Friday, December 29, 2006

:anime: Black Lagoon--Coming to Wreck Havoc at a Store Near You!

Geneon announced the release dates for the first two Black Lagoon volumes on April 10 and June 12 of the upcoming year, respectively. I've been very high on this series and am very excited to see it finally show up stateside....only one problem with all of this.

Where is the starter box? (Later, I suppose? How odd.)

Friday, December 22, 2006

:anime: December 22, 2006:: The World Ends...Haruhiism Style!!

The long-awaited opening of the temple doors to Haruhiism is now complete...

I won't go into specifics about the site, just go and explore.


Oh yeah, and Bandai Ent. is really Haruhi's secret US base of operations...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

:anime: 009-1 Attracts ADV

ANN, via the magazine Anime Insider, has learned that ADV Films has acquired the Shotaro Ishinomori-based show 009-1. Being a big fan of Ishimori (as his surname is sometimes written as) and of old-school-style animation, 009-1 piqued my interest due to its Cyborg 009-esque title and the design aspect of the show, whose fanservicy-fashion is unlike that of what I have seen of the mangaka's work so far. Besides that, it looks pretty interesting. ADV seems to be having a ball of recent licensing big-name titles (Le Chevalier d'Eon) and big franchise/legacy titles (Keroro Gunso/Sgt. Frog, and this one). Maybe ADV will pick up the original manga series, as well? Probably not, but it would make a nice tie-in with the series itself, especially as a special edition pack per volume, or every-other-one (not exactly ADV's style, either, but still).

Hopefully, I can rummage around for few episodes to see if it is worthwhile to get when it is solicited.

:anime: Mardock Production Gets Scrambled

GONZO today cancelled its 15 year-anniversary project, Mardock Scramble, and offered an apology to those looking forward to it, though no specific reason was given outside of production complications. The OVA, based on the award-winning light novel by Tow Ubutaka (Le Chevalier d'Eon) and featuring designs by Range Murata (Blue Submarine No. 6, Last Exile), apparently never got past the beginning phase.

It is such a shame to see the show get cancelled. The teaser trailer was provocative enough and it appeared that it was getting on a roll with this past summer's I.G x GONZO junket for Mardock and Ubutaka's other show, Chevalier (I.G) and the website's updating of content. This was perhaps my most anticipated show for a long time, which most likely would have come out in 2008. I sincerely hope that the production will be resurrected or even shifted elsewhere (I.G?), though I seriously doubt the chances of that actually occuring. Maybe we'll be lucky enough to see Murata release a book of sketches from whatever is there of it.

R.I.P., Mardock Scramble...

[Sorce: Anime News Network]

Monday, December 18, 2006

:anime: Haruhi...U.S....REALLY?!

A few weeks ago, Anime News Service slipped a little tidbit that some big news involving anime sensation The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya would be revealed soon.

Well, is this it?

Extra Note: Said "tidbit" reads as below:

12-6-06 (3:47PM EST)---- Haruhi Suzumiya Surprise Announcement Brewing

News out of the Japanese Language SOS email magazine indicates an unspecified
announcement regarding the franchise will be made at year's end.

UPDATE: Someone on the ANN forum points out that said news is more than likely aimed at the something going on with the main Japanese site. Second season, perhaps?

Although, it is ironic that it got 404'd today...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

:boxing: James Toney and...Tae-Bo?

Not quite.

In training for his upcoming January 6th rematch bout with Samuel Peter, James Toney has turned to veteran martial artist--and Tae-Bo creator--Billy Blanks for aid in the preparation and conditioning, though Toney was sure to remind those during the conference call today that they weren't do any of Blanks' popular workout programs. "Everybody says we do Tai-Bo," he remarks, "We do not do Tai-Bo. We do war. We go to war. Billy used to be a fighter himself. Everybody forgets about that and it has been great working with him. He trains me everyday." The former Golden Glove champ has also been organizing Lights Out's diet, cutting out the carbohydrates and keeping him on chicken, fish, and vegetables, aimed at helping the infamously nicknamed "Fatman" slim down. Aiming to avenge his loss to Peter earlier this year by getting back into better shape, Toney appeared to be more subdued than his usual bravado-emitting self, focused on getting back at his younger foe and into the heavyweight title picture again. "The Nigerian Nightmare" is looking forward to their second ring dance, letting reporters know that it will be just the two of them squaring off.

