The 2nd Dimension

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Yukito Kishiro Interview Online

Anime News Service now has an online interview with my all-time favorite comic artist ever, Yukito Kishiro -- author of the manga Gunnm (Battle Angel Alita). In it Mr. Kishiro covers his thoughts on the live action adaption of his work (anxious) as well as the possibility of new Gunnm anime (slim to none).

Friday, February 18, 2005

That Nausicaa Commercial

Just to show that I'm not crazy, you can see the Nausicaa commercial for yourself (see previous post). According to Anime News Network, it's being shown on Cartoon Network, ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX as well. They didn't mention WB though so maybe I am crazy.

They also mention that if you buy all three DVDs -- Nausicaa, Porco Rosso, and The Cat Returns -- you will be able to get either Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, or Castle in the Sky for free with a mail-in order. Since I will most likely be splurging on all 3, I'll end up getting Kiki's (I already have the others).

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Nausicaa Commercial Aired on WB

Yes, I watch Everwood. Now, if we can just all get over that fact for a moment I'd like to mention that during my weekly WB viewing of the show, I unexpectedly saw the word "Miyazaki" flash accross the screen. It was a commercial for the Disney release of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. I think it was the same trailer as is on their website though, so it might not be anything new. But I just thought that was pretty cool for some reason. It might have something to do with me being a geek.

On a related note, the Detroit Free Press today had a highly positive review of the Disney DVD release of the film. So there.

Live Action Gigantor Trailer

Hey, remember Gigantor? Me neither. The show originally aired in Japan in 1963 as Tetsujin 28-Go! and was later translated for US broadcast as Gigantor in the late '60s and early '70s; so it was a bit before my time. Although the series went through a few re-makes through the years, the first I think I ever heard of it was off a track from the Saturday Mornings CD where the show's theme song was performed by the band Helmet.

Anyway, if you are seasoned enough to get lost in the nastalgia of it all, then you might be interested in knowing that there is a live-action movie in the works. And now the full trailer is available for your viewing enjoyment.

Source: Ain't It Cool News

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Steamboy "Director's Cut" in Theatres

[Edit: I changed the title to reflect the new information in this article. I forgot that I had mentioned the March 18 release date way back in November.]

According to Ain't It Cool News Steamboy is going to be released theatrically in the US on March 18th. According to the article there will be an extended "director's cut" version with Japanese language and English subtitles to be exclusively released in Landmark Cinemas, while the dub version will see a wider release.

Lucky for me there are two Landmark theaters right near me. Sweet.

I actually already knew it was coming March 18th (no, I'm not bragging) because when I was in Media Play the other day, they were giving away free Steamboy Preview DVDs which had the release date printed on the case cover.

The DVDs themselves contained the English and Japanese teaser trailers as well as an interview with Katsushiro Otomo on the making of the movie. The trailers were nothing that isn't already on the web, and to be honest, I have yet to actually watch the featurette so I can't tell you how interesting or informative it is. But if you are interested, stop by Media Play and pick it up. (I'm guessing Suncoast and Sam Goody would have it too.)

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Death Note Banned in China

From Anime News Network:

Imitating events in the manga series Death Note, Chinese school students in the city of Shenyang have take to writing death notes. The students buy special stationary and follow instructions such as "Write the cause of death and the person's name backwards and the person will die in 40 seconds."

A middle school student told the Shenyang Night Report, "Many of my friends have Death Note. When they are tired of studding, they have fun by writing down the names of teachers the don't like."

Some Shenyang schools have banned the manga and related stationary, the newspaper called Death Note, "Poison, creating wicked hearts." Others, including one major Chinese newspaper, however feel that ban is an over-reaction and is inappropriate. Some have suggested that overreactions such as these are what stifle creativity in China.

Death Note is currently serialized in Shonen Jump.

I wonder if this will make it more or less likely for this title to be licensed for release in the US.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Live Action Kiki's Delivery Service

According to Ain't It Cool News, Disney has hired Jeff Stockwell to write a live action movie adaption of Eiko Kadano series of Witch's Express Mail children's novels. The novels were the basis for Miyazaki's acclaimed Kiki's Delivery Service movie.

