Thanks

zip scan 12-profile pic cutI don’t know for sure what I’m going to try to do…
I’m afraid this will just turn into a list of apologies or assurances…
when what I’m really trying to say is that this project, NewAnimeThursday, is reaching a close.

Since falling off my routine of regularly writing reviews for anime due to a concussion, I’ve started pondering my reason for continuing. And even though I’d like to say that I’m just too busy to keep writing or that I want to start a new project, it boils down to a lack of energy and drive to continue NewAnimeThursday.

I’m by no means ending my obsession with anime, manga, etc. I still plan on moving to Japan (though now I’m looking more into being an ESL teacher), and I still love being enraptured in current anime, as well as marathoning completed series that people recommend to me. I just have no reason or enthusiasm to write and continue running a full blog. And it’s not like I’m dropping off the face of the anime side of the internet. I’ll still quip on Twitter, and I’m regular on Facebook on the pages You’ve got to be Squidding Me and The League of Emotional Otaku. I’ll also keep reading the blogs on my Google Reader (and probably comment more). And I’m still on Skype (belden.otaku) too if you want to chat.

tooru-pp-cut-21octWhether or not I return to blogging, either on a new NewAnimeThursday or some other blog is uncertain and probably unlikely in the very near future, but who knows. As one project ends, another begins. I’ve gained a lot through NewAnimeThursday, friends I love communicating and discussing with, and I’ve expanded my curiosity and interests far beyond what I had just 2 years ago. Through NAT I’ve “found my voice” in writing, and by that I mean I’ve come to learn that my “voice” is a changing, adaptive quality that’s served me very well, both in blogging and in the real world, where I’m now more well-spoken in classes and able to cut through and understand complex topics with an objective viewpoint.

Though I’d hate to add to feal’s dead blog count, if I were to continue simply to avoid that, I’d be doing it for the wrong reasons. If I were to continue, I’d want to enjoy it like I should and not feel obligated to do so. Not that I do now, I just don’t have the desire to anymore. It’s not necessarily a growing tired of, but more of a growing out of NewAnimeThursday. I’m going to leave the site active (until WordPress decides I’m too inactive or however they kick off pages), and I’ll get an email if anyone comments on an old post, so I’ll be sure to respond.

I’m not sure how to end this, other than to thank anyone who read, followed, and commented. I hope you continue to remain awesome.

– BeldenOtaku

Thanks for reading

Thanks for reading

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The Anime Blogger Interrogation Game Olympics Championship

Also known as just “Anime Blogger Interrogation Game”… I was tagged by Chikorita157 to answer some questions, then post my own, tagging other bloggers in similar fashion. Other than being a convenient filler (too tired and lazy to write about anime), it seems like fun. So I’ll cut to the good stuff:

  • Each person is supposed to follow the rule of fives.You are allowed to ask 5 questions, after which you can tag up to 5 bloggers by hyper-linking to their blog; 5 questions because it’s not too many to flood another blogger and occupy too much of his/her time, but yet a large enough number to ask your most important questions, and 5 bloggers to avoid spamming. Hence, prioritize your questions, and who you wish to ask!
  • Those tagged are obliged to answer the questions in a blog post, and after which, they are entitled to create their own 5 questions and tag 5 other bloggers, so on and so fourth. You are allowed to tag the person that tagged you in the first place. Also, copy and paste this section on your blog so others can understand how the game goes.
  • In the case where a blogger strongly refuses to answer a question, he/she must instead post a nice anime image, wallpaper or cosplay picture, et cetera in response to that question.
  • To make things interesting, a blogger can include wildcards in his/her 5 questions by placing an asterisk, (*), after which those tagged are obliged to reveal something interesting about themselves that others did not previously know. There is no limit to the number of asterisks one can place (which means there can be up to 5 wildcard questions).
  • Anyone can feel free to start the game; you don’t necessarily need someone to tag you. Just create your 5 questions and tag your 5 people of choice. However, the catch is that you must answer your own 5 questions as well.
  • To potentially prevent an endless game, this round of games will end on the 8th September 2012, 12pm JST (GMT +9). After which, no more bloggers can tag others to answer their questions.

Chikorita’s Questions:
1. Which anime from 2011 did you enjoy most?
A Channel…I don’t need no reason to enjoy (love) A Channel…but here’s a few.

