16-30 APRIL 2004 NEWS

30 April 2004 (second early update)

  • Bandai has a page up for the Steam Boy Starter Kit DVD which I mentioned on 23 April 2004. The "48 x 61" anime is 6 minutes long - Otomo Katsuhiro is 48 years old, Rintaro is 61 years old. The message(s) from Rintaro to Otomo are 8 minutes long. The "making of" Steam Boy clip will be 20 minutes long and will include staff interviews, explanation of the digital work, etc. The promo video for Steam Boy will be 6 minutes long. You can get an idea of the T-shirt design from the pic at the bottom of the page. The T-shirt is stated to be L-size, not the M-size mentioned on CD Japan's page.
  • OfficeAO has announced that volume 2 of the Medaka no Gakkou anime went on sale on 28 April 2004. The DVD is 10 minutes long and is available only from the company's website, price 1,100 yen including tax and shipping (presumably only within Japan). The Medaka no Gakkou anime is based on the shoujo manga of the same name by Mori Yukie. Source: Moon Phase. The first volume of the anime was released in 2001. It's also available from the company's website, price 3,600 yen including tax (duration 30 minutes).
  • On 28 March 2004 I wrote about the upcoming TV anime Uta ~ Kata. Moon Phase states that it's a story about Ichika (?), who's a second year junior high school girl, and a mysterious girl Maika. Set in Kamakura in summer. The source is presumably Megami Magazine. Last report was that the anime is to be broadcast in October 2004.
  • Megami Magazine has also given additional staff details for the anime of Kujibiki Unbalance: director Ikehata Takashi, series composition Yokote Michiko and Mizushima Mangetsu (?) (the latter will also do the storyboards). Whereas Yagumo Kengou was originally stated to be responsible for character designs, Megami Magazine states that he'll create the draft designs on which the final designs by Ogawara Haruo will be based. Source: Moon Phase.
  • To add staff details about Ryuusei Sentai MusuMET: original work by Mutsuki Juzo, director Kimiya Shigeru (?), series composition Taki Kouichi, draft character designs by Hasegawa Kouji (?), chief animation director Hara Shouji, animation production TNK. A manga version is also planned. Source: Moon Phase. Lots of question marks there. The names have a number of possible readings.

29 April 2004 (second update)

  • News (presumably from tomorrow's issue of Megami Magazine) that a new Raimu (Lime) iro Senkitan anime is to be produced. Tentative title at present is "Raimu (Lime) iro Senkitan 2". Source: Moon Phase.
  • TV Tokyo's website for the Monkey Turn TV anime has updated with the opening credit sequence available for download. Source: Moon Phase.
  • On 2 November 2003, I wrote about MusuMET RGB. The June 2004 issue of Megami Magazine (on sale tomorrow) has an article on a "Ryuusei Sentai MusuMET" (Meteor Squad MusuMET), which will presumably be the official title of the anime. Source: Moon Phase. I assume the katakana "musumetto" should be rendered "MusuMET".
  • Bandai Candy Toys. What I find particularly interesting are the 11cm tall Pretty Guardian Sailormoon figures, which are a (pretty good) attempt at realistic faces. Also available are Neon Genesis Evangelion 2 figures and 11cm tall Futari wa Pretty Cure figures. Source: Rakuga Kidou.
  • Volume 1 of the sequel manga Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Taiyou to Kaze no Sakamichi by Yamada Norie and Yoshizuki Kimuchi will be published by Kadokawa Shoten on 1 June 2004, price 609 yen (including tax). Source: Comic Toranoana. That is, the sequel to the manga on which the anime Someday's Dreamers was based on.
  • Comic Toranoana also states that Shirow Masamune's Intron Depot volume 4 Bullets is to be released by Seishinsha in mid-June 2004, price 2,940 yen (including tax).
  • Once again sorry, I've been keeping strange hours lately, resulting in my not updating further yesterday.

