2017 Highlights and 2018 Goals

Hello, how are you? I hope the festive season is being very kind to you.

It’s around this time of year where I talk about my highlights. It gets tougher every year, I reached that stage now where every day is my best ever day. This year I’ve grown mentally stronger, tougher and growing in self-confidence in myself and in my talents. I’ve been going out more times than I ever had, and never have I seen so many films at the cinema in one year. That feat is especially a big deal to me.

I tried many times to let go of my past, sometimes I felt I did but there were some things I hadn’t considered. Perhaps deep down I was trying to convince myself rather than accept that I wasn’t quite there yet. But now, I do feel that I have reached that place. Right now I feel that this is the best month of the year, partly because it’s Christmas, but also because I reached a good place in my life.

To add a few things that happened recently- I looked after my niece a few times with my Mum, I did yoga, I went Santa-Sack shopping with my sister in Manchester and dined at AskItalian with my brother and co for our traditional Christmas Jumper Meal. I also got amazing feedback over my small overview review of Kase-San and Morning Glories which I will expand on further down the page. =)

 

I think perhaps my most significant encounters all happened in anime and art.

My art is slowly starting to take off and becoming more popular. I improved my technique, polished my style and I’m enjoying my drawings much more. I received a few commissions, a donation and a dozen of requests and was rewarded with customer satisfaction. That especially made my job worthwhile. I also did a birthday picture for my Mum of Beauty and the Beast, her favourite Disney couple. =)

I’ve always known that I wanted to be a writer but I did drawing as an aside. Yet, over these past couple of years I gradually turned my favourite hobby into something much more important.

 

2018

I never do New Year’s Resolutions but I will summarise very quickly what I intend to do next year.

Birthday

I like to celebrate my birthdays as peacefully and quietly as possible but as it is my 30th I decided to try and make an effort. I’m going to celebrate it in a cinema whether it’s playing on the Wii Switch with family or watching an anime like One Punch Man or Non Non Biyori.

Updating my Website

I just want to give my website a revamp.

Twitter Manga Reviews

I found a new refreshing way to review manga and light novels, instead of writing an lengthy evaluation I now write a short synopsis.

So far I reviewed How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom vol 4, There’s a Demon Lord on the Floor vol 4, Hybrid x Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia vol 1 and Kase-San and Morning Glories. I was surprised when I got positive feedback on my Kase-San review with the amount of likes and retweets.

I won’t go so far as to say that I won’t review a manga/light novel ever again but I won’t do it any time soon.

Conventions

I am hoping to attend anime conventions and if appropriate I would love to have my own art stall.

Manga Books and General Art

In light of these conventions I’ve been developing and storyboarding my stories with my own characters.

I don’t want to give anything away but I’m working on a short manga story and a picture book. These are very exciting times. I have basic ideas for the monster girls and I have a full completed story in mind for my short manga, I just need to draft it and get to work.

If I’m successful I will be able to complete all of this in time for one of the conventions next year. I won’t rush to complete them as you should never rush art but I’m very keen to get on with these projects and show everyone my work. =)

 

Happy Christmas everyone, see you next year. =)

Ryan.^^/

Attachments, Cleansing and Achievement

Elsa

Yesterday I achieved something special.

Ever since I was little I had this thing where I held attachments and had great difficulty letting go. Whether that’s letting go of past memories or physical objects it’s always been a problem. I think Autism does play a part in this but ultimately I became accustomed with this personality trait. All of this was an issue because I attached myself onto these things and I felt these memories or physical objects defined who I was when I was still finding my feet growing up.

Yesterday I decided to sort out my entire room before Christmas and I actually managed to throw out a lot of things that I haven’t used or seen for 10 years. I even gave some books and clothes to the charity shops as they were wasted in my wardrobe. I felt emotional as getting rid of things was not easy but I managed to tame my emotional attachment side and was resolute in my goal and decision.

It’s also worth pointing out as it feels appropriate that I’m only ever sad whenever I recall my younger years and childhood. In turn I’m at my happiest when I’m in the present focusing on my artwork and stories.  Why trap myself in the past where I’m living in the realm of what really matters; the present. With that in mind I decided to get rid of all the sources that link me back to my past. I partly did that throughout the years but I decided to get rid of everything whilst I was feeling motivated.

Yes it was emotional doing it but right here and now I feel cathartic and for the first time I drew my pictures and watched Match of the Day without so much as a fleeting thought.

 

Knowing not to reminisce is one thing but to put that into practice takes time and I feel I probably needed time to let go. I haven’t been able to do that until now. So, from this moment on I will not reflect on my past in my future blogs as that will defeat the object of my achievement. I will do what I’ve already been doing and that is discussing my current news, my art, anime and generally things that are relevant to me.

 

Christmas is coming and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Thank you for reading. =)

Ryan.

 

ps, I also watched the anime film “Fireworks”. I enjoyed it very much. It was another great experience to watch an anime film at the cinema. =)

Doki Doki Festival 2017

banner-trim

Yesterday I attended the Doki Doki Festival in Manchester which is a convention based on Japanese culture.

Lately I’ve been growing as an artist and for the last few months I’ve been strongly considering having my own stall at local conventions. The thought of this makes me excited and nervous as it’s a new and unknown territory for me. I don’t know the process of this or anything about it. After much deliberation I decided to go along to a local festival to see what it was all about.

It was with great fortune that around that time I discovered Doki Doki and arranged a trip with my brother to this festival. This was a very big thing for me as I rarely organise an outing.

Going into an unfamiliar place like Doki Doki came with apprehension and anxiety. The only convention I’ve been to up to this point was Kitacon but I knew nothing about Doki Doki. All I knew is that it offers Japanese culture like live music, train society and origami and of course art stalls but that was it. How did they represent their crafts? What were the stalls like? What was the building going to be like? I already made up my mind I was going, I was going to go, enjoy myself and hopefully learn a few things.

*

It really was a great experience.

I didn’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t what I expected it to be. It really was just like a convention where everyone was having fun with their friends, browsing and exploring stalls, drawing art and listen live music, not to mention Japanese cuisine which was delicious! Yum.  It was similar to Kitacon but obviously the theme was Japanese culture and not just about anime.

Initially I was overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the crowd and the loud music, both which are my weaknesses. Once I got used to the atmosphere, which was amazing, I felt more comfortable and started to mingle in the crowd and explore the stalls on my own. It was a huge bonus that I didn’t get lost, brownie points for me! Haha.

I was more relaxed and comfortable talking to people, a feat which actually surprised me and it’s only through reflection that I didn’t realise how relaxed I was. At past conventions I perhaps spoke and acted like a robot but I spoke naturally and the conversations weren’t forced. Perhaps it’s just me getting used to speaking to people on a regular basis? I don’t know the reason but it’s very good for my confidence.

I did eventually reach my limit and ended up becoming light-headed, which increased later, but I was determined to make the most of it so I ignored my own alarming radar and continued to bask in the Festival. =)

*

I managed to talk to all the artists. They gave me a lot of advice about being an artist, how to start up and how convention works. Since yesterday I’ve been feeling very inspired and highly motivated about my own art work going forward. For years I have been searching for my own ‘purpose’ and at last I think I’ve found that in the form of an anime artist.

Everything happens for a reason and I truly believe that I could cope having my own stall at a convention. It wasn’t easy but I did well yesterday and I don’t see any reason why I can’t handle having my own stall. I’m still growing as an artist and as a person but I feel that I can see my goal. I’m going to keep doing my best, keep producing art the best art I can and see what happens. =)

 

Thanks for reading,

Ryan.^^/

November Updates

It’s now November. As soon as Halloween finished everyone started to advertise Christmas, which I wholeheartedly approve. =)

 

General News

I don’t really celebrate Halloween as passionately with Birthdays and Christmasses but I did try to get into the spirit when I played board games at my Brother’s Halloween Party. It’s always good fun but I do find myself confused with the rules. At one point I was so focused reading the rules that I accidentally knocked over my J2O all over my Brother’s cards. Whoops!

It was my Mum’s Birthday last Saturday and for her Birthday I got her Disney Crochet Patterns book and a Beauty and the Beast picture that I painted for her personally. I’m thankful that she likes it because it took me a long time to draw and colour it. It was especially difficult because Disney is not my style so it was tough to adapt, but with great fortune I managed it. =)

I watched Kingsmen: The Golden Circle at the cinema with my Brother and afterwards visited the Hard Rock Café to have drinks. That evening did take a toll on me because it was very busy with lots of people, both inside the café and around it because of the Little Mix concert.

I did embarrass myself at the bar by asking for a marshmallow J2O. Why I did this is still a mystery. Putting that aside indulging in that calming yet active atmosphere was a good experience. I wouldn’t want to go out every week but I would certainly like to come back one time to the Hard Rock Café. =)

 

Fun News

During my breaks of writing, drawing and looking after my niece I’ve been indulging on my Nights of Azure game, the second instalment, Bride of the New Moon. I’m really enjoying it. It feels a tad weird not seeing Arnice or Lilysse in it but it’s still good nonetheless.

Thanks to the previous games of the Atelier Series and the first Nights of Azure I have a firm grasp how to play the game. I have good idea the location of the plot, how to strengthen weapons, how to enhance specific items and so on. This time I bought the normal edition for the Nintendo Switch so the efforts it’s probably not as rewarding as it might be for the PlayStation 4, trophy wise, but I find it more rewarding that I’m able to progress through the storylines without online tutorials. I’m figuring everything out for myself and I can enjoy the story and gameplay without worrying about achieving the trophies in the process.

Playing it for the Switch is beneficial as I can play it anywhere. I know there’s the Vita but with Nights of Azure I’d rather play it on the Switch with a controller than on a handheld like the Vita.

In hindsight I probably should have bought the limited edition which comes with extra goods, like the DLC, but that’s not really important. What’s important is my enjoyment of the game which I’m enjoying very much.

I’m doing other things besides Nights of Azure. I’m playing Senran Kagura PBS for the PS4 and New Game! for the Vita. I practice Yoga every day and I’m reading manga/light novels before bed. I’m currently reading How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom volume 4 and just made it to chapter 5. As soon as I’ve finished reading that I’m going to read In Another World with my Smartphone volume 5. I considered reviewing all volumes from 1 to 5 in one swoop but that would be too much of a hassle so I may settle to just reviewing the newest volume if the mood strikes me. =)

 

Art News

I’m taking some time from my schedule to study some art books. I have confidence in my ability right now but studying fantastic art and artists will not only help me improve but it will inspire me more and give me clearer ideas for my future illustrations. Luckily I have ideas I’m already working on but I really want to take my time with them.

I feel I get better with every picture I draw. I can visualise the content of my pictures much clearer, and that makes me very happy.

 

I’m going to attend the Doki Doki Festival over the weekend. This will be quite a big event for me as I arranged the trip to go there with my brother. It’s the complete unknown and I am somewhat apprehensive about it but ultimately I think we will enjoy it. =)

Thanks for reading.^^/

Ryan.

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom LN Review (Vol 1, 2 and 3)

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom

Author: Dojyomaru

Publisher: J-Novel Club

How Many Light Novel Volumes I Own: Three

Pre-Review:

No spoilers on this occasion

Review:

Initially I did struggle to read this and gave up on my first attempt. However, once I got used to reading more than a few light novels at a time I gave this another go and I’m very glad I did. This story offers a different type of the traditional “Isekai” genre that you usually see in modern light novels.

The writing style and the expression used is very stylish, sophisticated and most importantly, enticing. Because I’m not a good reader I found it difficult but once I got used to reading light novels back to back I found the style of this series easier to read.

Some of you may already know that I enjoy light-hearted/good feel stories the most and avoid ones that harbour suspense and drama. I feel this has the perfect balance of both. It’s not too light that comedy overshadows the plot but it’s not too serious where it would leave a bad taste in my mouth. It has a good mixture of everything.

When summoned to another world Souma’s life literally changed from the tranquillity of life in Japan to the rough era with an ethos of the middles ages. That meant political issues with neighbouring countries, dealing with corrupt nobles and rebellious duchies, a food crisis, changing the military set-up, but to top it all off, the Demon Lord’s Domain which threatens the existence of mankind. It’s a humongous responsibility for a young man like Souma to bear on his shoulders. I can’t help but sympathise and admire his courageousness through his decisions as a King and as a man.

I really enjoy reading about his journey and how the ladies in his life help him whenever he is down in the dumps. The novel often switches from the storyteller to the casts perspectives which make the story more interesting. It gives you an insight to how the characters are feeling if the situation is personal to them. It also adds a different dimension to the scenario both to the story and to the character.

The characters are wonderful, the fights are good, the politics and suspense are well conveyed, and the ladies are beautiful inside and out. I couldn’t ask for more well-balanced story that offers a mature yet realistic feel to an isekai light novel.

5 out of 5

 

Post-Review:

I read the three volumes in one swoop and often lost sleep because I wanted to keep reading them on my kindle. It is a fact that makes me sad but equally ecstatic because I thoroughly enjoyed and will continue to enjoy reading this series.

I’m now in the lengthy process of drawing a picture of Liscia, Aisha and Juna together. It will take a while to complete but it will be worth it.

 

I can’t wait for volume four. =)

 

Thank you for reading. =)

Ryan.^^/

KonoSuba Light Novel Review (1, 2 and 3)

KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World!

KonoSuba LN 1

Author: Natsume Akatsuki

Publisher: YenPress

How Many Light Novel Volumes I Own: Three

Pre-Review:

Spoilers up ahead.

Review:

I really do like the concept of the guy being transferred to a fantasy world either through means of a summoning or through reincarnation. In this case Kazuma died a hilarious comedic death and is given the option of bringing any “broken weapon or ability” with him. Yet, out of all of the cards that were dealt, he picked the lowest card of the deck, the joker, Aqua, the most useless card that could be dealt. Haha.

What makes this a good book is how the author conveys both the plot and how he/she depicts the characters in the plot. KonoSuba is classed as a comedy but I feel this isn’t meant to be a comedy, it’s a well thought out story that includes very funny moments. The pace and language is very simple and the plot flows smoothly without over-articulating the writing. I’m not a very good reader and I struggle to take in the information but with KonoSuba I found the books very easy to read.

A good foundation for a story is always important but having good characters is equally as important. I’m happy to say that the characters in this story are amazing, especially the main crew, Kazuma and his party.

Kazuma has no talent and therefore became your average adventurer and forms a party with three high-class adventurers, the Arch Priest Aqua, the Arch Wizard, Megumin, and the Crusader, Darkness. The ladies being as strong as they are should be using Kazuma as their bag carrier, yet, the beautiful catch of this party is that they’re all completely useless in their own quirky ways. Aqua is a Diva, Megumin can only use explosion magic once before she faints and Darkness is a masochist who can’t even hit the simplest of objects. It’s no surprise that Kazuma became leader by default, look what happened when he traded places with Dust. Haha.

The ultimate plot of this over-powered game is for the bog standard Hero, Kazuma, to eliminate the Demon King once and for all. He needs to beat him, or her (it could be a lady) to achieve his unyielding desire and to return Aqua to the Heavens.  The current goal is to scrape through each day whilst eliminating all the Demon Generals in the process.

