Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around

Colette Bennett

 photo

J-Boys pole dancing: new heights of 'so wrong' eroticism


May 03
// Colette Bennett
There are no words to describe the level of "wtf" generated from watching this trailer of Japanese hotties learning to pole dance, so I'll let you just watch it and marvel at Japan's weirdness. [Thanks for the tip, Stella!]
 photo

Why we love the Japanese: Cats in bowls


Apr 19
// Colette Bennett
Do me a favor. Whatever you're doing, stop. Just stop now. Save that email draft, pause that song in iTunes, hold on a sec on that Tweet. Just stop and enjoy the fact that there is a Japanese game show that features challenges such as "How many cats can we fit into these bowls?" There. You're done. Now watch the video, laugh, and get on with your day. [Via Neatorama]
 photo

Space Battleship Yamato comes to Singapore this month


Mar 08
// Colette Bennett
I've been tracking news on the live action version of Space Battleship Yamato ever since I got word that my number one j-crush, Kimura Takuya, was playing the starring role. It's done very well at the Japanese box office as w...
 photo

Get your face on the cover of the new Polysics!


Feb 21
// Colette Bennett
Thanks to Zac Bentz, our resident Japanese music genius, I discovered Polysics a few years back, and I've been hooked ever since. If you don't dance your ass off after watching the video for "How Are You?", well ... it's prob...

 photo

New Norwegian Wood trailer will give you the chills


Feb 17
// Colette Bennett
Our first teaser for the live action adaption of best selling Japanese author Haruki Murakami's coming of age novel Norwegian Wood was good. Good enough to get fans frothing at the mouth and for popular fashion chain Uniqlo t...
 photo

Saki Aibu dons a fat suit for her newest drama, Rebound


Feb 16
// Colette Bennett
Saki Aibu -- you know that pretty girl from Zettai Kareshi and Buzzer Beat? Yep, that's the one. The same one you see above sporting a full fat suit. If you can't even recognize her, that's good, because that's exactly what t...
 photo

Custom Delights: Catherine comes to life


Feb 16
// Colette Bennett
Ever since the very first videos about the Persona team game Catherine from Atlus, I have been trembling, frothing at the mouth, and unable to shut up about it. The demo was recently released on Japanese PS...

