Akiakane Attack on Titan Drawings – Also Envy Catwalk Is An Amazing Cover…

You know when you find an artist through a really odd chain of events? That’s how I found these awesome Attack on Titan drawings by Akiakane (Twitter/Deviant Art). I was listening to random Japanese music on YouTube and building up a playlist of stuff I liked so I could listen to later, and one song stuck with me so I looked into it.

The song is Envy Catwalk which is apparently from one of the Hatsune Miku vocaloid games:

I’ve since listened to the original and I still don’t get the hype behind Vocaloids but I do like Akiakane’s version. Apparently she is an “Utaite” which is a name for people who post cover’s of songs on a particular Japanese music website, she’s apparently dubbed “The Screaming Cinderella”. I’ve since listened to a few of her songs and some are really good, some aren’t – but you win some you lose some…

Any way, if you watch the videos of her songs, you’ll notice the graphic design is stunning this is the image for the above song, it reminds me of the artwork in Persona 4:

Turns out she’s an artist and she’s done a bunch of drawings of some of the characters from Attack on Titan, I thought you might like to see them:

Update: Well this is embarrassing, the video I posted above is A: Not by Akiakane and B: A 1 hour compilation of songs…

The song above is Reol’s verson:

Akiakane’s version is this one:

If I’m being honest, I prefer the Reol version…

Update 2: Evidently I hotlinked the images rather than uploading them. I’ve now uploaded them.

 

Evangelion One Piece Dresses and Other Goodies

The sale is still on here: http://atomicboxx.com/shop/c/c30/ JSG has marked down 70% off their items as a final sale price. The Evangelion one pieces are only available in store though . At least, I can’t find them online.

These Evangelion plug suite one piece dresses were apparently only available in store at Atomic Boxx according to Gyaru Coordinates but I can’t find them on their web page.

I did however find this Pen2 baby onesie while looking for them.

This Kutsuragi Cosplay costume:

These latex plugsuit dresses:

And this Eva Unit 01 Kigurumi (Which was originally on Etsy but isn’t any more):

So it’s not a total loss.

Anime Inspired Leggings

Spirited Away Leggings

These anime inspired leggings from Etsy seller Zelas are pretty cool. Some Ghibli and some Evangelion, what more do you want?

Totoro Leggings

Evangelion Plugsuit Leggings

http://www.etsy.com/listing/151558734/miyazaki-ghibli-leggings

Sword Art Online – Season 1: Anime Review

The year is 2022 and a new virtual reality MMO has just been released called Sword Art Online, Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya is an introverted teenager who uses online games as a way of escaping from the real world. Only 10,000 copies of SOA and the accompanying “NERV” gear are sold, this includes the original 1000 beta testers of which Kirito was one.

Fiction set in an MMO isn’t exactly anything new, Piers Anthony did it with Killobyte in 1993, the .hack series of manga, anime and games (Which had you playing a single player game in which you were a person playing an MMO) did it extensively too, and there is even another current series called Log Horizon which plays with similar themes (I’ve not watched it but it’s on my to do list).

What sets Sword Art Online apart is that everyone is trapped in the game, all 10,000 players can’t log out, and if they die in game they die in real life.

It’s pretty dark, and a lot of the people playing the game unsurprisingly go a little nuts at the start. Although as time goes on they settle into the fact that this virtual world is their real world for now. A core group of skilled players fight on the front line trying to clear the 100th level of “The Tower” which upon completion will release all the players from the game. Other players set up shops, or just go fishing. The show explores what it might be like to live in an entirely virtual world and it does it fairly well.

The character progression is for the most part pretty good, the main two characters, Kirito and Asuna are quite strong, Asuna is even a “Strong Independent Woman“, although at times Kirito suffers from what I call Kakoii syndrome (Kakoii means cool in Japanese) where every female character he encounters falls madly in love with him.

That covers the first part of the show… This show could have, and possibly should have, ended on episode 14.

MINOR SPOILERS FOLLOW

Everything was tied up, the will they wont they sub plot resolved, the game is completed and the players are freed, except some aren’t and Kirito has to venture into another MMO called ALfheim Online to rescue Asuna from a rather convoluted conspiracy.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about what actually happens because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who plans on watching it, but the show goes from being dark to being creepy. And Asuna who was a strong female lead turns into a plot device and a bit of a wet blanket. That to be honest is the saddest thing about the 2nd season, Asuna goes from being a really good and empowered female character to the stereotypical “Princess in the Castle”.

