Monday, May 31, 2004

ADV names three Korean films and Dark Water... 

TheGodOfJurai has news from PMX on several new licenses from ADV. In anime territory are UFO Princess Valkarie and some Rockman OVAs (Rockman is Megaman's Japanese name), but more interesting to me at the moment are the live-action announcements.
Rockman: Wishing Upon a Star (anime)

* Conduct Zero (Korean live action)
* Yesterday (Korean live action)
* 2009 Lost Memories (Korean live action)
* Dark Water (Japanese live action)

The thing that stuck out to me first was Dark Water, directed by the same guy that did the Ring (Ringu). It involves a single mother trapped with her son in an apartment by an evil entity of water. I've heard some say they didn't like it quite as much as Ring, but that it is in the same territory of psychological horror over gore, which I appreciate. I almost got the legit HK DVD a while back (it is really really cheap online), but I may wait on this release. As a note, this is also being re-made in the US just like Ring was (as will the HK movie the Eye).

I don't know much about the Korean movies, but the thread has some descriptions. It seems like Conduct Zero is a street gang comedy, somewhat like Grease without the music, and a bit of a harder edge. Yesterday is sci-fi, and 2009 is some sort of mystery set in the near future.

I hope these manage to be successful, since we could really use more Korean films coming out, and asian films in general that aren't hacked up by the distributer..

ADV to release Vietnam manga 

I believe this has been mentioned before, but the official press release is now up that mentions ADV Manga's "Apocalypse Meow". This was originally titled Cat Shit One and is by Motofumi Kobayashi, who aparantly also did Psychonaut (the first instance of a manga artist working on a US script).

It is described as a semi-historical Vietnam war story with bunnies as the Americans and cats as the Viet-con. Obviously this might appeal to people who have liked Maus, which is probably why they decided to release this..

Now, it seems like the Japanese homepage has the whole story online. I'm not totally sure that this is what is in the GNs, but it seems probable that this story started as a web-comic and was later collected. If that is the case, these GNs are probably full color.

The page on ADV's site is here, but nothing on there besides a summary yet.

I have to say that the style is pretty interesting. Kobayashi has a loose painted style, and all the sound effects are done using roman lettering. The animals don't look silly, and there seems to be a lot of attention to detail in the surroundings. This seems like it could be a real winner...

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Happy anniversary to Sean! 

Hey, looks like Sean has kept it going a year, despite his Attentiondeficitdisorderly ;) Seriously, Sean was one of the first comic bloggers that I was in contact with, so it is good to see that he is still around. It doesn't hurt that his name sounds like mine, too... :) Keep up the good work!

AMV Corner... 

Well, a couple of days ago, I mentioned that I'd like to do a little feature with some of my favorite anime music videos. These can be a fun way to get exposed to titles that you normally wouldn't think to watch, and IMO are a fun way to relax in and of themselves. I've been trying to think about what I should start off with, and decided to start with two fairly recent videos. One is fairly standard and one has a fairly creative concept:

First up is Euphoria, created by Koopiskeva. This combines clips from the anime RahXephon and the song Must Be Dreaming from Frou Frou. I think this is a good example of a video that manages to show a lot of imagery without giving away spoilers for those that haven't seen it yet. The creators mentions he was going with a theme of dreams, and I'd say it works well with both the song and the imagery involved.

I still haven't seen RahXephon yet, but plan on seeing it as soon as I can manage. Some have accused it of being an Evangelion rip-off, but it sounds like it also brings some things of its own to the table. You can read some reviews of the DVDs here. BTW, this was originally anime, and so the manga is the adaptation. It seems that the manga turns the series into more of a romantic comedy that some are ok with and other people hate...

I had never heard anything from Frou Frou before this, but I really enjoyed Must Be Dreaming. Their homepage is here, where you can listen to several other songs. I was impressed that the streaming flash song worked on my 56k without a hitch!

Some complaints on the video could be that the effects get a bit too busy for my tastes in a couple of spots, as well as several effects seeming too aliased compared to others. However, having said that, I thought the effects were pretty creative and fit in well with the artistic sensibility the series seems to have as a whole. Some of the painted images I've seen in books have been really lovely. I'll have to see if the character designer has an artbook.

Download Euphoria

Second is Elvis Vs. Anime by Sierra Lorna, which is actually based on a commercial music video. The song Elvis Vs. JXL - A Little Less Conversation had an mv with various people dancing inside of stacked squares, almost a Hollywood Squares effect. All the squares are obscured at first by transluscent red, but are revealed as people start to dance. Sierra decided to emulate this video by taking characters from about 12 anime series and have them dance in boxes instead.

This really is an amazing testiment to patience. It is a bit on the choppy side and some of the outlines of characters are a bit rough, but when you consider that every frame had to be painstakingly masked out, it is pretty amazing. A fun video showing a lot of creativity...

The homepage for Junkie XL is here. From the reviews on Amazon, I'm thinking I should check out some of the original releases like Saturday Teenage Kick...

Download Elvis Vs. Anime

So, I hope someone finds this helpful. If you don't like either of these, there are plenty more in other styles and series..

As an aside, I have to give props to AnimeMusicVideos.org. I think it is safe to say that the community would not be nearly as organized as it is without them! If you join (for free), you can access popularity charts and reviews which can be helpfull to see what to download. That lets you download anywhere that says Local (as opposed to Direct, which is hosted by the creator themself). They have to rack up massive bandwith costs, so don't be afraid to donate if you find it helpful...

Let me know what you think of my mini-column... :)

Anime masks vs. dolls... 

Well, Kevin linked to a gallery of kigurumi, which aparantly is the practice of dressing up as an anime character, complete with mask and flesh-colored enveloping suit. No worse than the furries or cross-dressing (and it seems many of the kigurumi are guys) I suppose, but still pretty far on the extreme side of the spectrum. If you have unending curiosity of what a stylized anime character might look like in real life, here is your chance. I think I'll stick with galleries of normal cosplayers...

Plus, as I said in the comments section, if you're going to take pictures of expressionless entities, it may as well be real dolls! ;) No cheating by using real bodies for posing..heh

I just finished reading Alice in Wonderland, so this gothic re-telling with Super Dollfie dolls was pretty fun to see:

Lots of other good stuff on Dolls Drug Kingdom if you click around. BTW, my first time trying to embed pics in the blog. :)

Update: Tivome also reminded me of this computer case mod, which encases the computer in a foam model of an anime maid. Pretty ingenious...

Paradise Kiss a Comic Worth Reading 

I just knew that Paradise Kiss would end up in Johanna's Recommended list, and I was not disappointed. That is a great review Johnanna. :)

A great story, really interesting artwork and fashsions, and very quirky characters. For those that don't know, this actually ran in a fashion magazine originally. This is one that someone should give a shot even if they've run away screaming from the more sugary shoujo out there... ;)

Dorian reviews manga... 

Dorian has some good reviews up: Angel Sanctuary, Tuxedo Gin, Tokyo Babylon, Fruits Basket, and Ranma 1/2.

He seems to love Tuxedo Gin as much as I do, which is nice to see. Unfortunately, it just didn't do it for John and James. I always hate it when I recommend something and people just don't feel the same way, but I guess there's nothing that can be done for it. I think comedy (along with horror) especially is one of those things that ends up being very personal. I always find it amazing how something one person finds hilarious another just doesn't find funny and something that scares the bejeesus out of one person is laughable to someone else. Perhaps I am just pre-disposed to penguins like Dorian. :)

As an aside, speaking of personal differences of likes and dislikes, I've noticed splintering starting to happen in manga and anime fandom in general. When things were starting out, you had a lot of fans of the medium who would take what they could get, snatching up most of the trickle of titles coming out. But with the influx of titles and numbers of fans, you see a lot more lately of people who love just mecha (or hate mecha) are mainly into romance, mainly into fighting, people almost exclusively into CLAMP, etc. Personally, I think it is a positive thing. I'm one of those people that likes tons of different stuff, but this broadening and specializing of fans and tastes I think shows the growth of the industry in general, becoming less of a niche hobby...

Anyway, back to the entry. I really need to give Fruits Basket another shot, I think. I saw some of the anime and wasn't sold on it. Seemed kind of generic and the humor wasn't totally hitting it for me, but it sounds like it get more in depth as it goes on..

I have the first volume of Ranma 1/2 and loved it, but everything I've heard confirms Johanna's thought that it goes on way too long. Still, now that it is re-released in a cheaper price, I'll have to pick up at least a couple more volumes of it.

Lastly, Dorian's description of Angel Sanctuary is classic: "What if V.C. Andrews and Garth Ennis co-wrote the Book of Revelation?". If that doesn't get you to read it, what will? I tend to like crazy over-the-top stuff like this, so I really must start reading it. If only I had more $$$...

More Johanna... 

In an attempt to catch up a bit:

Chobits 6 - Everyone is pulling ahead of me in titles they're reading. Sounds good, though...

Delicious Seasons - Unfotunately, the release sounds really disappointing. Sounds like the translation is really bad with engrish and typing mistakes abounding, while the plot generic, and artwork inconsistant. This was one I was hoping to like... :( All I can say is Digital Silicon better get its production quality up ASAP or they will disappear very quickly. There is too much good stuff coming out not to spend money on badly translated titles..

Image goes cheesecake - Not a good sign...

Kenshin 1 - This title took me a while to warm up to on the anime side, but there is a reason why it has proved so popular. It started off as manga and a lot of it was never animated, so check out the original source of this superhero-ish samurai drama.

Death Takes a Vacation - I was meaning to comment on this really fun strip a couple of months ago, but forgot all about it. Check out the preview strips for sure..

Saturday, May 29, 2004

NewType and Nausicaa 3 

Well, I decided to stop by Modern Myths before yo-yo club today, looking for the June issue of NewType USA. That was in and I had $22 with me, so I decided to pick up one more thing. I almost went for Planetes 3 or Hellsing 2, but ended up going for Nausicaa 3. They also had the Battle Royale novel, which I really need to pick up one of these days.

As always, it is a joy to look through all the stuff in there. The kids section was moved from beside the door to in front of the door, which was pretty neat. I also flipped through tons of indy stuff I've seen online. Way too much stuff I need to buy one of these days...

More on NewType later, but things that caught my eye were a big fold out Toyota Scion ad with plastic transluscent overlays (it was packed in rather than binded to the magazine), a new manga (Chrono Crusade), Studio Pierott tour, and bazillions of other things.

The second Tokyopop TV ad... 

Well, I managed to catch the second version of the ad on the new combined G4TechTV yesterday. This time they cover Shutterbox, Kill Me Kiss Me, and DNAngel. Pretty much the same as the first commercial, but I found it interesting how they mentioned cross-dressing in regards to Kill Me Kiss Me. Also, I'm pretty sure all three of these are aimed primarily at females, and KMKM is Korean.

Edit: Whoops, mentioned KMKM was Korean, but forgot to mention that Shutterbox is from an American creator. This ad manages to stuff in three countries of origin. :)

ADV to release live-action Korean films... 

In the middle of this press release on some Korean anime and manhwa they're going to be releasing, there was also this:

...in future months ADV Films will also release an astonishing roster of live action Korean features as well. Expect the first of these live action titles to be announced very soon.

IMO, this is quite an exciting development! Korean's movie industry has been doing really well lately, getting a lot of international acclaim. I'm really interested to see what titles they plan on releasing.

Also, I'm pretty sure they'll be given a lot more respect than Buena Vista would. I believe I read recently that ADV is now the 4th largest video distributer in the US. If they decide to really get into live-action in a big way, that could really be a good development..

Friday, May 28, 2004

Marvel's secret pact... 

I'm sorry, but this is one of the funnier things I've read in a while:

Why are there so many different X books and Spidey books. Now, i know DC has a ton of Bat books, and Super books, but why doesn't Marvel come up with better titles for the books. What does UNCANNY mean that ASTONISHING doesn't? And is X-TREME xmen more intense story-wise than the other books?

Marvel must have made a secret deal with a thesaurus company.

Megas XLR 

Hah! Shows what I know... I kept hearing about Megas XLR as a funny show involving a fan culture (games, anime, etc). I haven't had access to Cartoon Network, so I never saw any previews or episodes. I stumbled on the homepage today and guess what?

I saw one of characters and went "Oh! I remember this..." This thing started out as a short on Cartoon Cartoon, which spawned so many of CN's good shows. I remember it being fairly entertaining, so it is pretty neat that it got its own series. However, it was also the kind of thing where I hope they have enough material for a whole series without running out of ideas. I'll have to see if I can track down some episodes...

Seriously, Cartoon Cartoon was one of the best ideas that CN ever had. So much good material has come out of it. The same thing goes for the Liquid TV block that MTV had. I wish more networks would do this, having short-form animated stories from different (frequently no-name) creators that might become a series. This is the sort of thing that many manga anthologies do in Japan to find new talent, and I'm glad to see Tokyopop attempting it as well. Who can say when some weird idea might prove amazingly popular with fans out of nowhere?

Your Manga Minute... 

Troy has a new Your Manga Minute up. This time he covers the Korean title The Boss (high-school brawling with doses of comedy), Hong Kong title Top Speed (street racing in color), and Crying Freeman (old-school assassin story from the writer of Lone Wolf and Cub).

Well, I have to say that I haven't read any of these, but they all sound quite interesting to me. He also links to this preview of The Boss, which I haven't had a chance ot read yet.

Actually, I did see an episode or two of the dubbed version of the Crying Freeman anime years ago and it was trashy fun. I'm curious how the original compares. I'm going to guess it is at least a bit better considering the writer involved, though it certainly won't be something for the kiddies to be reading. BTW, this is another title with adult protagonists and a realistic art style, for those unhappy with the number of teen stories out right now.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

More on wonder... 

Scott's entry on the loss of a sense of wonder prompted a really interesting exchange in Kevin's comments section:

And yes, I was talking about super-hero comics. While I enjoy non-super-hero comics, I think super-hero comics are still the superior choice for drawing kids into comics.

Tom Spurgeon:

The kids I know seem just as excited about their favorite comics, their favorite TV shows, their favorite books, and their favorite movies as I was about whatever crap that rocked my world when I was a kid.

If the kids I know are awed by manga and Harry Potter, I was bowled over by Spider-Man and Lord of the Rings, and my dad was knocked out by Terry and the Pirates and Sherlock Holmes, what's the difference?

Well just take out the super and just say hero and we got it covered.

I don't think I've ever seen someone really point out how things have changed over the years in quite that concise a fasion before. When I was a kid, I was big into certain fantasy novels and Image comics. A lot of kids don't want to buy old anime or manga because they think it looks old. But there's always something new on the horizon. And when you have such a big choice of topics now, it is more difficult to settle into any one thing, superheros or otherwise. As I mentioned on Scott's post, I think the theme vs. surface trappings also come into effect (which I've written a lot on before). I think the fact that this enclave has been about one particular thing for so long, really does make it more afraid of change than most, in the same way that Disney typecast itself and most of the medium of animated movies into being musicals about fairy tales.


More on TokyoPop at WWE 

John (oopsie!) has some good manga links, and one thing he points out is Augie's WWW report. I saw someone quote his take on that one disasterous DC panel, but I never got around to reading the whole thing. To steal Sean's quotes:

TokyoPop set up a little reading library with bean bags, chairs, and sample issues to read through.
The few times I passed by the TokyoPop booth, it [the male/female ratio] seems to be about 80/20 in favor of the women hanging around.

Augie also mentions that female attendance in general was up, and that a lot of them were doing things like art or going through back-issue bins, not just as girlfriends dragged along for the ride. This is such a positive thing! The more of an equal representation we have the fanbase and industry, the the better things will be. It has been WAY too lopsided for a loong time now.

Just ordered two things... 

Rightstuf tends to have weekly deals on specific things all the time, as well as sales on particular publishers at times. Right now they have 40% off of all Funimation titles (nothing there grabbing me enough to get, considering I am low on funds right now).

However, I couldn't help but get the first Saint Seiya DVD, which was only $5.99! Five episodes of cheesy greek mystical battling madness! I was going to give a link to it, but aparantly it ended some time today. I had put off getting it until this morning, so it seems like I lucked out!

Considering the cost of shipping, I decided I should put one more thing on there. The Nausicaa volumes seem a bit harder to find than most other manga in B&M stores (probably due to the sizing), so I got the second volume of that. If you've been reading the blog for any length of time, you know it comes highly recommended. If I had more $ (and didn't own it already in the old version), I'd have snatched all of them up by now..

It looks like they also snuck a Viz sampler onto the order for free, so that is very cool. :) A DVD and manga for $21 including shipping. Not too shabby I must say..

For the current weekly deals, Tsukikage Ran is a fun samurai comedy. If you've seen some of Kurosawa's movies or Zatoichi, you'll be familiar with the setting. But this involves a deadpan female samurai and a somewhat brainless female kung-fu expert. It is the second volume, but is pretty episodic and good fun.

Assemble Insert is supposed to be fun.

If you're into music, those sound track packs are a really good deal.

Brigadoon is a good series, but it is just as cheap at DeepDiscount (cheaper when you consider no shipping there).

Chance Pop is supposed to be good, and hard to beat that price, but is the second volume. I'm sure it'll be in the middle of plot, but might be worth checking out as a preview..

Fake is pretty fun, and good if you're curious about the whole Shonen Ai phenomenon. Again, it is just as cheap at DeepDiscount...

Dreamland Japan is a great informational book on manga. Definitely grab this if you haven't already..

His and Her Circumstances is great from what I've seen of it. A school romance title that takes a serious look at how people mask their real feelings in order to be popular. Highly recommended and that is an amazing deal. I'd grab it if I had the $55 to spare..

Mazinkaiser is cheesy retro-mecha fighting madness. Fun stuff from what I've seen about it. One of those shows that is real but a parody of itself at the same time. Pretty nice deal..

Utena Sound track is great judging from the music I've heard in the series. Again, no pressure as it is cheap at DeepDiscount.

The Sailor Moon boxes are good deals and these won't be availible forever due to the license running out and won't be renewed any time soon. If you want to see the original un-cut series in Japanese, this is your chance. Again, if I had more money.. SM is fun for what it is..

No manga in there this time unfortunately...

Marvel mini-anthologies at Target?? 

Wow, how'd I miss this discovery by Marc-Oliver until now? Marvel aparantly has magazines in a rack in Target (near the action figures) with Marvel Age and some others. Each of them contains five issues of the particular title, for $4.99. This definitely sounds like a step in the right direction, and I hope it works out.

[thans Sean for the heads-up]

On Marvel prose.. 

Bah, looks like I lost the post during internet weirdness. Let's try this again..

In regards to the news of Marvel releasing prose novels, it makes me wonder. A lot of people have talked lately of how many fans might be fans of mostly superheros and not so much of the medium itself. If that is true, novels might be attractive in that you'd tend to get a lot more story for less money than with a comic book. I know Marvel has done novels before, but it'll be interesting to see how a whole line fairs. I have to say it'd be kind of odd if an industry of its own was spawned of superhero novels, but it doesn't seem impossible to me either...

FanimeCon... and piñatas 

Franklin linked to this article on FanimeCon, which is surprisingly well done, and with a couple of funny quotes. Behold:

As ugly is to an ape, so is cute to anime. Because of dangerously soaring insulin levels among anime fans, organizers held a 200-word essay competition asking which anime character most deserved to be clubbed to pieces for the high crime of supercuteness. At the convention, the winning creature will be presented in piñata form for summary destruction.
The convention takes place simultaneously with the rerelease of the original Godzilla. Gojira ought to be the convention's mascot. Like the King of Monsters, anime was, at first, misunderstood, carelessly dubbed by idiots and disrespected by critics. And like Gojira, it's seemingly invincible.

See, THIS is why american comics are in trouble. Where are the piñatas?

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Tokyopop at Wizard World East 

Well, it seems like TP hasn't just replaced CrossGen in the sales charts. According to Heidi's WWE report:

In a telling sign of the times, Crossgen's old spot in the front of the hall was taken by TokyoPop, which did portfolio reviews and handed out samplers to an enthusiastic but not overwhelming crowd.


Star Wars changes.. 

Well, if you haven't heard yet, it seems like the Star Wars Trilogy set coming out will have even more changes than the Special Editions. AICN did the post with the final scene of RotJ having the original Anakin (Sebastian Shaw) being replaced. Everyone assumed at first it was fake, but with Digital Bits saying they have multiple people inside collaborating it, that lends more credibility. They also show a picture of Emperor Palpatine replaced by Ian McDiarmid.

Better news is that supposedly the CG Jabba will be replaced with a more realistic one, but geeze... These are just two pictures, but what about the rest of the movies. Is the unmasking scene and every scene of Palpatine going to be replaced somehow?

And if the Greedo/Han scene is still modified on who shoots first, it is all-around icky. Here's hoping the original versions somehow are released some day...

In better news, digital bits lists D.A.R.Y.L. and Explorers as coming out soon. Go 80s! :) Now, where's Flight of the Navigator and Jumpin' Jack Flash?

Manga creators with highest income tax 

Yukino Miyazawa posted some fascinating statistics on income tax for some manga creators in Japan. Rumiko Takahashi (of Inuyasha, Ranma, etc. fame) paid out about 1.5 million dollars US. The author of Detective Conan paid 1.35mil, and Prince of Tennis author about 1million. However, someone pointed out that forming a corporation can avoid being on this particular list, which is probalby why Akira Toriyama (of DBZ) isn't on it.

Obviously most manga authors come no where near this (and are probably in worse shape than in the US for the low part of the scale), but it is nice to know that some people can get rich if their properties get huge popularity, as they tend to have stakes in the royalties of things like merchandising...

Monday, May 24, 2004

A Remote mystery... 

Megan Lavey has a review up for the first volume of a manga called Remote. It seems like this is a mystery series, but aimed for a somewhat older crowd than Kindaichi Case Files or Detective Conan. I'm unsure about it just from the description, so I think I'll try tracking it down at a local B&M store and take a closer look. Either way, nice to see more mystery titles coming out...

Richard Biggs of B5 dies suddenly... 

Gah, what depressing news. Biggs played Doctor Stephen Franklin on Babylon 5 and was a great actor to watch, not to mention playing a very positive african american character. Judging from some biographies I just read, it sounds like he was just as good a person in real life. A real shame...

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Meetings and contests and five balls... 

Well, I was at the local Dog Bite meeting on Friday, and while the crowd wasn't huge (I think having it the third friday of the month instead of second threw people off), it was a lot of fun. Mostly it was me, Nick, Alex, and TheWeirdOne hanging out, while craziness went on in the background (there was these really long balloons that they had kids blowing up which became little missles when deflated..). It was pretty warm, but snack time actually had those little ice cream cups, so that was cool.

Nick was doing a lot of practicing compulsories for Northeast Regionals, which got me off of my butt to start practicing as well. For anyone curious, the list is here. If that is all correct, I'll need to figure out a different yo-yo to use (because of no binds allowed)..

Got the chance to do a bit of diabolos, poi, and juggling also, so that was fun. The interesting thing is that yesterday I decided to fuss with my juggling again, first working on doing wider and higher than usual with 3 and 4 balls. Then I practiced 5 and was surprised at how well I was doing, especially since I haven't tried it for a while now. I actually got in 20 throws at one point, which might be a record for me. I think I really need to make some effort to get more solid with 5 balls. This gives me some confidence that I can actually get somewhere with it...

Saturday, May 22, 2004

A very fun movie party... 

I just had a whole lot of fun at a movie party. Now, this isn't a party where a movie was shown or movie finished production. This one is just beginning. As I mentioned a while back, Marty and Warren are making a movie called Magdalena's Brain with their company Glowing Screen, Inc (of which I am the webmaster). Check out the press release for more info. on the movie itself.

The meeting was a cool gallery type area that reminded me of some of the older buildings in STCC. We had live jazz music from the band that will be doing the score. The band was really good and is called Kakalla with two CDs at Warren's Rotary Records. I think it'll help the movie a lot to have a band like this instead of what you might expect. Also, aparantly few movies actually have jazz soundtracks, which make get some jazz fans in to see it.

There was also a ton of good appetizers and a little cafe area with a variety of drinks. I don't drink alchohol, but I didn't end up drinking anything at all, though prices seemed decent for stuff like juice. Eating a couple of strawberries seems to eliminate thirst. And Jake can attest to the fact that the strawberries were very good. :)

Lots of people from Veritech of course, some of which have since moved on to other places. Was great seeing EJ and Daryl again, as well as Jen and Jake. Also a lot of relatives of people that I know, who you don't get to see so often. Also got to meet some of the actors and others involved. A shame that Deb didn't make it, though...

The person who was probably the most interesting to see was Mark Vadnais again. I'd talked to him on the BBS ages ago and we even met a couple of times, but then lost touch. It turns out he is friends with Marty from the days when Marty worked at a comic shop and ran a video store. A very cool guy who is very much into movies and a bit of comics as well. Be sure to check out his blog. After talking with him, I think I really do need to get an RSS reader to help with keeping track of everything...

After a time, everyone went across to the building where the movie will mostly be shot, an old abandoned mill now called Open Square. They have full use of the five floors of the building, though I believe it'll mostly be shot in just one one section. Old crumbling wood floors and high ceilings. The hum of the water wheel which still runs and provides power to the building. I think it'll add a very cool vibe to the movie... I'm going to petition that they somehow get a scene with the scary machinery in the cellar into the movie. ;)

I have to say that I'm really glad I went to this. I have a tendancy to shun big gatherings like this, and sometimes I feel out of place even among friends, but this worked out well. Lots of good people and conversations. I think I really need to put some effort into the website to make it more than it is now. If we can have stuff like forums and a blog-like diary and photos of the actors, I think that'll help a lot for the publicity of the movie.. I'll have to get everyone's opinions on what we should have going...

I probably should have went to the "Art Party" that was held a week ago (in the same place), which was a gathering of local artistic types. I think I'll have to be adventuresome and go to the next one..

Friday, May 21, 2004

Capsule Store Pictures 

Yes! Finally some good pictures inside a capsule store in Japan. Have you ever seen so many toy dispensers in one place before? I seriously have to visit one of these at some point in my life. :) Also, when you're on a page with a single picture, you can click the pic again for an even larger image. If you look at the third one big, you can see a machine with really big capsules on the left marked as 200yen (around $1.80).

BTW, the gallery shows one of Japan Pop Tours and there's some fun pictures in there.

