Miyazaki Planning Next Movie

Interesting discoveries and updates were made in the latest episode of Toshio Suzuki's radio talk show, Ghibli Asemamire, at Tokyo FM. Takashi Murakami, this week's guest, announced that a special "Making-of" on Miyazaki's "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea" will be released, either by Studio Ghibli or NHK). The making-of will be 14 hours long, and will include edited videos NHK shot during a two-year period.

The juicy news that followed should ease any worries of Miyazaki fans. Suzuki noted that Miyazaki is currently planning his next movie!!! No further details were provided, but this is exciting news nonetheless. I'm ecstatic to hear that Miyazaki is not planning for retirement just yet, especially as he had already unsuccessfully tried to in the past. Yatta! Miyazaki...Miyazaki...WE WANT MORE! [Source: Ghibli World]


Yoko Kanno, Blue Dragon, + EVA on iTunes

A couple of big releases on the Apple iTunes Store to announce. First up, we have Yoko Kanno's newest album, CM Yoko 2. Now available in iTunes Stores in numerous countries including Japan and the U.S., the digital release arrives 2 months before the planned April 22 release on standard CD. This particular CD contains a collection of her commerical themes.

Next up is the Blue Dragon anime series, adapted from an Xbox 360 RPG co-created by
FF's Hironobu Sakaguchi and designed by Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama. Viz Media has announced that the first episode of the Blue Dragon anime series is available for free until March 10 on Apple's iTunes Store. The free offering marks the availability of the first 13 episodes in the series on the online digital media store. Blue Dragon, at one point, was being broadcasted on Cartoon Network but has since regrettably been pulled from the line-up. But good news for those who missed it, the story of Shu is now just a click away.

On the apps forefront, the Appliya software company has announced that the official Evangelion Clock and Picture Stamp applications are now available in the iTunes App Store in the United States. This is truly the icing on the cake for every EVA fan. The Evangelion Clock emulates the NERV headquarters timer screens of the anime to tell the time with optional sound effects and "emergency" countdown timer. The Evangelion Picture Stamp is modeled after the photo booths that are popular in Japan; users can take photographs and decorate them with Rei hairstyle overlays, mecha and characters from the anime, and backgrounds -- definitely a source of hours of fun. [Source: ANN]


Four Celestial Guardians

Now I've seen some incredible hand-crafted figures and mods that have knocked my socks off, but this one easily tops it all. A guy from Hong Kong has created 4 stunning figures based on the 4 Celestial Guardians in Chinese Mythology. These 4 symbols - Azure Dragon of the East, Vermillion Bird of the South, White Tiger of the West, and Black Tortoise of the North -- represents a direction and a season of the year.

This obviously talented guy has put in a lot of time, effort and passion into modding his Gunpla into forms of the 4 Celestial Guardians. Anyone can appreciate the excruciating attention to detail all the way down to the weaponry, and the work it took to customize and perfect each part from scratch. This has given me renewed motivation to take up customizing kits again.

You've just got to check out all the photos, they are truly awe-inspiring.
[Source: DannyChoo]


GelaSkins x Camilla d'Errico

GelaSkins has always served up an awesome array of custom artwork for our favorite hardware. From skins for iPods, iPhones, Nintendo DS, PSPs, and PC/Mac laptops, there is sure to be a style that fancies you. It comes to no surprise, then, that GelaSkins has teamed up with Camilla d'Errico, to offer up some beautiful skins with the infamous Yuuta and Iguana. Check out the entire d'Errico collection here.


MGO Scene Expansion

Konami announces a brand new expansion pack for "Metal Gear Online." According to Famitsu, this third DLC pack from Konami, titled "Scene," brings more "Metal Gear Solid 4" characters and new map locales into the online battlefield. Both Vamp and Raiden will be added to the playable roster in this expansion, and three new territories are available to explore: "Hazard House" (a countryside manor), "Outer Outlet" (a shopping arcade) and "Revaged Riverfront" (a riverside town).

According to Konami's press release, the Scene expansion pack will be available in North America by March. Those who pre-order the pack off Konami's shop one week ahead of the release will get a complimentary "cardboard man" headgear. [Source: Joystiq]


Japan Nite US Tour 2009

Japan Nite, the annual tour that brings in a number of Japanese acts to the states, is making its way to the U.S. again this year. Japan Nite 2009 will span over one week, March 21-29, in several venues, and will bring 13 bands, many who haven't been outside of Japan, to give fans in America a chance to experience the bands in one fell swoop.

As a special treat, HearJapan.com is offering one track from six artists available from Japan Nite for free download until March 29. The six artists include quaff, Dirty Old Men, Asakusa Jinta, THE EMERALDS, HONEY SAC, and OMODAKA. Each artist made one track available for a free mp3 download to fans in America. So if you're like me and probably won't be able to make it to this year's tour, you can download these songs packed into a sampler entitled, "Japan Nite US Tour 2009 Sampler." Check out the full press release here.


Nintendo DSi US Release Details

Details of the North American release of the Nintendo DSi system have finally been revealed. The DSi will be released in the US on April 5th, retailed at $169.99. The system will be available in black and blue. Since the system launched in Japan in October 2008, it has only been available in black. The blue system will be unique to the US launch.

