The present of Japanese culture includes issues related to manga and anime for some decades now.
Manga and anime lovers enjoy a whole series of elements that complement the tastes for these arts, from places where stories are set, places of pilgrimage or simply the best and most varied places to buy manga and souvenirs.
1. Ghibli Museum
Studio Ghibli is the best anime production film studio in Japan, which released numbers of award winning films, such as “My Neighbour Totoro”, “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away”.
Its one and only museum is located in Mitaka, Tokyo, which can be accessed within 30 mins from Shinjuku Station.
Visitors must purchase tickets in advance which can be booked online. The last minute booking is usually hard to make as it’s pretty popular and only limited number of visitors can enter at once. So make sure to book your tickets in advance or some website provide last minute booking service if you haven’t got enough time.
2. Fujiko·F·Fujio Museum
Fujiko F Fujio is the creator of the long-beloved Japanese manga/animation, Doraemon, and his museum is located in Kawasaki, just outside of Tokyo. Fujiko F Fujio Museum a.k.a. Doraemon Museum exhibits numbers of precious works of Fujiko, mainly Doraemon and its original artworks and short films. English guide is also available.
The museum can be entered only with an advance reservation, so make sure to purchase tickets in beforehand.
3. Pokemon Center MEGA Tokyo
Pokemon has been one of the most popular things on the planet for a couple of decades. It’s still pretty fresh in our memories that the whole world had gone crazy about Pokemon Go lately.
Pokemon Center is an official Pokemon store offering games and merchandise which every Pokemon fans would wish for, and currently located at 12 locations in Japan including three in Tokyo. Pokemon Center MEGA Tokyo is the biggest store located in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, and there is another store at Tokyo Skytree. In 2018, Pokemon Center TOKYO DX has opened in Nihonbashi, Tokyo with their first permanent Pokemon Cafe.
One of most popular districts in Tokyo, Akihabara is known as the paradise for electronic products and geek culture. They say anything related to Otaku culture can be found in Akihabara such as Anime, Gaming, Manga, figures, underground idols,etc. Stores like Mandarake and Animate are hugely popular as a wide variety of product range and many rare items can be found.
5. Nakano Broadway
Maybe it’s lesser known among foreigners, but just like Akihabara, Nakano is a popular area in Tokyo among Otaku and underground sub culture lovers. Nakano Broadway is a main hub of the area, which is a large shopping complex which houses numbers of shops including the famous Manga store, Mandarake, offering manga and anime related items. If you have already been to Akihabara, and could not get enough, Nakano Broadway is definitely your next stop. Nakano area is not far from Shinjuku area, only a few stops by train from JR Shinjuku Station.
If you are interested in the deep Otaku culture in Nakano area and keen on exploring hidden spots in this neighbourhood, I’d strongly recommend you to join the local guided tour!
6. Tokyo One Piece Tower
In the past two decades, ONE PIECE has become the best selling manga series in the history with over 430 million copies sold worldwide and the series is still on going.
One Piece’s only theme park, Tokyo One Piece Tower is located at the foot of Tokyo Tower. The indoor park offers various kinds of One Piece themed attractions as well as live shows, special events, themed cafe & restaurants and shops. One Piece fans can easily spend a whole day without getting bored.
7. Odaiba Gundam
Gundam is one of most popular animations in Japanese history, which originally started its broadcast nearly 40 years ago.
The gigantic statue of Gundam has been standing in front of DiverCity Tokyo as a symbol of Odaiba area. The current statue is a second model which is replaced in 2017, called Unicorn Gundam. Next to the statue, there is a Gundam themed cafe offering special food and beverage in Gundam theme.
8. Sanrio Puroland
Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma, Pompompurin, etc.. Sanrio has created numbers of characters beloved in Japan and abroad. Sanrio Puroland is their one and only amusement park where visitors can enjoy themed attractions, games, shows, shops and restaurants. Several seasonal events are held through the year such as Halloweens and Christmas and you can find your favourite characters in special costumes as well as limited goods.
