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Japan

A Fat Cat You Can Get Behind

Younger fur fans might not remember What’s Michael? the manga or the successful anime series that followed it — but over the years we’ve talked a LOT about Makoto Kobayashi’s creation: A somewhat lazy pet cat with a very active imagination. Well now the original manga return in a new black & white collection from Dark Horse Press. “True-to-life daily cat scenarios and off-the-wall crazy feline fantasies combine in this epic manga collection! Makoto Kobayashi’s hilarious series returns in a set of oversized collections, starting with our first Fatcat Collection!” Volume 1 is available now — and at more than 500 pages, even the book is fat!

image c. 2020 Dark Horse Press

Chibi and Tasty

Interesting things we found at this year’s Anime L.A. convention. The artist Ryan Zanfei has gathered together a small crew to sell her creations through a collective known as Tasty Peach Studios. And what are her creations? Cute! “Tasty Peach Studios… is a sweet, unique boutique that sells cute merchandise inspired by Japan! We started out selling small hand made clay charms and commissioned artwork through our little Etsy shop in 2007. Since then we have grown exponentially! We now attend upwards of 70+ anime conventions a year & ship high quality acrylic items, professionally made products and more world wide every day!” Those high quality items now include t-shirts, plushies, enamel pins, and even wigs — and more. Visit the Tasty Peach web site to see what we mean.

image c. 2020 Tasty Peach Studios

Temper, Temper!

And now thanks to Animation Scoop we find out about Dino Girl Gauko, a new collection of anime shorts by director Akira Shigino (Osomatsu-kun). “In this Netflix original comedy series set in Japan, Naoko Watanabe is a typical 14 year old, except that she possesses a strange gift and curse. When her anger exceeds a maximum level she turns into Gauko the fire breathing dinosaur girl!” Look for it to premier on Netflix this November the 22nd.

image c. 2019 Netflix

Karma Chameleon

This is an interesting new comic series from Action Lab with an attention-grabbing title: Cold Blood Samurai. Here’s what we found in Previews: “A feudal Japan with anthropomorphic and samurai animals inspired by Homer’s poem on ‘War of Mice and Frogs’… As in the classic poem, one tells of the futility of war and the desire for peace by Gaijin, a foreign salamander in a Japan of frogs invaded by lizards. ” Got that? It’s written by Massimo Rosi, illustrated by Ludovica Ceregatti, and on the shelves now.

image c. 2019 Action Lab

Delivered On Time — Or Else!

Just got back from Biggest Little Fur Con, and of course we’ve got lots to talk about. But first… Udon Entertainment have released the Samurai Pizza Cats Official Fan Book in North America. What’s that you ask? Well according to Wikipedia, “Kyatto Ninden Teyandee is an anime series produced by Tatsunoko Productions and Sotsu Agency. The series originally aired in Japan on TV Tokyo from February 1, 1990 to February 12, 1991… Saban picked up the North American rights to the series in 1991, and produced an English version called Samurai Pizza Cats.” Honestly, that explanation barely cat-scratches the surface of just how weird and wonderful this series was. Fan interest has not waned over the years, and now there’s a book all about it! “The Samurai Pizza Cats: Official Fan Book is packed with the best toppings: Pinup artwork, character designs and profiles, episode summaries, rough concepts, and exclusive in-depth interviews with the show’s creators and original cast.” Check out the preview over at Comicon.com.

image c. 2019 Udon Entertainment

The World in Black and White?

A very… unusual anime feature is heading to our shores this spring. “Los Angeles-based Eleven Arts Anime Studio has set April 12 as the theatrical release date for the sci-fi coming-of-age animated feature, Penguin Highway, which it will be distributing in the U.S. and Canada. Directed by Hiroyasu Ishida, the film won the Axis: The Satoshi Kon Award for Excellence in Animation award at the Fantasia International Film Festival for best animated feature and has also been nominated for the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. The film will screen with the original Japanese dialogue with subtitles as well as the English dub. In the film, budding genius Aoyama is only in the 4th grade, but already lives his life like a scientist. When penguins start appearing in his sleepy suburb hundreds of miles from the sea, Aoyama vows to solve the mystery. When he finds the source of the penguins is a woman from his dentist’s office, they team up for an unforgettable summer adventure!” Got that? Read the article at Animation World Network for more, including the trailer.

image c. 2019 Eleven Arts

Kaiju of Cuteness

Another monstrous item we somehow missed, but now we found out about it thanks to Antarctic Press — and Bleeding Cool. “Cower at the presence of Gao, colossal kaiju of cuteness! This lovable leviathan spends his days under the sea until visiting aliens convince him to make friends on the surface. Gao thus leaves the ocean depths, only to spread shock and d’awww in his wake. This adorable mountain of menace unleashes destruction with every step…but how can you be mad at a face like that?” GAO! was written and illustrated by Alfred Perez for some time as a mini-comic, but now the folks at Antarctic have brought it to light as a new full-color comic miniseries.

image c. 2018 Antarctic Press

Kitsune in kimonos

For a perhaps more traditional furry tale from Japan, look no further than Konohana Kitan. A manga series originally created by Sakuya Amano, it was adapted as a 12-episode anime series in 2017. It follows the adventures of Yuzu, a young “fox-youkai” spirit. Now TokyoPop have collected the original manga together in a new English translation. “Yuzu is a brand new employee at Konohanatei, the hot-springs inn that sits on the crossroads between worlds. A simple, clumsy but charmingly earnest girl, Yuzu must now figure out her new life working alongside all the other fox-spirits who run the inn under one cardinal rule — at Konohanatai, every guest is a god! Konohana Kitan follows Yuzu’s day to day life working at the inn, meeting the other employees and ever-eclectic guests, and learning to appreciate the beauty of the world around her.” Yip!

image c. 2018 TokyoPop

Beauty and the Beast King

Now from Yen Press we find a new black & white manga series with the descriptive title of Sacrificial Princess & The King of Beasts, written and illustrated by Yu Tomofuji. “A young girl has resigned herself to being he next sacrificial meal for the Beast King…but the king is no mere monster! Love is more than skin-deep in this gorgeous fantasy manga.” Which is available at Amazon.

image c. 2018 Yen Press