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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 third 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, April 11, 2011

Newsletter - April 2011

News: Anime with Disaster Scenes Face Changes After Quake posted on 2011-03-14 12:28 EDT
Precure film edited; Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne—!! & Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 episodes not re-run
Several anime with disaster scenes or themes face changes after the March 11 earthquake (Tōhoku Chihō Taiheiyō-oki Jishin) and tsunami.
• Precure All-Stars DX3 Mirai ni Todoke! Sekai o Tsunagu Niji-Iro no Hana, Takashi Otsuka's third film to combine the casts of all the Pretty Cure (Precure) magical girl television series to date, is still slated to open in Japan this Saturday, March 19. However, part of the film is being edited out since a tsunami scene or scenes "are reminiscent of the disaster."
• The anime television channel AT-X announced on Monday that it is cancelling its re-runs of the 10th episode of the Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne—!! anime "at the request of the rights holder." However, AT-X will still run the rest of the series, from the 11th episode onward, as planned starting on March 25. The 10th episode already aired on broadcast television on March 12 with a scene of characters being swept away by a giant wave — during the time that television stations were superimposing a graphic of tsunami warnings over all programming.
• Another anime television channel, Animax, is replacing the rest of its re-run of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 with other programming "due to circumstances." For example, instead of running the seventh episode of this anime (which recounts a hypothetical quake in Tokyo) on March 15 and 16, Animax will run selected episodes from the best of Lupin III and Kiteretsu Daihyakka.
Other media are affected in Japan as well. The game maker Yeti announced that it will refrain from publicizing Root Double, the latest adventure game from Never7 -the end of infinity- director Takumi Nakazawa, due to the earthquake. The story of the game deals with the meltdown of a nuclear reactor.
The Japanese release of Feng Xiaogang's live-action Aftershock film about the 1976 Tangshan earthquake is being delayed from March 26 to an unspecified date. The release was already delayed from March 7 due to the February 22 earthquake in New Zealand. Manga creator Tomonori Inoue did report on Twitter on early Monday morning that he would be meeting with his publisher about what to do with the future of his post-apocalyptic action manga Coppelion. However, he assured his readers later that day that the meeting would be about the way that the manga will be published and distributed in the future — and not about the ending of the series of some had feared.

News: Tokyo International Anime Fair 2011 Cancelled posted on 2011-03-16 01:19 EDT

March 24-27 event cancelled in wake of March 11 earthquake, tsunami
The official website of the Tokyo International Anime Fair (TAF) 2011 event confirmed on Wednesday that the event has been cancelled in the wake of the March 11 earthquake (Tōhoku Chihō Taiheiyō-oki Jishin) and tsunami. According to the announcement, the event's executive committee decided to cancel in consideration of the safety of the participants and attendees with uncertain power supplies and traffic accessibility. The event's staff apologized for the inconvenience caused by the decision. TAF takes place annually at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center on Odaiba island at Tokyo Bay. According to the official website for the cancelled Hakurei Jinja Reitaisai 8 event (which centers around the Touhou self-published game franchise), Tokyo Big Sight suffered unspecified damage during the earthquake. TAF 2011 was originally scheduled to hold industry-only days on March 24-25, and general public days on March 26-27.
This year's event became part of a controversy due to Tokyo Metropolitan Government's amendment to its Youth Healthy Development Ordinance. The amendment is expanding 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. Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara is a major advocate of the amended Healthy Development Ordinance and the head of the executive committee for the Tokyo International Anime Fair (TAF). The media company Kadokawa Shoten was the first to publicly cancel its TAF display, followed by boycott by Shueisha, Shogakukan, Kodansha, and other major manga publishers. Several anime and manga companies worked together to establish a new convention, the Anime Contents Expo, which was set to take place the same weekend at the time of this writing. The Los Angeles Times newspaper reports that many airlines are offering refunds or waived ticket change fees for those whose travel plans have already been disrupted by the earthquake, or those who planned to travel through March 18. Update: Voice actor Junichi Suwabe reported on Wednesday that the Anime Contents Expo (ACE) event has been cancelled. The organizers of the March 26-27 event have not made an official announcement. Suwabe was slated to record an episode of the radio program for the Starry Sky franchise on March 27 at ACE in Chiba Prefecture east of Tokyo.

