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Study Breaks.

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(image via: Anime Vice)

It’s
that time of the year again. Number 2 pencils sharpened. A thin film of Eraser dust covers the work space. A never ending, and ever changing itunes playlist carries through the background. Twitter and Instagram are more or less being left to the wayside. The same t-shirt starts to see more than a few days of wear in a row…Sounds like another All Nighter

SSB offers our blessings and the ability to stay awake all night and study! For all those at school who will need the well wishes for the approaching exams, Good Luck. Handle all those academic responsibilities and prepare to celebrate the completion of those exams and papers with a RAGER.

Magi: Labyrinth of Magic

Magi: Conquering dungeons and fans alike

FACT: More anime is good for you. Studies show that regular consumption of Japanese media over time decreases stress by 60%. This obviously isn’t a real statistic but it’s good to explore new shows.

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I honestly wish Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic was a role-playing game. The series reimagines Arabic legends featuring characters such as Ali Baba, Aladdin and Sinbad. The characters focus on conquering dungeons to gain power and wealth. Along the way, we come to understand the world, everyone’s obsession to be king and why everything can become bat-shit crazy.

Honestly, this show is like Bleach without the ridiculous amount of self-loathing from Kurosaki Ichigo (yeah, I said it). The character’s powers and weapon systems are pretty bad ass and well thought out. Aladdin’s positivity and Sinbad’s confidence make up for most of the doubt other characters cast upon themselves. You can also grow fond of the characters very quickly.

To me, the humor in the show stands out. The show’s plot is serious but the characters aren’t always such. There were a few times where I was caught completely off guard. It comes at super random times but it adds to the viewing experience. Here’s one of my favorite moments:

Did I mention there’s a good amount of fan service? Sinbad is drunk and naked on more than one occasion and the females are… *gulp* well-proportioned. Surprisingly, this also does not take away from the content of the show. The character design will hook you at first, but the story will definitely keep you along for the ride.

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THE VERDICT: This show is worth checking out. It has a great balance of emotional moments, sexual fan service and humor. The characters are very likable. Plus, you’d want to watch this to catch up. The second season currently airing in Japan!
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Magi: Labyrinth of Magic anime is distributed by Aniplex USA and the manga publishes weekly in Weekly Shonen Sunday.

Way To Go, Anime Expo!

This year was my first time attending Anime Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. I happened to attend as both a writer for Strawberry Scented Burnout, and as a writer/photographer for SoBiTV Magazine. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend Saturday, July 6, so I’m sure there were a lot of costumes and events that I missed during the entire Anime Expo. Apparently in it’s 22nd year (my favorite number, by the way), Anime Expo is the “#1 convention for Anime and Japanese culture in North America.” Not knowing what to expect, my eyes and ears were wide open, ready to absorb everything the convention had to offer. I did, however, know that this convention was going be smaller than the San Diego Comic Con, and larger than San Diego’s Anime Conji.

This guy was hilariously dancing at the front doors of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

This guy was hilariously dancing at the front doors of the Los Angeles Convention Center. I caught him at his resting position.

Upon arriving at Anime Expo, I was bombarded with a multitude of people practically at the doors of the Los Angeles Convention Center. I saw cosplayers in their intricate costumes. I heard constant clicks from photographers and their expensive cameras. I felt the heat in the main foyer of the convention center as the summer weather of Los Angeles county was trickling in through the front doors, being worsened by the great amount of people standing around or taking pictures.

Once I entered the fortunately air conditioned Exhibit Hall, I was filled with a sense of comfort. It was an all too familiar setting, as it resembled the San Diego Comic Con. Vendors were sprawled out throughout the space, selling figurines, animes, mangas, etc. Many booths were for popular Japanese brands that I am not all too knowledgeable on. While walking around the Exhibit Hall I couldn’t help but feel a readiness for the upcoming San Diego Comic Con that was to occur a few weeks after Anime Expo. The herds of people walking up and down the aisles, not usually giving way for others, even for those in wheelchairs or strollers. It was a madhouse. One that every veteran convention attendee should be familiar with.

After venturing through the Exhibit Hall, I managed to make a stop in the Entertainment Hall, aka Gaming Hall. It was a massive area filled with computer screens, video game consoles, tabletop games, and arcade games. In addition to all the gaming toys were large backdrops for cosplayers and photographers. I found the backdrops to be quite amusing, even the bedroom backdrop (even if that sort of weirded me out a little). Although, the cherry blossom setup was very pleasing to the eye. I wish I took more pictures there, but my eyes kept roving around and making me want to walk everywhere and not remain static for too long.

