Welcome to our News archive for December 2008 - to see this month's news please click on the button below.


26th December 2008

Boxing Day News Roundup!

Got a bit the news what with the run-up to Christmas and everything, so here's a the news from the last week or so:

  • American voice actress Maddie Blaustein has died aged 48.  Maddie is best known for her roles as Meowth in the English dub of Pokémon and Solomon Moto in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters and Capsule Monsters, but appeared in dozens of other series including Sonic X and Hi no Tori.

  • The Shonen Jump website Jumpland has added the first chapter of the football manga Meister for free and in English!  The manga has yet to be released in the UK and joins a list of free manga chapters including the immensely odd versions of Death Note with Bobobo bo Bo-bobo creator Yoshio Sawai providing the art, and the version of Bobobo bo Bo-bobo drawn by Death Note artist Takeshi Obata.  We're not making this up.

  • Keanu Reeves has expressed interest in taking on the lead role in 20th Century Fox's proposed Cowboy Bebop film.  Reeves is a self-confessed anime fan and said that a story outline based loosely on the Red Eye story from the start of the Cowboy Bebop anime series was in the works.  The film has yet to go into production.

  • Universal Studios and Stuber Productions have signed a deal to bring the Japanese toy and anime franchise Bakugan to the big screen!  The franchise follows a kid called Dan and his friends who discover a card game that summons warriors from another dimension.  Believe it or not it's not Yu-Gi-Oh!, it just sounds very, very similar.

  • Bandai have streamed 12 episodes of their Saigo! Tamagotchi anime shorts on YouTube for free.  The shorts are in Japanese with English subtitles and are viewable in the UK. Click here to bring them up, and ensure you click on the triangular button in the corner of the video window and click the 'CC' button to turn on the subtitles.

  • US trading card game company Upper Deck has entered into a war of words with Konami after the latter issued a press release claiming that they had taken over distribution and customer support for the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game.  Upper Deck assert that they still retain the right to distribute the game and are sole and exclusive distributor for Europe.  They have threatened legal action if Konami do not withdraw their claim.

  • There was more doom and gloom for those linked to the anime and manga industry in the run up to Christmas with the news the Tokyopop made 8 staff redundant in the US and 4Kids are to lay off 15% of their workforce.

  • FUNimation continue to conquer the anime world, picking up numerous titles dropped by ADV and Geneon earlier this year.  Amongst their latest acquisitions are Last Exile, Vandread, Ikki Tousen and Gad Guard.

  • Manga authors are continuing to drop like flies in Japan, with the news that Peach Pit have put three titles - Zombie Loan, Rozen Maiden and Shugo Chara! - on hiatus due to illness.  Meanwhile Eri Takenashi, creator of the hugely popular but as yet untranslated manga Kannagi, has also been forced to put the series on hold due to hospitalisation.

  • Major Japanese publisher Kadokawa are to produce a spinoff from their Newtype anime magazine called Nyantype.  The new magazine will be similar to the existing magazine Megami and will focus on sexy female characters from anime and include pin-up posters and serialised manga.  It is due to launch in Japan at the end of April 2009, and will be 170 pages long.

Source: Various

26th December 2008

New Street Fighter Anime Coming to the UK!

We reported a while back that Studio 4°C - the studio behind the likes of Tekkonkinkreet and Memories - had been working on anime sequences for Capcom's forthcoming game Street Fighter IV.  It was later confirmed that they would be producing an anime film to tie in with the game and that this would be bundled with Street Fighter IV's home console release in Japan.  Well, if listings on Play.Com and Amazon are anything to go by, it looks like the UK will be getting the film as well!  Both retailers are listing a collectors edition of the game which is due out on the 20th February, and comes with a bonus disc featuring the 'HD Quality' anime movie amongst other extras.  The Street Fighter IV Collectors Edition costs Ł69.99 and is available on the XBox 360 or PlayStation 3 only.

Source: Amazon, Play.Com

15th December 2008

More Clips Than You Can Shake A Stick At!

MVM are spoiling us this Christmas with a host of clips of their new series!  Click on the links below to view clips of the excellent Slayers vol 1, Daphne in the Brilliant Blue and Starship Operators:


Clip 1 | Clip 2 | Clip 3 | Clip 4

Daphne in the Brilliant Blue

Clip 1 | Clip 2 | Clip 3 | Clip 4

Starship Operators

Clip 1 | Clip 2 | Clip 3 | Clip 4

Source: MVM

11th December 2008

Dragon Ball Live Action Trailer Released!

Yes, you read that right!  IGN have posted the official trailer for the live-action Dragon Ball movie, which can be viewed by clicking here.  Whilst many purists will no doubt lament the colour of Bulma's hair, or the inexplicable shapeshifting abilities Mai has, we think it looks like great cheesy fun and are looking forward to it more than ever!

Interestingly, it has also been announced that the film's theme song is going to be performed by J-Pop star Ayumi Hamasaki.  Although a J-Pop star's involvement in an anime-related project is not normally uncommon, it's definitely unusual in this case as the film is American.

Source: ICv2

11th December 2008

New Fullmetal Alchemist Series Coming!

Despite ending itself seemingly for good with the anime movie, Japanese Studio Bones have  announced that a new series of Fullmetal Alchemist is on its way!  Few details are known as yet, apart from the fact that it'll make it's Japanese TV debut in April 2009, but a brief teaser line suggests it may be a prequel to the original series.  More news when we get it.

Source: ICv2

11th December 2008

New CLAMP Anime On its Way

Anyone who used to read the sadly defunct NewType USA magazine ay remember the bizarre CLAMP manga Kobato that was serialised in it.  Well, now it's going to become an anime!  The series is due to debut in Japan next Autumn, and (like the manga) will focus on a girl called Kobato and her grumpy, sentient plush dog Ioryogi who collect bad feelings to help cure people in emotional pain.

