October in Review: Photo Dump and Announcements!

Whoot!

October is slowly steaming out and November is about to roll around and my favorite family get together holidays is right around the corner, Thanksgiving. Since I was way to lazy and still on vacation mood and forgot to write my thoughts on New York Comic Con in a timely manner, I figured why not talk about my vacation and big upcoming things that are coming up soon.  Or I should call this a glorified photo dump.

New York

 My travel buddy on the bus ride to hell.

My travel buddy on the bus ride to hell.

So let's just say this: don't be a dick to a bus driver while he is trying to get us where we are trying to go. No, really, I need y'all folks to know to not do that because it can and will get ugly.  With that being said: New York was so great. The people, the shops, the atmosphere, the random conversations with my people, just amazing.

Let's start with this bookstore (goodness, I wished that I remembered the name) that if you are into Asian culture, manga, and anime, this place would be for you. It has everything! Even a lovely cafe withe matcha flavored goodies and bento boxes. Like I went full on tourist in that bookstore and I did not care. However, my favorite place that I visited was the Fashion District. 

The Fashion District is like a cosplayer's dream. All this different types of fabrics and notions are right within your finger tips, if you can pay the price for some of those things. My favorite place of them all is Mood. As a person who watched Project Runway growing up with my mom, who sewed in her spare time, we would watch and say "man, if I could go there, I would get so much fabric". Well, all I could do was just window shop at best; however, it was the best fabric window shopping experience that I have had in a while. Plus, when the store has a doggo, it makes life better anyway. 

In all honesty, the best part of my vacation trip was definitely what I came there for: New York Comic Con. All the sounds and a booths and the cosplay. I absolutely loved all of the cosplay that was there. Of course I really did not take a whole lot of pictures but the pictures that I do have are worth it (like I could have burnt through my memory card and would have have some many pictures in my iCloud that it would have been maddening).  

Here is just a small sample of what I saw cosplay wise:

However, the booths made me wish that I had some real money (like maybe 1 to 2 grand) to spend on a lot of the figures and exclusives that were available. A point that I will get to latter. The floor was wall to wall bodies but it was a rush. My goodness the figures. 

I mean, you should get the point. I had fun on vacation. It was good and refreshing and what I needed to do the things. I will finish my photo dump in the "Images" section. 

Btw: I will be doing a podcast starting in November. When the date comes closer, I will add an RSS feed and where you can find us. The team is myself, Kurenai Kiba, and Date. It's pretty much us being us: black and nerdy. The "Anime Boobies" panel will be making a return at Kastucon 2018! Please email will clip suggestions and yes, I am accepting NSFW content.

Until next time!

Just a Quick Reminder About Policing the Feelings of POCs.

*Breathes in. Breathes out* Apologies in advance for the language but it needs to be said.

File Sep 11, 8 03 37 PM.jpeg

Listen, let's have an honest conversation about racial slurs and policing the feelings of those who are affected by said slur and caping for those who do use said slur. And we are going to make and short and sweet.

It's fucked up. 

See, short, sweet, and to the point. 

How dare you, person that is not in that group who is offended by said slur, try to tell me, the person that is offended to do either of the following:

  • Get over it. (No, I won't.)
  • Forgive them for it was a "mistake" and "in the heat of the moment". (If they said it in the heat of the moment, then they say it in casual conversation.)

No, that's not how this works at all. For the love of all things that are good and holy, do not try to explain to me language history of the slur and how it "accepted" by the gaming/cosplay/geek community (or any community). I can tell you one thing for sure: it's not acceptable any longer. People are tired of being disrespected just to make you feel comfortable. People are tired of explaining and tired of defending the wrongness of the word(s).

We are tired. 

We had enough.

We will call you out on your shit.

Oh and by the way, this applies to blackface/yellowface/insert race here face.

 The face that I make every time it happens.

The face that I make every time it happens.

Death Note Review or How I Learned That Hollywood Just Wants Your Money

 

 Oh boy, here we go.....

Oh boy, here we go.....

So, I finally saw the Netflix’s Death Note movie and well not trying to beat a dead horse here but it was bad. Not Dragonball Evolution bad, but bad enough. Bad enough to say that it did not live up to the expectations of the source material (even though, through the grapevine, the creators loved it); however, if it was an original concept film and not adaptation of another piece of work, it might have been good enough for background noise or Netflix and chill (ugh, can’t believe I went there).


I digress. What I really thought about the adaptation could be summed in the notes that I have written down. Here is a sample (spoilers if you care):

·      Why is the music like this?

·      Why is Light written the way that he is?

·      High school? Why high school?

