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

Manga creators association says pirate sites could bring about a collapse of Japanese culture

Organization stresses the importance of keeping artists and publishers in the emotional loop between creators and fans.

Whether due to limited financial resources, a lack of an official local release, or simply a ravenous desire to consume as much media as possible, a large chunk of the international anime/manga fan community gets its content through pirate sites. Traditionally, though, Japanese otaku have been more law-abiding, dutifully opening their wallets to purchase the series they’re interested in.

However, with modern technology making it easier than ever before to quickly and casually access illegally copied content online, that pirate mentality is taking root among some Japanese fans as well. It’s gotten to the point where the Japan Cartoonists Association (also known as the Nihon Manga Kyokai) feels it needs to address the issue directly, and this week the organization released the following statement:

Through the development of technology such as PCs and mobile phones, the way in which manga is read has changed dramatically. It has become far easier than ever before for readers to obtain content, and we believe this is a truly wonderful thing.

Not just for manga creators, but for all people who create works of art, our first desire is for people to enjoy reading, watching, or listening to our work. Then, when those works, made with the utmost effort, touch the hearts of the audience, bearing fruit with an emotional response, creators feel a sense of fulfillment, and can put our energy into our next creative endeavor.

However, it is important for creators and the audience to be firmly connected in this loop. Unfortunately, recently we creators are increasingly being forced out of that circle. The fact is their position is being taken by pirate sites that have no connection to the effort that goes into creating those works and covet monetary gain.

In addition to manga, there are many other creative works as well in our world. When you watch or read them, can you spare a moment to ask yourself if the creators are being included in the loop by which you’re obtaining the media?

No matter how hard we work, we creators cannot continue making new works if we aren’t part of that loop.

If the current situation continues, it will grind down the resilience of various aspects of Japanese culture, and ultimately they will perish. That possibility is something that we are extremely worried about.

Some might argue that the Japan Cartoonists Association is trying to make itself sound nobler than it really is by asserting that it’s opposed to pirate sites on the grounds that they lessen the interpersonal connection between creators and fans, thereby sweeping under the rug its anger over potential sales and revenue lost to pirate sites. Still, it’s money that allows professional manga artists to be professionals instead of amateurs, and to devote the time and effort to their craft that goes along with professional status, which makes it hard to blame them for wanting to protect their claim to manga’s monetary cycle as well as its emotional one.

Source, top image: Japan Cartoonists Association
[ Read in Japanese ]

[ Read in Japanese ]

Ranma 1/2’s creator and voice cast stars stop by the Ranma 1/2 Cafe in Tokyo【Photos】

Rumiko Takahashi, Hayashibara Megumi, and others who were part of the iconic anime/manga hit reunite for an incredible meal.

In January, the Ranma 1/2 Cafe opened in Tokyo, celebrating the one of the most popular and influential anime/manga franchises of all time. As part of my continuing quest to document as much anime-themed food as possible for SoraNews24, I made a point of going on opening day, as did tons of other fans who contributed to the six-hour wait for a table (which was entirely worth it, because the cafe is awesome).

But really, we all should have waited about one month from the restaurant’s January 7 opening. Why? Because on February 8, series creator Rumiko Takahashi stopped by the eatery, as did a number of the principal members of the anime’s voice cast.

Pictured in the back row of the above photo, from left to right, are Megumi Hayashibara (female voice of main character Ranma), Noriko Hidaka (voice of female lead Akane), Kappei Yamaguchi (male voice of Ranma), Rei Sakuma (voice of Shampoo), and Naoko Matsui (voice of Azusa). Seated in the front row are Ryusuke Obayashi (voice of Akane’s father Soun), Rumiko Takahashi, and Kenichi Ogata (voice of Ranma’s father Genma).

▼ Yamaguchi and Noriko recreate the poses of their characters from the next panel from the manga sequence shown in the illustrations on the wall behind them.

Aside from being a heaping spoonful of nostalgia, the group photo is also an extremely impressive gathering of anime voice talent, as Ranma 1/2 is just one of many impressive credits the performers can claim on their credits. Hayashibara is arguably anime’s most prolifically successful voice actress, famous for her roles as Evangelion’s Rei and Slayers’ Lina, and Yamaguchi went on to voice the titular roguish hero of Inuyasha, another Takahashi-created mega-hit. Hidaka is best known in Japan for voicing Minami, female lead of iconic baseball anime Touch, while fans of Studio Ghibli would recognize Sakuma as the voice of little witch Kiki’s familiar black cat Jiji in Kiki’s Delivery Service.

▼ Sakuma poses with a delivery box from the Cat Cafe, the in-anime restaurant where Shampoo works as a waitress, which the real-life Ranma 1/2 Cafe serves its ramen in.

▼ Hidaka flashes a smile as Akane looks decidedly less cheerful about her sudden, inadvertent haircut.

▼ Hidaka and Yamaguchi model the Ranma 1/2 Yokosuka jackets from the adjacent (and awesome) gift shop.

▼ Azusa may not have played as big a part in the anime’s story as some of the other characters, but Matsui’s performance as the eminently energized figure skater always commanded attention.