28 April 2004 (third early update)

  • The official website for the upcoming anime Sengoku Eiyuu Densetsu Shinshaku Sanada Jyuu Yuushi has updated with a second (29 second) TV commercial to download. Source: Moon Phase. Slightly more animation this time. For a bit more info, see my 4 April 2004 entry.
  • m.o.e's website states that it's third short TV anime series Love Love? will commence broadcast on TVK on 3 May 2004 at 24.35, with free distribution over the internet to commence on 4 May 2004. Nine episodes.
  • Sorry, I think I stuffed up my 26 April 2004 entry regarding Hit wo Nerae! (Smash hit!). That should've referred to episode 7. The final (TV broadcast) episode 8 of Hit wo Nerae! (Smash hit!) is now available for download from the official website, and will be available until 3 May 2004. Source: Moon Phase. For details on how to view the show, see my 10 March 2004 entry. I've corrected my 26 April 2004 entry.
  • Fuji TV's website for the Gantz TV anime has updated with a fourth trailer, again in two parts. Source: Moon Phase. You should know the drill by now.
  • This Hotwired Japan report cites a market research report that, with North America's movie and TV prodution companies continuing to outsource work to Pacific Rim nations, the structure of the world animation industry is changing. With over 4,000 companies in nations all around the world providing CG animation, companies in North America and Europe are outsourcing to companies in Pacific Rim nations where the labour costs are lower - the cost CG animation from South Korea is said to be approximately 50% of that from developed nations. India and the Phillipines are even cheaper with costs an estimated 25-30% of developed nations. However, India has a developed IT industry with many engineers who speak English and a flourishing film industry able to provide studio equipment, suggesting that India will challenge the current leaders of outsourced work South Korea, the Phillipines and Taiwan. Source: Ma-ten.
  • It's been announced that there'll be a W ~ Wish ~ (Double Wish) TV anime commencing broadcast in October 2004. Source: alternative-live. W ~ Wish ~ is a Playstation 2 game to be released by Princess Soft later this year. An adventure game, but seems to be a bishoujo adventure game to me. Moon Phase states that the voice cast for the anime will be same as for the game.
  • There's always a lot of anime and manga events in Japan and therefore a lot of event reports. Here's one that's a bit different. Aniradi Network has a "companion report" - a photo report on the female "companions" who worked at the booths of various companies at the Tokyo International Anime Fair in late March 2004. Source: alternative-live. I think the second and third Avex companions are supposed to be Natsume Aya and Natsume Maya respectively.
  • When I typed up the info about the CLAMP mook series on 25 April 2004, I gave the title of the magazines as "CLAMP Nokiseki" - with Kodansha setting up a page on the release, I wonder whether the title should instead be "CLAMP no Kiseki". That would mean the title would translate as "CLAMP's Miracles". I don't know whether "nokiseki" is a word anyway ^_^;; Anyway, Kodansha's page has a list of the chess pieces which will come with each of the 12 issues - I won't bother to set them out here. Further, the page has news that those who purchase all 12 issues will be able to apply for Kero and Suppi chess pieces and a box to hold all the chess pieces. Finally, a binder for the issues will be sold separately. Source: ultimatum. I've changed "spelling" of the title my previous entry.
  • KSS' website for the Guardian Hearts anime has updated with news of the second OVA series. The same staff will oversee the production of the second series and there'll be a new character (a pretty standard device in sequels). Source: ultimatum.
  • The Re: Cutie Honey website now has a 73 second promo clip available for download. Source: Magicalantique.com. It's the bottom one of the three clips currently available for download. DVD release will commence in September 2004. For broadcast details, see my 27 March 2004 entry.
  • Sunrise's website for its upcoming TV anime Mai - HiME has updated with a 15 second promo video. Source: Magicalantique.com. Probably nothing new if you have the DVD which came with the April 2004 issue of Animage magazine. The series will commence broadcast in July 2004.

27 April 2004

  • Once again I must apologise - I wanted to update more yesterday, but fell asleep. Wanted to update more today, but too busy...
  • Volume 5 of Sakigake!! Cromartie Koukou will be released on 25 June 2004, catalogue number BCBA-1846, price 5,040 yen (including tax), containing the final six episodes of the TV anime. First pressing will come with a Mechazawa carrying bag to hold all five volumes of the DVD release. The bag has a diametre of approximately 17cm and is approximately 20cm tall. You can see a pic of the bag here, under the 2004.4.26 entry.
  • Anyway, the July 2004 issue of monthly manga magazine Afternoon (on sale 25 May 2004) will come with a Kaiyodo figure of Banpei-kun from Oh! My Goddess. You'll see a pic of the figure if the visit the magazine's website.
  • Mainichi Shimbun English language article on another man arrested for stealing thousands of women's underwear.

