2021 Anime Expo Lite Live Updates

This year, The Nerds of Color has got your back on everything Anime Expo Lite! Be sure you’re tuned in on the program’s website to watch the online press conferences, and keep our tab open to catch live updates. This year, the expo is focusing on amplifying AAPI voices, as well as combating racialized violence with ticket proceeds going to Hate Is A Virus, a nonprofit community of mobilizers and amplifiers to dismantle racism and hate.

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NOC Review: ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ is Less Than the Sum of Its Parts

I’ll get this out of the way right now — Alita: Battle Angel is not necessarily bad, per se. However, it is something of a disappointment and/or wasted opportunity given that the combined talents of Robert Rodriguez (The El Mariachi Trilogy, Sin City, From Dusk Til Dawn) and James Cameron (Terminator, Titanic, Avatar) ought to yield something phenomenal. I’m a huge fan of both, believing Rodriguez to be a master in the domain of stylish genre action, and Cameron to be a master of groundbreaking science-fiction. Thus, when the most I can say about it is that it’s “not bad” it should give you a good idea of how let down I was by a movie that had so much potential.

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A Future Realized On-Screen: An Interview with ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ Creator Yukito Kishiro

Film adaptations are often hard to crack, whether they are of the comic book, TV show, novel, or other type of variety. The stories being adapted may be timeless, and might lay the groundwork for a film adaptation, but hardcore fanbases are typically the hardest to please, accepting only the best out of their film adaptations to truly do justice to their passion for the material (spend any time at all on the internet if you don’t believe me). Oftentimes, we become fortunate enough to see certain types of adaptations finally begin to take a repeatable successful stride in this industry (as we’re more or less now seeing with comic book-based offerings from DC and Marvel). Then sometimes other types of adaptations, such as film adaptations of manga or anime, can take a bit more time to bake before the success stories can roll in (as we’ve seen with critical and box office disappointments, such as Dragonball Evolution, Netflix’s Death Note, or Ghost in the Shell).

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Iron City Welcomes You: The ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ Immersive Experience

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to step into a future crafted by master filmmakers Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron? Oh come on — I know you have! If you’re anything like me (and I’d be willing to bet the farm that on a site called “The Nerds of Color” there’s got to be several readers that are) the rhetorical question posed above certainly stopped being rhetorical after you saw El Mariachi, Sin City, Terminator 2, and Avatar.

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Don’t Underestimate The Latest Trailer for ‘Alita: Battle Angel’

Earlier this week, 20th Century Fox released a new trailer for Alita: Battle AngelFrom visionary filmmakers James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez, the film stars Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley and Keean Johnson.

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Bigger, Badder and Hotter than Ever: Anime Expo 2017

It’s the second day of July and Anime Expo 2017 is well under way! While the first official day has come and gone with a bang (along with the unfixed misfortunes of horrific Line Con), there are still three big days filled to the brim with events, guests, panels, and anything anime related. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, still don’t have plans, and want to check something out this July 4th weekend, definitely give Anime Expo a go!

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The Exhibition of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon

My time in Japan is dwindling down fast so I have been trying to travel a lot. I went to Tokyo last week to check out a video game exhibit (more on that another time) but my friend informed me that there was a Sailor Moon exhibit over at Tokyo City View, the observation deck in Roppongi Hills. Being a huge Sailor Moon fan, I knew I needed to check it out for myself.

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Battle Angel Alita Lead Role Once Again Devoid of Asian American Prospects

In 2015, Nerdist announced that the live-action adaptation of the famed Japanese anime had been revived by directors James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez. Battle Angel Alita, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action manga/anime written by Yukito Kishiro, is set in the 26th century and follows the female cyborg Alita, as she trains to become the world’s most deadly assassin. The latest report from the Robert Rodriquez/Jame Cameron production reveals that the filmmakers have their top three actresses for the lead role: Maika Monroe, Zendaya (who is the front runner), and Rosa Salazar. In other words: more bad news for Asian American actresses.

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Cosplay and Osaka: My Final Nipponbashi Street Festa

Ever since I moved to Japan in 2011, I have been checking out Osaka’s (my current hometown) cosplay extravaganza, the Nipponbashi Street Festa. Every year around the end of March, hundreds of cosplayers, anime/video game fans, and photographers collide in Nipponbashi (aka Den Den Town), Osaka’s answer to Akihabara. Sadly, this was my final experience in witnessing this wonderful event as I will be moving back to the U.S. this summer.

As always, it did not disappoint.

