Persona 5 Screenshots Leaked

A few screenshots were leaked from a new PV for Persona 5. The PV is from the bonus CD which is to be included with Persona 4: Dancing All Night.

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Characters from left to right: Ryuji Sakamoto, Anne Takamaki, and Protag-kun

In this shot, the trio is being approached from an unknown individual. From the looks on their faces, the person in question doesn’t seem to be very welcome.

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It seems the person in this shot seems to be Ryuji, with the short-blonde hair and all. Something that we can glean from this shot is that the person seems to be undergoing a psychological breakdown, something that can be very common when dealing with Shadows. Since Ryuji is expected to be a Persona user, this could be his Shadow or he could very well be undergoing a transformation himself.

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A new character has emerged! Who is he and what role does he play in the story? The unknown youth wears a white school uniform, a contrast to the black uniforms of Shujin Academy (the protagonist’s school). In his hands he carries a paintbrush and a bucket, his tools to paint his graffiti? Can he be the main antagonist of the story, or will he assist the team later on in the game? What meaning do the words “Never Give In” symbolize? Could he also be the person reaching out to the main characters in the other screenshot?

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“Steal Back Your Future”. Well, the main protagonist is a thief, and the theme of the story has been theorized to be about reclaiming/achieving “freedom” while being chained down by society. There may be more to the “future” aside from its spiritual meaning, as it may be an objective within the game’s plot.

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The protagonist in his Phantom Thief attire. 2 enemy-looking people stand at the top of the stairway above him. Is it safe to say that he’s in a dungeon?

Persona 4: Dancing All Night will be released in Japan on June 25, so we’ll probably being the full PV as soon as it releases. Much of Persona 5 is still a mystery, but will the PV unravel that mystery or cloud it even further?

Non Non Biyori Season 2 Air Date Announced

The flowers bloom, a gentle breeze blows softly in the countryside, and the sound of a poorly played recorder can be heard in the distance. If any of this makes sense to you, then you know that Non Non Biyori will soon make its returns with a second season! But the question is when? Well here’s your answer!

July 6!!!

WOW

In exactly two weeks (considering this article was published on June 22) Non Non Biyori: Repeat will be airing!

The official website for Non Non Biyori released the 3rd promotional video for the anime, which can be found below.

The cast and staff of the previous season will reprise their roles for :Repeat. nano.RIPE, known for her musical work in Hanasaku Iroha and Jinrui Wa Suitai Shimashita, will return to perform the opening theme of the series.

Characters from left to right: Hotaru, Renchon, Komari, Natsumi

Characters from left to right: Hotaru, Renchon, Komari, Natsumi

For those of you unfamiliar with Non Non Biyori, the series revolves around 4 children living in the quiet and peaceful countryside of Japan. Renchon, Hotaru, Natsumi, and Komari make the best out of their times in the countryside to show that fun can be found anywhere at anytime. If you’re in search of a slice of life to watch, I recommend this series for its 10/10 comfiness.

Crunchyroll streamed the first season in 2013, while Sentai Filmworks licensed and released the series on DVD and Bluray in January 2015. Chances are, both companies will take their dibs on season 2 as well.

Source: Anime News Network

Fate Stay Night: UBW Ep. 24 Impressions [Spoilers]

I haven’t done many anime impressions/reviews as of late, but I thought I’d write about this one episode in particular before all the hype in me dies down.

In the previous episode, Saber finished her long-awaited duel with Assassin, Rin pulled Shinji out of the Grail’s thick meaty grasp, and Shirou got blown away by an Ea blast that wasn’t even aimed at him. Sure, our main character got swatted away like a puny fly, but this is the climax! The episode where our “Hero of Justice” shines! The title of the episode is called “Unlimited Blade Works” for God’s sake! Unlimited Blade works in our Unlimited Blade Works episode in our Unlimited Blade Works anime adaptation of the Unlimited Blade Works route of the visual novel!

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To get straight to the point, I really enjoyed the episode. I’ve been a longtime fan of Type-Moon, and I loved what Ufotable did with the series. They brought in splendid animation that really breathed life to its visual novel predecessor, along with original content that fit right into the story. Albeit, I would have enjoyed seeing them animate the Fate route, but Unlimited Blade Works route is truly where Shirou’s true worth as a character shines. We’ve seen him go up against enemies he could never dream of defeating, facing the impossibility and hypocrisy of his dreams and ideals, and even fighting a buff, tanned, sexier version of himself. Even against all those odds, he still persists and grows to greater heights. Although this climax lived up to many people’s expectations, I feel like it fell a bit short to mine.