2. Do you play video games? If so, what kinds of games do you play? Also, what consoles do you own?
I do play the video games. I mostly play Pokemon, but I also dabble in a varying degree of games. I’ve wasted more time than I care to admit playing Skyrim (without actually accomplishing anything), and I got tired of FPS multiplayer pretty quick. I still play with my friend (owns a PS3), but I have no interest in playing online with anyone else. I don’t have many games because my budgetary status won’t allow for them, but I do own a DSlite and a busted DS (to use for trading and migrating pokemon). I’m hoping to get a 3DS soon to play Black 2.

3. Do you currently study the Japanese language? If so, what method did you take? If not, why?
はい、わたしは日本語をべんきょうします。
I’m learning in school with a native-speaking teacher (one of my scariest/favoritest teachers). I just started Japanese III and will be soon studying kanji. I’m also the Vice President of my school’s Japanese club.

4. Who are your favorite Japanese singers/composers?
I have awful tastes when it comes to music, and my preferences don’t usually fall along artist or composer lines. But, I guess Aoi Yuki is really the only Japanese singer I consistently enjoy. My favorite song being either “Sugar Loop” or “Tokei Kanransha” (don’t make me choose). But I’ve also got some Supercell as well as various anime singles (even though it goes without saying).

5. How do you taste test a show?
It’s kinda weird how I gauge to watch a show or not. If I see good things, like in Nichijou’s case, I’ll try it. Nichijou massively surpassed my expectations from the few Youtube clipes I’d seen, and I regret not seeing the whole thing sooner. But there’s also a thing where if I think it’s overhyped, like Sword Art Online, I don’t want to try it. I feel like I can’t get a real opinion of it and I’ll only see “its awsume!!1!!”, and don’t want to touch it.

Now that you know just how horrible of a person I am now, I’ll hit up my questions for 5 “new” victims of the Interrogation.
1. Do you consider any single series unwatchable?
2. Is there a single series that spring-boarded you, per se, into a wider obsession with anime?
3. Name an anime/manga character (from any series) that most closely matches you in appearance (or in personality, if you want).
4. When you read other bloggers’ posts about a series you are also watching, if they post about an episode you have yet to see, do you read it, or do you avoid it until you’ve written your own post about it?
5. If you could be present at any point on the Earth, at any point in time, when and where would you go? Explain.

And the victims are:
Marthaurion @ Marth’s Anime Blog
Tsurugiarashix @ KaminariAnime
Animekritik @ Kritik der Animationskraft 
Feal87 @ EmptyBlue 
Chikorita157 @ Chikorita157’s Anime Blog (returning the tag)

And for added fun, if all 5 of these victims fulfill the Interrogation, I’ll answer my own questions as well.

Acchi Kocchi 5: Quite Possibly the Cutest Way to Die

Now the leading cause of blood loss among anime viewers, Acchi Kocci continues its format of 1. Tsumiki does something impossibly cute 2. Io makes Tsumiki’s actions 10x cuter (and 100x more dangerous for Mayoi) and 3. the gang undergoes some competition. While repetitious episode patterns have been lackluster for some other series (*cough* Kill Me, Baby! *cough), Acchi Kocchi seems to make it work. Perhaps more than somewhat due to the fact that I’d watch Tsumiki simply sit there for 20 minutes just looking cute, fawning over Io. But the competitions are hilariously unique despite the familiar setups.

After a yearly physical, leaving some proud and others disappointed, Mayoi stays true to form, trying to pick at Tsumiki by revealing her physical results to Io. Soon though, they’ve made the predictable shift to a competition. This week, it’s ninja-class volleyball, losers brave the school store to pick up lunch for the winners. Despite his determination, Io’s team couldn’t pull off a win, and conceded defeat at the hands of Tsumiki’s cuteness!

Apart from the adorably ignorant Io, I’m also worried about Hime-chan. While already an anemic-risk, she doesn’t seem to have the endurance necessary to survive the competitiveness of her friends. I’d really hate to see her get hurt (inadvertently, of course). But at the same time, her awkwardness is certainly a rival of Tsumiki. So, for her own safety, can we tone down the extreme-ness of the competitions? I just wanna see Hime-chan have a good time (and not get hurt), she doesn’t have to win…but I guess I want the full range of cuteness Acchi Kocchi has to offer.

Note: because of certain…complications…Wordpress likes being a pain when it comes to photos. But thanks to AceRailgun, I’ll now just upload all screenshots of shows, including shots not used in posts, to Photobucket. I’ll include a link to see all pics at the end of each post.

