anime

Japan’s Top 10 Cosplay Costumes of 2012

With the myriad of cosplay costumes available in Japan, first-time cosplayers must be overwhelmed with all the choices. Luckily, Cospa, a major cosplay costume company in Japan, has narrowed down the choices, releasing the 2012 costume sales rankings. Coming in at number one is everyone’s favorite vocaloid, Hatsune Miku.

Check out the rest of the top ten cosplay costumes of the year:      

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【Photos】 Taiwan’s Jiufen — the Real-World Inspiration for Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away

Studio Ghibli’s visually stunning animated movie Spirited Away has long been this writer’s personal favourite. Its Alice in Wonderland-style adventure, the enchanting characters, the enormous, bustling bathhouse and of course the piles of mouth-watering food have had me going back to the movie time and time again since its release in 2001.

Little did I know, however, that the mountain region of Jiufen, situated just 30 kilometres from Taiwan’s capital city, is where creator Hayao Miyazaki drew much of his inspiration for the film.

Come with us now as we pair the many sights and scenes from the enchanting animated movie with their real-life counterparts.

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Two New Ghibli Films Out in Summer 2013, Posters Revealed!

In case you needed another reason to hope the world doesn’t end on December 21, Studio Ghibli has officially announced it will release two new films on the same day in summer 2013.

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【Rocket Food】 One Piece Chicken! Cook for Monkey D. Luffy at Home Tonight with this Simple Recipe

One Piece fans the world over will have no doubt lost count of the number of times they’ve seen Monkey D. Luffy chomping on a big hunk of meat.

Keen food fans that the RocketNews24 writers are, we can’t help but feel a little peckish every time we see the wide-grinning captain tucking into his meals, and we always find the food he eats, dished up by chain-smoking pirate chef Sanji, absolutely tantalising.

But now, thanks to the equally food-loving team at sister site Pouch, we have just the thing to placate our growling stomachs while we watch our One Piece DVDs or flick through our ever-growing stack of comic books: from Chef Sanji’s very own cookbook, egg-stuffed chicken!

It’s simple, nutritious and boy is it tasty. Full ingredients and recipe all after the jump >

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Anime Princess Marriage Certificates Big Hit with Japanese City

It seems like nearly every city, town, and village in Japan has a cute mascot character to represent it. Usually these are yuru-kyara, anthropomorphic characters often designed with qualities representing whatever that municipality is known for.

The city of Suwa, Nagano, however, knows that the worth of a mascot character should be judged not by how well it represents the region, but by how well it sells. And in Japan, nothing sells better than cute anime girls.

That’s why they came up with Suwa-hime, or Princess Suwa, a young anime princess from medieval Japan with her own manga, voice actress, and line of original figures and goods.

Since her creation in 2011, Suwa-hime has been such a success that the city has even started printing her on their official marriage certificates, and the nerdy public official who came up with her is likely basking in splendid vindication of his hobby for the first time in his life.

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Leave it to Japan to turn the world’s most notorious dictators into sexy female anime characters. Fascists, commys, nationalists, socialists…the gang’s all here.

When I first heard about these dictators-turned-anime, I was a little shocked that someone “went there,” but after seeing the end result, I’m starting to think that scantily clad dictator girls with cleavage galore isn’t the worst idea.

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Fan-Made “Dragon Ball Z: Saiyan Saga” Trailer is Finally Out! Take Notes, Hollywood

Big-budget live-action remakes of anime and manga are tricky business. One one hand, you’ve got to please the fans, who you know will be sitting in the theater with pen and paper scrutinizing every scene. But you also have to make money, which often means watering down the source material to make it digestible for regular movie-goers. As a result, live-action remakes are usually denounced by fans (and critics), but still manage to turn a profit in the box office.

This is why we love DragonBall Z: Saiyan Saga, a live-action non-profit Dragon Ball Z trailer made by fans not because they want to make a buck, but because they love the series so damn much.

The 5 minute 44 second trailer was finally released on YouTube yesterday after months of production, and looks absolutely amazing. Check it out below!

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【Rocket Food】 Dragon Quest Slime: Cute, Delicious and Made in Four Easy Steps!

Dragon Quest fan? Hungry? Have a few spare minutes? You’re in luck, my friend!

Thanks to the culinary creatives over at Japanese website Bistro Animeshi, we’re about to bring you the first of what we hope will be many recipes for character and anime-themed food! That’s right, over the past few years we’ve tendered to your loins, tickled your funny-bones and now we’re aiming to tantalize your tonsils.

If it’s in the Ghibli movies, we’ll help you recreate it! If you once saw One Piece‘s Luffy shove it down his neck, we’re on it. From the tasty to the downright weird, we’re here to help you cook up your anime dreams.

Welcome… to Rocket Food!

