As part of its job recruitment program, McDonalds in Japan have released a (pretty adorable) anime ad. (More character info here though it's all in Japanese.) People are lovin' it - and there's a fandom already.
Whatever happened to the animators who worked on Akira? (NSFW) Find out with over 30 minutes of clips that start with a scene from 1988's masterpiece of Japanese animation, Akira, and follow each animator's career across the decades. [more inside]
From the beginning of the first episode, you can see that Yakitate!! Japan is a silly show about bread. The title, which translates to Freshly Baked!! Ja-pan, alone is enough to warn you that it's full of puns ("pan" is Japanese for bread). If you're inspired by the show or manga, here are a ton of recipes, beyond the rice cooker bread recipe from the show, which was converted to US units for the English manga translation. [more inside]
The term sakuga (作画) refers to a series of well-drawn movements in animation found in both western and Japanese animated shows. [more inside]
Onepunch-man (ワンパンマン) a comedy/superhero webcomic created by ONE in 2009 hosted on his site which quickly became a viral hit over the years. It features the adventures of Saitama (サイタマ), an unlicensed hero, and his disciple Genos (ジェノス) as they protect the citizens in Z-city from a variety of villains and monsters. However, after all his dedication to training to become a serious hero he feels empty as everything is too easily resolved with one punch. [more inside]
Ever wanted to get lost in a piece of art or feel like you're inside an anime? LA-based art duo kozyndan posted an immersive "VR" experience of their 2009 Miyazaki-esque piece "Nakano In Spring". (More info on the original piece is here) [more inside]
Satoshi Kon - Editing Space & Time A short video on Vimeo which explains the editing techniques of the late anime director Satoshi Kon used in his works by Tony Zhou. [more inside]
Disney Studios censors Miyazaki collection, pulls Studio Ghibli compilation. "On Your Mark" a video directed by Hiyao Miyazaki, and produced between early January and late May, 1995 by a team of over fifty animators at Studio Ghibli, in cooperation with other studios, is being censored from the upcoming 13-disc "Collected Works of Director Hayao Miyazaki" collection. Disney is also stopping shipments of a 2005 Ghibli Shorts collection, which features the video, along 22 other shorts that Studio Ghibli produced over the course of decades. The rationale?! Nineteen years after the video's release, one of the members of the band that did the music for the video has been arrested, along with a female acquaintance, after police found MDMA at his home. The musician was arrested Saturday, but has not been charged or convicted, as yet. Both he and the woman he was arrested with claim to be innocent.
On Megami Tensei:
Based on the Japanese horror novel series by Aya Nishitani, this one’s about a student computer genius, who’s also the reincarnation of an ancient Japanese deity, who uses his giant clunky 80s mainframe to summon up some horrifying devils. This involves some not-bad animation of a well-endowed teacher’s frilly brassiere heaving up and down as she becomes the conduit for horrifying monsters from another dimension to invade our world. Then giant piles of red goop start crushing students and a big blue hairy devil named Loki fights our student computer genius hero, who fights back with his reincarnated girlfriend and his magic sword and his pet devil animal throughout several alternate universes.let's anime presents: The Top Ten Least essential OVA (anime) of the 80s. [more inside]
How a Kids’ Cartoon Created an Real-Life Invasive Army. At the peak of their popularity following the animated series Araiguma Rasukaru, Japan imported more than 1,500 North American raccoons annually... Raccoons compete both for food and for territory with the native raccoon dog (tanuki) and the red fox, and push native owls out of nesting spots in hollow trees. Ever since raccoons attacked a reproductive colony of grey herons in Nopporo Forest Park in 1997, the grand birds have not returned to their historic breeding grounds. [more inside]
An English-subtitled trailer is now available for Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's latest film, The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu), which will premiere to English-speaking audiences at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. [more inside]
放浪息子 Hourou Musuko (often translated as Wandering Son) is one of the better depictions of transgender life in manga and anime (and maybe in any medium). It's a slice of life drama about two young people who are trans and starting middle school in Japan. The manga is being published in English by Fantagraphics, and the anime is officially licensed in English subs on Crunchyroll. [more inside]
Everyone needs professionally-trained Mascots. Especially Princesses. (Wait for the 2 min. mark) [more inside]
Each event has a different theme, revolving around a past era. Previously, Steam Garden did a Meiji-themed party — a fascinating time when Japan was opening its doors to the West, and fusing Victorian fashion with traditional kimonos and obis. This time, the code word was Celtic Fantasy. Luke describes it as “a blend of industry, fantasy, and epic adventure set to a soundtrack of exciting tribal and Celtic music.” - Japanese Steampunk, complete with bagpipes, medieval food, fire dancers and wood elves.
