With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ACF 383: Simultaneous streaming of INUYASHA THE FINAL ACT announced at New York Anime Festival


Final Episodes Of Smash Hit Anime Based On Rumiko Takahashi Manga To Be Available On VIZ Media’s SHONEN SUNDAY Web Site Mere Hours After Episodes Air in Japan

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) delighted anime fans at New York Anime Festival last Sunday, September 27th, the last day of the festival, with an announcement of the Japanese/American near simulcast of the action-packed conclusion to the INUYASHA animated series - INUYASHA THE FINAL ACT.

Beginning on October 3rd, INUYASHA THE FINAL ACT (subtitled) will stream on ShonenSunday.com/anime and Hulu.com mere hours after it airs in Japan. A new episode will air every Saturday thereafter. INUYASHA THE FINAL ACT anime is rated ‘T” teens.

INUYASHA is a hit TV anime series based on the manga by famed creator Rumiko Takahashi, who won the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award for INUYASHA in 2002. Many of the Takahashi titles have been adapted into other media such as anime, live-action TV series, and film. Takahashi’s manga, as well as the other formats her work has been adapted into, have continued to delight generations of fans around the world. Distinguished by her wonderfully endearing characters, Takahashi’s work adeptly incorporates a wide variety of elements such as comedy, romance, fantasy, and martial arts. Rumiko Takahashi is an artist who truly represents the very best from the world of manga. Please visit the new official North American web site for all Rumiko Takahashi-related news and information located at www.TheRumicWorld.com.

When an enchanted well draws her into the past, Kagome, an ordinary modern schoolgirl, finds her destiny tied to the doglike half-demon Inuyasha and a mythical gem called the Shikon Jewel, or "Jewel of Four Souls," of which the smallest shard can grant the user unimaginable power.

Throughout their quest to restore the shattered Shikon Jewel, Inuyasha and Kagome have never faced an enemy more deadly or more cunning than the demon mastermind Naraku. With the Shikon Jewel nearly whole and in Naraku’s hands, the race to collect the remaining shards intensifies and a battle of epic proportions is brewing on the horizon...

Featuring the works of some of the top shonen manga creators in the world today, Shonen Sunday magazine in Japan provides the content for some of VIZ Media’s most impressive new titles. The magazine recently celebrated its 50th anniversary since its first issue arrived on newsstands in March of 1959. RIN-NE is the brand new Shonen Sunday manga series by Rumiko Takahashi and the first series ever to be published simultaneously in Japan and North America.

“INUYASHA is one of the longest running anime series in North America and we’re very proud to present the final episodes of this epic adventure to fans in the U.S. mere hours after episodes air in Japan,” says Ken Sasaki, Vice President Strategy & Business Development, VIZ Media. “Rumiko Takahashi created a classic with INUYASHA, and ShonenSunday.com/anime will be THE online destination where INUYASHA fans can watch all 167 previously available episodes, as well as follow the newest episodes from INUYASHA THE FINAL ACT!”

VIZ Media publishes multiple series by Rumiko Takahashi, including her brand new manga series RIN-NE, the INUYASHA manga, INUYASHA ani-manga and THE ART OF INUYASHA. For more information on the INUYASHA anime please visit ShonenSunday.com.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

ACF 382: NY Anime Festival - more day two pictures

Here are a few more pictures from yesterday, the second day of the NY Anime festival.

Today, Sunday, September 27th is the third - and final - day of the festival.

The crowd on Saturday was huge, and a think it'll be fair to say the festival was a big success.

Once again, the homepage of the NY Anime Festival is here.

P.S. - My understanding is that next year, from October 8th to 10th, the New York Comic Con and the New York Anime Festival will be held jointly. Can't wait to see that crowd! Mark your calendars.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

ACF 381: NY Anime Festival 2009 - pictures from day two

Today was the second day of the New York Anime Festival 2009, held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on the west side of mid-town Manhattan.

There were lots and lots of folk attending, many in costume. Thanks to all the nice people who allowed me to take pictures and to post them here.

Some of the action was literally on the floor.

I'll post some more pictures tomorrow, which will be the last day of the festival.

The NYAF Exhibition Hall will be open tomorrow, Sunday, September 27th, from 10 AM to 5 PM. Homepage of the New York Anime festival is here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

ACF 380: Crossroads of Youth

The Korea Society and the Film Society of Lincoln Center will take audiences to a bygone era on October 3, as they present Korea's oldest surviving silent film, Crossroads of Youth (Cheonchun's Sipjaro), at a special screening accompanied by live musicians and narrators (byeonsa) of the type found in Korean theaters of the 1930s.

Released in 1934 and recently digitally restored, Crossroads of Youth is a wrenching family tragedy set against the backdrop of Korea's jarring modernization. In a throwback to the time when silent films were presented with live music, the screening will be accompanied by musicians playing period and contemporary music before, during, and after the film. Byeonsa-live, dramatic narrators who recap the plot and give voice to the characters' silent expressions-will provide a uniquely Korean twist.

Directed by Ahn Jong-hwa and featuring Shin Il-seon (star of the legendary, now-lost 1926 silent film Arirang), Crossroads of Youth tells the story of Young-bok, a man who leaves his village to try his luck in Seoul in hopes of earning enough to support his family back home.

The special screening will be part of the 47th New York Film Festival and will take place on Saturday, October 3 at 11 AM at:

Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center
1941 Broadway (at West 65th Street)
New York, NY 10023

Tickets available for $20 through New York Film Festival (online or box office). The Film Society of Lincoln Center's website on the film is here.

For more information please contact Yuni Cho at (212) 759-7525, ext. 323.

The Korea Society and Film Society of Lincoln Center gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the Korean Film Archive in supporting this program, as well as KOIS (Korean Culture and Information Service), and Korean Cultural Service NY.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

ACF 379: Honey and Clover 3-disc DVD


VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) is releasing the first Uncut DVD Box Set for the animated Shojo title, HONEY AND CLOVER, today, September 22, 2009. The 3-disc set featuring 13 episodes will be rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and will carry an MSRP of $59.90 U.S. / $85.99 CAN.

Based on the popular manga series created by Chica Umino, HONEY AND CLOVER is a romantic comedy about a group of art school students who try to find their way through college. But when an innocent and talented 19-year-old girl enters their lives, things get a lot more complicated as love triangles result.

What do you get when you cross creativity with self-discovery and unrequited love? Art school! Yuta Takemoto has no idea what's in store for his life when he enrolls at a Tokyo art college, but he finds out right away it'll never be dull! Love triangles form as fast as friendships when both Takemoto and senior classmate Shinobu Morita fall hard for shy artistic prodigy Hagumi Hanamoto. And while architecture student Takumi Mayama secretly pines for an older woman, dazzling ceramicist Ayu Yamada pines for him! Confused yet? Welcome to the bittersweet world of HONEY AND CLOVER.

The HONEY AND CLOVER manga series was created by Chica Umino and has sold more than 5,300,000 copies in Japan. In 2003, the series won the 27th Kodansha Manga Award, Japan's most prestigious comics award. The series was also adapted into an anime series in 2005 and finally into a live action film in 2006.

For more information please visit honeyandclover.viz.com.

Monday, September 21, 2009



Feature Film Featuring The World’s Most Popular Ninja Is The First With The Teenaged Naruto On A Dangerous New Mission That May Cost His Life

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has announced the DVD release of NARUTO SHIPPUDEN THE MOVIE on November 10th. The new film is the fourth in the NARUTO movie series, is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, and will have an MSRP of $24.92 U.S. / $35.99 CAN.

In the newest animated feature film adventure, a powerful spirit that once threatened to destroy the world is back! Naruto's mission is to protect a priestess named Shion, who is the only one with the power to seal away the monster. She also has the uncanny ability to predict someone's fate. Her latest prediction: Naruto will soon die. Naruto's only hope is to abandon Shion, but that's not Naruto's style. He decides to face her fatal prediction head-on--and die!

“The NARUTO Shippuden story arc is largely about growing up and as the world’s most popular ninja grows into adolescence, so have millions of his fans,” says Brian Ige, VIZ Media Director of Sales, Home Entertainment. “Naruto’s missions have become even more dangerous, and even fate will test Naruto’s skills and self confidence in this latest adventure as a mysterious princess foretells his death. We invite fans to check out all the action in this new feature film this fall!”

