London Big Geek Meet + Mayamada Gamepad

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Saturday marked one of the biggest ‘geek’ meets I have had the pleasure of attending so far (with people arriving later, not everyone is even in this photo above) approximately 250 people turned up over the course of the meet. As it was not quite warm enough, but fortunately dry from the heavy downpour earlier that morning, the decision was made that instead of the usual cosplay picnics this meet would incorporate a heavy gaming theme. On attendee’s arrival, AnimeLeague presented each individual with a free conbadge, an A4 sheet with the plan for the day and a raffle ticket for the chance to win a free weekend ticket to London Anime Gaming Con.

Meeting outside Waterloo station, cosplayers and anime fans alike took a few photos in front of the London Eye, then travelled to Namco Funscape to play arcade games or just have a few pre-drinks in the bar playing some cards against humanity!

IMG_6295psNext stop was Shepherds Bush for Mayamada’s Gamepad event. Mayamada are an independent, self-published manga and apparel organisation known for their series Samurai Chef, about cooking, where dishes are judged with his samurai sword! It begins as a simple competition, and becomes something else entirely when the chefs add a special ingredient to each dish that turns judging into a real battle. What follows is an escalating contest between the Samurai Chef and each new dish, eventually bringing the attention of more threatening opponents in this action-comedy epic!

Mayamada have recently acquired store space in the shopping centre in Shepherds Bush, opposite Westfields. To celebrate the launch, free cupcakes were on offer and you could purchase frozen yogurt. A cosplay contest was also held to win tickets to London Anime Gaming Con, congrats to the Vegeta, Demorafairy Cosplay and Hello Kitty (James) who were in the top three!

IMG_6326psFor our final destination we travelled to The Heart of Gaming (HOG) in North Acton. Unlike Namco funscape where you have to keep inserting money to keep playing, HOG is a one off fee for unlimited gaming, selling both day and monthly passes. For those who live far, or just want an allnighter there is the option to stay the night for an additional fee. Especially for the meet, in conjunction with AnimeLeague, they had a special offer of £10 entry, or £8 for those in cosplay. From DDR machines to Smash Bros HOG has a wide selection of games to play and from the last time I had been there (about a year ago) their variety of consoles had developed. I especially loved the small touches, the cosy, chilled out vibe HOG had and how take away pizza can be delivered.

AnimeLeague have more meets planned not just for London so check here to see if they have one in your area!

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Tsunami, Clapham Restaurant Review

20150328_130905psThanks to winning Sophie’s Japan Blog competition I was treated to a complimentary lunch for two at Japanese restaurant Tsunami in Clapham (there is also a branch in Charlotte St). I was accompanied by friend and food blogger, Terri from Sex Drugs Bacon Rolls.

20150328_125836psWe were swiftly greeted, our coats taken and seated on a spacious table. Starting with drinks I ordered a Tokyo mocktail while Terri went straight for the hard stuff, ordering a Jack Collins.  Both were served beautifully presented; especially Terri’s cocktail which was served in a novelty can and decorative bamboo stick and golden leaf.

To eat, we both went for the 2 course, starter and main lunch set which would normally cost £15. I combined crab dumplings and chicken Terayaki, while Terri went for salmon tartare and salmon teriyaki.

Again this was absolutley beautifully presented, especially the salmon tartare which came in a jar placed in a traditional wooden Japanese food box. We watched in awe as the waiter delicately prepared the dish in front of us, explaining the process as he went.

Our mains were served promptly after, the chicken/salmon was accompanied by veg and a small bowl of rice. The dish tasted fresh, and they didn’t skimp on the Teriyaki sauce!

20150328_125459psWhile we ate, we watched Tsunami host a sushi class. I have always wanted to learn how to prepare one of my favourite dishes, The class looked very interesting, participants enthused, it is definitely something I would love to participate in for the future.

I would definitely return to Tsunami, especially to try more of its beautiful cocktails!

Visit the website 

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Introduction to Visual Kei Fashion

visual Kei 1After reviewing Kamijo, Visual Kei inspired performer Vicki Anne explored Visual Kei itself…

Visual Kei fashion began in the late 80’s – early 90’s when fans of Visual Kei music first started to emulate their heroes, donning the same colourful costumes and adapting the style for themselves.

x=japanX-Japan are widely regarded as the founders of Visual Kei music. They dubbed their new brand of music and fashion, ‘Psychadelic Violence – crime of visual shock’. Drummer Yoshiki Hayashi admitted that the more the bands manager told them to tone down their style the more the did the opposite and the more elaborate the style became. This spurred other artists at the time to do the same and the Visual Kei genre was born. It didn’t take long for the fashion style to catch on on the streets of Harajuku and later some parts of Osaka’s fashionable area’s. As with all muscicans, fans started to emulate their favourite artists’ style and before long, fans were dressed up to the nines on Harajuku bridge, either by cosplaying artists or creating a more toned-down look which by all accounts is much easier to wear than the elaborate costumes Visual Kei artists wear onstage. This gave way to clothing brands such as H.Naoto and Sexpot Revenge specialising in Visual Kei fashion establishing themselves around Tokyo’s Harajuku district and the popularity of the fashion increasing during the later 90’s – mid 00’s.

visual kei 2Androgyny is a key element of the style. As most Visual Kei artists themselves are actually male, (with the exceptions of Exist Trace and Danger gang) the shock element came from their efeminate looking clothing and make-up. Band members such as Hizaki of Versailles and Mana of Malice Mizer also play the female role in bands, wearing lolita dresses with long curled hair. Although seen in traditional Japanese kabuki theatre often included men playing women, the men that took on women’s roles in Visual Kei were considered shocking to the reserved Japanese public.

Hair and make-up is fundamental to the Visual Kei look. Hair is often brightly coloured and spikedand Makeup s often dramatic and dark. Cure magazine, one of the biggest publications for both Visual Kei music and fashion has a section in every issue dedicated to informative pieces on how to achieve the perfect visual kei hair and make-up.

visual kei 4Though hair and make-up are focused on, clothing such as torn jeans, shorts with knee length socks and suspenders and platform shoes/boots all play a key part in achieving the look. Think gothic and punk styles all mashed together with an androgynous twist!

Fashion also plays an integral role in the musical sub-genre’s of Visual Kei. In fact, each sub genre is mainly catogorised by clothing style, not always the music. For example, Oshare kei (Oshare itself means stylish) is often defined by bright colours worn, Oshare bands often sing about ‘happy’ themes and therefore this is reflected in the bright style.

Another popular style is Victorian or Lolita’ Kei, which as the name suggests incorporates a lot of lolita or kodonna styles, mainly gothic and hints of classic lolita as well as drawing inspiration from Georgian and Victorian periods of history. Other styles include Kote Kei, Angura Kei (identified by the use of traditional Japanese clothing) and Eroguro Kei which blends together both erotic and overly grotesque clothing, makeup and themes.

cure magazineIf you want to try out the visual kei look for yourself some great resources to check out are Cure magazine as mentioned above and also KERA magazine which promotes visual kei as well as other Japanese street fashions that can be spotted around Harajuku. Also check out Cure Magazines style council videos and step by step Magazine spreads.

