Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wanna Race?

Here we go with a crazy old merchandise post!

Astro and Ochanomizu toy race cars. Astro looks pretty serious. He could probably fly faster without the car though. Not sure how Ochanomizu could fit his entire body inside a comparatively small car like that.

Yet another oddity found on eBay by Fauna. Plenty more where these came from!

Continue reading "Wanna Race?"...

Jakob Jensen Interview

AOKIstudio Animation blog has an interview with Jakob Jensen, animation director for the upcoming CG Astro Boy movie from Imagi. It's quite a fascinating story about how his work in animation brought him from his home in Copenhagen all the way to Los Angeles.

Here's a bit where he talks about Astro Boy.

Well, it would be terribly foolish of me to even pretend to know more than your readers about the cultural impact Osamu Tezuka’s story has had over time.
Our production tries to stay true to the core of the origin-story, taking a few liberties necessary for the drama to function in a feature length format.
Ours is an intercontinental production utilizing talent from our main offices in Hong Kong and our Los Angeles unit. Feature production of this size is relatively new to Hong Kong and therefore Imagi chose to recruit a good deal of industry veterans from LA. It has had the wanted effect of marrying the very different but compatible sensibilities of our two worlds into a hopefully fresh peace of work.
As I said earlier, the film is directed by David Bowers and produced by Maryann Garger, the director/producer team of “Flushed Away”. Sharing with me the title of Animation Director is Kim Ooi, a veteran of the Hong Kong office and with him in Hong Kong is my long time DreamWorks colleague Tim Cheung who now takes on the task of Vice President of Animation at Imagi.
Check out the entire interview with Jakob Jensen on the AOKIstudio Animation blog. It's a great read.

You can find an earlier interview with Jakob on Hollywood Reporter and see his personal blog here.

Continue reading "Jakob Jensen Interview"...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Astro Boy Movie Prequel Comic #1

Set for release in May is the first issue of a comic series published by IDW serving as a lead-in to the Astro Boy Movie story. This is a separate comic from the movie adaptation. Here's the official solicitation.


Written by Scott Tipton, art by Diego Jourdan, covers by Jourdan and Ashley Wood.

He's back! Astro Boy makes his return to comics, paving the way for his exciting feature film debut later this year! It's an all-new Astro Boy adventure, with Astro exploring a strange subterranean kingdom in search of his lost father, encountering weird creatures large and small. But are they friend or foe?

32 pages, $3.99.
Diego Jourdan is a great artist who's work I know from Teenage Mutatnt Ninja Turtles and Transformers. He's an absolutely great choice for Astro Boy. You can check out his web page here.

If you want these comics, be sure that you visit your local comic book retailer and place an order ahead of time!

Source: Comics Continuum. Thanks to Al for letting me know!

Continue reading "Astro Boy Movie Prequel Comic #1"...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Astro Movie Receives Economic Stimulus.

The collective hearts of fans around the globe skipped a beat last month when production of the upcoming CG animated Astro Boy movie by Imagi was temporarily shut down. Now, several weeks later, comes official word that financing is fully in place and the movie is back on track for its scheduled October release. There has also been a change in staff.


The feature version of "Astro Boy" is officially back on track for an Oct. 23 release after producer Imagi Entertainment announced it's completed a $25 million financing plan.

Imagi, which temporarily suspended "Astro Boy" production last month, said late Tuesday that the funding means it will also continue active development of the "Gatchaman" and "Tusker" projects.

The company's U.S. prexy, Erin Corbett, told Daily Variety that the company's has already called back all but 23 of its staffers to complete "Astro Boy." About 100 of Imagi's 120 staffers - most of them in Sherman Oaks -- were furloughed last month.

"Astro Boy," the story of a young robot with superhero powers, was created by Osamu Tezuka and first aired as a TV toon in Japan in the mid 1960s. Pic is helmed by David Bowers with a voice cast that includes Nicolas Cage, Bill Nighy, Freddie Highmore, Eugene Levy, Donald Sutherland and Kristen Bell. Summit's distribbing in the U.S.

"We are thrilled by the incredible response to 'Astro Boy's' early film footage and stills," Corbett said.

The financing plan for Hong Kong-based Imagi includes raising operating capital both from new investors and from existing shareholders.

Imagi also disclosed that Francis Kao has resigned as chairman to devote more time to his role as chief creative officer. Kao's being succeeded by Richard Witts, who has over 35 years of experience in Asia including management posts with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Schroder Securities, United Mok Ying Kie and CLSA.
More coverage:
Sci-Fi Wire

Continue reading "Astro Movie Receives Economic Stimulus."...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More on Astro movie toys.

With thanks again to, I have some more info on the upcoming Astro Boy toy line from Jazwares. There will be different size classes, 3.75 inch action figures, and 6 inch action figures. Also, the urban vinyl style Astro Boy collectibles are in the same style as other licenses from Jazwares, so you can display your Astro vinyl right beside your Megaman vinyl!

I've copied the main info below.

3 and 3 quarter figures kick the line off, as the favorite scale for toy manufacturers this year. This series includes Astro Boy in his movie outfit and an Iconic outfit for die hard fans, Peacekeeper (the villain), Soldier and Trashcan (the dog!).

6 Inch figures with electronics will hit stores with light up features. Peacekeeper in particular will have veining through out his body that will light up for a creepy effect. In the film, he absorbs other electronics and takes on their power, so the figures will reflect some of his incarnations as he grows to monstrous dimensions. It should be noted that since Peacekeeper grows in size, this will make the 6 inch figure in scale with the 3 and 3 quarter line as well. Another Iconic Astro Boy figure will allow you to open up his heart and see his blue core! Finally we've got what Jazwares is calling "Killbot" (the knight's armor looking robot with saw blades) with his light up eyes.

A 10 inch Astroy Boy pack is also on the way. Astro Boy features a light up chest, arm cannons, feet rockets and eyes. Trashcan is also included in this pack.

Astro Boy Urban Vinyl joins Jazzwares new Sonic and Mega Man pieces. They’ll start with 3 Astro Boys and a soldier.

Some plush is also planned but so far, only Trashcan has made the cut. You can pretty much guarantee Astro will join him eventually.

Onto Roleplay with Astro Boy's fist cannon with lights and sounds included. Also available will be light up cores (the round object in front of the cannon in our pictures.)
There's only one thing to say. "Killbot!"

Check out the entire post on "Astro Boy's New Toys for a New Movie" -

Continue reading "More on Astro movie toys."...

CBC's "Send in the Robots"

Gotta love the news stories we get in Canada!

Last month, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation did this fascinating report on Japan's attempts to replace it aging workforce with robots. "Mighty Atom" Astro Boy is specifically mentioned as a reason why Japan loves robots so much. It's a unique problem that Japan faces, and one has to wonder just what the future of this particular solution holds.

Thanks to Andrew for bringing this interesting video to my attention. You can watch it uncut and in high quality for yourself on the CBC website, but I have also uploaded it onto YouTube in two parts for archival purposes.

Part 1

Part 2

There are also some field notes about the piece which you can read on the CBC website or by clicking the link below for an archived version.

Field Notes by Saša Petricic

"Send in the Robots" by videojournalist Saša Petricic
January 30, 2009

Slowly, deliberately, Japan plans to replace its people with robots.

It populated its factories with long-armed machines long ago to perform menial, repetitive tasks... to build TVs or microwaves or cars. That was in the name of efficiency.

Now, though, the country is facing an actual shortage of people. Since 2006, Japan's population has been dropping, its workforce dangerously hollowed out by old age. As nursing homes replace factories for more and more Japanese, their country has two choices: to rely on immigrants for temporary labour the way many industrial countries do, including the US and Canada. Or, to find a technological solution.

This being Japan, with a strong aversion to foreign influences and evils, and an equally powerful love of gadgets, it has chosen the latter. So today, from Kyoto to Kobe, Osaka to Tokyo, engineers are scrambling to build the perfect android. To make robots that do household chores, keep the young and the elderly company, welcome guests, even sing and dance. Government subsidies push the effort along.

The technical challenges are huge. Gears and cogs are too bulky, batteries don't last long enough, the perfect fit, feel and attitude for lifelike and effective robot workers remain elusive.

And time is quickly running out for this technological answer to succeed. Japan needs new workers now - hundreds of thousands of them. The most optimistic robot-makers don't see their creations being ready to help the economy for at least three to five years. It seems to be a plan that's failed even before it gets off the ground.

