events

Tokyo’s Shibuya holds its first Halloween costume contest aboard a train, we ride along

Back before Halloween became as popular in Japan as it is today, Tokyo expats looking to celebrate the holiday would stage impromptu costume parties on the last car of the JR Yamanote loop line. At the time, though, most Japanese people weren’t familiar with Halloween, and this tended to freak the indigenous locals out, leading Japan Railways to eventually crack down on the festivities.

Things have changed a lot in the last 15 years, though. Tokyo is starting to seriously get into the Halloween spirit, so much so that another rail company, Tokyu, actually held a Halloween costume contest onboard one of its trains, and we went to check it out.

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Massive 5-CD Final Fight soundtrack set lets you hear the game’s music without the punching

It’s been 25 years since the arcade release of video game developer Capcom’s Final Fight. While it wasn’t the first side-scrolling beat ‘em up, at the time of its release it was far and away the best, and the number of sequels Final Fight spawned makes its title almost as ironic as the long-running Final Fantasy’s.

In honor of the classic hitting the quarter-century mark, Capcom’s green-lit a Final Fight CD release. No, it’s not a sequel, nor is it a reissue of the Sega CD version. Instead, it’s a soundtrack collection for practically the entire franchise.

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We spend the night at Zombie Camp! It’s like summer camp…but with zombies!

Summer is the season for ghost stories in Japan, and at the end of August we sent one of our reporters to try out the terrifying haunted house from the horror masters and game fans at Obaken. Amazing as that six-room production is, Obaken has since expanded its scale to something even bigger: Zombie Camp, a two-day excursion that combines the majesty of the great outdoors with the threat of rampaging zombies!

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God of Manga Osamu Tezuka’s nude female drawings to be shown at Tokyo art exhibition

Back in the spring, we got an eyeful of a series of drawings from manga artist Osamu Tezuka, in which the multi-talented legend showed off his skill at drawing mice and snakes with sexy curves. Being the open-minded creator that he was, though, Tezuka didn’t limit his sensual sketching to rodents and reptiles, and next month fans will get to see what the God of Manga could do with the naked humans, at the Beautiful Women of Osamu Tezuka Exhibition being held in Tokyo.

Heads-up if you’re at work! Manga nipples coming after the jump!

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Live your billionaire dreams with a shampoo from a team of beautiful models at this Tokyo event

Imagine for a moment that you’re a man with unlimited wealth, who no longer has to do anything for himself. Your financial planner manages your investments, freeing you from having to do any sort of day-to-day work. Likewise, your personal assistant handles all of your shopping and household maintenance needs.

But being filthy rich is no excuse for being filthy dirty. Of course, given your economic status, personal grooming seems just a little below the tasks you should be required to perform, doesn’t it? The only sensible thing to do is to employ a team of beautiful models expressly for the purpose of giving you a shampoo while they whisper suggestive nothings into your ear.

Okay, daydream’s over. Time to go back to reality…or is it? If you’re in Tokyo this weekend, and feeling like your scalp could use a good scrub from some scantily clad women, there’s an event where you can live out that exact fantasy.

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Pics of Pikachu packs from a day of Pokémon hunting in Yokohama【Video】

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.

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We try Japan’s most exclusive beer at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka【Taste test】

In recent years, Japan’s gotten pretty into craft brewing. A few of the more prominent brands can be tracked down at specialty liquor stores in major cities like Tokyo, but many smaller outfits don’t have anything close to a national distribution network. For example, if you’re in the mood for a nice Doppo or Miyajima Beer, you’re looking at a trip out to Okayama or Hiroshima, respectively.

Still, most Japanese microbrews aren’t too hard to get your hands on, as long as you’re in the city, or at least the prefecture, where they’re made. Recently, though, we tried what might be the most exclusive beer in Japan, which is served in one place only, inside the U.S. naval base in the city of Yokosuka.