Japanator Interview: The Art of Akira

Feb 14 // Colette Bennett
Japanator: How did Akira affect you when you saw it for the first time? What made you decide you wanted to begin to collect the art from the film? Joe: It certainly impressed me. I was 12 years old, and my father had driven me nearly two hours to Athens, GA to the student film club screening at UGA. It was in Japanese, with no subtitles -- a print direct from Japan. I'm pretty sure I swallowed a bug or two, because my jaw hung open the entire time.  I was a fan of the Marvel/Epic Akira comics, so I had some idea of what was going on, but my poor dad... He was so lost. To be completely honest, I didn't grasp the weight and importance of the film at the time -- I just knew there were awesome bikes and explosions and Tetsuo going crazy and a big morphing baby thing at the end which was gross and awesome at the same time. But to be fair to myself, I don't think anyone understood just how important and deep the film was at the time. It's only when time keeps on passing between when something's made and right now and nothing even comes close to matching it that you start to really get how important it is. Japanator: In what year did you purchase the first cel that would become the beginning of the collection? Joe: As far as collecting the art -- when the film was released in the US by Streamline in 1992, they very brilliantly bought the original animation art from Kodansha and gave away cels as a premium for preorders. At the time (and, I think still today) Akira was the highest-grossing bootleg film of all time, and they needed a good reason for people to buy a retail, legitimate copy. And the original cels were certainly a good reason. When I got my hands on my first cel, I started lusting for more art. I traded anything I had to my friends to get theirs, and even tried to make deals with the comic shop owner for his entire box. He wasn't up for it though. Japanator: You've mentioned in the past you are interested in the technical aspects of the cels you collect, not just pictures of hot bikes in action. Care to elaborate? Joe: Where do I begin? The quality and skill of the artistry is astounding -- any one cel is impressive to look at as a piece of painted art, but to see them in stacks, all of them amazingly high quality, all of them using these insane color palletes -- and you don't even realize how incredible they are until you flip one over and realize they were all painted upside down! The light colors (like light reflecting in eyeballs, the color of eyes, highlights in hair) all had to go in first, and then the flatter darker / background paint goes in in layers behind it.  Japanator: Is there anything in the collection that is much more rare than other pieces (in other words, your holy grail)? Joe: Akira used so many new (at the time) techniques for cel animation, but I think one of the rarest pieces I have is the Kabuse (correction cel). The quality control of the animation was so stringent, it was very rare for a cel to make it to the shooting phase with a defect or flaw in movement, but when one did, they literally airbrushed the correction on a cel right on top of the flawed cel. I own only one, and from what I understand, there are an incredibly few number of these. Which is yet another mind-blowing testament to how great the technical merit of the flim is, when you consider there are over 160,000 individual cels which comprise the film. But as far as my personal holy grail, I still haven't gotten it yet. It's the scene everyone knows from Akira, with Kaneda skidding out sideways on the highway from the dual with the Joker. I only know one person who has ever had a cel from that cut, and he'd rather die than part with it. Japanator: Tell us how the Art of Akira exhibit got started. Can we see it in cities near us in the future? Joe:  I bought a small collection off of a guy, about 60 pieces or so, and one of the sets was a scene where Ryu and Nezu are discussing the state of the political atmosphere in Neo Tokyo. They stroll across a walkway and in the background is the city lit up at night. I was amazed at all the detail in the buildings. Also in that set was an INCREDIBLE hand-painted background of a city -- but I didn't recognize it as being part of Akira. Sometimes, collections will have pieces from other movies in them, especially those from Streamline. I tried paring the background up with the storyboards in Continuity of Akira, no luck. I watched the film from beginning to end, couldn't see it. That's what I thought this was, just a pretty city scene from another film. It was months later that it finally clicked -- I was watching Akira, and just barely spotted it. In the far distance, in a 1-inch gap between buildings, was that incredible city painting, but you couldn't fully appreciate it. I literally cried. It tore me apart that this absolutely beautiful piece of art couldn't ever be appreciated by a mass audience... Unless someone let them see it. That's the moment the Art of Akira Exhibit was born.  It took a few years of planning and a very helpful introduction to Joe Wos at Toonseum by the incredible comic book illustrator Ed Piskor to formalize an exhibit and find a host museum. Japanator: You have shared that you are introducing a new phase of the exhibit soon. Can you tell us about it? Joe: At the risk of setting a very high bar for myself: I'm scanning in all of the cels from a six second sequence from Akira (a very well known one!) and am working on a web-based display which will let you turn "on" and "off" the various layers which make up the scene (showing and hiding overlapping cels). If you want to see only one bike, you can; if you want to just see the road and some features, you can. And when you hit "play" it'll play the scene from the film on one viewport, and your layered cel view on another, showing exactly what goes into making up a scene. I'd like to replicate this in a real-life display as well, but it'll likely just be cheapest and easiest to use the website version on a laptop at the talks and shows. Japanator: What is the most rewarding part of being the owner of this collection? Joe: This might sound completely cheesy, but it's true: There are these moments at some shows where a parent brings their kids to the exhibit/show and the kid will sit there and draw out scenes from Akira. It fills me with joy. Not only because these kids are learning about the greatest animation ever made, but because when I was a kid, I didn't have that kind of support, and art and drawing were things that I was highly discouraged in various ways from pursuing. And it makes me so happy to see parents who foster that interest in their children. Japanator: Do you have any plans for the future you'd like to share with us? Joe: Hopes! We're still working out the end of 2011, but as of right now Art of Akira will be at the Shaw Convention Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, CA on March 20 for the Canadian debut, then from there the tentative schedule is to Dallas, then Cleveland, then Charlotte for HeroesCon, then the UK and Paris, then back to the US for DragonCon, then BACK to the UK for Scotland Loves Animation, wrapping with a course study on Akira in Kyoto at Manji University. It's an exciting time! Japanator: How do you feel about Akira being made into a live action film? Joe: Pass. Japanator:  Is Akira your favorite film? If not, what is? Joe: No, not really. It's an astounding work of art and a technical wonder, but as a film, it's actually pretty weak. It rushes through certain aspects of the story, and even though the Japanese script is a little better than the English-translated version at conveying some of the motivations of characters, it's still murky just what is happening with Tetsuo, why is he morphing, what is the military's end in fostering his growth... It's such an incredibly complex story in the manga, I do think it's pretty much impossible to recreate it in an animation or movie, especially in only 2 hours. My favorite film depends on the day. I'd say just about any film by David Fincher, especially Se7en and Fight Club, or The Big Lebowski. I also can't not watch Drumline when it's on at three in the morning. It's a horrible film, and I love it very, very much. Don't judge me.  
 photo

