by Paul Browne.
If you’re unfamiliar with the ‘idol pop’ tag, it’s a genre of popular music that’s found its heart in Japan. Often put together by talent agencies, most idol groups feature young women keen to develop their performance and singing skills. Meanwhile, a devoted fanbase fill concert venues swirling their glow sticks (often in the colour of their favourite member) while urging the group to do their best. Groups such as AKB48, Momoiro Clover Z and Babymetal perhaps show the dizzying heights that some idol outfits can aspire to. Continue Reading
Fred Patten, who died yesterday aged 77, was one of the foundational pillars not only of anime fandom in America, but of American anime fandom’s sense of its own history. Graduating with a Masters in Library Science in 1963, Fred was already active in American science fiction fandom when he entered the job market. For much of his career, he led a double life, writing for professional and amateur fanzines and running a comics shop, while also working as a technical manual archivist in El Segundo for the Hughes Aircraft Company.
He first saw Japanese comics at an American convention in 1970, and was hooked. “One of the exhibits had the Japanese manga version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. by Takao Saito,” he told Jason Thompson, “which was totally different from the American comic book. It went on for about three or four volumes and was very cinematic, and even though I couldn't read Japanese, I could pretty much follow the plot through the pictures....So I went to the Japanese community in Los Angeles, and I not only found that but I discovered all the other manga they had on the shelves.” As early as 1973, he was advertising untranslated manga for sale in the Wonderworld mail order catalogue he ran with Richard Kyle. Continue Reading
By Gianni Simone.
It’s tough being an animator. While Japanese animation is currently having a lot of success both at home and abroad, many anime studios don’t seem to be enjoying the benefits. It is hard to churn out one hit after another while working on a tiny budget, and although most studios manage to barely survive the harsh business conditions and fierce competition, a few of them end up going down for good.
That’s what happened to Manglobe, which filed for bankruptcy in September 2015 after going 550 million yen into the red. At the time, the Tokyo-based studio was working on Genocidal Organ, an adaptation of Project Itoh’s famous SF novel. Genocidal Organ was part of a Project Itoh trilogy, but while the other two films were released on time (by different studios), this one was delayed indefinitely.
Eventually, the film was rescued by producer Koji Yamamoto’s newly founded Geno Studio. For many years, Yamamoto had served as the producer for Fuji TV's famous late-night programming block noitaminA (showcasing such cult anime series as Eden of the East and Anohana) before going independent and establishing Twin Engine in 2014. All the Anime caught up with Mr Yamamtoto at the Toyop International Film Festival. Continue Reading
by Jeremy Clarke.
Despite the bloody implications of its title, Bloody Spear At Mount Fuji (1955) is more like a period road movie, introducing a series of offbeat characters, each in their own unique situation. Whilst Mount Fuji puts in an appearance in the opening frame and in one of the many scenarios on the road, it’s only towards the end that we get a seven-minute fight scene involving a spear and a great deal of blood. Since the fight takes place near barrels of sake which get punctured during the mayhem, a good deal of wine is also spilled. Continue Reading
Cowboy Bebop is a franchise near and dear to our hearts here at Anime Ltd. Since our announcement a few months ago that we intend to release a set commemorating its 20th Anniversary, we've been getting bombarded with questions about when you can expect details on it - for which to be clear, we're delighted so many of you have been eagerly anticipating news on it! Well the wait is over as today we can finally reveal to you all the info you need to know about our Cowboy Bebop Ultimate Edition Blu-ray release.
So sit back, relax, grab a drink and read on below for all the juicy details. (Oh, and on the off chance you're not familiar with Cowboy Bebop we'll give you a quick introduction to it as well.)
Director: Shinichiro Watanabe (Terror in Resonance, Space Dandy, Kids on the Slope, Macross Plus)
Music: Yoko Kanno (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Terror in Resonance, Wolf's Rain, Space Dandy)
TV Series Synopsis: Join the always-cool Spike Spiegal, investigative genius Jet Black, the alluring Faye Valentine, the amazing (but weird) Ed and the super-smart Welsh Corgi named Ein as they try to make a buck in the year 2071. How do they do it? They're bounty hunters!
