"If I had been born 10 years earlier, I don’t think I would be an animator," wrote Makoto Shinkai. Despite the fact that even his earliest animations were completed with a Mac and a tablet, his style is influenced by the works of prior Japanese animators, even earning him the title "the next Miyazaki," which he says is an honor, but overstating his skills. From his earliest short, Other Worlds, he set some of the tone and pacing featured in his subsequent works, which are discussed in the lead up to an interview Shinkai did with Tested. [more inside]
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]
Toshio Suzuki, a Studio Ghibli producer and general manager, has announced on Japanese television that Studio Ghibli will be closing its animation studio. The announcement comes not long after the retirement of legendary Studio Ghibli director and animator, Hayao Miyazaki. The studio is well known for its masterpieces such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away, and many, many others.
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]
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]
On July 5, 2014, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal will premiere on Japanese streaming site Nico Nico Douga and on Hulu Plus 17 years, 4 months, and 27 days after the final episode of Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars aired in 1997. No disrespect to J.J. Abrams, but this is the most important resurrected franchise of the decade. Any questions? The opening and transformation sequence have been leaked and can be seen here.
Psycho-Pass is a fantastic anime written by Gen Urobuchi, the man who brought us 2011's brilliant Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Even if you are not an anime fan (I'm iffy on it myself), Psycho-Pass is worth checking out. Set in a "utopian" society where psychological profiles can be analyzed remotely, police carry guns that can only fire at would-be criminals, and aptitude tests determine how to provide "the greatest number of people with the greatest amount of happiness", Psycho-Pass asks intriguing, provocative questions about the relationships between humans and computers, criminals and society, and the responsibilities we owe society, versus the responsibilities said societies owe us in turn. There is also a good deal of people shooting each other, if you're into that sort of thing.
Psycho-Pass can be watched for free, either subbed or dubbed, at Hulu (as can Madoka if "lighthearted" "fantasy" is more your cup of tea).
Psycho-Pass can be watched for free, either subbed or dubbed, at Hulu (as can Madoka if "lighthearted" "fantasy" is more your cup of tea).
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.
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]
Hayao Miyazaki drawn Concept sketches and storyboards for a proposed but never made 1971 Pippi Longstocking animated movie. The movie was abandoned when Astrid Lindgren didn't give her permission.
Blonde hair, skimpy skirt, big blue eyes. Yup, it's ... INTERNET EXPLORER — Get ready for Inori, the 'personification of IE'. Microsoft launches ad campaign in Singapore featuring a new Internet Explorer 11 mascot (mildly NSFW anime, not hentai).
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]
Kotaku dubbed it one of the shows to watch this season, later said that it was not living up to its potential, and finally proclaimed it "damn good." Its over the top, but really fantastic, soundtrack has spawned a bit of a meme and, of course, it has inspired the requisite minecraft recreation. After all of that, though, and with the anime's first series coming to an end recently, one of the most high comments that can be paid to the series thus far is that it handles gender in a way that is head and shoulders above many other series.
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]
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]
While abridged series are nothing new – take a TV series, usually anime, and edit it down to an eighth of its length, usually with ample snark added – Team Four Star's Dragonball Z Abridged is a notably excellent one. Watch a group of idiotic superheroes combat endless waves of aliens, androids, and genocide! Season 1 started off somewhat roughly, but their Season 2 is great throughout – you probably want to start here – and Season 3 (not-completed) has been their funniest work yet. Don't worry if you've never had the stomach for DBZ—the plot is covered comprehensively enough that you can follow along as if you had watched all of the 130 episodes that DBZA currently covers! [Warning: The series' humor is off-color and far from PC.]
Comics Alliance's Andy Khouri and Betty Felon (curator of Best Cosplay Ever) review SyFy's Heroes of Cosplay and talk about narratives of reality TV, Yaya Han and credit and authenticity in cosplay.
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]
Season 1 Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is an anime TV series from 2002. The series takes place in 2030 in Japan after World Wars 2 & 3. The story centers on the activities of Section 9, an anti-cyber cribe and anti-terrorist group. The continuing bad guy of the series is the cyber terrorist known as the Laughing Man. Here is Season 1 on YouTube: [more inside]
Joe Hisaishi in Budokan was a series of concerts given in August 2008 to commemorate both the Japanese theatrical premiere of Ponyo and the 25 years of musical collaboration between composer Joe Hisaishi and film maker Hayao Miyazaki. This massive concert featured performances of these signature Miyazaki film scores composed by Hisaishi, conducting from the piano, and the 200-member New Japan Philharmonic World Dream Orchestra, along with six featured vocalists, the 800 combined voices of the Ippan Koubo, Ritsuyuukai and Little Singers of Tokyo choirs, plus a 160-piece marching band. Altogether there were some 1160 musicians and singers on stage, backed by images from Miyazaki's films projected on a giant screen. The almost two hour long show is on YouTube in HD, for your viewing pleasure.
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.
The year is 2071. Humanity has spread across the solar system and the Space Police have reinstated the bounty system of the Old West: catch wanted fugitives alive, deliver them to the cops and get paid. Cowboy Bebop chronicles the adventures (and misadventures) of a group of bounty hunters as they try to catch bad guys and make a living. [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]
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]
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]
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is the first major video game to be developed by the legendary animation house Studio Ghibli (previously). Reviews are mostly ecstatic, with praise for its music and graphics. And Brainy Gamer speculates that, like Zelda and The Elder Scrolls before it, the game will be remembered because of its connection to the "perilous realm" that J.R.R. Tolkien described.
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]
Today is, of course, December 31st, the new year's eve. And tomorrow will be December 32nd, the day after — December 33rd, and so on, until someone brings me a basket of blooming snowdrops. [more inside]
Franz Kafka's hallucinatory A Country Doctor anime by Kōji Yamamura. The original text is very short.
The pinnacle of convention cosplay has finally been achieved: The five-person assembling Voltron costume. (sideways phonecam video)
Chuunibyou (中二病), or "Middle-school 2nd Year Syndrome", is "a colloquial and rather derisive term in Japan which describes a person at the age of fourteen would either act like a know-it-all adult, or thinks they have special powers no one else has." [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]
This might be the only video on the Internet of a bread robot violently committing suicide. [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]