Hayao Miyazaki says Studio Ghibli once stood up to Harvey Weinstein with a Japanese samurai sword

According to Hayao Miyazaki, the act meant “I defeated him”.

Ever since news of sexual abuse allegations against American film producer Harvey Weinstein broke last October, more and more disturbing claims have surfaced, detailing the mogul’s extensive use of intimidation and bullying tactics in order to satisfy his personal desires and face down anyone who appeared to stand in his way.

While many people were forced to relent to Weinstein’s menacing ways, one man and his team in Japan refused to let the producer mess with them, standing up to him in a most memorable fashion: with a Japanese samurai sword.

The story, which has resurfaced in the midst of the Weinstein scandal, was first told by Studio Ghibli director and co-founder Hayao Miyazaki in an interview with The Guardian in 2005, back when Weinstein was still a respected, albeit feared, Hollywood producer.

At the time, Miyazaki was in Venice promoting his latest film, Howl’s Moving Castle, and the rare interview was said to be the first one the director had agreed to in 10 years. While the discussion mostly revolved around his craft, at one point the interviewer asked whether the rumour about him sending a samurai sword to Harvey Weinstein was actually true.

Miyazaki confirmed the story, saying, “Actually, my producer [Toshio Suzuki] did that”, before going on to reveal that the sword was sent after Weinstein, who was in charge of handling the U.S. release of Princess Mononoke, bombarded him with an “aggressive attack” and “all these demands for cuts”.

The sword was sent to Weinstein in the post with the following message attached: “No cuts”.

Weinstein, who was known for editing down movies to his liking, eventually backed down from making any cuts to Princess Mononoke’s U.S. release, and as Miyazaki recalled the story to the interviewer, he smiled and said “I defeated him.”

Source: Metro via The Guardian
Featured image: Flickr/Big Ben in Japan
Insert image: Flickr/Mark Vegas

The most awesome anime fan art is fan art that’s also traditional Japanese sweets【Photos】

From Pop Team Epic to Cowboy Bebop, this professional confectioner’s anime and video game dojin works are edible!

When talking about food in Japan, it’s often said that presentation is so important that meals are practically works of art. That’s true of snacks, too, as we’ve seen even convenience store-bought sweets that are achingly beautiful.

But today we’re looking at confectioneries made with traditional Japanese recipes that draw inspiration from a thoroughly contemporary form of visual art: anime and video game character design.

Japanese Twitter user Otakumi gets his name from a mashup of otaku and takumi, the Japanese word for a master of a specific skill. In his case that skill is making traditional nerikiri sweets, which are made from sweet bean paste, sugar and sticky rice flour.

▼ Currently airing breakout comedy hit Pop Team Epic continues to inspire dessert makers.

Because nerikiri is a paste with a fairly stable consistency, it can be shaped into a variety of forms. Flowers are common motifs, but Otakumi instead chooses to recreate characters from anime and games. While he’s not averse to modern muses, like Pop Team Epic’s surreal schoolgirls, he’s also got an appreciation for the classics, with icons from Cowboy Bebop and Studio Ghibli films among his creations.

▼ The last time Spike and Vicious got together, it didn’t end well for either of them.

▼ Ironically, Spirited Away’s No-Face has one of the most memorable mugs in anime.

When asked how he got started making anime candies, Otakumi says he was already a confectioner who’d been thinking about what sort of fan art project he could do to show his love for his favorite franchises. Then it dawned on him that he could simply meld that passion into his existing work making nerikiri. He estimates each takes about an hour for him to make, including the time spent thinking about the design, which seems like incredibly fast work to us.

▼ Even the complex hairstyling of characters such as Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress’ Ikoma, Free’s Makoto, and titular leading man Gintama pose no problem.

While he sometimes gets caught up in current trends and makes nerikiri of whoever the fan favorite of the current TV season is, Otakumi primarily makes candies of characters he personally likes.

▼ Otakumi was into Devilman before the thoroughly unexpected Devilman Crybaby made the series cool again, as this tweet from 2014 proves.

▼ Mascot-type characters get a lot of love from Otakumi, with Rayearth’s Mokona, Kodomo no Omocha’s Babbit, and Kemomo Friends’ Lucky Beast having gotten the nerikiri treatment.

▼ This looks like the tastiest Pokémon Magikarp since the taiyaki sweet bean cakes they sell in Yokohama and Akihabara.

▼ Fellow Pocket Monster Mimikyu is here too.

Oddly enough, Otakumi hasn’t used his talents to salute Nintendo’s Super Mario, but he has saluted Mario’s once formidable rival Sonic the Hedgehog…

…as well as lapsed face-of-the-Playstation-brand Parappa the Rapper.

Ordinarily, this is where we’d direct you to where you can buy these candies online. Unfortunately, while Otakumi may be a candy-making pro, these are strictly a hobby, as they’re not officially licensed, and therefore not for sale. Maybe that’s for the best, though, because we don’t think any fan of these characters would actually be able to bring themselves to eat their lovingly recreated heroes.

Top image: Twitter/@otakumi_wagasi
[ Read in Japanese ]

[ Read in Japanese ]

Japanese porn stars team up with comics store for limited-edition goods campaign 【Video】

The popular AV stars give us a peek behind the photo shoot for their new promotion.

In comic book-obsessed Japan, even dojinshi self-published works are a booming industry, with events and stores dedicated to selling and promoting the unique fanzines, manga and novels that exist within the trade.

Comic Tora no Ana, a Japanese dojin shop specialising in manga-related items, is currently looking to stand out from its competitors with a unique goods campaign that’s making news thanks to the two stars helping to promote it.

Jessica Kizaki and Airi Kijima, two of the country’s well-known AV idols, are teaming up as the “Nozomi Sisters” to showcase some of the lesser-known products available from the Tora no Ana online store, and a recent video shows the behind-the-scenes action that went into their creation.

Check out the video below:

According to the campaign tagline, Tora no Ana stocks “more than just fanzines”, and the Nozomi Sisters prove this point nicely in the video, by discussing some of the body pillow cases on the site, which are currently emblazoned with their images.

▼ The cases retail for 15,000 yen (US$139.65) each.

▼ There are also cushion covers for 5,000 yen.

The collection also includes T-shirts for 4,500 yen, life-sized tapestries for 8,000 yen, and acrylic figurine stands for 2,500 yen, all showing the girls in a variety of skimpy outfits like maid’s costumes and virgin-killing sweaters.

The idols are doing a good job of promoting the campaign on their social media channels as well, with Kizaki sharing this photo of the body pillow cases on her Twitter account.

Customers who make a purchase during the campaign period, which runs until 27 March, will also go in the running to win one of 50 signed photographs from the photo shoot, and one of the two bathrobes worn by the models in the promotional video.

To check out all the details, head over to the official campaign site, and if you’re looking to purchase some of the cat keyhole lingerie seen on the AV stars, head over here for all the information – and pictures – you need.

Source: Netatopi, PR Times
Images: YouTube/とらのあなチャンネル, PR Times

Figure skating, shogi prove real life can beat anime feats

In a long-standing debate, some people posit life imitates art more often than art imitates life.

Yet, it may be rare that real humans are able to match and exceed the deeds of anime heroes who sometimes posses superhuman abilities. Recently, two real-world stars rose to the challenge. Twitter user @AftamC shared images on Monday noting how real-world celebrities have surpassed the accomplishments achieved by their anime counterparts. The tweet reads, “Reality finally surpasses anime.”

In Yuri!!! on Ice, protagonist Yūri Katsuki’s sets a new world record at the Grand Prix Final with a men’s free skate score of 221.58. In the real world, Olympic gold medalist and figure-skating idol in Japan Yuzuru Hanyu set the new world record of 223.20 at the 2017 World Championships.

Incidentally, Hanyu also became the first man in 66 years to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals in men’s figure skating on Saturday. Yuri!!! on Ice fans might call him a “History Maker,” and Hanyu’s recent success has led commentators to refer to him as the greatest men’s figure skater of all time.

In March comes in like a lion, shogi player and protagonist Rei Kiriyama reaches 5-dan at 17 years old. However, Sōta Fujii won the Asahi Cup tournament this past Saturday to reach 6-dan at 15-and-a-half years old. He is now the youngest player in history to win both a championship and reach 6-dan.

Nevertheless, Fujii still has some work to do. In response to @AftamC’s tweet, some fans noted that The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! protagonist Yaichi Kuzuryū achieved shogi’s top title of “Ryuo” (Dragon King) at the age of 16.

With luck, Hanyu, Fujii, or another prodigy yet to make waves may be able to beat more anime records. As real athletes improve and the popularity of tournament anime continues, real humans may surpass more accomplishments once thought to only be possible in the 2D world.

Source: Hachima Kikō
Featured image: Twitter/@AftamC

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Picture-perfect, totally accidental anime cosplay gives Japanese otaku a new friend【Photos】

Anime TV series Kemono Friends was an unexpected hit, and now it’s even got unintentional cosplay.

Over the last decade, cosplay has become an increasingly sophisticated part of otaku culture. Anime conventions and fan events have grown in scale lockstep with the rise of social media, and with the cosplay stage now being so big, we’ve even seen the birth of the professional cosplay industry, where top stars can earn huge paychecks.

But ironically, the latest cosplay to charm the Japanese Internet isn’t the result of a lengthy design process, official support from the source material publisher, or even ample bustiness on the part of the model. As a mater of fact, there doesn’t even seem to have been any real effort put into it, since it’s entirely possible that the dead ringer for sleeper hit anime Kemono Friends character Kaban-chan has never seen a single episode of the series.

For reference, here’s Kaban-chan, pictured on the right…

…and here’s the man who’s become known to Japanese Twitter users as “American Kaban-chan.”

Twitter user @kurokishi1945 says he was sent the photo by a friend, and so the identity of the accidental cosplayer remains unknown, as does whether or not he’s part of an actual military force or simply brandishing weaponry at a civilian firing range. Still, the wardrobe similarity to Kaban-chan’s outfit makes it hard to see his clothing as anything other than Kemono Friends cosplay if you’re a fan of the show, which quickly led to some high-quality American Kaban-chan fan art.