The Animation Was…Dodgy?

Ufotable is known for their high quality animation, and their adaptation of this series even earned the nickname of “Unlimited Budget Works”. While the name certainly fits for this beauty of a show, the same can’t be entirely said of season 2. Animation quality dropped down occasionally during certain episodes (mostly during the Caster hostage episodes), and it may be because most of the budget went to the first season. My main issues with the animation in this episode essentially arose from the Shirou vs Gilgamesh battle.

Ufotable prides themselves in their style of animation by using CGI and special effects to add a certain feel of realism to their shows. However, this works against Ufotable, because having shoddy-looking people fighting in a super-detailed field of swords makes for a really weird contrast. I also understand that in order to have a greater sense of motion in animation a portion of detail will have to be sacrificed, but the battle seemed 80% motion and 20% detail.

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“FWOOSH! Gudda gu f@st, Imma Sanic!”

But let’s not forget the laser-light show. Instead of shooting swords at each other, half the fight seemed like they were shooting laser beams. One of the reasons I liked the Ufotable adaptation is that they actually showed swords being shot, unlike Studio DEEN’s red laser beams.

swords spamHow did we go from this?

 To this?

Shirou Was a Badass

Aside from the fact that he brought out Unlimited Blade Works, the way he worked off of his strengths and weaknesses is what really made him cool in my eyes. Sure, his ability to create a world of swords seems cool and unstoppable at first, but it’s useless against almost any Servant. Thank God, Gilgamesh isn’t almost any Servant.

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It takes a very small interval of time for Gilgamesh to launch his weapons, but it takes Shirou no time at all to launch his, since his weapons are already there. If Shirou so much as sees a weapon from the Gate of Babylon, he’ll cut them down immediately before they’re even fired. With this, Shirou doesn’t even give Gilgamesh the time to counter-attack. By realizing his strengths, Shirou wields them to the limit and defeats the King of Heroes.

"Fuck! That's the hand I masturbate with!"

“Looks like you’re getting wrecked, Boss.” “Shut the fuck up, Lion.”

I Wanted More Shirou vs Gilgamesh

This is the climax episode. It’s called Unlimited Blade Works. This is one of the most important episode in the series, yet we have the biggest fight interrupted by scenes with Rin and Saber. I’m not saying that those scenes weren’t important, but they really lessen the overall impact of the episode. I know this was how it exactly played out in the visual novel, but the fight felt very short because of it. It’s like someone taking away your lunch while you’re eating it, only for it to be given back 10 minutes later. I did like the scene with Saber fading away though. Goodbye waifu.

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“Sorry, Shirou. I can’t let you have this episode all to yourself.”

Goodnight Sweet Prince

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“Don’t worry, Tohsaka. I’ll try my best from now on too.”

The scene where Rin says goodbye to Archer was beautiful. What really captures the beauty of the scene were Archer’s reactions. The way he reacted towards Rin lamenting over his cruel fate, how he ruffled his hair up to get his old look back, and the way he smiled and gave Rin a very Shirou-like response. The track “New Dawn” gave the nostalgic feeling many fans of the visual novel adore. I give Ufotable an A+ for this scene’s adaptation. It literally brought me to tears (again).

Conclusion:

I loved the episode. Easily my favorite out of all the episodes. My only qualm is that the animation quality could’ve been a lot better. Other than that, it had everything I wanted. “EMIYA” playing in the background, a high-paced fight with swords on swords, Gilgamesh being beaten like a boy beating his meat for the first time, and the heartfelt goodbye we were all waiting for. This series will be very missed. Let’s all look forward to the epilogue, shall we?

 

Tokyo Ghoul Vol. 1: Review

51oAY4hkXVLFor centuries humans have feared the fictitious and horrific beings that crawl in their imaginations like zombies, vampires, and werewolves, but in modern-day Tokyo, there are creatures that are far more gruesome and too real to be called just myths. The beings that people fear the most are Ghouls, monsters in the guises of people that devour human flesh. Tokyo Ghoul follows the story of a young man’s endeavors to live in a world inhabited by these monsters, but the story comes with a twist. Our main character himself is half-human and half-ghoul, bringing life to the phrase: “You are what you eat.”

