I'm sure you're all loving the new look to the site but there's a teensy problem. With the change in name from Cinescape to Mania, my column title of 'UK Cine' no longer fits. And frankly, I'm too lazy to come up with a new one. OK, I'm not, but by shifting responsibility it allows me to offer up a little competition. I want suggestions for a new column name, one that sums up the column's general look at UK-based geeky stuff and preferably ties into the new design of the site. The winner gets a copy of the dark horror anime Elfen Lied: Vector One, containing the first four episodes.
Ground rules are thus – since the DVD is the region 2, PAL encoded version (and I want to save on postage) the winner must be UK resident. No profanity in suggested names. Suggestions must be emailed to me at the email address at the bottom of the column no later than 7pm GMT on Saturday 18th November 2006. And finally, anyone suggesting 'UK Mania' is automatically discounted on grounds of gross unoriginality.
The much-lauded (by me, at least) Midlands Comics Collective had the launch party for their debut title MC² this past Wednesday, 8th November at the Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham - and quite a successful launch it was, too! With attendance just scraping the triple digits and a nearly 50% take up of copies of the comic, it was a fantastic result for the neophyte creators, many of whom were on hand to chat with guests and sign copies of the book. The launch also doubled as a gallery exhibition for the original artwork contained within, which ran until the weekend.
The anthology should now be available from most specialist comic stores worldwide, as well as Waterstones, Forbidden Planet, TFAW.com, Amazon UK or direct from the source, through the Collective's MySpace page. Creators will also be on hand (along with other, much more famous people) at the Birmingham International Comics Show in December.
The International Manga & Anime Festival ran this weekend in London (and actually has some events running up until Tuesday 14th, rendering this ever-so-slightly premature), bringing with it a rather large assortment of strangely garbed fans with it. One of the best things about IMAF is that it's free to enter; another is that it's a showcase for local and international artistic talent. Enhancing on previous years', IMAF 2006 offered more of a cultural flair with Japanese tea ceremonies, kimono demonstrations and even sushi cooking lessons. UK manga studio Sweatdrop had a heavy involvement, hosting panels and workshops through the duration of the event while anime distributors ADV, Beez and MVM provided a varied video schedule.
While final results for all categories are unknown as yet, Laura Howell won the 'Print Cartoon/Comic' award. Check the IMAF website for a full list of winners in a day or so.
Unfortunately, the event was not without glitches. The dealer's room and art gallery were criticised for the size, or rather, lack thereof, while general organisation was also a matter of complaint, with even the main entrance not clearly identified. Still, for such a large event run for almost a full week it's an admirable achievement that those are the only points of contention.
However, the IMAF may face some competition next year, as the organisers of the London Expo launch JapanEX London. Hopefully there'll be room for both, though I wouldn't mind seeing at least one shift elsewhere in the country for diversity's sake.
Thanks to the victorious Laura Howell for details on this year's IMAF.
In a slight update on the previous listing, Torchwood's DVD release has changed at UK retailer Play.com from the previously listed single disc to the linked 2 disc "Part One" collection. This could lead to a few scenarios for the series' release - merely two twin-disc sets with no extras to speak of, two barebones twin-disc sets followed up by a box set with extras or four sets with a disc of episodes and a disc of extras in each. I guess we'll find out on Boxing Day, when the first set is due to hit shelves.
Panda Z Volume 2
UK viewers luck out again with the second and final disc of Panda Z. Containing the last fifteen episodes of the cute (and eminently merchandisable) series, Pan Taron and the Robonimals finish off their slightly silly fight against the Warunimal Empire. I even feel sorry for Moo-Gyuu – a comment that will make much more sense once you've seen the show. The second part of the Director's Interview, textless opening and closing animation and animatics flesh out the disc but no cute figure is packed in this time around.
A cold winter chill, pine trees, the crass commercialism of discount stores opening up for all of six weeks and the yearly re-release of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman on DVD – Christmas truly is upon us. Quite what distinguishes this from last year's release escapes me entirely but this is pretty much required viewing for Christmas, and it's actually good to boot. In a really twee way, of course. The special edition comes with a documentary, alternative introduction and animatics of the storyboards. A standard edition is also available, released in a two-disc set with Briggs' other festive offering, Father Christmas.
Having been pleasantly surprised by the movie release of this teen Bond-type enterprise, the DVD is high on the 'must own' list. Parallels to Harry Potter are expected and not entirely without merit – different genre notwithstanding – but Stormbreaker was handled with an impressive maturity and was thankfully unmolested by the Hollywood machine. A good release for the run up to Christmas, as it's a movie with a good enough balance to entertain kids and parents.
That’s it for this week. Thoughts? Comments? Hatemail? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org