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October 24, 2014

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Speed Racer hits theaters in 2008

by Adam Finley, posted Nov 12th 2006 2:02PM

speed racerSpeed Racer only lasted one year? That's what IMDb seems to indicate. The Japanese import is so much a part of popular culture I assumed it had lasted longer than that. Regardless, the popular cartoon was around before my time, so I know very little about it, save for little bits of information I've picked up here and there. If you're older than myself, however, or you fell in love with the show while watching it in reruns, you may have already heard that a live-action film versions of the cartoon is in the works. Larry and Andy Wachowski, the brothers behind the Matrix movies, will write and direct the project, which is slated for a 2008 release. The brothers apparently have big plans for the racing sequences, and given the ever-duplicated special effects of the Matrix trilogy, I'm more than a little curious to see what they have up their sleeves. I'm a little bummed out that it's live-action rather than animation, but The Matrix was essentially a live-action cartoon in many ways, so maybe this could work.

[via Toon Zone]

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Voltron coming to Adult Swim

by Adam Finley, posted Nov 10th 2006 8:02AM

voltronWhile it hasn't been added to the schedule grid yet, the '80s animated series Voltron will in fact be a part of Adult Swim starting on November 13. However, the episodes will air at 5:30 am, so if you want to see them on television you'll either have to never sleep, or wake up really early. The addition was announced on the Adult Swim messageboard (hat tip to Adult Swim HQ). If you don't have a DVR to record the episodes, but you have a broadband connection, you'll also be able to catch them on Adult Swim Fix, Adult Swim's video site.

This should thrill folks my age who grew up with this cartoon, though I must admit that while I was aware of it as a kid, I don't think I ever watched a single episode. I guess this is my chance to see what all my friends loved so much about it. I'll just have to regress back to my eight year old self, which shouldn't be too difficult.

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The Cartoon Network Effect on manga

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 18th 2006 3:05PM

bleachIt's funny how popular manga has become in the last several years. And to think all I did was read Garfield and Heathcliff books. These days many people in the biz point to the Cartoon Network Effect on manga sales due to the increasing popularity of anime on the network. Thomas J. McLean, writing for Publishers Weekly, uses Bleach as an example. That particular manga was never a huge seller, but when the anime debuted on Adult Swim, sales of the manga began to soar. This is not true, though, for all comic books and graphic novels. In the case of manga and anime, the two often have a direct connection that makes it easier to move from one to another. American animated series based on comic books don't always have that connection, and the result is that a series like Fantastic Four, while popular, doesn't help the sale of Fantastic Four comic books that have no direct correlation with the television series. This difference, however, can work, as in the case of Teen Titans, a cartoon that looks nothing like the original comic books. The anime-style of that show probably doesn't hurt much, either.

[via Toon Zone]

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NYTVF: Animation pilots

by Jen Creer, posted Sep 14th 2006 6:48PM
End of the LineI was excited to get the screener for the Animation pilots for the New York Television Festival, because if you can't go to the festival, you might as well get to watch stuff in advance right? Of course, now you can watch them, too, but that's beside the point. I requested the Animation pilot because A) I have kids, B) I also write for our sister blog, Blogging Baby, C) my husband loves Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, and that is kind of what these shows are like. Which renders A and B on my list completely irrelevant.

Reviewed here: End of the Line, Squid Dragon Legend and Strange Transmissions.

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Four Evangelion movies in the works

by Brett Love, posted Sep 13th 2006 1:49PM
EvangelionJapanese anime studio Gainax has announced that they are going to do four more movies in the Evagelion series. Neon Genesis Evangelion began in '95 and had a run of 26 episodes. The story is much too dense to summarize here, but essentially it is about a group of teens that pilot biomechanical mechas against invading forces. Much more detail is available at the Evangelion wikipedia page.

The popularity of the series led to the story being continued in '97 and '98 with three movies, Death and Rebirth, The End of Evangelion, and Revival of Evangelion. All three movies borrow heavily from the series and present an alternate ending to the story. The first three of the new movies will be an alternate version of the series, including new backgrounds, characters, and scenes. The fourth movie is a new conclusion to the Evangelion story. Release dates have been announced as July '07, January '08 and June '08.

