NYAF 2008 Del Rey Manga/Yen Press Panels

On the topic of manga, I was able to attend the Del Rey Manga and Yen Press panels at New York Anime Festival 2008. So let's get right down to it.

Del Rey Manga's newest acquisitions include Moyashimon, Amefurashi, and Maid War Chronicles. Also be on the look out for a second Phoenix Wright compilation of manga shorts, Mao-chan, Gankutsuou, and the prose novel xxxHOLic: Another Holic. Del Rey has also started to create original graphic novels. These include a two-volume film comic version of Cartoon Network's Bakugan and a Ben 10 graphic novel.

Yen Press will be releasing the first volume of "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" manga, which will include a special bonus excerpt from the first Haruhi novel. Yen has since put out four issues of their monthly manga magazine Yen Plus. With competitors including Viz and Tokyopop, Yen is aiming to continue to acquire new and unexpected book. Their newest addition will be Square Enix's "Hero Tales" drawn by "Fullmetal Alchemist's" Hiromu Arakawa. "sola's" Chako Abeno will be joining the Yen Plus line-up with "Welcome to Wakaba-Soh." And looking further into the future, look out for "Spice and Wolf" at the end of next year.


NYAF 2008 FUNimation Panel

After a short trailer of "Darker than BLACK," FUNimation spoke a bit about their view on the state of the American anime market. American customers seem to be shifting in the ways they want to get their anime, and while the DVD is still safe, it opens up more opportunities for Blu-ray, online distribution, and complete series boxes.

On Blu-ray, watch out for "Vexille" and "Samuari 7." As I stated in a previous post, FUNimation titles on Hulu.com include "Black Blood Brothers," "Basilisk," and "Mushishi," with more on the way. FUNimation will be hosting subtitled episodes of "Baccano!" on their website.

New Japan licenses include "Negima" OAVs and season two of "Negima!?" I was most excited to hear the "Ghost Hunt" - in November (along with "Ouran High School Host Club" in January) will be released in two half-season boxes. "Claymore" and "Darker than BLACK" will be getting individual DVD releases with the first volume due out October 14th and mid-November, respectively. They have also picked up Katushiro Otomo's live action adaptation of "Mushi-Shi," hoping for a DVD release and limited theatrical run.


NYAF 2008 Bandai Panel

Bandai Entertainment kicks off the panel portion of this year's rain-ridden New York Anime Festival. The panel's first announcement comes in the form of an un-announcement. Due to licensing issues, "true tears" and "sola," which Bandai Visual USA had licensed, will not be released in America. But fret not, Bandai will release true tears and sola in one fell swoop via the "Anime Legends Collection" line.

"Code Geass" will continue to be aired on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. Another title that has been rapidly gaining a steady fanbase is "Gurren Lagann." The subtitled-only version is already out with a bilingual version coming this November. "Gurren Lagann" will soon be joined by "Gundam 00" on the Sci-Fi Channel.

Volume 4 of "Lucky Star" will be released this November and will continue its limited edition streak which includes exclusive t-shirts, this time a summer school uniform t-shirt. "Ayakashi Ayashi" (Ghost Slayers) from Studio BONES, is due on January 6th. "Rocket Girls" will be getting a sub-only release, including all 12 episodes in one volume. "Tokikake" (The Girl who Leapt Through Time) will finally be getting its DVD release this November. November seems to be a big month for Bandai. "Gundam Seed Destiny TV Movie" and "Silent Mobius" will be joining the November crew.

On the Blu-ray front, you can look out for "Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence," "Sword of the Stranger," and "Akira" soon. In addition, "Freedom" will be getting their re-release on Blu-ray, which will contain the episodes that were already released by Bandai Visual via HD-DVD plus the unreleased 7th episode.

That's it for now. Overall a great panel. I will say that I'm liking Bandai's aim and mission of bringing anime to the U.S. almost simultaneously to its airing in Japan. Releasing sub-only versions is the best route to go, followed by a bilingual version, to satisfy all fans alike. Next up will be FUNIMATION.


