After missing a month due to a mini-break at the beginning of October, the Chic Pixel monthly favorites feature is back! For October, I’ll be including anything noteworthy from September that I didn’t get a chance to cover already, so this month should be extra packed. Plus, it was Halloween, one of my favorite holidays! It goes without saying that I got my spook on… Well, mostly through my attempts to collect the festive skins in Overwatch.
I’m always thrilled to receive a new OyatsuBox Japanese snack subscription box in the mail, and with their new bright red box, there’s no way I’ll miss it! It may be the end of October, but today I’m going to be covering their September box, which came packed full of great snacks and candy, and one very interesting drink. Check out my unboxing video to see my reactions as I open it up!
For this week’s Sunday Spotlight, I wanted to do something different and highlight a Kickstarter that needs your help! Pied Piper, Inc. is passionate about bringing the classic shoujo anime Skip Beat! to a wider audience with an official North American DVD release, and after a rocky start as an Indiegogo campaign, the Kickstarter now has a little over $16,000 left to reach its goal with 6 days left before the campaign closes.
Skip Beat follows Kyoko Mogami who, after being snubbed by her childhood friend and pop star crush Sho, decides to get revenge by entering the show biz herself. If you’re looking for a series with a lot of heart and a strong heroine, this is it! Ann of Pied Piper, Inc. is adamant that without this Kickstarter, Skip Beat! would remain locked in TV Tokyo’s back catalog with no official North American DVD release, which would be a crying shame. The Kickstarter seeks to provide the best DVD release possible, with all-new subtitles and a star-studded English voice actor cast including Vic Mignogna, Robbie Daymond, Grant George, and Erica Lindbeck.
I spoke with Ann about the possibility of other shoujo anime Kickstarters in the future, and she was confident that “if this campaign is successful, we will have demonstrated that fans will rally together to create a high-quality release. There are other shoujo titles in need of rescue. I’m not at liberty to gives names, but I do have my eye on a few titles.” So, if you want shoujo anime like Skip Beat! to see more recognition, be sure to help make the Skip Beat! North American DVD release a reality!
Skip Beat! is currently available to stream on Crunchyroll.
Things have been relatively quiet over here at Chic Pixel for the past few days, but who wants to read my latest three month late review or post gushing over Japanese merchandise when the biggest gaming event of the year, E3, is underway? While the expo will continue to offer new gameplay videos and hands-on features for those at the event throughout the week, now that we’re past the majority of the big presentations, I thought I’d take the opportunity to round up my favorite moments related to Japanese gaming.
You’ll probably see a lot of similarities to other lists floating around (how can I not mention the Final Fantasy VII remake bombshell?), but you won’t get to hear my personal take on all the exciting news anywhere else!
In a surprising turn of events, Splatoon, Nintendo’s brand new IP for the Wii U, is one of my most anticipated games of 2015. Why? I’d be lying if it wasn’t largely in part of the game’s amazing aesthetic, but the idea of a shooter based around paint guns instead of real guns is really appealing to this cute, peace-loving blogger. Though I was pretty much committed to picking up Splatoon day one, when Nintendo announced they’d be hosting a Global Testfire, I was more than happy to jump in on so I could give Splatoon‘s online multiplayer a spin.
The Testfire was available for three one hour periods this past weekend, allowing players from around the world to play in online matches with a selection of four different weapons and two different maps. While Nintendo gave very little notice before the Testfire commenced, I was able to play during the first session, which started at 1 pm Saturday Australia time. I’m pretty helpless when it comes to shooting games, both first and third person… but even though I only won the very last game I played, I still managed to have a blast!
There’s a lot of horrible things going on in the world right now, and it’s starting to wear on me, but that’s all you’re going to hear about that here. What I can do, however, is share something a little personal and hopefully a little uplifting in light of all the current news. At the very least, I hope it makes you smile!
I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned it here, but I really admire Kaila, Kawaii Ambassador of the Philippines (official title!), as well as creator of Rainbowholic and Kawaii Philippines and co-creator of the amazing site Japan Lover Me. She’s only 21 years old, but she’s something of a social media celebrity if you’re into anything Japanese and cute, and she’s currently involved in putting on Kawaii in Manila 2, the second year of the first ever “kawaii convention” in the Philippines.
If you’re not familiar with any of those sites and you’re a fan on this blog, I highly suggest checking them out. While Kaila isn’t as nerdy as me, she definitely appreciates many of the same things about Japanese culture and entertainment as I do, and I strive to be half as motivated as she is! She and the other folks behind Kawaii in Manila started the event to bring kawaii Japanese culture to the Philippines, but they also recognize that there are many of us around the world that wish we could attend… which is why they started the Worldwide Kawaii Campaign!
The Worldwide Kawaii Campaign encourages everyone to take part in the festivities by sharing what kawaii means to you. All you need to do is create an A4-sized poster answering that very question and take a photo of yourself with it like I’ve done in the above photos. Then, share it on your blog/social media accounts to spread the fun! You can also email your submission to the Kawaii in Manila folks to be in a photo compilation that they’ll display at the event itself. Apparently they will even be giving out special prizes to stand-out entries, though they haven’t revealed the details of that yet.
Kawaii is a great word that I think really means more than its dictionary definition of “cute,” so there are a lot of ways to approach this project! I originally thought of the rather cliché “kawaii is anything that makes you smile,” but I quickly realized that one of the example submissions basically said the exact same thing, so I had to come up with something a little more unique! Since “kawaii” to me is all about expressing myself in whatever way makes me happy, rather than worrying about what others think, I decided to go with “kawaii is fearless self-expression.” I’ve decided to submit the very first photo in this post, since that’s the one I’m happiest with, but here’s an example of one of my nerdier photo attempts:
Whether you’re into kawaii or kakkoi (cool), what’s most important is doing what makes you happiest. And, if you decide to join the Worldwide Kawaii Campaign, do share your photos with me! If you’d prefer not to go to all the trouble, but feel a special connection to the word kawaii like I do, why not share with me what kawaii means to you in the comments?
Now that I’m back in Australia and attempting (and mostly failing) to resume “normal” life, it’s time to get back to my favorite/only weekly column: Catch-Up Corner! If you’re new to Chic Pixel or just forgot since I haven’t done one in a while, the Catch-Up Corner is my attempt to make a space to talk about things I wouldn’t normally write a whole post about – a weekly roundup, if you will. This week, I’d like to talk about two games I started and the latest video on my YouTube channel.
First, after buying my fair share of exceedingly cheap retro Japanese games while I was in Tokyo (don’t worry, I’ll recount my haul very soon!), I decided it was high time to start chipping away at the old Japanese game backlog. I’ve always wanted to play one of the games in the otome series Harukanaru Toki no Naka de, and after buying yet another copy of the 4th installment by mistake because it was 100 yen (you know you have a problem when you can’t remember what games you have in your collection), I decided that was as good a place as any to start.
I’ve only played a couple hours of HaruToki 4 (PS2 version), but so far I’m really enjoying it! The games are developed by Koei, creators of the first otome game series ever, Angelique, but are particularly unique for the genre in that they have RPG elements in the form of battles and character progression. HaruToki 4 takes place in a fantastical setting loosely based on historical Japan, and features one of my favorite story clichés: girl getting transported to fantasy world and turning out to be the people’s last hope/princess/priestess. I’m surprised it took HaruToki 4 to remind me of this, considering I loved The Vision of Escaflowne and Fushigi Yuugi as a youth, but there you have it. I’m having a lot of fun playing a mystical princess surrounded by a bevy of hunky male protectors, so I imagine I’ll be sticking with this one.
Speaking of fantasy princesses (how’s that for a segueway), the other game I dabbled in this week was the new PSN release, Battle Princess of Arcadias! Ever since the game was announced for Japan, I’ve been enamoured by the gorgeous art style, and intrigued by its apparent similarities to Odin Sphere. From my limited experience with the game, I have to say I’m surprised with how difficult it is! I died right in the very first tutorial level, and multiple times in every level since. It’s a 2D action game, which I’ve never been particularly proficient at, but Battle Princess of Arcadias really makes you work for the victories, and so far I’ve determined that you need to be willing to replay past levels to beef up your characters in order to push through each new area. If you want to hear more about what the game’s all about, check out shidoshi’s recount on The Nichiest Podcast Ever episode 10. I’ll also have a full review in the near future, but I’m pretty positive about it despite the difficulty so far, and that’s partly due to just how darn beautiful it is.
Finally, be sure to check out my latest YouTube video, which is an unboxing of my very first Re-Ments! Re-Ments are a brand of Japanese miniatures that happen to come in many cute character-themed sets, the most important of which being Rilakkuma. I grabbed three different Rilakkuma singles and was really excited to see what I got, so if a video of cute bear-themed toys sounds pleasing to you, do check it out!