All posts filed under: Lifestyle

The Most Insane Spectacle in The History of Wrestling – AEW’s Stadium Stampede – Going Over

What can ten professional wrestlers create in an empty 80,000 seat arena? Well, we now have the answer to that question: absolute entertainment. On 23 rd May 2020, All Elite Wrestling held their annual Double or Nothing pay-per-view event—headlined by the first ever 5 vs 5 Stadium Stampede match. This match would see a ring placed in the middle of a gridiron football field, yet allows the entire stadium to be the battleground for what ultimately amounts to wrestling’s answer to Marvel’s Civil War. The idea of this match ultimately sounds silly: wrestlers brawling across a massive football stadium. What can they really do that couldn’t be done in a standard wrestling environment? Well, the answer was beyond this writer’s imagination. It was simply the most insane spectacle in professional wrestling history. The match has been brewing since the inception of AEW’s weekly program, AEW Dynamite, when The Inner Circle first formed and laid The Elite to waste in the main event of the first episode—in chaotic fashion. Over the course of the past eight …

One Record Wonder – ‘Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too?’ by The New Radicals – In Retrospect

Whether you were aware of it or not, you’ve likely heard a song written by the New Radicals frontman Gregg Alexander. While the New Radicals only ever released one record—Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too?, which itself produced arguably the most timeless one hit wonder in music history “You Get What You Give” (this writer’s all time favourite song)—Alexander would go on to enjoy a successful career as a song-writer for artists such as Beyoncé, Ronan Keating, The Kaiser Chiefs, Enrique Iglesias, The Struts, and even Santana—just to name a few. Alexander even received a Grammy Award for writing the song “Game of Love” by Santana and Michelle Branch. Despite the countless hits he had written for other artists, it is still the New Radicals one record wonder Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too? that stands as Alexander’s crowning achievement as a musical artist. While the New Radicals are most best remembered for their proverbial one hit wonder “You Get What You Give”, and for good reason, their one and only record is a musical odyssey the …

Escaping Life’s Daily Grind – How I Found Purpose and Meaning Through Skateboarding – With Interest

“It’s funny to think that you’re just on a piece of wood on wheels and somehow you are controlling it. It’s just amazing if you really think about it.” These were the musings of my younger brother after I had taken him out for his third skateboarding session. It is that initial sense of wonder that hits just about everybody who has ever decided to skate for the first time. There is something unique and profoundly affecting about skateboarding, and—with the skate parks across the country made a no-go zone, and police handing out hefty fines for those caught skating amid this global pandemic—I find myself longing for the state of zen that comes with a board beneath my feet and the wind against my face. Ultimately, this pandemic has allowed me to reflect on how much skateboarding has affected and bettered my life. I find myself back where I was a few years ago: a time before skateboarding became a part of my every day life.   View this post on Instagram   Stay …

Fun at a March Convention – Anime Festival Sydney 2020

-Mattiese- Saturday the 7th of March started out real poopy. I ripped my pants, just barely made the train, and the camera ran out of storage half way through our first interview; Kane and I had to walk to buy a new SD card, and then walk all the way back to the convention, and boy was I already tired. None of this was ideal, and I started worrying what else would happen to me throughout the rest of the day. It was about 12pm when we finally stepped foot into the convention, and I already felt as if my worries were lifted. Cosplayers, stalls, and panels are what made up Anime Festival Sydney 2020; and man was it enjoyable. The first thing we did was head to the “Live Drawing with Shingo Adachi” panel, and boy is that guy talented. Adachi drew a few popular Sword Art Online characters (as he was character designer on the series), while answering questions related to his work. At the end of the panel, they let fans ask …

The Future of AEW – Media Call with Cody Rhodes – Going Over

On 19th February 2020, All Elite Wrestling held a media conference call with Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes. Members of the media were invited onto the call to ask questions regarding the future of All Elite Wrestling, and we at SnapThirty were lucky enough to be invited to partake in the conference call as well. There were several very interesting pieces of information divulged by Cody during the Q&A portion of the call. Interesting to note was that Cody spoke in detail about the talent development and scouting process of AEW. He announced that he has opened a wrestling school which will be called ‘The Nightmare Factory’ and confirmed that AEW signees Sadie Gibbs and Anthony Agogo will be training at the school. Furthermore, he confirmed that he will be scouting talent at the NCAA Wrestling Tournament with Taz later this year. When asked his opinion on who is the currently most underrated wrestler in All Elite Wrestling, Cody immediately said Jack Evans, member of the tag team ‘The Hybrid Two’. He said that not …

The Beauty Through The Pain – The Ten Lashings of Cody Rhodes – Going Over

On the 5th of February episode of All Elite Wrestling’s weekly television program AEW: Dynamite, a monumental storyline angle took place. After weeks of build up and bargaining between Cody Rhodes and his former friend (turned bitter enemy) Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF), the terms upon which Cody would get his match with MJF were set. Cody was unable to lay his hands on MJF until said proposed match; Cody would have to face MJF’s bodyguard Wardlow in a steel cage match; and most curious of all was that Cody would have to survive 10 lashings at the hands of MJF on live television, as MJF put it, “In front of his friends, family and god.” It was during this instant classic angle that All Elite Wrestling would truly define themselves as the alternative to WWE that they had always promised to be. While WWE is so often a product driven by the destination, AEW has set itself apart as being a product that puts equal, if not more, focus on the journey to said destination. …

A Date With Destiny – The Story of Tetsuya Naito and KENTA – Going Over

On the 9th of February 2020, Osaka Jo-Hall was the stage of the most anticipated wrestling bout in recent memory. ‘The Ingobernable One’ Tetsuya Naito put both his IWGP World Heavyweight championship and IWGP Intercontinental Championship on the line against the most hated man in Japan: KENTA. Why was this match so hotly anticipated by puroresu fans? Simple really: the fans of New Japan Pro Wrestling wanted to see Tetsuya Naito beat the hell out of KENTA. The paths that have led both men to one another can be traced back to the years 2013 and 2014: one year that would hold wild success, and the other utter devastation for both men. In 2013, Naito would win his first G1 Climax tournament and ultimately go on to challenge IWGP World champion Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom the following January 4th, in 2014. At the time, Naito was portraying the character of the Stardust Genius, a ring technician and clean cut babyface. Following a negative fan reaction to a confrontation between Naito and Okada, the board …

Fire Pro Wrestling World – Review (PC)

If there’s one thing you may have noticed on SnapThirty, it’s that at least once a year, we are absolutely floored by Japanese pro wrestling, or Puroresu if we were to use its sanctified term in the Land of the Rising Sun. Sanctified is probably the right word here to describe Puroresu, particularly New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). The pop culture barrier-breaking sports entertainment that dominates the global perception of professional wrestling is primarily thanks to the efforts of WWE, which has transformed wrestling into an all-encompassing global cultural phenomenon. Honestly, if the entirety of the world can get along simply by the virtue of sharing a passion for a glorified soap opera featuring intense physicality, then I have yet to see a better avenue to achieve world peace. Puroresu, unlike sports entertainment, is very much set in time-honoured tradition. For better or for worse, it is set in its old ways by treating the art of pro wrestling not as some form of entertainment, but a true disciplined lifestyle, akin to that of choosing …

NJPW Dominion 2017: Okada vs Omega II – The Greatest Story Ever Retold

There is a difference between good and great, a lot of things that are good are absolutely stellar but what’s truly great is what stands the test of time forever. You’re only as good as your last gig, and sometimes we have to make a choice and find the passion and drive to create something that is truly larger than life, to create something that is quite simply immortal. Wrestling as an entertainment platform is one that melds fiction and reality to create something that suspends our belief better than any form of entertainment, there is nothing that can compare to sports entertainment. Whether it is WWE or NJPW, the lore underlying them has a life of its own. It’s like anime in the real world, there’s no better way to put it. Earlier this year I, and the rest of the wrestling world, had the pleasure of being absolutely blown away by the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 11, an absolute classic between The Rainmaker Kazuchika Okada and Bullet Club Boss Kenny Omega. The …

RADWIMPS release music video for their song ‘Weekly Shonen Jump’ featuring Jump Heroes

Fans of Japanese rock band RADWIMPS would likely be familiar with their ode to Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, aptly titled ‘Weekly Shonen Jump’ which featured on their critically acclaimed 2016 album Human Bloom. The song sees RADWIMPS lead Yojiro Noda opining of his desire to be a man just like a hero out of Shonen Jump, to be there for the girl he has feelings for whenever she is in a bit of a pinch, looking out for his chance to be her hero. It is a beautiful song through and through. A music video has now been released for the song and it happens to feature countless Shonen Jump heroes throughout the video like Izuku Midoriya of My Hero Academia or Yuma from World Trigger to name a few. You can check out the video below to get a nice listen of RADWIMPS latest single paired up with some heroes of Jump. RADWIMPS’ Human Bloom album is currently available in full on their Spotify channel, for those who are inclined to be using Spotify. …

Dressed to Impress – Cosplayers Angie and Knite Confirmed as Guests for Madman Anime Festival Perth

With the month of March approaching faster than most would care to realise, Madman has come forth with their first guests for the Perth rendition of the aptly titled Madman Anime Festival. And, wherever anime conventions go, cosplayers shall be there. From the intricately sewn lacework of a Victorian era frock, to the purposeful low tech iteration of EVA-01 made from a cardboard box, presentation runs the gamut. There are even those cosplayers who have amassed fans of their own and it is two examples of this trend who are to attend the aforementioned festival as guests. Prominent in the Asia convention scene, Angie will be attending the Festival in what will be her first Australian appearance. Fans will be able to meet, greet and nab some sweet prints and photo books with and from Angie, in the times when she isn’t judging cosplay contests. It has also been made known that Angie will be cosplaying as Asuna from Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale on the Saturday, coinciding with the Australian release. No word though on …

