Meggin-leigh Roberts

Lover of nature with a passion for writing, Meggin - Leigh Roberts is in her first year of the Professional Writing program offered at Algonquin College. She likes to read and write short stories and in her spare time enjoys kicking back with some sushi to catch up on her favourite Anime shows. She loves spending time with her family, friends, and pets as well as attending the occasionally nerd convention.

Konnichiwa!

An inside peek into the lifestyle of a part-time Otaku (Canadian anime fan girl)

Friday
Apr082011

The Ultimate Showdown

Welcome back readers! Are you ready to rumble? Don’t worry, you haven’t been tricked. You haven’t stumbled onto some kind of wrestling blog either. Since you now know all the basics of the Otaku culture, (go ahead, have a little victory dance if you want or you can caramel danse if you wish) I figured it was about time for us to have a bit of a showdown! It is time for the epic battle, the ultimate decision of the Otaku culture: Anime or Manga? As a new Otaku, you might find yourself wondering whether you should read manga or watch anime. What’s the difference? Which is better? Read on to find out!

Manga is the term used for the Japanese comic-books that go on much like a series. These tend to be rather long and can have up to over 100 books in a series. These comic-books tend to be a little more detailed than your average Western comic-book and are also read in a slightly different fashion. True mangas will be read from back to front (A little backwards you might say) and read from right to left. It can be a little confusing when you first start out but these tend to have a little instructional page in the beginning to help you and make sure your reading it the way it was meant to be read. Not all mangas do this however. Since manga and anime alike have become more and more popular in the West, the mangas today tend to read like your ordinary North American comic-book. So how does manga differ from anime? I am glad you asked!

Anime is a show or movie that you can watch on TV, online or buy online or from your local anime shop. Anime tend to spawn from a pre-existing manga and rarely develop as a video itself. Now, I’m saying this from a Canadian perspective. I know in Japan they have many anime that did not have a pre-existent manga. See not much to it. There really isn’t that much of difference when it comes to the two. When it comes right down to it: one’s a book and the other is a video. So what does the public prefer?

Recently I decided to take advantage of this new “ask a question” option on the ever popular Facebook. I asked what people preferred and I received four replies. *Sigh* some people just don’t want to contribute to the study of anime. Anyway, from what I gathered it seems to be a tie.  Two voters said that they preferred anime and the other two said they preferred both anime and manga. Now I like to attribute this to our society becoming a more digital, time-consuming, era and people are looking for quick results and wanting them in a shorter time. Confused? Don’t be, I shall explain. Anime tends to take say the 100 book series and condense it to something shorter for the video version. Let’s face it. No one is going to want to watch 100 episodes of a show where half of it is inner thoughts and descriptions. If you do, then by all means, stick with the manga.

Who wins?

Technically it seems that anime is the winner but don’t feel pressured into watching the anime rather than the manga if that’s what you’re into. It’s really your choice in the end. Some people argue that mangas are too long and others argue that anime leaves out too much information. Everyone has their opinions but when it comes to you, it should only be yours that counts.

Congratulations readers. I now dub you all honorary Otakus! You’ve learned all the basics of what being an Otaku is like and I can’t say enough how awesome it was to share that all with you.

Until next time! Dewa Mata!  



Friday
Mar252011

The Anime Stop

Konnichiwa!

Instead of explaining something about the Otaku culture today, I’m going to share with you something I personally like to do as an Otaku. That, my friends, is the Anime Stop! J

The Anime Stop is a little shop located in Ottawa and is one of my favorite places to visit to do all of my Otaku shopping. Filled with mangas, DVD’s, cosplays, and all the adorable plush dolls you can handle, the Anime Stop is a great place to shop for all your Otaku needs and at the same time, won’t do much damage to your wallet! (It’s great if you’re an anime fan in college and your funds are limited.)

From the store’s humble beginnings in the corner of its neighbor, the Comic Book Shop, it has now become its own store and does quite well for itself. Their customers usually include people in their early teens to their late twenties but will occasionally have parents and their children come in to learn more about what anime is and which ones are suitable for their kids to watch.

