Friday, July 31, 2015

Capcom Reveals Monster Hunter X New Nintendo 3DS LL Variant, Weapon Intro Videos

Long sword, great sword classes highlighted for game shipping in Japan on November 28

CAPCOM announced on Thursday that it will release a special-edition Monster Hunter X New Nintendo 3DS LL (called XL in the West) bundle on November 28, the same day Monster Hunter X ships in Japan.

The New Nintendo 3DS LL included in the bundle will have a red finish with the Monster Hunter X (pronounced Cross) logo centered on the lid. Sketches of the game's four main monster types (Leviathans, Fanged Beasts, Flying Wyverns, and Brute Wyverns), which CAPCOM has featured in previous games in the series, surround the logo.

The bundle will cost 26,000 yen (about US$209) and will include a copy of Monster Hunter X, as well as a touch pen, a 4GB memory card, and six AR cards.

CAPCOM also began streaming two weapon introduction videos on Saturday for long swords and great swords. The videos feature guild and aerial fighting styles for both weapons, and also features each weapon class's Hunting Art.

The game will feature Shuryō Style (Hunting Style) movesets, which will allow players to tailor their style of hunting to their preference. The game also contains 14 weapon types, each of which will feature a Kariwaza (Hunting Art), which can be high-damage moves or effects that boost players' capabilities.

CAPCOM will release the game in Japan on November 28 on the Nintendo 3DS.

CAPCOM also revealed in June that the MonHun Nikki Pokapoka Airū-mura DX (pronounced Deluxe) Nintendo 3DS game will ship on September 10 in Japan. CAPCOM is also developing the Monster Hunter Stories Nintendo 3DS game for 2016. The game is the first RPG in the Monster Hunter franchise.

Source: Famitsu

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Food Wars's Erina Bathing Suit Figure is Ready for Summer

Fate/Grand Order RPG's Promo Previews Game Mechanics

RPG debuted on Android devices on July 29, iOS version "coming soon"

The official website of Type-Moon's Fate/Grand Order smartphone role-playing game began streaming a promotional video for the game on Thursday. The video peviews some of the game's mechanics, including the combat system, and the acquisition of new Servants and equipment.

A TV commercial for the game was previously streamed in June.

The story is set in seven eras of human history. The seven chapters of the story total more than 1 million Japanese characters, and each of the servants also has his or her own story scenario.

The game will feature:

Aniplex released the game on Android devices on Wednesday, with an iOS version listed as "coming soon." Kinoko Nasu supervised and wrote the scenario with Yūichirō Higashide and Hikaru Sakurai. Takashi Takeuchi is in charge of character designs and art direction. To celebrate the milestone of over 500,000 pre-registered players, all pre-registered players will receive the Servant Saber Lily and two rare divine stones as bonuses.

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Ushio & Tora ‒ Episode 5

The concepts of good and evil aren't black and white. A good person can have evil capabilities, and the reverse is true too. This week's episode of Ushio & Tora was focused on this life lesson, with enough action and suspense to keep it from getting heavy handed.

The episode begins by introducing a new character: Hyou the exorcist. Hailing from Hong Kong, Hyou is mysterious and dangerous, but with seemingly good intentions. When it comes to children-eating yokai, he is a cold-blooded and capable killer. Even when he's annihilating monsters for a very good cause, his tactics are excessively brutal, especially when compared to the show's moral center, Ushio. Hyou is certain to reappear, as much of his powers (like his hypnotic eye) have yet to be explained (though I've already heard enough of his eye-rollingly cliché backstory).

Meanwhile, Ushio's got problems of his own. Tora is still trying to murder him in his sleep every morning, and things get real when Tora leaves him with a nasty facial scar. It's great that Tora is exploiting the moment before Ushio transforms—I'm sure I'm not the only person to wonder, “why don't the villains just attack during the transformation sequence?” But there's another moment that goes unaddressed and bothers me: if people can't see Tora (except children sometimes), why does he appear on TV?

Either way, technology is once again Tora's bane when Hyou decides that Tora is the villain he wants to take revenge upon. Ushio knows better, but how likely are you to stick up for a monster that keeps trying to kill you on the daily? It seems very unlike the straightforward Ushio to use a hitman, and the plot of this show revolves around whether or not Ushio can keep a clear conscience while selling Tora out. There's a fantastic moment where Ushio is in school, about to receive his certainly horrific report card, but is too deep in thought to listen to the teacher. The most a middle-schooler like Ushio should have to deal with is bad grades, which only makes his moral dilemma seem more powerful in context.

