Little witch Kiki and Little Mermaid Bakery bake three special pastries, we eat them all

The live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service is out now, and whether the movie should be judged on its own terms or if it can only be evaluated in comparison to the 1989 animated version is a matter of individual belief. One thing everyone can agree on, though, is that the new film will give you a craving for baked goods, as several scenes feature the breads and pastries made and sold by the bakery young witch Kiki boards at.

In anticipation of these cinema-induced hankerings, Little Mermaid, one of Japan’s largest and most popular bakery chains, has released an assortment of Kiki’s Delivery Service-themed goodies. As journalists (and hungry people), we were so excited that we decided to sample the whole lot.

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Special subway cars in Kyoto are perfect for travelling anime fans

Kyoto is best known as a bastion of Japan’s traditional past, where the visual and performing arts developed during the feudal era still command the highest respect. Japan’s former capital is also making a bid to become a center for modern popular culture as well, though. 2006 saw the opening of the Kyoto International Manga Museum, and the city also plays host to the annual Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair.

Kyoto’s love for anime is truly a two-way street, as the city serves as the setting for numerous animated series. Apparently the relationship between anime and Kyoto has progressed to a point where the two feel comfortable with an overt display of public affection, in the form of a special subway train plastered with anime graphics.

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Which manga heroines do Japanese comic fans wish they could be?

A complaint commonly lobbed against manga made for young men is that the main character is just a blank slate for the reader to project himself onto, allowing him to vicariously live out his fantasies. That may be oversimplifying things quite a bit, but it’s also hard to deny that many male Japanese comic heroes possess three traits that men almost universally aspire to, namely being strong, cool, and surrounded by women in incredibly short skirts.

But what about women who are manga fans? If given the chance, which female character would they like to be?

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Eva Store offers official replica Misato gun holster

Arm yourself with this replica holster, modeled after the one used by NERV’s Misato.

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Bring the boiler room of Spirited Away to virtual life with Oculus Rift

The commercial release of the virtual reality headset known as Oculus Rift should be just around the corner, and with the technology looks to be something great allowing you to do everything from being Hatsune Miku to sleeping next to Hatsune Miku, we’re sure that gamers and fans of gadgets alike are positively itching to get hold of it.

Until then, those of us not willing to shell out for a developers’ kit will have to bide our time with YouTube testimonials such as this one done by Cymatic Bruce. In the video Bruce takes us on a virtual tour of none other than the boiler room setting from Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. Even better, the way he presents it allows us all to watch in 3D without the need for an Oculus Rift or any special equipment.

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Kiki’s Delivery Service side story being written by original author – online now and free!

Recently, my wife and I went out to see the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service. As we waited for the film to start, we swapped impressions of the 1989 anime version of the story, which like the live-action version is an adaptation of author Eiko Kadono’s 1985 children’s novel of the same name.

My wife mentioned that one of her favorite characters was Osono, the owner of the bakery where witch-in-training Kiki boards. Osono’s actually got quite a few fans, due to her tough yet kind personality and mature outlook on life.

How exactly Osono managed to acquire those admirable traits is the subject of a new serial by Kadono, a coming of age story focused on the baker who would eventually serve as Kiki’s mentor.

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Fan sews amazing felt versions of Totoro, Sailor Moon, Final Fantasy Black Mage and more

As someone who learned to drive a car before he could ride a bike, there are a couple of things that slipped through the cracks on my path of acquiring basic life skills. Sewing, for example, is still an arcane art to me. After all, why go to the hassle of making my own clothes, when there are plenty of stores perfectly willing to take my money in exchange for a new shirt or pair of jeans?

But maybe I’m missing the point. After all, knowing how to sew doesn’t just mean you can design your own wardrobe, it also means you can create awesome anime and video game figures made entirely of felt.

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SMAP×SMAP variety show features Colossal Titan on his first day at work

With today’s economy, even colossal titans need extra work. Luckily, their tall statures make them a perfect fit for construction.

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Dragon Ball-style ‘Hunter x Hunter’ illustration delights netizens

It’s simply amazing to see what is created when manga artists draw other artists’ original characters. We’ve seen it before when the likes of One Piece‘s Eiichiro Oda and Death Note’s Takeshi Obata celebrated ten years of Naruto with original fanart. Now here’s one from manga artist, Takumi, who has chosen to draw popular manga, Hunter x Hunter, in the style of Akira Toriyama, the man behind classics such as Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball.

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New online manga service features 200 titles, three selectable languages, and no fees

Kadokawa, one of Japan’s largest publishers, is almost ready to roll out its new online manga service, dubbed Comic Walker. There’s so much to like about it that we’re having trouble picking our favorite part.

The voracious media consumer in us is attracted to the large library of titles, some of which can’t be read anywhere else. The ability to instantly translate dialogue into English or Chinese is a plus, too, especially for those time when you’re not up to the challenge of leafing through your Japanese dictionary so you can read the kanji for “particle beam cannon.”

But perhaps best of all is that Kadokawa’s digital manga service is absolutely free.

