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The Month in Review - February 2002

Scott Green's Month in Review

February 2002

Interesting February Releases

February saw the beginning of Bandai's release of the first volume of the Love Hina anime series (on DVD), and TOKYOPOP's release of the manga series. The first DVD release, "Moving In" was also available with a box to hold the series.

Love Hina is a relationship comedy about a young man who fails to get into the prestigious Tokyo University, a goal that was to fulfill a promise to a childhood girl friend he was separated from at a young age. Instead he ends up as manager of his relative's hot spring/boarding house for girls, thus beginning anime/manga's typical boy surrounded by odd girls story. Bandai opened a Love Home page at lovehina.bandai-ent.com

Urban Vision released the horror action Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.

Right Stuf released the fourth and final volume of their horror series Boogiepop Phantom, and a box set of the series' four volumes.

Synch-Point's release of "I'm Going to Be an Angel" volume 1 was to be this month, but it has been delayed indefinitely.

Bandai release the first of the two volume Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, a six episode OAV that looks at the One Year War from the perspective of a child.

Pioneer released the first volumes of the highly anticipated Soul Taker, the Oh My Goddess super deformed comedy Adventures of the Mini Goddess, Vol. 1: The Gan-Chan Files, and Sherlock Hound.

Adventures of the Mini Goddess is a super deformed (big head, small body) comedy version of Ah! My Goddess. The 15 minute shorts feature the childish inventor Skuld, and her trickster/temptress sister Urd as they torment the rat Gan, in various ways. Such as marrying him off to a tea pot.

Viz released the first issue of the Big O manga, and TOKYOPOP started the Gundam Wing Endless Waltz Manga series.

ADV Films News

In a move welcomed by many anime fans, AD Vision has announced that the 6 episode Golden Boy OAV series will be released on two DVDs beginning on April 23rd. "Golden Boy: Treasure Hunt" will contain bilingual OAV episodes 1-3 and retail for $29.98.

ADV announced on Anime on DVD's forum that Spriggan will be released on April 23rd. The released will include anamorphic transfer with 5.1 English and Japanese audio and English subtitles, production sketches and English commentary.

www.sprigganthemovie.com lists more Spriggan showings including March 1st Rice Media Center - Houston, TX March 26th Duke University Media Center - Durham, NC G&S Entertainment - Marietta, GA

From Anime on DVD's report on the Katsucon convention. :

ADV is planning at least three, and seven total they'd like to, theatrical releases this year; including one of the Gamera movies and Parasite Eve.

ADV now has most of library that belonged to the now defunct Streamline.
Upcoming releases include:
Crying freeman, Megolopolis, Zone of the Enders, Rurouni Kenshin OVA Series 2, Sakura wars OAVS, Original Dirty Pair, The Samurai, Slayers next (movie/ovas presumably), Nadesico Movie, Your Under Arrest motion picture, You're Under Arrest SPecial OVA's, 5 min movie prequal, Yuki Torai Virtual Idol, LadyDeath, SiN 2, Medabots, Southern Cross, Mospeada, BT'X, Aura Battler Dunbine, Bura (?), Triangle Sessions, City Hunter movies, New Cutey Honey (3d cg, supposed to be gorgeous, Colorful, Dark Millennium, Edens Bowy, Rui, Neo Ranga, Ninja Resurrection TV, Milk-chan, Wonderful

ADV is looking for more Golden Boy, a six episode series about a lecherous young man who leaves college to experience life. Its humor, which can be risqué has won it many fans.

They will have a whopping total of 5 subtitle tracks on excel saga, a new item with "jiggle counter technology" (which was first introduced in Plastic Little and ADV now wants to trademark it), piles upon piles of extras and Cross membership cards for characters and blanks to fill in.

They are looking into making promotional baseball cards of the girls' baseball team series Princess 9.

ADV has DVDs planned, 7 a month through 2006

Anime on DVD reports that during the recent Ushicon anime convention ADV Films announced their acquisition of the series Bt'X, a fighting robots series from "Saint Seiya" 's Masami Kurudama. It was also stated AnimeTrax will begin releasing 3+ CD's per month starting in April of this year.