In life, bad things happen to good people for no reason at all, and Tokyo Ghoul is the very materialization of that twisted logic. Ken Kaneki is just an average college student with a heavy interest in literature and the opposite sex. Okay, so the interest in the opposite sex part was a bit of an over-exaggeration, but you can’t blame the guy for falling in love with a bespectacled beauty with the same level of interests in books as him. On the plus side, she shares an equal amount of interest in him. On the down side, she wants to devour his flesh. On the downer side, he becomes half a man-eating monster. How he turns into such a mess I’ll let you find out for yourself.

20150616_210327Tokyo Ghoul is usually seen as a twist of horror and action molded into one, but the underlying themes of the series make it to be much more than that. One can see it as just a series where a bunch of people eat other people, but the fact of it is that it focuses on Kaneki’s journey at finding a place in the world of humans and ghouls. What if you woke up and found yourself to be something you’re not? Would your way of living change? Would the people around you accept who and what you are? Would you even bother trying to live the way you are now? These are all questions that Ken Kaneki has to find answers to in order to cope with his situation.  His dilemma is no laughing matter, and the way he struggles to cope with it is something I find pretty realistic and tragic.

It’s not hard to notice, but aside from the main character the story itself is pretty influenced by literature. The story borrows elements from real life literature, like Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, while also following themes from its own self-created literature, such as Sen Takatsuki’s The Egg of the Black Goat. If you’ve read The Metamorphosis, you’ll remember that the main character woke up one day as a giant insect. The situation isn’t exactly the same, but much similar to Kaneki’s, no? While the allusions are pretty noticeable, making the connections are what makes it very puzzling. Is Kaneki turning into a Ghoul really what correlates his story to that of a man transforming into a giant insect? Are his ghoulish tendencies really what makes him to be like the main character of The Egg of the Black Goat? Yes and no, but the journey to finding these answers throughout the series is what’s fun. It makes you think.

The story itself is what really grabbed me, but the same can’t exactly be said for its art. It’s attention to detail isn’t exactly high quality, and most of the characters come off as looking pretty plain. The style is pretty flat and feels like it’s more suited to a more lighthearted setting, maybe a slice of life series. The characters’ reactions to situations are over-exaggerated and look, at times, a little comical. Do all these faults make the art an overall train wreck? Not at all. There are times throughout the volume where the art style spikes up in relation with the story, becoming very dynamic when the situation calls for it.

The Verdict: Good

While at times the art is pretty plain, the story is what really carries the manga. Kaneki’s transition to human to half-ghoul is what really brought depth to the story, and seeing where and how he ends up is what got me to keep reading. The first volume doesn’t branch out the other characters’ personalities for now, but Kaneki as the main focus is what gives the series a good start. The series is advertised as a horror, but it’s really not. It’s not even that gory. Just think of it more as a suspense-thriller, with a side of action.

Where to Buy It:
Amazon and at your local bookstore, like Barnes and Noble. VIZ Media has the digital copy for $8.99. VIZ plans on publishing 1 volume every 2 months.

Tokyo Ghoul is a series by Ishida Sui that’s dated back since 2011 with the span of 14 volumes (this is excluding :re). The manga is currently still in serialization under the seinen publication, Weekly Young Jump. Studio Pierrot adapted the series with 2 seasons, Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo Ghoul: Root A. FUNimation licensed and simulcasted the anime in North America. The official page for the anime can be found here.

TOKYO GHOUL © 2011 by Sui Ishida/SHUEISHA Inc.

Momocon 2015: Impressions

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So it’s been quite a bit of time since Momocon, but now that the storm and PCD (post-con depression) has blown over, I thought I would write down my impressions of this year’s convention. For the first time, I’ll be having one of my friends/coworker, Rufus, participate in writing for this article. We were both accepted as Press for Momocon this year and were very grateful for the experience.

Sas’ Impressions:

Momocon was the first convention I ever went to. I was there back in 2009 when it was still at Georgia Tech, and even there when it moved over to the Marriott and Hyatt hotels. This year, Momocon had once again moved its venue due to its rising popularity and intent to find a location better suited to handling a large population of geeks. Am I happy with these changes compared to its early years? Yes and no.

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The new venue that Momocon chose to move to was the Georgia World Congress Center. Compared to the Marriott and the Hyatt, I see this as a huge improvement. Since the con was essentially located in one building, it made it easier for attendees to travel across the con. The GWCC has wide corridors giving more space for people to make their way throughout the con, and they give off less of a crowded feeling. Since the venue was mainly in one part of the building, it made easier to go from one event to another. What I really liked about the venue was that they were able to upgrade the Dealers Room and Entertainment Hall. Both halls grew in size, and it may not be a stretch to say that they’d be the biggest compared to any other conventions in Georgia. What was also convenient was that they connected both halls, so one could go from buying their goods to relaxing/playing at the gaming sections.

