Thursday, May 27, 2010

Anime North 2010!

Anime Fans Unite in Toronto this weekend for the biggest Japanese Animation convention in Canada. Anime North takes place May 28 - 30, 2010 and is held at the Toronto Congress Center, Doubletree Hotel, and Sheridan Toronto Airport.

I will be there and will be participating in a number of panels. Here's my schedule.
Sheraton Hotel - Muskoka room
10pm: Super Mario Bros

Doubletree - Toronto B room
11am: Classic Anime
12pm: The Mecha Panel
3pm: Transformers
10pm: Live Action Heroes

Doubletree - Toronto A room
1pm: Anime Wannabes
Doubletree - Main Plaza Ballroom
2pm: Classic Anime with Dave Merril
You are definitley going to want to check out that classic anime panel on Sunday, it's going to be huge, with tons of awesome video clips focusing on how classic anime has been made available in North America. Expect some rare stuff courtesy of Let's Anime's own Dave Merril. I'll be there talking about Tezuka and some of my other favorite classics, and I promise I won't make anything up unless it's funny.

To make my mysterious self more slightly recongizable, I will be wearing this shirt from deviantArt on Saturday with a green camo bandanna and probably a Gatchaman shirt on Sunday. It would be great to see you there, so come say hi and tell me that you read the site!

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Scott Seeto - Art of Astro Boy - Vehicles

Here's some more concept artwork from the Astro Boy movie, this batch coming from artist Scott Seeto. This post will focus on the futuristic vehicle designs, some of which may not have made it into the film. Some of his sketches were done on Post-It notes.

Scott clearly did a lot of work for Astro and you can see more on his blog. I'll post further entires here later. Thanks again to Felix Ip!

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Old's Cool with Mike Toole

Make sure you check out The Mike Toole Show, a new column on Anime News Network that is set to feature some of the unique, obscure, classic, and forgotten gems that make Japanese Animation so awesome. The first edition is all about the first wave of black and white TV anime from the 1960's, starting with Astro Boy and moving on to other series that have little to no exposure outside Japan. Tezuka's Big X and Dororo get a mention as well, along with classics like Cyborg 009 and Sally the Witch. It's not only a very informative look at a chapter of anime history that is mostly unknown to English speakers, but it's incredibly entertaining as well.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Vertical Talks Tezuka

Bookgasm recently held an interveiw with the Marketing Director for Vertical, Ed Chavez. You can read the Osamu Tezuka related portion below and check out the entire interview here.

BOOKGASM: How have the Osamu Tezuka reprints done for Vertical? I’m especially curious about the ongoing BLACK JACK series. While it would seem such a project would attract a loyal fan base, I’m assuming the law of diminishing returns comes into play?

CHAVEZ: Since Vertical’s launch, Tezuka’s comics have been one of the main pillars of our success as a company. Tezuka’s sales easily make up a full third of our overall sales, and when you consider how we had an 18-percent increase in revenue last year, those sales were very significant.

BLACK JACK has been a fascinating case in the manga world. You are right about diminishing returns. Those laws affect every title, but BLACK JACK has now twice bucked that trend over the last 12 months. Last summer, BLACK JACK, already six volumes into its run, began to gain readers, with orders surpassing the two previous volumes. We are seeing the same trend for VOLUME 10, where orders are as high as they were around this time last year.

There is no doubt Tezuka created a masterpiece in BLACK JACK, and the content itself is what is really bringing in new readers, but there is one point that I think people overlook that might also be in play here: BLACK JACK being a collection of shorts can allow for sampling at any point in the series. It does not need the same level of commitment as other titles with the same length, nor does it seem as daunting to come into the series midway. BLACK JACK by design can cure readers of almost any manga anxiety.

BOOKGASM: Are you considering bringing other Tezuka works to these shores? I, for one, would love the opportunity to see his VAMPIRES.

CHAVEZ: We are always considering more Tezuka. This fall, we will release a new omnibus, this time collecting Dr. Tezuka’s post-WWII drama, AYAKO. The title will be translated by Mari Morimoto, the woman responsible for adapting some of manga’s biggest names — INUYASHA, NARUTO, DRAGONBALL and NEON GENESIS EVANGELIION — into English. Peter Mendelsund will once again take the design reigns.

I would like to take on another Tezuka title once BLACK JACK wraps up next summer. We haven’t decided which way to go, but we already have a short list ready.
Sounds like Tezuka manga is making a big impact! I'm a little late to the party but, with thanks to Ani-Gamers, I have recently gone through Ode to Kirihito and it was an incredible, killer read!

For even more on Vertical's Tezuka releases, Ed Chavez participated on the ANNCast at Anime News Network last month.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Batman - Tezuka Style

What if Osamu Tezuka drew Batman? Artist Ralph Cosentino bravely attempts to answer this potentially universe-exploding question by creating this image:

"This was another Warner Bros. project. They asked me to come up with a more friendlier, less brooding Batman style so I thought I’d try a style based on one of my favorite creators / artists, Osamu Tezuka."
Pretty cool! I'd watch it! It's a solid approximation of Tezuka's style. Really makes you wonder what Tezuka's take on some famous comic book characters would look like.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

John Nevarez - Art of Astro Boy

Although there will unfortunately not be a "The Art of Astro Boy" book, former Imagi Creative Director Felix Ip has begun compiling concept artwork from artists who worked on the animated film, starting with the work of John Nevarez.

Some of this work is quite different than what the final film looked like, which goes to show just how much effort and artistry goes into this kind of film.

You can see this amazing collection of images here on Felix's Blog or by clicking the link below.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Astro Boy Movie Storyboards

Artist James Fuji has posted some development storyboard artwork from the Astro Boy movie.

There's a sequence involving a giant robot (Peacekeeper?) uses Astro as a power source and attacking the floating city, and another featuring Zog and Astro's friends going inside the robot and trying to rescue him. Seems like this must be a different story element that was cut or changed from what finally got animated into the film.

Very cool to see this process!

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Ministry Of Science ID Badges

With thanks again to Felix Ip, the creative and art director of the Astro Boy Movie, here is a look at the Ministry of Science ID cards made for the film. You can see that Dr. Tenma's full name in the movie is William Umataro Tenma, but please, just call him Bill.

Felix's own name appears as a character too, a member of the Elite Special Forces. It's quite amusing that his ID has a picture of him with his helmet on.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May the Fourth Be With You

To celebrate this unofficial holiday, here is a picture I stumbled upon of a page from a French translated Osamu Tezuka manga that features a certain famous Galactic bad guy. I bet Dr. Tezuka was a big fan!

Anyone have any detailed information on this image?

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Astro Boy Movie's International Rollout Still Going

This is quite interesting. I had recently found a number of reviews for the Astro Boy Movie coming from newspapers and websites originating in India. It turns out that this film has only just now, as of this past weekend, been released in theaters there. I don't know about the box office but the reviews seem generally positive overall. It appears that the Indian release of the film is in its original English Language.

I didn't realize there were still major markets that had not even gotten a theatrical release of the film yet. It was released in the UK back in the winter, and that seemed like a long wait compared to the Asian and North American releases, but other countries only saw the film's release in recent months. Others still, like Spain, are still having to wait until next month for the film, and there even now some counties have the release of the movie still listed as TBA.

So, clearly, it's not that great if you live somewhere that hasn't gotten to see the film yet while we're here in North America watching it at home on DVD and Blu Ray, but this does mean that there is still money being made on the movie and that can only be a good thing for a film that had a tough time finding an audience in its initial release. So, since this is AstroBoyWorld after all, I invite everyone from any country who has seen the movie to please share your thoughts and let everyone know what you think!

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