Of course, the irony is that the workers Japanese scientists are struggling to create already exist... they're available today in exactly the right shapes and sizes, with a familiar interface: human workers, ready and able - in surplus even - around the globe.

Posted by The National on February 2, 2009 10:17 AM |

Continue reading "CBC's "Send in the Robots""...

Monday, February 23, 2009

IDW Astro Boy Comic Preview

Last Week, IDW Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall posted a preview of the upcoming Astro Boy comic based on the CG Animated movie set for release this fall from Imagi. Take an early look at the incredible, Tezuka-inspired artwork of E.J. Su in these two black and white pages!

This comic is certainly in great hands by the looks of things. Make sure you check out the original post on the RyallTime Blog and leave your comments there!

Continue reading "IDW Astro Boy Comic Preview"...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Astro Boy Toys @ Toy Fair!

Last week in New York City, the International Toy Fair was held, where toy producers show off what they'll be offering to retailers over the next several months. This is always one of my favorite times of the year, since I love action figures and I've been a collector for many years.

Jazwares was on hand to give us a peak at the range of merchandise they'll have for the upcoming CG animated Astro Boy movie from Imagi, and has got the scoop with many pictures. This is giving us not only a look at what the toys will be like, but also some ideas of what might end up being key points to the movie's story.

Some interesting things to note.

- It looks like there will be several different figures of Astro available, including ones featuring his civilian clothes as well as his classic boots and shorts look. They all appear to have many points of articulation so they should be very poseable!

- One of the more interesting releases in the action figure line looks to be a figure of Astro wearing armor. It actually looks pretty bad-ass. Could this be his "Robot Gladiator" costume?

- There are also a few other characters revealed thus far, including two different versions of the Peacekeeper (one normal, and another that looks like it has absorbed many other machines), the trashcan dog with a robot drone, and what looks like a gladiator robot with saws.

- Also due for release is a larger, deluxe Astro Boy figure that includes the trashcan dog robot and removable arm cannons. It might have light up electronics too but I can't tell.

- Some urban vinyl-style figures were on display as well. More on those later.

- And lastly, there appears to be some kind of child-size role-play arm cannon toy.

Check out all the pictures for yourself at the Toy Fair 2009 Astro Boy gallery!

Jazwares also has a Astro Boy toy line subsite, but nothing is there just yet.

There isn't much text information right now so everything I just wrote is just my own observations. I'll have more info on the Astro Boy toy line as it becomes available. Stay tuned!

Continue reading "Astro Boy Toys @ Toy Fair!"...

Words Without Borders Celebrates Graphic Novels

Haven't been able to post about this until now, but Words Without Borders, an online magazine dedicated to bringing international literature to the English speaking world, has dedicated the month of February to graphic novels. Among the many interesting and unique examples of the art form they have available for your reading pleasure are two interesting entries that will be of great interest to Osamu Tezuka fans.

The classic Black Jack story "Tetsu of the Yamanote Line" is presented in it's entity. If you have not read this story yet, don't miss your chance to check out this great Black Jack tale featuring Tezuka's famous character, Shunsaku Ban.

Also, a segment of the autobiographical manga "A Drifting Life", created by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, is presented. In this tale, the author recalls the first time he met Osamu Tezuka in person. Pretty incredible!

Continue reading "Words Without Borders Celebrates Graphic Novels"...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pluto: The Movie a possibility?

The Daily Yomuri Online has an article about the famous and prolific manga artist Naoki Urasawa, the creator of the Astro Boy tribute "Pluto". In the article, Urasawa's newest work "Billy Bat" is discussed, as well as the coming end of the Pluto manga in Japan. Apparently, their are negotations in Hollywood going on right now for a Pluto movie! Whether this movie would be live action or animated should it ever come into fruition is unsaid, but it's very exciting all the same. Could we be getting two completely different Astro Boy movies within a few years of each other?

Also in the article, Urasawa discusses how Pluto came about and his own apprehensions towards creating it as a Tezuka fan. You can read "On a wing and a prayer: Hitmaker mangaka Urasawa turns to period fiction with his new 'Billy Bat'" on the Daily Yomuri Online or by clicking the link below for an archived version right here.

On a wing and a prayer: Hitmaker mangaka Urasawa turns to period fiction with his new 'Billy Bat'

Cristoph Mark / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer

It's already been an eventful year for Naoki Urasawa, whose manga have garnered myriad awards and sold more than 100 million copies--nearly one for every person in Japan--since his 1983 debut. In 2009, his critically successful 20th Century Boys series is seeing the second and third installments of its cinematic release, Urasawa has released his debut rock album called 1/2 Century Man, his Pluto manga series is coming to an end and he is freshly into his new Billy Bat serial, set against an unstable postwar Japan caught between GHQ and communist agitators.

"A lot of young Japanese don't know who Japan fought against in World War II," Urasawa says to The Daily Yomiuri at his Tokyo home as he talks about Billy Bat, which recently saw its sixth installment in Morning, a weekly manga magazine. "It's nice to feel that peace is enough, but we need to study the past so we can create our future. It's like, 'Come on, study even a little bit!' I don't expect people to use this manga to study history, but I do hope to draw some attention to that period. You know, how did our society become what it is?"

Takashi Nagasaki, Billy Bat's cocreator and Urasawa's longtime editor-cum-collaborator, explains in a separate interview at his office elsewhere in the city: "One reason I wanted to focus on the postwar period is because today's society has completely forgotten about it. It would have been our fathers' generation. I thought it was about time for a manga to tell the younger generations how Japan rose from the country it was after the war to become the country it is today.

"This was inspired in part by a recent book called Tokyo Year Zero. [Author David Peace] told the story of postwar Japan so Japanese, we couldn't let an Englishman tell our story better than us. I was a bit perturbed by that," he says with a laugh.

Still very early in its run, Billy Bat tells the story of Kevin Yamagata, a Japanese-American comic book artist in the United States who is wildly successful with his series "Billy Bat," about a private eye (and bat) often hired to follow unfaithful spouses. When FBI agents decide to use Yamagata's office to spy on a neighbor who has been fingered as a communist sympathizer, one of the agents says he has seen the Billy Bat character somewhere before. This comment leads Yamagata to his ancestral homeland of Japan, which is going through a major transformation under the U.S. Occupation.

To highlight the instability of the era, Urasawa and Nagasaki took inspiration from and made reference to 1949's Shimoyama Incident, which saw the death of Sadanori Shimoyama, the president of the then Japanese National Railway, which was preparing to lay off 8,000 workers as part of its restructuring. "It remains a mystery in Japan whether it was suicide or murder. There even were rumors that either the communists or GHQ was behind it. But we don't know. And Japan rose from this sort of gloom," Nagasaki says, explaining the early origins of the setting for Billy Bat.

The massive story was four years in the making, with the two writers taking each other's ideas and transforming them into something better. "People often think he's the pitcher and I'm the catcher, but in our discussions for this story, I was the pitcher, he was the batter," Nagasaki explains.

The mystery of Billy Bat quickly expands to include murder--seemingly involving Yamagata--and a mysterious bat symbol that seems to have a religious following, not unlike the now-familiar hand-eye symbol associated with the sinister Friend in 20th Century Boys.

"Human history is tied to that kind of thing [symbols], and it has always been the expression and source of culture. It has repeatedly brought out the good and evil in people and guides them in good and bad directions. I think it's a pretty consistent theme," Urasawa says, refusing to expand on which direction the mysterious bat symbol will lead the reader. Nagasaki, however, drops a few possible hints: "When we started thinking about the series, we thought about, for example, what if Billy Bat was like Jesus Christ, and it might have this sort of ancient mystery about it? I was also interested in the idea of what if the very first image of God that humans ever saw was this [image of a bat]?"

There is another idol, however, that Nagasaki imagines Urasawa may have been considering when he was developing the story: "I have a feeling Urasawa wanted to tell the story of Walt Disney. I, however, had no intention of telling Disney's story."

Though this may seem like a bit of a stretch to the casual reader, the influence could be seen in the first two installments, both of which were drawn as a "Billy Bat" comic within the manga. The style, inspired by the likes of Dick Tracy and other comics of that era, was nothing like that found in Japanese manga. It was even printed in full color--very unusual for the cheap, weekly comic magazines--complete with the look of aged, browning paper, to add to its initial claim of being a genuinely rediscovered American classic. For this reader, it was a refreshing change of pace to see an established mangaka try something new and adventurous. On Internet blogs and fan sites, however, there was a backlash against the "new style."

"When we were with [publisher] Shogakukan," Nagasaki explains, "I think our readers would've gone along with Urasawa's different style for Billy Bat. But since moving to Kodansha, I think we lost a bunch of readers with the first couple of stories. There are mangaka who want to do an American-style comic, but nobody has succeeded with doing it."

Urasawa, however, didn't think much of the reaction. "Recently, there are more readers who expect that I wouldn't continue in that way [the first installment of Billy Bat], so there were a lot of people who expected it was a gimmick, since I'm a writer who uses a lot of gimmicks like that," he says. "So they were wondering when I would switch back to normal, and that's fun for me to play with.

"I want to experiment with the freedom to switch back and forth between styles and storylines; I don't think too far ahead in the story; I want to see if I can get the readers to follow along with me. That way, I can maybe push things further."


Life beyond 'Pluto'

As Urasawa settles into his new series, he is preparing for the final installment of Pluto in April. The series, which has received awards including the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, is based on "The Greatest Robot on Earth" from Tezuka's Astro Boy, a story arc about the murders of the world's most advanced robots. The project was a successful, but stressful, one for both Urasawa and Nagasaki.

"I can finally relax; the weight is off my shoulders," says Urasawa, whose other hit series have included Yawara, Monster and Pineapple Army.

"I won't do that again," Nagasaki exclaims.

The trouble with Pluto, the movie rights for which are currently under negotiation in Hollywood, was in the duo's own expectations. "For Japanese, Osamu Tezuka is known as the God of Manga. And for me, I wouldn't be doing this job if it hadn't been for him. To be given that major work to see through to the end--that's a lot of pressure," Urasawa says. "There was this one Tezuka fan that kept telling me his fans would hate what I was doing--and I realized only recently that Tezuka fan was actually me."

It was the end of a series that began in 2003, to coincide with the 40th birthday of Tetsuwan Atomu (Astro Boy). Urasawa and Nagasaki negotiated for a year to get the permission to do the story, despite Urasawa's reluctance--based on both existing workload and a bit of fear--to get involved. "I said somebody ought to do something on the level of 'The Greatest Robot on Earth,' otherwise the younger readers wouldn't get Tezuka's accomplishments. But I had no intention of doing it myself. Everybody told me I should do it, and I said, 'No, no, no, no, no.'"

After prodding from Nagasaki and a series of brainstorms, the resulting story idea seemed too good to let anybody else do, according to Urasawa, who describes that particular story as a manga that opened his generation's eyes. "It wasn't about a righteous robot that took down bad robots, it was about the emptiness of war," Urasawa recalls. "When I read that when I was about 4, I felt like I had been told a very deep story, something meant for adults. I think everyone felt that way when they read it. It was never actually meant for kids."

Both Urasawa and Nagasaki say the story sticks to the original plotline, but there are a couple of revelations for readers in the final installment, one about the protagonist, a robot detective called Gesicht, and the other "a pretty good surprise."

Urasawa's most recent works have all been hits critically and commercially, with each of them big-screen bound. (Monster is currently in preproduction.) The still-young Billy Bat is promising, but nothing, according to Nagasaki, is a given. "There's no one who can always stay at the top," Nagasaki says. "Naoki Urasawa has always been at the top. It's only natural that he will fall from that position at some point. For me, each venture is risky. I might end up thinking, 'If we had only stopped at that last one...' I like him: That's why I work with him. But every time, I think, 'This might be it.'"
(Feb. 13, 2009)

Continue reading "Pluto: The Movie a possibility?"...

Ashley Wood Strikes Again!

Reputed artist Ashley Wood gives us a work-in-progress preview of a new cover he's painting for the upcoming Astro Boy comic book series published by IDW.

Make sure you check it out on Ashley's blog!

Continue reading "Ashley Wood Strikes Again!"...

Summit presents Astro Boy at WonderCon

Yet another US convention will be giving attendees the chance to catch a preview of the upcoming CG animated Astro Boy movie from Imagi.

WonderCon 2009, happening Friday, February 27 though Sunday, March 1, in San Francisco, California at the Moscone Center South, will have a panel hosted by Summit Entertainment, who will be presenting previews of films from their 2009 line up. Their panel will be on the Saturday. Here's a blurb from their press release

Also on Saturday, fans of the beloved anime favorite Astro Boy will be treated to a special presentation of the all-new feature film version by Summit Entertainment, along with a look at the new film, Knowing, starring Nicolas Cage.
Check out the WonderCon Saturday programming guide for more info. Looks like a great convention. Comic publisher IDW also has a panel on Saturday, and it's quite possible that their Astro Boy movie adaptations will be among the topics of discussion as well.

