anime

The top 10 spots in Tokyo to make an anime pilgrimage

A bulk of the anime we know and love are set in real-life locations in Japan. Often, the stories are based on a specific location mentioned in the anime, such as Ikebukuro where popular anime Durarara! and its sequel are set. In other cases, the setting is not mentioned but fans are quick to identify the location using scenes found in each episode. One such example would be the hit franchise The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, which featured scenery from Nishinomiya in Hyogo Prefecture. Avid anime fans have had a long tradition of making pilgrimages to key spots in their favorite series through an activity known as Seichi Junrei. There’s now even a website dedicated to documenting these spots and they have recently released a ranking of the wards in Tokyo that contain the most number of pilgrimage spots.

If you only have a couple of days in Japan to go on a pilgrimage, this ranking should probably come in handy!

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Check out these amazing Ghibli-inspired tattoos

It’s no secret that most of us here at RocketNews24 are big fans of Hayao Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli movies, though to my knowledge, none of us have yet inked that adoration on our skin. That might be about to change, though, with these amazing Ghibli tattoos to inspire us!

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Canada-based artist stuns with new realistic take on Naruto characters

November 10, 2014 went down as one of the darkest days in manga fandom history as popular manga Naruto finally came to an end. The manga has brought joy and tears to fans over the past 15 years, so to send off the series and express gratitude to its creator, Masashi Kishimoto, fans around the world have taken to the internet with messages of thanks and fan art. And among them is a series of renditions of Naruto characters so beautiful and realistically portrayed that we almost had to get out our box of tissues again.

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Stand back, kids! 64-year-old enka singer Aki Yashiro completely nails cover of Evangelion theme

The musical style enka usually gets referred to as Japan’s equivalent of country western music. The two do have a lot in common thematically, as the biggest hits of both genres are often centered on blue-collar hardships, melancholy nostalgia, and heavy drinking (one famous enka hit is “Sake Wo,” or, “Bring Me Booze”).

But while there are young country listeners, it’s a lot harder to find fresh-faced enka fans, since the lyrics of many enka ballads are so world-weary it’s hard to appreciate them without a few decades of failed romances and stalled career paths under your belt. So to reach out to a new demographic, one enka legend is recording her version of the theme song of hit anime Evangelion.

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Live-action Attack on Titan posters show new characters and weapons, plus one huge absence

It’s a big month for Attack on Titan. Between an art exhibit opening in Tokyo, a crossover with Marvel’s Avengers, and at least one of the naked giants finding a proper job, the biggest anime and manga hit of the last decade is even more in the spotlight than usual these days, which makes it only fitting that we’re getting our first in-costume glimpse of the cast of next summer’s live-action Attack on Titan movies.

Leading trio Eren, Mikasa, and Arumin are all present and accounted for. But while they’ll be joined by several new characters specially crafted for the films, one fan favorite apparently isn’t making the transition to live-action.

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Talented fan artist reimagines 50 famous manga heroes as 8-bit Mega Man characters

If you’re a gamer who’s too young to remember when Sega made consoles or having six buttons on a controller was a big deal, you might look back on 8-bit video game artwork and chuckle. With everything made out of blocky pixels, it’s impossible to create the sort of fine details that modern hardware easily renders to differentiate one character from another, isn’t it?

Maybe not, as one fan has put his old-school pixel art skills to use to recreate 50 different famous manga heroes, all in the style of the original Mega Man.

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New Dragon Ball Z movie bringing back an old villain on April 18

In 2013, perhaps the most famous of anime’s many spikey-haired protagonists,
Dragon Ball Z’s Goku, returned after a 17-year hiatus. While the film, subtitled Battle of Gods, didn’t really stray from the pattern of wacky hijinks and super-powered martial arts battles Dragon Ball Z had already established in its hundreds of TV episodes and dozen-plus movies, fans in general were happy and satisfied just to be able to spend an hour and a half with a group of old animated friends.

They’ll have the chance to do so again soon, and an ad for next year’s Dragon Ball Z movie shows that rejoining the cast of familiar heroes will be one of their most memorable foes.

