Final Fantasy Type-0 Wows in Japan

Final Fantasy Type-0 is coming out soon in Japan, although sadly its fate in North America is unknown. Japanese reviews have been quite positive, with the game receiving near-perfect scores from Famitsu and Dengeki. The game comes on two UMDs. The first disc contains the beginning and end of the game, while the second disc contains the middle, meaning that gamers will be swapping UMDs a few times.

A few more features of the game have been revealed and discussed in the Japanese media. A chocobo breeding ranch at the game’s school will allow players to catch two chocobos and breed them together. The resulting chocobo chick can be used to traverse the world map, presumably once it grows up.

Players will have access to two airships during the game. At first, the school’s airship will be available for travel between preset points. Later on, the party will obtain its own airship that can be used for free travel. Freedom comes with a price, however, as monsters will attack this airship.

Read the rest of the story: Final Fantasy Type-0 Wows in Japan.

Hulu Rolls Out On Sony BRAVIA, PS3 In Japan

Los Angeles-based Hulu, the online television and film streaming site, has expanded its distribution in Japan, via a deal with Sony. According to Hulu, it has launched on Sony BRAVIA HDTV and Sonys PlayStation 3 gaming consoles, as the first non-gaming app to be distributed on the PS3 in Japan. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Hulu announced its entry into the Japanese market on September 1st. Access to Hulu on those devices requires a monthly subscription to Hulus Japanese service.

X Japan Cancels Beijing Concert

Rock band X Japan has canceled their Beijing concert, which was scheduled to be held on November 2nd. This would have been the group’s first concert in that city.

Although X Japan successfully obtained approval for the concert from China’s government, the band’s agency said that they made the decision to cancel the show based on the judgment of the local promotional company. It appears that there were some problems with the technology and the production work necessary for the concert.

X Japan is set to embark on their Asia tour from October 28th to November 8th. Besides Beijing, the band currently plans to proceed with their other scheduled concerts in Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, and Bangkok.

Takei Emi to debut release debut single, Koisuru Kimochi

Actress Takei Emi (17) will debut as a singer this December, it has been learned. Her debut single, “Koisuru Kimochi,” is described as a balled perfect for winter, written by GLAY’s TAKURO.

Because Takei has long been a fan of GLAY, she requested through her management agency to have TAKURO write a song for her. The song was recorded in early October.

“Koisuru Kimochi” will be released on December 14 through Universal Music’s Universal J label.

It appears that Takei will develop her singing career while continue with her acting. She already has a busy schedule lined up for 2012, including the NHK taiga drama series “Taira no Kiyomori,” the release of the movie “Ai to Makoto 201X,” and the release of the live-action “Rurouni Kenshin” film.

Hiroki Ryuichi’s new film, “River” about Akihabara massacre

Acclaimed filmmaker Hiroki Ryuichi (“Keibetsu,” “Yomei Ikkagetsu no Hanayome”) is taking on a challenging subject for his next movie, “RIVER.” It will be the first theatrical film to deal with the 2008 incident known as the “Akihabara massacre,” in which a man drove a truck into a pedestrian crowd and proceeded to stab several people, leaving a total of 7 dead and 10 injured.

The movie stars actress Renbutsu Misako (20) as a young woman named Hikari whose boyfriend Kenji, an electronics otaku, was killed in the incident. Suffering from the shock of the loss and unable to accept reality, she begins to shut herself off from the rest of the world. Eventually, she pulls herself together and decides to visit Akihabara, where she encounters various individuals who are also trying to focus on “living in the present” despite their circumstances.

The supporting cast includes a female photographer (Nakamura Mami), a scout for a maid cafe (Taguchi Tomorowo), and a maid cafe employee (Nahana). Negishi Toshie, Emoto Tokio, and Kobayashi Yukichi will also appear.

The film’s theme song will be “Moon River,” originally used in the classic film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

“RIVER” will open in theaters nationwide in March 2012. Before that, it will get a special premiere screening next month at the 12th Tokyo Filmex (November 19-27).

