Archive for the ‘Anime News’ Category

Most Valuable English Language Manga?

Friday, June 19th, 2015


Via some Ebay research I just realized yesterday that the hardcover Lone Wolf & Cub volume 1 manga is quite probably the most valuable of all English language manga by a very wide margin. Evidently hardcover copies of Dark Horse’s first graphic novel were a limited retailer incentive and now cost as much as $300. However, 230 copies were hand-numbered and autographed by Kazuo Koike on a bookplate featuring an exclusive illustration by Goseki Kojima. Those 230 numbered copies run $1,200 to $1,300 apiece. Mine is #98. I’ve owned it for 15 years and never realized how valuable it was.


Gamba Who?

Friday, June 12th, 2015

The first trailer for studio Shirogumi’s full CG Gamba: Gamba to Nakama-tachi (Gamba & Companions) movie has appeared online. The design and animation do look attractive, and I don’t know exactly how faithful this adaptation is to Atsuo Saito’s original novel, but anyone that’s watched any of Osamu Dezaki’s beloved 1975 anime TV series adaptation knows instantly that this isn’t the Gamba no Bouken that we remember. It’s not even close.


A Few Moments at Metrocon

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Metrocon 2015

Thanks to the friendly folks at St. Pete’s Anime Fix, I had an opportunity to roam this weekend’s Metrocon convention for a few hours yesterday on the first of its four days this year.



2015 Anime Research Survey Now Open

Thursday, June 4th, 2015


The annual “Anime Research” academic poll is open once again. Scholars from Texas A&M University, Niagara County Community College, and Renison University College have collaborated to compose the survey. This year’s questions have been completely renewed to delve deeper into fans’ psychological and sociological engagement with anime and help answer questions raised by fans regarding the results of last year’s survey. The survey is anonymous and should take less than 30 min to complete. Participants are eligible to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Chances of winning are 1 in 200; winner selection will be confidential and not associated with survey responses. The poll will be open from today, June 4, until July 4, 2015.

The results of the 2014 survey are available on the Anime Research homepage.


Little Witch Academia 2 Teaser Released

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Studio Trigger has just released the first trailer for its Kickstarter funded short film Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade. The sequel to the 2013 OVA will get a limited Japanese theatrical release in October after its initial distribution to its 7,938 Kickstarter backers.


Aquarion Evol Volume 2 Excels

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Aquarion Evol 2

While creator Shoujo Kawamori’s Aquarion Evol manga continues to exhibit its quirky defining characteristics, it’s with pleasure that I report that the manga’s second volume improves upon all of the weaknesses of the first book. Uneven pacing and tone, opaque narrative, and obscured battle choreography all plagued the introductory volume of the manga. All of those attributes are addressed and improved in the second book.



I Must Be Getting Old

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

KonoSuba anime announcement

Kadokawa has announced that Natsume Akatsuki’s light novel series Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o! (Give Blessings to This Wonderful World!) will be getting an anime TV series adaptation. The story revolves around a goddess who says to a Japanese schoolboy, “I’ll take you to an alternate world. You may only bring one thing you like with you.” So the boy responds, “I’ll bring you.”

Among the 22 responses to the news on the Anime News Network forum, the title is compared to Sword Art Online, Gate, Nagi no Asukara, Shinsekai Yori, and D-Frag, yet none of the responses mention Ah! Megami-sama. My first reaction upon hearing the “KonoSuba” plot summary was, “schoolboy selects the goddess to stay with him'; that’s Ah! My Goddess being combined with the traditional Leda/Rayearth/No Game No Life “transported to an alternate world” trope.


Dragon Ball Z: Fukkatsu no F Mini Review

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

A friend living in Tokyo sent me this brief review of the latest Dragon Ball Z movie:

I went out today and saw the Dragonball Z Revival of F film. Received a wrapped copy of the script as a present. Probably won’t open it. Saw previews for Ultron, The Beast and the Boy, Tensai Bakabon and a teaser for a new Ghost in the Shell film. Happily, the film shows the most intense fighting in DBZ put to film to date. Unfortunately, the pacing and the dramatic tension of the film are off, so the middle of the film is the most exciting whereas the climax doesn’t have the natural impact it should. A couple of choices seem quite odd – there’s a big tie-in to the story with the Galaxy Patrolman Jaco, which has never been animated before; Trunks and Goten are absent entirely; and Beerus and Freeza have to know each other because of the previous film’s retcon. There are also strange gaps in the plot such as Freeza’s off-screen training and Pilaf and co. meeting Freeza’s lackeys, which seem to scream “deleted scenes kept for Blu-Ray release.” Still, there are some nice little touches to this film, like Krillin being a police officer with hair and having One Piece‘s theme song as his ringtone (Tanaka Mayumi is the seiyuu for both Krillin and Luffy), Piccolo uneasily rocking Pan’s crib, and Vegeta not wanting to teleport to Earth with Goku because that means he’ll have to hold hands with him. Whereas Battle of Gods could have been a stand-alone DBZ revival, the somewhat unsatisfying F film feels like DBZ can’t end like this, there has got to be another film…. It looks like there may not be another film yet, but at least we’re getting a new DB TV series called “Dragonball Super.” The last DB TV series with original content was GT almost 20 years ago.


What is Manga Adventure #1?

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Manga Adventure #1

Anybody know exactly what this is? It’s an American comic book published in 2002. Is it translated Japanese manga or American comic art? I just acquired a copy for a dollar, but since it’s still sealed in its original polybag, my fanatic collector instinct won’t permit me to cut the bag open to find out.


Coluboccoro Kickstarter Campaign is Live

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Despite my belief that Santa Company turned out to be a highly compromised work, Coluboccoro still looks promising enough that I committed to a $100 donation.


Monty Oum Has Passed Away

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Monty Oum

33-year-old CG animator Monty Oum, creator of the RWBY web-animation series, passed away yesterday afternoon at 4:34 PM. Ten days ago Monty suffered a severe allergic reaction during a simple medical procedure that left him in a coma. Monty is survived by his wife Sheena, his father Mony, his brothers Woody, Sey, Chivy and Neat, and his sisters Thea and Theary, as well as a countless number of fans and friends.

AnimeNation extends our sincere condolences.


Asking Fans to Cover the Cost of Publishing Alabaster

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

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.


Under the Dog Gets Unleashed

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

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.


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

Thursday, January 1st, 2015


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.



Reboot or Rewriting Yatterman History?

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

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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