Opinion Prone

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Archive for the ‘ News ’ Category

RIP TOKYOPOP, 1997-2011

April 16, 2011 Commentary, News Comments Off on RIP TOKYOPOP, 1997-2011

If you weren’t around when the news broke early yesterday afternoon, TOKYOPOP’s US Publishing division will be shutting down around May. This should have surprised no one; the company’s has given plenty of signs that it was in trouble in recent years: multiple initiatives failing (most notably OEL), Kodansha pulling its licenses, Borders’ bankruptcy, the most recent round of layoffs in February… It was hardly unexpected. And the reactions Friday afternoon weren’t unexpected either. Deb Aoki at About.com has a good round-up of reactions thus far.

Amongst worry about the fates of dozens of unfinished series, much of the reactionary concern is with the lost in limbo comics of OEL creators, which TOKYOPOP has held fast to. Will the rights revert automatically? Many of these series have already been drawn in their entirety — will they finally see print elsewhere? It remains to be seen, but S.Girl points out that the answer to the first question is “no.” The rights won’t autorevert. And TOKYOPOP isn’t going away completely — their New Media division remains, so there’s still an entity to hold the rights. But with their Publishing division gone (at least in the US; TP Germany will continue operations), what incentive is there for TP to hold on to the publishing rights?

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New Monster Cap: 649

September 16, 2010 Commentary, News 5 Comments

So Pokemon Black/White isn’t due to release in Japan until this Saturday, September 18th, but leaked screenshots and other goodies have been trickling online gradually all week as Amazon and other retailers began shipping things out early. As there isn’t a lot of shipping distance to cover in a small country like Japan, this meant that people were getting games way ahead of schedule. Today, poor-quality photos surfaced online of all 156 new monsters, bringing the full Pokedex total to six hundred forty-nine.

I am so excited.

Seriously. For me, the build-up to Black and White has been very similar to the build-up to Gold and Silver, which, as the very first new generation, was the Most Exciting Thing Ever. Sure, by now — generation five and almost fifteen years old — the franchise’s new additions are pretty predictable: new island (based off New York City, baby!), new trainers, new attacks, season changes, three-way battles, more Wi-Fi stuff, and of course, new Pokemon. But as tried as the formula is, I am still most excited about the new Pokemon. I like having new things to collect. Monsters were cool when I was eight. Monsters are still cool, dammit.

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Well, I kid, but by now I’m sure you’ve all heard the breaking news: DISNEY BUYS MARVEL, and I’ve always wanted to use the “[Noun]? In my [Other Noun]?” format. :PSora will team up with Spidey and save Manhattan from the Heartless Croc. Or something.

There are only a few naysayers, and most either confused or cautiously speculative, but I honestly don’t think many things on the fandom end will be affected; there will just be more money in different people’s pockets. What’s really going to change with this acquisition? Disney is notorious for aggressive merchandising and pushing their licensed characters, but will a flood of new action figures and new Marvel-themed rides at Disneyland really affect Marvel’s artistic integrity or quality of work? As long as Disney keeps its hand out of what the folks at Marvel actually do, then I don’t see a problem. People were upset when Disney bought out Pixar too, but Pixar has, for the most part, retained its autonomy and continues to produce outstanding films. So why shouldn’t I expect Marvel to continue making comics like it always has?

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I was out most of  today, but when I came back, I had a slew of Anime Expo-related tweets waiting for me. Some of the most interesting ones were centered around the OEL manga panel, which apparently offered some very harsh/blunt words on both the business side of things and the artist side of things.Dramacon is the only OEL title that anyone buys.

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So at Heroes Con this weekend, the Longbox was revealed. The popular analogy of the moment is that it’s like iTunes, but for comics — that is, it will serve both as a platform for companies to distribute their comics for download and as the software consumers would use to read their downloaded comics.

Longbox for comic viewing

It has some very Apple-inspired aethestics.

I’ve written about the idea of digital distribution of comics before, but had only considered a web-based platform because that was what most companies seemed to be experimenting with at the time. And really, I think one of the other reasons I hadn’t considered the iTunes model before is because I couldn’t really see the comics (or manga) industry ever agreeing on a universal solution, especially considering how haphazard and all over the place everyone’s digital model is for anime and television streams and downloads. And yet, how convenient and elegant it would be if they could agree? If you could find all your comics in one place for the super cheap price of $0.99/issue? It’s just about perfect.

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Naturally, the Pokémon community exploded today with this much, much anticipated announcement. It’s something that pretty much everyone knew was coming, but I guess I was always one of those cautiously optimistic ones. I don’t like putting too much faith into things until they’re official, and even then, sometimes announcements don’t follow through. I probably should have known better though. After all, Pokémon is never going to die! So no worries! HeartGold and SoulSilver are now official! And it will have a lot of new/updated features and other awesome things that will make people want to buy it more than they already do!