The Pre-NYAF Rush

For inquiring minds, I have made it safely from DC to NYC for New York Anime Festival starting tomorrow, Sept. 26th. It was quite an interesting train ride, but let's just say we had to detach and abandon the last car on the train. So anyways, it has been evident for months now that NYAF 2008 will be a convention to remember. Last year's first NYAF has nothing on this incredible line-up.

Here's hoping the rain won't be too bad, especially for cosplayers like myself. Nevertheless, as Madarame ("Genshiken") would say, the weather makes it part of the experience, and it exudes a feeling that something special and ominous is just around the corner. Before we know it, we'll be in anime and manga heaven.

Let's see, what am I really looking forward to? Can I say everything and just direct you to nyanimefestival.com? I'm looking forward to the musical acts, most definitely and am overwhelmed with excitment at meeting the elusive Hideyuki Kikuchi and Yoshitaka Amano. I feel so privledged to be one of ten die-hard Vampire Hunter D fans celebrating Kikuchi's birthday with a dinner party this Sunday. This extreme jubilation has rendered me speechless. So for now, I'll try to rest for the big day. Check out my entire coverage in the days to come.


Typing Mania 4

I came across this anime typing game a while ago and neglected to post about it here, not thinking I'd become engrossed by it. And since my friends and I recently had a conversation about mad typing skills, I thought it'd be appropriate. TypingMania4 is a typing game set to your favorite anime and video game tracks. The track list is plentiful and the skill level is set way up there. Just check out some of the titles represented: Trinity Blood, Claymore, Black Lagoon, Eureka 7, Lucky Star, Rebuild of Evangelion, Fruits Basket, FF VIII, Sola, Ghost in the Shell, Fate/stay night, True Tears, Clannad, Karas, Air, Gundam Seed Destiny, Darker than Black, Macross Frontier, Code Geass, Kanon. There are songs for every level of typing skill but the true test is when you reach the higher level songs. Gameplay is pretty self-explanatory but if you get stuck, check out the directions in english here. What are you waiting for? Type away the day!


Anime Channel on Hulu.com

Multimedia streaming site Hulu.com has now created an online channel devoted to free and legally authorized streams of anime titles from FUNimation, Viz Media, and UK based GONG Anime. Freshly added anime include 20 English-subtitled episodes of Naruto, all 37 English-subtitled episodes of Death Note, and 12 English-dubbed episodes of Mushi-Shi.

Hulu plans to add episodes from series including Bleach, Basilisk, Black Blood Brothers, Kiddy Grade, MoonPhase, Peach Girl, and School Rumble to its service in the future.


Cartoon Network ends Toonami

It's official. After 11 years, Cartoon Network's programming block's Toonami will end. Sure, "Naruto" has been the only anime series in this Saturday evening block, but when I think of Toonami, I don't think of Toonami as it is now, but rather how it was back in the day.

Rewinding back to 11 years ago, during my High School years, when Toonami was one of the major sources of anime for this little anime fan. Toonami hosted a great variety of series including Voltron, Robotech, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, Ronin Warriors, Blue Submarine No. 6, Tenchi Muyo!, Cardcaptors, .hack//SIGN, Yu Yu Hakusho, The Big O, Ruroni Kenshin, Outlaw Star, Cyborg 009, One Piece, and Prince of Tennis. Listing these couple of titles brings back memories and I realize how much of a foundation Toonami provided. Toonami, you will be missed, but it was a great run nonetheless.


Metal Gear Solid Existence

Just 4 little words: Metal - Gear- Solid- Existence...enough to get gamers excited and enough to show the colossal true power behind Kojima's creation.

According to Siliconera, Konami has registered the name "Metal Gear Solid Existence" in the Japanese Trademark database. Siliconera speculates, " going by the title alone it sounds like we’re going to visit the existence - or origins of the Metal Gear Solid franchise." There's not much to go by, but this tidbit is sure to titillate MGS fans. Is this a new game, a re-release, or just something different altogether? Perhaps the nearing Tokyo Game Show will offer some confirmation.

Siliconera also points out that Konami also registered “Existence” alone, without a link back to Metal Gear Solid in the USPTO on August 11. “Guns of the Patriots,” Metal Gear Solid 4’s subtitle, was also registered separately.


