PixelBlended Studios @ Anime Weekend Atlanta 2014

Are you going to Anime Weekend Atlanta?  Join us for AMV Gameshow on Friday September 26th starting at 5:00 pm in the VAT.  Also, don’t forget to support irriadin as he attempts to defend his Iron Editor title on Saturday September 27th at 6:30PM in the VAT.  We will also have several members participating in the creator spotlights on Friday September 26th starting at 1:00 pm and on Saturday September 27th starting at 11:30 am in the VAT.  PixelBlended Studios scheduled time slots are listed below.

Friday Sept. 26th
1:30 – 1:45 pm:  irriadin
1:45 – 2:00 pm:  Vivifx
2:30 – 2:45 pm:  l33tmeatwad

Saturday Sept. 27th
12:15 – 12:30 pm:  kireblue

We hope to see you there!

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PixelBlended Studios @ Otakon 2014

If you are going to Otakon make sure to stop by the AMV room to check our panels.  AMV 101 will be on Friday from 11:00AM to 12:30PM and AMV Gameshow will be on Saturday from 12:00PM to 1:00PM.

PixelBlended’s Top 3 Picks for Spring 2014

With the spring anime season concluding, and the new summer season beginning, kireblue and StarTrinity009 would like to share with you their top 3 picks of the past season. Please enjoy their comments this Independence Day and expect more once summer ends!

Spring 2014 - Top 3 Picks with kireblue & StarTrinity009

Anime Recommendation: Shadow Star Narutaru

Shadow Star Narutaru-written by kireblue-

Narutaru is one of those series that is hard to put into words. It’s about an energetic thirteen year old schoolgirl named Shiina that finds a mysterious star shaped creature called a “dragon child”. She names this cute and cuddly creature Hoshimaru and decides to take it home with her. And even though Hoshimaru seems to completely lack emotions, personality and the ability to speak; it becomes obvious that it is not only peaceful, but also “somewhat” intelligent and legitimately loyal. As the story progresses, Shiina comes in contact with more and more children that have companions of their own, and it soon becomes clear that most dragon children have almost no free will at all. In a sense, they are not even individuals. They are only extensions of their owner, and act on whatever thoughts and emotions that are going through their master’s head. But unlike everyone else, Shiina and Hoshimaru seem incapable of making such a deep mental connection. This actually turns out to be a great advantage for Shiina, and saves her from the burdens of having a dragon child. Normally, whenever a dragon child is attacked, all the pain that it receives is transferred to its owner. Since the dragon children are immortal, this allows for its owner to feel a seemingly infinite amount of pain without actually dying. This enormous drawback seems to be the only weakness of the group of teenagers that have developed their dragon children, and seek to use them and their destructive powers to conquer the world. So basically, it’s up to Shiina and Hoshimaru to stop them by whatever means necessary. And sometimes, the means are pretty extreme.

Now, if you think that I just summed up the basis of the story, you are completely wrong. Really, the storyline has little to do with the overall plot. Out of the 13 episodes of the series, only the 1st 1/2 of them relates to what I just described. And to make matters worse, most of the plot is never even explained. It’s like the director had a plot in mind, finished half the series, decided to change the plot without changing the previous episodes, but lost interest in the new plot and decided to make a series finale that has nothing to do with either of them. The fans of this anime are desperately crying out for a season 2, but there is currently no word on whether there is even one in the works. And since this anime came out quite a few years ago, as sequel seems unlikely.

But even though the storyline lacks completion, this is still a pretty good anime. Anybody that’s seen this show will tell you that the story isn’t what makes it special. What makes Narutaru good is that everything about this show from the opening song to the ending credits screams out that it is meant for little kids. The shocking truth is that this is one of the most “NOT FOR KIDS ANIME” that I have ever seen. The violence in this show is so disturbing that I can’t recommend this show to anyone under the age of fifteen. For example: The scene towards episode 12 was just so violent that when I saw it, I was literally frozen with disbelief. Even though the violence was not directly seen, it’s impossible not to understand what happened. After seeing what the characters are capable of doing, you feel compelled to watch the next episode because you actually have no idea what to expect. The fact that Shiina seems to be one of the very few mentally stable characters in the series opens the door for the unimaginable to happen. The show’s unpredictability is actually the main reason why I enjoyed watching it. Even though I wish that more of the plot had been explained, I can honestly say that Narutaru is a great anime series. All that it needs is a second season that expands on the existing story, and I would definitely list it as one of my favorites. But like I said before, this is not a show for kids. The human children remorselessly direct brutal murders, terrorist attacks and mass genocide while the creatures unemotionally stab, poison and slaughter people as young as twelve years old. This is definitely one of those shows where you have to mentally prepare yourself before you watch certain episodes.

Anime Recommendation: Tonari no Seki-kun

Tonari no Seki-Kun

-written by GuntherAMVs-

Tonari no Seki Kun is one of the more inventive, unselfconscious shows I’ve seen. After running across a video of it’s opening (in which the main male character, in a demonstration of meta-animation at its finest, literally draws and processes the opening credits while the opening of the show is occurring), I immediately fell in love with its light-hearted mood and nearly pointless antics.

On first glance, it functions much like Hetalia Axis Powers in that the episodes are short, nonlinear, and often circulate around a single plot for seven minutes of animation or so. Also like Hetalia and other series of short episode length, Seki Kun is a comedy. The two main characters, Yokoi and her frequently distracting classmate Seki-kun, engage in an almost Abbot and Costello act during lecture or extra-curricular activities at school.

