Feb. 22, 2013 | 8:38 a.m.
Cowabunga! A ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” remake is on the way. But perhaps the bigger news is this: Actress Megan Fox and director Michael Bay are reuniting for the “TMNT” redo. The director took to his website Thursday night to announce the news: “TMNT: We Are Bringing Megan Fox Back Into the Family” Bay and Fox famously clashed while working on the first two “Transformers” movies. At one point during an interview with a British magazine, Fox compared her director to Hitler. Bay lashed back with some tart words of his own, questioning Fox’s work ethic: “I’m sorry, Megan. … I’m sorry that I’m making you show up on time.” Shia LaBeouf wages Twitter war They parted ways for the third installment in the series, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley stepping in to play the part of […]
Jan. 21, 2013 | 1:17 p.m.
Some of Hayao Miyazaki’s most popular films — including “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Princess Mononoke” — are returning to the big screen as part of a Studio Ghibli retrospective hosted by the American Cinematheque. It’s a return engagement after last year’s series at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica enjoyed sold-out screenings. The retrospective begins Friday at the Egyptian with a double feature of the Academy Award-winning “Spirited Away” and the tanuki tale “Pom Poko” — two of 11 films being showcased through Feb. 10. Miyazaki could be considered Japan’s answer to Walt Disney. Studio Ghibli — founded in 1985 by Miyazaki, his mentor Isao Takahata and producer Toshio Suzuki — releases films that are immensely popular in Japan and have been growing in recognition in the United States. The films are known […]
Jan. 17, 2013 | 5:00 a.m.
The culture of cute is having a moment — more than 100 of them. Inside downtown Los Angeles’ Japanese American National Museum, the unofficial U.S. ambassador of Asian pop culture, Giant Robot founder Eric Nakamura, hovers over his empire of little people — some 100 charismatic misfits clustered in Plexiglas cases. There’s the cheery, hot-pink monster head atop an armored tank, the grimacing caramel-colored ogre with horns and the Native American robotic beast in a fuzzy bear hat. Not to mention the bug-eyed, blue octopus skewering its neon-scarlet brain with a fork. That these custom vinyl figures are being showcased so seriously in a museum setting puts an elastic grin on Nakamura’s face. “A figure show, toys, are never presented in a space like this,” he says. “It usually happens in a shop on Melrose, on a shelf. I wanted […]
Oct. 24, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.
Katsuhiro Otomo, the director of the watershed Japanese animated feature “Akira,” will make a rare personal appearance at REDCAT in downtown L.A. on Saturday to receive the first lifetime achievement award from the Platform International Animation Festival and to screen his new short film, “Combustible.” Otomo, who began his career as a manga artist, has written and directed numerous features, but he’s best known for “Akira” (1988), which was one of a handful of key films that created an audience for anime in America. Based on his own manga, the film offers a dystopic vision of a future divided between the opulent towers of Neo-Tokyo and the slums beneath, where cultists and biker thugs fight brutal police officers. Like Wagner’s Valhalla, Neo-Tokyo is built on greed and corruption and is doomed to destruction, even at the height of its splendor. […]
July 09, 2012 | 6:27 a.m.
Even with Comic-Con, Botcon, Power Morphicon, Wizard World and Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo all in play, there may not be a convention that matches the costuming originality and gusto of the Anime Expo. There were three masquerade showcases this year, but most of the cosplay warriors pictured above were decked out for the love of their creations. Jay West was on hand to watch the fans flaunt an impressive array of characters derived from comics/manga, movies, TV, pop music and video games (plus original creations) in and around the Los Angeles Convention Center. Anime Expo has already announced that the 2013 edition is scheduled for July 4-7. – Jevon Phillips RECENT AND RELATED: ‘Planetes’: Misfits cleaning up space junk Expo 2012: ‘Martian Successor Nadesico’ is funny ‘Ghost in the Shell’: TV variations on cyberpunk ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ delivers spectacular finish ‘Trigun […]
June 29, 2012 | 2:23 p.m.
Anime Expo, the largest convocation of fans of Japanese animation and manga in the country, is now underway at the Los Angeles Convention Center — more than 125,000 are expected to attend. One of the guests of honor is Tatsuo Sato, the creator of an outrageous TV spoof of anime fan culture called “Martian Successor Nadesico,” which is a bit like inviting the Comic Book Guy from “The Simpsons” to speak at Comic-Con International. The Nadesico is a state-of-the-art space battleship (complete with crew jackets, Ping-Pong tables and vending machines) run by a crew of teenage misfits. When he’s not fighting the invading Jovian Lizards, the series’ unlikely hero, fry cook-turned-combat-pilot Akito Tenkawa, watches reruns of “Gekigangar 3,” a hilarious sendup of early giant robot shows in the “Gigantor” mold. Clips from the show-within-the-show feature a disco theme song, stilted animation, hammy […]
April 11, 2012 | 2:42 p.m.
After 15 years, 700 TV episodes and 14 feature films, Ash Ketchum and millions of kids are still trying to catch ‘em all. In April 1997, the animated version of “Pokémon” premiered on Japanese television. Based on the hit Nintendo Game Boy title introduced two years earlier, the series follows the travels and travails of Ketchum (Satoshi in the original) as he tries to become a Pokémon Master by building a team that can beat other trainers in stylized battles. Traveling with Ash are perennially love-sick Brock, feisty Misty and Pikachu, the “electric mouse” Pokémon. The series scored a huge hit in Japan, and by 1999 the game and show had conquered America. Pokémon paraphernalia were everywhere. The original motto, “Pokémon Getto Daze!” (Let’s Get Pokémon!) became “Gotta Catch ‘em All!” The first “Pokémon” feature film grossed more than $85 […]
March 08, 2012 | 2:36 p.m.
This post has been corrected, as detailed below. Twenty years ago this week, a new face debuted on Japanese television: ditzy, often klutzy, the 14-year-old Serena had a disdain for homework, often overslept and seemed forever hungry, especially for desserts – hardly a prepossessing heroine. But Serena’s arrival on “Sailor Moon,” based on the manga by Naoko Takeuchi, would alter the course of animation and fandom on both sides of the Pacific. The manga and the original 43-episode program “Bishojo Senshi Sera Mun” (variously translated as “Pretty Soldier, Guardian” or “Scout, Sailormoon”) spawned sequels, movies, video games, stage musicals, a live-action TV show and countless licensed products, from dolls to Cosplay costumes. “Sailor Moon” also sparked an interest in shojo (girls’) manga and anime in America. Serena thinks of herself as the ordinary girl she appears to be until the talking cat […]
Feb. 15, 2012 | 12:59 p.m.
The animated adventures of the prodigal mages Edward and Alphonse Elric came to a dramatic and seemingly definitive conclusion at the end of the television series “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” in 2009. But the characters are so popular — Hiromu Arakawa’s original manga has sold more than 50 million books worldwide — that more stories were inevitable. “Fans get emotionally attached to their favorite series and characters,” said Lance Heiskell of FUNimation, which releases the animated “Fullmetal Alchemist” in America. “ ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ has been on the air since 2004 and its popularity is the highest it’s ever been.” Kazuya Murata, who directed the Fullmetal Alchemist feature “The Sacred Star of Milos” (link in Japanese), released last year and currently in limited release throughout the U.S., talked about the challenges of working with such a well-known and beloved property in an email interview. “We had […]
Feb. 07, 2012 | 11:19 a.m.
Musician Sean Lennon is the artistic director for the third edition of the Los Angeles Animation Festival, which will bring “Akira,” “Fantastic Planet” and ”Shrek” and also honor Bill Plympton during its March 7-11 run at the Regent Showcase in Hollywood. An animator himself, Lennon will introduce many of films he’s chosen and none influenced him more than 1973′s “Fantastic Planet,” a strange sci-fi epic by French experimental animators Roland Topor and René Laloux. This screening of the film will be accompanied by live musicians and actors on stage but the specifics are still under wraps. The fest is also honoring Plympton, the two-time Oscar-nominee, by screening one of his early films, “The Tune,” as well as Alexia Anastasio’s 2011 documentary “Adventures in Plymptoons.” Not familiar with Bill Plympton? Kanye West is. The festival also includes a screening of “The Iron Giant;” a revival of Matt Stone and Trey Parker”s “Team America: World […]