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New Vocaloid Character Information: Megurine Luka

The latest information regarding the third vocaloid character has been released today. The new character is named “Megurine Luka” (I am working very hard not to call her “Luka Migraine”) and features the voice of Asakawa Yuu, probably best known for her role as Sakaki in Azumanga Daioh. I can’t expect her to become anything resembling the cultural phenomenon that is Hatsune Miku, but I must confess, I absolutely love this design:

Otaku Metaculture: NHK ni Youkoso

Welcome back, Heisei Democratizers!

First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you for your ongoing support (seriously, if you’re reading this right now, that’s support). However the site evolves, I will do my best not to disappoint you.

This brings us to the first in a new (hopefully) ongoing series, properly titled On the Creation of a Comprehesive Index of Otaku Metaculture. Which is to say, my attempt at creating a (more or less) complete list of anime, manga, and video games which happen to be centered on characters who are themselves afficionados of anime, manga, and video games. For our first installment, we will be featuring a retrospective for a franchise that is very near and dear to HD (hint: the site is named after it).

Haruhi-chan, Churuya-san anime series announced

Moon Phase Diary updates with the news this evening that according to the October ’08 issue of Shounen Ace (on sale August 25th), two new short-episode anime series are being produced simultaneously for broadcast on the YouTube Kadokawa Channel: “Suzumiya Haruhi-chan no Yuuutsu” (based on the Haruhi spinoff manga by the same name) and “Nyoro~n Churuya-san” (based on the popular doujin 4-panel comic by Eretto). The Moon Phase author speculates that these may be a stopgap measure to placate ravenous hordes of Haruhi fans hungry for solid news of a sequel to the original TV series, but I for one welcome our chibi webcast overlords. I hope they give them voices… We’ll keep an eye out for further news on this over the coming weeks. (no more)

Fullmetal Alchemist second TV anime series announced

According to Moon Phase Diary, a second TV series of Fullmetal Alchemist will be announced on the dust jacket of the release of the 20th volume of the FMA manga tomorrow. According to information obtained by Moon Phase it is likely that the series will again be produced by Bones, with Irie Yasuhiro on directorial duty, and the story will continue as a faithful adaptation of events from the manga. The series is scheduled to last a year starting next April, and air at 5:00 PM Sundays on TBS/MBS stations in Japan. Those of us who are FMA fans can look for confirmation and further info to appear in the coming days! (no more)

Queen’s Blade anime announced

The two latest Queen’s Blade combat artbooks hit store shelves yesterday (Allean and Ardra), and with them the news that the Queen’s Blade franchise is scheduled for TV anime adaptation! Other than the bare fact that it’s in the works little is known about the project, but based on Hobby Channel’s official announcement it’s hinted that Reina will be the protagonist. This in turn leads to all sorts of wild speculation – with the shared character designer, can we expect animation from the My-HiME team? Hobby Japan is a Bandai property, Sunrise is a Bandai property, it’s not entirely out of the question… we’ll follow up on this as soon as further information is made known. (no more)

Magazine Review: Megami vol. 98 (July 2008)

With yesterday’s release of the July ’08 issue of Megami Magazine things are officially heating up in the countdown to issue 100! The sticker price was raised to reflect the presence of additional extras, and unlike last issue there are no Nanoha filler posters to be found – just pure original poster goodness, and a lot of nice ones at that. Read on for a look at one of the best Megami issues to appear in recent months:

Kanokon pulled from free online broadcast

Moon Phase is reporting tonight that following episode seven, TV anime Kanokon will cease free distribution via online broadcasters GyaO and BIGLOBE. The reason given for the move is “ethical regulations”, which appear to have kicked in following the repeated depiction of racy visuals such as bare breasts, implied handjobs, flashes of nipple exposure, and etc. Apparently a particularly memorable scene occurs in episode eight that the free broadcasters weren’t willing to test against government regulation (Edit: the objectionable content was from “episode 7 and beyond” – not ep. 8 specifically), so from now on online viewing options will be restricted to paid only. Note that this currently does not affect any of the show’s terrestrial broadcast networks; we’ll keep an eye out for any further developments on this story or related censorship issues that may arise. (no more)

