The Major, or Motoko Kusanagi, is the protagonist of each incarnation of the Ghost in the Shell manga-anime-merchadise franchise. If you care to google, Motoko Kusanagi is autocompletes to “a man” and “is hot,” then “in bed with a boy” and “in bed.” For a science-fiction philosophy character named for her military position, we (the audience — although I don’t limit this to those who have experienced the fiction, as the Major is iconic) sure are caught up in thinking about her gender and sexual status. Why could that be?In a still ongoing series, Claire Napier looks at the Major's body throughout the various Ghost in the Shell mangas and anime series. NSFW, some spoilers. [more inside]
Multiple websites are out there to help you dine like an anime character. Typically, they consist of anime screencaps plus either adapted or invented recipes that attempt to replicate the dishes. Okonomiyaki, dainty strawberry cakes, gyoza, Ponyo's ramen, coffee jelly, you name it! There's the earnest Real Anime Food. Then there's the sillier Recipes for Weebs, which has functional indices. Anime Recipes hasn't updated in a year, but it has a long list of recipes, including the fish pie from Kiki's Delivery Service. [more inside]
Abandoned artificial satellites. Tanks jettisoned from shuttles. Refuse generated during space station construction. This junk, space debris, is traveling around the Earth at speeds approaching 8 km/s. This is a story of 2075, a time in which this space garbage has become a serious problem. This is Planetes, a near-future hard sci-fi story that focuses on a small group of debris collectors who are part of a larger company. Both the original manga and the anime adaptation set small personal stories and dramas in the realistic context of near-future space exploration, complete with radiation sickness, impacts of growing up on the moon, and of course, the dangers of space debris. The reality of the show is emphasized by a recent JAXA presentation was titled PLANETES could be a true story?: Instability of the current debris population in LEO, and the English DVDs include interviews with NASA staff who work on assessing orbital debris.
' “Episode one, and a robot sprouts from a lump on a boy’s forehead. I certainly did not see that coming” (Tamplin 304). Director Tsuramaki was quoted in an interview, “I'd like you to think of FLCL as imagination being made physical and tangible, just as it is for me when I take whatever is in my head and draw it.” (Surkult). [FLCL, pronounced] Furi Kuri, or Fooly Cooly, keeps its audience on its toes waiting for the next bizarre turn of events. However, if the viewer pushes past the first layer – which can at first be confusing – they can reach the heart of this anime. This series is, quite simply, a coming of age story.' Of course, it's not really that simple, so let's dig in! [more inside]
[Two Guys] decided that they have spent too much time in paradise and decide to take a vacation to Japan. Through the entirety of the film, there is no major conflict, there is no primary antagonist, there is no massive plot that involves saving the world or some other thing like it. It is a simple, but comic, slice of life story, their small daily adventures while exploring a modern Japanese culture, such as shopping, going to amusement parks, saunas, and pools, with it all ultimately culminating in a celebration of the Christmas holiday and a ushering in of the new year. Saint Young Men, a buddy/room-mate comedy anime about Buddha and Jesus that is perfect for the online GIF culture. [more inside]
On April 11, 1994, a red-headed wandering swordsman appeared on the pages of the Weekly Shōnen Jump. It was ten years after the end of the Boshin War, and Himura Kenshin no longer answered to the assassin's name Hitokiri Battosai. At his side, he wielded a sakabato, a katana with the cutting edge along the inside of the blade, in his heart an oath to never kill again, and on his cheek, two intersecting scars that formed an "X." In the the years that followed, Nobuhiro Watsuki's creation, Rurouni Kenshin, jumped from the pages of the weekly magazine onto television screens and finally into theater screens as a live action movie. [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]
Hapuriainen makes dress ups / character creators: Disney Girls dress up; Pokémon Trainer creator; Naruto character creator; W.I.T.C.H. Guardians maker; and 64 others. [more inside]
Kotaku has an article about the latest Japanese schoolgirl trend: fake martial arts attacks à la Dragon Ball. The spoofed Kamehameha attacks aren't new, but the ubiquity of mobile phone cameras makes for some hilarious shots. Previously on Kotaku.
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]
"Few characters are as memorable as he: tall, black-cloaked, face scarred, eyepatch over his right eye, and ever-ready with his saber-rifle. He is the epitome of Leiji (Reiji) Matsumoto's male hero, an SF version of the wild-West lone gunslinger." The Space Pirate Captain Harlock is coming back in a new CG movie, a decade since his escapades were last animated, and back with Toei Animation, who first brought his one-eyed scowl to the small screen 35 years ago. If this is all news to you, read on for more of the mysterious man who fight's for no one's sake. [more inside]
Manga artist Wisut Ponnimit has created a series of short animated vingettes that are sure to enthrall viewers (links are to the right). To get started, here's Back to Me (grab those tissues) , Morning, and Present. Prepare to say "awww".
