Belfast Film Festival anime screenings

March 9th, 2007 by aniki

The Belfast Film Festival has had a couple of anime pieces screening for the last few years, and thankfully 2007’s no different, with three showings of Japanese animation.

First up is a double-bill screening of Dead Leaves and Blood The Last Vampire at the QFT on March 24th, starting at 9.45pm.

Next up is The Animatrix, which will be shown at 8pm on Sunday March 25th, in the Waterfront Hall Studio.

Finally on the anime front is the big one, for me - Satoshi Kon’s latest film, Paprika, will be screening at 7.30pm on Sunday April 1st in Storm Cinemas at The Odyssey.

That’s by no means the only stuff happening as part of the festival, though - there’s also a screening of Gimme Gimme Octopus on March 28th in The Black Box, with a live score being provided by Iso9 and Deadman.

I reckon it’s also worth pointing out that Clint Eastwood’s Letters From Iwo-Jima, which has been nominated for Best Film at this year’s Oscars, is screening in the QFT from tonight (March 9th) until March 15th, at 6.30pm and 9.30pm nightly.

FUNimation on iTunes

February 14th, 2007 by aniki

FUNimation have just released three of their properties on Apple’s iTunes for American viewers.

As of yesterday, February 13th, the series’ Speed Grapher, Desert Punk and Samurai 7 are online for $1.99 on the iTunes video store.

The press release, included below, makes it sound very much like this move was Navarre’s idea more than just FUNimation; with the UK distribution of many FUNimation titles handled through Navarre’s UK distributor Revelation, a similar move could be on the cards for this side of the pond at some point in the future, depending on whether digital distribution rights are based internationally or for specific territories.

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Asahi looks at Manga Shakespeare

February 8th, 2007 by aniki

Japanese newspaper Asahi’s English version has an article online about the growing manga market in the UK, with a particular eye on the upcoming SelfMadeHero manga versions of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet.

As well as interviewing Romeo and Juliet artist Sonia Leong, the piece has brief quotes from Gollancz’s Simon Spanton, Borders’ Kim Mackay and even Tomo-Dachi’s Dani Moore.

Tomo-Dachi 2007 opens booking, announces guest

February 7th, 2007 by aniki

Pre-registrations have opened for Tomo-Dachi’s 2007 convention, alongside the announcement of this year’s special guest from the US - FullMetal Alchemist ADR director Mike McFarland.

You can book your place now at the official Tomo-Dachi website, or read the full press release below the cut for more information.

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New licenses

February 6th, 2007 by aniki

A couple of interesting licenses have pooped up in the last few weeks; the most interesting for me is Animetion’s piece that MVM will be releasing Gonzo’s Speed Grapher starting in April.

It’s questionable whether the show will make it through the BBFC uncut however - as with Gonzo stablemate Gantz, Speed Grapher has sex and violence by the bucketload. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic show with an excellent and quite original premise, but it’s certainly one of the edgier shows to come out in recent years and if you thought Gantz pushed the envelope then you could be surprised by the depths of Speed Grapher’s depravity.

Also added to MVM’s catalogue recently was Elemental Gelade, or Erementar Gerad if you prefer, according to the latest issue of NEO.

Stateside, Bandai USA have picked up the My-HiME spinoff My-Otome, while Bandai Visual have nabbed the American rights to GunBuster: Aim For The Top! 2 and FUNimation have licensed the live-action Mushishi.

Sweatdrop’s Sonia Leong artwork featured in Popcorn movie

January 25th, 2007 by aniki

Bit of a long headline, but I couldn’t think of anything snappier.

A new British comedy, Popcorn, features manga artwork from Sweatdrop artist (and Tomo-Dachi ‘06 guest) Sonia Leong which can be seen at the film’s official website. It’s unfortunately a Flash abomination so I can’t link directly, but you’ll find it in the Gallery’s “Manga” section.

The film’s due for a release in March, and stars Jack Ryan (EastEnders) and Jodi Albert (Hollyoaks).

Manga showcase disc next month

January 15th, 2007 by aniki

Taking a cue from ADV’s Bento Box idea, Manga have their own taster DVD on the way under the Manga Anime Showcase. The disc contains the first episodes of Heat Guy J, Otogi Zoshi and Noein, as well as a first look at upcoming releases like Tokyo Zombie.

The disc will cost £3.95 and is available exclusively from HMV once it’s released on February 19th.

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Evangelion stamps

January 10th, 2007 by aniki

Japan Post have announced a series of stamps which will feature characters and mecha from Neon Genesis Evangelion. The stamps will be the fifth set of the Japanese Post Office’s Heroes and Heroines of Anime, and are due to launch on February 23rd.