The NARUTO Shippuden manga and animated series pick up two years after Naruto left to train with his teacher and mentor Jiraiya. Now a teenager, the stories in the new series take a more mature and sometimes darker approach as Naruto returns to the Hidden Leaf Village to reunite with his old friends and discovers they are stronger than before – and maybe even stronger than he is! For Naruto, the spirit of a nine-tailed fox spirit trapped inside him is a metaphor for adolescence. There is a powerful force in this spunky teenager and he must learn to conquer it and overcome his own uncontrollable spirit and emotions while battling an array of villains and completing near-impossible missions.

Created by Masashi Kishimoto, NARUTO was first introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan in 1999 and quickly became that country’s most popular ninja manga targeting tweens and teens and has sold more than 92 million copies to-date. The manga series (rated ‘T’ for Teens) and animated counterpart (NARUTO rated ‘T’ for teens, and NARUTO Shippuden rated ‘T+’ for older teens) are some of VIZ Media’s most successful properties and have captivated millions of fans across North America, Europe and South America. NARUTO is a co-production of TV TOKYO, VIZ Media parent company Shueisha Inc., and Pierrot Co., Ltd.

For more information on NARUTO Shippuden, and to view NARUTO Shippuden episodes (subtitled) please visit the official NARUTO website at www.naruto.com. In addition, DTO (dubbed) is also available on iTunes. Classic NARUTO episodes can be viewed on hulu.com, Playstation Network, Xbox Live, amazon vod and iTunes.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

ACF 377: New York Anime Festival 2009

It's coming, it's coming, it's coming!!! The New York Anime Festival starts next Friday, September 25th, 2009 at 1:00 PM. Full schedule below. Hope you can make it there. If not, check back here for coverage.

You can get to the home page of the festival website by clicking

Meanwhile, here's some basic info:

What Is The New York Anime Festival?
The New York Anime Festival is an annual anime convention held at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan. It features exclusive and extensive anime screenings, guests from America and Japan, manga, cosplay, video games, live-action Japanese cinema, fashion, food, and the cultural treasures that gave birth to Japanese pop culture.

When Is The New York Anime Festival?
September 25th - 27th, 2009. NYAF’s Exhibition Hall is open to the public on Friday from 1 PM to 7 PM, Saturday from 10 AM to 7 PM, and Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM. Please note that the Exhibition Hall closes at 7:00 PM on Friday and Saturday, but panels, screenings, and special events will continue until 10:00 PM.

Where Is The New York Anime Festival?
The New York Anime Festival is held at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan. The Javits Center is located at 655 West 34th Street.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

ACF 376: POKEMON Poster Collection


Special Release Contains 11 Full Color Posters Depicting Pikachu And All His Unique Friends From POKÉMON DIAMOND AND PEARL

Young as well as adult fans of POKEMON will be delighted with Viz Media's release of the company’s first POKÉMON poster collection. The POKÉMON “posterzine” is rated ‘A’ for All Ages and carries an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $9.99 CAN.

Packed with 11 full color fold-out posters, this large (16” x 22”) edition is a must-have for any fan of Pikachu and his friends. A variety of favorite characters from the POKÉMON DIAMOND AND PEARL animation seasons, from Pikachu and Piplup to Chimchar and Turtwig, are all featured.

“POKÉMON is a timeless favorite that continues to delight multiple generations of fans with its mix of adventure, unique and loveable characters, and a positive storyline,” says Gonzalo Ferreyra, Vice President Sales & Marketing, VIZ Media “Our POKÉMON poster collection will be available exclusively at participating newsstands, major bookstores, discount, and video stores and adds a fun and decorative component to customize any fan’s personal space.”

VIZ Media’s five 2007 POKÉMON releases have sold more than 635,000 units since March 2009.

Other Posterzines (Poster Collections) from VIZ Media including BLEACH, NARUTO, NARUTO Shippuden and DRAGON BALL Z are now available at retailers on the magazine rack.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ACF 375: Two new HAIKASORU sci-fi novels set to debut today


Coming out today today, September 15th, are ZOO and USURPER OF THE SUN, the latest two books to be published by VIZ Media's Haikasoru imprint. Haikasoru is the first imprint based in the U.S. dedicated to Japanese science fiction and fantasy in translation.