We gave you a brief introduction to the Art of Akira collection when we showed you a video about the loving detail put into some of the scenes from the collection's owner, Joe Peacock. Fascinating, to be sure, and our readers...

Be my Valentine: I'm sweet for you, Hanazawa Rui

Feb 14 // Colette Bennett
Actor Oguri Shun is a pretty hot dude, and I've painted him with my saliva way back when we had Idol Day. Thing is though, most j-drama fans will tell you that when you really fall for an actor, it's usually because of a certain role they play in a show. Oguri Shun was some hot J-dude when I watched Hanazakari no Kimitachi e, but then, I saw a little show he did by the name of Hana Yori Dango (incidentally, we're currently watching and discussing it on my drama podcast, Dorama Club, if you want to check it out).  In Hana Yori Dango, Shun plays the role of Hanazawa Rui, one member of a very exclusive rich boys club called F4. Makes him sound like a total dbag, doesn't it? And yet somehow, he isn't at all. Instead, he's like, the hottest thing ever. He really knows how to dress, he's always stepping in and saying or doing the right things, he always seems to be reading a book (smart! ooh!) and best of all, he likes to sit in the windowsill at his house, gaze longingly out the window, and play the violin. PLAY THE VIOLIN. WHO IN REAL LIFE PLAYS THE VIOLIN, LOOKS HOT AND IS NICE? WHO? That's why I want to ask Rui to be my Valentine. He's way too good to be true, sure, but that's why we watch anime and j-drama -- to fantasize about impossibly awesome people that we wish really existed. So Rui, look. I want you to come over, pick me up in whatever sexy ass car you drive. Let's go out to a nice dinner, and then let's go back to your place, and I want to sit in the windowsill and I want you to play me some songs on your violin.And then I'm going to give you the valentine I got for you. I really hope you like it. Hanazawa Rui, will you be my Valentine?
 photo

Since it's Valentine's Day, it's obviously a holiday where you have a special opportunity to do one thing: openly declare your love. We do that a lot in our Confessions series, but today at Japanator, we're going to give Vale...

 photo

Arashi's Nintendo CM series continues with Nintendogs


Feb 10
// Colette Bennett
The peeps at Nintendo are very smart. For instance, they know that Nintendogs sells like hotcakes, and they also know anything with Arashi on it sells like hotcakes. What's the solution? Why, to combine the two things of cour...
 photo

JapanaTen: Further feeding your J-drama addiction


Feb 01
// Colette Bennett
[Editor's note: Yaiko of Asian Pop Shock fame has kindly agreed to give us her take on the next ten dramas you must see. Enjoy!]  Hello, Japanator readers! Your new J-drama fangirl, Yaiko, here with my ina...
 photo

Japanator Adventures: The US Gantz screening


Jan 21
// Colette Bennett
Was I excited when I heard that the live action version of Gantz would be premiering in US theaters? You bet I was. Not only are lead hotties Kazunari Ninomiya and Ken'ichi Matsuyama wearing skintight leather suits in the fil...
 photo

Ero Week: How I Met the Bondage Fairies


Jan 19
// Colette Bennett
Growing up in a small town has it's advantages. For instance, in mine there was only one comic shop, but even so, being the only game in town meant that the owner had free reign over what he stocked his shelves with. As a fif...
 photo

TBS announces their most expensive j-drama ever


Jan 19
// Colette Bennett
I have a lot of good looking studs in my J-boy harem, but some of them will only come out for the best of the best. After all, you get deeply established enough in this business, you get to do what you want. Take SMAP member ...

