Monday, November 24, 2008

News - 11/24/08...

Here We Go Again?

This will (hopefully) come to naught. But it still causes me to fill my pants:

In a move that ups the ante in the stalemate between actors and the studios over a new labor contract, the Screen Actors Guild has decided to pursue a strike authorization vote from its 120,000 members.

The decision came early Saturday morning after two days of mediation failed to bridge deep differences between the sides over how actors should be paid for work that is distributed over the Internet. Actors have been working without a contract since June 30.

Although a last-minute breakthrough is still possible, the actors and the studios now look to be inching closer to a costly showdown that would have seemed remote only a month ago.


The economy is in free fall, every other Hollywood labor organization has signed new three-year deals, and the actors get ready to pull the trigger.

I'll give it you as gently as I can.

If the actors go out, everybody else who works in the motion picture industry is screwed. Live action will shut down. Unemployment will skyrocket. And the various movie industry health and pension plans, which have been eating it already because of the drubbing their invested assets have taken, will very quckly be in desperate, desperate trouble because their cash flows will stop.

Animation employees wouldn't be slammed immediately, because they could continue working with the voice tracks that are in the can, but it could impact health coverage, and impact it in major ways.

And if a strike were to last three, four, five months? Don't even think about it, because you'll end up throwing yourself off a high cliff.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Bolt Doesn’t Strike Lightning

I’m no expert on the box office, but when Disney’s CG “blockbuster” Bolt opens with less than the studio’s throwaway live-action film Beverly Hills Chihuahua, there’s going to be some eyebrows raised. Here’s some analysis of Bolt’s tepid opening from

Disney’s big offering for the holiday season Bolt opened in third with sales that were a bit disappointing. The PG-rated animated flick took in an estimated $27M from 3,651 theaters for a $7,395 average. The debut came in well below what other November toons in recent years have opened to - 2005’s Chicken Little, 2006’s Happy Feet, and last year’s Bee Movie all bowed in the $38-42M range. Like Bolt, these films were non-sequels and did not have Thanksgiving to provide a boost. The canine flick even screened in 980 3D theaters and featured the voices of John Travolta and Miley Cyrus, but that did little to spark excitement. However with kids getting out of school for the holiday this week, sales could stay strong in the days ahead giving the Mouse House a respectable ten-day start.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Dark Knight DVD Exclusive at Wal-Mart

The Dark Knight fans can buy the DVD at Wal-Mart and receive a few extra goodies, including a "Bonus Comic Book" and "Commemorative Coin" (AKA Harvey Dent's coin). You can click HERE to view the listing.

Twilight Dominates with $70.5 Million

Summit Entertainment's Twilight, an adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's novel, dominated the box office earning an estimated $70.5 million from 3,419 theaters. The opening marks the fourth-biggest ever for the month of November, surpassing this month's earlier releases Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa ($63.1 million) and Quantum of Solace ($67.5 million), plus 2004's The Incredibles ($70.467 million), and trailing only the three "Harry Potter" movies that opened this month - "Chamber of Secrets" ($88.4 million), "Sorcerer's Stone" ($90.3 million) and "Goblet of Fire" ($102.7 million). Directed by Catherine Hardwicke from a script by Melissa Rosenberg, the love story between a teenage girl and a vampire averaged an impressive $20,636 per location. The film, starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Cam Cigandet, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone and Ashley Greene, was made for just $37 million.

Women accounted for three-quarters of the audience and 55 percent of viewers were under the age of 25, the studio said. With the strong opening of Twilight, Summit Sunday morning officially announced the sequel, New Moon.

Sony/MGM's Quantum of Solace dropped 59.4% from its first weekend to second place, making $27.4 million for a total of $109.5 million. The James Bond film stayed dominant overseas for a fourth straight weekend, earning $40.6 million in 72 markets. "Solace" has reached $309 million overseas and among Bond movies trails only 2006's Casino Royale, which grossed $430 million internationally. The 22nd James Bond film has earned $418.5 million worldwide compared to its budget of $200 million.

