Anime…all the time?

If you’ve been stalking me, then you know that I haven’t posted anything here in about a week. While I could easily attribute this to packing/moving/working on other projects, I think it could be better summarized as me simply not wanting to watch any anime, whether I was writing about it or not. I even tried to catch up on Folktales from Japan (which I’m still 10 episodes behind), but I just wasn’t in the mood to watch any anime last week, much less write about it.

Some, rather annoying, anime fans may conclude that I don’t have the same level of passion for it that others do. But I see it more like this: how can you appreciate something fully if you don’t occasionally go outside your norm? When it comes to anime, how could you be able to understand why you like it so much if you don’t take in other forms of media and entertainment? While I normally entertain myself with more than just anime, programs like Adventure Time, Scrubs, and Louie frequent my television, whatever I’m currently watching from the season tends to hold majority over my entertainment content.

But what happens when you cut out your majority share of entertainment? If you look at my Youtube history, you’d see that I start watching interviews with everyone from Louie C.K. , Jon Stewart, and Ze Frank, every abridged episode I find, random Pokemon videos, and one hour long videos about the “hidden” human history involving Atlantis, Jesus, and martians. Essentially, a range of comedy to seriousness. But what’s important to take away is that it helped me to break away from the usual tranes of thought that watching anime keeps you on. Being able to delve into topical subjects helps to freshen your outlook in ways anime can’t. There’s also a certain way of interacting with others, both online and in real life, that gets impaired when all you watch is cartoons (being brutally honest).

Or maybe this is all just me and I’m over-thinking being too lazy to write anything for a week. What do others think of not watching anime for a week to explore outside tastes in other forms of media? Is it a good idea to get back to why you liked anime in the first place, or just a horrible excuse to let new shows pile up on the docket while you don’t watch them…which reminds me, new stuff to watch and write about.

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NewAnimeThursday: 1 Year of Doing Stuff

Fireworks to celebrate?

So it’s been a year already…kind of, the actual anniversary of when I started NewAnimeThursday is the 22nd of July, but this is closer to 50,000 views, and I feel like doing it now. It’s quite an odd idea, really, an anniversary post. Do I recount stats? (I heard bitches like statistics…) Or maybe the readers want me to pander and say how I couldn’t have gotten this far without their support (which is totally true, btw :3). Do I recount favorite experiences from the past year or would it be better to elaborate on what I’m looking forward to?…I have no clue, but here goes…

As far as stats go, though I’m not as popular as many other blogs, NewAnimeThursday’s growth has been steady and has a rate of increase that has been fairly constant. It also matches a prediction I made a few months ago regarding breaking 50,000 views by the 1 year anniversary. Whether or not the growth continues is really up to you, the readers. But growth isn’t the only measure of success for me. Recently I had a glorious loss to Kritik in the Aniblog Tourney (I have no qualms about losing to a top 16 blog), the results of which surpassed my best expectations. On a related note, this is all I’m going to post about concerning the Tourney.

To be honest, I’m writing this in a state of semi-disillusionment. It may be from summer lethargy, or outside stressors from school, or maybe I’m just running myself into the ground again. But current situations are making episodic postings quite tedious and unappealing, so I’m conflicted. I don’t want to stop following anime series season-to-season, and if I could, I’d like to continue writing about them episode-by-episode. But current internet connections are nearly tripling the time it takes me to write compared to back when I first started and when I was at school (I miss school). It’s almost too much of a pain just to get the new episodes to watch them. So I’ll go ahead and say that I’m expecting to not be as prompt with posting in the Summer 2012 season, and I’ll probably only write final reviews for the Spring 2012 series that I already haven’t do so for yet like Gakkatsu, and only occasionally post about continuing series like Accel World.

So before I start to sound like I’m just desperate for attention (or something like that), I’ll say thanks to any one who cares enough to read, follow, or comment. Here’s to another year of awesome stuff that I’ll do…hoping to really get on stuff once I get back to school and away from my life-sucking family. Now I crack a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper in celebration, and kick back for some time off. If I rebound enough, maybe an editorial or two by the time I get back to school. Additional note, speed draws aren’t happening until I either fix my tablet or get a new one…thanks relatives who don’t know how to treat other people’s property. :3

Speed Draw #10: Hopefully Crossover Project, Sensitivity, and Colors

Now that I’ve actually realized how much free time I have now, I’ve gotten started on the video portion of my Crossover Project. Stemming from an idea I had to draw Tooru Ichii from A Channel in the style of Black Rock Shooter, I’ve started off with a headshot of Tooru (BRS form). I’m hoping to have a full character draw, complete with outfit, uploaded sometime in the coming week. This will (hopefully) lead up to a series full-scale crossover images.