"Billy Blanks will not be inside the ring. When I hit him, everything that Billy Blanks told him, he is going to forget."

:anime: One Piece Production Goes to Pieces...

Ever so fashionablly late, here's something on 4Kids' dropping of One Piece, which was supposed to be posted a day after the news, but then work got in the way...

One Piece was, and still is, one of the hottest titles in Japan, and has held a dedicated U.S. fanbase, grown from the manga and fansubbed anime. Of course, when the anime series was announced to have a licensor, the collective of fans let out one gigantic sigh, as it would mean that many groups would be dropping it. However, that "sigh" was closer to a "massive roar of anger and rage" when that licensor happened to be 4Kids Entertainment, perhaps the most infamous anime company in recent years. Well-known for making extensive changes to not only the script, but sometimes to the actual composition of various anime themselves, 4Kids was the last company fans wanted the show end up with. In the end, One Piece would be no different from any other one they handled.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

:anime: Solty Site is Live! [and I'm Just Finding This Out...]

FUNimation apparently made their Solty Rei site live, posting a promo video on the front page and displaying a few promo downloads and release dates for the show (it's good to see its design stay in-line with that of the anime). I really had no idea that the site was even up until I came across the 1/27/2007 release date on ANN. Judging from the video clips offered, I am very impressed with the casting and performances of the voice actors. Each managed to keep the tone and spirit of the orginal Japanese cast and bring their respective characters to life. As far as script accuracy is concerned, I would be shocked if FUNimation didn't make changes to it. As nice as it is, it is still rather straightlaced, which would seem to be prime territory for one of the companies in/famous rewrites. Normally, I would be adverse to such alterations, yet for this, I am actually somewhat interested to see how they handle it and to what extent they will "spruce" it up.

Regardless, I am just happy to see one of my favorite shows of recent come to the US. It's not too much of a surprise considering the relationship between GONZO and FUNimation. Solty Rei, though not as well-known or popular as a Last Exile or a Hellsing, still as managed to garner a good-sized fanbase. From my personal experience with the series, it is one that features a number of twists and turns, and highs-and-lows throughout; at times wonderfully pleasent and at others, wholly unrepentant. Despite its seemingly average nature, these traits go a long way in giving the show a distinct feeling. Even the music and animation, which at first do not seem to be anything special, do hold their own as the series progresses (more notably the former, which churns out some very nice pieces along the way). I'm not exactly holding my breath for an Adult Swim broadcast, but at the very least, I can purchase the first volume + Starter Box next month.

P.S.: Hopefully, just maybe, FUNimation will come out with a few of those special edition packs like they do with some of their other GONZO series (the Japanese versions looked very neat, with a folding package, a bonus disc, and a little trinket, like a magnet; but due to the popularity issue noted above, I doubt even a similar type will pop up over here)... Also, look out for a few homages to past GONZO series, for those interested...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

:boxing: Hatton-:-"Forehead-on-Forehead" & No Fighting Crowes

Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton made a few comments about his upcoming January 20 fight against Juan Urango for the 140-lb IBF belt, as well as a possible bout with fellow pugilist Jose Luis Castillo. Concerning this, he makes the apt comparision to Castillo's wars with Diego Corrales, describing "superfight" scenario "forehead on forehead" affair. I could easy see that coming to past, as both have no qualms about fighting in close quarters and trading off in extended brawls. If such a fight were to occur, I'd see Hatton winning via KO in the latter rounds of a very tough fight (I very much doubt it would go to a decision, either way).

"Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather was also on the Hitman's mind, as he predicted a route by Oscar De La Hoya in their anticipated May match-up. Like many, he was unimpressed with handling of Carlos Baldomir a few weeks ago, and delivered a "Quote of the Week" worthy comment in the process:

"He wants to be remembered as an all time great and its hard to criticize Floyd with what he's done, but you can't be an all time great having fought people like Baldomir. All of Mayweather's fights are the same and they're not exactly spectacles, not edge of your seat stuff. They carried him into to the Baldomir fight dressed like Russell Crowe, a warrior, but he ended up fighting more like Sheryl Crowe. He has great skill but he doesn’t have you on the edge of your seat."

