All Hallow's Eve 2010

Happy Halloween to one and all. This year, I present you awesome folks with my 2010 pumpkin. I had such a blast painting my God of War/Kratos-inspired pumpkin. This particular pumpkin has to be one of my favorite one of my creations.

Hope you all have a blast on the one day when everyone else has an excuse to cosplay, and for us cosplayers -- just another day.


Nolan Announces Plans for an "Inception" Video Game

Lately, it seems that it is almost customary, if not expected for movies to have a self-titled video game inspired by said movie. I've never been a fan of that. I'm all for video games turned movies (if done right); but usually not vice-versa. But here's one idea I hope comes to fruition.

The genius who brought us "The Dark Knight" and "Memento" wants to transform his latest film, a little movie called "Inception," into a video game!! As an uber "Inception" fan who has gone to see the movie at a certain questionable rate (a number that shall remain confidential), it's my (unbiased) opinion that "Inception" is just one of those unique and brilliant worlds that I think would do spectacularly as a game. Nolan tells Variety, all the right things.

"One thing we are looking at doing is developing a video game based on the world of the film, which has all kinds of ideas that you can't fit into a feature film...that's something we've been talking about and are looking at doing long-term, in a couple of years."

As much as I would love the "Inception" video game yesterday, I am happy to wait in the "long-term," if that means an adaption done right. To date, "Inception" has grossed over $750 million worldwide. [Source: Variety via Kotaku]


Miyavi x Good Charlotte Collaboration

Just announced -- MIYAVI, the genius that rightly imbues the title "samurai guitarist" is teaming up with American band GOOD CHARLOTTE on their new song, "Like It’s Her Birthday,“ providing awesome riffs in a way only MIYAVI can do!

“Like It’s Her Birthday” will be released on the new album on November 27th in Japan; prior to its release in America.

GOOD CHARLOTTE’s staff actually saw MIYAVI's New York City performance and recommended him to the brothers. MIYAVI met up with the band in Tokyo on August 26th to begin work. The members already had a lot of positive things to day about the guitarist. Benji Madden said, “When we were recording ‘Like It’s Her Birthday’, I heard MIYAVI’s guitar and I liked it instantly. It was the best. I thought that it was the sound I wanted for the new album and got so many ideas.”

MIYAVI has already been preparing for his new album, “WHAT’S MY NAME?“, and it’s due to come out on October 13th. It will contain album versions of “SURVIVE” and “SUPER HERO.” It will also have his new single “TORTURE,” bringing the track number up to 14 songs total. [Source: tokyohive]


Director Satoshi Kon Passes Away

There has been speculation through some posts from Twitter that anime director Satoshi Kon passed away today at the age of 47. This news apparently coming from a tweet by Gainax's Yasuhiro Takeda.

Kon has been a true visionary, redefining innovation in anime and it's hard to imagine a world without his genius. I am sure many will agree, but Kon could do no wrong. Many of the titles on my top lists include Kon titles.

Each one of his titles brought something unique and unlike anything anyone had seen before. Perfect Blue; Millennium Actress; Tokyo Godfather; Paprika; Paranoia Agena; Memories!

I am still trying to gather up details, but I am at a loss. I will update as more information is revealed.

UPDATE (8/24/2010): It saddens me to confirm Satoshi Kon's passing. Jim Vowles, a member of the Otakorp Board of Directors for the Otakon convention, announced that director Satoshi Kon has passed away. The staff of Otakon confirmed his passing with MADHOUSE studio founder Masao Maruyama.


Volks 1/4 Bayonetta Figure

For the collector that has to have their hands on the highest quality, the piece de resistance, the creme de la creme. The collector that is always waiting for that incredible figure. Not your 50 dollar figure, not your 100 dollar figure -- they just don't do it for us. Just not good enough. If you belong to the same group I belong in, then listen up.

Volks finally gives us color shots of their 1/4 scale Bayonetta and the wait for me has been worth it. All that work finally comes to fruition and I gotta say, I am speechless. It's absolutely brilliant, insanely detailed, and _____ _____ _____!!!!!

This stunning beauty carries a hefty price, rightly so with the level of caliber. Retailed at 46,000 yen, are you ready to shell out half a grand? If so, take my hand and join me. Bayonetta will be available for purchase next weekend at Chara Hobby. It is currently an event exclusive, so getting your hands on her will take some work. [Source: Volks]


AC Brotherhood Collection's Edition Details Announced

Decisions, decisions!! I hate making decisions. The question isn't whether to buy the collector's edition or not, but it's which version do I get (and hence, where do I get it from)??!? HELP!!!

Regardless of where you buy your collector's edition, The Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Collector's Edition will come with one awesome creepy-tastic jack-in-the-box. If you go the Gamestop way, you get the Harlequin; if you go any other way, you'll get the Doctor.

In addition to the jack-in-the-box, the collector's edition will include: two exclusive single-player maps (Aqueduct and Trajan Market), an art book, a "hard copy strategy map" of Rome, the game's soundtrack and a disc containing trailers, a making-of video and a preview of the AC: Brotherhood comic.

So, which version will you be getting? I think I am leaning towards The Doctor, but I keep wavering. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood is due out this November 16th with the Collector's Edition set at $99.99.


Hikaru Utada on Hiatus

Singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada has announced on her web diary on Monday that she will go on an indefinite hiatus from her musical career starting next year. Before she takes time off, she will release her Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 2 album this fall. This will be her first "best-of" album in six and half years, and it will include her recent songs such as "Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro," "Be My Last," and "Beautiful World," as well as new material.

Utada explained in her Monday message that since she began her musical career at the age of 15, there is a part inside her that stopped growing. When she will return to music is still undetermined, but she said that she feels it will probably be after she has had time to grow a little as a person and naturally wants to share her music again. She added that she does not know if it will take two years, five years, or however long it will be.

Utada is an internationally known, bestselling pop artist born in New York City and raised in Japan and the United States. Past works include her debut album, 1999's First Love, Kingdom Heart's Hikaru and Sanctuary, and Evangelion's Beautiful World and Kiss & Cry. She recently released a U.S. album entitled, This is the One, and toured the U.S. and U.K. last year. [Source: ANN]


NYCC/NYAF Special Ticket Packages

Special ticket packages for this year's New York Comic-Con/New York Anime Festival go on sale today July 15th at 12 Noon EST. Standard tickets for NYCC and NYAF are available for purchase now at www.nycomiccon.com or www.nyanimefestival.com.

