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You Can Help Make an Animator's Life Easier

July 7, 2017 11:00am
by Mike Tamburelli

In recent times, it has become ever more apparent that animators in Japan’s anime industry have it rough. You may recall a story from just a few weeks ago wherein Studio Khara, the talent behind the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, were able to pay potentially newly-hired animators just slightly more than the industry average at around $920 USD -- which really is not great, especially when you consider the need to pay the always costly Tokyo rent. Standards for animator pay in Japan are quite low, but there's a few things available to industry outsiders that they can do to help, and even change the lives of the next generation of creatives. This is where the Non-Profit Organization known as Animator Supporters comes in:

Animator Supporters have identified 3 key risks for Japan’s animation industry workers:

  • Animators in their twenties often make no more than 90,000 yen a month
  • 90% of new animators quit within 3 years due to low pay and harsh working conditions
  • Without proper support and mentoring for animators, Japanese animation as a cultural pillar risks collapse

Jun Sugawara from Animator Supporters has come forth to present the organization’s fundraising goals in English. As of now, they have run 3 successful crowdfunding campaigns both within Japan and overseas to tackle perhaps one of the biggest issues facing young animators today: housing.

The yearly "Animator Dormitory Projects" aim to raise money for affordable dorm-style housing for animators. Paying no more than 30,000 yen a month including utilities costs, animators can skirt Tokyo's rent prices and live in an environment where they can not only survive, but thrive. Remember the point about young animators not receiving proper support and mentoring? The goal with the dormitory project is to allow an environment where new animators can learn from the more experienced hands.  

This year, the English campaign lives on Indiegogo'Generosity platform, and Jun has outlined the project's mission and history:

Our goals

・To make an environment where start-up animators can devote themselves to their work without worrying about whether they can pay their house rents or make a stable living

・To bridge the skill gap caused by income inequalities

・To create a space where start-up animators can learn techniques from skilled animators so that they will be able to make a stable living in the animation industry.

Since March 2014, we have established the Animator Dormitory in order to achieve these goals. In Animator Dormitory, animators can stay live there for 30,000 JPY per month (including utility expenses). They will also get chances for social exchanges beyond the boundaries of companies and receive technical support for illustrations and drawing.

Our History

• March 2014 First Animator Dormitory opened in Asagaya

• March 2015 Animator Dormitory in Ogikubo opened

• March 2016 Animator Dormitory that is bigger opened in Asagaya

• March 2017 Girls Animator Dormitory opened in Naritahigashi. As of May 2017, eight animators are living in the Animator Dormitory.

Of course, what I'm hoping to inspire through outlining all of this is at least your visit to the project's page, here. With a campaign that is running until the year's end having already eclipsed 50% of its goal, it is exceedingly clear that many people value the prospect of improved conditions for the people working so hard to create the content we love. And hey, there ae some pretty sweet perks for donating as well. Do you want to actually just hang out and chill with these folks? Well, that's a perk you can unlock at just a $150 USD donation if you've helped in the past, and at $300 if you are donating for the first time.

One of my favorite aspects of the project as a whole is the human aspect brought about through social media, especially Facebook. The animators who you are supporting often take the time to write their feelings out, conveying them to all of the project's followers. Check out some recent examples:

These creatives have already gained so much through the project's support -- how cool is this?

As a hyper-avid consumer of Japanese animation, the chance to affect meaningful change in an industry that has done so much to enrich my life these past 12 years or so is an incredibly meaningful one. My goal is not necessarly to coerce everyone to donate to this project directly - after all, we all have our own lives and circumstance to deal with - but merely to raise awareness. If we can help foster the creativity of the next big name in anime, someone that perhaps the next generation will be able to consume and enjoy, then I know we will have done our little bit to keep the industry alive.

Thank you Animator Supporters for your continued dedication, and know that you will have my continued support.

2017 Animator Dormitory Project:
Animator Supporters: 
Official site (Japanese)


New 'Pokémon Ultra Sun & Moon' Trailer Revealed

August 18, 2017 2:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

Uploaded today onto the official Pokémon YouTube channel, we today received two new glimpses into just what we can expect from the upcoming "Pokémon: Ultra Sun" and "Pokémon: Ultra Moon". Showcasing a series of new story elements, and even a possible return to the Kanto region, fans of the series have a whole lot to disect in the first new trailer. Following shortly after was the upload of a short video announcing the new Z-Move for Kommo-o. 

Featuring two new unique looks for our main character, players are invited to adventure once more whilst remaining as stylish as ever. There's going to be new places to explore, and even more fresh content to enjoy building into the Ultra games. On top of all this we'll also have an all-new Z-Move to enjoy.

Within mere minutes of the trailer being uploaded, viewers were rapidly pulling apart every little detail, which of course produced some pretty interesting results. Perhaps one of the most interesting however would come in roughly 14 seconds into the trailer, where we find the main character in an all too familiar location. Not quite sure what we're talking about? Check this out:

One of the most prominent aspects of the "Pokémon Sun" and "Pokémon Moon" games was the constant throw back to the second generation titles and their Kanto region setting. It was largely dismissed amongst fans as simple easter eggs scattered throughout the game, but perhaps this latest shot suggests they could mean so much more. With a November 17 release date for the titles however, we're still some ways off knowing. One can only dream of such a return to the Kanto region however, and we sure hope it happens. 

If you're interested in checking out further information on the upcoming titles, you can check out the official website, here. Are you excited for the upcoming games, and have you figured out which copy you'll be picking up? 


'Monster Hunter: World' Wildspire Waste Trailer Released

August 18, 2017 12:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

Following the news that fans will be able to enjoy the highly-anticipated "Monster Hunter: World" at this year's Tokyo Game Show, Capcom have today shared a new trailer for the upcoming title. Adventuring deep into the uncharted Wildspire Waste, hunters are going to need to gear up adequitely if they hope to defeat the creatures that call the wasteland their home. The trailer is gorgeous, and could quite possibly be one of the best series trailers to date. You'll see what I mean below:

Featuring a plethora of new and returning monsters, players are going to need to hope their hunting skills are as overpowering as these monsters will be. We've still got a bit of time to prepare ourselves, especially with that "Early 2018" release frame, but we absolutely can expect to get our hunt on for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with a PC release slated for an undefined later date. 

Available for demo play at the Tokyo Game Show 2017, you'll have your own chance to begin your hunt before the official release. For further information on the upcoming title, you can check out the full website here.


Screenshots From Upcoming Persona Dancing Titles Revealed

August 17, 2017 6:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

It was only a short period of time ago that Atlus announced what is possibly my most hyped upcoming pair of titles, "Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night" and "Persona 5: Dancing Star Light" which are set to release on both PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 in Japan around Spring 2018. They appear to follow a similar play-style to the previously released "Persona 4: Dancing All Night", which just so happened to be my favorite entry into the "Persona" series to date. 

There's not been much information since the release of the trailers, which makes sense given the game is so far off. That however all changed recently, following an interview conducted by Japanese news platform 4Gamer with Atlus. Sharing an entire slew of gorgeous in-game screenshots, we're treated to even more reasons to get excited for the upcoming pair of games. You can check out the images for each game below:

"Persona 3: Dancing Moon Light"

"Persona 5: Dancing Star Light"

Set to release Spring 2018 here in Japan, you can find even more information on the upcoming game in our archive. Further details can also be find via the official website for the titles, here.


English Trailer for 'Little Witch Academia' Game Released

August 17, 2017 5:00pm
by Mike Tamburelli

We already knew that "Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time" was getting an international release, but that felt rather far away. We would have been expected to wait quite a lot longer for any information, had Bandai Namco not just released an English-subtitled version of the game's story trailer, giving us all a better idea of what we can expect from the gorgeous-looking 2.5D romp.

Have you ever had a summer vacation ruined by the accidental discovery of a time-warping door inside the library at school? I just hate when that happens. It seems then that we are now tasked with helping Akko and her friends restore sanity at Luna Nova Magical Academy with the help of some wondrously-enchanting special moves and spells. All of exposition set to Yuiko Ohara's Toki no Mirage, the game's official theme, is enough of a hex to get me to purchase this game on day one. Rest assured, you'll be hearing a lot from me on this one.

Bandai Namco have provided their official synopsis of the game below:

​Having been inspired by a famous witch named Shiny Chariot, an ordinary girl named Atsuko (Akko) Kagari enrolls at Luna Nova Magical Academy, a prestigious school for young girls training to become witches. Before starting summer vacation, Akko and her new classmates find out about an inexplicable phenomenon at Luna Nova caused by the Seven Wonders, which has been passed down for several centuries. Now it's up to Akko as she takes on the adventure to unravel the mystery surrounding the Seven Wonders.

Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time releases in Japan for both the PlayStation 4 and PC on November 30. The game is currently slated for international release in the "Early 2018" timeframe.


Crunchyroll and Funimation to Release 'Space Patrol Luluco'

August 17, 2017 4:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

Announced today, Crunchyroll are working together with the team at Funimation to release Studio Trigger's hit 2016 animated series "Space Patrol Luluco" in North America on Blu-Ray and DVD. It wasn't all too long ago that the anime big-names announced that they'd be joining forces to bring even more of the shows we love to fans around the world. Taking it a step at a time, the partnership has proceeded to produce incredible results, with this release being the latest. 

Featuring both English and Japanese voice overs, as well as full subtitling, there's a whole lot to look forward with this release. Featuring all thirteen episodes of the series, fans will be treated to the full-hd adventure that is "Space Patrol Luluco". Contained within the disc as an additional bonus will also be the textless ED theme. Crunchyroll have made the English-dubbed trailer for the series made available on theirTwitter, which can be streamed below:

Luluco's dad has been frozen in a block of ice, and there's only one way for this middle schooler to pay for the treatment-by taking his place in the Space Patrol! It's a total pain, until she gets partnered with some perfect crush material, a.k.a. the handsome Nova from outer space. After her hometown of Ogikubo gets sucked into a black hole, it's up to Luluco and a bunch of weirdos to track it down.

Priced at roughly $26 online, you'll be able to pre-order the release ahead of its October 2017 availability. For further information on the release, as well as where to pre-order it, be sure to check out Funimation's official website, here.


Check out the Latest Single from CY8ER 'Koi Natsu'

August 17, 2017 1:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

CY8ER are back and sounding fresher than ever in their latest release, "Koi Natsu", which was recently made available on their YouTube channel. The bouncy electronic single finds the six-member idol unit playfully embracing the summertime, all while infusing their own signature sounds and styles into the season. 

When it comes to emerging idol groups, there's none that I've found more intriguing than CY8ER. I'd be lying if I said I was a big idol fan, but I've always had a soft spot for the blending of electronic music with less-traditional idol sounds. That's exactly where CY8ER comes into all of this, they're an idol group who aren't afraid of being unconventional, and that's possibly one of their strongest points. Many might know them for their global headline-making stunt which saw them wearing hazmat suits for a fan meet and greet, but I'd like to hope most of you know them for their incredible musical value.

Their latest single "Koi Natsu" is no exception, and is an excellent entry point for anyone not familiar with the group. Fresh off the group's "Lucid Dreaming Tour", it's impressive that the members were able to make the time to push out such a quality single. Pulling off a similarly excentric vibe to previous releases, "Koi Natsu" truly drives home the fact that CY8ER are a force to be reckoned with. If you're intereted in checking out further information on the group, be sure to dig through out archives, here.


The New Unicorn Gundam Is Being Assembled in Odaiba

August 17, 2017 12:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

It was only a few months ago that Tokyo lost one of its greatest guardians -- the life-size Gundam unit that stood tall over the Odaiba area. It dissapeared suddenly, and made waves globally when the announcement of its dismantaling was made. That was of course, until it was detailed that the unit was instead being replaced by the more modern "Unicorn Gundam". It's been six months since that time, and we're finally starting to see the progress being made on the Unicorn Gundam. Check out the gallery below to see just how gorgeous this unit looks:

In the above series of photos uploaded by Twitter user @yoshi115t, we're given our first real glance at the new Unicorn Gundam. Still under construction, the images showcase the procedure being used by assembly teams to piece together the RX-0 unit. Standing proud at over 24 meters tall, the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam towers over the original RX-78-2 unit which capped off at 18 meters height. Captured in a timelapse video below, you can check out roughly 30 minutes of construction for the unit:
What are your thoughts on the new Unicorn Gundam? Do you think it'll ever top the original RX-78-2 Gundam that stood over the Odaiba area for so long?