anime

This street looks exactly like Totoro, if you have horrible eyesight and squint really hard

Tsutsuki, near Yokohama, is making waves in the Japanese media for its unassuming highway that, when viewed from the right angle at night, forms the vague silhouette of Hayao Miyazaki’s beloved character, Totoro.

The lighting on the street in question was apparently deliberately planned by the city so that it would look like “an animal with ears”, but even planners hadn’t intended it to look like studio Ghibli’s famous cat-like mascot.

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Film critic proposes censoring latest Studio Ghibli anime for overseas release

The newest theatrical anime from Studio Ghibli, Kaguya Hime no Monogatari, opened just over a week ago. While we came away impressed, the movie-going public at large hasn’t been coming out in the numbers expected for a release by the legendary animation production house.

Now, one film critic is speculating that the movie may have trouble bolstering its lackluster box office numbers with overseas revenue, stating his opinion that Kaguya Hime no Monogatari may not be screenable in certain markets outside Japan without censoring multiple scenes.

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Anime fans ecstatic over Taiwanese fan-made short “Attack on Railgun”

A Taiwanese film production group has released their short film Attack on Railgun, which merges two popular anime series into an incredibly well made and high quality homage. The short combines the worlds and characters from Attack on Titan and A Certain Scientific Railgun to create an exciting new story in the live action movie. Japanese fans of the anime series have been impressed with the CGI, the plot line and especially the fact that all of the actors speak Japanese in the short film!

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French artist gives new perspective on Sailor Moon and Disney princesses with X-ray illustrations

In recent years, there has been a backlash against the numerous princesses in Disney’s films. Criticisms have been lobbed at films spanning the many decades of the studio’s animated canon, with complaints that earlier princesses are too inactive, and that more recent heroines are too sexualized in design.

Regardless of whether or not you agree that Disney’s princesses are having a negative influence on the impressionable minds of children, I think we can all agree that what’s most important is not how someone looks, but rather the quality of their character and integrity. The highest form of beauty is inner beauty, and it’s important that we help our children develop the skills necessary to look inside of a person to see what they’re really made of.

And I can’t think of a better way to do that than by examining X-rays of Disney princesses.

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Japan now has Evangelion-themed electric car chargers, and they are awesome

As waste gasses from fossil fuels continue to choke our planet and money-grubbing businessmen propose plans to frack (and that’s not some coy euphemism) the very ground we walk on to get at even more of the stuff, more and more people are doing their bit to be kind to the environment. Solar panels can be seen up on the roofs of residential buildings, people separate their waste so that as much of it can be recycled as possible, and more consumers than ever are choosing electric or hybrid vehicles.

And now, Japanese motorists have another reason to go green: Evangelion-themed electric car charging stations!

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The real reason Doraemon is blue? New sadder tale rewrites the robot cat’s past

Japanese children have been growing up with the resourceful robo-cat Doraemon since his creation in 1969. And while the original manga may have ended more than 15 years ago, the anime series and movie installments continue to provide fresh conflict for the funny feline and his human friends.

But with so much material to keep up with, there are bound to be a few contradictions along the way. Recently, the widely understood reason behind Doraemon’s blue coloring was flat-out replaced by an even sadder version of the tale. So, why is it that a robotic cat from the near-distant future is earless and blue?

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Why is Studio Ghibli’s latest movie struggling at the box office?

We recently made the trip to our local theater to watch Kaguya Hime no Monogatari, the latest full-length feature from anime powerhouse Studio Ghibli. But while we felt the film delivered the same high-quality we’ve come to expect from the studio, we were also struck by how different it is in style and tone from what audiences have become used to in Ghibli’s anime.

As a matter of fact, the shift from the norm seems to be a little too jarring for many fans, who aren’t filling seats in the same droves they ordinarily do for Studio Ghibli’s offerings. The situation is severe enough that one Japanese film critic is already condemning the movie’s opening weekend box office numbers as a financial failure.

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Parents create amazing Studio Ghibli mural for daughter’s nursery before she’s even born

As a kid, I remember watching reruns of Mighty Mouse on TV with my dad. It was a fun little show, but what made it really special was knowing that he enjoyed it when he was growing up, and that he was sharing his memories and at the same time he was making new ones with me.

Likewise, it’s been a couple decades since Japanese animation gained a steady foothold internationally, and we’re starting to see overseas fans of the medium having kids of their own. But how to pass on that anime passion to your kids? You could go the direct route and administer a severe beating each and every time they ask to watch say, Disney’s forgettable 2000 CG film Dinosaur instead of something with more artistic merit, like Hayao Miyazaki’s Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

Or, like one couple, you could go with the gentler option of painting an awesome mural of Studio Ghibli characters in the nursery, letting their quality speak for itself.

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South Park’s anime-style “Princess Kenny” video arrives in Japan, chuckles and confusion abound

A recent storyline in the often controversial, always hilarious animated series South Park focuses on the run-up to the Black Friday sales, and sees the fictional town’s inhabitants turning into murderous, bargain-hunting zombies prepared to gouge one another’s eyes out if it means getting a new TV for a fraction of the normal retail price.

At the same time, a war rages between the town’s kids over which console – Xbox One or PlayStation 4 – they should band together to nab in the sales, and results in Microsoft’s Bill Gates handing out weapons to young Xbox One fans (one per child, in the name of safety) to aid them in their struggle. Not wanting to be outdone, Sony strikes back by granting the leader of the competing faction – none other than parker-wearing mumbler Kenny – the power to become a real Japanese princess, transforming him into an doe-eyed anime beauty, complete with his own Japanese theme song.

Of course, it didn’t take long for clips from the show to make their way to Japan…

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Hard-to-swallow cannibal manga Pupa to be released as anime for public consumption

Pupa is the touching (horror) story of extreme devotion between siblings, chronicled in a manga series. It tells the remarkably original tale of how a young girl became a monster craving to feed off human flesh, and how her older brother offered up his own living body as her “food source”. Spoiler alert: it takes a lot more than one meal to finish him off! If you’re anxious to check out it out, the anime version of Pupa was previously scheduled for autumn 2013, but a new release date of January 2014 was just announced via Twitter.

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Run, fat boy, run! Moe cuties return to help men shed pounds in running app Burn Your Fat With Me 2

With Thanksgiving looming over our North American readers and the eatathon that is Christmas not far behind it, the folks at Creative Freaks are clearly worried about our waistlines. Following on from the success of last year’s Nenshou: Burn Your Fat with Me!! and July’s insult-you-until-you’re-slim-’em-up Nenshou for Girls, the developer has just released a true sequel to the fitness app-cum-dating sim, taking a slightly different approach this time around.

If having abs of steel and not breaking into a sweat halfway through your evening meal aren’t incentive enough for you, perhaps dating a moe-style cutie and having her be your personal trainer each day will be enough to get you off your couch and into your running shoes?

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Doreamon get his first ever CG overhaul in upcoming movie, “Stand By Me: Doraemon”

Those encountering the wide-mouthed blue robot that is Doraemon for the very first time could be forgiven for not realising that he’s supposed to be a cat. And even once filled in we’re sure that few people would ever imagine that this earless robo-feline should be any more popular than the thousands of other quirky anime characters that exist in popular culture today.

But for most Japanese, and perhaps a handful of Westerners who were introduced to the anime as kids, Doraemon is a seriously big deal, and fans are currently buzzing with excitement following the news that one of Japan’s most-loved characters is not only getting a brand new movie of his own, but will be appearing in gorgeous 3-D computer generated form for the first time ever.

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Anime lies! Akihabara is actually “ugly and boring,” Chinese netizens say

If anime culture were a religion, Tokyo’s Akihabara district would be its holiest site. With all the maid cafes, manga shops and cute “moe” cartoon girls plastered everywhere, Akihabara is usually a must for visitors to Japan interested in all things geek. However, Chinese netizens recently argued (on a site that hosts pirated Japanese anime nonetheless) that the geek mecca is actually really boring and Japan is using anime to make other countries think it is cool and beautiful. Sharpen your claws and join us after the jump for more.

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7-Eleven’s One Piece “Gomu-Gomu no Mi”: Looks kind of like an alien brain, but it sure is tasty

Always keen to cash in and come up with some new character-themed promotions, Japan’s 7-Eleven recently began selling blueberry and whipped cream-filled bread made to look like none other than Gomu Gomu no Mi Devil Fruit from the One Piece manga and anime.

