Bad Disney girls: Fan artist reimagines princesses as the seven deadly sins

While I was growing up, my family never got that involved in the discussion over whether the idolization of Disney princesses is a healthy thing or not. With three boys and no girls in the family, most of my parents’ time was instead channeled towards more immediate topics like telling their sons not to aim for the face during their regular battles in the backyard with their stockpiled arsenal of plastic battleaxes and broadswords.

As an adult, I can sort of understand both sides of the debate. On one hand, a little fantasizing seems harmless, and in and of itself, there’s nothing inherently wrong with little girls being drawn to such trappings of the princess lifestyle as a luxurious home and elegant clothes. On the other hand, criticisms about overemphasizing the value of comfort and beauty have some validity too, as if left unchecked those desires can turn into sloth and vanity.

As a matter of fact, one talented artist thinks Disney’s leading ladies make excellent stand-ins for all of the seven deadly sins.

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Gimme an M! Then gimme some fries! McDonald’s Taiwan has cheerleaders serving burgers!

Usually, eating at McDonald’s is a pretty standard experience that doesn’t vary too much from country to country, beyond sampling whatever interesting local variant burgers are available, that is. It’s probably why nervous travellers often make a beeline for McDonald’s rather than opt to experiment with the local cuisine. However, eating at McDonald’s in Taiwan usually always guarantees a little extra entertainment to go with your fries – in the form of cosplaying waitresses! We’ve already reported about their maid costumes, kitty schoolgirl costumes, and sexy doctor and nurse costumes, and now we’re happy to report that Taiwanese Maccy D’s have gone all-American by adopting cheerleader costumes, as well! Join us after the jump for the pics!

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Updates on new Dragon Ball Z movie has fans excited but also asking plenty of questions!

We’re sure that Dragon Ball fans around the world are anxiously waiting for the release of the latest feature-length anime installment in the series, Dragonball Z: Resurrection of F. As we’ve already reported on our site, the new movie is scheduled to be released on April 18 this year, and we also know that the film will feature an intensely cool battle song by the rock band Maximum the Hormone. Now, as more information on the movie has started to become available, though, fans seem to be finding that there are many questions about the plot and characters just begging to be asked — some of which may not be so straightforward to answer. So, what is it exactly about the movie that’s bugging fans? Well, quite a lot, apparently!

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Lucky Bag Roundup: Our reporters choose the best fukubukuro of 2015

Japan has many wonderful New Year’s traditions, including visiting the local shrine, eating auspicious food, and sending postcards to all your friends. But one of the most exciting and potentially disappointing activities that occur on the first day of January is the purchasing of fukubukuro. Commonly referred to as “Lucky Bags” in English, fukubukoro are specially priced parcels of surplus items from popular stores across Japan that are usually valued well over the purchase price.

This year, we sent 10 of our Japanese reporters out on the streets early New Year’s morning to gather up the best Lucky Bags they could find. Some came back with somewhat useless products even Mr. Sato wouldn’t want. Other’s were pleasantly surprised to find rare and valuable items nestled in their bags. But despite deep discounts, Lucky Bags aren’t always worth the wait and price, so in order to save you time on next year’s Japanese New Year’s shopping adventures, each of our writers has chosen the best Lucky Bags this side of the Pacific.

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Tony Stark will have a see-through Samsung phone in ‘The Avengers’ sequel

Earth’s mightiest heroes will rely on a bunch of Samsung gear in “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” this summer.

Samsung is showing off a bunch tech developed for the sequel at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) currently taking place in Las Vegas.

CNET’s Shara Tibken snapped a few shots of the devices ranging from a see-through phone for Tony Stark to smartwatches that will be worn by the Avengers team.

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Japan’s amazing Excel artist wishes everyone a happy new year using the spreadsheet program

All through high school and for the first part of college, I didn’t use Microsoft Word, or any dedicated word processing software, for that matter, to write my reports. Instead, I did everything using Lotus 1-2-3, a spreadsheet program.

While that might sound incredibly inconvenient, it actually wasn’t too bad. Having a dad who’s an accountant and was well-versed in the program was a big help, but once I got the hang of it, I could produce written reports just about as easily as my Word-equipped classmates.

Still, my spreadsheet skills aren’t in the same league as Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi, who’s been making beautiful landscapes and portraits with Microsoft Excel for years, including a New Year’s card that’s just as cute as any made with paint and brush.

