Master Roshi

Last weekend marked the bi-annual Comic Market in Tokyo, and this time, visitors were thrilled with an awesome Dragon Ball cosplay that people will probably be talking about for a while!

Pulled off by bodybuilder Taichi Shimizu, his costume was of Master Roshi in his Max Power form. For those who don’t know, the Max Power form is a power up that only Master Roshi has, where he can dramatically gain strength and muscle mass.

Since Shimizu pretty much has the whole strength and muscle mass thing covered, all he had to do was pull off the perfect costume, and I  must say, he sure did.

Pretty on point!!!

Natura Insects

For a new series titled Natura Insects, Montreal-based artist Raku Inoue arranged a variety of leaves and blooms to create the delicate components of stag beetles, butterflies, and other insects. While the same results could be easily produced using digital or collage techniques, Inoue pushed the concept even further and used real flowers which he then photographed as you see here.

This is soooo beautiful. Creative. Detailed and well executed.

One word: PERFECTION! You can see more from the series on Instagram

The Man Who First Played Godzilla Has Died

Haruo Nakajima, the suit actor who played Godzilla from 1954’s Godzilla to 1972’s Godzilla vs. Gigan, has died. He was 88.

Nakajima started his career playing small bit roles, but his big break was bringing Godzilla to life in its seminal debut. He would go on to play the character for the 12 consecutive films that followed over the next 18 years.

While the gig paid well, Nakajima said he didn’t initially get the respect he deserved donning the 100 kilogram Godzilla suit. “Back then, people didn’t speak positively of suit actors,” says Nakajima. “There’d be whispers going around that working inside (a suit) is not an acting job.”

The character he played is one of the most famous in movie history.

According to Sponichi Annex, Nakajima died yesterday afternoon after contracting pneumonia.

Rest in peace legendary sir!

Boys for Sale

Boys for Sale is a new documentary that explores the phenomenon of the urisen, or male brothel, in Tokyo, in which male sex workers, also called urisen, often identify as straight yet make themselves available to an all-male clientele for cash.

Directed by Itako in his first effort, the 76-minute film made its North American screen debut at Outfest in Los Angeles earlier this month.

Itako sat down with several of the sex workers to gather impressions of their world. British magazine Gay Times explains:

Itako visits famous gay district Shinjuku 2 Chome to sit down with several male prostitutes – or “urisen” – ranging from 19 to 30 years old, who discuss the ins and outs of their job in engrossing detail.

The sexually explicit experiences are presented as illustrations in a bid to represent all aspects of their lives on screen. Some of the boys choose to hide their identity by donning masks to hide their faces, while others just don’t care.

A large majority of the boys feature claim to be straight, and some of them have girlfriends. When asked how they’re able to sleep with men who they aren’t attracted to, one of the boys answered: “I’m detached. My mind goes blank.”

The boys share how they got into the business of selling their bodies, with some explaining that they hadn’t been dating at that time and they needed money. Many of them were homeless following being orphaned by natural disasters.

It also touches on broader issues such as the country’s hypocrisy when it comes to sex, and the spread of the HIV virus, which is not acknowledged by the government.

I gotta say the cute image Japan projects is the façade of a huge sex business and human traffic that is an open secret… People see what’s going on but nobody do/can’t do anything. 

Also, the fact that many male prostitutes are heterosexuals is a not a surprise whatsoever, here in Montreal is the same thing… lots of strippers, escorts and whatever else are in many cases also gay-for-pay.

Sad, fascinating, gross or whatever your opinion is, it takes a lot of courage to do what these people do.

And my only wish for all of them is that life keeps them safe.

Paper Twist 

In his menagerie of movable animal puppets, Japanese designer Haruki Nakamura adds a mechanical touch to the ancient art of paper crafting.

Inspired by kirigami, an origami-like technique that employs cuts in addition to folds, Nakamura creates paper dolls that move in unexpected and unusual ways.

Crafted from paper and cleverly constructed, each whimsical creature puts a paper twist on karakuri, or mechanized puppets. Like traditional karakuri, each figure’s movements are prompted by human touch.

This means that when pressed, poked, or prodded in certain places, the puppets come alive.

While Nakamura sells his delightful dolls in his online shop, they only ship within Japan. However, if you’re overseas and would like to get your paws on your own paper puppets, you can learn how to create your own with Karakuri: How to Make Mechanical Paper Models That Move. Or, if it’s kirigami that has piqued your paper interest, check out Kirigami: The Art Of Folding & Cutting Paper.


Ranma ½

IMG_0798Few days ago, checking the second hand bookstore I usually buy my stuff, I found this jewel: Ranma ½!

This manga is comedy gold and a piece of art.

Ranma ½ was also one of my favourite anime and is written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. Rumiko is one of Japan’s most affluent manga artists. Her works are popular worldwide, where they have been translated into a variety of languages.

Long story short, Rumiko is the best selling female comics artist in history; as of February 2010, over 170 million copies of her various works had been sold.

The story of Ranma ½  revolves around a teenage boy named Ranma Saotome who has trained in martial arts since early childhood. As a result of an accident during a training journey, he is cursed to become a girl when splashed with cold water, while hot water changes him back into a boy.

Throughout the series Ranma seeks out a way to rid himself of his curse, while his friends, random enemies (for the most absurd reasons) and MANY fiancées (the main and his love Akane, despite their trademark awkward love-hate manner) constantly hinder and interfere. The comedic formula lies in his sex-changing (sometimes for his own advantage) and sexualized characters. 

Here’s a video to give you an idea… 

The story gets more fun and with more characters.

I loved so much this manga that I even have some of the figures one of my ex’s gave me many years ago.

Anyway, I read it in 10 minutes. To me  Ranma still is one of the best mangas and characters EVER created. Pure GOLD!!