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.
Fall Anime Season 2016 – Review January 16, 2017Posted by coolmikeol in Anime, Otaku, Seasonal Anime Reviews.
Tags: Anime, Coolmikeol, Fall Anime Season 2016, Review
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For this season, I didn’t have a lot of time to watch as I used to, mainly due to work and other personal priorities. This actually caused me to stop watching some of the listed animes half way throughout the Fall season. By the time was free to watch, my reduced interest for a couple of them made me drop them. I probably won’t have as much to say about these animes of the season, but I’ll put my two cents in anyways. 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:
Watashi ga Motete Dousunda (Dropped at Ep. 6)
WWW.Working!! (Dropped at Ep. 5)
Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.
This anime short series is such a tease. Tawawa on Monday is a series of short stories about various well endowed women during their usual weekday lives. Mostly seen from the perspective of a male companion, it combines cute and innocent with innuendo like speech and actions, whether or not the women are aware of it or not themselves. The fan service comes not in the visual form, but rather in the imaginative one. It’s one that I’ll admit I liked watching, as many would say, maybe because these kinds of situations are somewhat feasible in real life, not that I’m hoping for anyways…
This anime was one that I stopped watching around midway, mainly due to not having time to watch, but got back to it and finished before writing this post. I had stopped watching right up to when they won their place in the Nationals, so continuing from there was not confusing for me, as there wasn’t any mid story I had to remember.
All the way through, this anime is solid in its art and animation, character development, music, and story. It all culminates to a very good drama anime that very much feels real. As I mentioned in my review of the first season, when I was in high school, I was part of choir. Maybe not exactly the same as a band or orchestra, but I could still relate to the ups and downs that the characters faced when dealing with a competition, because just like them we also competed in choir competition festivals in trips that took us hundreds of miles away from home against other schools of the country. Feeling nervous or doubt as the stage grew nearer, is something I remember feeling, though in the end we did what we practiced over and over again, during actual class or lunch break. And when it came to the hearing the results, the fruits of our labor bore fruit in the form of 1st Gold place. An absolute dream come true, as I felt at the time. Let it be known that I had no intention of pursuing music in college, or for anything professional in my future. I just enjoyed singing in school choir.
I enjoyed this anime because of how relatable it was for me and my past. As for someone who did not experience something similar, I don’t know how well they would connect with the characters and story, but I think that they would still be able to grasp the feeling enough to understand and enjoy some good storytelling.
This anime series ended on a very nice note, as it cleared most if not all the drama that the band faced throughout the year. I like how in the anime, the teachers of the band mentioned that with the coming of a new year, they can start from scratch. With all the drama that happens within their school band, it comes off as a positive thing. Instead of dragging the negatives and positives around of the past, they can continue to learn from them and move forward into the future. I think that’s also good advise in general for how we should live, and how we should thrive towards our own goals in life.
An ongoing series into the winter season, it continues from where we left off in the first season. I’ll just mention some of the differences I noticed between this season so far and the last. First off, Mikazuki is now more monotone and fiercer in battle than ever before. Of course its because he’s getting more experience with Barbatos, but it also seems to be taking a part of him every time there’s a huge battle where Mika calls upon it. At the end of the first season, he lost his sight in his right eye and use of his right arm. When connected to Barbatos however, he regains full control of his body again. More recently though, in the battle with the Mobile Armor, he ended up losing the ability to use his legs. He’s slowly becoming dependent on Barbatos, as with it allows him to use his full body at will, at the cost of not being able to disconnected from it. Besides that, Mika also seems to be losing his emotions, not that he ever was that emotional to begin with. An example of this was when back in the first season, in the scene right as Orga and Biscuit were attacked by Carta Issue, Mika calls out Orga’s name in a way that almost seems unlike his usual self. He also at least showed more facial expressions in the first season than the second. Maybe in part it has to do with what happened to him in the final battle in Edmonton, I’m not sure.
I’m looking forward to see how this all plays out: The merging of man and machine, and the stabilization of politics of the solar system. Whether or not Tekkadan will be triumphant or crash and burn, we’ll just have to wait and watch.
In this anime short series second season, we find our hero creating a larger harem by interacting with more of his classmates. Fan service ensues. Yeah not much more I can say about this one.
