Popular illustrator, Loundraw had his debut film premiere during this year’s Anime Expo 2022, & recently during this year’s Animation Is Film festival, we had the opportunity to interview Loundrawabout his debut film, Summer Ghost
The film is produced by Loundraw’s company Flat Studio, with scripts written by Hirotaka Adachi, and music composed by Akira Kosemura, Itoko Toma, Guiano, and Hideya Kojima.
Summer Ghost was released in Japanese theaters on November 12, 2021, by its distributor Avex Pictures. GKIDS and Shout! Factory is set to release the film in North America on November 1, 2022, on Blu-ray and digital platforms. The film is available to preorder via Prime Video.
Loundraw is an Illustrator who made his professional debut in his teens with a cover illustration for Gara Nagata’s Hoshi no Nemuru Mizuumi e -Ai wo Sagashi ni-. He also worked on the covers of various novels, such as Keigo Higashino’s Koi no Gondola and Yoru Sumino’s Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai.
You can preorder Loundraw’s newest English-translated work Vivy Prototypea light novel by Tappei Nagatsuki & Eiji Umehara, HERE.
August 24th, marked the anniversary of Ukraine’s independence (in commemoration of the Declaration of Independence of 1991), and in honor of the occasion, manga publisher, TOKYOPOP is proud to announce, ПЕРЕМОГА (PEREMOHA): VICTORY FOR UKRAINE, a new full-color graphic novel anthology by Ukrainian creators that debuted digitally on August 24th with a print release on September 27th 2022.
You purchase the graphic novel in digital or print format here:
A portion of the proceeds will go to Razom for Ukraine – (“Razom” meaning “together” in Ukrainian), a non-profit Ukrainian-American human rights organization established to give direct support to the people of Ukraine in their pursuit of a democratic society with dignity, justice, and human and civil rights for all.
A web landing page for ПЕРЕМОГА (PEREMOHA): VICTORY FOR UKRAINE also has been created by TOKYOPOP, that features a heartfelt, personal message from TOKYOPOP founder, Stu Levy, as well as excerpts and bios for the creators. All that and more here.
About ПЕРЕМОГА (PEREMOHA): VICTORY FOR UKRAINE;
The war comes to readers (for ages 12+) in nine stories that humanize the conflict in Ukraine in a unique and emotionally lasting way with a focus on the heroism of the Ukrainian people and military in the face of overwhelming forces. Witness the struggles of brave defenders in cities like Kiev, Mariupol, Kherson, and Snake Island, and how the utter insanity and irony of the war is told from the standpoint of a looted Ukrainian washing machine, and a humble farm tractor that wants to steal Russian tanks.
What if your family, your hometown, your entire way of living were threatened by force? That’s what the people of Ukraine faced when Putin’s Russian army invaded their sovereign land, displacing millions of refugees and causing an international crisis threatening democracy across the globe. But the Ukrainian people refused to cave – and these 9 stories weave the greater tale of their resistance – and fight for Victory!
The stories in PEREMOHA: VICTORY FOR UKRAINE include:
Episode 1: The Ghost of Kiev – the now legendary story of an invincible ace Ukrainian fighter pilot – the Ghost of Kyiv – a man who protected hundreds of thousands of Kyivans, their children and homes during the first 30 hours of a massive attack on the city when he shot down 6 Russian planes
Episode 2: The Witch – Witches hold a distinct and storied place in Ukrainian culture. Witness how Russian soldiers bent on terrorizing the civilian population find more than they bargain for when they meet a vengeful Ukrainian witch on a deserted road.
Episode 3: Azov-Stal – This story is about the Azov regiment, the marines, border guards and policemen; who held out against incredible odds in the long-suffering city on the shores of the Sea of Azov; about the people who became hostages of the bloodthirsty military machine of the Russians.
Episode 4: Looters – The looting of the Russian army and the ironic fate of a Ukrainian washing machine
Episode 5: Zmiinyi Island 13 –The now iconic battle for Snake Island, where a band of brave Ukrainian solders defied the Russian navy and the proclaimed the legendary phrase that the world now knows – “Russian Warship F…ck Yourself.”
