otaku culture

Fury photo
Fury

Let a Girls und Panzer girl take all the tension out of Fury


A tank movie for tank otaku
Nov 03
// Josh Tolentino
[Update: It seems Kadokawa's taken down the video. We'll update the post with a new source as soon as we can find one.] Far be it from me to tell people how to promote things, but the way Brad Pitt's new war movie Fury, abou...
Manga apartment photo
Manga apartment

When you visit Japan, try a manga apartment


Behold the manga apartment
Nov 03
// Josh Tolentino
What's the first thing you want to do when you visit Japan? If your answer is "Sit around reading manga in the first room I arrive at," then Slow Curve has just the lodging for you! Slow Curve have announced that they're work...
The Simpsons photo
The Simpsons

The Simpsons are pretty big Shonen JUMP readers


And Bessatsu Shonen, too
Oct 20
// Josh Tolentino
This one's more of a blip compared to the cameo-fest in last week's issue of Spider-Man, but I'm intrigued by a peculiar level of anime savvy shown in a new visual gag from Sunday's episode of The Simpsons. Doing their yearly...

Red Bull photo
Red Bull

Here's Red Bull's (surprisingly good) Japanese game music documentary


Go Diggin' In the Carts
Sep 11
// Josh Tolentino
I never would've imagined that a company best known for a drink designed to keep you awake for all-nighters doing your college thesis would come up with a pretty great documentary series about Japanese video game music, but ...
Lap Pillow sim photo
Lap Pillow sim

Finally: Japan simulates the lap-pillow in VR


How long 'til a picking-your-ear mode?
Aug 06
// Josh Tolentino
If Japan and tech-savvy otaku continue to apply their peculiar brand of innovation to the latest tech, we may get the 2D-loving world we've always dreamed of sooner rather than later. The latest blow against the tyranny of 3...
IM@S toys photo
IM@S toys

So some guy has 13 Idolm@ster character standees


And I managed to get one too.
Aug 03
// Jeff Chuang
So over the past couple weeks, the internet is circulating all kinds of pictures of fans posing (or not posing) with their latest purchase. Big deal, right? It's only notable because standees are really cool, and they're rare...
Happy July 4th! photo
AMERICA
It's AMERICA day today, and you know what's pretty cool and American? The United States Navy! And you know what cool American thing is grossly underrepresented in Kantai Collection, everyone's favorite strategy game &nbs...

Madness.moe photo
Madness.moe

Dream up a logo for '.moe' domains, win mad bank


And yes, there are .moe domains now
Apr 12
// Josh Tolentino
Are you ready for .moe to take over the internet? No, not "moe", that weird otaku concept. That's already taken over the internet. I'm talking about ".moe", a new domain being operated by Japanese internet provider Inter...
4kids Kill la Kill photo
4kids Kill la Kill

4kids takes on Kill la Kill: Meet Bully la Bully


Go, Riley, Go!
Apr 01
// Josh Tolentino
I'm tempted to post this without comment, but that would be unprofessional of me. So meet Bully la Bully, the 4kids-style redub of Japanimation sensation Kill la Kill. Tumblr user Tony Le created the video based on this old ...
Japanator Loves photo
Japanator Loves

Japanator Loves: AxB: Fanfic a la carte


Just in time for Fanfiction Day!
Apr 01
// Josh Tolentino
Sometimes fanfiction happens by chance, like my shipping Agrias and Ramza. Sometimes it happens by divine mandate, like our whole new direction here at Japanator. And sometimes it happens because you asked for it. That third ...
Yowapeda photo
Yowapeda

Virtuous (Bi)Cycle: Yowapeda inspires lady cyclists


Girl power? More like girl pedal!
Mar 22
// Josh Tolentino
I love Japanese words. That might come as natural, given where I'm writing, but the way Japanese use words - foreign words in particular - is appealingly idiosyncratic. Case in point: "Boom". Where we filthy foreigners might ...
otaku goods photo
otaku goods

Japanese maids won't judge your otaku bedsheets


They'll make sure you're ready to say goodnight to your OTP
Feb 21
// Brad Rice
Admit it: if and whenever you get a chance to go to Japan, you'll spend way too much money on shameless character goods. If you've already bought a dakimakura pillow, then you might find yourself upgrading to a full sheet set...

