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July 06, 2014 | 1:37 p.m.

Japanese ambassador of cute joins cosplayers at AX

Kimura U, the Ambassador of Kawaii and the Ambassador of Cute. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
“My name is Kimura U, and I am the most pink creator of the world.” Walking the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center on Thursday during Anime Expo, Kimura U — wearing chunky pink platform heels, a pink leather jacket, pink tights, a pink frilly dress and ombre hair that faded from light purple to light pink — surprisingly fit in among a group of 200,000 attendees often eager to stand out through their apparel. But unlike the thousands of cosplayers dressed as characters, it’s Kimura U’s job to dress this way: She’s the Japanese ambassador of kawaii, a.k.a. the ambassador of cute. Appointed by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the position in 2009, U travels the world to promote Japanese culture abroad, specifically Harajuku fashion, a type of fashion based on trends in the Harajuku district […]
July 02, 2014 | 3:59 p.m.

Anime Expo: New ‘Dragon Ball Z,’ ‘Sailor Moon Crystal’ and cosplay

The 23rd Anime Expo, the largest anime and manga convention in North America, is opening Thursday at the Los Angeles Convention Center for four days of exhibits, panel discussions, concerts, commerce and, yes, cosplay (take a peek at the gallery above for duds from 2014). After feedback from last year’s attendants, the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, which organizes the expo, has expanded the role of costume play in the event, creating more sets where cosplayers dressed as their favorite anime (animation) and manga (comics) characters can take photographs. “Anime Expo draws a lot of people who get into costume, and we wanted to provide an area for them to be able to take some really good pictures. We have a lot of really cool sets,” said Meg Amo, the society’s brand manager, citing a Japanese garden and a […]
June 30, 2014 | 6:13 p.m.

Comic-Con 2014: ‘Gotham,’ ‘Flash’ will make their official debuts

The cast of The CW's "Gotham." (Warner Bros. TV)
“Gotham” has been teasing fans with casting and posters and trailers, but now some will finally get to see a world premiere of how all of that dark imagery jells — at the one place that could possibly make or break the show: Comic-Con International. The chronicle of Det. James Gordon and a young Bruce Wayne set to air on Fox isn’t the only DC Comics-based show that will invade San Diego. A complete pilot for the CW’s “The Flash,” a glimpse at Season 3 of its network ally “Arrow” and footage from NBC’s “Constantine” will all be presented by Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment on Saturday, July 26, during the pop-culture exposition. Cast members and producers from all four shows will make appearances throughout the night following the screenings. The three-hour event will bring together the shows for […]
June 24, 2014 | 5:18 p.m.

No force for Los Angeles: The George Lucas museum goes to Chicago

In a galaxy far, far away in the Midwest, one known as Chicago, a grand institution will be built… George Lucas has chosen the Illinois metropolis as the location for his museum, according to a Lucas spokesman as well as a spokeswoman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The city beat out San Francisco, New York, and of course, Los Angeles. Rest assured that Los Angeles made overtures, and not shy ones either, to claim the filmmaker’s museum, which will officially be called the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts. According to our sister blog, Culture Monster, none other than Mayor Garcetti himself reached out to the “Star Wars” creator. In a letter that he posted on his website, Garcetti tentatively proposed the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, located near USC, which is where Lucas studied film in the 1960s. From Culture Monster’s David Ng: “The plan would be […]
June 23, 2014 | 1:57 p.m.

Transformers: Five things learned at Botcon 2014

Cosplayers dress up as Autobots. (Jevon Phillips / Los Angeles Times)
For 20 years, robots have never had to be in disguise at Botcon – the annual celebration of all things Transformers that took place at the Pasadena Convention Center last weekend. Botcon isn’t necessarily a hype machine for the June 27 release of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” — the convention began in 1994, long before Michael Bay took the helm of the film franchise —  but it does transform nicely into one. Overall, though, it is geared more toward the group of stalwart fans that have the same sensibilities that helped rocket the mechanical aliens to popularity some 30 years ago when it began as a Hasbro toy line in 1984. ———— For the record: In an earlier version of this post, it was stated that Pirate Clone Pounce and Pirate Clone Wingspan were Autobots. They are, of course, Decepticons. […]
June 13, 2014 | 3:50 p.m.

Joe Dante recalls studio fretted about Gremlin creepiness factor [video]

Before “Gremlins” hit theaters in 1984, studio executives fretted that the creepy critters might be too frightening for moviegoers. “They thought the Gremlins were very unpleasant,” director Joe Dante recalled during a recent appearance at the Hero Complex Film Festival. “So, they sent some notes, one of which was: ‘Too many gremlins.’ “ Luckily Steven Spielberg, the executive producer, had the perfect rejoinder. “Well, we could cut all the Gremlins out and call it ‘People.’ How would you like that?” It was the type of sardonic comeback that perhaps only Spielberg could have gotten away with at the time. After all, as Dante pointed out, he was essentially the reason the film was made. Dante said that Warner Bros., “basically backed it because Steven Spielberg wanted to make it, and they wanted to make him happy.” Dante spoke with Hero […]
May 23, 2014 | 5:21 p.m.

‘Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist': Joey Ansah and ‘the definitive back story’

Joey Ansah as Akuma in "Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist." (Machinima)
Joey Ansah might best be known as Desh, the bad guy who went toe-to-toe with Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne in “The Bourne Ultimatum,” but his love of martial arts and his desire to create memorable fight scenes extends to one of fandom’s holy grails when it comes to fisticuffs: “Street Fighter.” “Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist” launched today on Youtube’s Machinima channel and Ansah co-wrote and directed the epic, 12-episode  series with an eye toward retelling and consolidating the story of how Ken and Ryu became names synonymous with video game action. Ansah, who also stars in the series (Akuma), wrote the script with Christian Howard, who reprises his role as Ken Masters from the original fan film. The series also stars Mike Moh as Ryu, Togo Igawa (“47 Ronin,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “The Last Samurai”) as Gotetsu, Akira Koieyama […]
May 21, 2014 | 12:38 p.m.

‘Brave New Souls': Brandon Easton on sci-fi, comics and black writers

black-comix
Race and gender are not often the most pressing of topics in the sci-fi/fantasy world — supernatural beings, mechanical monsters and general good versus evil can take precedence — but in the real world of the writers who help create that speculative fiction, such issues still weigh against the industry. Eisner-nominated writer Brandon Easton — who recently won multiple 2014 Glyph Awards (honoring the best in comics made by, for and about people of color) for his comic series “Watson and Holmes” — decided to delve into questions and concerns that minorities working in the genre biz face by producing a documentary titled “Brave New Souls: Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers of the 21st Century.” Hero Complex caught up with Easton, who premiered the film at the 2014 Eagle Con on the campus of Cal State L.A., and got some […]
May 14, 2014 | 3:00 p.m.

Malcolm McDowell to receive life career prize at Saturn Awards in June

Malcolm McDowell in a scene from the movie, "A Clockwork Orange." The acclaimed actor will be presented with the Life Career Award from the Saturn Awards Organization in June. (Warner Bros.)
All the droogs will shout and cheer. Malcolm McDowell, most famous for playing the eyeliner-wearing bad boy Alex DeLarge in “A Clockwork Orange,” directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on Anthony Burgess’ dystopian novel, will be presented with the Life Career Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films at the 40th annual Saturday Awards in June. “I was invited into the woods when Kubrick cast me in the film but I couldn’t see the trees until years later,” McDowell told Hero Complex in a 2011 interview, when asked about his iconic performance. “For maybe 10 years, I resented it because everyone wanted me to repeat it. The best part for any actor is the next one and ‘Clockwork’ irritated me because it took that away at times.” Other winners of the Special Awards honors include writer-producer Byran Fuller (NBC’s […]
May 12, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.

Katee Sackhoff, Bear McCreary join Hero Complex Film Festival lineup

Katee Sackhoff and Bear McCreary will take part in the "Battlestar Galactica" tribute at the Hero Complex Film Festival. (Vince Trupsin / Thomas Mikusz)
Actress Katee Sackhoff and composer Bear McCreary will take part in a “Battlestar Galactica” tribute that will kick off the 5th annual Hero Complex Film Festival May 30. Sackhoff, who played Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, and McCreary will join the show’s creator Ronald D. Moore and stars Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell and Jamie Bamber at a sold-out event designed to honor the creative achievements of the science-fiction series. The evening will include a free screening of the 2003 “Battlestar Galactica” miniseries, which rebooted the late-1970s franchise and provided the foundation for the acclaimed 2004-2009 program that chronicled the efforts of a band of survivors to find a new home planet after a devastating attack by a race of beings called Cylons nearly eradicated humanity. The miniseries will be shown in two installments. After the first segment, the stars and McCreary […]
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