Voltron returns in new Netflix series… starring Steven Yeun!

Angry Asian Man:

Last weekend at WonderCon, DreamWorks Animation unveiled new artwork and footage for its highly anticipated upcoming original series Voltron: Legendary Defender, premiering June 10 on Netflix. They also introduced the voice cast, which includes none other than The Walking Dead star Steven Yeun.

Inspired by the classic, fan-favorite 1980s cartoon series, executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos and co-executive producer Lauren Montgomery — the team behind The Legend of Korra and Avatar: The Last Airbender— reimagine the Voltron legend in an all-new comedic, action-packed animated saga.

The series follows five teenage friends who embark upon an epic journey when they are transported from Earth into the middle of a sprawling intergalactic war, and become pilots for five robotic lions in the battle to protect the universe from evil. Only through the power of teamwork can they unite to form the might warrior Voltron!

The voice cast includes Kimberly Brooks as Princess Allura; Rhys Darby as Coran; Josh Keaton as Shiro, Black Lion; Tyler Labine as Hunk, Yellow Lion; Jeremy Shada as Lance, Blue Lion; Bex Taylor-Klaus as Pidge, Green Lion; and Steven Yeun as Keith, Red Lion.

Thirteen episodes of Voltron: Legendary Defender debut on June 10, exclusively on Netflix.

Artist re-imagines political bigwigs as fearsome mechanized transforming robots

transformers 3

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

 

Brendan Tang’s “mechanized vases” morph Ming-style ceramics with the biomorphic mechas of comics, manga, anime and sci-fi

Brendan Tang - Ceramics

Beautiful Decay (by Hayley Evans):

Brendan Tang is a ceramic artist who sculpts elaborate pieces that fuse together various cultural imageries and traditions. The series of work featured here, titled Manga Ormolu, can best be described as “mechanized vases”—vases that combine Ming-style ceramics with the biomorphic mechas of comic books and science fiction.

The forms are abstract and futuristic-looking; there are pots and plates with rocket engines, valves, wires, tubes, and more. Some of the creations seem to be caught in the moment of “turning,” creasing ceramic skin to expose the robotic structures beneath. As objects of curiosity and ambiguity, Tang’s works look as unpredictable and otherworldly as they do beautiful and decorative.

The seamless hybridity of Tang’s Manga Ormolu explore contemporary discourses on technology and globalization. Born in Ireland to Trinidadian parents and currently residing in Canada, Tang brings his own diverse background and experience into his work. As his sculptures evolve into unique cultural-technological beings, they comment on how disparate cultural histories are encountering each other in the present-day world—and the speed at which they are doing so. The harmony embodied by each vase-hybrid, however, also seems to signify a unique form of transnational identity: one that overcomes the limitations and demarcations of national borders without losing its sense of culture and history.

Visit Tang’s website and Instagram to view more of his works.

Brendan Tang - Ceramics

Brendan Tang - Ceramics

Brendan Tang - Ceramics

Brendan Tang - CeramicsBrendan Tang - CeramicsBrendan Tang - CeramicsBrendan Tang - Ceramics

Giant Gundam headed for Hong Kong

Unicorn Gundam

RocketNews 24 (by Aleisha Riboldi):

Citizens of Hong Kong, brace yourself. An exciting Gundam exhibition is headed your way. This summer, as part of a month-long exhibition in Hong Kong, a giant  Gundam statue – something not usually seen outside of Japan’s Odaiba Bay in Tokyo – will be on display.

This isn’t the first time that Hong Kong has hosted a Gundam display; two years ago, there was an exhibit featuring a stand-off between an RX-78 Gundam statue and a Char’s Zaku statue. This time around, the exhibition will feature several giant displays including a 1:3 scale statue of an RX-0 Unicorn Gundam suspended Wing Gundam, a three-metre (approx. 10-foot) wide S-06F Zaku II head, and two-metre (6.5 foot) tall Gundam Build Fighters TRY statues.

Gundam build fighters

Gundam suspended

According to the Gundam Global Portal Facebook page, there will also be the chance to meet director Kazuhiro Furuhashi and voice actor Koki Uchiyama from the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam UC. In addition, there will be lots of limited-edition model kits and items as well as a display of Hajime Katoki’s Gundam art which has never been exhibited outside of Japan.

Screen shot 2015-07-12 at 8.55.37 PM

Occupying Hong Kong’s Time Square, the exhibit will no doubt be hard to miss. The event, titled “Gundam docks at Hong Kong II“, will only be on exhibit for a limited time running from August 1-31.