News: Anime Contents Expo 2011 Cancelled (Updated) posted on 2011-03-17 00:03 EDT

March 26-27 event, intended to counter Tokyo Anime Fair, cancelled after March 11 quake
The official website of the Anime Contents Expo (ACE) 2011 event confirmed on Thursday that the event has been cancelled in the wake of the March 11 earthquake (Tōhoku Chihō Taiheiyō-oki Jishin) and tsunami. A FES, the anime song event that would have taken place during the same March 26-27 weekend and in the same Makuhari Messe convention center as ACE, was already cancelled. ACE cited the soil liquefaction in the Makuhari district, the planned power blackouts, the current disorder in the transportation systems, and the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station as the primary reasons why it cannot ensure the safety of everyone who attends. ACE added that there is also the possibility of additional aftershocks and earthquakes. ACE noted that it pre-sold 40,000 tickets to the event in less than three months, and it listed ways that people can obtain refunds. A group of anime and manga companies created ACE in response to the controversy surrounding the Tokyo International Anime Fair (TAF) and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's amendment to Tokyo's Youth Healthy Development Ordinance. The amendment will expand the number of manga and anime that fall under "harmful publications," the legal category of works that must not be sold or rented to people under the age of 18.
Among others, 10 major manga publishers were planning to boycott TAF 2011 because of the amended ordinance, although not all of them would have formally exhibited at TAF or ACE. TAF had announced the cancellation of its own 2011 event on Wednesday. The Los Angeles Times newspaper reports that many airlines are offering refunds or waived ticket change fees for those whose travel plans have already been disrupted by the earthquake, or those who planned to travel in March. ACE would have taken place in Chiba Prefecture east of Tokyo.
Voice actor Junichi Suwabe had reported in a Twitter post on Wednesday that ACE was cancelled, but he later deleted the post. Suwabe was slated to record an episode of the radio program for the Starry Sky franchise on March 27 at ACE.
Update 2: The official Twitter account for ACE reported that the organizers explored the possibility of delaying the event, but had to cancel instead. In response to suggestions that proceeds from pre-sale tickets should be donated to charity, the Twitter account said that ACE considered this, but decided that it would be best for the individuals to donate after receiving their refunds.

News: Hakuryū Legend Manga's Nuclear Power-Themed Arc Dropped from Mag posted on 2011-03-17 06:55 EDT
Yakuza manga's storyline about unsafe nuclear industry suspended from Manga Goraku magazine
The publisher Nihonbungeisha has announced on Thursday that, in light of the damage caused by the March 11 earthquake (Tōhoku Chihō Taiheiyō-oki Jishin), the Hakuryū Legend yakuza manga has been suspended from the Weekly Manga Goraku magazine. The manga's current Genshiryoku Mafia (Nuclear Power Mafia) story arc will not run in the magazine's 2,256th issue on Friday. The current storyline by writer Dai Tennōji and artist Michio Watanabe began last month and focuses on the "dark side of the nuclear power industry." In particular, the characters deal with the danger of a "Chernobyl-level nuclear accident" at facilities run by "Tōto Denryoku." The real-life Tokyo Denryoku (Tokyo Electric Power Company or TEPCO) runs the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station; the workers there are attempting to prevent the reactor fuel rods from melting after the cooling systems were damaged on March 11. Fukushima Daiichi's containment system is designed to prevent a nuclear accident from reaching the proportions of the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl plant in the former Soviet Union.

