Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Level E Promotional Video!

The anime adaptation of Yoshihiro Togashi's Level E now has two official websites: one from Pierrot and another from TV Tokyo. The TV Tokyo site has a special treat for all you Level E fans that can't wait to see the anime - a promotional video featuring some teasers from the anime, as well as everyone's favorite idol, Shoko Nakagawa! Shokotan enters her dressing room over the voice of the narrator, Fumihiko Tachiki who says "Hundreds of kinds of aliens come and go to Earth and live". Shokotan, then turns into a long-tongued alien that is "giza" scary, and we see a preview of the anime. At the end of the video, Shokotan reverts from her alien to her human form, and leaves, ready to perform. We wonder if this could be a hint for who will be singing the theme song? Shokotan shot this during the most recent Jump Super Anime Tour, and was happy to be chosen to play an alien in this short. She hopes everyone will watch the anime when it airs on TV - we are sure all of Togashi's fans will watch it too!

(In other Shoko Nakagawa news, she was showing some of her old favorite video games on her blog, and look which one she chose for one of the entries!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What genre do you want the Sailor Moon Nintendo DS game to be?

If you remember some time back, it was revealed that Namco Bandai Europe was making a Sailor Moon video game for the Nintendo DS set to come out in Italy later this year. Unfortunately, with the supposed by-the-end-of-the-year release date rapidly approaching, neither screenshots, nor a trailer have surfaced. We don't even know what type of game it is. It could very easily mean that the game is going to be delayed.

In the past, Sailor Moon video games have been RPGs(Another Story on the Super Famicom/Super Nintendo), beat-em-ups(the arcade game), and fighting(Sailor Moon S on the Super Famicom/Super Nintendo) games. With no one knowing anything about this new Sailor Moon video game beyond the fact that it exists, I thought it would be fun to pose the question to you, the readers.

What genre do you want the Sailor Moon Nintendo DS game to be?

One of the genres from the above paragraph? An action/adventure game? Maybe a kart racer? Sailor Moon: Xtreme Beach Volleyball? Sound off in the comments section and let us know what you think. In the mean time, I'll keep an eye out for anything on the mystery game and report back when something turns up.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mimet Wins!

Hey Moonies! Tonight was the broadcast gala of the 25th Annual Gemini Awards in Canada, and our lone hope Sailor Moon nominee won! Catherine Disher (Mimet) won the Gemini for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Series for her work as Maggie Norton on CBC's drama, The Border. Catherine has been nominated for this role for the last 3 years, so we are so glad she has finally gotten the recognition she deserves! For those of you who are Mimet fans that want to celebrate this occasion and do something for your favorite of the Witches 5, we have a special thread set up for you (members only) in our forums. Congratulations to Catherine Disher again and best of luck for continued success on The Border!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bandai Moves to Real Make-Up in Japan

Bandai Moves to Cosmetics?!

The beloved company Bandai, best known for making some of the best toys known to Otaku the world over is having a bit of a problem in today's economy. Sales of girls' toys just aren't what they used to be, and the company has had to come up with creative ways to keep the girls interested. And more than ever these days, girls want to feel more "grown up" and play with makeup over dolls. So what did they think of? Real cosmetics based on the popular anime and manga series, Nodame Cantabile. Girls and women who adore this series are now able to purchase easy-to-use eyeliner and mascara from Bandai's "Creer Beaute" line. Creer Beaute also has a line of beauty items (including face masks) inspired by the series Rose of Versailles, and another that includes nail polish fashioned after Fujiko Mine of Lupin the 3rd. The article makes special mention that Bandai was a huge success with girls in the past, especially with their Sailor Moon toys in the 90s. While they made some Sailor Moon themed cosmetics back then, it was "play makeup" and it was not the focus of their merchandise strategy. The company has shifted towards cosmetics just in the last year or so, but they have not stopped making toys entirely. This is also an innovative merchandising attempt to appeal to "big girls" (women over 30). The Creer Beaute site will also in the future feature beauty tips and videos on how best to use the makeup. Business analysts are predicting this to be a success for Bandai, and also admire their bravery for expanding into new market areas for their merchandise in a changing economy. This brand they say, is one to watch. We know that Sailor Moon in the beginning stages of the revival was lauded as something for two generations to watch, mothers and their daughters. While we still have no idea if there will be any new merchandise in Japan, we wonder if Bandai may consider Sailor Moon for their Creer Beaute line? It would fit right in with both generations!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

