How many times has Golgo 13, manga’s greatest assassin, ever laughed? Let’s find out!

In 200 volumes, anime/manga sniper extraordinaire Duke Togo doesn’t laugh much, and when he does, he has some weird reasons.

Usually when we refer to a manga or anime as a “classic,” the connotation is that it’s over and done with. Golgo 13, though, is a major exception. Debuting all the way back in 1968, creator Takao Saito’s story about the world’s greatest assassin is still ongoing, and recently hit a major milestone with the release of its 200th collected volume, tying the Guinness World Record for most volumes in a single manga series.

▼ And since the series it’s tied with, Kochi Kame, only hit volume 200 as it concluded, the record will be Golgo’s alone before long.

Over the years, protagonist Golgo 13, a.k.a. Duke Togo, has but countless bullets into his targets, but today we’re counting up the instances of something that happens much less frequently than him carrying out a murder-for-hire contract by asking the question “How many times has Golgo 13 ever laughed?”

As you might expect, it’s a rare occurrence. Golgo 13 is, after all, so stoic that the closest thing he has to a catchphrase is dialogue boxes that read “…” to express his palpable silence (and sometimes even his though bubbles are just ellipses). So imagine our shock to discover that the first time Golgo laughs is in the very first chapter of the manga, titled “Operation Big Safe.”

▼ The first Golgo 13 collected volume (as per the SP Comics imprint numbering)

In …continue reading


Studio Ghibli producer makes bombshell anime revelations during online Q&A

Howl’s Moving Castle has a prequel? Why does Ghibli food look so good? Is Hayao Miyazaki a mummy’s boy? Toshio Suzuki spills all the tea.

One thing we love about Studio Ghibli is the work that goes on behind the scenes, and the ongoing bromance between two of the co-founders, producer Toshio Suzuki and director Hayao Miyazaki.

Following the sad passing of fellow co-founder Isao Takahata in 2018, the bond between Suzuki and Miyazaki has only grown stronger, and the synergy between the two is like Yin and Yang. The chatty and easygoing producer is always happy to represent the company in interviews while the more reserved director prefers to stay away from the limelight and concentrate on producing the work.

Suzuki’s strong, decades-long friendship with Miyazaki–and his working relationship as his producer–makes Suzuki the only person in the world who can reveal secrets about the director and his films without any fear of repercussions. So whenever Suzuki is scheduled to appear for an interview, Ghibli fans know to sit up and listen, and that’s what they did on Friday, when Studio Ghibli’s official Twitter account announced they would be holding a Q&A with the producer, to coincide with the television broadcast of Howl’s Moving Castle in NTV Tokyo’s “Friday Roadshow” movie slot that same evening.

The Q&A began with this image of Suzuki, holding a figurine of the Friday Roadshow character to his lips, with the message in Japanese reading: “I will answer”.


— スタジオジブリ STUDIO GHIBLI (@JP_GHIBLI) April 2, 2021

Answer he did, and while the discussion was focussed on Howl’s Moving Castle, other revelations came quick and fast, so let’s take a look at what was discussed below.

Q: “Why did you choose Takuya Kimura to voice the character of Howl?”
Suzuki: It was …continue reading


Anime industry group doesn’t want artists to rely on CG, releases free animator drills

Animator Assignment Collection covers “First Steps Towards understanding the Principles of Motion.”

“Modern animation is all done with CG, right?” isn’t an uncommon assumption, and it is true that computers are playing an increasingly large role in animation production. However, the Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) wants aspiring anime artist to avoid becoming entirely reliant on machines when creating art.

“In recent years, the number of anime in which CG models are used for characters is increasing, but hand-drawn art is still an important part of many productions. The job of animator is to provide artwork that meets the needs of the project. Animators, professionals of motion, have a vital occupation,” says the association, and in keeping with that belief, it’s recently released a series of animator art drills that it calls the Animator Assignment Collection.

Subtitled as “The First Steps Towards Understanding the Principles of Motion,” the assignment collection is offered as a free PDF download from the AJA on its website here, and divides its drills into four sections: Form, Physics, Movement, and Application. The drills, developed and selected by veteran animator/animation director Kazushige Yusa (whose credits include anime movies in the Touch and Street Fighter II franchises) with the backing of studios such as Sunrise, Bones, Studio 4°C, and Tezuka Productions, are accompanied by example solutions and explanations.

