Recently, we’ve brought you several articles detailing the meteoric rise of new franchise Youkai Watch as it continues to steal fans and attention away from the much-loved institution that is Pokémon. Die-hard Pokémon fans out there may feel safe in the assumption that Youkai Watch, being more traditionally “Japanese” in feel, will never match the success of Pokémon in the West. Be that as it may, we now have conclusive evidence that Pikachu’s time in the Japanese sun is well and truly over as new champion Jibanyan ascends his throne. Join us after the jump for proof!
Artist JR Coffron III has finally answered the question of what happens if you leave a Pokémon in its pokeball too long: they come out as undead ravening monsters.
Nov 19, 2014
Beginning on December 20, residents of Japan can participate in a special Pokémon-themed lottery campaign at participating stores throughout the country. Although the event is officially targeting young adult women, we don’t see how anyone could resist the cute goods that are just waiting to be snatched up!
What was that famous saying again? Oh yeah–“Gotta catch ‘em all!”
Nov 18, 2014
Very few Japanese homes have installed carpeting. Older houses and apartments often have tatami reed mats, and in newer places you’ll usually find tile, wood, or rubberized flooring.
That’s not to say people in Japan can’t appreciate a nice bit of soft fuzziness between their toes, though. Even without permanent carpeting, many people will toss a carpeted mat on the floor to make their living or bedroom extra comfy, especially during the colder part of the year.
Of course, cold weather also means spending more time indoors, with extra time on your hands, and sometimes that patch of carpeting becomes a canvas for some seriously cool fan art.
Rumored to be the new wave to take over the long-running multimedia kid’s series Pokémon, Youkai Watch and its various colorful characters can be seen all over the streets in Japan. Just as how Pokémon posters and merchandise used to be visible almost everywhere, the streets and shelves are now occupied by Jibanyan and his fellow youkai counterparts from the hit series Youkai Watch.
Pokémon has yet to back out from the race though, as loyal fans who loved the series since they were kids continue to shower their love (and money) on Pikachu and his hundreds of mystical friends. What are fans to do? Cling on to the old, or embrace the new? Check out the ingenious solution Twitter user @umeko_kj8 came up with after the break!
Nov 1, 2014
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or two, you might have missed a significant change taking place in Japanese popular culture. What are we talking about? Why, adorable collectible monster franchise Youkai Watch, of course! The Youkai Watch series, which comprises manga, anime and video games has been steadily and skilfully easing itself onto the comfy throne once monopolized by Pokémon. Kids are going crazy for it, adults are being driven crazy over it, and poor old Pikachu and pals are being seriously left in the dust. Now, Youkai Watch has pulled off another victory over Pokémon by stealing its role as McDonald’s go-to calendar star.
Japanese animation and video games have a long-standing tradition of creating cute and/or super powered versions of prominent figures from the country’s history. In the U.S., we don’t really do this as often, and you might jump to the conclusion that the deck is stacked in Japan’s favor, seeing as how so many of their rulers were also katana-carrying samurai.
But dig a little deeper and you’ll find plenty of action protagonist potential among American presidents, from Abraham Lincoln’s wrestling skills to Andrew Jackson’s well-documented love of shooting dudes. And as for making them adorable? Leave that to Utah artist Brandon Dayton, who’s reimagined nine Pokémon as U.S. heads of state.
The culinary custom of bento, boxed lunches, goes back for generation in Japan. What’s a little less clear, though, is how long people have been dressing up their bentos to look like cute characters.
We’re sure some creative people with both artistic and culinary talents have been making character bentos, or chara-bens, for a long time. But recently, media coverage of chara-bens has gotten intense, and it’s inspiring a wave of newcomers to try their hand at making one for the first time.
But you know the saying, “The third time’s the charm?” People say that because you’re likely to screw things up the first two times, as this collection of first-try bentos shows.
Oct 20, 2014
In Japan, when you start hearing about Christmas cake promotions, it also means you have to start thinking about New Year’s osechi food as well. Osechi consists of different traditional foods typically prepared for New Year’s to wish for luck in the coming year and are usually items that keep well so that you can have the pre-cooked foods throughout the New Year’s holidays without having to do much cooking during that time. You can, of course, choose to keep it simple and simply buy just a few of the key items like datemaki (sweet rolled omelette) and kuromame (black soy beans) at the supermarket, or go all out on a luxury osechi set from a famous restaurant or department store. Well, this year, it looks like a Pokémon osechi set is also an option, and it even comes in a unique container in a shape that fans will find quite familiar — a Poké Ball!
