Anime Love Turns Live-Action – Early Monthly Editorial

I know I’m making a habit of bringing our montly editorials a tad bit early but the news of anime and manga franchises going “live-action” on the big screen has me really excited that I just had to drop this editorial early. I regret that we weren’t able to attend the San Diego Comic-Con this year but the news that came out of it is exciting, indeed.

First off all, I’m really seeing the potential in turning our favorite anime series into live-action features even though “Speed Racer” tanked. I have high hopes that the live-action “Dragonball-Z” movie will rock and I will definitely be the first in line to see the Comic-Con announced “Ghost in the Shell” movie that is – if rumors are correct – produced by Steven Spielberg much in the same way he produced and looked after “The Transformers” movie. Just the thought of seeing the Major and Batou running around chasing cyber criminals has my heart racing.

My thoughts are on other possibilities, after all, VIZ Media is also jumping into the live-action big screen goodness. It’s no surprise seeing as there has already been a Nana movie as well as a live-action Death Note and Honey and Clover. Hopefully, we will also be getting a live-action version of Sand Chronicles. Yet, as I said, I can’t help but think of the possibilities. Wouldn’t you love to see Ichigo and Rukia come to life in a BLEACH live-action movie? How about Naruto and Sakura on the big screen?

The best bet would be a Naruto movie. I can already see those Hollywood executives seeing how big the fan base is and market it as “Harry Potter only with Ninjas and chakra instead of magic.” One-Piece also has the potential on screen, although I personally would love to see FullMetal Alchemist come to life on the big screen.

I sat my writers down and they have their own picks with some comments below. What anime or manga series would they love to see in a live-action movie on the big screen? Here’s what they had to say…

Clive Owen: Cowboy Bebop – “Think about it, it’s a sci-fi franchise that isn’t seeped in Japanese culture so just about everyone can get into it without feeling they have to know about Japanese folklore. It’s funny, it’s full of action and it has great characters that even non-fans will just like.”

Faith McAdams: Inuyasha – “There’s just a lot to love about this series and its endearing characters and I think it would make a great live-action movie that will probably take three films just to get the complete picture. It has just about everything you can ask for in a series.”

Ai Kano: FullMetal Alchemist – “Ed and Al’s quest to regain what was lost to them is what epics are made of and with great visual effects, a solid cast and a brilliant story would make it a great on the big screen. Show of hands, who would love to see Peter Jackson direct it?”

Sophie Stevens: Naruto – “Naruto would be the more likely candidate for a live-action feature. The way I see it, they would probably set it up in installments starting with the beginning and ending with the start of the Chunin Exam, then the search for the Fifth Hokage and then the next one the Sasuke-Naruto story arc. Then they can begin with the second chapter and so forth. Hear me, Hollywood, you have a good series in your hands so don’t mess it up.”

– Edward Zacharias

Beck Box Set Now Available

Best anime about rock music ever!

Koyuki Tanaka was feeling the rut, even though he’s only a teenager. Between the sheltered and stifling grind of school and the girls that spend their time not noticing him, every day was just another day of being a total nobody. Enter Ryusuke: a local rock ‘n’ roller haunted by a shady reputation. Together they form Beck, a dynamic band that just might be the salvation of the stagnant music scene.

Sure, it’s going to take hard work and obsession to make it, but there’s something special in the sound. If the guys can stay true to their vision, the world awaits. Music can change your life, sometimes against your will. Just remember: when it’s live, anything can happen.

Contains the entire series!

DVD Features: “A Life on the Road” Music Video, “A Day in the Life” Director Commentary, “With a Little Help From My Friends” Cast and Director Commentary, “We Can Work It Out” Music Commentary.

Spoken Languages: English, Japanese, English subtitles.

  • Age Rating – 15+
  • Format – Hybrid
  • Media – DVD
  • Product Availability
  • Publisher – FUNIMATION
  • Naruto Uncut Box Set 7 DVD Review

    Review by: Faith McAdams

    Publisher: VIZ Media
    MSRP: $49.98
    Running Time: 350 minutes
    Genre: Action
    Rating: T+ (Teen Plus)
    Release Date: Available Now

    Best. Naruto. Box Set. Yet.

