It was fun spending time in Las Vegas, relaxing by the pool and enjoying the odd beer or five. I ordered one of those Bud Lite Lime bottles (which I only drink ironically, honest), and I noticed that they’d stopped using the “BL” logo on the side, possibly because of my teasing them about what these letters mean to most of us on their official Facebook page. Japan has had a long history with beer, ever since Norwegian-born brewer William Copeland founded what would become the Kirin Brewing Company in Yokohama in 1869. (Next time you’re in Yokohama, be sure and stop by his gravestone in the foreigners’ graveyard and crack open a cold one with him.) While I’m a fan of the many fine beers from Japan, the truth is that they all start to taste the same to me after so many years in the country, so it’s nice to be back in the U.S. where there’s a bit more variety. It’s even better, since over the past decade or so San Diego has gone and turned itself into one of the best cities for craft beers anywhere. If you plan to visit for the San Diego Comicon and are a fan of beer, you might want to consider checking out one of those “beer bus” tours that drive around to all the best brew houses during your time here.
Being a scholar of Japanese animation is kind of a fun job, and I enjoy tracking what trends have come and gone over the years. One approach to analyzing the evolution of different themes in anime is to break things into different periods, as exist with comic books. Personally, I consider the Golden Age to be represented by the early shows like Space Battleship Yamato and Speed Racer, which laid the groundwork for the future popularity of the genre; the Silver Age would be the fully developed properties like Macross, Sailor Moon and Zeta Gundam (the latter show began a long period of theme songs being sung by female singers instead of male, which strikes me as an important turning point for some reason); and the modern period, defined by the bursting of the licensing-for-broadcast-and-DVD-sales bubble, the rise of the Internet and the move from manual cel animation to digital production. Another cornerstone of the modern age is the rise of 萌え moe, that is, incredibly cute female characters that are so meticulously designed, they become irresistible to fans. It’s fun to watch some of the more creative innovations they’ve come up with over the years, like “mecha musume” (cute girls melded with WWII mecha), or the recent appearance of certain shipgirls. What will the next big thing in moe characters be? I can’t be sure, but these “construction musume” (aka “tool girl”) creations by Japanese illustrator ASTG are pretty darned cute.
J-List loves to find gorgeous anime-related products for our customers all over the world, and we especially love the many gorgeous anime figures we have on the site. Many are “cast off” which means they come with clothing that can be, er, “reconfigured” to suit your moods. Browse the most popular anime figures on J-List now!