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The Yoko Critic proper would like to make a PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

29. October 2010

We here at The Yoko Critic (specifically me, Simeon) would like to clear up some misunderstandings on the part of both us and the world at large. This post is to address the recent “controversy” over my last Yoko Mk II critique. Due to an error on my part, the cosplayer in case study number 2 was unaware that she would be appearing on our blog and has requested that her critique and photos be taken down which we have done as promptly as possible.

I would like to first make clear that we are not setting a precedent. This is the first and final time we will be removing a critique from this blog. As I have clearly stated in both of the posts thus far and I will continue to state each time I proceed in making these posts: nothing about these critiques is personal so do not get your feelings hurt if I pick you apart, these critiques are only about the costume so it’s not as if I have attacked the cosplayer themselves or said they are ugly or something like that. Second as I have also stated; this blog is about myself and Tobias’ interests and opinions. If you do not like them, please feel free to leave. Last and most importantly I would like to point out that the back of the AWA badge states, and I quote:

“In accepting this badge, the holder consents to being photographed (on film, tape, or digital) for exhibition in all media.”

Therefore we at The Yoko Critic do not need a cosplayer’s permission to take and post photographs to this blog. We hand out flyers and speak with cosplayers because we respect them and want them to be aware of what is going to happen. If we forget to hand out a flyer please do not tell us we do not have the right to do what we are doing, because legally we do. I do not know if this is true for all cons but be aware that we will check the fine print of the future cons we attend.

This has been a PSA from your friendly Yoko critic.

Simeon out.

Edit: (Tobias:) What Simeon said.

Too many people on the internet felt insulted that we dare critique cosplay costumes, even if it is a one-character shtick. To those people, I’ll say the same thing they said to me: Get a Life. A little constructive criticism never hurt anyone, except for the ones too immature to take it, but for those people, I’ll once again issue the above directive: Get a Life. We decided to take down this particular cosplayer’s pictures not just because she asked us to; she described to me a series of unfortunate circumstances beyond her control that negatively impacted her costume.

Once again, I want to issue my own sincere apologies to the girl in question and to her alone. I hope more of you guys wake up and realize we’re not doing this to pick apart anybody or hurt their feelings, but work toward better costumes and art. What’s so wrong about that?

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Japanese Girls, Lasers, and People Who Love Both

7. October 2010

It’s been a little over a week since Anime Weekend Atlanta 16 ended, and I’m just now coming down off the con high. I haven’t experienced a feeling like that in the five years that I’ve been going, and I think a big part of it was heading the Touhou Project panel. Unfortunately, the time slot I attained wasn’t long enough to go over everything I wanted, the biggest thing being the fandom and how it contributes to the world of Touhou. I’ve been asked to write a piece on it here, so I’ll do just that!

The rise of Touhou’s popularity has both taken me by complete surprise and not really surprised me at all. The series is quite obscure as a Japanese independent shoot-em-up series, and really, as far as “bullet hell” games go, the games are among the easiest of the bunch and don’t really stack up to games like Mushihime-sama in terms of ridiculousness. The games themselves, as a result, aren’t really all that spectacular. What really sets it apart are the characters and the music. ZUN, the creator of the series, is a musician at heart, and his vast number of compositions, hit or miss as they may be, are a marvel to be sure. Every stage and every boss character has a unique theme, and with 6+ stages per game in over 12 games, ZUN’s musical portfolio is pretty substantial (and I won’t even go into his original works outside of the games). I think the characters really deserve their own paragraph.

There are a ton of characters in the Touhou series, but the secret to why some people flock to the series is an obvious one: there are over 100 characters, and of them, there are only three documented males. If you’ve ever wondered why a series like Queen’s Blade gets a following as big as it does, I can promise you that it’s not for the engaging dialogue. No, it’s because the series is full of girls that people find visually appealing. Touhou is no exception. The series covers a number of anime archetypes: maids, catgirls, all-powerful magicians, princesses, Sunny Delight crows, the usual. What’s more is that ZUN seems to love elaborate outfits, so you’re going to get a flurry of colors and some really silly hats. It’s definitely enough to catch your eye, and as a result, Touhou doujinshi and cosplay are becoming more and more common.

On to the fandom! The world of Touhou doujinshi really hit total exposure with Marisa Stole the Precious Thing, a remix of one of the boss themes from the seventh Touhou game, Perfect Cherry Blossom. In the game that follows, Imperishable Night, one of the characters, Alice Margatroid, is loosely, and I mean LOOSELY, interpreted as being in love with her friend Marisa Kirisame. This comes from one sentence that appears in one ending. As a result, people often pair the two characters together; Marisa Stole the Precious Thing reflects this in its lyrics, and when combined with a cute flash video and a catchy tune, you’re well on your way to love-colored stardom. Fast forward to years later, and the doujin world is flooded with remix albums from talented electronic artists and comics of varying natures, from the comic to the highly erotic. One of the most popular (and morerecent) doujin works is a video to a song called “Bad Apple!!”, a remix by Masayoshi Minoshima, sung by the seiyuu nomico, of a song of the same name featured in the games. The video features the characters as black and white silhouettes, dancing to the rhythm of the song, and it has received millions of views on both YouTube and the Japanese video site NicoNicoDouga. It’s a very visually impressive video, no doubt the result of a lot of time and effort, and it is but one example of what the fandom is capable of. Other feats include Touhou Time Crisis, a Time Crisis parody made with MikuMikuDance, a program designed to choreograph dance moves for the Vocaloid Miku Hatsune.