News: Macross II Producer Hiroshi Kakoi Passes Away in Quake posted on 2011-03-18 01:46 EDT

Animator also worked on 1st Macross, 1980 Astro Boy, Moldiver at Artland, AIC

ANN confirmed with Jan Scott Frazier, a close friend of the deceased, and other anime industry members that producer and animator Hiroshi Kakoi passed away during the March 11 earthquake (Tōhoku Chihō Taiheiyō-oki Jishin) and tsunami. Kakoi's wife Kumiko survived the disaster.
Among other projects, Kakoi was a producer on The Super Dimension Fortress Macross II: Lovers, Again and Moldiver original video anime series. He also worked as a key animator at the anime studio Artland on the first Macross series (from the first episode onward) and on the 1980 version of Astro Boy (Tetsuwan Atom). He served as a production manager at Artland and the anime studio AIC.

News: Kodansha USA to Publish Sailor Moon, Sailor V Manga posted on 2011-03-18 15:05 EDT
September return of Naoko Takeuchi's magical girl series after 6 years out of print
Kodansha USA Publishing announced on Friday that its Kodansha Comics imprint will publish Naoko Takeuchi's Sailor Moon magical girl manga and its two-volume prequel Codename: Sailor V starting this September. The former has been condensed into 12 bi-monthly "deluxe-edition" volumes (from its original 18), and two more volumes of short stories have been added.
The new edition — with "new cover art, retouched interior art and dialogue along with extensive bonus material from Takeuchi" — is based on the 2003 Japanese re-release of the manga. The 1991 manga Codename: Sailor V revolves around middle schooler Minako Aino, a magical girl and crime fighter. In the more well-known 1992 Sailor Moon series, Minako Aino is the side character "Sailor V" while Usagi Tsukino ("Bunny" in the previous English-language manga edition and "Serena" in the English version of the television anime adaptation) takes the lead role, the titular Sailor Moon. Mixx Entertainment (now called Tokyopop) licensed the manga for English release in North America, but the series has been out of print for six years. Codename: Sailor V has never had an official English-language release in North America. In 1992, Toei Animation premiered a television anime adaptation that would run through 1997, and then be dubbed into Italian, Spanish, German, English, Tagalog, and other languages. The anime has seen a resurgence of interest in recent months, including an upcoming Italian videogame for the Nintendo DS and a relicensing by m4e in Germany (PDF).

News: DMI Acquires 1st 487 Licenses for Digital Manga Guild posted on 2011-03-21 23:49 EDT

The North American manga publisher Digital Manga, Inc. (DMI) announced on Monday that it acquired the first 487 manga licenses for its Digital Manga Guild program.
DMI revealed plans for the Guild last summer. The guild program allows fans to translate, edit, and letter works legally, with the permission of the original Japanese owners. Under the announced plan, the guild members are then credited and paid royalties through online purchases, and the works may be published in print if they prove popular.

News: Downloaded Sora no Otoshimono Copy Shown at Funimation Studio posted on 2011-03-22 23:27 EDT
"Unofficial" Heaven's Lost Property copy on America's Greatest Otaku reality show
A downloaded copy of a Sora no Otoshimono (Heaven's Lost Property) anime episode appears in footage taken at the North American anime distributor Funimation's dubbing studio for a reality web television series. The second episode of Tokyopop's America's Greatest Otaku series shows the monitors at Funimation's studio during the English dubbing of the third episode of Heaven's Lost Property. The episode footage on the monitors has subtitles whose text and fonts match a BitTorrent release by a group that extracts and re-styles subtitles from the streaming website Crunchyroll.
Funimation had not offered an official comment at press time. However, a source at the company who wished to remain anonymous said that the company occasionally uses "unofficial" copies during the dubbing process if the acquisition of the original source material is delayed. The source said that Funimation's license makes the use of the content legal, even with a third party's unauthorized changes. In January, Funimation filed a lawsuit against 1,337 "John Does" for allegedly downloading and distributing an episode of the One Piece television anime series. In February, Senior United States District Judge Royal Furgeson removed defendants 2 through 1,337 from the suit and said that Funimation had to file individual, separate lawsuits for each defendant because the accused were not "acting in concert."

