The TMMN Megacast #17 – The Bad Box Art GigaCast

Hey, everybody! It's the January MegaCa-Oh, who am I kidding? It's February. I know it. You know it. It's time to just accept it. But despite its belated release, we have a great show for you this month. The classic crew is finally back together including myself (Main Finger), Heat Man, Tabby, and our prodigal son/conspiracy theorist, AWD!

We also have a special guest. Do you want to see what they look like? Just look in the mirror! We asked you to call in with your input on Bad Box Art Mega Man and you did. Well, at least some of you did. We selected three of you to be heard during our discussion. But don't worry! The rest of you are still part of the show. Just be sure to stick around until the very end to hear the rest of the calls.

We also discuss all three volumes of the Mega Man GigaMix manga. But first, Heat tells us all about his trip to Wonder Festival and the many Rockman figures he saw.

All this and more on the latest (like... really late) MegaCast: The Bad Box Art GigaCast!

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Signs Point to UDON Nabbing Gigamix (Pretty Much Confirmed)

Although we haven't gotten an official notice from UDON yet, we have a pretty good indication they have picked up Rockman Gigamix, Hitoshi Ariga's most recent Rockman manga. UDON's distributor, Diamond Book Distributors, has Mega Man Gigamix listed among their June 2011 releases, under the ISBN 978-1-926778-23-5. Sounds pretty definitive if you ask me, but we will seek word from UDON in the meantime. For the uninitiated, Rockman Gigamix is a new three volume manga series from Hitoshi Ariga, and features stories surrounding Mega Man 3, the Stardroids and Duo. The second volume had a contest where many people's user submitted robots were used in a brief scene.

It's certainly something to look forward to!

Thanks for the tip, super sigma!

Update: Diamond's catalog contains volume 1's localized cover, as well as this flavor text:

"The original blue bomber is back for more action-packed adventures in Mega Man Gigamix! In this volume, Mega Man travels to outer space to tangle with Dr. Wily's Robot Masters, as well as the mysterious Break Man! Then, it's the ultimate race! Mega Man, Bass, Roll, Proto Man, Ice Man, Guts Man, and even Dr. Wily himself go head-to-head in a race that spans halfway across the globe!"

The volume is 224 pages, will retail for $12.95, and has an expected shipping date of May 4th, 2011. All three volumes are expected to ship bimonthly (every two months I gather).

Rockman Gigamix 3 in Review

Late last month, Hitoshi Ariga released the third and final volume of his new Rockman Gigamix manga series, and faithful fan Rock Miyabi has written up a nice review for us, as well as provide a detailed recap on the forum. It should be noted both the review and recap will contain tons of spoilers, though at this point there's no word yet on an English localization (but I wouldn't be surprised if UDON has their eyes on it). At any rate, be sure to give Rock Miyabi your thanks! And now without further ado...

When You Wish Upon a Stardroid

Your body-swapping, electronic dreams come true...

Hitoshi Ariga's climactic third volume of his Rockman Gigamix series released in mid-September. For those unfamiliar with Ariga's work, the Gigamix series is his third major manga adaptation focusing on the Blue Bomber, following 1996's Rockman Remix and Rockman Megamix, which was initially completed in 1998. While Ariga tweaked and reworked his artwork for a re-release of Megamix earlier this decade, Gigamix represents the first major new Rockman manga from Ariga in over a decade. Volume 3 picks up where the second volume began, concluding the tale of the alien Stardroids, who are running amok on Earth. While the first volume of Gigamix is essentially comprised of two standalone episodes (one focusing on the events of Rockman 3, and the other Rockman: Battle and Chase), there are some connections and key images from the Rockman 3 tale that make their way into the Stardroid storyline. Where as most of Ariga's work is broken up into numerous chapters or multiple stories in one volume, Volume 3 of Gigamix completely breaks that mold and is solely it's own 230+ page tale. Even though Volume 2 was arguably the same way, it actually was broken into 5 chapters.

