20 October 2012

Sexy Andresh and a Taste of Romance!

It's time for some more awesome artwork from Deviant Art, now officially one of my favorite places on the internets! (Yes, it's getting to the point where it's starting to become addictive. And this is one of many reasons why I don't have Facebook, kids...I HAVE NO SELF CONTROL...)

(c) 2012 by Chrecand
Holy freaking whoa! Look at him!!! LOOK AT HIM! 

Andresh has a tendency to come across as yummy in a lot of the works by Deviant Artists. He's the kind of character that has many different attractive qualities, and it's been great seeing how the artists bring him to life.

It's also been great (and kind of ego-boosting) to hear how many people do, in fact, find him attractive. Let me get a little braggy here--sorry:  A romance author in the program (Monica Schryver) called him a dark, romantic hero, based on a little excerpt of the book she critiqued. (Actually, a few of the romance genre students are taken with him). My mentor Scott digs him big time--at our last in-person meeting he flat-out said, "I really want to know what happens to Andresh!"  That character's a page-turner for him. Here's some feedback from Deviant Artists:
  • "Andresh is so cute! [...] He is really fine. Lily is so lucky! I'd love to have a conversation with him [...] He seems like an interesting guy to sit down and have a cup of coffee with or something."
  • "Btw. Andresh is so handsome. ;c I'm sure you get that a lot." 
  • "He is really fun to draw!" 
I've gotten more feedback about him; these are just some gems I'd like to share with you. ANYWAY...

Back to Chrecand. This artwork makes me so happy because she nailed it. (She did an excellent Lily, too!) Everything that makes Andresh attractive is conveyed in this piece.

 I don't just mean his physical appearance, either (although I have to say, when I opened my note with the link to her work, my first thought was "Hottie!"). Andresh is confident. He's the type of person who'd say something like, "Bring it! I'm ready. You don't know what I've been through--I can take on ANYTHING!" And the thing is, Andresh's experiences give him the right to say that, and have it be true (for the most part). The look on Andresh's face, his posture--I see confidence, and a slight hint of mischief, too. I'm super-pleased with this work!

For more of Chrecand's work, visit her Deviant Art page! If you like what you see, commission the artist!

(c) 2012 by Crispygray
Oh, gosh. (Tears and a sigh!). I've never really been a romantic person, but I'd be lying if I said that it doesn't affect me in any way when I see or read something that's very endearing. So when I saw this my heart got all fluttery at how sweet (and ROMANTIC!) Lily and Andresh look in this artwork. 

I love everything about it. I mentioned in an earlier post somewhere (I think this one--scroll down to the photo of Tamaki and Haruhi) that it's very difficult to illustrate THE LOOK...but Crispy Gray did it! See how Lily and Andresh are looking at each other? 


And that background is fantastic. Very pretty designs; and I LOVE (and am jealous) of how Crispy Gray can play with light and shadow. If you want me to get snooty art history about it then I'd say something like, "What a fascinating use of chiaroscuro!" The whole image, and every effect in it, works well together to portray Lily and Andresh's relationship.

For more of CrispyGray's work, visit her Deviant Art page! If you like what you see, commission the artist!

01 October 2012

Ohayocon Panel Subs & Anime Watch Update!

Ohayocon 2013: ZOMBIES!!
Image (c) 2012 by Ohayocon, via their official Tumblr
Hi all...

So, I finally submitted my third panel to Ohayocon for their consideration. 

Three hours of panels = comp badge, hooray! 

And now all I have to do is wait to hear from programming, which will understandably take a good while...panel submissions close November 30th, but they are also capping submissions at 200. Still, I don't expect to hear anything about my panels until late December/early January, so I'll be mum on it for a while.

In the meantime, check this out:

OHAYOCON 2013 IS JANUARY 18-20! The convention will be hosted by the Hyatt Regency and the Greater Columbus Convention Center in fantabulous Columbus, Ohio, the city I know and love. The convention is counted as one of the largest of its kind in the nation (hence it spreading from one building and into another). If I remember correctly, I think somewhere between 20,000-30,000 people were at last year's Ohayocon, which I attended.