One aspect of the Anime Expo that I wish I had been able to watch and explore was the Fashion Show. I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese fashion, especially after visiting a friend in Japan years ago. Japanese fashion involves so many different layers. I love how they mix and match and take the simplest articles of clothing and mix it with other articles to make this grandiose fashion statement. Maybe I’ll get a chance next year to check it out.

Overall, I had a great experience at Anime Expo. I was delighted at the sight of all the costumes/cosplay at the convention. As many people have pointed out, Anime Expo is what the San Diego Comic Con used to be. The only difference between the two now is that Hollywood has infiltrated one but not the other. In my eyes, it’s good and bad. Good that Anime Expo has been able to hold onto it’s intimate setting, but bad that it has not been given the opportunity to expand and reach out to a wider audience. I have a feeling that with time, Hollywood will eventually make a presence at Anime Expo. So enjoy it while you can, for a few years from now it might become as famous and celebrity-packed as the San Diego Comic Con.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from Anime Expo. (To view the full album, check out SoBiTV Magazine or their photo album on Facebook here.)

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I’d make a pretty awesome Captain Kirk.

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San Diego Comic-Con International. The final frontier. This is a voyage of the hardcore geek group STRAWBERRY SCENTED BURNOUT.

Its five-year mission (and counting), to seek out new geek endeavors, awesome figurines, cool comic art, dorky cosplay pictures, trippy fights, and to boldly go where no geek has gone before.

Does that make me Captain Kirk? SWEET.

Oh yeah, follow us on twitter to get the skinny of what’s going down at this year’s comic con:

@twitchykun
@_MFjustin
@duhlissafied
@SSBurnout

SSB vs. Valvrave:The Liberator

 

It’s been about 11 years or so since Gundam Seed first hit us with its “space drama giant robots destroying colonies” schtick, and Sunrise decided that we were lacking in that department, so they sent us Valvrave.  They realized early on that teenagers go with giant robots, just like Evangelion (we all know how well that turned out, right).

No, not that.

No, not that.

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My first impressions after watching the first 4 episodes?

They threw Gundam Seed (NOT DESTINY), Code Geass, Vampires, Metal Gear Solid 4’s nanomachines, and TM Revolution into a blender, and this is the result.  A visual feast of stuff blowing up, teenagers making peace signs, and EL ERUFU.  I’m impressed by it.  Maybe it’s the fact that I’m older now, but I’m finding it harder and harder to get an anime to gel with me if it’s not Initial D.  I blame TM Revolution.

SSB’s “TM Revolution Rule of Cool” - If TM Revolution is involved with an Anime/Manga/Game franchise of any sort, it’s automatically cool, or at least tolerable.

So yes, I will be following Valvrave: The Liberator.

Anime Conji 2013 Review

Have you ever noticed the best moments of your life are with other people? How rare is it that the best moments of our lives are when we are alone. Sure, we have epiphanies that we remember in our lives, but when it comes to moments of celebration or of laughter or of happiness…I’m pretty sure those moments involved other people.

I had the great honor of staffing at Anime Conji this year. It was quite an experience. I witnessed a great number of people who share the same passion for anime, congregate for a weekend, and create connections with one another. Sure, the event had a few hiccups here and there, but at the end of the day the main goal was reached. The event was an arena for similar minds to meet, greet, enjoy each other’s company, and celebrate the joy that anime brings to each other’s lives.

I think in our society we tend to forget the importance of being part of a community. We are brought up to be independent and fend for ourselves because no one else will, but I think that is to our own detriment. While it is true that we should take care of ourselves, the trust that we try to contain within ourselves will only implode. I think we should all be part of a community of like-minded folks. I enjoyed being part of the Anime Conji community and listening to various people discuss all sorts of animes from different time periods. I had a blast with the Strawberry Scented Burnout family and I look forward to next year’s Anime Conji. Hopefully by then, I would know a little bit more about animes and the otaku culture. =P

Here are my favorite pictures from the weekend. Don’t you just love shared experiences? It makes the moment so much more fun and so much more real!!

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I <3 SCANDAL

Yep, I'm hooked.

Yep, I’m hooked.

I’m a huge fan of K-On.  So naturally, I started gravitating back to J-pop once I really started getting into the series.  Along the way I heard about this group called SCANDAL.  Apparently, they got together in high school and started jamming out.  Then they started playing in clubs, and they…quite simply blew up.  You might’ve heard their songs in Bleach and Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood.

The group’s lineup consists for 4 girls, each with their own distinct roles.

Haruna Ono (小野春菜 Ono Haruna?) – lead vocals, secondary guitarist (she’s the face of the group and she has a cute overbite)

  • Born: August, 1988
  • Hometown: AichiJapan
  • Guitar: Fender Tele Thinline Deluxe Black

Mami Sasazaki (笹崎まみ Sasazaki Mami?) – lead guitarist, secondary vocals (OMG HER VOICE IS SO KAWAII AND CUTE AND I JUST WANT TO HUG HER)

  • Born: May, 1990
  • Hometown: HyōgoJapan
  • Guitar: Gretch White Falcon Double Cutaway G6136DC

Tomomi Ogawa (小川ともみ Ogawa Tomomi?) – bassist, secondary vocals (She plays bass, so she doesn’t really stand out as much, but she’s necessary.)

  • Born: May, 1990
  • Hometown: HyōgoJapan
  • Bass: Fender American Standard Precision Bass Silver

Rina Suzuki (鈴木理菜 Suzuki Rina?) – drummer, secondary vocals (GOOD GOD YOU ARE HOT WHY DON’T THEY FOCUS ON YOU MORE RINAAAAA)

  • Born: August, 1991
  • Hometown: NaraJapan
  • Drums: Pearl Masters Series PREMIUM MAPLE

I mentioned the K-On connection earlier in this entry.  Imagine my surprise when I came across this on youtube.

SCANDAL AND SHOKO NAKAGAWA ARE SINGING “DON’T SAY LAZY”.  YES.

Anyway, give this group a listen.  You won’t regret it.

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Super Street Kineda II

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Had a chance to check out Kineda’s SF Hyper Collection yet? It’s signature Kineda art, plus you’re favorite Street Fighter II characters. The only thing that can top that is if they made more tee’s with SF4 characters… *cough, cough CODY…ahem.

I’m not big on graphic tee’s anymore, not since 05/06 or so but, Looking through the Kineda Store. I must admit i’m tempted to pick up a few things (I personally like the “Shoryuken” snapback). So if you’re big on Streetwear, still “hypebeasting”, a Capcom supporter, Street Fighter fanboy/girl. I suggest taking a look at the store and dropping some of that tax return money on some fresh shit.

Love Is …

Since the first anime I will watch is Love Hina, I thought it would be fitting to post a little “food for thought” about love. A song popped up on my Songza today called “Trouble” by Ray LaMontaigne, which my stream of consciousness brought me to a commercial that I remember watching and always found touching.

It is a Travellers Insurance commercial about a large white, terrier dog (who by the way, reminds me of my own dog) and his precious bone. Such a sweet story about things/people we hold dear and the lengths we take to keep those things/people we love safe. I hope you find it as heartwarming as I do.

Love is just one of those gifts that we are fortunate to have in this world. Love for family. Love for friends. Love for anime. Love for music. I can go on and on. I normally do not use the word love in such a general sense, but I feel comfortable using it in this context. I can only hope to protect, cherish, and appreciate those that I love as much as the dog in the commercial does. If I can succeed in that, I know I will live a very rich life.

Inside Looking Outside

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Perspective can sometimes be a mindf*ck. When you learn to view things at different angles, you slowly but surely come to form well-rounded stances on things. Take for instance anime. Before joining the Strawberry Scented Burnout crew, the only thought I had about anime was that it was a cartoon. A cartoon filled with exaggerated animation and subtitles. After speaking with various people about anime, I have come to realize that there is so much more to anime than meets the eye – Transformers! - and that there are deeper messages ingrained into these so-called “cartoons”.

The more angles I get to view, the more intrigued I am by this anime world. I no longer feel as if I am an outsider looking into this world of anime, but I now see myself as a student that has entered this anime kingdom, ready to absorb as much knowledge as I can. A part of me wonders why people think of this world as “geeky” because it seems that a lot of it is quite beautiful. The creativity that goes into the graphics and storylines is amazing. This Otaku culture that I keep hearing about proves to be more and more interesting. ;)

Related: http://ss-burnout.com/2013/03/15/being-on-the-outside-looking-in-isnt-all-that-bad/