Explore the myths!
Konnichiwa Minna, we have a very special bento buffet this month. We explore the myths and legends of the Gods of spring, share a legend about a magical soup and our Top 5 anime is back with a list of mythic recommendations. Our anime challenge for this month is filled with Japanese lore and as usual, we rock with some awesome vibes with our AMVs. All that and more like our news and Only In Japan article We are YOUR source for Japanese content and anime-related news. Come have a bite. Itadakimasu!!
In Memoriam: Osamu Kobayashi
Beloved director and animator Osamu Kobayashi died at Age 57 after a two-year-long battle with kidney cancer. Born on January 10th 1964 Kobayashi began his artistic career immediately after finishing high school as a mangaka and director. He was the world setting designer for the game Grandia but mainly worked as an animator, illustrator, mechanical designer as well as animation director for anime such as BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad and Naruto: Shippuden. He also has a lot of guest appearances under his belt such as on a Gurren Lagann episode and Dororo episode 15. He also did concept art for The Last: Naruto the Movie.
He is fondly remembered by his fan base for his ability to create an emotional connection with his characters in an easy paced and subtle way. His work on the ‘Boyhood Arc’ on Naruto Shippuden will always stand as a huge monument of his extraordinary talent. We salute you Kobayashi-sama, you will be missed, and your work will never be forgotten.
Everybody’s favourite platforming plumber’s brother, Luigi just got his own Lego set. This following in his brother’s footsteps who had his own Lego set last summer. The new Lego Super Mario Adventures with Luigi Starter Course is an interactive toy that is designed to combine the creativeness of Lego block with the obstacles of a Super Mario level. Lego Luigi is pimped up with an LCD screen eye and overalls, as well as a speaker, allowing him to change facial expressions and chat in his warm friendly voice as he encounters foes and friends on his way to the level-ending flagpole. The 280-piece Lego set includes our hero Luigi, a pink Yoshi and enemies like a Bone Goomba and Boom Boom and all the dangers he may encounter in the game. Epic, innit?
The Restaurant to another World returns!
If you enjoyed our Isekai Shokudou anime challenge last December and wish for more, we have super sugoi news for you!. Kadokawa officially confirmed the light novel adaptation’s return earlier in April. The cast is returning for this season, returning cast confirmed so far is Junichi Suwabe as Shopkeeper, Sumire Uesaka as Aletta, and Saori Ōnishi as Kuro.
Those familiar with the anime know that it is about a restaurant somewhere in Tokyo specialising in Western cuisine, Mondays to Fridays. On Saturdays, however, it is closed to the public but then it is when a dimensional door opens and beast-men, lizardmen, swordsmen, wizards, shape-shifting dragons, treasure hunters and other fantasy world surprises go to the restaurant ‘Western Restaurant Nekoya’ to eat from its exquisite menu. (There is even a parfait that can cure illness!).
The anime is based on the Japanese Light Novel series, written by Junpei Inuzuka, with illustrations by Katsumi Enami of which five volumes were released by Shufunotomo. The novel was licenced by Seven Seas Entertainment. The first season aired in Japan from July 3rd to September 18th in 2017. Masato Jinbo directed the series at Silver Link and Takao Sano and Keiichi Sano adapted the original character designs for animation. The opening track is “One in a Billion” by Wake Up, May’n, while the ending track is “Chiisana Hitotsubu” (“A Small Grain”) by Kiyono Yasuno. Watch this space as we will update with more Isekai Shokudou when we can!
Only In Japan: The Panty Heist
During the years we have all seen a certain type of character in anime, like in Ranma ½ there is this short old man dressed like a ninja going around the town stealing panties, yes old man Happosai, to those who catch the reference. Now some things that happen in anime never happens in real life but panty theft is actually a real thing! Recently an incident took place in Nagoya, earlier in April. The police arrested 25-year-old Koki Mori for breaking into a home in Moriyama Ward. Mori stole 34 pair of panties. That is not the bizarre part.
Mori’s crime was not the act of his being infatuated with a young lady living at that address, because according to police records, the sole occupant of that specific house is a 37-yeard old man. Yet another twist presents himself, Mori had an accomplice during this panty heist, a woman in her 20s was also arrested. The crime which happened last November left police investigating until April this year before an arrest could have been made. Only in Japan, right?
AnimeFanatika's link of the Month
Kawaii Kulture: Gods of Spring
Since a lot of Japanese spiritual culture weaves into anime series, we have looked at a lot of folklore from Japan such as Yokai, Oni and even the role of foxes in Japanese spirituality. In this bento, we look at two deities associated with the spring season Amaterasu and Ame-no-Uzume.
