Wednesday, October 25

BBC Otaku Test Quiz?

Otaku test from BBC's Japanorama. I scored 7/8 so I am officially an otaku.Hahahahhahahaah

Quiz is here.

Manga Cafes: short summary of history

I remembered these places back in Kuala Lumpur, it is cosy, easy on eye and stacks of mangas lining the wall waiting to be rented by patrons. The shops do not have facilities described like in the following article but they do have an almost similar concept to it. For otakus, it is also a place to check up and sometimes pick up girls, since they share the same passion for manga. I do wonder how well it will do, if something like this open in Western nations.

Tokyo's 'manga ' cafes serve a restless generation

TOKYO — Whether they be 200-year-old teahouses or modern-day coffee shops, "kissaten" (traditional cafes) hold a special place in Japan's national psyche. These are places where green tea greased the cogs for secret rendezvous between shogun and coup-plotting rebel leaders, and where kimono-clad girls doled out sexual favors over a brew of Vienna's finest. They are also where longhaired hippies could wig out all day on obscure free jazz records for the price of an American blend. A trip to a "kissaten" has long been about a whole lot more than just sipping on a hot beverage.

The latest incarnation of this noble trend, "manga kissa," can be found almost exclusively in metropolitan areas, hovering out of sight a few floors above or below ground level. They play host to a round-the-clock procession of no-nonsense businessmen, bashful teenage couples, students and parents who can leave the kids at the on-site nursery and indulge in a quick fix of manga and mocha.

Full article.

An old article.

Monday, October 23

Malaysian cosplay

Well, just more coverage on my country's cosplay scene. Nothing much to shout about, nothing less to scream in horror about. I have few friends who were into this hobby and it would seem that top cosplays is often gothic lolita genre. Quite a number of females are also into this anime, Saiyuki (anime interpretation of Journey to the West story)

This is their latest story.

Cosplaying’s cool

Dressing up in fancy costumes is no longer just child’s play. Nowadays it’s the adults who love to dress up as their favourite fictional characters. MICHAEL CHEANG takes a peek at the world of cosplaying.

HAVE you ever shared a men’s urinal with a sexy female anime character? Or seen Captain Jack Sparrow crossing the road at Jalan Bukit Bintang? How would you like to go to a party where you can see Wolverine sharing some sushi with an elf, a Jedi and a couple of zombies?

Full article is here.

Second article.

More on Miyazaki Saga

Son of anime master enters family trade
He may have a hit, but he's known as the other Miyazaki
- Charles Solomon, New York Times
Sunday, October 22, 2006

(10-22) 04:00 PDT Koganei , Japan -- For Goro Miyazaki, the summer ended on a bittersweet note. This 39-year-old filmmaker had the pleasure of seeing his first movie, the animated feature "Gedo Senki," or "Tales From Earthsea," blossom into the biggest hit of the summer in Japan, as it rose to the top spot and took in more than 7.3 billion yen, about $61.4 million, by the end of September.

But even his success brought inevitable reminders that he is, after all, the other Miyazaki. His Oscar-winning father, Hayao, regarded by many critics as the greatest director working in animation today, has earned much more with his own hits. Ursula K. Le Guin, author of the popular "Earthsea" novels, on which the new film was based, went out of her way to make the distinction on her Web site, calling the father "a genius of the same caliber as Kurosawa or Fellini." She went on to complain about the liberties Goro and his new film took with her work.

More on this.

Now I am still looking to watch the movie but looks like strained ego between father and son has taken into new heights. Why the author made such comparision is beyond me, but I do felt it flame more rivalry juice between them. The anime scene will be graced with the saga of Miyazaki family dispute. I would like to think that both will race with each other producing awesome anime movies that excite the world around us.

Sunday, October 22

Ghost in the Shell cloaking now almost a reality

Microwave Cloaking is Now a Reality

Scientists have made a breakthrough towards creating an invisibility device, as they succeeded easier than was thought possible to construct a microwave cloaking device. The device works only in two dimensions and only on microwaves. This first device is far from perfect in that it is barely 8-cm wide and can only reduce back scatter and forward scatter, the researchers said.

Full article.

Wow! This is so cool. But I wondered what ethical abuses this technology might have since the civilian application of it so limited. I am sure this is Peeping Tom's ultimate tool, or state security most prized tool. As shown in Ghost in the Shell, how it affect tactics can be decisive.

A BBC news on this.

Thursday, October 19

Miyazaki saga.

