Archive for July, 2009

Twilight (poll) time

July 15th, 2009
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The big buzz around the manga blogosphere today is that Twilight, Stephenie Meyer’s vampiric teen romance, will be adapted into a graphic novel by Yen Press, according to Entertainment Weekly. With art by Korean artist Young Kim (under the close supervision of Meyer), the book will have its fair share of manhwa/manga style when it’s released. It’s an announcement where the discussion predictably splits into two camps: those who are thoroughly thrilled that yet another adaptation will be released, and those who wish the franchise would go wander out into the sun to be drenched in holy water and have a wooden stake driven into its heart.

Regardless of which side we bloggers fall on, Yen Press will certainly end up happy. Print anything Twilight-related these days, and you may as well build one of those Scrooge McDuck-esque money bins next door to the printing press so you can swim in all the money that rolls in. I confess, though, that I’m one of those people who are sitting on the sidelines, bemused over the whole phenomenon and the passion of people on both sides of the debate. Quite frankly, when I think of the word “twilight,” one of the first things I think of (aside from the classic horror series and its “do-DO-do-do-do-DO-do-do” theme song) is the song “Twilight Time” by the Platters … and then I think of the X-Files episode “Kill Switch,” where, if memory serves, that song plays moments before a big green laser descends from the sky and makes things explode. (Which, come to think of it, could be a fitting metaphor for any time anyone mentions Twilight — topic comes up, song plays, KABOOOOOM.)

But now that Twilight has moved into my neighborhood of manga (and manga-like comics), I’m forced to wonder whether I should stop being so blase about it and actually learn more about the series so I can do a proper review down the line. Which brings us to the first-ever thoroughly unscientific Otaku Ohana poll (which I hope works properly, since I’ve never tried this before):


I’ll check the results and consider the poll “closed” on Sunday at 9 p.m. Hawaii time. Tell your friends! Retweet at will! And feel free to have at it in the comments. (Keep it clean, though … we DO screen around here. Gotta keep it safe for the kiddies.)

“Blood” money

July 14th, 2009
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(7/14/09, 3:10 p.m.: Chart updated with Digimon, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! figures. Thanks, everyone!)

So the live-action Blood: The Last Vampire opened in U.S. theaters this past weekend. Made $110,029, too, according to Box Office Mojo’s weekend box office chart … good enough for 32nd place, yet far from the Bruno/Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs/Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen “high-rent” district.

Or was it all that far from this year’s blockbusters? Let’s look more closely at the numbers. The movie only played on 20 screens across the United States (two of which were right here in Hawaii). Its per-screen average was $5,501 — a total beaten only by the aforementioned Bruno ($11,110), Ice Age ($6,730) and Transformers ($5,640). That’s right … Blood made more money per screen than another, more high-profile movie that debuted last week, I Love You, Beth Cooper. (Of course, given Beth Cooper‘s rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it may not be that much of a surprise.)

Would this trend have held true had Blood opened on, say, 2,000 screens rather than 20? I doubt it. But just for kicks, I decided to compare Blood’s opening weekend per-screen average against a few other high-profile anime and anime-related theatrical releases in the U.S. I tossed out all those movies that debuted on fewer than 15 screens (sorry, Metropolis) as well as all of those limited-engagement, one-or-two-night-run movies that have been popping up on the schedule in recent years.  I might have missed some, but here’s what I found, again with numbers courtesy of Box Office Mojo:

  1. Spirited Away (limited release, Sept. 20-22, 2002): $17,301 (26 screens)
  2. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (April 4-6, 2003): $12,338  (19 screens)
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle (June 10–12, 2005): $11,888 (36 screens)
  4. Pokemon: The First Movie (Nov. 10-12, 1999): $10,199 (3,043 screens)
  5. Pokemon The Movie 2000 (July 21-23, 2000): $7,113 (2,752 screens)
  6. Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Sept. 17–19, 2004): $6,760 (47 screens)
  7. Blood: The Last Vampire (July 10-12, 2009): $5,501 (20 screens)
  8. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (Feb. 27–March 1, 2009):  $4,156 (1,136 screens)
  9. Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie (Aug. 13–15, 2004): $3,934 (2,411 screens)
  10. Steamboy (March 18–20, 2005): $3,490 (39 screens)
  11. Pokemon 3 (April 6-8, 2001): $3,080 (2,675 screens)
  12. Pokemon 4Ever (Oct. 11-13, 2002): $2,879 (249 screens)
  13. Spirited Away (post-Oscar wide release, March 28-30, 2003): $2,483 (711 screens)
  14. Digimon: The Movie (Oct. 6-8, 2000): $2,322 (1,823 screens)
  15. Dragonball Evolution (April 10-12, 2009): $2,181 (2,181 screens)
  16. Appleseed (Jan. 14-16, 2005): $2,157 (31 screens)
  17. Pokemon Heroes (May 16-18, 2003): $1,328 (196 screens)

So Blood pretty much held its own among the heavyweights of anime and anime-related movies. (Also, feel free to insert your Dragonball Evolution jokes here.) Whether it’ll show any legs beyond this weekend, we shall see. And then there’s the matter of what I thought of Blood … but we’ll save that for another time.

Fandom fun all weekend long

July 10th, 2009
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Time for a quick roundup of otaku-related weekend events locally that slipped in after the deadline for Tuesday’s Cel Shaded, but are certainly worth mentioning:

Aiea Library Anime Club meeting update. Yes, this managed to make it into the column, but since press time, young adult librarian Diane Masaki announced that she would be screening the first volume of Negima! … and there will be chips and salsa, to boot. Everything else still applies, though: meeting at 3 p.m. Saturday at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road, RSVP to dianem@librarieshawaii.org.

Animania returns to Suncoast. It’s baaaaaaack … Suncoast’s celebration of and sale on all things anime is happening on Sunday at the Pearlridge and Windward Mall stores. Buy one anime-related item — DVDs, wall scrolls, T-shirts, toys — and get a second item at half price. Trivia contests with free giveaways will be held throughout the day, and a cosplay contest will be held at 3 p.m. There’s also something advertised called a “cosplay costume swap”; if anyone has any idea what that involves, leave a note in the comments, because I certainly couldn’t get any information out of the clerk I talked to on Thursday.

It’s also the first day when you can enter to win a downright spiffy guitar signed by Bleach author Tite Kubo by buying a copy of the Bleach Season 3 Box Set. Unfortunately, no one seems to have a good image of said guitar online — least of all contest co-sponsor Suncoast, who seems to have forgotten that they even have stores in our fair state, never mind promoting any events going on at them — so you’ll have to settle for this scan from a flier I picked up at the Pearlridge store:

You'll also have to imagine Kubo-sensei's signature on this thing, because I certainly don't see it in this picture.

And finally, perhaps the event I’m most excited about this weekend:

The live-action Blood: The Last Vampire opens locally today. First shows are at 10:45 a.m. at the Pearlridge West 16-plex and 11:30 a.m.  at the Kahala 8-plex, both Consolidated Theatres properties, with screenings continuing at least through Tuesday (and hopefully longer, although who knows what’ll happen when some young wizard goes plowing through starting Wednesday). Check our local listings for showtimes.

Have a good weekend, and we’ll see you next week.