News Weekly Wrapup - 9/Oct - 15/Oct
The first episode of the newest Gundam anime, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, is streaming with English subtitles on the official Gundam.info website in Australia, South East Asia and South Asia only. The episode will be available for a month and is also available on the website with subtitles in other languages. Gundam AGE, a co-production between Sunrise and Level-5 (Inazuma Eleven), began broadcasting in Japan last week.
Ten thousand overseas tourists will be given free plane tickets to Japan next year, as part of an initiative by the Japanese Tourism Agency of the Japanese government. Intending to promote foreign tourism in the wake of the Great Eastern Japanese Earthquake disaster, the agency is allocating 1.1 billion yen to pay the cost of return plane tickets for tourists. Applicants with travel plans meeting the specified criteria will be encouraged to discuss their travels on the internet to show how safe Japan is to travel.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation, an international copyright watchdog, published an article in its magazine discussing the effects of internet piracy on the manga industry. The article states that illegal scanning, translating, and uploading of manga began as foreign interest in Japanese works inspired fans to distribute otherwise unavailable manga titles online. It goes on to state that scanlation groups "are perpetuating a highly corrosive form of piracy" and attributes worldwide declining sales to unauthorised online distribution. However, the article also describes that publishers are launching initatives such as international magazines and tablet apps to increase the availability of manga to dissuade readers from reading unauthorised scans.
Finally, North American anime distrubitor Funimation and video streaming service Niconico have formed Funico, a joint venture to co-licence anime for home releases and online streaming respectively. Funico-licensed titles will be available to download for viewing, in addition to DVD and Blu-rays, and titles subbed in English will also be available in high-definition. Funico has informed ANN that it will endeavour to release titles outside of the the United States and Canada markets on a case-by-case basis.