Also while the first half of the season had the odd gratuitous tits/ass shot, the second half is rife with fan service the low point of which is a shower scene with convenient obscuring steam which is just unnecessary (The shower scene is unnecessary not the steam, the steam is very necessary) especially when you consider the character and their age, I know Japan seems to be desensitized to this kind of thing but there is a line…

The second half of the season is watchable,  but it’s like watching another lower quality anime from the first half, arguably I’d probably enjoy playing the ALfheim Online more thatn Sword Art Online, because it’s more detailed and you can fly! but that wasn’t what this anime was about, it wasn’t about playing an MMO it was about being stuck in an MMO in which your life was on the line. I went through a brief phase of playing World of Warcraft, and I’m fairly sure I spent more time running towards my corpse as a ghost to reincarnate than I spent fighting monsters. To think that the first time I died would actually have killed me is terrifying.

All in all Sword Art Online is a pretty good anime series, the first half of the season is amazing the 2nd half is okay. There is a second season in production, and the manga apparently covers another two MMOs, I will probably watch it in the hopes that it goes back to being as good as the first half of season one, but I’m not entirely sure how they can do that.

You can watch Sword Art Online on CrunchyRoll or buy it on Amazon

Ghibli Nouveau

I like a bit of Art Nouveau and these images inspired by Studio Ghibli films are beautiful. I can’t find a source but they were apparently once posted to Pixiv by “marlboro”.

Gorgeous art nouveau-inspired portraits of Miyazaki's characters

Via Davinci Chode

Film Review: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

I’ve been meaning to watch this moving for quite some time, so given I was in the mood for Anime after watching From Up On Poppy Hill yesterday I decided to give The Girl Who Leapt Through Time a watch.

This is a review of the 2006 Animated version of the film, the film is based on a 1967 book by  Yasutaka Tsutsui and there have been a number of adaptations of it (TV series, TV drama, live action movies and manga). Given that it’s been adapted so many times I’m going to assume the source material is pretty good and will have to look the original book up.

This film centres on 17 year old Makoto Konno who lives with her family and accidentally gains the ability to travel back in time. Her time travel takes the form of her rewinding the clock rather than her physically travelling back in time. This gives her the opportunity to relive events that have happened and in doing so alter their out come by behaving differently. If you seen “The Butterfly Effect” it’s a bit like that.

To start with this has comical effect Makoto goes back and has the “Perfect Day” having seen everything that went wrong with her day and fixing it, but of course events don’t happen in isolation and inevitably Makoto finds herself having to back track to “re-correct” the changes she’s made to get a better outcome as the net result of her time travelling escapades wreaks havoc on the lives of the people around her.

The characters in this are amazing, Makoto is brilliantly done and you will find yourself really connecting with her, less so with her slightly distant friends but they are still well written and well played and you learn that there is a reason that they are slightly distant.

I really enjoyed this movie, I’d happily watch it again and I’d even debate looking up some of the previous incarnations of the story. In the west you will probably find this film sorted among the Studio Ghibli films, and although it’s not a Ghibli Film if you like Ghibli you will probably like this film too.

 

Film Review: From Up On Poppy Hill

“I was expecting more talking cats” was what one of the people I went to see From Up On Poppy Hill came out of the film saying. Studio Ghibli have become famous in the west for surreal fantasy Anime like Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. What a lot of westerners don’t seem to know is that they are also famous for making emotionally charged films that are set in the real world.

There are no talking cats in this film, no sentient fires, no giant forest spirits just people. And that’s not a bad thing.

From Up On Poppy Hill is based on a Japanese serialized comic by Chizuru Takahashi  and is the story of a high school kid in 1960’s Japan, the Olympics are just around the corner and the school club house is being threatened with demolition. Also she’s fallen for a boy with whom circumstances arise that make her feelings a little awkward.

It’s a whimsical tale, heart warming at parts and laugh out loud fun at others, the incidental characters make this film as much as the leads, I think I could watch an entire movie starring the head of the philosophy club, or the bespectacled artist sister of the main character.

If you come into this film expecting talking cats, you are going to be disappointed, the only magic in this film is in the interaction between the characters. If you come into the film expecting character growth, good story telling and an insight into what it was like to be a kid in 1960’s Japan, then I don’t think you will be walking away from it in the slightest bit disappointed.