Gonzo News

Gonzo is a anime/manga company
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Well fuckin' A! I just finished watching the Witchblade Blu-ray boxset and some of the extras which totaled to about 10 hours in the last 3 days (just shows how much time I have on my hands while at school). Here's what I got for y'all... 
 
I of course have to start off with the animation. It looks great on the Blu-ray if you ask me. The Witchblade anime has a style all its own that Gonzo really brought to life in a way American animation could not. Nothing against the Witchblade comic of course as it looks good but standard comics haven't interested me. I noticed there was a consistent flow between detailed and less detailed animation for the characters based on their distance from the screen and whether they were the focus point of a scene. 
 
Next are the characters. The single mother Masane Amaha is a good place to start. She is the current bearer of the Witchblade. She has no memory of her past and lives only to protect her daughter, Rihoko Amaha. She isn't the brightest but her determination and will make her a formidable opponent. Not to mention she can drink like no other and eat more than necessary and still keep a shapely figure. Her flaws and how she comes to terms with owning the Witchblade and working with Douji make her story all the more tragic and heroic. Rihoko is a cute little girl who always takes care of her mom. She was found with Masane along with documentation stating she was her daughter (later to be found false). Riko is also a good cook and goes everywhere by herself (dangerous). For being so young she deals with losing both her mothers

How cute..
How cute..

 (her biological is Reina Soho) and finally ends up with her father. Then we have the freelance photographer, Yuusuke Tozawa. This guy has it rough driving various characters all over Tokyo while working on his big scoop (the real deal behind the murders and Douji and the NSWF). Pretty sure he had feelings for Masane (or, Melony, as he called her in reference to her large breasts) and he always went out of his way to dig up information and help the Amahas. Next is Reiji Takayama, Douji Group's Research Director (he later quit the company). This man evolved as the series progressed. He went from strong and demanding to caring and realistic. His hook up with Masane was funny and satisfying as he affirmed he would do his best to fulfill his role as Riko's father. Lastly, I cover the Neogenes, who are in fact inbred to be each other's mother, daughter, grandmother, and aunt (the same man's genes were used to create each one). These women or "sisters" get tested and fitted with Cloneblades in order to create the perfect woman who can wield the Witchblade. Despite how messed up their stuff is they are all damn good looking. Oh, I'll mention the Ex-cons and iWeapons since they are created with the bodies of the deceased (makes me think of an extreme version of Universal Soldier). 
 
On to the story I guess...The comic revolves around a New York City Detective named Sara. Other than that I don't know much as I haven't read the comic. Now, the anime has a completely different story. In the 22nd century Douji Group and the NSWF were working together on their research of the Witchblade in order to copy its power. This ended in the Witchblade releasing its power and destroying much of Tokyo while killing countless people. The Witchblade was lost for 6 years until Masane Amaha showed up. Masane becomes employed by Douji and works to destroy rogue Ex-cons. Sometimes she even has to fight Neogenes as they attempt to capture the Wtichblade. The story becomes tragic as you learn that anyone with a Cloneblade or the Witchblade will be consumed or killed and turn to dust/liquid as death is the only escape from their bonds. The anime story works very well for itself and the Witchblade franchise as the Witchblade has been around for untold generations and moves from host to host causing destruction. Gonzo choosing this particular story was a good move and made the Top Cow creators very happy as the lead is damaged and has to deal with the consequences of her actions.

Give me moo-re
Give me moo-re

 
The Witchblade story originates from the founders of Top Cow Productions who all left Marvel Comics because they were fed up with not getting recognition and no longer wanted their creativity to be stifled. Thanks to this bold move the Witchblade comic was born. The anime came around a while after the comic as the creators wanted to do something new to expand the Witchblade franchise. And what better way than anime?! Top Cow gave Gonzo large reign over the Witchblade anime project. Well, except for an 8 page document stating there was to be no nudity (so that's why I'm kind of disappointed) and the lead wasn't to be raped or have tentacles and so on and so forth (sounds to me they were afraid it would become a hentai (which it could)). When Gonzo finished their work the creators were actually surprised that the franchise was sexed-up with a very different story but found it very good as they understood Japanese culture and enjoyed a lot a Japanese work themselves. Another interesting feature of the Witchblade Top Cow didn't consider that Gonzo added in was the mixture of pleasure and pain while fighting (like a form of masochism).

I certainly liked the series and I'll probably buy it sometime (I borrowed the boxset from a friend) but with the sad ending and no idea what will happen with the rest of the cast, the Neogenes, and the Witchblade I feel like there is a gaping hole in an otherwise different story. Again, I'm also sad there wasn't any nudity since the rating is TV-MA (only for language and violence). In closing I'll say thank you Top Cow, Gonzo, and FUNimation for this different and interesting story featuring a female lead and a mysterious weapon that knows not good or evil.

