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ANIME-MANGA

Series hasn’t entirely disappeared from Kadokawa’s websites, though.

In the fall of 2020, manga artist Kenya Suzuki received two shipments from Germany. Within those shipments were six photo albums containing photos of nude children, and last week Suzuki was placed under arrest on charges of importing child pornography. He made no effort to feign ignorance regarding the books’ contents, telling investigators “No matter what, I wanted photos of nude children from overseas, which you can’t get in Japan,” and a subsequent search of his home found an additional 46 books of child pornography.

The 40-year-old Suzuki is the artist and author of high school girl comedy Please Tell Me! Galko-chan, and his arrest came during the then-ongoing serialization of the series on the ComicWalker manga-reading app. On December 24, though, ComicWalker, which is owned by publishing giant Kadokawa, announced that the series will be going on indefinite hiatus and, in addition, all previously published chapters would be removed from the app.

The statement reads:

“We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has been reading and enjoying Please Tell Me! Galko-chan.

We have recently received a series of reports regarding the series’ author, Kenya Suzuki, and will be suspending serialization of the series and, as of today, December 24, 2021, halting availability of pages of the series which have been published on ComicWalker.

We deeply apologize to everyone who had been looking forward to reading the series.”

Sure enough, while Please Tell Me! Galko-chan was still available on the day that Suzuki’s arrest became public knowledge, the series is no longer anywhere to be found on the ComicWalker website.

▼ Even running a search for Please Tell Me! Galko-chan (「おしえて! ギャル子ちゃん」 in Japanese text) on ComicWalker now brings back zero results (検索結果:0件).

Japanese media …continue reading

    

Ho ho ho! Merry Akira!

Christmas is the only holiday that’s also a movie genre. Sure, there are a lot of horror films and romance flicks that get released close to Halloween and Valentine’s Day, since those are what people are in the mood for, but usually their stories take place at different times of the year.

Christmas movies, though, don’t just come out at Christmas, they’re about Christmas too. And not only is there a new crop of them every year, each December also doubles as comeback time for hits from previous Christmases, like Home Alone and It’s a Wonderful Life.

That’s great if you can’t get enough of the yuletide spirit, but if you’re feeling sick with Santa saturation, this Christmas you can watch a classic film of a completely different sort, as Akira is now free to watch on YouTube.

The landmark 1988 anime film directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, who also created the manga it’s based on, suddenly appeared on the Full Anime TV YouTube channel on Christmas Eve.

▼ Every time Kaneda’s bike slides, an angel gets its wings?

While the timing makes this a welcome palate cleanser for those whose cinema taste buds are tired of saccharine Christmas fare, the real reason for the gift of free Akira is to celebrate the upcoming release of the Complete Works of Katsuhiro Otomo manga collection, which will go on sale January 21.

The free Akira will be available until December 28, so even if you are planning on watching nothing but Christmas flicks up through the …continue reading

    

“No matter what, I wanted photos of nude children from overseas.”

Please Tell Me! Galko-chan debuted in 2014, and the manga about high school girl Galko and her friends got a 12-episode anime TV series adaptation in 2016, has had five collected volumes published so far, and is still in continuing serialization through online manga service ComicWalker. All in all, it’s a solid success for Galko creator Kenya Suzuki, even if it hasn’t reached the cultural phenomenon-level of popularity as, say, Demon Slayer or Attack on Titan.

Suzuki is now at the center of attention, though, from the police, as the manga author was arrested for importation of child pornography,

The 40-year-old Suzuki’s arrest stems from a total of six photo albums containing nude photos of children that were sent to him from Germany via registered mail. The albums arrived in Japan split into two shipments, which arrived in September and October of 2020 and were discovered by customs officials in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture.

