FEATURE: Anime vs. Real Life – “Hand Shakers”

Hand Shakers follows around high school student Tazuna, who one day visits a university hospital in Osaka. There he meets Koyori, a young white-haired girl who’s been bedridden and unconscious for quite some time. Being reminded of his deceased sister, Tazuna approaches Koyori, only for her to suddenly wake up and reach out for his hand. All of a sudden, both of them get dragged into a different dimension called Ziggurat. With the special powers they gain by holding hands, they now have to fight other Hand Shakers in order to get a wish granted by God himself.

To be honest, that premise sounds as generic as it could be, but you’ve got to hand it to GoHands, the studio’s unique and unmistakable visual style definitely makes the show stand out this season – for better and for worse. Now, you’ve probably gotten wind of the relatively negative buzz surrounding the show’s over-stylized art and animation direction, and while these accusations unfortunately hold true for the most part, I’d rather like to focus on one of the good aspects of Hand Shakers. The show actually has some pretty neatly traced photo backgrounds and its setting is based on some interesting real-world locations, but you’ll see that for yourself below. So, put on some fancy elevator music, and let’s jump straight to the comparison shots!


*All real-world images were taken with GOOGLE STREET VIEW (images I took myself are marked ‘WD’)



As I already mentioned above, Hand Shakers is set in Osaka, Japan’s third biggest city and second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo with over 19 million inhabitants. Osaka can be kind of described as the eternal second. Economically the city is being trumped by Tokyo, and culturally by the relatively nearby Kyoto. However, Osaka still has a lot to offer, and is a very unconventional and flashy town, making it the perfect setting for a show like Hand Shakers. By the way, studio GoHands is also located in Osaka. Personally, I’ll always associate the city with good food and the vivid Dotonbori area.





The Tempozan Ferris Wheel is the city’s largest Ferris wheel with a total of height of 112.5 meters. It’s located right next to the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and offers some spectacular views of the bay area. 




And that’s the just mentioned Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. I’m not the biggest fan of aquariums, but the cool whale sharks there were worth the visit. 




The Osaka City Central Public Hall.




Shitennoji Temple’s Gokurakumon Gate. Shitennoji Temple was founded in 593 by Prince Shotoku and is one of Japan’s oldest temples.




The Animate store in the Nipponbashi shopping district, which is basically Osaka’s equivalent of Akihabara. You’ll see Animate stores pop up quite often in Hand Shakers, as the anime is meant to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Animate chain. 





Hanshin Koshien Stadium.





The Shinsekai (literally translates to “new world”) in Osaka has gained the reputation of being one of Japan’s more disreputable and dangerous neighborhoods, at least by Japanese standards. The neighborhood’s northern half was modeled after Paris, and the southern half after New York. The Tsutenkaku Tower in the center is the district’s landmark, and was modeled after the Eifel Tower. 





Takashimaya Osaka Store to the right. 




Dotonbori is one of Osaka’s most popular tourist destinations. It was originally a theater area, but is now considered a very popular nightlife and entertainment district. The area is shaped by its many neon billboards and mechanized signs, the most prominent being the Glico Running Man sign on the right here. It’s definitely my favorite spot in Osaka. The Dotonbori signboards and the Ebisu Bridge in the foreground were also shown in Hand Shakers’ key visual. 






I’ll talk about Osaka Castle in more detail a little further down. 







In the fourth episode of Hand Shakers, Tazuna and Koyori lure Hayate and Chizuru, another pair of Hand Shakers, atop Osaka Castle for their all-out battle. Like many of the castles in Japan, this one too has often been destroyed and rebuilt. Construction began in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but the castle was destroyed soon after his death by Tokugawa troops. The castle was rebuilt in 1620, but the castle’s main tower soon after burned down by a fire caused by lightning in 1665. In 1931, the main tower of the castle was again reconstructed in the center of Osaka Castle. 





The castle now houses a museum about its history. Also, the view up there is pretty nice. 






Tazuna strolls around Dotonbori here with the Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade in the background. 





The yellow construction to the left is the Don Quixote Ferris Wheel.




Despite suffering a bitter defeat against Tazuna and Koyori, Hayate and Chizuru still decide to celebrate at one of Osaka’s most famous crab restaurants, the Kani Doraku. Chizuru forces Hayate to pay for their meal, and as he correctly states, it’s quite expensive. The mechanized crab outside of the restaurants is of the Dotonbori’s most iconic signs. 


Have you ever been to Osaka yourself, and what are your thoughts about Hand Shakers? Sound off in the comments below! 

You can follow Wilhelm on Twitter @Surwill.


