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.


World Cyber Games Final at NYAF 2009

The New York Anime Festival will serve as the World Cyber Games ' USA National Final, with the winners crowned at NYAF going on to play the best gamers in the world. The WCG is a year-long, international tournament widely renowned as the Olympics of Video Games. In it, more than 1.5 million gamers from 74 countries compete for a share of more than $100,000 in cash and prizes and the chance to play in the Grand Final this year taking place in Chengdu, China.

Gamers will be able to see elite competitors live at NYAF as the WCG USA National Final will host several returning members of last year's WCG Team USA as well as the cast of the SCI FI Channel's WCG Ultimate Gamer. All will be gaming all weekend on Samsung high definition TVs, monitors, and mobile phones. PC, console, and mobile games featured in the WCG USA 2009 tournament include:
  • Half-Life®: Counter-Strike™ 1.6 (5 v. 5 Team FPS)
  • Starcraft®: Brood War™: (1 v. 1 RTS)
  • WarCraft® III: The Frozen Throne™ (1 v. 1 RTS)
  • FIFA Soccer 09 (1 v. 1 Sports)
  • Carom3D (1 v. 1 Casual)
  • Red Stone (4 v. 4 Team MMORPG)
  • Gears of War 2® (4 v. 4 Team FPS) US title only
  • Guitar Hero® World Tour (1 v. 1 Music)
  • Virtua Fighter® 5 (1 v. 1 Fighting)
  • Asphalt 3: Street Rules (1 v. 1 Racing)
  • WiseStar (1 v. 1 Strategy)
Registration for the 2009 WCG USA Championship Tournament is open now. US citizens are invited to visit www.wcg.com/usa to register for this year's tournament and to obtain more information about the WCG USA Championship tournament, the WCG Ultimate Gamer TV show, and WCG's Team USA.

For more information about the 2009 New York Anime Festival, please visit the show's official website and blog.


ABe Announces Newest Project - "Desperant"

At this year's Sakura Con 2009 in Washington, Yoshitoshi ABe, manga creator and character designer of the gems "Serial Experiments Lain, Haibane Renmei, and Tehxonolyze, revealed the new project his is currently developing. The anime, "Desperant," is set in Japan's Taishō era about a century ago. Since Since the project has not been officially unveiled in Japan, ABe did not go into much further detail of the story, but he did present an imageboard drawing and sample work from the project. [Source: Bunka:Extend via ANN]


SH-O6A NERV Cell Phone

I really don't think I need to offer my sincerest thoughts regarding this piece of beautiful technology morphed into a phone that embues the essence that is NERV. So rather than voice my yearnings for this bad boy, I will just offer you the facts.

With the partnership of NTT docomo and Sharp, and the supervision and participation of both Anno and Khara, comes the SH-O6A NERV mobile phone, specifically designed for the new Evangelion films. In their fictional description, the "Type 5 information management and control device" was developed for personnel of the secretive Nerv organization, using MAGI System technology that has rarely been provided to civilian companies.

The 135-gram (4.76-ounce) phone features a 3.3-inch main display, a 10-megapixel outer camera, and a 0.4-megapixel inner camera. A Nerv logo hologram appears on the matte-coated casing, and the phone comes with an exclusive Frame Holder 01 case/stand and a Nerv 50% Be@rbrick mascot strap. Users can choose from several Evangelion-theme menu layouts, alert window animation sequences, clock display, and standby images. 20,000 will be available for pre-orders in the official Evangelion Store, and 10,000 more will be sold regularly, but only from June to July. For more photos, click here. [Source: ANN]

UPDATE (6/06/2009): Though this comes as no surprise, pre-orders for the 20,000 Eva phones sold out on Friday in just five hours. NTT began taking pre-orders for Sharp's SH-06A NERV phone for 90,000 yen (about US$900) on Friday at 10:00 a.m. By 3:00 p.m, NTT docomo had to announce that all phone pre-orders had sold out. 10,000 more phones will be sold in regular stores from the end of this month until the beginning of July.


Miyazaki at UC Berkeley this July

The legendary Hayao Miyazaki will be at UC Berkeley on July 25th to pick up his Berkeley Japan award. Apparently, he is contractually required by Disney to make a U.S. appearance, so folks, this is definitely an extremely rare opportunity, as you know that it is almost impossible to see Miyazaki outside of Japan. As this blog points out, Miyazaki didn't even show up to the Academy Awards to year "Spirited Away" made a splash. There aren't many details available right now, but watch this space for more updates.

Update (6/3/2009): The Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley has begun selling tickets for Hayao Miyazaki's personal appearance on July 25th. "A Conversation with Hayao Miyazaki, Legendary Filmmaker" will feature the director of the only feature-length Japanese animated film (Spirited Away) to have won an Oscar. The event will begin with an onstage interview, followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience.

Before Miyazaki's scheduled 6:00 p.m. appearance, the Institute of East Asian Studies will host "The Hayao Miyazaki Symposium" on July 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The roundtable panel discussion will feature scholars of Japanese popular culture, literature, and film. [Source: ANN]


Miyavi Special Box Set

Maru Music brings us a special and awesomely packed box set showcasing the musical sensation of Miyavi. This very limited edition box set is a chance to see one of the greatest Miyavi concerts ever. This is a specially produced DVD box set containing the legendary, 2nd live concert at Hibiya Yagai Daiongakudo.

This concert on October 19, 2003, with exceptional production quality brought Miyavi to the attention of the music mainstream. Miyavi was backed in this performance by some legendary musicans including, Petra (X-Japan), Luke Takamura (Seikma-II), Shinya (Luna Sea) and Chiolyn (hide with spread beaver). The amazing staging of this concert included a 20 meter Kabuki-runway through the center of the arena. This DVD is region free and approximately 76 min, NTSC.

This special box set, retailed at $75, also includes two photo books, documenting Miyavi throughout this time. Book 1 is 60 pages, and features live performance photos of Miyavi. Book 2 is 82 pages and features both photo session and candid photos. Both full color, hardbound books contain rare and un-published photos of Miyavi.


A Camilla d'errico Kokeshi

In a recent blog update, Camilla d'errico announces the completion of her Kokeshi. This will be part of the July's Kokeshi show, held at the JANM in Los Angeles, which opens July 11th. In her own words..."she’s a helmetgirl BUT instead of animals or lollipops, this girl is chowing down on a watermelon! I had a ton of fun coming up with the concept."

Can I say, "TOTEMO KAWAIIII!!!" Click on the link above to see more photos and information.


Tokyopop Celebrates Asian Pacific Heritage Month

In conjunction with Tokyopop, Macy's is holding an event at 2 of their New York Stores: Flushing and Herald Square, to celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month.

Tokyopop brings us a heavy dose of Fruits Basket: (1) Enter the costume contest and you could win a deluxe "Fruits Basket", that includes a Fruits Basket Sticker Collection, planner, T-shirt, hat, and much more; (2) Make any $100 or more purchase and get a free copy of Fruits Basket Ultimate Edition Vol. 1, Fruits Basket DVD, and Fruits Basket Fan Book; and (3) Get your picture taken with one of three Fruits Basket backgrounds.

This will take place on May 15th and 16th. For more details, click here.


Kanon Wakeshima to Make US Debut at Otakon

Rising star Kanon Wakeshima will make her US debut at Otakon 2009 on Saturday, July 18. Wakeshima brings a unique and haunting sound composed of baroque cello, strong vocals, and electronic arrangements.

Her incredible talent attracted the attention of Visual-Kei star Mana (Moi dix Mois, Malice Mizer), who became the sound & visual image producer for Kanon for her debut single "still doll" (released in May 2008) from her first album. Wakeshima's rich, haunting sound fits well with the Gothic & Lolita street fashion culture -- for which Mana (who is also the designer of his own Moi-meme-moitie apparel brand) is very well known.

Her highly anticipated first album, Shinshoku Dolce, was released in February 2009. A record-breaking in-store performance at France's biggest CD retailer, FNAC, paired with a sensational concert in Paris, put her on the road to international stardom. [Source: Otakon]