A Tale of Terms!

So I learned something very interesting today – a chica on the Anime North Facebook Forum posted the differences in words that are used in the circle of homosexual; based anime and manga!

I have never heard these definitions before so I knew right away that I had to share them!

Yaoi: Male/Male SMUT. This is the stuff you usually find in fan work and on DeviantART and Tumblr.

Shounen-ai: This used to be the term referring to mangas that focus on less hardcore gay mangas (so the ones with no sex and the like). HOWEVER I have since been informed that this word is now used to describe a fetish for underage boys in Japan (YUCK!)

BL: The term that people should be using. BL , short for boy love, is a male/male romance aimed at primarily female readers. Like all other romances they can have a mixture of themes such as horror, comedy or mystery.

The ones of a more hardcore nature, aka more sex, are called hard BL.

Slash: This term is used to describe when people put two characters together PURELY for the sake of Fan Fiction, fanart and any other fan works.

Gei-comi: Now this one I knew NOTHING about. Gei-comi is a genre of Japanese comics featuring gay men and written for gay men. Also, interestingly enough, the men in these comics tend to be more muscular, hairy, overweight, or any other term used to describe a real average joe.

Fujoshi: Literally translating to ‘rotten girl’ this a ajoking term that many Japanese girls use to describe themselves if they like BL or any other style of manga.

So there we go!

I learned something and so did you! EVERYONE WINS!

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My Feelings on Yaoi

I don’t like yaoi.

There I said it.

A lot of nerds, both male and female, seem to think that if you are a female anime fan than you MUST love yaoi and frankly I don’t.

This is an opinion I tend to rarely share as a lot of people accuse you of being homophobic if you mention not liking yaoi.

So let me set this straight – I am not homophobic. I think love is love no matter what gender, race or religion.

But I still don’t like yaoi. In my opinion yaoi objectifies and stereotypes gay men. I think this is a legit and non-homophobic reason to dislike yaoi.

One of my biggest beefs with the yaoi community is how they pair up hetero characters no matter what the relationship.

  • Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are colleagues? OMG they MUST be bumping uglies!
  • Sasuke and Naruto are rivals! Insta-lovers!
  • Roxas and Axel are best friends? They MUST be screwing secretly!

Seriously! Can two guys not just be friends, rivals or even be brothers without the yaoi fans insisting that they are screwing one another!?

I once went to a panel with Quinton Flynn (the voice of Axel and other anime characters), and the panel was interrupted by an Axel and Roxas cosplayer fake making out and disrupting everything.

And the yuri fans are no better!

Now I’m not saying I hate yaoi fans. If you like yaoi, go ahead! Do whatever floats your boat but don’t try to shove it down my throat.

Leave me alone to like what I like and I will leave you alone to like what you like.

Let’s not even get me started on the incest …

How to Run a Photoshoot

Last year at Anime North the convention decided to offer an incredible incentive to ensure that the days would be packed full of awesome photoshoots.

What did they do?

They decided to hand out the con badges to people running photoshoots in the DoubleTree Hotel rather than make them wait in line and man did that seem to help encourage people to try and run a shoot of their own!

Running a photoshoot is a LOT of work though (I have run two personally with another coming up in Anime North 2014) so to help anyone who is considering running a shoot at any convention.

Choose a good location: Anime North is great for putting up a map that shows all of the possible locations so make sure that you take a good look at it before you choose a spot. If you know your photoshoot is going to be large (such as the yearly One Piece shoot) try to grab a larger area to ensure for optimum photo room.

Also consider:

  • Certain areas may have trees or poles and they could be great ‘props’ for certain series shoots (always ask before you start climbing though)
  • If you are interested in an indoor shoot make sure it is not going to be in the way

Bring a megaphone: This is especially important if you have a large group or if you have a naturally quiet voice. Trying to control a group of rowdy cosplayers and photogs can be quite difficult so having a megaphone to cut through the noise really helps.

When I ran the Western Comics and Movies photoshoot last year I made the mistake of not bringing one and man did my throat hurt afterwards!

Make sure the time works with everyone: Well maybe not everyone as it really is hard to keep everyone happy. But make sure to choose a time that does not coincide with a big events like the masquerade or with panels that your cosplayers may be interested in.

You should also remember the lighting conditions based on the time and style of cosplays. Silent Hill cosplays will not look as good at high noon as say a Naruto photoshoot.

Ask for help: Whether it be from a friend or a volunteer at the shoot, it is always nice to have multiple people running a photoshoot to help keep things running smoothly.

Plan out your poses: This can be done online via a con specific board or facebook group. Planning your poses can really help keep the shoot running smoothly and allow for everyone to share their ideas.

Popular poses include

  • Villians
  • Heroes
  • Famous character specific poses
  • Heroes versus villian
  • All girl
  • All guy
  • Rivals

Set Ground Rules (as suggested by Megan Notman on Facebook): If you have certain things you really don’t want to see during the photoshoot make sure people know right away. This can be anything from telling photographers what shots they can’t ask for to telling cosplayers no outright PDA.

A few random notes

  • Try to keep PDA to a minimum, doing public yaoi, yuri or even boy/girl is a quick way to get you in trouble
  • Let everyone have input in the pairings – not everyone likes just one pairing
  • Yell spoiler alert before taking plot specific shots such as character deaths
  • Cater, to an extent, to the photographers
  • Don’t let people bully each other out of shots
  • Time each pose so nobody’s legs or arms fall off (I find a 30sec max is good)
  • If you know that the shoot is going to be big, consider having two

Hope this helps!

What is a Weeaboo?

In my “How to Behave at a Convention” post I mentioned the word ‘weeaboo’ and that got me thinking, “what really is a weeaboo?”

So I decided to do some research and do a post on the topic.

Urban dictionary defines a weeaboo as:

“A negative term directed to anyone overly obsessed with Japanese culture to the point where they become annoying. Most weaboos are uneducated about their obsession of choice and are often noobs who are overly zealous, trying to impress others with their otaku knowledge. Another trait of a weaboo is their desire to “be Japanese”.  (URBAN DICTIONARY)

Often times the word weeaboo is used interchangeably with whatever term people use to describe an anime fan, whether it be an otaku, nerd or geek.

In truth though weeaboo is not a correct term to describe all anime fans as not every anime fan acts in a way that would make them a weeaboo.

In MY opinion a weeaboo is someone who:

  • Overuses Japanese words, often in the wrong context (saying the occasional ‘kawaii’ or ‘arigatou’ does not make you a weeaboo)
  • Insanely obsessed with certain characters or series to the point where it effects regular life (though really this is also a trait for many ‘regular media’ fans)
  • Insists that Japan is the ultimate culture
  • Acts incredibly childish in group settings and disrupts the flow of an event
  • Often try to force their pairing, whether it be straight, yaoi or yuri, down everyone else’s throat

Now I know quite a few anime fans who don’t act like that at all. Actually MOST of the anime fans I know are not like this. Weeaboos are just the occasional few and not as common as 4Chan makes them sound.

Of course, there are a few fandoms that tend to give you instant weeaboo status and these include Naruto, Inu Yasha, Homestuck (which is weird since it isn’t anime), Bleach, and Axis Powers Hetalia.

The thing you have to understand about Naruto, Bleach and Inu Yasha is that these series are often people’s first introduction to anime, so fans are usually young and that is what draws the weeaboo crowd.

It can also be mentioned though not by no means are all of the fans of these series weeaboos. I have met lovely people in each of these fandoms (well actually I haven’t met any Hetalia ones but I just tend to avoid that series) so it is not fair to categorize them ALL as weeaboos.

Okay I can admit it, I had a weeaboo phase. It was when I first got into anime when I was around 13 and that seems to be pretty normal

So what does a weeaboo look like? Online you can easily find examples of what a weeaboo looks like

  • Greasy, badly dyed hair
  • Hot Topic mish mash clothing
  • Over weight
  • Bad skin
  • Usually between the ages of 13 and 16

This is bull.

Yes you may find a few that fit that stereotype, but it is exactly that, a stereotype. You can find weeaboos in all genders, sizes and fashion choices and in my opinion it is usually the ones that you would never assume are weeaboos that are often the most terrifying.

Why? Because you don’t know they are one until it is too late.

As for the age range, I think that has mainly to do with the fact that most weeaboos are new to their fandom and therefore try to overcompensate. The first weeaboo I ever met was actually a 19-year-old girl who used to stalk and take pictures of Asian guys on the bus.

How to act around a weeaboo:

  • Do not argue with them they will defend their side to the last ounce of their blood
  • Do not immediately assume someone is a weeaboo for wearing an anime t-shirt
  • If they start annoying you, walk away
  • If they continue to harass you, get an authority figure
  • Do not deliberately antagonize them or troll them about their interests
  • Be patient with them, they are young and likely to grow out of it
An exaggerated example of a weeaboo created by: http://www.deviantart.com/art/How-creative-269142573

An exaggerated example of a weeaboo created by: http://www.deviantart.com/art/How-creative-269142573

Geeky Collections

Today I am going to be talking about the two geeky items I collect.

