Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy Anime New Year! (Top Anime I Watched This Year)

Hey everyone! It's the end of the year, which means out with 2017 and in with 2018. Of course, this means a new year filled with new things, which also includes new anime! I usually do a New Year's Resolution-focused post, but I thought I'd switch things up this time around. Instead, I'd like to share a very short post that showcases the anime I watched in 2017; the one's I enjoyed the most.

As a disclaimer, the following anime weren't necessarily ones that aired this year, but were ones I decided to watch this year. I'm posting them here, because I want to recommend them to you all!

Owari no Seraph & Owari no Seraph: Battle in Nagoya

Related image

What I liked: Nice action sequences, good characters and development. First season started off with a bang, and the second followed through quite well. Emotional moments were present throughout the entire season.

What could be better: Plot-twists came out of nowhere and didn't really make sense, poor use of characters outside of the main cast, convoluted story.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

Image result

What I liked: Great characters, and a lot of funny moments. The premise of story being around manga creation was also a nice touch!

What could be better: More content would be wonderful as the story still didn't feel complete towards the end.

Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?

Image result for netoge no yome

What I liked: Interesting characters like the rest, relatable story and content. I liked the fact that it delved into MMO gaming and viewed the gamers in a positive light. A harem-anime done pretty well.

What could be better: Again, more content would benefit this anime.

Last but not least, the New Year's Resolution! My resolution for 2018 is to focus on myself. I think improving myself and understanding my likes, dislikes, and strengths will help me become a better individual in 2018.

This is where 2017 has led me, and I feel like if I continue down this path I can be 100% the person I am right now! I also hope this will allow me to be of more help to others as well!

As always, thank you for reading and...Happy New Year!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Your Personality with a Little Anime

Anime Myers Briggs

In many ways we are connected to anime; through our thoughts and our feelings. Since anime is a creation of the mind, it is natural for us to share traits with the characters. We may have common birthdays, similar zodiac signs, and ideals. Perhaps we even share personalities.

Recently, I've been doing a lot of reading on Psychology and personality types. The most fascinating aspect to me is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator; a type of test to examine the way you think. It's primary goal is to assist in development and create psychological understanding.

At first, this test might be off-putting. Being summed up by a couple of letters may feel weird, and some may find it hard to believe. The key aspect of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is not to categorize and box people-in, but to reveal how the mind works and most importantly how you think.

This is done by the use of a four letter system. Each letter is ranked similarly to an RPG character creator, with scales of mental and emotional characteristics. The first consists of E and I which are extroversion and introversion. The second letter combo is S and N, standing for sensing and intuition. Following are T and F; thinking and feeling. The type finishes with P and J, Perceiving and Judging.

Myers Briggs Types
Source for this wonderful chart

After figuring out your preference, you'll end up with set of four letters such as INTJ. This is your personality type. The system is not completely black and white, each aspect is in percentages. You can be a little bit of an extrovert or a huge extrovert; you're definitely not limited to a binary category.

So how does this tie into anime you may ask? Well, MBTI also extends to characters in media. It may sound strange, since they technically can't take the assessment, but it is definitely possible to type them.

I'm not going to delve too deeply into this, but the indicator works when observing others and their actions, alongside thinking. We usually know a character reasoning and actions, so it's not too difficult to figure out the rest by following a type's functions. Functions are basically extensions to the typing letters and delve deeper into thought processes and patterns.

Fairy Tail Myers Briggs
Charts like these float around for different anime! Source Here

After taking the test, I ended up the type ENFP. What really convinced me of the test was looking at the characters who share my type. I found characters such as Naruto Uzumaki, Honoka Kousaka from Love Live, Jaden Yuki from Yugioh GX, and even Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender. They were all commonly (since there is a chance for error) typed the same as me and were characters I am inspired by or relate to greatly.

At that point is when I realized that there was a bit of truth to the whole MBTI thing, and of course it became more apparent when I applied these realizations to my own actions. I began to use the test to look at my way of thinking from an outside perspective, and focus on improvements.

