The 2nd Dimension

Sunday, April 24, 2005

DelRey sells Millionth Manga

Proving once again that Japanese comics are taking over the minds of American youths, Del Rey Books annouced that it has sold over 1 million copies of manga.

According to i-Newswire:

Del Rey Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, announced today that it has surpassed a million copies of its manga in print in less than a year since the line’s debut. The March 28th release of Ken Akamatsu’s Negima, Volume 5 (#1 on the Bookscan graphic novel list for the week ending April 3) sent Del Rey over the million-copy mark.

Amusing Article on Otaku

The Japan Times has a somewhat-stupid-but-amusing-nonetheless article about the life of an otaku and the ones who love them. It focuses on a girl named Yoshika who is a mild otaku compared to her husband. The conclusion?

Yoshika says her decision to marry had much to do with the fact that in modern Japan, it's hard to find a man who's NOT an otaku in one way or another. "Otakuga iyada nante yuttara kekkon dekinai shi, otaku wa uwaki shinai kara ne (if one refused to marry an otaku, one can't get married and besides, otaku will never have affairs with other women)."

No Progress on Live Action Evangelion

Weta Workshop has updated its official site to label the live action Neon Genesis Evangelion project as "on hold". According to the site:

Weta has been designing a live-action adaptation of Neon Genesis: Evangelion. The film is on hold but it is Weta’s hope that it will enjoy getting to work on the film production of this amazing story in the near future.

As there have not been any significant Eva updates since the project was announced two years ago, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone. But as a very minor consolation, the site has also been updated with the design sketches from the movie -- most of which you have probably already seen, although I think there may be a few new ones scattered in there.


New Howl's US Trailer and Ad Poster, Etc.

Disney has opened up the official Howl's Moving Castle website complete with an all new US trailer. You can also see the new promotional poster at Dark Horizons. Finally, the original Japanese trailers are still available at Online Ghibli.

In related news, Hayao Miyazaki has make the Time magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the area of Arts and Entertainment. The list includes names such as Michael Moore, Johnny Depp, Quentin Tarantino, and Clint Eastwood.

And in even more Ghibli news, Anime News Network has info on the next Studio Ghibli film.

According to Nanjing Morning Post, Studio Ghibli has decided that its next feature movie project will be an adaptation of chinese children's novel, "Wo Diu Shile wo de Xiao Nan Hai (I Lost my Little Boy)."
Despite being only 5000 words long, the recently published novel topped several Chinese best sellers lists when it was released. Writen by a Chinese author by the name of Yishu, I Lost my Little Boy tells the story of Mimi, a young boy suffering from heart disease.
According to the Nanjing Morning Post the movie will be released in 2006, however Studio Ghibli has yet to announce the project. The Nanjing Morning Post makes no mention of who will direct the movie.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Elmo Sheds a Tear

Although not an anime-related news item per se, I still think that this is pretty funny.

According the the Associated Press, the Sesame Street character Elmo is presented a bit differently in Japan.

"We're going for a deeper kind of character with a wider range of emotions," said Yasuo Kameyama, one of the local producers who works on the show with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind "Sesame Street."
Japan's Elmo cries more easily than the U.S. version. The American Elmo wept only once during the entire "Sesame Street" history, when a goldfish died, but Elmo has already had one bout of tears in the Japanese production -- when a friend left without saying goodbye -- and more are planned.

The US version of Elmo that we all know and -- whatever -- was traditionally used as an aid for pre-school learning such as teaching the alphabet and the ability to count.

But since the reading rate for children in Japan is 100 percent, they don't really have the need to have their reading lessons assaulted by the fuzzy red terror. So he is meant to teach a different kind of lesson.

The social and emotional development of children is also a key part of the U.S. show, but the version in Japan is more about problem-solving and growing up. Much of the half-hour show is spent on a relatively complex story.
In one, Elmo stumbles during a track race and struggles with feelings of defeat but gets up to make it to the finish line. In another, he dreams about becoming a baseball player, a superhero and a dancer but in the end decides his true love is dance.

An overly emotional Elmo who loves to dance? Hmm...

FCLC Soundtrack 3

AnimeNation also says:

Although the first two FLCL soundtrack CDs were released in October 2000 and July 2001 respectively, Gainax has announced that a third FLCL soundtrack CD will be released in Japan on June 8, 2005.

The first two soundtracks (which kick all kinds of ass) have already been released in the US through Geneon. You can pick up CD 1 and CD 2 through

It looks like the third soundtrack is also available through as an import CD. I'm all over that one.

Johnny Woo and Appleseed 2

Let the doves fly! According to AnimeNation:

Japan's Mainichi News has reported that Chinese director John Woo will produce the second Appleseed motion picture directed by Shinji Aramaki, who directed the first film. The 3D CG animation movie will be released in Japan in 2006 to coincide with a 26 episode Appleseed television series.

GTO Live Action TV Series review

So I've been working my way through the GTO Live action series. I've downloaded everything except the movie, which is just as well since the movie is going to be released in the US on July 26 anyway.

I've only actually watched the first 4 episodes (if you expect me to do an episode-by-episode review, keep dreaming) and so far I have to say that I am really impressed with how it is turning out. It's kept enough of the storylines to keep it familiar, and what they did change in terms of plot and characterizations was necessary in order to have a successful transfer over to live action.

Fuyutsuki is a good example of how a character's personality might have changed. In the the anime she was basically just a naive teacher who acted as Onizuka's love interest. But in this series she is still the love interest, but she isn't so much naive as much as repressed. It's like she acts nice and mature around everyone, but in reality she gets a kick out of playing video games and she secretly wants to tell off all the other teachers whenever they start bossing her around.

Speaking of characters, I have to say hats off to Takashi Sorimachi , who plays Onizuka. He does a good job of pulling off that brand of cool and honest personality that makes him likable despite the fact that he kind of a pervert.

Watching this series really helps you to realize the differences between Japanese and US shows in terms of what they can get away with. For instance, there is a scene where the Head Teacher gets so frustrated with his wife and daughter that he imagines that he tells them both to shut the hell up just before giving them a full-palm fact slap. My wife just happened to be in the room for that one and gave a loud gasp after that scene. And then there are all the parts where Onizuka is giving letcherous glances at the grade school girls and other scenes where he is watching porn uncensored. I can only imagine what kind of letters the PTA would be sending US stations if they aired that stuff.

Review: I definitely am enjoying this show and I can see why it was one of the most popular shows aired in Japan. It is not exactly the most believable show in the world because there is no way in hell that any teacher can get away with the kind of stuff that Onizuka gets away with, but it doesn't matter because that's not what makes this show great. The show's truth comes from showing Onizuka do and say the things that everyone in the real world only wishes they could.

The show is probably a lot more relevant for Japanese students since their curiculum and school life is more stressful and demanding than what is is here, but I think US viewers who can get over the "yeah right like that would ever happen" initial relaction can find a lot to relate to here.