Anime/manga experts hopeful for year ahead

| Jan 9, 2014

Anime/manga experts hopeful for year ahead

Aside from Hayao Miyazaki’s sudden departure from filmmaking in September, the anime world saw some potentially hopeful developments in 2013. As I reported here, the government’s multibillion-yen Cool Japan Fund was launched last summer, after years of empty promises. Following the lead of Crunchyroll, ...

Shueisha manga push hard into the global market

| Dec 10, 2013

Shueisha manga push hard into the global market

One week before Thanksgiving on Nov. 28, readers of The New York Times were greeted by a spiky-haired, wild-eyed manga character named Monkey D. Luffy, his fists clenched and chest bare, charging forward as if the newsprint could barely contain him. Behind him in ...

Has anime lost its cachet in America?

| Nov 12, 2013

Has anime lost its cachet in America?

I had been invited to host a Q&A with renowned “Gundam” creator and sci-fi novelist Yoshiyuki Tomino at The New York Anime Festival. But when my handler and I arrived at the designated room, we found it empty and dark. “Over here,” a staffer ...

Backlash against Miyazaki is generational

| Oct 8, 2013

Backlash against Miyazaki is generational

If you haven’t lived in Japan, it’s hard to appreciate just how beloved are anime maestro Hayao Miyazaki and his creative hub, Studio Ghibli. Annual surveys of Japanese consumers often find that Ghibli is their favorite domestic brand, ahead of stalwarts such as Toyota ...

UrumaDelvi learn the importance of contacts

| Sep 10, 2013

UrumaDelvi learn the importance of contacts

The husband-and-wife creative team known as UrumaDelvi has been cranking out quirky, quasi-psychedelic illustrations, animated shorts and music videos for over 20 years. They met in design school in 1988. Deciding that their married surname, Kobayashi, was too common in Japan to be memorable, ...

Otakon celebrates 20 years of anime fandom in the U.S.

| Aug 13, 2013

Otakon celebrates 20 years of anime fandom in the U.S.

The American anime convention, Otakon (“Otaku Convention”), begins with a costume parade before it officially opens. Last week I had a bird’s-eye view of the spectacle from my 14th-floor hotel room in Baltimore, Maryland. An endless army of imaginary characters trudged across the elevated ...

Can METI's ¥50 billion fund unfreeze 'Cool Japan'?

| Jul 9, 2013

Can METI's ¥50 billion fund unfreeze 'Cool Japan'?

Naysaying is almost always risk-free, especially if you do it online. If you’re a cynic, you’re usually right, and if you’re wrong, you can just delete those errant tweets and posts and join the party. So last month, when Japan’s Upper House rubber-stamped a ...

Social clubbing takes off with iFlyer service

| May 8, 2013

Social clubbing takes off with iFlyer service

Clubbing in Japan is a kick. The country’s zeal for global pop trends and its prominent club scene draws big-name DJs and performers from the international circuit. Japan’s hodgepodge approach to urban planning means that clubs seem to blossom nearly anywhere — in the ...

Pop tourism gains traction

| Apr 10, 2013

Pop tourism gains traction

Pre-flight shopping at Narita airport a couple of weeks ago, I passed a mannequin sporting a light-blue necktie and a turquoise wig with pig tails dangling down to its mini skirt. The vision spoke volumes: It was Hatsune Miku, of course, Japan’s holographic, animated ...