Skyrim is a cult classic video game series that is one of most well known video games series. YouTuber Musambi: Merchant Dragonborn [YouTube]creates Skyrim comedy videos on YouTube and they are well made and scripted check out the video below it is witty and clever.
Susi Croft is an awesome up and coming YouTuber who creates funny and entertaining skits based on video game characters and characters from movies, in the video below she is acting as Ezio Auditore da Firenze one of the main Assassins in Ubisoft’s Assassins Creed series, he appears in many of the older games, the costume she is wearing his covering her face this makes her portrayal very mysterious.
The skit revolves around the idea of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, doing errands such as going to the bank, sorting out doctor’s appointments and more check out the entertaining video below and if you’re interested in her work like, subscribe and comment on her YouTube videos telling her I sent you there.
Today, I want my readers you guys and girls to meet one of the coolest cosplayers and gaming Twitch streamers out there Fiona Nova, Fiona Nova is 21-year-old hailing from New York City she is a University student studying Fashion. We did an interview and it’s time to share it to the world this interview will consist of interesting questions about her advancing cosplay career, video games lifestyle and her education and other aspects of her life.
Joseph Opoku: (1) What inspired you to start cosplaying in the first place ?
Fiona Nova: (1) My little brother is the reason I started cosplaying. I’ve always loved designing, and sewing my own clothing so to know that I could do that AND be myself was something I wanted to try out!
Joseph Opoku: (2) What is your nationality and ethnicity?
Fiona Nova: (2) I am European, my father is 100% Italian, while my mother is from Central Africa (Bangui). I was able to receive both nationalities, french and american.
Joseph Opoku: (3) What got you into playing Overwatch on Twitch?
Fiona Nova: (3) I didn’t know about twitch and streaming since a little more than last year. Overwatch was a game I started playing since beta, and I decided that I could stream it since it became so popular!
Joseph Opoku: (4) Do you plan on competing in major league E-sports tournaments for Overwatch ?
Fiona Nova: (4) I really wish I could! I think that would be a mini-goal of mines. I need to get a lot better though. I play a lot because it’s fun but also in hopes to get better and to get recognised! If I ever get the opportunity to join a team and do tournaments regularly, I will 100% take it!
Joseph Opoku: (5) As person of colour cosplayer do you feel pressured to cosplay as darker skinned characters or not ?
Fiona Nova: (5) Yes, I used to feel pressured because people expected me to cosplay the darker skinned character. I don’t really feel that way anymore because I decided that I will cosplay what I want! If I end up cosplaying a darker skinned character, then so be it, but just cause a new character, who’s dark skinned, comes out, doesn’t mean I have to cosplay it. If I like the design, the character, and want to dedicate my time and money to it, I will do it!
Joseph Opoku: (6) How old are you and are you currently studying ?
Fiona Nova (6) I’m 21, and yes I am a student right now.
Joseph Opoku: (7) Nowadays I see a lot of cosplayers posing for lewd shots and boudoir do you support this movement in the cosplay community?
Fiona Nova: (7) I 100% support it because its nobodies business on how people are able to get money, especially since they aren’t hurting anyone. Doing lewd/boudoir isn’t a new thing that just suddenly appeared, many women and men have done stuff like this to finance their life or education etcc.. It’s not just cosplayers do this type of stuff, its pretty much anyone who wants to do it.
Joseph Opoku: (8) Where are you located and what conventions do you attend to show off your cosplay outfits ?
Fiona Nova: (8) I’m located in NYC, and I attend a lot of different conventions such as Katsucon, YoumaCon, and New York Comic Con.
Joseph Opoku (9) What aspirations do you have for your future career will you aspire to do cosplay, fashion and gaming full time or will you aim to work in another industry ?
Fiona Nova: (9) Cosplay will probably not be in my future, at least not professionally. I hope to become a host or personality for the gaming industry and even create my own fashion line/brand later down the road.
Joseph Opoku (10) 10. Do you plan on travelling to London MCM which is our version of Comicon to show of your exciting cosplays and do meet ups with fans of your cosplay and Twitch gaming ?
Fiona Nova: (10) I absolutely would love to! I would like to maybe get a booth there and be able to meet people and sell some prints. Go email London MCM if you’d like me there LOL!