Episode 6: Throughout the Centuries – Ordinary Ukrainians take up arms against the Russian army using ancient earthen ramparts called the Snake Walls, built during the time of Kyivan Rus by Princes Volodymyr the Great and Yaroslav the Wise in the 9th and 10th Centuries to defend their lands from attacks from the southeast by nomadic tribes. In WW2, they were part of the defense lines against the Nazis and today they have helped to slow down and menace the advance of the invading Russian army.
Episode 7: Brave Little Tractor – An inspiring about an unlikely hero – a brave Ukrainian farm tractor that steals Russian army tanks
Episode 8: Cyber Kherson – An inspiring story of a new breed of Ukrainian rebels using technology to continue the struggle for democracy under brutal Russian occupation in the city of Kherson, located near Crimea and the eastern Donbas region.
Episode 9: The Price of Victory – How ordinary people in Ukraine went to war to defend their home, families, freedom, and fight for the right to live in their own free country and determine their own futures.
“VICTORY FOR UKRAINE grew out of tremendous upheaval caused by the invasion and my personal experience hosting some displaced families at my home in Berlin where I now reside,” says Stu Levy, Founder/CEO of TOKYOPOP.
Levy continues, “As I learned more about what was happening, we connected with the talented Ukrainian creators, artists and writers that brought the book to life. These stories are vignettes, originally created and published to inspire the people of Ukraine, but they will leave a lasting impression on readers around the world. The stories are steeped in the realities of the war but depicted in a very relatable way. We invite readers to discover this book and to stand for victory and freedom with the people of Ukraine.”
You can purchase the digital copy or preorder the print version below,
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Published in Shonen Jump, BLITZ is a new shonen manga that immerses readers into the “game of kings,” where intuition and mental agility are precious assets on the way to victory! Chess grandmaster and World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov, makes his manga debut in the series!
The series is written by Cédric Biscay, who produced the return of the Shenmue saga in 2019 and the upcoming reboot of the Astroboy anime series, which is currently in production with Miraculous Ladybug creator, Thomas Astruc as director.
The series is also co-written by prolific Japanese manga-ka Harumo Sanazaki, her works have been published in more than 130 manga including The Phantom of the Opera, Yawareta Princess, Egekai ni Ai wa Moete, and Manga Grimm Douwa: Sharaku – Shinsetsu Onna Eshi
The series is illustrated by Daitaro Nishihara who began as a manga-ka in the magazine Monthly Shonen Jump. From 2001, several of his series were pre-published in the magazine Korokoro Comic (Shôgakukan), notably Pokémon 6 – Jirachi: The Genius of Wishes.
Chess grandmaster and World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov is featured in the manga and served as a consultant to the series. For those unfamiliar with the world of competitive chess, Garry Kasparov became, at the age of 12, chess champion of the USSR’s under-18 age group. Then, at 17, he won the Under-20 World Chess Champion title. In 1985, at 22, Kasparov gained international notoriety as the youngest World Chess Champion in history.
He defended his title five times, including a series of legendary matches against his great rival Anatoly Karpov. Kasparov broke Bobby Fischer’s record in 1990, and his own record remained undefeated until 2013. His famous matches against IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer in 1996-97 played a vital role in integrating artificial intelligence into the world of chess.
Each volume of BLITZ will contain chess strategy tips and a chess lexicon to turn every reader into a chess master!
BLITZ will be available in-print and digitally in North America, Australia, and the UK. ABLAZE titles are distributed in-print by Diamond Comic and Diamond Book Distributors. Vol. 1 will be available in comic shops on September 14th, and bookstores on September 27th.The manga is currently available for preorder:
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Kazuki Takahashi, (Kazuo Takahashi), was found dead off the coast of Nago city in the Okinawa Prefecture by The Japan Coast Guard. As reported by NHK and ANN, on Wednesday around 10:30 AM, The Japan Coast Guard was alerted that a body was seen drifting from the coast off the resort city of Nago by a person on a boat.
