Hayao Miyazaki Completes New Animation Film, “Kaze Tachinu”

Animation film director Hayao Miyazaki has completed his first new movie in five years.

“Kaze Tachinu” or The Wind Is Rising, focuses on the life of Jiro Horikoshi. He designed the famous Zero fighter plane for the defunct Japanese Imperial Army during World War Two.

Miyazaki told a news conference on Monday in Tokyo that he wanted to depict the inner struggles of a man who lived through difficult times following the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake and the outbreak of war.


Read the rest of the story: Hayao Miyazaki completes new animation film.

Akihabara: The One Stop Japan Spot for Otakus

Japan is notable for its many splendour tourist spots such as Shibuya, Okina and Kyoto. However, if there is one spot Otaku’s from all over the world wish to visit and this would be none other than Akihabara. Akihabara has been considered Japan’s one-stop-shop for all anime lovers and enthusiasts.

Where in Japan:

Located in Sotokanda, Tokyo Prefectur, Akihabara (秋葉原) is two stations north of Tokyo Station. Locals call the area Akiba after the local shrine. This area has gained quite the recognition from all over the world due to its diehard otaku culture. Major developments have already occurred thanks to the Akihabara Crossfield complex that promotes Akihabara as the centre for global electronics technology and trade.

How to Get There:

It’s easy to head to Akihabra thanks to Japans’ complex train systems plus their trains give meaning to “faster than a speeding bullet.” There are two options of which are as follows:

  1. From Tokyo Station: Akihabara is located two stations north of Tokyo Station by Keihin-Tohoku or JR Yamanote Line. The trip costs 130 yen and will only take three minutes. However, during the weekdays, Keihin-Tohoku line skips one station between Akihabara and Tokyo which will cut off a few seconds off travel time.
  2. From Shinjuku Station: Travellers should take the JR Chuo Line (colour orange) from Shinjuku to Ochanomizu Station of which takes approximately ten minutes. After, take a quick transfer to JR Sobu line (colour yellow) for one more station headed to Akihabara. This trip takes two minutes max. Alternate options also include taking the yellow train without transfer from Shinjuku to Akihabara for seventeen minutes trip. The fare costs 160 yen for either case.

What to See:

As mentioned, Akihabara is the centre for Otaku enthusiasts and lovers. From maid cafes to Tokyo anime centres selling merchandise and games, everything can be found here. It’s best to load up the wallet because the merchandise scattered around can easily lure Otakus in.

  1. Maid Cafes: Cosplay themed restaurants abound where food is served basically by waitresses in frilly and colourful attires. These “maids” also engage in fun activities with the guests.
  2. drinks

  3. Tokyo Anime Center: This is found on the UDX building of Akihabara Crossfield where anime related exhibitions are held.
  4. akihabara-2

  5. Gundam Café is extremely popular where food is served in gundam themes. A gift shop is also connected where visitors may purchase souvenirs and goods.


Why Visit Akihabara:

While Akihabara is heaven on earth for Otakus, some visit the area for real steals when it comes to the latest gadgets and electronics. Various centres offer whopping deals that are definitely a real steal as compared to any other place in Japan or overseas.

When to Visit:

Akihabara is open all year round! Take a trip to one of Japan’s busiest and most Otaku-friendly place on earth.

Important Reminders:

Japanese don’t like tourists taking photos inside stores. Unless you’re a famous celebrity or you’ve got special permission, keep the trigger happy camera’s to yourself or outside the store.

Voice Actress Romi Park Taking Time Off After Surgery

Voice actress Romi Park has reported from her hospital room on September 12 that she will be recuperating for about three weeks.

Park had surgery for an unspecified number of polyps on her vocal cords. Because of this, she will not be able to use her voice for several days, but she has mentioned that she will be doing her best to recover and go back to work.

Romi Park is famous for her roles as Fullmetal Alchemist’s Edward Elric, Bleach’s Hitsugaya Toshirou and NANA’s Nana Osaki.

