Thursday, 31 October 2013

Update: Free London Screening about Kitaro Manga Artist November 19


When this story was reported yesterday, the original headline wrongly gave the screening date as November 17, not November 19, and the text gave the day as Thursday rather than Tuesday. Apologies for these errors.
On Tuesday November 19, the Japan Embassy in London will hold a screening of a live-action Japanese film, The Wife of Gegege, about the life of manga artist Shigeru Mizuki, who created the hugely popular children's anime/manga supernatural character Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro. Made in 2010, the film is directed by Takuji Suzuki and runs 119 minutes.
The screening is free, but tickets must be booked in advance by email, instructions here. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and the film begins at 6.30 p.m. The embassy is between Green Park and Hyde Park Corner underground stations (map).
From the website:
A heartwarming story depicting the younger days of Shigeru Mizuki, the author of “Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro”, the well-known comic on 'yokai' (supernatural beings), and his wife, who supported him through the years.
In 1961, 29-year-old Nunoe and Shigeru, who lost his left arm in the war, get married, just five days after being introduced at a matchmaking meeting. They move to Tokyo and endure a life of abysmal poverty.
The film is based on Nunoe's autobiography and focuses mainly on their days as newlyweds when they lived through extreme hardship. A heart-warming account of their struggles as they start a life together.

Bandai Sells Hello Kitty Robot in Die-Cast Metal With Shooting Fists


Bandai announced on Thursday that it will sell "Chōgōkin Hello Kitty," a die-cast metal and ABS feline robot that shoots its "Rocket Punch" fists. The toy celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Chōgōkin brand and the 40th anniversary ofHello Kitty, and Bandai plans to sell it throughout the world.
The 105-millimeter-tall (about 4-inch-tall) Chōgōkin Robot is a spitting image of Hello Kitty, and it comes with a tiny 23-millimeter (0.9-inch) Hello Kitty pilot mini-figure.
It even transforms … sort of …
This is its Underwater Mode (you put its ribbon on its feet as flipper fins) 
This is its Flight Mode (you put its ribbon on its back as wings) 
This is its Walking Mode (you bend its feet, and it scoots along on leg wheels) 
With a press of a button, the eyes change for different expressions
Normal Mode
Angry Mode
The toy will go on sale next June for 4,400 yen (about US$45). A prototype will be on display at Bandai's Tamashii Nation 2013 exhibit in Tokyo's Akihabara UDX building from Friday to Sunday.

Japanese Illustrators Work Hard For The Money — Or For Free


After the tragic passing of 94-year-old Anpanman illustrator Takashi Yanase the internet became abuzz with the news that Yanase created a lot of regional mascots—for free.
Manga artist Sensha Yoshida (Utsurun Desu) wasn't pleased with the news, taking his opinion to Twitter: "I think all those local governments and organizations that depended on him to 'work for free' should be ashamed." Yoshida later apologized, but a poll conducted by Yahoo! Japan found that 80% of respondents agreed with Yoshida's comment. Yanase was a well-respected illustrator in the industry and the former head of the Japan Cartoonists Association. The market hardly fairs better for the average freelance illustrator.
A freelance illustrator living in Tokyo shared her experience:
"For a particular magazine, one color illustration 10 cm^2 would sell for 2,000 yen (~$20). This is around 1/3 to 1/6 of the market price. I cried and cried, but accepted that value. I accepted the offer because I wanted work." The magazine had waited until the illustrator finished her drawing before revealing how much she would be paid.
Manga artist Robinson Haruhara (Senyū.) weighed in when a fan asked on Twitter if being a manga artist is profitable. He jokingly referred to a cost slip showing his finances in the red, but later corrected himself, stating he makes 700 million yen (~$7,126,700) a month, although this was probably a joke, too.
Generally speaking, commercial magazines allot a budget of 30,000 yen to 50,000 yen (~$300-$500) per page on average. Editors must then allocate illustration fees, manuscript fees, photography fees for cameramen, and so on. Due to the long-running publishing recession, purse strings in the industry are getting tighter and tighter. The industry will even turn to the fanart website pixiv to find amateur illustrators on the cheap.
The government held a Cool Japan promotion meeting on April 3 where officials proposed creators work on the campaign's posters and slogans for free.

