Friday, July 31

Haruhi's Endless Eight Parody

To be honest, this is first time in long while I see how a good franchise can be gutted with one big bad decision. I don't know about most people, but 8 looping episodes is really stretching my patience beyond breaking point. To me, it smacks of arrogance and hubris by Kyoto Animation. They really, really think people can swallow 8 looping episodes with no complaint and still lap up on Haruhi franchise. Haruhi Season 2 is easily the biggest letdown with Endless 8 arc fiasco. Yutaka Yamamoto must be having tight knots in his stomach looking at direction of Season 2 goes. 30 pages in light novel can only be stretched so much.


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Summer Wars (2009) /サマーウォーズ first 5 minutes sneak preview

The movie is opening on August 1st 2009 in Japan. Looks good and Sadamoto's subtle character design is always a delight to watch.


I think it is one of those slice of life story with genuine characters involved in extraordinary circumstances. I enjoyed Tokikake, so my expectations for this is high too.

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Monday, July 27

Gungrave Live Action

The company behind King of Fighters live action movie (Convergence) got rights for Gungrave, action packed anime based on SEGA game by Nightow Yashiro (Trigun) It has impressive anime series since the game has shallow story but I feel kinda queasy about this one. To be fair, I haven't seen any other movies from this company yet so I withhold my judgment until the King of Fighters is out. Who knows, they might turn out to be good. Afterall, DOA movie is a fun romp since it did not take itself seriously. If they captured the spirit of the original media, it should be alright.

Tentatively slated for 2010 release with modest budget of 30-40 million USD.

Source no 1

Source no 2

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Canaan (formerly 428 the Animation) movies?

I heard a rumor that 13 episode Canaan series will be compiled into 3 movies, 1st movie to be shown in October 2009. So far the production value of anime is above average but many blanks yet to be explained by the anime. And the show is kinda reminded me of Madlax. But chicks with gun is good stuff for me. Yeah babey.

Source of movies

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Sunday, July 26

HALO Legends and Mamoru Oshii.

Mamoru Oshii, the genius behind Ghost in the Shell movies and many of my favourite series will be helping Shinji Aramaki (Viper's Creed, Appleseed ) to animate history of Spartan Warrior System in HALO anime adaptation. Apparently, some of the biggest guns of anime industry will be involved; Toei, Production I.G, BONES, Studio 4C. There will 7 short stories based on HALO universe in plan to be animated.

Personally, I think gaming is getting bigger than movie in USA. Microsoft is banking on this to offset disappointing Vista OS sales.

This development is hardly surprising as entertainment becomes more immerse friendly and integrated instead of stand offish media.

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Madhouse adaptation of Iron Man and Wolverine

Suh-weet! Looks dynamic and I suspect this is a movie tie-in for sequel for Ray Downey Jr Iron Man 2 next year. Slated to be 12 episodes next spring with another superhero, the nasty Wolverine...

Madhouse has respectable name in creating awesome, action packed animes hence my enthusiasm for this news. With big name like Sony to bankroll the effort, expect top notch animation and production for the series. There is 2 more superhero series by this cross boundary collaboration which not announced yet AFAIK. The series is slated to be aired on ANIMAX in Spring 2010.

I definitely checking out this.

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Thursday, July 23

LDP's anime against DPJ

First time I see an anime specifically done on behest of political party to criticize opponent, this clip shows DPJ leader lookalike is giving false promises to his date. It is an allusion that DPJ leader only capable of honey words but not action.


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Monday, July 20

Soft Power Discussion no 7: The End of Rozen Aso?

With impending fall of Premier Taro Aso, his stimulus program for Japanese softpower which including establishment of pop art center/"anime palace" that will showcase manga and anime is now very much in doubt. DPJ, opposition party already mounting offensive on Taro Aso's plan to strengthen Japanese softpower (164 billion USD right now), citing it is non sustainable and export reliance will not guarantee Japanese economy revival. DPJ argued for trimming budget and more cuts on domestic front to ease the fiscal pressure instead of Keynesian economics practiced by Taro Aso.

Taro Aso popularity slid into red zone prompting his own party seniors to ask him step down to prevent LDP complete defeat in upcoming snap election scheduled on August 2009. His approval rating is 18.6 percent, polled on 15th July 2009 by local media which pretty much nailed the end of his era as Japanese premiership.

Even domestic anime industry did not really embrace Aso's vision and setting up of anime palace plan (called National Center for Media Arts), citing it has no real goal and inadequate budget to help the ailing industry in meaningful manner. Some even feared possible censorship from the proposed body, stomping on freedom of expression.

Only a miracle can save his doomed government.

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Yutaka Yamamoto comments on Haruhi Season 2

What he thinks of latest story arc in Season 2 of Haruhi, the series that he direct the highly acclaimed prequel and considered his magnum opus which becomes anime of the year (2006). I sensing bitterness in him when he talks about this. Not too surprising considering how acrimonious his dispute with Kyoto Animation.