Personally, as much respect as I have for the Golden Boy and as little as I have for, uh, "what's-his-face", I think that it could very well be a potentially major mismatch, with De La Hoya not having the same kind of speed and power that Mayweather can produce, not to mention the relative inactivity, aging, and his getting tagged by a few of Ricardo Mayorga's shots more often than he should have (despite dominating him). While I see Mayweather winning an, albeit close, unaminous decision (or even a possible late round KO), I see him have a harder time with the more tenacious and hard-punching Ricky Hatton. However, if he himself gets outmanuvered and hit like he did in his last televised outing (and this is Mayweather we're talking about, now), I do not see a very pleasant night for him, either.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

HardDoor:: Back Again!

After weeks of back-to-back exams, papers, and presentations, I can finally get back to this blog! I tried to post a few times, but the tight working period restrained any real sort of free time for doing so. In my absence, some really interesting tidbits arose in the worlds of anime and boxing, such as ADV's surprise acquisitions of Le Chevalier d'Eon (GREAT show, BTW) & Sergeant Frog (better known as Keroro Gunso), and Morales' second KO loss to Pacquiao, which could set up the dream fight between the latter and sensation Edwin Valero.

I still aim to keep HardDoor up-to-date with the latest of news on both fronts as possible, and of course, I'll try to keep up a decent stream of special articles and thoughts along the way (speaking of which, keep an eye out for a special two-to-three parter). In any event, though, it certainly is good to be back!


Monday, October 30, 2006

:random: The Apex of the Nuclear Bomb... [Alt. Title: Or "Listen to my Big Boom! Tsar Bomba~!!"]

NOTE: What better way to come back to an anime/boxing blog than with a post on...a huge nuclear weapon! Despite the alt. title, a thing like this can often be less humorous...

To this day, people are still afflicted by the memories of the ominous white mushroom cloud scratching towards the sky over 60 years ago...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

:anime: This Ain't April Fools! New Evangelion on the Way!

[Unconfirmed (though now confirmed, see below) report from Anime News Service, though it is not out of the realm of possibility, considering next week's supposedly big Eva scoop in the Newtype Japan magazine. Either way, new Eva is on the way.]

What is sure to shock many (or not some at all), Hideki Anno & GAINAX announced a new four-part film series of the classic Neon Genesis Evangelion. An interview of sorts with one of the producers (the unconfirmed part) yields some information on them, in which they will be "quite different" from the content of the original, will nonetheless take place in the same timeline. It will feature newer animation (though lacking the rapid word splice-ins from the series) and can be accessible to both fans and those unfamiliar with Eva (it will be a "remake" yet also a "new work"). Evangelion Shin Gekijou Ban, as it will be called, it will apparently also serve as "an antithesis to current animation industry segments,” which I take means that it will use either different animation techniques or it will be told in a way unlike most anime productions. In short, this sounds a lot like the Girlfriend of Steel-ish Evangelion stories that GAINAX has been pumping out for a while, which basically are alternative storylines that had more of a school/teen comedy flavor. That might not be the news that some fans were expecting (like a sequel concerning End of Evangelion would have been so exciting :P ), but fans of those stories might be welcoming this with open arms, pending that this actually true.

UPDATE: It appears that Newtype Japan did make good on its promise with this information, as ANS confirmed its truth with scans from the magazine feature.

UPDATE 2: [9/7/06] Looks as if Anime News Network has posted some extra info on the project, complete with format layout, as well as saying that it is not a remake (Either way it is, old will be new again). On an interesting note, Kazuya Tsurumaki, of FLCL fame and director of the sequel to Anno's Gunbuster, will helm this Anno-originated work. It seems that he holds much trust in the eyes of the legendary director to allow him to create sequels to two of his most famous and revered works. And considering the good job he did with Diebuster, I can see why (not to mention, he also directed the Rebirth part of the Death & Rebirth Eva movie).

Monday, September 04, 2006

:boxing: Deja Vu All Over Again & Again...

