Friday, August 21, 2015

Looking for Support to Get my Novel Published.

Hey guys,

So I know it's been half-past forever since I posted anything on this blog (to be honest, I've been swamped with school and work and have only really been watching Sword Art Online and Space Dandy) but there's something near and dear to me that I want to talk to you all about.

Ever since I was in the fourth grade I've had a dream of being a published author. For some reason, the idea of having a novel out there on bookshelves really appealed to me. So, I started out writing crappy stories (borderline fanfiction...or maybe not so borderline) on composition notebooks about trademarked characters (like Link [LoZ], Crono [Chrono Trigger], and Kain [Final Fantasy IV]) doing...nothing of any real importance.

BUT, as time wore on and I kept plugging away (on my own material, obviously), I got better at writing. I read a crap-ton of fantasy and took some fiction writing classes at college and I have gotten even better.

So now I found that the Nerdist is running a contest on Inkshares (a crowdfunding publishing thing) that will publish the drafts (posted between the 15th of August and the 30th of September) that get the most readers (people that preorder the book) and promote them and what-have you. So I thought, what the hell. The worst thing that can happen is I don't get published RIGHT NOW (I can always send it in to Tor when it's done).

So I put myself out there and posted the first chapter of my budding novel Signs in Steel. I would appreciate it if all you awesome ladies and gentlemen would check it out, maybe hook me up with a preorder, or just tell your fantasy-reading friends about it. I would consider it a personal favor.


Thank you, and happy reading.

Also here's an anime I can keep my anime blog street cred.

Ha ha, I'm just kiddin'. Here's a real picture

I can't help myself. But seriously, though (Yozakura Quartet is my f'ing jam. I need it to come back). Here's a gif

No tricks. No gimmicks.

Friday, August 22, 2014


I feel like this show maybe flew under the radar for a lot of people, I haven't really seen a lot of buzz about it on the internet, so I'd like to take a minute to talk to you all about Sabagebu!

Point of fact: I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of Sabagebu!  It delivered the slice-of-life with a healthy spoonful of absurdity that I was hoping to get out of Stella-something-or-other-C3bu.  Sabagebu! is the "K-On! with assault rifles" I've been looking for (for those of you that don't get what I'm talking about, K-On! was an anime slice-of-life comedy about a light music club in a girls' school.  The description doesn't do it justice, but I thought it was absolutely charming and hilarious).

Sabagebu!, named after the "Survival Games Club" (SABAibalu GE-mu BUkatsu, see?), is a colorful trip into the world of airsoft tomfoolery and doofy antics of its members, created by Hidekichi Matsumoto and brought to us now by studio Pierrot+, the same studio as the dark, graphic Tokyo Ghoul.  Now that's juxtaposition for you.

Quick synopsis: Momoka Sonokawa transfers to a new school is making her way when she catches the attention of Mio Otori, who tries to get her enrolled in her club, the titular Survival Games Club.  Momoka refuses, thinking she's above all that weird crap, but after Mio feeds her poisoned bread (not kidding), she's in.  Hilarity ensues.

This show is bizarre.  To expound, it lets its freak-flag fly and is absolutely hilarious.  There's a strange platypus creature that nobody seems to feel the need to address, a shop owned by Japanese Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a bit about a girl avoiding being noticed because she was wearing a ghilliesuit in school, just to name a few of the gags the first episode had to offer.

There's really nothing I find wrong about this show.  It's not really serious, so if you need that, than Sabagebu! is not for you.  But if you want a light-hearted comedy, or maybe need something that's funny and doesn't take itself too seriously to take the edge off from this week's Tokyo Ghoul, than this is just the show to do it.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sailor Moon Crystal

Alright, I guess I really ought to talk about this one, as much as I really would love to avoid it.

Chances are, if you've been alive at any point in the past fifteen or so years, you've at least heard of Sailor Moon (Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon).  It's one of the classic icons of anime, one of the most popular series worldwide, and put magical girls on the map.  In my life, Sailor Moon was enjoyed during its hayday by middle and high school girls.  That being said, I never drank from this particular punch bowl.  I was much more into Gundam, Dragon Ball, and Outlaw Star.  So Sailor Moon was largely lost on me during that time.

So, skip time forward, I'm in my twenties, and anime and manga is more readily accessible to anyone with reliable internet.  And the strangest thing happens. Sailor Moon starts trending with my friends on Facebook, and not just with late teenage and twenty-something girls, but with twenty-something guys, too.  It was the damndest thing and I couldn't really make heads or tails of it.