So let this be a lesson: Don’t let the rapidly rising level of top-end cosplay at anime conventions intimidate you, because there are still simple, iconic outfits that can be put together quickly and cheaply by cosplay newbies. And besides, even if someone else is cosplaying as the same character with a higher-quality costume, even then you stand the chance of getting shown up by someone who just happens to look exactly like an anime character in real life.

Source: Twitter/@kurokishi1945 via Otakomu
Featured image: Twitter/@kurokishi1945

Japanese gravure idol jazz pianist adds more revealing cosplay outfits to her piano performances

Fans are now asking the pianist to give live shows in cosplay around the country.

Jazz piano performances might not sound appealing to everyone, but for Japanese jazz pianist Riyoko Takagi, there’s one sure way to get everyone’s attention while tinkling the ivories, and it involves revealing cosplay.

The Tokyo-born musician first made news last year when she appeared on YouTube, playing a Christmas medley on the piano while dressed in festive underwear. Then she gave everyone a thrill for New Year’s with her courtesan-inspired performance.

Now Takagi has returned with another eye-catching outfit, this time in the guise of Lum Invader, or Lum, the female protagonist from the manga and anime series Urusei Yatsura.

Matching the outfit is “Lum’s Love Song“, the theme song from the anime series. Takagi’s jazz version of the original piece is entertaining to listen to, and the pianist also gives us plenty to look at during the performance as well.

In the clip, Takagi performs expertly, running her fingers over the keys with ease as she smiles and poses for the camera.

Viewers who sit through the entire performance are rewarded with a special message from the pianist, who says, “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi“, a phrase used during the annual Japanese holiday of setsubun, which translates to “Devils outside, good luck inside“.

Celebrated on February 3 every year, setsubun is the perfect time for a spot of Lum cosplay, seeing as the character comes from an alien race known as the Oni, who come to Earth to invade the planet.

▼ Although this is a very different type of invasion.

According to Takagi, this jazz piece is the start of her new Anime Song series, which she’ll be adding to in the upcoming weeks. In her latest video, she performs “Moonlight Densetsu” (“Moonlight Legend“), the opening theme song for the first four seasons of the Sailor Moon anime, while dressed as the series’ titular character.

To keep up to date with more of Takagi’s unique videos, be sure to check out her website and YouTube channel. Who knows where she’ll take us to next on her musical cosplay journey!

Source: Kai-You
Images: YouTube/Riyoko Takagi

Tokyo Ghoul creator, anime’s star celebrate Yuzuru Hanyu’s Olympic win

Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu became the first man in 66 years to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals in men’s figure skating at the PyeongChang Olympics on Saturday.

The popular skater has achieved idol-like status and has a legion of supporters in Japan. Now he can add Tokyo Ghoul’s original creator and its anime’s star to his list of fans.

Tokyo Ghoul manga creator Sui Ishida posted an illustration of Hanyu on Twitter on Sunday. The illustration appears to recreate an image of Hanyu from his performance in the men’s free skate on Saturday. Famous creators have drawn tribute illustrations of Hanyu since at least 2015. Fire Punch manga creator Tatsuki Fujimoto and artist Yoshitaka Amano (Final Fantasy series, Vampire Hunter D) previously contributed likenesses of the skater.

Hanyu is a known fan of Tokyo Ghoul. He was once photographed with fellow skater Evgenia Medvedeva (a Sailor Moon fan who was holding a Luna plush at the time) while holding a Tokyo Ghoul tumbler. In the photograph, Hanyu’s pose apparently mimics Tokyo Ghoul protagonist Kaneki’s from the anime’s visuals.

Although meeting Hanyu would be a dream for many, the skater recently got to interact with one of his own idols. The episode of Natsuki Hanae and Rina Hidaka‘s “A&G Tribal Radio Edison” radio program that aired on Saturday featured a short interview with Hanyu. Hanae plays main character Ken Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul. Hanae and Hidaka interviewed Hanyu on his recent win and his interests.

In the beginning of the interview, Hanyu said to Hanae “Kaneki-kun!” in an excited voice. He admitted he was nervous to get to talk to Hanae, and Hanae later said he was mutually nervous. To avoid leaving Hidaka out, Hanyu told her that he “of course” knows her as well but couldn’t immediately think of one of her characters.

Hanyu said in the interview that he was relieved after his win at the Olympics. However, he quickly turned the conversation back to fanboying over Hanae. He said he was more nervous than during his free program on Saturday. Hanae remarked that listeners had been talking about how Hanyu is a fan of Tokyo Ghoul, and Hanyu confirmed he has watched the anime. He added that he owns Tokyo Ghoul merchandise.

In addition, Hanyu said in the interview that he likes video games including Monster Hunter. Although he has yet to play Monster Hunter World, Hanyu said he uses a Charge Blade when he plays. Hanyu appeared in commercials for the Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate game that debuted in 2014. Hanyu ended the interview by repeating “Kaneki-kun!” Hanae replied, “I’m Kaneki!”

[Via RBB Today, Mori Kana no Hanyu Yuzuru Senshu Ōen Blog, Hachima Kikō]

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