FF XIII Release Date Announced

"The date has been set. The rest is up to you." Such simple words, but they hold so much more. Nothing is better than having that affirmation we have yearned for so long.

Straight from Square Enix -- Influential and always pushing new boundaries, FINAL FANTASY has transcended generations and cultures for over 20 years. Behind each entry in the series is a team of the most talented minds devoting years of their craft to create. Now, the creative minds that brought you FINAL FANTASY VII and FINAL FANTASY X take the acclaimed series into an entirely new realm with FINAL FANTASY XIII, an entry that touts the series' most impressive cinematic experience, once again setting the new standard in RPG gaming.

Square Enix is truly excited to announce that FINAL FANTASY XIII will be released on March 9, 2010. The much anticipated FINAL FANTASY XIII is the first FINAL FANTASY title developed specifically for high-definition consoles, and also marks the beginning of a brand new chapter in the franchise, FABULA NOVA CRYSTALLIS FINAL FANTASY XIII.

Dealt a fate that marks them a threat to Cocoon—humankind's floating haven in the sky—Lightning, Snow and the others must find the strength within themselves to break free of their curse and fight for what they believe in. An immersive story of destiny, decisions and faith is about to unravel.


All Hallow's Eve 2009

Happy Halloween to all. I bring you my 2009 pumpkin, now bring on the candy!



If you live a life of the dreaded Evangelion Collector like me, then you know the angst and crave in my tone. If you're like me, then this post only re-states what you already know. Get ready, EVA fans, to be hit hard....very hard. Sure, being an avid EVA collector is draining yet we continue to yearn in its dedication (or exploitation) and beauty. So here comes a glorifying addition to the "Dead Sea Scrolls" of EVA brought to us in a whole other level.

Made by Fender and built by the renowned Yuriy Shishkov - Rei Ayanami Stratocaster and Telecaster, done, if I may say so, deliciously splendid. The Lance of Longinus inlays are stunning! And even the case makes a perfect finishing detail. Check of the specifications of these beauties here: http://www.fender.jp/evangelion/spec.html

These guitars will be auctioned off this December 1st (*frantically calculates budget*). I'll add more details as I find them and if anyone has more information regarding the actual auction, please contact me at eva001berserker@aol.com.


AKB48's U.S. Debut at NYAF 2009

Rumors have been swirling around and now the New York Anime Festival officially announces AKB48! AKB48 is a female music group created in 2005 by songwriter Yasushi Akimoto. The group was born under the concept of "idols you can visit" and is based in Akihabara, the center of Japanese anime and manga culture. Members of AKB48 regularly appear in movies, television shows, and theater, and they are on top of Japan's pop culture consciousness, singing at Japan's biggest New Year's Eve broadcast, joining Prime Minister Taro Aso for cherry-blossom viewing, hosting their own weekly television show, and collaborating with artist Takashi Murakami on multiple projects. They perform almost everyday at their own theater in Akihabara, have performed internationally in Paris, and now they're coming to NYC!

AKB48 will hold a Q&A session, autographing, and short concert at the Jacob Javits Center on Saturday, September 26, and the musical group will then present a free concert at NYC's Webster Hall on Sunday, September 27th.

AKB48 is an awesome addition and this announcement is sure to perk up fans' ears. If you are still contemplating on whether or not to attend NYAF this year...AKB48 may be there to make your decision a bit easier. [Source: MediumAtLarge]


Far East To East Showcase Returns to NYAF with 4 Musical Acts

Last year, the New York Anime Festival and Karaterice launched the Far East To East Showcase at The Knitting Factory. It was a celebration of indie, punk, rock, and pop both from Japan and NYC. This year, NYAF and Karaterice -- now with the super name Superglorious -- are bringing FETES back, and bringing it into the iconic Webster Hall.

From Japan, FETES hosts Kokusyoku Sumire and Swinging Popsicle, and from NYC, FETES features Echostream and Gelatine. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 the day of the show and available now at www.ticketweb.com and www.websterhall.com. The show is open to audiences of all ages.

Kokusyoku Sumire, Swinging Popsicle, Echostream, and Gelatine are four amazing bands -- bands selected not because of their involvement in anime, but selected because of the intensity and integrity music.

For more on the Far East To East Showcase, Superglorious will hold a FETES Press Panel on Saturday, September 26 at the New York Anime Festival. Superglorious will also maintain a booth at NYAF all weekend long where various FETES artists will appear. [Source: MediumAtLarge]


Guild Wars 2 Teaser Trailer

The grounds are starting to rumble as NCsoft and ArenaNet bring us the Guild Wars 2 teases we've been waiting for. First we got confirmation that the project is still fully underway, second, some incredibly beautiful concept art, and now straight from GAMESCOM in Cologne, Germany, we have the trailer, just under 5 minutes long!

The few glimpses of concept art was just the beginning -- the trailer boasts stunningly gorgeous concept art that words simply can't describe. And from the look of things, GW2 is shaping up to be the sequel we've been wishing for. A vast amount of environments that not only look beautiful but bring such variation. No two places look alike. Though there isn't any gameplay, you do get some hints as to what the actual game will look like. The characters -- allies and foes alike -- bring just as much diversity as the environment. Let's just say, it seems like they are on the right track. So without further delay, here's the trailer...you HAVE to see it for yourself. Welcome back to Tyria!


Guild Wars 2 Lives On...

Back in 2007, we heard the first word on the official full sequel to NCSoft's original Guild Wars games -- Guild Wars 2. Since then, all has been quiet on the western front. Too quiet, in fact that I, like many other fans, were getting worried and contemplating GW2's release.

