Anime Evolution 2015 Photographer Feature: Scott Tsai Studio

With Anime Evolution 2015 being the first anime convention we've attended since coming back from our hiatus, we've decided to do things a little differently than usual. Rather than featuring individual cosplayers we were directly involved with, we've decided to spotlight some talented local photographers who were present at Anime Evolution partaking in photoshoots with various cosplayers which we've reached out to ask if they'd like their work featured on SUTORAIKUanime. The first photographer we'd like to present is fellow Vancouverite Scott Tsai from Scott Tsai Studio.

Anime Evolution 2015 - We're Back!

Jumping right into things after our nearly two-year-long hiatus, we found ourselves attending for the very first time AniEvo, held in the University of British Columbia. I've been wanting to attend this convention for quite some time now, and being finally able to participate in this three-day event and reacquaint myself with familiar faces as well as making new connections was definitely without a doubt, a great way to kick back into action. This post serves as a brief summary of what to expect in the coming weeks as we post updates on our exclusive interviews and photos.

We're going to Anime Evolution 2015

It has been quite awhile since I have attended an anime convention, but I cannot be happier to announce that SUTORAIKUanime will be attending Anime Evolution for the first time! Held at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, I am looking forward to getting back into the community and sharing exclusive content with all of our readers. From July 17-19, I will be present at Anime Evolution, and this is one of the first signs of life from me since I announced our hiatus for site restructuring.

We're on Hiatus - UPDATED!

Greetings readers and followers of SUTORAIKUanime. In case you haven't noticed, this site has been anything but active for a good half year or so. If there was ever a time to give a brief update about what exactly has been going on with us, now would be it. The majority of our staff were beamed away by aliens and turned into cosmic chickens, which I must say was quite unfortunate, leading to our incapability to update our readers.

Tsun + Dere REBIRTH

Tis I DuoMatrix... Huh? You are wondering who I am? I guess you could say that I am a figment of your imagination...or not. No. I am the long time absent writer of SUTORAIKUanime. You might even say that I am a myth. A story told to Akinari to get his "hopes" up, if you know what I mean. If you were to go and look in the archives you might just find a tresure trove of articles written by the illusive DuoMatrix...but I digress.
.          .          . 

Welcome to the REBIRTH of TSUN+DERE! Give a listen, leave comments and questions below! Enjoy the show! Please?

Tsun+Dere Episode 01: ReBirth

Host: DuoMatrix

Date Recorded: 12/02/2013

Topics: Tsundere and Questioning who was truly the first Tsundere.

Tsun+Dere is looking for a CO-HOST! If you think you have what it takes hit DuoMatrix up on his twitter account: @DuoMatrix

Adapting JRPGs into English Is More Difficult than It Sounds

This is an interesting and rather relevant article I stumbled upon while browsing through Kotaku, shedding some light on the much-talked-about issue of English-speaking regions not having access to those epic JRPGs that we simply wish we could play, or understand for that matter. Getting a JRPG out in English may sound like a straightforward task, but unfortunately that is not the case. A translation that's too literal will create a highly niche foreign market and a less-immersive gaming experience, whereas a non-literal translation would prove to be very difficult and time consuming for translators. Read on to find out the process of how localization actually works!

SUTORAIKUanime Exclusive: Interview with Yamaguchi Kappei

SUTORAIKUanime is pleased to share our exclusive interview with the highly versatile and legendary voice actor Yamaguchi Kappei at Anime Revolution 2013. His visit to Vancouver was surely one to remember for both his fans, and all of us here at SUTORAIKUanime.

SUTORAIKUanime Exclusive: Interview with Furuya Toru

SUTORAIKUanime is pleased to share our exclusive interview with highly prolific and timeless voice actor Furuya Toru at Anime Revolution 2013. Sometimes classified as the one classic Gundam voice, being able to talk with one of the most respected voice actors in the Japanese voice acting circle was certainly an experience to remember.

Hayao Miyazaki Retires at Age 72

Studio Ghibli President Hoshino Koji announced Sunday that the highly acclaimed, world-renowned Oscar-winning director will retire from making feature-length films after The Wind Rises (風立ちぬ), his final film currently competing in the Venice Film Festival.

Anime Revolution 2013 - We're Back!

