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Interview with Hiroshi Fujiwara: Thunderbolt Project, Culture, and Design

October 4, 2018 8:00pm
by Eddie Lehecka

There are few figures from Japan who carry as much global significance in mainstream culture as Hiroshi Fujiwara. Considered in some circles to be the godfather of ura-Harajuku culture, he has a long-storied history in the worldwide streetwear scene and is seen by many as an influencer in the most literal sense. From his work as a brand owner, independent designer, and even as a tastemaker in the fashion industry, his presence has been felt through collaborations with some of the biggest brands in the world including Louis Vuitton, Nike, and Levis.

Most recently he has teamed up with The Pokémon Company to bring the world "THUNDERBOLT PROJECT BY  ◼️◼️◼️◼️◼️ & POKÉMON", a collaboration of the highest caliber with one of the world's most recognizable franchises. We were given the opportunity to sit down with him ahead of this weekend's Hypefest event and chat, and as a longtime fan of his work I couldn't help but jump at the opportunity. Continue reading below to see his thoughts about streetwear culture, the internet's impact on the industry, and his upcoming collaboration.

OTAQUEST: Thank you for sitting down with us today, as a longtime fan of your work I appreciate the opportunity to have this conversation. To start things off, many of our readers in America who aren’t familiar with the Japanese streetwear scene may not be familiar with you or your body of work. How would you describe yourself and your design philosophy to someone who isn’t already familiar with your work?

Hiroshi Fujiwara: I’m not good at explaining myself, but I started DJing in the early 80’s and I was really inspired by punk music. I think many people don’t realize that punk and hip-hop have very strong connections, and I was really into that scene. It was the whole culture, music and fashion, which might not be as connected anymore but back then it was a really strong moment for both and I was growing up with it.

OTAQUEST: You started your career in fashion with your clothing brand, GOODENOUGH, and in the early 2000s you shifted from that to being very focused on collaborations with the founding of fragment design. What do you like about the creative process that occurs when collaborating with others?

Fujiwara: I wasn’t really trying to create a collaboration brand or anything, because there was a time where collaboration wasn’t really necessary. No one really cared. It was just based on my friendly relationships with different companies.

When I visited New York my first time in 1982 I went to the Tiffany store, because I liked the movie (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), and there was nothing I wanted to buy but there was a Montblanc pen and Rolex Watches. I wondered to myself “Why are they selling these, they are not Tiffany products”, so I asked the staff and they told me that they recognized Rolex as the number one watch brand and Montblanc makes the number one pen so they decided to carry them. They included a Tiffany logo, and I thought that was a really great concept. It was one of the first collaborations like that which I saw.

Then when I was doing GOODENOUGH I always carried a PORTER bag at the time, so I called up their company and asked if I could make a bag. That was the start of collaborations for me. I continue to try to do the same kind of thing, if I like something then I’ll ask the company to either make something for us or if we can do a collaboration. If they say no then maybe I’ll just make something similar by myself. But basically, when I stopped doing GOODENOUGH I became really independent and decided I would rather just work with other people and companies to do that kind of collaboration product.

OTAQUEST:  You’re known as a key player in bringing hip-hop culture and streetwear to japan. Being that you have been around that scene since the beginning how do you feel it’s different now? What are your thoughts on how the culture has evolved over the years?

Fujiwara: I think information technology changed so much. Now you don’t have to go anywhere, you don’t have to travel. That’s a really big thing. I think the mindset is still the same though, people want to be the first to get a new product and want to get things that are very rare. The mentality is all the same.

OTAQUEST: Do you think the design process or the type of work that comes out now has changed over the years?

Fujiwara: Maybe it became bigger, but not really changed.

OTAQUEST: So in relation to that, is there anyone or any company operating currently who’s work you enjoy right now in either music or fashion?

Fujiwara: I really enjoy everyone, UNDERCOVER, NEIGHBORHOOD, LOUIS VUITTON, etc. They all have their own mind and their own originality. So I’m really lucky to get to work with them, and maybe steal ideas sometimes *laughs*

OTAQUEST: In the past you have said that you feel the internet has taken the experience out of shopping and searching for stuff, and you’re the type of person who has done some very creative pop-up stores like THE POOL and what you’re doing currently with THE CONVENI. Do you think that because of the way the internet has changed behavior that creating an experience is really important in your own work?

Fujiwara: Yeah, I think so. You have to go there or be there in person to really get the whole experience.

OTAQUEST: Do you think that changes the consumer mindset in doing so?

Fujiwara: I really hope so. But you kind of have to explain that you have to be there. People think “I saw it, so I was there” when in truth they only saw a small picture online. Like even The Louvre in Paris, if you go there are so many things to see. Even if you only see the Mona Lisa in person, it’s still different that just seeing it on the internet. I think you really have to go there and feel it.

OTAQUEST: Does that thought about the experience influence your work at all?

Fujiwara: Yeah, I don’t really know how to explain how but I really enjoy doing it. THE CONVENI for example is actually a difficult project, it’s really hard work because you have to keep thinking about what’s next. For example this is a new thing I’ve done *pulls a small coin out of his bag* It’s Bitcoin chocolate. Bitcoin melting in your mouth *laughs*. I had read that the Bitcoin design is public domain so I thought it would be cool to make. This kind of thing is really fun to do.

I also don’t really think so much about when I’m working with a company on a collaboration about how I can make something bigger or sell a ton of product. I just want to give a different image to them, so it doesn’t have to be a huge project, just something different.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

消えてなくなるビットコイン。 #coinchocolate

A post shared by fujiwarahiroshi (@fujiwarahiroshi) on

OTAQUEST: You’ve said in the past that you don’t feel like revival culture or pop-culture really exists anymore thanks to the internet.

Fujiwara: Yeah pop-culture I think was really finished in the 90’s.

OTAQUEST: From my perspective I’ve noticed that as of late younger audiences have had a fascination with time periods that they never had a chance to experience themselves. One that I find to be really interesting is that Bubble Era & City Pop music has been really prominent in the west. A good example is Mariya Takeuchi’s “Plastic Love”. It wasn’t a huge hit when it first came out in Japan but right now it’s all over YouTube and has millions of plays, and it’s helped inspire a genre of music called “Future Funk” that’s been growing worldwide. Do you feel this kind of false nostalgia is creating a different kind of pop-culture then?

Fujiwara: Yeah I think so, it (revival culture) was always kind of like that. Before the internet it was harder to search for things but it was always like that. I’m glad to hear that something like Japanese city pop music is seeing a revival, because I never thought the concept of a true revival was ever going to come back again. It’s really good to know.

OTAQUEST: In the past you’ve talked about the idea of treasure hunting when it pertains to different cultures & experiences. Knowing now that City Pop has had a chance to flourish in another country, do you think that the internet has created a different kind of treasure hunt?

Fujiwara: Yeah, but maybe-not in the most positive way. You’re not really going somewhere to do the treasure hunting so maybe it’s lost the atmosphere and impacted the way people travel. But then again, it’s something else so it’s not actually positive or negative.

When I was traveling around I would think “If I find something I want, and I have the money then I really have to buy it, because I might never see it again”. But now if you wait like 3 months you can find anything on eBay all the time, so it’s kind of losing the what made that buying experience special. In terms of distance, I think it’s like the distance between someone & eBay is no different than the distance between me and my closet. If I have a pair of Jordans in my closet it might take several hours to find them, and it’s a pain in the ass. But then there’s eBay, so if I want something again I can get it easily.

OTAQUEST: Do you think that concept of “nothing is really exclusive anymore” has changed the way that people consume fashion now, in the sense that a lot of brands will make things very limited to keep the demand high?

Fujiwara: Well, you say very limited but I don’t think it’s really like that. Maybe now Nike can make 10,000 pairs of sneakers and someone will still say it’s rare, but that’s not really the case is it?

OTAQUEST: That’s true. But there’s also a movement, and it’s always kind of existed but I think it’s probably more apparent now than it used to be, where people will buy collaboration items or rare streetwear items and they’ll keep them unused and display them. Almost like appreciating fine art. What do you think about that kind of mentality?

Fujiwara: I kind of understand, because I’ve always been like that. Maybe the tastes are different but I’ve always had that kind of otaku mind. I want to collect, or maybe not really collect, but keep things if I really like them. So I understand if people buy Supreme or something like that and just want to keep it.

OTAQUEST: Do you think that’s changed how designers create though? Like maybe some people are looking at their work in fashion as being more like art, rather than specifically fashion.

Fujiwara: I don’t know, I hope not. Personally, if I buy something I want to wear it or use it.

OTAQUEST: Considering things like THE CONVENI or your recent work with LOTTE’s Bikkuriman, you’ve collaborated on a lot of different products over the years, and of course you’re known for fashion. Is there any medium you haven’t had a chance to work in or a product that you haven’t designed that you want to have an opportunity to try your hand at?

Fujiwara: I would love to design something like one floor of a luxury hotel.

OTAQUEST: There’s been a trend in the west lately where a lot of Japanese properties have been used for collaboration recently. Supreme did Akira, Adidas is doing Dragonball. What do you think about that idea of using something born from Japan that might not be as well known to the mainstream for a collaboration, and do you think it’s a trend that will continue?

Fujiwara: It’s not like Japan is so “Far East” anymore. It’s really part of the international scene now so it’s bound to happen. It’s the same as us using Mickey Mouse or Snoopy, instead it’s Akira or Hayao Miyazaki. So I think the idea is very similar now.

OTAQUEST: Moving onto some questions about the Pokémon collaboration, THUNDERBOLT PROJECT,  how did the project come to be and what was the process to getting it all started?

Fujiwara: The Pokémon Company asked me if I was interested in doing a collaboration, and I wondered “What can I do for Pokémon?” I saw Pikachu and its theme is thunder or lightning. So I thought, I can use my logo for Fragment with things like the Pokémon tails, and then I got back to them and we talked about it.

OTAQUEST: Were you familiar with the franchise or played any of the games prior to them reaching out to you?

Fujiwara: Yeah, I had been playing Pokémon Go a bit.

OTAQUEST: Since you play Pokémon Go what do you think about the Augmented Reality experience it provides?

Fujiwara: I didn’t know much about Pokémon before I started playing it, but as a game Pokémon Go is amazing. Using the latest technology and incorporating it into a game that anyone can pick up and play, I think that’s amazing to be able to go anywhere and catch what you want.

OTAQUEST: Do you think there’s an application for AR in fashion?

Fujiwara: Yeah definitely, I’ve always wanted to do that kind of orientating thing. It never happened, but I wanted to something like that with Nike using all of the Nike stores around the world. Something that would have made you go to many locations and scan a QR code to see how many you could visit. It may be on a different scale, but it’s kind of the same thing with Pokémon Go. You really have to go all over the world to catch everything.

OTAQUEST: Is there something about the Pokémon franchise that you think lends itself to doing a streetwear or high fashion collaboration?

Fujiwara: I think there’s a lot of potential with it. I’ve been asked by a few luxury brands about using Pokémon characters, so I think it’s similar to Mickey Mouse or Snoopy in that way. I wasn’t really sure if I would use Pokémon for myself, I had never thought about wearing something with Pokémon, but once I did it I was happy with the result. I kind of surprised myself *laughs*

OTAQUEST: You’ve collaborated with so many really famous brands in the past but most of them were fashion or lifestyle oriented and Pokémon is more of a pop-culture icon in a different way. How does the experience in collaboration with a high end fashion property differ from working with something like Pokémon?

Fujiwara: I think of it more like hitting a balance, if you do something really high fashion then it’s good to do something like Bikkuriman or Pokémon. It didn’t really change how I approach the design, I just though it was something I needed to do. I really like so many different things.

OTAQUEST: You mentioned Pikachu earlier as an idea that inspired your designs but are there any other characters that you think have an interesting design?

Fujiwara: This project will keep going on for maybe like 2 years, so we have a lot more to come.

OTAQUEST: You’re on the board for Hypefest, and I thought it was really interesting that they reached out to represent the Japanese side of fashion especially since streetwear is so prominent in America and there are already so many brands to work with. What was the process like working with them to select who to include for the event?

Fujiwara: Kevin (Ma, founder of Hypebeast) had asked me to be a member of the board, along with Sarah (Andelman, of colette). I don’t quite think the idea was about being tired of the same things, but I think they just wanted to bring something else to the event. Maybe not everything at hypefest will be what real street kids want, it’s not specifically just sneakers or anything like that, it’s more about sharing fashion and culture.

OTAQUEST: So maybe it’s like the idea of forcing people to leave their comfort zone?

Fujiwara: Yeah, I think that education is really important and also interesting. To know what’s behind street culture, or really what’s going on right now in different places.

OTAQUEST: Talking about Hypefest in relation to THUNDERBOLT PROJECT, and about the idea of education and bringing things that people might not expect, was there a specific thought process behind using Hypefest as the place to debut your collaboration with Pokémon?

Fujiwara: It was really just the timing. When Pokémon had asked me to do it I had Hypefest going on as well so I asked them if we could debut it there. It was just perfect timing.

OTAQUEST: Do you have a hope for what the response will be for something like this at Hypefest?

Fujiwara: Surprise. I like to surprise people.

OTAQUEST: What can we look forward to seeing from you next? Or is there anything you’re working on that you’re excited about?

Fujiwara: I’ve been working with Moncler, that’s a two year project, so there are a few more collections I’m doing. I have a few projects with other luxury brands in progress. Steiff, the Teddy Bear, that’s really cool and coming out next month.

We'll be following Hiroshi Fujiwara's exploits down the line in full here on OTAQUEST, starting this weekend with the multiple activities he has going on at Hypefest in Brooklyn, New York. We're beyond excited to see the more than 30 pieces being dropped at the event from his new collaboration, as well as THE COVENI popup and other collaborations he has going on during the weekend! Be sure to also enter our contest for your chance to win a Pokémon Let's Go  Nintendo Switch Bundle, complete with the exclusive pre-order bonuses from Pokémon Center Japan!

About THUNDERBOLT PROJECT BY  ◼️◼️◼️◼️◼️ & POKÉMON

A joint project between Pokémon and Hiroshi Fujiwara called the THUNDERBOLT PROJECT has begun. This project will sell limited-edition items in a variety of regions, starting with an October release at the HYPEFEST event in New York. With this unprecedented collaboration, we will send a “Thunderbolt” throughout the world! This project is scheduled to continue into 2019 and beyond. 

THUNDERBOLT PROJECT © 2018 Pokémon

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Kenshi Yonezu Releases Latest Music Video 'Flamingo'

October 22, 2018 2:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

Earlier this week saw the release of Kenshi Yonezu's long-awaited ninth single, a sadistically playful tune by the name "Flamingo". Accompanied by an all-new music video which debuted on the rapidly-rising talents YouTube channel, "Flamingo" was joined by the announcement of two other songs composing the three-track single release that is set to drop on October 31, 2018. 
 


Shot in and around the parking lot that plays host to the adorably hidden Chinese restaurant Derika, the music video for "Flamingo" is the perfect match for the tone set by Kenshi Yonezu's lyrics. Getting straight to the point, "Flamingo" is very much a Yonezu song, but that's by no means a problem. Much like previous releases, "Flamingo" is a story expressed not just through song, but also Kenshi Yonezu's expressive movements and off-color music video.

It's totally questionable whether Kenshi Yonezu himself, or music video director Tomokazu Yamada, is an avid follower of Twitter trends, but I found myself immediately grabbing my phone when I noticed the filming location for this video -- it was all too familiar. As it turns out, this exact spot was the center of a recent viral tweet in Japan detailing the restaurant and sharing praise for its off-trail location and cheap prices. Well, either that or he's a diehard fan of Hiroshi Fujiwara, given it was this exact store that inspired him to launch his The Park-ing pop-up store in Ginza following his chance encounter with Derika while returning to his car.

Either way, there remains no doubt to the testament that Kenshi Yonezu is one of the biggest talents in Japan right now, and that's a trend that isn't looking to slow down any time soon. Several months ago the airwaves were filled with "Lemon", Yonezu's eighth single and a major turning point for the artist. Whether it was on television or the streets of Tokyo, your favorite music stores, or even arcades, you couldn't step anywhere without hearing Kenshi Yonezu's infectious life-after-loss ballad.

While it remains to be seen if "Flamingo" will have the same lasting effect, this certainly won't be the first time I've had a song called "Flamingo"  stuck in my head for weeks on end. 

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PlayStation Releases Lineup Video ft. Taku Takahashi, YUC'e, hy4_4yh, Kamura Micau

October 22, 2018 1:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

There's no denying it when I say that PlayStation Japan absolutely kills it with their lineup videos each and every time they're uploaded, regardless of what console you have your hands on. Consistently bringing on some of the biggest names in the Japanese music scene, we've seen anybody from banvox to tofubeats, with this latest four-person combo taking things to new heights. Bringing together the respective talents of Taku Takahashi, YUC'e, hy4_4yh, and Kamura Micau all together for a four-and-a-half-minute fever-dream, the video can be checked out below:
 


Filled to the brim with rave stabs and other high energy elements, we're sped through nineteen upcoming and currently available titles at lightspeed to the flow of rap duo hy4_4yh and Kamura Micau layered over Taku Takahashi and YUC'e's signature sounds. If you're familiar with these trailers, you likely already know what's going on, PlayStation Japan throws their most anticipated upcoming titles at you all at once while you're left bouncing around your room to whatever incredibly produced track they bring forward this time. It's a formula that's still yet to disappoint, though this certainly does raise the bar.