So what makes this episode so much more successful than the lackluster episode four? It's not the action or the cinegraphics, which have been pleasantly consistent from the beginning. The show has improved because we now face a world of more complex evils. Ushio, Tora, and Hyou are all capable of committing both good and evil deeds—and they realize it, too. “I might be just another monster that was drawn to that spear,” Hyou says of Ushio's Beast Spear when he begins to regret his actions against Ushio and Tora. All three are capable of moral ambiguity, which makes them complicated and interesting.

Ushio & Tora is shaping up to be a stellar example of the shounen genre's capabilities. By centering on the two main characters' uneasy alliance, it opens up a world where it's not always certain who is and isn't your friend.

Rating: B+

Ushio & Tora is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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Prison School ‒ Episode 4

Prison School continues to surprise me. After the initial shock of the beyond-belief premise and over-the-top characters wears off, it becomes easier to accept this strange setting and get caught up in the ever-present edge-of-your-seat tension. As the day of Kiyoshi's prison escape approaches, Gakuto continues to sacrifice what remains of his dignity as Kiyoshi risks everything for his sumo date with Chiyo.

Prison School has paced the prison break storyline perfectly so far, giving things just enough time to go wrong during the planning stages before we finally witness the start of the escape in the second half of this week's episode. Kiyoshi almost gets caught on multiple occasions, and it's genuinely tense each time. For every small victory Kiyoshi achieves during the escape thus far, viewers hardly get a chance to catch their breath before something else goes awry. It's downright absurd when you consider the jailers are power-crazed abusive high school girls with complete dominion over teenage boys whose worst crime thus far has been acting completely in character. Still, to great comic effect, this show has always taken its stakes seriously—and manages to get its audience to do the same.

Even if you accept the strange premise, there's one thing that still seems jarringly odd: the background characters are far too unconcerned when boys are abused right in front of them. In time, the series may explain why 1000 different students, and even girls visiting from other schools, have come to hate and fear boys so much that they think nothing of seeing them endure shocking physical abuse. For example, the girls are appalled by Gakuto's actions, but busty Meiko popping out of her uniform and driving her spiked heel into his nose doesn't raise any questions.

This episode features some effective directorial choices. At one point, we see the prison escape from Kiyoshi's point of view. A sassy jazz-club beat plays as we pick up on every little detail of the breakout, from the rustling fabric of Kiyoshi's clothing as he crawls through the drainage ditch, to the echoing sound of Vice President Meiko assaulting the other prisoners overhead. It's a marvelous way to convey the tension of the escape, where the possibility of capture lurks around every corner. Although ravens have appeared throughout previous episodes, never has it been so clear that President Mari has command of her very own winged army. The birds lend a somber tone to some of Mari's scenes and act as an overblown torture device in others. It's an appropriate character quirk for a girl who's equal parts harsh and reticent.

Episode 4 is one of the finest examples of a prison break story in anime—and it's funny to boot. Although it's a safe assumption that Kiyoshi and Gakuto's plan won't go off without a hitch, viewers never quite know where the story will take them next. This episode ends right at a nail-bitingly critical moment, demanding you tune in next week the instant the new episode streams. That said, the series likely can't sustain prison break storylines week after week, but I'm confident this series will be twisted enough to come up with something new and entertaining in the near future.

Rating: A

Prison School is currently streaming on Funimation.

Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for two decades.

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Live-Action Attack on Titan Director Insults Promotion Staff

Later apologizes, explains context

Shinji Higuchi, director of the live-action Attack on Titan movie, found himself in hot water after comments he posted on Facebook. The Japanese movie review site Chō Eiga Hihan had given Attack on Titan a 40 out of 100. "I did it! If the experts had praised me, I wouldn't have known what to do, but this makes me feel better," he wrote. "Speaking of which, who are the idiots who sent these guys invitations to the preview?" The post was originally viewable to friends only, but it leaked regardless.

