While there was a lot of news to come out during 2014, this post will focus on the most notable headlines, and they are listed chronologically by month. The only headlines missing will be deaths of people involved in the anime and manga industries, because those will be covered in special “In Memoriam” posts that will be posted on December 31, 2014.
Speed Racer Licensing Lawsuits Settled: Tatsunoko Productions announces that the suits have been settled by mutual agreement of all parties and being discussed in full. According to the settlement, the Speed Racer rights terminated in their entirety on May 31, 2011; at that date, the rights automatically reverted back to Tatsunoko. With this settlement, Tatsunoko alone now owns and controls the rights to Speed Racer intellectual property rights worldwide.
New Sailor Moon Anime to Debut in July 2014: It was announced that a new Sailor Moon anime would debut in July 2014.
FUNimation Adopts Elite Subscriber Model for Its Streams: FUNimation Entertainment announced that its Elite Video subscribers will get first access to most of its latest streamed episodes as they air in Japan. Free users will gain access to new episodes a week later.
Two Anime Receive Oscar Nominations: Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s The Wind Rises was nominated for Best Animated Feature, while Shuhei Morita’s “Possessions” from Katsuhiro Otomo’s Short Peace anthology was nominated for Best Animated Short Film. Unfortunately, neither anime won the Oscar that they were nominated for.
Cross Media International Bringing Osamu Tezuka’s Animated Properties and Characters to North America: Cross Media International announced that the company has entered into an agreement with Tezuka Productions to develop distribution opportunities for Tezuka’s portfolio of popular properties and characters within North America.
Winners of the Second Manga Translation Battle Announced: Mangapolo announced the winners of the second official Japanese-to-English manga translation battle. Sarah Kim Perry was the grand prize winner. First prize winners were Ami Ross, Nina Matsumoto, and Emily Balistrieri and Juri Ishikawa. D.M Akie won the audience award.
Nippon Television Network Corporation Acquires Tatsunoko Productions: Nippon Television Network Corporation has announced the acquisition of 54.3% of anime production company Tatsunoko Productions from Takara Tomy, who will continue to hold a 20% stake in the company.
Wandering Son Named on ALA’s Rainbow List for Children & Teens: The American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) has selected Takako Shimura’s Wandering Son manga for its Rainbow List.
Strobe Edge in YALSA’s Top 10 Graphic Novels for Teens: The American Library Association’s (ALA’s) Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) released its 2014 list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens. 10 manga titles are on the list, and includes Io Sakisaka’s Strobe Edge, which also ranked in the Top Ten graphic novels overall this year. The 10 manga titles include Strobe Edge, No. 6, The Heart of Thomas, Tropic of the Sea, Sunny, Kitaro, Knights of Sidonia, Tiger & Bunny, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, and Vinland Saga.
Hayao Miyazaki Wins Annie Award for Writing The Wind Rises: Hayao Miyazaki won the Annie Award for Writing in an Animated Feature Production for The Wind Rises.
Anime Limited Launches Kickstarter for U.S. and UK Release of Mai Mai Miracle: Anime Limited launched a Kickstarter campaign to release the Mai Mai Miracle film in the United States and the United Kingdom. The Kickstarter ended up being fully funded in one day. The Kickstarter reached its stretch goal for an English dub on February 11, 2014.
VIZ Media Announces Changes for Neon Alley: VIZ Media announced significant changes for its Neon Alley service as the company moved to consolidate all of its digital streaming anime content offerings under the Neon Alley brand. On April 1, 2014, VIZ Media transitioned its weekly episodic anime programming to the free ad-supported Hulu and subscription-based Hulu Plus Video-on-Demand services.
Kadokawa’s “ComicWalker” App to Offer Manga in English: Japanese publisher Kadokawa announced that its web comic service “ComicWalker” would launch on March 22, 2014, and that the service would include manga in Japanese, English, and traditional Chinese.
