The recently released Kokoro Scanner (“mind scanner”), from Takara Tomy, is attracting attention with its simple yet clever concept.
The head-mounted toy supposedly monitors small heart rate changes and flags fibbers with a colored light system. A green light means you’re in the clear; yellow means you’re only telling half the truth; red means guilty as charged. The fact that user can’t see what color the light is just adds to the fun.
Retailing at a mere ¥2,700, this is clearly a poor man’s lie detector. Does it work? We’ve yet to test it, but our professional advice is, IT’S A TOY, so Truth or Dare? Yes. Court of law? Uh, no.
The Kokoro Scanner goes on sale Oct. 30 and can be ordered on Takara Tomy website.
Brazil soccer fans pose with a replica of the World Cup trophy on June 11 inside a metro station near Arena Corinthians stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (AP PHOTO)
Japan plays its first match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, against Côte d’Ivoire this weekend. Although the tournament kicks off two days earlier in São Paulo, for many the Samurai Blue’s opening game ushers in the event, along with the activities that would normally raise eyebrows but get a pass every four years, such as waking up at 2 a.m. to watch football and drinking before noon.
It will also unleash a new batch of World Cup songs that will play practically on loop for the duration of the competition, including the television network’s special theme tracks to various commercial tie-ins. And that’s just on the domestic side. Pitbull’s voice will haunt many for months to come.
The Ultra tourists get a quick lesson before hitting the waves
In a stroke of genius, travel-deal website TravelZoo, in collaboration with the Hawaii Tourism Authority and tokustasu pioneers Tsuburaya Productions, has enlisted serious star power to promote its current Hawaii travel packages.
Targeting a wide range of would-be travelers, the “Ultra Hawai’i ” campaign follows the well-loved characters from the generation-spanning Ultra series as they engage in classic tourist activities on the main Hawaiian islands of Maui, O’ahu, Kaua’i and Hawai’i.
For a look at how the Ultra family spends its time off, click over to the campaign site and travel along with Ultra Dad, Ultra Mom (yes, they really do exist in the series), Ultraman Taro and even their alien cohorts — the friendly, spindly-fingered creature Pigmon and the pincer-handed Alien Baltan.
The campaign is both hilarious and touching in the way it humanizes the superheroes as they shoot selfies in a gelato shop and are moved by an afternoon of whale watching. In rare moments away from the universe-saving day jobs, the family take in romantic sunsets and even Baltan Seijin, one of Ultraman’s archenemies, can put aside their differences to attend an intimate Ultra wedding on O’ahu. The beauty of Hawaii clearly brings people together.
The Ultra Hawai’i campaign runs until July 18. Oh, and there’s an island-hopping stamp rally. Collect ‘em all and get a special campaign souvenir.
Is making a game butchering cute little pigskimo-kawaii or just real talk? JOE Inc.’s “Yōtonjō” (“Pig Farm”) is a pig-raising simulation game with a predictable outcome. After all the vaccinating, poop scooping and keeping track of each porker’s picky eating habits, you send ‘em off, and not not on vacation.
“That’s how it works — they’re pigs after all!” The game’s copy reminds us.
Left: Isn’t it only right that each one would have its own preferences? They’re pigs, after all. Devote yourself to their care. Then give thanks for the pork! Right: A chance a day! Get rare pigs in the piglet hunt! The better the pig, the higher the price it will fetch! Compete with pig farmers from around the country!
Here’s a look inside my pig pen:
I like how that one is sleeping with his face planted in his food. Pigtastic!
The color of the pig-pen floor is different on the right because I applied a sawdust coating to help the pigs grow faster. Where do you think I got that sawdust? I bought it, of course. Did I have enough points right off the bat for that? Of course not! “Pig Farm” is perfect for short bursts (those moments of time between checking your Twitter and Facebook at the bus stop, for example) but if you’re busy and you just want to see what kind of goofy pigs you can raise as fast as possible, or expand your pen faster, the in-game store is more than happy to take your money. Farmers who want to invest can buy points in increments ranging from 2,000 for ¥100 to 200,000 for ¥5,800.
Here are some of the fine specimens I managed to raise so far:
Bump of Chicken‘s seventh album, “Ray,” came out today along with the announcement of a Hatsune Miku duet remix of the titular track. It’s available now under the artist name “Bump of Chicken Feat. Hatsune Miku” on iTunes and Recochoku and is the first time the band has done a collaboration of this type. Not only that, but Crypton Future Media is producing a video using tons of new tech, including a “14 [ichiyon] model” of their virtual idol. Hatsune Miku will not be edited in later, but perform in real time with the band. Find out more details about the development process in the documentary above.
Babymetal - “Gimme Choco!”
