*DO NOT CLICK OR POST BEFORE DECEMBER 30, 2016*

Greetings from 2015! Another year has come and gone. With the success of your 2014 time capsule, it’s only right to make one for this year, as well. Although this blog was written on January 3, 2016, it only encompasses the dates between December 31, 2014, and December 31, 2015. Please comment as you see fit!

You can’t remember the first half of 2015 very well, since it was pretty meh. You made the decision to take a semester off school to clear your head, and in the process found a part time job to help earn your keep. Plushies have been put on hold for the most part, in favour of learning to cook new dishes from scratch. Your current signature dish is chicken “stoup,” as dubbed by Shoony this New Year’s Eve.
The semester you spent in school was not a waste, of course! You studied Mandarin Chinese, discovered a new interest in video editing, and made a cutscene for your Demo Reel Development class. The latter is your first step towards completing your game project. That’s good! Next stop, the prototype. Expect to graduate in 2017; better late than never.

Your first Anime North was great! You went with your birthday buddy, and you cosplayed Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sadly you didn’t stay long, due to exhaustion, and the fact that your cosplay was derpy at best. Assuming you do return this year, you were considering cosplaying either Sheena from Tales of Symphonia, or Oliver from Ni no Kuni. Hopefully, you’ll run into more people you know.

Tay moved away this year, but you still say hello now and then. You two spent a day together in the summer, and you sent him a Sadaharu plushie after he moved. Thanks to him, you got back into anime, and even found a couple new series to watch. Don’t forget, once he gets his own place, he owes you a sweet snack! Ginger is still as adorable as always, and you continue to pray for his good health. As a matter of fact, you were talking to him moments ago! Conversely, you haven’t spoken to East much since he graduated this year. He’s keeping busy busy, working on everything and stopping for nothing. Whatever that means.

As far as the blog and crafts go, you entered and won a couple contests on DeviantArt, and you may have earned some fans among Shoony’s friends. 😛 You succeeded in making two more giant plushies: Kirby, and a Master Ball. This year was focused on crafts, particularly sewing and decorative desserts. If anything, you’ll make a good housewife, right? Ha! Ha! Ha!

Speaking of which, you met someone very special this year. We’ll call him M. You met him while visiting Top Hat, and your first words to M were, “hi! Do you taste good? :3” He likes Magic: The Gathering, Doctor Who, cheese, and eating pasta raw. His personality can be described as quirky, silly, nerdy, and cute. He’s also quite keen on you learning to play Magic.

You two had your first official date on July 29, first kiss on August 8, and became “official” on September 1. That means as of writing this blog, you’ve been official for 4 months. Not to mention, he’s convinced you to start watching Doctor Who! Kitty and Brandon seem to like him, as well. This Christmas, you rode the VIA rail train for the first time, and had an “actual” Christmas dinner with his family. (The kids’ table is a thing! People really do bake stuffing inside the turkey! You thought these things only happened on TV!) Maybe things can work, maybe you can make it to an anniversary…
I really didn’t want to get my hopes up by asking this, since we know how things can come crashing down at a moment’s notice: are you two still together? It would be really nice if you are. If not, well like I said last year, you’re hottest at 25, so he’s totally missing out. 😛

Now, it’s time for a checklist of goals, and things I’m looking forward to in the coming year:

  1. Game: Making a playable prototype.
  2. Animation: lots more of it.
  3. School: finally passing “that course.”
  4. NaNoWriMo: actually complete it this time.
  5. Plushies: complete at least one per month, even if it’s just a small thing, or not even my own pattern.
  6. M: our first anniversary.
  7. Friends: Introducing more of them to M, and attending Kitty’s wedding! =O
  8. Anime North: attending for the second time.

Well, 2016 Pika? How’d we do? What do you think of your 2015 self? Comment in your next response!

Pika, happy new year~

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Umbreon – Amigurumi #31

At long last, another ami! This was made from a pattern by Wolfdreamer Off The Hook.

