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July 18, 2017 12:00am
by Lachlan Johnston

[Video] One-Punch Man Director Shingo Natsume (Part Three)

There's roughly two given rules in this universe; 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats and 10km of running everyday will undoubtedly give you superhuman powers, and that anything Shingo Natsume touches will turn to gold. While the former may have it's negative side-effects (hair loss, for one), the latter has proven to be nothing but positive. From One-Punch Man to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and even series like Naruto: Shippuuden and Gurren Lagann, Shingo Natsume has played an important role in them all. So when the opportunity arose to personally sit down with Natsume himself, it wasn't something we were going to turn down.

In part three of our video interview series, Shingo Natsume discusses his involvement with the One-Punch Man animated series, as well as the underlying themes and occurrences.

Even though Shingo Natsume may not have originally been familiar with the One-Punch Man series when he was originally asked to direct the anime, he knew a work of art when he saw one. After his initial reading of the web-comic and manga series, he knew that there was a lot of potential to build on, and that's when he got to work on his role as a director. To him, One-Punch Man was so much more than just another hero story, and that's the way he intended to work with it.

Not cutting corners was of the upmost importance to Shingo, as he worked tirelessly inspired by a handful of Western films such as Deadpool. Everything had to work, and once the finished product was finally ready, it was clear that this would be the next big thing.

If you're interested in checking it out, Shingo Natsume's latest directorial work, ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. can be streamed on Crunchyroll, here. The first part of our interview series with director Shingo Natsume can be found here.


Sony Flaunts Their PlayStation VR Library in New Montage Trailer

December 14, 2018 3:47pm
by Paul Hartling

PlayStation Europe has hit the ground running with a new montage trailer featuring new and previously released (but still relevant) PlayStation VR titles. Sony’s PlayStation VR lineup has come a long way since the peripherals release back in 2016 and the new bundles for the Holiday season have hit quite the mark. With over 200 compatible games along with genres ranging from shooting, puzzle, and platforming, it’s obvious that now is the time to join in on virtual reality as the form of entertainment with the headset continues to expand at a steady rate.

With the many games shown in the montage that include favorites such as Moss, Beat Saber, Astro Bot Rescue Mission, Tetris Effect, Borderlands 2 VR and SUPERHOT VR, Sony has hit the right nerve on what people are looking for in terms of support in a VR headset and not packing in extra accessories that you ordinarily just wouldn’t use for some games. Playing both Moss at E3 2017 and Tetris Effect during E3 2018, along with a few other titles within the past year, has cemented my believing in VR.

With PlayStation VR FINALLY being affordable to the market with impressive bundles that have just the right amount of content for anybody, plus the patched PSVR content included into games already by developers that you might already own, PSVR can safely be adoptable by the masses. With bundles ranging from $199 to $349 at most retailers, consumers have quite an option here. Bundling the PSVR together with a couple of interesting games isn’t bad for the cheaper SKU and even if VR isn’t going to catapult into popularity as many had hoped, it’s always some good fun to mess around with for a while. It also means you get to play other excellent games as VR experiences such as Resident Evil VII and Gran Turismo Sport.

Is PlayStation VR on your Holiday wishlist?


Release Date for Masaaki Yuasa’s 'Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara' Revealed

December 14, 2018 2:51pm
by Petrit Elshani

Solidifying the June-July period as an exciting period for anime movie fans, Masaaki Yuasa’s upcoming film Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara has been slated for a June 21, 2019 release in Japan. Placing it less than a month before Makoto Shinkai's Tenki no Ko: Weathering into You (July 19) makes this perhaps the most promising month for anime movies in recent history. With Reiko Yoshida (Liz and the Blue Bird, A Silent Voice) penning the script and Michiru Oshima (Lu Over the Wall, Little Witch Academia) conducting the score, this film is certainly not one to miss. 

“The story centers on the relationship between Hinako, who has moved to a coastal town upon entering university and Minato, a young firefighter with a strong sense of justice. Hinako loves surfing and while fearless on the sea, she's still uncertain about her future. Following a fire mishap in the town, Hinako and Minato encounter each other. As they spend more time surfing together, Hinako feels drawn to Minato, who dedicates himself to help others.” 

Masaaki Yuasa is perhaps one of only a few truly distinct auteurs in the Japanese animation industry today. With classics like Kaiba, Tatami Galaxy, and Ping Pong the Animation behind his back, as well as recent hits such as Lu Over the Wall, and Night is Short, Walk on Girl, and this year’s Devilman Crybaby, this movie is almost guaranteed to be good. For those of you who may not be sure what to expect, Yuasa is particularly renowned for pushing the boundaries of what animation has to offer. Constantly changing up the art direction and style of his works, he doesn’t shy away from whatever does his stories the most justice on screen. In some sense, he’s the opposite of Makoto Shinkai, who wants to deliver on a highly refined and polish visual experience as opposed to a raw and emotional one like Yuasa is known for. 

It’s almost profound that Yuasa is able to consistently put out new projects. Considering that both of his recent movies were released in 2017, with Devilman Crybaby hitting Netflix so soon after, it’s amazing that we’re getting another feature film so soon. Yuasa’s team previously reported some delays in the production at the time when Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara was first unveiled in October, so the fact that it’s still hitting the cinemas so soon is quite a surprise. Hopefully, this doesn’t mean that the team is clambering to finish in too short of time. 

Those interested in checking out further information on the upcoming film, be sure to check out Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara's official website.


New Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 Trailer Unleashed

December 14, 2018 1:45pm
by Petrit Elshani

With Mob Psycho 100's explosive second season 2 just around the corner, there is absolutely no better time to hype people up than right now -- and that’s precisely what Studio Bones have decided to do by dropping an incredible all-new trailer today. With some breathtaking action cuts, coupled with the return of MOB CHOIR for the new opening “99.9 (feat. sajou no hana)", Mob Psycho is coming in hot. Set to air on January 7, 2019, this trailer has effectively solidified Mob Psycho 100 as being one of next season’s biggest shows. 

After the light-hearted and somewhat unremarkable first trailer that was released at the end of October, this new, brilliantly choreographed trailer reminds fans why exactly they love this series. Starting with a number of cuts featuring almost all of the notable characters, the trailer manages to remind everyone of the sincere aspects of the series without making it mellow. After all, it wouldn’t be a good Mob Psycho 100 trailer if it didn’t feature its fair share of fan-favorite character Arataka Reigen.

Much like Mob himself, this trailer goes from 0 to 100. After gradually building up for the first 30 seconds, the trailer finally unleashes it’s pent-up collection of spectacularly animated cuts and, oh boy, does it not disappoint. Ranging from grueling transformations sequences, dramatic character moments, stunning action, and mind-blowing effect animation, this trailer really gives a taste of what the animated series has to offer. 

The way it wraps things up really keeps the audience wanting more. Ending on such a dramatic moment with the tagline “World becomes something else from a different point of view” coming across the screen, the trailer leads the audience in strongly as to what they can expect from Mob and his upcoming internal struggles. 

Additionally “Memo Sepia” by sajou no hana has been revealed as the ED, as well as Akira Ishida doing the voicework for upcoming major character “Keiji Mogami”. If you are intrigued for more, be sure to check out Mob Psycho 100’s official website.


GAME FREAK's Junichi Masuda and Kensaku Nabana Play 'Who's That Pokémon?'

December 14, 2018 12:17pm
by Mike Tamburelli

I think that I speak for many when saying that the “Who’s That Pokémon” segments in the original Pokémon anime were among my favorite moments in the show every week. The anime was airing at exactly the right time in North America when the hype for the new series was at a fever pitch after the release of both Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue on the Game Boy in 1998.

Pokémon truly became one of those rare franchises wherein multiple media projects worked in synergy with each other; the fanbase was truly hooked. The concept existed in the Japanese version as well, known as the “Silhouette Game,” and the concept was quite simple: audience members were tasked with identifying a Pokémon based only a blacked-out version of a piece of artwork, sometimes with clever angular tricks thrown in. 

Now, two of the franchise’s most important creatives take a stab at a slightly modified version of the game for our enjoyment -- the silhouettes are made from the pixel models of the Pokémon in both the Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! releases on Switch. Exactly how well do series director Junichi Masuda and graphic designer Kensaku Nabana do at identifying the creatures in their own games? Let’s take a look.

Things start off on a pretty sarcastic clip, a tone that never really subsides throughout the entirety of the almost eight-minute video.

The video was way more entertaining than I thought it would be, with the two guys ribbing each other at a nice clip, complete with some quite surprising failures. You’ll have to check out the whole video above for the rest of their fun. How’d you do? Did you end up beating the masters at (literally) their own game?

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! released for the Nintendo Switch on November 16, 2018, worldwide and is available both digitally and physically.


VIZ Media Releases Final Volume of Nishio Yuhta's Essential 'After Hours'

December 14, 2018 11:09am
by Lachlan Johnston

Easily one of my most recommended manga series of the past few years, Nishio Yuhta's incredible After Hours is a masterpiece of its genre and an incredible representation of Tokyo's vivid club scene. Though the final volume of this incredible series saw an early-2018 release here in Japan, fans in the West are finally now able to see just how the series concludes with VIZ Media earlier this week publishing After Hours Vol. 3 in English. 

Already an established name within Tokyo's club music circuit, Nishio Yuhta has been closely associated with artists such as Mikeneko Homeless and DJ WILDPARTY for some time now, as well as being the designer behind some of MOGRA's most iconic event imagery. For someone already so established within the club scene, you really couldn't ask for anyone better to introduce these cultures to international audiences through After Hours, and boy what an introduction it is. 