Free London Screening about Kitaro Manga Artist November 19


On Tuesday November 19, the Japan Embassy in London will hold a screening of a live-action Japanese film, The Wife of Gegege, about the life of manga artist Shigeru Mizuki, who created the hugely popular children's anime/manga supernatural character Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro. Made in 2010, the film is directed by Takuji Suzuki and runs 119 minutes.
The screening is free, but tickets must be booked in advance by email, instructions here. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and the film begins at 6.30 p.m. The embassy is between Green Park and Hyde Park Corner underground stations (map).
From the website:
A heartwarming story depicting the younger days of Shigeru Mizuki, the author of “Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro”, the well-known comic on 'yokai' (supernatural beings), and his wife, who supported him through the years.
In 1961, 29-year-old Nunoe and Shigeru, who lost his left arm in the war, get married, just five days after being introduced at a matchmaking meeting. They move to Tokyo and endure a life of abysmal poverty.
The film is based on Nunoe's autobiography and focuses mainly on their days as newlyweds when they lived through extreme hardship. A heart-warming account of their struggles as they start a life together.
Correction - The original headline wrongly gave the screening date as November 17, not November 19, and the text gave the day as Thursday rather than Tuesday. Apologies for these errors.

Nom-Con Returns August 2014


The Dublin convention Nom-Con has confirmed on its website that it will return to the Ballsbridge Hotel from August 1 to 3 2014. As of writing, pre-registration for the event is not yet open, but it will be announced on the site.

DW Blue peter competition

Blue Peter's given notice that the Paternoster Gang are returning - they're asking their viewership (i.e, people between the ages of six and fifteen only) to create sonic devices for Strax, Vastra, and Jenny. These will then be incorporated into a proper broadcast episode at some point. The winner gets a set visit to watch their creations in action.  

The press release has a little info about their plans for the big day in November: "On Thursday 21 November and Saturday 23 November, Barney, Lindsey and Radzi will be joined by aliens and monsters in the studio and the audience will be able to design their very own alien live on air. Blue Peter viewers will have their questions answered by Matt Smith; they will be able to get ready for the 50th anniversary show by making their very own cushion (to hide behind); and we’ll help them to host a Doctor Who party by showing them how to make Dalek cupcakes."

Hadoke Tour dates announced

Comedian Toby Hadoke has added a number of dates to his tour of My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver.

The actor and writer, who is a moderator on classic Doctor Who DVD releases and is a contributor to Doctor Who Magazine, will be performing the show as follows:

My Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver

Join Toby as he takes you on a heart-warming journey that begins with losing a partner, ends with gaining a stepson, and pays homage to the restorative powers of the Time Lord in between. Intimate knowledge of the TARDIS is not required to enjoy this bitter-sweet comedy of parenting through sci-fi evangelism.
Stepson is a follow-up to Hadoke's acclaimed one-man show Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

East Asia Television Channel Updates


The recently announced East Asia Television television channel, due to launch in mid-2014, has issued two press releases.
According to the first,
After launching the website East Asia Television received large amounts of feedback via e-mail and in person at the events we have attended these past few weeks. The most commented topic revolving around “free to air” television also known as Freeview. As Freeview was an idea to be set in motion at a later date, East Asia Television can officially confirm that we will be looking into broadcasting on Freeview a short time after launching on Sky's Broadcasting Service."
(The channel is already due to launch on the Sky Television Platform.)
According to the second press release,
"Have you ever wanted a certain anime on television? Maybe a movie or maybe an OVA? Well now you can have your say on our LAUNCH NIGHT LINE UP! All you have to do is head on over to EastAsiaTV.Com and Click Schedule, from there you'll be able to vote for your “best ever anime that I love and MUST be shown because it's just that awesome”. Voting opens on November 1st at 12 midnight. Voting will close January 31st 2014 at 11:59p.m."

Funimation Streams Wolf Children's Dubbed, Subtitled Clips


North American distributor Funimation began streaming an English dub clip for Mamoru Hosoda's Wolf Children film on Tuesday, along with its English-subtitled counterpart.
 
