Tag Archives: Otaku

Haven Editorial: Cosplay is good

Cosplay is to me a wholesome activity, that promotes creativity and fun. For people of all ages. Children love to play dress up, Halloween promotes it and we have a similar tradition in Norway, only with singing for candy on new years eve. Not to mention that people love to host costume parties and masquerade balls. There is also a lot more kinky ways to use a tantalizing costume. Cosplay is short for costume fun and that’s the main point.

However there are also several unintended benefits in the recent and increased popularity. A lot of old crafts was about to die out, due to mass production and few career prospects. It used to be a common profession to sew custom clothes, such as fancy, frilly party dresses and such. There is only so many tailors and seamstress the community can keep aloft, when anyone can buy a suit at a mall. Mass producing cosplay is virtually impossible. Since there are millions of characters to pick from and they all have something unique about them. Which is quite awesome indeed. There is an old saying that goes «If you want something done right, do it yourself». Creating a costume is hard work and a real mental challenge, that forces the one making it to think about the best approach. Both when it comes to picking materials and when it comes to assembly.

Let’s face it. Everything is possible on a 3d model, or in an animated show. Because it is not real. Creating cosplay is all about making it real. Which requires a sound mind and some insanity. Since it is a common fact that big shoulder plates will never stay in place and that female clothing is not designed to stay on. Personal I use the term practical problem solving. Challenges is a part of life, but creative crafting is a way to overcome that. Most costumes includes many intricate sewing patterns, fancy fabric and a lot of armour pieces. Due to the decline of old professions a lot of the knowledge needed has to searched for online, due to a lack of good mentor figures. Sure a lot of it can be searched for online, but for the most of us we learn by trying. On a side note, its a very common thing for people being too hung up on collecting reference materials, you know downloading a ton of character pictures onto a hard drive. Then to never interact with the pictures again. Anyhow, crafting armour, making weapons and intricate , all requires crafting. Which also teaches people to use tools and think for themselves. This in turn makes a person more independent. Apparently a lot of people does not know how to do minor maintenance at home, or own a hammer.

Another positive effect cosplay has on people, is the ability to make friends and boost self confidence. It is quite a challenge to walk around in a costume, where everyone will look and admire you. Meeting new people is also easier when one have something in common. It breaks the ice. Plus all the professional venues has a zero drug and no alcohol policy. let’s face it, many people have a very difficult time being around other people or initiate a conversation, it’s a surprisingly good ice breaker. Cosplay is also starting to become a viable way to sustain oneself. Such as winning price money. Live streaming the prop making progress. Which is what I do. There is also a market in selling products to people who lack the patience or the skill to do it themselves. On top of that there is a huge market itself in selling materials to create a costume from. Most of the more exotic martial I use is only sold online and shipped from abroad.

Personally I love crafting costume props and make them work. Which is why I stream the creative process several times during each week.
https://www.twitch.tv/zaceron

Njål Sand

Haven Review: Touhou Genso Wanderer

There are some games out there that inspire greatness, that exude the promise of greatness and that are just naturally amazing. However, Touhou Genso Wanderer is not one of these games.

I love the character designs and artwork, the voice acting and the animation for the game is simply amazing. Like holy hell the animation for the cut-scenes is on par with some of the greatest games I have ever seen for anime-styled games.

However, it’s the actual gameplay that has been disappointing. You get a world of build up and then when you get to actually playing the game it is a simple dungeon explorer title with nothing special or amazing about it. No attention to detail, repetitive music and ultimately bland to look at it. It has a strong feeling like the assets were ripped from RPG maker software, titled in and coded for a Play Station 4 game.

Touhou Genso Wanderer is a title that could have been great but gave up half-way through. Although I am not sure on why, it could be budget constraints; it could be poor direction, or even simply poor design.

The controls for the game were pretty confusing as well and the screen re-size function on the Play Station 4 didn’t help much in its visuals as well. The game just simply kept overriding the default options I had placed in.  So I could never see the full status bar of my character.

I know I am being very critical about the game, but honestly that is what I am here for to be critical about games. The game sucks, put simply and people can complain and argue that with me to their blue in the face. I don’t like how they didn’t get the stage design more detail, I don’t like the repetitive music on a infinite loop, I don’t like how they mashed the controls together and barely gave any type of tutorial to go along with it.

I’d like to say it’s one of the worst games I have ever played, but there’s quite a few in the running for that.  The best part of the game is simply its branding. The beautiful and colorful characters, the animation, even the voice acting are pretty nice. It’s just everything else about the title that’s bad.

If you want in this article appears several images from the game to explain what I mean in regards to its poor level design and why I dislike it.    

If I had to say some positive things about it, I’d say that the level transition goes quickly and loads up well. But that is because they are doing a tiled asset approach and don’t have a lot of things to load.

Actual combat remains somewhat of a bore and the plot used to let you battle actual humans in the game is a simple plot convenience that lets them recycle assets to help keep the file size low for this game.

I’d say don’t buy it, but if you like sloppy work for a cheaply made game that most people could put together on the RPG maker forum with basic coding and simple assets than. By all means this game is the game for you! Although if the fan base reads this article, which they probably will at some point, my opinion probably doesn’t matter to you so enjoy the game anyways.

-Daniel Clatworthy

For the record if anyone also wanted to know, I’m not the only person who feel’s this way, a lot of people on Metacritic say the same thing.

Otaku Review: Fate/ Stay Unlimited Blade Works

Fate/ Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works

I am the bone of my sword
Steel is my body and fire is my blood
I have created over a thousand blades
Unknown to Death, Nor known to Life
Have withstood pain to create many weapons
Yet, those hands will never hold anything
So as I pray, unlimited blade works.

One of my all time favorite anime series. It got plot, characters and is beautifully animated. The anime is an adaptation of a visual novel with unlock-able sex scenes. Unfortunately I can’t stand the insane walls of boring text and repeating names. This is a thing that makes a good anime adaption a gods end. The Fate universe is a complex one with a ton of plot lines and spin-offs. Infinite blade works is the second adaptation, which focus on a different plot line and point of view than Fate/ Stay night. Ultimately it’s the same characters only being used differently. To be honest the naming convention is way to convoluted and confusing. Generally it’s easier to just refer to it all as the Nasuverse. Naturally some die hard fans will disagree with me, proclaiming that the visual novels are superior. If you can get hold of a good translation that is.

Unlimited blade works, follows the path of the sorceress Rin and her summoned servant known as archer. Which both partake in a conflict know as the holy grail war. Where several stuck up and questionable mage families compete for the ultimate price. Which will grant the winner his ultimate wish. Naturally the families participating does their best to summon the strongest and most vicious heroic spirits possible. Essentially when well known heroes of legends die, they will become a part of the Holy grail. Waiting to be summoned by whomever participates in the Grail war.

blade1

The story mainly focuses on Rin whom is a young magician, whose father groomed into becoming a part of the grail war. She is quite skilled and very headstrong, with a soft and sensible side as well. Every now and then she also cracks a joke. This alone makes her leagues above the cookie cutter stereotypes most series cram down our throats these days.
Meanwhile her servant Archer is quite fantastic as well and actually look like a seasoned and buff warrior. With a snarky attitude and an infinite amount of swords to throw around.
Lastly there is Saber; A blond knight, that is so serious that and no nonsense as you can get her and yet have a somewhat compelling personality.

Lastly there is Shirou, whom starts off as interesting as a wash cloth with a traumatic past. Whom eventually he becomes more than a pushover handy man. The kind that has to be stabbed a lot, before he learns his lesson. Which happens a lot, as most of the players in the grail war does not play around much; Nor do they play fair. Even if the characters are fleshed out and very interesting. They still have the nasty habit of beating everyone over the head with a blunt encyclopedia of exposition. Followed by long periods of little action and some shocking plot twists.

blade2

The music score is fairly decent and the voice actors does a splendid job for the most part. Can’t say much about the dubbing. I have no good reason to watch the English version at all. Meanwhile the art style is quite moody with a gradient filter to all. It even makes the odd facial structure of the characters looks good. The backgrounds are not much to write home about. Since it takes place in Japan, there is the generic school, temples and a lot of streets with no names. The animation quality is very good despite many slow and moody moments.

Unlimited Blade Works comes highly recommended and  is quite addictive, leaving the viewer either frustrated, or just craving more.

Njål H Sand