Cuteness has never been this metal. Blending hard rock and idol pop, Babymetal has been recording since 2011, but it was only with the release of their first major album last month that they went viral. “Gimme Chocolate!!” is a tale of chocoholism that cannot be cured even though “I’ve been worried about my weight lately.” If that particular instance of will power isn’t the most hardcore, how about this for metal? Trio member Yuimetal fell 2 meters off the stage at their Budokan show earlier this month, but was back up and performing again within minutes.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - “Yume no Hajimarinrin”
Kyary’s popularity continues to grow, and not only in Japan. Her latest single is used in a commercial for the apartment listings company Chintai. The video, however, remains solidly in the Kyary universe, including plenty of references to her other videos. Toast clapping! How nostalgic.
Bonus: Omodaka, who engineers a quirky harmony between traditional Japanese folksongs and chip-tunes, released a new album today called “Bridge Songs.” Wonder when we can expect another amazing music video . . .
Karaoke titan Joysound announced the most popular songs in their catalog over the course of 2013. Let’s sing along while checking out the top 10!
10. “Tentai Kansoku” — BUMP OF CHICKEN
Approximate English title: “Astronomical Observation”
Album: “Jupiter” (2002)
9. “Hebiirotēshon” — AKB48
Approximate English title: “Heavy Rotation”
Album: “Koko ni Ita Koto” (2011)
8. “Kiseki” — GReeeeN
Approximate English title: “Miracle”
Album: “A’, domo. Ohisashiburi desu.” (2008)
7. “Eikō no Kakehashi” — Yuzu
Approximate English title: “The Bridge to Glory”
*No official video available.
Album: “1 ~ONE~” (2004)
Factoid: Was the theme song to NHK’s coverage of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
6. “Guren no Yumiya” — Linked Horizon
*No official video available.
Approximate English title: “Crimson Bow and Arrow”
Album: (The maxi-single “Jiyū e no Shingeki” just came out in July.)
Factoid: Was used as the opening theme to the first season of one of this year’s hit anime, “Attack on Titan.”
5. “Hanamizuki” — Yo Hitoto
*No official video available.
Approximate English title: “Flowering Dogwood”
Album: “Hito Omoi” (2004)
Factoid: Was used for commercials and themes including “Kayō Sasupensu Gekijō” on NHK.
English title: “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis”
Album: “Neon Genesis Evangelion” (1995)
Factoid: The theme song to the hugely popular anime “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” which originally aired in 1995-1996 and has spawned an ongoing feature film reboot.
1. “Memeshikute” — Golden Bomber
Approximate English title: “Effeminate”
Album: “Gōruden Besuto ~Pressure~” (2010)
Does it surprise anyone that the Evangelion theme is up there so high? A more pertinent question might be, were there any karaoke parties where that song was not sung? I don’t think I’ve heard anyone do “Memeshikute,” but I can see how it would get the room pumped up.
As a bonus here are the top 10 Western songs of 2013:
10. “We Are the World” — USA for Africa
9. “I Want It That Way” — The Backstreet Boys
8. “A Whole New World” — Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle
7. “Top of the World” — The Carpenters
6. “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” — Aerosmith
5. “My Heart Will Go On” — Celine Dion
4. “What Makes You Beautiful” — One Direction
3. “Live While We’re Young” — One Direction
2. “We Are Never Getting Back Together” — Taylor Swift
1. “Call Me Maybe” — Carly Rae Jepsen
So Japan didn’t escape the “Call Me Maybe” wave, but they leave Bieber in the dust and favor One Direction? Hmm, hmm…
Which song did you sing the most in 2013?
All approximate translations approximated by the writer! See the rest of Joysound’s variously categorized “top” lists here and thanks to My Game News Flash for the tip.
Yeah, you’ve heard it a hundred times: Japan’s weird. “They had that bagel head thing,” you may say (which was never a “thing,” actually). Well, Japan has once again come up with something that will get under your skin, only this time it’s actually a “thing” broadcasted on national television.
It’s an animated series called “Nyuru Nyuru!! Kakusen-kun” (nyuru nyuru being the sound of something squeezing out of somewhere), which follows a newly formed whitehead (kakusen in Japanese) during his adventures living on the surface of a human nose. The two-minute show is supposed to be an obscure comedy that occasionally drops some skin care tips. The characters try their best to survive attacks by pore strips and face mites, which is more kimoi than kawaii. Popular idol group Dempagumi.inc sings the theme song, adding to the buzz factor.
While we certainly appreciate the cuteness and fidelity of having an 8-year-old boy play the young protagonist, rather than an older girl (as is the practice in many anime shows), it is pretty strange to hear him saying stuff like, “I wonder how much money I’d have to spend to get that lady-whitehead to go out with me,” about a beauty queen contest-winning zit, or learning to appreciate the lashes of her whip later on.
I am not one to require too much of a reason to throw a mini cream puff party in the office, but Beard Papa‘s announcement of karintō cream puffs was a good one; so, I take the liberty of starting this spring snack write-up with our impressions. If you’re not familiar, karintō are those things in the snack […]