JANUARY 2004 NEWS
31 January 2004 (fifth update)
- I thought I'd written about this before, but I
can't find where. Anyway, a new (fourth)
series of Galaxy
Angel is to be produced.
Source: Animage magazine.
- Work is underway on a sequel to the TV
anime Sora no Stellvia. Source: Animage
magazine. Half the time I write Sora no Stellvia.
Half the time I write Uchuu no Stellvia. Sorry
about the inconsistency...
- The Deluxe version of DVD volume 1 of Ginga
Tetsudo Monogatari (The Galaxy Railways)
came with a box to hold five volumes (there will
be 13 volumes in the series). First
pressing of volumes 6 and 10 will also come with
boxes. Source: Animage magazine.
reports that a second season of the TV
is to be produced. Source: Magicalantique.com.
Planning has confirmed that the Initial
D Fourth Stage TV anime will commence
broadcast on one of Sky Perfect's pay per view
channels in April 2004. Source: Magicalantique.com.
For the past month, Sky Perfect has been
broadcasting a "making of" TV special
which also feature a digest of the first three
stages as well as info on the new location. That
special will be available on DVD for rental
starting 9 April 2004.
Games reports that the TV anime based
on the game Ragnorak Online will be
broadcast in the (northern) spring of 2004. The
anime will be produced by a Japanese-South Korean
consortium. Source: Magicalantique.com.
- I've heard about the t.A.T.u anime
in the making. Somewhat surprising given the low
to their shows in Japan...
Pro reports that the company tmsuk
has developed a "mobile suit".
Well, sort of. But it's a 3.45 metre tall, 5
tonne rescue robot, the T-52 enryu, which
as arms and seats a controller within a little
cockpit. Armspan (with both arms stretched out)
is 10 metres. Seven cameras are mounted on the
robot to assist te controller's vision. Still in
development stages, the company plans to market
the robot for use in emergencies such as fires.
Name. See the IT Pro report above for pics (click
on the pics for enlargements). Or try this page
for movies. So we may soon see Labors in Japan,
lifting debris etc... ^_^;;
- Shoujo TV anime Futari
wa Pretty Cure will commence
broadcast on TV Asahi tomorrow, 1 February 2004.
- GAiNAX's TV anime Kono
Miniku mo Utsukushii Sekai (This Ugly and
Beautiful World) will commence
broadcast in April 2004. Its other anime Boukyaku
no Senritsu (Melody of Oblivion) is also set for
broadcast in the (northern) spring.
- For Kill Bill Volume 1 fans, a Go
Go Yubari figure. Source: Tentative
- The manga Tokyo Mew Mew A La Mode
by Ikumi Mia and the manga Ashita no
Nadja by Ayumi Yui both finished in this
month's issue of Nakayoshi
(the February 2004 issue). Source: Tentative
Name. But the March 2004 issue (out on 3
February 2004) will contain a 40 page manga by
Ikumi: "Girls Fight".
- Yeah, I know - much/most of the stuff I'm typing
up is old news. But too bad, I'm doing this
partly my own sake...
- The anime TV series Chou Henshin Kosu-pureiya
(The Cosmopolitan Prayers) is being distributed
free over the internet by makers m.o.e. Source: Tentative
Name. Format is streaming 500K for Windows
Media Player. They're already up to episode 3,
which will be available until 2 February 2004. To
view the episode, go to this
page, and click on the first yellow button
from the top. This will bring up a questionnaire
(two questions) which you have to answer before
you can view the episode. Select your ansers and
click on the gray button. The licence to view the
episode will be transmitted to you. Then press
play on your Windows Media Player. Other things
you can download from the same page are (from top
to bottom) next episode previews, OP and ED. The
next two of m.o.e's short anime TV series Hit
wo Nerae! (Aim for the Hit!) and Love
Love? will also be distributed over the
internet in a similar fashion later on in the
first half of the year.
- On 26 January 2004, I wrote about the DVD release
of Chou Henshin Kosu-pureiya (The
Cosmopolitan Prayers). The m.o.e website
has more details on the DVD release. Eight
episodes will be broadcast on TV (and over the
internet) but it looks like the DVD release will
have a total of 12 episodes. Each DVD will
contain two TV episodes and a new episode which
is linked to those two episodes. Since the new
episodes are not produced for TV or internet
distribution, they're not bound by the same
restrictions as to content (meaning they'll
contain "special service" recommended
for ages 15 and up). In addition, each DVD will
be double layer, and contain two versions - one
with linear PCM sound if you prefer best sound
quality and one with Dolby Digital sound if you
prefer better picture quality. As with some other
DVD releases (eg AIKa, Honoo no Labyrinth), the
jacket will have a sheet (or two) so that you can
change the clothing of the character on the front.
There'll also be a standard jacket included as
well. Finally, each DVD will come with reversible
card and will be picture labelled.
- The manga Hagane no Renkinjutsushi (Full
Metal Alchemist) by Arakawa Hiromu (serialised
in Monthly Shonen Gangan magazine) has
won the 49th Shogakukan Manga Award in the
category of (best) shonen manga. Source:
- Egawa Tatsuya's manga Tokyo Daigaku
Monogatari (Tokyo University Story) will be
animated as an OVA. Produced by HMP and
Sega, volume 1 will go on sale on 24 February
2004, with volume 2 out in March 2004. Each
volume will cost 2,800 yen (ecluding tax) and
have a duration of 30 minutes. It'll feature the
voice talents of three photo idols, just as did
HMP's other anime From I''s, so that you can
select between voice actresses or idols. As with
From I''s, the Tokyo Daigaku Monogatari DVDs will
be sold at convenience stores. Source: goo
anime and Watch
Impress. Given the price, voice acting by
idols and poor quality of From I''s, I won't be
expecting much from this anime...
- And if you recall, the From I''s OVAs were only
available from certain convenience stores and
distributor DigiCube. Well, as Animaxis
reported in English, DigiCube
declared bankruptcy at the end of
last year. DigiCube was also the distributor of
DVDs for those Sakura Taisen live action
- Animaxis also has an English
language report that the Otomo Katsuhiro's movie
Steam Boy will be released theatrically
in July 2004.
- Looks like theatrical release of Studio
Ghibli's movie Hauru no Ogoku Shiro (Howl's
Moving Castle) will be put back from
July 2004 to November 2004 due to production
delays. Source: goo
- Seiyuu Hayashibara Megumi is pregnant.
She's about five months into the pregnancy and
the baby is due in late June, early July 2004.
- Computer crashed - if I lost some news, too bad.
- The "heartful love comedy"
manga Midori no Hibi by Inoue Kazurou,
serialised in Shogakukan's manga magazine Weekly Shonen Sunday,
is to be animated as a TV series.
It'll commence broadcast in April 2004. The official
website is now up. Seiji is a tough high
school student, but he can't seem to pick up
girls - until his right hand is transformed into
a pint-sized one. Animation by Studio Perriot and
- "X-1", the first volume of the
Stratos 4 OVA series will be released on
28 May 2004. There'll be a first pressing
limited edition version which comes with a 12cm
model of the TSR.2MS jet (some assembley
required), price 7,350 yen (including tax).
Regular edition will cost 6,300 yen (including
tax). DVD itself will be 30 minutes, Dolby
Digital sound, single layer, standard aspect
ratio. The concluding volume X-2 will be released
in August 2004. Source: Bandai's Digital
Beat and official Stratos 4
- Too tired last night and the night before. Maybe
I need the Dream
- The "Innocence no Joukei"
DVD to be released on 19 March 2004 (price 2,800
yen, catalogue number VWDS-9101) is related to
the upcoming Oshii Mamoru movie. 6 music clips
showing the world (not the characters) in which
the movie is set. Music by Kawai Kenji, and
featuring jazz vocalist Itou Kimiko. Planning by
Oshii. The duration of the DVD is 35 minutes. The
Innocence movie itself is to be released
theatrically on 6 March 2004. Source: Neowing
- Volume 1 of the new Area 88 TV anime
will be released on DVD on 28 April 2004. CD
Japan has the details here.