Momocon used to be an anime convention back in its early years, but they’ve changed the way they address themselves. They refer to themselves as “Atlanta’s response to Comic-Con” or more essentially as a geek convention. While the con grew, the focus on anime diminished. Over time, the guests would be less about anime and more about gaming, and the same could be said for its panels. While I understand that there’s an immense crowd of people that enjoys gaming a lot more than anime, the recent changes makes it harder for people, like myself, that are the exact opposite. Guests like the Super Best Friends, Mega64, and LilyPichu made their appearances as Guests of Honor at the con, but to a guy who’s not too into the gaming community, their presences had me uninterested. The schedule was filled with lots of panels, but they were just like the guest announcements, not so much catered for people with heavy interests in Japanese entertainment. If anime is more your thing, you’re better off looking forward to Anime Weekend Atlanta.

Now, do I consider Momocon’s lack of focus on Japanese culture to be distasteful? Yes, because it IS called Momocon after all, but is the con itself bad? No. I saw many people enjoying their times together with family and friends. There were people that enjoyed cosplaying, going to panels, playing video games, and buying stuff they really wanted to own at the dealers hall. I was one of those people. Sure, Momocon didn’t have all the anime and weeb stuff that I wanted, but it’s not like I had nothing to do. I cosplayed, played Dance Dance Revolution all day, bought figures, and met friends old and new. That’s not something I can just do everyday. Although I no longer see Momocon as an anime convention, I still see it as a place to enjoy myself, and I know this holds true for a lot of other people that attended the convention. Will I go to Momocon again next year? Hell yeah.

Rufus’ Impressions:

This past weekend I attended all four days of Momocon 2015 & had a blast! Despite being an active viewer of anime since Gundam 00, this was my first time at an anime convention so I didn’t really know what to expect other than a lot of cosplayers. Up until now my only con-like experience had been MAGFest 2014 and though I really enjoyed that, I regretted not having a camera to record it with. Thankfully, this issue has since been resolved and I have plenty of pictures to share with you, but we’ll get back to those later. First let’s discuss the actual experience I had at the con.

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This year Momocon took place at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC). This was also my first time visiting the GWCC, and I found it to be a very nice location. The GWCC area itself is easy on the eyes and within walking distance of CNN and MARTA. The inside is spacious, allowing plenty of elbowroom even on the busiest day. The only complaint I can make is that you may come across a handful of panhandlers outside of CNN or MARTA but they’re harmless & were kept away from the convention grounds. There were a few food services inside the GWCC but I avoided those as the prices were high and reasonable prices, as well as a much more diverse selection, were available at CNN. Unfortunately, my friend was not as knowledgeable and ended up paying $7 for a hotdog. Seriously, anytime you want food here just go to CNN.

Van BowI had 2 concerns going into this convention. My first was how easy it’d be to photograph the cosplayers. I can confidently say that these are some of the nicest people I’ve ever come across. During all 4 days I didn’t come across a single person who I’d describe as mean-spirited in any way. Everyone seemed to have just come to have fun and did just that. Obviously there will be exceptions given the size of the convention and the diversity of the attendees, but I didn’t anything negative.

My second concern was that I’d go broke in the dealers room since they’d sell a few things that I’ve been meaning to buy but aren’t available in the average store: Art and Gunpla. I walked in with the intention of just looking around but by Friday I had two model kits, a wall scroll, and a plushie. I also ended up skipping dinner Saturday so I could get a 3rd kit on Sunday. The dealers’ room had a wide selection of items & all the dealers I spoke to were very kind (same for the artist alley). Connected to the dealers’ room is the game room, but I can’t say too much here because I didn’t spend that much time there nor did I play any games. Most of the time I was just meandering & taking photos.

Speaking of photos, I’ve got plenty of them! Below is just a sample of what I got. You can find my whole album on Facebook and Flickr (Flickr colors are accurate; FB crushed the colors & make it all mucky). If you recognize any of the cosplayers feel free to tag them or notify me so that I can.

Like I stated in the beginning, I had a great time at Momocon & look forward to going again next year. If you enjoyed my photos, check out my personal flickr account & my photography page. My next con is AWA in September, and I’ll be back here to share my thoughts about that.

