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ANIME-MANGA

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 mascot has also made appearances in the chain’s annual lucky bags.

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.

ぶんか社 ホラーMコミックス060 関よしみ「ウイルスの牙」(1997.6) pic.twitter.com/4N00z50icz

— そんなマンガbot (@JAPAN_manga_bot) April 6, 2020

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.

Madhouse

【商品情報】関よしみ傑作集マッドハウス。「マッドハウス」に登場する老人の、「うんうん、これじゃ、この味!」がイヤすぎて、何回も読んでしまいます。https://t.co/LKVXHlJeuN pic.twitter.com/CDTrMDW3YK

— 書肆鯖【ショシサバ】 (@bookssubba) November 4, 2017

Seki is a popular author with a cult following, and her …continue reading

    

Company known for its games filled with handsome samurai says thanks, but no thanks.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, women in Japan are getting ready to give gifts of chocolate to guys they have a crush on, as is the local custom. But while most guys are extremely happy to be on the receiving end of such sweet gestures, one Japanese company has made a formal statement saying no Valentine’s Day presents, please.

It’s not a talent agency or boy band either that’s preemptively turning down the chocolate either. Instead it’s video game developer/publisher Koei Tecmo.

Even in Japan, though, video game designers generally don’t attract adoring groupies. Koei Tecmo publishes a lot of games set in the fuedal periods of Japan and China, and the continued enthusiasm of Japan’s rekijo (women with a strong interest in history), combined with Koei Tecmo’s artistic liberties in giving the game’s historical figures handsome anime boy-life makeovers, has earned the company a large number of passionate female fans, many of whom apparently mail Valentine’s Day chocolate to Koei’s offices in Yokohama.

▼ Trailer for upcoming Koei Tecmo-developed game Touken Ranbu Warriors

The statement, posted on the Yokohama-based company’s website, reads:

“Thank you for your continued support of our company and products, and we would like to once again express our gratitude to those of you who have previously sent presents to our staff and the characters who appear in our games.

Currently, as a countermeasure to the continuing coronavirus pandemic, many of our employees are working from home. After considering the difficulties in receiving the packages and possible health/safety concerns, this year we will be respectfully declining Valentine’s Day and White Day presents.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.”

Though not specifically mentioned in the statement, Koei Tecmo is currently developing Touken Ranbu Warriors, which will be released next month. This …continue reading

    

Cells at Work Volume 6 cover

I got a chance to finish Cells at Work! and I like how the series ended with talking about COVID-19. It gives me hope about how not to give up on people when it’s so easy to do so.

The final chapter highlights our favorite cells dealing with the effects of COVID on their host body. There’s a bunch of tension, in-fighting, and anxiety all displayed. Among the chaos, Red Blood Cell AE3803 decides to take charge in making sure the body is doing its best while COVID ravages the immune system

What I like is how it highlights a problem I have with the general COVID response via the perspective of mental health – the lack of a meaningful community response to it all. The individual is the one expected to change everything when they can only do so much. Yes, there’s many parties to blame. It’s just unfair for one person to take them all on. There’s a line of encouragement that Red Blood Cell says that’s so much needed.

Red Blood Cell's lines about faith, Cells at Work Vol.6

I love this because people are like “You can only count on yourself.” Which is untrue if someone gets sick. Earlier in the chapter, Red Blood Cell talks about how every cell in the body has a different job. But because they all do different things, they often have arguments. Yet they are bound by a common purpose to protect their host body. Right now, I don’t see a meaningful common purpose being encouraged towards people who are going through so much mentally and are socially isolated. Some of the solutions being encouraged right now can be harmful and don’t benefit everyone.

I also want to highlight another set …continue reading

    

Realtime 2-D character creation software is a game-changer for artists and non-artists alike.

Have you ever wanted to create your own anime or manga characters but don’t have the artistic skills to sketch them into reality? Well, then this new software from Japan will make all your dreams come true.

Created by talented software engineer T. Takasaka (@t_takasaka), this new program automatically turns crude sketches into beautiful illustrations, and that’s not all — it does it in real-time too.

▼ Take a look at the video below to see the magic in action.

スケッチからイラストをリアルタイムで自動生成する実験をしています。
これまで全く絵を描いたことがない人でも、それなりのクオリティのイラストを短時間で描けるようになればいいなと考えています。
次はパラメータスライダーを追加して、描いた後に画風や形状を変更できるようにする予定です。 pic.twitter.com/NgE2xFhzsh

— 高坂 (@t_takasaka) January 2, 2022

As you can see, even the most simple sketches can become pro-level creations, and there’s wide scope for all sorts of character looks, which can be personalised with individual presets.

▼ Simply sketch out some rough ideas and you can change your character’s hairstyle to your liking…

▼ …change the shape of their mouths…

▼ …adjust their their face shape…

▼ …and the shape of their eyes.

…continue reading

    

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.

…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