Saturday, February 28

Saitama Art Showcase Success

Saitama Prefecture, Japan launched a website showcasing art works of Saitama residents recorded 10,000 hits since December 18 - February 2. The perfectural government was so pleased with the reception that it extended the showcase scope to professional artist in hope to promote culture of the province.

The site

Special Announcement

Here is special link to special anime themed game. Have fun!

The link

Friday, February 27

Top anime series of 2008 in DVD sales

Anime DVD+BD(volume.1) Sales for the Year 2008
(Oricon for the weeks Dec. 24, 2007 through Dec. 15, 2008)


61,884 Macross Frontier
58,385 Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2
20,450 CLANNAD AFTER STORY
14,961 Kannagi
14,520 ARIA The ORIGINATION
14,205 Strike Witches
13,652 Natsume Yūjinchō
11,712 Library War (Toshokan Senso)
11,531 Junjo Romantica: Pure Romance
11,006 Hakaba Kitarō
10,367 To Love-Ru
10,026 Hidamari Sketch×365
*9,883 Sekirei
*9,823 Soul Eater
*9,327 Kanokon
*9,139 Spice and Wolf
*8,980 Ikki Tousen
*7,556 Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu
*7,444 Rosario + Vampire
*6,045 Kurogane no Rainbareru
*5,937 Zero no Tsukaima: Princesse no Rondo
*5,634 Koihime Musō
*5,512 Ga-rei
*5,251 Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei (2nd Season)
*5,128 Minami-ke: Okawari
*4,864 xxxHolic: Kei
*4,830 PERSONA -trinity soul-
*4,648 Nodame Cantabile
*4,060 Slayers Revolution
*4,053 Chi's Sweet Home
*3,926 Da Capo II
*3,773 The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk
*3,040 Kamen no Maid Guy
*2,869 true tears
*2,869 Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka
*2,704 Rosario + Vampire CAPU2
*2,662 Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de
*2,588 Zettai Karen Children

Normally series that sold more than 3000 copies of DVD have more chance to sequel as a benchmark; more than 10,000 copies is considered exceptional. Movies are not counted here.

TYPE-MOON DVD sales entry

Tuesday, February 24

8th Tokyo Anime Awards goes to.....


Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo grabbed 5 wins including best picture and director (with reported box office profit of 15.5 billion yen which roughly translates into cool 164 million USD) . Best TV shared by 2 major 2008 mecha/drama seinen animes, Code Geass Season 2 and Macross Frontier.

What heartens me most is winner for OVA section is Detroit Metal City, one of surprise hit for me since I never heard of it before but now one of the better offering from 2008 in my consideration.

The list compiled here:

Best Director: Miyazaki, H. (Ponyo)
Best movie: Ponyo (Miyazaki, H.)
Best Original Story: Ponyo (ibid)
Best Screenplay: Code Geass S2 (Ichiro Okuchi)
Best Art Direction: Ponyo (Yoshida Noburo)
Best Character Design: Sky Crawlers (Nishio Tetsuya)
Best Voice Actor: Jun Fukuyama (Code Geass S2)
Best Music: Macross Frontier (Yoko Kanno)
Best TV series: Code Geass S2 and Macross Frontier
Best OVA: Detroit Metal City
Best Foreign Animated Movie: Kung Fu Panda
Open Entry: Descendants (Heiko von der Scherm)

Cheers.

Source

Monday, February 23

Summer Wars (2009) /サマーウォーズ


New movie from director who gave the world "The Girl who Leaps Thru Time" Hosoda Mamoru, so far there is sparse information on it. All I knew is the movie employ same scriptwriter from Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo and the story is all about a girl who went vacationing in countryside after invited by her crush, while being there is "big" war happens to pass by.

There is not even a preview available for it.

Homepage

Animated by Madhouse(YES!), character design by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (the EVA guy).

Saturday, February 21

K-On! / けいおん!, Kyoto Animation next big project





Here you go folks, this is Kyoto Animation big project, replacing canceled Tonari 801 Chan and maybe reason why Haruhi Season 2 was delayed (?). Story is basically 4 untalented students try to rescue a dying music club in school. It is based on 4 koma (panel) manga. It is scheduled to air around April, perhaps after conclusion of Clannad After.

Already many fans were pissed with lack of Haruhi Season 2 from Kyoto Animation. What a bunch of morons, since if it comes, it will happen. No point bitching about something non-existent yet.

