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Vending machines in Tokyo Station not getting restocked, exploitative “black company” to blame

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 06:00 PM PDT

Employees go on landmark strike to tackle unpaid overtime, receive overwhelming support from netizens.

Tokyo Station has plenty of vending machines, allowing shoppers to hydrate themselves while grabbing delicious confections as yummy souvenirs for loved ones.

But visitors to the station have recently noticed that beverages in the vending machines have been sold out for long periods of time, and for some odd reason they don't seem to be getting restocked at all.

The mystery of the unstocked machines came to light when @magazine_posse, an NPO organization supporting labor rights in Japan, revealed the shocking truth on Twitter.

▼ Here's why shoppers were thirsty these few days.
(Translation below)

"We would like to inform everyone in Tokyo Station that beverages are all sold out in vending machines. 14 union members working for the black company, Japan Beverage Holdings, are on strike in response to unpaid overtime and unfair disciplinary actions against members. We're negotiating for zero overtime and one-hour breaks. Thank you for your understanding."

▼ Companies with poor working conditions forcing employees into
excessive unpaid overtime are referred to as "black companies" in Japan.

Japan Beverage Holdings has always adhered to an "off-site official working hours" system, paying employees for a maximum of 7.5 hours. Product replenishment, stock-taking, and juggling product expiry dates are all extremely time-consuming tasks, however, making completing the job within a mere 7.5 hours an impossibility.

Add in managing hot and cold drinks into the mix and workers find themselves constantly finishing work after 10 to 12 hours, and though the company has strict rules on working hours, an overabundance of employees means that such issues are often overlooked.

▼ Victims of black companies are often young employees.

According to Japanese news website ITmedia, Japan Beverage Holdings was issued a warning by the government-affiliated Labor Standards Inspection Office in December last year. Yet instead of straight up reimbursing for the unpaid work, the black company offered employees "small cash repayments" that may have been considerably less.

Instead of reviewing their work ethics, the company is actually taking disciplinary action against some of the employees leading the strike. On the bright side, the tweet has garnered overwhelming positive reaction from netizens, most of whom hope that some sort of compromise can be reached.

Excessive overworking is still a huge issue in Japanese society, and though some companies are taking insane steps towards making sure their employees leave on time, significant progress remains yet to be seen.

Source: Twitter/@magazine_posse via ITmedia
Top image: Twitter/@magazine_posse
Insert images: Pakutaso (1 ,2)

Mega Man rock concert coming this July in honor of 30th anniversary

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 10:30 AM PDT

Time to look back at the fine history of Mega Man… except the Captain N stuff. Let’s all agree to forget about that.

In December of 1987, a fledgling video game company by the name of Capcom put out a shooting platformer called Rock Man. Soon after, it was sold worldwide only renamed as Mega Man and given inexplicably ugly box art.

Despite him packing heat in the picture, the core beauty of Mega Man really lied in his Mega Buster arm cannon. This gave the titular character the ability to gain the powers of robots he defeats. This feature added a simple but deceptively deep layer to the already overdone platform genre of the day, and propelled the series through decades of sequels and spin-off series.

However, since about 2010, things have been rather quiet on the Mega Man front. Little did we know, something big was building like a Charge Shot to be unleashed on his greatest foe: 30th Anniversary Man.

Several celebrations and honors have been planned for this celebration including the next main sequel, Mega Man 11, later this year.

Another intriguing event is the Rock Man 30th Anniversary Live show which highlights another cornerstone of Mega Man‘s success: undeniably catchy background music. At this show a rock band will perform selected tracks from the entire history of Mega Man.

The band will be made up of talented musicians in the game industry: Daisuke Miyazaki on guitar, bassist Atsushi Enomoto, the keyboard stylings of Norita Kamikura, Yu “Masshoi” Yamauchi keeping the beat on drums, and MOS filling in the various horn parts when needed.

Two shows will be held in the morning and afternoon of 8 July at Nakano Zero in Tokyo. Tickets cost 7,500 yen (US$70), and in addition to the music there will be special guests and limited edition Mega Man merchandise on sale at this one-time event.

All games will be represented in the setlist including the Mega Man X games and even the Mega Man Battle Legends titles. Personally, I’d be happy if it just focused on the songs from the first three games. At the very least, if they don’t include both the opening theme and Magnet Man theme from Mega Man 3 then they should be locked up for crimes against music.

But really this isn’t about arguing over which Mega Man song is the best, and not just because clearly I’m right that it’s the Magnet Man theme. Rather, this is about coming together to honor the blue bomber and suggest that at his age he maybe ought to settle down, hang up his helmet, and finally have some Mega Kids.

Event information
Rock Man 30th Anniversary Live / ロックマン30周年記念ライブ
Nakano Zero – Tokyo-to, Nakano-ku, Nakano 2-9-7
なかのZERO 大ホール – 東京都中野中野2-9-7
11:30 – 12:30, 4:30 – 5:30, 8 July, 2018

Tickets: 7,500 yen
Tickets Sold at Ticket Pia, Lawson Ticket, e-Plus

Source: Capcom, Tate Corporation
Top image: YouTube/CapcomChannel
Insert image: Capcom

Learn to Make the Cutest Sailor Moon Bento with How-To Video

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 08:00 AM PDT

Why settle for a basic lunch when it could be magical?

A promotional video for the new Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary tribute album will show you how to do it step-by-step. You’re going to need more than just intermediate cooking skills for this one, because the final result is a work of art.

I have to admit, this is one of the more complicated decorative bento designs I’ve seen, and includes cutting out intricate pieces of tofu and dried seaweed, and even dying some of them to get the correct color of blue. If you still remain undaunted, and also want to listen to the cover of “Otome no Policy” by Yoko Ishida from the latest Sailor Moon tribute album, check out the video below.

The newest tribute album contains covers of classic Sailor Moon tracks by LiSABiSHGesshoku KaigiSILENT SIREN, and more. Gesshoku Kaigi is covering two tracks, including “La Soldier.” The band and theme song composer Akiko Kosaka appear in a video below detailing the track’s recording process.

The Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL TRIBUTE album will cost 3,240 yen (US$30). It hit store shelves on April 4.

Source: Animate Times
Top image: YouTube/sailormoon-official

More from Anime News Network:

Nothing can make us wish we were kids again harder than this Totoro Catbus rocking horse【Pics】

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 10:00 PM PDT

Luckily there's still one way for grown-up Studio Ghibli anime fans to enjoy it.

Sometimes, Donguri Kyowakoku, the chain of shops filled with amazing Studio Ghibli anime merchandise, makes us think growing up might not be so bad. Sure, you might be too old to go on magical adventures like Hayao Miyazaki's preteen protagonists, but you can still keep a connection to them with beautiful Ghibli character folding fans and elegant body mist fragrances.

And then there are times like this, when Donguri Kyowakoku makes us wish, with all our hearts, that we could be kids again.

Instead of a rocking horse, Donguri Kyowakoku offers a rocking Catbus, as in the feline transportation that appears in My Neighbor Totoro, as well as in the dreams of every Ghibli fan whose heart is filled with a bittersweet feeling every time they ride mundane, non-cat-based public transportation in the real world.

Donguri Kyowakoku says the polyester-covered Catbus' seat is as soft as a stuffed animal, to provide maximum comfort for its rider.

Speaking of its materials, the frame being made of wood, not plastic, would make old-fashioned nature lover Miyazaki smile (inwardly, of course).

▼ Raise your hand if you never noticed those are mice on top of the Catbus.

Alas, the Catbus rocker is a mere 65 centimeters (25.6 inches) long, making it actually closer in size to the Kitten Bus seen in the sequel to Totoro. That means it's too small for any Ghibli fan with grown-up-class leg length, body weight, or buttocks area. Instead it's recommended for riders aged 1 to 4, though the company helpfully points out that while it's too small for adults to ride, it is large enough to make a lovely/loveable interior accent that you can also pet if you feel like it.

The rocking Catbus is priced at 34,560 yen (US$320), and can be ordered here through Donguri Kyowakoku's online shop.

Related: Donguri Kyowakoku
Source, images: Donguri Kywakoku

Awesome cosplay tip lets you create an anime power barrier without using any CG whatsoever

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 09:00 PM PDT

Anime itself may have gone all-digital, but you can still use amazing practical effects as the finishing touch for your cosplay photos.

Cosplayers have become incredibly talented at recreating the attire of their favorite anime and video game stars, but really, the characters are only one part of the distinct visual style of otaku media. Another critical component, especially for action-heavy series, is the flashy special effects, such as energy barriers or shock waves emanating from a particularly powerful attack.

Of course, such mystical pyrotechnics don't occur in real life. That's not such a problem, though thanks to digital photography and affordable image editing software. Just strike a pose, snap a picture, and then add in whatever effects you want, just like they do when making Hollywood blockbusters. That's clearly what's going on in the left half of the tweet below, right?