Mushi-shi Screening in the UK

Barbican UK will be hosting the third season of Japanimation, a series of events exploring the relationship between Japanese animation and Western cinema. The third season returns with the latest live action movie by Katusuhiro Otomo, best known for "Akira." The feature will be introduced by Helen McCarthy, anime expert and co-author of The Anime Encyclopedia. This will be followed by the live action movie of "Mushishi" and 2 episodes from the anime.

The Mushi are neither plants nor animals, instead they resemble the primeval substances of life. Ginko, a "Mushi-shi" is a travelling doctor who travels around investigating them. The live action movie and anime are done well and makes a nice addition to the manga. Check out my original review here. And for more information on the event, visit Barbican UK.


Portal: Prelude

Still sad about the unfortunate fate of your companion cube? Still waiting for more on Valve's prequel to Portal? Ease your worries for now as "Portal: Prelude," an unofficial prequel to "Portal" is coming very soon. Its story revolves around the pre-GlaDOS epoch, even before she was plugged in. At this time, test subjects were monitored by real Aperture Science employees, whose work was tedious, lengthy and repetitive. This is why they decided to build a great artificial intelligence that could both replace them in these difficult tasks, and also take responsibility for many other tasks within the complex and compete with Black Mesa's superiority. All employees of the Aperture Science complex are now eagerly awaiting GlaDOS. Maybe even a little too eagerly, as the upcoming events will tell...

Be sure to visit www.portalprelude.com for more details and, when released, to download the game. For now, check out the Portal: Prelude Official Trailer.

Portal: Prelude Official Trailer from NykO18 on Vimeo.

This game is totally free and set to be released somewhere around the end of the month. It offers a bit more gameplay hours than the original Portal, with 8 chapters, 19 test chambers, 48 challenges, 6 advanced maps, a brand new storyline and more than 400 lines of speech with english and french subtitles. More translations are coming soon, to include spanish, portuguese, dutch, german, italian, finnish, and russian.


T-MODE 2008

It's been a week since T-MODE 2008 and as I reminisce I can't help but feel a bit nostalgic, especially when I read through people's reviews and browse through all the pics. T-MODE 2008, the Anime and Gaming Convention, is not what you'd be used to if you normally go to big cons that average about 15,000 attendees. If anything, I would say there couldn't have been more than a hundred people there, and I could go as far to say I don't think I saw more than 2 dozen different people. This was my first year at T-MODE and it almost went below my radar. Since it was happening around my area, I figured I should check it out. And I'm glad I did. T-MODE proves that big things come in small packages - many small packages. T-MODE has all the elements that make up a con, but in miniatures -- anime video screening rooms, cosplay, main events, guests, music, panels, merchant's hall, artist alley, and video game room. But there's one thing T-MODE brings that no other con I've been to has, but I'll save that tidbit till later. For now, onward we go.

What definitely stood out the most from T-MODE's programming line-up was its wide array of j-music artists. The J-pop group Love etc. was first to take the stage on Friday. Tsubasa on vocals and Yasuyo on the keyboard were joined by Danny Zanker on Bass and Yutaka on Drums. The music of Love etc. combines a nice blend of classical music and J-pop to create a soft yet exciting experience. I've gotta say my favorite part was watching Yasuyo playing the keyboard. She had an incredible energy that made you appreciate her natural talent. Very fluid with incredible changes of tempo and surprising melodic ups and downs, Love etc.'s concert kicked of the con with a bang. The rush didn't stop there as Love etc. (who will also be performing at New York Anime Festival this month) was immediately followed by Sakura Madams (minus their keyboard player who was unable to make it). Sakura Madams brought the smooth back into jazz and punches it up with rock and pop. I guess it also doesn't hurt to have a rocking female saxophonist in your group. [Geist] ends the night the way it should be -- with hard-core j-rock visual kei. As someone who is a big fan of [Geist], their set list served as the perfect introduction for those new to the band. They also performed awesome covers of MUCC and Girugamesh. And if you can accomplish that, that should give you a pretty good indication on their music.