Haneda Airport to give their workers super-human strength with robotic exoskeletons

1

RocketNews 24:

A number of developed countries around the world are experiencing declining birth rates, as people focus more on building careers and social life than on repopulating for future generations. While lower birth rates aren’t necessarily a bad thing — they tend to arise from increased education in a society — it can prove worrisome for countries like Japan, which experts predict will see a population decline of more than 20 million people by the year 2040.

With a skyrocketing number of centenarians and not enough people to support them, what’s a country to do? There is the option of recruiting more women into the workforce, or increasing the number of immigrants to fill in the gaps, but with so many elderly people on hand, why not keep them working by giving them the power to get the hard work done with robotic exoskeletons?

Haneda Airport in Tokyo has partnered up with Japanese robotics company Cyberdyne to give their workers the extra strength needed for the back-breaking task of lifting heavy luggage. The tool for the job? A robotic exoskeleton called HAL for Labor Support, HAL being short for hybrid assisted limb.

The company previously introduced a full-body robotic suit back in 2013, called HAL. This newer version is much smaller, and uses bioelectric signals from the wearer’s muscles to aid in movement, effectively allowing someone who weighs 110 lbs (around 50 kg) to easily lift up to 45 lbs (23 kg).

roboskel

The HAL apparatus itself is super lightweight and, as Cyberdyne states on its website, since “…the devices are designed so light that female or elderly workers can wear, they will encourage the participation of those various people into a society with a low birthrate and aging population.”

When you don’t have enough workers to do the backbreaking labor, why not bring in some robotically-enhanced elderly people to do the job?

While the device is meant to help people lift and move objects beyond their normal physical means, Cyberdyne CFO Shinji Uga also stated: “The main purpose of this type of robot is to prevent back pain.”

2

In addition to the exoskeleton, Cyberdyne has also introduced floor robots (resembling giant Roombas) that can cart loads up to 400 lbs (181 kg) and can also clean airport terminals. Hopefully it won’t end up making any messes worse…

▼ Check them out in action

Real life giant mecha duel planned between USA and Japan

Otaku USA:

You may remember the 2012 announcement of a real, functioning giant robot prototype called Karatas, by Suidobashi Heavy Industries of Japan. A human pilot can actually sit inside the cockpit, drive it down the streets, manipulate its arms, and deploy its weapons. Intended as an “art piece” and not a military weapon, it comes equipped with a “LOHAS Launcher” designed to fire water-propelled plastic bottle rockets which “from time to time… will hit its target”, and a twin gatling gun which fires airsoft pellets at 6000 rounds per minute whenever the pilot smiles (yes, you read that right).

Much of this has to be seen in the demonstration video to be believed. Despite a top speed of only about 10 miles per hour, it’s pretty impressive to see it cruising through traffic. The heads-up display inside the cockpit looks like something out of an scifi movie, but actually works! Aside from being showcased in a few different art exhibits throughout Japan, the Karatas appeared as an enemy robot in the first episode of Next Generation Patlabor, and in a 2013 Real Escape Game event in Makuhari Messe, Chiba.

Inspired by the Karatas, an American company called Megabots Inc. spent the last few years quietly developing a competitor. They debuted their prototype in a video sent to Suidobashi Heavy Industries earlier this week, challenging the Japanese team to a robot duel planned to happen in one year’s time.

Designed with the concept of robot fighting in mind, the Megabot Mark II fires 3lb paint cannonballs at 100 mph and requires two pilots to operate. One has to question the utility of a paint marker that shatters automobile windows on impact, but hey – it looks really amazing! Unfortunately this capability may not get to be utilized at all anyway, as Suidobashi’s reply accepted the challenge on the condition that the contest take the form of a melee duel.

The major question now is how these mecha designers will manage to solve the problem of pilot safety while pitting these multi-ton monstrosities against eachother at close range. Will Suidobashi back down on the melee fighting concept and opt for a giant robot paintball match, or will both sides show up to the match with clever ideas up their sleeve for non-lethal robot melee weapons?

Japanese voters pick the top manga, anime, and other works they wish to see introduced abroad

SONY DSC

RocketNews 24:

With the ever-growing presence of Japanese media abroad, fans of various mediums might sometimes find themselves at a loss as to which series to begin next. Fortunately, a massive poll has now made the process much easier by picking out the cream of the crop as chosen by the Japanese public.