Manga sample of K-On

Cheers, people.

Offical Site

Wednesday, February 18

An awesome ED by KOTOKO.



Chi-Ni-Kaeru ~on the Earth~ by KOTOKO, ED theme for Starship Operators / スターシップ・オペレーターズ.

Beautiful and haunting to largely forgotten series.

Punk songs by Japanese VA.


Pretty hilarious concept to imagine cutesy voice singing hard edged songs but yeah, here it is. Especially voice of Haruhi Suzumiya's resident doormat, Mikuru (Yuko Gotoh) singing Nirvana's signature song, "Smells like Teen Spirit". LOL!

I suspect this album is strictly for anime crowd.

Source

Track of the list

1. Halko Momoi - "Sex and Violence (The Exploited)
2. Haruna Ikezawa - "Basket Case (Green Day)
3. Kaori Shimizu - "White Riot (The Clash)
4. Mai Kadowaki - "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) (The Offspring)
5. Rie Tanaka - "Anarchy In The UK (SEX PISTOLS)
6. Yuko Goto - "London's Burning (The Clash)
7. Halko Momoi - "Call Me (Blondie)
8. Haruna Ikezawa - "God Save The Queen (SEX PISTOLS)
9. Kaori Shimizu - "Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones)
10. Mai Kadowaki - "Search and Destroy (Iggy & The Stooges)
11. Rie Tanaka - "Ruby Soho (Rancid)
12. Yuko Goto - "Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)

Source

TV Tokyo struggling, an indicator for anime industry future?


TV Tokyo's 3rd Quarter profits down; might see red in the 4th quarter due to high Yen's appreciation on overseas market, including the decrease of licensing deals with notable market like USA.

TV Tokyo’s 3rd quarter financial statement showed a downturn compared to the same period the previous year (2007). The dip in profit is particularly drastic, and the hard times the broadcast industry is facing right now reflected in their balance sheet.

Source

One cannot help but notice the similar timing, these quarters shown Japanese economy at its worst right now in other sectors.

A shrill article detailing contraction of Japan's economy

What does this means for anime industry or fandom? Means instead of 40-60 over new series in peak years of 2003-2008 that we seen so far (interestingly some pundits said it is over bloated, like a bubble), it might be culled down to like less than 20 a year in 2010 if this downturn trend continues. Japanese domestic spending has decreased by 0.4 in last quarter alone which in normal English means less consumption of anime which leads to less profit for anime industry. AKA, less anime since majority of anime profits come from domestic consumption and sponsorship synergy.

The fate of GONZO is not unique, one hand experience, instead it is part of current global economy crisis also took the air out of Japanese economy as nation as 60,000 job cuts (something that is unimaginable for Japanese business in 1980s)announced. Famous companies like Sony, Pioneer and NEC see red and shedding workers. Anime is not an insular industry, will feel the real pain soon enough.

Which somewhat links to another story of Rozen Maiden fan Premier Taro Aso have very low public approval rate, spelling doom for his Premiership of Japan.

Higher Yen means more expensive anime DVDs/Blu-Rays for foreign market which leads to less purchases, compounding the vicious spiral. It also means more outsourcing the animation and production to offset costs; might lead to decreasing quality of art and animation of anime. Or becomes less "anime", might offend some purists out there. Remember episode 9 of Macross Frontier?

List of TV Tokyo anime lineups

Note most of the anime in TV Tokyo are geared for mainstream audience, most famous is Pokemon. Now if Pokemon fail to prop up the balance sheet to black, imagine other more matured seinen animes like Rideback, Shakugan no Shana or shows like Tenshi Sunred will fare in near future. Quite grim and I don't blame investors not wanting to throw in money for any project ventures now.

Perhaps the Golden Age of Anime is over?

Sunday, February 15

Macross Frontier weird variety


Right now on sale in Akiba, Macross Fist, an obvious allusion to Fist of the North Star and Macross Frontier featuring both divas in more "masculine" interpretation. I did smile at this, seeing this as knee jerk reaction against popularity of the Macross "deculture", just like some people decided to cash in negative reaction to mainstream popularity just for the heck of it.



The "kira" in most interesting way.

Source

Saturday, February 14

Full Metal Alchemist 2 Trailer



One of the big elephant in the room that can't be ignored is emergence of Full Metal Alchemist 2 by renowned studio Bones which have some little scandal due to accidental leak few months ago which give the world first glimpse of their work on this anime. Basically it is more genuine adaptation of manga story and it is nothing like the other famous TV series bearing the same name.