It is the biggest fight in either man's career in a long while. The young upstart boxer with a lot of promise, but not a whole lot of polish, versus the aging, yet wily, veteran who wants to show the critics that he can still take this young'n to school. They engage in a tight, physical brawl, unyielding to either's barrage of attacks. The veteran fighter, confident that he would have a field day with the "little boy," finds that the tactics that he has mastered for over a decade are being challenged by the skills of that very same kid. The young upstart, usually reliant on his innate power and physical prowess, begins to get a taste (and perhaps too much of a fill) of what it really means to be a "boxer." The early rounds appear to clearly go in his favor, but as the bout presses on, the elder fighter seems to be landing more shots and looks to be the more energetic of the two. Undaunted by the presence in front of him, the younger fighter still tries to go for broke, counterpunching with each volley flung at him by the master boxer, even coming up with a few new attacks and tactics in his arsenal . The years of ring-hardened, round-by-round savvy, however, has helped turn the tide of the fight towards the man that has been through the toughest of battles and the longest wars. After the chime of the final bell, both fighters raise both gloves above their respective heads, knowing for sure that they won the fight. The ring announcer reads off the three judges' scorecards to the nervously awaiting crowd and the studious corners. To the many shocks and awes, the young upstart fighter is handed the victory, leaving the wily old veteran in a state of disbelief, knowing that despite giving him all he could handle and more, he could not obtain the win in their eyes.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

:anime: School Rumble's First Course: Web Site Creation!

After last week's announcement from FUNimation of an early 2007 target for the series' debut stateside, the company apparently has made their School Rumble site live to the public. Currently, there is only a cast picture promoting the upcoming release, but the web site is sure to expand over the course of the next few months. It is good to see them using the original logo, which didn't really require any sort of change since the majority it is in English already.

:anime: Noein: Towards the U.S. Coast...

Manga Entertainment released a press release last week detailing out the first volume for Noein. The most eye-popping statement in it is not the factoid of "6000 cels shot per episode," but the $19.98 price tag on it. That's a truly, obscenely low price for a show of Noein's caliber; a five-episode release like this one (which still has all the bells-and-whistles of most other ones, including 5.1 DD and 2.0 Stereo, English/Japanese + Subtitles {Closed Captioning also included in here!}, and Extras of the likes of textless OPs & EDs and Behind-the-Scenes) would almost certainly go for the usual $29.99. It is very good to see Manga distribute this particular series at such a price level that many can afford and consider to purchase. As one of the best anime of the last year, the already positive comments from those who have already watched it in its entirety and the ones bound to come from people who have yet to view it should help additionally boost this great show to top of the sales chart. Now hopefully Manga will attach a starter box with the next installment (a tactic that, last I checked, another company appeared to be employing recently) or a latter one.

Over the Weather and Through the Woods...

Not too great of a first half of the week, as I had not been feeling all too great. This of course prevented me from posting some of the things I had wanted to, but now I'm allllll better, so now I can get back to this (and maybe some boxing, too, perhaps! :D ).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

:anime: Shin Angyo Onshi --> Good, Blade of the Phantom Mask --> Uh... No

At 2006 Otakon, ADV Films announced their picking up of the Japanese/Korean anime movie Shin Angyo Onshi, which will be rechristened Blade of the Phantom Mask in the U.S. Though I thought that the movie would never get picked up anytime soon, I'm very happy to have seen it get acquired by ADV, whom I was expecting the most to license it. I can't be too happy, though, with their renaming of it. The title is lame and shifts more of the focus to the warriors that the main character summons (if it were closer to the actual translation, which is more along the lines of being about said character, then it wouldn't be so poor-sounding). They have kept the original names for other shows, and it's not as if this one is terribly difficult to pronounce, so the change here is miffing.

Despite all of this, the movie itself makes for a very good watch. The nice visuals and score (including the themes sung by BoA) blend well with the story. It may play more like the beginning of a series (I can only hope...) and it may be little rough-around-the-edges, but it nonetheless is very entertaining and enticing.

...I just hope that enough of a stink is made about the title to warrant a switch back to the original.

P.S.: I'll still buy the DVD, it's just that...

:anime: FUNi School Rumblings!!

FUNimation, at 2006 Otakon today, announced its mass acquisition of the School Rumble anime franchise, which includes both seasons and the two OVAs. One of my favorite comedies and shows overall, it doesn't surprise me to much that FUNimation got this. The kind of comedic style employed in the show is something that the company is suited for handling, which was something that was on my mind while I was thinking about who would license/dub it. However, I hope that the changes in the script are minimal, especially since there isn't much in the lines worth altering. Either way, I'm glad that School Rumble (and as a whole, no less) was finally picked up. Considering the size of the fanbase and the accolades it has received, I am surprised that it wasn't snatched up sooner.

With FUNimation's licensing of shows like The Galaxy Railways, Solty Rei, and now this one, it's almost as if they are checking off on my "Imaginary Licensing Wishlist." :D

Friday, July 28, 2006

:anime: The Genre, The Nation, & The Problem (Third, and Final, Part:: Bonus! A Few Additional Petals in the Pond...)

If one thing has puzzled me over the years, it's why Anime has not become all that popular in the U.S. While diehard fans can be a deterrent in anything, it has not had that much of an effect on other genres, like sci-fi and fantasy. Alright, so it's a cultural thing, then? Not exactly, as martial arts films, diverse in their own cultural aspects, attract the masses, even when accompanied with subtitles (see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). Some might even go as far as to say that Anime is "deeper" than American animation, and therefore, no one can really grasp it. That may be true for a select number of titles, but it is not so as a whole, since it's really dependant on the title itself. The main issue stems more from the American vantage point on animation--that is essentially for children. However, this stance has changed over the last few years, as adult fare like Family Guy and South Park rank among the more highly-rated programs on television. In addition, Anime itself has seen an increase in popularity, as Video-on-Demand services from anime content providers continue to receive big hits and the number of online content portals has risen dramatically in a less than a year's time. In this opportune period, anime companies and distributors must begin to expand their boundaries to reach this growing audience, who represent a large amount of the mainstream. Titles like Black Lagoon and Paradise Kiss, shows with high production values and of high quality in the story department that have appeal close to what Americans are attracted to, are the centerpieces for successfulness in tapping into the demographic. This sort of campaign will require a departure from the norm, as increased, diversified advertisement and a shopping of shows to non-traditional networks, such as SpikeTV and Style (respective to the noted anime), will be of necessity to making this work.

:anime: Aiming for the Top Again!: Gunbuster's Second Voyage in the US Begins

The beginning of the re-release of Gunbuster kicked off today, as Bandai Visual USA opened their teaser site for it to the public. Telling all to await with "hard work and guts," it appears that the legendary OVA will be coming before Wings of Rean. I definitely will work as hard possible for more news on what I have often called "the single greatest piece of pure science-fiction ever made." (Courtesy: ANN, AnimeOnDVD.Com)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

:anime: The Genre, The Nation, & The Problem (Second Part:: Just Over the Pacific: Titles to Help Bridge the Gap)

In past years, animated features, or "cartoons" to most, have been an integral part of the lives of young children and teenagers. In this generation, however, Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny have begun to share their spots with Peter Griffin and Cartman atop the apex of animation popularity. A peculiar shift in the age paradigm has taken place recently, as more "adult-oriented" features have risen in favorability among older teens and adults. In addition to Family Guy, South Park, and a few of the shows on Adult Swim, even a kid's show like SpongeBob SquarePants is viewed by a good amount of adults. In all of this growth, however, Anime has yet to fully reap the fruits of this harvest. Outside of a scant few titles, not many in America's mainstream culture know much of anything in the genre. While there are certainly many subgenres and styles that could prove appealing to the public, the bulk of these are marketed at the already-established fanbase. In a burgeoning demographic that is becoming more acceptable of animated shows, it is now a grand opportunity to extend anime marketing towards the mass audience.

Monday, July 24, 2006

:anime: The Genre, The Nation, & The Problem (First Part:: Anime + the U.S.: Still Not Perfect Together...)

While contemplating what to write on in the midst of other planned projects, there was a recent discussion held that, more or less, revolved around the effect anime fandom has on its popularity in the U.S. After reading on it, I decided to comment on the broader aspect of this and combined it with a similar posting I had planned on making later concerning Anime's popularity issues stateside. Part one in this series attempts to pinpoint this quandary. --HD

The foreign-born genre that is "Anime" has had a long, yet obscure history in the United States. Asking people who grew up in the 80s about shows they watched as children may yield replies consisting of "Robotech," "Voltron," or "Transformers." If their childhoods resided in the 90s, "Sailor Moon" and "Dragonball Z" would ring among the more popular shows. Even going back further, parents and grandparents might recall "Astro Boy," "Kimba the White Lion," and "Gigantor" from their youth. However, this cross-generational exposure to Anime has not produced a widespread acceptance or cultural attachment to the field.

