“Manny Tomoe” Will Debut At ACEN

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There is something wrong with me… I accept and know this.

I got this idea last year that it would be really funny if I cosplayed as a magical girl, but didn’t even try to pass as female.

So who did I choose as my cosplay? Mami Tomoe!

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is no instance of disrespect. I love Puella Magi Madoka Magica. It is one of my favorites.

So much to both of my son’s horror and my delight, I went through with it. I have the whole outfit now and I will be wearing it next week in Chicago at Anime Central for the first time.

There are a lot of people who have been wanting to see this so, not knowing if I’ll remember to take pictures of myself while I’m at ACEN, I took a few today.

So Enjoy! and if you’re at ACEN, say “hi”.

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Future Cosplay Plans

As anyone whose read my little blog knows that I attend Anime conventions with my two boys. Again, this year, we will be attending several. We will be going to Anime Milwaukee, Anime Central, and Anime Midwest.

I have cosplayed in the past and last year got a devious idea. I thought: “What might be fun to cosplay, be funny, from a show I like, and embarrass my children at the same time?”

And then it came to me:

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Mami Tomoe! 

I could be a magical girl! Even better, I’m not going to shave my beard! Even better than that, I could let my beard get all burly! Even better than that with ice cream on top, I could walk around with a cigar in my mouth and call myself ‘Manny Tomoe’.

My children are horrified. I am delighted. The cosplay is on order.

Pictures to come later this year.

I’m such a bad dad….

A Tale of Two Soul Eaters

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So recently I just finished Soul Eater (late in the game I know) and then followed up with the more recent Soul Eater Not. Two vastly different shows set in the same general universe, produced by the same studio (Bones), but (the anime) written and directed by different people.

I know it is unfair to compare the two and I will try not to, but I am sure my bias will seep through.

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Soul Eater

Students a the DWMA (Death Weapon Meister Academy) train to become proficient at defeating witches and  humans who have strayed the path to become evil and thus their souls have become corrupted. Students generally work in pairs as weapons (students who can physically transform into weapons) and the meisters that wield the weapon. After a meister and weapon have accumulated 99 evil human souls and 1 witch soul (which the weapons absorb) they can become an official “Death Scythe” that can be wielded by Death himself (who founded the academy and the fictional “Death City” where it is located).

The show follows primarily pairs/trio: Maka Albarn and Soul Eater (a Scythe), Black Star and Tsubaki Nakatsukasa (who is able to transform into several weapons associated with ninjitsu), and Death’s son: Death the Kid and his partners Liz and Patty Thompson (both pistols).

The show has a lot going for it.

The story is enjoyable. However, for me, the first six episodes (or so) are a bit annoying and mostly exposition: necessary, just not my favorite part of the series. I know a lot of people prefer the manga story-line, but since I haven’t read it this doesn’t bias me.

The artwork is my favorite thing about this show. It has got it’s own cartoon-ish, nior, Halloween feeling to it that appeals to my aesthetic sensibilities. I love the sun and moon (my favorite background creepers)!

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I watched the English dub and it is absolutely fantastic. I often watch subs since I watch a lot of new material on Crunchyroll, but the dub of this is really good and I highly recommend it if you haven’t watched it.

The soundtrack is really good and I am an absolute sucker for the 2nd OP: “Black Paper Moon” by Tommy Heavenly6.

http://www.jpopsuki.tv/video/Tommy-heavenly6—PAPERMOON/8e52f8a06aa16038c0d2974c395ada65

Attention Parents: Overall this show, while not harmless, is probably good for the 12 and up set. There is some ecchi stuff early on, mostly with Blair, but this is minimal in the overall picture of the show. There is blood. Black blood and otherwise. There are also themes of abuse, mental illness, infidelity, and madness. All of these themes could be a really interesting talking point with your kids if you watch the show with them.

I loved this show and highly recommend it (as I know many other do as well). And this now brings me to the other Soul Eater….

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Soul Eater Not!