Wolf Children's story covers 13 years and begins with a 19-year-old college student named Hana (Colleen Clinkenbeard) who encounters and falls in "fairy tale-like" love with a "wolf man." After marrying the wolf man, Hana gives birth and raises two wolf children — an older sister named Yuki (Jad Saxton) who was born on a snowy day, and a younger brother named Ame (Micah Solusod) who was born on a rainy day. When the wolf man suddenly dies, Hana decides to move to a rural town far removed from the city.
The Tugg platform is selling tickets for showings of the film at 23 locations across the United States. Each location needs to sell a certain number of tickets to guarantee the film will screen there. Tugg is currently listing the following screenings:
  • November 06 at Studio Movie Grill Spring Valley in Dallas
  • November 07 at AMC Loews Webster 12 in Webster, New York
  • November 07 at Landmark Ritz at the Bourse in Philadelphia
  • November 07 at Providence Place Cinemas 16 & IMAX in Providence, Rhode Island
  • November 07 at Regency Charter Centre Cinemas in Huntington Beach, Calif.
  • November 11 at AMC Loews 600 North Michigan 9 in Chicago, Illinois
  • November 14 at AmStar 14 - Mooresville in Mooresville, North Carolina
  • November 14 at Dipson Theatres Mckinley 6 Theatres in Buffalo, New York
  • November 14 at Showplace Naperville 16 in Naperville, Illinois
  • November 14 at Cinemagic in Merrimack in Merrimack, New Hampshire
  • November 14 at AMC The Parks At Arlington 18 in Arlington, Texas
  • November 14 at AMC Town Center 20 in Leawood, Kansas
  • November 14 at Carmike 13 - Champaign in Champaign, Illinois
  • November 14 at AMC Elmwood Palace 20 in Harahan, Louisiana
  • November 14 at Carmike 10 - Rapid City in Rapid City, South Dakota
  • November 14 at Carmike Shiloh 14 in Billings, Montana
  • November 18 at Muvico Rosemont 18 in Rosemont, Illinois
  • November 18 at UEC Theatres Premiere 7 - Hillsdale in Hillsdale, Michigan
  • November 18 at AMC Oakview Plaza 24 in Omaha, Nebraska
  • November 20 at AMC Mayfair Mall 18 in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
  • November 20 at AMC Lynnhaven 18 in Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • November 20 at Celebration! Cinema Lansing & IMAX in Lansing, Michigan
  • November 20 at Paramount 5 in Rexburg, Idaho
  • December 03 at AMC Mesa Grand 24 in Mesa, Arizona (tickets not yet on sale)
  • December 03 at Kerasotes ShowPlace ICON at The West End in St Louis Park, Minnesota (tickets not yet on sale)
  • December 04 at AMC Mercado 20 in Santa Clara, California (tickets not yet on sale)
  • December 05 at AMC Hamilton 24 & IMAX in Hamilton, New Jersey (tickets not yet on sale)
  • December 05 at AMC Norwalk 20 in Norwalk, California (tickets not yet on sale)
  • January 14, 2014 at Carmike Valley Bend 18 in Huntsville, Alabama (tickets not yet on sale)
The film won the Animation of the Year award at this year's Tokyo Anime Awards, won the animation category in the 26th Annual Japan Academy Prizes in March, and won the Animation Film Award at the 67th Annual Mainichi Film Awards in February. Additionally, the film won an Audience Award at this year's New York International Children's Film Festival.
The film ran with an English dub at the Laemmle Town Center 5 theater in Los Angeles from September 27 to October 3. Funimation will release the film on Blu-ray and DVD on November 26.

BBC TV's Sherlock Re-imagining Gets 2nd Japanese Manga


The December issue of Kadokawa's Young Ace magazine is announcing on Saturday that the manga of BBC's Sherlock television series will return. The artist "Jay." is once again drawing the manga, which will come back in the next issue on December 4. The new run will interpret "The Blind Banker" ("Shi o Yobu Angō"), the show's second episode about a secret cipher that portends death.
In the BBC series, several Doctor Who scriptwriters (Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, and Stephen Thompson) takes Arthur Conan Doyle's brilliant yet idiosyncratic detective and re-imagines him in modern-day London. Benedict Cumberbatch (Atonement, Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyStar Trek Into Darkness, The Fifth Estate) and Martin Freeman (The Office, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Hobbit, The World's End) star as Sherlock and his friend Dr. Watson, respectively. There have been two seasons of three 90-minute episodes, and the third season will premiere this coming January.
The first manga run adapted the BBC show's first episode, "A Study in Pink," last year. Kadokawa Shoten published the compiled book volume (pictured right) of this earlier run in August.
The iconic consulting detective has inspired several earlier manga and anime, including a youthful version in Sherlock Holmes whispers to the shadow and a canine reincarnation co-directed by Hayao Miyazaki in Sherlock HoundKodansha Comics is publishinganother canine incarnation, Yuma Ando and Yuki Sato's Sherlock Bones (Tanteiken Sherdock or Detective Dog Sherdock) manga, in North America. Cumberbatch himself discussed all the boys-love dōjinshi manga and fan fictionthat his character's relationship with Watson has inspired.