I’ve finished watching Inu x Boku: SS. It’s a nice, light series you can watch while doing something else. It’s kind of like Fruits Basket, but instead of animals, they turn into supernatural beings. And why not set the mood with a dark-type Pokemon? It’s Umbreon!(Click image for pattern link)

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Oof. This turned out a lot bigger than it looked. Guess I missed the part where it said the ami would be approx. 8 inches. I attempted to work on this during the trip to FanExpo, but fat lot of good that did. The yellow felt was a much darker shade than the yellow yarn used on the ears and tail, so instead I made crochet rings. I ended up gluing them anyway, due to laziness. u_u

It can stand on its own pretty well.

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Pondering life

img_20160917_194656318-1The shape of the head and body give me an idea for future Eevee-lutions. Have you noticed that all the -lutions have the same general face shape, while Eevee has a chubbier, more square-shaped face?

I hope Pokemon Go will be successful enough, to include gen 2. Umbreon is a solid evolution, but Espeon is cute too. Anyone else here still not have the update? *raises hand*

 

Ah… smart, half-asleep Val broke the yarn needle again. That meant poor Umbreon was just bits and pieces until we finally heaved the mattress.

Unfortunately, we were too late to submit Umbreon to Knitting and Crochet’s August Contest. Though I doubt this would’ve gotten very far (ain’t nobody got time for 10 deviations…) but it was still nice to finally post an ami after so long. Plus, it doesn’t feel right to submit a pattern I didn’t create. Maybe we can try making smaller versions of the other -lutions?

Oh my goodness… this is happening in Texas now. How exciting! Someone in Texas is also making the world plush. Poke-plush, to be exact. I wonder if we could bring this to Ontario?

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Skinny legs club

What’s your favourite Eevee-lution? Or do you just like Eevee? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Pika’s Soba Noodle Soup!

“Hey Pika, where have you been all month?” – Nobody

Regardless of the length of summer vacation, everybody seems to wait until August to do the really fun things. Maybe it’s because the weather evens out by then, maybe it’s because they spent July saving up money for August frolicks, but whatever the reason, August is the time of all the fun things. Case in point: I just got back from Washington, DC. I saw the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, two landmarks that I’d only seen in movies and TV shows. On the way back, we did some shopping in Grove City. Shoonie got a little green bow. BOW!!! |>o<|

And today… just feeling bleh. How to describe the feeling… it’s when you have more on your plate than you thought. Or when you take work with you on a trip thinking you’ll get it done, but you don’t because it’s a vacation. Or when you miss somebody. Or you remember the red Navi is coming soon. Whatever it is, it can be temporarily healed with comfort food!

Guess what I bought today? Soba noodles! These are Japanese noodles made from buckwheat. The ones I bought come in a pack of 6 individually wrapped bundles. Each bundle makes one serving of noodles. Genius! Why can’t we package spaghetti like this? In Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility, you can cook buckwheat noodles with egg. That was the inspiration behind this improvised recipe, along with my Naruto-esque love for ramen. So, without further ado, let’s get comfort cooking!

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Ingredients

IMG_20150829_2013115901 bundle Soba (buckwheat) noodles

2 cups water

1 chicken flavoured bouillon cube

1 egg

2 sticks of imitation crab

Chopped chives for garnish

First thing’s first, boil the water and dissolve the cube to make your soup stock.

IMG_20150829_201710Crack the egg into a bowl and beat lightly. Set aside.

IMG_20150829_203043Then, take a bundle of soba noodles and pop them in the pot. Do not break the noodles! These are soba noodles, not spaghetti. They may look like cardboard, but they cook in about 5 minutes.

IMG_20150829_203423Meanwhile, chop up your imitation crab into bite size pieces. I don’t care what people say; imitation crab is tasty and convenient. But if you would rather have stronger tasting protein, you can substitute the imitation crab for ham, hot dogs, bits of cooked chicken or beef, or tofu if you’re an alie—-er, I mean vegetarian. 😀 Whatever you decide to add, make sure it’s cooked. This way you can simply toss it in to thaw and warm up.

Pour the beaten egg into the noodle soup, stirring constantly to disperse the egg. Look familiar? If you frequent Asian restaurants, it should; you’ve just made egg drop soup!