Japanator's Holiday Shopping Guide: Books and Movies

Dec 10 // Colette Bennett
Colette recommends... Movies you can't missAir Doll (buy)Director: Hirokazu KoreedaRelease date: 2009You may already be familiar with Koreeda if you've seen his excellent 2004 film Nobody Knows (Dare mo Shiranai). It's hard to see a film like that and imagine that the director can outdo it, but he's done just that with Air Doll, which is based on a serialized manga called Kuuki Ningyo. It tells the story of a single middle-aged businessman, Hideo, and his inflatable love doll, Nozomi.All seems well until Nozomi comes to life on her own and begins to explore her surroundings. As she develops feelings and desires of her own, Koreeda weaves themes of urban loneliness and the meaning of being human in with a stunning, minimal soundtrack from World's End Girlfriend. This delicate, evocative film will leave you thinking for days, and it's just the thing to give to a friend who wants something a bit deeper to dig into. RoboGeisha (buy)Director: Noboru IguchiRelease date: 2009You know how I said up there that Air Doll was a classy, streamlined film? Well here, my friends, we have just the opposite. RoboGeisha was made by the same guys that were involved in Tokyo Gore Police and The Machine Girl, which means you can expect the schlock factor to go through the roof.The story tells a tale of two sisters who are kidnapped by a steel manufacturer. For what reason? Why, to be turned into cyborg assassins, of course. As you can imagine, it only gets more outrageous from there. The region-free Blu-Ray is already on sale, but this film has also been licensed by Funimation, so you can get it just a tad cheaper with their version if you go through Amazon.Love Exposure (buy)Director: Sion SonoRelease date: 2008Simply put, Love Exposure is one of the best Japanese films I've seen in years. From the opening scene where lead character Yu Honda shows off his good Catholic upbringing to the jaw-dropping moment where he becomes a premier panty photographer, this film simply never ceases to astonish. It's a great ensemble piece, with the feel of a Japanese Quentin Tarentino film.The bummer is, Love Exposure has never been licensed for US release, so you can pick up the UK release from Third Window which is linked above and watch it on a region free device, or you can, ahem, go through other, less legal, channels. Either way, watch it. It's incredible.Books you can't miss Norwegian Wood (buy)Written by Haruki MurakamiRelease date: 1987 (Japanese), 2000 (English)If you've never read Murakami. this is a great place to start (or help a friend start, since this is a gift guide). The story is about Toru, a Tokyo college student, and his friend Kizuki. When Kizuki takes his own life, it leaves Toru and Kizuki's girlfriend, Naoko, lost with a need for answers and holding on to one another. It's a wonderful read and possibly the easiest of all Murakami's books, and anyone can relate to a coming of age story.The book is being turned into a film starring Ken'ichi Matsuyama (trailer here) which in fact comes out in Japan today. I have a feeling it will be very popular, but if you haven't read the source material, why not do so before the film gets fansubbed and shows up in the US?Parasite Eve (buy)Written by Hideaki SenaRelease date: 2008 (English)Speaking of Vertical, they've brought us some really lovely publications these last few years. Parasite Eve is one of them, which as you may already know was the source material for the PlayStation action RPG from 1998. It's a scientific take on horror, telling the tale of a virus that originates in mitochondria and takes on an intelligent life form. If you need a gift for the Japanese enthusiast with a flair for science, this is a perfect one. It's not always an easy read, but it's certainly a rewarding one.   Pedro recommends...For the vengeful one in your life... Oldboy (Blu Ray)  $19.49Oldboy is a live action Korean movie that came out in 2003 to much fan fair and critical appreciation. It tells the story of a man forcibly locked in a hotel room for 15 years and his hunt for the man who did it when he's let out. There are several very excellent coreographed fights in the movie but the real highlight are the performances. The lead actor really nails the poor guy who has gone through years of isolation and torture and wants nothing more than revenge upon his release. When you meet the guy behind it all and you find out his story, it'll stick with you in a way not a lot of movies will. Oldboy is not a happy movie, but it's a damn good one.  For the person who uses the power of rock to leave you moist and wanting... Detroit Metal City (DVD) $18.99GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC! GO TO DMC!You may have heard people randomly chanting this at cons this year in the wake of a guy dressed like a KISS reject with blond hair and body armor. Well then, you need to sit down and watch the live-action adaptation of the over-the-top manga about a calm unassuming guy named Negishi who happens to be a death metal god at night. The movie stars Kenichi Matsuyama, the guy who played L in the Death Note movies, and Matsuyama nails Negishi's bizarre dual nature perfectly. The Movie also has a pretty decent soundtrack, so if you're into some heavy stuff it's worth looking for.  For the person who likes synergy... Brave Story (Paper Back) $12.61Brave Story comes in three distinct mediums. There's the PSP game that came out a couple years back, a fairly good movie and the original novel. The tome-like Brave Story tells an entertaining fantasy yarn through the eyes of a young boy who crosses a portal into a new world. It isn't the most original story, but it will keep you reading all the way through. If you have an aversion to huge looking books, the text is a bit larger than standard novels so don't worry so much about it.I also suggest watching the movie and playing the game, if you have patience for old-timey RPG mechanics and a love of cute, bright worlds.  For the person who wants to learn more about the hype... The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (Paperback) $8.64The Haruhi anime is arguably the biggest thing to happen to the genre in the last 10 years. It's story structure, it's characters and it's art style has changed how studios market their shows and even how anime is percieved. As many also know Haruhi began as a light novel series. Those books are now availble in the states and are well worth picking up. You'll notice little changes in the character's personalities and maybe have a better understanding on their motivations. They're also pretty short, so people who don't like reading can pick them up and finish them before they get too bored and stop.  For the person who wants to relive a classic... Vampire Hunter D (Paperback) $9.95 The original Vampire Hunter D movie is what got a ton of people into anime back in the day. Like many other shows, it was based on a set of novels that have over 20 volumes in print. If you dug the lanky, bad-ass D, then you'll definitely like the novels that continue his adventures. They're a bit longer than the Haruhi novels but not so much as to be a turn off to people who have an aversion to bound tomes of paper and ink.
 photo