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]
Gokicha, a four-panel manga about the troubled life of a cute cockroach girl, has received an anime adaptation. The first episode features newspapers, cats, and human kindness.
Yomiko Readman is a librarian with amazing paper-manipulating abilities who works for a secret division of the British library, when she isn't a substitute schoolteacher. The division, run by the ancient Mr. Gentleman, is in charge of collecting and monitoring rare books throughout the world. And that's where the trouble starts. The R.O.D. world started with the first of 12 novels in 2000, followed by a manga series and then a three episode OVA (original video animation, usually short direct-to-video series). Each format covers different stories, with the OVA being the most dramatic, opening with a seemingly magical samurai attacking the White House. The samurai is an artificial human clone (or I-Jin in R.O.D.) of Hiraga Gennai, Edo-era samurai, pharmacologist, writer and inventor, showing off a greatly improved electrostatic generator. There are two more episodes in the OVA, then two further spin-offs: Read or Dream manga, which follows the three unrelated young ladies who can manipulate paper and work together in the Paper Sisters Detective Company; and the 26 episodes of R.O.D the TV, a series about three actual sisters with the power to control paper. [more inside]
Sombody once said,
"There is a beast with such succulent meat, it melts all over your tongue. There is a bubbling spring flowing with tastes of countless fruit juices, such as sweet musk melons and ripened mangoes."It is the Gourmet Era. The era in which one will search for undiscovered tastes. [Hulu link for US-based viewers] [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.
If you recognize the name Hayao Miyazaki, it's most likely due to his anime films. But along with his involvement in animation, Miyazaki has produced some manga and illustrated story books. Part of the reason his work in still images is less known is lack of translation and distribution. That's where the fans come in, digging up and translating many Miyazaki works, back to his first published manga, which was a serious serialized work, in 1969-1970. [more inside]
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).
Ten years ago today, Cartoon Network aired a very special episode of The Powerpuff Girls. Though nominally a harmless kids series about three adorable kindergarten superheroes, creator Craig McCracken attracted an unexpectedly diverse audience (50% male, 25% adult) by sneaking in a surprising amount of violence and adult in-jokes -- and on that last point, this particular episode was king. Broadcast on the 37th anniversary of their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, "Meet the Beat-Alls" was an extended and sophisticated metaphor for the rise and fall of The Beatles, cramming more than forty song references and dozens of visual jokes into only ten minutes of animated allegory. Catch the original episode here or read the transcript, but for the full effect, watch this remarkable YouTube mash-up that splices the referenced song clips directly into the audio track and plasters the screen with helpful annotations. Want more PPG goodness? You can start with the special "Powerpuff Girls Rule!!!" (part 2), a sly, hyperkinetic celebration of the show's tenth anniversary directed by McCracken himself that features every character (and totally subverts an important one). But as far as weirdness goes, it's hard to top Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi, a long-running fan-made webcomic which stars the trio alongside Dexter, Samurai Jack, Invader Zim, and tons of other network icons in an unusually dark manga adventure. Oh, and don't forget your plate of beans.
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]
Cromartie High School is a Japanese manga and animated series. It investigates poignant issues and themes in contemporary culture such as Internet Trolls, Denial, and Perception. Most importantly, it educates the viewer on what it takes to be an honest-to-goodness Badass. [more inside]
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.
Cartoonist and former high school teacher Sean Michael Robinson (flickr) on what to do with those darn anime kids.
They'er ugly! They're weird! They're tiny! They're terrible! And they're pink! They're Kinkeshi, er MUSCLE Things!
"As a child, there was nothing to me more fantastic than than the M.U.S.C.L.E. toys. I don't know if it's just my love for the weird, or the fact that I like pro-wrestling that makes it so special to me, but there's something about a guy from outer space with a fin on his head who would fight against a walking, talking urinal. That's right, a urinal." In the US, they were known as Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere, or M.U.S.C.L.E., but they were basically bendable plastic duplicates of Kinkeshi, a line of collectable erasers from Japan. More than peachy-salmon colored minifigs, they were based on the world of Kinnikuman, which started as manga in 1979, then an anime series, and more, and more, and more... [more inside]
You’ve read about the best friggin’ manga ever on Mutantfrog and Wikipedia. Now watch it in Anime form (via Japan Probe) [more inside]
Inglourious Basterds looks promisingly offensive, but it certainly doesn't appear to be the most offensive thing that could possibly be written as a comedy about World War II. No, for that, you'd have to have -- no, not Jerry Lewis, that won't do. Say it was based on a comic that was originally a webcomic. Say it was produced in one of the former Axis countries. And that it featured all of the major players as anthropomorphized stereotypes of those countries. And that these stereotypes were all young, attractive men who spent a lot of time with each other. Call it "Useless Italy" -- or, in Japanese, Hetalia: Axis Powers. [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 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.
Akira2019: a fan-site devoted to the classic Japanese manga and anime, offering up production cels, background info on the ground-breaking digital coloring technique used in the Epic translation, images, and film music.