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Author insinuates Hayao Miyazaki isn’t right in the head, says The Wind Rises is full of lies

In listening to people talk about anime director Hayao Miyazaki, there’s a collection of words you’ll hear over and over. Genius. Visionary. Legend.

So it was a little surprising to hear the man behind one of Japan’s most popular films from the last year instead voice his suspicions that Miyazaki isn’t quite right in the head.

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Ghibli background artist Naohisa Inoue’s painting technique is out of this world

Studio Ghibli’s films are known for being whimsical and beautiful to look at. But with all the action going on on-screen, it can sometimes be easy to take for granted the beautiful background drawings that provide the setting for each individual story. Today, we’d like to introduce you to one of Studio Ghibli’s most talented background artists, Naohisa Inoue, and take a look at the incredible methods behind his masterpieces.

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Youkai Watch set to embrace modernity with new “Youkai Pad” accessory

Okay, so Youkai Watch is a cultural juggernaut in Japan these days, capturing kids’ hearts and enslaving them like so many collectible youkai monsters. But despite the brilliant marketing behind the franchise (how about something exactly like Pokémon… but with… traditional Japanese Youkai?! Genius!) we’ve often thought that the concept of using a common watch as a crux to base the whole thing on seems a bit, hmm, old-fashioned. Who even wears a wristwatch anymore, when we all have the time displayed on our various smartphones and other electronic devices? Well, it seems that the people pulling the strings have now decided to switch their merchandising focus from watches to tablets, taking inspiration from the “Youkai Pad” used by supporting character Whisper to call up information on various Youkai. (No, no, it’s nothing like a Pokédex. Honest.) The brand-new “Youkai Pad” is set for release early next year, and already fans have begun to slaver over it like hungry dogs at a barbecue.

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Fans on the floor create awesome anime and Disney carpet art in Japan【Photos】

Very few Japanese homes have installed carpeting. Older houses and apartments often have tatami reed mats, and in newer places you’ll usually find tile, wood, or rubberized flooring.

That’s not to say people in Japan can’t appreciate a nice bit of soft fuzziness between their toes, though. Even without permanent carpeting, many people will toss a carpeted mat on the floor to make their living or bedroom extra comfy, especially during the colder part of the year.

Of course, cold weather also means spending more time indoors, with extra time on your hands, and sometimes that patch of carpeting becomes a canvas for some seriously cool fan art.

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Disney’s Big Hero 6 gets anime short by comedian Tekken in Japan

Disney is introducing its latest animated film, Big Hero 6, in Japan with a video animated by Tekken, a comedian famous for emotional flip-book-style anime shorts. The short features the song “Story” by popular singer AI.
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Anime’s Tetsuwan Atom/Astro Boy shows up on a pedestrian walk signal in Japan

For many newcomers to anime and manga, it can be hard to tell characters drawn by the same artist apart. In general, Japanese designs use fewer lines, especially in the faces, than those of Western comic books, and even some artists themselves, such as Touch creator Mitsuru Adachi, have been known to get their own cast members mixed up.

That’s not a problem with Atom, though. Also known as Astro Boy, Osamu Tezuka’s beloved mighty robot is instantly recognizable, whether in the pages of the manga where he debuted, onscreen in one of his many anime adaptations, or, in his most recent appearance, a pedestrian walk signal in Kanagawa Prefecture.

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Sailor Moon tortilla chips come in three flavors and a whopping 18 different bags

There are a number of upsides to Sailor Moon Crystal, the recent reboot of the smash hit anime from the 1990s. Aside from benefitting from 20 years of advancement in animation technology and technique, the franchise’s proven record of success means that Crystal has a higher budget and sticks closer to creator Naoko Takeuchi’s manga than the previous adaptation did.

Still, a reboot is a reboot, and if you’ve already watched all 200 episodes of the original Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon R, Sailor Moon S, Sailor Moon Super S, and Sailor Moon Sailor Stars, then you’ve got a pretty big head start on many of the places Crystal’s plot is going. So if you’re the kind of person who snacks when you get bored, maybe some Sailor Moon tortilla chips will help you pass the time.

