Godzilla: The new ‘Resurgence’ trailer

Godzilla: Resurgence” marks a number of firsts in the kaiju franchise. The film’s a hard reboot, meaning that it depicts Godzilla’s first destructive encounter with humanity for a whole new generation. It’s also the first “Godzilla” film produced by Toho Co., Ltd. in twelve years. Now a new trailer for “Godzilla’s” big return/debut, which is titled “Godzilla: Resurgence” in the United States, has been released.

The new film comes from directing team Hideki Anno (“Evangelion”) and Shinji Higuchi (“Attack on Titan”). Anno also wrote the script, which features the largest Godzilla in movie history. Now Godzilla stands 389 feet fall, making him even taller than Hollywood’s most recent take.

Godzilla enjoyed an American reboot with 2014’s “Godzilla” directed by “Rogue One: A Star Wars’” Gareth Edwards, which grossed more than half a billion dollars worldwide. A sequel is currently in development and is scheduled to arrive June 8, 2018.

Shin Godzilla” stomps its way into Japan’s theaters on July 29, 2016. No U.S. release date has been announced.

Evangelion designer’s illustration of virtual idol/vocaloid Hatsune Miku released as a cool new figurine

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

Virtual idol or not, there’s no denying that Hatsune Miku is a bona fide star in the Japanese music scene. But while human vocalists might have professional photographers eager to take their pictures for a glossy photo spread, the equivalent for Vocaloids like Miku is being drawn or redesigned by famous artists of the anime and video game world.

Last year we saw Miku as reimagined in CG by Final Fantasy’s Tetsuya Nomura, and now the world’s most popular computer-generated songstress is being given a new physical form as a figure based on a redesign by the character designer of seminal anime hit Evangelion.

While Yoshiyuki Sadamoto is best known for creating the look of Shinji, Rei, Asuka, and the rest of the Eva cast, he’s got a number of other impressive designs on his resume. Sadamoto’s history with animation studio Gainax stretches back to long before the company produced Evangelion, as he was also the character designer for Gainax’s professional debut work, The Wings of Honneamise, as well as Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, the studio’s first television series.

Gainax isn’t the sole beneficiary of Sadamoto’s talents, either. In recent years, he’s provided designs for several of director Mamoru Hosoda’s animated films, including Summer Wars and Wolf Children. Sadamoto also collaborated with sound producer Mitchie M by providing the cover illustration to 2013 Greatest Idol, an album created by Mitchie M using Hatsune Miku’s Vocaloid program.

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Given how many fans Miku and Sadamoto have separately, Japanese anime merchandiser Good Smile Company figures there should be plenty of people intrigued by their team-up, and so recently unveiled this 1:8 scale figure of the Sadamoto-designed Miku.

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Standing roughly 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) tall, Good Smile Company has done an excellent job bringing Sadamoto’s characteristically slender limbs and angular jaw line into three-dimensional space.

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The Hatsune Miku Greatest Idol Ver. figure, as the piece is officially called, goes on sale in May, but Good Smile Company is taking preorders through its website here between now and September 30.

For those who purchase early, 12,000 yen (US$100) gets you not only the figure, but also a 420 by 297 millimeter (16.5 by 11.7 inch) tapestry of the original Sadamoto Miku illustration.

Seven cool things set to happen in Japan during 2015

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that you should always wash your hands after going to the bathroom. If there’re two things we know, though, the second is that you’ll never get anywhere in life being fixated on the past. So while 2014 was a pretty good year for us, we’re already looking to the year ahead, which is already promising seven cool happenings for Japan in 2015.

1. Opening of the new Shinkansen line

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Japan may have a reasonably priced overnight bus network and well-maintained highways, but there’s no denying that the quickest and most convenient way to get around the country is the Shinkansen. Currently, you can travel by bullet train from Tokyo to Nagano, but the new Hokuriku Line will allow travelers to extend their Shinkansen trips from Nagano all the way to coastal Kanazawa. So starting March 14, you’ll be able to zip on over to the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture in record time to enjoy its historic Kenrokuen Garden, delicious seafood, and, provided you’ve still got some yen left over, golden handicrafts.

2. First flight of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet

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If tertiary travel is too tedious for your rarified tastes, there’s also the maiden voyage of the MRJ coming up in 2015. Jointly developed by Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Fuji Heavy Industries (parent company of automaker Subaru), the MRJ is scheduled to take to the air for the first time this spring. Airlines won’t be receiving their own until 2017, but nonetheless, the upcoming test flight is a major step towards Japan’s first domestically produced airliner since the financial failure of Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing’s YS-11, which was discontinued over four decades ago.

3. Osaka’s Dotonbori Canal becomes a pool

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If you’ve spent much time looking at photos of Japanese cityscapes, odds are you’ve seen Dotonbori, Osaka’s neon-lit entertainment district that straddles the Dotonbori Canal. After years of revelers diving into the water after victories by the local Hanshin Tigers baseball team, someone decided they may as well make part of the canal into an outdoor pool, which is just what’s scheduled to happen to a one-kilometer (0.62-mile) section of it for four weeks in August of 2015.

4. The next, and possibly final, Evangelion movie

Creator Hideaki Anno has never been particularly decisive about putting a period on his masterwork, as evidenced by how Eva’s cash-strapped TV finale has already been followed by a half-dozen movies. Signs point to a late 2015 release for the fourth Rebuild of Evangelion theatrical feature, though, which has been billed as the culmination of 20 years’ worth of groundbreaking animation (those of you who can’t wait until the end of the year can whet your appetite with a teaser-style Eva short film right here).

5. So long, SIM locks!

Like topknots and the feudal system, SIM locks are set to become a thing of the past in Japan starting this May.

6. The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II

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2015 is also a good time to stop and take a moment to appreciate that Japan can get excited about developments in consumer electronics because it’s a country at peace, as it has been for the last 70 years.

7. Prince William visiting Japan

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Another thing that wouldn’t have been happening during open war between the U.K. and Japan, Prince William is scheduled to visit the country as part of a trip through Asia in late February.

Attack on Titan’s Universal Studios Japan attraction opens

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RocketNews 24:

Universal Studios Japan is formally opening its new Attack on Titan attraction on Friday. “Attack on Titan The Real” is part of the Universal Cool Japan event (along with Evangelion, Resident Evil and Monster Hunter) which will run between January 23 and May 10. Musician and well-known Evangelion fan HYDE was among the celebrities who attended Thursday’s opening ceremony. The Mainichi Shinbun paper’s MaiDiGi filmed the opening:

 

The “Attack on Titan The Real” collaboration recreates the world of Hajime Isayama‘sAttack on Titan manga and anime. The attraction features a full-size, 15-meter (about 49-foot) Eren Titan — the first of its kind in the world, according to the theme park — as well as a 14-meter (46-foot) female Titan. Visitor can witness the Titans locked in fierce combat from the perspective of SurveyCorps members.

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Get some Nintendo on your Sony with these PS4 skins

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RocketNews 24:

As odd a concept as it may sound to some, had the 1991 deal between Nintendo and Sony gone off without a hitch, not only might the PlayStation brand as we know it today not even exist, but gamers the world over might be able to play titles like Super Mario 3D World and Wii Sports on Sony-made hardware. Instead, with Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft all vying for our hard-earned cash, console gamers are faced with a choice: choose a platform to invest in or live on nothing but baked beans for a year and buy them all.

If you’re a Sony fan and have already picked up a PS4, no doubt you’re as pleased with your purchase as we were with ours. But there’s no denying that Nintendo’s creations have a certain appeal to them, and few of Sony’s first-party characters could ever compete with Mario et al. Thankfully, third-party retailer LUCKY D has you – and your PlayStation – covered, as they’re selling sticker skins for PlayStation 4 featuring everything from Pikachu to Evangelion‘s Asuka.