Last year’s Soul Eater Not! jumps into the same universe as the original Soul Eater (Anime ending in 2009). It is classified in the ecchi, comedy, and shounen categories which I don’t think is exactly accurate. It seems to be more of a slice of life, seinen style of show with some yuri suggestion thrown in for good measure. Whatever it is trying to do, it never seems to firmly achieve it.

The story revolves mostly around 3 freshmen students at the DWMA:  Tsugumi Harudori, a weapon (halberd) and two meisters, Meme Tatane and Anya Hepburn. They are all weapons of the NOT class (Normally Overcome Target) who are there to learn to control their weapons and abilities, as opposed to the EAT class (Extraordinarily Advantaged Talent) which takes their abilities into the field to fight evil humans and witches (ie: the original Soul Eater). Much of the show revolves around Tsugumi’s indecision around which person to pair up with for her meister.

Soul Eater Not! was meant to take place slightly before the main story-line of Soul Eater. Because of this you do get cameos from most of the Soul Eater series characters. Pre-zombie-fied Sid is most heavily used and is treated fairly well as a character. Stein also makes a couple of appearances playing “the wacky doctor” to an annoying effect, I found. Maka serves a small role as some inspiration for Tsugumi as well. The cameos from the original series (with the exception of Sid) felt kind of contrived and forced, but maybe that was me.

The yuri undertones (or maybe overtones?)… I know this is a standard in the “cute girls doing cute things” shows (and this was essentially “cute girls doing cute things” at the DWMA), but my god did they beat you over the head with it. If Meme wasn’t sleep-molesting Tsugumi in some part, then it was Anya getting all tsundere-style jealous that Meme was touching or rubbing up against Tsugumi (maybe I exaggerate, but not much). And then there was the whole side story of Kim Diehl and Jacqueline O’Lantern Dupré (who were both in Soul Eater as side characters) and their whole romance/ friendship/ partnering which seemed largely unnecessary.

And can we talk about boobs for a minute? I know if there is a school anime with a bunch of girls there will be a scene where they talk about their boob size. It’s a given. It is an immutable law of anime. But for gods sake! In Souls Eater Not! they wouldn’t shut up about it!! Fine, mention it one time *eye rolls*, we’re done.  But repeatedly???!!! Can you tell that this annoyed me?

The animation was clean and well done. Is it what I liked from the original? No, but it was meant to be different, so if you accept that, it was animated fine.

The story is weak. It never quite gets a foothold of what it is trying to be. I liked some of the end where it got a little action oriented and thus the characters got some development, but otherwise the show felt largely directionless.

The OP was actually pretty good. Monochrome by Dancing Dolls.

Attention Parents: The show is a bit more ecchi than Soul Eater and has yuri undertones. Otherwise there is no blood and little fighting or challenging themes to deal with.

I do realize I may be being unfair to Soul Eater Not!, but I do feel like it didn’t make clear what ever it was it was trying to do. As a slice of life, or even as a “cute girls doing cute things” show it didn’t live up to it’s potential. If you haven’t watched these shows, maybe Soul Eater Not might be one to watch first and perhaps then enjoyed more?

Happy viewing everyone!

ACEN: Days 2&3

A night of poor sleep and breakfast (tip: bring as much of your own food as possible. You will save money which is a good thing at a con) we headed out to see a panel.

The first panel of the day was of interest to me: “Parents Guide to Anime”.  This panel was presented by Mr. David Rothman who is author of a book of the same name as the panel. He was a knowledgeable presenter who guide d the audience through a background in anime, it’s influences that western (American audiences) may find objectionable, and how to screen for things as a parent. He had a scholarly approach, but it was also very evident that he is a fan as well. It was an enjoyable and interesting panel. I had spoken to him the day before and I will be reviewing his book at a later date.

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After that it was time to wander and go to the merchandise room.

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Of course there were cosplayers of all sorts.

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Like from Devil is a Part-Timer.

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Dragons from  Yona of the Dawn.

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Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.

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Eruka and Blair from Soul Eater.

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And of course Soul and Maka.

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Mayoi Hachikuji from Bakemonogatari.

