Boing Boing 

Battle your friends in a game inspired by 1980s space anime


The opening screen of Capsule Force feels ripped from the intro to an anime series: a series of stars pinging out a catchy melody in the sky like a series of shining bells. It's a retrofuturistic battle game that wears its love of 1980s space anime on its sleeve, inspired partly by the aesthetics of shows like Macross, Dirty Pair and Galaxy Express 999.

The year is 1999, and the human race is embroiled in an intergalactic war where entire galaxies have been captured in capsules, Pokemon style. Bounty hunters hired by various Earth factions are fighting for control of various galactic capsules, and that's where you—and your friends—come in.

The game's 2-to-4 player multiplayer battles pit two teams of anime bounty hunters—Emi and Jet, or Nova and "Z"—against each other to shoot it out with Mega Man-style arm cannons and defend themselves with shield bubbles. The point isn't to kill each other, however, but to successfully ride a tram horizontally across the multi-screen level in your team's direction, and claim a precious galactic capsule.

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The battles are fast and chaotic, and there's a sense of lightness to the way you move. Although gravity can still pull you down, this is a game where you spend a lot of time floating; you can fling yourself into the air by shooting your weapons at your feet, or suspend yourself in the air indefinitely at any time by charging it, which also gives you time to aim before unleashing a laser blast.

While there are single-player missions as well, ultimately you buy Capsule Force for its multiplayer battles, or you don't buy it at all. This is a game meant to be played at parties and with friends, crowded around the television and yelling frantically.

There are a few crucial limitations, however, that will exclude a lot of people. You can't play against your friends online—or at least not yet—and there's no option to play against bots. Basically, you can only play with people who happen to be in your living room, and some living rooms (and lives) are lonelier than others (sadface).

Capsule Force, which was developed by Klobit, is available on PS4, PC and Mac. Regardless of where you play it, using a controller is strongly advised, as the precision it requires is difficult to produce on a keyboard and will probably frustrate the hell out of you.

What's it like to be a black anime fan?

Image credit: VICE

Image credit: VICE

Japanese cartoons often draw so many fans from the West because of their broad spectrum of possibility and visual diversity: Aliens, transforming princesses, warriors with absurd weapons. But it's strikingly rare to see a person of color in anime, and stereotypes abound where they do appear.

At VICE, Cecilia D'Anastasio spoke to a number of black anime fans and cosplayers about negotiating the strange space between animation fan culture and white geekdom, and sheds light on some of the interesting ways anime and identity intersect for black fans:

Are there any characters you identified with as a black person growing up in America? Afro Samurai. That plays into what I said earlier. As a minority, my mom always said you have three strikes against you: You're a man so they won't go easy on you. You're foreign (I was born in South America). And you're black. So you have to work extra hard cause you have those things going against you. As a community, you're trying to do better because stuff isn't in your favor. Afro Samurai is about how [Samuel Jackson's character] has the number-two headband and he wants to defeat the man with the number-one headband, so he can be the best. That metaphor goes so deep.

Were there any other characters you identified with? Piccolo [the green alien from Dragonball Z] is black. He is. In the main group of the Dragonball Z fighters, there wasn't a black one, but there was a green one. He was token. You can see him being a black man instead of a green man and you wouldn't think twice about it. He has to work extra hard just to keep up with Goku. Goku is just naturally good.

Dragonball Z comes up often in the article. I learned that RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan wrote at length in The Tao of Wu about relating to the character of Goku and his Saiyan race as a parallel with black America.

The interviewer also speaks to young black women who cosplay as iconic characters like Sailor Moon in the face of backlash. Read D'Anastasio's whole piece, "What Black Anime Fans Can Teach Us About Race in America".

Attack on Titan: Live Action Trailer with English subtitles

My 12-year-old daughter Jane introduced my wife and me to Attack on Titan. It's a Japanese comic book and animated cartoon series by Hajime Isayama about a war between the last few remaining people on Earth and the creepy giant humanoids who want to eat them. I havn't read the manga like Jane has, but my wife and I enjoyed watching the animated series on Netflix. Attack on Titan is coming to the big screen, and a trailer with English subtitles was recently released.

I think it looks good, but Jane and her friends don't like it. They especially don't like the way the character Armen is portrayed. In the manga and anime, Armen is a sweet, brilliant mophead. In the movie, he's a tough guy with a buzzcut. That's a shame, because Armen's gentle demeanor and wisdom is important in the manga and anime. Changing his character into a badass warrior seems like the wrong move, but I'm still looking forward to watching it when it comes to Imax theaters. It'll be released in two parts, with the first installment screening on August first. I don't think it will be too difficult to convince Jane to come with me.


Watch: Bartkira (Akira meets The Simpsons)

"The future is not a straight line. It is filled with many crossroads."

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WATCH: Winds of Change (1979)

metamorphosesFor years I thought I had imagined this movie from my childhood. But there it is, on YouTube! This amazing piece of work fostered my love of classical mythology and anime.

Originally called "Metamorphoses" in Japan, "Winds of Change" was released in the United States in 1979. An animated retelling of stories from Roman poet Ovid, it is set to music by Joan Baez and Mick Jagger (with supplemental disco from Pattie Brooks), and narrated by Peter Ustinov.

I need offer no further recommendation.

Each to their own

stophating Legendary voice actor and artist Sonny Strait spotted this outside the offices of Funimation in Flower Mound, Texas.

