Summer Preview: Indy PopCon 2017 and San Diego Comic-Con

Summer-memes-for-whatsapp.pngSummer is just a couple of weeks away. Do you already have your Summer plan? Although the heat might stop you from going outside, there are still many Summer ACG events in every corner of America.

If you don’t want to go far away from Indiana, there is Indy PopCon 2017 in Indianapolis; if you have enough budget and want to attend a big, international comic con, you can try Comic-Con San Diego. Here I will provide some information on both events to you.


Indy PopCon 2017

Time: July 7-9, 2017

Place: Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis IN

Website: https://indypopcon.com/

According to their website, Indy PopCon is an event that celebrates all kinds of pop culture and is not limited to certain genres.

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Indy PopCon is very proud of their guest list. Each year they invite a lot of celebrities in the pop culture, voice actors of animes and cartoons, YouTubers, gamers, and authors to join the event. Each guest usually has a place to meet fans and give out autographs, and you can easily find their appearance date and booth number on the website above.

This year, the guest list includes many celebrities such as Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman in NBC “Heroes”), Matt Ryan (Edward Kenway in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag), Charlet Chung (D.Va in Overwatch), Jonny Cruz (Lucio in Overwatch), and even Timothy Zahn, the author of the Star Wars series. If your calendar is open during July 7-9, do not miss this great opportunity of meeting the celebrities!

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Some of the guests

As a comic con, Indy PopCon provides different activities for fans, gamers, and cosplayers. There will be a cosplay workshop and championship for cosplayers, opportunities for gamers to host a public game, and different workshops and exhibitions for fans of ACG and pop culture.

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Pictures from Indy PopCon 2016

If you have more questions about how to get tickets, where to stay, what other events they have, or just want to look for more other information, please visit the link above and all information is included on this official website.


Comic-Con International: San Diego

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Time: July 20-23

Place: San Diego Convention Center, San Diego CA

Website: http://www.comic-con.org/cci

This is one of the biggest comic cons in the U.S. or even in the world. Fans and exhibitors from all over the world gather together for this feast. There are not only ACG related goodies and events, but also lots of great guests, movie festival, and their annual masquerade.

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Best Original Design Award Winner, “Angel from Hell”

In Comic-Con international, you can see the cosplay of the highest quality, meet the best gamers, get autographs from the most popular and famous celebrities, share and exchange your passion to a certain piece of work with many old and new friends. The advantage of such a large comic-con is that everyone can find new friends who share his/her obsessions.

 

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Judges’ Choice 2016, Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast

 

Obviously, Comic-Con International have also invited many great artists, authors, and celebrities to join their event and meet their fans. This year the list includes Arthur Adams (artist of Marvel covers, movie, toy, game designs, etc.), Sergio Aragonés (artist of MAD, Groo: Fray of the Gods, and Sergio Aragonés Funnies), Marguerite Bennett (writer of Batwoman and DC Bombshells), etc., and the list will be continuously updated on a weekly basis.

Since San Diego is a little far away from Indiana, you need to plan your time and budget well before departing to this amazing event. Although the official website does not provide any suggestions about hotels or facilities, it does has a page about transportation. Hopefully, this information would be helpful for you if you plan to visit.

Transportation Link: http://www.comic-con.org/cci/getting-here


Alas, this is the two events that I think would be the best for you ACG lovers, one local and one international. Please be strong for the last couple of weeks of school, and use the ideas of the awesome opportunities and activities to be always optimistic.

And finally…

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Cosplay with Words: Linguistic Cosplay

Cosplay is a common term that most of ACG people know about, but have you ever heard of “linguistic cosplay”? It is a relatively new phenomenon in Chinese ACG world where people use their words and words only to cosplay their favorite characters or originally designed characters on chatting apps and social media.

I used to be very active in the area of linguistic cosplay for about 4 years, and I quitted about 2 years ago. When I first joined the game, linguistic cosplay had just been invented for a short time. But it developed very quickly. When I quitted, it was totally different from before, and that was why I still did not know if linguistic cosplay was just a fun game or some weird trap.

There are 3 big categories for Chinese linguistic cosplayers.

The first category is all about being a fan of some anime, novel, comics, etc. People join group chats about their favorite ACG work, and they pick their favorite character to cosplay with words. A good cosplayer needs to know the character’s appearance, personality, and ways to interact with certain characters very well. Adding on to that, the cosplayer needs to have some level of writing ability to organize the words.

Although studying your favorite character deeply could be a challenge, it is still fun when you can talk with other characters in your favorite show, and when others treat you as your own favorite character. However, you cannot always get to play your favorite character, so usually, a cosplayer needs to pass some kind of audition to get into the “official” group chat.

However, you cannot always get to play your favorite character, so usually, a cosplayer needs to pass some kind of audition to get into the “official” group chat. Sometimes, there may be 3 to 4 people competing for one character, and the audition process can be strict. For example, You have to write something in your character’s voice and send it to the group, and there would usually be 4 to 5 judges. Whoever receives the best comments gets the plot.

For example, You have to write something in your character’s voice and send it to the group, and there would usually be 4 to 5 judges. Whoever receives the best comments gets the plot.

The second category is called Ancient-Original. You can feel free to create your own character, give him/her a name, design his/her appearance and background, etc. It is freer than the category above, but the difficult thing is your character lives in ancient China.

The group chats usually provide the historical background for new people so that they know which dynasty their characters would be in. Then the new cosplayers need to upload the design of their characters and some sort of writing to prove that he/she has the ability to pretend to live in the ancient times.

It does need some studying before joining Ancient-Original circle, and this is the only thing that I have never touched in my 4 years of cosplaying. You need to know what kind of clothes, food, and manners exist during the specific time, and when you type in the voice of your character, always remember to use ancient-like tones. It is like you need to talk in Shakespeare’s style to this group of people all the time, and you will hear Shakespeare-style English as well.

The third category is called Modern-Original. It is another place you can design your character (or give yourself another identity), but the background is in our normal world. The group chats of this category are usually based on physical places instead of dynasties. For example, the most popular group chats will be about bars, companies, or apartment buildings.

In this setting, the cosplayers create a place where all the characters have a reason to meet one another, and the story starts from here. In a bar-based group chat, the characters could include managers, bartenders, cooks, servers, cleaners, and customers of different professions.

I spent the most of my time with people in the Modern-Original circle. I liked the group chats I was in and the friends I met, but there were something that made me stop.

Linguistic cosplay is very imaginative but realistic. It is imaginative because everything happens online and basically coming from your own mind. You create another identity for yourself, and others treat you like you are the person you created.

However, it is also very realistic because the person who feels all the feelings is still yourself. you feel everything your character feels, and no matter which circle you are in, you develop relationships with others.

Most of the people who are involved in linguistic cosplaying are girls, aged from middle school to college. Guys are rarely seen. These girls would play both male and female characters, and they (really often) develop romantic relationships with one another.

The problem is that the relationships are not about the person behind the screen, but about the character that these girls are playing. The girls are sometimes too young and naive to tell the difference from imagination to reality.

Although sometimes dramatic things happen, there are also people who find their soul mate through linguistic cosplaying. I actually know several couples who have turned their relationship between characters into the relationship between real people. Some of my own real-life friends come from this group as well.

There is always good relationship and bad relationship, no matter where we are.

Honestly, I have not seen any groups that play the similar game in the States. Have you seen any people who are in similar linguistic cosplay groups? I’d like to hear their or your own stories.

If you are interested in creating something similar and have questions, feel free to ask me. I can give you plenty of help to create a good place, and enough advice to help avoid the drama and any kind of weirdness. Have fun!

Tutorial: How to Write a Fanfiction

I was a fanfiction writer for nearly 4 years. When I was in high school, I wrote about 15 fan fictions, short ones, and long ones, and some of them were really popular. Although all of them were in another language, I believe there are some universal tips for you if you want to create your own fan fiction. Here are 5 of them, enjoy!


#1. Find a Direction

When you decide to write something, first, please consider the following questions. Based on which show, comic, or game do you want to create stories? Do you want the story to be long or short? Do you want your story to be a comedy, a tragedy, both, or neither?

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With the base chosen, next, you need to consider a basic story line. You may ask yourself the “what, when, where, who, why, and how” questions to decide how the story starts, who are involved in the story, what are their relationships, and so on. Planning ahead is always helpful for a new writer.


#2. Talk with Your Characters

After knowing what you would like to write, it is time to “communicate” with your characters. Think about their different tones, different ways to react to one event, or how each of them would interact with one another. Fanfiction is different from normal creative writing because all characters have already had their own personality and appearance decided in the original piece.

Writing a fanfiction is just like playing all the roles of your favorite characters in one play all by yourself. You need to understand them pretty well before writing, or you would face a problem called OOC (out of character). If you want to share your work with other people, avoiding OOC is very critical because you do not to receive too much criticizing from others.

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When I first started writing fanfiction, many of my works were problematic because the characters’ personalities do not fit their original setting in the anime. As a result, a lot of my readers criticized me about the problem. If you want to avoid too much critic from your readers, my suggestion is to really spend some time understanding your characters.


#3. Make a Plan

Now you have decided to start writing, so you need to know that writing anything longer than a school essay is a long-term work. It is more difficult to keep writing when the story is long, and there is no deadline waiting.

It is possible and normal if you lose your passion in the middle of the story. My tip for this problem is to make a plan for yourself, such as a writing schedule. You can set some daily, weekly, or monthly goals, and when you meet your writing goals, give yourself a treat to praise that.

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For example, since I have a lot of school work to do, my normal weekly goal is to write two chapters. If I finish this goal on time, I would buy ice-cream for myself as a prize.

Try your best to follow your schedule, but do not be too strict on yourself. After all, writing fanfiction is supposed to be a relaxation from the heavy work, but not another source of stress.


#4. Find a Group of Test Readers

Congratulations for your first several chapters or short stories! When you have finished something, try to ask a group of friends to read your works before posting them online. Listen to their comments and suggestions, and talk with your readers. Sometimes these test readers would tell you how they hope the story would go, and you may have even more new creative ideas.

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The test readers would also point out the places you have missed or mistakes in your work. You can explain and defend your work, but listening to different ideas is helpful for your writing in the future.

When you are confident enough about your story, you can finally post them on any website or forum that you like. You can even start your own website for fanfiction only; WordPress would be a great choice.


#5. Learn How to Deal with Different Comments

If you decide to post your fanfiction online, you need to learn how to deal with comments because they come sooner than you expect.

The good thing about comments is that you may find a lot of friends who like what you like, and are willing to talk with you about your work positively. One of my readers has become one of my best friends since sophomore year in high school, and we have become friends offline as well.

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However, sometimes commenters could be mean and rude if they do not like your work that much. They would write negative comments, and the word they use could be pretty harmful because they know that you would never found out who they are. If this happens to you,

If this happens, do not be sad or angry. In both the real world and the world of ACG, nobody has the power to force others to accept their preferences. However, if you want to write better in the future, reading the negative comments could be a process of learning. Although for most of the times the mean commenters make you upset, there might be something that you could learn and improve.


Here are my five tips for new fanfiction writers. Have you ever wrote any fanfictions? Which website is your favorite place to read or post them? I would like to learn more about fanfictions in the U.S., so talk to me.

By the way, if you are a new writer, I’d be really happy to be one of your first test readers. Feel free to contact me so I can read more great works from you!

Taiko no Tatsujin: THE Music Game

I have been a music game lover since forever. The first game that I played for over one week is a Chinese music game, and after that, I explored many kinds of music games on different platforms. I have tried OSU!, Lovelive!, Deemo, Jukebeat, etc., but the music game that I think is the most interesting and challenging is Taiko no Tastujin (太鼓の達人).

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Taiko no Tastujin is a music game produced by Bandai Namco, a Japanese game company. It first appeared in 2001, and it can be found on a lot of platforms such as arcade game, PSP, 3Ds, Wii U, and it is said that there will be a version for the new Nintendo Switch. That is how popular this game is.

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An arcade of Taiko no Tatsujin

In this game, there are five kinds of keys in three categories. the red key means the middle of the taiko (traditional Japanese drum), the blue key means the border of the taiko. If the red and blue keys appear in a larger form, the player needs to hit the certain button on both side of the console at the same time. All keys of other style means to hit the middle of the taiko for multiple times.

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This is how a typical game looks like.

The version I play is Taiko no Tastujin Deluxe on PSP 3000, and I have played it for about 3-4 years. Here are the reasons why I want to recommend this game to other music game lovers, and why I think it is THE music game that you would like to try.

First of all, it has tons of songs, and each song has four levels (easy, normal, hard, devil). My version has 197 songs to choose, but since I am a relatively high-level player, I only play the hard and devil level. That are still 394 choices. I can easily spend hours with this game if I do not have anything else to do.

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The iPad version has much less songs, but the PSP version has a lot.

Another awesome thing of this game is that you can play it for a long time without quitting the game to wait for your “hearts” to recover. Many games have introduced the system of “hearts”.

For example, in Era of Music, my first music game, a player only has 6 “hearts” to play for a period of time, so he/she can only play 6 songs in a role. It usually takes 10 minutes to finish them all. After using all the “hearts”, the player has to wait for them to recover very slowly for a couple of hours, or spend money to buy more “hearts”.

This system is designed to prevent the players from indulging in playing games, but for many players who have the ability of self-control, this system seems to be superfluous and annoying. In Taiko no Tatsujin, the system of “hearts” does not exist, and you can play ten or fifteen songs continuously.

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The Wii version even has mini physical taikos. This has been my dream…

The third advantage of this game is that it is challenging, but you cannot make anything easier by spending money. Nowadays, almost every game has in-app purchase currency for the players to enhance their ability, and music games are not exceptions. They either ask the players to buy props and “pets” that can eliminate a certain number of missed keys, or ask them to buy higher-level characters that has better ability such as adding extra points or deciding whether a key should be “perfect” or “great”.

Taiko no Tatsujin does not have this system. The players cannot spend money on this game to become a better drummer. For instance, there are many difficult songs that I can barely read, but when I find out that it is too hard, the only thing I can do is to practice more to become better. It is fairer for players who do not want to spend money on games, or for people like me who do not have much extra money.

The video below is one of the most difficult songs in Taiko no Tastujin. It is called “Buddha 2000”, and is played by a master on Wii 3. Remember, this player made it all by practicing but not purchasing any magical potions.

I really want to share and recommend this game to you because I think it is one of the most interesting, free, and fair music games. It may be challenging, but the difficult songs can train your fingers and brain together. If anyone asks me to recommend a music game for him/her, Taiko no Tatsujin would be THE game that I recommend. Surly I have played many other great music games, but this is definitely my first choice.

What kind of music game have you played? What games are you currently playing? Feel free to share your thoughts with me. I am a huge fan of music games, and I am waiting for your recommendation. What is your favorite one?

Emily’s “Digital Folk Music” with Vocaloid

Emily Han has been a Vocaloid musician for over 5 years. She currently has her own channel on Bilibili, one of the biggest Chinese video websites, and her music has had over 1 million clicks.

“Vocaloid is the way I sing.” Says Emily, “I know I don’t have a perfect voice, but Vocaloid characters do. I think they can sing for me.”

Vocaloid is a music editing and creating software. If you buy the software and the sound module of certain character, you can create a song with this character’s voice. Therefore, Vocaloid can be categorized in to digital music. Emily’s favorite characters are Kaito and Meiko, because their voices are closer to real human voice, and are more flexible for different styles.

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Some of the Vocaloid characters, each has a different voice

Vocaloid is produced first for only Japanese musicians or people who speak Japanese. However, because musicians in China really love Vocaloid, recently the company has also created Chinese characters. In 2015, Ruby, a character that speaks English was created for the English-speaking musicians.

Here is a link to the Vocaloid version of “Turn Loose the Mermaids” originally sung by Nightwish. This English song is not sung by Ruby, but Emily and her friends have worked for a long time to find out a way to create English songs with Japanese-speaking characters. It is a difficult experimental process, and they have done a great job.

https://www.bilibili.com/video/av8286586/

Emily’s personal music style is folk music. She likes to explore different kind of music from different countries and cultural backgrounds, such as Irish folk music with the flute and tambourine, and Russian folk music with accordion. For each song, she draws pictures all by herself to make the matching video.

During my interview, I asked about how she discovered her personal style, and I recorded her response. She is really proud and passionate about her music.

It is really a magical thing that Emily can combine the digital music and folk music together. To obtain the ability to do so, Emily spent about 3 years learning the technology about how to create music. She used to learn piano for over 8 years when she was little, and the knowledge has been very helpful when she puts all kinds of  instruments together for the song.

This link below goes to one of Emily’s first songs in the style of folk music.

https://www.bilibili.com/video/av1032881/

“I was really excited when I hear the final product. I think I am finally able to do this.” Said Emily.

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The cover of Emily’s first piece of folk music

For now, Emily is still creating different kinds of music, including folk music from different cultures. She usually think about the style of the song, then she would listen to a ton of music in this style or read stacks of books that describe this culture.

“Eventually the sparkle appear, and I start to write when I feel them.” Said Emily proudly.

As a PhD student in Purdue University, Emily has been very busy, but she never stops her creation. Although her channel is on a Chinese website, I am still giving you the link so that you can listen to some of her work. After all, music does not have nationality.

https://space.bilibili.com/478860

If you have any comments for Emily or for me, you can contact me in any method and I will communicate with her. Do you have any preferred Vocaloid musician? Are you one of them? Leave your channel below and I will visit you too!

