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I've been reading a lot of people's blogs lately. I don't know if this is a product of my pen-palling, but I find myself more and more drawn to the stories of people's lives and their various takes on things. This morning I ended up reading a mini-rant someone posted about a ship war in the Tokyo Ghoul fandom, and that inspired me to write my own mini-rant about the Trials and Tribulations of Being a Queer Otaku. I don't have anything particularly brilliant to say, but, what the heck, this is what blogs are for, right?

When I posted it to Facebook, a friend of mine came on and poked at the open wound that is my relationship to the ending of Bleach. She didn't do so intentionally, she just casually mentioned that she was find with Renji ending up with Rukia at the end because, for her, "it felt right." I don't even necessarily disagree, but in going back and forth with her, I realized that I might have been a lot better with that particular pairing (which absolutely had a foundation in canon, at least on Renji's part,) IF ANY queer couples had survived in tact. Read more... )

So, yeah, I might be less bitter about RenRuki--which I have always supported, even in my super gay fan fic--(I always make Renji bi), if the other queer characters in Bleach had not been so poorly treated.

But no one cares about that, but me.

In other, non-fannish news, Mason is expected home late tonight. I'm looking forward to hearing all the stories of Anaheim.  I did find out that their team did NOT place at the competition, but Mason had not expected them to, so he didn't seem the least bit disappointed. In fact, he kept say, "It was so much fun!"  I'm super-glad that we have somehow instilled in him this attitude.  It will serve him well all his life, IMHO.

We're packing to head off to LaCrosse tomorrow early.  Poor Mason will land sometime around midnight and then be bundled into a car around 7 or 8 am the next morning (or same morning, if it's after midnight, eh?)  But, as I told him, he can sleep in the car.

It's nice enough out that I mowed. I have to say that--knock on wood--the yard is looking half-decent this year.  Now I just have to keep it up, which is always the struggle, isn't it?
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 No doubt you're tired from reading all the stories and such that I've been putting out there, well, here's ONE MORE THING: our podcast --

mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/26-picking-up-sticks/
 


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Okay so the publishing schedule is messing with our podcast YET AGAIN. However, Mason read everything when he came home from school (and me, after fighting the traffic back and forth to the vet's office to pick up my kitty), and we produced #24: Otaku in the Basement.
In this episode, our 24th podcast, we reviewed Bleach 596One Piece 760, Toriko 292 and Hitogatana.

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Seriously, this is why you need to be tuning into the weekly manga podcast: we have diaper bombs, devil forks, and a frank and serious discussion of who wore the mullet hottest in Bleach....

Why would you not what to listen to that??

http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/20-shipping-shippy-ships/

Also, we distracted by shipping wars. Because: fandom.  And, it turns out I have a secret IchiRuki shipper in my household (who knew?)
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Today is Wednesday, and that means that the new chapters of various manga have come out. So Mason and I have done our thing. Feel free to check it out: https://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/sweet-sixteen/.

In this podcast, it's mostly me talking about SnK (Shingeki no Kyojin) and its various and sundry spin-offs. However, there was a very problematic section of Bleach today, which I'll discuss under the cut.

Read more... )
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Mason and I recorded our sixth MangaKast podcast, and it's up for your enjoyment.

http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/podcast-the-sixth/

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I kind of wish I could be slightly more articulate about why Ao no Exorcist is so awesome. I'd love to drag more people into that fandom and there are only 56 chapters to-date, so it wouldn't be hard to catch up.

In other news, there is a "wintery mix" falling on the ground right now. That's right: SNOW. I can hardly believe it. It's not right. At least my strawberries are still mostly covered by mulch, so I think they'll survive this. The question is: will Minnesotans? Because I think a lot of people are ready to weep (myself included.)
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Mason and I recorded our fifth MangaKast. It's here: http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/five-is-live/ (Remember the go button is easy to miss.)

This is another experiment that I could call failed, but I don't. I think the most ever hits our site got was 20 or so on the first day. We consistently get three now, I think (and I'm sure two of them are probably me.) But, this doesn't depress me in the least. Mason and I started this partly because I have podcast equipment around that was bought for the other failed podcast project and because, sometimes, he and I have really brilliant insights about the manga we're reading. Mostly, it turns out, at 5:45 am, we don't. (This is when I wake him to read the manga and get ready to podcast. I also usually and sipping down my VERY FIRST cup of coffee, and as people who have seen me at cons know, it takes me a while to warm up....) However, we never had grand plans for this. For me, it's a great bonding experience with Mason. For Mason, he gets to be making a show. How cool is that?

So no one has to feel pressurized to listen to us. This is totally a labor of love in the strictest sense... and it's really almost no labor. I edit almost nothing, only the most egregious gaffs or coughs or slurps of breakfast OJ.

I'm off in a few minutes to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer and Eleanor. We'll probably talk "Captain America: Winter Soldier" which I finally saw yesterday afternoon. If I have any thoughts that distill from that conversation, I'll probably write them up here.

Okay, that's it for today!
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Because I had to go to work this morning, I'm bringing MangaKast to you a little late. In today's episode, Mason and I discuss the newest, hot-off-the-presses/scantilation Bleach 575, Toriko 272, as well as my first impressions of Blue Exorcist and Mason's take on where he's at in One Piece.

http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/go-forth-fourth/

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If you're so inclined, enjoy! (Remember the little arrow to start is kind of hard to miss, but it's right there at the top!)
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If you're interested in hearing what Mason and I sound like when we're very sleepy and kind of ramble-y, we posted our newest Bleach/Toriko MangaKast.  Check it out here: http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/mangakast-the-second/ In it I lay out several of my theories: about Kenpachi's ban-kai and its name, about THE END and Ichigo's part in it, and about how I won't be surprised to find out that Aizen (or someone) has been messing with the timing of this final battle.

Of course, be warned that there are spoilers for Bleach 573 "I am the Edge".

I don't know that I have any additional thoughts.

Read more... )

Because Mason and I get up ridiculously early in order to do the podcast before school.  I suspect I'll always have my far more articulate thoughts much, much later.

If you're at all inclined, feel free to check it out.  Mason and I both ramble on a bit longer than we normally do... and I think we're going to try to make sure we're a little more succinct in the future.  Though, admittedly, I rather enjoy our nearly completely unedited dopey commentary for it's rambling uneditedness....
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Since my other podcast project was kind of a dud, Mason and I have decided that it'd be fun to do a very on-the-fly, slapdash podcast about Bleach on the mornings that the chapters come out.  We've decided to call it MangaKast (with a "k" as a play on the word mangaka, which is what one calls manga artists.)  We recorded it at about 6:30 am, before breakfast, before coffee, and before school.  So, I might not be the usual shining star that you may know me to be.  In the future, I hope to at least get up in enough time to make coffee so I'm not a complete moron.

If you want to take a listen, the first one is up at: http://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/first-ever-mangakast/

When you get there you'll see just a very little, almost easy to miss arrow and pause symbol.  Press that and music will start.  We start talking shortly afterwards.  We don't even really do a proper introduction, but we decided that it's content over quality... yeah, that's it.

Anyway, enjoy if you will.
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Saturday morning Mason has swimming lessons, so, rather than negotiate the back and forth, he came with me to MarsCON.  I stopped by registration for my badge and bought Mason a day pass.

This was Mason's first ever con.  I thought for sure he'd hook up with his friend Molly and that'd be the last I'd see of him, but he ended up sitting in the back of the panel room, which was Kruschenko's, so there were comfy chairs in a kind of antechamber.  So Mason didn't even have to listen to us drone on about "Getting into the Mind of a Fanatic."  Actually, the panel was pretty good, though there were a lot of panelists and we veered into the NAZI analogy, despite [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer's valiant attempts to keep everyone on track.

The rest of the con was me showing Mason what a con is like.  Mason, being Mason, adored the demonstrations.  We watched a Korean sword martial art and we learned the difference between a Korean sword and a Japanese katana.  But, Mason and I were pretty excited to talk to the Sa Ba Nim of that dojon because, apparently, you get to learn sword at any belt.  We tried to win a sword, but, alas, we didn't get the prize.  I did, however, get to cut paper with a bokken.  That rocked.

Mason and I tried to go into the game room, but the rules of said game room kind of baffle me.  Like, it's not clear how one starts a game.  I presume that one can just sit at a table and open a game and people will join you, but every time we went in there were no open tables.  It was also unclear how one jumps in to a pre-running game, or even if one can.

