Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review: One Punch Man Season 1

What's it about?

In a world full of Shonen series and Marvel blockbuster movies, there's One Punch Man.  He's a hero so over powered he can defeat everything with one punch - which you would think is the perfect power.  But this isn't the story about how he became this powerful - no, this is the story about what it's like to have that much power and no real challenge.  Saitama can beat anything, so the fight has really lost all appeal.  He's honestly more concerned about the next sale at the grocery store, then the monsters that might stumble into his path.  He's really not even that excited about Genos - a cyborg who comes into his life and wishes to learn how he gained all that power.  But who knows, maybe Genos and the League of Superheroes can change his mind.  Of course - they'd have to acknowledge his impressive power first.  


One Punch Man is not usually my type of anime series.  I'm more for the serious, the dark, the pretty and the action that tugs at your heart strings and leaves an impression.  Upon watching the first episode of this series and seeing Saitama go up against a main that is half lobster to save a kid with a butt for a chin I was tempted to write it off as another zany comedy that wouldn't hold my attention.  However, through the prodding of my partner and several of our friends, I kept watching and was pleasantly surprised. 

So those things I said I tend to watch?  Dark, action and impression leaving?  One Punch Man is actually all of those things, just wrapped up in a package I wasn't expecting.  The character of Saitama grew on me with his monotone lack of care for the world now that it really held no interest for him anymore.  The character of Genos struck me as seriously enduring considering how in awe he is of Saitama's powers and him as a person.  Saitama just needs motivation, and Genos provides that in a very innocent and sincere way.  I was also struck by the character of Sonic, who is just crazy enough to make me giggle because he's so committed to his insanity.

The background plot and storytelling also doesn't leave anything to be desired.  Sure, the monsters are weird and the creatures they go up against are strange, but the variety of heroes and how 'down to earth' they are was obviously put together with care.  For example, like Genos' sincere innocence, there are other characters such as Mumen Rider who immediately strike you as useless because they're so underpowered.  Yet their characterization and the care put into this story and world give them a very important place.  As the viewer you end up rooting for all of them, even when you know there's no chance, and seeing Saitama take the hit for them all makes you invested that much more.  Normally oddly grotesque anime styles like this turn me off because I'm such a visual viewer, but the characters in this series and the care put into the story have made me look past that and admire the show as a whole package of great storytelling.

Every hero is unique, and not in a 'we all have different powers' way.  Instead they're all fully fleshed out and it results in Saitama being only a small piece of this really interesting world that I could seriously enjoy many more seasons out of. 

It's hard to admit this, but I really can't come up with any flaws at this point or things I didn't like.  The show has a great balance of characters, plot and yes, even the art style grew on me as the episodes went on.  I have to say I'm impressed and I think that this will actually become a great gateway anime in the future to introduce people to the world of anime and what sort of stories and art you can expect that are so wildly different from the US.... just as long as the good writing holds up throughout the whole story.  (I'm looking at you Naruto.)

Watched on?

Streaming on Hulu, subtitled.


Thanks to our new found love of this show, the wifey and I are planning One Punch Man themed dresses which will hopefully be done this year.  She wants to be Saitama and I want to cosplay Genos, so here's what we designed.  Hopefully you'll see these soon on our pages and at conventions!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Review: Sailor Moon - Dark Kingdom Arc (VIZ Dub)

(Oops, it has been pointed out to me that this is VIZ, not Funimation.  That's what I get for posting this so early in the morning.  Sorry it still shows on my Facebook link as Funimation, it won't change the title associated with the link, even though it's been corrected on this page.)

What's it about?

Usagi is a normal school girl who's biggest worry in the world is hiding her bad grades from her mother and when the next Sailor V video game will come out.  When she comes across a cat with a strange crescent shaped moon on her forehead, she learns that she is actually Sailor Moon, a guardian from the Moon Kingdom and tasked with several new challenges - the most important of which is to stop the Dark Kingdom from taking over the Earth, just as it tried to take over the Moon Kingdom so many years ago.

My review:

There's something magical about going back and watching a redub of an anime series you grew up with.  I remember watching Sailor Moon for the first time when it was shown on American TV and produced by DiC and had to wake up way too early for each episode.  Something about the series stuck with me, and while it wasn't my first anime, it had probably the biggest effect on my life, especially in the growth of my writing and imagination, even to this day.

When VIZ got a hold of the series and announced a redub and retranslation, giving the entire series a major facelift, I'll admit I was hesitant.  This series was close to my heart and while I admit there were issues with the original version I'd seen, it was still important to me, and it's so hard to watch something from your childhood be picked up and brushed off, because you're worried the memories will disappear with it.

Now that I've watched the entire first season (the Dark Kingdom arc) in the VIZ dub, I can happily say I'm impressed and seriously thankful they did this.  Having a new dub and a better translation added to the show and while I miss some of the original voices and that corny american soundtrack, it was replaced by something better and more true to form, that really made the series that much more impactful.  Now watching the new dub with my memories intact honestly almost makes it feel like the series grew up with me and matured just as I did over all these years.

That sounds seriously whistful and dreamy, I know, and maybe that fits the show.  But honestly it's how it is.

Of special note, I'm impressed with the voice cast brought on to the series.  Many of these voice actors I recognize from other shows and they were a welcome edition to this show, each lending just as much emotion to their characters as was needed.  The only voice that felt a little off to me was Johnny Yong Bosch as Artemis, but only because his voice is so recognizable to me.  After a couple episodes it blended in with the others and his performance lacked nothing, so it really didn't ruin the experience at all, just gave me a little pause.