Gonzo is laying off 75 percent of its workforce

The famous studio(or hated by some people) is letting go 75 percent of its workforce in 5 year plan due to lack of sales despite their aggressive marketing and very liberal use of fan service lately (Strike Witches).

ANN source

With such reduction, it is postulated by many pundits either they going to outsource anime works with outside countries like Vietnam or Korea, or they will co-produce with other animation studio.

Sad end for a studio that used to give us Vandread,Last EXILE and Druaga. No news however if they going to cancel Shangri-La. I do personally wondered who is next to fall, the economic slump will surely have big effect on anime industry as a whole.

Early entry.

Rumor is GONZO will now focus on MMORPGs and hentai. Remains to be seen.

Kadokawa's troll, big one



The much anticipated Haruhi Chan webcast anime is not ready yet and the company humorously (or evilly; depending on your view) air this soothing piece.

Click here.

Have fun.

I do wonder how many fans will be enraged by this stunt.

(Edit)
Few hours later, the real eps came.

1st ep of Haruhi Chan by Kadokawa complete with English subs
Nyoron, Churuya Chan 1st ep is here

Beware though, the jokes are totally random.

Tuesday, February 10

Maria+Holic OP, "Hahaji"



Piano version



Anime

Typical Shinbo madness, now ascended into memorable anime meme.

Crunchy Roll is given more recognition by Japanese industry

In blatant recognition by Japanese anime industry, Crunchy Roll, premier streaming site of Asian media notably anime which used to be illegal appointed to the industry body that organizes Tokyo Anime Fair annually. Used to be hated black sheep by Japanese anime industry, now it is welcomed with open arms ever since Crunchy Roll goes legit. It is also first non Japanese entity to join Assn. of Japanese Animations the organization that supervises the premier fair for anime industry.

Considering it was first formed in 2006, it has been a meteoric rise for San Francisco company, underscoring the emerging technology where people is getting more comfortable streaming anime instead of downloading them. Essentially, it might seen as Third Wave movement as coined by famous American futurist, Alvin Toffler.

Source

Earlier entry
Japanese editorial on Crunchy Roll

Sequel to Spice and Wolf / 狼と香辛料


Due to successful DVD sales (vol 1 reached 9133 units), Spice and Wolf sequel is announced with pretty much the same crew who did the 1st last year except for character designer (Kazuya Kuroda is replaced by Toshimitsu Kobayashi). Studio Brain Base will be doing this instead of IMAGIN.

I consider this series as delightful, under the radar hit, kindling hopes that there is still something anime can offer. Slated for summer 2009 release, perhaps same time with famous moe anime, Nogizaka no Himitsu (also another DVD success, 7556 unit for vol 1).

Certainly good news for me.

Official News

Mamoru Oshii's Production I.G Musashi Teaser is out.



Oh! Beautiful! I am so looking forward to this. I wonder if they using the novel's template to tell the famous sword saint or not.

Production staff includes director Mizuho Nishikubo (also known by his alias Toshihiko Nishikubo) who has worked on numerous Oshii films including Ghost in the Shell (1995), Innocence (2004) and The Sky Crawlers (2008). He also directed the TV series Otogi Zoshi and Legend of Heavenly Sphere Shurato. Kazuto Nakazawa, director of the mind-blowing animation segment in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) and creator of innovative characters as seen in Samurai Champloo (2004), will design the characters for Musashi. The animation is supervised by Kazuchika Kise, the chief animator in Ghost in the Shell, Innocence and Blood: The Last Vampire.

Previous entry

Friday, February 6

Bakuman, from people who gave the world Death Note.


Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Oba, the team that responsible for famous/infamous Death Note now writing and drawing a lighter and cheerful Bakuman. The story is about trials and tribulations of 2 idealistic boys wanting to be mangakas of world renown.

ANN

An editorial review of the work is here. Usually the editorial will be on for 1 week before it is taken off from the website.

I will check it out despite the rather true and tested storyline of youthful innocence in tough world of manga.

Gobsmacked by Good Smile Lily Saber



The facial expression of steely Saber caught well here.

Wooo... just look at the amazing sculpt on coming soon figure of Lily Saber by Good Smile. One word: EXQUISITE.

Source and Pre-Order
Japanese preview

Tuesday, February 3