  1. Read about the convention here, here, and here
  2. Register for the convention here
  3. Read the panel submission rules here
  4. Submit your panel here
  5. Join the forums here
  1. Fanfic Into Fiction. A writing panel that examines the phenomenon that is fan fiction, and how to take the best from your fanfic work and channel that into writing popular, publishable fiction. Read my Ohayocon panel description here!
  2. The Alchemy of FMA. This is a mega fan panel (I'm an FMA Otaku!!) but it's also educational, in that while we idolize Hirmou Arakawa's magnum opus (heh) we'll also learn about historical alchemy and how it gives the series a deeper meaning than some may realize. Read my Ohayocon panel description here!
  3. Give Good Spec! Yes, I realize this completely contradicts my earlier post, but I also had a hard time coming up with a third panel topic. Also, after some correspondence back and forth between myself and another awesome panelist, my Fanfic into Fiction panel counts as overlapping content (at least topically. Jennifer and I both compared our fanfic panel submissions and they are very, very different from each other. But still...). Duplicate content can be denied. With that in mind, I still wanted to represent creative writing at Ohayocon, so I submitted Give Good Spec! to them today. BUT NOT WITHOUT A MAJOR OVERHAUL. Read my Ohayocon panel description here!
So that's that. In the meantime, let me throw in some ANIME news...

The DVD cover.*
I finished watching Soul Eater. This is the only anime series, besides FMA and FMABthat I've been able to finish. It is wickedly entertaining and it had my complete interest throughout each episode (minus the Excalibur scenes. I like Troy Baker and the whole FOOL! thing, but I had to fast forward through the Excalibur episodes after a while. Ugh). As awesome as this show is, there's some stuff that just made no sense to me (in terms of characterization and logic), and I'm sorry to say this, but the ending sucked and left me totally unfulfilled.  Arrrgh, that's beyond frustrating. That said, there's a lot to like in this anime if I overlook a few things, and the series' strength is its characters. So...at the moment, Soul Eater is in my top three. 

I'm happy to say now that after watching the series, I recognize a lot more cosplays from Ohayocon and Colossal Con 2012. In fact, I took a sweet photo at Colossal Con with a Maka Albarn  (I've never been able to find the photo online though, sigh)...the only thing is, I didn't know who she was at the time. I just described her as "cute girl with plaid skirt and ginormous scythe" in my con review. And she was so complimentary of my cosplay, and I never spoke about hers because I am a doof. But now I know who you are, and your cosplay was awesome--especially your Scythe! Happy Belated Compliments Day, everyone!

After Soul Eater I checked out Black Butler, because I was still in the mood to watch some dark, twisted stuff. I'd seen some awesome Black Butler cosplays, and was very intrigued (I heard mostly positive things about it, although I heard the plot was good and the ending sucked. Oy). Anyway, this is what I can say about Black Butler:

I quit after the second episode. 

...And I feel kind of shitty for giving up on it. 

The series looks wonderful--it has a great visual, gothic sensibility--and Sebastian Michaelis is indeed one hell of a butler (mrow). I loved the devious, twisted stuff that happened in the first two episodes, and the premise of the story is totally amazing.  So what made me stop? 



I've never been a part of the dub vs. sub debate when it comes to anime. I don't have a language preference usually. I've watched the same films with English and Japanese language tracks, and thought both performances have their merits and nuances that enrich viewership. Very rarely do I find one superior to the other. 

The DVD cover.*
But I tend to watch almost all anime in English. Why? Because that's the predominant language available. I stream almost all anime because to be honest, as popular as it is in the USA, it's still kind of hard to come by. When I stream anime, it's all dubbed. There is no Japanese language option. When I check out the Anime Network on Demand (the only channel in my cable lineup that shows anime), a lot of the series are automatically broadcast in English. The only time I've ever seen a Japanese language option is for DVDs. That's it.  And DVDs can get expensive, especially when you try to get your hands an entire series. 

So...when I streamed Black Butler via Netflix, I could only hear those terrible British accents. 

I mean damned near every character I saw got on my nerves. Including the leads. Sebastian's voice was ok for the most part, but for some reason Ciel Phantomhive's voice just grated on me, every time I heard that character speak. And I know the actress who plays Ciel does good work, so I don't know why the voice bothers me so much. It's pretty much an irrational hatred--there's no good reason to dislike it; I just do.

