Next Club Meeting: August 25, 2018, at the Fountaindale Public Library in Bolingbrook from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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

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

Monday, July 11, 2011

Newsletter - July 2011

July 2011
News Collected and Edited by Octavio Soto
Saber Marionette's Negishi Starts Zero-G Anime Studio posted on 2011-06-11 13:45 EDT
With Burn Up W designer Toshinari Yamashita, Armitage III director/designer Hiroyuki Ochi

Hiroshi Negishi, the co-creator of the Saber Marionette franchise and the director of such anime as Tekkaman Blade and Tenchi Muyo Movie 1: Tenchi in Love), announced last week that he is formally establishing a new anime studio called Zero-G. According to the staff, the new anime studio is inheriting the knowledge and skills of Zero-G Room, an anime studio that produced many titles during the 1990s and early 2000s.
The new studio's website lists two creators in its staff so far. Toshinari Yamashita was the character designer for Amazing Nurse Nanako, Burn Up W, Divergence Eve, Misaki Chronicles, and Shadow Skill. Hiroyuki Ochi directed the Armitage III anime franchise and Sol Bianca: The Legacy, and he also designed elements for Armitage III, Tenchi Muyo! GXP, and Explorer Woman Ray.

Game Designer/Animator Yoshiteru Tsujino Loses Wife, Son posted on 2011-06-11 16:00 EDT

Emergency team unable to revive 2 at home of Tengai Makyō/Far East of Eden RPG character designer
51-year-old game designer Yoshiteru Tsujino called the emergency phone number on Saturday at about 8:40 p.m. in Japan (7:40 a.m. EDT) to report that he discovered his 41-year-old wife Misa and 8-year-old son Kōta collapsed when he returned to their home in Mobara, Chiba. The emergency team arrived on the scene in the second-floor bedroom, but the two had already passed away.
According to the Mobara police, the wife was collapsed at the bedroom entrance and the son was on the bed. The two had no visible signs of external injuries. No note or similar item was discovered, but since the room had the odor of gas or rotten eggs, the police are investigating the incident as a possible murder-suicide by the wife or a possible accident.
Among other titles, Tsujino — who is also known as Torajirō Tsujino — created the character designs for the Tengai Makyō (Far East of Eden) role-playing game franchise for Red Company. He also worked on the Sakura Taisen (Sakura Wars) videogames, the Cardfight!! Vanguard card game, and the Lupin III: The Fuma Conspiracy anime film.

4Kids Plans to Pitch New Yu-Gi-Oh! at Licensing Expo posted on 2011-06-11 23:45 EDT

Judge previously ordered NAS, TV Tokyo to withhold re-licensing the series
The North American production company 4Kids Entertainment plans to promote the newest Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, in a Las Vegas event next week to attract potential merchandise producers. 4Kids plans to release Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal this fall along with a 500th-episode special event on Toonzai. Further plans to promote the series will be revealed at the Licensing International Expo.
4Kids is involved in a court battle with the Japanese licensors of Yu-Gi-Oh!, ADK's Nihon Ad Systems (NAS) and TV Tokyo. Both Japanese companies intended to cancel their contract with 4Kids Entertainment due to allegedly fraudulent underpayment. 4Kids then filed for bankruptcy but it continues to operate in the meantime.
ADK and TV Tokyo then planned to pitch Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal themselves at the Licensing International Expo, but 4Kids filed a legal motion against this. Last week, Judge Shelley C. Chapman of 4Kids' bankruptcy case ordered a stay, barring ADK and TV Tokyo from selling the license to another company until the case of fraudulent underpayment is resolved.
4Kids Entertainment will also be showing the CG anime series Meat or Die about dinosaurs, as well as the Asian project Max Adventures.

(Updated) The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya Delayed to November posted on 2011-06-13 0:00 EDT

Manga Entertainment confirm delay by twitter.
Manga Entertainment has now confirmed that the feature film The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya has been pushed back to November.
The company was replying to a query about whether the film would appear on Blu-Ray. Manga replied, 'Yes, the Disappearance of Haruhi will be on Blu-ray. However, our release date has been pushed back. To November!'
It is not clear whether the November date referred to the Blu-Ray release or to the DVD as well. However, in the past, Manga has released titles to DVD and Blu-Ray on the same date.
Update: In a subsequent twitter, Manga said the delay was 'because the English dub will not be delivered to our authoring house until July. It takes 15 weeks to produce a DVD and Blu-ray.'
 
Range Murata's 1st Art Book Sold as English iPad App posted on 2011-06-13 09:30 EDT
1997's Like a Balance Life by designer of Blue Submarine No. 6, Last Exile, Shangri-La
The publisher Wanimagazine released Like a Balance Life, the first art book from illustrator and anime character designer Range Murata, as an app for Apple's iPad device in Japanese and in English in several countries last week. The book was first published in 1997, and while there was a low-cost paperback Like a Balance Life 0.5 edition in 2000, both editions are out-of-print and relatively difficult to find. The app compiles the materials from both print editions.
Unlike the print versions, the US$4.99 app includes a "Sketch View" which allows users to see an illustration side-by-side with its original rough sketch or Murata's text commentary (translated into English). The app also has a "Slide Show" feature to show the illustrations in a random sequence, accompanied by tracks in the iPad's music library.
In Japan, Wanimagazine is promoting the app's release by giving away rare autographed items, such as T-shirts and iPhone 4 cases, to people who retweet the publisher's announcement message before June 22.
In addition to his artbooks and manga, Murata created the character designs for the anime titles Blue Submarine No. 6, Last Exile, and Shangri-La. He is now designing the characters for the new Last Exile anime series, Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam (Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing). Murata already released some of his dōjinshi (self-published) works on iOS devices such as Apple's iPhone and iPod touch.