All special packages will include: (1) NYCC/NYAF Weekend Badge; (2) First access to the show floor; (3) separate entrance to the show floor; (4) VIP Lounge; (5) VIP Coat Check; and (6) NYCC or NYAF 2010 poster.
  • SPECIAL ACCESS PACKAGE (limited to 350 fans, $150) gets you all of the aforementioned pieces!
  • IGN THEATER PACKAGE (limited to 100 fans, $300) gives you guaranteed seating for all events in the IGN Theater/Special Events Hall.
  • MINORI CHIHARA CONCERT/MASQUERADE EXPERIENCE (limited to 200 fans, $150) gets you guaranteed, reserved seating for the NYAF concert and the Masquerade on Saturday night in the IGN Theater/Special Events Hall.
  • STAN LEE FRIDAY EXPERIENCE PACKAGE (limited to 65 fans, $400) gets you: (1) Meet-and-Greet with Stan Lee on Friday; (2) Autograph from Stan Lee; (3) Stan Lee PopFun Collector’s Glass; and (4) Guaranteed seating in all of Stan Lee’s panels.
  • STAN LEE SATURDAY EXPERIENCE PACKAGE (limited to 65 fans, $400) gets you: (1) Meet-and-Greet with Stan Lee on Saturday; (2) Autograph from Stan Lee; (3) Stan Lee PopFun Collector’s Glass; (4) Stan Lee and J. Scott Campbell Lithograph; and (5) Guaranteed seating in all of Stan Lee’s panels.


Okami's Amaterasu Polystone Statue

There's no question how exquisite the art of Capcom's "Okami" is, and even more beautiful is the gorgeous Amaterasu. As shown on GA Graphic, this stunning polystone statue of Okami's Amaterasu will be displayed at this year's International Tokyo Toy Show.

If you can get your hands on this, Amaterasu will set you back 15,540 yen. With the lack of Okami statues available, I'd jump on it! [Source: GA Graphic via Tomopop]


X Japan Details North American Tour, New Album

In a press conference on Thursday, Japanese visual-kei rock band X Japan announced their first North American tour and a new album. Though this merits a bit of deju va (since we've heard this before, this time -- I hope -- it's different as more details arise). The tour will begin on October 1 in California and travel to more than 10 cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco, and Boston.

In related news, this fall we will see X Japan's newest album will ship simultaneously in the U.S. and in Japan. The album will have about 10 songs, including the new song "Jade," which will be the first American single. The album will also have "ART OF LIFE" and the English versions of the songs "Tears," "Rusty Nail," and "Kurenai."

X Japan will perform in the U.S. prior to their North American Tour. The band members already appeared at the Yoshiki Foundation launch party with comic creator Stan Lee in Los Angeles on July 1. During the benefit, X Japan performed an acoustic version of "I.V." and then recorded a music video with audience participation. The event also included a fashion show and a masquerade contest. Members of X Japan is set to perform at the Baltimore-based anime convention Otakon this July 31 and at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago in August. [Source: Sankei Sports via ANN]


ACII Ezio Auditore 1/6 Masterpiece Figure

Honk Kong company Hot Toys boasts an incredible figure that will have every Assassin's Creed fan swooning. In the past, we've been stuck with few choices to show off our AC love, but seems our patience has paid off. Based on the Assassin's Creed II video game, Hot Toys presents a 1/6th scale figure of our very own Ezio Auditore. As part of their VideoGame Masterpiece Series, Ezio is seductively fully poseable and highly detailed from head to toe, from his eyes to his costume to his weapons.

Approximately 30 cm tall, with over 30 points of articulations (sigh), Ezio comes with his fair share of accessories including:

- 3 pieces of interchangeable posing palms
- Real-like hair sculpture with detachable ponytail
- Complete costume (white version)
- Slew of weapons: a long sword, short sword, 2 hidden blades inside forearm gauntlets, and 6 throwing daggers
- Necklace and figure stand with Ezio nameplate

Specially hand-painted, with an incredibly insane amount of detail, you can bet Ezio will carry a hefty price. No specifics yet, but the figure will be released later this year.

*shuffles frantically to rearrange her budget*


Buddha Kuro - SDCC Exclusive

Going to San Diego Comic Con this year? Lucky you. As a huge Camilla d'Errico fan, you bet I'm jealous, as SDCC commemorates the launch of her Giant Buddha Plush!! This "plushzilla" is seriously H-U-G-E. He stands a full 2 feet tall, 60", he's about 1 foot wide and 1 foot deep.

Only 100 Buddha plushes will be available (to be picked-up at the convention, from booth #4920). The price per plush is $125 USD. To pre-order, write to cderricostore@gmail.com to reserve yours! As an added special, if you get yours on PREVIEW NIGHT, Camilla will even be on hand to make an extra special signature/sketch on his giant hang tag! (squeeee)

But for us poor schmucks that won't be going to SDCC, there is a silver lining to this. You can still get on the pre-order list!!


Happy 4th of July!

Minna-san...HAPPY 4th of July!! Hope your day is full of pretty fireworks and good friends.

Things have been hectic on my end, but thanks for all for your patience. Watch this space as I use this time to myself to write...write...write. Updates to include convention coverage, video games reviews, and concert coverage.

My next scheduled convention is Otakon...less than one month away!! Can't wait to see everyone.

Dewa mata ne! And enjoy your day off (hopefully) tomorrow!


Sasuga Books Inventory Sale (till July 5th)

As you may or may not know, Sasuga Japanese Bookstore will be closing its storefront. According to Sasuga, they have "no plans to reopen. A combination of the current economic climate and changes in the international book-selling market have made it impossible for [them] to continue to compete as a small, privately-owned bookstore."

So you've got till July 5th to take advantage of their inventory clearance sale -- 50% off all in-stock products throughout the store. The sale is limited to in-stock products (and as usual, orders over $40 ship for free).

Sasuga has always been a great source of imported manga, artbooks, magazine, and goodies for me! Definitely check them out and find that missing piece in your collection.