Saturday brought Gelatine and Thee 50's High Teens concerts (as well as D-chan and Monster Madhouse, which I couldn't attend). You don't know Japanese horror-comical-freak core rock music till you experience Gelatine. Intense, weird (in a good way), and insane, Gelatine tears apart any rules they may be and goes all out. Wearing a diaper on stage, Seiko's performance is sick and totally awesome. Gelatine brings metal to a whole other level. But T-MODE doesn't stop there, Thee 50's High Teens brings a unique blend of 60s garage and 70s punk rock and are definitely rocking the vampire theme. With costumes to match and the keyboard player and drummer both designated as screamers, Thee 50's High Teens deliver a totally different experience.

Every single musical act lit up the stage and with small audience numbers (sometimes as small as 3 and as many as 15), it brought a personalized experience. Few things can beat a live concert performed just for you. While I enjoyed the musical scene wholeheartedly, I hope the guests felt welcomed and appreciated. There's only so much cheering a small crowd can exude.

There was a nice selection of cosplayers. Yes there your usual Final Fantasy, Bleach, and Naruto, but I was happy to see other series being portrayed. There was Naked Snake with Skull Face camouflage from Metal Gear Solid and LeLouch from Code Geass. And of course, I can't forget my two new friends Samantha as Integra from Hellsing and DeAnna as Anthy from Utena. I cosplayed as Yuki Cross from Vampire Knight. I think it was after the Sakura Madams concert that I officially met DeAnna and before we knew it we were whisked off and nudged to enter the Hall Costume/Cosplay Contest (judged by cosplay experts YuffieBunny, Natalie Smith, and Fire Lily). While we were both hesitant, we entered. Later, I was surprisingly informed that I had won honorable mention! Exciting!

I attended a few panels, all of which were entertaining. I especially enjoyed the panel which ranked the Top 50 Anime Heroines hosted by Nick Ferris, Vice Chair of Programming at Katsucon. It was an interesting line-up that included Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell, Sai from Princess Mononoke, and Sakura from Card Captor Sakura. I was proud to see one of my all-time favorite characters Ayumu Kasuga, better known as Osaka from Azumanga Daioh. It's nice to see that Osaka is appreciated as the special heroine that she is. The clip presented made the moment much more enjoyable...you know, the one where everyone is at Chiyo's beach house and Osaka decides to wake up Yukari with a pan, and instead gets a knife. Ahhh...good stuff. I was also able to catch some anime - Aquarion and Xenosaga have always been on my to-watch list.

I should mention that I was one of 16 VIP Otaku Passport Holders, in addition to Samantha and DeAnna. This meant that we had extra perks and in essence this made all the difference between a mediocre con and a con I would remember forever. Not only did we get a special bag, badge, the no-lines privilege and access to the closed sound checks, we also got special VIP panels with the guests AND an exclusive VIP Brunch that would start a new tradition. The VIP panels were very intimate which made it that much more enjoyable. Guest + 3 otaku = an experience you can't duplicate. We had VIP panels with Stephanie Sheh and one with Johnny Yong Bosch and another with Kevin McKeever (YAY, Robotech). It was like having a one-on-one interview.

The VIP Brunch was also another memorable aspect of T-MODE. To give you a taste of the crazy fun we had, we randomly started a contest of manliness. See who can keep their arm and one finger up the longest. Johnny watched on as Stephanie, some T-MODE staff, the band members of Geist, Nick Ferris and his wife Tegan, Samantha, DeAnna, myself, and one other Otaku Passport holder took part in this colossal event. One by one, the arms went down until 45 minutes in, those remaining (including myself and about 6 others) decided to call a truce. Sai (photo on the right taken by Samantha), drummer from [Geist] kept on and was claimed the winner. All in all, super fun.

I had mentioned that there was one thing that T-MODE brought that I haven't experienced in any other con -- and that is a close and intimate experience. I've never been to a concert with only a few people in an audience. I've never been to a dealer's room where I didn't have to squeeze my way through. I've never had the chance to bump into a guest in the hallway several times a day and have that friendly "hey" returned back. And (often) I've never been able to meet such great people and make solid friendships that went past the occasional "hey, how's it going?" In fact I must thank T-MODE for introducing me to Samantha and DeAnna - we found out how many of the same interests we had AND that we've probably bumped into each other at least a dozen times in past cons. This alone makes me hope that T-MODE will be coming back next year.