- Friend watched Animation Runner Kuromi 2 (out
three days ago) and loved it. Waah, when's my
copy going to ship...?
- Volume 1 of Katsu Aki's manga Futari
Ecchi for Ladies was released in mid-December
2003, price 505 yen. Source: bk1 Comics Express.
- And volume 1 of Watsuki Nobuhiro's latest
manga Busou Renkin (Weapons Alchemy) was
published in early January 2004, price 390 yen.
- A Kino
no Tabi Desktop Accessory
Collection CD-ROM is to be released at
the end of February 2004 for Japanese Windows 98/2000/Me/XP
computers. Price 3,700 yen (including tax).
Contains wallpapers, screensaver, icons,
calculator, clock etc as well as illustrations by
Kuroboshi Kouhaku for the original novel series,
design works for the anime series and "print
out data" so you can print out your own Kino
no Tabi stationery (greeting cards, letter paper,
envelopes). The CD-ROM also comes with special
memo pad. See Chara-Ani's
page for more details on the CD-ROM (in
Japanese) and illustrations.
- I notice there was an R.O.D
theme at the Cure Maid
Cafe in Akihabara for the ten days
from 20 to 30 December 2003. There, you could try
the "Happy Milk" that Anita-chan drinks
(600 yen per serve).
- Finally caught up with my emails from the past
couple of months (sort of...)
28 January 2004
- Maybe more later. Got other stuff to do at
- I decided to check out how many episode
titles for R.O.D
- The TV - could be
references to artistic works. What I
found were (mainly books):
Episode 6 Write Stuff (a pun on The Right Stuff -
the book by Tom Wolfe)
Episode 7 Yabu no Naka (In the Woods - the novel
by Akutagawa Ryuunosuke, adapted into a movie)
Episode 9 Yami no Oku (Heart of Darkness - the
novel by Joseph Conrad)
Episode 10 Christmas Carol (the novel by Charles
Episode 11 Sayonara Nippon (Goodbye Japan - the
manga by Otomo Katsuhiro)
Episode 16 Kashi 451-do (Fahrenheit 451 - the
novel by Ray Bradbury)
Episode 17 Sweet Home (the 1989 movie produced by
Itami Juzo, who also acted in the movie)
Episode 18 Kokuhaku (Confession - the 1969 movie)
I'm not saying that Kurata Hideyuki was
necessarily referring to the works which I've
written up there - they're just possibilities
that I'm throwing up. Some of the references are
clearly intended, others are less clear. For
example, a simple title like "Confession",
even if it was even intended as an allusion,
could be a reference to any number of artistic
works... In addition, episodes 19 and 20 (to be
broadcast on 1 February 2004), will be titled
"Kanashimiyo Konnichiwa" (Hello Sadness)
and "Kazoku Game" (Family Game). "Kanashimiyo
Konnichiwa" is the title of the OP for
Maison Ikkoku, but also the title of the manga by
Itou Yuu. "Kazoku Game" is the name of
a movie which also featured Itami Juzo.
27 January 2004 (second update)
- I think this'll be all for today...
- The anime version of Pugyuru (based
on the manga
by Konno Tohiro, serialised in Kodansha's monthly
manga magazine Magazine
Z) will commence broadcast in April 2004 on
Kids Station. Official website is supposed to be here, but it
doesn't seem to be working.
- Media Works will release an Onegai Twins
Poster Book on 31 March 2004, price 2,000
yen (excluding tax). 20 A2 size posters and a
school calendar in a box. This will be a limited
edition item. Source: Mangaoh Club.
Mangaoh states that there'll be 20 sheets, but
Media Works' webpage
for the poster book states that there'll be 24
illustrations, of which four are new. BTW, the
illustration you'll see on the webpage is the one
that'll be used for the box.
- Volume 1 of Watanabe Yoshitomo's manga
Sono Mukou no Mukou Gawa will be
released on 10 April 2004 by Mag Garden. There'll
be a limited edition version
which comes with mini (seven sheet) art
collection, price 886 yen. Source: Mangaoh Club.
- Sorry, I'm still catching up with things, so I'm
not going to put in as many links as I'd like to
- New monthly shonen manga magazine Comic
Rush went on sale yesterday.
Published by Jive,
price 562 yen. B5 size, on sale on the 26th of
each month. Source: Mangaoh Club.
It's manga lineup can be found here
- To add to what I wrote yesterday about the Chrno
Crusade DVD release, looks like the first
pressing limited edition of each volume will come
with a die-cast model of a gun used by a
character in the series, with the gun being
housed in a hard case. 12 volumes in total.
- The final DVD volume 7 of Onegai Twins
will be released on 23 April 2004 and will
include new episode 13. Regular edition,
catalogue number BCBA-1507, price 3,500 yen. The first
pressing limited edition Memories
Special release will come with Onegai Twins Sound
Collection 2 CD and a CD holder for the Sound
Collection CDs. Catalogue number BCBA-1701, price
5,500 yen. Source: Mangaoh Club.
- The Galaxy Angel S DVD will be
released on 23 April 2004, containing the Galaxy
Angel Special broadcast at the end of last year.
There'll be a Limited Special edition
which comes with special DVD (approximately
30 minutes in duration, containing sound drama
and other items) and 70 page GA Official booklet.
Catalogue number BCBA-1880, price 5,800 yen.
Regular edition catalogue number BCBA-1879, price
3,800 yen. Source: Mangaoh Club.
- Volume 3 of Iwahara Yuji's shonen manga
Ibara no Ou (King of Thorn) will be
published on 25 February 2004, price 620 yen.
- Volume 1 of Hayashi Fumino's shoujo manga
Shin Seiki Evangelion Koutetsu no Girlfriend 2nd
(Neon Genesis Evangelion Girlfriend of Steel 2nd)
will be published by Kadokawa Shoten on 17
February 2004, price 400 yen. Source: Mangaoh Club.
- Volume 1 of Nagasawa Tomo's shoujo manga
based on the novel series Maria-sama ga Miteru
will be released on 25 February 2004, price 390
yen. The manga is serialised in Margaret magazine.
- Volume 7 of Nakahara Aya's shoujo manga LoveCom
(Lovely Complex) will be published
by Shueisha on 25 February 2004, price 390 yen.
There'll be a special limited edition
with CD, price 476 yen. Source: Mangaoh Club.
Sorry, I don't know what's on the CD ^_^;; For
only 86 yen it can't be much - perhaps a real
short drama...? Shueisha has a second website for
the manga here.
- Volume 7 of Miyasaka
Kaho's shoujo manga "'Kare'
first love" will be released on 26
February 2004, price 390 yen. There'll be a special
edition with DVD available for 905 yen.
Club. The DVD will contain a digital comic.
The manga is serialised in Sho-Comi semi-monthly
- Volume 4 of Aoki Kotomi's shoujo manga
"Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru"
(I Love My Younger Sister) will be released on 26
February 2004, price 390 yen. There'll be a special
edition of this tankoubon with DVD as
well, price 905 yen. Source: Mangaoh Club.
Don't know what'll be on this DVD, though. This
manga is also serialised in Sho-Comi.
- Speaking of loving younger sisters, I note that the
manga Koikaze by Yoshida Motoi is to be animated.
