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New Miyazaki manga: details and images emerge

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Following up last month’s story on the first new Miyazaki drawn manga in several years, I’ve managed to track down some more details and a couple of images (click for larger versions). The first part of Kaze Tachinu (風立ちぬ, The Wind Rises) was published last week in Japanese hobby magazine Model Graphix, and is based on the life of Zero fighter designer Horikoshi Jiro, and is not – as some websites will try and tell you – a ‘glorification of WW2 kamikaze pilots’.

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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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New Miyazaki manga and Lupin III website

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Some exciting news for Ghibli fans: Spirited Away director and animation god Hayao Miyazaki is creating another manga. Although it’s by no means a first, it is a relatively rare event, with the legendary artist preferring to concentrate on his celluloid based work. What is most exciting is that it is another series for Japanese hobby magazine Model Graphix, and as such see’s Miyazaki returning to his intricate mechanical designs, as Ghibli World explains:

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Live-action debut from Tekkon Kinkreet director opens

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…in Japan of course. Although director Michael Arias was born in the US, he’s been living in Tokyo for over 15 years, and Heaven’s Door is again shot completely in Japanese. I was impressed with Arias’ intelligence and attitude after watching the extras on the Tekkon Kinkreet Blu-ray, so look forward to seeing this at some point in the future. The Daily Yomiuri has the details:

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Ghibli colour designer retires

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Some interesting news that could feasibly affect the future of Japan’s the world’s greatest animation studio – Ghibli colour designer Michiyo Yasuda retired last week. Responsible for picking the palettes of just about all of the studio’s output for the last 20+ years and a close personal friend of Miyazaki and Takahata, Yasuda-san has obviously been a massive and important player in the creation of the Ghibli look.

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Battle of the Planets and Mysterious Cities of Gold director and animator dies

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Sad news: Hisayuki Toriumi (1941 – 2009) passed away on Friday, and his funeral will be held today in Hachioji City, Tokyo.

Although his name may not be familiar, his work certainly will be to millions of my generation – not just in Japan – but also in the UK, the US and across the world where series like Gatchaman (known outside Japan as Battle of the Planets and G-Force), The Mysterious Cities of Gold and Speed Racer became huge childrens TV hits in the 1970s and 80s, and for fans like myself were our first introduction to the world of anime.

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Oshii’s ‘Sky Crawlers’ fails to recieve Oscar nomination

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Not that I expected him to win, especially in the year that Academy darlings Pixar released what is arguably their finest work to date, but I have to say I was surprised and disappointed he didn’t even get a nod when the nominations were announced today. It’s especially confusing when only three films where put forward, and one of them was the decidedly average Kung Fu Panda (I haven’t seen Bolt, and can’t honestly say I’m that bothered either).

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Don’t forget the 1st Annual Global Shinkai Day…

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…which is on 28th February, apparently. At least according to Makoto Shinkai fansite Cherry Blossoms Falling, who are organising this (probably less than official) event. According to this post:

In order to celebrate the works of Makoto Shinkai we’ve decided to throw a Global Shinkai Day. We’ll spend 24 hours watching Shinkai’s films, chatting during the movies and having discussions and contests along the way. We hope you will be able to drop in and join the party/conversation 🙂

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Pixar: Soulless, corporate robots?

I was kind of intrigued earlier this week, while reading some of the pre-release hype around Pixar’s new, highly acclaimed CGI flick WALL-E. For those of you that have managed to miss it all, the film is set in a future where humans have been forced to abandon Earth due to pollution and environmental breakdown.

I was intrigued, because in a couple of interviews I read director/writer Andrew Stanton seemed to be going out of his way to play down any environmental message the film might have:

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Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea (2008): First Footage

Headline says it all really…the first footage from the new Ghibli movie have been shown on Japanese TV and thus are now all over the Grid.

Still no news on a US or European release date…

Apparently, after he’s finished this, Miyazaki‘s next movie is going to be about sumo wrestling mice. Which doesn’t sound mind-blowing, but this is a Ghibli film we’re talking about….not Kung Fu Panda

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