Archive for October, 2008

Halloween Fun!

Saturday, October 25th, 2008 Announcements, Events

Halloween is always a blast at CJAS, and this year is no exception!

This Saturday, the 25th, is Masquerave, an annual costume dance party at Risley. A group of cosplayers are going at 10:00pm, and you’re welcome to join us.

Next Friday, Halloween night, is a CJAS karaoke night. Come in costume and sing your heart out! We’ll be in Cascadilla Dorm’s 2nd floor lounge from 8pm until approximately 11pm.

Finally, Saturday, November 1st, is CJAS’s cosplay contest. Come to our regular showing meeting in costume and compete! Prizes are awarded to the top three costumes. Dress up even if you’re not competing!

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Why You Should Come to E-Board (or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Meetings)

Friday, October 24th, 2008 CJAS

Every Friday (well almost. We don’t meet during the summer, etc.), an almost important group of people meets in room 158 in Goldwin Smith Hall at 5:00pm for an hour or so.

Who are these people? (Why do they have no lives?)

They are CJAS’s E-board!

E-board (technically, Executive Board) runs the CJAS you have come to know and love (fear). And you know what? You should join them!

Joining E-board gives you the opportunity to submit and vote on future anime series we show during the semester and marathon, lets you offer ideas for events, and allows you the opportunity to shape CJAS.

Well worth an hour of your life once a week, hmm? There are a few restrictions – you have to show up for a certain number of meetings before voting (no stuffing the metaphorical ballot box, please), and you have to be an official CJAS member.

The benefits are obvious, the drawbacks slight, and you get to meet such interesting people!

Come to E-board!

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Cosplay 101: Shaman King Oracle Bell

Friday, October 24th, 2008 Props/Accessories

This is the first in a series of cosplay prop tutorials I will be giving as I progress with my props for costumes. As a note, I try to keep costs down, but if I need to, I will spend the money necessary.

For those of you unsure what I am talking about, please note the below picture.

This is the Oracle Bell from the anime Shaman King. I will be teaching you step by step how to make one from “common” household items. (more…)

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Anime Music

Thursday, October 16th, 2008 Music

I’m starting this article out with a disclaimer: I am not a music major. I cannot play an instrument. I am a tone-deaf civil engineer.

That being said, if I can appreciate the music in anime, then its gotta be good.

While there are some (alright, a lot of) anime shows where the music is forgettable, there is still a large number that are worth watching at least in part because of the music. Why is this? Music for Western TV, and in particular Western cartoons, is rarely worth noticing other than as a cue for emotion. I can only think of one or two Western TV shows where I actually noticed the music for its quality. (In case you were listening, this includes Firefly, which has very good quality music. However, the music is almost entirely supporting. It also includes Cold Case, where the music is very noticeable. For the latter however, the music is pre-existing, taken from whatever time period the episode’s crime took place in).

Gundam SEED

Gundam SEED

And yet anime – a weekly, serialized cartoon show – consistently turns out series with amazing soundtracks. Gundam SEED, Rurouni Kenshin, anything by Yoko Kanno—even people who hate the series will admit that .hack//SIGN has amazing music. An amazing amount of effort is put into the soundtrack of anime shows; it is made to fit the type of show. Gundam SEED’s music, for example, is notably militaristic. Themes are composed for particular characters, for battles, for showdowns, even just for a particular moment. Anime music is also far more likely to have voices in the background music than Western soundtracks. This is especially noticeable in .hack//SIGN, where a good third to a half of the music has vocals.

Finally, and perhaps most interesting, is the theme songs for anime shows. Where Western TV shows tend to either acquire their themes from an already existing song (CSI) or write 30 second or a minute long song byte (Firefly, Psych) for their themes, anime shows have full length songs written for their themes. That means people can listen to the song on the show, and then go enjoy the full version, or vice versa. The themes are also often performed by famous and professional contemporary bands.

All in all, a lot more effort seems to have been put into anime music than is existent in Western entertainment for anything less than a Hollywood blockbuster. This is a pity, since at least part of the reason I’m still watching .hack//SIGN is for the music. Maybe if CSI had some interesting background music, I’d be watching that instead.

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Manga Review: Legal Drug

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008 Manga Reviews

Legal Drug
Author: CLAMP, 2000 – on hiatus
Volumes: 3 (of 15)

If xxxHOLiC is a full-course Japanese meal and Cardcaptors is cake and ice cream, then Legal Drug is a tantalizing appetizer… for the right kind of reader.

Currently unfinished at three volumes, Legal Drug is predominantly episodic, with hints as to the back story of the two main characters. The story follows the Green Drugstore’s two employees, who bear a striking resemblance to the boys of xxxHOLiC. Kazahaya is essentially Watanuki with blond hair, and Rikuo is Domeki with moderately more expression. They tend to fight like cats and dogs (or rather, Kazahaya fights, while Domeki—er, Rikuo—winds him up). But there’s more to the story than meets the eye, and each of the boys has a special ability, which they use when their pre-cognative boss sends them out on “special errands.”

Despite the characters’ resemblance to those of xxxHOLiC, the story is well worth reading for its own merit. In particular, the reasons for the constant conflict between the two characters is different, and what slight information we have about the two’s back story is extremely interesting. Though it’s currently on hiatus until CLAMP finishes xxxHOLiC/Tsubasa, it may not be too long until more volumes become available.

Shonen-ai Note: Much more prevalent than in a lot of CLAMP’s other stuff. Kazahaya and Rikuo have more than a few “moments,” and the drugstore owner and his friend act like a married couple. Make sure you can handle shonen-ai before you read this manga.

Continuity Note: Legal Drug is in the same world as Suki (some of the characters are the same) and xxxHOLiC. At one point, Watanuki from xxxHOLiC enters the store to get a hangover cure. There’s another link, but it’s more fun to find out for yourself.

Anime Adaptation: None.

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