Looks like it’s time for another visit to the Sanrio theme park!
Sanrio Puroland, the indoor theme park dedicated to the world of Sanrio characters like Hello Kitty, Pom Pom Purin, and Gudetama, is going to open its first new attraction in six years! The park, which hasn’t added any new features since Gudetama Land opened in 2016, will be adding a new Character Greeting House this July, where visitors can step inside colorful themed rooms and be greeted by their favorite Sanrio characters.
The attraction is designed to look like a luxury condo high-rise for Sanrio characters. The attraction, which will be part of Strawberry Hall, includes five different rooms, each with its own theme, plus a luxury entrance hall decorated with strawberries all around.
Room 101: Gamer Modern is a bright, colorful room filled with neon signs and what looks like a gaming PC set-up.
Room 102: Vintage Pop is a retro room straight out of the 70s, decorated with bright oranges and yellows, flower themes, a disco ball, and furniture designed like old technology.
Fans of fitness might like Room 201: Workout Style, which is a high-energy exercise room with spotlights, weightlifting equipment, mirrors, and even a protein bar.
Get into the spirit of music with Room 202: Music Base. It looks like a music studio, with instruments hanging on the walls, a stage, and huge speakers.
Our hardcore anime musical fan gives us a quick course in otaku/fujoshi etiquette.
Anime enthusiasts of yesteryear may have spent the majority of their time in front of a TV screen, but for the modern otaku or fujoshi there are all sorts of stage shows, concerts, and musicals to attend. But while there’s always a sense of excitement from gathering with other like-minded anime enthusiasts, it’s important to make sure you’re not preventing other fans from enjoying themselves too.
Our Japanese-language reporter Udonko, a regular attendee at musicals for the Touken Ranbu franchise, has put together a list of anime stage show etiquette rules to keep in mind, so let’s take a look as we get into the summertime high season for anime events.
Rule 1: Suitable sitting style
No, this isn’t because slouching makes you look sloppy, As a matter of fact, if you feel like sliding down lower into your seat, that’s actually not a problem. What is a problem, though, is leaning forward, away from the seat back.
There’s a natural urge to lean forward when your favorite character comes on stage, or during an especially dramatic moment in the story. Doing so effectively makes you taller, though, which can obstruct the view of people sitting behind you, especially the row directly behind yours. “Try to imagine that your back is glued to the seat” advises Udonko, who adds that you should also place your bag on the ground, not on the seat behind yourself, to help maintain the proper posture.
Rule 2: Hairstyling
For fans in Japan, especially female fans, going to see an anime stage show is an event worth getting dressed up for. …continue reading
There’s a whole lot to love in this sneak-peak at the remake of the Rumiko Takahashi classic.
The anime industry is in the middle of a remake boom right now, and the updated series are often a chance to make up for a lackluster or limited-scale original. That’s not the case at all, though, with the upcoming remake of Urusei Yatsura.
The original 1980s Urusei Yatsura ran for almost 200 episodes and also had a half-dozen theatrical features plus direct-to-video chapters before the anime franchise came to a close in 1991. Along the way, it became a pop culture phenomenon that’s left the deepest impression to date of any series from manga creator Rumiko Takahashi on mainstream audiences in Japan.
Remaking such a widely loved and historically significant anime is a big risk, but a lot of people are thinking the gamble is going to pay off thanks to the first preview video for the new series, which is being called Urusei Yatsura Allstars.
The video opens with a news report informing viewers that Japanese high school student Ataru Moroboshi has been chosen to represent humanity in a one-on-one contest against an invading alien race to determine the fate of the planet Earth. This matches up exactly with the plot of the original Urusei Yatsura’s first episode, so it looks like Allstars really is going all the way back to the beginning of the story so that viewers completely new to the series can follow the zaniness from the very start.
▼ Representing the aliens is their princess, Lum, who retains the green hair that was normalized by ‘80s Urusei Yatsura character designer Akemi Takada.
Is the new film something only for fans, or can anyone enjoy it?
Ultraman is a tokusatsu franchise that has been around for almost sixty years now. Ranking among the likes of Godzilla, Super Sentai (also known as Power Rangers abroad), and Kamen Rider in terms of popularity in the genre, this “giant superhero” has won the hearts of children and adults alike for generations. So of course, that means the franchise continues to this day!
The newest addition to the Ultraman universe is Shin Ultraman, which just hit theaters on May 13. Directed by Shinji Higuchi and written and planned by Hideaki Anno, this film is intended to be in the same spirit as the latest Godzilla movie, Shin Godzilla, which was also created by the same duo. Two of our Japanese language reporters went to see it: K. Masami, a huge Ultraman fan, and P.K. Sanjun, who has no attachment to the franchise whatsoever. Both came back with the same reaction: the Shin Ultraman movie is awesome.
This film is a reboot of the original series, which aired from 1966 to 1974. At this point, the show has undergone 56 years’ worth of reboots and remakes, probably leaving fans and non-fans alike with reboot exhaustion, but Shin Ultraman has its own twist on the franchise that makes it worth watching. We won’t specify how it set itself apart, as then we’d be spoiling the movie, but suffice it to say it does so in a sufficiently entertaining way.
Initially, Ultraman fan Masami worried that Hideaki Anno, whose work on Evangelion has been so iconic that expectations for his other productions have been high, was not actually directing Shin Ultraman but merely planning and writing the …continue reading
Artist makes a point about manga tales and ponytails.
There’s a character design archetype in anime and manga, where a shy girl who doesn’t want to stand out or just isn’t particularly interested in looking fashionable will wear her hair in a ponytail. A hairstyle that’s tied back works as quick visual shorthand for a similarly restrained personality, so it’s easy to see why this is a common choice by artists for a character with a shrinking demeanor.
“In manga, you often see shy, plain girls who aren’t trying to be fashionable with hairstyles like this,” says Japanese Twitter user and manga artist @sateyo, who drew the example illustration above. However, that’s not all she has to say on the subject. “But I want to say that I think this is inaccurate,” she goes on, adding:
“The way real shy non-fashionable girls wear their hair…is like this!”
The difference between anime/manga and reality, as @sateyo sees it, is where shy girls tie their ponytail at. For anime character designs, the hair is gathered higher up, she says, at the point at the farthest back of the head. In real life, though, a shy girl who isn’t trying to look fashionable will instead tie her ponytail at the lowest point possible, basically where the back of the head meets the top of the neck, she explains. “If you try to go higher than that, it’s a lot harder to gather the tail.”
@sateyo, who says she herself does the low ponytail style, includes a disclaimer that this is her …continue reading
One of Japan’s biggest cons finally opens to the rest of the world.
Jump Festa is an annual manga convention held by Shueisha, the publishers of the leading publication Weekly Shonen Jump among others. Although this manga con primarily focuses on the works that appear in magazines like Jump, since it began in 1999 it has grown into an event that incorporates some video game producers as well.
▼ Kingdom Hearts III revealed some brand new gameplay footage at Jump Festa 2016.
Nearly every year it’s been held at the Makuhari Messe convention center, but like every event of its scale it was greatly disrupted by the pandemic. In 2020 Jump Festa was forced to move online, and in 2021 it evolved into a live and online format that tied in with various e-commerce businesses. Ironically, this change in format might have made it one of the most prosperous events yet.
This turned out to be a great thing for people in the rest of the world too, because it appears to have inspired Shueisha to expand Jump Festa even further. For the first time, they will be releasing videos of stage shows from Jump Fest 2022, which was held on 18 and 19 December, 2021 on YouTube and giving them full English subtitles.
A total of 15 stage shows will be made available from midnight on 8 March to 11:59 p.m. on 21 March, Japan Standard Time. All stages are available at any time on demand and cover the following Jump titles:
・Spy x Family ・Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai ・World Trigger ・Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ・The Prince of Tennis II ・Dragon Ball Super ・Bleach ・Chainsaw Man ・Platinum End ・World’s End Harem ・Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba ・Jujutsu Kaisen ・Dr. Stone ・My Hero …continue reading
So today, my blog is officially 12 years old. I don’t have much to say, but I know my writing has slowed down a lot. I haven’t written as much as I used to due to other interests taking my time (*coughmahjongcough*).
I’ve forgotten how much joy I get from reading manga at times. I still read a bunch, but my brain was so focused on playing mahjong with people. I realized how nice it is to find a community of people that I was comfortable being around. At the same time, I’m facing a bit of dissonance of how close I want to be around them. I think it’s because of my tendency to not really talk much about topics I don’t really care about or have no knowledge of. I prefer thoughtful responses instead of responding with snapshot memes.
In any case, I want to focus my attention back here because to be honest, I don’t want to be known as some mahjong player. There’s some messages I received from readers that made me realize what I’m able to do and who I am at my core.
Plus, there’s some changes I’m starting to implement and something will happen very soon. Let’s just say this will be a big change and when the time comes, there will be a big post about it. The one thing I can say about this change is that it’s one that’s very much needed for me and this blog.
February 22nd is popularly known in Japan as ‘Cat Day’, but it also has another meaning. It’s also called ‘Ninja Day’ by some.
Koka city in Shiga prefecture was historically a ninja stronghold, so they celebrate this ‘Ninja Day’ more passionately than most. One of the ways they have marked it this year is the unveiling of three new Pokemon manhole covers in the city.
These popular attractions are called ‘Poke Lids’, or ‘Pokefuta’ in Japanese, and the Pocket Monsters chosen to star in each design are often selected because they have some sort of link to the town they will be situated in. In this case, the covers fittingly feature Frogadier, and the evolved form Greninja, the ninja-themed Pokemon.
There’s a design featuring Greninja using a throwing star.
One has two Greninjas looking mysterious in the moonlight, and the last design features both Greninja and Frogadier.
Greninja can use water to create throwing stars, just like the shuriken used by ninjas in the past. Throwing star motifs are used not just in the design itself, but also in a colourful ring around the manhole.
50-year-old burger character is traded in for a newer, younger, human model.
It’s been 50 years since Japanese fast food chain Mos Burger opened its doors to the public, and over that half-century innings, the chain has grown to become the country’s most beloved homegrown burger joint.
Helping to win the affections of the public is the chain’s cute burger mascot, Mossan, who made its debut in 2009. Said to have been born in 1972 in Tokyo’s Itabashi Ward, Mossan often appears on in-store signage and as part of the toy range included with kids’ meals.
The cute burger has been bringing smiles to customers’ faces for the past 13 years, but now, at the ripe old age of 50, it’s been announced that Mossan will be retiring to make way for a new, younger, human character called LilMos.
Despite having a name that sounds like it belongs to a rapper, LilMos looks like he’s time-travelled from the past, with his suit, bow tie and red top hat, which is said to be a precious item given to him by his grandfather.
According to the character’s bio, LilMos stands at 123 centimetres (four feet) in height, when wearing his top hat, and was born on 12 March, although his year of birth isn’t given.
As the “Mos” in Mos burger stands for “mountain”, “ocean”, “sun”, the kanji for these three words (“山”, “海”, “太陽”) appear in bold in the bio, mentioned as: “climb to the top a mountain” (as one of the things LilMos wants to do); “play the …continue reading
Manga artist draws amazing parallels between fiction and reality.
The last two years have thrown us all a curveball, with the coronavirus pandemic completely changing the world in ways we never could’ve predicted, making reality feel like a surreal scene from a movie or a page out of a Japanese manga.
One manga that comes to mind during these times is Virus Fang, which has become a hot topic lately for the way it depicts the pandemic-gripped society we’re currently living in. That wouldn’t be surprising if the work was written in the past couple of years, but what’s giving everyone goosebumps is the fact that it was written 25 years ago.
That’s right — this virus-centric manga was written around a quarter of a century before the pandemic, and it reads like a prophecy for what we’re all experiencing today. Adding an extra layer of eeriness to it all is the fact that it was written by Yoshimi Seki, an acclaimed horror manga artist.
Before we get into the manga, let’s take a quick look at the author’s background. 64-year-old Seki is known for a particular style of horror that juxtaposes shojo-style manga with doomsday storylines, highlighting the gruesomeness of humankind rather than ghosts or other mysterious phenomena.
Seki’s Madhouse, for example, tells the story of a family who moves next door to a house where a murder occurred. It contains a series of shocking and surreal scenarios, including an encounter with the old man from next door, who enters the house naked, licks raw fish from the refrigerator and suddenly defecates.