Otaku no Musume-san drama CD announced

Today in conjunction with the release of the fourth volume of Sutahiro manga Otaku no Musume-san, a two volume drama CD set was announced! The story of a 20-something otaku who finds a daughter on his doorstep one day that he didn’t know he had has come a long way from its humble webcomic roots, currently serialized in Dragon Age and with this new Drama CD set produced by some of the best talent in the business (including the “original landlady” Shimamoto Sumi reprising her spiritual role as OnMs landlady Asou Taeko). The first CD volume is scheduled for release on June 27th at 2,940 yen. Check out the CD official site for a very funny manga promo movie as well as voice samples.

The main reason I’m posting this (other than for inherent awesomeness) is that drama CDs have traditionally paved the way to anime series, and with this as one of my favorite manga currently running the mere possibility of an anime in its future engages the engines of delicious fanboy self-delusion. We’ll keep an eye out for further news. (no more)

Magazine Review: Megami vol. 97 (June 2008)

The June ’08 edition of Megami Magazine was released today, and we’re here with the scoop of its contents! With poster entries from most of the bishoujo anime of the season along with several looks ahead at what we can expect in the summer it’s a pretty well-rounded issue, and though soft in a couple of parts (too much tiny Nanoha) there are a few standout offerings that make the purchase worth it in the end. Moon Phase scoops the news of a new Higurashi OVA and talks about yuri love in Koihime Musou revealed in this issue, but we’re here for the posters:

TV anime Slayers REVOLUTION official site open

We first broke the news of a new Slayers TV anime back in February, and this evening we’re happy to report that the official site for Slayers REVOLUTION is now online! Details posted to the site reveal that the cast and staff remain unchanged from the original Slayers TV series (with the exception of J.C. STAFF now helming animation production), which is significant as it marks the return of seiyuu goddess Hayashibara Megumi to the small screen as Lina Inverse (the most recent of her increasingly infrequent TV appearances was as the childhood version of the school principal in episode nine of Manabi Straight). She will be joined by Matsumoto Yasunori as Gourry, Midorikawa Hikaru as Zelgadis, and Suzuki Masami as Amelia. Watanabe Takashi reprises his directorial role, and character design is from mangaka Araizumi Rui and Miyata Naomi. Series composition (writing) is from Takayama Jirou, who in addition to Slayers Next and Try also wrote several episodes of King Gainer. According to Moon Phase Diary the story will be a mix of elements from the original work that have yet to be animated, and material newly created expressly for the show.

I was never much of a Slayers fan back when the show was really popular, but this new incarnation looks like a lot of fun. I’ll be keeping an eye on it as development moves forward. (no more)

Toradora! anime confirmed

Via Moon Phase: The rumored report of a Toradora! anime that we mentioned last night was confirmed this morning by a post at the Forest Field blog. The news will be officially announced in the coming edition of Dengeki Bunko Magazine set for release on April 10th along with vol. 7 of the Toradora! light novel. No further details regarding the production are yet available, but we’ll be keeping an eye out. (no more)

Magazine Review: Megami vol. 96 (May 2008)

The May 2008 issue of Megami Magazine was released today, and we’ve got a thorough review of it here! The sticker price was bumped up from the standard 780 yen to 840 yen for this issue, but it comes with a couple of great extras that more than make up for the slight price increase – a double sided pencil board brings us a look at Saber of Fate/stay night as drawn by Nanoha creator Tsuzuki Masaki, with the reverse side an illustration of Fate Testarossa by Takeuchi Takashi. Other extras include large Clannad and Shana posters and an alternate cover for Nanoha StrikerS manga vol. 2, as well as the continuation of Ditama Bow‘s Yotsunoha manga. Oh, and there are lots of great posters, too. :3

North Korean abductee anime “Megumi” released

Via Moon Phase Diary: Today an animated version of the story of Megumi Yokota was released for free download by the Japanese Government Abduction Issue Countermeasure Headquarters (政府拉致問題対策本部), an agency that works to resolve the issue of North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens (an official explanation can be found here). It’s a 25 minute short “documentary anime” that covers Megumi’s life from birth through abduction and the subsequent unresolved quest to determine her fate, and seems to have received some budget as the film was simultaneously released dubbed in four languages (Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean). I downloaded the English version first expecting subtitles, and was greeted by a truly awful dub – I shut it down as soon as Megumi’s mom went into labor and decided to watch the Japanese version instead.


