News Weekend Wrapup: 17/4 - 23/4
Pioneering anime director Osamu Dezaki passed away this week at the age of 67. Making his directorial debut with Ashita no Joe in 1970, Dezaki developed techniques iconic to anime still used today, including split screens, lighting effects and using painted 'freeze frames' to end dramatic scenes. Dezaki's many titles include Space Adventure Cobra, Black Jack The Movie, Nobody's Boy - Remi, The Rose of Versailles, Golgo 13: The Professional and several episodes of Astro Boy and Lupin the Third; he also co-founded anime studios MADHOUSE and Studio Annapuru. He is survived by his brother and fellow anime director Satoshi Dezaki.
Japanese-American actor George Takai (Star Trek TV series' Dr. Sulu) linked to a fan petition last week opposing the alleged shortlist of actors being considered for leading roles in the live-action film adaptation of Akira. The petition, in the form of a Facebook event, protests the casting of white actors as non-Caucasian characters in Akira and other live-action films. The shortlist, which includes names such as Robert Pattinson, Chris Pine and Justin Timberlake, only lists white actors.
A five-part discussion between manga creators Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, Negima) and Kentaro Takekuma (co-creator of Even A Monkey Can Draw Manga!) about manga publishing and the future of manga has been translated into English. The frank discussion includes topics such as manga provided free with advertising (such as in Akamatsu's current J-Comi project), manga creator salaries not rising to match cost of living and publishers looking for new talent in fan-oriented events and websites such as Comiket and Pixiv.
Popular Japanese video sharing website Nico Nico Douga has released a beta English-language version. Existing Nico Nico Douga accounts can be used on niconico.com; users can also create a new account or log in using Facebook. The website allows the same video commenting feature popular on the Japanese original, and the website states that premium accounts will be available in future.
Finally, magazine Jump Square announced that a new Rurouni Kenshin anime is in the works. The Rurouni Kenshin manga by Nobuhiro Watsuki (Gun Blaze West, Buso Renkin, Embalming - The Another Tale of Frankenstein) was adapted into a long-running TV series, two OVAs and the Rurouni Kenshin: Ishin Shishi no Chinkonka [Requiem] film. The new anime was revealed in conjunction with the announcement that the OVAs and film will be released on Blu-Ray, and a PSP game was released last month. More information on the new anime will be released in future editions of Jump Square.