An Cafe Bassist KANON to Appear at Otakon 2010

Bassist kanon, one of the founders of the visual kei band An Cafe and currently a video game producer, will appear at Otakon this year! With a signature flamboyant style and Fender Jazz bass, kanon attracted a sizable fan base around the world as part of An Cafe. After a successful world tour and a big final show at Nippon Budokan in January, An Cafe went on hiaitus.

Currently, kanon is producer for the recently released mobile phone game Pinky Distortion. Pinky Distortion features DIS;CODE, a visual kei band in search of a vocalist. The player takes the role of a young singer recruited as the band's manager, who must find a way to keep the band together and lead them to their first successful live concert. The game emphasizes kanon's belief that a group of passionate people can create something more amazing than any individual.

Kanon will participate in panels and autograph sessions during the weekend, and will be a guest DJ during the Otakurave, Otakon's nightly dance party.


Internationally Acclaimed X Japan Members Yoshiki & Sugizo to attend/perform at Otakon 2010

As if listening to the East Coast woes of convention world - while we endure guest announcement after guest announcement of what promises to be yet another incredible Anime Expo (July 1-4 Los Angeles, CA) for example, the con angels seemingly appear out of nowhere bringing sweet treats two-fold.

"Are you ready? Are you ready for this?" I'll take that as a yes, assuming after you read the title of this blog, you fainted and finally got passed the first paragraph and are ready as you will ever be...

YOSHIKI and SUGIZO, of the legendary visual kei rock band X JAPAN, will make a VERY special appearance AND give a brief performance at Otakon 2010’s Masquerade. This is just one week prior to the band’s appearance at Lollapalooza in Chicago. YOSHIKI previously appeared at Otakon in 2006, but this will be SUGIZO’s first visit to the convention.

Otakon's Masquerade is the convention's largest single event: a costume and skit contest featuring dozens of competitors, and drawing as many as 8,000 attendees. It will be held on Saturday, July 30 in the 1st Mariner Arena. Two prior Otakon guests have performed in the Arena -- L'Arc~en~Ciel in 2004 and JAM Project in 2008 -- but the Arena has a long history of drawing top acts such as Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and U2.

Avid fans already know this duo's glorified bios quite well, but heck it doesn't hurt to remind us of their awesomeness.

The heart of X JAPAN is Yoshiki - songwriter, drummer, and classically-trained pianist who also plays guitar, bass and trumpet. His double-record classical album, Eternal Melody (1993) was co-produced and arranged by the legendary George Martin, recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and remains one of Japan's most successful classical releases. For Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved, the 1994 KISS tribute album, Yoshiki arranged and produced "Black Diamond" as a piano concerto, prompting Rolling Stone magazine to comment in its CD review, "the ingenuity award must go to Yoshiki..." Yoshiki has produced some of Japan's most influential bands, including Dir \en grey and Glay. At the request of the Japanese government in 1999, Yoshiki composed a piano concerto and performed it with a 77-piece orchestra to commemorate the Emperor of Japan's 10th anniversary on the throne. In 2005, he was named the Music Director for the 2005 World Expo, composed the event's theme song, and conducted the orchestra at the opening ceremonies. Yoshiki also wrote the X Japan song "I.V." for the 2007 international blockbuster film, "Saw IV," which played over the film's closing credits.

Originally the guitarist of another pioneering visual kei band, Luna Sea, began performing with X JAPAN in 2008 for the X-JAPAN’s Tokyo Dome reunion concerts and was made a formal member of X JAPAN last year during the Hong Kong stop of the band’s world tour.

Calling X Japan the most successful rock band in Japan is not a statement made lightly. X Japan has sold more than 30-million albums, singles and videos, headlined and sold out Japan's 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome 18 times - so far - and has started playing to tens of thousands of fans outside of Japan. Going back to the 1980s, the band's look and sound sparked a global interest in Japanese entertainment, especially with the Japanese cultural rock phenomenon, "Visual-Kei," a movement X Japan pioneered that went on to become a catalyst for today's worldwide Anime craze.

X Japan was formed in 1982 (calling themselves X) by Yoshiki and Toshi while still high school students. Over the next 13 years, the band released five studio albums - Vanishing Vision (1988), Blue Blood (1989) Jealousy (1991), Art of Life (1993) and Dahlia (1996), as well as six live albums, 10 compilation albums, and 15 video albums. X Japan was one of the first Japanese bands to achieve mainstream success while on an independent label - Yoshiki's own Extasy Records. The band was so popular, SEGA produced an X Japan video game. In the fall of 1997, the band's lead singer, Toshi, decided to leave X Japan, which lead to the dissolution of the band. Four months later, Hide, X Japan's original lead guitarist, was found dead in his Tokyo apartment. At his funeral, more than 50,000 fans came to mourn his passing, and in May, 2010, even more fans stood in line at a memorial service to pay their respects and mark the 12th anniversary of his tragic death. In early 2007, Yoshiki and Toshi started working together again, and later that year, X Japan officially reformed. During 2008-9, the band launched its reunion tour, being bigger than ever, and sold out everywhere it played. In January, 2010, X JAPAN filmed a music video on the rooftop of Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, with a throng of some 8,000 U.S. fans taking part in the shoot on Hollywood Blvd.

The members of X Japan - Yoshiki, Toshi (vocals), Pata (guitarist), Heath (bass), and Sugizo (guitar) - have been spending time in Yoshiki's Los Angeles recording studio working on what will be the band's U.S. debut, and its first album sung in English. "We decided to record English lyrics for four or five of our most popular, previously released songs," Yoshiki explained, "and then write an additional four or five brand new songs, also sung in English. We have worked very hard on this album, and are very excited to present our music to the American rock fans."

Immediately following their August Lollapalooza set, X Japan will fly back to Tokyo where they will play their biggest concert ever - headlining two nights at the Nissan Stadium, performing to nearly 150,000 fans.

Otakon 2010 (www.otakon.com) will be held July 30 – August 1 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland. If you haven't registered yet, what are you waiting for?

Make sure to check out my blog as I will post full details on YOSHIKI and SUGIZO's appearance in the coming weeks.

Say it with me...WE ARE....X!


