March 27th, 2013

Square Enix President Youichi Wada to Step Down


Square Enix Holdings announced on Tuesday that President and Representative Director Youichi Wada is stepping down. Yōsuke Matsuda, who was just promoted to representative director last week, will replace Wada. Square Enix cited "renewal of the Company's management team" for the change. The transition will be officially approved in June.

Square Enix Holdings did not announce Wada's plans after the transition.

The company had just announced earlier in the day that it is revising its projections for the current fiscal year ending on March 31. It now expects an "extraordinary loss" of 13 billion yen (about US$140 million), mainly due to slow console sales in the West and "sluggish" arcade machine sales. It had reported a profit of 6.060 billion yen (US$64.3 million) in the last fiscal year, and had projected a profit of 3.5 billion yen (US$37 million) until Tuesday's revision.


Godzilla ticket sales topped by cartoon cat Doraemon


For the last 50 years, Godzilla has been an unstoppable movie monster in Japan, and not just in the literal sense, but in ticket sales too: the giant, iconic radioactive lizard has held the record of selling more than 99 million tickets to moviegoers over the series’ lifetime of 28 installments. But now there is a new number one, the cartoon robot cat Doraemon, arguably known by almost every single person in Japan (think similar to Micky Mouse in the West), is responsible for just over 100 million ticket sales in its 30-year history of movies.

Japan’s Toho Co., the movie production/distribution company responsible for both series, reveals that the dethroning took place sometime last week. Doraemon was first introduced to Japan in 1969 as a manga created by two artists working under the name Fujiko Fujio. The title character is a robot cat sent from the future wielding an unending number of magical tools that he keeps in a pocket in his tummy. Oh, and his ears were chewed off by mice. Kids across the country were quickly enthralled with the cat and his misadventures with sidekick Nobita, a young, underachieving, human boy, and his friends. The series was quickly adapted into a television cartoon, with movies not far behind. As so many Japanese hold Doraemon as a defining memory of their childhood, a change in voice actors in 2005 was met with great displeasure, mostly from adults who grew up watching the Saturday evening TV show.

Doraemon The Movie: Nobita in the Secret Gagets Museum is the latest film in the series, and having been released on March 9th, has already sold 1.9 million tickets. Doraemon movies are usually released by Toho every March in order to take place at the same time that children finish the Japanese school year. The series’ creators have admitted that it is difficult to keep the franchise based on children’s fascination with magic tools both alive and relevant in an age where most people have smartphones in their pockets. Doraemon director Kozo Kusuba commented in a 2005 interview with the Sankei Shimbun that the original story isn’t focused on the magic tools themselves, but rather the drama that is created when these extraordinary tools are introduced to ordinary situations. In order to help with that idea, modern technology marvels like cellphones and video game systems are banned from the world of Doraemon. With over 100 million tickets sold, its seems the magic is still there.



Domoto Koichi celebrated 1000th performance of “SHOCK”!


On March 21st, KinKi Kids member, Domoto Koichi celebrated his 1000 act in the musical starred by him “Endless SHOCK”. Based on the 1991 musical by Shounentai, “PLAYZONE ’91 SHOCK”, this special spin-off started in November 2000 when Koichi was 21 years old, the musical continues each year up until now and had mobilized a total of 1,828,904 audiences.

“SHOCK” is the 4th stage-play to ever achieve this and it’s actually the fastest to get this title, with only 12 years and 5 months. During the curtain call Koichi sent his greetings, “Precisely because of all the people involved in SHOCK and all the costumers who have supported us, we are now able to stand in this stage and commemorate such a special occasion”.

Soon after the curtain call, senpai Higashiyama Noriyuki appeared with a huge bouquet of 1000 red roses while Koichi’s partner, Domoto Tsuyoshi appeared with a congratulatory card and tumbler as a present. Both attended to congratulate and bless Koichi in his future performances.

Source | JEnewsdaily, Sanspo, Oricon News, Sponichi, Daily Sports, Chunichi, Yomiuri & Nikkan Sports
Picture (Credit to Twitter)
Congrats Koichi! ^o^, and your happy face when knowing Tsuyoshi come

One OK Rock to Appear On Ustream With Fall Out Boy On April 1st


American rock band Fall Out Boy has returned after nearly 4 years of hiatus and announced that they will be appearing on UStream with One Ok Rock to present their new promotions in Japan.

The broadcast which will be aired on April 1st will span for a whole hour starting from 21:00 to 22:00 (Japan local time). You can watch the video when it airs on UStream here.


New trailer for Hideo Nakata's "The Complex" starring Atsuko Maeda

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The official website for Hideo Nakata’s upcoming J-horror movie The Complex has been updated with a YouTube embed of its new trailer.

The movie stars former AKB48 member Atsuko Maeda as Asuka, a nursing student who moves into an apartment complex which has been plagued by mysterious deaths since an incident which occurred 13 years earlier. When Asuka investigates strange scratching noises coming from the adjacent apartment, she discovers the old man who lives there died while trying to claw through the wall.

Hiroki Narimiya co-stars as a handyman named Sasahara who tells Asuka about other strange incidents and helps her when she’s later confronted by the old man’s ghost.

