No Game No Life Zero dub: LA Anime Film Festival debut

This weekend is an exciting time for anime fans in Southern California, as
the first ever Los Angeles Anime Film Festival will be showing a whole host
of animated features!

Indigo Ignited: a new animation project

We’re excited to spread the word about Indigo Ignited, the pilot for a new
an American made animation project!

Color Me Outrageous

Characters with bizarre, unnatural skin tones are a staple of anime and
manga. But now it’s becoming part of cutting edge Japanese fashion, too.

Reigning Samurai Cats and Dogs

Your cat or dog can embrace their inner Samurai warrior now, with armor in
their size!

Oh Chute! The Summer Festival Somen Game Now Has a Home Edition!

Your parents probably warned you against playing with your food. However,
there are some times when Japanese custom allows for this, most notably at
Summer Festivals. Nagashi Somen is one of those times. Usually Nagashi
Somen requires some pretty involved equipment. But now Takara Tomy, the
Japanese toymaker, has released the home version of this game.

Wearing Hijabi-Lolita in Kuala Lumpur

Hijabi-Lolita started as a way to honor one’s identity as a Muslim woman,
but also participate in Lolita fashion. Hijabi-Lolita actually started
among Muslim girls in Britain, Canada and the US. It has spread to other
countries with Muslim minorities, and then to predominantly Muslim
countries. Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia in particular have picked up
the Hijabi-Lolita look, and Anime/Manga conventions in those countries have
Lolita fashion shows and high teas as part of the events there. 

Your Name. Your New Favorite Anime Film. Seriously, It’s THAT Good.

This is the story of two teenage kids (isn’t it always?) separated by
distance and by one of them living in the Tokyo megalopolis and one of them
living out in a remote, rural part of Japan. Mitsuha is a girl from a
family who has tended a Shinto shrine for hundreds of years. Mitsuha
doesn’t like being trapped into a life she doesn’t entirely believe in
either. One day she wishes upon a star that she would be reborn — and soon
— as a boy in Tokyo. 

Going On A Kaiten-zushi Date? Remember These 10 Faux-Pas To Avoid!

Kaiten-zushi, also known as conveyor belt sushi, is a popular inexpensive
date night in Japan. And it’s not really that unusual to see them in big
cities in the US too. There have been places serving these inexpensive
little bites of sushi in Los Angeles, anyway, since the 1970s.  However,
just as there are rules for eating sushi, there are specific rules for
eating at a kaiten-sushi establishment. These rules come from a Japanese
site, but are pretty much universal. Your date is watching, and judging,
you on your form. Commit these to memory.

White Day and Black Day: The Other Sides Of Sei Baruntain

Today is White Day, March 14, the day that Japanese women (and women from
other parts of Asia) get gifts of chocolate (originally marshmallows, then
white chocolate, hence the White Day name) and other cool stuff from their
significant other. This is a reciprocal gift based on gifts given a month
before on Sei Baruntain, or Valentine’s Day.

Cherry Blossom Time and The Great East Japan Earthquake

How do the Japanese prep for a Hanami? Firstly, they check websites that
give predictions about when the cherry blossom bloom. A good one is
maintained by JR, the Japan Railway. Then you contact your friends and
colleagues and see who’s up for a picnic. Then you go to your local 100 yen
store — think Daiso — and get your stuff. The Japanese concept of
mottenai applies here…why waste money when you’re going to have to throw
stuff away/recycle stuff anyway?

Your Name Becomes the Biggest Anime Movie, Ever.

It looks like the new animation superstar, following on the on again/off
again/on again/and once again maybe off again retirement of Hayao Miyazaki
is Makoto Shinkai. Shinkai’s phenomenal success with Kimi no na wa 君の名は,
known better in English as Your Name, has been made complete.

30 years of Final Fantasy celebrated…with CUP NOODLE???

We are so stunned, like dehydrated vegetable. Square Enix’s Final Fantasy
series of games have teamed with Nissin for some pretty epic collaboration.

Sei Baruntain Chocolate For Those You Love AND Those You Hate

It’s that time of the year again. Women in Japan are frantically running
around dealing with candy shopping. Some of them are even dealing with
candy making. Why? Sei Baruntain, better known as Valentine’s day here. 

Setsubun

Lunar New Year is still considered a special time in Japan. Too much
tradition is shared between Japan and China to just ignore this time of the
year. So Japan has its Haru Matsuri, the Spring Festival, which begins
every year around the beginning of February. Haru Matsuri starts with the
observance of Setsubun.

Gudetama: A Lazy But Good Egg

One of the most popular characters ever created is arguably not even based
on a living thing. It’s a freshly cracked egg with no motivation and no get
up and go. You’d think he’d be a big failure, but Gudetama has become a fan
favorite. 

Japan’s Anime/Manga Fans Tell Goo Site Who Their Favorite Sword Slingers Are.

The Japanese website Goo asked its participants whose swordsmanship reigns
supreme, and they came up with a top 10. The results might be surprising,
especially with the omissions.

Tachikoma, At Your Service

The Tachikoma from Ghost In The Shell: Stand-Alone Complex stand at the
ready to serve you. This is real. This is not a drill. 

Rockin’ Hard in the Land of the Rising Sun: Marty Friedman

One of J-Rock’s most surprising superstars is an American guitarist whose
driving, wild style made Megadeth one of the most compelling Metal bands of
the ’90s. His passion for J-Rock eventually led him to live and shred
there, eventually ending up marrying a Japanese musician himself. His name:
Marty Friedman. But you can also call him Hebimeta-san. (ヘビメタさん,
Heavy-Metal-san.)

Yay! It’s Pocky Day!

Yes, I know today is a special day in the US. Veterans’ Day, formerly
Armistice Day, which started as the commemoration of the end of World War
I. However, first in South Korea, then in Japan, it’s Pocky Day! It is a
commemoration of one of Asia’s favorite sweet treats, the slim cookie
sticks enrobed with chocolate or other sweet toppings.

Neko Atsume: From Your Phone To The Big Screen In 2017

Neko Atsume became the phone casual gaming flavor of the month in Japan in
2014. A year later, Neko Atsume was localized for English-language
audiences, and the obsession spread globally. The beauty of the game is
that it doesn’t require a great deal of attention. Unlike similar but more
demanding games from another time like Tamagotchi and Digimon, you don’t
have to press buttons to keep the cats alive. You don’t even need to clean
their kitty litter boxes, or groom them, or play with them. You just leave
food and toys for them and check the yard for who shows up. You would
hardly think that a game like that would lend itself to a cinematic
treatment, but  AMG Entertainment has announced that a Neko Atsume movie is
now in production, for release in 2017.