Monday, December 19, 2011

The Skyward Sword

Currently eating away my free time is The Legend of Zelda: The Skyward Sword. I've been a big fan of the Legend of Zelda game series for a while now. In a closet somewhere in my house rests the golden cartridge of legend. We never beat that original game and my interests moved to Nintendo's first big competitor, SEGA. It wasn't until Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and the bonus collection that I really realized how great the series had become.

As the earliest story in the current Zelda continuity, Skyward Sword ties many of the more modern Zelda games together. So far it has proven to me to be a beautiful 25th Anniversary series celebration full of homages and Easter Eggs. But it's much more than just a milestone anniversary game. Artistically I think it's very sold. The game play is more fun than it is frustrating. The story and character development are right were they need to be. I haven't finished it yet. I won't say it is my favorite Zelda game so far because I don't know. But I do know even with the glitch controversy, it's a game worth experiencing and I'll probably be sad when it's over and beaten.

Adding Links to a blog post never made me smile so much. If you don't get it, you should be playing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Birthday Brrrraains!

Recently I was asked to do a very special commission which I'm excited to finally share with everyone!

Like me, Asher is a huge Plants vs Zombies fan! His favorite zombie from the game, produced by PopCap, is the elusive and mysterious Yeti Zombie. I was asked to draw the Yeti Zombie for buttons in time for his birthday and right away I knew I had to make brain ice cream!

I enjoyed everything about this request, but when I received the photo this morning I was on top of the world. There's nothing like drawing for kids!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Otakon 2011

This past weekend my husband and I drove to Baltimore for Otakon 2011.

It was my fourth trip and each year seems to get better and better. This year my goal was to meet Bob Shirohata, an Anime director who recently worked on the Anime adaption of my favorite web-comic, Hetalia. For those not in the Anime loop, it's hard to arrange for Japanese Anime industry professionals to attend conventions in the U.S. This was Shirohata's second U.S. convention and it was on our side of the country. I had to be there.

We arrived a little later than planned on Saturday morning, missing Shirohata's solo autograph session. Luckily we were just in time to get in line for the Hetalia Season Three Premiere which included a Q&A session with the Japanese and English voice actors and directors. It's always hard for us older fans to deal with the younger screaming fan-girl crowd, but I was able to endure and enjoyed all of the festivities provided by Funimation, the English distributor of the series. Charlene Ingram, the brand manager for Hetalia at Funimation, is my marketing hero. I love watching her use social media, rainbows and sparkles too keep us fans happy.

Saturday evening I finally had my chance to approach Shirohata at the Hetalia Cast signing. While waiting in line I saw Charlene looking in our direction. At last year's premiere of season two I hoped to have the chance to thank her for all of her hard work in person but she never got close enough for me to address her. She did manage to catch me watching her like a creeper when she took a photo of the crowd. I was so embarrassed when she posted the picture, even though she didn't point it out. I didn't want to repeat that so this year when I saw her looking our way I waved. She waved back with a smile then unexpectedly walked all the way back over to us. We talked for a bit and I finally had my chance to meet my girl crush in person and say thanks.

The wait didn't feel as long as it was. We were ushered in and managed to be in the third row of autograph seekers. I wanted everyone's autograph, but seeing Shirohata in person was something special. I had thought about what I wanted to say to him for days before we left for the convention. I wanted him to know that I was there because of him. I tweeted that I wanted to shake his hand, thank him, tell him that I loved watching his commentaries and that he has awesome hair. As the line moved I wondered if the man standing next to him was a translator. Did I mention Shirohata doesn't speak English? I quickly wondered what if he isn't a translator? What should I say? What about the cultural differences?

It was my turn and I handed Shirohata my copy of the Hetalia Animation Official Guide Book to sign. He threw me by saying "Hello." I don't know why it threw me. I know a few Japanese words, it's not at all surprising that he'd know an English greeting. I hesitated then made my decision and settled on telling him that I really enjoyed his commentaries that were subtitled extras on some of the DVDs. The next thing I knew the man next to him was translating and I smiled. I've never had my feelings translated to someone before and that really hit me in a profound way. He smiled and said Arigato. I wanted to say more, but did not want to hold up the line. I thanked him both in English and Japanese and moved along to greet the other guests.

I was casually cosplaying as the character France so I greeted the English voice actor who did his voice, J. Michael Tatum, with "Bonjour" which lead to him speaking to me in French and me staring like an idiot because I failed French in middle school. At least he joined me in the character's notorious "honhonhon" laugh. My husband, who does voices for fun, commented that he heard a lot of Maurice Chevailer in Tatum's version of France and got an amused response. He also teased Scott Freeman, who voiced Britain, about English food. I couldn't think of anything other than to tell Patrick Seitz (Germany), Scott Sager (Egypt/English Director) and Akira Sasanuma (Japanese voice actor for Austria) that I really enjoyed their work and thank you. I truly do love and appreciate everyone's hard work on the series.

I was on cloud nine the rest of the con. It might not seem like a big deal to most people but meeting the professionals that work so hard to entertain us and to have the chance to tell them how much their work means to us, how much they mean to us, will have me coming back to Otakon for years to come.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Funny Love

I've known of the South Korean cartoon character, Pucca, for a while. I'm not really sure why I waited so long to look into her story. Pepe Le Pew was never this charming.

A few years back my boss went to a licensing expo and brought me back a Pucca bag. I was psyched that she saw this particular bag and thought of me. It is very much my style. Prior to that, I've seen Pucca charms show up at my local Anime conventions and Pucca was briefly mentioned in the original web version of the Hetalia manga. Still I was too preoccupied with other things to investigate.

A few months ago I came across Pucca's Kissing Game in the Wii Ware Store. It was described as an Interactive Cartoon. How could I resist? I purchased, played and started falling for Pucca. Shortly after my purchase, I Googled her, found myself on Wikipedia and was surprised to learn Pucca is currently owned by Disney. I investigated the brand website. It's not what I'm used to when it comes to cartoon websites, very focused on the brand and licensing. My investigation stopped there, until the other night when my husband and I teamed up to beat Pucca's Kisses Game. The next morning we were happily watching episodes on YouTube. That afternoon we started a new game on Pucca's Kisses Game.

I can't tell you how much I love it when simple concepts are done beautifully. The art style is tight, the story is there and anyone can enjoy it. The fact that Pucca and Garu, the love of her life, do not speak while the supporting cast does, is genius. It really adds to the feel of the cartoon. I highly recommend Pucca to anyone who enjoys short, cute, funny cartoons with a lot of heart. I love Pucca

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sonic!

Today fans are celebrating 20 years of Sonic the Hedgehog by looking back at the classic games we grew up with and looking forward to the upcoming release of Sonic Generations, a game which promises to be a beautiful homage to a character we know and love.

Anyone who knows me personally, knows how big of an influence Sonic was on me. Yet this is the first time I ever celebrated his birthday. I remember mentions of the tenth and fifteenth anniversary, the tenth anniversary statue is the pride of my Sonic collection, but never before have I been able to witness a celebration of this magnitude and I have another love of mine to thank for that: Social Media.

Social media and damn good brand managing and publicity, on SEGA's part, allowing insights into a company I've wanted to be a part of since I was a kid. I feel like I'm the one getting birthday presents! If you're a fan and not following SEGA on Twitter or Facebook, you should be!

Help me help @SEGA get #sonic20th trending on Twitter for the US. I am currently posting #thingssonictaughtme to share all the good vibes and positive messages that can be found in Sonic games and the music created for them.

Here's a shaky but fun fan video from Sonic Boom 2011 which is just a glimpse into the festivities held during E3.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings & the Lost Ocean

I don't know why I feel like I haven't played a video game in a long time. It certainly isn't true.

A few weeks ago I decided to resume playing Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean. I bought it back in 2003 when it came out. Played it for a little while and got distracted by something I can't remember. I was impressed by the visuals and the unique turn based card game style battle system.

Surprisingly over the eight years Baten Kaitos sat dormant in my pile of games, the quality held up to the standards I remembered and appreciated. I did run into a few glitches and a boss battle that was less than fair but that hasn't stopped me. Interesting characters, stunning scenery and enjoyable game play outshines the typical cheesy voices and complicated storyline of a Anime style RPG. Someone somewhere along the line of production had a sense of humor that I get. Occasional notes on items and battle dialog make me laugh out loud.

I haven't beaten the game yet. I am not expecting anything amazing but I doubt a lame ending would take too much away from the things I really enjoyed so far.

Sadly in-game cut-scenes are not as pretty...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Dani Cat Designs and NMALLENART.COM will return to Tekkoshocon this year. Look for us in Artists Alley near Manifested Dreams.

I will have new merchandise like jewelry and key chains as well as new paper wallets for gamers, otaku and comic book fans. The magnetic dress up dolls will return so stop by and put your favorite bish┼Źnen in a dress or sailor fuku. Buttons are a staple of ours and of course get your photo taken with the Ed Head. The best photos will be featured on our Facebook page!

See you there!