Minori Chihara Sings For Haruhi Movie

We are really getting close to the cinema showing date for the up and coming film The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya and the trickle of news items is starting to increase. Minori Chihara, the voice behind Yuki Nagato, has appeared in a six minute long video of her song Yasashii Bōkyaku. While I personally find the song a bit whiny, the video depicts the scenes in Tokyo upon which the Suzumiya series were based in and around. Examples include the hill rising towards the school, the entrance area, the old clubhouse, etc.

Also, in other news Bandai Entertainment has licensed the DVD’s of the second season of Haruhi for the USA. Unfortunately, this also means another dub into English; a waste of time and effort which I frown upon. How anyone can listen and then favour the English dub over the original (and superior) Japanese casting is beyond me.

–Via ANN

Awesome Director for Disappearance? Alas No…

You did not read ‘it’ here first. Nor did you read about it at any other website, such as Cartoon Leap or Anime News Network. In fact, you did not read ‘it’ at all. If you want to know what ‘it’ is, and therefore begin walking the path to further Kyo-ani/Kadokawa uneasiness, then read on…

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Anime Industry To Crack Down On Piracy

The wheels of motion against online piracy of Japanese media have kicked into overdrive, or so it seems. Some prominent anime production companies, such as TOHO, Studio Ghibli, and Sunrise have begun collaborating in an effort to reduce the unrestricted distribution of copyrighted video via the internet. Through a large umbrella group of companies and organizations called the ‘Content Overseas Distribution Association’ (or CODA for short), the idea would be to hunt down videos submitted without consent, and then demand the host websites delete the unauthorized media. The whole goal of this association is to ‘stamp out piracy and promote the legal distribution of Japanese content’.

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Gundam Unicorn Will Get Simultaneous Dual-Audio Global Release

Bandai is really pulling out all the stops for Gundam Unicorn. They revealed today that the Blu-Ray version will receive a simultaneous international release, and will include both English and Japanese dub tracks, as well as subtitles in Japanese, English, French, Spanish and Chinese. Those of you without Blu-Ray players, however, will have to suffer through the English subtitles, as the regular DVD release contains only Japanese audio. Bummer, I know how much you otaku hate subtitles.

As a Gundam fan, I would love to provide you with a detailed analysis of Bandai’s international release strategy… but I’m too busy squealing like a fangirl. SQUEEEEE!!!

–Via ANN

4th Annual Seiyu Awards Voting is Open!

Voting has begun for the 4th annual Seiyu awards, which allows fans to pick their favorite Japanese voice actors and actresses. For the second year in a row, the Tokyo Anime Center is including an English-language Overseas Fan Choice Award category. Last year, that award went to prolific voice actor Jun Fukuyama, who played Lelouch Lamperouge in Code Geass and Luca Angeloni in Macross Frontier, among other roles.

Who will win this year? That’s up to you! Go to the Seiyu Awards website and nominate your favorite seiyu!

–Via ANN

Hatsune Miku Goes Global

Hatsune Miku, Japan’s most popular virtual idol, will be making her first international “appearance” in concert at the Singapore Anime Festival Asia 2009. The act, known as Hatsune Miku LIVE! Performance, will use a projection screen to create a giant image of the Vocaloid singing and dancing. This same technique was used earlier this year in the Animelo Summer Live 2009 Re:bridge concert in Saitama, Japan, where it wooed 25,000 screaming fans. Hopefully, the reaction in Signapore will be just as enthusiastic.

Additionally, the main voice cast from K-On! will also be at AFA09. However, instead of singing, they will be dubbing a scene from the show live and taking pre-submitted questions. I’m don’t know why they’re hesitant to appear in concert, but I’m sure there’s a reason…

–Via ANN

Miku, K-On! and Good Smile Themes for Google Chrome!

Google Chrome’s theme feature recently went live, and among the dozens of themes offered are some interesting otaku-related choices.

These Chrome themes join dozens of others available on Google’s website, including such geek-oriented choices as Super Monkey Ball, Ratchet and Clank and Bayonetta. It seems like the folks at Google are just as big of nerds as we are!

These themes can be activated simply by visiting the theme page in Chrome and clicking on the “Apply theme” button. Here are the relevant links.

Miku Theme

K-On! Theme

Good Smile Theme

Now if Google would only add live bookmarking and Rikaichan to Chrome, I would drop Firefox faster than a flaming vulpine.

–Via ANN, pics via Figure.fm

KyoAni Wants To Turn YOUR Idea Into Anime

Kyoto Animation, the studio behind Haruhi, K-On! and Lucky Star, has announced a new contest aimed at independent authors and artists. The Kyoto Animation Award invites anybody, whether pro or amateur, to submit their work in one of three categories: novel, script or manga. The top entry in each category will win a prize of ¥300,000 and have the possibility of being animated by KyoAni. Runners-up will take home ¥100,000. The contest rules do not mention any restrictions on the location, nationality or professional status of the entrant, nor on the genre or content of the work itself. However, the entry does have to be in Japanese. (Thanks to Dazza for pointing that out.)

So, is KyoAni actually trying to give some aspiring author or artist their big break… or have they simply run out of ideas?

–Via AnimeVice and ANN

The Quest for the Domo-kun Slurpee

I recently read on ANN that 7-11 had begun offering Slurpees and other products featuring NHK’s famous mascot, Domo-kun. Like any self-respecting otaku, I knew I had to see this for myself. After a protracted battle against my hikikomori nature, I managed to undertake the quarter-mile trek to my local 7-11 in search of the legendary Domo Slurpee. This is what I found.

(I apologize in advance for the crappiness of these photos. My camera kung-fu is not strong.)

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InuYasha: The Final Act Simulcast Announced

Viz announced at the New York Anime Festival today that it plans to simulcast episodes of InuYasha: The Final Act starting on October 3rd. The simulcast will be broadcast on Hulu and Shonen Sunday, presumably subtitled in English. It’s also likely that it will only be available to viewers in North America, though this has not been confirmed yet.

Although I’m no great fan of InuYasha, I am happy to see more series getting simulcast. After all, who can argue with free legal fansubs? Hopefully this will be as successful as the Naruto, One Piece and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood simulcasts, and will convince Japanese companies to be a little more liberal-minded when it comes to online distribution of content and overseas licensing. After all, I would love to see simulcasts of other shows like Gundam Unicorn or Dragon Ball Kai. Let’s keep our fingers crossed…

–Via ANN