:anime: Jinkies! ADV Puts Out Their First Press Release for Jinki:Extend!

(*shivers* As much as I don't like Scooby Doo, I couldn't resist... XP )

ADV Films announced a September 5th release date for one of their most recent acquisition in Jinki:Extend last week. The press statement makes it sound like some sort of Gravion-ish title with its "beautiful babes/girls" moniker plastered across it, though there is a slight sliver of truth in it (not to mention Shiva's propensity for kissing other women for little or no reason). Otherwise, they are pretty much on the mark with its synopsis and the trailer (right-click, "Save Target As...") [Hi-Band] [Lo-Band] they posted on their site doesn't try to make it out into something it is not (Aoba's English dub voice sounded pretty good for the role). This aside, the show itself is a very good one, backed by an unconventional and very (if not ridiculously excessive) complex plot, which can be thanked in part to its pacing. I don't know if I'd go as far as to call it a "masterpiece" like ADV has, but I would call it one of the more understated giant robot anime in recent memory. I suppose they have to hype it up somehow (most of those who already saw it have given it good marks anyway), though their acquiring of the OVA was not too surprising, given that they already distribute the manga it was based on. I will definitely keep an eye out for the premiere volume once it debuts in the next month or so.

P.S.: I hope that the OVA special was also licensed by ADV, since I haven't seen it yet.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

:anime: Company The Company: FUNimation is North America's Best?

ICv2 recently formulated a listing of the ten most powerful forces in the North American anime industry, with FUNimation's CEO/President Gen Fukunaga coming out on top. This outcome is a very deserving adulation, one that seemed very far from a possibility years ago. The company had the dubious label of being "Dragonball Z-only," the only title they had for a long time (and one whose handling irked many fans). Blue Gender became their first non-DBZ title and other properties soon followed. Fan-favorite anime of the likes of Fruits Basket and Kiddy Grade helped build FUNimation's reputation among the community, although they continued to rely on a few of their more unfavorable tactics (dubbing and translation issues, DVD structuring). However, it has been in the last two years that a renaissance can be seen in the company. A major partnership with popular studio GONZO and the acquisition of Fullmetal Alchemist, one of the most highly-praised works in the last decade, as well as improving business and release tactics, has made FUNimation a darling in the eyes of many fans and a significantly larger force in the industry than when it first started.

I was never a fan of the company during its DBZ years, nor was I one afterwards for their first couple of series. Though I saw improvement all around, they held onto far too many irritating quirks to make them likable. Now in this present-day, if a particular title is licensed by them, I actually feel relieved about it in the almost the same manner as if it were Geneon or Bandai Ent. making the announcement. It is amazing to see the progress made in FUNimation over the years, from a despised, little-known entity, to one of the most acknowledged and liked companies in North America. Fukunaga has done a great job at changing the course of the distributor and is a very deserving choice at the top spot.

Monday, July 10, 2006

:boxing: From "Winky" to "Wimpy" Wright?

(Originally, I wanted the first boxing post to be about the Pacquiao-Larios bout, but then I found out it was on PPV, aka "out-of-my-reach." So instead, I went to "Plan B" and looked to a different topic... :D )

After the June 17 bout with middleweight champion Jermain Taylor, Ronald "Winky" Wright seemed to be experiencing another round of deja vu. He came out of his controversial loss to Fernando Vargas a few years ago in a surly mood, very certain that he was the victim of a "hometown decision" in a fight that he, as well as those at ringside and on television, thought won. Now, yet again in the hometown of an opponent, has he been handed down a decision that is in no way beneficial to him, a draw, and again he is livid at the results of his labor. Refusing to attend the post-fight conference, Wright stayed in his dressing room afterwards and vehemently turned down a rematch with Taylor. The staunch veteran may think that a second bout is more of the same; however, it seems that there are more to the circumstances than this that go against his thinking.

Monday, July 03, 2006

:anime: Bandai Ent. Professes Their Love for Hot Android Women!

