This Bento we bring you the magic of the sunflower. The sunflower had a big impact globally since it was discovered in the Americas. We use the oil to cook, the seed in our bread and it inspired many artists. It is a symbol for summer as it looks like the sun and even follows the sun’s journey through the sky each day. We’re going to share Japan’s sunflower culture and food and teach you the Japanese word for sunflower. We also share our recommendations on sports anime, a sporty AMV and so much more. We are your Monthly source of anime news and entertainment. Itadakimasu!!
Hanami in a sake cup
Hanami, as our constant readers know, is the watching of sakura blossoms in spring. It gives you that image of someone sitting on a blue mat, perhaps sipping elegantly a cup of sake, watching the blossoms of the sakura tree softly gliding in the breeze to the ground. But what if you are stuck in the office or somewhere and cannot celebrate Hanami in all it’s beauty?
Drill Inc. and their creative partner Tongullman may have asked that same question. They took the design of the sho, which is a short box-like drinking cup with a square base and holographic technology and created a sake cup that well, bring sakura blossoms to you quite figuratively in a cup. The cup is called the Holoyoisho (inspired by the Japanese word horoyoi, meaning ‘slightly and comfortably drunk’. Watch the promo video below and see how a cup of sake is filled with sakura blossoms!
In memory of Yuzuru Fujimoto
We sadly report that another anime giant, Yuzuru Fujimoto passed away this month on June 10th due to heart failure. He was 83. His family held a private funeral service as per Fujimoto’s request. He has voiced over 200 roles in anime. Some of the characters he voiced are Appleseed (Uranus), Gigantor (narrator), Dakuan (Ninja Scroll), Terukichi Miyata (The Sound of Waves), Zero (Apocalypse Zero), Sekiun (Sword for Truth), Kojima (Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team), Sōichirō Ryūzaki (Aim For The Best! 2), and Daisuke Endō (Inazuma Eleven), and that is just a few drops in an ocean of voices he acted. Fujimoto also voiced roles in several of the Metal Gear Solid games. We salute Yuzuru Fujimoto for his influence in our childhoods and life. He is already missed.
Magic: The Gathering – The Anime?!!
You are reading correctly, Netflix is working on a Magic: The Gathering anime series. If you have never heard of Magic: The Gathering, it is one of the biggest card games that has a cult following. The game was released in 1993 and is quite easy understand but challenging. Each game represents a battle between planeswalkers (a type of wizard) that summon monsters, cast spells and use magic artifacts against each other, draining each other’s life force until only one stands as victor.
The anime project’s executive producers are Joe and Anthony Russo, the same team responsible for Avengers: Endgame. They are joined by lead writers Henry Gilroy (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Jose Molina (Agent Carter) and Yoriaki Mochizuki (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) is going to be the supervising director. The shows production is by Octopie. There is no release date for the project yet, but we will keep you updated on this project as we discover more.
Princess of Tennis??
If you are as fanatikal about tennis as you are of anime you may know of the anime Prince of Tennis, and be familiar with tennis champ Naomi Osaka. Osaka is, it seems, an anime fanatik and earlier this month declared on her twitter that the Prince of Tennis protagonist Ryōma Echizen is her “husband”. Want to know more about Prince of Tennis, we have you covered as it is our anime challenge this month, so check out our challenge section further down!
Osaka is of Haitian stock on her father’s side while her mother is Japanese. She was born in Japan but at age three she moved with her family to America. She is the reigning champ in the women’s single at the US as well as the Australian Open and is ranked Number 2 by the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association), she is also a former world Number 1 player! She may be known as shy and candid but she has an aggressive playing style and her serve can reach 200 kilometers per hour! Some of her interests except for anime include manga and Japanese film.
Kawaii Kulture – The earth healer, the sunflower
In his poem “Ah Sunflower” English poet William Blake rhymes:
“Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;
Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!”
This beautiful flower that inspire the poet William Blake, also inspired anime, games and movies. In Samurai Champloo a girl named Fuu looks for a samurai who smells like sunflowers, with the help of two samurai and in the Pokemon games and anime, there is a sunflower inspired Pokemon named Sunflora. Another example of sunflower inspiration is Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous still life, Sunflowers. The sunflower is not just a muse to poets, painters, mangaka and game designers, it is also a plant that has become dear to Japan.
