Funimation Virtual Con Panel Video!

Here’s a video of the Funimation Virtual Con Panel (aka FuniCON 1.0), which was held via live streaming video and text chat at 4:00 Central on Thursday. I was in the chat representing Project Haruhi, and Adam actually answered a couple of my questions! He did have some trouble pronouncing Project Haruhi’s name, though (time index 5:19 on the first video). It’s okay, Adam, we forgive you.

He also answered my question about Saboten-Con (6:33), a Phoenix-area convention that myself and a few other PH members will be attending at the end of October. Unfortunately, Funimation won’t have a panel there.

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Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker To Feature… Vocaloid?

Hideo Kojima has revealed that his upcoming game Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker will employ the Vocaloid software, which is most famous for it’s role in creating Hatsune Miku. Apparently, Vocaloid will be used to create weapons that can sing and scream. Although more seasoned Metal Gear fans are unfazed by this bizarre announcement, my reaction can be summarized as follows:

Meanwhile, Kojima is engaging in his usual hyperbole while promoting MGS: Peace Walker. Most recently, he claimed that “I haven’t announced this yet, but there’s another feature in [Peace Walker] that will surprise people, to the point where they’ll want to go out and buy a PSP right now!” Hmm, given that the PS3 didn’t make me want to get a second job, I view that claim as rather dubious.

–Via Joystiq

Shojo Fight PV

I’m not usually into sports series, but for some reason Shojo Fight has caught my eye. Maybe it’s the character designs… in any case, I’m planning on reading the manga when I get some free time, and I’m also looking forward to the half-hour OVA that’s shipping with the sixth volume on October 23rd. The fact that Production I.G. is involved has me even more intrigued. Anyhoo, here’s the PV.

If you’re a fansubber, please translate this when it comes out!

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

Past Masters: Daicon III and IV

This is the inaugural post of our new Past Masters column. Here, we hope to explore those classic (and not-so-classic) anime productions that are ten years old or older. This will give us a chance to reminisce about the anime we grew up on, and hopefully introduce the newer generations to the series, OVAs and films that helped define modern otaku culture.

To your average otaku, mentioning “Gainax” might bring to mind such iconic series as Evangelion, Gunbuster, FLCL and Gurren Lagann. Without a doubt, Gainax is one of the most recognizable names in the anime industry. But where did this legendary studio get its start? Let’s turn back the clock and find out…

The year is 1981. The Nihon SF Taikai convention, a gathering of Japanese science fiction fans, is set to take place in Osaka, under the name of Daicon III. For the opening ceremonies, the organizers of Daicon ask a group of college students from the Osaka University of Arts to create an animated promotional video. Among the students are such future luminaries as Takami Akai, Hiroyuki Yamaga and Hideaki Anno. The 5 1/2 minute-long 8 mm film they create, which came to be known as the Daicon III Opening Animation, was to become the first of Gainax’s productions.

Daicon III features a young nameless girl, who is tasked with using a vial of water to a revive a dried-out daikon radish. As she journeys to the radish, she encounters and battles a variety of opponents, including a powered armor suit from Starship Troopers, several kaiju including Godzilla, a Star Destroyer, the space battleship Yamato, the starship Enterprise, an RX-78 Gundam, and many other iconic science fiction-themed enemies.

 

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Google Stormtrooper

Danny Choo the dancing stormtrooper was recently spotted at Google Chrome’s one-year birthday bash, posing with the Google Girls and plugging Good Smile’s latest figurines. I guess he figured if he couldn’t join the K-On! band, he’d try for the next best thing… hanging around with 3D girls instead of 2D ones. You’re one lucky stormtrooper, Mr. Choo.

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Are You Excited About the Disappearance Movie?

KyoAni obviously expected the announcement of their Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya film to generate lots of excitement and anticipation. However, the response thus far from the fan community has been underwhelming. Many fans have expressed concerns that the Disappearance arc is far too lengthy for a feature-length production. Other are merely apathetic towards Haruhi in general since the Endless Eight fiasco. However, there are also fans who are cautiously optimistic; they believe that KyoAni learned their lesson, and will produce a quality motion picture that does Haruhi justice.

So what do you think? Are you excited about the Disappearance movie? Let us know in the poll below, and join the discussion on our forums!

Are You Excited About the Disappearance Movie?

  • I'm very excited! Squeee! (68%, 438 Votes)
  • I'm cautiously optimistic. (17%, 108 Votes)
  • I'm not sure. It could be good, or it could be bad. (8%, 51 Votes)
  • Endless Eight ruined Haruhi for me. I don't care anymore. (6%, 40 Votes)
  • I think this is a bad idea. (1%, 4 Votes)
  • I think this is a HORRIBLE idea. (1%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 645

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Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya Movie Announced For 2010!

Today, the final episode of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu‘s ‘renewed airing’ was broadcast, and at the end, a very special announcement appeared.

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya has been announced… and it’s going to be a theatrical film, opening in the spring of 2010! Aside from that, no further information on the film is available, although Haruhi’s official site will be updated with more details ‘at a later date’.

Fans are still debating whether this is a good or bad idea. However, for at least a little while, Haruhi seems to have recaptured the spotlight. For those of you wondering about the future of the Haruhi franchise, you now have your answer!

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Uncanny Valley, Thy Name Is Miku

Have you ever heard of the uncanny valley theory? It states the following:

As a robot is made more humanlike in its appearance and motion, the emotional response from a human being to the robot will become increasingly positive and empathic, until a point is reached beyond which the response quickly becomes that of strong repulsion. However, as the appearance and motion continue to become more distinguishable from a human being, the emotional response becomes positive once more and approaches human-to-human empathy levels. —Wikipedia

Basically, the idea is that we tend to find things that too closely resemble humans, but are clearly not, repulsive. So, for example, a stuffed animal or anime moe girl, due to their stylization, would be considered cute and likeable. A zombie or dollfie, however, would not.

A group of Japanese scientists with the YAMAHA corporation recently debuted their HRP-4C Miimu robot, and decided to dress her up like Hatsune Miku and have her ‘dance’. The result, visible in the video below, falls squarely in the lowest part of the uncanny valley.

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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