Friday, October 31, 2014

Anime Halloween Wallpaper Pack

Hello everyone! As you know, today is Halloween! I'm spreading a little treats of my own with Halloween Fest, which is basically me running different events and such on different social media outlets. To know what's going on please check my previous post! With that being said...

Today I've also compiled a Halloween Wallpaper pack for you all! It contains many anime images, none being too scary or explicit. Feel free to use them today for Halloween! I tried to get a wide variety of sizes this time, because I understand that everyone has different sizes when it comes to devices and desktops. If anything is too big or too small, please let me know and I will try to accommodate you!

Later on, I will be making a post for Halloween Fest, Compiling everything that went on. So in case you couldn't catch anything, or just want to see a big overview, please check back later.

I understand many people will want to see previews of the images before downloading the pack, or they would just like individual downloads, so I'm going to post a link to a gallery containing all the images here.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Shooting Star Dreamer Halloween Blog Update (Important)

Hello everyone! So today I'm doing another blog update, as I mentioned in my last post. I really love the holiday season, and I want to do something to give back to my viewers. So throughout October 30th - October 31st, I'm going to do a few different "events" hosted on different social media accounts. If you don't follow me on all of them, no worries, I'll make a post here that will showcase pretty much everything.

So what exactly am I going to be doing? It's Halloween which is a holiday I love, and anime is something else that I really love. So why not combine the two? Instead of typing it all out in a boring fashion, how about a nice little graphic to sum things up?

Apologies if the text is a little hard to read. I might pass around a simpler graphic later on!
So as you can see, I've got things going on throughout every outlet. (Except Google Plus) So if you get the chance tune in to any one to see what's going on there, or if you're busy, just drop by afterwards, I'll make sure to do a post that collects everything together in one place.

To elaborate a bit on each event I'll mention a few specific details right now. The Blogspot Wallpaper/Avatar pack will take place on Halloween, October 31st. I usually do wallpaper packs for different seasons or holidays, so of course I'd do one for Halloween. As usual, the images included will be perfect for all ages. No extremely scary stuff, and nothing too explicit.

With Facebook, I haven't really decided exactly what will go on here, but I think I might be posting a few Halloween anime recommendations similar to my last post. I didn't get to go as in depth as I wanted, so this is the perfect chance. Expect to see a few other random things there!

In regards to Tumblr; images, images, and more images. I've collected about 100 Halloween images of anime characters and the like. I plan on posting them in a group of 30 and 31 for their respect days. I'll probably announce this again on Tumblr before it starts rolling, so if you enjoy pictures, drop by!

Last but not least, Twitter. I hinted this a little bit before, but I plan on focusing on the musical side of Halloween on here. This includes Spooky anime tracks, and video game music. I might throw a little Vocaloid into the mix. Again check out Twitter during the 31st if you're interested.

That's all for now folks! So consider this my gift to you for Halloween, I hope you enjoy it! If there's something else you would like to see please let me know soon. I'll do my best to accommodate you! Like I've mentioned many times throughout this post, if you're busy don't worry. I'll compile a blog post that features everything that went on. So you can enjoy it even after Halloween is over.

Until next time~

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Favorite Anime Halloween Episodes

Hey everyone! I've finally gotten time to write again. I just recently went through midterm week at college, or weeks, but I've fought through the storm and I am alive! Since Halloween is coming soon, I would like to do a little something for the holidays. I haven't figured out exactly what yet, but please keep a look out for a Halloween Announcement.

So while I've made that clear, I want to address another Halloween related topic today. There's a lot of anime out there in the world, but only certain ones work the holidays into their plot. It's even better when they're airing during the holiday season. Despite this, there's a few anime that stand more than others.

So today I'm going to discuss a few of my favorite Halloween episodes! Even if you're not a holiday person, I advise you to take a look since you might find an anime you want to check out. Also, I'm going to work in a question with every anime, so if you have the time, drop a comment with your response!

B Gata H Kei 

Episode 3 Second Half “Blazing Culture Festival! The School Queen is Yamada (Me)!!”
If you know me at all, you should know how much I love Yamada. In fact, B Gata H Kei is one of my favorite anime. While this isn't too much of a Halloween episode, the class decides to do a haunted house for the school festival, and we get to see a few characters in costume.

For anyone reading, I definitely recommend B Gata H Kei to you. It's not necessarily a serious anime, and it might not be the best for everyone to watch, but I feel that it's really unique. The characters are all interesting and funny, and Yamada herself is a character I've never seen in anime or any work of fiction.

This brings us to my question, if you could cosplay as any anime character for Halloween, which one would you chose?

