October 17, 2012

K-On! and Hello Kitty are part of NTT DoCoMo’s answer to iPhone’s Siri in Japan

Want to have long, endearing conversations with the gals from Kyoto Animation’s hit TV series K-On!? No problemo! All you’ve got to do is go to Japan and buy a new phone from NTT DoCoMo.

Japan’s leading telco NTT DoCoMo announced today that it’s giving its cloud-based voice-command concierge service, Shabette-Concier, a major upgrade for the Winter 2012 season: more functions, more apps supported, and the addition of over 30 interactive avatars, including K-On! characters.

A partial list of these interactive avatars can be found at NTT DoCoMo’s official website over here. Besides the K-On! girls, other licensed avatars include Chibi Maruko-chan, Hello Kitty, and Snoopy & His Friends.

Shabette-Concier works similar to Siri, in that upon activation of the app, a voice will playback on your phone prompting you for a query. The service was first launched in Japan in March of this year, and has since been updated periodically to support more questions and applications over the months.

The new version of Shabette-Concier is free to all NTT DoCoMo customers who’ve subscribed to the sp-mode Internet connection service, and will come pre-installed in smartphones and tablets (well, tablet) announced today under the telco’s Winter 2012 line-up, some of which will begin going on sale in Japan from November.

All of the devices in the line-up are Androids; NTT DoCoMo is the only carrier in Japan to not offer Apple’s iPhone products.

Teen Arrested for Stabbing Teacher With Pen for Confiscating Manga

Police in Gamagōri, Aichi arrested a 14-year-old middle school boy on suspicion of stabbing a teacher with a ballpoint pen during class. The suspect allegedly stabbed a 30-year-old female teacher over 10 times in both of her shoulders around 12:30 p.m. on October 1. The teacher sustained minor injuries that lasted about a week.

The teacher had warned the suspect about reading manga in class and had then confiscated the manga when the suspect continued reading. According to reports, the student said "Give it back!" and in a fury, stabbed her with a pen from her desk. The teacher filed a report on October 2 and has yet to return to teaching the class.

Source: Sports NipponANN

New Madoka Magica Android Game Stars Kyōko, Sayaka With Baseball Bat

The ANIMATE store chain's production company Frontier Works released the third Madoka Magica "third-person shooter," Puella Magi Madoka Magica TPS Featuring Sayaka Miki & Sakura Kyōko, on Yahoo! Japan's market for Android apps on Tuesday. As in the previous Madoka Magica TPS games, the player assumes the role of magical girls to clear stages. This time, Sayaka and Kyōko are the stars with voice actresses Eri Kitamura and Ai Nonaka reprising their respective roles with some exclusive voice samples.

The game begins with Sayaka before she becomes a magical girl, so she is armed only with her baseball bat to bash enemies. Stage 2 has Sayaka after her magical girl transformation, with a saber. After that, the game switches player characters to Kyōko, who begins with a three-section staff (sansetsukon) before upgrading.

Players can pick up items to restore their health and purify their Soul Gem, which they can tap to perform magic. The game has three difficulty levels, and as the player defeats each stage boss, images from notable anime scenes will be unlocked in the game's gallery page.

The game costs 630 yen (about US$8).

Source: 4Gamer via SiliconeraANN

Magi Manga Print Circulation Doubles in 4 Months After Anime Announcement

The number of volumes of Shinobu Ohtaka's Magi manga in circulation has more than doubled in the nearly four months since the anime adaptation of the series was officially announced on June 24.

Before the anime adaptation was announced, approximately 3 million copies of the first 12 volumes of the manga had been printed. As of October 10, approximately 6.5 million copies of the first 14 volumes are now in print. Before the anime was announced, 250,000 copies of the first volume had been printed, but now the number has doubled to more than 500,000 copies.

The 15th compiled volume in the series will ship in November. Ohtaka has been serializing the manga in Shogakukan's Weekly Shonen Sunday magazine since 2009. The story re-imagines tales from the classic story One Thousand and One Nights (also known as Arabian Nights).

Crunchyroll and Hulu are streaming the television anime adaptation in various countries outside of Japan as it airs, and Aniplex of America announced last weekend that it has licensed the series for release on home video.

Source: ANN

Hello Kitty Pork Buns Sold in Japan's Circle K Sunkus Convenience Stores

The Circle K Sunkus convenience store chain in Japan began selling pork buns inspired by Sanrio's Hello Kitty character on Tuesday.

The "Hello Kittyman" buns, filled with pork, onion, and a soy sauce seasoning, cost 150 yen (US$1.90) each. Circle K Sunkus will offer 1.5 million buns in its 6,235 stores across Japan during the campaign. The convenience store chain will offer another pork bun inspired by a different Sanrio character starting on November 6. The paper used to wrap the pork buns contains one of four Hello Kitty-related trivia questions, such as: "When is Hello Kitty's birthday?"

Those who send a message to the convenience store between October 9 through November 19 will be entered into a lottery to win one of 25 Hello Kitty Nikuman cushions.

The Gigazine news website has posted more high-resolution images of the outside and inside of the pork buns.

The convenience store chain FamilyMart previously unveiled Slime meat buns inspired by the Dragon Quest role-playing game series last September. The same chain sold more than 600,000 Hatsune Miku "Mikuman" meat buns in August-September. LAWSON convenience stores in Tokyo's Kantō area also began offering "Manma Nikuman" buns inspired by the Amagami SS+ television anime series in January. Additionally, the official Gundam Cafés in Tokyo began selling "Haro Man" pork buns earlier this month.

[Via Gigazine] Source: ANN

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s “Moshi Moshi Harajuku” wins ‘Music Jacket Award 2012′

It’s been revealed that Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s debut mini-album, “Moshi Moshi Harajuku“, has received the grand prize for ‘Music Jacket Award 2012‘. This year’s winners were chosen from music CDs released between April of 2011 and March of 2012.

The cover for “Moshi Moshi Harajuku” was done by Steve Nakamura, and it shows Kyary’s unique style with a Kuchisake-onna-style (a woman with her mouth torn to her ears) paint make-up. On winning the award, Kyary expressed, “I’m very happy that my debut work received such an honored award!! When I make jacket covers, I not only make them cute, but I also think about making them fun and strange.”

The semi-grand prize went to Perfume’s “Spice” and MAN WITH A MISSION’s self-titled album “MAN WITH A MISSION“. The special award went to Nanba Shiho’s “Mizuiro Generation“.
Source & Image: natalieTokyohive