    “To be Hokage … that is my dream!”

    Those words spoken with such determination that anyone within earshot would snicker at the thought but if you looked into the eyes of the boy that said it you couldn’t help be believe it. Naruto Uzumaki had made bold claims before but there’s one thing that can be said about him … he says what he means and tries to back up his words by doing. So in the opening episode of Naruto Uncut Box Set 7, when Naruto says he’s going to protect his friends and the village from the dangerous Sand Ninja named Gaara, he means it.

    In the last box set, the Hidden Leaf Village is attacked by Orochimaru and his followers he tricked into joining him while Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura went after Gaara. In the fight, it is Naruto who stands alone against Gaara, facing off against him using all the power he can muster. It’s a vicious battle that has Naruto unleashing the very power that dwells within him and man-oh-man it takes a lot out of him. Yet a part of Naruto feels for Gaara and there’s a moment between them that I can only describe as a kinship between two powerful forces that are alike in many ways.

    Naruto Uncut Box Set 7 begins with episode 79 and ends with episode 92 and I must say that these are, without a doubt, one of the most exciting 14 episodes connected with this great story arc that concludes the assault on the Hidden Leaf Village, Gaara and Naruto’s battle and the fate of the old Hokage. The conclusion of these three elements draws to an end gradually enough in episode 79 and makes it’s impact in the following one where the Third Hokage is laid to rest after having placed a curse on Orochimaru’s arms. The farewell to the Hokage is a wonderful episode that brings up different memories for everyone be it Sakura or Jaraiya.

    The first major event in this box set comes in the form of two mysterious figures that enter the Hidden Leaf Village in search for somebody. It isn’t until Kakashi, Kurinai and Asuma make a rather frightening discovery that the identities of the two figures are none other than a shark-faced ninja named Kisame and Itachi Uchiha … the very same person who slaughtered every member of the Uchiha clan except for his younger brother Sasuke. Oh, you better believe the battle between the two self-proclaimed Akatsuki and three experienced Shinobi is downright dramatic and exciting.

    Meanwhile, the elders of the Village feel that a new Hokage must be installed immediately and that it should be Jaraiya who sees this as a mistake … and, well, he much rather spend his time doing “research” for his next books anyway. He makes an odd suggestion on the candidate most likely to be a great Hokage and so he sent off to look for her with the aid of Naruto who sees this as an opportunity to learn new Jutsu. Trust me when I say that both Naruto and the Pervy Sage’s time together provides most of the enjoyable and hysterical moments of this box set. It’s just a real blast to see these two over-the-top personalities on a road trip together. Just check out the scene between Naruto and Jaraiya after Guy-sensei offers Naruto a parting gift.

    Oh and there are moments that will surely put you on the edge of your seat. There’s a key scene between Sasuke and his brother Itachi. This is the moment Naruto fans have been waiting for since Sasuke was introduced to us in the first box set. Having mastered Chidori, Sasuke thinks he has what it takes to take on his brother but the end result doesn’t go as planned and Sasuke’s mind becomes horribly mangled in the process. It also become apparent that Itachi and Kisame is after Naruto … or more specifically they are after the power of the Nine-Tailed Fox.

    It is also in these episodes that Naruto trains to develop one of his most impressive and tricky Jutsu that will serve him in episodes to come like his Shadow Clone Jutsu. If there’s one thing to be said about Naruto is that he has an iron will that you can’t help but admire and in a small way it impresses the very person they were sent out to find. Like Jaraiya, Lady Tsunade was at the top of her class and I won’t be spoiling anything by saying that Tsunade, Jaraiya and Orochimaru were placed together in a squad much like Naruto was placed on a squad with Sasuke and Sakura. Unfortunately, Tsunade is a compulsive gambler with a troubled past that continues to haunt her and – as a medical ninja – was able to make herself look a lot younger than her actual age.

