Minecraft builders create an amazingly detailed world of Spirited Away, give us a video tour

Who needs a movie when you can just tour the Minecraft recreation?

Minecraft builders have made some truly impressive worlds, and, owing to their beauty and mysticism as well their fame, the settings of everyone’s favorite Ghibli movies are popular inspirations for many. The complex worlds of My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky, and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind are just a few that have been perfectly and beautifully recreated with the game’s digital building blocks.

Spirited Away, another world-famous Ghibli film, has been the subject of YouTube user and Minecraft Builder Alan Becker’s attention for four years now, and with the evolution of the game, his Spirited Away world has also evolved. He recently posted a video of his and his team’s updated recreation, and the high level of detail of the town, the bathhouse, and everything around it will blow you away.

Spoiler alert: the video includes a play-by-play of the film, so if you haven’t seen it yet, beware!

The video starts out with a tour of the road that Chihiro’s family drives through on their way to their new home. Since you don’t actually see all that much of the town, Alan Becker and his team painstakingly created much of the town purely based on quick reflections in the windows of the car. Each of the buildings also has a fully furnished and decorated interior, which Becker says they designed based on videos of home tours in Japan.

One of the neatest parts is the recreation of the shot in the title screen, which is composed of rolling green hills and a line of homes. We would venture to guess that many Spirited Away builders would skip this part to focus on the more popular bathhouse, so we appreciate this tribute to the beginning of the movie.

They also recreated the back side of the clock tower that serves as Chihiro’s doorway to the mysterious spirit world, right down to the face of the statue in front.

And of course the colorful and festive-looking empty town behind it was also carefully created. Becker explains that a lot of these buildings are not actually shown in the movie, so they had to be invented by the team. It’s hard to believe that they weren’t based on storyboards from the Ghibli Studio since they look just like they belong there.

Of course, what everyone wants to see from Spirited Away is the great, beautiful bathhouse, which serves as the primary setting for the movie. The details on the exterior are amazing, but the interior is equally impressive.

Both inside and out, every detail is accounted for. As Becker walks us through the bathhouse, he basically shows us each scene of the movie, and it’s clear that his team paid careful attention to every single detail of every scene, no matter how small. It’s extremely impressive. The buildings even include working and moving functions like elevators, steaming water, an opening and closing boiler door, and even the rows of doors leading to Yubaba’s rooms that open in a sequence.

The only thing the recreation lacks is most of the characters of the movie, but that’s much harder to do in Minecraft. Even so, some characters, like the soot balls and No-Face, do appear at certain times, so if you explore the world you might stumble upon some surprises.

▼ Even the treacherous pathway down to the boiler room was meticulously sculpted.

If you want to check out Becker’s Spirited Away world in Minecraft, you can visit their server at play.ghiblicraft.com. It looks like they have some other Ghibli worlds, too, so take your time to look through it carefully! If you don’t play Minecraft but still want to explore the other worlds, Becker’s YouTube channel also has video tours of each one.

If Ghibli is not your thing but you love to look at different Minecraft worlds, check out one builder’s replication of the city of Kyoto. The talent and dedication of these builders is astounding.

Source: YouTube/AlanBeckerMinecraft via Shoutaro Blog
Images: YouTube/AlanBeckerMinecraft

Beautiful new Levistone from Ghibli’s Laputa anime going on sale soon, so order yours ASAP【Video】

Recreation of magical pendant from Hayao Miyazaki classic couples with elegantly detailed music box.

As the premier supplier of memorabilia based on the films of Studio Ghibli, Donguri Kyowakoku always has a catalog full of things that anime fans would love to own. Still, the chain really outdid itself when it created a replica of the Levistone from Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky Laputa.

Unfortunately, Donguri Kyowakoku did a little too good a job recreating the magical pendant worn by heroine Sheeta, and demand was so high they sold out almost immediately. A restock came much later, but now there’s something even better: an updated version that’s even more faithful to the artifact’s onscreen appearance in the first-ever animated work produced under the Studio Ghibli name.

The new version is officially called the Castle in the Sky Laputa Shining Levistone–Guidance of Light, in contrast to the older model, which bore the subtitle “Power of Light.” The new Levistone’s color was formulated to more closely match the lovingly hand-painted animation cels of the movie, and it lights up randomly in one of two patterns when you say the ancient word of power, balse (barusu, if you’re going by the Japanese pronunciation). The stone also glows softly if you speak the lengthy incantation “rite ratobarita urusu ariarosu baru netorimu,” as taught to Sheeta by her grandmother.

