The latest installment of the Naruto anime franchise, Boruto -Naruto the Movie-, isn’t scheduled to open until August 7, but the film itself is already complete. Series creator Masashi Kishimoto recently appeared at an advance screening of the movie, where he offered glowing praise for the finished product, plus some candid talk on his feelings about producing a sequel.
After more than a year of waiting, the live-action Attack on Titan film hits theaters in Japan next week. Fans of the biggest anime hit in decades are no doubt excited to see the franchise’s animated heroes and world come to life, but maybe they shouldn’t be.
We’re not saying that because of the historically spotty track record of anime to live-action movie adaptations, either, but because the upcoming film’s characters and setting are largely its own. Ahead of its release, the movie’s screenwriter has revealed the reasons behind the changes made during the transition from anime to live-action, such as the absence of fan-favorite Levi, and one alteration that came directly from the series’ creator himself.
If you’re an anime purist, you’ve probably watched at least one title with a localization choice that rubbed you the wrong way. Maybe you were irked by Sailor Moon’s Usagi being called “meatball head” on American T.V. instead of “dango/dumpling head.” More recently, you might have wondered why Doraemon’s central family ditched all their chopsticks and now eat their Japanese food with forks in their U.S. appearances.
But localization runs in the other direction, too, and it’s just come to light that Pixar has altered part of the artwork in several scenes of Inside Out solely for the film’s Japanese release.
If you’ve seen Disney’s Big Hero 6, you know that the film’s most memorable character, marshmallowy medical helper/combat robot Baymax, spends about half of his screen time being awesome, and the other being adorable. In one of the best examples of the latter, he becomes a mattress for his exhausted friends, letting them lean into his soft, cushioned body during a brief respite during the bumpy transition to their new lives as superheroes.
If you’re feeling similarly worn out after a hard day, you’ll be happy to know that, just as the trailer for the film promised, Baymax has your back…or your front, or your side, depending on how you sleep, in the form of this amazingly heart-melting semi-posable Baymax bed.
Awesome as Godzilla may be, in most of his best-loved appearances it’s pretty easy to tell that the world’s most famous kaiju is being portrayed by a guy in a rubber suit. What’s less obvious, though, is how the creature’s unmistakable roar was created, and it turns out there’s actually a rather high-brow origin to the King of the Monsters’ signature sound effect.
Summer in Japan means festivals, fireworks and a host of annual events designed to bring people together despite the searing heat. And as the sun beats down on fields across the nation, there’s one special rice paddy that’s slowly taking shape, transforming into a very unique piece of art ready to greet crowds of adoring admirers over the next two months.
Many would argue that Mamoru Hosoda is the most talented director of family anime in the industry today. That “family” classification is two-fold, by the way. Not only are Hosoda’s works appropriate for just about all ages, taking the high road by eschewing in-your-face sex appeal and gratuitous violence, the bond between family members is a recurring theme in his films. In 2009, Hosoda’s Summer Wars showed audiences an extended yet close-knit family headed by the female lead’s tough yet kind grandmother. Three years later, the focus was on a single mother raising two lycanthropes in rural Japan in Wolf Children Ame and Yuki.
Now, Hosoda is turning viewers’ gaze towards a relationship he hasn’t put the spotlight on before, with the just-released The Boy and the Beast, which asks what a boy needs to learn from his father, and also what that father can learn from his boy. So how does it answer those quesitons? Read on for the rest of our review of Hosoda’s latest hit to find out.
Depending on how you do the math, anime fans have now been waiting somewhere between three and 20 years for the upcoming, and supposedly final, Evangelion movie. The franchise began as a TV series in 1995, with its most recent installment, the third film in the Rebuild of Evangelion reboot and/or sequel, having debuted in Japanese theaters in 2012.
A release date has yet to be officially announced for the fourth Rebuild movie, but a weekly Japanese news magazine recently published a quote from an industry insider who claims he knows when the last Eva film is finally coming out.
Whether you’re Team Youkai Watch or Team Pokémon, there’s no denying that the Youkai Watch phenomenon is currently taking Japan by storm, and looks like it’s here to stay. That said, Pokémon managed to find its niche among a wide range of age groups, however Youkai Watch’s popularity appears to mainly be with Japanese youth.
Naturally this is something that producers of the series’ second movie would like to remedy, so in order to appeal to older audiences, this Youkai Watch infomercial was uploaded last weekend to the movie’s official YouTube channel, and has been making waves across the internet since. A promotional ad for Youkai Watch Enma Daiou to Itsutsu no Monogatari da Nyan!, it features a handful of respondents championing the benefits they’ve received since getting their hands on pre-sale tickets, which are slated to go on sale July 25.
Are these claims all they’re cracked up to be? You’ll have to watch and see!
Aomori Prefecture’s legendary Nebuta Festival – which takes place in early August every year – has always been one of those big festivals on my Japan bucket list.
Even though the festival is one of the prestigious few festivals to receive the staggeringly long designation of Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Japan, we’re willing to bet the festival is largely overlooked by Western visitors. This is, probably, largely due to Aomori’s fairly remote location; it’s a real pain to get to from Tokyo, Osaka or any of the other major cities outside of Sapporo.
But then, what if that wasn’t the biggest reason foreigners aren’t totally aware of this great festival? What if the real reason was the festival’s lack of Star Wars characters?
Luckily, whether or not that’s the real case, that sore lack of Star Wars characters at the Aomori Nebuta Festival is going to change this year.
