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Weekly Wrapup 19/Jun - 25/Jun

posted on by Georgia Blair
This week our worldview is shaken to the core: Hello Kitty in KISS makeup, computer-generated pop singers, British (sort of) anime characters get real British accents and an American company remembers that it's not summer everywhere.

Last week, new anime acquisitions were announced by Madman Entertainment and Siren Visual Entertainment at Supanova Sydney. Madman announced eight titles, including new series such as My Ordinary Life, Deadman Wonderland and GOSICK as well as the third and fourth seasons and movie of Hetalia and the video game tie-in Tales of Vesperia ~The First Strike~. Siren Visual announced its acquisition of Angel Beats! with a possible Blu-Ray release, and Dennō Coil and Bunny Drop, which will also be streamed on ANNAu.

The new Studio Ghibli film Arrietty will have separate English dubs recorded, with an UK actor and a US actor cast. The movie is based on the British novel The Borrowers but changes the setting from Britain to Japan, although certain characters have English names. The UK dub features actors Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones), Tom Holland (Billy Elliot stage musical), Mark Strong (Green Lantern), Olivia Colman (Peep Show), Phyllida Law (The Time Machine), and Geraldine McEwan (Marple), and will be released by Optimum Releasing (the distributor for most Studio Ghibli movies in the region) on July 29. The US version, which will not be released until a theatrical run early next year, will feature Bridgit Mendler (Wizards of Waverly Place), Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live), Will Arnett (Arrested Development), David Henrie (Wizards of Waverly Place), and Carol Burnett (The Carol Burnett Show). There is currently no indication of which versions of the dub will be distributed in Australia.

The Google website featured artwork created by modern 'Superflat' artist Takeshi Murakami on June 21, the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Visitors to the Google front page saw one of two logos created by Takeshi Murakami, themed after summer or winter depending on the location and featuring iconography and characters from his artwork. Murakami is heavily influenced by anime, manga and otaku culture and as well as directing anime himself, he has been involved in other art projects such as music videos and exhibitions for an international audience.

A new member of the Japanese pop group AKB48 was revealed to be a virtual character composed from the features of six other members of the group. The new member, introduced as Aimi Eguchi, was introduced as a 16 year old girl born in Saitama and appeared in a an advert for the Japanese food company Glico. Last week, Glico released a video demonstrating how Aimi's appearence was put together from the facial features of her fellow band members, and revealed that her name is a pun based on the sweet promoted by the advertisement. The Glico website now features a program allowing visitors to put together their own virtual idol based on various AKB48 members.

Finally, the latest subject to be given the Hello Kitty treatment will be the rock band Kiss. Frontman Gene Simmons said on Twitter that he is in talks with Sanrio to create Kiss-themed Hello Kitty merchandising for worldwide distribution. The popular Hello Kitty mascot character has previously featured in tie-in merchandise with music acts such as X Japan, and will be featured in upcoming merchandise with Crypton Future Media Vocaloid characters such as Hatsune Miku. Kiss frequently performed in Japan and among other influences may have inspired the appearance of the band in the comedy manga Detroit Metal City; Gene Simmons performed a cameo role in a live-action film adaptation of the manga.

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