While focussed on their constant struggle to capture bounties and pay the bills - perhaps the crew of the Bebop should be more concerned by what may catch up with them. Ghosts from the past, psychedelic mushrooms and justice-obsessed cowboys - Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed and even Ein have their work cut out trying to make ends meet!
Check out a trailer for the series below:
When it comes to Cowboy Bebop and the possibility of being able to bring out any kind of Ultimate Edition style release, we've always said that if was something we could do we would want to be able to include the movie, Knockin' on Heaven's Door, or the soundtrack to the TV series in some form. We're delighted to say that both will be included in this package! Here's all the juicy details for you -
First of all, it's worth noting that only 1000 units of this set are produced. This is a one-time print run, so if/when it's sold out, that's it. There won't be any more.
Inside this set you will get the following:
--- The entire Cowboy Bebop TV Series (26 episodes) over four Blu-ray discs with English and original Japanese (with English subtitles) audio options. On-disc extras for the series being:
--- Courtesy of our friends at Manga Entertainment UK, the feature film Cowboy Bebop The Movie (aka Knockin' on Heaven's Door) on Blu-ray with both English and original Japanese (with English subtitles) audio options. On-disc extras for this being:
~ Behind the Scenes Featurettes
~ Storyboard Comparisons: these show in a picture in picture style format how the finished animation looked compared to the original storyboard. This is shown for four particular scenes:
~ Conceptual Art Galleries: these give you the opportunity to look through a variety of art relating to the film itself. There are 5 galleries in total focusing on:
~ and there is a also an original U.S. Theatrical trailer for the film.
--- For the first-time ever in the United Kingdom, three full Cowboy Bebop TV Series Soundtrack CDs "Cowboy Bebop" (which we refer to as Soundtrack 1 in this release), "Cowboy Bebop NO DISC" and Cowboy Bebop BLUE". Track listing of each below for you:
"Cowboy Bebop" (Soundtrack 1) Track listing:
Total Duration: approx 53 minutes
"Cowboy Bebop NO DISC" Track Listing
Total Duration: approx 50 minutes
"Cowboy Bebop BLUE" Track Listing:
Total duration: approx 71 minutes
--- Our Cowboy Bebop Ultimate 120-page Art Book featuring art from the franchise that is divided across three sections: Line Art, Rough Sketches and Artworks. (Dimensions of book are 30.5cm x 30.5cm - the same size as a vinyl record, obviously thickness differing because of the page count. You can see how this will look below.
--- and is if that wasn't enough, all of this is packaged inside an individually numbered Cowboy Bebop themed vinyl flight case! In keeping with the theme of this being a vinyl flight case, the fact the book is sized with that in mind too, we've also taken this into account when it comes to how the TV series, Movie and CD soundtracks are being stored.
As you've seen pictured above, there will be two vinyl sized jackets inside the flight case. The first will house all four Blu-ray discs that comprise the TV series, with the jacket design being one tailored to the fact the TV series is stored inside. The second jacket being designed and themed around the three soundtrack CDs and the Blu-ray of Cowboy Bebop The Movie specifically. You can see these designs below.
This Ultimate Edition set will be available to order exclusively through Zavvi.com and our AllTheAnime.com online store. Pre-orders on both sites will be commence today (Wednesday 7th November 2018).
You can find the listings for both our AllTheAnime online store and Zavvi below.
The product itself will be shipping in DECEMBER 2018, so it will be available in time for Christmas! (Please FAQ section at end of this blog post for more information.)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Each store only has a select allocation of units so once it appears as out fo stock on either store it means the allocation for that respective store has been sold. It's unlikely there will be any additional units after that.
And now one of the most important questions: HOW MUCH IS IT? This Cowboy Bebop Ultimate Edition release will have an SRP (Suggested Retail Price) of £299.99.
But, until Friday 7th December 2018 at our AllTheAnime.com online store you can pre-order it for £224.99 (valid while stock lasts).
This section is pretty self explanatory. Here we will address all sorts of questions you may have, or perhaps answer some you never even considered. (Some of the questions may likely answer things that have already been noted, but we're all prone to skimming through web pages, so we like to touch on things a few times to be sure.)
How much is this set?