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Finally, add in your chopped crab meat. Turn off the heat and let the soup “rest” for about a minute before serving.

Pour into a bowl, top with a few chives, and you’re done!

Final Verdict

Tasty and comforting! This is a very versatile soup. Don’t like crab? Try ham. Think egg drop looks gross? Maybe poached is more your style. I think next time, I will try a meatless approach by substituting the crab for sautéed mushrooms, and instead of egg drop just hard boil and slice the egg.

Eww… these noodles turned out a bit slimy. I guess that’s why the package said to rinse the noodles after cooking. Basically, cook noodles separately, drain, rinse, and add to prepared broth. I wish I had read this blog post before hand. Also beware, egg drop soup does not keep well. It will leave a gritty feeling in your mouth when eaten cold, and congeals the next day. Bring a friend, or at least a large appetite!

I would definitely eat soba again, and in different ways. I said before that these are not spaghetti, but maybe I will try using these noodles instead of spaghetti sometime.

Have you tried soba? Do you eat your noodles with self-confidence? How do you prepare your soba? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Japanese Style Curry

Warning: diet blog incoming. And by diet, I mean reduced pictures. It’s not easy to take pictures and cook at the same time!

As you probably know, I’ve been on a cooking kick lately. You may also recall the time I found Pokemon themed box curry, and thought it looked kinda gross. Well, Ochikeron had a homemade recipe that looked way tastier, so I gave it a watch. Unfortunately, the recipe called for curry roux blocks. These blocks are harder to come by than I thought. That’s why I was glad Ochi also had a recipe completely from scratch, using all natural ingredients. And so today, I finally made this Japanese style curry, with a bit of my own technique mixed in. My suggestions are written in bold. Video recipe here:

The first bit of the recipe was easy; cut and prepare your meat and veggies. (I used beef instead of pork) I only decided today that I wanted to make curry, so the poor meat didn’t get to marinate overnight.

Eww… these potatoes were mushy. Let this be a lesson to anyone else out there: use fresh ingredients. I was trying to finish up whatever we had left, so that’s the only excuse I have for using these sad, hard-to-peel potatoes. Aside from the onions, carrot, and potatoes, I also threw in a single chopped celery stick.

Making the broth went well, until I realized I’m hopeless at opening corked bottles. (The wine bottle) It seems that cranberry, pomegranate, or unsweetened grape juice also work in a pinch. I used pomegranate; we will add Worcestershire sauce, which contains malt vinegar. I theorize that this balances out the taste of the juice.

Because so many Japanese curry recipes suggest the use of honey and apple, I envisioned this curry to be sweet. But so far it was vinegary! This is because we’re adding in a lot of salty (chicken stock, salt and pepper) and vinegar-based ingredients. (Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce) If it’s too vinegary or salty, add a little bit of sugar to balance the taste. Oh! I just got it after typing that sentence: sweet honey and apple helps balance the vinegar taste! GENIUS! XD;

The recipe called for a grated potato. The idea is that the starch from this potato will help thicken the curry. Not sure if it was because these potatoes were mushy or I just have bad luck, but it didn’t work. So instead, I sprinkled a little bit of flour at a time, until the sauce was thick enough that some of it held onto the spoon. Here’s why I knew it would work:

Curry roux is meant to be used as a thickening agent. Roux is a flour and butter mixture used to give sauces and stews their thick consistency. Ever wonder why Kraft Dinner cheese comes in powder form? At least that’s my theory. Hey, flour is safe to eat. Not like I’m suggesting it’s made from bugs. Ha ha ha ha…. <_<

Joaks. I do loves me some boxed mac and cheese from time to time. Anyway, let’s finish this curry.

After liquid reduced and the curry thickened, it was time to serve! Unlike our Indian curries where we dunk it on top of the rice, this curry is more appealing when served beside the rice.

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Final verdict: kare oishii desu! [/weeaboo] I will mix a bit of honey into my next plate, see how that turns out. It is indeed pretty strong on its own. Also, beware telling your Japanese-savvy friends about this. They just may magically lose their clothes. (Will get a picture to prove this ASAP)

So… what is my excuse for not blogging last week? Slowness. Why do you ask?

*wind blows the tumbleweed* Oh, right, there’s no one here. But at least now you are aware of a delicious curry recipe! As for the big, complicated plushie, it has been shipped. It’s a surprise, and I don’t want to give it away before the person receives it. 😀

Round 2! Om nom nom

Round 2! Om nom nom

Do you like curry rice? How do you prepare it? What other curry recipes do you like? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

My First Anime North: 2015

On Saturday, May 23, 2015, I went to my first Anime North. I’ve wanted to go ever since I first heard about it in 2003. Or was it 2004? Either way, I’ve waited more than half my life to go. And a few months ago, my birthday buddy texted, “I GOTS TICKET U WANT GO ANIME NORTH LOLOL?” Okay maybe not those exact words, but that sums it up. And I love how I got that text a week after cutting my hair. But we’ll get to that.

For those who aren’t aware, Anime North is Toronto’s annual anime convention. There are all kinds of panels, workshops, photoshoots, and cool crafts to buy. If you like, you can attend while dressed up as your favourite characters. (Cosplay) Who can say no to that?! Basically, Anime North (AN) is a weekend of awesomeness for anime and video game fans everywhere.

Since last weekend’s blog was delayed, I figured this week’s blog would detail my experiences and takeaways. If you are considering attending AN in the future, I hope this post will give you insight on what to expect.

Transportation

Anime North takes place at the same location every year: the Toronto Congress Centre (TCC) located in Toronto’s West End. I live in the East end, which means it took 2 hours to get there by public transit. A little tip from someone who has taken TTC for most of her life: as long as you can find your way to the subway, you’ll be fine. This deviantART journal explains the bus and subway directions very clearly.

My commute went smoothly (I don’t account for the delay at the subway station, since those happen a lot) until I got to the 52, the bus that takes you right to the TCC. Expect crowds, because that’s exactly what you’ll see when you get to the stop. Part of the way, some commuters got into an argument with the driver because he wouldn’t let them on the bus. The bus was already crowded, and due to safety reasons drivers cannot let people stand beyond the white line. He was almost ready to put the bus out of service, until some other people on the bus got him to settle down and continue on. The people did get on the bus in the end, but it cost us all an extra 13 minutes of commute.

What I learned: if, under any circumstances, your commute takes more than 90 minutes, get a hotel room. Many events take place early in the morning or late at night, with some of the bigger events running past midnight. Think of it this way: a hotel room is expensive, but considering how much more you can get out of your one experience, isn’t it worth it? You don’t have to catch a bus at 8 am just to get to a panel at 10:00 am, and you don’t have to bail halfway on the panel that runs until 10 pm. If you choose to commute, be aware of the general non-con going public who still have to go about their usual lives. My biggest advice would be to leave early, or carpool with friends.

Cosplay

I have mad respect for people who try to make their costumes look as close to the original character as possible. I stressed out too much with Katara… and that was just a shirt with stuff sewn on, hair loopies, and a neckalce! Oh yeah, here’s the necklace:

necklace

Regarding hair: the loopies were such a pain! This wouldn’t have been a problem with regular long hair. Katara’s season 1 hairstyle is simply a braid, with two strands tied in front, and pinned in place under her ears. Well, the entire top layer of my hair decided to do its own thing and flew around all over the place, constantly undoing the loopies at the pins. Layered hair looks gorgeous when left loose, but it’s a hassle to tie back. This is why I seriously consider cutting my hair super short. *hears her family and friends yelling “NOOOOOOOOOO!”*

When I told birthday buddy I wanted to cosplay Katara, he asked which outfit, and I told him it was a combo of seasons 1 and 3. He said I should’ve cosplayed the red outfit she wore, when they were undercover in the Fire Nation. Ya know, the one with midriff? I couldn’t be brave enough to do that, let alone run around in a bikini anywhere but at the beach/swimming. I’m too self-conscious of my tubby tummy. >_< This discussion happened after we saw a girl dressed as Yoko from Gurren Lagann. I know there has been a lot of controversy lately, about what girls should and should not be allowed to wear. As a girl, I believe there’s a time and place for everything. At a convention celebrating all kinds of scantily-clad characters for instance, and as long as it makes sense for your character.

