New live-action Sailor Moon stage musical cast revealed

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Sailor Moon. Since the series’ start as a manga comic serial in Kodanhsa’s Nakayoshi anthology, its team of planetary-themed, pleated skirt-wearing protectors of humanity have appeared in five seasons of televised anime, three theatrical features, a live action TV drama, and numerous video game adaptations.

Sailor Moon also inspired a live-action stage musical, with 27 variations and over 800 performances during its 12-year run that ended in 2005. As part of the franchise’s 20th anniversary festivities, a new version of the musical is set to open this fall, and producers have just announced the starring cast.

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Japanese musings on odd construction equipment — Art imitating life or vice-versa?

For those who work in factories or on construction sites the equipment used might not be too awe-inspiring. However, when laymen lay their eyes on these huge hulks of machinery they can look confusing or downright terrifying.

Like looking at clouds and constellations, when people see something unusual with they can’t help but relate it to something more familiar. This is just what happened when a group of Japanese Twitter users shared their experiences with unknown machines and what it reminded them of.

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First picture from set of live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service released

First written as a children’s novel by Eiko Kadano in 1985, Kiki’s Delivery Service is the story of a 13-year-old witch who, following the traditions taught to her by her similarly magical mother, sets out to live by herself for a year to mature and learn about the world. The story achieved international fame with its 1989 theatrical anime adaptation, directed by industry legend Hayao Miyazaki and crafted by his team at Studio Ghibli.

Filming has begun on a live-action version of the story, and producers recently released the first still image from the set.

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Automated Dragon Quest playing computer levels your character up while you pay attention to your partner for once

If there’s one thing Massively Multiplayer Online RPGS (MMOs) are known for, other than their marriage-destroying addictive qualities and almost cult-like fan communities, it’s the absolutely mind-numbing repetition of doing the same quests and activities over and over again to level up your character.

Realizing computers are pretty good at that whole mindless repetition thing while humans generally dislike it, one entrepreneurial Japanese geek has figured out a way to jury-rig PCs that will perform a leveling task for you over and over again and is offering them for sale on bidding site Yahoo! Auctions right now.

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Abu Dhabime? Middle Eastern mech anime ‘Torkaizer’ turns Japan’s heads with trailer

Japanese animation has over the course of its evolution branched out into several sub-genres based on the proliferating light novels and manga series. While this is great, it seems as though the once-loved era of giant fighting robots seems to be slipping away.

Gundam‘s still chugging along and Evangelion has been enjoying its reboot, but there hasn’t been a whole lot new going on. Enter Abu Dhabi-based Alter Ego Productions with their trailer for Torkaizer which offers a fresh look on a classic genre.

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Need a ride? Take a trip to Awesome Town with Japan’s new fleet of anime taxis!

Hokkaido and its capital, Sapporo, are known for many great things: beer, chocolate, butter ramen, and a giant snow festival to name a few. Now the city is adding a fleet of extraordinary cabs to their long list of must-try experiences. The taxis, decked out in all sorts of wild, anime-inspired designs, are proving to be a hit with locals and tourists alike. But with nothing to gain from advertising, why are the cab drivers doing it?

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From Russia with love (for J-pop), we present trilingual cover band Pudra

It’s taken several years, but as anime and computer generated vocaloid songs continue to grow in popularity abroad, Japanese pop music has solidified a passionate overseas fan base. Go to YouTube and do a search for the opening or closing theme of a major recent anime hit, and you’ve got a decent chance of finding a foreign fan doing a cover, either while strumming a guitar or with the vocal-less karaoke mix from the song’s single playing in the background.

But that’s not good enough for Russian band, Pudra (meaning “powder”). This quartet of teenage girls goes all out with their anime song performances, with full arrangement and polished videos. And while many foreign cover artists rewrite lyrics in their native languages, Pudra sings all of their J-pop renditions in their original Japanese. Read More

JSDF’s new helicopter may or may not be fake, a real-life transformer

All this anime is clearly getting to Japanese people’s heads. Japanese media has fallen hook, line and sinker for this seemingly impossible, anime-inspired helicopter design, breathlessly reporting that Ghost in the Shell-style vehicles are being designed by the (Japan Self Defence Force) JSDF right now.