Check out more of my T-MODE pics here. Also, definitely check out DeAnna's blog, Cloudy Revelations, for her detailed T-MODE coverage that also chronicles my "fateful" meeting of Samantha and DeAnna.

For other coverage and pics:
Photoninja T-MODE Concert Coverage
Photoninja T-MODE Cosplay Coverage
Beware of Ninja


Versailles Gets New Band Name

Due to legal reasons in the U.S. the band formerly known as Versailles was forced to change their name. And after asking their fans for help, the band combined some submissions to create their new official band name: Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet-. The new name evokes two important aspects of the band. The philharmonic aspect alludes to lovers of harmony and quintet alludes to the band's five members.

HearJapan.com has also announced the first single under the new band name entitled "Prince" which can be downloaded from HearJapan for FREE. HearJapan.com has released "Prince" worldwide exclusively through their download service on September 14th, 10:00 AM, Japan time. Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet- is using this opportunity to thank all of the fans for their creative suggestions they received to help decide their new band name. Not only will the fans of the band receive the single for free, but by downloading through HearJapan, fans will have a better chance of seeing Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet- play near them. With every download the band is notified of the location of the downloader to aid in future tour planning purposes!

To download the new single, PRINCE, for free, go to www.hearjapan.com/store/album_info/PRINCE.


Song Summoner: The Unsung Heroes

Though I downloaded it weeks ago, I finally got a chance to play the first ever full RPG game on the iPod. Square Enix's "Song Summoner: The Unsung Heroes" takes the power of your own music into battle. You play as the protagonist Ziggy who embarks on an epic journey to rescue his brother from the clutches of the Mechanical Militia.

Mechanoids populate the world seeking to destroy all that do not succumb to their way of life -- a cold, emotionless world. But there is still hope for mankind as there are those fated to stop the Mechanoids by turning the sound of music into lethal weapons with the help of the Conductor, also known as the Song Summoner, who can summon these powerful warriors born of music.

Square Enix proves that they still have what it takes to pull out an incredible RPG. Square Enix and RPG fans alike will enjoy this fully loaded game. Controls are easy to catch on and gameplay almost has a "Final Fantasy Tactics" feel to it. Like most RPGs, "Song Summoner" utilizes the turn-based tactics battle system with your basic attack and special skill mode. You use your iPod songs to create your group of heroes. Tune Trooper types and abilities are determined by the song used to create them. Bringing the console RPG concept to the portable iPod was a smart move on their part and Square Enix definitely does it right.

"Song Summoner" is now on sale at iTunes Stores worldwide for $4.99. It is available for play in English and Japanese on the iPod nano with video, iPod classic and fifth generation iPods.


Domo at Target

I was just at Target the other day and noticed a familar face plastered in the Halloween section -- it was Domo, the Japanese Broadcasting Network NHK's very own mascot here in the U.S! As it turns out, the Target chain has hired Domo for it's Halloween costume campaign. Target is also hosting an exclusive stop-motion animated short and a "making-of" video.

In addition, Target is offering some Domo character goods, plush dolls, mini figure sets, totes, milk chocolate lollipops, and Domo-shaped gift cards. The website also has some paper cutouts of Domo and friends.


SUGIZO on tour with Juno Reactor

SUGIZO, someone who really needs no introduction -- a god of the Jrock scene, returns to American for Juno Reactor's first U.S. tour in seven years. As lead guitarist of LUNA SEA, S.K.I.N, and the reunited X JAPAN, SUGIZO last performed in the Jrock Revolution Festival in California. Their Tour of America 2008, "Gods and Monsters," should prove to be a spectacular event.

Juno Reactor is best known for the unique blend of elements in the form of electronic music. In addition to lending their music to a multitude of films, videogames and commercials over the years, as well as being involved in providing the score for movies such as "The Matrix," Juno Reactor headlined Japan's massive Fuji Rock Festival in 2007.

Check out the tour dates below. For more information and to purchase your tickets, check out www.sugizolove.com/tour08.

