Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Resolutions: Anime and Blogging

Hatsune Miku Kimono New Year's
Support the Artist!

Hello everyone! It's that time of year again, or should I say, the end of the year. 2015 came very quickly, but went by in a flash. I remember just typing my old New Year's Resolution post at the end of 2014, and now I'm doing it again!

Like 2014, 2015 was a very interesting year. Unfortunately with this year, there were quite a few things I was unsatisfied with, in regards to my blog and myself. I feel that Shooting Star Dreamer didn't reach its full potential this time around, although that's mostly my fault. In fact, I would like to think that 2015 was a year focusing on faults. A lot of things were made more clear to me throughout this time.

Despite this, it'd be silly to give up, considering how far Shooting Star Dreamer has come. Also, I believe it's good to maintain a level of hope for the future. Which is the basis of this post; the New Year is also a new start.  So there are a few things I'd like to work on this year. Most of them deal with self improvement, but these also affect my writing and my blog.

On a positive note there were quite a few good anime this year! Although I ran out of time for the challenge and was only able to complete it on easy difficulty, I exposed myself to quite a few series I wouldn't have normally watched. So I'd like to take a few moments to share a few of them to you all! Feel free to click their respective titles for more info!

Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai

Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai

Renkin San-kyuu Magical? Pokaan

Renkin San-kyuu Magical? Pokaan

Shokugeki no Souma

Shokugeki no Souma

Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid

Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid

Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches

Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches

With the anime out of the way, that leaves just my blog, my readers, and myself! One of the top things I want to take from this year is a single lesson: it's best to be authentic

Although my blog is a great expression of myself and my interests, the otaku spirit was somewhat lost over time. I want to keep that spirit alive and well here at Shooting Star Dreamer, because the reason this blog exists in the first place is to break the otaku stereotype, and to bring anime and Japanese culture to people all over the world. I want to continue to seek a positive message from anime and showcase the inspirational parts. So from here on out, I'm going to be more authentic in my posts.

For Shooting Star Dreamer, I would love to again work out the different hiccups that the website suffers from. I released a form for "concerns" earlier this year, which I hope to use more. I also want to spread my outreach so Shooting Star Dreamer becomes even more well-known and less like your every day anime blog.

Also, I would like to take in a larger amount of guest posts this year. I have been doing majority of the writing, but I believe other inputs, views, and opinions are good for my readers to hear. I would also like to use this as an opportunity to spotlight writers who are under appreciated or unknown.

For my readers, I want you to feel at home on Shooting Star Dreamer. I also would like to create a better blog that can inspire you all to do great things and anime of course. As I constantly say, thank you for sticking with me through thick and thin. You are ultimately my strongest motivation and I wouldn't be writing today without you all!

That pretty much wraps up this post. I hope that 2016 goes well for everyone and I truly believe it'll be a great year. Let's all keep working hard and doing our best, to make that bright future a reality!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Twelve Days of Anime: Music

Miki Vocaloid Christmas
Support the Artist!
On the fourth day of Xmas, anime gave to me, a  sweet sweet melody! Welcome to the fourth day of Xmas, continuing the special event "The Twelve Days of Anime." If this is the first post you're seeing, please take the time to read the introduction, so you know what's going on.

Today's post is going to be short and sweet so don't expect a long read! Basically, today I want to share a on a few holiday-themed songs with you all that originate from one of my favorite anime outlets; Vocaloid!

Please feel free to check out the playlist below (click the link if it doesn't show), and if you wish, share your own in the comments.

Merry Xmas and stay tuned for the next post friends~

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Twelve Days of Anime: Inspiration

Anime Santa Girl
Support the Artist!

On the third day of Xmas, anime gave to me, a whole lot of inspiration! Welcome to the third day of Xmas, continuing the special event "The Twelve Days of Anime." If this is the first post you're seeing, please take the time to read the introduction, so you know what's going on.

With that being said, the theme for today is inspiration! Although sometimes looked down upon, pure inspiration is one of the most fundamental factors in success. Without inspiration, Shooting Star Dreamer wouldn't be here. Without inspiration, our world wouldn't be as vast and creative as it is today. Most importantly, without inspiration, there wouldn't be anime.

Inspiration is the driving factor behind a large amount of successful projects. So the fact that we can pick this up from anime is truly amazing. Who would expect that a simple 2D medium would be able to invoke a plethora of feelings in it's viewers?

There's numerous types of anime and numerous ways to invoke this feeling. For one, characters who fill the majestic worlds are able to serve as role-models for us. Even more-so, there are many female characters who are quite amazing to see in action; they aren't wimpy, they aren't weak, and they aren't afraid to take a stand. I believe that anime has a large amount of these characters, while still avoiding
masculine stereotypes.

In fact, I've touched upon this in another post of mine, by the name of Three Inspirational Females in Anime, where I looked at a few good examples of this case. The characters in this post get things done and are successful in their fields of choice, without becoming hardened, manly, or muscular.

Aside from the characters, the compelling story  or concepts can lead to inspired fans. For instance, in yesterday's post I touched on some of the inventions that were created by a few passionate fans. Without inspiration there would be little to no possibility of them accomplishing such feats. One could even say that anime is inspiration in visual form.

With those thoughts in mind, I'd like to direct this post towards my readers as well. What inspires you in regards to anime? If you work with any medium or creative outlet, how has anime contributed to your work?

Please leave a comment below and stay-tuned to the next post that will focus more-so on the fan base. As always, thank you for reading!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Twelve Days of Anime: Technology

Anime Christmas Neptunia
Support the artist!

On the second day of Xmas, anime gave to me, technology! Welcome to the second day of Xmas, continuing the special event "The Twelve Days of Anime." If this is the first post you're seeing, please take the time to read the introduction, so you know what's going on.

The theme for today is technology! While a lot of technology in anime is directly inspired by the gadgets and gizmos in our world, anime has provided us with things we would have never thought possible. Through anime we have experienced giant robots, space exploration, time-travel, androids, and more. Although all of these impressive inventions aren't present in the real-world, we've been blessed with similar counterparts, using anime as inspiration.

With this post I'd like to take a more in-depth look at the inventions we have in the real world, that use anime as a building block. These inventions may be directly taken from a series, or may be a means to make the animation more real.

So what are these counterparts you may ask? Well, there are quite a few of them. In order to keep this post from being too long, I'd like to take a little bit of time to showcase ones that I find really interesting or unique.

Live 2D Modules + Face Rig

Live 2D Example

With the motto of bringing 2D to life, what more could you want? Live 2D is a special kind of technology separating itself greatly from commonly used 3D models. Instead of creating a whole new model to animate, all the animation is done using a the drawing. The difference between this an anime is that it cuts out the whole tedious steps of frame-by-frame drawing. A more appropriate name for Live 2D would be animation of the future. 

In combination with this, another interesting mechanic popped up called Face Rig. Now although Face Rig isn't specifically used for anime purposes, it can work hand-in-hand with 2D modules. One can import one of these pre-drawn characters and take hold of a webcam or other recording device. The camera instantly projects the users body movements onto the module, allowing normal people to take the role of anime characters, animals, and more. 

The point or use behind these is definitely up to the user. Although Live 2D is being used in more professional outlets, it has it's use in casual settings as well. The main goal of Live 2D is to provide an easier, more fluid animation. The same goes for Face Rig.

Androids and Robots

Megabots Robot

Ever see anime such as Gundam or Evangelion and wonder how cool it'd be to pilot your very own mech? What about Chobits and their Persocoms? It's all becoming possible with modern-day technology. 

Although not as real and interesting as the ones present in anime, similar creations are starting to pop into existence. For instance, United States company Megabots, and Japanese company Suidobashi Heavy Industry have proposed a giant robot battle that will take place in 2016. A quick google search can give you a glimpse of what each side is packing. 

On the other hand, Japan is featuring life-like androids, one specifically by the name of Asuna. Although still far from anime, Asuna is very life-like and definitely an interesting invention. One can learn more about Asuna, the human-like android, at the previous link.



Last, but not least, Vocaloid. Although Vocaloid is commonly known, it is a great example of anime-based technology that has become well-known in society. Specifically, Hatsune Miku has become a common icon when it comes to Vocaloid and anime.

Popular enough to appear on The Late Show, and to be picked up and used by multiple companies, it is difficult to imagine a world without our singing friends. Almost anyone who is an anime fan is used to the existence of Vocaloid and it's free companion UTAU, and would feel odd without it.

With that being said, this wraps up the second day of Xmas! Hopefully, you all enjoyed this post and perhaps learned something new. Look forward tomorrow to the next post!

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Twelve Days of Anime: Introduction

Xmas Anime Girl
As always, support the artist!

Hello again everyone, and happy holidays! With the holiday cheer in the air, we're entering the last few days of 2015. As a shout out to the holiday season, for the next twelve days, I am going to put out posts in a similar fashion to the well-known song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." The only catch, is that they will all be anime-focused, with a little holiday cheer mixed within.

