2005 Anime Preview by Rich (Webmaster)

Columbia TriStar may be a major film distributor but their anime releases have been few and far between.  However, the launch (with much advertising) of their Animax brand shows that this could be about to change.  2004 saw the likes of Cowboy Bebop the Movie, Memories and Tokyo Godfathers released in the UK but 2005 shows a change of approach with a couple of series coming out alongside the films, but one of their film titles has the potential to be massive for them...

Ok, so the lead character's name is Ray Steam, but this still looks amazing ok?

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.

He has buttock mounted machine guns!!  Astro Boy rocks!!  Multinational peaceniks Cyborgs 001-009 looking very non-confrontational...

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 009Cyborg 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.

'What?! They've brought out a Special Edition that contains all of the extras that were supposed to be on the standard one?'

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...

Our Opinion

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
(Dates in brackets indicate release of 1st volume)

Astro Boy (31st January)
A scientist creates a robot called Astro to replace his dead son, and Astro soon begins to use his robotic powers (which include flight, super strength and buttock-mounted machine guns) to fight against evil.

Cyborg 009 (TBC)
A series of superhuman cyborgs created as weapons of war rebel against their creators and decide to use their powers to put an end to war and conflict.

Steam Boy (TBC)
A young boy comes into possession of a mysterious steam-powered ball invented by his father which has the power to produce near limitless amounts of energy, and must fight to keep it out of unscrupulous hands

Tokyo Godfathers Gift Set (14th February)
Three homeless people find a baby in a rubbish dump on Christmas Eve and decide to try and find the baby's parents, a quest which causes them to confront many of their own personal demons along the way.