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Staff of URAHARA’s PARK Share Favorite Fashion Brands

October 23, 2017 12:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

When it comes to this season’s anime, there’s perhaps none more eye-catching than the hyper-stylistic Crunchyroll co-produced “URAHARA,” a fashion-forward series that puts a colorful highlight on Tokyo’s clothing capital, Harajuku. Following the not-so-ordinary story of our three main heroines, Rito, Mari, and Kotoko, viewers are thrust into a world of aliens, sweets, and perhaps most importantly, fashion.

One thing many viewers may not have realized is that ‘PARK,’ the cheerful bastion of youth in which the three girls work at, actually has a real-world location just off the main street of Harajuku. Perhaps one of my personal favorite stores in all of Tokyo, even well before the anime was announced, ‘PARK Harajuku’ is a curated haven of internet-age clothing all falling under the brand’s tagline “FASHION x OTAKU x CREATION.” 

The staff of the store, who unfortunately aren’t Rito, Mari or Kotoko, are all veterans of Harajuku in their own rights. Sharing a deeply-ingrained history in the fashion capital, they’ve seen trends come and go, as well as the rise of numerous brands over the years. Such a professional insight isn’t easy to come by, so we reached out to find out what brands they’ve especially got their eye on at the moment. Within this list, you’ll find brands from both Japan and abroad, as well as a few pieces that push the boundaries of fashion to greater places. 

Without dragging on too long, however, let’s get right into it. This is PARK Harajuku’s must-check fashion brands of 2017:

1. chloma // Website // Twitter // Instagram

If you’re not at all familiar with Tokyo-based fashion brand chloma, that absolutely needs to change. It came as little surprise when the team at PARK recommended them, especially given they’re one of the most experimental emerging brands as of right now. From virtual reality/augmented reality collection drops, all the way to collaborative works with Aniplex, there’s not much chloma hasn’t done yet. 

Every piece of chloma clothing is handmade by their small team of experts using extremely high-quality materials, but as such, comes at a substantial cost. You won’t see everyone walking around Tokyo in chloma clothing just yet, but I can’t wait until the day even more individuals start picking them up both domestically and abroad.

2. OMOCAT // Website // Twitter // Instagram

Most definitely one of the better known names on this list, OMOCAT has long stood as one of the most prominent anime-inspired clothing brands. Dominating the convention scene all around North America, and even recently the streets of Harajuku with PARK now stocking their clothing, OMOCAT presents a colorful middleground between fashion and anime. 

From collaborations with Porter Robinson all the way to Hatsune Miku and Tamagotchi — if you can name it, OMOCAT’s probably done it. You may have also noticed a special ending card from OMOCAT featured in the first episode of URAHARA too!

3. Uchuu Summer // Website // Twitter // Instagram

With creative efforts stemming from both South Korea and North America, Uchuu Summer offers an out-of-this-world take on the themes of summer, nostalgia, and the dreaminess space. Flawlessly blending the color-palette of years past with hyper-cute illustrations, there’s absolutely no mistaking their signature flare.

We’re definitely expecting to see a lot more attention towards the brand in the near future, and can’t wait to see what they do next. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll be able to just pop into PARK and get some of their pieces ourselves. 

4. 50/60 Clothing // Website // Twitter // Instagram

For Indonesia-based designer Machine56, the future he envisions is already here, and it’s best presented through his highly-experimental clothing brand 50/60 Clothing. Every single piece is made in tiny batches, and once it’s gone, you’ll probably never see it again. With extreme attention to detail, and a powerful combination of graphic design and clothing, 50/60 is definitely someone to keep your eye on.

Within the brands street-ready collections, you’ll find a blend of jackets, helmets, and everything in-between. If you’re going to go all out, you might as well do it right.

5. IKEUCHI PRODUCTS // Website // Twitter // Instagram

Hiroto Ikeuchi might not be a househould name just yet, but his otherworldly creations are certainly going to be showing up in your feeds sooner or later. Though his brand IKEUCHI PRODUCTS might not fall under the typical umbrella of ‘fashion,’ the team at PARK were definitely adamant about putting him in, and it’s easy enough to see why.

Featured in a number of music videos, including TORIENA’s most recent “MELANCOZMO,” Hiroto Ikeuchi’s mind-blowing creations make for some of the most detailed works of wearable art. Combining both plastic model pieces and working electronics, there’s no denying Hiroto Ikeuchi’s place as a creative genius. 

6. PRISMIC // Website // Twitter // Instagram

Started in February of 2015, PRISMIC are a gorgeous independant fashion brand that exists within a different reality than our own. Described by designer YUtuKI as both ambiguous and fleeting, words fail to do justice to the subtle beauty offered by PRISMIC

With their Autumn/Winter collection expected to be just around the corner, we truly can’t wait to see what the brand has to offer, and we definitely expect to see even more from them in the near future.

Coming forward with such a diverse range of recommendations, we’re sure PARK could only hope everyone finds a little something for themselves. It’s always exciting discovering new and emerging fashion brands, and those offered within this list are definitely some of the names we’ll be keeping our eyes on in the coming months. 

