movies

Rurouni Kitty! Sanrio’s beloved cat cosplays as anime’s iconic swordsman in plushie form

Rurouni Kitty! Sanrio’s beloved cat cosplays as anime’s iconic swordsman in plushie form

Japanese movie-goers are currently enjoying the third live-action Rurouni Kenshin film. The franchise is now a certified two-decade hit, debuting as a manga in 1994 before its 1996 anime adaptation and recent film trilogy, and it owes much of its success to the popularity of main character Himura Kenshin.

What makes Kenshin so compelling is that despite his formidable swordsmanship, he’s portrayed as consistently kindhearted and good-natured. In certain scenes, he comes off as downright cute, but Kenshin has never been quite as adorable as this stuffed animal of Hello Kitty cosplaying as the scarred warrior.

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Ghibli, Star Wars, Breaking Bad: artist carves crayons into amazing characters

Ghibli, Star Wars, Breaking Bad: artist carves crayons into amazing characters

As a kid, playing with crayons always guaranteed hours of fun. The array of exciting colours, combined with an ergonomic design perfect for young hands meant endless artistic possibilities on paper, walls, compliant siblings…

Now Crayolas are providing hours of fun for adults too, thanks to a dedicated artist who’s created dozens of unique crayons that are so adorable and true-to-life you have to see them to believe.

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Studio Ghibli is not Studio Goro – Hayao Miyazaki’s son denies being his father’s successor

Studio Ghibli is not Studio Goro – Hayao Miyazaki’s son denies being his father’s successor

Studio Ghibli seems to be spiraling into a pretty deep identity crisis, with producer Toshio Suzuki murmuring about closing up shop. The question seems to be, can the studio continue making movies at an almost yearly pace, while delivering the quality that’s become as much of a Ghibli trademark as its Totoro silhouette, without a leading visionary like the now-retired Hayao Miyazaki?

Some anime fans had hoped that Hiromasa Yonebayashi, director of 2010’s The Secret World of Arrietty, would fill that role, but his second project. When Marnie Was There, hasn’t universally enchanted audiences during its theatrical release. So if Yonebayashi isn’t the next Miyazaki, then who is?

Definitely not the legendary Hayao’s own son, Goro, and by the younger Miyazaki’s own admission, no less.

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Ghibli top dog calls Evangelion director “driving force of anime,” raises hopes for more Nausicaa

Ghibli top dog calls Evangelion director “driving force of anime,” raises hopes for more Nausicaa

As veteran anime producer Toshio Suzuki continues to dance back and forth over the vague linguistic line of whether or not Studio Ghibli is getting out of the movie-making business, some distraught admirers can already see the vultures circling overhead. If this is the end of the line for Japan’s most revered animation house, it’s a sad day, but at least the format of Ghibli’s releases means there aren’t many loose narrative threads left dangling.

With the exception of 1993’s Ocean Waves, Ghibli’s commercial releases have all been theatrical features, most of which have a definite beginning, middle, and end. For the most part, the studio doesn’t really do sequels, since their films’ endings are just conclusive enough to satisfy fans while still leaving enough unanswered for them to comfortably mull over.

There is one big exception to this pattern, though, which is Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. For decades fans have been hoping for a continuation, and recent remarks by Suzuki are adding more credibility to rumors that such a project could be directed by Evangelion’s Hideaki Anno.

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Hayao Miyazaki to receive honorary lifetime achievement Oscar

Hayao Miyazaki to receive honorary lifetime achievement Oscar

It’s been over a year since the Japanese release of anime legend Hayao Miyazaki’s last film, The Wind Rises. A highly personal film which serves as a powerful closing statement to his storied career, many had hoped it would win Miyazaki his second Oscar, only for the nod in the Best Animated Feature category go to Disney’s juggernaut (and endorser of traditional Japanese cuisine) Frozen.

That doesn’t mean the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has no love for Miyazaki, though, as it’ll soon be bestowing an honorary lifetime achievement award upon him.

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Cinemas in China let audience post comments onto the screen during the movies

Cinemas in China let audience post comments onto the screen during the movies

With home entertainments systems always evolving, there seems to be less incentive to head on out to the local movie theatre for a $10 cola and four-year-old running up and down the aisle during an R-rated movie. This means it’s up to the cinemas to raise the stakes and provide new and intriguing movie-going experiences.

Some theaters in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou think they have found such an experience by allowing those in the audience to post their comments onto the screen for all to see while the movie plays. So now when I take my mother-in-law she can ask everyone “Why did Bruce Willis just shoot that guy?” instead of just me.

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“You’re so messed up!” Complaints come after broadcaster edits infamous Evangelion scene

“You’re so messed up!” Complaints come after broadcaster edits infamous Evangelion scene

The 1997 anime movie The End of Evangelion was in many ways an unprecedented exercise in creative freedom for animation studio Gainax. The franchise-starting TV series had wrapped up a year earlier, with Gainax’s coffers drained and a highly metaphorical, sparsely animated finale. End of Eva would be a reimagining of the ground-breaking anime’s final act, and its theatrical release format meant a bigger budget and no more pesky broadcast content restrictions.