Nope. There's no post-production trickery being used there. Instead, the trickery begins before the photo is taken, and continues up until the exact moment the camera's shutter closes, as demonstrated by Japnese Twitter user @ARuFa_FARu.

All you need is a couple of glow sticks, just like the kind used for wotagei otaku dances. Then grab a length of sturdy cord, string, or twine and attach the glow sticks to one end, and tie the other to your wrist. Make sure the knot is nice and secure, and then spin the glow sticks in a circle as your photographer takes the photo, producing a motion blur that looks like a projection of magical energy and also conceals the sticks themselves.

Not sure you want to be swinging hard plastic tubes filled with fluorescent ooze around? There's also a less kinetic way to make an anime-style barrier. Get a bunch of sheets of clear plastic, tape them together, and then tape them to the palm of your hand, like this.

Just remember that while the barriers will look real in photos, one is actually nonexistent, and the other is paper-thin, so don't go trying to use these as actual protection, even against cosplay-class weapons such as floorboard swords and hadoken plushies.

Source: Twitter/@ARuFa_FARu via Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@ARuFa_FARu

Chinese Disney fans worry that an upcoming Pixar short film will be banned from theaters

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 08:00 PM PDT

And it’s all because of that one time Xi Jinping ordered some meat buns from a local restaurant in Beijing.

First with certain anime productions and then rap music, China has been making good use of its political reach in recent years to stifle several methods of free speech. Anything considered “vulgar” or “lewd” in content that could even remotely be thought of as inspiring anarchist thoughts is in danger of being censored, so celebrities, film and television directors, and even ordinary netizens have to tread lightly.

Currently Chinese Disney fans are worried that the next item to be banned could be an upcoming Pixar film. The short film, called Bao, is the story of a woman suffering from empty nest syndrome, who one day finds that life has been given to a homemade Chinese meat bun.

▼ A sneak peek of Bao.

Clearly the cute, baby-like character is inspired by Chinese culture, and its story is sure to touch the hearts of all in a wholesome, family friendly way. So what are Chinese Disney fans worried about? The tenuous connections between Bao the meat bun and Chinese State Leader Xi Jinping, that some fans are worried could get out of hand, which could result in the short film being banned from Chinese theaters.

Their concerns are based on an incident that started in 2013, when the Chinese Leader was seen spontaneously visiting a local meat bun shop in China, as part of his initiative to “keep the Communist Party in touch with the common people”. He apparently lined up like an ordinary citizen, ordered six meat buns and two other dishes, and ate his lunch while chatting with local residents.

Instagram Photo

While many Chinese citizens found it endearing that he should humble himself in a such a way, some deemed the act a publicity stunt and doubted the spontaneity of the event, with some even claiming that the whole affair was fake. Eventually critical publications adopted the satirical nickname “Xi Baozi” (Xi Meat Bun) for Xi, as a way to make a commentary on the subject.

But the State Chairman wasn’t a fan, and when a user shared a satirical site that used the nickname on a Chinese messaging app, they were later arrested, charged with inciting treason, and sentenced to 22 months of imprisonment with hard labor.

Xi Jinping evidently doesn’t take ridicule lightly, and that’s further evidenced by the fact that Winnie the Pooh has been purged from the Internet in China since last year. Though no one knows exactly why, many speculate that it’s because of a series of joking tweets over the years that compared the pudgy yellow bear to Xi.

▼ Netizens also say the resemblance between former U.S. President Obama and Tigger is equally uncanny.

Thanks to the comparison, any images of Pooh, Pooh stickers and GIFs, and even Pooh’s name have been wiped from the Chinese Internet, and attempts to use his name on Weibo, China’s Twitter, are rejected with a message saying “Post is illegal”. As such, Chinese fans of Winnie the Pooh are rightly worried that the upcoming Christopher Robin movie will also miss out on a Chinese release when it comes to theaters in August.

At the moment, though, the more pressing worry is that Bao, a seemingly touching 8-minute film based on Chinese culture and directed by a Chinese-American woman, will not be shown in theaters when it premiers along with Incredibles 2 on June 15. Apparently some brazen netizens are already making comparisons between Bao and Xi Jinping, but hopefully the satirical content will stay well enough under wraps to keep the film under the Ministry of Culture’s radar.

Top Image: YouTube/The Chew
Reference: Entertainment Weekly, South China Morning Post