According to NHK, A firefighter rushed to the scene and rescued the man but was later confirmed dead. Reportedly, Takahashi was wearing snorkeling equipment, and was visiting Okinawa alone. The Japan Coast Guard has also reported that Takahashi’s body has no visible scratches on his body, but there is an active investigation to find out the manner of death.
Takahashi created the most notable and popular anime franchises of all time, Yugioh! Takahashi’s career began in 1990 having his first manga, Tokiō no taka (Fighting Hawk)published in 1990, followed by Tennenshoku Danji Buray (天然色男児BURAY), from 1991 to 1992. In 1996, Takahashi created Yugioh! which led to the creation of the Yugioh Trading Card Game. From its inspection, Takahashi has continued to supervise the creation of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga since the end of the original manga’s run, from 1996 through 2004.
To this day YuGiOh! has been seen, watched, read and played by millions of fans through the world, making it one of the most internationally notible, anime franchises of all time. In 2015, Takahashi received the Inkpot award from Comic-Con International for his outstanding contributions to comicbooks, animation and fandom.
Recently, Takahashi collaborated with Marvel to illustrate Marvel’s Secret Reverse Marvel Comics, which was released in the U.S. on June 14th of this year (Orignally released in Japan on, 02-04-2020).
Today musical artist , Yui Makino released her new digital single “Touch of Hope.”
“Touch of Hope” is the theme song to The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún, a feature-length animation based on a Japanese manga series by Nagabe that was completed in March last year.
The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún is a story of a little girl named who was abandon in a forest with strange beasts. One day she befriends one of these beast, one who seems to be nicer than the rest, and proceeds to call him “Teacher”. Together they embark on journey to find more about Shiva’s background, while “Teacher” serves as a guardian and protector. Their bond seems to transcend their incompatible natures, becoming a folktale of two outcasts -one human, one inhuman- who linger in the hazy twilight that separates night from day.
The subtitle in the title, “Siúil, a Rún” is a reference to a traditional Irish song, which is sung in the point of view of a woman lamenting a lover who has embarked on a military career, and indicating her willingness to support him. “Touch of Hope“ pays homage to the traditional Irish song by singing some of its original lyrics.
The Girl from the Other Side was released in 2019 as a short 10 minute, art animation and was highly acclaimed at national and international film festivals.
In March 10th 2022, A feature-length animation was produced and released by Wit Studio and directed by Yutaro Kubo and Satomi Maiya set to be released with the manga’s bonus volume.
To fund this production, Wit Studio held a crowdfunding campaign from March to May last year, and the target amount of 3 million yen was achieved in just four hours. In the end, the campaign raised over 20 million yen from 1,418 users.
“Where else can I hear Yui Makino?”
You may be surprised to learn that Makino made her voice acting debut in April 2005 as Sakura, the heroine of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, an anime based on an original story by CLAMP. At the same time, she made her pre-debut singing “Omna Magni,” the ending theme for Genesis of Aquarion produced by Yoko Kanno.
Later that same year, she released “Amrita,” the theme song of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle the Movie: The Princess in the Birdcage Kingdom.. Since then, she has voiced many anime characters and worked on many anime tie-up songs, demonstrating her diverse talents as a voice actress, singer, and pianist.
In August 2021, she released a Blu-ray version of Yui Makino Live Concert Five6three7, her 15th anniversary concert held in April (released and distributed by Amuse), and in December, she released the single “Espero,” the theme song of ARIA The BENEDIZIONE.
Yui Makino will be releasing a new album in 2022 under the FlyingDog label. More information will be released at a later date, so please keep your eye on Yui!
Coach has announced their newest fashion line in collaboration with Michael B. Jordan! Introducing…
COACH X MICHAEL B. JORDAN!
Inspired by his cultural influences and community, his love of the popular anime series, Naruto, and his passion for bringing unique voices to the forefront, this unisex ready-to-wear, footwear and bag collection is Jordan’s first foray into fashion design, guided by the expertise of Coach Creative Director, Stuart Vevers.
