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Updated: 11 hours 55 min ago

Review: Japanese Tattoos: History * Culture * Design

18 hours 2 min ago

What comes to mind when one thinks of "tattoos"? Some might imagine the anchor on Popeye's forearm, the pointy tribal band encircling a local gym fiend's bicep, or the crude inkings associated with prison art.

Thinking of "Japanese tattoos" on the other hand, might conjure up images of tough yakuza gangsters, samurai with elaborately decorated "sleeves" covering their shoulders, or more practically, travel advice and news stories speaking of discrimination against the tattooed in bath houses and beaches.

Into this whirlpool of cultural myth, misinformation, and plain old misunderstanding steps the newest book from writer Brian Ashcraft, alongside Osaka-based tattooist Hori Benny. Their book, simply titled Japanese Tattoos, serves as a much-needed primer on a topic that's rarely illuminated.

 History * Culture * Design screenshot

Categories: General Japan News

Wait, what? Amazon's making a live-action Idolmaster show

Sun, 08/28/2016 - 08:00

Are you ready for this? Are you LADY for this? Amazon certainly thinks so, because it's taking The Idolm@ster, Bandai Namco's landmark idol-simulator/DLC factory, is coming to the one place it has never truly been: The real world. Indeed, the company known for delivering you things and pestering you about signing up for Prime is planning to give you an actual reason to sign up for Prime, and that's a live-action video series based on The Idolm@ster.

Categories: General Japan News

Japanator Live: Hunting for Fortune Summoners' snacks is a serious matter

Sat, 08/27/2016 - 15:00

[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here.]

No matter how rough things get in the world. it's always important to grab a bite to eat when your stomach demands it. While it's very important for Arche to awaken the powers of her elemental stone, her desire to obtain a specific treat before her school trip takes more priority since she wants to have a good snack during the event's break.

Now that I'm back to playing as Arche, I'm hoping that I'll get to stick with her throughout the rest of the journey. That way, things will remain a bit consistent for now. Then again, the game could still pull an unexpected move on me,

Categories: General Japan News

Weekend Japanatainment - Japanese Sports Edition

Sat, 08/27/2016 - 12:00

The 2016 Olympics are done and the next summer Olympics are in Japan, so every weeb out there will be excited to see the next set of games taking place in the land of the Rising Sun. So this week, I thought it appropriate for Weekend Japanatainment to be all about sports in Japan.

So let's get to it and SPOOOOOORTS!

What is your favorite Japanese related Sports thing? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!

Weekend Japanatainment - Japanese Sports Edition screenshot

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Categories: General Japan News

Strong Style: Still (Power) Struggling

Sat, 08/27/2016 - 08:00

Hello and welcome back to another action packed week of Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we go back to Osaka for Power Struggle 2015. We are a little over a month away from WretleKingdom at this point as this card takes place on November 7, 2015. We have two big title matches tonight so let's get to the action.

 Still (Power) Struggling screenshot

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Categories: General Japan News

Rejoice: Animator Expo's Dragon Dentist short gets a TV special

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 17:30

There's something nice about seeing a project with a lot of potential making a comeback as a bigger piece. The beautiful thing about this occasion is that you'll get to see the medium's creators take their idea to the next stage.

While we're on the topic of this joyous feeling, this was a thing that I was hoping that would happen to some of the shorts from the Japan Animator Expo project. Lo and behold. Khara is turning the project's first short, "The Dragon Dentist," into a two-part TV special that'll air on the NHK BS Premium channel next February.

Categories: General Japan News

Grab your lab coats: Steins;Gate 0 gets a more affordable limited edition

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 17:00

If you feel that you won't be able to afford Stein;Gate 0's Amadeus Edition for the PS4 and Vita, the gang at PQube have concocted a new option for folks who want something special with their copy of the game.

While this release of Steins;Gate 0 doesn't include the Fairy Upa, the Amadeus Pin and the game's soundtrack, you're still getting the artbook that came with the Amadeus Edition, which isn't too bad. The best part is that this version can be bought at the usual places that carry games in North America and Europe; thus making things a bit more convenient for some folks.

Categories: General Japan News

Uh, Japan's Prime Minister cosplayed as Mario for the Olympics

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 08:00

No, this is not an article from The Onion. Apparently, it really happened, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did, in fact, emerge from a giant green pipe at the closing ceremonies of the Rio Olympic Games, dressed up as Nintendo's own plucky plumber Mario. After shedding the costume and raising glowing red ball, Japan's head of state was surrounded by projected images of anime and manga characters like Captain Tsubasa, Hello Kitty, and Doraemon.

Every Olympic closing ceremony includes a "handoff" bit where a representative for the next games' host nation makes an appearance to receive the Olympic flag (Tokyo is scheduled for 2020), but few expected Abe, by most accounts a fairly dour, conservative sort of public figure, to pull this kind of stunt as a promotion of Japan's cultural cachet. It's cute!

Categories: General Japan News

Review: The King of Fighters XIV

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 04:00

Since I’ve been writing for Japanator for almost a year now, some of you may already know I’m a big King of Fighters fan and it’s one of the first series I ever played as a child. Even since then I haven’t missed a single entry, even the spin-offs. However I don’t consider myself a hardcore player of the series since I only played it casually among my group of friends.

For the exception of all Maximum Impact games and King of Fighters XII, I haven’t been disappointment in any King of Fighters game. Sadly there’s always a first time for everything. When the game first unveiled during last year’s SCEJA, I was deeply disappointed at the massive graphical downgrade. Both King of Fighters XII and XIII showed a massive improvement in graphic department, and it just left me confused how it took a 180 with this new entry.

