Fanime 2015

Fanime was such an awesome convention this year (as per usual, I know). Here are some of the highlights!

1. Angel Tadashi Reactions

I brought Tadashi with me, and I wore wings with him on a whim. Best. Decision. Ever!!!

Tadashi is here!

Tadashi is here!

I found this Baymax walking across the con entrance and asked for a photo. This prompted a mass of photographers to swarm us. Suddenly, one of the photographers stopped, stared at me, and said, “Wait…. you have wings….” Simultaneously the rest of the photographers stopped and sighed in horror in sync. The first photographer then told me that I was “terrible”, awesome, but terrible.





This GoGo cosplayer was amazing! Her cosplay was awesome and well designed (the roller blades were a great touch), and she was really in character! The first thing she noticed was my Baymax, and then she saw that Tadashi was accompanying Baymax. Well… I think the pictures speak for themselves.

2. Fairy Tail Gatherings


Please note the plural in this bullet: gatherings. It’s been tradition the past couple of years to host an unofficial Fairy Tail gathering after the official one, but that wasn’t enough for people this year: we held a third one, too!!! That… was awesome!!!

I went as Avatar Gray (AKA walking spoiler) to the first two gatherings and as Dead Gray (AKA other walking spoiler) to the last one. It was so much fun! Thanks to everyone who showed up!!!!


Being dead is awesome for posing. I usually get to just lay around.

Being dead is awesome for posing. I usually get to just lay around.


3. Fans

Fans? I have fans? People actually follow my stuff??!!!

Apparently people do! I had a group of girls track me down after I posted my Fanime line up, take my picture and fan girl over my cosplays and tutorials!

Then, when I was walking to my gate in the airport, a group walked past me, and then turned around and flagged me down after recognizing me as Xac from Wil o’ th’ Wisp (it helped that I was in full Tadashi cosplay still). I don’t know what to say! I have so much fun cosplaying and making tutorials, I’m so happy that y’all enjoy it!!!!

4. Tales of….


I attended the Tales of gathering this year. I had taken a year off after a disappointing gathering, but this year was AMAZING!!!! I had so much fun geeking out with my fellow Tales fans! I was supposed to bring Will from Legendia, but I wasn’t happy with his tunic, and brought Aquatic Ape Guy instead. I’m really glad that I did! I was the only Guy to show up, and there was no Zelos. I wish that we had a Jade to complete our party, but that’s okay. It was epic all the same!



Sunday night I was waiting to board my plane, and the group behind me started talking about Tales of. It turned out that they were some of the cosplayers from the gathering! Small world, huh!

5. Rave Master Shenanigans 


At the top of the night we were in full Rave Master attire, myself as Gale with two Haru’s, when we came across three Rave fans. They honestly made my night! Not only did they recognize who we were (even me!), but we got to fan out with them! They were super awesome, and I can’t wait to run into them again in the con circle!

On that note, the Rave Master shoot was so much fun! I had a blast running around as Gale with two Haru’s!!! It’s such an under appreciated series, and I’m stoked at how our Rave cosplay group is growing!!! gale1


As per usual, the people at the con made it for me! I got to meet up with my fantastic cosplay buddies and met a whole slew of new ones! Cosplay is such an awesome hobby. It really brings people together. I mean, you can’t really take yourself too seriously when your running around in green-and-yellow spandex or ridiculously colored wigs. It’s an opportunity to really cut loose, relax, and have fun. Even when bad and stressful things happen, cosplay buddies have a special way of making it better.


I really miss them all already and can’t wait to have fun times with y’all again!!!

Keep having fun! Don’t sweat the small stuff!!!

Winter SacAnime, 2015

A few people out of several platforms have asked me to write up something about SacAnime, so here goes!

SacAnime has always been one of my favorite conventions! It was the first multi-day convention I attended, and was one of the conventions paramount in getting me further into cosplay and the con circle. I used to attend every SacAnime religiously for the full weekend, but after graduating college, real life got in the way. This was the first full SacAnime I attended in years! To say I was looking forward to it was an understatement!

Day 1

True to tradition, I brought with me a couple of cosplays to debut. And thus, I made my first appearance at SacAnime as Tadashi Hamada from Big Hero 6. My friends and I carpooled that morning from several hours away. We were expecting a lot of traffic and left very early in the morning. Lady luck was with us, and there were no cars on the freeway, so we made it there in plenty of time to spare. That worked in our favor, because my friends were going Shingeki for the day and needed time to don their straps, and I still needed to do my make-up. The hotel couldn’t check us in yet, so we all piled into one of the bathrooms. We were quite the sight.. do-si-do-ing about the bathroom to avoid hitting each other and causing the motion-sensor paper towel dispenser to go wild. After a lot of laughs we were con-presentable and made our way to the convention center.

I was very excited to be wearing Tadashi, but I didn’t account that the weather would be in the 30’s. My Shingeki buddies were marveling at the fact they weren’t hot as my teeth were chattering while we gathered our badges. My first order of business was to get a hot cup of coffee, and then we made our way to the first panel of the day: the Shingeki VA Panel.

The Shingeki Panel was awesome! The VA’s obviously loved their jobs and were stoked to spend the con with us! They had a plethora of stories and jokes that kept us entertained for the duration of the panel. Towards the end of the panel Todd Haberkorn was asked what some of his favorite roles were. I already knew he voiced Natsu from Fairy Tail (AHHHHH!!!!!), but I didn’t realize that he had also voiced Allen Walker from D. Gray-Man! As a happy coincidence I had thrown General Cross into my bag the day before!

As soon as the panel was over I booked it back to the hotel to change into Cross for the autograph session. Our room still wasn’t ready, so I made use of the restrooms once again. It’s amazing how roomier those are with just one person!

It’s amazing how much warmer Cross is compared to Tadashi! For the first time that day, I wasn’t cold! I reveled in this new-found concept as I waited in line for autographs. Most of the autograph sessions I attended before were an assembly line format, where a single line went past each person. This time, though, each VA had their own line. My friends and I waited in Bryce Papenbook (Eren from Shingeki) and Trina Mishimura (Mikasa from Shingeki)’s line. They were both super sweet! They were excited about my cosplay and made me point out everything I had made myself. Bryce was very excited that I knew him more for Asbel from Tales of Graces, and we compared notes on the game and the rest of the games in the series. Fun fact: I took less time to beat the game than Bryce did.

After meeting Bryce and Trina, I made my way to Todd and Caitlin Glass (Evergreen from Fairy Tail)’s line…. only to find that it was capped! I was super bummed; they were the ones I wanted to meet the most. There was an overflow line that I stayed in. My friends met their other VA, and then left to check into the hotel. I waited there for over an hour, and when the autograph session ended we were going to be escorted away. Todd had just come from a Fairy Tail recording session and had completely lost his voice. Seeing what was going on, Todd and Caitlin made them bring us around so we could meet them and get a single item signed! They were so nice!

Even though he didn’t have a voice, Todd kept trying to have a conversation with each of us and we kept telling him to save his voice. When it got to me, he started to have a conversation with me, so I jumped into character and said, “Save your voice, idiot apprentice!” He started laughing so hard he could barely say, “Yes, Master.” When I got to Caitlin she had seen the exchange, too, and was laughing. We talked a bit about Evergreen before leaving.

I had an adrenaline rush from the encounter for the rest of the day! I met back up with my friends, we moved our stuff into the hotel room, and then my friend and I left to walk around the con a bit and have a photoshoot. We found a building with awesome lighting and windows that made a perfect backdrop for our cosplays! We played around with it for a while to get the perfect angles, but it is one of my top shoot spots now!

cross2 DSC05882 DSC05913

We rounded the night with dinner with an old friend from college, and then hit the sack.

Day 2

I woke up bright and early the next morning to prepare for the day as Rogue from Fairy Tal. Brina Palencia (Juvia from Fairy Tail) had an autograph session at 11:00…. the same time as the Fairy Tail gathering! My plan was to get to the line as early as possible so that I could try to make it to both. My day started out with stupid drama, but that dissipated once I met Brina (she’s so nice!) and completely cleared at the Fairy Tail Gathering.

I was obviously late for the Fairy Tail gathering. As I approached from behind everyone, people were commenting that they wished that there was a Rogue there for the dragon slayer shoot. I cleared my voice and said, “You asked for me?” They screamed and pushed me into the shoot before I had a chance to put my bag down! Everyone started cheering, and then, upon realizing I was the only non-Fairy Tail member, booed. It was great!

Motion sick dragon slayers....

Motion sick dragon slayers….

Rogue versus Gajeel

Rogue versus Gajeel

Group shot! Sting... where are you? I'm surrounded by Fairy Tail! Fro agrees!

Group shot! Sting… where are you? I’m surrounded by Fairy Tail!
Fro agrees!

I’ve attended so many of these gatherings that I know a lot of the cosplayers now. We had a great time catching up from the last con we attended together. It was so much fun!

I wandered about con for a bit after that before meeting up with my friends who had gone to meet the Sailor Scouts english VAs. A lot of them are great Sailor Moon fans, so I’m glad that they got to meet them. As the day wore on my armor decided that it hated life, so after lunch I changed into Guy from Tales of the Abyss, debuting my new wig.

Excuse a quick tangent about Guy. This was one of the very first official “cosplays” I ever made, and one of the very first wigs I ever styled. I almost always bring this cosplay with me in one form or another. He’s been with me when I got pulled into a photoshoot with Haruka Momoi (Anise’s Japanese VA), the first masquerade I helped MC, and almost every convention I’ve attended. After seven years of love, I finally replaced the wig. It felt very odd wearing a different wig with my cosplay (which also needs to be remade… seven years puts a lot of wear on a cosplay), but it was very well received. I even met another Guy!


Wandering around the con I met up with my awesome friend from high school! I hadn’t seen her in years, so it was great catching up! She’s pursing voice acting and came as one of the character she acts as: Fiona Frightening from an up and coming game, Fiona Frightening and the Wicked Wardrobe. Check it out when you get a chance!


I didn’t stay as Guy for too long… it was far too cold! After debuting the wig and checking its durability in a con situation, I changed back into Tadashi. It was comfier and easier to move around in. I wandered around the con a bit by myself. Unfortunately all of the Big Hero 6 cosplayers I encountered weren’t too interested in staying in character with me, all except for another Tadashi. We both talked nerd for a while, and lamented that “we were dead yet”.

Before long I met back up with my friends, and a couple of us attended the RPG Murder Mystery. I don’t know if any of you have attended a murder mystery event, but you are given a character upon entry and you watch a skit that sets up a scenario and background. You’re given the murder mystery, and you spend the rest of the event accomplishing goals and talking to the other characters to try to solve the mystery. As luck would have it, I pulled the murderer card! I spent the whole time making friends, sending out assassins, and causing mayhem and chaos, all the while making sure people liked me.

As a side note, when people would approach me to ask a question, they would usually pause and say, “So… out of character… I hope this doesn’t sound weird, but…. are you a male or female?” Haha! Crossplay success!

When the time came for my great reveal, I pretended to leave and was called back, where I gave an evil speech. There were audible gasps when I took ownership for the murder. I ended it was a maniacal, evil laugh. MUWAHAHAHAHA!!!!

After hanging out with some of the folks we had met, we rendezvoused with the rest of our friends and wandered around and took pictures. I was stoked to get some of Tadashi, and I can’t wait to pull him out again!

tadashi5 tadashi3 tadashi1


Day 3

At long last, the final day arrived. We packed up our stuff and put on our final cosplays. My friend and I decided to pull together R and Julie from Warm Bodies. We had been talking about it for years, and we finally got around to it! R was so much fun to cosplay as, and a few people actually recognized the character! By the end of the day I got pretty good at the shuffle and grunts. It was also great to start to randomly wander somewhere. Haha!

It took a while to get all of his make-up on, and I actually redid his face twice before I was satisfied. So… much… grey… I now understand the difficulties of Homestuck cosplayers!


My friend was kind enough to draw my veining on. It’s an awkward angle to reach myself…


We spent most of the rest of the day wandering around the convention center. We attended our friends’ Mokona Q & A panel, and then wrapped up the con with a photoshoot.



The End Results…

I had tons of fun at the con! I got to see a lot of my friends and cosplay buddies… debut and check the durability of new cosplays… experiment with new make-up techniques….

I’m so excited that I got to meet three Fairy Tail VA’s! I can’t wait to meet more of them!!!!

In terms of hauls, I got my signatures on a new Fairy Tail folder….

Oh! Oh! I found a Tales of Legendia poster! ToL is one of my favorite Tales of games and I’ve been looking for anything ToL for years… and I finally found it! The sad thing is that the vendor tried to convince me not to buy it… ><


I also found a couple of Tales of School mystery boxes! I found it on my last day so I only bought one, but my friend got me another one.

More on the Tales of, I got a folder with Guy and Jade from Tales of the Abyss.

Finally, I got a Tim Campy plush! I’ve wanted one for a very long time.


I had a lot of fun at the convention, and can’t wait for SacAnime Summer 2015!

Cosplay 101: Breaking Down a Costume

Starting a new cosplay can be intimidating. There are a lot of details that go into it, that they can be overwhelming when looked at all at once. Here I’m going to go over how to break down a cosplay into manageable pieces. From there you can make a plan of action.

Let’s take a simple example first. One of my favorites is Gray from Fairy Tail. Here’s a reference picture:

Gray Fullbuster

This is Gray Fullbuster from Fairy Tail.



When I look at this I see several key components:


Gray’s cosplay broken down.

Disclaimer: When I first made my Gray cosplay the Anime had not been released yet, so mine will differ a bit from the picture you see.

From here I compose a list of what I need to make and what I can re-purpose. When jotting down what I had to make, I also made notes of how to do it if I already knew.


  1. Cargo Pants
  2. Boots


  1. Chain- I attached a chain from a hardware store to key-chain clips from Michaels.
  2. Wig- Hit the wig shops. See what I can find. Needs to be black, spikable, preferably heat resistant.
  3. Bracelet- Hit up Charmin’ Charlies and thrift stores. See what I can find.
  4. Chest- I’m female, so this was definitely a bullet I needed to add to my list. For this I knew I needed a flesh-colored leotard. Time to hit up tutorials to see how to paint it!
  5. Necklace- See what the vendors have.

After looking at my list, I could see that the two main complications for the Gray cosplay would be the chest and the wig. For the wig, I went through my vendors until I found a wig I liked, and then styled it (wig styling will be a topic for another post).

For the chest colored leotard, I really wanted to paint abs on it. Most of the tutorials I had found used an airbrush, but I’m cheap and can’t afford an airbrush, so when my leotard came in I modified an airbrush tutorial: I watered down my paint immensely, put on the leotard with binding, and lightly hand-painted my abs, one layer at a time until it was the darkness I wanted. I used the same color differentiates as the tutorial, but did it by hand.

Here’s the end result:

Gray sans his jacket

Gray sans his jacket

And there you have it! A simple cosplay breakdown!

Let’s move onto something a bit more complicated.

General Marian Cross from D. Gray-Man is one of my favorite cosplays, fairly new to my roster. This cosplay took eight months to make, but the planning process is the same as what I did for Gray.

Here are my reference pictures:

marian_cross d__gray_man_marian_cross_render_by_carolester-d5ng8ee


Unfortunately General Cross does not have as many detailed reference pictures as I would have liked, so I made this work and my friend who owns the DVD’s texted me specific pictures, such as a back-view and of his boots. Luckily his coat design is the same as the formal coats of the other characters, just gold, so I utilized that as much as I could.

Here’s the breakdown:

General Cross' Breakdown

General Cross’ Breakdown

Now this cosplay has a lot of detail built into it, so I had to break it down to another level: by component. I knew that the jacket was going to be a lot of work, and I wanted to get the details right, so I drew out a diagram of each component:

  1. General contour– I wasn’t able to find a coat pattern that exactly matched that of General Cross, so I knew I’d have to modify it. The base was a Matrix coat pattern with a collar pattern I built myself (that’s a topic for another post).
  2. Accents- This coat has a number of accents: shoulders, cuffs, piping, button sash thing, and inner shoulder patch. I wasn’t able to find patterns that I liked with them, so I bought a bunch of sheets from a thrift store and played around with shapes until I was able to get something I liked. Then I cut out my gold fabric, attached it to interfacing, and sewed them to the jacket. I made the accents and piping myself out of a gold fabric that I found so that it would all match.
  3. Buttons- There are two kinds of buttons on the coat: screw buttons and flower buttons. I wasn’t able to find any buttons that I liked, so I made them myself. I used a plain, flat base button and build upon it. The screw buttons I coated with worbla and made an indentation. The flower buttons I build up out of clay and modpodge and painted. I wasn’t able to find a tutorial I liked, so I made it myself through trial and error.

The jacket took eight months to make, but a lot of it was trial and error. Once I had a list of what I needed, I was able to break it down into what I knew how to do and what I didn’t. I then began researching tutorials and talking to my sewing and cosplay buddies to see if they had any ideas. When you’re tackling a large, complicated project you have to account for time for trial and error. The process always includes failures. You can learn a lot by failing, and that’s how I’ve created some of my better techniques.

Between everything that had to be done, I spent 9 months working on this cosplay, between patterning, finding wigs, and making the mask.

Here’s the end result:

General Cross


When starting a new cosplay….

  1. Break down the cosplay into components.
  2. If needed, break down the components.
  3. Make a list of things you can re-purpose versus things you need to make.
  4. When stuck, look at what the thing kind of looks like. Research tutorials. Talk to cosplay friends. Often it’s better to talk to people who do not know the series, so they can look at things from a different light.
  5. Above all… HAVE FUN!!!! We’re here because we love cosplay! That should include the creation process. If you start to get frustrated and stressed, take a quick break. It’s okay to take a while to make a cosplay.

Sympathy for the Past

titanic-bows-railing-shipwreck-underwater-231735-2165x1500I’ve always been fascinated with the story of the “Titanic.” Before you ask, this started before James Cameron’s movie came out and everyone became obsessed with DiCaprio. I’ve always enjoyed reading about shipwrecks, and the “Titanic” particularly sparked my interest because of the unique circumstances surrounding it. This is the only shipwreck that we’ve been able to observe decompose and age, as it sank during it maiden voyage and did not weather the erosion that a more mature ship is privy to. It also sank slow enough that we have a very good idea of the circumstances that occurred on board the ship.

Recently I have begun researching the “Titanic” again in detail. The more I read, the more the tragedy surrounding around the “Titanic” becomes more acute. We’re so used to seeing the “Titanic” as a thing of the past, that we often forget that the people who died were real-life human beings, not actors in a three-hour movie. It’s been fascinating reading the biographies and autobiographies of the characters surrounding the crash. Their writing that they left behind fleshes out their personalities, hopes, dreams, and short-comings. In essence, it allows us to get to know them. This in turn makes the tragedy seem all that more real.

The anniversary of 9/11 has rehashed the stories of loss, tragedy, and heroism of that day thirteen years ago. That day will be forever marked in our hearts, and I doubt any alive that day will ever forget the image of the planes crashing into the twin towers.

Our experience in the present can give us sympathy and insight for tragedies of the past. Studying and familiarizing ourselves with these ghosts gives us the strength and courage to face our own “wrecks” and persevere. These incidents give us pause to self-reflect on our own lives. What is truly important to us? Are we the person we want to be? If we were to find ourselves facing our own grimreaper, how would we act?

Life is unpredictable. While we can’t live expecting disaster to be around every corner, we also can’t live as if we’re going to continue on forever. We must cherish what we have and always strive for the horizon.

Mascara Stubble

Technique: Mascara Stubble

Application Time: ~10min

Tools: Mascara, toilet paper, sealant (optional)


This is a easy, inexpensive way to create stubble or a 5 o’clock shadow. All you really need is mascara and a spare piece of toilet paper. I usually get a dark mascara that’s designed for thick, full lashes. I also prefer to use brushes that have thick bristles, as it helps with the texturing.

I preler Ben Nye's Final Seal. This will seal your make up so that it doesn't rub off.

I prefer Ben Nye’s Final Seal. This will seal your make up so that it doesn’t rub off.

I usually use the mascara for full, thick lashes. It creates a fuller stubble.

I usually use the mascara for full, thick lashes. It creates a fuller stubble.

For long-term use, I usually use Ben Nye’s Final Seal. Otherwise the make up will rub off over extended use.



Okay! Onto the application!

1. Wash your face. Yes, use soap and water or your face wash. You want a clean canvas to work on.


2. Dip your mascara brush into the mascara, and, starting at the bottom of your “5 o’clock shadow” area, brush upwards in small, short strokes. The point of this is to get the mascara onto your face hair.

Start at the bottom of the face, and use short brushes upwards.

Start at the bottom of the face, and use short brushes upwards.

Try to keep the brush parallel with your face, as mascara solution tends to collect at the tip of the brush. Use a toilet paper to periodically wipe the mascara from the tip of the brush. You’ll undoubtedly create “blotches” in your work if you tilt the brush too far forward. Use a bit of the toilet paper to dab it off. Don’t wipe it off, because you’ll wipe off the rest of your work, too.

Use the toilet paper to dab  "blotches" of mascara.

Use the toilet paper to dab “blotches” of mascara.

3. Voila! You now have stubble! It doesn’t take long to put on, and is pretty inexpensive. This photoset took me about 10 minutes total, including pulling out my supplies.


This is one of my favorite techniques for Sven from Black Cat. Again, for con use I’d recommend sealing it. Have fun!!!!



“How Do You Dea…

“How Do You Deal With Haters?” –Jin

I got this as a question on my Tumblr, and I felt I could share my thoughts here as well because it seems it’s something a lot of people can relate to. I hope this comes to helpful to any of you guys reading.

I’m certain there are people who dislike me. Some I come to know through whisperings because I have eyes everyyyyywheeeeere.

However, I don’t feel the need to acknowledge them or do anything about it unless they are causing any real harm, especially to people I care about.

There is a popular quote that I like referencing for this topic, which gets the message across in a charming way:

“You can be a juicy, ripe peach and there’s still going to be someone who doesn’t like peaches, so you can either submit to someone’s criticism of you, or you can get on with the business of being your own amazing self who attracts other like-minded people that appreciate you.” — Dita Von Teese

I used to be affected if I found out someone didn’t like me, but I’ve come to learn that people can have very irrational reasons for hating someone.

Sometimes it is simply because your personalities and tastes are not compatible. And that’s fine and normal.

Other times, they can take a part of you and twist it and build up their own negative perception and convince themselves that they are right to hate you. But it doesn’t mean that what they think about you is true. Their image of you that they force upon themselves could be due to their own insecurities.

Although I sometimes say this jokingly, I find that in certain cases it’s not just simply “Haters gonna hate.” I also dislike it when people jump to the conclusion, “They just hate you because they’re jealous.” While it can be true at times, it’s not the ultimate answer. Let’s be real here. It is not surprising for people to feel a sense of dislike towards someone who is truly being a terrible human being. Did you do something that merits you being considered a terrible human being? If the answer is no, then good.

Here’s what you can do: If someone openly throws some harsh words at you, take a deep breath and try to objectively consider what they have to say. Maybe you can ask yourself things like:

– Are they actually trying to offer constructive criticism but are lacking in tact and eloquence? If they seem interesting or intelligent enough, try to converse with them to understand. Maybe you’ll learn something new. If they are just bigots or trolls, pity them for a second, don’t dignify them with an answer or any more of your time, and move on. Be the better person.

– Are they pointing out something you may have done wrong that you weren’t aware of? Do you think they are right? If they are, be humble enough to consider that you might have something to improve on. If they’re not, then just don’t mind them. If someone is really set on disliking you, you’re the last person they will allow to change their minds.

These are just general ideas, because it always depends on the context. But in the end, what’s important is that if you truly believe you did nothing wrong, then disregard them and walk away with your head held high. Hopefully you aren’t a sociopath.

You can’t please every single person in the world. And that’s okay. The people whose happiness and opinions should matter the most are your own, and those of the people you care about and care for you. If you focus on being your own fantastic self, you can feel sorry for your haters because they lost the opportunity to get to know the wonderful person you are.

Jin of BehindInfinity on DeviantArt posted this recently. I found it thought provoking and well thought-out and wanted to re-post it here.

Be sure to check out his DA!

The Nerdtastic World of Japanese Comics

tumblr_m36p76hube1r6h499o1_500Recently, Wil-o’-th’-Wisp was invited to my mom’s Catholic middle school to give a presentation to the kids. They’ve recently discovered anime and manga, but don’t have anyone to talk to them or help them, so they’ve gotten into some very mature series. They’ve also blended the line between reality and fiction, which has caused a lot of problems at school. This has also led to rampant cyber-bullying. We were asked to give a presentation about what anime and manga is, to remember that “you are what you read”, and to address bullying.

Fishie wasn’t in town, so EarMuffs and I drove up to talk to the kids. We went in casual cosplay, sporting Sanosuke’s jacket and the Attack on Titan half-cape. It went very well!

anime_mangaAfter giving a general overview of what Anime and Manga is, we talked about the differences between Japanese and Western cultural morals, and how those differences are reflected in anime and manga. It isn’t bad, but it’s good to be aware of. Whenever you read popular media it’s important to have a good understanding of what you believe and find important, and to find series that match.

After talking about morals and cultural norms, we talked about the story behind the story, that is, the morals and ideas the story reflects. You are what you eat, or, in this case, you are what you read. If you only read one particular type of story, you’ll eventually start believing what it holds. I’ve seen this time and again. After explaining this concept, we went over a couple of case studies and talked about the ideas behind Death Note and Pokemon, two of the more popular series in my mom’s classes.

tifaAs they were thinking about this, I told them about a test that I’ve been using for the past fifteen years the “Hero Test” (when I mentioned that I started using this fifteen years or so ago, I got some strange looks. That’s when I remembered that they weren’t even fifteen years old yet…). Think of someone you really admire and look up to. This is someone you emulate. Then imagine showing them your favorite series, books, music, etc. How do you feel? If you feel embarrassed because it’s “kiddish”, then that’s okay. It’s fine to like things that are “below your level.” But do you feel ashamed or uncomfortable? Why is that? After using this test, I’ve dropped several series, simply because I’ve realized that it isn’t healthy for me, and is contrary to how I want to be as a person. I want to watch and read things that are true to what I believe.

For most of these kids this is their first foray into the wide, wide world of nerds. Most of them don’t know how to express themselves without hurting others, so we talked about fandoms and how to interact with people. Pretty simple things, such as respecting others, not to bully, think about what you’re doing, and that it’s okay to be different. Then we gave several examples of how to show your love of series, such as finding like-minded friends, creating clubs, fanart, fanfiction, fanmusic, and cosplay.

