Anime Programming in the US
Making a Living in Manga in Japan with Felipe Smith
Lost in Translation
Details on the newest series in the long-running Gundam franchise will be officially unveiled in a live event on June 13. According to Shogakukan's Corocoro Comic magazine, the new series is titled Gundam AGE and will star three generations of "father, child, and descendant" as the lead characters, fighting an unknown enemy in an "One Hundred Years War" using a Gundam developed by the "father" character. The company Level-5 (Inazuma Eleven, Danbōru Senki) is working on "all aspects" of the series, with its president, Akihiro Hino, in charge of the story. A Gundam AGE manga will run in Corocoro Comic and hobby kits, games and cards will also tie in with the anime series.
Japanese tourism company Nippon Kanko Shoji (Nikkan) apologised for a controversy over allegations of art tracing in its moe-themed product line. Online forum users found that artwork in the company's Go-Tōchi Moe (Our Local Moe) merchandise, featuring characters linked to famous Japanese locales, bore close similarities with artwork from series such as K-ON!, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Utawarerumono. Nikkan has acknowledged that it did not exercise due care to ensure artwork did not infringe upon copyright and will recall the products and redesign them, and offered its apologies on the matter.
YAMAHA announced that it will release Vocaloid3, the latest version of its vocal music synthesis software, at the end of September. First released in 2003 and updated in 2007, Vocaloid is the software behind popular characters such as Crypton Future Media's Hatsune Miku. Amongst other updates and improvements, the new software will allow support for Chinese, Korean and Spanish vocals, in addition to the current Japanese and English capability. YAMAHA also announced that it will create new Vocaloid characters using CUL, the Vocalo Revolution television program's mascot character voiced by Eri Kitamura, and Lia, a singer known for her theme songs for the anime series Air and Angel Beats!.
Finally, Sanrio and the Dutch company Mercis announced that they have settled the lawsuit over similarities between two of their characters, and will instead donate money to the quake relief effort. Last year, a court in Amsterdam ruled that Kathy, a Sanrio mascot character who is friends with Hello Kitty, was "too similar" to Miffy, the rabbit character created by illustrator and children's book author Dick Bruna, and banned sale of products featuring Kathy in some European countries. Sanrio launched an appeal that asked for the trademark on Miffy to be lifted. However, in last week's press release, both companies have agreed that the money spent on legal proceedings would be better used to "rehabilitate and reconstruct" Japan in the wake of the March 11 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake (Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) disaster, and will donate 150,000 euros (about 17.5 million yen or US$220,000).