Utada Hikaru’s Fantôme Album Tops 1 Million Sales, New Music Video Released to Celebrate

After a 6 year stint on indefinite hiatus, iconic Japanese singer/songwriter, Utada Hikaru returned in September last year with a brand new album titled Fantôme. Since its release the album has gone on to top 1 million units sold making it 4 times platinum in Japan. This is Hikaru’s first album to top 1 million units sold since her breakout smash hit album First Love way back in 1999. Not only was the Fantôme album the top selling album of 2016 in Japan but it also received the Best Album Award at the 58th Japanese Record Awards. To celebrate the album hitting 1 million sales and winning best album, a new music video has been released for the song “Boukyaku (feat. KOHH)” which you can check out below. Most Westerners would remember Utada Hikaru for her theme songs contributed to the Kingdom Hearts video game series such as ‘Simple and Clean’ and ‘Sanctuary’. Rumour has it that she is slated to return for Kingdom Hearts III with another song serving as the theme for the …

Wrestle Kingdom 11 Was Bullet Hell

There are times when I am glad to be proven wrong, and Wrestle Kingdom 11 made me feel silly for having such low and cynical expectations going into it. Not only was it miles better than last year’s somewhat lukewarm Wrestle Kingdom 10, but it also blew the superb Wrestle Kingdom 9 clear out of the water. Wrestle Kingdom 11 taught me to never doubt the innovation and potential of underdogs. It also helped that the English localisation was great thanks to the solid play by play commentary from Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino. A huge improvement over the disastrous English commentary panel in Wrestle Kingdom 10 which featured Yoshi Tatsu of all people. Despite New Japan Pro Wrestling losing most of their top stars to WWE, Wrestle Kingdom 11 proved to be the best iteration yet all thanks to a fresh and unpredictable wildcard. Wrestle Kingdom 11 literally blindsided me with a main event that I am confident in calling as among the timeless classics of the modern era. The strong main event was complemented …

Starting the New Year with Wrestle Kingdom 11

  Before Wrestlemania, and hell before the Royal Rumble, there is no wrestling event that kick starts the New Year quite like Wrestle Kingdom by New Japan Pro Wrestling. Having become more widespread since Wrestle Kingdom 9, thanks to localisations efforts and the inclusion of an English color commentary team (which was great in Wrestle Kingdom 9 but certainly left A LOT to be desired in Wrestle Kingdom 10). We are now getting ready for Wrestle Kingdom 11, set to take place on January 4 2017 (January 5 for those living in the Outback) inside the one and only historic Tokyo Dome. It’s been said many times before, but this is Japan’s equivalent of Wrestlemania being held in New York’s  Madison Square Garden. Wrestle Kingdom 11 certainly has a lot of buzz for it, but the star power is lacking… thanks mainly due to some of the biggest NJPW stars of the last 5 years now becoming fixtures of WWE. So much of what made Wrestle Kindgom amazing is now missing, with the likes of …

Gunpla Championships at SMASH! 2016

In what has become an annual tradition Gundam fans have descended upon SMASH! con at the Rose Hill Gardens for some Gunpla building fun. Each year Bandai host a championship at SMASH! con with some pretty swanky trophies up for grabs for the winners. As expected the booth at SMASH! was jam packed with fans of the iconic mecha franchise and hobby enthusiasts alike. Not only were the championships held, Bandai also put some incredible Gunpla figures on display for punters to take a gander at. All in all Bandai put on a fantastic showcase of Gunpla and gave Gundam fans plenty of things to feast their eyes upon at SMASH! whether it be the championships itself or the stunning collection of figures they exhibited. Check out Bandai’s Gunpla booth and the championship in the gallery below. Be sure to let us know your thoughts on Bandai’s Gunpla championships in the comments section below. -30-

Vocaloid DJ Hachioji P To Perform At SMASH!’s 10th Anniversary Event

When you get to my age, you stop celebrating certain things. This is why I havn’t been to a proper party in over a decade. Oh, in my hay-day I was quite a sight to behold; I was king of the dance floor! They used to call me “The Charleston Kid“, and I would swing and bop my way through all kinds of musical tracks. T’was quite the time to be alive. Now, just because I’ve retired, and no longer have the strong enough bones to go to shindigs, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! Listen up, kids, as Grandpa Frank let’s you in on something pretty cool that’s coming up this August. We all know what SMASH! is, right? Surely! SnapThirty has been attending the Japanese Pop Culture event ever since the sight started up, so if you’re a keen follower of us then surely you’d know. Well did you know that this year marks SMASH!’s 10th anniversary? Oh ho ho! Well, to celebrate said anniversary, SMASH! are preparing a few grand guests who will …