Acchi Kocchi – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Acchi Kocchi: Io, you clueless heartbreaker, you

In a stunning display of romantic cluelessness, Io manages to break the hearts of every last girl in school…as well as pull off a last second fake out, with the help of Sakaki, in a game of kick the can that will go down in history books as the greatest single game of kick the can of all time. Not to mention several other cute things that literally gave me a nosebleed this week (I’m usually exaggerating).

At least everyone else realizes Io is clueless, and that seems to be the running joke. But I’m still subscribing to the idea that, by the end of the series, he’ll have realized Tsumiki likes him, and act accordingly…and by “act according”, I probably mean keeping her as giddy as he already does. Seriously, if his cluelessness wasn’t the joke of the whole series, everyone would be certain that he already know-wait…

Wait if, and this is an extreme “what if”, Io knows all about Tsumiki’s affections for him, and he’s playing around for lulz? That…would make and him an extreme douche…so I’ll discard that theory. Acchi Kocchi maintains a freshness into episode 4, partly due to the variety of character influences. Though it continues to play off the same points, the series makes for entertaining episodes when coupled so well with seemingly ordinary activities like snow ball fights and kick the can. Also the introduction of the supplementary cast members offers varied situational comedy.

I’m not sure how I feel about the whole “let’s organize into different teams each episode” thing. It’s interesting for the value of character interaction, sure, but I’ll have to wait and see if it keeps pleasing or if it just becomes predictable. Whether or not you think any of it’s funny, Acchi Kocchi still keeps me happy with overwhelming moe cuteness… In summary, Io is a cold, cold heart-throb (apparently), and it’s a wonder Tsumiki doesn’t have competition; the supplementary cast offers plenty of comedic possibilities, if not simply for the fact that everyone likes to tease Tsumiki about her affections; and Hime-chan seems gravely misplaced among these eccentric, hyperactive knuckleheads.

Acchi Kocchi: I got nose blood all over my chocolate…

Back with the 2nd episode of my favorite series this Spring 2012 season, Acchi Kocchi. The gang takes a rainy day trip to Sakaki’s sister’s cake shop where he and Io work part-time, as well as has their share of fun on Valentine’s Day exchanging tokens of affection. Needless to say, but Tsumiki, for the 2nd week in a row, has vastly depleted my local blood bank’s supply.

As Tsumiki dons her neko-maid attire and dreams of Io’s handmade cakes, the gang gets to sample some of the shop’s confections. I agree with HIme, some of them were just too cute looking to eat…but I’d probably get over it (I have an insatiable sweet tooth). As the rain clears up, the gang leaves, with Tsumiki, Hime, and Mayoi preparing for Valentine’s day. Tsumiki needs to make the perfect treat for Io, Hime is looking to make sweets for all her friends, and Mayoi has something very sinister in mind.

With her usual grace, Tsumiki manages to land a near fatal blow to Io while trying to give him his gift. Luckily, Io is such a sweet guy and takes it in stride. At school, Sakaki brings one of his sister’s delectable cakes for everyone to share, but the holiday sentiment doesn’t stay for long, as now Mayoi moves to give the boys her Valentine’s surprise….chocolate-covered frog meat. (I’ll give you a moment to shudder at the thought……) After a few ill-confectionary threats from Sakaki, Hime shares her gift with her friends, but is flustered when Mayoi implies that maybe she’s trying to convey something more than friendship.

Acchi Kocchi needed more awkward sex appeal, apparently, so Mayoi unveils her plan to show Io just how much he should love Tsumiki. Using chocolate-flavored lipstick, Mayoi sends Tsumiki out towards Io, armed with innuendo. Io makes the gentlemanly move, saving Tsumiki from possibly sending him to the hospital (though I’m curious as to how Mayoi fared after the fact). And so ends yet another awkward Valentine’s day, as I’m still left wondering how Io doesn’t get it yet… Again, it’s a good thing he’s already so sweet to her, otherwise I’d be kinda mad.

Oh no, the pleasure was all mine...

Acchi Kocchi seems to have good comedy power, as well as a continued cute-factor going into the third episode. I have a feeling that, slowly, Io and Tsumiki are getting closer to moving past this whole “psuedo-romance” thing. Or am I just being a hopeless romantic again?

