12/31/04 Latest News from Japan

Masanori Shino (Character Designer) and Masahiro Kimura (Sets & Props/Mechanical Designer) are now working on Madhouse's new TV series/26 episodes, "BLACK LAGOON" (original manga by Rei Hiroe ) Cindy Yamauchi will be joining the team in February '05 as Animation Director Supervisor. This is basically the same team that created "GUNGRAVE", except "BLACK LAGOON" is taking an experimental approach by giving the directors of each episode full responsibility with minimum supervision by the Chief Director (Sunao Katabuchi.) The show is scheduled to be aired in October '05.

Former "Gungrave" Director of Madhouse, Toshiyuki Tsuru, is the Director of "TOKYO TRIBE 2" (original manga by Santa Inoue) also presented by Madhouse. The script is now being finalized.

Yutaka Minowa is teaming up with director Yoshiaki Kawajiri for Madhouse's new feature film "Highlander". Cindy Yamauchi is scheduled to join the animation team later in '05. The pre-production is in full motion. This film will be released in US in '06.

Atsuko Ishida's manga series "ANIME GA OSHIGOTO!" 's first volume of tanko-bon can now be purchased through Japanese bookstores. Yasuyuki Nightow's "TRIGUN MAXIMUM" is published in the same manga magazine, "YOUNG KING OURS" "TRIGUN" 's tankobon volumes 10 and 11 will be out shortly.

Daisuke Moriyama's ("CHRONO CRUSADE") new 2-part series will be published soon. More details to follow later.

Shoko Okada was involved in a serious car accident this month. She was discharged from the hospital 12/29/04, full recovery is expected soon.