To celebrate their 10-year anniversary ADV is releasing Devil Hunter Yohko Collection 1 on May fourteenth. The 2 disc set will include the original and special versions of the first three episodes, with trailers, and commentary by Matt Greenfield, David Williams and Janice Williams

AnimEigo News

AnimEigo via their FAQ, that they were working on the You're Under Arrest TV series, "We're hard at work subtitling and dubbing it. As of 2/19/02 we're actually about half done. The first set of DVDs will be coming out in late spring. Hopefully of 2002."

The Kimagure Orange Road Box Set is in replication. Anyone interested in pre-ordering the set should do so soon.

You're Under Arrest follows the mostly humorous, but sometimes-dramatic lives of two Japanese policewomen, the rational, and mechanically inclined Kobayakawa Miyuki, and the impulsive and strong Tsujimoto Natsumi. The manga (comic) series by Fujishima Kosuke's (best known for Oh! My Goddess) has a spawned an OAV (direct to video release), theatrical movie and a one season (so far) television series. The movie veered more to the more towards intense drama and action than the normally light hearted OAV and television series.

Kimagure (Whimsical) Orange Road is classic romance about a young man with psychic powers, who must hide his powers while being part of a love triangle with the beautiful and mysterious girl he loves, and the sweet and kind girl who loves him.

Kenichi Sonoda's classic action OAV Riding Bean will premier on domestic DVD for $24.95 on March 22nd.

AnimEigo befan shipping the DVD release of the sci-fi anime title Baoh. The sci-fi action from the creator of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure follows a young man fitted with a symbiotic organism weaponry system.

Ironcat News

It was announced at Katsukon 2002 that in late March, Ironcat will be releasing a Narumi Kakinouchi art book containing watercolor character portraits from her various series (Vampire Princess Miyu, New Vampire Miyu, Vampire Yui, The Vampire Dahlia, The Wanderer, My Code Name is Charmer, and others).

Licensing talks for new manga titles are still ongoing with Kakinouchi, as well as artists Sennou Knife, Hiroshi Aro and Inui Karuka.

The Studio Ironcat website (www.ironcat.com) is undergoing a redesign. Its new version will include a regular webcomic feature.

Finally, Ironcat has reiterated that is it accepting submissions from aspiring American manga artists, as well as suggestions for Japanese titles to consider translating.

Manga Entertainment News

Manga Entertainment has redesigned their web site at www.manga.com

Manga confirmed that they have the English translation rights to the 3 episode R.O.D. (Read or Die) OAV series and the full digital anime samurai movie Kai-Do-Maru.

The Manga web-site lists June 25th as the release date of the first Evangelion movie, "Death and Rebirth". The Evangelion page features downloadable wallpapers, film synopsis and the first two minute long sequence of new footage created for Evangelion: Death with its new English language dub available for viewing in streaming Real Media and Windows Media formats. The Evangelion movies are an alternative to the controversial final two episodes of the Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series. The first half of "Death and Rebirth" is a summary of the first twenty four episodes of the television series with new footage for transitions. The second half of the movie the beginning of its new conclusion. Nerv, the organization that employed the Evas to battle invading angels in the series is assaulted by the Civil Defense Force. The first part of "End of Evangelion" is the second part of "Death and Rebirth." The second part of end of Evangelion is the conclusion to the series.

From their site on the Macross Plus movie: Shoji Kawamori's critically acclaimed Macross Plus is one of the most expensiveand respected anime films ever produced. Originally created as a 4-part Original Video Animation series, this masterful story featuring world-class animation was taken back to the drawing board and rearranged as a 'feature film' with 20 minutes of new animation integrated under the supervision of the director himself.

The Movie Edition includes a breathtaking new opening sequence, new scenes that further clarify the relationships between key characters, plus a dramatic new ending featuring extended footage of the haunting concert given by the film's virtual pop star, Sharon Apple. The end result is a film which spectacularly conveys the Director's vision while infusing striking new elements into the gripping story.


5.1 Surround with English Subtitles
Stereo with English Subtitiles
Character Bios
Photo Gallery
Macross Plus Trailers
Manga Previews
DVD Catalog
Web Links

Media Blasters News

From Anime on DVD's report on the Katsucon convention. Media Blaster has followed the trend in driving movies/anime by licensing eX-Driver, a series about a future where cars are safely controlled with artificial intelligence, and a team of drivers whose job it is to chase down rouge cars.

The SciFi Channel talked to Media Blasters about airing the medieval action/drama Berserk, but Media Blasters informed them the violence would require too many cuts.

Media Blasters also stated they want to get the second season of Berserk, but they are waiting to see how well the series sells. The statement is puzzling because there is no second season of the Berserk anime series, nor has one been announced for production.

The first volume of Berserk will be available with and without an art-box to hold the entire series.

The Music and Effects (M&E's) tracks for Ys and Ys II were lost, had to be redone for the dub (doesn't affect the Japanese language).

Media Blasters has confirmed that Gundress will be released in America on May 28th on dubbed VHS for $19.95 and bilingual DVD for $29.95. A limited American theatrical release is also "already in the planning [stage]." Gundress is a feature length cyber-punk action film surrounding a five woman para-military unit and their landmate mecha armor suits trying to stop a terrorist threat to futuristic Japan. Masamune Shirow provided the character and mecha designs for the film. Gundress earned some notoriety for its rushed production schedule and release to Japanese theaters in an unfinished, rough form in 1999. In June 2000 a limited edition production of only 5000 DVDs was released to the Japanese market. This extremely rare Japanese DVD included both the original theatrical version and a five-minute longer "completed" version of the film.

Media Blasters has also announced that Weiss Kreuz volume 3, Gokudo volume 3 and Rurouni Kenshin volume 18 "Fall From Grace" (including episodes 75-78) will also premier in America on May 28th.

Right Stuf News

It was announced at Katsucon that Right Stuf has acquired KO Beast Century (7-episode fantasy OVA) and Dancaizer 3. Both are schedule to be release this summer. KO Century Beast is a humorous series about a war between humans and mutated animals from Satoru Akahori (Maze, Knights of Ramune).

Between 100 and 120 soundtrack CD's will be released under the AnimeTrax label over the next ten months. However, yet again, no information was available on specific titles.

An upcoming Boogiepop Phantom boxed set will include a soundtrack CD and 5.1 stereo on the English dub

Right Stuf's eagerly-awaited release of Gainax's high school romance drama Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou (His and Her Circumstances or Kare Kano) will be completed by the early summer and released on 5 DVD's (6/5/5/5/5) which should be out in May. There is a possibility of a June release of a box set, which if at all possible will include a clear sleeve with cherry blossoms printed on it, although finding a printer has been problematic. Jeff Thompson, the producer of Kare Kano, also wanted Animated and fully removable subs; but couldn't do both, so he opted for fully removable subs.

From Anime on DVD's report on the Katsucon convention.

The recently release of the horror series Boogiepop Phantom has been selling extremely well. They have sold out of several pressing of the fourth volume. A translation error was found in Boogiepop, but it was too late to change it (without spending $12,000); a character's computer login name is "biggins" in the show; should've been "higgins" as a reference to "My Fair Lady." The opening and ending music are not found on any of the CDs due to licensing issues and licensing costs. The series about a god of death that haunts a high school features a tone similar to the popular cyber-thriller Serial Experiments Lain.

Viz News

Viz will be release Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix: a Tale of the Future. Tezuka, is best known in English speaking world for Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, and Metropolis was highly instrumental in shaping the Japanese comic and animation industries. He considered Phoenix his "life work".

The first graphic novel collection of Takehiko Inoue's "Vagabound" will be released this March. The comic is an adaptation of Eiji Yashikawa's "Mushashi", the fictional account of the life of the famous swordsman Miyamoto Mushashi. The series opens with Mushashi before taking the name he would become known under, as a wild and reckless youth.

At Katsukon 2002 it was announced, although no release dates were given, that Viz has acquired the titles Gundam: Origin (manga version of the original Gundam TV series), and Gunnm: Last Order (continuation of Battle Angel Alita).

Battle Angel Alita follows a robot found and repaired by a scientist in the Junk Yard, a scrap heap society below the towering city of Tiphares. Viz has released the Yukito Kushiro's original eight-volume epic (which was abbreviate by the creator's heath problems), and the tangent prequel Ashen Victor. The detail in the story and art, and the mix of action and ideas of the Battle Angel are amazing.

