Masi Oka Bringing a J-Drama to the US

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Apr 12, 2012 in Japanese TV, Television

Spec

I’m actually really excited about this. Former Heroes star-turned-producer Masi Oka plans to adapt Keizoku 2: SPEC for US television. For those who might not be familiar with the series, Keizoku 2: SPEC is a Japanese television drama about a pair of detectives who investigate cases often labeled unsolvable using special abilities. In a sense, it kind of reminds me of Sherlock or House M.D. but with a bit more intrigue. As far as I’m aware, this will mark the first time a Japanese drama is being adapted by Hollywood, so its kind of a big deal. The American cast should be announced later this May. Read more…

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Tokyo Disney, the Anime? I Wish

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Mar 28, 2012 in Animation, Japanese TV

Japan has its fair share of strange commercials, but this latest one for Disney’s Tokyo resort has to be one of the most adorable ads I’ve ever seen — so much, that the animated short has me convinced that I’d sit through an entire animated series centered around it. The 30 second anime short tells the story of a little girl and her time spent visiting the theme park over the years, from her first time as a kid, to meeting her future husband, eventually growing old together. It’s well animated, and the cute rendition of “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” fits it so well. Am I weird for wanting them to make more of these? I’ve included a bunch of screenshots from it after the jump.

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Yakuza J-Drama Gets a Second Season

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Feb 13, 2012 in Japanese TV, Videogames

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Here in the West, Sega’s Yakuza series is considered a bit niche, but that hasn’t kept its fans from falling in love with it. When Sega of America decided to skimp with their localizations, fans were passionately vocal in their opposition. In Japan however, the series has been so successful that it’s led to two films by acclaimed cult-director Takeshi Miike, and a television drama based on the PSP spin-off Yakuza: Black Panther. This April, the drama returns with a second season based on the upcoming sequel.
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Softbank’s Otousan in Space

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Jan 2, 2012 in Japanese TV, Television

The other week, Softbank debuted a lengthy 5 minute 30 second long ad for their mobile phones starring the ever-popular “White family.” For those of you who haven’t seen any of the previous ads, they were centered around a multi-racial Japanese family with a dog (Otousan) as the father and often range from hilarious to adorable. The latest ad sees Otousan attempting to fulfill his dream of traveling in space, and guest-stars Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, who had spent several months on the International Space Station last year. you can watch that portion of the ad above. The final three minutes of the full ad feature former Japanese boy-band, turned Television hosts, SMAP and can be viewed by clicking here. Read more…

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Yoda Endorses Instant Ramen

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Nov 23, 2011 in Japanese TV, Star Wars

Just like Darth Vader’s cameo in a series cell phone ads, Yoda recently starred in a Japanese commercial for Nissin’s Cup Noodles — speaking English, no less. Of course, they had to subtitle him, but it would seem the Jedi master wants Japan to recover from its recent tragedies as much as anyone else; the commercial ends with him wishing the force be with the entire nation, kind of a sweet little gesture on Lucas’ part. I wasn’t aware you could use the force to boil water, though. Also, the line “Boil Japan.” looks a bit strange out of context. Oh well, it’s still kind of cool.

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Japanese Ducks Can Sell Me Anything

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Sep 13, 2011 in Japanese TV, Television

So can cats for that matter. That’s why I’ve fallen in love with Afflack’s Japanese commercials. Admittedly, I’ve been obsessed with them ever since I stumbled across their original “Maneki Neko Dakku” CM months back. Something about a dancing cat and duck makes me swoon every time I see it. It helps that the song is really cute and catchy as well. In fact, it was so catchy that the company released a full version of it complete with a music video. While I’m sure these ads would probably flop in the US, it’s amazing to see how it has caught on in Japan. The latest commercials feature ARASHI’s Sho Sakurai and idol/actress Aoi Miyazaki playing a duet on an organ while the duck and cat join in. It’s terribly cute, and will probably have children all over Japan begging their parents to switch their providers as a result. Then again, when it comes to Japan, cute is always chic.