Well ArenaNet Mike O'Brien is here to ease those woes. In a letter to the fans on Guild Wars Wiki:
I want to thank all our fans for their patience as we developed the game to the point where we can start talking about it publically. I know you've all been anxiously awaiting this moment. You'll soon understand how ambitious we've been and what we've accomplished during these past two years of development. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but from here on out we'll be able to provide you with more regular updates.

Guild Wars 2 is going to be a huge leap beyond the original. We have the best team in the industry executing at the top of their game, and I'm very proud of what our team has accomplished so far. As I said last week, I'm confident that when you get your first look at what we've been working on, you're going to love what you see. Stay tuned for an exciting week ahead.
Excitement!! Let the teases commence. Check out the official Guild Wars 2 website...not much there, but it brings enough affirmation as it is. Follow them on twitter (and Facebook) to get the updates we so crave.


18-m Eva Movie Poster on Charity Auction

Evangelion 2.0: You Can [Not] Advance celebrates its two millionth viewing of the film by auctioning an 18-meter-tall movie poster charity on the Yahoo! Auctions Japan website. The poster features Co-director Kazuya Tsurumaki's storyboard sketch as well as his autograph. 3.5-meter-wide (11.5-foot-wide) poster, which was created with weather-resistant printing on vinyl-covered cloth, hung on the 109-2 department store building in Tokyo's Shibuya district for three weeks starting on June 13. The auction will benefit the Japan Committee Vaccines for the World's Children (JCV).

A separate 2.78-meter-tall (9-foot-tall) character poster is also being auctioned for the same charity. The second poster features an illustration of the three main Evangelion pilots by animation director Hidenori Matsubara as well as Matsubara's autograph. The poster hung during the elaborate opening weekend event just outside a participating theater in Tokyo's Kabukicho neighborhood on June 27 and 28. Both auctions end on August 19; as of August 14, the larger storyboard poster is going for 70,000 yen (about US$734) while the smaller character poster is going for 111,000 yen (US$1,160). [Source: ANN]


Gurren Lagann: The Movie at NYAF 2009

New York Anime Festival will play host to the East Coast Premiere of Bandai and Aniplex's offspring, Gurren Lagann: The Movie - Childhood's End.

Gurren Lagann: The Movie - Childhood's End is a feature film retelling of the first half of the Gurren Lagann series, a feature film that's rarely been seen outside of Japan. So NYAF go-ers...REJOICE!

For those who miraculously haven't jumped on the Gurren Lagann train, the series is about a boy named Simon who's spent his entire life digging in the dirt. But when Simon finds a strange little drill buried deep in the soil, he starts on a journey that'll take him into the sky, into space, and busting through heaven. Gurren Lagann -- from the studio behind Evangelion and FLCL -- is one of the most acclaimed animations in years, and it deserves every ounce of praise it's received. [Source: MediumAtLarge]


Shiny Metal Qees

In a collaborative effort between TOY2R USA and FULLY VISUAL - fans of QEE can now celebrate the release of real metal 2.5" Qees. Available for a limited time in extremely limited amounts - FULLY VISUAL will drop the figures this today, Thursday, August 13th at 11am (PST) on their online store.

In addition - customers who purchase the set of all three will receive a special bonus chase figure that is so cool!![Source: Qee 4 All]


Official Silent Hill Attraction

Sinister Pointe, the mind behind the official "Saw" haunted attraction, teams up with Konami to bring us a fright that is sure to grab your attention and scare you out of your wits. That's right, ever imagined stepping foot in Silent Hill and striking fear onto yourself?

Enter the Silent Hill Haunted Attraction. The Silent Hill maze is located in Brea, California and will feature elements from both video games. The fright begins October 2nd. Be sure to check out Sinister Pointe at www.sinisterpointe.com for more details. Cue the nurses...


Cencoroll US Premiere at NYAF 2009

New York Anime Festival 2009 will host the US Premiere of Aniplex's Cencoroll. Cencoroll was created entirely by one man, award-winning artist Atsuya Uki. Uki originally created a Cencoroll short in 2007 and distributed the animation via the internet. In the same year, the short was screened at NYAF.

With an overwhelming wave of praise and support of this original short, Uki decided to single-handedly create a full film which will debut later this month in theaters in Japan. And lucky for us, the US debut will be at NYAF this September!

Cencoroll is the story of a provincial Japanese town under attack by a mysterious monster, and the young girl Yuki, and boy Tetsu, who hold the secret to fighting back: a strange and even-more-mysterious pet called Cenco. For more information and footage of Cencoroll, check out the film's official site (www.cencoroll.com). [Source: MediumAtLarge]


Gackt Slated for Samurai Warriors 3 Ending Song

Japanese musician Gackt has a lot of accomplishments on his belt and he is no stranger to video games as well. To add another notch, Gackt is apparently in the ropes to do the ending song for the upcoming Nintendo Wii game "Samurai Warriors 3" for developer Koei.

Gackt's music will also appear in TV ads for the game. You may recall his work in Square Enix's "Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII." Fans of Gackt can already be certain that we're in for a treat! [Source: Yahoo JP via Kotaku]


Halo Legends Anime - A First Look

Acclaimed anime and live-action film director Mamoru Oshii will take the reins as the creative director of Production I.G.'s two episodes in the Halo Legends Anime Project, adapted by Microsoft's Halo game franchise. The production team clarifies that he will not personally direct either short. Production I.G. is one of the five Japanese studios that is animating the seven shorts (a al Animatix, perhaps?) in the project, including BONES, Casio Entertainment, Studio 4°C, and Toei Animation.

In addition, Appleseed director Shinji Aramkai will join Oshii in this project and will oversee a short about the history of the Spartan warrior class from the games. The shorts will be available on DVD and via digital media some time next year. According to Kotaku, it will preview on Xbox Live this fall on the Halo Waypoint. [Source: ANN and Kotaku]

And without further ado, I bring you the debut trailer. What are your thoughts?


Viz Acquires Vampire Knight Anime Series

It really has been a long time coming which has been very surprising to me, but Viz Media has finally announced that it has acquired the Vampire Knight anime series, during its second Saturday panel at Comic-Con International. Rejoice!

Viz Media will release Matsuri Hino's eight manga volume next month.


Castlevania Movie Update

Looks like things are brewing for the movie adaptation of the incredibly massive video game series "Castlevania." James Wan, the co-mastermind behind the Saw franchise, and director of Dead Silence and Death Sentence, will be co-writing and directing Castlevania. (Sylvain White was originally slated to direct.)

In an exclusive interview with Bloody-Disgusting, James Wan goes to say:

"I'm very fresh on this project, so its early stages and I'm still trying to work things out, but the producers love my vision for it. I'll be working on the script with a writer to give it a new spin, different to the previous versions. This will have my stamp on it which Konami is very excited about.

The thing I love about what Konami did with Castlevania, was taking the iconic Dracula mythology and Eastern-European setting, and retelling it with a Japanese pop-cultural sensibility. That’s the East-meets-West tone I want to visually expand on for the film. I’m thrilled by the opportunity to make a highly stylized, fantasy, action film that focuses on the gothic storyline and the cool, anime-like characters. For once, the human hero is as sexy and dangerous as the vampire villain, and his weapon of choice was what attracted me to the project in the first place – The Vampire Killer Whip.” [Source: Bloody-Disgusting]

All I can say is the artwork is absolutely striking and impressive, hopefully it will translate well.


FUNimation at Otakon 2009

FUNimation announces several recent acquisitions over the course of Otakon weekend. One in particular has got me excited, so let's get down to it.

First up is four "Detective Conan" movies - The Last Wizard of the Century; Captured in Her Eyes; Countdown to Heaven; and The Phantom of Baker Street. FUNimation will release each movie individually beginning Winter 2009. On the live action realm comes "Daytime Drinking," a comedy produced by StONEwork Film Production. This is set to be released sometime in 2010.

FUNimation has acquired home entertainment, broadcast, digital and merchandise rights to the first season (24 episodes) of the post-apocalyptic sci-fi anime series "Casshern Sins" from Tatsunoko Productions! This sci-fi series is directed by Shigeyasu Yamauchi (“Blood+”, “Digimon”, “Dragon Ball Z”) produced by Tatsunoko Productions (“Speed Racer”, “Robotech”, “Gatchaman”) and animated by Madhouse (“Claymore”, “Hellsing Ultimate”, “Death Note”, “Gungrave”). FUNimation Entertainment will release the first season of the series in two 12 episode sets fall 2010.

Casshern Sins is a revisioning of the early seventies series “Neo-Human Casshern” presented with a unique animation style. This sci-fi android series begins in a time when humans are subjugated by androids. Desperate for freedom, humans summon a mysterious girl named Luna in order to save mankind. Braiking Boss, leader of the androids, fears what this girl may do, and sends three assassins to remove her. The strongest of these assassins, Casshern, manages to track down and kill Luna. This triggers a cataclysmic event which sets in motion the end of the world.

Hundreds of years later, the world is in ruin and both humans and androids fear for their lives. Casshern, who has disappeared since Luna’s death, returns to the world with no memory. Thus starts his journey of self discovery and redemption that will determine the future of both humans and androids.

Changing gears a bit,...listen up all you diehard original Dragon Ball fans...the next acquisition is a big one. FUNimation Entertainment has got their hands on the original masters for the ENTIRE Dragon Ball Z anime series, episodes and films. They plan on releasing all as the Dragon Box for the very first time in the U.S. The Dragon Box will be produced from the original Dragon Box masters after a frame by frame restoration and will span the entire 291 episode television series and all 13 of its movies.

You can grab the first of seven Dragon Boxes nationwide on November 10, 2009 and is retailed at $79.98. Dragon Box One will include the first 42 episodes, uncut, on 6 discs. It will feature the original Japanese audio (with options for an English track or English subtitles), the original episode previews, complete opening and closing credits and a collector’s booklet.

Other FUNimation announcements include the cast lists for "Nabari No Ou" and "Spice and Wolf."


Hideo Kojima on MGS: Peace Walker

Metal Gear creator and Video Game genius Hideo Kojima reiterates the significance of the Metal Gear Solid PSP installment deeming it a "MGS5-class game," in a press release Q&A "unveiled" by Konami yesterday.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker" picks up where MGS3 leaves off as players take control of Naked Snake. Taking place in 1974, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker features original game design, story and scenario by Hideo Kojima. The game takes the series in an exciting new direction with its incredible visuals and its unique new game system designed specifically with the PSP in mind.
This game is an MGS5-class game. I am supervising, designing, producing, directing, and editing this title together with the MGS4 team. Therefore in that sense, "METAL GEAR SOLID" has not ended, and the "METAL GEAR SAGA" continues.
Though Kojima had intended to place the project in the hands of the next generation of creators at Kojima Productions, he, in the end, "felt that it was still a little too early to leave it completely in their hands, so [he] decided to take the reins.

While Kojima doesn't give away too much details surrounding gameplay, he does state that the game will be stealth-action based. However, "the game will be a little different from the METAL GEAR that players have come to know. However, the story can be replayed numerous times and the game is full of challenges to complete, so...this title will really satisfy players with its long-lasting play time."

To end, Kojima also gave us a little insight into the strange code that appeared on the teaser website pre-E3 2009.

