Category Archives: Anime, Manga, Etc

Dragon Con 2016 Ends And Dragon Con 2017 Begins

This year’s 30th installment of Dragon Con ended about a month ago. Yesterday I reserved a room for Dragon Con 2017, and this morning the room block for the Marriott opened and, of course, quickly filled up. In some sense, it’s like Dragon Con never even ended!

Thursday Night Velma Selfie

This year was great! I was going alone to my 5th Dragon Con and this year I was going to do some things that I either didn’t do very often, or had not really done at all. For one thing, I was going to do my best to be more intentionally social. I got things off to a good start with a Velma cosplay after the long drive from Chicago on Thursday night! (Click here for Dragon Con 2016 cosplay pics)

It feels like I was wildly successful all around! I marched in the parade again, having a great time with my Trek Track friends and this year we exchanged contact info, yay! I went to the Black Geeks of Dragon Con photo shoot, meeting a ton of awesome Black cosplayers before hopping over to the Star Trek photo shoot. That was followed by what can only be described as an away mission to get chili dogs lead, for the second year, by my friend Rashida. Imagine, a small group of Star Trek cosplayers boarding a subway train to get chili dogs at Varsity in Atlanta. After that, I rushed to the Dragon Con Loner Group meetup, consisting of people who came to the con solo.

Mixed in with all of this was a lot of dancing, at a ton of parties, including the Spectrum Party, my first LGBT party! There was also Klingon Karaoke and lots of cosplay picture taking. The picture taking included a fair number of selfies both with and without other people. The only real let down was when the Miss Star Trek Universe Pageant was cut short due to room scheduling issues.

It turned out that staying at a non-host hotel (my first time doing that) was not only great, but I just booked a room for next year at the same hotel. The location near Peach Tree Street turned out to be perfect, so I didn’t even bother to try for a Marriott room in today’s “lottery”!

So Dragon Con continues!

Otakon Bypass

It was bound to happen eventually, but I’ve decided to skip Otakon this year. Partly due to budget and work related issues, but also because maybe last year’s trip was the peak of my Otakon experience. Last year not only was the trip fun, but for the first time I got to share it with my wife.

Doing a con solo is still a lot of fun, but to share the experience with the one you love the most, well that can’t be beat! And maybe because of that, I wasn’t that worked up about going again this year since she couldn’t come. Nine Otakons in a row is a pretty good run, and almost 13000 miles of driving!

I still think Otakon is great, and the people I’ve met there, awesome! But maybe I’ll wait until the con moves to DC in 2017 before I make another appearance. It’ll feel funny not being there this year, but I’ll be back. Besides, I’m not sure I can stay away for 3 years. LOL, such an addict.

A funny thing on the way away from the con…

A funny thing happened on my way to not going to Dragon Con. I actually got to go! Not only did I go, I got a room in the Sheraton just 3 days before the con. I had a great time and met some awesome people!

Weeks later I still haven’t unpacked all of my stuff yet. Too much going on here, but once things calm down some more I’ll unpack and write some more. In the meantime, here’s a link to my pics!

Dragon Con 2013 Pictures

 

DragonCon-2013025

I’ll Tumblr For Ya

After the announcement of Yahoo’s purchase of Tumblr, I decided to give the popular micro blogging site another look. When I first heard of Tumblr a few years back, I was intrigued by the fact that the site was very mobile friendly at a time when that was not the norm. But I was getting into Twitter and had little interest in adding another blog.

tumblr_for_yaSince that time, a lot has changed. So I decided to create my own Tumblr and check out the scene. Now, many many hours, and weeks later, I’m totally hooked. I think that Tumblr combines the best of the Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress in an easy to use package.

It’s easy to find people to follow and subjects of interest. You can post as much, or as little as you want. And simply “liking” something is a breeze. As a bonus, spam bots don’t appear to be as rampant as they are on Twitter.

I’d heard that Tumblr had a younger demographic than Facebook, and it definitely shows. I think that the anonymity and multimedia friendly platform more readily fosters vibrant, interest driven communities. My favorite hobbies, Sci-Fi, Anime, and Cosplay, are well represented there!

While I have no intention to abandon what I’ll call, long form blogging, I’m definitely going to be spending more time on Tumblr. You can find me at is this thing on?

C2E2 Begins!

Marshall_Lee_Day_TimeC2E2 begins today and I’m really excited! It’s been a way too long winter here in Chicago and much much too long since my last major con, Youmacon in Detroit last November. So I’m pretty excited about the guests (JMS! JMS! JMS!), panels, and, of course, cosplay! And I’m hoping to meet a cosplay friend or two in person for the first time. Yay @ButterflySamurai!

I don’t have any new costumes for the con this year. I’m just going be rocking the uniforms of my home fandom, Star Trek. Friday starts out casual with my “faux” Sisko from DS9. Then on Saturday my Uhura from Star Trek, the original series. I might do my Marshall Lee, Adventure Time, styled outfit on Sunday or bring on the Applejack if I’m really feeling inspired.

Generally, I try not to cross the streams of real life and cosplay, but I’ve got a growing number of friends and coworkers who I may just run into at C2E2. So things could get more interesting than usual. No worries, what will be, will be.

C2E2 just gets better and better, bigger and bigger, every year. No pressure though, no pressure. We’re all friends here, LOL.

Cleared for Anime Midwest

Last year I went a bit overboard with cons, so this year I was planning to cycle back a bit. But this month, I’ve put in a lot of overtime work hours and it reminded me of how important it is to have fun events to unwind. So I’ve added Anime Midwest to the 2013 convention schedule.

I had a great time at Anime Midwest last year, and with the con making the move to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, the same hotel Anime Central uses, things promise to be even better! It should also be a nice warm up for Otakon a month later.

Now I better werk baby! Those cosplays and videos won’t make themselves!

YOU BETTER WERK!
YOU BETTER WERK!

Viz Titles On Nook Grew Like A Motherfucker!

I always enjoy getting newsletters from Viz with news of their latest manga releases. As bookstore chains began to crumble into dust, Viz wasted little time making their titles available on most digital reading platforms.

VizOnNooK_Motherfucker
I guess Viz titles on the Nook are experiencing rapid growth.

I’ve wondered a bit how they were doing, so I was pleased to read that their titles were growing quite well on the Nook. In fact, they grew like a motherfucker! Yeah.

Salty language doesn’t bother me, but I just about fell out of my seat laughing. Now I wonder how long it will be before I get an email apologizing for that colorful language. LOL XD

It’s A Youmacon World Afterall

I think I really need to become more flexible in my thinking sometimes. After all hope of going to Youmacon seemed lost in the gusts of a hurricane, work, and money, it turns out that I will be able to attend! In my despair, I had already canceled my room reservation, but once it became apparent that I could go on Saturday and Sunday, I was lucky enough to get a room in the hotel across the street from the Renaissance Center.

Going two days also saved me a great deal of money and untangled some issues at work. Yay! I’ve gotten so used to going 3 or 4 days, that the compromise of 2 days just wasn’t even on the radar screen. And it gives me some more time with my awesome wife who made it back safely from Philadelphia! Of course that meant that I had to finish my Sailor Mars cosplay, which I have just done by completing the tiara! It’s not perfect, but I’m happy enough with it that I may enter the Hall Cosplay competition if everything times out right. Otherwise I’m just going to enjoy the heck out of showing it off and being thankful that God even cares about this part of my life.

Youmacon and the Perfect Storm

As Hurricane Sandy pounds the East Coast, I finding it difficult to finish up the Sailor Mars project for Youmacon. Probably has something to do with the fact that the storm has trapped my wife in Philadelphia while visiting my daughter. So I’m a bit worried and distracted. Much like years ago when my youngest son was in the hospital a few days before Halloween, once I got to sewing, I could find some solace in the work. At this point I don’t know if I’ll be able to go to Youmacon this year, but I will try to finish up my costumes. I miss Youmacon, but I’m missing my wife a lot more right now.

Returning To Youmacon

One sign of a good weekend are depressing thoughts of returning to work on Monday. By that measure, the weekend went pretty well! Youmacon is less than 2 weeks away now and I made great progress on my latest cosplay. A cosplay project that has already missed a couple of con date deadlines this year. It’s funny given that the Sailor Mars project is the really the only cosplay I actually planned to do this year. The two other new ones, Mamimi and Applejack, came about as larks. Of course, getting into cosplay was a bit of a lark to begin with, so no surprises there.

I missed Youmacon last year, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to one of my favorite conventions of the year. I still haven’t planned everything out, but that’s not unusual. Right now, I just want to see the guest events, do karaoke, and maybe, just maybe enter the hall cosplay competition. Youmacon was the first con I ever entered a costume into competition at. And I think the Sailor Mars cosplay is shaping up nicely enough to consider an entry. If you do crossplay, doing a Sailor Senshi cosplay is almost obligatory. And life is just too short to be holding anything back.

Dragon Con 2012 AAAftermath

They say what happens at Dragon*Con, stays at Dragon*Con which is a neat way of summing up  a good chunk of the spirit of the convention. And my OH MY, did it have a lot of spirit! So the quick summary is that I had a great time during my first visit to the largest fandom convention I’ve ever been to.

Looking back though, my Dragon Con got off to a pretty bad start, I just didn’t know it at the time. It wasn’t being tired from a road trip back from Philadelphia a couple of days before, filled with emotion and sadness. Or even taking the wrong ramp near Nashville and adding 80 miles to my trip to Atlanta. It was the discovery, after checking into a hotel a 700 mile drive from home, that my driver’s license had expired a week ago! I was devastated to have had such a lapse, especially after vowing to do a better job of planning after the messiness of Otakon.

A call home to my wife, the best wife ever BTW, calmed me down and I put the problem of driving home out of my mind. I think the real problem may have been that now I was in the middle of Mardi Gras for Nerds without a valid form of ID. I think I must have been the oldest underaged person at the con! Well, I’m not a big drinker anyway, and I had brought 4 bottles of beer from home anyway. So not all of my planning was fail.

Thursday night I was too tired to do much more than wander about to get a feel for things. Already I could see that this con was quite a different animal than Otakon and most anime oriented conventions I’d been to. For one thing, most people were a lot older and that fact alone gave Dragon*Con a vibe that was on a whole different level. I mean after all, a young girl running around in a skimpy costume may not know what she’s getting into or even who she’s portraying. But a mature woman in same knows exactly what she’s doing and what she wants. And that is truly sexy!

Bible Black Cosplay

Friday I donned my Deep Space 9 uniform and headed out to the Trek Track at the Sheraton. It’d been ages since I’d been able to hang out with so many fellow Star Trek fans, including more than a few married couples. So the Trek Track became my hub for the convention. I did duck out a bit for the Babyon 5 panel with Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan (swoooon). And I stumbled into the Erin Gray panel too, before returning to the Trek Track for Klingon Karaoke. I didn’t sing any Klingon songs, but I did sing a country one which is close right? Just kidding. I like country music. So I did one of my favorites, Beer for My Horses with a few references to Saurion Brandy and Romulan Ale thrown in for good measure. After that, I changed into my Miho cosplay, aka “party clothes”, and rocked the Apocalypto dance until the early morning. Some of that rocking included a stint dancing on stage and getting some samba lessons up there as well. Oh my!

The late night Friday gave way to an early wake up for the Dragon Con Parade on Saturday morning. I’d heard about the parade and was looking forward to marching in my Uhura cosplay with the Star Trek contingent. It turned out to be more fun than I had imagined. The Star Trek group was friendly and cool. We may not have been the largest group, but we were pretty awesome with a range of costumes from serious to silly. We had a Kirk in a bath robe, some party Klingons, a Starfleet officer Steampunk style, and some awesome Andorians, just to name a few. I loved it! There were thousands of enthusiastic fans along the parade route and marching and waving felt great. That is definitely something I want to do again! (Sadly, I lost the contact card I got from the lady in Starfleet Steampunk. If you happen to see this post, please DM me on Twitter @bluezhift!)

After the parade, my next mission was to get Nichelle Nichols’ autograph and show her my costume. The crowds were incredible! At some points it felt like being in some dense, slow moving, human fluid. Nevertheless, I achieved my goal and got  my copy of Beyond Uhura signed plus a smile for my cosplay. I gotta say, my Uhura cosplay is definitely one of my all time favorite costumes. ^_^

Sunday I had planned to watch the Miss Star Trek Universe Pageant. Instead, I ended up being a part of it! Before the show, I was selected with a number of other cosplayers to play Kahless Says. Yes, the Klingon version of Simon Says. Uhura made it to the final round before being killed by hired Andorians. Hopefully my death flop in front of none other than Nichelle Nichols herself didn’t show too much panty! The pageant was fun to watch with most of the contestants being totally and hilariously in character. The winner was a Vulcan whose humor and talent were priceless.

