Your Name – Review April 11, 2017Posted by coolmikeol in Anime, Otaku.
Tags: Anime, Coolmikeol, Kimi no Na wa., Review, Your Name.
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Remember, this review assume that you have watched the movie, which means SPOILERS will be imminent. You have been warned.
Talking about spoilers, I’m glad I stayed away from them for this movie. I already knew about the body swapping aspect, but the fate of Itomori was something I never saw or heard of prior to watching, nor expected.
So before I review the movie, I want to mention some things beforehand. First of all I watched this movie in a theater English subbed. (Just got back and immediately got to work on writing this up while listening to music from the movie, was thinking all about it during my 15 minute drive back home.) This was my first time watching an anime movie in theaters, though the atmosphere is somewhat similar to when I’m watching anime at cons in viewing rooms. I decided to watch it at the theaters as I’ve been hearing rave reviews about it, and it was only going to be in theaters for a couple more days. I arrived fairly early for the movie, as much as half hour early for the film. There was only one other person in the room at the time, so seating was no problem. I already ate before I got to the theater so that I didn’t need to buy expensive food from there. I did bring at least some candy and a small water bottle; good thing they don’t search bags at the one I go to. When it was time for the movie to start, there was only about seven people in the room, which was a bit sad but at the same time I’ve got to remember that these films rarely go all the way to US theaters. Also maybe because I was at a 1:50pm screening as well? Probably there would be more people at the later ones.
Here’s a playlist of the music from the film.
Here is a synopsis from MAL.net:
Mitsuha Miyamizu, a high school girl, yearns to live the life of a boy in the bustling city of Tokyo—a dream that stands in stark contrast to her present life in the countryside. Meanwhile in the city, Taki Tachibana lives a busy life as a high school student while juggling his part-time job and hopes for a future in architecture.
One day, Mitsuha awakens in a room that is not her own and suddenly finds herself living the dream life in Tokyo—but in Taki’s body! Elsewhere, Taki finds himself living Mitsuha’s life in the humble countryside. In pursuit of an answer to this strange phenomenon, they begin to search for one another.
Kimi no Na wa. revolves around Mitsuha and Taki’s actions, which begin to have a dramatic impact on each other’s lives, weaving them into a fabric held together by fate and circumstance.
This synopsis does a decent job describing the movie in a very general manner, as it should. Good thing it doesn’t really spoil much, something I hate very much. Watching a movie beyond the synopsis always feels like jumping through a painting; it’s much more deeper than what you see on the outside.
I thought this movie was fantastic; the art was breathtaking, the music was simple yet effective for the scenes they played for, and the story made my eyes widen when things started turning for the worst. The scene that got to me the most was when Taki and Mitsuha were on the mountaintop together, but at first could not see one another, they could only hear each other. It was only when passing right by one another in that space that could sense each other through their red string of fate. Twilight came and for that short moment, bridged the gap between time and space. They could see one another, talk face to face, and hold each others hands. It was that moment where they were writing their names on each other’s hands that almost made me tear up. The abruptness of Mitsuha’s disappearance with the drop of the pen, and Taki’s fading memories made me feel for them.
After the movie I began to think about the paradox theory and how it applies in the situation in the movie. It’s not so clear cut like how movies like Back to the Future shows or deals with paradoxes. For the first half with Taki and Mitsuha randomly switching bodies, there didn’t seem to be no rhyme or reason for it. Or course at the time, we assume that distance is the only thing separating them. It’s not until later that we learn that the events that destroyed Itomori happened three years ago. Because Taki now knows of the comet strike, his hope to change the past will depend on connecting back to Mitsuha. Recalling that she had a family shrine outside of Itomori on a mountaintop crater, he heads to there in hopes that going to it will help him reconnect with her one more time. By drinking the kuchikamizake that she made (and falling over and hitting his head), he wakes up in her body once more on the day of the comet pass by. Taki knows he has a chance to change things, to save these people of a beautiful town. His actions only initiate a evacuation, but due to time and fate resisting, things seem to be destined for what is known in the future. It’s only after the meeting between Taki and Mitsuha at twilight that gives them a fighting chance to truly save the people of Itomori. Once we learn that there are no casualties and that history has changed, we witness their memories of each other fade. Maybe this is how the paradox is handled, similar to how people can disappear if certain events happen in the past. While time may have degraded their memories of each other during those events, it did not destroy the connection they still share, as seen in the ending of the movie.
I stayed throughout the entire movie, even the end credits listening to the music play. Most people left during this time, except for me and one other hoping to see if there was any post credit scene. There wasn’t any but it was best that I knew that I saw all there was to see before I left the theater.
During the movie, there were a couple of times where I heard crying from a nearby movie watcher. I tend to be the kind of person who can never be sure whether or not the emotion coming from someone else is real or not. I’m not saying that this movie is not sad, nor do I think that the times she cried was fake in any kind of manner. I’m just being overly cautious of others’ reactions because I get influenced by others opinions, especially about shows I watch.
While I thought this movie was great in its own right, I don’t think of it as a masterpiece unfortunately. I would rate it a 8.5 out of 10. For me, what would add to the film is if it had more time to flesh some things out. I would have liked to learn more about the phenomenon that gave Taki and Mitsuha the opportunity they had to be together. It sort of reminds me of the movie Interstellar, where love helped the main character transcend time and space to send a message that ultimately saved the human race. I know that the topic was touched on by Mitsuha’s grandmother that it was a family thing, but was that only it? I guess the strings that invisibly trail us is our answer to all in the film. As for the ending, I think it ended well with them finally finding one another again then cutting there. As part of the audience, we can presume a regular life awaits them which doesn’t need to be shown. Leave it to the imagination.
Winter Anime Season 2017 – Review April 10, 2017Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
Tags: Anime, Coolmikeol, Review, Winter Anime Season 2017
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This anime season was one of the weaker ones I’ve probably watched. Minus Gundam Orphans, I initially started watching a few of the several shows airing, only adding Masamune-kun no Revenge and Seiren mid season to the list. I also had a lot of things going on IRL that kept me from watching consistently each episode every week as I usually do. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:
Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.
From a first glance, this anime doesn’t seem to be anything too special besides the “Monster Girls” aspect. However, instead of the “monster” being the main focus, the anime explores the themes of understanding and inclusion of different people into a normal modern society.
The main character Takahashi-sensei is a biology high school teacher who has an interest in studying and understanding demi-humans. Luckily for him, there are three students and a teacher who are different demis. Through certain events, he finds himself helping the Demis by helping them understand their own nature though science and logic, and in turn gets to interview them for information that sometimes breaks stereotypes of their kinds. In short, he lowers the wall that may keep normal humans and demi-humans from interacting normally, possibly from assumptions made based on fear or rumors.
I like how this anime stayed on focus with this theme, as well as keeping a light atmosphere even when dealing with sometimes sensitive issues. A lot of what is discussed in this show regarding the differences in people and how they should be seen by others can be used in real life. In essence, don’t judge a person based on rumors or stereotypes, try and get to know them personally and understand who and where they’re coming from. Your opinions about them can come after, but only after you attempted to have some dialogue.
This anime was my typical “slice-of-life school comedy” of the season. The show is basically about the life of an angel named Gabriel who has transferred to an Earth High School as part of her angel training. Originally a textbook example of a perfect angel, during her early days on Earth she discovered video games which quickly took over her life. She became a “fallen angel” of sorts, now being a stereotypical hikikomori. With her at the Earth school is Vignette, a very responsible and nice person, contrary to her actual role as a demon; Raphiel, a fellow angel who tends to enjoy teasing her friends, especially Satania, self-proclaimed future ruler of the underworld who tends to run into back luck with her schemes as a demon.
It was an alright series, entertaining in it’s own right about how modern day angels and demons would interact with each other and the world between them. One thing I’d like to mention, I noticed a reoccurring theme going on with some its dialogue scenes, using just a character head in a bubble while they’re talking off screen. While that’s nothing new in anime shows, the abundance of its use here made it stand out to me. Whether or not it was to save on the animation budget, or if it was actually following how the original material looked (I’ve only seen the anime), I don’t know. It may sound like I’m saying this was a negative aspect, but I don’t think that way. The humor was enjoyable, and the characters were unique in their own ways. Not a standout anime, but at least one that I don’t fall asleep to.
