events

Volleyball anime Haikyu!! getting ready to serve fans with live stage show this year

After a surge of live-action films based on big-name animated franchises last year, 2015 has been fairly quiet on that front, with the upcoming Attack on Titan being one of the few projects that really seems to have fans of the original version excited.

On the other hand, there’s been a boom in stage adaptations of popular anime. We already knew that we’d be getting live stage shows based on Naruto, Fushigi Yugi, and One Piece. Now, lovers of theatre and anime alike have one more performance to look forward to, the stage version of volleyball hit Haikyu!!

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Naruto art exhibition coming to Tokyo and Osaka with free, new manga for all attendees

The rumors of Naruto’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Sure, last November marked the end of creator Masashi Kishimoto’s manga, after an amazing 15 years of serialization collected into 72 volumes. But while manga fans no longer get to see their ninja pals in the pages of weekly anthology Shonen Jump, elsewhere Naruto and company have been popping up all over the place.

The anime TV series is still ongoing, and last December’s The Last: Naruto the Movie isn’t as conclusive as it sounds, as there’s another Naruto theatrical feature scheduled for release in August. Then, of course, there’s the highly anticipated stage adaptation of the series.

And if all that’s still not enough for you, there’s an exhibition of Naruto artwork set to open in Tokyo and Osaka soon, with a sneak peak just a week away.

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Want to see anime singer Hironobu Kageyama, or rising idol Azusa Todokoro, perform live? 【Event】

Aside from protagonist Goku’s voice actress Masako Nozawa, it’s pretty hard to find a performer who can claim to have made his or her presence felt in all of anime hit Dragon Ball’s over 290 TV episodes and dozen-plus movies. One man who can make that claim, though, is vocalist Hironobu Kageyama, who supplied the opening theme for each and every episode of Dragon Ball and its successor series Dragon Ball Z, plus 12 of its 13 movies to-date (and even the most recent film used a cover of his iconic hit “Cha-La Head-Cha-La”).

Now in his 50s, no one would blame Kageyama is he said he didn’t have the energy for live performances anymore, but the tireless singer isn’t ready to retire yet. Aside from being the front man for anime song supergroup JAM Project, next month Kageyama will be performing for TV program Anison CLUB!, and anime music Internet portal animeloLIVE! is giving away tickets to the event.

And don’t worry if Dragon Ball was before your time, because animeloLIVE! is also looking for fans to come out and support up-and-coming voice actress and idol Azusa Todokoro at yet another event to be held in March.

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Set your alarm! Limited time maid breakfast cafe coming to Tokyo’s Akihabara

For most of their patrons, a visit to one of Japan’s maid cafes comes after a tough day at the office, or maybe as a special reward at the end of a busy week. But if enjoying the cafes’ light fare and frilly costumes can come as a pick-me-up after some hard work, can’t it also provide the energy boost to kick-start your workday?

That’s the theory behind a new, limited-time maid cafe that’s opening up in Tokyo, where customers can bolster their spirits with a maid-made breakfast before heading out to tackle the day’s challenges.

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Tokyo art museum to hold exhibition on the links between anime, video games, and Japanese society

Over the past quarter century, manga, anime, and video games have surpassed their former status as nice hobbies. Not only have all three become extremely lucrative industries, they’ve now been such integrated parts of popular youth culture for long enough to have had a significant influence on a large portion of Japan’s adult population, too.

With that in mind, one of Tokyo’s most prestigious art museums has announced an upcoming exhibition that examines the way comics, animation, and games have been affected by, and in turn have affected, Japanese society over the past 25 years.

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Six new cast photos from Naruto play released as Teams 8 and 10 get ready to take the stage

Considering that it’s scheduled to run for less than two months in Japan, we weren’t expecting much of the cast of Naruto to show up in the stage adaptation of the smash hit anime and manga franchise. Obviously protagonist Naruto, rival Sasuke, and fellow ninja Sakura would show up, but considering the limited number performances, hoping for many more performers seemed like wishful thinking.

But with 72 collected manga volumes, 615 anime episodes, and 10 theatrical features, the Naruto saga is filled with characters too cool to leave on the cutting room floor, which is why the play’s producers have just released photos of six more members of the cast in full costume.