We're of course seeing a number of titles in the lineup that I can't wait to get my hands on, including SEGA's upcoming JUDGE EYES, as well as Square Enix's much-anticipated Dragon Quest Builders 2, so that ends up amplifying the hype by about a million. With such a flavorful mix of both veteran and up-and-coming musicians brought together for this video, it'll definitely be interesting to see how PlayStation Japan one-up's themselves next time. Now we just wait and see who's next.

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Kindan no Tasuketsu Release 'Early Years 2012-2016' Compilation Album

October 22, 2018 12:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

Alternative pop music group Kindan no Tasuketsu are a difficult group to digest, and an equally difficult group to understand. Their music is seemingly everywhere and nowhere at the same time, and it remains truly difficult to really describe their activities with any level of comprehensive understanding. I've attempted a few times in the past to share their music, most of which I listen to a whole lot, but I just genuinely couldn't put words together to describe the group. But here I am once again, giving it a shot, following the release of their latest compilation album "Early Years 2012-2016". 
 


For a band that's constantly evolving, four years is a massively expansive time to compile; yet across a tracklist spanning twenty-six tracks, Kindan no Tasuketsu piece together a semi-coherent image of their history through sound. I had most definitely not heard every single one of those aforementioned twenty-six tracks, which honestly made the whole listen-through all the more exciting. There are a few tracks that the group obviously want you to direct your attention to, including the fittingly dreamy single "nemui" which originally released in 2012, having received its own music video earlier this week.
 

It'd be slightly odd for a group to suddenly drop a compilation album like this, were they not teasing a "season 4" of Kindan no Tasuketsu via their various social media accounts. So with an entire "season" of new music on the way from the group, it's cozy being able to divulge in their history via the "Early Years 2012-2016" album. We're sure we'll be seeing more music in the coming months -- if not weeks -- so we'll be sure to keep you updated when it finally drops. Until then, you can check out even more information on the group via their official website.

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Latest Pokémon: Let's Go! Trailer Reveals Post-Game Master Trainers

October 19, 2018 2:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

It was just earlier this week that I was sharing some news about the release of a new trailer for Game Freak's upcoming Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! titles on Nintendo Switch, but it doesn't look like The Pokémon Company is ready to stop dropping teasers just yet. Uploaded to The Pokémon Company's official YouTube channel, the latest trailer gives us a look at some of the post-game content we'll be able to enjoy, namely the "Master Trainers" system that's being implemented.
 


I'm not really sure how cool I am with post-game content just being shown like this, I actually like a bit of surprise, but none-the-less it's pretty neat to see in action. The new "Master Trainers" system effectively introduces a master for each of the original 151 different Pokémon, a trainer that specializes in that Pokémon exclusively, who you can battle with that same Pokémon to earn the title of "Master Trainer". It's a really interesting system, though I really hope that the game doesn't provide you with the particular Pokémon for the battle and leaves trainers catching and training their own. 

Set to release exclusively on Nintendo Switch on November 16, further information on both ​Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! can be found via the games' official website. Those interested in getting their hands on the upcoming games, as well as a limited-edition Pokémon: Let's Go! Nintendo Switch, be sure to check out our ongoing giveaway, here.

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NASA Announces Designated 'Godzilla' Constellation

October 19, 2018 1:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

One of the more interesting pieces of information to cap off the working week, NASA has officially announced an all-new constellation that you can spend your time looking for in the sky -- the King of Monsters itself, Godzilla. The pop cultural icon joins numerous other characters in the sky, bringing just a little more light to our night alongside Hulk, The Little Prince, Mt. Fuji, and mythological legends Hercules, Perseus, and more. I've never been too good with constellations, but a full visualization of the new Godzilla constellation can be seen below:



Made up of numerous likely blazar, a definite blazar, a starburst galaxy, a gamma-ray pulsar, and an unknown entity, the lining is much like other constellations in the fact that you'll definitely have much of your imagination do the work. NASA states on their official website to describe how the constellation came to be " Godzilla's trademark weapon is its "heat ray," a fiery jet. This bears at least a passing resemblance to gamma-ray jets associated with black holes and neutron stars."