Time-Limited “Ojamajo Doremi” Shop to Open in Ikebukuro Next Month

Toei Animation today announced that a time-limited shop dedicated to its Ojamajo Doremi anime franchise will open in the Limited Base section on the third floor of the Ikebukuro P’PARCO department store between March 17 and April 5. The section has currently opened a store for Digimon Adventure tri. till March 15. 


To mark the special occasion, the anime’s original character designer Yoshihiko Umakoshi (HeartCatch PreCure!, My Hero Academia) provides newly-drawn illustrations for the store. During the period, shoppers will randomly receive one of the six special postcards featuring his Ojamajo Doremi character illustrations with each purchase of at least 3,000 yen. The limited items offered at the store include: a premium music box with the melody of “Ojamajo Carnival!” (TV anime 1st season’s OP song), back charms, scrunchies, ball-point pens, and spoons.


The first four Ojamajo Doremi TV anime series, Ojamajo Doremi, Ojamajo Doremi #, Mo~tto! Ojamajo

Doremi, and Ojamajo Doremi Dokka~n!, was aired in Japan from 1999 to 2002, then the 13-episode OVA

Ojamajo Doremi Na-i-sho was released from 2004 to 2005. Kodansha has published the sequel light novel

series Ojamajo Doremi 16, which is set three years after the 4th TV anime, focusing on the protagonist

characters who become high school students.



Event main visual





Source: Toei Animation press release


(C) Toei Animation



Polygon Pictures Counts Down to AnimeJapan 2017 with “Godzilla” Concept Art

AnimeJapan 2017 is just around the corner, and the official Twitter feed for the upcoming Godzilla 3DCG theatrical anime has released another piece of concept art in anticipation of the massive industry event at Tokyo Big Sight.



The new concept art depicts the interior of a high tech hangar, where tiny figures inspect a levitating mecha that bears a passing resemblance to the Super X “flying fortress” anti-Godzilla vehicle from The Return of Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Biollante, and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.



The Godzilla anime is directed by Kobun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Seshita and features animation by Polygon Pictures. Additional information about the production will be released as a special stage event that will be held on the Red Stage at 9:20 AM on March 26, 2017, at the Anime Japan 2017 convention at Tokyo Big Sight.


Source: Official Godzilla anime Twitter feed (@GODZILLA_ANIME)


Paul Chapman is the host of The Greatest Movie EVER! Podcast and GME! Anime Fun Time.


Crunchyroll Adds “Umi Monogatari” and “Gasaraki” to Anime Catalog

A week of new additions to the ever-growing, ever-expanding back catalog of anime at Crunchyroll wraps up with two more titles from the Nozomi Entertainment roster: Umi Monogatari and Gasaraki


Both titles will be available for all members in the US and Canada starting at 4pm PST.



About Gasaraki

The flames of war are fanned in the Middle East as two secretive forces unleash their latest weapons of mass destruction. But in a world where giant robots take their place on the battlefield, the most dangerous weapon of all lies buried within a human mind. Yushiro, the fourth son of the mysterious and powerful Gowa family, finds himself at the center of events that may change the future of mankind forever!


About Umi Monogatari

Marin and Urin are sea folk, people who live in a peaceful underwater world surrounded by bright fish and colorful coral. But one day, a beautiful ring falls from the “sky” – that dangerous place above the water – and the two girls decide to return the lovely trinket to its owner.

While the surface world holds amazing wonders for the pair, it also hides a great darkness… a darkness that Urin accidentally unleashes when she opens a stone box at a local shrine. Now it’s up to Marin, Urin, and their new friend Kanon to set things right again before that darkness swallows the entire world!



Patrick Macias is editor in chief of Crunchyroll News & Otaku USA magazine.

He is currently serializing his latest writing project, MONDO TOKYO, on Wattpad.


Akitaro Daichi Preparing New Anime Collaboration Work with Hisashi Eguchi

61-year-old anime director Akitaro Daichi, well known for his directorial works for Kodomo no Omocha (1996-1998), Jubei-chan (1999, 2004), Fruits Basket (2001), and the most recent Ninja Girl & Samurai Master (2016), revealed on his official Twitter that he is now preparing a new anime project featuring characters designed by acclaimed manga artist Hisashi Eguchi (Susume!! PiratesStop!! Hibari-kun!). 


According to Daichi’s blog post on January 6, the project was originally launched 18 years ago in 1999, after he directed his three original anime works, Jubei-chan (1999), Now and Then, Here and There (1999) and Tsukikage Ran (2000). It was almost getting a greenlight for production, but failed because of his own mistake. He still believes it will be his best work in his career and Eguchi’s characters are needed to make it perfect. While not much details are revealed, Daichi confirms it is a “hard-boiled gag” detective story set in Yokohama. A presentation for the project is scheduled in the beginning of next week.


Eguchi previously worked on character designs for three anime: Roujin Z (1991/Hiroyuki Kitakubo), Perfect

Blue (1997/Satoshi Kon), and Uninhabited Planet Survive! (2003). But he said that he was fired in the middle

of production for Perfect Blue because his work was too slow.



Rough character sketches by Eguchi



Daichi and Eguchi at an izakaya



From Eguchi’s “KING OF POP Eguchi Hisashi All Works 1977-2015”


Source: Twitter posts by Akitaro Daichi, Hisashi Eguchi



“Dragon Ball Heroes: Ultimate Mission X” Promo Previews Card-Based Action

The card-based Dragon Ball Heroes action continues in Japan this April with Dragon Ball Heroes: Ultimate Mission X on Nintendo 3DS. Five-on-five battles make up the meat of the game, which features over 36 missions and a series-high 240+ characters. Bandai Namco shared the first full promo, so check out some of the features, customization, and gameplay below. 



Dragon Ball Heroes: Ultimate Mission X hits 3DS in Japan on April 27.



Joseph Luster is the Games and Web editor at Otaku USA Magazine. You can read his webcomic, BIG DUMB FIGHTING IDIOTS, every week at subhumanzoids. Follow him on Twitter @Moldilox.


Get Dressy with Stylish “Utena” Rose Crest Shirt

There’s nothing like low-key geek wear that you can wear anywhere and still show off your hobby. Arma Bianca is back again with a new design to help you do just that: a ladies’ white dress shirt with a subtle embroidered rose crest.



The new Revolutionary Girl Utena shirt may not be as cozy as the hoodies that just came out, but you can definitely get away with wearing it to a business function. The shirt-styled blouse is made of 100% cotton and has a small gold rose crest embroidered on the left, as well as an Utena patch on the right front shirttail.



The shirts, size M, are currently available for preorder, and will ship out this May. AmiAmi sells them at a 15% discount — 5,470 yen (about $48.18) — with a limit of three per household. A size L is also available for the same prize.


Source: AmiAmi




Kara Dennison is responsible for multiple webcomics, blogs and runs interviews for (Re)Generation Who and PotterVerse, and is half the creative team behind the OEL light novel series Owl’s Flower. She blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos.


Soccer Manga “Knight in the Area” to End in Five Chapters

Knight in the Area, penned by Kindaichi Case Files and GetBackers creator under the pen name Hiroaki Igano, announced in the most recent issue that the long-running soccer manga will be concluding in five chapters.



Started in 2006, Knight in the Area tells the story of young former soccer player Kakeru who returns to the game after receiving a heart transplant from his late older brother in a car accident. The manga was adapted into a 37-episode anime by Shin-Ei Animation (Doraemon, Atashin’chi) in 2012.


The manga currently spans 55 volumes, the first of which can be read online in Japanese on its official site.


Source: pKjd




Kara Dennison is responsible for multiple webcomics, blogs and runs interviews for (Re)Generation Who and PotterVerse, and is half the creative team behind the OEL light novel series Owl’s Flower. She blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos.


“Stranger of Sword City Revisited” Trailer Prepares for an Enhanced Dungeon Crawl

Experience is returning to Sword City in an enhanced version of the RPG previously released by NIS America. Stranger of Sword City Revisited adds more classes, items, a new dungeon, and reworks the combat and gameplay for a different experience than the original, and you can see some of that new content in the trailer below. 



Stranger of Sword City Revisited hits PS Vita in North America digitally on February 28, and a demo will be available, complete with transferable save data, on the same day. 



Joseph Luster is the Games and Web editor at Otaku USA Magazine. You can read his webcomic, BIG DUMB FIGHTING IDIOTS, every week at subhumanzoids. Follow him on Twitter @Moldilox.


“Love and Lies” Anime Adaptation Coming This Summer

An announcement went out this weekend that Love and Lies, a manga distributed on the Manga Box app, will be treated to an anime adaptation this summer. Behind the adaptation is Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches director Seiki Takuno, working once again with LIDEN FILMS.



The story takes place in the not-too-distant future, at a time when the people have Japan have their spouses chosen for them by the government upon turning 16 years old. The main character, a typical Japanese schoolboy and notorious underachiever, is about to turn 16 — but his heart already belongs to someone. The manga has been running on Manga Box since 2014.



The anime adaptation of Love and Lies begins airing this summer — which is also when Kodansha USA will begin distributing the manga in North America.


Source: Nandaka Omoshiroi




Kara Dennison is responsible for multiple webcomics, blogs and runs interviews for (Re)Generation Who and PotterVerse, and is half the creative team behind the OEL light novel series Owl’s Flower. She blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos.