Attack on Titan’s studio head talks sequels, keys to the hit anime’s success

It’s been a long time since anime has had a hit like Attack on Titan. Over the last several years, Japanese animation has become increasingly self-referential, providing previously unparalleled enjoyment for, and arguably pandering to, its most devoted followers. This came at the cost of accessibility, though, and often shut out new fans in much the same way that the city walls in Attack on Titan were keep rampaging giants outside the city.

Joji Wada (who also goes by George Wada), is the head of Wit Studio, the production house behind the animated hit. In a recent interview with the The Nikkei, Wada talked about the keys to Attack on Titan’s success, as well as dropped some tantalizing hints regarding spin-offs and sequels.

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Foreigners reveal the moments they felt they really “got this whole Japan thing”

Expats in Japan, you know the feeling: After years of working towards your goal of somehow, someday living in Japan, you finally made it to the land of mochi and Harajuku. But you’re not really living in Japan, no, you’re drowning in it. It wasn’t what you expected it to be (how dare your years of research, whether in school or from anime, deceive you!). And you cry and you curse your naivety for ever thinking you could just pick up and move to such a strange land.

But then one day, you have a clear, identifiable moment when everything seems to come together and you just have to stop and smile to yourself, thinking, “I’m doing it. I’m really doing it.” It’s these little moments that eventually trickle together and without realizing it, you’re walking on water, swapping oyaji-gyagu with the best of them and craving sashimi for dinner. Let’s take a look at what 20 foreigners on Japanese website, Niconico News, identified as a time they really felt like they had gotten the hang of living in Japan.

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10 house points to the boy or girl who can correctly identify this bizarre bread beast

Twitter user Zarame25 shared the above photo on earlier this week along with the comment: “My mother bought this bread, but I have no idea what it’s supposed to be. Is it a character or something? It’s some kind of weird animal.” Having spent the best part of this morning staring at it and throwing suggestions around, we have to admit we’re not sure what it’s supposed to be ether.

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Foreign residents pick their favorite snacks to pair with Japanese beer

A few years ago, I was hanging out with a friend in Tokyo. Being recently married meant that for the first time in several years I was living in an apartment more spacious and comfortable than a bunker, and I invited my buddy back to my place for a beer.

I called my wife to give her a heads-up that I was bringing home a guest, and when we arrived, I was surprised to see she’d gone down the block to the store and picked up a selection of snacks for our impromptu drinking session. In hindsight, this really shouldn’t have been so unexpected, as beer is almost always accompanied by food in Japan.

Our memories are a little hazy, but we seem to remember being taught, “When in Rome, drink as the Romans.” Taking this to heart, recently a group of foreign residents in Japan shared their favorite munchies to pair with Japanese beer.

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Nails looking duller than a sack of potatoes? Brighten them up with Smart Nails!

Smart products seem to be emerging left and right these days with smart wigs getting a patent by Sony and smart sushi restaurants already on the streets. With all this smartness to be had, why not give your nails the same intelligence. They deserve it. All you have to do is pick up some Smart Nails recently released by H2L.

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Swedish-produced Senpai Club is so anime-like its characters speak Japanese【Video】

Years ago, when I was a freshly-minted anime fan, the most popular daydream in the fandom was to one day create your own animated show. And not some run of the mill Western cartoon, but something that unabashedly drew from the influences of Japanese animation.

Sadly, anime was still too unfamiliar to have mainstream appeal, and while the ranks of enthusiastic Japanese animation fans were growing, their numbers at the time were far too few, and the potential market far too small, to justify the investments necessary to complete their personal castles in the sky.

Fast forward to today, though, and anime has a firmly established presence the world over. What’s more, the ability to produce and display your creation digitally means that with enough gumption, all it takes is a few passionate individuals to realize your anime-inspired vision. As proof, we present the initial episode of Senpai Club, which comes to us not from Japan, but from Sweden.

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Gum gets frisky in Japan

The word “frisk” usually means “to pass the hands over someone in search for hidden weapons, drugs, or other items,” and don’t even get us started on the meaning of “frisky.” But in Japan, the naughty English word refers to something a little different: breath mints.

Frisk mints are commonly found in convenience stores and supermarkets across Japan. Although originally created in Belgium, the tiny yet powerful mints burst onto the fresh breath scene in Japan in 1992 and have since dominated the market. But now the brand is getting a little frisky with gum, arguably the cousin of breath mints. Oh my!

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Life-sized 3-D maneuver gear goes on display at Osaka’s new Attack on Titan museum

The wildly popular manga and animated series, Attack on Titan, continues to charge on, picking up speed and treating us all to a bevy of fan-related events before its live-action film debut in 2015. Now, for a limited time only, Osaka will play host to a very special “Survey Corps Museum”, with original illustrations, exclusive merchandise and awesome, life-sized 3-D maneuver gear. If you’re a fan of Attack on Titan, then take a look at what’s waiting for you in Osaka for the next 16 days…

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16-bit Final Fantasy XIII story recap will make you weep big fat nerd tears

Put on your nostalgia glasses, people: Square Enix has seen fit to grace us with one of its greatest non-playable endeavors of all time with a Final Fantasy XIII story recap done up in Super Nintendo-era graphics a la Final Fantasy VI – otherwise known as Final Fantasy III or The Best JRPG Ever.

Because this video compresses hundreds of hours of gameplay and hard-earned story revelations into a little under eight minutes, we must issue the most urgent spoiler warning we’ve ever issued, so JRPG fans who have for some reason not yet played the latest Final Fantasy be warned.

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Incest-themed TV anime sparks decency investigation. What were the odds?

It’s a tough time for anime studios. The boom days of direct-to-video productions, when consumers would happily plunk down 5,000 yen (US$48) or more for 30-minutes of animation, sight-unseen, are long gone. At the same time, TV ad revenue is hard to come by, and in some cases, non-existent for anime programs. So in order to produce a hit these days, you’ve got to put your product on television first, and then find a way to leverage its broadcast popularity into subsequent DVD and Blu-ray sales.

The real tricky part is striking a balance between showing enough for free to keep people watching and interested, yet offering the prospect of something they can’t see on TV in order to drive home-video purchases later. An easy choice for this is sexual content, and the closer a show treads to the censorship line, the more wondrous the delights awaiting viewers in the unrated DVDs are assumed to be.

Recently, one anime may have aimed a little too high in appealing to the lowest common denominator, and is now the subject of a broadcast decency investigation.

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Survey reveals that more than 70 percent of otaku would choose their hobby over love

Over the years, the term “otaku” has, as well as being accepted into the English language, come to mean not just computer or anime fanatics locked away in their bedrooms, but any person who shows above-average fondness for any given hobby or pastime. Crazy about pop idols? You’re an otaku. Can’t get enough cosplay in your life? Same for you. Have a collection of video games so large that your friends casually refer to your house as “the library”? You’d better believe you’re an otaku.

But is your passion for your hobby so great that you would willingly choose it over love and romance? A recent survey asked a group of otaku that very question, and found that 70.1 percent of them said they’d shun love in favour of their hobby if it came down to it.

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【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results

The rice cooker. Not only does this convenient little machine prepare a pot of rice with just the push of a button, but it can also be used to steam vegetables, bake cakes, and much more! Our researchers here at RocketNews24 have been working around the clock to uncover the true potential of the rice cooker by testing a number of bold, innovative recipes. Today, we’d like to share what is perhaps the most exciting find of our research thus far: a Big Mac, french fries and chicken nuggets taste amazing when cooked in a rice cooker.

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Tottori University researchers discover a simple way to possibly cure all forms of cancer

Alright, it doesn’t look so simple from the above image, but on 25 January, Tottori University announced that researchers have found a method to successfully transform a cancerous tumor into non-threatening tissue. Although the research that went into it is incredibly complicated, the result is a single molecule that may be able to universally reverse cancerous cells in a relatively brief amount of time.

The announcement doesn’t hold back its enthusiasm either, proclaiming that from this discovery “the dream of the eradication of cancer is at hand.”

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9 things we know about Nintendo’s plans for the near future following today’s conference

It’s been a tough couple of years for Nintendo. While the 3DS continues to sell well and gamers the world over salivate like Pavlov’s dog every time they are drip-fed another snippet of information about the forthcoming Smash Bros. games, Wii U sales are dismal, and even Super Mario 3D World, which critics judged to be one of the greatest Mario outings of all time, was met with comparatively little fanfare from consumers.

Today, Nintendo’s company president Satoru Iwata made a number of announcements, hinting at new hardware that would focus on “health and welfare”, tapping into mobile gaming, giving solid launch dates for upcoming titles, and announcing the decision to bring Nintendo DS games to the Wii U. Here’s what we know so far, in one handy list!

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The badass attitude of Chinese tennis champ Li Na summed up in one picture

You might not guess it by looking at her rather glum expression, but in the picture above, Chinese tennis star Li Na is receiving a check for 800,000 yuan — roughly $132,000.

Li’s long face is probably why this picture has now gone viral on Weibo, Josh Chin and Fanfan Wang of The Wall Street Journal note. Netizens just can’t seem to work out why Li, who had returned Tuesday to her hometown of Hubei following her second Grand Slam win, wouldn’t at least feign some type of excitement when being given a check for such a huge amount by Hubei Communist Party chief Li Hongzhong.

What gives?

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Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki says the anime industry’s problem is that it’s full of anime fans

It’s hard to imagine legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki needing to be any more lauded than he already is. Over 95 percent of Japan’s population has watched one of his movies, people see uploading his films to the Internet as being the fast track to popularity, and he’s even got a celestial body named after him. Really, though, after seeing the quality of his work, it’s hard to argue with the respect he receives. The man is clearly a genius.

However, Miyazaki is also a 73-year-old man, and like many individuals who have reached such an age, occasionally can’t resist the stubborn urge to grumble about how the people who came up after him are screwing up his industry.

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Unusual flat-pack daruma voted Japan’s most fascinating souvenir

If you’re looking for a unique Japanese gift that’s light in your luggage but heavy in tradition, then this is the item for you. It’s called the KD Daruma (Knock-Down Daruma) and it’s modelled on the centuries-old, round, good-luck talisman which symbolises Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. This modern take on the daruma features a flat-pack design and clever assembly so unusual it’s just been awarded first prize as Japan’s most fascinating souvenir in a competition held by the Japan Tourism Agency. We take a closer look at the details to see what makes this little novelty so charming.

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This might be the skinniest house in Tokyo…and it’s on sale now!

Housing in Tokyo is notoriously cramped, but this is ridiculous! With a total of 7.2 ㎡ (77.8 square feet) per floor (that’s smaller than the inside of Japan’s famously crowded train carriages), this towering five-story house packs a lot of rooms into a petite frame. So if you’ve ever fancied living in a tiny triangle, now’s your chance because this baby is on sale now!

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Live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service film’s 2nd trailer previews Jiji

Mainichi Shimbun’s Mantan Web began streaming the second full trailer on Monday for the live-action film of Eiko Kadono‘s fantasy novel series Kiki’s Delivery Service (Majo no Takkyūbin). The trailer previews Mai Kuraki‘s theme song “Wake Me Up,” and also shows the first footage of Kiki’s black cat Jiji (played by K-ON!‘s Minako Kotobuki).

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Super-explicit Evangelion fan translation leaves Japanese fan scratching his head

Part of what makes the anime Evangelion such an enduring hit is the series’ subtleness. The classic is riddled with lines of dialogue that have multiple meanings and possible interpretations. Sometimes the speaker’s true intent becomes clearer after revelations that occur in subsequent installments of the franchise, whereas other times repeat viewings only serve to muddy the waters even further.

But while this ambiguousness delights fans who have taken pleasure in discussing and dissecting Eva for close to 20 years now, the same lack of concrete answers can be unfathomably frustrating to some viewers. Can’t the characters just say what they mean, in a way that anyone can understand?

They can in at least one amateur translation, in which major character Misato makes no bones about her desire to bone.

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