Share the Christmas anime cheer
Christmas is almost upon us and we celebrate by sharing anime news, learn about Japan’s Christmas traditions, feast our eyes on yummy Japanese Christmas Food and listening to some Japanese Christmas music. We also open the polls for South Africa Anime Awards of 2017. Be sure to cast your vote for your favourite anime! The AnimeFanatika crew wish all our readers a safe and festive Christmas season. Merii Kurisumasu!!!!
Fall Season Anime catch-up
Inuyashiki had some amazing episodes this month. In Episode 5 Naoyuki discovers that his best friend Hiro is not the only robotized person in town and reaches out to our hero Ichiro Inuyashiki for help. He tells Ichiro that Ichiro is a hero and that he must stop Hiro’s diabolical murders. In a touching scene, Ichiro tells Naoyuki he is no hero. We also learn in that scene more of Ichiro’s inner turmoil, his fears that he lost his humanity, since the fateful day he became a robot.
In Black Clover episode 4 it was time for the entrance exam. It was Asta versus an over-confident and Taunting Sekke, but with Asta’s physical prowess he dominated the baka Sekke without even using his abilities. After that Asta’s resolve was tested when the winners of the entrance exam were chosen for their squads.
Want to know more about this season’s anime, then have a look at our Ten Fall Season 2017 Anime Recommendations.
Monthly anime news
Are you into anime AND The Batman? We have news for you. Everybody’s favourite Dark Knight is featuring in his own anime movie, Batman Ninja in Japan soon. At the recent Tokyo Comic Con the movie’s cast members were revealed. The Japanese cast members include Kouichi Yamadera (Batman), Wataru Takagi (Joker), Ai Kakuma (Cat Woman) and Rie Kugimiya as Harley Quinn.
The anime movie is directed by Junpei Mizusaki (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders), Kazuki Nakashima (Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill) will be the ‘script ninja’ for the movie, English-language screenwriters Leo Chu and Eric Garcia are also part of the crew. We will keep you in the loop as more information comes available.
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (update)
The official premiere date for the return of CLAMP’s Cardcaptor Sakura series has been confirmed to be January 7, 2018. The cast will include Sakura Tange as Sakura Kinomoto, Aya Hisakawa as Keroberos, Junko Iwao as Tomoyo Daidōji, Motoko Kumai as Syaoran Li, Megumi Ogata as Yukito Tsukishiro/Yue, Tomokazu Seki as Tōya Kinomoto, Nozomu Sasaki as Eriol Hiiragizawa and Emi Shinohara as Kaho Mizuki.
We are glad to give you an update. More returning cast members have been cast. These cast members include Hideyuki Tanaka as Fujitaka Kinomoto, Yumi Touma as Spinel Sun, Ryoka Yuzuki as Nakuru Akizuki/Ruby Moon, Issei Miyazaki as Takashi Yamazaki, Miwa Matsumoto as Chiharu Mihara and Emi Motoi as Naoko Yanagisawa.
Fans of the series will remember that Sakura Kinomoto is the main character of the anime Cardcaptor Sakura. She discovers that she has magical abilities after she frees a deck of magical cards by accident from a book in which they have been sealed. She’s given the task to catch the cards in order to save the world from an unspecified impending doom. Her name, Sakura, means cherry blossom in Japanese, and her surname Kinomoto means ‘the origin of wood’. According to a new promotional video released for the upcoming series, Sakura is now in middle school and have strange dreams…
Morio Asako, who worked on the first anime series and two movies, is returning to direct the new series. CLAMP’s Nanase Ohkawa will handle series composition while Kunihiko Hamada is the character designer. Maaya Sakamoto is also coming back to do the theme song ‘Clear” for the new series. Her official website also announced earlier this month that her next 27th single, which will be the new anime’s theme song, ‘Clear’ is set to be released on January 31st.
