Secret Santa 2013: Progress

As you might remember, I’m taking part in the Reverse Thieves’ Secret Santa anime project again this year. My choices are all good anime. I base that statement on the fact that I haven’t heard or read much of anything bad about Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012), Fate Zero, or Bunny Drop. For the sake of keeping my own opinion pure, I also really didn’t look for reviews of any of them.

Usually I do good to finish one series, even given about two months notice. I think in previous years I procrastinated badly enough that I had barely finished in time to post my review on the 24th. Not this year! I will actually have managed to watch all three choices! Mostly because I had a LOT of free time over the (american) Thanksgiving holiday. I’m just really thankful that Bunny Drop is a relatively short series. I have four episodes left, which I will watch tomorrow.

So there will be some posts about all three! My plan at the moment is to write a review of each anime. Each post will be a different day, so I’ll actually be posting on December 23, 24, and 25, with a bonus post on the 26 comparing and contrasting the series that I have spent the past couple months watching.

It’s been a good Secret Santa selection this year.

Halloween 2013

It’s still early in the month, with Halloween being at the end of the month, but I wanted to do something on this site to celebrate it. I’ll be dressing up at work as a cat because that’s the only outfit/costume I can think of that won’t break the dress code – I’m not allowed to wear a skirt, and also I’m not all that creative apparently.

On the blog however, I thought I’d pick out some Halloween-themed manga from my personal library, re-read them and review them! I was worried I wouldn’t have too many, but there’s plenty!

The first candidates I have are:

  • Pathos volume 1 by Miki Sadahiro (yaoi, June Manga)
  • Baby Birth (complete) by Sukehiro Tomita and Haruhiko Mikimoto (Tokyopop)
  • 7 Billion Needles (complete) by Nobuaki Tadano (Vertical)
  • MeruPuri (complete) by Matsuri Hino (Viz/Shojo Beat)
  • Soulless 1 & 2 by Gail Carriger & REM (Yen Press)
  • X 3-in-1 volume 1 by CLAMP (Viz)
  • Shadow Lady (complete) by Masakazu Katsura (Dark Horse)

Wow, without even meaning to, I have chosen works from a variety of publishers. I have tried to choose with preferences to series I have completed, and that have some kind of creepy and/or supernatural element to them. If I stretched the definition, about half of my library would have qualified!

If I get through all these, I have more to choose from.  If you have a preference for any of the titles listed above, feel free to comment, and I’ll focus on those first.

Happy spooky month.

New Direction! Bechdel Testing Anime and Manga

As you might have noticed, I am not so great at reviewing things. Probably because I don’t have the (required?) degree backed by years of study. When I sit down in front of the computer, even if I had a pretty good in-depth analysis, it seems to go right out of my head, so I’m changing direction.

I’m just going to Bechdel Test everything I read and watch. The criteria are three simple yes or no questions:

1. Are there at least two women in it?

2. Do they talk to each other?

3. About something besides a man?

It comes from the general trend in all media that women are simply seen as extensions of men rather than their own selves. A woman tends to be defined by the roles of mother, sister, daughter, wife, and reflected through the lens of male characters.

I’m not saying all stories have to be feminist stories. I have varied ideas of what constitutes a “strong female character.” I think this will be an interesting topic to explore.

I probably won’t Bechdel Test yaoi manga and anime for obvious reasons.

Merry Belated Christmas and etc.

Happy Holidays all! I’m a little late with that, but I was busy over my holiday weekend. BUSY SLEEPING.

One of the gifts I received was a tablet! So I installed the Viz manga app, and Jmanga’s app to see how they’d look on a bigger screen. I have them both on my android phone, and I like the Viz app, but the jmanga app just didn’t work on that little screen. Happily they both work like a charm on the tablet! Woowoo!

I took the chance to read the Earl and the Fairy, from Viz, and was immediately engaged in the story and wanting more. It’s got so many things I like all in one manga. Talking cats! Fairies! A feisty heroine! So far I’ve read the first two volumes, and have the third and fourth lined up for later.

I submitted a panel for Naka-kon. We’ll have to see if it gets accepted! I both want and don’t want it to be submitted, because I am super shy and don’t really like public speaking. On the other hand, talking about stuff I like is usually fun, and maybe I’ll meet some new friends.

I recently took advantage of anime and manga sales, so I have plenty of stuff to read lined up. I already had plenty to watch, and even more when you factor in crunchyroll, hulu, and netflix. Where am I going to find the time for all this stuff? I have a busy year ahead!

I hope you all had a lovely time over the holidays, and enjoy the end of the year. I’ll be seeing you next year. ;)

Not Dead! (Yet)

I forgot about this site. Sorry about that.

I don’t really have any kind of review ready right at the moment. I do have some updates.

I have a library card! Which means I will never be out of books to read. I didn’t actually fear that. Now I can read books I don’t necessarily want to buy or swap though. This includes manga. So far I have read To Terra volume 1.

I’m baffled though. The library has volumes 1 and 3 of To Terra, but no copies of volume 2. It looks like I’ll just have to purchase it online, if it’s available. I really liked volume 1, so I have no real problem purchasing all 3 volumes, when I can afford them.

I might do a book review here and there since I read so much. Currently a great deal of what I read is young adult fiction, because to me books are books regardless of what age they’re intended for. I’ve just purchased City of Lost Souls, which is by a favorite author of mine, Cassandra Clare. I’m really looking forward to reading it along with the books by Diana Wynne Jones, Monica Furlong, and Jacqueline Carey that I borrowed from the library.

I’d also bought volumes 7 and 8 of From Far Away online, since I can’t find the series in stores anymore, and 8 finishes on a cliffhanger! I’ll have to get another volume or two next payday.

Nendoroids Date Masamune and Yukimura Sanada have arrived! To make a long story short, I’m not all that impressed with the Date, but I love Yukimura! I will likely do a more in-depth review later.

I might try to review some of the manga I’ve purchased from jmanga also. It’s a good site.

Ask My Nendos?

I don’t know that I’ve shared the fact that I’m on tumblr. If you follow my twitter, you’ll have seen some posts. I like it for posting just one or two pictures, and a snippet about whatever.

I’m stealing an idea yet again, but I started a tumblr for my nendos to answer questions! The link is: http://asknendos.tumblr.com/ If you want to ask a question, go ahead! I’ll take a photo (or two) of their response and post it as soon as I can. It’s just another fun little side project.

For anyone who’s interested, my main tumblr is http://graphicnostalgia.tumblr.com/ I post mostly pictures of figures, plus I’ve been doing a 30 day Marvel challenge. Sometimes I go on about books and such too. If you have a tumblr, drop me the url in the comments, and I’ll follow you.

New year, new resolutions

I don’t think I kept any of my resolutions from last year, which is why I usually don’t bother with them. I do believe one resolution was to read Bokurano, which I haven’t done (but still plan to do!), and revamp my blog design (meaning I do some of the coding myself, instead of just changing the theme).

So those are still in effect. Another resolution would be to blog more. In my year end report from WordPress, I learned that I added 28 new posts last year, which is an embarassingly low number. Also my most-read posts were from previous years, which is pretty interesting. It tells me that maybe those topics aren’t written about enough.

With my entry into ball-jointed doll fandom, you can expect more of those sorts of posts, for better or worse, heh! Also, there’ll be plenty more figure, manga, and anime reviews, plus whatever else I think of to write about. I’m thinking of doing some sort of weekly vocaloid feature sharing some of my favorite videos, and why I like them.  I have plenty of ideas. I never really set out for this to be a very focused blog, which may or may not be a good thing.  I have some ideas. We’ll see if they pan out. I also want to do more figure comics and/or just captioned pictures. That’ll be a random thing, I don’t really plan on trying to keep to a story this time.

Happy new year to everybody reading this blog! Let’s make it a great one. :)

Happy Halloween!!

Halloween is always an interesting time of year for me. It’s an excuse to bust out some of the crazier clothing I have on occasion or just to wear a wig and some contacts. This year, I thought carefully about a costume. I don’t go out much for any reason, but there’s still my workplace. I’m super shy but some years I have the courage to wear a costume.