What I learned: no matter when you start working on your costume, no matter how simple or complicated it sounds, you will always end up working on it the night before. Something tells me I should’ve just worn my Pikachu Halloween costume and hopped into my bag.

Also, it’s fine if you don’t want to wear certain things, but don’t put others down for wearing those things. Anime North is basically a 2.5  day retreat to dress up, have fun, and enjoy your favourite nerdy things. Save the dress code debates for when you get back to real life.

I didn’t get many pictures, but if anyone knows the guys pictured below, please let me know! I didn’t get their names, and would like to give credit where credit is due.

cosplays

Panels

Panels are basically lectures and discussion groups.

The first panel we attended discussed sewing tips. Having stayed up late figuring out how to sew the trim on Katara’s outfit, I listened intently. That, and the plushie workshop next door was full. (Not that I sorely needed to attend that. 😉 ) While waiting in the lineup, we met a guy working on chain mail. I showed him pictures of the Charmander and Squirtle plushies, and he went, “awwwww~” Then he tapped his friend, and she joined in the “awwwwww~” XP

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I attended the next panel on my own. The topic: Kingdom Hearts. I remember being a wee one when my neighbour borrowed the game from someone. We never got to watch her play it, but I became curious after seeing Mickey Mouse on the cover. Man, I was a dumb gamer as a kid. In fact, the hardest boss I’d fought in that game had to be the Wonderland Heartless boss. Silly me couldn’t figure out how to find Blizzard, which was very very useful for said boss. And so there I was, stuck for ages on this stupid thing, only to play through a second time, get Blizzard, and wipe it out in less than 5 minutes.

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The guy beside me was kind enough to let me get a picture of these cute cosplay kitties

Birthday buddy joined me for the Legend of Zelda panel. Or rather, he magically managed to crash a few minutes in. That panel was jam packed! Not surprising, since Zelda is amazing. In fact, it’s my favourite vidya gaim series to date. For personal reasons, I liked Twilight Princess. Aside from the darker art style and more creative boss battles, one of the game’s most iconic sequences has to be when you have to carry Midna on your back, after Zant exposes her body to light. Not only was this the first Zelda game I finished without a walkthrough, but that particular scene stuck with me. Maybe it’s the whole urgency, maybe it’s the music (another memorable part of the game) but I never thought of it as much until now. The whole idea of going through all the trouble to save Midna, after all she put you through to reach Zant, and after she was hurt so badly and left helpless, was very touching. It reminds me of my game devs, who have been with me through all the emotional stress of the program. The ones who would be right there complaining about assignments and profs, and who would stay up chatting until 3 am just to listen to problems. My friends are all my Link. They’re not the macho “MERN” types like traditional Western comic book and game heros, but they don’t need to be. They just need to have the right skills to help Zelda save Hyrule, and to get Midna the help she needs.

What I learned: it’s important to remember just how passionate fandoms can get. And by passionate, I mean “will defend to the death.” You should’ve heard the reaction of the Sora/Riku shippers, after a little 10 year old girl said, “I would like to see Sora and Kairi get together.” Hey, she has a valid point, ya know. They never did tie up the whole deal with the Paopu fruit. Or did they?* Really, the best thing to do is just enjoy the things you like, however you like. So what if you haven’t gotten to this or that, or you didn’t react the same way as others? You shouldn’t feel bad. And you shouldn’t rush through just because other fans are pressuring you. I for one stopped reading Game of Thrones for several days, after the infamous Red Wedding scene.

Need more Twilight Princess ravings? Check out my old game dev blog.

*I still haven’t played Birth by Sleep or Re:Coded. On an unrelated note, Chain of Memories‘ battle system can go die in a hole.

