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Creation: 31/07/2012 09:29
Update: 20/08/2012 07:26
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bandu2 : menu_arrow.gif Article: Hakaiju' horror manga features in live-action short - 13/08/2012 08:29

Manga creator Yayoi Ogawa revealed on Wednesday that she will launch a new series in Kodansha's women's anime collections next month. She then added that she just decided on the new work's title, which is composed of four kanji (Chinese-derived Japanese) characters. She noted that the new series has her first kanji title ever; all of her previous manga titles were composed of kana (phonetic Japanese) characters or English characters. Tokyopop published Ogawa's Kimi wa Pet manga series under the title Tramps Like Us in North America. The romantic comedy follows a career woman who jokingly offers to take a homeless boy home as her pet, only to be surprised when the boy agrees. The story inspired a Japanese live-action television series in 2003 and a Korean live-action film in 2010. Ogawa's other manga titles include Baby Pop, Candy Life, Extra Heavy Syrup, and Kiss and Never Cry. "Hakaiju," an apocalyptic horror manga series by Shingo Honda, has been adapted into a live-action short film. The promotional video clip was produced by horror film "Henge" director Hajime Ohata and special effects director Kiyotaka Taguchi. The video clip is available on the "Henge" official website. "Hakaiju" is a popular manga series currently running in Akita Publishing Co.'s Gekkan Shonen Champion monthly comic magazine. Spanning seven volumes of manga digests, the manga has sold more than 1 million copies.

bandu2 : menu_arrow.gif Article: The new form of electronic gadgets retailer - 14/08/2012 07:43

One commonly accepted assumption in modern retail is that the death of the big box store is nearing. As shoppers become increasingly comfortable using tablets, smartphones, and other electronic gadgets to purchase, among other things, tablets, smartphones, and other gadgets, the future of big box electronics retailers such as Best Buy seems especially troubled. So how is it that one electronics chain has been able to expand in recent years, opening dozens of stores around the country, often in the spots formerly occupied by failed electronics brands like Ultimate Electronics and Circuit City? The retailer in question is the all-lowercase, Indianapolis-based hhgregg. In early 2010, with the economy in a sustained slump, one retail trade magazine highlighted hhgregg as a rare exceptional breed. It was “a retailer that actually grew its store base.” The chain had opened 15 new stores in the preceding few months, which at that point brought its national total up to 128. By mid-summer 2011, hhgregg was named among the top 5 hottest retailers in the country (just two spots down from Amazon) due to 36% sales growth. The hot streak continued through last fall, highlighted by the company’s opening of 14 new stores in the Chicago area on a single day in September. (MORE: 10 CEOs Who Are Trying to Do the Nearly-Impossible) Now, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, hhgregg operates 212 stores nationally, and that doesn’t count the 20 or so new locations in the works, including four opening in the St. Louis area later this month. This expansion is occurring at a time, mind you, when Best Buy, which essentially sells the same stuff as hhgregg, has plans to close 50 stores and is focusing on smaller retail locations. How is it that hhgregg is apparently succeeding in a market where Best Buy, as well as Circuit City and others, have found it difficult if not impossible to compete? It seems as if some of the explanation comes down to good old-fashioned customer service. The retailer’s “We Help” advertising campaign (which featured the Beatles’ song “Help!”) attempted to set hhgregg’s employees apart from the notoriously less-than-helpful workers at some of the country’s supposedly “Best” (hint-hint) electronics stores. In job postings, hhgregg points out that its training program “includes over 200 hours of product training,” so that “each associate is well prepared to answer all product related questions in order to help customers make the best purchase decisions.” Indeed, the retailer scores well on customer service surveys such as those conducted by JD Power & Associates. (MORE: Understanding a New Global Economy) At first, consumers might assume that they’d be better off getting assistance from a store employee working on salary, rather than commission—because with commissions, there’s an obvious incentive for the worker to upsell the customer. But executives at hhgregg say that because their employees work on commission, “they are more driven to assist customers, provide useful information, and build relationships with customers over time,” per the Post-Dispatch. (They’re also very obviously driven to produce sales, of course.) While some retailers have been slow to embrace web sales—or more foolishly, pretend online shopping barely exists—hhgregg has had a relatively forward-thinking approach. In a New York Times story published in the spring of 2011, a time when the term “showrooming” had yet to catch on, hhgregg’s president Dennis May offered his take on online shopping: “We’re not afraid of it,” Mr. May said. “We know that about 85 percent of consumers check online, and this site will allow them to compare prices, and click to talk to a salesperson” on the company’s new site, which is being developed with the interactive marketing agency Rosetta. It will be in operation this fall. Hhgregg is also upgrading its mobile commerce site. (MORE: Are We Witnessing the Death of the Big Box Store?) As for showrooming—the practice in which a shopper uses a brick-and-mortar store merely as a showroom, inspecting the merchandise in person before ultimately purchasing online, likely via Amazon—hhgregg says it embraces that too. Courtesy of the Post-Dispatch: “We definitely know it occurs,” said hhgregg’s Pearson. “So we try to embrace it.” If a customer is seen checking out prices on a smartphone, an employee will encourage the person to use one of the store’s computer terminals where they can easily check out competitors’ prices. Hhgregg will then match the lowest price, he said.