Check out the beautiful Fiona Nova on YouTube too, she makes awesome cosplay tutorials and video game content from her live streams:
This year, I had the opportunity to go and visit Japan with my younger brother. This was a trip that we had been planning for a long time and we had to make sure that we were fully prepared for the first-time visit. I must admit that even know, there are certain things I wish I had known before I left. In this long post, I give you some of the top planning tips and advice before travelling to Japan.
(1) Flight tickets: Which websites should I use and when should I book?
I have booked flights before whenever my Father would travel to Gambia through Thomas Cook. However, for Japan, I used the website + app called “cheapflights.co.uk”. At first, I wasn’t too sure if I would be able to get a good deal and realised that the prices would keep changing over and over again depending on the airline that I decided to travel with.
In the end I could pick Lufthansa + All Nippon airlines and also get a good deal to stay in Japan for the week. I also would recommend booking a flight about 5 months or more in advance to get the cheapest price as doing it last-minute is obviously not the right choice.
(2) Hotel booking: Which website should I use?
The main websites that I will only use for booking hotels are Expedia and Booking.com. With Expedia I can gain points and receive special member pricing towards my bookings which really helps especially when looking for these mini special deals and rewards. I also like the overall website interface and features since I can check local tourists’ destinations that are situated right near my hotel. This making it easier for me to pick out the main tourists spots without having to go on Google Maps or an information website first.
(3) Understanding the Japanese Yen?
The Japanese Yen is very simple. I am always using my rubbish math’s knowledge to try to compare it to local home currency. For example:
With a 2,000 yen bill I would move the comma down once and see it as £20 pounds but about 4 to 7 numbers lower which would really be £13.36.
With a 10,000 yen bill I would do the same method as above which would be equal to about £66.80 (100 pounds and then taking away 40). However, be aware that currency rates are always changing, and you need to keep an eye out for this when trying to exchange money.
Moving on from my confusing math’s calculations, the Yen bill comes in 1,000, 2,000 (which is usually very rare), 5,000 and 10,000. The coins come in 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen.
I would definitely encourage travellers to make themselves familiar with the money as it may be hard to understand at first.
(4) The Internet in Japan
The Internet in Japan was the number one priority on my travel checklist, it was even placed above hygiene essentials (ok obviously not, but you must admit that internet is important for everything, especially travel!). However, I had issues trying to figure out how to actually gain internet access while in Japan without using my 4G phone data abroad.
At last, I found a service called “Ninja Wi-fi” which saved my life at the last-minute. With this mini Wi-Fi pocket router, you get unlimited access to high-speed internet anywhere in Japan. I can’t recommend this internet service provider enough, especially with their fast replying customer service. They also have discount coupon’s every month that you can use towards your purchase, I recently used my October coupon for my visit to Japan next week.
(5) Japanese Weather
Please, do not be like me. I underestimated the weather before even arriving in the country and I have only myself to blame. This was the first time I had experienced any type of travel outside the UK and everyday rain is what we get used to. For some reason however, I didn’t even bother to check or do extra research into the weather during summer time and let me just say I suffered straight away once I landed in Kansai (the………HEAT). Now that I’m going back in November, I made sure to do RESEARCH and found out that it’s usually dry which is good to know beforehand.
(6) Trains, trains and more trains!
The best way to travel around Japan in by train. My brother, who is an expert at trains, buses and planes, was very excited to use the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) for the first time. We purchased the Japan Rail Pass which can be used especially for foreign tourists to travel all over Japan at different JR Shinkansen trains stations (we used the Shin-Kobe train station in Kobe). To reserve a seat is even more easier, all you have to do is visit the stations Shinkansen ticket office. I would definitely recommend any tourist visiting Japan to try out the Shinkansen as it was an amazing train experience that I will never forget.
Other transport also includes using the Subway, which in Tokyo is the best way to travel around to the different wards. Me and my brother were able to get from the main Tokyo Station (where the Shinkansen would end coming from Kobe) to Shibuya (about 15 minutes) and then Akihabara (about 30 minutes). Overall, we found it very easy to buy the tickets and have apps such as Google Maps and Citymapper on your smart phone to help get us around smoothly with no troubles.
(7) Medication, the most important part of holiday planning
Again, don’t be like me. It was only at the VERY last-minute I ended up learning that some of the medications we use in the west are pretty much banned in Japan. This includes some nasal sprays which in the end, became my biggest worry as I usually have the worst blocked nose and I am always needing to clear It away. I will keep this section short as there will be more information links at the end, but to give you an idea on how important and serious bringing medication into Japan is:
“Some common prescription and over-the-counter medicines are banned and ignorance may not be considered a defense. Foreign nationals have been detained and deported for offences.” – Foreign Travel Advice, GOV. UK.
(8) Halal Food Preference and Sampuru Souvenirs
If you’re a Muslim like me, you don’t need to worry about finding halal food places in Tokyo. I used the app “Halal Gourmet Japan” which was very useful in helping me to know the nearest halal shops, restaurants, and activities nearby my hotel. However other prefectures in Japan may not have as much popular halal areas compared to Tokyo.
Once you arrive in Japan you will notice a lot of restaurant shop windows that highlight fake food samples. They are seriously the best looking fake food I have seen in my life and makes it easier for me to know what a specific meal will look like before trying it. Oh, and before you research more into these “Sampuru” (that’s the actual name for the fake food), I want you to know that you CAN buy some as gifts and souvenirs! See external links at the bottom of the article for more information.
This was a question I was constantly asked by my neighbours when I arrived back. They were so captivated by the images I had taken pictures of Hiroshima and Osaka and the younger members saw Tokyo as the place of their future travel dreams. I can’t give you an honest answer for the best place to visit as I have yet to fully explore Japan. However, I would say to visit the Region or Prefecture that you are most interested about, whether you found about it from general research, media, games, anime, word out mouth etc. Make it a visit that you know you will treasure forever, Japan has always been a country of great interest to me and I can’t wait to visit in November again.
Back in the second year of college, I had just got into playing with my older sister’s PS Vita. Through this, I had learnt of the different types of video game genres that I would continue to play until this day. One of these genres would come to be my favourite which is JPRG (Japanese role-playing game). However even before this, I would have to give the first credit to the Persona 4 anime for getting me fully interested into the series itself. Something stood out about the anime at the time that made me realise this would be a series I would hold onto for a very long time. The main concept of a “Persona” is very deep and can relate to real life. The persona is essentially a “mask” that the main protagonist of the game series uses to face real world problems.
The mask also represents the character’s personality, which with this idea made the connection between me at the main characters of the game more personal and interactive. Personas themselves are also based off real people or religious figures like angels and demons. There are also “shadows”, these are the evil manifestations of one’s heart and are the main villains you fight in the game. I would like to think that my own persona would be based on the real life “Aisha” who was known for her scholarly intellect and is still an important influence to many Muslim women in the world today.
Looking back at my time playing both Persona 3 and 4, these game shaped me into the person that I am today. I actually decided to get into doing illustration and graphic design from being inspired by Shigenori Soejima’s work. With Persona 5 released since April, I can confidently say it is one of the best games I have played this year (along with Nier Automata of course). I honestly expected Persona 5 to be completely different from the previous game with some new name changes in the game. Speaking of these changes, here is a few that you need to know of if you are a returning player to the series:
The word “Social Links” has changed to “Commandments”, however it is still the same system. I will also say that it was VERY hard for me to pick best waifu in the game as I kept choosing between Ann and Makoto. Update: I am still choosing!
Stealth is key. It took me a while to get used to this as the old games would require me to either just run around a shadow over and over to attack it. It is still possible in this game, however if caught the owner of the palace will be aware and security level will go up. If it goes to 99% you are pretty much in danger. This may become a pain for people who don’t particularly like stealth like myself, I had to involve my older sister a few times since I know hiding and trying to act like a thief is my weakest skill in the game. For people like me, I would advise to focus on taking your time through palaces and don’t rush into fighting enemies. Follow and understand their walking paths as they repeat, this gives you an idea of what the shadow will do next which only leaves you to do the rest of the work. Negotiations with shadows from Persona 2 are back and makes it easier for you to gain higher level personas throughout the game. Gaining new persona would usually occur at the end of fighting shadows in Persona 3 and 4, having negotiations adds the extra personality feature to the new persona you gain.
I am only just half way through the game and still waiting for two more people to join our team. Serious credit needs to be given to the creators for making the characters some of the best I have seen in a Persona game for a long time. They represent the people and struggles that we face in our everyday lives. I may not be a teenager anymore, but when seeing how some of the evil adults behave as some of the worst liars and more, I can totally relate to the young Phantom Thieves purpose of exposing the bad that they do. The Phantom Thieves themselves are seriously amazing, I found to like my whole current team more quickly than my friends in Persona 4. Ryuji is your typical hot headed male type, however he can be caring and has a hilarious personality. Ann and Makoto are seriously the best mature female characters I have come across. Yusuke is the strange artist of the group, however when you get to know him through conversation there is more to his unique personality. Lastly I can finally say that Morgana, the hilarious and cute main pet mascot is 100000% better than Teddie from Persona 4!
The Persona series will always be something that I can go back to playing in the future as I have grown to love the games so much over these past years. I hope that in the next few years, Atlus will continue to produce games that I will definitely come to love and always support for years to come.
Now, it’s time for me to finally summon my own Persona!!!!
The Last Guardian is one of the best games I have played so far on the PlayStation 4. Looking back at the game now, I honestly don’t know why I was so worried before the games release date. I remember my friends making different ‘predictions’ of how the game was going to end up, “It will be like another No Mans Sky!”, “It’s going to be rushed just like Final Fantasy”. However, on release day, I noticed that within the first few hours of playing the game, I knew it would be a game that I would continue to enjoy playing remember up until this day.
Long story short, the game story focuses around a young boy and man-eating beast called “Trico”. Me and my sister had even more fun playing the game by calling the young boy “Nico” making his name rhyme with the beast. Both you the player and Trico must work together to find and explore places and solve some something really annoying puzzles. At the start, you must feed Trico some blue glowing barrels that you find when exploring the beautiful areas within the game.On the other hand, don’t get too comfortable, once deeper into the story, we find out more about the young boys past and how the barrels that were fed to Trico all this time were humans. Of course, there is much more of the story that I don’t wish to spoil, however now that main good point of the game being the story is out of the way, let us talk about the controls.
My god, I have never hated the controls in this game compared to any other game I have played in my life before. I think every second I kept swearing so loudly at how irritating the camera was in the game and how even sometimes it would glitch up really bad especially when riding on the back on Trico.There were also issues when it comes to giving commands to Trico. This feature in the game is honestly really great and adds more interaction between Trico and the player, I really felt like Trico was my real pet. However sometimes this feature would just not work and I would be left swearing either to myself for maybe forgetting the commands or to the game for Trico for not even understanding what I wanted him to do.
However even with the issues of controls and annoying commands for Trico, I still found myself coming back for more. I completed the game within a week and at first, really did feel like giving it up due to the bad controls. But because of the emotional story and deep attachment to Trico and the young boy.I also enjoyed playing the game, no matter how many times I encountered issues, I hope to see more games like The Last Guardian in the future, the first game to have a story that made me cry, happy and emotional in positive ways that a game has never done before. These are the types of games that leave me wanting much more than what I had originally thought of at the beginning.
As a student illustrator, my tutor is always reminding me to “pay attention to detail every time in your work for clients”. However, when watching anime, this “attention” for me is about focusing on different elements within the animation that keep me interested in watching the anime. Here are a few elements that I normally focus on when it comes to watching anime and how I feel they allow me to understand and relate the story and characters much better.
The anime eye has a long history first originating from Osamu Tezuka being influenced by Walk Disney’s animated films. The reason why eyes play an important part in anime character design in because they allow for the use of emotional story development. The varied changes in eyes can also give you an idea of the true personality for the character as well as the current emotions they are feeling. A good example of this can be seen in the main character Dazai from this years’ release of Bungou Stray Dogs Season 2. The first few episodes focused on Dazai’s past of working for a group called the “Port Mafia”. Dazai’s eye would change depending on his personality or the way he would speak towards others. This eye change is important as in the first season, Dazai’s character was much kinder, open and extraordinary and his eyes were not diluted like they were in the second season.
As you can see in the above image, the difference in eyes are needed to show the audience the changes that Dazai personally went through as a character. This allows the audience to also relate to Dazai which in the end, makes Dazai’s characterisation one of the best I have seen of this season.
Composition is important in animation as it involves other techniques to think about such as camera angle, setting, colour, etc. But the main 2 areas I want to focus on here is the arrangement of a scene and value contrast. If we take this screenshot from the anime “Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress”, the composition can be split up into 2 ways which are:
(Continued from composition number 2) The Dark Value and Light Value In the above image, the shadow highlights on the character named Mumei which show the “dark value” on her skin contrast with the light shinning on the bambo sticks in the background. From this contrast, the character stands out because there is more dark value along with her glowing eyes which also act as a “focus point”.
The more value contrast that is placed on a character, the more emphasis the characters appearance has on the scene, in this case, Mumei stands out perfectly as the main character who is about to cause a lot of damage!
If you are looking for contrast, focus on where the character is placed on the screen, are they in the middle, side etc. What colours are being used to put emphasis on the contrast, how are they fitting in the with the background setting. These the main are question you could be asking yourself.
Soundtrack may come as a surprise to you, but as someone who always pays close attention to any soundtrack in anime, it is important to think about how certain sounds are used to accompany characters in a scene. Linked to this is how sound is also used to exaggerate certain character emotions for example if something dangerous is about to happen, the sound might suddenly turn up to show emphasis on the action that is about the take place.
An example of an anime that uses sound this way is in this years recommended series Mobile Suit Gundam – Iron Blooded Orphans Season 2. Throughout the anime, sound is used to exaggerate certain actions that are about the happen. In the latest episode, the main character Mikazuki is about to detect enemies approaching from the sky above him, in the background the sound changes to suit that scene making it intense as the enemies approach land.
This years January release of Ajin showed me the potential of future anime being animated using full 3D CGI technology. Ajin was the first ever anime that I watched to feature the use of full 3D technology animation, or so I thought. This year, while I was researching into my dissertation for the history of 3D technology used in anime over the years, I found in the book “Japanese Animation: From Painted Scrolls to Pokémon”, 3D was first actually used for opening credits of an anime called “Golgo 13: The Professional”. To me, it wasn’t really the VERY old version of 3D technology that shocked me (I mean it didn’t look quite bad). But, when you look at the date of this series first airing which was in 1983, yes you read that right, 1983, it is indeed very old. Going past this point, I went onto discovering that Osamu Tezuka’s 2001 “Metropolis” also used 3D animation technology in different segments of the film. This came as a BIG surprise to me as number one, Metropolis was the first anime I had ever watched on TV as a child and I absolutely loved the futuristic visuals and character designs from the film and number two, as a child, I had never even noticed any 3D animated elements. Now you might say this is because as a child, you wouldn’t really pay too much attention to detail in anime, cartoons etc. and rather you are drawn towards the actions of the characters and story, but even when watch Metropolis now, I can see that the 3D is still barely noticeable when watching the film now 15 years later.
When I look at good examples of good 3D animation used in anime like “Ajin”, “Metropolis”, oh and another anime called “Expelled from Paradise” which had some of the best “2D looking” 3D character designs I have seen, I compare this to another 3D anime released this year called “Berserk”. When watching the previews before the anime came out, I was a little sceptical as to whether the CGI would be good like “Ajin”, but I didn’t want to judge the whole anime by these. July 1st arrived, and boy was I really disappointed. The first main issue with the anime that everyone else watched also noticed was the poor animation. When characters moved, it was very awkward and weird to watch. The fight scenes looked much better in the manga, but when converted to 3D, I just couldn’t get the same intense feeling. I love the way anime facial expressions are designed to convey various emotions to the audience, but only in 2D animation (with the exception of Ajin). In Berserk, it is sometimes really hard to tell what emotion the characters are feeling as the 3D is just really bad in some scenes.
To me, Ajin is an example of a good 3D anime is due to the story and not the animation itself. Before watching Ajin, I was expecting the anime to be terrible and that looking at the previews beforehand had nearly put me off watching the series. However, when I watched the first episode, I started to realise that the story was drawing my attention in, I couldn’t change the episode, in fact, it was REALLY hard to change as the story was just THAT good!
I hope in the future, there are more anime like “Ajin” and “Expelled from Paradise” with amazing 2D anime aesthetics used in 3D animation.
“Exaggerated emotions look amazing even using 3D in Ajin”