Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dentsu Posts Massive Losses on Account of Geneon

More tragic news from Dentsu, Geneon's parent company. In a recent press release posted on their site (appropriately titled Dentsu Posts Extraordinary Income and Extraordinary Losses, etc.)that due to the downsizing of Geneon, they are anticipating huge losses. They are estimating figures close to ¥4.7 Billion in consolidated losses and ¥5.1 Billion in non-consolidated losses when they post their financial results for the first half of their fiscal year ending on March 31st, 2008. For those who have no idea what the above means, consolidated losses are losses to Geneon and its parent, Dentsu, and non-consolidated losses probably in this case just means Geneon USA. ¥4.7 Billion is around $40 Million USD, and ¥5.1 comes out to $44 Million USD. Perhaps these are the numbers that scared ADV away from the proposed deal? Dentsu is also going to back out of a partnership with Tohokushinsha Film Corporation. The partnership was a joint sales business for broadcasting rights in Japan to foreign movies and television shows. Tohokushinsha is also a production company with titles such as Appleseed, and we remember Geneon did a huge amount of promotion for this movie at Anime Conventions all over North America. They were hailing it as the next big thing in anime movies , and gave out a lot of schwag for it. Something very bad must have happened between them as well. Dentsu is Japan's leading advertising agency and also has a powerful presence all over the world, and it is not looking like this company is having a very good year with it's entertainment ventures.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Teacher Muses About Sailor Moon

This article is around 2 days old, and we thought fans here might like to learn of it. Nikkei Business Online has a special story about a professor who spent his childhood in China, and now lives in his native Japan. Dr. Endo Homare is currently teaching sociology at Teikyo University about Chinese Culture. He also has initiated special projects to bring in more international students to the University to learn about culutre. He muses about Sailor Moon along with a female Chinese student of his. In this article he talks about his move to Japan when he was only 12 years old, and how he discovered Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon is a big part of his life and what he studies. He talks about how he was fascinated with the notion of transformation in Sailor Moon when he saw it as a young boy in China. The animation was like nothing he had ever seen before and the show had a huge impact among the youth in China. Girls looked up to Sailor Moon and in some senses had become her - from pretending to transform like her or acting like her. The student remembers that she would often ask to eat her dinner earlier or later as it was broadcasted before the evening news just so she could watch it, and how she didn't like anyone disturbing her when she was watching it - it was like she was in her own world. They go into a lot more cultural aspects of it and how it affected youth, such as youth weren't likely to talk about it unless everyone else liked it, and how Sailor Moon had inspired girls to become strong women. It's a really interesting article for anyone interested in the anthropological and sociological aspects of the cartoon!

Breaking News: Bandai Visual USA to Handle Own Releases

More news from the current plight of Geneon USA today! Previously, Geneon was handling all of the distribution for Bandai Visual USA - fans can check out some of those titles here. Since Geneon abruptly announced their exit from anime distribution and marketing, Bandai Visual USA has confirmed that they will keep up with their new releases as planned, and are working to find alternative distribution agreements. This is good news for fans of Bandai Visual titles, but still no word on what is going to happen with Geneon's titles. We met an independent Anime shop owner today who was shocked to hear the news, but not entirely surprised saying that Geneon had fallen back in the last couple of years. One of our readers even wrote us in to express their disappointment in the recent Geneon release of the Ai Yori Aoshi series - it was only the DVDs wrapped in plastic, no box, no thinkpak, no nothing. In our experience, titles were sometimes hard to find back then and are even harder to find now. Again, we will keep you posted once we hear any news of what is going to happen with Geneon titles.

Commercials Corner #15

Fifteen Entries already? It seems like only yesterday this feature began. This is probably our last week of "catch up entries" when it comes to commercials, we have 56 for your enjoyment! Of course since this blog is Sailor Moon related, we have to have this as our top pick of the week - a trailer for the new Aquarion movie in Japan! And it practically serves as a mini-reunion for the Sailor Moon Seiyuu as there are a lot of former ones in this movie! Leading this horde is Masaya Onosaka (Jadeite) as Pierre Vieira, and the others include Daisuke Sakaguchi (various minor roles) as Jun Lee, Mako Hyoudou (Amanju) as Otoha, Nobuo Tobita (Pupuran) as Jean-Jerome Jorge, Sakiko Tamagawa (Princess Kakyuu) as Sophia Belin, Toshiyuki Morikawa (Yuu Azama) as Touma, and Unshou Ishizuka (Sailor Chef) as Gen Fudou.

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And then there was also this notable from Fuji-Q Amusement Park!

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We have lots more , especially for you J-pop fans so here come the rest!
Nerdy Teenagers in an Acne Commercial!
☼ Japanese Aflac Commercials 1 and 2!
Canon Eos Camera!
Ardepro Property Management!
CEATEC Exhibition!
Cell Phone Gaming!
Coca-Cola is for sharing!
Docomo 2.0 Commercial - we mean no offense to Toku Fans!
Docomo 2.0 Office Commercial!
Drewell Sleeping Pill!
Dusters from Japan!
e-ma Fruit Mints!
Essential Damage Care with Honey!
Suzuki Every Wagon!
Fed-Ex in China!
Jessica Alba says hello to fans and wants them to go see Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer!
Realistic Toy Ferraris!
Fujitsu's Gong Show!
A Green Juice Commercial that practically reads like an infomercial!
Men's Hair Massager!
DJ Halfby!
House Design Collection!
Honda Stylish Package!
Japan ETC!
Jomo Energy!
Let's Dance Compilation!
Lotte Acuo!
Men's TBC Soccer!
NEC with Intel's Core 2 Duo!
Nissan Note!
Nissan Compact Cars!
Nissay Life Insurance!
Ora2 Stainclear!
Panasonic Viera!
Poscam Gum!
Strange Recruitment Commercial!
Puffy wants you to Fly Panda with ANA!
Samurai Pachinko!
Nissan X Chemical Brothers!
Windows Mobile Smartphone!
Soken Bicha!
Success! Medicated Shampoo for Men!
Suntory Boss Rainbow with Tommy Lee Jones!
Ayumi Hamasaki's Latest Power Single, Talkin' 2 Myself!
UFO Ramen!
Shiseido UFO Fiber!
Princess Kaguya endorses Vitamin C Pill!
Wonda Morning Shot!