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Black Masculinity as Performed in Japanese Visual Media

by Kendall Bazemore

Japan has long produced visual media that has captivated readers and viewers for decades. Manga and anime are two classic mediums through which fantastical worlds and profound characters come to life. Of all the hundreds of thousands of characters that exist in these worlds, there are a handful that share a close resemblance to African Americans. Though these characters are not always explicitly identified as black, they are heavily coded as black or Afro-descended. The aesthetic of black coded characters in anime and manga reflect the same ideologies of black males in U.S media and society. Popular series like Naruto and Samurai Champloo both use tropes of black males and demonstrate common ideas about their masculinity and how they are read by others. Hip hop is the vehicle through which Japan understands American blackness which manifests itself in various ways in Japanese media.

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Nipponbashi Street Festa: Cosplay Invades Osaka

Japan. The land of anime and manga. When those two are brought up, usually the district of Akihabara in the city of Tokyo comes to mind. Sure, Akihabara still is the mecca of countless arcades with floors full of games, stores full of anime merchandise, and tons of specialty stores that will probably have what you are looking for. However, Akihabara is not the only area where these things can be found.

Nipponbashi, otherwise known as Den Den Town, can be seen as the Akihabara of Osaka. While not the size of Akihabara, Den Den Town still caters to the needs of many nerds, myself included. The laidback and easygoing pace of Den Den Town is a lot more relaxing than the hustle and bustle of Akiba. Den Den Town is also home to one of my favorite events of the year: the Nipponbashi Street Festa.

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The Homicide of Darrien Hunt: An Update

Last week, we brought you Black Girl Nerds’ account of the shooting of Darrien Hunt, the 22-year old Utah man who was killed by police for “brandishing a sword” that happened to not be a real sword at all. Depressingly, Hunt’s murder is part of an all too common pattern of high-profile killings of unarmed black men by those who have been sworn to protect and serve them.

The death of Darrien Hunt did not happen in a vaccum. In the wake of similar instances in Staten Island with Eric Garner, or Ferguson with Michael Brown, and Ohio with John Crawford1 — and these cases are just from this summer — the mainstream media and society in general is paying attention more than they ever have in the past.

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The Time Travel and Ending of Edge of Tomorrow Explained

Originally posted at Reappropriate

I went to see the new Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt science-fiction film Edge of Tomorrow, which is based on the Japanese novel and manga All You Need is Kill.

The racial cross-casting of Cage’s character aside — he is inspired by Japanese protagonist Keiji in the manga — this film is phenomenal. Nerds and feminists — and especially nerd feminists — will adore this movie. It’s sharp, funny, entertaining, compelling, and visually stunning. Haters of Tom Cruise get to see Tom Cruise get killed about a hundred times in stunt scenes that Cruise himself described as “channeling Wile E. Coyote” on The Daily Show. Emily Blunt’s Rita is stellar: she is the aspirational super-soldier, and not the simpering girlfriend; she’s also got a bad-ass giant sword. Those who loved Pacific Rim‘s portrayal of a male-female peer relationship that was largely non-sexual will adore the relationship between Rita and Cruise’s Cage in this film.

Basically, it’s just really good. Go see it. I’ll wait.

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The Three Nausicaäs

Out of all of the Hayao Miyazaki films I have known and loved, only one has remained my favorite over the years: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Nausicaä is famous for a number of reasons, not least of which is for being the film that more or less is the reason Studio Ghibli got off the ground, as its success led to the formation of the studio. It is also the first feature-length film that Miyazaki based on an original property, following his entry into the Lupin III series, The Castle of Cagliostro. In Nausicaä, several motifs and themes that would dominate Miyazaki’s work would be established: flying, an inclination toward pacifism and eco-consciousness, a strong female protagonist (and antagonist in the case of this film). All of these things would be featured repeatedly in Miyazaki’s films, but Nausicaä featured them first.

But the most curious thing about Nausicaä is how it has existed in the US. There have been three distinctly different portrayals of the property, each with their own quirks and interests, that have been given to American audiences, and it’s worth examining what each of them represent.

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The Five Major Fails of Spike Lee’s Oldboy

It’s been a little over a day since I saw both versions of Oldboy — one by Spike Lee and one by Park Chan-wook — back to back. The more I reflect on the Spike Lee version, the worse and worse it gets in my head. So I’ll just barf out the major wrongs about this sad re-make and be done with it.

This write-up will be chock full of spoilers which will save you a lot of time and money. I’m also assuming that my readers have seen the original, Korean version of Oldboy. And if you’re keeping track at home, both versions (American and Korean) are based on the Japanese manga of the same name by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi.

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Junko’s Nerd Emblems: Manga and Sci-Fi

If manga is considered nerdy/geeky, well then the entire country of Japan is one big geek-producing machine, and I’m a child of that machine. Before my love of Star Trek: The Next Generation, my parents and grandparents provided me with an endless budget to consume manga because it helped with my Japanese language skills.

Every summer as a child, I’d inevitably come back from Japan with at least 30 to 50 manga books being shipped over to add to my growing collection. A collection that started with the racy Makoto-chan but really flourished with Urusei Yatsura in addition to the “standard” collection of Dragon Ball.

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