Explore Sakura Lore
As a new season is birthed another season dies. We bring you a bento filled with darkness but also light. We look at a sakura legend, discover an interesting link between the words Sakura and Sake, share yummy Sakura food. We also share our AMV of the month and have a few laughs with you. We have super sugoi news about the anime day for April and exciting One Piece info. We are YOUR source of monthly anime news. Itadakimasu!!
*Exclusive News Special - One Piece: Doragon no Honõ
Remember when Portgas D. Ace died? Remember the once-off alternative story-line manga Eiichiro Oda created called One Piece: Doragon no Honõ (One Piece: Dragon’s fire)? As some of you may remember One Piece: Doragon no Honõ deals with the resurrection of Portgas D. Ace. When he died, his brother Sabo inherited his devil fruit and ability, but in the spin-off manga Ace, after resurrected, finds that he somehow still have the ability to manipulate fire and seawater cannot weaken him. Problem is Doctor Hamedi, the one who resurrects him controls our hero’s body and Ace must find a way to get control back before he complete’s Doctor Hamedi’s ultimate goal: destroying the Red Line completely!
We managed to contact mangaka Eiichiro Oda himself, as well as the director of the upcoming spin-off anime Gorō Taniguchi (Toei Animation). They give us exclusive hints about what the spin-off manga will be about. Here is a link to the whole interview, for your eyes only!
Neon Genesis Evangelion
In the nineties there was this one anime that everybody that is everybody in the anime scene watched. The anime always came up in conversations due to its controversy, dark tones and its animation. It was Neon Genesis Evangelion. The anime followed a group of teenagers that was recruited by a mysterious organization to fight an alien force code named as Angels by piloting mecha called Evangelion (EVA). The anime was rich in Judeo-Christian themes and was the most psychological mecha anime that ever existed, and perhaps the most dark. It ran for 26 episodes and premiered in 1995. The anime is seen as a cult classic.
Netflix now has taken the anime into its fold as one of the anime series part of its line-up. The anime’s launch date is June 21, 2019, it is the first time that this anime is available for streaming on a global scale. More anime that will become of Netflix’s anime line-up will be Ultraman (April 1st), Rilakkuma and Kaoru (April 19), 7Seeds (April), and Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac (Summer season 2019).
Pokémon Adventures: Black 2 & White 2
Imagine a Pokémon story where characters actually die. Gone is the fairy tale story of Satoshi (Ash Ketchum) living season after season as an never-aging Peter Pan with a happy ending each episode, not to mention his ‘Road-Runner-versus-Wile-E-Coyote-relationship with Team Rocket. (But we love that anime dearly).
As said above, imagine not the Ash Ketchum fairy tale but a Pokémon story filled with death and dark elements. That story is the Pokémon Adventures manga franchise. Unlike the anime series, these manga are more closely knit to the games. Story lines tend to run parallel with the games we love but with a few spins on the story (example in the original Pokémon Adventures Red, Blue and Green chapter, the character Red’s starting Pokémon is a Poliwhirl and not the traditional Charizard, Bulbasaur, Squirtle nor Pikachu.)
For every ‘region’, basically every manga, there was a spin-off manga that is part of the main ‘umbrella’ that is Pokémon Adventures. For avid fans of the franchise we have wonderful news: Hidenori Kusaka’s Pokémon Adventures: Black 2 & White 2 that was on hiatus since February 2018 is back! The 19th chapter of the manga finally published last Friday! We can finally continue the story.
Viz Media, publishers of the manga in English describes the story:
“Awesome Pokémon adventures inspired by the best-selling Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 video games!
Two years have passed since Team Plasma was defeated and Trainer Black was sucked into the Light Stone along with Legendary Pokémon Reshiram… Now Team Plasma is back to its wicked ways, controlling other people’s Pokémon and even wild Pokémon with technology. Luckily, a new young hero and Looker of the International Police are on their trail…
Colress, the new leader of Team Plasma, is attacking the Unova region. His machines control Pokémon, wielding their powers for evil instead of good. Fortunately, a way to jam the signals is stored on a memory card. But who has the card…? A girl at the Pokémon Trainers’ School! Maybe that’s why our hero is such a flirt—he’s just doing his job gathering intel. But he’d better stop playing the field and find that card fast before someone beats him to it!”
To give everyone a feel about what the manga is about, here is a video of a ‘reading’ of Pokemon Adventures Chapter 1
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken)
Popular Fantasy anime That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken) barely released its final episode last week, when the announcement was released that it is slated for a second season. This brilliantly animated anime based on the even more brilliantly written Light Novel series has a cult following just as die-hard as the Sword Art Online fandom.