Sure, maybe you've seen our 2010 anime guide, our otaku guide, and our manga guide (or if you haven't yet, you will soon). But maybe you're a little snobby when it comes to your taste. Maybe you prefer live action films. Or m...

 photo

Live action Space Battleship Yamato rocks box office


Dec 09
// Colette Bennett
That live action adaption of Space Battleship Yamato starring my delightful husbando Takuya Kimura has finally descended on Japanese theaters, and it's doing just as well as one might imagine such a classi...
 photo

Anchor Bay bringing us Battle Royale 3D


Nov 11
// Colette Bennett
I try to keep up on my J-film news, but sometimes stuff slips through the cracks. For instance, this conversion of 3D that J-action classic Battle Royale is undergoing. The film was originally passed over for North American d...
 photo

Mizushima Hiro writes an award-winning book, quits acting


Nov 11
// Colette Bennett
I heard sometime in October that one of my harem of husbandos, Mizushima Hiro, had decided to throw in the towel on acting. Considering that he has been cast in many popular dramas and was named in a lot of "ri...
 photo

Japanator Does Not Recommend: Suck My Dick or Die (NSFW)


Nov 09
// Colette Bennett
When you fire up a game with a title like Suck My Dick or Die, you should more or less know what you're getting into. Liquid's adventure game involves military forces, your typical young anime girls with big eyes, and ra...
 photo

Best Gashapon of all time: Wigs for small dogs


Nov 04
// Colette Bennett
I thought the Boutique-Sha dog clothing book was the worst thing you could do to a dog previously.Clearly, I was wrong.[Photo via Japan Trends] 
 photo

Seeing Akira in a whole new light


Oct 27
// Colette Bennett
Akira is one of those films that very few people really have much to say about in a negative light. Since its release in 1988, the movie singlehandedly introduced anime to millions of English-speaking fans (myself includ...
 photo

Gackt expands his family, also, mini-confession


Sep 28
// Colette Bennett
Fabulously handsome rock star Gackt posted some proud photos on his official blog recently of two new bundles of joy. In puppy form. He has named them Angie and Dolce, and talks about them at length on the blog. Her...

