“JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” to Hit Silver Screen

Josuke from “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable”

It seems that the stars of bizarre oddities have aligned, as it’s been reported by Hollywood Reporter that a “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” movie is happening. Not only that, it’s being directed by the Japanese king of strange, Takashi Miike.

For the uninitiated, “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” is a multi-generational story about the Joestar family bloodline (which of course hits some name changes here and there), who always get pulled into situations in which they rally with a group of others to take down an impending evil that seems to be attracted to them. Aside from the fact that there are multiple protagonists in a jumping timeline, it’s the style, insanity, and memorable characters that gives it its flavor (think of it as a mix of “Fist of the North Star” with a dash of “Dragonball”), as well as a heaping dosage of pop culture references in the names of the characters and their abilities (Dio, Robert E.O. Speedwagon, and Cars being a few of the standouts). With a manga that’s been in print since 1987, as well as an anime series currently in it’s 4th chapter, an animated feature film, video games, and novels, it’s amassed a huge following that’s only become more popular since the new series was released several years ago.

Being joint produced by Warner Bros. and Toho, the movie is primarily focused on the 4th chapter that the anime series is currently on, “Diamond is Unbreakable.” The story focuses on Josuke Higashikata (being played Kento Yamazaki), and his life being turned upside down when he finds out he’s the illegitimate child in the Joestar bloodline. He finds out from his relative, Jotaro Kujo, who’s also investigating a rise in people with powers called Stands in Josuke’s hometown of Morioh. But during the investigation, a whole slew of dark secrets and problems arise, including who’s manufacturing these Stand users and a serial killer who lives inside their once quiet town. While it’s not the most cohesive chapter of the series, which has quite a fair share of filler, it’s over the top nature and great characters help move things along with pure entertainment.

Takashi Miike – picture by Gareth Cattermole

Takashi Miike is probably the most natural choice for this movie. Although the quality in his filmography has been somewhat inconsistent, he no doubt has an eclectic mix of genres that has an unmistakable style. His off-beat humor, use of ultraviolence to near comedic effect, and an absolute earnest devotion to strangeness make him probably the only person who can give this epic justice. It also helps that he’s no stranger to adaptations, as he’s helmed several movies based on manga (“Ichi the Killer,”), videogames (“Yakuza,” “Phoenix Wright”), and remakes (“13 Assassins,” “Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai”). If you want a good idea of what this movie’s style will probably end up being like, “Ichi the Killer” and his latest release “Yakuza Apocalypse” will probably give you the best idea of what’s in store.

While not much else is known, it was accidentally revealed (and then elaborated on) that filming would happen near Barcelona, Spain, which according to Miike has the style similar to that of Morioh, and that the movie will receive a global release in Summer 2017.

Five Things to Binge On for the Rest of the Holiday

Christmas is over. Hanukkah’s over. Your obligations to your family, hopefully, are over. And now you’re sitting in the house, wondering what you’re going to do until New Years. Now’s the perfect time to start binging on your favorite geek entertainment. But there’s so much to choose from these days – what should you watch or play or read, and what’s a waste of your time? Here’s our top five recommendations, as put together by the Ace of Geeks Staff.

Marco Polo
Where to get it: Netflix
Too…much…smoulder.

 
Netflix’s first attempt at having their own Game of Thrones, Marco Polo is the story of the titular explorer’s time as the prisoner/servant/butler of the Kublai Kahn. As a Netflix series, you can watch the entire show right this damn minute, and you should. While it might not have the zeitgeist of Thrones, Marco Polo has been full of the kind of intrigue and excitement fans of Martin’s books and show have been craving. Lead actor Lorenzo Richelmy – an actual Italian, playing an Italian, imagine that – has been playing the explorer with a swagger that’s fun to watch, and the rest of the cast is just as good. Since the show takes place in Mongolia, we’re blessed with a whole host of really talented Asian actors, something that television has been sorely lacking these days. Spend a few hours checking up a romanticized version of a fun story.
Other Drama Recommendations: Downton Abbey, before the new season starts January 4th.
Selfie
Where to get it: Hulu
 
And speaking of talented Asian-American actors finally getting their due, here’s John Cho, everybody. We were a little tepid on Selfie when it first premiered, but since that time the unfortunately-cancelled show has come into its own. The entire season (so far) is on Hulu right now, and you owe it to yourself to check out the excellent chemistry between Karen Gillian and John Cho. This is one of the few sitcoms of the last few years that’s managed to make me laugh consistently, and at least two other members of our staff agree. Worth your time, despite the stupid name.
Other Comedy Recommendations: Community; Marry Me; The Colbert Report
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Where to get it: Steam, Xbox, Playstation
 
Some of my staff suggested Skyrim. (Ok, a lot of my staff.) Others suggested Dragon Age: Inquisition, which we were a little divided on. But for my money, if you’re going to sink hundreds of hours into a game this week, it should be Shadow of Mordor. The plot may be a little thin, but you cannot beat the fun of Mordor’s Nemesis System. The game continually creates legions of named Uruks, with their own quirks, strengths, and weaknesses, and sends them after you with aplomb. Everyone has their own favorite pet Uruk, the one who came back to challenge you again and again, no matter how many times you put him down. Mine was named – I shit you not – Duch the Poet. He wrote little limericks for me every time I put him down. I was really sad the last time we faced, and I took off his head.
Other Game Recommendations: Dragon Age: Inquisition; Skyrim; Halo: Master Chief Collection; Bayonetta 2; Your Steam Backlog.
Parasyte
Where to get it: Crunchyroll
 
Parasyte tells the story of a boy and his hand. No, not like that. In the world of this new anime, alien parasites have replaced the brains of some of humanity, taking over their bodies and turning them into warped monsters. Shinichi Izumi is similarly attacked, but the alien is only able to replace his hand, giving it infinite transformations and mutations. The two quickly bond, and begin defending themselves against antagonistic Parasites. It’s certainly a weird (and graphically violent) concept, but it’s a lot of fun to watch as the pair become friends and do battle with all sorts of weird looking alien creatures. A great mix of comedy and body horror.
Other Anime Recommendations: Sword Art Online II; The Devil is a Part Timer; The Legend of Korra (Did I just start a fight in the comments by calling that an anime?)
Serial
Where to get it: iTunes
If you haven’t heard of it, you will. The first podcast to truly go viral, Serial is being listened to by your coworkers, your friends, your family, even your enemies. Do you want to go into your next swordfight to the death and not have a witty quip about Best Buy and payphones to make? In all seriousness, though, Sarah Keonig’s investigation into the 1990s murder of Hae Min Lee is a fascinating listen, with a ton of surprising twists and turns. Now that the entire season is out, it’s the perfect time to catch the whole story. Just don’t expect a perfect resolution – like real life, the truth may not be as simple or as easy as we’d like.
Other Podcast Recommendations: Welcome to Nightvale, The Thrilling Adventure Hour, The Nerdist Podcast, The Ace of Geeks Podcast. (Come on, I had to.)
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An Anime Expo Retrospective: The Long Beach Years

 

 

 

Anime Expo, a
Thirteen-Year Retrospective
Part One: the Long
Beach Years
When I came back from Anime Expo 2014, I realized it was my 13th consecutive Anime Expo.
Sigh.
Yes, a sigh, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  It’s a sigh of exhaustion from all the
different things I did.  It’s a sigh of
both joy and sadness as I saw, but had to say goodbye to, some longtime
friends.  It’s also partially a sigh of
some deep thought, since Anime Expo used to be the most exciting thing of the
summer, at some point even more than San Diego Comic Con.  Now, it’s not, and not simply because of
SDCC.
The Long Beach Years (2001 -2003)
I first went to Anime Expo in 2001, the summer after my junior
year in high school.  These were the
years (2001-2003) that it was at the Long
Beach Convention Center, right after AX was asked to not come back to the
Anaheim Convention Center, for one reason or another.  I think it involved cosplayers going to
Disneyland and being mistaken for character workers, and this was the mid
1990s, where cosplay was anything but mainstream.
The convention would be mostly held within the convention
center itself, with the lower 2-3 halls housing the exhibit hall, the ballrooms
above would have the panels, workshops, karaoke, and viewing rooms.  The Long Beach Terrance Theatre housed the
main events, which were the opening and closing ceremonies, the concerts, the
Anime Music Video contest, and the Masquerade.
There was one limitation of this venue, which was the space
in the exhibit hall.  It got to the point
that the fire marshal had to close down the exhibit hall for being too crowded,
since it violated fire ordinances. Thinking back, that seems so odd, because it
never felt crowded like it was in recent conventions.
AX2001 Pricetag: $120, most marked down from $200.  these days, Ebay has them for around $500.  Thank goodness for the recent Fortress Maximus re-release, eh?

 

This was also the time that the internet and shopping was a
bit of a novelty, and you could count the large online sources of Japanese
Imported Collectibles one one hand.  I
think there was Hobbbylink Japan, Bigbadtoystore, and in a distant third,
Wizzywig.com.  Certain things were at high demand.  I
was very much entrenched in the Transformers fandom, and since the Transformers
convention at this time was not always in California, AX became my defacto
“Botcon.”
In 2001, the FIRST thing that caught my
eye was BigBadToystore’s $120 pricetag for a Transformers: Car Robots Brave
Maximus.  That $120 pricetag is
ridiculously cheap for a remold of Fortress Maximus.  All the other sellers were slashing their
prices (from as high as $250)  to match
their awesome price.  Sadly, I was a high
school junior with no job, so even $120 was too much for me.
(That’s God Ginrai in the bottom center… Yup, 2/3 of this pic came out of past Anime Expos while the remaining 1/3, the right side are American toys that i wish i had obtained at an Anime Expo )

 

