Unico, the talking baby unicorn, was the last major character created by Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989). He was inspired to design an adorably cute character by Sanrio Ltd, the merchandiser of girl’s products, in 1976. Sanrio had just created “Hello Kitty” in 1974 as an idol to sell handbags, earrings, etc. to young girls. Unico was to be a companion to appear in serialized adventures in Lyrica, Sanrio’s monthly girl’s manga magazine, as well as a series of animated theatrical features that Sanrio was planning at the time. Even minor Tezuka is worth reading, and Unico is full of the magic and color of the world of the imagination, with enough talking animals to please any Furry fan.
Unico was conceived in the U.S.; Tezuka was visiting Sanrio’s Los Angeles animation studio in 1976, where the animated feature Metamorphoses (Hoshi no Orufeusu) was in production. Metamorphoses was designed to look “cute” (if you never heard of it, it’s because the feature bombed so badly that it was pulled from theaters one day after its release), and Tezuka was inspired to draw a cute baby unicorn. Sanrio was planning to publish Lyrica, and the company quickly commissioned him to write and draw Unico’s adventures for serialization. This became a typical example of Tezuka’s prolific output; Unico appeared in chapters of over 30 pages per monthly issue for most issues of Lyrica, from its first issue in November 1976 to its final issue in March 1979.
This is almost impossible to describe, even when you’re looking right at it! Check out this name: Chogokin Super-Combining King Robo Mickey and Friends. Then just check out the picture below! It’s a new toy created in Japan as a collaboration between Bandai Tamashii Nations and Disney. It features die-cast metal characters with names like Jet Mickey, Sky Minnie, Diver Donald, Aqua Daisy, Land Goofy, and Dash Pluto, who combine (along with other accessories) into the massive King Robot to fight… sheesh, we can only guess what! Take a look at the advertisement on Amazon to see more of what the individual component characters look like. King Robo Mickey (etc etc…) will be available internationally this April. Now all we have to do is wait for the TV series…
Despite the implication on Flayrah, Los Angeles is not the only city to have festivals of animation with anthropomorphic stars. On February 28th through March 24th, the 16th Annual New York International Children’s Film Festival will play at seven different locations in NYC. The Festival will screen 100 different films (some live-action), and is expected to draw an attendance of 25,000+. It will present many of the films in the U.S. for the first time, to qualify them for 2013 Oscars.
Among the films are several that have been covered on Flayrah, including the Belgian Ernest & Celestine, about a mouse and a bear who become friends (French with English subtitles; Feb. 28 at Tribeca Cinemas); The Wolf Children (Ame & Yuki, the Wolf Children), about a college student who marries a werewolf who dies, and must raise their two werewolf toddlers alone (Japanese with English subtitles; March 3 at the Asia Society and 16 at SVA); The Day of the Crows, mostly about a feral child raised in the forest, but with some fantasy scenes of anthropomorphic animal-headed forest spirits (French with English subtitles; March 10 at FIAF); Welcome to the Space Show “with an intergalactic cast of thousands” (premiere of the English dub; March 9 at SVA), and Meet the Small Potatoes, for pre-schoolers about a musical group of animated potatoes who rise from small-town beginnings to international rock stardom (March 16 at the IFC Center and March 24 at the DGA Theater).
In 1990 Tatsunoko Studios of Japan released the “science-fiction historical gag battle anime” known as Kyattou Ninden Teyandee. It was fan-subbed in the U.S. as Ninja Pizza Cats, and eventually Saban Entertainment released it to television in a dubbed version called Samurai Pizza Cats. For many years, the rights to the show have been up in the air, but now Discotek Media have announced they will soon be releasing the entire series to DVD. According the review at Anime News Network, the series “revolves arouund Nyankii, a secret ninja team that protects the robotic animal inhabitants of Edoropolis (Little Tokyo) from the evil ninja organization Karakara.” That hardly begins to describe just how crazy this thing is. Discotek will be releasing two different DVD box sets: A 52-episode dubbed version and a 54-episode subtitled version.
Tailly responds to the wearer's heartbeat, wagging fast when a raised heartbeat indicates high emotion and slowing with the pulse to a swing.
This time, the target amount is $50,000 – just over half the Kickstarter goal of £60,000 – which needs to be raised by March 7th, 2013 if the project is to be funded.
Jerry Beck at the Cartoon Brew has posted this gallery of sixteen World War II-related funny animal comic book covers.
This goes nicely with my retrospective, “Talking Animals in World War II Propaganda”, published here last January 5th.
Cuticle Detective Inaba, a new anime series, is scheduled to air in Japan on January 4, and a short promotional video is available for viewing.
The series, adapted from a manga of the same name, revolves around Hiroshi Inaba, a genetically altered part-human, part-wolf hybrid who works as a private detective. Hiroshi gains information by examining and tasting people's hair (and, as a result, he has a major hair fetish). Hiroshi can also transform into a more wolf-like form and can use special powers and attacks from whatever type or colour of hair he eats.
Attached to a belt, Tailly responds to the wearer's heartbeat to produce a wagging motion when a raised heart rate indicates excitement, slowing to a swing as the heartbeat drops. The tail comes with a white furry cover as standard; black, brown and grey are available.
Update (29 Jan): The campaign failed, but it's been restarted on Indiegogo.
CyberConnect2's president Hiroshi Matsuyama made the announcement at Salon del Manga de Barcelona, a Spanish manga and anime festival, last weekend. It is probable the game will be released for the Nintendo 3DS, although no platform has been officially given.
How the mighty have fallen! In November 1999, when the first Pokémon theatrical feature, Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, was released theatrically in the U.S., it was distributed by Warner Bros., played on 3,043 screens, and was the #1 grosser earning $85,744,662. Its final box office was over $163 million.
This year the 15th annual Pokémon movie, Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice, which opened as the #3 grosser in Japan on July 14, will be shown only on the Cartoon Network on December 8. Ho-hum.
Hot on the heels of the news of Disney partnering with luxury fashion clothes designers to create exclusive duds for attenuated versions of Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Goofy, and other classic Disney characters, comes this news that Disney is also partnering with Japanese toymaker Bandai to smooch said classic Disney characters together into a single “Voltron-style” transforming giant robot – coming in March 2013.
It may sound like a parody, but the Cartoon Brew website has a publicity picture of this “King Robo”. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto (plus Pluto’s doghouse and Steamboat Willie’s riverboat) into one giant robot! Like they say, we couldn’t make this stuff up. Check it out.
This year’s 12th Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema, on November 15–18, 2012 at The Crysalids Theatre, 137 Ontario Street North, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, will include Mamoru Hosoda’s The Wolf Children, along with more than eleven other animated features unreleased in North America.
The list includes the 2012 Danish Marco Macaco (trailer) by director Jan Rahbek, featuring a tropical island full of anthropomorphic monkeys, a monkey policeman, monkey pirates, and a monkey Giant Robot.
Manma-chan, mascot of variety talk show Sanma no Manma (hosted by Sanma Akashiya) documents his trip to Anthrocon 2012. [Imuhata via baracudaboy/furrymedia]
Manma doesn't quite get the reception he expects as the "world's most popular mascot", but everything works out in the end. (Bonus video: Manma's masquerade performance.)
Is Planet Chanbeena in Galaxy #28 a planet of Christian anthro cats? Check out 0:58 to 1:31 minutes of this first episode of Tokusou Sentai DekaRanger. Watch further into it to see Doggy Krugger, the DekaRangers’ bright blue anthro wolf commander.
Japanese animated feature Ame and Yuki, The Wolf Children (Ookami kodomo no Ame to Yuki), produced by Madhouse and directed by Mamoru Hosoda, was released in Japan on July 21, the same weekend as the Japanese release of Pixar’s Brave. Box office results show that The Wolf Children ranked second, earning $4,592,490 (¥360,372,690), while Brave was in fifth place with $1,858,971 (¥145,873,454). 1st and 4th places were held by live-action features, while #3 went to this year’s annual Pokémon feature, Pocket Monsters: Best Wishes 2012.
The theme of the film is the love between parents and children. The story covers 13 years and begins with a 19-year-old college student named Hana who encounters and falls in "fairy tale-like" love with a "wolf man." After marrying the wolf man [named Ookami, Wolf], Hana gives birth and raises two wolf children — an older sister named Yuki [Snow] who was born on a snowy day, and a younger brother named Ame [Rain] who was born on a rainy day. The four quietly lived in a corner of a city to conceal the existence of the "wolf children," but when the wolf man suddenly dies, Hana decides to move to a rural town far removed from the city.
Read on for trailers and a more comprehensive plot summary . . .