For those who aren't too familiar with the song, I can give a brief explanation on how things will work. Since today is December 14th, this marks the first day of Xmas according to the song. Each day, Shooting Star Dreamer will feature a new post focusing on a different aspect anime has given to us. All posts regarding this theme will feature the Twelve Days of Anime tag and title, along with the topic of the day.

Sounds simple enough right? I thought this event would be a perfect way to end off the year, since there was a considerable amount of time where my blog went unattended for a while. Instead of ending things on a sour note, I'd like to leave a better impression and give back to my wonderful readers who take time out of their busy schedules just to read my words. So again, thank you!

To fully kick off this event, please check out one of my favorite Vocaloid covers, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." I have attached the video below, but for some reason if it's not showing please follow this link.

Once again, have a happy holiday season and please continue to visit Shooting Star Dreamer. Thank you for supporting me this far!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Happy Birthday Yukiko-chan!

Yukiko Amagi

Hello again everyone! Today marks the birthday of another of my favorite characters, Yukiko Amagi from Persona 4. It just so happens that two of my favorite characters in the world share birthdays that are only a day apart. What's even more ironic is that they represent two opposite elements, fire and ice.

So while we focused on the icy side yesterday, we'll be focusing on the firey Yukiko today! Now, this isn't the first time celebrating Yukiko's birthday on Shooting Star Dreamer. So if you get the chance please check out my previous post, "Happy Birthday Yukiko Amagi!"

Yukiko Amagi is a very interesting character. Despite being a fire-based character, she isn't extremely hot-headed or aggressive. On top of that, her name can mean Snow Child or Snow Girl, which is ironic in comparison with her battle style. Being born on December 8th makes her a Sagittarius, in regards to zodiac.

One of the reasons why I greatly adore Yukiko is because she breaks stereotypes. She doesn't follow the traditional character scheme when it comes to her element, and her character isn't build solely on this trait. She's also a reminder of the direction I wish Shooting Star Dreamer to head towards in the future. I want Shooting Star Dreamer to break the otaku stereotype, and turn the word into a more positive symbol.

With that being said, Happy Birthday again to you Yukiko! Thank you for being the wonderful and inspirational character that you are!

Hopefully you all enjoyed this quick birthday shout out, and if there's a character you wish to see on Shooting Star Dreamer, please leave me a comment and let me know!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Happy Birthday Mizore-Chan!

Mizore Shirayuki

Today, December 7th, marks the birthday of one of my all time favorite characters, Mizore Shirayuki from the anime Rosario + Vampire! This is the second time celebrating her birthday on Shooting Star Dreamer. so please check out my previous post, "Happy Birthday Mizore-san."

Mizore Shirayuki is born on December 7th, and is a high school student at Yokai Academy. Being born on this date makes her zodiac sign, Sagittarius. She is a yuki-onna, which can translate to snow woman. This gives her a high level of control over ice which allows her to engage in combat. She is most known for her signature traits, being her lollipop she always has around and her high level of stealth.

Instead of focusing solely on Mizore, I'd like to take something from her as a character. Mizore is an interesting person, while being somewhat misunderstood, she is also wise beyond her years. Although there are many moments that I remember fondly, there is one quote that always stands out in my mind. Mizore states "Whether you're a monster or a human, there's no difference in the value of someone's life."

I really love this quote, because not only does it resonate with me, it reminds me of well...anime. We have so many series containing odd and unusual characters, but somehow we tend to fall in love with them despite all of this. The same can be said with the people in the 3D world, despite their appearances and personalities, they're all valuable, they're precious, and we need them on this planet.

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what race, sexual orientation, or gender a person may be. All that matters is that they are a part of this world. We should value them for this reason alone. I think if we apply this way of thinking to those around us in real life, the world can become a much better place.

So once again, Happy Birthday Mizore! Although your anime ages as time goes on, you will still be remembered and cherished. Hopefully you all enjoyed this quick birthday shout out, and if there's a character you wish to see on Shooting Star Dreamer, please leave me a comment and let me know!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Anime Winter Wallpaper Pack

Anime Winter
Support the Artist!

Hello everyone, and long time no see. It's nice to be able to write for you all again! Although Shooting Star Dreamer went on hiatus for a brief period of time, this website is still very much alive. Before jumping into some new topics and discussions, I'd like to keep this post pretty light with a focus on giving; especially since we're in the holiday season.

Due to the high popularity of previous image packs and wallpaper showcases I have decided make another. This time, it's specifically themed around winter icons: snow, warm clothes, and the night-time sky!

As always, the images included in the wallpaper pack are completely safe for work and can be used without worry. If you have questions about the artists please make use of a wonderful tool by the name of SauceNao. This image searcher is very useful for finding sources.

Please enjoy the images everyone!