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SPIKE TV TO PRESENT ENCORE PRESENTATION OF “AFRO SAMURAI: RESURRECTION” ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 IN HONOR OF THE NETWORK’S FIRST PRIMETIME EMMY®-NOMINATED PROGRAM

Program Nominated For Outstanding Animated Program, Winner To Be Announced During 2009 Emmy Creative Arts Awards Ceremony On September 12

Winner Of Juried Emmy Award For Outstanding Individual Achievement In Animation

New York, NY, September 8, 2009  – Spike TV will present a special encore presentation of the critically-acclaimed, funktastic anime series “Afro Samurai: Resurrection,” in honor of its Primetime Emmy®-nomination for Outstanding Animated Program (for programming one hour or more) this Friday, September 11 (1:00 - 3:00 AM, ET/PT).  This is Spike’s first-ever Primetime Emmy®-Nomination from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  The winner of this animation category will be revealed during the 2009 Creative Arts Awards on Saturday, September 12 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.  “Afro Samurai: Resurrection” has already been honored with a 2009 juried Primetime Emmy® Award for Art Director Shigemi Ikeda, Art Director for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation.

“Afro Samurai: Resurrection” is the sequel to the network’s 2007 premiere of “Afro Samurai” and is based on the original art and story telling of manga artist Takashi Okazaki about a black samurai’s quest for revenge and justice for his murdered father.  Academy-Award®-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson, who also serves as an executive producer, stars in a dual role, as the uncompromising hero, Afro, as well as his motor-mouthed sidekick Ninja Ninja.  When his father’s body is stolen from its grave, Afro is forced to pick up his sword again and wreak bloody vengeance against an army of deadly foes led by a sadistic mastermind.  

“Afro Samurai: Resurrection” also featured the voices of Emmy Award®-nominated actress Lucy Liu, Mark Hamill and Yuri Lowenthal. The original score for “Afro Samurai: Resurrection” was provided by award-winning artist The RZA.  

 “Afro Samurai: Resurrection” was produced for Spike TV by Japanese studio GONZO in association/partnership with GONZO K.K. and FUNimation Entertainment.  

About FUNimation Entertainment

FUNimationEntertainment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Navarre Corporation, is the leading company for home video sales of Japanese animation in the United States.  FUNimation has a proven formula for launching and advancing brands, and manages a full spectrum of rights for most of its brands including broadcasting, licensing, production, internet, and home video sales and distribution. For more information about FUNimation Entertainment and its brands, visit www.funimation.com.

About GONZO K.K.

GONZO KK is a globally-focused Japanese media company founded in February 2000.  The group produces cutting edge entertainment for teens and young adults through the famous GONZO animation brand and for kids and family under the Gonzo Films and Gonzino brands.  Gonzo KK is a world leader in content development that targets both domestic and international audiences with Japan's trend-setting animation culture and, usually, GONZO controls licensing management and international distribution for the content it produces. GONZO group companies include Future Vision Music K.K., GONZINO K.K., and GK Entertainment K.K .

About SPIKE

Spike TV is available in 96.1 million homes and is a division of MTV Networks.  A unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), MTV Networks is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Spike TV’s Internet address is www.spike.com and for up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs, visit Spike TV's press site at http://www.spike.com/press.

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ANN is reporting that Shouji Murahama has started a new company, Lambda Film, only a day after leaving Gonzo. In his parting notes he still asked fans to watch Shangri-la which premiers on April 5, which is Gonzo's newest Sci-Fi anime series. Murahama will act as a representative director for Lambda Film's board of directors.


Just two days ago we reported on Gonzo closing their gaming division and there has been layoffs and spliting of divisions in recent months at the anime company.

Murahama had formerly left Gainax before co-founding Gonzo with anime director Mahiro Maeda and film director Shinji Higuchi. Wednesday is also the day that parent company GDH absorbed Gonzo along with the name.
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GDH Opens GONZO CHANNEL within Chunghwa
Telecom MOD


GONZO anime to be made available by Taiwan’s leading IPTV provider

  2009.01.19
GDH K.K. (Head Office: Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, CEO: Tetsuo Karasawa, Securities Code: TSE Mothers 3755, hereinafter GDH) has announced that it will open an IPTV video-on-demand channel dedicated to GONZO anime on the MOD (Multimedia On Demand) service provided by Chunghwa Telecom Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Taipei, Taiwan, Chairman and CEO: Shyue-Ching Lu, hereinafter CHT).

CHT is the largest telecommunications company in Taiwan, providing not only local and overseas landline call services, but also mobile services and Internet communication services for home and business purposes.

