Next Club Meeting: September 21, 2019, at the Fountaindale Public Library in Bolingbrook from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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

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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shin Sekai Yori

'From the New World' Sci-Fi Anime

The story is set in Japan a millennium from now. Five children — the protagonist Saki, Satoru, Maria, Mamoru, and Shun — have been born and raised in a tranquil town that can be described as a utopia, overflowing with water and green foliage. The world is ruled by people who have the "cursed power" or the "gods' power" of telekinesis. After a certain incident, Saki and the others come to realize the true nature of their world. Before long, they learn everything, including the bloody history that brought humanity to this state. The five throw themselves into life-threatening adventure and fighting to protect friends and a world on the brink of collapse.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

BTOOOM!


Sakamoto Ryūta is an unemployed 22-year-old who lives with his mother. In the real world, there may be nothing really special about him, but online, he's one of the world's top players of the combat game called Btooom!. One day, he awakes in what appears to be a tropical island, though he has no memory of how or why he has come to be there. While wandering around, Ryōta sees someone and calls out for help. The stranger responds by throwing a bomb at him! Now Ryōta realizes both that his life is in danger and that he has somehow been trapped in a real-life version of his favorite game! Will Ryōta be able to survive long enough to figure out how and why he ended up here?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Anime Studio Pro 9 - Review

"Fun and Easy to Learn"
[Source: Toonzone.net by ] Anime Studio Pro and Debut 9 were released last week. Anime Studio, if you’re unfamiliar, is an affordable animation software package that addresses both the needs of the casual animation enthusiast (through Debut) and the hard core animator with previous training in other software (through Pro). If you’re looking at both versions, you’ll definitely want to take a look at the comparison chart and decide which version has the features that meet your needs.
 
The first question you’re probably going to ask is, what’s it capable of? If you have the skill and the talent, you can create professional animation using this software. That work can be further beefed up by Anime Studio Pro 9′s ability to work with art created in other software. If you’re a casual fan, looking to keep it fun and dabble in the software, they provide pre-constructed characters, props and scenery. More pre-constructed content is available for purchase through their website.

Here’s an brief example of animation created in Anime Studio by someone who clearly knows what they’re doing:

If you haven’t used the software before, you’ll want to take the time to go through some of the tutorials. The interface isn’t entirely unfamiliar if you’ve used other creative software, but there are features and behaviors unique to the Anime Studio Pro series and you might find yourself a little confused if you don’t. That’s my only significant criticism of the software. I’m so used to using other programs that use certain buttons and shortcuts that I had to change the way I think a little bit.

There’s just over 40 tutorials and 10 plus documents discussing technique are available on their website. Thus far I’ve found the included PDF Tutorial Manual to be enough to get me up to speed on the software, but it’s nice to have the online resource handy.

Creating a basic character from scratch using shapes and refinement tools takes very little time. As this is a vector-based software, it’s very easy to move points around or to turn off edges on a shape as needed. Once you’ve fully constructed your character, you’ll want to create a rig for it. One of the features of the software is the Smart Bones rigging system. It’s designed to make it easier to control your rigging and repeat complex movements. It doesn’t take very long to get rolling on this once you understand how the bones are linked together and affect one another. You’re also able to refine how much influence one set of bones has over the body of the character you’ve built. I had a rig built for a very simple character and refined it within a couple of minutes tops.

Creating key frames is very easy. You move to that frame in the time line, adjust your character or object as you see fit and then the software will generate the key frame for you.

Another major feature implemented in this version of AS9 is the Editable Motion Graph. This allows you to edit motion curves with Bezier handles instead of relying solely on tweening and easing in and out. This allows you to further refine the motion of objects. I tested this feature using the included tutorial file, which had a tree waving in the wind. I followed the basic instructions in the Tutorial Manual and then refined the motion until I felt the elasticity as it waved to and fro felt right. Here’s a demo video for the Motion Graph feature that uses a bouncing ball animation:

The program is capable of doing automatic lip-sync, but this may not always produce the most accurate results. Automatic lip-sync analyzes the audio file you’ve imported and creates key frames for the mouth animation where it sees fit. If you’re looking for more control, you would use the Phoneme lip-sync, which requires you to break down words of dialog into their basic sound elements. This requires more effort, but will ultimately produce better results.

