2-28-07 (7:56AM EST)—- Tokikake Director Mamoru Hosoda To Speak At MIT
On Wed., Feb. 28, at 7pm at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, anime director Mamoru Hosoda will screen his award-winning film “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” (Toki o Kakeru Shojo) and take questions from the audience. The screening and discussion will take place at MIT in Room 32-123 (map at http://whereis.mit.edu ). The dialogue with the director will be led by Prof. Ian Condry (MIT) as part of the conference “Cool Japan 2007: Love and War in Japanese Popular Culture” at MIT and Harvard, 2/28-3/3. More info at: http://iancondry.com/cooljapan/ Free and open to the public, but seating will be limited to first 300 guests. The conference also includes a Japanese rap music concert featuring Miss Monday (from Tokyo) on Thursday, 3/1, 9pm, as well as, on Friday, 3/2, 7pm, a screening of an episode of the SpikeTV series Afro Samurai and discussion with the creator of the original cult manga of the same name by Takashi Okazaki. The conference will also feature scholarly panels including Prof. Susan Napier (author, Anime: From Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle) and Roland Kelts (author, Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Invaded the US) as well as a dialogue with Prof. Condry about his new book “Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization” (2006, Duke U Press).
2-28-07 (7:31AM EST)—- Witch Cafe Opens In Akihabara
First, maid cafes and now, witch cafes can be found on the streets of Akihabara. Unattico Strega opened its doors to the otaku’s sacred ground on February 9. The amusement bar’s title means “Witch’s Retreat” in Latin. Those entering are welcomed by the greeting: “Welcome To Witch’s Retreat”. The leaving greeting is transalted as roughly “Start your journey from the retreat” and “good travels”. The establisment holds 21 seats total and the target customer demographic are men in the latter half their twenties-thirties. Besides the usual assortment of pizza, fried rice, liquor, bear and alcoholic and non-alcoholic mixed drinks, the shop serves up a specialty cocktail called “Magic”. The shop’s owner picked the theme becuase maid cafes have over saturated Akihabara. It’s open weekdays 18:00-23:00.
2-28-07 (7:15AM EST)—- Isamu Tanonaka Writes One For The History Books With New Gegege No Kitaro
When the latest Gegege No Kitaro animation arrives on Japanese TV in April, 74 year old Isamu Tanonaka will make history. The veteran voice actor will have voiced the same character, Daddy Eyeball, Kitaro’s father in all 5 animation incarnations of the series stretching back to 1968. No other Japanese voice actor can make a claim to voicing the same character over such a length of time.
2-28-07 (6:58AM EST)—- Darth Vader Samurai Armor
Yoshitoku Co., Ltd. will market a full suit of “Yoroikabuto Darth Vader” samurai armor at the beginning of March. The helmet alone is 180,000 yen, and the armor is 330,000 Yen.
2-28-07 (6:36AM EST)—- SuperVision Issues Dragon Quest Single DVD Volumes
Sales of the Dragon Quest animation DVD BOX were so good when it was released in Japan in October, 2006 that distributor SuperVision plans to market single DVD volumes. The DVD’s collect the 1989-91 Fuji Television Network TV series. The full set sold last last year moved in excess of 10000 boxes. The figure 10,000 units sold is often cited as the benchmarket of hit DVD release in Japan. Akira Toriyama of Dragonball fame did the chara designs for the show. Volumes 1 hits the market on April 27th retailing at 5985 yen.
2-28-07 (5:58AM EST)—- Initial D Arcade Stage 4 Released In Japan
Sega’s Initial D Arcade Stage 4 hit Japanese arcades on February 21st. Play charge is 200 yen per play, and an Initial D licence integrated circuit card is 300 yen. New in this version is real time network battling via the service service “ALL.Net”. Classes are divided depending on your win/loss record, and a “nationwide fighting mode” allows players to compete within anyone in Japan. The game uses the same “LINDBERGH” arcade board as Virtua Fighter 5 and the graphics quality is said to be a big improvement over past versions. A corresponding pay service “Initial D.NET” for cellular phones is scheduled to begin in March. Users will be able to check battle records, form racingteams, and customize cars with their mobiles.
2-28-07 (5:09AM EST)—- Haruhi Suzumiya Single Sales Break 100,000 Mark
The Suzumiya haruhi no Tsumeawase – TV Anime Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu Gekichu Kashu Single has sold over 100,000 units as of this week in Japan according to Oricon. The CD features 3 tracks: 1. God knows . . ., 2. Lost my music and 3. Koi no Mikuru Densetsu. In all time single rankings it’s remained on Oricon’s chart for 34 days and places 3rd overall behind the #1 Pokemon theme single (56 Weeks) and #2, the FictionJunction Yuuka Gundam Seed Insertion song “Car At daybreak” (45 Weeks).
2-28-07 (4:55AM EST)—- Grimm Fairy Tales Go Moe
Enterbrain released the light novel “Tsunguri! Hontouha Tsundere Na Grimm Douwa” on February 28th for 1575 Yen. Written by Izumi Makoto with illustrations from Kazu, Izumi and others, the book takes classic Grimm fairy tale heroines such as Snow White, Red Riding Hood (8 in total) and parodies them with an extra special moe twist.
2-28-07 (4:14AM EST)—- Voice Actress Yuriko Yamaguchi Takes A Break From One Piece
Yuriko Yamaguchi, the Japanese voice of Nico Robin will take a rest from her duties on the One Piece Television series. Yuko Kobayashi will fill in for her on the Fuji Television Network animation from March 4th. Yuriko Yamaguchi will perform her role as normal in the latest One Piece Moive due out March 3rd.
2-28-07 (3:39AM EST)—- ToyWorks And Bandai To Market Hayate x Blade USB Figure
Something of a new concept, Bandai and Toyworks have come together on producing a line of “USB Figurines”. The idea is, you have an average looking, finished 3D real world statuette style figure you can set on your shelf and showoff. In the figure’s pedastal however is a USB port, plug it into a