The Month in Review - March 2002

Apr 1st 2002

Scott Green's Month in Review

March 2002

Interesting March Releases

Bandai released Jin-Roh, Oshii Mamoru's (Ghost in the Shell) retelling of Little Red Riding Hood in a fascist Japan.

Viz release the first collection of Yu Watase (Fushigi Yûgi)'s Ceres: Celestial Legend, and the samurai action Vagabond about the "Sword Saint" Miyamoto Mushashi. They also release the European looking sci-fi manga No. 5.

Dark Horse Comics released the collection of Adam Warren's Dirty Pair Run From the Future. The sixth and final volume of Akira, and the first of Astro Boy were released.

Central Park Media released Maetel Legend, a two episode OAV with the history of Leiji Matsumoto's Queen Promescium, Esmeraldas, and Maetal.

Pioneer released the first Card Captor Sakura movie.

TOKYPOP released the first collected volumes of Cowboy Bebop, GTO, Marmalade Boy, Skullman manga series.

Upcoming Releases

Excel Saga

There is little doubt that in recently years the release that anime have most clamored for is Excel Saga. ADV Films will be releasing the first 5 episodes on DVD on 6/11. Extra include ADV Vid-Notes, Clean Open/Close, Japanese Open/Close, Japanese Video Piracy Warning, Original Japanese Trailers, Production Sketches.

Excel Saga is an amphetamine-paced comedy about Excel, a girl who recently graduated, who takes a job working for an attractive would be world conqueror. Excel isn't the model for sanity, for example, she takes in a stray dog to server as emergency food. Her partner is Hyatt, a low energy girl who coughs up blood and dies a lot.

The series features episodic parodies of genres of Eastern and Western media, but adds in odd mixes, such as mixing Rambo style action, and character design and melodramatic moments from Leiji Matsumoto, Fist of the North Star and even Di Gi Charat.

Anime on DVD has posted an advanced review of ADV's upcoming Excel Saga here;

His and Her Circumstances

Right Stuf has finally announced a relase date for for the first volume of His and Her Circumstances (Kare Kano); May 28th.

From Gainax, with production by Toshimichi Otsuki (EVANGELION, SLAYERS, NADESICO), chief direction and story by Hideaki Anno (EVANGELION) and character design by Tadashi Hiramatsu (EVANGELION) comes Right Stuf's latest release: His and Her Circumstances (Kare Kano)!

Story

Pressure is high for Yukino Miyazawa to succeed, to be loved by all, and to be simply... the best. After working so hard to become the top student at her school, a new competitor has arrived to tumble her from her self made pedestal: Arima Souichirou. The instant she met him, she hated him. He topped her every effort without even trying. Now Yukino is putting her hard work into plotting her revenge, but was love part of the plan?

Getter Robo and Blue Seed DVD Set

ADV will be releasing box sets of Blue Seed, and Getter Robo. Getter Robo: Armageddon Power Pack will be released on July 23rd. The retail prices will likely be 59.98.

Escaflowne Movies Releases

Bandai has announced that the Escaflowne movie, A Girl in Gaia will be released on July 23rd, Overlapping Realtime Storyboards, Isolated Score Audio Track, Theatrical Movie Trailers.

The movie will also be released in as an "Ultimate Edition DVD Box Set) with the sound track, and bonus material including Staff and Cast Interviews, Escaflowne Premiere Event Interviews, Musical Performance by Maaya Sakamoto (In Japanese & Korean), Widescreen Letterbox, Anime Expo Premiere Footage, The Making of the Escaflowne Theatrical Poster Gallery for 54.98

Gaia - a mythical realm ruled by sword and sorcery and immersed in blood and violence. Thrust into a conflict she doesn't quite understand, Hitomi helps aid the young Prince Van as they embark upon their journey of discovery. The battle over a legendary suit of dragon armor, Escaflowne, has begun.