Of course, with elaborate outfits comes people who want to dress in those elaborate outfits. As with any fandom, there are cosplayers, and some of the outfits in this series are by no means simple. Touhou has to have one of the most dedicated fandoms I’ve come across, because the clothing alone is so outlandish and colorful at times that a real-life creation of it is no easy task. What’s more is that there are so many characters to choose from, it’s easy to find a character that works best for you, but many in the fandom want to dress up as a majority of them instead. This isn’t cheap or simple, but we love Touhou. I’ve included a handful of cosplays from the series in my AWA 2010 Pictures album, which has pictures from the Touhou photoshoot held on that Sunday. It’s but a small sampling of what can be found within the world of Touhou cosplay.

This is only scratched the surface of what Touhou has to offer. Perhaps I can return once again for another installment of this piece. There’s so much to say and so little time to say it all. I guess if you have any questions about the world of Touhou or its fandom, ask away! I’ve got plenty I can write about, after all. Thanks for reading!

The Evolution of Mecha Design

6. October 2010

While we were at AWA, Simeon and Tobias decided to have a party Saturday night.  I hear it was a grand fun time for all but left them completely unable to exist in the early morning hours.  As such, Tobias had to miss two panels he wished to attend: The Evolution of Mecha Design and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, both presented by the good people at Anime World Order .  I however was able to attend both, and oh how grand they were.  Here is a brief summary of the Mecha Design panel.

In the beginning there was Astroboy.  Perhaps not what most people would consider as Mecha, but he was a robot, and his design greatly influenced his larger siblings.  Also, keep in mind that Astroboy was modeled after the character designs of Walt Disney.  This is not the only time we will find Japan looking across the Pacific for inspiration. Read more…

A Quick Introduction

4. October 2010

Hello world.  Some people may have noticed that I joined Tobias and Simeon here at the Yoko Critic a few weeks ago.  Just after AWA, in fact.  I am The Great Old One, and I will be showcasing and covering all things Lovecraftian that I come upon.  Of course, I will almost certainly talk about video games and anime as well, since my interests also lay in those areas.  I won’t say that I am a Lovecraft expert, but my knowledge is substantial, and I will try to share all the mind-numbing, soul-shattering, existence-blowing goodness that I come across.

The first big project to expect from me will be a review of the Arkham Horror boardgame series put out by Fantasy Flight Games .  Anyway, I look forward to a long and horrifying relationship.

Some News: Fall 2010

27. September 2010
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I apologize in advance to any readers out there who don’t watch anime at all, but I’m understandably psyched about the hobby after just coming back from AWA. I’d like to share a few bits of information with you, though.

First of all, ANN is reporting a new Berserk anime series in the works. This is big news for the industry; the long-running manga series received an anime adaptation already, but this new project could be a continuation of the storyline.

The Fall 2010 season starts this week, and there are two series I’ll be watching. The first, Star Driver Kagayaki no Takuto, looks like a mashup of mecha and magical girl shows. It has Enokido Youji and Koyama Shigeto working on script and art design respectively; both worked on some of my favorite Gainax shows (Diebuster and Gurren Lagann). Here’s a trailer:

I won’t guarantee and I can weather all that FABULOUS the entire season, but I will DEFINITELY be sticking with Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, by my favorite studio of all time.

Seriously, look at that! It’s like a Dead Leaves version of Powerpuff Girls! And no surprise, as the team from Dead Leaves/FLCL/Gurren Lagann is working on this as well. There really is no way this show cannot be awesome.

Star Driver premiers this Sunday (10/3) and Panty and Stocking on Friday (10/1). If you’d like to read up on all the shows coming out this season, this site has a summary of all of them.

AWA 16: Post-Con Impressions

26. September 2010

This has been my seventh year at Anime Weekend Atlanta. Seven years since I started going to conventions and got into all this mess! Seven years of learning, for both me and the convention’s staff. A lot of the logistical issues from the past have been solved, and quality in the events presented made this a good year for the convention. Read more…

Yoko Critique Mk II

26. September 2010

It’s that time again everyone! Now that Tobias and myself have returned from AWA XVI and have recovered from our post-con depression I have finally sorted through all the photos I’ve taken and can proudly present to you our next Yoko critique. As I’ve stated before this isn’t personal and I try and look at each cosplay objectively so do not get your feelings all hurt if I think your cosplay is not a 5 out of 5. I would though like to apologize in advance about some of the poor photo quality compared to Animazement’s Yoko critique; the main photo taking areas of AWA are much less well-lit and have very little natural lighting. Since these photos are usually spur-of-the-moment I do not have time to really set up professional shots; this is as good as it gets. But hey, lets get started, because we have SIX Yokos to look at.

As always lets start with our reference photos.

Standing and detail shots

Action and under-boob shot

Once again we will be using the following categories: Details (All the small nit-picky things), Rifle, Attitude, Overall Appearance, and Zettai Ryouiki (Which will be graded purely on how accurate it is compared to the actual Yoko Littner’s Absolute Territory). And again these are presented in the chronological order in which we encountered the cosplayers. Read more…