Kyōfu no sekai

A cosmic horror game inspired by the work of manga artist Junji Ito

The cancellation of Silent Hills, the horror game sequel that was to be led by Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) director Guillermo del Toro, was a shame for a number of reasons. Primary among them was the fact that one of the collaborators on Silent Hills was legendary manga artist Junji Ito. Ito’s artwork often explores two areas: a disturbing style of body horror that is unique to him, and the existential inevitability of one’s demise. These interests shape his manga with horror stories that are hard to get out of your head, not merely for the strange ideas he thinks…

Astro Boy

Some of Japan’s best artists are reimagining Astro Boy for a card game

Of all the collaborations that the disco and electronic composer Giorgio Moroder has participated in (collaborations that include the likes of Janet Jackson and David Bowie), a joint project with Osaka-based game studio Project Atom to make an Astro Boy digital collectible card game might be the most surprising. But, here we are, and he’s hardly the only big name tied to the project. In Astro Boy: Edge of Time, currently expected to release early next year, dark forces have destroyed much of the known universe, with who little survived living in eight districts in a floating city called “The…


The videogame that helped popularize Japanese mecha in the west

In the early 2000s, the Japanese government started to evaluate the value of the country’s popular culture industry following international successes in anime/manga such as Pokémon and Dragonball, videogames like Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda and Super Mario series, and films including Spirited Away (2001) and Ringu (1998). Realizing that its cultural influence expanded despite the economic setbacks of the Lost Decade (from 1991 to 2000), Japan sought to promote the idea of ‘Cool Japan’, an expression of its emergent status as a cultural superpower. For the next dozen years, the Japanese government made use of its soft power and ‘Cool Japan’ strategy to boost cultural…


Footage of the cancelled 16-bit Akira game arrives from 1994

If a cancelled game adaptation of the cult classic Akira (1988) is displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in an era before live-tweeting, does it even make an impact? Apparently so, as rare footage of the Sega Genesis and SNES title recently emerged in the form of a shaky camera on the showfloor of that 1994 CES of long ago. Now, the long-lost holy grail of a potentially good Akira game is bound to the dismal land of YouTube, for all to gawk at and wish the cyberpunk anime were a playable reality. Akira is the rare classic that transcends…