Rog and Tyrone, the inadvertent spokespeople of anime

Jan 29 // Ben Huber
Obviously, they submitted orders for videos with scripts featuring the most silly and over-the-top writing, deriding popular anime or declaring Satsuki (from Kill la Kill) as "best girl." They lampooned their fellow otaku for their tastes and tried to make the actors say Japanese words in the silliest way possible. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning, with a video ordered from a user named "activerog" or Rog. [embed]31332:3447:0[/embed] Like most internet memes, it's difficult to pinpoint the origin of the joke (and expiring 4chan threads don't help), but the earliest video I was able to locate on YouTube was uploaded on December 10, 2013, over a month ago (by Ryan Pollard). Since then, countless /a/ and /s4s/ threads have spread, and as more people caught wind of Rog's Fiverr page, more orders poured in. Suddenly, someone who had originally only dealt with businesses promoting products or other testimonials was flooded with an onslaught of anime-related video requests -- all at five dollars a pop. And then a second person, labeled Tyrone, showed up. Where was this all going? While it's easy to laugh at the speakers who attempt to pronounce difficult Japanese words, I wondered if perhaps there was a different side to this phenomenon. What did "Rog" and "Tyrone" think of all this? Were they aware of their minor internet celebrity? I wanted to find to out -- so I went straight to the source and chatted with both spokespeople. [embed]31332:3448:0[/embed] Roger Stockburger is a motivational speaker, life coach, and network marketer from Australia with an endearing accent. He expressed an enthusiasm for video and internet content the whole time we chatted, saying that his web presence has always been a big part of his life.  "Before YouTube [...] and GoPros, I strapped a Sony Handicam onto a Helmet and went snow skiing," he told me, and "that was in the early 90's." He touted his Facebook page as proof of his marketing skills and popularity. When he first started getting requests for anime-related videos, he quite literally said "WTF?" He also started to catch YouTube Poop edits of his videos (YTP videos are remixed and regurgitated modifications of existing video content). At first he wasn't sold on the idea, saying they were "a bit below the belt," but once he took a closer look, he realized all the time and effort being put into these edits was a creative use of users' talents that was "quite cool and impressive." [embed]31332:3449:0[/embed] Still, users were essentially paying Rog to recite jokes to other anime fans online. Speaking through his videos, they declared "Kill la Kill the Evangelion of anime" and that he "does not use VLC, because I use god-tier MPC." (For the uninitiated, there is plentiful and needless debate over which media player is the best to use for watching anime, either VLC or MPC.) The videos railed against fans' favorite "waifus" declaring that "your tastes are bad." Clearly, some fans thought they needed to fight back (or more likely, wanted in on the joke). So how else, than to fight fire with fire? [embed]31332:3450:0[/embed] A new challenger approaches! Enter "Tyrone" (first by Burotaku). Unlike Rog, the internet didn't know this fellow's real name, so they assigned him one of rather racially dubious quality. Tyrone was hired to combat Rog's Australian anime empire with a variety of messages, from one issuing a decree that "Wakfu is clearly superior to all anime ever produced" to another that reviews Chuunibyou season 2, where he says that "Rikka is super kawaii." There was also the hilariously awkward lolicon video, above. "That floor!" [embed]31332:3451:0[/embed] Obviously, Tyrone is not his real name. In actuality, he's Gordon Hurd, born in Cameroon but now living in Britain, a motivational speaker, author, preacher, and former TV presenter. Yes, that's quite the list of jobs, but it doesn't stop there: he also runs a Christian ministry. Even with all this, he finds time for making videos on Fiverr. He says he originally thought the flood of requests was due to "a new thing on the market" but soon found that he found himself "enjoying doing anime videos." He laughed and added, "but I keep begging the sellers for the right pronunciations." [embed]31332:3452:0[/embed] Perhaps the most hilarious anecdote was his tale of a client that asked him to to shout for the entire 30-second duration of the video. "My wife rushed down during the shoot as she thought I was hurt!" He also noted that some users have asked him "to feign being Obama," but he said the strangest one was "recently when I was asked to pass for... a single mum!" I'm still trying to find that video. Gordon also mentioned that due to the popularity of the anime-themed video requests, he decided to check out some anime himself. He told me that he watched "Wake Me Up When September Ends" and plans to watch more. I can only assume he meant an anime AMV, which (frankly) is adorable. Perhaps one user will feel bad about making him read that lolicon script, now. [embed]31332:3460:0[/embed] While Gordon and Roger have never crossed paths in real life, their videos have collided virtually aplenty. Both of them have also been aware of their digital faux-arguments; Rog said what caught his interest was that "some of them were some impressive hits on YouTube." Gordon even mentioned interacting with users in the comments, saying that while he loved how involved they were, some were "so involved one of them even shoved me off in a YouTube comment with words I cannot write here." Well, that's YouTube comments for you. [embed]31332:3453:0[/embed] Amidst the myriad of video-uploading, something emerged: a strange sense of unity. Though fans were hurling insults at each other, it was a gentle ribbing rather than vitriolic hate. Usually denizens of 4chan are powered by hate -- either of moe or of moe detractors -- but this was something they (mostly) came together to support. Of course, I couldn't leave without getting a video from both Rog and Gordon, now could I? I decided to continue the theme of unification among otaku and attempt to bring everyone together, although even I couldn't resist a few jokes here and there. [embed]31332:3454:0[/embed] [embed]31332:3455:0[/embed] "Now, I just love doing videos especially when buyers return positive, encouraging comments," says Gordon. He plans to continue doing anime-themed videos as long as the orders keep coming in. Perhaps one day a true collaboration between the two will happen, and the anime fandom on this side of the internet will collapse. Before I finished, I asked Rog one last question: who is "best girl?" I expected him to answer with the typical joke answer, "Satsuki," but instead he surprised me. "Geez, who is best girl, tough one to answer. That blonde one with the big tits, whatever her name was." I think they'll fit in here just fine.
Rog & Tyrone photo
The tale of online fans that tossed two testimonial video actors into battle.
By now you may have seen the videos floating around the internet. If you're a visitor to 4chan, you've most certainly caught a glimpse of the casual, laid-back battle that has been waged since December of last year, where two...