As you would expect with otherworldly baddies, the battles with the most focus in this book take place in space. The cover image is pretty fitting, showing an almost lifeless, battle-damaged Rockman floating peacefully above the Earth. His arms are outstretched, almost as if he needs a big hug from the world to get him through this ordeal.

There is a little bonus imagery to begin the book. Ariga has included a smaller version of his R20 tribute artwork, which has a menacing Wily surrounded by the dark, shadowy figures of his own Robot Masters and boss creatures. Also included is a black and white bust sketch of the Stardroids surrounding Terra.

When we last saw Rock and crew in Volume 2, the Stardroid leader Terra had summoned his ultimate weapon, Dark Moon, in order to destroy the planet. Dark Moon's powers were causing the people of the world to go crazy, and despite their best efforts, neither Light nor Wily's robots were able to do much damage to the alien bots. On top of that, Blues had been mostly out of action due to his power generator issues, which have been causing him nothing but pain. But when things were looking bleak, suddenly a new robot made a flashy entrance...by crushing his fist right through the chest of Venus. And that robot we all know as Duo.

Despite the early tease, Earth's heroes of course can't lean solely on Duo to save them from the alien menace. And to be honest, I'm glad he doesn't play too key of a role in the heat of the battle. As is common with Ariga, there is a lot of focus on teamwork and camaraderie between the Robot Masters. Of course the bosses from each respective game generally have more of a connection with one another in Ariga's world, but in Gigamix, Wily, Light and Cossack's bots are all forced to work together. There is a wonderful scene where we get a glimpse into Rock's mind after he's been knocked out of commission. A voice begins to chastise him for his constant battles, and eventually it's the words of Cut Man that remind him what he's been fighting for. We see all the Robot Masters are working together and laughing and enjoying each other's company. And eventually they all use their powers together to fix and utilize Wily's Skull Castle to power a team into space for the final battle.

While Ariga has always been able to balance humor with a more serious tone to his stories, Gigamix has definitely felt a little darker and mature compared to his previous works. There are a few examples that stand out. While exploding robots are nothing new to the Rockman series, the addition of "blood" (or oil if you'd prefer) coming out of wounds or a character's mouth add to the grittier feel. In terms of character design, Dr. Cossack's daughter Kalinka has definitely matured during Gigamix. Throughout Megamix, she was always just a little shorter than Roll and looked the part of a 9-year-old, as she was in Rockman 4. But as time has moved forward both in the world of the characters and in real life, Gigamix Kalinka is becoming a mature young woman. She now rides a motorcycle and is tall enough that she is basically at Shadow Man's height. And she's not afraid to get in his face, either. Artistically, Ariga has come a long way since Rockman Remix, but small details like that in his art that are constantly refined help add to the overall vibe of his tales.

The prevailing theme in this story seems to be sacrifice. Mostly sacrifice for the greater good, although in the case of Terra dismembering Saturn by pulling out his eye and devouring it, just to gain his Black Hole powers, maybe not so good. While Rock has always put himself on the line to save the world and his friends, many other characters get their moment to shine in the spotlight. The most notable:

- Shadow Man, who not only dutifully protects Wily, but also is resigned to giving up his life up in order to give Blues a fighting chance at survival.

- Blues, who has kept going in and out of consciousness, but leaves his trademark scarf wrapped around the wound of his pet Tango as he jettisons into space, only to get caught in his own kamikaze mission against Mars.

- Cut Man, who literally gave both his body and robotic soul up in order to save Rockman by downloading all the data from Rock's electronic brain and letting Dr. Wily and Dr. Light overwrite it onto him.

- Dr. Wily, who has to swallow his pride and work side-by-side with Dr. Light once again, not only for his own safety, but to also repair and save the one creation of Light's that he most wants to destroy.

