Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Learning Process: Exercising an Open Mind

Here's a totally unrelated picture!

   Time for another episode of The Learning Process...or that's what I would be saying if this was your everyday TV show. Last time I went over my experiences with judging others and being judged. This time it's a bit different. It doesn't directly relate to the last post, but you could say that exercising an open mind is the next step in becoming free of judgment. 

   Of course for some people this is the norm. I've noticed that otaku are prone to being open-minded. Not just otaku, but nerds, geeks, NEETS, whatever you want to call them, they aren't that judgmental. So what's the deal with them? Not only does it have to do with their background, but also viewing habits.The more unique things you tend to view and follow, the more of an open-minded individual you become.
  Right now I'm currently attending an anime convention known as Metrocon. Almost everyone I've encountered has been pretty nice and friendly, regardless of race or gender. Walking around and bumping into someone I'm never the first to apologize. They instantly say "I'm sorry." while moving out of the way. The people here form conversations so easily, even with people who they aren't familiar with. As I traveled the hotel hallways, I saw a large number of rooms with open doors, open windows, and the like. It's almost like they don't care if you look on them or not; they have nothing to hide.

   So what does this have to do with an open mind? Let's examine the actions further. Easy to converse, not having much to hide, and accepting of all shades of color, these are all elements of someone who doesn't judge people by the way they look or act. Another example is being quick to apologize; would a close-minded individual do something like that? They would assume that you were at fault and expect the apology instead of humbling themselves.                                          
  I've concluded that it has to do with a person's background. Using myself for example, I've been labeled as a geek, nerd, or otaku, but it never phased me. I grew up on anime, and I was always surrounded by a plethora of races. Being raised this way, I was used to being around all types of people. Not only this, I knew what it's like to be judged. Therefore, I'm less likely to judge others.                                                                                                                                          
  It's easy to see that anime, video games, and the like are the cause. Anime comes in all shapes and sizes, all colors and shades, all points of views. We see a representation of different races, personalities, and lifestyles in anime.

 It teaches us not to see a person for their appearance, but to see them for the things inside. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Learning Process: Being Judged

Hajime mashite! Watashi no namae wa, Rekari desu! Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu!
I've been practicing my Japanese!
   Hello everyone! It's been a while since I've had the time to sit down and write. I've been having a great time at college, and I'm learning a lot, but there's a few things I've picked up. While college is not as judgmental as high school, you still get talked about, criticized and the like. Through my encounters I've learned quite a bit about myself and others.  So today I'm creating a new category of the blog, known as the The Learning Process. Yep, you guessed it. I'm going to discuss all the things I've learned (and still learning) throughout my otaku life. If you can relate, have feedback, or anything else, just comment below. I'm all ears!

"Do you like anime?"
   Like I mentioned, I've been struggling with a really big story. I want it to be amazingly good, but I just couldn't make it flow. It relates to being an otaku, and how certain life experiences have affected me. The truth about being an otaku, is that it's not easy. You're going to be judged, you're going to be laughed at, people will take your hobbies as joke. You might even be told you have problems. Not very nice huh? Sadly, it happens, but it's okay. I'll use myself for an example.

   I recently just started college a few weeks ago. One of my biggest fears when starting was not being able to find someone like me. I had no clue what to expect of the people there. Well, things didn't play out that bad, but there's not many people here with the same hobbies. So I just went with the flow, hoping for a miracle of some sort. Of course it didn't happen.

   After I felt more comfortable, I started to display my hobbies. Figurines, posters, manga, videos, and anime gathered in my dorm room. People thought it was weird and began to question my habits. It's almost like being under constant surveillance, because you simply like something that's different. I couldn't hold up my phone due to Luka Megurine lining my case. If I did I was questioned who she was, why was she there, and much more. It became a nuisance.

  "Why do you have those cartoons all over your phone?" I simply like them, is that a problem? Most people didn't have a problem with these and simply disregarded them. Yet a few made rude remarks on my interests, saying I should have pictures of "real" people.
   The same continued with my poster and figurines. People wanted to see them for themselves. They wanted to look at them and criticize them. Almost as if everything was a joke. It's somewhat of a double standard really, It's fine to have a half-naked model on your wall, but if you have a modestly dressed anime character you're weird.

   Sure, it sounds all bad, but the point I'm making is that it doesn't matter what other people think. When I was younger, I would say the same thing. The only difference was, in high school you were exiled if you didn't conform to the norm. I feel like habits of having to hide or water down interests still plague me to this day.

Be yourself, without any care!
   So throughout these experiences, my brain is ticking. I learned a bit more about how society works. They make us believe it's bad to be different, but that's not necessarily the case. By being different you're just taking the harder, yet more rewarding path. It starts as early as elementary school. They tell us that our dreams are crazy and that we should come back to "reality." Who do they think they are to tell us what we can do?

   Slowly everything has been making sense. Life seems so much sweeter when you enjoy the things you love. So to my fellow otaku, don't worry about the thoughts and actions of others. Don't worry if you aren't pleasing someone. Just do what feels right and what makes you happy, as long as you aren't hurting someone else in process!

See you guys soon! Matane!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Japanese Music Spotlight #7

Tonight ~ Yui

Testing out a new video format; so far so good. If there's any problems or if you want to give me feedback, just drop a comment. Want to see a song posted? Just comment. It's that easy.

Song ~ Tonight
Artist ~ Yui

To me? why? sono te wo hanashite
Tonight tonight tonight

Get away motesou na hito ne?
Awai awai kowai

Murasaki iro ni hikaru easylight
Suki ni narenai madogarasu no mukou
Rainy blue

Fun fun la la love···
Fun fun love?
Zenzen najimenai mama

Atashi wa reisei ni naru

Gomen ne sayonara
Run away ukareta hito ne
Tonight tonight tonight
Bachigai mayoikonda no
Itai? itai itai

Sagashi mono wa nani?
Hitori easy driver

Kidzukarenai you ni
Doa wo aketemiru closing time

Fun fun la la love···
Fun fun love?
I can't change I can't stop

Yoake wo mattemiru hodo
Sunao de mo nai
Kyou wo iyasu tame no jikan na no?

Ki ni naru no? yorimichi wa dekinai
Fun fun la la love···
Fun fun love?
Zenzen najimenai mama

Atashi wa reisei ni naru
Fun fun la la love···
Fun fun love?

I can't change I can't stop

Yoake wo machi kirenai no
Gomen ne sayonara

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Suisei no Gargantia Episode 2 Thoughts

Yes, this is Earth.
   Hey guys and gals, it's time for second edition of Suisei no Gargantia! From the previous episode, Ledo lost contact with the rest of his comrades and is stranded on an unknown planet. Not knowing the language or any means of communication, he decides to that taking a  hostage (Amy) would be the best plan of action. He gets chased down for a few minutes, and eventually has to call on Chamber for assistance. 

  Well, the next episode continues directly from the cliffhanger. Ledo finds himself under the watchful eye of the citizens. Chamber manages to express that they mean no harm, but they still lack a form of efficient communication. 
   Many of the people are dumbfounded by the fact that a robot is speaking on it's own, and Ridget, the aide to the Fleet Commander, goes as far as calling the supposed person  inside out of hiding. We then finally see the opening.

  After the colorful graphics, we come back to the scene of Earth, this time focusing on our heroine Amy. She runs through the streets, and later is questioned by others about her experience being a hostage. She gives them a few words on Ledo, but doesn't think much of his abrupt actions. She then continues on her path and para sails down to a ship-like structure. 

   The story then takes a turn, and we get our first look at Amy's brother. Oddly, he barely resembles her aside from certain facial details and eyes. He's also bedridden, and has a fascination with ships. Yet there are still questions to be answered regarding his condition.

  The rest of the episode includes a few random, non important scenes. The key scenes take place later on, when Amy offers Ledo some sort of dead marine animal. Although they cannot understand each other, Ledo accepts the gift and thus their friendship is formed. Later a few pirates make their way onto the scene, and we see the massive destructive force of Chamber as the pirates are vaporized into thin air.
   Okay, while the episode was not as interesting as the first, it was still pretty good. We don't get to see much of life on earth, aside from the fact that most of the story takes place on ships. I also felt like parts of the episode were rushed, such as the ending battle and the time Amy and Ledo spent together. Although it's only the second episode, the plot could've been written a bit better.

   Outside of the negative aspects. We've been introduced to intriguing characters. We also learn a bit about the lives of Amy and Ledo. While Amy and Ledo are somewhat a mystery, they mean a lot to the story. Not just plot wise, but symbolism wise. 
While Ledo comes from the stars, Amy originates from a wide open sea. Certain features represent the multiple aspects of the two. For example, Amy's tanned skin, brown hair, traditional attire, and sea green eyes represent the ocean and it's vastness. Ledo's silver-white hair, purple eyes, and futuristic attire remind us of space or space travel. The two characters, representing entirely different regions combine. Amy with her positive attitude, and Ledo with his seriousness and quick thinking, combine to make a pairing of great companionship.

  I hope for the rest of the anime, the story continues to build on these factors. There wasn't much of note in this episode, but in the next we get to see the aftermath of Chamber's carnage.

Opening/Ending Pictures

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Desktop Layout July 2013

Hey guys! Today I'm starting a new series; one where I can show you all my desktop/computer layout and customization.

Suisei no Gargantia July 2013


Start Menu

Chrome Theme

Drop Down Menu

Login Screen


Suisei no Gargantia Theme Windows 7

Windows 7 Login Background Changer


Suisei no Gargantia Google Chrome Theme

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (Suisei no Gargantia) Episode 1 Thoughts

"What...? You're actually reviewing a series?"

Meet our protagonist.
Yes, I'm reviewing an anime. While editorials and spotlights are my pride and joy, I think every now and then it's good to try something new. I initially wanted to review Cardfight!! Vanguard, but with it's 100+ episodes, (and still counting) makes reviewing a daunting task. So how about a shorter series, one like Suisei no Gargantia?

The series starts out in a space-like setting. We're given a brief description on the world and everything that's going on, later to find out that humans are no longer living on Earth, and now are organized and living in space. They fight for survival against a certain race of beings. We then meet Ledo, our protagonist. He's a lieutenant, and a participant in the battle, along with his robot like companion Chamber. We get to see a few moments of intergalactic battle, until the call for retreat is heard. Sadly a few fighters don't make it, one being Ledo as he is swallowed into a distortion of space of time. A sudden plot twist separates the anime from your generic mecha battles.

The end. No more protagonist means no more anime right? Well apparently not. We soon see a new setting and a new face. Our counterpart to Ledo, Amy soon appears. She runs through the scene, stopping at the sight of Ledo's Chamber. The others work on the robot, trying to open it up. They work through the day and night, but to no avail.

Finally Ledo wakes up from his beauty sleep, exiting Chamber after learning that the environment is safe. He is then found by workers, awkwardly taking Amy hostage to avoid any abrupt attacks. He is chased down until he reaches the outside of the building, which is completely different from the black void of space is he accustomed to.

Being backed into a corner, he decides to rely on Chamber much to the surprise of the civilians. The episode ends as Chamber classifies this planet as Earth.

Alright, so far the anime has been pretty interesting. So far, there has been a lack of an opening, but it works in the favor of the series by giving a movie-like feel to the animation. The art is appealing but a bit too flashy at some points, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. (For example, the opening sequence involved bright flashes and lasers during the battle.)

Character wise, we haven't seen much. The main focus has been on Ledo, and other characters have yet to be named. Ledo also carries a common color scheme in the hair and eye department, white/silver and purple. Amy is a pretty unique character, with a darker skin pigment and somewhat traditional clothing.

As for the plot, it's hard to comprehend what's going on in the beginning, but it's unsure if it really matters in the end, due to the plot twist. We're also left with a cliffhanger, and many questions that have yet to be answered. Music so far isn't a major factor.

The anime looks pretty good so far. Combined with the layout of the plot, the characters, and scenery, it contains remnants of a movie setting.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Japanese Music Spotlight #6

Girls Dead Monster ~ Alchemy

Title ~ Alchemy
Artist ~ Girls Dead Monster

Embracing Fiction

Ever here people saying anime lovers need to get their head out of the clouds? They say that we need to live in reality. Well, those people must be unaware of the benefits of embracing fiction. 

Let's kick off with creativity and imagination. If you're living in the real world all of the time, how can you imagine anything? How can you have creativity? The answer is, you can't. Or if you do have it, it's a pale imitation of an otakus. Take a look at Deviantart for example. Yes, there's a decent amount of other art among the mix, but how many anime artists do you see. A good amount right? 

In fact, earlier today I viewed a picture of a Japanese farmer who actually created an image of Naruto in the rice field. If that doesn't count for creativity, then I don't know what does.

Now what about reading? Tell me fellow otakus, do you find reading books boring? What about visual novels and manga? People wonder how we can sit and read for hours on end. The answer is simple, reading a book is like watching a movie.

Hear me out for a second. I was sitting in class like my normal day, but we're reading through a textbook. You can tell by the look of disgust that my classmates definitely are having trouble getting through it. Later we met back at the dorm, and I asked them why they found it uninteresting. They gave me various answers ranging from "It's just boring." to "I don't care." I decided to ask them if they got the picture in their head when they read. Surprisingly, they all answered no.
Huh? That's odd, I thought. In fact, I was one of the few people in the dorm who actually stated they had that picture. Now, out of everyone, I'm one of the only one's considered "otaku." 
Taking a trip down memory lane, I remembered asking the same question to a few of my other friends, who considered themselves to be otaku. 

They replied yes, they did get that picture.

Again, how odd. Not only did they understand what I was talking about, they could go into great detail about why reading was so interesting to them. It was like a movie in their head. So, again what could be the deciding factor between the two? Well the only answer is anime.

I think the same can even apply to gamers. Ever hear that gamers have more than one life? Instead of living one life like the average person, they live multiple through their games. Why have one when you can have many? In this sense gamers should have the same sense of creativity, imagination, and reading skills as otaku. Besides, if you're living multiple lives you're also gaining the experience of multiple lives. Could this be why gamers have such high intelligence?

What do you think?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Stand Up, My Avatar!

What's taking the English Dub so long?
No, not the show on Nick dealing with air and fire. Sorry, I'm not talking about blue people either. How about the pictures we use to represent ourselves? Maybe, but not quite.

If you couldn't tell, I've become interested in a new series. Yes, it's Cardfight!! Vanguard. A while ago I checked the series out, and fell asleep instantly. Fast forward a bit, and here we are. I picked it up one more time, and loved it. It's one of the best animes I've ever seen.

What really drew me in was the main character Aichi Sendou. He's a timid, soft-spoken boy, who is looked down upon. No one thought much of him, and he lived his life looking backwards instead of forward. All of this changed once he got involved in the game known as Vanguard.

Looking at Aichi, from almost every moment of the series I could completely relate to him. It was as if I was looking at myself in the mirror. Seeing him grow and develop as the anime progressed even made it more realistic. Yet, also like me Aichi is looking at others. He sees certain people as role models, much like I do. He wants to be like them, especially like his first card, Blaster Blade. Even going as far as reciting, "Stand up, my avatar! Ride...Blaster Blade!"

Blaster Blade becomes more than just a knight clad in shining armor, or a flimsy piece of paper. He represents Aichi, and what he wants to become. A strong knight that can protect everyone. The feeling is mutual.

As the plot continues, Aichi soon put himself in the place of Blaster Blade. He's the one fighting, he's the one in the armor. The game soon becomes part of his reality, as he envisions himself as that knight.

The same happens to me. When I see a character that I really click with, I envision myself as them. They become a part of me, and I experience reality through their eyes. I also tend to take on some of their traits as well.

While other card games might be inspirational, or some feature more darker themes, (Yugioh for example.) I feel Vanguard takes the cake. It's one of the most influential card games I've seen.

We learn that becoming obsessed with winning and getting stronger can lead to your downfall. We experience the trials of learning a new game or hobby. We immerse ourselves in the world where our cards become our allies. We remember that when times are tough, we can always count on our friends. Finally, it shows us that anyone can get together and have fun.

I think this goes to show that card games aren't childish.  From watching Cardfight!! Vanguard, we learn that everyone has an avatar. Someone who they admire, look up to, or maybe someone they would like to be.

Who is YOUR avatar?