Tuesday, January 30, 2007

:anime: Honneamise Finally Releasing Honneamise! Plus Top Movie & Top 2!

This morning at the Anime LA convention, Bandai Visual USA confirmed not only its Wings of Rean license (already announced last year), but they have also made known news of its releases of its label's namesake, The Wings of the Honneamise, as well as Diebuster (to be titled "Gunbuster 2" here) and the Top wo Nerae! compliation movie. Though having not too much to do with the previous speculation (outside of some foreshadowing), it was perhaps the most likely of announcements in Honneamise, which would have been nonsensical if the movie was not released stateside by the same group that borrows its own name. It would have been nice if Diebuster was released as is, title-wise, as it is technically not "Gunbuster 2" ("Aim for the Top! 2", yes, this, not so much, especially considering that the subtitle only refers to the title mecha, not the series as a whole), but I am very happy either way for it coming to the U.S. I am also pleased to see the Top movie compliation make its way here, though I hope that it, and Diebuster, at least get an English dubs (could that also mean a dubbed Gunbuster, as long as that section of the film it does not rely on the OVA's masters?). Hopefully, BVU will be kind enough to create a Top wo Nerae! box set like the one in Japan.

Great news all around, and its good to see a number of those titles brought up here a while back get debuts so quickly across the Pacific. So...how about those Macross properties and some Gundam lovin'? ;)

UPDATE [01/31/07]: AoD has posted a press release from BVU covering Gunbuster 2 and Wings of Rean, both of whom will be sold over three volumes and coming complete with extensive booklets, as well as the updated Kikoushi-Enma, which I once thought to be an interesting show to watch, as it was a mature remake of a 70s kids show...until I figured out that the title translated to "Demon Prince Enma". Well, it is a Go Nagai property... :P
[Official Press Release]

Friday, January 26, 2007

:anime: Mushishi Makes the Travel to the U.S.!

FUNimation capped off its week of acquisitions with that of the masterpiece anime, Mushishi. This is perhaps the best bit of news to come out of this event (certainly beats Aquarion *shivers*), and it is great that such a great series comes over to the U.S. I hope that they will retain the look of the box for the series (should they have one) maybe even that little paperweight that came with it (slim chances, yet one could always hope). As long as the roles, especially Ginko's, are well-cast and not over-acted, as they can be prone to do, as well as keeping a diversity in the vocal talent used (the show, partially due to its episodic storyline, does feature a good many characters), Mushishi could become a very good dubbing effort.

P.S.: Nice logo on the announcement page, if not a little too flashy for such a show, and too reminicient of xxxHOLiC's. The one used on the site is a little more appropriate and closer to the original.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

:anime: The American Anime Awards--Not Quite the Oscar-esque Vehicle It Aspires to Be...

In the midst of the traditional award season for American cinema and television acheviements lies a quaint little ceremony for an equally quaint little piece of fandom and culture. Japanese animation, or anime as it has become known as, has held a long and often overlooked history in American pop culture. Having itself being influenced by the early cartoon works of Walt Disney, Japanese animation has grown over the decades to have an identity all of its own, and in turn, has returned the favor to its neighbor across the Pacific. Kimba the White Lion (which so happened to be funded and co-produced by NBC), Gigantor, Speed Racer, Transformers, Robotech (an U.S.-produced amalgam of three unrelated mecha shows), Sailor Moon, and Dragonball Z represent only a few shows that have sept its way into the stateside consciousness. The distinct style of those anime and other works have inspired the kind of breakout hits--Avatar, The Last Airbender; Kappa Mikey; Teen Titans; Batman Beyond; The Boondocks--here that American-drawn byproducts had done for the likes of Osamu Tezuka and Tatsunoko Pro of earlier. Though lacking the type of attention that Hollywood works garner, anime has seen a growing and more present stature in the U.S., so in this time leading up to the Academy Awards, the industry itself has been long overdue for a celebration of its own. Taking place the night before the Oscars themselves, the American Anime Awards (AAAs) will be held on Saturday, February 24 in New York City. The AAAs, jointly produced by ADV Films, ICv2, and New York Comic Con, aims to "honor the best in anime as voted on by anime fans nationwide." However good this may be, herein lies one of the event's numerous flaws. There is much to point out, so for the purpose of critique, I'll be eschewing the usual paragraphical prose and instead be employing a listing of positive (+) and negative (-) aspects of the show.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

:anime: Academy Awards Anime-less Again

For the second time in three years, the Academy Awards will have no Japanese-animated film in the running for its ceremony nearly a month from now. Cars, Happy Feet, and Monster House are all in contention in a rather tight field for such a small number of films honored. In reality this should come as no surprise, as no anime films of note were released (at least in a respectable number of theaters) in the U.S. last year. The only ones that come to mind in terms of critical praise are actually two Madhouse productions, Satoshi Kon's Paprika (which was eligible) and the much beloved Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time), aka Tokikake. Perhaps next year it will have a chance, especially if it is given a theater run.

EDIT: Totally thought that Howl's Moving Castle was nominated the year before last, so now it is fixed from being "the second year in a row.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

:anime: Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits ::01.22.07:: Black Oceans, FUNi Announcements, SSJ7 Jesus

The start of a quick, little news snippet of anime news, and a few thoughts wrapped within, just so that it allows me to keep up with the latest news and comment on anything else without having to totally write out an entire post for it (since this isn't a soley news blog). Of course, I'll expand on something if I have something more to say on it ;) . --HD

:Wed.01.17.07: Ocean to Dub Black Lagoon?
During a somewhat related forum topic on AoD's site, a staff member of English dub database site CrystalAcids.com made an "insider" revelation that Ocean will be supplying the dub for Geneon's upcoming release of Black Lagoon. Sure, it's not Next Generation, but Ocean is a more-than-capable group for a show like this one, just so long as they supply the proper accents.

:Mon.01.22.07: FUNimation Announcement Week Kicks Off
FUNimation kicked off a special week of special announcements with their licensing of Ragnarok: The Animation. Don't be the least bit surprised to see the shows that appeared on their Cease & Desist letter to fansubbers, such as xxxHOLiC and Mushishi, appear on their site this week, or some release dates/site update for School Rumble. "Dark Horse" says two of the next three GONZO shows get picked up: Welcome to the NHK!, Red Garden, Pumpkin Scissors.

:Wed.01.17.07: Jesus to be Animated
An anime version of the classic 1970s film Jesus is currently in the works. The movie will follow the Book of Luke's transcript and use the same dialouge loop as the original, which according to a producers quote, seems as if it will be animated in a way where any of the 900 translated voice tracks can be inserted for worldwide distribution. It is projected to be finished in two years.

:Sun.01.21.07: Live-Action Mushishi Trailer Available
Though another trailer has been available for a while, a new trailer has been posted on Apple's Japanese trailer site in the company's ever-present MOV format. A nice little short montage similar to the earlier one, those familiar with the other properties in the franchise will definently have fond recollections with a few of the images shown in it.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

:anime: Honneamise Finally Releasing Honneamise?

It's hard telling whether this plan is aimed specifically for Japan or for the US, but Bandai Visual USA made a press release available on Jan. 7 detailing its parent company's (Bandai Visual) partnership with Memory-Tech and Microsoft in bringing classics The Wings of Honneamise and Patlabor 1 & 2, as well as the hot new OVA title Freedom, to the HD-DVD format this year.

As great as it would be to see its namesake and flagship movie finally get a re-releasal here in North America (it was formerlly licensed by Manga Ent.), it would seem that this PDF is referring more towards Japan. All of these titles are already on DVD there, so placing them on the next-gen format of HD-DVD would likely be the next step. Making that sort of jump in NA would only be sensible with Patlabor, as the other two haven't been on the more widely available and accepted DVD format, yet. And of course, it would make plenty of sense for BVU to announce such a deal on their own site, as the news pertains to their own parent company and since Microsoft is an American company.

This also brings about some speculation as to why it was made available in English and with no clear intent as to which region the press release is referring to. I know that one of Blu-ray's regions encompasses both Japan and the US, but I'm not too sure if HD-DVD still follows the current DVD regioning or stills separates the two sides either way. Moreover, BVU's link is displayed under Freedom's description, yet only that one. It is given that Honneamise and said OVA will appear stateside, but it is unknown as to when that will actually happen. Although this news is most likely referring to Japan, perhaps this may be a first sign of future licenses and plans to come for their branch across the Pacific.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

:boxing: Nightmare Again for Toney!

Samuel Peter once again bested savvy ring veteren James Toney, in a suprisingly dominating fashion, via uninaminous decision (a total reversal of my prediction). The fight, while better than the previous, was more one-sided towards "The Nigerian Nightmare," who showcased improved skills and hand speed, including delivering Toney's first knockdown in over a decade in the second round, off of a jab. Despite being convincingly beaten, Toney still appeared to be in good shape and managed to hold his own (for the most part) under the crushing power of his young opponent. However, Peter, too, sported better conditioning than in the first fight, which no doubt showed as he was able to throw some impressive flurries (especially for a man his size) and accurate & effective counterpunching. Most notable, however, was his improved skill level, which seemed to borrowed at times from Toney's own evasive defense style and combos.

Both fighters looked very determined to take the other out, especially Peter, who has been pretty teethed(sp) about having to fight the rematch rather than the champion. With the definitive win, he has finally earned the title shot against Oleg Maskaev, which the WBC unrightfully denied him of the first time around (due to the controversy of that bout), while Toney still has a shot at one of the other titles, as his performance tonight led to no contradictory reason.

P.S.: The undercard bout featuring a victorious Travis Simms over Jose Antonio Rivera was pretty good and more one-sided than the main event. What may have fueled Simms fire could have been the complaints leveled against him by the opposition prior to the fight that he clinches too much, which led to some special prefight warnings and an extra watchful eye from the referee....which didn't really matter much, seeing as how a bloodied and battered Rivera got TKO'd in the ninth round.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

:boxing: Toney-Peter II: Enthusiasm and Trechery Again

Tonight marks the second bout between James "Lights Out" Toney and Samuel "The Nigerian Nightmare" Peter, a rematch to settle the controversy revolving aroung the decision victory by the latter. It was a tightly contested bout that tested the abilities, and further enlightened the weaknesses, of both fighters. Now that they have become familiar with each other and have gotten into much better shape this time around, it will be a very interesting fight to see. Both Toney and Peter are very motivated, but I think that the "Nightmare" will happen again for the veteren fighter. He will most likely be on the recieving end of some of those same power shots that pushed him backwards like before, only this time, Peter will be looking to actually KO him. In turn, this can also backfire badly, as Toney can and will easily exploit any sort of sloppiness or absence of defense (if Peter dwells on offense too much).

End Result: Peter via surprise KO in the later rounds (9-12); but if he is too offensive-minded, then Toney via (split?) majority decision.