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New book reworks classic paintings in modern Japanese illustration styles

Ever wondered what Munch’s The Scream or Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring might look like if done in modern day Japan? If so, then this book is for you!

Eshi de Irodoru Sekai no Meiga by publisher Side Ranch is a new coffee table book that fuses the artistic sensibilities of centuries-old painters with those of modern illustrators from the manga, anime, and video game worlds of Japan.

In total, 43 masterpieces from the likes of Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh have been re-imagined by 43 different Japanese commercial artists, including smartphone game illustrator Kina Haruka and character designer for Medabots (Medarot in Japan) Rin Horuma. Classic Japanese artists like Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Tawaraya Sotatsu are also given an updated look in this book.

Each full page illustration is accompanied by a look at the original work and a commentary by the illustrator.

Eshi de Irodoru Sekai no Meiga will hit bookstores in Japan on 26 May for 2,200 yen (US$20). The first customers to buy over-the-counter may also receive a postcard depicting an interpretation of Johannes Vermeer’s The Milkmaid.

It’s always fun to see pop culture and high culture collide in colorful ways like this book. So why not pick up a copy and brush up on both art history and current illustrators in Japan. We’ll leave you with a partial list of some of the works covered.

■ Girl with a Pearl Earring – Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
■ The Gleaners – Jean-Francois Millet, 1857
■ Sunflowers – Vincent Van Gogh, 1888
■ The Scream – Edvard Munch, 1893
■ Les Demoiselles d’Avignon – Pablo Picasso, 1907
■ 
The Snake Charmer – Henri Rousseau, 1907
■ The Milkmaid – Johannes Vermeer, c. 1657
■ The Birth of Venus – Sandro Botticelli, c. 1485
■ Primavera – Sandro Botticelli, c. 1482
■ Ophelia – John Everett Millais, 1852
■ Tahitian Women on the Beach – Paul Gauguin, 1891
■ The Night Watch – Rembrandt van Rijn, 1642
■ Fujin Raijin-zu – Tawaraya Sōtatsu, c. 1650
■ 
Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre – Utagawa Kuniyoshi, c. 1844
■ 
The Kiss – Gustav Klimt, 1908
■ Le Divan Japonais – Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1892
■ Woman with a Parasol: Madame Monet and Her Son – Claude Monet, 1875

Source: Dream News

Ghost in the Shell cast adds Beat Takeshi as Section 9 chief

SuperHeroHype (by Max Evry):

Japanese comedian and actor Beat Takeshi (Hana-bi, Battle Royale) has joined the Ghost in the Shell cast and will play Public Security Section 9 founder and chief Daisuke Aramaki. He will star opposite Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Michael Pitt and Sam Riley. Takeshi, also a respected director and TV host, had previously appeared in another American cyberpunk film, 1995’s Johnny Mnemonic.

Announced last year, the Ghost in the Shell movie is set to be directed by Snow White and the Huntsman’s Rupert Sanders from a screenplay adapted by Straight Outta Compton’s Jonathan Herman, who took over from previous writers Jamie Moss and William Wheeler.

The new Ghost in the Shell movie will offer a live-action adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s iconic cyberpunk manga series about the members of a covert ops unit that take on technology-related crime. “Ghost in the Shell” was famously adapted into an animated feature in 1995.

Produced by Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Steven Paul, the Ghost in the Shell movie also has the backing of Steven Spielberg. The rights to Shirow’s original manga were picked up several years ago with plans to use the latest 3D technology to film it.

In Japan, the huge success of the original “Ghost in the Shellcomics have led to a number of anime film adaptations, a TV series and a series of video games.

Ghost in the Shell Cast Adds Beat Takeshi as Section 9 Chief

 

Pokémon fan creates spectacular 3D hologram battle dome entirely from scratch

 

RocketNews 24 (by Scott Wilson):

Who hasn’t wished that they could have a Pokémon battle in real life? Nintendo 64 game   and its successors were fine and all, but they were basically just glorified Game Boy battles; we want to see Pokémon slamming into each other, breathing fire and ice, and maybe — just maybe — actually touching one ourselves.

And now thanks to Reddit user kennywdev, the world is one step closer to that dream

Kennywdev wanted to create a 3D game to move holograms around using QR codecards. However, what started out as a generic project suddenly got interesting when they decided to use Pokémon as the test subjects.

Hello Kitty skull ring and skull necklace

 

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RocketNews 24 (byPreston Phro):

You think you’re metal? Well, we bet you’re not half as metal as these silver Hello Kitty skull accessories!

Of course, you don’t have to be a metalhead, goth, or punk to enjoy a Hello Kitty skull ring or necklace, but we bet it helps! Regardless of what your preferred music is, these accessories help you bring the perfect blend of cute and badass wherever you go.

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Produced by JAM HOME MADE, the rings cost 31,320 yen (about US$264) and come in five different sizes. With a rhodium-plated surface, the skull are equipped with Kitty-chan’s distinguishing features — namely a red ribbon and a cute yellow nose. They also have dark black eye holes, perfect for staring into when someone else is hogging the abyss.