Shingeki no Racing photo
Shingeki no Racing

Attack on Horse Racing


The fight with the titans is escalated.
Nov 23
// Chris Walden
Are you familiar with the Japan World Cup? If not, you should check that out before you continue. Good? Good! Now, you might be thinking that a collaboration between that and Attack on Titan may be an odd one, and well...you'...
Social Media photo
Social Media

Shocking news: introverts more likely to talk about anime


XD lol! Introverts on social media love talking about anime and manga!
Oct 30
// Ben Huber
How likely are you to tell all your friends about your hobbies on social networks? Statistics say you're going to! Recently, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania did a study that analyzed the language and wording use...

Final Impressions: Rozen Maiden Zurckspulen

Oct 06 // Chris Walden
Rozen, a mysterious doll maker with an apparent knack for infusing his creations with supernatural abilities, created seven girls known as the "Rozen Maiden". However, rather than being the doting father that he probably should have been, he instead starts the "Alice Game," claiming that only the doll that collects all of the Rosa Mysticae can become "Alice" and meet Rozen once again. However, it's the Rosa Mysticae that provide life to these dolls, so cue some crazy magical fighting. The dolls soon find themselves owners, which in turn allows them to draw additional power to help them in fights. However, not all of the dolls are interested in becoming "Alice," so the show becomes a mix of forced fights and tea parties. The series also adds in another timeline to make things a little more confusing, with protagonist Jun speaking to a future version of himself. It's not quite the oddest premise out there, but be warned that you'll need to keep your wits about you if you fancy keeping track of the story. And if you were looking for a conclusion, you're not going to find it in the final episode of Zurückspulen. The ending gears up for a sequel, teasing at the apparent non-death of Kirakisho and young-Jun 'tripping' while at school, as well as old-Jun jumping into an N-field after instruction from Shinku and friends in the other timeline. This is fine, so long as we actually do get another series, but remember how long it took us to get this one? It was also a tad anti-climactic, offering no cliffhanger or any food for thought in between seasons.  The final episode of this season does wind down the story though, all on the assumption that Kirakisho is dead and Suigintou is taking a break from trying to fight with her sisters. It means we get to see old-Jun finally get one-up on his boss at work, as well as furthering the relationship with his co-worker. The play went down really well, and it seems that while old-Jun is still moping about losing the dolls he worked so hard on, his life is finally taking a turn for the better. First, the positives. The art direction of this show is absolutely the best Rozen Maiden has offered thus far. The colors stand out, the animation is smooth and the girls looks like the dolls they are. I mention this specifically because the scale always seemed a little odd in the previous few series, but this time around they look exactly as tall as you'd expect them to be. You also know you've got a solid art team when you can appreciate how the anime looks without getting an art school thesis project like Bakemonogatari or C3. That style has its place, and that place isn't here, so I'm pleased to see it didn't worm its way into Rozen Maiden. If we pretend the first episode doesn't exist, then the pacing was also really well-judged. There was always something going on, and it never seemed to dawdle too long on one particular event before moving to the next. Old-Jun's life at work and with the dolls was also covered well, so we didn't end up wondering why he cared a lot for Shinku, or where this friendship with his female co-worker came from. So long as you've seen the previous material, you won't be all that fussed about not seeing the young-Jun too much, at least until the ending. In fact, it reminds me a lot of Kingdom Hearts 2 when you play as Roxas: You don't really know what's going on and you know you're not the main character, but hey, this is kind of interesting too. The main chunk of the plot, more specifically Kirakisho attempting to secure a vessel of her own by using this alternate-universe Jun, was actually pretty interesting. Seeing a recluse like future-Jun using this doll-making hobby as a way of expressing himself was nice to see, and it makes the collapse of Shinku's temporary body hit that much harder. However, forcing Kirakisho out of Souseiseki's body was an utter mess; it didn't make any sense and seemed incredibly rash. Kirakisho's situation is genuinely an upsetting one, and while her story is likely to be explored in  a potential sequel, it leaves this season feeling just a bit empty. There was also the scene where Souseiseki and Suiseiseki fix a grandfather clock in order to create pathways to the two timelines, so old-Jun can go back to his world while young-Jun can return to his. These dolls have special powers, sure, but it would have been much better had these particular powers been established beforehand. As it was, we saw two dolls basically produce a magic tree out of a clock, and suddenly everything is okay. Perhaps this is handled better in the manga, but as it is it makes me wonder if we were missing something. Which, in all honesty, is a shame. There were moments when I really enjoyed my time with Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen, as it breathed new life into a series that, in my opinion, was growing stale. The split timeline story provided an interesting platform for the show to introduce some new concepts, as well as a new sister, and it was easily one of my most-anticipated shows. However, it does stumble and fall under its own convoluted weight at times-- important times, no less. This aside, I feel Zurückspulen is a very positive step in the right direction, and I'll be awaiting a possible sequel with genuine interest. 
Final Impressions photo
Two timelines filled with crazy dolls
Seems it isn't just Genshiken that can disappear for years and come back with a vengeance. Everyone's favourite animated series about animated dolls has returned, bringing back the Alice Game and all of the crazy jargon that ...