CHT’s MOD is provided via its ADSL network, subscribers are provided with rental Set Top Boxes to select and receive programs. In addition to broadcast TV channels, CHT MOD offers on-demand services for movies, TV series and anime titles. Launched in 2005, CHT MOD has grown to service over 600,000 subscribers (as of December 2008).

GDH will be the first Japanese company to establish a channel within CHT’s MOD platform. The GONZO CHANNEL will be a channel dedicated to distribution of GDH Group’s content. GONZO CHANNEL is scheduled to be launched on January 23, 2009 and will provide new and catalog GONZO anime titles via streaming for NT$55.00 per 2 episodes. The episodes will be provided with Chinese subtitles by Mega Marketing Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Taiwan, CEO: Kent Yen, hereinafter Mega Marketing). Promotional videos of GONZO Rosso’s latest online games will also be made available. Mega Marketing will introduce the channel in its gaming info program Game king, currently broadcast on Taiwanese terrestrial channel China-TV, as well as related websites.

GDH will also partner with An Ho Marketing Communication (Head Office: Taiwan, CEO: Wang Kuo Hsin, hereinafter An Ho) to promote the service launch. GONZO items will have a featured placement in HOT DOG TOYS, An Ho’s retail chain carrying a large selection of anime-related merchandise. Active promotion will be carried out in synchronization with the program scheduling through online media and in An Ho’s BASARADAN magazines which are distributed in convenience stores throughout Taiwan.

GDH will continue to globally promote Japanese animation and the GONZO brand, and enhancing the content business throughout Asia and offering consumers an increasing range of products and services.

* IPTV: a service (or the technologies) that delivers digital television broadcasting through Internet Protocol

[About Chunghwa Telecom Co., Ltd.]
Chunghwa Telecom is the leading telecom service provider in Taiwan. Chunghwa Telecom provides fixed line services, mobile services and Internet and data services to residential and business customers in Taiwan. http://www.cht.com.tw/CHTFinalE/Web/index.php

[About Mega Marketing Co., Ltd.]
Mega Marketing, a game TV-oriented company blessed with one of Taiwan's top production teams, was founded in Dec. 2001 and is well known for producing high quality and innovative television shows. Its TV-program Game king, launched in 2002 and broadcast on China-TV every Saturday night, has been Taiwan’s most popular game-related TV program with the highest AC-Nielsen rating for over 5 years. Today Game king’s broadcast averages 200,000 viewers and is ranked as one of the top 50 TV-programs in all genres including drama series, cartoons, news, and entertainment.

Game king not only introduces information on the latest games on all platforms, but at the same time provides day-to-day news on games and issues that players are most concerned about such as virtual items, game walkthroughs, E3, Tokyo Game Show, and game hardware. Covering all information about games, Game king is the players’ best source of information and great entertainment.

[About An Ho Marketing Communication]
An Ho is a manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer of apparel, books, DVDs, stationary, toys, figures, and other merchandise, established in May 2006. An Ho owns a retail store chain named “Hot Dog Toyz” which currently has 9 stores in Taipei, to which An Ho distributes the above items. An Ho also publishes a monthly magazine called BASARADANM, which has a circulation of 30,000 per month.
http://www.hotdogtoyz.com

[About GDH K.K.]
GDH is a globally-focused Japanese media company founded in February 2000. The group produces cutting edge entertainment for teens and young adults through its GONZO animation brand. Kids and family product is distributed through the GONZO FILMS and GONZINO brands.
GDH is a world leader in content development targeting both domestic and international audiences with Japan's trend-setting animation culture and, usually, GDH controls licensing management and international distribution for the content it produces. For additional information, visit www.gdh.co.jp/english (for GDH) and www.gonzo.co.jp (for GONZO - Japanese only). GDH group companies include GONZO Rosso K.K., GONZO K.K., Future Vision Music K.K., GONZINO K.K., and GK Entertainment K.K.
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ANN tells me that FUNi licensed Gad Guard as part of its New Show A-Go-Go” event.

Gad Guard is a show about a few kids and their respective giant robots dealing with growing up and dealing with responsibility. It was made in 2003 by Gonzo and licensed for the states by Geneon. It was then aired on TechTV's Anime Unleashed block, where I had the pleasure of watching it all. I hear Gonzo get a lot of flack for some bad shows, but I liked Gad Guard. Liked it enough that I later bought the whole series, which came with a ski cap like the one the main character
Hajiki wears (it helps a lot in the winter).

Still, it seems like an odd title for FUNi to pick up. I don't know if it was a particularly good seller for Geneon, but it's not one of those titles that was still being released when Geneon fell. It's been done for a couple of years now. If there's demand for it though, I hope people buy it.

I also hope this means FUNi will pick up certain other Geneon shows that were done before the company died, ones that I actually never did get (I'm looking at you, Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure).
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