Underneath the cover jacket, the front cover has a creepy, oozing Mercury as the central image behind the title. Surrounding that central image are single, full-body concept sketches for each Stardroid, along with Sunstar; similar to the character file sketches provided in Megamix. The back cover has a chibi doodle of Ariga himself, along with Wily and one of his favorite Robot Masters, Heat Man (who's lid has closed on his head). But the most wonderful part of the back cover is that Ariga gives special thanks to each and every person who participated in his contest to create "throwaway characters" that were used in the second volume. Around 200 fans submitted at least one idea, and the total number of entries was just under 300 in total. While a whopping 100 fan-created characters were drawn by Ariga...and immediately obliterated by Terra..., obviously not every idea could make the final cut. So for people like me who tried their best, but whose character wasn't picked, it was a wonderful gesture on Ariga's part to thank us and acknowledge our efforts in that way. I was totally surprised to see my alias printed on an real, published manga, and I kinda doubt that will ever happen again in my life. Like many of the people who love his artwork, creativity, and devotion to Rockman, I'm definitely thankful Mr. Ariga even gave fans like us the chance to be a part of his work.

In an entry on his blog on September 27th, Ariga mentioned that he wasn't able to fit in everything he wanted due to page-limit restrictions, but even if it feels incomplete, he felt it was his best work. I definitely would second that thought. His art in this volume is very polished, with plenty of dynamic action and chock full of details. I love the larger-sized A-5 format that has been used for throughout Gigamix and the most recent Megamix releases. It's not too large, and allows you to appreciate the art even more. Sure, there are plenty of images I'd love to see on 8x10-sized paper, but the A-5 format works well. Even though we all know in the end, Wily will be Wily, the story has enough twists and turns, with the stronger depth and characterizations lots of us would love to see used in the games for a change.

Even if this was the last volume of Gigamix, there are enough hints that Ariga isn't done 'Mix-ing' quite yet. After the final battle, as Light's bots work on rebuilding after all the destruction, Wily appears on a screen in his Rockman 8 attire. Of course he's back at it again. 8 beams of light are seen teleporting out of the newly remodeled Skull Castle and Rockman 8 Robot Masters, along with Forte and Gospel, appear in the credits. And many of us were left wanting more after his mini manga for the Rockman 9 Arranged Soundtrack, so we can all hope that Ariga will be able to craft at one more series to cover the games and characters he hasn't fully touched on yet.

For a more image-detailed summary of what goes down in Volume 3, you can read my rundown and take a peek at a bunch of sample scans in this thread on the forums. The book has been a little harder to find on the usual import sites, but keep an eye out at YesAsia for its availability if you're having a tough time finding it on eBay. Get ahold of it if you can! You won't be disappointed.

Rockman Gigamix 3 Arrives in Two Weeks

The third and final volume of Hitoshi Ariga's Rockman Gigamix series was due out back in July, but got delayed. However, Tanomi is now reporting that the manga is due out on the 27th, just two weeks from now. They've also posted the volume's cover, which again indicates a space-themed storyline, as expected, but doesn't let on to much else. The product description merely states how Ariga creates fascinating stories using the classic series world and characters. Past Gigamix volumes have featured Rockman 3 and Rockman World 5, so good bets for this volume would be Rockman 8 and Rockman 10. Again, Tanomi has the manga listed for release on September 27th, and for ¥1,260 (roughly $15.04 US). Additionally people ordering from Tanomi will receive a limited addition postcard, much like in previous Gigamix campaigns.

News Credit: CAP Kobun (Twitter)

See Ariga and Swaile at FanExpo Canada

This news is a little late in coming; honestly, I thought we had already reported it, but nope.* For those interested, fan-favorite Mega Man manga artist Hitoshi Ariga is scheduled to appear at FanExpo Canada, which takes place from August 27th to 29th, courtesy of our friends at UDON Entertainment.

In addition to Mega Man Megamix, Ariga was responsible for the art in the manga adaptation of the anime series The Big O (as seen at right), as well as helping put together the massive R20 artbook, which saw release here as Mega Man Official Complete Works and Mega Man X Official Complete Works.

As of August 12th, Ariga's part in the Expo will be to host a Q&A session at 4pm on Sunday in Room #203D.

In addition to Ariga, the voice of Lan Hikari in the MegaMan NT Warrior anime, Brad Swaile, will also be in attendance. Swaile, who has also voiced Light Yagami in Death Note and Quatre Winner in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, will be packing a much busier schedule than Ariga, too.