I came away impressed with Anime Studio Pro 9. If you’re new to the software, I don’t think you’ll be able to leap in and start animating right off the bat, but the learning curve isn’t all that significant. You’ll be up and running pretty quickly. The tutorials are easy to understand and even the slightly more advanced features, like the physics engine and using 2D objects on a 3D plane aren’t daunting. If you’ve used the software before, the new and improved features really seem like they’ll save you time, which is the greatest gift anyone can give. I’m looking forward to continuing to dig into this program and seeing what I can create on my own. So, if you’re wondering where I am, this is where I’ll be spending all of my free time for the foreseeable future.

Here a very brief, seven second long animation I was able to put together without having used any version of this software prior to this review. I played around with the z-index of the layers in conjunction with the tracking camera. I used the zoom camera a little bit. The old toonzone cat mascot was rigged using Smart Bones and I used the Actions feature to create reusable animation for the eyes and mouth, because I wanted those to be separate of the main timeline animation.

Anime Studio Pro 9 is available for $199.99 and Anime Studio Debut 9 is $49.99. However, there is currently a Limited Time, Special Introductory Price in effect at Smith Micro’s website which has Anime Studio Pro 9 at $149.99 and Anime Studio Debut 9 at $29.99. Visit here for a Debut vs. Pro comparison chart and here for the purchase page.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dragon Hunters Movie

Highly Recommended

"★★★★★"

A movie that's an overlooked treasure...

DRAGON HUNTERS
This film is a must-see for fans of fantastic CGI imagery. Based on the French animated TV series Dragon Hunters. Posted here is the entire movie in 8 continuous parts.  

PLOT: Lord Arnold wants to find knights to destroy the World Gobbler, a powerful dragon which awakens every 20 years causing great destruction in this medieval world of floating land masses, ever terrorized by a widely varying menace of monsters known collectively as dragons. His grandniece, Zoe, is a child passionate with the fairy tale knights, especially the Silver Knight Gothic, and upon hearing her uncle's distress, flees the castle in search of a knight. Eventually Zoe is attacked by a pair of Jimbob dragons, and Lian-Chu, a roving dragon hunter, rescues her, leading Zoe to think that Lian-Chu is a knight. Gwizdo (The leader of the group), Lian-Chu's only childhood friend, convinces Lian-Chu to pretend to be a knight when they hear that Zoe's uncle is rich, thus enabling them to fulfill their dream of someday owning a farm. They decide to go to the castle, whereupon the blind Lord approves Lian-Chu's bid as a knight, and briefs him on the World Gobbler (This "World Gobbler" is taken directly from the Norse mythological being Jormungandr, the World Serpent). Their mission is to stop the World Gobbler from destroying their beautiful world. Gwizdo and his friends set off to the end of the world where the dragon`s ancient lair is, among the ruins of already dead cities. They find that the "World Gobbler" is a dracolich, an undead dragon and a skeletal dragon from the Zoe`s nightmares. Lian-Chu battles with the dragon and hides when he knows he is no match. The dragon in turn tries to eat Gwizdo, Zoe, and Hector. Just when the dragon is about to eat his friends and they desperately call him, Lian-Chu has a flashback of him making a childhood promise to slay the dragon. Lian-Chu regains his courage and throws his two knitting needles into the only vulnerable part of the dragon, the eyes. The World Gobbler agonizes and dies, as the metal needles united energy pools, filled his eyes, and with a blinding flash the world of the ruins and the growing darkness is transformed into a world of the green fields and the floating bunnies. The Lord is also cured, but he forgot about his promise to reward young hunters. Zoe leaves her uncle to live with her heroes. She takes some of her uncle's money and gives it to Gwizdo and Lian-Chu for their future journeys and their home.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Macross FB7 Crossover Anime Film's Trailer

Premieres in Japan October 20

The story is set in 2059, five decades after the Space War I conflict seen in the first Macross story. Macross Frontier, the 25th New Macross Class super-long-distance colonization fleet, is journeying through the galaxy to a new paradise to call home. However, it is locked in a state of war with a strange enemy called Vajra. Ozma Lee (Katsuyuki Konishi), the leader of the S.M.S. Skull Team that is fighting the Vajra on the frontlines, encounters a mysterious lifeform, different from even the Vajra, one day. This mysterious lifeform leaves an archival video of the Macross 7 colonization fleet with Ozma, Ranka (Megumi Nakajima), and Sheryl (May'n for singing, Aya Endo for dialogue).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hobbit Fan-Film Trailer by School Kids