This led us into a conversation of how to be a nerd with others, and went over real-world examples of what happens when things go wrong: elitism, shipping wars, fandom wars, and isolation. We ended with encouraging the kids to be themselves and not to feel obligated to like something or to force others to like things. After all, don’t sweat the small stuff! It’s our differences combined that make us strong!

Don’t get so worked up over small details that you loose yourself. Remember to separate fiction from reality, and celebrate what’s most important in your life. “Let it Go!” It’s a much larger world than just what’s found in anime and manga.

This was a great opportunity to talk to the kids. They were very excited to talk about their favorite series and to ask us questions. They didn’t feel like they had anyone to talk to. I assured them that I had my mom well-trained, and that she would be happy to answer questions or just nerd-out with them.


Special thanks to EarMuffs for helping me with this presentation! Check out her DeviantArt (!

Mineko Ohkami’s Dragon Knights




Dragon Knights  was the first manga I ever got into. I distinctly remember bringing it into class. My friends had no idea what to make of it! Ohkami’s drawing style is very different, and it takes a while for the store to start up, but IT IS AMAZING! To this day, it is one of my all-time favorite series.


Dragon Knights

Dragon Knights

Dragon Knights tells the tale of a war between the benevolent Dragon Tribe of Draqueen and the evil Demon Lord Nadil, who wishes to bring the world into darkness.  The Dragon Emperor, Lykouleon sends his powerful Dragon Knights, Rath, Thatz, and Rune, to battle Nadil and his armies.  They defeat and behead him to prevent him from being resurrected more powerful than before.  And this happened before the story even starts!

I can’t believe that there’s going to be a sequel! I’m am SO EXCITED!!!!


Have some Dragon Officers. On the house.

Have some Dragon Officers. On the house.


WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get. This was a popular phrase when computer icons first became popular after the old DOS, command-line based systems. You see an icon on your screen, and you know exactly what it is. No more guessing command-lines. The system’s so commonplace, that the term is hardly used anymore.

It’s funny how topics tend to ebb and flow in popularity. Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about what is proper conduct given one’s gender. What can boys do that girls cannot and visa versa. Is it okay for boys to play with dolls? Should girls really be cross-playing? What’s wrong with boys who like “My Little Pony”? Girl’s should stick to fashionable, form-fitting clothing.

There has always been pressure on boys and girls to act a certain way and to like certain things. It was very proper for girls to like princesses and big poofy dresses, while boys were supposed to be rough and tumble on the playground. Our society has set standards for how people are supposed to be. If anyone fell outside of that cookie-cutter image, people tend to get anxious and uncomfortable. My question is, who set this image?

In the large scheme of things, does it really matter if a boy enjoys more feminine activities, or if a girl is more tomboyish? To me it shows a very well-rounded individual that had many different ways of thinking. This person can probably understand a wide-range of people, and relate to them. I think that these would be traits we would want to nurture, not condemn.

An individual is very complex, and not everyone is going to like the exact same things. For example, I am a cosplayer who cosplays male characters (cross-player), I collect action figures and swords, and wear my hair very short so that I don’t have to deal with it in the mornings. This does not make me any less a woman than my friend who wears dresses, has long hair, and gets her nails done every month. We’re different individuals with different tastes, but are still very comfortable with our gender.

Lately it has been becoming more acceptable for women to have more tomboyish tendencies than men to have a more feminine flair. Society is so wrapped up in their obsession with manliness, that they tend to reject anything that can tarnish their image. Get over it! Society has become so obsessed with “how things should be”, that they’re blind to how things actually are. If they keep closing their eyes, they’ll never see the beauty in others, or the opportunities they add to the world.

Everyone is different. What you see is what you get. We shouldn’t feel obligated to hide who we are just because we’re different than the norm. If everyone was the same, then this would be a very boring world.