26 April 2004 (fourth early update)

  • Fuji TV's website for the Gantz TV anime has updated with a third trailer, this time in two parts. Click on the "Play-A" and "Play-B" buttons on the right hand side of the homepage. Source: Moon Phase. Again, I can't view the trailer myself because my internet connection is too slow >_<
  • Episode 7 8 of Hit wo Nerae! (Smash hit!) is available for download from the official website, and will be available until... today ^_^;; Source: Moon Phase. Sorry, been too busy to type up this news, or even a reminder of when episode 7 was available. For details on how to view the show, see my 10 March 2004 entry. (Updated 26 April 2004.)
  • Avex's website for Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito states that a visual fan book for the series will be released by Gakken in June 2004. Source: Moon Phase.
  • The official Yumeria website (for the computer game) has a papercraft figure of Neneko available for download to commemmorate the first anniversary of sale of the game. You'll need to download the 4,030Kb LZH file, decompress it, then view the PDF file. I haven't downloaded the file myself, but it may be necessary for your PDF reader to be able to deal with Japanese text. The site also has a special version of the OP movie for the game available for download (until 23 May 2004) to commemmorate the first anniversary. There's no sound in the clip, though. Source: Moon Phase.
  • ITmedia reports that the limited edition version of volume 1 of the OVA Aoi Umi no Tristia (Tristia of the Deep Blue Sea), released on 23 April 2004, will be limited to 10,000 units and in production for six months only. When sale period ends (or the 10,000 units are sold), only regular edition copies will be available. Volume 2 will be released on 23 July 2004. Source: Moon Phase. The main feature of the limited edition version would be the soundtrack CD, I think.
  • Following on from my 24 April 2004 post, this 2 channel post refers to an advance copy of Monthly Shonen Ace-A magazine announcing the second OVA series of Guardian Hearts. Tentative title is Shin Guardian Hearts. As I mentioned earlier, there'll be a digest volume for the first OVA series - it'll also contain the opening credits sequence for the new series and a trailer. This volume 0 will be released in September 2004. Source: Moon Phase.
  • Xebec has a second webpage up for Soukyuu no Fafnir - Dead Aggressor, with descriptions and designs for the main characters and glossary. Source: Moon Phase. Note that the URL spells the third word as "Fafnir", whereas Starchild's website uses "Fafner".
  • Excite Japan cites a Mainichi Shimbun report that Tsuji Naoyuki's independent anime "Yami wo Mitsumeru Hane" (A Feather Stare at the Dark) will be screened at the 57th Cannes International Film Festival (which starts 12 May 2004) as part of the "director's week" section. This 17 minute "charcoal art anime" creation tale was completed in 2003 and shot on 35mm film. What's interesting about Tsuji's original "charcoal art anime" technique is that he drew the one picture, photographed it, then erased part of the picture and changed it for it the next frame, took a photograph of the changed image, and apparently repeated this process to the picture approximately 13,500 times (instead of creating the same number of cels) to create the black and white anime over eight years. Tsuji created the experimental anime at a cost of 400,000 yen while working part-time (three midnight shifts a week). Director Ishii Katsuhito's live action movie "Cha no Aji" (The Taste of Tea) will also be screened during "director's week". Ishii has worked on live-action as well as anime productions (eg Trava, the CG anime Hal and Bons). Source: Ma-ten.
  • In 2002, they created a pic of the Space Battleship Yamato, in 2003 it was Astroboy. Now the Yomiuri Shimbun reports that for the 2004 Tanto Tulip Matsuri (Festival), approximately 100,000 tulips of five colours have been used to create a 70 metre by 30 metre pic of Ampan-man. See the linked report for a pic of the artwork. Source: Ma-ten.
  • The Sankei Shimbun reports that Bandai Visual announced results for the period ending February 2004: sales were 23,934 million yen (up 12.1% from the previous period, presumably boosted by sales of Gundam Seed DVDs), net ordinary profit of 3,364 million yen (up 38.3% from the previous period), and the bottom line was 1,929 million yen profit (up 35.5% from the previous period). For the present period sales are expected to increase 3.6% to 24,800 million yen, net ordinary profit to increase 7.0% to 3,600 million yen and net income to increase 6.3% to 2,050 million yen. Source: Ma-ten.
  • Nikkan Sports News reports that for the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, Japan a two hectare (roughly five acres) Pokemon theme park will be created near Nagoya JR train station - the first Pokemon theme park in the world. The park will be open from 18 March 2005 (a week before the Expo starts) until 25 September 2005. Pokemon is broadcast in 68 countries in 25 languages. Source: alternative-live.
  • The Hakata Dontaku Minato Matsuri (Hakata Dontaku Habour Festival), which features a big parade, takes place in early May 2004 in Fukuoka, Kyushu. The Nishi-Nippon Railroad Co. Ltd has announced its six floats for this year's parade, two of which will have themes of popular anime characters (Gekijou-ban Pocket Monster AG and Futari wa Pretty Cure). Check out the page linked to see the profiles of the floats. You can see the floats from 2 to 4 May 2004. Further, for the parade on 3 and 4 May 2004, the company is seeking 18 "chibikko" ^_^ (they limit this to kids in school grades 3 to 6) to take part with the floats. See the page linked for more details. Source: alternative-live.
  • Old news, but WOWOW has some screenshots up of the TV anime series Monkey Punch Manga Katsudou Dai Shashin, which it will be broadcasting commencing July 2004. Based on the original work of Monkey Punch of course. Source: alternative-live.
  • Volume 1 of the OVA Aoi Umi no Tristia (Tristia of the Deep Blue Sea) was released on DVD on 23 April 2004. You can download a 40 second streaming promo movie from the official website here. Source: alternative-live.
  • Kadokawa Shoten has put up the Keroro Island website: an official website up for Keroro Gunso (Sgt Frog). Source: alternative-live. Much of the website is still under construction, though.
  • Mainichi Shimbun English language article on a manga about a juvenile medical treatment facility.
  • Yomiuri Shimbun English language article on Vertical Inc., which is publishing English translations of novels and manga in the US.
  • A Nurse Angel Ririka SOS DVD Box will be released on 28 July 2004, price 46,095 yen (including tax). Seven DVDs containing 38 episodes. A pre-order only limited edition item. Comes with original figure. Source: dvd catalog. The old shoujo anime, subbed by Tomodachi Anime all those years back. Natsukashii...
  • The Makasete Iruka! (Grrl Power) DVD will be released in Japan on 10 June 2004, price 3,990 yen (including tax). Source: dvd catalog.
  • The DVD for the Atashi'n chi movie will be released on 25 June 2004, price 3,990 yen (including tax). Source: dvd catalog.
  • Yesterday I fell asleep yet again before I could update further. Sorry about that... ^_^;;