·      Seattle? Why Seattle? (and there is nothing wrong with Seattle as a city. The setting could be different.)

·      So, it about getting the drawers? Please don’t let this be about getting the drawers?

·      It is about getting the drawers (hits desk multiple times).

·      He is just not the smartest light bulb in the pack, is he (puns!).

Keep in mind, this is all within the first act of the movie. The jury in my mind is this: the two things that saved this movie from being complete trash was Willem DaFoe as Ryuk and Keith Stanfield as L. That’s it, that’s all. The pacing was bad. The actor who played Light was boring and lifeless. Even describing him as “one note” is a complement. The music that was chosen was almost like the director and the producers just wanted to re-live their times in high school listening to soft rock. It did not fit tonally. You could barely tell which time period that this was actually supposed to be set in. It just did not make sense. See, dead horse thoroughly beaten. There are many more questions and observations that I had, but it triggered more deeper thought about the way Hollywood does adaptations of Japanese source material.  

I find that when anything is adapted from one medium to another, it has to have to serve two purposes: to draw new people in and to appease those who are familiar with the source material. More often than not, it is the “appease those who are familiar with the source material” part of the equation that the “Powers that Be” in Hollywood seem to fall short on every time. It is the fanbase that gains the attention of those who have money. The only thing that the studios see or think is that fans are willing to pay for things that they love, no matter how good or bad. It is with this mentality that fans are often exploited and baited into something they hope will be something that they have seen, thought of, or played out in their minds over years. This ideal, when it comes to adaptations and how they are handled, could either go one of two ways: be decent or be trash. With anime and manga adaptations for a western audience, they are often trash.

Movies that are developed or adapted from anime/manga for western audiences are often filled with troupes and other “stereotypes” that are forced because the studios and the test audiences believe that they need to be there for the story to fit. There are very few times that they are seamless and unnoticeable. Other times, they are obvious and annoying ruining the either the suspension of disbelief or the viewer’s ability to find relatability. Take for instance the setting of the movie being in high school. The way that western audiences see high school and the way that Japanese audiences see high school are completely different. (By the way, the original Death Note series did not take place in high school nor was the main character was in high school.) Western audiences do not see high school as a time for growth or as a stop gap between childhood and adulthood but often a place where they feel that the world is ran by hormonal urges and angst. Hence, why I was disappointed when motivation for Light to use the Death Note was to impress the girl. It was never to impress any girl but to change society.  This thought process of how writers adapting from anime often fall short.

 Yep, it is.....

Yep, it is.....

 

Let’s examine the character of Light more and how he fails as a protagonist, likable or otherwise. In movie, you are first introduced to Light as a student who, the writers and director wants to assume as “smart” by doing other students’ homework. This is not really a good way to show that he is smart. At least not in the way that you want him to be smart. Also, it does not foreshadow properly that Light and L are actually one in the same when it comes to levels of intelligence. Light’s intelligence should have been the source of his hubris. That hubris would have been the big payoff. Light is the likable villain. If anyone was in his shoes or had that opportunity, they may have done the same thing.

The Light in the movie is not likable at all. Maybe it is the teenage angst that prevents his character from being interesting. The motivations that he has (it is presented to us that he is only trying to impress the girl) do not workout in a way that would make the story of him being the holder of the death note good. It is so superficial that it is takes the viewer out of the story all together. As the guy from Cinema Sins would say, Light is literally running on the “power of boners”. The writers, and I know that I am saying the writer a lot; however, it is the writers that are writing the character this way, took a great character and bastardized him to “fit” how a western viewer would want someone, let’s just say 17-21, would act with this power. If he was as smart as he makes him out to be, then allow his decision making to be logical (just how it was in the anime) instead of hormonal. When we finally get that glimpse of “intelligence” it is at the end and the movie did not deserve the payoff that is was trying to present to us, the viewer. Or maybe that the writers are banking on a sequel.  However, Hollywood should really stop banking on sequels and just tell cohesive stories with compelling characters.

Why is it that Hollywood producers think that bastardizing anime/manga adaptations is a good idea? Do they believe that Americans love boring and predictable protagonist? Or is it that they believe that anime fans, Otaku, whatever terminology that you would like to use, will be like Fry from Futurama and want creators to take their money. No, it is not like that at all. Fans of all media have a certain level of expectation when it comes to beloved characters. Missteps when it comes to those characters and the fanbase will rise against it.  The powers that be needs to understand that shows have followings for reasons: the characters are beloved; the plot is interesting and the characters and compelling and relatable.