Senior Miyazaki, perhaps looking at the success of his son's work, "Gedo Senki/Tales of Earthsea" decided to make a return to animation world.

Now this is stuff which dramas made of. I wondered what motivates him to challenge his son in this arena that he proclaimed that he is retired? His psychological based on this would suggest a very competitive streak and perhaps a nod to his son's "mastery" by deciding to make a comeback to the arena.

His new movie is scheduled for 2008 screening, what story or title is secret. However according to some rumors, an old cafe in Kobe and views of it from mountain are scouted for research purposes. Also he adopted rather unsual production methods to make this new movie too. I wondered if he already prepared all of this before this is make known to public of his return.

This sounds like Shakespearan drama indeed.

More news on this rather interesting ongoing rivalry. As this news suggested, it has gained worldwide note too.

Tuesday, October 17

Lament of the Lamb/Hsuji no Ota Live Action Movie?

TOKYOPOP Set to Produce First Live-Action Feature Film 'Lament of the Lamb'

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Fresh on the heels of acquiring worldwide film rights to its hit manga series, Lament of the Lamb, a gut-wrenching horror story of a young man who shockingly discovers he may be the last in a bloodline of vampires, TOKYOPOP has chosen the property to launch the company's first foray into independent film production. Currently in development, the Lament of the Lamb film venture has landed a coveted "In The Spotlight" position at this year's 19th Annual Tokyo International Film Festival. Ranked as one of the world's largest film festivals and Japan's only officially approved international film gathering, the 2006 Tokyo International Film Festival will be held in Tokyo from October 21 through October 29, 2006.

Full article is here.

I kinda liked the manga, but the short, incomplete OVA did no justice to it. However the original content has a lot of incestrous tendencies so I was wondering how it gonna be reproduced while addressing this part of the story. The relationship is very significant part of the story thus this news made me decidedly uneasy since there is too many potentials of being emasculated of its potency.

It remains to be seen if this colloboration can work.

Manga on classical music

A manga uniquely created with the help of Japanese classical musicians may strike a chord with manga readers, reports KUMI MATSUMARU.

, the topics and themes taken up by manga are becoming more varied. They range from love, student life and sports – long-popular manga themes – to medicine, cooking and the legal profession. But music, and classical music in particular, has been less often depicted in comics, partly because musical themes were considered too difficult to express in a medium without sound.

Full article is here.

Now I really intrested on how this manga going to tell the story about music without music accompany it. The story is somewhat similar to Hikari no Go, another work that is produced with assistance of professional go players in order to make it more authentic. Hikaru no Go single handedly made Go a hip amongst Japanese youngsters when it became popular so I do wonder if this work will do the same thing.

Saturday, October 14

Another top 10 animes voted by Japanese

Heh, looks like it in thing in Japan to vote for top 10 animes. This list, published by Asahi TV, shown here in original link.

The translation of top 10 is:

TV Asahi's list from the online poll is as follows:

1 Fullmetal Alchemist (TV)
2 Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV)
3 Pani Poni Dash! (TV)
4 The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (TV)
5 Negima! (TV)
6 Gundam (TV)
7 Bleach (TV)
8 Prince of Tennis (TV)
9 Rozen Maiden (TV)
10 Strawberry Marshmallow (TV)

Now the thing is, this list is pretty much captures what is "in" thing in Japan right now. As you can see, I am not exactly too impressed by the list, it is more like populist voting here. Animes like Negima and Pani Poni Dash is horrendous to be here in first place. Strawberry Marshmallow drove me up to the wall with lack of plot. The Prince of Tennis is a mind numbing experience.

Here's Haruhi for you, saying "Not good enough!"

Thursday, October 12

British documentary on Otaku

This documentary pretty much summarizes why I create this blog. I always looking at more sociological aspects of otaku and anime fandom in general. Disturbing in some parts and hilarious even poignant in some parts. I do laugh aloud the scene where moe pillow was shown. It is very wrong yet recognizable for anime fans around the world. Hahahahhaa.

Maid Cafe? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

Interesting short clips on Maid Cafe in Japan. Any takers? I do wonder how much the coffee will cost in these places, it can't be cheap considering the amount of "gold plating" in dressing up the cafe. I do wonder what is significance of frog dude in 1st clip.

To read more, try this link.

Wednesday, October 11

Top 10 Cosplay dress?

Ugh, what it says in title. I kinda like Ouran and Shana.

Moe, is it important for anime story?