25 April 2004 (fourth update)

  • On 11 February 2004 I wrote about the Yamagiwa Soft building in Akihabara catching fire. Impress Corporation reports that on 23 April 2004, Sofmap (which effectively owns the store which sells DVDs, CDs etc) announced that the building will re-open in August 2004. At 1.55am on 10 February 2004 a fire broke out near the escalator on the first floor, the first and second floors and part of the third floor were destroyed. The cause it still unknown. The fire was put out in the evening of the same day, but in the meantime had caused 468 million yen damage (457 million yen to goods, 11 million to fittings). Luckily for the company, this will all be covered by insurance. Source: Rakuga Kidou.
  • Mangazoo has a pilot film for the independent CG fantasy Hanare Toride no Yonna created by Takeuchi Kengo. You can download it here (roughly 12Mb, roughly 90 seconds IIRC). Click on the grey/yellow button at the bottom of the page. The trailer certainly shows Takeuchi's background in computer game FMVs. Yonna and Stan live in a solitary fortress in the corner of a kingdom, away from public eyes. But forces conspire to make use of their abilities. To be released by CoMix Wave. Source: alternative-live. I don't know whether it was intentional or not, but personally I find the characters' heads disproportionately (and disconcertingly) large. CoMix Wave's past releases like Hoshi no Koe and Grrl Power have been licensed by ADV Films; I wonder if the same company will secure (or has already secured) the rights to Hanare Toride no Yonna...?
  • Not sure whether it's worth writing about this, but Lantis has announced that Chiba Saeko's second album "everything" will be released in June 2004, catalogue number LACA-5290, price 3,000 yen (including tax). First pressing will come with special packaging. The album will be produced by Kajiura Yuuki. Source: alternative-live. Chiba sings the ED to Chrno Crusade and voices Azmaria in the series.
  • On 28 March 2004 (and earlier), I wrote about the anime movie Mind Game to be released in the (northern) summer. This Web Anime Style report states that prior to the theatrical release, a Mind Game Remix DVD will be released on 25 June 2004, containing "making of" clip and music clip(s). Source: alternative-live. "Spelling" of the name seems to vary: at times it's rendered "Mind Game", at other times, there's no space - "Mindgame".
  • Impress Corporation has a report on the release of DVD volume 1 of Mezzo TV. Apart from a pic of the box (click for an enlargement), the DVD version will have re-take scenes compared to the TV broadcast version. In relation to episode 3, director Umetsu Yasuomi states that the karaoke scene will have about ten cuts will have things added or re-drawn. There'll also be a slight change to the tempo and other aspects of the opening credits sequence. As to the live action Hollywood version of A Kite, Umetsu (who directed the OVA) is reported as stating that he doesn't know details about the characters, scenario etc because they have been left to director Rob Cohen. However, he believes it'll be a film noir with lots of gun action. Source: Rakuga Kidou. For release details for volume 1 of Mezzo TV, see my 20 February 2004 entry. Remember also that those who purchase all seven volumes will be able to apply for some bonus good(s).
  • I haven't watched any of Mezzo TV, but I'm tempted to get the first DVD, which contains just the first episode, to see what the quality of the first episode is like. A standard half hour episode of TV anime will contain 200 cuts, if OVA 300 cuts. Episode 1 of Mezzo TV had 458 cuts. I guess the number of cuts should be taken as an indication of the production quality, but curiously, when Takami Yoshio, director of Toei Animation and Laterna, visited Australia (first Perth, then Brisbane) in late March, he suggested that the lower funding which Japanese animators had (compared to US animators) in the early days of animation lead to Japanese animators using an increased number of cuts. I wasn't quite sure how an increased number of cuts could be cheaper, but I (unfortunately) didn't query Takami on this. However, he did go on to refer to the fact that Japanese cartoons had less actual animation than US cartoons - for example, Japanese animation had less shots showing the full body of characters but rather employed close-ups so that there would be less changes from cel to cel (ie less to animate). So perhaps this is what Takami meant: by employing more cuts which showed a close-up, the animators would have less to animate. I've always considered the use of close-ups etc in Japanese animation as one of its more artistic and dramatic elements differentiating it from US animation (at least in the earlier days). It's interesting to find out that this could actually be a result of funding restrictions ^_^ Certainly, certain scenes in anime which I love have very little actual movement (eg the elevator scene with Rei and Asuka in Evangelion), but on the other hand, in other series the lack of animation appears more due to lack of funds rather than artistic decision (eg certain scenes in KareKano).
  • Anyway, this seems a good a time as any to write about Takami Yoshio's visit to Australia. I haven't seen much reporting on the visit save for one pararaph in a local Japanese language magazine... (Maybe I don't visit enough Australian websites.) Anyway, I attended one of his talks, but I didn't think of taking notes (I hadn't approached the talk as a reporter). So bear in mind that what I write in this section is from memory - the numbers which I quote may well be wrong. If anyone reading this also attended one of his talks and can confirm or refute the numbers, I'd be interested in feedback. Anyway, some of the stuff Takami mentioned:
    Japanese animation uses 3,000 to 3,500 cels or frames on average, whereas US animation may use 4,000 to 6,000 cels. (I presume this relates to TV animation of a standard half hour duration. Takami mentioned this in the context of the early days of the animation industry, so I don't know if the numbers are still apt, although I do recall him saying that the numbers were still about the same at least in relation to Japanese animation. Then again, I've read other articles stating that the average number of cels for TV anime in Japan nowadays is about 5,000. Then again, bear in mind that Takami may be referring only to animation by Toei Animation, not the anime industry in general.)
    An anime movie needs to attract an audience of about 1.5 million to break even, while DVD releases require sales of 35,000(?). (Again, bear in mind that Takami may be drawing solely from his experiences with Toei Animation since he's been working for that company for about 40 years.)