On Monday, Japan’s Kyodo news service reported that Suzuki has been arrested on suspicion of importing prohibited items in violation of customs laws, and that a police search of his home in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture found 46 books containing child pornography. In regard to the books sent to him from Germany, Suzuki told the police “No matter what, I wanted photos of nude children from overseas, which you can’t get in Japan.” Due to the structure of the Japanese language’s grammar, it’s unclear if by “photos of nude children from overseas” Suzuki was referring to nude photos of non-Japanese children specifically, or simply to photos from overseas of nude children regardless of the children’s nationalities.

Earlier this month, Suzuki was reported as missing on Twitter from someone claiming to be an acquaintance. The tweets, sent on December 14, say that Suzuki …continue reading

    

You’re invited to ”Experience Makoto’s bittersweet youth and its bloody conclusion.”

For a lot of otaku, the idea of living the life of an anime protagonist sounds like it’d be pretty awesome. Luckily for them, there’s an opportunity to do just that coming up, with a special event that lets you experience what it’s like to be Makoto Ito.

While Makoto’s name might not ring as sonorous a bell among casual anime fans as, say, Goku or Naruto, he’s still a leading man of some renown, as the male lead of 2007 anime TV series School Days. Adding to the ostensible appeal of living Makoto’s life is that School Days is a harem anime, based on an adult dating simulator computer game, and so living Makoto’s life means getting to romance multiple beautiful girls. Pretty desirable fantasy to dip your toes in, right?

There are, however, two very big catches. First, School Days is infamous for the mercilessly violent comeuppance it serves Makoto for treating the women in his life like disposable pleasure vessels, and second, the event, called Makoto The Real, is a collaboration with Japanese haunted house designers Kowagarasetai.

Kowagarasetai is the team behind the Zekkyo Kyukyusha/Screambulance haunted house delivery concept, and Makoto the Real is its latest iteration. Pitched as a “sound horror” experience, it has similarities to an audio play, as guests listen along, from the perspective of Makoto, as he goes shopping for paired rings with Kotonoha, one of his possible romantic conquests.

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And the vast majority want to look good when they go to see them.

Like all languages, Japanese is constantly evolving, and one word that’s taken on a new meaning in recent years is oshi. Originally the noun-form of the verb osu, or “support,” it’s been adopted in fan culture to mean a celebrity or character that one feels a singularly strong devotion to, such as a favorite idol singer, voice actor or anime star.

Developing that sort of crush on a person you’ve never met, or a character who isn’t actually real, might seem like the exclusive proclivity of male otaku, but there’s no shortage of women with an oshi as well. To gauge just how many, Japanese marketing research firm Cross Marketing surveyed 500 women between the ages of 20 and 49, and found that nearly half, 46.6 percent, have an oshi.

Part of having an oshi is engaging in oshikatsu, or “oshi activities,” such as going to concerts, meet-and-greets, and other fan events. When asked about their preparations for oshikatsu events, the vast majority of women with an oshi, 81.8 percent, say they make an extra effort to look their best before their arrive, with their specific ways of dolling themselves up listed below:

Before going to an oshikatsu event, I:
● Use skincare products: 79.5 percent of respondents with an oshi
● Go on a diet: 65.8 percent
● Make sure my hair is done nicely: 59 percent
● Make sure my nails are done nicely: 43.6 percent
● Make sure my legs look nice (with special massages or by wearing compression socks): 27.4 percent
● Other: 5.1 percent

▼ Gotta do that oshikatsu pre-gaming.

Of course, with the pandemic still going on, the number of oshikatsu events are way down, and those that are …continue reading

    

As hit anime’s “Entertainment District Arc” kicks off, Edo-Tokyo Museum reaffirms commitment to telling the complete real-world story.


The second season of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba began back in October, but it spent its first seven episodes on what it called the Mugen Train Arc, covering essentially the same ground as the Mugen Train anime movie. So what fans were really waiting for was December 5, when Demon Slayer started its Entertainment District Arc, which is being adapted to anime for the first time.

The Entertainment District Arc is set in Yoshiwara, a real-world neighborhood of Tokyo in an area that would now be part of Taito Ward, in the northeast part of the city’s downtown. Because of that historical connection, on December 6, one day after the first Entertainment District Arc aired in Japan, Tokyo’s Edo-Tokyo Museum sent out a tweet promoting its Yoshiwara-related artifacts and displays, with a #Kimetsu no Yaiba hashtag as part of the tweet.

元禄期の吉原の風物を描いた「吉原風俗図屏風」。吉原は歌舞伎やドラマ、漫画でも題材となることが多く、最近ではアニメ #鬼滅の刃 遊郭編 の舞台にもなっています。煌びやかな遊郭の世界をご覧ください。
江戸ゾーン 芝居と遊里コーナーにて12月19日(日)まで展示#江戸東京博物館 pic.twitter.com/X7qKSLUopE

— 江戸東京博物館 (@edohakugibochan) December 6, 2021

This particular piece, which the tweet says will be on display until December 19, is described with:

“This Yoshiwara Fuzoku Painted Scroll was made in the Genroku-period (1688-1704). There are many TV dramas and manga set in Yoshiwara, and it is also the setting of the recently started Entertainment District Arc of the anime #Kimetsu no Yaiba.

Please take a look at this glamorous, glittering world.”

While that might at first seem like an innocuous attempt to attract attention from anime fans by connecting the museum to the most popular anime in Japan, the tweet also attracted a number of angry replies. As we discussed several months ago, “Entertainment District Arc” is the official English translation Demon Slayer is going with for this section …continue reading

    

Backlash against Onsen Musume Project prompts a slinging match between feminists and otaku.

In Japan, a lot of real-world objects and places have been anthropomorphised into anime characters, creating perfect opportunities for promotional tie-ups and collaborations. One project, for instance, has transformed major hot spring areas in Japan into Onsen Musume, cute goddesses who also act as idols, competing with and against each other to become the best idol group in the country.

The Onsen Musume Project — endorsed as a Cool Japan company by the Cabinet Office to help promote tourism — has been working to revitalise hot spring regions since 2016, encouraging fans to travel to various hot springs to buy merchandise and see their favourite idols in 2-D form.

▼ Some of the Onsen Musume characters

#温泉むすめ のキャラクターを使うか使わないかの判断はその温泉地次第。若い世代に #飯坂温泉 を知ってもらう1つのコンテンツとして #飯坂真尋 ちゃんと共に歩んでます。若い方が温泉街や地域の人を気に入って何度も福島に来てくれるなんて素晴らしいじゃありませんかw#温泉むすめありがとう pic.twitter.com/aA4qswHrKK

— 飯坂温泉オフィシャル♨ (@iizaka_onsen) November 15, 2021

Hot spring towns can decide whether to use the characters to promote themselves, but it can be a tough call to make, given that some members of the public oppose the way young girls are depicted in anime.

▼ One hot spring town currently dealing with backlash over its involvement in an Onsen Musume collaboration is Yubara Onsen in Okayama Prefecture.

Stores and individuals in the area have become the target of harassment, prompting Yubara Onsen officials to address the issue publicly on Twitter, bringing to light some of the criticism they’ve received.

一部のSNSによるコメントなどについて

協力店・個人などにいたずら電話、悪意ある口コミ、侮辱、差別など各種棄損に当てはまる事態が発生しています。実害が続くと弁護士と相談し、業務妨害並びに名誉棄損を視野に入れた法的措置を行います。

ネチケットを重視し、お楽しみください。

— 湯原温泉「温泉むすめ」公式 (@yubarasawa) November 17, 2021

The above tweet reads:

“Regarding comments etc on social media:

There have been instances of prank calls, malicious word-of-mouth, insults, and discrimination against participating stores and individuals. If this continues, we will consult with a lawyer and take legal action in regards to obstructing business and defamation.