Vendor’s Alley and Spending Money

As you can imagine, this was the part I was looking forward to the most. There are so many cool things here! Sadly, I didn’t find cute bows or phone cases for Shoonie. I couldn’t find many cases, period. :\ Being a non-selling crafter in Vendor’s Alley feels awkward. On one hand, you can look around at all the cool things other crafters have made. On the other hand, you look at them and think, “I could totally make that myself…”

They also had Pokemon Curry Sauce Mix. This was the first thing I considered buying, until I imagined Kitty as Professor Oak going, “Pika, this isn’t the time to eat that!” Ever since we made the dango candy kit, he’s had a bad impression of Japanese foods that come from packages. The picture on the box did look kinda gross. X3; Besides, I want to try making Japanese curry from scratch. Maybe I’ll hit up the local Asian grocery store to see if they sell curry roux blocks. My parents will ask too many questions if they see me putting apple and honey into curry.

I did find something worth buying: candy kits! They were the same prices as Sweet Tooth ($7 – $8 depending on kit) but they had a particular kind that I couldn’t find at Sweet Tooth. I looked at Birthday Buddy and said with confidence, “I am getting this!” I won’t reveal the kind just yet; you’ll have to wait until the candy kit review! (Yes, you too, Shoony)

A funny thing happened while I was browsing a weapon booth. Someone said, “hello, wife.” I look up, and the dealer was dressed like Aang. He had a glider and everything. :O I said, “oh, not for another 20 years. I think. When did they get married?” Then he said, “um, after the next comet.” Oh sheep son. That reminds me, I never did make that Appa purse… :\ I saw a couple Zukos and Korras, too.

confession-bear

What I learned: being a vendor is never easy, no matter how or where you sell your creations. When deciding to become a vendor, consider the pros and cons before making your decision. Consider whether or not you can afford the rental fee, and whether or not you can sell enough things to make up for said fee. Have you ever wondered why things are more expensive downtown or at malls, than they are in local chain stores? It’s to make up for that pesky space rental fee!

If they have one, pick up the seller’s business card. This way you can have a link to their online shop, and you can buy from them when you’re ready.

Food

There are many restaurants available right next door, from Tim Hortons to Harvey’s to Montana’s Steakhouse. AND THEY’RE ALL CRAZY BUSY. There were lineups out the door for fast food, and people were sitting outside for hours to be called into the sit-down restaurants. I wish I was exaggerating. And by the way, you can’t make reservations during the con weekend. Birthday buddy and I ran around looking for a place, before giving up and ordering room service at his hotel. (It arrived in an instant, by the way) But ya know, after all that running around it felt good to finally take off those winter boots, put my feet up, and eat steak in bed. Fun fact: this was the third time I’ve ever had steak. All three times were with someone who had some importance to me. In this case, it was a birthday steak with a friend who was born on the exact same date. Yes, we were born the same year, as well!

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Because who doesn’t like an apple with their steak?

What I learned: bring snacks, and make use of the water stations. It gets really hot in Toronto around this time, especially indoors where there are a lot of people. I didn’t personally see it happen to anyone, but I’ve heard stories of people fainting at Anime North. Take care of your health! It’s a bit outdated, but this guide is very useful.

Anime Viewings

Exactly what it says. These are slots in which you can kick back and watch available anime and movies. If it’s a viewing of a series, they start from the first episode and go down the list. From what Birthday Buddy explained, all viewings are in English.

I find this scene way too funny.

We watched Rock Lee and his Ninja Pals, which I’ve already watched. Ya know, that Naruto spinoff where everyone’s chibified and Rock Lee is the main character? I don’t know why, but I like the birds that go, idiot! Idiot!” Birthday buddy looks at me and says, “I know this is supposed to be a comedy, but come on, Lee is so much smarter than this…” I don’t mind watching Naruto in English, since that’s what I used to watch when it was on TV, and the voices are pretty close to the original. Granted, it does make a lot more sense to hear Japanese terms in Japanese. Argue all you want, but I still think English dub Neji sounds awesome when he says, “Byakugan!

What I learned: viewings are a good way to discover new anime and revisit old favourites, while also kicking back and taking a break from walking all over the place. But again, viewings are in English. If you’re vehemently against English dubs, avoid.

