A History of Anime: The Super Abbreviated Version – part 3 of 4 (1990-1999)

hideaki anno ultraman
Where we last left off in the previous exciting episode of this (mini)series, the anime industry was actually dying (as opposed to, you know, whatever people are saying about anime now), and Japan as a whole sure wasn’t look too healthy either. Anime needed a hero. A hero fresh from the fight… Continue reading

A History of Anime: The Super Abbreviated Version – part 2 of 4 (1970s-1989)

miyazaki hayao, oshii mamoru

Welcome back to the second ultra-exciting installment of the super abbreviated history of anime! I’d make a recap, but as far as I’m concerned this whole article series is the recap – so if you missed part one, go read it, it barely grazes 1000 words. Continue reading

A History of Anime: The Super Abbreviated Version – part 1 of 4 (1907-1970s)

tezuka osamu
There’s a bit of a story behind this article series. See, longer ago than I now care to admit, I finished up my PhD, and a couple years before that, there was a really rambling draft of a PhD that had way too many chapters – one of which was a history of anime. Said chapter was one of the first to be kicked out, because although writing it was definitely beneficial to my thought process, it was pretty useless as a finished product and did the overall PhD absolutely no favours. I enjoyed writing it though and didn’t want to just get rid of it, so the document just sort of hibernated for a few years somewhere in the darkest recesses of my computer, in a folder literally labelled ‘UNUSED WRITING’.

Until this year that is, when I was doing a computer clean-out and going through all my old crap to see what had been hiding in there. I then decided that my poor, long-winded chapter deserved a bit of fresh air, and who better to be subjected to it than a bunch of randoms on an anime blog? Fear not however, for the chapter has been severely edited for style and size. In fact, not only did I challenge myself to finally let the thing see the light of day, but I also challenged myself to cut it more or less in half. I was going to write a full history of anime in no more than 5000 words.

This is the end result.

Continue reading

5 First J-Pop and J-Pop Acts

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Japanese music can be potentially quite difficult for English-speaking listeners to get into, and not just because of the language barrier. With the record charts saturated by saccharine-sweet idol units such as AKB48 and their numerous sister groups, and bishounen-heavy boy bands like Arashi and Kis-My-Ft2, the industry might seem off-putting to those wanting something with a little more depth. However, even lovers of mainstream pop might find the comparatively high-pitched and sometimes rather nasal vocal style of many J-pop singers overly harsh on the eardrums – and besides all that, it can simply be tricky to know where exactly to begin. Continue reading

Lights, Sparkles, Action!: An Introduction to Magical-Girl Transformations

magical-girl transformation
It would be no exaggeration to say that the transformation sequence is one of the staple features of just about any magical-girl show out there. Indeed, thanks to classics like Sailor Moon, transformation sequences have become so rife within anime that even parodies of the trope have become commonplace. But what specifically does a transformation sequence signify, and what makes it such an integral part of magical-girl titles? Continue reading

Best J-Pop/J-Rock Albums of 2014

So many new albums, so little time. Each year I seem to listen to more than I did the previous one, and whether this year has been a poorer one for Japanese music or whether I’m simply continuing to become pickier, there’s a lot more in my discard pile this time around. Still, that doesn’t mean 2014 has been bereft of good music; as with the last two years, six albums managed to stand out from the rest – albeit every single one of them from a female artist or band. Continue reading

Motorbikes and Pompadours: The Bosozoku Style

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It would be no exaggeration to say that the majority of Japanese street fashion trends and subcultures that formed from the 1970s onwards were largely driven and characterised by women. While the likes of the lolita, gyaru, and mori girl subcultures (to name only a few) certainly have their male adherents and counterparts, most found their place in pop culture history via the female demographic – my primary focus so far whenever I’ve been discussing Japanese street fashion here on Otaku Lounge. Today however, I’d like to change things up a bit by turning my attention towards a subculture that, although picked up by some women in later years, originated in the hands of Japanese males. Continue reading

Bold, Blonde and Beautiful?: Gyaru Fashion and Style

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My last street fashion-centric article for Otaku Lounge being on Japan’s lolita subculture back in October, I thought it might be time for a look at another trend, and one which might even be considered by some as the antithesis of lolita fashion at that: the ever-evolving gyaru style. Continue reading