July 19, 2013 | 2:45 p.m.

Comic-Con 2013 photos: Cosplay costumes, in all their crazy glory

Zombie Dino attacks  Christina Peredia (dressed as Rogue) in front of the San Diego Convention Center on the second full day of Comic-Con. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Spandex-wearing superheroes, helmeted space troopers, sword-wielding warriors and plodding robots have once again descended on San Diego for Comic-Con International, where scores of fanboys and fangirls can always be counted on to show off their creative cosplay. The pageantry includes faithful re-creations of major and minor characters from comics, TV shows and movies, as well as personalized interpretations that are alternately humorous, sexed-up or just plain idiosyncratic. Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer likened cosplay to Halloween for grown-ups and told Hero Complex, “One of the cool things, certainly about Comic-Con anyway, is when you wear a costume, you get to be that character.” FULL COVERAGE: San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Another cool thing about Comic-Con: No reference is too obscure. “You may wear a costume that nobody else knows what it is, or you don’t think they do,” Glanzer said, “but at […]
July 05, 2013 | 2:29 p.m.

Cosplay parade in full swing at Anime Expo 2013

"Miss Sinister Cosplay” dresses as a character from the "Naruto" series. (Celine Wright / Los Angeles Times)
Princesses, warriors, robots and all manner of fantastical creatures poured through the doors of the Los Angeles Convention Center Friday morning for the second day of the 22nd annual Anime Expo, a celebration of Japanese cartoons and comic books that includes gaming, comics, concerts, fashion shows, lectures and more. More than 50,000 people are expected to turn up for the weekend event — most of them dressed as a favorite character or in trendy Japanese fashions, and ready to pose for photographers. High school senior Allison Martin was the subject of a number of shots Friday — clad as Princess Euphemia from “Code Geass,” she wore a long, elegantly styled pink wig and a white ball gown. “It’s sort of like I really hope no one from my school sees me here,” said Martin with a nervous laugh. “I don’t […]
July 03, 2013 | 6:30 a.m.

Cosplayers expected in droves for Anime Expo

Andrew Olson from Las Vegas removes his oversized mask resembling anime character Corporal Kerero at the 2011 Anime Expo. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
With a character in mind, they set out. Yards of fabric in bright colors come together to resemble animated garb, accompanied by equally colorful wigs, accessories and makeup. The cosplayers and anime-lovers are getting ready for the second-largest anime convention in the country. This weekend, more than 50,000 people, many of them dressed as favorite characters or in trendy Japanese fashions, are expected to turn up at the Los Angeles Convention Center for the 22nd annual Anime Expo, a celebration of Japanese cartoons and comic books that includes gaming, comics, concerts, fashion shows, lectures and more. Event Organizer Greg Hignight said attendance has grown as the Internet has made the Japanese animated content more accessible to American audiences, along with exposure on the Cartoon Network. “Because the world is flattening, it’s a lot easier for people to discover international content,” […]
Feb. 22, 2013 | 8:38 a.m.

Cowabunga! ‘TMNT’ remake ends Megan Fox-Michael Bay feud

Michael Bay, left, and Megan Fox will reunite for a "TMNT" remake. (Credits: Getty Images)
Cowabunga! A ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” remake is on the way. But perhaps the bigger news is this: Actress Megan Fox and director Michael Bay are reuniting for the “TMNT” redo. The director took to his website Thursday night to announce the news: “TMNT: We Are Bringing Megan Fox Back Into the Family” Bay and Fox famously clashed while working on the first two “Transformers” movies. At one point during an interview with a British magazine, Fox compared her director to Hitler.  Bay lashed back with some tart words of his own, questioning Fox’s work ethic: “I’m sorry, Megan. … I’m sorry that I’m making you show up on time.” Shia LaBeouf wages Twitter war They parted ways for the third installment in the series, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley stepping in to play the part of […]
Jan. 21, 2013 | 1:17 p.m.

‘Totoro,’ ‘Princess Mononoke’ returning to theaters for Ghibli series

"Ponyo," which came to American theaters in 2008, is a love story between a young goldfish princess who wants to become human and the little boy who finds her in the ocean. "Ponyo" was loosely inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid." (Nibariki–GNDHDDT / Disney)
Some of Hayao Miyazaki’s most popular films — including “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Princess Mononoke” — are returning to the big screen as part of a Studio Ghibli retrospective hosted by the American Cinematheque. It’s a return engagement after last year’s series at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica enjoyed sold-out screenings. The retrospective begins  Friday at the Egyptian with a double feature of the Academy Award-winning “Spirited Away” and the tanuki tale “Pom Poko” — two of 11 films being showcased through Feb. 10. Miyazaki could be considered Japan’s answer to Walt Disney. Studio Ghibli — founded in 1985 by Miyazaki, his mentor Isao Takahata and producer Toshio Suzuki — releases films that are immensely popular in Japan and have been growing in recognition in the United States. The films are known […]
Jan. 17, 2013 | 5:00 a.m.

