Star Wars

The 2015 Sapporo Snow Festival! 【Pics & Video】

Every February brings another amazing display of artful snow and ice carvings, and RocketNews24 loves to bring you the details for those who aren’t able to make the trip up to Hokkaido. While we weren’t able be there ourselves last year, we are pleased to bring you the firsthand account of the 66th annual Sapporo Snow Festival. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and join us for a photo tour!

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See the dark side of the force in pure white with Snow Festival’s gigantic Star Wars sculpture

Last week, we took a sneak peek at the upcoming Sapporo Snow Festival by checking out an icy rendering of an idol trio from hit anime Love Live! Freaked out as we were by their unfinished yet crazed expressions, it turns out Umi, Honoka, and Kotori aren’t the most intimidating characters showing up at this year’s event.

That title goes to the massive snow sculpture of fallen Jedi Darth Vader, who rolled into the largest city in Hokkaido with the sort of backup that’d you’d expect from the Supreme Commander of the Empire’s space fleet.

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New Star Wars toys are rolling their way into our galaxy right, right here

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…an enormous franchise was born, and with it a clearly ludicrous amount of merchandise. Perhaps the most coveted kinds of “merch” were the Star Wars toys. Thousands of figures and collectibles were made for children, although, many were snapped up by teen and adult fans. The smartest of whom would keep them in their original packaging to preserve their mint condition and value. But what good is a toy if you can’t play with it?

With a Star Wars new movie heading to cinema screens in December 2015, hundreds of new toys will be hitting the market. Just like before, the toys are aimed, at least partly, at children, but that won’t stop the grown-up fans from wanting them too.

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Samurai Darth Vader figure and his light-katana tempt us to the dark/awesome side of the force

It’s been said that the costume design for Darth Vader, one of the most recognizable outfits in the history of film, was heavily inspired by samurai armor. The similarities are pretty easy to spot, what with the face plate and helmet backing that continues lower down the back of the neck than what’s normal for western helms.

But what if you kept going until you came full-circle, and designed a set of samurai armor based off of Vader’s? You’d get something like this awesome figure that just went on sale in Japan.

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Darth Vader to be featured in large-scale Star Wars snow sculpture at 2015 Sapporo Snow Festival

The annual Sapporo Snow Festival held in Japan’s northernmost prefecture has been delighting tourists and locals for over six decades. Each year, artists from around the world are invited to show off their talents constructing enormous structures out of ice and snow.

To commemorate the release of the seventh installment of the Star Wars series, The Walt Disney Company has collaborated with festival officials to design what looks to be the most epic large-scale snow sculpture yet, featuring enormous snow versions of Darth Vader, three Storm Troopers, a TIE fighter, and the Death Star.

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English learner’s dictionary you must have, my young Padawan!

The English-language study market in Japan is huge, and alongside the more serious stuff there are also some more oddball publications, which pride themselves on teaching everything from the correct usage of the F-word to the phrase “I just took a dump“.

From educational publisher Gakken, however, comes an awesome-looking product that, although it’s very much a movie tie-in, takes itself entirely seriously. This is the Star Wars English-Japanese Dictionary for Padawan Learners, and we can’t wait to get our hands on a copy! Ever wondered how to say “Vader wants us all dead” in Japanese? Well, now’s your chance.

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Niconico Video user crafts miniature violin-playing Darth Vader out of paper just because he can

Fandom often inspires people to invest vast sums of money in the object of their obsession. Often when you visit a real enthusiast’s home, you’ll see so much merchandise that you start to wonder whether they also thought to invest in insurance to protect them if any of it was lost or stolen since the goods’ combined value can in some cases amount to thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars.

In many ways, the amount of merch a person owns can act as an indicator of how big a fan they are, but what’s even more impressive than dropping exorbitant amounts of cash on a hobby is investing time and energy. Take, for example, this Niconico Video user from Japan who, rather than simply visiting a store or online shop to purchase a swanky new Darth Vader figurine, decided to make one out of little more than a pile of craft paper, and the end result is simply stunning.

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Make a clay Yoda figure to turn from the dark side of summer: boredom

While there is plenty to do during summer in Japan, the warmer months of the year can start to get on your nerves when poisonous creatures keep sun-loving crowds away from the beach, or those sweaty days in the office when you see a little more than you bargained for. And as owners of the beloved (providing the prequels are totally forgotten) Star Wars franchise, Disney has a solution for those summertime blues: a fun craft project to make a clay Yoga figurine.

Requiring little more than a printer and some modeling clay, this Yoda is sure to make any young padawan into a Jedi-level sculptor.

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Darth Vader to Japanese dictionary released, selling like Tusken bread

In Japan, learning English is a valuable tool in the business world. Being able to negotiate deals and win customers overseas would make you an attractive asset to any corporation. To truly get ahead, however, you’re going to want to speak like a titan of industry, and there’s perhaps no better titan to emulate than Darth Vader.

No one has ever moved up the corporate ladder faster, and talk about falling upwards! Darth Vader fell limbless into a pit of lava and landed right in a cushy gig as Lord of the Galactic Empire. Clearly this is a guy who gets what he wants.

Now Japanese and English learners can acquire his galaxy controlling gift of gab with the new Star Wars dictionary and phrase book. Let’s take a look at some sample pages.

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Our Japanese correspondent’s report from his first-ever San Diego Comic-Con

Here at RocketNews24, we often send our English-speaking staff out to cover events and places of interest related to Japanese animation and movies. This week, though, we’re pulling a 180 by sending one of our Japanese language reporters, Yoshio, to Comic-Con in San Diego.

Yoshio completed Phase One of his mission with no problems by successfully flying the 10 hours from Tokyo to California. Next on his list of objectives: a blow-by-blow report of Comic-Con’s preview night.

