Bandai brings anime series to iaTV
JUNE HAS been another in a series of grim months for anime and manga publishers in the United States. Tokyopop laid off workers and cut back on its manga production, PiQ magazine shut down and everyone remained on death watch for anime/manga publisher ADV as its excess office equipment was sold off at a Houston auction house.
(For the record, ADV representative Chris Oarr, in an interview and a statement published last week, would like everyone to know that ADV is, indeed, still very much alive. Also, please stop asking about when Volume 6 of the "Yotsuba&!" manga will be coming out, because no one knows. Thank you.)
This week's column, though, kicks off with news of a more positive development for the anime industry. Namely, the cable network formerly known as ImaginAsian, iaTV, announced last week that it would be launching a new three-hour anime block on Wednesdays starting in August and filling it with a bunch of Bandai-licensed series.
Watch for "Ghost Slayers Ayashi," "Mars Daybreak," "My-Hime," "My-Otome," "Planetes," "Rocket Girls," "Scrapped Princess" and "Toward the Terra" to debut on the block, appropriately titled "The Block," starting Aug. 6.
The network is available on Oceanic Time Warner digital cable channel 546; check your local listings for the exact times, but it appears "The Block" will air from 5 to 8 p.m. locally ...
Those of you of a certain age will look at the author of "Maid Machinegun," Aaliyah, and think, "Oh, hey, it's a novel by that R&B singer who sang that song 'Rock the Boat' and acted in that movie 'Romeo Must Die' before she died in a plane accident."
Well ... no, it's not. "Aaliyah" is the pseudonym for a writer whose true identity has yet to be revealed. And "Maid Machinegun," released stateside by Del Rey, is a story told from the perspective of a new worker (also named Aaliyah) at a maid cafe, those uniquely Japanese outposts where women role-play as maids and serve their "masters," or customers.
It's a bit uneven in places; the pace gets painfully slow right around where maid Aaliyah interviews a former senior maid of another cafe to get some advice. The narrative is also loaded with references that casual anime and manga fans might not be able to appreciate fully.
Still, though, it's a cute exploration of the maid-cafe phenomenon. The subtle twist introduced toward the middle of the book also builds into something much more significant by the end, so pay attention to that ...
Pups on the road
Audra Furuichi and Scott Yoshinaga, co-creators of the online comic "nemu*nemu," will continue visiting libraries this week as part of the state library system's Teen Summer Reading Program. They'll be offering a 45-minute presentation on the process of creating and posting comics online at the following locations:
» Kailua Library: tomorrow, 6:30 p.m.
» Kapolei Library: Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao