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Interview

Interview with Cowboy Bebop Creator Watanabe Shinichiro

October 11, 2017 12:00pm
by Tatsuya Yamashita, Lachlan Johnston & Mike Tamburelli

Within the world of Japanese animation, there are few individuals more prolific than Watanabe Shinichiro. This fact has become so prevalent in fact, that the term ‘anime’ has almost become synonymous with a majority of his series — many citing shows such as “Cowboy Bebop,” “Samurai Champloo,” and even his more recent “Space Dandy” as their introduction to the world of Japanese animation. As such, the opportunity for us to spend the evening with such an influential creator wasn’t something to be taken lightly, and over a series of both text and video interviews, we’ll be dwelling deep into the mind of Watanabe Shinichiro.

Sitting down with Watanabe, we spoke about his upbringings in the anime industry, as well as looked back at his long-history of creations and ideas. You can find our full text interview below:

OTAQUEST: Watanabe Shinichiro, it’s a pleasure to have you here. Kicking things off, you originally found your footing in the industry as an anime producer at ‘Nippon Sunrise.’ Of all the other active studios existent during that time, why was it you chose to work there? 

Watanabe: I felt like Sunrise was a studio that actively sought to animate original works, rather than adaptations of pre-existing manga series. If I was going to get into the animation industry, I wanted to create my own works rather than adopting someone else’s series.

OTAQUEST: Up until you joined Sunrise, were you studying anime production?

Watanabe: I self-studied pretty much everything I know about movie production and direction on my own accord. I read plenty of books on both film techniques and technology, where I then learned basics such as the 180-degree rule of camera positioning, frame-right, and frame-left. 

As for storyboarding, I learned a lot of that after entering the industry by looking at and mimicking the works of others. There was no proper education system to instruct directors in the anime industry at the time.

OTAQUEST: During that early period of time, were their any creatives who really caught your attention?

Watanabe: Kazuki Akane was kind of a friendly rival of mine — he originally debuted as a director with “The Vision of Escaflowne” at Sunrise in 1996. Even now we occasionally help each other out with projects.

OTAQUEST: Were there any anime directors that you derived a lot of inspiration from, or even those from whom you took reference from?

Watanabe: The director whom I have taken the most personal inspiration from would have to be Masaaki Osumi, who worked on the original “Lupin the Third” TV series. When the series debuted, it had a very adult tone and feel, which wasn’t bringing in the desired ratings, so he was removed from the project. He also assisted in directing the TV series “Moomin,” and it wasn’t until I myself became an adult that I realized he worked on both. 

Since entering the anime industry, I also found myself influenced by Ryousuke Takahashi, who was a part of Sunrise’s third studio and best known for his work on “Armored Trooper VOTOMS.” I learned from him that I shouldn’t rely solely on my own ability to create — I needed to learn to rely more on my staff and their abilities, all while fostering their skills at the same time. For a job done as a team, especially something like the creation of anime, that is of great importance. 

OTAQUEST: It was finally time in 1994 for you to take to the stage with your directorial debut on “Macross Plus.” Can you tell us a little bit about why you were selected to helm such a popular series?

Watanabe: At that time director Kawamori Shoji was producing a film called “Mime” at Sunrise, and it was because of our shared workspace that we originally became acquainted. Unfortunately, however, that film was shelved, but soon after planning for “Macross Plus” began. He approached me and asked if I’d be up for the task.

OTAQUEST: After Kawamori stopped working on “Mime,” his break from the anime industry was an extremely hot topic amongst fans, wasn’t it? 

Watanabe: It was pretty major news. One of the main reasons I accepted the “Macross Plus” offer was to help him make a comeback. Another reason, though, was that I was an episode director at the time, and I felt that I still wasn’t given the freedom I needed to create something of my own. I wanted to be involved with the creative process of something all the way from the beginning.

OTAQUEST: Having done just that, you moved on to work on your very first project you could truly call your own — “Cowboy Bebop.” Can you tell us a little bit about the circumstances that lead to this moment?