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Black Lagoon OVA/ OAD is confirmed

Slated for 2010 release, it will retain essentially same crew from last 2 TV series but instead of creative restrictive TV environment, it will be released in OAD/OVA format which means less censorship and clever angle treatment. Principally, I think the 30 manga epic run on return of Roberta the Maid will be used as main material of the OAD/OVA.

* me dances


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Thursday, July 16

Malaysian Animation: PASPERA, Malaysiia at War 2057

Animation is not bad but voice acting is...erm, bad. Like, the voice actors were too bored to say the lines or something. And they don't try very hard to get into the character either. I wonder how the jet fighters can maneuver without the tails too.

This vid was made in celebration for Malaysia's National Day every 31st August, this particular clip was shown in 2008.

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Wednesday, July 15

The analysis of manga market in USA

This paper outlines the historical development of the US manga (Japanese comics) industry from the 1980s through the present in order to address the question why foreign cultural products become popular in offshore markets in spite of cultural difference. This paper focuses on local publishers as “gatekeepers” in the introduction of foreign culture. Using complete data on manga titles published in the US market from 1980 to 2006 (n=1,058), this paper shows what kinds of manga have been translated, published, and distributed for over twenty years and how the competition between the two market leaders, Viz and Tokyopop, created the rapid market growth. ......

Full Text

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Monday, July 13

Anime becoming stale? Perhaps some answers here...

With current economic downturn, the industry output for 2009 is reduced by 30 percent compared to peak in 2006. So there is 2 possible things here:

a) More mainstream anime which guaranteed audience and not too heavy ( K-On!, Lucky Star, Clannad). However this category is what many people complaining about the boredom factor or anime story becoming stale. Some shows are so formulaic that it is embarrassing to watch (Asu no Yochi).


b) New storytelling, innovative anime exploration like Basquash, Rideback for instance. Some of the story might be bothering on brain squashing material. Some of them are successful such as Nodame and Eden of the East. But such gem is rare here.

Take your pick.

Now it is Darwinian time for Japanese anime scene. More and more animators were quitting (90 percent junior animators quit in 1-2 years) and studios did not earn as much as before. A 30 min episode can be contracted up to 18,000,000 Yen (700,000 MYR/ 194,340 USD) 2-3 years ago but now it is only worth 13,000,000 Yen (500,000 MYR/ 140,350 USD) .

It is a grim statistic, even Japanese economist were worried by the numbers. Taro Aso government even have a proposal to set up National Center for Media Arts, a body to stem the decline and promote Japanese softpower industries particularly anime. However insiders and pundits of the industry dismiss it as having too small of a budget for such ambitious scheme. Some of them even worried that this quasi federal body might start imposing creative control, limiting the freedom of expression in anime industry. Already, some fans were angry at Japanese lawmakers support to ban pedophile loli materials in Japan. This incident even prompted some of the fans wished that anime did not become mainstream, like they want to keep this hobby to themselves.

The crisis of economic stagnation and population issue hit Japan hard even before the 2008 meltdown in USA. Literally, Japan is running out of kids if the population did not reverse the demographic pattern soon ( 1.07: 1 ratio birth versus death, ideally should be 2:1 ratio). The 2008 financial crisis compounded the problem even further, affecting even seemingly insular anime industry in Japan.

Moe shows trend started when more and more 30-40s age otaku category who can't seem to grow up began to buy into the moe trend which it is hard to miss by the studios. Simply, there is not enough kids for studios to make more children orientated anime profitably. The industry now hinges on aging otaku population to survive and these guys were mostly unmarried or unable to connect to people in normal manner due to social dysfunction in Japan.

Some fans accused the studio is responsible for decline, keep churning up formulaic series to satisfy mainstream demand which is whimsical and now unable to cope with changing focus in the market. Now studios were racing to adapt light novels into series which director Kannagi and Haruhi call it " a mere ploy to sell more novels". He cited ToraDora! and Index as great examples of this. Also, the studios were reluctant to make new stories that challenges mainstream, contributing to decline of interest by fans who wanted more than just cute girls in school uniform doing funky things.

Alas, more thoughts later.

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Sunday, July 12

First Impressions : Canaan (428 the Animation)

Well, well do I like it? Kinda mixed. I need to watch 2nd episode for consistency before I can nail if I going to be bothered to finish this series or not. Despite my TYPE-MOON fanboyism, I am not blind to bland product. I am happy though, to see Takeshi Takeuchi (main artist for TYPE-MOON) signature character design retained faithfully in this ironically, non original TYPE-MOON anime.

From what I gather so far, it is story of 2 female gunslingers who either have synthesia ability naturally or trained. They hated each other and this series might ended in epic catfight between these 2 females. One of them, Canaan who is nicknamed "Saber sister" by the fans due to their look similarity is tasked with a job in Shanghai, China. What make her so special in gunfighting skills is her senses which were enhanced when she can "see" colour or "hear" taste. Of course her ungodly skill in acrobatic complement her senses and uncanny marksmanship (her SIG is a good pistol but definitely not designed to hit so far like this anime shown). The gunfights are fantastical and it is safe to assume the main females gunslingers are so badass that no one is their equal, even US CIA Black Ops team shown in 1st episode.

