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A Few Reasons You Might Like Anime

So my wonderful girlfriend committed to watching the first 700 episodes of One Piece with me sometime last week (Pretty awesome I know).
Mind you I’m currently on episode 702.
Around episode 30 she asks “I’m just curious, why do you love anime so much?”
 
*Stumped*
 
No one has ever asked me that question in a “I’m serious I actually want to know” tone, it’s usually…
“Dude why do you love that anime stuff so much?” or  “Yo, are you gonna watch cartoons all day?”
 
Because I REALLY like it a lot… Evidence Example 1:

Being the quick thinker that I am (or the fact that I take time for self-reflection a lot so I already knew the answer :P) I realized it boiled down to two things:
 
Honor and Integrity.
 
BACKGROUND THOUGHTS:
 
I think about the series which I enjoyed the most and there is such a stark contrast to what we see in the news and what occurs in the world every day.
It’s always “Drama this” and “Everything is terrible that.” We have to read about people shooting each other and fighting over petty things. The news basically chooses to show us stories that paint the illusion “In order to have or get ahead, you must take from someone else or make them worse off.” It’s almost like propaganda that makes a lot of people get into the “Better them than me!” mindset, and makes society look like the most self-serving group of people in history (which make or may not be true but that is another story).
Take for instance Lance Armstrong. Like anytime someone cheats or lies or steals or WHATEVER, my first thought is “What was going through this person’s mind and what happened in their life that they were fine throwing away their integrity to stand before people pretending to be an honest person?”
He stood behind the façade of “I’m doing this for cancer awareness! Here is the Lance Armstrong Foundation!” when in reality, it was all still for him. And before you argue “Oh he did great things for cancer research!” I know he did. And he also could have done it without cheating and lying, sooo if he were doing it purely for cancer awareness… the blood doping was unnecessary.

I could go on and on but just log this as Example: 1 – Getting rewarded for cheating and being dishonest.
 
MUSICS:
Even mainstream hip hop perpetuates this way of thinking. Talk about how much money you have, how bad the girls surrounding you are and how dope your whips are – add in a little sprinkle of “I will shoot any fool who crosses me” (even if you don’t have a gun). Like I love old school Jay-Z and Kanye but they are some of the most repeat offenders to be honest:
 
Jay-Z:
 
Just add another million to these verses
One million, two million, three million, four
And the money’s really worthless, I’m pissing you off on purpose
 
“Photo shoot fresh looking like wealth, I’m about to call the paparazzi on myself!”
 
Kanye:
 
“They ain’t see me cause I pulled up on my other Benz, last week I was in my other other Benz.”
 
Now I know there is a history that goes along with lyric types such as these and my thoughts are that in the era of Biggie and Tupac, artists were intending lyrics such as these to give a sense of hope and pride in a period of (more) oppression.
Once again… I could go on and on but just log this as Example: 2Elevating yourself by telling everyone how much better you are than them.
 
You’re probably like “Hey I thought this article was about Anime!”
Don’t worry young ones, we are about to get there J
 
THE ANIMEZZ:
 
So in these wonderful days where the massive media outlets want to show us the important things in life are 1. Getting ahead by cheating and 2. Telling everyone how amazing you are, anime provides an outlet to me where the important things are characteristics like honor, pride, integrity and perseverance.
Those of you who know me understand how important integrity and perseverance are to the DEPTHS OF MY SOUL, and to be able to watch shows that put those to the forefront really allows me to connect with the characters.
 
Starting with One Piece as an example (Since that’s the thing that brought this up):
I want to start by saying Luffy is just an awesome character. You get to see so much development from being a little runt getting angry at Shanks for not getting in an unnecessary fight, all the way to him fighting on par with enemies who initially outclass him (Arlong, Crocodile and Doflamingo for example).
All along his journey through the ups and downs he never brags about defeating enemies or being strong, but he engages in fights in his quest to become the king of the pirates.
If you think that him becoming the king of the pirates is why he fights, you are sorely mistaken.
Look at every fight he participates in and you’ll notice something :
Every time Luffy fights, he is fighting for someone else. Defending their home, fighting for their freedom, fighting for friendships etc… In all honesty I think Luffy doesn’t realize his real goal is to just sail around having fun with his friends

 

 

But he continuously is placed in this scenarios where he sees something unfair happening and immediately jumps in without question to fight for what’s right. In each one of these fights he seems initially outclassed but perseveres and in the end is rewarded forDoing the right thing.
Someone rewarded for DOING THE RIGHT THING. Those who were initially his enemies become his friends.
He becomes stronger and learns more about himself without throwing away his honor.
I’m sure Fox News head would explode if they had to report something like that.
 
