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2005 April Fools Jokes

4Kids Licenses Ebichu
Ebichu Minds the House to be renamed Sally Cleans House

According to a recent news announcement from 4Kids Entertainment, the New York based company has acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Ebichu Minds the House. An Anime News Network staff member was able to get a hold of Alfred R. Kahn, Chairman & C.E.O. of 4Kids, who had this to say in regards to the announcement. “Our recent goal as a company is to try and become more diverse. One way to accomplish this goal is to deal with other companies we've never had the chance of working with before. Gainax particularly grabbed our interests because we noticed how popular their shows have become with American audiences.”

In response as to why 4Kids Entertainment decided to distribute Ebichu, tentatively to be re-titled Sally Cleans House, Mr. Kahn replied, “In our goal to become more diverse, we've decided to present audiences with types of shows we haven't done before. In the past, our programming has been directed towards the young male demographic. Recently, we've chosen to reach out to female viewers as well with the broadcast of programs such as Mew Mew Power. But even though we've been able to gain a broader audience, the majority of our programming contains the elements of an average action series. We wanted to do something totally different from that. Ebichu gained our attention for a number of reasons. The main reason we enjoyed it so much was because of the simplicity of the series. The show features no super heroic characters or settings, just the basic story of a young hamster as she does her best to look after her master. This basic plot setting is what we found unique and thought it was perfect for our ideal goals”

With production already underway for the series, and plans to broadcast the series on 4Kids TV in September, no word has been made on whether or not Ebichu will be released on un-cut, bilingual DVDs. But Mr. Kahn has stated, "We'll be handling this series with the same professional quality viewers have come to expect from us. We hope that viewers get a chance to watch it, and we hope they enjoy it very much.”

Viz Unlicenses Naruto
Uses money to invest in talking-hamster research

In a stunning announcement, Viz/ShoPro Entertainment revealed its plans to sell the the North American television, home video, and merchandising rights to Naruto back to it original licensors, TV Tokyo and Shueisha, Inc.

"We began to feel uncomfortable with the idea of making piles of cash from the show," a Viz representative told ANN. "After several parent advocacy groups showed us the error of our ways, we felt it was the only logical decision."

ANN also contacted Cartoon Network, which had planned to broadcast Naruto later this year.

"Thank God, I can use my mailbox again," said an executive VP at the network. "Within minutes of our broadcast announcement, we were flooded with thousands of e-mails claiming to be from enraged mothers."

"They were all the same. 'Naruto Uzumaki, he's a mischievous little brat!' 'By choosing to broadcast this show, you are directly responsible for the moral decline of our country's youth.' They said I would rot in hell, and that my family would face eternal damnation if I allowed Naruto to reach American airwaves."

When asked how this would impact their licensing plans for 2005, the Viz representative gave another stunning response. "With California's new stem cell initiative and the breakthroughs at Johns Hopkins in placing human stem cells in rats, we asked ourselves: why not hamsters? Imagine, a real-life talking hamster! That would shut up all those folks who keep mocking Hamtaro."

Pop Idol to Star in New Anime Series
Deborah Gibson to star in new Studio DEEN animated series, "Pop Fighter."

An AP report was recently released with details on the next new animated series to join Cartoon Network's fall lineup. The full article is reproduced below.

NEW YORK, NY (AP) - Hot on the heels of her eight-page pictorial on Playboy magazine, former pop idol Deborah Gibson announced she will work on a Japanese animated TV series project. Tentatively titled "Pop Fighter," the series is a parody of Gibson's career as a top teen singer in the 1980s; only with a twist - it's a martial arts musical.

"I recently picked up anime as a hobby and found many titles to be more inspiring than anything else in my career," said Gibson. "Anime has given me a new way to share my music with everyone."

Born on August 31, 1970, the artist formerly known as Debbie Gibson made a name for herself in 1986 with her debut album Out of the Blue. A string of other hits followed, and at the age of 17, she became the youngest recording artist to compose, produce and perform a number one hit: the ballad "Foolish Beat." Her second album Electric Youth (1989) also scored big with her second number one single "Lost in Your Eyes," but her career hit a downward spiral afterwards. Her follow-up albums flopped in sales, and guest appearances on TV shows like Street Justice and Beverly Hills, 90210 did nothing to help her reputation.

Since then, Gibson pursued her first love: Broadway. Throughout the past decade, she landed roles on many of the world's top musicals such as Grease, Les Miserables and Disney's Beauty and the Beast. But despite keeping a good-girl image, she made headlines by posing nude for the March 2005 issue of Playboy magazine.

Pop Fighter marks Gibson's debut in an animated feature. For the animation, Gibson selected Japan-based Studio DEEN, the company behind popular titles like Ranma 1/2 and E’s Otherwise. Gibson herself will compose the soundtrack and try her part in voice acting as she will play her own character.

This isn't the first time a western music celebrity has starred in an anime. In 2004, the Russian duo t.A.T.u. were to have their own film, titled t.A.T.u. Paragate, but the project never reached its Winter release date.

Pop Fighter is scheduled to debut on Cartoon Network this Fall along with the second season of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, a locally-animated show featuring the Japanese pop duo of the same name.

Live-Action Eiken in Planning Stages
Live-action adaptation to follow on the heels of success of animated OVA

Variety has reported that film producer Jerry Bruckheimer is interested in creating a live-action adaptation of the popular Eiken manga and OVA. With a tentative budget set at $47 million, Bruckheimer has said that a script is currently being finalized, and casting calls will begin shortly.

"When I first saw Eiken, I was really taken in by the natural beauty and complexity of the story," Bruckheimer told Variety reporters. "The characters really touched me with their lives, and I wanted to be able to share that with a Western audience."

When asked who they were looking for to star as the lead females, he responded that auditions had yet to take place. He mentioned, however, that in order for the "natural beauty of the powerful, female role-models" to shine through, he was looking for women proportioned roughly similar to the characters in the anime.

"I'm really thankful towards Paramount for giving me this opportunity," he added. "I truly hope that this movie will find a place in the bosoms of moviegoers worldwide."

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