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Opposes Utah Net Bill posted on 2011-06-13 23:33 EDT
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) has joined an American federal lawsuit opposing a Utah law that would regulate Internet dissemination of material “harmful to minors.” The court ordered a temporary injunction barring the law's enforcement until the case is decided.
The plaintiffs opposing Utah's "Harmful to Minors Act" — including the CBLDF, the American Civil Liberties Union, booksellers, and media companies — argue that it should be the responsibility of parents to protect minors from “harmful” material. The lawsuit is named Florence v. Shurtleff. Utah passed the "Harmful to Minors Act" in 2005.

U.S. Borders Chain Takes 6 Bookstores Off Closing List posted on 2011-06-13 23:18 EDT

The American bookstore chain Borders filed a motion on Friday to take six outlets off its list of stores slated to close because of lease issues. The six stores taken off the list include four airport locations — two in Detroit Airport, one in Boston's Logan Airport and a fourth at Raleigh Durham Airport in North Carolina. The other two stores are in Westland, Michigan and Willimantic, Connecticut.
Meanwhile, the hearing for Borders's motion to hold store closing sales is set for June 20. According to the industry news source Publishers Weekly, "Borders will be looking for permission to conduct closing store sales and to approve procedures to select a liquidator. Objections to the motion must be filed by June 16."
Borders already closed 30%, or about 200, of its stores earlier this year.

Suspect Arrested for Pirated AKB48 CDs, One Piece posted on 2011-06-14 00:18 EDT

Police arrested 59-year-old unemployed suspect Shinya Sugimoto of Nanao City in Ishikawa Prefecture on suspicion of selling pirated CDs of AKB48 and other musical acts, as well as DVDs of the One Piece anime and other titles. According the police announcement, Sugimoto sold 52 copied CD-Rs containing 244 tracks by popular idol groups without authorization on April 23. Sugimoto was already under arrest for allegedly selling obscene materials. Police say that they found 1,138 CDs in Sugimoto's car, as well as a duplication machine and 1,110 master CDs for pirated copies in Sugimoto's home.

Parasyte's Iwaaki to Start New Black Jack Manga Series (Updated) posted on 2011-06-14 01:00 EDT

Osamu Tezuka's maverick doctor drawn again by Masaaki Nakayama
This year's 28th issue of Akita Shoten's Weekly Shonen Champion magazine is announcing on Thursday that writer Hitoshi Iwaaki and artist Masaaki Nakayama will create a new manga series of Black Jack, the maverick genius doctor originated by manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka. The new series will launch in the 41st issue on September 8. Iwaaki created the Kiseiju (Parasyte) and Historie manga series, while Nakayama drew the PS -Rashōmon- police manga.

Trigun Film's U.S. Theaters Partially Listed posted on 2011-06-14 21:33 EDT

The official English-language Twitter account for the Trigun: Badlands Rumble film announced on Tuesday a partial list of locations and dates for the film's theatrical run in the United States. In Chicago, 8/5, 8/6, 8/12 & 8/13, 4 days @ the Music Box 3733 N. Southport Ave. Chicago, IL 60613

U.S. Borders Store Chain Reprieves 5 More Outlets posted on 2011-06-15 23:55 EDT

Following its motion on Friday to take six outlets off its list of stores slated to close, Borders has reprieved five more stores. This takes the total number of additional stores due to close down to 40.
The five stores include two in the Baltimore/Washington International Airport; a store in Swampscott, Maryland; one in the Rye Ridge Shopping Center in Port Chester, New York; and the Cross Count Mall outlet in Mattoon, Illinois.
Meanwhile, more companies have made applications for payment for services during the period from February to April. They include Borders' investment banker, Jeffries & Company. Jeffries will meet with over 80 parties to discuss possible interest in buying Borders' assets or new avenues of financing. According to the industry news source Publisher's Weekly, Jeffries's bill for its services was $459,505.82 plus $17,615.94 in expenses.

Borders Chain Seeking Deal to Avoid Store Closures posted on 2011-06-16 23:55 EDT

According to The Wall Street Journal website, Borders has reached a tentative deal with bankruptcy lenders to avoid closing more than three dozen stores. A judge would still have to approve the changes.
The report also says that, "Borders said it engaged in extensive negotiations with lenders and its official creditors committee to modify the company's financing agreement. The creditors committee includes large publishers, landlords and others."
In recent days, Borders has reprieved eleven of its outlets which were due to close, but had still been preparing to close 40 stores this summer. Borders has now closed more than a third of its stores, leaving it with a little more than 400 outlets, according a recent company tally.

Japanese Gov't Prints English Map to Anime Locales posted on 2011-06-17 07:30 EDT

Highlights real-life anime locales, museums, theme parks, events, shopping areas

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) announced on Friday that it published an English-language "Japan Anime Map" that highlights the locales in the country with ties to anime.
The printed map measures 60 by 40 centimeters (about 24 by 16 inches), or 10 by 22 centimeters (4 by 9 inches) folded up. JNTO commissioned a print run of 10,000 copies, but the map is also available for downloading.
The map features the following:
Info on the real-life settings for Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, true tears, Summer Wars, and other titles
Anime-related museums and theme parks such as Sanrio Puroland and the Kyoto International Manga Museum
Info on anime-related shopping areas such as Tokyo's Akihabara, Nagoya's Osu Electric Town, and Osaka's Nipponbashi
Info on otaku culture topics such as cosplay, figures, and games
Info on anime-related events such as Comic Market and World Cosplay Summit
Recommended goods for souvenirs such as Gundam plastic models, soft vinyl toys, and Nendoroid figures
JNTO had previously produced an Animation in Japan guide, and it collaborated with the Hakone Tourist Association to produce the "Evangelion Hakone Instrumentality Map: English Version," and the "Cool Japan Poster: Hakone" to cover the town of Hakone near Tokyo. However, the new map will be the first nationwide map with a focus on anime.