Late Night Weirdness

After the kiddos are put to bed, things get weird. And Toronto’s biggest anime convention is not exempt from this truth. Take for example the viewing with which I concluded my first Anime North: WTF Anime.

While not the weirdest cartoon, or part of the actual viewings, this cartoon started us off. It’s called There She Is, by the animation trio SamBakZa. It’s about a Bunny and Kitty who fall in love, much to the simultaneous support and chagrin of society. You may have heard of it; to this day, it’s one of the most popular cartoons on Newgrounds. The dude running the viewing described it as, “the cutest cartoon about racism you’ll ever see.”

As silly as it is, this actually becomes very watchable. *Warning: step 4 really does get intense.

The dude running the panel did some dub work in the past, and showed us some of the silliest dubs. Bear in mind these were all animes that were meant to be taken seriously, but due to fail acting, directing, and overall ridiculous content, they became so bad, they were funny.

I don’t remember many titles, nor do I know if they’re available online, or if the guy just had them handy. All I know is we watched a clip called, “the dog who cried blarg at the heart of the moon.” It was a clip from an anime in which a rabid Doberman tears through a metal train and tries attacking people. And yes, I mean “tears through” as in literally, as though he was tearing through a cardboard box to get treats. They used an actual a voice actor for the dog, rather than getting dog sound effects. Said actor got bored and started making “blargaragalablah” noises. It was so dumb, it was funny.

A bit of Google searching helped me find two of the shows: Machine Robo, and Naikaku Kenryoku Hanzai Kyosei Torishimarikan Zaizen Jotaro. (Government Crime Investigation Agent Zaizen Jotaro. Yes, that’s the entire title) Machine Robo’s Rom Stoll always made grand entrances, yet never revealed his name to the bad guys. (“You don’t deserve to know my name!”) Zaizen Jotaro was an over-the-top secret agent whose catchphrase was, “da bomb!” Fun fact: the creators of the latter didn’t make him over the top as a joke. They honestly thought that American audiences would like the notion of a character that said, “da bomb!”

Unfortunately that’s all she wrote for this day, because an hour in, I had to call it a night. Word is there were some events that ran until midnight.

What I learned: See above, re: Transportation.

Aftermath of My First Day at Anime North

As you can tell from the last blog… I was exhausted. And I wasn’t even there for the full day! X_X I also missed the Avatar photo shoot, which took place on Sunday. I’m not too broken up, since I know my costume was derpy. Meanwhile, I will wrap the present I got for Shoonie. I never found anything in particular for Peck Peck, except that missed opportunity to get a picture of the guy cosplaying Shulk. Le sigh… Fortunately, most things he would like are available at the town centre.

Final Verdict:

Would I go again next year? If I can get money, and friends for a hotel room, definitely. I’ve already got a few costumes planned! ^_^

Would I be a seller next year? Probably not. I want to be able to enjoy the con. I might just bring business cards.

Have you been to Anime North? If so, what were your favourite events? If not, would you like to attend one day? Have you been to any other nerdy conventions? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Prepare for ALL The Things!

If I didn’t say it before, I’ll say it now: don’t get used to early posts. 😀 *eeeeee* Also, this blog is presented with 50% fewer visuals.

This week has been nothing but work work work, plan plan plan. I meant to make another ami this week, but this is as far as I got… can you guess who?

olaf_progress

I was requested to make this for a family friend’s granddaughter. I also made two monkeys for her a few years ago. She bought the yarn, and I used the yarn to make the monkeys: one boy, and one girl. I got to keep the remaining yarn as payment. 🙂 Too bad I didn’t take pictures of them…

Can’t believe how much time was spent on the head alone. I think this is why I grew to like anime style: their “kawaii” mascots are often drawn with simpler shapes, whereas Western cartoon mascots are drawn with abstract shapes. Simple and clean, or crazy and unique? The choice is yours. Honestly, I like both. I just prefer to make kawaii amis.

“Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle. But put me in summer and I’ll be a… happy snowman!”

Olaf’s song may not have been as catchy, but it’s also very cute and light-hearted. I like both times of the year. Winter is a chance to stay indoors and make new outfits, and summer is a chance to go outside and show off the outfits!

