Audiences 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
The 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
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!
Kei (Hatsune Miku):
Ito Noizi (“The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya,” “Burning-Eyed Shana”):… Read the rest
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
Kaiju and Cute Girls
Shock and Moe
Old-School Japan and Modern Akiba
3D and 2D
What will happen when these elements come together? The only thing guaranteed is that it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss!
Featured creators will be bringing new original figures for display and sale, and original photography and illustrations featuring a blend of Kaiju and Akiba culture will be on … Read the rest
I am super impressed with this design, which I just received from Yamaji Tomo. He is an independent creator, and this is all made in Japan, an increasingly rare combination that I’d like to support. It is called the HENGE h010101, and it sells for around US$1,100, but it has been discounted to US$577. Check out the demo.… Read the rest
This past week, weekly women’s magazine “An-an” featured a huge story on moe. We are talking 11 pages, the second largest story in the entire January 20 issue. While “Vogue” did something similar – manga and dolls as fashion - introducing moe into the mainstream domestic fashion vocabulary is an interesting move.
The article attempts to explain moe as experienced by women. The definition is actually good: Not a preference or type, but it a strange feeling you get in response to bearing or clothing. This is not love, because it has nothing to do with any real partner, and … Read the rest
Just saw this over at Temple University Japan, where I sometimes do guest lectures. Maybe I might join the Manga Club, too! Any thoughts on the quality of this Pikachu girl? I want to know up front if I am out of my league drawing wise…