The company has also regained control of the rights to CLAMP's X manga, which brings together characters from there previous works in a story about a doomed young man caught in the middle of a battle between two physic groups..

Volumes 11 and 12 of Rumiko Takahashi's Inu Yasha: The Dog Demon manga will be released respectively in May and September.

Kaiji Kawaguchi's critically-acclaimed political Manga Eagle, the story of a Japanese-American senator's U.S. Presidential campaign will be completed with the April release of a fifth collected volume.

Hamutoro has been licensed and will be shown on Cartoon Network at an unidentified future point.

Although Viz has the rights to the Corrector Yui TV series, no release is expected until the TV run of Card Captor Sakura is finished, due to the name similarity between the two shows.

The Inu Yasha anime will be released starting in August, with three episodes per disc (9 volumes) and a disc a month, at an MSRP of $24.95 or possibly $19.95. However, the release schedule will be delayed if the series is shown on TV

The Season 2 DVD box set of Ranma 1/2 will be released by April.

Continuing its relationship with Rumiko Takahashi, Viz is considering acquiring the remaining "Rumik World" anime titles, several of which have been available in English on VHS for several years.

They are hoping to release the currently-available episodes of Maison Ikkoku as a DVD box set. If It is successful, the remainder of the series will be dubbed and released as well. The company is looking at releasing the rest of its back catalog on DVD as well, but there are doubts as to titles' commercial viability. Maison Ikkoku is a 96 episode relationship story about a ronin (a student who fails his college entrance exam) who falls in love with his recently widowed apartment manager.

Hints and Rumors

Shawne Kleckner of Right Stuf posted on Anime on DVD's that the X television series has been licensed. "This title has been acquired. I am not at liberty to say by whom, but you will be seeing it. So, rejoice!"

X is based on the CLAMP manga series, which has previously spawn a movie released in the US by Manga Entertainment. The series tells the story of a young man who returns to Tokyo after six year absence to face dreams about the destruction of the world. He is destined to join a force that hopes to save humanity, or one that wants to save the earth, knowing that either choice he makes destines those he care about to a terrible fate. It features the relational and genre twists often found in CLAMP manga series.

According to a post on Anime on DVD's forum, Australian anime distributor Madman has announced that they are releasing the recent anime series Full Metal Panic here. Madman never release any title in Australia unless it has an English dub, so there may be implication to a North American release.

From Anime on DVD's forum in regards to a special edition Grave of Fireflies from CPM:

"Anyway, this one is being re-released in the Fall. It is from a new digitally remastered source, although the old source really wasn't too bad. The new DVD will also be anamorphic. There are a few new features as well including some Japanese interviews and 'making of' featurettes." Grave of Fireflies is a thought provoking anime classic about a young boy and his sister who lose their mother and home to the World War II fire bombing of Kobe.

At Katsucon Right Stuf announced another unidentified full-length TV series has been acquired, but no further comments can be made, although it was noted that the series in question is similar to KKNJ and had received significant fansubber attention. (Fansubs are anime titles that have been translated and subtitled by fans who have not licenses the title) It is rumored that the title is the 51-episode high school romance drama Hana Yori Dango (Boys Before Flowers)

Company Stores Changes

Tokyopop representative Kristien Brada has informed Anime News Network that they decided to leave the e-commerse forum was in order to refocus their efforts towards the production, releasing and distribution of the phenomenal number of titles they have recently licensed.

Tokyopop is happy with their partners' sales of Tokyopop products and do not feel the need to continue selling them online themselves.

AIC, the anime studio best known for Tenchi Muyo, and El Hazard has merged their online shop with Animaxis.com

Digital Manga to be Split

Digital Manga, the parent company of Akadot, OmochaBox, Synch-Point and Digital Manga Distributions (formerly Books Nippan) is preparing to be split into two or more companies.

Broccoli, the Japanese Anime retailer that poured a large amount of capital into Digital Manga, is set to take over certain key portions of the company such as Synch-Point and OmochaBox, while other portions such as DMD will remain under their original ownership. Although it's rumored Books Nippan could take the Digital Manga name, there is no evidence that this could happen. Currently it is unclear what will happen to other portions of the company such as Akadot, Newtype (recently touted as being "Very much a part of our lives here" by Akadot Editor Luis Reyes) and Comictones.