Many of the drills give you two pieces of artwork and ask you to draw in a number of intermediary steps, which would correspond to either in-between or key animation frames. The Assignment Collection also encourages artists to keep in mind what sort of action or mood the scene is trying to create. For example, this driving drill asks for two different in-between frames, …continue reading


Kodansha promises worldwide prosecution of illegal uploaders of Attack on Titan

Warning posted in English and Japanese comes just days before manga’s series finale.

Some anime and manga series are all about maintaining the status quo, their whole appeal wrapped up in allowing fans to leisurely spend time with the settings and characters established in their earliest segments. That’s not the case for Attack on Titan, though, whose rollercoaster ride of mysteries, betrayals, and warfare is about to come to an end.

The final chapter of creator Hajime Isayama’s tale of fearless heroes and pantsless monsters is set to be published in the next issue of manga anthology Bessatsu Shonen Magazine. No matter how Attack on Titan’s conflicts resolve themselves, though, publisher Kodansha is making it very clear that its fight against manga pirates continues, and will be a worldwide one as well, as shown in a tweet from Shintaro Kawakubo, the Japanese editor for the Attack on Titan manga.

Regarding illegal upload and pre-release leakage of Attack on Titan.

We’ve begun to take legal actions against several accounts & individuals. We’ll take measures against illegal uploads of images & texts regardless of country.
Thank you for choosing our official products!

— 「進撃の巨人」担当編集者バック (@ShingekiKyojin) March 30, 2021

While Kawakubo doesn’t mention Attack on Titan’s final chapter specifically, the timing, coming just a little more than a week before the next Bessatsu Shonen Magazine issue’s street date, can’t be a mere coincidence. Of particular note is the assertation that Kodansha will pursue legal action against unauthorized uploads “regardless of country,” implying that the company is in no way willing to turn a blind eye to uploaders located in countries where the final chapter is yet to go on sale and/or local fans may object to the pricing and/or localization choices of the officially license version.

▼ The same statement was issued …continue reading


Tokyo Babylon anime reboot project cancelled after multiple copied designs discovered

Producers say they have lost faith in Tokyo Babylon 2021’s animation studio.

A lot of media releases have gotten delayed during the pandemic, so Tokyo Babylon 2021, a reboot of creative team Clamp’s Tokyo Babylon franchise, getting pushed back from its original April 2021 release wouldn’t have been such a shocker if the cause had been teleworking logistics hiccups or a key staff member needing to take time off to quarantine. The actual reason, though, turned out to be something much more unexpected: the discovery that two of the anime’s costumes were copied from preexisting fashion and doll accessory designs, as were the poses in the associated key artwork.

Tokyo Babylon 2021 character design comparison

The similarities were first spotted back in November, and involve protagonist Subaru, wearing white robes and purple hakama pants seemingly copied from a Volks-brand doll outfit, and Subaru’s twin sister Hokuto, dressed in attire obviously modeled on an ensemble worn in a promotional photo by a member of Korean idol unit Red Velvet.

Tokyo Babylon 2021’s production committee responded to the discovery by postponing the anime’s premiere while they looked into the matter, and now they’ve gone one step further by canceling the series outright, posting a message on its official website that says:

“After the recent discovery of incidences of plagiarism by the animation production company, the Tokyo Babylon 2021 production committee comprehensively reevaluated the project. As a result, we were disappointed to discover other instances of plagiarism beyond the two character costumes that had been initially pointed out.

We deeply apologize for this oversight.

Following repeated discussions, the production committee no longer has trust in the current production company and does not believe production can continue, so we will be halting production of the Tokyo Babylon 2021 project.”

The production committee has not specified what the newly discovered …continue reading


Want to design your own anime figure and have it shipped to you? Online program lets you do just that

Pixiv-powered program turns otaku daydreams into on-your-desk-reality, and here’s how it works.

Shopping for anime figures is one of our favorite ways to treat ourselves to something nice, but today we’re going a step further and designing one.

However, our boss isn’t quite generous enough to spring for an entire figure-making factory for us. That’s OK, though, because thanks to a new online service called VRoid Studio you can design your figure, specifying all sorts of details, in the comfort of your own home and then have it produced and shipped to you.

After downloading the VRoid Studio software (a free download with Windows, macOS, and Steam versions available), the first step is to choose one of two body types/starting outfits.

This is just the very beginning, though, because VRoid allows for all sorts of customization by utilizing sliders and other onscreen controls to fine-tune your figure’s look.

We decided to sort out our figure’s clothing first, and the user interface is easy to navigate even for beginners without a background in 3-D modeling, with a number of apparel pieces to choose from.