So, you can imagine the collective brick-shitting that the internet underwent when the series reboot, Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal, was announced.  Well, Sailor Moon Crystal is here at last, so I thought I'd take a look and see what all the fuss was about.

I'll save you from any unnecessary suspense: I was largely unimpressed with SMC.  It was just...exactly what I expected.  It followed the old magical girl setup.  Audience meets girl, Usagi Tsukino, an average middle school girl just going about her life.  She meets a handsome stranger and a magic talking cat, Luna, who gives her her mystic amulet and tells her that she has to fight evil.  There's also some mysterious evil master that's...doing devious things.

So, with the guidance of her talking head, Luna, Usagi transforms and fumbles her way through her first fight against some villain.  And there's Tuxedo Mask who...despite wearing literally the same clothes from earlier that day, still manages to hide his identity.  I know the whole superhero-domino-mask thing was never really plausible but...just damn.

I wasn't kidding about LITERALLY the same clothes...>__>;;
So the first episode is over and I'm left wondering what all the fuss was about.  I won't say that the first episode of SMC was bad, but it wasn't amazing by any stretch of the imagination.  So I figure I'm not going to be continuing, and then I see more of my friends giving rave reviews of episode 2.  So I thought I'd give it another shot, maybe episode 2 was where it really gets good.

Same result.  It was okay, but not something I'd write home about.  I tried, my friends, I really did, but I just can't see what all the hype is about.

The way I see it, it's probably something similar to what went on with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  That was another reboot of a show for little girls that twenty-something men lost their shit over that I just couldn't get into.  To be fair, though, I would pick Sailor Moon Crystal over My Little Pony in a heartbeat.  Good god, I would pick waterboarding over My Little Pony...or being in the room with a brony.

But I digress, Sailor Moon Crystal was alright.  It was good, but didn't blow me away.  It's had a major visual upgrade from the original, which is cool, though there were some CG segments that were a little heavy-handed from my perspective.

To put a finer point on it, I would recommend Sailor Moon Crystal to people who liked the original.  Unfortunately, like with Persona 4: The Golden Animation, those people don't really need me to tell them whether or not they should watch this show.  However, unlike P4:GA, Sailor Moon Crystal is a legitimate remake and covers all the information, so no one who is new to the series will feel left behind.

So, if you were ever into Sailor Moon, or ever WANTED to be into Sailor Moon, that I'm very pleased to say that SMC loses none of what made the original series what it was.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Persona 4: The Golden Animation

Whoa, boy...this is a complicated one, but I feel like I need to talk about this before any more weeks go by.

As I explained in my Summer preview post, Persona 4: The Golden Animation is something of a second season or, more accurately, a retelling of a previous series (Persona 4: The Animation).  Truth be told, it's the anime of Persona 4: Golden, the PS Vita port of the PlayStation 2 game Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4.  See, look, things are already getting complicated.

So I've been religiously watching P4:GA, now into it's fourth week, and have come to a very...involved...opinion of it.

Short version: I love Persona 4: The Golden Animation, but I would absolutely not recommend it.  NOW LET ME EXPLAIN!

As I've previously stated (several times), P4:A, that is to say Persona 4: The Animation (not to be confused with Persona 4: Arena...we'll acronymize that using its Japanese suffix 'The Ultimate' as P4:U) has already come and gone (you can catch it on Hulu if you like, I recommend it) with a 26 episode run in 2012 and, with the assistace of one movie, The Factor of Hope, covered all of the core plot.  That being said, I went into P4:GA under the assumption that it was going to cover it all again, but with the addition of the new content that came from P4G (that's the Vita game...yikes this is turning into a labyrinth already).

Well...I was half right.

As it turns out, P4:GA focuses only on the additional content and pays no nevermind to the the central overarching story, the P4 part of P4G.  Well, that may be a little unfair of me, it gives it a passing nod in the first episode and then abandons it in episodes 2 and we haven't really heard from it since.

I'm not kidding, folks.  Characters are just showing up in P4:GA and we're just expected to be okay with that shit.  Allow me to put this in a bit of perspective for you.


Let's make an example out of Kanji Tatsumi, my favorite character in the game.  Now, in the story, Kanji doesn't join the Investigation Team until after he's been featured on the Midnight Channel, preliminarily investigated, kidnapped, faced his Shadow, and then saved by Yu and the gang.

In the original anime (P4A), this takes 7 episodes, after which time we know who Kanji is, know what his deal is and have a general idea of who the hell he is and what his role in the group is.

In P4:GA, he just...shows up in episode 2 with no...anything!  He's just there, and nobody addresses it.  AND THEN THEY DO IT AGAIN WITH RISE IN EPISODE 3!