    The quest to find Lady Tsunade becomes even more interesting when it is Orochimaru who finds her first. In need of a cure for his arms, Orochimaru reaches out to Tsunade with a proposal that disturbs Lady Tsunade’s trusty assistant, Shizune. Will she accept Orochimaru’s offer knowing full well that the man intends to continue his plan to destroy the Hidden Leaf Village? Will Jaraiya convince her to do the right thing and accept her new role as the Fifth Hokage? These are questions that will surely be answered in the next box set but this one certainly did a great job of setting things up for a major confrontation.

    Outstandingly overwhelming is the phrase I would use to describe Naruto Uncut Box Set 7 seeing as there are numerous key moments that make this among one of the most thrilling chapters in the orange ninja’s much-loved adventures. There is certainly a lot to absorb here and you can bet that the events seen here will echo throughout future episodes. You can say that these episodes set up events that will shape Naruto and the people around him (like Sasuke, for instance). Missing this box set would be a serious mistake if you’re a Naruto fan, believe it.



    There are certainly way too many memorable and monumental moments in this box set than the last one. Whether it’s the conclusion of Naruto’s battle with Gaara, Sasuke’s confrontation with his murderous brother Itachi or the search for the legendary Lady Tsunade there is just so much to absorb here.

    The episodes come out wonderfully crisp and colorful as always even on an HD setup. Speaking of HD, we definitely wouldn’t mind Naruto on Blu-ray but this will have to do for the moment and what’s seen here isn’t bad at all.

    The audio quality isn’t a major leap but this one sounds better than previous box sets if you have a good sound system hooked up to your set. The Japanese voice cast is top notch once again and the English dub is definitely nothing to sneeze at either.

    EXTRAS: C+
    We probably already mentioned that animation students probably look forward to the storybook booklet that accompanies the box set and it’s great to see a storyboard comparison of another episode on the disc itself. There are a few trailers here but the production art stands out.

    The attack on the Hidden Leaf Village is, by far, one of the most exciting story arcs and this box set closes the chapter to open a new one that is equally interesting. The search for Tsunade is not only an interesting one but it’s also a defining moment in Naruto’s life. If you thought the last box set was good, wait until you jump into these great episodes.


    San Francisco, CA, July 21, 2008 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has launched a new wholly-owned Hollywood-based company named VIZ Productions to produce and license live-action theatrical film and TV projects based on animated and manga (graphic novel) series.  The new company will draw on a vast catalog of manga properties owned by its Japanese parent companies Shogakukan, Inc. and Shueisha, Inc., as well as publishing giant -Hakusensha, all of which are among the largest publishing houses in Japan.


    VIZ Productions will also serve as liaison between Japanese creative licensors and Hollywood production houses, studios and agents and plans to produce or license live action films covering a wide range of graphic novel genres.  Projects lined up include science fiction, fantasy, action adventure, horror, thriller, comedy and drama.  The VIZ Productions launch is timely as Hollywood is looking actively for new material and a myriad of Japanese graphic novel material remains untapped in Hollywood.  VIZ Productions’ parent company VIZ Media dominates the burgeoning North American manga market and its stable of animation titles are seen on Cartoon Network and other distribution outlets.  Among some of its most popular titles include NARUTO, BLEACH, DEATH NOTE, INUYASHA and NAOKI URASAWA’S MONSTER.


    “VIZ Productions will give Hollywood a unique conduit to some of the most innovative and unique entertainment properties from Japan. Hollywood has always looked to comic books and graphic novels and has recently discovered the untapped pool of Japanese manga for development into live action features. Worldwide, the creators of manga are viewed as artists, and the rich storylines are already a hit with the coveted 12-34 demographic,” says Jason Hoffs, Head of Production for VIZ Productions. “With our pool of resources of dramatic storylines and incredible characters coming from manga and animation, we are confident that the development of many new projects will attract the best talent, actors, directors, writers and bring a new array of films to domestic audiences.