Sponsored by Japanese newspaper the Yomiuri Shinbun, Sugoi Japan recently held its first Grand Prix to determine which works in four categories–manga, anime, light novel, and entertaining novel–people deemed most worthy of being introduced abroad. Though the choice of Attack on Titan as the top manga will surprise few, given its explosive popularity, the winner of the anime category might catch some by surprise.

The award was established last year to mark the 140th anniversary of the Yomiuri Shinbun. Among works released between January 1, 2005 and July 31, 2014 (hence, no Neon Genesis Evangelion, Dragon Ball, etc.), voters were asked to choose those which they would like to see gain greater recognition around the world or which they thought most likely to prove successful with foreign audiences.

The list of choices, which included both expert and general recommendations, comprised a total of 203 works. Participants could cast three votes in each category any time between October 1 and December 31, 2014.

Attack on Titan won over the agriculture-themed Silver Spoon and volleyball shōnen Haikyū! to take the top manga prize. Meanwhile, Magical Girl Madoka Magica, a dark take on the popular “magical girl” genre, emerged victorious in the anime category with a total of 77,631 votes.

Iwakami Atsuhiro, the Aniplex producer of Madoka, was present at the award ceremony to collect the prize. He commented:

Anime as a genre has had a big impact these past ten years, even while undergoing many changes–for example, the birth of late-night anime and hit series. I think this award proves just how active the industry has been. I want to carry Japan’s creative works abroad, so I’d like to see them gain even greater recognition at home.”

Foreign publishers and filmmakers are certainly keeping a close eye on products from Japan. For example, one prominent contest endorsement comes from none other than Guillermo del Toro, the acclaimed director and self-proclaimed Japan fanatic whose film Pacific Rim (2013) notably paid homage to the mecha genre. In a statement on the Sugoi Japan website, he writes:

The Sugoi Japan project will reveal amazing Japanese properties that will enrich the exchange of ideas, characters and stories that has connected both hemispheres of the globe for centuries now. I, for one, couldn’t be more eager to discover them and be stimulated by their great creativity and originality.”

Take a look below for the top ten in the four categories. Personally, we found our to-read list just doubled looking through these.

Shingeki_no_Kyojin_manga_volume_1

■ Manga Top 10

1. Attack on Titan

2. Silver Spoon

3. Haikyū!

4. March Comes in Like a Lion

5. Space Brothers

6. Everyday

7. One-Punch Man

8. A Bride’s Story

9. Saint Young Men

10. Assassination Classroom

MadokaBD

■ Anime Top 10

1. Magical Girl Madoka Magica

2. Tiger and Bunny

3. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion

4. Idolmaster

5. Love Live!

6. Mushishi

7. Attack on Titan

8. Natsume’s Book of Friends

9. Psycho-Pass

10. Steins;Gate

My_Teen_Romantic_Comedy_SNAFU_cover

■ Light Novel Top 10

1. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

2. Sword Art Online

3. Spice and Wolf

4. No Game No Life

5. Humanity Has Declined

6. Fate/Zero

7. The Irregular at Magic High School

8. Baka and Test

9. Horned Owl and King of the Night

10. My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute

ToshokanSenso

■ Entertainment Novels Top 10

1. Library War

2. From the New World

3. The Night is Short, Start Walking Young Maiden

4. Tenchi: The Samurai Astronomer

5. Confession

6. Genocidal Organ

7. Another

8. Accuracy of Death

9. The Glorious Team Batista

10. It’s Me, It’s Me

A simple paint trick to make your anime robot models look extra sexy

SG 4

RocketNews 24:

Although the RX-78 Gundam is the most famous mobile suit from the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime TV series, it’s not the only giant robot the Earth Federation has at its disposal. As a matter of fact, debuting in the very same premiere episode as the Gundam is the RX-77 Guncannon.

Still, there’s a reason the series, and franchise, is called Gundam and not Guncannon. Aside from being slower and less powerful, the Guncannon can’t compete in the looks department with the dashing Gundam. Simply put, it’s just not sexy enough…at least not without this subtle variation to its paint job with a hidden significance.

For everyone who hasn’t spent their life acquiring an illustrated encyclopedic knowledge of anime robots, let’s take a look at the Gundam and Guncannon, side by side.