The students of Tower House School in London (a prep school which, by the way, once educated the likes of Tom Hardy and Robert Pattinson) decided they wanted to take their own journey into Middle-earth, so they got a little money together, made some costumes and crafted a 90-minute adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's tale of a Hobbit, a wizard and 13 dwarves. The film premiered for parents, school staff and the like last week at London's Curzon Renoir Cinema, but you can see one minute of the footage right here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Powerpuff Girls Z

Episode One - English Dub


The anime series, produced by Aniplex and Cartoon Network Japan and animated by Toei Animation, aired on TV Tokyo between August 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007. An English-language version produced by Ocean Productions was later broadcast in the Philippines on Boomerang, though has yet to be aired in the United States or the United Kingdom.

PLOT: The series takes place in New Townsville (Tokyo City in the original Japanese version). In order to stop an ecological disaster, Professor Utonium's son, Ken Kitazawa, uses Chemical Z, a new form of the Professor's original substance, Chemical X, to destroy a giant glacier. However, the impact of Chemical Z causes several black and white rays of light to appear in the skies above New Townsville. Three ordinary girls, Momoko, Miyako and Kaoru, are engulfed in white lights and become Hyper Blossom, Rolling Bubbles, and Powered Buttercup, respectively. However, the numerous black lights cause others to turn to the side of evil, so the Powerpuff Girls Z must use their super powers to protect New Townsville from villains such as Mojo Jojo, Fuzzy Lumpkins and Him.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jormungand's Season 2

Premieres on Japan TV October 9

The series follows Koko Hekmatyar, a young arms dealer who sells weapons under HCLI, an international shipping corporation that secretly deals in the arms trade. As one of the company's unofficial weapon dealers, she secretly sells weapons in many countries while avoiding the local authorities and law enforcement agencies as most of her work is actually illegal under international law. Traveling with her is her team of bodyguards who are mostly composed of ex-military veterans. Her latest addition to her crew is Jonah, a seemingly emotionless child soldier who is skilled in combat yet ironically hates arms dealers. Jonah joins Koko as he wishes to find the arms dealer responsible for his family's death. What follows is Koko and her crew's escapades around the world.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki

To be Screened at Hawaii Int'l Film Fest
[Source: AnimeNewsNetwork.com] The Hawaii International Film Festival has announced that it will screen Mamoru Hosoda's The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki anime film on October 17 at 9:00 p.m. and October 21 at 12:30p.m.

The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki is the latest film by the director of Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. The film's story covers 13 years and begins with a 19-year-old college student named Hana who encounters and falls in "fairy tale-like" love with a "wolf man." After marrying the wolf man, Hana gives birth and raises two Wolf Children — an older sister named Yuki ("snow") who was born on a snowy day, and a younger brother named Ame ("rain") who was born on a rainy day. When the wolf man suddenly dies, Hana decides to move to a rural town far removed from the city. The film opened in Japan on July 21 and held its world premiere in Paris in June.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dino Time

Opens December 7th

Three kids who travel back in time to 65 million years ago, where they are taken in by a dinosaur.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New HOBBIT Trailer

An Unexpected Journey

The second official trailer for 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey', part 1 of Peter Jackson's Hobbit Trilogy. Starring Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), Ian McKellen (Gandalf) and Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield). A curious Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, journeys to the Lonely Mountain with a vigorous group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug. Also starring Benedict Cumberbatch (The Necromancer), Elijah Wood (Frodo), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Andy Serkis (Gollum) and Christopher Lee (Saruman).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fan-made Star Wars anime

Here's an awesome concept video of a Star Wars battle in space, created in vintage, '80s Star Blazers glory. It's two rousing minutes of Rebels vs. the Empire, Japanese-style. This spirited fan-film was crafted by British YouTube wizard OtaKing77077 and it cuts straight to the iconic core of Star Wars' universal appeal with elegant camera angles and bold imagery. This dogfight is inspired by classic anime shows like Space Battleship Yamato and the original Gundam series. See the sad fate of a doomed Rebel Blockade Runner under assault by a ruthless Star Destroyer in full attack mode and pray George Lucas may be watching to grant this cool project a future greenlight.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Secret World


The Secret World is a modern-day massively multiplayer game of myths, legends and conspiracies, where you can become anything you want to be through a powerful progression system free of confinements such as classes and levels. Join the Illuminati, the Dragon or the Templars and join the battle for the power to rule the world.