PGSM - Fall 2010 Update

Keiko Kitagawa (PGSM Sailor Mars) has recently landed an endorsement for Knorr in Japan. The commercial (which is currently on the air in Japan) finds Kitagawa paired with Haruma Miura, and together they pitch a cup soup and bread meal. Keiko and Haruma represent different ways of enjoying the soup and bread - Keiko is for soaking the bread in the soup while Haruma is for dipping the bread in it. The official site is also taking a poll to determine which is the best way to enjoy the soup! Keiko fans will also want to know that she will be starring in a live action rendition of the popular manga series “Paradise Kiss”. Shooting for the film has included a surprise guest appearance at a fashion show, in which footage will be used in the movie. Keiko has also appeared in the remake of the classic French movie "Ascenseur pour l'echafaud", playing Mikayo Matusmoto, a character whose car is stolen during the movie. The movie saw a release date of October 9, and Kitagawa appeared alongside the rest of the cast for the movie premiere. Keiko described the movie as one of her most challenging roles, but found the overall results to be satisfying. On October 19th, Keiko started shooting a new commercial, in which she met an unidentified member of the PGSM production staff (on her blog entry, titled "It's Funny to Have This Happen", Keiko did not identify the member). Keiko received a warm welcome and great praise from the PGSM staff member for her continued evolution as an actress since her time playing Sailor Mars back in 2003. Keiko states in her entry that she felt confident during the shoot, and that she was not expecting to be in contact with this person after the end of PGSM (she was going to try to keep in contact with the staff member, however the two did not meet until this most recent commercial shoot). For a fun side story, Kitagawa has also been promoting Hello Kitty merchandise (and even appearing alongside Hello Kitty) in collaboration with fashion designer Samantha Thavasa. Keiko has been a fan of Hello Kitty since she was growing up, and she has stated that she has been having fun promoting the merchandise.

Aya Sugimoto (PGSM Queen Beryl) has also been busy lately - she has recently been promoting the DVD release of the American drama “Lipstick Jungle” (this is another series created by Sex and the City creator, Candace Bushnell). During the promotional event, Sugimoto participated in a question and answer session, which focused primarily on the relationships between men and women. In an interesting and controversial twist, Sugimoto stated during the question and answer session that no person should be committed to another person in a relationship, and she has no problems with cheating. She also stated that as long as one finds their perfect partner, that having fickle tastes in an relationship is okay. Sugimoto has also penned her autobiography in the last year - the book "Liberal Life" is currently available on Amazon. Fans of Sugimoto will find this book to be an intriguing read – she opens up about a suicide attempt at age 15, the separation of her own family, as well as her own problems with marriage and divorce. Sugimoto has described the writing process as being able to “free her heart” of the problems she has encountered in her life. Sugimoto has also revealed her plans to enter the world of cosmetics – fans will want to check out her new company called Liberata.

Mariko Tsutsui (Ami’s mother in PGSM) will be appearing as a minor character in a BeeTV television drama called “Sekai No Owari ni Saku Hana”. This drama is about a young couple who is suffering from kidney disease and are waiting for a transplant. Tsutsui has landed the role of Manami Yano, the mother of the boy who is suffering from the kidney ailment. The series has been running on television in Japan since September 20th, and a total of 12 episodes are planned to air.

Kaori Moriwaka (Ikuko Tsukino) was busy this summer promoting her J-Rock band the Go-Bangs. She recently performed at a function called Nexus: Battle 80’s”,“ which featured J-Rock bands from the 1980’s engaging in a head on battle. . She will also be rocking out on November 21st at "Nexus Respectable 80s" in Shibuya's C.C. Lemon hall in Tokyo. Tickets for this event have just gone on sale!

Jyoji Shibue (PGSM Tuxedo Kamen) has recently appeared in a new romantic comedy called “Miss Kurosawa”. In this movie (directed by Taku Watanabe), he falls in love with a female comedian – like most romantic comedies, the couple starts to get closer to each other until the inevitable setbacks occur. He plays himself in this movie (as does everyone else), a hunky actor who is a big fan of the comedian!This is definitely a movie for all you Shibby fangirls, and it is even an award winner! It won the top award at the 2nd annual Okinawa Film Festival! The movie opened on October 9th. The entire cast wore white tuxes and wedding dresses. All of the press surrounding this film is around the star Kazuko Kurosawa, and there has not been a lot heard from Shibby in the press. Earlier, Shibby noted that Kazuko was his complete opposite!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Level E Cast and Crew Announced, and More Details Revealed!

Various Japanese news outlets today are reporting that it has finally been announced in the latest issue of Shueisha's Jump Magazine that Yoshihiro Togashi's Level E manga is going to be adapted into a TV series (all we had known for sure before was that it was going to be an animated adaptation). As of this writing, we do not know if the 12-13 episode rumor is true. It will begin in January 2011 on TV Tokyo, and the cast and crew were also announced.