    Adds Hidemi Fukuhara, President and CEO of VIZ Media: “We are proud to have Jason Hoffs as Head of Production for VIZ Productions; he brings a great deal of knowledge gained from over 15 years in Hollywood and has a keen eye for great stories. Our parent companies Shogakukan and Shueisha are the top manga publishers in Japan and hold a wealth of rich characters and storylines in their extensive catalog.  Jason Hoffs will helm the effort to bring these wonderful stories to Hollywood and to build a bridge between the creative talents both in Hollywood and in Tokyo.”


    About VIZ Media, LLC

    Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment for audiences and consumers of all ages.  For more information on VIZ Productions Contact: 310-385-0824. For General Press Inquiries contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and web site at


    San Diego Comic-Con 2008 Del Rey Manga News Update

    Friends, at this time of year, there are only two kinds of people. Those that’re heading to San Diego for the big comic-con, and those who wish they were.

    If you’re in the former group, be sure to inlcude Del Rey and Del Rey Manga in your plans! Meet Dean Koontz, Hiro Mashima, and more of your favorite authors! Check out the latest and greatest from Del Rey, Del Rey Manga, and Villard Books and the Random House Booth #1128. Say hello, pick up some great giveaways, enter to win fabulous prizes, and tell us what you’ve seen at the convention!

    If you’re in the latter group, though, don’t fear. You can keep tabs on the goings on at (Bookmark that site soon; you’ll be glad you did!)

    More details on our events follow:


    Thursday, July 24

    5:00-6:00 p.m.
    Room 8

    PANEL: Looking at Our World: Eye on the Past
    Join authors Peter David (Tigerheart), Naomi Novik (Victory of Eagles), Connie Willis (Passage), Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel’s Legacy), Max Allan Collins (Deadly Beloved), and Jess Winfield (My Name Is Will) as they discuss how they use and abuse history to inform their fictional stories. Moderated by Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy.

    * * *

    6:00-7:00 p.m.
    Autographing Area

    SIGNING: Naomi Novik (Victory of Eagles)

    * * *

    6:00-7:00 p.m.
    Room 10

    PANEL: It’s the Random House Publishing Group!
    Join staffers from the Random House Publishing Group\including Betsy Mitchell (editor-in-chief, Del Rey), Dallas Middaugh (Associate Publisher, Del Rey Manga), Mutsumi Miyazaki (Director of Licensing and Acquisitions, Del Rey Manga), Chris Schluep (Senior Editor, RHPG), and Tricia Narwani (Editor, RHPG)\discuss upcoming titles from Del Rey, Del Rey Manga, Ballantine, and Villard Graphic Novels.

    * * *

    Friday, July 25

    1:00-2:00 p.m.
    Room 3

    PANEL: Looking at Our World: Eye on the Present
    Authors C. E. Murphy (The Queen’s Bastard), Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld), L. A. Banks (The Vampire Huntress Legend Series), Kate Brallier (The Boundless Deep), Marjorie M. Liu (The Iron Hunt), Justine Musk (Lord of Bones), Lilith Saintcrow (The Dante Valentine Series), and moderator Samantha Sommersby (Forbidden: The Revolution).

    * * *

    2:00-3:00 p.m.
    Autographing Area

    SIGNING: C. E. Murphy (The Queen’s Bastard)

    * * *

    2:30-3:30 p.m.
    Del Rey Booth #1128

    SIGNING: Hiro Mashima (Fairy Tail)
    ***This is a limited signing; autographing tickets can be obtained with purchase from Comic Cellar Booth #806***

    * * *

    4:00-5:00 p.m.
    Del Rey Booth #1128

    SIGNING: Harry Turtledove (The Man With the Iron Heart )

    * * *

    Saturday, July 26

    10:00-11:00 a.m.
    Room 8

    PANEL: Looking at Our World: Eye on the Future
    Speculative fiction authors discuss shaping the future through their fiction and shaping their fiction to the future. Panelists include Alan Dean Foster (Patrimony, and many, many others), William C. Dietz (When All Seems Lost), Robert J. Sawyer (Rollback), Ann Aguirre (Grimspace), Tobias S. Buckell (Ragamuffin), Charles Stross (Saturn’s Children), and John Zakour (Dangerous Dames). Moderated by Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy.