It's been an exhausting non-stop three days of fun at AniRevo 2013, and we have nothing but exciting content to share with everyone. AniRevo's second year in action did not disappoint, and the quality of special guests, panels, cosplayers and exhibitors certainly did not either. The special guests this year included the highly prolific Yamaguchi Kappei, and the legendary Furuya Toru, both of whom we managed to exclusively interview! This post serves as a brief summary of what to expect in the coming weeks as we post updates on our exclusive interviews and photos.

SUTORAIKUv3 Beta is Live!

Welcome to SUTORAIKUv3 Beta, a brand-new relaunch of SUTORAIKUanime, completely re-imagined from the bottom up.

Studio Ghibli 16 Film Retrospective Ticket Giveaway

Due to popular request, The Cinematheque is bringing back the smash-hit retrospective Castles in the Sky: The Return of Studio Ghibli! We have teamed up once again with The Cinematheque to offer a pair of tickets to see a Studio Ghibli film in theatres, part of the 16-film, all-ages GHIBLI series taking place July 4th to August 5th.

We're going to Anime Revolution 2013

After bringing our readers exclusive coverage and having a blast at last year's Anime Revolution, the first one ever, we find ourselves once again attending Anime Revolution 2013. From August 16-18, SUTORAIKUanime will be present at Anime Revolution located in Vancouver, beautiful British Columbia, Canada. We're excited to catch up with fellow comrades, meet new people, and all in all bring our readers the best content we possibly can.

Castles in the Sky: The Return of Studio Ghibli

By popular demand, The Cinematheque is back with the return of the smash-hit retrospective, Castles in the Sky: The Return of Studio Ghibli. From JULY 4th to August 5th, a total of 16 Studio Ghibli films will be shown in theatres, including Castle in the Sky, My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

SUTORAIKUanime 4th Anniversary Reader Appreciation Giveaway Event

It's hard to believe that we've already been on the net for four years. From our small beginnings as a simple and casual anime meta-review blog, year after year, we face new challenges and are pushed into new horizons, further expanding our presence in both the aniblogosphere and in our local community.

Sakura-Con 2013 - Aoi Eir and Haruna Luna

This year's musical guests featured Aoi Eir and Haruna Luna, both having a role in the anime Sword Art Online singing its opening and ending themes.

Interview with Aoi Eir & Haruna Luna

SUTORAIKUanime joined several other media outlets in a press conference conducted at Sakura-Con 2013 with musical artists Aoi Eir and Haruna Luna. Part of the Sakura-Con 2013's "Sword Art Online Mega Pack" guest lineup, Aoi sang the anime's second opening, "INNOCENCE," and Haruna sang the third ending "Overfly." Find out what these two talented young individuals have to say!


Interview with Kawahara Reki

SUTORAIKUanime joined several other media outlets in a press conference conducted at Sakura-Con 2013 with Accel World and Sword Art Online novelist Kawahara Reki. We are pleased to share this interview with our readers, as it was a rather amusing session to take part in, and we hope some of the answers provided may serve to quench your own curiosities regarding Kawahara Reki and his works.

Sakura-Con 2013 - Special Guests

Being the huge Sword Art Online fan I am, realizing that the creator of the entire SAO franchise would be featured as a guest at Sakura-Con 2013 made me absolutely ecstatic. Not only did we get a chance to interview Kawahara Reki at the convention, we also got to meet the artists who sung the second opening and  third ending theme of the SAO anime, Aoi Eir and Haruna Luna, and exclusively record footage of their first concert in North America with high-definition multi-track recorded audio.

Sakura-Con 2013 - We're Back!

Every year for the past three years, we have ventured out of Vancouver, driving two hours south of the border to attend the oldest and most well attended anime convention in the Pacific Northwest. This year was an especially busy year for us at Sakura-Con, but definitely well worth it. We were very lucky this year to be graced by the presence Japanese guests such as highly acclaimed Sword Art Online and Accel World novelist Kawahara Reki, voice actor Fujimura Ayumi, BONES founder Kawamoto Toshihiro, Psycho-Pass producers and directors Motohiro Katsuyuki, Shiotani Naoyoshi, Wada Joji, and last but not least, artists Aoi Eir and Haruna Luna. Aside from meeting up with new and old comrades, we had a chance to interview Kawahara Reki, as well as interview both Aoi Eir and Haruna Luna. Regarding Aoi Eir and Haruna Luna, we are very excited to share footage from their first North American concert at Sakura-Con featuring SUTORAIKUanime exclusive high-definition multi-track recorded audio. This post serves as a brief summary of the events we attended at Sakura-Con 2013.

We're going to Sakura-Con 2013

From March 29-31, SUTORAIKUanime's akinari-kun will be present at Seattle's Sakura-Con covering the event. This year, we've managed to secure a new sponsor Kurohi Photography who will be accompanying us on our trip providing us with their photography and filming expertise. We'll be attending most of the major events at the con and making sure to take lots of pics so be on the lookout for us!

Izakaya, what's the big deal?

I'll admit it, I love food. But more importantly, I love eating trying out different cuisines from all around the world. One of them is obviously Japanese food. Whether it be sushi or yakiniku, Japanese food simply possesses a mouth-watering attraction for everyone. It has been quite awhile since I've written up a WTBD post, so we'll be focusing on a popular type of Japanese restaurant, known as an izakaya.

Sakura-Con to Host Sword Art Online Mega Pack Guest Line-Up

Being the huge SAO fans we are, we were absolutely ecstatically delighted and rather surprised to discover that Sakura-Con would be hosting several musical guests and voice actors from SAO, as well as the creator of SAO. It may not be April yet, but fans of SAO may want to begin stocking up on merchandise for autographs.

Studio Ghibli 14 Film Retrospective Ticket Giveaway

We've teamed up with The Cinematheque in Vancouver to offer two sets of two tickets, one set for Facebook and one set for Twitter, to The Cinematheque's presentation of a massive 14 film Studio Ghibli retrospective in Vancouver, held from December 7 to January 3, in Japanese audio with English subtitles.

The Cinematheque and the Vancity Theatre Co-Host 14 Film Studio Ghibli Retrospective in Vancouver

The Cinematheque and the Vancity Theatre have teamed up to present a rare opportunity for fans of all ages to watch the screenings of 17 Studio Ghibli movies in Vancouver. This exclusive event begins on December 7, running until January 3, providing lots of time for those wishing to check out this retrospective of films to do so.

Happy 1000 posts!

Over the years, SUTORAIKUanime has really transformed from what was originally a pure personal hobby of mine, to a full-blown media outlet which shares anime and Japanese pop culture with the rest of the world. We've come quite a long way, and there are many individuals are have contributed to our success.

SUTORAIKUanime Exclusive: Interview with Nakata Jouji

SUTORAIKUanime is pleased to share our exclusive interview with the highly prolific and talented voice actor Nakata Jouji at Anime Revolution 2012. Questions were asked, and answers were given.

Anime Revolution 2012 - Special Guests

There were a couple guests which we were very excited to meet in person, one of which is none other than the legendary Nakata Jouji who we had a chance to interview featured in a separate post, and someone who's had an impact on my childhood via television, Sugar Lyn Beard.


SUTORAIKUanime Exclusive: Senbonzakura @ Anime Revolution 2012

One of the greatest things about attending anime conventions is bumping into many comrades, some plain-clothed, some cosplaying. We managed to catch this wonderful group of Vocaloid cosplayers, Sae, Anna and Alex.


Anime Revolution 2012 - We're Back!

After a long three days of tireless work, we're finally back from Vancouver's first Anime Revolution. Attending this convention was exciting in more ways than one, especially since this is the first local large-venue anime convention we have attended. Add on top the fact that we had a chance to meet with most, if not all of our local comrades, this was certainly a very memorable experience for us. We had the pleasure of speaking with and interviewing several special guests at Anime Revolution, including the well-respected and highly prolific Nakata Jouji, Sugar Lyn Beard, Terri Hawkes, and Ron Rubin just to name a few. Speaking of special guests, we were fortunate enough to have a chance to sit down with Nakata Jouji himself for a one-on-one interview, which is featured exclusively on SUTORAIKUanime. This post serves as a brief summary of the events we attended at Sakura-Con 2012.


Anime Revolution 2012 - Merchandise

Each anime convention has their own unique exhibitor's hall, where all the anime merchandise one could ever want is located. Anime Revolution had a rather small exhibitor's hall, which was somewhat surprising given that the actual venue was large, and many more stalls could have been squeezed in, offering much more variety and selection. Putting that aside, Etchimango and myself made our way through the sea of cosplayers and merchandise.


Anime Revolution 2012 - Cosplayers

One of the most exciting things to do at an anime convention is to see all the hoards of cosplayers in all different outfits, looking their best. At times, getting the perfect photos can be a difficult task, as it's simply impossible to have the camera ready all the time. Lighting conditions can also hinder the final product, though final editing via an image editing software is an option. The end result is definitely rewarding to both the photographer and the cosplayers, having their hard work shared with the rest of the online anime community.


Anime Revolution Cosplay Show 2012 - Leilica

SUTORAIKUanime had a chance to visit Anime Revolution's Cosplay Show at the Summer Night Market in Vancouver, BC. Japanese rock and pop cover band Leilica gave us a great performance with classic songs including Fuwa Fuwa Time from K-On! and Melt by Hatsune Miku.


We're going to Anime Revolution 2012

From August 17-19, SUTORAIKUanime's akinari-kun will be present at Vancouver's newest anime convention Anime Revolution. We'll be walking around snapping shots of great cosplayers, and bringing you the best material, including exclusive interviews and other exciting material. Make sure to be on the lookout for us!

SUTORAIKUanime Exclusive: Interview with Animenz

SUTORAIKUanime had a chance to sit down with Animenz, well-known around the interwebs for his world-class anime music transcriptions for the piano, to discuss his anime music transcription career, how it all began, his experiences, helpful tips, and what not. Otherwise known as Animenzzz on YouTube, all of his transcriptions are available for download on his website. Read more for the full interview.

Interview with Urobuchi Gen, Iwakami Atsuhiro, and Ota Katsushi

SUTORAIKUanime is pleased to share our exclusive interview with Fate/Zero and Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica writer Urobuchi Gen, along with producer Iwakami Atsuhiro and light novel publisher and president of Seikaisha Ota Katsushi at Sakura-Con 2012. Questions were asked, and answers were given. Ourselves, along with representatives from Radiant Dreamer, Within a Flash of Lightning, Japan-A-Radio, the O-Network Group and Sankaku Complex were present at this exclusive press conference.


How do you feel about cons here in North America, say, to the cons you've probably attended in Japan?

I feel there is a fundamental difference and this is my first time at an American convention. I have a question in reverse to everyone; do American otaku not feel the need to be completely forthcoming about their hobbies, something that they can't be fully proud of?

And so, that leads to this. Most Japanese otaku have some degree of self-loathing, and that leads to loathing of similar kin. So when Japanese otaku get together, they don't necessarily like each other, they don't treat each other necessarily that well. And that's the kind of self-loathing that I feel does not exist at Sakura-Con and I feel this is one of the biggest differences between Japanese otaku and Sakura-Con here.

I think it is very rare to see an otaku convention in Japan where all the attendees are so friendly towards each other.

I have yet to smell fans here. It seems like everyone bathes.

If you go to NatsuComi, there are lots of concentrations of people in one place. They do call Fuyucomi a battlefield in Japan, but it does not smell like a battlefield (at Sakura-Con). There is a lot of courtesy shown towards one other.

I've been to Anime Boston and Otakon, so I've been to a few other conventions. American fans are more positive and forthcoming and you can see it at the Fate/Zero screening yesterday (at Sakura-Con). The audience reaction we get between the battle of Archer and Berserker, that's not the kind of audience reaction you can get in Japan.

The Japanese audience is just as forthcoming when it is on Nico Nico Douga, so they're okay when they have a keyboard in front of them, just not physically.

I've been to the New York Comic Con, and one thing I felt that was more, rather than Japanese and the US, was the difference between west coast and east coast fans. I think West Coast fans are much more open.

When you're working on a particular story, in your respective positions, what exactly are you looking for in terms of content, or genre, or even marketability, or ratings or sales, what exactly are you looking for when you're working on a particular story?

One fundamental thing that I keep in mind and the priority that I have is that I have to have fun making my work, because if I'm not having fun working on it, I think it's something that the customer can tell, so that's not something that I'm willing to allow in my product to have.

