Review Sunday: Love Live! School Idol Project

It is a well-known fact around my geeky friends that though I dress and act like a total girly girl, I am actually not a fan of animes made for women/girls. I tend to find all of the plots the same: take one socially awkward girl with a crush on the class bishie add a sprinkling of a bitchy rival, mix with a love triangle and simmer over a low ‘I am not good enough for you’ heat and you have pretty much every shougo manga ever. Sometimes the setting is different but the plot is pretty much always the same. Now you can guess my surprise when I found a girly anime that I actually enjoyed watching!

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World’s cutest cast (Bottom left to right – Nozomi, Rin, Hanayo, Kotori, Honoka, Umi, Nico, Maki, Eli)

Love Live! School Idol Project is a 13-episode multimedia project co-developed ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki G’s Magazine, music label Lantis, and animation studio Sunrise. The series combines regular anime animation with a more unusual computer graphic element for the musical numbers that allowed for greater movement to be given to the characters

The first season focus on the trials and tribulations of Honoka Kosaka who, along with her group of friends, creates a school idol group called μ’s (pronounced muse) in order to save their beloved school, Otonokizaka Academy from being closed down by competing in the idol competition ‘Love Live’ and attracting new students. Along the way to achieve their goal the girls face rivals that become teammates, reluctant classmates, and the realization that being an idol is way more than just smiling and looking cute!

I could tell you about the second season as well but it kind of gives away the ending of the first, so I will leave the plot at that and move onto what really makes the series stand out, the characters.

Love Live has a pretty large cast, which can sometimes get overwhelming, but they all look and act differently enough to help them stand out and let the viewer’s choose a favorite. The main trio consists of Honoka Kosaka, the chipper and bubbly heroine who is sweet but stubborn to a fault; Kotori Minami, her childhood best friend and daughter of the school headmistress, who tends to be air-headed but sweet; and Umi Sonoda who serves as the level-headed foil to her best friends. As the series continues the group continues to grow as new members join up including Eli Ayase the rival turned friend who is also the student-council president; Nozomi Togo, Eli’s level-headed second-in-command who is secretive and mischievous; the tomboy Rin Hoshizora who often serves as comedic relief; Hanayo Koizumi, a shy girl whose love of idol’s is only known by her best friend Rin; the cool and collected Maki Nishikino who has a lot of pressure on her shoulders from her family; and Nico Yazawa who his serious and a little mean normally but as an idol is very childlike and playful.

There is pretty much a character for every type of fan, whether you like girls in glasses like Hanayo, tomboys like Rin or characters who look younger than they are like Nico (personally I really relate to Nozomi and I may even cosplay her in the future).

The thing that really surprised me though is that every character is really likable! Characters who start off bitchy, like Eli, are quickly forgiven as their stories come to life, and even Nico, who comes off as really annoying, is actually quite likable once you put her with the rest of the cast.

Bright and cheerful, the series was made to be total eye and ear candy, from the voice acting and singing work of the VA’s to the brightly coloured scenery and characters.

Ultimately, I think if you are looking for a fun, bubbly break from some of the more hardcore animes and like the bubbly sweetness of J-Pop I would definitely suggest giving Love Live! a try and you may even find yourself addicted to some of the music … like I did.

Mini Review – SoniAni: Super Sonico The Animation

Today I am going to do a BABY REVIEW! Aka a rather short review since I have only watched the first episode of the series.

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When watching any anime it is easy to tell who is going to be the main character.Why? Simple they either (a) sit in the back right corner near the window, (b) their name is in the series title, (c) they have a hair colour that looks totally out of place compared to everyone else or (d) they actually wear an outfit that stands out.

So now I want you to consider what I just said and then try and guess who the main character of this series is

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One of these kids is not like the others!

…If you guessed the only character wearing colour with not brown hair YOU WERE RIGHT!

SoniAni: Super Sonico The Animation is a 12-episode series produced by White Fox (producers of Akame ga Kill! and Steins; Gate) in partnership with the video game software company Nitroplus who have been using Sonico as their mascot since 2006.

The series follows Sonico, an 18-year-old college student and her misadventures as she tries to keep up with school while also working as a gravure idol and vocalist/guitarist First Astronomical Velocity.The series is a pretty classic slice-of-life following the daily life of Sonico while also throwing in a liberal amount of ecchi elements including skimpy outfits, sexy poses and more than a few boob-centric camera shots.

Despite its ecchi nature though, Sonico remains a rather enduring character. Friendly, hardworking and definitely not always comfortable with her part-time job, you can’t help but get attached to Sonico and her antics.

My main issue with the first episode is that everyone other than Sonico and her two bandmates, Suzu Fukimi and Fuuri Watanuki, are very bland characters coloured entirely in a dull palate. I guess I sort of get it, Nitro wanted their mascot to be front and center and with her pink hair in a sea of brown it is pretty easy to always know who the main star is.

All in all if you are looking for a brainless series to take your mind off of the deaths in Attack on Titan or heartbreak in the finale of Naruto and you enjoy a sweet and cheerful slice-of-life I would suggest you try queuing up SoniAni: Super Sonico The Animation.

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Will I continue watching it? Yes, I think I will.

Anime North vs. Fan Expo: Why I attend them both

Hello denizens of the interweb! Once again I apologize for my failure too keep up with my blog. I have just gotten a new job and I have been finishing getting ready for my new program aka filling out hundreds of forms and taking a first aid/CPR course.

Back onto the topic of nerdiness though. Awhile back I received a Tumblr message asking why I attend both Anime North AND Fan Expo. Though I did reply privately to the anon I figured that my reasoning is worthy of a longer blog post.

Long story short the reason I attend both is because they are both VERY different conventions.

Now into the long version.

JUST A WARNING THIS IS ALL MY OWN OPINION, PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL OF THIS!

Anime North was my original cons. I first attended it at the age of 13 back in 2007 when I was still a Grade 10 weeaboo in love with Kingdom Hearts and attempting to sew. Fan Expo, on the other hand, I only began attending last year but even from that one year I can see a huge difference between the two cons.

The first thing I noticed is the difference in how they are run. Anime North is a con by the fans for the fans and that means that everything there is something a FAN would want too see making it more about the fans enjoyment and less about the money. Fan Expo is a convention created by the big corporations making it more about the money and less about the fans. Yes fans will see what they want to see but it will be at a higher cost. Now I am not saying that this is a terrible thing. Out of the two cons, Fan Expo tends to have way better guests and better run panels and that is because they can afford to do so, so even though the ticket prices tend to be higher you do get better run panels and guests (Robert Englund biyatches). Anime North does not have the budget too bring in big names and if you really want to see a certain kind of panel YOU have to sign up and run it yourself.

Secondly, Anime North is a much less mature con. The fans tend to be younger and because of that things tend to get louder and sometimes more annoying. Fan Expo has a much more mature feel despite the huge range in the age of attendees and I think, personally, that is because. The issue in maturity does have negatives and pluses for both sides though. As I said Anime North can sometimes seem more annoying but at the same time it has more of a fun vacation kind of atmosphere. On the other hand, Fan Expo can seem a little stuffy at times with all of the events being catered towards a more serious crowd.

The cosplaying crowd at the cons is also very different. For the most part you tend too see some insanely well made costumes at Fan Expo taht often look like they came straight off of a movie set. They are often not as large as one you can see at Anime North simply because of the venue size. At the same time Fan Expo also has a lot of Halloween costumes and closet cosplays which can be seen as either good or bad. There really is no in between quality at Fan Expo, in my PERSONAL opinion the costumes are either awesome or just plain lazy and bad.

On the other hand, Anime North’s cosplay scene is a perfect mix of the elaborate costumes made by hardcore costumers and the the simpler “I just cosplay for fun” costumes. Due to the con not being held within city limits I think a lot of people just feel more comfortable cosplaying without being judged as hard by the ‘normies’. At the same time though, you DO tend too see a lot more pointlessly slutty costumes and once again I think that goes back to the maturity level of the attendees.

Both cons have amazing dealers room (Fan Expo’s is larger due to the budget they have in getting a larger venue) but the Cosplay contests are very different. There are two cosplay events at Anime North, the masquerade where contestants are judged purely based on their cosplays and the Skit Contest where the judging is based more on the skit itself then the cosplay. Fan Expo has only one cosplay event and that is the masquerade and like the rest of the con this event is serious business. The cospayers who enter the Fan Expo masq are top tier costume makers making the event more like a costume fashion show.

