projects adapt Monkey Punch's manga about a thief who embarks on his many comic capers while foiling his police nemesis, Inspector Zenigata. Monkey Punch launched the manga in Futabasha's Manga Action magazine in 1967. The manga already spawned three television series, six theatrical films, and an irregular series of two-hour television specials that began in 1989. The Lupin III vs. Detective Conan special aired March of 2009 and earned a 19.5 rating in Kanto.
Update: The Animeanime.biz site corroborates the news that the new project will be a new television series.
News: Borders Reports US$300 Million Loss in Fiscal 2010 posted on 2011-05-02 21:11 EDT
Bookstore chain also issues 1st post-bankruptcy filing report
The retail book chain Borders lost US$300 million over its fiscal 2010 year, which ended on January 29, 2011, and it has continued to lose money since filing for bankruptcy on February 16. In its first month of the fiscal 2011 year (January 30 to February 26), Borders lost US$28.3 million; that loss was only slightly lower in the first full month after the bankruptcy filing: US$24.3 million.
The Publishers Weekly industry news source attributes some of these difficulties to publishers' unwillingness to work with Borders "on anything close to normal business terms," forcing the chain to pay for stock in cash rather than credit. ICv2 calls regaining credit from publishers is the chain's "most formidable task," although the company claimed in its report that its forecasts indicate that Borders has the cash it will need to carry it through the end of its fiscal 2011.
Borders delayed payments to publishers this past January, and delayed more in February, prior to its bankruptcy filing. Publishers then became weary of dealing with Borders, and Diamond Comics Distributors' Diamond Books distribution arm, which handles graphic novel distribution in bookstores for manga publishers Bandai Entertainment, Dark Horse Comics, Digital Manga Publishing, Udon Entertainment, and Yaoi Press, put all Borders orders on hold.
News: Man Arrested in Japan for Uploading One Piece via Share Program posted on 2011-04-30 09:29 EDT
On April 26, police in Japan arrested an unemployed 42-year-old man from Nagasaki City, Nagasaki, on suspicion of using the Share file-sharing software to upload Toei's One Piece Film Strong World online without the copyright holders' permission. According to the police, the man uploaded the film around January 12, after initially downloading it with the software Cabos.
News: Cro-Magnon Band's Tsuyoshi Kosuga Arrested for Cannabis posted on 2011-04-30 11:30 EDT
Member of band that co-composed Hyouge Mono anime is charged with possession
Police in Japan arrested Tsuyoshi Kosuga of cro-magnon, the musical group that co-composed the soundtrack for the Hyouge Mono anime, on suspicion of violating Japan's Cannabis Control Law on Saturday. According to the public report, Kosuga allegedly had a plastic bag with two pieces of cannabis when he was in a convenience store in Kitakyūshū City around 7:55 a.m. that same day. Police report that Kosuga said, "I got it from an aquaintance at an event. I was going to smoke it later."
After Kosuga had left the store, the store manager reportedly discovered the dropped bag on the floor and contacted the authorities. The store's security camera allegedly recorded the bag dropping from Kosuga's pants pocket. Police say that Kosuga returned to the store at around 1:20 p.m. that afternoon, when he was subsequently detained. According to the group's website, Kosuga plays the guitar and bass. He had performed at a live concert at Kitakyūshū City from late Friday evening to early Saturday morning. The group cro-magnon is credited with co-composing the musical soundtrack of Hyouge Mono with Kô Ôtani. Among other tracks, cro-magnon composed the opening theme song "Bowl Man" and arranged the ending theme song "Kizuna."
News: Hyouge Mono's Cro-Magnon Band to Break Up posted on 2011-05-02 02:40 EDT
Announcement comes after member Tsuyoshi Kosuga's arrest for cannabis possession
The official website of cro-magnon, the musical group that co-composed the soundtrack for the Hyouge Mono anime, announced on Monday that the band decided to break up due to "an issue." The police arrested band member Tsuyoshi Kosuga on suspicion of violating Japan's Cannabis Control Law on Saturday. The band members offered apologies for the trouble and worries that they caused everyone.
News: Live-Action Cobra Planned at US$100 Million+ for 2013 posted on 2011-05-02 22:14 EDT
Alexandre Aja still attached to proposed film on Buichi's space pirate series
The entertainment industry news magazine Variety reports that pre-production on Piranha 3D director Alexandre Aja's planned live-action adaptation of Buichi Terasawa's manga series Cobra will begin this fall, with a tentative summer 2013 release for the final cut. The Paris-based film production and distribution firms Onyx Films and Studio 37 are now attached.