As editor, what I do is to work with the writer, and having fun working with the writer is one of the priorities for me, and hopefully that will lead to something with good sales, but that's a separate question. And when it comes to ratings, if you mean by that maturity ratings, that's not something that's fully implemented in Japan, so perhaps that's not a top priority, perhaps that's a difference between Japan and the American market. Although if you mean ratings by numbers, the consequence of most shows comes in the sales of DVDs, so viewer ratings aren't exactly top priority either.

And for me, it's all about making an entertaining product, because as producer, I do have to think about business, but if the show is not entertaining it will not sell.

You mentioned in your Fate/Zero radio show, that your most ideal character would most likely survive your stories. What is your ideal character, or is there any character that you've written that is close to it?

In the context of Fate/Zero, there are four characters, Saber, Kiritsugu, Gilgamesh and Kotomine Kirei who survives to the end and continue on to Fate/stay night, but Kiritsugu shows up in stay night in name only and does not have much of a role there, so it's really Saber and Kirei who are pillar in Fate/Zero. But Saber's role is much bigger in Fate/stay night. The character that has the most presence in Fate/Zero would be Kotomine, so it's Kirei that's the pillar in Fate/Zero.

Just to clarify in the last question, you said that only four survived, but I recall that Waver survives as well? 

Waver does survive, but he does not show up in stay night. So when you consider characters that are consistent throughout Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night, Waver is not counted.

There's a lot of merchandising with Fate/Zero and Madoka Magica, for example, there's new Saber doll coming out in September. I'm just curious what your opinion is on merchandising?

Merchandising is not something that I've been conscious of, because if you look at the most orthodox form of magical girls show or Ultraman or Kamen Rider, these are merchandise centric shows. You come up with the merchandise first and you build a show around it to sell the merchandise. The creative endeavors that I've worked in have been the polar opposites of that; I've never had to think that way. But if I ever were, then I would adapt to the creative process

For example, if merchandising were a priority for the show, the toys need to be selling in the first week of broadcast, so it would be impossible for Madoka not to be transforming in the very first episode.

As for Madoka Magica, it's not the kind of show where we design the toys first and take it to Toys R Us and have it sold, but within the confines otaku culture, Madoka merchandise have been very successful, and those would be like Kyubey dolls that the otaku culture very strongly embraces. But none of these were prepared items, these were all licensees who loved the characters as merchandise potential and came to us asking us to license that so there was nothing that was prepared before the production of the show as targeted merchandise to go onto the market.

What would be your most memorable moments while producing Madoka Magica or Fate/Zero?

There are too many moments to say, but for Madoka Magica, that would be anticipating the reaction to the broadcast of episode three, I was just sitting upright in front of the TV and it was like waiting for what the doctor would tell me about my diagnosis.

Specifically for the Fate/Zero anime, when I went to see the screening of episode one, I was very impressed with the density of the content, I knew this was made by the same staff as Garden of Sinners, so there was much to be expected, but they exceeded a whole lot of my expectations and that was very great.

For Fate/Zero and this is probably the statute of limitation is probably transpired so I can probably talk about doujinshi. I was very excited to hear that Nasu and Urobuchi was going to do Fate/Zero but initially this was a doujinshi so it's nothing something I could openly help with, but since it's a non-professional job, so I wasn't fully impressed with their editorial design, so I was actually able to secretly help them with that, without letting my employer know, that's one memorable moment.

Also for the anime version, I wasn't involved in it from the very beginning. I joined production midway, so that was something I was anxious about, so I was very happy when the others invited me to join production.

I'm very surprised that my moments of anticipation were very much the exact same as Urobuchi, episode three of Madoka and episode one of Fate/Zero.

The third episode of Madoka was broadcast first in Osaka before Tokyo got that. Director Shingo and I were out to dinner while that was being broadcast, and we looked at the internet reaction the next day, it was as though the world had completely changed. We were anticipating that there might be a lot of split reaction to the episode, but we were impressed that a lot of viewers were thrilled by episode three.

Episode one of Fate/Zero was a big challenge because it was a one hour episode, and also because it was an episode without a single battle in it. That was all the result of the efforts that director Aoki put in. And so, episode three of Madoka was a big challenge, and episode one of Fate/Zero was a big challenge, and all these challenges were rewarded.

In regards to your respective anime shows, Madoka and Fate/Zero, there are several different music artists that are featured for the opening and ending sequences. How closely as producers and screenplay writers do you work with the musical artists such as Kalafina, LiSa and ClariS? Is there like a selection process in which individual artists are selected? How do you choose and how closely do you work with these artists?

As producer, it's my job to select artists and the song, so when the song is written I take it to the director and Urobuchi and show them and ask for their input.

And it was Urobuchi's specific request that he wanted to have Kawajiura Yuki as the composer, and he considered that a long shot, but since we already had worked with her for Garden of Sinners, it's something we went about and made possible.

When it comes to song selection, ClariS, Kalafina, LiSa are all Sony Music Group artists so we go to the large pool of artists that Sony music group has and work with them.

When it comes to tie ups, there used to be instances where existing songs were used for opening and closing, but as the shows become more popular, original songs are written that would synchronize better to the story and the original novel, so there's a better match between the songs and the shows.

During the Madoka panel, you guys asked the audience, how many of you have seen all 13 episodes of Madoka, and just about everyone in the audience including myself raised my hand. You know that it's not released in America yet, nor is it released on Crunchyroll. Which basically means that the only reason all these people saw all 13 episodes is because of fansubs. How do you feel about fansubbing in general?

In the context of IP, that's not something we can fully appreciate, but what I can appreciate is the enthusiasm as fans for the love and work that's shown, if there's effort to see that right after broadcast in Japan. But I certainly wish everything could be watched through legitimate means.

I almost wish there was a magical way to make revenue without relying on the IP mechanism. 

The Japanese population is approximately 100 million, and the unfortunate thing is that this is enough of a market to sustain the endeavors of most creative people there, so that producers and creators do not really have a market overseas in mind, and that's probably the mentality that needs to change, because we've come here to Sakura-Con and there are fans in demand for what we make overseas. If there's demand there needs to be service to that, and that's probably the best way to resolve the IP dilemma

In the context of trying to come up with a more legitimate way to watch, Fate/Zero has a simul worldwide release on Nico Nico Douga and I think that's the first step of what we can do. I'm sure there are friends who have watched it through fansub means rather than Nico Nico, but it's a start.

Actually I'd like to ask in reverse, are there any shortcomings of Nico Nico Douga that prevents you from watching it, or some ways that would enhance the viewing experience on Nico Nico?

Spoilers in the comment list right beside the video. For some it's a convenience in terms of the simulcast, but others may want to watch all 12 episodes in one sitting, instead of one per week. Also, internet in North American is generally not on par with internet speeds in Japan, which makes streaming videos somewhat of a hassle for those with slower internet connection speeds. 

I thought Bill Gates had established the fastest broadband network!

Perhaps it would be best to be able to purchase a digital copy, or have an option on Nico Nico Douga which allows one to purchase a digital copy, much like how Netflix works.

Let's wait for Iwakami's promotion in Aniplex. 

Just kidding.

Within the story of Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night, the Holy Grail War is something that is recurring. What other historical or mythological characters would you like to put into that story, and the quick follow-up question to that would be, have you seen the Deadliest Warrior?

As for deadliest warrior, I've heard this title for the first time, so it's not something I'm familiar with. For Fate/Zero I had free range to what I could do, so I'm pretty much happy with the heroes produced there. There are many creators in Japan who are being drawn into Kinoko Nasu's world and coming up with their own spinoffs to the Fate franchise, so they will be the ones to introduce new ideas of what kind of heroes to incorporate in the world.

In other version, other characters such as Jack the Ripper are even featured. One of my friends has written one.

This marks the end of the interview with Urobuchi-san, Iwakami-san and Ota-san.

Sakura-Con 2012 - Stereopony

One of this year's musical guests at Sakura-Con was all-girl Jrock band Stereopony. Known for their song "Hitohara no Hanabira", the 17th ED theme of Bleach, as well as "Namida no Mukou", the second OP theme for the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00.


Sakura-Con 2012 - Special Guests

The guest list this year at Sakura-Con was nothing short of spectacular. The big three, Urobuchi Gen, Iwakami Atsuhiro, and Ota Katsushi, took the spotlight, along with musical guests Moi dix Mois, Wakeshima Kanon and Stereopony, which we received exclusive photography access to and will be covered in a separate post, as well as our exclusive interview with the big three. Other guests who were also present included Zekkyou, the ToraDora! manga artist, along with Morita Masakazu and several other influential individuals from the industry.