Noir Anime Gets Live-Action TV Series Green-Lit at Starz posted on 2011-06-18 00:07 EDT

Evil Dead/Spartacus/Xena's Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert produce assassin project
The American cable television network Starz has green-lit a remake of the 2001 television anime series Noir as a live-action series. Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, The Evil Dead, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Xena, Priest, Legend of the Seeker) and Rob Tapert (The Evil Dead, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Xena, Legend of the Seeker) have been developing the project as executive producers since at least last year.
In the original anime, two female assassins come together to work on missions while they uncover their past and their connection with each other.
Screenwriter Ryoe Tsukimura (El Hazard - The Magnificent World, Shrine of the Morning Mist, UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie) created the original concept for the anime, and Bee Train studio co-founder Koichi Mashimo directed the project. ADV Films released the anime in North America before the distributor shut down in 2009. Funimation Entertainment confirmed last year that it acquired the North American rights to the anime..
The other executive producers on the live-action series include writer Steven Lightfoot, Joshua Donen and Bill Hamm.

Southern California's AM2 Goes On Despite Faked Notice posted on 2011-06-20 22:00 EDT

Message on site falsely claimed that event was cancelled
The AM2 convention reported that hackers posted a message, which falsely claimed the event was cancelled, on the convention website. The message was put up over the weekend.
AM2 representative Chase Wang said, "I am extremely disappointed that there are individuals out there that are so willing to stoop to such levels to disrupt and harm our event after all the work and planning that has been done to bring as much fun to our attendees as possible." AM2 will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California during the extended July 1-3 holiday weekend.

Animated Feature Oscar Rules Changed posted on 2011-06-20 22:34 EDT

The governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced changes to the rules for the Oscar Award for the Best Animated Feature last week. According to the press release, "In any year in which 8 to 12 animated features are released, either 2 or 3 of them may be nominated. When 13 to 15 films are released, a maximum of 4 may be nominated, and when 16 or more animated features are released, a maximum of 5 may be nominated."
Under the old rules, even if 15 eligbile animated features were released in a year, only three could be nominated. Such was the case last year, when 15 films, including Summer Wars, were submitted for consideration. How to Train Your Dragon, The Illusionist, and Toy Story 3 received nominations, and Toy Story 3 won.
Since the Best Animated Feature Oscar was first presented in 2001, one anime feature won when Spirited Away was one of five nominees in 2002. Another anime feature was nominated when Howl's Moving Castle was one of three nominees in 2005. (Howl lost to Britain's Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.)

Former 4Kids CEO Al Kahn Joins Pacific Entertainment posted on 2011-06-20 22:52 EDT

Alfred R. Kahn to be consultant for "Baby Genius" brand's company
Alfred R. Kahn, the former chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment, will join Pacific Entertainment Corporation, the company that produces the educational Baby Genius products for young children.
Kahn, who retired from 4Kids Entertainment this past January, will be a consultant in the children's preschool and education markets. He said that he aims to "accelerate the development of the company's flagship Baby Genius brand. […] This new role is an exciting opportunity to combine my career expertise and personal passion to help children develop into successful adults.”
Alfred R. Kahn became chairman and CEO of 4Kids in 1991. In the intervening two decades, he presided over the company's acquisition of such properties as Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!

Ghibli's Arrietty to Have Different Dub Casts in U.S., U.K. posted on 2011-06-21 15:00 EDT

1st Ghibli film to have different actors dubbing in these 2 countries
Arrietty, Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Studio Ghibli's film based on Mary Norton's British novel The Borrowers, will have different dub casts in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The British dub, which is due in theaters on July 29, will feature Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones/Atonement) and Tom Holland (one of the boy actors who took the lead role in the stage musical version of Billy Elliott). The cast also includes Mark Strong (Green Lantern/Sherlock Holmes), Olivia Colman (Peep Show), Phyllida Law (The Time Machine), and Geraldine McEwan (Marple).
The American dub, meanwhile, will feature Bridgit Mendler (Wizards of Waverly Place) as Arrietty and Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live, Parks and Recreation). The rest of the American cast includes Will Arnett (Arrested Development, Running Wilde), David Henrie (Wizards of Waverly Place), and Carol Burnett (The Carol Burnett Show). The film will open in American theaters on February 17, 2012.
As usual for a Ghibli film, Arrietty is being distributed in Britain by Optimum Releasing. However, this is the first Ghibli film to be released with different dub casts in the United Kingdom and the United States. (Two Ghibli projects — Ocean Waves and Only Yesterday — were released on DVD in the United Kingdom but not in the United States, but both releases had English subtitles only.)
Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki supervised and wrote the film, which updates the 1952 novel by moving the story to a modern Tokyo suburb. The story follows the "little people" who live under the floorboards of a regular human family.

New U.S. Speed Racer Comic Announced posted on 2011-06-22 23:57 EDT
A new comic series of Speed Racer (the American dubbed adaptation of Tatsuo Yoshida and Tatsunoko's Mach Go Go Go, anime) is slated to ship next summer. Five staff members have been named: Len Wein, Tommy Yune, Robby Musso, Lee Kohse, and James Rochelle.
Wein co-created such American comic characters and titles as Swamp Thing, Wolverine, and The Human Target. Yune previously wrote and drew the Speed Racer graphic novel Born to Race for the 1990s American comic version by Wildstorm Publications. Yune also co-directed the feature film, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles.

Online JManga Service Invites N. American Beta Testers posted on 2011-06-23 21:08 EDT

North American manga fans invited to beta-test JManga platformThe media-distribution website Crunchyroll is inviting North American manga fans to apply for the closed beta test of JManga, a platform for reading legal manga online. Applicants should fill in their details on a signup form; if successful, they will be notified by email in the first week of July. The organizers are aiming for an official launch "sometime this year."
Shueisha Managing Director Kazuhiko Torishima first revealed plans for a legal North American manga-reading site during a talk at the Denshi Shoseki Comic Summit in Tokyo last November. A private beta version of the site appeared online this past March, although the details of the service have changed since then.

Defense Fund to Oppose Canadian Manga Child Porn Case posted on 2011-06-24 09:20 EDT

U.S. man charged with child pornography for bringing manga into Canada
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) announced on Friday that it will support the defense of an American man who is on child pornography charges for bringing manga on his computer into Canada. The man, whose name is being withheld at the request of his legal counsel, is a computer programmer in his 20s. The CBLDF reported that the man was flying into Canada to visit his friend when Canadian customs searched his belongings. A customs officer found images on the man's laptop computer and characterized them as child pornography. The CBLDF emphasizes that the images "are all comics in the manga style" and not photographic material. The man was charged with both possessing and importing child pornography. Canadian law dictates a minimum prison sentence of one year (and a maximum of 10 years) for an indictment and conviction on a child pornography importing charge. A summary conviction without indictment or trial would carry a sentence of 90 days to 18 months. An indictment and conviction on possession of child pornography would carry a sentence of 45 days to five years, while a summary conviction on the same charge would carry a sentence of 14 days to 18 months. The CBLDF will contribute financially to the man's defense (estimated to cost C$150,000 or about US$152,000) and provide legal assistance. A similar Canadian organization called Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund is also contributing. In the CBLDF's press release, Executive Director Charles Brownstein said that the case "underscores the dangers facing everyone traveling with comics, and it can establish important precedents regarding travelers rights. It also relates to the increasingly urgent issue of authorities prosecuting art as child pornography." The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) posted the policies that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) uses for searching travelers' belongings last year. The agency's presentation described anime as child pornography "only if characters are explicitly depicted as children involved in sex acts e.g. lack of secondary sexual characteristics, breast development, pubic hair," although this distinction is not in the Canadian laws.

Kiss-themed Hello Kitty posted on 2011-06-28 00:00 EDT

Finally, the latest subject to be given the Hello Kitty treatment will be the rock band Kiss. Frontman Gene Simmons said on Twitter that he is in talks with Sanrio to create Kiss-themed Hello Kitty merchandising for worldwide distribution. The popular Hello Kitty mascot character has previously featured in tie-in merchandise with music acts such as X Japan, and will be featured in upcoming merchandise with Crypton Future Media Vocaloid characters such as Hatsune Miku. Kiss frequently performed in Japan and among other influences may have inspired the appearance of the band in the comedy manga Detroit Metal City; Gene Simmons performed a cameo role in a live-action film adaptation of the manga.

Rurouni Kenshin Manga Gets Live-Action Film in 2012 (Updated) posted on 2011-06-27 16:25 EDT

Kamen Rider Den-O's Takeru Satoh to star with Ryōmaden director Keishi Ōtomo
22-year-old actor Takeru Satoh (Kamen Rider Den-O, Rookies, Beck, Ryōmaden) will star in a live-action film adaptation of Nobuhiro Watsuki's Rurouni Kenshin samurai manga next year. Keishi Ōtomo will direct Satoh on this new film, just as he did in last year's NHK historical television series Ryōmaden. Warner Brothers Pictures Japan is producing with its president William Ireton, while Studio Swan (Paradise Kiss) is in charge of the actual film production. The Sankei Sports newspaper adds that the staff aims to release the film internationally and eventually make a series. This will be the first live-action adaptation of the manga. Producer Shinzō Matsuhashi commented, "Satoh has the looks and stature to be a proper Kenshin." Watsuki added that when this project was just starting, he and his wife were discussing who should play Kenshin, and decided that Satoh topped the list. Satoh himself said that he was a huge fan of the original manga when he was in elementary school and when the manga was still running. "It was the manga that everyone in my generation knew." He added that he and his friends would play around by pretending to sword-fight. Satoh began intensive training in sword-fighting earlier this month, and filming will begin in July. Nobuhiro Watsuki's original 1994-1999 manga ran in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine and the resulting 28 compiled books volumes have 50 million copies in print. The manga 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 two later original video anime projects and a film on DVD, and Aniplex is releasing these three titles on Blu-ray Disc this year. in April, Shueisha announced that a new Rurouni Kenshin anime project has been green-lit.

Warren Ellis Comments on Marvel Anime Publicity posted on 2011-06-28 18:19 EDT

British comic artist says there's "nothing of his work" in MADHOUSE anime of Marvel superheroes.
On Monday, British comic artist Warren Ellis blogged about Marvel's publicity for its upcoming anime series, stressing that he had very little involvement with the final result. In Ellis's words: "I didn't write scripts, just [story] outlines that were adapted and expanded into scripts by Japanese writers. From what little I've seen of the end result, there's pretty much nothing of my work in them, and I'm not actually screen-credited in the Japanese releases. Which is fair enough. I got paid, and if they didn't use the work, there's no reason to give me a credit, right?" Ellis notes that his name is mentioned in a recent Marvel press release published on the Comic Book Resources website. The release describes the Marvel series as being "guided by New York Times best-selling author Warren Ellis." After blogging about this mention, Ellis learned from fellow writer Greg Pak that he appeared once on The New York Times bestselling list for hardcover graphic novels — specifically for Absolute Planetary 2.

