Welcome to the Jotaku News Roundup, covering the latest anime news stories. This month we have the return of “Netflix Jail” for Blue Period, a delay on the Takt Op mobile game, and drama at a hot springs over an anime collaboration.
Ufotable Founder Hikaru Kondo Faces 20-Month Prison Sentence
But first, the story of Unlimited Budget Works continues. Hikaru Kondo, founder and president of anime studio Ufotable might face prison time after all. Back in September, Kondo confessed that he failed to pay almost 138 million yen in taxes, and even said he didn’t know it would cause trouble for the studio.
It’s alleged that Kondo hid revenue earned from Ufotable restaurants and merchandise in order to fund future anime projects. Ufotable has already paid back the taxes they owed, but now prosecutors are aiming for a 20-month prison sentence for Kondo along with a 40 million yen fine. The final verdict on the case comes on December 10th.
Takt Op Mobile Game Delayed Indefinitely
Musical action franchise Takt Op has indefinitely delayed the release of its mobile game. Originally planned as a mixed-media project produced by Bandai Namco and DeNA, the first elements of Takt Op included the mobile game and an anime, both of which were planned to come out this year. Their website now states that they need more time to give fans a quality product, but doesn’t state a new timeframe.
The anime related to the game, Takt Op Destiny, is currently airing as a co-production between studios MAPPA and Madhouse. It focuses on magical girls who embody classical music to fight evil creatures, and it’s also one of the most popular anime this season. Unfortunately it looks like the game won’t be able to ride that hype.
Jump Force Fighting Game to Shut Down
Jump Force, another anime game from Bandai Namco, is set to shut down soon. The team behind the fighting game announced it’ll be delisted from digital storefronts starting February 8th next year. After that, they plan to shut down its online services in August.
Jump Force was developed by Spike Chunsoft and released to mixed reviews back in 2019. While the game featured a big crossover of notable anime characters and franchises, it was infamously criticized for its stiff artstyle and rough cutscenes. Initial sales were strong but it seems mixed reviews and failure to bring in more players with DLC led to the game’s ultimate shut down.
Dirty Pair Kickstarter Meets All Stretch Goals
The Kickstarter campaign for Dirty Pair was a huge success! Right Stuf and Nozomi Entertainment raised about 730 thousand dollars to make a new English dub blu-ray release of the classic 80s anime. With that much money, the campaign reached all of its stretch goals. And they also got the original voice actresses, Pamela Lauer and Jessica Calvello, to return as the adventurous pair.
Most of the funds for the Dirty Pair campaign will go towards rights, dubbing, and production. Some of its stretch goals include shot glasses, an autographed script, recording session videos, and even the chance to be a part of the voice cast. You can stream Dirty Pair on Crunchyroll and Retrocrush today.
Netflix Delays Blue Period Outside Japan By Another Week
Many Netflix Original anime air weekly in Japan while the rest of the world has to wait until it’s over. The idea behind “Netflix Jail” is to promote binge-watching culture and give time for dubbing to the Western audience. And while this might work for casual viewers, many fans prefer to watch anime seasonally as it airs. Well, Netflix eased up on their delays this season by announcing both Komi Can’t Communicate and Blue Period will air weekly outside of Japan. The only catch is that they have two-week delays.
Some fans assumed the delay was necessary for additional language dubbing, but that doesn’t seem to be the case because neither show has an English dub yet. And now Blue Period just had another week delay added on. Producer DMM Pictures claims this is due to “unforeseen production delays” but it doesn’t seem to affect the Japanese TV broadcast. Western anime fans are left to wonder what’s going on with Netflix as Blue Period is now three weeks behind its actual release. And the hope is that Komi Can’t Communicate won’t be next.
Shueisha Forces Tech Companies to Reveal Manga Pirate
Manga publisher Shueisha is on the hunt. Their prey is Mangabank, a popular Japanese pirate website with over 80 million monthly visits. After sending a DMCA through their content delivery service Cloudflare, Shueisha began to piece together a trail leading to the operators of Mangabank.
California District Court recently approved Shueisha’s request for both Google and the internet service provider Hurricane Electric to disclose information related to the situation. Their goal is to identify and prosecute the people behind the piracy platform, and three other publishers are prepared to take action against them as well. Mangabank servers are down at the moment, and the admins claim the reason is server maintenance costs.
Onsen Musume Collab Causes Harassment and Drama
Meanwhile, an onsen anime collaboration is in hot water. The multimedia project Onsen Musume worked with several hot springs to promote tourism, since the franchise turns those places into cute idol mascots. But in Yubara, those involved with the partnership faced prank calls, defamation, insults, and discrimination. And many fans of the series believe those responsible are feminists that don’t like how anime portrays young women.
The official Onsen Musume Twitter account for Yubara has since threatened legal action if businesses and people continue to be targeted. This caused even more arguments online over the situation and the collaboration in general, but the project officials followed up stating they plan to deal with any objections to the event through the proper channels.
Woman Sued Over Bootleg Demon Slayer Cakes
Want a fun way to get sued? Well this one takes the cake. A woman in Tokyo was charged 6.5 million yen after she sold unlicensed Demon Slayer cakes, which used art from the popular shonen series. Her bootleg sweets business started on Instagram in 2019, where she sold hundreds of cakes over the past two years.
Back in February, her account finally caught the attention of anime rights holders who took legal action. In response, the woman said she knew what she was doing was wrong but she didn’t think she could sell normal cakes otherwise.
Spy x Family Anime Announced
Popular shonen manga Spy x Family is getting an anime adaptation next year. The story follows a secret spy mission which involves establishing a fake family, but the members of the house turn out to be an assassin and a mind reader.
WIT Studio and Cloverworks will be co-producing the anime. So far a trailer, website, Twitter, and several key visuals have been revealed. The original award winning manga series has sold over 12.5 million copies as of this month.
Anime Music Band ALI Back from Hiatus
Hip hop funk band Alien Liberty International (ALI) is back. The group was on hiatus for almost six months after Tokyo police arrested their former drummer Kahadio over an alleged ATM refund scam.
This controversy also resulted in the removal of their newest song, “Teenage City Riot”, from its planned spot as the opening for The World Ends With You The Animation. But now ALI is back and hopefully we’ll hear a new anime song from them soon.
One Piece Live-Action Cast Revealed
Lastly, in the same month that the live-action Cowboy Bebop released to mixed reviews, Netflix also revealed the cast for it’s upcoming live-action One Piece adaptation. Monkey D. Luffy will be played by Iñaki Godoy, an 18 year old Mexican actor known for his role in the Netflix crime-drama soap series Who Killed Sara?
Other members of the pirate crew included Mackenyu as Zoro, Emily Rudd as Nami, Jacob Romero Gibson as Usopp, and Taz Skylar as Sanji. In the same month as this reveal, One Piece aired its 1000th anime episode.
An Invitation from a Crab Manga Recommendation
I’d like to end this report with a short manga recommendation. This month I recommend An Invitation from a Crab by panpanya. The manga is an anthology of short comics and essays that explore themes of mundane items turned into weird focal points in order to tell impactful messages.
Some notable stories include a sketchy job where smashing coconuts turns into energy, searching for a real pineapple, and the invention of the perfect Sunday through gadgets. An Invitation from a Crab is published by DENPA and is available now on Amazon.
That’s all for this report. Tune in next month to hear more anime news. If you enjoyed this, make sure to follow us on Twitter or leave a comment down below.