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30 hours of pumpkin carving! The making of my anime fan art jack-o’-lantern【Photos & video】

Every year for Halloween I carve a pumpkin for myself and for the trick-or-treaters to enjoy, usually based on a popular Hollywood movie with costume potential. To commemorate my post at RocketNews24, however, for this year’s jack-o’-lantern I chose my first ever anime theme! I went with one of my favorites from this fall’s line-up, Gugure! Kokkuri-san (繰繰れ!コックリさん), available on Crunchyroll.

Both heartwarming and twisted (for the non-anime-initiated), the series is an outrageously wacky, slice-of-life comedy adapted from a four-panel comic strip by Midori Endō. The large cast is led by Kokkuri-san and the young girl Kohina; the former is a motherly, lonely fox spirit (originally from J­apanese folklore) with both human and animal forms, and the latter is a hardcore bocchi (loner) with a cup noodle addiction who claims to be an emotionless doll.

Read on to learn a little more about the show and the design process, as well as to get a nicer view of the lit-up pumpkin. There’s also a time lapse video that condenses 30 hours of carving into just over 11 minutes!

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Attack on Avengers! Attack on Titan’s female giant heading to New York to fight Marvel heroes

Fans of Japanese manga and American comics alike have spent the past few weeks wondering what exactly the upcoming crossover between Attack on Titan and Marvel has in store for us. Spider-Man and the Survey Corps exchanging tips over the best ways to zip around cityscapes? Deadpool and Levi fighting side by side with a combined four blades, as the merc cracks wise and the manga heartthrob sighs in annoyance?

Actually, we’re getting a fight between Earth’s mightiest heroes and anime’s tallest pantless woman, as Marvel has announced the project is titled Attack on Avengers.

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【TBT】Your favorite Nintendo games as traditional Japanese prints

Ukiyo-e Heroes are a group of artists who work in the medium of tradional Japanese woodblock printing (ukiyo-e), a style most strongly associated with Japanese culture.  This group has turned their facebook page into a virtual gallery displaying their favorite muse: video games.

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Shima City needs your help in naming its tastefully swimsuit-clad anime mascot

When creating a local mascot in Japan, there are basically three styles to choose from. You can go the traditionally cute route, like Gunma Prefecture did with its adorable horse, national popularity contest champion, and confectionary model Gunma-chan. Option two is to make something so weird it puts a smile on peoples’ faces, like Funabashi City’s unofficial spokepear Funasshi.

Or, you can just draw a picture of an anime girl, like the town of Shima did. Yes, she of course has a nice smile and attractive proportions, and so far every picture that’s been released of the tourism ambassador has her posing in a swimsuit. But before you go blasting the designers for making that wardrobe choice before ever giving her a name, bear in mind there’s a good reason for her attire.

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Things to pick up at 7-Eleven: Milk, melon bread, Evangelion sports car

Last summer, we thought the heat might have been getting to the executives at 7-Eleven. Sure, offering two-meter (six-foot, seven-inch) tall Evangelion statues as special promotional prizes was a cool idea and all, but did they really expect anyone to pony up the 1,836,000 yen (US$16,000) they were asking for the 25 more giant figures they was selling outright?

Well, not only did all 25 of those Eva statues find homes, they sold out in just two minutes. Emboldened by that success, 7-Eleven has teamed up once again with the hit anime franchise to release the most expensive item the convenience store has ever sold: the Evangelion car.

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Mininja and the future of anime: We talk with an American deep in the heart of Japan’s anime industry

After watching that insanely adorable Mininja short, we decided we had to find out more about it–like when we could watch a full-length film! Fortunately, we were able to track down the tiny “not actually a ninja” alien’s creator–Sean McPhillips, an American who also just happens to be a senior vice president at DLE. In the process of discussing Mininja’s origin, we got the chance to learn about how the Japanese anime industry is growing and just how an American ends up working at a Japanese anime company.

If you’re curious about the future of anime and the origin of our favorite pink ninja, be sure to check this out!

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