Video: Behind the scenes of the Astro Boy anime (1963)

Osamu Tezuka's iconic Astro Boy TV series premiered on New Year's Day, 1963. (First episode below.) By some accounts, the cartoon was watched at its most popular point by 40% of Japanese people with a TV. I love watching cartoonists draw familiar characters and the above behind-the-scenes footage from the Astro Boy production is a real delight.

(via r/ObscureMedia)

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Netflix's CASTLEVANIA show is so much better than it has any right to be

Netflix just released the third season of its anime Castlevania adaptation, and I certainly never expected to be so excited such a thing. Sure, I played the games a little bit as a kid. But I don't usually go in for that much anime, or that many video games adaptations.

This one, however, is written by Warren Ellis and directed by Adi Shankar, and it was been a consistently enjoyable ride. Ellis himself acknowledges that he's never played the "vampire jump game" at all, and just used Wikipedia to figure out the relationships worth mining to tell a good story. And at that, he succeeded. The dialogue is hilarious and crass; the bloody, brutal action sequences often make me squee with delight; and the characters are all complex enough to make you want to spend time with them, even when they're absolutely awful people. Hell, this show might have the most empathetic and sympathetic depiction of Dracula I've ever seen — which is impressive for a dude who starts a global war to feast on humans.

I'm only halfway through season 3 — which adds Bill Nighy and Lance Reddick to an already-excellent cast that includes Richard Armitage, James Callis, Alejandra Reynoso, and Jamie Murray — and I'm eager to finish the rest.

If you're looking for something to keep you occupied during your self-quarantine, and you don't mind a lot of blood and cursing, I highly recommend it. If the plot-based trailer above doesn't intrigue you, then perhaps this will:

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The trailer for Netflix's new "Ghost in the Shell" series looks like a 90s kids' cartoon

While I respect Netflix's decision to go with 3D CGI instead of a more traditional anime-style animation, this reminds me of when I was 9 years old and obsessively watching ReBoot on Saturday mornings. At least Scarlett Johansson isn't in this one?

Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 hits Netflix in April 2020. Read the rest

Interview with Kai Lan Egg, a Hong Kong protest artist who specializes in anime pro-democracy memes

Matteo writes, "Kai Lan Egg is an anonymous artist from Hong Kong. He started drawing illustrations of the Hong Kong protest primarily using a Japanese anime style to encourage the people around him to stand against the progressive erosion of the Hong Kong independence." Read the rest

Anime running vs the actual thing

Next up: Pokemon vs actual pets.

(h/t Adam Savage) Read the rest

Propane Genesis Evangelion

King of the Hill is "The greatest anime of the late 90s," writes Gamblor on YouTube. QED. Read the rest

Watch this far-out Japanese animated "documentary" about UFOs (1975)

"That's a UFO! The flying saucer" (これがUFOだ! 空飛ぶ円盤) is a Japanese "documentary" about unidentified flying objects. It was first screened in 1975 at the annual Toei Anime Festival hosted by the famed Toei Animation studio, creators of Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball. The short film features classic UFO encounters like the Betty Barney Hill abduction case of 1961 and the 1948 story of Kentucky Air National Guard pilot Captain Thomas F. Mantel whose plane crashed while he chased a UFO.

(r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Akira Animation Cels! Cartoonist Kayfabe Show and Tell

The boys, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and Tom Scioli got hold of a couple animation cels from the classic anime and couldn't help but show them off. A fun glimpse into the analogue way of producing animation. Come for the cels, stay for the Katsuhiro Otomo storyboard books.

Also, in case you missed the Cartoonist Kayfabe coverage of the Akira manga:

Subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel for more vids celebrating the medium of comics. Read the rest

Live-action Cowboy Bebop coming to Netflix

Classic anime hit Cowboy Bebop is to become a live-action show at Netflix, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The live-action take tells a jazz-inspired, genre-bending story of Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Fay Valentine and Radical Ed, a rag-tag crew of bounty hunters on the run from their pasts as they hunt down the solar system's most dangerous criminals. The Netflix series arrives as a live-action feature take starring Keanu Reeves has been toiling in development at Fox for nearly a decade.