Taiyo Matsumoto’s Sunny Manga Wins Cartoonist Studio Prize: The online magazine Slate Book Review and Vermont’s Center for Cartoon Studies announced the winners of their second annual Cartoonist Studio Prize. The first two volumes of Taiyo Matsumoto’s Sunny manga series received the Best Graphic Novel prize.
Ghibli Co-Founder Toshio Suzuki Retires as Producer: Producer Toshio Suzuki voluntarily stepped down from his position at Studio Ghibli, although he will be assuming the new title of “general manager.” Yoshiaki Nishimura will be serving as the producer of Studio Ghibli’s films going forward.
GKIDS to Release The Tale of the Princess Kaguya in North America: GKIDS announced that it will be releasing Isao Takahata and Studio Ghibli’s The Tale of The Princess Kaguya anime film in North America in 2014.
Ranma 1/2 Reissued With New Manga and Home Video Releases: VIZ Media began reissuing the Ranma 1/2 manga as omnibus editions with two volumes included in March 2014. These releases are also the first Ranma 1/2 manga to be released in an “unflipped” version. The anime also began being reissued in March 2014, on both DVD and Blu-ray. These new home video releases present the episodes in their original Japanese series order, and the Blu-rays featured the episodes in full 1080p High Definition, taken straight from the original Japanese Blu-ray masters.
Attack on Titan to Air on Toonami: Adult Swim announced that its Toonami block would begin airing the Attack on Titan television anime series on May 3, 2014 at 11:30 p.m. PDT.
New Space Battleship Yamato 2199 Film Announced: It was announced that the Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Star-Voyaging Ark film was scheduled to be released in Japan on December 6, 2014.
Hunter x Hunter Returning to Weekly Shonen Jump: The English and Japanese editions of Weekly Shonen Jump announced that the Hunter x Hunter manga would be returning to the magazine on June 2, 2014. Unfortunately, after only a short amount of time back in the magazine, Hunter x Hunter went back on hiatus.
Oldest Surviving Anime Short by Kon Ichikawa Found: Anime News Network reported that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the United States discovered the oldest known surviving anime short by director Kon Ichikawa. “Yowamushi Chinsengumi” (Cowardly Samurai Squad) is a five-minute animated short dating back to 1935.
NIS America Licenses Cardcaptor Sakura Anime Series: NIS America has announced that the company would release the Cardcaptor Sakura television anime series in a Blu-ray Premium Edition and a DVD Standard Edition in North America.
DisneyXD to Air Doraemon Anime: Digital cable and satellite television channel DisneyXD began airing the Doraemon television anime series in the United States in Summer 2014.
Attack on Titan Draws More Than a Million Viewers on Toonami: Attack on Titan debuted on the Toonami programming block of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim with 1,341,000 viewers and ranked as the night’s top non-NBA original with a 0.6 in adults 18-49.
VIZ Media Licenses Original Sailor Moon Anime: VIZ Media announced after its Anime Central panel that it licensed the original Sailor Moon television anime series, which include streaming, digital and home video rights for all 200 episodes from the five television series, the three feature films, and the assorted tie-in specials. This will include the first North American release of the final television series, Sailor Moon Sailor Stars.
Tenchi Muyo to Return in a Series of Anime Shorts: The Okayama-based Sanyo Shimbun reported that Takahashi City has presented plans to invest in the production of a Tenchi Muyo revival. The new production, called Ai Tenchi Muyo!, was planned as a 50-episode run of 5 minute shorts, which were scheduled to debut in October 2014.
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods to Have Limited Theatrical Release in the United States: FUNimation announced that the Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods anime film would have a limited theatrical release in the United States According to their announcement, the film would be screened on August 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, 2014.
Digital Manga, Inc. Launches Kickstarter for Osamu Tezuka’s Captain Ken: Digital Manga, Inc. launched a project on Kickstarter to translate and publish the two volumes of Osamu Tezuka’s Captain Ken manga in English for the first time. The company reached its goal on June 18, 2014. Kickstarter backers are scheduled to receive their copies of the manga in February 2015.
VIZ Media Comes to comiXology: ComiXology and VIZ Media announced a digital distribution agreement to bring fan-favorite manga series to comiXology’s entire platform across North America.
CLAMP to Launch New Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle Manga in August 2014: The July issue of Kodansha’s Magazine Special announced that CLAMP will debut their newest manga series in its August 2014 issue. The new manga was a miniseries with “another story.”
Hayao Miyazaki to Be Inducted Into the Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame: The Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame announced that it is inducting Studio Ghibli co-founder and Oscar-winning director Hayao Miyazaki this year, alongside artist Frank Frazetta, author Leigh Brackett, author Olaf Stapledon, and director Stanley Kubrick.
Harmony Gold Announces Kickstarter for New Robotech Series: Harmony Gold announced at Anime Expo that the company had launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new Robotech series called Robotech Academy. The company cancelled the Kickstarter campaign six days before the deadline, since it was readily apparent that the project would not succeed. The company says it will “continue to explore its options with Robotech Academy” and further updates will be made on the project’s official website.
VIZ Media Announces the Return of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Manga to North America: VIZ Media announced at the 2014 Anime Expo that Hirohiko Araki’s manga series, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, is making a return to North America. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1 – Phantom Blood will launch in print beginning in February 2015, with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 2 – Battle Tendency scheduled to debut Fall 2015.
New Dragon Ball Z Anime Film Scheduled for 2015: The September 2014 issue of V Jump magazine announced that the new Dragon Ball Z anime film is scheduled to debut in the 2015 Golden Week block of spring holidays (April 29-May 5). It was later announced that the film will be titled, Dragon Ball Z: Revival of “F”, and will premiere in 2D and 3D in Japan on April 18, 2015.
Leiji Matsumoto to Launch New Captain Harlock Manga: The September 2014 issue of Akita Shoten’s Champion RED magazine announced that Leiji Matsumoto would launch the Captain Harlock ~Jigen Kōkai~ in the issue released on August 19, 2014. Koichi Shimahoshi illustrates the series.
Anime Sols Tries New Crowdfunding Approach: Instead of focusing on crowdfunding money in order to release DVD sets of series, the company decides to try crowdfunding various series in order to continue subtitling them and streaming them to site visitors. The first two series launched under this new approach were Dororo and Gordian, The Warrior. As of this writing, Dororo reached its first crowdfunding goal. A second goal has been launched for Dororo, but as of this writing, it’s still $2,220 short of succeeding.
New Naruto Film Being Released in Japan in December 2014: This year’s 35th issue of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine announced that The Last -Naruto the Movie-, the first Naruto anime film in two years, would open in Japanese theaters on December 6, 2014.
Osamu Tezuka’s The Mysterious Underground Men Wins an Eisner Award: Osamu Tezuka’s The Mysterious Underground Men won this year’s Best U.S. Edition of International Material-Asia award at the 2014 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards ceremony at San Diego Comic Con.
Hayao Miyazaki Inducted Into the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame: Hayao Miyazaki was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame during the 2014 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards ceremony at San Diego Comic Con.
Studio Ghibli Is Not Closing Down at This Time: Rumors swirled on the Internet about Studio Ghibli shutting its doors after Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki appeared on the TBS program Jonetsu Tairiku to discuss the studio’s future after Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement from directing feature films. Anime News Network clarified Suzuki’s comments with an article of their own, and the information below came from that article. During the interview, Suzuki discussed the changes that the entire studio is undergoing at the studio’s shareholders meeting; he mused that some of these changes could include dismantling the production department. While there has been some talk of dissolving the studio outright, Suzuki said the studio is considering “housecleaning” or restructuring for now. The end result would be “rebuilding” the studio in order to create an environment for the next generation. Suzuki also said during the interview: “On what to do with Studio Ghibli’s future, it is by no means impossible to keep producing [movies] forever. However, we will take a brief pause to consider where to go from here.”
Kickstarter Campaign for the Under the Dog Sci-Fi Anime: A Kickstarter campaign was launched for an original 24-minute anime titled, Under the Dog. If funded, the project would be in Japanese with English subtitles, and will also include the original soundtrack and behind-the-scenes diaries and interviews. The campaign reached its goal on September 4, 2014.
Hayao Miyazaki to Receive Honorary Award From Oscars’ Academy: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to award anime director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki with an Honorary Award at the Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards on November 8, 2014.
Star Blazers Live-Action Film Has Been Green-Lit: The Sports Nippon magazine is reporting that a Hollywood live-action adaptation of the Space Battleship Yamato anime (which was released in North America under the title, Star Blazers) has been green-lit. According to the report, the film will be released as Star Blazers as soon as 2017. Skydance Productions will be producing the project, and Christopher McQuarrie will direct as soon as he finishes 2015’s Mission: Impossible 5.
VIZ Media Announces “Jump Start” Initiative to Deliver English Premieres of Brand New Weekly Shonen Jump Manga Series on the Same Day as Japan: VIZ Media will simultaneously premiere the first three chapters (one chapter per week) of every brand new, first-run manga series that appears in the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump in its digital English language edition on the same day of that issue’s general print release in Japan. The first title in the initiative was Judos, which launched on September 8, 2014.
Attack on Titan Wins a 2014 Harvey Award: The Harvey Awards announced its winners for 2014 at a banquet on September 6, 2014. Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan series won an award in the “Best American Edition of Foreign Material” category.
VIZ Media to Reprint Yu Yu Hakusho Manga: VIZ Media announced on Twitter that the company will be reprinting all 19 volumes of the Yu Yu Hakusho manga series.
AnimeNation Retailer Closes After 20 Years: AnimeNation.net’s Gene Field announced on both the company’s site and social media accounts that the online retail company would be closing shop after 20 years.
VIZ Media Announces the Finale of Matsuri Hino’s Vampire Knight: VIZ Media announced that the company would be releasing Vampire Knight Volume 19, the final volume of the series, on October 14, 2014.
Pony Canyon Launches North American Anime Distributor: Japanese distributor Pony Canyon announced that the company is making a leap into the North American anime market by launching a new brand called PONYCAN USA. The first two titles being released by PONYCAN USA are Denki-Gai no Honya-san and Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru. In addition to worldwide streaming, PONYCAN USA plans to release new anime titles on Blu-ray and DVD throughout North America in 2015, and promising the same high standard of quality as the Japanese editions.
The CW Brings an End to the Vortexx Programming Block: The CW’s Vortexx Saturday morning programming block came to an end on September 27, 2014. As of October 4, 2014, the block will be airing a live-action E/I block. Vortexx replaced the CW’s former Saturday morning block, Toonzai, on August 25, 2012. This change took place after 4Kids Entertainment, the original North American rights holder for the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise that programmed Toonzai, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Saban Entertainment acquired 4Kids’ Toonzai assets, and the company renamed the block to Vortexx. The occasional anime appeared on the Vortexx block, and this included B-Daman Crossfire, Sonic X, Dragon Ball Z Kai, Digimon Fusion, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal.
Naruto Manga to End: The official website for Weekly Shonen Jump announced that Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto manga would end in this year’s 50th issue of Shonen Jump on November 10, 2014.
Sunrise Partnering With Right Stuf to Release the Gundam Franchise in North America: Sunrise announced during the company’s panel at New York Comic Con that the studio is partnering with Right Stuf, Inc. to release the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise in North America. The company will release the first Mobile Suit Gundam television series and the Turn A Gundam anime series next spring. In a press release, Right Stuf also mentioned that the company will be releasing Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ for the first time in North America.
LINE Service to Offer Digital Manga in English and Chinese This Year: LINE Corp., the operators of the voice-chat/messaging app LINE, has announced that the company will launch a new subsidiary called LINE Book Distribution; this new subsidiary will be releasing manga internationally. LINE Book Distribution will release properties from Kodansha, Shogakukan and other Japanese publishers in English and Traditional Chinese globally via the LINE manga app. LINE Corp. plans to launch the LINE Manga Global Version app later in 2014.