    Toei Animation no longer animates using traditional cels. Takami expects more use of 3D technology and computers in the anime industry in future, although not necessarily to create anime which is 3D in look and feel, but also simply as an aid in animation (presumably to help with the more labour-intensive aspects etc). He also pointed out that with computers and the internet, it's not always necessary for the animators to work at the same office building, city etc.
    Toei Animation is looking to creators in other countries, such as the Phillipines, South Korea, China etc. Takami screened a pilot clip for a proposed work "Fusui Guardian" by a Fillipino.
    On the other hand, Takami said that Toei Animation was not interested in direct investment by US companies in the creation of anime. I'd asked him about this because of the increasing number of anime being co-produced by companies like Geneon USA or ADV Films. He said he'd heard more of this in the computer game industry and that he'd also heard of some US companies trying to buy Japanese animation companies in the past. (Though later, I thought, by "direct investment" did he perhaps think I meant a US company taking an interest in Toei Animation itself...?)
    Since Takami is director of both Toei Animation and Laterna, I asked him about the differences in the anime of those two companies (Re: Cutie Honey is Laterna's first anime production). He said that Toei Animation tends to focus on TV anime series and (northern) spring and summer movies, and animates using its in-house staff. Whereas Laterna is not restricted to any in-house staff but may contract with other animators and its funding options are more open. I guess that's why the Re: Cutie Honey OVA includes GAiNAX staff among its credits.
    Lastly, in an interview with the Perth Express magazine, when asked about TV anime in Australia, Takami stated that he didn't think Japanese anime had fully expanded - currently, anime is distributed from Japan to the US and then Australia, whereas he'd like to see direct distribution from Japan to Australia. (I guess Toei Animation would retain more of the profit that way ^_^ )
  • Nikkan Sports News reports that a ninth Detective Conan movie will be produced next year. The eighth movie "Meitantei Conan Ginyoku no Kijyutsushi/Magician" (Magician of the Silver Sky) was released theatrically on 17 April 2004. Source: Rakuga Kidou.
  • On 28 March 2004 I wrote about the Eiken OVA Eikenbu yori Ai wo Komete but I stuffed up the details. To clarify, volume 1 of the OVA was released in 2003. There will be two Eiken DVDs released on 23 June 2004, but the first will be the concluding volume 2 and the second will contain both volumes 1 and 2 (I'm not sure whether the latter will contain both episodes in their entirety or be a digest volume, but I believe it'll contain both episodes in their entirety). Furthermore, there'll be a Special Box version of the combined release, which comes with music CD. CD Japan has the details up for volume 2 and the Special Box version of the combined release. In addition, Starchild's Eiken website has details on the regular edition of the combined release: price 7,140 yen (including tax) (I'm not sure if the catalogue number quoted is correct). Source: Rakuga Kidou. I've not updated my 28 March 2004 entry. Sorry about the error.
  • On 20 April 2004 I wrote about the 14cm Yujin PVC figure of Michelle Cheung from R.O.D - The TV - to be released in late June 2004. The store Hobby Net states that each of the three Paper Sisters will be released over three months month intervals. Here's pic of Michelle, being the first release. Source: Asu Manga Gekijo. (Updated 11 May 2004.)
  • The latest report on the official KaleidoStar website confirms rumours of a KaleidoStar OVA. It'll be directed by Sato Junichi, with storyboards, technical direction and animation direction by Wada Takaaki. Source: Rakuga Kidou. Moon Phase states that the OVA is to be released in the (northern) summer.
  • The Real Koikaze Project, dedicated to realising scenes from the Koikaze TV anime as real life photos. Source: Rakuga Kidou.
  • CLAMP has a website up for its 15th anniversary. Among the features on the website are details on its upcoming magazine. The original tentative name of that magazine had been "Monthly CLAMP Part Work" (see my 3 and 17 February 2004 entries) but now it looks like the group has settled on the name "CLAMP no Kiseki" (Title updated 28 April 2004). Twelve monthly issues in total, the cover of each featuring a new CLAMP illustration. Issue 1 will be published on 22 September 2004, price 1,600 yen (including tax). Each issue of this mook will feature a particular CLAMP work, with character illustrations, highlight scenes, character introductions etc. Further, the magazine will have info on new CLAMP manga, essays, interviews etc. The official website also confirms the earlier 2 channel post that each issue will come with three CLAMP chess pieces. Here's a pic of the three pieces to come with volume 1. The site also lists the works which will be featured with each issue:
    Volume 1: Card Captor Sakura
    Volume 2: Card Captor Sakura, Clover, Watashi no Suki na Hito (The One I Love)
    Volume 3: Tokyo Bablyon
    Volume 4: Magic Knights Rayearth, Angelic Layer
    Volume 5: CLAMP School Detectives, 20 Mensou ni Onegai!! (Man of Many Faces), Gakuen Tokkei Duklyon
    Volume 6: RG Veda
    Volume 7: Chobits, Wish, Suki. Dakara Suki
    Volume 8: X
    Volume 9: X, Miyuki-chan in Wonderland, Shira-hime Shou
    Volume 10: xxxHOLIC, Gouhou Drug
    Volume 11: Tsubasa, Shin Shunka-den
    Volume 12: Tsubasa
    Source: ultimatum.
  • The CLAMP 15th anniversary website also states that a Souryuu-den artbook (titled Souryuu-den Gashuu) will be published on 29 May 2004, price 2,100 yen (including tax). Source: ultimatum.
  • On 23 February 2004, I wrote about the limited edition version of volume 4 of the manga Saint Seiya Episode G (by Kurumada Masami/Okada Megumu) Akita Shoten has a page up for the volume and clarifies that it'll come with four character badges (together with the metal "Pandora's Box" card folder and "Gold Saint" postcard). Source: ultimatum.
  • Back on 26 February 2004 I wrote that the June 2004 issue of Dengeki Hobby Magazine (on sale 24 April 2004) would come with a Lacus Clyne figure. The publisher Media Works how has a webpage up on the issue, together with pics of the 13cm tall figure. Source: ultimatum.
  • Media Works has also started a new manga magazine Comic Dengeki Teioh - the first issue is on sale tomorrow, price 500 yen. Presumably a shonen magazine. Source: ultimatum.
  • Sorry I didn't update further yesterday. Fell asleep...