In third place, Walt Disney Pictures' new animated comedy adventure Bolt earned $27 million from 3,651 theaters, an average of $7,395. The film features the voices of John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman, Mark Walton, Diedrich Bader, Malcolm McDowell and Nick Swardson.

DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa added $16 million in the fourth spot to push its total to $137.4 million after three weeks. The sequel cost about $150 million to make.

Universal Pictures' Role Models rounded out the top five with $7.2 million in its third weeked for a total of $48 million. The Seann William Scott and Paul Rudd comedy cost only $28 million to make.


Warner Bros. Animation has unveiled a new website supporting the 'Batman: The Brave and the Bold' animated series, which premiered earlier this month on Cartoon Network and Fridays at 8 PM ET/PT.

The free, all-ages, ad-supported site is online now at It features a serialized Batman game entitled “The Terror of the Time Traps,” interactive virtual action figures known as “Inter-Action Figures,” detailed back story on many of the popular DC Comics characters who co-star in upcoming episodes of the show, step-by-step character drawing lessons featuring Batman and friends, and more.

“The new ‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’ site is an interactive experience for fans where they can engage with some of Warner Bros. Animation’s most iconic characters in unprecedented ways,” said Sam Ades, Vice President, Digital Animation, Warner Bros. Television Group, and General Manager, “Our site combines the coolest characters from the DC Comics family with the control, interactivity, and social media features that younger audiences have grown to expect from their entertainment content.”

Among the content, activities and behind-the-scenes material on the new site are:

“Inter-Action Figures” – Intuitive drag-and-drop tools empower users to select their favorite characters and create custom printable scenes from “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.” Each character comes with a variety of poses and can be positioned inside the scene using backgrounds from the show. Future functionality will allow users to export these scenes for use as wallpapers, screen savers and across other digital applications. Additional custom tools encourage viewers to engage with the characters by learning their history and hearing them speak. The “Spotlight” tool reveals each character’s biography, while the “Talk” tool plays audio clips that highlight the character’s unique personality.

Multi-Level Game – In “The Terror of the Time Traps” game, a mysterious force has overcome Batman and his friends, requiring them to embark on a series of challenges and battles. Throughout the television season, the game will unveil new levels, characters and challenges, with each segment tying back to a recent broadcast episode. As in the show, each level of the game requires Batman to partner with another character (to be selected by the player) to attempt to save the world. For example, the game will take players under the sea where Aquaman and Batman will team up to save Atlantis. Single-player game play encourages players to toggle between the two characters, using their respective superpowers to gain points, tackle challenges and advance. High scores are posted daily creating a fun way to enjoy the characters and encourage friendly competition with other fans.

Character Drawing Lessons – The artists responsible for the dynamic look and feel of “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” are featured on the site in instructional vignettes that coach fans and aspiring animators in the strokes, tips and tricks required to draw Batman and the other characters featured on the show.

The new “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” site is located at and is part of the online destination It can also be reached through prominently featured links at

Trailer for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Apple has made available a new trailer for the upcoming animated sequel Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs in various formats including HD. Directed by Carlos Saldanha, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, will be fully produced in 3-D and will see a July 4, 2009 release.

Or you can see it here...

Igor DVD in January

DVDActive reports that MGM Home Entertainment has announced DVD and Blu-ray releases of Igor on 20th January. Extras on the DVD will include “deleted scenes”, “bloopers” and a “Be An Igor” featurette. The Blu-ray release will also include commentary by Director Tony Leondis, writer Chris McKenna and producer Max Howard, and an alternate opening scene.

Bolt music video

Movie-List shares the music video I thought I lost you, featuring Miley Cyrus and John Travolta, from Disney’s animated feature Bolt. The music video is available to watch or download in various formats, including high definition.

