Posted by Christina on February 16th, 2012
Most anime fans that I’ve come in contact with have been into – or at least been curious about – the wearable art form tributes to our favorite characters, which we call cosplay. Those who are into it usually have that one (or handful!) of dream characters they’d love to dress up as, but haven’t for one reason or another. Today I thought I’d highlight some of my personal “dream cosplays,” and I’d love to hear what some of your personal dream cosplays might be!
Commentary / Editorial,Cons & Cosplay
Posted by Christina on December 7th, 2011
True Story: I had a hi-res poster of this pic printed I hung up at Christmas, before we re-did the walls! XD
It’s the most wonderful time of the year~ (If the economy didn’t suck so bad~)
Seriously though, who doesn’t enjoy the holiday season? Even if you aren’t Christian or anything, I think it’s still absolutely possible to enjoy the cool weather, bright lights, falling snow, sparkly decor, gift-giving and general good-will that go along with this time of year!
The proof is in the pudding, as they say: Japan has in somewhat-recent history adopted some Christmas celebrations of their own! The country doesn’t have a large Christian population, as the majority of Japanese practice Shintoism or Buddhism. So while it may not be a national holiday in Japan, it’s still gained popularity with families, young people and couples as a romanticized day where gifts are given to people you care about, cake is shared with family, and decorations of lights and Santa Claus are abundant (especially in retail, of course!). It’s typical to eat a Christmas cake (usually sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberries) on Christmas Eve with family, and for couples to give one another cutesy gifts. Christmas Eve is also thought of as a night where romantic miracles can occur, so going out for a date this night means it’s pretty serious! I’ve heard that KFC chicken dinners have become popular Christmas meals in Japan, thanks to their regional marketing promoting it as something Westerners do. Christmas in Japan is more akin to our Valentine’s Day, while their New Year’s celebrations are more like our Christmas ones, with family gatherings and the like.
With the rise of Christmas’ popularity as a mainstream event in Japan, so too comes a whole new take on Christmas carols and Christmas TV specials! Most anime have had a Christmas-centric episode at one point or another; Some that come to mind are Onegai! My Melody, Love Hina, Di Gi Charat and Toradora, just to name a few.
As a long-time fan of Christmas music, it seems only natural that I started hunting for Japanese Christmas music a long time ago. My first successes in memory were the Sailor Moon: Merry Christmas album, the song “Welcome to X’mas” from Di Gi Charat, and a couple songs by Two-Mix which now seem to be impossible to find on the internet. While there are many tracks that are just Japanese covers of familiar, traditional Christmas tunes, there are also a lot of great original tracks too!
I wanted to put together a playlist to share some of my favorites with you all this holiday season, so here it is: “A Very Japanese Christmas,” brought to you from yours truly.
One of my most highly-recommended tracks on this is “Winter Wish” from the Love Hina: Silent Eve Christmas mini-movie; Track 4 on the playlist. It’s an absolutely beautiful, touching song, and one that helps get me into the spirit of winter every year.
I know it isn’t much, but I hope my small “gift” to you of some really fantastic music brings you joy this Christmas season. メリークリスマス~! ^o^
Commentary / Editorial,Japan in General,Music Reviews
Posted by Christina on December 3rd, 2011
Shukuro Tsukishima, new resident Bleach baddie.
If you’re following the Bleach anime, you may have been introduced to the new baddie Shukuro Tsukishima this past week! Reading the manga, I thought he was pretty bad-ass for a villain, and I was glad that the anime did not disappoint! He actually got even a bit more awesome, as the voice they cast for him was none other than award-winning seiyuu Daisuke Ono! Best known for his roles as Sebastian Michaelis in Kuroshitsuji / Black Butler (which won him the “Best Actor in a Leading Role” award in 2010′s 4th Seiyuu Awards), Shizuo Heiwajima in Durarara!! and Itsuki Koizumi in the Haruhi Suzumiya saga, this prolific voice actor has a wide-range of cool characters, who are often sleek and suave, if not a little dark. This makes him a perfect fit for the quiet-but-deadly Shukuro Tsukishima.
But did you know this isn’t Ono-san’s first role going by the name of Tsukishima?
Feature Articles,Fun Fact Fridays
Posted by Christina on November 23rd, 2011
Friends, countrymen, fellow Bleach addicts, lend me your ears!
For those of you following the manga, let me start spoiler-free but by saying “HOLY PLOT TWIST” in this weeks chapter (Number 474). I just don’t know what to think right now. Kubo was totally wearing his troll-face when finishing up that chapter.
But hey, at the end of the manga chapters we had a new Radio Kon Hyper page! It revealed a couple pretty cool things, which I’d like to now share with you. I’ll put them after the jump, because the new figure set announced (which actually looks to have been announced two weeks ago but the manga scanlations I was reading did not have the Radio Kon page at the end) contains a bit of spoilers if you’re only following the anime and don’t want to see characters’ new post-timeskip looks yet til the anime catches up.
Fan-girl-isms,Genres,Previews & Coming Soon,Shounen
Posted by Christina on November 9th, 2011
If you know me at all, you might know that I have what’s called an “obsessive personality.” Not obsessive-compulsive or anything, simply… obsessive. For example, when I find a new anime that I like, I completely immerse myself in it; I’m scouting for merch online, listening to music from it, planning cosplay costumes for it, reading wiki pages about it, all day, every day. This has happened to me with Bleach, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and Black Butler, just to name a few. Well, this sometimes happens to me with celebrities as well. The most glaring example previously would probably have been Ryoutarou Okiayu. When I decided I adored his voice, I wanted to see every anime he was in, find any music of his I could, and watch any live performances of his that I could find online, and buy merch of all his characters.
Commentary / Editorial,Fan-girl-isms
Posted by Christina on November 1st, 2011
Oh, check out this sale!
Ah, the internet. A source of knowledge and endless bounty for so many of us nowadays… Especially for us otaku. Think about it: how “common knowledge” was it around 15 years ago when Pokémon, Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z came out swinging that the cartoons we were enthralled with on Toonami every day were called anime and hailed from a country called Japan? Back then we weren’t fully adjusted to the instant-information era that was upon us, but we as a community began to gradually unearth hidden gems in import anime and games, and troves of knowledge about the series that were airing on our own shores.
In the present day, we live integrated with the internet every day. It’s truly a wonderful thing that we can now watch anime streaming mere days after it’s airing in Japan with services like HuluPlus, Crunchy Roll and soon, Funico, instead of waiting months or even years for fansubs of the series to start getting spread around on VHS (at-cost, of course ^_~!). We can shop directly from the sources, no longer living in days of paying $30+ for 3 or 4 episodes of an anime on VHS or single-volume DVD, and can even bargain shop and wait for the countless online sales on superstores such as Amazon and RightStuf. The internet is a vessel for planning conventions, finding out about new releases, and for many even making friends. For most of us, these were not even thought to be possible in years gone by, and now we’re so used to using the internet that we rarely seek out alternative options. How often though do we consider the side effects of this instant-gratification, ever-expanding digital mindset on the industry we’ve worked so hard to support and build up outside of Japan?
Commentary / Editorial,Industry
Posted by Christina on September 24th, 2011
(Or, “This started as a post about Zero then I realized I bought way too much stuff last month.”)
I’m super excited to share a recent acquisition with you since I reviewed the first in the set… Zero D-Arts figure from Mega Man X! I won’t do an in-depth look at this one since I already did that for X, but here are a couple pictures of it in action:
I do have to admit that unfortunately, Zero doesn’t feel quite as sturdy as X. I think a lot of this has to do with him being more top heavy thanks to his ponytail, which is solid. Bandai apparently doesn’t like to make things hollow, as we saw before with X’s mega blast… I also had a lot of problems getting his right forearm to attach onto the elbow joint. It kept falling off due to not snapping in tightly enough, and even though I’ve got him stable right now for it to stay, I’m not sure it’s actually on there tightly. My last gripe with this figure, is that his helmet comes down so far that you really can’t see the irises of his eyes without holding it at a very specific angle. Trust me though, these are all small complaints, and the figure still looks awesome next to X on the shelf.
In addition to Zero, there was another small package full of quite a few goodies near the end of the month! These aren’t anything new, but a couple obscure figures and some less obscure that we got on the cheap.
Posted by Christina on September 9th, 2011
"Get it? Hell-o. Because I am simply one Hell of a butler.."
Once again, I’m late to another great anime.
I remember seeing the manga for Black Butler on the shelf in my local bookstores years ago. The cover art always caught my attention, I’d pick it up, flip through it a bit, and just never wound up buying it for no apparent reason. Years would pass and I’d keep hearing people at conventions and on cosplay boards prattling on about some Kuroshitsuji anime that I couldn’t quite figure out how to pronounce the name of. At some point, I had an “ohhhhhh” moment and realized that Kuroshitsuji WAS Black Butler, and I got a lot less confused when I’d see cosplay referred to as one name when I thought it was from the other.
I had caught the end of an episode of it in a screening room at AnimeBoston earlier this year and thought the ending song and animation were fantastic, and scrolling through Hulu last weekend, I saw that Black Butler had gone up to stream. Finally a chance to check it out from the beginning and see what it’s all about.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but holy crap, this series is oozing with style.
Posted by Christina on August 25th, 2011
Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku: Revolutionary Girl Utena Remastered DVD Boxset vol.1 & 2 Review
Publisher: Nozomi Entertainment / RightStuf International
Format: DVD (3 discs each)
Earlier this year watching some old 90s anime, I had an itch to watch an old favorite, Revolutionary Girl Utena. Unfortunately upon trying to find it in our entertainment closet, I realized I never actually owned it on DVD, only on VHS. A quick visit to the internet let me know that the entire series would be getting a fully remastered release in three boxsets over the course of this summer. Perfect timing! We just finished watching the second set and pre-ordered the third, so now is as good a time as any to review it.
Action,Anime Reviews,Drama,DVD Boxset,Genres,Reviews,Romance
Posted by Christina on August 10th, 2011
US Release: August 2, 2011 by NISAmerica
Format: PlayStation 3
As a psychotic Bleach fangirl, I knew as soon as Bleach: Soul Resurrección was announced that I needed it. This game was actually the catalyst for us finally getting a PlayStation 3 in the house. That is how badly I needed it. I was thrilled after work a couple weeks ago when I got home to find a package from NISAmerica waiting for me, no less than 5 days before it’s street date release of August 2nd! I suppose that’s the benefit to ordering straight from the publisher rather than a third-party vendor.
Action,Genres,Reviews,Shounen,Video Game Reviews