The official statement from Digital Manga at this point is still "No comment." Ardith Santiago of Digital Manga was not able to confirm or deny any of this information for the time being, more information regarding some of the transitions that the company is going through were to be available on February 1st, but at this point official announcements have been postponed to an unknown date.

Falling under the umbrella of Broccoli, Synch-Point and OmochaBox are expected to continue normally with only minor changes. Synch-Point however will not be distributing or releasing JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. We've confirmed with Cindy Yamauchi of Super Techno Arts that they are currently shopping around for a new distributor for the title. At this time they have not signed any contract, but are discussing the title with more than one possible distributor. On the other hand, Maki Terashima of Production IG informed us that production of FLCL is almost complete and that the title should be released as expected.

Super Techno Arts decision to take JoJo to another distributor predates the DM split and is unrelated. It was only mentioned in the same article because it was important information in regards to the status of various Synch-Point titles.

As previously mentioned, Super Techno Arts, the American licensing arm of Studio A.P.P.P., is currently in discussion with other companies in regards to getting Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure released in North America.

According to Cindy Yamauchi Super Techno Arts is talking to "the usual companies" in regards to Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure. While Super Techno Arts also has the distribution rights to several other titles from A.P.P.P such as Barry Party, Sci-fi Harry and Robot Carnival, Cindy made it clear to us that Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure was their priority at this time.

One possible hurdle facing Broccoli is that as a new comer to the North American market, they do not have the distribution network of Digital Manga and may face some difficulty distributing titles such as FLCL and I'm Gonna Be an Angel.

FLCL (pronounced Furi Kuri) is a humorous sci-fi OAV about a boy, the flirtatious girlfriend of his brother who is abroad, and a crazy girl on a motor scooter, from Gainax, who is best known for Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Production I.G.

The JoJo's Bizarre Adventure anime adapts part of the third of six series, in a title that has run since 1987, and over 60 volumes of 184 pages. The genre of the title differed from series to series. The third started off as horror, but took on an American superhero comics feel. The second OAV series takes place chronologically after the first series, so the first OAV series will be released first in US. "Jo Jo" refers to the names of members of a family that the title follows. In he case of the third series, and OAVs Jo Jo is Jotaro Kujo, a violent juvenile delinquent who finds out that what he believed was an evil spirit trying to posses him is a Stand, a tarot-card like incarnation that gives him super powers. The OAVs are known for their slick violence, comic-book atmosphere, and interesting uses of super powers.

Macross Lawsuit

A milestone occurred in the litigation between Harmony Gold & Tatsunoko and Big West over the Macross License when a ruling stated that Tatsunoko, the Japanese company that originally sold the Macross license to Harmony Gold, did not own the Macross license in the first place and was never in any position to sell that license to Harmony Gold.

Harmony Gold, which has always claimed exclusive ownership of the Macross License, has blocked the North American importation and release of Macross based merchandise in the past and licensed the Macross Anime to AnimEigo for DVD release.

According to the ruling Big West, the original creators of Macross, own the international rights. Based on this ruling Big West has obtained an injunction barring Harmony Gold from selling or licensing further Macross merchandise.

Complaints Halt Taco Bell "CardCaptor Promotion"

The Agape Press, a Christian news organization run by Reverend Donald Wildmon's American Family Association, is reporting that Taco Bell has halted their Cardcaptors Clow Card promotion as a result of customers' complaints.

Apparently the customer's were bothered by the Clow Cards' resemblance to "tarot cards used in occult practices."

Lori Gannon, Taco Bell's national promotions director, is quoted in the article as saying, "So we took a look at the items and we've held them all at the distribution center — we're not sending them to our restaurants any more and pretty much have ended the program."

