awesome

How do they make those amazing life-size anime statues? We find out (and snap tons of pictures)

The twice-yearly Wonder Festival exhibition is all about models of anime, video game, and other 2-D characters. Just like with model airplanes or trains, you can often find multiple versions of the same character in different scales, usually several times smaller than the heroes and heroines they’re based on are actually supposed to be.

Walking around the convention, though, we came across two stunning life-sized figures. It wasn’t just their size that impressed us, though, but their amazing attention to detail. Not only did we stop to gawk and snap pictures, we also got an explanation of how they were made, and it involves a 3-D printer!

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You can take this 33,000-pound robot for a virtual test drive, watch it dance to J-pop 【Video】

Now that we’re living in the age of giant fighting robots, it’s time to update the list of things a fully capable member of society needs to be able to do. And while many anime make piloting a huge mecha as simple as falling into the cockpit and learning as you go, it’d be irresponsible to assume things are so easy in the real world.

That’s why we sent one of our reporters to check out a 15,000-kilogram (33,000-pound) giant robot that’s on display in Tokyo right now. Not only is it awesome to look at, its creators will even let you take it for a virtual test drive.

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Man goes drum crazy with Taiko no Tatsujin performance equal parts awesome and hilarious 【Video】

A few years ago, I was talking to someone at a party who mentioned she’d taken up taiko, traditional Japanese drumming. She said that though she liked the musical and cultural aspects, what really had gotten her hooked was what great exercise it is. Playing the traditional instruments means striking their heads with an impressive amount of force, and when you add in the dynamic, dance-like nature of taiko performances, playing a few pieces seems like it should be at least as much of a workout as an aerobics session.

Of course, a lot of that physical aspect gets lost in the transition to taiko-themed video game Taiko no Tatsujin, right? Well, that may be the case for most gamers, but it’s definitely not for the guy in this video, as he dances, poses, and mugs for the camera like mad on his way to a high score.

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Pepsi’s awesome Peach Boy reboot continues with new episode, fire-breathing giants【Video】

About half a year ago, we took a look at a unique retelling of the Japanese folk tale of Momotaro, also known as the Peach Boy. Not only was it presented as a series of live-action commercials for Pepsi’s zero-calorie cola, it reimagined Momotaro and his animal companions (a dog, pheasant, and monkey) as gritty action heroes in a desperate fight against the ogre-like oni.

The commercials were so cool that they left many people begging for a full-length theatrical feature, and while a Momotaro movie is yet to be greenlit, the fourth video in the amazing series has been released, with an extra-long runtime and more awesome pyrotechnics than you’re likely to see in any other soda commercial.

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Giant robot fight is on! Suidobashi accepts Americans’ challenge, wants to “punch them to scrap”

Like a lot of people, up until a few days ago I’d never heard of MegaBots, despite the fact that the California-based company has apparently created a pretty amazing (and armed) giant robot. That all changed, though, when the designers of the MegaBot Mark II released a video challenging Japan’s Suidobashi Heavy Industry, the makers of the Kuratas robot, to a duel.

It definitely got MegaBots plenty of attention, and now it’s gone beyond just a cagey PR move. Suidobashi has accepted the challenge, and is spitting back some fighting words of its own.

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Giant robot fight coming soon? American inventors’ video challenges Japanese counterparts to duel

California-based MegaBots spells out its mission pretty clearly on the company’s website: Giant fighting robots. So far, though, they’re only two-thirds of the way to that goal.

The MegaBot Mark II is clearly a robot, and definitely giant, but it hasn’t really done much fighting yet. Since no one wants to watch giant robots grapple with their inner psychological demons and emotional issues, the Mark II needs an opponent, and its American designers have decided to throw the gauntlet all the way across the Pacific, releasing a video officially challenging Japan’s own currently on-sale giant robot to a duel.

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Giant Attack on Titan coin bank will help you save up a colossal pile of change

As you may have noticed, there’s a lot of Attack on Titan stuff to spend your money on. Add in the fact that not one, but two theatrical features are coming this summer for the phenomenally popular franchise, and fans are probably feeling the need to economize and cut back on their discretionary expenditures to make room in their budget for more Titan-related ones.

