Japanese teen whose chalkboard art went viral gets an art commission before a high school diploma

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RocketNews24:

A while back, we took a look at an amazing piece of artwork by student and Twitter user Rena Rena. Almost finished with her last year of high school, Rena realized her opportunities to indulge in youthful abandon were about to become that much scarcer, so she grabbed a piece of chalk and drew an amazing scene of Frozen’s Elsa standing on a snowy mountaintop.

Two months later, it looks like Rena’s life has indeed become so busy that she has no time for such ambitious amateur chalkboard art projects. On the bright side, that’s because she’s now doing professional chalkboard art, having been commissioned to create the cover to the newest book from one of Japan’s most celebrated fantasy authors.

Even if you’re not an avid reader of Japanese literature, you may have some experience with the works of Miyuki Miyabe. A recipient of both the Naoki and Yamamoto Shugoro Prizes, the Tokyo native has had a handful of her works adapted to TV and film. Among her titles best known to Western audiences is Brave Story, a 2003 fantasy novel that served as the basis for an anime theatrical feature, manga, and video games.

Publisher Kadokawa is just about to release Miyabe’s newest book, The Castle of Kingdom Gone (Sugisarishi Okoku no Shiro in Japanese). Amazon Japan describes the novel as centered on a pair of middle school students who come across a mysterious sketching of an old castle, and discover they can enter its world by adding pictures of themselves to the drawing.

Between Miyabe’s renown and Kadokawa’s financial resources, they probably could have taken their pick of artists for the novel’s cover, and the pick they made was Rena.

View image on Twitter

As Rena revealed in this tweet, she’s landed a professional project even before leaving high school. While her Frozen fan art was lighting up social media, it caught the attention of Kadokawa’s executives, who decided “Her art would be perfect for Miyabe’s new book,” and approached the teen to formally offer her the position of cover artist.

▼ Kadokawa tweeted this side-by-side comparison of Rena’s inadvertent job application and the drawing she made for The Castle of Kingdom Gone.

 

View image on Twitter

And here’s how the final cover will look.

View image on Twitter

Amazon Japan is currently taking preorders here for the book, which is priced at 1,728 yen (US$15) and scheduled for release on April 24. Ordinarily, we’d say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but as for judging this cover itself, it’s an awesome piece of artwork, and perhaps just the first step in Rena’s budding artistic career.

Resort in Philippines has literally giant Gundam rip-off, plus Disney and Marvel knockoffs galore

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RocketNews 24:

Although the Philippines have plenty of seaside travel destinations, Jed’s Island Resort isn’t one of them. Being located in the landlocked municipality of Calumpit means that while Jed’s isn’t far from Manila Bay, it doesn’t have any coastline to call its own.

That’s OK, though, because you can still relax in one of the resort’s nine advertised swimming pools. And while you may not be able to enjoy listening to the sound of the waves, you will be able to look up at Jed’s gigantic Gundam statue that’s as tall as the one in Tokyo yet far, far skinnier. Not into anime? Not a problem! Jed’s is also home to beloved characters from Disney, Marvel, and DC…or at least their disturbingly off-model, knockoff doppelgangers.

The facility’s grounds used to be a private estate, but were opened to guests as Jed’s Island Resort in 1995. The resort’s website boasts that “During its five summers of existence, Jed’s has welcomed actors and actresses, singers, and band members from showbiz as its guest.” Ordinarily, we’d write the use of “guest” off as a typo, but considering that the reference to Jed’s five summers of existence is on a web page updated in 2014, nearly 20 years after the resort’s opening, it’s possible the management simply isn’t very good at math.

But hey, who needs statistical accuracy when you’ve got the most iconic giant robot in the history of Japanese animation, the RX-78-2 Gundam!

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Wow…looks like Gundam needs a sandwich. Or, seeing as how he’s in the Philippines, maybe a plate of lechon, the local variety of suckling pig. The robot is looking so skinny that we’re surprised it can still stand, and also so anemic that there’s no way it could survive an attack by the bellicose Zeon forces.

Gundam is so gaunt that at first glance it seems like the photo is the product of a weird camera lens, but the proportions of the woman standing between his feet aren’t warped at all.

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As further proof, here’s the anorexic mobile suit from a different angle that reveals more of its narrow dimensions.

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Still, this is a pretty gutsy move by Jed’s designers. Non-official wonky physique and large letter J on its crotch, that’s clearly and literally a huge Gundam rip-off. We’re sure executives at Bandai, the company which holds the licensing rights to all things Gundam, aren’t happy about it. If it’s any consolation, though, Bandai’s lawyers should bear in mind that Jed’s Island Resort isn’t just ripping off Gundam, they’re ripping off everybody!

Well, maybe not everybody, but that only seems to be because there’s not enough space for a project of that magnitude. Still, Jed’s has done an impressive job of filling its property with as many unlicensed likenesses as it can hold. The resort isn’t shy about this, either, at least in the case of these two photos from its Facebook page, which are excitedly touted as “New attraction-One Piece at Jed’s! and Big Hero 6 Robot Baymax!”