CD Japan’s apparel section also sells brands Deorart and Sexpot Revenge: http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/apparel/

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Kamijo – London Garage Review

kamijoVicki Anne reports on her experience watching Visual Kei performer Kamijo live at London Garage.

Kamijo’s Career has spanned an impressive 20 years. From starting his first band Lareine to his current solo career, Kamijo has been a prominent feature within the Visual Kei music scene. The current tour celebrates the whole 20 years Kamijo has spent as a musician. There were songs performed from all across his repertoire. A huge screen at the back of the stage showed excerpts of his songs and basically felt a little like travelling through the past 20 years.

kamijo 1There were two types of tickets; regular and VIP. For the bigger fans, the VIPs got early entrance to the venue, a meet and greet with Kamijo, a photograph with Kamijo and official merchandise, which was a must for any fan attending. It seemed like a nice touch for those who wanted a little more than just the show.

The venue itself is a small but intimate place and I found it to be a lot more enjoyable than some bigger venues for that reason, I was impressed with Kamijo’s interactions with the audience, the venue played a big part in this, even stood towards the back the view of the band was great and Kamijo tried to include the whole audience; at one point we were urged to march on the spot to the military themed song ‘death parade’. The compact venue also allowed fans to feel closer to the band.

kamijo2Kamijo appeared on stage dressed like a prince and had a demeanour to match, he was smiling a lot and seemed really happy to be playing to us. Vocally Kamijo didn’t put a foot wrong and at points in the show I was happy just to listen to him singing. Towards the end of the concert he was draped in the Union Jack with his name on which I think was a gift from fans but it was a nice touch.

Most Visual Kei concerts I’ve been to have had a ‘No photograph’ policy but I had never seen it enforced so much as at Kamijo’s concert. At one point even Kamijo himself told an audience member not to take photographs. I think the fact fans could buy the VIP tickets meant that the special photographs they received were an added extra and taking pictures oneself could be seen as taking the privilege away.

Nevertheless, the atmosphere within the venue was fantastic, from songs such as the energetic ‘Moulin Rouge’ to Versailles’ ‘Masquerade’ and Lariene’s ‘Fuyu Tokyo’ there was something for everyone. For me personally hearing Lareine’s songs live was amazing and something I never thought I would witness.

kamijo 3For Versailles fans, their bassist Masashi made an appearance as the bassist for Kamijo, it was good to see the two bandmates together again and a huge bonus! The rest of Kamijo’s supporting band also deserve a mention as they were all extremely talented and seemed to really enjoy playing to the audience.

All in all it was definitely one of the best gigs I’ve been to in a long time! If you ever get the chance to see Kamijo live I would definitely recommend it!

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London Super Comic Con Report 14-15 March 2015

IMG_9878psLSCC was back attracting herds of comic book fans, cosplayers and even comedian Johnny Vegas!

Known for catering to a wide audience without overcrowding, this was probably the best and most interactive so far, featuring activities such as Syfy Channel’s innovative 360 degree fly/fan cam, capturing a video of attendees as they jumped mid-air. Unsurprisingly queues were long to give this a go but Syfy were handing out branded totes which contained a random DVD (I got Sleeping Beauty), a book by Kate Black along with Syfy branded lanyard, Oyster card holder and a sweet. Additionally Starburst magazine were handing out free copies of their magazine, as well as the free LSCC goodie bag containing a lucky dip of comics. So not bad for lovers of free swag!

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Artsit Huy Truong

Although there was lots of talented cosplay photographers set up in the convention hall, umbrella and flash in tow, Cosplay Shoots were exhibiting offering full studio and effects which were print ready within the hour. A different experience and a nice souvenir to take home.

A great thing about the convention is that the majority of guests will do free signings, I brought some of my X-Men comics along for Clay Mann to sign and he was just one of many of the Marvel/DC artists who was there. This included Ian Churchill and TV personality, Jonathan Ross who were launching their new graphic novel Revenge – if you missed them at LSCC they are doing a future signing at Forbidden Planet. Although if you thought comics was just limited to Marvel and DC you would be very mistaken, LSCC is a good eye opener showcasing artists from other publishers such as Titan, Dark Horse, IDW from numerous titles such as The Walking Dead, Angel as well independent/self-published including Sonesh Joshi’s Kuraz – which we will be reviewing soon.

IMG_7258psComics may be the spine of LSCC but cosplay is the heart, with the Cosplay Championship drawing in the crowds as cosplayers competed to win an all-expenses paid trip to Dragoncon. Judged by special cosplay guests: YaYa Han, cosplay ambassador and star of Syfy show Heroes of Cosplay, Kamui from Germany – master of worbla and with a collection of books regarding LEDs, Worbla etc, Bill Doran – Punished Props and the winners from last year’s contest Nikita Cosplay and Annshella.

Competition was tough, with performance being a key part of this contest entries ranged from monologues, costume changes and choreographed fight and dance routines. Contests definitely ‘brought it’ but not their costumes, those were handmade…

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Jolteon and Ireland Reid

RossECobb, took the crown with Dinsey’s Ursula, based on the Broadway musical version, with Cosplex as solo runner up for her Poison Ivy based on No Flutter’s artwork and Kenny Cosplay Stuff and Kerry Cosplay were awarded runner up group for their well-choreographed, yet comedic ‘Edge of Tomorrow” cosplay.  A honary mention for my favourite performances goes to Sikay and Ichigo’s Cosplay Closet for their enchanting performance and Valentine Cosplay’s Oberyn from Game of Thrones.

P.S. I loved the addition of the addition of The Daily Planet press office inside the exhibition hall, a hub to write up coverage and tweet photos it made press pass holders feel like a real life Peter Parker!

 Watch our best bits video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCIb1fqcMxw&feature=youtu.be

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The Tale of Princess Kaguya 71a Gallery/Studio Canal/Little White Lies

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Tuesday evening I attended a preview screening of Studio Ghibli’s new release The Tale of Princess Kaguya, held at 71a Gallery in Shoreditch (where I previously attended a Sin City 2 event) courtesy of Studio Canal and Little White Lies. Before I review the film I would like to say a big thanks to all those involved in hosting the screening, not only was it free but we were given complimentary Japanese beer and fresh sushi to tuck into to. As well as free Princess Kaguya stickers and postcards – super kawaii!

Before the screening, a lovely gent from Sesame ran an hour long origami workshop. Somehow I managed to make a pig inspired by Spirited Away and a lotus flower (which is now on Etsy for £2 – just kidding) which I think shows what a good teacher he is as usually I am rubbish at anything fiddly, so again a big thanks! Please see film review below.

princess k2The Tale of Princess Kaguya has taken Isao Takahata eight years to complete, based on the Japanese folk tale Takemori Monogatari (you may want to familiarise yourself with this before watching) which tells the story of a girl found in a bamboo trunk by a bamboo cutter. She is quickly Nicknamed ‘Little Bamboo’ by the local boys and ‘Princess’ by the bamboo cutter and his wife.

princess kWhat will first strike you about the film is the artwork, all hand-drawn rather than produced using CGI, visually it remind me of a water colour painting, it has a very different vibe to previous Ghibli movies. Admittedly, this style took me a while to get used to, but it creates some beautiful scenes and embodies the period the film is set. In particular the striking scene where Princess Kaguya flees from her naming ceremony the colours and lines blurring, bouncing off the page, it is simply stunning.

