Pokémon The Movie: White – Victini and Zekrom and Pokémon The Movie: Black – Victini and Reshiram not coming to theatres in Canada

Joining the Yu-Gi-Oh! gang, Ash and Pikachu’s latest theatrical adventure unfortunately won’t be taking flight in Canada, despite the recently announced 2-day nationwide US event in December. I have confirmed with a Cinedigm representative that the showcases are indeed US-only for a variety or reasons. Pokemon fans are just going to have to bask in the Black & White YTV broadcast, and watch the latest film release on DVD. Continue reading


TIFF 2011 World Premiere: A Letter To Momo Review

It has been more than 10 years since Hiroyuki Okiura made his mark on the world of anime with the film adaptation of Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade. Will he be able to strike lightning once more with a drastically different film in A Letter To Momo? Was the seven year production worth it? The answer is overwhelming yes.

Warning, as this is based on the world premiere screening, very few people will have seen this film. As such, the plot will be spoiled if you continue to read on. If you’d like to read on without spoilers, I suggest skipping the next 6 paragraphs, which deal with the plot. Continue reading

Letters to Momo, and From Up On Poppy Hill to premiere at Toronto International Film Festival

This year’s TIFF has a distinctly anime flair. Hiroyuki Okiura and Production IG’s “A Letter To Momo” will make its world premiere, and Goro Miyazaki’s sophomore Ghilbi effort, “From Up On Poppy Hill” will make its international premiere at the Toronto film festival. Previously, the fest has played host to some unique anime productions, but this year it has scored some major premieres.

Hiroyuki Okiura’s “A Letter To Momo” is a tale about a girl struggling with the aftermath of her father’s passing. She finds a letter from her father, simple reading “Dear Momo”. She ponders what her father would have written. But she has deal with moving from Tokyo, into the family home in the small island of Shio. There she notices weird happenings going on. Things are disappearing, and she doesn’t know why. Here Momo decides to find out what’s causing this, and in turn takes part in her own coming of age story. After more than ten years, the director of “Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade” returns with this beautifully animated tale seven years in the making. It makes its world premiere at TIFF September 10 at 4PM in the AMC 6 venue. To see all show times click here.

After the tumultuous production of “Tales of Earthsea”, many may have thought Goro Miyazaki would hang up the directing chair, and pursue another line of work at Studio Ghili. Well, it seems many were wrong, as the young director has returned with his sophomore effort, “From Up On Poppy Hill”. This film chronicles the story of 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the promise it brought to Japan, centred by shy highschool student Umi. Umi lives a very empty live. Her father was killed in the war, and her mother travels a lot. She’s often left to think to herself in her job managing a boarding house. But this boarding house is scheduled for demolition in the city’s modernization projects. Umi, and those of the boarding house derided this decision, and will attempt to keep their history at any cost. Goro Miyazaki’s sophomore effort tells the tale of love flourishing in even the most unexpected of places, and unlike “Tales of Earthsea”, this film has conquered Japanese audiences. “From Up On Poppy Hill” will make its first non-Japanese debut September 8 at 9:30 PM in the Bell sponsored TIFF Lightbox. To see all show times, click here

The festival will also play host to the world premiere of manga-based Smuggler, as well as premieres for Himizu, Kotoko, Monsters Club, Cut, and Space is the Place. All films will be played in their original Japanese audio, with English subtitles.

2011’s Toronto International Film Festival takes place from September 8 through the 18.

YTV.com gets retro with “Wayback Playback”

In a move that totally wasn’t inspired by TeenNick’s “The 90’s Are All That” block, YTV has set up “Wayback Playback” which they describe as:

Man, this thing's existence is only to make me feel old, isn't it?

Children of the ’90s and the ’00s who remember growing up with good ol’ fashioned YTV will think YTV Way Back Playback is way gnarly (we told ya it’s retro!) We’ve put together a classic collection of YTV shows for your viewing pleasure. New videos will be going up each month, so catch your faves before they grow old again!

So rather than having a late night television block, YTV has decided to open up a retro video portal with content being refreshed once a month. Sounds good in concept, until you realize the shows that are currently listed … Storm Hawks, Mystery Hunters, and Sorry I’ve Got No Head. As a child of the 90s, I can say I did watch Storm Hawks, and Mystery Hunters (I didn’t even know YTV aired SIGNH) but both of those shows are really recent. I wouldn’t call them retro, nor do I think anyone would be nostalgic for those shows yet. I’d say Reboot, and Beasties would certainly be better calls. Though, I suppose they might not have streaming rights for those series.

However, the program is still in its infancy (I suspect SIGNH is only on the service because it’s been sitting on the video player for ages), and while anime fans shouldn’t expect much (as nearly all of YTV’s older anime’s broadcast licenses have either expired, or didn’t include streaming rights) we’ll likely get Beyblade (which is already streaming on YTV.com), and maybe the likes of Medabots, and Pandalian (just when you thought you forgot about Tobi the panda!). I certainly would love to see YTV dig up some of it’s old Cancon productions that are basically impossible to find, like Freaky Stories, Radio Active or even a show that likely will be absolutely rancid in 2011 – I Was A Sixth Grade Alien. It’s certainly something to keep an eye out for, and if there are any anime-related updates, I’ll keep you guys posted.

YTV, and Nickelodeon Canada announce Fall 2011 Highlights … more like Friday Night Lowlights?

Corus Entertainment named YTV’s Fall 2011 Press Release as “YTV FALL LINEUP HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE, EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK!”. Please keep this in mind while you read on.

