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Hey! This got some attention over at my medium page, so I thought I'd post it here finally. 
 
Write to you later,
xoxo
 ♥  ♥  ♥
 
 
Hello kitty x Vans! My favourite
 
After years of being a major pop icon, Hello Kitty finally got her own book! And she’s earned it: Hello Kitty’s 40th Anniversary book features a history of collaborations with famous brands, entertainers and artists around the world! Collaborators include TokidokiStussy, and DC Comics.This large format book is definitely a collector’s item, but I’d recommend it for fashionistas too. With gorgeous spreads and short biographies of every company/artist, it’s almost like an indie fashion mag.
 
 
 

 My favorite collaborations are SuperNative Union, Vansand MAC. I specifically remember the latter two, because I desperately wanted my own pair of Hello Kitty sneakers, and a cute Hello Kitty makeup bag and lipstick to match.

In my honest opinion—and I am not a die hard Hello Kitty super fan—the book is okay. I’m not sure it includes every single collaboration, because Kimora Lee Simmons’ line of jewellery isn’t in the book. Sorry to spoil it for you, but it’s the one thing I was expecting and was most excited to see. That being said, it’s passable, but if you must buy it, be my guest.

You Can't Live Without Zvezda Plot!
5/21/2014

Dear Anime God, can this 12-episode rule not be a thing anymore? Please? I watched two winter titles and they were so, so good… but then ended in the blink of an eye! Just make all seasonal titles 24 episodes. It's perfect for short series. It gives enough time for them to develop and is vitamin C to character development. So many anime end before they should, and I wonder why; budget restraints, maybe? 

One of the titles I watched was World Conquest Zvezda Plot. The story starts out in the distant future with a man, seemingly in his middle-age, walking down a path that leads to a statue of a young woman. It’s a foreshadowing scene that gives us an indication of what we’re about to witness. In brief, this anime revolves around a young high school boy named Asuta Jimon, and involvement with an organization called Zvezda— a team of people with anonymous identities whose sole purpose is to conquer the world. Zvezda’s got a home base (that looks like a condensed water park) with the ability to transform into a regular-looking house for the sake of concealment. They target specific groups of people which make them a threat to their town.

But wait, it’s really not that serious. Did I mention Zvezda’s house is powered by an underground field of green onions? Their power-up transformations are also organically charged by that same field of green onions. Oh, yes, and I forgot: their leader Kate Hoshimiya, is a little girl stuck in her prepubescent body forever.

The series rolls out in a format that makes it seem episodic, but it really isn’t. You have to watch it chronologically to get a clue of the values that Zvezda have, and the relationships between each member. We get to learn about the past of the team members, and how they got involved in world conquest, but there isn’t much knowledge of Kate’s past and why she’s stuck being a little girl for the rest of her life. I think I enjoy the matter; there doesn’t need to be a reason for everything in a case like this quirky anime. I also found myself liking the antagonists, White Light. They’re a bunch of interesting people themselves, and I noticed that one of them was designed aesthetically after Sailor Moon! There’s a sweet twist in their relationship with Zvezda that kept me at the edge of my seat, excited to see it unravel.

I’d say this anime is a weird mix between magical girl, mecha, the typical shonen plot, and a pinch of sci-fi. It’s also got a lot of comedy. Actually, it’s like a comedy with a serious tone to it, if you can imagine. I’ve never really experienced an anime so odd, and so I really like it. The reason why it should have expanded to 24 episodes is because you might get a little too comfortable in your seat watching it. So before realizing, you’re on the 9th episode, about to end the series soon, when you thought it just started! At least that’s what happened to me. Needless to say, the end was rushed. Things unraveled a little too fast, and the foreshadowing of the first episode—the very first minute of the entire show—didn’t even correlate with the ending; we, the viewers, were never brought back to the future.

But this poor ending still doesn’t change how I feel about the anime as a whole. World Conquest Zvezda Plot because will make you laugh, keep you guessing, serve you the unexpected, and give you the “feels”.

So how was your winter anime, guys? Did you enjoy Space Dandy on your American TVs?

Winter Anime 2014 Preview!
1/04/2014
 
 
 
Hi Elites! I hope you enjoy my efforts of making my banner exceptional just for you, with whatever I have, because I care for you. :)

It's a little late for a winter preview isn't it? But that's alright, because while a few shows are about to premiere this weekend--some, as early as this morning, others still have yet to be released, Crunchyroll hasn't completed their winter simulcast list, and this season's anime chart hasn't been completed yet. 

This season, I didn't follow any news on releases aside from the much anticipated titles, which were announced earlier this year. I've also decided to tend to my 'plan to watch' list for a while, so I probably won't be watching any seasonal anime for a bit. This ultimately means that my winter preview is a short list of titles, compared to the last one, that I find particularly interesting. I also won't be doing a round-up again until I resume seasonal watch lists. 

The most exciting part of winter 2014, in my opinion, is that we'll be seeing a second season of Silver Spoon, and Space Dandy will be premiering after much buzz about it in the summer. Sailor Moon will finally be making a comeback this season (supposedly)!Unfortunately, only Space Dandy appears to have a PV at the moment, so no sneak peek at what to expect from Silver Spoon and Sailor Moon. And before I forget, I must let you know, in case you're a fan or interested in watching it, that Mushi-shi is getting an OVA, which aired earlier today. It also seems that Pupa is finally premiering, because it didn't last season despite the fact it was planned for the fall slate. What's more is the adaptation of a very well known Shonen Jump manga series called Nisekoi, which I will talk more of in detail later. So, let me know which anime you're excited about, whether it's posted below or not, and once the anime chart is completed, I'll provide it of course.

 

The Pilot's Love Song 

Adventure, Fantasy 

Tomorrow (Sunday) The first episode of The Pilot's Love Song will premiere. The story follows Charles, a member of the lower caste in the country of Levamme, who dreams of becoming a pilot in the air force. He gets a chance of realizing his dream one day, when a warring country known as Amatsuvian bombard's the noble family of Levamme in order to kill the soon-to-be empress Fana. In order to ensure her safety and that her marriage is realized, Charles is entrusted by the noble family to take their daughter to her fiancé Prince Carlo.  

 

 

 

  

Z/X: Ignition

Card Game, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Adventure 

PV 

January 10, 2014 

 Five portals to parallel worlds appear in various points of the world, whereby several creatures appear. These monsters come from five different time frames of the same world, and to make sure that their own time frame survives, they battle each other out to eliminate the other time frames. This seems like a very interesting twist on the card game genre, and it doesn't seem like the typically cheesy kodomo appeal that this category has nowadays. 

 

 

Hozuki No Reitetsu

 Comedy, Supernatural 

PV 

January 10, 2014 

A comedy about a sadistic god aide named Hozuki: Hozuki attempts to resolve various problems in Hell while also smiting over animals and caring for his 'Goldfish Flowers'. I love (intentionally) weird, out-of-the-box art, and I think this anime fits that bill. The manga art is just amazing too. 

 

 

 

 

 

Hamatora

Mystery, Game, Super Powers, Shounen

PV 

January 7, 2014 

Only a few humans are born with the special power of 'Minimum'. Those humans are known as the 'Mininmum Holders'. Two detectives, Nice & Murasaki, are part of this limited group of people who posses these powers. They decide to form an agency called 'Hamatora', where they wait for clients to come ask them for help. Eventually their friend Art asks for their aid in a serious case of recent serial murders, and the duo soon discover the murderer's target, which (of course, as you can imagine) are Minimum Holders. I'm a fan of the art in this anime, and I very much like the plot; it seems pretty badass! 

 

Noragami

Supernatural, Action, Adventure, Shounen 

PV 

January 5, 2014 

At the boundaries between the physical realm the spirit world exists gods, and the spirits who either serve them or choose to interfere in the lives of the living. Miyori, a young girl who gets bullied at school, discovers a phone number in the bathroom stall one day, with a message that reads 'I solve your troubles'. After having called it, she encounters a young lad who claims he's a god.   

 

 

 

Tonari no Seki-Kun: The Master of Killing Time

 Pure.Comedy. Gold. 

January 5, 2014 (tomorrow) 

This beloved anime is about a high school kid named Seki who is always playing all sorts of games at his desk, without ever getting caught by the teacher. The girl who sits beside him, Rumi, always finds herself  interested in what he’s doing, and sometimes she plays along with him. This seems like a unique anime: it’s super simple, and, judging from the plot, it’s not trying to be anything other than what it is, which is some guy whose bored at his desk at school trying to kill time, while the person sitting next to him gets involved out of curiosity. Amazing! Who’s going to watch this one? 