So, we took some jelly beans and left.

Mason really loved the prop room, and if the picture ever makes its way through the aether fem my ridiculously un-smart phone I'll be posting a shot I took of Mason standing next to a very, very realistic looking Dalek.  Mason also really loved all of Umbridge's proclamations/rules from Harry Potter... and all of the Harry Potter props, actually.

Then when we came out of there the SCA people were doing a demo of their battles and Mason tried to watch that, but the SCA people were very... postalizing and kept wanting to TELL us things about their organization, armor, etc.  Mason just wanted to see the bashing of heads.

After that we just kind of killed time waiting for the Anime room party to start.  When it did, they'd started watching Wolf Children, which I adored.  Mason and I sat on the floor and ate girl scout cookies and commented along with everyone else.  This might be the moment that Mason realized that the world is filled with nerdy otaku JUST LIKE HIMSELF, because he was beaming through the film, his ears all perked up, like he finally felt, as the heroine of Wolf Children says, "like he found his pack."

Oh, and my furry friends?  YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS.  It will make you cry.  It made Mason and I cry, but damn it, I think it would be even more powerful for anyone in the furry fandom.  The basic message is not only 'you need to accept who you are," but also, "let your children be what they are."  And, bam! Right in the FEELS, if you know what I mean.

Also, I have to confess that they had an Anime quiz and Mason and I got THE ONE BLEACH QUESTION...

...WRONG.

Mason says he knew the answer but didn't want to speak up.  Meanwhile, I wrote down the year that the Bleach Anime came out wrong.  I remembered it had a "4" in it, but didn't realize it was 2004 (I might have put down 1994).

THEY HAD ONE BLEACH QUESTION AND I BLEW IT.

I may have to leave the fandom in shame....

So, today I'm off to go back to the con by myself.  I think I'm going to miss having Mason there.  He's a good companion for these things.  He and I have already agreed that he'll come along for at least one day for the rest of these.... and I couldn't be more proud.  Leap, my little wolf child!  Leap!

Fan Day

Mar. 5th, 2014 10:24 am
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Bleach 571 came out today, I know you're all as excited as I am…. and since I know you don't want to be spoiled, I'll be sure to put my comments about it under the cut.

Read more... )

In other news, my Solstice present from Shawn finally arrived.  Here's me in it:

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So what am I wearing?  That's a Scouting Legion hoodie from Shingeki no Kyojin aka "Attack on Titan."  These are the characters who go out beyond the walled city and fight the "baddies" (jury is out, given how sympathetic many of the shifters seem to be.)  If you're not reading this manga or watching this anime already, I'm not sure I can entirely recommend it to you because… at first I was fairly traumatized by the action (though Tumblr fandom had warned me)… it's… uh, there are… well, let's just say the Titans eat people, like graphically.

However, it is the hot new thing all kids are into. And they're into it for a good reason. The story is strong and the characters are deeply compelling.  I find it interesting because it's not like the usual shougen manga because the hero fights with a team and teamwork is critical to winning battles.  Also, war sucks in a really UN-glorified way.  People die. People whose names you've learned, whose stories you know, who you've come to love and sympathize with, die.  And they don't just die HEROICALLY.  Sometimes, like in real war, their deaths are stupid and meaningless and awful.  In fact, one of my favorite characters, Jean is motivated to join the Scouting Legion because his friend (lover?) dies in a back alley and… they're honestly not sure it's him, he's been so disfigured.  No one saw him die.  And Jean becomes determined to go out in blaze of glory, because f*ck that.  I also love Jean because he's a coward and admits he's scared out of his mind every time they go into battle.  There's also a couple of shifter characters who bend my mind they're so awesome.

Also, if you're generally interested in non-binary gender representations in media, it's happening in SnK.  Here's a Tumblr post about this character. http://teacupsandcyanide.tumblr.com/post/60922728975/on-misgendering-hanji-zoe

In Real Life™ news, I got put on another panel at MarCON this weekend.   So, now in addition to the other Sunday (3pm?) panel, I'm also doing: Timing and Pacing, 11:00 a.m. Sunday, Krushenko's

See you there?
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New Bleach chapters come out on Wednesdays (when Kubo-sensei is not on hiatus, at any rate,) and so I've decided that, for the most part, I'm going to give into my fannish squee one day a week and mostly just spend the day being a fan.

Chapter 570 was good, in case you were wondering.

Read more... )

Speaking of manga and chapters, last night, at work, I picked up Volume 5 of Ōoku: The Inner Chambers. [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer bought volume one of this series for me as a Solstice/Christmas gift this last year because the premise sounds right up my alley (and it sort of is.)  The manga is an alternate history where sometime during the Edo period, the men of Japan are all afflicted with a disease that wipes out a huge percentage of the male population.  Women rise to power and men become, well, breeders, really.  Many are sold off to brothels, etc.  The main plot, however, revolves around the men in the "Inner Chamber," the shogun's own harem/concubines.  So there is political intrigue and lots and lots of men being "debased" for the shogun's pleasure.

YET, despite that fabulous premise, this manga could be a lot hotter than it is, honestly.  Despite the warning of "explicit content" there's only a little hint of m/m and most of the sex is a pan to the left and IMPLIED.

The other problem with the story, IMHO, is that there are a lot of time jumps.  Like, right now, I'm not actually sure where I am in the timeline.  It started when the female shogun was well established, but then jumped to tell a story of the first "Swain" (the concubine in charge of taking the Emperor's maidenhead and then falling on his sword) and then jumped again to tell of the rise of the first female shogun.  I THINK we've been moving slowly back to the "now" from that second story-in-a-story, but I'm honestly not sure.

Unfortunately, this is a two part problem, one that falls squarely on my shoulders, and the other I will blame on the mangaka (a woman named Fumi Yoshinaga).

The problem that's mine is that Japanese names don't stick very quickly in my head.  I have to be hammered with a Japanese name for several issues before I remember it (even when the characters are wildly different looking, like in Bleach--thank fate for the Bleach Wiki and the fact that Byakuya kept saying "Renji" over and over and people introduced themselves at each fight...) and... the second problem is that the mangaka seems to have one image in her head of "hot guy" and so the guys that catch the shogun's eye (even different shoguns) are all kind of the same TYPE.  Worse, everyone is sporting the same hairstyle, purposely copying the Hot Guy.  So, I've had a hell of a time figuring out if I'm following the first Hot Guy or a new Hot Guy.

BUT, despite this criticism, I'm still reading.  I even picked up the last two volumes 6 & 7, with the thought that I'll see this through.  The universe is interesting enough to keep me reading and the titillation is titillating.  (I've got a good imagination, after all.)

Plus, as Naomi well knows, this sort of set-up is a big guilty pleasure of mine.  I really enjoyed (far too much) Catherine Aasaro's LAST HAWK, because it's this same thing, only in that case the Hot Guy is a crash-landed fighter pilot captured and thrust into the harem of a matriarch on a matrilineal planet.  Similarly, I pushed through Wen Spenser's A BROTHER'S PRICE because it was a future where there was another plague that affected only men, and... yada, yada harems and brothels full of desperate men.  Similar-but-different, I really adored ABSOLUTE BOYFRIEND a six-volume shojo manga about a girl who mail-orders the perfect android boyfriend (from the future, but that's kind of a side story.)

Clearly, I love this set-up.  It's like some kind of gender-swap Slave Girls of Gor and I'm really not sure what it says about me.... and I'm not sure I want to know.
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
According to someone on Tumblr (so, you know, a GOOD source,) today is Tite Kubo's birthday. He's 36, which makes him EXACTLY a decade younger than me. If you have no idea who I'm talking about, Kubo-sensei is the writer/illustrator of Bleach, aka my fannish obsession. You may also wonder why I always add the honorific -sensei. He's was not *my* teacher (though, yes... in a way...), but mangaka (Manga writers) are always addressed with -sensei.

Can you imagine if we did something like this in the US/UK? The day after my first novel came out, you would change how you referred to me FOREVER. I wouldn't just be Lyda, I'd be Lyda-author (if we were close, and Morehouse-author, if not so much.) Except, I wouldn't be allowed this title in Japan, being a mere author of novels. This honorific would be the exclusive purview of people like my friend Christopher Jones.

Can you imagine respecting the comic book/graphic form that much? That you'd get to have a new honorific. My father had to get a Ph.D. to get the title "Dr." which, being an American, he often eschews in favor of his informal nickname "Mort." But, in another place, mangaka get an honorific bestowed on them JUST FOR PUBLISHING COMIC BOOKS.

How f*cking awesome is that??

Though, the title MAY go away after Kubo-sensei retires, I'm not sure. It may only apply to an active mangaka. Which is also weird to consider, given the voitale nature of publication both here and in Japan.

Anyway, the point is, happy birthday to a guy I have never met, but whose work I admire greatly.

I think I will celebrate Kubo-sensei's birthday by writing my own original fiction for a while and then play around in his universe this evening. But, then again, maybe there will be cake. There should always be cake.
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I came across something very interesting in one of the JUMPs I was reading last night. Keep in mind that both these pictures were published in English-language versions of this story. One came out in a magazine, the other was published as a Manga of the collected issues of the story that originally appeared in the magazine. Both, I believe, are owned and produced by VIZ Media in America/(possibly other English-language speaking countries.) Perhaps [livejournal.com profile] empty_mirrors can tell me if her Manga are different, but I suspect not.

The scene is set by the fact that our hero, who has been adventuring in the afterlife, left his physical body behind. That body has been inhabited by a subsitute soul, a character named Kon, who is immature and girl-crazy and... well, gross.

IN JUMP, when we (as readers) return to the Human World, we come across Kon this way:

jump censorship 004

The subsequent dialogue implies that Ichigo's return has woken Kon from a sexy dream about several of the female characters.

HOWEVER, IN THE MAGNA, what he's doing is a little more... explicit:

jump censorship 003.

Here, Kon is clearly masterbating


It doesn't surprise me that a scene like that would have been modified for an American audience, but what's weird to me is that TECHNICALLY IT WASN'T. Most of the teenagers I know, read Manga collected, rather than through JUMP (particularly now that JUMP doesn't exist in paper, only electronic.)

Thinking about it, perhaps this has nothing to do with America or English-speakers being percieved as more prudish. I feel like Bakuman (the Manga from which I learned all that is "true" about Manga-writing in Japan) implies that the editors at SHONEN JUMP feel like their audience is actually fairly YOUNG boys. In Bakuman, there's a whole arguement between the manga-writer/drawer couple and their editor about whether or not a subject matter is too dark for the percieved audience for JUMP, and are offered the option of a teen version of a shonen magazine. So, perhaps what we see above actually ocurred to suit the Japanese market, where JUMP is consumed by a LOT MORE people, many of whom are actually quite young (say as young as 10).

Regardless, I find it fascinating that by the time we get to the Manga version (which, in fact, came later, chronologically,) we have Kon being much more explict. Did Kubo-sensei redraw it himself? (Having seen how censorship occurs in US comicbooks, I suspect so, and he probably had this image in reserve.) And, was he able to use the clout he gained from the popularity of the Manga to get the original placed in the collected version.

If that's how it happens, it kind of changes the perspective that things are so MUCH LOOSER in Japan than they are here. Unless of course, this was done for the English-speaking world, though, then you have to wonder why they let it go in the collected Manga when they had a covered image already redrawn that accomodated English dialogue bubbles....

It's a mystery.

In other news, I found out that my first Loft blog is due tomorrow. Today I need to figure out what I'm going to write about. If any of you have suggestions, I'll happily take them. I was currently thinking about writing about what I like to call "the secret handshake" of submissions. I wrote something similar many years ago for SF Novelists, but it may be worth revising.

Anyway, if you have anything you might be interested in hearing me expound about for 500 words or so, let me know.

I do have to laugh, though. The blog coordinator wants me to include my twitter handle. Of course I have one as Tate, but I NEVER USE IT. I have my secret twitter account, but I've been reserving that for real friends, because I want to keep my feed managable. If someone wanted to follow my life, they'd be far better off following lydamorehouse on Facebook.
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Did this cover work in Japan the way it does here? Do you suppose a lot of time and energy is put into recasting all the covers of JUMP to make them work in English? Or is this exactly how it ran in Japan?

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The other goodies I got for my dollar each include (but are not limited to):

An insert explaining the mysteries of Japanese sound effects!
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I also got several other black-and-white inserts that explain everything from "how to introduce yourself in Japan" (using a moment from Bleach) to "Case Files" for the Espada. I suspect a lot of these end up collected in things like MASKED and SOULS, the official guides to Bleach, but, hey, it's neat to see them in situ, as it were.

Also... a dollar? I would have paid several for this:
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And random pretty...
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I will say that there's one set of color pages that made me laugh. It's in the middle of the Ichigo/Grimmjow fight and it's is a HUGE panel of blue sky with blood raining down from it. Yeah, that's what they blew their full-color page on. There are two tiny panels beneath that big one, showing close-ups of seriously intent Grimmjow (released in his Pantera form and looking beat-up) and glaring, determined Ichigo.

But, yeah. Blood.

Anyway, here is a picture of the large pile of goodies:

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In other similar news Mason is officialy all caught up. He, like me, is now reading the episodes as they come out either from our on-line JUMP subscription or from Manga Panda, a free fan site. So, that's a yay. There are no more cries of, "IMA! NO SPOILERS!" when I start talking about Bleach.
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This year I brought along Eleanor Arnason to part of Anime Detour. When she left, she looked a lot like I did that first year--like I wondered what strange alternate universe I'd fallen into.

Detour throws us old-timer SF fans because it's held at the Radishtree, our old haunt, and, because, you know, it's a CON--we feel like we OUGHT TO UNDERSTAND IT, but, in fact, it's totally foregin... and not just because it's based on Japanese Anime. It's just a very different kind of con experience.

I think, thanks to my interpreters and the fact that I cosplayed this year, I finally get Detour... or, at least, I get how *I* can appreicate it and enjoy myself. Cosplaying is actually very central to a large part of this con. I posted pictures of this, but the garden courtyard is entirely devoted to professional stage set ups where you can pose for pictures of the amazing work you put into your costume. Because, damn, people put in serious work on some of these costumes. I didn't even try to take pictures of all the things, but I saw people in full Iron Man armor, and stuff I didn't even know WTF it was, but it looked like a whole LOT of work just to walk around in.

People who aren't in costume actually stand out. That's how many participants are cosplaying. In fact, at one point, I was crowd-watching and I saw a guy in a tee-shirt and jeans and I was like, "Huh, I wonder what show that's from...?" for a good three minutes until I realized HE WAS JUST A GUY IN A TEE-SHIRT.

Panels exist, but not like they do at other cons. The program guide has participants listed by who they're cosplaying so you know, you go to a panel on BBC's Sherlock and the panelists include Sherlock, Watson and Maycroft and they tend to talk about the show as though it was their real lives. At least, that was true on the panel I was supposed to be on last year about Full Metal Alchemist. There are other panels, like the two I participated in this year (fandom on the internet and what you need to know about writing), which were much more like a typical convention panel, but those are pretty rare. I will say that once again (like I did last year) I attended a panel about Bleach and wanted to rip my hair out or possibly pull Zabimaru out of my soul and MURDER THE PANELISTS.

Why?

Because the panel was supposed to be about the big three: Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece and about how they were ending soon and what Jump might replace them with. Last year, like this year, it became clear they were all One Piece and Naruto fans and their idea of talking about Bleach was to put up an annoying Manga panel where Renji is being particularly stupid and then making some dissing remarks about how dumb the filler arcs and then go back to talking about Naruto. They used a panel still last year. The big difference this year is that they let us watch the Anime clip of the same GODDAMN MOMENT. And you know what? None of that was EVEN new this year! It was from the middle of the Arrancar arc. There was only cursory talk about some of the events happening right now, and then on to One Piece or back to Naruto. Me and Ichigo (the other obvious Bleach fan there) were really ticked. Even the guy next to me who loved Naruto and was ticked at how dismissive the panelist were about his Manga as well as ours. The panelists seemed to be the type of young men/boys who thought that to be "intellectual" about an Anime or Manga, meant being rude about it.

And they didn't even seem to be reading JUMP. I actually *subscribe* and could have talked moderately well about the things JUMP seems to be testing out to replace Bleach. A LaCrosse themed Manga? Barrage. And the new one with the Neighbor aliens whose name escapes me. (Truthfully, I'm unhappy with a lot of it and so I skim the stories, but I at least know the sorts of things they've been running recently.) Ironically, the panelists were saying they'd need some new blood to do this panel next year, and I had to wonder how a person got that gig. I may actually have to volunteer.

/rant

I wasn't intending to go on about that as long as I did. Especially since the point really was that Detour isn't about the panels anyway. It's about costuming and previewing new Anime and the dealer's room and all the fan created stuff.

I also lucked out because I happened to know Anton, which means that at Gaylaxicon I got to know J. Michael Tatum there where he's just this guy, you know, and a F*CKING ROCKSTAR at Detour. Thus, as it happens I got to rub shoulders with a GoH, have dinner with him and late night fun at the bar (and, oddly, the furry party, and now I have an inappropriate picture of Michael at the furry party doing rude things with a tanuki that I'm not sure what to do with... I'd use it for blackmail, but since his boyfriend took a picture too, I'm not sure it's worth much.)

So, I mean, I had a blast because OMG Michael is awesome and every time I hang out with him I fall in love just a little bit more.

But, yeah, no. Eleanor bounced right off Detour.
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
One of the things that's significantly expanded my horizons is reading a book called "Japanese Street Slang" by Peter Constantine to Mason. It's a very RUDE book to read to a nine-year old, but only a nine-year old can truly appreciate how hillarious farts are. So, we often skip the entries on sex-related things (though I read those to myself and to him if they're not too graphic), and go on to the hilarity of bodily functions of all sorts.

I never thought our obsession with Japanese street slang would lead to a deeper understanding of weird moments in Manga like this one:

isshin pees

The fan translated sites went with, "I want to pee alone," which probably sounds even stranger to a Western ear--

--Unless you know about the villiage practice* of tsureshoben, "pissing together." Tsureshoben according to our slang book started off referring to when people used to, "take a break in their field work to go off together for a piss." The entry on tsureshoben goes on to explain, "Today people still quote the proverb Inaka no tsureshoben 'pissing together in the country.'... Another proverb worth memorizing: Tsureshoben, tabi no michi. 'Pissing together on the road.' This proverb indicates that urinating together during an outing or a picnic is a sign of friendship. Ideally, close friends should be able to drop formalities and relax to the extent that even when nature calls they can respond in each other's company." (149-150)

Yeah, so even though I love the fic that sprouted up to explain this moment, the above might be closer to the truth.

*A fascinating side note to this moment of oddness from this particular character is that his family is one of the big noble houses. His familiarity with country practices (and his general laissez faire attitude) has made me wonder what kind of nobles his family is... were they a family that made its fortune through hard work? The sort that perhaps brought itself up from a lower class, ala a kind of nouveau riche? I tend to think so. I think maybe we're supposed to guess this about this character from moments like these, though I may be reading more into this than is there.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I tell myself this is one of my many charms, but, the truth is, I simply have no shame. None what-so-ever. When the goddess handed out shame, I thought she said 'lame," so I said, "Nah, I'm good, thanks!"

Because, I KNOW I'm a forty-something, pudgy woman, but in my mind, I'm THIS:

RENJI with goggles 002

(Sorry for the blurriness, I was photographing my own Manga, and I didn't want the whole page and my camera kept saying "Too CLOSE! Too CLOSE!")

Even though I'm REALLY this:

zabi and kitty 009

(Also, I would have framed this a little better to match, but I asked my nine-year old to take the photo, so, you know, this is close enough, considering.)

For the amazingly dorky full effect:

zabi and kitty 007

Okay, so even though we can't afford ANYTHING this year, I am, as it happens, still signed up for Anime Detour. My plan has been to spend at least one day attempting to cosplay (cross-play) Renji. To that end, I've spent over a year growing out my hair. Yes, I'm that big of an otaku. Let me just repeat, for cosplay, I've been GROWING MY HAIR OUT FOR OVER A YEAR.

And, look, it really hasn't made me look more like him AT ALL.

Do I care? See above.

Also, because I'm so wicked poor this year my plans to actually make/purchase a full shinigami shihakushô have kind of gone by the wayside. So, instead, I've decided to do Renji in the Human World (clever, no?) hence the 'wrong" color bandana I'm wearing above. I'm going to try to do his 'wait, you're telling me this went out in the 70s? Who cares? I LOOK AWESOME' vibe, with a few trips to GoodWill. I actually already have jeans that are kind of groovy and way far too low-cut for someone my age, and I figure I'll improvise the rest.

