Japanese company builds giant robot you could be piloting right now

RocketNews 24:

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Chiba Prefecture’s Wonder Festival is a bi-annual figure and model expo. The event’s bread and butter is figurine of anime and video game characters, in both frighteningly realistic and sexily unrealistic varieties.

But while the first thing most people associate with the event is toys, if your model is made of metal instead of plastic or urethane, and it’s self-propelled to boot, you’ve crossed the line of three-dimensional art and moved into straight-up engineering. Of course, Wonder Festival’s exhibitors aren’t going to stray too far from their fanciful roots, so what do you get when you combine technology with science fiction? You get this amazing giant robot, which is so easy to pilot that attendees could test drive it.

Not too long ago we tried out a powered suit from Sagawa Electronics. We’re not going to lie, it was awesome, and if it were in our budgets, we’d totally choose it over the train for our commute to the office.

Still, sometimes you don’t feel like settling for a robot suit when what you want is an actual robot. So imagine our joy when, while heading out into the walkway connecting two of the Wonder Festival exhibit halls, we came across the 3.4-meter (11-foot, two-inch) Landwalker from machinery manufacturer Sakakibara Kikai.

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This was no mere decoration piece, either, as the Landwalker is mobile. It’s not a pre-programmed automation either, as the imposing mecha is controlled by an operator seated inside its chest cavity.

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▼ It even comes with a cool racing seat.

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Despite the Landwalker’s intimidating-looking replica weaponry, you don’t need a military background in order to operate it, as proven by the 12 civilians who took it for a spin in front of the extremely jealous crowd in a demonstration put on by hobby website Guru Guru Box. Eight lucky Guru Guru Box users were chosen in the days leading up to Wonder Festival, and another four applicants were selected by drawing at the site.

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It’s impossible to look at the Landwalker and not be reminded of mecha anime such as GundamMacross, and Evangelion. While we’re on the subject of those three classics, though, let’s stop and ponder the implications of a scene that all three share.

Early on in each title, through a series of events the protagonist suddenly finds himself in the cockpit of a giant war machine for the first time. With no training, he’s able to pilot it simply by listening to explanations and commands from his allies, which seems like stretching artistic license pretty far. Piloting a giant robot can’t really be that easy, can it?

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Apparently it can. Before the 12 mecha jocks tried out the Landwalker, they stood around for a few short minutes while the staff briefed them on the controls. Next, without any training or practice, they strapped in and, one by one, easily manipulated the bipedal robot by pedals placed in the footwell of the machine.

The Landwalker’s forward progress is accompanied by all the whirring and clanking you’d expect, and honestly hope for, from a robot of its size. The test pilots reported that despite all the noise, the seating area remains relatively stable when the unit is in motion, and the cockpit isn’t at all an uncomfortable place to be. Given their complete lack of experience, some had trouble keeping their movement to a perfectly straight line, and others felt the outward visibility could have been better, but aside from that, there were no complaints.

Despite our giddiness at seeing Sakakibara Kikai’s creation in action, we do have one tiny nitpick about its name. Technically speaking, the Landwalker doesn’t actually walk. Yes, it stands on two legs, which it pumps back and forth to move. It doesn’t actually pick up its feet though, instead shuffling them along the ground like an 8-bit Castlevania character.

So how does the Landwalker get around without tearing up the ground under it? By having wheels embedded in the soles of its feet. Technically it’s a Landslider, but we’ll give Sakakibara a pass on the semantics for creating something this cool.

Check out this link:

Japanese company builds giant robot you could be piloting right now


Japanese amateur wrestling champion finds fame online for his taste in nerdy hobbies

RocketNews 24:

The man pictured above is Tomoyuki Oka basking in the glow of winning the All-Japan Sambo Championships. Having excelled in the Russian grappling sport, he exhibits all the features of supreme manliness: a square hair-lined jaw, steely and dominant glare, burly muscles that dwarf his first place trophy (the Putin Cup), and a half-hearted effort at those “V” fingers that Japanese people usually pose with in pictures.

But wait a minute… What’s that under his sambovka?

Why, those appear to be the characters from the popular manga, anime, and game seriesLove Live! School Idol Project. In fact, in the accompanying message to his Tweeted photo, Oka acknowledges his fandom of the animated idol group.

“I won the All-Japan Sambo Championships!
Now, I’m not so angry I had to blow off Love Live! at SSA.
And of course the T-shirt I’m wearing, it’s Love Live!!”

Um… right! Well, Oka has good reason to be a little regretful, live Love Live! performances such as the ones on February 8 and 9 featuring the voice actors from the series are few and far between. The ones held at Saitama Super Arena (SSA) were sure to be a smash.

Good thing the gals were there with him in spirit through his T-shirt. Love Live! follows a group of schoolgirls who form an idol group. Viewers are able to vote online for their favorite characters which influences how they’re arranged and styled.

Luckily, after going back a little on Oka’s Twitter feed we learned that he was able to attend the Sphere concert only a few days earlier.

Sphere is another idol ensemble made up of voice actresses.

Oka is also a part of Bushiroad, a training ground for soon-to-be members of New Japan Pro-Wrestling. NJPW was purchased by Bushiroad a couple years ago. Bushiroad also puts out several trading cards games and video games such as Love Live! School Idol Festival. It’s unclear whether Oka’s love of Love Live! and other anime came before or after his relationship with Bushiroad.

Oka’s bittersweet victory earned him the love of netizens who retweeted his message about 4,000 times as of this writing. One commenter wrote, “I would have felt strange bumping into that guy at SSA [during a Love Live! event].” Others simply laughed.

I’m not sure why. Schoolgirl idol themed anime is the epitome of masculinity. And if you disagree, go talk to Tomoyuki Oka… because I’m too scared to.

Source: Twitter via Hachima Kiko (Japanese)

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Japanese amateur wrestling champion finds fame online for his taste in nerdy hobbies


Survey reveals that more than 70 percent of otaku would choose their hobby over love

RocketNews 24:

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Over the years, the term “otaku” has, as well as being accepted into the English language, come to mean not just computer or anime fanatics locked away in their bedrooms, but any person who shows above-average fondness for any given hobby or pastime. Crazy about pop idols? You’re an otaku. Can’t get enough cosplay in your life? Same for you. Have a collection of video games so large that your friends casually refer to your house as “the library”? You’d better believe you’re an otaku.

But is your passion for your hobby so great that you would willingly choose it over love and romance? A recent survey asked a group of otaku that very question, and found that 70.1 percent of them said they’d shun love in favor of their hobby if it came down to it.

In Japanese human resources company Dipp’s “Otaku Opinion Survey: Valentine’s Edition“, 335 self-confessed nerds were asked a number of questions about their hobbies, ranging from how much they spend each year to whether they’d ever attended events dedicated to their respective hobbies.

Unsurprisingly, anime and manga were the group’s favourite hobbies, taking the top two spots with 62.7 and 61.2 percent, respectively, closely followed by classics such as video games and computers, as well as the for-some-reason-socially-acceptable pastime, music.

What was a surprise, though, was the fact that a startling number of respondents said that they had so much passion for their hobby that they said they’d choose it over love. When asked the question: “Hobby or love: which would you choose?” just under three quarters of those surveyed said they’d choose their pastime over romance, with 66 percent of all those surveyed saying that they wouldn’t feel even a shred of embarrassment if people thought of as nerds.

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When asked roughly how much money they spent on their particular hobbies, however, it became clear that at least a few of the “hobby-before-love” enthusiasts probably couldn’t afford to fritter money away on things like dates and romantic mini breaks anyway as, although many said that they spent just US$100-500 per year, one person admitted to spending a whopping $5,000 a year on their pastime.

Sure, if we’re talking computer components or video games, $5,000 a year probably doesn’t sound so bad. But if this individual’s particular vice happens to be plain-old manga? Well, lets just say we hope they’ve got a lot of storage space at home!

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Source: Dip via Netorabo

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Survey reveals that more than 70 percent of otaku would choose their hobby over love


Nintendo slashes 2014 sales forecast for Wii U from 9 million to 2.8 million


It’s not even financials season yet, but Nintendo is trying to lower expectations in advance. In a statement today, it’s announced that it’s reassessed unit sales for its flagship Wii U consoleshaving hacking it down from 9 million for April 2013 – March 2014 to just 2.8 million — less than a third of the original estimate. It’s also less than the number of Wii Us that Nintendo sold in its launch year. That was 3.45 million, if you’re counting.

The revised predictions are due to disappointing hardware sales during the holiday season and that’s having an understandable knock-on effect on software sales too. Nintendo now predicts that instead of selling 3.8 million titles, the numbers will be around half of that: 1.9 million, which is at least an uptick from 2013. Alas, it’s still an across-the-board bad news sort of announcement, however, with forecast console sales for the original Wii and the 3DS also bumped down in the process. (Nintendo now expects to sell 13.5 million 3D handhelds, down from 18 million.) This will all hit the company’s financial results, with the games maker now expecting to announce a 35 billion yen ($336 million) loss, with part of this being put down to marked down Wii U consoles, something that Nintendo didn’t predict would happen back in March 2013.

Check out this link:

Nintendo slashes 2014 sales forecast for Wii U from 9 million to 2.8 million


Death Note is being turned into a musical


Death Note Is Being Turned into a Musical

Nothing quite says “musical” like a notebook that allows you to kill people! Beats Cats, I guess?

Hit manga Death Note has already been turned into animevideo games, novels, and live-action films. And in 2015, it will become a musical, website NariNari reports. A musical perhaps because they are running out of things to turn Death Note into?

Composer Frank Wildhorn, known for writing Whitney Houston’s “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” and the Broadway musical Jekyll & Hyde is writing the score, while Jack Murphy is handling the lyrics. Theater director Tamiya Kuriyama is helming the production, which is currently going through casting.

The Death Note musical will also have a run in South Korea in Summer 2015. No word yet about Broadway, Off-Broadway, or any North American theaters in between.

Check out this link:

Death Note is being turned into a musical


Anime: If you want to know the future of video games, watch “Gatchaman Crowds”


Gatchaman Crowds is an anime that all gamers should watch as it shows amazing insight into the future of video games in addition to having an adventure that’s deeper than you’d expect. It has perhaps the most realistic portrayal of the future of gaming I have ever seen. This is shown in the form of social networking app GALAX—an app that makes being a good person into a video game.

GALAX, while your typical social networking app on one end, becomes a tool for good on the other. When someone needs help, people in the area are notified on their smart phones and offered a “mission” to help out. Completing this mission adds points to their—for lack of a better term—gamer score. Moreover, GALAX will specifically target those most competent to complete certain missions. If someone is complaining about an abusive relationship, GALAX will give a nearby lawyer a mission to help the person out. If there is a car crash, all the nurses, doctors, and those with first aid training in the area will receive a mission to lend their aid.

We’ve already seen in the real world how far people will go to keep their virtual farms up and running or just how much they care about clicking a cow every day. But imagine if everyone was playing this game where you quite literally had a “good person” score to build up (and show off). Life itself would become a video game.

In Gatchaman Crowds, GALAX was designed as part of a revolution for social change. It’s a counter to a world where people are forced to rely on corrupt or non-caring politicians. It’s also a revolution against something else: the need for superheroes.

Rui, the creator of GALAX, believes that if superheroes exist, people will come to rely on them too much—that they will turn a blind eye to helping each other and just assume that the heroes will help those in need. Real world events like the murder of Kitty Genovese serves to support this fear. So GALAX is a counter to that overdependence—giving people an incentive to help each other and not be apathetic bystanders.

The other characters in the series, the veteran Gatchaman in general, somewhat support this view in that they think superheroes should work only from the shadows—fighting threats in secret, so normal people don’t have to be worried.

In most ways, Gatchaman Crowds is Gatchaman in name only. None of the original characters appear and only the most general plot elements remain—i.e. a team of people called Gatchaman protect the world from alien threats. There are callbacks, sure—like the main enemy being named Berg Katze—but if you were expecting anything resembling the original anime, you will be disappointed.

If you are a person who likes superheroes or wants to see the future of gaming in action, this is definitely an anime you should check out.

Gatchaman Crowds aired on NTV in Japan. It can be viewed in the US for free and with English subtitles on Crunchyroll and Hulu.

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Anime: If you want to know the future of video games, watch “Gatchaman Crowds”



Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z Slated for Americas on January 28


Namco Bandai Games announced on Friday that its Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z game is slated to launch on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PS Vita (digital only) in the Americas on January 28.

In the “team melee action” game, up to four players can play cooperatively, or eight players can engage in a massive battle royale. The game will feature four different battle types, and a full-featured solo play. The game has online multiplayer support, and players can work together on attacks such as “Synchro Rush” or boosting each other’s health via “Revive Soul.”

Players can also form “dream teams” such as the “ultimate Son Goku team” above or a team of all forms of Frieza. Players can take on colossal bosses in 360° all-range battles. The game has 60 exclusive missions and over 70 different playable fighter characters, including the God of Destruction Birus and his companion Uis from this year’s Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods film.

The game will debut in Japan on January 23, 2014.

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Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z Slated for Americas on January 28


Museum Acquires Incredible Collection of Japanese Games

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the Strong, an institution in Rochester, New York that encompasses the National Museum of Play and the International Center for the History of Electronic Games among other divisions, has acquired a massive collection of complete sets of games for classic Japanese consoles. And when they say complete, they really mean it: Spanning over 7,000 games, the collection features the entire libraries of games for 18 different platforms, including the Famicom (Nintendo Entertainment System), Sega Mega Drive (Genesis), Nintendo 64 and many more. It’s an exhaustive, painstakingly assembled collection that makes it one of the world’s biggest collections of Japanese games.

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Museum Acquires Incredible Collection of Japanese Games

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The 10 Best Asian Characters In Video Games…

Ada Wong

Asians in video games have been around for decades but for the most part they’ve been depicted as either martial arts monks, big-boobed jiggle bots and Engrish speaking sidekicks. Screw all that, we’re celebrating the characters that broke through the cultural barrier and became heroes because they’re so effin’ cool. These are the 10 Best Asian Characters In Video Games.

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The 10 Best Asian Characters In Video Games…