Roland Kelts

For Roland Kelts's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

CG gains a 'real' foothold in anime

| Feb 20, 2016

CG gains a 'real' foothold in anime

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 — ...

Online streaming keeps anime afloat

| Jan 16, 2016

Online streaming keeps anime afloat

Last week in California, I caught up with some of the chief purveyors of Japanese popular culture in the United States and elsewhere in the world. It became rapidly clear that 2016 won't be at all like 2015 — or any other year before ...

Hatsune Miku: the 'nonexistent' pop star

| Dec 19, 2015

Hatsune Miku: the 'nonexistent' pop star

My 2015 kicked off with a January concert by Hatsune Miku, Japan's digital pop star, in Las Vegas. It is winding down with a visit to Miku's creator, Hiroyuki Itoh, at his company's head office in Sapporo, Hokkaido. I've long learned to temper my skepticism ...

Get the goods on manga and anime

| Nov 14, 2015

Get the goods on manga and anime

Back in the Stone Age of streaming media, the most notorious and popular of pirate anime websites suddenly went legit. In January 2009, after securing distribution agreements with Japanese studios, and a licensing deal with TV Tokyo that included episodes of the global hit ...

Localization: Has Japan lost the plot?

| Oct 17, 2015

Localization: Has Japan lost the plot?

Japan once ruled and defined the global gaming industry. In the arcade age, Japanese developers gave us "Pac-Man," "Space Invaders" and "Donkey Kong." In the era of physical consoles: "Metal Gear Solid," "Snatcher," "Final Fantasy" and "Silent Hill." Japan's creative use of technology, physical ...

AKB48 turns to an American studio

| Aug 15, 2015

AKB48 turns to an American studio

AKB48’s  commercial success in Japan is often derided as a sign of the culture’s patriarchal infantilization of women, and the girl group’s inability to appeal to Western audiences a sign of Japan’s increasingly isolated ideas about femininity, sexuality and pop music. Put simply: outside ...

Project Anime asks the right questions

| Jul 18, 2015

Project Anime asks the right questions

More than 90,000 attended the 24th annual Anime Expo (AX), North America's largest Japanese pop culture convention, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from July 2 to 5. The four-day event featured a concert by idol group Momoiro Clover Z, who were joined ...

Can #socialmedia boost music sales in Japan?

| Jun 20, 2015

Can #socialmedia boost music sales in Japan?

Last week, Line Corp.'s, the operators of Japan's most popular messaging app, launched an in-app music streaming service called Line Music. Japan is the second-largest music market in the world after the United States, but its consumers have so far been global outliers, clinging ...

Anime oasis of the Midwest flourishes

| May 16, 2015

Anime oasis of the Midwest flourishes

The 18th annual Anime Central (ACen), North America’s third largest anime convention, is underway this weekend in Rosemont, near Chicago. Last year's event drew a record 29,000 unique attendees, tallying 81,000 in total over its three full days. Organizers expect to breach those figures ...