It’s been a rather bumpy week for entertainment in Japan. After two false alarms, the giant moving Gundam in Yokohama has officially bid us farewell, much to the tears of mecha fans everywhere. Manga artist Nekokurage of The Apothecary Diaries fame is currently embroiled in a tax evasion issue involving the Fukuoka Regional Taxation Bureau. And the Yu-Gi-Oh! Japan Championship has revised its regulations to prohibit foreigners. However, there is one glimmer of hope. There’s a recently announced Baki anime to look forward to.

yokohama gundam

Goodbye to the Giant Gundam in Yokohama

Yokohama is finally closing its chapter on the Gundam Factory Yokohama and with it, the 18-meter tall moving Gundam. On March 31, the entertainment complex received a farewell befitting a mech of its size, stature and significance in Japanese pop culture. The festivities included an attendance of thousands who came together to see the giant mech move one last time as well as a fireworks display and a drone show.

The space was first conceived to open in 2020 to co-celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Gundam franchise and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, the construction was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The robot is the first moving mech of its type and was created by the Gundam Global Challenge project which kicked off in 2014. It was finally opened on December 19, 2020 and experienced two closing extensions due once again to the pandemic and a second time as a result of its great success. By its closing date, more than 1.5 million people had visited the space and witnessed the commandeering figure of the Gundam statue. 

Unfortunately, there have been no updates or official news on what will replace the Yokohama exhibit, if anything at all. However, the life-sized Unicorn Gundam statue is still standing tall outside Odaiba’s DiverCity Tokyo Plaza.

baki-dou anime

A New Baki Anime Has Just Been Announced

There’s a new anime coming to town, and it’s said to be stronger and beefier than ever. We’re not just talking about the muscles, this is Baki-Dou. It’s based on a manga title with the same name and the overall fourth series in the Baki-verse.

Baki-Dou picks up where the story left off in Baki Hanma, with a concluding fight between father and son. Both fighters are now facing an all-new challenge: boredom. The previous clash was said to be the peak of what the world had to offer in terms of fighting prowess, leaving them without motivation. All this changes when Musashi Miyamoto arrives. A legendary Japanese samurai from the 17th century, Musashi becomes a member of contemporary society thanks to cloning technology. But what happens when his ancient tactics clash with modern-day fighters? All will be revealed in the anime.

Baki-Dou is to be produced by TMS Entertainment, the same production company that was involved in Baki Hanma, Baki and the original video animation, Baki: Most Evil Death Row Convicts Special Anime. It’s not clear when the production is due to start or when we can anticipate the release of the anime. We’ll be sure to update once news drops. In the meantime, folks dying for more Baki can stay hyped for the Baki film. Announced at AnimeJapan 2024 last month, Netflix shared that a crossover anime titled Baki Hanma vs. Kengan Ashura will be premiering on the streaming platform on June 6, 2024.

apothecary diaries tax evasion

The Apothecary Diaries Mangaka is Suspected of Tax Evasion

Things aren’t looking good for The Apothecary Diaries community. Manga artist, Erika Ikeda, has been indicted by the Fukuoka Regional Taxation Bureau on suspicion of violating the Income Tax Act. The mangaka who goes under the pen name Nekokurage, was said to have failed to declare ¥260 million in income and around ¥47 million in taxes during the period of 2019 to 2021. The money was used to purchase real estate.

Nekokurage maintains that the failure to declare income and pay taxes was an act of pure negligence. Ikeda has already taken some steps to rectify the mistake by paying those taxes and fees in 2022 on advice from the tax office and to employ the assistance of an accountant for support in filing proper tax returns. Based on Ikeda’s tweet, the artist makes it clear to the fandom that this does not involve or impact anyone else who is part of the creation of The Apothecary Diaries

The news came just as the anime version of The Apothecary Diaries wrapped up to much fanfare. A second season has already been announced and is set to premiere in 2025.

Yu-gi-oh tournament bans foreigners

No Foreigners Allowed in Official Yu-Gi-Oh! Japan Tournaments

Foreigners need not apply with this new rule enforced by one of the most popular competitive card games in Japan. According to the rules of participation published by Konami — the organizers of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Japan Championship 2024 — eligible participation is limited only to nationals of Japan who have an address in this country at the time of advanced reservation for the qualifying round and on the day of the tournament itself.

A local address requirement is fairly standard as the tournament is meant to reflect the standards and overall playerbase of Japan, rather than encourage players from other countries to travel for the tournament. However, the mention of “Japanese nationals” is new to the rules this year and was cause for concern among some netizens. This requirement would exclude long-term residents of Japan who are citizens of other countries even if they live full lives in Japan through work, school or family ties.

It’s not entirely known how many players this new regulation will lock out. The Yu-Gi-Oh! Japan Championship also mandates that only the Yu-Gi-Oh! official card game (Japanese version) can be played, which means that it’s likely the entirety of the tournament will be run in Japanese. However, for Konami to explicitly create such a rule is essentially taking an active step to prevent certain players from getting involved.

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