We’ve seen all manner of limited-edition PlayStation 4 case designs since the console’s arrival just over a year ago. Besides the beautiful real-wood PS4, few have really caught our eye, though, and for those who picked up their console at launch it can be irritating to see alternative designs coming out just months later.

LUCKY D, however, has a solution. With their “PS4 Skin Seals” PlayStation owners can deck out their console with all manner of alternative designs. Nintendo fans especially will be pleased to learn that the Japanese retailer stocks two special skins which permit the unholy matrimony of Nintendo and Sony to take place, offering a sticker set featuring Mario and friends, and another which turns your PS4 into everyone’s favourite yellow lightning rat, Pikachu.

According to their Amazon JP listing, the stickers come in pieces, covering the PlayStation 4 console itself, DualShock 4 controller, and even the tiny touch panel on the controller’s front. It looks like the stickers wrap right around the PS4, too, giving the underside a splash of colour – something which those who stand their console vertically will no doubt appreciate.

▼ Mario and pals

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▼ LUCKY D is also offering this rather sexy Black Rock Shooter skin,

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▼ a tremendously cool skin featuring Asuka from Evangelion,

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▼ Boob pillow-cum-virtual idol Super Sonico,

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▼ and this Kantai Collection skin, which is sure to please fans of all things moe.

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The skins retail for between 3,200 and 3,672 yen (US$27-31) on Amazon JP. We’re sorry to say that our favourite of the lot, the yellow Pikachu skin, is already out of stock, however, so you may want to bookmark that page and check back regularly. As for whether these things are officially licensed, or how long Nintendo will allow the LUCKY D to use their characters on stickers designed for a rival console, only time will tell, so if you’re looking to add some Nintendo to your Sony, you may want to move quickly.

Studio Gainax confirms plans for anime production studio and museum in Fukushima

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RocketNews 24:

GAINAX, the animation powerhouse which has spawned massive hits such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Nadia:The Secret of Blue Water, Kare KanoFLCL, and Gurren Lagann among others, has confirmed plans to open a studio and in-house museum in the town of Miharu, Fukushima. Specifically, the company will move into a refurbished school building that was closed two years ago.

Keep reading after the jump to find out what motivated this latest development!

Founded in 1984, Gainax‘s current corporate headquarters are located in Tokyo’s Koganei City (the same place as Studio Ghibli’s headquarters). The company is well-known both domestically and internationally for its line of often avant-garde hits, and its name is often taken as synonymous with Evangelion, the legendary 1995 TV anime series directed by studio co-founder Hideaki Anno.

Gainax’s current corporate headquarters in Koganei, Tokyo

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The latest news reports from Gainax state that the company plans to open a new regional animation and video game production studio in the town of Miharu, Fukushima (a bit east of the major city of Koriyama), which will supposedly be up and running by this April. In addition to the production studio, the location will also house a small museum dedicated to famous characters born from Gainax, as well as hosting lectures relating to anime production that will be open to the general public.

 ▼The location of Miharu (in red) in the Tamura District of Fukushima. Miharu is known for its over 1,000-year-old “waterfall cherry tree.”1

The site of the new production studio will be the former building of Miharu’s Sakura Junior High School, which was one of three local schools incorporated into a larger city junior high school in 2013.

According to Gainax, this new undertaking is being done in an effort to counteract the financial damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear incident of March 2011. The administration hopes that the presence of a new studio will also bring tourists back to the region and dispel some of the negative publicity surrounding Fukushima ever since the 2011 disasters. Perhaps their mission can best be summed up in the following quote: “Now, we want to express stories to the next generation that can only be made in this time, in this place [Fukushima].”

While there’s no word yet on any new projects that will be produced at the Fukushima location, we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop if we hear anything!

“2D vs. Katana” exhibition shows off recreations of swords from anime and video games in Osaka

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RocketNews 24:

Last year, Tokyo’s Ueno Royal Museum held an exhibition of Japanese swords inspired by the mechanical and character designs of landmark anime Evangelion. As cool as some of the pieces looked, though, you won’t find any scenes in the giant robot franchise where someone actually fights using a katana.

On the other hand, right now the Osaka Museum of History is holding an event that goes even further in bridging the gap between fantasy and reality, by displaying recreations of amazing blades seen in anime, manga, and light novel illustrations.

Running from now until December 23, the 2D vs. Katana exhibition has teamed up master swordsmiths with over a dozen Japanese graphic designers. One of the biggest names involved is Kazuo Koike, whose manga Lone Wolf and Cub was one of the first Japanese comics to build an international fanbase. The sword of the series’ tortured protagonist, Ogami, is one of the pieces on display.

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Another artist likely to be familiar even to a non-Japanese atendees is Yoshitaka Amano. A veteran character designer whose career stretches back to the 1970s, Amano provided designs for TV anime Gatchaman and video game franchise Final Fantasy. Weaponry based off his artwork for the multimedia project Zan is being displayed as part of 2D vs. Katana.

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Despite the event’s name, the pieces aren’t all necessarily derived from traditional Japanese sword designs. For example, the Demon Sword, a product of the imagination of veteran science fiction and creature illustrator Yuji Kaida, would look just as at home in the hands of a knight as a samurai.

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Judging from online reactions, the biggest show-stopper seems to be a recreation of a drawing by Yumeji Kiriko, the manga artist of Le Chevalier D’Eon whose work has also appeared in Sega’s arcade trading card games Sangokushi Taisen and Sengoku Taisen. Since the respective settings of those three titles are 18th century France, China’s Three Kingdoms period, and Japan’s Warring States conflict, it seems like organizers could have played it safe with the sort of practical designs used by actual weapons in those eras. Instead, they decided to go with something a bit more ambitious.

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Yes, there seems to be a bouquet of flowers growing out of that sword’s hilt, and in order to stay faithful to the source material, the swordsmith incorporated it into the piece, as shown in this snapshot from early in the production process.

Likewise, losing the ludicrously long hand guard was not an option.

It’s hard to notice in the original illustration, but the sword is actually constructed of two blades, one nestled inside the other, with two prongs at the tip. Like the flowers and hand guard, this is the sort of flourish that’s not an issue at all when working with a pen and paper, but can be pretty problematic when the tools of your trade are hammers and steel. So how does the final result look?

Pretty awesome.

There’s no question those flowers would get torn off in the opening seconds of a fight, and looking at the handle, we’re not sure there’s actually enough room to wedge your fingers into the gap between it and the hand guard. But while the 2D vs. Katana exhibition allows non-flash photography, the event’s leniency doesn’t extend to letting guests grab the weapon of their choice and duel with each other. Taking that into consideration, you can’t really fault the choice to concede a bit of combat practicality when the payoff is that many extra style points.

New video for Hikaru Utada’s ‘Beautiful World’ is a slice of Evangelion awesomeness

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RocketNews 24:

 

Hikaru Utada’s anniversary cover album is out next week, and to celebrate, Evangelion co-director Kazuya Tsurumaki has made this music video for the Japanese American artist’s song Beautiful World.

The resulting video is made of beautifully spliced-together Evangelion clips, and it fits Utada’s track perfectly.

‘Beautiful World’ was the ending theme for 2007’s Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Aloneand an acoustic version of it became the ending song for Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance.

As well as clips from the new Rebuild of Evangelion, the video also includes some new footage. Check it out:

 

 

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The new cover album Utada Hikaru no Uta features 13 of Utada’s songs performed by 13 different artists, including KIRINJI, tofubeats with Bonnie Pink, and Ayumi Hamasaki. It’s out December 9, and eight of the tracks are available to stream on her official YouTube channel now.

Hayao Miyazaki receives honorary Oscar

Miyazaki with Pixar chief John Lasseter at the ceremony
Otaku USA:

Legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki received an honorary Oscar for his “years of contributions to the motion picture industry” at a ceremony on Sunday.

Receiving the award, Miyazaki said, “my wife told me I’m a very lucky man,” according to the Japan Times.

To coincide with the honorary Oscar, Miyazaki was interviewed by Japanese film expert Mark Shilling for Variety, where he talked about a variety of subjects, including his current projects, the future of Ghibli and the industry overall.

On winning an honorary Oscar: “Somebody must have been pulling strings. Maybe [Pixar chief creative officer] John Lasseter.”

On Hideaki Anno (Evangelion) becoming an anime industry leader: “I wish him the best of luck. It will be hard work though.”

On making short films for the Ghibli Museum: “I will continue to make them.”

On the state of Studio Ghibli: “I don’t anymore. I don’t want to get involved in that sort of thing.”

On the state of the industry: “The kind of animation… made with paper and pencils is dying… There’s nothing inherently wrong or right about a method, whether it be pencil drawings or 3D CG. Pencil drawings don’t have to go away, but those who continue to use the medium lack talent. So sadly, it will fade away.

On retirement: “I intend to work until the day I die. I retired from full-length films but not from animation.”

The entire interview is a fascinating read, so take a look.

 

Miyazaki needs no introduction for most anime fans. Starting his career at Toei Animation, Miyazaki worked on titles like Gulliver’s Travels Beyond the Moon and Hols: Prince of the Sun, directed by Isao Takahata, with whom he would later found Studio Ghibli.

Miyazaki’s Spirited Away won the Oscar for best animated film in 2003, but he did not attend the ceremony.

Miyazaki is the second Japanese citizen to win an honorary Oscar. The first went to director Akira Kurosawa in 1990.

New Evangelion film’s team make video for Hikaru Utada’s new cover album

Anime News Network:

 

The official website for Hikaru Utada‘s new cover album Utada Hikaru no Uta revealed on Tuesday that the team behind the new Evangelion films will create a video for the album.

The new album will feature other artists covering Utada‘s work. The album is the second one the artist is releasing this year to commemorate her 15th anniversary. The first one was a remastered version of her debut album First Love that shipped on March 10.

Utada has also set up a special website that will feature works by different creators with a theme of one of Utada‘s songs. Aside from the Evangelion team’s video, Square Enix designer and director Tetsuya Nomura (Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy franchises) has also drawn a collaborative art piece for the project.

The website also has a work by Kumamon designer Manabu Mizuno (Utada released a single in 2006 with a song titled “Boku wa Kuma” or “I Am a Bear”).

Utada Hikaru no Uta will ship on December 9, and will feature the following artists:

  • AI
  • Yousui Inoue
  • Trio Ohashi
  • Yasuyuki Okamura
  • Miliyah Katō
  • KIRINJI
  • Ringo Sheena
  • Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis feat. Peabo Bryson
  • tofubeats with Bonnie Pink
  • Hanaregumi
  • Ayumi Hamasaki
  • Kazuya Yoshii
  • Love Psychedelico

The official website has not yet announced which songs each of the artists will perform.

Utada has been on hiatus from the entertainment business since the beginning of 2011, although she returned to host a monthly radio program called Kuma Power Hour with Utada Hikaru on the InterFM station starting in April 2013. She did contribute the song “Sakura Nagashi” as the ending theme for 2012’s Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (Evangelion Shin Gekijō-ban: Q), but her management emphasized that the song did not represent a full-fledged return from her hiatus.

Utada‘s father Teruzane Utada had originally said in a Twitter post in October 2013 that he and his daughter would be involved in the Kingdom Hearts III theme song, but he took back that comment the next day, saying that “as of now it’s undecided.” Utada contributed the two theme songs that have been used for every game so far in the Kingdom Hearts franchise.