Japanator Original: VAMPS interview

Sep 23 // Colette Bennett
Japanator: How would you describe VAMPS to people who have never heard your music?HYDE: SEX, BLOOD ROCK N’ ROLL!K.A.Z: VAMPS is a rock band that freely expresses sounds from heavy rock to mellow tunes. Japanator: Why was it important for you to start VAMPS instead of working together on “HYDE” solo work?HYDE: I’m too lazy to do promotion by myself. Japanator: That's honest of you, HYDE! Now, VAMPS music involves many themes related to vampires.  With so many movies, TV shows, and books about vampires, do you feel close to any one of them?HYDE: I like Anne Rice’s works. K.A.Z: Queen of the Damned. Japanator: After so much time spent together, do you feel it is still possible to surprise each other creatively?  How about while composing/recording “BEAST”? HYDE: I think we did rather well this time. Both of us managed to create good pieces in a short period. I think we have had luck, and also we have strong artist mindsets.  K. A.Z: Yes, of course! It should be possible! Each of us composed songs, then brought them for the recording. Every one of the tracks is good. Japanator: Where do you each find your inspiration for song writing?HYDE: From my experience of live performance , and from my imagination. K. A.Z: I strum my guitar so that I get inspiration from its tones. This is how I compose music. Japanator: Touring for so many months at a time, do you ever lose your motivation?  How do you keep yourself motivated being away from your home for such long periods of time?HYDE: I do enjoy our tour, so I don’t lose my motivation.K. A.Z: My motivation remains same as I love live shows, but I pay attention to staying fit, as we are in a long tour. Japanator: Maybe it does not surprise you to know that some fans are taking long flights and spending lots of money to go to one of your World Tour performances, but do you have any message specifically for those fans? K.A.Z: You always give me energy. Thank you. But I am worried about fans' wallets … are they alright..? HYDE: I truly appreciate it. Maybe I’d better kiss you all. I’m just joking...
 photo

If you don't know who VAMPS are, you really should, at least if you are a fan of Japanese music (but especially rock and visual kei). Formed by HYDE of L'Arc~en~Ciel fame and K.A.Z from Oblivion Dust, these J-rockers will be ...

 photo

Confessions 22: Takuya Kimura


Sep 21
// Colette Bennett
Why do I wait so long between Confessions, you might ask? Well, the truth is, I'm not as easy as I seem. It takes me months, sometimes even years, before I can warm up the kind of fire it takes for me to need to make a major ...
 photo

Japanator Recommends: Persona 3 Portable


Sep 17
// Colette Bennett
Anyone who reads any of the Modern Method websites I work for knows that I am completely, totally, ridiculously obsessed with the Persona game series. It all started with Persona 3, which caught my attention  with its da...
 photo

Final Fantasy 14 live action trailer stars TOMA!


Sep 15
// Colette Bennett
So this morning, my best friend sends me a link to this video and says, "Hey ... doesn't this guy look familiar?" Since I transformed said friend into a j-drama addict, of course he recognized j-actor Toma Ikuta, wh...
 photo

Chi in hoodie form? Yep, you can buy that


Sep 09
// Colette Bennett
It's taken me much too long to post this, but better late than never. Chi of Chi's Sweet Home fame is one of my very favorite characters from any anime, so when I caught this young lady walking across the dealer's room at Ota...
 photo

Otousan's new dad just happens to also be my husbando


Aug 30
// Colette Bennett
You know that we like to keep up with the adventures of Softbank's adorable mascot Otousan around here. However, there's only one thing that's better than a new Otousan commercial, and that's an Otousan commercial with Matsud...
 photo

[Update: The Otakon message boards have confirmed that Madhouse's Maruyama-san was in fact correct. We'll still wait for an official statement, but it looks as if this may be true.] Twitter is in an uproar this afternoon as G...

 photo

Oguri Shun and Mao Inoue together again in new drama


Aug 23
// Colette Bennett
Ah, one of the most beloved almost-pairings in the J-drama world: Mao Inoue's Makino and Oguri Shun's Rui from Hana Yori Dango. Any fan of that show will quiver when you mention them, and the idea of seeing them together in a...

Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...