Oct 17, 2014
One month before the commercial release of ‘Omega Ruby’ and ‘Alpha Sapphire’, The Pokémon Company has announced demo versions – available next week!
To get your hands on that demo, you’ll need a special code – and depending on where you live, your options for getting hold of one are a little different. Join us after the jump to find out more!
Back in the summer, we spent a day chasing Pikachus around Yokohama as part of the amazing, multi-day Pokémon event held in the bayside city. The smile it put on our faces still hasn’t completely faded, but that year’s supply of cuteness came with a price. While we were there we got a hug from one of the Pocket Monster ambassadors, and we now know only too well just how fluffy a Pikachu is.
It’s thrown our whole baseline off for what constitutes cozy and comfy. Compared to a soft Pikachu coat, our blankets now feel like burlap, and it’s been keeping us up at night. Thankfully, there might be a solution, in the form of this awesome Pikachu bed.
Oct 14, 2014
No one really minds when the creators of movies and TV disregard the laws of the universe a little in the name of producing quality entertainment. Would the space battles in Star Wars have been anywhere near as fun if they had all taken place in complete silence due to the lack of air required to carry sound waves? Not a chance. Does anyone really mind that a lit cigarette doesn’t actually produce enough heat to ignite a puddle of gasoline if it results in those epic, “casually walks away from burning building” shots in action movies? Not in the slightest.
But sometimes such use of artistic licence can slip by entirely unnoticed, and it takes someone to point out a few key facts before the reality of the situation hits home. Case in point: Ash from hit anime series Pokémon seemingly possesses super-human strength, and is able to carry pokémon that weigh vastly more than he does without even breaking a sweat.
Oct 13, 2014
Since the release of Pokémon X and Y a year ago, players in Japan were enamored by the comely pokémon breeder Tsuzumi. Her sparkling brown eyes, bright smile, and huge bucket of what appears to be crap had melted the hearts of many an aspiring pokémon master.
However, in an appearance in the anime version of Pokémon: XY Tsuzumi seems to have undergone an evolution of sorts. If the Twitter users who pointed this out are correct I’d have to tip my hat to the producers for adding a gritty touch of reality to an otherwise out-there plot.
Oct 10, 2014
A few days ago, we took a moment to appreciate the amazing combination of Japanese digital entertainment and traditional clothing in the form of the Super Mario kimono. The platforming hero isn’t the only Nintendo character being reimagined along classical Japanese artistic principles, though, as now the creatures of Pokémon have been reborn as hanafuda playing cards, resulting in adorably old-school designs appearing on fans, towels, tea cups, and more.
There is no one – we repeat, no one – who has called themselves a Pokemon fan and hasn’t wished they could have their own Pikachu; his cute quotient is just too high. Well, Pocket Monster devotees, you’re in luck, because this 1/1 scale Pikachu plush is the closest you’re ever going to come to actually catching the franchise’s most popular character. BEAMS, the creators of almost-real-life-Pikachu, have even made him true-to-weight. Coming in at a hefty 6 kg (13 lbs), this cuddly Pikachu weighs more than the average cat!
What would you think if you came across this guy on your way to class in the morning? Perhaps if you were in Japan you’d barely bat an eyelid, but this real-life Pokemon was spotted on the campus of a Chinese university!
Sep 12, 2014
A newly uncovered patent filed by The Pokémon Company, the branch of Nintendo responsible for the fantastically popular pocket monster franchise, hints that a new handheld device which brings Pokémon-style battles and contactless technology together may be in the works.
Nintendo announced during the “Monthly Famitsu feat. Pokémon Special” live-streamed program that an action/fighting game titled Pokkén Tournament (Pokkén being a pun on the words Pokémon and ‘fist’) will be released for Japanese arcades in 2015. Bandai Namco Games is collaborating on the development of the project.
Even though it’s been a week since we made the trip to downtown Yokohama to see the packs of roaming Pikachus, and we’ve still got a warm fuzzy feeling. Actually, warm and fuzzy is also an apt description of the lovable pocket monsters’ plush yellow coats, which brings up a concern.