Why moe or turn ons are essential for anime..... Do we really need that factor to pull audiences in? And why majority of them are females? Apparently there is specific moe for males too but this would border on shota which based on famous teenage male from old anime which known as Gigantor in USA (Tetsu-Jin 28 in Japanese).

Sometimes I do wonder, afterall, it is not critical for me to like an anime due to a presence of "moe" character schema. Many things did not make sense in anime culture like the preoccupation with hot springs or celebration of warrior culture. But why I talk about moe here?

Moe specifically addressed as things that "turn on" people with appealing ideas of cute ranging from dress sense to voice. There is no accident that most lead females characters tend to be young teens wearing eyebrow raising plaid skirt length supported by waif-like voice characterization.

Off course most "moe" female leads tend to be blue haired, an observation will reveal that majority of most beloved female leads in anime fandom tend to have blue hair. (don't believe? Check Rei Ayanami from Evangelion longevity and subsequent hentai doujins based on her alone).

It is very complex as you can see from this unusual rant in the blog. But I have been thinking to write it out in words, to express my bemusement on this issue of otakudom. Lately, this thing called Saimoe, basically the all out contest to see who is the winner of the year, which goes to Suiseiki ( Rozen maiden)is manifestation of the growth of this previously Japanese niche obsession. Now it is becoming global.

No matter how I lamented about it, moe is going to go stronger. I don't go against it but I not terrifically thrilled about it either. I mean, moe is nice to looooook at what end does it serve? Just overwhelming our senses? Or something more? I personally find the Major from Ghost in the Shell series more moe than usual model of moe but I am in minority here. Seriously minor. But someone said to me that I barking at the forest but neglected the trees that make up the forest. Maybe, or perhaps I dunno....maturity? Ah well, I can't really decide which is which. Whimsical at its best now resides this narration.
is this moe?

Or this one? Hmmmmm.... I go for the bottom one....

In retrosepct, I reacted this massive influx of uneccessary moe in current anime offering. It may enchance the story cosmetically but I don't think it will do much good if the story is shoddy as hell.

Tuesday, October 10

Paris Motor Show? Why I talk about it here?

Curious? Well this car is inspired from anime called Ex-Driver, soon to debut in Paris Motor Show according to this article. Awesome looks, I must say. Now when they going to build me a RX-78 GP-03 Dendrobium? hahahahah.

Monday, October 9

Best OP of the year still Black Lagoon

But this is still the best OP for me.

Some new anime that I looking forward to watch.

Code Geass

Death Note

Pumpkin Scissors

Red Garden

All of these are openings of new anime season of Oct which considered where all better quality anime emerges.

Sunday, October 8

A for Anime, M for Manga

The terms Manga and Anime may sound Greek to regular Nepali citizens, even to the khalasis of local buses adorning the words in big bold metallic letters. To those who actually understand the lingo, it actually means Japanese comics and animation. With large headed, big eyed and pointy nosed characters being its most distinguishing characteristics, Manga and anime are in a totally different league than the regular comics and cartoons one can find.

This Nepali full article can be seen here.

Another generic article talking about anime from another corner of the world, Nepal. It still amazes me how universal anime popularity can be in this aspect. I do wonder however if their anme is as up to date as rest of developed world, for example do many of Nepali knew about Haruhi? I wonder if anyone can use this as yardstick of differences between developed nations and non developed nations.

Top Mangas and Animes voted by Japanese.

The 10th anniversary of the Japan Media Arts Festival, Japanese fans voted on the top 10 anime and manga of all time. 80,000 votes were received in the anime category whereas 79,000 in the manga category were counted (voters were allowed to vote for up to 10 titles). However careful data scrutiny will reveal that real number of people who voted is 33,884 - total. 12,840 people voted in the animation category and 13,070 people voted in the manga category to be considered.

The top ten manga are:

1. Slam Dunk (Manga)
2. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (Manga)
3. Dragon Ball (Manga)
4. Fullmetal Alchemist (Manga)
5. Doraemon (Manga)
6. Phoenix (Manga)
7. Black Jack (Manga)
8. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Manga)
9. Mushishi (Manga)
10. Death Note (Manga)

The title that I liked so far here is Mushishi whereas Doraemon and DBZ is like mainstream cartoon for me. I quite glad to see Mushishi is here though. Haven't touch Death Note yet but the rumbling is too loud to be ignored.

The top 10 anime are:

1. Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV)
2. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Movie)
3. Laputa - Castle in the Sky (Movie)
4. Mobile Suit Gundam (TV)
5. Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (movie)
6. Mushishi (TV)
7. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (TV)
8. My Neighbor Totoro (Movie)
9. Full Metal Alchemist (TV)
10. Ghost in the Shell (Movie)

Until today, GAINAX Evangelion is still around 11 years after it aired in Japan. That's the testament to its resilience and popularity. Again, I am glad to see Mushishi here, the anime truly deserved a lot of good press. Except for Lupin III, I seen the rest which means my taste must be pretty good? Hahahahaha! Maybe!

The links for manga and anime is here (in Japanese). I will publish what I think of the list later, after much deliberation.

How Demon Wife Became a Media Star

TOKYO -- Six years ago, a Japanese businessman went online to vent about his domineering wife. Blogging daily under the pen name "Kazuma," he detailed how she grabbed food from his plate, sent him shopping in a typhoon, and made him sleep in the living room when he caught a cold.

Now, his terrifying spouse is famous as Oni-yome, or "demon wife," the star of a book, a television drama, a comic-book serialization, a videogame and, coming soon, a movie.

"Demon Wife Diaries," as the book and its spinoffs are titled, is at the forefront of a trend in new media emerging in Japan: Blogs, chat rooms and other Internet formats are increasingly providing the inspiration, and in many cases the verbatim content, for books, television shows and other old-media products.

Blogs, in particular, are contributing to the vast reservoir of online content. Stories that incorporate the Internet and that unfold in its anonymous, abbreviated writing style are proving to be especially popular -- perhaps because they represent real, spontaneous conversation, not an author's massaged prose.

Full article is here.

Now this is an interesting synthesis of blogging and anime. This blogger accidently becomes a "prosumer", a combination of producer and consumer as coined by Alvin Toeffler. I seeing more and more instances of intregation of medias to satisfy consumers also, enabling consumers to replicate the goods in soft form such as this. Using blogging and turn it into manga is pretty brillant idea, in my opinion.

Thursday, October 5

Review: Rozen Maiden (2004)

Story & Characters

Somewhere in present day, in Japan off course, a boy goes by name of Jun shut himself in, refusing to connect to the outside world due to his own perceived fear and insecurity. (a nikkimori or recluse) He escape the seemingly cold and harsh world by ordering occult or strange items thru the Net and takes joy in owning them for a short while before he gets bored which exasperated his loving sister, Nori. All her attempts to coax her rather difficult and bitter brother to be socially active or even go to school is a huge battle and often resulted in her defeat.

One day, a mysterious case with ornate markings in the exterior comes into Jun's room.

After answered a weird question from someone called Holie, he open the case and discovered a very life-like Caucasian blonde doll with intricate, Goth inspired female figure with serious expression on her face. A key look-alike item is placed alongside the sleeping figure of the doll and he instinctively wound up the spring of the doll. In rather dramatic fashion the doll springs up to life and begins her day by giving a tight slap at Jun's face, chiding him for handling her too roughly.

She introduced herself as Shinku and expects Jun to be her servant in rather haughty manner. Not long after stormy interaction between two, an unwelcome visitor comes and a small skirmish between Shinku and the visitor occurs. Jun was forced to kiss her ring and pledge his life to protect her Rosa Mystica under duress.

Here, it begins an adventure between a recluse and a charmed doll in search of his own salvation to breakaway from his seclusion and even Shinku's own attempt to finish her fight, born out of reason her own existence which cryptically known as Alice Game.

Began as manga series by Peach Pit, this story cash in the popularity of Gothic females, which evidenced by shows like Chobits and Le Petite de Cossette. However, instead going for fan service angle by Chobits or horror in other one, this anime is lighthearted and focuses more on characters as focal point of the story. This 12 episode anime is animated by Studio Bee Train, the one who gives us Noir and Madlax


The art is consistent and character design especially the Rozen sisters are well made, reflecting the Gothic feel. Background is done with minimum scale, reflecting the TV budget. For a cheery scene, lots of bright colour is used to convey mood of the scene and every time villain makes her appearance, the background turns gloomy or dark on purpose to add in the sinister feel to this character. The animators worked hard to give the characters detailed feel and look, especially Shinku and her chief rival whereas sometimes the animation did drop down for human characters as compromise to this attempt in order to remain consistent to principal Rozen doll characters. Afterall, they are the star attraction of the anime.

Silly caricature is also used to convey silliness of the scene especially the filler episode number 5, but can be flow jarring when there is a serious scene and they decided to use the caricature.

The animation of the series is not bad but sometimes it can be quite off in certain scenes.


It is standard fare of Victorian Era music and OST for the anime. It covered wide range of emotional spectrum presented in the anime from humor to sad scenes. It did its job and in adequate fashion but nothing exceptional in principal.

The OP and ED is sang with cutesy voice which I don't really fancy but it does add to the feel of the anime. Seeing that 90 percent of the anime's principal characters are female and it is about frilly dress from past era, the songs did prepare the audience for that sort of mood, so to speak.

The voice acting is a plus point here, each characters really feels like what they supposed to feel. Some voice acting is bit overdramatic though and sometimes the whining can be quite grating on nerves. Maybe it is meant to be like that from all what we know.


The theme of this anime is loneliness, life of inanimate, acceptance and connection with family. Jun and Shinku may look very different from each other in basic, but the anime did its job trying to show that they do share similar pain and connections with each other. However what is different between them is the way they handle it on their own, this part of their pain and suffering. As the episode progresses towards the end, both of them reconcile their views on life and began to have a sustainable relationship, Shinku finally founds a home and Jun founds a reason to be connected to the outside world again.

It is interesting how majority of the conflict resolutions occurs in dream world, perhaps it is reflection of subconscious that the Rozen dolls can make any difference since they are more acceptable to human mind. As Jun kept stressing thru out the series, he is disturbed by bewitchingly life-likeness of the Rozen dolls and even it confuses his emerging sexuality.

This anime stresses a lot on humanness of the dolls, which might not go down well with some audience but sometimes we need to be reminded of our humanity, even by inanimate object which in this discussion, Gothic dolls. Strange but true, the writer of this story may attempt to talk about our human failures and using the Rozen dolls as a foil of our fallibility in life. Jun's acceptance issue, distant family relationship and his self imposed seclusion is reflection of this fallibility. This aspect in my opinion is the strongest suit of the anime which lifted a little bit from galaxy of mediocre animes out there.

As we get to know more and more about Rozen sisters, it is emerging that they do trying to achieve humanity and seeking perfection as something they can do. The anime did not have enough time to explore this theme, unfortunately.

Rozen Maiden is not earth-shattering series, but it is good watch for casual evening and it did not take much trouble to figure out the intricacies of the story presented.

Wednesday, October 4

UNOtaku group members revel in obsessive fandom over anime

It’s the punk-rock groupie chick you want to slap silly as she thrusts herself toward your friend who happens to be in band. It’s the boy who wears the shirt of the band he’s seeing to the show. It’s the kid that you just know has the 20-sided die in his pocket. Fan girl, fan boy, geek. These are all slang terms well-known to be less than complimentary.

What some people fail to see is there are those who revel in their rabid obsession. Those who can, poke fun at themselves while having a good time. When it comes to “anime geeks,” some of those people are right here on campus. They’ve come together as UNOtaku, and they celebrate anime as both entertainment and art.

Full article is available here.

Anime transcending borders

Despite the sweltering, 50C midsummer heat, young Iraqi children love to play soccer--a passion that extends to their TV-viewing habits, which include the popular "Captain Majed," the Arabic-language version of Japanese anime "Captain Tsubasa."

Foreign Ministry official Yasuyuki Ebata used this to the advantage of the Ground Self-Defense Force troops serving in Samawah while he was there in May 2004, working on economic cooperation projects.

Full article is available here.

About time Japan used anime wide appeal to make itself more acceptable to international community. Hopefully this trend will last.

Comiket founder Yoshihiro Yonezawa dies at 53

Yoshihiro Yonezawa, a manga critic and president of Comiket, the world's largest comic convention, died on Sunday from lung cancer. He was 53.

Yonezawa organized the first Comiket (Comic Market) in 1975 to display and sell dojinshi (self-published manga and novels). In 2002 he won a Japan Society for Children's Literature Prize for his work "Fujiko Fujio-ron: F to (A) no Hoteishiki" (Fujio Fujiko discourse: the F and "A" equation).

The manga critic's funeral will be held jointly by his family and the Comiket committee at Zenpukuji Temple in Tokyo's Minato-ku on Oct. 7. The chief mourner at the funeral will be Yonezawa's wife Eiko. (Mainichi)

Click here for the original Japanese story


My special tribute to him, who make possible the doujin culture which gave the world a lot of good animes and manga. For example TYPEMOON with their respective games, Tsukihime and Fate/Stay Night.

Rest in Peace.