Final Impressions: Genshiken Nidaime

Oct 02 // Chris Walden
In Japan, the otaku culture isn't the niche it is in the west. You don't need to look far to find someone at least vaguely interested in anime, manga or video games, so it makes sense that those in school with a keener-than-normal interest in these things would group together to avoid the 'going home' club after school. This is how Genshiken was formed, a catch-all collection of obsessives that don't fancy limiting themselves to either the anime, manga or video game clubs. However, there wasn't much of a female presence in the original series, with only Ohno and Kasukabe around from the beginning, and Ogiue showing up much later on. Genshiken Nidaime flips that on its head, throwing way more girls into the mix, and having the only new male character in the club often show up dressed as a woman. With all these shake-ups, this season was bound to leave a lasting impression, good or otherwise.  The finale brings along a fair amount of baggage with it, as Hato spends a lot of his time just moping about the place. It's understandable that he would feel responsible for Madarame being rejected by Kasukabe and quitting his job, so perhaps removing himself from the club room and visiting Madarame seems like apt self-punishment. He blames his female persona for this whole course of events, and so he locks himself in his male body around those that have already accepted him participating in club activities as a female. But is this justified? There's certainly reason to beat himself up, but on the other hand Madarame was already in a pretty depressing position. He was clearly not enjoying the day job, and while he'd obviously have preferred for things with Kasukabe to go differently, he knew that she was never going to leave Kousaka. Madarame even remarked earlier that this was a great weight off of his shoulders, and while you could argue that it was a spur of the moment exclamation, I believe there is truth to it. That said, Hato wasn't privy to a lot of this information, so that explains that. Luckily he settled things with Madarame pretty quickly, thanks in part to some counselling from Ogiue and having Sue at hand to keep away the meddling titan-Kuchiki. So all's well that ends well, right? Well, sure, I guess. Hato now hasn't got anything holding him back from continuing to dress as a woman whenever he hangs with Genshiken, and he no longer feels responsible for Madarame's life renovations. That's all fine and dandy, but in all seriousness Genshiken Nidaime felt a lot like one big Hato arc. We saw pretty much all there is to see about his crossdressing, his past and the complications surrounding these, but what did we learn about the other new members? Ogiue is the club president, but she never really felt like she was in much of a position of importance. Madarame was even drafted in to support the Hato storyline, but he wound up with more screen time than a lot of the new characters. Don't get me wrong, the Hato story was handled perfectly, but I feel we've neglected these other characters just a little bit. Let's just say that it'd be great if they were more involved should we get another sequel. That aside, this really is the third serving of Genshiken you've been waiting for. Even with the character changes and a big focus on particular characters, it never stops feeling completely in-line with the previous material, and it's pretty darn fun to watch, too. Even if you don't enjoy some of the serious plots that crop up in this thirteen-episode outing, there are plenty of anime references to simply get a good laugh out of it. If you've seen the older series' and have yet to jump on board with Nidaime, what are you waiting for?
Final Imps: Genshiken 3rd photo
Witty reference.
Six years. That's how much time passed between Genshiken 2 and the confusingly named sequel Genshiken Nidaime, otherwise known as Genshiken Second Season. However, while fans of the show can certainly ponder the reasonin...

Editorial: When erotic designs, cosplay and figures meet

Sep 05 // Jeff Chuang
It's easy to hand-wave the whole thing as a statement of the obvious: sex sells. It's equally easy to write a pull-quote and say the next MGS game will be more sexy. I think the wording from Kojima's tweets can be better, certainly, but the idea feels as if it could be kind of offensive. Why does it feel this way, when in reality a large number of us enjoy and surround ourselves with media that are create in a similar way? The truth is a little more complicated than that character designers will make sexy or erotic characters in order to get people to desire or otherwise express themselves through interacting with the intellectual property in question. It might be a video game character here, but it applies to film, anime, and even prose and trading card games. It might affect how we cosplay; what kind of outfits we see at cons, or even what kind of public service announcements regarding dealing with creepers at cons. It might be a part of gamer culture or the way a community views its members or their representation in the games they play. But that's the thing--it might. There's no clear relationship between sexy characters and every implication as a result of their popularity, other than popularity itself. Sexy doesn't even always sell. The icky feeling feels skirts a little puritanical and ungenuine.  As I woke up this morning and went through my morning routine, I spotted the latest post from Good Smile Company's Kahotan, featuring the Good Smile Racing girls in their latest costume, inspired by a combination of stereotypical race queen attire and Hatsune Miku. It might be a nice thing to wake up to, but it reminded me of what Kojima was talking about. I thought this image spoke exactly what Kojima is talking about, in even fewer words. Here we have a very big brand in Hatsune Miku, who really isn't related to all this besides that Good Smile Company typically creates a more sexually-charged version of her figurine each year, under the "Racing Miku" label. And Miku isn't some sex bomb, although her sexuality tend to reflect that of her largest audiences, made up of teens and young adults of both genders. That crowd is not very different than what you'll see at a large anime convention; Miku herself isn't so different than your average pop idol. At the same time, by spinning off a sexy version of Miku and turning that into race queen costumes and pre-orderable plastic, it's a good business that will appeal to a segment of Miku fans that GSC serves. This is one of the implicit understanding behind the whole proposition; by creating one sexy Miku it doesn't change the big picture besides that it will appeal to some people, and GSC can profit from it. So what's wrong with this picture again? It's a similar deal with Metal Gear Solid. The sprawling video game franchise has fans all over the world, and it appeals to people of all walks of life, for all kinds of different reasons. It seems counterintuitive that the fact there is at least one sexy female character in one MGS game can really fundamentally change anything that many of us enjoy MGS for: the presentation, story and gameplay, for starters. Maybe the "confession" that in recent years Kojima has been dishing up the erotic styles more so than before could mean something, if people thought Metal Gear Solid was a game that shied away from everything that is sexual. And for that, would we not rather judge by the game itself rather than what Kojima has said? What's probably more puzzling is why Kojima wants to see people cosplaying Quiet. I suppose as a creator it's great to see fans cosplaying your work, but that seems more like a challenge and a tease issued from Kojima rather than a statement about the state of video game characters and how they are designed. For more discussion, also check out the Tomopop reaction piece! [Image credit]
Cosplay v. Characters photo
Kojima points out the obvious, so what's next?
You might have noticed some people talking about the description of how Hideo Kojima and his team create the next Metal Gear Solid project. Specifically, Kojima tweeted how one of his characters are designed. The reaction see...

Custom Eva Nike sneakers  photo
Custom Eva Nike sneakers

The custom Nike Evangelion sneakers to wage war for


All the sneakerheads be totes jelly over these
Aug 26
// Brad Rice
I am by no means a sneakerhead. I'll drop plenty of money on clothes, but sneakers are an area where I just put down the minimum on some Onitsuka Tigers or Adidas and call it a day. If you want to take your geek pride to the ...
Japan Expo photo
Japan Expo

JX: Day two impressions


More and better
Aug 25
// Josh Totman
Saturdays at a convention are always the best day of the convention. You have the whole day to do everything that you want without a time limit of any sort. I mean, there is no need to go to work or school tomorrow, right? Wi...
Japan Expo photo
Japan Expo

JX: Day one impressions


It's roomy
Aug 24
// Josh Totman
It's been a busy day for us here on day one of Japan Expo USA. Tim and myself were running all over the place trying to see what this convention has in store for us. You know, in between guest interviews and such. We were abl...
Maid Cafe NY  photo
Maid Cafe NY

Rejoice, New Yorkers: A Maid Cafe is opening soon in NYC


The Big Apple is getting their first maid cafe!
Aug 07
// Salvador GRodiles
Congratulations, people of the Big Apple; Horizon Enterprise Group, Inc. is going to have a Grand Opening of New York's very first Maid Cafe! And from the looks of it, the people that are bringing this treasure to NYC are exc...
Culture Japan expansion photo
Culture Japan expansion

Aw snap, Culture Japan goes through a new expansion


Cheers, Danny Choo!
Jun 26
// Salvador GRodiles
Let's give a toast to Danny Choo once again, because Culture Japan is going to expand by moving to Tokyo during the summer. With the new expansion, they're looking to hire some new people to work in their Tokyo office! If you...
Attack on Titan 3DMG photo
Attack on Titan 3DMG

Prepare to take down Titans with your 3D Maneuver Gear


*Queues up "Guren no Yumiya"*
Jun 25
// Josh Tolentino
Wow. This has to be one of the best cosplay props I've ever seen. A gifted Attack on Titan fan has blessed all of nerdkind by creating his very own set of "working" Three-Dimensional Maneuver Gear! In case you've n...
Gargantia fanart photo
Gargantia fanart

Behold, the winners of the Gargantia fan chara contest


See them in the series finale
Jun 24
// Josh Tolentino
Well, it took a while for Production I.G. to decide, but it seems that the people behind Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet have picked a gaggle of winners for their big fan-created character contest last month. The Pixiv...
Attack on Titan fan-game photo
Attack on Titan fan-game

Get your swords out, it's an Attack on Titan videogame!