Rosario + Vampire/Soul Eater

What episode you ask? Well...pretty much all of them!?
Okay, I know I said favorite Halloween episodes, but there aren't really that many. So instead, I'd like to recommend two anime that would be really great to watch around Halloween, because they give off that kind of feeling. 

The first being Rosario + Vampire. To me it just screams Halloween. Most of the characters are monsters in some way, shape, or form. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are freaky, mutated ones, but monster in name. In fact, the whole academy is one for monsters. So if you're a monster fanatic or you just want a fun anime to pick up during Halloween, please check Rosario + Vampire out. Yes, it is a harem, but please don't write it off. Most of my favorite characters come from this series!

The second is Soul Eater. Towards the beginning it feels a little fitting to holiday, but it soon changes things up a bit. Still, the first episode has pumpkins, so that's enough to try it out right? 

Still, I have to say that I really enjoyed Soul Eater. I think it's a great anime, (I have not read the manga yet) and I recommend it to all of my readers. If you like action anime, then it's definitely for you. It may seem a little creepy by it's name, but it's not as bad as it sounds. It's not insanely long either, so you can finish it in a reasonable amount of time. (I watched it a long time ago, don't hold me accountable!) 

The next question, who is your favorite vampire from any anime/manga? If you don't have a favorite vampire, who is your favorite monster?

Ouran High School Host Club/Vampire Knight

Episode 21 "Until the Day it Becomes a Pumpkin!"
For starters, these anime are a little bit outside of my normal genre. I haven't read or watched much shoujo, but out of the ones that I have, I liked. So as I just stated, these two anime are Ouran High School Host Club and Vampire Knight.

I don't remember them quite as well since I watched them long ago when I was just getting into anime, but Ouran's Halloween episode is hilarious. To sum up the whole plot in a few words, let's just say it's about a Test-of-Courage-Tournament. Check it out!

In regards to Vampire Knight, like Rosario + Vampire and Soul Eater, the whole anime gives off a Halloween feel. I used to keep up with the manga as well, but I started to lose interest. That doesn't negate the fact that I greatly enjoyed the anime, and it was one of the first series I watched completely in Japanese. Again, I recommend both to my readers!

The last question, do you prefer a scary halloween or a fun halloween? Maybe a little of both? Why or why not?

So that's pretty much it folks! Apologies if there aren't many Halloween themed episodes. I tried my best to select a few that I remember, as well as ones that stand out to me.

While you now know a few of my favorite anime, how about yours? Which Halloween episodes do you like the most? Are there any anime that you love with that Halloween feel? Please let me know in a comment!

Until Next Time~

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

You Can Do Anything With Anime

Do you believe in anime being more than just a simple hobby or pleasure? You may or may not, but that doesn't mean people haven't found ways to live and breathe anime daily. Their lives revolve around this and they use it as a way to change the world for the better.

I know a lot of people that view anime lovers and non lovers as black and white. If you do not like anime or merely see it as a hobby, you are said to be one who can be successful in life. If it is a major part of your life then sorry, they say you cannot be successful.

If you remember, I mentioned a picture I saw that showed two sides; one being anime, the other being success. It was presented to us as a way of having to choose between the two. Of course I didn't agree with this! You can have both, not one or the other. In order to find and follow what really makes you happy, it's best to get out of this thinking.

So similarly speaking, I believe that if you want to have a career path or life goal that revolves around anime it is highly possible. In the world we live in now, there are too many opportunities to pass up. It's not like before where people follow generic job titles, people are carving their own paths. We are living in a more technology based world, which is where anime originates.

This blog right here and right now, is a perfect example. Shooting Star Dreamer was born when I discovered that I wanted to do more with anime and Japan than simply being a mere fan or onlooker. I've always had a dream that I could do some sort of work in video games. It was a small dream that eventually led me to anime. Now my dream has become even bigger since seeing other successful people with similar interests. So I've started to pursue this dream with Shooting Star Dreamer, and I am continuing to pursue my dream with most of my activities in life.

So what is the point that I'm trying to make? Basically, anime is something that should be taken seriously, and that it is something that can lead you to the career of your dreams. For example, if you love an anime company, how about trying to work in that company? You may think it's impossible, but it's highly possible. Better yet, how about creating your own company? Maybe you love reading manga, or maybe you're inspired by all the beautiful art styles that are present in animation. Why don't you try making something like that? You can definitely do it no matter who you are!