 
Kiba (Minor spoilers below):
Another good example where in the beginning you are led to think Zed as the trouble maker and feel sympathy for Noah the upstanding citizen who is disabled by a disease. Throughout the series you get to watch Zed grow and develop fighting battle after battle in Templar, and when Noah reappears with power, he’s all of a sudden the bad guy. Basically the world in Noah’s head revolved around him and he wanted to be the strongest and blah blah blah, but who ends up saving a world that he didn’t even belong to?
That’s right. Zed the trouble maker.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! When he returned to his world (Calm), the wind was flowing there again?REWARD FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING.
 
 
 
My Hulu anime watch list is overflowing with shows that exemplify the characteristics above:
Dragon Ball Z – How many times did Goku or someone else sacrifice themselves to save the world who has no clue they even exist? (Granted they were getting wished back to life but minor details… minor details.) Except for Krillin. He just got owned for the sake of getting owned.

Naruto – He is all about fighting for his friends and his village, even the people who scoffed and abused him. And SURPRISE! He eventually achieves his dream of Hokage WITHOUT THROWING AWAY HIS INTEGRITY!? (I’m looking at you Sasuke… >.>)

Pretty much every Gundam Series – The internal struggle every pilot has, but I guess if I was trained young to pilot a huge mech warrior to save my country or planet or whatever I would probably have some things to come to term with too.

 
The list goes on and on (Rurouni Kenshin, Samurai Champloo, Gurren Lagann and more) but the last example I want to give is..
 
Death Note (Minor spoilers below):
Light. So pompous. So Bored. This was an anime I started watching sometime late high school early college.
Light THINKS he is the good guy. And he kind of is on the surface. But his character development is one that shows what happens when an individual ignores the concepts of natural law to do what they think is right in an obsessive manner.
He starts off killing people who committed crimes but becomes so neurotic thinking he is god that he begins killing off anyone who stands between him and his goal of creating a “Utopia” where evil no longer exists. But throwing himself away to focus on his perceived justice and right vs wrong, he transforms into the very evil he is trying to rid the world of.
The series devolves into a string of manipulations and lies created by Light in order to maintain the power he accidentally stumbled upon.
And in the end when you’re REALLY starting to get annoyed by his arrogance, he is killed by the power (well Shinigami) which he used to kill others.

Eliminated (eventually) for years of DOING THE WRONG THING.
 
A sense of justice that rarely seems to get served or surfaced in the world today. People interfere with the well-being of other humans, and people remain apathetic, but in these anime series, individuals get rewarded for doing the right thing.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Namekian, if you are from a rich background, a poor background or from another galaxy.
The lesson taught is, do the right thing. Everyone as a whole benefits when each person holds themselves accountable to being the best person they can be.
 
Whether or not you realize it, you are being taught a lesson in integrity, honor, pride and character.
You are taught the balance of believing in yourself without being arrogant.
You are taught to value your integrity over your socioeconomic status or heritage.
 
And THAT’S why I love anime so much.
 
~1-UP

 

ONGAKU OVERDRIVE III

Tribe One

Lightning struck, thunder crashed, and Atlanta’s own TribeOne was born with a smile on his face and a rap in his heart. It took him a few years to figure out how to write and then many more years to figure out how to write a decent rap. But eventually he sorted it all out and his been at it ever since.Years later, he continues doing the raps, nerdcore and otherwise. He’s a man of few words but many names, Dirty South Swamp Thing, Devil Rhymeosaur, Ol’ Dirty Batroc.

FIRST TIME IN FLORIDA! Ryan “Kadesh Flow” Davis is a rapper, producer, and trombonist who has been performing since his early teens. Desh has managed to collaborate with renowned voice actors such as Steve Blum, produce theme music for Toonami Asia, perform live at the Cannes Film Festival, and be publicly lauded by gaming/tech journalism giants such as IGN, Kotaku, and the Jace Hall Show.Most recently, Kadesh Flow has appeared in the Buyer’s Remorse, produced under the creative direction of David Cross, worked on the scores for the One Piece Podcast Goes to Japan documentary and USC launched web series Sassy Batman, and released his well-received and reviewed album, Gateways.

 
Under Polaris is a duo/trio outside of Central Florida. Together, they write videogame-inspired rock and pop with a slant of chiptune influence. Their goal is to not only make you feel nostalgic, but to make you dance while you do.
 
Shammers is a nerdcore hip hop veteran who just released the critically acclaimed “Pallet 2 Plateau: The Pokémon Hip-Hop Album”. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind musical experience as Trainer Red and Professor Oak take you down the path of the original Red & Blue games through rhyme and comedy!
 
Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, Benjamin Briggs is a self-made musician who has been producing consistently throughout the last decade. Though he is best known for remixing video game music, he also creates original work with a strong focus on fusing chiptunes with modern soundscapes.Benjamin has produced hit albums such The Briggs Effect trilogy and his most recent release, Fearless Living. Now he is taking his love for video game music to a whole new level by composing soundtracks for independent video games.

As seen onstage at major music festivals and conventions across the nation, Ben is very passionate about his ability to help people with music and his role in the nerd community. As such, he believes his only true purpose in the world is to create positive memories and spread smiles to as many faces (and ears) as possible.

Venue Information:
Will’s Pub
1042 N. Mills Avenue
Orlando, FL, 32803
http://www.myspace.com/willspub

The Process Makes No Sense. So What?

This week, on Tuesday, as a matter of fact, a vice president in the company for which I work curbed me during a one on one conversation, seemingly randomly providing me a validating piece of wisdom:

“You know, man,” he started, “you’re young. You’ve probably got dreams. Don’t be afraid to leave Cerner to pursue those dreams. Just don’t burn any bridges. And if those dreams don’t work out, you can always come back to a place like Cerner.”

I don’t think he had any idea how much I needed to hear that from a person in a position such as the one he held. I sure didn’t. But hearing him say that was like a breath of fresh air. Before I (finally) get around to mentioning what that conversation snippet has to do with anything whatsoever, let me clarify that this is not going to be a post about me hating my job; my job is pretty solid. It’s not going to be about encouraging anyone to quit anything to chase flowers, or chocolate, or the flying spaghetti monster, or what have you. However, I will be personal.

I’m a year and a half into taking my music seriously. Yes, you read that correctly. I’ve been a musician for 14 years, and I’ve been uploading content online and releasing projects for three, six, really, if you count my stuff that only friends and family have heard. Unfortunately, it was only a hobby until I realized how much it keeps me up at night, how much a part of my identity it is.

In the year and a half since I fully embraced my music passion, since that second semester of my second year in graduate school, I have felt more liberated and more empowered than I ever had up to that point. There are people who actually appreciate my letting out things that I didn’t value enough to expose! Who would have thought that was possible? It’s incredible to know that people are listening avidly to anything I decide to enunciate, at any given point in time. It’s been an awesome time period for me.

It’s also been one of the most painful things that I’ve ever known. This has been the hardest year I’ve experienced thus far, and I think that’s because we grow so much when we finally make a decision to embrace us. Who are you, really? Freedom, joy, pain, wrath, frustration, exhilaration, all of these emotions and more are crunched into the messiest packaging possible, bound, and slapped with a gift label that reads something along the lines of “You finally decided to figure it out. Good luck.” Some good that it does. From my end of things, I feel like life would have been a lot easier if I weren’t so frustrated with normal — whatever that means — on a regular basis, and if I was fine with being successful, textbook definition style. Unfortunately, that will never happen with me. It won’t ever happen with you either. Odds are, if you pay attention to the NPC (Happy Birthday, Us!), you probably are a little different some kind of way, and you’re hella proud of it. Even when it sucks, you’re proud of it. When it’s great, you probably play things down to make sure it’s real, trying to do everything you can to take things in the right way and to grow and learn as much as possible while it’s good. Because it will probably suck again soon.

And that’s perfectly fine. That’s part of the greatness of the process that is discovering you, me discovering me, us discovering us.

The conversation I listed really just reminded me that people who have made it to their stations in life don’t always expect us to follow the paths that they built in order for others to further build their successes.

I don’t really have a major turnaround, wrap up, moral, or anything like that for this post. I just want to encourage you to do you. Period. Because doing you is awesome. Every single winding, tumultuous, calming, contradictory, peaceful, destructive moment of it. I hope you embrace it the way that we are over here in NPC-land….

Because life is anything but linear.

Stay up.


— Desh

Desh on Fire - Gateways

SkyBlew’s Unmodern Life

SkyBlew’s UNmodern Life

As you may know, i’m preparring to release my album “SkyBlew’s UNmodern Life” at the end of this month. So, I decided to write a blog of some sort to discuss the process of creating the album and also a summary of what the album is about. The album is a mixture of Hey Arnold, Rocket Power, Video Games and real life themes. It’s been VERY challenging for me to make this album because I had to try to push myself further than I ever have before. I had to decide which route to take with this album. It could either be; VERY CORNY or it could be something that’s refreshing, creative and never done before. I chose some of these concepts because, I felt they relate to my life currently, and in the past. Especially Hey Arnold. That show had some really deep episodes that I didn’t fully understsand until I got much older. That’s why I chose songs like “The Ballad Of Pigeon Man”, “Parents Day”, and there’s alot more that I won’t give away just yet. My life has always been UNmodern lol. I won’t give too much away, so you will just have to wait and see, lol.