Japan is just as crazy about Star Wars as the rest of the world and everyone is eagerly awaiting the new movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, on December 18, 2015 (Good news! It’s being released in Japan at the same time as most of the world!). So it’s the perfect opportunity for a number of Star Wars affiliated projects to get under way. One project is striking a chord with our love of Japan and our love of Star Wars as it combines a traditional art form with a very non-traditional universe.
When it comes to working in Japan as a foreign resident, it can often feel as if there aren’t many options — but that’s not necessarily the case. And for Chuck Johnson, the very opposite is true! After well over a decade in the country, Chuck has done everything from teaching English, to acting, to directing, to working as a bodyguard. He’s also an accomplished martial artist and stuntman — in fact, Chuck is the first non-Japanese person in the country to make a career out of doing stunt work. It’s a niche so small, he basically had to create an industry for himself!
After years of hard work and barely scraping by, Chuck has now made quite a name for himself, and this summer will see the release of a short action film in collaboration with big names such as Toei Studio, Adidas, and YouTube.
We recently stopped by the “fight action class” he teaches for aspiring and working stuntmen and discussed his experiences in Japan. If you want to get paid to kick people on film in Japan, Chuck is the man you want to talk to.
Depending on the genre, a well-made movie can have you howling with laughter, thrilled by the on-screen action, or feeling cleansed after a cathartic cry. But while those are all enjoyable enough, every now and again you run into a film that affects you on a deeper level by helping to teach you some inevitable facet of life itself.
We recently made a trip to the theater to watch Mad Max: Fury Road, and since then every time we look up at the night sky, we’ve been reminded of the certainty that one day we’ll all be living in a dystopian wasteland. In preparation, we’ve already started stockpiling water and canned goods, and now we’ll be able to tour the wastelands in style with our customized Mad Max-style Yamaha three-wheeled motorcycle.
Japanese Twitter user @kamonpoi wants to go to see Mad Max: Fury Road, but not as badly as his young son does! The fifth-grader is a die-hard Mad Max fan who is desperate to see the new movie, but was distraught to hear that it would carry an R15+ rating, meaning he has no chance to see it in the cinema.
So instead, the boy put his energy and frustration to good use and did what elementary school kids do best: he made something out of Lego.
It’s quite the summer of 90s nostalgia at the movies this year. Just this past month we had a new Jurassic Park movie, an original Pixar movie, and next month is bringing us the latest Terminator outing in the form of Terminator Genisys.
Anticipation for the film has been high in Japan, but one group you may not expect to be fans of machines killing each other seems to have taken a special liking to it. The Japanese National Bunraku Theater took the poster for the Terminator movie and transformed it into an advertisement for their traditional puppet theater, making it one of the most confusing yet oddly satisfying collaborations we’ve ever seen.
It’s kind of ironic that even though director Hayao Miyazaki regularly expresses his distaste towards obsessive fandom, fans obsess over his films like no one else’s. And it’s not just anime loyalists, either, who find watching his works to be a life-changing experience, since they’ve also won the hearts of millions who just love animation or strong filmmaking in general.
There even seems to be a sizeable overlap between people who admire Miyazaki’s movies and body art. So while the anime legend himself might not personally approve, today we’re taking a look at a collection of impressive Studio Ghibli-inspired tattoos.
It’s shaping up to be an exciting summer at the theaters for anime fans. This week brings the second Attack on Titan animated feature, and in July we’ll be seeing the latest project from Summer Wars director Mamoru Hosoda.
In August, though, the big anime event is the premiere of Boruto –Naruto the Movie-, featuring the newest generation of ninjas in manga creator Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto franchise. But many kids fight with their parents while growing up, and it doesn’t look like shinobi families are any exception, as the film’s first full trailer shows that new protagonist Boruto doesn’t exactly get along with his famous father.
Japanese horror films are their own special brand of awesome. Movies like The Ring and The Grudge will sometimes make you roll your eyes with their cheesy acting and special effects, but at the same time contain certain horrifying scenes that will stick with you in your nightmares for weeks to come.
The latest installment in The Grudge series, Grudge: The Final has just come out in Japan, advertised by commercials airing all over. However, one commercial received so many complaints about it being “way too scary” that it was taken down and replaced with something more tame.
Are you brave enough to watch the original commercial? Then read on to get your chance.
The second Attack on Titan theatrical feature has been a long time coming, but the film, subtitled The Wings of Freedom, is finally opening in Japan this month. Since the movie is a condensed version of the second half of the anime TV series, there probably won’t be too much in the way of new plot developments. What audiences can look forward to, though, is a movie experience augmented by moving seats, gusts of wind, and other awesome effects.
If you’re one of the, I don’t know…two? three?… people who both read our humble site regularly and who are also really into Japanese Bubble Era love ballads – we’re talking mid-80s here – you might be familiar with a Taiwan-born singer named Fēifēi Ōuyáng. She appeared regularly on Japanese television back in the 80s to sing her outrageously popular-at-the-time hit, “Love is Over.”
Ōuyáng was apparently so popular that the song can still be heard occasionally on TV and as background music in shopping malls and stores. So popular, in fact, that one of our female writers on our Japanese sister site is a huge fan of the singer despite probably only having only just been born around the time Ōuyáng was reaching peak popularity. Imagine her delight, then, when she learned that Ōuyáng’s equally talented and gorgeous niece was becoming quite the topic of conversation on Japanese Internet circles.