Looking back on a year in anime, manga
Merry Christmas! Here's hoping you and yours have been richly blessed this holiday season.
The arrival of Christmas means we're a week away from the new year ... which also means it's time to reminisce about the past year. Space doesn't permit me to recap all the news from the anime and manga world, but here are some of the more memorable stories:
» Fond farewells: Among the long-running series that finally saw their final volumes released in America this year: "Rurouni Kenshin" (28 manga volumes), "Ranma 1/2" (36 manga volumes), "Dragon Ball Z" (26 manga volumes), "Maison Ikkoku" (96 anime episodes across eight boxed sets) and "Urusei Yatsura" (50 anime volumes). AnimEigo also ended distribution of the 12-volume "Kimagure Orange Road" TV series, along with various direct-to-video specials, as their licensing agreement expired.
» Not-so-fond farewells: "Pokemon," that long-running "gotta catch them all!" adventure, celebrated its 10th anniversary in the United States by unceremoniously replacing the entire original voice cast with a group of sound-alikes.
Meanwhile, 4Kids Entertainment, which has earned the scorn of some anime fans for its adaptations (read: heavy edits) of shows like "Tokyo Mew Mew" and "Shaman King" to be more "kid-friendly" fare, announced earlier this month that it was ending production of its adaptation of "One Piece." This despite the pirate-themed show being one of Japan's hotter properties.
» Four down, many more to go: Golf claps to ADV Manga, which actually managed to complete serializing "Full Metal Panic," "Full Metal Panic Overload," "Chrono Crusade" and "Anne Freaks" this year. "Cromartie High School" soldiers on, as well. Now just release the fourth volume of "Yotsuba&!," and I might forgive you, ADV. Maybe. Fellow columnist Wilma J. is holding out for a complete "Gunslinger Girl" run, though ...
» Like father, hate son?: The latest Studio Ghibli film, "Gedo Senki" ("Tales of Earthsea"), was released in Japan to lukewarm reviews and heavy press coverage of the dispute between director Goro Miyazaki and his more famous father, Hayao Miyazaki. Not that any of it mattered in the United States, because rights issues will prevent the film's release here for several years.
» Growing up and moving on: In local circles, the big news was the growth of Kawaii Kon, the state's only anime convention. It's grown to the point where it'll move to the Hawai'i Convention Center next year, April 27-29.
And for those of you who have managed to read this far, here's an extra Christmas gift: Head honcho Stan Dahlin confirms that the latest guests to be added to next year's convention are ADV voice actors Christine Auten and Brittney Karbowski, as well as Steve Blum, the voice of Vincent Valentine in "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children" and "Dirge of Cerberus" ...
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao