Weekly Wrapup - 10/July - 16/July

posted on by Georgia Blair
New and old titles coming soon from Madman, animators suffering for their art, a conversation between comic artists from both sides of the Pacific, and Char counterattacks with a giant Zaku statue in the making.

Madman Entertainment announced three acquisitions at the Sydney Manga and Anime Show (SMASH) this weekend. Two titles will be released this November--Baka and Test - Summon the Beasts, a comedy television series from last year set in a school where students fight using characters with attributes based on their test scores, and Trigun: Badlands Rumble, a movie side-story of the popular Trigun anime series. Night Warriors - Darkstalkers Revenge, an OAV originally produced in 1997 based on a CAPCOM video game series, will be released this December.

The Asahi Shimbun paper posted an article on the work conditions of Japanese animators, citing a 2009 survey which indicates that 70 percent of animators were dissatisfied with their salaries. The survey reported animators in their 20s, on average, earn 1.1 million yen a year (about US$13900) while animators in their 30s earn about 2.13 million yen (about US$26900). The article reported that it is difficult to increase salaries due to television stations reducing their budget and DVD sales not growing, and noted that despite digital animation, the time it takes to produce anime has not changed, with each 30 minute anime requiring about 3000 drawings. However, many animators reported that they remained in the industry as they enjoyed the work.

The website Comic Alliance featured a discussion between Brian Lee O'Malley, creator of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, and Kentaro Takekuma and Koji Aihara, the creators of the satirical manga Even A Monkey Can Draw Manga. O'Malley first read Even A Monkey Can Draw Manga when Scott Pilgrim was still in its planning stages, and besides enjoying the satire, he also found it an inspirational guide to the Japanese comic industry. The discussion covers the creators' respective works, and several differences between the Japanese and American comic industries.

Finally, the life-sized Gundam statue that was on display on Tokyo's Odaiba island and then the city of Shizuoka, was taken down earlier this year. But a town famous for toys intends to build a 18-meter lifesize replica of the Zaku, the robot piloted by the antagonist Char in Mobile Suit Gundam. Mibu, a town in Tochigi Prefecture north of Tokyo, is known as "Toy Town" for its factories producing plastic and tin toys, though many of these factories have stopped operating, and hosts a Bandai museum featuring a to-scale RX-78-2 Gundam from the chest up. Town staff suggested building a life-sized Zaku as a way to revitalise the town, and plan to use Facebook and Twitter to gain support for the project from Gundam fans all over the world.

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