And if you’re pinching your pennies, what better place to store them than in a gigantic 1:100 scale Colossal Titan coin bank?

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Blackboard art contest produces entries that will take your breath away

Idle hands are the devil’s play things, so why not occupy them with a monetary prize incentive? Japanese blackboard maker Nichigaku noticed that students have been creating some very impressive artwork on school blackboards. So what better way to promote Nichigaku’s product than to sponsor a nationwide chalk art contest?

Students all over the country submitted incredible pieces of art that turned that “boring thing you stare at every class” into something beautiful that you can’t believe was created with just chalk. Join us after the jump as we show you some of the best submissions from the Nichigaku Blackboard Art contest.

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7-Eleven really does sell everything in Japan, even Attack on Titan 3-D maneuver gear

As we’ve mentioned before, Japanese convenience stores are pretty awesome. Since so many people do their shopping on foot in urban and suburban Japan, convenience stores often function like small grocery stores for the immediately surrounding neighborhood, not just a place to buy junk food, beer, and dirty magazines (although they stock all three of those in abundance, too).

Because of this, Japanese convenience stores sell a lot of stuff that you might not expect, like a fairly extensive array of low-calorie dining options, or, as 7-Eleven is now offering, a life-size replica of hit anime Attack on Titan’s 3-D maneuver gear.

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Japanese man completes tattoo homage to ’80s and ’90s Shonen Jump anime

Japan is known for having an extreme level of distrust and distaste for tattoos, while at the same time churning out some of the most amazing tattoo artwork in the world. There’s no shortage of anime-inspired tattoos either, and we’ve seen everything ranging from Evangelion to Love Live! to Studio Ghibli films.

But perhaps the most impressive belongs to Japanese Twitter user @Sound_mattsun, who last summer showed off the basic outlines of ’80s and ’90s anime tattoos that would fill up his entire back. Now, almost a year later, he’s back with the finished, fully-colored product, and it is truly a sight that would make any Shonen Jump otaku weep with joy.

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Sushiro is making sushi so delicious that even McDonald’s should be worried

If you’ve spent much time in Japan, chances are you’ve eaten at a conveyor belt sushi (kaitenzushi in Japanese) restaurant. One nice thing about these restaurants is that they also offer many child-friendly sushi dishes on their menu. These dishes also double as foreigner-friendly, so that those who aren’t so fond of raw fish and other seafood can enjoy sushi too.

There are so many different chains in Japan, it’s often hard to figure out which one to go to, but anyone who sees the sign for Sushiro best head there soon as the chain has a new dish that is oddly satisfying.

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Awesome lightsaber kendo video brings Star Wars’ Japanese influences full-circle

The Internet was probably far too harsh in its snickering at Star Wars Kid, the teen who videotaped himself imitating some Star Wars fight choreography, the film of which then became an unwitting viral hit. After all, hand a stick, pole, or any other object of suitable shape and length to a fan of the phenomenally successful science fiction franchise, a by no means small demographic, and 90 percent of them will start pretending it’s a lightsaber (the other 10 percent will simply toss it away on account of already holding something else they’re using as a Jedi weapon).

Of course, if the fandom is strong enough with you that you’re going to go staging lightsaber duels, the final result is always going to look cooler if you also happen to know what you’re doing with a blade, like these two Star Wars-loving kendo practitioners.

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Look again! This isn’t a drawing, it’s an amazing mecha model! 【Photos】

One of the things that separates great comic artists from merely good ones is the ability to apply screentone. By using sheets of flexible material that transfer ink to a flat surface, such as paper, a skilled artist can add texture and shadowing effects beyond those achievable with ordinary line art.

But while the technique is generally used to make a flat drawing look a three-dimensional object, it turns out the opposite is possible too, as demonstrated by these amazing photos of a model kit colored with screentone to look like exactly a 2-D manga sketch.