Director: Toshiyuki Kato (Directed Full Moon O Sagashite, and also worked storyboards for 8 episodes on Hunter X Hunter)
Series Composition: Jukki Hanada (Hanaukyo Maid Team La Verite, Sola)
Character Design and Animation Direction: Itsuko Takeda (Ghost in the Shell, Serial Experiments Lain)
Visual Concept and 3-D Direction: Yasufumi Soejima (Final Fantasy: Unlimited, Last Exile)
Music: Kunihiko Ryo (Story of Saiunkoku, Emma)
Animation Production: Pierrot x David Production


Prince: Daisuke Namikawa
Yukitaka Tsutsui: Yoshimasa Hosoya
Sado: Masaya Takatsuka
Miho Edogawa: Satomi Akesaka
Craft: Takehito Koyasu (played Kido in the Yu Yu Hakusho Movie)
Corinne: Takumi Asahina
Narration: Fumihiko Tachiki

And, as an extra special treat, readers also got to see the first images from the anime in a special 2-page spread in the magazine! We've featured this below.

Yoshihiro Togashi's Level E to be Animated!

Yoshihiro Togashi is best known to date for being two things: one, is being Naoko Takeuchi's husband, and two for being a legendary mangaka best known for Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter X Hunter. Both have been animated into series and OAVs, and the Hunter X Hunter manga is still ongoing on a pretty unpredictable schedule. Between the end of the publication of Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter X Hunter was a manga called Level E. Comprised of 3 volumes (16 chapters), the story centers on Yukitaka Tsutsui. He is a freshman in high school who aspires to be the best baseball player that he can be. Upon moving into his apartment, there was a man there who claimed to be an alien who had lost his memory. Later, we learn that he is an alien prince and that while he may have all the brains and the smarts, he has the worst nature. Poor Yukitaka is the object of his torture! On Saturday October 23rd, at the Jump Super Anime Tour 2010, it was announced that an animated adaptation of Level E has been green lit for 2011. More details will be announced later, but all that the media has been reporting so far is that it will be animated by Studio Pierrot and David Production. Studio Pierrot has worked with Yoshihiro Togashi before, animating his epic Yu Yu Hakusho manga. David Production is a relatively new Japanese production studio founded by two producers formerly of Gonzo, Koji Kajita and Taito Okiura. They are best known for Soul Eater and Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2. As of this writing, there have been no more details reported in the press, however one site is reporting that there has been a rumor of an announcement at MIPCOM of 12 or 13 episodes. MIPCOM ended earlier in October, and we found no such press release from Studio Pierrot or David Production announcing this (Studio Pierrot did exhibit at MIPCOM). The Level E manga has also just been released in paperbacks in Japan as well, featuring new afterwords from Togashi himself. We are going to treat this as a rumor for now pending further confirmation. Some of us have read parts of Level E and found the story to be great - we look forward to seeing what will come out of this next year!

Monday, November 08, 2010

On Toei Animation Co. Ltd's Recent Takedowns...

Hey Moonies,

We know that this is a tense time for all of us, hearing about the revival of Sailor Moon in other countries and listening as the rumor mill churns out endless slivers of hope.

We'd like to take a moment to talk about the current wave of rumors surrounding the takedown notices of various Sailor Moon related videos on youtube. However, in order to completely understand the situation we first need to understand how Toei Animation is organized.

The parent company in Japan is Toei Animation Co. LTD. This portion of the company, under that name, manages their properties primarily in Japan. There are also branches that operate in different regions of the world and manage the properties in those regions. In North America, the branch is located in California and is named Toei Animation Inc. A subtle, but important difference. This is the branch to watch for with regard to licensing deals in the US and Canada (along with most other English speaking countries). While Toei Animation Co. LTD. could be cited in press releases announcing licenses and other business ventured, they are not the ones actually dealing with the business deals for North American licenses.

All of the takedown notices that people have shown us have specifically come from Toei Animation Co. LTD. This means that this is the Japanese branch issuing the notice. And while they oversee the other branches, they won't have a direct hand in any licensing deals in the English market. Therefore, we hope the fans don't take this as any hint of a license for North America, because it really isn't. It is just a case of a company enforcing their copyrights.

It is very likely that these videos were found by matching video or audio segments from the anime. Such methods are popular because they can be automated, and the scripts that perform this tedious work can't distinguish parody from blatant copying. The same thing happens in every genre of entertainment on youtube. Videos stay up for long periods of time and suddenly disappear because they happen to have been found at last. DVDs are finally being re-released in Japan after a very long time, so Toei Animation has stepped up their game to get episodes removed in a bid to encourage fans to purchase the episodes either on DVD or through their Anime BB service.