Speaking of outfits, here’s a quick Anime North update:

Finally got a blue shirt. Colour is based off what I remembered from season 1, but I’m going for her season 3 outfit. This is the image I’m using for reference:

Haven’t started Appa purse, since I mainly spent this week working on Olaf and trying to come up with a solution for the costume without spending too much money. Man, I regret cutting my hair… Have also started a new series: Nanatsu no Taizai. (Seven Deadly Sins) Reminds me of Fairy Tail. Thinking of making a present for birthday buddy, to say thank you for the AN ticket.

Oh yeah, I won 2nd place in dA Knitters’ April 2015 contest!!! Feels good to know Kirby is so well-received. I’m pretty clueless about the whole “points” system on deviantART, so I’m not bothered about not placing first. Come to think of it, I’m not sure of the criteria they use to pick winners. The 1st and 3rd place submissions came from the same person! Maybe we were the only two who submitted anything? Maybe our things were closest to the original character designs? Maybe they were the cutest? Put in the most effort? Made up our own patterns rather than following a pre-written pattern? Either way, this was a great way to end off my Sunday. ^_^ Sure could use some more vibrant colours in my deviations… any suggestions?

I’ve also updated the shop, for real this time. ^_^; Somebody please buy Kirby, he keeps eating my food… >_<

Here in Canada, we are currently celebrating Victoria Day weekend. Next weekend will have three special events:

a) one year since this blog first launched

b) first time at Anime North

c) me birfday.

In honour of this upcoming crazy weekend, I… er, we… will be working on some special content to celebrate! Tune in next week for a special guest star~

Do you like warm hugs? Are you attending Anime North this year? What are you doing for the long weekend? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~

Taking a Break: I Made a Thing in Maya

**WARNING: Picture-less blog incoming**

This is what I was doing last week, instead of blogging.

The following is an incomplete cutscene for my demo reel open assignment. After literally staying up all night on Thursday night, and countless batch renders with the wrong camera viewport, this is what I’ve come up with. It’s… very rushed and choppy, even by mainstream standards. Except that beginning shot, that was sweet. Didn’t think their walks would turn out so perfect.

Click here to view video. (It is unlisted)

As you can probably tell, it’s very rushed. No matter how early you start, no matter how few other classes you have, animation takes time. As it is, the models in this scene are just free rigs I found off the web. And animating a whole scene? Blah… can you tell that I gave up on animating the last few shots?

This was quite a learning experience unto itself. Sure I’ve made a very short, even worse scene, but this was big for me because it was something I wanted to do. I was in complete control of how the final scene would end up. I guess the biggest problem I’ve had in game dev, is that it’s difficult to work on projects for which you hold no passion. This is why I blog: so I can share my own ideas and thoughts. That and procrastination; I can already hear my teacher going, “imagine how it would’ve turned out if you’d started earlier. 😉 ” And he’d be absolutely right. It sounds like a should’ve-would’ve-could’ve statement, yet it’s also kind of encouraging: if I can do this in less than a week, imagine what I could’ve done in a month? A year?!

Here’s proof that I’m not as bad at lip syncing as the scene lets on. In fact, I made the neck rig myself. Everything else used the model given in class. Oh man, I know what I want to do this summer… Who knows, maybe one day I can be the next Monty Oum. ;P (RIP Monty, both social media and real life meanings applied here!)

Animation, crafts, cooking, gaming… I don’t want to stick to one thing. I want to create, I want to have fun, and I want to make the world plush.

Do you have 3D animation software and want to give the rigs a try? Here are the links to the free downloads. I recommend starting with the Morpheus rig since the package includes the head model, and you can create your own blend shapes to make facial animation and lip syncing so much easier:

Morpheus (Mark)
http://www.joshburton.com/projects/morpheus.asp

Mery (Mia)
http://www.meryproject.com/#!download/c1n0f

***Pictoplasma (“Cat?”)
http://www.cgmeetup.net/home/ultimate-rigs-maya-rigs-maya-character-rigs-free-maya-rigs/

What are your dreams for the future? Comment below!

Pika, so happy~