The biggest improvement with this video is the modification in settings to my tablet. I essentially eliminated the sensitivity to get a continuous, uniform mark (lining was certainly less of a pain). Hopefully this means cleaner final products as well as shorter work time and less stress on my part as an occasional perfectionist. But let’s be honest, my biggest hurtle is my own laziness :3

Anyway…ACA has the next step in creating your own anime cel once you’ve drawn out your idea.  Using (preferably two) colored pens, draw boundary lines that will define where two or more colors will meet, particularly in places that aren’t already defined by a line traced onto the clean copy piece of paper. Keep an eye out for areas such as shadows, highlights, or anywhere the tone of color could change. Lines in cluttered areas can be identified with much more ease by utilizing multiple pens with varying colors.

Now watch as your character comes to life when you begin to add color! This is where you can let your creativity shine as you use varying tones and warmths in your color choices. Using a color chart that labels each color with name or number can help you identify it later when you color your cel. Mass produced coloring products usually come with a color code, so feel free to use that, writing two or more numbers when you combine colors. Jot down the colors you will be using for every specific area on your illustration. If you’re having trouble deciding which color to assign, try coloring your rough draft with color pencils. For your information, cel paint can be mixed so let your imagination go wild! Create your own array of colors.

Next time, we’ll be looking at starting putting color to acetate. In the meantime, if you want some professional anime cel art to hang up in your anime lair, check out Anime Cel Art on Facebook, Twitter, RightStuff, Amazon, or eBay. Like I said, I’m wanting to get the next one done within the week, so hopefully the next lesson will be soon as well :3

Remembering Love: A Channel

Following a string of “Remembering Love” posts, initiated by trzr23, I’ve decided to remember my love for A Channel (shockingly :3). The rules set by trzr23 are straightforward and simple: Rewatch your favorite anime, Post about it every Sunday, Do NOT review. Like Yumeka, I’m breaking the 2nd rule seeing as May is more than half over. And as for the 1st rule…I rewatch A Channel periodically, so I have no qualms with this.

From a completely subjective standpoint, the reason A Channel is the anime that sticks out most for me and helps me return to the reason I started reviewing anime series, is because I absolutely fell in love with the characters. Maybe because I was going through something similar at the time (older, close friends moving away), or perhaps it was just something more personal that reached out to me in the comedic day-to-day activities and the sometimes exuberant cast. At the time, A Channel wasn’t “the anime to watch”, and (if memory serves) few blogs were covering it at all. This usually drives my decisions to watch and review the anime series no one else is. Because it’s not about which one is more popular or which one looks like it’ll be the best. It’s about what someone enjoys.

A Channel, by no means, has a ground breaking plot or original character sets. But it’s the fact that it captured the fascination of a single anime viewer almost a year ago that reminds me of what I felt when it seemed like I was one of the few who adored it so much. I’m not saying I was in a place by myself, it’s just…not a fun feeling to see your favorite anime being overlooked and passed over. Not criticized, but not elevated to the same level you put it up to in your mind. While this is probably true of almost every anime, we all wish to see our favorites adored by others as well, but sometimes it’s merely the fact that someone else has taken the time to partake as well that helps secure your feelings for a show.

I still remember hitting “Refresh” like a maniac the night before my foot surgery last spring, I was desperate for the last episode of A Channel. Not that I was afraid the surgery would be problematic or that it was new to me, this was my fourth major surgery. It was just that by the fourth time going through it, I had started feeling numb to it, and that scared me. I found kinship with Tooru as she moves toward a future without her friends, and I guess I was determined that she saw it through, so I could as well. I fell asleep that night just after Tooru’s tears fell over her smile as she hugged Run for being the same friend she’s always been.

It was such an irrational emotional connection, but that’s what eventually got me into anime blogging. That feeling of being so immersed in a show, and how all anime viewers just look for others who enjoy it as well. A Channel was the series that really propelled me into more anime series currently airing, and was the door that led to where I am today. My re-watch count for A Channel (beginning to end, including the +A Channels and now the OVA, A Channel +smile) is in the 20s, and I’ve even made a game out of it called “A Channel Roulette”. It’s shows like A Channel that I dream and hope to make once I’ve become an animator, and every time I re-watch, my desire gets re-kindled.

 

As for the last rule of “Remembering Love”, I’ve never been able to review A Channel anyhow. I’m far too biased, and maybe you now understand why. Through good anime and bad, A Channel has remained my favorite series. With the release of A Channel +smile, I’ve seen a slight increase in interest for the series, but overall, I think it’s just the ones who loved the original season that are getting excited for the OVA. So, while you’re free think what you want about me and my irrational emotional attachments, I’ll be sitting here, waiting, for A Channel….Season 2!

Obligatory Aniblog Tourney Post

Today, NewAnimeThursday goes up for vote in the Aniblog Tourney against AnimeKritik at Kritik der Animationskraft (kudos to being one of the few anime blogs who resisted the temptation to use a foreign name, and use Japanese :3). If you’re like me, you’re not going to spend too much time trying to make a decision, especially if you’re not already familiar with NAT. Certain people look for certain things, so I thought I’d help ease the process by laying it all out.

If you’re more interested about myself, BeldenOtaku, you can check out the About page. In short, the About page is about me…

If you’re looking for my writing to make a decision, I’ll point you towards BeldenOtaku’s Best: A Sampling of NewAnimeThursday’s Finest. A little post I put together composing various elements from the posts I regularly make. From episodics, to editorials, and speed draws.

And I also do fanart (being an art student, it comes with the territory). Here’s my DeviantART account, or you could hit up the NewAnimeFanart tab as well.

So, thanks for the consideration. Good luck to all my fellow bloggers.
Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

BeldenOtaku’s Best: A Sampling of NewAnimeThursday’s Finest

If you’re not familiar with the Aniblog Tourney currently in progress, first, I’d like to welcome you back to the surface (as you’ve obviously spent quite some time under a rock), and second would like to point out that NewAnimeThursday is up for vote on 23 April. So, in light of this, I’ve realized this is a rare opportunity to make a mass first impression on lots of new readers. So I compiled a list of various things I do, along with sampling of what NewAnimeThursday is all about…

Anime reviews: Each season I pick up airing series to follow and episodically post about, usually about how the episodes struck me, what I liked, what I disliked, where I think it’s going, possible plot problems, etc. I’ll also end each season with a final review of every show I’d been following, recently I’ve also taken to attributing a grade to each series (similar to an academic score where anything above 6.0 is passing, with 10.0 being a perfect score) based on qualities such as visuals, audio, plot, character sets, and the like.
Here are a few series I particularly enjoyed reviewing: Guilty Crown, Tamayura~hitotose~, , and Steins;Gate.

Occasionally, I have an idea…on a rare occasion, I have a good idea. So I write about it. I have them labeled as Editorials. I ponder and ramble about everything from being an otaku in real life, aniblogging, and other anime-related stuff. (I’ve only been doing editorials for a few months now) Editorials also give me an excuse to post A Channel photos :3 Some of my favorite editorials (which are also the most commented posts) are “For the last time, I don’t hate shounen…”, “The Problems with Anime Blogging: From the Writer’s Perspective/From the Reader’s Perspective“, and “Why it’s hard to admit I love anime (at least where I live)”

So now I should say something that sets me apart from other aniblogs…something like I DO SPEED DRAWS!!! :3 Speed draws are where I draw characters from various anime, record said drawing, speed it up (because 3 hours of drawing and coloring are kinda boring), throw in some music, upload it to Youtube, and claim the internets as my own. Here’s my favorite one so far, Tsukasa Hiiragi (Lucky Star)…

Other’s include Hakase Shinonome and Sakamoto (Nichijou), Mio Akiyama and Yui Hirasawa (K-On!), and NAT Banner Winter 2012 (with Tooru Ichii).

Thanks for your consideration in the Aniblog Tourney :3
Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Speed Draw #9: A New Banner, Cel Art Rough Drafts, and Sincere Apologies

Back after roughly a week off, long story short, life is a mess and I made priorities. The good news is that I only have about 2 weeks of school left before sweet, sweet summer vacation. I’m very upset that I haven’t been able to regularly put out new speed draws, and a lot of ideas I’ve had over the past months have ridden the back burner until I can find days with free time. But I made time for the new banner for Spring 2012. Although the final product didn’t include some of the things I had planned for (I decided at the last minute to not bother putting in Tansan), I’m still pleased to see that I’m improving, however slowly that may be.

In addition to the new banner, be sure to check out the NewAnimeFanArt and my personal DeviantART page for other sketchs and projects. Currently, I’m working on a crossover idea, and want to do speed draws for a few Winter 2012 series as well. So look forward to it :3

Previous Speed Draw and Anime Cel Art Post

Also on the docket, we have the beginnings of any anime cel art, the rough draft. It’s pretty cut-and-dry really, the only limit being your own commitment and creativity. Start with any plain sheet of paper (preferably clean without any indent marks left behind from previous drawings) and just sketch out your idea. It can be a simply pose, headshot, chibi expression, or more complex like a full out battle scene, romantic encounter with complementing scenery…just be prepared to essentially draw it again when you break out the tracing paper. Use tracing paper, one, because it’s thin enough to see through to reproduce and clean up your drawing because you’re essentially drawing it again, and second, because you’re going to flip the drawing later in the process of making an anime cel work of art!

What’s the next step? Well, Alex from Anime Cel Art is making us wait until next time to find out. If you’re interested in your own piece of anime cel art from popular series such as Bleach, Naruto, and One PIece, check them out on Facebook and Twitter, and browse cels for sale on their site, as well as eBay and Amazon.

Another note to any anibloggers living in the southeastern United States, I’m currently looking at helping put together an anime convention, with an anime blogging panel. Please contact me if you live nearby or if you can possibly travel. The current target date is November 2012, most likely the weekend before Thanksgiving. Any bloggers interested in participating in the panel will receive free passes to the convention and while nothing is concrete at the moment, we have a list of prospective guest speakers and sponsors.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku