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Halfway between 2D and 3D, there’s 2.5D

Attack 00 Gakuen 25DManga and anime fans are known for their love of two-dimensional girls, but artist Muneo Saito is rounding things out a bit without going overboard: To create his “2.5D” comic Attack 00 Gakuen 2.5D, he arranges flat cutouts in three-dimensional space.

RocketNews 24 has a detailed explanation of how Saito, who is the artist for the manga Pokémon Gold and Silver Golden Boys and was a character artist for several Pokémon anime, creates his comic: He draws the figures, inks them, cuts them out, and attaches them to little clear plastic stands. While the characters are two-dimensional, their surroundings are not; Saito has painstakingly put together a model school with 3D desks and even (my favorite touch) a little model wastebasket with carefully constructed trash.

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‘Naruto’ spinoff to run in Viz Media’s ‘Shonen Jump’

Naruto announcementViz Media has confirmed that Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto spinoff miniseries Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring will debut April 27 in the North American edition of Shonen Jump.

That means English-language readers will get the story the same day as those in Japan, although in a different format, as Viz’s Shonen Jump is digital-only.

One of the top-selling manga in the United States for many years, the original series ended in November. However, Kishimoto said he had more Naruto stories to tell before moving on to a different series.

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Pamper your skin with a creepy ‘Attack on Titan’ face pack

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Being the Colossal Titan has its advantages. I mean, you’re a 200-foot-tall human-eating giant, so you can do pretty much anything you want. Plus, without any pesky skin to contend with, you’re not troubled by acne or an oily forehead.

And now, thanks to the Japanese fashion magazine VoCE, you too can be privy to the beauty tips of Attack on Titan. Crunchyroll reports the June issue comes complete with a “skin-rejuvenating face pack” that looks like the Colossal Titan from the hit manga, anime and (soon) live-action movies.

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‘One Piece’ Vol. 77 dips below 4 million for first printing

one piece-v77The 77th volume of Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece shipped today in Japan with a first printing of 3.8 million copies, marking the first time in four years the manga has slipped below 4 million.

While American comics companies would be breaking out the champagne bottles with numbers like that, Anime News Network reports One Piece publisher Shueisha released a statement clarifying that, “Aside from print publications, [Shueisha] also distributes its comics digitally, and our sales channels are increasing.” A digital edition of Vol. 77 will be released next month.

The bestselling manga in the world, One Piece first reached the 4 million-copy mark in November 2011 with Vol. 64, setting a record in Japan. The series reached a peak in August 2012 with 4.05 million copies.

Debuting in 1997, as of last year Oda’s fantasy adventure had sold more than 310 million copies in Japan alone. Despite the growing popularity of Attack on Titan, One Piece clung to the top spot last year, selling 11.9 million copies.

Dark Horse to publish ‘Planetes’ omnibus edition

planetesDark Horse will release Makoto Yukimura’s acclaimed hard sci-fi manga Planetes in an omnibus format, debuting in December. The listing was spotted on Amazon by Brian Ruh, and then confirmed by Anime News Network.

The series centers on the crew of the Toy Box, orbital debris collectors tasked with snaring and disposing of any “trash” — from screws to old satellites — that could possibly damage or destroy space stations and spacecraft. Both the manga and its anime adaptation won prestigious Seiun Awards for speculative fiction.

Tokyopop previously licensed Planetes in North America, and published all four volumes between 2003 and 2005.

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‘Naruto’ spinoff unveils new character art

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The first illustrations have surfaced for Naruto Spinoff: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring Month, the miniseries by Masashi Kishimoto debuting in the April 27 issue of Weekly Shonen Jump.

Posted on Comic Natalie, the character designs depict Naruto’s son and Sasuke’s daughter Boruto (Bolt) and Sarada (Salad), who appeared in the final chapter of Naruto, as well as Naruto himself. Kishimoto concluded his fantasy-adventure epic in November after 15 years.

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Detective Conan is so popular, he now has his own airport

detective conan2

Superman may welcome arrivals to Cleveland Hopkins International, but now Detective Conan has his own airport.

On Sunday, Japan’s Tottori Airport reopened as Tottori Sand Dunes Conan Airport, named in honor of the popular manga and anime series Detective Conan (better known in North America as Case Closed). The manga’s creator, Gosho Aoyama, was born in Tottori Prefecture.

