Anime and manga links for the weekend.

*Here is my hot ‘n fresh column of the week. It is about my bitterness and chilly outlook as a person. Sure, that’s implicitly what everything I write is about, but this time it’s right up front. Also - America’s libraries. Hope you enjoy it!

*Your Other Senses Dept: The upstanding citizens behind the podcast Anime World Order gave me a little mention on this week’s show, which is very cool. I’ve linked to them before, so let me just reiterate that it’s a fine podcast, about an hour and a half of audio each week, largely focused on older (as in, pre-‘90s) anime and offbeat/overlooked manga. This week, for example, there’s manga reviews of Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto and Yasuko Aoike’s ‘70s shoujo series From Eroica With Love, and a nice overview of the works of anime director Katsuhito Akiyama, who helmed parts of such indelible ‘80s OVA landmarks as Bubblegum Crisis and Gall Force, names familiar to most anime fans of a certain vintage, as well as a number of interesting later projects.

Every week also brings news, miscellaneous reactions to listener mail, and a nice spread of links - this week’s are particularly nice, as a listener provides access to the first two episodes of the 1988 television series F, directed by Koichi Mashimo (who’s also headed a number of projects I’ve managed not to see, like the Irresponsible Captain Tyler OVA and television series). Based on the long-running manga by Noboru Rokuda, it’s a fun show concerning a hot-blooded country boy who burns to become a championship racer; he drives a converted high-speed tractor, engages in all sorts of traffic violations, loses his clothes a lot, and yells and screams his lungs out, as does seemingly everyone else. But oh! that neon-tinged racing footage, and that theme song! "Teenage oh! game" indeed.

Anyway, it is a good podcast.

*And speaking of anime, the NYC Mech board brings me the latest news on the upcoming feature film anime adaptation of Taiyo Matsumoto’s Black & White (Tekkon Kinkurito); famed animation group Studio 4°C (the studio primarily in charge of Masaaki Yuasa’s excellent 2004 feature Mind Game, which still hasn’t been licensed for US video release - my review is here) has been trying to get this project off the ground for over half a decade, at least since studio stalwart Koji Morimoto directed a sample teaser that won an Excellence Prize at the 1999 Japan Media Arts Festival. Many things happened after that, including Morimoto’s being tapped to direct Beyond, easily the best segment of The Animatrix, that Wachowski-powered anime tie-in anthology. A fellow by the name of Michael Arias worked under Morimoto as a sequence director on that segment.

Arias will be directing the Black & White feature (though, since it’s Studio 4°C, it’s safe to presume Morimoto will be around as one of the directors of animation), which now has a website up. A new, proper teaser can be glimpsed in extremely low-quality (as in, camcorder-level) format here. The film looks pretty great, and I can’t wait to see what Arias and the studio do with Matsumoto’s comics. It’s due for Japanese release in December of 2006, and let’s hope it actually shows in North America in some widely accessible format. (some links found at AnimeOnDvd)