5=it is an MGS5 class game
巳=snake in Kanji
3=3 from 360 and E3
6=6 from 360
P and S=PSP and adding 3 makes it PS3
Aside from the Snake and Raiden visuals, we featured a total of 10 "symbols" and when all of these are rearranged, they form connections to the announcements that we made at E3. The first symbols that appeared were the number "5" and the letter "S" for Snake that represented PW which, to me, is a "5" class title. "巳" not only hints at the lowercase lettering of "E" for E3, but it is the kanji for the word "snake." Also, the symbol that appeared at the very end is the kanji "日" and represents a sunny background and the sunrise that links to RISING.

The "RISING" of "METAL GEAR SOLID RISING" implies "the sun rising," "the sun shining," and "the sun shining on Raiden" that was revealed in the visuals on the HP. In addition, RISING" also represents how "METAL GEAR SOLID" will be taking the next step up.

Going back to the symbols found on the HP, they also link to "the day of 360" and also to each of the titles that we announced at E3. When each of the symbols are rearranged, I think you'll be able to recognize E3, PSP, PS3, 360 and others. So everyone, how did you like it? Were your predictions on the mark?
Check out the entire press release here.


Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood Kai Figures

Kotobukiya is back with another set of very cool looking Full Metal Alchemist figures. These Square Enix Play Arts figures comes from the new FMA: Brotherhood series. Each figure comes with additional heads and accessories. I especially like the additional faces of Alphonse and Roy Mustang. They will be released in October this year and is retailed about 4,200 yen a pop. Some very nice detailing make this a must-have addition to any FMA fan. [Source: Tomopop]


1/1 Scale Gundam Photo Op

We all have dreams and for some it may include getting the chance to sit upon a Gundam's shoulder and being immortalized alongside with it via a once-in-a-lifetime photoshoot. Well the planners of the 1/1-scale, "life-size" statue of the Gundam robot are auctioning the opportunity for one person to have a photograph taken at the statue's shoulder!

The Green Tokyo
Gundam Project will be adding the Tokyo 2016 Candidate City logo to the statue on August 1, to promote Tokyo's bid to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The winner of the charity auction on Yahoo! Japan will take part in the Tokyo Olympics bid logo ceremony in a high-altitude construction lift. (The statue stands at 18 meters or 59 feet.) [Source: ANN]


Otakon Q&A: Calling all Fans...

With Otakon just about a week away and all the guests having been announced, I have started thinking about what I really want to learn about this year's guests. And as I am brainstorming and wait for the press schedule, I figured why ponder alone? So I call out to my readers...What do you wish you could ask if given the chance? What would you be interested in learning more about? Is there something you've been dying to ask VAMPS, for example, or maybe Mary Elizabeth Glynn? Perhaps you'd be interested in hearing about Yutaka Yamamoto's future projects? Check out the entire guest list here.

I'd be intrigued to know what some of you have to say. And for those with inquiring questions, especially those who won't be able to make it to Otakon, I'd be happy to try and relay your questions..so with that, I'm all ears. Feel free to comment to this post or email me directly at eva001berserker@aol.com.


Happy 4th of July!

As I prepare to enjoy this three-day weekend, I figured I'd bid everyone Happy Independence Day...even if it's one day too early! Whatever your plans may be today and tomorrow (mine will include trying to console my fireworks-fearing doggie), be sure to add this on your list of things to do.

Download the new (and free) LittleBigPlanet costume to commemorate our Independence -- LBP presents The Sacktue of Liberty. Happy 4th everyone!


More Otakon 2009 Guest Announcements

Just when I thought we were wrapping up the guest announcements for Otakon this year, I was pleasantly mistaken. We've got not one, not two, but three, count them...THREE more guests to announce!!!

First up -- director, producer, and president of Artland, Noboru Ishiguro will make his first visit to Otakon. As a director, some of his notable titles are Space Battleship Yamato (first series and first two movies), Macross (original TV series and Do You Remember Love), Megazone 23, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and Tytania. Ishiguro wrote the story for Megazone 23, based on his personal experience: having witnessed how easily the government mechanism can make the public believe distorted truths and motivate them into war. Ishiguro founded his studio, Artland, and still runs it as president after its acquisition by Marvelous Entertainment.

If that wasn't good enough, let's add Matsubara to the mix. Character designer, illustrator and animator Hidenori Matsubara, perhaps best known for his character design work on the Oh My Goddess! OAV series and the Sakura Wars games, will be a guest at Otakon 2009. As a young and hungry animator, Matsubara worked as an in-betweener on the Project A-Ko movies. From there, he served as an animator on Bubblegum Crisis and Gunbuster. Graduating to animation director for Nadia: Secret of Blue Water, he completed the opening animation for Bubblegum Crash, and then served as animation director on Otaku no Video (the inspiration for Otakon). Other credits in this period include work as an animator on Perfect Blue, Gunsmith Cats, and the original Neon Genesis Evangelion series. For the Oh My Goddess! series (and later for the movie), Matsubara served as character designer and chief animation director; more recently, he was character designer for The Count of Monte Cristo. He also served as the character designer of the hit game series Sakura Wars. Currently, Matsubara is working under Hideaki Anno as an animator and animation director on the new series of Evangelion movies.

And to round up the last of this triad of announcements, Otakon brings us Yukio Kikukawa. Producer Yukio Kikukawa has invested over a decade of his career producing the 162 episodes and three features of the epic Legend of the Galactic Heroes. His most recently producers the 26-episode series Tytania, another space opera based on the books by LoGH author Yoshiki Tanaka. As a rare member of the Japanese anime industry from an American-style fandom background (a science-fiction convention-goer), he achieved the status of alpha fan when he chaired Anime Expo Tokyo in 2004. [Source: Otakon]


Miyazaki to Appear at San Diego Comic Con

Attention all fellow East Coast inhabitants - get ready for some major sulking at your own despair a la "Zetsubou-Sensei." According to the L.A. Times, Hayao Miyazaki will appear for the first time at San Diego's Comic Con International next month!