Produced by one of UK broadcaster ITV's studios. No cast yet.

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Do not miss this anime trailer for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

Absolutely stellar work by comic artist and "animotion" director Dmitry "Ahriman" Grozov of Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Follow Ahriman on Patreon and Instagram.

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Game platform Steam set to ban sexy toons

Steam is reportedly cracking down on "scantily clad cartoon women" in its online gane platform. Publishers of adult-themed anime visual novels say they've been told to remove offending titles or leave town.

"It's an anime titty holocaust," HuniePot, the developer of HuniePop, a match-3 puzzle game where players also chat up busty anime girls, said in a tweet. Thursday night, HuniePot tweeted that it received an email from Valve, the company that operates Steam, saying that HuniePop, "violates the rules & guidelines for pornographic content on Steam and will be removed from the store unless the game is updated to remove said content."

MangaGamer, a company that localizes and publishes several Japanese visual novels, told Motherboard in an email that it received a notice from Valve Thursday morning for its game Kindred Spirits.

Steam is, in other words, panicking and excluding a genre from its platform without explanation. It's allegedly warned at least one publisher over material they don't even publish on Steam.

These seems to be a general unwillingness to directly address two facts at hand:

1. Much of the material in question depicts childlike characters in sexual contexts.

2. Some of the people selling it are misogynists and some of the adjacent fandoms are tinderboxes of rage and entitlement.

Instead, we have vague objections to vague policies. This enables Steam to push out anything superficially similar, a pattern that could later be used to push out sexual and political minorities and anything else that might make trouble in the serene walled gardens of content. Read the rest

Cyberpunk anime ad for Murphy's Irish Stout (UK, 1997)

Probably the best cyberpunk anime ad for stout ale in the world. [via Tim Soret] Read the rest

Blog collects clips of anime floppy disks

Anime floppy disks is dedicated to collecting depictions of floppy disks in anime, but offers occasional special treats such as magneto-optical disks in anime.

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Watch Super Mario star in fairy tale anime

Released in Japan in 1989, Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Bros is a series of three fairy tale animations starring the Super Mario characters. From the Mario Wiki:

The series contains: Super Mario Momotarō, Super Mario Issun-bōshi, and Super Mario Shirayuki-hime‎. The two former episodes in the series are retellings of fairy tales of the same name, while Super Mario Shirayuki-hime is a retelling of the Western fairy tale Snow White

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Hilarious video on speedy package shipping options

The fine folks behind the series CrapShots did this very funny short clip called The Shipping, on the inevitable outcome of the race for faster packing shipping speeds. Read the rest

Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki's favorite books for young people

The following are pioneering animator and Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki's (My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, etc.) top ten favorite books for young people:

1. The Borrowers -- Mary Norton

2. The Little Prince -- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

3. Children of Noisy Village -- Astrid Lindgren

4. When Marnie Was There -- Joan G. Robinson

5. Swallows and Amazons -- Arthur Ransome

6. The Flying Classroom -- Erich Kästner

7. There Were Five of Us -- Karel Poláček

8. What the Neighbours Did, and Other Stories -- Ann Philippa Pearce

9. Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates -- Mary Mapes Dodge

10. The Secret Garden -- Frances Hodgson Burnett

"Hayao Miyazaki Picks His 50 Favorite Children’s Books" (via Kottke) Read the rest

"Your Name" is the highest-grossing anime feature ever

Your Name is the highest-grossing anime feature ever, knocking Spirited Away to the number two spot. Tofugu has a feature story about Your Name, which includes an interview with director Makoto Shinkai.

Without giving too much of the twist away, let's just say the film arcs from the careless fantasy of Freaky Friday to the sci-fi esoterica of Sense8 after Taki's impactful revelation. It's a surprising plus that Your Name invites comparisons to such a broad spread of body-swapping, mind-melding fiction at different turns. Even when venturing into stranger territory, it keeps a brisk pace and a spring in its step – exploring deep thoughts without brooding on them.

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