Another KyoAni classic, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid may sound like a comedy fan-service anime, but it’s actually much more than that. First thing that came to mind when I first saw this series, was Lucky Star, because of how Kobayashi resembled the character design from that show, at least in my opinion. I’ll leave a synopsis from MAL that will do better justice than I can write up at this point:
As Kobayashi sets off for another day at work, she opens her apartment door only to be met by an unusually frightening sight—the head of a dragon, staring at her from across the balcony. The dragon immediately transforms into a cute, busty, and energetic young girl dressed in a maid outfit, introducing herself as Tooru.
It turns out that the stoic programmer had come across the dragon the previous night on a drunken excursion to the mountains, and since the mythical beast had nowhere else to go, she had offered the creature a place to stay in her home. Thus, Tooru had arrived to cash in on the offer, ready to repay her savior’s kindness by working as her personal maidservant. Though deeply regretful of her words and hesitant to follow through on her promise, a mix of guilt and Tooru’s incredible dragon abilities convinces Kobayashi to take the girl in.
Despite being extremely efficient at her job, the maid’s unorthodox methods of housekeeping often end up horrifying Kobayashi and at times bring more trouble than help. Furthermore, the circumstances behind the dragon’s arrival on Earth seem to be much more complicated than at first glance, as Tooru bears some heavy emotions and painful memories. To top it all off, Tooru’s presence ends up attracting several other mythical beings to her new home, bringing in a host of eccentric personalities. Although Kobayashi makes her best effort to handle the crazy situation that she has found herself in, nothing has prepared her for this new life with a dragon maid.
What I liked about the series, besides the obvious adorableness of Kanna, and the awkward naiveté that is Elma, was the interactions between Tooru and Kobayashi. Focusing on the main internal conflict Tooru has with herself about humans and the world she comes from, you can see that she has had a hard life. Whether it coming from her upbringing from her parents, to the constant human raids attacking her when resting, or the wars between the dragon factions, she has been fighting for a long time during which materialized and cemented her hatred for humans. Only on the verge of death did she find one human who would not only listen to her, but save her life as well. You could say that Kobayashi was totally drunk, which seemed to be the case, but even after meeting Tooru and listening to her stories about her past, she still listens, understands, and accepts her for who she is despite her differences. They are both able to live together, even if the laws of the universe are against it. Tooru learns to treasure those special fleeting moments, rather than having doubts about the future, because they may be more valuable than a lifetime of memories.
I started watching this anime a bit late in the season, as it did not have my initial interest at the beginning. I eventually decided to watch it because of video clips I saw on social media. This anime is about a guy who was rejected by a girl when he was younger. During his young days, he was fat and a bit snobby, gaining the nickname “Pig’s Foot”. Due to this, he decided to change himself by working out into a handsome young man, to shed his former image. Upon entering high school, he finds himself in the presence of the girl that rejected him all those years ago. This time though, he plans to get revenge on her; by dumping her as bad as she did to him. However for this plan to work, he has to make her fall for him. This is where the story starts and gets interesting, sort of.
The anime for the most part was alright, getting a laugh or two every time a part of Makabe’s plans fall though. But that was more of less the bulk of the anime, the tug of war between progress with his plan, and her tsundereness kicking him away when he makes a critical mistake. What I didn’t like was the wrench in all of this, Gasou Kanetsugu, the proclaimed Masamune of Adagaki Aki’s past. I knew that he was going to play some sort of role towards the second half, due to him appearing in the opening sequence looking against Makabe, though at the time not sure how. I at first thought that he was a younger middle school version of Makabe, staring back at him as a reflection of some sort. First off, Kanetsugu doesn’t seem to be a mean person at all. He’s nice to everyone, including Makabe, and even volunteers himself to help Makabe’s class when he did the same for his. He seems to be playing the Masamune role under someone else’s instructions, possibly for financial reasons as he would be marrying into Adagaki’s rich family. He’s not unlikable, but because he’s tricking Adagaki he’s framed in that negative way to the audience.
Overall, the ending of this season ended with a number of questions, as well as a hint of a future season. I do hope that more of the story of the past can connect with the present, because we are still more or less running with the basic facts of girl dumped boy, boy seeks revenge by doing the same to her, an eye for an eye. There must be more than meets the eye, more facts to the story that can explain everyone’s actions both then and now. I will look forward to a new season if it can clarify and progress its plot line.
