Friday, January 26, 2007

"Kino's Journey" meets bloody Marxist revolution

Subject: Cinema
Che Guevara was a nasty SOB, in terms of how he conducted himself as a Revolutionary in Cuba and in various South American conflicts. "Motorcycle Diaries" is a movie that tries to illuminate the young Ernesto; a medical student who embarks on a classic Campellian journey to discover the South American continent in the 1950's, with his hedonistic buddy, aboard a rickety "pissing oil" motorcycle. The movie wants you to know that young Ernesto encountered a heck of a lot of injustice and whatnot, which led him from his bourgiouse existence to the ruthless Marxist he became.

Granted, I can empathize, though on a totally abstract level. Che is a legend and has a certain cache to his image (on ironic propoganda-art-evokative t-shirts and whatnot), and the story of why he turned to such a revolutionary life is probably quite genuine and something you can empathize with.

And I don't really know enough about Che and what he's done, and what he did previous to that life, to pass judgement. Only enough to believe that he was passionate about what he was doing, and probably believed in it up until the end. (Which, coincidentally, was the month I was born. Weird, that.)

Still, the movie was positively transporting. You were really there in South America -- Argentina, Chile, Peru -- in the early 1950's. The location shots and the atmosphere and the attention to the little details really captured a solid sense of place, and gave you something to ride along with. When the interactions with the characters was on a wholly and genuinely personal level, it was quite believable and very illuminating.

Where it started to fall apart was when we were supposed to "realize" the moment when young Ernesto began to recognize the injustice he was encountering in the "real" world. The thing is, the "injustice" was kind of one-dimensional. I knew quite well that things were rather shitty for the native populations, the poorer migrants, and other underclass elements like lepers and whatnot -- heck, they still are in a lot of places. So in a way, his "discovery" of all of this rings hollow in a lot of ways; like "you're only just noticing?" Not entirely fair, but it's kind of assuming a level of naivete that is hard to muster in this day and age.

Plus, the "injustice" he encounters is kind of weak, as injustice goes. A native couple needs to go work in the mines, and the bosses don't give them any water. Natives in Cuzco have to make tradeoffs just to survive, but it's only expressed in a short translated exchange. Lepers in a Catholic-run colony are suddenly infused with a new purpose in life because our youthful duo visits and selflessly flaunts the strict nuns' rules. Otherwise, they're flirting with young gals, conning average folks for food and shelter, and otherwise blustering their way through the ordinary lives of other people in other countries. And while it's suggested, they don't seem to be particularly suffering. So the connection between "Che the bloody revolutionary" and "Ernesto the clueless asthmatic med student out on a lark" is really hard to make despite the attempts at ominous forshadowing facial expressions in the film.

But like I said, the visuals and location elements really make this film. We even get to spend some time in Peru and Macchu Picchu, which ties in coincendentally with the latest news about "El Cazador". Go figure.

New US releases for "Tsubasa" and "Mushishi"

Subject: Noir
Old news for most everyone since they've been on ANN, but I figure I should mention them here... Funimation has:

"Tsubasa" (the new "streamlined" name for "Tsubasa Chronicle") on May 22nd.

"Mushishi" in "Summer 2007".

Both are "buys" for me, though I'm tempted to wait for an HD version of Mushishi, as it was broadcast in Hi-Vision in Japan. It's a good show, but probably not double-dipworthy.

Oh, and the live action "Mushishi", directed by Katsuhiro Otomo of Akira fame, is known in English as "Bugmaster", and is doing well at Sundance.

TV catch-up

Subject: TV
This week saw the return of the rest of my shows for the season. Oddly enough, they're all packed together on Sunday and Monday nights, and run rather late into the evening, at that.

"Rome", as I mentioned, is back with season 2 on HBO, and it's barrelling along as if the break never happened. Well, with a couple of mild differences... I mentioned that Octavian looks older; so does Cleopatara -- though admittedly the effect is pretty convincing, seeing as it's supposed to have been 4 years since Caeser was there. Also, everyone's attitude seems a bit off. Sure, there are obvious changes of circumstance and there's a new arc with new motivations to propell it, but something's, well... off.

No biggie, just a nit. I'm more than happy to keep tagging along for the ride. Oh, and in this episode, it's definitely more like "Sopranos in togas" than "Deadwood in togas", now that we're getting a taste of the Roman underworld.