Ame-no-Uzume is also known as Uzume is the Shinto goddess of happiness, joy, good health, dawn, meditation as well as the arts. She is the wife of Sarutahiko Okami. There is a tale that the goddess of the sun, Amaterasu was hiding from her brutish brother, the storm god Susano’o who grew jealous of her popularity and beauty. He killed one of her maidens during a rampage and Amaterasu, feeling betrayed and violated ran away and hid in the Heavenly Rock Cave, Amano-Iwato. Without light the world went dark and cold, and the gods could not lure her from the cave, except for one – the goddess Ame-no-Uzume danced to bring Amaterasu out of hiding, and it worked. The sun goddess filled with good humour and revelry, and freed from her feelings of loss and grief came out of hiding, ensuring the return of spring and sunshine, bringing forth life and fertility. It is a beautiful myth, symbolizing the return of spring after the cold long winter.
Uzume, also known as Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto is still worshipped today as a Shinto Kami and there are many shrines dedicated to her which include the Chiyo shrine, Tsubaki America Shrine and Tsubaki Grand Shrine. She is also a goddess connected to the kitsune, being considered an inari kami. Mirrors are also connected to her because of how Japan’s eastern ocean reflects the dawn sun like a mirror. If you ever played the Megami Tensi video game franchise especially the Persona series then you will know that one of the summons are Ame-no-Uzume.
Amaterasu’s the very centre of Shinto and Japanese spirituality
Some of the shrines she is associated with include the Ise Grand Shrine, Japan’s most historically important shrine and the official shrine of Japan’s Imperial Family. Her name should ring a few bells since she appears in games such as Okami, SMITE, Yu-Gi-Oh!, in the manga and anime series Naruto, where a powerful jutsu called Amaterasu burns its victims to nothingness; and even in Stargate SG-1, where Amaterasu is a peaceful Lord of the Goa’uld.
Word of the Month: Kami
We go extra mythic this month by explaining just what the word ‘Kami’ means. Kami (plural: Kami) is a word signifying objects of worship in Shinto as well as other indigenous religions in Japan. It can loosely be translated to ‘god’, ‘lord’, or ‘diety’ but it actually includes other forces of nature, evil or good, because of their superiour relevance or divinity. The sun goddess Amaterasu, other creator spirits, the ancestors, animate and inanimate things like rocks, birds, fishes, can all be treated like kami. In the Shinto belief system, kami are not separated from nature, they are from nature, they can be positive or negative, good or evil. Kami has even been expanded to include the Buddhas as well as the Judeo-Christian God. Kami is one of the most important words in Japanese culture, it is a huge word, containing more mystery than meets the eye.
Recipe of the month: Stone Soup
Have you heard of the Stone Soup legend? It is a myth that is known in many parts of the world, each a variation of its own from Mexico to Malaysia. Our recipe for the month is inspired by Japan’s version of the story.
Once, long, long ago a tattered traveller came to a small village asking for something to eat. The wary townsfolk stood by the town’s gate, starting to close it before the traveller could come in saying:” Sorry, we have barely enough food for ourselves.” The traveller took a pot out of his pack and held it and a fist full of stones out to them. “Please, could I please at least have some water, my magic stones will help me make delicious stone soup”.
“Heeeeeeeeh,” the villagers cried, thinking the traveller is quite mad. “Stone soup? How can such a thing exist?” They whispered amongst each other. They decided to give the crazy man water, hoping it would make him leave. But the man just started a cooking fire outside the town gates, building a large fire under his pot of water, making a show of sniffing at the adding each stone. After a while, he took a spoon from his backpack, and tasted a spoonful of his ‘soup’ and sigh contently. “Ahhhh” he whispered happily.
A curious town’s person could not hold her curiosity. “Well, how is it?” He gave her a gentle smile. “Not bad, young lady, but it is such a shame I forgot my onions. This soup is absolutely wonderful if you add onions to it. Soon an equally curious old lady poked her hand out of the gate with a small bag of onions. “Here, I have extra, spice up your soup”. The traveller added the onions, and after a bit of time went by tasted again… “Wow, this soup is amazing, I wish I had celery though, it enhances the onion and stone flavours…” Soon celery appeared before him. This went on a while, he would taste the soup and hint for another ingredient, and the townfolk, now hoping for a taste of this magical soup gave him ingredients to help with the soup every time he hinted. Potatoes, mushrooms, peas, barley, that pot was soon filled and wonderful smells drifted to the town’s gate, which now stood open. The traveller gave the soup the last taste and said:” Oh I cannot eat alone, bring me your cups and let us have a feast.” That day there was a feast in that little town and the soup was so amazing it became a legend all across the world for centuries.