“Working with Mike is always a great experience,” said Vevers, adding “He’s a great collaborator because he always puts his heart and soul into everything he does and because he brought something authentic and personal to the collection.”
“With my name on this collection, it was important to design pieces that represent my cultural influences and my community; pieces that I could see my friends, family, and fans wearing with pride,” said Jordan. “As with all aspects of my work, this collection is about bringing fresh perspectives and unique voices to the forefront. Expanding into the fashion design space was rewarding beyond my expectations. I’m grateful to Stuart and Coach for providing me with the opportunity and expertise to execute a collection
I’m extremely proud of.”
In partnership with VIZ Media, the collection combines Coach craftsmanship with Jordan’s affinity for functional fashion and visual aspects from the world of Naruto.
Product ranges from parkas, jean jackets, and pullovers to backpacks, utility packs and hybrid sneaker boots. Infused with technical details like removable sleeves, tactical straps, and elastic closures, it also features imagery of characters from Naruto, as well as the series’ trademark “eye” motifs reimagined with Coach’s Retro C graphic.
Along with the launch of the collection, a short film titled, The hero was conceived by Jordan and directed by Rachel Morrison, who collaborated with Jordan previously as the director of photography on Black Panther. Taking place in a neon-drenched Tokyo street, and moves between moments of modern-day grit and magical realism, placing an emphasis on the power of connection.
Coach will also celebrate the collection with global pop-ups in Japan, Malaysia, and the United States. The products are also available at the VIZ Media booth at New York Comic Con on October 3-6, and a range of limited-edition T-shirts.
Coach x Michael B. Jordan collection is now available online at Coach.com and in stores.
In its 28th year, Anime Expo once again welcomed 115,000* attendees from across the world.
Japanese pop culture fans, both locally and internationally, traveled to the Los Angeles Convention Center for annual Anime Expo (Commonly known as, AX) held from July 4th thru 7th, including a pre-night show on the July 3rd.
Reports that Anime Expo’s contract with the Los Angeles Convention Center had expired, created rumors of Anime Expo moving to another venue by 2020. We can officially confirm that Anime Expo will definitely return to the Los Angeles Convention Center for 29th Anime Expo in 2020, as stated in their website and the back of the Anime Expo 2019 program books.
The Great Anime Expo Earthquake
In an unforeseen turn of events, two earthquakes occurred during Anime Expo 2019, one during Day 2, July 4th at 10:02AM PTD (4.0 magnitude) and the second during Day 3, July 5th at 8:19PM PTD (7.1 magnitude). During the first earthquake on the morning of July 4th, ABC 7 Action News had mistakenly stated that the Los Angeles Convention Center was being evacuated as a precaution. In reality, it was Anime Expo attendees waiting to get insidethe convention, not out. Their statement was later retracted. The earthquake’s epicenter location was Ridgecrest, California.
The following day, July 5th at 8:19PM a second earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.1, struck Ridgecrest, California once more. The earthquake was felt by AX attendees, which some taking to social media to post videos of their terrifying experience while inside the convention center.
Guests of Honor, Faye Mata
This year, Anime Expo featured 22 Guests of Honor, among them, voice actress Faye Mata.
Mata has voiced numerous characters including, Aqua; Konosuba, Fukaziroh; SAO: Gun Gale Online, Katie Killjoy; Hazbin Hotel, Astolfo; Fate/Apocrypha and most recently Petra in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. We had the pleasure of having an exclusive interview with Faye Mata, Join us we speak about her career, character roles, and other upcoming projects.
This year Anime Expo featured over 400+ vendors among them animator, Vivienne Medrano better known by her pseudonym, Vivziepop.
Vivziepop is famously known for creating the hit series, HAZBIN HOTEL. Following her huge viral success with her YouTube video, which features JayJay, a character from another of Vivzie’s creations titled, Zoophobia, lipsyncing to Ke$ha’s Die Young. This video helped her gain a large audience early in her career as an animator.
She began her working on Hazbin Hotel during her High school years, designing characters such Alastor, one of many main characters of the series. It wasn’t until 2016, that she initially announced Hazbin Hotel, which was originally titled, People Like Us. We caught up with Vivziepop during the last day of Anime Expo and she gave us an insight into the series’ production and its future.
The series is set to be released sometime during October 2019, although the exact date is yet to be announced. Follow Vivziepop’s Twitter account for more updates and details.
RGP Games, anyone?
We decided to cover a few things from this year’s Entertainment Hall booth, beginning with Fate/Grand Order 2019 Tour. As you may remember, the Fate/Grand Order 2019 Tour began back in February of this year…
…and continued throughout Anime Expo 2019. Their booth featured an interactive photo-op station and the opportunity to play the tabletop game, Fate/Grand Order duel. Type-Moon representatives also handed out Fate/Grand Order 2019 player guides.
The Fate/Grand Order tour continues with its next stop being at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2019 in October, for more information visit their official here.
Staying inside the Entertainment Hall, we stopped by Auragon Games’ booth as they promoted their newest game, Hiraethia!
Hiraethia is a new RPG puzzle game developed by Auragon Games, a new independent game developing company based off Texas. Auragon Games founder, Sunny Chai and Hiraethia character designer, Tin Liu spoke to us gave us an overview on Hiraethia.
We got to play the game during its promotion demo at Anime Expo and although we did not explore much of the storyline, we can see it becoming quite popular among mobile RPG fans. As Chai stated in our interview, what sets the game apart is the fully animated character scenes. It’s one of the few games out there, that features hand-drawn, fully animated attack sequences. As you may know, most games go with the traditional visual novel animation. In addition, the game also features a puzzle mini-game within the main game itself, in which, the player must strategically match ‘tiles‘ accordingly to create stronger and more powerful attack combos. It is when these attacks are performed that the fully animated sequences appear.
Furthermore, the game also features a collaboration with YouTube gamer, LilyPichu as a playable character in the game. Auragon games have not released much about their character’s background, therefore not much is known about lily nor the role she’ll play in the game, storywise.
There is currently no date set for the game’s release, other than ‘it’ll be out on the market before the end of 2019.‘ Want to know more,? head over to their official website to learn more about the game and merchandise.
Anime Expo 2020
Anime Expo ended with an unusually finish. It’s a well-known fact that Anime Expo sale badges for the coming year, hours before the current year convention is over. Things were a bit different this year, with Anime Expo announcing that badges for Anime Expo 2020 would not be sold on-site and instead, sold online.
A limited number of early bird 4-day badges will go on sale beginning on August 16th 2019. Early bird price is $75 (not including fees) for a 4-day badge. Once all the early bird badges sell out, 4-day badges will be available for $85 (not including fees) and continue rising monthly as Anime Expo 2020 gets closer. In another surprising move, Anime Expo has also stated they will no longer hold a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales.
For more information regarding Anime Expo 2020 badge please go to their official website here. Now that Anime Expo 2019 has long been over, its time to prepare for Anime Expo 2020. Will you be there?
Ever wondered how the Los Angeles Convention Center looks like without thousands of Anime Expo attendees? We went to the convention center early during the week of Anime Expo 2019 and captured some of the empty rooms and corridors.
Outside the convention center during Day -1, No lines. Day -1 was dedicated to setting up AX and badge pick up for exhibitors and guests.
As seen in the photos, AX staff were still setting up in preparation for Day 0. Empty, the convention center’s size and beauty really stand out.
AniFest is a yearly anime convention and festival dedicated to celebrating the arts and culture of Japanese animation. Cosplayers, vendors, partners, sponsors, performers, and event producers all come together in one day to bring you the best that an anime convention has to offer, but without the high price!
There’ll plenty of activities to part take during this 8-hour event such as Anisong Dance Festival Event, AniFest Cosplay Showcase, Itasha Anime Car Showcase, Pine Wind Japanese Garden Experience & more. (See their official schedule here for more information). All this and more at AniFest! Held at the Torrence Cultural Arts Center in Torrence, CA on March 23rd 2019, in just 16 days!