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Anime Review: Ayatsuri Sakon aka Puppet Master Sakon

Based on the manga series Karakurizōshi Ayatsuri Sakon written by Masaru Miyazaki!

Ayatsuri Sakon puppet-master-sakon-3If you love a good murder mystery anime, definitely check out Ayatsuri Sakon otherwise known as “Puppet Master Sakon.” Despite its airing in 1999, this anime continues to be one of my favorites even today.

Ayatsuri Sakon follows a young man named Sakon Tachibana. Sakon hails from a family famous for Bunraku, which is a traditional form of Japanese puppet theatre. Despite being the grandson of the great Bunraku master, Tachibana Zaemon, Sakon manages to remain a Read more…

DVD Review: Another Complete Collection (2012)

March 10, 2014 1 comment

A twelve episode series based on the novel by Yukito Ayatsuji.

Another DVD coverThere are some animes that hit you so hard, you will never forget them. They take you through twists and turns, and no matter how many times you think you’ve figured out what’s happening and what will happen, each time you are wrong. When it’s all over, you find out you were dead wrong. Another is one of those animes.

This show is the animated version of the manga that was illustrated by Hiro Kiyohara. Both works are Read more…

Anime Review: Hakuoki

March 2, 2014 1 comment

Yukimura Chizuru’s father holds the key to Japan’s bloodshed. She must find him!

Hakuoki  anime seriesThe Hakuoki series, which includes two seasons and a third season that acts as a prequel, is a romantic take on historical characters and events, with a bit of vampire/mysticism thrown in for good measure. The mystical nature of the show is not an unusual turn for anime to take, but this series manages to be both intriguing and action-packed while remaining Read more…

Review: Hunter x Hunter (2011)

February 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Remake of the 1999 TV series of Hunter x Hunter based on the manga by Togashi Yoshihiro!

Hunter x Hunter*Spoiler alert: I’ve tried to not reveal too many key details about the show here, but if you’re just starting the series and are trying to learn more about it, be aware that I have given a few big surprises away.* !

Even though the original anime series Hunter x Hunter came out in 1999, it’s easy to see why it remains Read more…

Book Review: The Thief By Fuminori Nakamura

December 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Translated by Satoku Izumo and Stephen Coates.

The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura translated by Satoku Izumo and Stephen Coates Nishimura is a seasoned pickpocket, weaving through Tokyo’s crowded streets, in search of potential targets. He has no family, no friends, no connections… But he does have a past, which finally catches up with him when his old partner-in-crime reappears and offers him a job he can’t refuse. Suddenly, Nishimura finds himself caught in a web so tangled and intricate that even he might not be able to escape.

When seen on the bookshelf the cover of black printed letters on bright yellow jumps out so it’s impossible to miss. The effect it has is perfect, and Read more…

DVD/Blu-ray Review: It’s A Beautiful Day (Kuso subarashii kono sekai)

November 20, 2013 1 comment

An Asian/American horror film directed by Kayoko Asakura!

It's a Beautiful daySet in California, It’s a Beautiful Day (‘Kuso subarashii kono sekai’), directed by Kayoko Asakura (‘Hide and Seek’), is an infusion of Asian and American horror with ample gory and brutal moments involving disfigurement that will gratify the most hardened splatter fan.

Ah-Jung, played by Kkobbi Kim, is a Korean student studying in America. She’s been invited by her Japanese friend Takako (Amagi Chika) to accompany her and a group of four other Japanese students on a trip to Read more…

Art Exhibition: Kabuki – Japanese Theatre Prints

November 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Come face to face with Kabuki theatre’s most famous characters!

Miya, from the series Tokaido gojusan-tsugi no uchiVenue: National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Date: 4th October 2013 – 2nd February 2014

The opening up of Japan to the rest of the world after Commodore Perry’s 1853 visit sparked a craze in the West for Japanese art and design. Called Japonisme it began in the late 1850s and peaked with and after what is considered by some the most pivotal event in the history of Japanese art in the West; the exhibition of Sir Rutherford Alcock’s collection of Read more…

DVD Review: Vampire Princess Miyu The Complete Collection 6-Discs

July 8, 2013 2 comments

Shape-shifting monsters and vampires roam the Earth to unleash their darkness upon the human race!

Vampire Princess Miyu Collection DVD coverThe original story was written and illustrated by Toshiki Hirano and Narumi Kakinouchi for Tokyopop manga in the US, and it stands as the first of Tokyopop’s mangas to be released as an anime. Viewers will notice that the first disc doesn’t have any opening or closing credits to give the impression of a longer featurette, but after this disc, they decided to use the episodic style which many are now familiar with. For viewers this first disc will be seen as a piece of anime Read more…

Netsuke Exhibitions In London And Budapest

July 5, 2013 4 comments

All great art should evoke reaction and the netsuke in these collections certainly are evocative!

Sennin with snake cat 11

Invented in 17th century Japan netsuke are miniature sculptures carved in a variety of mediums such as ivory, wood and bone that were used to secure the cords attached to small boxes, sagemono (the most popular of which were called inrō) which were hung from the sash, or obi, of a kimono and in which were Read more…

DVD Review: Ga-Rei-Zero Collection

June 2, 2013 2 comments

A prequel to the popular manga by Hajime Segawa!

Ga-Rei-Zero CollectionThis anime series comes with an extra tag line of will you kill someone you love, because of love? And that is an interesting question to ask, even after seeing the first couple of episodes. Love can mean anything here, friendship, the love of being in a relationship, or the love of a brother or sister. The first disc is more about Toru, Kagura and Yomi, as their love for each other is what can be either their salvation or their undoing.

Ghost Hunt could be the nearest series to this one with its team of paranormal investigators going deeper into the dangerous world of spirits, Read more…

Book Review: From The Fatherland, With Love By Ryu Murakami

A major new novel by the critically acclaimed author of Coin Locker Babies!

From the Father Land with LoveIn a possible worst-case scenario, Murakami has plunged Japan into despair as North Korea has made its move to attack and take over Fukuoka, holding the people hostage. The North Korean government plots to invade and start with three plans of action; one consisting of nine commandos sneaking into Japan to occupy certain areas, two happens two hours later with a drop of four SOF air companies who will take over the beachhead, while three has a hundred and twenty thousand troops landing on Hakata Bay, and the name of the operation is From the Fatherland, with Read more…

DVD Review: Nura – Rise of The Yokai Clan Season 1 Part 1

April 22, 2013 3 comments

Based on the manga by Hiroshi Shibashi

Nura coverJapan is reputedly one of the most haunted countries in the world and the TV anime Nura – Rise of the Yokai clan makes use of a wide selection of demons (yokai) from Japanese folklore and places them in modern day Tokyo.

Life can be tough for most humans but spare a thought for good-natured twelve-year-old Rikuo Nura who has to deal with being a quarter demon. Rikuo may seem like a normal schoolboy but he lives amongst yokai who belong to the Nura clan which is led by his grandfather, the Supreme Commander of the Night Parade of One Hundred Demons. With Rikuo’s Read more…

Music Review: Raychell “L>R”

The eagerly anticipated debut album from Japan’s hottest new singing sensation!

Release date: 24 April 2013

Raychell - album sleeve  CD + DVD

This dazzling assortment of songs which consists of a mixture of styles from rock to dance confirms that Raychell is a singer – songwriter of immense talent who is equally comfortable performing ballads as she is up-tempo songs. Her vocal skills are outstanding. She can make a simple tune sound full of meaning and an intricate melody sound easy on the Read more…

Art Exhibition Review: Works On Nature & Dance/Movement By Hiroko Imada

March 21, 2013 6 comments

Expressive moods in colour!

Hiroko Imada art exhibition Riverside Studio GalleryRiverside Studios Gallery London - 16 March – 7 April 2013

On Monday, 18 March Diverse Japan attended a private viewing of the exhibition Works on Nature & Dance/Movement by Japanese artist Hiroko Imada, which is being held at the Riverside Studios Gallery in London from 16 March until 7 April (see foot of post for opening times). The exhibition is registered with Read more…

DVD Review: Blue Exorcist Part 2 – Episodes 14 – 25

Rin defies his Hellish heritage and enrols at the True Cross Academy, determined to become the world’s strongest exorcist.!

Blue Exorcist Part 2Blue Exorcist Part 2 is the final collection of Manga Entertainment’s release of the popular shounen anime title. It covers episodes 14 to 25 and it features an increase in macabre monsters, creepy characters and awesome action as the show reaches its climax.

At the end of the first collection 15-year-old Rin Okumura and his new-found friends at the True Cross Academy have advanced a level in their Exorcist training to the rank of Ex-Wires. Rin and his Read more…

DVD Review: Needless Part 1 Episodes 1-12

February 20, 2013 1 comment

An anime series about a group of post-holocaust survivors with extraordinary powers!

Needless Part 1 DVD coverIt is the year 2130, 50 years after the catastrophic events of World War III. Where Tokyo once stood, there is now a nuclear contaminated hole full of rubble and destruction, known as ‘The Black Spot’. Now populated by refugees and outcasts, many of The Black Spot’s inhabitants have developed special powers ranging from telekinesis to super strength, speed and even transmutation. These powers are known as ‘fragments’ and the people who wield them known as the ‘Needless’. Read more…

DVD Review: Chaos; Head Collection

February 10, 2013 4 comments

From the mind that brought you Death Note comes a schizophrenic anime experience!

Chaos HeadBased on a virtual novel developed for the PC (and later Playstation and XBox systems) by 5pb and Nitroplus and consequent Manga adaptation, Chaos Head (also known as the stylised ChäoS;HEAd) is a psychological thriller with sci-fi and fantasy elements.

The story follows Takumi Nishijō, an otaku with a love of action figures and dolls, specifically of his favourite anime heroine, Orgel Seira. He is reclusive and a self confessed ‘hermit’ with most of his social integration taking place Read more…

Theatre Review: Anjin: The Shogun And The English Samurai

February 9, 2013 6 comments

A lavish three-hour stage production of the relationship between William Adams and Shogun to be Tokugawa Ieyasu!

Anjin - The Shogun and the English SamuraiOn the 12th April 1600, some six months before the battle of Sekigahara took place on 20th October that same year, the first Englishman to step foot in Japan, William Adams (Stephen Boxer), arrived off the coast of the Japanese province of Bungo in the Dutch ship the Liefde. It was a combination of these events which, that year, brought together and changed the fortunes of two men; William Adams, a maritime pilot from Gillingham, and the Shōgun to be Tokugawa Ieyasu (Masachika Ichimura), a descendant of the Minamoto and the wealthiest Daimyō (Lord) in Japan at Read more…

DVD Review: Persona 4 The Animation Volume 1

January 24, 2013 1 comment

An adaptation of the hugely popular Persona 4 videogame!

Persona 4 The Animation - Volume 1High school dramas form a large majority of anime series, and can be set in many genres. Persona 4 contains fantasy situations that happen to the students outside of school and one student in particular, Yu has moved into the area, experiencing some strange phenomena from a TV left on overnight. As he is new he has to make sure that he keeps up a good profile if he wants to make friends, but once he does, his life will change forever.

Chie and Yukiko want to welcome Yu as he is the new guy, but he’s finding it difficult settling into the school routine even if Read more…

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