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


Idol of the Week photo
Idol of the Week

Idol of the Week: Miwako Kakei

Nov 14
// Hiroko Yamamura
Name: Miwako Kakei Birthdate: March, 6, 1994Hometown: Tokyo, Japan Measurements: 89/60/60 cm  So snow is finally starting to fall in my current hometown of Chicago. I mean, it's not even Thanksgiving yet! What gives...
Idol of the Week photo
Idol of the Week

Idol of the Week: Sano Hinako

Them eyes
Nov 07
// Hiroko Yamamura
Name: Sano Hinako Birthdate: October 13, 1994 Hometown: Tokyo, Japan Measurements: 84/51/87 cm  Gracing the pages of Japanator this week is fan favorite, Sano Hinako. The gorgeous and talented actress has some new photos...
Daily Dose photo
Daily Dose

A Daily Dose of Music: Freedom Wars' Propaganda Idols

Let's Contribute!
Nov 03
// Josh Tolentino
Hey! Are you making a videogame or anime? Then you need idols! That's the hot stuff now, be it an idol character, an idol sequence, or a licensed song from some idols or done in idol style. Idols! And it doesn't matter if yo...

Morning Musume '14 in NYC

Nov 03 // Jeff Chuang
The nine girls of Morning Musume '14, however, are the centerpiece of the NYC show. The brisk afternoon air in the city did nothing to deter fans from lining up at the venue first thing in the morning. As a part of Sayumi Michishige's graduation tour, fans organized pink glowsticks and gave them to concert goers, making sure to blanket the typically lights-free American concert crowd in pink when the graduating idol steps up for her solo. The show started pretty much on time as Japanese pop acts tend to be. While the venue did not sell out, itt was packed and the merch table drew long lines. If anything, many of the fans in attendence are pretty hardcore and it's definitely a crowd that is ready for the show, launching straight into calls and all kinds of excited movements. The girls performed more or less continuously, showing off both the dancing and singing skills that represents one of Japan's foremost idol act. The dancing was compact and impactful, and with songs like "TIKI BUN" the opening sets were particularly memorable and brings up an up-to-date image of Morning Musume '14 compared to the same namesake so many years ago that probably lingers in the popular consciousness. Of course, Morning Musume '14 also busted out their updated versions of Morning Musume classics such as "Love Machine" and "Renai Revolution 21" that got the whole crowd going. The set was paced well, with a good mix of fast and slow songs that can both charm a group of fans as well as introduce the fresh faces of MM '14 to people who only find the group name (and perhaps Michishige) familiar. I have to mention the present of King Blades, because it just makes this live show that much more authentic Japanese. These color-changeable light sticks run on AAA batteries and they are ubiquitous in Japan's otaku lives. Idol lives necessarily mean doing calls (coordinated hand movements, dancing and yelling), and it's quite a sight to see much of the crowd armed with lights, on US soil, both Japanese fans and otherwise. The glowsticks are a key part of that idol otaku identity and this is probably the one US show that I've seen with the most of these, per capita. As someone who doesn't follow Japanese idol acts, seeing Morning Musume '14 is still like scratching an item off of my bucket list because they are ensconced in Japanese pop culture. It's extra special to be a part of their US tour and see the fan turn out.  You can see the set list below. 1. ONE TWO THREE2. Help me!!3. Wagamamaki no mama..MC4. TIKI BUN5. Wakuteka Take a Chance6. The Matenrou Show7. BrainstormingMC8. I Wish9. Lalala no Pipipi10. Shabondama11. Kimagure Princess12. Souda! We are Alive!13. LOVE Machine14. The Peace!15. Renai Revolution 2116. Password is 0MC17. Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai18. What Is LOVE ?ENCORE19. Toki wo Koe Sora wo KoeMC20. Happy Daisakusen 1. ONE TWO THREE 2. Help me!! 3. Wagamamaki no mama.. MC 4. TIKI BUN 5. Wakuteka Take a Chance 6. The Matenrou Show 7. Brainstorming MC 8. I Wish 9. Lalala no Pipipi 10. Shabondama 11. Kimagure Princess 12. Souda! We are Alive! 13. Love Machine 14. The Peace! 15. Renai Revolution 21 16. Password is 0 MC 17. Kimi no Kawari wa 18. WHAT IS LOVE ? ENCORE 19. Toki wo koe Sora wo koe MC 20. HAPPY DAISAKUSEN
Morning Musume photo
East coast wotas and idols finally meet
At their show in New York City's Best Buy Theater earlier this month, Morning Musume '14 brought not only their glamorous selves to the Big Apple, but droves of fans all across America. There are even travelers from up Canada...

