1-15 APRIL 2002 NEWS

15 April 2002

  • Nifty Animation Online reports that when the French movie "Amelie" is released on video in Japan this (northern) summer, the Japanese dub will feature Hayashibara Megumi in role of Amelie (acted by Audrey Tautou). Hayashibara will also dub the voice of popular Hong Kong singer Sammi Cheng in the Hong Kong movie "Needing You", to be released on video in Japan on 7 June 2002.
  • The Art Collection R.O.D volume 2 CD-ROM will be released on 26 April 2002 by Kusanagi, with first pressing copies coming with an original card. This second hybrid (Windows and Mac) CD-ROM will cover episodes 2 and 3 and will include cel background gallery, design works, 14 wallpapers (including one illustrated by Uon Taraku), three screensavers, 40 screenshots, discussion between Kurata Hideyuki (original concept) and Masunari Kouji (director). Catalogue number KA-R006, price 3,600 yen (excluding tax). The Art Collection Onegai Teacher volume 1 CD-ROM will be released on the same day, with similar contents (less the discussion between creative staff). This CD-ROM will cover episodes 1 and 2 and the OP and ED. Catalogue number KA-Too7, price 3,000 yen (excluding tax). Again, the first pressing will come with an original card.
  • A bit more information on the release of Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi. Nifty Animation Online reports that the DVD will comes with a collection of 22 movie trailers and be released at the end of July 2002.
  • 14 June 2002 sees the video release by Toei of Blue Remains, a full 3D CG sci-fi marine action anime, directed by Takizawa Toshifumi (Densetsu Kyojin Ideon, Dirty Pair) with character designs by Mikimoto Haruhiko (Macross). In the story, a scientific couple return in their spaceship to Earth in 2062 only to find that its surface has been rendered uninhabitable by nuclear explosions and humanity is forced to live in the oceans. The couple entrust their daughter Amamiku with the task of revitalising the Earth. As you can tell, this approximately 75 minute long movie has an environmental theme. No details yet of a DVD release, but you can visit the official site here, where you can download a trailer. The VHS tape will have Dolby Surround sound, with a Vista (ie letterboxed) aspect ratio. Catalogue number VRZF-01068.

14 April 2002

  • Character design for the modelling of the Deunan character in the upcoming Appleseed movie will be by Maeshima Shigeki. See the illustrator's homepage here for samples of his realistic style.
  • Comet-san is being broadcast in Korea on KBS2 TV on Sundays 7:50-8:40am, which incidentally is available on streaming broadcast here. However, note that some of the characters' clothing has been altered for the Korean version, as shown on this page. The pics on the right are of Comet-san in the Korean broadcast (perhaps wearing the traditional Korean dress of chogori and chima), compared to the Japanese DVD release screenshots on the left (where she's wearing the Japanese keikogi and hakama).
  • Chapters one to four the Zoids web comic have been revised to add some sound effects (although they appear to be just a few beeps). The sixth and final instalment of the present story is now available for download, however the page will have new contents at the end of April 2002.

12 April 2002

  • Another anime by an independent group. This time, the group is Odougadokoro Ikkyu-an (5 members) and the work is Hotaru (Firefly), a 3D CG anime of just under two minutes' length. Hotaru was released for the Tokyo Big Sight "CG Carnival 2002" event on 30 and 31 March 2002 and has recently become available for download here in two different file sizes. Characters can be viewed here, and screenshots here. The music is an original work as well. It's short, but it looks good ^_^
  • A bit more information on the storyline of the new anime Akamatsu Ken is working on. The year is 200X. When aliens arrive at Earth, the Earth Defense Force selects three year 2 primary school girls to protect Japan from the mysterious enemy: Onigawara Mao, Tsukishima Misora and Maruyama Silvia.
  • A couple of new books out from Kodansha International: the bilingual edition of the WWII naval manga Zipang, volumes 1 and 2, by Kawaguchi Kaiji (translation by Ralph McCarthy). Price 850 yen (excluding tax). Also available is the Love Hina Eigo Juku (Private English School), aimed at teaching English by reference to scenes from the manga. Includes an interview with Akamatsu Ken. By Akamatsu Ken, Giles Murray and Watanabe Yumiko. Price 820 yen (excluding tax).
  • The May 2002 issue of Animage has a three page article on R.O.D, while the May 2002 issue of Newtype has a two page interview with Shinkai Makoto.
  • A larger pic of the Deunan promotional image for the upcoming Appleseed movie can be viewed here. Just click on the pics for enlarged images. The ascii24.com report also states that the creators of the movie will seek Shirow's collaboration. Further, it is possible that a new storyline will be created for the movie. Interestingly, of the 50,000 units of the Appleseed action figure with DVD sets to be sold worldwide starting June 2002, it is expected that 15,000 will be sold within Japan with the rest being sold abroad. Another image, this time of Briareos, is available in this ZDNet Japan report.
  • Dengeki Online reports that Capcom is releasing "The Anime Super Remix" series of Playstation 2 games, based on various anime. First up for release in June 2002 will be game conversions of Kyojin no Hoshi (a baseball anime) and Ashita no Joe 2 (a boxing anime). The software will contain mini-games and memorable scenes from the anime. Each game will retail for 5,800 yen (excluding tax).
  • Volume 1 of the five episode OVA series Sentou Yousei Yukikaze (Battle Fairy Yukikaze) by GONZO and Bandai Visual will be released on 25 August 2002. This sci-fi anime will employ CG and involve collaboration with the Air Self Defense Force to try to emulate realistic aviation action. Volume 1 will be 45 minutes long, while the remaining four episodes will be 30 minutes each. GONZO's page on the work-in-progress can be viewed here, but the official homepage is scheduled to open in May 2002. A few designs can also be viewed here.
  • Katsu Aki's manga Futari Ecchi is to be made into an OVA. The manga is currently serialised in monthly Young Animal magazine. Katsu's other manga works include Vision of Escaflowne (shonen version) and Psychic Academy (episode 3 of the web anime version of which is now available for streaming download). It is anticipated that the Futari Ecchi OVA will be released this (northern) summer.

11 April 2002

  • This Asahi Shimbun report (in English) states that the Tokyo District Court has issued an injunction against company MMO Japan providing its free MP3 music file swapping service. MMO Japan has said that it will appeal the decision.
  • A reminder that GAiNAX's promotional trailer for Anime Tencho is now available for download here until 10 May 2002.
  • FS Comics (First Smile Comics) (related to First Smile Entertainment, a record company) has opened its website. The first instalment of free web comics is "Yajiten", however please note that this web comic, and indeed the homepage for FS Comics, has adult content.
  • Yomiuri reports that a large 70m x 35m picture of the Space Battleship Yamato has been created using field of 100,000 tulips in Tanto-cho, Hyogo for the 2002 Tanto Tulip Festival. Since 1992, other floral artworks in this field have included images from Tonari no Totoro and Doraemon. This year, with the theme in mind of the 21st century as the environmental century, the creators chose to depict the "Messenger of Peace" Yamato, with its mission to save the Earth from ruin. A small aerial view of the tulip field is included in the linked report.
  • There are love simulation computer games (or whatever you call them) aimed at males, but are there many for females? I don't play computer games, so I don't know. Anyway, 26 July 2002 sees the release of the PC game "Silver Chaos", a `fantasy boys love game' aimed at females, from makers Vivid Color. See this animate.tv report for more details.
  • Sony is re-releasing a number of its anime DVDs at reduced prices. Each item is said to be limited production. Basically, each disc is 2,000 yen (excluding tax) and all of the following are scheduled for release on 10 July 2002:
    GTO DVD Collection (11 discs)
         22,000 yen (excluding tax)
    Arc the Lad DVD Collection (9 discs)
         18,000 yen (excluding tax)
    Hakaima Sadamitsu DVD Collection (5 discs)
         10,000 yen (excluding tax)
    Kodomo no Omocha ~Shogakusei Hen~ DVD Collection (12 discs)
         24,000 yen (excluding tax)
    Fuma no Kojiro DVD Collection (5 discs)
         10,000 yen (excluding tax)
    Vampire Hunter D popular edition (the 1985 anime)
         2,000 yen (excluding tax)
    Shin Megami Tensei Tokyo Mokushiroku popular edition
         2,000 yen (excluding tax)
    Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou popular edition
         2,000 yen (excluding tax)
    Tekken popular edition
         2,000 yen (excluding tax)
    Plastic Little popular edition
         2,000 yen (excluding tax)
    Seirei Tsukai popular edition
         2,000 yen (excluding tax)
    Street Fighter II movie popular edition
         2,000 yen (excluding tax)
  • Another report of the upcoming Appleseed CG anime. This time from Famitsu.com and with a screenshot, presumably of Deunan. The Famitsu report states that the DVD previews with figures earlier reported will be limited to a production run of 50,000 sets worldwide. It appears the voice actor for Deunan will be the lady pictured (not Japanese), but I can't work out her name ^_^;;

10 April 2002

  • Volume 3 of Iwahara Yuji's manga Chikyu Misaki (serialised in monthly Ace Next magazine is due out on 1 June 2002. Iwahara's homepage is here, where you can get an idea of his artistic style from the pics.

9 April 2002

  • Well, Sponichi is now reporting that work on an Appleseed movie is to commence soon, with theatrical release planned in Japan, USA and Europe in the next (northern) spring. This movie will employ a new "Trinity Engine" method of 3D CG animation. As a pre-cursor to the movie, 3 DVDs with figures will be released on 25 June 2002 by Pioneer. For details of those DVD/figure releases, see my 29 March 2002 news.
  • New label Garinpeiro has two anime in the works, 6 Angels (to be released 6 July 2002) and Xevious (to be released 3 August 2002). 6 Angels is about an all-female private security company and is set in a 2026 world where the death penalty has been abolished and a growing number of criminals need to be imprisoned. A web anime version has been distributed (via a fee paying service) since 2001. Xevious is based on the computer game of the same name. Trailers at the linked pages are not yet available.
  • For Gundam fans, 2 August 2002 sees the release of the Gundam Fix Box. Only a limited edition of 6,000 boxes will be produced by Impress. This Katoki Hajime work will include two artbooks, an explanatory book of image data, figure and DVD-ROM. Price 19,000 yen (excluding tax). The first artbook "Pression" is a collection of works (published in Newtype) prior to Gundam Fix. The second artbook "Popular Edition" is a special box set edition of the Gundam Fix popular edition previously released by Kadokawa Shoten. The explanatory book "Transition ++" is a new version of the book (Transition +) previously sold only at Katoki Hajime art exhibitions, but this time with explanations of new artworks added. The Gundam Fix Figuration #004 G Armour clear version figures are special clear versions of Bandai figures. The DVD-ROM contains artwork data. Also included are postcards of works from Pression. For more details and images, see here.
  • It appears that a manga version of Tenchi Muyo! GXP is set to commence serialisation in the June 2002 issue of monthy Comic Dragon (published on 9 May 2002).
  • Second hand store Jungle SCS are set to release their own items. First up are the "Junko Collection CD-ROM Photo Collection volume 1" (price 1,800 yen excluding tax) and a "Junko Collection Making Video" (VHS, price 1,500 yen excluding tax). The CD-ROM will include 170 cosplay photos of 'image girl' "Junko" (presumably Kanagawa Akiko), Junko's Jungle commercial collection, 15 minute photo shoot making animation and `commercial making' images. The Making Video will relate to the making of the CD-ROM cosplay photos and will include Jungle commercials. For more information, see the 8 April 2002 entry on the Jungle indies movies BBS here. Junko also has a new webpage here.
  • The upcoming episode of Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kouen Mae Hashutsujo on Sunday 14 April 2002 will feature the five member boy band Arashi as guests.
  • Yahoo reports that yesterday, Judge Kurasawa of the Tokyo District Court ordered a subcontracting paper processing company to pay over 13,420,000 yen damages to a Tokyo printing company for selling Cardass Masters Neon Genesis Evangelion trading cards through illegal channels. The printing company had been seeking over 26,850,000 yen in compensation. Bandai sold the trading cards in 1996-7. Most of the cards were common and packs of ten sold for 300 yen, but certain special cards were trading among fans at between 20,000-50,000 yen each. Instead of returning any surplus special cards, the paper processing company delivered them to a broker, who circulated them on the market. The printing company, with its contract to Bandai, ended up buying up the surplus cards at a cost of 26,850,000 yen to maintain the scarcity of the special cards. The judge ordered the paper processing company to pay compensation although there was no proof that it had acted intentionally to circulate the cards. A fuller report is available here.
  • I hate FrontPage Express continually crashing on me >_< Hopefully StarOffice will do a better job.

8 April 2002

  • The anime Maou Dante (Dante the Devil) (presumably based on the manga of the same name by Nagai Go) is to broadcast in July 2002 on AT-X while Princess Tutu (an anime with a ballet setting) is to air in August 2002 on Kids Station.
  • More information on the upcoming Hayashibara Megumi CD to be released on 26 June 2002. The first pressing will cost 3,980 yen but will come with a DVD of the commemorative event for the 500th episode of Tokyo Boogie Night (one of Hayashibara's weekly radio shows). The regular edition of the CD will cost 3,000 yen.
  • The website otome X magazine (which focuses on anime, manga and game "heroine characters") has finally updated with details of the second issue, to be published on 10 May 2002. Features will include Chobits, Pitaten, Ai Yori Aoshi, Onegai Teacher and R.O.D.

7 April 2002

  • A new BonoBono movie will be released this (northern) summer, this time as a full CG anime. Titled BonoBono ~ The Tree of Kumomo~, the story and script of this movie will be by Igarashi Mikio, author of the long running manga series. When he sits under the Tree of Kumomo on the highest hill of the forest, the beaver BonoBono can forget his sadness or pain. One day he meets a young ferret Popo there. Then a branch of the Tree is broken and the forest animals suspect that Popo is the culprit. That's when a new power of the Tree of Kumomo is revealed. For more information on this family anime, see here, although the official site for the movie will open in late April 2002.

5 April 2002

  • No news yesterday because I was sleeping ^_^;;
  • The first piece of news is that Impress Corporation reports that Buena Vista has annnounced that Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi will be released on DVD in the (northern) summer. Also available will be a special Ghibli DVD player. Details:
    Vista size (ie letterboxed) squeeze (ie anamorphic)
    Dolby digital stereo soundtracks: Japanese, French, Chinese
    DTS ES soundtrack: Japanese
    Subtitles: Japanese, French, Chinese, English
    Regular edition-
    2 discs, picture discs, includes storyboards for the entire film and film trailers, packaged in an Amaray double box
    Pre-orders will also receive the "Haku's rice ball" figure noted below
    Catalogue number VWDZ-8036
    Price 4,700 yen
    Limited edition collector's edition- (10,000 units):
    Price 15,000 yen
    Comes with set of 3 movie posters, oil store diorama, Berlin Film Festival press booklet and "Haku's rice ball" figure
    Limited edition DVD player bundle edition-
    Comes with Ghibli DVD player (Chihiro edition)
    Price 19,800 yen
    For a picture of the DVD player, see here. The acorn on the top is the remote control. In October 2001, Buena Vista released a Disney DVD player bundled with the Snow White DVD. Functions on the Ghibli DVD player will be similar to those on the Disney one. For a picture of the rice ball figurine, see here (the rice ball is being held by promotion manager Itoi Shigesato).
  • Bandai's website has updated with trailers for various anime, including the new You're Under Arrest special and Patlabor WXIII (& Mini-Pato).
  • Kon Satoshi has announced on his BBS that his new work in production is Tokyo Godfathers (not a mafia movie). The movie centres on three homeless people - two middle-aged men (one gay) and a 16 year old girl. Storyboards are 90% finished and the movie is expected to be completed within a year. Details:
    Original concept, director - Kon Satoshi
    Script - Kon Satoshi and Nobumoto Keiko
    Character design - Kon Satoshi & Konishi Kenichi
    Produced by Madhouse and GENCO
  • Trailer number 2 is now up for Tenchi Muyo! GXP, which commenced broadcast a few days ago.
  • Sony's TV anime series King of Bandit Jing is to commence broadcast on 15 May 2002.
  • More details have emerged on the Slayers Premium DVD release. The newly opened Starchild webpage on the movie. The DVD will include a scene(s) not in the threatrical release. Details:
    Limited edition version:
    Catalogue number KIBA-9784
    33 minutes
    Comes with drama CD, special booklet containing a previously unpublished instalment of the Slayers Premium comic (serialised in Dragon Junior) and clear case
    To be released 3 July 2002
    Price 5,500 yen (excluding tax)
    A regular edition will be released on the same day, catalogue number KIBA-784, price 3,800 yen (excluding tax).
  • TV Tokyo's website for the series Bakutou Sengen Daigunder (commencing broadcast today) is now open, with a trailer available for download.
  • The website for the anime movie Guilstein with 3D CG (to commence screening in June 2002) is now open. A trailer can be viewed by clicking on the green button. The narrow band version is 2.37Mb in size.
  • I watched Mahou no Chocolate today, the 8 minute anime by independent studio Ishikawa Pro and was impressed by the quality of this non-professional work: direction, music, animation, use of CG. The sweet storyline is nothing out of the ordinary, but it has its moments. For more details on the anime, see my 17 March 2002 news report. The remaining 4 minutes on the VHS tape includes an omake item with Mami-chan as well as trailers for previous works by Ishikawa Pro. At only 500 yen, why not give it a try when next you make a purchase at Jungle SCS?
  • In this Infoseek news article, Matsumoto Leiji played down fears that the recent District Court judgment would jeopardise production of the new Space Battleship Yamato series, saying that Nishizaki had previously already sold certain copyrights and that Matsumoto had now been able to secure those rights.
  • The promo movie for Anime Tencho (Captain Anime) - produced by GAiNAX - was previously only to be aired at Animate stores. However, it has been announced by Animate.TV that it will have the promo movie available for streaming download for a limited time, between 11 April 2002 and 10 May 2002.

