Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Toyko International Anime Fair 2012 - Goro Miyazaki Wins Big

Japan doesn't have the ComicCon or WonderCon but what it does have is the Tokyo International Anime Fair. As one of the largest Japanese animation conventions in the world, animation, film and television companies, as well as toy and game developers will all converge on one place from Thursday, March 22 to Sunday, March 25.

This will be the 10th convention in its history as last year's was canceled due to Japan's Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster of 2011. Many of events this year will center around support for aid and recovery still needed in Japan's Tohoku region.

Anime director Goro Miyazaki, son of Hayao Miyazaki will receive the top award in the the category of Animation of the Year for "Kokurikokaza Kara" (コクリコ坂から Ani) English title: "From Up On Poppy Hill" . Dying to see how Disney is going to market a somber animated drama about Japanese high school students in 1963 struggling to move their lives forward as Japan picks itself up after World War II.

The Tokyo International Anime Fair should be prove to be interesting this year with symposiums on how Japan's animation industry will have to consider business with the China and India as they continue to grow economically. If that bores you there will be plenty of girls in anime costumes to keep you entertained.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One Piece Exhibition

Personally not a fan of Eiichiro Oda's manga, One Piece. Arguably the most commercially popular manga in Japan since Dragonball.

Like it or not this manga is a marker for this generation of Japanese and manga-philes. I'm sure in about 10 or 15 years some Hollywood studio will acquire the rights to do a live action version of it....and likely screw it up.

From March 20th to June 17 the Mori Arts Center in Roppongi Hills (Tokyo, Japan) will host a One Piece Exhibition featuring original artwork, films, interactive media and all that geek stuff.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Snoopy Anime in Japan.

From the people who brought you Ninja Scroll, Japanese animation studio, Madhouse, Inc. has not only acquired animation rights to Charles Schulz's Peanuts, but has already completed one animated short.

Whether this means Madhouse will be animating only content for commercials or if they will be animating narrative content, is unclear at this time. Most likely it will be only for Japan since the American animation studio, Wild Brain has rights for the USA. Wild Brian animated the first Peanuts special with involvement of neither Schulz nor animation director/ producer Bill Melendez with "Happiness is a Warm Blanket Charlie Brown".

Peanuts, otherwise known simply as "Snoopy" (poor 'ol Charlie Brown, upstaged again) is immensely popular in Japan, only rivaled by Mickey Mouse.

Peanuts is now 63 years old. Charles Schulz at one time being the only person to draw the characters, as well as oversee all merchandising, there existed a certain purity in the integrity of the strip. Melendez was the only man Schulz trusted to animate the Charlie Brown and Snoopy universe. Peanuts' charm truly laid in the fact it truly was 2D, graphically. But the nuance and the timing of animated Peanuts is certainly from an American point of view, established originally by Schulz and Melendez.

If Japanese Snoopy stories will be produced, let's only pray it won't be a repeat of the horrid (and I mean horrid) miscarriage of animation like Japan's Lilo and Stitch.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Coming to Tokyo? Katsuhiro Otomo Art Exhibition - Starts April 9th

Celebrated but at the same time underrated manga artist and animation director, (my favorite Japanese animation director) Kastuhiro Otomo will have an exhibition of his original art at 3331 Arts Chiyoda starting April 9th and continuing on to May 30th.

The exhibition entitled, Katsuhiro Otomo Gengaten will feature the history of Otomo's artwork (3,000 original sketches) as well as 2,500 first time released pieces from his most globally recognized work, Akira. It will also premiere his new artbook, Otomo Katsuhiro Artwork KABA2.

Tomorrow marks the 1st anniversary of the 3/11 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster otherwise known as Great East Japan Earthquake. 30% of the event proceeds will go to donations for relief and aid still needed in those areas.