How Mercedes Benz sells cars in Japan: anime car chases against legendary food trucks (slyt).
Little Witch Academia is an accessible and gorgeous original anime about students learning magic and believing in yourself, available offically on YouTube. [more inside]
I had discovered the Animage comics version of Nausicaa, which provided my entry into the world of Japanese comics--a world which was to cause me to devote my life to bringing it to all English-speaking people.Toren Smith, a brilliant editor and translator and one of Japanese comics' first and greatest advocates in the English-speaking world, is dead. [more inside]
Ghost in the Shell Arise 「攻殻機動隊ARISE」 (AnimeNewsNetwork) is the newest anime tv series based on Shirow Masmune's cyberpunk manga which debuted in 1989. The new GITS Arise TV show is produced by legendary Japanese anime studio Production I. G. which has produced all of the Ghost in the Shell animated movies and tv series. [more inside]
In 1989 the Japanese Government passed the Media Betterment Act, permitting censorship of any media deemed to be harmful to society. On the basis of the imperative for libraries to resist any attempts at suppression of free speech, local governments created an armed resistance force to combat censorship. The conflict between the government and library forces continues to 2019, where the story of Library War begins. [more inside]
In 1982 the manga, Akira (previously) , began its run. It would ultimately spawn a film that would lead the way for the growth of the anime medium outside of Japan. An attempted Americanized remake (previouslyer) was in production before being ultimately canceled. The manga’s creator, Katsuhiro Otomo, in the meantime, had taken a 20 year break from long-form manga. It was recently announced that this break was coming to an end and that Otomo would be working on a new long-form shonen series.
In 2000, the anime industry was on the brink of what looked like a global takeover, and was pushing live action movies to the side. However, trouble began to take hold just a few years later, when labour issues involving long hours and low pay, along with a sharp drop in anime DVD sales, began to cause serious trouble for the industry. Although some government officials pinned their hopes in beefing up exports in order to breathe life into the economy, to industry insiders the situation looked bleak and possibly unresolvable using traditional models. However, other avenues - such as the internet, and even internet piracy - were studied for their economic effects. The results? [more inside]
Mobile Suit Gundam premiered on April 7th, 1979 in Nagoya, Japan, and with it came the now three-decade-old franchise that launched a thousand plastic model kits. WARNING: MAY CONTAIN spoilers for a thirty-year-old beloved cultural touchstone that you've likely never seen or possibly even heard of. WARNING: DEFINITELY CONTAINS many, many links to TV Tropes. 28.8k USERS: Upgrade to 56K already. You're going to need it. [more inside]
Studio 4°C is a Japanese animation studio, named for the temperature at which water is most dense, which they convey in their creative manifesto: "create only works that are dense with substance and extreme quality." The studio has produced a range of works, from commercials (Honda Edix | Nike iD REALCITY) and music videos (Ken Ishii - 'Extra' [prev] | Utada Hikaru - 'Fluximation'), to animated series (The Adventures of Tweeny Witches | Thundercats reboot [prev]) and feature-length films (Memories  | Mind Game ). More on their movies inside. [more inside]
CHARGEMAN KEN episode 35: DYNAMITE IN THE BRAIN (Youtube, 5:19)
...in which our poorly-animated, generic 70s anime boy superhero finds a unique way to thwart the villains' plans. (Via the excellent let's anime.) [more inside]
...in which our poorly-animated, generic 70s anime boy superhero finds a unique way to thwart the villains' plans. (Via the excellent let's anime.) [more inside]
Gauche the Cellist [Google video, 63 minutes] is based on a story [Japanese; English translation #1, #2] by Kenji Miyazawa, one of the most-loved poet/storytellers in Japan (Miyazaki and Takahata love his works, and have been influenced by him). The movie was made as an independent project by a Japanese animation studio, OH Production (wiki), and took 6 years to complete. It is rather difficult to make a Kenji story into a movie because there are many Japanese just waiting to rip you apart if you screw up, but Gauche has been highly acclaimed, and is considered one of the best Miyazawa movies (IMDb). The story is about a cellist, Gauche, who becomes a better cellist by interacting with animals who visit his home every night. *
In the 1990s, the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo ("Supreme Truth"), infamous for their gas attack on the Tokyo subway released a number (NSWF) of anime videos as a recruitment tool.
Doraemon - the Hurricane Child (Japanese with English subtitles) Perhaps Japan's greatest pop icon, Doraemon is an earless robotic cat who travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a schoolboy, Nobita. Originally a Japanese manga series created by Fujiko F. Fujio (a nom de plume of a manga writing duo formed by two Japanese manga artists) Doraemon would become probably the most popular anime series in Japanese history. A Daily Motion user has uploaded dozens of older Doraemon episodes, many with English subtitles).
10 short, experimental, animated films by Osamu Tezuka, godfather of anime: Jumping, Memory, Push, Broken Down Film, Mermaid, Drop, Story of a Street Corner, Genesis, Muramasa, Self Portrait. Tezuka is best known in the West for creating Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion and the mangas Buddha, Phoenix and Black Jack. Here is an interview where Tezuka talks about his shorter, experimental films.
"Welcome to the Zion Archive. You have selected Historical File #12-1: The Second Renaissance." So begins the short film of the same name by Mahiro Maeda [Flash: 1 2 - QuickTime: 1 2] -- a devastating yet beautiful work of animation. Originally produced to explain the backstory behind the Matrix trilogy, Maeda's project ended up telling a story far darker and more affecting than any blockbuster. Using a blend of faux documentary footage and visual metaphor, his serene Instructor relates in biblical tones the saga of Man and Machine, how age-old cruelty and hatred birthed a horrifying, apocalyptic struggle that consumed the world. Packed with striking imagery and historical allusions galore, this dark allegory easily transcends the films it was made for. But while "The Second Renaissance" is arguably the best work to come from the Matrix franchise, it's hardly alone -- it's just one of the projects made for The Animatrix, a collection of nine superb anime films in a wide variety of styles designed to explore the universe and broaden its scope beyond the usual sci-fi action of the movies. Click inside for a guide to these films with links to where they can be watched online, along with a look at The Matrix Comics, a free series of comics, art, and short fiction created for the same purpose by some of the best talent in the business. [more inside]
Neon Genesis Evangelion was an anime series created by Hideaki Anno, a rather mysterious and reclusive director who has declined most interviews and has been likened to Alan Moore in his attempt to up-end a major genre. Where Moore doesn't want to work on anything Watchmen-related, Anno has returned to NGE in a very major way with Rebuild of Evangelion, a tetralogy of films to re-tell the original story and present a new ending (again). [more inside]
A kotatsu is a piece of furniture used in Japan, consisting of a short table, a heating element attached to the underside of the table, a blanket or light futon to cover the table to the floor, and a flat surface on top. As Japanese houses are usually poorly insulated and not centrally heated, kotatsus are considered a cost-saving alternative to space heaters. • Example: five people sharing one. • It's called a korsi in Persia. • How to make a kotatsu. • Cats seem to love them, as do dogs. • Kotatsu vs. Stepladder.
Localfilter: Today in Tokyo, legislation passed that will further restrict manga and animation "glorifying or exaggerating illegal sexual acts." Ten of the biggest comics companies are protesting the Tokyo International Anime Fair, sponsored by the city, responding that a focus on their mode of expression is unfair. Blogger Dan Kanemitsu reports.
Cubic Mouth is a series of plush dolls and toys designed by Satoshi Fumihara, creator of MTV Japan's The World of Golden Eggs and some rather interesting ads for Nissan. (previously) If the dolls look familiar, it's not a coincidence nor is it an artistic imitation; these are legitimately licensed Disney products. (most links in Japanese but self-explanatory) Oh Disney, why do you have to be so buttoned up at home?