Another Golden Guest Heading to SMASH! 2016: Cosplayer Takahiro ‘Goldy’ Sakai

News has just broke on yet another guest set to attend SMASH! 2016. The latest guest announced is popular cosplayer Takahiro Sakai, more commonly known as Goldy. Goldy is famed for his mecha cosplays which have wowed audiences across the globe for their wonderful craftsmanship, bringing to life the mecha of Gundam and Evangelion among many more. SMASH! 2016 is slated to take place on the 20th to 21st of August. Stay tuned for more details as it comes to light. -30-

Cosplaying the Right Tune – Cosplayer Yuegene Fay to Attend SMASH! 2016

You’ve been to conventions before, right? Heck, you may have even been to SMASH! 2015-earlier. Regardless, cosplay is most certainly something you’ve seen, you may have even participated yourself. Still, it never hurts to do a little research and what better way to do research than by watching a professional. What I’m getting at here is that Yuegene Fay is coming to SMASH! and she’s like, really good at cosplaying. Here, just look at these pictures: SMASH! President Andrew Qiu believes that Yuegene’s attendance at SMASH! expresses, “enthusiasm for authentic cosplay talent,” noting that, “regardless of gender and skills, cosplay has the power to unite like-minded fans. It offers them the opportunity to dress up and express their passion for pop-culture in the unique form of cosplay.” There’s not too much more to say about this one people. Swing by SMASH! if you’re into cosplay (and a whole lot more) or want to hear the reasoning of those who are, what got them into the practice, what keeps them in it, how they choose who they’re going to …

BabyMetal’s Metal Revolution

Hard rock infused with pop idol music isn’t exactly unheard of, but it’s never been done in the same way BabyMetal has done, as their brand of music has successfully stood out in an industry where nearly every music genre has become saturated with clones. For that reason alone BabyMetal deserves serious props for being a one of a kind Kawaii Metal band. Anyone listening to BabyMetal for the first time will most likely have been introduced to that one song, and I am of course talking about Gimme Chocolate!! There is certainly a shock value about it for sure, it’s a cutesy Pop Idol song with little kids backed by scary near-death metal music blaring in the background. Their synchronised dancing perfectly in synch with the relentless fury of the metal band. This particular song and music video has become the subject of far too many reaction videos on YouTube, with each reaction video being more annoying and unnatural than the last. That being said, Gimme Chocolate!! certainly succeeds at grabbing your attention, but it isn’t …

KARATE by BabyMetal is the Official Theme Song of NXT TakeOver: The End

I can’t believe I am typing this. Japanese kawai metal band, BabyMetal, is larger than life as it is, and they have silenced nay sayers and broken barriers in ways no one could have anticipated. I picked up their latest CD from JB Hi-Fi just the other day. There’s more I want to say, and believe or not I have a special article dedicated to BabyMetal in the works, but in the meantime here’s a piece of news that simply needs to be shared: A BabyMetal song is being used as the official theme for an American wrestling event, and it makes perfect sense. NXT TakeOver, which is the PPV series of WWE‘s NXT brand, has quickly become a must see event whenever it is held. So far there has yet to be a bad NXT TakeOver as each event has surpassed the last by leaps and bounds. We’ve written about NXT here at SnapThirty before, because after all, NXT is the only place where you can find three of the hottest Japanese wrestling stars: Hideo …

One More Time: Remembering Interstella 5555

I can’t explain exactly why I started doing this out of the blue, but lately I have been listening to a lot of Daft Punk‘s most popular album called Discovery… well not exactly. I’m not really listening to it per se, instead I have been watching its one of a kind visualisation called Interstella 555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem. Daft Punk are a rather mysterious electronic pop duo, and while the genre of music isn’t really my cup of tea (I’m more of a hard rock guy) I couldn’t help but be mesmerised by this production. Discovery itself was a concept album and Daft Punk, along with the legendary Toei Animation studio, turned their album into an anime feature that is Interstella 555. Each song was transformed into an episode, sequentially and chronologically linked from first song to the last. Something like this had not been attempted before, and I don’t think it has ever been done again, which is why Interstella 555 is something worth remembering and revisiting. The visual production and story direction comes …

Shinsuke Nakamura Officially Joins WWE, First Match Against Sami Zayn

There’s been a lot of mumbling in the wrestling rumour mill lately but now things have come to fruition in the most spectacular fashion. Earlier this month Wrestle Kingdom 10 took place, which saw a phenomenal match for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. Just hours after the event rumours started going around that AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and a few other New Japan stars had given their notice and accepted offers from WWE. Not long after, Shinsuke Nakamura vacated his IWGP Intercontinental Championship which further added fuel to the rumours. However, following the historic debut of AJ Styles in WWE, it’s now been confirmed that Shinsuke Nakamura has signed with the WWE and will be performing for their thriving and popular NXT brand. Shinsuke joins the likes of Asuka and Kenta as part of WWE‘s ever expanding roster of international stars. Shinsuke Nakamura is a huge acquisition for the company, and his planned debut match will take place at the NXT Takeover PPV in Dallas, Texas. His first opponent? None …