"Battlestar Galactica" (oh-yeah-oh-yeah) is on at a very weird timeslot, but a DVR helps there. We continue with the pre-break cliffhanger, and jump from tense standoff to tense standoff, and, oh yeah, the freakin' sun is about to explode. The cylons are getting extra-freaky weird, and Lucy Lawless' character is shut down and put in the closet along with all the old '486 motherboards and 512MB hard drives that they paid so much money for back when they were new. (*cough*) Anyway, still fun, still going.

"Heroes" is back, and acts like it's taken just as much of a break as we did. And now it looks like we're going to be taking the express shuttle back 'n forth between NYC and Vegas, as we keep going in circles reinforcing just how interconnected everyone is gee-isn't-that-strange. And, of course, there are supposed to be new heroes added to the mix, and we meet one (wasn't he in Genesis? What's his name...?), but between the dream sequences and Hiro being all hyper-enthusiastic as usual, it's hard to see if we're progressing any futher in the plot. Plot? Well, I guess there's one... but they saved Hayden Planeterium already, now what? Peter freaks out with a big boom? Sure, okay.

Finally, "Studio 60" is back, and according to Sorkin, going to take on more of a "romantic comedy" twist. Oh, joy. Well, I suppose whatever it takes to keep the otherwise enjoyable witty moments coming, but I really don't like the whole "creepy stalking is the same as being a committed romantic" angle. Don't like it at all.

Because it never works in reality!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Is "Uinyaimarka" the new "ELDA TALUTA"?

Subject: Noir
An interesting find over on AnimeSuki's "El Cazador" thread...

Member Toua (of Moedosed) posts a translation, including this key line:

Her only leads through her fate are the Inca rose gemstone and a mysterious word Uinyaimarka (ウイニャイマルカ - not sure how to transliterate).

Member Kensuke follows up with a neat find:
If the "Uinyai" is transliterated as "Winay", after a little googling and seaching wikipedia I found this:

...which Wikipedia says is:
Wiñay Wayna (Quechua for "forever young") is an Inca ruin along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. It is built into a hillside overlooking the Urubamba River.

More Inca! Hooray!

The "marka" part still isn't clear. I bet it means "mark" (as in an inscription or tattoo or something)... I'll leave more speculation over in the forum, as usual.

UPDATE: Gee, a little Google goes a long way... *sigh* "Wiñay Marka" is a part of Lake Titicaca known as "Minor Lake", on the Bolivian side, as far as I can tell. I saw a snippet about it having something to do with the legend of the creation of Lake Titicaca, but I can't find better detail yet. Here's a lot of accumulated Titicaca info (sans "Wiñay Marka"): More Googling later, I'm sure!

FINAL UPDATE: "Wiñay Marka" means "Eternal City" according to the V!VA Travel Guides site.
The lake’s original name was Khota Mamma (“Mother Lake”), and was only renamed Titicaca after the Spanish conquest. The lake has two sections. The smaller southern section, known as Wiñay Marka (“Eternal City”), is comparatively shallow, which led to the legend of a city lying beneath the lake. The discovery of remains of a settlement and an ancient temple on the lake bed in 2000 bolstered this theory.

Way cool. And there's an alternate spelling: Lake Huyñaymarka, though that gets even fewer Google hits.

Enough for now.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A tiny little bit more about "El Cazador"...

Subject: Noir
The official site for "El Cazador" now has a story page. There's a tiny little smidgen more hinted at beyond what we've already seen, and with the machine translation, I've come up with a couple of minor speculations over in the El Cazador thread.

"Gemstone of the Inca Rose". Or something like that. Sounds cool anyhow. Oh, and that nails the Peru connection, go figure.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Reminding myself how much I suck... a.k.a. Pixar Night

Subject: Cinema
Pixar's "Cars" showed up from Netflix this weekend, so I decided to make a night of it. A jealousy-laden, green-with-envy sort of night.

I remember hearing a few well-publicized rumors that "Cars" was totally falling apart, and John Lasseter had to practically scrap it and start over. And I tell ya, I was really dubious about the whole idea of anthropomorphic cars, and thought that even John Lasseter couldn't pull this one off.