In overview, anime has become more than a simple art form, a short story, or an everyday cartoon. Anime has become a way of life for many. I know I refer to him a lot, but Danny Choo's life is a prime example of this. He loves anime, he loves Japan, and he followed his love for both and now he is very happy and successful. Now why can't we have more people like that? Are people afraid to take such risks, or do they simply believe they cannot accomplish such things?

At the end of the day, if you're a hardcore anime fan with a dream of having a career in the anime business, I can relate. Remember that no matter what anyone says, you can do anything with anime. You can make your dreams come true. You have to believe in them and follow your heart to make it happen!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Unique Ways to Learn Japanese

With midterms coming to a close for me, I am now regaining a lot of time to continue my Japanese self-study. Luckily, Japanese is always fresh in my mind due to class, but I feel the need to put in extra study time outside of school. Going through textbooks and such is great practice yes, but how about doing something that's fun and smart? I've made learning Japanese and brushing up on it pretty easy with a few simple methods.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

So you might be asking, what kind of technology? Basically anything that you use on a daily basis, for any amount of time. That means phones, video game consoles, and laptop/computers. In order to get used to a Japanese environment, I turn all my electronics to Japanese. My laptop itself is in Japanese, my Google Chrome is in Japanese, and my Playstation 3 is in Japanese. Give it a try, and if you have trouble trying to change your device's language, Google is always here to help. (Or leave a comment!)

I really like this method, because even though I may not fully understand all the kanji and words that are being used in these settings, I feel that by doing this I'm slowly improving and learning more little by little. Characters that were new and unrecognizable are starting to become familiar, and I feel like my reading speed has increased. 

There's a few downsides though. This technique might not be best for newbies and people who haven't grasped much hiragana and katakana yet. It's easy to get overwhelmed seeing so much Japanese at once, and you may have trouble figuring out how to reset the language. So I feel this works best when you are able to understand a good amount of Japanese already.

Another downside is that you can somehow pick up a pattern of what does what, despite the language being Japanese. Similar to how you've seen a person operating a Japanese game, when they cannot read the actual text. 

A little something like this!
Despite this, if you're a person who has a large collection of pictures, music, or video folders, try naming them in Japanese. It's a simpler way to get used to this technique before applying it to the whole system. I also find this way very useful to practice my katakana, because my picture folder has numerous characters from different anime and video games. I even have nice icons that help me find what I'm looking for if I forget what the name actually says. This can be done in many different ways, the point is finding one that works for you.

For a few smaller technology related tools, there's different apps/websites that can be used to learn and practice. There are a few that I like more than others so I will list them below. Feel free to check them out!

Relate Everything to Something Else

Again you might be thinking, what does this exactly mean? It's a little hard to describe, but please try to understand. Basically when learning Japanese, whether it be katakana, hiragana or kanji, attempt to form some kind of connection to the symbols. When learning vocabulary, form a picture in your head that helps link your mind to that word.

Memrise is especially good at this. Even though the website is called Memrise, it feels more like learning how to recall than to simply memorize facts. I think this really good, because simply memorizing everything will help you to a certain extent, but what about when you actually have to use it?

So instead of just staring down vocabulary, writing the same kanji over and over to learn it, or other techniques, just simply try to relate it to something in your life. While this doesn't work for everything, I think using this technique can make almost anything easier. Even for subjects like math or science.

For example, let's take a look at a few Japanese symbols to try to understand this. We have the katakana character ロ (ro). What does it look like to you? Of course everyone will have different ways they see this character, but for me, I think of it like this. I see ro as a square. Now for those who know their angles, every square has four right angles. Right starts with an R, and so does ro. So I remember ro when I see a square with right angles. It sounds simple, but it works so well!

The same can be used for kanji. 聞く is the kanji used for the verb kiku, to listen. Now let's ignore the section in the middle and look at the two characters on the side. (Ignore ku as well, we're focusing on the kanji.) The two symbols look similar to headphones right? We use headphones to listen to things, and the kanji is used for the verb kiku which means to listen. Look! You've made a connection and whenever you see the kanji you'll remember. 

If you have trouble reading kanji or if you're still learning, Rikaikun is perfect. Once you've installed it, just mouse over the kanji and it'll give you the meaning and everything! It works for hiragana and katakana as well. Again, like all techniques this may not necessarily work for you, but the point is to try it and play around with it. If it works for you as is, then that's great! If not, there's always other methods. Anki is one that is good for creating flashcards that can be used for practice!


Yes, this may not seem that unique, but the way to learn a lot in life is to simply listen. Listen attentively and listen to understand. You need both in order to pick up anything. Is there really a difference? Well, let me go into more detail.

While this is not related to Japanese directly, I have been reviewing a lot of research regarding the way we listen. Many people don't listen to half of what they are told. Others hear it, but they do not seek to understand it. Then there are people who listen and understand. The people who do the latter are usually more successful in life.

When it comes to learning a language, I think that we need to listen a lot. People always tell us to talk and practice our language skills, to interact with native speakers, and to do many forms of speaking, but is this really all that helpful? I don't really think it is. I think the one who is a faster and smarter learner will do more listening than speaking. It explains how many people have become so good at a language when they have little to no one to communicate with. They use their resources to listen or indulge in other material, and they pick the language up in their own way.

So following this, I think a great way to learn Japanese or to become better at is to listen to a lot of different things. Yes, even anime and drama CDs. Listen to Japanese news, Japanese weather broadcasts, anything with Japanese in it. Listen to native speakers either through the internet or in person if you can. Even listen to other speakers who are learners. Try watching anime without subtitles and see what you can understand. Find a music group that you like and follow along with the lyrics. All these little things will add up and you will become better at Japanese, in a way that's fun and not mind numbing. 

Relax and try to learn in an easy way. If you see Japanese as being fun to learn, it will come easily.
These ways may not be unique or may not work for everyone, but they are methods that I feel are effective. We are sometimes taught to learn things by the book or by the test, and while they are useful, I think it's sometimes good to learn and observe in a natural environment. This doesn't mean you should underestimate the formal learning resources such as class and books, as without those I wouldn't have learned as much as I have now, but definitely don't count on self-study using methods that fit to your liking. Hopefully you've learned something from this, and thank you for sticking through this long post!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Denki-Gai no Honya-san Thoughts!

The new season of anime has begun, and as promised, I've started watching the series I placed on my watchlist. So far, I've been really enjoying a certain one more than the rest. That's right, Denki-Gai no Honya-san. So I'd like to share my thoughts on the anime with you guys, hopefully you don't mind!

First things first, if you're a passerby or if you haven't read any of my anime specific posts, then you may not know how things work. I don't really do reviews or talks on each episode. Instead, I'd rather just give my thoughts on the series, and let my readers go forth and view the anime for themselves. With that in mind, let's begin!

Denki-Gai no Honya-san, or translated The Electric Town's Bookstore, is a series that focuses more on slice of life aspects. All of the key characters work at the bookstore, which is stated in the name. Most of the characters are referred to by nicknames, and from the first episode, there aren't really any definite ages or other information. Here are the characters that were introduced.

We have Hiotan, she's hardworking and kind, but a little clumsy. Voiced by: Natsumi Takamori

Fu Girl, who has good relations with Somellier. Voiced by: Ayana Taketatsu 

Kameko, who we constantly see with a camera in hand. Voiced by: Mai Aizawa

Sensei, a mangaka who rights under a male alias. Voiced by: Minami Tsuda

Somellier and Umio. Somellier is knowledgeable about many different types of doujin. Umio is our protagonist who appears to be very honest and kindhearted. Voiced by: Takahiro Tomita and Ryōta Ōsaka respectively.
Director/Kantoku, he's somewhat eccentric and keeps tabs on his workers. Voiced by: Ryōta Ōsaka
So that's pretty much our cast! For a few thoughts about them, I can say that I feel that the characters are very colorful and interesting. Not necessarily due to their difference in outward appearances, but their personalities. None of the characters feel too similar to another, and they all have their differences that make them stand out. 

Although this is probably intentional, it feels like each character has a way to support or somehow compliment the other. For example, in the first episode, both Umio and Hiotan secretly have an interest in R-18 books, with the former being more open about it than the latter. Towards the end of the episode, Hiotan eventually shouts out her love for said books into the crowd, which might not have happened if it wasn't for Umio letting her know that he likes them too. It's sometimes hard to express something like that alone, but with another, it becomes easier.

Umio also tends to support Sensei throughout the first episode helping her with her manga. I think the first episode really builds Umio's character and Sensei's the most. Umio is characterized on the fact that he has a deep love for Sensei's manga, and that he wishes to help her without any recognition. The lengths he goes through to make her manga successful in definitely not ordinary. It makes him feel most respectable out of the cast.

On the other hand with Sensei, her namesake is somewhat ironic yet still fitting. Ironic in the fact that she somewhat breaks down and acts like child instead of a sensei, when having trouble meeting a deadline. Still, the fact that she puts so much work into her manga and her daily life gives off the presence of a teacher or mature individual. 