Continuing the big carousel of anime licensing announcements at Anime Expo 2006, Bandai Entertainment made known of acquisition of the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex compilation movies and the upcoming feature film in the franchise, Solid State Society [Link 1] [Link 2]. Also announced was the live-action Cutie Honey film, directed by Hideki Anno. Re: Cutie Honey, the Anno-directed anime tie-in, however, was not mentioned. This is pretty surprising, considering that it could have made a nice set together (the OVA is only three parts in length, at about 45 minutes apiece). What isn't, though, is the continual support of the hot Ghost in the Shell franchise, backed by a wide, loyal fanbase and substantial critical praise.

In separate news (yet still connected to robots, in a way), Bandai is in negotiations to bring the three Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam compilation movies to the US.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

:anime: Bandai Visual USA Licenses Gunbuster (sounds familiar...) & Wings of Rean...

In the first "real" official post of HardDoor, I suggested that Bandai Visual USA might one day bring Gunbuster over to the US for re-releasal. Now, it looks as if that is finally coming true, as the company announced their license for the OVA and the new Yoshiyuki Tomino project Wings of Rean, a spinoff of Aura Battler Dunbine, at Anime Expo 2006. This is great news, as Gunbuster is making its first DVD appearance in North America, in which I deduce that the remastered set will be utilized and translated for here. Wings of Rean is a surprise, as it was not a show that was expected to be announced anytime soon, not to mention that ADV, who has Dunbine, did not get to it. But hey, if they can show both anime the kind of care they took with Patlabor, I'll be more than happy.

:anime: FUNimation Takes Up "Salty Ray"

Acting out on their continuing love for all things GONZO, FUNimation officially announced at Anime Expo 2006 their licensing of Solty Rei [Link 1] [Link 2]. The pleasant show, featuring designs by Range Murata, was once in the center of a rare instance where an anime distributor takes on a fansubbing group head on. The company caused the website of a group to be temporarily pulled after they caught them subbing such GONZO-animated fare like Solty Rei and Tsubasa Chronicle. Although they have never said anything about being their licensor, FUNimation acted in a way that suggested they were and that GONZO shows were of their territory (in addition, they were seen to have shows on their site that were already licensed by them). The controversial event reignited discussions involving the sticky issue of licensing and fansubbing.

:anime: Geneon Licensing Announcement Concerning Vampires, Makeup, and Mercenaries

At Anime Expo 2006, Geneon Entertainment announced their acquisition of Hellsing Ultimate OVA, Paradise Kiss, and Black Lagoon [Link 1] [Link 2]. Both Hellsing and Black Lagoon were produced by Geneon, as have a number of recent shows, so this news was to be expected. Also of note, the former will apparently retain the celebrated original English dub cast from the first series. Hopefully, the other two OVAs will receive equally nice dub casts, as both are very deserving of one. Since Paradise Kiss is from the same mangaka (Ai Yazawa) who created the wildly successful and acclaimed NANA, as well as the same animation studio, perhaps that anime will also come stateside one day.

In addition to these, Geneon also picked up Hello Kitty: Stump Village, Cool Dimension, and Disgaea (haven't ever heard of the first two; seem like new titles in development). At least Black Lagoon has been listed for a 2007 release, while Cool Dimension will see a joint October Japan/US sale and Helling Ultimate OVA in December.

UPDATE: It appears that Cool Dimension is a live-action film, whereas the Hello Kitty feature is a claymation work. On a side note, I really do hope that Geneon can retain the Franz Ferdinand-sung ending to Paradise Kiss.

Friday, June 30, 2006

:anime: Transformers Vs. NASA's Puny Space Rovers

The new Transformers teaser trailer debuted, giving a slight glimpse of the film's premise and of a rover getting jacked up by one of the big bots. The movie will no doubt feature great special effects (it is a requisite if they want to successfully and viably pull off the transformation sequences) and if done well could become a truly massive hit. Despite Michael Bay being in the director's seat, whose often schmaltzly, sappy style has ruined many a film (and could really harm this one, if occupied with annoying kids), executive producer Steven Spielburg could perhaps help steer the film away from the bloated Hollywood-defined likes of Pearl Harbor and Armageddon. Whatever Transformers may bring, I will still go out to see it in the theaters, at least for the visual and aural effects alone.

:anime: Hi no Tori, Where Art Thou?