Metropolis Home Release Delayed

Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment has announced "Due to a continued, strong box-office performance, Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment has changed the DVD & VHS release date for Osamu Tezuka's acclaimed Japanese anime film METROPOLIS to April 23, 2002 (it was previously scheduled to street on March 12)"

Evangelion Box Set

Right Stuf has been selling the Neon Genesis Evangelion Box set box for $14.99 here, and the box with the Remastered Disc 1 here

ADV will also be releasing a premium version of the Neon Genesis Evangelion box set on April 23rd. The metal box by Paul Champagne will be limited to 2000 copies. The metal box will retail for $48.99, and the metal box with the remastered first volume of the series will retail for $72.99. For more information see Right Stuf here and here

Armitage Dual Matrix DVD Details

The sequel to Armitage the 3rd, Armitage: Dual Matrix, will premier on American home video on June 25th. Unlike the first Armitage movie, Armitage: Polymatrix, Dual Matrix does have a Japanese audio track (as well as optional English subtitles). According to Anime on DVD, the film will seemingly be released in three different versions- a movie only DVD, a 2 disc set of Polymatrix and Dual Matrix, and a limited edition which will consist of the movie combined with a variant edition of the McFarlane Toys Armitage action figure packed in a metal Armitage lunch box.

Gundam TV News

Newtype Asylum reports: For G Gundam, some of the mechas have been renamed to suit North American broadcast and merchandises. They include:

Confirmed new names:
GF13-017NJII God Gundam - new name: Burning Gundam;
JDG-009X Devil Gundam - new name: Dark Gundam;
Unconfirmed new names:
GF13-021N Gundam Spiegel - new name Shadow Gundam;
GF13-003NEL Johnbull Gundam - new name: Royal Gundam;
GF13-052NT Minaret Gundam - new name: Gundam Scimitar;
GF4-001NE Pharoah Gundam IV - new name: Mummy Gundam;
Gundam Heaven Sword - new name: Raven Gundam; and
Death Army - new name: Dark Army.

Cartoon Network is set to air Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory on February 23, at 12:30 AM

According to this article in the March 2002 online issue of Altered State Magazine, several more Gundam titles will be making their way to Cartoon Network in 2002.

In addition to the already confirmed TV series Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 Stardust Memory, Gundam movie 4: Char's Counterattack and Mobile Fighter G-Gundam will be aired on Cartoon Network in 2002.

Created in 1991, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 Stardust Memory takes place 3 years after the end of the war between the Zeon and the Federation when a group of former Zeon soldiers band together to rebuild Zeon.

Theatrically released in 1988, Char's Counterattack concludes the long standing feud between the original Gundam Adversaries, Char Aznable and Amuro Rei.

G-Gundam, which should not be confused with the live action G-Saviour Gundam already out on DVD, is the first of three alternate Gundam Universes created when Sunrise commisioned a group of newcomers to create an entirely new and alternate Gundam universe to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Gundam. Gundam Wing and Gundam X are the other two.

G-Gundam is set in the FC (Future Century) timeline, in FC 60. In the alternate, FC timeline the roles have been reversed with the Colonies being teh center of humanity and Earth little more than a ravaged wasteland used for Gundam fighting contests.

Cowboy Bebop 22 Airs on Cartoon Network

Despite not being shown on what was to be its initial airing on Sunday February 9th, and rumors of teddy bear bombs at the Olympic, Cowboy Bebop episode 22,"Cowboy Funk" aired on Cartoon Network February 14th. The episodic was original not part it line up due to an element of terrorism in its story. Spike and company try to collect the reward on a mad bomber known as the Teddy Bomber when they encounter Cowboy Andy, a wannabe cowboy who infuriates Spike with the constant comparisons drawn between the two.

Kids TV News

4Kids Plans for Fox Kids

4Kids Entertainment recently bought the rights to schedule their own programming for the Saturday morning hours of Fox Television network's weekly schedule. Toon Zone has revealed some of 4Kids plans for that broadcast time. The original 1983 Kinnikuman TV series is considered too old to be marketable on American television, so Fox will be broadcasting the Kinnikuman Second Generation TV series that began airing on Japanese television last month. 4Kids is apparently also interested in licensing the American broadcast rights to the current Hoshi no Kirby anime TV series, based on the popular Nintendo video game character. On the live action front, 4Kids will be reviving the Ultraman franchise in America beginning with the broadcast of the 52 episode Japanese Ultraman Tiga TV series from 1996.

4Kids will also be inaugurating its theatrical distribution division with the American release of Pocket Monster movie 4 and the upcoming movie 5.