Watanabe: Masahiko Minami, who is now the president of Studio Bones, was someone I had known for quite some time. He approached me to ask if I had any good ideas for a new project, and after about 2-3 days of deliberating, something I had thrown together over the course of an hour known only as “Bebop” surfaced. Usually, the things that are quickly slapped together become the big hits, rather than the ones you would painstakingly deliberate on.

Around the same time, there was a very real buzz on the streets in regards to a “Star Wars” revival which had everyone excited. This piqued the interest of Bandai’s toy division in producing something with spaceships as a central element — they thought both the series and affiliated merchandise would sell well. That’s why the offering of my “Bebop” project was taken.

OTAQUEST: At that time it almost felt like robots were a given within the sci-fi genre, but there were few works in the world of anime that delved into the realm of spacecrafts. Because of that, daring to switch was quite a large risk for them, wasn’t it?

Watanabe: It definitely was, and they weren’t very happy with the way we ended up portraying the world of “Cowboy Bebop” either. Around the time we were producing the fourth episode, they actually pulled their sponsorship because they didn’t think such a dark and subdued portrayal of spacecrafts would do any favors to their toy sales. We even considered canceling production after that whole drama, but Bandai’s main film production company Bandai Visual swooped-in to save the project.

OTAQUEST: Looking back on it, it’s absolutely crazy to think that during the first airing of “Cowboy Bebop” in Japan, only the first 12 of 26 episodes were actually broadcasted.

Watanabe: Before the broadcast even began — during the production of the first few episodes, there were a lot of internal stakeholders saying things like “This show is too adult, there’s no way this will work” and “It’s just too pretentious,” as well as other cold things. These very same people began to change their attitudes when the show did manage to grow a following, where they then started saying things like “Oh, I always knew it would sell!” (Laughs) In a sense, it was accepted that things may have changed since the airing of the original “Lupin the Third” series.

OTAQUEST: When do you think the way people viewed “Cowboy Bebop” started to change?

Watanabe: Hmm, when was it that people’s views started to change? To this day, I really couldn’t tell you why “Cowboy Bebop” gained popularity and began selling; even now I still think it went way over budget. If “Cowboy Bebop” had failed, I guarantee I’d be working at a ramen shop by now. I’d be the type of ramen shop owner to get overly fussy regarding minor details and things like ingredients. (Laughs)

Anyway, we’ve spoken a bit about all these moments of misery, so why don’t we talk about something a little more fun?

OTAQUEST: Well, usually when the name “Cowboy Bebop” is mentioned, there’s another name that’s brought up alongside it — Yoko Kanno. Can you tell us a little bit about her, and why you appointed her as the series’ composer?

Watanabe: I first met Yoko during the days of “Macross Plus,” and at that time it was almost as if she was a total newcomer. That being said, however, I too was still a complete newcomer to the project I was about to face. Taking on the role of director — it felt like we had the whole world in front of us. We were also pretty much the same age, and it was almost like we could be comrades-in-arms, so to speak. 

I reached out to Yoko for the project, but when I told her the details she actually indicated that she was likely going turn the offer down because she wasn’t a big fan of jazz. If things really did go that way, and she wasn’t involved, then “Tank!” would have never seen the light of day, and “Cowboy Bebop” may never have realized its full potential. (Laughs)

OTAQUEST: So you’re saying that even though she wasn’t a passionate fan of the jazz genre, she was able to produce such an amazing soundtrack? 

Watanabe: As a result of this, however, I feel as though a genuine synergy between both music and video was created. She inspired me to create songs that I didn’t ask for, and I was inspired by her music to make scenes that I originally didn’t even plan.

OTAQUEST: Can you elaborate on that last part a little bit?

Watanabe: For example, the scene at the end of episode five where Spike falls from the window was inspired by the song “Green Bird,” and was made without having originally been ordered. It’s fair to say “Cowboy Bebop” is full of such occurrences, and that the project’s music budget may have gone well overboard. (Laughs)

OTAQUEST: Was that even allowed?