As a result, the film is graphic and jarring in its raw depictions of both violent urges and sexual desire. But while none of that was a problem in theatres, it was a different story when End of Eva was recently shown on TV in Japan, which necessitated some fan-angering cuts, including the movie’s most infamously shocking scene.

Heads-up, gainfully employed readers! While you won’t see any offensive pictures below, the subject matter might not be the sort of thing you’ll want your coworkers to see you reading at work.

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Batman spotted cruising the Japanese expressways as he trades Gotham City for Chiba Prefecture

Batman spotted cruising the Japanese expressways as he trades Gotham City for Chiba Prefecture

As a car-loving foreigner living in Japan, for me, any cruise around Tokyo can suddenly turn into an automotive photo safari. Japan has tons of cool domestic cars which were never exported to the U.S., and whenever I come across one in the wild, I feel the need to whip out my camera for a few photos.

But while I’m happy my photo collection includes snapshots of Mazda AZ-1s and Subaru 22B Imprezas, motorists in Chiba Prefecture recently spotted something even rarer, in the form of a street-legal trike being ridden by none other than Batman!

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Singing Love Songs to Angels? No Tomorrow for Us? More movies that got weird Japanese titles

Singing Love Songs to Angels? No Tomorrow for Us? More movies that got weird Japanese titles

Regular RocketNews24 readers will know doubt have seen our articles documenting some of Japan’s weirder translations of Western movie titles (Malkovich’s Hole, anyone?), or perhaps caught our collection of English movie posters remade using their Japanese titles. But today’s list of 10 adapted movie titles was nominated by none other than Japanese movie watchers themselves, who felt that the new names their country had given to these feature films were actually pretty cool.

Let’s take a little look, shall we?

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Anna and Elsa ready to visit homes in January with Frozen New Year’s osechi meals

Anna and Elsa ready to visit homes in January with Frozen New Year’s osechi meals

In Japan, it’s customary to celebrate the New Year with osechi, meals made of a large number of painstakingly prepared and beautifully presented small dishes. Traditionally, women would prepare all of the osechi for their families ahead of time, setting aside New Year’s Day itself for feasting leisurely.

Of course, the price for that relaxation on January 1 is a frantic bout of cooking at the end of December. Hoping to avoid that, more and more households have begun buying pre-made osechi, either to replace or supplement a smaller quantity of home-cooked food.

Mass-produced osechi doesn’t come cheap, though, so we imagine some people might scoff at the idea of buying Frozen osechi, until you realize that it’s Frozen with a capital F, as in Disney’s runaway computer-animated hit.

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Lupin III comes full circle as live-action cast turns into anime characters for bread line

Lupin III comes full circle as live-action cast turns into anime characters for bread line

Since I am in no way a gentleman thief, I can only guess as to what that lifestyle must be like. I imagine though, that staying one step ahead of the law means a lot of meals on the run, so it makes sense that Japan Railway stations are rolling out a new batch of baked goods endorsed by anime’s most roguish criminal mastermind, Lupin III.

The timing no doubt has something to do with the upcoming release of the live-action Lupin III movie. Even purists who scoff at the shift away from animation might want to check out the Lupin breads though, as their packages feature redone anime designs for the cast based on the actors portraying them in the new film.

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Ghibli’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya gets a North American release date and new trailer 【Video】

Ghibli’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya gets a North American release date and new trailer 【Video】

With Hayao Miyazaki being the most recognized face of Studio Ghibli, and producer Toshio Suzuki the most currently active, there’s usually not a lot of room left in the spotlight for director Isao Takahata. One of Ghibli’s founding members, Takahata served as producer for the company’s first official release, Castle in the Sky, and his written and directed five films for Japan’s most respected animation house including the critically acclaimed Grave of the Fireflies.

Fans of Takahata’s work have learned to be patient, though, as his most recent film, 2013’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya, came 14 years after his previous feature, 1999’s largely forgotten My Neighbors the Yamadas. Foreign fans have had to wait even longer, but Princess Kaguya is almost ready to head overseas, as distributor GKids has announced a release date and put out a teaser trailer to whet North America’s appetite.

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Godzilla fights around the world in these rare vintage European posters

Godzilla fights around the world in these rare vintage European posters

Ever since he attacked his first village in Japan in 1954, Godzilla has been broadening his horizons. Seeking out mightier foes and playing to bigger audiences, the giant monster has done what other beasts could only dream of – garnered a following as huge as himself, with fans still spreading across decades and continents around the globe. An impressive feat for a beast.

