Thursday, April 15, 2021

Anime Roundup

Here we are with another edition of Anime Roundup! No unifying theme this time, just an assorted grab bag of fun and awesomeness. Hajimemashou!

Code Geass
There's really no simple way to describe this one. It takes multiple genres and tropes (rebellion, mecha, magic, high school), mashes them together, and then weaves the resulting mixture into a complex, morality-questioning, socio-political narrative in such a way that totally shouldn't work...and yet it does. There's one line spoken by the main character in one episode that I think might sum it up best: "I'm trying to run a school festival and a coup d'etat at the same time!" Or I don't know, maybe not. You really have to watch it to understand the full scope, but I'll try again: in an alternate timeline where the Holy Britannian Empire has conquered Japan, an exiled Britannian prince acquires a power called "Geass" (which manifests in him as a sort of Jedi mind trick ability) and then uses it to try to overthrow Britannia as revenge against his Emperor father for letting his mother be killed *deep breath*. By the way, the prince's over-the-top mannerisms reminded me so much of Yuta/Dark Flame Master from Love, Chunibyo, and other Delusions (covered in this Anime Roundup post) that I had to go and rewatch that show. If you've seen both, you know what I'm talking about.

Kuroko's Basketball
A sports drama-comedy that reminded me a little of Haikyuu!! (also covered in this Anime Roundup post), this one is kind of about a high school basketball player (the titular Kuroko) whose only strength is the fact that he's very easy to overlook and so he can pull off these amazing touch passes; otherwise, he can't shoot, dribble, or basically do anything else effectively. However, when paired with a stronger player, this particular skill makes him really valuable. And so, he teams up with one such player and their school goes on to challenge other schools that each contain a former member of Kuroko's middle school team that was nicknamed the "Generation of Miracles" and won three straight championships. I liked how each member of that so-called "Generation" had a certain hair color, a name that matched said color, and an individual strength of cartoonish proportions - they were kind of like "monsters of the week." As with Haikyuu!!, it didn't - spoiler alert - culminate in any kind of typical final championship game, but that's because Netflix only has the first season.

Love and Lies
A rom-com-dram about a love triangle with a twist: in an alternate reality where the government forces teens and young adults into arranged marriages in order to increase the birth rate, one sixteen-year-old boy confesses his love to his childhood crush and finds out that his feelings are reciprocated, but then he receives a notice that he's been assigned a future wife - who, of course, is someone else. As you might expect, this leads to all kinds of complications. I enjoyed this one (especially with its catchy theme song), even though I felt that it - spoiler alert- didn't take full advantage of its premise and left me with some unanswered questions, like: why in the world would these girls fall in love with such a boring dude? Anyway...

The Way of the Househusband
A vignette comedy about an ex-yakuza boss who retires from crime to become a househusband, this one is so laugh-out-loud hilarious I watched all five episodes on Netflix in one sitting and I want them to keep making more and more of them as quickly as they possibly can.

Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan
This is a spin-off of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (covered in this Anime Roundup post) that features one of the characters from that manga/anime, the titual Kishibe Rohan, a manga artist with the ability to read and write people like a book (literally). The manga was adapted into four OVA (original video animation - in anime parlance, a direct-to-home-video film or series) episodes, of which Netflix has all four (yay). The simplest way I can describe this show is that it's a horror anthology, which is kind of a unique subgenre for anime but not all that surprising considering its source material. Also, I am very jealous of Rohan's ability.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Volume Six Status Update: Moving Right Along

I'm not sure, but it feels like that with this book, more so than on any of the others (except perhaps Volume One), I've really been sticking to the whole "just write whatever and fix it later" rule. Why do I say that? Because now that I'm coming up for air to assess where I'm at, I've discovered that I've made some pretty good progress, thank you very much.
As of the last status update in January, I was at 22,000 words, or about 88 pages. As of today, I've more than doubled that output, standing at 49,500 words, or about 198 pages. Of course, there's a 100% chance that large chunks of those words are piles of hot steaming garbage that will need to be immediately thrown out, but right now, I don't actually know, because I haven't stopped to re-read hardly any of it. My whole modus operandi has been "plow ahead, don't look back" for weeks now.

