Quick Update

Hello world! What a crazy week it has been. On top of having endless projects and homework for school, there was also the Floodpocalypse in colorado and Nan Desu Kan throughout the whole thing. I am working with my brother to get the coverage up and a few articles written about the whole thing. Overall I had a blast that weekend and I look forwad to Nan Desu Kan 2014 already!

Nan Desu Kan

Nan Desu Kan 2013

This year has been flying by so quickly! Nan Desu Kan is just around the corner—this Friday in fact—and I am proud to announce that both of  the panels I applied for were approved. The topics this year are some that I care for dearly; how anime is perceived by the public and fitness. I look forward to presenting every year because it gives me a chance to speak directly with the community at large and I get to meet so many awesome people in the process. I know this year will be twice as enjoyable thanks to doing twice the panels! Mark your schedules for the following days and rooms.

“When Will Anime Grow Up? A Look at Geek Culture’s Maturity”
Saturday September 14th, 3pm in Aspen Theater

“DYEL? Nerd Fitness
Sunday September 15th, 10am in Aspen Theater

Be sure to check out the full Nan Desu Kan 2013 Event Schedule and Program Guide for a full look at all the panels and more. If you have a smart phone, download the GuideBook for iOS or Android. Everyone else follow the link to their Mobile Guidebook site.

See you all there!

Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki Retirement Announcement

This past Friday, September 6th, the famous Hayao Miyazaki gave a press conference discussing his retirement from film making. I can safely say that he will always be one of the most influential film makers of all time and he has earned a rest. Perhaps finally his son will take over while still honoring the work of his father and finding his own voice.

The press conference is kind of long at 90 minutes but worth the watch.

J Michael Tatum Nan Desu Kan 2012

J. Michael Tatum Interview – NDK 2012

At Nan Desu Kan, I had the honor to sit down with anime voice actor and all around awesome J Michael Tatum. He is a huge fan of Shakespeare and literature in general so we ended up talking about books for most of the time. Talking with him was one of the highlights of the weekend and I wish to share the experience with you all!

[media url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lel4j3AYDbs&hd=1″]
5 Ways to Watch Anime for Free

5 Ways to Watch Anime for Free

If you are like me, you love anime but are constantly poor and out of money. There are a few options for viewing anime for free, but we really want to stick to the legitimate ones for this list. I can never condone downloading shows and the discussion of legitimacy of fansubs and copying DVDs is for another day. Here is a really quick list of  5 years to watch anime for free!
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Nan Desu Kan

I Will Be At NDK 2012!

The countdown to Nan Desu Kan 2012 begins for me today! I’m so excited and have begun  planning what I will be doing  for NDK this year!

Right now I have a few ideas for panels that I am writing a proposal for, which is due in a week. One thing that can be guaranteed is that I will be running around taking pictures of cosplayers and panels. I intend to do a few photoshoots on top of my comprehensive coverage. I have been covering NDK every year since 2005 and I intend to be there again this year to continue that tradition. To find some of the older coverage that I have helped create, check out AnimeRoot to find a giant cache of photos, videos and posts about. I have done some amazing interviews that you can find at the Youtube Channel. I will be working with them again this year, but this will be my first year producing my own coverage for my own site. I look forward to seeing all of my friends there! Keep your eyes up in the atrium for our banner!

Will you be at NDK this year? I want to take your picture if you are in costume! Share below if you are going to be there!

Pokemon Fur Suits and Gijinka

Cosplay Gijinka

In the cosplay community, there is an increasing amount of people dressing up as Pokemon. This could go one of two ways; Fur suits or Gijinka. Both serve the same purpose, to show their love of their favorite Pokemon. The two are drastically different!

Gijinka(擬人化) is literally defined as Personification but in Japan it is used to refer to the Anthropomorphism of things. This could be referring to any number of things being drawn as a human, usually girls. I have seen examples from tanks and cars to web browsers and operating systems. One of the more notable Gijinka is OS-tan where fans created characters to represent all of the Windows operating systems and later Mac OSX and various Linux Distributions.

Another popular example of this would be Hetalia. This web comic turned anime became insanely popular among cosplay communities for a number of reasons. In my opinion, this is because the character have such strong personalities. America is an ego maniac who devours hamburgers with reckless abandon while Japan is a very quite and polite.

My focus of this post however is on Pokemon specifically. Some of my favorite costumes I have seen at the many conventions over the years have been Pokemon related. I have seen them from every generation and every type. Some are very lightly inspired while some are complex and include key features that define the specific monster.

Snorlax Gijinka by ~H~
Snorlax Gijinka by ~H~
Photo courtesy of cosplay.com

Regardless of the details, the fact is that these fans of the series are showing their love in the most creative ways possible. I have seen a large number of Pokemon trainers and a decent amount of fur-suiters, but the growing majority seems to be Gijinka style costumes. They allow the cosplayer to be as creative as possible by not being hindered by the small details of the creature and focus on the overall appearance. I hope this trend continues to spread across the convention circuit as more and more series’ get the same treatment. Lately the most Gijinka costumes I have seen has been My Little Pony inspired creations. Regardless of the series, go forth and have fun with your costumes!

Have you made a Gijinka costume? Do you have a favorite? Share it in the comments!

Tanabata Festival

Happy Tanabata Day!

In Japan, the Seventh Day of the Seventh Month is referred to as Tanabata Day. All over the country festivals are held throughout the day and into the night. What is the point of this festival though? What makes the day special aside from the cool numbering?

The history of the festival is traced back to the Heian period. The tradition is inspired by a story that was borrowed from chinese mythology. As the story goes, there was a weaving princess named Orihime and a cow herder named Hikoboshi. The father of Orihime, King Tentei, arranged for the two meet. Upon first glance, they instantly fall madly in love and get married right away. The problem began when both began to neglect their duties of weaving and cow herding. The king was outraged by their laziness and separated the two onto opposite sides of the Amanogawa River. Orihime became depressed and begged her father to let her see Hikoboshi again. The king was moved by her daughters tears and decreed that they two could meet on the Seventh Day of the Seventh Month if she worked hard all year. In the first year, Orihime was attempting to cross the river but could not find a way across. When she began crying, a group of magpies showed up and promised to build her a bridge across next year.

This story has a more literal definition when using two specific stars as the metaphor. Orihime is representative of the star Vega, who is the weaving princess. Hikoboshi represents Altair, the cowherder star. The two were separated by the Milky Way galaxy and align only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month.

One of the more popular traditions that happens annually at the Tanabata is the Writing of Wishes. People would write down their wishes on pieces of paper and tie them to pieces of bamboo in hopes of them coming true in the next year. More traditionally boys would wish for better handwriting and studying

If you live in a larger city in the US, you can find some things to do to celebrate this holiday and others. In Denver, the Botanic Gardens has a small celebration where you cam make a wish and tie it to Bamboo and storytelling. If I ever move to Japan someday, I would love to attend one of these festivals and experience the rich traditions that come with them!

The tax is not nearly this entertaining!

The NHK Tax

Something that we don’t have in the US is a strong national broadcasting system. The UK has the BBC, Japan has the NHK. We have PBS which runs entirely on donations. This is why it came as a shock to me when I heard about the mandatory NHK Tax.

Many who move to japan are often blindsided by a tax collector showing up at their door and expecting to be handed money, even if they don’t own a TV. While there are ways around this tax, mostly by telling them that you don’t watch their programming, it is expected that you pay this fee or face legal trouble. Here is a Reddit thread about this very subject. Inside, redditors give ideas and suggestions for people planning on moving or who already live there.

For more official information regarding the NHK tax, head over to the official NHK Page about said fee.