But that’s not to say that the Anime Shop has forgotten their roots! Every so often, when a convention comes to town, the Anime Stop and the Comic Book Shop group up together and make a great collective profit selling their merchandise on sale to the many costumed Otaku at the conventions.

The Anime Shop doesn’t just sell anime based products though. There’s a little something for everyone, from video gamed candy and merchandise, such as Mario and Zelda, and also has its own mini collection of products made by the manager herself! Whitney Cox makes an assortment of key chains with cute faces and wigs for cosplays that look simply incredible.

It is one of my outmost favorite places to shop and not just because it happens to sell anime merchandise. The employees are always very kind and helpful whenever I have a question or advice while shopping and the store itself is very cozy and welcoming.

This store is great for anyone learning about the Otaku culture and for those wanting to get more into it. Whether you’re looking for a particular anime or manga or just a mere suggestion depending on your individual interests, this store can help you find it. But don’t take my word for it, if you’re close to the store, go ahead and check it out for yourself! I guarantee you won’t leave disappointed.

That’s all I have for you this week but come check back soon so you can read the ultimate showdown: Manga vs Anime! What’s the difference? Which one is better? You’ll find out in the next post.

Dewa Mata!

Tuesday
Mar222011

Anime Invasion!

The Otaku culture invades Canada with costumes and cuteness.

For the past few years Canadians have witnessed a silent invasion - an invasion of adorable characters and brightly costumed teenagers. What many Canadians may not be aware of is that they’ve been witnessing the Otaku invasion. Japanese comic books and animated shows have become increasingly popular show no signs of stopping.

Recently I decided to take a trip to my local “anime” (pronounced an-ee-may) shop in Nepean, Ontario to have a chat with the manager, Whitney Cox. I walked into a store that was packed with all sorts of anime goodies. Two of the walls were filled with all sorts of manga (Japanese comic-book), DVDs, and action figures. The middle of the store was filled with racks of adorable plush toys and additional action figures and reading materials. In the midst of it all I sat at a little round table, nervously clutching my tape recorder, ready to ask my questions. Cox seemed relaxed, more so than I was because she was used to having students coming in to interview her. The majority of them were business students from the local college but I was here to talk about something new with her. I was here to discuss anime and what about it was becoming so popular in Canada.

“In the last year its gotten a lot bigger with younger kids; we’re getting at the age now where a lot of the people aged 20 to 30 [who watched anime] are having kids and exposing them to what they like. We’re going to see kids who like comics and anime more than before, when it was more niche, now it’s ‘everybody likes it, my parents like it, I grew up with it, it’s in my house.’ They’re exposed to their parents’ collection, where they can watch it.”

Research shows that the generation of people who grew up reading DC and Marvel comics went on to create the film-based products of their youth, serving a whole new generation of comic- book fans. We can safely assume that the current generation will follow suit. In the past year, we have already seen the film-based products of two anime series: Dragon Ball Z and Avatar (known as The Last Airbender in its film adaptation). Although these films did not produce as much positive feedback as their television counterparts, many fans believe that it is only a matter of time before its popularity picks up. The question is: what effect does this anime invasion have on children?

 

The Anime Takeover of American Television

It is no secret that anime and manga are not primarily geared towards young children.  Even the ones that are child-friendly tend to have deeper psychological meanings than cartoons found on American television today. Many parents ask if it is alright to expose their children to such mature information, at such an impressionable age, and the answer really depends on the individual parent. “I find right now, with Western cartoons, they’re more sporadic and all over the place, they don’t really have a lot of structure, so anime has the upper hand. Whereas, there were a few shows when I was younger, that were Western, like Gargoyles, which did have structure.” The times have definitely changed for children’s TV shows today. What once had a structure and storyline has now declined to random, irregular episodes, giving anime popularity a boost with younger viewers.

Anime shows for children are considerably different from traditional American programs. They tend to offer young viewers a more mature and thought-provoking storyline compared to their American counterparts. Many of them, such as Sailor Moon, follow a soap opera-like plot where the characters grow and develop through time. “I’ve seen some really weird stuff [talking about American cartoons] that has absolutely no plot and you don’t think at all. At least anime there are character and plot development, even if it’s introduced a little younger, it actually forces them to think a little bit more while they’re watching it, as long as it’s not too mature." Shows like Phineas and Ferb, an American children’s show, does not seem to have the same character and plot develop old Western shows and todays anime shows offer. They go on random adventures that end as the credits roll by. Nothing really changes and there is nothing to get a growing mind to ponder about what they have just seen.

Another important issue to be wary of when it comes to children and anime is how parents monitor what their children watch. Anime has its own adult-only genre called Hentai, a sexually explicit genre that offers unrealistic scenarios and fantasies to be played out in an anime styled storyline. Stumbling upon this material might confuse children on which anime is okay to watch and which is not. Like any form of entertainment, it is up to the parent to monitor what their children are watching and reading. Every anime is rated just as American movies and shows are rated. Admittedly it can be a little difficult to rate some anime shows between General and Mature but when it comes to buying Hentai there is no confusion. Every customer trying to buy either the comic-books or DVDs must show their ID to prove they are 18 or older.

For some fans, such as Kelsey Carkner, an 18-year-old college student, from Ottawa, Ontario, anime is not your average hobby, it’s a lifestyle. “It’s entertaining, it’s interesting.  All of my friends except one like anime. It’s different than normal cartoons and television shows.” Towards the end of the interview when I ask if she has anything more to say about the subject she laughs and says, “I want to go watch it now.” Just talking about anime gets many fans excited and eager to watch their favorite shows. Although Kelsey has watched anime and bought minimal merchandise she’s said she would like to participate in one of the many conventions beginning to pop up across Canada.

Conventions are a major part of anime of the Otaku lifestyle, where fans of all ages gather in large convention centers so that they can participate in viewings, stand in line for autographs from their favorite voice actors and artists, buy anime-related merchandise and have a good time with their friends. It is rare to find a single fan by themselves at conventions.

Many fans go with friends in costume as characters from a particular show or comic. Cosplays, as Otakus call them, can be made by hand using a number of different materials, like the good old cardboard and duct tape, or by purchasing them online or in store. “I think that in direct relation to conventions that are popping up, I find a lot of people who are into anime, stick with people who are into anime, there is a little bit of a culture to it. [Especially] with all the conventions and the different branches that anime has taken like the costuming, the manga, and the DVDS,” Cox. Even now, with video gaming becoming increasingly popular within the anime world, there is a little something for everyone.

What draws the demographic, ages 16-29, to these animated shows though? Many of the mainstream television shows geared towards the demographic offer quick, wise-cracked jokes, 80’s and 90’s American pop culture references and minimal character developments similar to the popular Western show, Family Guy. Otaku fans watch anime shows because they are looking for something more thought-provoking and entertaining, something that will get their mind to work and allow its audience to follow the main characters, usually about four, who develop significantly throughout the course of the show, much like the anime show, Inuyasha.

Anime fans tend to choose the Japanese cartoons rather than the American ones for another reason as well. They watch for the choice. Most American television shows run by seasons, whereas anime shows run by episodes. For Otakus looking for something short may opt for a 13-episode series. For a medium length anime, fans can watch a 24-episode series and for Otakus looking for a lengthy show could find ones that run past 100 episodes. Providing this choice offers Canadian audiences more control over how much they want to watch rather than the regular, American standard series that usually run from 20 to 25 episodes.

The Future For Anime in Canada

Recent anime movies that have been made, based on their television series, were not as popular as they could have been due to issues with accuracy, but Cox believes that, with time, anime in theatres will begin to become more frequent. “Anime is not quite there yet to bring in enough of a crowd… it has it’s demographic but I don’t think the demographic is big enough to raise the kind of money they’d need for a blockbuster hit. It might [become popular] when the younger fans, the ones who are 16 or 17 get a little bit older, there might be more of an audience for it then.” What’s interesting is that theatres have begun showing one-time showings of animated movies based on anime shows and have done remarkably well with their sales.  “I know that Evangelion: 2.0 which got played last month at Silver City, ended up selling out, so I think the popularity is getting there.”  

Yes, it certainly seems that anime has found a home within Canadian society. With such a wide demographic, it does not appear that the fan base will stop growing for the time being. The future seems bright for anime in Canada with the prospect of better film adaptations of television series and multiple conventions popping up all over Canada.  Although we may not know how far this Otaku culture will grow in Canada, one thing is for certain: Anime is here to stay.