When it comes to anime, MBTI is another way to discuss characters and it's just plain fun looking up types and their habits. You can also meet others with the same type or similar who enjoy things that you do! I think by taking the indicator seriously, but not too seriously, you can definitely benefit from it's results.

As a parting gift, I'd like to leave you all a few links to take the test, and to look up character MBTI types. I hope you enjoy them, and if you have anything questions let me know in the comments!

Links for MBTI

As always, thank you for reading!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Happy Birthday Nico Yazawa! (Nico Nico Nii)

Nico Yazawa Birthday

Today is July 22nd and marks the birthday of Nico Yazawa, a high school idol from the popular anime Love Live: School Idol Project! This post is a quick spotlight on Nico, a character who is not only adored by anime fans, but known around the internet.

As a quick overview, Nico is a pretty eccentric character. She is a third-year student in high school which is equivalent to senior level in the United States. This puts her age around 17-18, which means she's one of the older characters in the series. Despite this she still has a young appearance and is short in comparison to everyone else.

Being born on July 22nd makes her the zodiac sign Cancer, which is a water element. Characteristics of this sign are emotional capabilities and sensitivity. They also care deeply about the things important to them. This can be reflected in Nico's expressiveness and her devotion to her career.

Outside of the anime, Nico is also an internet sensation. Her trademark saying, "Nico Nico Nii" became a hit with fans and has gotten her recognition with the web community.  The video above showcases a popular remix using her saying.

With that, I'd like to wish Nico a Happy Birthday! If there's another character you would like to see on Shooting Star Dreamer, please let me know!

Thank you for reading~

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Splatoon 2's Marina: Examining Her Popularity

Splatoon Marina Titlecard
Credit to the artist: Balitix

With the immense popularity of Splatoon behind us, the sequel is off to a similar start. Although the game hasn't officially released, players have gotten a taste of what's in store through various previews. What's most interesting to me though, are the fan's responses to the new musical characters: Pearl and Marina. Although both characters are loved, I'd like to focus on Marina; specifically because she's drawn the most attention out of the two.

Marina At a Glance

Splatoon Marina GIF

In the game of Splatoon, Marina is a creature known as an Octoling. She differs greatly from the usual squid-kid characters called Inklings. She has octopus tentacles for hair and slightly different facial features. The reason why her inclusion is so shocking to players is because the Inklings and Octolings were pretty much enemies in the previous game. It's odd for her to appear and be welcomed into their civilization.

Marina is also described as being a "reserved" character. She appears to have trouble interacting with others (outside of her partner Pearl) and is depicted with nervous looks at all times. In her duet's with Pearl she sings mostly the background vocals while Pearl covers the main parts, representing aspects of their personality. 

What Contributes to Popularity

New Experiences

Octoling and Inkling
Octoling and Inkling side by side. Artist Credit

When something becomes popular, there's usually some sort of reasoning behind it. The popular anime of the time usually bring something new to the table like One Punch Man, while others take old tropes and change them up like Madoka. Regardless of the way it's done, popularity usually connects to freshness. 

I believe the newness of Marina is part of the reason why she's a fan-favorite already. Since Nintendo players got a hold of Splatoon, there's been one thing missing from the game: Octolings that are allies instead of enemies. Many begged for these characters to be playable and some preferred them over the Inklings. 

Although we still don't have playable Octolings, Marina is a step towards this becoming a possibility, which also hints that Nintendo is listening to it's fan base. I definitely believe there are more changes to come in the near future!

Connection to the Audience

Marina Splatoon 2

Introducing something new is usually not enough; people have to find some sort of relatability as well. There are times when characters are designed to be one-dimensional or perfect. They either embody a single trope or become an all-around character that has no flaws. When it comes to character design it's hard to find a compromise. 

