29 April 2012

It's a good time to be an anime fan.

Oh yeah, Fullmetal Summer!
Promotional Image (c) 
I know I said I'd calm down about Fullmetal Alchemist, but now it's just impossible. As it turns out, Funimation has a lot of things planned this season for FMA.

Yes, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray , and since it's been released to own, my review of the movie has shot up in popularity. Because so many people have gone back to look at the post, I went ahead and fixed it up by adding more artwork, up-to-date information, and more links. So go ahead, take a look

The 2012 Complete Collection One Cover.*

On top of that, the FMA Brotherhood OVA Collection with Comic Theater has been released as a DVD-Blu-Ray combo.  On top of that on top of that, If you wanted to own the entire series of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood at a decent price, now you can. The Complete Collection One includes episodes 1-33 of the series in full. The Complete Collection Two will release July 17, 2012 and consist of episodes 34-63 (the rest of the series in full).  I have no qualms admitting that although I love the original Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is transcendent

I finally got other family members to watch the series!   My sister, who has never seen it before, is making her way through the first series so she can prepare for Brotherhood.  I was so excited that my sister decided to watch it! And she let me show her some episodes of Brotherhood to whet her appetite while she was here in Ohio for Grandpa. (She's also seen the bloopers for Brotherhood, which are HILARIOUS). Now that FMAB is coming out as a new collection, I know that I'll probably get this for her in full when it's available.

D-Gray Man, Season One DVD Cover, 2009.
I recently started watching D. Gray Man

just because of Annie Han's costume.
In terms of other Fullmetal things...my LUST cosplay is complete! Since I can't sew to save my life (trust me, the last costume I sewed started falling apart at the event), I commissioned my Lust cosplay. I went through Etsy and found the shop CosplayDesu. The shop is run by Annie Han, who constructs the costumes with her mother.

I went ahead and commissioned Lust, and I'm her first customer for this character! She's completed the costume and will ship it to me Monday. I'm ridiculously excited and nervous. If anything is wrong with the costume, it's my fault, because I took all my measurements myself without help from anyone, so if it doesn't fit...eep!

I should have the dress in about 15 business days (shipping from Asia) and you know I'll talk about it on this site at some point. As soon as I get it, I'll try it on to see if the fit works. 

Update #1: Costume arrived
May 7th--good to go!
Image limited (cc)
I'm also going to be wearing some special underwear to help make my shape a little less blobular. I've got Spanx, a corset, and a super bra with removable and clear straps. I'll do a test-run to see if all this underwear will kill me. Hopefully not. Hopefully it'll do good work and I'll be somewhat comfortable, since I plan to go as Lust for at least two out of four days of the con.

If my panels get approved by Colossal Con, then I'll definitely be in costume for my FMA and Real Alchemy panel. In the first series of Fullmetal Alchemist, Lust is featured in an episode teaching alchemy to one of her...uh...lovers. With horrible consequences, of course. So I thought it would be funny if I taught alchemy in character as Lust (without doing the voice. I cannot do the voice for shit). Panel submissions closed yesterday...hopefully I'll find out soon whether or not I'll be a full-fledged Colossal Con panelist.  Update #2: I am a panelist! Check it out!

Speaking of panels...yeah, I'm relying on Power Point. I'm doing my own custom artwork for the slides since I don't know how to insert film clips or audio clips into my slideshow (which I think violates copyright anyway). 

Here's some previews (and yes, these are works in progress. I still don't know how to work with colors and shading).

Edward Elric (c) Hiromu Arakawa
This particular artwork? (cc) KEB

Edward Elric for my Magnum Opus: The Great Work slide. I created the artwork in Manga Studio and lettered it in Comic Book!. Did you know? Ed's character design is in fact all four stages of the Magnum Opus in alchemy: nigredo, albedo, citrinitas, rubedo (black, white, yellow, red).

Van Hohenheim (c) Hiromu Arakawa.
This artwork, (cc) KEB

Here's Van Hohenheim looking in the mirror and seeing Paracelsus as his reflection,  for my Real Hohenheim slide. Did you know? Paracelsus' real name was in fact Auroleus Phillipus Theostratus Bombastus von Hohenheim. So now you know where the name came from. And my doodle of Paracelsus was inspired by this painting.

I still have tons of work to do on the Power Point presentation, and I plan on adding speech bubbles and such to each picture, but I thought I'd preview some of my artwork anyway. I hope the Power Point turns out to be funny, fun, and informative. Whew!

How about some non-FMA anime? 
What?!? You mean I actually watch other things?

Legend of Zelda, Skyward Sword 2011 cover.
Oh, Link. I've loved you long time.*wink*
This may surprise you, but I love video games. I just suck at them. Most of what I know I've gotten secondhand by watching my brother play over the years, or reading about games online and in magazines. We've got every non-handheld console made in my house: Xbox, PlayStation (my brother's) and Wii (which is mine).

My favorite games are RPGs or anything fantasy-based. I've loved The Legend of Zelda for years and am s l o o o o w l y getting through Skyward Sword when I don't have homework (which means it's been a couple months since I've played). Although I did finally freaking start Skyrim a couple days ago. I'm the sexiest mohawked Redguard ever!

I'm sunshine on a cloudy day.
Screenshot snapped by me via Iphone.
Hooray Dark Souls! (c) Restricted.
Update #3: Also finally started playing Dark Souls. I'm bad at it. Apparently I keep thinking the Xbox controller and the Playstation controller are the same thing. I also tried to make my Pyromancer the prettiest zombie in the world. See? He looks like old blueberry yogurt!

......Anyway, for some reason, I'm totally badass at killing things and moving quickly in fights (I'm really good with a Wii controller as sword), but apparently I cannot walk in a straight line or jump across things. I have a greater chance of dying from a fall into lava than being killed by monsters swooping down to get me. It's hilarious and it makes no sense. So whenever I play a game, I have to tag-team it with my brother when things get too difficult or I get too impatient. I'll get so far, then he'll start laughing at me and then I hand him the controller to take me out of my misery. It's sad, but at the same time a lot of fun because I'm so horribly uncoordinated at playing and we never have a game where we don't laugh our asses off.
The 2009 game cover.

The one game I absolutely love, love, love to play with my brother is Tales of Vesperia. It's easy enough for me to play but exciting enough that I don't get bored, and I love the story and characters. And yes, Tales of Vesperia does have that lovely anime look to it, with several animated cut scenes featured throughout the game. Manga artist Kosuke Fujishima of Oh! My Goddess! fame did all of the character designs for the game as well. 

I know that the role of video games in society and culture is being reexamined and debated as I write this. A few weeks ago video games were accepted academically as an art form, thanks in part to The Smithsonian Institute with its popular "The Art of the Video Game" exhibit at the American Art Museum in Washington D.C. 

Besides being works of art, I strongly believe games are a legitimate form of entertainment, and I do believe of the storytelling variety. It's not news to anyone that games have gotten more and more cinematic as technology has advanced over the years; what I love about the greatest games is that they have engaging characters and a wonderful plot (which has come up in the news again thanks to the DICE summit and game creators like David Jaffe). You might not agree with me, but think of it this way: if a game is that engaging to me story-wise, and I actually care about what happens to the characters, I won't care if I'm the most sucktastic player in all of Fantasia. I will park my butt in front of that TV and not give up until I find out what happens next. If I'm too terrible at a game, I lose interest and quit. A great story ensures that I won't. 

Tales of Vesperia has a great enough story and cast of characters that when Namco Bandai released a better, souped-up version for PlayStation 3 (only available overseas, with more plot and new characters), Americans were pissed, especially Americans who bought an Xbox 360 solely to play the game. Even more so, the PlayStation version of Tales of Vesperia included a feature-length prequel film called Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike with its release. That's the part where I was like, "They made a movie, too? WAAAAAHHH!" So, imagine my happiness when Funimation announces that they've gotten the movie, reversioned it with the same English voice actors who voiced Yuri and Flynn in the game, and that it'll be available as a DVD/Blu-Ray combo June 26, 2012. 
The 2012 US release Cover.