Based on the story by Shoji Kawamori (Macross Plus) Character Designs by Nobuteru Yuki (X, Record of Lodoss Wars) Directed by Kazuki Akane (Ronin Warriors) Music by Yoko Kanno (Cowboy Bebop, Brain Powered)

Bandai will also be releasing a Limited Edition DVD Box Set (10,000 units numbered) of the Escflowne TV series for $199.98.

The box set will inclde an exclusive action figure, DVD Box, music videos, and creator interviews.

GTO Back on VHS

Right Stuf has learned, due to many requests, TokyoPop has decided to release GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka on VHS.

Viz Announces Final Ranma Season

Viz has announced that the first volume of "Ranma Forever," titled "Initiation Nite" will debut on bilingual DVD and dubbed VHS on June 10th at $24.98 and $19.98 respectively.

Votoms Production to Stop

NuTech Digital, whose production of Votoms was plagued by delays, and price increases, will be discontinuing the title. Right Stuf is running a sale on the series' box sets.

Licencing News

Disney Acquires Sen to Chihiro

A Screem Daily article; reports Disney has acquired the North American rights to Hayao Miyazaki's Sen to Chihiro (also called "Spirited Away"), who has already acquired the rights to the film in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and France.

According to the Screen Daily article, after being highly criticized for the way they handled Mononoke, Disney is working to quickly on releasing Sen to Chihiro to theatres, possibly as early as July this year. They have contracted Pixar's John Lasseter to serve as a creative consultant on the English dub, however no voice actors / actresses have yet to be announced.

Nausicaa.net; is stating that Madman Entertainment will be releasing "Spirited Away" in Australia will a possible theatrical run in late 2002, and a VHS/DVD release in early 2003.

Live Action DBZ Rights Acquired

According to the Hollywood Reporter 20th Century Fox has acquired the film rights to develop a franchise based on Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball series.

Pioneer To Release Strawberry Eggs

Pioneer has announced that they will be releasing Strawberry Eggs; a series about a man desperate for a job, who has to cross-dress in order to get a job as a PE teacher at a local school. The DVD release will feature an art gallery, a glossary of Japanese school terms and culture, live-action television ads for the show that ran in Japan, and interactive character commentaries on the other students.

"I, My, Me - Strawberry Eggs" was released in Japan in 2001. Pioneer was unable to acquire the Seiyuu segments which were kept as an R2 premium extra by the licensors. The American release will be on release on four DVD with a 4/3/3/3 episode distrobution.

Melty Lancer Update

Based on a hidden trailer in Bandai Z=Mind, it looks like ADV has passed on the series, which they announced the acquisition of at Katsucon 2000.

Melty Lancer is a five episode series about a group consisting of a recently releases convict, and a group of delinquent girls who protect earth from zealots, and alien criminals.

X News

Anime on DVD reports a new interview with English dub voice actress Wendee Lee (Dirty Pair, Cowboy Bebop, Love Hina) here;reveals the English dub for the recent X TV series will soon begin at "Bang Zoom!". While did not reveal which company had licensed the series, Pioneer confirmed that it was their title on their website a short while later.

Cartoon Network News

According to Toonzone.net's News Forum Hamtaro will be starting on Cartoon Network this July.

From the press release: "When ten-year old Laura moves to a new town, she is not the only one who has to make new friends. Her pet hamster, Hamtaro, also needs to get used to new surroundings and find new hamster friends. This series follows Hamtaro and his gang of hamster pals, known as the Ham-Ham Gang, as they join forces to solve problem and embark on countless adventures. Currently one of Japan's hottest children's television programs, Hamtaro will make its U.S. debut on Cartoon Network in July 2002."

Other plans for the next season include:

* Fifty-four new episodes of Dragon Ball Z starting in September. Dragon Ball Z airsb exclusively on Toonami, Cartoon Network's action-adventure franchise.

* Thirty-eight new episodes of Dragon Ball will air on Toonami this year.

* The launch of the new Saturday night action edition of Adult Swim with premieres of animé series Yū Yū Hakusho, Gundam 0083 and Pilot Candidate.

