Anime Programming in the US
Making a Living in Manga in Japan with Felipe Smith
Lost in Translation
Hirameki International Group, Inc. has announced that it "has decided to bow out of publishing Interactive Visual Novels as of January 2, 2008." The term "visual novel" is used in Japan to refer to a game genre that tells prose stories through interactive software. The interactiveness is limited compared to other games and usually comes in the form of synchronized graphics and sounds with story branching at selected points of the plot.
Hirameki translated and published visual novels that are played via a DVD player, visual novels that are played via a personal computer, and a DVD-based magazine called Anime Play. Among the titles Hirameki released in English were Ai Yori Aoshi, Phantom of Inferno, and Tea Society of a Witch. The Ai Yori Aoshi game and anime franchises were both based on Kou Fumizuki's manga of the same name. Phantom of Inferno was created by the Nitroplus company, which also conceived the Demonbane game and later anime spinoff, and is developing the upcoming Blassreiter television anime series with Gonzo.
In addition to its publishing business, Hirameki also opened a retail storefront at its headquarters in the City of Industry, a suburb of Los Angeles, California. As an extension of its earlier mail-order business, the Hirameki Anime Goods store carried Hirameki's visual novels as well as general anime and game goods from other companies. However, the storefront closed in November after clearing most of its inventory.
Thank you to Amber for the news tip.