According to the report, Onyx and Studio 37 plan to produce the film with a budget of over US$100 million and several of their own employees, including producers Aton Soumache and Dimitri Rassom, co-producers Alexandra Milchan and Gregory Levasseur, and executive producers Marc Sessego and Andree Cornier. Aja is still attached to direct and produce, and the film will be based on his own script, co-written with Levasseur.
Cobra began in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1978 and was already adapted into an animated television series and film in 1982. NTT Solmare put the manga on Apple's iTunes App Store in English last September.
A video anime project, Cobra The Animation: The Psychogun, launched in Japan in 2008. A second two-volume project, Cobra The Animation: Time Drive, followed in 2009, and a new Cobra The Animation television series aired last year. The media-distribution website Crunchyroll began streaming these newer anime projects in 2009.
Besides Cobra, Terasawa also created the Goku - Midnight Eye and Kabuto manga, along with their respective anime adaptations.
News: Chicago's Anime Central to Host X Japan's Yoshiki & more (Updated) posted on 2011-05-02 17:30 EDT
Band co-founder to attend May 20 to 22 convention
The Chicago-area anime convention Anime Central announced on its website on Sunday that Yoshiki, the drummer/pianist/songwriter for the Japanese rock band X Japan, will appear at the May 20 to 22 event in Rosemont, Illinois.
Yoshiki has appeared at numerous anime events in the United States, including Anime Central 2010, in addition to performing concerts on tour throughout the country. Anime Central also screened a documentary on X Japan at last year's event.
In recent weeks, Yoshiki has been involved in fundraising for relief efforts aimed at helping victims of March 11's Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster, including the auction of his custom "crystal" piano.
X Japan's most notable anime contributions were the songs in the X² music video collection and later X movie. The animation studio MADHOUSE adapted both productions from CLAMP's X manga. The surviving band members — Toshimitsu "Toshi" Deyama, Yoshiki Hayashi, Tomoaki "Pata" Ishizuka, and Hiroshi "Heath" Morie — reunited in 2007, ten years after they first disbanded and nine years after the death of guitarist Hideto "Hide" Matsumoto. Anime Central 2011 will also feature Japanese fashion designers h.Naoto and Sixh, voice actors Colleen Clinkenbeard, Darrel Guilbeau, and Cristina Vee, and the J-Pop band Flow. Yoshiki will be attending the event to host a panel and will not be performing.
It will also host Bob Shirohata (pictured) and Mika Nomura, the director and producer, respectively, of the television anime series Hetalia - Axis Powers. The anime adapts Hidekaz Himaruya's manga series of the same name.
Shirohata helmed Diamond Daydreams, Gravitation, and Let's Dance With Papa. Nomura produced the entire When They Cry anime franchise and Umineko no Naku Koro ni, as well as the current television series Steins;Gate. Anime Central also announced that American voice actress Stephanie Sheh (K-ON!'s Yui, Naruto's Hinata) will return to the convention this year.
News: Tokyopop's Blu Titles Removed Early from eManga posted on 2011-05-08 22:39 EDT
The North America publisher Digital Manga announced on Friday that manga from Tokyopop's Blu imprint were removed from the eManga.com website "permanently" and ahead of the previously announced May 20 deadline. Tokyopop is shutting down its North American publishing operations later this month, but Digital Manga said that it "received a request from Gentosha Publishing to take the titles down despite the contractional deadline." However, fans who purchased volumes prior to the cut-off date will be able to save the titles to their reading list for later consumption.
News: New Lupin III TV Project to Be a Special This Fall posted on 2011-05-06 22:53 EDT
The Japanese television network NTV confirmed with ANN that the recently revealed new Lupin III TV project will be a special which will air this fall during NTV's traditional "Friday Roadshow" timeslot for movies and specials. NTV had announced the new project with an advertisement on April 29 that said "new TV series"; NTV has been running an irregular series of two-hour television specials since 1989.