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Beefy My Love Story!! cosplayer shows anime characters can be large and in charge 【Photos】

Earlier this year, a clever idea caused waves in the anime community when one cosplayer hit upon the idea of using strap-on breasts to give yourself the sort of expansive bust so common in the world of Japanese animation. But while you can strap on costuming accouterments to add volume to your body where needed, that’s not an option if you’re instead going for the sort of exaggeratedly slender build of a male lead from a girls’ manga.

But even if a mix of genetics, diet, and exercise have given you a square jaw and a thick trunk, there is one leading man of shojo manga you can easily take on the appearance of, as shown in these spot-on My Love Story!! cosplay photos.

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Japan celebrates Children’s Day by flying beautiful carp streamers 【Photos】

While people in Japan put up decorations to celebrate different holidays, most of them are placed inside the home, such as the dolls for Girls’ Day/Hina Matsuri in March or the vegetables displayed during Obon in the summer. Out in public, though, though, you’d be hard-pressed to tell one Japanese holiday from another, with the exception of Children’s Day/Kodomo no Hi on May 5.

That’s because when Children’s Day rolls around, all you have to do is look up at all of the beautifully awesome carp streamers flying overhead,

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Mini Bruce Lee from Japan wins the Internet this week 【Video】

It’s only Tuesday, but we feel safe in declaring this week’s Internet champion already: Ryusei, the cutest Bruce Lee we’ve ever seen.

While Bruce Lee spawned many imitators both in life and after his death, Ryusei might be the only one we’re willing to accept as the new Bruce Lee. And we doubt many will argue!

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Time to get a Gundam haircut at this barber shop guarded by a team of mobile suits

It’s said that barbers’ poles, with their interlaced contrasting stripes, are a holdover from the Middle Ages, with the red and white symbolizing blood and bandages. In those days, the field of surgery was still at such an early stage in its development that the guy who cut hair would also handle operations and amputations. After all, cutting was cutting, right?

In our modern era, though, you’d never think of asking your doctor to take a little off the sides, nor would you trust your hairdresser to remove a tumor. So isn’t it time for barber shops to get a new symbol, like this one in Aomori with a compliment of giant Gundam statues hanging around outside?

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Truth in advertising: Lotteria’s monstrous Burger with Everything on It is exactly that

You can probably describe about 90 percent of fast food with some combination of the words “convenient,” “greasy,” and “delicious.” In the case of Japanese hamburger chain Lotteria, though, you’ll want to make an addition to your vocabulary list: “crazy.”

Oh, sorry, looks like a typo slipped through. That should actually be “crazy!!!”

Lotteria is sort of the playground daredevil of the Japanese fast food scene. On just about any given day, you’ll find at least one item on the menu that seems to have been created not so much because it’s a good idea, but so that the restaurant can say, “Hey guys! Look at what I can do!” Every now and again, though, Lotteria gets its batch of crazy sauce just right, which is why it’s bringing back the awe-inspiring Burger with Everything on It.

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Pikachu outbreak to happen again in Yokohama this summer, this time with dance fever!

Half-way through April, all of the cherry blossoms are gone from the Tokyo area, and while it’s good to know that they’ll be back in 12 months’ time, it’s always kind of a bummer to see them go.

Thankfully, though, there’s plenty to look forward to as the weather starts to heat up. For example, traditional festivals and amazing fireworks displays take place all across Japan during July and August. Plus, it looks like there’s a new annual summer event now, as the city of Yokohama is going to once again be overrun by Pikachus this year, and this time it sounds like all 1,000-plus of the unbearably cute Pocket Monsters have come down with dance fever!

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Cosplay paradise! Haco Stadium Tokyo complex has 33 themed rooms waiting for your photo shoot

Last week, we took a look at the amazingly accurate recreation of a room from popular anime Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. That’s was only one limited-time room at the awesome Haco Stadium cosplay complex, though.

Haco Stadium actually has 33 permanent cosplay rooms, meaning you can make the cosplaying rounds of a Japanese high school, samurai residence, fantasy castle, and science fiction backdrop, all without ever having to leave the building.

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