Tom Smith on the alter egos of Kishidan’s Show Ayanocozey
Nao Baba to his mother, Sumitada Ozumano to his lawyers, Show Ayanocozey to the rockers, Naomi Camellia Yazima to the drag queens, and DJ OZMA to the club kids. Whichever name you know him for best, the chances are that name’s etched into the inner sanctum of your memory box due to him being an utter nutcase, regardless of which persona he’s putting on.
Under his Show Ayanocozey moniker, the barmy star had a track featured in the latest box set of Naruto Shuppiden, however, he first rose to major prominence in 2006 after a performance on NHK’s coveted end of year music show Kouhaku no Gassen with his party project; DJ OZMA. He hit the stage in the live television show wearing just a golden afro and matching golden boxers. If that wasn’t enough to put you off your ramen, he was also accompanied by a sea of seemingly naked female dancers, baring boobies for all. That’s not entirely true though, his lawyers insisted, the lady folk were innocently donning mock nudey bodysuits instead. Besides, their most delicate of places were covered up with an intricately placed mushroom (DJ OZMA’s emblem). Even the OZMA has standards. The backlash from a minority of fist-shaking complainers was worth the price of instant notoriety.
While producing tracks as DJ OZMA, he was also in Kishidan, as mentioned earlier. The group formed in 1996, though you wouldn’t recognise which was OZMA. Taking the name Show Ayanocozey, and having one of the biggest pompadour hairdos in the business, Kishidan’s gimmick was that all members dressed in the style of bousouzoku; Japan’s biker gangs. Check out their style for yourself in the video to ‘Omae Dattanda’ (It Was You), from Naruto Shippuden.
Surprisingly, the track was one of their least successful singles in terms of chart position. Two of their bigger hits, ‘One Night Carnival’ and ‘Zoku’ can be found in the Japanese DS rhythm games Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! and it’s sequel. The band seems to have had quite an impact on the game’s developers as its lead characters share similar outfits and dance moves to those of Kishidan.
His newest project, ‘American’ drag queen trio Yazima Beauty Salon, sees him move on from DJ OZMA (finished as of 2008) to adopt the name Naomi Camellia Yazima, along with fake hair, breasts and a series of sparkly dresses. This vocal group also contains the popular comedians Takaaki Ishibashi and Noritake Kinashi (who usually form the comedy duo known as Tunnels). Perhaps the oddest thing about this coupling is that their debut single, which has the translated title of ‘Friends of Japan: We Come From Nevada’ reached number three in the charts, higher than any of Kishidan’s 13 singles, and the second most request karaoke song of 2008.
Be grateful that not all of Japan’s music makes it overseas.
In two featured episodes, Tales of a Gutsy Ninja: Jiraiya Ninja Scrolls, go back in time to witness how the young Jiraiya meets his destiny at Mount Myoboku and trains to become the Toad Sage! Back in the present, Jiraiya successfully infiltrates the Hidden Rain Village and finds the hideout of the Akatsuki's Pain. But will he be as successful in discovering the secret behind the multiple Pains? Meanwhile, Sasuke heads for the Uchiha hideout, where his brother, Itachi, awaits. The amazing visual prowess of the Uchiha come into full play as the fateful battle begins!
Andrew Osmond asks if it really is the end for Ghost in the Shell
Solid State Society is, as of writing, the last anime instalment of Ghost in the Shell. Will there be any more? Interviewed in 2007, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, co-founder of Production IG, suggested the franchise could be refreshed by a switch to live-action, with Kusanagi, Batou, Togusa and the rest of Section 9 interpreted by real actors. If it was a success, the franchise could return to anime later.
Mamoru Oshii’s unashamedly esoteric sequel to his earlier global crossover Ghost in the Shell lent the most credibility to claims for anime as ‘Art’ with a capital ‘A’, when it became the first animated film from Japan to be entered in competition at Cannes.
On sale now at the San Diego Comic Con in a limited edition of only 325 prints, Kilian Eng's beautiful Ghost in the Shell poster for Mondo. It's a thing of beauty made specially to commemorate the 25th anniversary.
Tom Smith on the newest numero-enchanted musicians
It may sound odd to English ears, but 7!!’s choice of pronunciation makes sense (well, a tiny bit of sense) when put into the context of where the band grew up; Okinawa. It’s an area that’s closer to Taiwan than mainland Japan, and one that’s had a heavy US military presence since the Second World War. These factors, among plenty of others, have had an affect on the cultural evolution of the islands, and one of the most evident examples can be found in local popular music scene.
The literary history of the Arabian Nights that underlies Magi is fascinating. The one point that any Magi fan should know to sound erudite is that three of the show’s main characters, Aladdin, Alibaba and Sinbad, are named after famous Arabian Nights heroes. However, none of these heroes were actually in the original collection.
Need more cowbell? Have five! Japanese pop quintet Bon Bon Blanco (or B3 for short) is made up of 80% percussionists – and whilst its vocalist Anna Santos is the only member without an instrument to bash, I’m pretty sure she could work her way around a cowbell if pushed.
Remembering the anime master who shunned the limelight
Toshio Hirata, who died on 25th August, might be reasonably said to have avoided publicity. Over the course of his career, he did gather a number of credits for directing, as well as storyboards, key animation and lowlier tasks, but he often obscured his own achievements by using the pseudonym Sumiko Chiba. In some cases, such as for his work on Azuki-chan, he simply asked not to be credited at all, claiming that his contribution was not really worthy of recognition.
The first rule of Kenichi is: big eyes and kick ass.
In the real world, mastering a martial art takes years of devotion. All require a harsh physical regimen that pushes the body to the limit. Of course, we’re dealing with the world of anime, so we have a sneaking suspicion that Kenichi Shirahama might be able to go from shy, quiet bookworm to martial arts prodigy in a matter of weeks. All it takes to send him on the path to becoming Chuck Norris’ worst nightmare is falling for the new girl in class after he sees her single-handedly demolishing a group of thugs.
Pacific Rim opened a new gateway to ’bot sagas for youngsters, and for oldsters too. They’ll see del Toro’s film, learn how much he was inspired by Japanese cartoons, and then check out the originals. If they choose Eureka Seven Ao, they’ll find elements also seen in Pacific Rim, embedded in a very different show.
Twenty years ago, the witch Bayonetta was hauled out of a deep lake, with no memory of her past, how she got there, or who might have hated her enough to put her there. She has in her possession half of an artefact known as the "Eyes of the World.” Joining forces with information broker Enzo, she sets off to find and steal the other half. But powerful forces are moving against her, forces known as the Angels.