Asking Fans to Cover the Cost of Publishing Alabaster

January 29th, 2015 by John

Publish Osamu Tezuka's Alabaster

Digital Manga just launched its new Kickstarter campaign seeking 29K to translate & publish the two-volume Tezuka manga mini-series Alabaster. I have a tough time envisioning how licensing, translating, and publishing only two books can possibly cost $29,200. It’s significantly more than the Kickstarter amounts required to publish DMP’s previous two-volume Tezuka manga titles Ludwig B, Captain Ken, and Triton. Furthermore, I’m even more reluctant to contribute to such a substantial publication cost when the initial supporters actually pay 38% more than full SRP to acquire print copies of the two books, and then, after initial supporters have shouldered the entire cost of getting the books to market, DMP can proceed to collect profit from the ongoing sales of the books. Part of me wants to say, “Approach the publishing effort the way any traditional publisher would. Fund it yourself, and I’ll buy it when you release it.” Then again, likely the only way this manga is ever going to see official English language publication is if obsessive fans aggressively volunteer to pay more than cover price to get these two books printed.

I’ve contributed healthily to DMP’s Triton, Unico, Atomcat, and Captain Ken publishing drives. Since Alabaster is a title that I’m actually interested in, I may decide to allow my enthusiasm to overrule my rational skepticism and contribute toward this project too.

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Under the Dog Gets Unleashed

January 22nd, 2015 by John

Creative Intelligence Arts (CIA) CEO and founder Hiroaki Yura has announced that his company is recusing itself from involvement in the production of the Under the Dog OVA. CIA and animation studio Kinema Citrus jointly conceived the project and launched its 2014 Kickstarter campaign that became Kickstarter’s most successful crowd-funded animation project ever. Yura has announced that the continued development of the original anime OVA will henceforth be handled exclusively by Kinema Citrus with Kouji Morimoto brought on board to produce the project. Morimoto, not to be confused with Studio 4°C co-founder, has produced sci-fi/action anime including Avenger (2003), .hack//Roots (2006), and CANAAN (2009).

According to Hiroaki Yura, “In order to comply with certain requests from members of the UTD creative team, and to deliver an unhindered product to our backers, CIA is hereby removing itself from the UTD project… It is a testament to the enthusiasm the UTD team has that they wished to take over the production and directly handle it themselves.”

I respect and applaud the announcement because it represents an inexperienced producer stepping back, out of the way, handing over creative control directly to the animators who are making the OVA. The transfer shifts creative control from from CIA, which has no experience in anime production, to studio Kinema Citrus, which has successfully produced anime including Code:Breaker (2012), Yuyushiki (2013), Black Bullet (2014), and Barakamon (2014). My expectation is that fewer cooks in the kitchen, and putting the development directly into the hands of experienced artists, will result in a stronger, less adulterated product.

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Ask John: Which Anime Heavily Reference Shinto Mythology?

January 22nd, 2015 by John

Kamichu!
Question:
What are some anime that seriously delve into Japanese Shinto mythology?

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Ask John: If John Had a Time Machine…

January 9th, 2015 by John

BB_anime
Question:
If you had a time machine set to 2000 and could use it to address all the heads of the anime distribution industry in America then what advice would you give them to prepare for the upcoming anime crash?

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Ask John: Why Doesn’t a Vocaloid Anime Exist Yet?

January 6th, 2015 by John

Question:

Why do you think no Hatsune Miku anime series has come out yet? To me it seems like a no brainer, considering all the available music, video games and other merchandise available. With the multiple vocaloids already in existence you’d have quite a large cast. All that you would need is a story to put the characters in and some new tunes. Even if it sucked you’d have a lot of cash generated from it.

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Thoughts on Whispered Words volume 1

January 5th, 2015 by John

volume 1

Approaching Takashi Ikeda’s lesbian-tinged romantic comedy manga Whispered Words (Sasameki Koto) is a bit of a challenge because objective review of the series is difficult to separate from a natural American predisposition. Any popular culture media in America that treats homosexual relationships sympathetically without being pornographic practically automatically earns some respect and praise. So Whispered Words almost receives automatic credit just for approaching female homosexuality in a positive light. However, a rational, objective examination of the series reveals that the first English translated omnibus volume from One Peace Books is enjoyable nearly in spite of itself. The manga feels as though author Ikeda has a strong foundational concept but struggles to find a precise focus for the story’s tone and attitude.

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Shout-out to Dave!

January 2nd, 2015 by John

Dave from Tampa recognized me as “John from AnimeNation” today while browsing the anime section at the New Port Richie MovieStop store. We had a pleasant conversation about anime.

Then I bought a used BD/DVD copy of Fairy Tail volume 7 and a $6 (after discount) used copy of Pioneer’s old Bastard! DVD.

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Ask John: What Were the Most & Least Interesting Anime of 2014?

January 1st, 2015 by John

Wonder-Momo-kick

Over the past ten years I’ve annually compiled a list of the annual new anime TV and web anime productions that I considered the finest of the year. Regrettably, I’m unable to do the exact same thing this year because I don’t feel knowledgable enough about some of the year’s most popular titles to critique them. So rather than compile a “best of” list, I’ll provide a list of the year’s most interesting new anime, along with my picks for worst new anime of 2014.

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Ask John: What’s the Meaning of ME!ME!ME!

December 31st, 2014 by John

vlcsnap-2014-12-31-00h01m47s7

Question:
I was curious what your thoughts were on the short film / music video ME!ME!ME! feat. daoko / TeddyLoid? What is your view on the social commentary hinted at through the video?

Answer:
Director Hibiki Yoshizaki’s original anime music video “ME!ME!ME! feat. daoko” is an intriguing and provocative work because of its explicit content and more so because it offers a variety of potential interpretations. The official description of the video, “You are attacked and ravished by many girls,” immediately suggests the conventional anime trope of male wish fulfillment: the harem fantasy. However, as I interpret it, this video actually depicts the opposite side of the coin. The video illustrates an otaku convention rather than an anime trope. The video illustrates the Japanese social construct of “only loving 2D.” I’ll explain my interpretation of the video in detail, with illustrations. Given the nature and content of the video, the following screencaps will include nudity and gore.

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Ask John: What are Good “Get Back Into Anime” Titles?

December 29th, 2014 by John

Nichijou

Question:
As someone who has not watched anime in five years or so, could you tell me what you consider some of the best films or short series (13 episodes or less) in the last decade? I have always respect your opinions and look forward to seeing what you have to say.

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Reboot or Rewriting Yatterman History?

December 25th, 2014 by John

On the heels of the success of Tatsunoko’s reboot of its 1972 Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman franchise as Gatchaman Crowds, the studio is evidently now producing a reboot of its 1977 Yatterman franchise as “Yoru no Yatterman.” Criticizing the show before it airs may be unfair, and I’ll concede that I don’t know yet exactly how the reboot will develop. But the advance promotion bothers me a bit because it feels like an attempt to whitewash and rewrite the established Yatterman concept and history. Gatchaman Crowds certainly rewrote continuity, but at least it remained faithful to the core concept and thematic focus of the Gatchaman franchise. I’m not certain that Yoru no Yatterman is doing the same.

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Salute to Stones of Power

December 25th, 2014 by John

stones_of_power

Among the numerous amateur-created Japanese manga published within the 16 original issues of GEN Manga, Azumi Isora’s “Stones of Power” was debatably the most polished and professional. In fact, the refined and engaging story is actually superior to many commercially published professional manga. The collected Stones of Power is an excellent self-contained book and an intriguing introduction to characters and scenarios that demand new stories.

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Wrapping Up Raqiya

December 22nd, 2014 by John

Raqiya_5

Masao Yajima & Boichi’s cataclysmic manga tale of clashing religious beliefs upon the advent of a teen girl’s manifestation of godlike powers comes to a compelling and satisfying, although not entirely expected, conclusion in volume 5. The ending that readers get is gigantic in scope and awesome in spectacle, and also entirely predicated on story developments that have occurred earlier in the narrative; however, the climax still manages to sidestep a predictable and expected denouement, for better or worse.

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Exploring Raqiya Volume 4

December 20th, 2014 by John

Raqiya_4

The penultimate volume of Masao Yajima & Boichi’s epic anarchic fantasy Raqiya: The New Book of Revelation revolves around violent conflict on both interpersonal and global scales. The divisions are distinct, intense, and harsh, and the book spends little time allowing the reader any respite.

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Return to Raqiya

December 18th, 2014 by John

Raqiya_vol3

The first two volumes of author Masao Yajima & illustrator Boichi’s five-volume manga series Raqiya are brooding, enigmatic suspense with interludes of horror and intense violence, all steeped deeply in ancient Christian dogma. The third volume begins to accelerate the pace while subtly introducing new concepts to the narrative.

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