Idol of the Week photo
Idol of the Week

Idol of the Week: Ai Shinozaki

Ai love you
Oct 31
// Hiroko Yamamura
Name: Ai Shinozaki Birthdate: February 26, 1992 Hometown: Tokyo, Japan Measurements: 87/60/88 cm  When I haven't done Idol of the Week for a while I start to feel bad about depriving my dear friends of the lovely comp...
Morning Musume  photo
We have a final quick chat with the lovely Sayumi Michishige
After eleven amazing years, current Morning Musume '14 leader, Sayumi Michishige is graduating after their current tour. The super group known to fans as Momusu have been lighting up Japan's pop charts since 1997, and have ab...

Morning Musume photo
Morning Musume

Morning Musume '14 to play in NYC this Sunday

Long tradition with new branding
Oct 04
// Jeff Chuang
Morning Musume changed their name this year into Morning Musume '14. I'm not 100% sure what that really means for the flagship idol group of Hello! Project, but they're having a concert in NYC's Best Buy Theater on Sunday, October 5th. You can get tickets here and partake their first live in New York. We'll be there to take a look.
Idol of the Week photo
Idol of the Week

Idol of the Week: Haruna Kojima

AKB48 scores an A+
Sep 12
// Hiroko Yamamura
Name: Haruna Kojima Birthdate: April 19th, 1988 Hometown: Saitama, Japan Measurements: 80/60/86 cm  There a few things that you can count on in life. Death, taxes, and that AKB48 will continue showcasing s...
Smash Bros 3DS photo
Smash Bros 3DS

Even AKB48 want to kick Nintendo's butt

48 New Challengers Appear!
Sep 08
// Josh Tolentino
Nintendo's been ramping up the hype train for its next Super Smash Brothers game, and in Japan, that means getting AKB48 involved, naturally.  It's a good thing that one of the key features of the upcoming 3DS and ...
Idol of the Week photo
Idol of the Week

Idol of the Week: Sayumi Michishige

Good morning to you
Aug 22
// Hiroko Yamamura
Name: Sayumi Michishige  Birthdate: March 4, 1987 Hometown: Miyazaki, Japan   Measurements: 87/58/86 cm   This week get our visit from our favorite member of Japan's hit sensation Morning Musume, Sayu...
Idol of the Week photo
Idol of the Week

Idol of the Week: Asuka Kishi

Enticing eyes
Aug 01
// Hiroko Yamamura
Name: Asuka Kishi Birthdate: November 4th, 1991 Hometown: Osaka, Japan Measurements: 90/58/88 cm  I actually know very little about this week's idol, Asuka Kishi. When I was looking online for the gal who ...
Idol of the Week photo
Idol of the Week

Idol of the Week: Sano Hinako

She looks like a snacker
Jul 11
// Hiroko Yamamura
Name: Sano HinakoBirthdate: October 13, 1994Hometown: Tokyo, JapanMeasurements: 84/51/87 cm  This week's amazing idol is talented actress an model Sano Hinako. She's sporting a killer smile and lips that just don't quit. She's a super charming babe, that I would share a meal with anytime. However I just have to ask. What's with the knit hat in the tropical pictures? Is that a thing now?
Idol of the Week photo
Idol of the Week

Idol of the Week: Tomomi Itano

The queen of duckface!
Jul 04
// Hiroko Yamamura
Name: Tomomi Itano Birthdate: July 3, 1991 Hometown: Kanagawa, Japan Measurements: 76/56/79 cm  While she may not be tearing up the stage as a member of AKB48 anymore, the always adorable Tomochin is enjoying a hugely su...
AKB48 photo

AKB48 handshake events to resume this weekend

I wouldn't want to do it
Jul 02
// Hiroko Yamamura
After two members of AKB48 and one staff person were viciously attacked by a knife wielding idiot, I was pretty confident that the super-groups already creepy handshake events were coming to an end. The girls are often made t...
Idol of the Week photo
Idol of the Week

Idol of the Week: Risa Yoshiki

Girl. how I've missed you
Jun 27
// Hiroko Yamamura
Name: Risa Yoshiki Birthdate: July 27, 1987 Hometown: Chiba, Japan Measurements: 80/59/88 cm  Since we're only on our second week of seeing amazing gravure idols from Japan, I thin it's best that we visit with some of...
Perfume photo

Perfume are finally coming to the US!