As much as my own DVD of the movie is awesome and high-quality, I'm going to sell it and get the Funimation film release when it comes out. It's a nostalgia thing...when I played the game, I heard Troy Baker as Yuri, and I grew really accustomed to it. So it's nice to be able to hear it in the film as well. 

So...starting now until the end of summer, I expect to add more DVDs to my anime film collection. And I'm especially glad Funimation has announced that it's a Fullmetal Summer, because it will make my cosplay and panels for Colossal Con all the more relevant and therefore I may have a possibility of being an actual panelist at the event. On top of that, two voice actors from Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood will be at Colossal Con: Edward Elric (Vic Mignogna) and Ling Yao (Todd Haberkorn)...making the summer all the more...fullmetal. yeah.

26 April 2012

In Loving Memory

January 5, 1929-April 21, 2012
Goodbye, Grandpa. I love you and I'll miss you.

Obituary Notice || Tribute Wall

14 April 2012

Spontaneous art project!

Hi everyone...

I decided to make a special icon for this website. The thought occurred to me yesterday when I was turning in my next twenty + pages of the novel to my mentor.

As I've mentioned a lot of times before, I'm really behind on the novel. It's due in full September 27, 2012 and I'm only just now beginning to tie up the loose ends to close the first third of the book. (!!!)

I need to keep motivated, and I want to share my progress, so... I decided to make a special icon for whenever I talk about my book. Here it is:

Faux book cover or book icon?  (cc) by KEB
Of course, when I use it, it'll be much smaller in size and it will sit at the upper left-hand corner of each post.

So I guess your next question would be...What the heck is going on in that picture? It's a funky little representation of the two main characters in my novel.

Even though I've got awesome Manga Studio software and a Wacom tablet, nice tools do not an artist make. (And language good does not Yoda speak.) After wasting about two hours failing miserably at drawing the lead characters of the novel, I deleted the whole file and started from scratch.

This project actually helped me because I'd been trying to work through my mind more details on Andresh's shadow magic. If you read my super-popular Sacred Space post (going on 500+ views now, yay!), I pretty much had the concept together...but I still wasn't 100% certain what happens to Andresh's body when he's in different stages of the magic.

Sometimes, in order to visualize things clearly for your readers, you just have to sit down and draw the thing out. My book icon became a preliminary rendering of Andresh "going Shadow." The upper left-hand corner is Andresh's hand (err, technically my hand) when he invokes Shadow; and since the magic in the book is based on alchemy, Andresh is sublimating.

The bottom right-hand corner is Andresh's hand further into the sublimation process. Since alchemy emphasizes breaking down and purification, I decided to go a bit literal. Hence the color draining from Andresh's skin. And the blackness on the tips of his fingers...that's to represent Nigredo in alchemy (the blackening...aka the confrontation of the Shadow self). The blackness looks a little runny (ooh, gross!) because that's...his corrupted blood.

I'm capturing the moment when Andresh has Gone Shadow one time too many...and the Beast (the guardian of the Black Gate, aka nigredo gate) takes advantage of Andresh's vulnerability to take over his body. His fingers are bleeding because in about a half-second, his new claws are gonna completely break through his skin.  But Andresh's transformation into the Beast is not instantaneous. It's a very slow and painful process...so for most of the novel, Andresh is a shell of himself--the demon literally takes Andresh apart piece by piece.  Ohhh, I'm so messed up!

The second part of the image is a literal rendition of Lily's name. LILY ROSE. A lily and a rose. +1 for originality! Actually...I tried to draw Lily's hands, too, to do a visual parallel with Andresh, but her magic is FIRE, not SHADOW. What made me give up was trying to draw flames coming out of her hand. But hey! To look on the bright side, you now have a brand-new clue to the plot of the novel--Lily can Call fire.

Ok. Seeing as how it's almost 1am I'm hopping off of here. And sometime tomorrow I'll do my quick one-paragraph Book Update post using my brand-spanking-new custom icon. Hooray!