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The Elephant in the Room

Right, I’ll try and keep this as brief as possible.

Last night, inspired by the latest ‘foreign pirates are killing anime’ outburst from the Japanese industry, I fell into one of my usual rants on Twitter:

“The anime industry avoiding the same elephant in the room as music industry did 10 yrs ago: consumers know worthless product when they see it.

And who wants to pay for worthless, disposable product when you can get it for free?

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Mighty Space Miners (1994) – A tribute to to Umanosuke Iida

I’ll be honest with you, I’m sick of writing about death.

If the recent loss of Satoshi Kon to cancer wasn’t enough, then anime was struck another blow last week with the death of Umanosuke Iida to the dreaded disease at just 49. Despite this relatively young age Iida had an impressively varied career, from working as an animator on such classics as Nausicaa through to directing Mobile Suit Gundam: 08th MS Team and perhaps his most popular show Hellsing. But for me he’ll always be remembered for directing the obscure, and sadly unfinished, 90s science fiction OVA Mighty Space Miners.

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Havana Augmented (2009)

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It’s not even Christmas yet, but for me 2010 has already got off to a good start. January 1st sees the publication of my story Havana Augmented – a tale of globalization, celebrity gamers, augmented reality and non-existent mech battles. If you have an interest in video games, science fiction or anime then hopefully you’ll enjoy it – you can check out a brief extract below.

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Galaxy Express 999 and Ghibli animator dies

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More sad news about a terrible loss to the anime industry – one of it’s true legends and artists Yoshinori Kanada passed away yesterday, after suffering a heart attack at the age of just 57. After making a name for himself in the 1970s working on sci-fi and giant-robo series, he eventually ended up at Studio Ghibli, working closely with Hayao Miyazaki on such monumental works as My Neighbour Totoro, Porco Rosso and Princess Mononoke among many others, and his face will be familiar to anyone that’s sat enthralled watching the extras on Ghibli DVDs. His work was so distinctive and influential that ‘the Kanada style’ became a term commonly used by Japanese animators, and if you want to see just a tiny selection from his massively impressive CV check out the report over at Anime News Network.

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Akira Blu-ray: Behind the scenes

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It looks like Bandai have put a lot of time in and money into the imminent Akira Blu-ray, hopefully putting to rest the fears of fans worldwide that it might be yet another quick transfer. According to Blu-ray.com, although the film had a full restoration for it’s 2001 DVD release, no punches have been pulled for it’s 20th anniversary, with the focus being moved onto remastering the score and soundtrack:

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