Limited Edition Taste Testing: Fanta Grapefruit and Fanta Ume

Ahh, Japanese summer. The season where I frantically try to keep bugs out of my apartment and spend the majority of my time sweating like a pig. In fact, I really love summer even if I do rack up quite the aircon-induced electricity bill, and one of the reasons why is because of all the limited edition goodness that comes out when the weather heats up. For today’s Otaku Lounge I’ll be reviewing two such limited edition drinks, both released by Coca Cola Japan – Fanta Grapefruit and Fanta Ume. Read More

Anime Taste Testing: Summer 2013

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Sitting in my room with the aircon on full blast and a pile of kakigori ice blocks sitting in my freezer – it must be summer! And what better way to distract yourself from back sweat and the aggressive sound of cicadas outside than amusing yourself with some brand spanking new anime? This season has already given me a few surprises; some of them good, others… not quite so much. Here’s what the line-up has brought me so far. Read More

5 Good Game-Based Anime

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After Otaku Lounge’s previous article on live-action films based on anime and manga, I thought it might be fun to take a different approach and discuss some anime based on video games. As I’m sure even the more casual anime fans out there are well aware, game-based anime has a fairly horrendous track record. This is putting it mildly – said record is such that even quite average shows like Persona 4: The Animation are lauded as being some the best game-based anime of all time. Any listing of particularly bad shows would be extremely long and probably rather tedious – although I will say that I can’t un-see Devil May Cry, no matter how often I bash my head against the wall in the hopes of developing memory loss. Read More

Anime to Live-Action Films

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At least in part because of the difficulty that directors, writers, actors, and other production staff face when it comes to adapting something into an entirely separate medium, the majority of manga/anime-based live-action films out there seem to be overwhelmingly average. The general style of many (if not most) anime and manga is unrealistic, extremely dramatic, and simply not suited to easily be transferred straight to live-action format, with characters and stunts that would come across as parodical at best, and at worst completely nonsensical.

For this article, I’ll be pinpointing a few titles that have been among both the best and worst of contemporary (say, post-2000) live-action adaptations from anime or manga. However, since there are already plenty of lists already floating about the place on the top 5 or 10 best and worst of these, I’d like to make things a little different by picking only one title for best and worst Japanese live-action film, as well as best and worst non-Japanese film. Read More

FRUiTS Fashion: Show, Don’t Sell

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Since 1996, a monthly magazine called FRUiTS has been documenting street fashion in the bustling Harajuku area of Tokyo. What makes this fashion magazine different from any other is that there are no professional models and no mainstream advertising – in fact, the only ads you’ll see at all are for shops around the area, and for the magazine itself and its two affiliate magazines (STREET and TUNE). The photos are largely candid, the people usually staring straight into the camera. There is no airbrushing and no other photoshopping of any kind. Most images take up an entire page, with only a small white bar at the bottom containing a description of the outfit and a tiny biography of the person wearing it in their own words. Read More

Evangelion 3.0: What the (Actual) Fuck

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First of all, a knee-jerk reaction post this is not. I have intentionally held off on writing a review of the third Evangelion Rebuild film for a while because although it made me angry, frustrated, and a whole lot of other things involving somewhat less polite language, an ill-considered and irrational rant was exactly what I didn’t want. The whole Evangelion franchise has and probably always will be one that provokes strong emotional responses from its viewers, but my aim here is to approach things as reasonably as possible. (For the record, I love the original television anime series. I had no issue whatsoever with the TV version ending when I first watched it, and I still don’t today. The two original Evangelion films – Death and Rebirth and The End of Evangelion – seem totally unnecessarily and completely inferior by comparison, but I recognise that this is a matter of personal opinion. On the other hand, I did enjoy the first two Rebuild films quite a bit, although nothing will ever replace the series for me.)

So let’s cut to the chase – why did I not like Evangelion 3.0? Or more accurately, why specifically did it piss me off so much? Read More

Anime Taste Testing: Spring 2013 (Part II)

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I suppose it’s not surprising that the current season seems like it has really flown past, even though it simultaneously feels as though I’ve only just started most of these shows. With one exception, every new series I picked up for spring 2013 is slated to have a run time of 13 episodes or less – the current financial issues of the anime industry being what they are, this is also probably not surprising. So now that the summer season is creeping up on us, it’s time to see which of the spring titles, if any, have altered my opinion since I last looked at them in my previous anime taste testing post HERE. Read More

10 Weird Recent Products from Japan

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It’s common knowledge among my friends that I loathe the whole ‘only in Japan’ credo. For the most part, it seems to have become popularised only because a bunch of apparent experts who have never even visited Japan, much less lived there, see things in anime or while surfing the net and then dedicate whole pages to whatever weird or ridiculous thing they’ve happened to stumble across. Said weird or ridiculous thing would most often be considered bizarre or repulsive by average Japanese standards as well – as disappointing as it may sound, most people in Japan don’t walk around wearing cat ears, a man will quickly earn himself a lot of negative attention if he cross-dresses in public, and there is not a panty vending machine on every street corner. The list of examples I could make here are endless because in Japan, just like in any other country, daily life tends not to be accurately represented by what people actually find interesting or photo-worthy.

That said, every once in a while I’m forced to concede that Japan is bat-shit insane. So let’s count ‘em down. Here are 10 of the oddest and/or most disturbing products I’ve seen advertised over the past couple of years from the land of the rising sun. Read More