▼ Ogata’s spartan cosplay as his character’s panda form.

Some key members of the voice cast weren’t present, including Tsuru Hiromi (voice of Ukyo, Ranma’s second fiance), who sadly and suddenly passed away last November. Still, this was a gathering of anime luminaries who’ve left an indelible mark on the industry, and so, fittingly, they signed their autographs on the cafe wall.

The Ranma 1/2 Cafe will be open until February 25, so if you want to see the signatures, don’t delay.

Featured image: Twitter/@nonko_hidaka531
[ Read in Japanese ]

[ Read in Japanese ]

Japanese Twitter artist creates emotional anime advertisement posters, leaves netizens in tears

A tribute to the most touching moments in manga and anime.

Anime and manga can move our hearts, and as one animated story of a bullied deaf girl shows, they can be quite uplifting as well.

Japanese Twitter user @tomoyanandayo loves drawing, and as someone who has been inspired by various anime, he has taken the liberty of drawing some of the most powerful scenes in manga history.

“I’ve drawn some manga scenes that hit close to
home and styled them like advertisement posters.”

“A person only dies when they are forgotten.”

A defining moment in One Piece, the image depicts the scene where Portgas D. Ace, foster brother to Luffy, sacrificed his life to protect his younger brother from the imposing Akainu. His death spurred Luffy to train even harder to protect those close to him.

▼ Luffy loses his brother.

“When you wish to protect something important,
that is when you become stronger.”

Naruto’s incredible journey from low-level ninja to Hokage was fraught with perils and deadly foes, but early adversary Zabuza Momochi and his fierce affection for teammate Haku remained fresh in his mind to this day.

▼ Even a heartless killer feels something when he loses his partner.

“Someone, somewhere out there is waiting for a hero’s rescue today.”

This scene from My Hero Academia sees school bully Katsuki Bakugo being suffocated by the Sludge Villain. Despite main protagonist Izuku Midoriya not having any powers, he rushes forward without thinking in order to save him.

▼ You don’t need to be superhuman to be a hero.

“Stained hands can be washed clean.
Hands tainted with crime will forever remain stained.”

The last picture sees Edward convincing Winry Rockbell from Fullmetal Alchemist from exacting revenge on antagonist Scar, who was in turn responsible for her parents’ deaths.

▼ Hands free from guilt are meant to protect.

The artist @tomoyanandayo regularly churns out bite-sized servings of emotional inspiration in the form of impactful drawings accompanied by powerful words. If such sentimental trips hit you in the right spot, then be sure to give them a follow on twitter, and maybe check out this manga of a mother’s loving message to her daughter.

Source, images: Twitter/@tomoyanandayo

Amazing Sailor Moon smartphone case recreates anime heroine’s transformation sequence【Video】

Clever superfan shows how you too can easily replicate the most famous scene from the most famous magical girl anime.

One of the things that sets anime magical girls apart from ordinary superheroes is their transformation sequences (it’s even one of SoraNews24’s Laws of Magical Girl Anime), and no sequence is more famous than that of Sailor Moon. No matter how dire the situation or how dangerous the adversaries, the genre’s most famous heroine always has time for a luxuriously long, dazzling display of her combat costume forming around her sparkling silhouette.

As a fan of the series, Japanese Twitter user @unXXXhm no doubt has a pretty detailed mental image of Sailor Moon’s transformation in her head. She doesn’t have to rely on memories to relive the iconic scene, though, since she’s created a smartphone case that recreates ordinary schoolgirl Usagi Tuskino’s magical shift to lunar guardian Sailor Moon, as demonstrated in this jaw-dropping video.

It should be noted that the flashes of light and background music were added digitally, but the sparkles moving over Sailor Moon’s mid-transformation body are an entirely practical effect.

So how did @unXXXhm pull this off? She started by recreating an illustration of the character, drawing the outlines of her body countours, hairstyling, and eyelashes while leaving everything else unshaded. Next, she ordered a glitter-filled smartphone case from Canvath, a Japanese company that does custom printing with customer-submitted images.

Since the character’s body and hair were the only parts of @unXXXhm’s illustration left unshaded, they remain transparent when printed, and so when she turns the case over, the glitter moves over her silhouette, replicating the look of the anime.

Magical girl fans were quickly enchanted, leaving comments such as:

“This is all I could ever want in life.”
“So cute. So stylish. I want this so badly!”
“Awesome…! If you’re selling these, I will totally buy one.”

Unfortunately, despite several other Twitter users saying they’re ready to purchase the case, @unXXXhm has clarified that it’s not for sale. While the illustration isn’t traced, it is an eyeballed copy of an existing piece of official Sailor Moon artwork, so she’s not sure she’d be in the clear selling it, and even if rights holders sometimes turn a blind eye to derivative merchandise sold in-person at fan events like the twice-a-year Comiket, they’re not nearly as lenient when it comes to online sales.

So for now, it looks like the only way to get your hands on a Sailor Moon transformation sequence smartphone case is to make your own, but luckily @unXXXhm was kind enough to tell us all how to do just that.