News: Tomohiro Katō Sentenced to Death for Akihabara Killings (Updated) posted on 2011-03-24 04:40 EDT

Katō convicted for killing 7, injuring 10 in hit-and-run, stabbings in Tokyo in 2008
On Thursday, the Tokyo District Court sentenced 28-year-old Tomohiro Katō to death for killing seven and injuring 10 in a hit-and-run and stabbing rampage in Tokyo's otaku shopping district of Akihabara (Akiba) in 2008.
Katō struck five individuals with a truck at an intersection near the main Japan Railways station of Akihabara at around 12:35 p.m. on June 8, 2008. He then proceeded to leave the vehicle and stab 12 people on the streets. Police apprehended the suspect on a side street shortly after the incident. As a result of Katō's actions, Akihabara halted "Pedestrian Paradise" — the tradition of zoning the main street of the shopping district as pedestrian-only. The tradition was just restored in January, although it has been put on hold again for the past two Sundays after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake of March 11. 

News: CLAMP, I.G to Collaborate on Blood-C Original Anime posted on 2011-03-24 05:17 EDT

CLAMP to create story, designs for latest Blood anime from Production I.G; manga also planned
The May issue of Kadokawa Shoten's Monthly Shōnen Ace magazine is announcing on Saturday that the anime studio Production I.G and the manga creator quartet CLAMP are collaborating on a new Blood original anime called Blood-C, which will launch this July. CLAMP is creating the story and original character designs, and Production I.G is handling the animation.
In addition, Ranmaru Kotone (Diasta of Ultima Thule, Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo -Tokikake-) will adapt the project into a manga, which will launch in the July issue of Shōnen Ace on May 26. The official website for the project will open at the address, which was registered by Aniplex.
The Blood vampire anime franchise began with Hiroyuki Kitakubo and Production I.G's Blood: The Last Vampire film, in which Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell, The Sky Crawlers) and Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Eden of the East) created the story and screenplay. The film inspired Jun'ichi Fujisaku's Blood+ television series, Chris Nahon's live-action film remake, and several manga spinoffs.

News: Howl's Moving Castle's Diana Wynne Jones Passes Away posted on 2011-03-26 18:01 EDT

The official fan site of British author Diana Wynne Jones announced that Jones passed away on March 26 after a long struggle with cancer. She was 76. Jones wrote over 40 books and plays for both children and adults, and director Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli adapted one of the books, Howl's Moving Castle, into an Oscar-nominated anime film in 2004.
Jones was born in London in August of 1934, and she began studying at St. Anne's College in the University of Oxford in 1953. She met her future husband, John A. Burrow, at Oxford, and the two married in 1956.
Jones became one of the most acclaimed British fantasy authors and was widely praised for her sharp wit and intelligence. She published her first novel, Changeover, in 1970, and she followed that with her first children's novel, Wilkins' Tooth (Witch's Business in North America), in 1973. She published Howl's Moving Castle in 1986 and continued the story with Castle in the Air (1990) and House of Many Ways (2008). Her other books include the Dalemark Quartet, the Chrestomanci Cycle, and The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (1996). She received the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement in 2007.
Her death was announced on twitter by fellow fantasy author Neil Gaiman, who wrote: 'Rest in Peace, Diana Wynne Jones. You shone like a star. The funniest, wisest, writer & the finest friend. I miss you.'
Jones is survived by her husband and three sons.

News: NTV Chair/Anime Film Producer Seiichiro Ujiie Passes Away (Updated) posted on 2011-03-28 00:40 EDT

Producer of most Ghibli, Detective Conan, Inuyasha, Death Note films
NTV Chairperson Seiichiro Ujiie passed away on Monday, March 28 in a Tokyo hospital due to multiple organ failure. He was 84. Ujiie produced most of the projects from Studio Ghibli, including almost all of the films and television specials from 1993's Umi ga Kikoeru (Ocean Waves) to 2008's Ponyo. He also produced most of the Detective Conan films from 2002's Detective Conan: The Phantom of Baker Street to 2010's Detective Conan: The Lost Ship in The Sky. His other productions include the Inuyasha films, the live-action Death Note films, two Lupin III films, the 2005 Black Jack: The Two Doctors Of Darkness anime film, the 1990s live-action special-effects Gamera films, and the first two live-action film adaptations of the Sanchōme no Yūhi - Yūyake no Uta (Always: Sunset on Third Street) manga.
Update: Ujiie also served as the head of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, which held exhibits devoted to the works of background artist Kazuo Oga, production designer Yohei Taneda, and other Ghibli creators. Ujiie was a former chairperson of the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters in Japan.
Ujiie joined Yomiuri Shimbun-sha, the newspaper publisher and the parent company of NTV, in 1951 after graduating from the University of Tokyo's Faculty of Economics. He rose through the ranks to become the president of NTV in 1992, and then started his first tenture as its chairperson in 2001. 

News: Leiji Matsumoto Works on Anime of Hayabusa Space Probe posted on 2011-03-29 12:43 EDT

Yamato/Harlock/Galaxy Express 999 creator supervises piece for TV special with SMAP
Manga/anime creator Leiji Matsumoto (Space Battleship Yamato, Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express 999) supervised what Fuji TV describes as the "first animated adaptation" of the Japanese space probe Hayabusa for an April 3 television special. Fuji TV Yume Special: Tamori x SMAP Bokura wa Mirai o Shinjiyō! ~Uchū e no Chōsen to Kiseki no Monogatari~ will also feature the comedian Tamori, the music group SMAP, and other cast members to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first human spaceflight. SMAP member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi will narrate Matsumoto's animated segment.
Last year, Hayabusa became the first spacecraft to bring material from an asteroid to Earth. Public interest in the mission surged throughout Japan; according to BIGLOBE, Hayabusa was the #5 most Tweeted word in Japan from March 30 to October 2 of last year — between #4's K-ON! and #6's iPad.
Besides the animated Hayabusa segment, Fuji TV plans a live studio appearance by the second person to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin. Japanese astronaut Sōichi Noguchi will relate his stories of friendship with William McCool, a crew member on the ill-fated final voyage of the Space Shuttle Columbia.
Matsumoto has been a major proponent of space exploration in general and Japan's JAXA space agency in particular. Matsumoto chairs the Young Astronauts Club (YAC) of Japan, and he gave Naoko Yamazaki — YAC vice-chairperson, astronaut, and Rocket Girls guest actress — a wristwatch he designed himself to commemorate her astronaut candidacy. The Yamato anime inspired both Yamazaki and Noguchi to join the space program.
Three 3D Galaxy Express 999 anime film shorts debuted on IMAX screens in 2007 to educate viewers about space and other scientific topics. Another Galaxy Express 999 short debuted in 2009 to promote tourism in Kagoshima Prefecture, the home of Japan's main space launch facility. The Japanese studio Toei Animation revealed last March that it was planning a computer-animated version of Space Pirate Captain Harlock, and it showed a pilot video during Tokyo International Anime Fair later that month. A live-action film remake of Yamato opened last December, and Matsumoto is planning his new Zero Desigze anime for release this year.

News: TV Tokyo, Nihon Ad Terminate Yu-Gi-Oh! Deal, Sue 4Kids posted on 2011-03-29 13:07 EDT
Accuse 4Kids of underpayments & conspiring with Funimation to defraud
On March 24, TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems filed a joint lawsuit against North American media distributor 4Kids Entertainment, accusing the company of "underpayments, wrongful deductions, and unmet obligations" and stating that 4Kids now owes the companies US$4,792,460.36. The Hollywood Reporter website also states that the two companies have terminated their deal with 4Kids.
According to the documents filed by the plaintiffs, the companies conducted an audit on 4Kids' Yu-Gi-Oh! business per their licensing agreement. This audit allegedly uncovered the aforementioned underpayments, as well as a "secret" agreement with Funimation, allowing them to "exploit" the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise via home video and hide the added income from the plaintiffs. By hiding this income, TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems allege that 4Kids was able to pay them a smaller share than would otherwise have been owed to them. The complaint further alleges that 4Kids attempted to hide the secret deal rather than disclosing it as required by their licensing agreement. Funimation is not listed as a defendant in the complaint.
Update: According to TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems, the terms of their agreement with 4Kids were such that they would be paid 50% of 4Kids' gross income derived from the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. The agreement also allowed 4Kids to enter into licensing agreements for the home video rights for the franchise, provided that they use "customary forms of license agreements." The plaintiffs allege that 4Kids entered into an agreement with Funimation on March 1, 2002, which granted Funimation "broad right to exploit" the franchise and would pay 4Kids a royalty of 20% of its gross receipts. The plaintiffs then allege that on the same day, the two North American companies entered into a "secret" second agreement for Yu-Gi-Oh! and other titles, under which Funimation undertook the majority of the work releasing home video products and paid 4Kids a US$1.3 million advance and a "service fee" for each sale.
According to the complaint, this service fee added up to US$3.934 million and was not reported as income in 4Kids' quarterly reports. As such, the Japanese companies were not paid royalties from this "kick back."
The complaint further alleges that 4Kids entered into a similar deal with Majesco Entertainment to create Yu-Gi-Oh! videos to be played on Nintendo's Gameboy Advanced portable videogame console. Under this deal, 4Kids paid royalties on the US$366,667 advance paid by Majesco, but reported its $1 kick back per video sold as a service fee, not as income, and did not pay royalties on it.

News: Code Geass Manga Artist Plans to Sue Blogger posted on 2011-03-30 04:00 EDT
Tomomasa Takuma considers suit against blogger who wrote about Shikkoku no Renya manga
Manga artist Tomomasa Takuma reported on Twitter on Monday that he talked with the publisher Kadokawa Shoten and a lawyer about a lawsuit against a blogger who criticized Takuma and Goro Taniguchi's Code Geass: Shikkoku no Renya manga.
Taniguchi, the director and story co-creator of the original Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion television anime series, created the manga spinoff's story concepts and is scripting the story. The manga is set in the same official Code Geass history as the anime, but in Japan's historical Edo era. The story begins when Renya, a 17-year-old boy with a mechanical left arm and shuriken-throwing skills, encounters a mysterious, perpetually young woman named "Reifū C.C."
The "Code Geass: Shikkoku no Renya no Tōyō to Settei Machigai ni Tsukkomu Blog" wrote several complaints about the Code Geass: Shikkoku no Renya manga. The most significant complaint that the blog makes is that the manga plagiarized Yagyū Reppūken Renya, a historical manga that Takashi Noguchi serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1992.
The Code Geass: Shikkoku no Renya manga is currently on hiatus, but Takuma said that the hiatus is unrelated to the blog. Takuma said that the hiatus is due to a private matter with his staff, so he can not disclose the reason.
On Tuesday, Takuma reported that he made arrangements and completed the paperwork with the lawyer for legal action. As of early Wednesday, he added that he will stop using Twitter for an indefinite period.
Besides Code Geass: Shikkoku no Renya, Takuma also drew the Code Geass: Nightmare of Nunnally and Kurogane Communication manga. He launched Code Geass: Shikkoku no Renya in Kadokawa Shoten's Weekly Shōnen Ace magazine.

News: Kodansha President Sawako Noma Passes Away posted on 2011-03-30 07:44 EDT

Served as head of publishing giant for 24 years & as Akira executive producer
Sawako Noma, the executive who served as the president of the publishing giant Kodansha for 24 years, passed away on Wednesday, March 30 due to heart failure. She was 67. She is survived by her oldest son, Yoshinobu, who was slated to replace his mother as Kodansha's president next month.
In addition to running the company that produced many of the manga in Japan, she served as an executive producer on Katsuhiro Otomo's animated film adaptation of his Akira manga.

