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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

 

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!!!

 

Shubzilla charging through the NPC Q&A!

Shubzilla : The woman, the Dinosaur, the LEGEND.

Also the wonderful individual who keeps us all on track when we start drifting away. Take a second and get to know this wonderful gem we know as Shubzilla.

Shubzilla and the NPC:

1. What are you nerding out on currently?
BISHOUJO SENSHI SAILOR MOON IS ON HULU. So there’s that! I’ve been a fan since 1998 and it the one franchise I know hella about so it being on Hulu is a big deal for yours truly.

2. What’s your most recent games played?
I ran through Saints Row 3 and Saints Row 4 in a couple of weeks. It’s such an over-the-top series! They really found their groove to separate themselves from other open-world games with how unabashed they are. However, it’s the music and their usage of that sucks you in to this world. Kudos to the folks that chose the music for these two games!

Since, I’ve picked up Hitman: Absolution. I haven’t played that series since Hitman 2: Silent Assassin so it’s cool to see where they took Agent 47’s story. A far cry from the ridiculous story of the Saints Row series, it’s been one of the most serious in story that I’ve played in a long time.

3. What music is on your playlist?
I have been listening to a lot of MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Lady of Rage, Wu Tang Clan, and Peter Cetera. Guest voices include Atlantic Starr, Hall and Oates, Kanye West, Jay Z, and Tyga. Shoutouts to Pandora and their glorious shuffle feature.

Also! I just copped the download for Sammus’ “Another M” and this is FIRE! Do not sleep on this EP.

4. What do you do in your downtime?
I’ll either eat, game, read, and/or sleep.

5. Any past/present involvement in community activities you’d like to speak about?

I am one of the founding members and the current merchandise manager of the Seattle-based organization GeekGirlCon. I invite and encourage everyone to check us out. The focus is to celebrate the achievements of the female geek in everything from math & science to pop culture and gaming. While the name highlights girl, GeekGirlCon invites EVERYONE to join in on the celebration as they create a space where women and girls are acknowledged for their contributions and what they are most passionate about. We are four years strong and still going! This year’s annual convention is Saturday, October 11-Sunday, October 12 in Seattle, WA.

6. What are you trying to learn to do right now?

I’d like to learn how to sew so I can create my own cosplay. Also, I am interested in learning the production-side of music – composing, sampling, the whole bit.

7. What should Nerdy People of Color get out of our website and collective?

This is a space where you, as a nerdy person of color, are free to collaborate, contribute, and participate. Please do! Our aim here is to celebrate each other and BE VISIBLE in the nerd/geek community. Join us in that mission.

8. Favorites:

a) Movie? Bloodsport. Any time you have two musical montages in a row, you know it’s gotta be from the 80s. This gem also features a young Forest Whitaker as Agent Rawlins assisting in the pursuit of protagonist Frank Dux (played by Jean-Claude Van Damme). Just see it. I could go forever about why this movie is ridiculous and how this is my favorite movie, but just go see it. If not for those two, then see it for Bolo Yeung who straight kills the game as the vicious Chong Li.

b) Food? Pancit palabok. Also most cheese.

c) Website? I’m a fan of the comic Zen Pencils. Artist Gavin Aung Than creates comics that revolve around an inspirational quote. My favorites include his take on Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” and William Earnest Henley’s “Invictus”

ALSO: My Facebook Page

AND: My Twitter Page

9. What’s upcoming for you?

It’s gonna be a very busy few months! Lemme do this in to-do list fashion:

1: Bill Beats and I will be releasing our EP in the next few months. Be ready!!! We’ll be having a CD release party in Seattle in August.
2: Lex Lingo and I are writing the next 9k1 album. Be double ready!
3: Sammus will be joining me here in Seattle for GeekGirlCon’s GeekGirlCONcert July 13 at Seattle’s Barboza. Other acts include 9k1, Death*Star, and Jonny Nero Action Hero. If you’re in the 206 that night, come thru and party with us!

The best thing to do is like my page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter for all the hilarity and updates.

10) Talk about a person or event who made you who you are today.

One event that has made a difference in who I am now is the passing of my maternal grandmother. She was the heart of my very close knit family and she had been battling health issues for years. My mother and her sisters had been taking care of her around the clock and even more so near the final days of my grandmother being alive.

Whenever my grandmother was hospitalized, I would volunteer to stay at the hospital with her as I usually stayed up later and had a more flexible schedule than my mother and elders. It was incredibly difficult seeing one of the strongest women I knew in health and in faith reduced to a shell of her former self.

My grandmother’s passing did bring my mother, my aunts, and I closer. We made the promise to my grandmother that we will uphold our family’s traditions and ensure that family always comes first. In fact, my elders have even come to some of my shows for our “family nights (Their favorite song is “Hello Kitty Swag.”).” Keeping the fam close is something that I have especially held true to, as my nears and dears will tell you. While family is a community you are born into, the family that you create is one that holds equal merit.

NPC Q&A : SAMMUS!!!

Sammus steps up to the plate next to answer the NPC Q&A!

Not only one of the fiercest and smartest MCs I have ever heard in ANY genre, but also one of the nicest people I’ve met in a long time (but don’t start acting crazy on her now because she will tell you what’s up).

Somehow she always makes time in her busy schedule to help the cause so get to know a little bit about Sammus

 

1. What are you nerding out on currently?

Recently I’ve been watching a lot of Portlandia. I know I’m super late to the game, but in my defense working on a PhD for the past few years is a pretty good excuse. I finally ended up watching Portlandia on Netflix at the end of the semester and immediately connected with the show because the town in which I was raised and am currently living while I attend graduate school – Ithaca, NY – shares a lot of similarities with Portland as it is portrayed through this utterly ridiculous sketch comedy show. Also, shout out to Mega Ran for the feature of “Splash Woman” on the episode “Aimee.”