As the film continues viewers will notice Princess Kaguya is often drawn differently to the other characters, she is far more detailed, whether this is to symbolise her difference and beauty amongst the country bumpkins and greedy nobleman, I am unsure.

princess k1The plot itself follows Little Bamboo from rags to riches as despite her happiness in the countryside, the bamboo cutter is adamant she must live the Princess lifestyle he believes she is destined, his ideals are reinforced when he finds gold in the bamboo she appeared from. The bamboo cutter forces her to relocate to the capital and train with Lady Saguri (Lucy Lui) to learn the style and mannerisms of a Princess. Accepted in society, our protagonist soon faces wealthy suitors which she sets impossible tasks in order to avoid their hand in marriage.

princess k3Although visually stunning, the plot is a mixed tale and does have some flow issues, not only with speed but explanations to events. For instance, the focus is on Princess being connected to nature, even having random growth spurts like bamboo shoots. Her love of nature made apparent throughout and persistent singing of trees and bugs. Then quicker than you can say Moon Prism Power, she suddenly remembers that she is fact a Moon Princess.

Sadly I was disappointed with the ending, it felt out of place and I wish it had stopped after Kaguya’s final encounter with Sutemaru. This is still an intriguing and beautiful film, so recommend watching it.

Rating: 3/5

Top scene: Princess Kaguya fleeing into the night during her naming ceremony

The Tale of Princess Kaguya is available in cinemas from 20 March 2015. P.S. Film 4 Studio Ghibli Season kicks off 28 March!

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Mommy and Me Cosplay Interview – Mother’s Day Special

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Photo by Ham Salad

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! Here is a special interview with Jannelle aka Mommy and Me Cosplay from America. You may recognise as Catwoman, who she cosplayed along with her two daughters aged 6 and 7 making the ultimate Catwoman family – meow!

How did you start cosplaying?

We started cosplaying because I always wanted to since I was 12 but was never allowed, and last year my friend said she was going to and well…the rest is history!

Has cosplay affected your family?

It has affected my family, in a sense that it has brought us together to complete a task as a family. We never really had a set family event other than Disneyland (laughs) and this really turned into our new thing.

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Photo by Instasuck36

How involved do your daughters get with the crafting of the costumes?

My daughter have recently gotten very involved. In fact, the cosplay coming up for this Wondercon was the design of my eldest daughter. They even help with making the props with their Nino.

Your family catwoman cosplay went viral, did you expect that?

(laughs) I was rather shocked that everyone took positively to it. It’s still has me in awe.

What was the inspiration behind your Catwoman cosplay?

I always wanted to cosplay her, ever since I came across her character in Tim Burton’s Batman Forever I was inspired.  I saw other women cosplaying her and I thought “Where’s Michelle’s damaged cosplay?” So I decided to bring her to the cosplay world!

catwoman 3Any tips for other mums looking to get their family into cosplay?

Yes, let your child choose the cosplay. Allow them to be involved or they will just feel forced and not be into it. My daughters have chosen their cosplays since day one and they love it. And I go along because it’s a family hobby now, and it will always be.

Can you reveal any future cosplay plans?

Yeah sure, at Wondercon I will arrive as Harley’s revenge and my daughters as Harley and Joker’s offspring (My daughter designed the dress). We also decided to do My little Pony, Pokemon and Poison Ivy.

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London Edge Trade Show February 1-3 2015 Report

The bi-annual London Edge took place February 1-3 2015 at Olympia. A world renown tradeshow for alternative fashion catering to all styles; steampunk, goth, punk, cyber and many more.

Held in a different part of Olympia to previous years we loved the new venue, it made the show skeek and clean cut bringing focus to the products on offer. London Edge is the ultimate place for fans of alternative fashion featuring popular brands such as Collectif, Hell Bunny and Killstar as well as upcoming indie and start ups. The tradeshow really does give brands and designers a platform to showcase their collections, as well as inspiring visitors to explore different fashions and try something new.

Not only jam packed with clothes it features shoes, jewellery, hair products  and make-up – everything that you need to get a new look! Ultimately a trade show which sadly means items have to be bought in bulk although sometimes the smaller stalls will let you buy items one off.

Our favourite collections in the 11am Sunday fashion show was Banned cherry print designs ranging from dresses to flattering bikinis. As well as the steampunk inspired designs (I didn’t catch the brand name); beautiful and distinct but subtle enough to avoid looking like a pirate!

Walking around the venue we loved Killstar’s dark bewitching collection, incontrast we were fond of  a designer who was selling  picturesque country print dresses.  Another exhibitor caught our eye with its cute but twisted disney bags that we desperately wanted to take home!

Another notable stand which we took a liking to was The Jukebox Shop, who as you can guess sell jukeboxes. The musical business had teamed up with The Pinup Academy bringing a 50s diner set with them to be used as a photo set, complimenting the jukeboxes. They had hair stylists and MUA on hand for attendees who could then have a free professional photo shoot. Our videographer Luke had some fun photos with the friendly pin-up models.The lovely ladies were also giving away cheeky free alcohol shots! 

Although we unfortunately didn’t stay late enough, London Edge had organised a bloggers meet/area (sponsored by Voodoo Vixen and Jawbreaker), it provided the rare opportunity for the fashion bloggers community to meet in person, socialise and share style secrets!

London Edge is more than just a tradeshow but don’t take my word for it, watch our highlight video filmed by Becca Moriarty and Luke Derbyshire, also edited  by Luke. 

The next London Edge is 6-8 September 2015 keep an eye out on the website www.londonedge.com or Twitter @LondonEdge for the latest news.

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Amsterdam Geek Culture: Anime, Comics and Chinatown

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Amsterdam isn’t just sex, weed and stag dos as I soon discovered on a recent visit. It has plenty more to offer for those looking to get their otaku fix. Go down the right alley of the Red Light District and you can find anything… namely Amsterdam’s very own China Town. Amsterdam was the first ever European country to have it’s own China Town, and like the UK it is full of quirky shops selling everything from chopsticks, pop! vinyls and the latest manga.

20150221_120700psMy visit happened to fall on the weekend over Chinese New Year which meant there was a street parade. Crowded, I could barely see and had to push through the masses to even get a glimpse of the dragon! Forgoing the parade and swarm of people I decided to make the most of my limited time in the city and explore the shops that China Town had to offer.

Highlights included a comic store called Gojoker which sold new and second hand issues, a shop selling oriental kitchenware from chopsticks to dim sun baskets and the funky Outland which sold a wide variety of pop! vinyls and other quirky figurines and plushies. The biggest delight was HENK a shop dedicated to anime and manga; very similar to Tokyo Toys in London but narrower and longer, like most of the buildings in Amsterdam. The shop was very crowded which was great to see with a variety of ages browsing the shelves. The shop was great featuring a section dedicated to My Little Pony an extensive manga library, figurines and even a few cosplay costumes.

20150223_122057psInbetween Amsterdam Central Station and Dam Square (where that big tall genital like statue is) there was a niche geek/game clothing shop, with no signage outside I didn’t catch the name, but it is very distinctive with sonic the hedgehog painted on the door and ninja turtles on its walls. The shop sells bags, clothes and accessories of your favourite shows and games from Adventure Time, Ninja Turtles, Wonder Woman and Batman.