Dorkin on manga... 

Franklin mentioned Dorkin's journal because of his rant in the entry about Tsui Hark's decline. However, there is also some interesting stuff in the comments section, where Dorkin ends up defending manga:


"I'd like to see Tin Tin get into American mainstream, and hope his books outsell this manga crap (well, it's mostly crap)."

"Most everything is crap. Manga is nothing but imported comics, and if comics are selling in America, I'm all for that. People need to rerlax about the manga stuff, be happy something's selling. So what if it isn't "your" comics? Do we want comics to sell or don't we? If comic retailers don't take advantage of manga because of ignorance, laziness or a bias, they're only hurting themselves. Having a problem with manga seems pointless to me, like hating superheroes or hating small press artsy books. What's the point? Get on with your work or interests and be happy something is propping up the sad American industry/medium."


"I think that even if the movies were a hit, Tintin will never become a phenomenon here like in Europe. The comics are too "gentle", for lack of a better term. But it's done very well for itself in the world, so I don't think the Herge estate is crying. Ditto Asterix.

Just mho."

"I did say manga was MOSTLY crap, not totally. I'm gaga over Otomo and Shirow. Lone Wolf and Cub are cool. I loved Robotech.

Still, I think most american comics are crap. It's just that I UNDERSTAND american crappy comics. Bad manga is just bizarre. And embarrassing. How many panties shots can they fit in one book (even when it's not geared to adults)?

No mistake, I'm THRILLED that manga's selling well. It's our new 'gateway drug' to american comics. Obviously movies about comics don't make comics sell, so I'm glad we've got something working."

"I realize you qualified it, but it's still the same old picking on manga stuff that I'm tired of hearing. Nothing personal, but this is my forum to jump down people's throats, and vice versa, only Sarah can delete posts here and you can't. It's not a Democracy, it's a kingdom of Dwarves and Chimps and yes, I rule. And don't forget, zombies patrol the perimeter.

I hope some of you know what that's all about or I'm looking sillier than usual. Anyway:

If panty shots are embarrasing (I'm not a fan of "fan service, myself", I prefer pornography, or hyuk hyuk, actual sex) -- then WTF do you think when you see the American T&A garbage displayed in everything from Wonder Woman to Thundercats? Bad gaijan comics are just as bizarre, man, we're just used to them. Shi? Lady Death? Vampirella? The White Queen? Liberty Meadows? Everyone, chime in. We're just as bad with the drooling sad fanboy crappola. Think outside your brainbox and try to make heads or tails out of Cerebus from a foreigner's POV. One head explosion, coming up. There's a reason nobody has shown much interest in translating Milk and Cheese -- they literally don't get it. The pop culture, the puns, the non sequitors, the cartoon gag imagery, the bulk of the jokes and references. Same with Eltingville."

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Ebooks and AMVs (a new direction?) 

Well, as you've probably noticed, I'm not not finding the time to do much link-blogging. I'd say that several other blogs have it covered very well anyway, so I don't feel too too guilty.. ;)

What else to blog about? Well two things have come up of late. The first is my foray into reading books on my PDA, which is working out much better than I thought it would. So, I think it'll be good to discuss what books I've been reading (Oz!), programs for Palm, and a roundup of the various sites offering both free books and pay services.

AMV stands for Anime Music Video, the videos that fans put together to compete at conventions and give away online. I finally started to transfer the files from CD to the new computer and they are looking better than ever. These can be a good introduction to a series and a lot of fun in their own respect. I'm thinking I can do a regular feature of profiling some of my favorite AMVs, where to get them, and the anime (and songs) that they are based on.

Maybe I can put up some photos I've taken on occation as well, if anyone is interested.. I need to review some of the manga/gns I've been reading lately as well.

I think I made this claim some time in the past as well, but I think I want to get away from parroting news-related links unless no one has brought them up already. It is just so time consuming and easy to get overwhelmed when you're not just reading news but trying to remember to link to it all. If I can stick to the more obscure sites I find and try to have some re-occuring content that I can (hopefully) put on some kind of schedule, I think it'll make this blog a lot more useful in the longrun.

We'll see how well I can keep to all of this, but does it sound like it has some potential?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Amazing t-shirt folding method... 

Jen on Seq Tart has found a really interesting video showing how to fold a t-shirt in record time. I don't actually have one in front of me to try it out, but it looks like it is relatively straight-forward once you get the hang of it. Object manipulations are my forte, so I'm going to give learning this a serious shot. :)

Edit: I tried it at home and it definitely works. For those having problems with it, notice that the crossing hand has to grab onto the opposite side of the shirt before uncrossing. I'll have to practice it to get faster and less lopsided and less wrinkles, but it is definitely cool. I don't know that I'll use it for my main method right now, just because the result is wider than the current fold method, and I've usually been doing three rows of t-shirts in the drawer at the moment. Would have to go down to two using this method, but if you have t-shirts with big iron-on type logos, this gives enough room for that part not to get creased.

Linkin Park join forces with Japanese animators and Tokyopop 

Well, if you thought the Princess Ai thing was a big deal, here is something with some huge potential. This article describes two things that Linkin Park are doing for their newest video Breaking the Habit.

First of all, it seems like the entire video is being animated in Japan with the same animators that worked on the Kill Bill sequence. This in itself I don't find surprising at all, considering past videos. They've done everything from a 3D robot war to a video that included Gundam models in the room, so anime seems like it'd fit right in..

The other interesting aspect, though, is that they'll be working with Tokyopop to do a "manga" version of the storyline of the video, and might even release a DVD with the volume. Nothing is said about if it will be drawn or fumetti. I wouldn't really be surprised with either. In any case, considering how insanely popular Linkin Park is, this could be quite a revenue stream for Tokyopop...

[thanks to Philip Reuben for the news]

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Tokyopop 5th biggest company in DM (Viz on heels) 

Comicbookresources have up their Diamond statistics for April, and I found it to be pretty interesting, especially in terms of market share for the publishers.

Currently Tokyopop is in fifth place, with Viz closely behind in 6th place. The new kid on the block ADV is currently in 14th place (above MVCreations, Slave Labor, and Oni Press).

Now, it seems like the places can shift around a lot from month to month below the big 4, so who knows how different things will be next month, but I still think this is pretty telling. Who'd of thought last year that the 5th and 6th places could be held by manga publishers?

Also interesting is the Tokyopop and Viz are only 0.04% away from each other in unit share (I am pretty sure they have the unit and dollar labels reversed on this month's article). The fact that Tokyopop is a full half a percent higher in dollar share is I'm sure due to the fact that Viz's Jump line of digests are only $8 instead of $10. With them being so close, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Viz surpassed Tokyopop next month in terms of unit share...

Crossgen is really down in the dumps this month! All the way down to 11th place. It certainly isn't looking very good.

As always, the 300 comics seems like same ol same ol, while much more variety is present in the graphic novels list. Hellboy #1 drops down from 5th place to 9th place. #5 comes in at 42nd place and #2 at 79th place.

The Marvel Age books seem to be having a decent showing. Runaways comes in at 11, Spider-Man at 14, Spider-Girl at 19, and Sentinel at 21.

Manga seems to have bounced back in the list compared to last month. In April, Inuyasha #17 came in at 24th and Battle Royale #6 at 34th. This month Hellsing #2 comes in at 4th and Berserk #3 at 6th (both above Hellboy 1). Kenshin #4 makes a strong showing at 10th and Ranma 1/2 #26 manages to make 17th (keeps chugging along).

In total, about 34 out of the top 100 GNs were manga.

A random thing I noticed is that every GN from Darkhorse either has a horror element (Hellboy, Goon, etc.) or is manga (or related to manga like Megatokyo).

One thing I'm really curious about is Del Ray. They released their manga right at the very end of April, explaining why nothing shows up on this list, but I wouldn't be surprised if they managed to sneak onto the top 20 of companies next month. They seem to have managed a really strong showing on most of their new titles in Bookstores at least....

George Lakoff on the "framing" of political speech 

Usually, I try to stay away from too much political commentary, but I stumbled on this two-page interview, and found it to be pretty fascinating. Lakoff is a linguistics professor with a liberal "progressive" bent, whose main commentary is how he believes conservatives have a much better grasp and infrastructure for the "framing" of topics, giving them a distinct advantage when talking about the issues.

I like the fact that he seems fairly far from demonizing either side, and is more concerned about concrete ways to make his own side competitive, though I'm sure he does his own share of framing in the interview (the word progressive itself being at least one). It seems pretty fair overall, but I am of a fairly liberal bent myself, so perhaps some of the more conservative readers will take issue with his descriptions of both parties...

In any case, I have to say that I find the entire thing a bit frightening. When you think about the simple phrases that everyone including the media use and how they may be loaded with a particular meaning and that there are all these thinktanks and organizations and manuals and such out there devoted to it, it gives me goosebumps. I mean, it isn't like this is totally revelatory in the sense that we all know that marketers and politicians and others attempt to manipulate our perceptions for their own agendas. It is more that if you stop to examine just how deeply this stuff runs and how much of a science and business all to itself it is.....