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What’s cuter than one kitty cosplaying? Seven cats cosplaying!【Photos】

So we’ve previously seen the fluffy Pomeranian who got an Attack on Titan makeover with its very own hand-made cardboard 3D maneuver gear and sassy Recon Corps cloak. Are cat owners going to sit back and watch as the puppies steal the limelight? Not a chance.

Check out these itty bitty kitties dressed up as well-known movie characters!

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Samurai Vader: a historical take on a favorite from a galaxy far, far away

Ever since it hit the scene back in the ’70s, Star Wars was an early pioneer of movie merchandising. Decades later the gravy train of action figures, posters, lunch boxes, notebooks continues. Underoos, Shrinky Dinks, Jell-o molds, clothes hangers, chess sets, virtual keyboards, book ends, and um… I forgot where I was going with this.

For those of you who think it’s all been done before, we present to you something new from Bandai. Behold: Samurai Taisho Darth Vader.

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New video shows the link between the Force and Akira Kurosawa’s masterpieces

Anyone who is a serious Star Wars fan knows that George Lucas drew heavily on old Japanese Samurai movies, mainly Akira Kurosawa, when making his space opera. Even if you aren’t that into Star Wars, just from watching the movies you can see the samurai imagery screaming out at you. Just take one look at Darth Vader and his stormtroopers and you can see it. But it isn’t simply that Lucas drew his inspiration from those movies, the whole story behind it actually has a few more moving parts then that. A new video from the YouTube channel Film School’d has illustrated that connection with some pretty sweet white board art to boot!

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Darth Vader makes Japanese pro baseball debut with killer home run 【Video】

Darth Vader is a multi-talented guy. From choking subordinates with an invisible force to performing impromptu amputations on members of his family, he can perform all kinds of amazing feats. But did you know he’s also a major league slugger?

It’s true! As part of a collaboration between Lucasfilm and Japan pro-baseball’s Pacific League, Vader stepped up to the plate to show how the game should be played: with light-saber bats!

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We try out the upcoming R2-D2 virtual keyboard projector!

A couple of months ago, we wrote about a set of Star Wars-themed notebooks sold over at the online shopping website Run@town. Much to everyone’s surprise, the fandom those little books stirred up caused a massive run that led them to being sold out within an single hour.

Now, Run@town is hoping that the force with strike twice with a new product that could tickle the fancy of Star Wars fans everywhere even harder. It’s an R2-D2 virtual keyboard projector! You read that right–a tiny droid beams a keyboard onto any flat surface for you to actually type on.

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Star Wars “Cos-Me” hangers now on sale in Japan – Turn your coat into Vader’s cloak!

A few weeks ago, online shopping site Run@Town began selling a series of special edition Star Wars themed notebooks. Although they were basically just a standard-issue school notebooks with jackets featuring images from the original three films, they sold out in the blink of an eye, and there are people still waiting for new stock to arrive. This week, the same online store announced another Star Wars tie-in, this time offering wooden hangers featuring busts of Yoda, C-3PO, a Stormtrooper, and smokes-20-a-day villain Darth Vader.

The best part is, by slipping them over the hanger, you can have the cast of characters wear your clothes, allowing you to create all kinds of weird mash-ups. And would you believe some of them actually look pretty cool? We have a feeling these are going to be Run@Town’s next sell-out item.

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Japanese Star Wars notebooks: Because Jedi have homework to do too

April is the start of the academic year in Japan, and for kids, parents and stationery manufacturers that means one thing: it’s back to school shopping season. And across Japan, as elementary school students carefully write their names in their notebooks for the new year, there’s a good chance that notebook will be Showa Noto brand. The company’s gakushucho (study notebooks) are a hugely popular series of school notebooks, used by school students all over the country. Showa Noto also makes character-branded goods, and we’re desperate to get our hands on one of these new Star Wars school notebooks!

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Darth Vader flower blooms in Kyoto, total Empire takeover to follow

A peculiar flower that resembles Darth Vader has just bloomed at the Kyoto Botanical Garden, causing rebels in the Kyoto metropolitan area to tremble in fear. With two deep pitted areas and a smaller one in the middle, as well as a bulbous cap with curled edges, it appears the Sith Lord has been reincarnated as a flower.

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“It’s OK to stand out.” Nissan’s new stormtrooper ad campaign is awesome

The humble stormtrooper. Shot, blown up, punched and jeered at on a near daily basis while the rebels–whom some would call “terrorists”–get all the fame and glory. It’s in their very nature to remain inconspicuous in their plain white armour, marching along in neat lines and even dying with a regimented clatter of boots on the cold metal Deathstar floors, and for that reason are rarely given a second thought by either their merciless dispatchers or the movie-going public.

But there comes a time when even the loyalest of the Empire’s helmeted servants has to get their groove on, and Japanese car maker Nissan’s newest ad campaign is allowing them to do just that.

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Star Wars Takes Over Tokyo Disneyland to Celebrate Reopening of Star Tours

Three days after every other person on the internet was posting “May the fourth be with you,” Tokyo Disneyland was flooded with Star Wars fans celebrating the grand reopening of Star Tours: the Adventures Continues. The ride offers a 3-D Star Wars experience with over 50 possible randomly selected story combinations. There’s no greater thrill than feeling as if you are rocketing through space, interacting with familiar Star Wars characters in the third dimension.

But what impressed our reporter, Tashiro-kun, the most was the fanfare that day. With around 200 Disney cast members dressed in Star Wars costume and more Disney-Star Wars merchandise than you can shake a light saber at, Tokyo Disneyland on May 7 was the place to be for Star Wars fans.

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