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We drown and freeze our troubles at the same time with alcoholic shochu shaved ice

We were feeling a little blue yesterday. You see, the RocketNews24 office is just a short walk away from the Isetan department store in Tokyo’s Shinjuku. Earlier in the week, we’d stopped by to see the ferociously cuddly stuffed Godzilla that had been on display, but sadly, August 5 was his last day at Isetan.

It was sad to be parted from the King of the Plush Monsters, but as the saying goes, God never closes a door without opening a window. Or in this case, a bottle, because Isetan also has something that can drown the sorrow in our hearts while cooling us off in the oppressive summer heat: alcoholic shaved ice with shochu.

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Dozens of Pikachus make landfall in Yokohama, begin expanding their territory throughout the city

It’s been about a week since we first saw the commercial for the Pikachu Tairyou Hassei Chu (“An Outbreak of Pikachus”) Pokémon event going on this month in Yokohama. And while fans are no doubt looking forward to the projection mapping show and Pikachu Café, the real draw is the promised 1,000 Pikachu that will be on hand to greet visitors to the city’s Minato Mirai bayside district.

While we’re still a few days away from the official start of the festivities, the loveable pocket monsters have already started showing up, as shown in these surreally cute photos of the assembled Pokémon hospitality corps.

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Promotion offers perfect one-week living space for otaku: An apartment pre-stocked with manga

The first time I went apartment hunting in Japan, I was shocked by how bare-bones some of them are. The lack of centralized air conditioning means often you have to go to the appliance store and buy your own AC unit, and oftentimes lighting and even a cooking range aren’t included either.

As a result, it’s always a relief to find an apartment that has any sort of amenities already included. And while a mini fridge or ceiling lamp is a nice freebie, neither one is anywhere near as cool as an apartment that comes pre-stocked with a library of manga.

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Pikachus overrunning Yokohama in the cutest rodent invasion ever 【Video】

Every summer, there are certain pests you can expect the country to become briefly inundated with. First come the mosquitos that lay their eggs in the puddles of water that form during the rainy season. Next up, the whining cicadas that serve as an aural reminder of midsummer, whether you want one or not. And last, the jellyfish, buzzkills of the animal kingdom who show up at the beach and deliver their joyless message of “Everyone out of the water!” by stinging swimmers.

But this year, there’s finally some good news, as the city of Yokohama is about to be overrun by Pikachus!

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Sailor Moon cosplay event in Tokyo provides costumes for all five Scouts, pro photographer

Anime fans the world over are about to get a treat with the July 5 premiere of Sailor Moon Crystal, the new series featuring Japanese animation’s most beloved cast of magical girls. But while we’re all excited about being able to see the Sailor Scouts once again, this month also brings a chance to become them, with a cosplay event in Tokyo that’ll provide you with not only a Sailor Moon costume, but a professional photographer to take pictures for you, too.

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Tokyo dating event needs guys who like girls who like anime about guys who like guys

No matter how deeply you respect someone’s core values, or how physically attractive you find them, it’s hard to build a successful romantic relationship without some common interests. So it’s really no surprise that an upcoming singles party in Tokyo’s anime mecca of Akihabara is looking for men and women with a shared love of animation.

This isn’t the only romantic anime event coming to Tokyo, though. On the other side of town, organizers are in the process of assembling a quorum of guys who’d be happy dating women who’re fans of male homosexual anime and manga.

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Final Fantasy Tactics concert is coming to Tokyo, completely free, and needs volunteers

Even though the numbered sequels in the Final Fantasy video game series stretch all the way up to 14, there are actually far more titles than that in the franchise. One of the most popular spinoffs to Square Enix’s massively successful role-playing game is Final Fantasy Tactics, thanks to its deep customization, complex and unpredictable plot, and stirring soundtrack.

The strategy role-playing game has been entertaining fans for the past 17 years, and as testament to its lasting appeal, this summer a symphony orchestra concert will be held dedicated to the music of Final Fantasy Tactics. And best of all, it’s free.