And it isn't like Lakoff is saying there should be a revolution to try to lessen this and wake people up. His assertion is simply that these other guys with their own particular viewpoints are doing this a lot better than his group is. That they just need to step up to the plate and be more competitive, and that the telling of simple facts isn't enough. I'm sure he's right in that respect, but it certainly doesn't make me feel any better. I'd much rather neither side was going around with super-elaborate organizations and schemes to manipulate my perceptions of the issues.

I suppose at this point we're way way past the point of no return, but at least this gives me a reminder to try to be even more critical of what I see and hear and not be too too lulled into the sleepy existance of everyday life...

Record company statistics.. 

These info. has been floating around various sites and blogs lately, but for those that missed it, here is and article on there has actually been almost a 10% increase in sales of albums over last year (around 13mil more).

The key is that the RIAA has been talking about the number of CDs shipped to retailers instead of what has actually been sold to the end consumer (which is what Soundscan tracks). So, it seems that retailers have been ordering closer to what they actually sell, and as the article points, out, that can actually make for a leaner system with less returns.

Things are a bit more muddled with it comes to the world market, but here at home at least, CD sales are still on the rise, no matter what the RIAA may want you to think...

Track books on blogs... 

Today, absinthe gave a link to All Consuming, a site which tracks discussions of particular books on blogs. I have to say it is a pretty interesting idea.

Seems like you can also search and make your own personalized list. Has both novels and graphic novels on it.

Red River... 

Wow, this looks really interesting. Seems like it may be a classic action shoujo title. I'll have to do more research and see what I can dig up about the author and series..

[link from carpboy]

Gatchaman coming uncut! (and a classic anime rant) 

First, sorry for being so light on blogging as of late. I have a couple of things coming down the pipeline, but life off-line has kept me pretty busy lately. However, I can't help putting up an entry for this:

The timeless classic that spawned the hit series' G-Force and Battle of the Planets, Gatchaman is the action?filled story of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, five young heroes who must come together to defend Earth from the threat of Galactor, an international terrorist group fronted by a mysterious outer space being, and its army of mechanized menaces! Skilled in the art of ninjitsu, and equipped with special weapons, powers and the amazing spacecraft, the Phoenix, the Gatchaman team joins with the International Scientific Organization (ISO) to battle both deteriorating conditions across the Earth and the evil Galactor's attempts to conquer the entire planet. The all time classic series comes to North America uncut and uncensored for the first time in Gatchaman!

I never really had the chance to see Battle of the Planets or G-Force as a kid, but it is always great to see classic titles like these come out in their original form in the US.

As for what is already out, be sure to check out the three Gundam movies from Bandai (the original series minus the filler), the SDF Macross series from AnimEigo (see what Robotech was made from), Crusher Joe also from AnimEigo (very fun space opera), Armored Trooper Votoms (classic mecha), and Saint Seiya (gloriously cheesy classic fighting show).

I'm sure there's a lot of titles I'm forgetting, but please don't be afraid to try out some of the older anime releases. The animation may not be as slick as today's computer-painted series, but they usually have quite a lot of charm, and frequently a very good story. Out of the above, I only saw Robotech as a kid, so I'm not just talking from nostalgia. Don't be agist! Give a classic anime series a chance... :)

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Japanese lawmakers scolded for reading manga... 

I have to say that I find this to be hilarious.

Even more so because he can see them doing it. Like a teacher seeing kids passing notes in class. ;)

Friday, May 14, 2004

Great dyed yo-yo.. 

Wow, CalicoJoe has done a great job! It is like a maze pattern... very cool. :)

On rising gas prices... 

Hah, check out this picture that rick too at a station. Funny stuff!

Sony's music service already well-supported? 

A lot of people have been disparaging toward Sony's new Connect music service, but Ryan at Sellout Central uncovers an interesting statistic.

Aparantly a variety of Sony's existing hardware can play the ATRAC files of the service, totally 2.5 million compatible players! This is about the same number as the iPods that have been sold to date.

When you take into consideration that many of Sony's ATRAC players are much less expensive (a Sony CD Walkman is $80 at Circuit City) then an iPod, that bodes very well for the future of the service.

Ryan makes the bold claim that Connect will be eclipsing iTunes' soundscan sales by January of 2005. No one can say whether that will really happen, but now that I know that ATRAC is much better supported than I realized (I thought it was just a handful of their MD players), it certainly makes me think twice about iTunes being a primary source of music in terms of portability..

Thursday, May 13, 2004

EW insults Olsens with manga... 

alshannon mentions that Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly insulted the Olsen twins during a movie review by saying they have "blank manga eyes".

She was pretty put off by that, but as others pointed out, it is interesting that manga is becoming well known enough for people to even understand the reference...

More news on CPM's new yaoi imprint 

ICv2 has the information. I have to say that I am constantly fascinated by the fact that shonen ai and yaoi are doing so well and still on the rise. It is something that personally makes a lot of sense to me, but for it to actually happen is pretty cool. Hopefully certain organizations won't catch wind for a while yet...

IDT Ent aquires Manga Ent 

Hmmm, this press release is pretty big news.

These guys are really on a rampage lately. They now have Manga Ent, Anchor Bay, Film Roman, Mainframe, an interest in Archie comics, and just signed an agreement to do new Spawn animation for McFarlane...

This is especially interesting since Manga Ent. is generally one of the most reviled of the anime companies. They have a reputation for messing up stuff in general, frequently sitting on old titles, etc. It is the company that many fans usually want to see either get bought out or go under, so it'll be interesting to see how much this change of ownership affects the company. I think it could be a real powerhouse given the right management. Manga Ent. does have a pretty impressive catalog, but they've been eclipsed by many of the other companies through quite a lot of past blunders. Here's hoping this is a positive move...

[Thanks to Thought Balloons for the news]

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Finally caught a Tokyopop TV ad... 

OK, so I was watching Icons on G4, a great show that gives the history of people, companies, and particular series. This one was all about Tetris and the crazy licensing battles that went on behind the scenes, and of course the creator Alexey Pajitnov, who seems like a really great guy. It really makes me want to check out some of his other work like Pandora's Box...

Anyway, before I get off-track, a Tokyopop ad ran during one of the commercial breaks. Everyone (including me) had trepidation that it could be a horribly cheesy affair. On the other hand, it could have awe-inspiring production values with extensive animation of scenes. I'd say it falls smack in the middle, which is by no means a bad thing.

The announcer was a young male voice (probably teen?) and the commercial profiled three different titles within 30 seconds. Basically he would give a brief description of the title while individual panels moved past the screen to punctuate what he was saying. This one profiled Sgt. Frog, Psychic Academy, and Saiyuki. I find it funny that considering all of the titles out there, we actually own the first volume of all three of these, and two of them were titles Mom decided to buy herself (the latter two).

For instance, for Sgt. Frog, it gave a couple of sentances about how Keroro came to take over the world, but first he's going to have to clean up around the house, panels would be flying around and overlaying each other and him in the sink would be there when they talked about cleaning. Pretty much started and ended with their "join the manga revolution" tagline. This is standard TV commercial fare that didn't seem at all out of place with anything else.

So, I have to say that I'm pretty satisfied. No full-on animation, but I suppose that isn't all that much of a surprise. That'd cost a lot and they probalby don't have the proper rights anyway. But the moving of the panels kept it from being boring. Gave decent descriptions for the amount of time, and I think it'd probably be enough to get someone interested who didn't know about a title before. Also got to see more interior artwork than most print ads (where they just show a cover), though it went by fast.

One thing I do wonder about is if they'll keep the same announcer throughout, or mix it up. This was all shonen titles. It'd make sense to me for a teen female voice for a shoujo lineup, but I guess we'll have to wait and see if that ends up being the case.

Anyway, I'm relieved that these seem to be professionally done and seem like they actually have a chance of being effective. :)

On Tokyopop's 10 new announcements... 

Does anyone else find it somewhat amusing that out the
10 titles just announced, six are targetting girls, two are comedy, one involves romance for guys, and the last is a horror title?

This is about as far from the image of comics people have in their head as you can get. It is even going against the pre-conceptions a lot of people have of manga.

At this point, if someone talked to me about manga being mostly giant robots, I think I'd just laugh. At this point, I think abou the most you could say is a lot of manga either has a focus romance or fighting/competition, and even that encompasses a lot of ground.

I know that most of the stuff coming out is still aimed at kids, and there is plenty of derivitive titles, but I have to say I am relatively happy with the current state of the market. I'm certainly finding plenty worth reading these days...

Agatha Christie goes anime... 

Franklin also mentions that aparantly an animated version of some of Christie's mysteries will appear in Japan. This seems like it could be a fun fit, and I hope it does well and makes it to the US...

