Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Countdown Begins

No, not the Final countdown, but the one to the launch of (drum roll)...Joel Suzuki, Volume Four: Fable of the Fatewave!
That's right, folks, the long-awaited Volume Four is on its way. So to celebrate, we here at the Brian Tashima Blog will be posting one Joel-related video for your viewing pleasure each week leading up to the release.

This week, it's Part 1 of The Insider's Scoop, a series of short (around three minutes, the length of a typical pop song) documentary-style films directed by the talented and brilliant Imani Chapin. In this particular installment, I give you some background information about the origin of - and inspiration behind - the Joel Suzuki series. Enjoy!
Oh, and in case you're new around here, you can catch up with the Joel Suzuki series by visiting Joel's website and/or by picking up Volumes One through Three at the links below:

Joel Suzuki, Volume One: Secret of the Songshell
Joel Suzuki, Volume Two: Mystery of the Moonfire
Joel Suzuki, Volume Three: Legend of the Loudstone

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Anime Roundup: Death & Demons Edition

Hello, and welcome to the third installment of Anime Roundup! Last time, I said "let's see if I can wait another ten weeks before writing the next installment," and, well, here we are, exactly ten weeks later. Trust me, though, it was hard to resist - I've caught the anime bug big-time, and it took a fair amount of willpower not to just start babbling about this stuff right away.
During those ten weeks, I've been binging a bunch of shows like nobody's business. One thing I've noticed is that a lot of them tend to deal with the themes of death and demons. What's up with that, anime writers? Like, for instance, the word "shinigami" - "death god" - has shown up in three series that I've watched so far (Death Note, Bleach, Soul Eater), and devils and/or demons have played a major role in three others (Devilman Crybaby, The Devil is a Part-Timer, Blue Exorcist). The neat thing, though, is that in all of those cases the shinigami or devil tends to be the good guy, or at least on the side of the protagonist/main character (sort of, anyway, in Ryuk's case). I think that's pretty cool, and it makes for an interesting premise. Maybe that's why the writers do it. Okay, I just answered my own question. (Editor's Note: guess what, Brian, there are waaay more shows with similar themes that you haven't watched yet)

Anyway, let's get to it. As you know if you've read the previous posts, these are not reviews, they're just my own personal thoughts and opinions about these various shows. And just because a particular show didn't catch fire for me doesn't mean that it's bad, or that you won't love it. Art is subjective, and we all like different things. That's why art is so awesome!

Category S: Loved Them So Much That Once I Got Going I Couldn't Stop

This is one of the aforementioned shows that features a shinigami, or, in this case, lots of shinigami. Some are good guys, some are bad guys, some are bad guys who become good guys. And wow, do I love this show. Now I see why it's considered one of the big names of modern anime. I zoomed through the first three seasons on Netflix before it ran out. I understand that the other 13(!) seasons are available on Hulu, so I might have to sign up for YET ANOTHER streaming service. Argh! Oh, also, I thought the live-action version was solid, and the fact that Hitohira No Hanabira by Stereopony was one of the show's many theme songs simply puts it over the top for me. Bohahaha!

The Devil Is a Part-Timer!
This show was so much fun. Just the premise alone - that the Devil has to get a job slinging burgers at "MgRonald," and he ends up enjoys it - makes me smile. To say any more would be getting into spoiler territory, so I'll just end with this: the season was way too short (only 13 episodes). Are we ever getting a second one??

Perfect Blue
Not a series, but a movie. And a classic. Pure psychological horror. Kind of hard to track down (and I was only able to find it with English dubs, not subtitles, which - mild spoiler - ruins what I think is supposed to be a really creepy moment) but totally worth it.

