Sci-fi ninja cyberpunk novel series”Ninja Slayer” set to start streaming as anime on April 16

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RocketNews 24:

If there’s still a ninja-shaped hole in your heart where the recently climaxing Naruto used to be, perhaps we can interest you in some sci-fi cyberpunk ninjas?

With a new anime set to start streaming on April 16, the people behind Ninja Slayer want everyone to release their inner warrior, and they’ve got some shiny new merchandise to help you get in the mood. And if you happen to have lost your entire family to a ninja turf war recently, you too can become a ninja slayer! Find out how after the jump.

What began as a “translated” Twitter novel has blossomed into eight published novels, three manga adaptations and a new animated series set to stream on video site Niconico next month. People all around the world are catching the Ninja Slayer fever. A bunch of new merchandise is being sold to celebrate the anime’s release, and the standout winner is definitely the snazzy Ninja Slayer T-shirt.

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Using the same color as the main character Kenji Fujikido, this T-shirt will proudly show off your love for Ninja Slayer. It even has “ninsatsu” (忍殺) conveniently placed on the back. But that’s not all, using these simple step-by-step instructions, you can turn into the infamous Ninja Slayer yourself!

▼ From tee to ninja hood in seconds!

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We know what you’re thinking: “T-shirt ninja? What are you doing back?” But it’s not “just” a T-shirt ninja, it’s a T-shirt ninja slayer! When you use this shirt, the “ninja slayer” kanji characters are proudly displayed on the front. Now all your enemies will know what sort of nefarious business you are there to conduct.

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For those unfamiliar with the title, Ninja Slayer is a cyberpunk sci-fi story set in Neo Saitama. In a time where rival clans are fighting a huge war, one salaryman’s family is killed. Seeking revenge, the main character is possessed by a mysterious ninja whose hatred of the ninja syncs up well with Kenji’s thirst for revenge. Together they vow to kill all the ninjas as the ninja slayer.

Ninja Slayer is supposedly written by two Americans, Bradley Bond and Philip Ninj@ Morzez, but apparently that is a story made up by the “translators” to help sell their novels. No original English version of Ninja Slayer exists, yet, so it is probably safe to say the authors are Honda Yu and Sugi Leika. All this confusion only adds to the intrigue surrounding the title. You’ll be able to tune into the first episode streaming on Niconico on April 16.

Terra Formars live-action movie in the works, Takashi Miike to direct

RocketNews 24:

Our friends over at Anime News Network recently previewed a cover of next week’sYoung Jump magazine, which will announce the plans for a live-action film based on the hit sci-fi manga Terra Formars.

Although details are scant at the moment the one juicy tidbit is that Takashi Miike, arguably the most prolific director to walk the earth, has signed on.

The Terra Formars manga began in 2011 and follows the aftermath of an attempt by Earth to colonize Mars by sending up algae spreading cockroaches to produce a livable environment for humans. However, the cockroaches end up evolving into killer humanoid creatures which kind of put a cramp on us living there.

After getting wiped out the first time, Earthlings begin to send out teams of fighters enhanced with insect-like powers to exterminate the cockroaches and reclaim Mars for themselves. Much like real-life encounters with cockroaches the battles tend to be violent and messy affairs.

And so, it’s with good reason that Takashi Miike was sought out the helm this project. He’s never been one to show restraint when it comes to on-screen violence so we shouldn’t expect any fake blood or guts to be spared during production. It’s also said that he’s a Starship Troopers fan so hopefully we’ll see something along those lines.

 

Doug Jung co-writing “Star Trek 3” with Simon Pegg

The Hollywood Reporter:

Star Trek 3 has found a new set of writers.  Doug Jung,   the co-creator of television cop drama Dark Blue, and Simon Pegg, the geek-friendly actor who already plays Scotty in the Star Trek franchise, are co-writing the new installment of Paramount and Skydance’s sci-fi adventure franchise.