Hallmark’s Cartoon Christmas

Holiday time is coming and that can only mean one thing: Hallmark is once again selling new Christmas ornaments based on classic cartoon characters! This year they have a nifty one (click thumbnails above) based on the Chuck Jones cartoon Rabbit Seasoning, as well as Tom & Jerry, Hanna Barbera’s The Jetsons, and The Flintstones and several other based around Peanuts, Jonny Quest, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Space Ghost and The Simpsons. Click here for more information.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Stan Freberg on 'The Three Little Bops'

For you animation history buffs out there -- Jazz music blogger Marc Myers has an article on the classic Looney Tunes short The Three Little Bops (1957) in which he interviews comedy legend and LT voice actor Stan Freberg, who offers some insight into the legendary jazz musicians involved in the production.

Stan says, ""Shorty Rogers [jazz trumpeter] brought the date together. He got the musicians. I wrote the script and did all the characters' voices for director Fritz Freleng, and I sang. I also helped with the music. Not many people know that."

To read the complete article, visit

Miyazaki Describes PM's Love for Manga as "Embarrassing"

Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki has taken a swipe at Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso, a self-described otaku. In comments made to the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, Miyazaki responded to a question about Aso's love for manga by saying, "It's so embarrassing," and added, "That should be more private."

Katzenberg Claims 3-D Goes Beyond Movies

In his keynote address to the 3DX Film and Entertainment Technology Festival in Singapore, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg repeated his predictions that "all films, regardless of budgets or type, will be made in 3-D," providing an estimated timeline for this transition within 5 to 7 years, and that the migration will extend past movie screens and include mobile phones and laptops. He was joined by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group president Mark Zoradi and others, with Zoradi citing the success of the 3-D versions of Chicken Little and the Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert movie as proof that, "consumers clearly prefer 3-D if they have a choice."

USA Today on "Coraline;" Film Clips on Movie Official Site

Director Henry Selick has spoken with USA Today about Coraline, the upcoming stop-motion animated movie from Laika Animation Studios which adapts Neil Gaiman's novella into a feature film, coming in February 2009. Selick his views of the movie, describing it as "like Alice in Wonderland meets Hansel and Gretel," and also digs into his affinity for stop-motion animation over CGI.

Elsewhere, author Neil Gaiman notes that and have "strange and marvellous little films up" that can be accessed by special key words, identifying two of them on his weblog.

'Venture Bros.' James Urbaniak Interviewed

James Urbaniak (voice of Venture Bros. Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture and Phantom Limb) has been interviewed by Atlanta's Creative Loafing Magazine.

Urbaniak will guest star in an episode of CSI: Miami on Monday, 11.24.08 and will also be a featured in-person guest at this weekend's Atlanta Supercon for a Venture Bros. panel, along with co-star Doc Hammer.

"Persepolis," "Waltz" up for British indy awards

Animated films "Persepolis" and "Waltz With Bashir" are among the five nominees in the Foreign Film category of the 11 annual British Independent Film Awards.

Also in the category are live-action entries The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Gomorrah and I've Loved You So Long.

The awards ceremony will take place Sunday, November 30 at the Old Billingsgate Market in London, and will be hosted by James Nesbitt.

"The nominations reveal an unparalleled number of new and young film talent across the various categories," said Elliot Grove, founder of Raindance and the British Independent Film Awards. "Together with more established film industry names, these nominees mark a refreshing 11th year."

The films receiving the most nominations are Hunger and In Bruges, tied with seven nominations each. Slumdog Millionaire follows with six. Shifty, one of the first from the Film London Microwave slate, receives five nominations. Somers Town, Son of Rambow and The Duchess hold four nominations each.

Other films with multiple nominations are The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Happy-Go-Lucky, both receiving three, and Man on Wire, The Daisy Chain, Eden Lake and The Escapist, receiving two each. There is an unprecedented number of 23 other nominated films throughout the categories.

This year sees a repeat nomination for actor Thomas Turgoose -- who is the youngest-ever Best Actor nominee -- and Ralph Fiennes, who receives a double nomination this year in the Best Supporting Actor category.