Digital Manga Planning Kickstarter to Cover Six Tezuka Titles: Digital Manga has announced that the company planned to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund six Osamu Tezuka manga for a total of 31 volumes. While Digital Manga managed to launch this massive Kickstarter campaign, it ended up not reaching its goal.
Anime Director Keiichiro Kimura Launches Kickstarter Campaign: Awesome Japan launched a Kickstarter campaign for an animated short film created by anime director Keiichiro Kimura titled, “Go! Samurai.” Kimura’s son will be directing and editing the work. The campaign reached its goal during November 2014.
FUNimation Announces Broadcast Dubs Initiative: FUNimation announced a new initiative called “Broadcast Dubs,” which features English dubbed episodes of select shows that are currently broadcasting in Japan. FUNimation’s Broadcast Dubs will be available exclusively for FUNimation subscribers. With this new initiative, select series are dubbed into English using the broadcast/simulcast materials from Japan just weeks after broadcast. Following the release of the Broadcast Dub, FUNimation will continue to produce a final English dub for the DVD/Blu-ray release, using materials from Japan’s DVD/Blu-ray release. This final version can be different from the broadcast version, including uncut footage not seen in the broadcast. The first two shows to be included in this initiative were Laughing Under the Clouds and Psycho-Pass 2.
Crunchyroll Acquires the Rights to Simulcast Case Closed: Crunchyroll announced that the site acquired the rights to simulcast the Case Closed anime as it airs in Japan. As of right now, only the most recent episodes of the series are available for streaming on the service.
Naruto Manga Mini-Series to Launch in Spring 2015: This year’s 50th issue of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine announced that a new, tentatively titled Naruto manga mini-series will launch in Spring 2015. According to the announcement, the mini-series will tell “a newly budding Konoha story.”
Nozomi Entertainment’s Lucky Penny License Rescues Looking Up At the Half Moon: Nozomi Entertainment announced that its Lucky Penny imprint has license rescued the Looking Up At The Half Moon anime and plans to release the six-episode series in Spring 2015. Crimson Star Media had held the license for this title until legal troubles caused the company to not release it.
Digital Manga Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Osamu Tezuka’s Ludwig B Manga: Digital Manga, Inc. has launched a new Kickstarter campaign for Osamu Tezuka’s two volume manga, Ludwig B. If the campaign succeeds, the company plans to release this title in July 2015. The campaign reached its goal on December 26, 2014, with only four hours to spare before the deadline.
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Nominated for Three Annie Awards: Studio Ghibli and Isao Takahata’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya received three nominations: Best Animated Feature, Isao Takahata is up for “Outstanding Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production,” and Joe Hisaishi is up for “Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production.”
Streaming of SHIROBAKO Episode Six Suspended Due to Rights Issue: Niconico has announced that “streaming of SHIROBAKO Episode 6 has been temporarily suspended due to circumstances regarding rights.” The site also added that the return date of the streaming has not been determined, but the service will announce it as soon as it is confirmed. Crunchyroll is also streaming SHIROBAKO in the Americas and several countries in Europe as well as other regions, and it also no longer lists episode 6 “Idepon Miyamori: On the Move.” The episode reappeared on Crunchyroll later in December 2014.
Kodansha Temporarily Suspends Vinland Saga Manga in the United States: Kodansha USA has stated that its Vinland Saga manga releases are “temporarily suspended.” Volume Six was supposed to be released on January 6, 2015. However, Amazon is now listing a 2017 release date for this volume.
Crunchyroll Streaming Service Down Amid DDoS Attack: The Crunchyroll streaming service announced on December 30, 2014 that it is currently down due to a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack “of the same magnitude” as those recently targeted towards Sony and Microsoft consoles. The Crunchyroll service went down at approximately 4:00 a.m. EST on December 30, 2014.
Additional 2014 In Review posts: