The 2nd Dimension

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Official Advent Children Trailer

From AnimeNation (again):

The official Japanese website for the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children movie now hosts an "official trailer" which contains a significant amount of previously unreleased footage.

Far Out Trailer from the mind of Go Nagai

From AnimeNation:

A trailer for the live action pro-wrestling/tokusatsu movie Kabuto-o Beetle is now available in Windows Media format and Real Media format. The movie's story and protagonist were created by Go Nagai, creator of Devilman and Cutey Honey.

Japanese Production of US Material

From AnimeNation:

Comic book studio Top Cow now hosts a short trailer for an apparently Madhouse Studios produced anime adaptation of American comic book Aphrodite IX. Please note that the trailer contains intense graphic violence.

The trailer looks awesome because the character designs look just like the comic. As opposed to most US cartoons-adapted-from-comics where the designs are annoyingly simplified for easier production (like the Spawn animation for example).


Toy News International now hosts the first known images of Gonzo Studio's production design art for American G.I. Joe Sigma 6 animated series.

Monday, June 20, 2005

New All-Japan Music Channel on XM

According to Anime News Network:

In an interview on Episode 55 of the J!-ENT RADIO podcast, it was revealed by Chris Simmonds that XM Radio will be providing a Japan-Only music station. The station entitled, "Radio Wasabi" will begin airing in July. For the initial programming, it will be limited to a few select songs, however the programming will increase by the beginning of next year.

The station is looking at looping a weekly 4 hour show and then adding more and more content as it grows every week. Radio Wasabi will try to ramp up to a full fresh 24x7 programming schedule by January at the latest.

No mention of exactly what kind of Japanese music they are going to play. I have XM in my car so I'm hoping they go with a full J-Pop and J-Rock line up instead of something like "J-Oldies" (if that's a real term). Maybe, if the station is popular enough, they will have a spin-off channel of all anime music called something like Animagic! Or not.

Initial D's directors Alan Mak, Andrew Lau talk about fans' expectations

ChannelNews Asia has an article in which the directors discuss their attempt to bring the uber-popular Initial D franchise to the medium of live action cinema.

One part I found kind of funny (at least when you compare it to Hollywood finance standards) was their excitement and concern over the large monitary investment being put into production:

"There is definitely pressure stemming from the expectations of investors and audiences," Initial D director Alan Mak said. After all, the film boasts a star-studded cast and has a sizeable production budget of US$12 million ($20 million).

Apparently the directors wanted to play it safe by going with actors that they were familiar with.

"I choose actors whose personalities are close to those of their roles," said Lau. And what better pool to select from than one with actors they've worked with before. "We already know their characters and behaviour, so it's easier to do casting and bring out better performances in them," said Mak. "After all, many directors always work with the same actors."

And they even talked about the wrecked cars. I heard they had totalled like 7 86's during the filming -- though that may be exaggerated.

"All the stunts had to be real and stay true to the spirit of the comic."

Hence, it was inevitable that car crashes occurred on the set, with Jay Chou and Chapman To having first-hand experiences. Thankfully, nothing nasty happened to them.

"These young guys like to speed," said Mak. "We told them to slow down, but they still raced along in the end."

But it was all in the name of producing a good film.

It might have been a risky shoot, with an element of danger, said Lau." But it was the only way for viewers to enter the world of car racing, and we're glad to have recreated it on screen for them."

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Eureka 7 Episode 1 Review

I saw the first episode of the latest anime from Studio Bones (my second favorite anime production studio of all time), Eureka 7 not too long ago, and I have to say that it did not disappoint.

As far as the plot goes, it is pretty much the ever familiar giant robot story that has been around for forever: Inexperienced kid ends up pioloting a giant robot which was created by his father from the same technology as the aliens that it was designed to fight against. Although I was not totally clear whether it was supposed to be aliens they were fighting or what. It's cliche, but some times it works.

The plot is not the star of this show though. It's the animation and the mecha designs. The mecha ride on these surfboard-like objects which glide on the air trailed by a stream of glowing exhaust. It makes for some super-cool mind-blowing visuals. Of course, designs are only amusing for so long and if the plot does not hold up the series can become tedious really quick (see Gad Guard). So hopefully the story will be as impressive as the visuals as the series progresses.

But you can be guarenteed that I will be desperately waiting for the second and further episodes to download. Studio Bones has not come out with a disappointing project yet as far as I am concerned, so I am looking forward to it.

Stand Alone Complex Movie

From AnimeNation:

Bandai Visual of Japan has announced that a 140 minute long "Laughing Man saga" movie version of the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex television series will be released to Japanese DVD on September 23rd. The compilation movie will include some new animation footage and entirely re-recorded dialogue. The special edition, double disc DVD will retail at 8,190 yen ($75 US) and include 30 minutes of supplemental material.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Live Action Updates - The "what is" and "what is not" and "what may be"

What is:

Speed Racer - According to an anonamous source on Cinescape the live action movie version of Speed Racer is apparently back on track. According to the article, the script will be handed in this week and Vince Vaughn is "locked in" to play Racer X. This movie dates years back when Johnny Depp was rumored to play the title role. God only knows if this version will get any legs or not.

Cromatori High School - According to Anime News Network:

Eiji Nonaka's Sakigake!! Cromartie High gag-manga is set to be adapted into a live-action movie. Cromartie High has just recently been adapted into an anime TV series.