To this end, I have come to the conclusion that P4:GA is very much a companion series to P4A.  It's for people, like me, who have seen the original show or have played the game.  It's for people who already know about the Midnight Channel, the murders, the Shadows, the Personas, and like it.  And, honestly, those people don't need my recommendation, they're going to watch this show or not no matter what I say.

And to the others, who wouldn't know...well, it would just be an exercise in confusion, so to them I say, watch the original and then come back to it.  Without going into an instance-by-instance explanation, the show plays like a New Game + anyhow (let's just say that the Hero, Yu, makes choices in the show that would only be accessible in the game on a second playthrough)

Which brings me to the first thing I said about this P4:GA.  I absolutely love it.

Because I've already played through the game, thrice, and I've already seen the original series.  What I wanted out of this show was to explore all of the new and exciting bits that I've only experienced one-and-a-half times now (I'm currently working on my second playthrough of P4G).

I wanted to relive the Okina station event, the beach event, the concert, and the Winter break ski trip.

I wanted to meet Marie again.

And that's really what P4:GA is about: Marie.

Marie was an entirely original character introduced in P4G, she was one the defining aspect that changed it from a simple port to a completely new experience.  And P4:GA is ultimately about her journey.

Without giving too much away, I'll just say that Marie is very connected to the other world, the fog, and...all that stuff.  In short, Marie is a big deal and has been featured in every episode so far, even appearing in events that she was absent from in the game.

To put an incredibly long opinion short: do not watch Persona 4: The Golden Animation if you are new to the whole universe of it.  It will not make any sense if you have not played Persona 4, or at the very least have seen Persona 4: The Animation.  That being said, I'm finding it wonderfully enjoyable and an absolute treat, so you should make the effort, go the distance, reach out to the truth, and get yourself caught up.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Rail Wars!

...I can't believe I'm saying this, but Rail Wars! was actually...pretty alright.

For those of you who didn't read my summer preview post from a few weeks ago and don't understand the apprehension, I was basically trolled into watching Rail Wars! and was more than certain it was going to tank.

Well, I've gotten the first episode under my belt...and it held water.

Originally a light novel series by Takumi Toyoda, Rail Wars! (full title: Rail Wars! Japanese National Railway Security Force) is, apparently, pretty popular in Japan, as it has its own manga adaptation, an anime series (of which I am thusly reviewing), and a PS Vita game to be released in Japan this November.  Japan...really likes trains.

Granted, the premise is still laughably ridiculous when you first look at it, a show about train security officers.  It's just a short step away from a series about mall cops, kinda.  But then you watch it for a half hour, and it's basically a cop show...that happens to take place on and around trains.

What I found while watching the first episode of Rail Wars! is that it's actually quite a fun show, so long as you're more invested in the characters and their zany misadventures than the trains and plot (so's a lot of train crap which I don't find terribly interesting).  At least...that worked for me, I'm sure there are some train enthusiasts out there who think I'm being closed minded and don't have good taste.  To those people, I say don't judge me and go back to playing Ticket to Ride.

What I mean to say is that the characters are quirky and fun and watching them interact is enough to give this show a passing grade for me.  There are four main characters who get together early on at their...train school, and through a series of montages we see that each one has their own strengths and they all balance each other out into a well-rounded team.  One's good at running, CQC, athletic type stuff ; one can recite train facts and rule ordinances off the top of her head; one is a like a female John McClane, good at guns and fighting but kind of a loose cannon; and the main character has the leadership and decisive thinking to bring them all together.

While not exactly the same, it reminded me a lot of the scene in 21 Jump Street where Schmidt and Jenko's relationship begins to blossom.

So they get together and bust a theft in the first episode, get fired from the academy and then join the railroad security.  So my best guess as to what the rest of the show has in store is going to be a series of railroad based mysteries and whatnot.  So, Rail Wars! didn't exactly set my world on fire, but it certainly exceeded my expectations

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tokyo Ghoul

Right then, got a lot of shows to talk about, so moving right along: Tokyo Ghoul.

The second show this season with the capitol city of Japan featured prominently in the title, also a strong second for "front runner" this season amongst my fellow anime pilgrims.

Tokyo Ghoul is the animation of the dark fantasy manga series with the same name by Sui Ishida.  It takes place in a modern day version of Japan (and probably the rest of the world) where flesh eating "Ghouls" are a known threat.  They don't come out and say "hey, we're ghouls and we want to eat you", but the Tokyo PD also aren't going around saying "animal attack".