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This 300-meter water slide is set to unfold in Japan this Golden Week

Many of you might have fond memories of summers spent cooling off on a backyard water slide (and possibly not-so-fond memories of friction burns). But surely a few daredevils were always left wondering, “Is that it?” as they landed in the splash pool. Enter Slide the City, the ultimate in childhood wish-fulfillment. The people of Japan will soon have a chance to experience the enormous water slide for themselves when it opens on Golden Week, a run of consecutive public holidays which this year begins on April 29.

As seen in the screenshot above, the slide spans at least a couple of blocks, measuring a whopping 300 meters, and makes good on its name by running through the heart of various urban locations. As such, it’s not hard to see why the July 2014 unveiling in Salt Lake City was such a success, with some 6,000 people participating in the event.

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See the dark side of the force in pure white with Snow Festival’s gigantic Star Wars sculpture

Last week, we took a sneak peek at the upcoming Sapporo Snow Festival by checking out an icy rendering of an idol trio from hit anime Love Live! Freaked out as we were by their unfinished yet crazed expressions, it turns out Umi, Honoka, and Kotori aren’t the most intimidating characters showing up at this year’s event.

That title goes to the massive snow sculpture of fallen Jedi Darth Vader, who rolled into the largest city in Hokkaido with the sort of backup that’d you’d expect from the Supreme Commander of the Empire’s space fleet.

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Are you man enough for these Hello Kitty clothes made just for dudes?

With her many collaborations with a multitude of designers and brands, it seems like Hello Kitty has merchandise for just about everyone. But while the range from cheap Kitty-chan trinkets to premium luxury items means Japan’s most famous 2-D cat has covered the demographics of both young and old as well as rich and poor, things are a little bit less balanced when it comes to the catalogue of Hello Kitty tie-ins for men versus those for women.

The ever-industrious Kitty is looking to make things a little more even, though, and last year corporate parent Sanrio announced the Hello Kitty Men Project. As part of the initiative, this month fashionable dudes in one fashionable Tokyo neighborhood can get their hands on three new Hello Kitty items made just for men.

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Steam Garden: Tokyo’s steampunk festival might be better than a Victorian time machine

Though it sometimes feel a bit like bragging, when people ask what we like best about Tokyo, we can’t help answering that it basically has everything. Now, don’t us wrong, there are some things you can’t find in Japan’s capital city, but just about everything we’ve gone looking for, we’ve been able to find. And we’ve even discovered some things without knowing we were looking for them! Case in point, about a week ago, we found out that Tokyo has its very own quarterly steampunk festival!

Dubbed Steam Garden, the first event of the year will be held next month in Harajuku, but we were dying to know more about it, so we reached out to the Tokyo Inventors Society to learn more about steampunk in Japan. Check our exclusive interview and get information about joining the fun below!

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Fushigi Yugi stage adaptation gets cast and schedule as Mysterious Play becomes a real one

Over the past few months, there’s been a string of stage adaptations of hit anime and manga announced. But while we’re sure plenty of fans are psyched about the upcoming Naruto play and One Piece kabuki performance, fans of girls’ comics, or anime series with fewer than 600 episodes to wade through, might be feeling a little left out.

Luckily for them, there’s a more female-oriented, reasonably concise franchise about to become live performance theater, with the opening in March of a stage version of the Mysterious Play, or as it’s better known, Fushigi Yugi.

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Snow sculpture of anime girls with soulless eyes is bone-chilling in two different ways

The key difference between being an idol singer and a pop diva is warmth. Even if you’ve got perfect pitch and unshakable rhythm, if you want to succeed as an idol, you still need a heart-melting smile. Really, as long as you’ve got the smile, idol fans will even cut you a lot of slack on not having the other two.

So it’s a little unusual to gaze upon this trio of anime idols and feel a chill run down your spine, and not just because they’re made of snow.