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‘Fairy Tail’ creator draws Jack Bauer for ’24’ ad campaign

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Considering the tone of his fantasy adventures Fairy Tail and Rave Master, Hiro Mashima probably isn’t the first artist I’d think of to promote the Blu-ray/DVD release of 24: Live Another Day in Japan, but what do I know?

Mashima, whom Crunchyroll reports is a fan of the American espionage thriller, was hired to do just that, drawing Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer for the March 4 issue of Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine (which goes on sale the same day as the Blu-ray and DVD). The illustration will also be used for posters and point-of-purchase displays in stores across Japan.

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Nissan launches (very) limited-edition ‘One Piece’ minivan

one piece-serena2

In the pursuit of fortune and fame, sometimes a sailing ship isn’t enough. That, apparently, is where Nissan’s new limited-edition Serena Highway Star S-Hybrid comes in.

RocketNews24 reports the Japanese automaker has teamed with One Piece to release the “Thousand Serena,” a nod to the Straw Hat Pirates’ vessel Thousand Sunny (which replaced the destroyed Going Merry). The wrap mimics the ship’s design, and features Monkey D. Luffy and other characters from Eiichiro Oda’s bestselling manga and the hit anime series it inspired. The hubcaps are a particularly nice touch.

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Viz Media to publish ‘Ultraman’ manga

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Viz Media has announced the August launch of Ultraman, the manga series by Linebarrels of Iron creators Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi.

Debuting in November 2011 in Shogakukan’s Monthly Hero’s magazine, the series is inspired by the 1966 Japanese superhero television show. Set decades later, the manga centers on Shinjiro Hayata, a seemingly ordinary teenager who learns that his father Shin Hayata was the first Ultraman and  passed on the “Ultraman Factor” to him.

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‘Big Hero 6′ manga adaptation to end in March

big hero 6

The manga adaptation of Disney’s Big Hero 6 will conclude with the March 20 issue of Kodansha’s Magazine Special magazine, Anime News Network reports.

Announced in July, the manga by Haruki Ueno marks the first time Disney has used a full-fledged series, rather than a one-off story, to promote a movie release in Japan. Called Baymax, after the film’s Japanese title, the adaptation debuted Aug. 20, following a preview.

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‘Naruto’ art exhibit debuts first TV spots

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Japanese publisher Shueisha has debuted the first two television spots for “Naruto Ten,” the upcoming exhibition celebrating the conclusion of conclusion of Masashi Kishimoto’s hit manga series.

The commercials, featuring images from the long-running fantasy adventure and original music by the Yoshida Brothers, advertise that tickets are available for preorder for the exhibition, which includes more than 150 pages of original art.

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‘Boys Over Flowers’ manga is back for a second ‘season’

BoysOverFlowers-Season2-KeyArtBoys Over Flowers was one of the series that helped propel the manga boom of the mid-2000s. It’s a classic shoujo romance about a girl of modest means who goes to a fancy high school and ends up in a love triangle with two guys, one that’s haughty and one that’s nice.

Now, 12 years after the manga ended in Japan and five years after the final volume appeared in English, creator Yoko Kamio is back with a sequel series, Boys Over Flowers Second Season. And this time, it will be published online, for free, in both English and Japanese — and the English version comes out first.

It appears the story will still be set in the elite Eitoku Academy, but two years later than the original series and with a different cast of characters.

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Fifth-grader suspended after discovery of ‘Death Note’-inspired note

The first volume of Death Note

The first volume of Death Note

Police and prosecutors near Pittsburgh are expected to decide today whether to press charges against a fifth-grader after he allegedly posted a Death Note-inspired note in his elementary school containing the names of five or six students. The boy has been suspended.

“After conducting the investigation, we found it is based on the anime Death Note,” Burrell School District superintendent Shannon Wagner said in a statement to WPXI News.

In Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s hit manga turned anime and live-action movie franchise, a high school student sets out to rid the world of evil using a supernatural notebook that kills anyone whose name is written in it.

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For thirsty Survey Corps members, there’s ‘Attack on Titan’ wine

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After a long day defending high-flying battles against flesh-eating giants, there’s nothing like retreating behind enormous walls and relaxing with a glass (heck, a bottle) of plum wine — Attack on Titan-themed wine.

Following up on a story we’d somehow missed a couple of weeks back, RocketNews24 reports there are limited-edition sets of plum wine (and plum juice) inspired by Hajime Isayama’s hit fantasy manga and anime. What’s more, the beverages originate in the artist’s hometown of Oyama, Japan, using plums grown by members of his family.

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