Sie sind die Jaeger!
Jun 21
// Josh Tolentino
Oh, if only this lovely little browser-based project was an actual, officially-published Attack on Titan videogame, rather than the result of a Chinese fan's creativity. The core concept's pretty great! In case you...
Attack on Hilarity photo
Attack on Hilarity

Attack on Hilarity


Best...opening...song...EVER!!!
May 24
// Josh Totman
Everyone already understands that the opening for Attack on Titan is one of the most epic opening songs. It is so epic, that it can make anything more epic. If you don't believe me, take a good look at the video gallery below.
LOL anime languages! photo
LOL anime languages!

Moonspeak: Maou-sama and Gargantia's languages cracked


Ih'j all Vkeer ho pe!
May 08
// Josh Tolentino
Ah, fantasy. You know it's a fantasy world (including the fantasy of science-fiction) when the world in question has its very own made-up gibberish language. This spring in particular is rife with them, and the two most notab...
JET Program Expansion photo
JET Program Expansion

English teachers ahoy: Japan to expand JET program 200%


Hangs gigantic 'Help Wanted' sign outside door
May 06
// Josh Tolentino
Have you ever wanted to live in Japan? If you're reading this site, chances are you've at least considered it. And for many an English-speaker, the most accessible gateway to living in Glorious Nippon has been the Japan Excha...
Girls und Panzer photo
Girls und Panzer

Girls und Panzer gets the best hug pillow ever


Hugs in the night for your HE ammo
May 05
// Josh Tolentino
Ah, the dakimakura. Few things in otaku culture are more indicative of one's...*ahem* "power level" than being in possession of a large hug pillow emblazoned with the visage of your 2D spouse. That is, unless you're a fan of ...
Attack on Titan piano photo
Attack on Titan piano

Check out this cool piano cover of Attack on Titan's OP


This is really, really awesome.
Apr 15
// Elliot Gay
It's not secret that I'm in love with Attack on Titan's opening theme, Guren no Yumiya (Linked Horizon). After discovering group leader Revo through Bravely Default's amazing soundtrack, I've been devouring anything the man ...
Jump-shot Dragon Ball photo
Jump-shot Dragon Ball

This fun trend in photography is jump-shot Dragon Ball


2D power in 3D real life
Mar 29
// Josh Tolentino
It's great the hilarious and awesome things you can do just by getting your timing right. The cool results this time come straight from schoolgirls all over Glorious Nippon getting into the habit of "fake Dragon Ball" photogr...
Life (not) After Rinko photo
Life (not) After Rinko

Life (not) after Rinko


Still the only one, number 1
Feb 14
// Jeff Chuang
You can be a realist and move on with your new games, new anime, new favorites, and your ever-renewing life. Or you could be serious about your relationships and realize that we have to live with our choices. Sometimes what w...
Life After Rinko photo
Life After Rinko

Life after Rinko


Moving on with my life.
Feb 14
// Chris Walden
The road to recovery was long and arduous, but as many good friends had told me, time is a great healer. I was able to abandon thoughts of venturing to the smoky prison to see her once again, and instead made preparations to ...
 photo

I really hope this Wota's reaction to AKB48 is a joke


Really, I do.
Feb 09
// Josh Tolentino
Unsurprisingly, the rain of "scandals" continues to pour on AKB48, this time due to Yuki "Yukirin" Kashiwagi having the temerity to attend a group party with *gasp* men in it, just days after the now-infamous "Mii-chan Affai...
 photo

Cosplayer Protip: Don't let bigots ruin your hobby


Wise words from an African-American cosplay goddess
Feb 06
// Josh Tolentino
You'd think that we'd have had enough of nerd "facepalm" moments in the last few days, but it's always worth calling out internet jerks. To shrug and say "Meh, internet" is letting them win. That's the case with one Chak...
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Some jerk's vendetta gets Kuroko's Basket banned


Sadness from Comiket 83
Dec 10
// Josh Tolentino
Never underestimate the power of otaku. Now, I'd like to say that that phrase is some kind of testament to nerd ingenuity or some other super cool thing, but the tone I must adopt this time is one of warning, that this is onc...