Mr. Lasseter, as you may or may not know, is now the head of all Disney animation, since Pixar manged to buy Disney for -$300 billion trillion -- or whatever it was Disney actually had to shell out in the deal. Watch Disney closely for a massive resurgance of the sort of thing that made it famous in the first place.

He got there for a reason.

Mind you, "Cars" isn't exactly "Snow White" or nothin'. But I'll be damned if he couldn't get his team to pull off making cars look like they were alive! As I've admitted in the past, I'm totally a technique whore, and what he did to make those cars into characters totally put a smile on my face. The physics of it, and the attention to the little details; those were so thoughtfully and meticulously carried through in every frame.

But I was most impressed with the "eyes".

Like I've said before, the eyes are key. And if you look really closely at the eyes, they're practically these two static orbs on the windshield on a layer behind the "lids". But watch their movements. And their light and sparkle. And how the "eyelids" actually work. It's so simple, but it works so dang well! Added to the aforementioned physics of the "body language", and suddenly you find yourself suspending disbelief and paying attention to these phony digital absurd props as actual living characters. Magic.

The story overall is rather simplistic and a might bit cheesy and predictable, of course. Which is a shame. But there's plenty of little things that keep it fun to watch, so I'm inclined to forgive those sins. With all the other mass-produced computer animation to come out of late, and how much it struggles to mimic having any sort of soul, it's heartening to see that it's definitely possible to have soul in such a work. At least if you throw enough top-notch talent at it, I suppose.

To top off the evening, I rewatched "The Incredibles" as well. I've gushed about it on two previous occasions, but I don't feel like scouring the archives for them -- all I remember is that they were almost exactly one year apart, and said almost exactly the same thing. Like how I actually met John Lasseter back in the day, and how I talked with a Pixar recruiter and submitted my lame, lame, totally lame demo reel, only to never hear from them again.

And I guess I don't really have anything to add to that. Whenever I watch this show though, by the time the end credits roll around, I find myself misting up at just how much I think this movie nails every single note. Brad Bird and the whole team do such a tremendous job visualizing details the exact way they need to be -- you just know it deep inside that it's perfect. That is has to look like that, move like that, have a blaring horn-section soundtrack like that, for each and every scene and shot. It's tremendous. It's entertaining.

And I'm not worthy.

Satoshi Kon's "Paprika" on May 25th

Subject: Noir
As alerted to me by ANS, Sony Classics has announced the general theatrical release date for "Paprika".

I watched the trailer over on that link, and it put a goofy grin on my face. I saw an earlier clip a long time ago and it didn't leave much of an impression, but this one, even though it's kind of tiny, speaks volumes to me about it, and I like. Yes, I like lots.

I think I'll be going to the theater for this one.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Revise and extend my previous remarks...

Subject: Noir
So after my little rant about Gonzo last week, I spent this evening actually being entertained by two Gonzo shows.

First was the last two discs of "Samurai 7". How it got to this point despite it being named for the classic Akira Kurosawa film, I really couldn't tell ya. But putting aside all my baggage about the show to this point, and just relaxing and letting it happen, it wasn't entirely void of fun. Yeah, there was a lot of eye-rolling to be done at every bit of contrived melodrama, and a lot of how the final battle came together didn't make a whole lot of sense -- that is, you could tell they were sort of making it up as they went -- still, it had a lot of fun action, and like I said, they definitely have an imaginative style.

Still, all-in-all, the attempted association with "The Seven Samurai", down to the very end with the singing and the rice-planting and the swords on the hill, really just emphasized my whole "dissappointed" point. But I managed to let go of that for the time being and roll with the rest of it.

Also, I caught up with the Undead Teenage Fashion Models From New York™, and got through episode 13 of "Red Garden". You know, for a Gonzo zombie-vs-werewolf show, it's remarkably restrained and reasonably well-told. I stand by my observation that the animation isn't getting much beyond moving-manga, but there's enough style and focus in the intention of the story that the characters are worth paying attention to.

Though the illusion is going to be tougher to maintain, as it relies too heavily on the narrative to keep up the suspension of disbelief. Heck, plenty of manga and comics can do it just fine, so surely "Red Garden" can. But if it starts to fall apart into absurdity for the sake of pulling a big ol' WTF, then there's nothing to fall back on.