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Among Frozen’s many crowd-pleasing aspects, some fans were thrilled to see a Disney movie with two princesses. But apparently the special Jed’s edition of the film features no less than three royal ladies.

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Elsewhere, Jed’s gets the number of siblings just right. Can’t say the same about their facial features, though.

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▼ Elsa must be hitting the gym regularly to have added that much muscle definition to her shoulders. She’s apparently become so addicted to the pump from lifting weights that she’s curling half a head of cabbage.

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Going from Disney’s newest hit characters to their oldest, here’s Mickey and pals Goofy, Donald, and Mickey Clones 1 through 3, plus rival Bugs Bunny, all posing in front of a brachiosaur.

 

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We’re guessing some older, hand-drawn cartoon characters must look down on their nouveau rich CG counterparts. How else could you explain why the heroes of Avatar were left out of the Disney/Warner Bros. group photo?

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Of course, not all classic animated characters are so set in their ways. For example, Snow White has expanded her social circle beyond her seven stout housemates, and is seen here in the company of 1977 anime mecha Voltes V.

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As a matter of fact, Jed’s Island Resort seems to be all about crossovers, like this snapshot of the Sesame Street gang hanging out with Mother Goose.

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Awesome as it is to see Superman and Captain America in the same place, it’d still be cooler if they were fighting.

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Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Wonder Woman seem to have climbed all the way to the top of the water slide tower before losing their nerve to actually go down it.

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Legalities aside, we can at least see why the management of Jed’s Island Resort would want to decorate their pools with these instantly recognizable and hugely popular characters. They may have been a little too zealous in their efforts to copy as much as possible, though. For example, can you imagine any travelers picking where to stay according to which resort has the cast of free mobile game Clash of Clans?

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But even then, Jed’s “creative” team wasn’t done scraping the bottom of the barrel, because you haven’t exhausted every option until you’ve made a knock-off based on the cover 1980’s flight disaster satire Airplane!

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The 2015 Sapporo Snow Festival

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RocketNews 24:

Every February in Hokkaido brings another amazing display of artful snow and ice carvings, and RocketNews24 brings a firsthand account of the 66th annual Sapporo Snow Festival.

This year has already brought a couple of exciting stories from the festival. Whether it was soulless snow sculptures or an imposing Sith Lord, the Sapporo Snow Festival always gives you something to talk about.

The Yubari Melon Mascot! The only terrifying mascot in Japan.

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Although the city of Sapporo is very large, the sites for the festival are not that far apart. Especially the two sites that feature most of the incredible snow and ice artwork are within minutes of each other, making a lot of the festival easily accessible.

Susukino Ice World 2015, was where the ice sculpture competition pieces were shown. With plenty of amazing entries this year, it’s a wonder how the judges were able to pick just four sculptures as winners.

Overall winner of the ice sculpture contest!

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Odori Park was home to all the major installation snow works, including the international snow carving competition. Representatives from many countries were working very hard to complete their sculpture within the three days allowed.

Indonesia

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United States (Oregon)

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New Zealand

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Darth Vader and his imperial Storm Troopers might be out to steal the show, but there were plenty of other really incredible sculptures on display in Odori Park.

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For the smaller sculptures, a quick glance at them revealed a few pretty obvious themes.

Yokai Watch

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Frozen

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Studio Ghibli

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Parasyte

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The third site of the snow festival, the Sapporo Community Dome, had its share of snow art as well, but people came here to play in and with the snow, rather than admire it. The standout winner was definitely the Nissin sponsored “tube sliding” with lengthy lines right up until closing.

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Travel between the sites was really easy, with a shuttle bus running to the sites that was cheaper than taking the subway.

Night time provided a unique opportunity to show off for the crowd, performances graced the stages in front of the huge snow sculptures until the closing of each day.  The Star Wars stage had its own light show which repeated every 15 minutes.

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The real winner of the night was the projection mapping upon the Kasuga Grand Shrine sculpture, though.

If you haven’t gotten enough of the snow festival yet, here are a few more pictures to make you wish you were able to be there yourself. Enjoy!

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“Let it Go” composer Robert Lopez (Filipino-American) writing a song for Neil Patrick Harris to perform at the Oscars

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 Audrey Magazine:

Recognize Robert Lopez? Well you certainly should. Lopez was the very first Filipino American to win an Oscar during the 86th Academy Awards. If you don’t yet recognize his name, you’ll certainly recognize Lopez’s work. This songwriter took home an Oscar for composing Frozen’s “Let it Go” with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez.

His time with the Academy Awards is far from over it seems. He and his wife are now writing a song for Neil Patrick Harris to sing at upcoming Oscars.

Neil Patrick Harris revealed this news just a few days ago through his official Twitter account. He explained that while he wasn’t at liberty to say what the duo is planning, he can promise that it won’t be a song called “Let It O.”

Of course, an Oscar isn’t the only thing Lopez can boast about. He is also the first Filipino American to be part of the prestigious group known as EGOT. This group– which contains only 12 individuals such as Audrey Hepburn and Whoopi Goldberg –consists of individuals who have won the four top entertainment awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Lopez has voiced that he hopes “Filipino artists everywhere take my example as proof that you don’t have to look a certain way for your dreams to come true. It just takes hard work, perseverance and some luck.”

With adult responsibilities looming, Japanese teen lets loose with epic Frozen chalkboard art

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RocketNews 24:

With winter break over, students in Japan are looking at a straight shot with no major breaks until the end of the school year in spring. For teens in their third and final year of high school, that means it’s almost time to take the big step of going off to college or finding a job, both of which mean probably having to cut back on silly hijinks.

That’s why when one Japanese 12th grader found an empty classroom, she couldn’t resist the temptation to let loose with youthful exuberance, especially since she knew it might be one of her last chances to do so. She didn’t take advantage of the lack of adult supervision to vandalize the school, though, but decided to beautify it with some awesome Frozen chalkboard art instead.

Earlier this week, as she walked towards the gate on her way home from school, Twitter user Rena Rena realized she’d left something in the classroom. Heading back to retrieve it, she looked at the big, empty blackboard, and figured that with classes done for the day, no one was going to mind if she used it.

Especially not if she was going to create something this amazing.

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▲ “I realized I don’t have much more time left as a high school student, so when I went back to get something I’d forgotten, I went a little nuts drawing on the blackboard. Really had a fun time.”

One of the drawbacks to chalkboard art (aside from the difficulty in working with the medium, of course), is that the dark background and powdery nature of the chalk itself can make the end result look dark and wispy. Neither of those is a problem, though, when you’re drawing snow queen Elsa on a snowy, windblown mountaintop as she creates her magical ice castle in the middle of the night.

Rena Rena says the whole thing took three hours from start to finish, which leaves us impressed by both her commitment and talent, since we don’t think we could have done half as good a job with twice as much time. Japanese Internet commenters were similarly blown away, saying that it’s going to be a shame when the teacher has to erase the mural at the start of the next class.

But while it may have been the fleeting nature of youth that compelled Rena Rena to grab a piece of chalk and start drawing, this doesn’t have to be the end of her artistic career. One commenter asked if she was planning to enroll in art school after graduation, and while we’re not sure whether or not that meshes with her higher education plans, it definitely looks like she’s got the talent if that’s the path she wants to take.

Korean illustrator gives Western fairy tales a whimsical Eastern makeover

 

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RocketNews 24/Bored Panda:

What would some of our favorite Disney fairytales and Western stories look like if they had been conceived in Eastern Asia? Korean illustrator Na Young Wu has an idea – her illustrations feature Disney characters new and old reinterpreted through the prism of modern Korean cartoon illustration, also known as “manhwa” (the equivalent of manga in Korean).

Wu, who also goes by “Obsidian,”(@00obsidian00) on Twitter, is quite a prolific illustrator. She has created character illustrations for games such as Japanese mobile game Furyoudou~Gang Road~ and Korean production Age of Storm: Kingdom Under Fire Online.

It’s been a year since the release of the mega hit animation Frozen, but as much as some of us can’t wait for it to fade into the shadows, the icy queen and her Frozen empire are still staying put in the spotlight, as if the movie had only been released last month.

We previously saw Elsa and Anna looking glam in some beautiful Chinese dresses. Bet you’re not surprised that we found her donning a Korean hanbok this time! Some of you might be thinking, “RocketNews24 is writing about Frozen AGAIN”, but don’t roll your eyes just yet, because Elsa is just one of the many stunning East-West fusion pieces that Korean illustrator Na Young Wu has created. Check out her other Western fairy tale interpretations after the jump!

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Although the girls she created for Furyoudou~Gang Road~ are an impeccable mixture of cute and sexy, it is her Korean manhwa drawing style that really brings out the unique atmosphere in her Korean-Western fairy tale series.

 

Alice in Wonderland
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Little Red Riding Hood
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Beauty and the Beast
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The Frog Prince
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The Little Mermaid
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Snow White
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Head over to Obsidian’s blog or Twitter to see more of her fantastic illustrations!

Disney’s Frozen gets its own limited-edition PlayStation 4

Disney's Frozen Gets Its Own Limited-Edition PlayStation 4

RocketNews 24:

 

After topping the Japanese box office for 16 weekends in a row, Disney’s Frozen can add one more feat — its very own PlayStation 4. The PlayStation 4 Frozen Limited Edition takes the standard jet black console with a 500GB hard drive and adds a Frozen laser-etched hard drive bay cover with the sisters Elsa and Anna.

 

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Sony‘s online store will offer this exclusive edition on July 16 for 42,980 yen (about US$425).

 

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