Higuchi apologized on Twitter. "If there was going to be an explosion of comments, I wish it had been for a better reason." he wrote. "I'm really ashamed. I'm sorry to everyone involved for being a nuisance." He went on to clarify his remarks somewhat: "Who I'm really 'outraged' at are the blockheads in charge of publicity who sent preview invitations to people who don't deserve to be shown private screenings, and let them into the screening room once they're identified. I have no way of knowing how my personal feelings will be received, but I didn't lose my temper." He also tweeted that "I'm the real blockhead... for thinking that [the person who leaked his posts] was a friend."

Attack on Titan premieres on August 1. Its screenwriter, Tomohiro Machiyama, has already warned fans that there will be major changes to the original story.

[Via Sponichi Annex and Yaraon!]

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Fairy Tail (2014) episode 69

Episode List: Fairy Tail (2014)
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Children's Detective Novels Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note Get TV Anime

Fall shorts about 5 grade schoolers who solve cases

The anime studio Signal.MD announced in July that it is producing a television anime of Hitomi Fujimoto and Ryō Sumitaki's Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note (Detective Team Kazs' Case Notes) novel series. The anime will premiere on October 7 and run on the public broadcaster NHK's E-Tele channel from 6:45 p.m. to 6:54 p.m. as part of Tensai TV-kun program.

The stories center around Aya Tachibana (pictured center in the image below), a sixth-grader who frets and obssesses over friends, family, grades, and more. One day, she joins the "Tantei Team KZ" (Detective Team Kazs) with four very idiosyncratic boys she met at cram school.

There is the glib and attention-grabbing leader Kazuomi Wakatake (far right), the mysterious "expert of personal relationships" Takakazu Kuroki (far left), the smart and stoic math genius Kazunori Uesugi (top left), and the sweethearted Kazuhiko Kozuka (top right) who is good at social matters and science. Aya finds her place among them as the "language expert." "Tantei Team KZ" gets involved in modern-day cases, and even if they bicker from time to time, they collaborate by pooling each of their talents and skills to solve these cases.

The voice cast stars:

Yuiko Tatsumi as Aya Tachibana
Sōma Saitō as Kazuomi Wakatake
Takuma Terashima as Takakazu Kuroki
Kōtarō Nishiyama as Kazunori Uesugi
Mitsuhiro Ichiki as Kazuhiko Kozuka

Kazuya Ichikawa (Monster Strike, Shadow Skill 3) is directing the anime at Signal.MD, which IG Port (the parent company of Production I.G, Xebec, Mag Garden, and Wit Studio) had just established last October. Yuka Yamada (Sengoku Musou, Neo Angelique Abyss, Umi Monogatari ~Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto~) is in charge of the series scripts, and she is co-writing the scripts with Kazuyuki Fudeyasu (Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Hetalia The Beautiful World, Wooser's Hand-to-Mouth Life).

Fujimoto and Sumitaki launched the novel series in 2011 with art by Komagata, and Kodansha has since published 20 volumes.

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Thanks to Rachel S. for the news tip

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[Plastic Memories] Eru and Isla on the Case [2871x5106]

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Pokemon XY episode 81

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Imagination Workshops and the World at Large: Part 4

Many people emigrate to other lands to find security or stability they lacked in their motherlands. Some, like myself, had given up all, just to find a fresh life elsewhere. Others chose to do so for a chance to build a new career for themselves or their family. Some did so because back home their lives were hopeless and their situation helpless. That was not my case. I was a spoiled brat in the place I grew up in. They referred to us as the “banana generation.” It was because back then, bananas were hard to come by and therefore expensive, afforded only by some. We never knew what physical labor was about. It was seen as beneath those who either called themselves, or were referred to, as “intelligentsia.” We never dirtied our hands with it. We were too intellectual, too rotten, too above the masses, too spoiled, not as bananas but as humans. It was not until I arrived in the USA that I found myself forced to discover and actively practice real labor. In need of the most basic revenue I even found myself working in a sweat shop pressing trousers for ¢25 per pair, or painting, not art, walls, or punching holes in pages, and other such.

But that is not the case for the majority of those who elect to emigrate. They do not have much, if anything, to lose but yet all and everything to gain. Yet, upon entrance into their new country, they discover how everything within it is foreign to them and their experience till now. Some are able to adapt readily, others not. The latter became a burden to the natives who resent seeing their taxes being depleted in sustenance of the new emigrants, often of a different race or color. Forgetting that we all came here from elsewhere, it does not take long before disapproval and bitter resentment set in. As always, politicians are skillfully, secretly, sneakily observing from the above, assessing waters, ready to masterfully and manipulatively benefit from such situations by further inflating anger and antipathy of the masses, for their egotistical political advantages.