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Donguri Kyowakoku, the store with nothing but Studio Ghibli anime items

Shopping for anime merchandise isn’t always as easy as you’d think in Japan. While any toy store will be stocked with goodies from currently airing, elementary schooler-targeted TV series such as Pokémon or Precure, what if your tastes run towards more sophisticated fare, like the animated classics of Studio Ghibli?

If you’re looking for stuffed animals or accessories inspired by the films of legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki and his cohorts, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Donguri Kyowakoku, a whole chain of stores that sells nothing but Ghibli items.

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Rock band Good Morning America performs new Dragon Ball Kai ending

Japanese rock band Good Morning America (no relation to the American television show of the same name) is contributing their song “Haikei, Zarathustra” (Dear Zarathustra) as the new ending theme of the anime series Dragon Ball Kai.

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From Frozen to Gandalf, Madrid’s cosplayers find inspiration in unlikely places【Photos】

The Japan Chibi Weekend, held in February in Madrid, is a relatively small player in the anime convention world. Entry costs just 7 euros (US$10),  and its name even means “mini” in Japanese. That doesn’t stop anime and manga fans having a blast though, with a great mix of Japanese and western characters on show in the cosplay competition and around the convention.

Although the two-day event focuses on manga, anime and Japanese culture, the competitors’ handmade costumes included an impressive line-up of Disney and Dreamworks characters, too! Let’s take a look at what was on offer in the Spanish capital at this year’s event.

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Tokyo luxury hotel offering special Galaxy Express 999 anime guestroom

While his heyday predates anime’s big break in the English-speaking world, manga artist Leiji Matsumoto is still the creator of some of the medium’s earliest titles to be translated into English, including Space Battleship Yamato (known overseas as Starblazers) and Captain Harlock.

One of Matsumoto’s most enduring hits is Galaxy Express 999 (pronounced “three nine”). It’s been entertaining fans for decades, and now true devotes of the epic sci-fi odyssey can further their ambitions to eat, sleep, and breathe 999 by spending the night in a special anime-themed room at a luxury hotel in the middle of Tokyo Bay.

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We don’t care about the calories, just give us our Gundam donuts!

Despite the traditional image of anime fans as couch potatoes whose consumption of junk food is only rivaled by their consumption of panty-flashing animation sequences, it’s only recently that gastronomy and Japanese animation have officially combined forces. Recently we heard about the giant, 10-patty Attack on Titan burger, but what if your tastes run less towards towering monsters and meat and more in the direction of giant robots and sweets?

If that’s the case, maybe you’d prefer a Gundam donut.

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Our impressions from the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service film

At the same time that director Hayao Miyazaki’s drectorial swan-song, The Wind Rises, opened in wide release in North America, the live-action version of Kiki’s Delivery Service was released in Japan. The coming of age story of a young witch in training is best known internationally for the 1989 Studio Ghibli animated film of the same name, but how does the new version, from production company Toei, compare with the anime classic?

Eager to see if Kiki was better left in two dimensions, we checked the film out for ourselves.

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Life-size Attack on Titan monster to appear in projection-mapped form in Kawasaki

For such an ordinarily listless bunch, hit anime Attack on Titan’s titular monsters sure have been busy lately, collaborating with hamburger chain Lotteria, appearing in their first smartphone game, and even helping one fan get a job.

But now comes literally the biggest Attack on Titan promotion yet, as a life-size recreation of the 60-meter Colossal Titan is set to menace Japan in projection-mapped form at a shopping center in Kawasaki.

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Akihabara fans vote for favorite pink-haired heroine

A recent poll was conducted on the streets of Akihabara to see which pink-haired anime heroine is the best. Pink-haired characters have gotten a bad rep among otaku on the internet where the phrase “Inran Pinku” (lit. Slutty Pink) is thrown around. Apparently, pink-haired characters are seen as promiscuous, so the question was are there any likeable and “pure” pink-haired anime girls? Here are the answers according to 100 fans:

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New dating simulator’s heroine is a doll….literally!

Dating simulator video games are only now starting to build a fan base internationally, but digital romance is such an established genre in Japan that it’s already evolved into several even more segmented sub-niches. Unsurprisingly, most early titles revolved around a high school boy with a harem of willing lasses circling around him. As time went on, dating simulators for girls caught on, resulting in the otome (“maiden”) game where gallant suitors compete for the leading lady’s affections.

Regardless of the protagonist’s gender, though, there have been so many dating simulators released in Japan that you have to do something pretty unusual to stand out from the pack now. We’ve seen titles where the love interest is an alpaca or pigeon, but now comes a romantic video game starring a girl who’s been transformed into a traditional Japanese kokeshi doll.

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Cheeky TV ads for ninja booby video game get full marks for honesty and humor【Video】

Even though it was first released way back in 2012 in Japan, the rest of the world is only now getting its first taste of video game Senran Kagura Burst. The Nintendo 3DS game saw a North American release last November, and was finally made available to European gamers just days ago.

But for an 18-month-old title to attract buyers who could be playing with their shiny new PlayStation 4s and Xbox Ones, Senrann Kagura Burst’s European publishers have to be very clear about what the game excels at, which is just what they’ve done with their tongue-in-cheek ads that make no bones about the game’s most distinguishing feature: gigantic bouncing boobs.

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