The year after that, while my friends and I attended the
opening ceremony, I left halfway through because it bored me.  I went into the exhibit hall, and saw
Hobbylink Japan’s booth with their Japanese Rereleses of G1 Transformers (this
was the early 2000s, so it was the first time this was happening).  It was just the opening hours of the
convention and they were at their last Reissue of God Ginrai and G1 Megatron,
and both were discounted.  The God Ginrai
was down from $120 to a mere $30, and the G1 Megatron was down from $150 to
$80.  I quickly snagged the toys, but
that was it for most of my shopping budget.
I rounded off my shopping with the then-Japanese Exclusives of the
Transformers non-transforming PCV figures…. Yes, Transformers that neither
transformed, or moved… Yup.
I was also a giant robot fan, but Soul of Chogokin toys were
too expensive for me to afford, so I settled with the larger, but less
functional Vinyl Mazinger Z and UFO Grendaizer figures that I got for $30
each.
Since I ran out of money fast,
I learned to appreciate the other activities.
The guest panels did not appeal to me much, since I was not caught up
with the latest anime and manga at the time.  The karaoke room,
which was open for 24 hours for most of the convention became the standard
meeting place of the group of high school friends I carpooled with.  Even though I was mostly a spectator, I
enjoyed the different kinds of performances, and actually got me into the anime
that had more interesting songs.
A masquerade entry: Jon Talbain, the Warewolf from Darkstalkers.  Still awesome by today’s standards!  (this pic also shot on film and scanned, hence the overexposure)

 

The viewing rooms were great because they were
air-conditioned, but not saturated with people.
They also, at least during those and the Anaheim years, had these
waterjugs at the back of the room, so you could get refreshed and recover in the
room, and even fill up your water container while you were at it.  The anime being shown were pretty nice, too.  If I can remember, the rooms were separated
loosely by type.  One room would have the
current popular Americanized anime being shown in their dubbed versions.  Another room ran 1-3 episode tastes
(basically 1 volume of a series) of the current popular anime from studios like
CLAMP.  Another couple of rooms (this was
the majority of the rooms, maybe 2-3 viewing rooms) showed not-so-new anime,
but ones that were being sold and distributed on DVDs (and VHS at the
time).
These were the days when Final Fantasy IX and Chrono Cross cosplays were new and popular!

 

This is also the time I started to appreciate cosplay.  Back then, in late 1990s and early 2000s, the
cosplay community felt very elitist, so I was afraid to start out and be
anything but amazing.  At the time, I was
only a spectator, and far away from being a participant in the cosplay
scene.  Heck, I barely even took pictures,
as this was the time when people still used film on their personal cameras.  That makes it around 24 shots per roll of
film, plus accounting for mistakes/retakes, and that’s not a lot.  My
first year, I think I ended up with 12 pictures that developed well.

One of the groups participating in the Masquerade: an Ah! My Goddess group.
My first cosplay was barely even chronicled for posterity,
since I either had them in film and lost the negatives, or I had them in
digital versions, but chose to store them on some late 1990s media-storage
sites.  I know some of them made it to my
old Xanga (yes, it’s that long ago) blog, but even that data is now lost.  It was, however, a simple costume, one that I
thought at my level, I could pull off.  I
was into Digimon back then, so I thought I would go cosplay as Henry Wong from
Digimon Tamers.  I already had a black
shirt, brown pants, and white sneakers, so all it took was a quick trip to the
local store to get an orange vest and some white wristbands.

No pictures exist of my first cosplay… I think.
Since it was also a time of limited internet imports through
very specific stores, between these Long Beach Anime Expos and my first US
convention, Transformers Botcon 1998, I had started a friendship with another
transformer fan.  I met this dude at
1998, and it was not until I saw his products again at Anime Expo 2001 that I remembered him.  We talked about Botcon,
and Transformers, and thus  Dahveed Kolodny-Nagy
became my first convention friend.  For
those in the Transformers Community, Dahveed’s store, Toy Hell, is still rather
prominent.  He finds and sells a lot of very odd Transformer and Brave Saga
toys, some knock-offs, and a lot of licensed Korean versions of toys.  He would also later film the documentary “Transform
Me,” a documentary about the Transformers Fandom.  Back then, he was just my friend who gave me
a good discount on a knock-off G1 Daialtas, and threw in for free an amusingly
named knock-off of Beast Wars Magnaboss Silverbolt, “Super Cock.”  I would eventually start working part time
for him in his Smorgasbord Productions, helping create awesome characters.
Dahveed peddling his “Super Cock”…. No, really, look at the name of the action figure!
By the end of 2003, Long Beach was getting to be a little
too small for Anime Expo, and the problems of the exhibit hall filling up
became more and more frequent.  By 2004,
there was a new venue, and I suppose the problems have, at that point been
resolved, so Anime Expo can return to the Anaheim Convention Center.Next Stop: AX, the Anaheim Convention Center Years!

John Garcia is an English Teacher, Cosplayer, and fan of robots.

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