Gundam Orphans is finally over, a what a roller coaster it has been. Spanning two seasons with 25 episodes each, I felt that we went a full circle in terms of the story. Struggling at the beginning to create a name for themselves, to the edge of glory at the end of the first season/start of second season, to the fall and destruction of Tekkadan, I feel more or less satisfied with the ending, even if it was bittersweet. At least it wasn’t predictable or cliche like them getting all the way to the top, as they were always the underdogs who just got by. Their luck wasn’t always going to hold, especially with their small group size and resources against Gjallarhorn, a full military might that spans multiple regions of the solar system.
As for the second season’s main plot dilemma, it was McGillis Fareed versus Rustal Elion for who should rule Gjallarhorn in their own way. Because McGillis allied himself with Tekkadan and vice versa, we more or less viewed Rustal as the bad guy of the show as he was the one who always tried to plot their demise. As Rustal was the cold and calculating type, it was easily assumed that he had larger ambitions for ruling Gjallarhorn than McGillis, who proclaimed that he would destroy the corruption that had grew within it since its beginnings. However, when McGillis sought power from the original founder of Gjallarhorn, Agnika Kaieru’s Gundam Bael, things wern’t so clear as to who was right and wrong anymore. McGillis’s grab for power from a relic of the Calamity War was seen as nothing more than a coup d’etat for greedy reasons. Tekkadan’s decision to pair up with McGillis did not happen easily, nor did it seem likely that at that point that things would end well for them in the end, seeing as what happened to the Turbines who were destroyed by Rustal’s Arianrhod Fleet prior to McGillis obtaining Bael. As the end grew closer in this season, the odds were becoming more and more stacked against Tekkadan and McGillis, to a point where winning a battle against Rustal was out of the question. Surviving was all they could try to do, reminding us of Tekkadan’s beginnings of being human debris. Slowly the footprints left behind by McGillis and Tekkadan were wiped out under the rule of destroying out of control elements.
With their total destruction, things moved forward in a way that was quite unexpected; Rustal became the leader of Gjallarhorn, reforming it into a more democratic organization than one that was once ruled by the Seven Stars families. He downsized the Gjallarhorn Mars branch giving the people there the independence they always wanted, and finally worked together with the Martian Union to create the Human Debris Abolishment Treaty in order to prevent further exploitation of children as soldiers. He also meets with now Chairwoman Kudelia Aina Bernstein and promises to support her endeavors. In the end, everything is settled in the way mostly everyone wanted by one man, a man that was the antagonist for the entire series that won a decisive victory over the protagonists, as ironic as it seems.
When you think about it, there may have been a way that this all could of happened without the loss of McGillis and Tekkadan. Each side wanted more or less the same thing in the end, but what differed was their methods, both seemingly extreme. The main difference that separated Rustal and McGillis/Tekkadan was that the rebel duo were both people who were treated as disposable individuals; Long ago McGillis was a kid on the streets who learned the hard way that power was the only way he could survive, and once adopted into the Fareed family, learned of Agnika Kaieru and the power he possessed. From then on his goal has always been to become the ruler of Gjallarhorn and finally have the power he always craved. Tekkadan, being an organization consisting mostly of kids without a home, their goal was loosely to find a place for themselves without having to fight anymore, to live a life they feel they deserve. While they may have gotten lost along the way a few times, their end lead to their future, not just for them but for the future kids that would be saved from becoming human debris. While not much is known about Rustal Elion’s past, his actions seemed to be shrouded in vagueness as he always took the opposite stance against out protagonists, basically looking like a villain. Because of this it was automatically assumed that he wanted power for his own reasons. However, seeing what he does during the epilogue conflicts with the feelings I had (or probably most of us did). Whether or not there was a chance for any type of dialogue between the two without it blowing up, I’m not sure, but it was their means that created the war, not the shared end everyone wanted.