Voice Actress Cassandra Hodges Passes Away posted on 2011-06-30 21:00 EDT

Hell Girl, Glass Fleet cast member was 28 years old
Christopher Ayres posted on his Facebook account today that fellow Funimation voice cast member Cassandra Hodges passed away. Ayres stated a coroner's report has been made but further information regarding the death has yet to be made public. Hodges was only 28 at the time of her death, and she was set to appear at Anime Festival Wichita next week.
Hodges voiced Gotanda and Yuku in Hell Girl and Camembert in Glass Fleet. She also acted in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Hetalia - Axis Powers, and Mushishi, among other Funimation titles.
 
Fractale Manga Continues Despite Director's Request posted on 2011-06-30 01:45 EDT
Yutaka Yamamoto asked for manga to be discontinued after artist's commentsThe Japanese publisher Square Enix posted the 10th chapter of the Fractale manga adaptation on its Gangan Online website on Thursday, even though Yutaka Yamamoto, the director of the original Fractale anime, had asked for the manga to be discontinued. Yamamoto reported on his Twitter account last week that he asked the franchise's production committee to discontinue the manga series. The manga's artist, Mutsumi Akazaki, had written on her blog earlier that week that she found the work "uninteresting" and added that she wanted to work on a manga that she enjoyed. After making his request, Yamamoto noted that the final decision lies with the production committee.
The Gangan Online website also lists July 28 as the release date for the next chapter of the manga. Next month is when the second compiled book volume of the manga has been slated to ship since before the controversy arose.

Direct Brands Parent Agrees to Make Bid for Borders posted on 2011-07-01 12:30 EDT

Borders to sell "undetermined" number of its stores; bids are due July 17
Najafi, the parent company of the book club Direct Brands, has made a preliminary agreement to become the "stalking horse" for the American bookstore chain Borders in an auction later in July. A "stalking horse" agrees to make the starting bid before an auction begins and can receive compensation if it does not win.
As part of the same agreement, Borders will sell an undetermined number of stores for US$215.1 million cash and US$220 million in assumption of liabilities. According to Borders, the liquidators, Hilco and Gordon Brothers, have agreed to acquire any stores not in the sale and close them "in an orderly manner."
Bids are due July 17. If Najafi wins, Borders would be a wholly owned subsidiary of Direct Brands. If Najafi is outbid for Borders, the requested breakup fee for the chain is US$6.45 million.
Borders reports that if no sales agreement is reached, either with Nafarji or another company, then Borders has a deal with a joint venture consisting of the liquidators Hilco and Gordon Brothers, plus SB Capital Group, Tiger Capital Group, and Great American Group. In this case, Borders's 399 stores would be liquidated. Borders estimates that its liquidation would bring in US$252 to US$284 million. According to Publishers Weekly, "A chainwide Going Out of Business/Store Closing sale would have to take place on or before July 22. However, if a going concern sale is approved it would take place on or before July 29, and no later than August 5."

Anime Expo's Central Hallway Closed Due to Unknown 'Object' posted on 2011-07-02 15:11 EDT

Hallway between two main halls cordoned off by security; exhibit area, panel rooms remain open
The staff members of Anime Expo and the Los Angeles Convention Center cordoned off the central hallway between the South and West Halls of the center just before noon due to a "threat from a hazardous object," according to security. The public announcement system made requests for anyone who left a package in the area to claim it. The exhibit area and panel rooms remain open, but the central food court area, several administrative rooms, and all interior passageways between the two main halls are closed to everyone except convention staff. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) are ushering people around the hallway leading to the concourse between the two main halls of the center. Staff members on the side of the cordoned-off section facing West Hall are telling attendees that there is a "electrical maintenance problem."
Update: Anime Expo reported after 1:00 p.m. that the object was an unmarked basket, and that the LAPD found it was nothing serious. The hallway and the other previously cordoned areas are now fully open.

Makoto Kobayashi Reveals Space Battleship Yamato Remake posted on 2011-07-04 23:00 EDT
Exclusive: Mechanical designer says that remake of science-fiction classic is slated for next year
Mechanical designer Makoto Kobayashi (Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, Giant Robo, Last Exile, Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection) revealed at the closing ceremonies of Anime Expo on Sunday that he is working on a remake of Space Battleship Yamato for release next year. Yoshinobu Nishizaki and Leiji Matsumoto's Yamato space opera anime franchise began with the first Space Battleship Yamato television series in 1974. The titular spaceship Yamato is built from the remains of the World War II battleship of the same name to protect Earth from extraterrestrial threats. Over the next 35 years, the television anime spawned two television sequels, two video projects, and six films including 2009's Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection. The anime was dubbed and partly rewritten in English as Star Blazers. A live-action film remake of the original Space Battleship Yamato anime opened in Japan last December. There was an attempt at an American live-action film adaptation by the company BenderSpink (The Ring) in 2006, and Skydance Productions was in talks to acquire the live-action film rights earlier this year. Update: Shoji Nishizaki, the adopted son of the late Space Battleship Yamato producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki, hinted at his late father's service last December that he has begun production on new Yamato works including a television series and another film.

Japan Self-Defense Forces Member Discharged for Stealing Dating Games posted on 2011-07-05 20:30 EDT

Hirotaka Komiya, a 23-year-old leading seaman in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces, was discharged from duty for stealing bishōjo dating games valued at 50,000 yen (about US$600). According to the inspector general's office in the Sasebo region, Komiya visited a game software store in Sasebo City five times from last October to this past March and stole 10 items including love games. In April, a Sasebo summary court sentenced Komiya to pay 150,000 yen (US$1,900) for his theft. Komiya was discharged from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces on June 30. In a similar but unrelated case, a 29-year-old Self-Defense Forces member was also arrested in June under suspicion of illegally uploading videogames and manga online.