Heisei Democracy anime news: North Korean abductee anime documentary

This is a fascinating piece from several angles, both as a look at the rare intersection of documentary and anime narrative forms, and in light of its overtly political / propagandistic nature. It’s something I’m sure a visual anthropologist would have a field day dissecting – Moeyo’s initial response is “for this topic, is it really alright to give Megumi such a moe design?” An interesting question, in light of the film’s purpose. (no more)

Sekirei TV anime announced! (updated)

The official Sekirei manga site at Square-Enix’s Young Gangan Magazine brought the announcement last night: as previously rumored, the bishoujo fighting-themed manga from Gokurakuin Sakurako (Ashika Sakura) will become an anime some time this year! It will be directed by Kusakawa Keizou (recent directorial work includes Nanoha StrikerS and Inukami), script from Yoshioka Takawo (Sky Girls, Ikkitousen Dragon Destiny, Zero no Tsukaima), character design from Tomooka Shinpei (Inukami), and animation production from Seven Arcs (the Nanoha series, Inukami, SHAFT’s Negima, Red Garden, Zero no Tsukaima II, Da Capo II, the Yakin Byoutou series). The official anime website will be at Sekirei TV.com when it’s established; we’ll be keeping a close eye out for further news on the series as it develops. Update: The show’s official site is now online, and while it doesn’t offer much information beyond what we already knew we do get a first look at the anime character designs, and the cover of the 6th volume of the manga, due out on March 25th. (no more)

Appleseed TV anime announced

The new series based on the Masamune Shirow Appleseed manga is to be called Appleseed Genesis and will be directed by Romanov Higa and feature the voice talent of Paku Romi, according to Moon Phase and the series listing on the Tokyo International Anime Fair website. This is all we know about the series at present, but more details should appear leading up to the TIAF stage event on March 30th and we’ll be keeping an eye out for them. (no more)

Tanaka Yoshiki’s Titania to receive anime adaptation

Via Moon Phase: Word is in from the official Wright Staff president’s blog that Tanaka Yoshiki‘s serial novel Titania is to receive an anime adaptation. Titania is described in its Japanese Wikipedia article as:

Humanity’s advance has spread colonies through out the breadth of the vast universe, but the majority of them are under the control of the Titania family. In the year 446 of the star calendar, trouble arises surrounding one of the family’s special interests in the galactic city-state of Eulia. They send in a force to repress the uprising, but it is unexpectedly driven back.

Using this conflict as an opportunity, groups discontented with the Titania hegemony begin to move. Coupled with discord sown internally among the family members, an era of strife and terrible upheaval is ushered in for the galaxy.

Beginning in 1988 three volumes of the Titania novel have been published to date. Those familiar with Tanaka’s earlier work to receive anime versions such as Legend of the Galactic Heroes and The Heroic Legend of Arslan will no doubt find this an interesting development; we’ll be watching for further details on what could be the next great space opera anime. Update: Iwa ni Hana brought news two days ago regarding a manga adaptation of Titania as well. Their coverage has more information about the title as it relates to Legend of the Galactic Heroes; definitely worth a quick read. (no more)

Magazine Review: Megami vol. 95 (April 2008)

We revisit the hallowed posteriffic pages of Megami Magazine for the first time in a few months to find a very solid issue indeed, including offerings from Shana II, Clannad, Aria, Kimiaru, Nanoha, Spice and Wolf, To Heart 2, Kanokon, Minami-ke, Gunslinger Girls, Kimikiss, Bamboo Blade, Yotsunoha, Rosario to Vampire, Ikkitousen Great Guardians, and more. Is it just me, or is there more nekkidness in this issue than in the past year’s lot combined? See below for a preview:

Gurren Lagann movie version announced

Via Moon Phase and Kadokawa’s exhibitor entry at the Tokyo International Anime Fair website: according to the April edition of Newtype magazine (on sale March 10th), a theatrical version of the Gurren Lagann TV anime is currently in the planning stages of production. No details of the project are currently known, but Moon Phase speculates that it might be similar to the Top wo Nerae! theatrical release in that it would combine new animated sequences with brushed up material from the TV series to present a condensed version of the story. We’ll keep an eye on this as further information comes to light. (no more)

New Slayers TV anime announced

Via Moon Phase: The Kanzaka Hajime official fan club is reporting that Slayers is to receive a new TV anime adaptation! It will feature an original story and be divided into two cours of ~12-13 episodes each. Direction will be from Watanabe Takashi, with animation production from J.C. Staff. The voice cast is reported to have “no significant changes.”

This news is still officially rumor until it can be corroborated with the upcoming release of Dragon Magazine, but the official fan club source seems credible enough. (no more)

TRIGUN THE MOVIE announced for 2009

Via Moon Phase Diary: The promotional dust jacket cover (“obi”) from volume 14 of the Trigun Maximum manga [AA] brings the news that a Trigun animated feature film is currently in production! It will feature an original story developed by manga author Yasuhiro Nightow and director Nishimura Satoshi who collaborated with Nightow on the Trigun TV series and is also known for his work on the Hajime no Ippo anime. The script will be helmed by veteran anime writer Kobayashi Yasuko, with character designs from Yoshimura Takahiro (an unknown?) and animation production from Madhouse. The tagline reads: “Vash vs. Wolfwood?! The familiar characters erupt on screen in an all-original Trigun story!” As a fan of the original TV series I’ll be keeping a close eye out as this project develops… (no more)

Dengeki Gao suspension confirmed

The official Dengeki Comic Gao website was updated with the news that the April 2008 issue of the magazine, on sale today, will be its last. A translation of the message posted to the site follows:

“With this issue GAO’s publication will be suspended. We would like to thank our readers for enjoying the magazine over its 15 year history. Works currently serialized in GAO will be moved to a new magazine. Please continue to watch the development of manga artists and works that were born and grew up in these pages. This page will be updated again in early April.”

It seems the earlier news to this effect was correct; it remains to be seen exactly how the currently running manga will be currently divided among MediaWorks’ other magazines, but it seems likely that Daioh will absorb the lion’s share. (no more)

Anime News: Ikkitousen 3rd season announced

The cover of the April 2008 edition of Comic Gum makes the announcement that Ikkitousen will be returning in a third series, entitled “Great Guardians”! Moon Phase Diary brings details regarding the anime staff and cast, which seem nearly identical to that of the second season (Dragon Destiny); the official anime site is scheduled for an update on February 25th to reflect the news, and the series is scheduled to air on TV this summer. April ’08 Comic Gum cover image and inner magazine scoop below:

Manga News: Dengeki Comic Gao to suspend serialization

Via Moon Phase Diary: according to an advertisement in this month’s Dengeki Daioh, sister magazine Dengeki Comic Gao is to see an indefinite suspension of publication, presumably beginning after this month’s issue (due out on the 27th). Several of the manga currently serialized in Gao will begin running in Daioh, including Venus Versus Virus, Wagaya no Oinari-sama, Kemeko Deluxe, ef – a fairy tale of the two, and Gurren Lagann; the others will presumably end or suspend their runs with the next issue of the magazine. It seems a bit odd that the magazine’s official site shows no sign of the move, so we’ll keep an eye out for the next few days to make sure this information is accurate. (no more)

Protoculture News: otaku news and community site Akibanana launches

Another site we’ve had our eye on that’s been brewing behind the scenes for several months has finally come online: Akibanana. It opened last week around the same time as the new English Akiba Blog, and already has a decent body of a dozen or so posts online on topics ranging from Lucky Star and Haruhi to cat cafes and robot soccer. With the field of English language news and coverage of Akihabara-related events becoming more crowded I’m not sure where Akibanana will find their niche, but I wish them the best – those seeking a more detailed primer on the site can find it over at The FØØL’s Progress. (no more)