Continue reading "Summit presents Astro Boy at WonderCon"...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Please Excuse Technical Difficulties!

Sorry about the lack of updates. I caught a computer virus on my main blogging machine last week. It was a tough one, and so rather than struggle to try to repair it, I decided to back-up as much as I could, format the hard drive, and start fresh. It was a controlled situation, but even then it takes awhile to get things re-organized. I'm still not quite done.

Unfortunately, the transition didn't go as smoothly as I planned, and I lost most of my bookmarks, including a bunch of Astro-releated links that I was saving to share here some time. I'll have to rebuild that cache of links as I go along.

So, anyway, please excuse the limited activity here. I hope to be caught up soon, and to add some other new updates as well. Thanks for checking out ABW!

Continue reading "Please Excuse Technical Difficulties!"...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Info from Summit's NYCC Presentation

A couple of websites have posted reports on the Astro Boy portion of Summit Entertainment's panel at NYCC. Along with a description of the footage shown, we now have a bit more of an idea of the plot of the film as it relates to the antagonist robot, Peacemaker, who seems to be powered by "Red Core" energy as opposed to Astro's blue energy. Plus, we have confirmation that Astro will indeed have his, ahem... butt cannons. Well, it just wouldn't be the same without 'em, right?

Check out the scoops from io9, MTV Splash Page and FilmBuffOnLine Newsreel.

Not sure that photography was allowed at the panel. I seriously doubt it, so don't count on seeing the video footage online any time soon.

Continue reading "Info from Summit's NYCC Presentation"...

New Astro movie pics at IGN!

IGN has uploaded some brand new images from the upcoming CG animated Astro Boy movie by Imagi. Check 'em out!

The blueprints for Astro look as if they were drawn by Tezuka himself!

Astro takes to the sky.

Looks like he's in trouble here. Wonder how this scene works into the plot.

Be sure to check out the Astro Boy gallery at

Continue reading "New Astro movie pics at IGN!"...

Saturday, February 7, 2009


While the big news for NYCC is going to be from this Sunday's big presentation by Summit Entertainment featuring footage from the upcoming CG animated Astro Boy movie by Imagi, the comic book gurus at IDW Publishing were also there to announce some new information about their adaptations of the film.

The picture to the right has nothing to do with Astro. I just think it's funny.

Anyway, Newsarama brings us the scoop in their NYCC '09 IDW panel report.

Scott Tipton will be writing the Astro Boy Movie Prequel. Tipton’s also writing the adaptation of movie this September. Ashley Wood illustrates the cover of prequel, and E.J. Su, who was inspired to become a cartoonist by Astro Boy, will draw the adaptation.
Scott Tipton has written other IDW comic projects such as Star Trek and Angel, and also has a website called Comics 101.

Looks like I was right about Ashley Wood's involvement in the comics, but it was a pretty safe estimate given how much he's already done with IDW.

E.J. Su is an artist I've been a fan of since I first saw his pieces in the Transformers: Genesis art book. He's been penciling Transformers comics for IDW and is an excellent choice for drawing Astro Boy. In fact, when I first heard that IDW was doing Astro Boy comics for the movie, his name immediately sprang to my mind.

Here is a piece of Astro Boy artwork that E.J. did, though I'm fairly certain this was just done for himself and not for anything official.

So, with this in mind it can safely be said that E.J. pretty much rocks the house.

More from the IDW panel:
Tipton said that the footage he’s seen of the Astro Boy movie “looks fantastic, it looks really fun.” He said that writing Astro Boy has been a work in progress, because he “can’t really make with the quips.” He’s had to learn “how to make a ten-year-old boy with machine guns in his butt funny.” Ryall said that the movie is very “true to [Osamu] Tezuka’s spirit.”
So there you have it. Actual news on the upcoming comics! I wonder how the story of the prequel comics will work out before the movie? How much of Astro do we see in the prequel comics if the movie is about how he was created in the first place? They must have something in mind, so I guess we'll find out!

Continue reading "IDW @ NYCC"...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

REMINDER: Astro Boy @ NYCC this weekend!

This is a friendly reminder that this weekend is the New York Comic Con in New York City, and that Summit Entertainment will be have an exclusive presentation featuring footage from Imagi's upcoming CG animated Astro Boy movie!

The presentation takes place at the IGN Theater on Sunday, Feburary 8th, from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM. If you'll be at the convention, be sure that you don't miss out!

Continue reading "REMINDER: Astro Boy @ NYCC this weekend!"...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

AWESOME New Astro Boy movie pics!

Harry from Ain't it Cool News is bringing us the goods!

Two new pictures from the upcoming CG animated Astro Boy movie by Imagi have been released, and they are incredible! These are big pictures! Click for a larger view.

Here we have Astro flying around Metro City. Check out the details in the background! It looks just like the world I would envision Astro to live in. Look closely on the left side and you can even see Tezuka's trademark "Hyoutan-Tsugi" mushroom-pig-thing. These cats know their stuff!

And here we have Peacekeeper, a robot that absorbs other machines and uses their energy. Looks wicked!

Now, let's be honest about this. It's pretty obvious why we've been graced by these two images. It's to show that this movie, despite all of Imagi's recent troubles, is still going to happen, and still going to look spectacular. Well, mission accomplished in my book! This ought to quiet down the doomsayers for awhile!

Make sure you check out Harry's original post on AICN and get his take on things. He's clearly a big fan too!

Continue reading "AWESOME New Astro Boy movie pics!"...

Jungle Fever

Here's a cool announcement that slipped through my fingers last week.

One of Osamu Tezuka's most famous creations, Jungle Emperor Leo (sometimes known internationally as Kimba the White Lion), will be getting a new animated special this summer in Japan. It will be a new story set in the future and is said to be incorporating elements of "variety storytelling", but still be in step with Tezuka's original themes. Here's a description of the plot:

In this future story, mankind is plagued with the environmental destruction it did little to prevent. The United Nations entrusts a company called Eternal Earth to create "Neo Jungle," an artificial environment for the wildlife that faces extinction. Within this thriving miniature ecosystem, a young white lion named Leo is born. While the cub lacks bravery at first, he vows to "become the Jungle Emperor like my father someday!" One day, Leo encounters Ken'ichi, the son of the head of Eternal Earth.
Sounds pretty cool, and it's been confirmed that some incredible talent are working on it, including Code Geass director Goro Taniguchi and legendary character designer Yoshitaka Amano. I'll be keeping an eye on this!

Source: Anime News Network - Tezuka's Jungle Emperor to Return in Summer TV Special - Geass' Taniguchi, FF Games' Amano on New Jungle Emperor

Continue reading "Jungle Fever"...

Monday, February 2, 2009

More on Last Week's Temp. Movie Shutdown

Tough week, huh? I hope you don't mind, but I just let it all pass so I could sort things out once it was over instead of stressing myself out by reporting every scandalous little scrap of info posted by websites that didn't know what they were talking about. Looks like we're through the worst of it, for now, anyway.

Deadline Hollywood Daily brings the details. If this is to be believed, then almost 80 people working on the Astro Boy film from the Imagi LA office were laid off. This is very unfortunate news, and I absolutely wish all the best to anyone affected by this. But the company still remains determined to release the film on time.

Besides completion, there is also the matter of distribution. Summit Entertainment is simply distributing the film, and so Imagi has to raise the money to promote the film themselves. This might be another tough nut to crack once the time comes.

On the positive side, Anime News Network and Variety each have articles about how the bridge funding for the film has arrived. From the wording I'm not entirely sure if the funding kicked in last week and production resumed right away, or if production was halted for the whole week after all, but it seems like the former from what I'm reading. Funding from the private equity companies is set to arrive tomorrow, so things should be back on track soon enough regardless.

In other news, looks like the previously reported rumor from last summer that Scarlett Johansson was going to be in the movie is not true after all. I had figured after the cast list started to gel and the teaser trailer was released that she wasn't going to be in it after all, but now it's confirmed that she won't be. MTV news spoke with her and, while she said that she had meetings about the film, she had not committed to it. My best guess is that Kristen Bell has the part that Scarlett Johansson was in the running for.

Anyway, let's hope everything runs smoothly from now on. Not only do I want this movie to come out on time, I don't think I could take the stress on having to write about it here if it doesn't!

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