SG 1

As we can see, the Gundam, on the left, has longer legs and lithe limbs, giving it a more graceful and athletic figure. When lined up next to each other like this, the Guncannon comes off looking just a little dumpy.

In light of this, Twitter user and model builder Takuya decided to give the Guncannon a makeover. While he didn’t make the mobile suit quite as colorful as the titular Gundam, he decided to mix things up a little on the Guncannon’s legs, which are ordinarily a single shade of crimson.

SG 2

But why add two patches of pale paint? The reason lies in the Japanese text in the above photo. It reads zettai ryouiki, which literally means “absolute territory,” but is a Japanese slang term for a strip of exposed skin on a woman’s upper thighs between the top of her socks and the hem of her skirt or shorts.

View image on Twitter

Online commenters had the following to say about Takuya’s risqué creativity:

“That’s awesome. That’s sexy.”
“Looks like a robust woman.”
“Excellent absolute territory.”
“If you’re gonna do this, do it with the [schoolgirl-themed] Nobel Gundam!”

▼ Things got a little weird during 1994’s G Gundam TV series.

SG 3

Now we’re wondering if Takuya will do an even more revealing follow-up, using the same-flesh tone to create a sleeveless outfit for the underappreciated Guncannon, or, if he wants to get really daring, a bikini version for summer. Considering the hundreds of different Gundam model kits sold by licensor Bandai, the possibilities really are endless.

The top 10 manga Japanese people want to see turned into anime

MangaStoreJapan

RocketNews 24:

Every season there’s a wave of new anime shows, many of them based on some other form of media such as a manga or light novel series. Most reasonably popular manga titles seem to make it onto the screen in animated form at some point or other, so it can be galling when your favorite series is passed over by the animation studios time and again in favor of yet more giant robots and impossibly large and buoyant chests.

Read on to see which manga series Japanese readers most want to see animated, and let us know what your own picks would be.

Japanese website Anime Anime! conducted a survey to discover the manga series their readers most want to see turned into anime. They first asked for suggestions on Twitter then put together two lists of 20 titles, one of manga series which had come to an end and one which was made up of continuing comics. Each respondent could choose up to three manga series from each list. In total they received 1,800 responses.

Here is the ranking for the as-yet incomplete manga series readers really hope to see on their TV screens soon. Some of these have been licensed and published in English while others have not. The majority of them are seinen titles, but there’s also a few shonen and shoujo in there, too, and the themes vary from slice-of-life to superheroes and fantasy battles.

1. Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto by Nami Sano

f307a2c4

This slice of life seinen manga first made its appearance in 2011 and has been consistently popular. It got over 25% of the votes to secure first place in this survey!

2. One Punch-Man by One and Yusuke Murata

Main

One Punch-Man is a webcomic that has been running since 2009. It follows the story of the super-powerful hero Saitama on his journey to defeat evil monsters and gain recognition.

3. Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma

27997-ytbt

Yotsuba and has been going since 2003 and it’s surprising it hasn’t been animated yet after the success of Azuma’s previous series, Azumanga Daioh, both in Japan and overseas.

4. March Comes in Like a Lion by Chica Umino

story

Begun in 2007, this slice-of-life manga from the creator of the award-winning Honey and Clover, follows a lonely 17-year-old professional shogi player.

5. Drifters by Kouta Hirano

a53b6a35-s

This fantasy manga from 2009 brings historical figures together to fight to save a mysterious world.

6. Nijiiro Days by Minami Mizuno

77a9a3fc-s

The first shoujo title to make the list is one of the more recent entries, having begun in 2012, and is a lighthearted story that gives us a peek into the lives of four high school boys.

7. Oresama Teacher by Izumi Tsubaki

11029801

This shoujo romantic comedy began in 2007 and follows a delinquent girl’s efforts to clean up her act and her new school.

8. Yandere Kanojo by Shinobi

pic-main

Yandere characters are always popular so it’s surprising that this manga, which came out in 2009, has yet to be animated.

9. Amaama to Inazuma by Gido Amagakure

3647d8279a472f18260e693542167f03e9367e4f

This seinen-oriented slice-of-life manga is a relatively new title, begun in 2013.

10. Soul Catcher(s) by Shinkai Hideo

top

A boy with special abilities and a troubled heart joins a high school band – how does this shonen series not have an anime yet?

Some of these series above are sure to make it onto the screen at some point, probably after they’re finished, but others will remain static forever. And maybe that’s for the best, since unfortunately the animated versions don’t always do justice to their source material