Friday, June 30, 2006

: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.

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