Sunshine Blogger Award x2!

Hey everybody! Lesley of Lesley’s Anime and Manga Corner and Bloom Reviews nominated me for more Sunshine Blogger Awards! Thank you very much for the nominations, guys, and go check out their blogs now if you haven’t already. There’s plenty of anime and manga reviews, discussions and just overall goodness for ya. 🙂

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog so that other people can visit them
  • Answer the 11 questions put to you by the nominator
  • Nominate 11 bloggers of your choosing and provide them with a new set of 11 questions to answer
  • Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts
  • List the rules and display The Sunshine Blogger Award logo within your post or on your blog site

Let’s start with Lesley’s questions!

1) What was the first anime that you watched that made you realize that you were a fan of the medium?

This question I had to give some deeper thought that I first anticipated, because while I definitely remember the first few anime I watched that started me on this path, it’s hard for me to say which series made me truly realize that I was becoming a fan of anime as a medium.

I’ve mentioned before that my first few anime were Pokemon, Digimon and Sailor Moon, then I watched a bunch of stuff like Yugioh and Beyblade, things on Toonami, shows on Adult Swim etc. I had watched a lot of anime before I think it truly clicked with me that I was a fan of anime.

I remember, when I was much younger, G4 Tech TV had an anime block on very late at night. I didn’t have access to the channel on my bedroom TV, and at one point my dad even put a timer on the thing to make the power to it cut at a certain time so I wouldn’t stay up to crazy late hours.

But when I could, I’d sneak downstairs where the living room TV had access to the channel and watch shows on that block. Even though the block had several series, the one that always stood out for me was Crest of the Stars. I think when I realized I was sneaking around to watch anime, particularly that one show, was when I came to truly realize I was an anime fan.

Shortly afterward, I was ordering Anime Insider magazine and getting into making AMVs and truly immersing myself in the medium.

2) Which anime series is your favorite and why?

Fruits Basket. Even though it’s somewhat of a hot button topic now that the reboot is out, I still really adore the original 2001 series. It has a perfect mixture of humor and drama, and I love nearly all of the characters. Outside of it obviously being unfinished in regards to the manga ending, it’s hard for me to find many flaws with it. And it’s a rare case of me having seen a series fully in Japanese and English and loving both.

3) Which anime character do you feel most resembles you?

My answer to this question used to be Haruhi from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, but now I feel like I look a bit more like Hange from Attack on Titan.

4) If you ever have kids, would you consider naming one after an anime character? If so, which name and why?

True story: So before Jaden Smith became a joke, I considered naming a possible future kid of mine Jaden because of Jaden from Yugioh GX. I just liked the name, and it might not count because I’m not too attached to the character. Plus it’s an English name and I don’t think that’s what you’re going for here.

For either a boy or girl, Voyager. It was the name of a one-off character on Pokemon The First Movie and I fell in love with it. It’s badass, it has an anime background, it’s mysterious, what more could you ask for?

5) Is there a manga or light novel series that you’re currently reading?

As of this writing, I’m reading Higanjima, which is a horror manga, I’m finishing off Digimon Adventure V-Tamer. I’m re-reading Fruits Basket in a weird read-watch-watch along with the original anime and the reboot. And I’m reading Tokyo Mew Mew for the sake of an AniManga Clash.

6) If you could be best friends with an anime character, which one would it be and why?

I’m feeling Luffy for this one. He’s a ton of fun, a great friend, incredibly loyal and he’d kick the ass of anyone who’d do us wrong, or at the very least give me the confidence to kick their ass.

7) Are you a fan of any particular anime director? If so, who is it and why?

I’m probably going to go for the somewhat cliché route and say Satoshi Kon or Shinichiro Watanabe. I don’t much follow directors unless they have really really notable works under their belts, and these were the ones who came to mind. Satoshi Kon made some insanely creative and thought-provoking features while Shinichiro Watanabe has such an amazing style in storytelling and building the world for you that it’s hard to not get immersed in it.

8) Do you have a favorite anime studio?

Would it be too obvious to say Madhouse? Bones coming close second.

9) Do you have a favorite mangaka?

Not really. Maybe Yukinobu Hoshino, the creator of the 2001 Nights manga.

10) Do you have a favorite anime animal character?

I’ve gone through this question a few times, so I’ll change it up and say TurtleDucks from Avatar the Last Airbender….It’s a duck mixed with a turtle. How does that not spawn love in your heart?

11) Is there anything else you want to say in addition to the other questions that I asked?

I feel like I should take this opportunity to say something inspirational.

So….

Something inspirational.

Now for Bloom Reviews questions!

1) What was the scariest movie or show you’ve ever watched?

It takes a lot to actually scare me in regards to stories and movies and such, but I have always been freaked out by the Halloween movies (well, most of them) Even though I absolutely love them (Not the Rob Zombie ones….) they do make me consider leaving the lights on at night after I watch one, and I do feel a bit of paranoia during watching.

Michael’s mask as a whole, at least when they do the lighting right so you can’t see his eyes, is one of the most haunting things I’ve ever seen, and the original movies have a great sense of pacing and suspense.

2) Are there certain genres of TV shows or books that you stay away from or hate reading? Why?

I pretty much avoid any reality show that is literally just ‘watch (blank) live their lives.’ Watch a famous couple live their lives, watch a family of little people live their lives, watch a bunch of spoiled rich snobs live their lives, watch a bunch of famous spoiled rich snobs who also happen to be little people live their lives, watch this unreasonably large family live their lives etc. etc. etc. (Just in case I stepped on toes with the little people comment, it’s great to give everyone representation and show their struggles, but at the end of the day 99% of it is still watching normal people live their lives.)

I don’t know how we reached a point where just watching other people do the most mundane stuff with the most obviously fabricated drama thrown in became such a big sensation. My mom likes a ton of these shows, so I’m forced to watch some of them sometimes and I just don’t get it. I especially don’t like when they focus on the rich people living their lives, and yes some of that might be based on jealousy, but other times it’s just because of how ridiculous these people are disconnected from the real world and conceited at that.

I forget the name of the show, but there’s a rich famous couple, I think the guy is a wrestler, and they decided to make friends with their neighbors by sticking action figures….of themselves…into the mailboxes of their neighbors.

I say ‘pretty much avoid’ because I do watch some reality TV, but most of it is competition shows or things with educational value.

3) Who was your first celebrity/character crush and why?

I think it was the Blue Ranger/Billy/David Yost from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Not only was he very likable, cute and super smart, but damn if he didn’t get hot in later seasons. David Yost also seems like he’s a great guy IRL, so if I was going to have a first character/celeb crush, I’m glad it was him. Shame he left the series, and even bigger shame as to the reasons why.

4) What was one show your parents hated you watching but you watched anyways?

That’s a real tough one because I was a goody two-shoes most of the time and my parents had a pretty good hold on what I watched. I guess Pokemon might qualify here. They never liked me playing the games or watching the anime because, at the time, their religious beliefs skewed them into thinking it was unhealthy for me to watch. But they still bought me Pokemon stuff, same with my Grandparents, who had the same beliefs, and I still watched it every chance I got.

I’ll sneak in another mention here because I know my parents wouldn’t have been happy if they knew I was watching the Adult Swim block on Cartoon Network. Not like anything on that block was horribly adult, especially back then, but they certainly wouldn’t have let me watch it anyway.

5) I’ve recently gotten addicted to podcasts, do you have any recommendations for podcasts or other talk shows you enjoy listening to?

I don’t really listen to a lot of podcasts, but my personal favorites are Sawbones, which is a medical podcast where they talk about a lot of interesting aspects of old and new facets of medicine – The hosts are a married couple, and they bounce off of each other very well and have a great energy about them – the Nick Animation podcast, which is awesome for anyone interested in animation and the BTS stuff involved in their favorite old and new Nicktoons, and If I Were You, hosted by Jake and Amir (previously) of CollegeHumor, which is basically an advice podcast where they give both funny and serious answers to inquiries.

6) I’m currently relaxing on vacation right now. What’s your favorite summertime or beach read?

I’m not the biggest reader (at least of regular novels – I read western comics and manga a lot). Also, I don’t tend to read much while on vacation or at the beach. I’m usually chilling out some other way. I guess I’ll say any Star Wars novel, because those tend to be really relaxing to me for some reason lol.

7) It’s starting to get towards the end of summer. What’s one aspect of this season that you look forward to the most? Vacation? A certain event? Warmth?

I tend to not like summer too much because I am miserable in the heat, but I do like swimming, roasting marshmallows and going to the local fair the most.

8) Conversely, Fall is pretty much upon us. What’s one thing about the season you’re really looking forward to?

Now you’re in my wheelhouse! Fall is my favorite season! And I’d have to say it’s a tie between Halloween and seeing the leaves change color.

9) Tell me about the style of your blog and why you picked the color, banner, and subject matter that you did.

My blog’s style, as you can probably tell from the name, is just general craziness. Initially, I had a much lighter blog theme and only the banner was really crazily designed, but once I switched, I had a bit more fun with it. I picked darker colors with some bright/glowing contrasts in my second (technically third or fourth, considering I tried a couple other briefly before settling here) theme because I think that lends itself better to the crazy type of tone going on.

I made my banner myself. I basically looked for shots from anime that had stuck out in my mind for being particularly over-exaggerated or insane. I fiddled around A LOT with fonts, colors and background designs before just reaching one I liked after hours of trial and error. I did purposely throw some purple in there because purple’s my favorite color.

I picked the background image after searching Google for insane anime-related pictures and just stumbling upon it. I thought it was, forgive the pun, insanely awesome and fit perfectly in my page. It was also the background of my menu on my first blog theme, but you couldn’t see it well.

When I first started doing anime reviews, I had been inspired by a lot of Internet reviewers at the time, and I had been somewhat known for my rants, ramblings and weirdness, so I figured a blog with a crazy ‘madhouse’ theme was best suited for me.

As for why I chose anime, manga and animated features to review and discuss here, I simply started doing it a long, long time ago on a long-since dead website. I kinda enjoyed writing and I loved anime, so I started writing posts about it in the website’s blog section since that was the place relegated for personal opinion pieces and whatnot. It took me a little while longer to branch out into reviewing western animation and several years more before I started reviewing manga.

I try to stay within the confines of anything animated since that’s what I know best. I also love horror movies and comics, but I am definitely not comfortable enough to review those. I just don’t know enough to talk about them as a whole in enough depth to give them justice.

Also, despite still keeping a tone of craziness and fun in here, I do now try to keep a stronger balance with serious analysis and exploration when the situations call for it. Never giving up the Madhouse, but definitely want to give more quality for your views.

10) What about blogging drew you to make your own blog?

I really didn’t have much experience with blogs before starting one of my own. I did start posting on a blog on the aforementioned website/forum, and when I moved to another forum where I started doing these reviews more formally, even though we did have a blog section, I mostly posted in official review threads.

My drive for seeking out a real blog was to have a place all my own where I could organize my reviews and other writings, particularly because, by that point, I had started writing several other series such as Sub/Dub Comparisons, my Pokemon movie/short/episode reviews and even my special reviews for holiday specials.

I was spread out all over the forum, and the forum was mostly dead by that point. I didn’t have really any readers at all and I felt like I was bombarding an empty land with my writing for no reason. Even though I still don’t have the biggest audience, I still feel like I’ve built a home here and have people reading and even responding to my work, which makes me feel much more content.

11) Is there anything about content creators in particular or content creation in general that you find annoying or frustrating?