Still, I really dig the art direction and all the other little unconventional touches present in this one. Someone there is really trying and experimenting a bit, and that's earning a lot of points. But, since ep 13 wasn't actually the end of it, that means they're going to drag it out for another 13, and I don't know if it'll make it that far. They just opened up a bunch of new possibilities, and now the girls' powers are starting to manifest, but I fear it's going to lose it's discipline and fall into an over-sensationalistic trap like most everything else I see with Gonzo. Still, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Yuki Kajiura did go to Peru for "El Cazador" research

Subject: Noir
Makoto posted a few interesting links over to Yuki Kajiura's blog, which describe her trip to Peru back in November:

(I recommend starting with the Google Translation of Makoto's page, and visiting them that way so you can have any small hope of catching some of what's being said... Remember that Mashimo's is read as "under the truth" and Yuki Kajiura's name is "rudder inlet girl")

He seems to be speculating that it was Mashimo who accompanied her, or at least someone from Bee Train ("biitorein"), but I wasn't able to glean anything specific from his post or hers. Since it was back in November, that probably would have been a big secret, I figure.

Anyway, there are pictures and such (she went to Machu Pichu and Cuzco and Lima). And this at least confirms the speculation I've been posting earlier.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Isn't that just Torchy. Plus other sci-fi Mediocrity...

Subject: TV
So "Torchwood" tries to pull it's final mediocre attempt at shock & awe and gets all man-kissy in episode 11. Which is a fair trade for all the previous girl-kissy scenes, I suppose, but it was kind of lame overall. Frankly, all the kissing in this show, straight, bi, or interspecies, has been rather boring and kind of lame overall. It's like the show is trying to check off a list of things to make it "hip" or "controversial", but there's no real followthrough.

And this particular episode (12) lays on the a creepy edge -- Captain Jack stuck in the past, and the real, doomed, Captain Jack who's identity he "borrowed" back then. Um, eww? Well, I suppose yaoi fans may dig a couple of guys giving each other stubble-burn, but if it's anything like the rest of it, I'd bet it'll be boring to them too.

And to finish off the series, we get some weird time-rift-produced giant monster rampaging around the city, who is anticlimactically deus-ex-machina'd by Captain Jack. And everybody who works for him acts like a douche, but then are all weepy, and then there's more man-kissing, and then he dissappears -- to the sound of the TARDIS dematerializing. And I'm all like "huh?"... Does that mean that's it for the show? Is he going to wind up back in the regular Who episodes when the season resumes? Do I care anymore?

In other sci-fi TV, while killing time awaiting the return of Galact-oh-yeah, I'd DVR'ed some HDTV-rebroadcast reruns and DVD collections of "Firefly", "Star Trek: Enterprise" and "Deep Space Nine" and more recently "Stargate: Atlantis". I dunno, maybe I was desperate or something.

Out of the bunch, "Firefly" still holds up the best, but after having watched all the DVDs in the last couple of years, I'm not finding much added-value in the HDTV broadcast. And I think I should probably let the show simmer for a while longer before I bother rewatching it again.

"Enterprise", in the first season, really was kind of lame, wasn't it? I seem to be a little nostalgic about it because I must have been desperate for some sci-fi at the time, and it's all there was. But despite the bump-up in picture quality, it's coming across as rather dated already. The latter seasons were a little better, so maybe I'll hold off watching any more until it catches up to those.

"Deep Space Nine" was a Saturday-evening staple for me during it's original broadcast run, but I moved out here where I couldn't receive it anymore, just when it was getting into the good parts. So I missed a huge swath of the Dominion war and all that. So now that I've started a Netflix subscription, I've been starting those from about season 3. I think I should have started a little later, though, as this season is still echoing a lot of it's cheesy beginnings, and it's kind of tedious to watch more than one at a time the way it is. Which slows down my disc turnaround, which means it's going to take too long to get through my queue. Oh well.

"Atlantis" is off to a weak start, in that it's really just a clone of the rather tired "SG-1" structure, but with different characters. I was really enjoying "SG-1" back "in the day" -- again, mostly due to the lack of anything else, but also because the characters were entertaining too. Hard to say if these guys have the same potential to grow on me. I'm not particularly hopeful at this point, but I'll give it a few more episodes to see.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Great Caeser's Ghost!

Subject: TV
HBO's "Rome" is back!

The 2nd season premiered this evening, preceded by last season's stab-tastic finale, about which I went on to some extent about the inevitable climactic event. And the new episode picks up immediately where that left off. Though, mysteriously, Octavio seems to have aged suddenly... Go figure.

