pokemon

Was “Pokémon Omega Ruby” & “Alpha Sapphire” Announced Too Soon?

On Monday morning, Nintendo shocked the web by announcing the all new Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire game, scheduled to release worldwide for the 2DS & 3DS in November.

The result? Social media explosion. News outlets were on it, Twitter couldn’t get enough of it, the Pokémon Facebook fanpage acquired over 19,000 “shares,” and the teaser received over 1 millions views.

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kamehameha vs lego

Should Anime Characters Get Transformed Into Lego Figures?

Lego customizer @LEGOdouMoko is mostly known for “Legoing” well known anime series, such as Dragon Ball Z, Kill la Kill, and even Sailor Moon. Moko’s unique twist of creation has amazed thousands of anime fans, to which it’s been shared on many social networking sites. Continue reading

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Mangaka Hiro Mashima Tweets 130+ Colored Sketches of “Fairy Tail” [Gallery Edition]

Hiro Mashima, creator of Fairy Tail, is one of the few popular mangaka‘s from Japan to utilize Twitter in order to interact with his fans. Mashima has tweeted well over 3,700 tweets, and has submitted a multitude of sketches.

Fans of the series will be excited to hear that Mashima has tweeted a variety of colored sketches of his characters from Fairy Tail. Most colored FT works are fan-art, but the ones listed below are an original creation from the creator himself. Enjoy. Continue reading

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Over 20 Playable “Fairy Tail” Characters Featured in RPG Game “Divine Gate”

Back in November 2013, developers from Acquire and GungHo Online Entertainment announced their new iOS/Android RPG game, Divine Gate. The game featured a collaboration with Steins;Gate inwhich players could form teams with the actual characters, including Kurisu Makise and Rintarou Okabe.

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magiii

Bang Zoom! Entertainment Encourages Fans to Audition for “Magi: The Kingdom of Magic” at Anime Expo 2014

Magi fanatics, along with aspiring  voice actors, will be excited to hear that the English dubbing company Bang Zoom! Entertainment, along with Aniplex of America, will host open auditions for Magi: The Kingdom of Magic during Anime Expo 2014. Best of all, anyone can audition, including fans.

magi

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aot

Asian Fast Food Chain Lotteria Continues to Incorporate “Attack on Titan” to Their Menu

In the month of March, Asia’s fast food giant Lotteria ran a promotion which involved a collaboration menu between them and Attack on Titan. This included the 10-Meter Class Titan burger released on March 6th, along with burger meals containing a Survey Corps pin, Military Police pin, or Garrison pin,  released on March 25th.

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Audio Review: Atelier Escha & Logy ~Alchemists of the Dusk Sky~ (PS3)

Atelier Escha & Logy_Final Box Art

Atelier: Escha & Logy ~Alchemists of the Dusk Sky~ was recently released in English by Tecmo Koei Games for the Playstation 3. Ray played through more than 60 hours of this Japanese RPG, and Mike sat down with him to talk about what he thought of the game. Is it enough to just create items, be kawaii, or is something more exciting and consequential necessary to keep up the player’s interest? Find out what Ray liked and didn’t like so much in this audio review!

Here are some screenshots and artwork from the game, which is available at most major outlets, including Amazon. (Full disclosure: we do get a little bit back if you buy it through this link. Support the site!)

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Inside Mari: A Partial Review

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Inside Mari (Boku wa Mari no Naka)
by Shuzo Oshimi
Chapters 1-26 (available on Crunchyroll Manga)

Summary (from Crunchyroll)
A young man is a shut-in, with nothing to do but kill time. The sole pleasure in his life is following home an angelic high school girl he sees every day in a convenience store. Today, like any other day, he follows her, but… Shuzo Oshimi, the creator of Drifting Net Café and Flowers of Evil, continues to open hidden doors of the heart in this monthly serialized story!

Review (so far)
The Flowers of Evil (Aku no Hana), one of the most uncompromising stories to be committed to both manga and anime in recent memory, enthralled me because it took teenage melodrama so seriously: that is, in all its ridiculousness and self-dramatization to the point of serious cringe. There was nothing noble or romantic about Kasuga’s self-loathing or repressed sexuality, or Nakamura’s sadistic nonconformity: it was what it was, ugly and fascinating at once.

Inside Mari, a more recent title by Flower’s manga artist Shuzo Oshimi, continues the tradition, and not from a completely unrelated angle. Inside Mari tells the story of a hikkikomori named Isao Komori, who has been stalking a local high school student named Mari at a nearby convenience store. One day, he finds himself awake in a strange bed, and in a strange body, of the opposite sex…Mari’s body. Now Isao/Mari has to navigate school life, as a girl, all the while pretending to everyone that Mari is still Mari even though Isao has no idea how to be a woman.

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This is not a new concept, of course, as it’s been treated both comedically and semi-seriously in other anime and manga stories, and often with dollops of melodrama on top. (cough*Kokoro Connect*cough) What is different, and refreshing, about this take is how it is introduced, and how Oshimi dramatically complicates the situation over time. The first volume and half makes it appear that Isao is experiencing a bit of a morality play: you have objectified and lusted after this high school girl, now you get to see what it feels like to be one, and it’s not so fun! For example: one of the very first things Isao/Mari becomes aware of is how men check her out all the time, a glance here and a glance there. This is on top of now possessing those body parts that he had previously so lusted after and not knowing quite what to do with them…and that’s before the period begins. (Quite graphically, too: the reader is not spared the pain and messiness of the experience.) An explicit critique of the “male gaze” is very much in operation here, much like Kasuga’s actions served as a critique of the standard manga/anime “nice guy” who thinks he’s pure and romantic. Instead of an external catalyst like Nakamura to prod him into another mindset, though, he literally must walk in another person’s shoes, to see an experience foreign to his insulated ways.

Women know when you're doing this, guys.
Women know when you’re doing this, guys.

The story would be worthy enough, though simplistic, if it had been left at that. But Oshimi goes further, in an apparent (not, as of this writing, 100% confirmed) twist that turns the tables on what the apparent “moral” of the story is and how we understand the characters of both Isao and Mari. Mari is not completely all together, in the tradition not so much of Oshimi’s Nakamura, but of Saeki, whose twistedness was explored much more in the manga than the anime was able to show. Like Saeki, Mari has a near-perfect exterior that masks much pain and possibly instability. That facade, due to Isao living inside of her, is painfully and ruthlessly torn down, and the poignance of watching her social relations unravel is hard to watch sometimes. At that point, the boundaries begin to blur and the reader wonders just who these people are, and how much of what we call friendship and civility is really held together by pretense and hiding. If my theory about what is going is correct, what we have is a challenge to the whole notion of identity itself, whether it’s based on gender, social standing, or otherwise. Who is Mari? Who is Isao?

Identity crises are classically adolescent, and Oshimi is a rare talent that explores just how dark and confusing they can be. Inside Mari, barring a disappointing finale or revelation, furthers his oeuvre of hurting and desperate youth who can’t seem to stop wondering who they are, who they belong with, and what life means when you can’t seem to feel at home anywhere.

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Inside Mari is available on Crunchyroll Manga. It is recommended for mature readers as it contains some explicit nudity, though it is necessary for the storytelling.

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