A search was necessitated when Roberto Orci, who was writing and slated to direct the sequel, departed the project. Justin Lin is now on board to direct. Paramount and Skydance are still hoping to make their July, 2016 release date.

In addition to Dark Blue, Jung has written for TV shows Banshee and Big Love.

 

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Sci-fi Chinese porcelain plates show giant robots and alien invasions

 

Sci-fi Chinese porcelain plates show giant robots and alien invasions

Sploid:

Check out Calamityware fine China plates designed by Don Moyers—instead of peaceful scenes and landscapes, they are full of flying dragons, destructive robots, and giant sea monsters.

Too bad that only a couple of these plates are available via his online store.

Check out this link:

Sci-fi Chinese porcelain plates show giant robots and alien invasions

Sci-fi Chinese porcelain plates show giant robots and alien invasions

Sci-fi Chinese porcelain plates show giant robots and alien invasions

Sci-fi Chinese porcelain plates show giant robots and alien invasions

Sci-fi Chinese porcelain plates show giant robots and alien invasions

 

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Five Hollywood movies with a taste of Japanimation

Homage Matrix DVD

RocketNews 24:

What do you think of when someone mentions Japan? Anime certainly may be one of the things that comes to mind with all the Japanese animations being seen around the world in recent years. In fact, those of us here in Japan are often amazed by how passionate and knowledgeable some foreign fans are about Japanese anime.

So, we guess it’s not a complete surprise if some Hollywood movies seem to have been influenced by Japanese anime. Movie creators would have watched anime too, and I think we all know to a certain extent how some anime or TV programs, especially ones that we saw as a child, can grab our imagination and never really completely go away.

Well, we happened to find a post on information-compilation site Naver Matome that listed some Hollywood blockbusters containing what seem to be subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) tributes and references to Japanese anime, which we thought would be fun to share with you. Let’s take a look below at the movies that were mentioned in the article.

1. Clash of the Titans 

Homage Titan DVD jacket

This visually stunning action adventure film is a remake of the 1981 classic based on the famous Greek myth of Perseus’s battle with the sea monster Kraken. In the 2010 remake directed by Louis Leterrier, the Olympian gods don’t wear traditional Greek robes but are instead clad in costumes that resemble medieval armor. Leterrier has said in an interview with the Japanese media that the armor-like costume was inspired by the anime Saint Seiya, which also borrows heavily from Greek legend and in which the characters battle with each other wearing special armor called “Cloths”. Leterrier says he is a huge of the anime which he saw in his native France and had thought the Cloths looked so cool that he wanted to pay homage to the anime in his movie. (Personally, this bit of information made me smile because it just so happens that I actually saw Saint Seiya on TV in France — although it was called by the fancier sounding French title Les Chevaliers du Zodiaque— when I home stayed in the country for about a month a long, long time ago when I was still in high school.)

▼Characters from Saint Seiya wearing their Cloths

Homage Titan Seiya

It’s hard to believe the popular anime, based on a manga of the same title, is now more than 20 years old! Back then, at least to me, the graphics seemed to be of very high quality by the standards of the time; okay, so the guys looked hot/cute/beautiful in their armor-style suits.

▼Zeus in his armor-like costume in Clash of the Titans — do you see a strong resemblance?

Homage Titan armor

2. The Matrix

Homage Matrix DVD

Many of you have probably seen this hit sci-fi movie, which caused a sensation in many parts of the world with its innovative story and stunning visual effects when it was released in 1999. It’s considered a classic cyberpunk movie, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the creators were inspired by anime of the same genre in making the film.

As those of you familiar with Japanese anime may expect, Akira and Ghost in the Shell are anime that are often cited as having influenced The Matrix.

Akira and Ghost in the Shell, both cyberpunk anime that likely had an influence on The Matrix

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The super-human powers exhibited by some of the characters in the Matrix are certainly evocative of parts of Akira, and Ghost in the Shell seems to have been even more of a strong influence, including the visual concept of a cable being connected into the neck, as well as the cinematography in some of the chase scenes. In fact, the directors of The Matrix, the Wachowski Brothers, have said that they were so impressed with Ghost in the Shell that they wanted to make a live-action movie like it and even gave a video of the anime to the creative staff when making The Matrix as an example of the kind of world they wanted to create. Oh, and speaking of Japanese influence, did you know that the falling green digital code that appears in the movie contains mirror images of Japanese katakana letters?

Well, I certainly think the Wachowski Brothers succeeded here in making a film that leaves a strong and lasting impression. The Matrix is a movie that kind of gets to you, isn’t it,when you start to wonder about whether the world you live in is … well, really real? (And I think the movie also messed with my mind in a totally different way as well, since I ended up going to see the film three times simply because Keanu Reeves looked so gorgeous — but that was a long time ago.)

3. Avatar

Homage Avatar DVD

This is another mega-blockbuster many of you will have seen. Although the plot, which involves greedy business and military oppressing and attacking an indigenous tribe for materialistic gain, is not particularly original, the movie does create a whole new world visually unlike any we had seen before. And that’s definitely something Hayao Miyazaki, anime producer and cofounder of Studio Ghibli, also excels at. James Cameron, who directed Avatar, admits that he is a big fan of Miyazaki’s films.

As such, it is no wonder if there seem to be parallels between Avatar and some of Miyazaki’s works, be it the industry/technology vs. nature theme, the uniquely vibrant colors or the amazing, speed-filled flight scenes. Movie fans have also been quick to point out that the presence of a strong, attractive female lead character is another element Avatar shares with many of Miyazaki’s works, particularly bringing to mind San in Princess Mononoke and Nausicaä in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind — both young women who battle fiercely against armies possessing sophisticated technology to protect the precious natural environment around them.

Princess Mononoke and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, both films featuring young, strong heroines fighting to save the world they live in

Homage Princess Mononoke

Homage Nausicaa

There are also many visual details in Avatar that are reminiscent of images from Miyazaki’s anime, like the floating islands of rock that bear a noticeable resemblance to the floating castle Laputa in Castle in the Sky , or the supernaturally powerful tree with healing tendrils, which is a concept that also appears in Princess Mononoke. I’m sure it’s a testament to the creative genius of James Cameron and his team that they succeeded in making such a beautifully unique and thoroughly engaging movie while at the same time incorporating elements that we have seen before in some very well-known anime films.

4. Real Steel

Homage Real Steel

Perhaps befitting a movie set in a world where robots programmed to engage in boxing matches in place of human boxers, Real Steel is another film that contains images and references evocative of Japanese anime, which is after all, famous for its robot/mecha genre, among which some hugely popular anime such as Mobile Suit Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion can be counted.

What could be more symbolic than the fact that the robot the main character comes into possession of is named Atom? Although the name may not necessarily ring a bell with those of you outside of Japan, Atom is actually the name by which Astro Boy , the iconic anime robot character, is known in Japan. I’m sure a lot of Japanese movie viewers smiled at that, since we all love Astro Boy here in Japan — in fact, I think most people over a certain age can sing the anime theme song completely by heart.

▼Astro Boy, or Atom as he is known in Japan

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Another anime that viewers of Real Steel may be reminded of is the classic Tetsujin 28-go, which was released in the United States as Gigantor. The design of some of the robots in Real Steel seem to bear a certain resemblance to those in the anime, and what’s more, the robot in Tetsujin 28-go is controlled by a young boy, which is also the case in Real Steel.

Tetsujin 28-go, the original Japanese version of Gigantor

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Of course, for those of us in Japan, it was also good fun to see some other references to Japan as well in the movie, albeit not necessarily anime-related, such as one of the robots being initially set to be controlled in Japanese, and the young boy managing to give some commands in Japanese, saying that he learned the words playing Japanese video games. Well, you have to admit it is kind of nice when your country receives a positive nod of recognition in a big Hollywood movie.

5. Transformers 

Homage Transformers

I guess this sci-fi action film can be considered as receiving a kind of honorable mention here, as the movie is not exactly a work containing Japanese influences but rather based on a franchise that started as a line of transforming robot toys that was produced jointly by a Japanese and American toy company, so the series does have a good part of its origins in Japan.

▼Transformer toys from Takara Tomy

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Since then, it seems that the whole franchise, including the animated series, has been a combined effort between American and Japanese companies with South Korea involved as well in the animation.

▼One of the earlier animated versions

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Some fans also seem to think that the basic concept and some of the designs of the original Transformer toys were likely influenced by the anime series Macross.

▼The Macross anime series — the robotics certainly look sophisticated

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The Transformers anime was certainly a hit in Japan, but the question of whether it is technically an American or Japanese series still appears to be a subject up for debate even today. Well, either way, it’s certainly been a good source of entertainment for us, and we can’t complain about that.

So, that brings us to the end of the list of movies that were mentioned in the Naver Matome article. What did you think? Were you aware of these movies seemingly containing elements of Japanese anime? And do you agree with the observations here?

Source: Naver Matome (Japanese) 

Check out this link:

Five Hollywood movies with a taste of Japanimation

Video

Behind the Magic: The Visual Effects of “Pacific Rim”

For over 2 years the team at Industrial Light & Magic in San Francisco, Singapore and Vancouver worked tirelessly to bring Guillermo del Toro‘s science fiction epic “Pacific Rim” to life. This reel represents a taste of the visual effects work the team was tasked with in creating everything from monstrous Kaiju to the man-made Jaegers and the environments they are seen in.

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Japanese Sci-Fi art from the 70’s and 80’s

Originally published September 16th, 2013, 50watts’ has a running feature where they showcase Japanese science-fiction scans from their ever-growing collections of books and catalogs on Japanese illustration and design. We love looking through old book illustrations, and the sci-fi genre always is chalk-full of he most surreal, colorful, and bizarre. This is a fantastic collection of obscure artists and their fantastic imaginations that you would otherwise never see!

Head over to 50watts to get the full list of artist’s names and see even more of the collection!

Check out this link:

Japanese Sci-Fi art from the 70’s and 80’s

20-hajime-sorayama space-teriyaki045_900 18-tadami-yamada--original-poster_900 11-atsushi-yoshioka_900 19-masamichi-oikawa_900 08-peter-sato--calendar--1980-1 06-shuji-tanase-1982-black-space s_nagaoka_19_large 06-Shusei-Nagaoka--humanoid--movie-poster_900 05-Shusei-Nagaoka--Conceive_900 space-teriyaki3020-50watts_900 16-takashi-koizumi--early-80s_900 04_space_teriyaki_900 space-teriyaki3022-50watts 03-yoshihisa-sadamatsu1 ryoko-ishioka--window-display_900 space-teriyaki034-50watts_900 25-akira-terasawa--1980 08-hitoshi-ikematsu-book-jacket-illus-1984 03-sumio-tsunoda--book-jacket--early-80s 02_space_teriyaki_900 space-teriyaki3024-50watts_900 ichiro-tsuruta--ca-1985_900 22-natsuo-noma--exhibition-poster_900 17-tetsu-uehara--1979_900 15-akira-yata-1982_900 07-peter-sato--poster-for-exhibition-of-original-works--1980-1_900 07-noriyoshi-ohrai2 02-tatsuo-ikeda-newspaper-illustration_900 01_space_teriyaki_900 21-masatoshi-saito--1985 17-takashi-yamazaki-cyber-cycle-1985_900 15_space_teriyaki_900 01-pater-sato-magazine-cover_900 01-akira-shishido--postcard_900