    * * *

    11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
    Del Rey Booth #1128

    SIGNING: Karen Traviss (Star Wars: The Clone Wars )

    * * *

    12:00-1:00 p.m.
    Del Rey Booth #1128

    SIGNING: Naomi Novik (Victory of Eagles)

    * * *

    11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
    Ballroom 20

    PANEL: Spotlight on Dean Koontz
    Dean Koontz (In Odd We Trust) has had 48 novels on the New York Times bestseller lists, many in the number one position, and has been published in 36 languages. Find out more about what makes him tick in this talk and Q&A session.

    * * *

    1:00-3:00 p.m.
    Autograph Area

    SIGNING: Dean Koontz (In Odd We Trust)
    ***This is a limited signing; Line ticket drawing will be held in the autographing area at 10:30 a.m.***

    * * *

    2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Room 10

    PANEL: Del Rey Manga presents Hiro Mashima!
    Join Hiro Mashima (Fairy Tail), Dallas Middaugh (Associate Publisher, Del Rey Manga), Mutsumi Miyazaki (Director of Licensing and Acquisitions, Del Rey Manga), for a conversation on Mashima-senseifs latest creation, Fairy Tail.

    * * *

    3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
    Del Rey Booth #1128

    SIGNING: Peter David (The Incredible Hulk )

    * * *

    4:30-5:30 p.m.
    Autographing Area

    SIGNING: Hiro Mashima (Fairy Tail)
    ***This is a limited signing; autographing tickets can be obtained with purchase from Comic Cellar Booth #806***

    * * *

    5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
    Del Rey Booth #1128

    SIGNING: Ryder Windham, Chris Trevas and Tommy Lee Edwards (Star Wars: Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force)

    Pretty Face, Vol. 6 – Manga Review

    Review by: Sophie Stevens

    Publisher: VIZ Media (Shonen Jump Advanced)
    Author: Yasuhiro Kano
    Genre: Graphic Novel
    MSRP: $7.99 US
    Rating: T+
    Release Date: Now Available

    The last Pretty Face you’ll see this summer.

    In the scheme of things, Pretty Face would have been one of those manga series that would have easily been ignored by its intended target audience had it been handled differently. Certainly, it’s an acquired taste that might not suit most reader’s palettes but if you were to give it a try you would most definitely find yourself liking the story of a young man who finds himself wearing the face of the girl he loved from afar. It’s a gender-bending concept that is far more sweet than one might expect and certainly a lot more funnier than, say, the Robin Williams flick, Mrs. Doubtfire.

    The series ends at a mere six volumes but believe me when I say that continuing the story would have been a really bad mistake on author Yasuhiro Kano’s part. When the first volume of Pretty Face introduced us to high school student, Masashi Rando, his unwilling “transformation” from boy to girl brought about a number of funny situations to the point that continuing his story would have exhausted every possible scenario there is in this genre. Why not end things on a high note? Why not end things with what readers have been waiting for since Volume 3?

    You see, Rando was riding a bus on his way back home from a karate tournament when said bus gets into a horrible accident along the way. Everyone in the accident is killed except for Rando who wakes up only to find that his face is replaced with that of the girl of his dreams … Rina Kurimi. The talented yet loopy Doctor Manabe had recreated Rina’s face via a photograph of her that Rando carried. Horrified that he no longer looks like himself, matters become more complicated when Rando finds out that a year has passed and his family is missing. It is while he is searching for his family that he runs into Rina who mistakes Rando for her long-lost twin sister Yuna! Knowing that the truth would only break Rina’s heart, Rando goes on pretending that he’s Rina’s twin sister until the real Yuna finally comes back home.

