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Anime discovers a rural outpost

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For the past few years, the beginning of July has found me on a flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles to attend Anime Expo (AX), the largest annual North American convention devoted to Japanese popular culture, and its related industry-only event, Project Anime (PA). Both continue to break attendance records. ...

Viz's 30 years pack a punch in the U.S.

| May 14, 2016

Viz's 30 years pack a punch in the U.S.

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This summer, Viz Media, LLC, North America’s first-ever distributor of Japanese popular culture, turns 30. Founded in 1986 by the intrepid Seiji Horibuchi, who has since moved on to other projects, the company is now housed in the so-called Twitter building in downtown San ...

In pictures: The pageantry of horseback archery

Apr 18, 2016

In pictures: The pageantry of horseback archery

Yabusame — traditional archer on horseback — started in the Kamakura Period (1185–1333) as a way to appease the gods for prosperity and hone the Zen-like focus of samurai warriors. The eventual arrival of firearms eventually to the decline of archery as a military ...

Anime biz sings the praises of shows

| Apr 16, 2016

Anime biz sings the praises of shows

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The first time I attended AnimeJapan, the industry’s annual spring showcase in Odaiba, Tokyo, it was called the Tokyo International Anime Fair. Members of the public couldn’t enter during the first two days, amateur cosplay (costume play) was prohibited, and while there were some ...

From Cool Britannia to True Britannia

| Mar 19, 2016

From Cool Britannia to True Britannia

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In Japan, Western culture usually means American products: hot dogs, hamburgers, Starbucks and Krispy Kreme donuts, and recent boutique outlets like Blue Bottle Coffee and the Dominique Ansel bakery — not to mention the nearly 50,000 United States military personnel still stationed across the ...

CG gains a 'real' foothold in anime

| Feb 20, 2016

CG gains a 'real' foothold in anime

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Japanese audiences have long responded tepidly to the use of extensive computer graphics (CG) in anime. Even as CG has become the global standard for animation studios, anime fans prefer their homegrown artists to stick to labor-intensive 2-D illustration techniques and cel animation — ...

Glass expert digs into secrets of historic Venetian process

Feb 5, 2016

Glass expert digs into secrets of historic Venetian process

A modern-day glassblower believes he has unraveled the mysteries of Renaissance-era Venetian glass-making, a trade whose secrets were so closely guarded that anyone who divulged them faced the prospect of death. Today’s glassblowers work with methane-fired furnaces, electric-powered kilns, good lighting and proper ventilation. ...

Ultraman: 50 years battling monsters

Jan 1, 2016

Ultraman: 50 years battling monsters

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Young boys and girls jumped up in excitement shouting, “Ultraman!” when three characters from the iconic series appeared on stage during an event in Kuala Lumpur in November. The Japanese superhero, who premiered in 1966 in the live-action special effects (tokusatsu) television series bearing ...