Blitz 1: The Beauty of the Internet and Con Season 上巻

The beauty of the internet is now that there are multiple anime news services and blogs that can be updated at a moment's notice and their information disseminated to anyone with net access. Surely, this is a vast improvement over the old timey news services with their two print editions per day, but definitely over the old timey print fanzine - which was only available if you knew where to find them and there was someone making them. Certainly now, with a little Google searching and proper citation, one doesn't need to attend every con in the country to get the hot news (though, it sure is much better to not have to rely on everyone else for your news). Thank you, Internet.

As the con season is beginning to get into full swing, I'll be looking for more Con Reports and hopefully begin to compile a "State of Classic Anime in the US" thesis. This week's batch of reporting comes from Anime Central 2006, held in Chicago from 5-7 May, 2006.

In a report filed by Anime on DVD 's Justin Richardson here [animeondvd.com] the biggest news for classical anime is a new DVD releases from Manga Entertainment. The first being Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro 『ルパン三世 カリオストロの城』 features a new 5.1 audio track, a new digital transfer, and interviews with the head animation director (I presume Otsuka Yasuo) and creator Monkey Punch! The other is a new release of Street Fighter 2 in a new Uncut Edition. While Cagliostro is an improvement on a previous decent release, SF 2 seems like an apology to a more hardcore fanbase for a previous, and in my opinion, shitty release.

The Street Fighter 2 Uncut release was aimed more directly at a video game fanbase that at the time wasn't as connected to anime as it seems to be now. This, is about the only train of logic I can follow as to why SF 2 received a release from Manga similar to that of the Hokutou no Ken 『北斗の拳』 TV series release (of which Manga lost the license to a couple of months ago). SF 2's original uncut release had altered dialogue, such as more profanity to make it seem more adult as well as an altered musical score (featuring Western Metal music) , to name a few changes. While the new release from Manga will include the old, butchered "uncut" version, it will also include a faithfully translated and correct (in this fan's eyes) Japanese track. While most hardcore purists may not consider this a full correction (such as receiving a new dub track with all of the same faithfulness as the Japanese track), Manga is making an effort, albeit a half-assed one.

Being an anime based off of a video game, I can't honestly say this is on my priorities list, which could be why I'm giving Manga what seems like a pass on this. I don't mean to treat this like I'm not impartial on this, I think that all companies when they produce a bad release should be scolded and when they produce a good release, they should be praised. Unfortunately, in the grand scheme of things, how Manga is treating SF 2 now is how they've operated business as normal for anime that aren't Cagliostro or Evangelion.

Though, Castle of Cagliostro, while being one of the better Manga releases, might be getting a new facelift for the new edition. Mr. Richardson also points out that Manga is in talks right now for some new boxart that will "make you think of this movie itself instead of just another Lupin film."; though, I'm not sure this is really needed. Already, there are two separate fansbases who would show interest in the film (aside from those who've seen it already): fans of Lupin III and fans of Miyazaki Hayao. Though most of Miyazaki's fanbase are most intrigued by his work after forming Studio Ghibli, Cagliostro is arguably his best non-Ghibli work and I would say one of the top features in his entire filmography. As far as comparing to other works in the Lupin III franchise, easily this is the best film and really brings the characters of Lupin III to a broader, family audience but also retains many of the endearing traits of the characters. I would say that Cagliostro is a huge part of why Lupin III remains a large part of the Japanese anime industry and pop culture psyche.

Manga Entertainment seems to be the most popular industry panel present at A-Cen as ANN's [animenewsnetwork.com] report by Mikhail Koulikov centers on the panel as well. In Koulikov's report he adds some information more important to fans of classic anime - some good and some bad.

The good news is that Manga still retains licenses for the Neon Genesis Evangelion 『新世紀エヴァンゲッリオン』 films, Death and Rebirth and AIR (The End of Evangelion), and with their Tenth Anniversary coming up, if new material becomes available, they hope to plan a re-release in North America as well.

The bad news is that Manga, for retaining some of their intellectual properties, seem to have another round of losses. On the chopping block are three of their OAV properties:

Angel Cop 『エンジェルコップ』
Devilman 『デビルマン』
Orguss 02 『時空世紀オーガス02』

So far, Manga has lost the anime licenses for Wings of Honneamise 『王立宇宙軍 オネアミスの翼』 (Royal Space Troop Wings of Oneamis), Bio-Booster Armor Guyver 『強殖装甲ガイバー』, Aim for the Top! Gunbuster 『トップをねらえ!ガンバスター』, Hokutou no Ken TV 『北斗の拳』, and the first two Mobile Police Patlabor movies 『機動警察パトレバー』.

There is a part of me that is now hopeful, with the recent release of Armored Trooper VOTOMS 『装甲騎兵ボトムズ』 , the announcements of numerous classical mecha mecha within the first quarter of 2006, and the ever present fan popularity of the original Macross that both the Orguss TV series will be licensed soon and the OAVs will be re-licensed to accompany them. One can always hope.

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