5 Tips for Making Friends in Other Fandoms

Sora and ShiroHey guys how are you all?

Today I wanted to do Light Otaku Living post that features five friendly tips for making friends in other fandoms because I remember my middle school and high school self being really apprehensive in making friends. I just wasn’t social at all because I felt so content and comfortable in my personal fandom bubble. In fact, later in life I realized it’s much more fun to engage in fandoms such as anime, kpop, comics, movies and the like when you’re surrounded by people as passionate for the medium as you are. This post was inspired by my best guy friend who’s a little bit anxious about making new friends because he’s transferring programs to a new university in the Fall. Like a lot of anime fans, he’s a bit awkward when it comes to meeting new people. So I hope you guys will find today’s tips helpful and encourage yourself to step out of your comfort zone to try something new.

KALMIA Illya1) Don’t Hate – It’s not weird, it’s just different from what you’re used to. Just because you don’t understand a fandom or its fangirls and fanboys, doesn’t mean you should immediately hate on it. Some fandoms are definitely overhyped and others are under-hyped, so take the time to be patient with people you meet and try to get past the mindless squealing and excited fangirling to really hear someone out and understand what they’re fangirling about when you realize their fandom is different from yours.

 2) Ask Questions – You know how you spent about forty hours memorizing random facts on your favourite anime voice actor or all the music show dates for your favourite Kpop groups? Chances are someone else is as obsessed with information hoarding as you. If you hear them mention a name you don’t know or a show you’ve never heard of, ask them to elaborate and chat up the conversation in that way. I don’t know about you but any conversation that lets me show off all my knowledge on all my favourite things is a conversation I’d like to keep going.

Renge3) Be Observant – This one is actually one of my most useful tips. Whether you’re at a club, an event, in class or at a convention, being observant is one of the most important things to keep in mind. When I first met one of my best fangirl friends, we were both attending a screening hosted by my university campus anime club. I noticed two keychains hanging from her purse from one of my all-time favourite anime series. I struck up a conversation with her and this year, she’s my new housemate. You never know where you could find and make new friends for life.

4) Don’t make Assumptions – It’s my understanding that there is a stereotype over all fandom Geeks and otaku. A lot of us fangirls and fanboys have been horribly caricatured as shut-ins who can’t have functioning lifestyles and proper conversations. Don’t assume fangirls or fanboys in your fandom are better than fans of another fandom. Similar to tip number one, keep on open mind and get to know each person as an individual rather than simply judging them based on what fandom they obsess in.

Nagi no Asukara5) Relax – Approaching people is hard, but take a deep breath, roll back your shoulders and stride confidently up to that person. You may surprise them and yourself when you find the courage to speak up. Don’t be afraid to bring up your fandom in introductory conversations when someone asks you about your hobbies. It’s not mandatory to immediately put forth the fact that you’re into so and so fandom but it also shouldn’t be something you intentionally try to hide. Like it or not, your fandom is a part of you, and really if you’re spending over twelve hours a day watching anime, listening to kpop, googling facts and engaging in this fandom, I hope you’d be proud of it and let it shine into your everyday self.

So I hope you guys enjoyed this post and found something relatable. These tips are based purely on my personal experience engaging in different kinds of fandoms from different cultures, not only in anime or Kpop but also various genres of music, dance, literature, photography and other topics. Yeah, I’m an obsessive person.

Haganai Yozora and SenaThe bulk of these tips are also inspired by what I believe is a healthy way to engage in fandom culture while balancing it with a perfectly social and healthy lifestyle. I didn’t include this in the list but you can also make new friends online now over MMO games and forums that engage with individuals all over the world as well as on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other similar sites. If you’re really nervous about face to face conversations, start with a simple reply to someone on Twitter or just shoot someone a message. Interactions don’t seem as daunting over the screen and you can slowly build up your confidence to approach other fangirls and fanboys in conventions or clubs when you feel ready.

Thank you guys so much for reading!! I hope some of these tips were useful for you guys and if you did, you could always reblog on WordPress or share this on Twitter and Facebook ^^ If you have any tips of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Thanks for dropping into my blog and I will talk to you all very soon 🙂

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Advertisements

How to Spot Bootleg Figures

DSC_0303c

For most otaku collectors, the biggest problem with purchasing merchandise is spotting the fakes from the officially licensed products. Here are some tips on how to spot the difference.

We’re going to be looking at the Nendoroid Petit series, particularly the Character Vocal Series 01 featuring Hatsune Miku. You’re probably wondering why I have both the real and fake version of the exact same character. No I did not buy a fake figure just for the sake of this post. I just so happened that I was duped first into buying the box and when I did find the officially licensed version, I ended up with the same figure by chance. Luckily, Rin Kagamine is one of my favourite vocaloids. Now, how to spot fakes…?

Box Design- This is a key starting point for all shoppers. If the box is damaged in any way or has colour faded then it is most likely a fake. If you’re unsure, do some research online for pictures of the collection from the manufacturer’s site or go onto the forums and have more experienced collectors verify for you. The packaging in the official box will be slightly more elaborate and with fragile more expensive figures, include extra wrap to protect it from delivery bumps.

Joints- How well does the figure put together? You probably won’t know until you take it home, but a big telltale sign is how easily and sturdily the figure comes together. When I realized that my Rin figure was fake, I ended up using scissors in an attempt to dig a proper hole in the body to fix the joints. It was a hassle putting the darn thing together. The official figure has easily moveable joints and almost never falls off its base.

Paint Finish- Officially licensed figures have nicely done paint jobs that are easy on the eyes and are smooth to the touch. Check out the finer details of the figure and whether or not the manufacturer gets all the gradient shades and whether the pain is firmly set into the right places (as in, did they colour within the lines).

On Rin here, you can see the official figure has a much more healthy and baby pink flush to her facial expression while the pain on the fake figure makes Rin look sickly and a bit grey. Your real figure will have much more expressive facial qualities than the fake.

Real Rin (left) has shades of orange at the tips of her hair while Fake Rin (right)does not. As well, the real Rin has dainty back shoes painted on her feet and an extra ring of white paint at the hem of her dress while the fake Rin has no shoes and a single coloured dress hem.

Price- This one is really important and usually the easiest way to tell if something is fake or real. If your wallet is happy about the purchase and you think you’ve made a bargain for your figure, think again. The bootleg I accidentally bought was only four dollars plus tax while my official Nendoroid Petit was twelve dollars plus tax. Figures are rarely purchased at a bargain price especially if they are relatively popular. A quick check at the manufacturer’s online official website will give you a general idea of the price of your figure.

DSC_0297c

Tips for Conventions- If you’re really unsure about whether a dealer is selling bootleg figures or legitimate ones you can, A) stand there and look like you’re visually scrutinizing the box for flaws. If the seller is legit and he sees you doubting the product, he will most likely reassure you that he’s selling official merchandise. Dealers selling fake figures are less likely to make a bold claim for selling legitimate stuff if they think you’re already suspicious. Or B), look around the immediate area for someone who is toting around a huge bag of figures, hopefully he or she can offer some insight. C) Talk to the dealer and ask him details about the figure or the series. I’ve found that most dealers who sell officially licensed products know their anime goods well – ask for things like series release date, when the anime itself came out, if there are other similar figure collections, etc.

Tips for Online Purchases- I would advise you not to buy anything online because you can’t see the product immediately but that would be stupid because the truth is a lot of figures are a lot cheaper online than in stores or conventions. Try to avoid website likes eBay or Amazon unless the seller is from Japan or has a healthy history of positive ratings. If you enjoy online shopping wars like I do, make sure you choose your battles wisely and purchase only from places noted for their legit products. A little googling and research on forums will help you determine which sites are thumbs up and which ones are a thumbs down.

I hope you guys found this post useful and I hope you never get duped by bootlegs. It’s not a fun experience at all. Did you ever accidentally buy a fake? Do you have a bootleg purchase story? Let me know in the comments below. As careful as I am about purchases, I’ve still been tricked 2-3 times with occasional small figures when I first started collecting – less so now that I’ve been tro Japan and back a few times. Keep in mind that legitimate Japanese products are almost always flawlessly designed and produced.

Thank you guys very much for dropping in and I will talk to you all soon!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Taking Fandom Collecting to THE COLLECTIONARY

Hi guys, today I wanted to share with you all a wonderful gem of a website called The Collectionary. This site is really great for avid anime merchandise collectors as well as hobbyists in any other field. It not only gives you a place to touch base with what’s on the market and what’s booming with popularity in the collector’s world, but also provides you with the means to delve into what other people are collecting outside your little collection circle. Whether you’re into anime, superheroes, Hello Kitty – whatever you like to collect, there’s a place in The Collectionary for you.

anime_collectionary“The Collectionary is based on the belief that there should exist a chronicle of that history, in detail, created by the experts themselves. Compiled and edited by it’s own users, the Collectionary is a nostalgic stroll down memory lane for some people, and for others, a tool to catalog and document the historical significance of the products they love.”

The anime section of The Collectionary is particularly charming for me as an otaku. It’s not just figures and DVDs, but cosplay props, actual cosplay, anime accessories, plushies and even manga. If you follow many of the large overarching anime franchises such as One Piece, Bleach, Black Butler, Naruto, and mostly recently, Sword Art Online and Attack on Titan, you’ll find The Collectionary a really neat place to go merch hunting. There are also tons of old merchandise that you just wouldn’t be able to find on online shopping sites that only keep up with recent in-stock items. Still, that doesn’t mean that the anime section leaves out any of the niche anime you might be into. CHECK OUT THE STUFF I FOUND WHEN I SEARCHED UTA NO PRINCE-SAMA

Uta no Prince-Sama Search

When you click into an item, it shows you a general price range, where you can potentially find it on sale and allows you to add it to your own “Collections” that you create in your account to keep track of your favourite products. The site is fairly easy to navigate once you get the hang of it and if you’re into collecting STUFF in general, you’ll find the Collections feature a great way to organize ALL your interests. My tip for you guys who are new to The Collectionary is to try and be specific with what you’re looking for. In anime merchandise, don’t just type anime, search up an anime title or perhaps a character name. Once you get use to the way the search engine works, you will definitely find something from some fandom that you’re a part of.

Collectionary

Definitely check them out there http://collectionary.com/

http://collectionary.com/club/anime

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Anime-Block-on-Yardsellr/131607396901577

Thank you guys so much for reading and I hope you all have a lot of fun on site. Special thanks to The Collectionary for reaching out to me and introducing me to this wonderful new world of merchandise fandom!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Josh@thecollectionary.com

Cloudy Says…

Hello everybody! I haven’t talked to you guys in a Cloudy Says post for a while because there has been so much going on. I had Chinese New Year’s and then Reading Week and then the Canadian Autoshow and then Midterms and then I got sick. In fact, I’m still sort of sick but I’m trying to get over it because life doesn’t wait on those buried in mountains of tissues and unwashed dishes.

Konata

Are you guys keeping up with all the current episodes? This week we looked at…

Kill La Kill Episode 20

Tokyo Ravens Episodes 18 and 19 + Episode 20

Nobunaga the Fool Episode 7

As well, other posts include the KidRobot Haul, Haganai Out of the Box and REDLINE the Movie Review

This coming week will brings us reviews and rants for… D-Frag Episode 8 and 9 Review, Nobunaga the Fool Episode 8, Tokyo Ravens Episode 21 and Kill La Kill Episode 21

In a few days, there will be an Out of the Box coming soon for a Nendoroid Petit figure and hopefully I can get to manga review for the first two officially released copies of Dictatorial Grimoire. I also want to make a post on the new UtaPri songs that have come out and just yesterday I placed an order for some wonderful Shingeki no Kyojin merch so there will be a feature for that in a few weeks when my packages come. I can post at regular hours now because internet is finally working steadily at my apartment. Yeah, fingers crossed. This is all just a rough outline of things to come in March but because of my hectic schedule, this Cloudy Says might just help me stay on track.

It is still winter in Canada where I live and it is absolutely horrible. I can’t wait till spring comes because convention season will be all that closer when the snow and ice melts. Wherever you are and wherever you live, I hope you are staying warm and happy this March. We are getting close to the wrap up of many winter series and both of the fall series that have carried past the twelve episode mark. I’m super excited to see Tokyo Ravens and Kill La Kill wrap up (even though I will sorely miss Kill La Kill when it ends). Thank you guys for reading and I will talk to you all soon!

Love Logo_Text_Cropped

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

KidRobot Haul!!

Hey guys, last week I did a little bit of outlet mall shopping in Pennsylvania down in the States and I really wasn’t expecting to find a lot of collector’s stuff because of the overwhelming number of fashion stores. Lucky enough for me, I stumbled across quite a few KidRobot things and I couldn’t help but assemble a feature haul for you guys.

DSC_0001c

I FINALLY ADOPTED A LABBIT! And I will kiss him and love him and squeeze him and call him George… just kidding. But I was super ecstatic when I found stache Labbits available in the store. At first I only planned on buying the white one because it was smaller and easier to carry around but at the end of the day I caved and bought the medium-large 14 inch purple Labbit as well. The small white 7 inch Labbit was around $15.99 US while the larger was $29.99, but hey, no tax and no shipping fees so I’m happy. The plush Labbits are produced by KidRobot with designs by Frank Kozik I also grabbed one of the boxes from the Happy Mini Labbits collection and got the pink one. The purple moustache goes really well with the pink skin I think.

I absolutely love the plush Labbits. Their fur is so friggin soft, you wouldn’t believe me until you actually get your hands on one. The medium-large purple one is so huggable and pretty life sized in rabbit sizes if you ask me. The plushie is just really well made overall because it’s made to be a collectible on a shelf rather than something you hug to be. To be honest, I think they could be both unless you’re the mint-pristine condition type of collector. If you’re a big plushie lover or a Labbit figures fan, I strongly recommend you adopt one of these guys. The “How to take care of Labbit” instructions behind the name tag makes the Labbit all the more endearing to plushie collectors and gives the Labbits a bit of a personality. I’m still on the lookout for the yellow Labbit but for now, I love spending time with the two that I already have. Less staring, more adopting!!

As well, KidRobot produces the Yummy Dessert keychains by Heidi Kenney and this little box was a real treat if you know what I mean. My slice of pie is down in a matte lime finish and hangs from a sturdy metal ring great for keys bags. It’s got a really amusing expression and it’s relatively cheap, going for only $5.99 US so if you’re looking for a cute and unique accessory, the Yummy Dessert collection is for you.

That is all for my KidRobot haul. I hope you guys enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed making it. Thank you so much for dropping in and if you’re looking for new stuff from me, follow me here by email, wordpress or on facebook or twitter! I’ll talk to you guys soon!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Out of the Box: Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT Yozora Mikazuki

DSC_0317bcHihi, how are you all doing? Today we’re doing another mini Out of the Box feature this time for Haganai.

I’ve been exploring a lot of my local hobby and anime shops in Toronto and I came across the Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Next mini character box figures. This line is called the Nano-Colle Series – Haganai Next. If you follow the series or if you’ve seen pictures, you probably know that Yozora cuts her hair in the second season. When I saw Sena and Yozora on the front of the box, I was a little apprehensive just because I wasn’t sure how Yozora’s hair would be styled just by the image. There were only two boxes left and I grabbed both. Luckily or unluckily, I actually got two Yozoras haha, but I really fell in love with her. Her expression is really stoic akin to her personality and the amount of detail in her eyes really brings out her character. The simplistic but accurate detail made my wallet and shopping conscious feel better about getting identical.

DSC_0322c

The collection was released in June last year and manufactured by Media Factory. I would really love to get the rest of the characters so I guess it’ll take a bit more merchandise hunting online or around town to find them. For now I’m very happy with Yozora. She is one of the main characters and one of my favourites… maybe you can spot her air friend, Tomo-chan, somewhere in the background of those photos 😉

FIG-COL-5254 Characters_AmiAmiFull collection photo courtesy of AmiAmi.com

These were taken with my Nikon D3100 and the sigma 17-70mm macro lens really came in hand with small figures. Yozora is only about two inches tall but she’s perfect on your desk or on travel if you want to place her in some interesting settings.

I hope you guys liked this Out of the Box feature. If you’re looking for more from me, don’t forget to follow me here or on twitter or facebook or pinterest. New stuff is coming every day! Thanks for dropping in!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Out of the Box: Makoto and Haru Reunite…

Hey Free babies! In honour of the season 2 of Free that’s recently been confirmed, I thought I’d share a package a little more than a week ago but haven’t had time to feature.

Extra (19)d2

In the last weeks of 2013,  my Haruka Nanase plushie came just before Christmas and I actually ordered the Makoto Tachibana first but because of the number of online orders around Christmas as well as the holiday schedule delays on the website, Makoto was delayed until later in January. Today I’m very very pleased to add Mako to my plushie and otaku collection. He’s from the same collection line as Haru sporting the same Iwatobi Swim Club Jacket (removable). What I noticed different about Makoto is that the dimensions of plushie body are actually a bit wider than Haru’s, reminiscent of the original character designs. Haru has a slimmer physique while Makoto has a broader built. Makoto also has a really friendly expression on and when you place him next to Haru you can see how much detail Japanese designers put into their merchandise. (I tried my best with the lighting because I was holed up in my apartment in Kingston without proper lightning utensils so bear with me.)

Boxing Day Special!!! Fate/Zero Saber Nendoroid

Hello everyone and HAPPY BOXING DAY!!!! I hope you all had some very warm and wonderful Christmas dinners. Did you receive some nice presents? Or have you gotten to that age where you  just get gift cards? The present boxes get smaller every year am I right? If you have a parent that perhaps understands your otaku fandom, maybe you’ll get something like what I got this year…

DSC_0128c

Special thanks to my Daddy for this adorably badass Saber Nendoroid ❤ and another shoutout to AmiAmi for getting my present here on time!!

If you don’t already know this, the Nendoroids are a series of chibi-ized figures by Good Smile Company. They’re usually pretty pricey so the Nendoroid collectors are mad good online hunters. The reason they’re priced high of the set of parts that comes with a figure. Saber is one of the main characters of the Fate Series/Franchise and in the Fate/Zero series, she’s sporting a sleek black suit which is really nicely done on the figure. As well, the figure comes with two changeable facial expressions, two sets of legs, arms, hands, hair, one extra suit top, one motorcycle and of course her famous Excalibur sword. There also two types of stands, one that’s a translucent white (that you can see in the photos) and another that’s printed with a wood pattern Nendoroids are pretty fun to play with because of all the different poses your figure can take depending on how you combine each of the body parts and they just look so fabulous on your shelves making imitations or lesser quality figures look shabby. My favourite part of Nendoroids as a collectory is probably that lovely and smooth matte paint finish that demonstrates just how well made the figure is. Saber is my second Nendoroid and in the four years I’ve been collecting figures, I’ve only purchased one other Nendoroid figure upon my first trip to Japan from the K-On line of Nendoroids.

I had tons of fun doing some basic photography for Saber and I can’t wait to set up proper shoot for Saber soon. My mom collects Hello Kitty and my dad and I both collect Gundams from time to time so I had a bit of fun mixing the characters up in a scene haha.

DSC_0117c

I hope you guys enjoyed this special Out of the Box feature. What did you guys get for Boxing Day? Generic stuff or something special from someone who knows you well? Let me know in the comments and we can rant about how some relatives just give random gift sets that you have no use for. I’ve gotten pretty” soap before. And if you’re hitting the malls and bringing out your inner shopper, I wish you the best of luck on your boxing day hunt… Don’t bite anyone.