Sakura-Con 2012 - Cosplayers

One of the most enjoyable things to do during a con is to feast your eyes on the endless stream of cosplayers flooding in from all directions. It can be difficult to have the camera ready on time, and in most situations, less-than-ideal lighting conditions make the photo-taking process slightly more taxing. With that being said, it's definitely rewarding to see the final product, and I'm sure cosplayers love to see their hard work shared with the rest of the online anime community.


Sakura-Con 2012 - Merchandise

Right after the opening ceremony ended, I made my way towards the exhibitor's hall, where all the anime merchandise one could ever want is located. Even though I tend to keep my expenses to a minimum during cons, due to the fact that purchasing online makes more financial sense to me, I do appreciate and enjoy window shopping and seeing all the great merchandise and unique items the individual exhibitors carry.


Sakura-Con 2012 - We're Back!

We're finally back from Sakura-Con, feet and legs numb, and wallet empty. For those who are unfamiliar with Sakura-Con, it is the largest anime convention in northwest US, located in Seattle Washington. This year, Sakura-Con was host to a whole array of big shot guests, including Urobuchi Gen along with Iwakami Atsuhiro and Ota Katsushi, Zekkyou, and all-girl J-Rock band Stereopony just to name a few. Speaking of Urobuchi Gen and his Aniplex crew, we managed to secure an exclusive press conference interview with Urobuchi, Iwakami and Ota, which will be featured on SUTORAIKUanime exclusively. This post serves as a brief summary of the events we attended at Sakura-Con 2012.


Itasha and drifting (Pt. II), what's the big deal?

About a year ago, the first WTBD? post kicked off the series of posts focusing on interesting aspects of Japanese pop culture and anime fandom. Now, almost a year after the first WTBD post, focusing on itasha and drifting and my personal passion towards anything remotely related to automobiles and motorsports, Noriyaro drift blog's founder, Alexi Smith, provides us once again with an awe-inspiring gallery of great itashas, straight from Japan.


Sakura and Hanami, what's the big deal?

With spring already arriving for several parts of the world, sakura trees are blooming with their blissful pink blossoms. Sakura is a term that is synonymous with Japan, and anime in general as a matter of fact. Scientifically speaking, the cherry blossom is the flower of a family of trees, particularly the Japanese Cherry, which is more commonly known and referred to as sakura, after the Japanese 桜 or 櫻; さく. With that being said, what makes the sakura tree so special, and what exactly is Hanami?


We're going to Sakura-Con 2012

From April 6-8, SUTORAIKUanime's akinari-kun and SabishiiMiruku will be present at Seattle's Sakura-Con covering the event, joined by Radiant from Radiant Dreamer, Lightning Sabre from Within a Flash of Lightning, Kai, and ToastCrust from Transistor Glamor. We'll be walking around snapping shots of great cosplayers, so make sure to be on the lookout for us!

Welcome to v2

It's finally here.

Aikido at Kotatsu 2012, what's the big deal?

While visiting Kotatsu, I went and checked out the Aikido demonstration, which was actually quite interesting actually.


Manga + Sorbet

I happened to drop by an izakaya last night before heading off to a concert. Once dessert came, I was genuinely surprised at what lay underneath the unassuming glass bowl.


Keitai straps, what's the big deal?

We've seen them in anime, we've seen them in Japanese shows, and we've seen them adorning the cell phones of not only Japanese youth, but essentially a large population of those who have a passion for Japan and anime. But what exactly makes these fashion accessories so attractive, and how did these seemingly simple straps become such a prominent part of Japanese pop culture?

Dancing Girl from has quite the collection of straps and dingalings on her iPhone

Omurice, what's the big deal?

Alright, we've all seen those oval shaped yellow blobs with words written on top using ketchup being served in maid cafés in anime shows. But what exactly are those yellow blobs, and why are they such a big deal? Put on your bibs as you'll be drooling the whole way through.

Itasha and drifting, what's the big deal?

As many of you may or may not know, I am a big-time auto enthusiast. And as many of you also may or may not know, I'm a big-time anime fan. What happens when two of my biggest passions are married into one, unique and awe-inspiring activity? Noriyaro drift blog's founder, Alexi Smith, gives us the low-down about what itashas are all about, and how they play a part in the Japanese drifting society.