Dark Days Are Here. Everything Is True.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Zetsuen no Tempest

Premieres on Japan TV October 4, 2012 
The anime adapts Kyou Shirodaira, Arihide Sano, and Ren Saizaki's fantasy mystery manga. The story centers around Yoshino Takigawa (played by Kouki Uchiyama), an ordinary high school student with a mysterious friend named Mahiro Fuwa (Toshiyuki Toyonaga). Mahiro made a deal with a witch named Hakaze to hunt down the killers of his parents and sister. Now Mahiro is missing, and Hakaze confronts Yoshino. Yoshino find himself involved in a crisis that may doom the entire world.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Toys in the Attic

Legendary Czech stop-motion animation master Jiri Barta's first feature in over 20 years is described as four parts Toy Story and one part David Lynch, as a group of abandoned toys stage an ambitious rescue of their kidnapped friend. 

From NYAFF's description:

Set behind the doors of a dusty attic, the adorable doll Buttercup plays mom to a motley family of castaways: the station master Teddy Bear, clay-animated Schubert, and the Quixotic marionette knight Sir Handsome. In this enchanted world every day is a birthday, until a mysterious black cat kidnaps the beloved Buttercup and takes her to the Land of Evil ruled by the villainous Head of State, who commands an army of mechanical, mustachioed insects and an all seeing spying eye. Both a wonderfully spooky children's fairy tale and Soviet-era allegory, 
Toys in the Attic marks a career highpoint for Barta, who was among the first to raise stop-motion animation to an art form and paved the the way for modern hits like The Nightmare Before ChristmasCoraline, and Fantastic Mr. Fox.

New English language dub features the voices of Forest Whitaker, Joan Cusack and Cary Elwes.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Clone Wars Season 5

Extended Trailer

Season Premiere September 29, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Digital trailblazer & Disney exec Bob Lambert dies

Bob Lambert
1957 - 2012
Bob Lambert served as senior executive in various departments at Walt Disney Co. for 25 years, helping to usher Disney into the digital era. (Disney / September 11, 2012)
[Source: L.A. Times] Bob Lambert, a widely respected entertainment industry executive who played a pivotal role in the advent of computer animation, died of undisclosed causes Friday at his home in Glendale, his family announced Monday night. He was 55.

Lambert served as senior executive in various departments at Walt Disney Co. for 25 years, helping to usher Disney into the digital era.

While working for Disney Feature Animation, Lambert conceived a strategy for replacing cell animation with CGI production. He worked with Pixar to develop a digital production system that earned Disney an Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend and former colleague Bob Lambert," said Dick Cook, former chairman of the Walt Disney Studios. "Not only was he a great person, he was a highly respected visionary who forever changed the moviegoing experience by leading the motion picture industry into the digital era. His passing is a great loss."

Lambert was also a founder and chairman of DCI, the six-studio consortium that helped movie theaters transition to digital exhibition by establishing specifications that ensured a uniform and high level of technical performance and quality.

Born and raised in Roanoke, Va., Lambert was a graduate of Virginia Tech. He held 30 patents in media technologies and was named an industry pioneer by ShoWest, the exhibition industry trade show now called CinemaCon.

He was chairman and chief strategic officer of the University of Southern California's Entertainment Technology Center. He left Disney in 2010 and recently served as CEO of the Digital Firm in Los Angeles.

"Bob was one of the most respected technology executives in the media and entertainment business,'' said Kenneth Williams, the executive director of USC's technology center. "Always generous with his time, his friendship and tremendous insight will be greatly missed."

Lambert is survived by his wife Cheryl Murphy, brother Paul Lambert and nephew Nathaniel Lambert.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

DreamWorks Animation Unveils 12-Picture Slate

To Run Through 2016
[Source: Toonzone.net] DreamWorks Animation, SKG, Inc. has announced an ambitious 12-film slate, scheduling the dozen films for release through 2016. The films include a number of sequels and new projects:
  • The Croods (March 22, 2013)
  • Turbo (July 19, 2013)
  • Mr. Peabody & Sherman (Nov. 1, 2013)
  • Me and My Shadow (March 14, 2014)
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 20, 2014)
  • Happy Smekday! (Nov. 26, 2014)
  • The Penguins of Madagascar (March 27, 2015)
  • Trolls (working title, June 5, 2015)
  • B.O.O: Bureau of Otherwordly Operations (November 6, 2015)
  • Mumbai Musical (working title, Dec. 19, 2015)
  • Kung Fu Panda 3 (March 18, 2016)
  • How to Train Your Dragon 3 (June 18, 2016)
Among the new titles named, B.O.O. will star Seth Rogen and is based on an original idea by Tony Leondis (Igor), who is also attached to direct. How to Train Your Dragon 3 will also have Dean DeBlois directing. The schedule is the most ambitious of any animated film studio, and will mean DreamWorks will have three animated feature releases per year starting in 2013 (with four films slated for 2015).

In addition, 20th Century Fox announced release dates for Epic (May 24, 2013) and Rio 2 (April 14, 2014).

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Live-Action HEAVY METAL TV Show

Starts November on France 4

Short teaser for the announcement of the Broadcast of Metal Hurlant Chronicles on France Television.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Walking Dead Season 3 Clip

Premieres October 14, 2012
[Source: Syfy.com] A new teaser clip from The Walking Dead's third season has been released, showing Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and company making their way through a dark, creepy prison basement. Guess what they find?

If you guessed Walkers, you're right, because that old prison looks to be filled with the undead. The clip definitely sets the suspenseful mood, and it actually invokes an old Silent Hill videogame vibe, with nothing but the thin beam of a flashlight slicing through the darkness.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Robotics;Notes

With the opening of its official site, the staff and key visual have been revealed for the Production I.G adaptation of 5pb.'s (Steins;Gate) third science adventure game, Robotics;Notes.

Director: Kazuya Nomura (Sengoku Basara 2)
Series Composition: Jukki Hanada (Steins;Gate)
Character Design: Chikashi Kubota (One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island)
Key Animation: Masakazu Yamagishi (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
Mechanical Design: Takuma Ebisu (Guilty Crown)

The "augmented science adventure" kicks off when a high school robot club member is inspired by a girl who programs fighting games. He gets some motion capture assistance from a member of the karate club and sets out to create a robot.


The anime will air in the Noitamina block starting in October.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Call Me Maybe: Wizard World Chicago Comic Con


Just a few days ago at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con a group of Wizard World Digital Team video bloggers got together and produced a crowd-sourced video. This turned out to be an epic undertaking connecting with fans, celebrities and the cosplay community. Celebrity guests included Bruce Campbell, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Katrina Law, Nicole & Brianna Garcia, Jon Bernthal, Adrianne Curry and David Della Rocco! After pulling together content from ten very committed video teams (editing by Nyq Bonaventura) Wizard World would like share with our fans "Call Me Maybe" the unauthorized Comic Con edition.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

One Piece Nami Special


One Piece special "Nami : Bonds and Friendship and Tears of the Navigator," scheduled aired August 25th, the TV event offered a re-animated account of the origin story of the pirate anime's navigator.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Megumi Hayashibara in Kaiketsu Zorori



Queen of '90s anime voice acting Megumi Hayashibara (Lina Inverse, Evangelion's Rei) - starring as the heroine of the Sunrise (of Gundam and Code Geass fame) adaptation of Yutaka Hara's Kaiketsu Zorori children book

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Arata-naru Sekai


Arata-naru Sekai is an ambitious multi-media project with a Madhouse (Redline, Hunter x Hunter, Chihayafuru) anime, Hitoma Iruma (Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko) light novel and Kendi Oiwa (Welcome to the N.H.K.) illustrated manga telling different aspects of a time travel story. A new preview offers a look at the interconnected story. A box set of the Past, Present and Future will ship in October for 9,240-yen ($118).