I think what I love the most is the fact that after surviving with the DiC translation and reading about what I missed on the internet, I now have a chance to experience the series as a whole, without the edits and the cuts I was 'raised' on.  Zoisite has been returned to his correct gender, and the relationship between him and Kunzite (not Malachite) remained intact.  The relationship between Usagi and Rei felt more genuine rather then just annoying bickering.  And Minako was allowed to show her maturity with the restored Sailor V episodes that delved into her past - you really felt the weight of the fact that she'd been doing this for so much longer then the others.  Finally Luna's voice was returned to its youthful tone, rather then the older Angela Lansbury style - which showed that she's not really an all knowing teacher - instead she's learning just like the others about their past and struggling to fight this horrendous force that's been reawakened.  There's plenty of other things that were added back into the new dub, but those were the important ones that stood out to me and rounded out the whole experience.

I look forward to seeing the rest of the series released in the same manner and I look forward to revisiting some of my favorite characters and episodes.  It's weird, because in an age where everything is being rebooted and reskinned for the next generation, this new dub stands out as a faithful rerelease of the series I grew up with and loved so much.  If revivals like this keep happening, I'll happily be on board.

Watched on: 


Any cosplay?

Yep!  Just in time for this year of conventions, I've fixed up my partner's Neo Queen Serenity dress and she also has a Sailor Moon dress made from a wallscroll.  I would like to make a Queen Beryl cosplay for myself, I just haven't gotten the time yet.

Sailor Moon wallscroll dress (modeled by Brichibi Cosplays)

Neo Queen Serenity, based on the fanart below by AsieyBarbie (modeled by Brichibi Cosplays)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Where To Find Us In March 2016 - WI, MI, UT

Convention season is a go, and this month we have a gauntlet of conventions to get through: three in a row!

First up, this weekend, we have Anime Milwaukee in Milwaukee Wisconsin!  We'll have a table in Artist Alley and some new dresses to show off.  Plus!!  You'll be able to preorder the sequel to Seeking the Storyteller for the first time: Beneath the Chapter!  Check out the map below for where you can find us. 


Next up, we have Shuto Con in Lansing Michigan from March 18th to 20th.  We won't have a table in Artist Alley, but we will be running some panels and wandering the convention.  


Finally, we have Salt Lake City Comicon from March 24th through 26th.  We're guests!  Come stop by our table in the Dealer's room and attend our panels!  We'll also have our normal crafts and costumes and the ability for you to preorder Beneath the Chapter as well. 
And check it out, they gave us banners!


Can't make it to any of these events?  That's ok, we have plenty of other cons coming up.  Plus, you can always order our stuff through our etsy or just say hi to us on this blog or our facebook pages!

See you there!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Yes I Made that Dress: Regina from Once Upon a Time

Yes I Made that Dress time!  Today we have the Regina jacket I just finished from Once Upon A Time as a commission.  As usual this blog is to provide some insight for what it took to make the costume/commission and how it came out.  Any and all questions are welcome and feel free to comment if you want me to go into further detail about something either now or in the future!

Some History:

Once Upon a Time could be called the mother of all crossover Disney fanfictions.  Love it or hate it, you do have to give the show credit for how creatively it's been taken the well known Disney characters and incorporating them into the same universe and our world and retelling their stories for a new audience.

Regina is the Evil Queen from Snow White and now, in the town of Storybrooke, she is the major and waffles between her good and evil side.  Back when I watched the show Regina had the most fabulous wardrobe and I even considered cosplaying a couple of her outfits.  For this commission in particular, here's the jacket that was chosen. 

Making the Jacket:

Luckily, with the popularity of cosplay going around, finding a pattern for the jacket wasn't that hard at all.  I ended up choosing McCalls M6818 as my base with minor changes to make it fit what I wanted.  The pieces were easy to follow and created the billowing affect at the back of the jacket that I wanted to duplicate.  I also ironed out with the lovely lady who commissioned it exactly what she wanted and we settled on a single jacket matching the picture with feathers attached on the back and she'd be gathering the rest of the pieces on her own (mostly because corsets and pants are not something I tend to offer commission wise.)

Also I found this amazing houndstooth fabric that worked perfectly!

Making the jacket completely to the pattern, here's how it came out.  It came out about right, but as you can see from the pictures above, the front is all wrong for the specific jacket, so now it was time to do some pinning and editing.  Also, the collar that we wanted didn't really exist in the pattern, so I had to make my own.  Using a piece of orange scrap fabric, I created the extra piece I needed while it was on the dress form.  

Also, put an extra thick layer of interfacing in the collar so that it could stand up like this if needed and retained it's shape for future wear.


And we have the finished jacket- almost!  Now, time to put in all my pins for where the feathers will go and so I know how many pieces to create. 

The little feathers were created with thread, individual feathers and a feather boa.  I dissected it with scissors as needed and hand sewed each feather onto the back to create the desired effect.  I also threw in a few extra with the order, just in case there's wear and tear in the future. (The most fun was letting the cats play with the scraps, lol!)  Why a feather boa?  It meant that several of the feathers were already attached and it actually cut my work in half so I didn't need to sew together little bundles of feathers - I only needed to add the red ones.

Finished Product

And finally the jacket and is finished and mailed out!  Awesome part?  Immortal Spark Cosplay informed me that she has a forest behind her house she was already planning to take pictures in.  The below images are shared with her permission and are some of the test shots for how the jacket would look with the pieces she'd already assembled.  Please take the time to check out her page as well!

An AWESOME evil queen is born!!
Check out Immortal Spark's Cosplay page!!

If you'd like to commission me for a dress or have any questions on how I make these pieces, please send me an email or message me through my etsy store