Koushirou works for a marriage agency and broke
up with his girlfriend some time ago. His parents
divorced when he was young - he went to live with
his dad and his sister Nanoka (then two years old)
stayed with their mum. When Nanoka, now a high
school girl, comes to live with the two men, the
two siblings start to have feelings for each
other. Yeah, standard soap opera type storyline,
but I still love Yoshida's artwork ^_^ It's a
surprise to hear that this is being animated, but
I just hope they can capture Yoshida's scratchy
but warm artistic style in the animation. In the
meantime, hopefully volume 4 of the manga will be
26 January 2004 (sixth update)
- That's all for today. Need to get other stuff
- The OP "X O X O X O (Kiss Kiss Kiss)"
and the ED "Sora" to the TV anime
Misaki Chronicle ~ Divergence Eve were
released as a CD single on 21 January 2004.
There's a first pressing limited edition
which comes with DVD with music video,
price 1,800 yen. Otherwise the regular edition is
1,000 yen. Source: Musicmarket.
- Updated the info on Chojushin Gravion Zwei and
Misaki Chronicle ~ Divergence Eve.
manga Card Captor Sakura is due to be re-released,
with volume 1 out on 5 March 2004, price 1,000
yen. Could be some re-touching of the manga. I
don't know how many volumes this re-release will
comprise. (Update 1 February 2004 - whether
there's re-touching or not is just a guess on my
part. The increase price could be explained by
other things, such as more pages per volume, less
- Volumes 1 and 2 of Fujisawa Touru's manga
Tokko will be published on 6 February
2004, price 540 yen each. Further, there'll be a deluxe
edition of each volume, price 1,050 yen.
- Buena Vista will release a DVD titled "Innocence
no Joukei" on 19 March 2004, price
2,800 yen. Source: dvd
catalog. I wonder if it's about the upcoming
- Volume 5 of the manga Air Gear
by Oh! great will be published by Kodansha on 17
March 2004, price 410 yen.
- Looks like the manga Orefeti by Kuwahara
Hihihi, serialised in monthly manga
Age, is to be animated. The
magazine itself is unclear, referring to rumours
that the anime will be produced by GAiNAX and
the game company Atlus. Looks
to me like another opportunity for GAiNAX to work
on comic ecchiness.
- DVD release details for Gokusen (the
Volume 1 to be released 7 April 2004, price 4,800
yen, three episodes
Volume 2 to be released 21 April 2004
Volume 3 to be released 26 May 2004
Volume 4 to be released 23 June 2004
Volume 5 to be released 22 July 2004
- Volume 1 of the DVD release of Cinderella
Boy will be out on 2 April 2004, price 4,800
yen. Source: dvd
- Volumes 1 to 4 of the TV anime Omoikkiri
Kagaku Adventure So Nanda! will be
released on DVD on 21 March 2004, price 3,800 yen
each. Source: dvd
- The Hunter x Hunter musical (presumably
the live action performance) will be released on
DVD on 17 March 2004, price 6,800 yen. Source: dvd
- The final volume 13 of Kidou Senshi
Gundam Seed will be released on 26 March
2004, price 6,000 yen. First pressing
will come with a folder for the playing cards and
a case for the playing cards. Source: dvd
- Updated the Hunter x Hunter Greed Island Kanketsu
Hen info again - looks like volume 1 has been
- Volume 1 of Gungrave will be
released on DVD on 21 February 2004, price 5,800
yen. First pressing will come with a box.
- Those who purchase all six volumes of
Godanner from Animate will be able to
apply for a special CD. Source: Animate Web
- KSS is producing a two
volume OVA series based on
the bishoujo love adventure game Natsuiro
no Sunadokei. Volume 1
is due out on 23 April 2004. There'll be a first
pressing limited edition version, price
8,190 yen, though I don't know what the extras
will be at this moment. The regular edition will
cost 5,250 yen. The concluding volume is due out
in the (northern) summer.
- Volumes 1 and 2 of the OVA Aoi Umi no
Tristia (Tristia of the Deep Blue Sea)
will be released on 23 April 2004 and 23 July
2004 respectively, price 7,140 yen each. These
DVDs will be available for a limited time
only. Source: Animate Web
- Updated the Hunter x Hunter Greed Island Kanketsu
Hen info, as well as the Bottle Fairy and Chrno
- DVD volume 1 of Chou Henshin Kosu-pureiya
(The Cosmopolitan Prayers) will be
released on 17 March 2004, price 3,990 yen.
Volumes 2 to 4 see release on 7, 21 and 25 April
2004 respectively, each at the same price. Source:
- Jubei-chan 2 Siberia Yagyu no Gyakushuu
(Siberia Yagyu's Counterattack) DVD releases:
Jubei-chan 2 Preview DVD, to be
released 24 March 2004, price 1,905 yen (excluding
tax), contains episode 1 of the series together
with a trailer for Horie Yui's live action Jubei-chan
clip. Source: Neowing.
Jubei-chan 2 DVD Box 1, to be
released 8 May 2004, price 11,429 yen, two DVDs
containing episodes 1 to 6 and Horie Yui's live
action Jubei-chan clip. Source: CD
- The OP and ED for the SD Gundam Force
anime will be released on CD on 11
February 2004, price 1,223 yen (including tax)
each. You can also get first pressing
limited edition versions of each, which come with
a Captain Gundam plastic model, price 1,538
yen (including tax). CD Japan's details for the
OP is here,
and for the ED is here.
- First there was the Char model computer (see my
16 February 2003 entry). Now there's the Char
Model Portable DVD Player for Gundam
fans. Plays DVDs, audio CD and MP3. 8 inch wide
display, with mono eye screen saver. 62,790 yen (including
tax). Source: Animate Web
- Second update to the list of releases at the
bottom of today's update.
- Today is Australia Day. Although the most
important holiday in Australia, as I've mentioned
before, a partly controversial holiday because of
the plight of today's Aboriginal population, as
illustrated by musician Paul Kelly's
(Australia's bicentennial was back in 1988). Paul
Kelly's a great songwriter, BTW.
- Ramadan, Hannukah, Christmas have passed again,
as has the New Year. Many peoples are now
celebrating the Lunar New Year. The next big
festival would Easter, I guess. And Easter means
chocolate. While you're eating your chocolate,
particularly those of you in the US, remember
that the Food and Drug Administration allows an
average of up to 60 insect fragments per 100
grams (roughly 3 ounces) of chocolate and an
average of 1 rodent hair per 100 grams, before
it'll take action against the confectionary
producer. Yum. For this, and other disgusting
food facts, check out the FDA's Food
Defect Action Level Booklet. And of course,
as I mentioned two years ago, remember that a
significant proportion of the world's cocoa (used
in making chocolate) is produced by African child
slaves. Have a nice day.
- I've got lots to catch up on. Won't necessarily
report on what's occurred in the past nine weeks.
Then again, some of the stuff you read here for
the next few weeks may be months old. Sorry, but
it's still news to me ^_^;; As with last year,
I'll start off again by writing about recent and
upcoming product releases.
- I noticed that I was somehow voted into Animefringe's
25 anime/manga websites for the year. It's a
big surprise - I seriously didn't think I'd get
anywhere near that list. While it's nice to get
the honour, it's not a big deal - it's not why I
maintain this website. I didn't mention the
voting on my website last year, and I'll never
ask anyone to vote for me, but thank you to those
who did in fact vote - it's very kind of you m(_ _)m
Also, without meaning any offence to Animefringe
and its polling, I really doubt that my website
would be within the 25 most popular on the
internet. I have no doubt that Anime
News Network and Anime on DVD
thoroughly deserve to be on top, but I think the
results for some of the lower ranked websites -
mine included - wouldn't be as accurate,
particularly given the relatively low traffic to
this little corner of the virtual world. I'll try
to continue to update this website, and I hope
people continue to find it useful, but
unfortunately I can't guarantee what'll happen in
the future. For one thing, there'll be other
websites on internet and other people in the
world who are better at doing this sort of thing
than me - when I come across those, I'll just
stop and read those websites instead ^_^ Also, I
could just get bored and stop updating this page.
