It's Horror Month!!!
Konnichiwa Minna, it’s Shocktober, the month of horror and we bring you a special scare-fest in this bento buffet. We take a look at horror in general in Kawaii Kulture and scare up some nice Japanese food in our recipe section. We bring you AMVs to scare you, have a very special anime challenge for this month and much much more. So get ready the wooden stakes and garlic, it is time to feast on horror. We are YOUR monthly anime, Japanese news and culture source. Itadakimasu!!!
News from September
Anime Mecha Sneakers
Love Mecha? Love Sneakers? Now you can celebrate your love for both… with your feet. Earlier this month two pairs of brand-new Nike Gandam sneakers were revealed to the masses in a beautiful anime trailer video.
Taking inspiration from the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn series’ two Gundams were the specific inspiration the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam and the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam 02 Banshee. These two has been transformed into sneakers which are the newest members of its SB (skateboard) Dunk High line. The Nike SB x Unicorn Gundam Dunk High’s primary colours are white and “amarillo,” with red accents evocative of the mecha’s awakened Destroy Mode, while the darker Nike SB x Banshee Dunk High’s hues are designated “thunder blue” and “metallic gold.”
China's newest banning spree
China is in the news again about banning anime. They banned what they considered ‘violent and vulgar cartoons and anime’ recently, one of which was an already censored Japanese series. The popular Japanese series Ultraman Tiga was censored from Chinese streaming services which made a lot of Chinese angry since it’s a well-loved series.
Fans of the show complained about losing a staple of their childhood, a show which aired from 1996 to 1997 and which include five spinoff movies. A statement from the National Radio and Television Administration said: “The content of broadcasts should be healthy and progressive and should promote truth, good, and beauty in cartoons,” and it was also suggested that since children are the primary audience for cartoons, streaming services should set up children’s channels with child-appropriate content that promote “healthy development” among the youth.
To take the Chinese government’s crackdown on the entertainment industry further they also added a prohibition on children from playing video games for more than three hours a week (ouch), discouraging broadcasters from casting ‘effeminate men’ on TV shows and even suspending K-pop fan accounts on social media. That is not all, they erased an extremely popular Chinese actress from social media and her movies were deleted from streaming services without explanation. Clearly, she is hated deeply by someone higher up.
Chinese banning is a weird grey area. Earlier this year, the Jiangsu Consumer Council announced that 21 children’s cartoons, including “Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures” and “My Little Pony,” weren’t appropriate for kids. Some of these 21 series were deemed to contain “violent criminal elements to varying degrees,” which include beatings, arson and intimidation. Is the banning bar set way too high in China, and when is enough? How far does censoring stretch before there is nothing left?
Hayley Atwell x Tomb Raider
Hayley Atwell needs no introductions as she is known as being part of the Marvel universe as Agent Penny Carter and she is going to be in Mission Impossible 7. She is the lucky talent who is cast as Lara Croft’s voice in the upcoming Netflix’Tomb Raider anime. The anime is based on the Square Enix action-adventure video game franchise which already includes comic books and three feature films, with the fourth film on its way. This series is to pick up right after the reboot trilogy games and will follow Lara’s adventures set 25 years after her first game appeared.
Ther anime is in capable hands, being written by Tasha Huo (The Witcher: Blood Origin), known to be executive producing the series with dj2 Entertainment’s co-founder and CEO Dmitri M. Johnson (Sonic the Hedgehog), Stephan Bugaj and Howard Bliss. As movie buffs may recall the archaeologist Lara Croft was played by Angelina Jolie in two live-action movies in 2001 and 2003, then in 2018, the franchise was revived with Alicia Vikander playing Lara Croft’s character. Now Hayley Atwell is to fill this epic role with her voice. We hope the anime series will be as epic as its live-action and game predecessors.
One Piece and Radwimps team up for 'Twilight' music video
One Piece has a huge cult following and is highly popular. A great proof of its success lies in the fact that it is hitting its 100th manga volume this week and 1,000th anime episode in November. To celebrate a short live-action drama series, We Are One, has been produced, each episode showcasing how One Piece’s characters influenced and inspired the series’ characters. The theme song for We Are One is ‘Twilight’ by J-pop band Radwimps and a music video has been released starring the casts of both the anime and drama. Radwimps is known for its music in anime projects such as Your Name. Here is the Twilight music video as well as a video showcasing episode 2 of We Are One.
