Category Archives: Musing

Faith’s Power in Dream Eater Merry

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.

Alice Walker

Dream Eater Merry takes place in the real world and the dream world. The dream world is inhabited by dream demons who come over to the real world by using humans as vessels while they visit the world during their sleep or by opening up a daydream.

Once a dream demon takes a vessel, they cannot return to the dream world and the human cannot be separated from them without dire consequences. This is because dream demons don’t just enter the dreams that humans experience each night but into the dreams they have about their lives, their jobs, their relationships, their future, etc. The dream demon connects to this part of the human and rests in that power.

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Behind the Convention: Voice actors are people too.

Note: This article was written by Goldy, and is being posted here on her behalf.

I’ve been meaning to write a post about my experience staffing my local anime convention, but every year before never seemed right until this year.

I will give the disclaimer than I am volunteer staff and also a self taught manager of guest relations for 6 years (started out as a mere guest liaison, but that’s when I did the job by myself, the con was smaller, and I didn’t have massive lines of fans trying to trample me to hug their favorite voice actor). At present, I have a staff of 3-5 people, but always need more. Good help is hard to find because guest (and fan) wrangling is no easy task.

I won’t be naming names because even though I’ve never had to sign any contract to maintain secrecy or anything, I think it’s stupid to share information that a person was kind enough to share with you in trust. And really, I think it’s brave to trust someone you barely know with your well being for a weekend. You are trusting a person to keep you safe from people who are too excited at hearing your voice to think straight and won’t stop to say, “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t try to rush at this voice actor I like after their panel and try to hug them and shove random gifts at them when they are probably really tired and need food. After all, there are times and places for autographs and chats” and instead come rushing at you like you’re made of gold or something.

Because let me tell you, there is nothing more terrifying than that lack of security. Even if you are a repeat guest, you are in a strange place, with strange people, with only your beautiful voice keeping you alive, but it’s also the cause of your stress at times because people love it too much.

Not to say that voice actors (VAs) dislike hugs or gifts or talking to their fans. In fact, a majority of them appreciate their fans more than most famous people out there and looooove to talk with them and sign stuff for them. But it’s always nice for fans to keep their heads when they’re around someone famous and be considerate of the fact that they are human too.

Granted, many VAs are also too nice most of the time. That’s why I have to be the mean person or, on my good days, a diplomat who has to explain to a crying girl why I can’t just call up their favorite VA to get a hug and an autograph because she missed all the sessions earlier. On rare occasions, at the request of the guests, I’ll sometimes do these things, but if you start giving someone an inch, 70 more people will grab that mile from you.

So that’s my job, roughly. To protect, serve, take a bullet for, and cause diversions (I once told a dumb joke to let a guest sneakily escape through the back at the end of their panel. I’m pretty sure those fans are after my head now) for the many VA guests we have the honor of bringing to our humble convention. It’s truly a learning process for me, which can be fairly frustrating for various reasons, but does improve slowly but surely every year.

The convention growing at a fast rate each year is my biggest challenge. We get big guests more often, but we still don’t act like a big con. Massive autograph lines are a new thing to us. Having guests charge for autographs are even more of a foreign idea. I remember when a guest looked at me weird when I said we didn’t have a green room (we do now, but aren’t used to it, yet). Admittedly, I have gotten better at dodging and weaving through over-excited fans with my guest(s) in tow, trying to get to an elevator or stairs (sometimes I hate the 12th floor). It still breaks my heart to cap autograph lines and turn people away, but I have to do it unless someone really wants a 5 hour autograph line.

I get lucky usually, though. Or blessed. Most of the guests we have are easy going, fun, and are able to dodge situations easily if they get too caught up with swarming fans. I would like to give credit to our con-goers as well, who, for the most part, aren’t too insane with obsession over their favorite VA.

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When TWWK Was There: Going to See Studio Ghibli’s Last Film

On a weekend in the fall of 2002, I went with a group of friends to watch The Ring.  I didn’t want to go (I’ll admit, horror movies scare me to death), but I went along anyway – and thank goodness I did, because playing at the same cinema, and consequently the movie I ditched my friends to watch instead, was Spirited Away.  It was the first anime I watched in theaters, and it remains one of my favorite movie viewing experiences.

I couldn't find my ticket stub (though it would have been for The Ring anyway - way to support the industry!). I did, however, find a stub for this classic.

I couldn’t find my ticket stub (though it would have been for The Ring anyway – way to support the industry!). I did, however, find a stub for this classic.* It wasn’t even worth spelling correctly.

I might say that watching that marvelous film hooked me on Studio Ghibli, but to be honest, I was already infatuated before that. Two years prior, Princess Mononoke introduced me to non-kiddy anime in a forceful, evocative way, and led me down the trail of wonderful Ghibli movies – I had seen most of their catalog even before I went to this film, and I considered myself an adoring Miyazaki fan.

So why is it that as When Marnie Was There, perhaps Studio Ghibli’s last film, reaches my city, I’m not particularly excited about going to see it?

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Transforming Mercy in Dragon Ball Z

Oh, the nostalgia I have with Dragon Ball Z. I remember watching it every day after school when it came on Toonami, wondering if the gang would ever get off the planet Namek, questioning if Frieza really knew how long five minutes was, getting aggravated when they would run out of episodes and start the series over…again.

I was rewatching the earlier parts of the series recently and was surprised with how much more I appreciated Goku’s character this time around. Before, I was pretty indifferent to him because I always thought he had a very bland, generic good guy personality. This time I was really touched by some of his more iconic moments.

At the end of the 1st season, I found my favorite Goku moment…well, besides the episode where he and Piccolo get their licenses. It is after the defeat of Vegeta when Krillin stood over him with a sword ready to finish him off as he tries to escape.

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Krillin: You think you can just slither out of here after what you did? Read the rest of this entry

Inadequate Sacrifices in Fatal Frame

People are drawn to the horror game genre for different reasons. For me, I enjoy the challenge of desperate survival in an eerie atmosphere and satisfying that “Why is something like this happening?” curiosity.

Fatal Frame is one of my favorite horror series because it creates that tense atmosphere and puts plenty of story behind even the minor ghosts in the game. It doesn’t overly rely on blood, gore, and shock value and it uses a camera as the main weapon adding the horror element of having to look through a lens for much of the time.

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Many Fatal Frame games revolve around some ancient religious ritual that remained very secretive over the years and required some sort of human sacrifice. The purpose of the sacrifice generally relates to hell or the other side. Closing the gate to hell, keeping something from coming out of the other side, appeasing something from hell, etc. The sacrifice goes wrong because of the actions or feelings of the person being sacrificed and terrible consequences ensue.

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The Power of Kindness in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was one of those shows I was a little unsure about watching. I mean, I watch anime, play video games, cosplay, go to conventions, etc. but…My Little Pony…Really? REALLY?

I didn’t get into the show until after one year at Anime Weekend Atlanta. We were hanging out watching all of the formal cosplays go into the gala. While we were watching, I really and truly saw some of the most breathtaking My Little Pony cosplays. There is so much creativity in the Brony community. It really impressed me and made me curious about the show.

After the con, I watched all three seasons that were available on Netflix and LOVED it. The writing was pretty good, the characters were so likable, and the show did a good job of telling an interesting story without having a whole lot of drama. It was refreshing and encouraging to watch a well done show where characters were building each other up instead of tearing each other down for entertainment value. The show is so positive without feeling forced or fake.

The pony I admire most in the show is Fluttershy.

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She represents kindness in the elements of harmony. I think I am so drawn to her because she has so many qualities key to Christianity that I personally wish would come easier to me. She is patient, understanding, merciful, compassionate and, of course, kind.

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Judgment in Death Parade

Death Parade presents its own attempt in answering the always interesting question of “what happens after death?” Recently deceased characters wind up in a bar called Quindecim where they are told to play a game they must stake their lives on and are judged during the game on whether their soul will go to heaven (reincarnation) or hell (the void).

The judges in this situation are called arbiters and judge souls based on their memories and the parts of their character that manifest themselves during the life or death game. The winner of the game is not relevant.