As I've written elsewhere, I don't know why I
maintain this website - I'd have a lot more time
on my hands if I didn't. But then again, I'm like
Ikari Shinji and this website is my cello - it's
just that no one's told me to stop practising yet...
- The International Herald Tribune had an article
on Japan's GNC - gross national cool
- a few weeks back.
- The 3D CG Appleseed movie is now
set for theatrical release on 17 April 2004.
Official website is
here, where you can also view a trailer.
At least it looks better than the original
- A special edition of volume 23 of the
manga Bastard!! by Hagiwara
Kazushi (serialised in monthly Ultrajump)
will come with a figure sculpted
Yukiwo, who does great work.
- After what seems like forever, volume 7
of Matsumoto Takahal's sci-fi manga Agharta
will be released on 19 February 2004, price 590
yen (excluding tax). Source: Ultrajump
- Back on 19 September 2003, I wrote that a special
edition of volume 11 of the manga Tenjou
Tenge (by Oh! great, to be published 19
March 2004) would come with a figure of Natsume
Aya. There's been a change, it's volume
12 which will now have a special edition with
Natsume Aya figure - volume 12 will be
published in the (northern) summer. Volume 11
will just be a regular release. Source: Ultrajump.
As with the figure of Natsume Maya which came
with volume 9, the figure of Aya will be sculpted
- Mangaka Yamada Shutaro, artist for the R.O.D
manga, now has a website.
There's just a blog in Japanese, though. Volume 2
of his Samuraiji (Samurai Rising) was published
on 15 January 2004. As with the R.O.D manga, this
latest work is done in collaboration with Kurata
- Volume 7 of the manga Hagane
no Renkinjutsushi (Full Metal Alchemist)
will be published on 22 March 2004. A first
edition limited edition will come with a full-colour
schedule book to cover the period from
April 2004 to March 2005. Price 600 yen (including
tax). The regular edition will be released on the
same day for 410 yen (including tax). Source: Animate.
- Akita Shoten will release a Morishige
Special Pack on 25 March 2004. This will
contain the first limited edition of two
the author's manga: volume 9 of Hanaukyo Maid Tai
and volume 3 of Koikoi 7. It'll also come with an
illustrated mechanical pencil, bandanna and
special case. Price 1,800 yen (including
tax). Source: Animate.
- Another artbook by Minekura
Kazuya (of Saiyuki fame) will be
published on 25 March 2004. "Sugar
coat" will cost 2,667 yen (excluding
tax) and will be a softcover A4 sized, 110 page
book with 96 colour illustrations and 16 pages of
monochrome ones. In addition, the book will
come with a CD-ROM containing five
wallpapers, two icons, two screensavers and five
greeting card patterns (to print out). Source: Animate.
- CD Japan has listed
the limited edition KaleidoStar
Maboroshi no Oowaza Box to be released
on 3 March 2004, which will contain volumes 5 to
8 of the series, an OST CD and booklet. Animate adds
that it'll come with velvety digipak case, box to
hold the four volumes and CD, picture labels on
all the discs, picture postcard and poster and
that the booklet is 60 pages of liner notes.
Special editions of the individual volumes will
be released, with volumes 5 and 6 due out on 25
March 2004 and 7 and 8 to hit the shelves on 25
- Hisaishi Jo's album Private was
released on 21 January 2004, price 1,905 yen,
containing 11 songs including an insert song from
Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbour Totoro). Source: Animate.
Hisaishi is the composer of music for the various
Studio Ghibli movies. CD Japan notes
that it's a "best of" compilation.
- Those who purchase all 8 volumes of the
Ashita no Jo 2 DVD release will be able to apply
for a T-shirt. Volumes 5 and 6 were
released on 21 January 2004, price 4,700 yen each.
- Volume 4 of the DVD of Sumeba Miyako no
Cosmos Sou - Suttoko Taisen Dokkaida was
released on 23 January 2004, price 5,800 yen. First
pressing came with booklet and box to
hold three volumes. Source: Animate.
- Those who purchase volumes 6 to 9 of the
DVD of Matantei Loki Ragnarok will be able to
apply for a special card set in a case.
Volume 7 was released on 23 January 2004, price 4,980
yen. Source: Animate.
- OVA Hunter x Hunter Greed Island Kanketsu
Hen volume 1 on
18 February 2004
(see below), price 6,800 yen. First
pressing with two character cards, Greed
Island monster stuffed toy (5cm in size) and box
to hold four of the seven volumes. Contains two
episodes. Source: Animate and Neowing.
catalog states that the release date has bee
put back to 3 March 2004. Those who
purchase all the volumes will be able to apply
for a calendar. Source: Animate Web
- Volume 1 of the anime Papuwa
will be released on DVD on 21 March 2004, price 3,800
yen. Source: Animate.
- And volume 1 of the Chojushin
Gravion Zwei DVD
will be released on 25 March 2004, price 5,800
yen. First pressing will come
with 64 page manga and reversible DVD jacket. Six
volumes in total. Source: Animate. Volume
2 will be released on 23 April 2004,
price 5,800 yen. First pressing will come
with box to hold all six volumes and a
reversible jacket. Source: Musicmarket.
- DVD volume 1 of Misaki Chronicle ~
Divergence Eve will be released on 25
March 2004, price 5,800 yen. First
pressing will come with six comic cards and box
to hold a binder and all six DVD volumes. Source:
2 will be released on 23 April 2004,
price 5,800 yen and first pressing will
come with four comic cards and a "comic card
holder book". Source: Musicmarket.
- DVD volume 1 of the live action Pretty
Guardian Sailormoon series will be
released on 26 March 2004, price 5,800 yen. First
pressing will come with picture label.
- First pressing of DVD volume 7 of Bouken
Yuuki Pluster World will come with a trading card
and box to hold six volumes. Price 1,800
yen, to be released 17 March 2004. Source: Animate.
- 7 Nin no Mugiwara Kaizoku Dan Live
Daikaisen! One Piece Character Song Album Piece 2.
The Mugiwara Kaizoku Dan seiyuu group from One
Piece will be releasing another CD album, on 25
February 2004. There's a first
pressing limited edition
which comes with seven pin badges (price
3,500 yen) and a regular
edition (price 2,913 yen).
- Other upcoming DVD releases, with info taken from
Witch Komugi-chan Magical te volume 5,
to be released on 21 March 2004, first
pressing comes with mobile phone mascot of an SD
Komugi figure and pamphlet holder. The
Piece Theme Song Collection DVD, to
be released 17 March 2004, price 2,700 yen.
There's also a first
pressing limited edition
which comes with a figure of the ship Going Merry,
price 5,000 yen.
Crusade Chapter Zero,
limited edition, promo DVD for the TV anime series.
To be released 26 February 2004, price 2,500 yen.
This is the same DVD as was available to those
who purchased the September 2003 issue of Dragon
Interval, a first pressing
limited edition item, to be released 25
February 2004, price 2,800 yen.
Volume 1 of the OVA Phantom, to
be released 27 February 2004. There'll be a first
pressing limited edition version
with booklet and CD-ROM (price 7,800 yen) and a regular
edition (price 5,000 yen). Animate
makes no mention of a booklet for the limited
edition version, but refers instead to a
postcard, script and strap with serial-numbered
dog-tag. 3 volumes in total.