Gizmo-Pop-VinylFirst I am going to talk about Funko POP’s. For those of you who don’t know, Funko POP’s are one of the many products created by the American Funko company which produces a wide array of licensed pop culture toys.

I received my first Funko POP back in December of 2010 when an ex-friend purchased me a Gizmo Funko from the Gremlins movie. I really adored the little guy but I actually did not start really collecting Funkos until 2012 when I found a Comic Con exclusive of Loki omline for a decent price.

After receiving that little I became hooked and I now have over 10 of the little cuties.

Now for the review of the actual product.

Positives: Funkos are great because they are so easy to find and tend to range in price from $20 and up depending on how rare the figure is. Heck, you can even find Funkos at your local HMV.

Another great thing about Funko is that you can find them in so many different fandoms and that means there is literally a Funko for everyone!

Negatives: To be honest the only downside of Funkos is that they are potato chips, you can’t have just one.

My second geeky collection revolves around the much more expensive Nendoroids. Created in Japan by the Good Smile Company in 2006, Nendoroids are adorable little chibi characters. Their expressions and other body parts are exchangeable, giving them a range of different possible expressions and poses.34ca2c717cb8e0dbc61f5f3d0effd038

I bought my first Nendoroid at Anime North back in 2012 when I found Kuroneko from My Little Sister Can’t be this Cute. She was just too cute too resist and since then my sister and I have vowed to buy one per con.

I officially have three: Kuroneko, Tomoe from Queen’s Blade, and Kuroyukihime from Accel World.

To be brutally honest I am not so good at my one per con rule as I am really picky with which ones I like and at some cons they are hard to find.

Positives: They are RIDICULOUSLY adorable and a lot of fun to take pictures of. Seriously look up ‘Nendoroid Pictures’ on Google and take a look see.

Online they are very easy to find and they are small enough for them to fit on ANY shelf.

Negatives: Not only are Nendoroids kind of pricey at $50 and up, it is also very easy to be tricked and end up with a fake. Fake Nendoroids are harder to pose and duller in colour.

And there you have it! My geeky collection, and as you can guess –

 

A cosplay show?

 

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As cosplayer we live in a world where the devil is in the details and you live or die by the whims of a cruel god, aka the sewing machine. All for the purpose of bringing a favorite character to life so that we can share our love with other fans.

For a long time, cosplayers felt like they were the lost fans. We didn’t get hit TV shows written about us like comic book collectors or even joked about like gamers and LARPers. Cosplayers were always the fans that were to be seen but never heard.

So you can imagine our excitement when we got our first glimpse of Syfy’s newest series ‘Heroes of Cosplay’.  It was what we had all been waiting for. A chance for the world to better understand why we do what we do.

But man did we get more than we bargained for. Immediately the show came off like a cross between ‘Project Runway’ and ‘

Toddlers in Tiara’ with the cast bitching and witching as they tried to finish cosplays on time for their contest debuts.

So why don’t you sit back and try to relax as I delve into the first ever episode of ‘Heroes of Coplay’ (yay me).

Basic Plot of Episode

So the show starts off by trying to introduce cosplay, they choose to describe it as the ‘artistic, sexy and cut throat’. What the hell? Is the thing I have been doing for the past 8 years the same ‘cosplay’ as what they are describing? To me and everyone I know the three words to describe cosplay would be ‘artistic, fun and expensive’ (at least SyFy got ONE word right).

Anyway so after this baffling opening we are introduced to the location of the first competition (and episode: Wizard World Portland. Now I am just going to put it out there, this con looks awesome.

So the first ‘Hero’ we meet is Victoria (@ScruffyRebel) and right away she puts a sour taste in my mouth by telling her boyfriend, Jinyo, “Are you really just trying to screw with me right now?”. Anyway, Victoria is a cosplay perfectionist who has given herself little time to create Lulu from ‘Final Fantasy X’ which is a VERY detailed costume.

Next up we meet Yaya Han (@YayaHan), who considers herself to be the ‘Ambassador of Cosplay’ and therefore feels like she has an obligation to always created bigger and better costumes. Unlike the rest of the cast she will NOT be competing but instead she will be judging while cosplaying as Fiora from ‘League of Legends’.

The next competitor, or should I say competitors, are Holly (@HollyConrad) and Jessica (@JessicaMerizan) who make up ‘CrabCat Industries’. These two ladies are well known in the cosplay community for their scrappy natures as well as their amazing work in fabrication (mainly Mass Effect). The comrades have decided to create their ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ characters complete with hand crafted horns for Jessica’s Tiefling.