I enjoyed this series from start to end. It was my first Gundam series that I watched. I liked that this series is independent from the other Gundam series, so that I didn’t really need to know history or terminology of the series to understand and enjoy. It definitely didn’t feel like 50 episodes, and that’s a good thing as there wasn’t much fillers for the story. Interesting how the “bad” guy won, but at the same time things end on a high note with no loose ends. I’d probably like to try watching future Gundam series, but probably ones that are independent from its parent story like how Gundam Orphans was.
Synopsis via MAL:
“Shoichi Kamita is an ordinary high school boy, who is faced with the university entrance exam and worried about his future. This campus romantic comedy, “Seiren”, which means honest in Japanese, depicts his pure relationship with three different heroines. Each story is the unique and mutual memory between him and the heroine.”
This series was a nice casual watch about anime romance. Out of the three heroines, I thought Kyouko Touno’s was the cutest and sweetest, though Hikari Tsuneki was the most complex, and I like how she was still somewhat involved in the other characters’ routes.
Animation on Display 2017 March 22, 2017Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
Tags: 2017, Animation on Display, AOD, AODSF
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Animation on Display (AOD) is a weekend convention celebrating anime, video games, cartoons, and other fun and geeky stuff. AOD 2017 took place on March 18 & 19 at the Santa Clara Marriott.
This was my 6th AOD, and the second year of staffing at this small animation convention. I could tell that this year’s con was going to be smaller than the previous year’s one, based on venue size from a previous staff meeting, so my expectations were low for it. It also didn’t help that one of the main guests of honor couldn’t make it at the very last minute. Anyways here’s my experience of AODSF 2017.
Day 1 – March 18th
I woke up several minutes before 7AM, which made me scramble to just get ready to go and drive the approximately 45 minute commute as my shift started at 8AM. I had set my alarms to go off at 6:30AM, but I don’t remember hearing them go off. That or maybe I snoozed them and went back to sleep. Either way I didn’t have time to give myself time to get ready at my own pace. I did at least write up a list of things I needed to bring along with me the night before, so that I wouldn’t forget anything and make it easier to account for them too.
I arrived at the hotel just as the 8AM hour approached, luckily there was no traffic on the freeways. I grabbed my staff badge among other things and headed over to Registration to set up for the day. Unlike last year, the area we had for registration this year was better as it was a dedicated registration counter, complete with a back room for all our supplies and our own personal belongings. We wern’t sitting right next to sunny windows either so I didn’t have to worry about overheating.
From 8AM to 2PM, it was working time at the Registration department where the lines would come and go but never reached overwhelming levels. I could understand the relatively smaller turnout, as there wasn’t many big events going on, especially with the cancellation of Lotus Juice due to Visa issues at the arriving airport the day before. That’s also why I decide to work this con because it makes it more worth it, financially and work experience wise.
Continuing from my last point, I would not staff big cons or cons that have events or things I want to see, as I go into event photographer mode. I want to see everything and capture as much as I can with my camera and skills with it, as my goal has always been to use photos as a mosaic or pieces of a puzzle to create a big picture of the event to an outside audience, to give them a similar experience as what I felt. During my first six hour Registration shift, I watched as countless photo opportunities in the form of cosplayers pass by. I knew it would be harder to take cosplayer photos later because they may leave con, get tired and go on the side, get taken by other cosplay photographers, etc. The first opportunity is usually the best one for cosplay photography in my opinion. You just don’t know if you will see that cosplay/cosplayer again.
I had a break between 2PM and 3PM, so I made most of my time by eating lunch I picked up earlier at the hotel lobby via staff food voucher, then going around to tour the con. While browsing the Dealers Hall, I bought a Pokeball cushion to add to my growing couch collection of pillow plushies. I also swung by the Console/Arcade Gaming room to get info and sign up for the Overwatch tournament, as it was the main event I was looking forward to for this year’s AOD. However what I didn’t know, was that this tournament was being played on PS4 rather than PC. In the program it didn’t mention what platform version was being used so I assumed PC, though the room is labeled “Console/Arcade Gaming” so maybe I should of figured it from that. I even brought my own gaming mouse for this event, similar to how people bring their own controllers for other games. I play Overwatch on PC only, so I felt that trying to play the PS4 version would not bode well for me. I would still have my game sense, but not my control sense. Playing FPS games on console is not my forte. I left the game room disappointed as I headed back to Registration for my 3PM to 5PM shift.