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Tropfest: The world’s largest short-film festival comes to Japan for one day only

Have you heard of Tropfest? For thousands of Australians, the name conjures up images of picnics, green grass and long, warm days that turn into night, bringing out stars like Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush.

It’s the biggest short-film festival in the world, born in a small café in Sydney in 1993 and growing every year, travelling to places like New York, Abu Dhabi and Cape York. This year the outdoor film festival is making its debut in Japan, bringing with it Aussie food stalls and a great selection of film shorts.

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Ghost in the Shell animation team coming to AniRevo convention in Vancouver

Eras come and go with amazing speed in the heavily youth-oriented anime and manga industries. The year 1989 saw the start of a number of comic serials with lavish artwork and intriguing premises. But while Video Girl Ai, Spriggan, and Silent Mobius all attracted large followings shortly after their debuts that year, you’d have to do some serious searching to find many contemporary fans with a real passion for any of them.

On the other hand, cyberpunk/psychological thriller Ghost in the Shell, which also was first published in 1989, is a franchise that is even more popular today than it was then. To celebrate the series’ 25 years of continuous relevance, anime convention AniRevo will be welcoming members of Production I.G., the studio responsible for all of the many Ghost in the Shell animated adaptations.

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Projection mapping coming to Cinderella’s Castle at Tokyo Disneyland 【Video】

Given Japan’s unbridled love of things technologically advanced or just plain pretty, it’s no surprise that the country can’t get enough of projection mapping. High-tech artists have put on projection mapping shows at this year’s Sapporo Snow Festival, and just a few weeks ago Kawasaki hosted an event which recreated the monstrous villains from hit anime Attack on Titan in full scale.

But if Sapporo is too cold and the Titans too terrifying, there’s another display coming up that’s sure to be milder in both climate and content though just as visually impressive, as projection mapping is coming to Cinderella’s Castle at Tokyo Disneyland.

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Final Fantasy VII concert to be held in Tokyo this summer (yes, they’ll play One-Winged Angel)

When Final Fantasy VII was first released in 1997, gamers around the world emotionally connected with it in a way that had never been seen before. Years later, the game still occupies a special place in many people’s hearts, with many clamoring for developer Square Enix to release a version with graphics updated to today’s standards.

But even as so may ask for a new edition of the game that looks better, you won’t find anyone asking for one that sounds better, as the role-playing classic’s soundtrack is one of the most universally-loved musical collections to ever come out of the medium. As testament to its lasting appeal, a Final Fantasy VII symphony concert will be held in Tokyo this summer.

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Sailor Moon in the City of Angels at LA art exhibit going on right now 【Photos】

Back when I was growing up in Los Angeles, as anime was just establishing a foothold overseas, my high school animation teacher gave us a class project of reproducing an existing animated character of our choosing. As I applied the finishing touches of green and pink paint to mine, I got some quizzical looks from my classmate, and more than a few comments of, “Dude, do you have a thing for girls in pleated skirts?”

As accurate as their insights were, my choice of subject had nothing to do with my preferences in women’s fashion, and everything to do with being a huge fan of the anime Sailor Moon. Confused as my classmates had been, the series’ phase of international obscurity was short-lived, and now not only is Sailor Moon loved around the world, it’s got its own art exhibit going on in Los Angeles right now.

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60-meter Attack on Titan monster comes to Kawasaki, so we do too 【Photos】

In the eight years since it opened, the Lazona shopping center in Kawasaki has become the city’s highest-profile entertainment hub. Conveniently attached to Kawasaki Station, Lazona makes a great place to grab a bite to eat or shop for the latest fashions or electronics.

But like many of the visitors who made the trip to Lazona on April 10, we weren’t there for dining or bargain hunting. We came to see the projection-mapped 60-meter Colossal Titan from hit anime Attack on Titan.

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