"We are delighted to be able to highlight such an eclectic range of new British film talent this year. with the pre-nomination debut director category being the most competitive BIFA has ever had," said BIFA directors, Johanna von Fischer and Tessa Collinson say. "We are also proud to honor two outstanding British acting talents and careers with The Richard Harris and The Variety Awards.”

From his breakthrough role in Mike Leigh's Naked through to his most recent role as the Father in this year's BIFA-nominated The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, David Thewlis, a nominee in BIFA's inaugural year 1998, will be honored with the Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor. Also this year, The Variety Award for bringing the international spotlight to the British film industry goes to the star of Frost/Nixon, Michael Sheen.

The Shaker Brothers

Way back in September 2006 we pointed towards a promising new film being produced as a labor of love by a small animation collective in Chicago, ChewBone Animation. The film is now complete and lives up to its promise. Check out the finished film, The Shaker Brothers (and its modest production blog here). Congrats to BJ Crawford and his crew.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Irv Spector storyboards

It seems like suddenly everyone has just discovered animator, cartoonist and director Irv Spector. I’ve been a fan of his comic books for years, and now his son Paul has dedicated a new blog to his work, Spectorphile. I look forward to whatever goodies he posts from the family archives. One of my prize finds, several years ago, was an original Spector storyboard for a Famous Studios cartoon Fido Beta Kappa (1954). I’ve been meaning to put it online for sometime and have finally posted it below (click on thumbnails to enlarge). People have knocked Famous Studios for many things. In my opinion, the problem wasn’t the animation nor the stories - it was the direction. Here’s a perfect example. First read the Spector storyboard below and think about how you would pace the gags and time the animation. Irv’s sketches are great and poses are perfect. Next watch the finished film (You Tube video embed below; note the changes to the opening sequence). Almost every gag falls flat. The revised character designs don’t help.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

1980 Sci-Fi Anime Film 'Toward the Terra' on DVD

'Terra e...' Finally Earns a Re-Mastered Re-Release

This month, Nozomi Entertainment will be re-releasing a Japanese animated feature film presentation that happens to hold a very familiar yet very relevant story structure. Toward the Terra, initially produced in 1980, tells the tale of a misguided utopian society and the overbearing government that regulates its peoples and the hopeful underground which rebels. In the distant future, when mother Earth has been too far devastated by humanity for general recovery, the control and governance of the environment and all of its inhabitants are relinquished to computers. Now a planet whose population is best personified as a cold, inorganic carbon copy of generations past, the hope for returning the human race back to a proud, emotional, and thinking people seems far off.

Based on the award-winning science fiction manga by Keiko Takemiya published in the mid to late-1970s, Toward the Terra begins with the overview of a world culture that is guided by computers, and with a society where the oppression of anything "different" or beyond the established modus operandi is killed, suppressed, or cast aside. Food is created only for limited and necessary consumption, children are manufactured in test tubes, and any person who is not a good, obedient citizen, must be eliminated. Much of this is controlled through the planet's brainwashing system, which wipes clean the minds of youths when the reach the age of fourteen

As Toward the Terra continues, one such boy named Jomy Shin, has come of age. Jomy however, is beginning to question how things are run in this futuristic, seemingly utopist society, where everything is conveniently provided for him.

Naturally, the farther the boy moves his curiosity through the web of deceit and confusion that surrounds him, the more dangerous his existence becomes. For Jomy, there are two organizations in search of him.

On one hand is the government, whose control of human memory threatens to exterminate young Jomy. On the other hand is the MU, an outcast race of individuals with extra sensory abilities constantly seeking freedom from cultural and intellectual repression.

A classic sci-fi story where individuality and a calmness of spirit come at the price of a pale and uncreative civilization, Toward the Terra's thematic intrigue may feel tired and exhausted to contemporary anime fans, but rest assured, the anime film's approach to the usurpation of personal freedoms and revelation of what it means to be a hero for the people, remain timeless.

Distributed by Nozomi Entertainment (Aria, The Third, Emma: A Victorian Romance), the Japanese animated feature film Toward the Terra is on sale from November 25th, 2008 for $19.99. Originally distributed by Nozomi's parent group, Right Stuf, Inc., nearly fifteen years ago on VHS, the anime movie is a digitally remastered home video release with Japanese audio and an English language subtitle track.

on Nozomi Entertainment: Nozomi Entertainment (, Right Stuf’s production division, is dedicated to the highest quality releases. True to the Japanese word that inspired its name, Nozomi’s focus is on “what fans want.” By focusing on a limited number of anime properties each year, the Nozomi production team ensures each release receives the care and attention to detail it deserves.

Be sure to check out The Girl Who Leapt Through Time on DVD This Week

Any commentator who posits that non-motion capture animation cannot re-create the essence of human motion and expression should be sat down with a copy of this movie. Time travel conceit aside, the movie is ingrained in the present day experiences of life in a modern, prosperous nation, set in houses, streets and schools. With light stylization acting as control factor in the demonstration, this work ought to prove that 2D animation is an irreplaceable, artistically viable form. The absence of an actor or physical model allows the image to be as loose or precise as the creator’s decision and ability can dictate. In the case of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, that level of abstraction is what the movie needs to set the viewer on the same wavelength as its heroine. The seamless flexibility creates room for composition and ambiguity. In the case of this movie, this is what adds new meaning to what is explicitly not a new story.

This technical merit contributes to the artistry that makes
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time a joy to watch. Picking a film to recommend to any viewer, regardless of their affection for animation in general or anime specifically, this movie should top the list. Tapping into the universal concerns of what one is doing with one's life and where one's life is heading, the movie offers a mature engagement of youth that is more relevant and interesting than a simple coming of age. Though it cracks in the third act, the fissures complement what is a thought provoking challenge in the powerfully moving film.

If you haven't seen the work in question, it might come as a surprise that
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time director Mamoru Hosoda's best exposure to North American audiences would be the cobbled together Digimon movie. Previously hailed for his composition, detailed motion and eye for talented collaborators, given the freedom of his own movie outside Toei's studios he produces a work of art. Hosoda's approach is less obviously experimental than films like Mind Game. Working with Madhouse Studios, his animation makes the motion that one sees every day captivating, and the scenery of life something profound, worthy of close study.

The movie is an updated retelling of a Tsutsui Yasutaka novel, previously adapted into a popular live action film and TV series. In Hosoda's updated version, titular heroine Makoto Konno gains the ability to physically leap and land in a chosen point in her past. Initially she uses the ability as an instrument of escapism, spending her time pursing inconsequential activities and goals. As chaos theory, unintended consequence and the momentum of life conspire to confront Makoto, she is forced to make more significant alterations. What was light hearted, laugh out loud, slapstick hardens into gut twisting drama. As the compounding repercussions become evident, the film taps into powerful emotions felt either in retrospect or in anxiety when concerning the effects of action and inaction in the pivotal moments of one's life.

The revelation of the nature of Makoto's time travel broadens the scope of
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. It re-focuses the film to call attention to questions concerning the direction of the future, and the nature of art. Though essential and thought provoking, the information is introduced in such a way as to shove the film into a new angle. Given that the movie strongly encourages the viewer to share the lead's emotional progression, even if such a development is foreshadow, it still pulls the support out from under the narrative when the shift is introduced abruptly. Especially for a North American audience, the vast majority of which will be unfamiliar with the original story, the twist from what had been accepted as the premise of the movie, to the full set of facts is jarring enough to break the movie's hold. Yet, Hosoda spring it in a particularly heated sequence, where the shock is ensured, suggesting that this may have been his intended reaction.

Studio Gonzo's first venture into feature length anime film is
Origin - Spirit of the Past. A pivotal moment in the movie features its newly invigorated hero running as fast as he can. As his legs pound the earth, his torso is held parallel to the ground. This speed skate/run is a position that has been employed animating ninja or samurai running, and it does offer some dramatic heft, but in terms of human anatomy, the animated motion is distractingly nonsensical.

Working off effectively abstract character designs from
Evangelion's Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Hosoda produces a studied recreation of human movement. Whether it is Makoto's titular leaps or an unnamed bystander in a crowd, there is a reality established in that the people move like people. Exact motion, and intensely recognizable expression are applied to design that is attractive and open. The balance creates characters that are very specific, but malleable for a viewer to imprint their own ideas.

What makes
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time brilliant also serves as a liability for getting the movie marketed. Rather than chasing after existing fans or serving as a vehicle for marketing other material, the movie doesn't just break out the anime ghetto, it ignores it. There is a degree to which The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
does react to popular anime. It is informed by past versions of the story, the evolution of popular ideas of the future and bishoujo ideal. At the same time it rejects the pressure to distill anime production into algebraic formulas: if you like genre X or are of age Y, or previously enjoy Z, then you'll like A.

The Business

Animation Budgets Interactive Graph is a must see.

Otaku market size 2007

a geek by any other name was directed to Broccoli’s website and the Japanese press release that announces that cites the extensive competition in the manga and character merchandise fields in North America as reasons for shutting down Broccoli International USA (publisher of Murderer Princess, Cowboy Ragtime Show, Disgaea)

In the comments, Humberto Saabedra states;

To clarify the situation further, Broccoli Books, Synch-Point and everything under the Broccoli USA umbrella will be liquidated and shut down.

This means that all licenses will revert to Broccoli Japan. provides some context

The official blog comments on transition plans


Animation Magazine reports

Also see Animation Insider's coverage


Animation Magazine also reports that DreamWorks Animation SKG has elected David Geffen Co. CEO Richard Sherman to its board of directors. The news follows the recent departure of DreamWorks co-founder David Geffen.


Film Roman (the Simpsons, King of the Hill, Tripping the Rift, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!) has promoted Jay Fukuto to oversee all of the studio's animation production. He will be in charge of television, feature film, home entertainment, commercial and visual effects operations, working out of the Burbank, Calif. headquarters of the Starz Media company.

AWN looks at Nexus Productions Ltd.

"It's a very exciting time for independent animated films," said Chris O'Reilly, one of the founders of Nexus. "We're finding that there's a lot more interest now from financiers and studios in making films that use animation techniques to tell stories.


Adds the company's co-founder, Charlotte Bavasso,
"Before, you had the manga books at one end, and 2D animation for children at the other, and there really wasn't anything in between. Apart from Asia, and Japan in particular, where anime was very strong, there wasn't a platform for this. But there is now an interest in techniques and approaches that are coming from commercials and music videos, which is where Nexus started."

* reports that Namco Bandai's second quarter 2009 figures show a 94.2% drop in profits from PY 4.4 billion (USD 45.5 million) the previous year to JPY 337 million (USD 3.4 million) this year. Games revenue dropped from 37.2 billion (USD 385 million) in the same quarter last year to JPY 30.9 billion (USD 319 million).

One of the few bright spots was strong performance by Dragon Ball Z Burst Limit, with 728,000 units shipped on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.


According to Variety, the studio behind Weinstein distributed animated movie “Igor,” Sparx has closed its Paris location.

“We’ve been hit by the shockwaves of the U.S. financial crisis,” said Thomas Schober, Sparx’s head of production. “Since our industry relies heavily on private financing, the crisis has made it extremely difficult for us to get work on features.”

“Eventually we’ll be back working on big, sophisticated animated features from our Vietnam facility,” said Sparx CEO Renaud Biscarrat, pointing out that the Asian studio provided all the modeling and animation for “Igor.” “But for now, we’re going to focus on what we used to do before: commercials, TV series and videogames.”


Eye on Asia Blog 2.0 has reported on some significant shake-ups in the figures scene.

For starters, Organic Hobby Inc. has terminated their relationship with Kaiyodo. All Kaiyodo Revoltech releases Due have been cancelled effective immediately.