Japanator's 2012 Holiday Shopping Guide: Goods and Music

Dec 02 // Josh Tolentino
Marcus Speer suggests: For the religious Nujabes / jazz-hop fan: [embed]27301:1865[/embed] Marcus D - Melancholy Hopeful MSRP: $14.99 [USA], $17.99 [International] Aside from having a dope, rad first name, Seattle hip-hop artist Marcus D also makes really awesome beats. Definitely taking inspiration and love from some of Japan's most influential hip-hop artists like Nujabes, Shing02, Uyama Hiroto and Taku Takahashi, Marcus D (who is signed with Nujabes record label, Hydeout Prod.) dropped a bomb this year, his second album Melencholy Hopeful that crosses jazz-hop styles from both the East and West into something fresh and soulful. If you dug the Samurai Champloo OST (which I've been outspoken about in terms of being one of the greatest among anime soundtracks ever made) and find yourself nodding along with the electronic, jazzy beats and soothing piano notes in Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei titles like Persona and the pseudo-SMT game Catherine, then this album is definitely something to look into. It seriously just oozes coolness; there's a flavor to the songs that can get you pumped up for the work day or relaxed for the ride home. I deeply recommend it!   Chris Walden suggests: For the mysterious young girl fan: ClariS - Birthday MSRP: 3059 yen/$35 [USA] This will most likely not be the first time you've heard of ClariS. You may have somehow dodged hearing of them if you've never seen OreImo, Puella Magi Madoka Magica or Nisemonogatari, but the chances are that you will have heard their music. Still, if you've managed to avoid it thus far, congratulations. Now go and give their album a listen, it's pretty good.  All of these songs are on their debut album Birthday, plus a good nine others (or eleven if you find that version with the Nendoroid song plus one other). They don't stray too far from the upbeat and cheerful music they've released before (with perhaps the exception of Connect), but that's far from a bad thing. It is perfect for lifting your spirits, so long as you can get behind some good ol' J-pop.  Plus there's the big mystery about the singers themselves. They've released three popular songs and have done well with an album, and still they've managed to avoid being seen/revealed in public? That certainly takes some skill! Still, it's the voice that matters, so they can take my money and perhaps some of yours too!   For the Kill Bill/catchy rock/curious music fan: [embed]27291:1874[/embed] Tomoyasu Hotei - All Time Super Best Price: $28.99 [USA] I'll have to admit, up until about a month ago my only contact with Tomoyasu Hotei music came from Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2, more commonly known as the second Japanese Elite Beat Agents. It seems crazy that it isn't more commonly known, but this Japanese rock veteran is responsible for a very well known tune from Kill Bill, namely Battle Without Honor or Humanity.  So what changed? Well, he showed up at Hyper Japan here in the UK to announce his one-off December gig. As the gig-lover I am, I looked into whether it'd be worth turning up by listening to his All Time Super Best album. It may be almost seven years old now, but it's certainly sold me on just how special this upcoming gig will be. But aside from this, his music is definitely going to be a good place to point newcomers to Japanese music. With a big hit like the one from Kill Bill adding to a very solid selection of songs (see the video above), this might be what is stopping your friends from experimenting a little with their music library.    Salvador G-Rodiles suggests: For the Super Sentai and/or Power Rangers fan:  Super Robot Chogokin Daizyujin/original Megazord MSRP: $60.99 $52.40, 3,520 yen If there is one thing that most Sentai And Power Rangers fans have in common, it's that both parties got into both franchises through the exposure to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. For many folks in the west, it was the gateway drug that would eventually spark their journey into the realm of tokusatsu. And what better way to cherish your childhood memories by owning the Super Robot Chogokin figure of the Daizyujin/original Megazord from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Just look at the GLORIO detail placed into the body of this prehistoric combination, which feels like the actual Daizyujin was standing right in front of you. And not only does it look nice, it also comes with the effect pieces that lets you reenact the powerful attacks that lay waste to Bandora/Rita Repulas's monsters. A piece like this doesn't come by very often, so get your Dino Bucklers/Morphers out while you still can.    Jeff Chuang suggests: For your glee club buddies Tari Tari Music Album - Utattari, KanadetariMSRP: 3300 Yen Tari Tari has one of the best selling anime soundtracks in 2012, and it's easy to see why. The show is pretty much a music show, complete with song and dance numbers. It employed a pretty solid voice acting crew to back the image songs and the ending song, and it hired an award-winning high school choir to sing the choir parts. All of this adds up to a very interesting and competently put-together album. Tari Tari Music Album collects, on 2 discs, all the insert vocals and the key background music pieces from the show. If someone you know enjoyed Tari Tari, this is the perfect way to relive it.    For the extremely practical importer Japanese Playstation Network CardMSRP: 500, 1000, 3000, 5000, 10000 Yen  Invariably for anyone hooked on iDOLM@STER 2, or just want to watch Gundam Unicorn right when it comes out, there's not much you can do but to hit up the respective online stores on the console of choice. For most of us, that would be the PS3. Since the Vita is still somewhat region-free, the PSN point card makes a very shrew gift for people unafraid of setting up that Japanese PSN account. It really isn't very hard, and the reward is bountiful even if just in terms of the free demos you can play.   