New Sailor Moon Anime Announced for Release 2013

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of “Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon” and to celebrate there was a talk event held on July 6th at Roppongi’s Nicofarre.

During the event, it was announced that a new Sailor Moon anime is currently in the works and is set for release in summer of 2013 with idol group Momoiro Clover Z singing the theme song. Momoiro Clover Z participated in the event through a live hook-up from “Japan Expo” in Paris, France. The girls even took part in Sailor Moon cosplay and enthusiastically sang the beloved theme song “Moonlight Densetsu”.

Voice Actress Mitsuishi Kotono (Tsukino Usagi/Sailor Moon) and Furuya Tohru (Chiba Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask) attended the event alongside Kodansha’s Osano Fumio, who used to be the editor of Takeuchi Naoko (the author of “Sailor Moon”).

Mitsuishi talked about how she feels regarding the new anime series, “There are many adults who grew up loving this show, so with the creation of the new series, I think I need to face it by putting my heart in it sincerely, with even more  power-ups in intensity than the previous series. I would like to do my best. I wonder, will I appear in it?” Mitsuishi spoke out with a hint of anxiety, but finished up by saying, “In one sentence, I can say that I am looking forward to it.”

Furuya also commented, “Joking aside, I was really surprised that it has already been 20 years. This is the production that I played in for 5 years, and that created a big boom. I was hoping for it to come back again.  I’d love to be part of the new anime as well.”

Osano talked about the new anime, “This won’t be a movie. We just haven’t decided the details regarding the broadcast.”

“Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon” first began in the February 1992 issue of “Nakayoshi”. Since then, there have been a TV anime, movies, musicals, and a TV drama. It’s a series that has a variety of mixed media involved with it. The moon wands and other items have also become extremely popular and it was a social phenomenon back in those days as well.

The comics and anime books have been released in 17 different languages and have become popular throughout the world as well. In regards to that, they are aiming to release this new anime simultaneously throughout the world.

Yamato 2199 Anime Film to Open in April

The Nikkan Sports newspaper reported on Thursday that a new Space Battleship Yamato 2199 anime film will open in Japanese theaters on April 7 of next year — 38 years after the first television series aired in 1974. The basic story of the new film is the same as the first Yamato anime set in 2199, but Yutaka Izubuchi (RahXephon), the 52-year-old animator who worked on mechanical designs and science-fiction concepts on some of the earlier projects in the franchise, is directing.

Shoji Nishizaki, the adopted son of the late Yamato producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki, hinted at his father’s memorial service last December that he has begun production on new Yamato works including a television series and another film. Mechanical designer Makoto Kobayashi (Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, Giant Robo, Last Exile, Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection) revealed at the closing ceremonies of Anime Expo this past July that he is working on a remake of Space Battleship Yamato for release next year.

Read the rest of the story: Yamato 2199 Anime Film to Open in April.

French Kiss and the pillows perform themes for “SKET DANCE”

Shinohara Kenta’s manga “SKET DANCE” has an anime adaptation coming up this spring, and the artists for its theme songs were revealed on Monday. AKB48 sub-unit French Kiss will be handling the show’s opening theme, while rock band the pillows is in charge of the ending.

“SKET DANCE,” which is serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump, is a shonen manga about a three-member high school club known as the “Campus Support Group” that deal with random problems that come up around campus.

Both French Kiss and the pillows were natural choices for the show’s theme songs. Starting with the third episode, French Kiss member Kashiwagi Yuki is voice acting as Rumi, the sister of the lead character Bossun. The main characters also form a band called The Sketchbook that does a performance of the pillows’ well-known song “Funny Bunny.”

The titles of the theme songs have not yet been announced. More details will be revealed before the anime premieres on April 7 on TV Tok

“Crayon Shin-chan” movie gets two new voice actors

It was learned on Friday that Kanjani8 members Murakami Shingo 29 and Okura Tadayoshi 25 are making their voice acting debuts in the new “Crayon Shin-chan” anime movie. They will be the first Johnnys Entertainment artists to lend their voices to that franchise.

