News From The Other Side Of The Pond #8!

Megumi Ogata Shares Her Love of Macs With Japan!

Broadband Watch is a website in Japan that caters to the technological crowd kind of like what CNET is to us. They are currently running a special where they are featuring 100 desktops of celebrities in Japan, and #38 comes from Megumi Ogata, who we all know as Sailor Uranus. Broadband Watch conducted an interview with her and here are the highlights! Megumi has been a loyal Mac user for 20 years, since the days of the Classic II (our older readers may remember those computers!). At home she uses the 17-inch model and she doesn’t change her desktop frequently (pictured here, with a censored sticky). She does use the stickies on her Mac a lot though, from writing simple memos, to reminding her of passwords for sites she likes to use. Her husband 20 years ago was a programmer and that’s how she got started on first the black and white Mac Classic II, and then moved on to the color model. Her first game was called Makigame and she played it when she wasn’t doing housework, and remembers a screensaver with a flying toaster. Her private office uses a Windows Machine but she is happy that she can use Word and Excel on her Mac. She hates Internet Explorer and Netscape, but uses Safari on her Mac, and her only gripe with it is that it deletes her browsing history quickly. She uses Microsoft Entourage along with a memory stick for her email, and she is currently learning how to use Garage Band. We would have expected Toru Furuya to give this kind of interview as he is often seen at many tech events, and never expected to see Megumi Ogata for something like this! It’s an interesting read, and fnas should definitely go check it out. She also likes to blog, and fans can read her blog here.

Mitsuishi Kotono Narrates Commercial for Popular Tour

We found a tiny mention of Mitsuishi Kotono (Sailor Moon) with regards to a tour. Mitsuhiro Oikawa is a current heartthrob in Japan, having appeared in many dramas and live action movies. Starting in December, he is going to tour Japan singing on his very own tour, Ichaicha: Cherie, Tu Es Moi (Honey, You Have Me). Kotono Mitsuishi is doing the narration for the TV spots advertising the tour, and she is also impressed by Mitsuhiro. The article also mentions that many of his fans call him “Chest-Kun” because he is often shirtless.

Paprika Wins Another Award!

In 1996, the Animation Kobe awards were created for the promotion of anime and other Japanese visual media. This year marked the 12th anniversary of the awards, and critically acclaimed director Satoshi Kon has another reason to smile as Paprika won the Feature Film Award! The interesting thing is that last year’s winner(Mamoru Hosoda’s The Girl Who Lept Through Time), was released just a few months ahead of Paprika, but both of these exceptional films were able to win this award because of a technicality in the rules. The Girl Who Lept Through Time was released in July of 2006, and Paprika that November. August was the cutoff date for the 2006 awards. This is Satoshi Kon’s second win in this category, his film Millennium Actress won the same award in 2003. On November 12th, there will be an event showcasing the works of all the winners in Kobe, and other winners this year included one of Moon Chase’s favorite directors, Isao Takahata, and one of this years hottest OVAs, Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. Solid State Society.

Paprika will be coming out on DVD November 27th, so only a month and a bit before all our readers can finally see this film! On a side note, we’d really like to thank Mongrel Media for the terrible job they have done with the distribution of this movie in Canada. The movie spent most of it’s summer run in a single theater in Toronto, and is now being shown for barely a few nights in theaters all over the country. Considering how popular this movie was among the critics and how it was hailed to be a hit, unfortunately the distributor thought it would be better to let the movie sit for a long time in one theater and skip across the country. Even Ghibli films don’t get this kind of treatment. We know of several fans all over who were waiting in anticipation to see this movie on the big screen and have heard too many stories of disappointment, and that the United States did not experience these kinds of problems in most states.

Glass Rabbit Is Up For Grabs!

During the beginning of November, the American Film Market(AFM) is set to take place in Santa Monica, California. We told you not too long ago about The Glass Rabbit, which is currently making it’s way through Canada through special features from the Japanese Consulate. The Glass Rabbit is now going to be included as part of the AFM, where companies showcase films in the hopes that they will be picked up for production and/or distribution. We’re really hoping that it gets picked up – this movie did remind me a lot of the epicGrave of the Fireflies and it does hold potential to be a hit of close to that magnitude. We have since learned that this heartbreaking film is actually based on the real story of the author Toshiko Takagi. All of the performances were very good in this movie – especially of the young girl who played Toshiko, Rina Mogami. Taeko Kawata (Momoko Momohara) played the innocent role of Mitsuko, one of the younger sisters of the main characters. It was an exceptional film and we recommend fans go see this one if they can!

This film is making it’s way across Eastern Canada, and we recommend fans keep checking these links below for information when these films will be playing near them. Side Note: They were all good, but Hotel Hibiscus was a little mediocre.

For Ottawa, click here.

For Toronto, click here or here.

For Montreal, click here.

Paprika Finally Gets a Release Date!

It was just a few days ago when we were longing to hear news of a release date, and it came today! Paprika is going to be released on both Blu-Ray and Standard DVD on November 27th. As if you haven’t read it on this blog already a hundred times, this movie stars two Seiyuu of Sailor Moon in leading roles – Megumi Hayashibara (Himeko) plays Dr. Atsuko Chiba, and Toru Furuya (Tuxedo Kamen) as Dr. Kosaku Tokita. And it looks like some of the extras that are on the Japanese release are coming as extras here too. There is a half-hour behind-the-scenes commentary that looks at the film and staff, A Conversation About The Dream, which features the cast and the director, Satoshi Kon, speaking about the film in the style of a talk show, along with another commentary. It’s nice to see this film released on the newer, higher definition Blu-Ray DVD format. This is great news as now Paprika fans don’t have to go to great lengths just to get the Blu-Ray from Japan!

Breaking News: The Girl who Leapt Through Time Wins Honorable Mention!

It was only a few days ago that we mentioned Mamoru Hosoda’s recent hit, Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl who Leapt Through Time) that was quietly getting a lot of buzz all over the world. Mamoru sure has come a very long way from being a key animator on the SuperS Movie! The 2007 Annecy International Animated Film Festival was held from June 11-16 in Annecy, France. For 6 days, the world’s best picks in animated features, shorts, TV and internet features, and student films were shown in and out of competition. The film won Mention Spéciale (Special Distinction or Honorable Mention) in the Feature Films category, to our surprise beating Paprika! 30 animated works were selected from Asia, and out of all of those , Toki wo Kakeru Shojo was the only one to win a prize! This is a huge accomplishment and we congratulate Mamoru Hosoda as well as the cast and crew on their win!

Sailor Moon Cast & Staff Movie Related News!

Hey Moonies! Two movies featuring people related to Sailor Moon have been garnering a lot of buzz lately!

Paprika Opens Finally in North America!

Today is a big day for Satoshi Kon’s Paprika in North America! Today the film is opening in several cities across North America, including for the first time ever, Canada! There are three stars in this movie who previously worked on Sailor Moon : Megumi Hayashibara (Himeko Nayatake in the S movie) , Toru Furuya (Tuxedo Kamen) , and Daisuke Sakaguchi (The Dummy in the SuperS special Haruka Michiru Futatabi! Bourei Ningyougeki.). Once again we’ll remind fans that this is the subtitled version that has been released. No word as of this writing whether or not the movie will be dubbed in English.

If you are in the United States and want to check out your local movie listings for this film, click here!

If you are in Canada and want to check out your local movie listings for this film, click here!

If your cinema of choice is not listed in here, if you are in the United States tell the cinema’s management to contact Sony Pictures Classics or in Canada to contact Mongrel Media.

The Girl Who Conquered Time Hailed as Masterpiece!

While Studio Ghibli is noted all over the world for being masters of Japanese Animation, other, lesser known, films are comparable. One film that has been quietly garnering attention all over the world for the last year is Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (Translation: The Girl Who Conquered Time or The Girl who Leaped Through Time depending on where you look). The film tells the story of Makoto Konno, a 17 year old girl who gains the power to go back in time in her sleep, after a train accident. While at first, she is impressed and indulges in her new ability, she soon realizes that altering the past alters the future, and things are not as simple as they seem. While the movie did not do well in Japan, it has fared well in festivals all over the world, won some awards, and is set to open in South Korea very soon. The movie is directed by Mamoru Hosoda, who was a key animator with the SuperS Movie. We encourage fans if they see this film pop up in a listing near them to definitely go see it!

News From the Other Side of the Pond #3!

Hey Moonies! Before we begin we’d like to extend a huge thanks to TV in Japan for linking us yesterday and helping to increase awareness of our corner of the internets! We really appreciate it and we have linked the site on our links sidebar!

There hasn’t been much news on what the stars are up to lately; though if you are interested in seeing Paprika (which stars two former Sailor Moon Seiyuu) we suggest you click here to see where the premieres are. Indie cinemagoers, now is a great time to start begging the management with this article in hand (for the distributors are listed!) to bring this movie to your own hometown!

Panchanne Destined to Have a Connection to Sailor Moon?

