Anime Reel – Anime & Manga TV News

Archive for February 2010

This is the image I found that is still safe for work.

Image from Media Factory.

Today’s entry in the “yet another light novel series to be adapted into a TV anime” listings is Asobi ni Iku Yo! (“Let’s go play!”), an Urusei Yatsura variation. For those younglings who don’t know what Urusei Yatsura is, that means that Asobi ni Iku Yo! is a romantic comedy about an ordinary high school boy who meets up with a beautiful alien and proceeds to have wacky adventures. Instead of the Japanese/Chinese mythology theme of UY, the aliens of Asobi ni Iku Yo! have animal ears and tend to be called silly things like “Kyaatias” (a pun on “Cat Ears”), Rabbitians, and Melmacs.

I’m not exactly chomping at the bit waiting for this anime to be made, but announcements like these remind me just how clueless I am about the light novel market. I’ve never heard of this before, even though it’s been around since 2003 and has a whole bunch of peripheral merchandise already – according to the Japanese wikipedia entry I’m looking at right now, there’s a 6-volume manga, a few drama CDs, and a video game already out for the series, which has been published since 2003.

What other light novels am I missing? I’m going to have to start digging through the light novel rankings to make sure I find the next Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu before I miss out!

FUNimation is doing everything it can to get you excited about a release that’s not only a remake of a 15-year-old anime, but a cleaned-up release of a DVD they released just last year.

If you’re still interested in Evangelion 1.11 in spite of the fact that there are only 3 minutes of truly new footage (the rest of it is a video transfer fix from some issues with Evangelion 1.01), you should check out some of the many, many trailers FUNimation has put up in anticipation of the March 9th release of the high-definition release of the Evangelion remake. FUNi has even been kind enough to put everything in a single Evangelion 1.11 YouTube playlist so you can see what you’re in for.

Convincing people to buy the same product twice is always a tough sell, and I see FUNimation facing a bit of an uphill battle with so much Eva out there already – are any of you going to buy this one? If so, why?

I just sent off an e-mail to ACen’s Guest Relations department, responding to their request to have me as a guest at Anime Central 2010. I was invited last year as well, but due to family circumstances, I was unable to attend. This year, I intend to go and enjoy a convention for the first time in a while – I tend to spend far too much time staffing these things out of boredom, so it’ll be nice to sit in on an panel and shoot the breeze with fans.

But my question is, out of those of you who still go to anime conventions, why do you do it? Video rooms have long since gone the way of the dodo, so is it for the friends, for the guests, for the loot, or for some combination of the above?

Oops!

"Sorry I'm so late!"

The part of the Internet still devoted to The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya exploded today at news from The Sneaker magazine (home of Trinity Blood and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), which declares that an excerpt of the next Haruhi novel will appear in the April issue of the magazine after a long, long hiatus. The Surprise of Haruhi Suzumiya (Suzumiya Haruhi no Kyougaku) was originally scheduled for a June 2007 release, but has become one of the more infamously delayed works in otaku culture.

Since we’re sneaking up on the third anniversary of the delay announcement, a lot of fans have taken a cautious stance. As Moon Phase points out, an excerpt of the final Full Metal Panic! novel was released by Dragon magazine back in its January 2009 issue, and there has been no sign of the book since. The existence of an excerpt doesn’t necessarily mean that the book is done; it just means the excerpt is done.

Maybe I’m just being bitter, though – after all, three years is plenty of time to write one book, right? Right?

As long as there's no Kageyama' I'm okay.

For lovers of anime music, the Animelo concert series led by JAM Project is like watching the Dream Team year after year, as all of the best . But having been there once for the 2008 concert, let me tell you that I have no urge to stand out in the August heat in Tokyo for one more minute in my life. It was a great concert, but unless it decides to move to a less humid time of year or a cooler climate, I’m not going back.

So, while their announcement of a November concert in Shanghai doesn’t affect me directly, it gives me hope that within a couple of years, we can see something like it in the US. It’d be a pretty tough sell to try and fly that many acts over the Pacific unless they’re 100% sure they’re going to sell out, but its very existence means that JAM Project’s international tour, which touched American shores at Otakon in 2008, was successful enough to make international ventures viable to Japanese promoters. So, I’m hoping that the Shanghai concert sells out overwhelmingly, and that in 2011 or 2012, the Animelo concerts will come to my neck of the woods. Hit the break to see some of the great performances and anime all-stars that have graced this concert series over the last six years.

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Check out that beard!

Sunrise knows where their bread is buttered – follow the trends and appeal to the right audience, and you’ve guaranteed yourself another 5 years of profits from good ol’ Gundam. For the past couple years or so, Sunrise has been taking advantage of the wave of oh-so-loose adaptations of the Chinese classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms (see: Ikki Tousen, Koihime Musou, and my personal favorite bastardization, Ryofuko-chan) and releasing character designs and comics of little Gundams dressed as ancient Chinese warrior-generals. With a movie ready for theatrical release in a few days, today’s leaked announcement of an SD Gundam Sangokuden anime series shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise.