Eric Nakamura: Giant Robot Biennale 3 exhibition celebrates misfits

Eric Nakamura at the Giant Robot exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
The culture of cute is having a moment — more than 100 of them. Inside downtown Los Angeles’ Japanese American National Museum, the unofficial U.S. ambassador of Asian pop culture, Giant Robot founder Eric Nakamura, hovers over his empire of little people — some 100 charismatic misfits clustered in Plexiglas cases. There’s the cheery, hot-pink monster head atop an armored tank, the grimacing caramel-colored ogre with horns and the Native American robotic beast in a fuzzy bear hat. Not to mention the bug-eyed, blue octopus skewering its neon-scarlet brain with a fork. That these custom vinyl figures are being showcased so seriously in a museum setting puts an elastic grin on Nakamura’s face. “A figure show, toys, are never presented in a space like this,” he says. “It usually happens in a shop on Melrose, on a shelf. I wanted […]
Oct. 24, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.

‘Akira’s’ Katsuhiro Otomo takes fiery turn in ‘Combustible’

Katsuhiro Otomo's short film 'Combustible' (featured image)
Katsuhiro Otomo, the director of the watershed Japanese animated feature “Akira,” will make a rare personal appearance at REDCAT in downtown L.A. on Saturday to receive the first lifetime achievement award from the Platform International Animation Festival and to screen his new short film, “Combustible.” Otomo, who began his career as a manga artist, has written and directed numerous features, but he’s best known for “Akira” (1988), which was one of a handful of key films that created an audience for anime in America. Based on his own manga, the film offers a dystopic vision of a future divided between the opulent towers of Neo-Tokyo and the slums beneath, where cultists and biker thugs fight brutal police officers. Like Wagner’s Valhalla, Neo-Tokyo is built on greed and corruption and is doomed to destruction, even at the height of its splendor. […]
July 09, 2012 | 6:27 a.m.

Cosplay photos: Anime Expo 2012, a look back

Cosplay and anime fans gathered at Anime Expo 2012 in Los Angeles. (Jay West / For Hero Complex)
Even with Comic-Con, Botcon, Power Morphicon, Wizard World and Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo all in play, there may not be a convention that matches the costuming originality and gusto of the Anime Expo. There were three masquerade showcases this year, but most of the cosplay warriors pictured above were decked out for the love of their creations. Jay West was on hand to watch the fans flaunt an impressive array of characters derived from comics/manga, movies, TV, pop music and video games (plus original creations) in and around the Los Angeles Convention Center. Anime Expo has already announced that the 2013 edition is scheduled for July 4-7. – Jevon Phillips RECENT AND RELATED: ‘Planetes’: Misfits cleaning up space junk Expo 2012: ‘Martian Successor Nadesico’ is funny ‘Ghost in the Shell’: TV variations on cyberpunk ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ delivers spectacular finish ‘Trigun […]
June 29, 2012 | 2:23 p.m.

Anime Expo 2012: ‘Martian Successor Nadesico’ is seriously funny

A visitor to the "Geki Fest"' -- a send-up of anime conventions -- in the animated movie, ``Martian Successor Nadesico.''  (Credit: XEBCO/Project Nadesico TV Tokyo).
Anime Expo, the largest convocation of fans of Japanese animation and manga in the country, is now underway at the Los Angeles Convention Center — more than 125,000 are expected to attend. One of the guests of honor is Tatsuo Sato, the creator of an outrageous TV spoof of anime fan culture called “Martian Successor Nadesico,” which is a bit like inviting the Comic Book Guy from “The Simpsons” to speak at Comic-Con International. The Nadesico is a state-of-the-art space battleship (complete with crew jackets, Ping-Pong tables and vending machines) run by a crew of teenage misfits. When he’s not fighting the invading Jovian Lizards, the series’ unlikely hero, fry cook-turned-combat-pilot Akito Tenkawa, watches reruns of “Gekigangar 3,” a hilarious sendup of early giant robot shows in the “Gigantor” mold. Clips from the show-within-the-show feature a disco theme song, stilted animation, hammy […]
April 11, 2012 | 2:42 p.m.

‘Pokémon’ at 15: Success is still in the cards, films and TV shows

Pokemon (featured image)
After 15 years, 700 TV episodes and 14 feature films, Ash Ketchum and millions of kids are still trying to catch ‘em all. In April 1997, the animated version of “Pokémon” premiered on Japanese television. Based on the hit Nintendo Game Boy title introduced two years earlier, the series follows the travels and travails of Ketchum (Satoshi in the original) as he tries to become a Pokémon Master by building a team that can beat other trainers in stylized battles. Traveling with Ash are perennially love-sick Brock, feisty Misty and Pikachu, the “electric mouse” Pokémon. The series scored a huge hit in Japan, and by 1999 the game and show had conquered America. Pokémon paraphernalia were everywhere. The original motto, “Pokémon Getto Daze!” (Let’s Get Pokémon!) became “Gotta Catch ‘em All!” The first “Pokémon” feature film grossed more than $85 […]
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