The 2nd Dimension

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Anime, the Next Generation

Wired News has an article discussing the increased availability of adult-oriented anime (no, not hentai) on network and cable television. It especially focuses on the upcoming broadcast of Naruto and how it is predicted to be the popular successor of Dragon Ball.

Naruto is scheduled to premiere on Cartoon Network on Saturday, September 10 at 9:00pm.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Brave Story trailer

From Ain't It Cool News:

The official website for Gonzo Studio's upcoming Brave Story movie has posted a trailer for the 2006 movie. [Click on the middle link on the main page.] An English language synopsis can be read here.

According to AnimeNation: "The film is scheduled for Japanese theatrical release next summer. Warner Bros. acquired international distribution rights to the picture last February."

Oshii's Open Your Mind screen caps

From Ain't It Cool News:

TwitchFilm points out that screen shots of the DVD release of Mamoru Oshii's animated art installation project Open Your Mind has been posted on this blog.

On a related note, I just saw the first episode of Stand Alone Complex: 2nd Gig last night via my August NewType DVD. It of course kicked ass in so many ways, which goes without saying. But the real hoot was at the end of the episode when there was a none-too-subtle reference to the beginning of the first Ghost in the Shell movie. Oshii -- as you may know -- directed that movie, and also played some kind of advisory roll in S.A.C. 2nd Gig, so that explains how the reference got there. I can't wait to see how he makes his presence known in future episodes.

Production IG commercials

I love Production I.G. I just love 'em. What can I say?

From Ain't It Cool News:

AniMania points out that Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell) produced a TV commercial for the beverage Kirin Lemon 77 back in March. It is only a short animation film, but has such an elaborate background and characters revolving around the imaginary sport called "skyshoot" that everyone wanted to know who made it. with general director Ishii Katsuhito who designed anime characters for Kill Bill. With Kirin Lemon Black, came to be on sale this summer, a new version appeared on TV.

Both versions can be seen here.

I do. I love 'em.

Advent Children US release delayed

From Anime News Network:

According to the newest issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children will not be released in North America in September as previously reported.

Instead, EGM reports that Advent Children will be released "this holiday season." No further details about the date are mentioned.

Details about the release are however included in the article. There will be two releases, a single disc UMD release and a 2-disc Special Edition DVD. The 2-disc set will include extra trailers, bonus features and behind-the-scenes material, but not Last Order Final Fantasy VII. The short Last Order OAV will be included in the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Ultimate Edition, which will retail for 29,500 yen (~US$270) and is to be released on September 14.

The only thing that bugs me about that is that you just know that Sony is going to release a Super Ultimate Collecter's Must Have Edition some time in the future that will include the Last Order feature (which, by the way, is no relation to Battle Angel Alita: Last Order. Or was that already obvious?). I'd really rather them just wait until the whole thing is ready and then release it instead of doing a half-ass job of it just so they can have something ready for the holiday season. But no one ever listens to me. Why is that?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Anime controversy of the month

Nothing gets the otaku blood boiling like a US distributor trying to re-work a title. The last big controversy was over the edits made to the Tenjho Tenge manga. This time ADV is stirring up the pot with a whole dialogue overhaul to one of it's latest anime aquisitions Ghost Stories. According to AnimeNation:

At this past weekend's Otakon convention, AD Vision revealed plans to release "Ghost Stories" (Gakkou no Kaiden) with a near totally improvised, "Americanized" English dub that is, "raunchier and hipper than the original." ICv2 News writes, "This is the first time such wholesale re-crafting of a series has been undertaken as a new artistic work... If successful, it may engender a new art form, with anime visuals and new scripts."

Anime News Network calls the original anime "the epitome of a bottom-shelf, bargain bin title", and that ADV "turned what was once a painfully uninteresting kids’ series into an absolutely hilarious show for adults that’s hard to stop watching". On the other hand, in a recent Ask John article, the anime guru says that ADV is "turning a drama from a respected Japanese ghost story film franchise into a reportedly lowbrow comedy".

So is it a "painfully uninteresting show" turned "hilarious", or a respected drama turned "lowbrow comedy". I have no idea, not having seen anything of the show before. However, you can get a taste of what to expect from a clip of the edited dub available at Galaxy Anime.

No deal for GTO live action...yet

From AnimeNation:

Media Blasters confirmed having ... encountered difficulties in trying to license distribution rights to live action Japanese television series including GTO.

I loved the GTO live action series so much I was wondering why someone hadn't snatched it up yet. All we have is the live action GTO movie, which is no where near as good as the series. At least now I know someone's trying for it.

On a related note, I heard that -- in addition to the original 12-episode series -- there was a 2-hour special. If anyone knows where I can find a good place to download the special, let me know. Not that anyone reads this stupid blog, but it's worth a try.

ADV goes BitTorrent

From Slashdot:

The New York Times' Charles Solomon reports that 'ADV Films, the largest distributor of anime in the United States is releasing promotional packages via the BitTorrent.' The use of BitTorrent is already extremely popular among anime fans who trade films that are unavailable outside of Japan as well as their own subtitled versions, known as fansubs. The company's first experiment with a Madlax torrent in July was so well-received that ADV is launching the bonus promotional packages for upcoming releases Gilgamesh and Goddanar. The question is will other distributors and studios follow ADV's example or stick to their current distribution models?"

Howl's and Robotech honored with US awards

From AnimeNation:

The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame has announced an event to honor Robotech with an award for its contribution to the genre of Science Fiction. The free, public gala is scheduled for Wednesday, August 31st at 7 p.m.