Categories: General Japan News

Review: Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

Sun, 08/21/2016 - 08:00

Let's be honest here: Few people were expecting very much from Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV. Not only is it a multimedia tie-in to a game, a JRPG no less, but the long shadow of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within continues to hang over Square Enix, and likely will hang over any attempt it makes to create non-game media work, be it related to games or otherwise. 

As such, it feels downright unfair for me to review the movie on its own merits alone. Even its title gives it away as something that was never intended to stand apart from the game it's serving to promote. Lucky for it, then, that when it's thought of in that spirit, rather than as an attempt at decent filmmaking, Kingsglaive largely does the job.

 Final Fantasy XV screenshot

Categories: General Japan News

Japanator Live: Turn up the heat with Fortune Summoners

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 14:00

[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here and here.]

Summer tends to be one of the hottest seasons in many regions, which results in people trying to find a way to stay cool while they endure the heat. In the case of games, the hot temperatures can refer to a title's segments where it gets really rough.

As Fortune Summoners is forcing me to play as a fire mage without any party support, it might be a while before I could take a breather. At least I get to use the items I found as Arche, which might increase my chances of survival.

Based on the location that I encountered Stella in, I'm likely going to go through a hellish task before I get to play as Arche again. In the meantime, I'll just have to partake in the joy of burning everything that's within my line of fire.

Categories: General Japan News

Strong Style: The Power Struggle is real

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 08:00

Hey gang! It's time once again for Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we move into the month of November as we visit Osaka once again for Power Struggle. This show takes place on November 7, 2015 and it's narrowing in on the big WrestleKingdom show in January. Let's dive in!

 The Power Struggle is real screenshot

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Categories: General Japan News

Weekend Japanatainment - Vending Machine Edition

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 06:00

You've probably seen Japanese vending machines in various forms of Japanese media before, it's very much part of daily life in Japan with its highly mobile society that where a good chunk of the population use public transportation every day. It's no wonder that vending machines are common sight in public spaces and are there to provide a quick refreshment or snack for those one the go.

We have vending machines in the US, but the items for sale are often the same old fare of HFCS drinks and boring snacks that just do not offer much variety. Making a meal out of items from a vending machine is often seen as sad or just frowned upon since the items are either lacking nutritional value or lack quality due to the cost.

Categories: General Japan News

Vocaloid Artist DECO*27's new album comes out next month

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 16:00

[Update: I added the information about GHOST's other editions.]

Alright, people. It's time for fans of Vocaloid music to rejoice, because DECO*27's fifth album, GHOST, launches on Sept. 28  as a special version for ¥6,000 (around U.S. $59.88). Interestingly, the track's limited edition release comes with a bundle that'll make you want to grab a slice of pizza.

Categories: General Japan News

WTF Fridays: WAKE ME UP

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 04:00
Categories: General Japan News

First Impressions: Thunderbolt Fantasy

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 08:00

Ever since Urobuchi was involved with Kamen Rider Gaim, my desire to see him tackle other types of mediums outside of his usual things went up since it would be great to see how his writing style would cut up those stories. Since the Butcher was able to change the way how people view fruits, I was down with the idea of witnessing how he’ll change the way how we view stuff that features dynamic fight scenes between gorgeous puppets.

Joining forces with Pili International Multimedia, the team behind the Taiwan’s action-packed puppet series known as Pili, Urobuchi wanted to utilize the franchise’s wuxia themes and other elements to create his own take on the program for Japan.

Categories: General Japan News

MangaGamer announces two Rance titles, Sona-Nyl, and more

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 06:00

I may not have gotten the chance to dive into more traditional visual novel titles, but I still enjoy keeping with the stuff that gets announced for the West. That way, I have an idea on which games to jump on when I get the chance to consume for stuff from this medium.

Continuing their major anime con announcement streak, MangaGamer revealed at Otakon '16 that they nabbed not one but six new titles. From the looks of it, it looks like they're on an amazing roll right now.

MangaGamer announces two Rance titles, Sona-Nyl, and more screenshot

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Categories: General Japan News

Introducing Hei Stories: Inspired by Anime & Manga, Welcome to the Universe of Kaleidoscope

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 04:00

[Editor's Note: Here at Japanator we work on stuff that's not directly related to the site. this thing here is Yussif's new jam.]

– the sun itself, uncurled and stood. Mountain shadows scattered as she rose. She stood and her crimson-saffron form filled the horizon and reached colossal into the bottomless sky; the world thundered as she raised her head. And just for a moment, the sun, the mighty, impossible miracle of scale incomprehensible, turned to glance at the world she had risen to protect and the little boy was sure, that in that tiny moment, she was glancing at him.  Of all the things on that vast world, she was looking at him. Summer filled his lungs, all the universe his to fall in love with.

Categories: General Japan News

Huzzah: Trails of Cold Steel II hits North America next month

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 13:00

To this day, I'm still amazed that we live in a world where the West is almost caught up with The Legend of Heroes Trails series since XSEED and Carpe Fulgur went through some huge ordeals to localize the franchise. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this task is that The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II launches in North America on Sept. 6 for the PS3 and Vita.

Seeing that the first Trails of Cold Steel title landed in North America in December, I'm impressed that Brittany Avery and the rest of game's localization team were able to achieve the goal of releasing its sequel in the fall. Hell, this sounds like a great time to bring out the teriyaki chicken pizza, so we can have a celebration to commemorate the gang's hard work.

Categories: General Japan News

Here's some Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV to salve your pain

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 06:00

Final Fantasy XV the game may not be in the cards for another few months, but that won't stop some of the other stuff scheduled to happen. The CGI film Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is still on track for a late August release (it's currently in Japanese theaters), so fans can still get a taste of the game's blending of modern-day aesthetics and Final Fantasy-style techno-magic.

Categories: General Japan News