I hope to see even more development and mysteries unraveled when it comes to the rest of the cast. The use of nicknames and little background information is very nice, because it leaves me wanting to know more about each character. In addition, each character having a distinct personality trait is also really great, because people are like this in real life. Everyone has something that makes them special, and something that contributes to the group. For example, the director's openness and mocking behavior helps push the characters forward in their interactions, while he's not overly pushy and annoying.

Aside from all of this on the characters,  I think that the first episode of the anime was really great and well done. I like that Denki-Gai no Honya-san starts out by taking a position that is probably looked down by many, but continues to follow through with this view. It shows different kinds of people and connects them through a common medium, which is something that hits home with me. I think it's an anime that many people need to watch, even if they may not agree with all the values. 

I could go on and on about the anime and my thoughts, but how about I let my readers view it for themselves? Let me know if you like Denki-Gai no Honya-san. Is it on your watchlist, or have you skipped over it? What else are you watching this season?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Otaku Takeover

I remember a long time ago when I was in middle school, anime was seen as a negative thing. If you liked anime or manga, you were considered weird. For some reason, liking most things that came from a different culture were viewed as wrong. Although I had support at home and around the family, many people still didn't understand my interests.

It almost felt like otaku were the minority; that they weren't important or inferior for some reason. Many of us had to hide our interests from our peers, and the ones that didn't, faced many mocking comments and various other forms of bullying. It's like a type of discrimination in a way, not anything to do with race or ethnic groups, but simply for being different.

Things started to change when I began my last year of middle school and high school years. I started to be more open about my interests and not worry about people's opinions. I have to say that it was a hard switch, but it was definitely worth it. I attracted friends who liked the same things as me and ones who I could relate to.

When you pursue your passion and interests, you can be truly happy!
So while this may sound a little similar to my story of how being an otaku isn't always easy, it's a little different this time. As I continue to go about with my otaku passions and love for Japanese culture, I've noticed that even more people are doing the same. It feels like otaku and anime lovers are no longer a minority, in fact, they feel like a dominating group now.

It really makes me raise the question; has it always been this way and was I blind to it? Then again, maybe people have become more open. I sometimes think that maybe it all started with a few people. For example, in a class setting, students may be afraid to speak up or express their concerns to the teacher. Breaking the silence would be horrible, as you are out in the open and vulnerable, so no one would dare speak out. Then suddenly, one person stands up and speaks. Another follows and more join in. The pattern continues until everyone is comfortable and happy.

The same could be said about otaku. The select few were the first to be true to themselves and force people to accept them for how they are. Then more started to follow, until it eventually became something that was somewhat normal. All it takes is one person to make a change.

There are things I see now, that I would have never imagined in the past. No matter what state I visit, everyone can spot an anime T-shirt and knows the characters by name. The manga section of my bookstore is never empty, and some people even wear cosplay out in the broad daylight. Anime conventions are thriving with people who are wonderful and kind. Our school has even built a separate area to support otaku activities.

All I can say is that I hope to see things continue to thrive and grow as they are now. Otaku isn't so much of a label now, it's a way of life. It's something that connects people in addition to helping them find friends who love the same things, and I think that's completely amazing. Otaku are truly taking over!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dreaming of Anime: Shooting Star Dreamer Blog Update?

Sorry about the lack of posts, but there's been so much going on lately, that I've had little time to just sit and think. I get most of my ideas from dreaming, like my blog's name. No, not literally dreaming at night, but day dreams and thinking about the future. I guess this post could be considered a blog update, but it's basically me just talking about my thoughts now that I've finally gotten the chance to sit and think about my blog, and anime of course.

Although my individual posts may not get enormous amounts of views, the fact that my blog has now reached 50k total, is pretty stunning. I never expected so many people would read my writing, much less, I didn't expect it to be any good. So I thank everyone single one of those viewers!

I will continue to bring forward new posts and topics, relating to anime, video games, Japan, and more. I have also been watching a few new anime during this season. I will make posts on those soon, just please give me a little bit of time. (Especially since I found one I really like.)

Despite the fact that I will be working on new posts, I would like to re-share a few of my old ones that I really liked. If you have free time or if you are simply curious, please take a look at them.

Aside from my blog, I really love the way anime is also moving forward, even here in America. I run into more and more people who love anime, and it's now being seen as something important. People are actually taking anime seriously, and I love that. I would love to continue working to break the otaku stereotype, but I feel that might not be an easy thing to change.. It's going to take a lot of work, but I wont give up.

That's all for now! please look forward to more posts in the near future and check the ones I link here if you have a chance.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Happy (Late) Birthday Naruto!

Hello everyone! This post is probably coming through a little late, (it's officially 10/11 now! ^^;) but I just wanted to say Happy Birthday to Naruto! I always tend to remember his unique birthday of 10/10, but last time I forgot to post about it. I'm making up for it now!

