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Jul 24 // Jeff Chuang

Otakon 2015 is upon us!

Otakon 2015 is upon us! East Coast's largest anime con will roll out in full force tomorrow and throughout the weekend. As if it's easing its way into a 4-day event, Otakon's Matsuri even starred Back-On to perform some songs to get things going early. 
Jul 12 // Jeff Chuang

Review: The IDOLM@STER Cindrella Girls Season 1

What happens when you take one of the longest running media-mixed franchise about idols and give it new life? What happens when you take a mobile game money mill and try to develop its CCG-style characters? What is an idol? T...
Feb 27 // Jeff Chuang

Annotated Anime: Shirobako episodes 16-19

Shirobako remains my favorite anime since a long while, and since I last recapped, it continues to roll forward like an unstoppable boulder of heartful comedy. I can only apologize about the late update since you, and Shirobako, deserved better. Let's see how Shirobako's momentum knocks down the pins our ace project manager Aoi Miyamori manage to overcome to produce the Third Aerial Squad.
Feb 05 // Jeff Chuang

Annotated Anime: Shirobako episodes 14-15

Times like this I wish I have all the time in the world to drill into the last two episodes of Shirobako, because they are rich. I guess you might already guessed that to me, most every episode of Shirobako is rich in some wa...
Jan 15 // Jeff Chuang

Annotated Anime: Shirobako episodes 13

With the new year break behind us, it's time to hit the ground running at Musani. With Honda's departure and the new anime project for Third Aerial Girls Squad secured, Aoi gets thrown right in the fire as the lead production desk. How will team Musani sprint to the finish line, one which is a year away?
Jan 08 // Jeff Chuang

Lantis Fest Vegas: An Interview with Faylan

As a part of promotion for Lantis Festival Las Vegas, we were able to ask anison singer Faylan a few questions! Since her tie-in with CANAAN, Faylan has done a slew of rocking songs for various shows and games, like BlazBlue Alter Memory, Griasia no Meikyuu and Tokyo ESP. Big thanks to Lantis Fest for the opportunity!
Jan 05 // Jeff Chuang

Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 12

Last time on Shirobako, the final episode of Exodus is in trouble as Aoi cannot find enough animators to complete the complex and difficult animations needed for the climatic moment. This week, in a stroke of fortune, Aoi runs into a particular animation veteran--or god to some--by the name of Kanno, who directed a popular show called Ava that aired in 1995. 
Jan 02 // Jeff Chuang

Lantis Fest Vegas: Interview with Choucho

Japanator got to ask Choucho a few questions over email! The self-starting anisong artist is now attached to a bunch of great shows and her melodic tones make them all the more memorable, like Girls und Panzer and Gargantia on the Verderous Planet. Big thanks to Lantis Festival for making this interview possible!
Dec 26 // Jeff Chuang

Japanator Awards 2014: Jeff's Top 5

It was a great 2014 in terms of the anime mill--each season offered something pretty special, and a wide variety of interesting titles. Still, a handful of titles rose to the occasion for me, and I didn't have much of a probl...
Dec 23 // Jeff Chuang

Annotated Anime: Shirobako episodes 11

If you told me that an anime about working in the animation industry will give you one hell of a cliffhanger, I would not have believed you. That's because nobody would ordinarily associate a matter-of-fact approach to real life with page-turning strategies employed largely by pulp manga and daytime soap. It turns out Shirobako decided to show me otherwise.
Dec 18 // Jeff Chuang

Annotated Anime: Shirobako episodes 9-10

Our "imprisoned" director finds his creative spark, while Misa finds courage to get out of a prison of a different kind. A week later Aoi might be the key to help these the two to freedom, if she can overcome the most difficult task of them all. Shirobako, finally, gears up to the final episode...of Exodus.
Nov 29 // Jeff Chuang

Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 7-8

Shirobako takes a step back in these latest two episodes to talk about our individual motivations. While it doesn't quite avoid all the usual pitfalls most 22-minute episodes of anime fall into when they tackle complicated and deep topics like this, it gave us a few good interwoven examples to draw on. At the same time, Shirobako never ceases to be educational. Maybe it's the cat therapy.
Nov 19 // Jeff Chuang

Lantis Festival in Las Vegas is now a thing

Lantis is a Japanese music label that focuses on anime music. It has been a long time coming and the label is putting on a series of festivals in Japan this year. Earlier during this summer, news broke that Lantis will also t...
Nov 11 // Jeff Chuang

Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 5

The story this week on Shirobako is complicated otaku-level hand wringing. Again. It's not particularly engaging unless you have a stake in the overall evolution of animation styles and methods in Japan. As someone who has li...
Nov 03 // Jeff Chuang

Morning Musume '14 in NYC

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...
Nov 03 // Jeff Chuang

Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 4

On her day off, Aoi the animation assistant meets up with her high school buddies and keep in touch. It sounds like just the thing a 20-something female working out in the big city would do on an off day. Except these people ...
Oct 26 // Jeff Chuang

Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 3

Shirobako episode 3 brings us to Aoi's primary tasks to the finish. We first see the innocuous name sake--the white jewel case that hosts the final cut of the TV episode, thus "shirobako." The joy ride continues all the way to the end.
Oct 22 // Jeff Chuang

First Impressions: Shirobako

Shirobako is many things--a story about a struggling animation studio, an anime production starting to go haywire, the promise of five young women in the pursuit of their dreams, and that is just to list a few. Shirobako, ...
Oct 08 // Jeff Chuang

Catch Miku on Letterman's Late Show tonight

To kick off a flurry of Miku events in the USA in the coming weeks, the famous vocaloid (we can legitimately call her that now, right?) will perform for the Late Show with David Letterman tonight. Starting on Thursday, Octobe...
Oct 04 // Jeff Chuang

Morning Musume '14 to play in NYC this Sunday

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.
Oct 02 // Jeff Chuang

Sugoi Japan wants you to vote for your favorite anime and manga

Sugoi Japan is a publisher effort--by rounding up a bunch of the publishers and getting endorsements from some celebrities, maybe Japan can highlight some of the most engaging and popular anime, manga and light/entertainment ...
Sep 22 // Jeff Chuang

Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls anime trailer sure is pretty

The era of warring idols continue with The Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls turning into an anime next year. Above is the first real trailer for the TV series with a massively profitable, idol-raising mobile game behind it. It also looks gorgeous.
Aug 29 // Jeff Chuang

Happy Birthday, Makoto Kikuchi!