YTV’s fall pickups include Friday Night Lights, Rated A for Awesome, and Life With Boys. Friday Nights Life is about football. Rated A for Awesome is a show made by Nerd Corps. Life With Boys is a live action thing produced by Nelvana. Returning series are The Next Star, In Real Life, Splatalot, That’s So Weird, How To Be Indie, Sidekick, Mr. Young, and Beyblade (though they label the second season as a “new series” for some reason). There’s also the stock pile of Nick junk like Big Time Rush, Victorious, and iCarly. You can find all the relevant premiere information here.

Nickelodeon Canada shows no sign of becoming useful and picks up Supah Ninjas, Bucket and Skinner’s Epic Adventure (should I call Bill and Ted?), House of Anubus (which was a YTV.com exclusive at one point), Kenan & Kel, and The Amanda Show. To see relevant information regarding premieres click here.

Yo dawg, I heard you were half dog so I didn't air your show out of principle.

I’ve been an anime fan since I first set my eyes on Escaflowne on YTV back in the day. I lived through the era of Endless Waltz having endless waltzes. I lived through the era where Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Beyblade were king. I gleed during the time of Inu-Yasha. This, is a low point. The biggest low point I think anime’s faced in this country in a long, long time. Retailers like HMV are struggling and cutting back wherever they can, which means store closures, and niche products like anime getting the shaft. We’re seeing large market titles like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood go to niche venues like Superchannel. Heck, we’re seeing mainstream success stories like Dragon Ball Kai not even airing in this country. All we have are the children’s 22 minute toy commercials, which will we hope will foster an audience someone will want to cater to. But even then that’s flawed as outside of Bakugan, we’re behind in everything. Including Beyblade: Metal Masters which will have premiered in both Australia, and the United States before a single episode even airs in the country that co-produces it, and records the show in Toronto.

Entitled anime fanboy schtick aside, this schedule is pretty bad. YTV only picked up 3 new shows this season. 1 of which already aired on Canadian TV. I mentioned how safe Teletoon’s fall lineup was, well if that was safe, this is hiding under the covers ignorant to the rest of the world safe. No 24/7 major channel should only have 3 new series to debut in the fall.

But worse off is the variety, or rather lack thereof. The fall schedule’s lineup consists almost entirely of family and kid oriented sitcoms, with 2 reality shows, a drama, and an action series. The press release said “something for everyone”. One show people could’ve seen before isn’t going to feed drama fans. A few series aimed to sell toys to boys isn’t going to fulfill the wants of people looking for action programming either. Maybe YTV should’ve saved their share of that 14 million they’re spending on a co-pro action series (!!!!) with Australia and just used that to pay for some new acquisitions.

Just a note to anyone expecting coverage of Family Channel and Disney XD’s lineup, I can say that’s not going to happen. I’ve seen what they’ve picked up and I couldn’t come up with anything longer than a list.

Funimation holding Canadian survey to find out online, and TV habits ends Sunday

Funimation Entertainment, the leading distributor of anime in North America, is conducting an online survey targeted exclusively at the Canadian market. This is rare, as I don’t believe outside of the occasional convention visit that Canadian anime fans have been singled out for a response.

This survey asks about collecting, shopping, and viewing habits. The most interesting question, in my opinion is #14 “What Canadian TV channels should carry Anime? Why?”. I found this to be a great opportunity to voice my displeasure over the recent broadcast news regarding Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood in Canada. I suggest all of my readers to voice their opinion on this survey. The survey will close on Sunday August 14, 2011.

No, I didn’t ask for the Funimation Channel to be available to Canadians, because I suspect that would do us no better than Superchannel.

Thanks goes to Sitting on an Atomic Bomb writer, Jesse Betteridge, for pointing this out in our Facebook group!

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood picked up by Superchannel, premieres August 15

Shocking, insane, unexpected – those are the words I describe this revelation. Niche premium channel group Superchannel has picked up the broadcast rights to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the 2009 re-adaptation of Hiromu Arakawa’s manga series simply known as “Fullmetal Alchemist”. The 64 episode anime series will begin broadcast on Superchannel 2 (and its HD counterpart) at 10PM EST. The original 2003-2004 anime series aired on YTV in Bionix, and became a relatively large hit, allowing for its movie, The Conqueror of Shamballa to makes it North American television debut on the network.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

Say it ain't so Edward!

As I mentioned at the top, this is unexpected – almost as unexpected as when YTV picked up the original FMA series in 2005, ending a 5 year programming drought from Funimation. Superchannel is a niche premium group, that honestly, is probably not received by any large segment of the Canadian population. I don’t get it, and I only know of 1 person who does. The rates to subscribe to this group of channels are also quite high. So it’s telling that Funimation went to this length to get the series on TV here. I guess they felt this broadcast was better than no broadcast. Which I suppose will foreshadow a certain broadcaster’s fall upfronts quite nicely…

I say it’s unexpected, by which I mean being such a niche venue, Superchannel won’t be bringing Brotherhood to the full audience it deserves. The channel has aired anime in the past, with Requiem For the Darkness, Gurren Laggan, and Monster being the highlights. But those are largely due to their programming deal with Starz Media, who ran the (now defunct) Ani-Monday television block on Syfy in the United States. I never expected them to go out of their way, and air an anime series they weren’t getting via a partnership, and as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood aired on [adult swim] in the United States, it isn’t something they got from Starz. They got it from Funimation.

I was told that Superchannel were looking at more anime series, but shrugged it off, as joked that they were finally going to air Rave Master, but it seems they have bigger series in store, and according to an email received by forum user Kefka_Palazzo, there’s more in store for December.