With Marina, her personality is definitely something people can relate to. To put it bluntly, Marina appears to suffer from anxiety or social anxiety. This explains the fact that she always appears to be a bit nervous and perhaps ditsy at times; interacting with others definitely gives her trouble. 

This type of issue is actually a common problem for many, and seeing a character who goes through similar struggles is motivating in a way. The fact that Marina continues to perform and follow her dreams while dealing with these issues is definitely inspirational. 

Appeal to Diversity

Octoling Splatoon
The original Octoling design from Splatoon.
With the previous two points in mind, we have to remember that our world is diverse. Although the communities differ depending on your location, our world is a colorful one. We don't all look the same, and we're not all sharing a single personality as well. 

Marina breaks the original barriers of Splatoon by being a different race than the usual cast. On top of this, she also has a darker-skin tone which is quite different from other NPCs. The most fascinating thing is that people tend to take a liking to her because she's so different.

Therefore, I believe this has a relation to her popularity. It overlaps with her Octopus race origins, but the previous Octolings we've seen have all shared the same skin color. It's nice to embrace our differences as something beautiful.


So, there you have it! I believe from the get go, Marina was going to burst with popularity due to her character design. She brings so much new to the table and embraces a lot of things we haven't seen as much in Splatoon. I think the developers definitely made a smart decision by including her in Splatoon 2. 

What do you all like about Marina? Why do you believe she's popular? Can you relate to her? I'd love to hear your thoughts below, so don't hesitate to comment!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Fire Emblem: A Divided Community

Fire Emblem Editorial

Out of all the current titles featured on Nintendo devices, Fire Emblem has caught the attention of many at this time. With the release of Fire Emblem Heroes for mobile devices and the launch of Fire Emblem Echoes for the 3DS, the series is better than ever. However, with the addition of various new mechanics and characters, the games have been well-received or disregarded depending on who you talk to. It all boils down to an old vs new debate with Fire Emblem, which has led to a clear divide in the community.

When it comes to creating a video game, there are many factors that are required. Gameplay elements, graphics and sound, character development, and similar aspects. Although technical details are important, nothing can beat a clear understanding of the consumer. (This is especially true in a multiplayer environment, as the consumers are a part of the gameplay!) Yet, this can become convoluted when your consumers want different things.

Since the game series may not be well known to everyone, here's a quick explanation. The Fire Emblem Series are tactical role-playing games with an emphasis on character interactions and compelling stories. These interactions are known as supports, which occur between two characters as they fight together in numerous battles. In the past they were a bit more limited, while newer games allowed players to marry these characters as they willed. Alongside this were player-insert characters which can be customized and married to a character of the player's pleasing. This started with opposite gender relations but extended to same-sex relationships as well.

Fire Emblem Marriage Sakura
An example marriage/confession scene from Fire Emblem Fates.

The new marriage system appealed to the waifu culture (discussed here), which led to concerns among certain parts of the community. Alongside this were the new character designs which played to a few popular anime tropes. Although the newer games, Fire Emblem: Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates, received criticism, they ultimately revived the series from its mediocre performance in the West.

This led to the divide between the newer and older fans of the games. The people who have been with the series from the beginning dislike the appeal to the "otaku culture", while newcomers embrace it and pin the late games in the series to the recent success. It's definitely not all black and white though.

Thus the result is a tug-of-war between the fans which has torn the community in two. If you take a look at many Fire Emblem forums, or in the comments of YouTube videos you'll see people complaining about the otaku aspects of the game and others ranting about "Fire Emblem Elitists." (Aka the oldies.)

Fire Emblem Echoes 3DS
Fire Emblem Echoes remains true to it's original mechanics, while simply being an upgrade/port to 3DS.

In my opinion, I lean a bit more towards the newcomer side of this community. I started playing Fire Emblem games when they were on the GameCube which was about ten years ago. Even though I definitely enjoyed the older games, I was entranced by newer entries as well.

