blog, Other 0 comments on Update On Life!

Update On Life!

No, no I am not dead; I’m still very much alive and actively writing!

“But Ashley, you’ve been so behind and non-existent!”

Well no, not exactly. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you will see that I have been pretty active and very much… Existing! But I have not done my due diligence with this blog the way I would like to. Since January, my life has changed drastically and so I feel it’s time I update you lovely readers on all the wonderful things going on behind the scenes.

Firstly, we moved! My partner and I, and of course Elliot, finally have a place to call our own and have been adjusting since late January when we officially packed up and left. This is something we’ve been working towards for the last year; now that it’s finally happened, we’re so very grateful and excited to start this next adventure in our lives.

Elliot is actually happier than anyone with this move. We were worried what separating him from his biological brother would do, but since Elliot has never been the alpha it seems he finally has his own space to grow. Hard to believe as it is, Elliot actually got bullied quite frequently by both his brother and the other resident cat at my parent’s house. His whole demeanor has changed and he is now the king of the house!

We’ve also made some major additions to our family. I did post this to my social media, but we started expanding back in September with the addition of two ferrets, Bristol and Briar. Since our move, we’ve now rescued another ferret named Basil and have added two crested geckos to the mix; Nozdormu and Alexstraza.

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For those of you who do follow Black Moor, this does mean we have a new studio location [official post to come soon with additional info]. The second room in our apartment is now a dedicated office to all of our projects. I don’t have any official photos of the studio yet, but once we’ve finished putting together the last bits we want to improve, we will be posting it on our website! And you know we’re going to have a fish tank in here asap.

In other news, I did say I have still been writing. I’ve expanded my workload and now have started working with a few different publications. If you want to know which ones, please check out my Twitter feed where you can see all the official articles I repost. I love the sites I’m currently working for as the teams are so wonderful, unique and helpful!

My journalism career has not been the reason for less blogging, however. In fact, the readjusting to my new life has been the biggest culprit in creating a steady schedule. This will be my last year in college, as I am on track to graduate this fall, and I’m currently finishing my final praxis research project. Getting two degrees has set me back a semester, which is already more than I would have liked, but I am excited nonetheless! In addition, I’ve made the goal to try to get into grad school which has been another large feat taking quite a bit of my time. My latest scholar’s schedule has been rough and time consuming, leaving other projects to be in a sort of limbo state.

Now that it’s been about a month since our official move, I’m settled in enough to get things back on track; including Ashley’s Anime. There will be regular posts on this blog, new episodes on Black Moor and The Untold Vale is now underway and accepting submissions!

So please stay tuned, I’m not dead yet! If I am, you’ll know because I’m fairly certain Elliot will eat me.

Conventions, Other 0 comments on New Stuff From Ashley’s Anime! – The Admiral of the OTP

New Stuff From Ashley’s Anime! – The Admiral of the OTP

Hello there lovely followers! As you may or may not have known it has been a pretty hectic few weeks for me and the squad. Between finals and trying to finish up all of my work, we’ve had a couple of intense months but it looks like there will be some clear skies ahead! That being said, some new things are being added to Ashley’s Anime in order to bring all kinds of fun content to read. But first, a few updates.

For those of you who follow our Facebook page, we did go to LVL UP EXPO! Here is my exclusive coverage for Las Vegas Informer that you should check out and read. It was a really fantastic convention, and I have to say it was a seriously huge place to find some of the best cosplays in town.

That being said, the Community Gallery has been updated with photos of cosplayers, so if you got a card from us and know your photo was taken please check it out! If anyone is missing any photos, please let me know and we will correct the issue right away.

We also decided to dedicate an entire page to some of the artists who were at LVL UP EXPO. We’ll be adding to this as we go along for different conventions, but if you’re an artist who would like to be on the page please feel free to fill out one of our contact forms and I will get back to you right away with what we need! Ashley’s Anime is a huge supporter of independent artists, so we want to show our support by showing them off! If you’ve ever wondered where we buy some of our merch… There you go.

So what else are we adding to Ashley’s Anime? Well, for one, new writers. No, this does not mean I’m giving up Ashley’s Anime but I do need some help with the content in order to maintain running it. I currently run the company Black Moor Productions, where our podcast is also hosted, and it is getting a lot bigger than I had anticipated (which isn’t a bad thing by any means!). This does mean, however, that I do have to dedicate more time to it. I will also be opening up a new zine coming very soon so please stay tuned for that!