3 Fun Facts about Rick & Morty

The world of ACG does not only include Japanese stuff, but animation, comics and games all around the world. Recently, an American cartoon, Rick & Morty, shows some preview of its 3rd and new season, and the preview makes it harder to wait for the real show. After all, the fan of this show has been waited for “about a year and a half”, which was announced in the final episode of the 2nd season.

Rick & Morty is an animation show on Adult Swim. It tells the story of the adventures of Rick Sanchez, a crazy scientist, and his grandson Morty Smith. Sometimes the family members would also join the adventure.

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Rick is that kind of old and clever person who can find the way to get whatever you can or cannot imagine from wherever in the space (or even parallel space), while Morty is just a normal boy. Rick appears in Morty’s life suddenly, and they have gone through a lot of interesting events.

To show my excitement of this new season, let me reveal some fun facts about this show for you. I have read some of them online, and I picked 3 to share. I hope you can enjoy them. (And here is the wa-a-a-ay the news goes.)


FUN FACT 1: Rick and Morty are played by the same guy!

If you are more familiar with Japanese ACG, you might understand why I am so surprised to see one person playing two characters in the same show, and the two characters are totally different from each other.

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Justin Roiland, the voice actor of Rick and Morty

Japanese voice actors usually do not play two characters in the same show. If they had to, usually they play one main character, and the other would have only a couple of lines. However, in Rick & Morty, the voice actor Justin Roiland plays two main character. The most incredible thing is that we can easily recognize the two voices.


FUN FACT 2: The bur… the burps

Another fun fact about voice acting. Rick, the crazy scientist, burps randomly when he talks. With this setting, Justin Roiland has to really burp when he is reading the lines. Secretly telling you, I tried it and I gave up. This is not a very easy thing.

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“Burrrrrrrrrrrp.”

However, the voice actor of Beth (Morty’s mother and Rick’s daughter), Sarah Chalke, can burp when asked. Justin Roiland has been very jealous about Sarah’s special talent because he is the one that burps constantly.


FUN FACT 3: Some monsters are created randomly

I don’t want to be a spoiler, but in the 6th episode of Season 1, countless kinds of monsters appears, and they all look weird, creepy, even a little gross. These monsters are actually somehow also connected with Justin Roiland.

Justin sometimes doodle random things, and he would send the pictures of the strange monsters to the animators for joke. After laughing, the animators seem to like the designs, so they give these monsters a chance to be in the show.

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Some of the alien and monster characters

Actually, I personally think this specific episode is THE most thrilling and deep episode of the current 2 seasons. If you are interested in this show, I suggest you to see this episode twice, and you will find something that you didn’t notice before.


What do you think about these interesting facts? If you are interested in watching Rick & Morty, please follow this link and watch it for free. (Since it is an Adult Swim show, I will suggest minors to let their parents check before watching.)

http://www.adultswim.com/videos/rick-and-morty/

If you have seen the show or if you have anything you would like to share, feel free to contact me. As a big fan, I would be very happy to discuss about it with you. Also, make sure to check your storage of popcorn and soda, because Season 3 is on its way!

Review: The Second PACGA “8th-Note-Chan” Contest

WARNING: THE VIDEO MIGHT BE LOUD. TURN VOLUME DOWN BEFORE STARTING.


After distributing the post about the voice-control game “Don’t Stop! 8th-Note-Chan”, many of my friends in PACGA showed their interest toward the game. Last Thursday, the managers and officers used their weekly meeting time and organized another contest.

We decided that everyone can only sing instead of talk because that will be more fun listening to people sing rather than making meaningless sound. Also, it is more difficult to control your volume while singing, and the difference of volume is what that controls the character in the game.

I recorded two attendee’s performance, and made the footage into a short video. The girl with short curly hair was our winner because she went farther than all other attendees. She passed the third pit, which most of other people fall.

If you are interested in playing this game, you can simply follow this link to my past post. There you can find introduction of the game, and where and how to download it.

https://purdueacg.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/dont-stop-playing-dont-stop-eighth-note-chan/

I hope you enjoy this video and enjoy us yelling to the computer. If you have anything that you would like to communicate, or do you have any game recommendations, please contact me by leaving comments or through the “contact me” page. I hope we can have more opportunity to enjoy the games together.