In the meantime, if you like mysteries, Kindaichi Case Files may be worth checking out. I've read the first two volumes so far and really enjoyed them. :)

Manga in Sweden... 

Franklin has news that aparantly manga is also sweeping Sweden at the moment. Too bad PW switched to subscription only...

USAToday explores manga for girls... 

It is so cool to see stuff like this lately! USAToday ran a story the popularity of shoujo with with girls along with an overview of several titles.

It is a shame to see the slam on American comics in it (without any mention of the indy creators trying to break the mold), but overall these articles are pretty positive and give a decent amount of information. What's up with them giving quotes of dialogue from the titles, though? Do they do that with other book reviews.. a little odd.

[from Kevin]

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Scott Pilgrim 

I have to say that this looks really cool. I still haven't read Lost at Sea, but it always looked like something I'd be interested it. Glad to see Bryan has new stuff in the works...

Johanna reviews more digests... 

On the heels of Chobits, Johanna now has reviews of the GNs Planetes, Kenshin, Iron Wok Jan, and Rumble Girls in her column at comics unlimited. Good stuff, as always.

I am really loving Planetes as of volume two and can't wait to read more. Kenshin took a bit for me to grow on in animated form, but grow it did. I only have the first digest manga as of yet. I'm still a bit undecided on the rest. I think sometimes these action titles can work better animated, but the comic is the only way to get the original version of the story minus some of the filler that was animated and the various arcs that never became anime. I also like the mix of humor and action, though I believe it does get more serious when it does the extended flash-back into Kenshin's past (which the original OVA is based on). I've also heard that many of the villians are loosely based on a certain superhero series (x-men if memory serves). I also appreciate the fact that the story doesn't shy away from the fact that trying to fight serious battles while not killing people is inherantly a contridiction and that Kenshin's vow puts him at more and more of a disadvantage as time goes. It hammers home that having a conviction and sticking with it can be quite difficult, something that a lot of series can take for granted in a pretty unrealistic way.

I still need to check out Iron Wok Jan, but it of course looks great. It is nice to see that another cooking title is coming out soon. Delicious Seasons by the female Chinese creator Rainbow Buddy is being released by Silicon Times.

I haven't actually read anything by Hernandez yet, but Rumble Girls does sound like a pretty interesting concept...

Tokyopop ads started yesterday 

Kevin gives an update on the Tokyopop TV ads from an article in Publisher's Weekly. It seems like they started running on Saturday, and Cartoon Network at least has them going on Toonami and the late-night Saturday block.

This means that someone somewhere should see one of them pretty soon.. :)

More on Blogger comments 

Alright.. I'm an idiot. It has a setting on whether someone can post anonymously, as a Blogger member, or as a member of the particular blog.

Update: OK then... here's the deal. It seems to be set up similar to Live Journal. You can either post anonymously (in which case you have to specify your name/url as part of the post) or need to join Blogger (free but a hassle if you aren't already).

The advantage is that comments will appear at the end of each post, and be part of the same system. I'd worry more about Haloscan dropping off the face of the earth than Blogger itself. The disadvantage is not being able to just type your name/e-mail in their own fields if you aren't a member..

Any thoughts on this? It seems like it'd be have things more consistant, but I'd hate to cause inconvenience for the commenters. This isn't the biggest blog around to begin with. :)

Any thoughts?

Update 2! I think I'm going to stick with Haloscan for now. Besides the annoying nature of the posting, frankly it is just really hard to read the comments after they are posted. Maybe it is just a case of needing a template that supports comments, but I think I'll do more research first. Also, it seems like comments are inserted from blogger.com instead of actually being published, which is like Haloscan anyway.

However, I do like the multiple pages for each post. Shorter urls and can link to something without having to show all of the entries. I also removed trackback from haloscan, since it never once got used, and I don't forsee it being that needed. I'll have to experiment more with Technorati and see if that is a bit better.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Johanna reviews Chobits 

Johanna has a good review up on the first volume of Chobits. Some people get put off by some of the sexuality in it (got the first two volumes cheap from a friend who was a priest), but I generally think it was fine the way that it was done. I need to actually take the time to read more of this series. I believe I read the first two volumes, but not the third one as of yet, which I've heard gets more into the serious plot.

BTW, as a warning, a lot of people seem to like the manga much better than the anime. From what I gather, quite a lot of filler was used early on in the anime, with most of the plot stuffed into the last couple of episodes. Seems like this is one of the cases (as often seems the case) where the original has the better pacing. Still, Mom has enjoyed it on on-demand, randomly blurting out "chi!" at times, so it can't be all bad.. ;)

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Matt Thorn's Comics Questionnaire 

I invite everyone to fill out this questionnaire and comics and manga. Matt is cultural anthropologist, who has a particular interest in shoujo (girls) manga. He has already interviewed many people in Japan on their reading habits, and is now trying to get a feel for people in other countries. The preliminary results, already have some interesting statistics. It'll be interesting to see what else can be deducted if more results come in.

Thorn also has some other good resources on his site, such as a history of american romance comics and essays on shoujo. This exerpted article looks to be interesting as well, about the domination of the doujinshi market by girls.

Thanks to Libby for e-mailing me to remind me about the questionnaire. I saw it posted in several places but then forgot to post about it.

Japanese comic anthologies.... 

So, recently Shane Bailey and James Moar decided to check out a Japanese anthology and give a synopsis of what series were in it. You can find Shane's look at here, and Moar's look at Morning here.

I don't own any anthologies myself at the moment (besides the american Jump), so I figured my best bet to help out was to ask people on a manga board. I think it has petered out for now, but there were a couple of very nice entries.

Andrew Cunningham looked at Afternoon, Weekly Shonen Jump, and Sunday. musouka looked at Bessatsu Hana to Yume. Ribby listed the titles in Nakayoshi. philip listed titles in Ribon and La La with hopefully descriptions to come later. jupiterstar looked at Shonen Magazine.

So, some really good stuff between the two entries and the thread. I'll probably bump the thread in a couple of days to see if anyone else has any information.

On a related note, Emily has a nice list of Shoujo Manga Phonebooks, including shonen ai stuff.. Not sure how old these descriptions are, but the main site seems like it has been updated recently, with more manga summaries.

There was also an attempt last year to list all the anthologies by publisher here. It links to the homepage of each of the anthologies, which is pretty helpful if you want to dig around a bit.

I hope we can see more of this kind of information in the future. Schodt's two books have a lot of information, but nothing covering the last 10 years or so. At this rate, I may try to pick up an anthology to two to see what's up. There is so much heresay that goes around from people that don't have direct contact from Japan (including me). It is great to get a bit more of a sense of what's really going on.

Thank you Robin! 

Go Robin:

I think it must be a new internet law: Every Comment on The Growing Popularity of Anime/Manga Must Invite A Corollary Comment on How Crap It All Is.

I read such posts and it just makes me shake my head. Back in the early 90's I was lucky to find comics in bookstores. Now, since I live a town where the only comic store isn't worth talking about, I have to rely on the big chains...where manga keeps eating shelf space. Jesus Christ! I went home the other day with the latest volumes of EVANGELION, RANMA 1/2, INU-YASHA, and GYO! There's little wrong with a phenomenon that makes such works readily available, and cheap (ish) to me.

Oh, yeah, and anime sucks, right? Any medium that exists as the primary vehicle for Studios Ghibli and Gainax to work in has more than justified its existence. So the rest is crap. So what?

New blogger features... 

Well, it looks like Haloscan is going to have some problems, as Blogger just implemented comments and seperate pages for each post, as well as a bunch of new default templates. I'm in the middle of experimenting with these a bit, but it keeps timing out as I try to re-publish the whole site (probably lots of other people doing the same thing..heh). Once I get that working, I can convert the old haloscan comments over to the new system, which will take a bit (I'll probably leave up those links along with the new comment link).

I like some parts of the new admin interface and dislike others. Par for the course...

Edit: Then again... can anyone post to the comments who isn't a member of Blogger? It seemed to let me comment automatically. Could someone who isn't a member try to use the leftmost comment and see if it works? I may just stick with Haloscan if they try some weird membership scheme...

Some notes on Comic Party... 

I know some people have talked of being interested in Tokyopop's Comic Party anthology, as it contains work from 15 doujinshi (amateur) creators. I haven't read it yet, but judging from this review, it sounds like some background may be in order.

Comic Party actually started off as a video game. A dating-sim-ish game that proved popular and was ported from the PC to Dreamcast in Japan. From what I've read online, you had to do stuff like schedule your doujinshi writing, draw it, research it, improve at art, get the fan-girls, etc.

That spawned an anime series, with a normal guy getting roped into the world of comic conventions and eventually trying to produce a popular comic. Aparantly lots of commentary on geek culture ala Otaku no Video (which was a movie that parodied anime fandom).