My knee-jerk reaction to this is one of true horror. I can only imagine bad things happening from Disney getting it's hands on a classic story that basically preaches the benefits of hard work to children (much the same as Spirited Away did). I can't imagine a Disney movie staying true to that theme.

You'll have to excuse my constant paranoia over US film companies trying to make live action adaptions to Japanese anime -- especially since there really hasn't been much to base this fear on yet -- but at least if I get my expectations nice and low I'll be less likely to be disappointed, right?

God I hope this one doesn't suck.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

I *HEART* Studio Bones

Animation studio great Studio Bones (RahXephon, Wolf's Rain, Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door) is coming out with a new anime series called Eureka 7 . And from the look of the trailer (which can be viewed on the MBS site) Bones may very well be on its way to taking over Production I.G. as my favorite anime production studio of all time.

Aren't you just totally impressed?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Time Warner to Produce Anime

According to Anime News Network:

Time Warner and Itochu Corp (C. Itoh & Co.) have announced that they will jointly produce new anime to be broadcast simultaneously on Cartoon Network in Japan and North America.

By April 2006, the joint venture is expected to be producing weekly episodes for three shows, at a budget of 20 million yen ($US 190,000) per episode, 20 to 50 percent higher than the current average budget for anime TV series. The added budget will be spent on higher-than-average quality animation using more animators and other staff than is typically used in anime.

I really really really don't like this idea at all -- at least not from a fan (as opposed to a business) perspective. Having a US company co-produce anime for simultaneous US and Japanese broadcast just seems like it would bastardize the whole idea of what makes anime desirable in the first place: the fact that it is foreign material imbued with Japanese standards, cultural themes, and artistic energy. I just worry that a US company would try to push the Japanese company into making it more accessible to American audiences (ie, dumb it down).

Not that there hasn't been animation made with this kind of international partnership before to mild success (see Big O 2 or Dead Leaves) but it's always just been done on a case-by-case basis (as far as I know).

But whatever. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what comes of it all.

Innocence Recall

Apparently Dreamworks finally got around to admitting that the DVD version of Ghost in the Shell: Innocence -- which was distributed with closed captioned subtitles only (which subbed the sound effects and all) was a mistake. So they now have a mail-in recall program for all those who bought the flawed version so they can get a "remastered" version with the proper subtitles.

The DVDs that have a "v4" marked on their spine are the remastered version.

Anime Downloading in Trouble?

CNET has published a very interesting article about the technically illegal act of distributing fansubbed anime online. For years fansubbing has been considered a necessary evil for fans who want to view anime titles that have not yet been licensed for distribution in the US. Japanese and US studios alike have turned a blind eye to the act presumably because fansubbing tends to build the word-of-mouth popularity for a particular title and as a result helps US companies determine which titles to license.

But recently, a Japanese anime studio called Media Factory (Gravion, RahXephon) has been sending messages to fansubbing sites demanding that they cease and desist the distribution of their titles regardless of whether or not those titles have been licensed for US distribution. So now the fear is the other companies will follow suite.

I don't really think companies are going to be giving up the benefites of a responsible fansubbing community, and I definitely don't see anime fans giving it up, so I doubt that there is anything fans need to really worry about (anymore than MP3 music downloaders need to worry that their source of MP3s will drying up). But the article at least does a good job of presenting both sides of the debate.

Casshern Sucks?

From AnimeNation:

The Japanese Fumihara Weekly Magazine has reported the results of the latest Kiichi Awards, the Japanese version of the American Golden Raspberry Award, for worst Japanese films of 2004.

The Kiichi Awards are determined by a panel of 20 movie reporter and film critic judges. Devilman, which has received universally bad reviews, was voted worst Japanese film of 2004.

Oddly, the live action Casshern movie, which has received numerous international positive critical reviews, was named second worst Japanese film of 2004. The award panelists called the film, "Nothing more than a promotional video for Hikaru Utada's videos." Casshern was directed by Utada's husband, Kazuaki Kiriya.