Wrestle Kingdom 10 Was a Night of Redemption and Triumph

No wrestling promotion kick starts the New Year with a bang quite like New Japan Pro Wrestling with their traditional Tokyo Dome wrestling extravaganza, which has for the last decade gone by the apt Wrestle Kingdom moniker. Wrestle Kingdom is quite simply wrestling royalty, and easily the closest alternative to WWE’s Wrestlemania showcase of wrestling immortality. Last year marked the very first English localisation of Wrestle Kingdom, with Wrestle Kingdom 9 delivering an amazing night of superb wrestling action, all made accessible to fans outside Japan thanks to the great efforts of the English commentary team that comprised of Matt Striker and the legendary Jim Ross. You can of course read our full coverage of the amazing Wrestle Kingdom 9 and how much we enjoyed nearly every match on the card. 2016 started off with Wrestle Kingdom 10 on January 4th, and it was a night filled with familiar faces and champions, but more importantly the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 10 was a rematch of the unforgettable closer of Wrestle Kingdom 9: Hiroshi Tanahashi …

Asian Kung-Fu Generation had a Jam Session with a Robot named Pepper

Asian Kung-Fu Generation are known globally for their particular brand of J-Rock, gaining their notoriety with many of their songs serving as themes for anime series such as Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach and Naruto. AKG front man Gotch is never afraid to try something new, be it experimenting with new sounds or setting their music to some of the strangest music videos you will ever see. Now Gotch has decided to perform a jam session with a robot capable of interpreting and feeling human emotion by the name of Pepper. Pepper not only has the ability to comprehend the complexities of human emotion, he can also rock out with his special Pepperhythm music system (a built in music creation tool). Pepper has many applications and with thousands of these Pepper robots out in the general public for home use it is only a matter of time before Pepper learns to emotion of kill and the end of days is near. For now however please enjoy Gotch, Pepper and Roy rocking out like the end is nigh. …

New Single Cover Gives People Just Another Reason To Dislike Chris Brown

I personally have never been a fan of Chris Brown’s music. Being Australian, the only Chris Brown I care about is Oz’s very own star veterinarian who unfortunately shares his name with the infamous recording artist. Usually I would ignore news like this because, not only am I not a fan of his work, but SnapThirty is a website that prides itself on being strictly about Japanese pop culture…not the American music scene. This piece of news caught my eye though, because it seems as though the cover of one of Chris Brown’s upcoming single Zero looks remarkably like a particular illustration by Tsukasa Hojo from his old-school Shonen Jump Manga City Hunter. This comparison was first brought to light by Twitter user @Goldengreg who, as you can see in the link to the Tweet, posted both pictures in question, mentioning that it seems as though the artist of the single cover took great inspiration from that particular City Hunter image. A lot of other people who’ve been commenting around the web are saying that it …

Tanahashi and Okada to Clash Once Again at Wrestle Kingdom 10

The planets have aligned once more for the tenth Wrestle Kingdom event by New Japan Pro Wrestling, which is set to take place on January 4, 2016 and will once again kickstart the new year as one of the biggest wrestling events in the world (that isn’t Wrestlemania). As per tradition, Wrestle Kingdom 10 will be held inside the historic Tokyo Dome. While there is still a good three or so months to go until the PPV extravaganza, the main event has been set in stone already. The main event of Wrestle Kingdom 10 will feature a rematch that I quite honestly wasn’t expecting to happen so soon: Kazuchika “Rain Maker” Okaka will go one on one against his greatest rival in Hiroshi Tanahashi over the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. At Wrestle Kingdom 9, Tanahashi walked in as the defending champion and successfully walked out with the championship in hand after what was one of the best matches of 2014. Tanahashi needed to hit nearly ten of his signature High Fly Flows to make it happen, and challenger …

ONE OK ROCK’s Latest Single ‘The Way Back’ Rocks Hard, Did You Really Expect Anything Less?

When it comes to Japanese Rock, it has hard to dispute that anyone rocks harder than ONE OK ROCK. Not only have they taken their homeland of Japan by storm but that have gained fans across the globe with a series of world tours and of course their now iconic hit ‘The Beginning’ being used as the theme for the live-action Rurouni Kenshin film. ONE OK ROCK are back once more and this time with a song that hits so hard you’ll need a new pair of socks. The single is called ‘The Way Back’ and it may very well be one of the band’s best yet. You be the judge and have a listen for yourself with the music video below. -30-

Asuka Makes WWE Debut as a Worthwhile Addition to a Flourishing Women’s Division

WWE NXT is the place where wrestling stars are born, and even seasoned veterans are born anew when they step inside the NXT ring. Wrestling in the independent scene for nearly a decade, the performer formerly known as Kana made her stunning debut on NXT‘s special extravaganza: TakeOver Respect in a match against Dana Brooke. Asuka made a special entrance while donning a Japanese doll mask, and it didn’t take long to see why she is one of the most respected women in the wrestling business today. Asuka goes into a match with killer instinct, all with an adorable smile on her face. She’s a living,breathing Yandere if we ever saw one. She’s adorable and also a beast, which makes her very scary. Asuka ended her debut match with a hold made famous by the legendary Bob Backlund: The Crossface Chickenwing. It’s a painful cringe-inducing hold for sure, and not many people latch it in with the same ferocity as Bob Backlund did during his prime, but Asuka is probably the only person to ever come close. In …

Oran Con – The Mini Con With The Big Heart

Over this weekend past, in an up and coming suburb somewhere South West of Sydney City, an event was held. Humble in personality and modest in size, this young convention proved itself to be just as promising as the place in which it was held. From the title, some of you will already know what it is that this article is about, but to others it is something that has clearly piqued your curiosity. Otherwise, why else would you be here? Regardless, seeing as you are here, how about we all get properly acquainted with what will hopefully be the next big thing in the celebration of popular culture. Engineered by the enthusiastic and hard-working team of United Cosplayers Australia, 2015 saw the genesis of what I’ve grown to call the first ever cosplay-centric convention held right here in Sydney, Australia. It’s name is Oran Con, and the collective hope of all who attended very much hope that it is here to stay. Despite it being one of the hotter Sydney days as of late, …

Jushin “Thunder” Liger Stuns Wrestling World with Impressive WWE Debut

On WWE’s NXT TakerOver: Brooklyn PPV, wrestling fans were graced with the presence of a legendary Japanese performer and for the very first time too. Many great things have happened in the WWE, and many Japanese wrestling legends have performed and been honoured by the biggest wrestling company in the world,  but to see the legendary Jushin “Thunder” Liger perform in front of a sold out Brooklyn (New York) crowd in 2015 was unreal. If you were a complete newcomer to Japanese wrestling, and just casually watching the NXT product, you would have thought that this mysterious wrestler, dressed in a superhero (almost Ultraman) like garb was just one of the young performers on the card… well then you’d be wrong. Jushin “Thunder” Liger has been been a professional wrestler for nearly three decades, of course this is merely a persona and character, surely different wrestlers have assumed the persona over the last 30 years? Nope. Jushin “Thunder” Liger (even to my own surprise) has always been portrayed by the one wrestler who is now …

Savour The Flavour – SnapThirty Versus Bizarre Japanese Candy

Two men and a box of obscure Japanese candy. It seems as though that’s all you need to make an entertaining video, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. Our new camera girl has a cupboard full of candy she imported from Japan but forgot about it for quite some time…until Frank discovered the sweet bounty for himself. After a hard time recruiting Kane, the two embark on a short and fairly breezy journey to try each and every treat from this mystery box, discussing the flavours along the way which, at times…simply couldn’t be done. Do you like videos about two buffoons eating obscure, foreign candies? Then this is definitely the video for you! -30-

The Attendees of SMASH! 2015 – Cosplay Compilation

The cosplay community is a large, thriving collection of incredibly dedicated and hard-working fans of pop culture. Preparing months (sometimes even years) in advanced, these men and women put countless hours into constructing costumes modelled after their favorite characters from the world of pop culture, but…come on, you know this already, right? Cosplay has been around for many, many years. It’s so popular in the modern age that I honestly cannot imagine it ever dulling in popularity…nor should it. At every pop culture convention, one of the more amazing sights is that of a crowd of cosplayers not only enjoying their own costumes but the costumes of others and the convention itself. When it comes to prime cosplayers, it seems as though SMASH! truly is the place to be. Each and every year the quality of cosplay you see on the show grounds continues to grow ever higher, with those living the dedicated cosplay lifestyle continuing to develop as craftsmen and craftswomen. SMASH! 2015 was no different. Each and every cosplayer present put clear effort into their …

Artist Spotlight: Chancake at SMASH! Con 2015

Tucked away in booth #73 at SMASH! Con’s Artist Alley Hall was a lovely young artist by the name of Chancake. With visually striking art bursting with colour and personality, Chancake’s work stood out from the crowd in a room filled with talented artists and their artwork. Infusing a mix of different styles, Chancake’s work was reminiscent of the punkish vibe of video-games like Danganronpa crossed with the pop art sensibilities of Andy Warhol making for almost an Warhol-esque take on anime and manga. It is a bit of a strange comparison to make but one look at Chancake’s art and you will see it to be a truly mind boggling aesthetic experience. Her art work can be described as fan art but her spin on popular characters and series such as Inazuma Eleven and Phoenix Wright feels like so much more than simple fan art. She takes these already larger than life characters and portrays them in a way that is utterly out of this world. In particular I found her Inazuma Eleven art …