One of the most interesting mechanics of the show is the dialogue. Seki-kun does not speak, and instead the viewer must rely on Yokoi’s frantic inner monologues and observations in order to understand the evolution of both characters. Often Yokoi’s personal views distort the image of what she sees, yet the show manages to walk the tight-rope of subjective and objective accounts with an acrobatic ease.

While Tonari no Seki Kun has no overarching plot-arcs or greater purpose besides making the viewer laugh, I thoroughly enjoy the series. The episodes are short, to the point, and every single one reveals just a little more about the two lovable, quirky characters who not only tolerate one another, but bring out one another’s best (at the most inopportune times!).

Happy watching~!

Anime Recommendation: Hunter × Hunter

Hunter X Hunter

-written by l33tmeatwad-

Hunter x Hunter has been twice adapted to anime from the manga written by Yoshihiro Togashi. While both adaptations of Hunter x Hunter are very good, I definitely recommend watching through the first one before watching the most recent version which is currently airing in Japan. The original anime was forced to end after catching up with the manga and would have OVA releases once enough new material was produced. Due to the length of the next story arch and period of time between the last OVA and when they would have had enough material to continue it probably seemed best to completely reboot the series. I was excited to see a reboot as I knew it would cover the new material.

In Hunter x Hunter being a hunter is not what the English word would lead you to believe, they can have a career in a variety of different fields and the status of hunter gives them access and privileges that normal people would not have. The story centers on a young boy named Gon who decides to become a hunter like his father so that he may track him down. As the story develops a variety of new characters are introduced and most end up befriending Gon due to his charming personality. The most addictive part about this series is how your view of everything changes as things are revealed and it leaves you with more questions that need answering. The world in this series is very complex and makes it hard to really explain the series without giving away major spoilers so I will simply encourage you to give it a try so that you can experience it with a fresh point of view.

While watching through the new series I noticed huge chunks of the original were cut to help speed the series along, which is very similar to what happened with the FullMetal Alchemist reboot. While the material that was cut is not necessary to the overall storyline, it really lacked that depth and character development that really added charm to the characters. Whether you chose to watch the original or the reboot, Hunter x Hunter is an amazing series that will have you captivated with the world that Yoshihiro Togashi created.

Anime Recommendation: Ōban Star-Racers

Ōban Star-Racers

-written by StarTrinity009-

In order to convey just how moving this show was for me growing up, I would probably have to write you a small novel. I would have to express just how my home situation was at the time, as well as how Ōban’s heroine inspired my AMV alias. I would have to reminisce about painstakingly adjusting the lighting in my living room, minutes before the next episode aired on Jetix, so that it would be just right before Ōban’s US opening “Never Say Never” slowly filled the room with excitement. For me, Ōban Star-Racers was my middle school equivalent to the original Pokémon and Digimon. It changed who I was and who I want to be. Hence, after struggling to write this recommendation for months, I know I can’t communicate to you, in a mere blog post, just how wonderful and unique and special this show is in my eyes. However, I can at least tell you what you need to know and invite you to strike up a conversation with me about one of the most underrated anime of the 2000s.

Ōban Star-Racers is so incredibly underrated that it almost brings me to tears. Many anime fans do not even realize that it is an anime, or if they do, they are almost always turned off by Oban’s unique character designs. Yes, they do not have obscenely pointed noses like the grand majority of anime characters. Get over it! You are missing out on a great coming of age story from…guess what?…a teenage girl’s perspective that is not put out by Studio Ghibli. Eva, the heroine of Ōban Star-Racers, has a development that is not subtle or symbolic like many other shows. She is also not a magical girl and doesn’t rely on a boy to save her. She is instead a pissed off teen, who breaks out of boarding school to find the dad who has basically abandoned her since she was five. She finds him, but he does not even recognize her. So while enduring a complex blend of fright and desolation, Eva fakes her identity and creates the alias Molly. As Molly, Eva follows her dad and his racing team to the great race of Ōban, where she progresses from a mechanic to the pilot for the Earth team. Being a representative of Earth in a race that only happens every 10,000 years makes Chihiro’s responsibilities look like every day chores.

Besides Eva being awesome, you may want to know some more general things about the show. I will save you the trouble of going to Wikipedia or AnimeNewsNetwork by mentioning a few key points. Ōban Star-Racers is a French/Japanese anime, which was co-directed by Savin Yeatman-Eiffel and Thomas Romain in 2006 (the same year I started posting my videos to YouTube). Savin wrote the entire script, while Thomas co-created the character designs. It would behoove most of you to recall that Thomas Romain was also the character designer and original creator of Code Lyoko. If you enjoyed Code Lyoko as a kid as much as I did, Ōban Star-Racers is going to have a stronger appeal. I promise you. Much like Code Lyoko, Ōban Star-Racers has a powerful message about young people taking responsibility at all costs. This applies not only to Eva but other young, supporting characters as well. The setting also follows a similar trend as Lyoko in that it suspends the viewer between reality and an imaginary world. We meet all kinds of aliens and are exposed to their very different cultures and racing styles. Yet despite this, we are always brought back to Eva’s relatable quest of finding a family again.

This quest is framed for a younger audience (i.e. 8-16 year olds), but the framing does not affect its overall appeal. Regardless of nostalgia, re-watching Ōban Star-Racers again as a 20 year old still left me full of feels. In an anime era where we are more easily recognizing stock characters, Ōban Star-Racers could really freshen up one’s anime schedule. As the characters develop, the show is progressively more heartwarming and will leave you wanting more. After 26 episodes, Ōban Star-Racers concluded in a well wrapped up manner, but gosh darn it, what I would give for a second season of this show… but, for whatever it’s worth, to all you Kill la Kill fans out there, Eva is without a doubt Ryuko’s predecessor. That should be yet another reason to be desperately interested in Ōban Star-Racers.