To sum it up in a plus and minus chart:

Fan Expo

+ Insanely high quality cosplays for the most part

+ Merchandise that more closely appeals to my interests

+ Everything is very contained

+/- More mature Crowd

– Cha ching

-Downtown Toronto

– More serious vibe

Anime North

+ All of my friends attend this con (Talia, Tanya, Kail, Jessica etc)

+ I feel more comfortable cosplaying here

+ A lot more ‘fun’ events

+ Outdoor events

– Often uninteresting guests

– Lower quality panels

– More immature

Would I say that one con is better than the other? No I would not because they are both so different. If someone was to ask me which one they should go to I would ask them “Are you looking for a party vibe or a more formal one” because that is frankly what it comes down to. If you want to go to a con to hangout and party with friends go to Anime North but it if you would prefer a more calm affair where you are getting great celebrity appearances and panels I would say Fan Expo.

Of course the two cons also have very different target demographics with Fan Expo appealing to western media fans with a bit of anime and Anime North being more Asian media oriented and that also may affect your choice.

Ultimately I love both cons. Anime North is at the end of the school year and it is a great way to unwind and celebrate being a young nerd while Fan Expo is a calmer affair where I pay big money too get more choices in swag and see great people.

Really it all a matter of opinion.

30 Day Anime Challenge: Favorite attack someone used in an anime

Man do I ever suck at keeping up with this 30 Day Challenge! I swear wordpress does not want me to finish this thing, but I shall prevail!

Anywho, so today’s topic is what is my favorite attack I have ever seen someone use in an anime and like the last day of the challenge, this one proved to be a little hard for me to narrow down because I don’t watch that style of anime.

I cannot use anyone from Higurashi because the attacks are not named, they are just swinging a weapons and that is pretty much the same in every other anime I watch.

Therefore I had to go a little goofy with this situation and decided to literally go with an ‘attack’. So without a doubt my favorite attack I have ever seen in an anime is …

That’s right I have chosen the super effective, and highly annoying attack, ‘Sing’ as used by Jigglypuff in the original Pokemon anime.

As soon as Jigglypuff showed up in the anime I knew it was going to be hilarious and I really looked forward to any time this adorable little puff appeared.

I know it is really not a ‘serious’ attack like the ones most people are likely using for this portion of the challenge but hey I am not a super serious person and I just don’t watch the animes with the crazy named attacks. I find those attacks to be just way too ridiculous and overly designed.

Simple is best in my opinion and nothing is quite as simple as an adorable pink puff singing people too sleep. Sooo cute!

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Next up find out which moment in an anime really shocked me … oh this is going to be easy.

30 Day Anime Challenge: Favorite weapon, gear or armor used in an anime

So for today’s challenge I had to talk about my favorite weapon, gear or armor used in anime. Here is a little fact about me – I don’t usually watch anime with ‘weapons’ since I tend to prefer psychological animes which attack peoples emotions not bodies.

That left me with very few options but at the same time it got me thinking. What would I be more afraid of? A magical or alien made creation in a fantasy setting or an item that can be used in my world? The REAL world!

That made things a lot easier for me and ultimately I settled on a tie between two weapons from the same series …

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Rena Ryugu’s cleaver and Keiichi Maebara’s baseball bat both from Higurshi no Naku Koro Ni. Yes these weapons seem really mundane and were even found in mundane locations, the cleaver is from the dump and the bat is from the classroom, and that is what makes them so epic to me.

Both of these characters took completely mundane objects and turned them into weapons filled with murderous intent and to me that is 1000 times more scary then any other weapon I have seen in the animes I have watched. A real world object used for destruction. That is pretty epic in my mind.

I really have very little to say about these weapons other than that.

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Tommorow I look at my favorite attack used in an anime … aww man.

30 Day Anime Challenge: Favorite Goofy Anime Character

Wow what a great question to answer on my first day back on this challenge!

This question is INSANELY easy for me as I really only watch one goofy anime. I am very rarely a fan of comedy animes as I find something always gets lost in translation and that takes away from the enjoyment of the comedic aspects.

Back on full topic though the only anime I actually watch so choosing one character is really REALLY easy!

So my favorite goofy anime character is ….

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Shinnosuke Nohara, better known as Shin-chan is the titualar character of Crayon Shin-chan. Shin is your average kindergarten aged boy who loves action figures, playing with his friends, dropping his pants at inappropriate times, avoiding chores and making his poor mom Misae’s life pure hell.

Okay I know a lot of purest anime fans find this show to be absolutely horrible and an embarrasment to anime but I think people just don’t get it. It is not supposed to be taken seriously, it is just a crazy little show about a crazy little kid.

I can’t help but laugh my head off at Shin. Yes I would likely kill him in real life but his antics just can’t help but make me laugh and that can be really handy when you are stressing over school or something like that.

Shin is fun, crude, a total brat and occasionally really caring and I just can’t help but love this kid.

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BTW I have the unnatural talent of imitating Shin’s English voice. It is quite fun and a little weird.

Tomorrow find out what my favorite weapon, gear, or armor used in an anime is! Hmm I better get thinking …

 

Anime North 2014

10358738_627666140654027_9118590229713997548_nSo two weeks ago I was at my 8th Anime North, the 4th largest anime convention in North America, as a cosplayer but mainly as an uncostumed patron due to the heat of the weekend. This year had proven shockingly stressful to prepare for due to low self-image impacting cosplay, an unexpected new roommate (who proved to be a real doll and has been invited for next year), and a lost hotel room (which was solved due to the awesomeness of my fellow congoers). I could write a truly massive post and talk about every little thing but I’d rather just hit the highlights and show some great photos!

Friday

My truly fabulous mother drove us to the con just after 12:30 but before we left I had to deal with an almost panic attack induced by the fact that my Mao cosplay was actually poorly fit and needs a few adjustments before it can be fully debuted at a con. Ultimately the costume was left behind, making way for my Scholar cosplay to be my lead cosplay.

Upon arriving at the con we chose to sign into the hotel, the International Plaza, first so then my Mom could head back home and not hit as much traffic. It took us an hour and a half to get all signed in but I think that was heavily impacted by the fact that the front desk did not open till 3!

After signing in, and me changing into a casual Batgirl inspired outfit we headed to get our badges. I was expecting it to take ages to get them but instead it only took around 10 minutes, maybe less.

At 6 I officially began the Western Comics and Movie Photoshoot, which was pretty popular, though not nearly as popular as many of the anime shoots (no shocker there). It ran incredibly smoothly except for a few overly excited preteens in closet cosplays breaking into the photos and screaming constantly, but that comes with the territory.
After the shoot we finally headed to the photoshoot where I came away with a Horror grab bag (my regretted purchase) and a new Arda Wig that I brought purely for its beauty ♥‿♥

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My favorite cosplay all weekend! Gangrel from Fire Emblem: Awakening. Sadly I have no idea who he is …

Saturday

Saturday was cosplay chess day! Which is insanely fun if you have never done it before. Both my sister and I signed up for the 10 a.m. Magic vs. Science game with my sister as Chiaki Nanami on the Science side and me on the magic side as a scholar, both as pawns. It was a LOT of fun but it felt like it took forever and ultimately my side, magic, all chose to sit down and relax till we were moved due to how long the chess players took. Much to everyones shock, it ended up as a tie.

After the game, my sister and I popped into the dealers room where I came away with an adorable Harley Quinn tank dress which I changed into upon returning to the hotel. It was incredibly hot Saturday with no breeze, so I really only ended up wearing my Scholar dress for cosplay chess and the new Harley dress most of the weekend. I was shocked though, I still ended up getting photos taken! I am guessing because of my big boobs …

The rest of the day was easy-osey, my sister went to the Dangan Ronpa shoot while our roommate and I sat in the shade, we headed back to the dealers room and I purchased the first omnibus edition of Empowered, a rather naughty western comic by Adam Warren. I took a break in the hotel and then we had dinner at the hotels Japanese restaurant.

Sunday

This is always a short day since we do have to get home and back to the real world, my Mom came to pick up our luggage at 11 AM and then my sister and I did one final sweep of the dealers room where I got the second Empowered omnibus.

After that we hung around till my Mom came back to get us. Then cue, post con sadness and planning for next year … I also ended up getting our hotel room as soon as I got home due to our hotel already opening up booking!

All in all it was another great year, though I did not get to cosplay as much as I would have liked due to the heat. It was totally my fault though, I need to learn to always consider the temperature of the month when choosing my cosplays.

Next up in the con world, Fan Expo 2014 where I will be cosplaying Hipster Harley Quinn.