We then meet Jesse (@MidnightArmor) the lone male on the show (the producer decided that male cosplays are boring compared to female ones – sexist much?) who has dreams of making it big in the prop making business and leaving his 9 to 5 job. For the contest Jesse has decided to make a large Vault Dweller armor from ‘Fallout 3’ complete with a gatling gun prop.

The last cosplayer introduced is Becky, who comes off as sweet but spends most of the episode whining about her non-existent weight issue while also showing off her. Becky ends up deciding to cosplay as Merida because “she has a little bit of a thin waist but she’s got a little bit of a ba donk a donk”. Yes that is her ONLY reason. She says nothing about personality or that she likes the movie just that she has a similar figure.

Once introduced the female cast members (sans Yaya) get together to go bowling and in the most scripted moment of Television ever they begin to panic over knowing that Yaya is a judge. This leads into the rest of the episodes drama which includes a broken sewing machine (leading to Victoria’s cosplay being unfinished), a head stuck in a cast and more weight whining from Becky

The Results

Victoria never DOES finish her costume. HOWEVER you can find pics of her completed outfit online and truthfully I think the cosplay is too light a gray for Lulu.

There was a lot of drama surrounding Yaya’s Fiora cosplay (which does look great) due to the fact that it had actually been made BEFORE this convention thus revealing a major error in the shows ‘story’ – the cosplays are NOT made for the cons they say they are.

Jessica and Holly actually do quite well in the contest, despite technical issues both on and off stage, and leave the contest as the ‘Best Team’.

Jesse sadly leaves the contest empty handed. Which I am actually not that surprised about because he DID simply edit football armor to make the chest piece.

Becky as Merida receives an honorable mention which, while I don’t believe her costume deserved it, it does sort of push forward the ‘be confident in yourself’ idea.

First place actually went to a Galactus cosplayer.

Overall

I would give the show 2.5 out of 5. It is okay to watch but it really doesn’t express what cosplay is about – at least for most people. The scripted parts are INCREDIBLY obvious, half the cast whines about petty things, and the costumes themselves are put on the back burner.

The episode did have ONE really adorable part though when Becky runs into a little girl dressed as Belle who gets ridiculously excited after seeing ‘Merida’. This is honestly one of the best parts of cosplay, which I have experienced when I felt a  tug on my Stocking gown only to turn around to see a wide eyed girl asking if I was a ‘Princess’. It’s pretty great.

To be honest I have no intention on continuing to watch the show. I guess all of the online reviews were right – the show really is an epic embarrassment for our community.

How I Choose my Cosplays

As of late I have been mostly posting my opinion on various major cosplay issues. So as a change of pace I decided to write a post on how I choose my cosplays.

For me I tend to look for ten major things in my potential cosplays:

  1. Not overly detailed: This is due to the fact that I purchase my cosplays and too detailed would mean a hefty price
  2. Mainly covered arms: My arms are my weak point so I prefer mid-length sleeves or anything to hide my bleah arms
  3. Costume that is good for heat: My big cons are always in the summer and that
  4. Not overly popular: This one varies. I have no problem cosplaying a popular character but I tend to do them AFTER their big popularity so that I am not 1 in a 1000
  5. Will it suit my figure: I know that I can cosplay whoever I want, but I do prefer to cosplay characters who I won’t feel uncomfortable in.
  6. Not overly long wigs: Do you even know how hard it is to keep a long wig in good condition?
  7. Heels: I don’t wear them
  8. Contacts: I have an eye touching issue so yeah no to contacts
  9. Weapons: My Dad is my oh-so-talented weapons master so I like to keep things not too ridiculous for him. I also tend to avoid really large weapons since I am clumsy as hell

Okay, so the first thing I do is look at designs I like based on my above criteria.

Yes you read that right. I usually start with a design I like and THEN go watch the series or play the game. If I don’t like the character or the media they are from I change ideas.

I do this  for one major reason, most of the series I read are horror manga and they tend to have few characters that I am interested in cosplaying.

Anyway, after I settle on the character I start the process of looking fora wig because frankly I feel strongly about the importance of a good wig so if I can’t find a wig I won’t do the cosplay. If I can find the wig then I proceed.

Next up is looking for reference material. When you are getting a cosplay custom made you need to have multiple views for the commissioner.

Once that is all organized I choose my commissioner. This part requires a LOT of research and involves a lot of review reading. After I settle on the commissioner though things get easier. (Special Note – I tend to choose two commissioners in case one is to expensive)

After I order the costume I begin the process of practicing the makeup for the character and generally waiting.

The waiting is hard … so hard.