It's taken years to make but this year finally sees Katsuhiro Otomo's 'steampunk' epic Steam Boy hit the West. With its setting of Victorian London, Steam Boy could potentially be a big hit in the UK if given a good enough marketing push, and it seems that Columbia TriStar are taking the title very seriously - they even included a trailer for it on the Spiderman 2 DVD!! It seems likely that the UK will see a limited cinema run prior to the DVD release, so keep your eyes open for showings at your local art-house cinema.
The retro theme is continued with their other announced releases, which are also the first anime series they have released in the UK. First up (in January no less) comes the modern remake of the Ozamu Tezuka classic robot actioner Astro Boy - a series which was recently shown on BBC1 - in a series of good value double disc sets, and this is followed later in the year by another update of a retro anime series - Cyborg 009. Cyborg 009 revolves around a series of cyborgs who rebel against their creators and fight against war, and it is a favourite of webmaster Tom, who'll be eagerly awaiting the UK release.
The final announced release is a special edition version of
Satoshi Kon's Tokyo Godfathers, a heartwarming tale of a trio of
down-and-outs who unite to find a baby's lost parents at Christmas, although all
those who bought the standard edition a couple of months ago will not be feeling
that Christmassy at the news...
We were a bit surprised when Columbia TriStar launched
their Animax brand in 2004, but it looks like they could be backing it up
with some decent titles in 2005. The best news of all is that they seem to
be throwing some money behind Steam Boy which could mean it'll get more
of a cinema run than the average anime film does, and their branching into
series shows a desire to become more of a player in the anime market.
However, the release of a special edition of Tokyo Godfathers so soon
after the release of the standard edition will have put many backs up, and it
will be important for them to restore the faith of anime fans with some good
quality releases as the year progresses.
New Titles Confirmed For Release in 2005
Astro Boy (31st January)
Cyborg 009 (TBC)
Steam Boy (TBC)
Tokyo Godfathers Gift Set