Watanabe: Normally that would have raised a lot of red flags, but “Cowboy Bebop” definitely wasn’t an ordinary project. 

OTAQUEST: I guess “Cowboy Bebop” just had that sort of power, right?

Watanabe: It honestly wasn’t just the content of “Cowboy Bebop” that was out of the ordinary — the whole production and the circumstances surrounding it were all pretty non-standard. 

OTAQUEST: I’d dare suggest that non-standard feeling has almost become a recurring theme in all of your works, with one of the better examples being the more recent “SpaceDandy.”

Watanabe: I feel like “Cowboy Bebop” was a project full of content that I wanted to create — it felt as though it was a series full of my own personal color. On the flipside, however, “SpaceDandy” was the bi-product of a more diverse pool of talent and thought. Everyone involved was having a good time piecing together the show in their own little way. 

For the longest time, I felt as though “SpaceDandy” had a totally different color to mine. Looking back on it now though, I do realize there is a fair amount of my own color too. 

OTAQUEST: On the topic of that pool of talent; how did you go about choosing such a diverse team of staff for the project?

Watanabe: When the time to assemble the staff of “SpaceDandy” arrived, I reached out to absolutely everyone I had ever wanted to work with, regardless of whether we were acquainted or not. The world of anime is quite wide, and it was through this project I met a long list of individuals; both industry veterans and newcomers alike. 


 
OTAQUEST: Your most recent animated work, “Blade Runner Black Out 2022,” released just a short while ago. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Watanabe: It was right after the offer came in to work on a “Blade Runner” spinoff that I decided the rewatch the original film. It was through this viewing that I came to remember just how influential it was in my entire career as a creator. During the entire production process, I felt an immense pressure given the enormous expectations that come with the “Blade Runner” title. The schedule was extremely tight too, so that didn’t help. 

I knew that if I hadn’t taken the job, however, that some other director would come around and mess it up. (Laughs) To put that another way, if it did end up failing, it would be my own personal failure — I didn’t want that pinned on someone else. (Laughs) 

Even though I mentioned that pressure, however, I was able to convince myself it didn’t really matter in the end. Compared to the original film and Denis Villeneuve’s continuation, my work wasn’t as big a deal. It was after I realized this that I was able to work without hesitation and tell the story I wanted to tell. 

Though the blackout incident is mentioned in “Blade Runner 2049,” it’s only in conversation, which is where my work was meant to complement the film. Taking that into consideration, I began developing my script while consolidating with members of the “Blade Runner 2049” staff and even ended up going to the set of the film for a meeting. It was there that I was able to examine not just the scenery and set, but also show my work to Denis Villeneuve and the director of photography, Roger Deakins. That was an incredible moment. 

OTAQUEST: Wrapping things up, as a veteran anime director, are there any issues that you have with the modern anime industry? What do you think will become of the industry going forward?

Watanabe: As of late we’re finally seeing the upper-limits of a business model that relies too heavily on consumer video disc sales. I also firmly believe we’re seeing too much similar work within the same genres. Now, however, with the advent of services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, we’re seeing a tremendous change in the way content is delivered. Similarly so, the Japanese animation industry is having to undergo some equally massive changes as well. 

 I feel as though it’s become easier to take greater risks with our projects, and that’s something I think is a great direction for the industry to be heading. On top of that, I’ve also been thinking — hand-drawn animation has a charm that you can’t simply replace. It’s become a global dependency to utilize the power of CG animation, but it’s no longer being done in moderation. I just hope more young people — both in Japan and internationally — can learn to adore the world of hand-drawn animation even more so. 
If you’re interested in checking out even more about the life of Shinichiro Watanabe, as well as all of the incredible achievements he has earned, be sure to stay tuned for even more content in the coming weeks. For now, be sure to check out some of our past interviews with creatives such as “Yuri!!! on ICE” creator Sayo Yamamoto, “One-Punch Man” director Natsume Shingo and plenty more, here.