It tells the story of Satoru Mikami, a thirty seven year old mundane man in a dead end job that dies after a robbery gone badly. He gets a second chance in life by being reincarnated as, we kid you not, a low-level slime in a fantasy world. (Some people really have weird karma!). He has to deal with his new oozing existence by being a monster, and like a rock thrown into a pond, his life will cause ripples that will change that fantasy world forever.
Sadly we know that for anime fanatiks patience must be a virtue. Sometimes waiting for a next season of an anime is worst than waiting for the next season of Game of Thrones. In this case, we will have to wait until 2020 to see our beloved slime again. It has not been revealed when exactly, but be sure to watch this space, we will keep you all in the loop as more news about season 2 comes to light.
Kawaii Kulture: The Darkness Beneath the Sakura Tree
Beauty has its dark secrets, even the Sakura tree has a dark side. There is a legend in Japan few speak about, the fact that underneath the sakura trees there lies a corpse. It may be the very reason why the Sakura tree bears such beautiful blossoms – that corpse. According to legend the Sakura Blossom used to be white. But you see the blood from that corpse turned the colour of the Sakura from snowy white to a crimson pale.
The gruesome origin of the colour change of the Sakura tree starts as all good stories with a ‘once upon a time’. One upon a time, there was an emperor that decided to bury his fallen warriors beneath the Sakura trees. Back then blossoms as pure as the whitest snow greeted everyone in spring. One can just imagine, as the blossoms fell, the leaves carpeted around the tree, looking like a memory of snow in itself. The emperor thought perhaps that these trees would be beautiful monuments for his fallen warriors, so they started to bury the warriors underneath the trees. But as the roots of the trees started to soak up the blood from the corpses a transformation took place. The colour of the blossoms turned pink.
This story may be true. As Shakespeare said: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Who are we to know how it happened. It is a fact though that the Sakura tree is deeply connected to the concept of death in Japanese folklore, proof of it can be seen around burial mounds and graveyards, popular places where these trees are planted. And to Buddhists fallen leaves are a metaphor for death. So next time you see a Sakura tree and stand in awe at its leaves falling to the ground remember, underneath, someone may be buried there.
Spread the Word - The 'Sa' in Sakura and Sake
We have touched on the importance of the Sakura numerous times in our Bento Buffets over the years. It is to the Japanese a very spiritual symbol, you might say that every Sakura tree is a divine sacred space, but Sakura is also something that is enjoyed and embraced. One of the traditional ways to enjoy Sakura is by Hanami, or ‘sakura’ with a nice cup of Sake.
Breaking down the meaning of the words Sakura and and sake invokes a very interesting factor. The ‘sa’ of Sakura means kami (the spirits/deities that are the center of Shinto worship) of the rice fields and ‘kura‘ can mean a place to sit. It can mean ‘place where the kami dwell, or sits’! Then if you take the ‘sa’ of sake and applies the same meaning to it, and take ‘ke’ which can mean daily life food, it can mean ‘food of the kami‘. Taking this loose translation it makes sense why people in Japan loves to sit and drink sake while watching the Sakura leaves floating in the wind. It also makes it understandable that to some Hanami is a very spiritual experience.
Speaking of Hanami, since it often comes with drinking we must be mindful of the drinking customs of the Japanese. Firstly, you shouldn’t pour from a bottle into your own glass. Someone else will notice your glass is almost empty and fill your glass for you. (This custom is known as oshaku). When receiving beer or sake, hold up your glass. Ladies should hold out there glasses with both hands, since it is seen as elegant. After the glass is filled, take at least one small sip before putting your glass down, as it is polite.
If you want to offer someone alcohol it is better to offer more alcohol to the other person before his or her glass becomes completely empty. You are free to ask the person then, and they don’t have to wait for a drink until someone notices. The the person accepts your offer, remember to hold the bottle with both hands as you pour, because at it is part of the custom and be sure not to touch the rim of the glass you are pouring into. (Please note that holding the bottle with one hand in Japan is seen as very rude in Japan.)
Practice the word sakura by learning this traditional Japanese folk song!
Traditional Recipe of the Month: Sakura Mochi
Since spring is starting in Japan, and Sakura trees are the seasonal symbol to many in Japan, we wanted to share this special Sakura Mochi recipe video with you. Interested in more Sakura recipes? Then have a look at this website.