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The City of Angels is now the City of Samurai with Los Angeles museum’s awesome armor exhibition

Like clockwork, every winter I get a serious bout of home-sickness. It’s usually triggered by a call or email from someone back home telling me about taking a drive with the top down, watching football on ordinary broadcast TV, going out for some Vietnamese sandwiches, or one of the other things I miss about life in Los Angeles.

“But,” I remind myself, “Japan has lots of cool things too! Where else can you go to the museum and see massive collections of samurai armor, huh?”

Oh, right now you can do that at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art? Touché, L.A.

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5 places in Japan to visit in 2015

Although we just told you about why Japan is an unpopular tourist destination, if you are planning on visiting in 2015and we really recommend you do!there are some landmark events going on that you might want to consider as you make your plans. Here’s our list of five places you’ll want to visit in Japan in 2015.

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Melon topped with ice cream: two great Hokkaido tastes in one crazily delicious package

Japan sure loves its parfaits, and while they all come with tasty toppings, the most highly regarded come crowned with fruit. But what if you turned the concept on its head, and instead took a piece of premium produce, then added a cone’s worth of ice cream on top?

You’d have our newest dessert infatuation: the fresh melon soft serve.

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“2D vs. Katana” exhibition shows off recreations of swords from anime and video games in Osaka

Last year, Tokyo’s Ueno Royal Museum held an exhibition of Japanese swords inspired by the mechanical and character designs of landmark anime Evangelion. As cool as some of the pieces looked, though, you won’t find any scenes in the giant robot franchise where someone actually fights using a katana.

On the other hand, right now the Osaka Museum of History is holding an event that goes even further in bridging the gap between fantasy and reality, by displaying recreations of amazing blades seen in anime, manga, and light novel illustrations.

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Naruto stage play releases first photo, announces cast, adds performances outside Japan

With the Naruto manga all wrapped up, we imagine a lot of fans are feeling sort of lonely. Sure, there’s an animated movie coming up, and you can still catch episodes of the weekly anime series, but with no more issues of the comic to look forward to, it must seem like the series’ cast of charismatic ninja have drifted just a little farther away.

Soon enough, though, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura will be just a few rows of seats away from their adoring public, as the Naruto stage play is set to open this spring, and producers have just announced the cast and released the first shot in-costume photo of the star of the show.

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Tokyo’s Christmas displays offer dazzling rebuttal to calling Paris the City of Lights 【Photos】

Spring in Japan belongs to the cherry blossoms. Summer is all about the country’s amazing fireworks shows. And in fall, there’re the beautiful fall colors to look forward to.

In winter though, Christmas decorations take center stage. Specifically, it’s the lights covering the urban landscape, called “illuminations” by the locals, that really bring out the crowds. So if you’re looking to do a little prep work for your Christmas Eve date, the following collection of Tokyo Christmas display snapshots should help you choose which one will best set the mood, and is also a chill-free way to get into the holiday season for those of you more comfortable at home with a hot mug of cocoa than braving the elements outdoors.

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Tokyo’s Rikugien garden: Beautiful for 300 years, but especially in autumn after dark

They’re often overshadowed by the sakura, but Japan’s fall colors make the country a beautiful place to be at this time of year. Maples and gingkos even have a few advantages over cherry trees. They tend to hold their color a little longer, and the cooler weather is less conducive to large outdoor parties, meaning your appreciation of the beauty of nature is less likely to be disturbed by the carousing of drunks.

In contrast to Tokyo’s many cherry tree-lined parks and boulevards, though, getting a good view of crimson and yellow leaves often means having to head out of the city and up into the mountains. That’s not always the case, though. Historic Rikugien Garden has plenty of fall color, is located right in the middle of Tokyo, and right now is so beautiful it’s staying open after dark.

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Life-size Attack on Titan statues coming soon to Universal Studios Japan

Who does a 15-meter naked giant make marketing deals with? Anyone he wants, apparently.

Just days ago, we heard about the upcoming crossover between hit anime and manga Attack on Titan and Marvel Comics, which as of 2009 has been a subsidiary of Disney. Still, that isn’t stopping the Titans from playing both sides of the fence, as Tokyo Disneyland’s major theme park rival has just announced that two life-size Titan statues are coming to Universal Studios Japan.

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