News: Kaiji Sequel TV Anime Replaces Scene After Quake posted on 2011-05-05 08:00 EDT
Cast recorded scene from manga of Kaiji symbolically drawn toward rushing waters
The staff of the ongoing Gyakkyō Burai Kaiji: Hakairoku-hen television anime sequel replaced a scene in the aftermath of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster of March 11. Nobuyuki Fukumoto's original Tobaku Hakairoku Kaiji manga follows the title character as he attempts to gamble his way out of a huge debt. The real-life earthquake and tsunami occurred midway through the anime's production, and NTV Producer Toshio Nakatani (NANA, Death Note, Kimi ni Todoke) instructed the staff to completely replace a scene as a result. In the original manga, the affected scene represented Kaiji throwing himself into large-stakes gambling by symbolically drawing him into a rushing torrent of water. Not only had an anime episode's screenplay adapted this manga scene, but the voice cast had already recorded their lines for it. However, the staff changed the script; Nakatani explained, "The depiction in the original work would have been wonderful to shoot, but to animate and air it during these times would have been hurtful to some. We need to have consideration when expressing some things." Other anime that faced changes, edits, or preemptions due to disaster-related content include Precure All-Stars DX3 Mirai ni Todoke! Sekai o Tsunagu Niji-Iro no Hana, Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne—!!, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Tobaku Hakairoku Kaiji (2000-2004) is the first of 3 manga sequels since the original 1996-1999 Tobaku Mokushiroku Kaiji manga series ran in Kodansha's Young Magazine. Fukumoto has been drawing the current Tobaku Datenshi-Roku Kaiji Kazuya-Hen sequel since 2009. Besides the anime, a new Kaiji pachinko machine is in the works, and the fifth book volume of the Kazuya-Hen series shipped in February. The Joost website had streamed the previous 2007-2008 Kaiji television anime series in the United States. The manga also inspired a 2009 live-action film with director Tōya Satō and Death Note star Tatsuya Fujiwara as the title gambler. That film has a sequel in the works for this year.
News: Live-Action Tiger Mask Project Planned as 3 Films posted on 2011-05-09 22:12 EDT
Hisao Maki, the younger brother of the late manga creator Ikki Kajiwara, revealed on Sunday that the planned live-action film adaptation of Kajiwara's Tiger Mask wrestler hero manga will be three films. Maki, the producer of the films, also noted that the script is being completed, and that he wants to lock in the cast this month to start shooting. "Tiger Mask" is the alter ego of the character Naoto Date, a pro wrestler who fights for children in an orphanage. Maki is a manga and anime creator in his own right; he wrote the WARU manga and co-created the Joe vs. Joe (Futari no Joe) anime. Tiger Mask became a popular topic in the national news in Japan this year after an anonymous donation of backpacks at a child guidance center sparked a nationwide movement.
News: Customs Seize Comics Headed to Toronto Comic Arts Fest posted on 2011-05-09 22:26 EDT
No manga held, but confiscated comics may be destroyed pending further action
The non-profit Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) organization reported on Monday that some cartoonists crossing the United States/Canadian border for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) were stopped and had their books seized by Canadian customs. The books confirmed to have been seized are the Black Eye comics anthology and Blaise Larmee's Young Lions graphic novel, both independently published. The Comics Journal reports that Black Eye contributor Tom Neely's copies of the anthology were held due to their allegedly obscene content. The CBLDF report states that Neely was informed that the copies would either be returned or destroyed "pending 'further action.'" Larmee has not commented publicly, but he re-tweeted fellow comic creator Derek M Ballard's Twitter post about the seizure.
News: Publishers Weekly: Borders Bookstore Chain May Be Sold posted on 2011-05-09 22:22 EDT
Financial site's poll suggests Barnes & Noble is next big chain to go bankrupt
The Publishers Weekly industry news source reports that the likelihood of Borders being sold has increased since Borders is requesting court approval to sell assets valued below US$1 million without liens. However, the report also states that the telecommunications company Verizon will object to the request out of concern that Borders may attempt to sell equipment that Verizon leased to the bookstore chain. The financial news site The Street recently held an online poll asking its readers which of five retailers — determined by Edward Altman's "Z-score" of projected likelihood of bankruptcy within two years — was most likely to go bankrupt next. 31.1% of the respondents selected the rival bookstore chain Barnes & Noble. (The other four retailers, from most votes to least, were the American Apparel store chain at 26.8%, the Rite Aid pharmacy chain at 23.9%, the Zale jewelry chain at 12%, and the Supervalu grocery chain at 6.1%.)
News: Japanese Firms Pitch New Yu-Gi-Oh! at Licensing Expo (Updated) posted on 2011-05-10 21:55 EDT
ADK, Nihon Ad Systems' Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal booth listed at event's site
The exhibitor listings for next month's Licensing International Expo say that the Japanese firms Asatsu DK (ADK) and Nihon Ad Systems (NAS) will promote Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal at booth #1282. Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal is the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise's fourth television anime series which premiered in Japan this past April. According to the listing, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal "will be available in the US market soon." The Licensing International Expo will run from June 14 to June 16 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
4Kids Entertainment served as the licensee for the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime franchise until this past March, when TV Tokyo and NAS terminated their agreement and sued 4Kids for allegedly underpaying the Japanese firms. 4Kids filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy eight days later. On April 21, United States District Judge Richard J. Howell ordered a stay (suspension) of the lawsuit after 4Kids informed the court about its pending bankruptcy. No further action on the lawsuit has been revealed via public documents or announcements from any of the parties involved. 4Kids continues to operate, and the Licensing International Expo lists 4Kids as having its own separate booth at the event.
News: Former Toei President Shigeru Okada Passes Away posted on 2011-05-10 10:30 EDT
Headed Toei for 22 years, served as board director of Toei Animation for 39
Shigeru Okada, a former president and the honorary chairman of the movie studio Toei, passed away due to pneumonia on Monday, May 9 at 5:55 p.m. in a Tokyo hospital. He was 87. He is survived by his wife Akiko and his son Yusuke.
Okada was born in Hiroshima Prefecture, and he graduated from the prestigious Tokyo Imperial University (later renamed as the University of Tokyo) in 1947. After graudation, he joined Toei Eiga, the predecessor to the modern-day studio Toei.
After producing his first work, Nihon Senpatsu Gakusei no Shuki: Kike, Wadatsumi no Koe, he steadily rose through the Toei ranks in a series of positions: head of the Kyoto Studios, head of the Tokyo Studios, head of the movie division, and finally president in 1971. He served as president for 22 years and as chairman for nine more years. He was also a board director of Toei Dōga (later Toei Animation) for almost four decades — from 1972 until his passing.
Okada's oldest son Yusuke Okada is the current president of Toei.
News: New Anti-Piracy Act from U.S. Congress Leaked posted on 2011-05-11 23:29 EDT
Act would allow gov't, copyright owners to block ads, payments to piracy sites
The digital content business website PaidContent.org reported on Wednesday that the contents of a new anti-piracy act being drafted by the United States Congress have been leaked. The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property ("PROTECT IP") Act would allow the Justice Department to shut down websites which are "dedicated to infringing activities" via court order, rather than via litigation which the owner can defend against. These closures would take the form of seizing the domain names, blocking ad networks and payment processing for the site, and requiring search engines to delist the sites. The bill would also allow copyright and trademark owners to block ad networks and payment processing.
The text of the act defines an infringing site as having little or no substantial use other than the "reproduction, distribution, or performance" of "substantially complete" copyrighted works. A similar bill, the "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act," proceeded through the Senate last September. However, Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat from Oregon) vowed to place a hold on the bill and succesfully prevented its passage last year.
Mortal Kombat: Legacy: Watch The First Episode Right Now! Posted April 12, 2011 - By Joseph Baxter
The first episode of web series Mortal Kombat: Legacy has hit.
What started as a bizarre one-shot trailer with gruesome, pseudo-realistic imagery has evolved into this 10 episode action-packed web series. "Evolved" in the sense that (at least in this first entry,) it has slightly toned-down the grotesque, over-the-top aspects of that trailer from last year and comes out of the gate with more of a solid, realistic action style. As a result, while it still deviates heavily from the style of the iconic fighting game franchise, it simultaneously has more of the feel for the game's mythology. So, we have Mortal Kombat original, Kano (Darren Shahlavi), a mercenary, smuggler, and just all-around undesirable human being running an underground robot factory. (Even low-down criminals are embracing geek aesthetic.)
Besides getting an introduction to what will be his famous laser-eye-thingy which becomes fodder for his fatalities, he also gets to interrogate a sexily-chained-up Sonya (Jeri Ryan). Oh, but s*** goes down when Jax (Michael Jai White) runs a rescue operation that results in some epic battles. I'm actually pretty impressed with this first entry. Last year's trailer was intriguing, but its abundant references to the game in that gruesome-realistic context, almost made it seem that it was trying too hard. This time, the realistic deviation is coupled with more subtle references to the games. (Kano's eye-piece, reference to Stryker, robots likely to become Cyrax and Sektor, and Kano's knives.) Director Kevin Tancharoen was pretty effective in making it all come together nicely this time.