3 April 2002

  • The Tokyo Mew Mew website had its official opening today. But the individual sections are still being added.

2 April 2002

  • Questions are being raised about the future of the sequel to Space Battleship Yamato and the company Venturesoft after Matsumoto Leiji's courtroom loss to Nishizaki Hirofumi over the authorship rights to the original anime work. Venturesoft was incorporated in 1999 and has since raised four thousand million yen. This Excite news article suggests that Matsumoto would now face obstacles in creating the new series.
  • The Asahi Shimbun has compiled a report on Professor Yokoyama Yasuyuki of Toyama University and his research into Doraemon. The English language report can be read here.
  • It seems from the 1 April 2002 diary entry of Akamatsu Ken (manga author of Love Hina) that the next anime series he'll work on is Rikujyou Bouei Tai Mao-chan (Ground Defense Force Mao-chan), in which he will prepare the original concept and characters. The story will be unrelated to Love Hina and will be a King Records and XEBEC production. It has not yet been decided whether it'll be an OVA series or a cable broadcast TV anime. Other staff involved will include Kuroda Yosuke (Tenchi Muyo, Trigun) as scriptwriter (who has already drafted two episodes), Yanagisawa Masahide (Love Hina Again opening) as art director and Iwasaki Yoshiaki (Love Hina) as director. Seiyuu have yet to be cast.
  • Toei Animation's Web Theatre started distribution of episode one of its Kinnikuman anime yesterday. The five minute episode will up for download for one week, with the next instalment due on 8 April 2002.
  • The SaiKano (Saishu Heiki Kanojo - She, the Ultimate Weapon) website has been updated with the broadcast date for episode one: 2 July 2002 for CS broadcasting, 3 July 2002 for terrestial broadcasting. Some trailers are also now available for download.
  • A trailer for episode one of the Tokyo Mew Mew TV series to air this month can now be viewed at the official TV Aichi site here.
  • TV Tokyo has a couple of websites up for two of its new anime series this month:
    Forza! Hidemaru
    Wagamama Fairy Mirumo de Pon!

1 April 2002

  • It seems that on Hayashibara Megumi's weekly radio show "Tokyo Boogie Night" it was announced that her new album will be released on 26 June 2002, with the first pressing to come with a DVD.
  • Akitaroh Daichi has announced on his website that the manga version of Jubei-chan: Secret of the Lovely Eyepatch will continue. Jubei-chan 2 is anticipated to start in May 2002. The original manga series was published by Sony Magazines, with story by Akitaroh (director of the anime version and many other series) and art by Mucchiri Muunii. However, Akitaroh pointed out that there is no talk of a second anime series at present.
  • To commemorate the release of her first album "Primary" on 21 March 2002, Kawasumi Ayako's internet live broadcast "Primary Web" program is available for streaming download again, until 7 April 2002. Kawasumi's roles as a seiyuu include Melfina in "Outlaw Star". The 48 minute program (in two parts) contains mainly discussion between Kawasumi and Iwasaki Taku (composer of the soundtracks for R.O.D and Rurouni Kenshin Tsuioku Hen). Kawasumi does however play at least three songs on the piano during the program, two with accompaniment at the beginning of each part, and a short solo at the end of the second part. Iwasaki was the producer on Kawasumi's album, while all the songs were composed by Kawasumi herself. Samples of the album can also be heard at the Victor Entertainment website for Kawasumi.


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