manga

Butt Bat Girl: Japan’s latest trick photography craze that combines sports anime with slapstick

While seemingly 90 percent of anime and manga are set in Tokyo, a lot of the creative individuals behind Japan’s biggest animation and comic hits grew up in other parts of the country. Many accomplished artists and authors hail from Niigata, and while Inuyasha and Ranma 1/2 creator Rumiko Takahashi is probably the most famous among English-speaking fans, the prefecture can also claim Shinji Mizushima as one of its native sons.

Mizushima is best known for his baseball saga Dokaben, which was so popular its protagonist has been immortalized with bronze statue in Niigata City. It was already a bit of a local landmark, but these days it’s getting a fresh batch of attention as the site of a series of trick photography shots of the power-hitting catcher sending young women flying with a swing of his bat.

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Sailor Moon cookie charms look good enough to eat, but they’re for your bag, not your tummy

Like any healthy human beings, our ears perk up at the mention of “a dozen cookies.” But while we were all set to spoil our appetites with the tasty treats, it turns out that these particular sweets aren’t edible.

Ordinarily, we’d be storming off in a huff, but we’re giving these imposters a pass, because they’re a set of 12 cookie-themed Sailor Moon charms.

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Boys’ turn: The top 10 most common shonen manga scenarios, according to Japanese fans

Last week, we took a look at some of the most common scenarios in shojo manga, Japan’s subset of comics aimed at young female readers. And yes, sometimes it seems like you can pick up just about any shojo manga, flip to a random page, and stand a pretty good chance of finding a scene where a guy with an impossibly tall nose, incredibly thin waist, tearfully tragic backstory, and enviably huge inheritance is moving in next door to the heroine.

But turnabout is fair play, and shonen manga, or boys’ comics, also have a set of storytelling conventions that get used repeatedly, so today we’re looking at the top 10 most instantly recognizable.

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The top 10 most common shojo manga scenarios, as picked by Japanese girls’ comic fans

In broad terms, the two largest categories of Japanese comics are shonen manga (“boys’ comics”) and shojo manga (“girls comics”). Among many fans, shonen manga have a stigma of relying on the same hackneyed storytelling patterns, over and over again. There’s generally a young male protagonist who sets out to become the strongest…something (ninja, mecha pilot, and even baker have all been done to great success). Along the way, he faces off against a series of powerful rivals, many of whom become the hero’s allies after he defeats them through a combination of newly discovered techniques and the power of determination.

Shojo series, the popular logic goes, are more sophisticated, with an emphasis on interpersonal conflict and dynamics in a setting closer to the real world. That’s not to say girls’ comics in Japan can’t be just as formulaic as their shonen counterparts, though, as emphasized by a poll of the top recurring tropes in shojo manga.

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Fantastic fujoshi just wanna have fun, Japanese netizens say, “No!”

Fujoshi, (literally: “rotten girls”) are fans of manga and novels which feature romantic relationships between men, a genre is often referred to as “Boys Love.” There are an increasingly large number of women around the world that identify themselves as fujoshi and in Japan they take the fandom far beyond just reading manga or watching anime.

In summer 2014, these “rotten girls” enjoyed turning themselves into their Boys Love counterparts but only now has that trend come to the attention of the rest of the Internet. Japanese forums and websites are bustling with comments about girls drawing themselves as men, but there is one negative thought that, if you’ve got time to remember one more Japanese phrase, is startlingly more prominent than any others: kimochi warui (“nasty”)!

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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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Anime is real, says Obama, in definitely-not-at-all-faked photos

Well ok, maybe a little bit faked.

Here at RocketNews24, there’s only one thing we like better than badly photoshopped pictures, and that’s brilliantly edited photos that make the President of the United States look like a massive otaku.

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Akihabara Internet cafe looks like a beautiful Japanese inn, still has tons of free manga to read

Being the very heart of the anime and consumer electronics scene in Japan, it’s no surprise that Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood has Internet cafes where you can also read comics from a massive in-house manga library. But as nice as it can be to immerse yourself in all of the extremely important information available online, or to gorge yourself on a year’s worth of manga at a fraction of the price you’d pay to buy it, you might find yourself wanting to do so in relaxing, even traditional surroundings.

If so, a visit to the Nagomi-Style Cafe Akiba is in order, as it’s the only manga and Internet cafe in Akihabara designed with the look and atmosphere of a Japanese ryokan inn.

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The top 10 manga Japanese people want to see turned into anime

Every season there’s a wave of new anime shows, many of them based on some other form of media such as a manga or light novel series. Most reasonably popular manga titles seem to make it onto the screen in animated form at some point or other, so it can be galling when your favorite series is passed over by the animation studios time and again in favour of yet more giant robots and impossibly large and buoyant chests.

Read on to see which manga series Japanese readers most want to see animated, and let us know what your own picks would be.

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If Japan joins the TPP, would it be the end of parody and self-published works?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has proven a source of extreme contention on both sides of the ocean. For example, the EFF has been openly critical of the potential agreement, describing it on their website as “a secretive, multinational trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement.” Japanese farmers don’t seem to fond of it either, though for entirely different reasons.

And now the TPP is drawing the ire of (with a few smatterings of approval from) Japan’s manga and anime fans. Some are even saying the agreement has the potential to utterly destroy otaku culture. Is this hyperbole or is the sky really falling?

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“What manga character would you like to name your baby after?” survey asks

In many cultures, it’s common for parents to name children after a relative, or sometimes even themselves. My dad, oldest brother, and nephew, for example, all have the exact same name, which is pretty convenient when my mom wants to call them all for dinner at the same time.

Japan, though, doesn’t have this sort of custom, which means parents’ options are wide-open when picking out a name for their kids. Given this sort of freedom, a recently conducted survey asked Japanese respondents the following question: If you were going to name your baby after a manga character, who would it be?

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Manga hit Hana Yori Dango getting sequel series, will be available free and online in English

Although there’s an identically pronounced Japanese proverb espousing the pleasures of the flesh, when many non-Japanese people hear Hana Yori Dango, the first thing they think of is the title of the rags to riches and romance manga penned by Yoko Kamio. Also known as Boys Over Flowers, Kamio’s manga debuted in 1992 and would eventually see animated and live-action adaptations both on TV and in theaters.

Now, 12 years after the conclusion of the comic that started the franchise, Kamio is penning a sequel series. Plus, as if that wasn’t enough to make the day of Hana Yori Dango fans all over the world, it’ll be available to read online, free, and in English simultaneously with its Japanese release.

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Can you spot the mistake in this One Piece drawing?

There isn’t a manga fan that doesn’t enjoy a good color spread in their favorite manga magazine. However, a One Piece image in the latest issue of Weekly Shonen Jump raised blood pressures online when fans noticed a mistake author Oda Eiichiro had made. Have you spotted it?

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Terra Formars live-action movie in the works, Takashi Miike to direct

Our friends over at Anime News Network recently previewed a cover of next week’s Young Jump magazine, which will announce the plans for a live-action film based on the hit sci-fi manga Terra Formars.

Although details are scant at the moment the one juicy tidbit is that Takashi Miike, arguably the most prolific director to walk the earth, has signed on.

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Korean students live out their wildest manga fantasies with amateur “Trick Eye” illustrations

We often say “seeing is believing”, but ironically, our brain and eyes are rather susceptible to visual trickery. Optical illusion art galleries that feature cleverly distorted artworks that manipulate the eyes’ perception of distance and depth have been gaining massive popularity in various parts of Asia in recent months. The original art pieces exhibited at these galleries allow visitors to physically be part of the “3-D” illustration, creating a unique and interactive experience that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

But why pay to pose with paintings that might not tickle your fancy, when you can live out your fantasies with your favorite manga characters? A bunch of students from South Korea created their very own “interactive” art gallery in their classroom featuring characters from Kuroko no Basuke (Kuroko’s Basketball). Check them out!

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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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Australia’s Animal Logic Entertainment announces plans for live-action Astro Boy film

Live-action comic book movies are a big deal these days, with four of the 10 highest-grossing films in the U.S. hailing from that category in 2014. All four of those are Marvel properties, though, and while American rival DC Comics has found sporadic movie success in the past, Western adaptations of Japanese manga haven’t even fared that well.

Still, it looks like one studio is getting ready to roll the dice again, and the dice don’t get much bigger than Japan’s most exalted manga of all, as Australia’s Animal Logic Entertainment has announced its plans for an Astro Boy live-action movie.

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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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Bookstore staff across Japan vote for the 15 most recommended manga for 2015

Recently the 10th annual Nationwide Bookstore Staff Recommended Comics tallied votes from over 2,250 bookstore workers across Japan to decide which manga titles came most highly endorsed.

So if you’re looking for a new title to get into this year, why not scroll through the top 15 below and see what Japanese manga dealers can’t get enough of. There seems to be a good blend of genres this year, but which one came out on top?

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What do sumo wrestlers have in common with Tinker Bell?

Sumo wrestlers and Disney fairy Tinker Bell are not two things you would think have much in common. Yet their uncanny similarity is exactly what netizens in Japan have noticed, following a series of photos published recently on the Internet.

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