Need Someone to Talk To? Rent a Friend


A rental service in Japan knows just the way to brush your loneliness away. For an hourly fee, they'll provide clients with a friend, in case someone needs a pal to go to the movies with, go shopping with, hit the clubs with, or maybe just lend an open ear.
Client Partners, which is headquartered in Tokyo, but has a few branches in other locations throughout eastern Japan, provides female companions of a wide range of ages. Don't let your mind wander—the services they provide are completely platonic.
In an interview by the Asahi Shimbum, one of the company's returning clients said he at first balked at the idea of paying for a hang-out partner. However, after several strained encounters with an ex-girlfriend that ended with a threat of a restraining order, he decided to give Client Partners a shot.
Like many adults, he found that he had no time to socialize. His days started at 6:30AM, and after a long day at a factory tending machines, didn't get home until 8PM, at which point he just wanted to sleep. And, as he said, he was no good at dating, and wasn't a drinker. So after an 11-hour (and over $400) adventure with his rented companion that involved visiting tourist sights in Yokohama, he felt much better, and continues to use the service. He says that even his co-workers have noticed that he doesn't get angry at work anymore.
The company's website allows clients to peruse their available friends-for-rent, but although the friends are all women, the company stresses that their services are useful for both men and women. In addition to providing companionship for everyday hanging out, the website also has a list of services they can provide, such as housework support for motherless families, picking up items from the convenience store, staying with housewives who are scared of having a cockroach in the house, advice regarding free-loading children, general life coaching, organizing around the house, assembling furniture, and more.
For lonely travelers stuck abroad, they also accept inquiries in English.
The photo below shows one of the rental friends spending time with a male customer in his 60s who outlived his wife.

Punch Perverts with Punishment Punch Girl Smartphone Game


Japan has been overrun by sleazy perverts, and only masked high school fighter Momiji can stop them. With her fists.
App developer e-Dragon Power Co. has an app out now called Punishment Punch Girl that lets you punch all sorts of unruly citizens, like the perv who gropes girls while wearing tutus, and the guy who can't stop fondling his body pillow, and the dude who walks around wearing girls' school-assigned bathing suits. Along the way, you can also unlock costumes for Momiji, as well as special stages.
 
 
Luckily, a thorough grasp of Japanese isn't needed to enjoy the game—gameplay mostly involves pushing four buttons to punch your harassers until they've been defeated.


The game is currently free, but offers in-app purchases. For the time being, it's only available for iOS, but it's making its way to Android next.
Check out video of gameplay here.

Live the Pirate Life with Bodacious Space Pirates Potato Shochu


To celebrate the Bodacious Space Pirates movie slated to be released next February, fans can now buy themselves a nice bottle of Bodacious Space Pirates-decorated sweet potato shochu.
Made with sweet potato and domestic rice, this 720 mL bottle is selling for 2,100 yen ($21), and can currently be reserved through Rakuten. It comes packaged in a special box, as well as a special pirate keychain.


Halloween Festivals Hit It Big in Shibuya and Kawasaki


Halloween is surging in popularity in Japan this year. Traditionally a barely acknowledged holiday, twenty-somethings and mothers are leading the push to make Halloween more popular. This year alone, retailer Rakuten has seen Halloween-related merchandise sales nearly double. The merch is estimated to bring in about 100 billion yen (~$1.025 million), more than White Day and closely approaching Valentine's Day in profitability, according to Rakuten.
The holiday fare usually consisted of small gifts and candy, but dressing up is on the rise as well as sales of 5,000 yen (~$50) costumes, especially for families with kids.
Young adults took to the streets of Shibuya for a party held by Asahi Breweries where Jack Daniel's whiskey was served on Saturday. Party-goers collaborated on group costumes from sentai rangers to Disney princesses. Website Naver Matome compiled Twitter pictures submitted by partygoers below.

Shibuya Party


 

Kawasaki Halloween Parade

Outside of Shibuya, an annual Halloween parade in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture has also grown popular with some 100,000 attendees dressed up to march on the city. Families came out in interesting costumes, including a cross between Miyazaki characters and the director himself.
       
Source: The Mainichi