As reported earlier, Miyazaki will be at Berkeley to accept the second annual Berkeley Japan Prize and participate in a moderated discussion. Adding SDCC to his schedule is sure to have the fans squealing. Miyazaki will show clips from his latest film, Ponyo, at the convention. [Source: ANN]


HearJapan Brings Anime Classics - Remixed

Tokyo, JP June 24, 2009- HearJapan announces the releases of ANIPUNK, WCDA, the Michio Noguchi Quartet, and ANIME MANIA-- four very different albums with a common goal-- to share engaging new versions of Anime classics.

Each group of songs takes a drastically different approach with equally memorable results. Ever think you'd hear the theme from Evangelion done as a punk rock anthem (ANIPUNK), a stylized house remix (WCDA) of Space Battleship Yamato, a trance remix of the theme to Lucky Star (ANIME MANIA) or a sophisticated jazz version of Ghibli classics (Michio Noguchi Quartet)?

"The response has been overwhelming" says HearJapan president Nathan Reaven, "these albums take Anime songs to new heights by spicing up the music to appeal to old and new fans of these classics alike".

Individual tracks are priced at 150 yen each (about $1.50 US), full albums are discounted.


Gundam Creator Yoshiyuki Tomino at NYAF 2009

Norwalk, CT, June 19, 2009: The New York Anime Festival (NYAF) today announced that legendary Japanese director Yoshiyuki Tomino will attend its 2009 event as a Guest of Honor. The 2009 New York Anime Festival, an anime, manga, and Japanese pop culture convention from the creators of New York Comic Con, will take place September 25-27, 2009 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan. Mr. Tomino's most prolific work, Mobile Suit Gundam, premiered in 1979, and he will appear at the New York Anime Festival to sign autographs and speak about his history, philosophy, and experiences connected with Gundam's 30-year history.

Yoshiyuki Tomino, born November 5, 1941 in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan, began his animation career at Mushi Productions where he scripted and storyboarded the classic anime series Astro Boy. Going on to direct, Mr. Tomino has overseen numerous series including Aura Battler Dunbine, Brain Power’d, Overman King Gainer, and The Wings of Rean. His longest-lasting legacy is Mobile Suit Gundam, a genre-breaking series first broadcast in 1979, which is noted for defining the current realistic portrayal of robots in Japanese animation. The original Mobile Suit Gundam series has been followed by numerous sequels and spin-offs, and the saga continues today with its latest entry -- Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn) -- debuting this winter in Japan.

"The New York Anime Festival is honored to welcome one of the legends of Japanese animation," NYAF Show Manager Lance Fensterman said. "There is now a generation that's been born and raised with Gundam, and we very much want to bring Mr. Tomino and these American fans together to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of his iconic series."

To join in Gundam's 30th Anniversary celebration, Anime News Network -- the largest anime news website in the world -- has published a new interview with Mr. Tomino simultaneously with this announcement. When asked by Anime News Network if he had a message for his American fans, Mr. Tomino said, "I only have feelings of gratitude in my heart towards fans that have taken an interest in my works, even if just for a moment. I am truly grateful. So, as long as I can create works, I hope to invoke that sense of realism through anime and similar visual and expressive media. I believe that the symbolic expressive abilities of anime will always present new opportunities, so I look forward to what the younger generation will produce." [Source: ANN]



Vocalist MELL To Perform at Otakon

Japanese singer MELL, whose music is described alternately as J-pop, trance and techno and who has recorded several anime theme songs, will be a guest at Otakon 2009.

MELL shot to fame as one of the main vocalists of the group I'VE Sound, a Japanese techno/trance music production group known for distorted grooves. With her debut single release of "Red Fraction," from her 2008 album Mellscope, MELL's fascinating voice brought her renown in Japan's music industry. Her superb stage performances and deep passion for the music drew enthusiastic audiences, making her accompanying tour of Japan an instant success.
With her second smash hit, "Proof," she expanded the dark image associated with her first single, demonstrating motherly kindness in her voice, and appealing to a wide range of ages.

MELL was the first singer to work with Kazuya Takase and Yasutaka Ipposhi, the founders of I'VE Sound, even before they created their label. The production group eventually featured the talents of fellow vocalists KOTOKO, Mami Kawada, Eiko Shimamiya, and Kaoru Utatsuki and created the theme songs for many anime series. MELL's characteristic vocals, combined with Kazuya's arrangements, formed a fresh sound that fans would love in MELL's theme songs for Black Lagoon, Hayate the Combat Butler, Sky Girls, Kiru: Kill and Rideback. For more information, visit the official I'VE Sound site: http://iveusa.net/. The official MELL site: http://www.myspace.com/mellusa


CLAMP designs costume for Tekken 6

The all female mangaka group CLAMP is designing special console exclusive costumes for the home release of TEKKEN 6. The special costume is for Jin Kazama and is in this week’s issue of Famitsu. Jin looks hot CLAMP-style! [Source: SD Tekken]

UPDATE (7/01/2009): Added clearer photo. HOTNESS!


VAMPS add special appearance at Otakon to Tour Schedule

Baltimore, MD (June 16, 2009) – VAMPS, featuring HYDE and K.A.Z, have added a special appearance at Otakon 2009 to their busy tour schedule. The duo had already announced a special concert in Baltimore on Thursday, 16 July 2009, to coincide with Otakon.

Originally, HYDE and K.A.Z were to depart early Friday for their next concert, meaning they would not be available for any convention appearances. Otakon had arranged for members to submit questions for the band, and the original plan was to answer them via video, and show the video at the convention. However, the groundswell of support from Otakon's membership led the band to reconsider, and in the end VAMPS decided a more personal response was warranted.

"I guess we must have made a good impression on HYDE a few years ago," said Jim Vowles, Otakon's head of Guests, Industry, and Press Relations, referring to HYDE's appearance with L'Arc~en~Ciel in 2004.