LBP Heavy Rain Costume Pack

LittleBigPlanet has never failed in releasing the cutest sackboys and sackgirls ever. My favorites have especially been Ezio from Assassin's Creed, as well as the entire Metal Gear Solid line. But it's been a while since a package has been released that has made me squealed. Enter Heavy Rain! The subtlety yet exactness of these adorable Sackboys is just too much. So go on, dress your Sackboy as the infamous origami, or in Scott Shelby's trench coat, or Norman Jayden's ARI glasses, or even Ethan's facial hair.

The LittleBigPlanet Heavy Rain costume pack is available today in North America, Wednesday for the UK, and Thursday for the rest of Europe.


Gackt European Tour - July 2010

The one and only, legendary GACKT will, for the first time, tour Europe, stopping by 5 cities at a "very selective choice of clubs in London, Paris, Barcelona, Munich, and Bochum. This is sure to be an amazing experience for all fans world-wide. Tickets will go on sale on June 7th!

July 16th
O2 Academy Islington / London / UK

July 18th
Alhambra / Paris / France
www.fnac.com, www.digitick.com, www.ticketnet.fr

July 20th
Salamandra 1 / Barcelona / Spain

July 22nd
Theaterfabrik / Munich / Germany

July 24th
Zeche / Bochum / Germany

[Source: JAME World]


Fate/stay night Umbrella

With the onslaught of recent thunder storms we've been getting, you'll definitely need a good reliable umbrella. And while I've seen some pretty nifty ones like the awesome samurai sword that can even be worn over your shoulder, this one takes the cake. Or rather, this one takes the sword.

Movic presents a sword umbrella inspired from the series Fate/stay night. It's looks deceptively real - even when I first glanced at the picture, I couldn't tell it was an umbrella in it's closed form. The handle itself is quite detailed.

This Fate/stay night umbrella (with Avalon cover) will set you back 10,000 yen and is due out August 12th. Check out the official site (Japanese) for more views and details. [Source: Canned Dogs]


More Otakon 2010 Guest Announcements

Before you know it, Otakon 2010 will be here. On the American side joining Vic Mignogna and Maile Flanagan, are voice actress and producer Clarine Harp; voice actor Patrick Seitz; american actor, director, producer and writer Todd Haberkorn; and voice actress Amy Howard.

Check out their stats below:

Clarine Harp
This will be her first time attending. Clarine was first cast by FUNimation Entertainment in 2003 to give life to the character of Tweedledee in Kiddy Grade Since then, Clarine’s talents have been featured in a broad range of roles: Burst Angel, Akira Kurosawa's Samurai 7, Speed Grapher, Negima , Shin chan. Witchblade, and RIN ~Daughters of Mnemosyne~, Clarine can also be heard in El Cazador de la Bruja, Claymore, Jyu-Oh-Sei, Trinity Blood, Beck, Romeo x Juliet, Kaze no Stigma, Yu Yu Hakusho, Spiral, Fullmetal Alchemist, Case Closed, Evangelion 1.0, Hell Girl, Bamboo Blade, Aquarion, Desert Punk, Origin - Spirits of the Past, Mushi-Shi, Suzuka, Ouran High School Host Club, Ghost Hunt, Peach Girl, Sgt. Frog, One Piece, Save Me! Lollipop, Baki the Grappler and The Galaxy Railways. Out of the booth, Clarine spends her time producing DVDs for FUNimation, tending to her horde of rabbits and proudly spreading the gospel of sock knitting. She is also the inspiration behind the character Aubrey, a regular cast member on the popular web comic, Something Positive.

Patrick Seitz
This will be his second time attending. Patrick Seitz is a Los Angeles voiceover actor, script adapter and ADR director who has lent his efforts to over 100 anime and video game titles over the last few years—including Monster, the dub of which he feels exceedingly fortunate to have directed. With most of his resume occupying that odd point where zany, evil, and ethically ambiguous converge, Patrick’s roles include Grimmer in, Nekozawa in Ouran, Isshin Kurosaki in Bleach, George in Paradise Kiss, Hazel in Saiyuki Reload Gunlock, Dhaos in Tales of Phantasia, Raul in Ergo Proxy, Koshiro in Koi Kaze, Charles Beams in Eureka Seven, Lee Linho in ROD the TV, and Luke Valentine in Hellsing and Hellsing Ultimate.

On the video game side of the ledger, you can hear him as Ragna the Bloodedge in BlazBlue, Scorpion and Deathstroke in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Arthas Menethil and Garrosh Hellscream in WoW: Wrath of the Lich King, Dracula in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, Judgment and The Dracula X Chronicles, Chopin in Eternal Sonata, and Radi Jaeger in Valkyria Chronicles. In addition to the voiceover work, Patrick has done script-adapting and/or ADR direction for Naruto, Blue Dragon, Honey & Clover, Hell Girl, Girls Bravo, Kamichu!, Tales of Phantasia, The Melody of Oblivion, Zegapain, Guardian of the Spirit and Rumiko Takahashi Anthology.

Todd Haberkorn
This is also Todd's appearance at Otakon. Haberkorn received his BFA in acting from Southern Methodist University and works professionally primarily in Texas and surrounding states as an actor, director, producer, and writer. As far as shows go, catch Todd's voice as lead roles in Sgt. Frog as Keroro, Suzuka as Yamato, Ghost Hunt as Naru, Claymore as Raki, Holic as Wataknuki, D. Gray Man as Allen Walker, Sands of Destruction as Kyrie, Soul Eater as Death the Kid, and will undoubtedly play more lead roles in the future. Among his supporting roles are Itsuki in Shuffle, Ichimoruken in Hell Girl, Firo in Baccano!, Kono in Darker Than Black, Hikaru in Ouran High School Host Club and Khoza in One Piece. When not doing voicework, Todd is a producer with his company, Out of the Office Productions. He also produces a weekly podcast with Leah Clark called Popcast Weekly (popcastweekly.com). Todd Haberkorn is currently a proud member of the anime community and continues to be its humble servant by way of English dubbing. Todd is represented by The Horne Agency.

Amy Howard Wilson
This is her third appearance at Otakon and her first since 2000. Born in 1955, Amy hails from Detroit, and was "bit by the acting bug" at the age of 15. A proud graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City in 1975, Amy worked as a receptionist in a casting/talent payment agency; as a sales rep for a jingle composer; and in 1979, she was a contestant and winner on the “$20,000 Pyramid”. She has starred in the highly popular series “Star Blazers” as the role of Nova, as well as appearing in an episode of “The Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA” as the voice of Miranda.

Otakon 2010 will be held July 30 – August 1 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.


God of War Art Exhibition

Prepare to feast your eyes on the beautiful and exquisite artwork of God of War. If you are a fan of the video game series, then you know the stunning art , the dirt and blood and awesomeness of God of War.

This Saturday night, May 29th, the Gnomon Gallery will open its gates of Olympus for "The Art of God of War III." The opening reception will run from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
Showcasing the dark brutal world of ancient Greece, this exhibit features the imaginative concept paintings and impressive 3D assets created for the hit Playstation 3 video game, God of War III, and provides an opportunity to meet the artists that make the world of Kratos come alive.
Artists include:
  • Cecil Kim
  • Andy Park
  • Jung Ho Park
  • Izzy
  • Patrick Murphy
  • Erik San Juan
  • Kevin Anderson
  • Katon Callaway
  • Tyler Breon
  • Peter Tumminello
  • Chris Sutton
  • Nate Stephens
  • Timo Pihlajamaki
  • Bryan Koszoru
  • Sukru Gilman
  • John Dobbie
  • Lewis Walden
  • Robert Taube
  • Ryan Peterson
  • Paul Coda
  • Shane Estanislao
  • Wade Mulhern
  • Mike Altamirano
  • John Palamarchuk
For more information, be sure to check out the gallery's site.

If you are fortunate enough to be in the Hollywood area, you won't want to miss this. (I'm really getting tired of these east coast woes...if anyone is going, please let me know. I'd love to get your insights and pictures).


Steins;Gate Kurisu Makise Kotobukiya Figure

My latest favorite title is Steins;Gate. It's great, and I've been disappointed to see that the title isn't widely known. It's tough finding the manga/visual novel and I've been anxiously waiting for the PC release of the game (initially released for the Xbox 360 back in October 2009). In the midst of writing my review of Steins;Gate and promoting this title, I came across a beautiful figure of the main heroine, Kurisu Makise.

As you will read soon enough, visually, Steins;Gate is stunning and I am happy to see that this figure does it justice. My eyes immediately jump and swoon over that spectacular base. This figure alone culminates what Kotobukiya can do. In 1/8 scale, Kurisu is perfectly represented down to the very last details of her clothing and to those mysterious eyes.

Retailed at 7,800 yen, preorders are now available at Hobby Search. Watch for Kurisu this September.


X JAPAN film World Premiere at Anime Central

With speculations surfacing this week - now confirmed, the infamous Yoshiki (from X JAPAN) will be making a video chat appearance at this weekend's Anime Central Rosemont, IL.

On Saturday, May 15th, during Anime Central's Masquerade intermission, the world premiere of the film "YOSHIKI history through X JAPAN" will be showcased and as an added bonus, Yoshiki himself will personally introduce the film via video chat. You'll want to make sure you arrive early for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

JAPAN will appear at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago from August 6 to August 8.


Life-Size Evangelion Bust Built Near Foot of Mt. Fuji

Japan's Fuji-Q HighLand amusement park, located near the foot of Mt. Fuji, has announced on Wednesday that it will open a new pavilion called "Evangelion: World - Life-Size EVA-01 Construction Project" on July 23. The pavilion will house the world's first life-size recreation of the scene where the Evangelion anime's main character Shinji Ikari encounters the Eva-01 unit for the first time. The recreation will have a mockup of the Evangelion unit from the bust up.

The pavilion will also have a life-size cockpit of an Evangelion unit (from where visitors can pay to have their photos taken), a life-size figure of the character Kaworu Nagisa, a video corner, a museum, a studio gallery for taking photographs, and a shop.

I don't know about you, but this is something I've always just dreamt of. I would love the privilege to see the life-size EVA-01 bust and replay Shinji's first encounter in my head. And the thought of even being next to a life-size cockpit has me giddy. Bring on the LCL!! With the wonderful monument-sized Gundams making several appearances, it's wonderful news to see that my favorite "robot" is getting the spotlight.

Check out the official website here. [Source: ANN]


UT x MGS: Peace Walker! Hideo Kojima @ UNIQLO in NY

KOJIMA ALERT! HIDEO KOJIMA ALERT! Must - get - to - NYC - June 11th . . .

The worlds of gaming and fashion collide as Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. announced a partnership with Japanese clothing retailer UNIQLO Co., Ltd. to produce an exclusive collection of limited edition t-shirts inspired by the upcoming game METAL GEAR SOLID: PEACE WALKER for the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system. This line is the latest from UNIQLO USA’s UT Project (UT is short for UNIQLO t-shirt), which consists of limited edition collections of t-shirts designed by renowned artists, designers, photographers, and musicians created to allow people to express themselves through fashion and wear what they love. The two companies had previously collaborated with a collection of METAL GEAR SOLID 4: GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS t-shirts just prior to that game’s release in 2008.

“Our partnership with UNIQLO Co., Ltd. to create a limited edition t-shirt line for the highly anticipated upcoming release of METAL GEAR SOLID: PEACE WALKER will give fans and fashionistas the opportunity to showcase their adoration of the iconic Metal Gear franchise,” said Shinji Hirano, President of Konami Digital Entertainment Inc. “As a follow up to the 2008 limited edition t-shirt collaboration with the company for METAL GEAR SOLID 4: GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS, we suspect the 2010 limited edition line will be a coveted and celebrated style, which is another reason why we are so thrilled to collaborate with them.”

The collection will feature 10 exclusive t-shirt designs displaying images and themes from the upcoming game, and will be available in all UNIQLO USA stores and online starting on June 11th, 2010. Each t-shirt will also come with a special code that, when entered, will give fans access to both the same t-shirt of purchase as well as a soldier in the game. With the new line, fans will once again be able to show their METAL GEAR SOLID love as they anxiously await the latest release in the best-selling franchise!

To celebrate the launch of this collection, Mr. Hideo Kojima – the man behind the highly-acclaimed METAL GEAR SOLID series – will be greeting fans and signing autographs at the UNIQLO USA’s Global Flagship store in New York City on June 11, 2010 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM. Additionally, UNIQLO will be giving away prizes such as a Sony PSP entertainment pack bundle, collector’s edition software, copies of the Artbook, and coversheets of the game.

Check out NTT's site for more information.


Tokyopop to Tour U.S. for "America's Greatest Otaku"

The North American manga publisher Tokyopop will be touring the U.S. this summer (from July 1 through the end of August) to promote the company and film a reality show called "America's Greatest Otaku," in which Tokyopop CEO Stu Levy, Associate Producer Daisuke Kinouchi, and six interns will "search America for the #1 otaku."

According to Publishers Weekly, the Tokyopop Tour is "best described as the otaku version of MTV’s reality show, Road Rules. In this case a group of six otaku (or super fans of Japanese pop culture) will travel across the country in a bus with Tokyopop founder, CEO and COO Stuart Levy. The tour will stop at manga and anime conventions across the country and footage of the visits will be broadcast online." In the interview, Levy describes the Tokyopop Tour as "actually two things with one united purpose. It is an outreach program and also a reality show called 'America's Greatest Otaku.' It's purpose is to meet fans nationwide. "

The official Tokyopop Tour site can be found here. [Source: ANN and Publisher's Weekly]


Evangelion-themed Convenience Store - Lawson Tokyo-3 Shop in Hakone

Step inside the world of Evangelion - to the Lawson Tokyo-3 Shop in Hakone, that is. The japanese convenience store franchise, Lawson, has launched an Evangelion-themed convenience store in Hakone, Kanagawa - the location of the fictional city Tokyo-3) - filling it with a slew of Eva goodies.

In addition, several character panels (with the EVA pilots including Nagisa Kaworu and Makinami Mari) line the ceiling with phrases such as a Rei Ayanami one saying: "You won't die...I'll protect you."

From the images I've seen, the Lawson Tokyo-3 Shop is sure to make any EVA fan, especially the avid fan, swoon and go weak at the knees. From evangelion tie-in snacks, UCC's coffee, tissue paper, stationary, headphones, action figures, manga, and more...And to top it all off, your purchases will be put in a Lawson Tokyo-3 plastic bag! Be sure to check out Gigazine for more pictures and a detailed [Source: GIGAZINE]

UPDATE (4/28/2010): Seems that Lawson was forced to shut down the store temporarily only a few days after it opened. Apparently, there were too many Evangelion fans and they jammed up both the streets and the parking lots. All these led to illegal parking and the otaku mob just created to omuch trouble for the local residents. In the end, Lawsons had to temporarily shut down the convenience store. [Source: Alafista]

Almost feels like a press cover-up and all this was really due to an angel attack...


Miyavi 2010 U.S. Tour Dates

I bring exciting news, especially to those who were disappointed with the cancellation of last year's scheduled U.S. Tour. MIYAVI RETURNS!!! Now announcing Miyavi's Neo Tokyo Samurai Black World Tour 2010. This massive tour to include Japan, Canada AND the U.S. is long awaited! Get your tickets now!!

6/10 San Diego, CA / House Of Blues
6/12 Los Angeles, CA / Club Nokia
6/13 Anaheim, CA / The Grove of Anaheim
6/15 San Francisco, CA / Fillmore
6/17 Vancouver, BC / Commodore Ballroom
6/18 Seattle, WA / Showbox
6/23 Chicago, IL / House Of Blues
6/24 Toronto, ON / Sound Academy
6/25 Boston, MA / Wilbur Theatre
6/27 New York, NY / Irving Plaza
6/29 Washington, DC / 9:30 Club
7/1 Atlanta, GA / Masquerade
7/3 Dallas, TX / House Of Blues
7/4 Houston, TX / House Of Blues

Ticket sale will be open to the public beginning March 27th at 10 am. Are you ready to rock?


Japan Nite US Tour 2010

HearJapan is excitedly continuing our tradition of bringing the world a free Japan Nite compilation with Japan Nite 2010 Free Download!

Spanning 14 years, the Japan Nite tour is the longest running US tour featuring Japanese artists. This year's line-up features many returning members, as well as some new faces. OMODAKA, Riddim Saunter, JinnyOops!, GEEKS, BO-PEEP, The Dolomites, Camisama and Red Bacteria Vacuum will be bringing their own unique sounds to stages across the US from March 18th to the 27th.

HearJapan is offering a free compilation album featuring a special MP3 download from each artist. From 8bit to ska, punk to goth, all with a strong independent spirit, the Japan Nite 2010 Free Download collection has something for everyone. Just like the tour itself!

Check here to download the entire compilation instantly, get the full tour itinerary, watch videos and read more about each artist. Even if you're nowhere near a stop on the tour, you can put on your own private show with this free compilation!


Hatsune Miku Treasure Hunt

Think you know your Vocaloid songs? HearJapan is here to test that knowledge and is bearing gifts in celebration of Hatsune Miku Day [3 (mi) + 9 (ku) = miku; March 9th] and another year of music from the world's premiere Vocaloid singing idol.

Step 1: Download a selection of 10 free Vocaloid samples from Hatsune Miku Treasure Hunt at HearJapan...yes, they're all free! The only problem is that they seem to be missing their names. Step 2: Sift through the Vocaloid collection on HearJapan (that's over 150 releases!) by listening to the 30 second samples and figure out the names of all 10 songs. The songs are a selection of both new and old tunes, possibly even the newest Avtechno “Free” and Reng “Nextone -Krnt Edit- “ releases. Ten lucky winners will be randomly picked from the correct answers.

The 1st place winner will receive a Hatsune Miku Nendoriod Figure (courtesy of Good Smile), complete with several expressions and even a leek to spin, a Hatsune Miku calendar and 5,000 yen in HearJapan credits.

2nd, 3rd and 4th place will get a figure of their choice from Kagamine Rin, Kagamine Len or Megurine Luka, plus 2000 yen in HearJapan credit. 5th through 8th will get a calender plus 1000 yen in HearJapan credit. 9th and 10th will get 500 yen in HearJapan credit.


JICC Hosts Miyori in the Sacred Forest

As part of their "JAPAN: Nature and Culture for the Future" project, the JICC is hosting a screening of "Miyori in the Sacred Forest," this Wednesday, March 10th at 6:30pm. Based on a manga by Oda Hideji titled "Miyori no Mori," this beautifully animated film explore on explores of environmental preservation in Japan.

When 11-year old Miyori’s parents decide to go their separate ways, her father takes her to live with her grandparents in the countryside. Angry about her exile from the bright lights and modern conveniences of Tokyo, Miyori greets her new natural surroundings with scorn and contempt. But that night as she sleeps, a river spirit visits her, leading her into the forest where a host of mystical woodland creatures welcome her as a long lost friend. She may not remember them, but they’ve been waiting for her return. They soon show Miyori that life in the countryside isn’t that bad—until she discovers that the home she has come to love will be flooded by a new dam. Filled with a new sense of awe and appreciation of nature, Miyori will do everything she can to save the forest.

The film is directed by Nizo Yamamoto (art director of Hiyao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke and Laputa: Castle in the Sky). The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and granted on a first come, first served basis. Doors close at 7:00 pm. Reservations required. Only two (2) spaces can be reserved at a time. If you wish to reserve more spaces, please send additional email requests. Please send your name, affiliation, and the name of your guest to jiccrsvp@embjapan.org. Check out the flyer for more details.


GSC Junjo Romantica Nendoroid Set

About one year ago, I first saw sketches of a new set of petit nendoroid figures by Good Smile Company. It was of a series I've been meaning to pick up, especially with the excited behest of two best friends. The series -- Junjo Romantica. Whether or not you are a fan of the series or even just a Nendoroid fan, the sketch alone of Usagi-san will make you go head of heels -- or least that's what happened to me. Announced as a Chara-Ani exclusive, it was set to be released August 2009. But August came and went, and no figures.

Now a year later, sketches have become reality as Chari-Ani takes pre-orders for its exclusive. The Junjo Romantica Petit Nendoroid Limited Mail Order set includes Misaki, Akihiko and Suzuki-san! The set is retailed at 2,100 yen (super cheap, but if you're not in Japan and are intent on getting your hands on one, the set will probably be much more). I can't wait till my set arrives on August 2010! I am still squealing and shaking as I type...wahhhh!


X JAPAN Announces Concert and Move to L.A.

The infamous leader of X JAPAN, Yoshiki, revealed on Friday that the entire rock group plans to relocate to Los Angeles and hold a concert there as its first official American performance. Yoshiki revealed the plans during the unveiling of his Yoshiki jewelry brand's new collection in collaboration with Kuwayama. Guitarist Sugizo made a surprise onstage guest appearance at Friday's event before about 120 invitees, where Yoshiki made the announcement that all of X JAPAN will be moving to Los Angeles. [Source: Sankei Sports via ANN]


Massive Global PS3 Network Shutdown

After gaming all weekend, finally hooking up with Alistair vis-a-vis "Dragon Age: Origins," I decided to give my PS3 a break. At approximately, 7:30 p.m. eastern time, I booted up my PS3, tried to sign in to the Playstation Network, but was instead greeted with an error (#8001050F). So, like my fellow gamers (many as I will soon find out), I scowered the forums to try and find a cause and resolution. And within minutes of refreshing, a forum that was 3 pages long became 30 pages long filled with PS3 gamers having the same exact problem. It didn't take long to realize this was no mere coincidence.

Speculations surrounding the source of the problem went first with a possible maintenance or update problems, to the Playstation Network server being down. After learning that PS3 slims seemed to still be functioning, unaffected by this "problem," other theories arose, including a problem with the calendar (a leap-year miscalculation, perhaps) on older PS3s. It's been more than 12 hours now, and gamers (including this one) are getting worried and anxious. Sony will want to reconcile this ASAP, especially with the release of 2 certain titles just around the corner -- God of War III and Final Fantasy XIII; and especially since is affecting Playstation's most "loyal" fans. Those that purchase the original PS3s upon first release, etc.

So here's what we know:

All around the world, PlayStation 3 consoles simply aren't functioning preventing people from even playing some offline games. Non of my trophy-enabled games work and all my downloaded games have reverted back into their "trial" form. Game saves are lost as well as trophies and several themes. It seems like only original consoles are having problems, as PS3 slim users are able to log in with, supposedly, no problems. And most have noticed that their system date has been reset. Could it be calendar problem, a PSN problem? Then why are some offline games being affected.

According to SonyPlaystation on twitter:
  • We're aware that many of you are having problems connecting to PSN, and yes, we're looking into it. Stay tuned for updates. about 13 hours ago
  • PSN status update: We're narrowing down the issue and continue to work to restore service to all. Updates as soon as we have them. about 10 hours ago
  • PSN status update (part 2): Readers/followers are confirming that "slim" units (120/250 GB models) are connecting normally. about 10 hours ago
PS3s still aren't functioning and no official update has been made in 10 hours. Watch this space for updates and if you have more information, let me know.

UPDATE (3/1/2010, 11am): While Playstation US hasn't provided an update for the past 13 hours, Playstation EU gives us a little word. 2 hours ago, the following was posted: Rest assured, we've many people working on fixing this issue. As soon as we have some news, we'll let you know. They also note not to trust info. unless it's from an official Sony source. While this isn't any "new" news...it's at least 3 posts within the last 3 hours...This is agony...

UPDATE (3/1/2010, 12:20pm): Sony has posted a statement regarding this issue.

We believe we have identified that this problem is being caused by a bug in the clock functionality incorporated in the system.

We hope to resolve this problem within the next 24 hours. In the meantime, if you have a model other than the new slim PS3, we advise that you do not use your PS3 system, as doing so may result in errors in some functionality, such as recording obtained trophies, and not being able to restore certain data.
Get the full details here.

UPDATE (3/1/2010, 9:30pm): At approximately, 9:30pm (eastern time), about 26 hours since PS3 global meltdown, Playstation Network Service was restored.
And theories that this may be a internal clock problem are confirmed. According to Sony's statement:

We are aware that the internal clock functionality in the PS3 units other than the slim model, recognized the year 2010 as a leap year. Having the internal clock date change from February 29 to March 1 (both GMT), we have verified that the symptoms are now resolved and that users are able to use their PS3 normally.

If the time displayed on the XMB is still incorrect, users are able to adjust time settings manually or via the internet. If we have new information, we will update you through the PlayStation.Blog or PlayStation.com.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

So, if you haven't done so already (I did right before posting this update), go on and boot up your PS3 and catch up on lost time...now I can finally open up "Heavy Rain."