 

 

Con in Review: Otakon 2017

 

OMG, I am finally settled enough to finally sit down and talk about Otakon. I had such a blast at the con but I feel like I need to break it down per day because different things happened that made this con good for me and the people that I roomed with.

Day 0-Thursday

Check in at the Residence Inn on Vermont Av NW was smooth as butter. The staff was extremely friendly and was always willing to help to us out. It was dope that there was a CVS and other small convenience stores that we could go to just to grab a snack that was in the same area of the hotel. Where we was staying at, it was approximately a 10-15 minute walk to the convention center.  While attempting to discover the area, we ran into a great Asian restaurants that had a great happy hour. 

I will say that the process of getting our badges was super smooth. The only downside was that the press badge station was not available at the time when I was attempting to get the panelist badge. 

Day 1-Friday

Getting used to the new home of Otakon was slightly odd. When it was in Baltimore, the energy of the building out could feel. You could feel the excitement and buzz. This new building was so spacious that I was relaxed....and that was ok. I really did not mind the new area and in reality, the move was needed. 

However, the building was so cold. Like they had the air on Arctic.  I attempted to just chill around the dealers' room and try to keep my eye on things that I wanted to purchase later, but I just brought a Kigu and stayed warm for the rest of the con.

I even assisted in Doomtastic's Dressforms for Dummies workshop which is always a good time. Go check out their content!

Day 2-Saturday

This was the morning that I had to bring my Homura to Hall Contest that Otakon was having. I had to explain everything. I mean EVERYTHING! I had no idea that cosplay contest could be so demanding. Me and my partner in crime did not win; however, if I had the opportunity to do it again, I would only because I know what to expect and what the requirements are. Let's get to the good part: the panel.

 

 This was the room #ipackroomsdawg

This was the room #ipackroomsdawg

The energy of that panel was amaze-balls! I love it when I can make folks laugh, educate them, and leave them wanting more. I can't wait rebuild Anime Boobies with Kurenai Kiba for 2018 con season. Be on the look out for more physics and phuckery!

Day 3-Sunday

The Utena photoshoot that I helped co-host with Date Masamune on Sunday was easy and breezy. It was a ton of fun. Thank you for everyone that came out to participate in it. You guys were amazing.

Overall, this was the chillest Otakon that I have had the pleasure of attending. There were no major hiccups with panel rooms or staff not be available/helpful (unlike another con that I participated in).  This was a great con for me. 

So what next for me. I will be attending Baltimore Comic Con in September then New York Comic Con in October. After that it will be full speed ahead on working on cosplays for Con season 2018!

So what did you think of Otakon? Was the move worth it? Will you be attending next year? Comment and let's talk!

Watch it or Skip it....

Ok, what is "Watch it or Skip it"?

Watch it or Skip it will be a series where I watch the first three episodes of new anime that is airing during that current season. It will short sweet and to the point. Meaning I will finish watching it to the end or I will skip it. i am a firm believer that a series can win me over or lose me completely after the first three episodes (hey, I'm trying to be fair).

Since that is explain, here we go.

Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun

So this show... What can I say about this show other than the fact that so far, I like it. Some background: I am not a sports anime chick, but I love comedy animes. 

The show is about a star high school soccer play named Aoyama who has a trait about him that makes him special: he's a germaphobe. Now I know you're wondering "isn't soccer a contact/dirty sport? How is he managing, Cake?" Well, this is the part were I will tell you to go and watch it. It full of high-jinks between himself, his teammates, and characters from other teams. 

There are some common tropes that are in the show; however, you will always find tropes in all types of anime. The true questions are these: are they done correctly and do they make sense. To answer that, so far, yes. It's a slice of life, sports comedy that so far, has most of my attention. 

With that being said, I will watch it and give a full extensive review once the show is done.

What new series shout I check out next between life and cosplay? Let's talk about.

Oldie But Goodie...Cosplay 101

So around this time last year, I attempted to start a blog but life decided that it wanted to kick me in the booty before I could even get started. However, one of my few post that I was able to was called "Cosplay 101: From a Beginner's Point of View". I was exploring my journey and giving out advise that I have learned during that time. I will continue to add to this type of content as I countdown to Otakon 2017. 

So as an oldie but goodie that still stand true to this day, here is some of advise and a proper introduction to Cosplay 101 :

As written from June 2016:

Summer con season is in full swing and that means that lots of people are buying fabric, burning fingers on hot glue guns, and are inhaling bad substances to get that armor just right. But here you are thinking “But Cake, how can I do it? I do not know where to begin.” Well, check this out. I was in that same place.

Wait, I am still in that place.