An anime that looks promising for January 2018 is Killing Bites. It is based on the manga written by Shinya Murata and illustrated by Kazasa Sumita. It tells the tale of an ordinary college student Yuuya Nomoto that gets tangled into the world of human/animal hybrid battles because he accidentally witnesses a duel between Hitomi Uzaki, also known as Honey Badger and a humanoid in an isolated scrapyard. These human-animal hybrids (aka ‘Bruto’) have secretly been used by four of the wealthiest financial groups to settle scores since the ancient days. Now Yuuya and Hitomi find themselves right in the middle of the drawn into the depths of this age-old conflict.
The cast members are reprising their roles from the 2015 drama CDs. The main cast includes: Sora Amamiya as Hitomi Uzaki (Honey Badger), Wataru Hatano as Yūya Nomoto, Maaya Uchida as Eruza Nakanishi (Cheetah), Sumire Uesaka as Ui Inaba (Rabbit) and the cast also includes Chinatsu Akasaki as Mai Shinozaki, Megumi Han as Yōko Mikado, Yuu Asakawa as Kaori Rikujō, Takako Honda as Kaede Kazama and Hidekatsu Shibata as Yōzan Mikado.
The staff includes Yasuto Nishikata (The Seven Deadly Sins) as director. Aoi Akashiro (Classroom of the Elite) in charge of series composition, Kazuo Watanabe ( Oku-sama wa Joshi Kōsei) as character designer, and Yasuharu Takanashi (Naruto Shippūden) as the music composer. fripSide is performing the opening theme “killing bites,” and Kitsunetsuki is performing the ending theme “Kedamono Damono.”
Toji no Miko (The Shrine Maiden Swordwielders)
The broadcast dates have been set for Toji no Miko (The Shrine Maiden Swordwielders) and it is set to premiere on January 5, in Japan. The anime is set in a world where sword-wielding miko (shrine maidens) called ‘Toji’ have been protecting mankind from fantastical beasts. Now in modern times these sword yielding shrine amazons are part of a special police organization which allows these lovely ladies to carry swords and to train at five specialized schools scattered all throughout Japan. The anime’s protagonist is Kanami Etō, a girl with a dream to prove herself worthy at the annual tournament where the five schools gather to test the Toji’s skills.
Toji no Miko is directed by Koudai Kakimoto (Cyborg 009), the series composition is handled by Tatsuya Takahashi (Eromanga Sensei), and Yoshinori Shizuma (Zero Kara Hajimeru Mahō no Sho) does the character design. GENCO is producing the series.
Interesting tidbits from the realms of Anime
Kawaii Kulture – Christmas in Japan and the KFC Connection
It is the Christmas season and like most countries over the world, the people in Japan also like to celebrate Christmas. However while many countries celebrate with turkey, hams and sugarplums, Japan really embraced the spirit of the ‘Jolly Holiday’ in their unique way. Even if only 1% to 2% of Japan is actual Christians, they all love the spirit of giving and caring associated with the festive season. In Japan, it is not a national holiday, children go to school, businesses are open like normal, in fact, the closest Christmas will get to being a holiday is if it falls on a weekend. But as we know, the Japanese are lovers of festivals and celebrations and anything kawaii, since it is a very cute holiday with trees, Santa and reindeer, they started to celebrate Christmas with the rest of the world in a unique way.
They embrace the commercial side of the holiday. Offices are decorated, houses have Christmas lights outside and there are Christmas trees! Presents are exchanged between lovers and close friends but are usually cute stuff like Teddy bears, flowers, scarves, rings and Jewellery. Christmas cards are also given to close friends. They greet each other by saying ‘Merii Kurisumasu!!!!’ (That is how the Japanese wish each other a Merry Christmas.)
KFC in Japan
Since there are no turkeys in Japan, chickens are used as the chosen bird of the festival, especially thanks to Kentucky Fried Chicken and their brilliant advertising. Many people order their KFC ‘Christmas Chicken’ ahead of time from KFC, standing in long lines ahead of time to make sure they get their fried chicken Christmas treat, it is possibly the busiest fast food franchise over the holiday in Japan. In just four decades KFC made fried chicken a Japanese Christmas tradition, and it is estimated that 3.6 million Japanese families each have KFC as their choice Christmas meal, according to a BBC report.
