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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.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Newsletter - June 2011

June 2011
Weekly Wrapup 5/9 – 5/14
Post-earthquake charity efforts continue in Japan and Hatsune Miku is coming to America... not much to do with AU and NZ though. Maybe you can help? Two months after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster, charity events are still being held and planned to raise funds and support those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. ANN reported just a few of these events in the past week:
Composer Joe Hisashi, famous for his work with Studio Ghibli, will hold concerts in Japan, France and China to raise funds for musical instruments for children in disaster-affected regions.
Tezuka Productons donated 870 Osamu Tezuka manga volumes which were distributed to two cities in the Iwate and Fukushima prefectures. Messages of support from 106 manga creators were published in a two-page spread in the newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun by publisher Hakusensha.
The Yoshiki Foundation, founded by the leader of rock band X Japan, has raised over US $1.6 million in charity auctions, with more auctions announced. Rock band L'arc~en~Ciel will donate all proceeds from their 20th anniversary concerts and live screenings to relief efforts.
In an internet survey, 68.2% of respondents stated that anime programs should not exercise self-restraint in the aftermath of the March 11th earthquake. The survey asked respondents to specify things that should or should not exhibit self-restraint; anime programs topped the list of items that should not show self-restraint, followed by items such as eating out, wedding ceremonies and letting children play outside. Unnecessary use of electricity topped the list of items that should be restrained. Various anime and other media have been delayed, cancelled or edited due to the earthquake, such as Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Gyakkyō Burai Kaiji: Hakairoku-hen.
In other news, virtual idol Hatsune Miku will appear in a multi-projector concert for the first time outside Japan at Anime Expo on July 2nd. Miku has appeared on traditional screens in the United States and other countries, but the upcoming concert will utilise holograph projection used in the 2010 "39's Giving Day" concert in Japan, combined with new 3D projection. Hatsune Miku is the most famous of the Vocaloid characters, representing voice synthesizer software created by Crypton Future Media used to create songs without a human singer. Vocaloid characters Rin, Len and Luka will also appear during the concert.

Gonzo Collaborating with Chinese Firms on 3 Projects posted on 2011-05-16 02:30 EDT
Film about popular Chinese character to open in 2012-2013; ADK also entering China
The Nihon Keizai Shimbun paper reported on Sunday that the anime studio Gonzo is collaborating with Chinese companies on the joint production of three projects. At least one of the projects will be a film that will open in 2012 or 2013, and it will feature a character that is popular in China. Gonzo's current projects in Japan include Copihan, Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam (Last Exile -Fam, The Silver Wing-) and Nyanpire The Animation. The overall article dealt with various Japanese anime studios' attempts to enter the marketplace in China, all while the Chinese government is developing the country's media industry in animation and other fields. Japan's Toei Animation is jointly producing a new animated film based on its historical comedy anime Ikkyū-san with the Chinese conglomerate Shanghai Media Group (SMG). The Japanese broadcaster TV Tokyo is working with the Canadian artist Pat Lee (Transformers, Darkminds) and the Chinese studio Carloon Animation on a full-CG television series called Train Hero. Another Sunday article in Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported that the major Japanese advertising firm Asatsu DK (ADK) is entering the Chinese animation industry by partnering with a Chinese government-owned animation company.

Art Director Mitsuki Nakamura Passes Away (Updated) posted on 2011-05-17 09:19 EDT
Prolific artist for Speed Racer, Gatchaman, Gundam, Ideon, Nausicaä
Color key artist Kunio Tsujita reported on Tuesday that the production studio Toei notified him that veteran art director Mitsuki Nakamura passed away on Monday, May 16. He was 67.
Nakamura was born in Tokyo in 1944. Starting with the Space Ace television anime in 1965, he was responsible for the background art, visuals, and mechanical designs for many classic anime at Tatsunoko Productions such as Mach Go Go Go (Speed Racer), Oraa Guzura Dado, Kurenai Sanshiro, Hakushon Daimaō, The Adventures of Hutch the Honeybee, Animentari Ketsudan, Kaba Totto, Kaiketsu Tamagon, Kagaku Ninja-Tai Gatchaman, Kerokko Demetan, Casshan, Konchu Monogatari Shin Minashigo Hutch, Hurricane Polymar, Uchū no Kishi Tekkaman, Time Bokan, Paul no Miracle Daisakusen, Kagaku Ninja-Tai Gatchaman II, Kagaku Ninja-Tai Gatchaman F, Golden Warrior - The Gold Lightan, and Kaitō Kiramekiman.
Nakamura later branched out to other studios, including Toei and Sunrise. He worked on the first Mobile Suit Gundam series and movie trilogy, Densetsu Kyojin Ideon, and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. He eventually led his own studio, Design Office MECAMAN.

4Kids Files to Prevent Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Licensing posted on 2011-05-17 15:03 EDT
Requests stay order until court determines if 4Kids' own license is still valid
The North American media distributor 4Kids, which is filing for bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York, filed a motion on Friday requesting that the bankruptcy case's judge, Shelley C. Chapman, issue an order to stay (suspend) co-licensor Asatsu DK's (ADK's) attempts to exercise control over the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime franchise in the United States.
ADK's Nihon Ad Systems (NAS) and co-licensor TV Tokyo announced in March that they were terminating 4Kids' license due to the North American company's allegedly fraudulent underpayment of royalties. 4Kids also requested that the hearing for this motion be rushed, and Judge Chapman scheduled the hearing for May 25 rather than granting the standard 21 days. After TV Tokyo and NAS filed a motion for reconsideration, Judge Chapman rescheduled the hearing for May 31.
In its motion, 4Kids complained that ADK will promote Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, the fourth television anime in the franchise, at the Licensing International Expo in June, and declared that this would cause irreparable harm should TV Tokyo and NAS grant North American Yu-Gi-Oh! licenses previously held by them to new companies.
4Kids acknowledged that TV Tokyo and NAS' lawsuit is currently on hold due to its own bankruptcy filings, during which Judge Chapman filed a stay on the suit, but requested that TV Tokyo and NAS be prevented from "exercising control over 4Kids' rights under the Yu-Gi-Oh! license" — for example, by selling those rights to another company — pending a court decision as to whether the Japanese licensors' termination of their contract was valid. According to 4Kids, both they and the licensors have agreed to transfer their dispute from civil court to Judge Chapman's.
4Kids further argued against the validity of the licensors' termination, stating that it was "procedurally invalid" and declaring that the company is "likely to establish" that ADK and TV Tokyo's accusations are "without merit." 4Kids purported that ADK was aware of the company's deal to split revenue with North American anime distributor Funimation — which the licensors' lawsuit alleged was in fact an attempt by 4Kids to evade paying royalties to the Japanese companies. Additionally, it claimed that several of ADK and TV Tokyo's audit findings "arose more than six years ago" and have therefore passed beyond the statute of limitations.

1st Manga to Be Restricted by Revised Tokyo Law Listed (Updated) posted on 2011-05-16 16:30 EDT
Tokyo lists Aki Sora, Oku-sama wa Shōgakusei, Lovers & Sharing, Koibito 8-gō, Hana-Hiyori, Midori no Kisetsu
On April 14, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government presented the first specific list of titles that are being considered for restrictions under Tokyo's recently revised Youth Healthy Development Ordinance. The government presented the six titles during a meeting with the industry's Publishing Ethics Convention and Publishing Ethics Discussion Group. The revisions to the ordinance will go into effect on July 1.
The revision 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."
The publishers expressed concerns that the revised ordinance will diminish the manga creators and editors' ability to express themselves. Some of the publishers also asked to be notified of the standards for the revised ordinance before books are sold. Mika Sakurai, the section chief in charge of youth affairs at the government's Office for Youth Affairs and Public Safety, responded that the publishers may ask before release whether a specific publication's setting is subject to the law. However, the government may not be able to advice the publisher on a particular publication's legality immediately; for some publications, the government can respond quickly, but for others, the assessment may not be clear until release.


The following titles were on Tokyo Metropolitan Government's list for planned restrictions:
Oku-sama wa Shōgakusei (My Wife Is an Elementary Student) By Seiji Matsuyama
Publisher: Akita Shoten
The story is set in the near future when the marriageable age was lowered in response to the declining birth rate. A 24-year-old man marries a 12-year-old girl in this gag comedy.
Reason for designation: Child rape
[Tokyo Vice Governor Naoki Inose had shown this manga on television as an example of which manga should be restricted.]

Aki Sora  By Masahiro Itosugi
Publisher: Akita Shoten
The "line-crossing" manga deals with the taboo relationship between a high school boy named Sora Aoi and his smart, athletic, "perfect" older sister Aki.
Reason for designation: Incest
[On April 21— one week after the government's meeting with the industry organizations — Itosugi had revealed that there will be no more printings of volumes 1 and 3 of this manga .]

Lovers & Sharing (Kareshi Sharing)
By Yashi Natsuba
Publisher: Shobunkan
The story revolves around a girl whose boyfriend cheated on her with her twin sister. The girl gets enraged, but the twin sister then suggests "sharing" the boyfriend.
Reasons for designation: Rape, incest, group rape

Koibito 8-gō (Lover No. 8) By Makoto Ojiro
Publisher: Shonen Gahousha
A woman is attacked by a masked man, and a female magazine reporter, just one year into her job, goes all out to uncover the man's identity in this "erotic and suspenseful story."
Reason for designation: Rape

Hanamizawa Q-taro Jisenshū Hana-Hiyori By Q-taro Hanamizawa
Publisher: Mediax
A collection of short stories personally selected by the author, seinen magazine manga creator Q-taro Hanamizawa. The stories are mostly light romantic comedies with some erotic scenes.
Reasons for designation: Sexual intercourse in school

Midori no Kisetsu (Blue-Green Season)
By Maakō
Publisher: Moerl Publishing
A collection of short stories by a veteran bishōjo manga creator whose work has appeared in manga magazines for "old men" such as Weekly Manga Times. Three of the eight stories have themes of incest.
Reasons for designation: Incest, sexual intercourse in school

More information about the campaign against manga regulation appear in the article "Ishihara Administration's 'Manga for Planned Deletion' Finally Revealed!!" in the current 21st issue of Weekly Playboy.


Man Arrested for Uploading Manga, PSP Game via Share Program posted on 2011-05-18 09:00 EDT
On May 17, police in Japan arrested a 33-year-old male company worker from Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture on suspicion of using the Share file-sharing software to upload manga and a PSP game online without the copyright holders' permission. According to the police, the man uploaded Square Enix's Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together PSP game around February 3 and Barasui's Strawberry Marshmallow manga around March 7.
The man allegedly was file-sharing five years ago with the earlier Winny program, and then switched to Share. The Association of Copyright for Computer Software said that the suspect uploaded games, pornographic images, films, anime, comics, and various other files. The man's confiscated computer reportedly had over 5,000 files available to upload onto Share. In addition to the copyright infringement charges, the man was arrested on suspicion of putting pornographic material on public display

Comic-Con Int'l to Host Domo-kun Creator Tsuneo Goda posted on 2011-05-18 12:00 EDT
Dark Horse Comics brings director/animator of NHK's internationally known mascot
Comic-Con International announced on Tuesday that Tsuneo Goda, the creator of the internationally known mascot character Domo-kun (Domo), will be appearing at the July event in San Diego courtesy of Dark Horse Comics. Goda created Domo-kun as the mascot for the Japanese public broadcaster NHK, and he oversaw the stop-motion shorts that the Japanese studio dwarf inc. animated. New stop-motion Domo shorts were created for the Target chain of department stores in the United States in 2008, and more shorts were created for the 7-Eleven chain of convenience stores in 2009. Tokyopop published an English-language, full-color graphic novel that same year. Goda's other works include the Komaneko film and PLUG, the New World, a project created in conjunction with Nissan Motors. Comic-Con International runs from July 21 to July 24 at the San Diego Convention Center. A full list of guests can be found on its website.

Manga/Anime/Games in Japanese Gov't Preservation Plan posted on 2011-05-18 23:57 EDT
National Diet Library, Agency for Cultural Affairs to protect Japan's heritage
Japan's National Diet Library and Agency for Cultural Affairs announced on Thursday that they will work together on a cultural preservation project for materials related to Japanese television and radio programming, music, anime, manga, and video games. The National Diet Library will focus on preserving and overseeing books, newspapers, magazines, CD, DVD, and other media, and the Agency for Cultural Affairs will focus on materials in relation to history, art, folklore, industries and natural sciences.
The project will be divided into three areas:
1. Researching how to preserve scripts for television and radio programs and building a digital archive
2. Creating a database to preserve materials related to music, yet with a unified search system
3. Maintain bibliographic information and collaborate on information systems for manga, anime, and videogames
In 2009, then Prime Minister Tarō Asō proposed the construction of a cultural museum in the 2009 budget earmarks. The planned museum would have been a place to exhibit anime, manga, films, and other forms of culture. The museum would have cost 11.7 billion yen (about US$143 million) and would have been located on Tokyo's artificial island of Odaiba. The planned museum was then a part of Asō's larger proposal to use his country's "soft power" in anime, manga, and similar areas of culture to create jobs and reverse the economic downturn.
Former Prime Minster and then opposition member Yukio Hatoyama had criticized the proposal, describing the planned center as a "national manga kissaten (café)" and asserted that Asō was trying to create his own bureaucracy for his interests. A project team established to end useless spending in the Japanese government decided in 2009 to cancel the center because it was "unnecessary."
After the center's cancellation, Meiji University announced plans for a tentatively titled Tokyo International Manga Library for manga, anime, games, and other media in 2014. The city of Kyoto has hosted its Kyoto International Manga Museum since 2006.

Borders Books' Losses Rise to US$132 Million in April posted on 2011-05-23 20:32 EDT
The North American publishing industry news site Publishers Weekly reported on Monday that the troubled book retail chain Borders lost US$132 million over the month of April. Of this amount, US$32 million was lost from the company's ongoing operations, with its reorganization costs adding up to the additional US$100 million. In March, the company lost US$23 million in its ongoing operations.
Borders' recently requested a 120-day extension to solidify its reorganization plans. Its bankruptcy came after a string of difficulties for Borders, including the departure of two of its executives and the delay of payments to publishers, followed by additional layoffs and an attempt to convince publishers to treat its debts as loans, which failed. As noted by the retail news source ICv2, Borders played a crucial role in the rise of manga sales in the United States in the first half of the last decade. Former Tokyopop CEO Stu Levy cited Borders' bankruptcy as part of the reasons for layoffs at the publisher shortly before its announcement of closure.

Man Fined 500,000 Yen for Posting Conan, Negima, Songs posted on 2011-05-23 20:27 EDT
A 48-year-old company employee from Sakai City was fined 500,000 yen (about US$6,000) for using the Share file-sharing software to upload Gosho Aoyama's Detective Conan manga, along with other materials, without the copyright holders' permission. According to the investigation, the man also distributed the Negima manga as well as Momoe Yamaguchi's "Yokosuka Story," "Ano Hi ni Kaeritai," and another song.
Police in Japan had arrested the man along with 17 others on January 12 in a sweep of 50 locations in 23 prefectures nationwide. The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) expressed their thanks on May 19 to the local police in the prefecture and Sakai City for this first such prosecution in the northern part of Japan.