Advertised as an anime by some people who worked on other animes such as Code Geass, Izetta the Last Witch takes place in a world war where a small country called Elystadt finds itself under attack by the large nation of Germania. Elystadt discovers and rescues the last witch Izetta from Germania, and with her power turns the tide of battle into their favor. With magic used as a deterrent in the war, how will it affect the world? What consequences will it have for victory between all the warring nations? That’s what this anime more or less illustrates and answers in its own way.
I originally was not interested in watching this series, but decided to give it a shot after seeing a bit of it through social media. It was sort of cool watching actual military based weaponry being taken down quite easily by Izetta’s magic, even if it was simple in the extreme. It’s basically the opposite of the anime GATE where modern military might dominated almost medieval level weapons. Towards the second half of the series however, with the introduction of the cloned witch Sophie, it became clear that the end would be a battle between the two; It became predictable. While the ending was positive, it didn’t feel all the satisfying as the buildup throughout the series dropped off when it became clear that this series was just going to be a classic good versus evil thing, with nothing making it interesting in the middle. Overall it was an OK anime, but the battles and story became stale in my opinion.
I dropped this series midway as it didn’t interest me much anymore, mainly with it’s characters. I know that this anime is catered more to females, but I was originally attracted to it by scenes I saw on social media. What annoyed me was how you could tell that some of the guys were seemingly attracted to her mainly because of her looks and not for her personality.
In this spin off of the Working! series, we find ourselves at another branch of Wagnaria with a new cast of characters. These characters though I felt were random and didn’t mix very well. Because of this, I tended to fall asleep while watching this anime because everyone felt mad or gloomy or superficial. I did not feel like a workplace I’d want to work in.
I was attracted to the original Working! series before I started working at the retail store five years ago, because I wanted to see and feel what it was sort of like to work and interact with co-workers. Mind you of course this is an anime which cannot be applied to real life, but that’s how I wanted to see this anime series back then.
Summer Anime Season 2016 – Review September 25, 2016Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
Tags: Anime, Coolmikeol, Summer Anime Season 2016
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This season was comparatively light in terms of must watch animes. A couple of them were from series I’ve watched before, some were short series anime, and the rest were just casual watch ones. Still entertaining, but nothing special. 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.
This anime is one that makes you smile as you watch. Also know as Sweetness and Lightning, it’s about Kouhei Inuzuka taking care of his young daughter Tsumugi after the death of his wife. As he’s no good with cooking, one day they go out to eat and stumble across a closed small diner that is run by the mother of one of his students, Kotori Iida. It turns out Kotori is often alone since her parents are divorced and her mother is frequently not around. The three of them begin to meet and cook tasty food together.
The adorableness of Tsumugi and the hard work of her dad Kouhei to take care of her makes this anime bittersweet, as they find the little things in life that makes them happy, but at the same time still struggling with the relatively recent death of the mom/wife. Most of the time the atmosphere is light, but when things get sad you can relate to the characters as their situation is probably common in reality. The main theme that keeps everyone happy in this anime is everyone getting together, whether it be for a party, school, or cooking tasty foods. Even if you are alone, there are others like yourself that probably see themselves in the same situation. Just reaching out towards one another can bring up everyone’s spirits, which is what helped Tsumugi and Kouhei to get together with more friends who can understand and support each other in times of need.
Food is what brings everyone together in this anime. Because Kouhei couldn’t cook, and found himself at a restaurant that was mostly closed because Kotori’s chef mother was always out and busy, he decides to learn how to cook more. Under written instructions from Kotori’s mother, Kouhei, Tsumugi, and Kotori work together to learn how to make great food that is best enjoyed with company. They are eventually joined by more friends which almost makes it a party every time. The directions for making the food seem simple enough that you could possibly make it real life, as the instructions was written for people new to cooking.
I enjoyed this anime for the simple fact that it made me smile. Seeing that Tsumugi was in good hands from friends and family despite losing her mother at a young age, makes me think that she will grow up happy and healthy none the less. Of course if this was an anime that showed her at an older age, such as middle school or high school, I could see it being more of a drama type anime exploring how many years of growing up without one of your parents affects you. As this anime revolves around Tsumugi at around the age of 4 (I presume), within a year of her mom passing, she doesn’t have the full understanding of what it means for her mother to be gone. It would be interesting if this series were to do something along the lines of a new season that takes place 10 or so years in the future, but that would dim the lightness this anime has, unless they don’t go in the direction I imagined. Either way, I recommend this anime for casual watchers.
