Blame the Otaku: Japanese Boys Lose Interest in Girls

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jan 24, 2011 in Animation, Fandom

'Herbivorous' Japanese men losing interest in sex

Call it Danny Choo Syndrome! My favorite animation network in Taiwan recently slagged otaku as one of the reasons that Japanese men are losing their interest in sex with real women. Although there is something a bit ironic that the animators would use 3D techniques to render what a real women looks like (as seen on the left above) as opposed to the cartoony cheesecake version (as seen on the right). This was part of a larger segment on “Herbivorous men” which seems to be a Japanese take on metrosexuals: Read more…

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Hello Kitty with Monster Hunter Headgear (and Vise Versa)

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jan 17, 2011 in Hobbies and Collections, Videogames

Hello Kitty Monster Hunter Masks

I read about the mythical Hello Kitty/Monster Hunter costumes over a year ago, but I didn’t get a really good luck until some kind folks posted them to Flickr. I have to admit that there’s something very surrealistic to the idea of wearing a costume of Hello Kitty wearing a costume and then the other way around. Read more…

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Monsters Director to Helm New Godzilla

Posted by Michael Sacco on Jan 8, 2011 in Cinema

Godzilla 2012

There was news from Comic-Con that Legendary Pictures, the studio behind films like 300 and The Dark Knight, had secured the rights to make a new Godzilla film. They even released a totally awesome piece of concept art for the Big G’s new look, shown above. We haven’t heard any new news since then, though — at least, until now! Variety reports that Gareth Edwards, who directed the successful indie monster flick Monsters, is slated to direct the lizard’s latest outing. Hey, it can’t be any worse than the 90s Godzilla movie we got in the US. Right? Read more…

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The PSP is Japan’s Best-Selling System in 2010 (or, Japan Loves Hunting Monsters)

Posted by Michael Sacco on Jan 2, 2011 in Videogames

Monster Hunter Portable 3rd

It should come as no surprise that Japan is bonkers about games involving hunting, collecting, and/or fighting monsters. But as it turns out, the country is so in love with monster-wranglin’ genre that even the flagging PSP can sell like hotcakes if the games are there! In fact, the PSP was the best-selling system of 2010 in Japan, due in large part to Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, which sold over 3 million copies in its first two weeks of release. But even Monster Hunter’s sales were eclipsed by Pokemon Black/White, which helped the Nintendo DS into its spot as Japan’s #2 best-selling system. Read more…

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What’s Better Than Anime Sheep on Your iPad for Christmas?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 21, 2010 in Animation, Tech

Stray Sheep: Poe's Christmas

Poe the SheepEveryone knows about Domo, but another famous mascot from Japanese television is Stray Sheep which was first spotted on Fuji TV in the mid 90s. Sadly Fuji TV has ignored poor Poe and Merry, however the folks at Robot Communications have given the woolies some love and created the interactive book Stray Sheep: Poe’s Christmas for the iPad:

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K-On! Scarfs are Super Kawaii

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 20, 2010 in Animation, Hobbies and Collections

K-On! scarf

This is one of the more interesting examples of K-On! merchandising that I’ve seen: They’ve created authentic scarfs based upon the ones that Yui Hirasawa wears in the series. Sadly it seems that one set is already sold out but the fish design still seems to be in stock:

K-On! Scarf Read more…

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Studio Same As It Ever Was Ghibli

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 20, 2010 in Animation

Coquelicot saka kara

Studio Ghibli has picked the shojo manga Coquelicot saka kara to be their next film subject. I don’t have to see the film to know that they’ll do an amazing job with it — especially as the manga is reported to be very close to Miyazaki Hayao’s heart. Yet to me it’s sad that Miyazaki doesn’t seem to be taking any chances in his old age. Of course many of the great directors like Walt Disney or Howard Hawks seemed to make the same film again and again over their career; but to me it’s a sad reminder of someone like Tezuka who really experimented in his later years. Read more…

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What Happens When You Mix Vocaloid with Hello Kitty?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 7, 2010 in Animation, Hobbies and Collections

Vocaloid2 Hello Kitty Illustration

April 12th next year there will be a special Vocaloid2 Hello Kitty themed event at the Japanese fashion shop Marui Shinjuku which will be called VOCALOID2 ABC Cat Village. What’s cool about this project is that it looks like there is all sorts of related merchandise including a figurine and of course a special kitty themed software release. Read more…

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Eleven Engaging Japanese Calendars for 2011