Last December, it was revealed that Kanjani8 would be singing the theme songs for both the “Crayon Shin-chan” television series and the upcoming movie. To complete the collaboration, Murakami and Okura were given roles in the movie as assistants of the story’s villain, whom Shin-chan is trying to stop after undergoing spy training.

Their characters, named Jaguar and Mash, were changed to speak in the Osaka dialect after the two Kanjani8 members were cast.

“Crayon Shin-chan: Arashi wo Yobu Ougon no Spy Daisakusen” opens in theaters on April 16.

Japan comic creators and industry to battle new under-18 laws

Japan’s comics and animation industry intends to fight a ban on the sale to minors of comics and film depicting "extreme sexual acts" including rape, incest and child sex imposed by authorities in the capital, Tokyo.

Publishers have criticized the ban, included in a bill passed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on Wednesday, as an infringement of free speech.

But supporters, including conservative Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, have praised it as "common sense."

"We feel a real sense of anger over this," Tomio Suzuki, head of industry group the Publishing Ethics Council, said in a statement.

Though Japanese comics, known as manga, cover a wide range of topics including romance, action — some are even devoted to food — a number feature violent sex acts, incest and sex with children or clearly underage characters.

The bill calls on the industry to regulate itself and prevent people under the age of 18 from buying or gaining access to both manga and animation, known as anime, containing material the government deems "unhealthy."

Violators will face fines of up to 300,000 yen ($3,573).

In a nod to criticism about freedom of speech, the legislation includes a clause that the assembly will consider "artistic and social expression" in considering what material will be restricted.

Read the rest of the story: Japan comics industry to fight new under-18 rules.

2011 film announced by Studio Ghibli is to be “Kokuriku-Zaka Kara” by Goro Miyazaki

On Wednesday, Studio Ghibli announced its next film, scheduled for summer 2011. The movie will be an adaptation of the shojo manga "Kokuriku-Zaka Kara," created by Chizuru Takahashi and Tetsuro Sayama. The director will be Hayao Miyazaki’s son Goro, who previously made his debut with "Tales from Earthsea" ("Gedo Senki") in 2006.

Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki made the announcement with a message to Goro: "For a director, your second work is important because your true measure is shown. Your first one includes beginner’s luck."

"Kokuriku-Zaka Kara" was originally serialized in Kodansha’s Nakayoshi magazine in 1980. The Studio Ghibli version is set in 1963 Yokohama and focuses on a young girl named Komatsuzaki, whose family runs a lodging house. The film depicts her everyday life with the other students at her high school, including the student council president and the head of the newspaper.

Although the movie is slated for summer 2011, Suzuki said that production is very much behind schedule, and it is currently in the final storyboarding stages. Hayao is involved with the script, and Suzuki is producing. The theme song will be sung by Aoi Teshima, who sang the theme song for "Tales of Earthsea" (she also starred as the voice of Therru).

During the announcement, Suzuki talked about Studio Ghibli’s "5-year plan," which the older Miyazaki showed him at the end of last year. According to that plan, the movies in the first three years would be given to younger talents, while the last two years would be very big projects. The plan has already begun, with Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s work on "Karigurashi no Arrietty" marking the first of the five years. "Kokuriku-Zaka Kara" will be the second.

The movie’s official website has also launched with more details.

Hollywood Plans to make ‘Noir’ adaptation

Hollywood is planning a TV drama remake of classic 2001 assassin anime Noir.

The adaptation is being developed by US cable network Starz, with the project being produced by Sam Raimi, whose direction and production credits include Evil Dead, the Spider-Man films, Hercules, Xena, and Spartacus, and Robert Tapert, also involved in the likes of Hercules and Xena.

The series is to be written by Stephen Lightfoot, best known for “House of Saddam.” Just to what extent the series will resemble the original beyond almost certainly featuring two pretty ladies with guns and a serious problem is not known.

Whilst Hollywood’s reputation for anime adaptations could hardly be worse, credible production staff and source material which is closer to standard Hollywood fare than most anime classics suggest the production may yet meet with fan approval, or at least be ignored without undue rancour.