GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, announced that it has acquired the North American distribution rights for legendary animation house Studio Ghibli’s latest feature EARWIG AND THE WITCH.
The film is directed by Goro Miyazaki (From Up on Poppy Hill, Tales from Earthsea) and produced by studio co-founder Toshio Suzuki, with planning on the feature from his father, Academy Awardâ-winner Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro).
Based on the children’s novel “Earwig and the Witch” by Diana Wynne Jones (“Howl’s Moving Castle”), the film marks Studio Ghibli’s first entirely 3DCG animated feature.
The story follows Earwig growing up in an orphanage, who has no idea that her mother had magical powers. Her life will take a new turn when a strange family takes her in, and she is forced to live with a selfish witch. For now, that is all the Gkids has let on about the film.
The film is slated to air on NHK in Japan Winter 2020. GKIDS will release the film theatrically in North America in early 2021. Director Goro Miyazaki has previously commented about the film stating,
“Nowadays, in our country, there are many adults and few children. It must be tough for these children, so few of them having to deal with so many adults. It was while I was thinking about this that I got to know Earwig. And I realized, ‘That’s it!’ How does Earwig deal with the annoying adults? Please watch Earwig and The Witch to find out. She may be cheeky, but I sincerely hope that our adorable Earwig will encourage children and cheer up adults.”
– Goro Miyazaki (2020 GKids Interview)
“A new Studio Ghibli film is always a cause for celebration for fans around the world,” said GKIDS’ President David Jesteadt. “We are excited to see Goro Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli working in a new animation style, and look forward to sharing the film with audiences early next year.”
– David Jesteadt (GKIDS’ President)
For updates regarding Earwig And The Witch visit, Gkids.com.
The Lupin the 3rd franchise created by Monkey Punch began in 1967 and has spanned a variety of manga, TV series, games, a theme park ride, and musical adaptations. It featured acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki in his first feature film debut with The Castle of Cagliostro in 1979. The Lupin the 3rd: The First is a highly anticipated film that marks the VERY first installment in CGI for the lauded animated franchise. In recent news, the upcoming English language dub film will feature the voices of
Lupin III – Tony Oliver Daisuke Jigen – Richard Epcar Goemon Ishikawa – Lex Lang Fujiko Mine – Michelle Ruff Koichi Zenigata – Doug Erholtz Laetitia – Laurie C. Hymes Lambert – J. David Brimmer Gerard – Paul Guyet
From 2D to CGI 3D
“I’ve been looking forward to seeing Lupin III in 3DCG for a long time now. I saw the characters and story, and it looks like this new Lupin is going to have a whole new feeling to him. It’s exciting just imagining how the movie is going to turn out.”
-MONKEY PUNCH (OCT. ‘18)
An excerpt from Gkids’ Interview with LUPIN III: THE FIRST director Takashi Yamazaki:
As soon as the project began in September 2015, the 3DCG Lupin character designs were also developed. Lupin has different characteristics between the TV series and the specials, and likewise, various options were considered for this movie.
First, several character designers and concept artists were hired to develop about 30 different designs of Lupin in 2D. The Staff cast voted on the three most popular designs. Those were further improved until the final design was completed. Once Lupin was finalized, developing Daisuke Jigen, Goemon Ishikawa, and Inspector Zenigata was relatively easy by applying the same style.
However, Fujiko Mine proved to be difficult. She was portrayed as a provocative lady in the TV specials with eyes slanting upwards, whereas she was cute and playful with eyes slanting down in the series. Her characteristics changed according to the staff. After many discussions about which direction to go and whether she should be slim or voluptuous, the production team decided on the current design.
Building 3D models based on 2D concepts turned out to be challenging since small details make or break Lupin’s likeness. Two dedicated 3D modelers were building digital maquettes in ZBrush for the main characters. What resulted were completely different models, and it was hard to believe that they came from the same concept art. In the end, the one chosen was the model that was most expressive in CG animation. Attention to small details such as the sideburns and jawline were considered to finalize the 3D models.
The new characters Laetitia, Lambert, and Gerard were developed based on Director Yamazaki’s rough sketches. Lambert’s 3D model was almost entirely developed from Director Yamazaki’s sketch. Gerard’s design was less straightforward. Ultimately, the character drawn in the animatics turned out to be well-received, so the model was developed from that design.
What is great about 3DCG is its rich texture. The slick texture of Lupin’s leather jacket was made possible because of the medium. There were more than 10 different outfits designed for Fujiko and Director Yamazaki mentioned that it was like an upscale costume fitting. However, because of the budget, only a couple of outfits were developed. Fans can enjoy the carefully selected outfits in the film.
Special thanks to GKids for interviewing the film Director Takashi Yamazaki, and providing us with the said interview. For those interested in reading the entire interview please do so here (Lupin III: The First Press Kit PDF).
Follow the iconic “gentleman thief” as Lupin III returns in an action-packed, continent-spanning adventure, as Lupin III and his colorful underworld companions race to uncover the secrets of the mysterious Bresson Diary before it falls into the hands of a dark cabal that will stop at nothing to resurrect the Third Reich. The gang undertakes trap-filled tombs, aerial escapades, and daring prison escapes with the trademark wit and visual finesse that has made LUPIN THE 3RD one of the most storied animation franchises in the world, in a thrilling new caper that is sure to delight fans old and new. Watch the trailer below!
Follow Lupin at these official social media links:
Miraculous Ladybug currently has 3 seasons and going strong, and with a huge demand for Miraculous Ladybug merchandise, Zag entertainment decided to open a physical store in Santa Monca, California in April of 2019.
Merchandise varies, from action figures and stationery to apparel and accessories. Recently, Zag entertainment added a highly anticipated product!
Miraculous ladybug fans have been pushing for Zag entertainment to produce collectible figures, rather than the basic figurine toy. on March 13th, Zag entertainment released the VERY, first collectible figure; Ladybug & Catnoir Art Figure!
The figure is 100% resin and stands about 16.5” inches tall, and comes with a limited-edition storage box made from real leather.
How much will this limited edition figure set you back? An estimated $260 (before taxes and shipping). If you have $260+ to spare, the figure can be pre-ordered online here, but hurry only 2000 pieces were made.
We’d love to hear from you, What are your opinions on the Miraculous Ladybug figure? Comment below!
The following MAY contains spoilers from the Jak and Daxter video games series
We’ve all been there before, we’ve all at some point had a crush on a video game character, whether it was Lara Croft or Chung Li. Maybe some of us still have virtual waifus and/or husbandos. The Jak and Daxter series is one such game of the early 2000s, in which some of us discovered our very first video game crush. Many fans of the series were automatically hooked on the game’s expansive fantasy world, its plot and the game’s impressionable femme fatale characters.
One such character was Tess. Tess is a character that was featured in Jak II and Jak 3, Initially introduced as a supporting character, she would gradually play an essential role in the storyline, helping Jak and Daxter through their journey. Tess also served as a love interest for Daxter.
During the events in Jak II, Tess was a rebellion spy (or Underground agent in the game) working at a local bar, gathering intel from the enemy. By Jak 3 she becomes a weapons expert, developing high-grade weapons. Although many who have played the game, know of Tess’s background story, not many are aware of the person behind the voice of the hyper-active, cheery character.
Tess is Portrayed by Dr.Britton A. Arey MD, now working as a psychiatrist in Orange County in California, Britton once pursued a career in acting and in the years prior to Jak II, Britton had auditioned for a role in the hit movie Hook which features the late Robbin Williams and veteran voice actor, Dante Basco.
Join us in this exclusive voice actor interview! For the very first time, Dr.Britton Arey speaks out about her involvement in Jak II/Jak 3 revealing behind the scenes stories during the production of the game and much more!
Stick to the end of the interview for details on how to win an autographed print signed by Britton Arey (voice of Tess) and her husband Daniel Arey, Former creative director and writer of the Jak and Daxter series!
Sonic The Hedgehog the movie has been an extremely anticipated film. Since 2013, rights to the film were acquired by Sony Pictures before declaring it a turnaround and selling the rights to Paramount Pictures in 2017.
Since then, its been a crazy, wild ride, beginning with Sonic’s initial design. The first trailer was released on April 30th, 2019, which experienced extreme, negative feedback.
Many fans went online, critiquing the character’s resemblance to its video game counterpart. In a surprising turn of events film director, Jeff Folwer and Paramount pictures decided to delay the film to redesign sonic. The film was originally set for a late 2019 release but was delayed to February 14th, 2020.
The film was redeemed, in November 2019 when a second trailer showcasing a newly designed Sonic was released drawing positive attention from fans and media.
With all this being said, its been a long journey for the Sonic Movie, for not only its cast and crew but also for its production team. Unfortunately, no amount of positive feedback could save visual effects and production company, Moving Picture Company Vancouver from shutting down its doors at the end of 2019. The company was responsible for Sonic’s current redesign. Their last projects were Cats and Sonic The Hedgehog.
On Saturday, January 25th, Sonic The Hedgehog had its blue carpet, world premiere at the Paramount Theatre in Hollywood. For the very first time, the film was screened for an audience.
Ben Schwartz, the voice of Sonic The Hedgehog, went to Twitter to express his experience having watched the film among fans.
The film has yet to face the world’s audience and critique, after all, the redesign fixed the visual aspect of the film, now it’s up to the plot. But it seems Paramount pictures and Ben Schwartz are quite confident the film will surpass fan expectations.
Watch Sonic The Hedgehog in theaters February 14th, 2020
Those who watched Saturday morning cartoons (aka SatAM) in the ’90s may remember Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Underground. Garry Chalk was one of many voice actors from these shows, voicing Grounder in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Dr.Robotnik in Sonic Underground, a dystopian version of the Sonic the Hedgehog TV universe.
Garry can be seen among the government officials sitting down during a meeting discussing the ‘anomaly‘ detected. It is unclear if Garry Chalk’s character in the film is more than just a minor cameo, or if there’s more than meets the eye.
Hill Top Zone
A road sign with ‘Hill Top Zone‘ can be seen seconds into the trailer. Hill Top Zone is the fifth Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The level is most notable for its geographical location, amidst the high peaks of West Side Island, which makes one wonder of its location within the film.
Green Hill Zone
This one’s pretty in your face. Right at the beginning of the trailer, Green Hill Zone can be seen right before Sonic travels into our world. It is unclear if the film will explore more of this zone (or any other) as a setting.
Sonic The Hedgehog Title Screen Emblem
The title screen emblem from Sonic The Hedgehog can be seen on Sonic’s headband. The game was originally released in 1991 for the Sega Mega Drive (Japan) and quickly became one of the most recognizable logos among hardcore Sonic fans.
Many who played Sonic The Hedgehog may remember the giant ring that would appear at the end of a level and teleport the player to special stages. The film drew inspiration from this, having sonic apparently teleport from one part of the world to another. Variations of this ability have been shown throughout the games and TV series.
Misa Amane (Death Note) and Fabiola Iglesias (Black Lagoon)
Among voice actor cameos is Shannon Chan-Kent, a Canadian based voice actress, who has voiced numerous notable characters such as Misa Amane from the hit anime series, Death Note and Fabiola Iglesias from Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail.
She is also the singing voice of Pinkie pie, Sonata Dusk and speaking voice of Silver Spoon in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Jeff Fowler’s Gopher Broke cameo
This film will feature the theatrical, directorial debut of Jeff Fowler, who previously worked on Gopher Broke, a 2004 short, animated film written and directed by Jeff Fowler.
The short film follows a hungry gopher who hatches a clever plan to get a quick snack but discovers that even the best-laid plans can go udderly awry. The opening title can be seen during Sonic’s exploration of the motel room.
A more modern and more ‘realistic‘ version of the Egg-O-Matic can be seen through half of the trailer. Although it has not been confirmed that this is, in fact, a representation of the Egg-O-Matic, it does share some similarities.
Blur Studio, although its name is not a direct reference to Sonic’s nickname “The Blue Blur“, the studio has had ties to the Sonic The Hedgehog games before the film. Blur Studios produced several CGI animated cutscenes for Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic The Hedgehog 2006.
