What with one thing and another, I haven't been able to comment on all the goings-on this month, but there's been a lot of them:
The single biggest piece of news has been the partnership between Funimation and Crunchyroll, where each provides the other with material to broadcast on their respective networks, or to distribute via physical media. I wouldn't be too shocked if in time the two do merge in some way; the real benefit there would be having C-roll's industry contacts made available to Funi's executives, the better to allow for early-access streaming and sneak peeks at productions yet to go underway (which they might well elect to co-fund). I think in the long run that would be a net loss — small as this industry is, it needs a diversity of people to find markets and play to them in different ways. On the other hand, if it means stuff that's only so far been consigned to streaming (e.g., The Tatami Galaxy) makes it to physical media, I'm less inclined to complain. At least at first.
I covered those five fleeting Ghost In The Shell live-action trailers last week. Still not getting my hopes up too high for this project; there's just so many other things that can be filmed with less cultural confusion. The one thing I do hope for is that this will lead to some more of exactly those kinds of projects being taken all the more seriously.
Cheer heartily for you
One of the finer titles to pass under way too many peoples' radar, Chihayafuru, has been picked up for Stateside distribution by Sentai Filmworks. Its premise is in roughly the same vein as Hikaru No Go: a young person finds direction and discipline in her life by way of a long-standing cultural tradition in Japan. I was also heartened to hear the property has been filmed as live action, so I've added that to the long-term list of projects to lay side-by-side and make compare-and-contrast noises about.
In like a lion, twice over
Another title I've been anticipating is the animated adaptation of March Comes In Like A Lion, from Chica Umino's manga series of the same name, about a young shōgi player who slowly reconnects with human company after losing his family. The anime's finally set to debut October 8 — and now a live-action film production is also on the rails. Two more to chockablock and examine!
Keeping it eccentric
The Eccentric Family was a real treasure of a show — visionary, hilarious, imaginative, you name it. Evidently there's enough momentum behind it to produce a second season. No word if the source novels (from the same fellow who gave us the source material for The Tatami Galaxy) will ever make it into English, but those are always a tough draw. Still, we can dream, right?
Still going Berserk
Fate has spoken: there will in fact be a follow-up season to the new Berserk, about a sword-swinging loner versus the forces of fate and causality itself. I had many of the same complaints other people did about the series — the animation in particular, which felt like a bad compromise between the convenience of CGI and the artistry of hand-drawn work. Nobody complains all that much about the original 1997 series being crude to look at, because that aesthetic actually benefited the material.
Ghibli, the hired guns
No one at Studio Ghibli may have written or directed the French-Belgian animated film The Red Turtle, but they did work on the animation, and the description "wordless wonder" is making the rounds. It's set to come out Stateside in 2017, so I'll be hunting for it when it does.
Nobody (re)does it better
Fans in Japan have chosen the shows that were best improved by being adapted into anime. A heartening number of titles that aren't of the immediate moment made the list — e.g., Planetes made the top ten. The #1 slot: Lupin III.