2 Aux of Borg
Like some wild night in Vegas, a lot of what happened is a bit of a blur by this time so I’ve included the tweets I made during the convention at the end of this report. Getting home was an adventure in luck and discipline. It is literally impossible to maintain the posted speed limit on the highway without serious risk of being run over. But aggressive use of cruise control,  some patience, and divine providence got me home safely. Atlanta has not seen the last of me!

Dragon Con 2012 Cosplay Pictures

Tales from the Tweet for 2012-09-01

  • Just woke up and the crowds here at #DragonCon are still going strong! Should I join them or go back to sleep? #
  • Got totally depressed because I forgot to do something really important before I left for #DragonCon Just gotta forget it for now… #
  • Can’t hurt to tour about a little at 1:11am…right? #DragonCon #
  • Oops! More like 2am actually! #DragonCon #
  • I’m usually a nervous my first time to a con, but #DragonCon is so overwhelming that I may need some extra undies! #
  • Started out #DragonCon right, with the Trek Track of course! And Garret Wang does a great George Takei! #
  • Got some pics with this cool Trek fan couple. Lots of cosplay up in here! #DragonCon #
  • Tried to see Geek Parent panel, but it was full. So now at Erin Gray panel. ^_^ #DragonCon#
  • Now at the B5 panel. Mira Furlan, SWOOOON!!! #DragonCon #
  • Deep in the bowels of the Hyatt at Know Your Anime. Much younger crowd here, LOL. May bail for Filk soon. #DragonCon #
  • At Filk now. My ears are happy! Eyes too actually! ^_^ #DragonCon #
  • Lined up for Opening Ceremonies yay!! #dragoncon #

Tales from the Tweet for 2012-09-02

  • Lots of country at Klingon Karaoke. I’m alright with it, had fun singing Beer for My Horses. #DragonCon #
  • Of course, my horses prefer Romulan Ale, but that stuff’s illegal. #DragonCon #
  • Danced my arse off at Apocalyto Disco, and OMG, I danced on stage! I kinda sucked on stage, but it was awesome! #DragonCon #
  • In the parade in, gulp, a few hours. Might be a good idea to sleep now. Goodnight #DragonCon #
  • Being in the parade was a hoot! So many people in awesome costumes! And the huge cheering crowd was awesome too! #DragonCon #
  • After the parade, I changed my load out and headed for the Walk of Fame where I got to show my Uhura to the original Uhura. ^_^ #DragonCon #
  • Got my copy of Beyond Uhura signed by Nichelle Nichols and told her I finished my physics degrees we talked about years ago. #DragonCon #
  • In con dim sum mode now. Any panel I can get into is a good panel! Did SWOTOR, mystical book anime, now Project Cosplay. #DragonCon #
  • Project Cosplay off and running with a nude Dead Pool. Oh Dead Pool! XD #DragonCon #
  • I love being at #DragonCon with my nerdy brothers and sisters! Time to eat cause I’m dyin!#

Tales from the Tweet for 2012-09-03

  • Another exhaustingly fun #DragonCon day comes to an end with 2 dance parties and a creepy guy touching me. LOL, my cue to leave. #
  • @ButerflySamurai that’s too bad! I hope you’re otherwise having a great con. These crowds are crazy insane! in reply to ButerflySamurai #
  • The cutest thing I saw today was a Mass Effect cosplayer dad with a baby in a stroller dubbed the Normandy. D’AAAAW! #DragonCon #
  • Plan to spend a lot of time in the Sheraton today on Trek and Dr Who stuff. I <3 you both! Don’t make me choose! #DragonCon #
  • I like that #DragonCon attendees are closer to my age! Yes, this is the grown up con I’ve been looking for! #
  • Woo hoo! I made it to the Sylvester McCoy panel only a little late. ^_^ #DragonCon #
  • @geekitry indeed it is! in reply to geekitry #
  • @ButerflySamurai lol, cosplay is a fun way to express many facets of our personalities (or none at all). A diamond with 1 face = boring in reply to ButerflySamurai #
  • One of the things I like best about #DragonCon are the Southern accents. I could listen to that all day. <3 #
  • Time to feed my Trek nature again! Dorm and Frakes! #DragonCon #
  • My plan was to watch Ms. Star Trek Universe. I ended up IN it playing Kahless Says! In front of Nichelle Nichols no less! <3 #DragonCon #
  • With all the fun I’ve had cosplaying Uhura, I really want to thank William Ware Theiss for his beautiful costumes! #DragonCon #
  • #DragonCon masquerade overflow in the Marriott still has plenty of room! #
  • WTF?! Overflow masquerade has tech issues plus a band is practicing here in the same room. Why the disrespect #DragonCon Seriously… #