Over one year ago, Media Blasters announced their acquisition of Hi no Tori, a thirteen-part OVA adaptation of the classic manga by Osamu Tezuka. An assortment of stories spanning across differing time periods and interwoven by fables & tales of the Phoenix, the anime was directed by Ryousuke Takahashi and, curiously, was co-produced by PBS station Thirteen/WNET New York. Since the licensing, not much information has been released about it, other than the dubbing studio (NYAV Post) and a script adaptation personnel for two of the episodes. While this certainly is not the only series to have gone through this, it is odd when other shows listed during the same event (Genshiken, Ah! My Goddess TV, and Phantom) have already been solicitated and placed on the market. As newer projects are being prepared (GoLion/Voltron, GaoGaiGar, etc.), Hi no Tori has yet to make itself present.

Does this mean that the company is merely sitting on the license? I doubt that is the case. ADV Films once had to relinquish plans to carry out with the license of one anime to due to issues concerning it, so such a problem (music royalties and contract complications have plagued a number of shows coming stateside) could be hampering the release. Alternatively, the apparent delay could be the result of other company priorities standing in its way, such as other licenses, or there may be a deal being worked out between Media Blasters and PBS for a broadcast. No matter the conundrum, I believe that Hi no Tori will see the light of day here in the U.S. It, like many Takahashi-directed shows, is a very good, slow-paced drama, and one whose arrival I will continue to anticipate.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

:anime: Blue Subs, Dark Hearts, and Current Apocalypses: More Than One Way to Tell a Tale...

A long while back in my high school English class, we were assigned to read the classic novella Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, which itself was the basis of Francis Ford Coppola's classic film Apocalypse Now. While reading the novella and later watching the film, there seemed to be something oddly familiar with the themes and characters. Around the same time, I was watching Blue Submarine No. 6, the revolutionary anime from Mahiro Maeda and GONZO, and that was when things began to click. Many of the traits that resided inside the two works were present in the OVA/movie, almost as if I were watching a reimagined version of the story.

Reading up on the anime, there is nothing that I have seen so far that actually suggests that it is an adaptation in part of the book or film (though it is loosely based off a manga by Satoru Ozawa). The comparisons across the works, however, are there and striking if you ever had the chance to view or read all of them. Below is a collection of these similarities, which I originally posted on an anime forum site a few years ago, though I cleaned and enhanced it for this blog. A bit of caution ahead: the Blue Submarine No. 6 in reference comes from the Toonami Edition DVD, which is a complied version of the four-part OVA with some of the more inappropriate material removed or censored (much of the story is still intact, so the uncut version may have additional content that may be applicable here), as well as the uncut Part 1 VHS. Also, be warned that there are spoilers to all of the stories listed, so unknowing readers beware...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

:anime: Hurrah for Bandai Visual USA!

Well, this may not be the piece that I was alluding to in the previous posting, but news from the anime subsidiary does warrant comment and adulation.

Bandai Visual USA (BVU), the new American distribution arm of Japan's Bandai Visual studio, continues their re-releases of the Patlabor movies with the franchise's second film in July 2006. It, like the first, will be available in both a $29.99 standard version and a ten thousand-copy limited edition version, which of last came complete with a bonus disc, Archives book, Storyboard book, and a sturdy slipcase at the tune of $89.99. However, my interest does not lay so much in Patlabor as it does in the potential growth in BVU's library.

Not Too Bad...

A couple of twinkings took place in the template as I tinkered with some of the HTML. Nothing major or anything, just a few touches here and there. Content-wise, I have something in mind, I just have to reconfigure some of it. This whole blog thing is weird, but pretty interesting. I guess I have to get used to it ^_^; . So until then...

Monday, June 26, 2006

HardDoor--The First Post

HardDoor...Not exactly the most common of blog names......

So what is "HardDoor" and why is this named so? Perhaps at a later date I'll explain the history of the name (if you really want to call it that), but for now, I'll say this much: this blog is pretty "random" when it comes to topics. Anime, Boxing, a little bit of politics, maybe (or not :D ).

Today is a pretty good day to start HardDoor (I mean, it's the 26th of June!). Soon, I'll be populating it with thoughts on the various said topics, all while figuring out the strange little trinkets laid out on this blogging station. So until then...toodles <>:O