Only in Japan
Green is blue is green?
Traffic lights are interesting in the sense that in some countries we don’t call them traffic lights we call them robots Three colour lights mounted on a pole, called robots, yet it is a thing Japan has a more interesting fact about traffic lights, thanks to a linguistic quirk, you see some of Japan’s traffic lights are distinctly more blue than green.
There is a reason for that, you see, in Old Japanese blue and green both meant ‘ao’, one word for two colours, which means when traffic lights came along, the green lights were called blue lights by the Japanese. The Japanese word for green is ‘midori’ these days, finally creating a verbal distinction between the two colours.
Fantastic Flipbook Art
Flipbook art has always been fascinating but one artist’s dedication to anime took it to further heights as he started to create flipbooks dedicated to scenes from anime. YouTuber MillkunTV specializes in recreating popular anime scenes, and all of it is hand-drawn. We share two of his art pieces with you. First up is the epic battle between Levi and Kenny the Pipper from Attack on Titan from season 3 episode two, which was titles ‘Pain’. Our second video is from Kimetsu no Yaiba’s 12th episode where the Zenitsu fights the Spider Demon.
Kawaii Kulture: Musings on Horror
Since we are all about horror this month and as Halloween is stalking towards us it is a good time to have a general chat on interesting horror trivia and some samples of great J-Horror. We will look at some manga, live-action, as well as horror anime and maybe you, will find something interesting to read or watch in these musings.
Our first stop is director Takashi Shimizu, who was responsible for great live-action horror movies like Reincarnation and the Ju-on: The Grudge series. A nice yummy piece of trivia of note is that before they started filming horror movies on his sets, the cast and crew went through a cleansing ceremony where they were blessed so that nothing bad could happen to them while filming. Shimizu and crew had an interesting take on horror in that regard. He is also responsible for the 2004 English remake of his first Ju-On movie which we all know as The Grudge, which starred Sarah Michelle Gellar. He was eager to do this remake with a joint American and Japanese cast as he saw it as an opportunity to fix flaws that he felt was present in the original movie. We recommend you try out his horror movies, they are scary, have great storytelling and have great special effects of their time that will still bewitch you even today.
Ju-on: The Grudge
In 1972 an anime house was founded by ex-Mushi Pro member Osamu Tezuka. That anime house is Madhouse, an anime studio that has produced much popular anime like the space western Trigun, the psychological supernatural horror Death Note and Claymore, a dark fantasy horror series that is unforgettable and undeniably dark.
Claymore, based on the manga by the same name, is an anime set in a medieval world inhabited by Yoma – demon-like creatures that can take human form – that of course, eat humans. The only ones capable of fighting them are Claymore, who can tell humans from Yoma because they themselves are part human, part Yoma. These all-female demon slayers have silver eyes which turn gold when they fight, with a few nifty abilities such as going without food and water for a week if necessary. They also have accelerated healing, are faster and stronger than humans (because of the demon side in them) but they can die if hit in a critical spot.
A human girl becomes a Claymore after eating (this is called “Taking”) the flesh and blood of a Yoma, and their sole purpose is then to kill Yoma. Claymores have to use their minds to restrain the ‘Yoma’ within and the more they use their Yoma abilities the more at risk they are of becoming a Yoma themselves. The Claymore anime focuses on a boy named Raki and a Claymore named Clare. Raki’s parents were murdered by a Yoma, with this Yoma then taking the form of Raki’s brother, hiding in the town and eating its residents. The town sends for a Claymore, Clare, who does the necessary killing. Raki decides to follow Clare in gratitude for her service, but also because the superstitious townsfolk are afraid he might be a Yoma too.
This anime is drawn in very dark tones and colours which go well with the dark life Claymore leads. It is bloody and realistic at the same time. There is a lot of violence since it is filled with battles between Claymore and Yoma, and dark themes that may make some weak in the knees with fear.