Most people know Naruto already, so I'd just like to give a little background about my love for the anime. I basically started watching Naruto when I was just entering 6th grade. I finally had access to a laptop, and I was just getting into the depths of technology. This was around the time YouTube was created, and you could find virtually anything online, including full Naruto episodes.

If you know me well, you'd know that I love English dubs and I love the hard wok the voice actors put into their work. So of course, since I started Naruto with dubs, this version has a special place in my heart. I guess you could call Naruto somewhat of a gateway anime for me. I watched things like Pokemon and Digimon as a kid, but they didn't really seem like anime at the time.

So while Naruto led me to other anime series that I deeply enjoy, it still is very special for me. So I'm happy to wish the main character of Naruto, Naruto Uzumaki, a happy birthday today! Let's enjoy these last few weeks as we await for a wonderful end to this amazing series!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Changing the World with Vocaloid

It has been a long time since I found out about Vocaloid. I remember somehow discovering a few songs when browsing YouTube one day. I was seeing Hatsune Miku everywhere. I was wondering, what in the world is this? So I proceeded to browse through a few videos. Unlike some people, when I first heard the voice I thought they sounded so nice! They were also anime characters to boot!

However, I didn't quite understand how Vocaloid worked so I proceeded to do a little research. I found out that even though Vocaloid uses real voices, the characters basically are singers on their own. The whole process is a little extensive, but I knew from that point on that I found something I really loved. 

Unfortunately, the Vocaloid software itself was pretty expensive. On top of that, I liked many characters, a few being Miku, Luka, and Gumi. So to do anything that required more than one singer, I'd have to buy the software multiple times. I definitely didn't want to do that!

So I stumbled upon UTAU and began working in that. It didn't have all the same Vocaloid characters that I love, but I grew to like many of it's characters too. For those who don't know UTAU and Vocaloid are very similar, the difference being the fact that UTAU is free. 

Ignoring that, I think there is a certain magic behind Vocaloid that anime does not have. Anime is something to be watched, but it is mostly created by specific companies. It's a little difficult for a single person to put together an anime, but still possible. We can share art of anime characters, draw anime characters, use them in fan creations, but we're really restricted by a lot of copyright and such. There's only so much we can do.

Manga is a little different, we're getting closer to the Vocaloid magic, but it's still a little lacking. We can all create manga, even if you have the belief you cannot draw. Although it's still not as interactive as Vocaloid. Not to say that anime and manga aren't wonderful; I love both of them!

It's just that Vocaloid has a special feel to it. I'm not sure if its the fact that anyone can pick up them up and make a song, or maybe its the fact that the basis behind them is that they're to be used timelessly. There's no limit to how much you can create with Vocaloid, which I think is great. Each character literally feels alive and real, I would even go as far to say that Vocaloid characters are real. Even if Miku's performances are done via hologram, she is as much of a celebrity as a living, breathing one. 

Seeing that we have songs like World is Mine, Tell Your World, Sharing the World, I feel like Vocaloid can be used to bring about a positive influence in regards to anime. It can also be a great way to change the world, but I think Vocaloid is changing the world already. Although it may be Japanese, we've seen Vocaloid in all languages. We've seen concerts in different parts of the world, and Miku has now even appeared on American television! It just amazes me when I think of the possibilities. Technology truly is the future.

While I could keep explaining, music can speak more than mere words or writing, as I love to see people pour their emotions into the songs. So I've picked out a few videos and songs that I feel sums up how I feel about Vocaloid, and the magic behind it. Please check them out, they contribute more to my post than my words themselves. 

Please Watch These!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Thoughts on Super Smash Bros. for 3DS

If you're involved in the gaming community, you've probably been notified of the recent release of Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS. If not, you're learning about it now! Smash Bros. released on October 3rd, for the North American audience. We've just learned that the Wii U version will release on November 21st, again for North America.

As for me, I was lucky enough to pick up the game on release day. I'm a huge Nintendo fan and I've played all the Smash games, so I was looking forward to this one. I wasn't going into this blind of course. Before now I watched many videos of the Japanese version and even got a chance to play the special demo. I had a lot of high hopes for this game.

Now that I've played the game for a good amount of time I can say that I am definitely not disappointed. This Smash feels like the best one I've ever played. Even though the hype is starting to settle down and different tactics and mechanics are coming out, the game still feels new and fresh to me. I'm not sure how to exactly explain it, but the colorful and interactive interface really bring the game to life.


Which Mii Fighter do you like the most?
When it comes to unlocking different features of the game, I really like how simple it is. Characters were really easy to get in this game, and I was able to fill up the whole roster in a short amount of time. I think this is a big improvement compared to the previous games, as competitive players may not be interested in unlocking everything or exploring the various game modes.

In regards to the amount of things to unlock, there is definitely ALOT. Aside from characters and stages, there are many challenges, similar to Brawl. Trophies are still in of course, which I love going through. I think it's a great way to get background info on certain characters and figures present in the game. On top of all this, we have different upgrades and outfits for Mii Fighters, and new movesets.

Which brings me to the next point, the inclusion of the Mii Fighters is something I have wanted for quite a while. Since not everyone could get their favorite characters in this edition of Smash, (poor Ice Climbers fans) I feel that this is the next best thing. Since the invention of Miis, I've always wanted to see them included into games. We've seen them in Mario Kart, Mario Tennis, and various other series, but never Smash Brothers.

That is, until now. The system is done really well and its fun just to see a version of yourself battle among famous characters. There isn't as much customization as there would be compared to games like Soul Calibur, but there are many options of headgear, clothing, and such that anyone can find something they like. (Such as a ninja headband that resembles the ones in Naruto.)


Not too fast, not too slow. Just right!
Regarding gameplay, I feel that they've created a great balance between two popular games, Melee and Brawl. I'm sure its a matter of opinion, but to some, Melee was too fast. Some people weren't all that competitive and they just wanted to play Smash as a relaxing game. Then there are people who dislike Brawl. They state that Brawl is too slow and floaty, the tripping mechanic was annoying, and their favorite characters were removed.

For me, I tend to like Melee more than Brawl, but it didn't feel completely great to me. This new Smash Bros. feels a lot better than both games. It's not too fast, and not too slow. It's taken mechanics from both games and combined them, successfully creating a game that anyone can pick up and play. Not only is this really good game design, it's great for marketing. You don't exclude any audiences.

Although we have a couple of clone characters, the cast have unique differences to their play styles. For example, picking Mario and playing with him, then switching to Luigi feels completely different. Still, I have to admit that some characters should've been revamped a bit more to separate them from their counterparts, such as Toon Link.


Windy Hill, a new Smash Bros. stage.
New characters feel definitely different than the old ones, although it could just be me since I've played these games for years. It seems like they all have learning curves and you can't just pick them up and become a professional. At least, not easily. An example is Palutena; I wouldn't say that she's bad, but she's definitely hard to use. Her moves feel a little awkward, but I'm sure there are people who can master her.

There's also Little Mac who has problems in the air, which is a hurdle many players have to get around. Robin's weapon change system can be a little confusing to new players, and Wii Fit Trainer makes me feel like I have short arms and legs. Although a little difficult, I have picked up a main that is a new character, by the name of Shulk. I was horrible at him during the early stages of playing, but I'm at least decent with him now. Most of the new characters aren't bad, they just take effort.

Concerning a few other points, the music is really amazing. I love listening to "You Will Know Our Names" and "Running/Countdown." The fact that every stage has a flat version for competitive players is also a great touch. No need to limit yourself Final Destination or Battlefield. Online has been a pleasant experience for me as well. There is lag at times, but 1 vs 1 has been relatively fast paced and satisfying. The addition of a "For Fun" mode and "For Glory" is really great. Sometimes I don't mind playing with items and having a blast, other times I want to test my skills and train with the pros.


Do you fight for fun or for glory?
In conclusion, I really love Smash 4. I will continue to play it for a while, and still pick up the 3DS version even when the Wii U one comes out. Playing Smash on the go is just a unique and entertaining experience, compared to being stuck at a TV. Some may complain that the screen is too small, the controls are too clunky, and that Smash should stick to the big screen, but I really like the new direction that Smash is heading.  If you have a 3DS I recommend trying it out, if not you can always wait for the Wii U version!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Let's Share: An Amazing Artist

It's been quite a bit since I've done a "Let's Share" that focuses on a single person. Like I said when I started the series, I want to focus on people who don't always get noticed, but have a lot of talent and potential. We talk about the "greats" all the time, but what about the people who are working hard, but not recognized? They need attention too.

So today for you all, I'd like to focus on an artist who I think is amazing. I love looking into wonderful works of art, and a certain person's stands out to me. For today's spotlight, I'd like to showcase Racho-chan. For a complete list of her work, please check out her Twitter which can be found at this link.

She doesn't necessarily focus on one subject, as her work involves drawings of anime characters, as well as realistic art. The quality between both does not decrease though, as you can tell that a lot of work was put into each drawing.