"We were delighted to find that he and K.A.Z were interested in working Otakon into their tour. We were able to work out a special pre-Otakon appearance and a bit of cross promotion. When the responses started coming in, I guess everyone got excited. We're delighted and flattered that they changed plans to meet the fans."

Exclusively for Otakon members, VAMPS will give out special passes at their SONAR show on Thursday. These passes will grant priority access to the band's panel and autograph sessions at Otakon on Friday afternoon. (You must be registered for Otakon to attend the panel and autograph sessions.)

Otakon also plans to make special arrangements for pre-registration pickup on Thursday to allow concert ticket holders to pick up their Otakon badges early without missing the concert. (Otakon allows pre-registered members to pick up their badges Thursday evening, prior to the convention.) Details will be posted on the Otakon Web site in the coming weeks.

VAMPS will appear at Baltimore's SONAR on 16 July 2009. The autograph session and Q&A panel will take place on Friday afternoon, 17 July 2009, at the Baltimore Convention Center. For ticket information for the SONAR concert, please visit http://www.vampsliveusa.com/

For more information and updates, please visit the Otakon VAMPS page at http://www.otakon.com/2009vamps.asp


Kannagi/Lucky Star Director Yamamoto at Otakon

Otakon has announced that director Yutaka Yamamoto will appear as a Guest of Honor at the July 17-19 event in Baltimore, Maryland. Excitement! His bio can be found below.

Kannagi:Crazy Shrine MaidensDirector and animator Yutaka Yamamoto was born in Osaka, Japan in 1974. After graduating from Kyoto University's Literature Department, he worked for Kyoto Animation and then Animation Do, eventually starting his own independent studio, Ordet. He's known for his detailed direction, and his use of live-action film techniques.

Yamamoto has worked as an animator, storyboard artist, and episode director on several anime TV series including Hare+Guu, Atashinchi, Full Metal Panic?Fumoffu, and AIR. In 2006, Yamamoto served as series director and writer for the smash hit The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

After stepping up to full directorial duties with 2007's Lucky Star, his most recent work is Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens.


18-meter-tall Life-Size RX78 Gundam

The 18-meter-tall 1:1 Scale Gundam statue is near completion for its July unveiling. The "life-size" RX78 Gundam will be available for free public viewing for 2 months at the Shiokaze Park on Tokyo's artificial Odaiba Island.

Check out these incredible photos here. And beautiful photos by night care of DannyChoo. This begs the question: where can I get one? (^_^)


The Sims 3 on the iPhone/Touch

The Sims 3 for the iPhone/Touch shows that a PC application can be adapted successfully to a handheld. Though not a direct replica of the PC game, The Sims 3 for iPhone is entertaining and fulfilling in its own way. I was pleasantly surprised and satisfied with the game's solid performance. The loading times were stellar and gameplay is great. With just your fingers, you can zoom in and out, pan left and right, and even change your angle of view. Moving objects is just as easy. As you navigate through the town and neighborhood, I especially liked the way the Sim actually "walked" to and from an area, rather than being teleported automatically. However, as you walk you are shown as a general yellow or blue figure rather than an accurate view of your Sim. Bet that as it may, you can walk to someone's house, and knock on their door. So it's a nice touch.

But let's start from the beginning. As with any Sim game, you must first creat your Sim. Choose your gender and your general appearance, as well as your personality. What goals and wants you will need to fulfill throughout the game is dependent on your personality traits, so choose carefully. You start your life in a quaint house with a few essentials. And as you work and grant your wishes, you can continue to expand your house and social life. You will still need to maintain your Sim's hunger, cleanliness, and mood. There's a good amount of activities including fishing that will have you playing for hours. Even cooking meals is Cooking Mama-like in some respects.

The Sims 3 for the iPhone/Touch is a nice game on its own and I would recommend it for any Sim fan. It's a great way to get your Sim fix while your on the go. You will immediately see that the iPhone adaptation wasn't just an after-thought.


Ponyo and Blood U.S. Theater Dates

According to Frank Marshall, one of the producers for the U.S. release of Hayao Miyazaki's latest film "Ponyo," the movie "will be opening on 800 screens in August, by far the biggest opening for a Miyazaki film…." He had previously revealed that the American Ponyo trailer will premiere during the 4th of July weekend. The film itself will open on August 14 after advance screenings in Los Angeles and Berkeley, California.

An another note, Samuel Goldwyn Films revealed 11 of the theaters where Chris Nohan's live-action film adaptation of Production I.G's Blood: The Last Vampire anime will open on July 10. The film will play in the American cities of Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Cambridge, Dallas, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. [Source: ANN]


Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker + Metal Gear Arcade

Here cometh forth the official sequel we've been waiting years for of what could easily be the ultimate fan-favorite in the Metal Gear universe. Hold on to your hats fans for "Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater's" direct sequel coming to the PSP. Enter "Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker." The trailer presented at the Sony press conference has an added treat of humor care of Kojima. Peace Walker is due out in 2010.

Next up, is a first look at "Metal Gear Arcade" Tactical Online Action, announced at the Konami press conference. Those involved include Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and his studio Kojima Productions. It was also stated that the game uses "3D goggles." The game will be out in Japan later this year. [Source: Kotaku]



HearJapan announces the release of 8-BIT PROPHET, a CD of classic songs by J-Pop legends TM NETWORK done entirely in chiptune style.

Chiptune is a style of music defined by its use of relatively simple synth 8-bit synth sounds popularized by early video game music. This release is unique in that it is the first time in the genre Vocaloid software was utilized to render the female lead vocal in a similar timbre as the accompanying synthesized music.