We were lurking around several Japanese pages when we learned of something very interesting! As we all know already, current Tokusatsu Comedy hit Bishoujo Celeb Panchanne is based on an earlier Toku series from the 90’s called Bishoujo Kamen Poitrine. Poitrine was a superhero much like Panchanne except that she had a flying car, as well as a much older and scarier Kami-Sama who would turn her into a frog. The creator of Sailor Moon, “Princess” Naoko Takeuchi has stated a few times that Potrine served as her inspiration for Sailor Moon. And oh, the irony! The director of PGSM, Masataka Takamaru, is directing Panchanne! Yuuko Hanashima, who played Poitrine, starred in this week’s Panchanne! She played a woman who has the hots for Kensuke Shinjo, aka Panchanne’s alter ego’s husband. What a circle we have here! We have to wonder if Naoko will pen an episode or perhaps appear on the show considering all these connections to Sailor Moon!
EDIT: We also just learned of a news story where Haruna Yabuki admits that playing Panchanne is like a dream come true for her, because little girls look up to her! Much in the same way she looked up to none other than Sailor Moon when she was growing up!

Maybe This is the Reason for that Sailor Sighting in War of the Worlds?

The summer 2005 hit War of the Worlds to some Otaku is more than seeing Steven Spielberg direct megastars like Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning. This movie features a small Sailor Sighting. Dakota Fanning’s character watches our favorite superhero trash a youma using Moon Gorgeous Meditation. What was even more surprising was the credit that appeared at the end of the film which left everyone guessing why the sighting was there and how they were able to get permission from TOEI. Steven was recently interviewed about the Transformers Movie in Japan, and confessed the missing piece of the puzzle! Turns out his 11 year old daughter loves Sailor Moon, though we are unsure whether he is speaking of Mikaela or Destry (the article makes no mention). Later he also mentions that his daughters wishes sometimes have priority over his own. We wonder if this is the reason for that Sailor Sighting in War of the Worlds? He also talks about his admiration for Japanese animation, having taken his first plunge with Spirited Away.

Shoko Nakagawa Strikes Again!

Japan’s MTV held their Video Music Awards this past May 25th. Popular idol and Sailor Moon fan Shoko Nakagawa appeared on the red carpet, striking this very familiar pose! Many asked her about her obsession with Sailor Moon and she said it was just a hobby- while they remarked it was something much deeper. And it probably is considering that Sailor Moon characters are among her favourites to cosplay and model, as well as naming her cat after Luna.

NEC to Offer Sailor Moon Episodes For Free!

Those of our Japanese readers who have access to NEC’s BIGLOBE service are in for a bit of a surprise! From June 7th – July 5th, the service will be offering streaming anime for free! Sailor Moon is part of this promotion, as are other TOEI titles such as Galaxy Express 999 , Gun Frontier, and Fist of the North Star. We would love to hear from fans who try out this service!

Survey Shows Sailor Moon Initiated Many Otaku!

We also learned of a very interesting study which was conducted recently in Japan to learn more about Otaku – we’re going to summarize the results as best we can. This was a questionnaire to determine the basis of the interests of Otaku – were they video games? Comics? Anime? Of 601 people surveyed, 68% were male and 32% were female. 10.1% were teenagers, 30% were between the ages of 20-25, 22.8% were between the ages of 26-29, 21.1 % were between the ages of 30-35, 12.3% were between the ages of 36-40 and 3% were over 40. They were later asked at what age they started their fandom, and 1/3 people got interested in it during junior high. Then these were asked what anime sparked their interest, and 3.7% attributed to Gundam, 2.7% said Neon Genesis Evangelion, 1.0% said Final Fantasy, 0.9% said Sailor Moon, 0.9% said Tokimeki Memorial, 0.9% said Space Battleship Yamato, and 0.9% said Yu Yu Hakusho. While we always knew in North America, for some people Sailor Moon was the start, we didn’t think it would be one of the top answers in a survey in Japan! If we get a copy of the full report, we will definitely post more of it here!

An Addenda to TOEI Creates In-house Licencing Division!

We also managed to find this very interesting analysts’s perspective on the recent announcement from TOEI. This article discusses how TOEI is in a bit of a pinch considering that one of their three largest properties in North America , DragonBall Z, is lying mostly in the hands of Funimation. The article goes on to suggest that they should make use of their bigger properties aside from Digimon, such as One Piece… and Sailor Moon! We agree with their perspective that if TOEI really wants to make it big, they should also work with their other properties. Digimon isn’t as big as Pokemon in North America and while the dub of One Piece may not be very popular, the original Japanese version is very popular with North American Otaku. And more importantly, there is a huge amount of demand for Sailor Moon in North America. Fans want good quality DVDs with decent video transfers (if not like the remastered ones in Japan) and clear audio – things that currently only exist in a fan’s dream. Fans want more merchandise from translated versions of the manga re-release to goodies only found in Japanese stores. And of course, everyone wants Stars!

And with that, we bring this News from Across the Pond update to a close.