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Out of the Box: Free! Iwatobi Swim Club Haru Plushie

Hi guys, I hope your holidays are going well. I wanted to share with you all my new Haruka Nanase plushie from the Free! anime series that recently aired over the summer. If you guys want to check out my reviews for the series, click here.

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this in previous posts but I absolutely LOVE Bandai plushies. Their overall quality is topnotch and the plushies are very huggable. In contrast to the Nendoroid plushie lines that are perhaps more for display rather than fun, all the Free! plushies released thus far have interchangeable jackets and shirts. I am a huge plushie collector and more than once, the quality or simply the brand name of the company empties out my wallet. The plushies with the Iwatobi jackets like Haru stand at about 30cm tall so not only are they a really good size but you’re getting your money’s worth because they’re pretty big. Well, to me they are anyway but I’m only 5 feett so take that previous statement relative to your height and size. The arms and legs are flexible and the plushie is proportioned enough so that Haru can stand if he has solid footing on a sturdy ground.

I am just so surprised at how soft the plushie turned out to be.  If you’re into small details, take a look at Haru’s eyes, the stitching is woven tightly and neatly; this is one of the key features that can help you distinguish imitations from genuine products. Each expression of the plushies are designed to fit their character’s personality so while Haru sports a serious look, other plushies like Nagisa or Makoto are smiling. But no worries, Haru’s always smiling on the inside 😉

Special shoutout to AmiAmi that got my package delivered so quickly before Christmas.

DSC_0044f

I hope you guys liked this new “Out of the Box” feature. The hat doesn’t come with the plushie, I happened upon a Christmas decor hat in the stores that was the perfect size for my anime plushies so I thought I could get Haru into the Christmas spirit haha

There probably won’t be any ground shaking reviews or rants for Dec 24 and 25. If anything, I’ll post some winter photography and you can see how cold it gets in Canada. I’m sure you’ll all be too busy with holiday dinners or family meet-ups to even open your laptop and even if you don’t have any big gatherings, call up a bunch of friends to celebrate the holidays together. ‘Tis the season! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a safe winter holiday and I will talk to you guys on Boxing Day!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

The Otaku Shopper

I’ve always loved collecting merchandise for my favourite animes, whether it be key chains, cell phone straps, art books, figures, and so on. Whatever it is, as long as it contributes to my fandom, it’s decently priced, and I like it, I’ll get it. That’s not to say tht I scour the internet every day for new things to buy. Like many other otakus, I’m not unfamiliar to the internet hunt for best shipping prices and ebay bid wars. However, the issue I really wanted to talk about today is not the quality of what you’re buying, but the quantity.

You know what I’m talking about- all those photos on tumblr and facebook of otaku fandom rooms that have fifty copies of the same poster plastered on the walls, with thirty of the same keychains, ten of the same figures, five of the same pillow designs and ALL of the exact. Same. Character.

Creepily obsessive? Or just healthy otaku fandom?

MAKE IT RAIN ATTACK ON TITAN STRAPS!!!! \*v*/

AttackonTitanCollageStraps

I mean REALLY do you REALLY need an entire box of the same character strap design? I understand getting two of your favourite strap just in case you lose the one you’re using, but I feel like stocking up on more than three is pushing the limits of your fandom, not to mention your wallet wallet (unless you’re stocking up from the Japanese sites to resell on ebay for triple the price in which case, that’s just EVIL!)

Many of the times, before a lot of the merchandise can get all the way to North America, its already sold out and many manufacturers end up replicating hot items in order to make a sale, leading many unsuspecting con-goers to purchase fake goods.

Alternatives

– Learn Japanese. I’m serious! It’ll give u an in with the culture and allow you to navigate Japanese otaku sites with ease

– Buy through a proxy. Since Japanese sites can be difficult to process payments, a proxy helps you handle all the domestic and international shipping transitions

– Hope that your local hobby stores stock your fave anime merchandise

– Attend anime conventions!! (But beware of fakes)

I guess what I’m trying to say at the end of all this is, there’s a certain sort of etiquette that you should consider when shopping online, so if you’re into hardcore merch collecting, don’t forget to leave some for everybody else!!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?