Anyhow, I am writing this because I, too, want to cosplay and is currently working on somethings that I will be doing for Otakon 2016. So I figure why not show my process and really talk about what it takes to put together a cosplay. So, over the next few months up to when I will actually wear the piece, I will show my work in a sense either here or on my Facebook page (CakedaBlerd). But before any work can be shown we need to go through the basics.

Character Choice

Listen, I am a firm believer of “if you want to cosplay it, do it”. Choose a character that you are familiar with or at least that you always thought in your mind“I want to do that character”.  Do not allow the “race” of the character stop you from doing it. Just do not paint yourself a human skin tone that it not yours to be that character (i.e. putting on brown makeup to be Yoruichi from Bleach. Just don’t. It’s not cool.).

Also, when picking your character, make a folder and get as many reference pictures from as many angles that you can get. Hell, if you love the character to the point that you have a figurine of them, that is even better. The more the better in this case.

To Buy or To Make…That is the Question

If you know that you can’t sew a button on a shirt to save your life, buy it. If you know how to draft patterns, make it. If you don’t know how to do something and you are too afraid to jack it up, get it commissioned by someone who can. If you are crunched for time and you know how to modify that cheap Halloween costume, do that. In other words, it depends on your skill set and your time frame on which one you should do.

Again, like I said before, I am a beginner myself. So these are some of my tips that I have learned so far. I will make this a series when I begin the construction of my costume. Oh by the way, don’t fall into the cosplay trap. Trust me, you will wonder where did all the time go.

But I will leave you will a funny, but true statement about cosplay….

 

 Yeah....the the same thing across the board. Ask your cosplay friends :-)

Yeah....the the same thing across the board. Ask your cosplay friends :-)

WIPing it Up: Anthy Himemiya

Man, listen. 

Working on cosplay while working a full-time job, doing an internship, and working out is madness. Actually pulling it off is a miracle. But miracles can happen. 

Anthy Himemiya has been a character that interested me for a long time. As a character, she seems like a blank slate until you get to know her and her motivations. At the end of the day, she's a misunderstood but extremely sought after witch with the power to "revolutionize the world". At least that what most of the characters of Revolutionary Girl Utena thinks. Just go and check out the show. It is definitely one of those series where you will like it or not. However, check it out anyway!

Anyway, back to why we are here.

I started working on this lovely lady around bout the same time as my Homura (yeah, man doing her too. Her story of why I am doing her is interesting at best.). They both have their own degree of difficulty but overall, they are both full to work on for different reasons. Anthy is more of a "how can I make this look regal without me looking like a big red tomato". See, I am a plus sized gal. So I always have to make sure they things have to fit my body to flatter me.  However, I think that I will be achieving that with this look. 

The Top

 There are things that I still need to adjust...like the boarder of the top.

There are things that I still need to adjust...like the boarder of the top.

The top is actually very simple. The red part was made from a template of an old dress shirt that was too yellow to be bleached back to being white.  The white trim is just white double folded bias tape (which looking at the picture, still needs work). The teal is just a full circle skirt cut and horsehair braid added to give it a little bit more "wow" factor.  The buttons are just sewing on with snaps. 

The Skirt

 Man, I wad so damn frustrated with this skirt that I wanted to throw the whole thing away.

Man, I wad so damn frustrated with this skirt that I wanted to throw the whole thing away.

This skirt I wanted to fight so bad. Other than my cat (who may be featured from time to time) using it as a hiding space, it was difficult no reason. However, it was because I was trying to take the easy way out. Hence the caption on the actual photo. The skirt was make from a Cinderella pattern that I found. It was pretty simple to make.  When I did add the tulle, I just continuously  wrapped the tulle around the skirt to create the layers needed (which is approximately 7 layers of tulle). When the product is finished, the infamous petticoat that is underneath will be worn with it. 

My goodness, just sitting her typing about it is making me hot. However, it is going to be so much fun to wear. 

Coming soon.....

I'm "so anxious" in my Ginuwine voice.

I'm starting my brand as a cosplayer and as panelist. I have a few goals in mind when it comes to this site:

  1. To put my "art of cosplay" out there. Yes, everyone style is different. Everyone attract different crowds. I want to shoe people that you are never too old to enjoy doing something that you love.
  2. Body positivity!  Your body is unique to you.  And you should feel comfortable in it to dress how you want. That includes cosplay. If you want to wear that two piece and you have tiger stripes (what I like to call stretch marks), then do that thing.
  3. Put my name out there. I think that my unique perspective would be a great addition to the cosplay community. 

So, come along on this journey with me. I will be working on the site throughout the summer adding content and such. 

Peace,

Cake :-)