Right off the bat: this show surprised me, as it did many other people as well. I figured it would just be another show I’d watch on the side, nothing I really cared too much about. But I found myself anticipating the next episode every week. The music is great, the art is beautiful, the characters are lovable. Not much to dislike here. Oh, and it’s set in a kingdom, with princes as some of the main characters, which is my one weakness.
I’ll say I was a bit disappointed with this show. I heard about it two years ago from a friend but never made any attempt to watch it. Then a few things happened that made me give in. 1) I recognized a few English voice actors 2) I became a bit obsessed with listening to the English cover of the opening by Amalee 3) I looked at how nice the art was. So here we are.
I’m sure if you’ve been reading my posts for a while you’ve noticed that I’m pretty lenient when it comes to anime. I can count pretty easily the number I’ve dropped. While I wouldn’t say this show was awful by any means, it’s just lacking in some important areas. Continue reading
This past weekend I went to Glass City Con in Toledo, Ohio. But before I went, I had to finish my Princess Mononoke cosplay that I made for Motor City Con, which was in May. I had everything completed beside the mask, which is the most iconic part of the costume. Of course, I didn’t begin making it until less than a week before the convention, a bad move on my part. But anyway, I’ll explain a bit of my process in making the mask. There’s work to be done to it since it fell apart a lot, but I think I know what I did wrong.
If you want to see how I made the rest of the costume you can read it here.
- Styrofoam mannequin head
- Plastic wrap
- Flour & Water (Papier Mache glue)
- Mod Podge
- Red acrylic paint
- White acrylic paint
- Yellow acrylic paint
- Black acrylic paint
- Air dry clay
- Hot glue
- Felt (optional)
- White faux fur (less than a yard is needed)
Yes, it seems like a lot of materials, but it’s really not all that much. Most of these things I had already or will likely use in later projects.
I began with taking the styrofoam head and wrapping it in the plastic wrap, taping the edges to the head. Then I set the cardboard on the table and made little walls to keep the head
from rolling to either side. This was a bit annoying to set up, but in the end it worked out.Then, to make the paper mache glue, I put a cup of water and two tablespoons of flour in a small saucepan. I put it on the stove on medium heat, continuously stirred until it began bubbling, then removed the heat. As it cooled, I took newspaper and cut it into strips that would then be dipped in the glue and placed on the head.
So, the way I did this was dipping the paper in, wiping off majority of the glue with my fingers, then laid the strip down. After a layer was down, I took a paintbrush and brushed even more glue off, so it would dry more quickly.
Unfortunately for me, it’s extremely humid during this time of the year in Michigan, so I ended up having to put the head and wet mask in a room with a dehumidifier until it dried. This sped up the drying process by a lot and dried in only a few hours.
After it fully dried, I trimmed the sides so it was more of a mask shape, using the back of my mannequin head as reference still. Once this was done, I painted the top with white paint first, then once that dried, applied the red paint. Since I wasn’t painting on an already white surface, it was necessary I painted it white first, much like you would do to a wall that has been painted previously. Once the red paint dried, though, there were still spots that were not as dark, so another layer was applied.
After this, I added a layer of Mod Podge. This prevents the paint from chipping and somewhat waterproofs it, though I wouldn’t test it out.
With the Mod Podge drying, I shaped my clay into three circles, two wolf ears, and the white designs on the mask. I placed these pieces on the mask to tell where to put the black background on the eyes and mouth. I painted this with the black paint, and then let the the clay sit overnight.
Again, this was not drying quickly due to humidity, so the next day I put the clay in the same dehumidifier room. After a few hours, it was nearly dry. If it was not the day before the con, I would have let them sit much longer, but I was on a bit of a time restraint. And I would regret my procrastination while at the convention.
I painted the circles yellow, the designs white, and the wolf ears red. Though the backs of the ears needed to be darker, so I mixed red paint with a bit of black to get a bit of a burgundy color.
I glued the eyes and mouth on with my favorite craft glue, and the designs on with hot glue. Once all of this was dry enough, I moved on to the fur. And a tip for all of you wanting to try using faux fur: don’t ever ever wear black pants while working with white fur. This stuff sheds like crazy, and pretty much looks like a cat exploded on the
floor when you are done using it. But, it was necessary for the costume.
I put the mask up to the back of the fur and drew a half circle then cut enough fur that it would go down most of my back. The bottom comes to a point, like a wolf tail, so when cutting I gradually moved to the middle with my scissors. I really didn’t measure for this at all, but in the end it turned out fine.
