The success of Naruto means that 2007 couldn't be anything but a good year for Manga, but it does kind of paper over the fact that some of their other series failed to sell very well. Why this happened is unclear, Noein for example was a good series but maybe it was overshadowed by its label mates. In 2008 Manga are guaranteed to do well simply because of Bleach and Naruto, but it will be interesting to see what else they have licensed and how well it will do. We're sure there'll be something else big in the pipeline, but as yet it's being kept under wraps.
They Say: 'Strait Jacket, Bleach and Naruto/color>/smaller>.'
We Say: 'Bleach didn't impress to start with, but having read the manga we now it gets a lot better. However, Strait Jacket intrigues us most, mainly as we don't know much about it.'
It's all well and good telling you the names of all these new
titles, but what are they about? Read on and find out...
Blood The Last Vampire
Ok, so it's not technically a new release considering it was one of
Manga's oldest DVD titles, but its re-release could be
significant. This classic Production IG short film may
weigh in at only just over 40mins in length, but it's a classy,
superbly animated action horror story about demons in an American
airbase. Saya is a vampire and demon hunter in the employment
of the government sent in to exterminate the demons in the run up to
the Vietnam War. What you get is plenty of action, horror and
drama as Saya tries to unmask the demons hidden amongst the human
populace. The DVD has been out of print for a while and it's
re-issue looks set to tie in with the live action adaptation which
is due to hit US cinemas in early 2008. There's also the
possibility that it could pave the way for the release of Blood+,
a 26 episode sequel series also from Production IG. The
series has done well in America and has been a possible license for
Manga for a couple of years. We've wanted to see it for
a while so here's hoping!
Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex has been one of the best
anime franchises of recent years, but it's odd to see this feature
length outing come out after last year's Solid State Society.
The reason is that this film was the first of three Stand Alone
Complex films, whilst Solid State Society was the third!
The Laughing Man takes us back to the original Stand
Alone Complex TV series to retell the main storyline about the
cyber-terrorist known as The Laughing Man. The film is
comprised of re-edited and enhanced footage from the series combined
with some new scenes and was the first of three Stand Alone
Complex films released in Japan. The second film, known as
the Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex The Individual Eleven
is similarly comprised of scenes from the second season of Stand
Alone Complex. We're sure that this second film will also
be a future release for Manga, although we wouldn't be
surprised if we didn't see it until 2009.
Manga have promised more Naruto in 2008, but this
feature length outing actually sneaks out at the end of 2007.
Naruto The Movie Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow is the first
of (at the time of writing) four Naruto films and it did
quite well in both Japan and America. The story sees Team
Kakashi given a special mission to protect a popular film actress as
she films her latest movie in the Land of Snow. Their mission
is actually more dangerous than they first though though, a group of
powerful rogue ninja are trying to kidnap the actress for reasons
unknown, and their abilities make them dangerous adversaries for our
heroes. Faced with this threat Team Kakashi must not only
successfully protect her but also ensure the film is completed, but
what secret is she hiding? Naruto the Movie Ninja Clash in
the Land of Snow should prove another big hit for Manga,
and also whet fans' appetites for the next instalments of the
Naruto series. We may even see more Naruto films
later in the year.
Manga have always had a great track record
with films and short series, and Strait Jacket (that's how
it's spelled by the Japanese) looks to continue that trend.
Strait Jacket is a three episode series based on a series of
novels by Scrapped Princess creator Ichiro Sakaki and set in
a world where magic and science coexist. In this world magic
users protect humans from demonic battles, but at a price.
Overuse of magic causes humans to become demons, but if the
magicians don't use it then they will have little chance in their
fight. Rayotte Steinberg is a magic user charged with
defeating demons and defending humanity, but can even his special
armoured suit help him from becoming the very thing he is fighting?
The first episode of Strait Jacket only came out in Japan in
November 2007, and it looks absolutely stunning. From trailers
and promos it looks dark and gothic with plenty of action and
horror, and it shares some elements with the excellent Fullmetal
Alchemist and Karas. Should be one to watch.