Kotaku East is about one thing: bringing the weird, the cool, the silly, and the fascinating from the far east to you, the audience. There's been plenty of that this year: the New 3DS. Link, as a girl called Linkle. Batman on a Japanese highway. Cosplay and memes galore. And more. Lots more.
From January to December, here's sixty-six of Kotaku East's best stories from 2014, in no particular order:
What's more, this is actually the first concrete proof that they used these types of blades back then. It's an important archeological find.
Two industry greats engage in some playful banter about what they do best.
Poorly thought-out wardrobe choices happen from time to time in the Japanese media. This is one of the more egregious examples.
Subaru takes one of Japan's most popular series, and runs with it. The results are intense.
These two are mascots for a Japanese travel company, and, well, you can't do much better than advertising with kitty-cats. Lots of beautiful scenery. And cats of course.
We try to find out what, if anything, Frozen has to do with the 80's Saint Seiya anime.
It's a plastic figure, and a really cool one at that. If you look at the rest of the photos, there will be double takes.
Legend of Zelda has changed a lot since the first game. Here, we compare the various versions of a few important characters.
Yeah, probably not, but the advanced model does have Bluetooth for some reason. So it has that going for it, I guess. Note that this post's NSFW.
This pool has been home to many, many porn shoots, becoming ingrained in public consciousness and rising to a memetic status. Another NSFW post.
In which we discuss the results of a newspaper poll asking one hundred tourists what they didn't like about the country.
Nintendo showed off their latest handheld in a special Nintendo Direct at the end of August. It's basically an improved 3DS which, sadly, still isn't out in North America or Europe.
And here are our impressions of the New 3DS, in the form of an import preview.
Yes, that is a meat cleaver, and the bank teller is behind safety glass.
Weaponized levels of cute.
Public opinion in South Korea is different when it comes to the music industry becoming more and more risqué, hence the controversy.
Sakurai worked on the new Smash Bros. games literally 24/7, to the point of becoming injured. So yes, he definitely needs to do anything but work.
The guy actually started a Low-Cost Cosplay trend with this. It's quite fantastic.
We talk to director Hajime Tabata to find out how the game that was once known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII became Final Fantasy XV.
This one isn't NSFW, but beware of the squirmy scorpion GIF. If you survive that, you can witness some cute ball-shaped panda plushies. And fried bugs, I guess. If that's your thing.
It's odd, to say the least, that this was the one thing that managed to captivate the East out of the whole Crimea business. Odd, but not unexpected.
I still think it's the best prank of 2014. Or the most elaborate, at least.
Not everyone is satisfied with the game's male-only party, but the issue is deeper than it seems, with gender roles and target audiences coming into play.
The difference is staggering—we take a look at what changed exactly, and how.
In which we explain what those strange, foreign labels, like Shonen and Josei, mean.
It's a stunning transformation, and the girl seems happier for it. A good ending to a bad tale, overall.
The first Yokai Watch game popped up in 2013, and since then it's pretty much taken over Japan. Some people call it the second Pokémon.
Final Fantasy XV got a few trailers this year, but this was likely the one that spawned the most hype. A perfect trailer, with a perfect ending.
This one isn't limited to people, mind. There's animals and objects too.
Nomura's currently working on Kingdom Hearts III, and he's had a long and fascinating career. Here, he talks about who he is and how he came to be the way he is.
A very observant Twitter user connects some dots, which leads to a hilarious revelation (or a plot hole, if you want to look at it that way.)
You know this one. The guy from Hunter x Hunter? With the hair? Classic.
It's a simple Photoshop meme, but it really took off. It lends itself well to shots of people being shocked.
Fashion trends come and go in Japan. This is one of the latest, and it's pretty wild.
Graduation photos crossed with movie posters, too!
This was a classic case of a misreported story. Luckily, we were there to help clear things up.
You, too, can shut yourself into this small box for the low, low price of $8,000. In return, you get fancy LED lights and shelves for your favorite toys.
Bad Japanese or Chinese tattoos have been a thing since the dawn of modern tattooing, and they start affecting everyone when they're spotted by vigilant Japanese Twitter people.
This is why you don't mix English and Japanese unless supervised.
A sequel to our earlier basic anime/manga tutorial. Here, we take a look at some genres, like mecha, monster battle, harem, and yes, hentai.
You guys liked our off-model anime frame compilation last year, so we did another one this year.
Penis statues, penis fountains, penis souvenirs... there's even a penis tree. NSFW, obviously.
A series of unrelated incidents propelled June 29 to meme status in Japan.
Cosplay porn has high production values costumes-wise, so the outfits sell for quite a lot. NSFW post.
Manga characters make weird faces, and amazingly, this guy can pretty much do them all.
This meme got a surprising amount of traction, inspiring plenty of fanart and even going beyond Japan.
November 10 marked the end of an era, with one of Shonen Jump's longest-running series coming to a conclusion after over fourteen years and 700 chapters. The anime is still running, though.
The PS4 arrived in Japan early this year, and public reaction was lukewarm at best. A few gamers chime in on what might have happened.
Pikachu got redesigned quite a few times since he debuted in the late nineties. We take a look at a few version to see what changed.
Late September saw the arrival of the Xbox One in China—the first officially released console there in a long time—but there were problems. In this impressions piece, we talk about what those problems were, and still are.
Human ingenuity at its best.
The Xbox One also launched in Japan this year, but people were even less interested in it than the PS4.
Sadly, the sales data agreed with the photos of empty lines: Japan has basically turned away from the Xbox One.
Hayao Miyazaki made a few comments on Ghibli's "demise," which then caused a ton of doom and gloom to spread around the internet. It's a complex matter, but for now, Studio Ghibli is safe.
One symptom of Yokai Watch's iron grip on Japan: ridiculously popular toys that are sold out everywhere.
An unexpected character pops up in the "previously unseen rejected characters" section of the artbook accompanying Hyrule Warriors.
Esports players have fangirls (and fanboys) too, not just "regular" sportsmen.
We later found out that this guy is a welder in his forties, and that he actually commutes to work dressed like that. Hardcore.
The official announcement of Pokkén Tournament in August came as a surprise to many people—pleasant for some, not so much for others.
Another holdover from last year, humorous schoolbook doodles are always fun to look at.
With anime, all you need to do is watch, so you're free to pursue other activities while chewing through a series. Like, say, exercising.
This past summer, some people got it into their heads that Hello Kitty is not a cat, with some general confusion over how anthropomorphic characters exactly work. So of course, we stepped in to try and clear a few things up.
This gorgeous silver PS4 was perhaps the best thing to come out of Sony's PlayStation Anniversary celebrations, held in early December. It sold out everywhere pretty much immediately.
We investigate a conspiracy theory about reoccurring-random street interviewees and supposedly staged news reports.
If there's one thing Japanese netizens are consistently good at, it's humorous pictures. We collected a few of them here.
And finally, as closing, another round of fun images.
It's been a good year. Here's to another one.
Questions? Comments? Contact the author of this post at andras-AT-kotaku-DOT-com.