Arcade Mania! launch party

A quick reminder that the launch of Arcade Mania! is tomorrow night (Saturday 27th) so if any of you who happen to read this blog also happen to be in Tokyo, please come along!

Here is a link to the invitation on Kotaku



I went to COMIKE about a month ago, along with about 500 thousand others, and it always amazes me just how massive this amateur comic market is. I've been four or five times now and the manga on offer this time were the usual piles of comic-porn. Naked manga honeys assaulted and exalted by a mass of sweaty otaku. This shocked, and to be honest kind of titillated me the first time I went, but it now seems boring, and a little sad. It never seems to change. The same drawing styles. The same themes. The same cum-covered girls fighting off the same invisible, censored, phallic-somethings. And it is still mostly young women drawing and buying this stuff—which is the one thing that does still raise my eye-brows.

But in the car park this summer were a group of otaku I hadn't seem before. Standing proudly beside their cars these guys reminded me of rev-heads back home in the 1970s, who declared their machismo by airbrushing naked-chicks on their muscle-cars. The modern Japanese approach however is to splash hot-anime-babes across the bonnet to display just how much "moe" you feel.

Now moe (a key term for otaku, and pronounced "mo-ay", like Moet champagne ), is kind of a hard concept to grasp. But basically, imagine that you seriously have the hots for a girl — probably a young teen girl — and that you are literally burning up inside to express your passion. Only, that passion is coupled with the somewhat awkward, slightly embarrassing, knowledge, that the object of your budding love is... a cartoon character. And that's moe.

These otaku say that living this kind of life is somewhat painful (no kidding), so these cars have been dubbed "Itasha". "Ita"= pain and "sha"= car. It used to mean "Italian car", but they've made it their own.

Walking around the carpark the one word I kept overhearing as people looked on at these chariots of moe was "mottainai!" (what a waste!) And seeing the Mercedes with the rather cheap looking decals stuck to it, I have to agree.

p.s: roll your mouse over the image on the right....."moe!"


Yokai Mania! Arcade Attack!

I've been rather busy over the past few weeks rolling out the websites for both Yokai Attack! and Arcade Mania! But both are finished now and getting good feedback.

The launch party for Arcade Mania! will be at Cafe Pause in Ikebukuro on the 27th September. So if you are in Tokyo make sure you come. The author, Brian Ashcraft, has put the invite up on Kotaku, with a link to my site! Nice of him to call me a "wizard". I expect the job offers to start rolling in!

Yokai Attack! site
Arcade Mania! site


Kaitei Shonen Marine

I am currently editing a book on Japanese pop-culture, and keep stumbling across stuff that dredges up memories from my childhood. Which is odd considering I grew up in Australia.

The latest flashback is to a time I could swim-like-a-fish, using a special oxygen rich chewing gum to help me breathe; and how, with the help of my trusty white dolphin sidekick, I would fight off underwater baddies… I seriously used to dream of being Marine Boy.

I had totally forgotten about this cartoon, and it continues to amaze me how many of the shows I used to watch as kid were from Japan. I sometimes wonder if loving these cartoons when I was young is one of the reasons I am in Tokyo now. I am by no means an anime otaku compared to some people I know, but in the list of my favorite cartoons, there are a lot of anime. Kimba the White Lion, Kum Kum, Battle of the Planets, Speed Racer, Astro Boy, and now the recently remembered Marine Boy, were all big parts of my childhood TV-time. But it was not until I was an adult that I learnt they were Japanese.

I’m not sure why, but somehow I kind of feel I missed out on something. Maybe it’s because I see all these otaku—starting with those about ten years younger than me—who loved anime and manga so much they were inspired to learn Japanese; and I envy them a little. Perhaps in my teens if I had know Battle of the Planets came from Japan, I may have become obsessed with the place earlier. But then I wonder if my eight-year old nephew, who knows Pokemon, Dragon Ball-Z and Naruto are from Japan, will still be into anime when he is older. Or whether he will be like me, and will simply be reminded of them one day.