Dark Souls Cafe opens to fans of punishing game series

After a month or so of breathless preview coverage, the brand new Dark Souls Cafe, based on the award-winning, but notoriously difficult, From Software action game is finally open for business.

The new cafe channels the next game in the series, Dark Souls 2, which is slated for a March 13 release in Japan.

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Kung-fu youths film the best action video in Singaporean history【Video】

Asian films can’t hold a candle to Hollywood films in terms of worldwide popularity, but when it comes to movies with intense fighting action, Asian stars such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li shine above the rest with their impeccable kung-fu moves. But such agile movie stars are hard to come by, so film-makers often rely on filming techniques and computer graphics to boost the intensity of action scenes.

Four Singaporean youths brought things back to the basics with an amateur action video clip and showed us that you don’t need state of the art CG to show the audience a powerful kick. All you need is some powder. And of course, some sleek martial art skills.

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Arabic opening song for popular Japanese anime confuses Japanese netizens 【Video】

When I was a kid, I used to watch Japanese anime that were dubbed in English or Mandarin because the original versions were not broadcast on the local TV channels. Most of the time, the theme songs of these anime remained in Japanese, and I had fun singing along to the catchy tunes even though I had absolutely no idea what the lyrics meant. However, it isn’t entirely uncommon for international versions of anime series to have theme songs localized to the audience’s native language and tastes for music.

Recently, a clip of the Arabic version of the popular anime series, Arupusu no Shojo Haiji (Heidi, Girl of the Alps) has been making waves among Japanese netizens due to its localized opening song, which was starkly different from the Japanese original. Videos after the jump!

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Finally, 2013’s list of most dateable anime characters

We’re perpetually jealous of anime characters. Being figments of someone’s imagination, anime protagonists are universally muscular, never have to diet, have awesome super powers and pretty much don’t have to give a single thought to our pathetic real person laws and social norms, so it’s unsurprising that many fans find some of their favorite anime characters to be both sexy and highly dateable.

A recent Tokyo Otaku Mode Survey posed the question to both men and women of 100 countries which anime characters they’d most like to date, with some surprising, and some not-so-surprising, results.

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How much would the world miss Japan if it suddenly disappeared?

When you live in a country for long enough, it’s easy to forget the things that set it apart and really make it special. In largely homogenous societies, like that of Japan, it’s easy to take daily amenities for granted without ever stopping to consider that commonplace objects are unique to the culture and perhaps novel to people of other nations.

A recent book released by Earth Star Entertainment aims to give the people of Japan a fresh perspective on their island nation, as well as celebrate the many things that it has to offer to the world. The book’s title translates to What if Japan Disappeared: Japan’s Ability to Support the World, and from the few short excerpts we’ve seen, it’s obvious that Japan thinks quite highly of its contributions to the world’s economy, entertainment, and food options.

But in the grand scheme of things, how much would the country really be missed if it suddenly disappeared from this world?

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Japanese comedian “Hard Gay” continues to make waves as a professional model

If the Japanese media hadn’t bothered to point it out, we never would have even realized the newest model for American fashion boot (that’s a thing?) manufacturer Luan is none other than comedian and former tasteless gay stereotype “Hard Gay”.

We’re still looking at the promotional photos and rubbing our eyes in disbelief. It turns out that, when he made the surprise announcement in June this year that he had decided to go into modelling, the former entertainer wasn’t kidding around.

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Awkward Jimmy Kimmel segment suggests some kids start being racist jerks at around age six

Without getting into our personal opinions of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel (ahem, Conan is better, ahem), he’s had a string of pretty successful viral videos featuring kids and their crazy antics.

So, sensing more comedy gold, Jimmy dressed a bunch of kids up like politicians and asked them their thoughts about US current events, hoping for some adorable responses. After some initial cuteness, Jimmy asked how the kids thought America should take care of its debt to China, which is where the fun stopped for most of us, because one kid blurted out a disturbing proposal for solving the problem: kill everyone in China.

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American dance crew accuses Korean team of stealing moves, epic dance battle imminent?

Who knew that hip hop dancing could be such serious business? An American hip-hop dance team – or crew as they’re called in dance circles – is so miffed that another dance crew allegedly stole part of their routine that they’re taking the fight to the rival team half a world away.

The apparent ripping off occurred when a Korean dance crew busted out a brief but complex choreographed dance move that is exactly the same as a move pioneered by the American dance crew I.Am.Me on the MTV show America’s Best Dance Crew (side note: the show is hosted by none other than A.C. Slater, a well-known expert on 80s-style dance numbers).

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Kid putting off college to play video games all day? Just give up on him, Gundam creator says

There’s never been an easier point in history to waste time than now. Especially with the advent of video games and their gradual evolution into slot machine-like addiction engines, more and more kids are electing to forgo homework, jobs and even college to sink more time into their favorite title.

And parents should let them go ahead and keep doing it, according to Yoshiyuki Tomino, creator of the epic space opera anime franchise Gundam.