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Anime feast! Ghibli fan recreates 47 animated dishes in mouthwatering video

When you sit down to watch a Studio Ghibli movie, there are generally three things you can expect to see depicted with unbridled passion and heart-stirring attention to detail: the thrill of flight, the glory of nature, and the mouthwatering deliciousness of expertly prepared food. As a matter of fact, scrumptious fare, ranging from extravagant delicacies to good honest grub, shows up with such frequency in Ghibli’s works that one fan counted 47 anime dishes that looked good enough to eat, then set out to make them all himself, as shown in this amazing video.

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‘A Cruel Angel’s Thesis’ took just two hours to write says Evangelion lyricist Neko Oikawa

If you’ve ever been to karaoke with anyone who likes anime, chances are you know ‘A Cruel Angel’s Thesis’, the theme song to Neon Genesis Evangelion – it’s a karaoke classic. Since its original release, singer Yoko Takahashi has re-released the song, which is known as Zankoku na Tenshi no Tēze in Japanese, three times; it celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

When Neko Oikawa, who wrote the lyrics to the hit song back in 1995, claimed this week that she only spent two hours on it, some fans weren’t too surprised. After all, history is full of hit songs that were supposedly written in mere minutes, from ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ to ‘Under Pressure’ to ‘My Sharona’.

What’s more impressive – especially when you consider how well ‘A Cruel Angel’s Thesis’ fits the series’ themes – is that the lyricist knew next to nothing about the show itself when she wrote it.

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Want to buy a giant, rideable robot? Amazon Japan will sell you one

This year, my sister-in-law and nieces gave me an Amazon card for Christmas. The bookstore near my apartment in Yokohama doesn’t stock English-language books, so it’s an extremely thoughtful gift, but I haven’t actually visited Amazon’s site to pick out my new reading material, since I’m still in the middle of a lengthy novel I started during my recent flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles.

With a couple of hundred pages left to go, it might be a while before I actually use the card, and while I’m leaning towards a National Geographic subscription, I still haven’t ruled out the alternative of putting the card towards purchasing a giant robot, since Amazon Japan now sells those, too.

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Would you date a girl dressed head to toe in Uniqlo? 76% of men say “of course!”

Uniqlo, the hugely popular Japanese chain store that stocks a variety of simple, practical and affordable clothing, has expanded into a world-wide venture, with stores in Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, Russia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and, well, you get the picture. In the West in particular, Uniqlo has a pretty cool image thanks to its simple, pared-down designs and celebrity approval (for example, Pharrell Williams designed a range for them in April 2014), so it might surprise some of you to hear that there are people in Japan who tend to be a bit snobby about Uniqlo, looking down on its regular clientele for lacking in fashion sense.

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It’s the year of the sheep-dog! Introducing new clothes for your dog’s wardrobe

We have bid farewell to the year of the horse, and welcomed in the Year of the Sheep. New Year’s decorations, greeting cards, and the like are all adorned with more sweet, fluffy little lambs than you could shake one of their tails at. It almost makes you want to get an adorable little baby fleecey bundle for your own. I mean, sheep are allowed in apartments, right? Right!?

Or maybe it would just be easier to transform your dog into a sheep for the New Year instead!

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Is Mario’s Birdo a boy or a girl? Years after her first appearance, the debate rages on

It’s already kind of old news that one of gaming’s few potentially transgender characters has been hiding in plain sight since the late ’80s in the form of the adorable and misunderstood Mario villain, Birdo.

But that hasn’t stopped the Internet from debating all kinds of aspects about the character’s gender identity, from whether the whole “boy who thinks he’s a girl” thing is Mario canon or whether the character is pre- or post-op. While the Western web was shocked by this stunning news a while back, it seemed Japan was politely giving poor Birdo her privacy and staying out of it, until a recent Twitter post…

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Your nail art may be cute, but is it Kabuki-cute? New style trend begins with 100 yen stickers

Nail art is something that’s increasingly popular among Japan’s ladies due to the fact that it’s an easy way to express your individual style. As well as DIY-ing it at home with 100 yen store nail polishes and nail stickers, you can also get reasonably affordable yet super-durable gel manicures in a salon which are set by UV light and last for at least a month. Nail art trends tend to come and go depending on the season and whatever’s in style, but occasionally there’s a “boom” for a certain kind of design, with more and more people jumping on the bandwagon. First came anime nail art, and now it’s the turn of traditional Japanese performance art, Kabuki!