Big O Season 2?

According to a recent update at Anime Daisuki, the second season of Big O will broadcast in the United States (Probably on Cartoon Network) sometime next winter before being broadcast in Japan.

Big O combines noir detective stories with the monster of the week giant robot genre, Philip Marlow meets Voltron. Forty years ago a mysterious event robbed the citizens of Paradym City of their memories, Roger Smith is the negotiator, a contractor who specializes in solving problems. He is along the owner and pilot of The Big O, a robot made with forgotten technology. The end of the thirteen episode series introduced far more plot elements than were resolved in the series.

Other News

Gundam in North American Theatres

Jerry Chu stated "Escaflowne isn't the last movie we're doing this year," suggested the Bandai Rep. He wouldn't however divulge the exact details on which film was next and when it would be coming out, other than to say "Gundam."

Lone Wolf 2100 Preview

Dark Horse Comics has posted a preview of their first issue of Lone Wolf and Cub spin off Lone Wolf 2100 here.

"Part homage, and partly a re-imagining of the original Lone Wolf and Cub manga, this special project is being done in association with MegaHouse (the authorized licensors of Lone Wolf and Cub), and under the watchful eye of Kazuo Koike, the writer and co creator of Lone Wolf and Cub."

Coastal Studios to Dub You're Under Arrest Movie

Anime on DVD has learned that ADV has taken fan advice, and will be using Coastal Studios to dub the You're Under Arrest movie and specials. You're Under Arrest follows two women traffic cops, the cool headed/ace driver/mechanic Miyuki, and the brash Natsumi. While the original OAV series and TV series (released domestically by AnimEigo, or the in the case of the TV series not yet released) mix light comedy with some drama the movie featured a more violent and suspenseful script.

Coast Studios' English dub of the OAV is considered by many to be one of the best English dubbings of an anime series.

New Details on Cowboy Bebop movie Dub Revealed

Anime News Service reports that the official Japanese Cowboy Bebop web site is starting that the cast that Bandai used for the English Cowboy Bebop dub will be used by Columbia Pictures for the American release of the movie, Knockin' on Heaven's Door.

As a sign of Japan's waning interest in the series, the site was closed at the end of March.

Harvey Award Nominees Announced

Comic's Harvey Awards announced their nominees for 2001. Manga nominees include Akira, Dark Horse Comics, and Lone Wolf and Cub, Dark Horse Comics for "Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work", Digital Chameleon -Akira for "Best Letterer", and Akira, Dark Horse Comics, Lone Wolf and Cub, Dark Horse Comics, and Super Manga Blast, Dark Horse Comics for "Best American Edition of Foreign Material". The awards will be present at the 15th Annual Harvey Awards Banquet on Friday, April 26th at the Pittsburgh Comicon. Super Manga Blast is Dark Horse Comic's manga anthology, which features series such as Club 9, 3x3 Eyes, What's Michael?, Shadow Star, and Seraphic Feature.

New Shirow Masamune Gun Dancing Manga Release

From Anime News Service: Shirow Masamune's (creator of Ghost in the Shell) manga Gun Dancing, previously distributed by Kodansha over the internet on its service E-Manga (fees apply), will be released in hardcopy on 22 March 2002. Price 2,200 yen. The manga will also be released with a T-shirt on the same day for the higher price of 3,000 yen. here;

Harmony Gold Addresses Japanese Macross Ruling

Harmony Gold has issued an official statement in response to the recent Japanese legal ruling that ownership of the Macross license belongs to Big West and Studio Nue, not Tatsunoko. According to Harmony Gold representative Alan Letz, the recent Japanese ruling applies only to Japan and has no effect on the American distribution of either Macross or Robotech.

There is no way to tell at the present time if this Japanese ruling will effect the possibility of future Macross anime releases in America.

Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure Release Update

According to a message post to Anime on DVD's forum by Cindy Yamauchi of Super Techno Arts, Inc., they are disappointed that they could not release the series this summer.