Judging from osaka's review, this is 15 unconnected works in the Comic Party world. It sounds like some of it is pretty interesting and gives insight on doujinshi culture in Japan, but that Tokyopop should have put in more introductory information. So, you may want to flip through this a bit first to see how confused you are by what's going on before you actually buy it... ;)

Kaleido Star - Cirque du Solei goes anime... 

It seems like everything is aligning to tell me to watch this new anime series. First was the beautiful poster in the latest NewType USA (which also appeared at the festival yesterday). Then there was discussionon Sequential Tart. That is where I finally took notice of what it was about.

Then comes a full review of the first DVD on Aodvd.

A story set in the US about a performance show based on Cirque du Solei? A very cool concept. Everyone seems to be saying it is cliched but well done, and I think I should be able to live with that. I've seen a lot of shows that do better than the sum of their parts, so I'm certainly willing to give it a shot. I'll probably pick up the first DVD if I can find a good deal on it.

Bite-sized DVDs.. 

ADV has a plan, one that another company is doing as well (can't remember.. Bandai perhaps?). Basically you get a DVD at a cheap price with an episode or two on it. You can then get a discount on the full DVD for more than what you paid for the mini. Personally, I think that is a great promotional idea. A lot of people might be willing to plunk down a little bit of money to test something out, knowing if they don't like it that they didn't pay for the whole thing (and could probably trade it with someone else) and if they DO like it, will save money on the real thing. I'll have to give some of these a shot pretty soon.

Edit: Thanks for Andrew for pointing out that the other company doing this is CPM (not Bandai). I knew I should have looked it up!

Doggy Poo 

I so have to see this Korean claymation short at some point. It is so deranged in a heart-warming way:

Once upon a time, a little doggy poo lived on the side of a road. He felt all alone in the world. He believed that nobody needed him for anything, and that he had no purpose in life. If only Doggy Poo had a reason for being, then he wouldn't give up on his dream to be useful to the world. One day, Doggy Poo meets a lovely dandelion sprout. Will she explain his purpose in life? Will she help make his dream come true?

eigoManga's Campuse Invasion 

Yikes, speaking of campuses, look at this. Everything from a Career Day with anime and gaming companies to filming of a TV pilot for MTV's new university channel. The anime/manga companies just are not letting up on promotion it seems...

Tokyopop recruits from Kubert grads 

Check out this press release. They are only one of the companies there (also are Marvel, DC, and Archie), but I find it interesting how agressive they are being with looking for new talent. Also, I can't help thinking that someone's chance of getting a short published would be better with them than at one of the other companies mentioned.

Phantom serial.. 

Nice review from Jen on the old Phantom serial. I have to admit I haven't seen much of the Phantom. Mostly the futuristic cartoon series and I think the Billy Zane movie, but it is a concept that I like a lot. Some day I need to check out more Phantom-related things.

Van Helsing... 

Man... I was hoping that this would be a good movie, but it sounds like I am out of luck. Oh well, I guess I'll just stick the the Vampire Hunter D movies...

I need to check out those Universal horror DVD sets as well...

Saturday, May 08, 2004

A day of anime... 

So, today was an anime movie festival in support of the renovation of Bing Theater (now Bing Arts Center). I missed out on yo-yo club, and I decided not to go to multi-day juggling festival at RIT (would be a lot to deal with right now), but I'm glad I went to this. It was a lot of fun. It was at a church down the street, with projected DVDs. A friend from work (Marty) was in charge of controlling the equipment and he hadn't seen any of the movies, so that was going to be good for him.

It didn't quite work out the way it was planned, though! It ends up that family issues came up and he had to come and go several times. It was just as well that I was there, as I ended up switching movies and music cds and controlling volume several points during the show, which was pretty fun. The volume was a bit scary, though. The slider was all the way near the bottom and moving it a millimeter or two would double the volume. Maxing it out probably would have collapsed the roof or something! The projector was really good. Very bright even with some light coming in past the blinds. I realized during the last movie that the left/right was reversed on the two speakers, but it wasn't too too noticible.. ;)

The movies were Castle in the Sky (Laputa), Spirited Away, Metropolis, and Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door. The first three were dubbed and the last subtitled. The owner of Bing did license the titles for showing, which was nice. They had special snap cases, but unfortunately still had those fbi warnings on the video itself..heh. The first three had good dubs, so that worked out well. I'd seen them all before, but it was cool to see them again. There was also a deaf woman there during Metropolis, so it ended up being english audio and subtitles at the same time. Unfortunately, the subtitles were pretty different from the audio! It took me a while to get adjusted to ignoring the subtitles, the opposite of what I'm used to.. ;)

I had watched the Bebop movie a week or so prior on TV in dubbed form, so it was interesting to see it both subtitled and on a big screen. I'm not used to seeing Bebop in Japanese due to having seen the series so many times on TV, but it worked very well in Japanese.

There wasn't as big of an attendance as they'd hoped for, but it was still a decent turnout. Not too many cosplayers, but there were a couple. A sailor moon and tuxedo mask, and later on Lupin and Jigen. Actually, they were there the whole time but not in costume. It was bugging me for a bit that one of them looked familiar, but I suddenly realized I'd seen him before at the Northampton after-party as Lupin. Was pretty neat that I managed to recognize him before he changed.. There was also two guys that were at the library manga meeting.

They had a real popcorn machine, which was really cool (one of the old ones with a pan), as well as real imported Japanese candy. There was pocky of course, but also some other treats I hadn't had before. Little cookie things with either cream or chocolate in them and also some hard soy balls which were surprisingly good.

There was an hour and a half in between Metropolis and Bebop. I almost walked home, but I decided I may as well stick around. I yo-yoed for a little bit on an out of the way landing (I'm shy..heh), which was right below a gated off area with some beautiful stained glass. I guess it must be an area for the priests up there. I ended up going across the street to eat at Friendly's, which is way too expensive, but oh well. I could have went without eating, but probably good to have something. They were selling t-shirts that looked pretty nice (black woo!), but were $15, and I'd already spent $10 at Friendly's. Maybe I'll grab one at a later date...

There was actually an anime club at the CT Media Play that started up last night, but I decided to miss it. I was feeling a bit tired, and the two anime being shown (Ai Yori Aoishi sequel seires and Gungrave) I was so-so interested in. But I'll probably attend one of these days. It seems like we have a sudden upsurge of fandom in the area overall...

So, all in all a fun time. I also realized I'd been drifting a bit away from anime into manga lately. Not that that is bad in and of itself, but I should make the effort to look at some of my DVDs that I haven't watched yet. I think I'm going to buy the Bebop movie DVD. I really like that movie and the world. I like having a futuristic world that is more a direct descendant of our own with technology that generally makes sense. All I can say is I wish we had Halloween celebrations here like they do in that movie. Very cool stuff.

Rightstuf.com is having some specials and an ADV sale. I was thinking of getting the third Utena DVD for only $10 and/or some Azumanga Daioh manga. Then again Deepdiscountdvd has the two Utena box sets for $60 each. Maybe I should just wait and get one of those some time. Also, I can get all seven of the Super Yo-yo manga in english from Singapore for $60 (inc. shipping), so that is something to think about. I need more $$$...

Still, I have plenty of stuff to watch and read already. I still haven't watched Grave of the Fireflies, Night on the Galactic Railroad, most of Armored Trooper Votoms (I got the whole series amazingly cheap one time), haven't watched all of Outlaw Star, Kenshin OVAs, etc. I should probably watch some of that tomorrow instead of spending hours on the computer. :)

Anyway, to bed soon. I've been pretty wired, but I think it's starting to wear off. A nice way to end the day was walking home in the dark. I used to walk that same path from school when I was little, but haven't for so long. And I love that twilight time, going by all the houses lit up with people inside...

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Anti-P2P law... 

Geeze.. I hope that this does not pass. While it doesn't out-law peer-to-peer software altogether, it puts enough roadblocks in place that it'd be extremely hard for any of them to operate. I mean seriously.. what if downloading a web browser required you to be a certain age and that you not have a special beacon installed on computer that says if can't install that kind of software? This is supposedly for protecting kids, but p2p is certainly not the only way to find objectionable material..

P2p can be used for legal distribution of any kind of material out there. These efforts to kill off an entire technology are getting kind of scary lately...

[from Jim]

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Newsarama tackles Tokyopop on TV 

It seems like the slow burn continues, now with Newsarama on board. However, they also have additional information to what has been mentioned in the past.

First, it is mentioned that print advertising will also be increased, going into Wizard, Wizard Anime Insider, Newtype, and Billboad. To me, the most interesting out of those is Wizard and Billboard, as they both are reaching out to readers that probably don't already read manga.

There is also a larger list of titles being advertised:

Sgt. Frog Volume 3, Psychic Academy Volume 3, Saiyuki Volume 3, Shutterbox Volume 2, Kill Me Kiss Me Volume 3, DNAngel Volumes 1-3, Tokyo Babylon Volume 2, Lament of the Lamb Volume 2, Priest Volume 12, Princess AI Volume 1, Doll Volume 1, Model Volume 1, Paradise Kiss Volume 1, Tokyo Tribes and At Large.