Someone wisely stated that history repeats itself. Present-day stresses in Europe prove this to be so. Politics and sentiments within countries constituting the continent are shifting towards the right. The more bulbous the influx of strangers, without whom European population, labor force and therefore economy, would progressively wilt away, the more effective the message of racial prejudice. And this is not just towards the new migrants but traditionally includes other such minorities as Gypsies and Jews of course. Imagine, what would the world do without Jews? Anti-Semitism, and such isms or scapegoats nourish humans thirst for a sense of superiority.

Have you ever considered what would happen if suddenly all the borders were unsealed and all the restrictions on travel were lifted and people were free and able to go and move to wherever they wished to? I deem that this is a surprisingly worthwhile and mind-bogglingly poignant enquiry. For the entire dynamics of the world’s population, economic and political systems would shift before our eyes like a tsunami. I deem that boarders were designed to maintain a status quo.

After so many years I recall a related witticism spoken of back in Eastern Europe. The question was: “What would happen if our border was suddenly opened for all to leave the country”? The reply: “The only people who would linger would be Jews, mulling over whether to leave or stay.” And yet the “others” call us the “smart” people, but at the same time despise us for the passion for knowledge, for economic foresight, talent and achievements in science and the arts as well as other disciplines. And then what happens, anti-Semitism erupts and off we go once again. In turn the “Chosen Ones” ask of the God: “Why don't you choose someone else for a change?”

Yes, I know I am drifting off the subject, but I enjoy it. After all, as the author of this blog, I am in control, right? Yet, even if unaware of it, the reader has the ultimate power to simply tell me off, by not reading it. It reminds me of me as a little brat back in Eastern Europe under Communism. Many people there were relentlessly complaining about how lousy life is and how, if they only could, they would pack up and depart, ideally for America where the gold lays on the ground for everyone to pick and enjoy. I also imagined that cowboys and Indians were still roaming free.

The Western participants of my workshops, and students of my mentoring, often but not always, vary in their national origin as well as economic, social, educational or cultural backdrop. One of the most enthusing of programs I was fortunate to launch was in the American Midwest, a land that can often be deprived of external infusion of cultural, intellectual, ideological or artistic diversity. The early students came from simple farm families. I recollect the initial ones. I referred to them as my pioneers. They were white guys, strong, massive, confident and determined to learn the skill so to get a job in one of the giant studios where people are altered into “human tools,” gears contributing to the working of a massive production machine executing ideas and visions of the few at the top.

I designed the program to draw inspiration and diversity of thinking, perspectives, methods and ideas from the visiting artists, scholars or festival directors whom I invited from around the world. This vibrant and ever shifting milieu resulted in a radically varied exposure challenging students to determine for themselves whose ideas, thinking, approach and visions they find most relevant to themselves as individuals. It forced them to think for themselves, instead of being told how to or what to think. If I may say so myself, it was a brilliant design. I wish more academic settings were willing to adopt such a model, instead of turning themselves in stagnated pools of waters.

Thus, only after a few months, my students determined for themselves that what they truly wish for is to become autonomous artists and filmmakers. They concluded that being independent is too exciting, empowering of visions, to give it up for becoming a pawn in someone else’s hands. 

By having the fortitude to do so they not only surprised me but contradicted and abolished my anticipations of what I might expect from such seemingly simple individuals. They proved me all wrong, they, yet again, reconfirmed that generalization can be prejudicial or hurtful to everyone.

While proven wrong, I was proud to see what an amazing impact my method is able to produce and how young people’s lives and their whole futures can be enriched and reinvigorated through a global exposure to marvelous and contrasting ideas, stories and the creative talent living and practicing their craft in the far away distant lands. Bringing the World to the Midwest was a thrill.

Shifting time forward, I recollect the recent workshops in the most northern part of Western Europe. As I mentioned above, those I mentor differ in their national origin, economic, social, educational or cultural backdrops. The more assorted the more rousing a discourse and distinctive the ideas and perspectives. In one of the most northern European countries I was very kindly invited to, I encountered students who while interested in what this stranger had to say, were not really open to altering their minds or opening them to the “gravity free and reality independent” thinking. Similarly to my earlier Midwestern students, these too were all homogenous in origin and ideas.