The Nintendo DSi system is an enhanced handheld that features two cameras, an SD card slot, built-in 256 megabytes of writeable memory, the ability to play music files, and new online connectivity with download functions. Check out IGN's hands-on report here.


Katsucon 2009 Con Coverage

Coming Soon...


Black ★ Rock Shooter Miku PVC Figure

Wonder Hobby 9 continues the onslaught of stunning figures and leaves you asking how can you get your hands on these goodies. Sifting through all the photos, without a doubt, one in particular stands out from the rest.

Good Smile Company brings us one sexy figure from Huke's Black ★ Rock Shooter Miku. This 1/8 scale PVC figure has no price tag as of yet and I'm hoping this wasn't just for display. The color palette, the stand, the pose, the everything is oozing in uniqueness and perfection.

For more photos, check out Akiba Hobby.net.


Live Action Blood: The Last Vampire Teaser

With increasing talks of Hollywood Live Action adaptations of our favorite anime titles, it's hard to remove the unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach. But just like I agree that despite being pro-sub there are some good english dubs out there, I have to believe that there has to be some adaptations that do justice to the original work. When I first reported on the live action adaptation of "Blood: The Last Vampire," there was something about it that told me not to judge ahead of time - that this adaptation shows promise. It's months later now, and a 31-second teaser is now streaming and I have to say, my first impressions are positive.

South Korea's Jeon Ji-hyun (under the credited name of Gianna Jun) plays the main character Saya, a 16-year-old sword-wielding girl hunting down supernatural creatures. Japanese actress Koyuki plays her opponent Onigen. The film will open in Japan on May 29 (under the title Last Blood), in the United Kingdom on June 12, and then in France on June 17. No American release plans for the movie have been officially announced yet. The Korean news website Star News reported last August that Universal Pictures acquired the domestic distribution rights, but the reported 2009 American release date is unconfirmed. [Source: ANN]


The Pre-Katsu 15 Rush: Day Zero

Anticipation and high adrenaline levels was the atmosphere that greeted me tonight, the day before the official start of Katsucon 15. Excitement has filled the Hyatt with pre-registrants, including plenty of cosplayers, anxious to get the party started. The line to pick up the coveted Katsu badges wrapped around the lobby several times, marking the first official line of the con. The attendance cap has definitely brought in more pre-registrants, at least from the looks of the line. And according to the website, about 1,600 more tickets are available for on-site registrants. So with that, it's time to make some final touches on my costumes, then it's a good night's sleep.

I leave you with a little tidbit of information that I've been waiting months for...that is, the location of Katsucon 16.


Domo the Manga

Domo, the international icon that needs no introduction, will be making a worldwide english-language manga debut according to TOKYOPOP's recent press release straight from New York Comic Con. Not much information regarding plot, etc. has been divulged, except that the manga will be in full-color and debuts worldwide September 2009.

"He’s been described as “a strange creature that hatched from an egg.” His favorite food is a meat-and-potato stew, but he loathes apples. He communicates sotto voce with a verve that only his friends can understand. When he’s nervous or stressed out, watch out—he is infamous for passing some serious gas...In these truly hilariously unpredictable and endearing tales, Domo’s wreaks havoc with his friend’s video game, trains a
fighting beetle, enters a box car race by being the car, and decides to literally become any character he sees on TV—including Tarzan, a samurai, and finally, a top chef."


Plasmikat's Geisha Girl, Yume

When I first laid eyes on this particular resin figure, I instantly fell in love. Created by French artist Mat aka Plastikmat, Yume, the little geisha girl, is 5 inches tall and is tentatively due out February 28th. According to Tomopop, the insanely gorgeous white edition is limited to only 9 pieces, while a colored edition is also on the way and is limited to 29 pieces to be released March 31st. A third Altertoys board-version has also been announced. Yume carries at 59 euro price tag. I must have Yume! (Reza...tasukete!!)


Medicom's Shinji Ikari RAH Figure

As mentioned briefly in last week's post, Medicom has released its latest figure in the RAH series of Evangelion's Shinji Ikari.

The pictures are pretty impressive as far as details and likeness goes. The facial characteristics and the attention to detail with the Third Child's plug suit is amazing. If a photograph looks this good, I can only imagine what it looks like up close.

Shinji is about 12 inches tall, looks to be poseable with extra items, including a stand, and is retailed at 17,640 yen. [Source: AmiAmi]


Ghibli Museum Video Tour

As a big Miyazaki fan, it's always been a dream of mine to not only go to Japan but to visit the Ghibli Museum. The J:Com community television channel offers a glimpse into the famed museum through it's Kantō Kenbunroku sightseeing program. Film and photography inside the museum is prohibited for regular visitors, so this streaming video offers a very rare opportunity and treat to catch a glimpse of the museum.

"The segment describes the museum's connection with the namesake studio that created Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Grave of the Fireflies, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and many other film classics. The video highlights the new "Shikirō" or "Mirage" zoetrope — an early form of animation created through rapidly updated pictures — and "The Theory of Evolution," the eighth "Film Guru Guru" film. Both of these are in the museum room dedicated to showing how animation comes to life." [Source: ANN]