VIZ Media, Autodesk form Art for Hope project to help disaster-stricken Japan

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

VIZ Media, LLC, the largest Japanese manga publisher in North America, and Autodesk Inc., a leading developer and distributor in 3-D design, engineering and entertainment software, have joined hands to assist quake-recovery efforts for Japan, the companies said.

Under their collaboration called Art for Hope, artists are invited to create illustrations using the Autodesk SketchBook application to create works with the theme of hope for recovery. VIZ Media will compile them into a digital art book anthology that will be available through the Viz Manga App for Apple Inc.’s iOS devices and portal site VIZManga.com.

All proceeds from its sales will be donated to support disaster relief efforts, the companies said.

Five months after the Great East Japan Earthquake, many people in northeastern Japan are still forced to live with inconveniences.

The Art for Hope project is just one of many relief and recovery efforts pouring in from various organizations in Japan and abroad.

Parts of Art of Hope illustrations were showcased at a VIZ Media event to celebrate the publisher’s 25th anniversary, which was held on the sidelines of the Comic-Con International convention in San Diego in July.

VIZ also announced that the digital anthology will be released this fall.

The two companies said they intend to further expand their efforts for disaster relief in Japan.

Visit the Art of Hope website at (http://www.viz.com/artforhope).

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura, who make up the girl pop duo Puffy, or Puffy AmiYumi, will guest star on the popular “Usagi Drop” (Bunny Drop) animated TV series, the anime and Puffy’s official websites announced.

They will make an appearance in the form of anime characters in the ninth episode, which will air on Sept. 1, the websites said.

“Usagi Drop” is a popular anime show airing on Fuji Television Network Inc.’s “noitaminA” animation block and elsewhere. It revolves around a 30-year-old single man named Daikichi who becomes the guardian of Rin, his grandfather’s illegitimate 6-year-old daughter.

In the show, they will play instructors at the nursery school that Rin, and her friend Koki attend, they said.

After they recorded their lines, Ami and Yumi shared their excitement for their collaboration with the anime.

“I think our personality traits and vibes are expressed very well. You can see which one is Ami or Yumi when you look at the picture,” Yumi said. “I’m very nervous what you will think when our pictures are given life on the air.”

“But actually, that character is not speaking in a voice I imagined she would speak,” Ami said, laughing, of her character in the show. “I wanted her to speak in a prettier voice. …”

Ami also said she was overwhelmed to see how devoted the production staff members were. She even said she thought she should have enrolled in a voice acting class.

A big fan of “Usagi Drop,” Yumi said they were under pressure not to destroy the anime’s world.

Puffy is also popular outside Japan and has performed theme songs for many animated series. For “Usagi Drop,” they sing the main theme song titled “Sweet Drops.”

The song is also used as the theme song for the live-action adaptation of the anime, which is based on the manga of the same title by Yumi Unita. The movie will hit cinemas across the country on Aug. 20.

“I love the original manga, and the anime is such a good piece of work, and we sing the song as we conjure up their images in our minds,” Yumi said. “I’d be happy if you would think everything about it is great.”

“I think it will reach the hearts of girls our age, and we’d like men to see how Daikichi lives his life,” Ami said. “This is a kind of work that is not only fun but also a little thought-provoking.”

Visit the anime’s website at (http://www.usagi-drop.tv).

Copyright The Asahi Shimbun Company.