At 5:30pm on Friday, Swaile will be hosting an autograph session in Room DD, and another on Saturday at 2pm in Area BB. Following that, he'll have a "Meet Voice Actor Brad Swaile" event at 3:30pm in Room #104D. And finally, at 4:30pm on Sunday, he'll have yet another autograph session in Signing Area AA.

Of course, there is much more to see at FanExpo. In addition to anime, there is also gaming, comic books, sci-fi, and even horror. You can find out all about it here.

* I think UDON may have been planning to pass along an announcement, hence the wait, but it's already on the FanExpo website. And as Bass likes to say, "he who hesitates is lost," so we've decided to go ahead and run the story.

Mob Robos Revealed: Get Your Magnifying Glasses Ready

You may remember, some months ago, Hitoshi Ariga held a "Mob Robo" contest for his upcoming comic Rockman Gigamix Vol. 2. Basically, Ariga accepted entries for throwaway characters created by fans, who would appear briefly in the comic and then get destroyed. Truth be told I kind of forgot about the contest, even after Gigamix 2 released in Japan a couple weeks ago. I was only reminded when my close friend AWD! giddily harassed me with the knowledge that one of his characters, Volt Man, got featured in the comic (pictured above).

Seeing the pages for myself, it appears Ariga did what he could to cram as many entries as possible into the pages. There are quite a few, and I've already found characters created by a couple other friends of mine. So if you entered a design, there may be good odds yours made it too. And that's what I'm here to let you check. Below are the pages that contain all the Mob Robo ideas Ariga accepted. Be warned that they open up to HUGE images. Then you just need to get to browsing, and hopefully you'll see your character!

Additionally, some original entries were also printed inside the book's back cover, so I'll share that as well.

Now the next thing you need to do is beg Capcom and UDON to get Rockman Gigamix published here in North America!

Many thanks to AWD!

Rockman Gigamix vol. 2 Bonus Postcards

As we previously reported, Rockman Gigamix vol. 2 is releasing in Japan on February 27th. But here are a couple of postcards that will be included with the manga, depending on where it's ordered from. To the right is a nice Stardroids postcard that's included with Gigamix 2 from ordering the book through Fukkan.com. And below is the postcard from ordering through Tanomi Shop, which is a bit more enigmatic. It appears to be two men standing over a junky looking (and kind of familiar) robot. While I'm never one to speculate, I'd almost say this depicts a young Dr. Light and Dr. Wily, perhaps in their university days. So aside from the Stardroids and Duo, it appears Gigamix 2 may also explore the past of the two scientists. We'll just have to wait for it to come out and see!

News Credit: Dark Messiah Blog

Commence Drooling: Gigamix Postcards

Certainly, Turbo Man may be facing a little bit of an indignity at the moment, but never fear, for Hitoshi Ariga is here to make all wrong things right! Those who purchased the recently-released Rockman Gigamix from certain retailers in Japan received a nice little bonus: postcards featuring more, exclusive art from Ariga. And one person who managed to acquire all three, Dark Messiah, has decided to share:

Click for a larger view.

If by some chance you are in a position to get one (or more) of these cards, the left comes from e-Capcom, the right from Tanomikumo, and the awesome middle card comes from Fukkan.

I can't help but wonder if Ariga's version of Turbo Man can actually transform in a realistic fashion. After all, he has dabbled in TransFormers: Galaxy Force, so maybe...

In any case, I suppose now is as good a time as any to begin begging and pleading to UDON to include these in the English version of Gigamix when it eventually arrives.