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Custom-Made Transparent “Pain PC” Featuring Window8 Moe Mascots, Yuu & Ai Madobe

First, there was “itasha,” or “pain mobile,” a car so nerdy it hurt.  Then there was a “painful” helicopter created by the Japan Self Defense Forces that featured manga-influenced designs.

Now, there’s a transparent “itaPC,” or “pain PC,” featuring the official, Japan-exclusive Windows 8-themed “moe” mascots, Yuu and Ai Madobe.

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SoftBank Funds New Social Network for Collectors and Cosplayers

Want to share your plastic Gundam model collection with your friends but too embarrassed to upload it to Facebook?

On November 29, Japanese internet company SoftBank and subsidiary Yahoo! Japan launched WONDER!, a social network where otaku can upload photos of their PVC figures, plastic models, cosplay, and original illustrations.

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Chinese Artist Recreates Iconic Evangelion Scene with Interpretive Dance and Fire Cups

It’s been a little over a week since Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo opened in theaters across Japan and the film has already grossed 2.8 billion yen (about US$34 million), making it the most successful film of the year domestically.

If you still can’t get enough Eva, Chinese artist Lu Yang has created a short tribute film for the celebrated animated series that involves high fashion, interpretive dance, and Chinese fire cupping.

True to the spirit of Evangelion, the film is artistic, bizarre, and slightly disturbing.

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Evil Villain “Colonel Muska” Leaves Japanese Orphanage Stacks of Goodies

Here’s a news story that managed to warm even our cynical, Internet-jaded hearts to the core.

A man going by the name of Colonel Muska, the nefarious villain from Studio Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky, has made a surprise donation to an orphanage in Tokushima city on the island of Shikoku, Japan.

The mysterious stranger left a pile of expensive leather school backpacks as well as a copy of the Ghibli feature film on DVD outside the orphanage, along with a letter simply saying “Please think of this as an early Christmas present. Yours, Colonel Muska”

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Japanese Politician Takes a Stand Against Parents Naming their Children Pikachu

It’s not easy being a kid. If you’re fat the other kids make fun of you; if you’re skinny the other kids make fun of you; if you get good grades they make fun of you… Kids don’t need a genuine reason to be tease their peers; they can make one up just as easily.

But when your parents name you after their favourite thing – be it the weather on the day you were born, the place you were conceived or their favourite snack food – things get awkward for poor little Windy Latrine Butterfinger.

Although authorities have been known to intervene when parents try to call their child things like Akuma, meaning devil in Japanese, and @ as once rejected by authorities in China, the vast majority slip through the net. Since kanji, the Chinese characters used in the Japanese writing system, are based on meaning and can be read in a variety of different ways, parents giving their child a kanji-based name (some choose phonetic kana script, but this is usually just for girls) are able to choose both their child’s name and how it will be written.

For the most part, parents choose names that convey their love or hopes for their offspring, but in the land of otaku nerdism, sometimes parents just can’t help but get carried away.

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Japanese Plastic Figure Stop Motion Videos Look Amazing, Make Little Sense

This might be what Toy Story would look like if it were made by Japanese nerds: amazing, fluid animation, incomprehensible story line. There’s even an appearance by Hentai Woody

Check the video, called “The Worst Thing”, below:

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Japan Takes a Shot at Minimalist Pixel Art; How Many Can You Recognize?

Minimalist Pixel Art is the term given to a series of simplified, multi-colored block representations of iconic characters. They quickly achieved meme status after appearing on the web in 2010, and were even given physical shape with a German ad campaign for LEGO earlier this year.

The original images have also made the rounds in Japan, where they are known as “pictures that people well get if they know them”, and have recently inspired some Japanese netizens on internet message board 2channel to start a minimalist pixel party of their own.

Take a look at the images in the gallery below, and don’t feel bad if a few fly over your head: you’ll need a pretty firm grounding in Japanese culture to recognize a few of them.

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Here’s What Anime May Have Looked Like in Ancient Thailand

As the popularity of Japanese anime has spread around the world, many foreign artists have paid tribute to the genre by drawing characters from popular anime series in the style of their own country’s animation.

Sometime this turns out really cool, like the cast of One Piece reimagined Disney-style. But for art styles that aren’t as easily adaptable as Disney, such cultural crossovers can get a little bizarre.

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Mercedes-Benz Creates Anime Series or Commercial… or Both

Mercedes-Benz seems to be pulling out all the stops to advertise their 2013 model of A-Class car, the A 180.  In fact they have created a six-minute animated feature starring the A 180, in a rollicking race for the ultimate prize titled Next A Class.

Luckily, I grew up in the era of advertisements thinly veiled as cartoons. All the Noids or Cavity Creeps in the world couldn’t sway my purchasing preferences.  Years of Chester Cheetah and Fido Dido have hardened my mind to the subliminal messages animations can carry.

So although this anime short was well made and entertaining, it in no way swayed my opinion of this sleek new A 180 that perfectly combines the high performance of a sports car with the economic sensibility of a compact.

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