The official announcement, along with images of all eight stamps in the collection, is located here (Japanese).

New manga imprint launches February

January 9th, 2007 by aniki

We just got a press release from the people behind a new manga imprint by the name of SelfMadeHero, who are launching early next month.

The imprint’s big project is a series of manga interpretations of Shakespeare, starting with Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet in March. The press release (below) doesn’t contain much information about the artists involved with the overall Manga Shakespeare project, but does mention that Sweatdrop Studios artists (and guests at last year’s Tomo-Dachi) Emma Vieceli and Sonia Leong will be behind the first titles in the line.

Previews of both Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet are available from the SelfMadeHero website.

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CONFIRMED: Haruhi Suzumiya licensed

January 9th, 2007 by aniki

The appearance of a new Haruhi Suzumiya website at asosbrigade.com has prompted all manner of speculation that the series has finally been licensed for Western distribution.

Personally, I think it’s an overreaction; the WHOIS information for the domain is inconclusive - it’s registered to the 1&1 hosting company at the moment, who aren’t the guys you’d expect to hold the domain if ADV or another big hitter had picked up the series. Right now there’s not much else to go on - it’s not even clear if this is advertising for the anime or the novels at this point.

The site is claiming that, “The World As You Know It Is About To End”, with the date December 22nd pretty prominent. I guess we’ll know more then, but my advice is to take it with a huge pinch of salt.

Update: It’s been confirmed that the series has been licensed… sort of.

The show will be distributed in the United States by Bandai Entertainment, but the rights to the series will be kept by Kadokawa Pictures, the Japanese license-holder.

This is a similar situation to FUNimation’s recent acquisition of FullMetal Panic! The Second Raid - or from a closer perspective, MVM’s (until recently) UK distribution of FUNimation titles.

Whether or not the Japanese licensor’s involvement in a foreign market is a good thing remains to be seen; personally, I think that things could go horribly wrong if the Japanese misinterpret the American fans’ reactions.

Not to mention, this leaves the situation with Haruhi’s UK rights completely up in the air.

Streaming Coyote Ragtime first episode

December 13th, 2006 by aniki

I just got an email through from ADV UK that says IGN’s stream of the first episode of Coyote Ragtime Show isn’t region-locked, meaning UK viewers can catch the first episode well ahead of its DVD debut here in April.

I can’t check the link’s validity myself thanks to the firewall here at work, but the one I’ve been given is this one; if it doesn’t work, you can follow the click-through currently on Anime News Network’s Coyote Ragtime skin.

The episode is only available this week.

Con report: Auchinawa

December 13th, 2006 by aniki

Despite Stena Line’s best efforts, I made it over to Auchinawa and back safely. I attended the con with DAMA’s Colin Palin (or Butch Cassidy to use his online title), and all things considered we had a great weekend - read on below the cut for a blow-by-blow account.

If you want a quick review, jump here.

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Wii shortages in store

December 7th, 2006 by aniki

If you’ve pre-ordered a Wii, you’d do well to contact your retailer of choice and double-check that you’re getting one - some stores will be unable to meet demand, claiming that Nintendo hasn’t shipped enough units to satisfy pre-orders.

An article on The Register specifically mentions Woolworths, Dixons, Currys and even Amazon.co.uk; I’ve also heard that HMV is notifying customers of shortages.

I was in GameStop here in Belfast this afternoon and they seemed to have quite a few Wii boxes stacked up behind the counter, but they did admit they’ve not recieved any of the “Wiimote” controllers yet, despite having plenty of nunchuck attachments.

Good luck getting your hands on Nintendo’s latest, if you’ve put your money down somewhere.

4Kids quit One Piece

December 7th, 2006 by aniki

According to a post on the ToonZone forums, 4Kids will not be producing any further episodes of One Piece. The company has adapted 104 episodes of the series, which is currently around episode 290 in Japan.

There’s no indication whether the company will be picked up by another distributor in the US. Presumably 4Kids didn’t have much financial success with the show, and while an uncut version would probably sell extremely well, it’s questionable whether the early discs would make a decent impact with “casual” viewers, given that 4Kids has already released that part of the show.

Jasrac want YouTube clamp down

December 6th, 2006 by aniki

Jasrac, a group of 23 Japanese TV companies have petitioned YouTube to make a better effort to prevent copyrighted material being shared by its users.

The video sharing website removed 300,000 files in October at the request of the group, but the Japan Society for Rights Of Authors, Composers and Publishers have sent a letter to YouTube saying that their current system, which involves removing clips only after complaints are made, “is not functioning well due to the large volume of illegal uploads”.