`Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea` is utter nonsense

1222957894-bana_ponyoAudiences the world over are highly anticipating “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea” (Gake no ue no Ponyo), the first new film in four years by renowned animation director Miyazaki Hayao. After a string of films employing digital techniques, Miyazaki, who has vocally criticized mechanization of animation, and Studio Ghibli deliver a fully hand-drawn, visual tour de force. Funding was abundant and the frame count is high, another hallmark of Miyazaki’s crusade against the often fragmented, still “limited anime” pioneered for Japan television. Movement is even more fluid than “Spirited Away.” As is by Ghibli standard, the environments and … Read the rest

Doujinshi and Law

Doujinshi and LawThe world loves Japanese pop culture, but the Japanese themselves remain the most eager consumers of manga. Government figures show that manga represented 40 percent of all publications in 2005, and anime and live-action TV dramas are increasingly based on successful serials. But the market is saturated and sales have been slowing since the mid-90s, when digital forms of portable entertainment began to flourish. An increasingly popular outlet for manga enthusiasts is doujinshi, meaning both fan-produced manga and the “circles” that create them. They flout copyright law and rearticulate the characters they love, and their numbers are many—the largest public … Read the rest

Macross Frontier movie is pop gone flat

Macross Frontier

It’s been a long wait, but finally moe moe Macross has made it to the big screen. Banzai! Before I get into the review – spoilers ahead – allow me a short explanation. I am writing this on the assumption that no one who watches “Macross Frontier The Movie: The False Diva” will do so for the story. “Macross Frontier” is about characters, so let’s talk about characters. The original Macross is itself an advert for the power of moe – what beats macho mecha and invincible alien invaders is young female idols who wear short skirts and sing. The … Read the rest

Bome figure exhibition at Parco Factory in Shibuya

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The man known only as “Bome,” 47, is the most famous figure sculptor in Japan, well known for his meticulous, even otaku depictions of bishojo, beautiful anime and videogame girls. But critics at their best see talent for what it is, and this otaku is now an internationally recognized artist at the fore of Japan’s $27.5 million figure industry. In honor of Bome’s 10 years in the contemporary art scene, Parco Factory in Shibuya will display an unprecedented 80 Bome bishojo pieces spanning the length of his career.

Bome appeared in the early ‘80s as one of the first amateur … Read the rest

Akihabara gearing up for new Pedestrian Paradise

Been over two years coming, but Akihabara’s Pedestrian Paradise is back this Sunday. It will be held every Sunday from 13:00 to 17:00 until the end of March, and then from 13:00 to 18:00 until the end of June. It is on a trial basis, so expect lots of anxious police and surveillance. Rules explicitly stipulate 1) no selling stuff on the street, 2) no performances, 3) no bicycles and 4) no passing out tissues or fliers. Rule number two might be a little discouraging for some visitors, as it means no cosplay, no idols, no jugglers, etc. Street performances … Read the rest

New Year’s bishojo

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Encouraging tourism (not to mention rampant consumption) with images of cute anime girls is certainly nothing new, but here’s a double whammy: Shinto shrines in rural Ibaraki Prefecture. The advertisement is for hatsumode, the customary first shrine visit of the new year. Why not add a little moe and start 2011 with warmth in your heart?… Read the rest

Tezuka Osamu goes moe

I have nothing but love for Tezuka Osamu. Hell, I traveled across Japan just to visit the museum dedicated to him. But I never thought I would see the day when this pioneer of manga and anime would break in the moe community. Well, I thought wrong. Enter “Osamu Moet Moso,” an exhibition being held at the Tokyo Anime Center in Akihabara from September 18 to October 11. The concept? “Fantasize with Tezuka Osamu.” And what a line up of artists responded to the call!

Pop (“Moetan”):
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Kei (Hatsune Miku):

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Ito Noizi (“The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya,” “Burning-Eyed Shana”):

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Murata … Read the rest

Storywriter Sato Dai is frustrated with Japanese anime

Momoi Halko: The voice of moe is surprisingly deep!

Momoi Halko (桃井はるこ) isn’t your average Japanese idol. First of all, she doesn’t care to hide here age: 32. She also is perfectly comfortable hanging out with the guys chatting about bishoujo games and idols (she’s crazy about Mizuno Aoi). She is one of the most recognizable voices in anime and games, specializing in high-pitched “little sister” types. But her voice in spoken conversation is surprisingly rich. And, despite being the spokeswoman for moe, Momoi is surprisingly ambivalent about the phenomenon.

Momoi is full of surprises. In fact, she didn’t make her magazine debut in gravure, … Read the rest