Away from Chinatown, along the road where the Anne Frank House is lies ‘A Space Oddity’. Unfortunately it is shut every Sunday and Monday so sadly I never got to see the inside but basically the outlet can be compared to Forbidden Planet focusing on selling sci-fi merchandise with one difference its all vintage dating back to the 70s. Pop in on you way to Anne Frank’s.

20150223_131641Japanese food seemed to be popular in Amsterdam with Japanese restaurants dotted all around the city central, a particular chain that caught my eye was Sushi Daily (similar to Itsu) I enjoyed a salmon nigri and California roll set – fresh and great for on the go. After our nights out partying we stopped 20150223_101340psby Wok to Walk, (apparently there is one in the UK – where for out thou?) Chinese cuisine and much healthier than a late night kebab…right?

If you get to visit Amsterdam do check these places out, they are all within walking distance of each other. Additionally if you are looking for more things to do visit this site with the ultimate 50 things to do in Amsterdam: http://www.netherlands-tourism.com/things-amsterdam-ultimate-top-50/

Full album of images here: COMING SOON

P.S. Shout out to bride to be Karen of KD Kakes, without her fabulous hen do it wouldn’t have been possible to see all these awesome things!

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Revelry, Tea Party Club 7th Anniversary Review


Ai AkizukiFollowing on from Tea Party Club and Street Fashion Europe’s Enchanted event Vicki Anne reports on Revelry…

Once again the Tea Party Club hosted an annual event around the time of its incorporation. This year was TPC’s seventh birthday and Lolita’s from all over the UK (and around the world) donned their best outfits and headed to London.

This year the event took place in the beautiful Gray’s Inn close to London’s High Holborn area. A fitting venue with an extensive historical background stretching from the 14th century through the actual periods that Lolita fashion partly takes its inspiration from, as someone with a keen interest in history I found the place fascinating.

The Tea Party Club has become renowned for hosting spectacular events for Lolita’s from all over the UK and organisers Kyra and Michaela once again delivered an event to truly be proud of. Every time I attend one of their events I can always feel the time, effort and dedication that has gone into creating something for the UK Lolita community. From the setting, to the stalls and the tea party itself, every detail seems thoroughly thought out in order to make the event memorable for all.

revelry 1This year was no different as attendee’s were treated to a special guest appearance from the designer of leading Lolita fashion brand Metamorphose ~temps de fille~ who brought along brand new designs for the fashion show and a selection of clothing for sale. Meta’s designer also attended the Sunday tea party.

As a fan of goth-loli I was very excited for the other special guest – Toshie Mihashi  from popular Lolita publication, Gothic and Lolita Bible! A mook (magazine/book) that is widely considered the ‘go-to’ guide, featuring new fashion releases from all major and independent Japanese brands.

Other key guests included Ai Akizuki, founder of Lolita & Punk no Kai, the community twinned with Tea Party Club themselves. She has also modelled for some of Japan’s well known Lolita brands. Additionally Grimoire designer Hitomi Nomura and Himitsu by Syrup were in attendance.

ShoppingA highlight of Revelry was the Q&A with the guests of honour, such as Toshie Mihashi where Lolitas could ask their fashion senpais any burning questions they have from trivia to advice

Obviously the fashion show was a sight to see featuring Grimoire’s first ever original printed dress designs and two of Meta’s new prints. A great opportunity for the UK Lolita community as all designs were modelled by UK girls who had applied to take part in the show.

A particular panel I found interesting was by Ai Akizuki who talked about her life growing up as a Lolita (her parents were fans of the fashion and dressed her in it as a little girl!) and her struggles with making friends and feeling like an outsider. She spoke about how she decided to start up the group and how she met her friends through it; an encouraging story for any Lolita who has ever felt out of place.

Grimoire shopOf course, a big part of TPC’s events is the shopping! As well as Metamorphose’s stand GLB also had one selling their latest issue and a few dresses from one of the indie brands in their publications. Grimoire also debited their original dress in both colours as well as their infamous tights. Other brands closer to home also attended the event including Lady Sloth, Roxie Sweetheart, Atelier Dormir, Peacockalorum and many more. The brands showcased their designs and went down well with those wanting to add to their wardrobe!

Of course, there was also the usual bring and buy where Loli’s could sell unwanted clothing and others could buy them, making it a profitable experience for some!

Fashionshowmeta3I loved the Purikura-style photo booth at the event, it was a nice touch! We had a lot of fun posing for the pics and it gave friends a chance to take cute, amusing and sometimes less than glamorous pictures in groups.

Everyone’s coordinates looked beautiful and everyone was really friendly and each event makes it a joy to be part of the UK Lolita community, I can’t wait for the next!

Join The Tea Party Group to keep updated about future events

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Nitaboh, The Shamisen Master (2004) Review

nitaboh1Maiyumi reviews Nitaboh, rated #99 in Reddit’s greatest anime movie list at the time of reviewing.  

Nitaboh (2004) was directed by Akio Nishizawa. The story is based on a historical novel written by Daijo Kazuo, the story is set in the late 19th century at the end of the Edo period (1868 roughly).

The film begins with Nitaboh, who is about 8 years old, Nitaboh meets a young girl around the the same age, at a festival. The children part ways as Nitaboh and his dad leave the festivities and head home. However it is during this journey home, Nitaboh is struck down by a fever and has to be carried home. It is then the story establishes that Nitaboh’s main struggle in his life, as he is left blinded.

Nitaboh3As the years pass Nitaboh becomes more enthused by music, all he wants to do is play. After meeting a Komusoh, (a zen priest who travels and plays music for donations) who plays the shakuhachi (a bamboo flute) Nitaboh proclaims to his father that he will become a Komusoh, however his father tells him only Samurai can become Komusoh. Disheartened, Nitaboh searches for another calling, he soon finds it when a Goze (A blind female poet and musician, who performs for donations) visits the village. Nitaboh becomes fascinated with the shamisen (which is played similar to a guitar) and is determined to master the instrument. His father then gives him his mother’s shamisen, who died when soon after Nitaboh was born. He also discovers that the Goze’s daughter was the young girl he met at the festival a few years prior, the two become close and the Goze agrees to stay in the village to teach Nitaboh the shamisen.

Nitaboh4After his training the Goze and her daughter leave the village to continue their travels. Personally I was hoping that the Goze and Nitaroh’s dad would end up together, however that would end up being a happy ending, and at this point of the story that wasn’t to happen. As not long after their parting, a storm brews up, and Nitaroh’s dad (who was a waterman) is forced to take a couple of criminals across the river, which leads to their deaths. After the death of his father Nitaroh is left alone.

nitaboh 4After a time skip, Nitaroh is now an adult who travels around the area playing the shamisen for donations, the village itself seems to be helpful and caring for Nitaroh, always talking to him and complimenting his music. At this part of the film, I was a bit relieved to think that Nitraoh wasn’t entirely alone, that the village pitched in a watched over him as he grew. I was also glad to see that the Goze’s daughter, Yuki, returns to the village.