Nisekoi

 

Rom-com, Shounen 

PV 

January 11, 2014 

Nisekoi is the story of a high school boy named Raku, who happens to be the heir to a Yakuza family. He made a special promise to a certain girl when he was younger, and since then he has not let go of the pendant given to him by that girl. One day he encounters Chitoge, and they start to gradually dislike each other. Meanwhile, Raku is also crushing on another girl at school by the name of Kosaki, and he soon finds himself stuck in a love triangle (or square?) because, due to a certain turn of events concerning the Yakuza, Raku and Chitoge must pretend to be lovers. 

I feel like talk about the anime adaptation of Nisekoi was a bit on the low, because I had only read about the probability of an anime adaptation once, a while ago, and I was totally surprised to see that the manga did in fact get an adaptation. Nisekoi has been running in SJ since 2011, so I'm not sure if plans are to make this one a long running series or not. My guess is that, considering the plot—which to me is very poor— this will not be a long running series. What do you think? 

Pupa

Sci-Fi, Shounen, Horror, Fantasy, Psychological 

PV 

Known as the "life-and-death sibling" story or “the ultimate love of the brother and sister”, the tale follows Yume Hasegawa, whom after having seen a red butterfly, undergoes a metamorphosis where she transforms into a man-eating monster. Her brother Utsutsu, who has the power of rapid cell regeneration, feeds her his body. (Um, what’s with guys and hairclips this season?)

 

 

 

 

Space Dandy

Comedy, Sci-Fi 

PV & PV 

Premieres TONIGHT on Toonami (you lucky Americans (✖╭╮✖) ) at 11:30 pm/ 12:30 central!

Join Dandy, the dandiest guy in space, on his adventures as he travels the universe on his quest to discover new species of aliens he’s never seen before! Watch him collect them all!

 

I was excited when my instructor presented us with a project in which we had to interview anyone from the publishing industry. My very first interview, I thought, exciting! Around this time, I was also researching articles on misogyny in comics for another project, and I stumbled upon one of Sam Maggs' amazing articles. Of course, that lead me to look more into Sam and her work. 

Sam Maggs is a comic book and TV otaku who writes for several geek culture sites such as Pop Wrapped, Televixen, Tdotcomics, Dork Shelf, and Geekosystem where she is currently an editor. She was very kind as to sit down with me and talk.

I sat down with Sam to talk about her career thus far, misogyny in comic books and being feminist in geek culture. She also gave me great advice on how to handle a creative career. I think any aspiring writer/artist (or any other profession which enables you to create) can benefit from what she told me. Here's a condensed version of my interview with Sam. Enjoy! 

complex-chan: [You wrote a letter to Tony Harris] What’s up with him?

Sam-chan: He, I think, is not all that unusual in the comics world, unfortunately. It’s kind of an old school point of view where mainstream geek culture has forever been a boys’ club, and the guys feel that they have to gatekeep their fandom so that there’s a proper way to like something, and an improper way to like something, and if you’re not liking it in the way they think you should—which is being a man, and being super knowledgeable of every single thing, then they don’t want you invading their personal bubble which they fought really hard to construct. So they lash out against the fans who don’t fit into that bubble, and often times that’s women, queer people, or people of color.

Are you upset about that? How do you deal with it since you chose to have a career in this industry? Because I had read an article about this girl, also a writer, who stated that if this is the way things are going to be, then maybe she didn’t want to read comics anymore.

I think that’s a very defeatist way to approach things, I understand people who try to get involved in this world and are feeling shunned and just feel like walking away from it all. But if we all do that, then it will never be a safe space for people like me, and if I’m passionate about this form of art—and art and text should be available to everyone— the only way to make that more probable is to fight for it. Somebody needs to put a voice to the fact that people like me like to read comic books, and when I do, I don’t want to see a lot of tits and ass. Last year, 50% of people who bought video games were women, and similarly, a lot more women are buying comic books now. We not only have to say that we like these things, but we can put physicality to our voice by using our money to buy the things that we think are right, and not support the things that we think are misogynist or disgusting, like the New 52 Catwoman: the cover is Catwoman leaning over backwards with her boobs out, spilling diamonds out of a phallus-shaped bag. It was awful! So maybe don’t buy New 52 Catwoman, make a point about it, someone’s going to read it and maybe the right people are going to come into power at DC and Marvel. Or, indie comics are going to get bigger because more people are going to start putting their money there [since] they draw the things that we want to see. So, I think it upsets me. I wouldn’t be so vocal about it otherwise, but the wrong thing to do is shut yourself or be equally as exclusive in another form. Use that anger to try to make a positive change—which is easier said than done, because it’s hard!