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A Dog That Meows? Amazing

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Sep 12, 2011 in Japanese TV, Television

This is the most adorable thing I’ve seen all weekend. I’ve heard of cats that bark, but a dog that meows? First of all, I love Shiba Inus. Aside from simply being the cutest dogs on earth — debatable, sure, but I’m not about to concede on that — they always seem so friendly and peaceful. As soon as it started to meow in this clip, I just lost it. Apparently the puppy picked up the habit from his feline companion who you’ll see in some of those photos later in the video, but seeing as it does sound a little more like “nyan” than “meow,” I have to wonder if someone else was giving it lessons. For those who are curious or confused, “nyan,” is sort of the Japanese equivalent of “meow.” Nevertheless, it’s totally cute. Also, note the overly dramatic music and constant reaction shot from the host/celebrity guest of the week — god, I love Japanese television. Read more…

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Captain There’s Something Very Disturbing About This Vulcan…

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jul 8, 2011 in Japanese TV, Star Trek

chupa chups Japanese commercial from 1995

Chupa Chups is a Spanish brand of lollypops and in 1995 their Japanese agency this very odd advert featuring a Mr. Spock styled alien in a silver spacesuit which seems a bit, well you be the judge: Read more…

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Ten Kawaii Retro Anime Commercials

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jul 6, 2011 in Animation, Japanese TV

Retro Anime Commercials

When ever most of us think of anime we mostly think of TV shows or films — however like the US the use of animation was very popular for commercials in the 50s and 60s. Some of the nicer spots here also feature some amazing stop motion animation which reminds me a great deal of the look that Pixar has these day: Read more…

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Miku Hatsune Stars in a Toyota Advert

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jun 24, 2011 in Animation, Japanese TV

Miku Hatsune Stars in a Toyota Advert

I just came across this cute Toyota commercial which star virtual idol Miku Hatsune: Read more…

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How Do You Sell the 3DS? Hire Arashi

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Jan 18, 2011 in Japanese TV, Videogames

Nintendo, like Apple, knows exactly how to market their products to their core audience , no matter how much a gimick the product may be. Case and point, check out these commercials that are currently airing overseas. The system will be out in a little over a month, but rather than show how the product actually looks — I imagine it doesn’t look too impressive on a 2D screen — they’ve decided to simply hire the most popular boy band in the nation and have them react on film to what they’re seeing. So, how will that sell the system? Simple. If it’s good enough for them, it has to be good enough for you. Of course, it could very well be, but we won’t know until the system ships to North America later this year.

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Darth Vader’s Pachinko Ads Are Scary

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Jan 12, 2011 in Japanese TV, Star Wars

These have to be the most confusing Japanese ads I’ve ever seen. In fact, had I not researched it further, I doubt I would have realized they’re for a pachinko machine — Sanyo’s Star Wars Fever. The machine hit the market a few years back and while I’m not sure you’d still find them littered through out Japanese pachinko parlors, you’ll probably find one if you look hard enough. I’d rather just sit back and enjoy these terrifying, yet hilarious commercials. I just love the Empire’s fleet of Darth Vader themed 747s  — or are those suppose to be B-52s. It’s hard to tell. Read more…

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Hikaru Utada is All I Want For Christmas

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Dec 22, 2010 in Japanese TV

I adore Hikaru Utada. She’s perhaps the most recognizable Japanese pop icon in recent years. In fact, I’m pretty sure she still holds a record or two for selling over 8 million copies of her debut album in Japan alone. That’s a lot by our industry’s standards, and even moreso by their own. That aside, she’s got a lovely voice and a natrual beauty to compliment it, which is why I fall head over heels in love every time she does a commercial. This latest ad has her singing “Can’t Wait ‘Til Christmas,” which was included on the recently released Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 2 while leaning on a giant bottle of Pepsi Nex Zero — a drink I personally find delicious. It’s a shame you have to fly to the Japan to try it, though. Read more…

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Darth Vader Hangs Out in Japan

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Nov 9, 2010 in Japanese TV, Star Wars

When he’s not busy lording over the Imperial fleet, or choking incompetent admirals who fail him for the last time, Darth Vader apparently spends his time hanging out in the Land of the Rising Sun. What’s he do exactly? Market cell-phones, what else. It would seem that he’s at the center of NTT Docomo’s latest ad campaign for Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphone. In case you’re wondering, it’s comparable to the Samsung Fascinate and Captivate in the US, featuring the Android operating system. Even though it’s obvious that he’s just hanging out, I’m still wondering what Darth Vader is up to — maybe someone told him that these were the droids he was looking for.   Read more…

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Apple’s Japanese iPhone Ads Seem Familiar

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Aug 17, 2010 in Japanese TV, Tech

Generally, Japanese commercials tend to be a bit more outlandish than our own TV spots, so I was a bit surprised to learn that Apple hasn’t really done much to change the format of their recent iPhone 4 ads for an international market, aside from hiring Japanese actors of course. It would seem that Apple has focused almost entirely on their Face Time feature, hoping that live video chat would be enough to sell anyone on their reception-impaired smart phone. To be fair, a simple case can fix that, but why should there be a problem in the first place — right? Any ways, the commercials are still pretty cute. I just wonder if it’s enough to steal NTT Docomo’s loyal fan base.

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Predators Japanese TV Spot

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Jun 30, 2010 in Cinema, Horror, Japanese TV

How sad is it that I found the Japanese TV spot for Robert Rodriguez’s Predators more enticing than the TV spot airing here in the states. Sure, Japan edited the spot to feature the Yakuza character a bit more, but that’s not really the point. I tried to put finger on it and finally I think I’ve figured out why — the edits they did make feature some actual action. While our own TV isn’t exactly boring, we’re given a number of second-long clips that feature explosions and gun fire. The Japanese TV spot, on the other hand, shows off the slightly longer initial clash between a Predator hunter, and the katana-wielding Yakuza. Needless to say, it was enough to seal the deal for me — I’ll be buying ticket opening day. Read more…

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Japan’s Answer to a Struggling Economy? Try Credit Cards

Posted by Tim Sheehy on May 26, 2010 in Japanese TV

These commercials for the Japanese credit firm, JCB, feature J-Pop vocalist Ninomiya Kazunari miraculously saving the struggling Japanese economy with a simple swipe of his JCB issued credit card. The commercials are pretty hilarious, but at the same time I’m a little confused. In fairness, they’re technically encouraging some form of economic stimulation, but that’s only assuming people are actually going to pay off the balance they borrow on those cards, which, in part, is the reason behind the current global financial crisis. A bit ironic, don’t you think? Read more…

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The Care Bear Stare, Japanese Ero Edition?

Posted by Gia Manry on May 15, 2010 in Japanese TV

What do you get when you throw a hot Japanese actress into a costume vaguely reminiscent of a bit player in Xena: Warrior Princess and give her breast beams? The answer, of course, is something like the above video, found by Topless Robot. Read more…

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Japanese Candy That Even Makes Mona Lisa Smile

Posted by Tim Sheehy on May 4, 2010 in Japanese TV

I’m not sure what it is with Japan and making still images come to life, but the latest commercials for their Shigekix candies — I’m told they’re kind of like WarHeads, but not as sour — do just that. The commercials, which feature some well known paintings, such as the Mona Lisa, have the portraits belting out a cute little jingle while enjoying the tasty snack food. It almost kind of reminds me of a Japanese iPhone app called PhotoSpeak which allows you to animate still pictures with audio recordings. If you’re interested in the app, check out the app store for more info, and if you want to see more of the commercials, check the Shigekix website — they’re all there. Read more…

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The Chewing Gum of Haruhi Suzumiya

Posted by Michael Pinto on Apr 12, 2010 in Animation, Japanese TV

For Lotte’s latest commercial for their ACUO brand of gum they’re featuring an animated Haruhi Suzumiya (and her friends) interacting with live action actor Toma Ikuta. As much as I love Haruhi I think the cutest part of the advert is when he runs out side and the three street cats that are looking at him transform into cat girls: Read more…

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Godzilla Craves Canned Coffee

Posted by Michael Pinto on Apr 9, 2010 in Japanese TV

This Godzilla themed canned coffee advert perfectly captures my inner crankiness when I can’t get my daily caffeine fix. The commercial is for Kirin Black Deep Body Fire which features a “51% blend of carefully selected premium bean” from Guatemala. Although the two main selling points are that this coffee is both sugar free (and thus low calorie) and apparently tastes quite bitter. Read more…

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D-room: Where Split Level Personalities Run Rampant

Posted by Michael Pinto on Apr 8, 2010 in Japanese TV

This commercial is for Daiwa House, the largest homebuilder in Japan. Apparently D-room is a reference to the dining room in a Japanese house. In fact when you’re looking at real estate ads in Japan they’ll often use letters to represent the number of rooms in a house. So an LDK would be a house with living room, dining room and kitchen. And from what I can see D-room is an online service for real estate. Read more…

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Onigiri Stalker Lady Creeps Me Out…

Posted by Michael Pinto on Apr 7, 2010 in Japanese TV

These two adverts for Mizkan are quite creepy yet somehow pleasing with their offbeat humor. Both commercials seem to be for onigiri which are Japanese rice balls which can come in both triangle and round shapes. And although the spot doesn’t show it onigiri are quite often wrapped in seaweed. I really got a kick out of the second commercial which shows the creative ways to incorporate onigiri into a creative bento box for lunch. Read more…

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Mariah Carey’s Canned Coffee Concert

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 30, 2010 in Japanese TV

This Nescafe spot starring Mariah Carey is from the year 2000. I half suspect that Carey didn’t go to Japan to do the spot because it seems to be shot against green screen. The give away is her awkward interaction with her co-star who I believe is Japanese comedian Sanma Akashiya: Read more…

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