ghost in the shell
News

An exhibit for admiring the labyrinthian cityscapes of anime architecture

When I visited Tokyo, Japan earlier this year for the first time, I was struck by its block-by-block awe-inspiring architecture. From the woven-like walls of the Daikanyama T-Site bookstore, or the mirrored, cave-like entrance to the Tokyu Plaza Building on the cusp of Omotesando and Harajuku, Japan takes its architecture to highly modernized, nearly impossible heights. And it makes sense, for a country whose animation has been setting the standard for fictional architecture since the early 1980s. Animated architecture that looks to both the present and the old, and twists it into something new for the future. Luckily, there’s a…

coralyokai1
News

Two game artists share the Japanese yōkai that inspire them

After living in Japan’s seaside city of Niigata for a year, French artists Cécile Brun and Olivier Pichard learned, among many other things, an appreciation for the island nation’s mythology and art. They’ve told us about their visits to Buddhist spiritual sites on Japanese mountains, and as we’ve written before, the pair have a particular fondness for Japanese photographer Kotori Kawashima and his photobook Mirai-chan, which depicts a young girl living in Niigata’s Sato Island. “What interests us here is this juxtaposition of a very young girl from today and an ancient mysterious world,” they said. Since returning home to France, it has…

va-11 hall-a
Review

VA-11 Hall-A is how you do modern cyberpunk

“Time to mix drinks and save lives.” Jill lackadaisically jazzes herself up with this line at the start of every shift, unknowing of just who will waltz through the door. But what I soon find out is that Jill is kinda lost. The 27-year-old bartender resides in a run-down apartment, barely scraping by when it comes to bills, rent, and impulsive buys, like cute posters or a plant. Jill is lost in the same way that her regulars—patrons of the dive bar VA-11 Hall-A (colloquially called “Valhalla”)—are lost. She’s caught within an average life, with the only fulfillment she gets…

kaneda
News

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…

IMRF2
News

Internet Murder Revenge Fantasy is a first-hand look at growing up online

As a transgender girl growing up in the American Midwest, childhood was a lonely experience for me. I was still questioning so much of who I was, and at the time, there weren’t many resources out there to help me work through it. Transfeminist literature like Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl (2007) had yet to be published, and I had to resort to older and more unhelpful narratives instead, like a 1998 book a mother wrote about her daughter’s transition titled Mom, I Need to Be a Girl. Finding myself in a real-world culture that was unwilling to talk about LGBT issues for…

Sususmu Hirasawa
News

Behold the Berserk composer’s lost cyberpunk anthem

With last week’s announcement that the renowned, metal-as-fuck series Berserk would return later this year, it brought to mind some of the genre’s most austere compositions. “Theme of Guts”, named after Berserk’s main character, is a sedate, moving electro-vapor hymn from composer Susumu Hirasawa. Not only is it the show’s emotional cornerstone, but it holds up astoundingly well, even all these years later. The same goes for most of Hirasawa’s stuff (the guy was a rock pioneer long before he became an anime composer), but few tracks of his are as bonkers—or frankly, as genius—as his monstrous jam “TOWN-0 PHASE-5.”…

imm
News

Sir Michael Rocks’ new video is an anime come to life

Japanese culture and hip-hop have a long relationship, from the genre’s mid-90s kung-fu obsession to Kanye’s mid-oughts evocation of Japanese pop art up through its current commingling in the very production of Drake’s ubiquitous “Hotline Bling.” The Chicago emcee Sir Michael Rocks has always been a nerd, but in his new video “In My Mode” he goes the full cosplay: it’s essentially a three-minute homage to modern shonen anime. The first half is a back-alley brawl, all close-ups of eyes and stylized violence, recalling Akame Ga Kill and Sword Art Online. The rematch takes place in an open field, and is…

weknowthedevillead
News

It’s Sailor Moon vs. the Devil in this horror story about pre-internet queerdom

Growing up as a queer kid in a rural, religious area can be a challenge. As you’re shuffled from church event to church event, it can be easy to feel stifled, especially if your folks are the evangelical type. Certain types of media can provide a momentary escape from that, such as the bombastic view into another culture that is anime, but in the end, it always seems like you lose a bit of yourself to the darkest part of a society that makes you feel like you have to hide who you really are. We Know the Devil, a…