With “URAHARA” currently airing across Japan, and streaming online via both Crunchyroll and BiliBili, we’ve been having a whole bunch of fun watching the real-world locales of Harajuku spring to life with a colorful new attitude in the series. Interested in checking out PARK next time you’re in Tokyo? You can find their location via their official website, here.


Kevin Penkin to Return to Anime with ‘The Rising of the Shield Hero’

August 14, 2018 4:00pm
by Jacob Parker-Dalton

I've had a keen eye on London-born composer Kevin Penkin for quite some time now, with his work originally coming onto my radar following his incredible work on the Kickstarter-funded Under the Dog, with his later work on the critically acclaimed Made in Abyss only adding to his repertoire. It's only natural then that I'd be excited to see announcements that he's fresh off the press for the upcoming Made in Abyss films, and already getting on Twitter to announce his involvement as a composer on the upcoming The Rising of the Shield Hero animated series.

Kevin Penkin’s contributions to the Made in Abyss anime adaptation were instrumental in elevating the most poignant scenes and filling the world with a mystical wonder that wasn’t present in the original manga, and his soundtrack for Under the Dog was easily the best part of the project, so no matter the source material, I’d always be excited to hear new music from him.

But even more than that, Penkin’s rare position as a foreigner working in anime makes him worth keeping an eye on. After all, limiting anime staff to only those living and working in Japan denies future anime of talented individuals that would greatly improve the project. Another name that springs to mind is Austrian animator Bahi JD, who’s animation cuts have always stood out and improved the overall project, whether it be his first job on Kids on the Slope or his latest work on FLCL: Progressive. In this sense, Penkin and others’ efforts are helping to improve anime in the long term, so I couldn’t be happier that he is continuing to work in the industry.

Only adding to this, Penkin’s genius towards dark and somber soundtracks seems like a perfect fit when it comes to the dark tone of the Shield Hero series, which is often praised as a dark isekai story in the same vein as Re;Zero. While I can’t say that that particular subgenre is my cup of tea, if it allows Penkin to continue to do what he does best, then I can’t complain. I’ll just be waiting to see what kind of magic he can work this time.

Penkin joins director Takao Abo and others at Kinema Citrus for The Rising of the Shield Hero, which is set to premiere it’s first episode at Crunchyroll Expo this September.


Puniden Shares Powerful New Single 'Kimi wa Queen'

August 14, 2018 3:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

Whether its the charming allure of a slow jazz jam or the high-paced burst of energy that is funkot, there's no denying that Tokyo-based vocalist Punipunidenki, otherwise known as Puniden, is a master of all genres. With a dynamic range capable of blowing me away every single time, it comes as no surprise that her latest single "Kimi wa Queen" strikes hot as a powerful masterpiece; a release that deserves every bit of attention it receives and an extra layer on top of that.

Featuring production, lyrics, and vocals entirely handled by Puniden, "Kimi wa Queen" is a self-described rooftop grove capable of redefining the mood of any moment. There's no denying the track's undeniable charm, with Puniden's signature flare shining in every corner of the song. It's simple, but the complimentary music video does a lot to build upon the atmosphere created by the song through its simple themes and city skyline.

Available now for streaming via Puniden's official SoundCloud and YouTube channel, further information on the latest release can be found here.


lulu & Mikeneko Homeless Announce 'Umi ni Ikitai' Vinyl Release

August 14, 2018 2:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

Tokyo-based electronic duo Mikeneko Homeless have long been praised as masters of their genre, flawlessly crafting hit single after hit single that always seems to find their way into my yearly favorites. That's why when announcements were made regarding the release of an all-new joint 10-inch vinyl alongside vocalist lulu for their upcoming summer single "Umi ni Ikitai", I jumped onto it immediately. It's not often you see physical releases from Mikeneko Homeless, so it's important to cherish it when there are some -- and "Umi ni Ikitai" is jam-packed with incredible sounds that have long defined the summertime vibe.

Spread out across four tracks, including summertime anthems "Asagao" and "Watermelon", Mikeneko Homeless and lulu are going all out on the latest release, and I couldn't be gladder. Set to release during October 2018, the upcoming release is currently priced around 2,300 yen, though it's unknown just how much inventory is being produced. The tracklist for "Umi ni Ikitai" can be found below:

lulu + Mikeneko Homeless - Umi ni Ikitai


1. 海に行きたい (lulu + Mikeniko Homeless + Shin Sakiura)
2. Asagao
1. Watermelon
2. ここ

Those interested in checking out further information about the upcoming release, or those who are interested in picking up a copy for themselves, the official store can be found here.


Anime NYC to Host 'Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] Special Event featuring Aimer'

August 14, 2018 12:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

With the much-anticipated Anime NYC inching closer and closer, we've been seeing announcements made left and right to drum up excitement for New York's premiere anime convention. Announced over the weekend, the anime convention is working alongside Aniplex of America and Sony Music Entertainment Japan to bring a slice of worldwide phenomenon Fate/stay night [Heaven's Feel] to New York in the "Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] Special Event featuring Aimer" event on November 17.

Taking place over two hours, the upcoming event will see numerous members of the English-language voice cast take to the stage, including Kari Wahlgren (Voice of Saber), Cristina Vee (Voice of Sakura Matou), Bryce Papenbrook (Voice of Shirou Emiya), and Tony Oliver (English ADR Director and Voice of Lancer); followed up by unseen previews of the upcoming Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] II.lost butterfly film ahead of its theatrical release. Finally, the event will conclude with a massive performance from musician Aimer live at Anime NYC. 

Taking place on November 17 at the Javits Center in Manhattan, Anime NYC is truly shaping up to be an event not to be missed for those both on the East Coast and beyond. Further information can be found via the anime convention's official website.


Weekly Shonen Jump Begins Streaming Classic Anime for Free in Japan

August 13, 2018 6:00pm
by Jacob Parker-Dalton

While the manga of Weekly Shonen Jump is plenty legendary by itself, it’s the anime adaptations of that manga that ha always fared best in the West and have introduced many to the magazine itself as a result. With that being said, no 50th-anniversary celebration of Weekly Shonen Jump would be complete without a celebration of the anime it has spawned - many of which are now available to watch, for free and legally, on YouTube if you live in Japan.

Weekly Shonen Jump launched their official 50th-anniversary channel on August 10 with the intent of allowing fans to watch classic anime of their properties for free. By navigating to the “playlists” tab, you can see that, as of the time of writing, episodes of Yu Yu Hakusho, Slam Dunk, Fist of the North Star, and Kinnikuman are available for streaming - provided you access it from a Japanese IP address. 

As if that wasn’t enough, Weekly Shonen Jump also plans to add new episodes every weekday, not only allowing fans to watch the above four series in full, for free, but also many other amazing Jump shows, including One Piece, Naruto, Dr. Slump, to name but a few. When certain shows will be added will be conveyed using the channel’s official Twitter account, so keep your eye on that for more.

You’ll be able to watch these shows on the channel until March 31 next year, so you’ll have plenty of time to sit back, relax, and take in some good old Jump anime goodness - whether it’s for reveling in nostalgia or discovering something new. I’d definitely recommend checking out Yu Yu Hakusho if you haven’t had a chance to see it already.


Production I.G. to Helm Original Anime Based on the Infamous ‘Kabukicho’

August 13, 2018 5:00pm
by Jacob Parker-Dalton

Production I.G., the studio behind numerous anime such as Psycho-Pass, Haikyuu!, and a number of other titles, have announced a new, original anime project titled Shinjuku-ku Kabukicho. The original project has been in development since 2014, As the title suggests, the story will take place in the Kabukicho area of Shinjuku-ward, which is known for its vibrant nightlife as well as for it’s more unsavory elements. If you played any of the Yakuza games, then it is Kabukicho upon which Kamurocho is based, which should help you understand what kind of place it is if you haven’t had the opportunity to visit it yet.

Using this setting, the original anime series will tell the story of a “bizarre murder case,” and from the looks of the Sherlock Holmes-esque character in the key visual released alongside the announcement, it seems that the characters will be trying to solve that case: 

Other than the above key visual, we don’t have much more information as to the story or characters, but what we do know is that a lot of the key staff positions have already been filled - suggesting that it may air sooner than we think. Directing the series is Ai Yoshimura (Cheer Boys, Dance With Devils), handling the series composition is Kishimoto Taku (91 Days, Usagi Drop), and penning the character designs will be Yabaki Toshiyuki (Persona 5, Joker Game)

Production I.G. has had a good history with producing original anime, with Psycho-Pass being a keen critical favorite to this day. Combine this with the already interesting setting of Kabukicho, and it’s safe to say that I’m keen to see how this project will turn out.


Classic ‘Dragon Ball’ Movies to Receive HD Blu-ray Releases

August 13, 2018 4:00pm
by Jacob Parker-Dalton

We haven’t got long to wait for the next installment in the beloved Dragon Ball franchise in this December’s movie Dragon Ball Super: Broly, but I wouldn’t blame you if you’re already desperate for some more Super Saiyan goodness. Many of you will have seen the original series, so how about checking the theatrical entries for some new ground? 

Luckily for us, Toei Animatiohasve recently unveiled their plans to release previous Dragon Ball movies on Blu-ray for the first time ever. While not all of the movies will be getting a Blu-ray release, the most important (and best) will be - from the first Dragon Ball Z movie, Dead Zone, all the way up to the first movie featuring Broly, Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan. Even some classic movies from the pre-Z days will be seeing the light of day with Curse of the Blood Rubies, Sleeping Princess in the Devil’s Castle and Mystical Adventure all getting a Blu-ray release.

These new Blu-ray's will be based on a rescan of the original cels, allowing the movies to be upscaled to 1080p HD without affecting the quality of the picture. The technology allowing this to be performed has advanced considerably in recent years, and I can confirm for myself that these new rescans look absolutely incredibly from my experience watching the 4K-remaster of Ashita no Joe 2.

Toei plans to release eight Blu-ray's collecting 17 movies from 1986 to 1996 as of the time of writing, but they may decide to do more if sales are good. The first wave is available from November 2, so if you’re hankering for more Dragon Ball, definitely consider picking them up.