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Trick or Treat! A concise guide to Halloween attractions in Japan

Halloween has become one of the three largest Western-influenced events celebrated in Japan following Christmas and Valentines’ Day. Though the spooky festival’s cultural origins are not the reason why the celebrations are observed, the Japanese do enjoy getting decked in themed costumes, thus making it a major commercial celebration for many.

The widespread popularity of the festival has resulted in confectionary makers rolling out Halloween-themed goodies, restaurants preparing Halloween-inspired menus, fashion outlets retailing Halloween-related costumes and accessories, and of course, entertainment facilities going all out with Halloween events.

We’ve put together a concise guide to some of the Halloween festivities taking place this year, so if you’re planning a trip to Japan during this season, here’s what you can expect!

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Why it’s so important for Japanese celebrities to star in commercials

Even if you can’t understand what’s being said on Japanese TV, it’s difficult to miss the fact that nearly every TV spot and, for that matter, a good chunk of print ads, feature Japanese celebrities shucking various products.

To the Western eye, this can be a little baffling. Sure, sometimes commercials in English-speaking countries will fall back on (mostly) has-been stars to lend credibility to this or that used car dealership or diet product, but most of the time Western commercials star everyday folks. Most surmise this is so the consumer – his/herself most likely an everyman/woman – feels an emotional connection with the ad.

On the other hand, Japanese ad agencies hire TV and movie stars much, if not most, of the time. So prevalent is the practice that Western stars aren’t above traveling to Japan Lost in Translation-style for a week or so of juggling live human beings and shouting broken-English catchphrases for a round of Japanese ads ending in a big payday.

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What pleasures await? Ginza bar staffed by former and current porn stars

We’re sure there’s never been a man on this earth – and especially Japan – that never had at least one day dream about dining with or being, erm… served by a porn star. Except for maybe Amish men, on account of the no Internet or TVs thing.

Now that dream can come partially true at Ginza’s Yuri bar, a concept watering hole somewhere between a hostess club and an after-work business meeting space that is staffed by porn stars both retired and currently appearing in films with titles we probably can’t write here.

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Ghibli’s Miyazaki hints at possible Nausicaa sequel

For all of Studio Ghibli’s acclaim, the famed House That Miyazaki Built has never once put out a direct sequel to one of its works. While various thematic threads run through all of Miyazaki’s films, the man, for all his genius, apparently lacks the attention span to stretch a concept into two films. That or he was just really hates the idea of tacking numbers to his movies’ titles.

However that may change soon if comments Hayao Miyazaki made at a recent interview promoting his latest film and ode to tobacco smoke, The Wind Rises, are to be believed.

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Stop the presses! Scoundrels enter Pokemon tournament with illegal monsters!

In what is undeniable proof that humanity is doomed, Nintendo recently announced that up to 1,500 people, some of them adults competing against children, entered the 2013 Global Showdown Pokemon tournament using illegally acquired Pokemon.

Apparently not content to wander the virtual landscape beating harmless critters into submission then trapping them in tiny, sphere-shaped cells, these deviants used a third-party program to magic high level Pokemon into their inventory without all the legwork and random luck usually required.

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Great Scott! Back to the Future DeLorean Lego set finally here

Believe it or not, a Lego Jar Jar Binks has existed for years, but the iconic DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future has only just now been immortalized in block form.

Starting out in 1949 as a seemingly simple toy set consisting of multicolored blocks that fastened together, Lego has grown into a vast toy and ever more complicated empire spanning hundreds, even thousands, of play sets depicting iconic characters and scenes from geek culture.

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Capcom PlayStation 4 graphics technology more lifelike than a rich otaku’s robot girlfriend

We already know Sony’s PlayStation 4 is going to be great. We’ve already reserved a space for it under our TV and earmarked a couple of our old consoles for sale in order to pay for it. But this new footage from Capcom’s PS4 game engine has us eying our firstborns, wondering if it’s really worth hanging onto them when we could sacrifice them to Dark Lord Taro Aso to have him spirit us a brand new PS4 ahead of launch.

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Japanese Internet baffled by culturally confused Hollywood adaptation of 47 Ronin legend

Hollywood is carrying on its tradition of making white people the lead protagonists in movies about samurai with the 2013 47 Ronin, headed by Keanu Reeves.

But while the Japanese didn’t seem to bat an eyelid when it was revealed (spoiler) that Tom Cruise was literally the last samurai, the 47 Ronin trailer is raising eyebrows in Japan for its weird comic book treatment of the famous national legend that is said to be the most revered example of the samurai code of bushido.

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Hulu Japan announces upcoming video app for Nintendo 3DS systems

Japan’s version of the widely popular online video streaming site, Hulu, has just announced that starting this summer they will be making themselves available on the Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL. Not long ago, Nintendo announced its intention to branch out and turn their 3DS systems into an eBook reader. Now, they are expanding into the streaming video market as well, by pursuing a kid-friendly collaboration with Hulu Japan. The app’s release is scheduled for mid-August. Read More

A day in the life of a Japanese anime director

If you thought being an anime director was all cosplay groupies and cool action figures, think again. Turns out it’s long, long hours in front of a computer, less-than-fancy convenience store dinners and tons of office all-nighters.

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