I have to confess these inhuman ability is kinda turn off for me since this is supposed to modern tale of skillful gunslingers. But I willing to watch little bit more before I dismiss this as Noir knock off or Bee Train poor imitator. The story have enough hooks for me, for example, I am curious to see how the male reporter will survive this seemingly deep conspiracy that involves powerful organizations. I am puzzled by the unrealistic depiction of free roaming PMC group allowed to operate on Chinese soil. And I never recall any Chinese festival in Shanghai involved a squeaky voice Japanese girl lolita look alike in festival. And giant dragon squirting some liquid which looks decidedly wrong.

Music is not bad, OP is pretty catchy. BGM is subtle.

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Thursday, July 9

Gatchaman / 科学忍者隊ガッチャマン Space Ninjas CG Movie Teaser

Here it go. It looks like Appleseed, should be interesting to watch. I am looking forward to it. Previous entry.

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Wednesday, July 8

Preview for Gundam Unicorn Movie

Here it comes, the movie is scheduled next year.

The trailer looks good and the story is not bad. I just wished they make an older pilot instead of another teeny bopper Gundam pilot.

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How much salary for a Japanese animator?

An updated estimation, Japanese animator paid in accordance of their experience and seniority. Employees in their 20s earn an average annual salary of 1.1 mil yen per year (11,268 USD) while those in their 30s get 2.14 mil yen (22,532 USD). Veteran artists in their 40s and 50s survive on around 3 mil yen (28,160 USD) per year. Yeap, all this figures are per annual. The senior's wage will be comparable to wage of a carpenter in USA now (29,520 USD).

That makes sense as to why 90 percent turnover rate in Japanese anime industry is happening. Ouch indeed.


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Mizuki Kawashita new manga

For few days I been on and off reading mangas when I am free. I came across her newest work, Ane Doki, well....first thing I liked is her female character designs are pretty fleshy, not anorexic skinny models. Unfortunately this new work have same plot device, the male lead seems to recognize the main female lead by her panties. Same plot as Ichigo 100, her most famous work. It is pretty pedestrian work, nothing special unless the reader have straight shota fetish. The main female lead is bordering on unrealistic character too. Ah well.

It is amusing but nothing special about it.


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Saturday, July 4

Japanese manga industry surprises

In a move that surprised industry watchers and pundits alike, Kodansha, one of big players in the manga industry released a free online copy of manga magazine simultaneously with sales of same manga magazine on May 22nd 2009. This clearly a desperation move as Kodansha battled online piracy without much success which this factor were blamed for most of slump of domestic market and destruction of US anime/manga industry. In another surprise, the tactic actually increased of said copy by 25 percent which vindicates the seemingly desperate move.

Perhaps the big company should really look into fact that more people are willing to read online and pay a nominal fee for it?

In the same article, perhaps as a general trend indicator, mobile phone comic market, expanded tenfold to 22.9 billion yen over fiscal 2005, thanks to an established charging system.

The bottom line is, manga readers are willing to pay for online copy for convenience sake.

Source Article

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Wednesday, July 1

Tekken movie

Ahahahaha! Another slowpoke of me! Apparently King of Fighters is not alone, hot on its heels is Tekken the Movie!

The vid shows the cast of the movie.

The director Dwight H Little so far directed TV episodes (Prison Break, Bones, Dollhouse), so this is maybe his first debut as film director. It is good to see Gary Daniels again, I remembered his slick moves from Jacky Chan's City Hunter and Fist of the North Star. And Chiaki Kuriyama, Gogo the school girl with chain ball from Kill Bill is here too as Lin Xiaoyu. John Foo is the wushu sword dude who fought Tony Jaa in Tom-Yum Goong (USA title: The Protector) and Lateef Crowder is the Capoeira guy who fought Tony Jaa in same movie too.

This capoeirista in the video, yeah, he is Lateef who going to be cast as Eddie Gordo in Tekken movie. Looks cool to me.

I might watch this for Chiaki Kuriyama. LOL. Frankly speaking, I do have some hopes for this one compared to King of Fighters movie.

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King of Fighters Movie

In another slowpoke of epic proportions, I only knew of live action adaptation of King of Fighters game series now. But based on shows like Street Fighter the Movie and Legend of Chun Li, I am not too sure if I want to watch this flick despite I like Ray Park's dynamic style of martial arts. It is scheduled for 2010 release but I do wonder if film executives having second thoughts after dismal box office performance of Chun Li movie.

IMDB entry

Some of the special behind the scenes stuff. More vids can be seen here.

* Sean Faris as Kyo Kusanagi
* Maggie Q as Mai Shiranui
* Will Yun Lee as Iori Yagami
* Ray Park as Rugal Bernstein
* Françoise Yip as Chizuru Kagura
* Hiro Kanagawa as Saisyu Kusanagi
* David Leitch as Terry Bogard
* Sam Hargrave as Ryo Sakazaki
* Monique Ganderton as Mature
* Bernice Liu as Vice

Yeap, that is Rugal with his 2 assistants, Mature and Vice. I can hear some SNK KOF fans weeping now. (GRINS)

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