For those unfamiliar, After Hours finds itself centered around Emi Asahina, a girl who is by every definition of the word, ordinary. After being invited to a club event by a good friend, Emi's life takes a surprising turn after her chance encounter with DJ and club frequent Kei. Throughout the course of the rest of the manga, we see both Emi's feelings towards Kei flourish, as well as her love of DJ'ing start to bloom. 

Filled to the brim with references to iconic moments in modern club culture, as well as the people that pioneered them, After Hours is absolutely not to be slept on. It's no secret that Yuhta is quite the fan of both internet-age musicians, as well as early pioneers in the French House scene, giving the series a much more authentic appeal. 

Available now both physically and digitally, you absolutely do not want to miss the wave on this one. Those interested in checking out even more on the English-language release of Nishio Yuhta's incredible After Hours, be sure to check out VIZ Media's official website.


Asobi System Launches Monthly Tokyo Street Fashion Magazine 'weam'

December 14, 2018 10:12am
by Lachlan Johnston

Asobi System is a company that has long been on the pulse of Harajuku's ever-evolving street fashion and music culture, dating all the way back to when they first came onto the scene over ten years ago. They're the team behind some of Harajuku and Shibuya's most iconic exports, including both Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Yasutaka Nakata, and have dedicated a large stake of their time into the continued output of culture in the area. Acting as both creators and curators, Asobi System tends to have a pretty significant amount of knowledge about the streets that they call home.

In February 2017 the global fashion scene was taken by surprise with the announcement that effective immediately, FRUiTS Magazine would be ceasing publication due to the lack of "cool kids" to photograph. It was an announcement that left the world questioning where Harajuku culture had gone, as well as just how long Japan's "fashion capital" would be able to keep their title. But while I maintain nothing but respect for Shoichi Aoki and his 20 years of photography work within Harajuku, the concept of there being no more "cool kids" to photograph couldn't be more disconnected.

Apparently, I'm not the only one to think this either, with Asobi System earlier this month launching their latest project -- "weam". Revitalizing the concept of a monthly street snap magazine, weam takes to the streets of both Harajuku and Shibuya to give a voice to the next generation of "cool kids" that define the cities modern street fashion sensibilities. The forced foreign concept that Harajuku needs to remain this hyper-colorful capital couldn't be further removed from reality, with little-to-no knowledge shared amongst international onlookers as to the very real modern street culture sweeping the area.

With the first volume going into print and publication earlier this month, the significance of "weam" magazine is immediately visible, yet the concept isn't necessarily anything new. Each issue contains roughly 77 different co-ord photos, as well as a breakdown of the name, age, occupation, and IDs on each item worn by the photographed outfit. The end result is an easy to digest, hyper-relevant look at just what the youth of today are hitting the streets with, all while allowing readers to be inspired to try out their own looks.

While the magazine is still very much in its early days, it'll be interesting to see just how much staying power weam holds in comparison to other street snap magazines before it. With the backing of such a firmly-embedded company like Asobi System, however, I can certainly see this magazine continuing to expand and inform for years to come. Available now in bookstores across Japan, further details on weam can be found via Asobi System's official website.


Makoto Shinkai Announces His Next Project, Tenki no Ko: Weathering With You

December 13, 2018 6:30pm
by Eddie Lehecka

While now-legendary anime director Makoto Shinkai is anything but a new face in the industry, it wouldn't be until 2016 that he was truly able to captivate the world with his game-changing film, "Your Name.". Now over two years later, he's finally setting the stage for his grand return with today's announcement of his all-new original film "Tenki no Ko: Weathering With You". Set to hit theaters across Japan on July 19, 2019, the upcoming film sees Makoto's return to form alongside studio CoMix Wave Films.

Credited as director of the original project, Makoto Shinkai will also be penning the film's script, while "Your Name." character designer Masayoshi Tanaka will be making a return to again handle character design. Makoto Shinkai originally began teasing the film earlier this year, stating that he'd like his next feature film to tell the story of adolescence.

While it comes as little surprise, the film has already been confirmed for international theatrical screenings, with confirmation locked in for Asia, North America, South America, and Europe. Following the massive global success of "Your Name.", I can only imagine how quick publishers must have had to snap this one up. With that being said, screening dates have yet to be announced for any of these countries, though it would be great to see a simultaneous release if possible.

Though we're yet to see the film in motion, we're sure we'll start seeing all sorts of teasers and trailers in the coming few months to really drum up hype. When that day does come, we'll be sure to deliver the news as it breaks. Until then, however, CoMix Wave Films have launched an official website for the upcoming film that can be found here.

What do you think, are you excited for an all-new Makoto Shinkai adventure, and what are you hoping to see throughout the film?