Even though anime legend Hayao Miyazaki has been a household name in Japan for decades, his films are still a recent discovery for many foreign viewers. A common question from an enthusiastic newly formed Ghibli fan is to ask, “Which Miyazaki film should I show my friends and family to make them understand how amazing they are?”
It’s a tricky question to answer. For example, My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke are both incredible films that can evoke emotional responses far beyond what many adults expect from animation. The feelings the films stir, and the ways in which they do so, are extremely different though. It’s hard enough to pick one from just those two, let alone the 11 feature films for which Miyazaki served as director.
So perhaps the best plan isn’t to show the person you’re trying to convert one Miyazaki movie, but all of them, and thanks to one fan’s compilation video, it’ll only take nine minutes.
Earlier this year, we came across a photo of an anime fan in Hong Kong and his back-covering tattoo of his 2-D crush, Love Live’s Nozomi Tojo. Impressive as it was, though, we couldn’t help but be a little concerned over his exact choice of large-scale body art.
While the Love Live franchise has exploded in popularity, with multiple games, anime and manga, the whole thing only got its start in 2012. No matter how much that guy thinks he loves Nozomi-chan now, isn’t it still a little too soon to be making such permanent declarations of his affections?
Wouldn’t it be wiser to wait a few years to make sure his feelings are genuine, like the other otaku who just got his back inked with over a half-dozen of anime’s biggest heroes from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s?
A few weeks ago, the handlers of the Pokémon franchise announced the Pikachu Tairyou Hassei Chu, or “An Outbreak of Pikachus” event. First they brightened our day with a TV ad showing the adorable Pocket Monsters hanging out in a shopping mall. Then they teased us with a photo of the electrified rodents landing on the dock.
And now, they’re here!
We grabbed our cameras and went Pikachu hunting in Yokohama, and we were not disappointed. We were, though, almost completely paralyzed by the awesome overdose of cuteness that comes from a parade of a pack of 20 Pikachus.
Compared to cats and dogs, fish do have a couple of undeniable drawback as pets. You can’t really play fetch with them or take them on walks, and while there’s nothing physically stopping you from holding a goldfish on your lap and petting it, the sight of it desperately flopping around makes it far less relaxing than petting a purring kitty.
That’s not to say fish don’t have anything going for them. For example, they’re far less likely to pee on the sofa or cough up a hairball than a dog or cat. Plus, since they live in the confined space of a tank of water, you can create amazing scenery for them, like these amazing artistic aquariums.
We’ve no doubt all experienced that feeling of frustration when, right when things are getting good, our favorite TV show is interrupted by an ad break. We kick ourselves for getting suckered in, knowing full well that both the show’s makers and the networks that host it put the ads in where they did for good reason – to keep us glued to our sets that little bit longer.
But there are times when even the ads are so well made that they’re as entertaining as the shows we were watching. This new commercial for a Japanese soft drink, for example, is so cleverly shot that for the first few seconds we genuinely thought it was footage taken by a couple of high school girls tooling around in their classroom. Until, of course, they started back-flipping off buildings, sprinting across roofs and pulling every trick in the ninja book.
Sure, it has almost nothing to do with the product, but we think you’ll agree this is one of the coolest ads around.
In Japanese schools, it’s the responsibility of students to clean the classrooms at the end of the day. But while some kids take this responsibility seriously, others are more interested in goofing off while their more earnest classmates do the majority of the work.
This has to be extremely frustrating. For example, imagine you just put in the time to diligently wash the blackboard, only to reach the end, turn back, and discover someone ruined your efforts by doodling over the section you’d already cleaned. You’d probably be pretty angry, right? But would you be so angry that you’d start a brawl that almost destroys the entire schoolhouse?
If you were the star of this amazing stop motion video, you would.
Two features of Tokyo make an immediate impression on visitors. First is the sheer size of the teeming metropolis, as it seems to envelop you from all sides. Second is the otherworldly atmosphere imparted by its futuristic architecture, intricate network of crisscrossing train lines, and the fields of neon that come to life like blooming flowers after sundown.
These two characteristics have been captured, interpreted, and enhanced in an entrancing new video from Yokohama-based visual artist Darwinfish105 which gives the impression of floating through a Tokyo without borders or end.
In science fiction, 25 years may as well be an eternity. The genre is littered with visions of the future that were initially compelling, yet suddenly felt overwhelmingly dated and dull just a few years later.
That said, it’s been a quarter-century since the first manga installment of Ghost in the Shell was published, and Japan’s most successful cyberpunk franchise is still going strong. Ghost in the Shell succeed where others failed because the story’s true focus isn’t on shiny, imaginary technology itself, but rather on the question of what it means to be human in a rapidly evolving society, and how an individual’s personal answer to that ties into the concepts of identity, free will, and interconnectedness.
Those are concepts mankind has grappled with for centuries, so it’s only fitting that this live performance of the anime’s most iconic piece of music feels at once both modern and ancient.
Although I’m a man who can definitely appreciate the simple joys of knocking back a can of tasty beer in my living room, every now and again it’s nice to treat yourself to a drink at a classy bar. You know, the kind with soft lighting, a gleaming wooden bar top, and a vested bartender with an ice pick working a block into a classy orb to place in your glass of whiskey.
But as impressive as a nicely rounded sphere of ice may be, it can’t hope to match the visual impact of an ice version of Japan’s famous Golden Pavilion or the Statue of Liberty that you can drop in your glass.
We’ve talked before about airsoft, and how the game that allows you to gun down your friends is ironically gaining seeing its ranks grow and grow in Japan. Unlike paintball, airsoft uses solid-state, BB-like ammo, so it’s a great way to unleash your inner remorseless 1980s action hero (or his gritty, 2010 reboot) without getting your fashionable combat fatigues stained with purple and orange splatters.
Most airsoft fields tend to be just that, fields out in the woods. But what if your combat fantasies are more Predator 2 than Predator, and you’d prefer an urban theater of operations? Is there a place where you can hunt the deadliest game: man?
Sure there is, at the Wanju Military Theme Park in Korea.
We’ve officially found the world’s coolest dad…and he lives in Brazil! Animator Robson Menezes dos Santos began working on a special animation video last August for his son Rasdael’s 9th birthday on February 9. And let’s just say that the results will blow you away faster than if you got hit by a Kamehameha. He even got the official Brazilian voice actorsto dub a special birthday message for Rasdeal! Be sure to watch this awesome birthday present yourself- it’s over 9,000 one million levels of coolness!!
Hospitality Magazine recently announced its annually updated list of the 50 best restaurants in Asia. While the top prize went to Bangkok’s Nahm, Japan did snag the second and fifth place sports on the list.
But while Japan has a rich and complex cultural legacy all its own, its most highly ranked dining establishment isn’t a Japanese restaurant, but a French one.
The other day, faced with another bleakly overcast, freezing cold day, we wife and I decided that the local video store was as far a trip as we were willing to brave the elements for, and came back with a stack of Attack on Titan DVDs. After watching a dozen episodes of the biggest anime hit in recent memory, the only time I’m not bugging her with my rendition of the show’s opening theme is when she’s singing it herself (thankfully, she does a much better job of staying on-key than I do).
There’s just something infectious about the show’s anthem, “Guren no Yumiya.” It’s helped its performers Linked Horizon get famous, thousands of fans get pumped up, and even one soccer fan get a job.
As someone who grew up surrounded by full-sized American automobiles, I admit I chuckled a little when I first came to Japan and saw the country’s kei cars. As time went by though, I began to see how these super subcompact cars meshed with Japan’s transportation needs, as they sipped gas and slid easily down the country’s narrow roads.
But it turns out that kei – meaning “light” – cars aren’t just practical. The right one might even get you out of a jam, as this video of a heroic Suzuki saving a truck stranded in the snowstorm that hit the Tokyo area last week.
It’s common knowledge that in order to mail something, you’ll need to know the name and rough address of the recipient, even if you’re lacking a couple of minor details. But what if, let’s say, the intended mailing destination is not in a building, but on some random corner of a street? Chances are, your mail is going to be left undelivered. Unless, it seems, you live in Japan!
Japan Post’s dedicated workers successfully delivered mail to someone whose location was “on the street”, leaving Japanese netizens in awe of their dedication and skill! But how did they do it?
For many, the ’80s was a decade of the best fashion, movies, and music known to humanity. For the rest of us, it was a painful embarrassment that we’re still trying to forget by drinking heavily.
Still, we’d be lying if we said there wasn’t something magical and stupidly fun about the cinema and games of that decadent decade. Which might explain the recent resurgence in ’80s-centric media like the critically acclaimed Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and, now, the too-insane-to-actually-get-made-but-totally-will movie Kung Fury!
One of the things that makes the anime classicMy Neighbor Totoro so magical is the way the titular forest spirit appears out of nowhere. Time and time again in the film, he quietly makes his entrance, does something adorable and enchanting, then fades away into the forest. The understated beauty and child-like wonder of these moments is so powerful that you can’t help but wonder how much better the real world would be with more flashes of pure positive emotion.
That’s exactly what visitors to a suburban shopping center in Yokohama recently got.