Everyone also has to realize that Sailor Moon also has an image to be kept up. Toei Animation will be on the lookout for content utilizing Sailor Moon (as they will with all of their properties) that in their opinion doesn't portray it in the light that they would like it to be. While a video parody may be intended to mock the series humorously from the uploader's perspective, it may not be seen that way from the original copyright holder's perspective. If something happens to fit this bill, it will be targeted. And while parodies are legal, their legality falls within certain bounds. If Toei Animation (or any other company with any other property) doesn't approve of some use of their property, they can and will fight for their rights just as anyone else will. We suspect that this may be a second reason for at least some of the takedowns.

While hearing this may dismay some fans, we would encourage you to be careful with any use of Sailor Moon images, videos and audio clips until the end of the revival. And definitely, definitely do not try to profit from directly related Sailor Moon content, or you will be a sure-fire target. And once again, do not believe everything you hear without a press release (if we had a nickel for every time we have heard this from the companies involved when approaching them to confirm or deny a new rumor, we'd be rich). Let's show all the companies involved that the Sailor Moon fandom is mature and responsible and that we deserve our heroine back!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sailor Mercury's Shabon Spray Now Clear!

And Out From the Fog, We See The Right Karen Bernstein!

Karen Bernstein was the first actress to play Sailor Mercury in Sailor Moon, and carried the role up until the end of the 3 movies. Since then, fans have been wondering where she had gone and if they would ever hear her voice again. Around the end of 2006, I had heard from various sources that she was no longer a voice actress and had moved into production. What sort of production field it was, remained a mystery to me. And then after much digging I came across a Karen Bernstein in 2007 that was a documentary producer. The shoe fit (so I thought), and this was confirmed by an old friend. Nearly 20 articles on Moon Chase went by without question. We went with it because 2008 was a very big year for Sailor Moon Voice Actor achievements (such as Stephanie "Sailor Venus" Morgenstern's Flashpoint). This Karen had produced a documentary called Body of War that year that was directed by Phil Donahue (yes, that Phil from that old talk show), and Ellen Spiro. It had received numerous awards and accolades, and had even gotten on the short list for a potential Oscar Nomination.

And then a few weeks ago I read something about this Karen that sounded a little strange and unsettling while doing a little research for a future actor update. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered if this was still the same Sailor Mercury. After the many scandals we have had to endure this year, I went back to square one to recheck my research. Once again, I went through what little I knew about Karen, before I had begun writing about this documentary producer so many years ago. On a whim, I sent an email to someone I thought could steer me in the right direction, explaining what I thought was a mistake that needed to be cleared up.

This person replied to me, knows Karen directly and was able to confirm the mistake. They informed me that other sites had also made this error in the past, but have since cleared them up. Other information about Karen that I was told, is that she isn't voice acting because she has made the transition from voice acting to production. Karen is a radio and audio producer, and not a documentarian (at the very least, the previous information I had been given was partially correct). And for all you Hello Kitty fans, she has not been the voice of the beloved Sanrio character for several years now. It is also true that she suggested Liza Balkan audition for the role of Sailor Mercury after she was unable to play the role during the S and SuperS seasons due to her busy schedule. Liza is actually an actor colleague of hers. Karen's last voice acting role was that of Maggie in the cartoon based on those popular Fisher-Price toys, Little People, Big Discoveries. My source also said that Karen does not consider the voice acting door to be completely closed, so there is a chance that she may return to it in the future.

In light of this corrected information so we stay on topic on a blog which already has an extensive range of topics, we have removed all posts and mentions of the incorrect Karen Bernstein on our blog. However, if our readers are looking to watch any good, thought-provoking documentaries on a variety on meaningful issues, please continue to support the other Karen Bernstein. We apologize to everyone for this mistake, and we will continue to strive to bring you everything we can in the Sailor Moon world. And of course, a heartfelt apology to both Karen Bernsteins for the mixup - this will never happen again, and we're very sorry it did. It was a very surprising coincidence to learn that the both of you are producers, and that one tiny fact was the reason for this mistake.

Fans can check out some of Karen's old voice work on the internet below. These also featured other actors that would later act in Sailor Moon!

"Beverly Hills Teens" - a very old cartoon from the 80s about wealthy teenagers living in Beverly Hills. Kinda like The Hills without the annoyance factor! Karen played Jett and Tara Belle in this series.

"Birdz!" An animated cartoon about feathered friends just trying to make it in this world. Karen played Olivia Owl in this series!

"Maggie's Friends Pitch In" - an episode of Little People, Big Discoveries (Karen's very last voice role, fast forward to 5:15)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Magic Lessons Dark Kingdom Fanart Contest

This contest is being run by Kir-tat on deviantART. Kir-tat (or Tata) is a Russian artist who often creates detailed fanart digital paintings of the Dark Kingdom villains from Sailor Moon. Feel free to browse through her Dark Kingdom works in her deviantART gallery, to get an idea of her style. There are a few pages of work to browse through, and we think many of our readers will be impressed!
We are advertising Kir-tat's contest because we think our readers may be interested in participating (or at least seeing the results!).

Note: The information below is largely the contest details written by Kir-tat in her deviantART journal.

The themes of her contest are magic lessons or show me magic. These themes suggest various scenarios – serious, romantic, or humorous. You can interpret and understand the theme freely, your imagination is not limited by anything, save for a few rules...

The Rules:
  • You must include at least one of the following five characters: Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, Kunzite, Beryl (from Sailor Moon).
  • Anime (or manga) version of the character(s), not live-action.
  • You can also include any other SailorMoon/original/other series characters.
  • Drawings done in any media and style are accepted – realistic or manga, traditional or digital...
  • Works that will not be accepted: collages, copies or tracings, old images (that were not made for the contest), works that would hurt someone's feelings, and other works that would break the rules established by deviantArt.
  • No more than 3 works from one author
  • Contest pieces should be posted in your DA gallery and links submitted as comments to Kir-tat's journal entry about the contest.
  • Submitted pieces will be added to Kir-tat's journal entry about the contest as they are received (and as she has time).
  • All works will afterwards be published on a special contest page of the site (Kir-tat's website), with links to the contestants' pages.
  • Kir-tat will be picking the winners. Personal favoritism is not possible, in fact she hopes her firends will help her with the judging. So don't be shy about participating and good luck everyone!
  • Last day for submission: December 20th, 2010
  • The results will be published no later December 27th, 2010

1st place – Kir-tat's artbook (see image on the right) + a surprise (she will mail to any part of the world, but only after the 10th of January)
2nd place – coloring of your sketch/lineart (1-2 characters)
3rd place – coloring of your sketch/lineart (1 character)

Character info:
Reference info
Screenshots by Stayka

Just in case:
in Russian fandom, the demons are often believed to have the following magic: Jadeite - demon of Dreams and Illusions, Nephrite - demon of Stars and Destinies, Zoisite - demon of Fire and Wind, Kunzite - demon of Ice and Chaos. You are not required to use this information, but perhaps it will inspire someone. And if you like, you can comment on the journal entry about the contest to connect with other contest entrants.

And here's the cover for her artbook, featuring the four generals:

We hope our readers enjoy Kir-tat's artwork and encourage our artistic readers to consider entering the contest. We will definitely be keeping an eye on the results!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Breaking News: A True Story Screening at the Los Angeles Comedy Festival

We've previously reported on Stephanie Beard appearing in A True Story... Based on things that never actually happened...And some that did. On November 7th, fans can catch a screening at the Los Angeles Comedy Festival. Everyone is welcome, this festival is open to the public. The film will be screening at 8:30pm at the Famous ACME Comedy Theater in Hollywood, which is located at 135 N. La Brea avenue in Los Angeles.

Here is the Facebook event page put together by Team Awesome Films & 1st Team Entertainment for the screening. On the event page you can find the trailer, the website for the movie, and how to purchase tickets to the screening. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Fans can also post any questions about the event to the wall on the event page.

Please keep in mind that there are some mature themes in this movie, so we only recommend it for our older readers.

If you can attend the screening, we'd love to hear about it!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Lima Fans Get a Triple Shot of Sailor Moon at Otakufest!

This past weekend marked Lima, Peru’s biggest anime convention, Otakufest. Fans of Sailor Moon were treated to not one, but three voice actors from the Mexican/Latin American dub of Sailor Moon! Patricia Acevedo (Sailor Moon), Cristina Hernandez (Sailor ChibiMoon) and Rossy Aguirre (Sailor Mercury). For the first time ever, the three of them were together at a special panel on October 31st. Fans may also be surprised that within these three lies an even bigger connection from Sailor Moon to The Simpsons other than that famous opening from just a few years ago . Patricia played Lisa Simpson from 1990-2005, but was fired from the series due to the dubbing studio's policy on union actors at the end of the 15th season. Patricia did dub that particular episode, and this also makes her the only actress to have been in both Sailor Moon and that episode of The Simpsons parodying our hero! If any of our readers were able to attend Otakufest, please share with us what happened!