The Hollywood Film Festival has announced that Howl's Moving Castle will be recognized with its "Hollywood Animation of the Year Award." The award will be presented on October 24th.

Now, if Howl's can only take away that Acadamy Award...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Fullmetal Panic? Fumoffu Review

Anime comedies seldom ever get me to laugh. That's not that I don't enjoy them immensely or even that I don't find them funny in a way. It's just that most of them aren't total laugh-out-loud funny. For instance, Project A-ko is one of my all-time favorites (quite possibly because it was one of the first anime I ever saw), but I hardly ever got much more than a mild chuckle from viewing of the film. Most anime comedies just seem heavy on exaduration which can be funny in a cathartic kind of way, but they are usually light on wit or surprise, which are the two things that -- for me anyway -- tend to elicit the genuine hardy belly laughs.

To be even more precise, up to this point there have been only 2 anime series that I can ever remember having gotten me to laugh consistently: GTO and Excel Saga (subtitled version!). But now, thankfully, I can add a third title to that list: Fullmetal Panic? Fumoffu.

When the original Fullmetal Panic came out, I thought it was pretty good in a split-personality kind of way. If you have ever seen the show, you probably know exactly what I mean. There are basically two faces to the show: the serious sci-fi action part, and the light-hearted high school comedy part. Each aspect was fine enough in their own right; but the constant shift between moods was, more than anything else, just frustrating.

Fumoffu recognizes and rectifies that frustration by concentrating fully on the lighter side of the show. And what you get as a result is an effective laugh-out-loud situation comedy.

The comedy relies almost entirely on the hard-core but naive militaristic attitude of the main character Sousuke Sagara and his constant misinterpretation of high school life in terms of battlefield strategy. You'd think that it would get predictable after a while, but with such perfect comedic timing, I find myself constantly caught off-guard by just how much Sagara's reactions clash with other characters expectations. Whether he is blowing up his locker out of a suspiscion that it may be booby-trapped, or dressing up in a giant teddy-bear costume while packing a high-powered rifle; however over-the-top his antics may be, Sousuke does it all with a strait face and unquestioning attitude.

Suffice to say that I am enjoying this comedy more and more with each episode. (I'm currently watching episodes via Comcast On-Demand so I'm at around episode 6.) And I am happy to finally be able to sit down with an anime and not have to worry about a heady analysis of life from characters with over-abundant teen angst. I can just sit back and enjoy a few good laughs.

Friday, August 19, 2005

J-pop and J-rock on AOL Radio

Forget that XM thing I mentioned before. I haven't been able to figure out when or what channel it is on anyway. For guarenteed J-pop and J-rock strait from your computer speakers, check out the free AOL music radio stations streaming music. Just fire it up and choose "Japanese" under "World/International". (I haven't yet heard anything from The Pillows, despite the FLCL soundtrack cover to the left.)

And just this second I discovered that there's a "Video Game Scores" section under "Soundtracks/Themes". I was just listening to something from Metal Gear. How cool is that?!

Some live action trailers

Just a quick post of a couple of trailers for some interesting live action adaptions. (Not exactly anime adaptions, but interesting nonetheless):

Aeon Flux

V for Vendetta

Plus here's some updates for the next Sin City movie, due out next Summer.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Adam Warren Dirty Pair review

Who says I don't read US comics? "Amerimanga" artist or not, Adam Warren is probably one of my all-time favorite American comic writers/artists, even enough to rival Frank Miller.

I first came across his work when I happened upon a copy of my brother's Gen13 "Bootleg" story titled Grunge: The Movie. The non-stop parody and satire instantly caught my attention and from that moment on I was hooked on his work.

Warren is perhaps best known for his rendition of the anime staple The Dirty Pair. And a little while ago, by chance I happened up on a review of his latest Dirty Pair yarn: Run From the Future. The reviewer's thoughts accurately reflected my own opinion of the work, so just to advertise my own interests I thought I'd post it here.

Oddly enough, though, I haven't seen much of anything out of Warren for quite a few years now short of some translation credits on imported manga. So I did some digging and it looks like he is putting out a new series called Livewires. I'll have to check that one out.

NGE and new FMA on Adult Swim, plus RahXephon on G4

From Anime News Network

Adult Swim has announced that Neon Genesis Evangelion will begin airing Thursdays, starting October 20th, at 12:30 a.m. New episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist will also start airing on Saturday, starting on September 17th at Midnight.


A new programming block, called Barbed Wire Biscuit, will premiere on G4 on on August 29 at midnight EST (9PM PST). RahXephon will air on Barbed Wire Biscuit under what remains of the "Anime Unleashed" label.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Battle Angel movie is a go

Contrary to recent rumors reporting that James Cameron's live action Battle Angel is on hold in favor of a mysterious Project 880, it looks like Battle Angel is currently in the works after all.

In an interview with The Independent, Cameron re-confirms that the Panzer Kunst-weilding bad-ass (but with a sensitive heart) cyborg Alita will in fact hit the big screen in the next couple of years. (He had previously mentioned a 2007 release date.)

Inspired by Japanese graphic novels, he is currently developing Battle Angel, a cyborg thriller set in the 26th century. "It's going to be a mega-budget film shot in 3-D," Cameron enthuses. "It's set in a post-human world in the distant future, and a number of the main characters will be computer-generated. It's a kind of virtual film-making. We're building a whole new motion-capture technology. I'm impatient to get on with using the tools of the future."

He continues: "The main thrust is a love story between a human man and a female cyborg, and the film contains a range of characters from the fully human to the fully machine. I'm embracing the fact that human beings are amazingly adaptable. We've got a lot of flaws, but we're also pretty clever. We've got the tools, but can we use them?"