Sakura -Japan in the Box-

The Meijiza Theater from Tokyo has a history of 140 years of art performing.

People had enjoyed different forms of acting throughout the Meiji, Taisho, Showa and the Heisei Eras. Kabuki shows but also newer forms of theater are shown to the public. And recently a new idea and an innovative form of acting can be enjoyed here at nighttime.

I am talking about the show called Sakura – Japan in the Box. This performance blends Japanese traditional arts like acting, dancing and playing various instruments with modern pop culture, anime and games. The performance is also being synchronized with projections of different animated pieces. It is meant for local and foreign public, and therefore, little dialogue is used.

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The show is a spectacular game of colors, motions, traditional japanese instruments – that culminate with feelings, absorbtion into the story. The performing act has to be synchronized with the animation shown in the background – therefore a lot of effort was put into the work of the actors and the producers.

This is a story about Sakura – a girl who is living her daily routine without something special attached to it. But one day – an encounter with a mysterious fox changes everything. She is taken on a journey across time and space – she meets the spirits of the four seasons:

– The Spirit of the Spring, Miyabi

– The Spirit of Summer, Choco

– The Spirit of Autumn, Rin

– The Spirit of Winter, Setsuna

The show is a compilation of kabuki, taiko players, shamisen players, sword fights and some beautiful animations that make the story powerful.

Useful links:

Facebook Page

Official Website

1 Litre of Tears [imported from JapFun blog]

[so.. I know it is a lame ass idea to import stuff from an older blog, but some of these articles I wrote were very important to me, so I want them to be on this blog as well]

J-dorama or simply japanese drama.

One of the best j-dramas ever made is 1 litre of tears. After watching it, I read a lot of posts about this drama and it seemed that everyone who watched it was impressed.

250px-1_litre_of_tears(DVD cover-source: wikipedia.com)

1 litre of tears is presenting the case of a girl, who at the age of 15 finds out that she has an incurable disease: Spinocerebellar Degeneration. As wikipedia.com learns us, this disease is one of a group of genetic disorders characterized by slowly progressive incoordination of gait and often associated with poor coordination of hands, speech, and eye movements.

We see all the symptoms in this drama. Doctors and specialists in neurology were consulted during the making of it.

There are 11 episodes plus a special one, which tell us the sad story of Ikeuchi Aya. During these episodes we learn about the help and the obstacles she faced, her feeling towards the others and the feelings of the others about her.

This drama is based on a real case. Kito Aya [July 1962 – May 23, 1988] had this disease. During her life she wrote a diary, which was published in 1986. Aya just wrote about life, about goodness and hope. About 1.800.000 copies of her diary had been sold.

1_litre_of_tears-book(The book cover-source: wikipedia.com)

Episode List:

1- The beginning of my youth
2- 15 years old, sickness that steals up
3- Why did the illness choose me?
4- The loneliness of two
5- A disabled person’s notebook
6- Heartless glances
7- The place where I am
8- 1 Litre of Tears
9- I live now
10- Love Letter
11- Far away, to the place where tears are exhausted

And the special episode:
1 Litre of Tears: Memory

300px-Ichi_Rittoru_no_Namida(The Ikeuchi Family-from the drama)

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useful links
1 Litre of Tears – Wikipedia
1 Litre of Tears – D-addicts
1Litre of Tears – The book
View this drama online at DramaCrazy

Horror Ascend: Yami Shibai

The following article contains many spoilers. Do not read if you plan to watch the show.

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A series of short animations with a duration of 4 minutes and a half can really spook you out?

That depends on what they are showing to you, and what atmosphere each episode can create. And definitely this anime can leave you without words. A collection of short japanese tales, each one more weird and upsetting than the previous one. I was just browsing my completed anime list on My Anime List and I searched for some horror shows and this one caught my eyes.3e70c2d2055555744f644a98720d263098146d99_hq

First of all, because of the strange anime effects and artwork and secondly because of the stories told.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Episode 1 – If you move into a new house and right across the street, a strange woman stares at you, day and night, you have to quickly realize something is very wrong. But what if she comes into your house and that is the start of an undefiled end for you?

Episode 2 – Zanbai can be translated as offering disaster to a certain person. It is a curse, it is a ritual of death, and the hero in this episode cannot escape his fate.

Episode 3 – We all love the fresh air of countryside in the morning. But what if, in this wonderland there is a demon that must be kept out through a strange ritual of laughing…? A happy face always hides a deeper truth of darkness.

Episode 4 – I work at a print shop, and once I saw an old person climbing down the stairs towards me – and then – it just vanished. I do not know what it was. I am sure I saw someone coming down and yet there was nobody there afterwards. Episode 4 tells the story of an entity similar to Yurei that lives inside a copy machine. So strange, so beautiful.

Yamishibai_hair_paper

Episode 5 – A family man decides that buying a present for his son along with his wife is not what he planned for the day. So he decides to skip this part only to find himself in a realm of nightmare. He wanted to be alone.. now he finds himself in a strange place.. as he desired..alone…

Episode 6 – Only work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy. Japanese people are known to be hard-working. But when you only work and work and work – fatigue comes along. And hallucinations happen. Is that pounding meat creature real???

Episode 7 – Visiting deserted places at night might be a very dumb idea. Especially when you enter a locked door and you find yourself looking like a smiling corpse.

Episode 8 – Do not look into the eyes of the Umbrella Goddess.. stay out of sight.. keep the door closed…

Episode 9 – A young girl is affected by a grudge held against her ancestors. And when this becomes visual on her skin, only inside a holy temple a cure can be found. Or at least purification can be tried.

[WhyNot-Migoto] Yami Shibai - 09 [720p][8B4CFB64].mkv_snapshot_00.34_[2013.09.03_15.12.22]

Episode 10 – As a child I heard stories about ghosts and demons hiding into toilets and grabbing you and eating you.. but this episode makes all this concept incredibly weird.

Episode 11 – Cursed videotape. A cliche into the Japanese horror productions. A videotape of a ghost who moves and if you rewind the tape isn’t there anymore. Don’t look back…

Episode 12 – A shadow in the pavement wants to play with you. If you promise to play with it.. for the sake of your good health.. keep that promise.

Episode 13 – All tales of madness must present the cries of cicadas in the evening. This last episode had something of a Higurashi no naku koro ni ambience included.

I really enjoyed this show because of the painted-style of the animation. Dark tones, disturbing voice effects and a creepy soundtrack helped grow the stories. I am looking forward to the second and the third season of the anime.

And remember… when the door opens up by itself… run!

Maken-ki! Season One. Guide

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I don’t usually go outside of my sphere of dark, twisted, macabre productions when choosing to watch something, especially anime, but I’ve seen a few shows that are totally off my pattern. It is also the case of Maken-ki! which currently I am obsessing over.

The anime deals with genres like comedy, ecchi, harem, supernatural and action. There are both censored and uncensored versions of this show, and you guessed, I watched it uncensored. Even if it depicts everything that is wrong with somebody who is embracing his perverted side, I find it artfully decent. It is not a great show, it is not the lammest one either. Becomes way more interesting watching it with your girlfriend. I enjoyed a few episodes like that.
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Maken-ki! tells the story of a group of students who are affiliated with magical elements. This thing makes them able to use various weapons to duel each other at Tenbi Academy, their school or to protect themselves from outer attacks.

Ooyama Takeru enters Tenbi Academy without any knowledge about the true identity of this facility. He just hopes to spend his days surrounded by girls, since the school just turned co-ed. Soon he will receive more than he wished for. From the first episode the harem element will put him into a closed triangle of women interested in him, the childhood female friend, Haruko Amaya, the girl whom he promised, Inaho Kushiya and the girl who sees in him the greatness of her “onii-chan”, Kodama Himegami. Pretty clicheic, but that is what ecchi shows have to offer. The first season and the season specials deal with a lot of nudity and themes like the summer vacation, hot outdoor baths, medical check-ups, sports events, maid cafés and battles between students.

The characters appear simplistic, holding lots of emotions hidden from the rest of the world. Only the main character doesn’t bother putting limits into his behaviour. A further note would suggest that all the male characters are defined as very sexually interested in the female characters which is directly linked with how the female characters appear in the show, voluptuous, cutely dressed and with huge boobs. Japan what?!

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The story doesn’t have much to offer besides a rivality between different clans who want the power at Tenbi. Maken-ki are the ones who protect the school and ensure the safety of all students. The main characters belong to this club. 80 percent of the show is about relationships between characters, especially females and the main character. More and more girls will be interested in Takeru… eliminating all chances of seeing a proper evolution in these characters.

Animation looks good. Colorful and cheerful as how a happy, stupid ecchi anime should me. The art is impressive. The characters are well drawn. The anime was adapted by the manga written by Hiromitsu Takeda. He did paid attention in the female anatomy classes!

The soundtrack sounds good. There a few emotional pieces, piano and violin, the best instruments to be used in an anime.

I began watching the second season too, from the first three episodes looks better than the previous season and the story is a little bit more interesting. Of course the nudity is still a strong point, as in any softcore porn show, lol.

Useful links:
Maken-ki! My Anime List
Maken-ki! Wiki
Maken-ki! Wikipedia
Maken-ki Manga
Watch Online Uncensored

CG Art By Yeonsi

CG (computer graphics) refer to digital artwork that became a phenomenon that spread around the world. Starting in Japan with the release of dojinshi/manga style games – the success of this type of art was inevitable. Experienced and inexperienced computer programmers and not only fell into it’s miracle. Artists used different types of software in order to create 2D images that explain the depths of their imagination.

Yeonsi is a Korean CG artist that uses humanoid forms for his characters. There’s a sense of RPG incorporated in his works since he depicts elves, rogues, warriors, predominantly females. A sense of detail struck each of his works.

Harajuku Sui Generis

The Harajuku clothing styles are known to be different, unique. Between Shinjuku and Shibuya rises the element of non-conformism. People show others that they were created in order to not-follow the same existential pattern. I read various articles and saw different video materials describing the life-style around the Harajuku station – and every time I completely got amazed by the amount of details that each person exploits in order to appear exclusive. The picture below is just a sample of what you can find around this area. Japan visitors should take a look around these parts. Myself…I would surely do that when the right time comes.

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