Theirs is one of the most stable, calm and peaceful countries. Economically, politically, socially constant an environment, except for the newly arrived, unlike in their look or customs, emigrants from the southern half of the world – they’re the part some of those living on top may not be able to see when looking down below, or maybe not wish to do so? Despite such influxes resulting in the reawakening of old radicalism I spoke of above, all was well. Life is good. They were confident of where their professional futures will land them upon their un-doubtful graduation. They were here to learn the essential skills expected of them upon departing for the career outside of their university, but within know security of the country within which this very university was located.

While they were truly polite young people, I do wonder whether they were not stupefied by this far away, peculiar stranger, speaking with an accent of ideas that were challenging their reality. Especially when I proposed to them to: “pull condoms off your minds and have an unsafe idea.”

So, given the two groups of students I referred to immediately above, one in the Midwest, the other in the wintery land of northern Europe, both composed of young Caucasian people matured in stability, why did their reception of my ideas differ so? I do not think that it was the climate. So what? One definite factor was the amount of time I spent with them, long in Midwest and very brief in northern Europe. But was it also due to the hunger the Midwestern students instinctively felt as a result of limited exposure to mind challenging contrasts they were growing up in? And hence this is why they began to thrive within the international program I had designed for them? While those living in the northern Europe did not sense such a void, for they were growing within reach of everything the entire continent and all its various countries and cultures have to offer. If that is so, than intellectual hunger, curiosity and willingness to open one’s mind prove to be vital.

As for me, I strongly believe that we are able to learn more from mistakes than successes. That is why an occasional resistance I encounter forces me to re-examine my methodologies, but also stance on the world and humanity at large. I find such challenges revitalizing and enriching.

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The Obscure Egyptian God Medjed and His Bizarre Afterlife on the Japanese Internet

The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian text describing the passage of departed souls into the afterlife and listing the spells they must recite to proceed through Duat (the Realm of the Dead). In Spell 17, the god Medjed is mentioned: "I know the name of that Smiter among them, who belongs to the House of Osiris, who shoots with his eye, yet is unseen." He is not referred to in any other context.

Medjed remained buried in obscurity until 2012, when the British Museum held an exhibit on ancient Egypt at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Tokyo. Visitors were surprised by the god due to his unusual appearance and a certain similarity to the character Obake no Q-Taro (seen below).

Japanese netizens quickly found Medjed to be cute, and began creating fan art of him.

By 2013, Medjed had become a full-fledged meme, and took on a life of his own, as memes often do. His fearsome role as Osiris's guardian (he is said to be able to fly and eats human hearts) and cute, simple appearance allow for a versatile range of depictions. He is even called "the oldest yuru-chara" (regional mascots like Funassyi and Kumamon).

The boy is creeped out by Medjed's gaze.

Medjed zaps a cockroach to protect Osiris. Osiris draws a mustache on him to make him look scarier.

In this comic, Medjed is an ordinary salaryman who transforms like a magical girl into his true form when Osiris is in danger.

"Medjed's Bubble Gum"

Medjed as an admiral with Nagato of Kantai Collection. No one is sure how she can understand him.

Medjed now has not one, but two different Japanese Twitter accounts, @Medjed_tweet and @medjed_god, with a total of 6,915 followers.

@Medjed_tweet provides his followers with a "fanservice shot."

Suzuri, an online market for handmade goods, sells Medjed merchandise.

Online stickers are also available of Medjed.

Medjed's moe form

The Japanese news and entertainment site Netlab also hosts a manga, "Joyful Medjed," portraying Medjed, a pharaoh, and other Egyptian gods as salarymen.

Medjed explains how he rides the train. (He ends all his sentences with "je.")

Medjed also stars in a free smartphone game, Soratobu Medjed-niisan ("Big Brother Flying Medjed"), where players navigate him through an obstacle-ridden pyramid.

In 2014, the popular online puzzle game Puzzle & Dragons introduced a character named Medjedra as Osiris's guardian, proving how well-known Medjed has now become.

Medjed also made an appearance in Good Smile Company's Good Smile Cup, an internal figure craft competition.

[Via Tech in Asia and Entermeus; Images from, Prigazō, Naver Matome, Netlab, LINE Store and Puzdlife]

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