24 April 2004 (second update)

  • The company Chuosha states that the otaku manga Genshiken by Kio Shimoku (serialised in monthly Afternoon manga magazine) is to be made into a TV anime. To be directed by Ikehata Takashi, with series composition by Yokote Michiko, character design by Hirotaka Kinoshita, production by Genco and animation production by Palm Studio. Further, the (fictional) manga Kujibiki Unbalance, which is featured in Genshiken, will be animated as an anime within the Genshiken TV anime. Character designs for Kujibiki Unbalance will be done by Yagumo Kengou. Source: Moon Phase.
  • Chuosha also states further news:
    A new Kakugo no Susume manga will appear in the July 2004 issue of Champion Red magazine (on sale 19 May 2004). The OVA adaptation of Kakugo no Susume is known in the West as Apocalypse Zero.
    There'll be a second OVA series of Guardian Hearts (which was originally based on the manga by Amatsu Sae). Two volumes together with a digest volume for the first OVA series. The cast from the first OVA series will reprise their roles. Release is tentatively set for this (northern) autumn. (If you recall, the June 2004 issue of Monthly Shonen Ace-A - on sale on 26 April 2004 - is to contain a big announcement relating to Guardian Hearts; I guess this is it.)
    Furthermore, the Girls Bravo anime (based on the manga serialised in Monthly Shonen Ace-A manga magazine) will be a TV anime.
    There's to be a big announcement in issue number 24 of Weekly Shonen Jump (on sale 10 May 2004) regarding the baseball manga Mr Fullswing (by Suzuki Shinya). Could this be news of an anime? Or something else?
  • The combined issue numbers 21 and 22 of Weekly Young Sunday manga magazine (released on 22 April 2004) comes with a "visual and comic" DVD. While the main feature of the DVD appears to be clips of nine idols who grace the colour pages of Young Sunday magazine, there's also a bit of manga related stuff, and a trailer for the Umizaru live action movie (which movie is based on the manga). Source: ultimatum. IIRC the price of the issue is 290 yen (including tax).
  • An Area 88 Complete Book Anime Design Works Collection was published on 19 April 2004 by Media Factory. The company has the details up here: A4 size, ISBN 4-8401-1040-9, price 2,100 yen (including tax). Contains poster and art gallery, story summary, analysis of characters, details on mecha, seiyuu discussions etc. Source: ultimatum.
  • On 20 April 2004 I wrote about the first limited edition version of volume 1 of Utatane Hiroyuki's manga Tengoku ~ Heaven's Prison ~ with Saki action figure. Shueisha has a webpage up for the volume and figure. Source: ultimatum.

23 April 2004 (second update)

  • Starchild's website for the TV anime of Futatsu no Spica (Twin Spica) is now open. Source: ultimatum.
  • Combined issue numbers 22 and 23 of Young Magazine manga magazine (on sale 26 April 2004) will see the start of Katsu Aki's new manga Love Lucky. There was a short three chapter Love Lucky story in Young Magazine back in November 2003. Source: ultimatum. Katsu Aki would be known for manga such as the shonen Escaflowne and more recently Futari Ecchi. Another love comedy, Love Lucky is about an unfortunate but good natured guy who marries an idol. (BTW, volume 25 of the Futari Ecchi manga will be published by Hakusensha on 29 June 2004, price 530 yen including tax.)
  • The first issue of Elle Staff's new manga magazine Puchi Pafe (Petit Parfait) will be published tomorrow. Puchi Pafe will be published on the 25th of every even-numbered month, price 480 yen (including tax). The magazine is part of Elle Staff's Pinky Teens line of magazines aimed at teenage girls with heterosexual love & H themes. Source: ultimatum.
  • On 27 March 2004, I pointed out that the Koikaze TV anime website stated that TV Asahi would broadcast 12 episodes while Kids Station would broadcast 13. At the time I queried whether this was a typo. Now the same page on the website has updated - and it confirms that TV Asahi will not be broadcasting episode 8. Source: ultimatum. I wonder why that's so?
  • I like the "Haruka no Hibi" illustration on Initial G's website ^_^;; (I mean the illustration for 22 April 2004.) Mature readers only, please.
  • My Oh! great manga collection is now complete! \^_^/ Okay, some of the latest volumes (for Air Gear and Tenjou Tenge) are waiting to ship from a store in Japan, and the hentai manga is en route (I got those for completeness' sake), but I now effectively have all the manga which Oh! great has ever published ^_^
  • Shinkon Gattai Godannar!! Second Season DVD volume 1 will be released on 25 June 2004. CD Japan has the details here. Furthermore, its Japanese language sister site Neowing states that the DVD will come with booklet and paper figure part.
  • The Steam Boy movie will be released theatrically on 17 July 2004. Prior to this is the release of the Steam Boy Starter Kit on 25 June 2004. This will be a first pressing limited edition item. The DVD includes the anime "48 x 61". CD Japan has the details here but note that specifications are subject to change. Note also that the Starter Kit comes with an M size T-shirt. Hmm, useless to most Western anime fans in that case :P
  • And you thought anime fans could be fat :P
  • D.C ~ Da Capo ~ Side Episode DVD volume 1 will be released on 23 June 2004. This DVD release will collect together the side episodes from the TV anime - presumably the short anime within the normal TV series episodes (if you know what I mean). This perfect version will include opening sequence and a new clip. CD Japan has the release details here.
  • DVD volume 1 of the Tenjou Tenge anime will be released on 28 July 2004. Source: Sa-i.
  • A limited edition version of volume 4 of the manga Saint Seiya Episode G (by Kurumada Masami/Okada Megumu) will be published on 29 July 2004 by Akita Shoten, price 1,050 yen (including tax). It'll come with metal card folder, character badge and postcard. Source: Mangaoh Club.
  • DVD volume 1 of Jungle SCS' three volume tokusatsu series Evolver is now available for preorder from the store's website. Volume 1 will be released on 25 June 2004, price 4,800 yen (excluding tax). Region free, English subtitles, duration 50 minutes plus bonus material.
  • On 28 March 2004 I wrote about the first pressing limited edition Space Pirate Captain Harlock DVD Box. dvdcatalog states that the box will come with seven discs containing the 42 episodes plus a bonus disc. Further, the discs will be picture-labelled and the mobile phone strap will be of the Arcadia. For more details, see my 28 March 2004 entry.
  • Animate has posted up more details on the DVD release of Boukyaku no Senritsu (The Melody of Oblivion). To set things out again, volume 1 will be released on 23 July 2004. There'll be a limited edition version (price 8,190 yen including tax) - it will come with drama CD and booklet. As to the regular edition, there appears to be two prices - the first pressing version of the regular edition will cost 3,990 yen including tax, while subsequent pressings will cost 6,090 yen including tax. Weird. This series will have 12 volumes in total, one volume released per month.
  • There's been other news over the past week that's been widely reported. No point me wasting time to repeat it...
  • Sorry for no update yesterday. Too tired...