Credits:

Photos taken by Bulgogi Chan, Rufus Photography, and Alex V.
Credits are also given to the cosplayers and attendees that made this con a reality.
Thank you to Momocon for giving us the opportunity to attend as press. We hope to return next year for another great con!

Follow the Bulgogi Chan Facebook page to find more photos of the con and to keep up with future articles!

https://www.facebook.com/bulgogichan

Additional photos:

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Pre-Momocon Survival Guide Part 2: Food and Conveniences

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So there you are, at the convention walking for hours on an empty stomach. That just won’t do, but where can you find food that’s close and at an affordable price? Don’t worry, Bulgogi-오빠 will aid you on your quest for food. Click here for Part 1 of the survival guide: Transportation.

Now, for this article I will be giving you recommendations and tips for nearby and affordable eateries. I won’t cover too many fancy (expensive) restaurants, but I’ll name a couple later on in the article.

CNN Center

This is our first location on our food quest. The CNN Center is the location of one of the world’s most prominent news networks, and the only reason for that is because of it’s great food court. Okay so I lied, it’s not because of the food court, but it’s still a really great place to eat because of all the different restaurants it has. You’ll find familiar fast food restaurants like Arby’s, Chick-Fil-A, Taco Bell, Subway, and Moes. I’m also aware that many of you need your fix of coffee throughout the day, so you may be happy to know that they also have a Starbucks. Click here for a full list of restaurants.

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It’s against my policy to eat anything expensive during conventions, but I do make exceptions for delicious restaurants, such as Burger-Fi. It’s a bit on the costly side, with burgers priced from $7-$10 and meals even adding up to $15-18. This fast food restaurant boasts delicious burgers with their “all natural” angus beef. The burgers are a little small, but the thickness of the meat is more than enough to fill you up. The onion rings are pretty big and freshly fried to a crisp, making a great side item. However, one of the things I like most about this restaurant are the different seasonings they can put on your french fries, like Cajun, Salt and Vinegar, and Parmesan and Herb. As I said before, this place is somewhat expensive, but I would highly recommend it if you want good quality fast food. Click here for the full menu.

Centennial Olympic Park (nearby locations)

Centennial Olympic Park is a 4 minute walk down the road from the Georgia World Congress Center. You can find a few fast food restaurants, bars, cafes, and high end restaurants, but as I said before, I’ll be going over the more affordable locations.

wafflehouseAcross the street from the park, near the Ferris wheel, you can find a Waffle House. Waffle House is open 24/7, and they serve delicious meals at fair prices. Just getting a Triple Hashbrown can fill you up and cost around $3.

 

If you go across the street from the Omni and take a left down the road with the Metro Atlanta Chamber on you’re right, take the first right and you’ll find the Embassy Suites on your left. Follow the road where it turns left, and you’ll find restaurants such as Kwan’s Deli, Subway, Great American Cookies, and Baja Fresh.

food food food

Kwan’s Deli is a restaurant that specializes in Korean food, but also serves American dishes. One thing I MUST point out is that they serve bulgogi (marinated Korean beef)! Yeah, that’s all I have to say.
Baja Fresh is a Tex-Mex restaurant with a focus on burritos and tacos. Each meal comes with chips and they have their own self serve salsa stand. Both restaurants will have meals up to $8-$10.

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Peachtree Center

This location may be familiar for people who have attended Momocon in the past. The Peachtree Center is a shopping mall located underground. I can’t say much for the shops, but if it’s food you’re looking for, this place has a lot to offer. The best way to get there is to go out of Centennial Olympic Park and head straight down Andrew Young Blvd NE. You’ll be walking past the Waffle House. Keep heading down that road, and eventually you’ll see the Peachtree Center on your left. You won’t miss it.

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At the center you’ll find fast food restaurants like Checkers, Dairy Queen, Chick-Fil-A, Subway, and Moes. Outside the center, you’ll find restaurants like the Hard Rock Cafe and Hooters. If you go out the entrance near the Checkers, you’ll see a Starbucks across the street.

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If you’re looking for affordable meals with lots of food, I recommend Bistro7, Malibu Wings, and Yami Yami. Both are priced at about $6 and offer a 1 entree, 2 sides meal. One place you may be interested in is Cafe Momo, which is pretty much a buffet that charges you by the weight of the food you purchase. If you ever hunger for sushi, I would give Yami Yami and Cafe Momo a look-see.