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Is One Piece sexist? Twitter user posts scathing essay about Japan’s favorite manga

One Piece is the top-selling manga of all time, with over 350 million volumes sold in Japan alone. For fans of the series, it’s a no-brainer why the comic is so popular. The author/artist Eiichiro Oda is a master storyteller, turning what could have been a run-of-the-mill shonen manga into something special. One Piece often tackles deeper themes including racism, abuse of power, justice, moral ambiguity, and of course, big dudes with sweet powers slamming into each other.

What’s even more surprising are the readership demographics. Nine out of ten people who buy One Piece are adults, and over half of the manga’s readers are women. This might make it seem like it appeals to everyone, but apparently that is not the case. Japanese Twitter user @ykhre recently tweeted a controversial essay, making her case for why One Piece, despite its broad appeal, is sexist.

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We play little-known instrument the Udar, which does a killer Final Fantasy Prelude

The world is full of musical instruments with varying degrees of notoriety. Many instruments, like the guitar and piano, have legions of followers, while others like the sheng only get picked up by a select few. The Udar falls into that latter category with Mr. Sato having just become one of the very few people who have ever picked one up.

Join us as we listen to the musical stylings of the Udar as played by its inventor Michinobu Uda and learn a little about how it works.

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Anime cover band Inheres has us rocking out to Dragon Ball, Slam Dunk and more…in Spanish!

Cover versions are tricky to get right. Sound too different from the original and you risk alienating those who prefer the original; mimic the original version and you’re not bringing anything new to the table. And covers in a different language are a whole different kettle of pescado.

So we’re seriously impressed by these tracks from Inheres, a three-piece rock band hailing from Valparaíso, Chile, who specialise in covers of anime themes. Join us after the jump to hear anime themes as you’ve never heard them before, from Detective Conan to Saint Seiya.

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Next time you eat an orange, why not make it into an orange caterpillar first?

During the winter months Japanese people often like to relax under their heated tables (kotatsu) and enjoy a nice mikan tangerine. Its juicy sweetness and vitamin C is a great compliment to these chilly nights. But really, anywhere in the world, anytime is a good time to enjoy some variation of orange, isn’t it?

So next time you get ready to peel a mandarin or clementine how about making it into a caterpillar first like many Twitter users in Japan have been doing in recent years? It’s super easy and we’re going to show you how.

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Japanese UFO catcher prizes just keep getting weirder…

“Oh shoot, I’m out of dish soap, let’s go to the game center.” If this sentence seems incongruous, you clearly have not spent enough time in Japanese game centers. Sure game centers have good old fashion arcade games, air hockey and photo booths, but a lot of the space is taken up by UFO catchers (adorably pronounced, oo-fo in Japan), aka claw/crane games.

Usually, UFO catchers are filled with cute toys or cool figurines, but sometimes things get a little too practical. Other times, the prizes are just a bit… off. Twitter users across Japan have shared their strange finds with us before, but they just keep coming and they keep getting weirder. 

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iMakeover: Can a haircut turn Mr. Sato into Steve Jobs?

Everyone has that one celebrity that we have been told we sort of look like if we squint our eyes and look into a foggy mirror. For our beloved RocketNews24 reporter Mr. Sato, that celebrity doppelganger is none other than former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. As a frequent participant at iPhone launches and Apple’s annual “luckybag” sale in Japan, Mr. Sato decided maybe it was time to see if a shorter haircut (and a black turtleneck) would indeed make him look like the tech icon. Armed with an iPad and a digital photo of Steve Jobs, Mr. Sato began his iMakeover.

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Enjoy a platter of Youkai Sashimi while we explain that cat’s name

As we’ve been constantly reminding you over the past year or so, Youkai Watch is really big in Japan now, and yet some of you out there still don’t seem to believe us. We’ve watched them rip the annual McDonald’s calendar endorsement deal out of the cuddly clutches of Pokemon. We’ve seen fans carve their graven images into pumpkins. We’ve tasted of their milk. Still, there are those who think that it’s just a flash in the pan.

For those people, we present the highest honor a character in Japan can receive: a sashimi platter in their likeness.

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