Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Useful Danbooru Image Grabber

Ever find yourself needing or wanting a large amount of anime images for no reason? Maybe you're running a Tumblr blog and want to keep it active, but you can't be bothered to find and download pictures by searching all the boorus? For bloggers, collectors, or graphic designers, this Image Grabber is one of the best tools ever created.

The Image Grabber can found at this location. It's an easy download, and quick setup. To download simply navigate to the page on the website labeled "Downloads." You can pick a version that's available for your operating system. As of now, there's only a Linux and Windows version. For a list of available file names for your pictures, go here.

Showcasing side by side windows.
For those who don't like to download things unknowingly, I've taken a few pictures of the program. The interface isn't anything fancy, but it gets the job done. It's not too confusing and if you run Windows 8 you can easily take advantage of side by side viewing if you're the type who has to see pictures in full resolution before downloading.

Ability to search and bulk download pools.
The program also offers the ability to navigate Danbooru pools. (not sure about other websites as I have yet to try them.) The only thing about this is that you have to actually go to Danbooru to find the pool number, but that's just a minor annoyance and not a huge problem. For people who've wanted to download artbook without the numerous point and clicks, you can snag them all in a few seconds.

Example of Ctrl + Click method of downloading.
When it comes to downloading images in bulk there's many different ways to about it. You can manually select images using the old Ctrl+Click method. After you've picked your choices you can click the button that says "get selected" and the program will automatically register the pics you've chosen. If that's too much work for you, its possible to grab all images on one page or all images registered in the search. Once you're finished stacking up your downloads you can navigate to the download page, hit download, and go watch anime.

Many available sources and the ability to add more. Helps lessen the chance of duplicate pictures.
Of course there's also a plethora of options to change many of the features. The interface looks confusing at first, but it's usefulness is worth the hassle. The ability to navigate through multiple boorus, image boards, and other websites is a great help. (You can easily mix sources together to avoid duplicates as well.) One can also set up a perfectly organized folder taking advantage of the file names.

While I'm not the owner of the program, I definitely recommend using it. If you have any problems getting things to work just drop me a comment and I'll try my best to help you. Otherwise enjoy! This Image Grabber has been a life saver and has helped me keep my Tumblr active. Hopefully you get as much out of it as I do!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Oh My Goddess! (The Manga)

Certain times its somewhat difficult to continuously buy manga and anime. When it comes to this, people usually are forced to obtain said products using underhanded methods. While that's a great way to constantly intake different series, its definitely not for me. Since buying is out, I decided to take a quick trip to my nearest library where they conveniently stock manga.

I'm sure some of you have heard of this series before; I have as well, but this is my first time actually checking it out. The story is pretty simple, a college student by the name of Keiichi Morisato, ends up calling the Goddess Helpline by accident. Surprisingly he talks to a real goddess, by the name of Belldandy. Eventually he wishes for Belldandy to remain with him forever, thus the story begins. Of course they get wrapped up in all sorts of events.

The series began kind of rocky and the copy from the library definitely looked it's age, but it was readable. Still, I was interested enough that I might actually check out the anime in my free time, so you can expect that someday. (Just maybe)

Here are the links to the anime/manga's MyAnimeList page. If you wish to watch them/read them online, you can easily find them through Google.

So instead of a long drawn out post today or editorial, it's a quick manga recommendation. While the current series are decent, its sometimes nice to go back to the old gems. If you like things like this, let me know. I'll end up writing about more of these, whether it be anime, manga, video games, or anything else.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Anime or Success?

A few years back I remember someone posting a particular picture. The image had two sides, one featuring cute anime characters, the other a man in a suit. There were only three words that filled the blank space, which asked "Anime or Success?" When I first saw this picture, I instantly thought it was crazy. In order to become successful we can't enjoy and love anime? What a bunch of garbage that is. However, at that time I was the only one who felt that way.

At that point, I didn't really realize that way of thinking that came with such a mindset. Recently, I researched a way of thought process called "Success Without Sacrifice." There was so little support to this way of thinking, that it was hard for me to find any sort of article that agreed with this point of view.