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 6, 2010 in Animation, Hobbies and Collections

Bleach (B) 2011 Calendar

As an anime fanboy I think one of my most bitter lessons one year was waiting until the last minute to order my new year’s calendar — sadly every one was grabbed up. Part of the reason for this is that often the Japanese fans will grab them quite a bit in advance leaving the sad crumbs for poor gaijin otaku like myself. Well I learned my lesson and I started to plan my wall decor well in advance. Shown here are my top suggested picks for 2011 starting with the beautiful Bleach (B) 2011 Calendar shown above. Here are my other favorites: Read more…

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Is It Already the 10th Anniversary of Bleach?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 5, 2010 in Animation, Comic Books

Bleach 10th anniversary coasters- ichigo

I’m in a total state of shock: It seems like just yesterday that I was watching every episode of Bleach — so I was blown away to just read the it’s almost the 10th anniversary of the franchise. Of course that marks the 10th anniversary of the manga which was first published in August of 2001 and is now up to 48 volumes and over 300 episodes of the anime series which went on the air in 2004. Shown here are a set of coasters which have been created for the occasion in Japan which feature illustrations by Noriaki “Tite” Kubo: Read more…

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Mixi Makes Manga New Year’s Cards

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 29, 2010 in Comic Books, Tech

Mixi Manga New Year's Cards - Nodame Cantabile

Pity us poor anime and manga fans who have to settle for mere Facebook for in Japan the social media service Mixi will be rolling out a series of premium manga themed new year’s cards for 2011. Included in the series is Nodame Cantabile (shown above) and Moyashimon (shown below). By the way sadly for us Gaijin signing up Mixi requires a Japanese cell phone.

Mixi Manga New Year's Cards - Moyashimon Read more…

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Kawaii Critters for Your Fridge

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 22, 2010 in Tech

Fridgezoo - Penguin

It’s the old classic problem: How do you keep your family from opening the fridge door all the time and wasting valuable electricity? Well Fridgezoo is here to help! These cute little characters which are shaped like mini milk cartons sense when you are opening the door of your refrigerator and then greet you in Japanese; and then if you leave the door open for too long they ask you to close it. The manufacturer claims that these critters are good for the environment, although I think the practical gag possibilities are much more entertaining: 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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Space Cruiser Yamato Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki Passes Away

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 7, 2010 in Animation

Space Cruiser Yamato Producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki

Asahi.com has reported that Yoshinobu Nishizaki has passed away. Nishizaki was the producer of Space Cruiser Yamato which was known as Star Blazers in the United States — a franchise that played a pivotal role in the history of anime. What’s very sad about this was that after years of legal troubles a live action version of the cherished retro anime series is getting a great deal of positive feedback from those who have seen the first sneak previews of the film. Had he lived the triumph of that film would have been a great personal victory to Nishizaki. Read more…

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A Surrealistic Shigeru Sugiura Hoodie

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 1, 2010 in Comic Books

Shigeru Sugiura Hoodie

Sadly he’s not better known in the west but Shigeru Sugiura (杉浦茂) was an amazing manga artist who lived in Japan from 1908 until 2000. He became famous after World War II with a series of manga aimed at kids but is best known for his more comedic work. Shown above is the beautiful print designed by otooto22 for a hoodie which will be released in mid-November: Read more…

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Japan Invents a Printer That Let’s You Sniff Without Scratching

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Oct 26, 2010 in Tech

Smell-o-Vision

Japan never ceases to amaze me. If they’re not busy inventing crazy new flavors of Pepsi, and Pocky, they spend each day trying to reinvent the wheel. This week, their item of choice is the printer. Scientists at Tokyo’s Keio University have managed to invent a new printer that not only prints ink, but — you guessed it — smells. I’m not exactly sure it’ll catch on, after all, Smell-o-Vision certainly didn’t.  Of course, that doesn’t mean this won’t either. Imagine it, we could be reading a cook book that lets us smell the pie we’re about to bake, or looking at various floral arrangements and trying to decide which one would smell best. There’s plenty of applications, I’m sure, but there’s just one little problem. Nobody quite knows how to synthesize the scents yet. It may be some time until we finally see these printers hit the market, and even then, plenty of research will have to be done before we can even enjoy the sweet scents. Until then, we’ll just have to make due with those scratch-and-sniff stickers you find at thrift stores. 

Read more…

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Ten Creative Covers from Japan

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 22, 2010 in Comic Books

Satoshi Kon memorial BOOK

As an art director I’m jealous of Japan because their publishing industry really uses a great deal of creative illustration while too many American book covers are the result of stock photography. While there are exceptions to the rules when ever I walk into a Japanese bookstore I’m always struck by the fact that almost every other book has a high quality illustration. For this article I’ve collected ten cover illustrations that caught my eye. Shown above is a Satoshi Kon Memorial Book — I really love the contrast of the black and white drawing with the column of color on the left of the page.

Fellows Felon

Fellows Felon
The use of dots as a texture in this illustration is wonderful — it’s like a cross between the the bugs Bunny cartoon Hair Tonic and the Memphis furniture design from the 80s. Read more…

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Is That a Dragon Ball on Your Jeans?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 18, 2010 in Animation, Hobbies and Collections

Dragon Ball Jeans

I’m not sure if I could ever forgive Hollywood for their shlock epic Dragonball Evolution which nearly ruined the franchise for me! However these authentic Dragon Ball denim jeans might make might up for it. These jeans will be released by Cospa in late December just in time Christmas. Sadly overweight otaku need not apply as the jeans will range from a 30 to 36 inch waste size, but this is a martial arts anime series after all so we’d expect you to be in good shape: Read more…

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Transform Your Home Into a Maid Cafe

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 18, 2010 in Fandom

Akiba Maid Welcome Sensor

Yes if you had the cash and spare time you cold fly many all the way to Japan to experience a maid cafe in person — but what’s a poor ramen-eating non-passport holding fanboy suppose to do? Well with the Akiba Maid Welcome Sensor you can replicate the sounds of maid cafe without the maids, amazing desserts and well stocked manga library. When you enter a room you’ll be greeted by cutely voiced phrases like “Irashaimase” or “Arigatou Gozaimasu”. Plus the magic microphone also works with a CD-ROM which will let you customize your faux cafe experience: Read more…

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First a Gundam Cafe, Now There’s a Dragon Quest Bar?!

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Oct 5, 2010 in Videogames

Luida Dragon Quest Bar

If you had asked me a month or two ago, I probably would have told you that I couldn’t imagine a place like this existing. However, after my recent trip to Tokyo, I could believe anything — of course, that doesn’t change the fact that I totally regret missing this. Apparently, there’s a Dragon Quest-themed bar in Roppongi — Luida’s Bar. For those of you who aren’t big on Japanese RPGs, Dragon Quest , or Dragon Warrior, as it was once known in the states, is almost as popular as Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy here in the States, and even more so in Japan.

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The Beauty of Lupin III

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 4, 2010 in Animation, Hobbies and Collections

Lupin III cosmetics line

Do you want to look like Fujiko Mine from Lupin III? Well here’s your chance: Bandai will be rolling out a line of cosmetics that are based on the beloved anime series by Monkey Punch. I love the fact how some of the items in the line are shaped like bullets — although I’m surprised that Bandai isn’t doing a line of jewelry given Lupin’s occupation. Read more…

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Meow! Meow! Meow! Three Manga Cat News Stories

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 27, 2010 in Comic Books

on Thursday Furutto

On thing you can say about manga is that it hasn’t gone to the dogs — I’ve recently caught three cat items that got my attention in the manga world. Shown above is the cover of volume of On Thursday Furutto which is a cat gag manga that was just released. Below is another kawaii girl and her cute but slightly oversized kitty which is from a new manga series that will appear in IKKI magazine: Read more…

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A Twitter Themed Manga

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 26, 2010 in Comic Books, Tech

Tta me!-4 frame and enjoy Twitter: a twitter themed manga cover

The tech fanboy in me loves this: Tta me! is a four-frame comic that’s been published as a proper full volume. The manga isn’t so much a Twitter how-to book but rather focuses on the social media service as a comedic/romantic plot device. Tta me! is written by Kawamura Kazuhiro and illustrated by Ajiko Kozima — and it’s available at Amazon.jp here. Read more…

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Let Them Eat Cake: Evangelion Chocolate Cake!

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 24, 2010 in Animation, Hobbies and Collections

Evangelion Chocolate Cake

The popular chain Lawson in Japan will be taking orders for Evangelion Chocolate Cakes which will be shipped right before Christmas! The cake (shown above) also comes packed with an Rei Ayanami figurine holding the “Spear of Longinus” (which as it turns out is a reference to the holy lance in the Bible). The cake is being produced by Bandi which apparently has quite a large business making anime themed cake and candy. Read more…

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