Still, everyone's now comfortable in their characters and performing quite convincingly; maybe even enjoying it a little too much... Nah. They're doing great. And, of course, it's still just as shocking and brutal and upside-down in comparison to the usual epic treatment of the era.

It took me a little while for the show to hook me, but I think it really was the characters and the details that did it. Now I'm pretty much committed, even if it somehow makes a turn towards mediocrity in the middle. No turning back now. And here I was thinking of getting rid of premium cable. Silly me.

The problem with Gonzo

Subject: Noir
...No, I don't mean that raspy-voiced little muppet with the chicken acts, or the journalistic stylings of the late Hunter S. Thompson. I mean the Japanese anime studio.

I'm hesitant to start "bashing" an anime studio. After all, I'm a crazed fanboy of a studio that seems to be routine target of harsh polemics and other anonymous internet ranting. So I'm not really going to bash them or anything like that.

However, their style and technique seems to be mostly incompatible with my own tastes.

It kind of gelled for me as I gave the first episode of the American TV release of "Afro Samurai" a spin. It's obvious that a lot of effort (and $$) were put into establishing a strong art direction and style, and the elaborate fight sequences and resultant blood spatterings had a lot of meticulous attention paid to them. But when it comes to animation, it really shouldn't be about the framecounts -- it's about whether or not your characters have life breathed in to them.

Keyframes aren't supposed to be just a bunch of "cool" poses strung together for the inbetweeners to fill in the gaps between -- they're the very essence of definining the timing and motion and visual cues that blur the line in our minds between a bunch of drawings and a real, live actor on the screen. However, that's what I see in most Gonzo work that I've tried to this point, a bunch of poses strung together, be they cool, shocking, or just plain cliche.

Moving manga.

It's not 100% that way, of course. I'm sure there are plenty of animators on staff that seem to "get it" and can bring a character out of it's 2D confines for a bit. I've seen it in "Samurai 7", "Last Exile", "Red Garden", heck, even in "Gankutsuou", which I've ranted over extensively. But overwhelimingly, it comes back to the fundamental characteristics of how the industry evolved: manga artists wanted to make their stuff move.

In interviews with Koichi Mashimo, he mentions that when he started back in the "Gatchaman" days, he had a difficult learning curve to overcome because he came from a film and television background, and all his peers were manga artists. So it's no wonder that his work and techniques and animators he has work for him exhibit the fundamentals of drawing-for-motion, even with an extreme economy of frames. Yeah, his stuff isn't perfect, either. But it's kind of like the opposite of what I find with Gonzo; the few good moments in a Gonzo work are about the same proportion as the rough spots I see in Mashimo's.

One thing I'll give them, for sure, is that they usually have a very strong creative energy invested in the universes and scenarios they develop. They pay great attention to details, and often strive for an epic, vast feel to their worlds. Sometimes they get a little overwrought considering the subject matter, and often, they go more for the "WTF" factor, or for the shock value, than for any intrinsic holistic intent. And there's nothing inherently wrong with that; the detailed worlds tend to etch themselves in your imagination, and sometimes it's fun to be shocked or bewildered by what happens. And, again, they're qualities that are quite prevelant in the manga (and comic book) realm. It's part of why they're so popular.

But it seems more often than not that they're just over-complicating things for the sake of being complicated. I guess most of my favorite works are more telling in their simplicity.

I'm sure if I dug a little more, I'd find more and more exceptions. After all, it's a relatively diverse studio with a large and popular library. And I could apply a lot of my observation to most of the rest of the anime industry, just as much as I'm sure I could find more gems to my liking if I keep searching. It's just that it struck me how much I tend to be dissappointed in what I see from Gonzo, as if there were wasted potential, as opposed to other shows where I just find myself bored or otherwise put off.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

NewType/Animage "El Cazador" article translation: "The story is serious and direction is harder."

Subject: Noir
Makoto's wife Keiko very graciously translated the article that is on those magazine "scans" that are going around.

You can find it on Bee Train Fan, go figure.

To sum up, it's a teasingly-short interview with Koichi Mashimo, with a couple of blurbs about the characters, scenario, and setting. It's confirmed that he intended it to be the third installment of his trilogy. And it looks like it was inspired ("in a way") by Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns (awesome! and... "Mmm, pasta!"), and, for some reason, Quentin Tarintino. Well, that's what the interviewer asked in combination with the Westerns; he didn't say that directly.

