One Piece characters’ nationalities revealed, but fans have mixed opinions

One of the great things about the One Piece series is how intricate the world it’s set in is. Loosely based on historical colonial times, it’s familiar enough for readers to feel comfortable with, yet different enough to create a sense of magic and intrigue. Though originally written in Japanese, the manga hints that characters in the series also speak English, Spanish, French, and a handful of other languages.

It might not seem too farfetched, then, that some fans were curious about what nationalities the characters would have been had the story taken place in our world instead, and this is exactly what one reader asked the creator of the series. The answer they received wasn’t quite what some fans had in mind, though…

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Roll cake-headed town mascot character attacked by group of men, woman inside injured

Upon arriving in Japan, one of the first things you’ll probably notice is the large army of characters being used to sell anything from services to stationary to automobiles, or giving tips on being a good citizen like when it comes to separating your trash or picking up your dog’s poop after it finishes doing its duty. Most of them are cute, but some are downright scary.

In recent years, yurukyara, literally “weaker mascot characters”, have slowly been taking over the country, with more and more cities and businesses allocating funds to coming up with the prefect representative character costume each year. Aside from being hot and stuffy inside, being a yurukyara seems like a pretty awesome job. Kids are happy to see you, people are clamoring to get a picture of you, and generally everyone loves you…

Or at least that’s the impression we got until news of a mascot character in a small Ehime Prefecture town getting attacked.

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3-D character bread trending on Instagram is way cuter and cooler than sliced bread

Three-dimensional character bread, called chigiri-pan, is currently trending on Japanese Instagram under the tag #3Dちぎりパン. These upright, puffy loaves are handcrafted by artistic bakers with more than a pinch of creativity and dollops of love. We’ve already spied loaves in the shape of some popular Disney, Ghibli, San-X, and Moomin characters, among others. Perhaps one of the following creations will inspire you to try your hand at making some chigiri-pan for yourself!

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Five types of foreigner you’ll meet in Japan

Japan attracts all kinds of people from all over the world. Some come to work, others come to play, and thanks to its relatively low crime levels, high standard of living and abundance of delicious food, Japan is a very easy place to call home for a while. Plus, isn’t Japan where all those anime, video games and ninjas come from? It’s got to be worth a visit!

But today, instead of talking about the myriad things Japan has to offer visitors, we’re going to have a bit of fun by taking a closer look at some of the visitors themselves. You might not encounter each of these five types of people if you’re staying in Japan for just a couple of weeks, but if you’re here for work or an extended sojourn, then you’re bound to meet at least a couple of them along the way…

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Charapedia’s online poll reveals the top 20 female anime/manga characters not to provoke

Japanese anime and manga informational site Charapedia is fond of making lists. For their latest poll, they asked 10,000 of their users to submit votes for the top 20 female anime/manga characters who are scary when they become enraged. The results are certainly telling, as all of the characters have one thing in common—you don’t want to push any of their buttons, because there’s no telling how you’d end up!

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The more you know Mario: The unusual Japanese names of Nintendo’s Super Mario characters

If, like me, you grew up playing Super Mario Bros. on the NES, then you’re no doubt super excited for the launch of Super Mario Maker this coming September. Exclusive to Wii U, the game allows players to build their own worlds, using every block, enemy and power-up (plus a few new ones) from a whole host of Super Mario games, then share them with players all around the world.

For those of us who never quite gave up on our childhood dream of making games for Nintendo especially, Super Mario Maker is shaping up to be the ultimate celebration of 30 years of Mario, and the thought of throwing all your favourite bad guys into bizarre platforming situations has us positively giddy with excitement.

With that in mind, today we’ve decided to take a quick look at some of the characters we know and love from the Mario franchise. To spice things up, though, we’re going to be introducing you to their original Japanese names and explaining a little about the meanings behind them. Think you know Mario? Let’s find out!

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Introducing the new PikaChu! Amusing character mash-ups bring the Japanese internet to giggles

Ever wondered what Pikachu would look like fused with other familiar characters from manga, anime, and video games?

Neither have we, to be honest, but now we can see what the love-children of those amalgamations would look like thanks to Japanese company Mountain Graphics, a maker of t-shirts and other apparel. “Cardcaptor Zakura,” “Wapire-chan”…their series of character mash-ups are sure to tickle your funny bone!

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Japanese net users surprised to learn that painfully cute bento was in fact made by a teenage boy

What did you have for lunch today? If you’re anything like me, it was probably nothing special – just something to keep you going until the end of the day. Oh, how wonderful it would be to be blessed with the skills (or a skilled family member) to make outrageously accurate kyaraben, i.e. packed lunches intricately designed to look like various characters! Lunch could be so much more entertaining!

Since not all moms are adept at creating kyaraben, some kids have taken their decorative lunches into their own hands. And by kids, I don’t just mean girls…

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Get ready for yuru-kyara car plates! Japan to lift ban on colourful regional license plates

In larger countries like Australia and the United States, vehicle registration is carried out at the state level. This has long allowed each state to produce distinctive designs, including slogans or iconic imagery on number plates. In little Japan, however, vehicle registration is issued by the national government, so car owners have had no option to show their local pride with a regional license plate…until now.

The Ministry of Transport has announced that from next year, local authorities will be free to put colourful character designs on car number plates. Let’s have a look at some of the potential ways to pimp your Japanese numberplate!

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Like anime and video game mashups? Here’s 900 amazing ones!

Who doesn’t love a good mashup? We’ve seen some great ones before: Pokémon turned into Godzilla monsters, Doraemon turned into Dragon Ball, even Crayon Shin-chan turned into Attack on Titan.