[ via comingsoon.net ]

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Shin Chan coming to Adult Swim

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 17th 2006 2:01PM

shin chanShin Chan, a dubbed version of the Japanese anime (and manga) also known as Crayon Shin Chan, will debut on Adult Swim this Saturday at 10:30 pm. My anime knowledge is rather limited, so if you know anything about this series feel free to school me in the comments below. I did find some clips of the original version on YouTube, and clips of the newly dubbed version can be found here. Evan Dorkin, creator of Welcome to Eltingville, helped with re-writing the dialogue and dubbing the series for American audiences. He talks about it on his Live Journal, and it sounds like he's trying to distance himself somewhat from the project, or at least protect himself from the ire of anime lovers who hate dubbed versions of anything. Click here for the Adult Swim schedule grid, which as far as I can tell is the only place on the site that mentions the show.

[via Toon Zone]

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What is Powerpuff Girls Z, anyway?

by Adam Finley, posted Jul 3rd 2006 1:28PM
powerpuff girls zDon't ask me how I stumbled upon this, but apparently there's a new cartoon in Japan inspired by The Powerpuff Girls called Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z. According to this Wikipedia article, Craig McCracken, who created the original series, has nothing to do with this new version that seems to reimagine the precocious little crime fighters as Sailor Moon-like vixens. In fact, the characters were actually designed by Miho Shimogasa, who worked on Sailor Moon. Anime News Network also mentions the series here, and there's a cavalcade of clips on YouTube for the show, too. Considering that most fans of the original Powerpuff Girls are a bit older now, I could see something like this really taking off here in the states. Watch a clip after the jump, and click here for a promo of the new series.

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FLCL returns to Adult Swim in August

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 6th 2006 8:01AM
flclI watch pretty everything these days via Tivo, which is nice, although sometimes when I'm skipping over the "bumps" that make up the time between shows on Adult Swim I often miss important messages about the network and upcoming shows. This morning while zapping through those bumps, I caught one that said FLCL would be returning to the lineup on August 5. Of course, FLCL has been in and out of the lineup for  a long time, so this isn't  a huge surprise, but I thought fans would be interested. All six episodes will be shown, so set your DVRs. Oh yeah, and to my fellow Tivo users, the show is listed in the guide as "Fooly Cooly." It took me forever to figure that one out. While I don't think I watch enough anime to really consider myself a fan, I loved FLCL. I think their may be a deeper meaning to the show, but I just dig the great music and all the weird things that explode from Naota's head.

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Get ready to ride the Toonami Jetstream

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 26th 2006 3:59PM
samurai jackThis could be the coolest news I've heard all day. On July 17, Cartoon Network and VIZ Media will launch Toonami Jetstream, a free broadband service where you will not only be able to watch shows from the networks Toonami block, but also awesome anime and adventure series the network doesn't air. The initial launch will include the following shows: Naruto, Samurai Jack, Hikaru No Go, MÄR, and The Prince of Tennis. Other shows to follow include IGPX, Megaman NT Warrior, and Zoids Genesis. Now, to be honest, I never got into Toonami all that much, despite having a lot of friends in college who would drop everything they were doing and rush to the TV when Dragonball Z was on. Nevertheless, it's cool to see Cartoon Network once again taking advantage of streaming video. I'm definitely checking this one out come July.

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Adult Swim to air Saved By The Bell

by Annie Wu, posted Apr 17th 2006 10:06AM
Saved By The BellIt was about a week ago. Late at night. Insomnia had wretchedly peeled back my eyelids. I forced myself to stay in bed and try to get some sleep, but I allowed the TV to stay on. Adult Swim gently blinked on the screen. After a few more hours, I could feel insomnia letting up. Finally. Sleep. The shadows on my wall danced to the changing images on the screen. Ah. A commercial about Saved By The Bell coming to Adult Swim -- Wait a second. Saved By The Bell? On a late-night cartoon channel? I panicked. The shadows on the wall surrounded me. The commercial was still on the screen. I helplessly flailed my arms. Immediately, my limbs became tangled in my sheets. My mind raced. "Does not compute! Does not compute!" And that was when my spinal column leapt up and throttled my brain. True story.