If you’re not looking for a meal and just need a snack or drink, you’ll be happy to know that there is a CVS in the shopping center. Very convenient for light meals and other con necessities. It’s located right across the Subway, and there’s also an entrance above ground.

Conclusion of the journey and etc.

That concludes our food quest of downtown Atlanta, but there are still a few more places I want to give a quick mention. If you go around Midtown (which you can easily get to with MARTA), you’ll find a nearby bakery called Sweet Hut. Sweet Hut is a bakery with a wide variety of Asian pastries and sweets. They have sausage bread, black squid ink bread with bacon inside, red bean buns, strawberry cream puffs, caramel-custard pudding, mousse cakes, and many more Asian oriented dishes. The bakery also serves boba (bubble tea) and smoothies, both of which are very delicious. In my opinion, this is one of the best bakeries in Georgia and is very worth the short trip. They’re open from 8AM and close from 12AM-1AM. I recommend coming here at least once during the entire con.

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If you don’t mind the extra drive (30 minutes-1 hour down I-85N), I also recommend the Pleasant Hill area in Duluth. You’ll find many Asian restaurants such as Iron Age (all you can eat Korean BBQ), Cafe Top Cloud (Asian cafe with ice cream waffles), and Raku Ramen. Drive an extra 20 minutes to Suwanee and you’ll find Umaidos, which is the best ramen restaurant you’ll ever find in Georgia. If you go to Raku or Umaidos, I’d recommend the Takoyaki (battered squid balls).

The next portion of the guide will be the final addition, and I’ll be informing you on safety around the downtown area/con and Dos and Don’ts at a con. Momocon is soon approaching, and always keep in mind to have fun!

 

Pre-Momocon Survival Guide Part 1: Transportation

MomoCon__

Momocon is just in a couple of days, and I already know most of you guys are in shambles about the whole thing. My cosplays aren’t finished! I need to finish watching/reading/playing this series before I leave! Who framed Roger Rabbit?! Well, I can assist you with 1 out of those 3 statements, but instead I’ll be giving you a rundown on things that may assist you during the con. Some of you may especially need it if you’re coming from out of state. People that live in Georgia may need assistance too since Momocon has moved their venue from the Hilton and Marriott Marquis to the Georgia World Congress Center.

How Do I Get To the Con?

Now this is especially important, for how can we attend the con if we’re not at the con itself? If you’re getting there by car, I won’t be able to be of much assistance since you’re probably smart enough to use a GPS, but if it helps I usually take I-85 South and get off the interstate at Exit 249C. Once you make it through the exit, you’ll make a right at the first light and head down the road and see the Coca-Cola Museum, Georgia Aquarium, and CNN Center on your left. Go towards that direction. If you’re coming from I-85 North, take Exit 295D and go up the curved road and take a right at the fork. Drive down Spring Street NW, and keep going straight where it will then become Spring Techwood RD.  At the end of the road you’ll find yourself in front of Centennial Olympic Park. If you find yourself lost in that general area, use the giant Ferris wheel as your guidepost, because that’s mainly the area you’re supposed to be around.

Another form of transportation that is very essential around the downtown Atlanta area is MARTA, Georgia’s very own metro train service. This transportation can be very essential to those that are coming from long distances and people staying in lodgings outside the convention area. Each trip costs $2.50. If you make a round trip, the total cost will be $5. If you’re going to be using MARTA all 4 days, you can get a $19 4-day pass that will allow you as many rides as you want in those 4 days. You can look at MARTA’s fares here. (Thanks for the tip Gwen!)

new_marta_rail_map

If you’re going along the Blue or Green line, you’ll easily be able to get to the convention center. Along those 2 lines, there is a stop specifically for the Georgia World Congress Center. It’s one stop West of Five Points station. If you’re going by the Red or Gold line, that’s fine too. If you reach Peachtree Center, the train intercoms will mention to get off for The World of Coke, Georgia Aquarium, and Georgia World Congress Center, but it would be better transfer at Five Points station so it’ll save you the long walk and the possibility of getting lost while walking. It’s literally up the stairs, and a right at the corner.

If you’re lost while walking in the downtown area and see a blue cable car running through the streets, TAKE IT. If you find one of those cable cars, it means that you’ve found the Atlanta Streetcar. The Atlanta Streetcar is a free rail service that takes you through the streets of downtown Atlanta to nearby locations. If you take it, go until you reach Centennial Olympic Park. It’s free, takes you directly to the general area you’re supposed to be, and it saves lots of walking.

Parking

Now this is one subject that’s always going to rustle someone’s jimmies. Since Momocon has always been around the downtown area, parking has always been a hassle. It’s hard to navigate to a parking area, most areas are already full, and the biggest pain is that parking costs money and most of the time it’s not cheap. Even though the venue has changed, these 3 facts haven’t, but I can help alleviate some of your worries by pointing out some parking areas that are cheap and not too far from the con. However, these are parking spots that I found 3 days before the con, so the prices may be subject to change during the days of the con.

The best spots you’ll probably find near the convention are the ones near Centennial Olympic Park. The most notable ones are the parking garages for the park and the CNN center. The parking garage for the CNN center will cost $10 daily. The price is pretty fair and will stay consistent throughout the con. The Centennial Olympic Park garage also costs $10, BUT if you get in before 8:30AM, you only have to pay $5. Around the park area, mainly around the Ferris wheel, you’ll find other parking areas/garages that also cost $5. On weekdays, their Early Bird specials can even go as low as $3. Notable $5 areas would be the Tabernacle Parking lot, Keenan Law parking lot, and some of the Spring Street parking lots.
I’ll mark some of the locations below with stars. Red being $10 and blue being $3-$5. Black means $20+. Click on the image to go directly to the interactive map.

map of parking

One thing I do advise people to do is to never use valet parking at the hotels, especially near the Omni. Some hotels will charge you over $20 a day, and the Omni hotel will charge you $30. It’s not worth the money, so park around the areas outside the hotels. They’re in walking distance of the convention and they’re a lot cheaper. The only benefits of getting valet parking at a hotel is that you have security and peace of mind knowing that your car is safe, and the fact that you’re guaranteed a parking spot. Only do this if you don’t care about the cost at all. Also, be advised to not park too far from the general Centennial Olympic Park/convention area. One night during Momocon 2015, a friend of mine parked at a parking venue that was quite a distance away from the convention and had his car broken into. Just a reminder to show that the downtown area is safer when closer to the convention.

Uber and Lyft

These are transportation options that I forgot to include last year since I wasn’t very familiar with both services, but Uber and Lyft are both very viable forms of transportation in the downtown area. If you don’t know what they are, both are driving services that are very similar to taxis. A key feature that they both possess is that you’re able to request a driver in your vicinity to pick you up by using their respective apps. After you request a suitable driver, you wait at your appointed pick-up location to meet them. Most of the time they will call your phone to confirm that they have arrived or ask where you are. Their pricing is also similar to taxis, with base and additional charges from mileage/time, but the price is generally a lot cheaper. Forms of payment that they accept are credit/debit cards and Paypal.
I would really recommend Uber and Lyft if you’re 2+ miles away from the convention. Also, first time users are generally given free credit from both services when signing up. So you may have enough for a few free rides that weekend.
Links to both of their promos and websites: Uber/Lyft

That’s about all the advice I can give you so far when it comes to transportation, but if you think I might have missed some stuff or you have a question you want to ask, please leave a comment below.

Here’s a link to Part 2 of the Survival Guide for Food and Conveniences

Top 5 Anticipated Anime for Spring 2015

It’s been a while since I’ve written on here, but I thought I’d get back into the run of things by starting with a Top 5 countdown anticipation list for the Spring 2015 anime season. A few of my favorite series have gotten new seasons or gotten an adaptation this season, so it’ll make this even easier to list.

5. Saint Seiya: Soul of Gold

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I’ve been a Saint Seiya fan boy for a long while now, and I’ve totally been looking forward to an original spin-off with really decent material going for it. Not much is known about the series aside from it being a focus on the Gold Saints and the show taking place after the events of the Hades Saga. Do the original Gold Saints return? Do new ones take their place? Who will they fight next? Probably none of these questions will be answered until the first episode airs, but hopefully the wait will be worth it.

4. Denpa Kyoushi

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Denpa Kyoushi is another series I picked up a long time ago, back when it was recently published as a manga. One of the best selling shonen manga series in Japan has finally gotten its own anime! After being an otaku NEET for years, Kagami Juunichirou finallys gets pushed by his sister to transfer his life on the internet to the harsh reality of teaching at a high school. Watch how this modern-day otaku Onizuka schools his rebellious students with methods only an otaku could use.