Am I dreaming?
Jun 25
// Hiroko Yamamura
I can't believe it. This year is freaking amazing for fans of Japanese pop music. First, we have the return of May'N at the J-Pop Festival in San Francisco. Next, we find out out the pint-sized head bangers of BABYMETAL are ...
Daily Dose photo
Daily Dose

A Daily Dose of Music: Especia

Cuts, cuts, and more cuts.
Jun 18
// Dae Lee
If you haven't noticed, the 80's is back in full swing in Japan -- whether the artists can effectively emulate the era or not. One pop group that is embracing the blown-out campiness of the era is Especia, as evidenced in this PV for No1 Sweeper.

BABYMETAL is coming to LA

Prepare for scorched Earth and adorable dancing.
Jun 17
// Dae Lee
When BABYMETAL announced its world tour this year, I was severely disappointed that the US was not listed in the schedule. But lo and behold, we just got breaking news tonight that BABYMETAL will be reigning its particular br...
Idol of the Week photo
Idol of the Week

Idol of the Week: Ai Shinozaki

The return of the queen!
Jun 13
// Hiroko Yamamura
Name: Ai Shinozaki Birthdate: February 26, 1992 Hometown: Tokyo, Japan Measurements: 87/60/88 cm The fact that Ai Shinozaki has decided to show her adorable face as well as other assets around here can mean only one thing,...

ACEN '14: Wake Up, Girls!