Makoto Kikuchi, from The Idolm@ster series, celebrates her birthday on August 29th. It'll be her ninth annual celebration this year as the maturing arcade-turned-multimedia franchise kicked off its 9th year via a full length ...
Aug 24 // Jeff Chuang

Visual novel CLANNAD is getting a Steam release in English

During their panel at Japan Expo USA, Sekai Project announced that they are releasing Key/Visual Arts's CLANNAD visual novel on Steam. It will be the full-voiced edition of the game. However there aren't much more details bey...
Aug 24 // Jeff Chuang

Otakon '14: Saori Hayami interview

At Otakon 2014 Japanator was fortunate enough to grab a few minutes with one of the most prolific voice actresses in otaku anime and games of the past several years. Saori Hayami appeared at the con on behalf of Aniplex and h...
Aug 21 // Jeff Chuang

Annotated Anime: Hanayamata episodes 6-7

When Hanayamata first introduced Yaya, she played with a band. If we logically assume the story is about the formation of a yosakoi club, then the band probably has to go. How does it happen? More importantly, how does Yaya's...
Aug 13 // Jeff Chuang

Otakon '14: Cosplay

Otakon 2014 flew by last weekend, in usual form, cramming way more content than what one can expect within a simple weekend. The cosplayers are out and baffling the crowd. The local baseball program even talked about it, and ...
Aug 07 // Jeff Chuang

Otakon 2014 charms Baltimore this weekend

The biggest East Coast anime con, Otakon, happens this weekend. It'll be, for once, not deathly hot and humid in the Baltimore Inner Harbor, perhaps, but the weather wasn't ever going to stop anyone. As per usual a lot of gue...
Aug 07 // Jeff Chuang

Annotated Anime: Hanayamata episodes 4-5

If you survived the initial three episodes, Hanayamata goes straight for the jugular using its array of fantastic visuals and adorable middle schoolers talking about adorable things. Things like hopes, aspirations, and what it means to go out on a limb and accomplish something as a team of friends are at the heart, and Hanayamata, like Hana's gaijin antics, shows it off, bears it all, whatever.
Aug 04 // Jeff Chuang

Kantai Collection anime PV shows us how these girls surf

With the news that the popular mobile game Kantai Collection, or Kancolle, becoming an an anime, fans have been anticipating how they will turn these girls who wear ship parts into some sort of traditional animation concept....
Aug 03 // Jeff Chuang

So some guy has 13 Idolm@ster character standees

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...
Jul 23 // Jeff Chuang

Annotated Anime: Hanayamata episodes 2-3

Reporting live from New Jersey: There are no uprising of Yosakoi, blonde teenage kids wanting to start clubs, or anything out of ordinary from Princeton. Not that I know what's going on down in that part of south-central...
Jul 14 // Jeff Chuang

First Impressions: Hanayamata

Hello there. I live in the state of New Jersey, here in the USA. Unfortunately my name is not Fountainstand and I've never heard of yosakoi until I first read about Hanayamata. After doing a few Google searches...
Jul 09 // Jeff Chuang

AX '14: Cosplays

It's really amazing how Anime Expo continues to be one of the most diverse cons when it comes to cosplaying things from anime and manga. For those of us canvassing the whole thing, note that while the count of Homestucks have...
Jul 03 // Jeff Chuang

AX '14: Sekai Project to localize Grisaia no Kajitsu, planetarian

At Anime Expo Sekai Project announced that they are partnering with Visual Arts, the studio that publishes high profile Key titles, to release planetarian in English officially. There was a previous release of it with a ...
Jul 03 // Jeff Chuang

Anime Expo 2014 is going on now

Anime Expo is upon us again this July 4th weekend. We'll try to bring the latest announcements there to you, and other important coverages from downtown Los Angeles. The list of guests at Anime Expo is long and impressing as ...
Jun 18 // Jeff Chuang

Internet Explorer collab lets your browser fly around the Gargantia fleet

It's a video game you can play on the browser; it shows off the open source graphics engine Turbulenz. It's called Sky Courier, and this browser game puts you in the seat of apowered glider from Gargantia, in which you have ...
Jun 16 // Jeff Chuang

Anime Next '14: Studio Trigger

At Anime Next 2014, the "Creative Officer" and "Creative Director" of Kill la Kill, Shigeto Koyama and Hiromi Wakabayashi, respectively, did some show-and-tell for the crowd. Their Saturday panel on Kill la Kill was not ...
Jun 12 // Jeff Chuang

Sekai Project to enable dating with alpaca via Pacaplus

Remember that pigeon-dating game? Sekai Project might one-up it in terms of weirdness with PacaPlus. The localization outfit will do a proper translation of the bizarre dating sim where your girlfriend turns into an alpaca.....
Jun 10 // Jeff Chuang

Miku to visit LA and NYC at next stops of Miku Expo

Crypton's Miku Expo site announced that the virtual idol will appear in the US again in LA and NYC in October. After MIKU EXPO Indonesia earlier in late May, LA and NYC are the next stops, and there will be a 2-day festival ...

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