For those people who still remember the name of the swimsuit they saw that day Max Factory's Meiko Honma Swimsuit ver.MSRP: 7500 Yen I'm generally not a fan of swimsuit figures, but sometimes it's just done so well. Max Factory's Menma is just such a thing. This is entirely separate from my emotional attachment to a great character from a total tear-jerker of a story from 2011. Simply put, it's somewhat rare to see a swimsuit figure that isn't all about body lines and shapes, but balances that with some bold design elements, color choices, and having the right accessories. Kristina at Tomopop agrees as much, if you need more convincing. The tragedy here is that for people that actually like Menma and want a figure of the iconic Ano Hana character, there are several less exciting, but more characteristic, figures to choose from. That makes this Menma just a bit less popular of a choice for the average Menma fan. The silver lining is that you can still pick up this fragment of summer at an off-season price. It's definitely a below-the-radar gem.   Josh Tolentino suggests: For the true Sengoku BASARA fan that demands only the best in thematic madness... [embed]27291:1892[/embed] Abingdon Boys School - Teaching Materials (or Abingdon Road if unavailable)MSRP: EU9.99 (via iTunes), or $22.99 for Abingdon Road Now, these two are releases from 2010 and 2009, but I think it counts in this case since the best song on either album, "JAP", was in 2012's release of Sengoku BASARA: The Last Party. Yes, I'll say it now: Abingdon Boys School's best song is "JAP", at least with regard to Sengoku BASARA. Why? Just as lead vocalist Takanori "T.M. Revolution" Nishikawa wanted to return to his rock roots when forming ABS, Sengoku BASARA's a pretty rockin' show. "JAP" perfectly captures the the blend of lady-fan-baiting fabulousness and testosterone-drenched excess that led Capcom's series to usurp Koei's Dynasty Warriors throne. It's a little ironic that the franchise's best musical encapsulation comes from the anime and PSP spinoff and not a theme to the main games. Fans of anime songs with access to the European iTunes store will get more out of picking up Teaching Materials, seeing as that compilation contains most of ABS' best anison, including "JAP" the inferior "Blade Chord" that they did for Sengoku BASARA's 2nd season., "Nephilim" from Folklore, "Innocent Sorrow" from D.Gray Man, "Strength" from Soul Eater, "Kimi no Uta" from Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and "HOWLING", from Darker Than Black (aka the "now I've lost it" song).  Folks who pick up Abingdon Road will miss out on "HOWLING", but will get a good number of other songs, and either is better value than picking up the single for their actual 2012 song "WE aRE" (sic), for Sengoku BASARA HD Collection.   For the Busou Shinki anime fan that wants to explore the source material "down to the last screwhole"... Busou Shinki Arnval Mk.2 TempestaMSRP: 5,180 Yen I'll readily admit that my enjoyment of the Busou Shinki anime comes not from being a fan of the figurines but from my nerding out over imagining a world where Shinkis are a real thing.  Well, this here is the real real thing that a Shinki is - an action figure made my Konami. That's not inherently a bad thing, and all things considered, it looks pretty damn cool. This Arnval Mk.2 Tempesta's is good for fans of Ann. The colors may not match, but the original white-colored Arnval Mk.2 model (originally a pack-in for the Busou Shinki Battle Masters PSP game) is now super-limited, and is going for up to five or six times the price of the Tempesta.   At prices like that, I'd only buy a Shinki if it actually is as presented on the anime, i.e. a living, sentient six-inch-tall mecha girl that would love me unconditionally and call me "Master!".   For your lucky lottery-winner best friend... [embed]27291:1893[/embed] A KR-01 Kurata piloted robotMSRP: $1.3 million (minimum) Awww yeah. Now this is some GUNVARREL stuff right here. Yes, you're reading it correctly. It's not a hoax, but a real live pilotable mecha. You can move it by mobile phone or motion control, and it comes with a pair of smile-activated BB Gatling Guns. Yes, smile-activated. I want one. And you should to! Sure, for that kind of money you'd be just short of the scratch needed for a Bugatti Veyron, but a Bugatti Veyron is not a 4.4 meter-tall giant robot. Artist Kogoro Kurata and Suidobashi Heavy Industries' hand-built monstrosities certainly have that going for them.
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Watching you stuff your stocking this year
The time is now, dear readers, as we come closer and closer to the time of gift-giving, and also to the end of Japanator's shopping guide season! We brought you our gift suggestions for videogames, anime and film, and printed...

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Get out the Vote: Pick JManga's Translation Battle winner


Language change we can believe in
Nov 11
// Josh Tolentino
I'd think it's a fairly safe assumption to make that one ambition of pretty much any non-Japanese manga fan is to learn to become fluent in Japanese. And for many  an otaku, the first step down the road to Nihongo-master...
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Japan Expo '12: Seriously guys, stop it


Jul 08
// Brad Rice
We've caught more of you making out on the show floor today than we did yesterday. We snapped a picture of a few of them, but I fumbled with my camera for too long to get twice as many. Have some class -- do it in the hotel room!

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