“The Complex” premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam on January 27, 2013. Toei will be releasing it publicly in Japan on May 18 and Nikkatsu will handle international distribution.


Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster is 70 percent complete


Famitsu this week has new tidbits on Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster.

As previously confirmed, both games will boast their International edition content. For Final Fantasy X, specifically, that means Japanese voices (in Japan, at least).

The pre-rendered movies from the PS2 version will be upgraded to high-definition, and the sound quality has been enhanced. Characters and enemies have seen texture quality upgrades, too.

According to the magazine, what Shinji Hashimoto showed during the PS Vita live stream last month was a low polygon version of a battle scene.

But  how did Final Fantasy X HD Remaster‘s creation come about? It was when Square met with some of the voice actors again during the making of Final Fantasy Type-0 on PSP. Character designer Tetsuya Nomura negotiated with various people and the result was, “Ok, let’s do it!” But at the time, Square Enix staff members were devoted to the Final Fantasy XIII project, so it wasn’t possible right away.

Many questions have been raised surrounding the PS Vita version—mainly, “Why is it a dual release versus the PlayStation 3′s single release?” The answer to that is capacity. A PS Vita game card does not have enough space to hold both games.

But the PS Vita version is apparently more beautiful than the PlayStation 3 version, thanks to the handheld’s vivid OLED screen. Very beautiful, in fact.

Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster is currently 70 percent complete. It is due out for PlayStation 3 and PS Vita this year in North America, Europe, and Japan.


Mukai Osamu & Oshima Yuko to appear in "Gekijouban SPEC ~ Close"


Mukai Osamu and AKB48 member Oshima Yuko will be appearing on the final installment of the highly popular SPEC series which is due to be shown in cinemas this autumn. The movie titled "Gekijouban SPEC ~ Close" will feature the two as a mysterious man and woman always dressed in white. As the storyline is kept secret and only known to a few people including the director Tsutsumi Yukihiko and scriptwriter Nishihagi Yumie, Mukai and Oshima were practically filming their scenes without knowing the entire story.

SPEC is a series about Public Safety investigators from the Metropolitan Police Department played by Toda Erika and Kase Ryo who fight against people with special powers called SPECs. Mukai had appeared in the  ending scene of the last SPEC movie without showing face so it is not known if he is going to be an ally or enemy of the lead characters. Mukai commented that all along, he had been a viewer of the series so he was sad to see it ending soon but as an actor involved in the last movie, he is eagerly awaiting how it would turn out. On the other hand, Oshima said that she was very excited to enter the SPEC world and wondered if she will have any SPEC powers.

The final movie will be split into two parts "Zen" and "Kou" which will be screened one after another. While filming for the movie took place since the end of last year, it became clear that there was too much material to be squeezed into one film so the decision was made to have two parts instead.

Other than the regular cast of Toda, Kase, Ryu Raita and Arimura Kasumi, past SPEC holders including Asano Yuuko and Kamiki Ryuunosuke will be back along with new additions to the cast including Kashii Yuu, EXILE's KENCHI and Endo Kenichi.


Nakamaru Yuichi graduates from Waseda University


On March 26th, KAT-TUN member, Nakamaru Yuichi (29) graduated from Waseda University Faculty of Human Sciences. He enrolled in the said school in April 2008.

The graduation ceremony was held in Waseda University (campus located in Shinjuku, Tokyo) at 10:00am. Nakamaru attended wearing a crested kimono in order to get his diploma. “I only realized I was graduating until I received this. I was moved. To me, at the time, graduating seemed a little impossible since I entered university 6 years after graduating high school, I was happy with just attending back then”.

Over the past few weeks Nakamaru was rumored to be dating Katase Nana (31), after being spotted together at midnight by some weekly magazine. Nakamaru flatly denied dating her, he said they just happened to grab some dinner together. Nakamaru said with a smile “I, myself thought ‘majissuka?’ (Tsuichi’s catch-phrase). We just happened to had some dinner. I am so sorry for causing trouble to Ms. Katase. We are not dating”. In addition, “Katase is a woman I can rely one, a dependable older sister. When I arrived to the set Nakayama Hideyuki told me, ‘why didn’t you invite me instead?’”, causing laughter among the reporters.

Nakamaru is the first member of the agency to graduate from Waseda University. Over the past 5 years, he has learned about welfare and what the environment has to offer while balancing work and writing his thesis, a 37,000 characters letter based on the theme “Localization of dark music”, getting the highest grade, and A+.

During this ceremony 12,000 people also graduated. Since Nakamaru took classes online in his PC at work or home he did not get to attend the campus even once, he kept complaining, “I couldn’t make any friends”.


Japan anger over laser beams after shock defeat to Jordan


Japan were left to count the cost of a second-half penalty miss by Yasuhito Endo as the Asian champions crashed to a controversial 2-1 away defeat to Jordan that ruined their chance of becoming the first team to qualify for the 2014 Brazil World Cup on Tuesday.

But the country's association chief Kuniya Daini said after the match that he would be lodging a complaint with soccer's world governing body FIFA, after both Endo and goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima had laser beams shone directly in their faces during a pulsating encounter at King Abdullah International Stadium.

