News From the Other Side of the Pond #2!

Junichi Sato to Supervise Animation of New Series!

Junichi Sato (Director of the first season and the Doom Tree/Makaiju Saga) is set to supervise the animation of Rental Magica based on a shounen light novel (made for boys) of the same name. From what we have read, it’s a story about a student of the secondary school Italy Garden who becomes the president of the second generation of a well known agency of magicians. These magicians lend all sorts of magic to each other like divination, Celt magic, dark magic, and astrology. The author of this 9-part series is Makoto Sanda, who has also written a light novel series called Scar/Edge, which supplemented a tabletop RPG called Double Cross. Makoto will be editing the scripts along with Fruits Basket writer Mamiko Ikeda.

Aya Hisakawa in New Anime!

Aya Hisakawa (Sailor Mercury) can be heard in El Cazador de la Bruja (The Witch Hunter) which is on the air in Japan as we speak! She plays Jody Hayward aka Blue Eyes, a woman who works in accounting at the CIA. She wears a special Philosopher Stone around her neck which may be important later. This series tells the story of Ellis, a girl who is suspected of murdering a prominent physicist. She is on the run when she is discovered by the bounty hunter Nadi, who instead of turning her in, takes her on a journey to find clues to her past! The Bee Train show is the third and last member of director Koichi Mashimo’s “Girls with Guns Trilogy” (the others are Noir and Madlax) and is turning out to be a hit!

Blockbuster Paprika to hit North American Cinemas soon!

Satoshi Kon’s Paprika is the latest anime to be garnering a lot of buzz from critics in Hollywood! The feature is about 29 year-old Dr. Atsuko Chiba, a psychiatrist who uses her 18 year-old alter ego Paprika to enter the dreams of her patients to discover the roots of their anxieties or neuroses. At her lab, a new technology device has been developed to allow a person to enter the dreams of another – however if misused, an entire personality can be wiped out and changed while they are asleep! One of these four devices has been stolen and it is up to Paprika to find it before people are destroyed! Once again there is a blend between reality and the dream world, much like what we had seen in Kon’s earlier masterpiece, Perfect Blue. This movie is based on the groundbreaking novel of the same name by Yasutaka Tsutsui. Sailor Moon fans are treated to not one but two seiyuu in this film! Megumi Hayashibara (Himeko Nayotake) plays the starring role of Atsuko Chiba/Paprika, and Toru Furuya (Tuxedo Mask) plays Dr. Tokita Kohsaku, a colleague who is a nerdy, overweight genius!

So far the release is limited and has popped up at a few film festivals in the USA, but as with all limited release anime, we suggest fans wanting to see this go pester their local indie cinemas to bring this film to their city. In our experience, we’ve found most times management is really receptive if the movie is popular!

Jedite Heard in Fighting Game!

A popular title for the PS2 in Japan is Musou Orochi , a crossover between Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors. This was released March 21st of this year. The evil demon Orochi has disrupted time and space, and the heroes of these two games unite to defeat the demon and restore the universe! The game has four stages set in the Three Kingdoms Period of China , each stage based on a force (Shu, Wei, Wu, Sengoku). Masaya Onosaka (Jedite) plays Chouun and Shokatsuryou in this game. Koei is set to release this for the PS2 and XBOX 360 sometime in Fall of 2007, and the game may be titled Orochi Warriors.

Sailor Venus is Everyone’s Favorite Viera Warrior!

Okay, this sighting is a little old but we thought we’d mention it anyway since there are probably a lot of Final Fantasy XII geeks who read this site! The next time you’re at a gaming party and you feel like making connections between games you play and Sailor Moon, mention this: Rika Fukami (Sailor Venus) plays the scantily-clad, Viera (Bunny) Warrior, Fran in the Japanese version. Two of us have played the game and we’ve really enjoyed it, and recommend it to any gamers who haven’t tried it already! The graphics are to die for and the gameplay (though a bit different compared to other Final Fantasy games) is amazing! We were able to find a few clips of the Japanese version for fans wanting to hear a very different , lower, Rika Fukami here and here

In Cross-Cultural News:

And to close, A book called Plastic Culture: How Japanese Toys Conquered the World has just been released outlining the influence of Japanese toys (such as those popular gashapon figures) on toys around the world! The book goes into the history of the influence, from dolls and figures to toys given out with meals at fast food restaurants. Editors of the book say: “Plastic Culture explores the world of toys: why we love them, what they represent, and why there is a growing market for “designer” and “art” toys aimed at adults”.

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