Category Archives: Anime

GKIDS ACQUIRES RIGHTS TO STUDIO GHIBLI’S “EARWIG AND THE WITCH” | Director GORO MIYAZAKI

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.

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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.

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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,

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“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)

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“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.

In more recent news, Gkids has also announced the English dub cast for the upcoming The Lupin the 3rd: The First film! Click here for more information.

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GKIDS ANNOUNCES ENGLISH DUB CAST FOR “LUPIN III: THE FIRST”

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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!

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Follow Lupin at these official social media links:


 

Bandai Namco Arts releases ‘MixBox’ A New Streaming Program

MixBox is a new streaming program by Bandai Namco Arts that will connect you to a variety of video content as well as, both classics and, the latest tunes from the Lantis music label all free of charge!

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▲MixBox Service Image
Character: The Navigator, Lan Amane

MixBox will also be releasing exclusive and previously unpublished content by MixUp, a project that supports remote production by artists and creators as part of the #StayHome initiative to prevent the spread of COVID19. Some of these contents are currently being released on the Lantis YouTube Channel.

MixUp! Artists (currently releasing on YouTube Lantis Channel) include:

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Aira Yuhki, Chihiro Yonekura, CMB, CooRie, Hironobu Kageyama, Hiroshi Kitadani, JAM Project, Kenichi Suzumura, Kenshiro, Masaaki Endoh, Masami Okui, Miyuki Hashimoto, Nami Tamaki, Sayaka Sasaki, Shiho Terada, Shuhei Kita, Yoshichika Kuriyama, Yoshiki Fukuyama, fhána, yozuca (and more)

A teaser website is LIVE as of today ahead of the launch. You can check it out here: MixBox.live. Bandai Namco Arts will be streaming a beta version of MixBox on the Lantis YouTube channel for 24 hours from 12:00 on June 12 (Friday). Take advantage of this opportunity to experience the service before it is launched.

Follow MixBox on social media!
MixBox Official Twitter & Official Homepage
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/Amane_LAN
Official Homepage: https://mixbox.live

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 OST Released! |Nobuko Toda x Kazuma Jinnouchi

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045, the latest installment in the highly-acclaimed Ghost in the Shell series, is currently available worldwide on Netflix.

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The Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 original soundtrack was released today. The Soundtrack was composed by Nobuko Toda and Kazuma Jinnouchi.

Using a combination of elements from orchestral, acoustic, and electronic genres, they have created scores for numerous films, video games, and anime including, the Metal Gear Solid series, Uzumasa Limelight, Halo 5: Guardians, and Ultraman. The musical duo had the following comments about the release of the Ghost in the Shell SAC:_2045 soundtrack:

“We are sincerely grateful to be part of the creative team for Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045.

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It was such an inspiring process to work with the wonderful director duo, Mr. Kamiyama, and Mr. Aramaki, and our focus was to deliver music that maximizes their vision. We hope the soundtrack album lets you relive the still-evolving world of SAC_2045.”

-Nobuko Toda x Kazuma Jinnouchi

Over the last two decades, the duo have received numerous awards and honors including the BAFTA Games Award, NAVGTR Awards, Global Music Award, and MPSE Golden Reel Award.

The Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 soundtrack also features renowned musicians such as legendary drummer Simon Phillips (pictured below), a former member of the band Toto, and Ernest Tibbs, the bassist from the Protocol Series.

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SAC_2045 directors Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama the had the following to say about working with Nobuko Toda and Kazuma Jinnouchi,

“We first met Nobuko Toda and Kazuma Jinnouchi during the production of Ultraman (2019), and they fulfilled our requests so perfectly that it only felt natural to invite them to do the music for Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045. As the first members of staff to objectively read our work, they thoroughly studied the scenario and storyboard and then began proposing ideas for the music, so we always looked forward to music meetings and dubbing sessions. Once again, they exceeded our expectations, and we were surprised by the depth of their knowledge. We look forward to seeing what they are going to come up with for season 2!”

-Kenji Kamiyama x Shinji Aramaki

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Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 OST now available for digital download


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Japan LA and Little Tokyo Shops DESTROYED by Los Angeles Rioters

People took to the streets of Los Angeles on Saturday, May 31st for what began as a peaceful protest for the death of George Floyd, who died Monday after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by Minneapolis Police Department officer, Derek Chauvin.

The protest later became violent as rioters took over the peaceful protest and, began attacking Los Angeles Police Department squad cars and setting them on fire. The protest turned riot, later made its way to affluent areas of Los Angeles including Rodeo Drive, Little Tokyo, Melrose Ave, and The Grove outdoor shopping mall.

Local businesses and shops around those areas were looted and/or set on fire during the riot prompting a mandatory curfew on the city Los Angeles and heavy police activity.

Caught by ABC 7 Action News, shows rioters breaking into well-known anime gift shop JapanLA on Melrose ave.

