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Universal Sony Home Pictures to Release Anime in Australia

Australian distributor to start releasing anime titles to the Australian market;

Universal Sony Home Pictures Australia (USHPA) was discovered to be planning to release anime in Australia through the Anime at Abbotsford facebook page on the 16th of January 2013 and later confirmed on the website of the Australian Classification Board by Madman Entertainment's Madboards. More titles were then advertised in Australian home entertainment trade magazine ScreenPrint by USPHA.

The titles are as follows;

Shakugan no Shana

High school student Sakai Yuuji is suddenly drawn into a age-old conflict between the forces of balance and inbalance when he encounters a "Guze no Tomogara", creature from another world. He is defenseless against the monster's attack but Yuuji is saved by a sword-wielding girl with flaming red eyes and hair known as a "Flame Haze", a hunter of the Tomogara. Sakai befriends and names the girl "Shana" and joins her in the fight against the Tomogara.

Shakugan no Shana is based on the light novel series written by Yashichiro Takahashi with illustrations by Noizi Ito (illustrator on (The) Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya light novels). The series was published by ASCII Media Works between November 2002 and November 2012 and published a total of 26 light novels in the series. This was then adapted into a television anime series which ran for three seasons of twenty four episodes each, two original video animations for a total of five episodes, an animated film and four specials. All three seasons are produced at J.C. Staff under direction from Takashi Watanabe (Slayers, Ikki Tousen) with series composition and scripts by Yasuko Kobayashi (Claymore, Casshern Sins). Art direction on the series came from Shin Okui (Genshiken) with animation director Mai Otsuka (Astarotte's Toy) working on the character designs and Kô Ôtani (Eyeshield 21) providing the music.

The Japanese dub has Rie Kugimiya (Alphonse Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist) voicing Shana and Satoshi Hino (Saito Hiraga in The Familiar of Zero) as Yuuji Sakai with Kristian Ayre voicing Yuji Sakai and Tabitha St. Germain (Rarity in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) voicing Shana in the English dub.

Shakugan no Shana was originally released in North American by Genon but when they withdrew from the market Funimation took over production and release of the series. The first season and OVA have been previously released in Australia by Madman Entertainment.

Shana's release will be on a Dual Blu-ray and DVD set, the first season release will contain the 24 episodes of the first season over three Blu-ray and four DVD discs containing both Japanese and English dub tracks. Season 2 part 1 and part 2 will also be released at the same time with 12 episodes per part over two Blu-ray and two DVDs. These three releases (Season 1, season 2 part 1, season 2 part 2) will be released on the 24th of April 2013. The OVA's will be released sometime in June and season three will follow in August.

A Certain Magical Index

Academy City is a technology advanced city that exists in a world of magic. The cities purpose is to study and develop the scientifically based superhuman powers of people known as Espers. Kamijou Touma is a student studying in the city that is ranks as a level zero esper with no powers as his only skill is to negate any power, be it magic or science. He ends up crossing paths with a young girl named Index when she literally drops into his apartment while trying to escape from the powerful magic organisation Necessarius. It turns out that Index is a literal index of all information, with her brain being a library of hundreds of thousands of rare and forbidden magical books. Of course that very fact makes Index a highly sought after individual with people from both magic and technology camps trying to claim her knowledge for their own purposes and it falls to Touma to protect Index from them all.

Based on the light novel series of the same name, A Certain Magical Index was written by Kazuma Kamachi, illustrated by Kiyotaka Haimura and published by ASCII Media Works with 22 novels being published between April 2004 and October 2010. The anime adaptation was produced by J.C. Staff and ran for 24 episodes from October 2006. The series was directed by Hiroshi Nishikiori (Gad Guard) with the series composition and screenplay handled by Masanao Akahoshi (Freezing) and Yuichi Tanaka (Last Exile) handling character design. Voice acting talent in the Japanese dub includes Atsushi Abe as Touma, Yuka Iguchi (Tsukihi Araragi in Bakemonogatari) as Index and Rina Satou as Mikoto Misaka (Negi Springfield in Mahō Sensei Negima!?). The English dub includes Micah Solusod (Tsutomu Senkawa in Birdy the Mighty: Decode) as Touma, Monica Rial (Mina Tepes in Dance in the Vampire Bund) as Index and Brittney Karbowski (Kanon Nakagawa in The World God Only Knows) as Mikoto Misaka.

Funimation has released the series as both streaming and on Blu-ray / DVD in North America.

A Certain Magical Index will be released on DVD season 1 part 1 and season 1 part 2 on the 24th of April 2013. Each release will contain 12 episodes over two discs and will have the English and Japanese dub tracks. USPHA does have the rights to the second season called A Certain Magical Index II but there is currently no release date it. However the spinoff, A Certain Scientific Railgun, is slated to be released in June 2013.

© Kazuma Kamachi/ASCII Media Works/project-index

Armitage III The Complete Saga

Poly-Matrix is set in 2046 where humanity has colonised Mars through the use of robots with two distinct generations of robots becoming closer and closer to humans. Detective Ross Syllibus is transferred to Mars after a robot incident which resulted in the death of his partner and the crippling loss of his leg, but on the flight to Mars a famous musician is murdered on the flight. Syllibus is partnered with with Naomi Armitage, a female cop with issues, and ordered to investigate the murder of the singer. This soon reveals the existence of a third generation of robots that are identical to humans in both looks and feelings. And in discovering the existance of the Thirds they uncover a conspiracy hidden by the Martian government and have to fight to save not only their lives but the future of the Thirds.

Dual-Matrix is set several years after Poly-Matrix, Ross and Naomi are happily married and have since had a child but are living in secret due to societies' belief that robots do not deserve equal status with humanity. When Ross is presented a opportunity to grant Thirds the same rights as Humans, he flies to Earth only to end up on the run from a sinister group looking to restore the third project and must again fight alongside Naomi to protect his family and the future of the Thirds.

Armitage III was originally produced as a four episode OVA in 1995 which was then re-cut into the feature length Armitage III: Poly-Matrix in 1996. Then in 2002 the sequel Armitage: Dual-Matrix was produced. Both projects were produced by AIC and based off the original manga by Chiaki J. Konaka (Big O, Hellsing) who also wrote the screenplay for Poly-Matrix alongside Akinori Endo (3x3 Eyes). Poly-Matrix was directed by Hiroyuki Ochi (Sol Bianca: The Legacy) who also handled character designs. atoshi Saga, Takuya Satō (Steins;Gate) and Yukio Okamoto were also involved with the direction with music by Hiroyuki Nanba (Burn Up W). Dual-Matrix was directed by Katsuhito Akiyama (Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor), Makoto Bessho (Shangri-La) and Takuya Nonaka (Coyote Ragtime Show) on a screenplay by Hideki Kakinuma (Gall Force), Nahoko Hasegawa (Hidamari Sketch) and Satoshi Wada with art direction by Nobuhito Sue (El Hazard - The Magnificent World).

Armitage III had Hiroko Kasahara as Naomi Armitage and Yasunori Masutani as Detective Ross Sylibus with the English dub being supplied by B.G. Mills as Naomi Armitage and Hank Wilspank as Ross Syllibus. Armitage III: Poly-Matrix's English dub has Elizabeth Berkley as Naomi Armitage and Kiefer Sutherland as Ross Syllibus. Then Armitage: Dual-Matrix has Hikaru Hanada as Ross Syllibus and Ryoka Yuzuki as Naomi Armitage with Skip Stellrecht and Juliette Lewis supplying Ross and Naomi's voices in the English dub.

Kiseki Films originally released Armitage III in Australia via bootleg VHS and Madman Entertainment later released the movies on VHS and then DVD.

This release will take the form of a three DVD disc set with Armitage III on disc one, Armitage III: Poly-Matrix on disc two and Armitage: Dual-Matrix on disc three. The collection will not be released on Blu-ray at this stage. Armitage III The Complete Saga will be released on the 24th of April 2013.

©1997 AICPioneer LDC, Inc.Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P.

Haibane Renmei

Rakka dreamt of falling from the sky and then awoke, born from a large cocoon into the Old Home and greeted by a group of females with wings and halos that all resemble Angels and are introduced as Haibane. Rakka soon gains her own wings and halo and is sent off to work in the nearby town of Grie. There she starts to discover more about the world and that they cannot leave the town due to the tall imprisoning wall that surrounds Grie. Alone and scared, Rakka is supported by her fellow Haibane as she searches for the truth behind their existence.

Haibane Renmei was conceived as a short dōjinshi by Yoshitoshi ABe in 1998. Yoshitoshi ABe reworked the concept and later published two chapters of "The Haibane of Old Home" dōjinshi from 2001. "The Haibane of Old Home" was adaptated as Haibane Renmei in 2002 and ran for 13 episodes on Animax and Fuji TV. The anime was produced at Radix and directed by Tomokazu Tokoro (Hellsing Ultimate) with music composition by Kô Ôtani, art direction by Shinji Katahira and character designs adaptated by Akira Takata. Rakka is voiced by Ryou Hirohashi (Sora Naegino in Kaleido Star) in the Japanese dub and Carrie Savage (Mokona in xxxHOLiC) in the English dub.

The series was originally released on DVD in North America by Geneon Entertainment which was later acquired by Funimation in 2010. Madman Entertainment previously released Haibane Renmei in Australia.

USHPA's release will be on DVD on the 20th of June 2013. The series will not be released on Blu-ray at this stage.

© Yoshitoshi ABeAureole Secret Factory.

Serial Experiments Lain

The world is connected by "the wired", the combined sum of human communication networks. Lain Iwakura is an ordinary high school girl who has no experience with computers, but one day her dead friend suddenly emails Lain and informs her that she isn't dead but has "abandoned the flesh" and found god in the wired. This email starts Lain on a journey not only into the wired but also through her own thoughts as she starts to discover reality is not what it seems.

Serial Experiments Lain is a 13 episode series which first aired on Tokyo TV back in 1998. Yoshitoshi ABe created the series and designed the characters alongside producer Yasuyuki Ueda (Hellsing) and Chiaki J. Konaka (Armitage III) writing the scripts. In a interview with Ueda he revealed that the series was intended to provoke a different point of view from American and Japanese fans of the series to start a conflict of ideas and in doing so start better communication[1]. Unfortunately and to Ueda's dissapointment the fans came to the same conclusions regardless of location and culture. Produced at Triangle Staff under direction from Ryutaro Nakamura with art direction by Masaru Sato (Irresponsible Captain Tylor) and character design adapted by Takahiro Kishida (Puella Magi Madoka Magica).

The original Japanese dub has Kaori Shimizu (Kumi Kawamura in Alien Nine) as Lain Iwakura and Yoko Asada (Juri Katō in Digimon Tamers) as Lain's friend, Alice Mizuki and Ryunosuke Ohbayashi (Kiichi Goto in Patlabor) as Lain's father, Yasuo Iwakura. The English dub has Ruby Marlowe (Mahoro in Mahoromatic - Automatic Maiden and Mizuho Kazami in Please Teacher!) as Lain Iwakura and Emily Brown as Alice Mizuki and Gil Starberry as Yasuo Iwakura.

The series has previously been released on DVD in Australia by Madman Entertainment.

This release will be a dual Blu-ray & DVD combo which we assume will contain the Serial Experiments Lain restoration recently completed by Funimation (and has been reviewed on ANN here). This release is currently slated to be released in stores on the 20th of June 2013.

©1998 Triangle Staff/PIONEER LDC.

Thanks to Universal Sony Home Pictures Australia for confirming the releases and supplying further information.


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