But when it comes to sheer quantity of mashups, the clear winner is MOUNTAIN GRAPHICS, a company that sells t-shirts and other goods with cute and cool designs on them. They have over 900 pictures on their Twitter and Instagram account of mashed-up characters from video games, anime, and more.

Ever wanted to see Mario and PaRappa the Rapper fused together? Or Bomberman and Hello Kitty? Hoe about Bowser and Cthulhu? Well today’s your lucky day!

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If The Avengers could have one Japanese superhero, who would it be?

It was a veritable who’s who of Marvel superheroes: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Thor… but some fans from a country with its own rich history of superhero characters have been asking, couldn’t there have been a Captain Japan in The Avengers?

Join us as we delve into a parallel universe, asking, “If The Avengers had a Japanese superhero, which one would it be?”

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Dedicated designer mum’s lunch bag art is way too good to throw away

Brown paper lunch bags don’t have to be boring! One mum’s stunning drawings on her kids’ baggies liven up lunchtime, and are so good that it almost seems a waste to draw them on something that’s designed to be disposable.

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Shiraishi Island needs YOUR character ideas!

If you went to your town council meeting in your country and told them you wanted to make a cutesy mascot to represent your city, you’d probably get a few smirks from the council members. If you further told them that the character would be androgynous and hardly recognizable as any particular animal, you’d get a few laughs. Then, if you told them it didn’t even need to have a mouth, that it could be frumpy and clutsy, and that this could be a main draw to your town, you’d have been laughed out of the town hall right then and there.

But this is Japan, where characters are biiiig business. The Japanese have taken the concept of Mickey Mouse, Snoopy and The Muppets to a whole new level. With huge success. And now, one junior high school student is hoping to tap into the power of the mascot character to achieve something far more noble trying to get rich: reviving her community and bringing much-needed tourism to the tiny island on which she lives. But she needs your help.

This, RocketNews24 reader, is your chance to get involved in Japan’s mascot frenzy! Submit a character idea to represent this small Japanese island–and who knows, maybe your idea will be chosen! Interested? Read on!

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Rumour: Super Smash Bros. character list leaked? 【Update: Pretty much confirmed】

If you’re the kind of person who likes video games and isn’t dead inside, chances are you’re looking forward to Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, due to release later this year. The comic fighting game’s creators have been teasing us for what feels like decades now by slowly revealing which characters will be available to play as, talking of trimming the fat while simultaneously revealing what appears to be every Nintendo character under the sun.

If the following “leaked” screenshots and video are to be believed, however, Nintendo’s character roster-teasing days are about to come to an abrupt end.

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These anime mascots are just what the World Cup has been missing!

Here at RocketNews24 we believe there are few things that can’t be improved with a sprinkling of anime style – even sports mascots. So we were thrilled to learn that one mystery artist has created unofficial anime mascots for all 32 World Cup teams. If you like your football with a side helping of cute and quirky cartoon girls, you’ve come to the right place!

Join us after the jump for a host of new anime characters dressed as superheros, animals and more – all in their team colours, of course.

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Can’t get enough Funasshi? Here come Funa-shoes!

Japan is always on the lookout for a charismatic new character, and right now no one’s star is rising faster than Funasshi. The frenetic flailing and bubbly babbling of the anthropomorphic pear has been winning over fans across Japan and even overseas.

Soon, those who just can’t get enough of Funabashi City’s unofficial mascot can show their devotion with a pair of Funasshi shoes.

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Osaka airport’s new mascot is adorable, laid-back, possibly drunk

Osaka International Airport has a deceptively confusing name. First, although its mailing address is indeed in Osaka, a large portion of the facility actually spills over the border into neighboring Hyogo Prefecture, specifically the city of Itami.

Second, it only has domestic flights, as during the 1990s the overseas traffic was moved to Kansai International Airport, an international airport that’s entirely in Osaka (yet completely separate from Osaka International Airport).

But even if it’s hard to find a shred of logic to the naming of Osaka International Airport, the domestic hub can now fall back on the good looks of its new mascot, the undeniably cute, possibly worrying Sora-yan.

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See what 13 stuffed toys look like after a wash at the home spa

People in Japan love their soft toys. And with so many cute characters to choose from, it’s easy to understand why. But with love comes a sense of responsibility, which means there will eventually come a time when your favourite stuffed character will have to face the wash. The only thing is, with their adorable, life-like expressions, a wash-and-dry for a stuffed toy ends up looking like a day at the spa followed by a visit to the amusement park!

Check out the adventures of some crazy Japanese plushies, as documented by their owners, after the jump.

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Rika-chan finds a playmate in cute Kumamoto character Kumamon

If you’re a girl who grew up with Japanese relatives, then this Rika-chan doll probably brings back some childhood memories. Created in 1967, her popularity in Japan rivals that of Barbie in the West and her impressive accessories collection contains all sorts of Japanese-related goods including futons, Hello Kitty hats and kimonos. Now Rika is adding to her collection by collaborating with one of Japan’s newest and most popular characters, Kumamon, the official mascot for Kumamoto city in Kyushu. The new friends, with their matching black, red and white outfits, will be released on February 1 by Takara Tomy.

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Akita musician and illustrator do everything they can to convince us their eel characters are actually dongs

Japan cranks out a huge number of corporate and regional mascot characters, and each one is required to be cute, right down to its name. Unfortunately, sometimes a moniker that sounds perfectly fine in Japanese doesn’t have quite the same inoffensive ring to it in English.

Of course, naming choices can have unfortunate implications for Japanese speakers as well, like with Akita Prefecture’s cute little garden eel character called Chinanabo. In Chinanabo’s case, however, there’s enough evidence to make us think his creators are in on the joke.

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