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Whole Year of New 'Full Metal Panic!' Works Kicks Off Today

November 25, 2017 12:00am
by Mike Tamburelli

The news that the Full Metal Panic! series was finally getting a new entry certainly made a splash when it came to light last year, but that much-anticipated TV anime won't actually hit the airwaves until Spring of 2018. What does appear to have slipped under the radar for the most part, however, seems to be the three "Director's Cut" films.



The films are, for the most part, comprised largely of the original 2002 anime's footage. However, some brand-new cuts and drawings have been interspersed throughout the films, and the official FMP site revealed a nice chunk Part One's new cuts. Check them out by scrolling through the gallery below.


Full Metal Panic! Director's Cut 1st SECTION: "Boy Meets Girl" begins a very limited theater run in Japan today. You can catch the film for one week only at one of three locations --  Kadokawa Cinema Shinjuku, Tokyo; Tachikawa Cinema City, Tokyo; and Umeda Burg 7, Osaka.

You can also check out the film's trailer below.
 

Once 1st SECTION wraps up, you can expect both  2nd SECTION and 3rd SECTION to screen on January 13, 2018 and January 20, 2018 respectively. All theater-goers will be entitled to a wonderful new drawing by the light novel series' original illustrator, Shikidouji.
 

Fans will not have to wait long at all after being caught-up on the events of Full Metal Panic! and (presumably) Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, as the fourth season will finally see the light of day next spring as Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory, which is cleverly shortened to FMP: IV, or "four." Neat!

Katsuichi Nakayama, who previously worked on the likes of Bodacious Space Pirates and Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo, is directing the series at Studio XEBEC. It's comparatively shiny, new and pretty, similar to the new cuts shown above. I'll leave you now with the trailer for IV,  so that you can bask in the return of one of anime's most beloved action comedies one more time. It sure is going to be an incredible year to be an FMP fan!
 

Full Metal Panic! - official site

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DAOKO Details 2nd Album 'THANK YOU BLUE'

November 23, 2017 5:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

Earlier this month we received word that DAOKO would be releasing her second studio album "THANK YOU BLUE" on December 20, 2017, here in Japan. The album was set to neatly package all of the rising artist's songs from her major debut up until now, offering a total of 14 tracks made available in either standard or limited edition format. Uploaded today to DAOKO's official YouTube channel, we get a peek into the limited edition version of the album which includes seven music videos in total.

For the now 20-year-old singer and rapper DAOKO, the second album couldn't possibly come at a better time. Perhaps for many, their initial encounter with her lyrical workings was the 2014 electropop spectacular "ME!ME!ME!," a song made in collaboration with TeddyLoid. More recently than that, however, DAOKO was launched into the world of mainstream superstardom here in Japan following the release of her single "Uchiage Hanabi," a song made to accompany the 2017 "Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom? " anime film. 

Set to be included in the limited edition of the album is the following:

Music
01. 打上花火 (DAOKO × 米津玄師)// Utagi Hanabi (DAOKO x Kenshi Yonezu)
02. ステップアップ LOVE( DAOKO × 岡村靖幸)// Step Up LOVE (DAOKO x Yasuyuki Okamura)
03. Juicy ▷玉屋2060% (Wienners) // Juicy 
04. さみしいかみさま ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // Samishii Kami-Sama 
05. ShibuyaK ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // ShibuyaK
06. BANG! ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // BANG!
07. ダイスキ with TeddyLoid ▷TeddyLoid // Daisuki with TeddyLoid
08. 拝啓グッバイさようなら ▷多保孝一 / TAKU INOUE // Haikei Goodbye Sayonara 
09. 同じ夜 ▷D.A.N. // Onaji Yoru
10. GRY ▷O.N.O (THA BLUE HERB) // GRY
11. もしも僕らがGAME の主役で ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // Moshimo Bokura ga GAME no Shuyaku de
12. ゆめみてたのあたし ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // Yume Miteta no Atashi
13. Cinderella step ▷江島啓一 (サカナクション) // Cinderella step
14. ワンルーム・シーサイド・ステップ ▷Tempalay // One-Room Seaside Step

