When Did Beach Episodes Become an Anime Tradition?

Maho Girls Precure! (episode 25)

Maho Girls Precure! (episode 25)

Though summer may have already come and gone this year, the (in?)famous tradition of the anime beach episode is something we can probably talk about year-round, considering that it’s something of an annual tradition in Japanese media.

While its existence is something we all kind of take for granted now, it’s sometimes worthwhile to stop and take a look back at the history of the medium and ask why things are the way they are, and how we got here. Why, for example, do we have anime beach episodes? And when did they start?

These are the questions I’ll be taking a look at today. I hope you join along!

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Why Does Naruto Run With His Arms Out?

Just don't trip...

Just don’t trip…

While I’m certainly not an expert at running, nor am I even all that good at it myself, I do feel relatively comfortable saying that I can’t imagine that throwing your arms out to your sides is the most practical way to run. Despite the fact that we have been running for sport for centuries and pretty much nailed down the “ideal running form,” anime and manga seems to like to buck the trend and often shows characters in this rather unique running pose, with their arms thrown out to the side, like airplane wings.

Today we’re going to take a look at this running style, where it came from, and why characters are still depicted running that way. I hope you stick around!

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What’s It Like to Be an Anime Cosplayer?

Saturn and Saturn

Saturn and Saturn

Whether you’re an anime or manga fan in Japan, Europe, America, or anywhere else around the globe, odds are that you’re intimately familiar with cosplay, and may have even done it yourself. While cosplay isn’t limited to — or even unique to — Japan, it is without a doubt well-known for the high quality of the costumes and incredible attention to detail by the cosplayers who bring our favorite characters to life. Today, I’d like to talk about the experiences of one such cosplayer.

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How Much Do Anime Episodes Cost to Produce?

Making anime ain't cheap!

Making anime ain’t cheap!

As far back as I can remember, one of the things that anime has always been highly praised for is the high production values in its animation and the amazing quality of the voice actors and actresses who bring the characters to life. Though the trends have been (slowly) changing in the west — particularly in production values and the increase in status of voice acting as a profession — Japanese anime still stands out for being an art form in and of itself. That raises the question, then, of just how much it actually costs to produce an anime. Let’s take a look!

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Is Conan a Bigger Criminal Than the People He Catches?

Not so innocent, now is he?

Not so innocent, now is he?

Whether in the form of Shinichi Kudo or Conan Edogawa (for simplicity, we’ll go with Conan), the titular character of Detective Conan is known for doggedly pursuing the truth – There is Only One Truth! – and fighting to bring to justice the criminals that seem to inhabit every corner of their fictional world. In spite of the rather questionable competence of the other characters and even the police themselves, through the use of his top-rate detective skills he seems to always bring the villains to justice. But when you stop and think about it, Conan himself breaks an obscene amount of laws in his pursuit of this justice. Do the ends really justify the means?

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Is Grave of the Fireflies Based on a True Story?

Live-Action Grave of the Fireflies (2008)

Live-Action Grave of the Fireflies (2008)

Studio Ghibli has always done a great job making characters that you can easily relate to, which makes it all the more important to you – as the viewer – to watch these characters face their challenges and grow over time as the story progresses. Though you only spend a short time getting to know the beautifully-crafted world (and the characters which inhabit it), you form something of a bond with them over this time you share together. I think that emotional bond is what makes Grave of the Fireflies all the more painful to watch since you know deep down that things are unlikely to end well, but you spend the whole movie hoping against hope for these two tragic characters. Making this story even more tragic is that it’s actually based in reality.

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Was Rei Ayanami of Evangelion Named After Sailor Moon’s Rei Hino?

Rei and... Rei?

Rei and… Rei?

Due to the sheer volume of anime and manga produced in Japan every year and the large number of characters appearing in these series, it’s certainly not uncommon for a lot of anime and manga characters to wind up sharing the same first or last name – especially when it comes to names relatively common in the real world. But when you stop and consider (1) the relatively short time period in which Sailor Moon and Neon Genesis Evangelion took place and (2) just how uncommon a name like Rei is in the first place, it’s a little harder to write it off as pure coincidence. So what exactly is the connection between the two?

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How Much Money Does a Manga Artist Make?

A Student in Human Academy's Manga Program

A Student in Human Academy’s Manga Program

One of the more difficult questions to answer about any industry is anything regarding income. The short (and probably more accurate) answer is almost always “it depends,” but that isn’t really helpful to anyone. Making the issue all the more complex is the problem of mean vs. median income. A very small number of very successful people making a lot of money can easily make the average income look to be much higher than what the majority of people actually earn. That said, there are still some basic things that could be said about how much money a manga artist can generally be expected to make, and it’s definitely worth taking a look into!

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What’s So Special About the Number Zero?

Wing Zero Custom – One of Many Zeroes

Wing Zero Custom – One of Many Zeroes

While one may be the “loneliest number that you’ll ever do,”1 for anyone who has watched a substantial amount of anime, ready even a few manga in passing, or played more than a couple Japanese-made games, you’ll be more than a little familiar with the fixation on making anything with “zero” somewhere in its name overpowered and nearly unstoppable. But where exactly does this come from, and why is zero – literally meaning ‘nothing’ – viewed as better than any of the natural numbers? That’s what we’re going to look into today.

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How Deep Is the Car Connection in Magic Knight Rayearth?

Magic Knights (Not Cars) Rayearth

Magic Knights (Not Cars) Rayearth

In a word? The connection between automobiles and the characters, locations, and even magic spells in CLAMP’s Magic Knight Rayearth (MKR) series is “thorough.” In a phrase? There’s basically nothing in MKR which is doesn’t in some way connect back to car brands or the companies which manufacture them, either Japanese or foreign. Though the purpose of this blog is to investigate the mysteries of the characters and world of Sailor Moon, this is a topic that’s interested me for awhile and I figured it’d be worth taking a quick dive down this rabbit hole. If you’re interested, please do read on!

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