I feel like Awakening and Fates were good games because they appealed to what consumers wanted, something that I mentioned earlier in this post. I wouldn't say that they were selling themselves out, but keeping up with modern times and trying a new formula. The change was good, maintaining the old Fire Emblem elements with new features to pull in a wider crowd of people.

I would rather see Fire Emblem continue the pattern of combining new mechanics (such as marriage and children) with the aspects that made the game lovable from the beginning. I also like that Fire Emblem Echoes is an attempt to reintroduce the history to the new generation and is a treat to the original fans. Still, I feel that including the new features would have been an interesting choice as well though.

At this point it'll be interesting to see how Nintendo and Intelligent Systems will shape the franchise. Will they appeal to one side of the community or try to make ends meet? I'm definitely hoping for the latter since I believe that would be a win-win situation. I feel this could be done by following the trend of remakes while releasing more games with the new mechanics and changes.

Of course, I also want to hear from my readers. What do you all think? Are you happy with the Fire Emblem community? Do you even play Fire Emblem, and if not what are your thoughts on the games? Do you believe appealing to otaku culture is a good or a bad thing?

Please comment below and as always:

Thank you for reading!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Increasing Popularity of Music in Anime

Music in Anime
Check out her blog here!

"Hi! My name is Jessica, but I go by じぇす on here, which means Jess! This is my first time posting on Shooting Star Dreamer, so I thought I should give a bit of an introduction. I've loved anime since I was small, my first anime being Samurai Pizza Cats when I was only two years old. Currently I enjoy Japanese media of many sorts, including anime, manga, video games, light novels, and more! I hope you'll enjoy my first post!"

Music has been an existing topic in anime for decades, as can be seen in titles such as Macross (1982), Full Moon wo Sagashite (2002), and Beck (2004). Back in the early 2000's, there were only handfuls of music-based anime available, so fans of that genre didn't have much room to be picky. In the 1980's and 1990's, there were even less. As time passed, the later 2000's brought us anime such as Nodame Cantabile, K-On!, Detroit Metal City, and in the early 2010's we got a bunch more music-related anime.

Now, in the year 2017, eight music-based anime TV series have begun airing already, five have been announced to air sometime during 2017, and thirteen have been announced with no release date yet. That's a total of twenty-six music-based anime, potentially airing in 2017 alone. So what's causing this huge jump in music anime?

AKB48 Idols
The popular idol group AKB48 which contributes to the rise of music-based anime.

First off, we have to realize that anime and Japanese animation studios are growing in number every year. The first reason why there's so much more music anime, is because anime itself exists in larger numbers. According to Anime-Planet's database, the Summer 2004 anime season only had seventeen different series released on air. The Fall 2016 anime season had a total of 84 anime TV series on air. Because of the huge increase in numbers of TV anime in general, it makes sense that there should be more music anime, right?

That is correct to a certain degree. However, there still seems to be a trend of music-based anime coming out at this time in comparison to other “niche” genres. By “niche”, I'm referring to more specific categories of anime, such as “lost in a strange world” or “vampire” instead of more common genres such as “action” or “horror”.

In Japan, pop idols are very successful right now; especially AKB48 which is situated in Akihabara. Akiba for short, it's somewhat of a hub for otaku of all varieties, and so there has come to be an entire culture surrounding what's known as “idol otaku”. In addition to AKB48's success in Akiba, screens across the district and other anime-heavy locations in Japan have been playing many Love Live videos. Love Live is currently very popular among Japanese otaku.

Classicaloid Anime
The music-based anime Classicaloid, which doesn't focus on pop music.

While I do think that Japanese idol groups such as AKB48 and popular anime about idols such as Love Live have contributed to the increased number of music anime, I know many of you are shaking your heads right now, thinking, “Not all music anime is about pop!” That's true, recent anime such as Sound! Euphonium and Classicaloid are not about pop. However, if you look at the different titles of recent music-based anime, you'll notice that almost all of them are indeed about pop.

It makes sense; after all, you have to start somewhere while learning music, and often pianists will start with learning classical music. That, and if you look at the variety of anime we have coming out each season, you can see that creators are going for more and more niche subjects. The upcoming Welcome to the Ballroom anime is about ballroom dancing, for an example. It makes sense that the music genre would want to spread out to different types of music as well.

Overall, I feel that the increasing popularity of Japanese pop idols is responsible for our growing collection of music anime, but the anime industry itself is also to thank for that, having progressed so much, growing each season, and increasing its own variety.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Happy Miku Day! 3/9 (Artwork Showcase)

Miku Day Shooting Star Dreamer

Happy Miku Day everyone! March 9th (3/9) holds significance for our favorite virtual idol. 3/9 can be read as Mi (Mitsu) ku in Japanese, which led to the holiday. Hatsune Miku's first solo concert, 39's Giving Day, also took place on this date in 2010. Lastly, as a way to thank Miku, the date can be said as San-Kyu (thank you) in Japanese.

There's been quite a few festivities going around, such as special sales from otaku merchandise providers and of course artwork from fans. Various companies have given tributes to Miku as well!

As for Shooting Star Dreamer, we'll showcase a few special artworks for your viewing pleasure, alongside with video footage of her Giving Day concert. We encourage you to check them out and celebrate all things Hatsune Miku! Don't forget to support the artists of course!

Miku Day 1
Sweet Night by ATDAN-

Miku Day 2
39 by 黎(クロイ)

Miku Day 3
歌を届ける by saihate

Miku Day 4
3。9 by Say HANa

Miku Day 5
39's MIKU DAY by sishenfan

Miku Day 6
ミクの日 by  ピナケス
Miku Day 7
39の日!by 7 : 24

Miku Day 8
ミクの日 by _FEI

Miku Day 9
39 by ajimita

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Anime Fans Need to be Aware of the World

Otaku World View

As otaku or anime-viewers, we tend to indulge in the worlds of others. It's a pretty common thing when it comes to anime; the series are full of complex plots, and the characters are relatable to boot. Of course we take this love to the outside by purchasing various merchandise and showcasing our interests through apparel. I know many people like me who love letting people know they love anime!

However, times are changing in the world. People are being put into important positions, which leads to massive changes of the world structure. Our earth is forever changing which of course has an effect on the things we partake in, such as anime.

In America, we've just witnessed the election of a new president. Before now, America has been the leader of the world. Many countries turn to us for guidance and assistance. Therefore what happens in America has an effect on the world. This includes our interactions with other countries, such as Japan.

With this in mind, we otaku need to be careful with the people who control our country. We've dealt with numerous government issues before that had the potential to harm anime, like SOPA as an example. SOPA was an act that would hurt anime fan sites, and would have made watching anime difficult for the common person. Luckily this bill was stopped. Others such as trade agreements may cause harm in the near future.

Even outside of America, other countries have power to influence anime through things like censorship or lack of importation. There are cases where the citizens have little to no power, but there are situations where people in charge of these things are willing elected into power. The actions of little can change the lives of many.

Support the Artist!

"We need to look at the big picture and remember where our merchandise comes from!

Although politics or economics may not be as interesting to anime watchers, they are important. They are also things that change our lives. So, if something is having an effect on the world I think it's natural to want to play some part in it.

Imports from Japan may become sparse and more expensive. Anime-viewing sites may go down, and we may see less anime on television. Communities may become less accepting of otaku. The good part is that there's always something that we can do to make things better.

Right now, I think it's important to gather knowledge on the world and to promote a global mindset. Even more importantly, we need to express what we love and promote positive change to our communities and fandom.  Even if it's something small like writing a blog post or making a YouTube video, we each can do something to make the world better for us otaku, and everyone else! This won't happen unless we actually pay attention to what's going on and educate ourselves.

Therefore, I believe that we need to be aware of the world we live in. If we love anime, Japan, and all that comes with it, we need to make our best efforts to keep things positive!

Thank you for reading~