Source: AnimeNewsNetwork

2nd December 2008

Leading J-Rock Act Dir en Grey to Tour the UK!

Rock magazine Kerrang! have announced that leading J-Rock act Dir En Grey will be taking part in the forthcoming K! Tour.  This annual tour showcases an impressive selection of hot and up-and-coming rock bands.  Dir en Grey will be playing alongside Mindless Self Indulgence, Bring Me the Horizon, Black Tide and In Case of Fire.  The K! Tour will be held in the following locations during January:

13th Belfast, Mandela Hall
14th Dublin, Academy
16th Bristol, Academy
17th Cardiff, Great Hall
18th Southampton, Guildhall
20th Oxford, Academy
21th Norwich, UEA
22th Nottingham, Rock City
23th Manchester Academy
24th Leeds, University
26th Liverpool, Academy
27th Glasgow, Barrowland
28th Newcastle, Academy
29th Birmingham, Academy
30th London, Brixton Academy

Source: Kerrang!

2nd December 2008

Ghibli Plan Two New Films

A report from a presentation to staff by Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki has revealed that the legendary studio has started work on two new films.  Both films will have young staffers at their core, and one looks like it'll be headed up by Ghibli's other founder Isao Takahata, whilst the other will be directed by Hayao Miyazaki's son Goro.

Source: Nausicaa.Net

29th November 2008

Ponyo English Dub Cast List Revealed?

Leading Studio Ghibli fansite Ghibli World have reported a partial cast list for the English Language dub of Hayao Miyazaki's latest film Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea.  Produced by Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy (ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park), the dub is set to feature Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, Betty White, Frankie Jonas, Noah Cyrys and Cloris Leachman.  Although big-name casts aren't always a guarantee of quality, at least it means that it should pick up some publicity and hopefully more people will check the film out.  Personally we can't wait to see it!

Source: GhibliWorld.Com

1st December 2008

November News Roundup

  • Ayacon 2009 website launched, check it out here!

  • 4Digital Asia have licensed sci-fi drama Mnemosyne.

  • Tokyopop were crowned Best Publisher/Distributor in this year's Neo Awards.  Some of their manga titles have also been appearing in the latest series of The IT Crowd.

  • Naruto is to be streamed for free on Crunchyroll, Joost and Hulu in a deal between VIZ Media and TV Tokyo.  Free episodes will be available one week after the Japanese airing, whilst paid Crunchyroll subscribers can watch them one hour after the Japanese.

  • The partial English dub cast for Hayao Miyazaki's latest film Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea has been reported.  The cast includes big hitters Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett and Liam Neeson.

  • A Hollywood remake of Oldboy is on the cards, with Steven Spielberg set to direct and Will Smith to take the lead role.  The script is to be provided by I Am Legend scribe Mark Protosevich.

  • Leonardo Di Caprio's Appian Way production house are to make live action films based on Akira and Ninja Scroll.

  • VIZ Media are to release 11 volumes of the Naruto manga in just three months next year.

  • UK anime merchandise retailer Tokyo15 have launched an online campaign against pirated figures and merchandise.  Click here to read about it.

  • Broccoli International USA is to close down shortly due to falling profits.  Their manga titles have been stopped and they are looking to transfer the licenses to other distributors.

  • The trailer for Hells Angels, the latest film from anime studio Madhouse has been streamed,  click here to check it out!

  • D.Gray-Man has been put on hold due to the ill health of author Katsura Hoshino.

  • Two anime films - Sword of a Stranger and The Sky Crawlers - have made the longlist for Oscar nomination.

  • Three new anime shorts from the Jump Super Anime Tour are being streamed for free online.  The three shorts include the anime debut of Tegami Bachi, a special short based on the One Piece prototype manga Romance Dawn and the return of Dragon Ball after an absence of over a decade!  To watch the shorts visit the site here.

  • FUNimation uploaded a 'test episode' of Sgt Frog to YouTube to garner public opinion.  The episode provides the first taste of the English dub, check it out here!

  • FUNimation stream even more anime through Hulu, Joost, YouTube, Crunchyroll and their own website.

  • ADV USA show signs of recovery with the acquisition of Princess Resurrection.

  • US manga publisher Udon Entertainment launch Manga For Kids line, the first title is due to be released in April.

  • The live-action Dragon Ball film's US release date has been shifted to 10th April 2009.

  • 'God of Manga' Osamu Tezuka's epic back-catalogue of 700 manga and 100 anime are to be distributed online for free over the course of the next three years,  A Japanese site will start the distribution, and English and Korean sites will follow in due course.

  • Full Moon and Gentleman's Alliance Cross author Arina Tanemura is launching a new manga series in Japan.  The new series is called Sakura-Hime Kaden, and is due to debut in Ribon magazine in January.

  • Leading anime studio Gonzo are to reduce their output and staff next year, due to falling DVD sales.

  • Four 'heavy anime downloaders' from Singapore are being sued by anime distributors for downloading copyrighted material.

  • The lack of virtual child pornography laws in Japan has been highlighted at the World Congress III Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children, with lolicon manga and anime being cited as examples.

  • Popular shojo manga series Fruits Basket has been adapted into a stage play in Japan by all-male theatre troupe Gekiden Studio Life.  The play's run is due to start in Tokyo's Galaxy Theatre in 28th February 2009.

  • The long-rumoured Tenchi Muyo! spin-off Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari has finally been confirmed and is due to debut in Japan next year.

Source: Various