Do you feel women need to have a hub for themselves and eventually integrate into the entire geek culture?

The Internet has been great for people getting together to create communities—worldwide communities! So I think it is important to form these gangs, but ultimately if you want to make a change, that does have to disseminate into the greater culture. If you want your voice to be heard, it’s better to be a collective of voices, and I think Twitter & Tumblr are really great places to do that. A lot of great comic artists who I really admire like Kate Leth, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Gail Simone have very pro-active Tumblr followings, and they can mobilize fans like that (snaps fingers).

Why did you choose writing as your medium to express yourself?

Uh, ‘cause I can’t draw for shit, basically [we both laugh]. No, I’ve always loved writing. I started when I was 7. [I was writing] short stories, then I moved onto fan fiction, which is why I think it’s wonderful even though it’s terrible [blushes]! I’ve always loved writing, reading, and I’ve always loved television. I’ve loved storytelling in an unusual medium, and I never wanted to be a novelist. But I’ve always found screenwriting really appealing, and journalism, which is what I do now. The reason why I think comics are really interesting is because comics are written in the same way that Hollywood screenplays are written: you write them in the exact same format, and then they’re transferred onto a page instead of onto the screen.

So, [writing is] your full-time job now, type of thing?

Yeah, it’s all I do now. So, I write for Dork Shelf where I write about women in the comics industry, I write for the Televixen where I talk about TV shows, and I’m an editor for Geekosystem, where I talk about… everything!

[We laugh]

How do you juggle all those jobs?

When I was working full-time, and doing all those things on the side it was very difficult. Toronto has a very vibrant nerd scene… and I really like to be part of the community, so I like to go to events [and] screenings… but that takes time out of your life, so how did I balance everything? Poorly. It was really hard. I’d go to my full-time job, then I would go to an event, and then I’d come home and write for several hours to make sure that I was on top of my deadlines, then I’d go to sleep, and I’d do it all again.

You’d sleep in?

Yeah, and try to maintain my relationships with friends full-time. It is tough. I think you have to make a commitment in a creative field to really dedicate yourself to it because it’s never going to pay the bills in the same way that [being a lawyer] is going to pay the bills. You have to integrate yourself into the community and get to know people. There are a million other people who want to be in comics. There are a million other people who want to be writers. Everybody can be a writer now because of blogging and in my experience the only difference between people who want to do it, and people who do it, [is that they’re] just doing it. Do you know what I mean?

Yeah.

If you really want to do it, you have to make a commitment to the fact that you’ll probably have to do it on top of your job for a while, it’ll be exhausting, and there probably won’t be a lot of reward at first because no one’s going to read your stuff and you’re going to feel bummed [about that]. You’re going to be self-promoting it to the only 200 people who follow you on Twitter, it’s going to be terrible for a while. But if you’re really passionate about it, you just have to do it, and it’ll work out.

Aside from writing, do you have other hobbies?

I have a YouTube series with a friend of mine called the c_ntrollers, and we [make videos about] playing video games. And I really like to see movies. I just saw Thor yesterday. One thing I will say though is that the women are poorly treated in the movie. In Thor, which I thought was a wonderful movie as a whole, the women are saved by the men in every single instance. Thor’s mother is fridged… you know the term women in refrigerators?

No.

This is a comic book reference. It was a DC comic, and the main character comes home to find his girlfriend chopped up in the fridge. Dead. And that’s what motivates him to go on his grand adventure as a superhero. Gail Simone wrote a piece about women in refrigerators, and how women traditionally serve as the motivation for the male superhero to go on whatever self-fulfilling journey he needs to go on, and it’s usually the female’s death. So, they’re basically objects that die for the sake of the male hero to go on his journey. That happened in this Thor movie.

On my blog, I wrote about one of the characters in Naruto Shippuden…the difference between misogyny in anime and manga, and western comics and animation is that at least the women [in anime/manga] have a really powerful role and have character development.