DVD/Music Videos
01. チャームポイント ▷AAAMYYY // Charm Point
02. 歌舞伎町の女王 ▷江島啓一 (サカナクション) // Kabukicho no Jou
03. BOY (Re-Arrange) ▷staRro // BOY (Re-Arrange)
04. ぼく (Re-Arrange) ▷STUTS // Boku (Re-Arrange)
05. okay! ▷Mummy-D (RHYMESTER) // okay!
06. さみしいかみさま (Re-Arrange) ▷薔薇園 アヴ (女王蜂) // Samishii Kami-Sama (Re-Arrange)
07. Fog (Re-Arrange) ▷GOTH-TRAD // Fog (Re-Arrange)

Included in the standard edition of the album is the following:

Music
01. 打上花火 (DAOKO × 米津玄師)// Utagi Hanabi (DAOKO x Kenshi Yonezu)
02. ステップアップ LOVE( DAOKO × 岡村靖幸)// Step Up LOVE (DAOKO x Yasuyuki Okamura)
03. Juicy ▷玉屋2060% (Wienners) // Juicy 
04. さみしいかみさま ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // Samishii Kami-Sama 
05. ShibuyaK ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // ShibuyaK
06. BANG! ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // BANG!
07. ダイスキ with TeddyLoid ▷TeddyLoid // Daisuki with TeddyLoid
08. 拝啓グッバイさようなら ▷多保孝一 / TAKU INOUE // Haikei Goodbye Sayonara 
09. 同じ夜 ▷D.A.N. // Onaji Yoru
10. GRY ▷O.N.O (THA BLUE HERB) // GRY
11. もしも僕らがGAME の主役で ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // Moshimo Bokura ga GAME no Shuyaku de
12. ゆめみてたのあたし ▷小島英也(ORESAMA) // Yume Miteta no Atashi
13. Cinderella step ▷江島啓一 (サカナクション) // Cinderella step
14. ワンルーム・シーサイド・ステップ ▷Tempalay // One-Room Seaside Step​

Set to be released on December 20, you'll be able to pick up your copy of DAOKO's second major album "THANK YOU BLUE" both online and in-store. For further information, be sure to check out her official website, here.

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'Devilman Crybaby' is an 80s Anime Adapted for Modern Days

November 23, 2017 12:00pm
by Mike Tamburelli

We have waited twenty-seven years for the next big thing within the Devilman franchise. Throughout those twenty-seven long years, both the anime industry and the way it's consumed have undergone some pretty major changes. While we're not saying there's no room for the property in the year 2018 -- because we're absolutely not -- it takes a certain level of faith in a series to revive it after so long. But if there's anything worthy of such faith, it would most definitely have to be Devilman.

Set to release on Netflix January 5, 2018, Devilman Crybaby is a beast of a way for the streaming giant to flex their muscles (and wallets) in showing how serious they are about their stake in the anime industry. With music from Japanese supergroup Denki Groove blasting throughout the trailer, we're teased with one of the series' most hype-inducing trailers to date. 

The Masaaki Yuasa-directed anime spectacular has long topped people's must-see lists since it was first announced over five months ago. With a slew of high-quality works under his belt including Ping Pong and The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl, it shouldn't come as much surprise as to why there's so much buzz surrounding this anime. 



DEVILMAN crybaby: official site

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The Hidden Secrets of Anime Expo - What You Need to Know

November 22, 2017 12:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

We're nearing the end of 2017, and that basically only means one thing -- Anime Expo 2018 is just around the corner. It's a yearly pilgrimage for just about any anime fan around the globe, making their way to the Los Angeles Convention Center for the multi-day spectacular that we've come to know and love. With how much that goes on within those days, however, it comes as no surprise that there are a few gems that fly under most peoples radar, and we want to make sure you know what they are:

1. Acoustikaraoke

I'd like to hope it comes as little surprise when I mention the cultural importance karaoke holds here in Japan. Possibly one of the most important pastimes over here, karaoke is considered by many to be the cornerstone of a good weekend. But what if that two-hour session could go even further --  what if we could build upon it, building it into something even more. That's where "Acoustikaraoke" comes into play at Anime Expo. Offering the opportunity for attendees to showcase their instrumental and ensemble ability through live performances, acoustikaraoke builds upon the foundations laid by traditional karaoke, making it an event worth your time in checking out. 

Find more out about it here.

2. Art Show Exhibition

Been hard at work but perhaps still not ready to push your art through to the Artist Alley? That's where the Art Show comes into play. Offering a space for up-and-coming creators to showcase their latest works, the Art Show is absolutely somewhere to visit if you're looking to support the next-generation of creatives, and especially if you're looking to create a voice for yourself.

Find more out about it here.
 

3. Anime and Manga Studies Symposium

Looking to branch out from the ordinary discussions between fans of anime? Perhaps looking to dwell beyond the surface, and dig a little deeper into just what "anime" means in a modern context? That's where Anime Expo's "Anime and Manga Studies Symposium" comes into play. Offering integral discussions about anime is a global medium, you'll be able to join fellow academics and the general public to discuss the history and themes of various anime, all whilst having your voice to be heard. If you've got a point that you're keen to share, you'll definitely want to check out this panel.

Find more out about it here.

4. Career-Oriented Workshops

In the year 2017, and perhaps even more-so in the year 2018, the prospect of working in the anime industry is becoming more and more achievable. With the acknowledgment that global audiences are wanting to make the next big move, panels like "Career Workshops" are becoming more and more essential in bringing forward fresh ideas across the industry. For those interested in making a splash in the fields of ADR engineering, subtitling, or game localization, this panel is absolutely for you.

5. AMV Chef

Even before the very concept of Food Wars, young creatives have been cooking up fresh recipes for various AMVs (Anime Music Videos) across the internet. "AMV Chef" calls on the best of these creators to give it their all in creating something amazing using a grand palette of pre-determined clips within a set amount of time. It's an intense battle between the greats and is guaranteed to be a total riot for those attending. 

For both fans of AMVs and budding creators alike, this is absolutely an event not to be missed. Find out more about it here.

6. Cosplay Poker

Feeling particularly lucky while dressed as your favorite character? Then maybe it's time to give "Cosplay Poker" a try over at the tabletop gaming area. Offering an environment for both those in and out of cosplay to play their hand at a tournament-style game of No-Limit Texas Hold 'em, there's countless opportunity for a fair hand at fun over at this table. 

7. Meet the SPJA Board of Directors

Looking to voice a recommendation or concern regarding the happenings around Anime Expo? Well, this is absolutely something to check out. Run in a round-table format, attendees of the convention are invited to share their recommendations and queries with the staff and organizers of North America's biggest anime convention. 
 
With Anime Expo 2018 set to take place from July 5 - July 8, we're rapidly approaching one of the biggest events of the year for fans of Japanese culture and Anime as a medium. These are just a small sampling of the events that take place at Anime Expo, but they're also something that should definitely be highlighted just a little more. For even more information about the upcoming convention, be sure to check out the Anime Expo website, here.

Check out the original posting via Anime Expo.

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GraphersRock Showcases Second Puma Collaborative Collection

November 20, 2017 2:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

You might remember a few months ago we shared a piece about an upcoming Tokyo-themed line of sneakers coming from PUMA, and particularly our praise we had for the GraphersRock collaborative kicks. I couldn't do it then, and even now I can't stress enough my belief that the Tokyo-based designer is quite possibly one of the most forward-thinking creators I've stumbled across. This belief, in particular, shines extremely bright in the long-awaited second season of his collaboration with PUMA, which we finally got to feast our eyes on today. 

It was about a week ago today that I made my way to Harajuku's PUMA locale to pick up a copy of the collaborative zine that just released to tease the upcoming collection. It was filled with GraphersRock's usual internet-tinged designs and flavor, but I don't think there could have been anything that would prepare me for what was to come. 