Speaking of Demon Generals, the villains are just as wonderful as the main cast. You have this tough Dullahan, Beldia, who is extremely intimidating when confronting the town of Axel but gets bewildered and rolls around in agony that wouldn’t befit the role of a villain. The other Demon General Wiz has a very unique relationship with Aqua and the polar opposites between them are high and hilarious for unusual reasons. It’s as Kazuma said, they ought to switch places for Goddess and Lich.

The underlying feature that I found beautiful is the relationship between Kazuma and his three party members. They banter a lot and you often see their love and hate relationship, mostly between Kazuma and Aqua, but deep down I think they all care deeply for each other. Their relationship partly reminds me of the relationship between Del Boy and Rodney from Only Fools and Horses (UK Sitcom).

Throughout the three volumes the feelings and bonds between Kazuma and the three ladies grew and developed in significant ways. If nothing happens romantically between them it wouldn’t ruin the story because they will always be close like family and that is just as important as a romantic relationship. =)

I get the impression that Aqua, Megumin and Darkness care more for Kazuma than his family ever did so it’s not surprising that Kazuma treasures them.

5 out of 5

 

Post-Review:

The modern niche in anime is the protagonist being transferred from modern day Japan to a fantasy world set in the middle ages, KonoSuba is one of them. It was a Web Novel but as far as I understand Natsume stopped writing the Web Novel when Kadokawa licensed the series and thus the Light Novel series was born, and I’m very thankful it was. =)

I first watched the anime on a whim last year and since then I’ve been watching it, reading it and collecting KonoSuba memorabilia back to back ever since. I’m very happy to say that this is one of my all-time favourite series, both as an anime and as a Manga/Light Novel series. I’m especially thankful for YenPress for licensing the series because now I get to indulge in the KonoSuba literature any time at my leisure.

In light of the surging popularity behind KonoSuba there’s a bunch of Spin-offs released as result. Here’s to hoping that YenPress will license these spin-offs in the near future for I, as one, would gladly support and read with pride more KonoSuba. =)

 

God Bless this Wonderful World!

Ryan.^^/

September Updates

20994353_10155748334557171_3342406435638502999_n

Hello everyone, I wanted to share my latest updates.

2017 is certainly moving through the seasons rather quickly, at least for me. I see this as a good thing as I’m choosing to enjoy life rather than worry about the flow of time. =)

 

I have watched three films at the cinema in the past month and that is rather adventurous for me. I watched Spiderman Homecoming twice and the anime film, Your Name.

I’m used to watching Marvel films at the cinema but I’ve never watched an anime film on the big screen before so admittedly I was apprehensive. When I was invited to watch the latter I did panic and didn’t think rationally but in the end I decided to go and watch it. I’m glad I did. Your Name isn’t my kind of genre, I don’t usually like drama-twisting plots or tear-jerking moments but it is a beautiful film with a lovely story. The graphics and sound were especially spectacular. I wouldn’t watch it again but watching this on the big screen was a very memorable experience.

Sometimes you have to ignore the roadblocks to reach the end of the destination and that was what I did and what I will always continue to do. Some days are harder than others, and this was one of those times. ^^/

 

My personal projects are going very well and I will unveil some of them over the next few weeks. I really enjoyed drawing requests and I found it rewarding knowing that I’m making people happy with my pictures. However I stopped accepting requests because I wanted to focus on drawing illustrations for myself.

 

WORKS IN PROGRESS

  • Sketches: I have a lot of messy and clean sketches to share which I have completed over course of the months. I will eventually share them online.
  • Anime Girls: I’m cracking on with the “Anime Girls” theme and have several near completion. Aletta and Kuro from Restaurant to Another World, Rem and Hestia, and Arma from In Another World with my Smartphone. I’ve also sketched Grayfia from High School DxD but that still needs tweaking and won’t be finished for a good while.
  • Original Characters: Following Cherub I created a batch of characters. These will take a while to complete because I want to study the profiles of each lady before I publish them online. I am in the midst of inking another Gaia illustration so that will probably be done in the next few weeks depending on my schedule.
  • Comic: I’m very excited about this experimental project and I can’t wait to unveil it. =)
  • Akeno: I’m working on a picture that features Akeno Himejima. I’m in the process of deciding on a background. I’m also excited about this picture.

 

I’m really enjoying all of my projects but none more so than my comic and Akeno. =)

 

I hope September treats you all kindly, thanks for reading. =)

Ryan.^^/

My Birthday 2017

It was my Birthday a few of days ago and I had a wonderful day.

I received nice Birthday messages, thoughtful cards and wonderful presents. The highlight of the day, I must say, is when my two year old Niece said to me “Happy Birthday Bro” because she calls me Uncle Bro. She’s very sweet and clever.

I don’t like a huge fuss or be the centre of attention I just like to spend a quiet peaceful day with my family. I woke up very early so I spent some time in my summer house editing one of my stories whilst listening to the birds singing. During the day I played Mario Kart with all my family and we then stayed up to the early hours watching One Punch Man. It’s fortunate we’re fans of the show and was worth the lack of sleep, haha.

A tad off subject but just thought to bring up something I recently learned about myself, how I used to fear failure.

This fact is important because it explains my thoughts, my obsession with being perfect and having a spotless record in every academic subject and emotional stress that extends back to my childhood. It’s only these past couple of years that I became more laid back and started to accept my weaknesses and being open to making mistakes. Yoga and Art helped me to make peace with my fear that isn’t really such a fear anymore, more of a dislike.

Back on subject- I had a wonderful day. It’s going to be an upheaval task trying to remember that I’m 29 but then again age isn’t really important, it’s more about how you feel. =)

 

Thanks for reading. =)

Ryan.^^/

2 Years

From time to time I look at my older art and with some of them I think “you could have done that better,” and I’m confident I would. This doesn’t mean I’m not proud of my past works though, I see them as progress to the artist I am now. They remind me how I started and where I was 2 years ago.

 

So much has happened since then. I was excited when one of my pictures received one view but now, since the beginning of the year, I’ve been receiving dozens of requests. It’s the sort of thing I didn’t think could happen, the idea never truly entered my head as a possibility. I’m still amazed by it all, even when I’m receiving requests now. =)

 

I decided to take a break from requests for the time being as I’ve been working on multiple backlogs since Christmas and I’ve also had spells of being unwell perhaps due to tiredness. I have taken a couple of short breaks between requests but have now decided to take a longer break to “recharge my batteries”. I do love my drawings I just think I’ve been a bit over-enthusiastic and perhaps not rested as much as I should have.

 

I hope to produce a picture to celebrate my own personal achievement for the last two years. My initial achievement was being brave enough to share my very first picture publicly but now the other achievement is making others happy with my drawings. =)

 

Thanks for your support, everyone.^^/

May Updates

Aoba x Hifumi

Hello.

Here I am, reporting in my monthly update.

Not so long ago I chipped a tooth and booked an appointment to get it checked. I was somewhat anxious as it would be my first ever filing… or so I thought. My Dentist told me my “chipped tooth” was in perfect condition with a tiny scrape at the top. I felt much better after this, I was anxious over nothing. =)

For the past few weeks I’ve been very poorly. I was suffering with bad dizzy spells to the point where I couldn’t draw and lost my balance whenever I walked. On top of that I caught a cold in the process.

I wondered if it was because I had been drinking decaf tea for over a week as opposed to my normal regular tea, so I switched to regular tea… only to experience no sleep that very same night. The dizzy spells seemed to have disappeared though. Haha!

I’m more or less better now I just need to rest more and sleep better. I do feel up to drawing more requests so I’ll resume them this evening. =)

Thanks for reading. =)

Ryan.^^/

PS, I’m learning Japanese, more specifically Kana. I now understand the difference between Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. Hurray. =)