Spring: longer days, warmer weather and the desire to get out of our burrows to feel the sun on your face.
And there is also the desire to release new treasures in order to prove to everyone that we are authentic Otakus.
Sailor Moon is probably one of the most celebrated manga and anime of all times. It has been the inspiration of many other magical girl-themed manga and anime series like Pretty Cure, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and even Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! among many others. It has also inspired some cartoons from the west such as LoliRock.
For the record, Sailor Moon manga originally spawned 18 tankōbon published by Kodansha in the 90s. In 2003, it was re-released as 12 shinsōban volumes. On the other hand, the Sailor Moon anime has around 200 episodes while Sailor Moon Crystal has 39. With all of these anime episodes, you might be asking, “How the hell did all of these anime episodes fit the 18 tankōbon volumes released?!” or “Are there differences in the Sailor Moon manga and its anime version?”
Sailor Moon Manga vs Anime
So, one of the major differences that the manga version has compared to the anime is the pacing. This is primarily because the manga was published much slower compared to the anime version. The manga is released an act a month while the anime releases episodes weekly, hence, there are more fillers in the anime. That being said, it came quite interesting that both the manga and the anime are still closely similar to each other.
There are also notable differences in the Sailor Moon manga and anime illustrations. Its manga version is much detailed when compared to the anime version. The manga is drawn with finer lines making the illustrations look more delicate. This also made the characters look prettier. It even improved as the mangaka’s drawing style peaked. The various monsters that appeared in the manga were also given more detail. Thus, making them look scarier.
The storyline of the manga is also notably more mature and deep compared to its anime counterpart.
There were also much more violence and suicides that appeared in the mange; very little made it through the anime version.
On LGBT content…
Since the manga was mature in nature, a lot of topics on feminism and LGBT were tackled. While the anime version, especially the English dubbed version, was censored on so many different levels, the manga went on in greater detail. For instance, in the manga version Sailors Neptune and Uranus were presented as girlfriends. However, in the English run, they have become cousins instead to easily explain their closeness and dabble on the idea of same-gender relationships.
Alternatively, in the classic anime, there were certain characters, which were previewed to be gay. Take for example, Fish Eye. In the classic anime, Fish Eye is described a gay kind of cross dresser who carelessly fell head over heels in love with Mamoru. However, in the manga, Fish Eye is only deemed as slightly effeminate. He also does not cross dress in the manga nor does he display any homosexual curiosity. In the manga, he even attempted to seduce Sailor Mercury or Ami.
On character maturity…
Though Usagi may be really cool as Sailor Moon, her usual self in the anime may have come out to be a little annoying at times. She also seemed whiny and frustrating in several occasions. However, the manga version of Usagi, can be considered to be much more mature than the anime one. In the initial parts of the manga, Usagi was a lazy and cry baby girl similar to how she was portrayed in the anime, but as the story progresses and matures, so does Usagi. Unlike in the anime version, Usagi seemed to have dragged on her annoying qualities for so long it made our heroine bothersome in the long haul.
These are just scratching the tip of the iceberg in terms of the differences between the anime and manga versions of Sailor Moon, so if you have time to spare, you could get different kicks in watching the anime and/or reading the manga.
Gintama is possibly one of the well-received anime of all time. Not only does it give its audience so much comedy, it also parodies a lot of different anime titles – both new and old ones. However, because of this, many other people who have not really watched Gintama think that this anime is purely full of gags and parodies. Parodies aside, Gintama has an impressive plot as well as remarkable character development – each of which has enthralling backstories of their own. Therefore, if you are still having second thoughts with Gintama, these 7 badass reasons should get your interest up.
The main story of Gintama is set in Japan’s Edo period. Though this time period should be full of samurai’s, Gintama’s plot setting depicts it to be completely taken over by what is known as Amanto or aliens. These aliens believe that humans, particularly samurai, belong to some lowly race of beings. That said, they still acknowledge the innate potential that they have in battle. Because of this, sword usage has been wholly banned to prevent possible rebellions. The only ones allowed to bear swords would be the police.
The story centers around Sakata Gintoki and his comrades Kagura and Shimura Shinpachi. Gintoki is not like most protagonists who are diligent, passionate, and heroic. Gintoki is more of the opposite. He is a very lazy and no-good person who runs an odd job business named Yorozuya. He and his crew would do any kind of job so long as he gets payment for the task.
2. Protagonist Back Story
With this setting all laid out, you might be thinking, “Nah~! Nothing different from the usual ‘save the world’ kind of anime protagonist” Sorry to burst that bubble, but our protagonist does not have that in mind. Gintoki should be taken simply. No, his story does not revolve about thinking of plots to drive away or eliminate the Amanto. He is just your lazy assed guy who likes to play poker games as well as eat his sweets the entire day. Saving his country from the Amanto is something that has not crossed his mind. He even out-and-out declines training to toughen up. So, you see, he is not your usual kind of hero protagonist.
The reason behind this is because of his back-story. He once served in a war where he lost so much leading him to losing his reason to live a meaningful life. The story then flows to him finding better causes to live his life as well as waking up the sleeping hatred he has deeply kept for the Amanto as well as the government supporting the latter. This mysterious past will be one of the things that will glue your attention to Gintama.
3. Sound Tracks
Gintama’s Original Sound Tracks or OSTs are excellent, to say the least. Each of them plays to trigger the appropriate mood yet still complimenting the comedic scenes and humor that Gintama has. This works with both the Opening and Ending OSTs as well.
Honestly speaking though, there are few fight scene sound tracks that are not fitting, but most serve well. The ones for the dramatic scenes are spot on though. Works every time, I must say.
4. Anime Style
Animation style has been improving circa the time that anime first popularized. However, Gintama’s animation comes to be quite nostalgic especially for long-time anime watchers – by long time, I meant the older generations. LOL! The animation style is a bit like of the classic ones so newer anime watchers may see this as something off putting. If you are one of those who are not impressed with Gintama’s anime style, just watch it for a few more episodes, the animation will grow into you eventually.
5. Character Line Up
Gintama boasts of a varied line up of characters that each have their own interesting or mysterious backstories. Some of the characters include:
Kagura is a female character belonging from an unbelievably strong clan. She is also the anime’s female lead.
Katsura is another character who has an obsession of correcting people who mispronounce his name. Viewers will often find him to displaying comedic fits and blurting out adorable and “witty” catchwords.
Shimura Shinpachi is a glasses-wearing lead character. Though that said, his glasses are the ones mostly noticed first by the others – even if he is not using them.
These are just three of the many characters, of course, but most of them have their own interesting stories to tell as well as have their own unique quirks that make them adorable altogether. Gintama’s mangaka, Sorachi Hideaki, also made sure to give separate episodes for the side characters. Character development for most of the characters is carefully and exquisitely done by the mangaka.
6. Comedic Parodies
Gintama is filled with parodies, which is an element that many fans really like about this anime. Gintama parodies many other anime and manga titles as well as characters both real life and anime / manga ones. Most are made in sidesplitting ways while others even come out clever at times. Some of the anime titles that Gintama parodied include Bleach, One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and Super Mario to name a few. You can expect endless laughter just from the parodies.
7. Serious Drama
One of the main reasons why Gintama is veered away by many is due to the fact that they think it is lacking in drama and seriousness, but actually, that is not entirely true. Gintama is not all gags and comedy, it also has some serious drama that everyone can dig into.
Without revealing too much, Gintama can make you cry as if fresh onions were dropped right in front of you while you watch it. The serious backstories are also notable to watch out for.
If you are looking for an ounce of laughter and drama all rolled into one, then Gintama is one to watch. Give it a try and you will find yourself hooked.
Gintama originally started running in 2006 and still ongoing with the latest episode at 341 as of writing. It also currently has 4 anime films already out.