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I was really hoping that this would be some kind of joke, but it apparently isn’t.

There’s already been a live action adaptation of Death Note. Two of them, in fact, since the story isn’t easily told in one. I might be in the few as far as thinking that they were both fantastic movies and worked wonderfully as adaptations (I swear I’ll get around to reviewing them both), but the fact remains that it’s already been done, not to mention that L spinoff movie, which I’ve yet to see. All three of those movies have been licensed and released Stateside, so why do we need Hollywood to make another one?

Of course, Hollywood re-making Japanese (and other Asian) films is nothing new, and there are many instances where those re-makes are wildly popular and subsequently profitable. The Ring comes to mind, but I’ve seen neither that nor Ringu, from which it was based. Even so, there’s at least one adaptation that I found to be successful (The Departed, based on a Hong Kong film). But Death Note is not a J-horror and Death Note is not an action drama. And from what I can understand, Warner Brothers will not be basing their movie off of the existing movies, so Death Note isn’t even a movie.

Death Note is a superntural, psychological, suspense thriller manga, and I have little faith that a Hollywood adaptation will 1) make any money, 2) treat the source material right, 3) be a decent movie on any kind of level. Well, at least it isn’t Fox, right?

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I probably shouldn’t be as surprised as I am considering how much amazing progress this digital streaming and simulcast thing has seen in the last few months alone, but I am seriously applauding FUNimation for this move. Four days lag time between the Japanese broadcast and an official English sub (presumably) isn’t quite simultaneous, but it’s good enough for me. That’s about how long I generally waited to watch my weekly Soul Eater anyway, so it’s great to see FUNi stepping up like this and beating the fansubbers to the chase since they do already have the series licensed.

I’m really curious to see how many fansub groups this official stream deters. Since the stream is only available for those in the US and France, there will likely still be foreign language sub efforts. It’s probably presumptuous of me, but I feel at least a little confident in guessing that a significant portion of fansubbers and leechers reside in the US. I don’t usually keep up with these things, so I’m not sure if any major fansub groups have already announced FMA:Brotherhood as a project, but if there have been, I wonder if any will drop it out right following this announcement.

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I got back from MomoCon late last night. Still completely exhausted, and it will take me a while to catch up with everything, but it’s a good thing my LJ feeds are one of the first things I check back up on because it let me know that a trailer for the upcoming DOGS OAV is now up on its website! (Click the link that says “movie” near the bottom.)

The animation looks gorgeous and, for me at least, erases many of the doubts that came with the first look at the artwork a few months back. The character designs are very faithful, as are the backgrounds, and the action. The music reminds me a lot of Baccano!, which threw me off a little at first — it’s very energetic, upbeat, and kind of hookey, which clashes with some of DOGS’s darker undertones. But considering that the OAV will only follow the storyline from “Stray dogs howling in the dark” rather than Bullets&Carnage, the humorous energy isn’t all that misplaced.

The trailer itself isn’t a great indication of story, so those unfamiliar with the manga probably won’t be impressed by much, though the action does looks nice. I’m really eager to see a trailer that will show more general background music and that will show speaking parts. I listened to the first drama CD again not long ago; it still sounded great, so I’m excited to see it all match up with their animated images. Gleeeee.

In the meantime, I’ve got “volume 0” of Viz’s release of the DOGS manga on preorder and can’t wait to get it~.

Sorry, No Catgirls For You

February 3, 2009 News 3 Comments

Well, first off, after two months or so of bumming the Anime Nano feeds, I’ve finally come up with a short list of blogs that I seem to click through regularly, so I’ve updated my blogroll to the side to reflect this. But considering Nano itself is on the list, I end up reading a lot more blogs than that since I’ll generally at least skim anything with an interesting title.

Anyway. I found this strange and slightly disturbing article via Slashdot today. There are people trying to combine human with animal DNA. Seriously, what the hell? Okay, okay, so despite what Slashdot implied, they weren’t actually trying to make crazy mutant hybrids — they were trying to see if mixing the DNA would enable them with a more reliable way to grow stem cells. I still find that goal kind of questionable though; even if the experiment had resulted in living stem cells, would they have been able to grow into anything useful? If you’ve suffered third degree burns, would you want a skin graft with skin grown from human-cow hybrid cells? o_o

Photo via JapanForumI’m not really sure anymore what made the catgirl (and catboy, and various other hybrids) attractive in the first place. I find it especially puzzling when so much of the anime community seems to look down at the furry subculture. I don’t think many people ever considered the fantasy any more than just a fantasy with no scientific plausibility whatsoever, but it’s still kind of a relief to know that it’s now proven not to work. I still never thought anyone would be crazy enough to try it for real though.

If catpeople ever came to be, I’m pretty sure they would take over the world.