Ergo sum: We knew there was a Blu-ray Disc edition of the hallucinatory dystopian epic Ergo Proxy out there; we just didn't have a domestic release of it. Now we do, thanks to key Geneon licensor Funimation. Release date: "this year", so my guess is ... Christmas? Either way, rejoice.
Innocent as charged: ... Funi also announced Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. No word which of either original English dub will be used, if any. But it'll be good to get an HD upgrade for this most gorgeous (if also most murky) of films.
Larger than life: Funimation also announced plans for a home video release of the live-action Attack on Titan films. The word around them has been, er, mixed, to put it mildly, so I suspect there will be a lot to talk about there, positive or negative.
Honey flash (again): Remember Hideaki Anno's cheerfully bonkers live-action version of Cutey Honey from a ways back? If not, seek it out; I didn't think too highly of it when I first saw it, but it might well have improved since then. Either way, we now have a whole new live-action take on Gō Nagai's shapeshifting heroine.
Side note about Anno: he's very unhappy the Rebuild of Evangelion is taking so long to finish. Dude, take your time. Get it right. There's plenty for us to do in the meanwhile.
Who's to blame? Tsutomu Nihei, I guess: If you have never checked out Tsutomu (Knights of Sidonia) Nihei's all-but-wordless Blame!, you'll have a chance to do so when it' s reissued a little later this year; expect a review. But there's also an animated adaptation of that slab of SF surrealism on the way. I'm enthused; this material actually lends itself quite nicely to such a treatment. (EDIT: Earlier edition of this piece said it was live-action. My bad.)
Berserks-a-lot: As if getting a new Berserk series wasn't good enough, we're also getting the musō-style video game released in the West as well. Thank goodness it's a PC release as well as a console; I might well have used this as my last-straw excuse to go buy a PS4 or what have you.
Thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening: If you're not watching the Gen Urobuchi-scripted, Taiwanese-produced, Gerry Adams-esque stop-motion wuxia puppet fantasy adventure Thunderbolt Fantasy (that was a mouthful, wasn't it?), you're missing out on one of the most sincerely fun and visually creative shows this season.
If you're already a fan, good news: A manga version is now in the offing, although I admit a great deal of what makes Thunderbolt such a blast is the fact that it's done with marionettes. I hope this gets a domestic licensor; I'd be one of the first in line to pick it up.
Going Gonzo: Anime studio Gonzo (Last Exile, Bokurano, Samurai 7, Basilisk), which dug itself out of bankruptcy a couple of years back, is set to be acquired by advertising firm Asatsu-DK. Mixed feelings about this; having a corporate parent means that many less money struggles, but also that much less opportunity to do work that isn't just one arm of a marketing campaign (as many anime properties tend to be these days).
Burning in water, drowning in flame: Among the many wonderful additions to the Crunchyroll catalog by way of Discotek media, a personal favorite of mine just bowed: Sea Prince and the Fire Child, a Romeo-and-Juliet story by way of early 1980s Sanrio animation. Fans of The Last Unicorn, The Dark Crystal, and The Black Cauldron will want to peek at it. (It's also available on DVD.)
News from and about Japan itself:
- Noh performances at Lincoln Center.
- And let's not forget about the Takarazuka staging of Chicago.
- "Does this religious cult run Japan?" asks The Daily Beast. (No, it's not Aum Shinrikyo.)
- Emperor Akihito announces his intention to abdicate Japan's throne.
- Former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike is running for governor of Tokyo. Among the planks in her platform: reform of working conditions for the animation industry.