We couldn’t resist finding out what the fruit that made Monkey D. Luffy the man he is tastes like, so when we spotted the new sweet bread at our local combini we grabbed one right away. Join us after the jump for our full taste test.

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Video game and anime themed leather wallets for all your video game and anime spending needs

Do you have an important date or job interview coming up? Why not seal the deal by flashing your handmade Mega Man wallet so everyone knows you’re playing with power? And if you don’t have a Mega Man wallet, then Sova Leatherworks can make one for you!

Steph M. is the artistic talent behind Sova Leatherworks in Tacoma, USA. Although she sells a wide range of patterns on her wallets, it’s her self-confessed geekiness which led to the series of handcrafted wallet designs based on video games and movies that have been attracting attention in Japan.

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Too hot to be a nerd? We visit the fabled Animate worker who has the ladies of the Internet talking

You’ve already been introduced to Yuya Uchida, the attractive worker at the Osaka Nipponbashi branch of Animate, a chain of anime and manga stores in Japan. He has inspired countless Internet debates regarding his status as both an otaku and a hottie, prompting one user to comment, “Hot guys should be banned from watching anime.” We knew we had to go out to Osaka to find this mythical hotaku™ and see for ourselves if he really is as irresistible as the Internet makes him out to be.

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Vocaloid’s fandom evolves beyond the music and becomes the face of young Japanese otaku

Last month, we posted an article capturing the changes in anime art style over time. These adjustments in overall style can come on so slowly, but when laid out side-by-side, they become so blatantly apparent, it’s amazing that such a large breadth of drawing styles could all come under the umbrella of Japanese anime. It would seem that with every passing decade there comes an attraction to a different art style.

In the special interest magazine, Febri volume 19, there is an interesting report called Portrait of a Modern Otaku, which classifies these trends in popular Japanese anime according to “generations,” starting with Space Battleship Yamato and all of its fans falling into generation one. Generation two is represented by Gundam, while fans born of Evangelion and erotic dating simulators belong to generation three. Today’s twenty-somethings likely identify with the fourth generation of fans frontlined by The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. And finally, the youngest bunch, teenagers and below are classified together with none other than Kagerou Project.

But wait. How could it be that an offshoot of Vocaloid, the computer voice simulator, is the poster child for this most recent generation of otaku? The development of Vocaloid fandom itself, holds the answers.

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After waiting so long to watch the live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service trailer, we kind of wish we hadn’t

Despite being over 20 years old, Kiki’s Delivery Service is still one of the most beloved films from legendary anime house Studio Ghibli. When news broke earlier this year of a live-action remake of the story of a young witch coming of age in the big city, fans were elated.

Since the first still shot of lead actress Fuuka Koshiba dressed as heroine Kiki was released last May, we’ve been waiting with bated breath for a trailer. When we heard one had finally been released, we pulled it up on YouTube with all the excitement of a kid tearing open a present on Christmas morning.

Of course, sometimes you’re a naughty kid and Santa brings you a lump of coal, which is just how disappointed we felt when we saw the special effects for the live-action Kiki.

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Fan of recent swimming anime, Free!, finds clever way to crawl into bed with the characters

September 26 of this year marked the end of the series finale of the popular swimming anime, Free!, though fans of the series remain highly active on the Internet and at doujinshi (fan comic) events.

Recently, there’s been a real flurry of excitement within the Free! fandom on Asian blogs and online gossip columns over one fan’s genius idea to get the series’ token sweetheart to lie between her sheets. Because who wouldn’t want to sleep next to such beautiful 2-D biceps, right?

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Glico gets some cute new mascot characters, but no one can figure out why

For decades snack company Ezaki Glico has supplied Japan with delicious munchies such as Pocky, Pretz, and Papico, not to mention a slew of other snacks that don’t happen to begin with the letter P! Until now, the company name was enough to grab people’s attention and promote the purchase of their tasty products. If pressed to choose an icon with which to represent the well-known brand, many might choose the 300-meter running man, as seen along the Dotonbori Canal in Osaka. However, not even he could be considered a true mascot.

Now, breaking tradition, Glico has just released official images of their all-new official mascot characters, Lico and Guri. These anime-style characters are the embodiment of cute and cool, but are pulling some conflicted reactions from Japanese Internet users. Take a look at their introduction video and decide for yourselves whether the creation of these characters is welcome or just plain weird.

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