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No convention would be complete with out Deadpools.

My younger son and I decided we were going to go out for lunch at Mitsuwa Market, but on our way back to the hotel to get the car we did see these guys.

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Mitsuwa Market is a Japanese supermarket chain that have a few locations throughout the USA. Each features a food court with several restaurants featuring Japanese foods.

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We had planned on going there for their ever popular ramen, but decided on something different. We instead opted to go to the place serving rice bowls. My son got Katsudon and I opted for the garlic pork rice bowl. The wait was long…very long…probably 1 1/2 hours to order and get our food. It was good though. Very tasty!

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And for desert from Releaf: Chocolate for him and a Matcha Parfait for me.

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After the long break we returned to the con to see The Funimation Industry panel followed by the Noragami dub premiere with a voice actor panel after featuring Micah Solusod, Bryn Apprill, and Alexis Tipton. It was a good dub and the voice actors were amusing.

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We encountered a few characters before and after our panels of course.

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Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist.

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These two from Kancolle (I did not envy them trying to maneuver through the crowds).

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La Muerte from Book of Life.

It was a long day and we headed back to the hotel to get some rest before a short day at the con on Sunday and a long drive home.

Sunday we hit the merch room one last time, watched part of a Anime Tearjerker panel and saw the Samurai Dan panel/ performance. If you get a chance: go see Samurai Dan and Jillian, they are a lot of fun.

https://www.facebook.com/SamuraiDanandJillian

We checked out of the hotel and headed home. Tired, but happy with a really enjoyable weekend.

I could put another picture up…

I have a few more…

maybe just one…

So,

Why not Zoidberg?

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ACEN 2015: Day 1

What  a long and entertaining weekend it has been.

This was my first trip to Anime Central, the largest and longest running (I believe) anime convention in the Midwest United States. It is held in Chicago at The Hyatt Regency O’hare and Donald Stephens Convention Center. It runs Friday- Sunday and attracts somewhere around 30,000 attendees. Guests this year included Scandal (band from Japan), fashion designers Akira and Mika Takeuchi, various DJs from Japan who performed at the raves, and American voice actors: Cherami Leigh, Micah Solusod, and Bryn Apprill. This is just a sampling: there were many more.

I took my boys and one of their friends down to the convention. This was our first year going. We headed out early and arrived at the convention by 10am. My younger son and I wandered one direction, the other two went off on their own.

We first watched the opening ceremonies where all the guests were introduced.

After that we went to watch the “One Hour Gundam Rant”panel and the left part way through for the “Meet Cherami Leigh” panel. That was a fun time, she was an entertaining, engaging, and friendly guest. She voices”Asuna”in Sword Art Online, “Lucy” in Fairy Tail, “Lizzie” in Black Butler, “Patty” in Soul Eater, and (the pressing reason for my son) “Natsumi” from Sgt Frog.

He even got a picture with her, along with the autograph on his head piece. She loved it!

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After that we headed to the merch room and saw the dizzying array of vendors and artists who were there selling everything anime related.

On our way we ran into a few things…

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Like a roaming pack of Skelators.

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A yuri bear (Yuri Kuma Arashi) and her super hero friend.

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Koro- Sensei from Assassination Classroom.

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Nudist Beach and Ryuko from Kill La Kill.

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And Elizabeth from Gintama.

After that we took a break back at the hotel room for a bit (which the two older ones had decided to do as well).

My younger son then decided he wanted to get in some “Magic The Gathering” card playing time, so we wandered down to the game room.

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He played a sound tech who had some down time and got beaten both times, but to be fair the guy had a really good deck.

While he was playing I spotted a cosplayer from Kancolle across the hall.

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Turned out to be a cross player, but that is to be expected at cons.

After that everyone was pretty tired. We ordered a deep dish pizza from Giordanos, had dinner and called it a day.

Oh…I cosplayed too. Who?

Steins Gate’s “Mr. Braun” of course…

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Well…If he had less muscles and was a ginger…

Day 2 coming soon.