Otsuichi's ZOO has been called, “haunting, emotional, and thoroughly engrossing” by Brian Keene, author of the best-selling horror novel, The Rising. Author Paul Levinson, author of The Plot to Save Socrates, described USURPER OF THE SUN as, “a compellingly poetic first contact story, gleaming with digital savvy, appealing human detail, and alien peril. Think Arthur C. Clarke meets Haruki Murakami, and gaze at Mercury in the sunset and sunrise with new awe.” Haikasoru is the first imprint based in the U.S. dedicated to Japanese science fiction and fantasy in translation.

ZOO by Otsuichi – Price: $13.99 U.S. / CAN $16.00

A man receives a photo of his girlfriend every day in the mail...so that he can keep track of her body's decomposition. A deathtrap that takes a week to kill its victims. Haunted parks and a child with the power to do anything at all, and his poor unfortunate parents. These are just a few of the stories by Otsuichi, Japan's master of dark fantasy. ZOO sold over 740,000 copies in Japan and was made into a successful film that combined live-action and animation.

USURPER OF THE SUN by Housuke Nojiri - Price: $15.99 U.S. / CAN $18.99

Aki Shiraishi is a high school student working in the astronomy club and one of the few witnesses to an amazing event—a mysterious tower being built on the planet Mercury. Soon after, the enigmatic Builders construct a ring around the sun, and the ecology of Earth is threatened by its immense shadow. Aki is inspired to pursue a career in science, and the truth. She must determine the purpose of the ring and the plans of its creators, as the survival of both humanity and the alien Builders hang in the balance. A compelling new hard science fiction novel, USURPER OF THE SUN won a coveted Seiun Award in 2002 for Best Science Fiction Novel of the Year.

For more information on Haikasoru please visit the dedicated website at: www.haikasoru.com.

Friday, September 11, 2009

ACF 374: NARUTO SHIPPUDEN to debut on Disney XD channel in October


Newly Launched Disney XD Channel To Host World’s Most Popular Ninja With New Action-Packed Episodes

To Debut Weekly Beginning In October

In a landmark agreement, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has announced that its animated series NARUTO Shippuden has been acquired by Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group for debut on Disney XD (www.DisneyXD.com) television channel beginning in October.

Disney XD is a new basic cable channel and multi-platform brand that showcases a compelling mix of live-action and animated programming for kids age 6-14, hyper-targeting boys and their quest for discovery, accomplishment, sports, adventure and humor. New dubbed episodes of NARUTO Shippuden will premiere on the network.

In the NARUTO manga and animated series, Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja in training, wants to be the best ninja in the land. He's done well so far, but Naruto knows he must train harder than ever and leaves his village for intense exercises that will push him to his limits. NARUTO Shippuden begins two and a half years later, when Naruto returns to find that everyone has been promoted up the ninja ranks—except him. Sakura is a medic ninja, Gaara has advanced to Kazekage, and Kakashi… well, he remains the same.

But pride isn’t necessarily becoming of a ninja, and Naruto quickly regains his focus when he learns that Sasuke never returned from his search for Orochimaru and that the mysterious Akatsuki organization is still an ever-present danger. The more Naruto finds out about Akatsuki’s sinister plot, the more he realizes that nothing in his world is as it seems. Naruto is finding that he’s older, but will he also prove wiser and stronger?

“Disney XD is a growing destination for our key demographic, boys 6-14, and we're looking forward to bringing the adventures of NARUTO Shippuden to our lineup," says Tracy McAndrew, Director, Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group.

Created by Masashi Kishimoto, NARUTO was first introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan in 1999 and quickly became that country’s most popular ninja manga targeting tweens and teens and has sold more than 92 million copies to-date. The manga series (rated ‘T’ for Teens) and animated counterpart (NARUTO rated ‘T’ for teens, and NARUTO Shippuden rated ‘T+’ for older teens), is one of VIZ Media’s most successful properties and has captivated millions of fans across North America, Europe and South America. NARUTO is a co-production of TV TOKYO, VIZ Media parent company Shueisha Inc., and Pierrot Co., Ltd.

“We’re very pleased to partner with Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group to bring NARUTO Shippuden to U.S. television audiences this fall,” says Bill Germain, Director of Programming Sales, VIZ Media. “With Disney XD as its new broadcast home base, NARUTO Shippuden is poised to take viewers, both new and old, to unprecedented levels of ninja-excitement!”

More information on NARUTO is available at www.Naruto.com.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

ACF 373: Nine-Menber Korean Girl Group

Recently came across this hot, nine-member Korean girl group at ASIAN GIRLS HOTTIES PHOTOS. Known as Girls' Generation, the group was formed by SM Entertainment. (The ASHP page at the link above includes additional photos of each member, as well as their names.)

Take that Pussycat Dolls!!!!!

Monday, September 07, 2009

ACC 372: VIZ October 2009 DVD Releases

trademarks of Shueisha, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries.


VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has announced their list of DVD titles scheduled for release in October 2009. This includes the first full season box set of NARUTO UNCUT and the next installment in the gripping DEATH NOTE: RE-LIGHT series, as well as the latest episodic releases of the popular BLEACH, NARUTO Shippuden and POKÉMON series. VIZ Media DVD titles are distributed (in English) in the U.S and Mexico by Warner Home Video and in Canada by Allegro.

New NARUTO releases include:

NARUTO Shippuden Volume 2 · Rated 'T+' for Older Teens

MSRP: $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN · Available October 27

Naruto and Sakura have succeeded in bringing down Kakashi in the survival challenge using an unconventional technique! Tsunade then assigns them to a three-man squad led by Kakashi, who tells them that they are now his equals. Meanwhile, Gaara is facing his greatest challenge as Kazekage--to save the Sand Village from Deidara of the Akatsuki. Gaara has the power to protect his village, but will he have enough left over to save himself? With the Kazekage in danger, the Sand call upon their allies from the Leaf, and the reunited Team Kakashi get ready to spring into action!

NARUTO UNCUT Season 1, Volume 1 DVD Box Set · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

MSRP: $39.98 US / $57.99 CAN · Available October 6

Deep within the Hidden Leaf Village, young ninja Naruto Uzumaki carries sealed within him the spirit of the Nine-Tailed Fox, which once almost destroyed the village. Always an outcast because of his secret, now Naruto battles alongside his teammates Sasuke and Sakura to prove to himself and everyone else that he's the greatest ninja ever. But he's got a long list of challenges to face before he gets there!

Additional SHONEN JUMP releases include:

BLEACH Volume 21 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

MSRP: $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN · Available October 20

Rukia becomes possessed by a doll placed in her chest by one of the Bounts and attacks her friends! Orihime desperately tries to protect herself and the others without harming her dear friend. But when Rukia's full Soul Reaper powers are drawn out in the battle, Orihime must make a painful choice.

DEATH NOTE: RE-LIGHT 2: L’s Successors · Rated 'T+' for Older Teens

MSRP: $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN · Available October 27

Four years have passed since Light claimed his victory at L’s grave. Light has joined the National Police Agency and taken on the identity of the “new L.” Kira’s judgments of the citizens of the world have intensified, and many nations have come to accept Kira, either from fear or adulation. Near, L’s successor, must ponder the question of how L was defeated if he is to succeed where his famed predecessor failed. At the headquarters of the anti-Kira organization the SPK, he proclaims that the new L is none other than Kira and calls upon the Japanese task force to declare war on Light.

New POKÉMON Releases Include:


Rated 'A' for All Ages · MSRP: $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN · Available October 27

Villainy is afoot as Ash and friends continue their journey through the Sinnoh region – but first, they’ll have to graduate from the Pokémon Summer Academy! Will they learn to handle Team Rocket’s newfound moxie, or Pokémon Hunter J’s latest poaching scheme? Ash gets to take on the Hearthome City Gym Leader, but first he’s going to have to deal with a new rival, Barry! And if Dawn thought the Celestic Town Pokémon Contest was a challenge, things really heat up when Team Galactic rolls into town!


Rated 'A' for All Ages · MSRP: $14.98 each US / $21.99 each CAN

Available October 27

The episodes of POKÉMON: Diamond and Pearl Battle Dimension Box Set 3 split into two standard disc editions.

New VIZ Pictures Releases Include:

Yayoi Kusama: I Love ME · New People Artist Series Volume 2

MSRP: $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN · Available October 27

Artist Yayoi Kusama is an avant-garde sculptor, painter, and novelist and her visual style is often characterized by a liberal use of polka dots and nets to achieve a so-called “infinity effect.” The film documents Kusama’s creative process over the course of a year-and-a-half as she completes a series of 50 large monochrome drawings. As her work comes to life, one witnesses the essence of her artistic voice as builds on themes about the conflicts between life, death, and love – sometimes quietly and sometimes not. Her self-confidence and dignified spirit is evident throughout the insightful film. (live action Feature Film)

Saturday, September 05, 2009

ACF 371: BLEACH THE MOVIE 2: The DiamondDustRebellion DVD


The DVD of BLEACH THE MOVIE 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion will be released next Tuesday, September 8th. It will carry an MSRP of $29.92 US / $49.99 CAN, and is rated ‘T’ for Teens.

Adapted from the wildly popular animated series and best-selling BLEACH manga series by acclaimed Japanese creator Tite Kubo (both distributed and published in North America by VIZ Media), the animated feature film BLEACH THE MOVIE 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion continues the action-packed adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki. After the treasured Ouin is stolen, Toshiro Hitsugaya disappears and becomes suspected of treason. When the Soul Society calls for his capture and execution, Substitute Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki vows to prove Hitsugaya's innocence. Will the secret of the Ouin and Captain Hitsugaya's motives be revealed before his honor, his life, and the Soul Society are destroyed?

“BLEACH THE MOVIE 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion is the next exciting feature film in the ongoing BLEACH saga and the new DVD release also includes lots of great extras such as the original Japanese production extras and trailers, a production art gallery, a Japanese movie booklet and both English and Japanese audio,” says Brian Ige, VIZ Media Director of Sales, Home Entertainment. “We know many fans have eagerly awaited this release and the action and drama reach new heights as Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki risks his life to uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of Toshiro Hitsugaya. For fans of the popular BLEACH manga and anime series, this is definitely an adventure not to be missed.”

BLEACH is a tremendously successful multimedia property internationally. The manga series has been licensed to more than a dozen countries, and has sold over 52 million copies in Japan alone. In North America the manga has been a sales hit and the popular animated series is viewed weekly by millions in the United States and Canada. This success has further spawned an array of related video games, apparel, action figures and other merchandise. For more information on BLEACH and BLEACH THE MOVIE 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion, please visit the official BLEACH website at bleach.viz.com or www.viz.com. BLEACH episodes can also be viewed on the SONY PlayStation VIZ Media channel, Amazon Unbox, XBOX Live, iTunes, and online at hulu.com.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

ACF 370: Japanese Animation & Manga Corps acquire top European Distribs

Japanese Animation and Manga Powerhouses Acquire
Top European Distributors

This news will probably be of interest to at least some anime and manga fans, particularly those in Europe:

The Japanese manga and animation powerhouses Shogakukan Inc., Shueisha Inc. and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions Co., Ltd. (Shogakukan & Shueisha Group) recently announced their joint acquisition of Kaze S.A.S. (Kaze) and Anime Virtual S.A. (Anime Virtual), two of Europe’s leading distributors and licensees of Japanese animation. With this acquisition, the group positions itself as a major multi-media force throughout Europe for manga-based Japanese animation and entertainment. Paris-based subsidiary VIZ Media Europe (VME, President, John P. Easum) will helm the group’s Europe activities, with Kaze and Anime Virtual now part of its stable.

Prior to acquiring Kaze and Anime Virtual, Shogakukan & Shueisha Group managed VME’s European operations through its U.S. based subsidiary VIZ Media, LLC (VMC, President, Hidemi Fukuhara).

Since the launch of VIZ Media Europe in 2007, Shogakukan & Shueisha Group, in cooperation with VMC and VME has continued to study the European market for opportunities to grow the fan base and to offer a greater range of Japan’s highest quality manga and anime content. Kaze and Anime Virtual were chosen to be the key drivers of this pan-European strategy and the timing is perfect as a rising demand for manga-based animation meets the growth of multi-platform distribution channels.

Kaze (President, Cedric Littardi) mainly operates in French speaking territories and Anime Virtual (President, Nicolas Weber-Krebs) operates primarily in German speaking territories. Their combined core businesses include TV sales, DVD and music distribution, film distribution, consumer products, and new digital distribution and broadcast platforms, as well as manga publishing in French speaking territories.

This acquisition provides Shogakukan & Shueisha Group with several critical tools:

- Direct DVD publishing and distribution in France and Germany.
- TV broadcast and distribution through various new platforms and technologies.
- Development and licensing of consumer products.
- Direct manga publishing and distribution ability throughout French speaking Europe.
- Innovative brand building across a full spectrum of media, including manga publishing, animation licensing, animation broadcasting, consumer product licensing and new digital platforms.

The new company, which will be wholly owned by Shogakukan & Shueisha Group, will integrate VME, Kaze, Anime Virtual and their subsidiary companies under a unified infrastructure and administration. John P. Easum, has been named President/Gérant of the new company and will head up the group’s European operations. The head office will remain in Paris. Cedric Littardi and Nicolas Weber-Krebs have been appointed managing directors.

Explains Mr. Easum, “This is a very exciting development for all parties involved in this venture. Kaze and Anime Virtual are proven pioneers and leaders in the distribution of Japanese content. This acquisition benefits Shogakukan & Shueisha Group with Kaze and Anime Virtual’s proven local market expertise, marketing innovation and experienced management. We will now be in a much better position to support our many partners, while proactively developing the market by bringing a greater variety of content to our fans in a much more effective and timely manner.”

Mr. Masahiro Oga, President of Shogakukan Inc. adds: “Through this venture, the new company will be able to dedicate itself to serving a growing market for Japanese manga and animation. By building a closer bridge between Japan and our partners and markets in Europe, we are confident the new company will succeed in delivering more excitement for our fans while growing new markets for Japanese content.”

About Shogakukan Inc.

Shogakukan Inc., founded in 1922, began by launching learning magazines targeting elementary school children. Currently, while expanding from children's magazines to the general magazine field, Shogakukan has also become a general publishing company with a book division that releases picture books, pictorial guides, dictionaries, encyclopedias and literary works, etc. The business operations of the company consist of magazine and book publication. To learn more, please visit http://www.shogakukan.co.jp.

About Shueisha, Inc.

Shueisha Inc., founded in 1926, is the Japan's top sales publisher and publishes 40 magazines including comic magazine, women's, men's, sports, literary, etc. as well as trade books. Its most successful comic magazine, Shonen Jump, prints 3 million copies weekly in Japan alone and many animations such as ONE PIECE, NARUTO, YU-Gi-OH! and DRAGON BALL are based on Shonen Jump. Beyond publishing, Shueisha strategically works with other media and carries out many activities such as producing animation and merchandising for its strong properties. To learn more, please visit http://www.Shueisha.co.jp.

About Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions Co., Ltd

Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions Co., Ltd (ShoPro), is one of the largest companies in Japan licensing and merchandising animated properties. Co-owned by Shogakukan Inc and Shueisha, Inc, two of the largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, ShoPro handles a variety of popular properties, including POKéMON, DORAEMON, INUYASHA, HAMTARO, DETECTIVE CONAN, and MEGAMAN, as well as other third-party licenses for the Japanese market. ShoPro also develops titles for the overseas marketplace, including the manga market in North America, Europe and Oceania. For more information please visit www.shopro.co.jp.

About VIZ Media Europe, S.A.R.L. (VME)

Headquartered in Paris, France, VIZ Media Europe (VME) is a subsidiary of San Francisco-based VIZ Media, LLC. VME specializes in managing the development, marketing and distribution throughout Europe of Japanese animated entertainment and graphic novels (manga). VME handles some of the most popular Japanese manga and animation properties from initial production, through television placement and distribution to merchandise licensing and promotions for consumers of all ages. Current VME animated properties include BLEACH, BLUE DRAGON, DEATH NOTE, HAMTARO, HONEY & CLOVER, KEKKAISHI, KILARI, M.A.R NEURO, A PENGUIN’S TROUBLES and ZOIDS GENESIS. Contact VIZ Media Europe at 9, avenue de l'Opéra, 75001 Paris, France Phone +33 1 72 71 53 53; Fax: +33 1 42 96 97 36; and web site at www.vizeurope.com.

About Kaze S.A.S.

KAZE is the leading French company in the ever-growing segment of Japanese animation. Founded in 1994 by M. Cedric Littardi, its strong brand is associated with theatrical and DVD releases, Music production (Wasabi Records), new media, TV, comic book publishing (Asuka). Active mostly in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, The Netherlands and Italy, Kaze has bean controling all of its means of operation: publishing, marketing, communication, event management, distribution, graphic design and manufacturing. Thanks to an excellency-oriented editorial policy, eclectic acquisitions as well as a presence in every business line, Kaze is one of the greatest actors in the promotion of Japanese culture in Europe.

About Anime Virtual S.A.

Anime Virtual is the largest publisher of anime in the German speaking countries. Founded 1995 in Switzerland, the company is a pacesetter in production and distribution of Japanese animation in Germany. In 2006 and 2008 Anime Virtual widened its portfolio to include music production and live action movies. All stages of the production, from translation to authoring, graphic design, and editing are done in-house. The strong distribution network includes both traditional and digital venues, from bookstores to entertainment chain stores to video on demand. Anime Virtual is active in all German-speaking territories as well as Northern and Eastern Europe.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

ACF 369: VIZ bringing out NANA 3 DVD box set on September 8, 2009

Based on the comic "NANA" by Ai Yazawa originally serialized in "Cookie" published by SHUEISHA Inc.(C) Yazawa Manga Seisakusho / Shueisha (C) NTV/VAP/SHUEISHA/Madhouse


Romantic Drama About Two Women With The Same Name
Coming Of Age In Tokyo

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has announced that it will release the Uncut DVD Box Set for the animated romantic rock and roll melodrama, NANA, next Tuesday, September 8th, 2009. The 3-disc set featuring 12 episodes will be rated ‘M’ for Mature Audiences and carry an MSRP of $59.90 U.S. / $85.99 CAN. The first box set will also include an exclusive NANA guitar pick.

The NANA anime is based on the popular manga by Ai Yazawa, which has sold over 43 million copies in Japan and is published in North America by VIZ Media under its SHOJO BEAT imprint. NANA follows the adventures of two girls both named Nana. While they share the same name, they couldn't be more different. Nana "Hachi" Komatsu follows her boyfriend to Tokyo in the hopes of finding a fresh start, while Nana Osaki, who arrives in the city at the same time, is a punk rock beauty with the ambition for making it big in the world of rock and roll. Although these two young women come from opposite backgrounds, they quickly become best friends while chasing their happiness and dreams.

Ai Yazawa is the creator of many popular manga titles, including Tenshi Nanka Janai (I'm No Angel) and Gokinjo Monogatari (Neighborhood Story). Another series, Kagen no Tsuk (Last Quarter), was made into a live-action movie and released in late 2004. American readers were introduced to Yazawa's stylish and sexy storytelling in 2002 when her title Paradise Kiss was translated into English.

The NANA manga series has over 43 million copies printed to date in Japan. It is considered an all-time best selling shojo title from Japanese publishing giant, Shueisha and was the recipient of the Shogakukan Manga Award in the Girls' category. Its tremendous success further inspired two live-action feature films which are available on DVD in North America from VIZ Pictures

“NANA has already captivated millions with its best-selling manga and live action films, and we are very excited to release the animated series as a special Uncut DVD Box Set,” says Brian Ige, Director, Home Entertainment Sales, VIZ Media. “The compelling, deeply-layered connections between the two Nanas and those around them are brought to life through the richness of the characters and all the great elements of the shojo genre that are combined to make NANA one of the most vibrant and stylish series to hit North America. This is definitely a series to watch!”

For more information on NANA please visit the dedicated website at nana.viz.com.