Many of you may know that I’ve been on a mahjong playing journey for a while now. I decided to take a venture out in person (twice) to meet up with a fully-vaccinated group of riichi mahjong players called Riichi Nomi NYC in my area. It was a lot of fun and I got to meet people I’ve played with online.
I still can’t help but shake off some anxiety as RiichI Nomi were the only ones that made me go “Okay, let’s have some fun.” when no other group (or even my closest friends) made me want to go out. Not even Otakon 2021 made me go “Anime con happening with a decent level of safety, let’s go~”
I now wonder what is my connection to the anime community as a whole. I’ve always considered myself to be in the middle. Now, that connection is more or less “I don’t keep up with most anime anymore.” I still am connected to the manga community on both the professional and fan side of things. I’m very active in talking about manga and mahjong (and Japanese video games to a certain extent) in various chat channels.
I think about mahjong fandom and it’s made me go “Maybe it’s because corporations haven’t taken a huge stake in it and that’s why I’ve really enjoyed my time here.” A lot of fandom discourse is weaponized by corporations and media outlets these days. It drives me nuts that excessive consumption seems to be the only thing that matters and is used as the only outlet to process life’s BS. I still believe that anime did save my life at one point and I believe that anime doesn’t really serve me much anymore.
How will your favorite leading lady from Studio Ghibli’s library stack up?
If there’s one thing we can count on Studio Ghibli for, it’s a strong leading heroine. The girls of Ghibli films are determined, flawed, and all the more interesting for their funny quirks and adorable expressions. Whether your favorite is the somber Kiki, the resourceful Arrietty, or the wild wolf child San, you’ve got to appreciate just how many great girls populate the Studio Ghibli roster.
▼ Witch Kiki is an obvious standout.
But forget about favorites for a moment—which Ghibli heroine do you feel best reflects you, as a person? Take a moment to think it over. Then see how your results compare to those of a recent online survey held by streaming-guide service 1Screen, where 300 men and women aged from their teens to their sixties were quizzed on which heroine they relate to the most.
Let’s count down!
11. Naoko from The Wind Rises and Umi from Up on Poppy Hill (tie)
10. Marnie from When Marnie Was There
9. Haru from The Cat Returns
7. Sheeta from Castle in the Sky and Arrietty from The Secret World of Arrietty (tie)
6. San from Princess Mononoke
5. Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle
4. Shizuku Tsukishima from Whisper of the Heart
Moving on to the top three, the first girl to make the cut is Chihiro from Spirited Away.
▼ Congratulations on third place, Chihiro!
Those who filled in the survey could leave comments, and here are a few from the people who picked Chihiro as the most relatable of the lot.
Yoshiyuki Tomino’sanime career stretches all the way back to writing for Astro Boy, but it might be coming to a close.
A lot is made of anime director Hayao Miyazaki’s ageless passion for animation and desire to create. Though the Studio Ghibli co-founder turned 80 in January, he’s currently working on his next project, titled How Do You Live?, which will be released…well, whenever Miyazaki says it’s finished.
But with all the attention Miyazaki gets for continuing to work well past the average retirement age, it’s easy to forget that Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino is just 10 months younger than Miyazaki and will also be joining the octogenarian club this fall. In addition to various other projects, Tomino still periodically takes the reins of certain branches of the sprawling Gundam franchise, most recently by helming the third Gundam Reconguista in G compilation film, which hit Japanese theaters in July.
However, in a recent interview with Japan’s Shukan Playboy, Tomino himself said he feels like his career is winding down, though not because he’s running out of ideas. Sadly, while his spirit is willing, his body is reaching its limits, as he spoke on his worsening health conditions related to spinal canal stenosis, in which the spinal canal narrows and compresses the nerves inside, causing pain and numbness in the lower body.
Ghibli let fans ask anything they wanted and pulled back the curtain on the 1997 Hayao Miyazaki anime classic, which almost wasn’t titled Princess Mononoke.
This month’s Friday the 13th was doubly lucky for anime enthusiasts. Not only was Princess Mononoke shown on TV in Japan, the official Studio Ghibli Twitter account dropped a steady supply of behind-the-scenes details during the broadcast.
Ghibli’s tweets came in the form of responses to questions collected from Twitter users prior to Princess Mononoke’s airing, and as one of director Hayao Miyazaki’s most complex and respected works, there was plenty that admirers wanted to know. Let’s take a look at what the studio revealed, starting with the answer to the question “What was the hardest scene to animate?”
“It’s hard to pick just one as the most difficult, but for the scene right at the start of the movie where the Tatarigami attacks the village, aside from a few CG parts, all of it is hand-drawn. Drawing the snake-like tentacles on the creature’s body, which are on-screen for two minutes and 10 seconds, took one year and seven months.”
That’s not to say the CG portions were a breeze either. Princess Mononoke was the first Ghibli movie with any significant use of computer-generated visuals, and the studio added:
“From the desks of the CG staff in the studio, there’s a house you can see outside the window. The staff saw the house get torn down, rebuilt, and the family move back in, all while they were still working on the CG for the sequence where the Tatarigami’s eye gets pierced by an arrow.”
Princess Mononoke doesn’t just look amazing in motion, though. It also boasts some of the most memorable character designs of any …continue reading
Did your favorite Weekly Shonen Jump anime make the list?
Weekly Shonen Jump is probably the most recognizable Japanese manga anthology magazine in the world, simply because it has been host to some of Japan’s most famous series. Founded in 1968, the magazine is now well over 50 years old and has serialized hundreds of manga, many of which have been made into anime that achieved just as much, if not more, fame and popularity.
That’s a lot of anime, so which ones are the best? 1,425 Japanese anime fans voted, and the results are in! Here are the top 10 most entertaining Shonen Jump anime of alltime, as ranked by Japanese otaku.
10. City Hunter
City Hunter was one of the most popular anime of the 1980s, but with a recent successful movie also under its belt, it’s probably also highly popular with younger anime fans, too. City Hunter revolves around the antics of Ryo Saeba, a womanizer and private detective, and Kaori Makimura, the tomboy sister of his murdered partner (whose untimely death is ranked by fans as one of the most impactful in anime), as they operate their one-stop-shop business called “City Hunter”.
The original manga was serialized in Jump from 1985 to 1991, and the anime, which was created in 1987, became a huge hit all across Asia. Its success earned it several follow-up series, animated movies, live-action movies, and live-action dramas from all across the world, including a Hong Kong action-comedy starring Jackie Chan.
Arguably one of the most popular anime of the 2000s, Naruto can absolutely be considered one of the most quintessential “shonen” style anime. Combining exciting fantasy action and slice-of-life, coming-of-age drama, everyone fell in love with Naruto and his dream to become a powerful ninja and the leader of his village. Seriously, there’s a …continue reading
Halfway around the presentation, a question was asked about titles or categories that maybe wouldn’t have gone well years ago. Yen Press’s Mark de Vera said that 2 of the publisher’s biggest releases of the year for them were BL titles – Shou Harusono’s Sasaki and Miyano and Mika’s I Cannot Reach You. Both titles became 2 of their best-selling titles of the year. Kodansha USA’s Ivan Salazar mentioned Keito Gaku’s Boys Run the Riot and how well-received the title has been by BL fans, not just fans who want to see transgender representation in their media. Square Enix Books’ Leyla Aker mentions Yuu Toyota’s Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! getting a 3rd printing in the United States despite no anime adaptation and Okura’s I Think Our Son Is Gay surpassing all of her sales expectations. VIZ Media’s Kevin Hamric talked about Reibun Ike’s Dick Fight Island making the top of Amazon’s romance manga section, Okura’s That Blue Sky Feeling selling well, and Natsuki Kizu’s Given being Sublime’s best-selling title of all-time. DENPA Books’ Ed Chavez mentions that the books under their BL line, KUMA, have been getting reprinted as well.
I think it’s phenomenal that BL has made its mark here. Some of the publishers have been wondering why BL has just exploded the 2-3 years. I’ve been thinking about this myself. Ivan mentioned how BL fans really want to see themselves in various different media and BL manga gives them a chance to do so. I remember writing about the power of fujoshi …continue reading
Head of state also picks up an amazing One Piece souvenir that any fan would treasure.
When French president Emmanuel Macron arrived in Japan last week, there were two highly publicized reasons for the visit. One was to attend the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics, and the other was for summit meetings with Japanese prime minster Yoshihide Suga.
However, part of Macron’s itinerary in Japan has dropped the jaws of people even with no particular interest in sports or politics, as France’s head of state also met with some of the biggest names in otaku culture.
At the opening of the video shared through Macron’s official Twitter account, he can be seen, with the help of an interpreter, speaking to a Japanese man in a dark suit. While not every fan may recognize the face, that’s Hiro Mashima, manga artist and creator of the Fairy Tail anime/manga franchise.
Macron hasn’t summoned Mashima just to fanboy over him, though. As they speak, he expresses his sincere appreciation for Mashima’s work, which he says is immensely popular in France, and Mashima humbly adds that he himself greatly admires French culture.
Moving to his left, Mashima next introduces himself to a second Japanese man. This is Hidetaka Miyazaki, the director of such enjoyably punishing video games as Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro.
▼ For anyone who’s played Miyazaki’s notoriously merciless games, it’s almost surreal to see people standing in his presence but not suddenly die a brutal death.
After they speak, Macron next turns to an older, more casually dressed gentleman. This is none other than Katsuhiro Otomo, manga artist and creator of Akira.
“Women often fell in love with someone who seems superhuman suddenly reveals their vulnerability.”
I haven’t found many fans who talked about this, but how the relationship between Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War becomes truly official (Volumes 14-15 of the manga) is psychologically compelling. It’s one of the best portrayals of how romance realistically develops.
The whole premise of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is based around an ongoing battle of wits between Kaguya and Miyuki on who will get the other to confess their feelings towards them. Both have liked each other for a while, but resort to a bunch of wacky strategies throughout the series to force a confession. It isn’t until Volume 14 where Miyuki decides to do an elaborate confession during a school culture festival on his own terms. Kaguya takes the initiative in kissing Miyuki during that moment. However, a growing sense of awkwardness and tension occurs due to their relationship changing. Both parties become unsure on how to be comfortable around each other. This leads to Kaguya’s personality suddenly shifting to her “Ice Kaguya” persona (a very cold side of herself that developed due to her upbringing) and Miyuki developing a sense of insecurity over not being good enough for Kaguya. The situation is further complicated as Miyuki wants to go to America for college and Kaguya is willing to go with him. The tension hits a turning point when Miyuki is suddenly hospitalized for burnout. Kaguya realized that Miyuki is trying to do too much and wants to save him after accepting her own flaws.
After the first kiss, Kaguya starts to become emotionally unstable as she has a conversation with her maid, Ai Hayasaka, about what happened. Kaguya talks about how intimate and long …continue reading
My anime series watching is very limited, but I recently got a free year of Amazon Prime, and it’s got Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba if you prefer) included, so I’ll have to give it a watch, once I finish with Taka no Tsume (Eagle Claw), which is 5 minutes of wonderful silliness.
Q: What is the most successful anime adaptations of Weekly Shonen Jump magazine’s manga? (Sample size=2,270)
KochiKame: Tokyo Beat Cops
Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story
Fist of the North Star
Yu Yu Hakusho
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Prince of Tennis
My Hero Academia
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
Hikaru no Go
High school! Kimengumi
Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma
HUNTER × HUNTER
The Promised Neverland
Yuuna from Yuragiso
Nurarihyon no Mago
Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai
We Never Learn
Tsuide ni Tonchinkan
Neuro: Supernatural Detective
Between the 24th of October and the 7th of November 2020 2,270 visitors to the goo Ranking site and associated properties completed a public questionnaire. No further demographics were given.