It feels like our society conditions us to think that we have to give up something in order to achieve something else. While this may work for some people, I feel that we are only limiting ourselves. So does this necessarily mean in order to make someone else happy we have to give up our own happiness? Definitely not! We can be happy and make others happy at the same time.

Let's take another example. A lot of people have the notion that work should be put first, and there's absolutely no time for any sort of rest or relaxation. I even remember being told that I would have to work until I was a senior citizen, ONLY then, could I play and have fun. Isn't that a miserable existence? Working so hard to achieve something without breaks, only to become too old to fully enjoy it? Again this doesn't sound very plausible.

"As much as I like Mizore, her grades aren't too good ! がんばってください!みぞれちゃん" ^^; 
So when asked "Anime or Success," I was basically being forced into a certain situation. The creator is saying that in order to succeed, we have to let go of our own likes and dislikes. In my opinion, this is nowhere near succeeding, it's completely the opposite.

For me to succeed, I would have to do the following.

  • Continue to do what I love.
  • Improve my Japanese.
  • Indulge in otaku interests. (Whatever they may be.)
  • Maintain a positive attitude.
  • Successfully maintain a career of my choosing, that I actually enjoy doing.
With this way of thought, I'm already succeeding and will continue to do so. I'm improving, but still living a good life. To this day I still say that we can have both anime and success. Anime isn't a curse that stops people from doing what they want; their mindset is the one in charge. If anime fans could not succeed, then explain Animators, Anime Business Owners, Convention Managers, and Vocaloid Producers. They are all working with anime and are successful. By a simple change of mindset, you can do ANYTHING you want. There's absolutely nothing stopping ANYONE from doing the same.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Blog Update #2 July 2014

Hey guys! Usually I don't do more than one blog update per month, let alone one post per day, but I'm trying a few new things this time around. There's a few things I wanted to talk about during this update.

First, I've been working on my gadget bar to the right. I understand that the follower gadget doesn't always appear, and that many people don't want to follow with their Google Accounts. Other people don't even have an account to begin with. So I've decided it would be better to change this way of following.

Of course you can still access it through the gadget bar on the right or subscribe by email, but from now on it's best to click the link that says "Follow Me!" at the top of my page. I just hope this clears up a few issues that arose when people have tried to follow my blog.

Also, I would like to announce that I've finished creating a profile on a website called It's pretty much a basic profile, with links to all forms of media. If you have the time please check it out! ^_^

Until then, see you~

Starting an Anime Blog? 3 Things I've Learned

I've been running Shooting Star Dreamer for over a year now. It hasn't always been easy, but it's definitely been a fun experience. On top of this, I learned a lot from managing something of my own. There's no one checking my writing and telling me what to include or exclude, no one is telling me what to say, and the only ideas I share on here are my own. It's a nice feeling having something that's your own and nurturing it.

That being said, I remember the start of Shooting Star Dreamer being a little rocky. I've always been on this platform, but my blog style was completely different. For one, I didn't use the same colors, and my layout was less interactive and more static. While I had more freedom in what I could add to my blog and customize, it just wasn't for me. I went through of couple of changes, then found this template and stuck with it.

Still, it would've been helpful if I had learned a few lessons from other people. There's many guides out there for blogging in general, but when it comes to a specific genre, it's somewhat hard. I was only able to really find one aniblogging guide that was useful to me, which can be seen here. The single problem is that it left many questions to be answered.

"What Do I Write About?"

What else can you possibly write about when your blog's focus is anime! It's easy to write about anime, but what if you don't want to write reviews? This was one of my hardest experiences with blogging in the beginning. I looked at other blogs for ideas and inspiration, but most were filled with reviews on episodes, thoughts on episodes, thoughts about new series. While this is fine, I never liked the basics. I didn't want to give my opinion on things, and let that be the deciding factor for my audience. I wanted to examine the complexities of anime, the things that people usually don't focus on. Examining the lessons hidden in each episode, the work put into the characters, and the connection between the audience and the fans. 

