Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Major Anime Studios Announce Big Projects!

Three top anime studios in Japan recently announced big projects that they have planned for release this year.

Production I.G., which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, will be premiering its latest 26-episode anime series Seirei No Moribito ("Guardian of the Sacred Spirit") on April 7. Based on the original novel by Nahoko Umehashi, the anime will be helmed by Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex director Kenji Kamiyama. The anime already has its own website, which you can check out at In line with the studio's 20th Anniversary, they will be premiering the anime Ghost Hound, which is written by the creator of Ghost In The Shell himself Shirow Masamune.

Studio Ghibli's big announcement is that they will be co-producing (with Toho) Hayao Miyazaki's next full-length animation feature Gake No Ueno Ponyo ("Ponyo On A Cliff"), which is slated for release in July, 2008. This tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a 5-year old boy and a mermaid. The film is probably the most personal that Miyazaki will direct because the story draws upon his experiences with his eldest son Goro Miyazaki (who is himself an anime director) when he was five years old.

Following the huge success of Death Note, Madhouse has several big projects lined up. One major project is the anime version of the ultra-violent samurai manga Shigurui. They have also confirmed that there will be a sequel to the popular Cannes Festival nominated film, Nasu: Summer In Andalusia, with Studio Ghibli's Yoshida Kenichi serving as animation director. This time, the sequel will find champion biker Pepe Benengeli competing in the prestigious Utsunomiya Japan Cup. One Madhouse production that anime fans are looking forward to is the anime version of the hit PS2 game Devil May Cry. Seiyuu fans are especially anticipating the June 14 premiere of the anime because it boasts the voice talents of Morikawa Toshiyuki (Conrad Weller of Kyou Kara Maou) as Dante and Akio Ohtsuka (the award-winning seiyuu of Black Jack) as Morrison. Morimori-san (as Morikawa is lovingly called by his fans) is no stranger to game dubbing. He is credited as the voice actor for popular Final Fantasy VII villain, Sephiroth.

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