If GraphersRock's "Turn on Tokyo" sneakers were the cutting-edge of sleek, internet-age fashion design, then this new season must be the pinnacle. It's a six-piece accumulation of everything I'd come to know and love about their designs, all while dashing in a breath of fresh air through the use of both color and cuts. I could rave on forever about the smallest details, but none of it would ever do the collection any justice -- unlike these pictures.


Tsugi Kori by GraphersRock // 2 Colorway // 16,000 Yen + Tax


Disc Blaze Leather by GraphersRock // 2 Colorway // 20,000 Yen + Tax


GraphersRock Woven Jacket // Black // 30,000 Yen + Tax


GraphersRock SS Tee // Black // 9,000 Yen + Tax


GraphersRock Sweat Pants // Black // 18,000 Yen + Tax


Back Pack by GraphersRock // Black // 18,000 Yen + Tax

Set to release December 2, 2017, here in Japan, you can absolutely expect to catch me in line to get my hands on a few choice pieces from this collection. From the announcements made online, it definitely seems like there isn't going to be an international release, but that could of course change with given time. Much like previous releases, you'll be able to pre-order the collection from 19:00 on December 1 via the online store, and there's also set to be a release event at PUMA's Harajuku locale. 

For a full list of locations and details, you can visit the official PUMA x GraphersRock website here.

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Dai Sato Reddit AMA Highlights

November 20, 2017 12:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

It was under a month ago that we announced our collaborative efforts with Reddit's own /r/anime, and it was this past weekend that those very efforts accumulated and bore fruit. Bringing our own co-founder, Dai Sato, over to one of the internets largest anime communities, we allowed fans worldwide to buzz him with any questions that they may have had. In total, we got a total of over 35 questions answered spread across a wide variety of topics from Dai's dream projects, all the way to his fascination with anchovies on pizza.

In an effort to make the whole thread a little bit more accessible to everyone, we've gone ahead and compiled all of the questions and answers presented in the thread right here. There's a lot of questions that we've been dying for people to know, and perhaps even more which we didn't even know ourselves. Having been the script-writer behind series such as Eureka Seven, Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and a number of others, it comes as no surprise that we got some genuinely incredible questions, and we couldn't be more pleased with the answers Dai so happily shot back. 

To celebrate, we've compiled a handful of our favorite answers from the AMA, for your viewing pleasure. You can check out those very questions and answers below:

Having sat down for over 3 hours to answer the questions of fans, we couldn't have been more happy with the turn out of the whole event. We've got a whole lot more coming, and will continue to bring forward some of the best names in the industry to Reddit's /r/anime to answer your questions. If you've got anyone in particular you'd be interested in seeing, by all means let us know in the comment box down below. If you're interested in checking out the full AMA session over on Reddit, you can find it here.

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'Dragon Ball' Voice Actress Hiromi Tsuru Has Passed Away

November 17, 2017 12:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

Truly tragic news surfaced today when it was announced that Hiromi Tsuru, perhaps best known for her voice roles as Bulma in the Dragon Ball series, has passed away at age 57. The voice actress was found unconscious in her car along the Shuto Expressway here in Tokyo, with both her seatbelt fastened and hazard lights enabled.

It's being reported that Hiromi Tsuru passed away due to an aortic dissection. It's currently unclear when this occurred. After being rushed to the hospital she was shortly thereafter announced dead. Born in Yokohama, Japan, Hiromi Tsuru had been working in the industry since 1978 when she was only 17 years old. 

It wouldn't be until the 1980s that the young Hiromi Tsuru would truly blossom into the phenomenal voice actor we all remember her as, following on from an enormous string of high-profile positions. With roles in series such as Dragon Ball as Bulma and Child Piccolo Jr., all the way to Anpanman's own Dokin-chan, the voice actresses voice was heard near and far. 

Our condolences go out to the family, friends, and fans of Hiromi Tsuru, and we hope she may eternally rest in peace.
 

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