Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Wallace

I am somewhat disturbed by this artwork, but it's too funny not to share. From Scott Pilgrim comic book creator Bryan Lee O'Mally comes this drawing of Wallace in his Halloween costume. We are asked to guess who he's dressed up as.

Halloween Wallace by *radiomaru on deviantART

If you've read the comics then you'll know that, somehow, this costume does actually suit him.

The amazing movie Scott Pilgrim vs The World comes out on DVD and Blu Ray in North America on November 9th. If you missed it in theaters you have to check it out when it reaches home, because it's totally incredible and one of the best films of the year. There is even an Astro Boy reference, so you can't go wrong there.

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The Robo-Dating Scene

Thanks to Cathy at Computer Technician for telling me about this article featuring 10 Robots You can Actually Date.

There are some really fascinating specimens in here, like this this somewhat creepy female android and the bartender robot pictured here. Really this is just a fun way of looking at how robots have advanced and become more human-like in their interactions.

Maybe some of you might think a few of them are cute, I don't know. But the article comes with the caveat that just because one could date a robot, doesn't mean it's a very good idea. But hey, maybe someday these robots will be able to date each other.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

One Year Ago.

Hard to believe, but today, October 23rd, marks the 1 year anniversary of the release in the Astro Boy movie. Time flies, huh?

Clearly, the theatrical release of this movie didn't exactly set the box office on fire, but I know for a fact that the film has won people over and built up a respectable fanbase in the time since. It's a good film, and it's a shame that so many people missed out on it at first. But now, thanks in good part to the release of the Astro Boy movie, many more people have become familiar with the character and his story, and the works of Osamu Tezuka continue to flourish around the world. No matter what the numbers say, I count that as a win.

I think this movie holds up pretty well to repeat viewings. There are a lot of fun Easter-eggs and Tezuka-esque gags throughout the movie that you might have missed the first time. So, take some time out at some point this weekend and watch the Astro Boy movie again, then post a comment below and talk about your experience. Get your friends and family involved too. If you haven't seen it in awhile, I think you might like it even better now than you did when you first saw it. And if you've never seen it, there is no better time than right now to give it a chance and see what this future cult classic is all about.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

PLUTO Movie Rights Acquired!

That's right, Naoki Urasawa's acclaimed manga retelling of Osamu Tezuka's famous Astro Boy story might just be made into a movie.

It was over one year ago when the possibility of a Pluto movie was last brought up. But now it seems that the project has gotten some major forward momentum, as the rights to Pluto have been purchased by Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures.

It is planed to be a live action/CG hybrid film. Chris Meledandri of Illumination Entertainment had this to say:
"With Pluto, Naoki Urasawa has defined an imaginative world full of inventive action and adventure but it was his characters and heartfelt story that compelled me towards acquiring these rights."
You can read more about the announcement on and on Anime News Network.

Now, before everyone gets too excited, does this mean that a Pluto movie is 100% being made? Not necessarily. It just means that there is an intention to make a Pluto movie, and a studio now has the rights to make it. Whether it actually materializes is another matter, but there is at least a chance. Let's hope that a faithful adaptation of this incredible version of the Astro Boy mythos will find its way to the silver screen in the future!

You can buy all 8 volumes of Pluto here and help support AstroBoyWorld in the process.

UPDATE: Read the official press release here.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Japan's Robotics Industry Must Forget Anime

Here's an article from with some interesting discussion on Japanese robots.

Scientists in Japan are at last changing focus in robotics - increasingly working on practical machines instead of creating all-singing, all-dancing, all-creepy humanoid robots. Japan has for a while now been at the forefront of releasing robots which invoke some sort of terrible uncanny valley experience.

A report in Nikkei (subscription) suggests that Japan is taking its cue from the West and now focusing on developing robotics that have direct, practical applications. Shinichiro Sanji, researcher at Mitsubishi Research Institute, told the paper: "Japanese engineers have tried to create robots like popular comic heroes Astro Boy and Gundam in a short period of time." Another expert said "A bubble in robot research has burst."

Money being spent on research at the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, or NEDO, has declined too. The biped, human lookalikes have no space in development anymore - and Japan must look to areas where there are labor shortages like fishing, farming and cleaning, suggests Sanji.

It seems companies are doing just that. Fuji Heavy Industries is still putting its yen into robot development and has recently been working on a farming robot able to inject pesticide into the ground. Automation is the way forward, says a farmer: It would "help reduce the burden on workers." Until now, says Nikkei, pumping pesticide deep into the earth is a manual task that needs a lot of careful labor - including full protection outfits from the chemicals.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is working on a robot which will be able to comb the ocean for rare earth metals, as well as a car which may be able to drive itself. And the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization has created an automated system which can handle time intensive farm work such as planting rice seedlings. It uses GPS technology to know where it is and what it's doing.

It's good then that scientists are beginning to put away the anime. A real life Metal Gear would be a site to behold but we can't think of any applications other than World Wars 3 through 10.
Not sure how factually accurate this article is, but I think that less practical robots are still important. The advances in technology that are made during the process of creating them can potentially be used in other ways. Plus, these more whimsical robots can capture the imagination of the public, building more interest in the subject and in science and technology in general. I do feel, however, that time and effort is better spent in ways other than making robots appear and behave like humans at this time. I think that anime like Astro Boy and movies like Star Wars have made people accepting of robots that look like robots.

Besides, who doesn't like to watch a robot get down and boogie?

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tezuka's "The Book of Human Insects" Licensed

Those awesome cats at Vertical Publishing strike again, this time from way out of left field, with another in their line of superb Osamu Tezuka manga licenses. At the New York Comic Con this past weekend, it was announced that "The Book of Human Insects", also known as "Human Metamorphosis", will be released in English on July 26, 2011. It will be a hardcover containing the entire 360 page story and retail for $22.99.

Here's what has to say about the title.
"Human Metamorphosis," a satirical Manga depicting human society compared to the insect world, focuses on the life of a devious woman. Tomura Toshiko, who is said to be a genius, is a rising star writer. Her novel wins the Akutagawa Prize for the best novel of the year. While she attends the award ceremony, another woman named Usuba Kageri commits suicide in another place. It turns out that Kageri and Toshiko used to live together, and the awarded novel was copied from Kageri's transcript. Toshiko is like a parasite: approaching talented people one after another, squeezing everything out of them and stealing their works for her own fame. Behind her success story, she has her secrets.
Look forward to this unique manga release next year!

Source: AniGamers

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Crazy Astro Fashion Art

I'm not really sure what to classify this under, but this is some incredibly unique Astro Boy inspired imagery and pattern design from the "Astroboy by ohya" collection. It seems to be officially licensed by Tezuka Productions for some kind of exhibition a few years ago.

Here a few samples.

Many more images are available here. There is some weird stuff, but still kind of cool. I have no idea how much of this, if any, was available for sale. If anyone has more information about this particular event, please respond by posting a comment.

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