But it's all good, because that's how books get written! At least, that's how my books get written. And I think most writing advice will say the same thing: for your first draft, just get words down on the page, and worry about editing and revising and rewriting afterwards (believe me, there will be lots of that going on).

And while I don't know which parts will need the most help (I'm guessing mostly all of it except the first act, which is sort of solid?), I do know that I'll need to be doing a lot of filling in of the middle section, because at the previously-mentioned 49,500 words, I'm already well into the third act, which - according to my outline - wasn't supposed to start until about the 60,000-word mark or so. I sort of expected this to happen (something similar happened with Volume Three), because I've just been speeding along plot-wise, trying to move the story forward without stopping for things like description and exposition. It's like, so here's a new character from an alien planet and a different timeline, what does it look like? Who cares! We'll figure it out later.

Anyway, that's where things stand at the moment. According to my self-imposed schedule, Volume Six isn't due out until 2023, so I'm making good time...for now. As always, stay tuned for more updates!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Glorified - Great News!

This week, I have good news, even better news, and great news. Okay, first, the good news: Glorified the comic book is going to be adapted into an anime series!
Actually, it's not (yet). April fools! Wouldn't that be cool, though? Anyway, on to the REAL foolin'.

First of all, the Kickstarter campaign for Issue #4 of Glorified was a success!

Much mahalos to all the awesome backers who supported it. We look forward to producing the issue, which will contain the likenesses of the backers who chose the packages that gave them the opportunity to appear as characters. Right now, we're looking at a launch date of sometime in July, so stay tuned for that.

And now, the great news: we've made the decision to donate 50% of the profits from the sale of any issue of Glorified in any format to the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon. Since I was already donating $1 for every sale of a Joel Suzuki book to Autism Empowerment, we figured that it just made sense to do something similar with Glorified in order to help make a positive difference in the world. We hope you'll join us in supporting these great causes, either by purchasing copies of the comic book or by simply making direct donations to the organization. You can find the first three issues of Glorified for sale in either print or digital format at the links below (none of which are rick rolls, I promise):

Arigatou! Gracias! Thank you!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Adventuring For Autism Empowerment!

Exciting news! Tomorrow evening, starting at 5pm Pacific, Dan (bass player for Second Player Score) and I will be participating in a livestreamed Dungeons & Dragons campaign on the Punky's Mixtape show on Twitch. Best of all, one hundred percent of all donations, subs, bits, and cheers will be going to benefit Autism Empowerment!
It's been ages since I've played D&D, but I've armed myself with the 5th Edition manuals (borrowed from my daughter), multiple sets of polyhedral dice, and various how-to YouTube videos. My character is a 3rd level high elf bard named Nairb, and Dan's is a 3rd level half-orc bard named Leinad. We're two-thirds of a traveling minstrel act called "Staging Plate" (long story, inside joke), and have found ourselves in a bind after our third member ("Elyk") challenged and defeated a powerful wizard in a drinking contest only to have said sore-loser-wizard polymorph him into a small animal of a yet-to-be-determined species. Now, we're following the trail of the wizard to a distant continent and having random adventures on the road while learning more about our adversary and trying to grow stronger in preparation for eventually facing them again. How will we fare? How long do we have to turn Elyk back? What kinds of allies and enemies will we make along the way? Tune in here to find out!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Interview With DJ Dex

Hey there! Just an announcement that tomorrow, Friday, March 19, from 3-6pm Pacific Time, I will be a special guest on 99WNRR radio with the illustrious DJ Dex as part of their 8th Annual Radiothon benefitting FACES4AUTISM Family Support Group, The Children's Air Ambulance, and David's Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation.
I'll be talking about the Joel Suzuki series and other stuff in between DJ Dex playing requests and taking donations to support the aforementioned organizations. $5 gets you one song, $10 gets you three songs, $25-50 gets you a special commemorative shirt and 5 songs, and $100 gets you two shirts, 10 songs, and the chance to be a guest DJ and announce your requested songs on the air! More details are at this link.