3. Yahari Ore no Seishun Rom-Com ga Machigatteiru: Zoku

002Hachiman (aka 8man) returns with the Service Club in tow with the second season of Oregairu 2! The series follows the story of the reluctant, apathetic hero that is Hikigaya Hachiman and his spiritual journey through the grueling days of high school. If you’re a fan of slice of life school romance comedies, then this is the show you were not expecting to like. Unlike other school comedies, you’ll find that our main character does anything but live a fulfilling school life, which is why it’s got me hooked. Apparently, the previous animation studio, Brain’s Base, has given the reins of the anime to another studio, Feels, resulting in a difference in character designs compared to season 1.

2. Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works Season 2

fate_stay_night_2014If you haven’t heard of Fate/Stay Night, then you’ve been living under a rock. Fate/Stay Night follows the events of the 5th Holy Grail War, a war that pits 7 mages against each other in a battle to the death. Each mage is given the right to summon a Heroic Spirit from the past to aid them in their quest. The first season ended with a heavy cliff hanger, leaving our hero, Emiya Shirou, “unarmed” as you might say. Not in the physical sense to say the least. What I’m looking forward to are the badass battles and the revelation of “so and so’s” identity. More like the reactions to be honest, since I already played the visual novel.

1. Gintama

tumblr_inline_ngx8up0Y9N1ry12fyA new season of the adventures of the Yorozuya! Finally! It’s not an overstatement to say that this is the most anticipated series of the season. Sakata Gintoki and the gang finally return for another season of unadulterated hilarity. This series has been with me since my early days in anime, and I’ve been deep in the manga ever since the anime “ended”. Totally looking forward to the Genderbender Arc for this season, and some more Zura action.

New Yen Press Licenses

Happy Friday the 13th! Hope you guys are enjoying it as much as I am because Yen Press has announced their new licenses! Some of which are literally making me jump out of my seat.

I’ll get the small bits out of the way first.

Yen Press has announced the latest volumes in the Kingdom Hearts manga series. They’ll be releasing volumes 4 and 5 of KH: 358/2 Days in late 2014. Kingdom Hearts 2 volume 3 will also be released in Winter 2014. The Kingdom Hearts manga series has always been on a slow run, but Yen Press might start picking up the pace especially when the release of Kingdom Hearts 3 is in sight.

Next is the release of a new series called Secret. The series follows the story of 6 youths who survived a tragic bus accident. All of them are called by their school’s therapist, but were met with the news that some of them are murderers. The murderers among the group have one week to repent for their sins, otherwise the evidence from their actions may be handed over to the authorities. This new psychological-thriller manga will be released in early 2015. Yen Press is also releasing the latest chapters on the same day as the Japanese release in their online anthology.

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This news is slightly bigger than the previous two, especially since it’s about the Akame Ga Kill manga series being licensed! This manga series will also be getting an anime adaptation, as well as an announcement of a video game, in the future. Expect Yen Press to release the first volume in early 2015.Akame Ga Kill

These last two announcements are what really have me hyped!

First off is that the Sword Art Online: Progressive series is being licensed! Both the light novels and manga adaptation! If you were a fan of the Aincrad Arc and were disappointed that it ended too soon, this will be your cure! The Progressive series is a reboot of the series (though not an official one), starting all the way back with the beginning of the Aincrad Arc. The story is retold with slight differences and more in depth stories, differing from the short stories of the original. Sword Art Online: Progressive will be hitting stores sometime in 2015.

Surprisingly, Yen Press has also announced that they got the license for Zettai Naru Kodoku (Absolute Null Isolator). This series was released along with Sword Art Online, before Reki Kawahara made his official debut and back when both series were only web novels. The light novel series recently released in Japan. Yen Press has no given date as to when they will release the series in North America. Yen Press also announced on their Twitter that the series will get a hardcover release.

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Yen Press has finally heard and granted the wishes of its fans and have licensed the Kagerou Daze light novel and manga series!!! Despite how bad the anime has been lately, this news really is a refreshing one. The light novel is written by the official creator of Kagerou Project, Jin, with illustrations by co-creator, Shidu. The manga adaptation is illustrated by Mahiro Satou. If you want to know more about the series, check back on my previous article.

Yen Press might really become the next powerhouse in the otaku paperback industry. Light novels are a rarity in the North American venue, but following the success of series like Sword Art Online might better the chances of giving light novels a better image. What will they announce next? The Monogatari light novel series? It just doesn’t seem to be that far-fetched of an idea now.

Also for a heads up, Yen Press announced a while ago that they licensed the Certain Magical Index light novel series. So yay for that.

-Source: Yen Press

Thanks for the tip about “Isolator”, Rage.