"We will make a complaint," Kuniya told Kyodo News.


Japan 4th in world liar rankings


On the Japanese TV show “Nep & Imoto’s World Rankings,” they conduct surveys to rate countries by random attributes. For example, recent shows have ranked everything from how common it is to cry at graduation ceremonies to the number of shotgun weddings and frequency of cell phone checking.

Another ranking that has generated some chatter in Japan was one people’s tendency to lie, which ranked … countries in accordance to how likely they were to bend the truth.

So where do you think Japan came in?

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Fudanshi: Boys who like girls’ manga for girls who like boys who like boys

If you go down to the Boys’ Love section of Animate in Otome Road in Ikebukuro today, you’ll most likely see, alongside the crowds of fujoshi (“rotten girls”) browsing the stacks for a fix of sugar sweet boy-on-boy romance, the occasional guy checking out the mildly titillating depictions of young gay love. Yes, Fudanshi are boys who like manga written by girls for a female audience about boys who like boys, and, according to J-Cast, they’re on the rise.

Though Boys’ Love — yaoi — is a niche genre that’s been going strong for some time, with a fervid if furtive following of female fans, up until recently it was thought that men had little or no interest in the scene. Indeed, with their own, far more explicit “bara” (or Mens’ Love) titles, gay men have generally scorned the rather treacly voyeuristic erotic fantasies of female Boys’ Love authors.

Now, however, more and more fudanshi are coming out of the woodwork. J-Cast reports a lot of fudanshi activity on Twitter. Tweets tend to be imagined romances between pop idols or favorite anime characters, as well as discussions between those who share the same interests. A 2chan fudanshi thread has also attracted a lot of traffic. One 2chan user explained how he got into the genre: “My eyes were opened thanks to the influence of my sister.”

The influence of older sisters, a fondness for shōjo manga (young girls’ manga) or mistakenly buying a boy’s love dōjinshi (amateur manga title) featuring a well loved character from a favorite manga or anime, were all reasons cited for stirring up a passion for boy’s love in male hearts.

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Hideo Kojima Announces 'Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain'

Hideo Kojima showed up at his GDC event this morning head fully wrapped in bandages. That was the final giveaway that Moby Dick Studios was a ruse, and that The Phantom Pain was a Metal Gear game.

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I'm excited. My undying love for Kojima and this franchise is just going to destroy my non-existent bank account even more.

Nooooo I just read Hayter's not returning as Snake. This is not what I wanted....

HSJ's Inoo Kei Graduates from Meiji University

He graduated same day as Nakamaru, though I don't know why JE didn't let his grad get reported when his entrance ceremony was covered by news. But this is a freaking big deal, so here's an Inoo Kei appreciation post, with the interviews that covered his thesis and graduation:

On March 26, Hey! Say! Jump member Inoo Kei (22) finally graduated from Meiji University, Department of Architecture, School of Science and Technology. This comes after 4 years since entering the university in 2009.

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At this point of time (interview was in mid Feb), on the university’s side it’s about 99% that the graduation is affirmative, If I didn’t calculate my credits wrongly (laugh) Though I often say that the graduation thesis is a hassle, when I looked back, the first, second and third years were tougher. There were tons of lectures and there were also tons of submissions. The lectures on design and Mechanics were tough. Of course I was able to gain knowledge about architecture, but the thing that I felt the most was meeting various types of people. I’ve made tons of friends ne. Though I say that, with barely any time to play, it was mostly report writing and studying for tests with my friends. For the lab, I went to the site of the Tohoku disaster area, and I stayed in the temporary housing, and listening to the stories of the victims were indelible in my heart. When the elementary students saw me they went, “It’s someone from JUMP!” and smiled. That somehow made me happy. My friends would go, “You are indeed a Johnny. That’s good~ getting reaction from girls like that” (laugh)

When I entered my fourth year, I thought I’d get some leeway, but the biggest obstacle was the clash of my graduation thesis and the 3 months performance of Johnnys World. At first I was told it was only for 2 months, and I’d use the last month to write my thesis, but after that they decided to add one more month to it. The 2 days after the last day of Johnnys World is the date of my submission, that with my Mechanics exam and the conferences and etc… that was the kind of schedule that I have. “There's a real big surprise coming huh...” and I broke out in cold sweat. (laugh) Basically, I try not to bring studies over to work but, this time I had to do a little of it in our resting room. However, I did sleep quite a lot. And with that, when the performances ended, I went to the university to study… and that was how the days passed. When I get home, it seems like I’ll be soft on myself, and my friends were studying at the university too. And for the diminishing of my physical strength, I make it up in the resting room. But everytime Chinen sees my face he would ask, “Is everything at Uni ok?”. I’m very happy that he’s so concerned about me.

From April onwards, I’ll have much more free time in contrast to my student life and I’m really happy. Because I don’t want to spend it slacking it away, I’m thinking of looking for a new hobby. Anyway, I’ve decided to go snowboarding with my friends in March!


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NEWS's Koyama Keiichiro's graduation speech video for the graduates of batch 2012-2013 in Meiji's University

credits trans to: 1, 2, 3