Listen Up – Loverin Tamburin Announced for SMASH! 2015

In case you didn’t know already, SMASH! 2015 has promised itself to be quite the musical affair. With guests such as GARNiDELiA and yanaginagi already announced, the auditorily inclined might be happy to know that Loverin Tamburin has been added to this list. Consisting of main vocalist/songwriter Aya, pianist/arranger Akihiro and support musicians Fujio Ryo, Fire and Kohta Igarashi, Loverin Tamburin made their debut back in 2006 with “Aishitageru” (which might be known to you as the theme for Disgaea). Known for a mixture of original songs and anime covers, the band is currently in the midst of their second world tour. So enjoy their stop over in Australia, which I assume you will, considering that they are a returning SMASH! guest. That’s usually a good sign in my opinion. In regards to this appearance, SMASH! President Andrew Qiu said: “From EDM style to J-pop music, SMASH! 2015 is definitely the biggest year yet for Japanese music entertainment. With their highly eccentric style, Loverin Tamburin is the perfect addition to this year’s line-up. We look forward to …

Music to Your Ears – Hiroaki Yura to Attend SMASH! 2015

With SMASH! drawing ever closer around the proverbial corner, it might be considered a wise idea to take a little refresher read on some of the guest who will grace the convention this 2015. For those of you who have an ear for the strings, you may be happy to note that Hiroaki Yura is one of the names rounding out the SMASH! attendance roster. Having founded Eminence Symphony Orchestra, the world’s first animation and gaming focused orchestra, back in 2003, Yura has put forth a number of creative musical series. His directing talents also saw his name added to projects such as Diablo III, Soulcaliber IV and V, along with Steins;Gate (a personal favourite of mine). 2010 saw the birth of a new company under Yura’s direction, Creative Intelligence Arts Inc. Now if that name sounds at all familiar, it might be due to the fact that it is the company behind the upcoming Project Phoenix, the first Japan-based videogame to live amongst the ever growing halls of Kickstarter. Their most recently announced project, an animated …

Mascot Overload – John Oliver Explores a Distinctly Japanese Trend

As fellow fans of anime, manga and all things Japanese pop culture, it can be rather easy to forget one simple fact; not everyone shares the same passion. As such, it can be a moment of crisp realisation when one not versed in the labyrinthian world of Japanese marketing decides to peer in. Such a moment occurred recently on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, via a segment that focused on the cultural powerhouse that is Japanese mascots. These myriad creatures born of dream and nightmare are a mainstay in the companies and prefectures of Japan, lending faces to less-than-personable concepts; such as a railway. Whilst the norm in the wonderfully weird country of Japan, the majority of the globe shares a noticeably different view, one far from presenting a cute visage for a prison. But let’s not get too serious here people, this is a comedic look at a harmless and cute practice…unless you count Melon Kuma. So sit back, relax and laugh a little as you question how so many mascots can possibly …

AKB0048: The Complete Series – Review

Sitting through 26 episodes of a series that’s completely outside one’s comfort zone is a difficult experience, and that’s how I felt when I had to sit through both seasons of the AKB0048 anime in this complete series collection. But when it was all said and done, I couldn’t help but appreciate AKB0048 for what it was and what it intended to do. For all intents and purposes, AKB0048 is a thorough and well put-together viewing experience for its intended audience. While it may share its namesake with a Japanese pop group of the same name, with constant references to its many band members and its catalogue of magical feel-good songs, this anime is no cheap cash grab to leverage off the brand of AKB48, as it uses the music and notion of a pop idol group to create a rather unique and self-contained setting. The futuristic world presented in AKB0048 is fully realized and aware, its characters having identities that are completely unlike the real-world celebrities that make up the group. It may constantly reference …

Puroresu Getting Some Spotlight During Wrestlemania Season

If I have to explain to you what Wrestlemania is then clearly you’re not from planet Earth. Whether you watch pro wrestling or not, Wrestlemania season has been causing pop culture shock waves since the 1980s. The 31st annual Wrestlemania will take place in a matter of days now, with plenty of festivities leading up to it, including the Hall of Fame Ceremony. While Wrestlemania is indeed an American (Western) pop culture extravaganza, this year is a little special because Japanese pro wrestling is getting some well deserved props. Not only do we have one of the hottest Japanese wrestlers performing at Wrestlemania, but the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will recognize and immortalize the legacy of one of the greatest Japanese performers in the history of professional wrestling. Let’s talk about the present and future right now: Hideo Itami. This Japanese grappling striker made his debut on NXT, WWE’s developmental program, and has quickly become a must see performer. Formerly known as Kenta, this man already has a well established repertoire in Japanese wrestling industry …

GACKT Strips Off For A Cuddle

Ladies, are you in the mood for a cuddle? GACKT sure is, so much so that he is stripping off for one, or many if you like. Well not exactly, but I’m sure this news will excite more than a few GACKT fans. Coming bundled with his upcoming single is a variety of cuddle pillows and bed sheets, which will help you to simulate actually being GACKT’s girlfriend or boyfriend without actually being that. The single will retail at roughly $133 Australian Dollars. But hey, if that’s price you need to pay for a cuddle with Japanese rock and visual kei legend GACKT then so be it. Source: Natalie -30-

NJPW New Beginning Was The Beginning of the End

When your first PPV is a sure fire contender for Wrestling Event of the Year, like Wrestle Kingdom 9 was for New Japan Pro Wrestling, it sets a pretty tough precedent to be gauged on. Rather than saving best for last, NJPW unleashed their very best at the dawn of the New Year, creating a pretty tough act to follow up. Of course, the two events that took place on February 11 and 14, collectively and aptly known as New Beginning, marked a pretty important place in Japanese wrestling history. New Beginning was never going to be the same excess grandeur as Wrestle Kingdom 9, but as the name puts it so eloquently, the events that took place on 11th and 14th February respectively marked the beginning of something new, for better or for worse. The first event held on 11th February took place in Osaka, main evented by a battle for the prestigious IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Hiroshi Tanahashi was quite literally on top of the wrestling world, defeating The Rainmaker last month in what …

Hachiko Reunites With Owner At Shibuya Station After Nearly a Century Apart

In one of the most heartwarming stories in recent memory, a memorial statue has been erected in Shibuya station depicting the dog who waited, Hachiko finally reuniting with his owner and best friend Prof. Ueno. For quite some time a statue has stood at Shibuya station depicting Hachiko awaiting his owners return, unfortunately one that was never to come due to his owner’s untimely passing. Now at long last the two are reunited in what is sure to rouse a few tears from those touched by this heartwarming tale of a dog’s undying loyalty and love. It may have taken nearly a century, but your wait is over Hachiko. Thank you for teaching us the meaning of loyalty and to never forget the ones you love. Rest easy pup. -30-

NJPW’s ‘New Beginning’ Events To Be Headlined By Tanahashi vs Styles Championship Rematch and Possible Air Guitar Solo

Following the epic Wrestle Kingdom event at the Tokyo Dome on January 4th, New Japan Pro Wrestling’s next major line-up of events comes in the way of the ‘New Beginning’ events taking place in Osaka and Sendai across two days on February 11th and 14th respectively. The events are set to stream on the New Japan World online streaming service live. The events are shaping up quite nicely with a total of 8 championship matches spread out across both days including the long anticipated return match between former champion and sinister leader of the Bullet Club, AJ Styles and current champion, national hero and professional air guitarist, Hiroshi Tanahashi. The match ups for the events are as follows: NEW BEGINNING IN OSAKA (2/11) IWGP Heavyweight Championship Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. AJ Styles IWGP Tag Team Championship Goto & Shibata (c) vs. Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Kenny Omega (c) vs. Ryusuki Taguchi IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championship reDRagon (c) vs. The Time Splitters vs. The Young Bucks NEW BEGINNING IN SENDAI …

Wrestle Kingdom 9 Was Wrestling Royalty

Click here to read our preview of the event.  Nothing could have prepared us for the incredible show that was Wrestle Kingdom 9 by New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). The first real localization of this Japanese pop culture phenomenon courtesy of Jeff Jarret and Global Force Wrestling. On ringside you had Jim Ross and Matt Striker calling the action for English speaking audiences, doing their very best to tell the stories and break down the language barrier. On 4 January 2015, NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 9 kick started the year with what is already the best show of 2015. Although that obviously doesn’t mean much at this point, which is why it pleases me to say that Wrestle Kindgom 9 is among the finest wrestling shows in recent memory, if not in the history of this global industry itself. Wrestle Kingdom 9 had the glitz, glamour, and production values of a star-studded Wrestlemania, and that’s no light analogy. But this was no Wrestlemania look-alike, because Wrestle Kingdom 9 embodies the sheer uniqueness and richness of Japanese wrestling, …

Gear Up for NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 9

  This website is all about Japanese pop culture, and you’ve seen this place cover music, anime, video games, and manga… so what’s this pro wrestling doing in your Nippon culture haven? Don’t worry, we won’t be discussing the CM Punk Retrieval Arc any time soon… but we do want to bring your attention to the wonderful world of Japanese grappling. It’s not surprising that nearly everyone associates professional wrestling as a defining feature of the North American sports and entertainment industry, and of course most people would also appreciate the Mexican heritage of the phenomenon given the fascination with the athletic styling of Lucha Libre (and lest we forget Jack Black’s take on the art form in Nacho Libre). That said, to say that pro wrestling is as deeply embedded in Japanese history and culture just as it is in North America, Mexico, and even Great Britain, would not be an overstatement at all. In fact, Japan has such a huge pro wrestling industry that it has has dedicated fans all over the country from all generations. …