Aum Shinrikyo recruitment anime features levitating Asahara character

I remember seeing screen captures of this anime around the time when Aum Shinrikyo gassed the Tokyo subways, but never actually watched the full episode. Here it is, in its full glory.

By the way, the best book about the Aum attacks–and one of the best ways to understand the dark underbelly of the Japanese psyche–is Underground by Haruki Murakami.

via (Thanks, Jason!)

Spanish Arale-chan clip features pink jumping poop

I just discovered this lovely little clip of a Spanish rendition of Arale-chan. It’s not the original and I have no idea what they’re saying, but I enjoy the fact that it features a pink jumping poop.

A couple of years ago in my MangoBot column on, I wrote this little explanation of Arale-chan and the wonderful things I learned about being human from this funny little robot girl:

Arale Arale Norimaki
Birth year: 1980
Who she is: A purple-haired, near-sighted girl robot built by a kooky professor named Norimaki Senbei (seaweed-wrapped rice cracker) to resemble a real 13 year old human girl. She was created by Akira Toriyama, the same genius manga artist who wrote the Dragon Ball series.
Lessons learned: 1. To be fun and spontaneous. 2. To be honest about your compulsions. 3. That you can be female + completely non-sexual + still be the most powerful humanoid in the entire world. 4. How to launch pumpkin cannons and split the earth in half with one punch. 5. The art of the Japanese poop joke. (Even today, my favorite way to pick up my dog’s poop is by poking it with a stick and then chucking it into the bushes or a trash can.)

Read Four anime robots that made me more human on io9

Viral gift-giving trend brings school bags, toys to orphans from fictional Tiger Mask character

A mysterious and awesome charity trend is taking place all over Japan right now: anonymous donors are gifting expensive school bags and toys at orphanages under the name Date Naoto. Date Naoto is actually a fictional character from the anime Tiger Mask; in the story, the character himself is an orphan-turned-professional wrestler who donates money to the orphanage he grew up in.

There have been more than 15 of these gifts from Date Naoto gifts so far; most of the donors are reported to be men in their 60s.

This is either a great act of anonymous viral charity or an elaborate marketing scheme by the creators of Tiger Mask. Either way, it’s a creative mode of giving and has brought a warm fuzzy feeling to the daily news. Also, how awesome is it that the latest catching trend is one of giving, not of buying?

(Thanks, Mom and Kazu Y!)

Satoshi Kon’s final words

Satoshi Kon died on Wednesday, August 25th, but not before writing this incredibly moving, sad, and detailed blog post. He describes the moment he received his diagnosis in May — less than half a year to live due to a metastasized cancer — and then goes on to talk about the things he worried most about as he approached death: paperwork, his guilt for leaving his wife and the staff of his unfinished movie Dream Machine, saying good bye to everyone. The original post is in Japanese, of course, and I encourage you to read it if you have any knowledge of the language. If not, there is an English translation here.

The part that struck me the most is when his parents come down from his native Hokkaido to see him one last time. His mother, at his bedside, says to Kon: “I’m sorry I didn’t give you a stronger body.”

He finishes the blog post with the simple words: “Osaki ni.”
A polite way of leaving the room early.

Sayonara — Satoshi Kon’s blog Kon Stone

The legend of Unagi Inu explained

CIMG3834.JPG In the popular old school slapstick “gag” anime series Tensai Bakabon, there’s this mysterious animal called the Unagi Inu. It’s a blue, fat-lipped dog-eel hybrid that lives in the same neighborhood as Bakabon and his silly gray-skinned dad. He’s kind of girl crazy, and the cop is dying to eat him. Anyway, Bakabon was on TV last night and I watched it for the first time in at least a decade; the episode was all about Unagi Inu and how he came to be. You see, Unagi Inu’s dad is a dog (inu) and his mom is an unagi (eel). One day, the dog was walking past the local fish shop when he saw the eel jumping out of its bucket. “Help me!” she was saying. He instantly fell in love, and took her with him. Now they live happily in a small Japanese-style home on the outskirts of town.