News Credit: Protodude's Rockman Corner

Ariga comments on character submissions, gives us some pointers

A few days ago, we posted that Hitoshi Ariga was taking applications for fan created characters to appear as "throwaway characters" in upcoming issues of Rockman Gigamix. So far he is purely delighted about the number of submissions that have come in so far, including those from outside of Japan. However, Ariga also feels there may have been a little something lost in translation. For that reason, he wants to give us some specific pointers to keep in mind when submitting entries from now on:

  • Please do not enter robots created by Dr. Light and Dr. Wily.
  • The chosen robots that appear will not be villains.
  • The chosen robots that appear will not face Rockman.
  • They are defense robots who are protecting the Earth from enemies from space.
  • The storyline for the upcoming Gigamix issues is set in stone, so these characters will not have any impact in the story.
  • The robots will not do anything in particular in the comic, and probably will not have any lines.
  • It is possible the robots will be destroyed the moment they appear (so don't expect the selected robots to do anything cool).
  • Not every robot submitted can be used, unfortunately.

He also makes a point that should he select any robot who was entered with the intention of being a Wily robot or the like will not have such a background in the comic and apologizes. Now of course, I made it pretty clear in the last post these would be throw away characters, and there was no point in making a character overly cool or with a deep background. But I can't blame people for wanting to enter their cherished designs, even if it's just to show off. Just remember that this is Ariga's work, and I imagine he's slightly embarrassed to bring this up. Then again, I do feel most non-Japanese entrants had the right idea, and plenty of Japanese entrants are "Something Man" entries themselves. Nevertheless, Ariga could have easily ignored non-Japanese entries as well, so I think this is rather big of him.

Anyway, just keep those points in mind and keep the submissions coming!

Ariga opens "Moburobo" oekaki; get your character in upcoming Rockman Gigamix

OB1254982028527Ariga recently released the first volume of his new Rockman comic series Rockman Gigamix last week. Now he is looking for fan-made designs to use as extras in the remaining two volumes of Gigamix to come. And how is he taking applications? With oekaki! With this oekaki board, you can draw your character entry on the spot or upload an image you've already created by other means. So what are the conditions for entry? Well, Ariga himself says to just have fun with it. Bear in mind, though, these are just extras, or rather "yarareyaku," which so far as I can tell means "for the purpose of being destroyed," so basically scrubs. Therefore there's not much point in creating the most bad ass awesome character you can think of - he's probably going to appear in just one or two panels with a bunch of other characters before being wiped out! Also, I'm certain drawing anything gross or offensive won't get you anywhere.

If you're unfamiliar with oekaki, you may want to try out on our own board first (and I imagine our oekaki gang will be excited about this news, too). The Moburobo board uses only Shi Painter and Shi Painter Pro. And of course, it will be in Japanese, but you probably only need to draw your image, and then enter a title, description and your name. Perhaps I will make a simple guide if I try to enter a character myself.

But hey, how cool would it be to have your own character appear in a Rockman Gigamix comic? Very cool! So by all means, give it a shot. Besides, I love stuff like this. It's always a chance for us outside Japan to show our support for Rockman/Mega Man!

Thanks to Fireman for the tip.

Update: Now that I've had time to check out the site a little, I've found it's extremely simple to put up your pic (as I'm sure some readers have found already). Unless you're really dying to draw your image from scratch in the oekaki applet, just go here to upload your own picture. The fields are all in English, so no confusion! And you don't need a password to upload a picture. That field is for you to create your own password, so you can go back and update your post if you wish.

Also, pictures need to be in JPG, GIF or PNG format, no greater than 400 x 400 in dimension, and no greater than 100KB in file size. If your picture isn't uploading, one of more of these things may be the problem.

Rockman Gigamix Vol. 1 coming September 30th

ƒƒbƒNƒ}ƒ“GmixVol1ƒJƒo[.inddThe first volume of the long anticipated Rockman Gigamix, a new Rockman comic series from Hitoshi Ariga, will go on sale in Japan September 30th for ¥1,200 (roughly $13 US). Though details are foggy at the moment, the comic seems to contain Rockman comics that were previously published in special editions of Kodansha's Comic Bombom, but is also expected to contain new material as well, encompassing the story of Rockman 3, etc. Rockman Gigamix was previously delayed over the decision to change Gigamix from a two volume set into a three volume set. Volumes 2 and 3 don't have official release dates yet, but 2 is expected to release by the end of the year, and 3 by March of 2010.

News Credit: Tanomikomu, Fireman