Tales from the Tweet for 2012-09-04

  • Looks like my #DragonCon is over for 2012. Gotta say it, it was a lot more than I expected and I hope to return again! ^_^ #
  • Checkpoint! 212 miles out. On course for Chicago. Bye #DragonCon #
  • Checkpoint! 283 miles out, rain. All is well. #
  • Checkpoint! 495 miles out. More rain. All is well. Final fuel stop. #
  • Goal! Defiant returns home under cloak. #DragonCon #outrun #

Dragon Con Mission to Mars Setback

While Curiosity’s Mars mission continues right on track, my own has suffered yet another delay. Cosplay projects always take more time than one expects. Sailor Mars is the most ambitious costume I’ve attempted, challenging in both materials and crossplay technique. On the plus side, the test fittings are good and the shoes I got are awesome! But it just needs more time than I have left right now to finish.

Sailor MarsI’m still going to Dragon Con, bringing my Uhura to the parade. But Sailor Mars will have to wait until Youmacon for her debut!

Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror – A Quick Review

When I first heard of this movie at Otakon, the large anime convention held in Baltimore each year, I literally knew nothing about it. So when Funimation posted the Japanese subtitled version on YouTube just prior to the US Blu-ray/DVD release, I had to take a look, and I am quite glad that I did! I immediately placed a pre-order on Amazon, which came today, and I am writing this having just watched the movie with my family on Blu-ray.

Oblivion Island

 

Oblivion Island is a visual treat for the eyes with animation on par with Pixar and Dreamworks, and imbued with overtones from Japanese anime and manga. The character design of Haruka is gorgeous, and you can see that a lot of love and care went into animating her every move. But it doesn’t end with Haruka, the film makers have created a world alive with color and texture that even moved my teenagers!

Beyond the beautiful animation is an equally heart warming tale of lost memories and one girl’s struggle to retrieve them, making new ones along the way. The soundtrack very ably communicates the emotional mood without being over powering or intrusive. The voice acting in the English dub is excellent! The characters are all well matched and the script localization could not have been better! This is a story that parents and kids can equally understand and enjoy, because at its core, that’s what the movie is all about, family and the memories we make together.

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This is the review I posted on Amazon. The first such review I ever written there. So I guess I must have really liked this movie!

Otakon, Oblivion Island, And Stuff I Didn’t Know

It’s been weeks since the 2012 edition of Otakon ended and connections are still being made. One of the first things you do at pre-reg badge pickup, is choose a design for your badge. These designs are images from a popular anime that may or may not have guests or panels at the con. This year I chose the Oblivion Island design. I hadn’t seen or heard of it, but I liked the design and wanted something different than the other choices which were from shows I’d chosen in previous years.

Today, thanks to the cool folks at Funimation, I got to see Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror, for the first time, free on YouTube! When I saw the link in my subscriptions view I thought it was just a trailer to promote the August 14 release of the Blu-ray/DVD. Instead it was the full 99 minute movie in Japanese with English subtitles. I hadn’t planned to watch a whole film at my PC, but I was hooked by gorgeous visuals and a heart warming story of retrieving lost memories and relationships that today was especially resonant with me. So I guess I chose the right badge afterall.

The days leading up to Otakon were busy as always as I feverishly worked to complete my Sailor Mars cosplay. But in the end I just ran out of time and shelved the project for a later con (Dragon*Con hopefully) rather than wreck myself before making a 700 mile drive. That hurt a bit and should have been a warning that I needed to plan things better, but I had my new Mamimi along with a new wig for my Uhura, so I really didn’t take it as such.

No problems on the drive, only some anxiety about not changing the oil before setting out. Again, more planning needed. But somehow I managed to cheat failure and make it into the city as I had 7 times before. I had a lot of trouble getting through traffic to the parking garage, but nothing fatal. No problems with badge pickup either.

I had dinner with friends from the Megatokyo forums, but skipped out on the bar afterwards to get in before the rain resumed and to get some rest for the next day.

As usual, I was several hours later than I would have liked getting ready. But I finally finished up and hit the street in my Uhura cosplay. This costume had gotten a great reception on Sunday last year, so I was anxious to see how it would fare over a full convention day. Well it went over very well with nice compliments, including a “beam me up” from the crossing guard at the convention center. After that, all of my plans started going off the rails fairly quickly.