Saturday, 22 March 2014

Writing for Anifest



I totally missed the fact Anifest have added an introducing article on me on their team website.
They recently asked me to be on the team and I was ecstatic, will be nice to have a website hub again. I miss Animepicks immensely.

Hopefully will be able to bring lots of great content to Anifest- more interviews, anime reviews, music reviews, game reviews and what not XD

WHAT IS UKANIFEST ?

 UKAniFest is an anime and Film event on an epic scale, like grind house for all things asian!!

We will  incorporate everything that the avid cinema lover / Asian film lover would want at a cinema festival...

Three films that incorporate how Asian, Korean and Japanese film has finally landed to the U.K.

WHEN AND WHERE??

This will be held in a small 'arthouse' venue in 2013 and at a major London cinema in 2014.

We will showcase one anime film, one anime to live action film and one movie premiere in 2013 and 2014 will see a premiere.

We also hope to have a dealers area in the cinema so you can purchase all your figures, anime and film related merchandise!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Colourful Review & Interview with director



This year’s Japan Foundation UK annual touring film programme used a variety of enlightening movies as an introduction to Japanese cinema through the framework of ‘youth’. Showcasing one anime in the mix showing how the adults of tomorrow have been portrayed in Japanese cinema

Colorful was released originally in Japan  2010, this animated feature film is directed by Keiichi Hara. Hara-san was famous for directing hit anime from our childhood such as Doraemon and was the longest running director for Shin-Chan, the anime are important as they were the first to hit the West in Japanese and English dub and make a bridge for more to become recognised worldwide.

This anime is based on a novel of the same title by Eto Mori. Hara-San tells us (in the Q&A) that he saw the script and liked the story and decided to make it into the anime alongside animation studio Ascension. For the beautiful soundtrack he tells us he commissioned a few music producers to come up with a soundtrack that was simple but not boring and chose Kow Otan. Otan was famous for working on lot of big titles in the anime and game world such as Gundam Wing (1995), Outlaw Star (1998), Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz  Cross Fire (1998), Cross Fire (2000), The SoulTaker (2001) to9 name a few.

The story revolves around a newly dead soul reaching a train station representing limbo, an Angel named Purapura approaches the soul and explains that he is 'lucky' and will have another chance at life. He is placed in the body of a 14-year-old boy, Makoto Kobayashi, who recently committed suicide. Purapura watches 'Makoto' and advises him with hints to figure out the big sin 'Makoto' did.  The soul must figure out what his greatest sin in his former life within a time limit or else the soul will be ejected from the body and Makoto will die forever. Whilst trying to complete this task he is faced with making friends, understanding his family and their dark secrets. His crush at school isn't the cheery and happy go lucky person she makes out to be while creepy a classmate stalks him and he can't figure out why. Will this journey motivate him to want to live again?

This anime is not a typical slice of life, it holds deeper meaning, searching for ones identity and place in life. Also dealing with challenging situations and reacting within ones restraints. A movie with lot a of social behaviors explored, the nice and the grim.

Watch this interview with Hara-San and his take on Colourful, how he felt about the reception it received, how it felt to make popular anime that entered the West. Special thanks to the Japan Foundation for Showing this amazing animation and bringing Hara-San to answer the audiences questions.

For more news on anime, cosplay, games and Japanese culture follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Culture Japan Night London with Danny Choo




Culture Japan Night London with Danny Choo

Over the years, Japan Foundation have become well known for their hands on approach to showcasing Japanese culture by bring over great guests, providing top notch workshops and curating exciting film festivals. On Wednesday 5th March they had none other than Hackney born Japanese business/blogger sensation  (and son of famous shoe maker), Danny Choo, give a talk about what he’s been working on at Culture Japan Night London.
Armed with his mascot Mirai Suenaga Smart Doll, (was her Birthday on the 3rd March too) Danny Choo talked about a variety of different things such as the development of the doll, his website and culture japan show, as well as his insights into japanese culture and a few nuggets of information on how business is conducted in japan. During the talk, Danny mentioned that his current main focus is the smart doll project and to expand the functionality of the doll over the coming years. During its continued development, Danny and his team have wracked their brains to come up with a design that not only accommodates the necessary electronics within the limbs but also to make it cost effective to to help reduce the final cost of the doll to the consumer.

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Mr Choo and Mirai doll!

Past models of the smart doll can be moved remotely using the controls on a Bluetooth paired Android Smartphone. Choo wants to go a step forward and make a walking, talking smart doll with artificial AI. As many are getting used to the likes of Siri on the iphone, imagine having a doll version of that which can talk and respond to your speech. The Mirai doll will have its own voice, but Danny hopes to make it possible for users to download and install additional “voice packs” utilizing the vocals of famous seiyuu voices which could really excite the Otaku consumer. An interesting facet of the production process of the dolls is that they are aimed at other countries rather than focusing on japan. When asked about the time delay from the manufacture of the dolls in Japan to when it would be available for overseas customers, he answered this was aimed exclusively for the rest of the  world not Japan!

Amongst talk of his latest doll projects he talked about anime and licensing from his experiences in interacting with several anime studios. Even when you’re in contact with the staff at a particular company and everything seems fine, things can sometimes turn sour if said company has a problem with how you may be utilizing their IP. Even things like the company not approving of your fan art of their anime could cause talk of lawsuits to be thrown around with shorter than a week’s notice.

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Another difference in how the market for anime differs in Japan is that the average Japanese consumer for anime and manga are content with having to pay as much as £350 for a Blu-Ray set for a series, which most people overseas would call extortionate prices since many fans in the UK would expect to pay around £40-60 max for a full season on blu-ray in their local retailer or online. Therefore the Japanese industry rarely feel they need to bother with considering the western anime market when consumers in their home territory are already prepared to pay much higher prices for anime and than those abroad.

In reference to Danny’s appearances at events, the most noteworthy being the Culture Japan Con created by his company, many people in the audience asked if he had any plans to attend UK conventions. To this, he said he’d happily attend if he were invited and they didn’t clash with his other events. When quizzed further about future Culture Japan events, Danny mentioned that the next event is likely to be in Malaysia, where he held the Culture Japan Con last year. So if you are in demand of Mirai merchandise, it would be a great experience to save up your money and go to the next convention abroad perhaps?


At the end of the Q&A Danny happily chatted to people and insisted we all networked with each other and make at least one new friend. This was easy as there were a variety of people in the audience of all ages, including students, business owners and cosplay fans. After a sprint to take all the Mirai poster off the walls, people queued to get photos with Choo and interviews. We even had a few cosplayers in midst of the crowd to stand with Danny and the Mirai doll in all our group photos. Jade (@woodlandbunny), one of he cosplayers in attendance, even came dressed as Mirai Suenaga, accompanied by her doll companion, also dressed as Mirai.
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The Parallax Play team got a short and snappy one with Choo about Games, anime and breasticles. Listen to the audio interview here.

This was a great event, free hosted by Japan Foundation, Danny was in high spirits joking around about how London has changed since his last visit four years ago and how the buses have still not improved since. To keep up with the latest info on Danny’s Culture Japan series, the Mirai smartdoll or his snippets of life in japan, check out his site at www.dannychoo.com
To find more details about future events at Japan Foundation go here: www.jpf.org.uk

Article originally written for Parallax Play.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

LAGC 2014

Cosplay !
London Anime Convention with additional Gaming has set out in the same venue but with an extra building to accommodate the games and with a sponsorship of £1000 from Game, they had lots of offer.

With a whopping turn out of 2,000 people, LAGC really performed better than it’s predecessors with a more spaced out games area showcasing Game, Namco/Baindai, League of Legends and even card games.

The Otaku Fashion show was now overseen by new management and Boy Kitten selected models for their fashion input which had to be Japanese related. They had a mix of Sweet Lolita, punk and corsets with an array of models with variety of looks and sizes. The cosplay varied and they had some League of Legends mascots turn up alongside some popular anime series characters like Danganrompa and human-pokemon variations.
Otaku Fashion show with me

Alongside the Cosplay guests including Chiquitita Cosplay, Stacey Rebecca, Lisa Marie, Tabitha Lyons with Artyfakes. Chiquitita Cosplay, Stacey Rebecca, Lisa Marie, joined myself and Rebecca Moriarty on stage for the cosplay on TV panel, where we talked about the perceptions of cosplay, how staged TV is and how you film a lot of footage but alot can be used to convey the opposite.