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Original Evangelion Design Portfolio Gives us Ripped Robots, Smiling Shinji, and One Unbelievable Plot Divergence

The anime/merchandising franchise Evangelion is one of the few animated series, like One Piece or Gundam, to have achieved true cultural mainstream status in Japan. Even people who have never watched an episode of the TV series (or seen an installment of the movie, or read a chapter of the comic, or played one of the pachinko machine adaptations, or shaved with one of the Eva razors, or eaten one of the Eva burgers… like we said, franchise) can recognize its iconic characters and giant robots.

It wasn’t always like that, though. When Evangelion (or simply Eva, as its fans call it) began airing in 1995, its robot designs took some getting used to. Whereas most anime robots were inspired by a body builder’s physique, Eva’s machines had an almost gangly appearance, with lanky limbs, stooped posture, and what appeared to be tennis shoes. Their fragile look would turn out to be a perfect match for the psyches of their teenaged pilots, but things didn’t start out that way, as shown in Eva’s early planning portfolio. Read More

Japanese Electronics Shoppers Create Works of Art on Floor Samples

With nearly all of today’s graphic, comic, and animation design work being digital, any serious artist needs a graphic tablet. These are large LCD screens that can be drawn on directly with a stylus allowing for easy uploading and computer editing of the created image.

Like most electronics chains in Japan, Yodobashi Camera has sections of its stores where customers can try out the latest products, graphic tablets included. Most of us would probably be content to scribble a few lines, doodle a stick figure, or maybe add a splash of color. But like finding a novel filled with dozens of fleshed-out characters and a gripping narrative left on Word in the laptop section, seriously talented artists have been creating true works of art on Yodobashi’s graphic tablet floor samples. Read More

Vietnamese Trade Ao Dai for Anime-Inspired Uniforms and Collars at Ho Chi Minh City’s First Locally-Owned Maid Café

One of the most enduring images of Japanese pop culture in the past few years is that of the maid café, where customers are served by waitresses with personalities to match the careful craftsmanship of their cute, frill-covered outfits. Maid cafes have become something of a cultural export, popping up in the U.S., Canada, and, as RocketNews24 previously showcased, Russia. The phenomenon has also reached Southeast Asia, as showcased by reporters from website Post Seven who recently visited a maid café in Vietnam.

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Catch-22: Guys Interested in Small Breasts are Probably the Type of Guy Girls Should Stay Far, Far Away From

New research from Japan takes a look into the psychology of male bewb preference and is shedding some unfavorable light on the inner workings of the small breast-loving male mind, resulting in an unfortunate catch-22 for small-chested women: the type of guy who appreciates your size is probably also a pervy weirdo.

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Moe Madness: Government Realizes Selling Power of Cute 2D Girls

Moe promotion is in right now! Anything can be moe-fied, and a cute persona can help sell anything from regular rice to smelly natto. Recently companies, schools, railways and even  government offices have all been getting in on the act. You just can’t get away from it! And this video has the proof.  Read More

Evangelion Director Shocks the Anime World Without Making a Movie Where Everyone Turns Into Tang

With two feature films set to debut before the end of the year, you’d have thought Studio Ghibli grabbed as much media attention as possible. But the venerated anime production house managed to put itself even more squarely in the spotlight with the announcement regarding its upcoming feature film Kaze Tachinu, or The Wind Rises.