Yousei (Bottle Fairy) Box, to be
released 24 March 2004, price 15,000 yen. All
13 episodes on two DVDs with a
bonus desktop accessory CD-ROM. Or you
can buy four individual volumes, with volumes 1
to 3 being released on 21 January 2004, 25
February 2004 and 24 March 2004 respectively.
However, I think if you buy the individual
volumes, you don't get episode 13...
Falcon Densetsu volume 1, to be
released 18 February 2004, price 4,700 yen, first
pressing comes with cardboard model of a craft.
of Appleseed - Appleseed the Trigger Deunan
version, first pressing
limited edition item, to be released 24
March 2004, price 5,600 yen. "Making
of" DVD with Deunan figure. There's also a Briareos
1 of Planetes will be released on 23
April 2004, price 5,000 yen. First
pressing will come with liner notes.
Angelique volume 1, to be released
17 March 2004, price 6,800 yen. Based upon the
first game story of the ten year old Angelique
2nd GIG volume 1, to be released 26
March 2004, price 6,000 yen. First
pressing will come with box to hold five volumes.
I assume the release details will mirror those
for the first season.
Kurogane volume 5, to be released 23
April 2004. The first pressing limited
edition version will cost 7,800 yen and
come with box to hold five
volumes, mini-pencil board and dog tag.
Chrno Crusade Chapter 1, to be
released 23 April 2004. There's a first
pressing limited edition Militia
Senyo Ban which comes with
miniature gun in a hard case, price 8,800
yen. Otherwise, go for the regular
edition, price 5,800 yen. Animate Web
Mail Order states that later volumes
will similarly have a first pressing
limited edition version and a regular
edition, at the same prices as for volume 1, with
volume 2 being released on 28 May 2004 and volume
3 in June 2004. The limited edition of volume 2
will come with a hard case, but I don't know what
1 of the OVA Interlude, to be
released 25 March 2004, price 6,800 yen. Three
volume bishoujo suspense adventure anime.
Programmer Shirase, to be released
24 March 2004, price 15,000 yen. Two DVDs with a
- And CD releases listed in CD Japan:
OST Complete Version, a two CD set, to
be released 24 March 2004. There'll be a first
pressing limited edition
version which comes with DVD, 48 page booklet and
poster illustrated by Shirow Masamune (price
5,000 yen). Otherwise you can get the regular
edition, which comes with a 24 page booklet (price
3,000 yen). Additional information here was taken
from the official website.
Princess Walkure Character Song Super Best,
to be released 25 February 2004, price 3,500 yen.
First pressing comes with DVD.
Runner Kuromi 1 & 2 OST, to be
released 25 February 2004, price 3,000 yen.
25 January 2004
- Another year, another update. My LD/DVD backlog
hasn't shrunk, and my manga backlog continues to
increase (particularly after shopping overseas).
My first substantial update for nine weeks...
this first update isn't going to have a lot of
anime and manga news - and whatever there is may
no longer be news, since I've been away for
months. So will anybody bother to read all of
- Sorry, even though I've been back for a fortnight
now, I still haven't even started to
check out what's happening/happened in the anime
and manga world, whether now or in the past nine
weeks... My first week back I was really just
getting settled back home. And in the past week,
I've mainly just been reading some of the manga
which I picked up on my holiday: I read through
volumes 1 to 3 of Hana Yori Dango (\^_^/),
volumes 15 and 16 of GTO, volumes 8 and 9 of Oku
Hiroya's manga Gantz (set to become an anime movie), volume
1 of Berserk, both volumes of FLCL and the final
two volumes 6 and 7 of Dance till Tomorrow. In
the same week I also finally read the third and
final volume of Iwahara
Yuji's manga "Chikyu Misaki" \^_^/
and then started on his earlier manga series, the
gothic horror Koudelka, set in turn of the
century England. Being Iwahara's earlier work,
the artwork isn't as polished as in Chikyu Misaki
or his latest series Ibara no Ou. I've finished
volume 1 and am now on to volume 2, but the
supernatural elements in the storyline don't
really grab me. Also read the four volume series
Milk Closet by Tomizawa
Hitoshi (of Alien 9 fame) in the same week
\^_^/ Another sci-fi series, which is similar to
Alien 9 in that it deals with a group of children
with aliens attached to them. Milk - the
Macrocosmic Invincible Legion of Kids. Despite
the weirdness of Tomizawa's stories and artwork,
he still has the ability to make you feel for his
- BTW, the Gantz
movie website has updated with a few
screenshots and a preview movie. The site uses
Flash, but once you get to the main menu, you'll
see that the options are in English, so you'll be
able to navigate your way around. In any event,
you can view the preview movie here.
This sci-fi movie is set for release in the (northern)
spring of 2004. The animation is looking pretty
- And oh yeah, I still haven't replaced my cheap
keyboard, with its faulty "g", "h"
and other keys, so expect to see more typos of
the kind that you know and love... m(_ _)m
- As with the previous year (see my 25 January 2003
entry), my holiday this time around wasn't
something I'd been planning for a long time. But
things sort of fell into place (although the trip
was a bit longer than I needed or perhaps wanted).
And it was another opportunity to visit Japan, so
why not? ^_^ Actually, since I was in Japan for a
few days at the start of the trip and then ended
up in Japan again towards the end of my six
weeks, I guess they were officially my fourth and
fifth times visiting Japan... ^_^;;
- So, as I wrote, my trip started with a few days
Watched the League of Extraordinary Gentleman and
Sinbad on the plane. I thought the voice acting
in the latter was good and the animation of the
characters' movements very natural. It deserved
to do better, IMO...
Stayed in Ikebukuro again - I'm used to it,
and to the ryokan. At Ikebukuro train station, I
happened to pass by the spot where Kaoru and Aoi
meet at the start of Ai Yori
Aoshi (on the west exit side of the
Marunouchi line, IIRC). I also noticed that
there's a lane named "Orange Road" in
the same train station - not the Orange Road in
KOR, of course.
Of course I was there to pick up a copy of the Oh!
great Reproduction Art Collection from a Manga no Mori
store on the day it was released (well, actually,
on the day before it was scheduled for release).
All the artwork is from the mangaka's earlier (hentai)
days, though the reproductions are nothing really
adult (but there is some nudity). BTW, what I
like about Manga no Mori is that they don't cover
their books in plastic wrap like some other
stores do - so you can browse before buying a
manga, instead of relying on the cover and back.
While at Manga no Mori, I noticed an
announcement that a limited
edition of 100 lithographs of one of Oh! great's
artworks will go on sale on 1
February 2004. Each copy is signed by Oh! great
and has a serial number. But at 25,000 yen (excluding
tax) it's out of my price range. Exclusive to
Manga no Mori. I'll type up more Oh! great news
some other time.
When I started my trip, I needed a key-ring, so
of course it was off to K-Books to
buy an episode 26-alternate-universe SD version
of Katsuragi Misato key-ring ^_^ And while
rummaging through the trays of odds and ends at
the K-Books store, I found a KOR pin badge! \^_^/
Also needed to make a few phone calls, so I
picked up a few cheap anime phone cards from the
same store. Then, while at K-Book's second hand
book section (which is what the chain of stores
is really about), I picked up some of artbooks
I've had at the back of my head for some time -
some at a really low price. Including a copy of
the E-Oppers limited edition poster collection,
which includes one work by Oh! great, a couple by
Shirow Masamune, etc.
Picked up three kendo DVDs \^_^/ of the 1982
competition commemmorating the 30th anniversary
of the foundation of the All Japan Kendo
Federation. All the participating kendoka were 5th
to 7th dan in proficiency.
Made a day trip to Kamakura, where I witnessed a
traditional wedding at the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu
Shrine, complete with traditional Japanese
At Kamakura I also tried an assortment of
charcoal-fire-cooked sembei (rice crackers), the
usual plain ones (my favourite), plum ones (I
think the sakura flavour is in the sugar crystals
sprinkled on the top), prawn ones, a blackish one
(sesame, I think), one wrapped in nori seaweed,
another one wrapped in some green-white wafer,
one wrapped in purple leaves (sweet potato, I
think), one with icing, etc. Also had a couple of
croquettes, including a chocolate one (the taste
of the chocolate and fried batter don't really
compliment each other, IMO).
Back in Tokyo I visited Jinbouchou, the book
district where Yomiko Readman lives. I also
visited the building with the external glass
elevator, featured in both the R.O.D
OVA and TV series. I took a photo, but it turned
out crap (see below). I can tell readers there's
no basement and there's no hidden panel. In fact,
the buttons aren't even on the same wall of the
elevator. There's a second hand manga bookstore
on the second level (couldn't find that old issue
Magazine I was looking for), but almost all
of the visitors to the building seem to be men
going to the 8th floor, which houses some adult
book or video store. While there are definitely a
lot of bookstores in Jinbouchou, there aren't
many that'd interest the anime and manga fan.
Didn't have time to watch much TV in Japan,
but caught a bit of Galaxy
Angel. I did notice, though, that
anime music would sometimes be used in TV shows.
For example, some report on kids' baseball used
BGM from the Card Captor Sakura TV series.
On the recommendation of a friend, I picked up a
copy volume 1 of "Yotsuba to!" (Yotsuba
&!) by Azuma
Kiyohiko (of Azumanga Daioh fame). This is a
great read from the very start - I love the
scenes of Yotsuba-chan discovering the joys of
playground swings. Personally, I'm not such a big
fan of 4-koma manga like Azumanga, so Yotsuba to!
is more my style.
Then again, I've always liked Mook's
little cartoons for Comic
Toranoana advertisements, so I
bought Mook's cosplay manga Koro Koro Koromo-chan,
even though it is a yon-koma manga.
I visited a Cospa
shop for the first time. This was just a small
branch in Shibuya, but it was interesting to see
inside a cosplay store. Everything you need to
complete your Naruto costume. I think they
stocked police hats from the Mini Skirt
Police (live action) variety show too ^_^;;
There is definitely a dearth of R.O.D
- The TV - goods. I had to settle for just a set
of character badges (one for each of the three
Paper Sisters). I couldn't be bothered to pick up
the two posters. Also invested in an old R.O.D
(OVA) pencil board, though.
Again on the recommendation of a friend, I bought
the DVD of the live-action movie Azumi,
based on the manga of the same name by Koyama Yu.
The action scenes were good, though star Ueto
Aya's physique gives lie to the idea that her
character's supposed to have spent her whole life
in the mountains learning the art of
On this visit, with limited time, I just went
back to the stores I'm familiar with, mainly in
Ikebukuro and Akihabara: Manga no
La Shin Bang, K-Books.
No time for a trip to Nakano this time, and I
thought about visiting the Ghibli
Museum again, but left it out. Had
to skip the Bandai
Museum as well (then again, I'm not
a Gundam fan). Maybe next time... ^_^ I picked up
another point card, this time from Melon Books.
Usually I don't bother to pick up each store's
loyalty program point cards. The Melon Books card
is at least cute, with a pic of Melon-chan on the
front, but it's not hi-tech like some of the
cards - it's just a stamp card.
From Animate, I picked up a number of line art
books: including Noir,
ni Taisetsu na Koto ~ Someday's Dreamers ~,
Full Metal Panic! and Azumanga Daioh.
Of those, the best is the Someday's Dreamers one
- no pages on objects, buildings and backgrounds
- just the characters, in both the anime and
The Ikebukuro branch of Animate
also had a Takahashi
Shin exhibit (free) when I was
there, so I had a look at original copies of his
works, including pages from his manga Saishuu
Heiki Kanojo ~ The Last Love Song on this Little
Since nowadays I can buy anime and manga online,
as with last year's trip I spent most of my
shopping time on items which are harder to get,
like doujinshi. Picked up a couple of R.O.D
doujinshi (hentai, unfortunately), a Tenjou Tenge
one, and another where Oh! great was a guest
contributor. Also finding their way into my
shopping cart were an Alien 9 doujinshi by the
circle Yurichanchino 9 (which includes
contributions by mangaka Tomizawa
Hitoshi - it's just a shame that one or two
of the stories were hentai) and a Front
Innocent ~ Mou Hitotsu no Lady Innocent
design works collection book (which comes with a
DVD with a three minute promotion video for the
Satoshi hentai OVA - the animation being
seemingly in the style of traditional cel
animation). Note that Front Innocent website
above contains adult images.
cafe in Akihabara has apparently closed (the
Gamers store itself has also moved), but I went
to the Sakura
Taisen Cafe and Taisho Romando store
in Ikebukuro with my friend. I tried the Okinawa
Kanna Curry, washed it down with
melon soda and finished with Sakura
Shiratama (pink balls of mochi -
rice flour dumplings - with a red bean paste
centre, accompanied by some sweet syrup) for
dessert. At the store, you can buy various Sakura
Taisen items including Iris'
band-aids and Chattes
Noires toasters. The toasters have a
sheet of metal in the shape of a simple cat's
face blocking the heating element, so that when
your slices of bread pop up, they'll have a cat
face toasted onto them. Price is 5,800 yen (excluding
tax). The store and cafe also exhibit various
items of Sakura Taisen paraphernalia, including a
roughly life-sized Sakura figure. I later found
one of those figures for sale at Figure Hobby in
Akiharaba, but it was 500,000 yen and didn't even
seem to come with a sword.
The Sakura store and cafe was at the top floor of
one of Sega's entertainment centres. One the
ground floor were various UFO catcher games. The
next level or two had various video games, such
as a the Lupin
III The Typing typing game (there are two
keyboards so you can play with a friend), the Initial
D Arcade Stage Ver. 2 racing game (where you
can use a memory card to build up your points and
upgrade to better cars etc), a photo battle game
(where you and friend take up camera-shaped
controllers and fight it out to see who takes
better photos of the same scene), a variant on
the Taiko no Tatsujin game where you strum a
shamisen instead of banging a taiko drum. Some
video games you definitely have to be fluent in
Japanese in: such as the one involving two
comedians doing a comedy routine - depending on
the lines which the first CG comedian delivers,
you have hit the second comedian in the
appropriate place (eg in the stomach, on the head
etc). And with the Avalon
no Kagi (Key of Avalon) card game RPG you'd
have to read two rule books before you'd be able
to play properly. Winners of this video game win
trading cards. On yet another floor of the Sega
entertainment complex are PuriKura (Print Club)
machines - only females may enter, or males in
the company of females (this restriction being
put into place after a spate of guys trying to
take photos up girls' dresses when the girls were
using PuriKura machines).
Also ate tonkatsu with my friend at the Shinjuku
branch of the Saboten chain of
tonkatsu restaurants, where you can free refills
of lettuce etc to go with your tonkatsu. In
addition, I found time in Japan for some ramen,
gyoza, curry rice with soba, etc.
On my last night, I decided to splurge and try a
kaiseki meal at the Ikebukuro
branch of Iraka restaurants, which specialise
in Kansai cuisine. It'd have to be the most
expensive meal I've ever had in my entire life. I
could only afford a mini-kaiseki meal, not a full
menu - and the cheapest mini-kaiseki meal at that.
With a glass of cold oolong tea and some home-made
peach and manga sorbet, the bill at the end
totalled just under A$100 ^_^;; (A full kaiseki
menu would've been up to twice the cost.) The
mini-kaiseki came in seven small courses, not
counting the rice, pickles and akadeshi. The food
was good and an interesting experience - only the
fried seafood at the end was average. The soup
with crab-cake in the middle of the courses was a
very clear broth, spoiled when my oily chopsticks
made contact with the surface. I'm not sure what
half of what I was eating was (I was able to get
a copy of the menu for the different kaiseki
sets, but I can't be bothered translating it now),
but then again I never worked out what the
dessert on my NorthWest Airlines flight to the US
was either... maybe it was custard...
In Japan, the vast majority of people seem to
take photos with their mobile phones now. Last
year, a friend told me that mobile phones in
Japan now have two cameras, so you don't have to
turn your phone around to take photos. While I
was there, Vodaphone was promoting its new phone
which you can watch TV on (I think the camera on
that phone is 2 megapixels). I took some photos
while on my trip, but all I had was a disposable
camera, and it was my first time using one, so
they didn't turn out so well. But I know more
about disposable cameras now, so next time I'll
do better - I'll just buy a real camera :P
On the topic of photos, I saw a couple of young
boys, maybe 7 or 8 years old, in their school
uniforms - very cute in their black caps with
black cadet-like, stiff-collared outfits and
elaborate buttons and trim. Would've made a cute
photo - until one of the boys spoiled the scene
by commencing to pick his nose and then sucking
hard on the finger as if trying to extract the
very last morsel of what he'd been able to
Would you believe I had something stolen from
me which I was in Japan? On my second day, the
sky wept, so I bought an umbrella - which I left
in the umbrella stand at the ryokan at the end of
the day. And the next day it was gone. So I guess
the thief was probably a foreigner >_<
- From Tokyo, it was across the Pacific to Seattle
for a day. I wonder how many people answer
question B on the back of the US Department of
Justice's I-94W Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure
Form "... are you seeking entry [to
the US] to engage in criminal or immoral
activities? Yes/No" in the affirmative?
The NorthWest Airlines flight from Japan to the
US was fine, but a bit different to other
airlines I've flown on recently: all cutlery is
plastic, no personal video screens, more leg
room, a more mature cabin crew with a more
informal (but nevertheless polite) approach to
service. However, it's slightly disconcerting to
find that the window frame next to you is broken
(depressed too much into the cavity behind the
wall) and that the wall of the plane is only a
few millimetres thick when you're 35,000 feet
above sea level... I was seated next to a
Japanese lady (in her 50s to 60s, I'd estimate)
travelling with a young guy (maybe 20 at most).
He sat in the row behind her. I figured he was
her grandson or relative, so I asked if they'd
like to sit together, but she declined. I wonder
if he was an employee of her business or
something. She liked her beer and spirits ^_^
- Then to Whistler
Blackcomb in Canada via Vancouver for five
days of skiing with my brother, sister and
brother-in-law (the latter two were ski-virgins).
IIRC, Whistler Blackcomb'll be the site of the
2010 Winter Olympics. My fourth time skiing - I'm
no good, not athletic, but it's fun. Seeing as I
had five days, this time I enrolled for a half-day
lesson, the second in my life, which did help my
ability. Next time (whenever that is - my aunt
has mentioned that ski holidays in South Korea
can be relatively cheap), I might try
snowboarding... While in Canada I also managed to
pick up a copy of Guy Gavriel
Kay's poetry collection "Beyond this
Dark House". The book starts with "Night
Drive: Elegy" - a straightforward
composition, but still beautiful and engaging, in
part because it reveals some of the background to
my favourite author. At Whistler I also bought a
copy of Jane
Siberry's latest CD "Shushan the Palace
(Hymns of Earth)" - I was too busy to snag
an autographed copy last year, unfortunately.
Yep, my favourite author and favourite musician
- Whistler was followed by a week driving around
Washington state and staying in Seattle with my
brother. Bought various manga (stocked up on hard-to-get-in-Australia
Viz items such as the Rurouni Kenshin manga and
some of the other books mentioned above) and
anime. Watched Kill Bill Volume 1 with my brother.
After Pulp Fiction and Get Shorty, I was
expecting lots of smart dialogue from Quentin
Tarantino, not just violence. This movie passed
the time, but other than that, I wouldn't be
concerned if I never got to see Volume 2. With
nothing to do on the last night, I watched the
Last Samurai. Most opinions I've read on the
movie seemed positive. There's no doubt that the
production values were great (the highlight for
me was probably the presumably CG recreation of
Tokugawa-Bakumatsu-era Yokohama), but IMO the
story was unoriginal and the characters
stereotypical, the themes as simple and obvious
as any Hollywood production. Mononoke Hime is
deeper than this movie. Then again, my views on
movies don't seem to match up with everyone
else's: I thought Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
was overrated and the Oh! My Goddess movie was a
complete waste of cel paint (or computer
- From the US, I spent a day or so in Amsterdam,
staying with my cousin. Just my luck, the
Rijksmuseum was closed and only re-opened the day
after I left, so I missed my opportunity to
admire the Dutch masters, but in general I saw
everything else I wanted to. My cousin had a
theory that the beauty of the prostitutes in
Amsterdam's infamous Red Light District was
inversely proportional to the breadth of the
street on which the prostitute's window was
located (the narrower the street, the more
beautiful the prostitute), so I thought I'd test
out her theory. I think she's generally right
- Then I caught a KLM flight to Istanbul for just
under a week:
On the flight from Amsterdam to Istanbul, I met a
Kurdish man, now living in Sweden, flying back to
Turkey to catch up with friends. He was a nice
guy - we talked a bit about Turkey, about Kurds
and their treatment in Turkey, and his hope that
the US would help the Iraqi Kurds create their
own independent nation. I didn't want to upset
the guy, so I didn't voice my thoughts -
personally I don't think the US would do it.
Firstly, the US has already expressly stated it
won't break up Iraq, and secondly, such action
could destabilise the whole region. The man said
that it was his dream to visit Australia.
Actually, from time to time when I travel I meet
people who say it's their dream to visit
Australia, but that it's too far away. That's
sort of how I feel - Australia's so far away from
everywhere else. That's why, when I take a
holiday overseas, I tend to be away for some time
- otherwise it just doesn't seem worth it.
Back to Istanbul: the St Sophia cathedral,
Blue Mosque and other old buildings there are
beautiful and awe-inspiring, particularly when
you bear in mind that the St Sophia cathedral was
built in less than six years in the sixth century
(though it collapsed a number of years later and
had to be rebuilt).
And the treasury museum at Topkapi Palace houses
holy Islamic relics including hairs from the
beard of the Prophet Mohammed (p.b.u.h.) and
items of figures who would also be familiar to
Christians, such as the rod of Moses, the sword
of David, the turban of Joseph and part of the
skull and armbone of St John. Many people in the
West don't seem to realise the Islam has the same
foundations as Christianity and Judaism. All are
the children of Abraham (known as Ibrahim to the
I also took a three night, two day trip out
of Istanbul to visit Ephesus (both the ancient
ruins of the great city and the chapel built on
the foundations of the house of the Virgin Mary)
and the town of Parmukkale/ruins of Heiropolis (the
former with its white calcium cliffs formed from
mineral-rich hot springs, and the latter with its
large necropolis). Unfortunately, no time to
visit Cappadocia in central Turkey - winter was
starting to set in anyway.
One indication of how popular anime is around the
world: Rurouni Kenshin was on TV in the town of
Selcuk (basically Ephesus), albeit dubbed into
Turkish. If you happen to be in the area, it's on
on Tuesdays, at 8.30am.
You can tell you're in a country where 98% of
the population is Muslim because wherever you go,
you'll hear the call to prayer five times a day.