Please …continue reading

    

Source: Grape
Japan Forward

“Vertical-scroll and full color manga are becoming the global standard,” according to Tokyo a publishing executive, while the merits of the different style of Japanese manga are not being conveyed to the world.

Rio Terada, for JAPAN Forward

More and more Japanese people are reading manga from South Korea.

Unlike monochrome Japanese comics, South Korean ones are full color, and readers can view the content easily by scrolling up and down on their smartphones.

Some experts believe that vertical-scroll manga will become the global standard. Certain Japanese publishers are also moving into this new market.

Will traditional Japanese manga – a proud part of the country’s culture – be left behind?

Japanese scrolling manga. | Image courtesy of © JAPAN Forward

Slick Reading

“We appeal not just to people who like manga, but also to those who enjoy viewing content on their smartphones. We have succeeded in creating a way of enjoying manga that can be habitual,” reveals a press officer at Piccoma, a manga subscription service.

Piccoma was developed and released by Kakao Japan, a subsidiary of the South Korean company Kakao.

Kakao’s vertical-scroll manga “Solo Leveling,” which was localized for the Japanese market, surpassed a monthly sales figure of ¥200 million JPY ($1.7 million USD) in May 2020 – gaining attention in the publishing world.

(…)

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And the Studio Ghibli co-founder has a heartwarming idea of who it does belong to.

Stage adaptations of popular anime have become fairly common in Japan over the past decade, but when the anime being adapted is also Japan’s second-highest-grossing movie of all time, the level of anticipation is on a whole other level. So earlier this week a full-scale press event was held to unveil the first in-costume promotional photos for the upcoming stage play of Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away.

Representing the anime studio was veteran producer Toshio Suzuki, but not the anime film’s director, Hayao Miyazaki. That was to be expected, as Miyazaki tends to avoid the spotlight whenever possible, even going so far as making “I won’t attend any press conferences” a required condition for his permission to produce a kabuki play of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind a while back. So as is so often the case, it fell to Suzuki to provide a look into the inner workings of the mind of Miyazaki, and he offered a surprising revelation about how he feels about his most celebrated anime film.

“[When the proposal to make a Spirited Away play was brought up], Miyazaki simply said ‘Sure,’” Suzuki recalled, which Miyazaki then followed with:

“I’ve already let go of [Spirited Away]. It was created with the support of so many people, so it doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to everyone.”

That’s an impressively humble and team-focused sentiment from the most admired animated film director not just in Japan, but arguably the entire world, and especially so since Miyazaki is also the scriptwriter for the Spirited Away anime, as he is for all of the theatrical feature films he’s directed. …continue reading

    

I talked about Attack on Titan’s ending when the last chapter hit a while back, but the original story is technically over with the English release of Volume 34 and I like this little tongue-in-cheek jab in the end of the final volume about possible fan reaction over the manga’s ending.

I’m sure there’s lots of things to wonder about in Attack on Titan. Volume 34 had a few new pages in the end that did leave things open for interpretation. There’s going to be a bunch of speculation on random internet channels with some dose of debate.

I did like Eren’s comment in that he, Mikasa and Armin should all enjoy whatever comes next…together.

It’s easy to find friends in fandom, but it’s so much harder to find friends in fandom to spend meaningful time with. I do think it’s also okay to argue about certain things in fandom because we all need to be exposed to different viewpoints that are valid.

Maybe the real prize to strive for is conceptual freedom generated by art. Art of any kind allows for reflection, which is neither inherently good or bad. All three characters presented varied thoughts about their experience with the series. More importantly, they did so with confidence.

Attack on Titan isn’t perfect and is a very noteworthy work. I do like to believe in the end that the series is promoting this one idea – nuanced conversations that reveal flaws and highlight hidden truths are the wings of freedom. It’s easy to feel trapped in a mental birdcage due to those conversations being shut down. But I want those wings to open up as they’re possibilities of hope for future generations to come.

Then we can feel truly free.

…continue reading