Friday
Mar112011

Cosplay?

To cosplay or not to cosplay, that is the question! In other words, should you dress up for an anime convention? Cosplaying is just a fancy way of saying that you’re going to dress up as a character from an anime/manga and go to a convention. It’s kind of a like going to a costume party where, depending on how well you’ve pulled off the costume; people will want to get pictures with you. If you’ve been reading my blog and have found yourself becoming a bit of an Otaku, looking for something to do before the next convention, then keep reading – because this post is for you! If you haven’t jumped on the Otaku bandwagon have no worries. This post offers more than just learning about the Otaku way of life and its habits, this time we’re going to get a little creative!

When deciding to cosplay you have a few options to choose from. Choosing your level of creativity and how much you’re willing to spend on a costume will help you decide which cosplay path is best for you. If you find yourself to be generally creative and low on funds the best path is to visit fabric stores and thrift shops. You can let your creative side flourish as you create and try to mirror one of your favourite characters. One Otaku I’ve run into in a past convention decided to play the knight version of Al Elric from the anime Full Metal Alchemist. Now for those of you who know who this character is (I’ve linked a photo of the character to give you a better idea of what he looks like) you will see that pulling off a full knight’s costume. Well if you’re as creative as this fellow was, then you would have purchased a ton of duck tap and cardboard and spent three weeks creating this costume. (And when I say three weeks, I mean working on it three to five hours a day) Yep, that’s how dedicated some of us Otaku’s are.

Now, this obviously isn’t the most appropriate path for everyone. Not everyone has that much time on their hands. So if you have a bit of extra money to spend and don’t have all the time in the world to put together a costume then you might settle for a different path: buying online or in anime-selling shops. I would hesitate before choosing this path however. You have to keep in mind that some of these purchased costumes can be a little pricey. To see an example you can click HERE to see an example of ones you can buy online. Another factor to think about is that many conventions will not allow purchased costumes to participate in Masquerades (essentially a place where people can compete and show off their costumes for prizes at conventions). If they do allow them then you will not be eligible to win any prizes.

As you can see each path has its pros and cons but in the end: it’s your costume. You have the final say on what you’re going to do when it comes to cosplaying and both paths are used in every convention. In many cases, it is very difficult to tell whether a costume has been made by hand or purchased. Another thing to keep in mind is not to feel pressured to cosplay. Many people do and many people choose not to. No one will ever make fun of you for not wearing a costume to a convention, in fact only a small selection really do. It’s not for everyone but speaking from experience, I always find it a lot of fun.

Until next time, Dewa mata!

Tuesday
Mar012011

Unspoken Promise

“Helping one another is part of the religion of sisterhood.” -Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)

“Marty, how many times have I told you to stop touching my stuff!” Samantha yelled from the bathroom. Six-year-old Marty cautiously peeked around the open bathroom door to see how she had bothered her older sister, Samantha, this time. Samantha was rustling through the bathroom cupboards frantically looking for something. Marty could see that her sister’s long brown hair, usually in a delicate braid, was messy, with loose strands falling out in chestnut wisps. And as she continued to watch, Marty noticed her electric green eyes were dashing back and forth like a tennis ball in play as they searched for whatever it was she was blaming Marty to have touched.

“What are you looking for, Sam?” Marty asked. Samantha looked at Marty and then back in the cupboards before she froze. When she turned back, Marty thought she saw Samantha’s eyes spark with anger. Samantha pointed at Marty’s hair.

 “Those,” she said through clenched teeth. “Those are mine. Those are my hairclips, Marty!” she shouted. Marty pouted as her eyes began to water.

 “I, I just wanted to look more grown up . . . they’re really really pretty and I was going to put them back before you knew they were missing, honest I was.” Marty began to sniff as she wiped her nose on her sleeve.  Samantha rolled her eyes.

 “I don’t care. You can’t just go around touching other people’s stuff. I wanted to wear them to school. Now what am I supposed to wear? Hair clips that everyone will have seen my stupid little sister wear? Oh yeah, I bet I’ll look really cool then.” Samantha fumed. From downstairs the girls’ mother called for them to hurry so they wouldn’t be late for school. Samantha held out her hand for the clips, which Marty sadly passed over.

“Do me a favour and stop touching my stuff.” Samantha glared down at her teary-eyed sister. “And stop your crying because it makes you look like a baby.”

During lunch the sisters stayed on opposite ends of the school yard. They did not talk, they did not wave. They did nothing to show to anyone else that they were related. They simply treated each other as if they were any other kid on the playground.

At 10 minutes left in their lunch hour, Samantha sat under one of the two major trees in the school yard talking with a group of her closest friends.

As the girls were talking, a small girl about Marty’s age walked shyly up to the older girls and waited for one of them to notice her. When they did, she said, “Sorry, you’re Marty’s sister right?” Samantha rolled her eyes.

“Yeah, why, what does she want?”

“Well, it’s just; there are a bunch of fifth graders picking on her over by the other tree because we were playing duck, duck, goose and . . .”

Samantha didn’t let the girl finish her story. The fifth graders were notorious in their school for picking on people much younger than them. When she arrived at the other tree it was to find them pulling at her sister’s hair.

“Nice hair clips baby, where’d you get them from, your mommy’s jewellery box?” One of them said, a girl with shiny blonde hair and freckles splashed across her face. “You look a little young to be wearing such pretty clips.”

“Stop, that hurts!” Marty cried as the girl attempted to pull the clips from her hair. Samantha ignored the fact that the girl was in a higher grade than herself and that she would probably get in a lot of trouble for what she was about to do and ran up to the girl, shoving her away from her little sister. The older girl won their fight leaving Samantha to be picked up by her mother with a bloody nose and bruised shins. By the time Marty got home she found her sister in her room reading a book.

“You okay?” Samantha looked up and rolled her eyes.

“Of course I’m okay,” she said, “it takes more than a stupid kid like that to bother me,” before going back to her book. Marty simply stood at the door, not sure what she should do. Samantha looked up from her book once more to see that Marty was still there, so she patted a hand down beside her, gesturing for Marty to take a seat. The little girl walked quickly into the room and sat carefully down beside her older sister. Soon Samantha began to read aloud the story she had been reading so Marty would understand it too.

“Helping one another is part of the religion of sisterhood...” She read.



Friday
Feb252011

What's On The Menu?

Miso soup, California rolls with some ginger and wasabi and a box of Pocky for dessert. Now doesn’t that sound good? Hey there everyone, in case you haven’t already guessed, we’re talking about the Otaku diet today. Now sushi is not everyone’s preferred meal but when it comes to Otaku’s: Japanese and Chinese cuisine is a regular favorite among many. It’s hard to truly describe what it is exactly that makes Otaku pallets water for such uniquely styled food but one thing is for sure – we just can’t get enough of it.

It really makes no difference if the reason we eat these oriental styled dishes is for the psychological motive that watching our favorite anime/manga characters eating the stuff will makes us crave it or the sheer deliciousness of the food itself because in the end we’ll still eat it anyway. That may sound bad that many of us Otaku’s are falling victim to animated subliminal messaging but in reality doing this provides consumers with something many fast food commercials do not: providing a healthy choice to what we’re eating. That’s right; sushi is incredibly healthy for you!

The eating of sushi can offer you an alternative healthy choice to your usual take out meal. Many people know that fish is good for you due to its low levels of cholesterol and saturated fats but few know that many fish used for sushi, such as salmon and tuna, also contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which provide a variety of healthy improvements to your body. The same goes with the rest of the ingredients used to make sushi. From the full of minerals, green pieces of seaweed used to wrap sushi to the rice that surrounds it that stops you from over eating due to its expansion in the stomach, all of the ingredients used to make these dishes provide a very healthy alternative to the typical greasy burger and fries.