Nitaroh continues to practice his music, however he still isn’t satisfied and continues to improve his style. Nitaroh even if given the nickname of Nitraboh, which is a combination of Nitaroh and Bossama; the Bossama are a well known group of shamisen players, a very high profile group, being accepted into the Bossama is validation of mastering the shamisen. However that doesn’t mean they are a nice bunch of people, as through out the film the Bossama seem to be stuck up and a bunch of bullys to Nitaroh.

Nitaroh and his friends are more determined to help push Nitraoh to become the best shamisen player he could become. However after his rough playing breaks the instrument, Kikunosuke buys him a thick necked shamisen, an instrument usually used accompanying other instruments, not usually used as a solo instrument. However it’s thickness can withstand Nitaroh’s rough style. After struggling to master the thick-necked shamisen, Nitaroh begins a journey to train under the Itako (blind female mediums), who live in the mountains. The training was long and difficult however Nitaroh completed it and began a new style of playing the shamisen, which is known as the Tsugaru style.

The characters themselves in the film are heart warming, most of them where very caring for Nitaroh and supported him and helped him through his struggles. I really cared for Nitaroh’s father, he was kind and incredibly supportive to Nitaroh; I also liked that he didn’t lie to Nitaroh, he didn’t give his son false hope of what he could and couldn’t do. But when Nitaroh found his passion, he did all he could to support him, until the day he died. Nitaroh himself didn’t have much confident, he didn’t believe that he was never good enough and he must try harder. However towards the end of the film Nitaroh’s personality developed tremendously, he became confident and stopped worrying so much as to what the audience wanted from him. He also didn’t let his skill get to his head like the Bossama, he was modest and only wanted to play, and he wasn’t fussed with crowds or other people’s skills. The supporting characters were more upbeat and hopeful than Nitaroh was; they help to guide him, which was nice to watch. They all knew Nitroh’s skills and life would be limited, but they didn’t let that stop them from telling Nitaroh to aim higher in life.

There are only one or two downsides to this film that I could find, and even so they were not significant to the story. Personally I wanted a bit more romance for the story; I really hoped that Yuki and Nitaroh would end the film with their marriage or a kiss (I am a sucker for a happy ending). However a romance wasn’t completely needed with this story, as it was more about over coming self-doubt and taking life’s hardships head on. Yuki and Nitaroh’s relationship was never obviously shown, they didn’t show romantic affection in the film, however I would like to believe that something developed between them after the film had ended. That Nitaroh couldn’t show affection for Yuki until he had completed what he set out to do when he was a child. They certainly cared deeply for each other.

Rating: 3.5/5

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Review: Harajuku Girls, Finborough Theatre

yumi2Friday night I saw Harajuku Girls, no not Gwen Stefani’s entourage, but Francis Turnly’s new play at Finborough Theatre.

Set in Tokyo, the production focuses on the lives of three friends; Keiko (Elizabeth Tan – Waterloo Road and Coronation Street), Mari (Haruka Abe– Cucumber and Clean Bandits music video) and Yumi (Kunjue Li – Ripper Street), passionate about cosplay and Lolita fashion, the trio will often dress up and go to the Jingu bridge in Harajuku, posing for pictures in hopes to appear in Fruits magazine. However don’t be fooled, this is not the cutesy, happy go lucky play you might expect. With the first scene full of swearing and sexual references, it is just the start of things to come in this exploration of the darker side of modern Japanese society.

HarajukuGirlsProduction-44Having just graduated high school and awaiting their results the girls must start thinking of their future. This leads the materialistic and mischievous Keiko dragging her best friend Mari, conflicted and desperate for cash as her father refuses to pay her tuition fee for acting school, into the dark world of image clubs in Kabukicho. Naturally, what first starts as a job involving their favourite hobby of dressing up and role play soon spirals out of their control.

The play successfully adds humour and naivety to dark themes; desire, fantasy, prostitution and even drug addiction. Introducing the concept of Japan’s panty shops, love hotels and image clubs to a western audience. Although some may see this as a fairly predictable plot line it features some dramatic twists leaving the audience guessing what is reality, and what is merely fantasy.

Mari familyHowever, it is not all sex, drugs and J-rock. There are several scenes of Mari with her family as she desperately tries to make them understand her dream of becoming an actress and search for independence. These family scenes contrast to those set in Kabukicho, focusing on the strict, rigid traditional values that many Japanese families hold.

At the intimate theatre, seating just 50 people the production utilises the space well with multiple scene changes from family home to night club. Although occasionally these take a while to move the production has a stellar soundtrack provided by Helen Skiera playing popular Japanese artists such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Baby Metal. The unique sliding doors inparticular were extremely effective, allowing the audience to see multiple scenes and even live costume changes (fan service!)

harajuku girls 1Elizabeth Tan stands out in her stunning performance as Keiko, the mischievous yet ultimately self-destructive eighteen year old. Haruka Abe portrays the naïve, conflicted Mari effectively, as Keiko herself puts “not many girls can do innocent”. Kunjue Li is the definition of moe, providing comic relief in a dark script.

Self-confessed otakus will count the references and laugh aloud at the jokes. Recommended, a must see for fans of Japanese culture.

Showing until the 21 March with matinee and evening performances.

Buy your tickets here.

Watch my interviews below with the leading ladies:

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Dying Light Game Review

dyinglightAre you a zombie fan? Then read Luke Derbyshire’s review of Dying Light the ultimate zombie game which makes Rick (Walking Dead) look like a wimp.

Dying Light is an action survival game set in a post apocalyptic, dangerous world. Fast paced, you don’t stay in one place for long. Attempting to create a realistic situation of what would happen if zombies took over, and avoid it becoming just a shoot em’ up, the game is separated between day and night.

dying-light4During the day your customised character roams an urban environment, scavenging for supplies and crafting awesome weapons that will help fight off the crazy hordes of zombies you encounter.

At night, the objective is to strategically stay out of sight as the infected become stronger and more aggressive. The menacing inhuman predators are also introduced who only leave their nests to feed at night. If you are too ‘scared’ to play the game on your own don’t worry because you can have up to four friends kicking ass with you online – showing off your customized character design!

Dying-Light-VolatileI was impressed by the graphics in this game, they really look awesome on the Xbox One and the intricate detail of the zombies are amazing. While playing I did come across some glitches and bugs, which I hope will be fixed for the official launch on 27 February, but apart from that the game is awesome. It’s like Dead Island mixed with Mirrors Edge and with a pinch of Far Cry 4.

The character you play, Kyle Crane or ’31’ as he is known when in the quarantine zone provides a detailed back story of how he first landed into Harran (the quarantine zone) via aeroplane, as he first encounters the murderous bandits and is bitten on the arm by one of the infected. While in the Harran, Crane has to carry out a mission but becomes entangled in the plight of the runners who are fighting to survive both the bandits and the infected. I won’t go into that much detail as I don’t want to spoil the game but I can assure you that if you do buy Dying Light you will have fun playing 1 person, but even more fun playing with your friends online completing the set missions.