The mastermind behind the start of this tradition is Takeshi Okawara, who managed the first KFC restaurant in Japan. Through his vision and hard work, he became the CEO of KFC Japan from 1984 to 2002. It is not just fried chicken that is served on Christmas at KFC. They serve imported cakes, roast chicken with stuffing, ribs and even a special Christmas wine that can be bought at the fast-food franchise. Also, the KFC ‘mascot’ Colonel Saunders is dressed up in Santa gear all across Japan, to show that the Colonel is also partaking of the joy of Christmas. For most people in the world KFC may not be top on the list of Christmas food, but in Japan, it is the embodiment of Christmas cuisine.
Japanese Christmas Cake (Strawberry Shortcake)
In the rest of the world our Christmas cakes usually consist of fruit cake but in Japan where cuteness is king, the Japanese Strawberry Shortcake is their choice of Christmas cake. It is moist, airy, light and very cute. It is simple and elegant and very tasty. It is not just popular for Christmas but also Japan’s most popular choice as a birthday cake or a special treat for any event.It is also a great excuse to bake when strawberries are in season in your area.
Japanese Strawberry Shortcake is made of two to three layers of sponge cake instead of sweet biscuits, filled and topped with cream and strawberries. It makes for an enjoyable decadent treat after your Christmas KFC dinner.
Here is a video that shows us how to make the Japanese Strawberry Shortcake. The recipe is included.
Birthday of the Month
Our birthdays star of the month is Konohamaru Sarutobi, from the Naruto anime franchise, who celebrates his birthday on the 30th of December. We all know and love the young shinobi as the grandson of the third Hokage as well as the nephew of Asuma Sarutobi. His wish to become a Hokage is as legendary as Naruto’s wish. Konohamaru was named by his grandfather and his name is a homage to the Fallen Leaf hidden village. Especially when he was young he was revered and respected by all in the village because of his ties to the Third Hokage.
He was never punished for his actions, being the Third’s grandson, thus when meeting Naruto for the first time, and Naruto showed him no restraint and punched him, he was so impressed by Naruto that he proclaimed Naruto both his role model and rival. He also started to give Naruto nicknames like Nīchan (big brother). Konohamaru’s bond with Naruto developed into a rival-based ‘siblingship’ through the progression of the Naruto Franchise anime series. We all recall fondly how he tried to outshine Naruto with his versions of Naruto’s perverted ninja techniques.
Naruto was a positive influence of Konohamaru, who because of emulating what Naruto stands for, decided that he will also work hard to become Hokage one day, and practice the philosophy that becoming Hokage is not to do it the easy way. He also feels privileged at the idea that he can tutor Naruto’s son the same way Naruto mentored him over the years.
Konohamaru Sarutobi shares his birthday with many great anime characters such as Ciel Phantomhive (Black Butler) on the 14th of December, Tony Tony Chopper (One Piece) on the 24th of December, Miss Amane (Death Note) on the 25th of December and the beautiful Hinata Hyuga (Naruto) on the 27th.
Japanese Christmas Music
No Christmas would be complete without some music and we share some great Christmas songs with you, some by well-known anime OST artist and some by visual kei rock artists.
BoA – Merry Kuri (Merry Chri)
Although BoA is a Korean singer, the Merry Kuri (Merry Chri) song was launched in 2004 in two versions, Korean and Japanese, and it became one of the best known Christmas songs in Japan. She also sang various songs for anime series such as Fairy Tail (The 15th Opening song) and InuYasha (Every Heart: Minna no Kimochi)
Hatsune Miku – Silent Night
Hatsune Miku is a Vocaloid ( a humanoid persona voiced by a singing synthesizer application) and she was developed by Crypton Future Media. She is portrayed as a 16-year-old girl with long turquoise twin tails. She uses Yamaha Corporation’s Vocaloid 2 and Vocaloid 3 singing synthesizing technologies. She was the second Vocaloid sold using the Vocaloid 2 engine, and the first Japanese Vocaloid to use the Japanese version of the Vocaloid 2 engine. Her voice is sampled from Japanese voice actress Saki Fujita. Hatsune Miku has performed at her concerts onstage as an animated projection.