From Organic's press release

“We would like to take the time to inform you that Organic Hobby, Inc will no longer be importing Kaiyodo’s product lines Revoltech, Fraulein, etc…, effective immediately. We would like to extend our sincerest apologies for all inconveniences that this might have caused your company/establishment. In addition, we would like to say that we feel terribly sorry about the non-release (cancellation) of the following items.

Please make a note of the changes (above) and make the necessary adjustments in your system. We look forward to continue doing business with your company/establishment as you are a valued customer.”

Good Smile Company later announced the acquisition of the Revoltech release from Kaiyodo.

Eye on Asia noted

Good Smile now holds the licence for Kaiyodo’s Revoltech, Max Factory’s Figma and their own series of Nendoriod. I think one of the results for this might be the discontinuation or at least a big re-thinking of the Fraulein Revoltech line, that seems to have under-performed.

The buzz goes on to suggest that remaining figures from the original Revoltech Yamaguchi line (Enkidudu and Black King Gainer) have been made magazine exclusives. The line will be discontinued to be relaunched in a 3.0 REBOOT in May 2009.


An estimation of the size and potential growth of the Indian animation industry

Anime Expo And MTV Cast For True Life

Anime Expo is working with MTV to cast three anime fans for MTV Network's "True Life" series.

Individuals must appear to be between the ages of 16 and 28 and must identify as a fanboy/fangirl. Interested applicants can click on the "True Life" link on the Anime Expo website to be part of this ground breaking documentary series.

Worth Checking Out...

Previews of the upcoming anime season is are being compile
Otaku Dan has an incredible chart
Awesome Engine's Hate Fun

The Japan Times on the impact of Osamu Tezuka's "Shin-Takarajima" ("New Treasure Island")

let's anime: anime clubs - our glorious unwashed heritage

Erica Friedman on The Difficulties of Advertising and Promoting Manga

Ogiue Maniax explains how to Find Manga in a Japanese Bookstore

Goro Miyazaki interviewed about Hotta Yoshie Exhibition: The Troublous Times Depicted by Ghibli

Trends in anime versus manga

THROUGH OTAKU EYES / Journalist tracks lost pop culture treasures

Genndy Tartakovsky surveys his career


Awesome Engine presents Go Nagai Overload!

Part 2 here

Randall White's Major Motoko Kusanagi - Ghost in the Shell: Echoes movie flier

The first 8 minutes of the CG Resident Evil: Degeneration

400 FUNimation trailer on Anime News Network

Shintaro Kago Poster, "Sadistic Circus", also Kago's The Collection

A new Wolverine and the X-Men trailer

Oi, Hayaku! on The Importance of OPs and EDs

South Park x Soul Eater OP Theme Parody

Via An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla

Somewhere, Josh Barnett approves

Otaku, Prime Minister Taro Aso and concept cars
(also here

asiaone on Hayao Miyazaki's frustrational with Taro Aso

Bandai's Freedom Sweepstakes

Will Smith Definitely Starring In ‘Oldboy,’ Says Steven Spielberg Film Won’t Be A Remake

It’s sadly official now: Steven Spielberg and Will Smith are remaking Chan-Wook Park’s, “Oldboy.” Film School Rejects caught up with Smith, who confirmed that he was starring in the film, but was quick to dismiss the claims and complaints that he and Spielberg were remaking Park’s film.

“We’re looking at that right now. Not the film though, it’s the original source material,” said Smith. “There’s the original comics of ‘Oldboy’ that they made the first film from. And that’s what we’re working from, not an adaptation of the film.”

Spielberg has apparently secured the rights to the original manga epic by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya. While story differences between the comic and the film are slight, the manga isn’t as hardcore as Park’s film. Many of the more controversial elements, like the live octopus eating, and the incest subplot, aren’t part of the original story. So, that explains how Spielberg and Smith will tone the whole thing down for American audiences and ratings.