I attached the half circle top to the forehead of the mask, using hot glue. And then I realized, I forgot to add the ears. So, I cut a slit where the edge of the forehead of the mask was, stuck the ears through and glued them to the underside of the mask. Here’s where the real problem arises. When I glued these on, the base of the ears was not enough to support the rest of the ear’s weight. So they began to rip. So I reinforced
with more glue, attaching them the best I could to the mask.
Then came how I would be keeping the mask on my head. I decided to just wear it like a hat, so I glued a headband to the underside and stuck that on my head. This is where the felt comes in, I wrapped white felt around the headband so it would match the fur a bit better. I put the headband on, and realized the mask was a bit heavy. So, I had to position the front to be a bit on my forehead to keep it in place as I walked. Not a big deal.
So, everything seemed okay, until the day of the convention. We were leaving, and I realized both the ears had practically ripped themselves off the mask. So my mom bought me some small craft sticks and I glued them to the ears to try holding
them up. Seemed like a smart fix, until they fell off three times during the day. I ended up holding the mask and throwing one of the ears in my bag since it had completely snapped off.
This whole ear situation wouldn’t have happened if I let them dry completely. They were still floppy when I glued them on, so I had a feeling they wouldn’t work.
Glass City Con Experiences
This was a small convention, much smaller than the one I’m used to: Youmacon. But it was really fun, with some surprisingly awesome cosplays. There was a giant room with arcade machines, desktops, consoles hooked up to projectors playing Smash Bros and Mario Kart. The arcade machines are what I played mostly. They were majorly rhythm games, which were pretty fun. All in Japanese, though which was a bit annoying since I don’t know a bit of it. But I got to play DDR to the Soul Eater opening and play a rhythm game with the Free! ending and the Death Parade opening, which was something I never expected to do.
I didn’t go to see the voice actors, since both voice actors were people I knew but wasn’t really all that familiar with. Leah Clark and Jad Saxton were the ones there, and I did get to walk by while Jad was doing signings, which was cool enough.
There were tons of cool cosplays as well, much more than I expected of a con that had less than 2,000 attendees. I only have a few pictures, though, since my friend was the one taking pictures and she only came on day two.
Here are my pictures
It’s a bit strange seeing San and Maka with blue/green hair, but I just hate wigs, so I went without. And a wig for my San cosplay would be a nightmare, since my mask already gave me problems. And my Maka cosplay was just reused from last year, since I didn’t feel like messing with my mask when I came home at 9 pm on day one.
So this was a bit of a lengthy post. Sorry for boring you. I hope you enjoyed my little tutorial anyway.
I will be on vacation from the 21st to 27th, so if I do not respond to your comments don’t think I’m ignoring you. I have another post planned to go up on the 28th, and this one is clearly on the 21st. I won’t have hardly any access to internet while I’m gone, but I’ll try to check on things from time to time. Thank you!
Follow me on Twitter! @letstalkanime1
I did a top 10 of female characters a while back with the full intention of doing this post immediately after, but I guess I forgot about it. Well, here it is now. I’ll have to say this list was much easier to compile than Top 10 Female Anime Characters, for reasons I’m somewhat ashamed of. I’ve realized that when I become attached to a male character, they tend to have one or more of the following traits: short stature, short temper, and blond hair. Which almost every character on this list falls into.
As with many of these lists, this is not in any specific order. I just can’t bring myself to rate these guys at all. I love them all, okay?
I’m gonna try to keep my fangirling to a minimum since all of these characters are ones I love for so many reasons, and one tends to be their, ah, character design.
There are many lovable characters in Noragami, but Yukine was the one that I grew fond of. His past is a mystery to everyone, because as a regalia, his memory from his previous life had been wiped. But it’s clear he had a rough past, and since he’s only fourteen, the way he handles things is a bit rash. He tends to go through rebellious phases, which hurt Yato severely, so they have to work together to get Yukine through whatever it is that’s bothering him. He’s far from a perfect character, he has a ton of emotional problems, but isn’t that what makes an interesting character?
Kyo Sohma (Fruits Basket)
Kyo is another emotionally unstable one, though he tends to be more consistent with how he feels. I talked a lot about Kyo in my recent OWLS post, which you can read here. But, I probably should explain why I like him so much anyway. He has pretty bad anger issues, due to his zodiac animal. Being the cat means he’s left out of things. He’s ignored, called nasty names, and generally is treated less than human. Really, I feel bad for him. But in the manga, he learns that there are still people who can accept him for who he is, and he should ignore those who don’t. He’s a character who grew in both the anime and manga, and because of that, I love him a lot.