Now many squirm away from the idea of sushi because many of the more popular sushi dishes contain raw fish. Now before you think I’ve gone crazy and log off for saying that eating raw fish is good for you I’d like you to pause and look at these safety tips and health facts everyone should know before eating (or thinking of not trying) sushi:

  • The most important rule is to eat wisely and use your common sense. Never eat at a sushi restaurant that looks dirty or where you can see that the chefs are not wearing gloves. Many sushi restaurants prepare their rolls in the open where you can see them. If you can’t see an area where the chef is working perhaps you should choose a different place to eat.
  • Mercury level is another issue to be concerned about when it comes to the eating of raw fish. This isn’t a major issue for the healthy individual but if you’re pregnant or have a young child perhaps it is better to stick with the more vegetarian meals provided at many sushi restaurants.
  • If you don’t like raw fish (or even cooked fish) there are still many other dishes out there you can try. Perhaps a yummy vegetable tempura? Miso soup? Edamame? The possibilities are endless.

So don’t be afraid, go out today and try something new! Until next time, Dewa mata!

 

Thursday
Feb102011

GAnime! A Convention Close to Home

Oh the people! The costumes! The auctions.... wait what? Hello there, blog readers, I have a pretty exciting topic to discuss with you today and that, my friends, are conventions! Aren’t you excited? This past weekend I was lucky enough to go to G-Anime 2011, a local convention that occurs only fifteen minutes away from Ottawa in Gatineau, Quebec. Before I get into all the cool stuff I was able to do there we’ll start with a little warm up. For those of you who do not know, a convention is essentially a large group of people who gather to share a similar interest. Think of those conventions a lot of die-hard, Star Trek and Star Wars fans attend. An anime convention is no different. An “anime con” is where we anime fans go to do a variety of different activities, meet up with fellow Otakus and have a lot of fun doing it! There are many things that can be done at these conventions some of which include:

  • A masquerade – a masquerade is an event held at many anime conventions where con goers can show off their home made costumes and win prizes.
  • Meet voice actors – better known conventions offer celebrity autograph and panel sessions where people can get a chance to see some of the actors that do the voices for their favourite characters and shows.
  • Shop till you drop! – conventions are the best place to buy Anime related merchandise such as DVD’s, toys, clothing and more, all at usually reduced prices.

Different conventions offer different entertainment so I’ll take this time to discuss my own experience at G-Anime:


Dressed as Hanayu Asitaba from Mixed Vegetables (a manga I enjoy reading) I was ready to get my con on! After getting my pass that showed I had paid to get in, I made my way to the exhibitor room where I soon found myself surrounded by cute anime related merchandise and fellow costumed Otakus. After browsing the tables upon tables of merchandise I decided to get a few interviews for my upcoming feature. I got to have a friendly chat with a woman who worked at my favourite anime shop as well as sat down with a lady who enjoys drawing anime styled cartoons for people to buy. When I was done with that I decided it was time to see what else this convention had to offer. Walking into various convention rooms I suddenly found myself in one that was holding an auction, whose proceeds would be given to a local charity. The articles up for sale were costumed convention goers! Naturally, for a good cause, I had to get in on the fun. When the auction was over I looked in on some of the other rooms which included a photography room as well as a gaming room filled with Dance, Dance, Revolution mats and a large collection of Wii controllers. After the excitement of exploring was over I decided to sit back and watch a few of my fellow Otakus sing, dance, and perform in the middle of the halls. (As is the usual at conventions) It was a lot of fun but sadly it was time for me to leave but not before I had filled my mind with plans of what I would be dressing up as for the next convention I’ll be attending in August: Fan Expo – Toronto!

Dewa mata!

Monday
Feb072011

Review: Rent

Based on the hit Broadway musical, Rent follows the lives of a group of Bohemians through the course of one year as they struggle through relationships, drugs, AIDS, and even life itself. Set in the East Village of New York City, the film is shown through the use of a hand-held camera and music. It documents a variety of different characters ranging from a starving musician to a computer age philosophy teacher. The film highlights the characters’ different sexual orientations and quirky personalities in order to present the idea that being different and unconventional is okay. This film documents the lives of the friends and the many twists and turns they venture through in order to remain unique, themselves and most importantly, alive.

Keeping with the Broadway hit, the film is accompanied by song and dance as it focuses on the main character, Mark, who follows important events of his friends’ lives including protests, a café get together, subway rides, and life-support meetings through his video camera. Throughout the course of the film the audience is shown the realities of what it is like to live in a society where being poor is the norm and being unique is frowned upon. We see this explored through the seven main characters in the film, as they go through their own struggles. Mark Cohen is trying to get his film career going as he documents the lives of his friends. Roger Davis must deal with his AIDS while trying to find love and write his one true song. Mimi Marquez attempts to get off drugs while struggling to make a living as a dancer. Tom Collins, who is tired of teaching a group of uninterested students computer age philosophy, wants to move to Santa Fe. Angel Dumott Schunard, the cross dresser, is fighting her own disease while she tries to start her own line of fashion. Maureen Johnson sings and protests against the injustice of moving people out of their apartments in order to make way for a new multimedia studio and Joanne Jefferson attempts to keep her girlfriend Maureen from flirting with other men and women. Director Chris Columbus attempts to portray the message that you do not need money in order to have close friends nor do you need to act “normal” in order to be happy. This message is repeated many times throughout the course of the film.

Columbus has done a remarkable job in presenting his message by offering different personality views for the audience to look through. Because of the film’s many controversial topics, it would be hard for many to understand and grasp its true meaning if the audience can only look through the eyes of one character. By allowing other characters with varying personalities to be presented, the audience is able to understand this message better because they are given more of a choice. Although it may have been unnecessary to include as many characters as the director did, in the end, the message is still clear. Being different is not a bad thing and being poor does not make a difference in the realm of friendship and happiness. In my opinion, this message was clearly stated numerous times throughout the film and the director conveyed it wonderfully.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and the way it was presented. The characters were both intriguing and memorable, allowing for the audience to develop a special bond as the film progressed. I do feel, however, that the list of “main” characters could have been shortened from seven to five to reduce a sense of confusion the audience could have developed between characters and their individual storylines. I loved the use of songs to emphasize the meaning of the message as well as highlight key events and the songs themselves were easy to listen to and well suited for their scenes they were shown in. The camera work was also well done as it switched from hand-held to stationary in order to capture the essence of Mark being the one filming. However, this film deals with certain subject matter that many may find obscene and/or vulgar. These people, I regrettably must say, should not watch this film simply because I do not think they will be able to grasp the true meaning it conveys. All others who may not be offended or have an interest in musicals should definitely see this film. With friendship, love, music and more, Rent is a wonderful movie to watch again and again.

Friday
Jan282011

The Otaku Culture 

 Hello there!

Welcome to my blog! Before I begin, I’d like to ask you a few questions: Have you ever turned on your television and noticed that some children's cartoons have been drawn differently than they used to be? Have you ever questioned whether it was Halloween or not while seeing groups of people dressed in bizarre-looking costumes making their way to convention centres? Do you wonder why people have such a fixation with eating raw fish wrapped in rice?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, congratulations, you’ve noticed the invasion! Don’t panic, aliens haven’t taken over the earth and Steven Spielberg isn’t making a movie in your area, you’ve just witnessed what I like to call “The Otaku Invasion".

An Otaku is a term used to describe people who have an interest (and in some cases, an obsession) with some aspects of Japanese Culture. In recent years, people of all ages have become fascinated in this “Otaku Culture”and as a result its popularity has grown to an incredible level. Bearing in mind that I am a Canadian and happen to consider myself a bit of an Otaku, I will be focusing on the interests and pastimes of the average Canadian Otaku.

If you’ve never heard of Otaku or are still unclear to what it really means, that’s okay! The purpose of this blog is to give you an inside look into what we Otaku fans like to do in our spare time and hopefully it will get you interested to join our little kazoku (family).

Here are some of the topics I’ll be going over through the course of the blog:

  1. Cosplay: What is it? Why do people do it? Should you or shouldn’t you? Find out!

  2. Conventions: The most anticipated events for an Otaku. I will hopefully be attending one in the upcoming weeks!

  3. Japanese Cuisine: Sushi? What is this sushi you speak off and just what CAN it do for you?

  4. Shopping: Where does an Otaku shop and what do they buy? How much does that stuff cost?!

  5. Anime VS. Manga: What’s the difference and which is better?

I invite you to join me as I show you a behind the scenes look at just what we Canadian Otaku do for fun!

 

Dewa mata! (See you later!)