"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" Trailer Officially Released
Piracy | The Japanese government is joining with 15 anime production companies and manga publishers to launch a major initiative that will target foreign pirate sites. The push will start Aug. 1 and will have two components: The government will send takedown requests to 580 pirate sites and also launch a website that directs people to legitimate sources of online manga. The Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency estimates that Chinese pirate sites cost the industry 560 billion yen (about $5.5 million) last year. [Crunchyroll]
Comics | Lidia Jean Kott talks with writer Jason Aaron about his female Thor and pays a visit to Fantom Comics in Washington, D.C., where a quarter of the customers are women and the bestselling title is Saga (the bestselling superhero comic is Ms. Marvel). [NPR]
Events | An extensive exhibit in Taipei, Taiwan, devoted to Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece manga and anime has drawn more than 100,000 visitors since its opening on July 1. Overseen by Oda, the exhibition is the first of its kind outside of Japan, where it was held from 2012 to 2013 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the insanely popular manga. “One Piece Exhibition: Original Art x Movies x Experience Pirate King Taiwan” runs through Sept. 22. [Kotaku]
Crime | A successful weekend at Denver Comic Con turned sour for Zac and Mindy Conley, the owners of The Hall of Justice art gallery, after a thief stole a cash box containing their proceeds from the show, about $1,000, and some special orders for Mindy Conley’s artwork, which would have earned the couple another $1,500. The Conleys say they were planning to use the money for rent for their home and studio and the payment for their booth at next year’s Denver Comic Con. “We’ve been fighting to turn this place into some really cool. And every month we’re wondering if we’re going to survive,” Zac said. However, friends are rallying around: Illustrator Drew Litton, who will be showing his work at the gallery next month, will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Conleys, and gifts are also coming in through their Facebook page. [The Denver Post]
Fast on the heels of the impressive live-action fan trailer for Akira comes a stunning homage to another pioneering sci-fi anime: Designer/illustrator Ash Thorp brought together more than 30 artists for a live-action recreation of the opening of 1995’s Ghost in the Shell using still photography. The result, the 39-frame Project 2501, is mind-blowing — and frequently not safe for work.
“I originally wanted this to be just a fun side project to create with some friends on my free time over a time span of a month, if that,” Thorp told The Verge. “But as we opened up the opportunities it got bigger and more complicated as the team grew.”
You can see some of the frames, as well as a NSFW making-of video, below; there are of course more on Thorp’s site.
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to something great fans are doing to an awesome comic that came out. So let’s get to it …
Digital comics | Amazon has removed the manga Younger Sister Paradise 2 (Imōto Paradise! 2) from the Japanese Kindle store, two days after the Tokyo Metropolitan Government declared the manga a “harmful publication to minors” because of its “glorification of incestuous acts” and restricted its sale to customers over 18. As a result, beginning Friday, brick-and-mortar bookstores in Tokyo must keep the manga in a separate area for adults only. Whether because of all the attention or because it was unavailable elsewhere, the manga was the top-selling comic in the Japanese Kindle store before Amazon removed it. [Anime News Network]
I’ve never given any thought to which state might be considered the “nerdiest,” but if pressed I may have guessed California, with Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Comic-Con International, or Massachusetts, because of MIT and Harvard. However, it turns out I would’ve been way off.
Estately, the real estate blog that recently ranked the states most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse, has now turned its attention to the nerdiest states in America, and — surprise! — Utah comes out on top. I guess that helps explain why Salt Lake Comic Con and its FanXperience spinoff pull in such large crowds.
Fans of both Harry Potter and Akira will likely find common ground in this well-executed video that reimagines J.K. Rowling’s saga of the boy-wizard as a 1980s cyberpunk anime.
Created by Nacho Punch, who also brought us Star Wars Anime, Harry Potter Cyber Punk Adventure: The 1980s Anime delivers such gems as a mashup of a Quidditch broomstick and Kaneda’s bike, “You’re a cyber-wizard, Harry!” and a Patronus Charm that looks as if it could level Neo-Hogwarts.
Despite a 50-year history, a record-breaking movie and several video games and animated television series, there apparently still are some in Japan who don’t know who the Avengers are. A little surprising, maybe, but that’s what Earth’s Mightiest Heroes discover when they travel to that country in the latest issue of CoroCoro Comic.
Kotaku spotlights the 12-page story from Shogakukan’s monthly manga magazine for elementary school-age boys, which finds Captain America, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man and the Wasp facing several obstacles on unfamiliar shores: Thor can’t get his armor and hammer through customs, the Hulk can’t stomach Japanese food and, worse still, no one is familiar with them.
The Google Cultural Institute has compiled images, videos and documents for an exhibit on Osamu Tezuka, marking the first time a manga artist has been featured in the digital historical archive.
Launched in 2011, the initiative is “an effort to make important cultural material available and accessible to everyone and to digitally preserve it to educate and inspire future generations.” With the participation of 40 institutions in 14 countries, the Google Cultural Institute offers free access to photographs, footage and documents from historical events and figures of the 20th century.
According to Asahi Shimbun, the Tezuka exhibit was added to the “Cultural Figures” section on Monday, the fiction birthday of Astro Boy. The collection consists of 172 images, video and text pieces from Tezuka Productions and the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum.
“Tezuka repeatedly expressed his opposition to war and discrimination and emphasized the preciousness of life through his works,” said Yoshihiro Shimizu, chief of the copyright business division of Tokyo-based Tezuka Productions. “I am happy that information concerning Tezuka is spread around the globe (through the site) and his ideas are shared.”
When Osamu Tezuka passed away in February 1989 at age 60, he left behind countless fans, an influential body of work that includes Astro Boy, Black Jack and Buddha and, tantalizingly, a locked desk with a lost key.
Rocket News 24 reports that recently, some 25 years after the death of the “god of manga,” his daughter Rumiko to open the desk, where she discovered a half-eaten piece of chocolate, a handwritten essay about Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo and a bag of sketches, including a stash of erotic drawings by Tezuka.
Note: I feel like I should place a warning in here, but I’m honestly at a loss as to whether these sketches aren’t safe for work. They’re not so much graphic as they are … odd?
It’s not exactly Kaneda’s iconic ride, but Honda has drawn upon the likes of Akira for its new bike, the NM4 Vultus. The company acknowledges as much in its press release, describing the motorcycle as “a ground-breaking machine inspired by futuristic machines seen in the anime and manga television and film styles, known collectively as ‘Japanimation.'”
Let’s just ignore that “manga television” bit and marvel at not only the design — at least two websites make Batman references — but the wording of the press release, which uses phrases like “future-shock style,” “stealth bomber silhouette” and “brooding menace.” However, the word motorcycle never appears …
While the Vultus may indeed be mistaken for the Dark Knight’s new wheels (particularly if the rider is wearing this Bat-eared helmet), don’t think it’s a concept bike; Honda promises it’ll actually be in showrooms.
Publishing | Viz Media’s Kevin Hamric discusses how the availability of streaming anime has been boosting sales of the related manga. Series that have gotten a boost lately include Blue Exorcist and Kamisama Kiss: “Overall streaming has had a positive effect on our book sales. In recent years, Blue Exorcist is probably the biggest example I can give — one of newest hits under our Shonen Jump Advanced imprint. We launched our series [in 2010] and had very good sales (they matched our expectations), but once the anime was available through streaming, sales jumped through the roof, and that was in 2011. So streaming was fairly young at that time. Once the anime was streaming, sales of the manga were way above expectations.” [ICv2]
Designer Martin Hsu has partnered with Bigshot Toyworks to produced a limited-run figure based on anime director and manga artist Hayao Miyazaki. Proceeds from the sale of the 6-inch figure, called “Miya-san,” will be donated to Karakuwa-Maru, an organization dedicated to rebuilding Karakuwa in Kesennuma City, Japan, in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The figure costs $95 U.S.; preorders are being accepted through Jan. 31, with a projected ship date of April.
Miyazaki, the visionary director of such films as Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, announced his retirement in September following the release of The Wind Rises. He’s slowly working on a samurai manga that will be serialized in the Japanese magazine Model Graphix.
In addition to guest appearances by Stan Lee and Harlan Ellison, Sunday’s episode of The Simpsons will also feature a tribute to anime legend Hayao Miyazaki, who announced his retirement from filmmaking in September, only to return his attention to manga.
The hallucinatory sequence, which you can watch below, features Homer and a salaryman stumbling through the streets after a night of drinking, and encounter a veritable parade of nods to Miyazaki’s classics, from Otto as Catbus to Patty and Selma flying on broomsticks to a moving Kwik-E-Mart.
In case you don’t recognize all of the references, Salon.com has put together a video that annotates most of them (also below).
The Simpsons airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.