Protoculture News: English version of Akiba Blog goes online (updated)

We’ve known it’s been brewing in the wings for a few weeks now thanks to a link on the Japanese Akiba Blog site, but as of today it’s finally live – English Akiba Blog. Little is known about the spinoff beyond what can be immediately seen: it’s a direct English translation of the content of the Japanese side, with advertisements tailored to an international audience from Hobby Search (figures) and Himeya (eroge); who is doing the translations is unknown, but their tone is decidedly Engrishy. It’s hard to say what impact this will have on the English language otaku news establishment in the long run, but from the perspective of one Japan-resident blogger it’s clear there’s a major new player on the scene, and we’ll be watching this one closely. Update: I just received an email press release from the organization behind the new English Akiba Blog that sheds a bit of light on who’s working on it and to what end. Text of the PR follows:

Anime News: Macross Frontier official site grand open

The official site for spring ’08 TV anime Macross Frontier (Wikipedia) staged a full renovation today, with sections open detailing the story, mechanics, characters, music, and staff credits for the show. In addition, the information section was updated with the news that spinoff manga will be serialized in both Shounen Ace (starting in the February ’08 issue, already on sale) and Comp Ace (starting in the April issue, out on 2/26) magazines, and that a “25th Anniversary MACROSS MUSEUM” will be on display at Wonder Festival 2008 Winter. The exhibit will include new promotional footage from Macross F as well as a history of Valkyrie models on display, a talk show featuring artist Tenjin Hidetaka and modeler Yamazaki Gunsou, a karaoke contest, and more. We’ll stay on top of this as more details come to light! (no more)

Anime News: Sekirei rumors pick up speed (updated)

Moon Phase Diary reported last night that the Animate online shop listing for volume six of the Sekirei manga contained the news that the manga will receive an anime adaptation in summer 2008! That line was subsequently removed from the product description, but it seems more and more likely that the earlier information from Moon Phase is correct; we can expect official corroboration to appear in March, most likely in the March 21st edition of Young Gangan magazine or when volume six goes on sale on the 25th. Update: Moon Phase is reporting that Aniplex has registered the domain sekirei-tv.com. We’ll watch for content to appear there in the coming month. (no more)

Bishoujo Game News: English visual novel localizer Hirameki closes shop

According to a statement on its official site, as of January 2nd, 2008 visual novel production house Hirameki has closed its doors. I never followed the company’s activities very closely, but this news is certainly a blow to the cause of visual novel fans and bishoujo game fans of all varieties, ero or otherwise. Those familiar with the history of English localization of visual novel-type games will see this as part of a pattern that has brought down every other company solely devoted to their production in the past; only on the margins have such games ever been profitable, and given the current environment it seems unlikely this will change. Still, I can’t help wondering what would happen if the right company came along… Despite the official closure of Hirameki’s doors many of their titles are still available for purchase, including the critically acclaimed Ever17 and Phantom of Inferno. (no more)

December 2007 Eroge Roundup

Better late than never, we close the book on the eroge world of 2007 with a look at major releases through the month of December. It was a banner month in several respects, with new releases from CODEPINK and Littlewitch, the Dies irae debacle, and the recall and subsequent reissue of what many are calling the lolicon title of the year. This post was composed over the course of a few weeks so don’t mind some random changes in verb tense here and there…

Anime News: Zero no Tsukaima season 3 confirmed

It’s been widely rumored for the past month or so that Zero no Tsukaima would see a third season, and proof comes in today via Moon Phase in the form of the cover of the 13th 0nT novel. No details have yet been divulged regarding when the series will air or what content it will cover, though the hope among fans is that it rights some of the wrongs inflicted by what turned out to be a less than well-received second season. We’ll be keeping an eye on this for further details; the official 0nT anime site is here. (no more)