I feel like this album helped me mature even more, mentally and musically. Digging into your life, you tend to evaluate some of the choices you made and are currently making. As I was writing these stories, I realized things that I could of done differently. This album has its serious moments and its fun moments are well. The sound is totally diverse. I try to bring something different which each project, and i’m very proud and excited to share this one. I want to give a big thanks to the big bro (Mega Ran) for reaching out and wanting to help me push this project through his RandomBeats, Productions label. All I want to do is spread LOVE, good music and positivity through the melodies. I want to be the voice for this generation and give them someone to look up to and I feel this album is really gonna register with some people. Really touch their lives. I feel the state of music currently (ESPECIALLY HIP HOP) needs some sort of liberation. Music can be used as the number one tool, that taps into the listeners brain and also the soul. You gotta watch, what you let into your spirit.

It’s also gonna be the first project i’m gonna sell, so that’s exciting too, I guess lol. I had to come to terms with this decision because, I have been giving all my projects away for free, you know, because I just wanted it to get out there. Especially for the people who may can’t pay $7 or something for music. Times are hard in this economy, you know? But, this is also my career so I guess, I need to make some income lol. I have known for a while that my supporters been waiting for the chance to, well you know, actually support me lol. So, when I made this announcement, they were excited. Guess it was the right choice. We shall see lol. This is just the beginning of my journey, but i’m learning every step of the way. The coolest nerd you ever heard, signing out! Okaaaaaaay!!!

-Paint The Sky,Blew!!!

 

Sammus : Managing Infinite Lives

Managing Double/Triple/Quadruple Lives

 

I still can’t believe how crazy the past year has been. Last summer I had just finished up my second full-length album [PRIME], and was anxiously preparing for my first performance that required air-travel. This summer I dropped a Kickstarter-funded Metroid EP, shot the video for the first single off said EP, flew to Seattle and Orlando for some very fun performances, headlined the hip-hop stage at my local cultural festival, landed a write-up in an airline magazine, and a lot of other things I’ll probably remember after this gets published. Oh yeah – last week I also received my Master’s degree after passing a rather intense written and oral exam in my PhD program. Like I said, it’s been a crazy year.

For the past three years I have been chipping away at a PhD at Cornell University, while pursuing a career as a nerd rapper and producer, and more recently serving as an Assistant Residence Hall Director on campus and an Assistant Manager at the graduate student center. People often ask me how I manage to hold it all together – to which I respond that I don’t really. Every now and then there’s peace and I’m able to focus on one aspect of the chaos but more often each strand overlays the other so that I feel like I’m being crushed by their collective weight. The reality is that I spend a fair amount of time panicking and questioning every decision I make.

While I think we can all agree that prolonged stress and anxiety are definitely not healthy, I’ve also come to accept that anybody who wants to be exceptional in multiple areas is going to deal with a lot of worry sometimes. Still, I do think it is possible to minimize the general stress that accompanies ambition. One doesn’t have to develop broad sweeping goals that resemble those dreaded unattainable new years resolutions we often make. Instead I suspect that it’s probably better to think about micro changes that can be implemented to temper the daily craziness.

For me this has meant something as seemingly trivial as being more intentional about my social media usage. When I first started rapping seriously, I did what any good artist in the Internet age would do – I created a WordPress website, and booted up the necessary social media pages to reflect my Sammus persona. At that time I wasn’t doing too much, so I updated my social media pages as needed. When things happened (blogs posted my songs, I had shows coming up, etc) I posted about them. And when nothing was going on, I didn’t feel the need to post anything. However as time passed and I met with some successes, I felt compelled to post more and more, even if more and more wasn’t necessarily happening or it was becoming increasingly complicated to manage my various pages alongside my other responsibilities. By the time I had developed a small fan base, I had expanded to every social media platform that I knew – now I had to manage a Facebook account, Twitter, Soundcloud, Reverbnation, Tumblr, Youtube and of course, my website.

Prior to this year I remained committed to posting regularly. However after a series of unfortunate events around the beginning of 2014, I found myself avoiding all social media and focusing on myself. I didn’t post anything for a while – and I realized that taking a break was okay. What I had to remember was that I started out making music because I thought it was a fun thing to do. I also had to remember that presumably the people who like me are still going to like me and my music even if (because??) I’m not in their faces every second of the day talking about how awesome I think my music is. Obviously pursuing music professionally means that I will have to deal with many not-so-fun aspects of music like marketing and promoting my work ad nauseum (although my manager handles a fair amount of that) but there is something to be said for taking a step back to reassess how all of that work ties in to the passion:obligation ratio every now and again.

I would be lying if I said that I am not totally exhausted at the end of most days, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

~Sammus