My hatred for the other characters makes a little more sense (hopefully). Like the servants: yeccch. 


I've heard better accents in Hetalia. And they're all supposed to be walking stereotypes! 

Bleeehhhh...anyway, this is an instance where I'm 900% positive I will like the Japanese language track better than the English language track. Because I think the only way I can give Black Butler another shot is if I watch it subtitled.  

Which will be potentially hard for me to do--although recently some writer friends told me Hulu is starting to stream anime in English and Japanese, so there's hope. 

But the thing is....if I have to jump through hoops to get my hands on a Japanese language version, is Black Butler worth the effort? Hmmm...

So, yes. After two full episodes of Black Butler I switched to Hetalia.  Which is completely different from everything I'm normally into when it comes to anime. 

Hetalia caught my eye because I've seen cosplays from it everywhere. It has a pretty huge fandom and there's always a large Hetalia presence at conventions. So that caught my interest...

And then there's this video from Anime Vice that sealed the deal. I love that website, but I love even more the video series The Vice Pit, where the gang talks all things anime. I've seen several of their videos, but then I watched the "Worst Anime Ever" video they made. They saved Hetalia for the end (I recommend watching the whole video because they have really awesome insight into storytelling... but if you want to skip, Hetalia pops up at 8:54).

SO...Hot Damn! Hetalia sounded super crazy. And so I started watching it. I'm nowhere near done with it yet, but here's what I can say so far:
  • It's made me laugh out loud at times. So far the only other anime to make me laugh like that was Ouran High School Host Club...but I find Hetalia funnier.
  • I really hope, as Tom from the Vice Pit suggests, high school students don't substitute this for a world history class. BUT!!! If Hetalia sparks interest in world history, that's another thing. Go and search for the truth, kids!!!
  • It is really bizarre to see certain issues downplayed. Because honestly, WWII was terrible for everyone, and all sides (Axis or Allied) did really shitty things during the war.
  • That said...this series hardly seems about WWII so far. More like....everything dating from the fall of the Roman empire up to the early 20th century. With random, completely modern commentary thrown in.
  • I'm trying to find clear references...I'm looking for the Holocaust jokes Tom alluded to in the video; haven't found them yet. I also keep looking for references to stuff like Manzanar  and D-Day...haven't found that yet either. But the series doesn't completely depart from history...they touch on the Hundred Years' War, the Revolutionary War, stuff like the Austria-Hungarian monarchy, the UN Security council, and a butt-ton of other treaties, agreements, and alliances...but the hard-hitting WWII stuff hasn't happened yet. Unless I missed it completely and it totally went over my head. Which is possible. Everything moves pretty quickly in this show.
  • The biting narration is pretty funny.
  • The DVD cover!*
  • The anime makes Italy look pretty stupid and Germany...*sigh*...I'm German, and I'm proud to have German relatives in the US and overseas, so I feel, in a way, that I should be glad that Hetalia doesn't make Germany into the complete personification of evil. On the other hand...didn't expect Germany to be so varm und fuzzy, ja know? (Germany indeed talks like that in the anime).
So I have to say that Anime Vice's review brings up some good points with Hetalia, but I've not seen everything they've discussed yet...so I can't decide if it's the worse anime series yet or not. It hasn't reached the level of "F***ing disgusting," but I can see why the series can be problematic. It's supposed to be funny, and it supposed to be satire (points on both counts!!) but at the same time...it's like revisionist history. It's leaving out the troubling parts. Which I guess needs to happen if the show wants to be comedic and cartoony, but then again, it seems like certain things from the past just shouldn't (and can't) be overlooked.

That's it on my anime update. I've not gone too much further into watching because of the book and school and Deviant Art stuff (I took requests because I'm insane!!)...but slowly and steadily I'm getting through the List.
*Copyright and Intellectual Property Statement:  Every image in this post is subject to copyright. Their inclusion in this post falls under terms of Fair Use because they reference the work in question in a critical analysis (the DVD covers for each anime) or for illustration and clarification (the Ohayocon 2013 logo).