Shoko Nakagawa's New Album, a New Performance, And Of Course, Sailor Moon Cosplay!

Shoko Nakagawa finally released her second CD of anime song covers on September 19th. Shokotan☆Cover x2 ~Anisong ni ai o Kome te!!~ doesn't have any covers of Sailor Moon songs,but does feature another one of our favorites Catch You Catch Me from Card Captor Sakura! She also sings Rinbu Revolution from Revolutionary Girl Utena, TELEPORTATION -koi no mikakunin- from Esper Mami, and ETERNAL WIND ~hohoemi wa hikaru kaze no naka~ from Mobile Suit Gundam F91. The first song on the album is a favorite of Moon Chase's Translator White Tiger King, 1/2 from Rurouni Kenshin! Fans can watch the music video for it here, and we have uploaded her performance from a week ago on Music Japan!

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Fans can also watch a performance from the audience of the World Cosplay Summit here. She is singing Sorairo Days, the theme song of the new hit anime, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

And no article about Shoko would be complete without a few Sailor Moon Cosplay sightings! Here she is cosplaying as Sailor Mars (and here, here, and here too), and Sailor Chibi-Moon here and here! She has also been doing a lot of art inspired by Sailor Moon's Luna , featuring her own male cat, also named Luna.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Geneon Calls it Quits

RIP Geneon :(

As seen on and Anime News Network, Geneon is pulling out of the North American Market. They will cease sales and distribution on Friday. Even we are surprised by the short notice of this, and are even more worried that these properties will still be managed by Geneon but there is no mention of a distributor. We really hope they find one soon! It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months as fans scramble to find Geneon releases.

This is still saddening news though as Geneon was one of the friendliest companies in the North American markets. Their representatives at anime cons were always willing to speak to fans and always welcomed to hear comments. And they have a special place in the hearts of Sailor Moon fans for helping to bring S, SS, and the Movies to the English speaking world. Over the years they had many hit titles such as Akira, Serial Experiments Lain, Appleseed, Tenchi Muyo, Sailor Moon, and many more. Even though their presence will not be as great as it used to be, we wish them the best of success in this new venture.

For Those of You Who Missed It...

You can catch Phil Donahue's very informative appearance on CBC's The Hour last night here. He didn't talk about the other people he worked with, but nevertheless you get to see a few scenes and some insight on the film. We will keep you posted once we actually hear of a release date!

Monday, September 24, 2007

When American Bands Appear on Japanese Television #5!

And here comes the first of two bursts of entertainment from the other side of the pond to give you a bit of a laugh after last week's Earth-shattering news. Firstly, too all our readers, thank you for commenting on our videos on Veoh. Unfortunately, we have been dealing with a spammer who has broken through Veoh's blocking controls, and spammed over 100 of our videos up until this morning. Veoh's interface is also broken and not letting us remove some of these spam comments, so we made the executive decision to disable comments on all of the videos that we have uploaded up until now. In a week or so we're going to try again to see if their system is working and if the problem has been fixed. We will keep you posted. Any videos being posted today and tomorrow though, will be free for commenting (unless we see spam). Also don't go asking us the name of a movie when we post the name of the movie trailer in the video title (yes, there were a couple of those), and don't ask us when you're going to see full uploads of movies, we just post commercials, not whole movies.

Which brings us back to the topic at hand - in Japan there is a variety show, SMAP X SMAP that stars the popular J-pop group SMAP. They do a variety of segments on the show featuring celebrities, cooking, and sketch comedy... and it actually isn't as bad as you think it would be! Last Saturday's show featured one of my favorite bands, the Black Eyed Peas. Here are three segments for you all to enjoy! They aren't spaced out like some of the other stars we have posted here, and we kinda wish we had a few more clips of them on Japanese television. Side note: these guys are absolutely amazing live, and if you ever get the chance to see them I highly suggest you do!

Here come the Peas talking to SMAP before their show - is absolutely hilarious!

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Here comes performing his latest hit I Got it From My Mama:

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And finally, the Peas get together with SMAP and sing one of the best performances of Where is the Love? that we have ever seen!

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Quick VA (and related) Update

Hey everyone, in the next couple days we will be uploading a lot of commercials and a new edition of when American Bands Appear on Japanese Television, and you will not be disappointed with the latter! I think this is our best find yet! Hopefully it will get you over a lot of sorrows over the sad news with Geneon. A lot of fans are wondering what is going to happen to the anime classics Geneon has rights over such as Serial Experiments Lain, Akira, Tenchi, Trigun, and other hot hits. We're still going to keep an eye on the situation in the hopes that we hear of a distributor soon.

In the meantime, there are a few quick sightings that we need to let you all know about!

We mourn with all you Emilie-Claire Barlow (Sailor Mars #2, Sailor Venus #2) fans! Her character, Courtney, was voted off the island in the animated reality cartoon, Total Drama Island. Fans can check out a couple of clips of Courtney and Duncan here and here. We thought she would have lasted a bit longer. Now we are rooting for Gwen!