Her name comes from merging the Japanese words for first ( hatsu), sound (ne) and future (miku), thus meaning “the first sound from the future,” referring to her position as the first of Crypton’s “Character Vocal Series.”
Ilaria Graziano – Christmas in the Silent Forest
This song, that is part of the Ghost in The Shell Stand Alone Complex Second Gig OST, feels and sounds like a Bjork song.
Goose House – I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus
Goose House, are known for their songs ‘Oto No Naru Hou E’ (the ending theme song for the anime Silver Spoon) and ‘Hikaru Nara’ (theme song for You Lie in April).
Shazna – White Silent Night
Visual Kei outfit Shazna (stylized as SHAZNA) was active from 1993 – 2000. They were one of the most popular visual kei bands of the 1990s. Their 1998 debut album Gold Sun and Silver Moon reached the number two spot on the Oricon chart, sold over a million copies and at the Japan Gold Disc awards were named ‘Rock Album of the Year”.
December Anime Challenge
To newcomers that read our articles for the first time, let us explain the Anime Challenge. The anime challenge is a fun way to discover anime we did not know off previously or to watch that anime we have set aside for years on our watch lists. It gives us a reason to watch it. Every month we set the challenge and we break the anime up into four-week segments of 1 to 3 episodes. We then watch those episodes thus at the end of the month we have watched the whole anime. Last month our anime challenge was the Game anime BTOOOM! and we hope all who took part in the challenge enjoyed the anime as much as we did. We did receive great feedback about those who joined in and we appreciate our reader’s comments.
Our anime challenge for December is Black Bullet. Black Bullet is an anime that has a post-apocalyptic feel to it. In 2021 a parasitic virus names ‘Gastrea’ starts to infect humans and turns them into monsters. What is left of humanity now tries to survive within Monolith walls, made of the only material that seems to hurt Gastrea, which is called Varanium. There are also special people that can counter the Gastrea threat. They are called ‘Cursed Children’, female children whose bodies contain trace amounts of the virus. They are granted super-powers thanks to that. These girls are given partners called Promotes, whose mission is to guide and protect these young ladies. They work in teams of two and go out to fight these monsters created by the Gastrea virus. The anime’s main protagonists are Enju Aihara, an Initiator and Satomi Rentaro, a Promoter as they go on their missions to fight the growing threat in their hometown, Tokyo. We hope you will enjoy the December challenge. Watch out for the weekly challenge updates on our Facebook page!
Our last Anime Day of the year is upon us and this one is a Free For All theme which means YOU get to choose which anime series and movies we will screen. The Anime Day will be held at Cool Runnings in Centurion on December 16th from 12:00 – 21:00 and there will be free popcorn and lots of in-house specials available to munch on. Come and join us and end the year on a high note. For more information, or to give us suggestions on what you would LOVE to watch at the event, please click here.
AnimeFanatika in collaboration with Kurogane from Anime Awards SA, is hosting the South Africa Anime Awards of 2017. We always get to see what the top anime series of the year was in America or Japan but this year we have a voice and our chance to see what anime we, as South Africans think is the best. The survey will be divided into 4 forms (you only have to fill out the first 2). “Best anime”, “Worst anime”, “Most surprising, and “most disappointing”. All lists contain every anime shown this year, so every anime has a chance of being nominated as “Best” or “worst” of the year. In the event that we missed a series that you liked, you can add your own favourite.
Please note, this only applies to series titles that STARTED running in 2017. Great shows like “All out!!” will not be considered. The winners will be announced on our next Bento Buffet!