Enjoy the video. Itadakimasu!!
Here is a extra special treat! A video about different Sakura foods and more words to learn!
Top 5 Comedy Anime
This month’s top five anime is comedy. We all love sharing a laugh or watching something funny when we feel down or in need of some humour. Here is our top five recommendations of anime that will have your tummy rumble with laughter. Are you a fool for smiles? Smile with us!
Arakawa Under the Bridge
Detroit Metal City
Gaikotsu Shoten'in Honda-san
Yuri!!! on Ice
Birthday of the Month: Kohiruimaki Karen/LLENN
20th of April marks Kohiruimaki Karen’s (Better known by her avatar LLENN) birthday. She is the main protagonist of the Sword Art Online anime’s spin-off Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online. She started playing Gun Gale Online because of an inferiority complex because she is very tall in real life. She created her avatar LLENN for the game as being very small and cute and gained the nickname the Pink Devil in the game by her opponents because she only equips pink gear and weapons and her prowess in player versus player is devil level scary.
LLENN participated in various Squad Jam events in Gun Gale Online. Ine first she was the team leader of a two-man squad named LM after being convinced by her in-game friend Pitohui to participate in the tournament. In the second Squad Jam she invied a gamer friend Shinohara Miyu (avatar Fukaziroh) to form a team named LF with her. We will not spoil the outcome of the Squad Jams for those whon have not seen the anime.
It is interesting to know that in the real world she is 183 cm tall with long black hair where in the game she is shorter than 150 cm, slender and dark-tawny short cut hair. It is due to her being teased in real life because of her height that she went with the shortest avatar she could make. Her character teaches us the ugliness of bullying but also how to overcome the barriers that bullying creates in us. It shows us that sick people like bullies cannot win if one stands tall and strong against them and shows how weak bullies are. Her character should inspire us all.
AMV of the month: I fooled you x Akame Ga Kill
Our AMV for April is I fooled you by Awaken The Giant with footage from the anime Akame Ga Kill. In Akame Ga Kill Akame is a girl that was bought, brainwashed and raised by the Empire to be an assassin and after the boy Tatsumi meets her, he vows to stand up to the horrible Empire. It is a world of were you live and die by the sword and death is as common as a bird in the sky.
Awaken The Giant, according to their Facebook page is an American rock band from Houston, Texas, founded in January 2013 by Blake Suarez (guitar/vocals) and Tab Cocchia (Vocals/guitar). The independently released their debut EP titled ‘Black & Blue’ in 2017, and has a world wide fan base.
April Anime Challenge Arakawa Under the Bridge
Our anime challenge for April is the comedy anime Arakawa Under the Bridge. It is based on the manga written by Hikaru Nakamura, which first ran in the seinen manga magazine Young GanGan starting December 3, 2004. The anime ran in two seasons, the first 13-episode season, Arakawa Under the Bridge ran from April 2010 to June 2010 and the second, named Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge ran from October 2010 to December 2010.
The anime, set in Arakawa, Tokyo tells the tale of Kou Ichinomiya, a self-accomplished man. He is a man which lives by his father’s rule that his father imprinted on him since childhood:’Never be indebted to another person.’ Then an even happen which conflicts with that rule. You see, he fals into the Arakawa River and he almost drowns. Luckily a girl named Nino rescues him and in return he owes her his life. Because of his father’s in-bedded rule he cannot accept and he asks her a way for him to pay that debt. After relentlessly trying to get her to name a payment for his debt, she tells him to love her, and so Kou’s bizarre life starts of living under a bridge. To top that, he discovers that Arakawa is a world of weirdos!! It seems that this month we are in for a hilarious challenge!
Anime Meetup: ICON
Last Month, the Geek get together at Cool Runnings was super sugoi but this month we have something BIG!!! We’re going to ICON!!! Not only is ICON South Africa’s longest running comics, gaming and popular culture convention, this year it is taking place across three amazing days: Saturday, April 20th to Monday, April 22nd 2019, we will have thus not one anime day, we will have an anime weekend! We will be screening the Spring anime openers (To give you an idea of some of the upcoming anime that will be viewed, see our Top Ten Spring anime recommendations).
ICON also caters for all the geek pleasures like board-gaming, tabletop games, cosplay competitions, national tournaments, educational panels, and all the other mind-blowing elements of geek culture.
Love anime? Keep the 20th to 22nd of April open and join us.
*Please note that Exclusive News Special – One Piece: Doragon no Honõ was just an April Fool’s joke. Hope you are laughing with us!!!