Jotaku News Roundup (05/22/21)

jotaku news roundup 5-22-21

Welcome to the Jotaku News Roundup, now in video form! This time we have a bootleg Kaguya-sama game, Kadokawa’s massive production plans, eBay calling out hentai, and a mid-seasonal report.

Bootleg Kaguya-sama VN on Steam

There’s a fake Kaguya-sama Love is War visual novel listed on Steam right now. The page revealing the game appeared on May 19th with the publisher listed as Shueisha. Japanese gaming news site Gematsu reported about the visual novel but fans of the series quickly grew suspicious about the announcement. Shueisha, the company that publishes the manga, doesn’t publish games. Meaning this is someone pretending to be Shueisha. And even worse, most of the art for the game has been verified as stolen fanart. Also their listed reviews of the game are actually reviews of the anime taken from MyAnimeList.

Gematsu took down their article and apologized for not verifying the news. At the time of this report, the Steam page is still up but we can expect it to be gone soon, either from artist DMCAs or from Shueisha taking action. We tried reaching out to the developers of the bootleg, but we’re probably not going to hear back from them.

EDIT: Shueisha has officially stated they have no affiliation with this Kaguya-sama game on Steam. Although it also appears that the title and characters in the game’s screenshots may be different in Japan.

ALI Band Goes on Indefinite Hiatus

Hip hop/funk band Alien Liberty International (ALI) is now on an indefinite hiatus, after their drummer was arrested back in April. The band’s new single “Teenage City Riot” was set to be the opening for The World Ends With You the Animation, but days before the first episode aired reports came out about the arrest. The band’s drummer, Kahadio, was arrested and charged with fraud on April 4th. Tokyo police believe he was involved in tricking an elderly woman to send them over 2 million yen, claiming they would refund her medical expenses.

As a result, Sony Music Labels announced they would replace the anime opening at the last minute. The official Twitter for the anime also removed previous posts with the original opening. A month later, ALI has now cancelled Kahadio’s contract and announced the group’s indefinite hiatus. The band gained traction recently for their iconic anime songs in Beastars and Jujutsu Kaisen, but this controversy has unfortunately put a halt to their rise.

Kadokawa Plans to Make 40 Animations a Year

You ever hear the saying “less is more”? Well Kadokawa hasn’t. The media company announced their plan to produce 40 anime titles a year until 2023. You heard that right: 40 anime per year. To get their production system ready for this, Kadokawa is establishing what they call a “world-class 3DCG production studio”.

Anime fans didn’t take kindly to their plan, with some saying there’s too much anime already. Many others believe industry staff will be overworked even more than they are already. Meanwhile, Kadokawa also wants to expand their licensing revenue, anime game sales, and they even want to make educational technology. They’ve also acquired English publisher J-Novel Club last month to improve their e-book market.

Komi Can’t Communicate anime adaptation

Rom-com series Komi Can’t Communicate announced its anime adaptation. Five years after the manga’s debut, a TV anime was confirmed with a promotional video released. The story centers around Tadano, a wallflower who discovers the quiet classroom beauty, Komi-san, isn’t the aloof girl everyone thinks she is. She just has awkward communication issues. So Tadano decides to help her make a hundred friends.

komi can't communicate

OLM Studio is behind the anime adaptation based on the original manga by Tomohito Oda. The studio is notable for developing the Pokemon anime franchise as well as the original Berserk anime from 1997 and the currently airing original ODDTAXI. The anime adaptation of Komi Can’t Communicate airs October 2021.

Yen Press Announces Yen Audio Imprint

Yen Press is expanding into audiobooks. The publisher is partnering with Hachette Audio under their new imprint, Yen Audio, and will produce audiobooks of light novel series starting July 2021. Yen Press has so far confirmed five series for audiobook adaptations: Solo Leveling, Sword Art Online, Overlord, The Miracles of the Namiya General Store, and The Saga of Tanya the Evil.

Yen Press

The plan with Yen Audio is to release regular seasonal adaptations. Publishing and managing director Kurt Hassler said they’d noticed the growing interest in audiobooks for sometime, and they’re excited now to partner with Hachette Audio to make that a reality.

Final Evangelion Film Staff Receive Slander and Threats

The final Evangelion film, Thrice Upon a Time, did well in Japanese theaters, but not everyone is happy with it. Some have gone as far as slandering the staff and sending death threats. Now it’s at the point where Studio Khara had to announce they won’t hesitate to take legal action against anyone behind this harassment. The studio claims the attacks stem from misunderstanding the contents of the film along with press articles.

Looking into this, the hate seems to be related to Newtype magazine’s latest interview with assistant director Touko Yatabe. In it, she had talked about a scene in Thrice Upon a Time and implied it was a “scene between lovers”. This upset fans who shipped certain characters so much that they began to harass Touko on Twitter over the issue. But Studio Khara isn’t letting this harassment go unchecked, as similar harassment in the past lead series creator Hideaki Anno into a massive depression.

eBay Restricting Anime and Manga

A recent change from eBay will restrict anime and manga sales. The e-commerce platform posted a new adult items policy that bans sexually explicit anime, manga, and games, along with hentai and yaoi which were mentioned by name. eBay said they’re “committed to maintaining a safe and trusting marketplace” and that the change will go into effect on June 15th, 2021.

The new adult policy has fans calling this “censorship” while also expecting the worst when it comes to what eBay considers “sexually explicit”. After all, they aren’t the first to restrict anime-related sales. Back in March, Amazon delisted figures which were incorrectly flagged as “sexually exploiting children”.

And last summer, Amazon delisted manga and light novels, most notably No Game No Life, that their automated system flagged for the same reasons. The hope with eBay now is that their definition of “sexually explicit” isn’t vague enough to kill all anime products.

“None” Wins Poll for Hollywood Live-Action Anime

Ever thought about what anime you’d want to have a live-action Hollywood adaptation? Well in a recent Japanese poll from PR Times, “None” was the top answer to that question with 456 votes. Meanwhile, Demon Slayer took second place with only 60 votes, making the top result especially funny.

After all, Western live-action anime adaptations are infamous for their poor quality. Examples include Death Note, Ghost in the Shell, and Dragonball Evolution. Many Western fans probably agree with not wanting Hollywood near anime adaptations. Although with the rise in superhero movies, something like My Hero Academia might work out better if it’s in the hands of Marvel (at least for Western audiences).

Spring 2021 Mid-Seasonal Report

We’re about halfway through with the Spring 2021 anime season, so let’s take a look at the top shows.

(Data from AniChart on 5/16/21)

Most Popular (users):

  1. My Hero Academia Season 5 (127527)
  2. To Your Eternity (88133)
  4. Tokyo Revengers (72721)
  5. Higehiro (62374)
  6. 86 EIGHTY-SIX (46510)
  7. How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord Ω (Season 2) (42523)
  8. Fruits Basket The Final Season (40754)
  9. Vivy -Fluorite Eye’s Song- (39943)
  10. SHAMAN KING (2021) (38086)

Highest scored (average scores):

  1. Fruits Basket The Final Season (88%)
  2. To Your Eternity (84%)
  3. Vivy -Fluorite Eye’s Song- (81%)
  4. Moriarty the Patriot Part 2 (80%)
  5. Tokyo Revengers (80%)
  6. MEGALOBOX 2: NOMAD (79%)
  7. 86 EIGHTY-SIX (77%)
  8. My Hero Academia Season 5 (77%)
  9. Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun Season 2 (77%)
  10. Higehiro (76%)

Unsurprisingly, at the top for popularity is My Hero Academia‘s return with season five. In second, we have the coming-of-age tragedy To Your Eternity. Then in third there’s the bullying rom-com Nagatoro followed by time travel gang drama Tokyo Revengers and then salaryman high schooler romance drama Higehiro.

The highest average score goes to the returning reboot, Fruits Basket The Final Season at 88%. Then there’s To Your Eternity at 84% and robot action idol Vivy: -Fluorite Eye’s Song- at 81%. After that, we have the anti-hero detective Moriarty the Patriot Part 2 and also Tokyo Revengers at 80%.

Quick Anime News

Now let’s move onto some quick anime news.

On May 9th, aka Goku Day, Toei Animation announced a new Dragon Ball Super film is in the works. A few days prior, Toei had accidentally leaked this announcement early on their website, but now it’s officially confirmed. The new film is coming in 2022 but no other details have been revealed yet.

Speaking of movies, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train earned $40 million so far in North American box offices. After three weeks of screening, it’s currently ranked #2 in the US. Last year the film broke all the records in Japan, earning about 48 billion yen and becoming the highest grossing Japanese film of all time, a record long held by Spirited Away.

Lastly, an isekai museum exhibit is coming this summer to Japan. The exhibit will focus on four popular shows featured in the Isekai Quartet anime, which includes: Re:ZERO, Overlord, Konosuba, and The Saga of Tanya the Evil. The event will showcase storyboards, key animation, and artwork from all these series. The Kadokawa Culture Museum will host the exhibit from July 19th to September 26th this year.

That’s all for this report. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. If you want to see more, make sure to check out our Twitter.