The first episode follows a pair of newlyweds. During the game, we learn that the wife, Machiko, was unfaithful and lied and the husband, Takashi, is a bit of a coward and can have a violent temper. At the end of the game, he is sent to be reincarnated and she is sent to the void.

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One of the more disturbing aspects about the anime is the way sins are weighed. According to this particular arbiter, Decim, adultery and deception are weightier than violent rage. Because Machiko cheated and lied about loving Takashi she is sent to the void. Takashi simply flew into a rage and attempted to attack Machiko after the game.

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Not nearly as bad. He gets to go up.

What makes it even worse is we learn in the second episode that Machiko lied to protect Takashi. The head of the arbiters, Nona, even suggests Decim may have mistakenly sent her to the void. The situation is smoothed over with a simple “everyone makes mistakes” and an encouragement to take the situation to heart.

Whoops, sent a soul to hell on accident. Oh, well…

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12 Days of Christmas Anime, Day 3: School Rumble

In this Christmas episode, Harima’s quest for Tenma’s heart, the central theme of the majority of the School Rumble series, continues on. He starts off the holidays with his own personal style, dressed as Santa in a jail cell lying among a pile of manga pages he just finished.

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Erm….Merry Christmas?

The manga he just wrote, like everything else, revolves around Tenma. Harima means to bring it to her first and foremost in an attempt to confess his love, despite the strict time constraint he was given by the publication planning to run it.

Even with the editor’s time restraint and the anger he knew he would face with Tenma, he decides he wants to show the comic to her before doing anything else. Due to a misunderstanding, Tenma is very angry because she believes Harima is messing with her sister, Yakumo, when her sister is actually helping him with the manga. Despite knowing what he will face, he still goes.

“If I’m not careful there will be another misunderstanding, but so what? Why should I be afraid of that? Compared to the crap I lived through before this comic and before I met her, this is nothing.”

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He confronts her, faces her anger, explains the misunderstanding, and lets her read his comic. After that, he rides off to the publisher across the snow on a giant curry dish using a giant wooden spoon and dodging flying frozen fish.

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Yup…that’s how my Christmas usually goes.

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Hannes’ Complacency

Throughout the entirety of my Christian life, there has been one thing that holds me back more than any other. One thing that I fear one day will spell some sort of enormous failure in my spiritual walk. That thing is complacency.

Maybe that’s why I felt more sympathy and compassion for Hannes and his initial actions in Attack on Titan than disgust. At the time of the first attack, Hannes lived a life of complacency. He was a soldier, a defender of the wall, and a committed fighter against the titans. A complacent fighter, but committed nonetheless, if that makes sense. Clearly he believed in the fight against the titans as evidenced by his intention to go after them to “ settle a score.” However, when finally in the fray, he found himself…unprepared.

When we first meet Hannes, he’s drunk. Even though he and his comrades are supposed to be guarding the wall in case of an attack, they have been lulled into a false sense of security by peacetime and the monotony of guard duty.

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He laughs off Eren’s scolding him for this, even making a joke that he is probably right about their unpreparedness. But he is, truthfully, convinced that things are pretty much under control and why make more effort than is necessary, right?

I feel like I do this so much in my own life. Read the rest of this entry

The Wheat and the Weeds in Psycho Pass

Psycho Pass follows Unit One of the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division in a futuristic Japan. The most notable thing about this futuristic world is how most things in a person’s life are determined by the program SIBYL and the person’s psycho pass, meaning basically their mental state. A bad psycho pass with a “crime coefficient” that is too high can land someone in jail or at a facility with no options, labeled as a ” latent criminal.”

One latent criminal’s life, Shusei Kagari, was over at 5 years old when the system labeled him as such.

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The way the system is set up made me think of the parable of the wheat and the weeds and how it is sometimes interpreted in real life. In the parable, a man is growing a field of wheat when his enemy comes and scatters seeds of weeds throughout the field. When the weeds start growing, the man tells his servants to leave them with the wheat until the harvest. After they are collected and separated, one goes in the storehouse and one goes in the fire. The wheat and weeds of course symbolizing good and bad people. Read the rest of this entry

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