Singer Ayaka Will Return with New Independent Label

Singer Ayaka 23, who went on hiatus in 2009 after being diagnosed with Graves’ disease, has announced that she is launching a new independent label and resuming activities before the end of this year. She has plans for a new release in early 2012, though it is not yet known whether it will be a single or an album.

In April 2009, Ayaka and actor Mizushima Hiro 27 announced that they had married and that Ayaka was suffering from Graves’ disease. She suspended her musical activities at the end of that year, after performing at NHK’s Kouhaku Uta Gassen.

Ayaka is still receiving treatment, but her symptoms have apparently stabilized, so she felt it was time to officially return to her music career. Even during her hiatus, she was already writing new songs in preparation for her comeback.

Although Ayaka previously released her music through Warner Music Japan, her contract expired in March 2010. Instead of signing with a major label again, she decided it was better to launch her own independent label. Ayaka is currently in the final stages of making it an official company. The label’s name is still being determined.

Lost for Haruki Murakami

I prepared for my first-ever trip to Japan, this summer, almost entirely by immersing myself in the work of Haruki Murakami. This turned out to be a horrible idea. Under the influence of Murakami, I arrived in Tokyo expecting Barcelona or Paris or Berlin — a cosmopolitan world capital whose straight-talking citizens were fluent not only in English but also in all the nooks and crannies of Western culture: jazz, theater, literature, sitcoms, film noir, opera, rock ’n’ roll. But this, as really anyone else in the world could have told you, is not what Japan is like at all. Japan — real, actual, visitable Japan — turned out to be intensely, inflexibly, unapologetically Japanese.

Read the rest of the story: The Fierce Imagination of Haruki Murakami.

Yaeba – Moe – In Japan, a Trend to Make Straight Teeth Crooked

AMERICANS are expected to spend nearly $110 billion on dental care in 2012, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, with much of it to straighten, whiten and repair less-than-perfect teeth.

Meanwhile, in Japan, a new fashion has women paying to have their straight teeth purposefully disarranged.A result of tooth-crowding commonly derided in the United States as “snaggleteeth” or “fangs,” the look is called “yaeba” in Japanese or “double tooth.”

Japanese men are said to find this attractive: blogs are devoted to yaeba, celebrities display it proudly, and now some women are paying dentists to create it artificially by affixing plastic fronts to their real teeth.

Read the rest of the story: In Japan, a Trend to Make Straight Teeth Crooked.

Madame Tussauds Wax Figures Exhibition Opens in Tokyo

A three-month exhibition organized by London’s Madame Tussauds wax museum opened in Tokyo in late September, featuring life-size figures of celebrities including Hollywood stars.

Madame Tussauds is considering opening a branch museum in Tokyo in two years if the current event through Jan. 4 is successful.

The "Madam Tussauds Tokyo" exhibition at Decks Tokyo Beach commercial complex in the Odaiba waterfront area comprises around 20 waxworks that visitors are free to touch.

Read the rest of the story: Exhibition of Tussauds wax figures opens in Tokyo.

Akihabara to get idol training cafe, ‘Akihabara Backstage Pass’

Next month, music producer Tsunku will launch a new idol cafe in Akihabara, known as “Akihabara Backstage Pass.” The shop will be set up at the Akiba Cultures Zone building, about a 3-minute walk away from AKB48’s theater at the Don Quijote building.

The concept behind Akihabara Backstage Pass is that the store’s female employees are aspiring idols and singers, who are nurturing their careers while working at the cafe. Through their interactions with the cafe’s customers, they hope to mature into full-grown idols. With that concept, the cafe is being likened to a “real-life idol raising simulation” where the customers are similar to producers.

Although the focus appears to be on cultivating new idols, it is reported that the cafe’s staff also includes some singers and idols who have already debuted.

Tsunku will be co-producing the cafe with producer/writer Shikura Chiyomaru, who has been the creative force behind games like Steins;Gate and the concept cafe “The Afilia Magic Senior High School.”

Akihabara Backstage Pass is planned to open in late November. An official website is expected to launch at the end of this month.