Anime, manga classics reborn
SHORTLY AFTER my column a few weeks ago about "god of manga" Osamu Tezuka saw print, I received an e-mail from a reader who visited the same exhibit I visited in San Francisco. One of the points this person made was about how it's sad that most of the people becoming anime and manga fans these days don't really have an appreciation of the rich history and themes present in the media.
Indeed, in an industry where just a handful of titles seems to fuel fan frenzy, it can be difficult for all that "old-school" stuff to gain a foothold in the market. Just look at Viz, for instance, and its recent blitz of releasing three volumes of "Naruto" a month for three months. Yet a quartet of news items in recent weeks shows companies are trying to turn modern fans on to the classics:
» The first DVDs in ImaginAsian Entertainment's "TMS Anime Classics" line finally made it out to retail after being delayed for several months due to production issues. "Cat's Eye," "Nobody's Boy -- Remi" and "Orguss: Super Dimensional Century" are available online at www.rightstuf.com for $12.99 for the first volume and $9.99 for subsequent volumes. (First volumes come with cases to hold the rest of the series, hence the higher cost.)
» Tezuka Productions recently announced it would offer English-dubbed episodes of three anime TV series -- "Astro Boy" (1980), "Black Jack" (1993-2000) and "Phoenix" (2004) -- as well as the "Jungle Emperor Leo" (aka "Kimba the White Lion") movie and eight experimental films for sale on the U.S. Apple iTunes store.
Episodes are $1.99 each, while complete "season" sets are also available: "Phoenix" is $9.99 for the 13-episode series; "Black Jack" is $14.99 for 10 50-minute episodes; and "Astro Boy" is $29.99 for 51 episodes.
» Speaking of Tezuka, another one of his works finally will be making its way to English translation, courtesy of Vertical. The publisher, which already has Tezuka's "Ode to Kirihito," "Buddha," "Apollo's Song" and the upcoming "MW" in its stable, soon will add "Dororo" as well. Also worth hunting down from the publisher are two classics by Keiko Takemiya, "To Terra" and the upcoming "Andromeda Stories."
» All Borders bookstores have a "buy four, get one free" sale on all manga running through Oct. 1. OK, so that doesn't really tie in to the other three items, but hey, cheap manga! And if you buy a few of the Vertical titles I mentioned -- which tend to run a bit on the expensive side (i.e., "more than $9.99") -- all the better ...
Meeting roll call
» Oahu Anime Explorer: 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at HMC Academy, 555 N. King St. Visit www.oahuanimeexplorer.com
for more details and this month's trivia question ...
Coming up Sunday
With so many variants of the "Full Metal Panic" franchise out there -- original anime, original manga, "Fumoffu," "Overload," "Second Raid" -- it can be difficult to keep them all straight. I'll try to sort everything out in "Drawn & Quartered" in the Sunday Today section ...
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao