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6:34 PM on 08.30.2010

Atlus being absorbed, though its name shall remain

Now, now. It's not as bad as it sounds. Atlus, everyone's favorite Catherine developer/publisher, isn't being dismantled or shut down, but rather being merged into its parent company, Index Holdings, which purchased Atlus bac...

Josh Tolentino

Watch Yamakan's new anime Fractal, or he'll retire photo
Watch Yamakan's new anime Fractal, or he'll retire
by Josh Tolentino

Hoity-toity auteur types are bound to make grand statements every so often, and Yutaka Yamamoto (a.k.a. Yamakan) is apparently no stranger to that sort of thing. The former KyoAni luminary who was behind season one of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, as well as helping on Lucky Star, Kannagi, Sora no Woto, and Black Rock Shooter, is working on a new anime called "Fractale", and it's somehow inspired by the works of Benoît Mandelbrot, the father of Fractal Geometry.

Yeah, I'm stumped too.

The script will be written by Hiroki Azuma, a prominent young literary critic, as well. Sound hoity-toity enough for you?

The premise, though, sounds somewhat more down-to-earth:

The story takes place on an island, where the "Fractale System" is beginning to collapse. One day, Crane finds an injured girl, Phryne under a cliff. She disappear,s leaving a pendant. Crane sets out on a journey with a girl-shaped avatar [named] Nessa, to look for Phryne and discover the secret of Fractale System. 

Check out some blurry scans below. As for that "grand statement" I mentioned above? Apparently Yamakan "is prepared to retire if Fractale does poorly." Grand, indeed.

While I honestly doubt that he'd actually follow through on that threat, the show's performance could certainly affect what he thinks about the future of the industry. And as someone who enjoyed Haruhi and Black Rock Shooter, I'd rather not give him the chance. Besides, if Fractale turns out to be good, everyone wins!

What are your hopes for Yamakan's new work? What's the "secret" of the Fractale System? Is it people? Is Fractale people?!

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6:40 PM on 08.05.2010

Will FUNimation be sold? Find out in two quarters

It's been rumbling about the industry for a while now, but it seems that the cat may soon exit the bag. Navarre Corporation, parent company of FUNimation, is due to make "a strategic decision" regarding the publishe...

Josh Tolentino

Japanator Discusses: Dai Sato rants on the state of anime photo
Japanator Discusses: Dai Sato rants on the state of anime
by Josh Tolentino

Hello, and welcome to the first installment of Japanator Discusses, a roundtable-style feature that we resort to when a topic - and the thoughts and commentary inspired by it - is too big for any one editor to monopolize.

Today's topic comes from earlier in the week, when storywriter Dai Sato vented some of his frustrations over the current state of the industry in Japan. And Sato's word carries weight, as he's one of the pens behind such works as Ergo Proxy, Wolf's Rain, Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex, Eureka 7, Samurai Champloo, and - perhaps most famous of all, Cowboy Bebop.

Sato had much to be concerned about, to say the least. He raised the issue of the industry's dependence on outsourcing "grunt" animation work to foreign subcontractors, to which he attributed a decline in consistent quality and a lack of investment in the actual production (since many subcontractors know next to nothing about what they're animating). He even stepped up to accuse Japanese studios of refusing to teach these foreign workers vital creative skills, out of a desire to keep Japan's position dominant.

And it wasn't just the establishment Sato had a bone to pick with. He went on to rail against the Japanese audience, which had "no respect for stories," noting early fan dismissals of Eureka 7 as an Evangelion-clone and the lack of a Japanese box set for Ergo Proxy (contrasted to its presence overseas). The audience was now more interested in cute characters and materialistic escapism rather than dealing with greater social issues. As such, the industry which caters to them has become "super-establishment" and "sold out".

Despite declaring that anime "will die out in Japan in a few decades", Sato vowed that he would still continue to work on it in attempts to avert that bleak fate. Hope still held out, he said, in manga and the independent doujinshi scene. 

Rather bold statements, don't you think? A more detailed write-up of the rant is available at Otaku2. I recommend checking it out before seeing what I, Jeff, Bob, Mike and Brad had to say about Sato's gloomy predictions under the cut. Taken in light of Yamakan's own statements, how do you think anime's doing nowadays? Tell us in the comments!

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3:00 PM on 07.30.2010

Jon Schiller Design caught tracing multiple anime, games

It's shades of Nick Simmons with a new comic/toy property called SINS!, a darker spin-off of Jon Schiller Design's Little 9 property. Artist Jon Schiller, or someone working under him, has released a series of promotional ima...