On top of this Racho-chan is a fan of Naruto, (just like me) and her art regarding this is also quite stunning. Instead of me giving you words, how about I let the art speak?

Racho's Work

So again, please check out more of her artwork at the link provided above. Also, thank you Racho-chan for allowing me to do a spotlight on you. I think your art is great, and you have a lot of potential to go very far and become even better than you are now.

For my readers, I hope to do more things like this. I like to focus more on the community than the big names, because the community is what really matters. The community is what builds our future leaders and inventors; our future greats. So I think that everyone no matter how young or old needs a little bit of spotlight and appreciation at times!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Power of Role Models

The people we look up to, the figures we respect, and the ones who inspire us, can all be referred to by a common name. That's right, role models. They may not be anything special or famous. They may not have large amounts of money. Actually, they may not have anything. The only common thing they tend to have is the ability to inspire and cause a change in others. It's interesting that a person with nothing or someone low in social status can have the power to move others. That is a strength that seems to be underestimated.

Until now, I hadn't realized the massive effects someone could have on another person. Negative words from someone you respect can kill your drive, your motivations. Positive words can push you forward. 

If you've read my last post, you know that being an otaku is not always an easy feat. I was faced with someone who I respected, and they pretty much shattered my expectations. I'm not someone to stay focused on the past, so I'm not going to complain about that. 

Moving on, as I was feeling pretty down and out, I stumbled upon a message from another individual that I respect greatly. Her message read "Don't let anybody stop you from doing what you love! I mean it!!" It was such great timing and it really boosted me out of a slump.

Sometimes, all people need is just some positive vibes, and maybe a nice smile!
While the message to you from my experiences is obvious, her message seems a bit more important. When you're really passionate about something, you might be faced with opposition. People may directly disprove of what you're doing, and try to do things to get you to stop.

I've seen this happen to many anime fans. They may dream of creating their own work someday, or owning an anime company. They may want to become a seiyuu or a mangaka. People tell them it's impossible and to give up. If it's something you love, don't give up on it.

I'm sure everyone reading this post is not an anime fan, but everyone out there has some sort of dream. Don't give up on it, if you really love it. I was somewhat talked into giving up my anime and video gaming passions, forced to live by the words of others. However, I was able to snap back into my normal self, by the simple words of a role model. I think the fact that another person can do something like that for someone else is amazing. 

While I'm not all that accomplished, I hope that someone who was thinking like I was that day, will read this and change. I hope my words can give them even a little hope of achieving that dream and following the passions they hold dear. In a nutshell, don't worry about those who say you can't, or those who tell you what you're doing is bad. Tread on and live a passionate life, doing what you love.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Being an Otaku Isn't Always Easy...

Do you ever wonder what people go through in their daily lives? Before you laugh and belittle someone, how about thinking about what they confront, what they face, the many challenges they endure. What if you were that person who you are looking down on, at this point in time? 

I'm basically making this post, because of events that have happened to me recently. As you all know, I consider myself an otaku. Yes, I go outside, but I consider myself an otaku. I'm aware that this isn't the "textbook" definition , but I define the word in a different way compared to everyone else. 

I've done many posts on what it means to be otaku. I've examined the myth of deciding between anime or success, the stereotypes that otaku face, and other things. Although I've been talking about them, I haven't always been the one in the line of fire when it comes to discrimination.

However, today I was faced with it directly. Not only that, it came from a teacher of all people. It was appalling to think that someone could basically sit in front of the class and label a group of people as inferior due to something as simple as their interests. It seemed so wrong, it made me angry, and I felt horrible. I could feel it building up inside of me, but all I could really do was sit there. 

I don't think anyone should ever have to experience that feeling. 

It was insane, someone was labeling me and everyone else who fell into the "group," as having something wrong with them. There is nothing wrong with me, and there is nothing wrong with most otaku. We cannot point at a group and say that they need to be fixed. We cannot tell people what they should and should not do. People have to make their own decisions, but they shouldn't be looked down for what they decide.

Sadly, it doesn't seem like people realize this. They don't notice the fact that even though no one says anything, they are not all in agreement. They don't understand that their words may be hurtful to others. Or they may be aware and just not care. They don't realize the effect a simple statement can have on a person. 

So even though people may look down on us, call us nerds, geeks, otaku, or whatever other hurtful term they can think of...we are strong. By embracing ourselves we can persevere through such experiences.

Otaku do not always have it easy, as being a deviant in society is not a simple feat. Being one of the few to have the courage to express themselves is not a simple feat. If anything, we might be more courageous and understanding than anyone else. When will people realize this?