Vin Diesel Says XXX 3 Is Happening Posted April 20, 2011- By Burnsy via FilmDrunk (filmdrunk.uproxx.com)
Despite the fact that the character Xander Cage was killed in a short film released with the xXx 2: State of the Union DVD, Vin Diesel told anyone who would listen at a junket for Fast Five in Rio de Janeiro that he will indeed still reprise his role as the extreme-sports-star-turned-government-agent for xXx 3: The Return of Xander Cage. Thank God.
“There are these rumours about xxx 3”, Diesel says, “But without giving too much away, that’s the character I can really sexy with.” In other words, yes, he’s still interested and by all indications, the project is still a go.
Oh, and yes, Diesel and Cohen are quite aware that they killed off Diesel’s character – in the short film that’s on the “xXx 2 : The Next Level” DVD – but like Billy Zane in “Dead Calm”, nobody stays dead in moviedom. (Via Movie Hole)
That’s the character that I can really sexy with? What the f*ck does that even mean? Was that quote written on an iPhone with autocorrect? Regardless, it’s stupid to keep pointing out that Xander was blown up in a warehouse building in the aforementioned short film and that his scalp was splattered on the ground, because as the writer notes, movies are made by morons. So how will they convince us that Xander survived that explosion? Here’s my pitch…
Xander enters the warehouse to check on his collection of antique jet skis and have his standard Wednesday orgy with 14 super models. As the bomb detonates, Xander quickly douses himself with Monster Energy Drink and pisses a force field to protect himself from the flames. After the initial blast, Xander wrestles a lion while base jumping to his basement garage and the lion rips his scalp off in the process. Luckily, Xander has a stem cell lab in his custom 1969 GTO that also doubles as a hovercraft.
*holds out hand* Oscar, please.
Tomb Raider Reboot Movie Gets Iron Man Writers Posted Last week - By Joseph Baxter
The reboot of the Tomb Raider movie franchise has just procured its writers. The scribe duo behind the first Iron Man and this summer's Cowboys & Aliens, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby are now on board in this cinematic effort to revive iconic video game heroine, Lara Croft. It was announced a few months back that producers Graham King and Tim Headington of GK Films would be producing this film, which will likely be accompanied with the earlier-announced reboot of the Tomb Raider videogame franchise. Just as the game announcement made a huge impact with some amazing character art of a younger, but more tormented version of Lara Croft, the folks behind the film may have proven that they're serious with the acquisition of some serious writing talent. Will it be enough to restore the franchise to its glory? According to a released statement, the ambitious aim of this film is to create an "origin story for Lara Croft that solidifies her place alongside Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor in the pantheon of great female action heroes." Yet, this film will have some interesting challenges. They will have to pick up the pieces and restart after they put out two films with Angelina Jolie, who brought a version of Lara Croft that was as close to a perfect rendition as one could find. That's going to be hard to overcome, and even with the list of dream candidates, ranging from Olivia Wilde to Jennifer Lawrence, there just doesn't seem to be any feasible big marquee names that would bring the "wow" factor. Also, considering that the new game also seems set to tackle an origin story with a younger version of Lara, it makes one wonder if a cross-promotional strategy with the game ends up putting creative limits on the film. It certainly wouldn't surprise me if the new game's gritty, darker style and storyline would, by mandate, reflect the movie's. (Or vice-versa.)
Will The Avengers Be the Biggest, Most Expensive Movie Ever? May 14, 2011 11:00 AM PDT by L. Gornstein (E!News)
Will The Avengers be the biggest movie of all time, talent-wise and budget-wise?
Yes, we will be treated to Robert "Iron Man" Downey Jr., Samuel L. "Nick Fury" Jackson, Chris "Captain America" Evans, Mark "The Hulk" Ruffalo, Chris "Thor" Hemsworth, Jeremy "Hawkeye" Renner, Scarlett "Black Widow" Johansson and Scarlett's mesmerizing assets, all in the same superhero movie. Does that equate the biggest assembly of talent ever? What about the price tag? You'll be shocked to learn...That this is not the most gargantuan budget of all time, though it does fall into the obnoxiously massive category. Reports generally place director Joss Whedon's budget around $170 million, right around the same as Iron Man 2, whose budget reportedly fell between $170 million and $200 million. However, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is said to have cost around $300 million. According to reports, Tangled cost an inexplicable $260 mil; and Spider-Man 3 rang in around $258 million. We also might want to offer a nod to the late Liz Taylor here. Film historians often cite the 1963 colossus Cleopatra as the most expensive, if not one of the most expensive, American films ever made. It cost $44 million back then, or, if economists are to be believed, over $300 million, adjusting for inflation.
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