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Speed Draw #7: Hakase and Sakamoto-san (Nichijou)

Back after a two week long break (from speed drawing, my schedule was quite full) with a compliment to the last speed draw. This week, Hakase (the Professor) and our favorite talking cat, Sakamoto-san, from the comedy series Nichijou. This week, I can definitely feel pride in my work as I’m slowly seeing a progressive growth in my skills. For the second time, the whole speed draw was done from scratch on the tablet (as opposed to scanning a sketch and lining from that). I’m also getting much faster at the whole thing, I attribute part of this to being able to rotate the canvas more easily now. Though I feel stupid for not figuring it out sooner…so, for your enjoyment/criticisms, here’s Speed Draw #7:

As usual, feel free to like, comment, subscribe, criticize, ask questions, criticize, suggest a character for my next video, criticize, generally discuss, or constructively criticize in the comments below or in the comments on youtube. :3

Also on deck today is an interesting little thing I’ve stumbled upon. Because I want to become an animator myself, I have an eclectic interest in the “old style” of animation using cels, as opposed to digital production as is the norm today (for various time saving and economic reasons).  But, if you’re like me, there’s still something to be said for the clean designs and handmade craft of animation cels. That’s where Anime Cel Art comes in. Through cooperation with animation studios (such as Toei), they recreate popular anime series, like Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece, onto animation cels. Anime Cel Art currently only seems to have more mainstream anime series (like the ones mentioned above), but I’m eagerly awaiting more niche series to come soon (you have to start somewhere after all). So, I’m putting them out there for any one who wants a unique piece of anime memorabilia. And while not the cheapest thing in the world, $65 isn’t too bad a price for handmade cel art (studios like Disney have sold vintage in-between animation cels for thousands, and that’s the low end price).

While I’m not the biggest Bleach or Naruto fan out there (don’t get me started), I still have to admit the craft and value of these cels are worth at least a moment to appreciate. This is the kind of quality I strive for in my speed draws and I hope to one day reach that level :3

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko: Episode 13??

Back with a surprise I found on my reader deck, the 13th episode of the Spring 2011 series Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko. If memory serves, this was the final episode that got cut from airtime because of the earthquake disaster. I’m a little ashamed I forgot about it. But I’m also a little miffed about having to wait a year to see this.  The final, definitive episode of what’s hopefully Denpa Onna’s first season (second season please! I must have more Erio!!)

This final episode attempts to wrap up the story the series followed a year ago around Makoto, Erio’s cousin, as he gains, and losses, adolescence points through socializing with friends like Ryooko and Maekawa, helping his cousin Erio who had some traumatic experience and now lives as an outcast believing she was abducted by aliens, and surviving his strange aunt Meme. At the festival (that Makoto helped to bring to their side of town by playing on a baseball team with Maekawa and hitting a home run, potentially with esper powers), Makoto meets with Ryooko and treats her to a reward for winning her basketball game in the 12th episode. Still keeping the amazing animation and fanservice, we’re given a visual treat and more inside jokes that’ll make you want to rewatch the entire season (oh, I want to so bad right now…I miss the good ol’ days).

Later, Makoto meets up with Erio in top of the shrine hill, where he and she gaze at the stars…until Yashiro makes her appearance. She declares that she’s got some truth to tell Makoto, and goes through her “Boy Who Cries Wolf” anecdote, leading up to more unbelievably convincing proof of her esper powers….BRINGING DOWN A METEORITE IN FRONT OF THE SHRINE, EXACTLY THREE STEPS AWAY FROM WHERE MAKOTO WAS STANDING AND YASHIRO TOLD HIM TO MOVE AWAY FROM!!!! If she’s not an esper…she’s got incredible luck.

In a state of shock and awe, Makoto spends the next few days nulling things over, was she an esper? Or maybe an alien? Did she know the meteor was coming and arrived to warn Makoto, saving his life? This again raises questions about Erio being an alien as she once claimed. In the end, he settles for simply not knowing, life will continue, and so will his journey through adolescence, he has the whole summer to look forward to, after all.

I can’t begin to explain how emotional I’m getting being able to see Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko again, I’m not sure if it’s nostalgia, or just amazement at how developed Makoto and Erio have become. He used to be such a socially inept transfer student, and she used to be an antisocial shut-in, but just look at them now. I’m more curious about this town that I was a year ago, especially finding out Yahiro took her pseudonym from the shrine in the city, which was known for meteor strikes. We (or perhaps just I) need a second season!….please?

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

(I’m definitely re-watching Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko again soon :3)