I plan to make a more accurate 'Red Pineapple' tee-shirt than the one I'm wearing above. I made this one so I could wear it under my gi for kuk sool, and get my ass handed to me Renji-style in the dojo. (Weirdly, this really DOES seem to happen whenever I wear this tee.)

Also, if anyone has the balls to tell me I make the world's suckiest Renji, I intend to look them in the eye and say, "What? Don't blame me! Blame that cheat of a shoten owner, Urahara! Look at the crap-ass gigai he gave me!"

Because why? Because I have no shame, and I'm just that ballsy.

Did I mention that 1) I have too much time on my hands, and 2) I think that the -10 F degree temp outside causes the people of Minnesota to become the world's biggest nerds....?

Fan Art

Jan. 13th, 2013 09:01 am
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)
Last night, Kyell Gold was in town and he invted me and [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer to hang out with the folks at SofaWolf.* I had a tremendous time. Perhaps the tiny bit of hard cider I injested helped me be loud and boisterous, and I remember standing at the threshold when it was clearly time to leave still shouting excitedly about Harry Potter. I'm fairly sure they had to shove me out the door and I was still talking to myself as I walked down the drive to my car....

At any rate, I bring this up because among all the things we talked about I was surprised (and extremely pleased) to be asked, "Why Renji?"

pictures of stuff 020

My surprise was that I never expect anyone to be familiar with Bleach. Ever. I know it was on Adult Swim here and plenty of people watched it, but I still always expect blank stares when I try bringing up my fandom. It's too "old" for a lot of the young Anime fans, and it's awfully "boy" for a lot of the folks I know. At any rate, once I got over my shock, I had to try to consider the question seriously.

I don't really know. I mean, my friend Kate always tells me that my personality better matches Shunsui Kyouraku, the boisterous-yet-wise captain of the Eighth (with his hot pink kimono and traveling samurai straw hat). Plus Kyouraku has clearly been in a long-term relationship with Ukitake that rivals that of Shawn and I. So why Renji?

Ultimately, I think I feel a kinship with his indominable spirit. I have always striven to get back up when I'm knocked down, and that's Renji to the core. His backstory is also deeply, deeply compelling to me... and it resonates with some of my personal experience (or at least that of those around me.) I didn't grow up as desperately poor as he did, but the neighborhood I grew up in had a reputation for being "the wrong side of the tracks." Going to college was not necessarily the norm among my neighborhood friends, and when, after redistricting, some of the South Side kids had to go to my high school, I learned all about how people judge each other over class.

Class is something I find endlessly fascinating. The ways in which poverty affects people, too. That's some serious sh*t, as they say.

Plus, I think, as a writer, the other thing that appeals to me about him is the range of his personality as shown in canon--he can be really, really goofy but also very serious. He's personable enough that you could potentially pair him with almost anyone, and all of that that lends itself nicely to a variety of storylines. He's also one of the shinigami that bridges the gap. He's just as comfortable in the Human World as in the Soul Society, so you can put him in either place or let him jump back and forth--which makes him more accessable to a reader, I think, because he can use casual language and modern referrences (and yet can be baffled by certain things for humorous effect). In canon, he's also almost always AT LEAST tangentally involved in all the storylines, so you can pull him from any point in the time-space continuim, depeding on the story you want to explore. Plus, since he's so close to his zanpakuto, he's a great vehicle to explore all the magical sword/soul connections stuff that really gets me going about Bleach.

Anyway, it was great to find someone who would at least nod and smile when I talked about this and they reminded me of the awesome that is Captain Komamura, too. (This one is by Tite Kubo, not me:)

komamura

They told me a wonderful story about a cosplayer who surprised Kubo-Sensei by doing a perfect bucket-head costume while ALSO doing the fox-face underneath. And, we spent a lot of time talking about the cool ways in which Bleach can appeal to furry fans, both with Komamura and Yoruichi (and Gin and Renji if you buy my personal head canon.)

Did I meantion I had a blast? I did. What awesome folks! You should all go and check out SofaWolf's website and follow them on Twitter!

---

* I will remind anyone just now tuning in that you are no longer ever allowed to snicker into your sleeves about furries or furry fandom in my presence. Look, I get it. I used to feel the same way before I met furry folks and realized just how much furry writing I actually enjoy. But, I have never met nicer people then the ones I shared Gaylaxicon with, so just forget it!

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