Monday, September 28, 2015

Waku Waku +NYC and Kawaii.i Fashion Show

I realized I never made a post about my experience at Waku Waku +NYC and what better time than now because the corresponding episode of Kawaii.i is available to watch on demand for the next 30 days right here.

Waku Waku +NYC was a bit of a different convention experience for me for a lot of reasons.  One reason is that I spent the whole first day of the event preparing for and walking in the Kawaii.i Tokyo Above Underground fashion show!  I applied to participate in the fashion show kind of last minute.  When I received my acceptance to the Kawaii.i show, I was invited to a fitting/audition.  After watching this video, I learned that only 15 of us were chosen out of 70 applicants!

Misha Janette, who styled the show, assigned us each to our designated brand.  My new friend Jenny and I were chosen to wear Nebaarando (Neverland), a brand that I think neither of us had heard of before so that was kind of exciting.  I think that although Misha said she chose brands that matched our styles from our applications, many of us were outside our comfort zones wearing brands that we we hadn't worn before.  I think that ended up making the experience more exciting because we had a chance to try something new.

Our call time on the day of the show was 10 am but the show wasn't until 4:30 so I was pretty confused about what we would be doing for so many hours.  It ended up being a much more serious operation than I anticipated.  We had hair and makeup artists working on all of us until we transformed pretty much entirely to fit our brand.  It was really nice to spend all day with a bunch of girls with mutual interests.  I think we all left having made some new friends.  We even had a chance to socialize with participants in the Putumayo fashion show.  Kurebayashi and I had a couple good laughs at my expense because I wasn't able to wear my wig until right before my show so I spent most of the day "bald" until they put that giant poodle afro on me.

We were only able to do one quick run through before the actual show.  Some of the girls had walked in lolita fashion shows before and although I've done a couple photoshoots, I had never done runway.  We were given instructions to pose 4 times and I'll admit, it was a bit difficult to come up with 4 poses especially given that I was assigned to carry a large umbrella that was unable to close.  Nevertheless, Team Nebaarando, Jenny and I, ended up doing a great job.

I had a lot of fun and would love to participate in something like this again.  It's a shame that most fashion shows have a ridiculous height and appearance requirement and that most shows at conventions seem to be limited to lolita brands.  I also haven't been attending many conventions for the past few years but since I went to Waku Waku and Otakon, I'm tempted to go more regularly in the future.

The rest of my time at the convention was pretty fun. I found the weekend as a whole to be rather relaxing and positive experience.  Saturday night I went to the VIP after party and DJ sets with my friend Utamaro.  I was able to talk to Yun*chi, Kurebayashi and Shunsuke Hasegawa, Putumayo's designer again there.  Both of them are so sweet!  Hasegawa-san also emailed me these photos of us a few days later which was really nice of him.  I spoke so much Japanese that weekend and it was rewarding but it reminded me how exhausting it is to not speak any English.

post-fashion show makeup with Hasegawa-san

On Sunday I spent a lot of time at my friend Saxon's booth for Moon Kitty Productions.  She sells the cutest tights and accessories!

I loved so many things about this convention.  I was able to see so many of my friends in the same place as well as meet many new friends.  I have a huge regret about not taking enough photos over the weekend though.

As someone who has been lucky to live in Japan, Japanese culture is both exciting and familiar to me.  I was so happy to see that other people who have not been able to travel to Japan were able to meet some of their idols.  Seeing how excited and overcome with emotion these young people were about interacting with Harajuku fashion icons made it clear that this convention made many people's dreams come true.  That was truly my favorite part of the whole weekend.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sailor Moon Drops: Game Review

A new Sailor Moon game application was recently released for both iPhone and Android!  It's a must play for any Sailor Moon fan but unfortunately it's only available in the Japanese stores.  If you are interested in downloading this game, check out this article about how to create a Japanese iTunes account.  If you have an Android phone, I'm not sure how that works but I there must be a way you can access it too.  Here are the links to download for iPhone and Android.

Admittedly, I downloaded this game and wanted to play it a little before reviewing but I got so wrapped up in it that I'm 18 stages in before publishing this post.  Below is a brief game guide and my review of the application.  Check it out and let me know what you think!


This game style is similar to classic Bejeweled and recently popular Candy Crush.  Even if you don't know any Japanese, gameplay is very straightforward.  Just match up 3 or more jewels of the same color to complete a move and reach the goal listed at the top right of your screen.  The goals vary from meeting a minimum score, clearing blocks, dropping icons to the bottom of the screen or defeating an enemy.  Power-ups are introduced later in the game and you can choose to apply whichever you like to a level.  Just follow along where the arrow points for you to click during tutorial portions.  It's pretty simple.

The story that progresses as part of the game is really cute but understanding it isn't necessary to make the game enjoyable.  You can even read parts of the story again in the "collection" section which can be accessed by clicking the furthest right button on the bottom of the map page.

One of my friends told me his comics professor in college told him that if a comic is drawn well, you can follow it even if you don't understand the language it's written in.  I think the same thing can be applied to games.  I give this game a high score for gameplay because it's simple for non-Japanese speakers to play.  Additionally, all aspects of the game are designed with Sailor Moon in mind; it's very well branded.


The new animation style for Sailor Moon Crystal left many fans disappointed but I promise the artwork in this app won't!  The graphics and design are perfect!  It's not the original character design style, but these updated graphics are adorable and very polished.  The style is consistent and really matches the Sailor Moon brand well. I'm very picky about in application design but I can't stop looking at the artwork for this game.  Besides my unwavering love of Sailor Moon, the art was the other main reason that I chose to download this game.

Overall Experience: 

The overall experience of playing this game is low-stress and relaxing besides when your senshi of choice looks at you disapprovingly when you're about to fail a level.  Playing this game makes me really happy because the graphics are adorable, the music is upbeat and the game itself isn't too difficult to play.   I don't really like having to wait to accumulate enough hearts to play more but I understand it's how many applications make a profit.  It's okay because the game is still playable even if you choose not to spend money on it.  I rated this game a 4 out of 5 because the concept isn't entirely original but I think it was well executed.  I highly recommend this game to any Sailor Moon fan!