According to an interview, by Di-O-Matic, Inc, with then Animation supervisor Leo Santos, “One particular challenge we had on the Sonic opening cinematic (and the Shadow the Hedgehog cinematics) is the fact that Sonic’s mouth is sometimes on the side, sometimes on the middle.” With Blur Studio’s experience with animating Sonic in the past, why was there a need to redesign?
Doctor Ovi Kintobor or Dr. Ivo Kintobor
This one is probably a long stretch but, Jim Carrey’s portrayal of a ‘thin‘ Robotnik is similar in appearance (somewhat) to that of Doctor Ovi Kintobor, a character that appears in the Sonic the Comic series published by Fleetway Editions in the UK. The character served as a background origin story to the present day Eggman. In other comic series published by Archie Comics, Carrey’s portrayal is similar to that of, alternate universe Robotnik, Dr. Ivo Kintobor, who is kind, generous and friendly.
Needless to say, there will probably be more hidden gems within the movie. Be on the lookout and mark your calendars for February 14th, 2020! Watch the newly released trailer here:
HBO Max will be the US streaming home to the entire Studio Ghibli film library, one of the world’s most coveted and revered animation catalogues.
HBO Max will be the US streaming home to the entire Studio Ghibli film library, one of the world’s most coveted and revered animation catalogues. The landmark deal with North American distributor GKIDS for the twenty-one Studio Ghibli feature films marks the first time these beloved films have been licensed to a streaming platform.
“We are excited to be working with HBO Max to bring the complete collection of Studio Ghibli films to streaming audiences in the US. As a premium content brand, HBO Max is an ideal home for our films,” said Koji Hoshino, Chairman of Studio Ghibli. “Upon launch of the service this spring, existing Ghibli fans will be able enjoy their favorites and delve deeper into the library, while whole new audiences will be able to discover our films for the first time.”
Studio Ghibli is one of the most acclaimed and influential animation studios in the world, inspiring filmmakers and audiences alike over the last 30 years with beloved stories and breathtaking visuals. Under the brilliance of visionary animation directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, and producer Toshio Suzuki, the studio’s films have won countless international awards, including an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature for Spirited Away, as well as four additional Academy Award® nominations for Howl’s Moving Castle, The Wind Rises, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, and When Marnie Was There.
Director and studio co-founder Hayao Miyazaki was separately given an Honorary Award at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Awards in 2014, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will pay tribute to his artwork with a special exhibit when the Museum opens in 2020.*
HBO Max is debuting in spring 2020, with over 10,000 hours of curated premium content anticipated at launch, HBO Max will offer powerhouse programming for everyone in the home, bringing together HBO, a robust slate of new original series, key third-party licensed programs and movies, and fan favorites from Warner Media’s rich library including Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes and more. Sign up for updates at HBOMax.com.
Studio Ghibli’s acclaimed catalogue of films include:
Castle in the Sky
The Cat Returns
From Up On Poppy Hill
Howl’s Moving Castle
Kiki’s Delivery Service
My Neighbor Totoro
My Neighbors the Yamadas
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
The Secret World of Arrietty
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya
Tales From Earthsea
When Marnie Was There
Whisper of the Heart
The Wind Rises (launching Fall 2020)
*The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is a museum currently under construction by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, California. Set to open in early 2020, the Academy Museum will be the nation’s first large-scale museum entirely dedicated to the art, science, craft, business, and history of film. For more information visit The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures website.
Seies Manos premiered at the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles on September 26th. The event was developed by VIZ Media and LatinX in Animation and moderated by Executive Producer, Rob Pereyda. In attendance were the cast members of the series including, Angélica Vale, Jonny Cruz & Vic Chao.
Among those that attended the premiere were the series’ Co-Executive Producer, Daniel Dominguez; Music Producer, Carl Thiel; CEO of Powerhouse Animation, Brad Graeber; Executive Producer at VIZ Media, Rob Pereyda and special surprise guest & film director, Jorge R.Gutierrez.
During its premiere, only the first two episodes were screened, however, that was enough for film director, Jorge R.Gutierrez to state the following to the series producers,
“So this now The Citizen Kane of Mexican anime, I love it, I think its incredible, I think what you guys did is so great and funny and diverse and its just packed with heart. That was the thing that I was- usually don’t get in Kung fu movies, but this had a lot of heart and it was just beautiful, so I guess my question to you guys is, how did this happen? [. . .]”
Brad Graeber – Executive Producer & CEO of Powerhouse Animation:
” That’s a great question! So Powerhouse as a studio, we love doing fight choreography, I’m a martial arts enthusiast and student and like, I’ve always wanted to do something legit kung fu [. . .] there was not anything specific but I was like, you know, when you think about the old kung fu TV shows with David Carradine in it, there was also a mass migration of Chinese immigrants in mexico too and so it really came from that. [. . .] ” Brad replied.
” [. . .] So I got on the phone with Álvaro [Rodríguez] and uh, I sounded like a crazy person, ‘so its the 70’s and its’s kung fu, but you know, there’s monsters…’ and then Álvaro goes, he goes ‘MEXICAN ANIME!‘ [. . .] “
Thus, Seis Manos was born!
Seis Manos or its literal English translation Six Hands, is set in Mexico in the 1970s, centering on three orphaned martial arts students Jesus, Isabella, and Silencio, who join forces with a DEA agent, Brister and a Mexican Federale, Garcia to battle for justice after their beloved mentor, Master Chiu is murdered in their tiny border town. The story captives the viewer with the number of intriguing twists and turns, such as zombies, monsters, mysterious characters, magic…and the Mexican cartel?
Seis Manos features a notable voice cast highlighted by Aislinn Derbez (La Casa de las Flores) as Isabela, Mike Colter (Luke Cage) as Brister, Jonny Cruz (Overwatch) as Jesus, Angelica Vale (Jane The Virgin) as Garcia, Vic Chao (Mortal Kombat X) as Chiu, and Danny Trejo (Machete) as El Balde. All eight episodes will have English and Spanish audio and multiple subtitled language options. Most of the Spanish track is dubbed over by the same English cast members.
Danny Trejo speaking at the 2017 Phoenix Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona. | Photo by Gage Skidmore
“SEIS MANOS offers the very best in storytelling and action, with an incredible voice cast and a unique Latin American story line rarely seen in animation,” says Brad Woods, Chief Marketing Officer, VIZ Media. “We’re thrilled to partner with Netflix and Powerhouse to share this incredible new series with fans.”
VIZ Media, Netflix and Powerhouse Animation Studios announce their newest anime series, SEIS MANOS.
Seis Manos is an upcoming adult animated television series created by Brad Graeber and Álvaro Rodríguez. The series is VIZ Media’s first original animated property and was developed and produced with Powerhouse Animation Studios (CASTLEVANIA, Masters of the Universe: Revelation).
The series will feature a star-studded cast which will include notable actors, Aislinn Derbez (La Casa de las Flores) as Isabela, Mike Colter (Luke Cage) as Brister, Jonny Cruz (Overwatch) as Jesus, Angelica Vale (Jane The Virgin) as Garcia, Vic Chao (Mortal Kombat X) as Chiu, and Danny Trejo (Machete) as El Balde.
Danny Trejo speaking at the 2017 Phoenix Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona. | Photo by Gage Skidmore
All eight episodes will premiere with English and Spanish audio and with multiple subtitled language options. The series is set in Mexico in the 1970’s, and will center on three orphaned martial arts warriors who join forces with a DEA agent and a Mexican Federale to battle for justice after their beloved mentor is murdered in their tiny border town. SEIS MANOS will launch globally on Netflix on Thursday, October 3rd, take a first look here:
SEIS MANOS was co-created by Powerhouse Animation Studios CEO Brad Graeber (Supervising Producer, Frederator Studios CASTLEVANIA) and writer Alvaro Rodriguez (Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series). Noted screenwriter Daniel Dominguez (Oishi High School Battle, Captain Underpants) is an additional writer on the series, which is directed by Willis Bulliner (Agents of Mayhem).
For information on anime, manga and other titles published by VIZ Media, please visit viz.com