That’s definitely different. We just die a lot.

[We laugh]

The issue I had with this character, she was the chief of her village. But she was the type of woman [who was a stereotype created by the media], who chooses her career over marriage and children—you know the typical route society wants us to take? She keeps saying that she missed her chance at the altar, and she’s really bitter about being single. I argued that...and I’m sort of questioning my argument now, but I argued that because I really like the fact that Catwoman has sex appeal and commands it…

She’s in charge of it.

Yeah. And I felt if Mei, that’s the name of the character, was going to have sex appeal she could use her sex appeal in that way too.

That’s a totally fair argument. It’s okay for women to be sex workers, it’s okay for women to be strippers, it’s okay for women to wear a bra on the street in the middle of the day. That’s kind of the point of Feminism. Do whatever you want to do, and own it, and run with it, accept yourself and love yourself. Be you, whether that’s wearing a turtleneck and long boots because that’s how you feel comfortable, or you love your size 14 body and you want to do burlesque dancing. No dude can tell you what’s okay and what’s not. You shouldn’t feel [uneasy about] if it’s ok for [Mei] to use her sexuality, and if men are going to be okay with that. When you look at it from that perspective, power is still with the man. 

OTT: Itachari x Itasha x Itansha!
9/26/2013

 

Actually, I own this one.

Hi Elites! Here’s a little something that’s fun for us all.

Are you familiar with one of the latest trends in Otaku culture in Japan? It involves pimping out—or rather geeking out—your vehicle of choice, and showcasing to the world your fandom. This is known as itachari (for bikes), itasha (for cars), and itansha (for motorcycles)! I was first introduced to this trend while reading an article in GEEK magazine this past summer; the article even has steps on DIY itachari.

Since the rise of otaku culture in Japan throughout the 1980’s, itachari, itasha and itansha have gained a rising popularity along with it. It’s essentially a way for otaku of any interests, but especially those into anime, manga, and games, to come out of their shell and display their fandom loud and proud. If this doesn’t shove society’s marginalization of otaku culture back in its face, then I don’t know what does. Danny Choo, perhaps the most famous Japan-culture otaku of our time, has featured itachari, itasha, and itansha on Culture Japan himself, and even went as far as making his own itachari of his beloved mascot Mirai (I can never get over how loaded this guy is).

I like this one. It's very minimalist.

It’s done by plastering images of your favourite characters from games, anime, or manga onto a car or bike. Some even garnish their cars with plushies and pillows. The best place to spot these vehicles is, of course, Akihabara; Japan’s otaku capital! In professional motor sports, these hot-tamalis have their own showings. There are even exhibitions specifically dedicated to them, such as Moe Haku, and other festivals.

 

Top to bottom: Cute Pink itansha. Moe Haku 2010: A Pillow-garnished Itansha

So, what are the origins of these words? Itachari is derived from “itai” and “chari" : the Japanese word “itai” means painful, and “chari” means bicycle. As for “itasha”, according to AGI, it was originally a word used to describe imported Italian cars during Japan’s post-war economy. In this case, “ita” would be short form of “Italy”, while “sha” is the Japanese word for car. However, these days the origin is known as being from the words “itai” and “sha”, meaning painful car. These definitions, “painful bike” and “painful car”, can be interpreted as having vehicles that are painful to look at due to the embarrassment they may bring, and how expensive it costs to have one of these in the first place.

Itaaaiii! Yes, that is a man. =D

I think us western otaku should get on the bandwaggon sometime soon and geek out our own bikes and cars. Well, Maybe just bikes first; my shy demeanor is taking its sweet time shedding away. Other than having passed by a itachari display at my city’s only anime shop, the closest thing I’ve seen of this type of fandom fashion is a youtube video from DC Comics' channel about their humanitarian project "We Can Be Heroes": they teamed up with KIA to design DC-themed cars, and had them showcased at SEMA 2012 . Those cars were auctioned off and the money went towards DC's efforts to fight famine during the drought last year in the Horn of Africa— for the record, amazing way to use your geeky hobby for the greater good, no?

So, how do you like itachari, itasha, and itansha? Do you think we should rip out a page from Japanese otakus’ books? 

P.S. Hey, um. I blog later on Thursdays because I work on Thursdays at school, into the night. It doesn't bother me too much that I do this, but yeah, just a note in case you're wondering. =]

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