21 April 2004 (fourth update)

  • Starchild's website for upcoming Soukyuu no Fafnir has updated with the news that the TV anime will commence broadcast on TV Tokyo at 25.30am on 4 July 2004 (1.30am on 5 July 2004). Source: TA Group BBS. Click on the "preview" button and you'll see rows of orange buttons. The top row is a promo video for the anime. Next, a TV commercial (basically a shorter version of the promo video), next a sample of the image single "Fly me to the sky". Furthermore, note that the anime has an English subtitle "Dead Aggressor". I note also that the URL for the website spells the last word in the title as "Fafner" rather than "Fafnir".
  • DVD volume 1 of Boukyaku no Senritsu (The Melody of Oblivion) will be released on 23 July 2004. There'll be a limited edition version (price 8,190 yen including tax) and a regular edition (price 3,990 yen including tax). Source: Animate and Reinbo Actress.
  • A limited edition version of volume 1 of the manga Twinkle Sabre Nova by Fujieda Miyabi will be released by Studio DNA on 25 June, price 1,890 yen (including tax). This limited edition version will come with drama CD. Voice cast seems pretty impressive: Kouda Mariko, Mizuki Nana, Yukino Satsuki, Orikasa Fumiko, Hisakawa Aya, Touma Yumi, etc. Source: Mangaoh Club.
  • Bandai will release a Top wo Nerae! Perfect Guide DVD on 27 August 2004, price 5,040 yen (including tax). Source: Bandai Digital Beat. I presume this will be like the DVD and book guides previously released for Patlabor, only this time for Gunbuster.
  • As I previously wrote, the live action dorama series Ace wo Nerae! (Aim for the Ace!) will be released on DVD on 23 July 2004. There'll be a DVD Box of five volumes (catalogue number GNBD-7110, price 19,950 yen including tax) but the volumes also available individually (catalogue numbers GNBD-7111 to 7115, price 3,990 yen including tax each). Features of the DVD release (as compared to broadcast) include a "making of" clip and a director's cut final episode which is 12 minutes longer than the broadcast version.
  • Further to what I wrote on 11 April 2004, DVD volume 1 of Midori no Hibi will cost 12,600 yen (including tax), catalogue number BCBA-1882. To consolidate the earlier info, this volume will be released 23 July 2004 and will be a three disc boxed digipak, with two DVDs containing five episodes and the third disc being a special CD containing the insert song.
  • Volume 1 of the new OVA series Shin Getta Robo will be released on 23 July 2004, catalogue number BCBA-1885, price 4,725 yen (including tax). It'll contain two episodes and first pressing will come with a CD single.
  • An Ao no 6-go (Blue Submarine No. 6) Blue Fleet Box will be released by Bandai on 27 August 2004. This will be a first pressing limited edition item. The box contains three DVDs (in a three disk digipak) and three CDs (also in a three disc digipak). As to the DVDs, the first two DVDs contain the four episodes of the OVA (with Japanese audio track, English audio track and commentary track - presumably in Japanese - and Japanese and English subtitles) while the third DVD is a special disc (containing movie clip from the Playstation game based on the anime, staff discussion, interview, promo video etc). Two of the CDs are OSTs while the third is the soundtrack to the Playstation game. The box also comes with 36 page colour booklet and 1/1000 scale models of Blue Submarine No. 6 and the Grampus. (You can attach one of Takara Toy's motors to the Blue Submarine No. 6 model for use in the water, however the motor is not included in this box set.) Price 20,790 yen (including tax).
  • Warner Home Video in Japan will re-release Grave of the Fireflies on DVD at the low price 1,575 yen for a limited time from 18 June 2004 (original price was 2,980 yen IIRC). Source: dvdcatalog.
  • Yomiuri Shimbun English language report on a manga script by novelist Nakagami Kenji. Nakagami died in 1992, the script was found last month at his home.
  • Sorry I didn't update further yesterday. Updates will be sporadic and perhaps limited for at least the rest of the week.
  • Shueisha's special website for Tenjou Tenge is now up. Among the features is a digest movie for the manga to download (there are four white "buttons" on the right hand side of the main page - click on the top left one). In future, there'll be a wallpaper to download as well.
  • In addition, the company has webpage up for the limited edition version of volume 12 of Tenjou Tenge with Natsume Aya figure. The figure will be 171mm tall. Book ISBN 4-08-908029-0. For more release details, see my 20 April 2004 entry.
  • VAP's website for the TV anime of Elfen Lied is now officially open, though it's mainly just staff and cast details at present. Character design by Kishimoto Seiji (Cyber Team in Akihabara) who will also be chief animation director, music by MOCA (Konishi Kayo and Kondo Yukio), animation production by Arms (Mezzo TV). The anime will commence broadcast in July 2004. For more staff details, see my 18 March 2004 entry.
  • VAP also has a website up for the live action Cutie Honey movie, though there's just the one page to see. The site does mention that a Sato Eriko photo book (she plays Cutie Honey) and some Cutie Honey figures will be released in May. The movie will be released on 29 May 2004.
  • A limited edition of 12 inch analog records containing three tracks from the Appleseed movie soundtrack go on sale today. This is a limited edition of 2,000 copies. The records are picture labelled (on both sides apparently). Source: Animate.