As noted in the section above, the SRP for this is £299.99. Though until 7th December 2018 you can order at our AllTheAnime.com online store for £224.99
What's the release date of this?
In short, it will be in time for Christmas. We can't give an exact shipping date at this time, but we can least tell you at time of writing we intend for this to be shipping by the week before Christmas at the latest. (Obviously this will be updated once we can confirm for sure.)
Where can I order this?
This will be only be available online exclusively through Zavvi.com and AllTheAnime.com. Where possible, we (AllTheAnime) intend to make this available to purchase at events we exhibit at.
Why I can't I buy this from any other retailer?
For this particular release, it's an exclusive to product to Zavvi.com and AllTheAnime.com.
What are the dimensions of the vinyl flight case?
Approximately 33cm x 35cm x 21cm. (So it can fit standard 12" vinyl packaging, for reference.)
How is the product packaged shipping?
Due to the unique size of the overall product, it will be shipped in a box with packaging inside to protect it. (Obviously the box it will be too large to fit through a letter box.) Inside the vinyl flight case itself, the two vinyl style gatefolds will each be shrink wrapped. Additionally to ensure the gatefold packaging and the artbook are not moving around inside the box there will be a blank card fitment to fill the remaining space. Then there will be a layer of bubble wrap underneath the lid of the flight case itself top ensure there's no vertical movement inside.
Why is only Blu-ray included in this?
It's a very unique product, and for this we wanted to present the series in the best visual quality possible. This is why Blu-ray it's only included on Blu-ray. However, the entire series is available to purchase separately on DVD.
What's the aspect ratio of the episodes/movie on the Blu-ray discs?
The TV series was created at a time before widescreen was the norm, so all the episodes are presented in pillarboxed format. Meaning it retains it's original 4:3 ratio with black bars present either side of the image.
The movie however was a theatrical film and was created in widescreen (16:9). That is retained on the Blu-ray that is included in this set, courtesy of Manga Entertainment UK.
How come you're able to include The Movie in this set when a different company distributed it?
It's not the first-time we've collaborated with our friends at Manga Entertainment UK on a project. When it came to this project specifically, we made no secret that we always intended to accommodate the movie in some way, shape or form in our Ultimate Edition of Cowboy Bebop. Luckily the stars aligned and we have been able to include their Cowboy Bebop The Movie Blu-ray disc in this release!
Why no soundtrack on vinyl?
Being able to include the soundtrack on vinyl is something we've love to have done, but in our eyes for this to truly be an Ultimate Edition we wanted to be able to include the TV Series soundtrack in full rather than only part of it was of prime importance to us. Though vinyl was not possible, when the opportunity to include three full soundtrack CDs presented itself, we jumped at the chance to make this happen! Plus we feel being able to include three full soundtrack CDs helps add to the overall experience and completist nature of this set. We hope you agree too!
What Blu-ray disc masters are you using?
For the TV series, we are utilising our own Blu-ray master, which has been included in a past release of ours.
For Cowboy Bebop The Movie, we are utilising the same disc master Manga Entertainment UK have used for their own Blu-ray release. (A disc master that first utilised by Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, for those curious.)
All the discs are coded to Region B, for playback in UK & Ireland.
How are the discs stored inside the flight case?
They be contained inside vinyl gatefold/jacket style packaging. The TV series will be inside one jacket, the soundtrack CDs and Movie Blu-ray discs being in the other.
How many units are there? How long will this be available for?
In total, 1000 units of this set are being produced. In terms of availability, that ultimately (no pun intended) comes down to how many units are sold. We have no way of being able to forecast that. We would suggest pre-ordering to avoid any potential disappointment on missing out.
Will the CD soundtracks be available separately?
In short, no. We only have clearance to include them as part of this Ultimate Edition set of ours.
If this set sells out at either AllTheAnime.com or Zavvi.com, will there be any more?
It's highlight unlikely. The reason being that both stores only have a set allocation of units. So should it appear as out of stock on either site, we don't expect there to be any more units available.
And with all of that being said, I think that about wraps up this post detailing our upcoming Cowboy Bebop 20th Anniversary Ultimate Edition set! We hope you're excited for this. Let us know what you think - and if you have any question about something we may have missed, shoot them our way and if needed we'll add them to the FAQ section too!