During the celebration of the last day of the fan event Gintama Matsuri 2019 it has been revealed that work is already underway on a new animated production, of which, for the moment, no more details are known. But we leave you the promotional video …
In Japan, it is customary that on Valentine’s Day only women give gifts (usually chocolate) to men, either as an expression of affection, courtesy or social obligation. On the other hand, at the White Day (March 14th), the men who received chocolates at Valentine’s Day thank them for offering a gift to the woman to return the favor.
Traditionally, the most popular gifts for this day are cookies, jewelry, white chocolate, or other objects of the same color.
The White Day was held for the first time in 1978 in Japan.
It was started by the National Confectionery Industries Association as a “day of response” for Valentine’s Day, under the argument that men should return them to women who gave them chocolate and other gifts. In 1977, a candy company in Fukuoka, Ishimuramanseido, marketed marshmallows for men on March 14, calling it Marshmallow Day (マ シ ュ マ ロ デ ー Mashumaro Dē).
Soon, the candy companies began marketing white chocolate. Currently, men give away black and white chocolate, as well as other edible and inedible gifts, such as jewelry or objects of sentimental value. Flowers and other gifts are also given on this day. Eventually, this practice spread to the neighboring countries of Japan: South Korea, China, Taiwan and Vietnam. In those cultures, White Day is celebrated in a similar way for the most part.
Keep in mind some details:
Men are expected to return Valentine’s gifts with objects of greater value than the ones they received. And of course: the white color is the hero!
If the gift that is received is of the same value as the one that was given for Valentine’s Day it is common to think that something does not work in the relationship. It is also to be expected that the most expensive and personal gifts are made only to the couple or person you like. To your friends or co-workers the most usual thing is to give them sweets or chocolate.
The term sanbai gaeshi (三倍 返 し, return triple), tends to be used to represent the rule in which men must return a gift that is two or three times the value of the one they received on Valentine’s Day.
If you are a boy and you received gifts on Valentine’s Day, then you know what you have to do: give gifts back to all the girls from whom you received chocolate. You can give anything, but you have to make sure it’s nicer, better, or more expensive than the chocolates you received for Valentine’s Day.
Hiragana (平仮名, ひらがな) is a Japanese syllabary, one basic component of the Japanese writing system, along with katakana, kanji, and in some cases rōmaji (the Latin-script alphabet). It is a phonetic lettering system. The word hiragana means “smooth kana”
Thank you, Japanology!
Is that time of the year when all our favorite TV series are fully devoted to showing us the spirit of Christmas as its .
As at Chica Manga we love Anime, we present Christmas Specials of our loved characters!
Everything starts a few days before Christmas.
One day, after an incident of bus hijacking, Yuta finds himself expelled from his own body and turned into a spirit. Guided by the cat spirit Chiranosuke, Yuta must learn to master his spiritual powers in order to protect his friends.
2 Love Hina Christmas Special: Silent Eve
There has been a rumor that when Christmas arrives that is your chance to confess your feelings to your loved one. This is a fun holiday tale that anyone can enjoy even if it is with friends and family.
3 Nichijou – Episode 22
In this very brief Helvetica Standard segment (random comical short that is self-contained, and generally outside the main story of Nichijou), Santa visits a young boy and offers him a delightful present… Delicious melon bread. Unfortunately, the boy is less than impressed. A dramatic story in less than 3 minutes.
4 Azumanga – Episode 17
It’s almost Christmas, Tomo and Kagura get into an argument at class concerning Chiyo’s belief in Santa Claus, coming up with explanations regarding how gifts are given around the world in one night.
When Chiyo settles the matter by saying that Santa Claus is her father!
5 Toradora – Episode 19
A Christmas party with all the ups and downs you can imagine!
6 Hetalia – Episode 31
At the World Academy W, Germany decides that the month’s newsletter will be on how other countries celebrate Christmas. Japan and Italy agree to the idea, as it sounds interesting. Germany asks Italy how he celebrates his Christmas.
7 Lucky Star – Episode 11
There are many topics that girls can talk about: exams, studies, Santa and even cakes. Here is a anime that you can get a cuteness overload. This anime is the perfect choice to get your holiday cheer on without the heavy emotions that could be coming your way.
These are just some of our Anime Christmas specials.
What are your favorites? Which ones would you add to this list?
1. Asirpa, from Golden Kamuy.
An ethnic manga with a brave main character.
Golden Kamuy is the story of Saichi Sugimoto, a veteran of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904, a survivor of Hill 203 who has become a miner in Hokaido to pay an expensive eye operation for the widow of his comrade killed in the war, Toraji . There he listens to the story of a treasure gathered by the members of the Ainu ethnic group to defend themselves from the Japanese colonization of the island, collected by a criminal group. After being saved by an Ainu girl, named Asirpa, he decides to start the treasure hunt with her, whose map is divided into 24 parts, each one tattooed on the torso of 24 criminals who escaped from a prison, but in the road realizes that other sides know the history of the treasure, among them the members of the seventh division of the Japanese Imperial Army and a group of gangsters led by Hijikata Toshizō, a survivor of the Shinsengumi, who rebelled against the Meiji Restoration.
2. Nausicaä from Nausicaä of the Wind Valley
An environmental warrior.
It´s a Japanese animation film created by Hayao Miyazaki in 1984, and inspired by the homonymous graphic novel created by Miyazaki himself in 1982. It was created a year before the founding of Studio Ghibli and made by the studio Topcraft. However, it is considered Miyazaki’s first film within Studio Ghibli because much of the production team, as well as the involvement of Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki, continues after the creation of the studio. It is also considered from the Ghibli catalog.
The film tells the story of Nausicaä, princess of the Valley of the Wind, who will be faced with the army of the kingdom of Tormekia, captained by Lady Kushana, who tries to take control of a “God of War” as a weapon to eradicate the Forest Contaminated already the giant insects that live in it, like the Ohms. Nausicaä will try by all means to prevent this massacre.
Nausicaä is the princess of the Valley of the Wind and the only daughter of King Jihl, a great pilot and warrior, she is also compassionate and caring for all her life. Princess Nausicaä tries to find a sense of the contaminated forest and refuses to see insects as enemies, among them the gigantic trilobite creatures called Ohm.
Nausicaä as a defender of the nature, has a strong connection with the insects of the contaminated forest, especially with the Ohms. She will have to defend the pacifist character of his kingdom against the kingdoms of Tormekia and Pejite.
3. Candice White from Candy Candy
A strong and independent character.
This is the story of Candy, who in 1898, is abandoned as a baby in the snow with a doll that has the name of Candy, hence the name given to her: Candice White, called by all Candy; the same night, they find another baby Annie. Both grow near Lake Michigan, in Indiana, in a home for orphaned children run by Miss Pony and Sister Mary. Having been found on a snowy night, Sister Maria decides to give Candy the surname White.
Candy is raised along with the other children of the orphanage, as a very hardworking, cheerful and generous girl. Candy is optimistic, friendly, persevering, loyal to herself and her friends, she is also very strong emotionally, sometimes she can become very “Independent” something that many people resent for considering it annoying or because it was not good in the era in which the series is set. Candy believes in herself, a reason why her friends admire and adore her and is willing to do anything for them.
4. Gally from Battle Angel Alita
A cyborg warrior.
The story is about Gally (Alita in the western version), an amnesiac cyborg that is found by Doctor Daisuke Ido among the scrap thrown from Salem, the utopian floating city (renamed in the West as Tiphares).
Ido rebuilds Gally and adopts her as his daughter, but as time goes on, it becomes clear that Gally hides combat abilities as large as they are mysterious. Given this and as a way to discover your own past, she will be tested against situations that stimulate and bring out these skills, so she can get answers about her origin. With this objective, she will face different enemies fulfilling roles such as warrior hunter, Motorball runner, security agent and many others that will put her life at risk. Later, her story will take her to face even greater challenges and dangerous creatures off the planet.
Throughout the manga, you can observe the evolution of Gally in a human being, accompanied by the improvement of her Chi (which allows her to synchronize her movements with those of her opponent to take advantage).
