Cosplaying taxis with monster drivers to offer free rides to cosplayers in Shibuya (Tokyo) this Halloween

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RocketNews 24 (by Oona McGee):

Halloween in Japan keeps getting bigger and better every year, with cosplayers coming out in droves to celebrate the world of costumes and make-believe. This time around, Japanese car manufacturer Nissan is joining the fun with a fleet of taxis dressed up in Halloween costumes, complete with “monster drivers” behind the wheel.

The monsters and their vehicles will be helping fellow ogres and ghouls by offering free rides to people in costume in the Shibuya area on October 29 and 31. What’s more, the unusual vans promise to be so spacious, they’ll accommodate any type of outfit you’re wearing!

The event, called “Ride on Halloween by Nissan”, will feature three “costumed” vehicles: an orange Jack-o-Lantern, a purple-and-green Frankenstein (‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ for the purists), and a pale-brown, bandaged Mummy.

▼ They may be monsters, but they’re Japanese taxi-driving monsters, so they’ll all be wearing white gloves.

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The promotion is designed to showcase the spacious nature of Nissan’s NV200 taxi, which has been ferrying people around New York and London for several years and will finally be making its debut in Japan as part of the preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

▼ New York marked the debut of the NV200 taxi with a #HAILYES interactive marketing campaign in 2013.

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In Japan, they’re using Halloween to highlight the roomy interior of the new taxis, by offering the free rides to cosplayers to show how a van ride can be superior to a sedan ride, especially when you and your clothes take up a extra space. The driver of each vehicle will also take part in the dress-up!

You can catch a ride at three as-yet-unannounced designated pick-up and drop-off points in the Shibuya area, which is one of the main hubs for Halloween celebrations every year.

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The taxis will run between 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on 29 and 31 October. The organisers have pointed out that free rides are limited only to those in costume and rides cannot be guaranteed, so if you really want to step inside the cosplaying vehicles, you might want to try your luck before the night of Halloween, when there’s less chance of monsters lurking about.

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The pick-up and drop-off points will be announced soon, so be sure to check out the official campaign website for updates!

Meet hyperreal android “Asuna”

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RocketNews 24:

Wonder Festival is a semiannual Japanese convention dedicated to model and figure-building which attracts all manner of pros, amateurs, and cosplayers from across the country. Most recently, the Winter 2015 Wonder Festival was held at the Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba City on February 8.

Our reporter Meg was busy checking out the show when she spotted a cute girl standing behind robotic company A-Lab’s booth. “Aww, she looks just like an idol from AKB48!” Meg thought. But when she got closer, she was shocked to realize that the girl was actually a hyperreal-looking android! In fact, many of the people attending the exhibition were equally stunned to learn that Asuna was an android, and not a living, breathing human girl. Would you have been tricked along with them?

Asuna, the android that’s attracting attention from all over the world

People often look at humanoid robots and think “That’s creepy!” However, Asuna is so human-like that you might find yourself thinking “She’s cute!” instead. Researchers have determined that there is a human instinct to react with disgust when people see something, such as a doll or robot, that appears to be too human while still falling short of looking exactly like the real thing. That said, researchers are now investigating the possibility that extremely human-like robots such as Asuna have the ability to bypass this repulsion entirely and be viewed merely as other people instead.

According to her official profile, Asuna is a beautiful 15-year-old who was “born” in Tokyo. She is 155 cm tall (61 inches) and weighs 43 kg (95 lbs).

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Our reporter felt an instant affinity to Asuna’s lifelike movements

Sure, you’ve probably seen pictures of humanlike robots before, but the true charm behind this android lies in her movements. Meg comments that she was blown away by the sheer naturalness of Asuna’s mannerisms. From the way she blinks and squeezes her eyes shut to the shape her mouth makes as if she were about to yawn, Asuna is truly on a different level from other androids.

Take a look at Asuna’s incredibly lifelike facial movements in the following video:

What it feels like to touch one of Asuna’s ears

Meg felt like the secret behind Asuna’s lifelike appearance had something to do with her skin, so she was pleased to learn that visitors to the booth could touch a sample of one of Asuna’s ears. Expecting to touch something hard, Meg was surprised to feel something soft and squishy instead. “Hey, this actually feels kind of nice,” she thought. Apart from having no warmth, it actually felt similar to a real girl’s ear.

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A-Lab, the same company that built the “Matsukoroid”

The folks at Tokyo-based A-Lab have been involved with many projects, of which Asuna is just one. They are in fact the same company that developed the“Matsukoroid,” another android that could be a carbon copy of Matsuko Deluxe, the plus-sized Japanese TV personality known for his cross-dressing stage persona and deep voice. “Matsukoroid” will reportedly join the real Matsuko as early as this April on a new TV program appropriately called “Matsuko and Matsuko.”

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We’ll leave you now with some more photos of Asuna from Wonder Festival. Who knows, maybe a robotic idol group isn’t that far from reality!

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Cute animals in powered exoskeletons: 6 wondrous items from the 2015 Wonder Festival (Japan)

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RocketNews 24:

The latest edition of Japan’s bi-annual Wonder Festival brought out both male and female cosplayers, plus Sailor Moon figurines, which are well-known stalwarts of any good event celebrating anime and the creative arts. But what about the actual handmade models that put the wonder into the festival?

Amateur hobbyists converge at the event to display and sell unique goods, resulting in an array of never-before-seen models and items that can’t be found anywhere else. From ramen kewpie dolls to seductive vegetables, we’ve got photos of the most imaginative and eye-popping goods you’ll see this season.

Sylvanian Families powered up in exoskeletons

These little guys are a great introduction to the creative, no-holds-barred, mixed influence nature of the show. The cute, furry animal characters won’t put up with any funny business in these outfits.

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▼ 2,000 yen (US$16.84) for an exoskeleton set? You won’t find these sets at your local toy store.

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Ramen Kewpie Dolls

Incredibly popular in Japan, cherub-faced Kewpie Dolls are always up for a bit of creative cosplay, having appeared in the past as fish roe, balls of algae and all manner of fruit and vegetables. Popping up in a bowl of ramen, however, complete with cascading locks of noodles, is a surprising scenario, even for this character.

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Relive memories from long-lost amusement parks

The model kits at the Yukinonz stand might look ordinary, if not a little amateurish, to the untrained eye. Nostalgic hobbyists, however, would see this as a unique chance to breathe life back into old fun parks which have sadly disappeared or fallen into disrepair.

Nara Dreamland once shuttled happy passengers around the park in a shiny, three-carriage monorail. Today, it sits lifeless amongst dilapidated buildings, visited only by curious haikyoists, or urban explorers.

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▼ The submarine is another abandoned monument from Nara Dreamland.

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Takarazuka Family Land once had a glorious ropeway in operation. Sadly, the ropeway and amusement park no longer exist.

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Vegetables with attitude

Otonamiya is a company that uses resin and clay to create an extensive range of goods, including the Kewpie Ramen figures featured above. It’s their remarkable harvest of carrots and radishes that really steals the showm though.

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Optimus Prime featuring Original PlayStation

If you’re a fan of the original PlayStation console and have a soft spot for Transformers toys, this is the stuff dreams are made of. Takara Tomy A.R.T.S is set to release this kit on 28 February. Standing at 19 centimetres (7.5 inches) tall and retailing for 10,800 yen (US$90.94), Optimus Prime folds up neatly into a replica original PlayStation console, complete with memory card and controller.

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Venus de Milo action figure

The Figma doll series, produced by Max Factory and distributed by Good Smile Company, has done more than just give this famous beauty arms, creating a fully poseable Aphrodite to keep artists and fans of classic sculpture entertained for centuries to come.

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There are some great gems to be unearthed at the Wonder Festival. With the next event scheduled to be held at the Makuhari Messe Convention Centre on Sunday 26 July 2015, we’ve still got some time to save up for our upcoming wondrous purchases!

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Cosplay galore at Xi’an Comic Con

 

 Shanghaiist:

Cosplayers gathered at a Comic Con event event held in Xi’an, Shaanxi province over the weekend and posed with fans until they could no longer stand, presumably. Feast your eyes on it.

See more cosplay on Shanghaiist.

Check out this link:

 Cosplay galore at Xi’an Comic Con

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