Related: Canvath
Source: Twitter/@unXXXhm via IT Media

Images: Twitter/@unXXXhm

Japan’s hot anime boy notebooks give you a reward every time you turn the page

Unique notebooks promise to motivate and/or distract you during tough study sessions and boring business meetings.

In this modern, technologically advanced age, it says a lot about a person when he or she takes out a paper notebook to write something down by hand. Sure, they could store that information on their smartphone with just a few taps and swipes, but taking the time to put pen to paper creates a deeper connection with what they’re writing, and is indicative of a cerebral intellectualism and emotional depth.

Or maybe they’re just using a notebook because the pages come pre-printed with hot anime guys.

Following a successful campaign on Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake, the Ikemen Notebook (ikemen being a Japanese slang word for “handsome man”) is about to go on sale to the general public. Flip open the book, and inside you’ll find what at first seems to be a standard notebook.

Once you get to the bottom portion of the right page, though, there’s an illustration of one of five anime guys waiting to give you a shot of encouragement, some soothing words, or just a little eye candy to keep your energy up and your stress levels down as you power through a professional brainstorming or academic study session.

“Hey,” the ikemen calls out, “there’s nothing wrong with taking notes, but look at me…”

“Oh, you bought a new notebook? I never end up using mine all the way through…Let’s both do our best!”

“You’re still on Page 8? You sure are slow. Is your pen possessed or something?”

The Ikemen Notebook cast consists of five characters, starting with childhood friend Arata Harushima

“Let’s do our best!”

...boyish younger man Rui Hihara

“Your penmanship is really wonderful, senpai.”

…calm-and-collected Gin Shizuki…

“You’re beautiful…”

haughty, half-foreign Leo Rokuonji

▼ “Were you expecting a compliment? How naive.”

…and intellectual student council president Takuto Hotei.

“Your attention span has certifiably improved.”

Each page features a different character, so as long as you can resist the spoiler urge, you can look forward to the suspense of seeing who’s next each time you responsibly finish off a page of notes.

The notebook is available in two styles, each with 30 pages. The 600-yen (US$5.25) B5-size is lined, while the pages of the 580-yen A5-size are blank.

Oh, and if you’re intrigued, but feel a little self-conscious about using the Ikemen Notebook at school or work…

…you’ll be happy to know that the outer cover can be slid off…

…leaving the anime artwork your little secret (or, more accurately, a secret between you and your five ikemen).

Sources: Toriru, Makuake
Top image: Makuake
Insert images: Toriru, Makuake, Toriru (2)
[ Read in Japanese ]

[ Read in Japanese ]

World braces itself for another live-action anime adaptation as Bleach teaser and stills released

Perhaps one comment summed the situation up best: “FUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!!!”

There exists an abusive relationship between anime and manga fans and movie producers. As often as the change of seasons, some successful franchise is needlessly trotted out and presented with flesh and bone and CGI actors but somehow always lacking the core elements that made the original material successful.

And yet despite getting slapped in the face with embarrassingly bad interpretations, fans keep bringing their money back for more thinking, “this time will be different,” and “they said they’d changed.” But they never do, every time it’s exactly the same routine: announce the film, cosplay actors as well as they can to get people worked up, then slap together a poorly conceived film – wash, rinse, repeat.

That alone is enough to turn a profit on these productions and so the dance continues. This time it is the worldwide hit series Bleach‘s turn through the wringer. It is slated to star Sota Fukushi as Ichigo Kurasaki (pictured, sort of, above) and Hana Sugisaki and Rukia Kuchiki (pictured below in both death god and human form)

Production of the live action film, in which Soul Reapers do battle against other supernatural foes, was announced some time ago, but finally a brief trailer and some photos have been released leading up to its 20 July release date.

Granted, it’s a pretty brief glimpse, but more than enough to send fans of the series into a renewed rage.

“Hana-chan just ain’t Rukia.”
“This is a 100% failure.”
“Please stop this.”
“Have they seen the original works at all?”
“It doesn’t look like Bleach… It doesn’t even look like live-action for that matter.”
“So Bleach is their next prey…”
“They couldn’t even achieve cosplay levels on this one.”
“If they had dazzled me with some nice imagery, I might have gone to see it. But they didn’t.”

As that colorful final comment probably didn’t originate in Japan, it’s a testament to the success of Bleach and how widespread the disappointment reaches. It also begs the question of what a “montajer” is…possibly someone who makes montages.

Anyway, Bleach is coming and many of us will go see it, get bummed out, and then say, “At least it wasn’t as bad as Devilman.” Then, another great manga title will be put through the process and reduced to nothing more than another bargain bin Blu-Ray title bundled together with Leprechaun 4: In Space for 1,000 yen. The circle of life continues.

Meanwhile we wait, because the movie industry has to run out of franchises to ruin someday…right?

Source: Bleach Movie Official Website, YouTube/Warner Brothers Official Channel
Images: © Tite Kubo / Shueisha © 2018 Movie “BLEACH” Production Committee
[ Read in Japanese ]