I wasn't hallucinating, and neither were you. Adult Swim really is going to air a bunch of Saved By The Bell episodes. No joke. They've just announced a schedule (and I see they've put [crappy 1980's live action tv show network] at the bottom right hand corner during some of their programming). I have yet to hear a good explanation as to why they're doing this instead of doing a Venture Bros. marathon and making me a happy girl, but I'm sure it's all part of Adult Swim's master plan to take over the world. Or they're just being silly.

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Dark Crystal the animated series

by Adam Finley, posted Feb 6th 2006 1:18PM
dark crystalThere's been a lot of talk lately about the upcoming sequel to The Dark Crystal, which will be directed by animation wunderkind Genndy Tartakovsky and combine both puppets and CG backgrounds. What I didn't catch until recently is that there may also be an animated Dark Crystal series which will air as part of Cartoon Network's Toonami block. David Slack, who also worked on Teen Titans, will work on this series. I haven't seen much on this, save for little tidbits here and there, so I guess we'll have to wait and see. The series will apparently work as a kind of prequel to the original film, focusing on life before the Crystal cracked and the Gelfling race was (nearly) wiped out.

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Where's Voltron?

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 21st 2006 9:26AM
voltronWill there ever be a new Voltron series? More importantly, why can't anyone come up with an original idea anymore? Well, I'll lament that on my own time. Let's focus on the (non-existent) new Voltron animated series. The original Voltron was a staple of many a Saturday morning TV diet in the early 80s, and fans began to salivate when it was announced last year that a brand new series was in pre-production. Unfortunately, that's the last anyone has heard about it. The flow of information simply stopped and no one is quite sure exactly what the deal is. However, Kick Start Productions still lists Voltron as "in production" on its Web site. I'm rooting for the show to make it to the air, though my enthusiasm is diluted somewhat by the fact that revamping old shows rarely makes for good television.

 

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Jackson set to produce Afro Samurai

by Kim Voynar, posted May 16th 2005 12:35PM

Samuel L. JackonBig news on the anime front: Spike TV sent out a press release recently that Samuel L. Jackson will produce and voice the hotly anticipated five episode anime series Afro Samurai with Japanese anime studio Gonzo and Fuji Television.

The tale spins around a black samurai, Afro, to be voiced by Jackson, who is on a quest to avenge his father's death, meeting "enemies, friends and challenges along the way". Hopefully the series will be more original than the storyline of "antisocial warrior avenging the wrongful death of his (insert relative of your choice here)".  Jackson overflows with talent on the big screen, but Afro Samurai will need to pack a lot more punch than its initial press release to stand out in the anime crowd, even with his gravely voice bringing life to the lead role.

The series blends samurai style with hip-hop, something the Spike TV folks claim in their press release "American audiences have never seen before". Guess the Spike TV guys haven't been keeping up with Shinichiro Watanabe's latest effort, Samurai Champloo.

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Samurai Champloo's historical hip-hop doesn't disappoint

by Kim Voynar, posted May 16th 2005 11:33AM

Samurai ChamplooFans of Cowboy Bebop and The Animatrix have been anxiously awaiting the premiere of Shinichiro Watanabe's newest effort, Samurai Champloo, on Adult Swim. The first episode didn't disappoint, I'm happy to say, and from what I've read from folks who have seen later episodes, this series will just get better and better.

Seamlessly blending hip-hop music with crisp, artsy action sequences, Watanabe brings his characters to life with an irreverance best captured in the show's opening sequence: "This work of fiction is not an accurate historical portrayal. Like we care. Now shut up and enjoy the show." Original music by Force of Nature, Fat Jon, Tsutchie, and Nujabes drives the show on a frentic pace, but the animation crew has no trouble keeping up with the score.

Historically accurate or not, Samurai Champloo is set in the Edo Period of Japan, when Samurai stood at the top of the social hierarchy. Mugen is a brash, self-trained young warrior who fights with a unique breakdance style of fighting. Jin is a more traditional Samurai - quiet, calculating and controlled. These two polar opposites are bound to get into conflict, but before they can fight each other they meet up in the first episode with Fuu, a young waitress who saves both their lives.

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