Grab a Slice!!
We present you this month with a nicely sliced bento, grab a slice, it’s YOURS. We bring you our look at what slice of life anime is, offer you slices of scrumptious Japanese food videos, sound slicing AMVs to rock on, some great slice of life recommendations and a fun anime for our challenge this month. We also bring you fresh news from November and tell you interesting tidbits that are Only From Japan. Hungry? We are YOUR monthly source of anime and Japanese culture. Itadakimau!!
Freshly Sliced News
Enigma Archives: Rain Code
There is a new game coming from Spike Chunsoft and Tookyo Games, the team responsible for the Ganganronpa games called Enigma Archives: Rain Code. Late last month they released a teaser trailer for the new upcoming game which is pinned as a ‘dark fantasy mystery’ and it may just channel some of that darkness we know so well from the Danganronpa games.
The platforms and release date for Enigma Archives: Rain Code has not gone to press yet, but judging from the teaser trailer is worth the wait.
Japan's Gundam Cafés to shut down!!! What!!?
If visiting Japan’s Gundam Cafés is an item on your bucket lists you better do it soon because it seems the Gundam Cafés are closing down early next year. The Gundam Square location in Osaka is to close on January 1, and the Gundam Café Tokyo Brand Core location in Akihabara, as well as the Gundam Café in Tokyo’s Odaiba and in Fukuoka, will be shutting their doors on January 30. The café at the Gundam Factory in Yokohama will remain open until March 2022.
They have been serving up Gundam-themed beverages, serving popular foods like burgers and curry, also selling sugoi Gundam merchandise and models and has been a dream of many to visit, and it is so sad that these iconic cafés will now vanish into the void. While no explanation was offered why they shut down it is the main theory by patrons and fans that the franchise is another victim of the COVID-19 Pandemic and its influence on tourism as well as the economy. With tourism being under heavy restrictions many businesses failed as tourism supplied their main or a huge part of their income.
It really is sad to see a franchise go under but there is the slightest ray of hope. When the company announced the closure of the Gundam Cafés statement ended with “Please look forward to our next project,”. Maybe the Gundam Cafés may eventually return at some point. We hope so.
Shimate, the misunderstood subculture
Visual Kei is an impressive subculture with the fashion ranging from loli to victorian, flamboyant hair and a lot of elegance, but in China, inspirations were taken from visual kei that spun a unique subculture called Shimate. It is a subculture that became popular under one of the most unappreciated groups of people anywhere, factory workers, and made hairdressers become successful overnight.
VICE Asia released a video on the subculture late last month that showcases the history and trials and tribulations as well as feel-good stories about the subculture. It is a very informative documentary and enjoyable to watch. Join us as we see how visual kei from Japan became one of the inspirations for a rare beautiful subculture.
We Are' theme recreated for One Piece episode 1,000
Last month all One Piece fanatiks were pleasantly surprised when they tuned in to watch episode 1,000 and it started off with firstly the original narrative from One Piece’s first season, followed by the iconic theme song, ‘We Are’ that was the theme song from the first episodes of One Piece. It gave nostalgic chills to hear both as an episode intro after hundreds of episodes with other intro themes.
However, something was different as the animation of the theme music was updated to reflect current episodes. Luffy had his cape on and his chest showed battle-scars looking more like the seasoned pirate he now is, not as innocent (in a Luffy way) as he looked in episode 1’s theme animation. Usopp, Chopper, Nico, Franky, Brook, and Jinbe, the newer part of the crew were of course added into the video, they weren’t in the original theme animation. The new theme for the 1,000th episode has more surprises in store so have a watch!
Only in Japan
We have seen robots in all sizes and shapes here at AnimeFanatika, from robotic receptionists to robot porters in hospitals but in a little cafe located in Lazona Kawasaki, you can cuddle a robot. You can order food and while you wait a kawaii robot will cuddle up with you. We feature a video of three young men exploring LOVOT Cafe,
A Spa Theme Park Coffee/Sake/Wine Bath anyone?
We know that Cleopatra liked to bathe in milk to keep her skin beautiful but in Japan, there is a Spa Theme Park that takes that idea to the next level. It has the normal spa themed attractions such as traditional hot springs, and a waterpark but imagine bathing in (water-diluted) sake, coffee or wine! We share a video where you can see these activities and more from where else than Only in Japan.
Kawaii Kulture: Let's argue about 'Slice of Life'
In the Western mindset, the term ‘slice of life’ as a genre has a certain specific meaning. It is a genre coined in the U.S. loosely meaning that ‘it is a realistic representation of everyday experiences portrayed in a movie, book, series and plays’. But the genre ‘slice of life’ does not really exist in Japan, anime in Japan has its own genres and they do not conform to our Western ideals of what ‘slice of life is’.
One such subgenre of slice of life in anime is kūki-kei (air type) or nichijō-kei (everyday type) anime. In nichijō-kei deep personal and romantic relationships are eliminated from the story to tell a light, a non-serious story that focuses on the everyday lives and conversations of pretty young girl characters. This subgenre was born from yonkoma manga and include manga like Azumanga Daioh, K-On!, and Hidamari Sketch.
And this slice of life genre is way beyond the Western understanding of slice of life since a big chunk of nichijō-kei has fantastical and or science fiction elements so yes in Japan slice of life can have witches and robots in them. And don’t think for one moment romcoms in high school with a normal setting are nichijō-kei, they are still just vanilla rom-coms. Sorry. That is because we think too Western, in anime you have things like Aria, Yokohama Kaidaishi Kikou, Flying Witch, To Heart, Natsume Yuujinchou, and manifold more, a multitude of this nichijō-kei that are full of fantastical elements. So then slice of life in anime is a level up from our perception, and a nice level upgrade to stay in. That is our humble argument, but slice of life means different things for every person, so bring on the arguments. :)
Recipe of the month: Slice of Pizza
So you are sitting in front of the screen binge-watching your favourite slice of life anime and getting peckish, why not have another kind of slice, as in the mother of junk food pies and the master of indulgence – the humble pizza. Pizza is well-loved in Japan and it has evolved from its humble Italian origins, In Japan pizza now rock with Japanese ingredients and or Italian ingredients, depending on the love the chef or cook puts into it. We found two great videos to share just how deeply loved pizza is in the land of the rising sun. Itadakimasu!!
Some of the Best Pizza in the World Comes from Tokyo
BEST PIZZA in THE WORLD in Tokyo Japan?!
Top Five slice of life anime recommendations
We studied a lot of lists and were pleasantly surprised at some of the anime that is seen as the best slice of life anime. Isekai Shokudō (Restaurant to Another World) was a big surprise but if you look at each episode you can see each episode as a slice of life on its own. A girl that happens to be an archaeologist fights monsters in a ruined castle, she happens to find a door and opens it and it leads to another world, a restaurant in another world. This example makes you think a little of nichijō-kei. The archaeologist goes on with her daily life and stumbles on that supernatural element, A perfect example of nichijō-kei slice of life. Our list of recommendations challenge us to watch slice of life that may not be what we usually expect from the genre. Enjoy!!
The Way of the Househusband
Kino No Tabi: The Beautiful World
I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level
We also asked our AnimeFanatika Whatsapp group to give us their list of favourite slice of life anime and three stood out, a fourth anime that stood out – The Way of the Househusband happens to be our AnimeFanatika staff’s choice too!
Link of the month
We have all felt betrayed in our lives at some point and can relate with anime characters who were betrayed, but sometimes the betrayer is the antihero and we follow his or her story. We have a great link for you this month that shares with us the most shocking betrayals of all time. To find out if a favourite of yours made the list, click the link!!!
AMV of the month: Slice of Music
We have epic AMVs for you this bento. We start with the song Don’t Let Me Down by the Chainsmokers (feat. Daya) featuring scenes from various anime, followed by the track Shanghai Nights by Saib featuring scenes from Flying Witch. Have your slice of music. Itadakimasu!!
Don't Let Me Down
Birthday of the month: Hitomi Kanzaki (Vision of Escaflowne)
Our birthday girl is Hitomi Kanzaki who celebrates her birthday on the 9th of December. In the anime The Vision of Escaflowne we meet Hitomi Kanzaki, a freshman at her high school, Kama Kita. She is part of the school track team and has a crush on a fellow track team member, Amano Susumu. Hitomi is a very empathic, caring and friendly girl who is a bit of a romantic as well. She falls in love way too quickly and easily and pines away when that love is not returned. However, she can also be impulsive and get angry easily. She will do anything for those she loves. She always carries around her iconic pink pendant, a gift from her grandmother and her tarot cards.
She has always told people’s fortune with her tarot cards, soon after she started to have dreams that became true and she started to call these visions. The visions started to affect her when awake too. She has the ability to see into the future through unexpected visions, she can manipulate the outcome a little using her wishes and emotions, she is able to see the past and future also using her tarot cards, and she can see the unseen, like when people are cloaked or if they take another shape.
Now that you have a bit of background on her let’s look further into what happens to her. Hitomi meets and saves the life of Van, a young prince from Gaea that crossed a portal in order to slay a dragon. Transported to Van’s world, Gaia, she finds her fate is intertwined with his, even if her heart still belongs to Amano and later Allen, a gallant knight who bears a more than passing resemblance to Amano.
Hitomi Kanzaki is a girl of many journeys. In the anime, she is on a journey to discover things about herself that she never knew, while also journeying through the land of Gaea, where she met many people and fantastic fantasy creatures. The anime series is classic and well worth watching.
December Anime Challenge: Flying Witch
Our anime challenge for December is Flying Witch a feel-good nichijō-kei slice of life with magic elements. It is adapted from the manga series of the same name and the series aired from April 10 to June 26, 2016. The opening song of the anime is Shanranran (シャンランラン) by miwa featuring 96 Neko (96猫), and the ending song is Everyday Magic (日常の魔法, Nichijō no mahō) by Minami Shinoda and Eri Suzuki. The staff includes Katsushi Sakurabi (Tsukihime) as the director, series composer Deko Akao (Akagami no Shirayuki-hime) and character designer Masato Yasuno. The studio producing the anime is none other than J.C. Staff, the studio responsible for anime like Prison School and Heavy Object.
Flying Witch, a slice of life, supernatural manga, is written and illustrated by Chihiro Ishizuka. The series began as a one-shot manga in the August 2010 issue of Kodansha’s Bessatsu Shounen Magazine. The manga was serialized August 2012, and so far a total of 3 volumes have been compiled and released.
Nippon TV described the series in English:
In a land blessed by nature’s bountiful beauty, bizarre things begin to take place. Makoto Kowata, 15 years old, is a professional witch. She left Yokohama with Chito, her black cat, to live in the house of her relatives in Aomori. This is where she begins to train as a witch.
Even though Makoto’s powers are still limited to just flying through the sky, she and her second cousins Kei and Chinatsu surely make the most out of each and every day.”