Range Murata at the Taipei Int'l Book Exhibition 2010

It's no secret which artists make my top list, so you can imagine how envious I am that I was unable to attend this rare and monumental event. The unique and totally awesome artist that is Range Murata attended the Taipei International Book Exhibition 2010 in Taiwan. Along with meeting fans and signing autographs, Murata-sensei graced fans with a incredibly rare opportunity - an illustration demonstration. *Insert Fangirl Squeal*

The folks at ANN covered the event and boasts a nice gallery of the demonstration. Be sure to check out all the photos. Using Adobe Photoshop and Wacom Cintiq, Murata-sensei creates a piece of art from start to finish (that's including coloring, folks) in 55 minutes.


Assassin's Creed II: Discovery

Assassin's Creed makes its way into your palms with the iPhone/iPod Touch rendition of Assassin's Creed II: Discovery. Developed by Ubisoft and Griptonite Games, this expanded version the DS game is leaves no shortcomings. And as it is an Assassin's Creed II game, you play as not Desmond, but Ezio de Auditore.

"Discovery" is essentially a side-scroller adventure game set during the "missing" 12th and 13th chapters of Assassin's Creed II. Discover an untold chapter from the Assassin’s Creed® II storyline. Follow Ezio as he travels to 15th-century Spain to rescue fellow assassins being held under the guise of the Inquisition, only to uncover a Templar plot to sail west and discover the New World. Ezio moves swiftly through his memory segments. Run, climb walls, leap off buildings, and hide into bushels of hay. Enter stealth mode and surprise your enemies or battle them head on. Suprises like hidden art to use as wallpapers can also be uncovered.

Audio and visuals are spectacular and gameplay is smooth providing an stellar experience. This is how a handheld game ought to be. Assassin's Creed II: Discovery is now available through the iTunes store for $9.99.


The Yoshida Brothers to Perform at Otakon

The first official guest announcement for Otakon 2010 is here. The Yoshida Brothers will perform on Friday night, as well as signing autographs and participating on a panel. "We've been trying to enhance our cultural content over the last few years," said Jim Vowles, Otakon Guest, Industry, and Press Relations Chief. "Since we're kind of well known for musical acts, we've wanted to bring in a traditional music act for some time. We actually approached the Yoshida Brothers two years ago, but this is the first time their schedule and ours have meshed well enough to bring them. We're very excited."

The Yoshida Brothers were born in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido. Each picked up the shamisen at the tender age of 5, and began studying Tsugaru shamisen under Takashi Sasaki I in 1990. After sweeping prizes at national Tsugaru shamisen conventions, the brothers made their major debut in 1999. The debut album sold over 100,000 copies, an extraordinary figure for a traditional folk music release. Ever since, they continue to make leaping strides. In 2009, the brothers collaborated with notable talents, including an inspired cover of "The National Anthem" from Radiohead's Kid A.

Vowles said, "While most of our membership will know the shamisen music from those Nintendo Wii commercials, the Yoshida Brothers are one of Japan's best exports — internationally acclaimed and respected for their skills, and crossing genres to work with some of the hottest acts around. They bring a traditional Japanese sound, but infuse it with a very modern energy."

Check them out at www.domo.com/yoshidabrothers. Otakon 2010 will be held July 30 – August 1 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.


X JAPAN to Perform at Lollapalooza

During the Grammy's on Sunday, Yoshiki announced that X Japan intends to play at this year's Lollapalooza festival, scheduled for August 6-8 in Chicago. Tentative reports of X Japan performing there first surfaced last month, but now it appears that the possibility will become a reality. It is said that X Japan received an offer from the festival's organizers to play on the main stage, and the band has decided to take it. A formal announcement with details is expected to be made later this month.

X Japan would be the first Japanese artist to perform on Lollapalooza's main stage. It would also be the band's first U.S. concert, though they already have plenty of fans around the world. They had planned a world tour in 2009, but due to various circumstances, they canceled most of their shows. However, if all goes well, X Japan is aiming to revive the world tour this year, starting with the Lollapalooza performance. [Source: Tokyograph]


NY Int'l Children's Festival Hosts Anime U.S. Premieres

The New York International Children's Film Festival (NYICFF) will host U.S. premieres of three anime features as well as several shorts during its 2010 Festival from February 26 thru March 21.

Kicking off the festival will be the U.S. premiere of Mamoru Hosada's Summer Wars. This cyberpunk/sci-fi story revolves around Kenji, a teenage math prodigy recruited by his secret crush Natsuki for the ultimate summer job – passing himself off as Natsuki’s boyfriend for four days during her grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration. But when Kenji solves a 2,056 digit math riddle sent to his cell phone, he unwittingly breaches the security barricade protecting Oz, a globe-spanning virtual world where millions of people and governments interact through their avatars, handling everything from online shopping and traffic control to national defense and nuclear launch codes. Now a malicious AI program called the Love Machine is hijacking Oz accounts, growing exponentially more powerful and sowing chaos and destruction in its wake.

NYICFF will also host the U.S. premiere of MADHOUSE's "Mai Mai Miracle" anime film. The story is set in 1955 in a town in southwestern Japan, where a nine-year-old girl named Shinko has an ancient family connection to a thousand-year-old province known as Suo. Shinko joins Kiiko, a new transfer student from her school, on a magical adventure. Mai Mai Miracle will premiere on February 27 with a repeat showing on March 6.

Next up is Production I.G's "Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror" (Hottarake no Shima - Haruka to Maho no Kagami) fantasy film. The computer-animated feature follows a girl named Haruka as she discovers where all of our childhood keepsakes and memorabilia go. Creatures from a different dimension gather these trinkets and forgotten treasures as their owners grow up. With their booty, the creatures have built their own city called Oblivion Island. Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror will also premiere on February 27 with a repeat showing on March 6.

On February 27 and March 13, NYICFF will show the U.S. theatrical premiere of Yasuhiro Yoshiura's Time of Eve (Eve no Jikan) net anime series. The festival will show one 15-minute episode of the series. As a huge fan of "Mizu no Kotoba," I'm especially glad to see this addition by Yoshiura and Studio Rikka.

For more details and the full schedule and line-up, be sure to visit the NYICFF site. [Source: ANN]

UPDATE (2/22/2010): Director Mamoru Hosada will make a special guest appearance at the "Summer Wars" premiere.