anime

Before Dragon Ball: See the 1984 advertisements announcing the creation of this now classic manga

Anyone remotely familiar with Japan’s comic culture has likely seen or at least heard of the world-renowned adventure manga, Dragon Ball. Honestly, thanks to the anime, the TV specials, the films, and the Hollywood movie adaption, it’s hard to find anyone without at least some awareness of this awesome title. The impact that Dragon Ball has had on Japan’s comic industry is so great that a world without Super Saiyans is hard to even imagine. But, every series has to have begun somewhere, and before the 51st issue of Weekly Shonen Jump Magazine for the year 1984, there was no such thing as Dragon Ball!

…Actually, that’s a lie. Issue number 51 certainly contained the first chapter of the Dragon Ball manga, but the hype began a short time before that. After all, it’s hard to sell an all-new series without some form of advertising. We found this to be true when the Japanese side of our RocketNews24 staff managed to dig up a copy of 1984’s Weekly Shonen Jump volume 50, one issue prior to the release of Dragon Ball. Inside, we found some awesome illustrated spreads announcing the creation of this comic wonder. It’s fascinating to see just how highly the series was anticipated, though the comic’s branding might have been a little off the mark at first.

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Become your favorite Sailor Scout with new Sailor Moon T-shirts!

Many of us girls, who grew up with magical girl anime, held tight to the fantasy that we too could become a super-powered Sailor Scout and fight evil in the name of the moon. Well, dig those magic rods and transformation toys out of the closet, because it’s not too late to transform! In conjunction with the upcoming anime and the recent Sailor Moon Musical, Premium Bandai has begun accepting pre-orders for a new line of Sailor Scout T-shirts that promise to turn you into a Sailor Scout just by putting one on!

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Anime and alcohol: The Moe Syu Summit & Sake Matsuri in Akihabara

Like cute anime girls? Enjoy the occasional cup of sake? Then head on down to the Moe Syu Summit and Sake Matsuri. Held in Akihabara, the otaku capital of Japan, the festival combines moe (cute anime girls) and nihonshu (Japanese rice wine).

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Akihabara-based magazine blasts past Kickstarter goal, aims to bring otaku culture to the world

The word “otaku” in the Japanese language is a general term for anyone who is passionate about a hobby. But in English, “otaku” has become a term that refers to people who are obsessed with Japanese culture, particularly anime and manga. But the world of the otaku is sometimes misunderstood. That’s where JH Lab, a group of “otaku of the highest caliber” comes in, hoping to demystify the world of anime and manga fans and bring the culture of Akihabara to people everywhere.

To do this, JH Lab has created Akiba Anime Art (AAA), “a brand new pop-culture magazine from Akihabara, featuring cool OTAKUs, advanced technologies, kawaii-cosplays, Dojins and much more!” They’ve started a Kickstarter campaign to make their dream a reality and have quickly surpassed their initial goal, raising over US$42,000. Supporters of the project will receive special edition illustrations from featured Japanese artist, John Hathway, and have a chance to be drawn into his amazing Akihabara picture jockey cityscape. Let’s take a closer look at this rapidly growing magazine’s “ultra otaku power.”

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Pins ‘n’ peel: This banana art will blow your mind

We don’t know about you guys, but when we were kids our parents always told us not to play with our food. Judging by the number of “banana tattoo” photos doing the rounds on Twitter today however, it looks like there are plenty of people here in Japan prepared to ignore that particular piece of parental advice in the name of art.

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The otherworldly, anime-like beauty of California’s Mono Lake

Despite the perception of Japan as a high-tech wonderland, the country is filled with natural beauty as well. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve turned a corner on a hiking trail and been greeted by a towering grove of bamboo, flurry of cherry blossom petals, or some other perfectly picturesque sight that made me stop and think “Wow, that’s something I’d never have seen back home in California.”

But sometimes the girl you ignored in high school shows up at your 10-year reunion looking so unbelievably hot you immediately regret not having spent more time with her when you had the chance. Recent Internet activity has brought to our attention California’s Mono Lake, a place of otherworldly beauty unlike anything you can find in Japan outside of a science fiction anime.

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A comprehensive gallery of transformation toys from Sailor Moon! 【Photos】

Since the announcement of a new Sailor Moon anime, fans of the franchise have grown super hyped for some awesome new adventures with the magical moon princess and her sailor scouts. Speculations about the next installment of the anime are soaring, and merchandise marking the 20th anniversary is similarly flying off the shelves. Playing to the growing age of their former audience, product marketers are eager to put an adult spin on all of the imagery that we fans of the series were so enthralled with while growing up.

But, let’s not forget the excitement we also held for the Sailor Moon toys they sold back in the day. Ten to twenty years ago, every transformation brooch and attack wand could be yours in real-life plastic, complete with light-up gemstones and tinkling chimes. Many of the items produced in Japan never actually made it overseas, and the majority of those are now considered collectors’ items, worth hundreds of US dollars! Look here for a comprehensive gallery of all the Sailor Moon toys taken straight from the anime! Read More

Achieve a super saiyan style with Dragon Ball Z hair wax

Japanese beauty product manufacturer, Creer Beaute, has just come out with a new line of professional-grade hair wax with the strength to hold your hair nice and stiff, even in the midst of an hours-long death match. Their Dragon Ball Z Hair Wax promises to hold your spiky hair chunks in place throughout even the most rigorous battles and is a real must-have for any fist-fighting, world-saving hero.

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Fourth-grader’s life goal of becoming a Pokémon Master applauded by cram-school teacher

Let’s say you’re looking for a job, and someone offers you a position as the vice president of human resources in a global logistics services company. That’s a pretty plum position, and most of us would jump at the chance.