bandu2 : menu_arrow.gif Article: Middletown's Vincent Amato, Amato's Toy And Hobby Owner, Dies At 87 - 15/08/2012 07:02

Vincent Amato, owner of Amato's Toy and Hobby, died Friday at 87. Amato was known for his staunch support of the Main Street business community and for his tireless work to improve the city. Larry McHugh, president of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, said Friday that Amato helped the Downtown Business District and that he was a major contributor to many positive changes on Main Street."He was just a wonderful, wonderful man that really helped out a lot of people," McHugh said. "He's been an unbelievable role model for all of us in Middletown and Middlesex County." Amato, a Middletown native and son of Italian immigrants, was a member of the common council in the 1960s and 1970s. He first opened his hobby store in 1940 inside his father's plumbing and heating shop. The store has become a destination for those seeking toys of a past era. The store focuses on toys that have captured the imaginations of children for generations, including trains, model airplanes and family games. The store also has a New Britain shop, both of which are known for their train displays. "He was a super guy. He did a lot of work for everybody," said Buzzy Levin, who owned Mallove's Jewelers until 1992, when he turned it over to his son. Levin said he served on the common council with Amato, and during their time their together and owning stores across the street from one another, they had become "very close." "He and I worked together very closely," Levin said. "He didn't know how to say no to anybody. He was a great guy for the community. If there was something to be done that was good for the community, he was going to do it." In 2000, Amato donated space to a local dance studio in a building he owned. He said at the time that he wanted to help Vinnie's Jump and Jive, as it became known, to honor his contribution and attract young people to Main Street. Calling hours are scheduled Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. at D'Angelo Funeral Home, 22 South Main St. A funeral will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at St. Pius X Church, 310 Westfield St.

bandu2 : menu_arrow.gif Article: Man given 4-year suspended sentence for selling modded Sony PSP - 16/08/2012 06:46

In another case of serious punishment being doled out in Japanese courts for violations of the country’s new copyright and unfair competition laws, a man was given a four-year suspended prison sentence for selling a modified Sony PSP and the attached sony psp accessories. The handheld video game system was able to pay illegal copies of games, a violation of laws against software piracy. This is reportedly the first conviction under the Unfair Competition Prevention Act, however the first arrest for video game piracy was said to have been in late May, when a man was caught selling a device that allowed copied games to be played on the Nintendo DS handheld. Yuichi Shimizu was caught in April of this year for selling a used PSP on the internet, priced around 15,000 yen (approx. $190). The system’s software had been altered to allow users to get around the built-in copyright protection, meaning the game console was unable to recognize if it was playing an illegal copy. In the evidence used against Shimizu, there were emails that indicated he had received over 100 requests for additional sales, enough to make around 2 million yen ($25,350). Judge Atsutoshi Uraki of the Utsunomiya District Court said that a strict punishment must be enforced to prevent future crimes of the same nature. Shimizu’s prosecutors originally requested he receive a sentence of two years in prison, but the judge instead gave a four-year suspended sentence, meaning Shimizu can stay out of jail if he doesn’t commit any more crimes. He was also ordered to pay a fine of 2 million yen. Another news for Sony is that Sony announces 'Cross Buy'. Sony Computer Entertainment CEO for Europe, Jim Ryan, announced at Gamescom that consumers who buy select first-party Sony exclusives for the PS3 console will be able to redeem a copy of their purchase for the PS Vita platform - and vice versa. "Consumers want to interact with their content at any time, across any number of devices," said Ryan. "The game experience is no longer an individual pastime. It’s an always-on, highly connected form of entertainment." Players can already see the seeds of 'Cross Buy' in the recently released Motor Storm: RC and Sound Shapes, which are both downloadable, but relatively small in size. PS Vita owners who also own WipEout 2048 can compete in online races against PS3 players who own WipEout HD. The new 'Cross Buy' initiative will extend to full retail titles like PlayStation All-Stars, Ratchet & Clank Q-Force and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. The move is clearly an attempt by Sony to boost sales figures for the PS Vita by making it more appealing to more PS3 owners. Earlier this month Sony confirmed that combined sales for the PS Vita and PSP stood at 1.4 million units for the last financial quarter, yet didn't state what portion of those sales were new Vita units. The  PSP sold 1.8 million units during the same period in the previous year.