I had to draw most of my inspiration from myself, but I found out that interacting with people who like anime, and even those who don't, was a great source of new ideas. As I started college, I was faced with new challenges when it came to being an otaku. One of them was being around people who don't enjoy the same things, but still being open about my likes and dislikes. Their responses turned the gears in my head and helped improve my writing. 

So if you're lacking inspiration on writing I can give a little advice. Read, interact, and get outside! You can learn a lot just from interacting with people, even if they aren't interested in Japan at all. Every experience can be used for learning.

"I've Gotten My Ideas, But I Never Remember Them!"

I have even more trouble with this one; once I get the ideas I end up losing them. The amount of great posts I would've written were endless, but they were lost in the vast realms of my mind. Since middle school, I started relying on my brainpower to keep track of my schedule and tasks. I'm constantly thinking of things to do even now, so it's only natural for a few things to slip out of my memory. 

Thus, whenever I get a great idea or a passion to write...I either write it down somewhere, or act on it as soon as possible. Even if it's the middle of the night or in class, I'll quickly jot down my ideas in a notebook of some sort. Not much else to say about this one. 

"Should I Take Chances?"

Definitely take chances! If I would've never started this blog I wouldn't be writing here today. Starting my blog was an example of taking a chance. My advice to any blogger that feels like they're stuck in the same daily patterns, is to try doing something new. Don't worry too much about what your readers will think, but remember that their voice matters. If things mess up or go haywire, then oh well. Pick yourself up and start again. In order to separate ourselves from others in the aniblogosphere, we have to let our ideals and personalities run wild. 

Hopefully this quick info is helpful to people who want to start blogging, bloggers who are just getting their feet wet, and even experienced bloggers. After all, we tend to forget simple lessons that are very important. This can post can be used as a quick reminder.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lacking Support? No Worries, Fiction Is There

There are times in life when we feel like everything and everyone is working against us. No matter what we try, things just seem to not be on our side. People refuse to agree with our values, morals, or beliefs. Others criticize everything about us, berating even our personalities. We even begin to remember a common Japanese proverb; 出る杭は打たれる。(The stake that sticks out gets hammered down.) 

If we happen to be that stake, then should we allow ourselves to be hammered? When everything seems to be falling apart, should we really just sit down and whine about it? Should we curse our lives, and bear the burden of hatred? How about confirming to the demands and opinions of others? Definitely not! Have the guts to never give up!

I've begun to notice how much pressure there is on people today. Yes, there are the daily stresses, financial concerns, and health worries, but I'm not talking about these. I'm talking about the expectations that are placed on us. No matter what path you take throughout life or the things you're going to believe in, society expects us to behave in different ways. While there's nothing completely wrong with this, it ends up turning us into a group that can easily be controlled and manipulated by what other people think. Somewhere along the line, we can forget how to follow our hearts.

So how does this relate to anime? Well, lets take a few steps back. For myself, I sometimes have trouble finding people who support my view of things, after all everyone is different. While it's not necessarily their fault for thinking a certain way, it's somewhat discouraging when people make it seem like I'm the only one who thinks a certain way.

It's also a little hard to find role models in our lives that are human. We idolize celebrities and other famous people, but they may not necessarily be good role models. If I've learned anything from life, the people we look up to and respect may not even be the people we think they are. When it comes to anime, it's a little different. We (usually) get to know the characters personally, as we are literally watching their lives unfold.

Like my previous post, "Our Personalities Are Linked to Our Anime," I feel we're drawn to anime and characters that possess qualities or personalities similar to what we like, or our own. Therefore it should be easy to find role models in anime. Since we're not bound by the rules and regulations of society when it comes to anime, we're basically free to act of our own will and heart.

While this doesn't really solve the problem of the troubles that take place in our lives, is a great way to remind ourselves that there's someone like us everywhere. The person who created that anime, character, video game, manga, television show, or whatever like you. They think the same way, at least to a certain extent.

With this way of thinking, even if we're alone, we can be assured that there's someone like us out there in this vast world. Winning the battle of loneliness isn't easy, but it's even harder to keep going forward when all odds are against you. Whatever happens, never give up, never lose yourself, and keep following your heart.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Happy Birthday Sasuke!

Today is officially Sasuke Uchiha's birthday. Whether you can't stand him or like him, he was born today.

Sasuke Uchiha (うちはサスケ, Uchiha Sasuke) is one of two known surviving members of Konohagakure's Uchiha clan. He becomes a shinobi so that he can become powerful enough to avenge his family by killing their murderer: his older brother, Itachi.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mabinogi: Tiny Lessons Learned

Throughout our lives as otaku or anime fans, we tend to indulge in many different forms of media. Some of these tend to be games, others are anime. Recently, I've been playing a game by the name of Mabinogi. I'm currently on a hiatus, but I remember one part of the game's story  that really stood out to me. 

Mabinogi is a Korean MMO based on Irish mythology. The artwork is anime styled, and the main draw to the game is basically the freedom to live an ideal fantasy life. The game also features a vast story, split into a a handful of chapters. I'm going to focus on Chapter 1 of the Mabinogi story line, featuring the conflict between Paladins and Dark Knights.

The story addresses the issues between both the Light and Dark sides. We also get a few messages of advice directed towards the player character, as you are literally the protagonist of the story. Still, the contents of the story and everything that happens isn't the focus right now. I'd like to focus on a children's book you receive from one of the characters in-game. 

The book is titled, "Food for the Soul for Good Deeds." Despite being a simple fairy tale book inside a game that's already labeled as fantasy, the book really held a message that people usually miss. 

To sum it up, the book speaks about two girls Lisa and Katie. While Lisa was very rich, Katie was very poor. Despite being opposites in terms of finances, they were very good friends. When Lisa tried to help her friend Katie with financial troubles, their parents scolded them both for their immaturity. Eventually due to the rigid beliefs of the adults, the two began to grow apart.

Later on, their roles reversed, as Katie became very wealthy and Lisa loss everything she had. The two eventually met up again, and Katie decided to help Lisa. Not just because she had been helped in the past; she did it because it was the right thing to do. The same thing that their parents felt was immature, turned out to be a way of thinking with much maturity. The two then ended up spending their days helping the poor.

"The story somewhat reminds me of this."
While we're given the book in game and it's an essential part of the story, there's obviously very few people who actually take the time to read it. Some may simply skim, and others might blow it off because it sounds like the generic children's book. As for me, I really enjoyed it. I think that sometimes little lessons can be hidden in places we least expect. They're usually things we might forget as we age, or as we struggle through hard times. So I felt this book is a reminder that being kind to others is a good thing, and it does pay off. 

Sorry if this feels kind of like a story time session, but it's just a little something I wanted to share with you guys!

If you wish to read the full book, please follow this link.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Kare wa Kanojo the Visual Novel

"What is gender? Is it merely a label humans have decided for each other? Are we really right in determining gender from birth? Is love really blind?"As I played Kare wa Kanojo, these questions came up in my mind. For such a short visual novel, it's story and characters pack quite a punch.

This post will contain a somewhat obvious spoiler, beware.

For a quick summary, Kare wa Kanojo is a short visual novel that is available for download on computers and android. The title can translate to "There She He's." The story takes place in 1997 Japan, following the life of our protagonist Taichi. After his move to a small village, he encounters two girls who soon become his close friends.

The visual novel is created using the software "Ren'Py." The graphics are made using 3D Custom Girl and GIMP. It's completely free to download, and in my opinion is well made. The creator obviously knew the workings of human emotions quite a bit, and was able to show that effectively in their writing. They were also able to shock us with something that seemed quite obvious, as the truth slowly leaked out.

Starting with the protagonist's move, we run into one of the girls early on. Her name is Sakura, a very beautiful girl with long black hair and blue eyes. There's nothing noticeably weird about her from the start. Taichi gets along with her pretty easily.

As Taichi enters school we bump into another girl by the name of Rika. She has light blue hair and is friends with Sakura. Her relationship with Taichi starts off rocky, and continues to stay this way depending on the choices you make.

The novel progresses and Taichi is invited into the Manga Club by Sakura. This marks the start of his friendship with the two girls. We're prompted with a few choices which I like, unlike the kind of visual novels where you basically just watch and read. I won't give details into everything that happens, because that takes the fun out of having you guys play it!

As Taichi begins to develop feelings for Sakura depending on your choices, we eventually get a build up to the point where we discover that Sakura is not really a girl but a boy. However, she prefers to be referred to as a she, thinks like a girl, and has all the traits of a girl. Yet, genetically she is still considered a boy.

This raises up a lot of questions in Taichi's mind, and also the viewer. It really makes you think about what you'd do if you ended up in a situation like this.

Kare wa Kanojo has a similar effect as the esteemed visual novel Katawa Shoujo, except instead of girls with disabilities, you're faced with a girl who is actually a boy. There's a definite shock factor, but overall having experiences with people and learning about their lives, makes us more open-minded and accepting. The choices are all up to the player, after all. So the story presents the situation to you, and gives you the option of how to deal with it.

So if you have a phone and want something to read/play on the go, give Kare wa Kanojo a try. If not, you can always snag the download for desktops and laptops. If anyone has had experiences with this visual novel, share them! Please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Download Links

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Why Anime May Be Our Best Teacher

"It's just fiction, a mere cartoon. What in the world can you learn from something that's not real?" Day by day I see ecstatic fans lose their burning passion when faced with people who don't support their beliefs. It's happened to me before as I found anime that I relate to greatly. I learn from these various work of art, but they're constantly ridiculed for being "fake."

So just like that, people stomp on my dream. "Don't even try relating this to real life, it's nothing like it." What do you mean? Our anime is written by real humans, so how can it not be based on their experiences?

The next thing people say is "Well, in real life you can't do all these amazing things that take place in anime. Our world doesn't have these amazing conflicts and battles, it doesn't have all these fictional creatures, and humans are nothing like anime characters. You're just delusional."

At this point I could get mad, going back and forth with these people. However, it's not worth it. Instead I decided to let my negative feelings go. I just told myself, "they don't see it from my point of view."

So what does this have to do with anime teaching us? Well, the point I was trying to make is that we all learn differently. Some people learn things through their life experiences, others learn from the teachings and wisdom of elders. There are many methods of learning, but the ones I mentioned don't necessarily work for everyone.

For me, I learn from anime. Watching the experiences of characters and relating to them, is a part of the anime's teachings. Looking at the events that take place and the viewing conflicts between characters, I can then relate them to my own real life events. I mentioned in another post that despite being in the real world, we fight battles everyday. We have our own conflicts, no matter how small. We fight our bosses, gain experiences, and level up. We are the main characters of our own lives. So whats the harm in learning a few life lessons from animation?

If anything, the fact that we watch anime may explain the wisdom and intelligence we gain. I've noticed that people tend to learn more from things, when they enjoy them. Forcing something onto someone does not make them enjoy it. Therefore, they might learn, but they won't learn as much as the person that loves it. On top of this, they probably won't like it either.

Again, this is just my outlook. I progress through my life looking at anime for answers and realizations. It's for this reason that inspirational anime are my favorite. It doesn't matter if we don't have superpowers in real life. It doesn't matter if we can or cannot fly. It doesn't matter if aliens do or don't exist. These things exist in our imaginations, (and in reality if they haven't been disproven.) which is a part of us. Telling someone that they're taking a series or anime too seriously is crazy. (So please be careful with your words! ^^;)

"We can learn a lot from anime. Being lighthearted and having a laugh is one of them!"
I think that while we may learn a lot from studying and life's experiences, fiction may be one of our best teachers. At least, for someone like me who loves anime!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Blog Update for July 2014

Hello everyone! I understand that it's been a long time since my last post. Luckily, I have a lot of good things in store for you guys! While nothing is really being updated this time around, I just wanted to send out a quick post to say "hey, I still exist!"

I'm currently participating in a local convention known in Metrocon. Aside from this, I've started college again, and it's somewhat time consuming. I'll most likely give my thoughts and summarize my experience at the convention. Until then, please be patient!

Again, I'd like to thank you for sticking with me for this long. Hopefully we can continue to enjoy discussions and examine the many aspects of animation.

Until next time~