20 April 2004 (second early update)

  • Kodansha has published its list of June 2004 shonen and shoujo manga releases. Among those items are:
    Limited edition version of volume 5 of School Rumble by Kobayashi Jin, to be published 17 June 2004, price undetermined (regular edition price 410 yen). I don't know what the limited edition item(s) will be.
    Limited edition version of volume 27 of Samurai Deeper Kyo by Kamijyo Akimine, to be published 17 June 2004, price undetermined (regular edition price 410 yen). I don't know what the limited edition item(s) will be.
    Limited edition version of volume 19 of Beck by Harold Sakuishi which comes with T-shirt (either black or white), to be published 17 June 2004, price undetermined (regular edition price 530 yen).
  • The Yujin PVC figure of Michelle Cheung (apparently it should be Cheung, not Chan) from R.O.D - The TV - will be released in late June 2004, price 2,625 yen (including tax). Source: Hobby Search. There's a Yamato figure of Michelle due out this month.
  • As I wrote on 14 April 2004, animate.tv is distributing episode 1 of Hanaukyo Maid Tai La Verite free over the internet until 13 May 2004. To view the episode, visit this page and click on the dark blue "play" button. Umm, however, my Media Player couldn't seem to find the appropriate license. Perhaps because I'm outside Japan, or simply because I have a (slow) dial up connection...?
  • Pic of the alternative version cover for volume 11 of the Tenjou Tenge manga, which was published yesterday. The alternative version cover was included with the May 2004 issue of Ultrajump magazine, on sale yesterday.
  • Volume 12 of Tenjou Tenge will be published on 19 August 2004. The first limited edition version with Natsume Aya figure will cost 2,980 yen (including tax) while the regular edition will cost 530 yen (including tax). Pre-order cutoff date for the limited edition version is 1 June 2004. To have a look at the figure by Miyagawa Takeshi, download this Quicktime movie - basically a pic which you can rotate left and right and up and down. I think Miyagawa's done better with the Aya figure than the Maya one. So the dragon was included.
  • Ultrajump magazine has announced that a special Tenjou Tenge issue of Ultrajump will be published on 21 May 2004 containing the entire Dark Side Story (past arc) of Tenjou Tenge as well as info on the anime, character data, "secrets" of the 12 families. The cover will be a new illustration by Oh!great. The issue will come with a TenTen (anime version) clear file. 796 pages, B5 size, 700 yen (including tax).
  • The June 2004 issue of Ultrajump magazine (on sale 19 May 2004) will come with a special version cover for volume 23 of the Bastard!! manga by Hagiwara Kazushi. That manga will be published on 30 April 2004 and there'll be a limited edition version. For release details on the Bastard!! manga, see my 26 January 2004 and 17 and 19 February 2004 entries.
  • Volume 1 of Utatane Hiroyuki's manga Tengoku ~ Heaven's Prison ~ (published in Ultrajump magazine) will be published on 16 June 2004. There'll be a first limited edition version which comes with a 15cm tall PVC Saki action figure (prototype by Masaki Apsy, manufacture by Yujin), with 23 movable parts. This first edition will be limited to 10,000 units, price 3,360 yen (including tax) - pre-order cutoff date is 24 May 2004. See pics of the action figure in different poses here, here and here. Regular edition will be 620 yen (including tax).
  • DVD volume 1 of Hanaukyo Maid Tai La Verite will be released on 25 June 2004, containing two episodes. There'll be a first pressing limited edition version which comes with box to hold all six volumes of the release. CD Japan has the details here.
  • Received my Haibane Renmei doujin image soundtrack "Hananone" (not to be confused with the official OST Hanenone) by Azel Head. Six tracks, of which two are simply different (but enjoyable) arrangements of "Ailes Grises" and "Refrain of Memory" from the OST. The original music is fine, if unspectacular, but nothing particularly evocative of Haibane Renmei IMO, having a more modern sound than the OST. Listen to a digest of the first five tracks here, though in my opinion it perhaps doesn't do the music justice.
  • Also received my doujin PC emblems of the Boutons and their petite soeurs from Maria-sama ga Miteru - one for each of the five girls. Produced by Action. The emblems are adhesive, I think (haven't checked). Haven't been able to find the other three emblems for the three Roses though ;_;
  • I finished reading The Last Light of the Sun. This book didn't touch me as Kay's previous books have and by the high standard which I've come to expect of his writing, this story was disappointing. Not that I'm saying the book was bad, only that it was a standard fantasty novel, whereas Kay's books are usually something more. Perhaps I'm getting too used to his style, but none of the characters really connected with me.
  • Sorry for the lack of updates on Sunday and Monday. Not feeling too well...


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