manga

Manga and anime declared good study tools for kids

Children’s books and television shows these days are nothing compared to the ones that many of us had growing up. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. I think back fondly on those days of watching Rugrats and Scooby Doo marathons and scoff at the thought of modern-age children rotting their brains with Spongebob and Annoying Orange. But the fact of the matter is that letting kids subject themselves to those books and animations is important to the development of reading comprehension and critical thinking skills, though the shows now seem like garbage to our fully-developed minds.

In Japan, the same sort of issue arises with kids becoming obsessed with manga and anime. Parents may try to insist that their children put away the comics and pick up a real book. Some may even go so far as to throw out their child’s comic magazines as they begin to pile up. However, according to one of the professors at Tama University, Yuichi Higuchi, in his short essay “Are you a Bad Parent?” keeping kids away from their anime and comics is a terrible thing to do!

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Calbee partners with Baki the Grappler creator, Unleashes tyrannosaurus steak-flavored potato chips

Keisuke Itagaki, creator of the Baki the Grappler manga series, has teamed up with Calbee to produce Grappler Baki potato chips.

For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Baki is a young wrestler who travels and fights around the world, honing his skills in the hopes of following in the footsteps of his father, Yujiro, to become the strongest fighter on the planet. In staying with the theme of strongest, Itagaki decided the Baki-themed chips should be flavored after one of the most powerful creatures to walk the planet, Tyrannosaurus rex. According to Itagaki, the packaging of the chips is also designed to reflect “forcefulness” and “intensity,” traits associated with the popular manga character.
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Afghani Embassy picks up a copy of Saint Onīsan to learn about Japan’s religious views

For those learning Japanese, manga can often be a good text. With the help of pictures and rather short sentences we can read along without much effort and perhaps enjoy the studying process a little more.

Well it turns out a member of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Tokyo thought the exact same thing. While out on a stroll last Sunday he picked up a particular manga that he thought would help him learn both the Japanese language and what Japanese people think about religion.

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Line of Attack on Titan capsule toys soon to be released, give children nightmares

The hit anime and manga title Attack on Titan (Shingeki No Kyojin) has grabbed readers and viewers with its combination of high-flying action and surprisingly disturbing giants.

More than just being violent, something about the titans in this series strikes the creepy chord perfectly in people. So when figure maker Kaiyodo released four capsule toys based on the series they wanted to make sure that feeling came through.

And come through it did. Be warned that some of these figures depict scenes of violence and gore.

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Chinese fan-produced anime poster is crammed with heroes: we lose count at 115

Who needs copyrights when you’ve got over nine dozen iconic anime characters?

The past few years have seen a handful of anime projects featuring anime characters crossing over from one franchise to the other. Famed thief Lupin III crossed paths with the great detective Conan himself in 2009, and the pirates of One Piece have teamed up with both omnivorous master hunter Toriko and Dragon Ball hero Son Goku.

But what if instead of just combining one or two series, you tried to combine all of them?

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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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Quiz: Can you guess which hugely popular manga artists these desks belong to?

My first apartment in Japan so small that when my brother came to visit, he joked that we’d have to breathe in shifts so that we didn’t use up all the oxygen in the room. A bit of an exaggeration, but the place was tiny enough that all of my movements had to be controlled and precise, unless I wanted to knock something over and start a domino effect that would topple everything I owned. That meant living small, with only the things absolutely necessary for life in this transient plane of existence.

I blame this lack of proper furniture for my not producing a manga comic masterpiece during that phase of my life, and not my complete lack of artistic talent or ability to craft a narrative about anything other than the trials and tribulations faced by handsome online writers as they romance their legions of female groupies. After all, just think of what I could have created if I’d had one of these desks belonging to some of the most successful manga artists in the industry…

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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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J-World Tokyo: One Piece, Naruto and Dragon Ball Attractions at Shonen Jump Manga Theme Park!

Fans of the iconic manga periodical Weekly Shonen Jump should be clearing their schedules and marking down July 11 on their calendars. For on this day, the clouds will part and a shaft of light will appear as the doors to a new manga paradise will open, offering five Naruto, One Piece and Dragon Ball attractions, along with stacks of merchandise and themed food to save us all.

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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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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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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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So Buddha and Jesus Walk into a Real Estate Office in Tokyo…

Since 2007, Hikaru Nakamura’s Saint Young Men manga comic series has followed the daily lives of two young men who just happen to be the revered central figures of Christianity and Buddhism. The divine figures have reincarnated, not so save the souls of humanity, but to spend some time enjoying a low-key lifestyle while sharing an apartment in the comparatively sleepy town of Tachikawa in West Tokyo. The story follows their day-to-day lives, including Buddha’s fascination with the manga based on himself and Jesus’ long locks and wispy beard getting him mistaken for Johnny Depp by schoolgirls at a local convenience store.

To celebrate the upcoming theatrical animated adaptation of Saint Young Men, publisher Kodansha is allowing the free reproduction and use of a portion of the series.

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Junior High Schoolgirls Flood and Vandalize School, Scrawl “Dead School” and “Death” on Premises

Ah, it’s spring again – that time of year when young boys’ and girls’ thoughts turn to mayhem, destruction and chaos.  Boy, this story sure takes me back to my preteen days.

On 1 May, Police in Odawara City, Kanagawa Prefecture announced that they referred two 13 year-old girls to the Odawara Child Guidance Center after they were found to have caused approximately 490,000 yen (US$5,000) of damage to Sakawa Municipal Junior High School.

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Schick Brings us Limited Edition Evangelion Goods For Rei-zor Sharp Enjoyment

It’s a good time to be an Eva fan in Japan right now. With Lotteria campaigns and Sega giveaways to coincide with the DVD and Blu-ray release of Evangelion 3.33, we’ve been running around town with some serious Eva fever. And the only cure… is more Eva!

Coming to the rescue is Schick, joining the tie-in celebrations with four different razor holder figurine sets, seven earphone jack accessories, and a chance to win an Eva clock. Plus, an animated interview with Gendo, to get his take on the razor series.

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Manga Critic Calls for Revolution, Wants Japanese Comics to Read from Left to Right


Imagine you’re a comic book fan, browsing for something new to read. Intrigued by what you’ve heard about Japanese manga, you pick one up and open it to the first page. And wow, there’s a dead body in the first panel! What an intense opening. But wait, why is the corpse getting stabbed again, then suddenly standing up and running about? Is the character a zombie or something?

No, you’re just reading the panels out of sequence. Unlike the left-to-right flow of comic panels in the English world, manga are designed to be read from right to left, then top to bottom, starting on the right-hand page before continuing to the left.

Confused? Manga creator and critic Kentaro Takekuma says you shouldn’t have to be, and he has a plan to change all that. Read More

Parents Group in Russia Deems Death Note ‘Harmful Matter,’ Requests Ban

On 24 April in the Ural region of Russia, a parents group published an open letter to President Vladimir Putin asking that the popular Death Note manga series be regulated in all its forms (print, anime, live action).

Death Note was a Shonen Jump series that ran from 2003 to 2006 and centered on Light Yamagi, a student who stumbles upon a magical notebook which has the power to kill people simply by writing their names in it.

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DVD release of Evangelion: 3.33 Brings Us a Q Burger, a Spear of Longinus, and the Chance to Win a Life-Size Rei Doll

April 24 is a special day for Evangelion fans, with the DVD and Blu-ray release of the 2012 movie Evangelion 3.0. To commemorate this exciting event, popular burger chain Lotteria is offering up a nine-level monster cheeseburger that cleverly plays on the “Q “ in the Japanese part of the home release title: Evangelion: New Movie Edition Q (Q sounds like kyuu, which is nine in Japanese) and the English part of the home release title: Evangelion 3.33 (3+3+3=9). Cheeky puns with buns! While the burger looks like something only Mr. Sato would eat nine of, the free present with purchase and the chance to win a 158cm-tall Rei doll has us very excited.

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Increasing Demand for Anime-Inspired Japanese Nail Art: Ita Nail Boom!

Ita (痛), meaning pain, is the latest buzzword doing the rounds in cool Japan. It’s used to describe something emblazoned with an anime or manga design, so bright and out-there that it’s painful to the eye. A suit with a cute anime girl pattern inside? That would be the itasuit. A car completely covered in graffiti-style tags and wide-eyed characters? The itasha. And what about nails with different character designs on each nail? That’s itanail. And according to a recent online survey, itanail is becoming more and more popular by the day.

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