A pretty interesting aspect of that list is that both Shutterbox and At Large are from American creators (and Princess Ai sort of is). A lot of people seem to dislike At Large, but Shutterbox looks like a very good story. This is a lot more promotion than they would have at their own Studio Tavicat (well, one of the two creators is the voice of GIR in Invader Zim, but I doubt most people know that). If Peach Fuzz was out, I'd guess it'd be in the list as well. I wonder if this will influence more creators to try to join Tokyopop or submit to the Rising Stars of Manga contest?

I'm glad they're willing to advertise Paradise Kiss even though it is already completely released, as that is a great series (perhaps the connection to Princess Ai is also helping it). I can't help wondering what the Priest commercial will look like, if they are indeed animated parts of it. That could be very cool...

Now, I just need to catch one of these. Has anyone managed to see one yet? I watch TechTV and G4 a lot, but I work until after 5:30pm, so I don't now if they'll air at that time. I don't get CN anymore, so that is cut out from me...

[thanks again to Kevin for the heads-up]

Princess Ai on MTV.com 

Kind of neat to see this brief mention, though it is in combination with an arraignment. I wonder what is up with specifying Comic Fusion as the store to get it at? Either way, check out the big cover art that they have up. Pretty nice looking...

[thanks to Kevin for the link]

A bit on allofmp3.com 

So, you've probably already heard of allofmp3.com by now. A russian mp3 service with super-cheap prices based on the size of what you download. The kicker of course is the mention that you shouldn't download if your rights are not covered in the same way as the Russian laws. What that means in practice has been basically unknown, and the music labels have not commented yet.

Brad from Sellout Central has a little bit more information here. Aparantly Beetles albums are on the site, but the Beetles' estate has not authorized any online downloads. However, it turns out that Russia has an interesting facet to the laws.

They signed the Byrne international copyright agreement in 1973, but it was not retroactive. So basically anything in the world released before 1973 is considered public domain inside of Russia.

Obviously this doesn't apply to the US, where the copyright laws are much more stringent. However, what still remains up in the air is the material past 1973. Are any royalties being paid to anyone with the service? Is it legal even in Russia?

Anyway, I'm certainly not going to touch this thing until more is known. I suggest everyone else do the same. I mean if you are going to get music where the companies get nothing, you may as well use Kazaa. If the company actually is giving some money to companies for newer material, things get a bit more into moral grayness. I'll probalby just stick to stuff like Magnatune where it is all upfront and the artists are for sure getting decent $.

Some inspiration for Castle of Cagliostro? 

M. Campos happened to mention that the film Castle of Cagliostro (featuring Lupin III and directed by Miyazaki) had some tributes to an older animated film. It turns out the film in question is the b&w animated film Roi et l’Oiseau (The King and the Mockingbird). Later in the thread, Jerome Lantz pointed out this page, which gives more information on the film. This and other influences are talk about on this page. Good stuff, and perhaps I can track down that film some day...

Monday, May 03, 2004

Some more Rising Stars of manga... 

A Lompoc Valley (CA) news site has this article up on two of the newest Rising Stars of Manga creators, locals Ashly Raiti and Irene Flores.

Overall, it is pretty good, but it is interesting to see how manga is propped up and differentiated from American comics:

These are not the comics we are all so familiar with and they don't come from the same sources either. Manga can be found in high-end bookstores like Barnes & Noble, B. Dalton, Borders and Waldenbooks as well as fine comic book stores.


What separates manga from the rest of the comic book world is the story forms it uses and the fact that a greater percentage is purchased by females. You will find more stories of drama, romance and comedy along with a good dose of fantasy, action and horror.

"American comics are more superhero-centric," explained The Rising Stars of Manga Editor Mike Paniccia. "(Manga) is mainly found in bookstores and they tend to be black and white where American comics are saturated with color." Pannicia also pointed out that comics have traditionally been a male dominated marketplace.

[Thanks to Kevin for the link]

Chris Oarr Goes to ADV 

Hmmm.. now this is pretty interesting. I wonder how many people involved with western comics are now also involved in the manga industry to some degree? I know a fair number of writers help with english adaptations...

Sunday, May 02, 2004

The Last Galactus 

For those that missed it, Behold!

Some impressive Cosplayers.... 

OK, I know a lot of people get scared by people in costumes. They may have seen too many overweight male Sailor Moon people, or even a guy trying to be like Tron. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't some really really good stuff out there. Check out this page. Now, it does seem like most of the images are stolen from other sites, and most of the comments are lame, but it is a nice collection of images. While most are anime, there are some from games like Final Fantasy and Metroid. There's even a very good Jack Sparrow and G.I. Joe character (can't remember her name) in there.

Personally, Master Roshi was very funny to see, it was cool to see 80s Dirty Pair, Samus Ares is way cool, the Magnetic Rose is EXACTLY like the anime, and the RE2 Zombie is pretty fun. I don't think I've ever seen an Akira clown done either, which was pretty refreshing. I just saw the Naruto couple in the latest Jump, and they look quite realistic. I'm not familiar with Terra and Locke, but the fact that it does look like an Amano design is telling. Star Scream is classic, and Big O must be really hard to walk around in..heh. The one he thinks is digimon is really Alien Nine, and is pretty neat. The other Terra and Locke are neat also, and you can't go wrong with Link. Time to get out your sewing machine. :)

Thanks to Fencedude for the link.

iDuck thumbdrives 

Come on... I dare you to say these aren't cute? :) The funny thing is that Mom say me looking at these and commented that it must be the work of people in Japan. I was about to argue with her, but then I saw that she was correct... ;)

Mary Jane preview... 

So, the preview of Mary Jane is now up. The artwork looks nice, but unfortunately there are no text balloons in it. As I said in the thread itself, and in a previous entry, I am skeptical of how well this can do. Still, the artwork looks nice, and some people in the thread really like the dialogue the author has done in previous titles, so that gives some hope. Now, if it can just manage to get the proper distribution...

Me and Tim and manga... 

I just have to link to the resurrected TCJ Shonen Jump thread, because of the big reams of text me and Tim Broderick are sending at one another. ;)

Tony Isabella and manga... 

You may or may not know that Tony Isabella runs a regular column called Tony's Online Tips. One good thing about it is that he has covered quite a variety of titles, including some manga. I usually agree with his assertions, so here is a link to his columns dealing with the subject. I'll stick with 2003/4 as those have descripions on the archive pages:


GTO, Iron Wok Jan, and Astro Boy

Cannon God Exaxxion

Tenchi Muyo and Dragon Ball

Metropolis and Dragon Ball Z

Clamp School Detectives, Cowboy Bebop, Fake, Initial D, and Love Hina

Gate Keepers and Onegai Teacher and some mail about Fake.

Iron Wok Jan, Lupin III, Pet Shop of Horrors, Under the Glass Moon, and Vampire Game and a little mail.

Demon Diary

Excel Saga

Boys Over Flowers and Futaba-kun Change

Shonen Jump overview

Shonen Jump again


Eerie Queery (Ghost)

Ceres and Alice 19th along with some general comments on manga.

Responding to mail on manga

Rurouni Kenshin

Raijin Comics Part 1 - Slam Dunk, Fist of the Blue Sky, City Hunter, Bomber Girl (ick), and Baki the Grappler.

Raijin Comics Part 2 - First President of Japan, Guardian Angel Getten, Revenge of the Mouflon, and the Barefoot Climber short. I never actually knew what Mouflon was about, but now I have to say I'm interested in it.

Nice job Tony!

Midori no Hibi preview 

A while back I mentioned the new manga/anime series about a guy who gets a girl for a hand. It turns out that the first chapter is online here. It is in Japanese, but it seems mostly self-explanitory. Rough guy with a good right hook.. girl has a crush on him. Wishes to be a part of him. REALLY becomes a part of him... He is not so happy about this... Hijinx ensue! [thanks to John Spain for the link]. If it got translated into english, I supposed I'd end up getting it. I'm a sucker for these kinds of stories with fun crazy plots...

Pictures of a manga shop in Japan 

May as well stay on the Japanese shop kick, and show you this thread from Millarworld. Check out the bazillions of digests in that place. I know much bigger shops also exist... It really is just like a normal bookstore isn't it?

Japan, land of the rising... Vending Machines! 

Laura pointed out this great link, a gallery of some of the vending machines in Japan. Everything from eggs, to toys, to fishing, to toilet paper, to fried foods. Basically they have vending machines for almost everything and they appear everywhere. Click on the image for Kids Toys, which despense plastic eggs of "gashapon". Little figures from various anime and games. If you look closely, that picture shows Lupin III, Sailor Moon, Godzilla, Namco, Initial D, and Chobits among others. There are even some stores devoted to those machines. You could fill up your house with tiny figures. :) As for the infamous machine at the very end, it is true that they did exist, but I think I read that they were recently outlawed for sanitation reasons...

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