She also mentioned that they're going to release some new information on it during Sakura Con this spring, as well as potentially some info about Robot Carnival and Sci-Fi Harry, Cindy went on to ask for a 'submissions list' of sorts in this thread for who you'd like to see be involved in a theoretical Robot Carnival 2, where very different artists and directors produce various short anime films. Provided she gets a decent enough list, she'll forward that off to Tokyo. See here.

Yamato Legal News

Anime News Service report, in Japan, Space Battleship Yamato creator Matsumoto Leiji's legal action to prevent Nishizaki Hirofumi describing himself as author of the anime Uchuu Senkan Yamato has been dismissed. Nishizaki was producer of the anime series. Judge Iimura Toshiaki of the Tokyo District Court today held that Nishizaki's detailed participation in the creation process entitled him to be known as author of the film work pursuant to article 16 of the Copyright Act. Manga author Matsumoto Leiji's role in the creation of the movie was said to be a partial role. Matsumoto has said that the decision is unfair and that he will appeal - "without his presence, not one frame of the anime could have been produced". In 2000, Nishizaki was sentenced to 5 years 6 months jail for drug and possession of illegal arms offences; the matter is presently the subject of an appeal.

Blame! Web Anime

Anime NewsService reports, with the movie version of the manga Blame! to screen in Japan the winter of 2003, a webanime version will commence distribution on the internet on 7 June 2002. The web anime version will consist of six episodes, each of five minutes' length.

Blame! takes place in a bizarre, completely artificial world known as "Cyber Dungeon", descibed as"combination of Aeon Flux, a Fantasy-Style Dungeon, Clive Barker's Hell (as per Hellraiser), and a collection of H.R. Geiger's art.". The hero, Killy is traveling upwards through this world looking for a cure a genetic disease.

There is a good Blame! manga site here.

New Anime from Gainax

Anime Dream reports that Gainax is preparing an Anime adaptation of The Melody of Oblivion (Boukyaku no Senritsu) Manga.

3x3 Eyes manga to End

From Anime News Service The 3x3 Eyes manga ends in Japan around May, YanMaga is releasing a reissue manga box set from the beginning, check these sites in Japanese for details: http://www.yanmaga.kodansha.co.jp/ym/top.html; http://www.bookclub.kodansha.co.jp/yoyaku/comics/3_3eyes/

New Naoko Takeuchi Manga Debuts

After several years in semi-retirement following the completion of the Sailor Moon manga series, Naoko Takeuchi is back at work. The April cover dated issue of Nakayoshi Magazine includes the 44 page premier installment of Takeuchi's new manga serial Love Witch. The debut chapter of this new magical girl series introduces 13-year-old Ai Anjyu, her family and friends, and ends with Ai's transformation into the "Love Witch."

Bandai Announces Huge Initiative To Disseminate Anime Via Broadband

From Anime News Service On Monday in Tokyo it was revealed 4 companies composing the Bandai group have invested in a newly formed company "Bandai Channel" which will soon begin broadband internet distribution of Bandai Visual and Studio Sunrise's vast library of Animation titles from September 2002. Sunrise director Matsumoto Satoru was announced as president of Bandai Channel upon launch on March 1st. Starting capital for the company is 10 million Yen. Bandai has invested 55%, Sunrise 30%, Bandai Visual 10% and Bandai Networks (5%). Content to be contributed will be derived from over 180 works (1,800 hours) that Sunrise has produced and holds copyrights to as well as Bandai Visual's library of 370 works. Mobile Suit Gundam has been named as one of the first series to be confirmed for the channel. Bandai is hoping to make the video contents available across a wide spectrum of venues with the advent of high speed data transfer technologies such as ADSL and Cable Internet. Viewers will be able to access from Internet Cafes, PC's and current generation game machine consoles. But beyond the existing protocols, emerging technologies such as mobile phones are already being foreseen to serve as platforms for transmission.


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