I can’t really think about one encompassing thing about content creators that annoys me. It’s mostly just things specific content creators do because of their own specific style or personality.

Myself, though, I find trying to convey my opinions in a manner that is both entertaining but not devalued by the entertainment aspect to be frustrating. I want my blog to be enjoyable to read. I strive to be funny while also providing a valid opinion and interesting information about what I’m covering. Finding the balance is insanely difficult to the point where I feel like I rarely, if ever, actually find it. I’ll re-edit posts several times trying to find this balance and so many times I feel like I just have to compromise for one or the other.

My Questions

1) Have you ever completely changed your opinion on an anime or manga after rewatching/reading it again or because someone shared some compelling thoughts about it?

2) What is the most ridiculous reason you’ve seen for someone not liking something?

3) What flying animal or device from any anime or manga would you choose as your primary mode of personal air travel?

4) What was your favorite subject in school and why?

5) What character in an anime or manga do you think suffered from the worst example of backwards character development/devolving? (IE, they started out fine or even good but got progressively worse over time?)

6) What’s your favorite board or card game to play?

7) In your opinion, which anime/manga character had the most pointless death? (Spoiler tags)

8) Besides anime or manga, what’s something that you can talk about endlessly? Like once you get going on the subject, time flies?

9) No shipping hate, but which shipping in anime or manga makes the least sense to you but somehow ended up canon and/or endgame?

10) Did you have a toy, doll etc. that you never went anywhere without as a child?

11) What plot twist in an anime or manga basically ruined the entire series to you?

I’m opting out of tagging people this time around, so anyone who sees this and wants to give it a shot, step right up! 🙂

 

“Why Bother?” You’re Your Own Worst Enemy in Art

pencil drawing gif

Even though I don’t talk about it much here, because it doesn’t tend to have much relevance to what I blog about (ironically?), I love drawing. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. I even give drawings to my friends and family as gifts for holidays sometimes. But in the past decade or so I have repeatedly gotten into extremely bad art slumps that lead to me quitting on numerous occasions either for a few months or over a year or more at a time.

‘Why bother? My art sucks. I’m nowhere near the level of people who have a fraction of my experience or people who are half my age.’

That is the main thought I have whenever I drop my art. Currently, I am in a ‘dropped’ phase of my art, as you can probably see from my ghost town dArt page. I haven’t drawn anything worth a crap in months and I haven’t uploaded anything since 2016. I’ve had to force myself to draw a few times in these months, and I haven’t been happy with any of it.

I used to draw religiously every single day. I used to draw so much that I ruined my mattress from wearing it out because I used to spend hours of every day drawing while sitting on the corner of my bed. I’d draw anything I wanted whenever I wanted and I loved it. When I started getting on the Internet, I eventually bought a scanner and then a tablet to put my artwork online.

While I have gotten plenty of good feedback, I have also gotten my share of bad responses. I’m the type of person who over-exaggerates negatives while downplaying the positives. These negative responses never hindered me enough to quit drawing. Definitely put me in a bad mood, but never outright quit.

drawing

You are your own worst critic, as they say. As I reached my late teens and started having ‘issues’ for lack of a better term, I found myself getting increasingly depressed about my artwork. Despite working for years and years on my drawings, I’d keep seeing people online or even artwork shown in fairs that would drive me down.

A beautiful, realistic and detailed drawing of a deer in a field that I could maybe hope to achieve years in the future with much more practice.

Done by someone aged nine.

A gorgeous, expansive, intricate landscape with creative ideas and unique designs.

The description says it’s ‘just a quick doodle’.

A hilarious comic with stylized artwork and wonderful formatting and comedic timing.

“Hey guys, I just decided to start doing comics. This is my first one. What do you think?”

A fun, slick digital painting of a sports car that looks so good you feel you could ride in it.

“Eh, I’m not all that happy with this one, but I just threw it together in an hour so it’s alright.”

I am so happy for each and every person who finds something they’re good at and runs with it. I am also not under the mindset that talent alone, without hard work, is worth much. But it is always such a massive punch in the face to me whenever I see amazing artwork and my internal voice says something along the lines of “Wow, I’ll never be able to do that.” or “Over twenty years of practice, and I can’t do anything nearly that good. Why bother?”

I can’t respond to that question when I ask myself that. Why bother? Why would I bother? Why would I go through hours of hard work and frustration just to make something that’s, at best, okay? Why would I continue with my crappy artwork when so many people out there do so much better, even if they’re much younger than me or have much less experience? If even the artists themselves describe some of their beautiful works as ‘doodles’ and ‘something I threw together’, what does that make my work? Total garbage I wasted hours, days, even weeks on?

I used to want to make animations and comics, but I never did much with those ideas because I kept getting into the ‘Why bother?’ slump. I’m still in one of those slumps. A bad one. So why am I even writing this blog post?

momo-drawing

A useful therapeutic technique for beating negative inner voices is trying to talk to yourself like you would to a friend or family member who is hearing those same things. Most people wouldn’t talk to themselves as they would someone else. If your friend said ‘My artwork sucks. It’s nowhere near as good as millions of other artists. Why bother even continuing?’ I doubt you’d respond with ‘Yeah, you’re right. Your art is garbage. You should quit.’ Unless you’re going the route of reverse psychology, which is an iffy road to say the least, and really doesn’t work when applying it to yourself.

This obviously isn’t an end-all solution. Convincing yourself that what you’re saying is true, in a positive sense, can be very difficult. You’re basically trying to pump up your positive inner voice to beat your negative inner voice in a boxing match while your negative inner voice has metal spiked gloves with flamethrowers and your positive one has plastic bags filled with go-gurt.

Don’t you want to see how good you could be? Even if you can’t see the top of the stairs, don’t you want to at least say you made it up a few more steps? Despite me being down on myself and my work, I can’t deny that I’ve definitely gotten better over time. I look back at pictures I made as a kid and I want to just throw them all away. (Upside-down house head was a common affliction to my characters. Terrible disease) but I don’t because they’re important to me and they’re reminders that I have improved a lot.

bleach rukia and ichigo gif

The point is, I really wish I hadn’t quit all those times because I missed out on a lot of improvement and learning. I missed out on the fun I could’ve had wrestling with a new drawing and finally finishing it. I just flatout missed out. I’m still missing out. You should always aim to improve and be open to constructive criticism, but comparing yourself to others, in basically anything, is frequently a detriment to your growth in that area.

You could say striving to be as good as other people inspires you to improve, which might be true for some people, but, and this might seem silly, look at shows like DBZ and Yugioh. Characters like Kaiba and Vegeta worked their asses off to get better than one particular person and, during that time, aforementioned rival also improved a great deal, meaning the gap between them either stayed the same or barely moved even a little. (Some exceptions apply)

In both situations, despite them both becoming awesome and powerful in their own right, they basically relegated themselves to never achieving true victory over their rival, though not for lack of trying. Both still very much enjoy trying to achieve victory to the very end of their series.

I suppose the difference here is that those people do have intense confidence in themselves already. Their defeats and constant reminders that they’re not as skilled as someone else just drives them to improve more and more in the hopes that they can beat their rival and finally earn their ‘rightful’ title as the best. In some circumstances, they want to earn that title just so they can see how their rival will turn around and try to get it back. It’s a passion fueled by competition.

Going into this same situation with a negative attitude basically sets you up for a fall and creates the ‘why bother?’ response. You no longer look to these rivals as hurdles you need to jump over, but instead as walls you’ll crash into. You don’t appreciate your own improvement anymore because you’re surrounded by walls. Why bother getting excited over going a few more steps when there’s probably a wall at the top?

bleach-episode-1-samme-mejias-5

It’s more cliches, but there is always someone better, and, realistically, you’re likely always better than someone else. That’s not meant to be cruel to others or to build your confidence on the downfall of others, it’s just a fact if we’re meant to take the first part of that statement as truth. It may be in different areas, mediums, styles, or even just one incredibly small thing like using a color better than others, but it’s true. I don’t believe in people being the absolute worst or the absolute best at something. There’s always room for growth and improvement, and as long as you’re trying there’s always quality to your work.

Even if you feel surrounded by walls, what’s stopping you from grabbing a grappling hook and climbing the wall? Batman does that.

What’s stopping you from bursting through the wall? The Kool-Aid man does that.

Okay, you probably want to strive to be Batman over the Kool-Aid man….Though he does survive all of those crashes without a scratch despite being a glass pitcher. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

Just like there’s a point in this post somewhere.

draw

Another anime I’m reminded of is Chihayafuru. In it, the main character, Chihaya, falls in love with the game of karuta. Seeing the passion for the game in her friend, Ayata’s, eyes spurred a similar fire in her heart for it.

But she absolutely couldn’t hold a single candle to Ayata when they first played. Ayata was a card chucking ninja robot and Chihaya couldn’t do a thing. That is until she managed to get one card before he did. Just one. She lost horribly, but she was so happy just to get that one card. She worked harder and harder to improve over the years, even if interest in the game was extremely low in her school and her friends had drifted apart. She didn’t work her butt off to slam victory over Ayata’s head or anything, she did it because the game made her happy and reminded her of how much she and her friends used to love playing together.

A favorite of mine in regards to breaking out of regular ‘I have no inspiration’ slumps is the ‘just draw’ approach. Scribble, doodle, make random lines, just draw something, anything, and it can lead to a great idea.

It’s a common practice in writing too. Just write whatever you want, not taking grammar, spelling, etc. into consideration and eventually you’ll stumble upon something you want to write about in a more clear-cut manner. If not for the goal of drawing, writing, building, sculpting etc. something you think will be a great masterpiece, at the very least it will be something you’ll hopefully enjoy making. I miss the enjoyment I’d get out of just sitting on my bed drawing and not caring who thought my drawings were good besides me.

Me+when+i+try+to+draw+smth_60268d_5429695

Art, in any form, is as much personal as it is something to share with others. It’s an expression of yourself in small and large ways. It should always be something for you far before it becomes something for other people. Who cares if you’re not on the same level as someone else, no matter the difference in age or experience? Who cares if some people seem blasé about their astounding works of art when you work your ass off to crank out something that doesn’t breathe the same air as that artwork? Who cares if only a few people see it?

Being so critical of yourself can actually be a good thing. If you’re able to see all of the negative aspects of something you’ve made, you can pinpoint these problems and know exactly where you need to focus your work. I remember looking up lineart tutorials because I thought about how crappy my lines always looked. They’re still not great, in fact it’s still fairly sloppy, but they’re better.

Your artwork, no matter the medium, is yours and yours alone. No one can take that from you. As long as you have a desire to learn, grow, improve and, most of all, have fun doing it, that should be all you need to continue.

painting

As I said before, it can be very difficult to convince yourself that what you’re saying is true, especially in a positive sense. I’m saying this entire blog post to myself as much as I am to you. I doubt I’ll sit down and actually draw something after I hit ‘save’ or ‘publish’, and I doubt that nagging negative inner voice won’t flamethrower through my brain as I attempt to even try to pick up a pencil or plug in my tablet, but hopefully I’ll feel a little more compelled to doodle or something some time in the near future.

Honestly, I didn’t start writing this with the hopes or intentions of breaking numerous people out of their negative thoughts about their artwork. I didn’t even intend to give myself a pep talk. I just felt the desire to write this, so I did.

Is it any good? I don’t know. I did my best, and that’s all I can hope to do. Will this help anybody? I hope so, but who knows?

I will say one thing, though. I’m glad I wrote it.

Omake Gif Anime - Konohana Kitan - Episode 8 - Rei Draws Yuzu