Junji Ito’s Uzumaki
There are few anime and manga that goes beyond horror, that send shivers down your spine and makes you look behind you in sheer paranoia when you watch or read it at night. Eisner winner Junji Ito is the creator of such manga, a mangaka that is as creepy as H.P Lovecraft and as great a storyteller as Stephen King. His works range from deliciously haunting to downright disturbing. One of his works, Uzumaki tells the tale of a small Japanese community ‘spiralling’ into madness, and, that story was adapted by Toonami and Production IG into a four-episode series Uzumaki featuring a soundtrack composed by Colin Stetson (Hereditary) and directed by HIroshi Nagahama (The Flowers of Evil). Thanks to the COVID pandemic, however, the series was delayed but we will keep you in the loop when we learn more of its release.
Junji Ito creates horror that will make Stephen King blush so we recommend you try his horror manga titles such as Tomie and Gyo. Not a manga reader? Then we suggest you watch some live-action adaptations of his work like Uzumaki (yes, there was a live-action and you can watch it before the upcoming anime series for fun) or Long Dream.
There are so much more about Japanese horror anime, manga and live-action movies we wish we could share but we hope you will give some of the titles we shared a watch. For a deeper dive into Japanese horror, watch the video essay below.
Japanese eats: Cooking Kabocha and fruit carvings
We look at an adorable Halloween inspired video by Kimono Mom sharing a Kabocha no Nimono (Simmered Pumpkin) recipe. She and her kid are cosplaying and look so kawaii as they sing and cook yummy delish food! Kimono Mom also shares some Japanese trivia and teaches us a Japanese kitchen hack! Our second video showcase the Japanese carving artist GAKU showing us some amazing fruit and vegetable carvings looking too good to eat, but totally edible.
Kabocha no Nimono (Simmered Pumpkin)
Amazing Japanese Fruit Carving
Top Five Horror Anime Movies
In the mood to scare the ones you love with a horror movie? We are here to help. The AnimeFanatika staff compiled a list of the most wicked and scary anime movies, four from Japan as well as a Korean Horror treat. Feast your eyes on these trailers and happy hauntings…
Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack!
Link of the month
Our link of the month fits in nicely with our horror theme. It is a video sharing some of the best horror and dark anime, and they do not share the usual well known titles like The Promised Neverland or Another, you will find you may not know a lot of the anime in the video
AMV of the month: Oh The Horror!
We bring you AMVs of horrific proportions not that they are horrible. First up we have Motionless In White with Contempress feat. Maria Brink featuring scenes from the anime movie Dante’s Inferno then it is that classic The Drowning Pool song ‘Let The Bodies Hit The Floor‘ featuring quite a number of scenes from various horror and dark anime. (All the names of the animes are at the end of the video). If you enjoyed the music by Motionless In White and The Drowning Pool, be sure to visit their YouTube channels and show them appreciation, just click on their names in this sentence.
Motionless in White
October Anime Challenge: Anime Horror Movies
Our October anime challenge will evoke the Halloween spirit this month as we watch an anime horror movie each week. The movies we will showcase are mindblowing, each in their own unique way, some old classics, some newer and just as scary. So ready the popcorn, clear the throats to scream more beautifully and enjoy some of the best horror anime has to offer. If you don’t scream once during this challenge, either from delight or fear, suffer a horror otaku nosebleed or eat your hat then it will be a Halloween miracle.
Birthday of the Month: L
Since October is horror month, who better to celebrate than L from Death Note whose birthday falls on Halloween, October 31st. It is he that took on the challenge to catch the serial killer known as Kira. In his investigation, he became highly suspicious of Yagami Light and while trying to prove that Light is Kira, an epic cat and mouse game of strategy starts that became one of the most epic psychological battles in Anime and made Death Note a cult favourite.
We know L as a slim, tall young man with black hair and dark eyes, his eyes have shadows underneath them, a result of insomnia that plagues him. He always wears blue jeans and white shirts and loves being barefooted, even in public. He is an enigmatic, secretive person and prefers to communicate to the outside world via his assistant, Watari. If he speaks on-screen he never shows his face, instead of using a picture in ‘Old English” script of the Letter L.
What we loved most about L were his quirks. He always crouched instead of sitting down normally, eating only sweet food like desserts, fruit and candy. He also had a habit of holding items by only using a thumb and a finger. Don’t let his lazy demeanour fool you L is highly athletic. L was a tennis champion in the England Junior Cup and knows martial arts (Remember his brief fight with Light?).
If you do not know L and have not seen the anime Death Note we highly recommend the anime. L shares his birth month with Kirito from Sword Art Online, whose birthday is on the 7th and Naruto Uzumaki from Naruto on the 10th.