    While the series has always been filled with fan service and Rando – as Yuna – surrounded by the nude female form, we find that Rando is one of the most noblest of gentlemen that never takes advantage of his life in the body of a female. It’s actually quite hysterical how he tries to fit in despite not knowing anything about being a girl. He learns through Rina and her friends what girls go through on a daily basis and while he never really becomes a girl he gains a far deeper respect for girls and appreciates Rina even more from up close. It was also fun to see Rando try to dissuade other boys from liking him. As I mentioned, he never really becomes a girl and while he physically looks like one of the prettiest girls in school he keeps the same macho bravado he had while he was a male.

    In the sixth and final volume of the series, Rando shares a few bonding moments with fellow classmate Natsuo Kobayashi – the only girl who knows Rando’s secret and a girl that had always had a major crush on him when Rando was male. Most of the series is made up of several different scenarios that had Rando trying to keep his secret from coming out into the open whether it’s moments in the girl’s locker room or guys trying to hit on him. In this volume, he finds himself fighting off the advances of a younger female student named Nozomi. There’s also a great moment when Rando and Natsuo take care of the medical clinic while Doctor Manabe is away only to find themselves caring for a Yakuza boss that is uneasy around girls.

    Yet the truly definitive moment of Volume 6 comes when Rina tells Rando that she is deciding to forget past loves and concentrate on the future. This, of course, breaks Rando’s heart having found out in past volumes that Rina actually did have a soft spot in her heart for Rando before his accident. His plan had been to look for Rina’s twin Yuna so he could go through another surgery to get his old face back and tell Rina how he feels about her. In a surprising twist, it’s Yuna that finds Rando.

    Without getting into the details of their meeting and the revelation that comes from this meeting, I can say that it comes to the real Yuna’s attention that Rando pretended to be her for reasons of love and that his intentions were never underhanded but rather he didn’t want to see Rina unhappy. His time spent as Yuna had been one of healing for Rina and despite the fact that he disliked being a girl he felt that his year living as a one was one of the best thanks to Rina. There’s even a moment where Rando finally does tell Rina how he feels about her under a surprising guise. I will not say anymore of this memorable part.

    In the end, the volume doesn’t disclose a few questions fans might have had over the course of the six volumes. We never find out what really happened to Rando’s family after the accident. There are a few other questions that should have been answered but are just ignored in the end. Personally, I loved the ending. It was unexpected and sweet, to say the least, and I’m glad that the alternate endings (that this volume includes) were rejected. The volume also includes a bonus story (with even more fan service tossed in for good measure) that would have made for a lousy ending but would have fit perfectly if the series did continue another volume.

    Pretty Face had a really good run and, as a fan, I’m sorry to see it end. Yet it’s better to end on a high note and it does so with Volume 6. It was a funny ride that wasn’t perfect but it had enough moments that just stand out to make this such a refreshingly original and thoroughly likeable series that was a fun entertaining ride while it lasted.



    STORY: B+
    Pretty Face, Volume 6, is actually a fitting end to the series despite a few plot holes that didn’t necessarily need filling but it would have been nice to know what happened to Rando’s family. Still, the series ends on a high note with all the things that made this fun series such a blast to read.

    ART: B
    Yasuhiro Kano’s artwork has been consistently great throughout the series and even more so in this final volume that is filled with some of his rough sketches that appeared in other publications. I always thought his characters looked cute and he definitely has an eye for drawing women.

    The chapter closes but not how one might expect yet it ends with a sweet ending that is fitting for the series. Volume 6 of Pretty Face doesn’t even answer some key questions but at least Rando finally lets Rina know how he feels about her in a truly memorable chapter. Overall, it’s rather a nice way to end this series. This volume even contains alternate endings and a bonus story.

    Pretty Face had its ups and downs over the course of the six volumes but overall there have been more positive things about the series thanks – in part – to it’s good sense of humor. We’ve read some gender-bending stories before but Pretty Face is original and filled with characters you can’t help but really like from the very beginning.