The beautiful sunflower may be a native from the American continent but it has touched many cultures to become ingrained in them. In Japan the sunflower has its own festival in Zama City, Kanagawa prefecture. It is also revered because it is an ‘earth healer’. It has a special ability to extract toxins from soil through a process called phytoremediation. Lead, arsenic, uranium and other toxins get sucked up by the sunflower roots and they are grown in multitude in Japan for this specific reason. In Japan they started the Fukushima Sunflower Project to remove radioactive waste that polluted the earth after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. (The same was also done in the Ukraine after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster). Sunflowers it seem, is more than just a symbol of hope, they have the seeds of hope within that brings healing to the Earth. Sunflowers heal, inspire and can bring beauty to bad days. Sometimes we must just relax and watch the sunflowers grow.
Spread the Word: Sunflower
Our word for the month is Himawari. In kanji it is written 向日葵, in hiragana ひまわり and in katakana ヒマワリ. If the word seems familiar it may be because of the anime character Himawari Uzumaki , a character in the manga and anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations or Himawari Kunogi, a character in the manga and anime xxxHOLiC. Chances are you know of more Himawari-named characters in anime and manga.
Here is a fun watch and learn video about sunflowers!
Recipe of the month
This month we bring you two ‘sunflower’ recipes. Sunflower Jelly and Sunflower Hamburger. Enjoy the yummy videos and we hope it inspire you kitchen adventures! Thirdly we share a video about a Japanese chocolaty sunflower treat!
Chocolate-coated Sunflower Seed
Sport Anime recommendations for summer
Like sunflowers, sport is also a great ingredient for the perfect summer. There are various sport anime from go-cart racing to rugby. Many athletes and sport enthusiast are into sport anime but even people that are not into sport may have a favourite sport anime. Here is a list of sport anime you may like to sample. Itadakimasu!!
Prince of Tennis
Diamond no Ace
Ping Pong The Animation
Birthday of the Month : Vash The Stampede
There was a time, back in 1998 when, if an anime fanatik asked you if you know Vash the Stampede and you said no, they would look at you in shock. Vash the Stampede, the hero of the anime Trigun was as popular as Ichigo from Bleach, or Uzumaki Naruto from the Naruto anime.
Known as The Humanoid Typhoon because of the chaos and destruction always surrounding him, Vash became a legend, traveling from town to town. He was a gunslinger that wielded a humongous silver revolver, trying to protect love and peace, virtues his adopted mother held dearly. Because of the destruction that surrounds him, two Bernadelli Insurance Society reps named Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson found him while investigating claims made due to damages caused by the mysterious ‘Humanoid Typhoon.’. Even if he appears with them in every episode of the anime, Vash has only referred to Meryl by name once, and he has never referred to Milly by her name! It is also interesting to know that our hero, Vash made a cameo appearance in the playstation game Wild Arms 2nd Ignition.
AMV of the month: True Friends x Prince of Tennis
July Anime Challenge - The Prince of Tennis
This month we bring summer to the anime challenge with sports anime, The Prince of Tennis. The anime is an adaptation of the manga written and illustrated by Takeshi Konomi. The manga was first published in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump, in July 1999 and publication ended in March 2008. It spanned 42 volumes, a total of 379 chapters. The manga was followed by a sequel series named New Prince of Tennis. (March 2009). The manga Prince of Tennis was adapted into an anime series by Takayuki Hamana. It ran from October 2001 to March 2005, boasting a staggering amount of 178 episodes! Prince of Tennis also had a theatrical movie, a series of OVAs, fifteen stage musicals, a long-running radio show – it is a franchise that was and still is big in Japan.
The anime tells the tale of Ryoma Echizen, a tennis prodigy and son of a ‘former tennis rock-star’, which made the world and his peers dub him The prince of Tennis. In the anime Ryoma attends the Seishun Gakuen (Seigaku for short), a school known for its strong tennis club and talented players. It shows how despite being a prodigy, Ryoma finds his own style of tennis, and also chronicles his fellow club members journeys to discover their own styles and paths. It is a coming of age anime well worth the watch, and even if tennis is not your thing, you may find that Prince of Tennis is.
As mention in our news section above Prince of Tennis is well-loved by tennis champ Naomi Osaka, but other tennis players, such as Kei Nishikori also count the series as a favourite.