Something especially cool happens when you fiddle with the texture pattern for a piece of clothing, like with the dress pictured below. If you use …continue reading


Celebrating My Birthday 2021 and Leaving Episodic Anime Blogging

Source: Supaku Blog
A quick update that today is my Birthday once again. But, I’ll be mostly quitting on posting about anime episodes and other certain content.
The reason is that after I got infected from COVID last year (and fully recovered), my life perspectives got changed. Life is too short, and I just don’t want to stick with anime episodic blogging forever. My main goal is now shifting to music production and vocaloid. Feel free to check out my Twitter for my music production updates. I’ll also be posting on Fleets content on Twitter.

…continue reading


ERASED: Life Gives Second Chances

Erased, Boku Dake ga Inai Machi

When we watch anime, common tropes are almost always used. The slice of life genre especially contains the same high school setting with the average protagonist. Of course, they’re not carbon copies; they mix in new elements to change things up, but the formula is the same. Yet we don’t ever get to see different settings, new experiences, and changes. Taking a chance at a new story is risky, but this kind of alternative experience is much needed. This is where anime such as Boku dake ga Inai Machi or ERASED, come into play.

ERASED tells a story about a unique individual and the mystery surrounds the world around him. The main character is Satoru Fujinuma. He’s somewhat of the average protagonist, but he’s older at the ripe age of 29. His life isn’t exactly going as planned, as he struggles to hit it big as a manga artist. The only benefit he has is that he has the ability to repeat certain events, going back in time to stop catastrophes.
From the beginning I thought that the series would revolve completely around his powers, featuring everyday situations and being a small-time superhero. This expectation was completely blown out the water when he gets sent back in time, to solve a murder mystery that happened during his grade school days.
It starts with the murder of his mother, with him being framed as the culprit. Becoming a fugitive and then forced back to the past, he then has to relive this point of his life with an adult mindset and a newfound drive to stop the murders.
ERASED, boku dake ga inai machi
Although we may not get …continue reading


“My dad was like Gendo.” How does the final Evangelion movie resolve the series’ true conflict?

Our Eva fan grew up with a dad like the one Shinji is stuck with, so how does he feel after watching Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time?

If you’re slotting it into a genre, Evangelion goes in the science fiction/mecha one. It is, after all, a series about giant robots fighting giant alien monsters.

But for all the physical confrontations it resolves through punching, stabbing, and shooting, many fans would argue that it’s the series’ mental conflicts that really make Eva so uniquely compelling. With Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time releasing this week, our Japanese-language reporter Tasuku Egawa, whose relationship with his own father was similar to the one between Eva protagonist Shinji and his robot-designing dad Gendo, took a moment to reflect on the emotional journey it’s been being an Evangelion fan for more than 20 years, and how the series can affect you in different ways depending on what stage of life you’re in while you’re watching it, so we’ll turn things over to him (minor, non-specific spoilers ahead).

– – – – –

Tasuku: The thing that’s always drawn me to Evangelion is the theme of the parent-child relationship between Gendo and Shinji. Speaking personally, when I was growing up, my own father was very much like Gendo.

I watched the original Evangelion TV series while it was originally airing in the ‘90s on broadcast TV in the evening. At that time, I was in the upper grades of elementary school, and I was completely on Shinji’s side. Even then, I could tell Shinji wasn’t the cool-guy protagonist of other anime series. But what really struck me was how oppressive Gendo was, and how he’d do things seemingly at random just to test Shinji. In that way, I felt he was a lot like my own father.

▼ Trailer for …continue reading


What We Really Want

Manbagi talking to Komi, Komi Can't Communicate
Komi taking initiative in making friends with Manbagi
Komi asks Manbagi to be her 1st friend

Source: VIZ Media

This is one of my favorite sequences in Komi Can’t Communicate from what I’ve read so far.

Someone said to me a long time ago that you can’t love anyone unless you love yourself. I used to believe those words years ago, but the reality is that it takes people in a supportive and safe environment that teach you how to appreciate yourself.

Friends are a huge part of that environment and I hate how the older you get, the more friendship gets thrown into the wayside. I think perhaps many of us are still like Manbagi sometimes. I know I am. Getting thrust into new environments and having no clue on how to get to know new people does get harrowing.

And like Komi, there was someone in my life who took steps to be friends with me despite my self-hatred at the time and I’m trying to do the same for others because life is so damn hard to get through by yourself.

What we really want right now is someone to share whatever’s on our mind with – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and for them to just listen. Friendships are what makes life meaningful and having that kind of communication will always find a way to prevent disorder in your life.

…continue reading