New robot TV series features ultimate 12-man transformer

Engine Oh G12 is a new transformer TV series that’s super hot in Japan right now. In this clip, a dozen normal-sized motor vehicle robots transform into an indestructible giant mecha with a 12-man cockpit. Even if you can’t understand what they’re saying, the visuals are amazing. Engine Oh G12 is actually part of a series called Engine Sentai Go-onger, and premiered on TV Asahi last February.

(Thanks, Matsuu!)

Guy Imitating the Bony Rapyuta Bot

Remember the cute bony robot soldier in Hayao Miyazaki’s classic anime Rapyuta: Castle in the Sky? Well there’s a dude in Japan who can do a perfect imitation of him without even wearing a robot suit. His name is Masaaki Okuyama, and he’s a 28-year old salaryman at a cell phone company in Tokyo. Funny guy! This is a clip from a TV show in which people with quirky talents come on stage and are judged with a tower of lights by a panel of celebrities.

via Gizmodo Japan

60s Sci-Fi Anime by Tezuka Osamu

Ts001_01 When Osamu Tezuka,
the father of manga, died in 1989, nobody had a full archive of his
works—at least not in English. But his genius was certainly recognized.
Back in 1965, Stanley Kubrick even asked him to art direct 2001: A Space Odyssey.
(Tezuka, a known workaholic, turned down the opportunity because he
couldn’t leave his studio for too long.) What was so important that he
couldn’t leave his studio for Kubrick?

Continue reading…

The Figurine That Poses Like A Woman


Figurine-lovers had something to be extra excited about in 2007—this year marked the debut of the Revoltech line of female toys that can bend and pose like a girly girl. By modifying the limb structures of standard, ordinarily-robotic figurines, the company is quickly developing low-cost, high-output girly figurine collectibles so that anime-obsessed otaku have yet another inanimate object genre to ogle over.

The one pictured above if Rei Ayanami of Neon Genesis Evangelion. You can buy it here (Japan only).

Body Pillows With Bikini-Clad Anime Girls


I used to have a body pillow in college, but it didn’t have a hot anime girl in a bikini painted onto it. Apparently, it’s a new trend. I wonder what kind of people buy it, and what they do with it. This particular one pictured here comes as a special gift to the first 5000 people who buy Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball in Japan. Since Xbox isn’t doing so hot there, this is just one way in which they’re motivating anime lovers and pillow-huggers to convert.


For more deets, check out Chris Kohler’s article.

Semi-Erotic Gas Tank Fuel Manga Girls


Comiket, the  biannual dojinshi convention, is like the ultimate geek mecca. The last one was held in mid-August. You can tell just by looking at the cars that roll up in the parking lot that these people are seriously serious about their love for manga. Senaka Blog has a couple of great photo galleries of them; I like this one, where the girl on the fuel door is saying "Please be gentle." As in, please be gentle when inserting your gas pump snake in my fuel tank hole. There are many more funny fuel doors translated into English here.

Senaka Blog (via Pink Tentacle)

Animated Bulletproof Breasts and Penis Tentacles

Picture_2 Check out this superbly written article by Wired senior editor and TV star Adam Rogers about xxx-rated weirdness and gender roles in Japanese animation. It starts like this:

Imagine if the centaurs in Fantasia abandoned their chaste little picnic and erupted into a wild orgy. The younger, more girlish colts might not be as into it, so they’d get tied up. Then a 1,000-foot high robot in samurai armor locked in battle with an equally huge demon that squirts fire out of tentacles shaped like penises might crash into the scene, killing all the centaurs.

This article was actually written a decade ago—I found it while surfing the web for blog ideas. I work with Adam at Wired, but had no idea he was an anime/sex/gender expert. (Now he has a wife and a baby and edits stories about science, politics, and law enforcement.) The guy’s full of surprises! Just goes to show that you just never know where your editors have been—or what they’ve been imagining.


