events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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】

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)

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】

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】

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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Swanky Sailor Moon styles selling now at Tokyo department store

Swanky Sailor Moon styles selling now at Tokyo department store

With three months to go until the delayed beginning of the long-awaited new Sailor Moon TV series, fans have a lot of time on their hands. Some have filled this with dressing their dogs up like characters from the hit anime, while others have undressed to reveal their Sailor Moon lingerie.

But what if you want not just anime-themed underwear, but outerwear as well? If that’s the case, one Tokyo department store is ready to be your one-stop shopping destination with a whole store of clothing inspired by the pretty guardian herself, Sailor Moon.

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“Please, tread on me!” beg anime fans

“Please, tread on me!” beg anime fans

It’s no secret that some of the most obsessive anime fans develop, oh, let’s call them “intense feelings” for certain animated characters. Peer deep enough into their psyches, and you’ll find a (dirty) laundry list of things they’d like to do to, or have done to them by, their favorite anime heroes and heroines.

Usually, these desires are kept private, but when a special even at the recently held anime convention Anime Japan offered an opportunity to make one of these fantasies come true, some fans couldn’t resist the chance to be stepped on by frilly-costumed anime girls.

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Train station gives convention arrivals what they came to see: tons of anime characters

Train station gives convention arrivals what they came to see: tons of anime characters

There’s a three-day weekend coming up in Japan, which ordinarily is enough to put people in a good mood. Animation fans, though, have something extra-special to look forward to, as the Anime Japan 2014 expo is being held at Tokyo Big Sight this Saturday and Sunday.

The event is sure to attract a large crowd of both enthusiasts and industry professionals, who won’t even have to wait until they get inside the venue for a taste of the most popular franchises, as the nearest train station to Tokyo Big Sight is already decked out with decorations featuring some of anime’s hottest series.

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Life-size Attack on Titan monster to appear in projection-mapped form in Kawasaki

Life-size Attack on Titan monster to appear in projection-mapped form in Kawasaki

For such an ordinarily listless bunch, hit anime Attack on Titan’s titular monsters sure have been busy lately, collaborating with hamburger chain Lotteria, appearing in their first smartphone game, and even helping one fan get a job.

But now comes literally the biggest Attack on Titan promotion yet, as a life-size recreation of the 60-meter Colossal Titan is set to menace Japan in projection-mapped form at a shopping center in Kawasaki.

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Square Enix announces new Romancing Saga project! Don’t fire up your PS4 just yet though

Square Enix announces new Romancing Saga project! Don’t fire up your PS4 just yet though

Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest may be video game developer Square Enix’s two biggest series, but the Saga franchise could make a solid case for the company’s third-most important intellectual property. While the initial title in the series was the Game Boy’s Makai Toshi Saga, or Devil World Tower Saga, the more eloquently named Super NES follow-up, Romancing Saga, is where the series really took off, and 10 games are now counted as part of the Saga saga.

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the Saga franchise, and in celebration Square Enix is collaborating with a partner that’s at once completely unexpected and totally obvious: Saga Prefecture.

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Scout Corps now accepting recruits for upcoming Attack on Titan Real Escape Games

Scout Corps now accepting recruits for upcoming Attack on Titan Real Escape Games

As its popularity continues to grow, Attack on Titan seems to be seeping into the real world more and more, whether with figurines (in both hyper-realistic and, well, potato versions) or replicas of the heroes’ 3-D maneuver gear. Soon, though, fans will have a chance to reverse the trend and experience the world of the hit anime first-hand at a series of Attack on Titan-themed escape games.

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Osaka Castle backdrop for brain-melting 3D light show【Photos and Video】

Osaka Castle backdrop for brain-melting 3D light show【Photos and Video】

If you happen to be in Osaka in the next month and feel up to braving the chilly nights, there is an interesting event taking place at Osaka Castle as part of the Art Festival of Light. In addition to the castle gardens being decorated with thousands of twinkling bulbs and a giant cube of swirling light constructed with LEDs, the castle itself will be the canvas for a 3D mapping projection guaranteed to confuse your brain.

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Adorable zombie children take over Arakawa Amusement park, our hearts melt

Adorable zombie children take over Arakawa Amusement park, our hearts melt

Since its inception in Canada in 2003, Zombie Walk for Kids has spread to England, Australia, Mexico, and, at last, Japan. And, like a proper infection, it’s really catching!

Though still focused mostly on major cities like Sapporo, Osaka, and Tokyo, the events are growing and gaining lots of shuffling, moaning followers. Just a few days ago, one was held at the Arakawa Amusement Park in Tokyo–and we have the horrifyingly adorable photos of zombie kids to prove it!

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We pick up a new good luck charm at the Tori no Ichi Festival in Shinjuku

We pick up a new good luck charm at the Tori no Ichi Festival in Shinjuku

Japan’s urban and rural areas alike are dotted with temples and shrines, but there’s no practice of attending regular services at them. Instead, visitors primarily come to offer a few yen as a donation, say a quick prayer, and pick up one of the plethora of good luck charms and amulets sold there, many of which have specific purposes such as passing an important exam or finding a new love.

But every member of our team is already out of college, and so popular with the opposite sex that we’re starting to feel bad about not leaving any for the rest of the populace. Looking further down our to-do list, we noticed that “build mansion with supermodel grotto” was preceded by “achieve economic success,” so we decided to head to our local Shinto shrine for Tori no Ichi, Japan’s annual festival for buying good luck charms for success in business.

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Survival Game: Japanese hobbyists fall in love with shooting each other

Survival Game: Japanese hobbyists fall in love with shooting each other

After a long, frustrating day of work, there’s nothing better than plopping down in front of your computer or TV and shooting the ever-loving poop out of digitized bad guys. This is, obviously, just an opinion, but it is a common opinion–global video game sales for GTA V, Call of Duty, and Battlefield would certainly seem to support this. But, you know, as much fun as video games are, they’re not exactly great exercise, are they?

And that’s fine, of course! Not every single thing we do everyday has to be healthy. But maybe you’re starting to notice a little pudge around your edges (like me) and are trying to think of the least painful way to get some exercise.

Sure, you could go for a jog, I guess. Or you could head down to Tokyo’s newest airsoft field and shoot some of your friends!

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