"Mexico or Latin America is the stage for this story". That doesn't entirely conflict with "South America", but no direct mention of Peru anywhere; that was just where Yuki Kajiura went for research, I guess. Peru's got a huge Japanese community, though; in case you didn't know.

The character blurbs:
Ellis is wanted as a murder suspect of a physicist, Heintz. She was produced by Leviathan and has witch's DNA.

Nadie is a bounty hunter. She tries to find Ellis' hometown with her. She has a 45-caliber gun, Colt Government.

Leviathan, eh? Added to the whole notion of running from El Cazador, it sounds like there's two big 'n scary organizations to fight in this one.

Anyway, go read the whole thing (it's short, like I said).

EDIT: I've been misspelling "Animage" as "Animege"; oops!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"El Cazador de la Bruja" update

Subject: Noir
I've just gotten a translation of the Mashimo interview that was in the NewType and Animege magazines in Japan. I'm going to post it over on the forum, but first I'm taking care of some technical issues that are keeping it from getting indexed by Google. Hang tight, it's good stuff!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"Spider Riders" re-debut on Kid's WB

Subject: Noir
Briefly interrupting the "El Cazador" furor for a moment, I just saw on that Spider Riders will be back again on American TV on January 20th (Saturday mornings).

I want to like this show, and in Japanese, I do. All I can do is wait for the DVD release to get it, though. *sigh*

"El Cazador" site is up... sort of...

Subject: Noir
The "El Cazador" site is up and has all of two pics right now. And a blurb of info that I don't have a translation for just yet (I'm at work, I'll have to dig when I'm home.)

But the full title is now "El Cazador de la Bruja" -- "The Witch Hunter". Which means that crazy liner-note thing from Mashimo in the last "MADLAX" disc was right.

Also, over on the forum, there's another large pic from the latest NewType issue. Plus, I found a larger version of the small pic below, which I'll also post when I get home. There's a lot of text on it, but it's all in Japanese, so we'll just have to glean whatever info we can from the rest of the web. *sigh*

As I posted in the forum, my friend Makoto (who's fanzine I was writing the "MADLAX" article for) gave me a couple of tidbits. First is that he knew about this for a while, but the producer who told him swore him to secrecy. Second, he was just talking to one of the staff at Comiket, and he had said the script was stalled. Third, and most interesting, Yuki Kajiura actually went to Peru to do research for the soundtrack! And the setting is purportedly in South America, but that's unclear at the moment.

I've been reading machine-translated Japanese blogs 'til my eyes bled, but I haven't gotten any more info than that. Some speculation as to whether or not it will be a Hi-Def broadcast like ".hack//Roots" (a possibility that hadn't yet had the chance to occur to me -- makes me feel all tingly! *grin*), and some hard-to-decipher 2chan thread about unit sales of the "Noir" vs. "MADLAX" vs. what "El Cazador" would need to be.

More later. Best, latest info in the forum, hopefully.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

"El Cazador" -- Bee Train's Girls-with-Guns trilogy continues!

Subject: Noir
I did my daily browse over to the Anime News Service and nearly soiled myself! *cough*

Here's the skinny:

1-6-07 (12:47PM EST)---- Unofficial Noir / Madlax Sequel - El-Cazador

Scheduled to begin broadcast in April, 2007 is the El-Cazador anime TV series. Confirmed staff include Dirtector: Koichi Mashimo (Noir, Eat Man, .Hack), Character Designs: Yoko Kikuchi (Noir), Series Composition: Kanemaki Kenichi (Jigoku Shoujo), Music: Yuki Kajiura (Noir, Eat Man, . Hack), Animation Production: Bee Train. Official Site: The story centers on characters Ellice and bounty hunter Nadi. Following Noir and Madlax, this will be the thrid installment in a series of what Director Koichi Mashimo has referred to as his girls-with-guns genre trilogy. Look for spreads and images in the current crop of anime magazines making their way into Japanese retail outlets this next week.

Here's a pic (via the Moonphase diary entry on the subject):

I'm searching everywhere for more, but coming up short.

Discussion and rumors/speculation can be had over on the Bee Train Fan forum, as usual.