Hope you can check it out!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

April and Lydia Predict The 2021 MLB Season

In what is now becoming an annual (or biannual, in last year's case) tradition, we welcome some very special guests to the blog: our in-house baseball experts/die-hard Seattle Mariners fans April Hayashi and Lydia Sanchez! They'll be giving their thoughts on their predictions from last year, what they expect from the M's and baseball in general during the upcoming season, and more.
Brian: Hello, ladies.
April: Hello.
Lydia: 'Sup.
Brian: So - 
Lydia: I know what you're going to ask.
Brian: You do?
Lydia: Yeah. Something about Mather-gate.
Brian: Well, I was planning to bring that up at some point, yeah.
Lydia: Just more evidence that there's still a curse on the Mariners.
April: Well, now that he's gone -
Lydia: Thank goodness.
April: - maybe things will start to turn around.
Lydia: Let's hope so.
Brian: And that brings me, sort of, to what I was going to start off with - the M's record from last year's pandemic-shortened season. Let's see... (checks notes) April, you predicted that they would finish at 23-37, in last place. They actually ended up in -
Lydia: Third place, at 27-33. Ahead of the Angels and Rangers.
April: You really should let him finish his sentences.
Lydia: Oh, you're so polite.
Brian: No problem. But yeah, they seemed to have exceeded expectations.
April: And almost made the playoffs!
Lydia: Too bad the Astros didn't finish at 8-52, like I wanted.
April: Well, they did have a losing record. And the A's won the division.
Lydia: True.
Brian: All right, moving on - you folks thought, both in March and in July, that the Dodgers would win the World Series.
Lydia: And they did! We're psychic.
April: Well, I mean, with a roster that stacked, it was an obvious prediction.
Lydia: I still say we're psychic.
April: Okay.
Brian: What are your psychic predictions for this year? Let's start with the Mariners' record.
April: I'll go out on a limb and say 83-79, third place.
Brian: So, still no playoffs?
April: Yeah. Unfortunately.
Lydia: I'll see your limb and raise you: 92-70, AL West Champions. Shock the world, baby!
Brian/April: Seriously?
Lydia: Sure, why not? I mean, the bullpen looks better, the Big Maple is back, and we have the reigning Rookie of the Year. 
April: But -
Lydia: I know what all the projections say, and I don't care. Besides, aren't you the one always saying that we need to have hope?
April: Yeah, I guess.
Lydia: Also, I'm gonna say that Marco Gonzales, Kyle Lewis, and J.P. Crawford will be All-Stars. And Jarred Kelenic will be Rookie of the Year.
Brian: Wow.
April: This is certainly a big change from last July when you didn't want to predict anything.
Lydia: Well, I thought about what you just said about things starting to turn around, and I figured maybe you're right. Heck, maybe Mather was the curse!
Brian: I guess we shall see. So, what about the World Series Champs?
April/Lydia: Dodgers.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Haiku Hour

Yes, it's time for another Haiku Hour! To recap, a haiku is a Japanese poem that consists of seventeen syllables divided into three lines of five, seven, and five syllables. Traditionally, they include references to seasons and/or have nature as a topic, but, well, whatever. Hajimemashou!
What the heck is this?
Snowstorm in February
Can't drive anywhere

(bonus points for the seasonal/nature reference)

Neko nihiki
Means "two cats" in Japanese
Warm lap on Sunday
Look, homemade hot sauce!
Red is hot, green not as hot
Thanks to Punky B.
Awesome custom lamp
Joel and SPS logos
Thanks to Daniel D.
Even more hot sauce
Carolina Reaper, yikes!
Thanks to DJ Dex

If you enjoyed that and you missed my previous two Haiku Hour posts, you can check those out here and here. Or not.