The film’s main character will not be voiced by a veteran voice actor. That in itself isn’t so surprising, considering Ghibli’s past casting of singers and Japanese drama stars, Takuya Kimura and Junichi Okada, for the heroes of its previous movies, Howl’s Moving Castle, Tales from Earthsea, and 2011’s From Up On Poppy Hill. Like them, the lead male voice actor for The Wind Rises is a famous member of the entertainment industry with hordes of fans. However, many of them don’t know what he sounds like, because the main character will be played by Evangelion director Hideaki Anno. Read More

Somehow ‘Makankosappo’ Now Has Two Different Meanings in Japanese

Wait, do ordinary Japanese schoolgirls really have superpowers? I guess 80 percent of all the anime ever produced wasn’t lying to us…

One day a high school student, known as Chanman on her Twitter account, was hanging out in one of her school’s classrooms with some friends. Just for kicks, one of them struck a fighting pose, while the others leapt into the air as if being tossed back by a blast of chi or psychic energy. One of the girls snapped a picture, which Chanman tweeted to her followers, starting the country’s newest Internet trend.

Chanman and her friends aren’t a group of photography auteurs. This was something they did for fun, so she felt the picture needed a silly, nonsensical battle cry to go with it. Of course, coming up with a funny sounding word from scratch isn’t quite as easy as it seems. Quiquiriqui? That’s now already accepted as the Spanish version of “cockle-doodle-doo.” Cucamonga? A city in suburban Southern California. Heck, I’m still surprised “jackassery” is listed in Webster’s Dictionary, although it is the single most succinct and accurate term to describe most of my life decisions.

In the end, Chanman settled on “makankosappo.”

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Anime Backgrounds: True Works of Art Hiding Behind All Those Digital Boobs

Surprisingly, the majority of time and effort Japanese animators put into a typical anime may not be on the enormous, physics defying breasts of female protagonists, but on the one thing in any movie or TV show that we pay the least attention to – the backgrounds.

One Tumblr user set out to bring those underappreciated backgrounds to the forefront by displaying photos of anime backgrounds with the main characters digitally removed, and boy is it eye-opening. From real world Tokyo locations recreated in painstaking detail, to futuristic cityscapes that tower up and sprawl out as far as the eye can see, to almost photo-realistic close-ups of everyday items, this Tumblr blog showcases the unsung beauty of the best anime backgrounds.

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Okayama Bus Company Encourages People to Look at its Newest Employee While They Wash Themselves

Okayama Prefecture lies in west Japan, three and a half hours from Tokyo by bullet train. Known for its castle, 17th century garden, and folktale of Momotaro the Peach Boy, it’s a laid-back, slow-paced kind of place, so we can understand the difficulties local bus operator Ryobi Group faces in trying to promote the region as a travel destination for young people.

So Ryobi has made the cornerstone of its newest marketing campaign something young Japanese males will enjoy: a bus tour guide who’s also a cute anime idol. Read More

Kyaaah! The Anime Power Moves Everyone Tried (And Failed) To Master

Desperate to master the power moves we’d seen so many times in our favourite anime (Japanese animated cartoon), we practiced them day and night. Nothing impresses friends and destroys enemies like a well-timed “Turtle Destruction Wave”. Sure of our eventual success and rise to glory, we eagerly followed in the footsteps of heroes, mimicking their warrior cries and poses. Our best efforts were doomed to fail, but we kept on trying. You did too, right? Probably. Hadouken!

MyNavi News asked 286 men and women in Japan which moves they practiced as children. Here are the most common (and surprising) responses.

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Wanna be in a Real-Life Anime? Haganai Movie Looking For Extras

As if two anime series, two manga series, a game, and countless merchandise weren’t enough, the popular light novel series Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (English title: I Don’t Have Many Friends) is now to be made into a live action movie and is currently looking for extras. Read More

Virtual Reality: Taste the Sound Effects From Your Favourite Comic Book Moments

Your drink’s icy cold but the manga ice cubes in your glass are h-h-hot! Now taste the palpitating sound effects from your favourite comic books thanks to these new Manga Kōri, Comic Ice silicone molds from Runa Corporation.

Coming in three designs, ゴゴゴ (go-go-go, the sound effect for rumbling), ドドド (do-do-do, the sound of running, galloping and whirring machinery), and あ゛あ゛あ゛ (a-a-a, best translated as “Arrgh”), all appear in your glass in the same font that’s often scrawled over tense moments in a manga character’s storyline.

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