Saturday, January 31, 2015

Anime Reviews: Another

Hello everyone! I'm here again with yet another anime review! This time: Another, a psychological horror! (Woo! Lookit all the exclaimation marks! XD)

 Another is a story about Koichi Sakakibara, a high school boy who recently moved in with his grandparents in Yomiyama, and Mei Misaki, a pale, ghostly looking girl who seems to be an outcast among her classmates and has an eyepatch covering one of her eyes. The story begins with Koichi at the hospital due to a collapsed lung, causing him to miss the first part of the school year. While at the hospital, Koichi is visited by several of his classmates, all of whom appear to be acting strangely around him. After he recovers and is heading back home, he comes across a strange, ghostly looking girl named Mei at the hospital. Mei gives Koichi a strange vibe as she has an eye covered with an eyepatch, is carrying a ball jointed doll, and is going to visit someone in the basement of the hospital, the morgue. Confused, Koichi asks his classmates about this strange girl the next day at school as she had stated that she was in his class. Much to his confusion, his classmates do not know anything about this girl, and she appears to not exist at all. That is, until Koichi spots her again on the school roof and goes to speak to her. As Koich continues to question his classmates about the ghostly Mei, who seems to be very real, he discovers that there is a curse affecting the class that causes students and their family to die. In an attempt to avoid this tradegy, his classmates had chosen to ignore one classmate as some classes in the past had. As his classmates and their family begin dying one by one, it is up to Koichi and his remaining classmates to uncover the truth behind this curse and try to stop it from continuing. Eventually they discover what they need to do in order to stop the deaths, but chaos breaks out while they are on a class trip, threatening the lives of the students and nearly destroying them all.

 I found Another to be a very intriguing story, and very dark as well. The story was written in a way that kept me guessing as to who and what might be causing the tradegy as well as who exactly Mei was. I very much liked the opening and closing music, coincidentally by the same band as Rozen Maiden 2013's opening music, and wish that there were more episodes, whether with the same class, or a different class several years later. I would highly recommend Another to anyone who is interested in anime with more mature themes, psychological, or horror themes.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

I Guess I'm a Rebel...

Hello lovelies! Recently as I've been getting more into Lolita and actually buying pieces, I've been simultaniously getting more into the comunity aspect of Lolita. Unfortunately, this also means seeing more and more of the "rules" lawyers common in Lolita. A lot of people who are in to the Lolita style have a very defined view of the fashion based on a few common styles, usually Sweet, Classic, and Gothic Lolita. While those "rules" may very well apply to those particular styles in most cases, there's a HUGE variety of substyles in Lolita, many of which don't fit into the "typical" Lolita look. Following I'm going to state a few "rules," followed by an explaination of why this statement isn't a solid "rule," and more a suggestion. All of my statements are based on research I've been doing on various substyles in Lolita as well as the history behind Lolita. I've been studying the Lolita style since I first became aquanted to it around 2009.

Rule #1: You must have a petticoat, otherwise it isn't Lolita
 The reasoning behind this is based on what is considered the "traditional" cupcake or A line skirt shape common in styles such as Sweet and Classic Lolita. However, this "rule" completely ignores styles such as Kodona Lolita where the style is made slightly more masculine by wearing pants. Another good example of this is Casual Lolita which typically consists of a cutsew, skirt, and light accessories. Petticoats are completely against the point of this substyle as they can be bothersome and cumbersome at times and the point of Casual Lolita is to have more freedom of movement as well as to take a break from the typical layers common in popular Lolita substyles.

Rule #2: Lolita blouses must have puffed sleeves and plenty of lace or lots of ruffles
 This is certainly true for the fancier and sweeter Lolita substyles, but in some styles blouses are less frequently used, or sometimes completely obliterated. As the name sugests, Punk Lolita can vary strongly from the typical puffed sleeves and knee-length, bell shaped shirts common in many Lolita substyles. Punk coordinates can have typical t-shirt sleeves, standard button-ups, or even no blouse at all. Asymetrical skirts with little to no petticoat are also seen in this style. "Then what differenciates it from a typical punk style?" you may ask. Unlike most punk styles, Punk Lolita incorporates some of the main points of the Traditional Lolita style. Skirts typically are close to or at knee length, lace, corset detailing, and bows are also incorporated. Plus, there's versions of Punk Lolita that are essentially a regular One Piece (OP) with a bell shaped skirt, but with slightly worn looking fabric, plaid patterns, or chains and leather.

Rule #3: Lolita must be kept modest at all times
 For the majority of Lolita substyles, this is certainly true. However, one substyle in particular plays on the more typical Lolita look in a sexier fashion: Ero Lolita. Ero Lolita is a much less known and worn style amongst Lolitas and is based on the artwork of an artist with a very eccentric art style. (I appologize for not being unable to remember the name of said artist.) Unlike typical Lolita, Ero Lolita plays on fettish elements such as PVC fabric, cage skirts, corsets, and garters. While it uses this sort of element, Ero Lolita is by no means trashy or over revealing. As it takes an understanding of the traditional elements of Lolita as well as how to tweak these elements to be more revealing without looking like a costume, Ero Lolita is not a good style to start with in the Lolita world.

Rule #4: Proper Lolitas do not buy replicas. EVER!
 While buying replicas is typically frowned upon (see my previous post), there are instances where buying a replica can be considered acceptable. The main instance is if you are a larger or "plus sized" Lolita. Since Lolita is originally from Japan, many Brand pieces are made for smaller figures, so it's difficult for anyone who's either busty, larger built, or heavyset to get their dream dress prints and have them fit. In some cases it's possible to have a dress altered in a way that retains the print and/or style, but allows for a larger size, but in other cases the dresses are far too tiny and a Lolita must find a store that can copy the pattern and design, but make a much larger size. I personally feel this is perfectly acceptable as everyone should be able to get their dream dress and enjoy Lolita even if they aren't as petite as other Lolitas. While considerations should still be taken to avoid illegal reproduction, replicas make it a lot less expensive to wear Brand as a larger Lolita than buying two or more dresses or skirts to be cobbled together in order to fit.

So while there are a lot of guidelines as well as the typical silhouette of Lolita to keep in mind, Lolita can still be a very diverse fashion with many different faces. I hope that everyone can enjoy this style in their own way and not feel limited by mainstream Lolita styles.


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Saturday, January 17, 2015

What's a Replica?

Hello everyone! Today I will be talking about a fairly controversial topic amongst Lolitas who wear Brand prints: replicas.

Many Lolitas are very much against replicas in all forms and this is reflected in many sales groups and sites as they often do not allow the sale of replicas. So what exactly is a replica, you may be wondering. Replicas are pieces that replicate a popular (or sometimes less known) piece from a name brand such as Angelic Pretty or Baby the Stars Shine Bright. Often times this means taking the artwork (aka print), design, or sometimes both from a Brand dress and making a cheaper version without permission from the original designer. Now this can be where it gets confusing for some Lolitas: Why is that entirely a bad thing? Isn't it useful for Lolitas on a budget? First things first, lets discuss what a replica is in different terms.

Imagine you drew something that you were very proud of. It might not be the best drawing, but you did what you consider to be a very good job for your skill level. So, you decide to share this image online with some of your friends. A few days later, you see your drawing pop up on a site you frequent. At first you're surprised. Then you realize that the person who posted the picture is claiming that they drew it and are selling prints of it to various people. They are making monetary gains off a piece of art that YOU made, without your permission, and cutting you out of it entirely by claiming they created it. This is essencially what a replica is: taking someone else's work and marketing it for monetary gains without giving proper credit and without permission. Now let's change the situation a bit here.

Take that same piece of artwork. You share it online with your friends and a few days later you get a message from a friend of one of your friends. They compliment you on your work and inform you that they have an audience of buyers that would be interested in purchasing printed copies of your drawing. They politely ask if you would be willing to let them make prints if they give you an acceptable amount of the proceeds. You agree to this proposition and you two work out the details of how the proceeds will be split. When they start selling prints of your artwork, they keep their side of the agreement and split the proceeds with you appropriately.

Replicas in Lolita fashion are typically the first scenario given: The original designer has no say in the process of the production. Sometimes replicas will be printed with a design very similar to the original, but with slight modifications or in a slightly different style. Sometimes they'll just print the design exactly as it was on the original, brand name and all. While views on replicas vary, replicas can be illigal in some places as they are essentially stolen artwork and/or designs, similar to designer purse replicas. I highly reccomend doing research before buying a known replica to make sure it is legal for you to do so in your area. If buying a Brand item, always ask for proof pictures (typically a picture of the interior tag on the item with a plush or note that the buyer uses to show that it is their picture, not one taken from an online search). Always be careful to try and avoid replicas that people are selling as brand items and to confirm an item really is from the brand that they claim it's from!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


So, I've been a bit busy lately and haven't had as much time to work on my blog. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that one of my incomplete posts had been scheduled as opposed to being left as a draft. I've updated the post so that it is no longer incomplete. Sorry for that!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Lolita on a Budget: Offbrand and Bodyline

I recently got my first ever order from Bodyline, so I figured now would be a good time to not only review those products, but also go over a few off brands that are less expensive than Brand.

*Please note* I am not being payed to review or suggest any of the products. All were bought at my own expense. Additionally, all views are my own and do not in any way reflect those of any other companies or organizations.

Bodyline Product Review
 So, I decided to order two different skirts and a pair of socks from Bodyline a little while ago and went with the EMS shipping option. The first thing I noticed when ordering from Bodyline was the sizes. All of their measurements are taken in cm and the sizes (m, L, 2L, etc.) vary from item to item. I have large measurements compared to a petite Japanese girl, so I was finding that my size was typically coming out to be L or 2L. This made it rather difficult to settle on an item, but I was eventually able to find a couple of cute skirts I could afford as well as a pair of socks to include in my order. I selected EMS shipping as opposed to Air because EMS was free and Air would have cost more than my whole order combined. I was surprised at how soon after placing the order my items were shipped out as the order page stated that items shipped via EMS would be shipped on Tuesdays and I had placed my order on a Thursday. Two days later I had my tracking information and the package quickly moved between stops in Japan. Then tracking stopped for a good long while (as stated on their home page) and arrived about two and a half weeks after ordering.

Upon arrival, the first thing I noticed was that the corners of the closing flap were slightly open. Upon opening the package though, everything inside was undamaged and packaged in cute reuseable wrappers.

All of the items I received were good quality and arrived undamaged. Both of the skirts were slightly shorter than most Lolita skirts tend to be, but still very wearable! The lace and trim was all of a fairly good quality too, no scratchy lace here! I was super excited to find out that one of them had detachable waist ties and a detachable bow as well! The socks were a nice, soft material and are super comfy. I've worn them a bunch of times and will randomly wear them just 'cause. I unfortunately don't have any pictures to share at this moment, but I will be sure to post some eventually! I would highly recommend Bodyline to new Lolitas or Lolitas on a budget!

One note about Bodyline: A lot of their prints are replicas of popular prints from brands like Angelic Pretty and Baby the Stars Shine Bright. If you're uncomfortable with buying replicas, I would recommend researching a print before buying a piece with it to avoid mistakenly buying a replica. Unlike some replicas, Bodyline's replica prints are not exact copies of the originals and will often times not have the Brand name or logo in the print itself. There are also slight modifications to some of the prints.

Hot Topic
 Recently, Hot Topic has been carying more and more clothing that can work for certain styles of Lolita. I purchased one of their Hell Bunny sailor style dresses a while back and it works perfectly for Sailor Lolita with the addition of a blouse and petticoat. I've seen a few other skirts that could work for Lolita, one of which sadly looked like an ita sort of skirt (scratchy, cheap lace, bad fabric choice). Unfortunately, one problem Hot Topic skirts and dresses have is that they are usually shorter than a proper Lolita skirt. In the case of my sailor dress, I just layer a plain white fabric petticoat underneath so it looks like a ruffle at the bottom edge. An alternative would be to add a ruffle to the bottom of a skirt. Hot Topic products are fairly inexpensive compared to brand and typically cost around as much as Bodyline.

Thrift Store
 My last recommendation for inexpensive off brand Lolita clothing is checking your local thrift stores. It has become increasingly harder for me to find blouses that fit (even my home made ones are too tight at the shoulders now), so I've begun checking my local thrift stores to see if they have something that will work. Thrift stores are always give and take, so I recomend checking them as frequently as possible as well as keeping an eye out for modifyable pieces if you can sew. If your thrift store doesn't have a fitting room, I'd advise wearing tight fitting clothing so you can try items on in store and get a more acurate fitting than if you were to try something on over a JSK. And make sure to bring cash in case your thrift store doesn't accept card!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

First Impressions: Kill La Kill

Recently I decided to try watching Kill La Kill to fill in the time between episodes of Parasyte -The Maxim- (Why can't you update faster! T-T) after several friends expressed their enjoyment of the show. I will warn you: this is a very odd anime. It's esentially an ecchi magical girl story with an avenging angsty teenaged girl as the lead. However, it's still an enjoyable anime with a pretty good story underneath so far.

 Kill La Kill is a story about Ryuko Matoi, a high school aged girl, living in a world where certain clothing can imbue its wearer with heightened powers and one high school is in control of the majority of the world. Ryuko transfers to this all-powerful school in order to discover the identity of her father's killer and avenge him. Along the way she discovers one of her father's inventions: a sailor seifuku (sailor style school uniform) that gives her the ability to transform and fight against the club leaders who have the performance improving uniforms. She agrees to fight any and all students who challenge her in order to obtain whatever information the student council president (or Overlord) has about Ryuko's father's killer.

I'm enjoying the show enough to continue watching it at this point and would recommend it to anyone who likes quirky, odd shows.

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