 

2. What are your most recent games played?

I’ve been playing a lot of SNES games lately on my tablet. F-Zero is probably my favorite right now — super fun and I love the music! Because I like to balance out the light with the dark, I’ve also been playing lots of Blackthorne.

 

3. What music is on your playlist?

I’ve been spinning Open Mike Eagle’s latest project, “Dark Comedy” nonstop! I have also been listening to quite a bit of Homeboy Sandman, Dam Funk, Fleet Foxes, and instrumentals from Ivorian producer Chuk le Garçon. Finally, I’ve been bobbing my head to Mega Ran’s track “Infinite Lives” featuring D&D Sluggers.

 

4. What do you do in your downtime?

Downtime?

 

5. Any past/present involvement in community activities you’d like to speak about?

From 2008 – 2010 I worked as a teacher in an underserved community in Houston, TX. From 2011 – 2012, I served as the Community Service Chair for the Black Graduate and Professional Students Association at Cornell University. Since then I’ve been devising new ways to get involved despite my schedule – this weekend I will be performing at the Southside Community Center as part of their annual Juneteenth celebration.

 

6. What are you trying to learn to do right now?

I’m currently trying to learn how to mix and master tracks professionally. As a producer and the person responsible for recording my own vocals over the past three years I’ve had considerable experience with basic mixing, but I am now trying to commit more time and energy to it. Although I find mixing to be tedious and annoying, it’s also been frustrating leaving the job to other people as I’ve done for the last two projects. I’m hoping by year’s end, I’m a one-stop production-recording-mixing shop.

 

7. What should Nerdy People of Color get out of this website and collective?

First and foremost I think Nerdy People of Color should visit the website and follow the stories of its members for inspiration. I am constantly inspired by all of the great work of my peers in the NPCC. Nerdy People of Color should also check out the website to stay updated on what we’re doing – more specifically when we’ll be in their areas so that they can come out, support, learn more, and hang out!

 

8. Favorites:

a) Movie? Recently, I was a guest on The FanBros Show and was asked this same question. At the time I said that “Good Burger” was my favorite flick, but I’ve since reconsidered – I actually think “Hot Fuzz” just may be my favorite film. #TheGreaterGood

b) Food? My mom’s porkchops. Actually, anything my mom cooks.

c) Website? http://sammusmusic.com

 

9. What’s upcoming for you?

I just released a seven-track Metroid EP that’s been getting a lot of love thanks to my friends and fans so now I plan on promoting the project until I can promote it no longer. I’m going to be shooting the video for the EP’s first single, Power-Ups, on July 1st, promoting the second single, Crown, heading to perform at some out-of-state-shows, and preparing for my third full length-album, which is currently untitled.

 

10) Talk about a person or event who made you who you are today.

I often talk about my older brother and his influence on my personal growth, so I’d like to start talking a little more about the role my younger brother has played in my life. Although we didn’t always get along, my little brother was definitely my road dog for my childhood and a lot of my teenage years – especially as my older brother began to spend more time outside of the house with jobs, school activities, and band practice. So much of the geeky stuff I consumed was because of his influence. We spent countless mornings and afternoons watching everything from Pokémon to Reboot; I shared all of the stories of the cartoon and video game characters I created with him, often exclusively; we spent whole summers seated next to each other watching poorly animated Hanna-Barbera cartoons and catching mistakes in everything form the plotlines to poor animation. One thing I’ve always admired about my younger brother was that even though he is incredible at doing so many things, he has always remained humble and generous. I remember sometimes playing against him in Street Fighter, and knowing that he was holding back so that I could at least get in a few hits. It was so nice having such a dope partner in geekdom growing up and I often draw on those memories for inspiration.

Mega Ran Releases Losses ft. Joell Ortiz & MURS

After being named one of “5 Rappers Likely To Be Big in 2014” by LA Weekly, Mega Ran steps to the plate in a lead-off role and blasts a thunderous home run. His new track “Losses” is a heartfelt lifeline to anyone who’s lost anything or anyone to the high-stakes game of the streets. Produced by Alex Minor.

Single art
download link 
stream link

The perennial road warrior Mega Ran is starting tour soon with Video Game and chiptune standouts brentalfloss and Danimal Cannon, heading to SXSW and beyond. Tour dates:

2.19.14 @ Silk City, Philadelphia, PA (w/e-dubble)
2.20.14 @ The Grand Victory, Brooklyn, NY
2.21.14 @ Flashback Lounge, Watertown, NY
2.22.14 @ Singers, Syracuse, NY
2.25.14 @ Super Fly Comics, Yellow Springs, OH
2.26.14 @ The Comet, Cincinnati, OH
2.27.14 @ Sabbatical, Indianapolis, IN
2.28.14 @ Subterranean, Chicago, IL
3.1.14 @ 42 Lounge, Milwaukee, WI
3.3.14 @ 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, MN (w/e-dubble)
3.4.14 @ Pixels, Ames, IA
3.5.14 @ Star Clipper Comics, St. Louis, MO
3.6.14 @ The Phoenix, Fayetteville, AR
3.7.14 @ The Boiler Room, Dallas, TX
3.8.14 @ Hole In The Wall, Austin, TX (performing “Black Materia” tracks only)
3.9.14 @ Hole In The Wall, Austin, TX (performing new material only)
3.11.14 @ SXSW (The Nerdy Music Panel), Austin, TX

3.11.14 @ SXSW (Official Showcase) Flamingo Cantina, Austin, TX