▼ The Levistone can be worn as a necklace or used as a decorative bag/mobile phone strap.

In addition, Donguri Kyowakoku is releasing a companion piece in the form of Laputa’s iconic robot. The 11-centimeter (4.3-inch) tall figurine doubles as a music box which plays an instrumental version of the film’s theme song, “Kimi ni Nosete” as the robot’s eyes and crest light up.

▼ The robot’s video preview

Making the figure even more special is that when you place the Levistone in the tray at its base, you’ll hear the same sound as when the robot awoke after its centuries-long slumber in the anime.

The Shining Levistone–Guidance of Light is priced at 2,600 yen (US$24) and goes on sale June 22, while the 4,800-yen robot music box becomes available for purchase on July 20. Whether you decide to order them separately or as part of a large-scale splurge bundle along with your 30th-anniversary Totoro cel reproduction and Seiko wristwatch is up to you, but considering how quickly the Levistones sold out last time, you might want to jump on the new version sooner rather than later.

Related: Donguri Kyowakoku official website, Donguri Kyowakoku online shop
Sources: 1up Joho Kyoku, PR Times
Top image: YouTube/どんぐり共和国そらのうえ店
Insert images: PR Times, YouTube/どんぐり共和国そらのうえ店

Seiko to release new Ghibli watches, including limited-edition 30th anniversary Totoro watches

Fans of Kiki’s Delivery Service will also want to check these out.

It’s a great time to be a Ghibli fan right now. With the Ghibli amusement park in the works, an adorable Totoro cafe opened in Thailand, and Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki out of retirement, fans have numerous things to look forward to from their favorite animated film studio.

Plus, even with tons of great Ghibli merchandise already available, new Ghibli products are always becoming available. Adult fans of My Neighor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service may especially like the newest line of casual watches from Seiko which feature adorable motifs from these classic animated movies.

This collection of eight watches is from Seiko’s brand for everyday wear, Alba, and are designed to be affordable, stylish watches that fans of Ghibli can wear at any age. Each of the face designs are subtle yet adorable, while the straps and casings of the watches are sleek and chic. They’re designed with women in mind, but of course any Ghibli fan can appreciate their mature homage to these beloved films.

The watches’ faces come in four different designs for each movie, totalling eight unique varieties, and the leather straps come in seven different colors, so hopefully anyone can find a style that they like.

But the faces are not the only Ghibli-specific features: the back of the straps and the stainless steel watch case are also engraved with Totoro and Kiki motifs. Fans can appreciate the quiet nods to the films on every corner of these new watches.

In addition to the eight styles above, two limited-edition My Neighbor Totoro watches are going to be released exclusively to celebrate the movie’s thirtieth anniversary. The face’s design comes in ivory and black, and features a small Totoro peeking over a flower garden and holding a four-leaf clover.

These watches are limited to just 1,000 units in each style and come with a serial number on the back of the case ranging from 0001 to 1000, which verify their authenticity. They’ll also have the words “30th Anniversary” engraved on the back and will come in a cute “30th Anniversary” box, so these are guaranteed to become super collector’s items.

Each of the regular edition watches will be priced at 9,000 yen (US$81.64) and will be on sale from July 7, while the limited edition Totoro watches will retail for 15,000 yen starting from August 4. The company are being coy about where you can get these, making them real collector’s items, and while there’s no word yet of overseas or online sales, visitors to Japan may want to look out for them at Ghibli merchandise shop Donguri Kyowakoku or any store where Seiko watches are sold as soon as they can.

Looking for more Ghibli goods? Totoro collectors will love the limited-edition handmade reproduction cels of the film, which are now available for preorder, and fans of Kiki’s Delivery Service might also like Donguri Kyowakoku’s new line of Kiki perfumes. If you’re a Ghibli fan, it’s almost guaranteed that there’s a product out there for you!

Source, Images: PR Times

Utada Hikaru’s new song part of trailer for gorgeous Penguin Highway anime movie【Video】

J-pop star performs theme song for new anime from creator of The Tatami Galaxy.

Penguin Highway is an upcoming anime film by Studio Colorido. Since this is the same studio that can make working part-time at McDonald’s or drinking a bowl of miso soup seem like a deeply emotional experience, it’s no surprise that the trailer is gorgeous, featuring achingly nostalgia-inducing summertime scenery and expressive character animation.

