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Sometimes, diehard fans of Japanese animation just gotta have it. Now, thanks to a new innovation, anime will be as accessible as a can of pop.

According to Gamespot, next month in Japan a company called am3 will begin testing anime vending machines. The short films will be downloaded on a smart card, then played back via an Advance Movie peripheral for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance. It sounds like something out of a William Gibson novel, but it’s hoped to be a successful real thing; Am3 aims to have 10,000 of the machines around Japan by next year. Am3 also makes a GBA peripheral for viewing Japanese comics or manga.

Pretty cool stuff. The idea of using a gaming handheld to do more than just blast zombies is a keeper. And we’ll surely see some manifestation of this when Nintendo rolls its new DS handheld in the coming months. Sony is also getting into the handheld game with its PSP, due later this year in Japan and available in the US next year. Nokia has tried to add some convergence with its N-Gage mobile gaming system, but with mixed results. The handheld battle is shaping up to be a good one.

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