No, ghouls are a real problem.  Their attacks make the news and there are doctors trying to study them.  However, ghouls aren't like zombies, they're just like humans at a glance until they ghoul out and get pure black and red eyes.  They just...happen to only be able to eat human flesh (and, incidentally, coffee), have super strength, toughened skin, and super blood tentacles.



So anyways, the story starts with Ken Kaneki, who's only real character trait is that he reads.  So he goes on a date with this girl, turns out she's a psychopathic, binge-eating ghoul (*gasp*), 

Oh, just down this dark alley?  That's not suspicious

she tries to kill him, there's a horrible accident where she dies and he just gets hospitalized and in a case of life-or-death, a doctor has to swap some of Kaneki's organs.  He wakes up and has one crazy ghoul eye.

He gets his eye under control, goes home and finds out he can't eat anything without throwing up, has an episode in the streets, and has a lot of trouble coming to terms with what he is becoming.  He meets the nicest ghoul in the world, gets into a street fight, is saved by a waitress from earlier in the episode (turns out she's a ghoul, but not a psychopath), and she jams some human flesh down his throat.  And that's episode 1.

It wasn't too bad, really.  I think Tokyo Ghoul's strongest asset is how dark and fucked up it is (guess you kind of have to be when your genre is "DARK FANTASY").  There's lots of blood, squishing sounds, and a really apt metaphor between screwing another man's girlfriend and eating his food (you'll get it when you see it).  However, I would not say that gratuitous darkness equates to being a really great show, a mistake many people seem to make.  I mean, I thought Attack on Titan was only okay, as opposed to Suisei no Gargantia, a decidedly less dark show from the same season.

Maybe it's just not really my speed, I dunno.  I just prefer not to have my spirits crushed at every opportunity.

That being said, Tokyo Ghoul keeps its shit in check (as much as it can without losing it's "dark fantasy" street cred) and is a really solid show.  I'm interested to learn more about ghouls and their society (did I forget to mention that there's apparently some kind of ghoul government or something), I really like Touka (the waitress) who is a BADASS, and I'm genuinely invested in Kaneki's personal development.  Right now he's just kind of pussyfooting around being a ghoul and how that's bad, but we shall see, won't we.  The Hulu image for this show has Kaneki with a Hannibal Lecter style mask on, so here's to hoping he becomes some kind of ghoul vigilante or something.

Tokyo Ghoul is getting into it's third week, so it won't take long to get caught up if this seems like your bag.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tokyo ESP

It's been a big week for me in terms of show watching.  Me and my gang of ne'er-do-wells threw down on the first episodes of 8 different shows.  Most of them were on my list from last week, but a few snuck in there that I hadn't planned on watching.  However, rather than do a massive batch of mini-reviews, I'm going to spend time talking about each of them in detail.

So without further ado, let's start with Tokyo ESP.

Tokyo ESP is originally a manga by Hajime Segawa, and it's about--you guessed it--Espers, wielders of varying paranormal abilities.  It was animated by the people at Xebec studios and, to their credit, it looks MARVELOUS.

As I said in my preview post, this was the show I was most looking forward to, and I was not disappointed.

The episode starts off on Christmas Eve and the National Diet Building (Japan's House and Senate, for those who were thrown by the misleading name) comes floating over Tokyo, a radio broadcast from a terrorist organization announcing that the reign of Espers was beginning, and a shit-ton of baddies with really cool powers doing bad things.

So, got me Tokyo ESP, I'm on board.  Now, a lot's going on, but we--the viewers--really aren't being told a whole hell of a lot about what's happening.  My theory is that we're experiencing a kind of flash-forward, that this is a sneak peek at events that will be unfolding around episode 6-10...or something.  Further evidence of this presents itself as everyone keeps talking about a "white haired girl" (Shiroi shoujo: lit. "white girl", lol) in the same way people talk about Batman or Superman.  That being said, I expect the next couple of episodes (the start of the series proper) are probably going to be a bit slow, and I couldn't be more excited for it.

So, the first episode winds down with a lot of carnage, shit comes to a head, the White Girl appears (sans pants), and the episode ends.  I am, DOWN with Tokyo ESP, hot damn!  I will say, part of what I love about it is that it's not afraid to have blood and violence, but doesn't feel obligated to be over-the-top like, oh, say, the latter episodes of Attack on Titan where people are being kicked into red mist or bitten in half without a second thought.

Consider this a hearty recommendation for Tokyo ESP which is getting into its second week of airing.  I plan to be following this show with religious fervor.  It was--

Damn.  Good.