HearJapan President Nathan Reaven says, "Japan is the birth place of video game culture and, of course, video game music. It is thrilling to see this well loved composition style is still going strong". He added, "we are thrilled to be doing our part to keep this style alive."

Individual tracks are priced at 150 yen each (about $1.50 US), full albums are discounted. Check it out here.


Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete is finally here on Blu-ray. FFVII:AC Complete includes nearly half an hour of new footage in the form of an extended director's cut, as well as: Reminiscence of FINAL FANTASY VII” Original Story Digest, On the Way to a Smile - Episode: Denzel Animated Film, Reminiscence of FINAL FANTASY VII Compilation” Story Digest, “Legacy of FINAL FANTASY VII” Featurette, and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete Trailers. While there is no Final Fantasy XIII demo in the U.S. version, we do get an exclusive sneak peek at FINAL FANTASY XIII, which includes a nice variety of CG cut-scenes AND gameplay.

FFVII:AC Complete represents unrestrained beauty culminating the essence of the word "complete." The movie is bolder, crisper, longer, and more intense...it even sounds better. Within the first few seconds, you're immediately met with new scenes. Several characters get more camera time including Zack, Tseng, Elena, and Vincent. We even get more background behind Denzel's story (both in the movie and in his own 30-minute-long anime). The plot is also made a bit more clearer (especially on the topic of geostigma). That being said, those that had major issues with the clarity of the plot or the pacing and sequencing on the original Advent Children, may not be fully satisfied with this "improved" version.

Be that as it may, this is not your run-of-the-mill DVD to Blu-ray conversion or re-release...not by a longshot. The video quality is incredible and more details are added including blood and dirt. The battles are glorious and the sound quality plays no small role. In the final battle, the sound of swords clanging is flawless, especially sitting on my game chair. The harmony or dis-harmony of the resonant swish of Sephiroth's mammoth masamune sword and Cloud's tricked out buster sword is spine-chilling. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete has undeniably got my seal of approval.

Advent Children, of course, takes place two years after Sephiroth's attempts at mass genocide, and a disease, geostigma, that threatens the very core of mankind. Ex-SOLDIER Cloud, who walked away from the life of a hero to live in solitude, must step forward yet again...


Becca-chan at Otakon 2009

Otakon announces one of two Sunday musical performances - American singer/songwriter Becca, also known as Becca-chan, an up-and-coming artist who is gaining international fans. Becca moved from her home in Portland, Oregon, to Los Angeles to begin writing and recording songs with Meredith Brooks. After spending some months developing her sound, she began to play live shows along the West Coast. Becca’s high-energy live performances began to grab the attention of the music industry and many new fans.

By late 2007, Becca was offered a record deal by Sony Music. In June 2008, Becca debuted her first EP in Japan. Since then, she has performed at the famous Japanese music festival, Summersonic. She has released a second EP, and her first full album, “Alive!!”, debuted at #2 on the international charts in Japan on November 5. Her single “I’m Alive!” not only topped the international single charts, but made her the only international artist to rank in the top 100 of Japan’s overall single charts.

To learn more, visit: http://www.beccachan.com and http://www.myspace.com/beccachanofficial


Metal Gear Solid: Rising at E3 2009

The cryptic clues from the Famitsu interview is finally revealed at E3 2009. Kojima himself just announced "Metal Gear Solid: Rising" for the PS3, PC, and...Xbox 360. No other details were revealed except that it's a whole new experience and rather than starring Solid Snake, will star Raiden *cue fangirl squeal*.

Though I have to say my heart skipped a beat when I first heard Xbox 360...I could almost here the dying scream of "Noooooo" coming out of me for fear of the word "exclusive." Be that as it may, release dates are still TBA. Watch this space for more info.

Here's said trailer:


Silent Hill's Robbie the Rabbit

Don't ask me why, but I've always wanted my very own Robbie...as deranged as that may sound. And perhaps any other avid Silent Hill fan would understand - the thought of having Robbie sit on the edge of my bed looking so sinister pointing at you. My sister, for years, has always been on the look out to find me my Robbie, and Etsy has just the ticket.

This Robbie Rabbit Plush from Silent Hill is about 14 inches tall, excluding the ears, and is very reminiscent of our special bunny. It's no wonder that Robbie sold out very quickly. I think I was able to get the last one they had. [Source: Tomopop]


VAMPS add special appearance at Otakon to Tour Schedule

Baltimore, MD (June 16, 2009) – VAMPS, featuring HYDE and K.A.Z, have added a special appearance at Otakon 2009 to their busy tour schedule. The duo had already announced a special concert in Baltimore on Thursday, 16 July 2009, to coincide with Otakon.

Originally, HYDE and K.A.Z were to depart early Friday for their next concert, meaning they would not be available for any convention appearances. Otakon had arranged for members to submit questions for the band, and the original plan was to answer them via video, and show the video at the convention. However, the groundswell of support from Otakon's membership led the band to reconsider, and in the end VAMPS decided a more personal response was warranted.

"I guess we must have made a good impression on HYDE a few years ago," said Jim Vowles, Otakon's head of Guests, Industry, and Press Relations, referring to HYDE's appearance with L'Arc~en~Ciel in 2004.

"We were delighted to find that he and K.A.Z were interested in working Otakon into their tour. We were able to work out a special pre-Otakon appearance and a bit of cross promotion. When the responses started coming in, I guess everyone got excited. We're delighted and flattered that they changed plans to meet the fans."

Exclusively for Otakon members, VAMPS will give out special passes at their SONAR show on Thursday. These passes will grant priority access to the band's panel and autograph sessions at Otakon on Friday afternoon. (You must be registered for Otakon to attend the panel and autograph sessions.)

Otakon also plans to make special arrangements for pre-registration pickup on Thursday to allow concert ticket holders to pick up their Otakon badges early without missing the concert. (Otakon allows pre-registered members to pick up their badges Thursday evening, prior to the convention.) Details will be posted on the Otakon Web site in the coming weeks.

VAMPS will appear at Baltimore's SONAR on 16 July 2009. The autograph session and Q&A panel will take place on Friday afternoon, 17 July 2009, at the Baltimore Convention Center. For ticket information for the SONAR concert, please visit http://www.vampsliveusa.com/

For more information and updates, please visit the Otakon VAMPS page at http://www.otakon.com/2009vamps.asp


I'm always on the look out for something bold and new and I've been waiting for another Playstation 3 title that will wow me. inFAMOUS may be the one to deliver on that. After a short cutscence of a city-wide explosion, you are thrust in the shoes of Cole, a bicycle messenger, who's about to wake up from his coma to find a very different world. He finds that things aren't in the best conditions, in fact, it's in pretty bad shape. The federal government has quarantined the city leaving people in the hands of a deadly plague and where gangs have seized control of Empire City.

But that isn't to say that Cole is completely helpless. For he has gained the ability to shoot lightning bolts from his hands. His electricity-based powers are new and refreshing. It ups the ante in quality pairing a cool idea with great ease of controls and seamless movement. You can really feel Cole's agility and wide range of movements as you jump, climb, run from building to train track to building.

The story is solid with incredible character development and excellent pacing. The more you progress in the game, the deeper you get immersed in it. And what's more, inFAMOUS is truly an open-world. Rather than being confined to static storylines, you have choices to make and those moral choices are up to you. Will you become the hero and bring salvation to all? Or will you harness your anger and seek pure revenge?

inFAMOUS is whole-heartedly, one freaking incredible game! I can't wait to get home and see how this ends.


The Misato Katsuragi News Project

On June 6th, Namco Bandai will start offering software in Japan that creates a live news program anchored by Evangelion's very own Misato Katsuragi.

The Misato Katsuragi News Project software takes the daily news from real-life politics to the economy, the anime industry, and sports. The software then uses the voice synthesis engine from Cellius to have Misato read the news blurbs in realtime as if she was the newscaster for a television program called Nerv News 24.

Users can customize the backdrop of the news program's "studio" as the secretive Nerv organization's headquarters, Misato's dining room, and other options. Users can also customize Misato's clothing and hair. [Source: ANN]


Kojima's Cryptic "Full" Famitsu Interview

Okay, now this is just too much teasing. Noone else comes to mind at this moment that can best Kojima's teases and fans are all too familiar with this. But no matter how long you've been in this "game," I doubt that anyone can decipher the below interview between Metal Gear Creator Hideo Kojima and Famistu Editor-in-Chief Hirokazu Hamamura. Apparently Kojima revealed more than he originally intended about his new project. Kojima agreed to let Famitsu run the "full" interview as long as they censored the important style. And just as ordered, this is what we're left with:

Hamamura: Ah! I get it!!
Kojima: "XXXXX XXXXX XXX". Well, it's not "X", but a "X" kind of feeling. That's him. I can't say the title yet, but it's this kind of feeling. But it's the Metal Gear saga's tradition.
Hamamura: The time period is XXX?
Kojima: No, it's XXX. I'm saying everything, maybe XXXXX. I'm designing and directing all of this game.
Hamamura: Wha!
Kojima: I think the focus will be domestic, and we're launching it globally. For me, this is like "XXXX". I won't say "X", but a solid story has been created, and the MGS4 staff is making it.
Hamamura: Wow! That's great.

Kojima: This time, only the image of this guy (image) will appear. Then lighting. Just this appearing, I wan everyone to guess. This is how XX's will be appearing.
Hamamura: This...is Big Boss?
Kojima: XX's way of appearing is slightly different.
Hamamura: Eh? Different...?

Kojima: The emblem on this guy's hat is important.
Hamamura: The emblem isn't a fox. There's like a world map thing drawn.
Kojima: It's not only an emblem, but for the game, it will be a new type of system.
Hamamura: Is it XX-XXXXXXXXXX?
Kojima: Yes. You'll while XXXXXXX. XXXX, etc. are a given, so they'll be included. Ooops, I've said more than I was planning to. (laughs)
Hamamura: Hahahahaha! Well XXXXXX, it's XXXXXXX? Also, where's the game going to be set?
Kojima: The place is XXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXX happened, and it's a XXXXX type of country. There isn't XXXXXXXX in the country, but they do have XX like things and XXXX. At that time, XXXXXX come to where the guy is.

Kojima: The theme is XX. XXXXX kinda thing or XXX theme, or XXXXXXXXXXXX, or why is there X, that's where we're drawing. Maybe everyone is probably thinking, "This sermon again!" Maybe this sermon will become a genre. (laughs)
Hamamura: Ahahahaha!
Kojima: This is quite a deep interview.
Hamamura: So true!

Very revealing, isn't it?


Mini 4WD EVA-01 Special

Ever wondered what a race car that has been modified to reflect Evangelion Unit-01 would look like? Well wonder no longer for Tamiya has brought that vision to life with the Mini 4WD Pro Avante Mk.III Azure EVA-01 Special. Retailed at 1,680 yen and due out August 2009, reservations may be placed through Dengekiya.com or inquire about reserving through Tokyo Hunter here.


RYZ Pseudo's Daughter by Camilla D'errico

For those unfamiliar, RYZ is an awesomely unique brand of shoes that showcases incredible designs by a community of artists. And their collection just got even hotter with the birth of a great collaboration between Jared Nickerson and Camilla D'errico! The result is an amazing pair of shoes based on D'errico's Helmet Girls series. Not to mention it's a crisp black and white...my fav!

Entitled "Pseudo's Daughter," you can preorder yours here. The shoes are $65 and are produced in limited quantities.