The future as described by anime

akira-tetsuo Japanese animation often specializes in presenting a distinctive and detailed future. Hopes and Fears rounds up some of their favorite visions.

Sailor Moon hip-flask

The 8 oz stainless steel flasks are $27.50 and sport an etched Sailor Moon logo -- they come with a free funnel that the seller will etch with your name (or, presumably, any other pithy thing) at no added charge.

The Return of Sailor Moon

The fans are grown up, but the spirit only grows. Liz Ohanesian on the imminent reboot of America's gateway drug to anime.Read the rest

Corporate mascots as anime characters

Bruce Yan has created some gorgeous anime-inflected remixes of traditional American logos, including the Girl Guides Scouts and Starbucks. Astro Boy/Atom Boy was really born to be Bob's Big Boy mascot.

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Space Battleship Yamato 2010, anime come to life

I think I may have been waiting all my life to see Space Battleship Yamato done just like this. The movie is so true to the feel of the 1974 Starblazers I adored as a child, I really got to enjoy both the film and the trip down memory lane.

If you are a fan you will want to check this out!

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Battle of the Planets, classic campy sci-fi anime film

Five incredible young people with super powers!

Battle of the Planets is a late 70s/early 80s reworking of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, and was one of my earliest introductions to anime and sci-fi cartoons. With classic in its camp, we join the adventures of Mark, Jason, Princess, Key-op, Tiny and the incredible 7-Zark-7 as they defend space from things beyond space.

It's one of the first US adaptations of a Japanese anime series that I am aware of (Robotech is my favorite in this genre). Sandy Frank Productions draws on all the popular sci-fi memes of the day and brutally rips off R2-D2 to create a fast, fun and confusing series. Five young and highly-trained agents who dress like birds and fly like gravity doesn't exist gather to defend the Earth from Zoltar, the Luminious One, and planet Spectra.

Science Ninja Team Gatchaman has been recut several times over the years, not just into BotP but G-Force and the Eagle Riders as well. 7-Zark-7 and 1-Rover-1 make Battle of the Planets my favorite.

Battle of the Planets, a Sandy Frank Production

Video Link

MC Frontalot's "I'll Form the Head" - crowdfunded voltronoid nerdcore

MC Frontalot sez, "At long last, here's the third of three videos from my album Solved that were funded by fans via Kickstarter. It was directed by Carly Monardo and features my nerdcore rap compatriots ZeaLouS1 and Dr. Awkward. Lyrics and credits are on the youtube page. The single is out today, too, and it's free at

Bright-colored robotic space rhinoceri
that we pilot — why? 'Cause they're in supply.
Plus, we heed the cry of our planet's population
to defend them. We report to battle stations!
Split screen — ready! — and our rhinos are rocket ships
with fully articulated tusk, jaws, and hips.
They come equipped with individual special attacks,
none with a lack (but a couple a little bit slack).
I'm not naming any pilot specifically,
but we're all color coded so you notice that typically
I (in the gold) lead the charge, do the most damage
to whatever very giant space invader managed
to threaten the globe in yet another of our episodes.
This week? Malevolent galactic nematode!
Already beat up the squad when we faced him.
I'm calling it: let's form a giant robot and waste him.

MC Frontalot - I'll Form The Head [OFFICIAL VIDEO] (Thanks, Frontalot!)

Japanese teen trend: "Dragon Ball attack" selfies

"Numerous Japanese teens, it seems, are uploading photos of themselves doing the Kamehameha attack from popular manga and anime series Dragon Ball," writes Kotaku's Japan-based correspondent Brian Ashcraft. There's a photo gallery and it's awesome. Brian had an earlier post at Kotaku about the broader trend in Japan of young women staging photos with manga-style martial arts. Below, one such image found on 2ch, Japan's largest bulletin board, with the heading, "Schoolgirls Nowadays lol".

(Thanks, Brian Lam!)

Greenpeace's anime video about hazardous chemicals and fashion

Brian from Greenpeace sez, "They say you can tell what next season's hottest trend will be by looking at the colour of the rivers in China and Mexico due to the dyes and hazardous chemicals used by the fashion industry. An animated collaboration between Greenpeace and Free Range studios (creators of such activist classics as Meatrix and Story of Stuff) exposes the trail of hazardous chemicals from factories in the developing world to the clothes the developed world buys. Greenpeace claims some of the chemicals present in trace amounts in those clothes are banned in European and the US, making your washing machine a potential source of illegal hazardous waste."


Anastasiya Shpagina, "real-life anime girl"

The internet teaches us that there are many forms of cosplay, and many young women who identify as "human dolls." Some become viral-famous-overnight sensations by posting photos of themselves in unusual or provocative cosplay.

One of them is young Anastasiya Shpagina, who's receiving a lot of attention right now over her striking anime cosplay.

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Japanese "Lolita fashion" anime subculture in Mexico

REUTERS/Daniel Becerrill

Above, Alin Nava (C) stands in a checkout line at a supermarket in Monterrey April 5, 2012. Nava, 25, is dressed in the so-called "Lolita" fashion style (ロリータ・ファッション Rorīta fasshon), a fashion subculture from Japan influenced by clothing from the Victorian or Rococo eras. The basic style consists of a blouse, petticoat, bloomers, bell-shaped skirt and knee-high socks. Nava is the co-founder of the "Lolitas Paradise" club in Monterrey and for members of the club, the Lolita style is not only a fashion statement but also a way to express their loyalty, friendship, tolerance and unity.

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