News: 4Kids Files Shareholders' Report on Yu-Gi-Oh! Lawsuit posted on 2011-03-31 13:07 EDT

4Kids disputes suit, license withdrawal but is prepared to enter bankruptcy protection
On Wednesday, the North American media distributor 4Kids Entertainment filed a Form 8-K report to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to address TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems' (NAS') recent lawsuit against 4Kids and their letter of termination for 4Kids' Yu-Gi-Oh! licensing. The two Japanese licensors accused 4Kids of underpaying them and of conspiring with anime distributor Funimation to defraud them. The lawsuit cited information from a recent audit conducted on 4Kids' Yu-Gi-Oh! business. As a publicly traded company, 4Kids is required to file a Form 8-K to inform its shareholders of major events.
In the report, 4Kids stated that on March 27, it informed the two licensors that their letter of termination "did not comply with the 10 business day notice and cure provision" written in the agreement, and states that it has rejected the termination letter "as wrongful and devoid of any factual and legal basis." 4Kids further reported that the licensors reiterated their intent to terminate on March 30, and that the American company intends to "vigorously oppose" said termination.
The report also said that 4Kids received a request for payment from TV Tokyo and NAS on March 4. 4Kids said that it made a US$1 million payment "as a show of good faith" in order to earn a March 18 meeting to resolve the claims in the audit. However, the licensors moved forward with the lawsuit filed on March 24.
While 4Kids maintained throughout the document that the termination of its Yu-Gi-Oh! license is invalid, it acknowledges that should the lawsuit move forward and the termination be found valid, the American company will do whatever is necessary to maintain its business, "including the potential filing" of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition, and that it will seek to recover damages to its business caused by the licensors' actions.
The federal government's court document system shows no new filings on the case since ANN's previous report.

News: 4Kids Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (Updated) posted on 2011-04-06 16:34 EDT
Distributor's report for shareholders had suggested bankruptcy as possibility in wake of Yu-Gi-Oh! lawsuit
Yahoo! Finance is currently reporting that North American media distributor 4Kids Entertainment has filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Companies who file under Chapter 11 are able to maintain business assets, which may or may not include licenses, in order to attempt to reorganize. By contrast, companies who file under Chapter 7 (as Central Park Media did in 2009) cease to function as a business. The publicly-traded company had previously stated that it might file for bankruptcy protection after TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems (NAS) filed a lawsuit over its Yu-Gi-Oh! anime license. The lawsuit accused 4Kids of underpaying the Japanese licensors and of conspiring with North American anime distributor FUNimation Entertainment to hide income from the sale of Yu-Gi-Oh! DVDs in order to avoid paying royalties.
In 2010, 4Kids Entertainment announced that an unnamed third party company was interested in acquiring the company. The company was potentially on the brink of being sold. However, shortly thereafter the company announced a US$3.5 million loss in its first quarter of 2010, and the New York Stock Exchange began the process of delisting the company. No further mention of the potential sale has been made since. Two months later, after more losses in the company's third quarter of 2010, the company's Chairman and CEO, Alfred R. Kahn, resigned from the position. 4Kids currently runs the "Toonzai on CW 4Kids" programming block on Saturday mornings in the United States, and it launched the Toonzai video-streaming website last September. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger Planning Video Game Posted 3 days ago - By Stephen Johnson

When Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor of California, the ex-musclehead wasn't particularly kind to games: The govenator signed the anti-gaming law that's currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. But now that Ahh-nald is getting back into the entertainment game, he's planning on releasing a video game. The hypocrisy! According to Entertainment Weekly, Schwarzenegger is engineering a comeback, and his recent remarks at the Cannes film festival laid out the plan. “First will come comic books, then a [cartoon] TV series and after that we will develop the games and then a movie," the action star said.

He then debuted a short trailer for the Governator cartoon, which is being developed by Stan Lee along with Andy and Amy Heyward. In the trailer, Arnold fights evil robots and global warming, as well as taking a question from recuring character Larry King.

New Superman flying into Chicago & maybe Plano – By Luis Arroyave & Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune  March 28, 2011

Faster than a speeding bullet came word that the next Superman movie would film in Chicago. And Monday the Chicago Film Office confirmed that production on director Zack Snyder's franchise reboot, "Superman: Man of Steel," will take place in the Chicago area. No additional details, including filming locations and a start date, were given.
Earlier in the day Robert Hausler, mayor of Plano, a little more than 50 miles southwest of Chicago, said he expected there to be an announcement soon regarding a Warner Bros. film — which he declined to name — shooting there this summer. "There's been quite a bit of talk about it," said Hausler, addressing the buzz in his city since a report Sunday tabbed it as a potential stand-in for Clark Kent's rural boyhood home. "It would be huge economically for our city."
"Superman: Man of Steel" will star Henry Cavill as Superman, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as his adoptive parents, and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. The movie will be the first film in the long-running franchise since 2006's "Superman Returns." "Man of Steel" is scheduled to hit theaters in December 2012. But the "Man of Steel" news comes at a time when it appears Chicago has lost out on another superhero production, the Batman sequel "The Dark Knight Rises." Chicago played the role of Gotham City in director Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight," but the action reportedly moves away from Gotham in the third installment. Nolan is producing "Man of Steel." Chicago has seen several other big films shoot in the city of late, including "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," "Contagion," "The Dilemma" and "Public Enemies."

Batman flies away from Chicago for 'Dark Knight Rises' By Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune April 05, 2011

The Caped Crusader is headed to Pittsburgh. On Tuesday, producer and director Christopher Nolan confirmed what many in the local film industry had suspected over the past few months, that the next installment in his Batman franchise, "The Dark Knight Rises," will not be returning to Chicago to shoot. It is a blow for the city, but, "Based on the information we were getting from Warner Bros. through back channels, this doesn't come as an entire surprise," said Richard Moskal, director of the Chicago Film Office. "They would have given us an indication by this point if they were coming. We're certainly disappointed, but also so appreciative of everything Chris brought us in terms of the two previous Batman pictures."
Both 2005's "Batman Begins" and 2008's "The Dark Knight" shot on location in downtown Chicago (standing in for Gotham), and Moskal estimates that the films spent in excess of $50 million combined when they were here — on crews, vendors and hotels, among other expenses. The economic boost was important, Moskal said, but he also cited the prestige factor associated with the films."I think Chicago shared in their notoriety and that helped us generate a great deal of excitement and interest from other filmmakers about shooting in Chicago," he said. "The shoots were complicated and spectacular in terms of stunts and special effects. 'The Dark Knight' in particular raised the bar in terms of the types of things that we have done in Chicago, and I think that also let people know we can accommodate pictures like this." "The Dark Knight Rises" will shoot in Pittsburgh this summer (other locations rumored before today's announcement included Romania, India and New Orleans). At roughly the same time, "Superman: Man of Steel" (another Warner Bros. property) will be filming in the Chicago area. Moskal said that might have been a factor in the Batman decision, particularly because Nolan is producing both films."Two pictures of that size shooting simultaneously in the same location? I think the studio would have said it's just too much in one place," Moskal said. "It would have been challenging for the filmmakers, let alone the city. Chris Nolan might be making sure he's not sort of stepping his on his own toes by having both pictures here." Illinois does have a slightly more lucrative tax credit program for film productions than the one offered in Pennsylvania — 30 percent back versus 25 percent — but in the case of "The Dark Knight Rises," Moskal said he doesn't think that desparity was a concern. "Clearly they're looking for financial incentives, but I think the producers had an interest in keeping the franchise fresh and interesting, and I can certainly understand pursuing new places to represent Gotham. They may have felt they exhausted their locations in Chicago." This isn't the first time Chicago and Pittsburgh have found themselves competing for a project. The Steel City also was seriously considered as a location for the upcoming Kelsey Grammer Starz series "Boss" — about a Chicago mayor, no less. Ultimately Chicago won out, and the TV series will start shooting here later this month.

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