Were you as fed up with the April Fools' gags as I was? Good. (For once, delaying this post from its usual Wednesday slot makes perfect sense.)
Sols goes dark: AnimeSols, the crowdfunding/streaming anime portal, is closing its doors at the end of April. Sols crowdfunded the streaming (and sometimes physical media release) of many older titles, such as Osamu Tezuka's Space Ace, Black Jack, and Dororo, the original Yatterman, Creamy Mami, and many others.
It's a shame to see their plug pulled. The concept behind the site was sound, the material was eye-opening, and I liked the idea of crowdfunding filling the gap between what the market will bear and what a niche of a niche of fandom want to see. But Kickstarter itself is taking over more and more of the crowdfunding world, and niche releases are starting to find a home all the more through the good graces of folks like Discotek Media, who mix crowd-pleasers with historical releases to good effect.
The results from Kickstarter have been terribly mixed; for every Bubblegum Crisis set we get delivered more or less on time, or every Little Witch Academia, there's an Under the Dog. (The name of the latter grows all the more prophetic with each passing week.) I suspect that's just the nature of Kickstarter, but it's also becoming clear that just because a KS project has pedigreed people behind it, that's not a guarantee things won't implode.
Evangodzilleon: The conventional wisdom seems to be, the more weatherbeaten the franchise, the more radical the reinvention needed. So why not allow Godzilla to be reinvented by giving the reins of the next Japanese iteration of it to Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi? If it comes out anything like the candy-colored bonkers of Anno's live-action Cutey Honey movie, they will at the very least have reinvented the franchise, but bets are off about anything beyond that.
Back into our solar system: Planetes, an excellent series about the thankless job of cleaning up trash in orbit, will have its manga edition come back into print later this year courtesy of Dark Horse. The anime, a Bandai title, is currently changing hands for $200 a pop on Amazon; here's hoping some licensor with a connection over there is contemplating resurrecting this one.
A Sharp view of anime: Who better to review something as authoritative and, well, encyclopedic, as the third edition of The Anime Encyclopedia than Jasper Sharp? And he does, with his main reservation being that the book doesn't focus as much on indie animation in Japan (something I myself lament not seeing much English-language press for). But overall the book seems well worth weighting down one's shelf with — or occupying some infinitesimal portion of one's e-reader storage, depending on your tastes. (I'm leaning towards the latter if only because it'll make looking stuff up far, far less of a hassle.)
LiveActAssClass: This one completely slipped past me, much like Koro-sensei himself moving at Mach Whatever: Apparently there is not only a live-action Assassination Classroom film, but it made fairly serious bank when it opened at the box office the other week in Japan. Too bad it looks like an overly literal rendition of the anime; this I take as evidence some things don't need to be filmed.
Beyond the Gate: Steins;Gate, one of the better titles of the last few years, now has an official sequel in the works, Steins;Gate 0. Both an anime and a game are being announced. Me, I'm still waiting for them to bring the stage play to an English-speaking territory or three.
Quote of the day:
“Rather than paintings that declare ‘I am the real thing, I prefer paintings that say ‘As you can see, I am not the real thing, but please use me as a means to imagine or remember in a vivid way the real thing that is behind me.’ My intent was to have the viewers be there at the moment when the sketches were being drawn and to have them share in the emotions. I want to make sure that we don't forget the great power of paintings drawn by lines on paper to stir our imaginations and memories.”
- Isao Takahata