We will also be adding a new column to Ashley’s Anime!

For those of you familiar with Black Moor, you’ve probably heard of Clover Grayson. Well, Clover also goes by The Admiral of the OTP and she will be starting her own shipping log here on the blog very soon! I’m really excited for what the Admiral will bring to the blog; she is both funny and has a lot of really good points when it comes to your ships.

So pleased stay tuned to Ashley’s Anime, there are so many new and exciting things the blog is going to be trying out in the next few months. I want to thank all of the lovely cosplayers who let us take their photos at LVL UP as well as all of the artists who you should all check out as soon as you can!

Thank you guys, and Elliot and I will write to you soon! 

Other 1 comment on Cheap Ways to Love Anime

Cheap Ways to Love Anime

Our love for anime can be tricky to show off, and there’s a good reason why:

Merch is expensive as hell.

Which is reasonable enough. Figures, shirts, keychains and everything in between is taxed like crazy when it comes to shipping to America. Even beyond that, some items are extremely well crafted and deserve to be of the high price range. I’m never surprised with the cost of my nendos, let me put it that way.

But as a broke college student, and I’m sure many of different ages and socioeconomic statuses can agree, purchasing things from your fandom can be extremely tough! Especially if food for you and your cat (cough, cough, Elliot) is burning a hole in your pocket. So here is a list of ways I’ve kept the price low when it comes to my expenditures to show off my fandom!

Cosplay: 

It’s no lie that we all love cosplay. Whether it’s wearing it or just taking pictures at cons, we all love seeing the work and effort that goes into a good cosplay. But if you’re the one wearing a cosplay, the price can wreak havoc on your wallet. As someone who makes most of her cosplays and has only ever bought one, I can tell you now, buying a cosplay alone is quite the expensive endeavor! So how do we fix it?

Firstly, if you feel you are craft impaired and cannot possibly make your own cosplay items, perhaps investing in one really good pre-made cosplay is the best option. You don’t want to waste money on items that you feel you’re not using right. However, building your own can be very easy if you take the right steps! Here are a few ways to put together your own, cheaply.

  • Chose a character that wears simple clothing you can buy or modify if need be. Think of a character that might be in a school uniform, for example, or one that wears generic clothing. Always remember: wigs can be as cheap as 10$ on Amazon. Also, keep in mind that the more generic a character might look, the less likely you might be recognized at cons or gatherings.
  • If you are going to attempt at creating weapons and armor, take a pro tip from your friendly neighborhood cat lady; FOAM IS YOUR BEST FRIEND! And cereal box. A little cutting, some glue and spray paint will do wonders to create awesome armor and weapons. Let me direct you to my new best friend on YouTube: epicfantasy. Storm the Castle is a great site for finding patterns and even learning how to make some video game weapons out of affordable material. The YouTube videos have helped me out so much when it comes to creating cosplay stuff and I like using the patterns I find to help me size stuff and build off it.
  • Speaking of patterns ALWAYS LOOK FOR THEM! I cannot stress this enough. Sure there are always people selling patterns for certain weapons, but there are also good dudes who make free patterns. Try to find a free version first to print out. Even if it is not exact, you can always modify it to create the look you want.

If you’re not too certain about your cosplay making skills, have no fear! We all have to start somewhere and what better time then yesterday? Get to work and don’t be afraid of the glue gun! (But please don’t burn yourself, I don’t wanna get sued).

Figures: 

There will never be a good way to really save money when it comes to anime figures. And to be honest, the amount of time and effort along with the incredible detail that goes into figures, you can really never go wrong with a fine purchase. Now, I would say that if you don’t care about the quality of the figure, or the manufacturer, you could always buy a fake. HOWEVER, you really shouldn’t buy fake anything!

Buying fake goods does real damage to the sellers who manufacture these goods in the first place. And take it from someone who’s accidentally bought a few fakes; the real ones are way better. I once purchased an L nendo that I thought might be fake because it was cheaper, and while I will always love him, he does fall apart easily and it is so obvious he wasn’t an official nendo. I’m scared his big head will break my class case. So to avoid fakes and still get good with cash, here are some other options!

  •  Make sure the figure you’re buying is real and is high quality. Don’t go wasting money on figures that won’t look good in your case in the fist place is what I always say. Here’s a good tutorial on how to spot some of them! Do some additional research on how to spot fakes to get egg salad (excellent) results!
  • Always look at pricing options on stores like Amazon that might give you other deals for used items. It’s a gamble, but at the very least you can save a few dollars by buying used.
  • BE CAUTIOUS WHEN PURCHASING AT CONVENTIONS AND SPEND WISELY! Convention vendors may unknowingly (or knowingly) sell you fakes and they may also be full price! I’ve also noticed that items I’ve found online can be way cheaper than they are at cons. While I fully want to endorse vendors, and I do end up buying some goods that I can’t find anywhere else, I’m certainly more careful these days when I arrive at the con for a good time. I get really swept up with the dealer’s room and all the fun stuff, but my wallet knows that some of these things I could find cheaper somewhere else.

Clothing and Other Goods:

This is sort of my last, broad topic, but it is certainly one worth noting! If you are tired of buying cheap, overpriced clothing at stores like Hot Topic to get your fandom fix, try a few of these tips to help you save a few bucks!

  • You can always look online for whatever you’re looking for to see if it is offered at a lower price (as I suggested with the figures above).
  • You can also support a local artist (or an online one you know) by purchasing fandom-made clothing items, posters, art and keychains you can personalize your life with. I always love the art dealers I see at cons and other small gatherings, but it’s also just as exciting to find their online stores and purchase from them. ART IS BY NO MEANS FREE AND DESERVES TO BE A PAID PROFESSION, but sometimes you might find the artists are much cheaper than other vendors depending on what they sell! I’ve seen a lot of great deals on keychains I adored from artists who were much more cost effective for my wallet and even cuter than the others I’d seen in a dealer’s room.

It can be really hard to save a few bucks when it comes to being a part of the anime fandom, but it’s certainly worth it to learn restraint and wise purchasing. As someone saving up for Elliot’s college fund, I can tell you now that a few dollars makes all the difference!

What other tips do you guys like using to save a few dollars when it comes to your fandom fix? 

Anime, Other 0 comments on Let’s Talk: Body Shape/Size

Let’s Talk: Body Shape/Size

Anime has always been known for it’s specific art style and the various artists with their own take on it. But what we don’t often think about is how that style can sometimes be portraying real stereotypes we find within out own society. The squad here on Ashley’s Anime, Adam Barba, Becca Davila and Allison Wolch, discussed what being body positive in anime really means and what it does for its audience.

I’ve seen this happen a lot in anime, but after last season I sort of saw the need to host a podcast discussion about body positivity in anime. The recent show Kiss Him, Not Me was an anime that really did plus sized women no favors in the portray of Kae, the main character who’s a large woman that loses weight and gains the attention from several of her peers. Now, sometimes when people lose weight, it can change a person’s attitude in a positive way and that brings more people around. But that’s not really the case with this anime. Kae stays consistent in her personality and thinks very little about her size and figure; the attraction is purely physical.

I’ve heard a few arguments in defense of Kiss Him, Not Me. It usually revolves around how some of the characters realize how they like Kae regardless of her size, even though there are a few characters who already liked her no matter her size. But that doesn’t really stop some of the unnecessary attributes that are given to Kae; her voice is a perfect example of this. As a plus sized woman, I can confirm that I too always sound like I have inverted hamster cheeks (this is sarcasm for those in the audience who are not mature to view this blog).

But Kiss Him, Not Me is only one anime amongst the many that give poor portrayals of plus sized people, not just women. As you’ll hear in the podcast, the squad had some pretty interesting points to bring up about the issue at hand, but we all came to the agreement that this issue can be seen in almost every anime show, especially one’s that have plus sized characters. It’s a trope you can find happening often, and one that makes me feel like a I just ate a tub of acidic slime.

For anime that doesn’t portray any plus sized characters, the narrative still plays off of an ideal image that men and women “need” to conform to. Men are always extremely muscular (sometimes to a ridiculous size) and women are always big in areas like breasts, but skinny in their waist. This isn’t just a part of an art style; the look is too much like the stereotype and it still causes the same damages.