Sweet Lolita's at Otaku fashion show :)
One of the joys LAC is famous for is bringing over fantastic voice actors. This year it was the friendly Coleen Clinkenbeard. Voicing many of our favourite characters like Yuko from xxxHolic, Trinity Blood – Esther Blanchett, One Piece – Monkey D. Luffy, Fairy Tail – Erza Scarlet, Summer Wars – Noriko Jinnouchi, Borderlands – Lilith,  Space Dandy – Scarlett and so much more. Despite being pregnant, she happily signed peoples posters, took photos with fans and did a great Q&A.


Chiquitita Cosplay, AlienQueen, Hariett and me




YY Kawaii decoden XD

The cosplay masquerade was an especially great show this year, with impressive character skits and on stage marriage proposal between Zelda and Link, people really got their monies worth with tutorials with ArtyFakes, performances from Ellie Monty, Maid’s of England and Abridgers.


Ai My Maid set up a pop up cafe at LAGC supplying some delicious cakes by D’s Karen’s Kakes and

Selling out fast on the Saturday, get your hands on one of these quality art pieces here: https://www.facebook.com/canime.ltd

Another highlight was YYKawaii run by Yik Yun the CEO who makes decoden phone cases and now mirrors to suit our kawaii needs. Using Japanese figures and cute accessories to make commissioned pieces too:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/YY-Kawaii

Charming Kitsune studio makes some of the highest quality animegao kigurumi masks out of Japan. You may have seen them at Hyper Japan and MCM not saying a word but posing for photos. They also offer skin suits to go with the heads. I took the opportunity to try one on and suprising it is comfortable, light weight and easy to navigate as the eye holes are reasonably sized.

Prices vary on the models: http://www.charmingkitsune.com/
Krafts, it’s great to see the anime community working side by side together. Great stalls around the venue include Caime selling there exclusive print canvases designed by the brothers themselves.
www.charmingkitsune.com/


As the evening went on the live music began on stage by the bar and people were partying hard. A great event to socialise, enjoy fashion, cosplay and buy merchandise.

This article was originally written for Animepicks.co.uk which is no more, photos belong to Caroline Mound photography.

Find out more about London Anime & Gaming Con here: http://www.londonanimecon.com/

For more events, news on anime, games, J fashion and Jculture follow me on Twitter and Facebook. ^_^ Aisha Anime

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Monster Hunter Community Event with Ryozo Tsujimoto


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Anyone who is a fanatic about Monster Hunter can tell you how loyal company Capcom is to their fans. Apart from sponsored events around London offering never before seen previews, help from the experts and chances to win exclusive merchendise. Their latest community event, held at the Capcom Europe offices in London offered even more to long-time fans of the franchise.
Upon entering the fabulous reception we were greeted by the zombie mascot and Jake who escorted us to the hustle and bustle of 120 gamers getting there streetpass on. After a few competitions for Japan-exclusive plushie meat  (vacuum sealed for freshness) , people were left to their own devices to mingle with other fans, play co op quests on big screen or on the 3DS’s.
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It hadn’t been made clear what was going on but all the gamers were so engrossed in their quests it didn’t matter. I inquired to the plan of events and was pleased to find out that the Executive producer of monster hunter Mr. Ryozo Tsujimoto would be joining us!
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After much suspense, he entered and we all made an orderly queue, people brought along their Monster Hunter art books, games, DS consoles to get signed and Ryozo san was more than happy to oblige. After everyone’s trinkets got signed we all gathered to have group photos, and there were a lot of us to squeeze in.  With Ryozo san being so kind to get photos with everyone, he bid us a farewell. We then grilled the Capcom representative for information on the new Monster Hunter and then were left to our own devices.

A great opportunities to catch up with fellow online hunters! Hopefully Capcom will arrange more community events in the future as this was spectacular with a great turnout!

Article originally written for Parallax Play.
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