However, offer a nine-year-old kid the same job, and he’s likely to turn it down and say he’d rather be an ice cream salesman instead. The point is kids don’t always have the most concrete handle on what professions entail, so if you ask them what they want to do for a living someday, you might not get the most sensible answers. This was definitely the case when a number of elementary school boys in Japan recently said that when they grow up, they want to become anime characters.

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Asuka’s official underwear sells out quickly on Evangelion’s online store

Currently, the new arrivals section of the Evangelion Store, an online shop filled all our favorite robot-driving, angel-fighting merchandise, lists a very special lingerie set based directly off of a camisole worn by Asuka in the second new Evangelion movie. Unfortunately for fans of the second child, the item is already sold out and in need of restocking. We’ll try to pretend that’s not creepy, considering the character is only 14… Read More

Belarusian video game and Japanese anime with German title brought together by shared love of tanks

As an admittedly old-school gamer, I sometimes have a hard time grasping the appeal of modern video games designed with light users in mind. Lining up sparkly jewels in Bejeweled? Growing tomatoes in Farmville? Where’s the excitement in that?

Likewise, the trends of modern anime can be difficult to understand, with a glut of shows lacking any discernible concept beyond “cute girls hang out together, and occasionally participate in school club activities.”

If you ask me, both of these entertainment fields could do with a lot more stuff blowing up. Thankfully, that’s just what we can expect from the new collaboration between online game World of Tanks and anime franchise Girls und Panzer.

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Rarest Pokémon card ever can be yours for a small fortune

As you’re surely aware, Pokémon is serious business in Japan, with tournaments and competitions for the myriad playable variations so viciously competitive that many resort to illegally acquiring and modifying Pokémon.

In that sense, it’s odd that one of the most valuable pieces of Pokémon memorabilia, the Pokémon Illustrator card from the Pokémon Trading Card Game, serves absolutely no in-game purpose. It is, however, considered to be one of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence.

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Keep your clothes clean with Sailor Moon bibs from high-end Tokyo department store

We were recently duped into thinking some high-quality pieces of Sailor Moon fan art were from the upcoming new installment in the anime franchise. In light of this, we’ve decided to be more skeptical about news concerning the lunar-themed heroine.

From now on, we’re not believing anything until we’re holding the real deal in our own two hands! Which is just what we did with a set of adult-size Sailor Moon bibs.

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The scent of battle: New line of perfume based on Attack on Titan anime

Japanese fans can’t get enough of Shingeki no Kyojin: Attack on Titan. It wasn’t enough just to watch the anime and read the manga. Next they wanted to dress like a Titan and drink like a Titan. Now they’re taking it one step further so that they can even smell like a Titan! Preorders are now available for a new line of Attack on Titan aroma frangrances!

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Happy birthday Hatsune Miku! Fan celebrates with amazingly detailed Vocaloid cake

Given the massive popularity of virtual idol Hatsune Miku, it’s easy to forget that she really hasn’t been around that long. The singing computer construct only recently celebrated her sixth birthday, which inspired one fan to whip up a Miku-themed cake.

This is far from the first time we’ve come across food that’s supposed to resemble the aqua-tressed songstress, and we’ve previously reported on Miku meat buns and even Miku bento. This just might be the most detailed recreation we’ve seen of the Vocaloid in edible form yet, though.

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Amazing! This 3-D itasha looks like a portal into the anime world

A true symbol of status for a whole lot of folks is the kind of car they drive. So what does it say about a person when a larger-than-life magical girl is bursting out the back of their van?! Someone is either absolutely amazing or amazingly disturbed to have so much love for an animated character. Either way, this has got to be one of the most awesome things we’ve ever seen rolling down the Japanese highway!

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2013 Fall Anime Preview – Part 2

Carrying on from Part 1, here’s the rest of the Fall anime line-up! We hope you’ve brought your notebooks!

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2013 Fall Anime Preview – Part 1

It’s almost that time again! The Fall 2013 anime season is absolutely jam-packed with something for every kind of fan. There’s no way you can watch all of these though, so have a skim through this list (put together by Gigazine and translated by yours truly) to pick out the ones you’ll be following.

Read on for the first 20 series that will be hitting screens next week.

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World-class fan art mistaken for designs from the new Sailor Moon anime, goes viral *UPDATED*

Fans have been pretty patient with the production team for the upcoming newest installment in the Sailor Moon anime franchise. After all, the previous animated TV series wrapped in 1997, so the sudden announcement of a continuation last summer was enough, in and of itself, to put them in a good mood.

Still, there’s only so much people can take. Originally slated to begin last summer, not only did the new show fail to make that air date (it’s currently been rescheduled for this winter), not so much as a single piece of artwork for it had been released. Fans started to get agitated. Sailor Moon already has some of the most iconic designs in Japanese animation. Just add a few more detail lines, slap on some shiny digital paint, and give us a peek at the new series, already! There had better be a good reason for the hold-up.

Today, however, a series of ultra-detailed character drawings surfaced online, alleged to be official character designs from the new Sailor Moon. Sadly, this turned out to be misinformation, but the designs are nevertheless incredibly impressive.

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Attack on Titan’s author causes a stir with his less-than-stellar sketches

On September 1, fans flocked to the Utsunomiya branch of Animate to attend an autograph event for Shingeki no Kyojin: Attack on Titan‘s author, Hajime Isayama. During his Shinkansen train ride to Tochigi Prefecture, the artist doodled up some ideas for pictures to draw along with his signature when meeting with his fans. He took a snapshot that quickly spread through the Twittersphere of what everyone assumed would be a superb work of art…

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