Newspaper: NTV Not Airing Ponyo Due to Quake posted on 2011-07-07 09:00 EDT

Tokyo Sports cites tsunami's effect on TV showings of Hayao Miyazaki, Ghibli's film
The Friday edition of the Tokyo Sports newspaper is reporting that the broadcast network NTV will not air Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's Ponyo film indefinitely. The newspaper cites the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster of March 11 — specifically the imagery of "black tsunami." However, the newspaper also indicates that Miyazaki's widening anti-nuclear power activities as a possible factor why the ban has continued, four months after the disaster. NTV is a sponsor of the film.
Other anime that faced changes, edits, or preemptions due to disaster-related content include Gyakkyō Burai Kaiji: Hakairoku-hen, 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.

Man Pleads Guilty to Coercing Girl He Met at Anime Con posted on 2011-07-07 17:40 EDT

33-year-old man allegedly met 13-year-old girl at Maryland event in 2010
A 34-year-old man from Silver Spring, Maryland pleaded guilty on Wednesday to coercing and enticing a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, after meeting the 13-year-old girl at "an anime and gaming conference" last year.
According to the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland, Michael Allen Alper was already a convicted sex offender when he met the girl at the conference at a hotel in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in February 2010. Alpher was 33 years old at the time, and he had just gotten out of probation a month earlier. He allegedly befriended the girl on Facebook and through mobile phone conversations under the name "Michael Allen," and then engaged in sexual explicit conduct twice in the following month.
According to attorney's office, the girl later discovered Alper's true identity when a friend found his sex offender registration under his full name. Alper allegedly proceeded to create another fictitious identity online and contacted the girl again, "lying about the charges that led to the sex offender conviction."
Under his plea agreement, Alper agreed to register as a sex offender where he lives, works, and studies. If the court accepts the plea agreement, Alper will be sentenced to between 10 and 14 years in prison. The court has scheduled his sentencing for October 28. Alper had been convicted of statutory rape with another girl whom he met online in 2003 in Virginia. He was sentenced to three years in prison (all but six months suspended) and three years of probation.
Katsucon took place in a hotel in Oxon Hill in February of 2010.
Katsucon has provided Anime News Network with the following statement regarding the incident:
We at Katsucon have just recently been made aware of the case involving a Katsucon attendee pleaded guilty to coercing a minor into criminal sexual activity several weeks after first meeting the minor at our convention.
We would first like to express our sympathies and regret to the minor in question and the minor's family that they would have to be put through such a trying ordeal.
The staff and volunteers at Katsucon work tremendously hard to make our event one that is safe for young attendees. To this end, we reach out to parents and guardians to make them aware of our event and what we have to offer.
In all cases, we suggest that Katsucon is a convention that parents and guardians are encouraged to experience with their children, and when that's not possible, we always require that a parental consent form be completed so that the parents and guardians are fully aware that their child is attending our convention.
Katsucon also employs a full security staff that works in concert with the security staff in our convention facility to protect all of our attendees while they are in convention spaces. We make every effort to separate convention programming into age appropriate categories and enforce ID checks for convention events that are targeted at adult attendees.
Even will all of these measures, many times persons of a predatory nature are difficult to identify until it is too late.
In light of this event, Katsucon will make every effort to check our pre-registration attendee list against local and federally published sex offender registries and will prohibit attendance from those identified as a threat to our attendees in the hope to prevent an incident such as this from ever occurring again.

Man Charged for Uploading Conan, Kiss×sis via Share Program posted on 2011-07-07 23:17 EDT

Police arrested a 36-year-old male company worker from Tokyo on suspicion of using the Share file-sharing software to upload anime and manga online without the copyright holders' permission on Wednesday. According to the Association of Copyright for Computer Software, the suspect uploaded the 208th episode of the Detective Conan anime and the sixth volume of the Kiss×sis manga between April 21 and June 7. A police search of the suspect's home on June 7 led to the confiscation of his personal computer and hard disks. Police also found two other file-sharing sofware, Winny and Perfect Dark, on his computer as well as about 1,300 files uploadable via Share for a total of about one terabyte of data. According to the police investigation, the suspect said under deposition that he wanted lots of files from other people, so he also released files. The suspect was already arrested on June 7 for allegedly distributing child pornography and obscene videos via Share.

(Updated) Manga Entertainment Comments on Fanservice posted on 2011-07-08 00:00 EDT

Twitter comments prompted by next month's release of Highschool of the Dead.

Manga Entertainment has made a series of comments about fanservice through its twitter feed, prompted by its upcoming release of Highschool of the Dead. The series is scheduled for release on DVD/BR on August 29.
Manga twittered, "I enjoyed Disc 1 of Highschool of the Dead today... It's pervy as hell but the action and horror elements are spot [on]. On the topic of fanservice. If it doesn't serve any real purpose to the story, I would not miss it if it wasn't there. Mixed feelings about releasing anime that features it so blatantly. However, Highschool of the Dead is such a fun ride and cool story I am prepared to overlook [it].
'Fanservice does nothing to bring a new female and more mature audience into anime though. It does [the] medium no favours. I had a friend at [Studio] Gonzo once tell me that one of the main reasons that fanservice exists is because so many of the creators in the studios are [...] and they are single and they have never had a girlfriend. It's a pervy, super-idealised view of women and it serves the male otaku audience. Fanservice is as much a part of the anime economy as Bandai model kits, plushies and the Ghibli museum.'
Replying to various comments on the twitter feed, Manga went on to describe series such as Strike Witches and Dance in the Vampire Bund (both upcoming Manga licences) as mostly 'graveyard shift programming' in Japan that pulled very low TV ratings. Gainax's series Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, which Manga has expressed an interest in licensing, was called "a post-modern comment and extension" of the fanservice phenomenon.
One tweeter, MangaMasters thought that the word 'fanservice' also applied to fan-pleasing elements such as mecha battles. However, Manga claimed, "I think fanservice these days is exclusive to titillating content (bouncing breasts, cleavage and panty shots)." When another tweeter, Matthew Young, observed that the otaku audience was reflected in the number of 'nerdy guy' heroes in harem-style anime, Manga replied, 'Ironically, it's when these men grow up and start respecting women that they may have [a] chance to meet some."
Manga concluded, "Fanservice is insurance. It guaruntees x amounts of viewers, x amounts of DVD sales and x anounts of merchandise sales. Sex sells."
According to a previous Manga tweet, Highschool of the Dead had been passed uncut by the BBFC at a "15" certificate (despite the certificate in the image above, taken from the UK Amazon site). The series Strike Witches was given a "12" certificate and will be released as an uncut two-disc DVD on October 10. Dance in the Vampire Bund is scheduled for November.
Erratum: An earlier version of the story wrongly claimed that Highschool of the Dead was scheduled for release on July 29. We apologise for this error; thanks to Jerome Mazandarani of Manga for pointing it out.
Erratum 2: Girubaato on the feedback page points out an anomaly with the BBFC page on Highschool of the Dead. This reference has been removed, pending verification from the BBFC.

Iron Man And Wolverine Premiere July 29 On G4 Posted June 23, 2011 - By Stephen Johnson

I'm really excited to share the following news with you: G4's newest shows, featuring anime takes on Marvel super-heroes Iron Man and Wolverine, premiere on July 29. We'll kick off with Iron Man, starting at 11:00PM EST, and follow immediately with Wolverine at 11:30. That's a one-two punch with the fist-of-awesome!
Over the summer, we'll be bringing you twelve half-hour weekly episodes that include interconnecting storylines and cameo appearances by some of the biggest Marvel characters ever. We're talking epic battles, action-packed storylines and mind-blowing animation, people.Marvel anime X-Men and Blade will premiere later this year, exclusively on G4.
Guided by New York Times best-selling author Warren Ellis (Iron Man: Extremis, Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis) and produced by Madhouse for Marvel Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan (SPEJ), this series stars Adrian Pasdar (“Heroes,” “Castle,” “Profit”) as Tony Stark in “Iron Man” and Milo Ventimiglia (“Heroes,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Rocky Balboa”) takes on the title role in “Wolverine."
 
Here are the official descriptions of the shows:
 
"Iron Man"
In an effort to make amends for his past in weapons manufacturing, Tony Stark has dedicated himself to building the world up rather than tearing it down. Traveling to Japan to build a new arc reactor that will deliver unlimited free energy to the Japanese people, Stark is challenged by the Japanese government and the media when he attempts to import the necessary nuclear priming device. When the nuclear reactor is repeatedly attacked by the mysterious Zodiac consortium, Stark must gather his allies to take on Zodiac and its mastermind.

"Wolverine"
Based on the popular graphic novel by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, the series begins when Mariko, the love of Logan’s life, is forced back to Japan by her crime-lord father, Shingen. Logan vows to get her back at any cost. He is plunged into a chaotic world of corruption and violence, forcing him to team up with young assassin, Yukio, to battle their way through the Japanese criminal underworld.

Ryan Dunn dead in fatal alcoholic car crash
Ryan Dunn, 34, a cast member of the MTV stunt show “Jackass,” died June 20 of injuries sustained in a car crash near Philadelphia.
Mr. Dunn and a passenger died after his 2007 Porsche left the road, went into a woods and burst into flames near the Philadelphia suburb of West Chester, West Goshen Township, police said. They said speed may have been a factor in the crash.
Mr. Dunn appeared in the MTV shows “Jackass” and “Viva La Bam” and the three “Jackass” big-screen adaptations. He also was the star of his own MTV show, “Homewrecker,” and hosted “Proving Ground” on the G4 cable network.
According to a biography posted on his Web site, Mr. Dunn was born in Ohio and moved at age 15 to West Chester, where he met Brandon “Bam” Margera on his first day of high school.
Dunn, Margera, Christopher Raab (known as Raab Himself) and Brandon DiCamillo, under the moniker CKY for “Camp Kill Yourself,” started making videos that featured them skateboarding and performing stunts.
Mr. Dunn was working as a welder and at a gas station when Johnny Knoxville, a friend of Margera’s through the skateboarding circuit, asked the crew to allow their videos to be part of the series “Jackass,” which became a hit on MTV and ran from 2000 to 2002.

Gears Of War Movie In "Development Hell" Posted June 17, 2011 - By Stephen Johnson

