After decades of nebulous legal fights, Macross will finally be coming to the rest of the world!
“Giant robots” are one of anime’s most iconic, and culturally exportable, elements. Gundam and Evangelion enjoy massive popularity not just in their native Japan, but with anime fans around the world.
So it’s always been a sad sidenote that one of the greatest anime mecha franchises, Macross, hasn’t had any of its content released internationally for the past 26 years. This isn’t because the quality has dipped, though, or because of a lack of demand. It’s because of a decades-long legal fight over who controls the rights to the franchise, and in which territories. That dispute seems to have finally been settled, though, at least to the extent that the “immediate international distribution” of Macross is now allowed, as per a statement posted by Japanese rights holders Big West which says:
▼ Macross Frontier is yet to be released in North America. Meanwhile in Japan its hero mecha, the VF-25 Messiah …continue reading
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)
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”.
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.
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
Model daughter of former SMAP member gets caught up in controversy involving shoes and kimono.
There are a lot of rules surrounding polite and respectful behaviour in Japan, particularly when it comes to traditional culture like kimono and everyday customs like removing your shoes when indoors.
Showing respect for these traditions is such an important part of Japanese culture that any departure from convention is likely to spark ire and disdain, so when luxury Italian fashion house Valentino released images showing a Japanese model walking on a kimono obi sash while wearing shoes, the Internet erupted in outrage.
The photo shoot, for the brand’s spring/summer 2021 Valentino Collezione Milano for Women collection in Japan, featured Japanese model Koki, the well-known daughter of Takuya Kimura, a former SMAP boy band member and one of the nation’s most famous stars.
▼ Takuya Kimura, or “Kimutaku” as he’s widely known, pictured on the left, with daughter Mitsuki (professionally known as “Koki”) on the right.
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.
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