With the soon upcoming release of Final Fantasy XV, in order for people to get a taste of what’s to come, a five episode ONA was broadcast on Crunchyroll. In this this short series anime, our main characters (Noctis, Prompto, Ignis, Gladiolus) are traveling by convertible car towards probably the capital city where a war is taking place. Each episode focuses on one of the characters, showing their backstory and relationship with Prince Noctis. As a prequel to the game, this series introduces us to the characters in anime fashion.
I enjoyed watching the 12 minute ONAs, though I wasn’t sure (and still am) if they were going to the Kingdom of Lucis to deal with the problems that seem to be happening there. Maybe it was because there was a lot of dialogue for me to keep up with in the beginning, or my unfamiliarity with the setting, probably both. What I mostly got out of it was learning more about each of the main characters that will be part of the game when it comes out in November. As for whether or not this animated series attracted me more to the game, it didn’t really. I’m probably not going to get the game, at least not right away anyways, especially that I don’t have a PS4 yet, but I will be keeping an eye out for it at the very least.
Love Live! Sunshine is a spin-off title of the main Love Live! series. After the success of the school idol group μ’s, a new generation follows their footsteps. Chika Takami aims to form a high school idol group, inspired by the past school idol group μ’s. With friends by her side who join up one by one, she also learns that her school is planned to be closed down in the near future due to low amounts of new applicants. Naming their group Aqours, they aim to attract attention to their town and school and save it from closure, all while doing their best together as school idols.
This new entry into the Love Live! series features an all new cast of characters, each of which also features relatively new seiyuu (voice actresses). I thought that these seiyuu did a very good job, despite having limited roles in other animes. Each character of the main cast is unique in their own way, though can be compared with some characteristics from μ’s. While Sunshine is its own story, the similarities between it and its predecessor are numerous and sometimes takes away from its uniqueness. Whether or not intentional, near the end of the series it’s made certain that Aqours, while inspired, will make their own path and will not follow in the shadow of μ’s, which I felt was a step in the right direction, but a little forced at the same time. The reason I say forced is because I felt that the last few episodes were rushed to get the story to an ending. The majority of Sunshine focused on the relationships between Aqours members and not a lot of actual idol training. I’m not saying that they did not do enough training (it’s probably implied that it was done off screen), but compared to what we saw with μ’s which I would say had a 50/50 idol activities/character focus airtime, it didn’t seem enough to justify how they were able to become as good as they were in the end. I doubt that all of them had the ability to sing and dance well in the beginning, but maybe I’m not suppose to think that way, I don’t know. In my opinion it didn’t seem realistic. (Its an anime I know.)
I enjoyed Love Live! Sunshine, like I do most idol animes as I like seeing the progression from beginning to end. Seeing something come from nothing is a great example of results coming from passion and hard work. I just wish it was fleshed out a bit more to give it more individuality. I know its using the brand name to its full advantage, but if showed more of their idol and character progression more gradually, it would of been more enjoyable I think.
Momokuri is a romance, slice of life comedy that has a simple synopsis, courtesy of MyAnimeList : The story revolves around Yuki Kurihara, a girl who has finally been granted her wish of dating her crush Momo. At first glance, she just looks like a normal but very cute girl. However, she is in fact a maniac over Momo, taking notes of his activities and never missing the chance to see him in a cute moment. Momo, on the other hand, is inexperienced in love, and just wants to make Yuki happy.
This series was originally aired earlier this year in an OVA format that was reformatted into full 24 minute episodes for TV broadcast, which I watched on Crunchyroll.
I decided to watch this series as it seemed to fall into the categories I usually watch. Since this series was originally a 26 OVA episode series, I felt that the progression of the story and characters would be better paced than if it had less. On the exterior, it looks to be a charming but simple story of a young couple. However in some scenes, it tackles the more subtle but important issues and feelings of being in a boy/girl relationship. I felt that this gave the series some depth and serious tone, that its exterior doesn’t show outright.