Yuri Plisetsky (Yuri!!! On Ice)
Oh boy, I’m gonna have a hard time staying calm for this one. I’m still so absorbed in this show and it’s been like six months now. But, anyway, of the three main characters, I became the most attached to Yurio. Not because I relate to him, really, but more just he kinda impresses me. His skill is insane for his age, and his determination is so intense, it’s hard to not admire. I’m only two years older than him and I feel I’ve done nothing with my time when watching what he can do. I shouldn’t be comparing myself to an anime character, I know that. He’s just so impressive.
Tamaki Suoh (Ouran High School Host Club)
And now this idiot. Gosh, I became obsessed with this show three years ago and I still bring myself back to this character. He seems like just a pretty face on the surface, but his heart is so kind. He’s so open to everybody, it doesn’t matter who you are. He flirted with Haruhi, whom he thought was a guy for one thing, and knew was poor. But he still felt he was obligated to make her happy in any way he could. He was open to learning about the way people like Haruhi lived, which is not something most rich people do. Tamaki honestly is someone who people should strive to be like: open-minded and accepting of all people.
Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Ah yes, another angry short blond. Well, more of the original angry short blond but anyway. I know you’ve all probably seen a million things about Ed considering how popular this show is and how long it’s been around, but again, I just kind of attached myself to him. I even have a hoodie that looks like his coat. I don’t think I need to go into detail about him here.
Izuku Midoriya (My Hero Academia)
And the cute little hero that has stolen all of our hearts. This show shocked me so much, since it looked like a lame shonen, but in reality is such a beautiful story about believing in yourself. Izuku is honestly so determined and open-minded that he can set his mind to something and never lose sight of it. When the kids bullied him for not having powers, he showed them that even people without powers can be heroes too. He’s such an inspirational character, showing that even people who do not fit into the norm can do amazing, honorable things. We all could learn a thing or two from him.
Shoya Ishida (A Silent Voice)
Now, I didn’t really think about adding him initially, but I’ve been rereading the manga so I can watch the movie and compare. And I realized how amazing Shoya is. Yes, he was a terrible bully and did some awful things, but he has learned from those mistakes. Every time someone brings it up again, he regrets it all over again. He’s the definition of a troubled character. He was close to giving up everything, but continued on and began fixing all of the wrongs he did. It’s a common saying that either “people change” or “people never change.” This manga/movie show both, and Shoya proves that when you are conscious of your problems, you really can change.
Soul Evans (Soul Eater)
This seems like an obvious choice, considering my clear love of Soul Eater. Now, at first I wasn’t sure if I should put Soul or Death the Kid on here, but it seems like Soul tends to not get enough love. So, here’s Soul. I never realized how great of a character he was until I began making my Maka cosplay last year and was watching the show to get references. Soul is the greatest partner Maka could ever ask for. He is so willing to take the punches she would be taking if he weren’t there to protect her. Though she never seems grateful for the protection he provides, he knows that it’s what he should do, so he does it without question. He looks out for her, as any good friend and partner should.
Nagisa Shiota (Assassination Classroom)
Were you expecting Karma? I know he’s the fan favorite, and don’t get me wrong I love him too, but Nagisa beats him by a little bit. Kinda because of the whole thing where I like short characters. But there’s more than just physical appearance, I’m not that shallow. I’ve noticed many people think Nagisa is a flat, boring character, which I can see, and you’re entitled to think whatever you want. But really, I think he learned a lot by the end of the show. He began having no self-confidence whatsoever, being stuck in the class of delinquents and slackers. But by learning his abilities with the help of Koro-sensei, he finally sees his potential. A bit of a spoiler, but it’s not all that big, he ends up pursuing a teaching career. Nobody with a lack of self-confidence would be able to do this. He knows his skills enough to improve on them until he can teach others. Kind of ranted about this one, but as someone who wants to teach as well, this character hits a bit close to home.