What does surprise me is that they really did stick a Gundam beard on the Guan Yu gundam instead of the little chin attachment they usually have. Tallgeese/Lu Bu is pretty amusing too, and I may end up watching this series out of pure, morbid curiosity. I’ll find out when it starts airing in April, but the SD Gundams have usually been quality, and I do love me some bastardized Chinese historical fantasy. I can always use this against my Chinese friends to watch them squirm (though it doesn’t match that mouse pad that let you rest your wrist on Guan Yu’s boobs for pure brain-breaking) if it’s not actually any good.

(Source: Moon Phase)

Zetsubou shita!

(Note: I actually wrote this on Thursday and didn’t hit Publish. Pretty smart, huh?)

According to some solicitations dug up by Mania, Media Blasters is ready to bring the satirical Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei to DVD in May. While we’d heard whispers of this at Anime Expo last year, it’s good to see such a fun series getting the proper treatment. The question is, what kind of treatment will it get?

There’s no dub listed in the solicitation, and that leaves the door open for a subtitled-only release. It would certainly cut Media Blaster’s costs on such a niche title, but one of the fundamental problems with an English-language Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei remains: the cultural barrier between its jokes and an international audience. SZS is soaked in decades of Japanese media and entertainment, and with all the study I’ve put in, I still have to spend a lot of time searching out its more oblique references every time it flashes one of its trademark text-heavy screens full of references and in-jokes.

So here’s a question to you, making this the Thursday Talking Point: if you were watching a show like Gintama, Excel Saga, or Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei, where much of the comedy comes from references to other Japanese media you may not know, which option would you rather have?

– The jokes are translated literally, and have very extensive liner notes to take care of any lingering questions (Example: “They get along like monkeys and dogs” instead of saying “They get along like cats and dogs”)
– The jokes are localized to Western culture, with some notes and alternate audio/subtitling tracks for purists (Example: “Little Sister Fever” instead of “Imouto Moe”)
Excel Saga-style quick, on-screen liner notes to explain the obscure jokes, but letting the general flow continue as usual.

I really like the color scheme. Not much else to say.The noitaminA time slot has been a consistent source of entertaining anime for the past few years (including Nodame Cantabile, Moyashimon, and Honey and Clover). Today, two trailers were released to show off its upcoming slate: one for April’s House of Five Leaves (Saraiya Goyou), and one for Shiki.

Unlike the first Shiki trailer, this latest trailer for the modern horror shows some actual animation. I’m a horror wuss and would rather cower in a corner than watch this show, but I have to admit that it has all of the earmarks of good horror: a chilling atmosphere, good editing, and careful camera work. When it takes over the time slot in July, all of you will have to tell me if it lives up to its promise, because I’ll be avoiding it for reasons completely independent of its quality.

The Saraiya Goyou is an interesting contrast to Shiki, mixing its unique (some would say “ugly”) characters with a standard j-pop ballad from immi. I’ll watch this one with interest, because the story is fascinating, with the naive samurai Akitsu trying to reconcile his view of the world with his new role as the bodyguard of a kidnapping gang led by the charismatic and amoral Yaichi. Their conversations are the core of the series, and as long as those are presented well, I’ll keep tuning in and being fascinated by the interplay of the two characters. Check it out in April!

Little pop idol's gonna have to get himself some muscles...

Image from AnimeNation

ANN has posted some very happy news that comes with some big reservations – classic Japanese hero Yabuki Joe (think Rocky, but Ashita no Joe came 8 years before) is coming to the big screen, with mega-hot singer/actor Yamashita Tomohisa (AKA Yamapi) playing the title role. While I am all for having the Japanese Rocky on the big screen, and I think it has the potential to be a great movie, I have to sigh and shake my head at the casting.

Ashita no Joe‘s Yabuki Joe is the archetypal working-class hero, made of gristle and grime and sweat, while Yamapi embodies modern mass-produced entertainment: he grew up in the Johnny’s stable, grew up as a dancer, led a boy band, and spends much of his time in front of cameras or performing in arenas packed with squealing lady fans. It shouldn’t rattle me that they chose him to play the lead because he’ll put butts in the seats, but… well, read more about the essence of Yabuki Joe after the jump to get to the heart of why I hate this.

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Yeah, that won't cause anyone nightmares.

Aniplex’s site for Masunari Kouji’s science fiction adventure, Welcome to the Space Show, has opened with a trailer meant for the Berlin International Film Festival – to view it, click on the green “Trailer” button at the top of the page. Thanks to the international film festival, the trailer is subtitled and narrated in surprisingly good English. It looks like a great children’s adventure, following young Koyama Natsuki and her friends as they have one of the wildest summer vacations ever. After she and her friends rescue a dog who actually is an alien, they ride a jungle gym into space and meet all kinds of fun aliens.

This may sound simple and dull to you, but the team behind it is filled with all-stars, who previously worked on Kamichu! and the R.O.D. TV series. The animation looks as good as you’d expect from an anime film, and the backgrounds and other visuals look great too. The first look at this film will come in Berlin, but it’ll hit Japanese theaters later this year and, with any luck, it’ll see an international release shortly afterward.