As for the other characters surrounding our couple, they are helpful and supportive of them. None of them are annoying like some can be in other anime series about couples. They give advise when needed, and help to ease tensions when one or the other is stressed out. In general they’re all good friends, even though other alternative shippings are hinted….
If you’re looking for a moe comedy about making a Japanese game, then New Game! is for you! Aoba Suzukaze is a new hire at a game company that made her favorite game series. Learning on the job, she gets to work on the latest installment of the series under the mentoring of the character designer who made her love the games in the first place. Alongside fellow friends and co-workers, they strive towards completing a new game together.
I like New Game! for a couple of reasons, mainly that the characters were cute, and that I wasn’t overloaded with production terms like I experienced when watching another anime about making something, namely Shirobako. With at least several main and supporting characters weaving in and out of the spotlight, the anime did well to balance out each of their appropriate airtimes with their importance to the show. The comedy gave me some laughs that didn’t feel added out of necessity. Towards the end though it did feel a little rushed, but satisfying none the less for Aoba and her team. Make sure you watch after the ED on the final episode, as there’s a little scene after it.
ReLIFE was a nice little high school drama about Arata Kaizaki, an unemployed, single 27-year-old who has just been cut off from his parents’ financial support. Unable to find a job due to him leaving his previous employer within three months, he meets Ryou Yoake, a man who offers Arata pills to turn him back into a 17-year old so he can redo his life. After agreeing to the experiment, Arata joins a high school class, and meets Chizuru Hishiro, a socially-awkward silent beauty who yearns to have friends. Through connecting with her and other classmates, Arata must find what he lacks to live a happy life in the real world within a one-year time limit.
It came to my surprise that all 13 episodes were available on Crunchyroll all at once. Even so, I paced my watching so that I’d finish around the same time as the other animes of the season were ending. I enjoyed this series, though something felt a bit off about it. Not necessarily in a bad way, but maybe it’s because it was released all at once that it makes me think that it wasn’t worth taking up airtime in Japan. Like I mentioned, I liked the show but it felt like a budget anime. The art, music, and character designs were nothing fancy, only the story itself shined. As a person around Arata’s age, I can relate to his situation and feelings, and that is what I think made this anime a great example of having a second chance at life, even in a restricted fashion as the anime used. The ending of ReLIFE ties up most of the branching plot-lines, but does not conclude this series proper. This may give way to another season in the future, but that will remain to be seen.
The second season of Shokugeki no Soma continues directly from where the first season ended, during the Autumn Elections. The top 8 compete for their ranking among the first year Totsuki students. The majority of the season focuses on the cooking battle between the 8, showing each of their unique talents and skills. After the end of the elections, the students are put into a Stagiaire program that requires students to take up residence at various restaurants outside of the school, aiming to leave their own impressions there in order to pass.
I was a little surprised that at the start of the second season, there was no recap at all, as if this was just more episodes to the main season of the series. I did remember generally what happened at the end of the first season, so I wasn’t lost on what was going on. As usual Soma’s ability of adaptability makes him a high contender, but it also shows that he has a lot to learn and that he’s willing to put the time and effort to show that he’s in it to win it. He’s confident, but humble. Experienced, but curious about new experiences in the cooking world. Wins most of the time, but that doesn’t stop him from improving over his victories. Soma is a character that exemplifies how a passion can drive oneself to achieve great things.
The other characters also show great ways of cooking, which is probably done in real life by chefs. It’s cool how this anime really showcases deep levels of cooking, down to the science. It’s not always taste alone that dictates how good the food is, sometimes food can affect all the senses, even psychological ones. I guess that’s why I was not totally surprised at the results of the Autumn Elections, because they’re all excellent chefs in their own regard.
I know that this anime is not for everyone, especially with the fan service that the series could do without. What is serves to do is to overemphasize and sell how the judges of the food experience it. Anyways, with what I’ve noticed with other animes, the fan service is more so used in the beginning of the series, especially in the first episode of the first season of this series, to attract fans with eye candy. Later on however the story sets in, which becomes the main course for entertainment. Fan service decreases and is used more sparingly, only used for emphasis for certain scenes, but even then it’s not too bad. I wish that either animes would not use fan service in this manner, or people try and give a series more of a chance down the line even if its initial “cover” looks one way.