As expected, my last shift of the day was fairly uneventful. During the periodic drought of customers, I hopped onto Fire Emblem Heroes and 3DS. At 5PM I anti-climatically said my farewells, grabbed my stuff in the back, and headed out to what was left of the con.
I mostly wandered around after, seeing that most cosplayers were either resting on the side or were with other cosplay photographers. I tend to not want to be a bother to people who look busy or tired, so I resigned myself to take venue photos. I also checked out the Overwatch tournament a bit, as I was just curious how people played it on the PS4. AOD’s Overwatch Tournament was 3v3 on Ecopoint: Antarctica, single-elimination. The first game was pretty close, but the moments were definitely not on the scale as PC ones are (for obvious reasons).
I left afterwards to grab dinner at the hotel lobby again, this time of a bento box as the main meal. I don’t know if I was just hungry or if the food was just really good, but it was a satisfying dinner at the very least. I stuck around a bit longer to see if there was anything I wanted to see/do last minute, but decided to call it a day and head home at around 7PM.
Day 2- March 19th
I woke up at around 6:30AM, this time being able to have some time to get ready instead of rushing. As my shift started at 8:30AM, I left around 7:30AM to head over to Santa Clara, stopping once to get some gas at a Costco on the way. I arrived on the dot for my first 3 1/2 hour shift for reg, where it was pretty much dead besides the occasional waves of people.
During the down time at reg, I played Fire Emblem Heroes, Pokemon GO, and managed my 3DS Streetpasses. It was a good use of time as I used it to level up / do quests in Fire Emblem, catch some new 2nd gen Pokemon as I haven’t really played it in a while, and attempted to beat one of the requirements in one of the final racetracks in Slot Car Rivals.
At noon I had an hour break so I went around con to see what was going on, picked up some lunch, and also bought another pillow plush at the Dealers Hall, this time of a 1-up mushroom from the Mario series, something I’ve been looking for to match my super mushroom I bought at AOD last year.
Between 1PM and 3PM I worked at reg for my final shift of the con. It was as slow as ever so it was back to the mobile gaming grind for me.
At 3PM con work was finally over, but at the same time the con was almost over as well. I walked around con, but at this point I was unmotivated to pursue taking photos. Most cosplayers were not in (my opinion) ideal photo taking conditions (resting on the side, bad lighting, grouped up with others, etc.). I did stop by the gaming room and played some PS4 Overwatch for the first time, but of course I was having trouble with the controls. By 3:30PM I was already in my car thinking about if there was anything else I should do at con before leaving. While I came to the conclusion that there was nothing left that interested me here, I decided to at least use the restroom before commuting back home. As I started to walk back to the hotel from the parking garage, a guy ran out one of the side doors with some staff members on his tail yelling at him to stop. A nearby armored cosplayer who saw what was happening joined the chase, dropping pieces of his armor and belongings as he ran towards the runner, towards the parking garage. As I entered the hotel, I heard that he stole from the Dealers Hall. Whether or not he was caught I’m not sure. After using the restroom I went back to my car, again thinking about if there was anything more for me at con, which there really wasn’t at this point. I felt bad that I didn’t even attempt to take any pictures/video of the earlier incident, as a photographer that is. I left AOD at 4PM, with random thoughts swimming around my mind about this whole weekend.
Thinking about my AOD weekend as a whole, I’m not too satisfied about it to be honest. While I was at con all weekend, part of the reason why I wasn’t happy was due to things at home.
Besides me missing opportunities for photos throughout the two days due to staffing, everything else about the con went smoothly for me; Con location was relatively easy to get to, the weather was nice, I found some things to buy at the Dealers Hall, free hotel food was good, and no problems with staffing at Reg.
Right before the con weekend started, a close relative of mine had to go to the hospital, and even during the weekend she was still there. The problems stemming from it weighed on my mind even though it was being taken care of, for the most part. This was probably the first time while I’ve been at a con that this situation has happened for me, and probably what affected my ability to try and enjoy the con when I could.
As for next year, I do plan to attend AOD again, and probably staff as well. My next con will be good old FanimeCon in May. I do have some new ideas I want to toy with for that con, such as making new business cards specifically for my photography and have some sort of custom laminated badge to wear and identify myself as a photographer.