And they’ve got a writer to help them adapt it to an American setting. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mark Protosevich has landed the job of writing the script. While the “Thor” writer knows his way around comics, many were upset with his take on “I Am Legend.” What kind of take will he have on “Oldboy”?

Tim Blake Nelson Will Battle Hulk As ‘The Leader’ In ‘Incredible Hulk 2’ — With Or Without Ed Norton

Fans of this past summer’s “The Incredible Hulk” had a smile put on their faces recently when producer Gale Anne Hurd revealed to MTV News that a proper sequel for the big green guy was very much in the works. As it turns out, they weren’t the only ones.

“I know Gale Ann was talking to you guys about that recently, and I liked hearing it,” beamed an enthusiastic Tim Blake Nelson when MTV spoke with him recently, telling us that he’s on board with Hurd’s plan to have him play the villainous Leader in the next film.

These days, the talented writer/director/actor is in a dark editing bay assembling “Leaves of Grass,” a quirky 2009 drama that features Edward Norton in a dual performance. Nelson told us that during the shooting of “Leaves,” he and Norton sometimes spoke about their recent blockbuster experience, but he still can’t say with confidence that Norton will return following his rumored falling-out with Marvel Studios.

“We talked about [‘Hulk’] a little bit, yeah; we made some jokes about it,” Nelson remembered. “It’s all good, and I really do hope [the sequel] happens, for all sorts of reasons. But yeah, we did, we had a great time on ‘Hulk’ together. I’m eager to do ‘Hulk 2’ if they make it.”

But with stars like Robert Downey Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson continuing to talk themselves up for 2011’s epic “Avengers” flick, and Hulk expected to be a character in that film, Norton has become suspiciously tight-lipped on the topic of future adventures as Bruce Banner. So, with each passing month, it seems more likely that the next Hulk appearance will replace him with another actor just as he did with Eric Bana.

“I feel Edward and I are well-suited for one another. It’s really fun collaborating with him, and he made these characters [in ‘Hulk’ and ‘Leaves’] better,” explained Nelson, revealing that although he’d prefer not to, he would return even if Norton is removed from the series.

“Well, I’m signed on to do ‘Hulk 2’ and ‘3’ whether Edward’s there or not, so it’s not even up to me,” he explained. “When I agreed to do ‘Hulk,’ I signed off for two sequels, so it’s a moot question. I certainly hope Edward is on the sequel — but that’s up to Marvel and Edward.”

Either way, whenever Marvel and Gale Ann Hurd come calling for the “Hulk” sequel, Tim Blake Nelson says he’s fully prepared to show off his great big brain. “Oh, I already did [research into The Leader] when I was doing [Dr. Samuel] Sterns, because I felt that it would be helpful to lay in stuff as Sterns for what The Leader would be,” he explained of the super-intelligent baddie with a desire to take over the world. “So, that was all part of doing Sterns.”

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Iron Man 2’ Screenwriter Justin Theroux Sounds Off On Terrence Howard Departure, Role Of War Machine In Sequel

We may never know what ultimately led to the Don Cheadle/Terrence Howard switch on “Iron Man 2,” and if Robert Downey Jr. knows, well, he isn’t talking (at least to us).

But one reason it definitely did NOT happen is because the character of Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes was scaled back for the sequel, “Iron Man 2″ screenwriter Justin Theroux told MTV News.

“I can’t really speak to the plot stuff and all the rest of it but Rhodes is completely present in a very strong and big way,” Theroux said of the man who would be War Machine. “He’s COMPLETELY present.”

The belief that the character was drastically reduced first came to our attention in an “Entertainment Weekly” article, which posited that Theroux and director Jon Favreau were minimizing the role.

“All that stuff that was in the ‘EW’ article,” Theroux started before a brief pause. “I don’t know. I can only tell you what I know which is that from a writing standpoint we didn’t do anything differently [with the character]. It’s not like we were sitting there going, we need less of this or that. We just approached the characters and the story on their own terms.”

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