Rating: 4/5

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The Wish Sisters New J-pop Act Interview

wish sisters 1We speak with new J-pop band on the block The Wish Sisters

Who are The Wish Sisters?
Alice: We are a J-Pop idol unit based in London. We all share a passion for J-Pop and Japanese culture! I am the pink Wish Sister. I am the last Generation 1 member still performing for you all! I love anything cute, pink and sparkly. I am from the Thulian star where there’s lots of glitter and strawberries!
Amelia: I came from the star periwinkle so my birth colour is positively purple! My star is made of macaroons so it’s my favourite treat! You can always find me twirling in a skirt!
Honey: I am the yellow Wish Sister, I love baking treats for my friends! I also love to daydream but It does get me in trouble sometimes most people say I am having an away with the fairies moment. I come from the Jasmine star which is extremely shiny and full of mythical creatures!

Generation 1

Generation 1

What do you do?
Amelia: Wish perform at a lot of different events and conventions around the UK!
Alice: We also create YouTube videos where we post covers dancing to our favourite J-pop songs and film other cute videos and challenges!
Honey: We’d also like to start doing more cooking on our channel since it’s Honey’s favourite hobby besides dancing!

How did you form?
Alice: The group began in 2012 from the three Generation 1 members Alice , Elizabeth and Hana. We all had a strong passion for dancing and a love for idols so I decided to form ‘The Wish Sisters’ a group dedicated for following your dreams. We held auditions last summer and created generation 2 consisting of Amelia and Honey. Unfortunately, Elizabeth and Hana have recently graduated from the group and we will support them with what they decide to pursue in the future.

wish sisters 3Who are your inspiration/musical influences?
Amelia: All of our members share a mutual love for Kyary Pyamu Pyamu! I love her music and style! I am also a fan of Vocaloid and the music and fashion from Love Live.
Honey:I love Kyary Pamyu Pamyu too! I recently saw her at one of her concerts.
Alice:
I generally love Akihabara and their idol culture. My favorite Jpop idols are AKB48, Buono, and of course KPP.

You are performing at London Anime Gaming Con, what can we expect?
Amelia: Alice and I are soooo excited for our live performance at LAGC! We can’t wait to meet everyone and perform. We have an energetic set planned so we hope you will enjoy it as much as we do!
Alice: Our set will have a special Valentines day themed where we will be wearing some special new outfits! We can’t reveal too much though except that we will also be uploading it onto our YouTube for all of our international followers!

What else do you have in-store for the rest of 2015?

Honey: More videos and performances! We hope you will enjoy some of the new things in store for the year ahead!
Amelia: Definitely! Maybe more members too! We need some more sisters to dance with!
Alice: We have lots of goals for 2015 but we don’t want to spoil them. All we can say is expect bigger and cuter things from us this year!

wish sisters 4What makes you different from other existing acts?
Amelia: I think that our passion always shows, we always spend so much time editing, rehearsing and bonding with each other that it becomes our daily routine!
Alice: We try to keep the audience involved with our performances. We think its very important to keep everyone smiling and I love performing for everyone!
Honey: I believe we have big dreams to shine brightly in the future!

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Cosplayer of the week: Jinxie Interview

Photo by Aperture Ashley

Photo by Aperture Ashley

This week the spotlight is on Jinxie, Texas based veteran cosplayer who also studied costume design. You may know her for her kick ass Ryuko from Kill La Kill.

How did you get involved in cosplay?

I first got involved in cosplay when I was 14. I honestly never wanted to learn how to sew until I stumbled across people dressing up as their favourite anime characters on web searches, so I wanted to try as well. My mother showed me the basics, the rest by lots of trial, and error. Seven years later I took sewing classes for my costume design degree which helped me learn a lot more.

jinxie by tobious cosplayious and photographiousWhat are your favourite costumes?

This is really tough to decide on, I do really love my Ryuko Matoi (Kill La Kill) cosplay. It’s surprisingly really comfortable to wear, just really difficult to get out of without any help. I try to cosplay characters that I really fall in love with in an anime. I tend to like stronger characters, or ones that grow into that.

Proudest achievement relating to cosplay?

I would say just having people who watch my work online then find me at conventions, and come up to me. I really like making new friends so I’m always up for meeting through cosplay.

Biggest challenge when making cosplay?

My biggest challenge would be just figuring out how I’m going to break down and construct a costume/prop that I have no idea what is going on with it. This happens mostly when there is a lack of reference photos for a character design.

jinkie yamiLooking at your work your wigs are great! How did you style your Yugi wig?

My Yugi wig was styled pretty quick because I didn’t have much time, it was rather a rush for me. I was going to be cosplaying Yugi along side Malindachan’s Yami for a convention. Luckily, she put together her Yami wig tutorial a few days before so I followed her tutorial a bit, and just tweaked things on my end to make the wig lighter. When I work on wigs I try not to get over stressed by the overall design. I have learned to stop over thinking it, and just cut a little bit off at a time then try it on to make sure all the lengths are where I need them to be. It’s always good to start cutting longer rather then cutting to close to the wig, to avoid messing it up.

What are your favourite part about conventions?

I mainly go to cons to see friends, and cosplay. I don’t really go to panels, or enter contests anymore. I used to enter all the time, but it takes up too much time on Saturday, and for some cons even Friday. I don’t get to see some of my friends often because I moved away so I  would rather spend my whole convention cosplaying, and hanging out with them.

Photo by Immaculate Studios

Photo by Immaculate Studios

What are your hobbies other than cosplay and conventions?

I have a figure collection that is getting out of hand. I started recently this year, and its pretty crazy right now. I’ve also got like 10 figures on my pre-order list… currently. It may go up.

Can you reveal your future cosplay plans?

Yes! My next convention is Anime Matsuri in Houston, TX. Right now my list is looking like Sailor Moon (Sailor Moon Crystal), Raven Prince Mytho (Princess Tutu), Shin (Nana), Esdeath (Akame ga Kill), and Killua (Hunter x Hunter). I also need to finish my Cherry Blossom Sakura Kinomoto(CCS) cosplay, and may bring her along as well.

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Big Hero 6 Review

big hero 6Maiyumi reviews the latest blockbuster Big Hero 6…

Big Hero 6, directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams, is a film many of us have been aching to see since viewing the trailer. Following the worldwide success of Frozen (2013), Disney has yet again created a wonderfully funny and emotional film in the form of 5 wannabe superheroes and a robot. For this review spoilers are minor/limited to what is revealed in trailers, for example Hiro’s brother’s demise.

honey lemonSince Disney purchased Marvel, there hasn’t been a real collaboration when it came to films; so far Disney has stuck with what they know, and Marvel have been working on those big budget live action films. So when Big Hero 6 was announced I was a bit sceptical, now we know Disney never sticks to the original story with their fairy tales, so why should they follow the Big Hero 6 comic? They didn’t even keep the protagonist’s name (Hiro Hamada from the film is actually Hiro Takachiho). However I personally haven’t heard much about Big Hero 6 and the comic series, so I suppose the series could have done with a reboot and Disney have done a fantastic job of it.

The story begins by establishing the relationship between the two brothers, troubled younger brother taking the easy way in life, and his older, more responsible brother showing him how to open up his mind and to develop his gift. The relationship with the two brothers is a great one, Tadashi is able to make Hiro see how much he can accomplish without needing to tell him he knows best, Tadashi shows Hiro his lab and that’s all Hiro needed. Early on it is also established that the brother share a strong bond between them since the death of their parents (Now it wouldn’t be a Disney film without dead or missing parents now would it?). After the school is partially destroyed by a fire, Hiro sets it upon himself to find ‘the man in the kabuki mask’ who he believes started the fire, which killed Tadashi. He starts a superhero group using the projects in his brother’s lab. Including Baymax, his brother’s robot in the group lineup.

gogoNow for the characters, the film’s main protagonist is Hiro Hamada, a 14-year-old robotics genius, who prefers to partake in Disney’s version of Robot Wars, then to actually use his gifts. Unlike his brother Tadashi who is also a robotics genius, his mostly spends his time getting his brother out of trouble and spends his time at his ‘Nerd school’ as Hiro puts it. Both the brothers live with their Aunt Cass after the death of their parents. It isn’t until Tadashi takes Hiro on a trip to his lab, that he meets Tadashi’s friends and sees for himself all the amazing work they accomplish at ‘Nerd school’. Now none of Tadashi’s friends are typical science geeks. Honey Lemon is a tall, pretty woman who loves anything girly, she gets excited when she is able to paint her project pink. The bubbly character in the group she comes across sweet and caring, especially with Hiro. GoGo Tamago, the rebel she isn’t excited unless she is going fast and ‘breaking traffic laws’ according to Wasabi, the ultra conscious driver of the group. Not much can be said for her personality until nearer the end of the film when she confronts Hiro, but through out she remains calm and cool. Now Wasabi is tall, dark with bh6broad shoulders, he has what looks like to be OCD when it comes to tools in his lab, and he’s so conscious of consequences, even in car chases he stops at traffic lights. I found myself laughing out loud more with Wasabi than any other characters (or should I say human characters?). Now there is Fred, Fred is the school mascot and pretty much stays the same for the entire film, he is the mascot for the school and the superhero team. (Fun fact he is voiced  by the recognisable T.J Miller aka Tuffnut in How to Train Your Dragon, 2010). For this character I would recommend staying in the cinema until after the credits, after all it still is Marvel, stay seated for an extra scene with Fred. Lastly Baymax, now Baymax is a robot created by Tadashi for the purpose of medical use. He is mostly a large marshmallow looking robot with a monitor on his stomach. I must say Baymax was absolutely hilarious; he had just the right thing to say and the most inappropriate time, and towards the end, this robot was able to stir the audience’s emotions, which would be difficult for a robot, who I would assume doesn’t have any (wasn’t mentioned that he was programmed with any). The bond that Hiro and Baymax relationship develops through out the film and was quite emotional and very entertaining to watch.

hiroOver all the film itself was enjoyable to watch and I would defiantly recommend it to anyone. The animation itself was smooth and the character designs themselves were really suited to each individual. Now I have to talk about the city the film is set in, San Fransokyo a combination of San Francisco and Tokyo, I found myself looking at the buildings in the background through out the film. The designs were fantastic, a perfect balance of Western and Asian style while still looking very modern. It was defiantly a city I would love to live in. So in conclusion if you are on the fence about this film, I would highly recommend everyone to see this film, its one the whole family can watch and enjoy.

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Kotaku UK X Gamer Disco at The Book Club, Shoredicth

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Short and sweet post of my Wednesday evening!

Although I am not much of a gamer, I am a fan of music, alcohol (in moderation), and of course Shoreditch itself so I decided to pop by the Gamer Disco held in the basement of the The Book Club.

Hosted in conjunction with Kotaku UK, the event featured a variety of gaming set-ups placed around the venue and projected on the bar walls; allowing you to play with friends, strangers or simply watch in awe as people achieved unbelievable high scores or messed up and died quickly and easily (me).

20150121_224515psWhile this was going on, different DJs played throughout the evening featuring DJ Jet Set Rory, DJ Olio (8 Bit Vomit) and Tom Smith from JPU Records. As the evening went on tunes morphed from chiptune, gaming themes(Sonic, Pokémon etc.) to remixes of popular J-pop idol Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

Throughout the evening tournaments and high score challenges took place – even I joined in on the Pacman challenge! I wasn’t very good, my highest score was around 7,800 – I could blame the stiff and slightly sticky controllers but I know it was just me sucking.

Overall, a chilled out evening where you could grab a beer and play some Pacman. Simples.

P.S. Apologies for the quality of photos they are from my phone!

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The Sky Crawlers Film Review

sky crawlers 1Maiyumi reviews number 100 on her list, The Sky Crawlers – be warned it does contain minor spoilers.

Sky Crawlers (2008) directed by Mamoru Oshii, centers around fighter pilot Yuichi Kannami. The film begins with planes in the air shooting at each other while the credits roll. This is a good start to the film, establishing the conflict the characters will face (war) while telling the audience who the director and producer are etc. As most people (including myself I admit) skip the credits and it keeps the viewer interested.

The story begins as Kannami arrives at the airfield and where we are introduced to the other members of this airfield along with our protagonist. Including the head female mechanic and her dog, the other fighter pilots and the boss Kusanagi (one of the few women on base).

sky crawlers 2Now at the beginning I was fixed on the animation, the planes themselves are a different style of animation to the characters, which blend with each other well, I do like the choice of animation when the planes are up in the air or just stationary at the air field.

As Kannami arrives it doesn’t take long for him to be inquisitive about the previous pilot to his plane. This stirs some interest for the audience, as all the other characters seem to change the subject when the question comes up. The only one who gives him an answer is his boss, Kusanagi, who promptly tells Kannami that he doesn’t need to know. Now the main character doesn’t strike me as confident as he doesn’t pursue the subject but brings it up again much later on.

sky crawlers 3I did find the character progression through the film to be a bit slow, I didn’t expect much at the beginning as that is when the story is being introduced to the audience, however later on I didn’t see the characters use much of their emotional spectrum. When Kannami and one of the other fighter pilots end up at this diner, it seemed nice as I was expecting to see some bonding between the characters, however this encounter said more for the friend as he then introduced Kannami to a couple of escorts (which they both end up in bed with).

There were a couple of time during the film I found that the character had some development, when Kannami and Kusanagi stay at the bases guest house they have dinner and begin talking to each other, with this part sex between the character was implied; as Kusanagi was saying to Kannami “Would you like to stay here with me?” and referring to the previous pilot who at this point it is established he was a former lover of Kusanagi’s. She then beings to undo her clothing, not in a sexual way, but in a more ‘just got home from work and tired’ sort of way and all this at the kitchen table. I really enjoyed this scene as I felt it was one of the few scenes where I felt both characters really shared something.

The Sky CrawlersKusanagi is Kannami’s love interest however the love between them is subtle, they don’t openly express their feelings for each other at all, but it is expressed in other ways, for example not shooting Kusanagi when she asks Kannami to do so, as she shot and killed the previous pilot.

There was one part of information I did find confusing at the beginning of the film, it’s cleared up nearer the end however this left me uncertain for most of the film; and it was because the pilots were Kildren. Now Kildren are a type of person who doesn’t grow old, they continue to look like teenagers until they are killed in battle. Through out the film there are a few comments, about ‘dealing with children’ or them not being adults. Later on in the film a female fighter pilot is introduced when the airfield are relocated temporarily. Now this pilot seems to be having an identity crisis (which no one really pays attention to) she is talking to Kannami when she basically tells the audience what exactly a Kildren is and why there are no adult pilots. Kildren are used in battle as they only die when they are killed, they don’t grow old so there is no need for retirement and more time to perfect their skills. Which is why when the main enemy is revealed, it is surprising for the pilots to learn that the ‘Teacher’ (the un-killable pilot) is an adult.

sky crawlers 5Now with the ‘Teacher’ a small detail did seem to annoy me, his trademark on his plane is a black jaguar, which to me doesn’t make much sense. I understand with Japanese culture, someone who you could benefit to learn something from them, you could call them sensei, which translated would be teacher, but why the jaguar? Towards the end of the film Kannami goes after Teacher, and calls him father, now this surprised me, as I couldn’t recall when this bit of information was discovered, now this may be my own fault as at this point my attention was fading.

One of the negatives I found with this film was that the story does take its time, the film itself is about 2 hours long, so it has plenty of time, but it the story progression seems really slow. I found that my attention was fading in and out during the film. Approximately 25 minutes into the film, the only elements established are the characters names and roles, the curiosity of this previous pilot and the fact that there is some sort of war going on. Now during this point of the film I was a bit skeptical about if there was a war, or some sort of conflict; as yes there were battles in the air however on ground I wasn’t given the impression that there was a war going on, the airfield itself was small with only a handful of pilots, no one is seen using the artillery weapons. However the film is about the fighter pilots so I would assume including other war elements would be distracting the audience from the fighter pilots. When there was a threat to the airbase (a few enemy planes were spotted heading towards the air field by the main character) you don’t see any actual battle, when Kannami arrives the battle is over, no ones dead and the boss is just pissed she wasn’t warned sooner.

The Sky CrawlersAfter I had finished watching the film my impressions were that it was too long, they could have told that story in a shorter amount of time, and I felt during the film I was waiting for something to happen. 2 hours was too long, perhaps 1.30 hours would have been better. I also failed to see why they characters being Kildren mattered, it would have had the same effect if the characters were simply young, in their early 20’s perhaps. The film itself is good for those who like films where the audience can make their own conclusions, rather than having the narrative tell the audience how to feel or tell them exactly what the characters are feeling or the reasons for their actions. If you prefer films where a lot goes on, its fast pace with action, I wouldn’t recommend it, especially for younger viewers who need action to keep their attention. However if you do have a couple of hours to spare then by all means watch Sky Crawlers, it is an interesting film.

The story was good and thought provoking, however the pace made the film drag on. Perhaps if the film was about 1 hour and 20 -30 minutes, I would give it a higher rating.

Top Scene: When Kannami and Kusanagi went bowling, it was the best scene where both characters both showed that they were letting their guard down, and beginning to show that they mean something to each other. Which is only reinforced as they end up having sex in the car.

Verdict: 2/5.

As a side note, the list where I found the top 100-anime films, keeps changing so I will be doing my best to review 100 anime films. So if the films reviewed are not in the current correct order that will be because the rankings have changed! The list can be found here.

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One Piece Music Symphony Comes to London

one piece 2The One Piece Music Symphony is coming to Cadogan Hall, London on Saturday 7 February, 8pm for two hour concert.

Following Princess Mononoke’s theatre adaptation and Nine Worlds, an annual Final Fantasy concert, it is great to see more anime influences hitting the London Westend!

For those unfamiliar One Piece is an anime based on the manga which follows the trials and triumphs of Luffy as he explores the ocean in search of the world’s ultimate treasure known as “One Piece” in order to become the next Pirate King. The series has proven very popular, following in the league of fan favourites Naruto, Fairy Tail and Bleach with over 100 episodes and counting. Not only a great show combining comedy and drama it has a beautiful soundtrack.

one piece 1The man behind the music,  Kohei Tanaka, musical director of the series, has taken his passion and pieced together this live event for fans. Accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra conducted by Jean Thorel, it is set to be a night to remember, two hours of harmonies played alongside scenes from the anime projected on a large screen accompanied by live music of the original score. I can’t wait and look forward to attending this one off experience collaborating anime and classical music.

Incredibly there are some tickets left including a package which involves a meet and greet with the legend Kohei Tanaka himself!

IMG_9979psHaving Colleen Clinkenbeard (voice of Luffy) appear at London Anime Gaming Con last year, I know many of you are big One Piece fans and hope to see you all there!

Those thinking of attending, or have already purchased their ticket may want to join this Facebook group where attendees/cosplayers are meeting beforehand.

Tickets can be purchased here ranging from £25-7

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London Super Costume Championships at LSCC 2015

IMG_4792psWinner of our Best Cosplay Contest 2014 in our LoEC Convention awards, London Super Costume Championship is back, and set to be better than ever with early registration open 16 January. The event takes place during London Super Comic Con 14-15 March 2015 at London Excel Centre.

Last year we saw YaYa Han, Riddle’s Messy Wardrobe and Tabitha Lyons judge and crown Nikita and Annshella Cosplay the winner for their Elsa and Anna (Frozen) costumes. The pair were closely followed by runners up (and ECG winners) Laura Sindall and Cosplex for their nostalgic She-ra cosplays .

This year, judges from around the world (well America, France and Germany) will gather again to judge the championship across two days and make the gruelling, tough decision of who will win the title and the grand prize of two tickets to Dragon Con, plus flights and 5 nights’ accommodation paid for!

 So who are this year’s judges?

IMG_4824psYaya Han, international professional cosplayer and star of Heroes of Cosplay. YaYa will be returning to check everyone’s seams and offering some tip top advice to this year’s contestants. An inspiration to many, it will be great to have her back!

IMG_4836psAs last year’s winners, Nikita and Annshella will now be on the other side of the  judging table. Travelling from France, these skilled cosplayers will also have the ability to emphasise with  contestants having been in their shoes.

kamui tablante photo

Kamui by Tablante Photography

Kamui Cosplay, born in Uzbekistan she moved to Germany when she was five. The talented cosplayer is not only a wizard at worbla but dedicated to providing tutorials and guides to other cosplayers. Self publsishing best-selling books about  painting, armour making and her latest release “The Book of Cosplay Lights”. We could all certainly learn a thing or too from her!

Photo by Cosplay Boom

Photo by Cosplay Boom

Bill Coran from Punished Props  specilaises in making space guns, fantasy weapons, and elaborate sets of armour for a living by building high quality replica props for clients all around the world. Bill also loves to share his passion and techniques with others through videos and digital guides.

IMG_2952ps

Popette Cosplay

The contest is 50% craft, 50% performance, which means it is bound to be another show stopper event! Last year the audience saw; costume changes, confetti cannons, monologues and martial arts, it was one heck of a show. I for one can’t wait to see what the 2015 entrants have in store!

It all may sound very overwhelming, but don’t be afraid to enter! Ben Hunt, LSCC Cosplay Organiser highlights, “To anyone who has worked hard to create a costume that they’re proud of, now’s the time to show it off! Being involved in any competition is a fantastic experience, and at LSCC it’s also a great chance to talk to some of the most famous and successful cosplayers in the world.”

Jazzhands Cosplay

Jazzhands Cosplay

As mentioned above, early registration opens 16 January there are of course some rules, please read them carefully here along with information on how to register.

 Tickets are avaialble to purchase here:

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