The recent Barbie movies have a connection to anime. The voice actors recorded for the film in Canada, and have featured actors such as Kelly Sheridan (Hitomi from Escaflowne) as Barbie, and others like Kirby Morrow (Van from Escaflowne, Miroku from InuYasha), and Cathy Weseluck (Kagome's Mother from InuYasha, and who could forget the elusive Cybersix?). Well, now these terrible movies have a connection to Sailor Moon. Currently on a store shelf almost everywhere is Barbie as the Island Princess. Unfortunately I had to sit through this movie last weekend watching it with a few young'uns. I'm going to spare you all from any plot details, it's pretty much a cross between Cinderella and childhood amnesia. But unless you are okay with listening to someone break into a song every few minutes, believing that a person can understand every language of each animal, or watching some profusely lifeless and plastic computer animation, avoid this film at all costs. Susan Roman (Sailor Jupiter) plays the elephant Tika, and though her acting in this is commendable, this movie is not. If you still don't believe us, here's a trailer.

And, here comes an article from our VA Vault from Setpember of 2000, all about Stephanie Morgenstern (Sailor Venus #1)! You'll get to find out where she got her start, and at the end makes mention of her hit short film from sometime later, Remembrance.

Actor of many languages, maker of many films

Stephanie Morgenstern, a former Montrealer now living in Toronto, says she was thrilled to land a substantial supporting role as a French-speaking Norwegian in Maelstrom, Denis Villeneuve's parable of love, death, guilt and atonement that takes its cue from a talking fish.

"French filmmakers seem to be much less dominated by the American model," she said, "in style and subject matter and in the way that they direct. I think they're much more expressive of themselves."

And they're not afraid to take risks. Villeneuve "has fabulated this huge Norwegian presence in Montreal," Morgenstern said. This includes, among other things, a sauna scene in which two women are overheard speaking Norwegian. "I think he wanted to soak the whole film in this mythic, Norwegian, Viking, operatic grandeur."

Morgenstern's character is the comic-relief foil and trusty friend who tries to raise the hapless heroine out of a severe depression. Her performance is seamless, as usual. "I think my ambiguous accent is beginning to pay off."

As further proof of her versatility, she also appeared in an English-language film at Montreal's World Film Festival that ended Monday night -- a 15-minute short called Passengers, directed by Francine Zuckerman. It's a poignant piece about a lesbian (Morgenstern) who attends her father's funeral, full of regret that she never came out to him.

In Maelstrom, playing a grad student worried about a thesis wasn't that difficult, Morgenstern said. She's been there, done that.

Born in Geneva, Switzerland, she was raised in Montreal and studied at McGill University. She moved to Toronto 10 years ago to study social and political thought at York University. Her master's thesis was on "Epistemic autonomy of mass-media audiences."

She got her start in theatre with Clare Shapiro's Creations Etc., doing original bilingual shows with other teenagers. This led to a stint in French television on a children's program. At McGill, she appeared in theatre productions. At Montreal's Centaur Theatre, she was seen in Quiet in the Land, Vassa, and, in 1993, Look Back in Anger.

By then she was already commuting from Toronto, where she now lives with her husband, actor Mark Ellis.

Although she's been active in Toronto theatre, in both English and French, and made her Stratford debut as Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1993, she's currently seeking her challenges elsewhere. "I made a choice about four years ago," she says, "to take a break from theatre."

In addition to acting in films such as The Sweet Hereafter (1997) and Oh! Revoir Julie (1998), she has taken to making them herself, with a little help from brother Mark Morgenstern. They began with a short titled Curtain or Rideau, a backstage theatre romp shot at the National Theatre School a few years ago. After being shown at Montreal's World Film Festival, it was picked up by 25 other festivals worldwide and was nominated for a 1996 Genie Award.

Their next was Shooter, about the paparazzi. It won an award at a festival in Houston. She and her husband are now working on a film about Second World War espionage and the role of Canadian spies.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Breaking News: ADV And Geneon Merger Over?

Readers, there is an update at the bottom of this post.

To The Anonymous Poster: We would love to hear more about this, but we don't really think that the comments are the best way for you to let us know exactly what is going on. We have an email address listed at the bottom of the page, but here it is in case you don't want to go looking: (remove the NOSPAMPLZTHX). We promise to keep you anonymous - and won't publish anything that you would rather us not post.

Hey Moonies: we are treating this current Breaking News Story as Rumor. Two weeks ago we brought to your attention late breaking news of a proposed merger between ADV and Geneon, two anime distributors who once held licenses for Sailor Moon. This morning, an anonymous poster to that article notified us that the deal was on hold. And just a few hours ago, ANN also broke the news. This sad news comes after the other disheartening news that as we (and others) predicted, Geneon laid off many employees, especially those in sales. Also of note is that an Editor of ANN has admitted that their source was also anonymous. We're not sure if our sources are the same , but we're still unsure whether to call this news legit or not. We also thought something was up when one of our members last week spotted some Geneon titles in a store going for a little cheaper than they usually do.

It's also way too early to speculate what this could mean for Sailor Moon. Geneon's North American distribution is up in the air at this moment. We really don't want to see Geneon pull out of the North American Market - especially like this. Especially when articles like this one come out and say that many of the Japanese companies are setting up shop in North America just to manage their releases of anime.

We apologize to fans for not reporting this earlier. All of our staff members are busy during the day with school and/or work so by the time we find out about these things it's late evening. But by those hours half of us are so insane that we have just enough energy to create graphics like the one above ;).

EDIT: (Posted @ 8:55 AM Friday, September 21st, 2007) This news is no longer a rumor. Dentsu (Geneon's Parent Company in Japan) released a statement confirming the news here, and ADV released a statement through ANN here. Dentsu states that Geneon has withdrawn from the deal, but they do not give any reason (neither does ADV). Dentsu goes on to say that some other companies, including trading giant Sojitz and the Development Bank of Japan, are going to be making investments in ADV through the Japan Contents Investment Business Limited Partnership, a special partnership that promotes the export of Japanese Animation Content. As of October 1st, Geneon will be involved only in managing their works. Their distribution is still up in the air, and now we're a little worried - who is going to release their series? We'll be hunting down our favorite Geneon titles in case we may never see them again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Paprika Finally Gets a Release Date!

It was just a few days ago when we were longing to hear news of a release date, and it came today! Paprika is going to be released on both Blu-Ray and Standard DVD on November 27th. As if you haven't read it on this blog already a hundred times, this movie stars two Seiyuu of Sailor Moon in leading roles - Megumi Hayashibara (Himeko) plays Dr. Atsuko Chiba, and Toru Furuya (Tuxedo Kamen) as Dr. Kosaku Tokita. And it looks like some of the extras that are on the Japanese release are coming as extras here too. There is a half-hour behind-the-scenes commentary that looks at the film and staff, A Conversation About The Dream, which features the cast and the director, Satoshi Kon, speaking about the film in the style of a talk show, along with another commentary. It's nice to see this film released on the newer, higher definition Blu-Ray DVD format. This is great news as now Paprika fans don't have to go to great lengths just to get the Blu-Ray from Japan!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

News From The Other Side Of The Pond #7

It's been a while since we've had a few news stories about the Japanese Seiyuu, so here we come with two short news updates!

Megumi Ogata To Release New CD!

Megumi Ogata (Sailor Uranus) is celebrating her 15th anniversary in the acting business by releasing a CD of covers of songs from anime that she has been in. Animeg is coming out on October 3rd, and will feature theme songs from Galaxy Express 999, City Hunter, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Magic Knights Rayearth, and of course Moonlight Legend from Sailor Moon. The CD is currently available for pre-order from Amazon Japan, YesAsia, and CDJapan. Sadly, the news release just announced it without comment from Megumi herself.

Paprika Coming to CinemaNow VOD Site!

Internationally acclaimed hit Paprika, was released on DVD in Japan in May, and is now coming to a VOD site in a limited run. For ¥420 ($3.70), users of Japan's CinemaNow service can watch the movie as many times as they want for 48 hours. The movie will be offered only until December 5th. This psychological drama stars two Seiyuu that were involved in Sailor Moon, Megumi Hayashibara (Himeko in the S Movie) and Toru Furuya (Tuxedo Kamen). Still no word yet on a DVD release date for North America, but we are really hoping that the Blu-Ray DVD makes it's way over here alongside the standard DVD format release.

Moon Chase Reviews the New Care Bears Cartoon!

And As Predicted, We Were Disappointed.

This morning marked the premiere of CBS’s Kewlopolis block. It seems to be targeted more to girls than it is to boys as we saw more commercials for toys that girls were more likely to play with (Bratz dolls, and My Little Pony) than toys that boys were more likely to play with (we saw one commercial for Transformers). The TV shows are also representative of those sentiments... How many boys do you know are interested in watching any of the following: Strawberry Shortcake, Trollz, Sabrina, Cake, or Horseland? Back in our day, we remember that programming was for the most part targeted towards both genders. One of our members watched some of the block with two teenaged boys who also agreed that if they were still kids, they probably wouldn’t watch this either and change the channel. We have read some industry estimates that this block is supposed to reach 14.8 million boys and girls through it’s year-long run, and we doubt that those numbers are actually going to be reached (at least with the boys). This is the biggest and most glaring mistake of this new cartoon block in our opinion.

And now for the news you’ve all been waiting for... what are the new Care Bears like? As you can probably tell by our subtitle, we weren’t impressed. The cast from the Oopsy Does It movie are reprising their roles in this 2-d animated cartoon. As we had mentioned before, Tracey Moore (Sailor Moon #1) plays Share Bear (and probably does some random voices of other bears as well). We also can confirm that Scott McNeil, famous for such roles as Duo on Mobile Suit Gundam, Koga from InuYasha, and Piccolo from DBZ, is playing Grumpy Bear in this show. What really surprised us more was watching as the other, additional voice cast scrolled by. We saw one very familiar anime VA - Richard Ian Cox (InuYasha). We’re not sure who he plays at this point (we think it’s one of the other bears) but nonetheless we were very surprised to see his name in the credits. This show was recorded in Vancouver too, which doesn’t surprise us that most of the cast is Canadian.

We had to sit through two fifteen minute episodes, A Little Help and The Tell Tale Tummy. The first one began with Grumpy Bear working in his garage, and he had conjured a power generator. The villain, Grizzle, lives in a somewhat scary dwelling, but he sure didn’t act like a villain in these episodes. More like someone who wants to sneak around to get his way rather than wreak havoc - which for those of us who grew up watching the original series looked forward to the crazy things Beastly and No Heart would throw at the Care Bears. More shocking was the fact that Grizzle lived in some kind of metallic cyber-suit - I mean come on, if kids are supposed to think that this character is to be feared by all, shouldn’t he not act like a kitten in his "costume"? Grizzle needed this power generator to keep his palace from floating away, so instead of asking for it, he decided to steal it. The bears needed it for a Rainbow Day Festival. A side plot in this show (intending to teach kids a lesson) is that they should never refuse help when they need it, as Grumpy was quite busy and refused Share Bear’s help in gathering bumbleberries. If anyone wants to hear some creative “cursing” by Grumpy , they should watch this show. His curses are too sweet even for Ned Flanders to use! When they caught Grizzle stealing the power generator, instead of taking it away from him and scolding the villain (which usually happens in a cartoon?) Grumpy just said that if Grizzle would have asked, he would have given it to him. How are kids supposed to fear this villain now? Tell Tale Tummy was a story that told kids to listen to their conscience and not lie if they break something. And Amigo Bear to us just seemed to be a token character who said the occasional word in Spanish to make a bad joke. We spotted Wish Bear in a quick glimpse but sadly Stephanie Beard is not voicing the character.

The old series had a multitude of bears (and other animals) with different personalities- that all seemed older than being children and served as figures kids could look up to and learn from. The bears are all young in this series and there are only four main characters, barely enough characters for new viewers to identify and pick their favorite. In fact none of these voices to us really seemed like they had character - the old cartoon which featured several of the VAs from Sailor Moon was better matched for the voices. The show has the E/I symbol which stands for Educational/Informative - but the script really made it seem like these lessons are pretty much written in forcibly or just for the sake of it. It just doesn’t jive at all. If you don't believe us, why not watch clips of the new productions that are posted here.

These first episodes were terrible and we really expected something a lot better - considering that American Greetings and other sites affiliated with the Care Bears were pushing the 25th Year Celebrations just months ago. And if you go to the Official Care Bears site, you will see that all traces of the old Care Bears have disappeared - no more listings of all the bears, and no more mention of any of the movies, from the old ones of the 1980's to the new computer animated ones released in the last few years. This may be because of the rights for the property going to DiC. We did manage to find buried in the internet this page with a few old clips. Our final word? We hated it. But why take our word for it? One blogger out there agrees with us , and we anticipate seeing more entries in the weeks to come. Sorry for all you Tracey Moore fans, while her acting is the best she can do with this , the show really isn’t worth watching. We are more likely to direct kids to watching the old reruns on Treehouse if they want to learn something and have a little fun too.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Japanese Films to Show Across Western and Central Canada!

We've known about this news for a couple weeks now, and it's starting to trickle into the Anime world. The Japanese Consulate is presenting recent, select hit Japanese films in BC in a couple days. But what the other site isn't telling you is that these movies are being presented in Alberta and Saskatchewan too, as part of a special Japan Film Festival! Now, years ago where I used to live, the consulate used to present two movies for free one night a year. They haven't presented anything in quite a few years, and I am happy that this has started up again! Before we tell you when and where you can catch these films, we're going to tell you about them first! And best of all they will all be presented subtitled!

Kamikaze Girls takes a look at youth subcultures in Japan. It is one of starcat's current picks, and it's also topped some of the friends of our staff's lists too. The film stars Japanese pop-rock sensation Anna Tsuchiya in the role of the tomboy, Ichigo Shirayuri. Ichigo is a member of an all girls motorcycle gang, who makes an unlikely friend in Momoko (played by popstar Kyoko Fukada). Momoko is the complete opposite of Ichigo, as she dresses like a "Sweet Lolita" and and is the girliest of girls compared to Ichigo! The film has won many awards in Japan and was recently released on DVD in North America. Our readers can go check out a trailer here!

2004 Oscar Nominee Twilight Samurai (Tasogare Seibei) is a movie set in 19th Century Japan. Iguchi Seibei (Hiroyuki Sanada) is the lowest rank of his samurai, and works humbly taking inventory of his clan's grain. His wife succumbs to tuberculosis and though she receives a grand funeral, poor Iguchi could not afford it. He rarely gets the chance for customary bonding with others in his clan as he is taking care of his daughters and senile mother. Things change for Iguchi when an old childhood friend Tomoe Iinuma (Rie Miyazawa) returns to his town after divorcing her abusive husband. The movie is directed by legendary director Yoji Yamada, who is most famous for the long running film series Tora-san (Otoko wa tsurai yo). This is another big awards winner and was also released on DVD recently in North America. Trailer can be seen here!

Hotel Hibiscus is a family movie that reminds us a lot of an older movie, Kikujiro no Natsu. This movie is about a young girl named Meiko and her family who live in a house in Okinawa. Her family consists of her mother, her father, her grandmother, two older brothers (both fathered by different American GIs), and a sister (also fathered by an American GI). They live in an old, run-down, hotel called Hotel Hibiscus, which only has one room available to rent. Eventually her family is pulled apart, her mother and sister want to venture to America to find the long-lost father, her father goes back to his father's pineapple farm, and soon she is left alone with her Grandma. One day Mieko travels to deliver a message to her father, but on the way has a few adventures. Another award winner, this movie has not been released on DVD , so all the more reason to run to the theater when it comes!

And last but not least is The Glass Rabbit, the only anime that is part of this offering, and is just making it's presence known to the world. Toshiko is a girl who is hit badly with the ravages of war, losing her mother and sisters first to an air raid, and her father just as they are escaping to the suburbs. Toshiko's father used to work in a glass factory, and he had crafted her a glass rabbit. Unfortunately in the fires the shape became distorted, but it is all that she has left and it serves as a reminder for her to go on. This unforgettable story has a Sailor Moon connection (surprise!) Taeko Kawata (Momoko Momohara) plays Mitsuko Ei in this movie. Now this hasn't been in very wide release but we are really hoping Eleven Arts steps this up. It looks like it will be nearly as good as Grave of the Fireflies!

If you are in Vernon or Vancouver and want to head to see these films, click here.

If you are in Calgary and want to see these films, click here.

If you are in Regina and want to see these films, click here.

I will be attending one of these, but if any of our readers are there and would like to report about the films or the crowds, as always you can contact us at!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fall VA Sightings!

Liza Balkan Performs New Piece in Festival!

Liza Balkan(Sailor Mercury #2), performed a new piece this weekend at Toronto's Second Annual Lab Cab Festival. Out The Window is based on the aftermath of witnessing a death on the street. Something happened. The official description from the site reads: 6 years, two trials, a coroner's inquest, a verdict and 100s of pages of transcripts later... questions remain. About truth. About sight. About the act of the witness. Liza is a director, actor, dancer, writer. Who saw something. She thinks. One critic enjoyed it and hailed it as one of the pieces not to miss. Liza directed the Pajama Game at the Bathurst Street Theatre, and can be seen next directing Bunnicula this Christmas. Fans can visit the official Lab Cab Myspace here!

A Rubeus' Presence is Felt on Wayside!

Wayside is a Canadian and American production which started this summer on Teletoon and Nickelodeon. They are based on the popular series Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar. Wayside School was accidentally built sideways with one room in each of the 30 stories instead of 30 rooms in 1 story. Viewers join the new kid Todd, as he tries to make his way in a school where it's okay to fall asleep, cows roam free, and class elections are decided by a game of... dodgeball? The series is popular among kids in both countries and we wouldn't be mentioning this if there wasn't a VA involved! Robert Tinkler (Rubeus) is a writer for this cartoon.

Rino Romano Has Two Narrating Gigs!

Rino Romano (Tuxedo Mask #1) is still continuing his role as the Caped Crusader on The Batman - which will begin its 5th Season any moment now! But Rino also has two roles in which he is narrating. The first is for the second season of Curious George on PBS Kids. The second season is focusing mostly on engineering concepts, like building a treehouse and plumbing, because every kid needs to know how to do these things in everyday life (pfft. who needs adults?). In March, Rino narrated The Story of the 2006 Diamond Bar Wolfpack , a documentary which followed the Jr. Midget Wolfpack Football team. In 2006, they were completely unbeaten through the season! The film was a winner in a worldwide Digital Video competition in June! Fans of Rino Romano can purchase this documentary on DVD and can watch a sneak peek here.

Charlie Bartlett Finally Has a Release Date!

Last May, we told you of high school comedy Charlie Bartlett, which features David Fraser (Grandpa Hino) as Dr. Jacob Kaufmann. We had read everywhere that the film was going to be out last month, but it wasn't to be found. Just recently, it was announced that the film will come out on February 1st, and the movie has an official website too! Even though the release date is so far away, we can't wait to see this movie about a teenaged boy who turns into a quasi-psychiatrist!

Spot that VA in Bakugan Battle Brawlers!

Bakugan Battle Brawlers began on Teletoon last July, and we finally got around to watching an episode ! To our surprise, a few VA's are involved in the dub of this anime. Bakugan Battle Brawlers (or simply Bakugan in Japan) is about kids who pick up cards featuring different characters, environments, and powers. They make a game with these cards , but they do not know that these cards correspond to an alternate world called Vestoria. Soon the kids are pulled into a quest to restore balance to Vestoria! Starring in this show are: Julie Lemieux (Sammy, Peruru) as Runo, the tomboy who uses light attributes, Emilie-Claire Barlow (Sailor Mars #2, Sailor Venus #2) as Alice, who doesn't battle but advises the other brawlers, and Lyon Smith (Sapphire) as the masked Masquerade, who wants to help the Dark Side win over Vestoria and Earth!

And Finally...

We dug in the vault of old Sailor Moon articles and found a very old interview with Stephanie Beard that comes from the Globe & Mail - just as her career was starting to take off in 2001. Stephanie reveals a few tidbits about her aspirations and childhood in this interview! Sugar fans should give this a read, they may learn something new!

Stephanie Beard

Question: As co-host of YTV's The Zone, what star-like demands have you made in your contract?

Answer: One big rule -- I can't work with puppets that are bigger than me. Ever since I was a little girl, I've been scared of life-size puppets like Gonzo and Miss Piggy. My other demands included normal stuff like the newest Powerpuff Girls toys, a year's worth of ice cream and a steak sandwich.

Q: Mansbridge or Robertson?

A: Neither, actually I was thinking more along the lines of ET's Jann Carl.

Q: You have the nickname Suga Baybee now, but what did they call you when you were a kid?

A: In my family growing up, my brother and sister called me "Chub-a-lie" 'cause I was really chubby and I made up a lot of stories. My mom called me Princess Piglet, but just Princess when we had company over.

Q: Which cartoon character, past or present, would you have liked to do?

A: I always had dreams of being in an animated movie. I was able to accomplish that goal by playing Louisa in the upcoming animated feature, The Santa Claus Brothers, a new animated holiday special based on Michael Bedard's images (from Nelvana) that will air on YTV this December. Now, I have a mission to be the voice of Maggie, from The Simpsons, when her creators decide to let her speak!

Q: Recently you snagged a role on The Red Green Show. How are you going to handle all the testosterone on set?

A: The real question is, "How are they gonna handle me?" I may be little, but I pack a lot of power. I'm like a superhero, my superpower is my genuine smile makes the boys weak every time.

Q: Which of the dames on Survivor would you most like to mud wrestle with?

A: It would have to be Elisabeth. People always seem to compare us I think I could take her.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

More Housekeeping!

Thanks to all the fans who voted in our Forums Opinion Poll! Expect an announcement regarding that very soon!

Veoh Problems:

Some of our users have encountered problems playing videos on our channels on Veoh. We recommend rewinding the video if you do not see any picture at first. But rewind it after a few seconds have started to play and that usually solves the problem. If it doesn't, then try upgrading your Flash Player. Chances are, if you can watch any other streaming video on the internet, then you probably just need a rewind. Or contact us at and we will try to help you! I have added a Veoh tag to this post so users that are having troubles can click the tag and find this entry.

And there has been a lot of comment spam on our videos. We put them up for you to enjoy, not for people to make racist comments about Japan, advertise their sites, or troll. We have already had to suspend the comments on the Naruto commercial for this reason. We really like having this feature turned on for fans who do want to discuss our commercials (we appreciate each and every thank you we get - it inspires us to keep bringing you these oddities!) but if this continues to get worse, we may have to disable it. So please, don't spam the video comments!

Commercials Corner #14!

Hey Moonies! Because we have deprived you of this feature for longer than we had intended, we've got a whopping blowout of 50 COMMERCIALS FOR YOUR WATCHING PLEASURE ! We recommend going to our channel and watching them all one after the other. The first one that we uploaded with this bunch is the 7-11 Commercial, and the last one is the Nissin Ramen Commercial (with Egg). It will likely play these commercials in reverse order so you may need to start at the Nissin one. We've also got commercials with popstars like Ayumi Hamasaki and Anna Tsuchiya!

Picks of the Week:

We haven't spotted any new Docomo 2.0 commercials, but we have three top picks for you all this week! The first one comes from our favorite Idol, Shoko Nakagawa! Here she is showing how wonderful Essential Hair Care Products are!

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The second is a surprising commercial for Final Fantasy 12's International Edition with the Zodiac Job System! Are we invited to that gaming marathon?

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The third goes for quite possibly the strangest piece of excercise equipment we have ever seen. It's a horse saddle, and riding it is supposed to work your abs. It's just a little creepy.

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And now, the other 47!
Aidem Job Recruiter!
Ayumi Hamasaki's latest single Talkin' 2 Myself featured in new Panasonic Lumix Commercial!
Bladestorm PS3 Collector's Edition!
Lady Borden Ice Cream!
Badly Dubbed Bridgestone Tires Commercial!
Crazy Commercial for Chocolate Almonds!
Cup Noodle With Real Meat and Vegetables!
WARNING MAY BE A LITTLE NSFW! Quentin Tarantino wants you to see Grindhouse's Deathproof!
Dove Pro-Age!
Mode Fashion School with a song from Puffy!
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates for Nintendo DS!
Another FLET'S Commercial!
Kikorin's Forest!
Meiji's Fran is like a Pocky Imitator?
Frosted Flakes!
Remember a while ago we told you about the Life-Sized Gundam at Fuji-Q Amusement Park? Here's a commercial for that park!
Gatsby Moving Rubber Hair Product for Men!
Hitachi Rice Cooker and Range!
Housekeeping Diary for Nintendo DS!
An Innovative Bathtub Drain!
Kaidan Movie Trailer Featuring Ayumi Hamasaki's Fated!
Kamen Rider Pachinko #1!
Kamen Rider Pachinko #2!
Ketsunopolis 5!
Lotte Ice Cream!
Toyota Vitz Commercial Featuring Maroon 5's Upcoming Single Won't Go Home Without You!
Merries Diapers!
Miffy Promotion at Lawson Market!
Naive Bath Products!
Nissin Ramen Commercial with a Kitsune!
Obesity Pill!
Honda Odyssey!
Panasonic SD Camcorder!
Pinky Magazine for Teens!
Sakuran Trailer with Anna Tsuchiya!
What Does a Superhero Do Without Red Bull?
Sengoku Musou 2 for PS2!
Fake SMAP Commercial!
Sobagen Pachinko!
Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf Talk About Insurance!
Utada Hikaru's A Beautiful World for the New Evangelion Movie!
Vibrating Weight Loss Belt!
Love It or Hate It Volvo Commercial!
Lei Wedding Magazine!
Nexon RPGs!
Nissin Ramen Commercial With Egg!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Late Breaking News: Geneon and ADV Merge!

For those who haven’t heard already, Geneon and ADV have a new “strategic alliance” that essentially puts ADV at the helm of the distribution, marketing, and sales of all Geneon titles come October 1st. Geneon will still be licencing anime in North America but ADV will now be responsible for getting these titles to the store. It has not been announced anywhere why this merger occurred, though many are speculating that a lack of advertising on Geneon’s part lead to less profits than they would have liked.

So the big question that means a lot to our readers is, what does this mean for Sailor Moon? Readers may recall that during the last round of releases years ago, the series was split. The first two seasons were licensed to ADV, and the third and fourth seasons, as well as the movies, were licensed to Geneon. ADV’s rights to Sailor Moon expired before Geneon’s. Both companies have said so many times that they are still very interested in licensing Sailor Moon. So, if Naoko and Toei were to reach an agreement that the series could come to international markets again, and if the rights were granted to Geneon , ADV would still win a good chunk of the profits. Moreover , if Geneon got a longer contract than ADV, ADV would be able to do more with Sailor Moon. Which can be seen as fair dues as ADV was unable to release boxsets of the dub, and they did not have the rights to the subtitled versions of the first two seasons for very long (in comparison to the time Geneon had). Fans interested in all the gory details of the licensure in North America should check out the infamous Total Eclipse Article.

One of my main concerns is still distribution and pricing. Sometimes popular ADV and Geneon titles can be found in larger numbers than ones that aren’t as popular in Canada, but the prices are still too high. ADV’s distribution is slightly better than Geneon, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. One of the things though I admired about Geneon was that at major anime cons in Canada, their reps would be standing at a retail booth filled with their titles, and they were very close in price to what you would pay in the United States. I remember at CN Anime 2004 I was happy to see the signature editions of S and SS going for $17 a pop. Where I was from, they were $28-30 -if I could find them in a store. Most fans in Canada don’t have a con they can go to easily and compounded with titles in short stocks in stores, it’s not a very good situation. If ADV can improve distribution of Geneon titles, this alliance may hold some hope. However, considering ADV’s distribution isn’t anything to rave about... they probably have a long way to go.

And I had to agree with Zac Bertschy’s sentiments in his Answerman column. The booth will probably disappear and Geneon just won’t be the presence it used to be in the anime industry. Of all the reps I’ve had the opportunity to meet, they were the nicest and were always ready to listen to their fans at cons. Geneon is also a huge pioneer in terms of Japanese music, as they were the first to release many OST’s from their anime, giving many fans a huge sigh of relief! No longer did they have to go to great lengths to get music they liked! They even helped to bring singer Yoko Ishida, Angela, and other acts to North America. It will be sad to see these staff members go. Geneon president and CEO Eiji Orii was quoted as saying, “This is a great alliance. The efficiencies we'll achieve ultimately will mean more anime for the fans to enjoy.” ADV’s co-founder and president also commented, “This alliance makes both companies stronger. Anime as an entertainment category is in competition with every form of entertainment, and our partnership with Geneon gives us the scale to help widen the anime market in North America.” We hope ADV can remember that North America means more than just the United States and that fans like having more than just anime to enjoy.

Other Releases Here and Here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Toei Continues Expanding Anime BB Service!

Not too long ago, we told you of a promotion being offered to Japan's BIGLOBE cable subscribers where streaming anime from Toei's Anime BB service was being offered for free for nearly a month. It seems that this trial was really popular and now Toei has expanded their service to BIGLOBE subscribers! For a monthly fee of ¥1554 (or $13.50 USD) subscribers will have unlimited access to Toei's library consisting of 1000s of titles. There are also other plans in place for subscribers, and we assume they are similar to the lite plan offered by FLETS. As a special bonus, some parts of this month's access will be free of charge! For fans who are wondering, we have finally learned a few more details about the format of the episodes. We already knew that they were in Windows Media Video (.wmv) format, but we now can confirm that each episode carries a bitrate of 1 Mbps! Fist of the North Star, Sailor Moon, Digimon, and Galaxy Railroad 999 are all among titles that will be offered.

One article commented that now that this service is available, no Toei anime fan is being overlooked. We are still waiting here in North America (and perhaps all over the rest of the world), anticipating the potential launch of Anime BB here. The question is, now that the service has conquered Japan, when will it conquer other countries? We're really hoping that Toei doesn't jump on this bandwagon last, as there are already Anime on Demand services popping up through cable providers and Azureus Vuze and our favorite, Joost. Europe's Gong is available internationally on Joost, and though their English programming selection isn't vast, it serves it's purpose well and is a very innovative way for anime delivery. So Toei, what are you waiting for?

Another Round of Human Tetris!

This clip is a few weeks old, but given the meme success of the last one, we were surprised to see no one else had posted it! For those who aren't familiar, a popular segment on a show in Japan features two teams against each other, trying to fit themselves in a cutout as it passes. If they fail, they are pushed by the rest of the block into a pool. The cutouts in this one seems to have been inspired by a gymnast. Watch the bottom of the screen as this one shows the solutions to each cutout! Enjoy!

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Monday, September 03, 2007


Hey Readers - regular updates should resume soon, expect a huge commercials bonanza by the end of the week. Sailor Moon news has been pretty dry this week, there's a story in Japan about an IT blogger who commented on a new library site for lazy readers. It only features books that are up to 200 pages long. He noted that Sailor Moon shows up at the top when you search for manga. There are only a few more days to get your votes in over there --> so if you have an opinion on whether or not this site should have forums, please vote!

Secondly (a more formal announcement will be made soon), we are looking for one or two more staff writers. Fluency in Japanese is not required but recommended - there's no pay involve but if you are looking to pursue a career in journalism or writing of any sort, freelance journalism is an excellent place to start! Contact us at if you are interested!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Designer at Japan Fashion Week Reminds Audience of Sailor Moon

The fifth annual Japan Fashion Week has just begun in Tokyo and promises to be filled with an eclectic mix of couture and eccentricities. There will be 38 designers from Japan showing off new trends in fashion, and a new segment called New Designers Met in Europe will feature eleven designers from Europe adding flavor to Fashion Week!

Starting off the festival August 30th was popular designer Eri Utsugi, who designs under the name Mercibeaucoup, . Her fashion philosophy is "wearing clothes should be fun!" and when we saw the pictures from the show, we could definitely see she practices what she preaches. The theme for her line for 2008 Spring and Summer was the Milky Way, and featured many eccentric creations. Nearly every model wore at least one star! Fusing the real world with the imaginary, she created a line that reminded many of Sanrio characters and Sailor Moon. We see the resemblance, as a lot of the shapes of the wigs remind us of Sanrio characters like Little Twin Stars and My Melody. We spotted one here that looked like a double version of Chibi-Usa's odangoes. At the end of the show, all the models joined Eri for a "Bon Festival Dance" which included a message of ecology in it's humor. One reporter commented that this was a typical anime atmosphere similar to Akiba. Readers wanting to see a video of this fashion show can click here and for pictures of select models, click here!