Bob Muir

1:00 PM on 07.30.2010

Kannagi's Yamakan predicts end of anime home video sales

Apparently director Yutaka Yamamoto, a.k.a. Yamakan, is not too happy with the current state of the anime industry. Despite just releasing the highly anticipated OVA Black Rock Shooter through his own production company Studi...

Bob Muir

Swedish manga translator fined for lolicon photos photo
Swedish manga translator fined for lolicon photos
by Bob Muir

It seems that the ridiculous debate about the rights of fictional characters continues, disregarding common sense. Now, a Swedish manga translator (unnamed) has been fined by the district court of Uppsala Sweden for possessing 51 images considered child pornography by current law standards. The translator claimed he possessed the images to keep up on the latest developments from Japan. Naturally, he was surprised at the ruling, and even the judge stated he would like a second opinion from the appelate court, since such a decision would establish legal precedent. Nonetheless, Judge Nils Palbrant declared:

There's a clear conflict between freedom of speech on the one hand and general regulations regarding children's rights on the other...It was however our view that the protective aspect weighed more heavily when taking into account the intentions of the legislator. The aim of the law, as described in the preliminary work that led to its creation, is not just to protect individual children but children in general.

The defense's lawyer was also surprised with the ruling, stating that "it goes against all common sense." Local tabloids like Expressen also weighed in, declaring, "...there is actually no victim here. The children in the Uppland man's manga comics were not molested since they were characters in a comic." Which is true. As much as some otaku would like to believe they're real, 2D girls don't exist. The only victim here seems to be the translator.

It seems the only reason authorities even charged him with this offense was because his former partner, hoping to gain custody of their infant daught, falsely claimed that the translator sexually abused his daughter. Local police searched his belongings after the second accusation and, finding no evidence, charged him with possession of child pornography after looking through his manga collection.

Now the unnamed translator faces a fine of 25,000 SEK ($3,000) given on June 30th. It's relatively light, compared to a sentence handed down to Christopher Handley earlier this year. Still, punishments like these are overreaching their intent to protect children and instead trying to create a situation where fictional characters are given protection, which is just silly. We've started to see the chilling effect it is having in the US, so I can only hope lawmakers will come to their senses and focus on protecting us from actual problems.

[via AnimeNews]

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7:00 PM on 07.21.2010

Ryu Murakami bypasses publisher dominance by going iPad

Despite really being several iPod Touches nailed together, it seems the iPad is here to stay.It's an intriguing device though, especially in its potential as a replacement for paper-bound books and manga. Nothing's going to t...

Josh Tolentino

TokyoPop pairs up with Zinio for digital manga releases photo
TokyoPop pairs up with Zinio for digital manga releases
by Crystal White

West coast publisher TokyoPop, has paired with Zinio in order to offer manga available for download on Macs or PCs, as well as the iPad (I wonder if the iPod Touch is compatible as well). Singular downloads will be offered for $5.99 while multi-volume editions will cost $7.99. 

So far, there's already a list of combined TokyoPop/Zinio titles available for digital release, including:

  • Earthlight
  • Gravitation
  • The Tarot Cafe
  • The Dreaming
  • Jim Henson's Return to Labyrinth 
  • Bizenghast
  • Van Von Hunter
  • Undertown

The complete list only has eight titles currently, but TokyoPop/Zinio promise more to come. For those who are less familiar with Zinio, the company has worked with Arcana to publish The Clockwork Girl as well as working with Digital Manga Publishing to publish Vampire Hunter D, among other accomplishments.

It seems that while Zinio tiles run smoothly and look good on PC and such, they're presented in a western format, left-to-right. While this works for the Korean and English based manga that the current digital lineup consists of, it may become a problem when more Japanese titles are introduced. 

So I've gotten two stories in two days about manga publishers going digital. Is it inevitable? Will physical manga become a collector's relic, much like vinyl is today--there's certainly a market for it, but it's not on the cutting edge of technology. What do you think of TokyoPop and Zinio joining forces? 


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9:00 PM on 06.21.2010

MangaFox pulls their entire Viz library, 'talking' to Viz

I wonder how this is going to go: the folks over at MangaFox are currently trying to talk with the people at Viz in regards to all the scans they're hosting of Viz's licensed properties. In addition to all 230 titles Viz aske...

Brad Rice

10:00 AM on 06.16.2010

Crunchyroll gets another $750k shot in the arm!

It looks like Crunchyroll really is attracting all the investors. Less than three months after TV Tokyo invested in the group, Japanese e-publisher Bitway announced that they're also dropping $750,000 into Crunchyroll's coffe...

Brad Rice

Yotsuba & Scanlations photo
Yotsuba & Scanlations
by Ben Huber
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