Ken Kaneki (Tokyo Ghoul)
I’ve never actually watched this anime, but I’m on the eighth manga, and I don’t know if I’m just not far enough yet, but I prefer Kaneki with his black hair. Is this just me? I had to search “Kaneki black hair” to get this picture because there was only the white hair. Okay, enough about that. I really can’t say a ton about him, considering I’m on roughly episode two of season two. I’ve got a bit to go, so I’m unsure of everything that happens. But I just, accidentally, grew attached to him. Which I kind of wish I hadn’t because geez, my feelings were hurt reading the manga. He’s so sweet, why would you hurt him? And he’s adorable too.
I hope you all enjoyed this list, it was fun to put together. I feel I went a bit more in depth in this one than in my female character one, and I’m not sure why. I expected to talk a lot about how cute all of these guys are, which is true, but I delved a bit deeper.
I love doing these character posts, and I can promise more in the future.
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This is my second post with the lovely group, OWLS, and I hope everyone enjoys this as much as they did my last one. If you missed that post, you can view it here.
When given the topic of Mirrors, or self-image, my mind went to a couple of animes. Most were more mainstream and seemed obvious choices, so I thought a bit deeper and reminded myself of the fantastic show, Fruits Basket. Being one of the very first animes I ever watched, before I even had any interest in the anime world, I felt I had to bring it up again. When most people think of nostalgic animes, they think Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, or Naruto. Well, I never grew up watching anime. My friend introduced me to Ouran High School Host Club, Fruits Basket, and Sword Art Online far before I thought I would become a member of the fanbase.
I didn’t think of this show entirely based on its age, though. Being 16 years old now, nearly as old as myself, I’m surprised by the relevancy it still holds. There are two specific episodes I thought of when the topic of self-image was brought up. Episode 5, titled “A Rice Ball in a Fruits Basket” and episode 7, titled “A Plum on the Back.”
If you haven’t watched this show before, this post will spoil certain episodes, so I suggest you watch it first. But, if you don’t care, at least read my review on this show so you have some background, since I won’t be explaining the basic premise at all.
This episode focuses mainly on how Tohru views the way she fits in different groups of people, and really reflects on how she sees herself. She has gone through many things in her life, but manages to stay positive about everything that happens. This doesn’t mean that she always in confident in her actions and her image to others and herself.
There are many points in this episode that people make negative comments toward Tohru about her living with three men. She tries to not let the insults get to her, but these people make nasty assumptions about her intentions. But, rather than defending herself and explaining why she is staying with them, she remains silent. This is a huge part of her character that is reflected in this episode. In general, Tohru is a selfless, caring person, but doesn’t think much about her own wellbeing.
So, in this episode, Tohru is called by her grandfather because his house’s renovations are complete and she can move back in with him. She tells him that she’s happy to move back and be with her family, but before leaving, she has some second thoughts. She has enjoyed living with the Sohmas, despite how strange they are, and though she loves her grandfather she is sad to leave her new “family.”
Before she leaves, there is a flashback scene where she remembers the game she played with some other kids when she was younger. This game was called “Fruits Basket.” Each child was given a name of a fruit, and when that fruit was called, they would join and
run with the others (I’m not sure what happens from there). Every kid was given their fruit, and Tohru was given not the name of a fruit, but a rice ball. Something that clearly does not fit in with the other fruits in the basket. She sat there, watching the other kids called by their fruit name, waiting for the rice ball to be called, but it never was.
She moves in with her grandfather no problem, but is immediately met with disgust and annoyance from her family. She is treated like an idiot, her belongings are treated like garbage, and she just generally is ignored. She realizes that she doesn’t feel comfortable with her own family. But, she doesn’t want to hurt her grandfather’s feelings, so she doesn’t say anything about wanting to leave. She lies, and says she is being treated kindly and that she loves living there. But really, she’s still a rice ball in that fruits basket.
It seems somewhat silly, but I love the symbolism it uses. Tohru sees herself as being a person who does not fit in with a lot of people. She lives with the Sohmas, and she feels out of place, since she is not related to them. When she moves to her grandfather’s, the other family members treat her like a foreigner.
She does end up going back to the Sohmas, and when she does, Kyo tells her that she needs to start telling people what she feels. She keeps it hidden, and becomes miserable because she doesn’t want to bother others. He tells her it’s okay to complain sometimes, and that it lets people know what she wants. They’ll never know if she never says anything.
I think this episode was a huge moment of development for her. She becomes much more open to the Sohmas and she is able to trust them much more. She views herself as fitting in with them now, instead of being the oddball of her own family. She found her own family in them.
This episode is probably one of my favorites. It introduces a nice form of symbolism as a plum on the back of the previously stated rice ball symbolism. Though, this episode does not focus on Tohru’s self-image, but Kyo’s and Yuki’s.