KidsWB announced that they've picked up Pokemon for a 5th season (entitled "Pokemon: Master Quest"), starting in the Fall. 52 new episodes have been licensed.

From Anime News Service reports Toei Animation has issued a new press release officially confirming that Digimon Frontier, the fourth Digimon TV series, will premier on Japanese television on Sunday, April 7th at 9am. The 30 minute, weekly TV series will be broadcast on Fuji TV.

The 6th Digimon Movie, Digimon Tamers: Reckless Driving - Digimon Super-Express, is scheduled for theatrical release in Japan sometime in the Spring of this year.

The official Japanese website can be found here

Japanese and International News

Anime News Service reports Metropolis Director RinTaro has been announced to retake the reigns of direction on the forthcoming Captain Harlock TV anime, which is currently scheduled to begin broadcast in Japan this fall with a September start date currently established. As fans may recall, Rintaro directed the original 1978 Harlock series. At the director's request the new Harlock will feature a completely original story.

Miyazaki Wins Golden Bear, Criticizes State of Anime

Hayao Miyazaki's Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi was awarded the Golden Bear prize for best film at the recent prestigious Berlin International Film Festival in a tie with the British film Bloody Sunday. Such recognition is akin to a Palme D'ore at Cannes and should go a long way toward boosting the films international distribution potential.

This recognition is only the second time that a Japanese film has won top honors at the Berlin Film Festival. The only other Japanese film to ever be awarded a Golden Bear was Imai Tadashi's Bushido Zankoku Monogatari back in 1963, which coincidentally also shared its award with another film.

In his reaction to the award, Miyazaki said, "The prize this time serves as a great source of inspiration for people engaging in production of animation in the world." The director, who did not attend the convention, also told reporters in Tokyo, ""I thought the film was a bit too Japanese-like to be appreciated. But I'm interested in the fact that Europeans appreciated it... I'm afraid an animation film is still differentiated from an ordinary picture film, and I don't like that. That's why I'm happy that my work was treated as one film."

From the BBC Japanese film director Hayao Miyazaki, whose animated feature Spirited Away has won the Golden Bear at the Berlin film festival, has said that Japanese animation "is facing a dead end". And he described younger film makers as the "copycat generation".

Mr Miyazaki's comments came at a news conference where he said winning the Golden Bear was "like experiencing Christmas and New Year's holidays at the same time".

Mr Miyazaki's film shared the coveted award with Bloody Sunday, directed by Paul Greengrass.

Spirited Away tells the story of a young girl's adventures in a land of goblins and gods.

Ten-year-old Chihiro and her family stumble across a hot spa catering to Japan's eight million gods - and she ends up working as a bath attendant before she is able to escape.

Spirited Away has become the biggest grossing Japanese film of all time, with 29.4bn yen (US$220m) in ticket sales to date.

Despite this success, Mr Miyazaki's comments about the Japanese animation industry were pessimistic.

"I think Japanese animation is facing a dead end," he said.

"I wonder why there are so many films that contain so much violence and feature sexual content.

"I think there is a chance that the spread of Japanese animation overseas might only lead to embarrassment."

The director even cast doubt on the value of his own films, saying that his work - and animated films in general - could be robbing Japanese children of the time to experience life.

Watching animated films for four or five hours could stifle creativity, he said, describing the situation as "a true dilemma for me".

"People read comics in trains even when they become adults.

"Major newspapers praise the sales achieved by video games.

"Why don't people debate what effect this is having on our children?" asked Mr Miyazaki.

From Anime News Service, According to Toshio SUZUKI, president of Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki's next film will probably be released in 2004. The quote from the press conference interview at the Berlinale Film Festival: "If I can believe Mr. Miyazaki, this will happen in 2004. (smiles)"

"Another note: There will be a second episode of Ghiblies released in theaters with The Cat Who Returned a Favor."

Ghiblies was a short film about Studio Ghibli.

New Manga Series from Sailor Moon Creator

Naoko Takeuchi, creator of the Sailor Moon manga will begin a new manga series called Love Witch starting in the April issue of Nakayoshi. See SOS for more, and the Japanese site at here

Outlaw Star 2 Manga Coming In September

Anime News Service reportsMorning Star lists the manga for Outlaw Star 2 - The Retaliation will begin it's run in Ultrajump magazine monthly from September 2002. A preview can be seen here.

Outlaw Star was one of the sci-fi westerns grouped with Cowboy Bebop. The term outlaw refers to space pioneers to did not side with the government authorities, or the space pirates. A brash young outlaw named Gene Starwind, and his more responsible partner Jim Hawkins stumble their was into a citation that put them at odds with all sides when they come across a unique starship and a synthetically created girl that are needed to locate the galactic lei line.

This Spring's Anime in Japan

Tenative start dates include
2/3 Galaxy Angel
2/14 Initial D Battle stage
2/18 Kick Off 2002
3/4 Rockman Exe
4/2 Jyuni Kokuki (12 Countries Story)
4/2 Tokyo Underground
4/2 Chobits
4/3 .Hack
4/6 Happy Lesson
4/8 Tenchi Muyo Gxp
5/27 King Bandit Jing

.Hack will tie in with a June 6th release of the a Playstation 2 real time RPG game by the same name. The series is written by Itoh Kazunori (Patlabor), directed by Mashimo Kou-Ichi, with character design from Sadamoto Yoshiyuki(Evangelion). The official page can be seen at www.hack.channel.or.jp/

Tenchi GXP is written by Kirishima Masaki(Tenchi Muyo-Series,Dual), and Kuroda Yohsuke(Infinity Ryvius,Scryed), directed by Watanabe Shin-Ichi(Excel Saga) with character design by Okuda Jun (Dual). Seiyu (voice actors) include Motegi Shigeru as Yamada Seina, Suzuki Mariko as Amane Kaunack, as Masaki Kiriko, Kugawa Aya as Barta Ryoko, and Mizutani Yuko as Kura Mitusmi-Toto. The official web page can be seen at www.tenchi-web.com with character design here

Tenchi Web has updated with a new REAL streaming trailer for Tenchi GXP here

Aquarian Age is a new series from by JVC ( Victor Entertainment) and Broccoli. The official page can be seen here, with English information at here.

The official Happy Lesson page can be found at here with information about the Dreamcast game here, and "Shonen Ace" manga series here.

Chobits is Madhouse's anime adaptation of the recent manga series by CLAMP about a cute android girl.

The official Inital D website can be seen at here and here.

OAVS (direct to vide releases):

Archade Gamer Fubukino" will be released on February 25th.

Images of the Gate Keepers 21 series can be seen at www.gate-keepers.com, and here with production details here.

reports Monkey Punch's Lupin III will continue in a new 50 minute OAV on the crest of the 30th anniversary celebrated in October. A new OVA is planned with the roughly translated title "Lupin III World - The Magic Teacher Who Has Lived". Reportedly this OAV will be set in tone along the lines of the very first Lupin TV series which is renowned for it's "harder" tone compared to more recent works. April 3rd will see it arrive on DVD from 8500 Yen from VAP. First press copies include 3 discs total, the OAV DVD, a soundtrack CD and CD-ROM with desktop accessories. Extras include Secret Ending which can only be accessed after viewing the animation once through, Art Gallery, Original Monkey Punch / Seiyuu audio Interview, Japanese Subtitles, Dolby 5.1CH and DTS specification. VAP's official site for the latest Lupin III OAV includes images and other details surrounding this title. The story will focus on the return of a character from the original TV series and the stage will be the Mediterranean.


The third One Piece movie should also be hitting Japanese theatres on 3/2.

WXIII Patlabor The Movie 3 will be released on 3/30. For images and trailers see here

Palm Tree will be released on 3/30. For images and trailers see here

Anime News Service reports Detective Conan Movie: The Phantom Of Baker StreetScheduled to begin running from April 2002 is the latest Detective Conan feature from Toho. In this adventure, Conan travels to the heart of the birth of the real-life Sherlock Homes lesson in London where his new mystery to solve will involve a case with roots in the 19th century. original story by Aoyama Goushou, Shogakukan, Yomiuri television. Toho's Official Detective Conan: The Phantom Of Baker Street Website can be viewed at the link, there one will find an image of the movie poster, quicktime or windows media trailer to be uploaded soon, cinema quiz and other info.

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