Previous category S shows: Death Note, Aggretsuko (Season 2 coming in 2019, woo!), Sword Art Online, Soul Eater, One Punch Man

Category A: Didn't Love-Love Them, But Liked Them Well Enough

Blue Exorcist
It took a little while for me to warm up to this one, but once I did, I enjoyed it. The protagonist is a devil - the son of Satan, specifically - but he's totally a good guy (he actually goes to a school to learn how to become a demon-fighting exorcist), which was cool. I've heard there's a second season, so I'll have to track that down somehow.

Your lie in April
I started watching this one mainly because of a screenplay I was writing that involves, among other things, two of my main characters watching various anime shows. This show is name-checked in the script for plot-related reasons, so I figured "well, I guess I'd better watch it so I know what my characters are doing." And guess what, it was good! It's a cute, kid-friendly drama-comedy with heart, music, and kind of a, well...I won't say it, because spoilers. Watch it yourself and find out what I'm talking about!

Flavors of Youth
Another stand-alone movie. Netflix kept relentlessly pushing this one at me so I finally gave in and watched it. And hey, it was cool, so thanks, Netflix. It's very quiet and low-key compared to most other anime I've seen, which was a nice change of pace.

Previous category A shows: Devilman Crybaby, Ouran High School Host Club

Category B: Tried To Get Into Them But Just Couldn't For Some Reason; Might Try Again Someday

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
This one was fun and quirky (each episode consists of five "mini-episodes") and I think I would've kept going with it, but then other stuff just sort of overwhelmed it. Yes, I'm looking at you, Bleach.

Children of the Whales
I watched the first few episodes and couldn't figure out why it was rated TV-MA. I believe I stopped right before I was about to find out.

Seven Deadly Sins
Another one that Netflix was pushing at me relentlessly. I gave it a shot.

Previous category B shows: Fullmetal Alchemist, Kill La Kill, Violet Evergarden, Gurren Lagann, Attack on Titan

Yeah, so obviously, I've been busy! Join us again in ten weeks or so (but keep reading the other posts in the meantime - or don't, whatever) when I will talk about another heavyweight title that rhymes with "Ga-ru-to."

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Words And Pictures Festival

Hey-o! If you're in the beautiful Vancouver/Portland area (or happen to have access to some form of inter-dimensional transportation device), please consider checking out the annual Words and Pictures Festival at Cascade Park Community Library this Saturday, October 13th.
It runs from 11am through 3pm, and I will be there along with a whole host of other cool authors, so there's sure to be something for everyone. The always-amazing Barnes & Noble-Vancouver, WA will be handling book sales, and a portion of all proceeds go to the library (not to mention the usual Joel Suzuki donations to Autism Empowerment on top of that) so anything you buy will be doing all sorts of awesome.


Thursday, October 4, 2018


I have a very special announcement to make - today, October 4, 2018, brings us the official public unveiling of the Second Player Shared Universe (SPSU).
What is the SPSU, you ask? Well, similar to other shared universes like the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), DC Extended Universe (DCEU), and so on, the SPSU is the connecting hub and overarching umbrella for a number of related franchises that are all loosely centered around my band, Second Player Score.

The concept of the SPSU began to take shape once I started working on the screenplay adaptation of Nobody's Hero this past summer. As I wrote it, I began to realize that all the different projects I had going on at the time had at least one element in common: the band. Yes, Second Player Score even shows up in Joel Suzuki (Volumes Two and the upcoming Four).

The various projects also reference each other; Glorified (the upcoming third SPS album as well as the title of the accompanying manga) makes an appearance in the first Nobody's Hero script, and there are some well-hidden Joel Suzuki Easter Eggs in another screenplay that I wrote and mentioned in this post.

But really, it all comes back down to the band. We make cameo appearances in just about everything I'm working on, kind of like Stan Lee. We even have our own series of short film scripts, the first of which is hopefully going into production soon, and our own line of beer (not publicly available yet, but we hope to remedy that someday).

Anyway, you'll be hearing more about the SPSU in the weeks and months to come, as we have some pretty big plans in store as well as some other projects that are still being kept under wraps for now. So stay tuned!