According to Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski, quoted by Gamefront, the Gears of War movie is in "development hell." If you're unfamiliar with Hollywood terminology, this means that the project is being shuffled around from person to person, and desk to desk, with no real heat behind it at the moment. In the words of Cliffy B:
“It’s in development hell right now. Who knows what’ll happen. It took however many years for Peter Jackson to make Lord of the Rings. Hollywood is a complicated beast. There’s all sorts of weirdness going on with who’s working on it, what’s going on here and there. But, hopefully it happens. Maybe the Gears 3 success will generate more interest in it. I’d love to see it. I’d rather have a movie that’s great and true to the franchise, than a movie that sucks. I’d rather not have a movie, than a movie that sucks.” In other words: It could happen, still, if someone powerful in the entertainment industry gets behind the project and makes a big push for it to get back on track. I'm not sure if I want that to happen or not; I'm with Cliff here, I'd rather not see a movie based on a game than see a bad movie based on a game.
In a sit-down with Making Of, producer, Wyck Godfrey (The Twilight Saga, AVP, I, Robot) provided some insight into the upcoming Gears of War film. Discussing what may be a major revelation about the film, Godfrey suggests that it will be a prequel of sorts to the story of the video game series.
He wants the film to be, as he describes, "impactful and immediate." The film will apparently begin on earth-like planet of Sera, as it will initially be depicted as "running well" (his words,) presumably in a time of peace and prosperity. However, what we will see of Sera will not last long. The story will start just before "Emergence Day," the defining event in the Gears mythos (14 years before GOW1 takes place,) when the savage race of baddies, the Locust Horde rise from their subterranean homes to destroy the top-dwellers. Godfrey states that he wants the film to depict a "48 hour period" after the big event hits on Emergence Day, where people are scrambling to survive the initial onslaught.
Wanting to avoid the huge task of covering the entire epic story of the alien planet of Sera and its history, (Pendulum Wars, discovery of Imulsion, formation of the COGs, etc.) Godfrey evokes the name, Cloverfield, to give a more accurate idea of the type of film this will likely become -- namely, a survival film. Should that (and basically the whole prequel idea) actually be the case, fans may want to think twice about dream-casting actors for the roles of Baird and Cole. This will probably be a more tight-knit cast where, at best, we get to see Marcus Fenix and Dom Santiago form their initial bond while on the run from the first waves of the Locust Horde and help the once obscure COG become a Marshall Law government that is Sera's last hope.
I'm not sure if the "Cloverfield" comment will send the right signals to fans. However, I do like the idea that there may be some possibility that the film will have some canonical compatibility with the games. If that is case, it will be interesting to see if it will be reflective of any revelations Cliffy might have in store for us in GOW3. (For example, Adam Fenix's possible role in the Locust uprising.)
Besides, the idea of seeing on film, the moment Marcus clutches a Lancer and crotch-saws a Locust for the fist time sounds pretty sweet.

Mass Effect Movie At Comic-Con -- Will We See A Trailer? Posted 3 days ago - By Nikole Zivalich
 
The Mass Effect movie will be making an appearance at San Diego Comic-Con later this month. BioWare's Casey Hudson and the screenwriter, Mark Protosevich, will speak about the Mass Effect movie during the Legendary Pictures' presentation. 
It doesn't sound like the movie is anything more than a script right now but it's concrete enough to be a part of their panel. Could the Mass Effect movie already have a trailer? I'm so excited about this I think I just developed asthma, like this very moment.

Neil Burger Signs On To Write, Direct Uncharted Film Posted 2 days ago - By Nikole Zivalich
The Uncharted movie may have found a new writer and director, Neil Burger. Feel free to take a 30 second break to laugh at the last name "Burger." Feel better? Neil would replace David O.Russel who dropped the project in May due to creative differences. Burger, who most recently worked on Limitless, is in talks to take on the film adaptation of Naughty Dog's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.
Mark Wahlberg was rumored to have the role of Nathan Drake in O.Russel's Uncharted. It is unclear if Wahlberg is still attached to the project.
Sony has been adamant about launching the Uncharted movie in hopes of creating their own hero franchise, similar to Indiana Jones. Uncharted is obviously the right IP for that. I'd hate to get your hopes up, but it looks like this movie may happen.

Take-Two Picks Up Rockstar Films Trademark Posted Yesterday 5:34 AM - By Adam Rosenberg

Among all of the video game developers out there, Rockstar Games is probably the most immediately prepared to make a jump into film. That’s probably what led the studio’s owner, Take-Two Interactive, to file for a Rockstar Films trademark late last year.
The filing, dated December 21, 2010, was confirmed as official on June 14, SystemLink Alt has discovered. There’s no official statement from either the studio or the publisher, which is not entirely unexpected.
Rockstar Games has always approached its games with some lofty aspirations on the story side of things. L.A. Noire the developer’s latest, even looks like Grand Theft Auto but plays like Police Quest, with players discovering a grand-scale plot as they unravel crimes in 1940s Los Angeles.
Noire was actually featured in a presentation at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, a first-ever appearance for video games at the illustrious annual gathering. The December filing was likely made right around the time the game was being shown to the festival organizers for consideration.
The trademark covers a fairly wide swath of potential content, including “animated motion picture films featuring entertainment, namely, action, adventure, dramatic, comedic, children's and documentary themes; pre-recorded video discs and other pre-recorded digital and electronic media in the field of live action programs, motion pictures, or animation featuring entertainment, namely, action, adventure, dramatic, comedic, children's and documentary themes."

Space Invaders Movie Announced Posted Yesterday 8:51 AM - By Stephen Johnson

It has long been said that Hollywood is creatively and intellectually bankrupt, but that trend is over, people. The big-entertainment geniuses have finally hit upon the ultimate video game movie franchise. I'm talking about Space Invaders people. There is a Space Invaders movie in the pipeline.
Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Odd Lot Entertainment’s Gigi Pritzker are behind the project, and are looking for a writer to write a movie. My pitch: There are invaders. That come from space. (please make check payable to "CASH".)
Seriously though, this might be the best source material for a video game movie ever, because it is, essentially, a name and a vague, vague idea about an alien invasion. Since most of the Space Invaders fanbase is dead, there's little worry of angering them by not staying true to the game. All you have to capture is the relentlessly faster and faster action of the original game, in film form.
Space Invaders is the latest of a string of projects based on retro properties from Lorenzo di Bonaventura. He is a producer on the Transformers and G.I. Joe movies and he is developing Asteroids, and a remake of 1989's Pet Sematary.

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