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Awesome Stories from StoryCorps

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Every person has a story they wish to share. This is the purpose of StoryCorps, a nonprofit organization dedicated to allow people to share their unique stories to the world. Some of the stories are made into animated format and are found on their YouTube page. Here are six stories told by people through StoryCorps I recommend watching (of course, you can see more through their Youtube page or listen on their website). Continue reading

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#dearMe: A Letter to a Younger Self

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Dear Younger Me,

I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news from the future. The bad news is that the future you predicted about having a career and a family started before 30 is never going to happen. Sorry. You’re probably going to deny this, but we both know we are never going to be like a normal person. And why would you? Normal is boring, anyway. Continue reading

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The Importance of Character, or Why Sailor Moon Crystal is Not Perfect

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It is very common for a manga series to be made into an anime. Sometimes, the anime adds things that are not found in the manga to either give a different take or just to make sure the manga is ahead of the show. There have been arguments over which is better for each series: the manga or the anime adaptation. So, of course, some anime had been re-done to match more closely to the anime. In the case of Sailor Moon Crystal, to me, the original 90s anime and the manga were better. The main reasons: character development and expression (or in the case of Sailor Moon Crystal, the lack of it).

First, let’s focus on the main story of Sailor Moon. A fourteen-year-old girl named Usagi Tsukino is given a pendant by a strange cat, who tells her she is the legendary hero named Sailor Moon, and that she must find her fellow Sailor Soldiers and the Legendary Silver Crystal in order to find the princess, restore the Moon Kingdom, and fight the evil that is responsible for the destruction of the kingdom over a millennium ago. Over the course of the first season, they have managed to succeed. However, the series has not ended, as now they have to rebuild the kingdom and maintain peace on Earth from more evil forces.

Now, let’s recall of what I had said earlier about what made SMC different from the 90s anime. In the original anime, the series was stretched to focus on more fight scenes with some character development, particularly the friction between Usagi (Sailor Moon) and Rei (Sailor Mars). Because let’s face it. Usagi is not actually the perfect hero. In fact, she’s an irresponsible, clumsy, lazy, ditzy crybaby. Throughout the first season, Rei often berated Usagi for her behavior, particularly when she doesn’t take her role as a Sailor Soldier seriously (there have been episodes where Rei scolded her for forgetting the Moon Wand or for not coming to meetings). Over time, particularly when the Moon Princess is revealed, she saw Usagi’s kind and motherly nature when needed the most, making Rei (slowly) gain respect for Usagi. In Sailor Moon Crystal, we saw Usagi befriend Rei by telling her she is special and instantly Rei vows to protect her. See how the original anime was more interesting?

In addition, both the manga and the original anime had a balance of light-hearted comedy and drama, easily drawn in the character’s expressions. The manga had the characters drawn cute and cartoony when the story became light-hearted and slightly more realistic when the plot turned serious; the 90s anime kept that tradition from the manga; SMC had a more realistic, and somewhat restraining, expression and focused more on the drama. In short, both the manga and the 90s anime was more lively and expressive than SMC.


Another comparison between 90s Sailor Moon and Crystal with the scene involving Usagi and Mamoru

However, Sailor Moon Crystal is not terrible. I do appreciate them focusing on the main plot instead of dragging the series too much (this is why people tease Dragon Ball Z and why some people prefer to read the manga). Also, Sailor Moon Crystal is beautifully colored, but not exactly have great art with the very skinny character designs and the unnecessary CGI cel-shaded animation in the transformation sequence. Speaking of which, I appreciate SMC kept some the elements found in the transformation from the original anime, while at the same time remain faithful to the original manga story.

I still stand by my statement that Sailor Moon Crystal is nothing more than a pretty face. However, the anime has finished only one story arc so far and there are about a few more arcs left, assuming they still follow the manga. With that being said, I will keep watching the series with an open mind.

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Nostalgic TV Channels: Not a Necessary

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Nostalgia is a wonderful feeling, and sometimes we crave to bring back what had made our past enjoyable. Television networks recognized this and made networks just to bring back classic shows. I remember my Ma was filled with joy when the Nick at Nite channel launched, and she saw shows like “Room 227” and “Welcome Back, Kotter”, not to mention classic commercials to add the nostalgia. I was thrilled when Cartoon Network launched Boomerang, and I saw parts of the old Cartoon Network, from the shows they broadcasted to the classic bumpers and shorts they played through the break.

However, over time, networks like Boomerang aired shows that have not long gone off the air on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon’s Nicktoons Network and Nick at Nite aired original shows and not-too-old shows. So, people would request a channel for nostalgia shows. This is a nice idea, but there are a few reasons why having something like this is not necessary. Continue reading

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MAGFest 2015: You Have Been Good to Me

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With the amazing concerts, the cool games, the entertaining panels, and all the sights to behold, you do not disappoint me. It was a so much to do, so little time thing, and there were some things I wish I could do things differently, like visit old friends more often, go to more concerts, take more pictures, get in line extra early for one autograph session, play more games like 8-player Smash and Pokémon, and not sign up for Name that Tune (because I failed miserably when I played). I guess part of me is getting to the age when you have to mind your health, though another part of me is saying that you need to be more social.

Then again, one artist whom I have followed online knows me by name, which was a surprise. And I got to meet a few new people (and got an autograph from Rebecca Sugar and Ian Jones-Quartey from Steven Universe). And I did compliment a few panelists on their good work. And all of the things I wanted to do were crammed into the evenings, but still enjoyed concerts such as MegaRan, Powerglove (see featured image above), Bit Brigade, Gamechops, and The Protomen and panels like Thrown Controllers and Cartoon Intro Sing-a-Long. And I have developed a love of indie games (which is something I never thought was possible), particularly Earthnight (see below video). Wow, I did a lot of cool things, more than I thought.

 

Nevertheless, I will focus on my confidence to stand on my own (by that I mean not rely on someone for a ride by conquering my driving fears). Here are a few pics I have taken this year.

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Memories of MAGFest 3: All Grown Up

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As MAGFest slowly approaches this weekend, let us now conclude this retrospective trilogy by looking back in the last four MAGFests (if you haven’t looked at the previous two MAGFest articles, I suggest you go back and read them). This four-day festival of video games and music has become too big for a small hotel and has moved on to bigger places, leaving room for bigger faces to make their mark in MAGFest history.
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Memories of MAGFest Part 2: The Awkward Years

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Welcome to Part 2 of our “Memories of MAGFest” series. If you haven’t got a chance to read the first part, check it out. It’s not required, but appreciated learning about MAGFest’s humble beginnings. In 2008, in its sixth year, MAGFest has reached over 1000 attendees, which led to a bigger location, which led to some of the craziest things to happen.
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Memories of MAGFest Part 1: The Early MAGFests

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From January 23rd-26th, MAGFest, the video game and music festival at National Harbor, Maryland, will be hosting for the 13th year. As someone who has attended MAGFest for over 10 years, I will be happy to share some of my memories of possibly one of the best festivals I have ever attended (yeah, don’t call MAGFest a convention as it is not like any other convention).

Since I will be discussing a lot of MAGFests, I will be dividing into three parts. We will call this part, the early years, when MAGFest was just a small gathering of about 500 attendees before it became a HUGE event filled with 10,000+ attendees.
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