May 21 // Jeff Chuang
[The press panel was well attended, but it started late. Arriving first were Takeuchi and Yamamoto, who fielded some questions while we waited on the WUG.] Q. [To Hiroaki Takeuchi and Yutaka Yamamoto] What kind of things you watched as kids inspired you as creators now? Yamamoto: Hayao Miyazaki's works. And even before that, I read Fujiko Fujio's manga and wanted to become a manga artist at first. And there are a lot of other things that influenced me, obviously, but there's too many to name. Takeuchi: I used to work for Shueisha to produce Shounen Jump. I watched Tezuka's Astro Boy, and it was shocking, this was when I was young. I also watched Miyazaki's works, and it was shocking, again. In the '80s I watched Otomo's Akira, that that was my second shocking work that I watched. I was also very shocked by watching Oshii's Ghost in the Shell. Q: Can you tell us about the history of Studio Ordet and your future plans for the studio? Yamamoto: I established the company so I can keep a consistent staff. That's the main reason, but I don't have any specific future plans for the company. Takeuchi: Studio Ordet was created four years ago. I've produced anime for 20 years and have my own CG and animation studios. I helped create 5-6 studios in Japan. About five or six years ago I met director Yamamoto and I think he is talented. He can control many aspects of a production, from writing anime to directing live action, he can do choreography and produce music and much more. I wanted to work with him and produce his new anime. We want to produce anime and change the style of anime all over the world. This is why we created WUG. Takeuchi: WUG is special because we produced the animation and idols at the same time. The actual voice actresses appear as idols on stage. At the time there wasn't anything like this in Japan, so together we wanted to produce and develop these kinds of new style of anime, where we can work on not just the anime but also the music and live aspects. Our studio will work on these new styles of animation. Q: When creating the Wake Up Girls, did you get inspiration from AKB48 or Idolm@ster? Yamamoto: Of course I did study and watch these idol anime and real idols. I use them as a reference point so I can establish my own vision of the idols that I want to create. Q: [To Takeuchi] When you begin your careers, were you surprised to find the American market the way it was? Do Japanese creators target the American market in general? Takeuchi: About 20 years ago, I came to Hollywood and met with a lot of Americans directors and writers, and they would think that Japanese comics and animations are very cool. For example when I worked on Animatrix I talked to the Wachowski directors and they would say that their work was inspired by anime. There is a lot of positive feedback from US directors and creators. At the time it feels like there's an opportunity to produce something with American creators. These kind of things are big now, but back 20 years ago it was hard to see how things would turn out. Fans of anime/manga are all over the world, so I hope more fans will gather and make good anime and comic. Q. [To the Wake Up Girls] How do you feel about your receptions from American fans? Miyu Takagi [Miyu]: At the live yesterday, everyone is so excited! I feel the energy and everyone's excitement. I liked how no matter what I said or whta happened on stage, everyone had a happy face and laughed at what I said. Nanami Yamashita [Nanami]: When we walk pass people by the hotel or on the street, everyone is so friendly! I also hear Chicago pizza is delicious. (Takeuchi: We'll go have pizza tonight!) Minami Tanaka [Minami]: It's my first time in Chicago. I'm worried about my English, but everyone was very friendly and that made me very happy. Mayu Tanaka [Mayu]: My English is not great but my fans who were listening to me can still understand me and we still can communicate and have a good time. Airi Eino [Airi]: It's my first time oversea and I'm shy so I'm worried about being able to talk to everyone. Still  everyone accepted us warmly and even though I don't speak English much, people tried to listen to me and I am grateful. Kaya Okuno [Kaya]: It's my first time overseas, At the autograph session yesterday people called me Kayatan even tho they aren't from Japan! Even though they're not from Japan they still know my nickname, and I'm happy about that. Yoshino Aoyama [Yoppi]: What surprised me is that everyone here likes anime and a lot of people can speak some Japanese. People saying "arigato" or "konnichiwa" to me made me happy. I wanted to use my English so I would speak in English, and some would speak back in Japanese. Q. Are you similar to the characters in the anime? Yoppi: The characters are made with the same birthday, blood type and given name of each of us. So yeah there are a lot of similarities. Kaya: I play the character Kaya Kikuma, she is tall but I am short. The Kaya character is mature and I think I am like her in that aspect, so there's some similarity. Airi: The hair is different but we both have a mole right there, so they made that similar. Mayu: We have almost the same height and three sizes, and even the same looks. We are both stubborn and argue with the members in real life. In fact the arguing part got put into the anime. So for me there are a lot of similarities. Minami: People say we look the same and have similar personality, and I think so now as well. Nanami: We're both left-handed. There's a scene where she sits down and eat chips. I do the same thing. Miyu: I think we both cry easily, so that's similar. Miyu works at a maid cafe but I have never, although I would like to try some day. Q. Which do you have more fun? Live action or anime? Miyu: I think both are fun. Although for the movie, it used the same dance we did and that was put into the anime. Nanami: I like doing the live. When I record for the anime I don't see the audience as I record. I enjoy having fans in front of me cheering and the atmosphere. I like both but I like the live better. Minami: When I first started out I wanted to be a voice actor, so having to do live shows and dance worried me because I'm not sure if I could. Now I enjoy doing it and it seems I am discovering this side of me as well. Mayu: It's a hard choice. I think I like doing the lives more. It's my dream to become a voice actress so I definitely enjoy that, but having the audience in front for feedback is great. And the live show aspect is unique for WUG. Airi: It's agood question. I do like the anime a lot. The live is in front of the audience and in some way each time we do a live it's a new creation. I also like to dance and it's more me to dance in front of the audience. Kaya: I like the anime. I want to be a seiyuu and doing the recording. I work hard to do the recordings, and if the director or sound director give me feedback, I work on it. When I get to see the result of my work as I  get better. When we do the live we showcase how we can become the characters in the anime, as actresses. In that sense overall I like the anime more. Yoppi: I like the anime. In the anime it's not just us working hard, but also the other voice actors and the animation staff. People I don't even know worked hard on the anime. There are so many people who work hard to make it. There's only this one piece of work created from the effort of everyone. So I like it slightly more. Q. Pick between natto or okomonoyaki Takeuchi: I eat natto everyday when I can, so natto. Yamamoto: I'm from Osaka so I like okonomiyaki, but I ate it too often so I eat natto every day now, too. Miyu: I like these types of food like okonomiyaki, takoyaki, etc. Nanami: Okonomiyaki, because natto is sticky so it's hard to share (Yamakan: sure can share natto...) Minami: Okonomiyaki: Because you can put lots of different vegetables in it and it is nutritious.  Mayu: I'm also from Osaka so I like okonomiyaki and taokoyaki. In fact I have a hot plate so I was thinking of inviting the members for a party where we eat these things. Airi: I like natto, it's a very Japanese (wa) and I can't live without natto for breakfast. I eat it with umeboshi, and it's really good. Kaya: I like okonomiyaki because I like bonito flakes! Yoppi: I like natto. "Rice on the natto is great." It's delicious. [And that is a wrap! Special thanks to ACEN and Crunchyroll for making it possible, and Nana Lee for interpreting.]
WUG! photo
Let's hear it for Hiro, Yamakan and the Wake Up Girls!
Anime Central and Crunchyroll teamed up over the weekend and brought to the USA the anime-idol group Wake Up, Girls! I am more than excited to be able to cover them over the weekend and attend some of their events. Below...