 

Dozens of looters entered the premises taking whatever they could find. According to a post by JapanLA:

“They [police] finally cleared them out and arrested some of the looters. We are all crushed and deeply saddened. Thank you for all the texts. We all left at 4:30pm and our staff is home safe. I’ll send more updates soon!” They released a security camera photo that shows two suspects looting the store.

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In the past, we’ve covered a few events in this and their new Little Tokyo location.

A few shops and a pharmacy were broken into and looted in the early morning hours of May 30th, in the Little Tokyo district.


According to the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center,

“Businesses in Little Tokyo were looted last night. This was not done by protesters but by people who decided to take advantage of the grief and angst of others for their personal gain.

Brian Kito of the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association expressed concern over the close proximity of Little Tokyo to City Hall and LAPD headquarters stating,

“[It] would leave [Little Tokyo] vulnerable during civil unrest. During the L.A. riots in 1992, windows were smashed at Japanese Village Plaza, Weller Court, and what was then the New Otani Hotel on Los Angeles Street.”

Man Hunt On For Former LAPD Officer Suspected Of Shooting Police Officer
LAPD headquarters a block away from the Little Tokyo district

Gov. Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency for Los Angeles after approving Mayor Eric Garcetti’s request to deploy the National Guard. National Guard arrived at 12am on May 31st, 2020.

Los Angeles’ curfew will stay in place from 8 p.m. Saturday through 5 a.m. Sunday.

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Source: Rafu Shimpo, ABC7 Action News, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center

Zag Entertainment releases MIRACULOUS LADYBUG ART FIGURE!

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.

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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!

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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!

COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak effects on Conventions

Japan’s biggest anime convention of the year, AnimeJapan was canceled four days before the event was set to take place. Prior to that, the city of Osaka canceled its annual anime festival, Nipppombashi Street Festar which draws over 200K+ people to city’s Denden Town neighborhood. All this in fear of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Taking the seriousness of the situation into consideration, Olympic 2020 travelers have been wondering if the 2020 Olyimics will suffer the same fate. On March 3rd, an International Olympic Committee spokesperson stated, that there are no plans to postpone or move the Olympics, adding “We made a decision and the decision is the Games go ahead”. The 2020 Olympics is set to take place from July 24th to August 9th 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.

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In the U.S., the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease was announced on January 21st, Since then there have been over 230 cases reported and growing. Due to fear of infection, popular industry expo, Game Developers Conference was postponed to the Summer of 2020.  GDC was supposed to take place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.

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California’s biggest anime convention Anime Expo is scheduled to still take place in July of this year. The SPJA (Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation) released the following statement regarding Anime Expo status:

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With the community taking its precautions, are guest cancellations are unavoidable? For now, we’ll have to wait and see.

We encourage our viewers/readers to take precautions and help reduce the spreading of the COVID-19 virus by washing your hands and keeping general germ reduction in mind when going out in public. The following are prevention guidelines by the CDC:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

For more information, please visit the CDC website.


Sources: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5

Interview with voice actress, Dorothy Fahn | On-Camera interview debut!

We had the honor of interviewing voice actress, Dorothy Fahn during Ronin Expo‘s Otaku Market Gathering in Orange County! This mark Dorothy’s first on-camera interview, all other interviews she’s previously done have been in audio format only. Dorothy is known for voicing Lilymon in Digimon, Meryl Stryfe in Trigun and Chihiro Fujisaki in Danganronpa

She’s married to voice actor Tom Fahn (Voice of Agumon) and is one of four family members to become voice actors, family members include, Jonathan Fahn (Brother-in-law) and Melissa Fahn (Sister-in-law). We’re honored to share Dorothy’s on-camera, interview debut and we hope to interview the rest of the Fahn family.

Interview with: MIKE POLLOCK

Voice actor Mike Pollock has been in Radio, eBooks, and commercials, but you might recognize him in animation. He’s the Narrator of Pokemon and the notorious Doctor Eggman in the Sonic The Hedgehog franchise. He’s also done numerous other characters in anime such, Meat from Ultimate Muscle, Deus Prometh in GKid’s Promare, and most recently, Yasui in Weathering with You. 

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Subscribe to our channel to updated on upcoming interviews, such as:

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This interview will be recorded live during Ronin Expo’s Otaku Market Gathering at the source OC. For event information Click here.

Interview with voice actress, Dorothy Fhan voice of  Naru Narusegawa in Love Hina, Meryl Stryfe in Trigun, Chihiro Fujisaki in Danganronpa and much more!

Furthermore, we’ll be interview a VERY special guest at the end of this month, her voice was featured in only two games, Jak II and Jak 3 as Tess!

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We’re pleased to announce, former voice actress, Britton Arey will be on our upcoming interview list, if you have any questions for her, please submit them by commenting below or by contacting us using any of these platforms!

Sonic The Hedgehog the Movie first audience screening – Ben Schwartz “it was so special.”

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Find tickets here

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Sources: NintendoEnthusiast, Twitter.

Photos Source: Rachel Luna/Getty Images North America


Sonic X Complete Series Blu-ray