Something that is well-known throughout the show is Kyo and Yuki’s constant feud. This was started by their zodiac animals interacting in the past. All of the zodiac animals were invited to go to a banquet, except for the cat. He was invited by the rat, but was told the wrong date on purpose, so the cat would not be able to go to the banquet with the others. This cursed the cat of the Sohma curse to be even further cursed than the others. They were born to never fit in or be accepted by anyone. The rat is blessed to always be loved by many and to be naturally talented in many aspects.
Thus, they never get along. Though, in this episode it is revealed that both Kyo and Yuki envy the other for various reasons I will explain.
This episode focuses around the school festival, and Tohru, Kyo, and Yuki’s class decides to have a rice ball stand. Kyo and Tohru both add ideas, and Kyo’s is laughed at, but Tohru’s is praised and they end up using her idea in the end. This makes Kyo upset, since nobody even considered his idea once. He is constantly being ignored by his classmates and family members, and he feels this is all because of the curse his family is under.
When they return home, Tohru is working on preparing the riceballs for the festival, and Kyo decides to make one of his own. As she watches him, she realizes that he has a natural talent for forming the riceballs. She points it out, but he responds with “that’s not a real talent.” She assures him that it really is talent, and that not all people can do it so perfectly on the first try.
He insists that anything he does cannot be considered admirable or impressive, and that Yuki will always exceed him no matter what. He practices his martial arts skills constantly, but without training Yuki is still better than him. He feels incompetent in every way, and that there is no part of him that is admirable.
Tohru tells him that’s ridiculous. She explains that everyone has worth and admirable qualities, but they can’t always see it. She explains it as this: a person is compared to a rice ball. They see themselves as a plain ball of rice, but on the back of the riceball is a plum, a bit of flavor that others can see but they cannot. They are not so plain after all.
At first, Kyo doesn’t think that it’s true, but after thinking about it, he realizes that she may be right. Because there are things that Tohru does that she doesn’t see as admirable but Kyo does. This is a huge turning point for Kyo and how he views himself. He never knew that he could be someone admired or known for anything good. He knew himself as the cat, the outcast and monster of the zodiac. The one that nobody would ever accept because he was born to never belong. But hearing this from Tohru gave him hope and made him realize that maybe he can be something more than only the cat.
Later in the episode, they are at the festival, and the booth is doing well. Some third year girls talk to Yuki and give him a frilly dress as a present. He reluctantly accepts the gift, and must wear it for the remainder of the festival. He gains a lot of attention from girls mainly, and his picture is repeatedly taken. He is uncomfortable and annoyed with the attention. As being the “prince of the school” and having an entire fanclub dedicated to him, he expects these things. But he wishes this didn’t happen to him. He hates the way he looks, and the way girls attach themselves to him. He wants to be more average. He says he wishes he was more like Kyo, so he could be able to stay out of the spotlight. But he was born to be great in every way, so he just won’t be able to achieve that.
Both Yuki and Kyo have traits they view as negative, but the other views as positive. The plum on their back is the exact reason why they don’t like themselves.
I’ve always found this an interesting part of their relationship, since it seemed that they hated each other for no reason, but really they just envied what the other had.
Other people who struggle with self-image are Hatsuharu, Ritsu, and Hiro. Hatsuharu is viewed as being a delinquent, due to his two-toned hair and piercings, but really doesn’t want to hurt others. He really is a kind heart, but people won’t give him a chance to express that before making first judgments on him. Ritsu is often mistaken as a girl, due to the clothing he wears, but still identifies as male. He wears feminine clothing but doesn’t see himself being female. So, this is often a struggle with the way he views himself. Hiro cares deeply for his cousin, Kisa, but doesn’t want to seem weak for having feelings. As a young boy, he struggles between expressing himself and keeping his image.
This show has so many examples of the theme of self-image, it was hard to pick only a few. I have many more I wish I could talk about, but this post would be far longer than it already is.
I think this is how the show has held up after so many years, it has so many meaningful topics that are so very relevant today. I find myself being inspired and more open after watching this show, and I find so much joy in rewatching it. The show deserves so much more attention than it has.
Thank you for reading! I have been so excited to write this post and now it’s finally here!
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All photos with the Funimation logo in the corner were screenshots I took. I do pay for the services, I did not steal the photos. All others were found through Google Images. Just thought I’d clarify.