We might not think that an animation can cause any sort of damage to people’s mentality, but it very much can. It still perpetuates and idea amongst the populous that people need to fit a certain size in order to be desirable. And if that wasn’t enough, just look at how it effects the cosplay community. Plus sized cosplayers can be met with scorn for not looking like a character because of their weight.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. By criticizing and calling out anime that pedals certain ideas of plus sized people, we can start to critically think about how we chose to consume anime and what sort of bottom line messages it’s trying to tell us.

For more on the podcast, listen to it here! And to read more into what I thought about Kiss Him Not Me, read the official review here! And also be sure to check out Becca’s cosplay page on Facebook!

Anime, blog, Other 0 comments on Elliot’s Five Favorite Cat Anime

Elliot’s Five Favorite Cat Anime

It’s been quite a busy week! February is going to be an extremely busy month for me, so there’s a lot of prep that’s going to need to go into it. If you’re wondering what Elliot and I are up to, you can always check us out on Twitter and Instagram! Lots of cosplay building as we get ready for balls, upcoming cons and more!

In the meantime, I was watching anime with Elliot the other day and thought about how I like watching all the cat-themed anime specifically when he’s in the room. That really goes for any of my cats, but it’s always fun to have a cat to pet when you’re watching anime about the very creature. So, that being said, I composed a list of Elliot’s favorite cat anime in no particular order! [Note: Nyanko Days is still pending since we’re going to be reviewing it at the end of the season!]

Number One: Chi’s Sweet Home.  

Not only does Elliot look like Chi, but he also acts like her! He can be just as loud and destructive while simultaneously being the cutest creature ever created in the history of the universe. Seriously, it can’t get any better than that. I think this anime was the first short anime I’d ever seen, but I spent hours watching each and every episode because I loved it so much. Fast forward a few years later, and here I am with an anime blog centered around my own little bum who looks just like Chi! Plus, what I (and Elliot) love most about this anime is it accurately depicts the stress of being a cat owner. I think every situation that family went through owning Chi (other than the moving situation) was just my family channeled into an anime.

Number Two: Bananya 

 

You. Can’t. Deny. This. Show. Literally, this is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen before. Clover Grayson actually bought me one of the plushies at Otakon Vegas and I just about cried. I cuddle that think so hard I think the stuffing might actually pop out. Thank the almighty bum it’s not the actual Bananya cat because we would just have a mess of banana guts all over the place. Graphic and gorey, but true. Sure, there’s no real plot to this show other than cute cats stuffed into banana casings, but who needs plot when you’re watching anime with your cat at three in the morning?

Number Three: Ki Ki’s Delivery Service 

 

Not exactly centered around a cat, but still has one of the best cats ever! Jiji is absolutely adorable and no one can convince me otherwise. Plus I think this is a classic film that should be included purely off of how spectacular it is. I secretly wish Elliot could talk like Jiji does… But let’s be honest? He’d probably just yell at me that I don’t feed him enough or that he doesn’t want to watch anime any more. “Heck, merm!”

Number Four: Everything Flows; She and Her Cat 

 

Who else likes crying there eyes out and never being able to feel again? I sure do! I was surprised that this show didn’t have as many episodes, but when you actually watched it, you knew you didn’t need anymore. I don’t think my heart could have taken another season or episode of this anime. To hear all the horrible things that were happening through the cat’s perspective really made me wonder what my cat’s think is going on. And being the cat owner of a 20-year-old cat made me relate just a little too much.

Number Five: Nyanbo! 

I suppose these little guys count as… Cats? I mean, technically they are aliens, but I don’t think it totally matters because their still adorable. When we first watched this anime, I rushed to find figures for it and they were way too expensive for my taste! But hey! It’s still a cute anime to watch in your free time! And I think Elliot silently wished that he could get in a spaceship to escape my room and find exotic cat foods from all over the world… There was a longing gleam in his eyes.

What are some of your favorite cat anime? 

 

Anime, Conventions, cosplay, Other 0 comments on The Cosplayers of Otakon!

The Cosplayers of Otakon!

Hey there everyone! Otakon Vegas is over, and I am so exhausted, but the con was so much fun! Everyone there had so many amazing cosplays and I’m so happy and thankful for those of you that are letting me post them here on the site. The following gallery has every photo the Ashley’s Anime team took over the last few days! A special thank you to Clover Grayson and Adam Barba for all their spectacular help!

The convention was amazing, and we were all extremely excited to meet new people and have such a fun time. Honestly, I’ve never seen this many amazing cosplayers in one place! Some I’ve seen before at previous cons, others were completely new faces. Otakon Vegas was an experience I would advise to anyone, especially if you want to see some amazing cosplays! And, just in case you missed it, we also live streamed each of the three days on our new Facebook page!

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If you guys were contacted and given a card, but you don’t see your photo, feel free to message me and I will see if I missed anything! Also, check out my coverage on Las Vegas Informer. I look forward to next year and hope to see you guys there! The next convention our group is expecting to hit is LVL UP EXPO in May so please let me know if you are going and would like to have any photos taken!

Thank you to everyone and I hope you had just as much fun as we did!

Anime, Conventions, cosplay, Other 0 comments on Otakon Vegas ~ Get Ready!

Otakon Vegas ~ Get Ready!

Otakon Vegas 2017 is going to be here in Las Vegas this weekend and I’m ready to do this thing! I’ve been talking about this since Sabakon and I’ve never actually been to Otakon Vegas before so I’m excited for the opportunity to go!

I will be there to do coverage for another outlet, but while there I’m hoping to get some shots of cosplayers to feature on the blog exclusively! It’s not necessarily going to be an article, as my coverage for the con is exclusive to Las Vegas Informer (I will link the article on here) but I wanted to showcase cosplayers, as that is something Elliot and I are big on!

Please feel free to come up and say hi! Elliot will not be there, as he is just a baby and a cat, but I will have our business cards which do have his face on them so don’t be shy and feel free to take pictures of my cosplays as well!

On a side note, if you are a fellow anime blogger and you would like to work with me, exchange links to our blogs or have a project you’d like a fellow blogger to endorse/talk about with, or something completely different, don’t hesitate to come up and discuss it with me there! I will be happy to exchange contact information. You can also do this any time outside of the convention, as all my contact information is posted on the site.

Thank you guys for your loyal viewership, and I look forward to seeing you at Otakon Vegas 2017! 

Other 0 comments on Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

While me and the bum (Elliot) celebrated Christmas today, we wanted to take a moment to wish all our readers a happy holidays regardless of what everyone’s celebrating this time of year! And even if you’re not celebrating, we hope you have a lovely day!

The festivities were really awesome, though due to work I was unable to do any holiday anime fun, but next year I might be able to! In the meantime, we just wanted to thank everyone who has stuck with this blog so far.

It has been an honor to run this site and have you guys like the work we do here. Well, by we I mean me because Elliot just watches the anime, but you get what I mean. It’s been a lot of fun and even after major re-branding and a lot of other mishaps, it has still been a very fun year for Elliot and I in terms of running this blog. So for all of you supporting us, thank you.

We look forward to making a bunch of new content for you soon and all of the fun for the new year!

Happy Holidays,

Ashley and Ellibum!

blog, Other 0 comments on Body Positive Anime Segments!

Body Positive Anime Segments!

Welcome back anime lovers! In an earlier post, I’d mentioned that we would be making a body positive series here on the blog! I’m here to announce that this will be a reality. But each episode will be a little different, so I’m going to tell you who’s currently going to be on the podcast for each of these episodes and how we are breaking them up!

The categories are:

  • Body Shape/Size: Becca Davila, Allison Wolch & Adam Barba
  • Disability: Dylan Wickersham
  • Gender: Dylan Wickersham & Adam Barba
  • Skin Tone: Becca Davila & Clover Grayson
  • Body Parts: Becca Davila, Allison Wolch & Dylan Wickersham

Some of these lovely people you may know from previous work done at Black Moor, which is where we host our own podcast as well. Becca has been on Ashley’s Anime before (granted, it was known as Geekery Gears back then) but she also voices Hattie on Bosh & Brave. Clover Grayson also voices Paige Hopkinson and Adam voices captain Alex Stranwood. If you’re unfamiliar with their work, you can check them out here!

Dylan and Allison also work with Black Moor, but on projects that are not out yet. Until then you’ll get to hear their awesome comments in this new series we’re producing. We honestly look forward to it as these topics are something we’re genuinely passionate about. We can’t wait for you guys to join us and listen in! As with last time, there will be an article component to each podcast but you should definitely take a listen!

Also, fair warning, with scheduling issues and other mishaps, this list is likely to change as we begin producing the series. So please stay tuned! Subjects may be added, dropped/fused with other and people may have to back out. Regardless, we will try to hit everything we can within this series. And if we don’t, it only means there’s room for next time!

See you then cuties!

If we missed something and there’s a topic you’d like to hear us discuss, leave it in the comment section below! 

Anime, blog, Other 0 comments on What Makes a Real Anime Fan?

What Makes a Real Anime Fan?

I think it’s a question most of us have thought of, especially when you’re just starting out. I mean, think about it, how do you know when you’re there? When will you be deemed a true fan? Will hooded figures come into your room in the middle of the night, blindfold you and take you down into some dark, unknown area and sacrifice your blood to the gods as a right of passage? What does it take?

Well fret no more, little weebs, because I’m going to tell you all about what it means to be a real, pure-blood anime fan. You think you got what it takes? Well, here’s the kicker:

You probably don’t, according to many of our fellow otakus.

We’ve all been to an anime club, a con or maybe even just out with some anime merch on and ran into the situation that’s going to make us question our loyalty to anime. It’s going to be that one bro who tells you, “You’re not a really anime fan if you’ve never seen [insert some really random anime that probably never got dubbed or subbed and is purely fan service]”. This may not be the exact wording, however the message remains the same. And what a shame right?

This is probably the worst experience of any young otaku’s life. And the more involved you are, not only in anime and the community itself, the thicker your skin becomes to things like this. Believe me, I bash on so many fandoms and often get my own fandoms bashed on; it’s pretty much the law of equivalent exchange. So if you’re new to anime, I welcome you to the basement because that’s where you’re going to be spending most of your time from here on out. It’s cold, wet and you have the option of either being immersed in shade or sitting on salt formations. Your choice.

I may not be the cuddliest mushroom in the cookie jar, but I can tell you now that these are the people, ironically, that are not good fans. They’re still fans, their hearts may be true, but they are not good ones. The answer to what a real anime fan is may just surprise you; it’s a person who likes anime. That’s it. That’s the answer.

People like to really go for the jugular on this one because we like to measure how big of a fan someone is. They will look for anything to take you down. You didn’t watch all of Naruto? Get wrecked, kiddo! Didn’t like S.A.O.? Yeah, well… No one really did, but the point is, it’s always the goal to be one step ahead of the other otaku to those mean fans. And that shouldn’t be how it is! We are a group of people who normally get criticized for even mentioning anime, let alone be super fans about it! We should be building each other up, supporting each other’s crappy shows no matter how much we hated Charlotte because it was jut X-Men in disguise…

Look, I love anime and I love the people. Don’t take this as a bash, but rather, something that really needed to be said. Don’t ever feel bad if someone’s figure collection makes yours look small in comparison (trust me, I have been there). Don’t feel like you’re a worse cosplayer just because the other person made theirs by hand and they are a professional seamstress from Czechoslovakia with diamonds in the fabric and human souls in every stitch. Don’t worry about it! These things, in the long run, don’t account for the way you celebrate your fandom and the way you get your geek on.

I’m gonna do that “basic yoga girl” (what even does that mean?) thing here because I think there’s a phrase that really embodies this well. It went something like, the presence of one person’s beauty is not the absence of your own. Well, same goes for fans. Just because the one bro watched all of Inuyasha does not mean that you aren’t a true fan because you could give less of a cabbage about watching furries with an attitude problem (and furries are fantastic people by the way, no hate will ever fill this blog regarding themnew_piskel__4__by_kyokomagika-d9qfjxa). Even if you don’t buy anime merch, go to cons or stay informed on anime-related happenings also does not mean you aren’t a fan. Being a fan means you enjoy the work the writers, artists, animators and entire studio put into a show. But being a good anime fan? It means helping each other out and being supportive no matter what differences you may find between you and another fan.

How are you a “real anime fan”? Tell me! tumblr_m9gcttgdyf1qzckow