The live action movie will be directed by Yuudai Yamaguchi and will star Takamasa Suga as the main character, Takashi Kamiyama. Other actors will include former professional boxer Mitsuki Koga and professional wrestler Yoshihiro Takayama as Shinjirou Hayashida and Takenouchi respectively. Hiroyuki Watanabe will play the part of Freddy.

We have no details on when the movie is set to be released in Japan.

What is not:

Watchmen - Yeah yeah. I know it is not anime or manga, but I mentioned this project in a previous entry so I feel obligated to provide an update. According to ICv2, the live action Watchmen movie is currently in "limbo" due to Paramount having concerns over the movie's $100 millon bugdet. I'd have to say that their concerns are probably justified since the complex and adult-oriented plot is probably not conducive to the kind of mass appeal the movie would need to generate any profits. And dumbing down the plot would only result in the story losing the elements that made it appealing in the first place (see Alan Moore's other good-comic-turned-crappy-movie examples: From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen).

What may be:

Battle Angel Alita - According to multiple sources James Cameron looks like he may be putting his live action Battle Angel Alita on hold in favor of some vague new project code named "Project 880". Apparently the Battle Angel story is prooving difficult to adapt to a live action script, so he's putting the whole thing aside for easier fair. So much for the 2007 release.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

All Kind of Howl's Moving Castle Crud

It opens here in Michigan tomorrow, so in preparation, here's a bunch of leftover crap that I never got around to posting before.

Newsweek on Miyazaki
In the June 12th issue of Newsweek, there is a rare English interview with Hayao Miyazaki about "Howl's Moving Castle" and its difference from Western storytelling conventions. Below the article is a favorable review of the same movie. [source: Anime News Network]

From Yahoo! Movies

From RottenTomatoes
Ebert surprisingly thinks the movie sucks, even though he's praised previous Miyazaki movies.

Old Anime News

Blood+ TV english website open

Production IG has opened its official website for the Blood+ TV series. Included is an introduction, synopsis and character designs. The TV series is based off of the Blood: the Last Vampire OVA and is scheduled to start airing in Japan in October.

Lady Snowblood from Dark Horse

I probably wouldn't have normally posted this kind of thing, but I thought this was pretty cool just from the Kill Bill angle. From Anime News Network:

Dark Horse will release Lady Snowblood Volume 1 on September 7. The Lady Snowblood manga, by Kazuo Koike and Kazuo Kamimura, was the inspiration for the Lady Snowblood live-action movie (Available from Animeigo), which inspired parts of Kill Bill.

New Awesome Trailers

Teaser trailer and pilot film

Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex 2nd Gig
High, Low

Eureka 7
High, Low

Monday, June 13, 2005

New Highlander Anime Trailer

From the official Highlander site:

After four films and two successful television series, you've never seen the HIGHLANDER like this.

MacLeod returns with a vengeance in an animated feature length epic!In the tradition of "Vampire Hunter D" and "Ninja Scroll," anime wizard Yoshiaki Kawajiri brings his unique visual bravura to the immortal "Highlander" franchise. For the first time, the MacLeod katana blade will find itself in the hands of a Japanese master.

For a little taste of this tale, watch the teaser:
Quicktime - Windows Media - Flash

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Sin City movie Review

I was thinking about the Sin City movie a while ago and how a lot of people that I have talked to and a lot of reviews that I have read indicated that they generally enjoyed the "Hard Goodbye" and "That Yellow Bastard" storylines, but they did not really care for the "Big Fat Kill" part.

Even though I personally liked all parts of the movie, I couldn't help but think about the reasoning behind the favorable and unfavorable reactions that people had. After careful consideration (aka, my mind wandered over the subject for a relatively long time), my best guess was that it had something to do with the inner struggles of the stories' main characters.

To be more precise, Marv (from "Hard Goodbye") and Hardigan (from "That Yellow Bastard") were both characters who were driven from within but had to constantly struggle with thier own limitations. Marv had his limited intelligence and questionable sanity, and Hardigan had to work against his aging body and "bum ticker". Mix those inner struggles with the fact that they pretty much had the whole world working against them, and that they ultimately (spoiler) paid for those struggles with their lives (end spoiler), and it makes from some pretty compelling characters.

And then you have Dwight (from "Big Fat Kill"). He's young, he has all his mental faculties in order for the most part, and he had a whole possy of bad-ass beauties to fight for and to watch his back. He struggled, but most all of his enemies were easily identified, fought, and crushed and he had hardly a scratch as a result. Not nearly as compelling nor nearly as empathetic. At least, not if that is the limit of your exposure to old Dwight McCarthy.

The one thing that I tend to bring up to people who mention their distaste for "Big Fat Kill" is that it is actually the follow-up to another Sin City yarn called "A Dame to Kill For" (and my favorite volume in the collection). This is the story that shows you the inner deamons that Dwight had to overcome in order to become the cool, quick-to-action hero seen in the movie. In "Dame" you see Dwight as a recovering alchoholic. You see his repressed passion as he works odd jobs to live a lawful and socially acceptable life. You see him use his friends for his own gain instead of putting his life on the line for their sake. You see him unsure of his own convictions. And (spoiler) though he doesn't die, he does go through a transformation of his own by the end (end spoiler). Ultimately, you see a more compelling character. And I think that once you are associated with that side of the man, you will be able to appreciate his hero-complex as seen in "Big Fat Kill".

Thankfully, everyone will be able to see the compelling side of him when the Sin City movie sequal comes out next summer. It will be composed entirely of the "Dame to Kill For" story arc (as far as I've heard so far). Very cool.