Morning Musume '14 photo
Morning Musume '14

Morning Musume '14 is coming to NY in October '14

Coming Fall '14
May 05
// Dae Lee
Idols, while a huge part of the music and marketing culture in Japan, is incredibly niche overseas, making it hard for even the biggest acts to justify coming stateside for concerts. Morning Musume, despite it's deep history ...
Idol Girlfriend photo
Idol Girlfriend

Breakout idol Kanna Hashimoto now powers mobile game girlfriend

The cutest idol, now your girlfriend (beta)
May 01
// Jeff Chuang
The Japanese mobile game Girlfriend (Beta) has an all-star seiyuu cast and launched late last year. It accidentally fueled a meme earlier this year, when veteran voice actress Sakura Tange's French-named character crunched o...
ACEN photo

Wake Up, Girls! to shake up Anime Central

And with Yamakan too!
Apr 14
// Jeff Chuang
Anime Central announced last Friday that seiyuu-idol group Wake Up, Girls! will be attending as guests, along with their producers--anime director Yutaka Yamamoto and producer Hiroaki Takeuchi. Naturally the WUGs will be pres...
Crimea photo

Cri-moe-a: Natalia Poklonskaya responds to getting anime-fied

She seems to be taking it well
Mar 29
// Josh Tolentino
Depending on where you get your news, the recent actions of the Russian government in the Ukrainian state of Crimea could be a correction of a historical mistake or the violation of a nation's sovereignty...or it could be an ...

2014 JSDF calendar will recruit you with cuteness

Maybe this will be even more successful than moe mascots
Mar 01
// Brad Rice
What's a better recruitment tool than cute girls? Japan's last recruitment tool, moe mascots for the JSDF, saw recruitment numbers rise by 20%, so why not try real girls? The 2014 JSDF calendar features models posing in unifo...
Video Games photo
Video Games

Are you lady?! New Idolmaster: All For One details

Changing the world one song at a time
Feb 21
// Elliot Gay
I'm a secret Idolmaster fan. Ok, maybe it's not so secret since I'm publishing that fact on the internet, but oh well. The reality is that I'm pretty excited for the new PS3 game, The Idolmaster: All For One. Players wil...
Kana Hanazawa photo
Kana Hanazawa

Kana Hanazawa says 'no boys allowed' for meet & greet

Tokyo event to feature live shows and interviews
Feb 06
// Brad Rice
Sorry guys, you're going to have to sit this one out in the cold. Kana Hanazawa's next meet and greet event is going to be a girls-only affair. The event, dubbed Kana Matsuri, will feature a meet and greet, live performance, ...
Utada Hikaru photo
Utada Hikaru

Utada Hikaru to tie the knot

I thought we had a thing going Hikki
Feb 04
// Hiroko Yamamura
Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to have your still beating hearts ripped directly from your chest. The lovely Utada Hikaru is soon to be off the market, again. Yesterday, Hikki took to her website and announced to her fans that...
Cosplay photo

Cosplayers reenact Beyond the Boundary idol dance

Who said Beyond the Boundary was pointless?
Feb 01
// Karen Mead
Hey, remember that crazy filler episode of Beyond the Boundary where the whole crew tries to take down a monster by distracting it with an idol dance number? I seem to recall spending way more time writing about that inciden...
Wake Up, Girls! photo
Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls! PV clips show idols in the flesh

There is nothing meta about these videos
Jan 24
// Jeff Chuang
The seven girls of Wake Up, Girls! anime are an unusual representation of their real idol selves as the group Wake Up, Girls! It's got this interesting gap going when the anime and the idol group is made in twain, one based ...

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