Crayon Shin-chan author dead from a cliff fall

The body of Yoshito Usui, the author of the hugely popular comedic manga and anime called Crayon Shin-chan, was found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Gunma Prefecture on Saturday. It appeared to have been an accident — his backpack full of hiking gear was found about 50 yards away, and it was near a hiking trail with no rails. His camera, found with his belongings, had a photo that looked like it was taken right by the cliff. He was 51. According to his wife, he left the house on the morning of September 11th and never returned.

Crayon Shin-chan was a hit among all age groups; he’s an adorable little goofy boy whose dialogue and obsession with pretty girls are reminiscent of a dirty old man. It started as a manga in 1990 and became an anime in 1992. I didn’t know this, but Usui had still bee creating new segments every month. Here’s a short clip from an episode in which Shin-chan’s dad loses his keys.

Rest in peace, Mr. Usui.


How to recreate a scene from Zelda in your lunchbox

Picture 2

There’s a wonderful cookbook in bookstores & on Amazon now called Face Food:The Visual Creativity of Japanese Bento Boxes. It’s a bento book that teaches you how to make delicious, nutritious meals that resemble your favorite anime, video game, or zoo animal. The art is simply amazing — here are Astro Boy and Zelda.


Face Food:The Visual Creativity of Japanese Bento Boxes by Christopher Salyers

More book reviews & recommendations on TokyoMango

Picture from a Gundam-themed wedding


Shibuya246 has some great photos of the Gundam-themed wedding that just took place in Odaiba, under the life-sized Gundam statue. The groom dressed up as the protagonist Amuro, and the director of the anime series even showed up to give them a special plaque.

Related stories:
Man burns down house after loss of Gundam toys
Giant Gundam rehearses for his big launch day
Life-sized, moving Gundam on display in Odaiba this summer
Gundam-inspired upper house election poster
Gundam decked out in pink jewels

Bandai to release real Doraemon robot toy in September


Great news. On September 3, Bandai is releasing a new toy called My Doraemon &mdash it’s a real Doraemon-shaped robot that has motion, light, heat, and sound sensors that let it react to its environment and say Doraemon-esque phrases according to the situation it’s in. The toy does not have a real four-dimensional pocket that can spew out toys that will let you travel through time and space, make people fall in love with you, or chase bullies away, but just having this wonderful legendary companion bot in your house is just pure awesomeness.

via Impress Watch (Japanese)

Related posts:
Roundup of Doraemon gadgets on BBG
Doraemon voice-activated air pistol remote control
If Doraemon was a real cat…
Doraemon Japanese history board game
Takecopter tour with Doraemon

Sixth volume of Tezuka’s Black Jack to publish this month

Picture 1On July 28th, Vertical Inc will release volume six of Black Jack, the amazing manga about a mercenary genius doctor by Osamu Tezuka. I just got my preview copy, and it’s awesome.

Black Jack, Vol. 6 by Osamu Tezuka (If you want the entire collection, you can already buy Vol 1-5 and pre-order 6-8.)

Related stories:
Black Jack on MangoBot
Tezuka’s Phoenix now available on DS
60s SciFi anime by Osamu Tezuka

ANTM finalist is Creepy-chan, a 4chan web meme


If you’ve ever talked television with me, you know that I’m a big fan of America’s Next Top Model. Cycle 12 just ended this week, and one of the finalists was a girl named Allison Harvard. As I do with every ANTM cycle, I googled the contestants—and found out that Allison used to be a web meme on 4chan, the image bulletin board started by my buddy Moot that is notorious for anime porn. Allison used to be known as Creepy-chan, and she posted all these crazy photos of herself looking like a strange bird.

Tyra does not know this (or maybe she does) but this season, thanks to Creepy-chan, her show transcended the closet-girly-girl-guilty-pleasure audience and gave web geeks something to get excited over every week. One more really creepy photo and a photo from ANTM after the jump.

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BMW decked out in anime


If you want your car to have serious cred among otaku, then turn it into an itasha. It’s exactly what it looks like—a car decked out in manga, anime, and video game art, removable (thank god) and often depicting cutsey 2D girls. This one has the animated vocaloid Hatsune Miku all over it, and doubles as a major publicity stint for Crypton, Nico Nico Douga, Good Smile, and I guess for BMW too.