"In Japan, animation is not seen as the exclusive realm of children's and family films, but is often used for adult, science fiction and action stories, where it allows a kind of freedom impossible in real life. Some Hollywood films strain so desperately against the constraints of the possible that you wish they'd just caved in and gone with animation." -- Roger Ebert on anime, with this excerpt being related to Tokyo Godfathers. Ebert has been a fan of anime for a while, especially the works of Hayao Miyazaki. Ebert has reviewed 6 of the 18 Studio Ghibli films released to date, and even interviewed Miyazaki with a bit of fanboy glee. More reviews and videos inside. [more inside]
Satoshi Kon, the director of such celebrated anime movies as Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and Paprika, has died (reportedly of cancer) at the age of 47. Kon's movies dealt with the slipperiness of the boundaries between performance and reality, truth and illusion. His death leaves the status of his next movie, The Dream Machine (Yume miru kikai), in doubt. As outsourcing and a long recession have taken their toll on Japan's increasingly insular anime industry, David Cabrera notes, I cannot think of a single person alive in the Japanese animation industry who would have been a greater loss than Mr. Kon.
Nissan has been running an ad campaign in Japan based on the 1974 anime Heidi, girl of the alps. The ads are sort of
bizarre awesome and were put together by the same crew that did The world of golden eggs. The full episodes feature Heidi trying unsuccessfully to find the answer to her question '低燃費って何？' (What's teinenpi?).
(the last set of links are all Japanese, but are hopefully interesting enough without subtitles)
You’ve read about the best friggin’ manga ever on Mutantfrog and Wikipedia. Now watch it in Anime form (via Japan Probe) [more inside]
Toilet training isn't quite so easy in Japan. There's squat toilets and western style to consider. Then there are the talking toilets, and toilets that act as electronic bidets. It's no wonder then, that Japanese kids need more than a few hints from mum to master lavatorial etiquette. Meet Pants Pankuro and his friends, in their efforts to master the strange world of the Japanese toilet. [more inside]
"Nisan didn’t mean to fall in love with Nemutan. Their first encounter -- at a comic-book convention that Nisan’s gaming friends dragged him to in Tokyo -- was serendipitous. Nisan was wandering aimlessly around the crowded exhibition hall when he suddenly found himself staring into Nemutan’s bright blue eyes... 'I’ve experienced so many amazing things because of her,' Nisan told me, rubbing Nemutan’s leg warmly. 'She has really changed my life.' Nemutan doesn’t really have a leg. She’s a stuffed pillowcase — a 2-D depiction of a character, Nemu, from an X-rated version of a PC video game called Da Capo." The New York Times' Lisa Katayama on "2-D lovers" in Japan, the latest outgrowth of otaku subculture.
The global economic crisis claims another industry - anime voice actors, or seiyu. In a country that produces 60% of the world's animation, competition has always been fierce, but the rewards can be great, as seiyu sometimes achieve national fame, and are lauded with awards. The fame does come with a price, though: Female seiyu have fallen prey to stalkers, and male seiyu face the wrath of their fans should they dare marry. And for most seiyu, life isn't at all glamorous. It's estimated that 80% need to take on part-time jobs (at McDonald's, for example), or do voice acting for hentai; pornographic anime, in order to make ends meet. The fact is, the industry is glutted, and being a seiyu is no easy life.
First it was hostess bars, then host bars, then maid/anime cafes, and now this. Where will the madness end? [more inside]
Howl's Moving Castle - in papercraft. Stop motion animation of the assembly here, flickr set of the finished product here, details on the kit here. Found via.
The manga series "Death Note." The first volume. The adapted anime series, newly arrived on Adult Swim. The Japanese movie trailer. Spoilers: Possible origins. The early press. Interviews with writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata. The controversy. The collectibles. The online Death Note. The last volume, finally released in the US and reviewed.
GTA anime mod A video of a Grand Theft Auto mod with gun toting anime girls and deadly Pikachu/Doraemon attacks. Via the ever-wonderful Japan Probe.
Anime Music Videos. Yet another remixing web subculture, they're usually a source of amateurishly produced angst. From the competitive perfectionists, though, come well lipsynched, action packed, meta-mashuped, and occasionally just filthy stuff for cartoon nerds. Besides the usual metal, ballads, and pop rock, there's some Daft Punk, club, and downtempo accompaniment. Or you can just go to hell. Wear headphones and no-one will know.
Cal Henderson posted this link on superflat artist Chiho Aoshima this morning. With a little research, I found this excellent slideshow. And this, too. Then, I learned about superflat movement founder Takashi Murakami. And then I discovered this superflat commercial anime video.
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