Tokyopop: Japanese Manga Licenses to Revert to Owners posted on 2011-05-24 21:58 EDT
Publisher does not specify status of original non-licensed series
The international manga publisher Tokyopop, which is closing its North American publishing division at the end of this month, issued a statement on its Facebook page regarding the status of its series on Monday. The company confirmed that all of its licensed titles will revert back to their original owners, rather than being held by the company's remaining media division until the contracts expire.
Tokyopop did not address the status of original series for which it owns the rights, however. Many writers, including comic creator Becky Cloonan (whose East Coast Rising comic was published through Tokyopop's "Global Manga" program), blogger Johanna Draper-Carlson, and blogger and comic creator Jason Thompson, expressed concern over the status of these series.
Tokyopop had not responded to ANN's request for comment at press time. California-based manga publisher Digital Manga revealed on Twitter this morning that it is looking into the possibility of rescuing Tokyopop titles.


Man Arrested for Sharing Foreign Films on Nico Nico posted on 2011-05-24 22:23 EDT
A 35-year-old unemployed man named Masao Fukui from Kōchi City was arrested on Monday on suspicion of sharing foreign films on the Nico Nico Douga video streaming website without copyright holders' permission. According to an announcement from the Metropolitan Police Department, the suspect shared about 40 videos that he either rented from a video rental store or downloaded online. The announcement also noted that the subject admitted to the crime, saying "Compared to watching the movies alone, I wanted to watch the movies and share comments with everyone."
Also according to the announcement, the suspect allegedly shared the films Salt and Night and Day off his personal computer around 3:00 a.m. on December 9.
According to the police, this is the first time someone in the country has been arrested on suspicion of sharing films on a video site without the copyright holders' permission. In February, the Japan and International Motion Picture Copyright Association (JIMCA) consulted the Metropolitan Police Department, informing the police that there were users on the Nico Nico Douga website who had been streaming films illegally.

Deadline: Hughes Leaves Live-Action Akira Project (Updated) posted on 2011-05-26 15:39 EDT
Film news site reports that director departed due to "amicable creative differences"
The North American film news site Deadline reported on Thursday that director Albert Hughes has departed from the live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's manga and anime film Akira. According to the report, Hughes departed amicably due to "creative differences" on the film, and the studio still intends to keep the film "on a fast track." Deadline further states that Warner intends to put Hughes on another film shortly.
The report cites "insiders" for the information. Warner Bros. had not responded to ANN's request for comment at press time.
Last week, the movie news site JoBlo.com reported that Keanu Reeves had passed on the lead role of Kaneda in the film, and that "most" of the film's staff had been let go. At the time, the site noted that Hughes was still attached to the project.
Screenwriters Gary Whitta, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby were previously attached to the project, but the development team with producer Andrew Lazar (Jonah Hex, Space Cowboys, Get Smart) hired a new writer named Albert Torres. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Aviator) is producing through his Appian Way production company. When the project was originally announced in 2008, it was intended to be the directorial debut for Ireland's Ruairi Robinson. Last year, Hughes told the Japanese movie news site Eiga.com that his next film is Akira.
In March, an alleged short list of possible cast members, including Justin Timberlake and Robert Pattinson, was posted by movie news site Deadline. While Pattinson himself downplayed the report, Star Trek television actor George Takei promoted petitions against the alleged "white-washing" (casting of only caucasian actors) of the series, whose original characters are Japanese.

U.S. SyFy Channel Lists No More Anime After June 9 posted on 2011-05-27 12:30 EDT
No new listings for long-running anime block online
The online schedule for the American cable channel Syfy currently lists no anime series after June 9, even though two shows — Monster and Star Blazers: The Quest for Iscandar — are still in the middle of their runs. The channel will show Monster's seventh and eighth episodes as well as Star Blazers' 15th and 16th episodes on June 9 starting at 12:30 a.m.
ANN is awaiting comments from Syfy, Viz Media, Manga Entertainment, and Voyager Entertainment.
Syfy (then called Sci Fi) launched its anime block in 2007 under the name AniMonday. In 2008, the block moved to Tuesday, and more recently moved to Thursdays. The timing of the block has also shifted; on June 9 the block will start at 12:30 a.m., where previously it had started at 11:00 or 11:30 p.m.

Aya Hirano Confirms She Stopped Performing Music for Lantis posted on 2011-05-28 18:30 EDT
Artist noted health problems from last year on Twitter account
Voice actress and singer Aya Hirano (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya's Haruhi, Fairy Tail's Lucy) confirmed on her Twitter account on Sunday that her recently released best album (titled Aya Museum) will be her last musical release through the music label Lantis. Hirano wrote that when she had problems with her health last year, she wrote all about it on her blog, but she has a lot of lonely and frustrating memories of that time period. She also wrote that if she does feel like performing music again in the future, she will be sure to let her fans know. Hirano thanked her fans for their words of encouragement and asked for fans to please wait until she is able to perform music again.
Hirano performed theme songs for Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Seikon no Qwaser, Zettai Karen Children and various other anime. Hrano's 2009 single "Super Driver" reached #3 on Oricon's charts.
Hirano reported last month that she has been under orders that prohibit her from acting in new anime since last year, although she still continues to perform in her ongoing roles in anime such as Seikon no Qwaser II, Maria Holic Alive, Fairy Tail, and Jewelpet Sunshine. Her last album, Aya Museum, was released on May 25. Earlier this month, Hirano appeared at the Forbidden Planet comic book shop in New York City.

Yoshiki: Issue 0 with Stan Lee to Debut at Comic-Con Int'l posted on 2011-05-28 22:30 EDT
X Japan band co-founder to hold press conference with U.S. comic pioneer at event
Yoshiki, the co-founder of the rock band X Japan, confirmed at his FanimeCon panel on Saturday that he and American comic pioneer Stan Lee plan to debut "issue #0" of their collaborative comic project at Comic-Con International in San Diego this July. The two had revealed their "music super hero comic book and motion comic series" at New York Comic Con last October, and Yoshiki confirmed earlier this month that he and Lee will hold a press conference at Comic-Con International.
Lee appeared in X Japan's "Born to Be Free" music video, and he has contributed to Yoshiki's benefit efforts in the past. The two attended the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards together in January.

Funimation Streams 202 Dubbed Episodes of One Piece posted on 2011-05-31 23:45 EDT
English episodes only available through Saturday, June 4 at 10:00 p.m. EDT
The official blog for the North American anime distributor Funimation announced that, in honor of the television anime One Piece's 500th episode, the company is streaming every One Piece episode that the company has dubbed to date (episodes one through 202). These episodes will be available on Funimation's official One Piece website through Saturday, June 4 at 10:00 p.m. EDT.

Durarara!! to Run on U.S. Adult Swim Network in June posted on 2011-05-28 16:37 EDT
Aniplex's 26 English-dubbed episodes to also run on AdultSwim.com
The production company Aniplex of America announced at its FanimeCon Durarara!! panel on Saturday that the anime series will begin running on the American television network Adult Swim in June. The 26-episode anime will run during the network's Saturday evening programming block. Adult Swim's website will also stream episodes after their television run.
The 2010 Durarara!! anime adapts Ryohgo Narita's suspense action light novels of the same name. After launching his earlier Baccano! light novel series, Narita wrote Durarara!!'s "warped adolescent fantasy romance" about the colorful young denizens of Tokyo's Ikebukuro neighborhood. Narita has written nine Durarara!! novel volumes since 2004, and Akiyo Satorigi began drawing a manga series in Square Enix's G Fantasy magazine in 2009.
Aniplex shipped the first two parts of the anime on DVD, and the third and final part is shipping this month. The website Crunchyroll began streaming the anime outside Japan as it aired.

Borders Creditors Object to Bankruptcy Extension posted on 2011-05-31 23:42 EDT
Committee "gravely concerned" about Borders' debt
On May 26, the Creditors Committee that was appointed to the bookstore chain Borders' bankruptcy petition — which includes book publishers Penguin, HarperCollins, Random House, and Perseus Books Group — filed an objection to the chain's request for a 120-day extension on its deadline to file a bankruptcy plan. The objection cites Borders increasing losses as a grave concern to the debtors, and further claims that the company has "failed to establish 'cause' to justify" the extension. The committee requests that if the judge grants the extension, that it be permitted to file its own plan should Borders wind up filing a plan without the committee's support. Borders has met with publishers both before and after filing bankruptcy in an attempt to negotiate credit so that it can acquire product for sale in its stores; however, the filings may indicate that no such deal has been forthcoming. In the meantime, the publishing industry news source Publishers Weekly reports that the chain has been acquiring its stock on a cash-with-order basis. Borders' filing for bankruptcy came after a string of difficulties for the chain, including the departure of two of its executives and the delay of payments to publishers, followed by additional layoffs and an attempt to convince publishers to treat its debts as loans, which failed. As noted by the retail news source ICv2, Borders played a crucial role in the rise of manga sales in the United States in the first half of the last decade. Former Tokyopop CEO Stu Levy cited Borders' bankruptcy as part of the reasons for layoffs at the publisher shortly before its announcement of closure.

Funimation Sues 1,427 John Does Over Ip Man posted on 2011-05-31 23:39 EDT
New suit filed in a different district than January One Piece suit
On May 27, lawyer Evan Stone filed a lawsuit on behalf of the North American anime distributor Funimation, alleging that 1,427 John Doe (anonymous) users infringed on Funimation's rights to the live-action film The Legend Is Born: IP Man. The lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of Texas Court, demands US$150,000 in damages for copyright infringement allegedly conducted by the "Does" via the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol. The list of the John Does' Internet protocol (IP) addresses, reveals that the lawsuit covers alleged acts of infringement which took place from May 13 through May 26.
The lawsuit bears similarities to Funimation's January lawsuit against 1,337 BitTorrent users over infringement of an episode of One Piece, including the large number of defendants and the amount of money demanded. A notable difference is that the new suit was filed in the Eastern District, while the earlier suit was filed in the Northern District.
The judge on the One Piece suit ruled that the use of BitTorrent, which typically requires users to take part in uploading materials in order to continue downloading them, does not constitute "acting in concert" and severed all but one defendant from the suit. Funimation dropped the lawsuit this past March.
In an interview with ANN, Stone revealed that he had negotiated settlements for Funimation with some downloaders outside of court, but that he continues to fight with some Internet service providers (ISPs) to learn the identities of other downloaders.

Minneapolis to Host 1st Mechademia Academic Conference posted on 2011-05-31 13:15 EDT
11th Annual School Girls and Mobilesuits Workshop set for September 30-October 2
The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) is hosting the 11th Annual School Girls and Mobilesuits (SGMS) Workshop. The three-day workshop runs from September 30 to October 2 and focuses anime and manga influences in culture. This year, the SGMS Workshop will also feature the first Mechademia Conference. Undergraduates, graduates, and independent scholars are encouraged to submit essays about the theme of "Creation and Direction," as well as proposals for panels or presentations.
Speakers this year include Dr. Marc Hairston of the William B. Hanson Center for Space Science, Dr. Thomas LaMarre the Professor of East Asian Studies for McGill University, and Dr. Sharalyn Orbaugh Professor of Asian and Women's Studies for the University of British Columbia and Former Visiting Professor of Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto. Dr. Marc Hairston has written multiple articles for the magazine Animerica as well as authoring the only manga-inspired series sponsored by NASA.
Mechademia began as an annual series of books from editor Frenchy Lunning and the University of Minnesota Press. More information about the five-year-old series can be found at the publisher's website.
Notable past speakers at SGMS include Yoshitoshi ABe, Tomoko Taniguchi, Maki Isaka, Masami Toku, Udon, Crispin Freeman, and Sean Michael Wilson.

Man Arrested for Threatening Voice Actress Aya Hirano posted on 2011-06-01 00:10 EDT
24-year-old allegedly wrote on 2ch that he would harm Hirano, "blow up Fuji TV"
Police arrested Tomokazu Furuichi, a 24-year-old male worker from Sapporo, Hokkaido, on suspicion of writing on the Internet forum 2channel (2ch) that he would harm 23-year-old voice actress Aya Hirano and making other threats. Furuichi allegedly made his threats against Hirano between April and May, and he is also accused of saying he would "blow up Fuji TV" and other means of "forcible obstruction of business" (an arrestable offense in Japan). According to the police investigation, Furuichi admitted to the charges. A person who identifies himself as "Tomokazu Furuichi" has been using a Twitter account to send messages about killing Hirano and her fans.

Suspect Arrested for Uploading Nadja via Share Program posted on 2011-06-03 10:06 EDT
Police in the southwestern Japanese prefecture of Kōchi arrested Shinji Betsuyaku, a 27-year-old company worker from Kōnan City, on suspicion of using the Share file-sharing software to upload television anime online without the copyright holders' permission on Friday. According to the police report, the suspect uploaded the first two episodes of the anime Ashita no Nadja around 10:30 a.m. on Friday. The police also stated that the suspect said, "Using file-sharing software was second nature to me." According to the police, the suspect was distributing about 6,500 other files of anime and still images via share.

Chicago College to Host Thermae Romae's Mari Yamazaki posted on 2011-06-02 09:00 EDT
1st overseas "Manga Showdown" drawing event with Kaasan - Mom's Life's Rieko Saibara
Harper College will host the next "Rieko Saibara's Manga Showdown" ("Saibara Rieko no Jinsei Garyoku Taiketsu") with award-winning Thermae Romae manga creator Mari Yamazaki (pictured far right) in the Chicago suburb of Palatine, Illinois on June 26 at 2:30 p.m. This will be the first overseas event in the "Manga Showdown" series, in which Saibara (Kaasan - Mom's Life/Mainichi Kaasan, pictured right) holds live drawing "competitions" with other manga creators. Although Yamazaki was born in Tokyo, she now lives in Chicago.
Yamazaki's Thermae Romae is a comedy about Lucius — an architect of public bath houses (thermae) in ancient Rome — who time-travels to various modern-day baths in Japan. Through manga and essay passages, Yamazaki explores the two cultures in the world "that have loved baths the most: the Japanese and the Romans!" The work won the Manga Taisho (Cartoon Grand Prize) award last year, followed by the Short Work Prize in the 14th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prizes. A live-action film version with Hiroshi Abe and Aya Ueto will open in Japan in 2012. Crunchyroll began streaming Saibara's Kaasan - Mom's Life anime worldwide in 2009. Tickets for the Harper College event, which will be in Japanese, cost US$10. The Japanese publisher Shogakukan is sponsoring the event in collaboration with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Chicago.
Previous "Manga Showdown" guests have included Naoki Urasawa (20th Century Boys, Monster) Kiminori Wakasugi (Detroit Metal City), Takashi Murakami (Namakemono ga Miteta), Nobuyuki Fukumoto (Kaiji), Hisashi Eguchi (Stop! Hibari-kun), Tetsuya Chiba (Ashita no Joe), and Fujiko Fujio A (Doraemon).

Judge Orders Hold on U.S. Yu-Gi-Oh! Anime License (Updated) posted on 2011-06-02 19:30 EDT
Sets trial dates, deadlines for 2-phase trial on license to 4Kids
On Thursday, United States Bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman ordered TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems (NAS), the owners of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime franchise, to comply with an automatic stay on the anime's licensing. According to the order, the owners cannot re-license the franchise or otherwise exercise control over rights to the franchise. The rights were held by the North American distributor 4Kids under its 2001 and 2008 contracts with TV Tokyo and NAS.
TV Tokyo and NAS had announced in March that they would terminate 4Kids' Yu-Gi-Oh! license and sue the distributor. The owners claimed that 4Kids fraudulently hid income that should have been subject to royalties for the Japanese owners.
In her Thursday order, Judge Chapman also said that the trial on the franchise's licensing will proceed in two phases: the first will determine whether TV Tokyo and NAS' announced cancellation of 4Kids' license was valid, and whether 4Kids owes the owners money and exactly how much. 4Kids must respond to the lawsuit on June 10, followed by discovery, objections, and witness lists. The first phase of the trial will begin on August 29. Details on the second phase have not been revealed.
4Kids filed for bankruptcy in April; the company had previously stated it might have to file after the Yu-Gi-Oh! lawsuit. The lawsuit judge then remanded, or sent, the lawsuit to the bankruptcy court due to the relation between the two cases. When 4Kids learned that ADK, the owner of Nihon Ad Systems, would promote the new Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal anime series at the Licensing Expo International later this month, 4Kids filed a motion requesting enforcement of the automatic stay mentioned above.

Manga Creator Jiro Taniguchi to Be Knighted in France posted on 2011-06-03 08:30 EDT
A Distant Neighborhood creator honored as chevalier for contributions to arts
France announced that it will confer the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) decoration on manga creator Jiro Taniguchi. The order honors individuals who have contributed in art, literature, and other areas. Other Japanese citizens who have received the honor include filmmaker and actor Takeshi Kitano ("Beat Takeshi") and videogame designer Shigeru Miyamoto.
Fanfare / Ponent Mon has published such Taniguchi works as The Walking Man, The Ice Wanderer, and A Distant Neighborhood in English, and these three particular titles have been nominated for America's Eisner Awards. Viz also published his Benkei in New York manga.
A live-action film adaptation of A Distant Neighborhood (Harukana Machi e/Quartier Lointain) was produced in Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Germany last year.
While Taniguchi has received manga and comic awards in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and other countries, this new decoration is his first national order of honor. France has not yet announced when the ceremony for the decoration will take place.

Bankruptcy Judge Grants Borders' Filing Extension posted on 2011-06-03 10:14 EDT
Troubled bookstore chain gets an extra 120 days to file new business plan
United States Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn granted Borders an additional 120 days to file its plan for getting past bankruptcy this week, despite objections filed by the Creditors Committee (which includes book publishers Penguin, HarperCollins, Random House, and Perseus Books Group). Borders requested the extension earlier this month after negotiations with publishers continued to fail. The company's new deadline to file a plan will be October 14, rather than June 16.
Borders' filing for bankruptcy came after a string of difficulties for the chain, including the departure of two of its executives and the delay of payments to publishers, followed by additional layoffs and an attempt to convince publishers to treat its debts as loans, which failed. As noted by the retail news source ICv2, Borders played a crucial role in the rise of manga sales in the United States in the first half of the last decade. Former Tokyopop CEO Stu Levy cited Borders' bankruptcy as part of the reasons for layoffs at the publisher shortly before its announcement of closure.

Daily Video: Fan-Made Anime-Inspired Dr. Who Finished posted on 2011-06-04 21:00 EDT
Pro translator streams last 12-minute short based on science-fiction franchise
Anime fan Paul "Otaking" Johnson, a professional translator in Sheffield, England, is streaming the above video on YouTube. The video is the culmination of over two years of work to create an unofficial anime-inspired adaptation of the BBC's Dr. Who science fiction television franchise. (Johnson bears no relation to Toshio Okada, the "OtaKing" who co-founded Gainax.)
When ANN previously contacted Johnson for comment, he cautioned that the short isn't an episode or full story, but rather a short "'what-if' trailer." He also acknowledged the influence of anime from the 1980s and 1990s such as Project A-Ko, Bubblegum Crisis, and Macross on the art style.
Update: Unfortunately, the video has been removed by the user

Akira Laser Gun Replica Listed for Sale in California posted on 2011-06-04 20:00 EDT
Prop makers also recently sold replica Akira motorcycle
The California-based prop maker Eddie Paul Industries is advertising a replica of a laser gun from Katsuhiro Otomo's anime film Akira on the online classifieds services Craigslist. The company is offering the non-firing replica gun for US$1,000. Last month, Eddie Paul Industries offered a replica of the motorcycle from Akira for sale. The motorcycle had been used in Kanye West's music video "Stronger," which included several scenes inspired by the anime film. However, the gun currently for sale does not appear in the video, nor does the advertisement state that the gun was used in the filming of the video.

Private Equity Firm Gores Group Bids on Borders Stores posted on 2011-06-04 23:55 EDT
California-based firm reportedly offers $200 million for 200 stores
North American financial newspaper The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the California-based private equity firm Gores Group has placed a bid for "more than half" of the Borders bookstore chain, which is currently embroiled in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The ICv2 retail news site reported that the offer is US$200 million for 200 of Borders' 405 remaining bookstore locations.
To date there have been no reports of a bidder for the entire company. Several groups have bid on parts of the firm, including the book chain Barnes & Noble. The rival chain had itself received a buyout offer from Starz Media parent Liberty Media.

New Gundam Work to Be Unveiled in June 13 (Update 2) posted on 2011-06-05 23:50 EDT
Official site confirms live announcement; Seiji Mizushima: Gundam 00 staffers involved
The official Japanese portal site for the Gundam robot franchise confirmed on Monday that a new work in the franchise will be revealed via a live event on June 13 at 1:30 p.m. in Japan (12:30 a.m. EDT). The site promises that everything about the setting, story, mecha, characters, and more will be unveiled about the project. The event will also announce items from the Bandai Namco Group. (Sunrise, the studio behind Gundam, is a Bandai Namco Group company.)
The Bandai Channel and Gundam.info websites will stream the announcement event, but the Bandai Channel service is normally limited to Japanese IP (Internet Protocol) addresses.
An English Twitter account of Bluefin, Bandai's distributor in the United States, had retweeted a message last month that said, "A new Gundam series will be announced during the Tokyo Toy Show....about 3 weeks." However, the message has since been deleted. This year, the International Tokyo Toy Show will run from June 16 to 19.
Update 2: Director Seiji Mizushima (Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Fullmetal Alchemist) emphasized that he has nothing to do with the new Gundam project, but added that there are many people involved from the Gundam 00 staff.

'Anime Porn' Leads to Arrest in Slidell, Louisiana (Updated) posted on 2011-06-06 22:00 EDT
24-year-old man reported by his wife for material on their shared laptop
Authorities of Slidell, Louisiana took 24-year-old Jeffery St. Amand Jr. into custody on 15 counts of child pornography last Wednesday, after his wife reported that he had "Anime Porn" on his computer.
According to the police, St. Amand's wife first alerted the authorities on May 30 after finding her husband viewing "Japanese animated child pornography or 'Anime Porn'" on a shared laptop. (The police defined the phrase as "very sexually explicit of pornographic comics and animation, particularly those of Japanese origin.") A follow-up investigation by Detective Brian Brown and agents from the Louisiana Attorney General's Office alleged that Amand had compiled images of "prepubescent females, all appeared to be between 4 and 5 years of age."
The Slidell Police Department's Public Information Officer, Captain Kevin Foltz, confirmed the arrest with ANN but stressed that the charges against St. Amand are not related to the animated pornography, which is not against the law in Louisiana. He explained that the animations and St. Amand's statements served as probable cause to find the aforementioned images, which were photographs of real children. He also indicated that more charges may be filed against St. Amand relating to actual molestation. St. Amand is being held at the St. Tammany Parish Jail in Covington, Louisiana on a US$150,000 bond.
Update: The Times-Picayune article specified that the 15 counts of child pornography were for "photographs," but the police announcement itself does not specify "photographs" — only "images."

Manga Creator Moto Hagio to Teach at Joshibi U. posted on 2011-06-06 02:30 EDT
Historic women's school places shōjo pioneer in field for training future creators
The Joshibi University of Art and Design has appointed modern shōjo manga pioneer Moto Hagio as a guest professor. Hagio will lecture under the Field of Media Art and Design in the Department of Cross-Disciplinary Art and Design. The Field of Media Art and Design aims to train creators in anime, character design, visual arts, and other areas. The university is a historical women's institution of higher education with roots that date back over a century ago in the Tokyo area.
Hagio's works include A Drunken Dream, A, A', and They Were Eleven. Along with To Terra's Keiko Takemiya and Rose of Versailles' Riyoko Ikeda, Hagio co-founded the Year 24 Group — a group of innovative female manga creators who were born in or around the Year Shōwa 24 (1949) and who shaped the now diverse field of shōjo manga.
Along the way, Hagio earned the Shogakukan Manga Award, Seiun Award, Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize, Nihon SF Taisho Award, and Comic-Con International's Inkpot Award. Just last month, she received the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Award in the 40th Japan Cartoonist Awards.

Japanese Site Offers Recipes for Food in Anime posted on 2011-06-06 21:00 EDT
Kiki's herring & pumpkin pie, Ponyo's ham ramen, others detailed
The Japanese company Clark Project has launched "Bistro Animeshi," a website that provides recipes for dishes from anime that people fondly remember from childhood. The recipes include step-by-step instructions with accompanying pictures.
Currently, the website offers recipes for the herring and pumpkin pie from Kiki's Delivery Service (pictured at right), spaghetti and meatballs from Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, Satsuki's homemade box lunch (bentō) from My Neighbor Totoro, mammoth meat (actually sirloin beef on a clay bone) from Hajime Ningen Gyatoruz, and ramen with ham from Ponyo.
The website will offer more recipes in the future, along with side dishes and instructions on how to make other items, such as the ceramic bone in the mammoth meat dish.
The Japanese portal site Cobs Online asked its users which food in anime have they wanted to try eating, and herring and pumpkin pie and mammoth meat were high on the lists.

Sony Previews US$250/US$300 PS Vita, US$500 3D TV posted on 2011-06-06 22:30 EDT
Also: ICO, God of War Origins Collection ported to PlayStation 3
The videogame software and console developer Sony Computer Entertainment previewed the PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) — the successor to the PSP handheld system — and a US$499.99 3D television during its pre-E3 press conference on Monday.
Along with the previously reported release date of the end of 2011, Sony added that it is partnering with AT&T as the exclusive mobile carrier for the PS Vita for the United States. Sony will release a Wi-Fi-only PS Vita for US$249.99, and a 3G/Wi-Fi variant for US$299.99.
The PlayStation Vita, which means "life" in Latin, comes equipped with multiple new features including a 5-inch organic light emitting display (OLED), front and rear cameras and touch panels, GPS, SixAxis tilt functionality and two analog sticks to complete traditional PlayStation controls.
A number of game highlights followed to demonstrate PS Vita's gameplay including:
Uncharted: Golden Abyss shows off the high quality that the handheld system can achieve graphically while demonstrating touch-screen combat.
ModNation Racers puts to good use the front and rear touch pads in manipulating terrain when creating race tracks. Street Fighter IV producer Yoshinori Ono formally announced Street Fighter X Tekken, being developed on the PS Vita with exclusive fighter Cole MacGrath of InFamous
Sony also announced that it will release a 24-inch 3D display this fall for US$499.99. The display will bundle 3D Glasses, an HDMI cable, and the Resistance 3 game from Insomniac Games for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) console.
The press conference confirmed that the classic game franchises ICO and God of War will be ported to the PlayStation 3 this fall.

U.S. Bill on Making Illegal Streams a Felony Detailed posted on 2011-06-06 23:55 EDT
Would apply to 10+ "public performances by electronic means"
New details have emerged of a United States bill to make it a felony to "perform" copyrighted works such as television series or films illegally without permission, including by streaming. The offence would "consist of 10 or more public performances by electronic means"of the work during a 180-day period. It would also apply if the "total fair market value" of equivalent licensed performances would exceed US$5,000. The penalty would be a fine or imprisonment of not more than five years.
The bill, designated S. 978 was introduced on May 12 by Senators Amy Klobuchar, John Cornyn, and Christopher Coons. At that time, Victoria Espinel of the Copyright Alliance said, “While illegal downloading and distribution is a felony, the illegal, willful, and commercial streaming of films, TV programs, and music remains only a misdemeanor.” She described the bill as being aimed at removing “unwarranted obstacles to the prosecution of websites that willfully and illegally stream valuable copyrighted works for commercial advantage or private financial gain."

Tekken: Blood Vengeance to Run in U.S. Theaters in 3D (Updated) posted on 2011-06-07 11:00 EDT
Bandai Entertainment to release Namco Bandai Games' CG anime film on DVD
The North American anime distributor Bandai Entertainment announced on Tuesday that the Tekken: Blood Vengeance CG anime film will run in more than 375 American theaters in 3D on July 26 at 7:30 p.m. local time. In addition, Bandai Entertainment plans to release the DVD for this film based on Namco's fighting videogame franchise.
Bandai Entertainment is collaborating with NCM Fathom and Namco Bandai Games America on the theatrical screenings. The screening will include a 20-minute special with interviews with the Tekken project director and screenwriter. Bandai Entertainment and Fathom have worked together on the Sword of the Stranger and Eureka Seven - good night, sleep tight, young lovers film screenings, but the Tekken: Blood Vengeance screening event is their first joint effort in 3D.
One of the new movie's producers is Tekken art director Yoshinari Mizushima. Digital Frontier, the studio responsible for opening movie footage in the Tekken 5 and Tekken 6 games as well as the Appleseed and Resident Evil: Degeneration films, is producing the new film with director Yōichi Mōri. Dai Sato (Casshern, Cowboy Bebop, Eureka Seven) wrote the script, and Shinji Higuchi (Evangelion, Gunbuster, Vandread) handled the storyboards.

Kyoto Seika University Offers Japan's 1st Manga Ph.D. posted on 2011-06-07 12:00 EDT
1st university with manga faculty & master's degree to launch doctorate in 2012
Kyoto Seika University announced on Tuesday that it will offer Japan's first doctorate program in manga studies to new students, beginning in April of next year. The university in Kyoto has a 40-year history of academic study in manga and animation. The university was first to install a specialized area of manga studies in 2000, and it then created a Faculty of Manga in 2006. It was also the first to establish a master's degree program in manga last year, when it accepted 20 students.
The university notes that the creation of the doctorate program is a response to internationalization of manga culture, increased public support, and developments in digital media and global contents culture. The faculty's teaching staff includes To Terra creator Keiko Takemiya and manga translator and cultural anthopologist Matt Thorn.
Candidates in the doctoral program will study manga theories for at least 3 years to receive this Doctorate of Arts degree. After completing coursework, the Kyoto Seika University expects graduates to become researchers, professors, and manga artists. The teaching staff includes internationally known manga researchers and active authors and editors. With this staff, students will get a close view of authors' perspectives on manga research and develop professional knowledge about production.
Kyoto Seika University will accept applications next January, hold admission tests in February, and accept 4 to 12 students into the program in April 2012.
More information about the program is available in Japanese on the university's website. http://www.kyoto-seika.ac.jp/edu/graduate/manga/

Male Sought for Cutting Part of Pokemon Shirt Off Girl posted on 2011-06-06 07:15 EDT
Suspect allegedly cut 3 images of Pokémon off girl's t-shirt while she was playing
Police in Yamagata City received a report from a father that a male suspect "who looked like a high school student" cut off part of the t-shirt of the father's six-year-old girl at around 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. The first-grade girl was playing next to her Yamagata home when the offense allegedly occurred. The girl was physically uninjured, and while the police view it as a possible prank, they are also investigating the incident as a possible assault case.
According to the police report, the girl was playing by herself when the male suspect appeared, riding a bicycle. The suspect then allegedly said, "I'm getting this as a souvenir" and cut off three images of Pokémon characters from the chest of the t-shirt with scissors or a similar object. The suspect was reportedly in a group of two. The cut-off sections of the t-shirt each measured 10 centimeters (about four inches) wide. The suspect was wearing a red t-shirt and shorts. The Yamagata police have increased their patrols in response.

Nintendo Announces Legend of Zelda Concerts posted on 2011-06-07 13:15 EDT
Symphony orchestra to perform videogame franchise music around the world
The Japanese videogame console and game manufacturer Nintendo announced on Tuesday that in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda videogame franchise, it will hold a series of concerts in which a symphony orchestra will perform the music from the game series. The concerts will begin this fall in regions throughout the world. Nintendo made the announcement during its press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) conference in Los Angeles.
In recent years, the Video Games Live orchestra has performed concerts world-wide which consisted of music from videogames, including games originating in Japan and elsewhere. Between November 2010 and June 2011, the group performed 42 concerts. In 2003, a concert was held in Tokyo featuring big band-style arrangements of music from both the Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda franchises. Scitron Digital Contents released a CD recording of the live performance.

Nintendo Details New Wii U Console for 2012 (Updated) posted on 2011-06-07 14:25 EDT
New home platform can be played on touch-screen controller with or without TV
The videogame software and console developer Nintendo previewed its 2012 system, the Nintendo Wii U, before the start of the E3 conference in California today. The system is designed so that games can be switched from the television to the system controller (pictured right), or played across both the television and the controller in combination. It will target two contrasting markets: the "casual" and the "passionate" games.
The new controller will have a 6.2-inch touch screen (16:9 aspect ratio) and will be backwards-compatible with the Wii. It includes a microphone, a speaker, gyroscopic sensors, motion sensors, and a camera. Wii U games can be played either on the television or on the controller screen, or structured so that elements of the game appear on both screens. (For example, the controller may show energy and information bars, while the main action is shown unimpeded on the TV, or it may show an alternate perspective on the action.) In some games, the player will have to physically move the controller around to see the game world (for example, in shooters).
Two games were confirmed for the Nintendo Wii U. The next Super Smash Bros game will appear on both the Wii U and 3DS, while Lego City Stories, "full of Lego vehicles," will continue the Lego game franchise.
Update: In an in-house interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo Global President Satoru Iwata mentioned that a total of one new Wii U controller and four existing Wii Remote Control Plus controllers can be connected to the Wii U console — indicating that only one new Wii U controller can be used at a time. [Via Hachima Kikō]

Former Funimation Parent Navarre Posts 4th Quarter Results posted on 2011-06-07 19:30 EDT
Last report to include Funimation reports net loss of $536K for Funimation
Navarre Corporation, the Minneapolis-based former parent company of the North American anime distributor Funimation, released its financial results for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011 on Tuesday. This is the last time Navarre's financial results will mention Funimation, as Navarre sold Funimation on March 31 for US$24 million to a group of investors that includes Gen Fukunaga, who is also Funimation's chief executive officer. The financial results cover the three months that ended on March 31.
As Navarre had announced in previous quarters this year, Funimation is listed as "discontinued operations" — a financial term for a segment of a company that has been separated from the rest of the company, or has been approved for separation.
Navarre reported in its press release that Funimation had a net loss before tax of US$849,000, which included US$2.1 million in non-cash impairment charges.
Navarre reported that discontinued operations showed a net loss of US$536,000, compared to a net loss of $486,000 for the same segment in the same period in 2010. In the first quarter of 2011, the segment had an income of US$895,000, in the second quarter, it had a net income of US$1.68 million, and in the third quarter, it had a net income of US$1.8 million.
Reid Porter, Interim Chief Executive Officer, commented in the report on its sale of Funimation, saying "We are pleased to have completed the sale of FUNimation during the fourth quarter. As we have previously stated, this Japanese anime business was not a strategic fit with the rest of our businesses. This sale allows us to focus on expanding our presence in new, growing revenue streams."
Navarre had also announced on Monday that Chairman of the Board Eric Paulson is stepping down in September, nearly 30 years after he founded company.
Navarre will hold its quarterly earnings conference call to discuss the report on Wednesday.

Sanrio, Mercis Settle Lawsuit, Donate to Quake Efforts posted on 2011-06-07 22:00 EDT
Both companies to donate US$220,000 & end suit over Kathy/Miffy similarities
Sanrio and the Dutch company Mercis jointly announced on Tuesday that they settled their dispute over the Sanrio character Kathy (pictured at right) and Dick Bruna's character Miffy (pictured far right) out of court. Sanrio had already stopped using the character Kathy in new products (including licensed goods) as of November of 2009.
Last November, a court in Amsterdam ruled that the Japanese rabbit character Kathy was "too similar" an imitation of Dick Bruna's rabbit Miffy (Nijntje), and ordered Sanrio to stop making and selling items based on Kathy in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Sanrio then appealed the ruling, stating that no copyright or trademark infringement was intended and asking for Miffy's trademark to be revoked.
Both companies announced in the press release that they agreed that in the wake of the March 11 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster that money spent on the lawsuit could be better spent to "rehabilitate and reconstruct" Japan. Therefore, the companies decided to withdraw their legal actions and donate 150,000 euros (about 17.5 million yen or US$220,000).
Bruna also drew a picture of Miffy (pictured at left) to express his condolences to Japan regarding the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear plant accident.
Kathy (also written as Cathy) is one of the friends of Sanrio's most prominent character, Hello Kitty. Kathy appeared in the anime series Hello Kitty and Friends, which ADV Films released in North America.

Barnes & Noble's 3rd Biggest Shareholder Cuts Its Shares posted on 2011-06-08 23:55 EDT
The independent investment advising firm Aletheia Research and Management announced on Wednesday that it has cut its stake in Barnes & Noble to 5.2 million shares, or 8.65 percent of the company — down from the 10.59 percent stake it held in April. Aletheia is Barnes & Noble's third largest shareholder.
In May, Liberty Media (the parent company of Manga Entertainment owner Starz Media) had offered a bid to purchase the bookstore chain Barnes & Noble. The bid was worth about US$1 billion. Barnes & Noble itself had offered to purchase 10 stores owned by its rival bookstore chain Borders last month.
Aletheia still holds 5,211,645 shares at about US$18.86 per share.  

Randy "Macho Man" Savage Has Died; Wrestler Had Heart Attack Posted May 20, 2011 - By Stephen Johnson
Randy "The Macho Man" Savage has died. The wrestling superstar suffered a heart attack while driving. He was 58 years old. Savage, known for his signature "elbow drop" move was among the most popular wrestlers of the 1980s, squaring off against all the biggest old-school stars including Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Ric Flair, and countless WWE jobbers you've never heard of. Macho Man is best known for his Wrestlemania bout against Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat during Wrestlemania 3 in 1987. Savage parted ways with the WWE back in the mid 1990s, but recently reunited with the company in video game form in WWE All-Stars, a game that allowed players to take on the role of classic wrestlers.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Movie Loses David O.Russell As A Director Posted May 26, 2011 - By Nikole Zivalich
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, the movie, has lost its writer and director David O. Russell. O.Russell left the project due to creative differences with Sony. According to Variety, Sony is looking for a new writer to redraft the film.
The movie is based on Sony and Naughty Dog's 2007 game of the same name. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, and was rumored to star O.Russell's friend Mark Walhberg as Nathan Drake. With a new writer and director, a new cast seems more than likely. That's right folks, Nathan Fillion still has a chance!

Ace Attorney Movie Confirmed Via Capcom Blog Posted Last week - By Sophie Prell
Capcom confirmed the Ace Attorney movie was in production by releasing two images which show actors Hiroki Narimiya and Mirei Kiritani as characters Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey, respectively. Director Takashi Miike hinted at the film during the Cannes Film Festival last week. You may remember my pun-filled story on the Ace Attorney movie, back before we knew the film would indeed include the much-beloved Phoenix.
The post which confirmed Miike's statements showed up on one of Capcom-Unity.com's blogs, much to the delight of fans everywhere. In it, Capcom also mentioned a new Resident Evil CG film, called Resident Evil: Damnation and an animated film based on the Sengoku BASARA video games.
So which of those are you most excited about? Even with subtitles, I think seeing a live-action Phoenix Wright shouting "OBJECTION!" will make me smile the widest.

Level 5 to Help Create Gundam AGE Anime This Fall (Updated) posted on 2011-06-09 00:45 EDT
Corocoro Comic to also run manga of story with 3 generations of main leads
The July issue of Shogakukan's Corocoro Comic magazine is announcing next Wednesday that the game developer Level 5 (Inazuma Eleven, Danbōru Senki) is working on all aspects of the new Gundam AGE anime for release this fall. In particular, Level 5 President Akihiro Hino is in charge of the story. There will also be a Gundam AGE manga running in the magazine.
The new series will have three generations of "father, child, and descendant" as the lead characters. The main characters pilot the Gundam unit to fight against an unknown attacking enemy (UE) and save Earth in a "One Hundred Year War" — an apparent homage to the One Year War of the first Gundam series.
The first main character is Furitto Asuno, who developed the Gundam AGE-1 mobile suit (humanoid mobile weapon) equipped with the AGE System (a self-adapting computer). The second main character is Asemu Asuno, Furitto's child. The third main character is Kio Asuno, Furitto's descendant who inherits the Gundam. The Gundam AGE-1 can be augmented as the Gundam AGE-1 Titus for more power, or as the Gundam AGE-1 Sparrow for more speed.
Other characters include Emily, Furitto's friend since he was 7. Guruudekku is a Commander in the Earth Federation Forces and the captain of the battleship Diva. Mireesu is a Lieutenant (junior grade) in the Federation Forces aboard the Diva.

Anpanman Museum to Open in Quake-Hit Sendai in July posted on 2011-06-10 19:30 EDT
Quake-damaged building to open 3 months later than originally scheduled
The Anpanman Children's Museum and Mall will open in the quake-stricken city of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture on July 22. The museum will feature a playground, restaurants, and shops featuring Anpanman goods.
The museum was originally scheduled to open on April 22, but it was postponed due to the March 11 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster. According to the Nikkei financial news source, the earthquake broke glass and and damaged the building, causing the delay.
Other Anpanman museums opened in Yokohama in 2007 and in Nagoya in 2010. The Yokohama museum even features a hair salon — ironically, since Anpanman is more hairless than Peanuts' Charlie Brown.

Durarara!! Premieres on U.S. Adult Swim on June 25/26 posted on 2011-06-10 17:29 EDT
The Adult Swim network's online schedule lists the American television premiere of Durarara!! late night on June 25 (effectively early morning on June 26). It will have airings at 12:30 a.m. and 04:30 a.m. EDT/PDT. (Both showings are after Bleach.)

U.S. Trigun: Badlands Rumble Screenings to Start in July posted on 2011-06-10 17:30 EDT
Trigun: Badlands Rumble will begin playing in American theaters in July, according to Funimation. Details on which theaters will play the film should be released next week.
The film's American release was due to start this summer. ANN contacted Funimation, who confirmed that the U.S. dates would start in July. FUNimation Entertainment, Eleven Arts, and Cineplex Entertainment already listed the theaters for the Canadians screenings on June 22.

Utena Voice Actress Tomoko Kawakami Passes Away (Updated) posted on 2011-06-10 04:50 EDT
Lead actress of Hikaru no Go, Sugar, Air had been hospitalized since 2008
The agency Production baobab announced on Friday that voice actress Tomoko Kawakami passed away on Thursday, June 9 at 4:45 p.m. after a long bout with illness. She was 41.
Kawakami was the lead voice actress in La fillette révolutionaire Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena), Hikaru no Go, Sugar: A Little Snow Fairy, Air, and many other anime titles. She had made her debut in 1994 with the anime Metal Fighter Miku, and her roles included Fuyuki Hinata in Keroro Gunsō (Sgt. Frog) and Miu Furinji in KenIchi the Mightiest Disciple.
Kawakami had been hospitalized since August of 2008 for an unspecified illness and had undergone surgery at the time. As a result of her illness, she had to relinquish roles such as Kaoru in the video adaptation of Yamane's Ikoku Irokoi Romantan boys-love comedy manga.

Cameron: Battle Angel Still Planned After Avatar 2/3 posted on 2011-06-10 17:02 EDT
Director James Cameron reiterated on Thursday that his Battle Angel Alita film will be delayed until he finishes his two sequels to Avatar. Cameron said: "I'm doing a second and third [Avatar] film. We're at the writing stage right now, early design, doing software development and so on. Battle Angel is right now on hold until those films are done."
Cameron made the comments at a dinner in his honor hosted by the charity Covenant House California.
According to an interview at the end of January, Cameron said he was planning to adapt "the spine story" of the Battle Angel Alita manga with elements from the first four books. Cameron has been working on an adaptation of the manga since at least 2003, and he already commissioned a script and a year of design work.
Kishiro's manga ran in Shueisha's Business Jump magazine from 1990 to 1995, followed by the 1995-1996 follow-up Ashen Victor and the single-volume GUNNM: Other Stories. The story continued in 2001 with the retelling Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, which moved to Kodansha's Evening magazine as the result of an issue between Kishiro and Shueisha's Ultra Jump magazine.

U.S. Borders Book Chain to Close Up to 51 More Stores posted on 2011-06-10 17:27 EDT
On Thursday, Borders filed plans to close up to 51 stores in two weeks, including stores in downtown Boston; Phoenix; Arlington, Texas; and New York City (three stores).
According to the industry news source Publishers Weekly, the 51 stores have not signed stipulations extending lease rejection dates through September 14, although they still could. Nearly 365 Borders locations, or 90% of the total, have.
Publishers Weekly commented, "To stay on schedule, an auction among liquidating bidders would take place, June 16, and with court approval the Store Closing Sales would begin June 22. Borders is hopeful that at worst, it will only need to close a few stores." Publishers Weekly also posted Borders' Thursday filing with the list of stores that may close on page 32.
Borders already closed 30%, or about 200, of its stores earlier this year.

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