IIRC, originally Muslims were supposed to prayer
98 times a day, but the Prophet Mohammed (p.b.u.h.)
asked God to reduce the requirement to five times
a day. Yeah, so whether or not you like it, and
even if you want to sleep in at your hotel, you
can bet that at about 6.30am in the morning,
you'll wake to the sound of megaphones wired to
the top of minarets, calling you to pray.
The only downside of travelling to Turkey are the
ubiquitous touts (trying to sell you carpets,
ceramics, leather, tours etc and are willing to
mislead you to do so) and the people who'd try to
short-change you (due to high inflation, prices
are in the millions of lira, so some people try
to give you hundred thousand lira notes instead
of million lira ones, etc - all the zeroes can
make it confusing). When I'm sightseeing, I like
to feel like I'm on holiday, not like I'm on
- Next stop was Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia,
for a leisurely few days of sightseeing (in part
dictated by the stifling heat and humidity).
Kuala Lumpur perhaps doesn't have the star
attractions that Istanbul has, but I recommend
going up KL Tower, and a visit to the Islamic
Arts Museum. In addition, the food is delicious
and cheap, the shopping inexpensive and the
people friendly (plus, there are no aggressive
vendors like in Turkey). The Putra Jaya district,
the new government centre, is kinda interesting
as well. Planning for this area included placing
all the electricity and telephone lines
underground, so you won't see any unsightly
cables and wires overhead. You can also visit the
Prime Minister's residence at Putra Jaya, but
remember that your shirt must have a collar, no
shorts allowed, no slippers allowed and you have
to bring your passport - as I found out when I
turned up in a T-shirt, shorts, slippers and no
- Then it was off again to Japan, for a guided tour
of Hokkaido. This part of the trip was really
unplanned - in fact, literally the day before I
was going to leave Australia for Tokyo, a distant
aunt rang with the news of a cheap Hokkaido trip:
On the flight to Hokkaido, I watched the
Japanese movie Fukumimi.
A comedy about a young man who's possessed by an
old man who just died without completing a final
task in his life. Not bad, but nothing to write
First stop was at Shiraoi and the Ainu Museum
there, to learn about the aboriginal people of
Japan. When I get some time, I'll have to see if
I can buy a CD of traditional Ainu music online.
At Tokachigawa, time for a dip in the rotenburo
(outdoor hot spring bath) at the Tokachigawa
Onsen Daiichi Hotel, followed by a
traditional Japanese meal at the same place.
We reached Lake Kussharo, which surrounds are
called "the land of the Northern Cross"
by some. It was New Year's Eve, and we spent the
night at the Kussharo
Prince Hotel, which was fully booked, even
though prices go up by about 60-70% for the few
days around New Year's Eve. While the hotel did
provide fireworks to usher in the new year, since
we were in the Akan National Park, there was no
shrine in the area which I could attend at
midnight to experience traditional celebrations.
I had to satisy myself with the rotenburo at this
hotel and then watching the fireworks. At least
it snowed while I was in the bath - a slightly
unusual experience to have pinpricks of cold on
your face when the snow lands, while the rest of
your body is submerged in hot 40 degree Celsius
water. The first time I've been in an onsen while
A couple of days later I was in Sapporo.
While the Snow Festival isn't held until
February, since it just after New Year's Day at
least I was able to witness the lights of the
White Illumination at Odori Park. What was a bit
frustrating, though, was that I was only in
Sapporo for one night before flying out of Japan.
Which meant that I stayed at a hotel a short walk
away from stores such as Animate,
Toranoana and Melon
Books but arrived in Sapporo in the
evening (after the stores had shut) and left
early in the morning (before the stores opened)
Particularly frustrating because after New
Year's, some stores will sell various fukubukuro
(lucky bags) of stuff to get help clear old stock.
Sometimes that fukubukuro have set contents,
often they're lucky dips - but generally they're
good value (the value of the stuff inside
sometimes being considerably more than the price
you pay for the fukubukuro). I don't know if
Animate had any fukubukuro, but Comic Toranoana
did, and I couldn't buy one ;_; So near and yet
Plus, everywhere we went in Hokkaido was
blanketed in snow and there were ski slopes
everywhere, but I never had the chance to do a
bit of skiing -_- I've never skiied in Japan
On the J-pop side, I love Hajime
Chitose's single "Itsuka Kaze ni naru Hi",
with its quavering vocals (the fourth track on this
page, if you want to sample it). Sayaka's
"garden" caught my attention as well -
I picked up a first pressing copy of the maxi-single,
with digipak and 15 page photobook. That single
comes with two other tracks, including the
enjoyable "believe again". (You can
sample her music on this
page) A lot of J-pop singers may write their
own lyrics, but at least Sayaka composes the
music for some of her tracks herself. Copy
Control is starting to piss me off, though. Also
acquired a copy of Nakashima
Mika's more jazzy and sometime-reggae-esque
album "Love". And while I'm no Hamasaki
Ayumi fan, I also picked up the CD and DVD
package of her mini-album "Memorial
address". "Greatful days" is
the pick of that album, IMNSHO.
Japan seems to be the only country in the
world which doesn't sell fridge magnets for the
average tourist. So while in Sapporo (well,
Chitose anyway) I had to settle for a Sen to
Chihiro no Kamikakushi fridge magnet, which I
wasn't too displeased about. It's also a good
quality magnet - very strong. Also picked up
another key-chain which I couldn't resist - also
a Studio Ghibli one.
At Chitose, I also picked up a copy of the new
anime magazine Animation Grand Prix (sister
mag to Seiyuu
Grand Prix magazine) from the (video rental)
Relatively expensive than other anime magazines
at 980 yen, with more text and less artwork for
the Western fan.
Everything is made in China now. All my
TenTen and R.O.D
figures, including the Nancy Makuhari figure I
just acquired \^_^/ , are made in China. Even in
Japanese department stores, many of the clothes
on sale are made in China now. Clothes made in
Japan of course cost two to three times as much.
Again, not much time to watch TV. Did catch a
repeat of one of the earlier episodes of 12 Kokki,
though, as well as an episode of Mermaid
Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch.
Ate lots of good meals while I was in
Hokkaido - a lot of seafood in particular. And
tried a lot of yummy confectionary as well.
Special mention goes to the Toumorokoshi Choco (corn
chocolate) and melon brandy chocolate. But try
Beer Caramel if you can - it's made
from Sapporo Black Label (draft) beer - yum ^_^
Since this Hokkaido trip was a guided tour, I
stayed at fancier hotels and ate at more upmarket
restaurants than I would if I was travelling
alone. Which meant even the toilets were nicer -
I came across a number of those hi-tech toilets,
with heated seat, water jets to wash your rear
etc. There were no such things in ancient
Ephesus, but as I learned in Turkey, in those
days, the rich folk created their own heated
toilet seats by getting slaves to sit on the cold
marble seats to warm them up -_-
- Back to Malaysia for more relaxation and good
food, this time at the refurbished Park Royal
Hotel in Penang. Finally it was time to return to
the land of the Southern Cross. In all, a good
trip. Usually when I go on a holiday, it's
several weeks rushing around for intense
sightseeing. But this time it was a mix of
sightseeing, shopping, skiing, visiting distant
relatives and laying around ^_^ Somewhat
unusually for me, there were no real problems on
my holiday this time - no airport shutdowns, no
earthquakes etc and I was only subjected to
additional searching at the airports once (leaving
12 January 2004
- Arrived back home a few days ago. I've had
no contact with the anime/manga world for the
past seven weeks or so (save for a few days
shopping in Tokyo and several visits to
Kinokuniya stores around the world ^_^ ), so
it'll be a while before I get back into the swing
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