On December 12, the Kanji of the Year 2018 was announced: 災, whose reading is wazawai or sai and means “disaster” or “misfortune”.
The Kanji Fitness Examination Foundation announces each year in December the “kanji of the year”, chosen through a popular vote to reflect what the last 12 months meant. The citizens voted through the postal mail, on the official website or in ballot boxes to choose a single character, in some cases adding an explanation with the reasons for their selection.
The kanji chosen this year, wazawai, refers to the multitude of natural disasters that affected Japan during 2018: severe earthquakes in the prefectures of Osaka, Hokkaidō and Shimane, a series of typhoons that hit the coast of the country, torrential rains that caused landslides and floods, and high historical temperatures during the summer. The press release from the Kanji Fitness Examination Foundation notes that “As the new year approaches, many expect the next imperial era to bring fewer disasters to bear.”
Wazawai clearly rose as leader with more than 10% of the 193,214 votes counted.
In second place was 平 (hei or taira), a kanji meaning “peaceful” or “flat”, chosen by many for its position in 平 成 (Heisei), the name of which will end when Emperor Akihito abdicates from the throne to end of April 2019. Relying on this “end of an era”, the character of 終 (shū / owaru), whose meaning is “final”, was in third position.
Voters looked at events that took place around the world when choosing a winning character. Some of them took into account the eruption of the Fire Volcano of Guatemala in June and the devastating forest fires that affected Greece and the western United States.
In second place was 平 (hei), chosen by many people for its presence in the name of the current era, but also for being the first character in the hanja script of Pyeongchang, the city of South Korea in which the Olympic Winter Games, and for appearing in the first name of Los Angeles baseball player Ōtani Shōhei.
The third place was for 終 (shū; “final”), which reflects the closure of the Tsukiji fish market, according to one of the comments offered by the voters, in addition to the end of the current imperial era.
“We felt the need to mix it up: Japanese and hip hop culture” The six dancers were invited to take part in a traditional Bon odori dance festival.
The six dancers in the video — Katie Sachiko Scott, Christine Tolentino, Marina Watanabe, Asuka Tazawa, Yuki Sugimura and Momoe Teruya — were invited by fellow dancer Koki Kawashima (stage name: Ko-ki) to take part in a traditional Bon odori dance festival held in Tokyo’s Monzen-Nakacho neighborhood. The organizers of the event were looking for street dancers, youth into hip-hop and such, to take part and the six young women, all dance enthusiasts, answered the call. As part of the festival, they performed more traditional dances — but the streets were calling.
“We felt the need to mix it up: Japanese and hip-hop culture,” says Scott, whose stage name is KTea. “They’d dressed us up in kimono and we knew we’d never get a chance like this again. So, when we had some free time during the event, we decided we should do something street.”
With social media exploding in popularity this past decade, viral dance challenges have become a major part of hip-hop culture. Some standouts this year include BlocBoy JB’s “Shoot Dance” and, of course, Drake’s “In My Feelings” challenge, both of which have resulted in videos that have gone viral worldwide. “Switch It Up,” produced by Cub$kout, came out in the summer.
A few hours and some rehearsal.
Most remarkable about the Monzen-Nakacho version, though, is that the six women whose video has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Instagram only met each other for the first time hours before creating the video. They learned the choreography in 30 minutes before shooting.
“We searched through the popular challenges on the net and found the ‘Switch It Up’ challenge, rehearsed it together a few times and did it,” says KTea. “We had to do two or three takes because kids kept passing through or we didn’t like the background.”
They landed on a small traditional-looking structure for the background, with a hint of glass skyscrapers in the near distance. The group thought it was a good mixture of old and new, an ideal accent to modern dance postures, traditional clothing and the ethnic mix of the women themselves — three of the dancers are Japanese, two are of mixed heritage and one is Filipino but grew up here.
When the festival finished, the six went their separate ways and didn’t think anymore about the video until later when they realized it had started being shared on social media.
“Right now, we’ve split up,” says KTea. “But we’re hoping to get together and dance again soon.”