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If the ring is a bit too pricey for you, you can always opt for a necklace instead, which costs 17,280 yen (about $145). Though the pendant is smaller than the ring, it still offers the same ribbon and nose and comes with a 45-centimeter (17.7-inch) chain.

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Prices listed above include tax and shipping is free — if you live in Japan. For those of you outside Japan, you’ll have to use a reshipping service, since Jam Home Made doesn’t accept international orders. If you’d prefer to make your purchase in person, you could try going to one of Jam Home Made’s locations in Osaka or Tokyo when the accessories officially go on sale January 30.

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Library of Congress names graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang (“Boxers and Saints”) as Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

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New York Times (by George Gene Gustines):

Gene Luen Yang often mines his life for his graphic novels. He has explored being a first-generation American, and harnessed his love of computer programming. Starting this week, he will have a whole new experience to draw on.

On Monday, the Library of Congress is to name Mr. Yang the national ambassador for young people’s literature, the first graphic novelist to be so honored since the post was created in 2008.

When I was coming up in the ’90s, the comic book industry and the book industry were largely separate — they had their own awards, distribution systems and stores,” Mr. Yang said in a telephone interview from his home in San Jose, Calif. But now, “these worlds are really converging in interesting ways.”

Mr. Yang’s stories leapfrog genres and often pose questions about acceptance, identity and culture. Perhaps his best-known graphic novel is “American Born Chinese,” about Jin Wang, a boy who has trouble fitting in when he moves to a new school in the suburbs. The New York Times greeted the book as “a dark exploration of Asian-American adolescence” that blends two cultures “in inventive, unexpected ways.”

An excerpt from Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel “American Born Chinese” (2006). CreditGene Luen Yang

American Born Chinese,” published by First Second in 2006, achieved a couple of firsts for a graphic novel: It was a finalist for a National Book Award and it won the Michael L. Printz Award. It also received an Eisner Award, one of the most prestigious honors in the comic book world, for best graphic album.

His other books include “Boxers and Saints” (2013), a work of historical fiction with dollops of mysticism set during the Boxer Rebellion in China; and “Secret Coders” (2015), illustrated by Mike Holmes, about students solving mysteries at an unsettling school. (The text slyly teaches readers basic computer coding.) In June Mr. Yang joined the group of writers working on Superman for DC Comics.

Mr. Yang, 42, the son of Chinese immigrants, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He began drawing at 2, he said, and “I basically never stopped.” His gateway for comic books was Superman, which he began reading in fifth grade. Marvel’s Fantastic Four and Spider-Man soon followed. He started creating his own comics. “I was always interested in telling stories through drawings,” he recalled.

At the University of California, Berkeley, Mr. Yang majored in computer science partly to please his father, who wanted him to pursue something practical, and minored in creative writing. He worked as a computer engineer for two years after graduating and then began teaching computer science at a high school, a job that lasted 17 years. He gave it up only when his travels in support of his books began to involve too much time away.

Secret Coders,” released in September, was inspired partly by his teaching experience. “What I wanted to do was combine a narrative with lessons,” he said. “You ought to be able to do basic programming from reading the first volume.” Mr. Yang is also running an art contest related to the book to encourage readers to try some basic programming.

Mr. Yang also taps his background for his work with DC Comics. “When DC approached me, ‘Superman as the prototypical immigrant’ was one of my first thoughts,” he wrote in an email. He noted that dual identities are a daily reality for the children of immigrants. “Many of us use one name at home, another at school,” he said. “We move between two different sets of expectations the way many superheroes do.” When he recounted Superman’s origin story in an issue published in November as part of an adventure set in Oakland, Calif., he gave the superhero some immigrant anxieties about belonging.

In reflecting on his new role as ambassador, Mr. Yang said he found his wife, Theresa, a development director for an elementary school, a tremendous resource. He said that he was inspired by her program for encouraging students to read and write in different genres and that she was enthusiastic about the ambassadorship. His children — a son and three daughters — are a little harder to satisfy.

It is difficult to impress any kid that you see on a daily basis,” Mr. Yang said. The same is true of his children’s reactions to his books, though all of them are avid readers. “They tell me they like them, but they like other people’s books better than mine.

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Artist re-imagines political bigwigs as fearsome mechanized transforming robots

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RocketNews 24 (by KK Miller):

The leaders of countries are like super heroes on the political world stage to some people. So why not envision them as Autobots, the heroes of the Transformers franchise?

Artist Gunduz Agayev has transformed a number of the world’s political leaders with his art, mashing together heads of state with instantly recognizable vehicles from their country. The floor of the UN national assembly would be very different if everyone could transform into these alien robots.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin

President of USA Barack Obama

President of Turkey Erdogan

Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

Queen Elizabeth (United Kingdom)

Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei

 

German toy-maker Steiff is launching a $340 limited edition stuffed Pikachu doll

German premium toy-makers Steiff are launching a limited edition stuffed Pikachu doll that measures at 11 inches tall and is made with the finest natural mohair for an added luxe touch.

The adorably plush Pokémon will be priced at $340 USD with a limited Japan-only release of only 1000 units.

Preorders are available via GoodSmile right now, with a February shipping date.