But as impressive as the trailer looks, a lot of people are going to be even more excited by how it sounds. Handling theme song duties for Penguin Highway is none other than J-pop megastar Utada Hikaru (who recently announced her first concert tour in over a decade). Starting at the trailer’s 28-second mark viewers can hear her as-yet-unreleased song “Good Night” playing in the background.

The film is centered on Aoyama, a studious and inquisitive elementary schooler, and an unnamed woman who’s part of the staff at the dentist’s office the boy goes to. One summer day, penguins appear in their suburban neighborhood, despite it being nowhere near Antarctica.

Determined to learn where the animals came from, and why, Aoyama begins investigating, and things get even more mysterious when he sees the woman throw a soda can into the air, only to have it transform into a penguin before their very eyes.

In addition to Utada, Penguin Highway has star power in Tomihiko Morimi, the author of the novel the anime is being adapted from. Morimi aso wrote The Tatami Galaxy, Night is Short, Walk on Girl, and The Eccentric Family, which were all adapted into critically acclaimed anime in recent years.

Penguin Highway opens in Japanese theaters August 17.

Source: YouTube/TOHO animation チャンネル via Otakomu
Featured image: YouTube/TOHO animation チャンネル
Top image: Penguin Highway official website

Insert images: YouTube/TOHO animation チャンネル

We interview Deadpool 2 star Ryan Reynolds in Japan

Reynolds surprised us all on his Japanese press tour, inviting us to chat with him as he visited temples, shrines and busy streets in Tokyo.

Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds was in Japan recently to promote his latest film, Deadpool 2 – which debuted in Japan on 1 June – and luckily for us, we were able to spend some time with the star.

However, in a move befitting the unconventional character of Deadpool himself, Reynolds surprised everyone by shunning the usual indoors-interview approach and inviting a select number of online news outlets to chat with him while seeing the sites of Tokyo instead.

Our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun was the lucky one who got to represent our site on the day, and he decided to probe Reynolds about Deadpool 2 and its titular character, while finding out some interesting tidbits about the Canadian star’s love for Japan’s creative industry.

So let’s get right to it and find out where Reynolds went and what he had to say on his whirlwind Tokyo tour!

Instagram Photo

Q1: There’s no other “hero movie” like Deadpool. Why do you think people have fallen in love with it so much?

“First of all, it’s because Deadpool is such a unique individual. Other superheroes are able to do what they have to do, but Deadpool’s morals can be off-whack sometimes, which is why so many people can sympathise with his character. After watching Deadpool, it’s like people come away thinking, “I’m going to try not to be the same jerk I was yesterday”.

Q2: Who has been a big influence on your comedic sense?

“Actually…my father! While my father was the type of person to shoulder a lot of stress, for me this was as funny as a hand grenade. I’m the youngest of four brothers, but whenever there were tough times, we survived by handling it with humour, which is something I tried to bring to the character of Deadpool”.

Q3: You have wonderful muscles. How do you maintain your physique?

“Preparing for a movie is hard work. Before shooting the film, I trained for two hours every day. When I was in my 20s, if I fell over or something I was able to laugh it off, but now at 41 I can’t laugh it off anymore – it just hurts and hurts. That’s why I’m always aiming to make sure I’m in good condition so I’m able to do all the required stunts.

Q4: Deadpool 2 is studded with lots of small jokes. Were there any that had to be cut for crossing a line? 

“Definitely. In fact, there were so many that we couldn’t use you could make an entire catalogue out of them! Actually, there were some harsh black comedy jokes about Disney in there, and it was just at the time that Disney acquired 21st Century Fox (Deadpool 2’s distributor), so we had to give them up! Still, there are so many small jokes in the film that you can’t get them all if you just watch it once, so when you watch it again you can pick up on different jokes each time.

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Q5: Which superheroes do you think would be good for a crossover?

“Mmm… There’s nobody in particular that Deadpool would want to star with, but I reckon he’d hate to be in one of those teams. After all, everyone would probably try to kill him after five minutes if he joined their team! But he’d probably be good paired up with someone from The Avengers or a character from The Guardians. Anyway, it’s not up to me, it’s up to Disney!”

Q6: Vanessa, the heroine of Deadpool and Deadpool 2, seems like a really wonderful woman. What should an everyday guy like me, P.K., do to get her to fall for me?

“If it’s you, I think you should definitely make a pass at her! You’re a good-looking guy so you’d have no problem! But Vanessa and Deadpool have a weird relationship, don’t they? Because they find each other it’s a perfect relationship in a sense. But if you really want, I can give you her address!”

At this point in the interview, P.K. was on cloud nine after being given such a compliment from the handsome actor, but instead of running down the street to tell everyone about it, he maintained his composure and pressed on with one final question.

▼ Watch out, Morena Baccarin – P.K. might be making a pass at you when you visit Tokyo!

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Q7: Previously, you’ve said that Deadpool was influenced by Japan. Could you tell us a bit more about that?

“I really respect Japanese artists. In terms of movies, of course there’s the director Akira Kurosawa. I think the legacy Kurosawa left behind is truly staggering. I won’t say which particular work it is, but if we make Deadpool 3, you’ll be able to get a hint of which particular work we’re referencing.”

“And my favourite writer is Haruki Murakami. I was so influenced by him I went out and competed in the New York Marathon! I particularly love his novels Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore.” 

And then, just as soon as it started, P.K.’s time with Reynolds in Tokyo was over. He had just enough time to grab a selfie on the down-low after the actor paid his respects at a local shrine.

▼ According to Reynolds, P.K. is handsome enough to snare a Hollywood star.

Instagram Photo

After bidding farewell to the press, Reynolds shared this photo with his 22 million followers on Instagram, while mentioning that his love for Tokyo is so great he’s keen to buy an apartment here.

▼ Scroll left to see Reynolds with P.K. and the rest of the press gang.

Instagram Photo

If the Hollywood star does manage to get an apartment in Tokyo, it’s bound to come in handy for his next project currently in the works, as producer of the upcoming live-action Pokémon film called Detective Pikachu. And with a possible Deadpool 3 on the horizon, a Tokyo home-base would be perfect for soaking up some more inspiration from his favourite Japanese artists.

Photos © SoraNews24  

Hirokazu Koreeda’s “Shoplifters” Wins the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival

This past weekend, the Palme d’Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, was awarded to Hirokazu Koreeda’s new film “Shoplifters” (“Manbiki Kazoku” in Japanese). This marks the first time that a Japanese director has won the Palme d’Or in 21 years, when Shohei Imamura’s “The Eel” (“Unagi” in Japanese) won. Starring Lily Franky and Ando Sakura, “Shoplifters” tells the story of a poverty-stricken family who relies on stealing to make ends meet.

“My legs are shaking. I’m really honored to be here,” Koreeda said upon his win. Having been previously nominated for the Palme d’Or five times, this was a joyous occasion for him.

“I want to share the courage and hope (that comes with the award) with my staff and the film’s cast as well as with young directors,” he added. “I am hopeful that films can connect people who are in conflict in a separated world.”

Koreeda defied expecatations that the Palme d’Or would go to a female director, given that the talk of the town at this year’s festival was the ongoing sex scandals in the entertainment industry. After the awards ceremony, Cate Blanchett, the head of the festival’s jury (composed of five women and four men) commented on Koreeda’s win. “Women and men alike on the jury would love to see more female directorial voices represented.” She added that the picking a winner was “bloody hard.” Explaining why “Shoplifters” won, she said, “But in the end I think we were completely bowled over by how intermeshed the performances were with the directorial vision.”



The post Hirokazu Koreeda’s “Shoplifters” Wins the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival appeared first on ARAMA! JAPAN.


Dean Fujioka attends press conference for new film “The Man from the Sea” (Umi wo Kakeru)

Actor and singer Dean Fujioka attended a press conference in support of his brand new film “The Man from the Sea” (Umi Wo Kakeru).

The film takes place in Indonesia, at a fictional town that is under chaos due to both war and a tsunami. One day a mysterious man (Dean Fujioka) is found near the sea coast by a woman named Atsuko (Mayu Tsuruta) and her son Takashi (Taiga).

Atsuko and her son are both working in disaster recovery, so they assume the mysterious man is a victim of war or the tsunami, possibly both. He speaks poor Japanese and Indonesian, and doesn’t really have a recollection of what happened. No one can identify him either.

The mother and son duo take him into their care, and decide to name him “Rau” which means sea in Indonesian.

Soon, it’s revealed that Rau has some sort of magical power has he continuously performs “miracles”.

The entire movie was filmed in Indonesia at Banda Aceh, “The Man from the Sea” will be released to Japanese theaters on May 26th, 2018.

Koji Fukada did double duty writing and directing the film.

Fujioka commented that the film has a very “mysterious” tone overall. He absolutely loved having the opportunity to film a movie in Indonesia, and hopes people from both countries really enjoy it.

(via natalie)

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