One continent certainly went above and beyond when welcoming the giant to their corner of the world, as these vintage posters show. From Poland to France, we take a look at some of the most amazing Godzilla artwork from Europe. We’ve never seen Godzilla look so different!

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Producer clarifies Studio Ghibli’s future, mentions that Miyazaki “would like to make an anime”

Producer clarifies Studio Ghibli’s future, mentions that Miyazaki “would like to make an anime”

In a recent discussion about the future of the Studio Ghibli’s production division, veteran producer Toshio Suzuki recently shocked and confused anime fans worldwide. But hey, what do you expect when you’re talking about the most respected studio in the history of anime, and you bandy about talk of “dismantling,” “restructuring,” and “taking a temporary hiatus,” despite the very different implications each of those entails.

With so many people looking for clarification, Suzuki recently appeared on Japanese television to talk a little more about where Studio Ghibli is going from here, plus to tease and entice the audience with talk of legendary director Hayao Miyazaki’s potential next anime project.

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The top 10 anime that people in Japan never tire of watching

The top 10 anime that people in Japan never tire of watching

Stuck inside due to the blistering Japanese summer heat? Why not kick back under your aircon and watch something on TV? If you’ve already seen all the hit shows and don’t want to take a chance on something new, how about watching some of Japan’s favorite anime of all time?

A new survey polled Japanese anime fans and asked them to name the anime they can watch over and over again and never get bored. Click on through to find out which one tops the list!

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Calm down, Studio Ghibli isn’t being bought by media company Dwango

Calm down, Studio Ghibli isn’t being bought by media company Dwango

Fans of anime house Studio Ghibli have been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster for the past few weeks. First came the dizzying high that always accompanies a new Ghibli release, in this case director Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s When Marnie Was There. Then came the vague yet nevertheless alarming comments from long-time producer Toshio Suzuki, who reflected on the merits of Ghibli “dismantling,” “restructuring,” or “reconstructing” its anime production department.

This was followed almost immediately by reports that Japanese online media company Dwango was set to purchase and absorb Studio Ghibli into its corporate body. Those rumors have now been quashed, though, and by what seems to be a fairly reliable source: Dwango’s chairman himself.

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No Miyazaki, no magic? Studio Ghibli co-founder considering closing production division

No Miyazaki, no magic? Studio Ghibli co-founder considering closing production division

Just a few weeks ago, When Marnie Was There, the newest anime movie from Studio Ghibli, hit Japanese theatres. Marnie is actually the second Ghibli release since legendary director Hayao Miyazaki retired from the company, but the first with a general, mainstream target market, as 2013’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya was a much more experimental, avant-garde film in visual style and tone.

Just as Miyazaki has stepped away from feature films, Ghibli producer and co-founder Toshio Suzuki is easing into retirement, and so many anime fans have been watching Marnie while looking for clues as to where Ghibli’s films would be going from here. Judging from statements made by Suzuki, though, the better question isn’t what kind of movies Ghibli will be making in the future, but whether the studio will be making any at all, as he feels that maybe it’s time for the Ghibli production team to close up shop.

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From Sailor Moon to Freddy Krueger – The lovely cosplayers of Wonder Festival

From Sailor Moon to Freddy Krueger – The lovely cosplayers of Wonder Festival

We recently made the trip across the Pacific to Comic-Con in San Diego, where we checked out the newest titles from the exhibitors and the costumes made by their fans. Our traveling reporter Yoshio even decided to join in and dress up too.

San Diego wasn’t the only place to see some cool cosplay last weekend, though. Back here in Japan, the summer Wonder Festival, the world’s largest model and figure exhibition, was going on, so we headed over to the Makuhari Messe convention center to photograph the amazing costumes.

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Our Japanese correspondent’s report from his first-ever San Diego Comic-Con

Our Japanese correspondent’s report from his first-ever San Diego Comic-Con

Here at RocketNews24, we often send our English-speaking staff out to cover events and places of interest related to Japanese animation and movies. This week, though, we’re pulling a 180 by sending one of our Japanese language reporters, Yoshio, to Comic-Con in San Diego.

Yoshio completed Phase One of his mission with no problems by successfully flying the 10 hours from Tokyo to California. Next on his list of objectives: a blow-by-blow report of Comic-Con’s preview night.

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Our take on Studio Ghibli’s newest anime, When Marnie Was There【Impressions】

Our take on Studio Ghibli’s newest anime, When Marnie Was There【Impressions】

In one way of looking at things, it’s a great time to be a fan of Studio Ghibli. In the course of its history, the famed anime production house has often taken two years between releases, but the recent debut of When Marnie Was There marked the third Ghibli theatrical premiere in the last 12 months.

At the same time, studio co-founder and acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement from anime films also has plenty of long-time fans on edge. Still, we weren’t about to pass up the premiere of a new Ghibli movie, so we grabbed a ticket and went to see Marnie for ourselves.

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