Sept. 20 - Owsley's Golden Road - Denver, CO
Sept. 21 - Belly Up - Aspen, CO
Sept. 23 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA
Sept. 25 - El Rey Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
Sept. 26 - Metro - Chicago, IL
Sept. 28 - Blender Theater @ Gramercy - New York, NY


Code Geass Speech Synthesizer

The Internet service provider NEC Biglobe is hosting a speech synthesizer service in which users can create their own spoken dialogue with the voices of characters from the Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 anime series. Specifically, users can type in phrases for the software to "speak" in the voices of Lelouch (in his Zero persona) and C.C. Users can adjust the pitch, tempo, accent, and the echo effect of the lines as they wish.

The service's website has samples of Zero ("Shaberareru mono nara, yatte miru ga ii") and C.C. ("Watashi ga sō kantan ni shaberu to omou no ka?"), as well a few hundred lines submitted by users. The free version of the service allows users to enter up to 30 lines with a maxmum of 15 syllables each, while the paid version allows an unlimited number of lines up to 50 characters long. Users of the paid version can then download the dialogue lines they create in WAV or MP3 format, build short stories through playlists, or insert the voices in their blogs through "blog parts" applets. Registration is required (in Japanese) for either version. [Source: ANN]


Evangelion Entry Plug USB Drive

The game software and goods company Kaga Create will be selling USB drives in the shape of the entry plug cockpits from the Evangelion anime on September 27 in Japan. The two-gigabyte drives will come in EVA-00 and EVA-01 designs for the suggested retail price of 3,980 yen (about US$37.40) each. Kaga Create notes that the entry plug drives are based on the designs from the recent movie remake, and not the original television series version. [Source: ANN]


2008 Anime Con Schedule

By popular demand, I've decided to post an anime convention schedule for the rest of 2008. This is fitting as I am getting ready to leave for T-MODE 2008 Anime & Gaming Convention in a couple of hours. And on that note, watch out for coverage of T-MODE 2008 next week after the con rush has subsided. Now for the dates (links coming soon):

September 2008
5-7: Alcon (Leicester, England)
5-7: Festival of Japan (Durham, England)
5-7: Otaku Mex (Albuquerque, NM)
5-7: T-MODE (Arlington, VA)
5-7: Realms Con (Corpus Christi, TX)
6: Super Anime Day (Davie, FL)
12-14: Nan Desu Kan (Denver, CO)
19-21: Anime Weekend Atlanta (Atlanta, GA)
19-21: MikomiCon (Northridge, CA)
26-28: New York Anime Festival (New York, NY)
26-28: Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits (Minneapolis, MN)
26-28: Sogen Con (Sioux Falls, SD)
26-28: Tsubasacon (Huntington, WV)
26-28: Yaoi-Con (San Mateo, CA)
27-28: Aurora-Con (Anchorage, AK)
27-28: Chibi-Pa (West Palm Beach, FL)

October 2008
3-5: Providence Anime Conference (Providence, RI)
4-5: Expo Comics Cancun (Cancun, Qro Mexico)
10-11: BlizzCon (Anaheim, CA)
10-12: Anime USA (Arlington, VA)
10-12: SITACon (Utica, NY)
17-18: Zenkaikon (King of Prussia, PA)
17-19: Anime X Gamer Experience (St. Augustine, FL)
17-19: Another Anime Convention (Nashua, NH)
18-19: Autumn Dream (Lancaster, CA)
24-25: Anime Banzai (Salt Lake City, UT)
24-26: Bakuretsu Con (Colchester, VT)
25-26: The Asian Karaoke Idol Invitational (Philadelphia, PA)
30-2: Youmacon (Dearborn, MI)
31-2: Anime Supercon (Miami, FL)
31-2: CrisisCon (Huntsville, AL)
31-2: MangaNEXT (Somerset, NJ)
31-2: SugoiCon (Ft. Mitchell, KY)

November 2008
1: Tigercon (Towson, MD)
7-9: Aki Con (Everett, WA)
7-9: Nekocon (Hampton, VA)
7-9: Wizard World Texas (Dallas, TX)
8-9: Arkansas Anime Festival (Springdale, AR)
14-16: Anime NebrasKon (Lincoln, NE)
15-16: DotCon (Toronto, Ontario)
15-16: Naru 2 U (Ottawa, Ontario)
20-23: JaniCon (Jacksonville, FL)
21-23: Atlanta Supercon (Atlanta, GA)
21-23: Daisho Con (Stevens Point, WI)
21-23: Izumicon (Oklahoma City, OK)
21-23: New England Fan Experience (Cambridge, MA)
21-23: Oni-Con, Houston, TX
28-30: Tomodachi Fest (Boise, ID)

December 2008
5-7: Kajonk-A-Con (Knoxville, TN)
5-7: YuleCon (Fort Worth, TX)
27-29: Mizu Con (Miami, FL)
31-1: MEW Convention (Vancouver, WA)



The awesome cuteness of SackBoy and SackGirl is nearing its debut and if you're like me, you are already brewing some ideas for costumes. Media Molecule invites you to do just that. Send your inspired outfit ideas for LittleBigPlanet and Media Molecule will pick three winners, one from Europe, one from American, and one from Japan. The three winning designs will be available to download for free from the Playstation Store for use in LBP in the near future.

All you have to do is download the SackBoy template, design, and submit your entry to playstation_community_support@playstation.sony.com. Be sure to check out all the details here before submitting.


GA-KO MGS4 Alarm Clock

Remember that scene in "Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots" with Sunny and Naomi and the sunny side up eggs? The one with that adorable duck timer that got everyone saying, "I want one!!" (The duckie also made an appearance in MGS3 as camouflage and as a mascot in MGO and MG Portable ops.) Well check out the video below to stroll down memory lane.

Done humming? Okay, good. You may or may not have seen this yet, but Konami has released a limited edition of the GA-KO Alarm Clock. I wanted to wait until I had my hands on this before I posted and it finally arrived today! The GA-KO Alarm Clock stands about about 6 inches and is a very nice duplication of the actual game. When the alarm goes off, you'll hear a familiar tune and the duck's head will nod left to right. So when you hear "Gah-Gah" (japanese for "Quack, Quack") it's time for your mission, it's time to go Snake!


Square Enix "Gangan Online"

Square Enix has announced that it will launch a free web magazine starting this October called "Gangan Online" covering manga and light novels. The magazine will feature the debut of Hiroyuki Eto's new manga spinoff of his "Mahojin Guru Guru" fantasy comedy character, Kita Kita. Akira Kojima's latest manga, "Wa!" will also be launched. Others include: Akira Kanda's "Shikiso," Kiki Suihei's "Ai wa Noroi no Nihon Ningyo" and more.

The magazine will also have new light novels, as well as side stories and illustrations from manga titles that have already been published in other Square Enix magazines. The manga cameos will include Yoshiichi Akahito's "Shikabane Hime" and Kiichi Hotta's "Kimi to Boku." [Source: ANN]


Anime Masterpieces Series Event

"Anime Masterpieces" is a new series event of anime film screenings and panels that is geared to colleges and other institutions in the U.S. Each film in the series is preceded by a short introduction highlighting important things to look for and keep in mind when viewing the film; each screening is then followed by a panel discussion.

Anime Masterpieces will premiere on September 27 at the Pacific Film Archive at the University of California, Berkeley with the epic movie "Grave of the Fireflies. Japanese popular culture scholars Susan Napier, Ian Condry, and Roland Kelts, along with author and translator Frederik L. Schodt, will take part in the subsequent panel discussion. The program's East Coast premiere will take place on October 1 in Boston.

The screening events are completely scaleable to an institution's budget and programming needs, with options including:

  • Screenings with DVDs and Study Guides provided to the institution for “do-it-yourself” style presentation featuring local scholars/authorities in a panel/talkback.
  • Screenings accompanied by panels and talkbacks featuring leading scholars of cinema, history, and popular culture; and, budget permitting, anime creators from Japan.
  • Screening of both Grave of the Fireflies and Tekkonkinkreet as a “double-feature” on a single day or over a weekend, with panels and seminars featuring illustrious anime talent and notable academics.

Check out their site here for more information.