It’s pretty difficult to do something that you know is going to get you critical attention. This year I surprised my coworkers by wearing a blonde wig (my hair is currently brown with pink streaks) and a She-Ra t-shirt. My workplace has a fairly strict dress code: no skirts or heels. Do you know how difficult it is to find a women’s costume that has pants? They’re quite rare, and I refuse to dress like a hippie. I could always wear one of my cosplays, but that would require too much explanation. Most of my coworkers don’t even know what anime is, although they do enjoy looking at the figures I bring in to sit on my desk while I work. I also don’t usually think of Halloween in time to make any kind of costume, since I procrastinate like crazy and am inclined toward lazyness anyway.

So this year I was blonde, and I wore a t-shirt that was a little too snug (I’m also pretty chubby). It’s really strange, but I find that doing things like that which keeps some of my coworkers and the general public off balance actually gives me confidence. Today was all in fun anyway. Tomorrow I’ll go back to work with my pink streaked hair, and it’ll be business as usual, although I was told a lot that blonde looked good on me.

Also I dressed my little doll up as a witch.

Plus there were trick or treaters tonight. We bought 5 bags of candy and it still wasn’t enough! There are too many kids around here!!

Figure comic? Yea? Nay?

I’d meant for this to be a post about Peepo Choo, which I finished reading a week or two ago and want to discuss via blog post/review. At the moment, I’m afraid it’s either going to be long and rambling or super short, but I plan to try and tackle that this weekend. I feel that I need to get back to reviewing some manga, at least, cause I haven’t been watching too much anime lately. Of course, I could fix that too. I own plenty of anime I haven’t watched.

Today though, I thought I’d post about figures a little bit (maybe). I’ve been collecting figures for around 7 years now, I think. I’ve only been collecting figmas and nendoroids for the past year, but before that, I was all about trading figures. I still buy quite a few of those, but not nearly as many as I used to. In fact, I think I may go through my collection again and get rid of a few – or attempt to get rid of them. Keep an eye on this blog! I have a history of sending people stuff!

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a figure comic, especially after stumbling on to collecting communities and blogs like Tomopop and myfigurecollection.net. (I’m sailorsamus on myfigurecollection – friend me!)  Also reading A Day in the Life of a Nendoroid over at mangacafeblog has me wanting to do the same thing, in a way. I dislike straight copying another person’s idea although I am aware that this is exactly what all artists do.

So I think I will. I finally came up with an idea, now I just need to clear a space for pictures, take the pictures and get rolling.  As you can see in the picture above, my handwriting with my tablet is awful, so I will probably stick to text boxes, but I might draw effects now and again. Hopefully they’ll look smoother eventually, as I get the hang of things.

What do you think? If you have any suggestions or comments, feel free to share them! At the very least, I’ll probably do a few strips worth of comics while I hammer out the format, and see how I feel about it then.

Side Rant: Art and “ownership”

I’ve been messing around on tumblr lately, and it’s a lot of fun to share pictures and text, and see what other people are sharing. As a bit of a side project, I recently started a secondary Sailor Moon-themed tumblr, to help get back into my fandom. “My” fandom, not “the fandom.” As you’re probably aware, every anime and manga has a pretty awful fanbase full of crazies. I like to think I’m not one of them.

I ran across an entry wherein the tumblr owner stated to not reblog her manga image posts, because she worked hard tweaking them and didn’t want to watermark everything she worked on. You’d assume the images she was talking about were her own, but THEY WERE NOT. They were Naoko Takeuchi’s manga images, she merely photoshopped them a little, then posted them on her tumblr.

Number 1: Why even post them on tumblr if you don’t want them reblogged? I thought that was part of the point. Maybe I’m missing the point, I have no idea. I’m not up on all the social media, and I don’t think I’m very good at the ones I do use.

Number 2: I despise people who merely photoshop, color in, or otherwise alter the artwork of another person, then claims ownership of that work. You wouldn’t even HAVE the work if it wasn’t for the person who originally created it. Shut the fuck up and create your own drawings to color and/or photoshop.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a great deal of respect for people who can do their work digitally. That’s something I can’t quite wrap my own head around. I’ve tried drawing with a tablet multiple times, but it’s just weird to me, and I don’t know anything about attempting to color my own line art. Honestly though, I really have the most respect for people who create their own work from beginning to end.

Fandom-ish rant done. Next post will be a more positive post.