Cuddly softness is all fine and good when Pikachu is handing out hugs, but what about when he goes back to his regular duties of fighting other Pokémon? Shouldn’t he be wrapped in something a bit more durable, like his own custom set of samurai armor?
Aug 14, 2014
Pokémon is a long-running global megalith: a multi-platform media franchise like no other. Millions of kids grew up watching the anime, wearing the T-shirt, and of course playing the games. Here in Japan, Pokémon characters are everywhere – and none more so than Pikachu. Go to the mall and there’s a giant fluffy Pikachu to meet and cuddle. At school lunch, chances are a bunch of kids’ mums have made their onigiri into Pikachu’s face for them. And a whole city was recently invaded by scores of our favourite yellow friend for an entire Pikachu festival.
There’s a new kid on the “collect-all-the-monsters” block, though, and it looks to be pushing Pokémon by the wayside. Yo-kai Watch hasn’t been released internationally yet, but in Japan the 3DS game, anime and its characters have quickly gained a ubiquitous popularity that looks like it could even overtake Pokémon. Have Pikachu and friends really had their day? Or is Yo-kai Watch merely a flash in the pan?
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】1
- A Ghibli mystery solved — the identity of exotic looking food in Spirited Away revealed!2
- 252 of Japan’s favorite animated gifs3
- Japanese mothers react to being called by their first names after years of just being “Mama”4
- Does the way you cross your arms say anything about your personality? Japan thinks so5
- Artist creates “PokeMonstrosities” that are the stuff of nightmares6
- Yokohama restaurant serves fried axolotl, along with giant isopod, camel, and crocodile7
- Shimotsuki Matsuri: The extraordinary winter festival that inspired Ghibli’s ‘Spirited Away’8
- Zelda hero Link’s other blade, the Fierce Deity Sword, brought to life in awesome video9
- The newer, cheaper Kakureya II: The perfect secret fort/box for studying, drinking, or napping10
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours1
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】2
- Why almost all Japanese people hate root beer3
- A Ghibli mystery solved — the identity of exotic looking food in Spirited Away revealed!4
- Yamanashi zoo’s roly-poly resident raccoon is ridiculously round, remarkably cute5
- Canada-based artist stuns with new realistic take on Naruto characters6
- Turn an ordinary balloon into a smartphone case in seconds with this neat trick7
- Ghibli background artist Naohisa Inoue’s painting technique is out of this world8
- Does the way you cross your arms say anything about your personality? Japan thinks so9
- Can you spot the problem that led to the recall of this otherwise cute Japanese New Year’s card?10
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher1
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”2
- Japanese high school holds annual contest to decide the prettiest “girl” in school3
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours4
- Sorry guys! Video of “sexy ice cream girl” in Taipei only delivers on half its milky promises5
- Oysters’ amazing cleaning skills shock Japanese netizens who question their shellfish habit6
- Japan discovers awesome cheese snack that takes just one ingredient and two minutes to make7
- One Piece manga sends off Naruto with a classy secret message8
- Clever Japanese pet owners find perfect cat beds…at IKEA! 【Photos】9
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】10
- School textbook is withdrawn after “teacher” on the front is recognized as Japanese adult video star1
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls2
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher3
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”4
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】5
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China6
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later7
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons8
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked9
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea10
- Artist creates “PokeMonstrosities” that are the stuff of nightmares
- Yokohama restaurant serves fried axolotl, along with giant isopod, camel, and crocodile
- Shimotsuki Matsuri: The extraordinary winter festival that inspired Ghibli’s ‘Spirited Away’
- Zelda hero Link’s other blade, the Fierce Deity Sword, brought to life in awesome video
- The newer, cheaper Kakureya II: The perfect secret fort/box for studying, drinking, or napping
- Deal of the day – Give this hamster’s Vine video six seconds, and he’ll give you a huge smile
- Creepy or cute? Feel the Panda Train’s intense gaze before sightseeing in resort town Shirahama
- Tokyo adding free Wi-Fi to 143 subway stations for foreign travelers
- Canada-based artist stuns with new realistic take on Naruto characters
- Visit Japan without ever leaving home with these eight beautiful videos
- Scope out which love hotel to take your next date to right now in Google Street View
- Japanese dictionary removes heteronormative definitions of love and sex