In a wild and unexpected clash of entertainment worlds, BiSH vocalist Aina The End, RIZE bassist KenKen, and rapper Chinza Dopeness all came together for a four-minute monster of an ad for current and upcoming Playstation 4 games. The music in the ad combines signature traits of all the participating musicians, each of whom brings a unique talent to the table and shows their prowess for unconventional projects such as this. KenKen has been known to collaborate with many musicians in the past, while Aina The End has just begun to make a name for herself outside of BiSH with her recent TeddyLoid collaborations and an upcoming solo spot on the Disney tribute album Thank You Disney. You can watch the ad (and more importantly, hear the song) embedded below.
There were a large number of overseas-born fans who rejoiced in the news that the Sailor Moon musicals would be making a comeback. Hearing the news that the musicals would be revived as part of the 20th Anniversary Project was like a dream come true. I would finally be able to see the world I loved on stage. I was even more elated when the musicals continued year after year these past 5 years. However, behind that happiness there was always a sort of bittersweet feeling. All things that begin must come to an end one day.
VIZ Releasing New Picture Books for 'Castle in the Sky' and 'Princess Mononoke' Just in Time for the Holidays!
VIZ Media will be releasing two brand new, oversized picture books based on the Studio Ghibli hits Castle in the Sky and Princess Mononoke in early December! These books are chock full of full-color pictures from the film and easy-to-read text, making it a perfect way to introduce the younger set and those young at heart into the world of Studio Ghibli during family story time.
Recently we attended Anime Matsuri XI in Houston, Texas and were lucky enough to conduct several interviews and here is one of those featuring the special maids from @home cafe! We have had the pleasure of interviewing Hitomi of @home cafe three times since last year's Anime Matsuri and this time she was joined by two other maids, Chimu and Mizukin! Chimu and Mizukin are both premium maids from @home cafe and the three of them spent most of their time at Anime Matsuri making the maid cafe the place to be at the convention! The interview was brief, but in our time we discussed several topic things such as the convention itself, their time in Houston, and even Hitomi's recent book! Be sure to check it out and keep an eye out for more content like this!
For those who want more information on Hitomi you can check out our earlier interviews with her! Our first interview with Hitomi, from Anime Matsuri X, can be found HERE. A more recent interview with her from Pacific Media Expo 2016 can be found HERE. Both the PMX interview and this one can be found on our YouTube Channel as well. The full video of this interview can be found at the very end of this article.
Sunday was a sunny, breezy spring day in San Francisco, a perfect day for a savory lunch, fabulous desserts, and a celebration of the sweetest food accessories ever concocted.
Don’t let the setting fool you, all of those doughnuts and petit fours are jewelry.
This weekend Japanese jewelry brand Q-Pot celebrated their 15th anniversary and the introduction of their new clothing line at Harajuku Hearts, a J-fashion boutique in the heart of San Francisco, California, with designer Tadaaki Wakamatsu himself as a special guest! I had the honor of attending the afternoon event (ticket sales were initially so popular a second time was added).
Q-Pot specializes in hand-crafted jewelry and accessories that look like incredibly realistic miniature foods such as macarons, doughnuts, sorbet, whipped cream, chocolate chip cookies, and occasionally savory foods like hamburgers and french fries. Their new line features honey and lemon motifs just in time for summer!
¡A-to-J Connections ha tenido el honor de entrevistar a Hitomi, Presidenta y Directora de Infinia Co. Ltd. (La compañía encargada de manejar @home café) tres veces en el año 2016! La primera de ellas fue en el Anime Matsuri en Houston, TX. (Pueden encontrarla, AQUÍ) y la más reciente, fue en la Pacific Media Expo en Pasadena California el otoño pasado. ¡Su aparición en la PMX incluyó un concierto completo, un panel, sesión de fotos y autógrafos y también la participación en el PMX Fashion Show!
Hitomi ha estado en @home café por más de una década y ha aparecido en varios medios para promover el nombre. Esto incluye apariciones en la television y revistas. Aunque su meta principal es brindar al cliente la mejor experiencia en @home café, ella también es una cantante y bailarina que ha estado en grupos como ‘Kanzen Maid Sengen’ (Integrado por maids de @home cafe), DANCE POP GIRLS y el grupo de baile “TEAM Junjou”. En el 2013 ella se convirtió en la PResidenta de Infinia Co. Ltd que se encuentra al cargo de @home cafe. ¡Pasemos a la entrevista para más información!
A-to-J Connections have had the honor of interviewing Hitomi, President and Director of Infinia Co. Ltd. (The company that manages @home cafe), three times in 2016! The first of these took place at Anime Matsuri in Houston, TX (This can be found HERE) and most the recent was at Pacific Media Expo in Pasadena California this past fall. Her appearance at PMX featured a full-length concert, a focus panel, autograph and photo sessions, and participation in the PMX Fashion Show!
Hitomi has served at @home cafe for over a decade and has appeared in various media to promote the brand. These include appearances in television and magazines. Even though her primary goal is to provide the perfect customer experience at @home cafe, she is also an accomplished singer and dancer having been involved in groups like "Kanzen Maid Sengen" (Made up of other maids from @home cafe), DANCE POP GIRLS, and the dance unit "TEAM Junjou". In 2013 she became President of Infinia Co. Ltd. which manages @home cafe. Let's jump into the interview for more!
Thursday December 15, 2016, the Japan Foundation of Los Angeles held a special time capsule event at the Japanese American National Museum featuring, you geussed it, Hello Kitty.
Conceived in the mind of Sebastian Masuda, who has hosted similar events prior to today's, these "Time After Time" events never fail to draw in a varied crowd. While Sabastian Masuda did not attend this event, the Hello Kitty capsule he created was front and center. This might have disappointed some as the first time the capsule appeared at the JAMN the event included the chance for him to interact with fans and take photos.
What’s So Special About June 30th? It’s Sailor Moon’s Birthday! ６月３０日に何か特別なことありますか！？はい、セーラームーンの誕生日です！
Fans of anime often celebrate the birthday of their favorite character like they would that of a close friend. While this may seem strange to some, it is normal in Japan to walk into an anime goods store like Animate, and see massive panels dedicated to whatever popular character has a birthday that week. And on those panels are tons of birthday messages written by adoring fans.
June 30th is the birthday of the main characters of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Usagi Tsukino and Chibiusa. On this day in 2016, a special event was held for around 400 lucky members of the Sailor Moon fanclub. (Part of the event was broadcast on Nico Nico Douga™) Just like other characters, adoring fans celebrate Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibimoon’s birthdays year after year. The one thing that is different from other characters is that their birthdays have been celebrated for almost 25 years! That’s right, Sailor Moon made its debut in manga form in 1992.
Sailor Moon is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. Now, you may think that strange since it started in 1992. Sailor Moon fans have been celebrating the official 20th anniversary since 2012. The 20th Anniversary Project got off to a slow start. A new animated series was announced in 2012 but various reasons caused it to have its debut delayed until the summer of 2014.
Since the animation kept getting delayed, staff decided they needed something to keep fans interests. Musicals based on Sailor Moon ran for over 10 years from 1993 to 2005 and were called Seramyu by fans. Many fans were sad to see the musicals end, even those of us not living in Japan. So when a new musical series was announced starting in 2013, it was a dream come true for me. And for the staff, it was something to keep fans happy until the new animation finally started in the summer of 2014.
Fast forward 3 years. Three musicals, three story arcs covered in the new animated series Sailor Moon Crystal. The original “new” cast of Seramyu graduated after the third musical and 5 new girls are ready to challenge the roles of the main cast. They made their stage and Nico Nico Douga™ debut on this day.
After presenting the voice actresses for Sailor Moon and Chibimoon with the birthday cake you see above, the actresses introduced themselves and then performed two songs. One, “Speed of Light” will be a song in the 2016 musical. The other song was “Moonlight Densetsu”, the opening song of the original series that every fan can sing along to. The dance arrangement was different than what it had been for the previous three musicals and showcased the new actresses well.
セーラームーンとセーラーちびムーンの声優さんにこの記事の最初に載せているケーキを持ち運んだ後、キャストの５名が自己紹介をして２曲連続歌いました。１曲目は２０１６秋に上演される新ミュージカルの”Speed of Light”でした。もう１曲はファンの誰もが一緒に歌える“ムーンライト伝説”(９０代のアニメのテーマ曲)でした。振付の数か所は明らかに前回のキャストと違って、新キャストの魅力をよく見せました。
Sitting in the 4th row, I had a very good view of them. Overall, they made a good first impression. Karen is just as spacey as the previous actress of Mars was, Kaede plays a very strong Jupiter, Rimo looks and acts the part of Venus well, Yume is still quite nervous as she only recently took over the role of Mercury, Hotaru is… Well, Hotaru is the only one that I feel a little concerned about. She looks and sounds very mature, which is the opposite of Usagi’s character. However, she did just take on the role and her dancing and singing looked great. I am sure she will grow into the character by the musical’s premier in October.
Before and after the Nico Nico Douga™ broadcast (as well as for the first half of the broadcast) the voice actresses for Usagi Tsukino and Chibiusa (Kotono Mitsuishi and Misato Fukuen) were joined on stage by Osabu(a nickname given by fans), the man who acted as editor of the Sailor Moon manga from the beginning. He is also one of the ones who has pushed through all the 20th Anniversary plans and for that fans are thankful.
The three of them talked at length about their experiences working on Sailor Moon. For Kotono, it was her first lead role as a young voice actress of 24 years old. She never imagined she would be acting the same character nearly 25 years later. Misato is an established voice actress who has been working since 2000, but she was still thrilled to take on a role in something as big as Sailor Moon.
Although fans hoped there would be information about the next story arc of the animation, we were unfortunately disappointed. Neither Osabu nor the actresses know when or if a fourth series will happen, but with the ending of the third leaving everyone wanting more, they too hope that one will be realized.
For now, fans will have to wait. And now approaching 50, Kotono says she will need to do strength training if she is going to survive the 25th and maybe even the 30th anniversary of Sailor Moon. Don’t worry Kotono, I am sure it will continue to be celebrated for many more years.
All Photos @ Dwango & Nelke Planning. Used With Permission.
Packed into the tiny-buy-lovely Q Pop Art Gallery, LA residents are being treated to a month-long tribute to the wonderful world of Showa Era manga art. Reaching from 1926 to 1989, the Showa Era gave birth to many of the most beloved manga of all time, such as Astro Boy, Lupin III, and Akira. The exhibit opened just last night (June 25th) and I attended to see what it was all about and get a nice little report out for anybody who might be interested!
Upon entering the gallery, one of the first works you're met with is this adorable transparent Astro Boy:
Astro Boy is a very common theme, which isn't surprising considering the massive popularity the franchise has seen. My personal favorite piece of the entire exhibit is the Astro Boy x Blade Runner crossover, seen below.
Some other popular series represented on the walls were Lupin III, Robokken Beeton, Osomatsu-kun, and (of course) Akira.
In addition to appreciating and purchasing the exhibited art, there were many other goods for sale around the gallery, such as vintage manga and themed merchandise.
All in all, this Showa Era tribute exhibit is a fantastic experience for fans of classic manga. There are some beautiful works of art on display, lovely merchandise available to buy, and Q Pop even set out some delicious complimentary snacks for exhibit guests.
The Showa Era Vintage Manga Tribute Art Show is running at Q Pop in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, from June 25th to July 17th.
Q Pop is located at 319 E. 2nd Street (Number 121), smack in the middle of the many Anime Jungle outlets. You can also like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, or visit their Website. Q Pop is an incredible art gallery year-round, be sure to keep an eye out for future events!