Obviously there are a lot more technicalities to the Godzilla constellation that I'm not even going to bother trying to wrap my head around, but for those who are interested in checking it out, NASA has created a page to detail it all on their official website.

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Funimation Annoucnes End of Licensing Agreement with Crunchyroll

October 19, 2018 12:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

In a somewhat shocking turn of events, it was announced today that Funimation will be ceasing operations with Crunchyroll beginning next month from November 9, 2018. The announcement comes just a year after the acquisition of the anime distributor by Sony Pictures Television, to which Funimation CEO Gen Fukunaga shared that the acquisition directly correlates with the decision to stop collaborative efforts between the two companies. Originally announced in 2016, the partnership brought together the catalogs of both anime giants and allowed customers to reap the rewards of both services in numerous ways.

While subscribers to both platforms are likely to feel a little bit of a hit, it was shared by Funimation's Gen Fukunaga that FunimationNow subscribers will have access to several hundred subbed series, but are going to be losing a handful of dubbed series. In addition to this, some content licensed during the partnership will remain on both platforms for now, with currently simulcasting series such as My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan remaining on both platforms. Both platforms have shared that they will disclose what content will be removed at a later date.

While this is quite a substantial loss for Crunchyroll, it's been reported that the breakup was executed on good terms between both companies. In addition to this, it's been detailed that Crunchyroll's sister company VRV will be replacing FunimationNow on their streaming platform with content from anime streaming service HIDIVE in the next few weeks. While the timing for this new HIDIVE partnership seems like far too much of a coincidence, Forbes reports that insiders have stated it was unrelated.

It'll be interesting to see over the next few months how Sony plans to proceed following their withdrawal of Funimation from the Crunchyroll/VRV partnership. It wouldn't surprise me if this withdrawal is Sony's way of showing that they mean serious business when it comes to taking Funimation to the top, and that is something that will certainly prove interesting from an industry standpoint. Until we find out, however, you'll be able to keep up with everything Funimation on Crunchyroll until ​November 9, 2018. We'll be sure to keep you updated as further information is revealed. 

Source: Forbes, Funimation

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‘Kaiji’ VR Game Heads to Smartphones

October 18, 2018 2:00pm
by Jacob Parker-Dalton

While fearing for my life isn’t usually my idea of fun, when it comes to Nobuyuki Fukumoto’s gambling series Kaiji, I can just about stomach some immobilizing dread. Indeed, nothing allows you to do so more than the Kaiji VR game, which has been a constant staple in Japan’s many “VR attraction” venues in recent years. Now, that attraction is making it’s way to smartphones - giving even more people the chance to experience Kaiji’s dread first hand.

Titled Kaiji VR: The Nightmare Bridge, the game seeks to replicate Kaiji’s experience crossing a bridge suspended between two buildings, as was one of the ‘gambles’ featured in the second part of the series. Simply reading or watching the arc was nerve-wracking enough, and I can promise you that it’s even more terrifying in VR, having had the opportunity to test it out for myself last year.

It’s worth noting that the VR game has already seen two ports for PlayStation VR as well as Nintendo Switch last year, but the game’s port to smartphones means greater accessibility, especially for those who can’t simply go and experience it in the VR attraction venues. And what a perfect time to do so, with Kaiji spinoff Tonegawa currently airing, and the manga having just entered a new arc.

The difference between the various ports over the years are interesting, as although the PSVR version of the game was more or less exactly the same as the original version since the Switch doesn’t support VR, the version available on the console uses a third person camera in some instances as well as gyro controls. I sincerely doubt that the non-VR version on Switch can capture the same dread you’re able to feel when playing the game in VR, so it’s great to see that version available on smartphones is the VR version - for which you’ll, of course, need some sort of VR goggles/phone strap.

The recent activity in properties related to Kaiji is curious, with both spinoff manga Tonegawa and Hancho receiving an anime adaptation, and now with this surprise smartphone port of the VR game. I can only hope that this is to gauge interest for a third season, so if you haven’t checked out the VR game yet, then I’d recommend you do - if only to tell MADHOUSE that we want a third season already. Kaiji VR: The Nightmare Bridge is available now on the App Store and Google Play for 360 yen.

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