This is loosely based on the 16th-century version of the Japanese Stone soup myth. Ancient stories always have lessons to be learned such as when a community gets together and works together amazing things can happen. It tells us that what we bring out in the world can return in a fantastic way. We do not have that stone soup recipe, but we’re sharing two easy soup recipes that may inspire you to make and share with someone. Eating together is better than eating alone.
Easy Japanese Corn Soup Recipe
Japanese Egg Drop Soup
Top Five Myth Anime:
After a little break, our Top Five anime recommendations are back. Our theme this month is Myth. We share anime either inspired by myth, yet plays off in another world, like Mushi-shi, or urban fantasy steeped in myth, such as xxx-Holic, Hotarubi No Mori E, or a modern take on crossing over to the fairy realm, such as Spirited Away and for folklore lovers we have the anime Folktales from Japan which share Japanese myth and legends with us. We hope you like our myth recommendations and will give all or some of these wonderful series and movie a try.
Folktales from Japan
Hotarubi No Mori E
AMV of the month: Mythic AMVs
This month we bring you mythic themed AMVs. First off we share a Spirited Away AMV featuring a song filled with mythic references like Hercules and Superman, Something Like Just This by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay. Our second AMV features anime that became myths to us in the anime scene: Attack On Titans, Akame Ga Kill, Fairy Tail, Kimetsu No Yaiba, Beyond The Boundary, Noragami, Dororo, Legend Of Korra, Akatsuki No Yona, Rising of the Shield Hero, Kabaneri of the iron fortress and Boku No Hero Academia featuring the Legends Never Die song from League of Legends.
Something Like Just This
Legends Never Die
Anime Challenge: Folktales from Japan
To celebrate Japanese myths our challenge this month is the anime Folktales in Japan, also known as Hometown Rebuilding: Folktales from Japan. It is a 258 long episode anime series that adapt various traditional stories from Japan. Each episode has three seven-minute stories. The series ran from April 2012 to March 2017. Character voices and narration were provided by veteran film actors Akira Emoto and Yoneko Matsukane. A second 50-episode-season of Folktales in Japan ran from April 2017 to March 2018 due to its popularity.
Folktales in Japan reminds you of oral traditions. All over the world mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and teachers tell us myths and legends as part of our folklore. Each tale has an underlining truth to be learned. Stories like the boy born from the peach, the old man that makes the cherry tree blossom and stone soup touches our imagination and keeps a little magic alive in all of us. This month we explore the magic by watching Folktales From Japan.
Anime Birthday : Toriko
Our birthday this month happens on the 25th and it is Toriko. Star of his own anime named Toriko, he appeared in two crossovers with One Piece, once even with Goku from Dragon Ball Z. He is a Gourmet Hunter, very skilled and very renowned in his world. He is one of the ‘Four Heavenly Kings’ and is nicknamed ‘The Glutton due to his titanic appetite (a food serving for 500 people can only get him one-tenth full!). He is often joined by Chef Komatsu (One of the 100 top chefs in the world), as well as his pet-slash-adoptive-son Terry Cloth the Battle Wolf (which makes Toriko the only person in the world to successfully tame a Battle Wolf).
Our Gourmet Hunter is a 25-year-old man when you meet him in the manga (volume 1) and the anime (Episode 1) with messy blue neck-length hair. From his left ear to just under his left eye he has three scars with which he was born with! With his angular and strong facial features and catlike eyes, he is a striking figure. Even if he is known as a glutton, he is actually a selfless, intelligent and wise man. He also has a rule not to kill animals he does not intend to eat. He also believes that no species should be hunted to extinction, that it is wrong. Many people can learn from him.
Anime Meetup: 22 May - Myth and Mysteries
Our Anime Meetup this month is on May 22 and we will showcase some mythic and mysterious anime. This time our event will be both at Cool Runnings as well as on our Discord, catering for our Fanatiks that live far or that cannot get to Cool Runnings as well as those who can. Takeshi will host the Cool Runnings part of the event, while Ookami will host the Discord event.
WHEN: 22 May 2021
TIME: 12:00 to 18:00
WHERE: Discord or Cool Runnings, Centurion (120 Ivan Str, Hennops Park Centurion, Gauteng · Pretoria) The anime day is at the back of the club in the anime screening room.
Link: https://discord.gg/59J2PEg (Remember to accept the rules to gain access to the full channel)
Be sure to look at our event page on our website as we may update with more news on events, and if these are changes to events, especially since COVID-19 is still a factor.