Read the article

Genius Party, Collection of Manga Genius Shorts, Coming Soon


Genius Party, the much-anticipated series of short mangas produced by animation group Studio 4°C, debuts in Japan on July 7th. To create this anthology—which will be released as two separate feature-length films (the second one comes out in early 2008), is a collection of works by 14 manga "geniuses"—animators, writers, directors, etc. Each was given the theme ENERGY, and pretty  much everything else was left to the producers’ discretion.


A Game For Booby-Lovers: Billboard Has Real Breasts


Check out this human-sized ad for a new video game that features a 2-dimensional anime girl with 3-dimensional, soft, touchable breasts. What a great way to advertise for a game! The red lettering on the side says: "Bigger is better…isn’t it?" The sign below her bust says: "Touch her boobies as much as you want, as freely as you want." And then there’s an illo of an excited little man with both hands fondling breasts. The game being advertised is called OPPAI BAKA (Crazy for boobies), and I think it’s a PC game about feeling boobies, or something X-rated like that. If anyone has played it, please report back and let me know how it is. I doubt it’s as titillating as its ad.


Made in Japan Virtual Worlds Coming This Winter


This winter, expect to see the Japanese population in online worlds multiply as some of the country’s greatest animators collaborate on projects to create virtual Tokyos that combine anime-grade visuals, creative freedom, and virtual real estate.

Here’s what we know so far:

Studio 4°C—a collaboration of the genius minds behind classics like My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service—is designing a world called "Cyber Megacity: Tokyo’s 0th Ward." The press release promises many surprises ahead as the best animators in the world experiment with new media.

Production I.G.
(Ghost in the Shell) and Studio Pierrot (Naruto) are collaborating with gaming companies and news organizations to create "meet me," a metaverse catered specifically toward a Japanese audience. Smart idea—if you know anything about the conception of user-friendly in Japan vs. the US, it’s totally different. Plus, with the kinds of creative minds working on this thing, meet-me could just kick Second Life out of cyberspace.

I’ll keep you guys posted as I find out more.

Anime News Network (via Jean Snow)

Joe is Japanese: Anime on Being a Half-Breed


Joe is Japanese, a new anime about a half-Japanese guy living in Tokyo, reminds me of my childhood. Yeah, I know, I’m not a guy, and my last name is Katayama, not McCunney. But many of the problems the protagonist runs into are familiar to me and other kids growing up on the fringes of Japanese society.

I love how he mixes Japanese words in English sentences and makes English words into Japanese words just as they seem most naturally fit in a dialogue. That’s kinda how I talk when I’m in my element. I like it I like it I like it! Will someone please let me know when this show airs?

Watch the trailer

Man Trapped In Comic Girl’s Body


Here’s a picture of a real life anime girl trapped in a white man’s body. Look how happy he looks! Plus if you want to read his fortune, you have the perfect palm shot to do it with. This is actually Chris, one of my editors at Wired, who knows more about Japan than I do, even though he’s from Texas and I’m from Tokyo.

This is the same genre of old school Japanese kids’ toys as the Ultraman mask I posted last week. Very plastic, very by-the-manga masks that tie behind your head with a rubber band. They used to have all these different kinds, like you could be Doraemon and your friend could be Nobita-kun, and you could run around your ‘hood causing trouble and then solving it with tools from the future. 

Shakespeare, The Yakuza Manga Series


Check out London publishing house Metro Media‘s new Shakespeare manga series. The company collected some of the best manga artists in town and collaborated their efforts into the release of Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, both adapted to take place in modern-day Tokyo.

Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s most famous love story, unfurls in a dramatic manga setting,
in which Verona becomes a street in the highly fashionable Shibuya district of Tokyo.
The star-crossed lovers, touching in their youth and innocence, are caught up in a bitter feud between
two Yakuza families (Japan’s ‘mafia’) whose rivalry erupts into violence and killing on the streets.
Romeo, a rock star, is a Montague who falls in love with Juliet, a Capulet. They defy their parents
and consummate their passion in secret. This is a story of love, revenge, violence and tragedy.

Pretty awesome, huh? It’s part of an effort to teach kids about classic literature so they actually enjoy it. Just released this month.