We knew it was coming. The writing was on the wall for a while now. Cartoon Network has officially killed Toonami, and has effectively killed any chance for Adult Swim anime (who’s going to stay up/get up at 5am to watch Code Geass or Guardian of the Spirit, on a Sunday?!). So, anime companies have had to find new outlets to show their anime. They know no one is going to buy it without seeing it first. Sci-Fi seems to be doing fairly well with their Ani-Mondays, and Funimation is expanding their shows on their channel (for those of us lucky enough to have Verizon FiOS. hehe). But the wave of the future, and we all know it’s coming, is internet broadcasting. And anime companies seem to be embracing it now, while it’s still early.
ANN has reported on a press release from Suncorp, a digital distribution company in Japan. Leiji Matsumoto, the creator of iconic titles such as Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express 999, and Space Battleship Yamato, is creating an original online comic project that will appear on Nintendo Wii’s Wiiware store sometime this summer. For now, the announcement only states this will be available in Japan, but it also states that the unnamed comic “is aimed at his [Matsumoto’s] global fans.”
Now, a new series from Matsumoto is exciting enough. But seeing it distributed online through the Wii is even cooler! Even though there is no official announcement of overseas distribution, the mention of how global his work is does give one hope that there will be. The Wiiware store so far only has older and/or independent games. This branching out into other medium seems to show Nintendo’s commitment to make the Wii more of an entertainment console than just gaming as originally stated. But, I do like this slower roll-out than Sony’s or Microsoft’s proclamation to take over your entertainment system with their consoles. At least with the Wii, you can also get games and demos for the DS, which are beamed wirelessly from the Wii. And here is where it can get really cool!
As I’ve said before, I think the DS would make a perfect e-book reader for manga and comics. Individuals have come up with hacks, but this seems to be another official step from Nintendo to make it a reality. Having an established and well known artist do the debut just gives it more credibility.
The Wiiware store could become another place for publishers to advertise their books by making sample chapters free for download, and full chapters/volumes available for a reasonable price. The structure will already be in place, and the core audience will already be looking. They may even be able to pick up some adult readers, as the Wii is popular with all ages and demographics.