Into the World of Japanimation

Prior to coming to Pune I was informed that we had to give a talk on a topic. Little did I know of the format of the presentation! Thinking that I should get it out of my way as soon as possible, I decided to present it in the 2nd week.

When I applied for the first Pecha Kucha, I wasn’t even sure what I should be talking about. I had two weekends and about seven working days ahead of me to come up with a topic, make the relevant slides and practise delivering it to my collegues.

I’ll try to not disclose any further spoilers about TWU to our fellow interns who would be attending TWU at some point in the future. But to give you a gist of it, all went well with my presentation although I wish I had gotten more practice so that even my perfectionist self would approve of my performance!

Since I haven’t mentioned it yet, let me not keep you waiting any longer. My topic for the presentation was:

*drumroll*

How Anime is Made

If that seemed like an anticlimax, my efforts to lure you to read thus far have been successful. But pray, read on, I will try not to disappoint.

To the rest, let me explain, Japanimation and anime are one and the same. If you hadn’t heard of anime before, it is a category of cartoon animation which is produced in Japan. It is quite a culture similar to tech, programming, photography and the kind (I’m sure I’ve missed out a gazillion more things, but for the sake of this article let’s raise our glasses to inclusivity!).

My itch to tell the world about how amazing anime is has still not been satisfied. So, I must go on. But hey, you don’t have to if you don’t find it interesting!

This article is about the way I look at the different aspects of anime and the tremendous character and richness that it has got to offer. In case you want to get into the process of making anime you could take a look at this incredible article which I used as the base for my Pecha Kucha.

When someone asks me to recommend an anime, the first thing that pops into my head is Cowboy Bebop. It’s one of the most iconic anime in the anime community. It aired between the Spring of 1998 and 1999 and being an old gem, you would find the older members of the anime community being more familiar with it.

The story takes place in the year 2071 when humanity has achieved the technology to travel in space and colonize other planets. The story revolves around a group of bounty hunters who assist the police in catching criminals.

The show is a really carefree and mostly episodic but a non-repetitive bundle of joy! It follows the life of Spike Speigel and his squad (that grows in number as the series progresses) who have a variety of different skill sets that aid them along their journey and provide a living for themselves.

I personally love the jazzy outro and the retro-style intro music. Cowboy Bebop is a fantastic example of an anime that can be enjoyed by all age groups. There are so many elements that you can find in the story, a ton of comedy, adventure and even a little bit of romance, not to mention the badass action scenes, with episodes exuding a ton of creative ideas that make this two cour series an absolute delight to watch.

I would say it has a good re-watch value as well. I probably watched this before my Engineering had started, and I am ready for round two anytime. The features that make anime like Cowboy Bebop interesting are not just limited to the elements in the story, but it is also the characters that make it such a memorable watch.

Speaking of good character design, Seven Deadly Sins is an anime that definitely deserves a mention. Its name has been etched into my memory as one of the best shounen anime I’ve ever seen! There is a common pattern among shounen anime. They start off with an amazing premise but deviate towards a niche, uninteresting story during the end instead of covering so many more fascinating elements that the viewer is eager to explore in the existing premise.

But Nanatsu no Taizai (the romanized Japanese name of Seven Deadly Sins) takes a different approach. It is super crazy, hilarious and throws so much at you that, the best way to watch it is to turn off your brain and enjoy the ride! There’s an enormous amount of action packed into this two cour series, and I may also add that it has its fair share of light-hearted ecchi humor. That said, I would also like to put it out there that it’s got great reviews, but not an appeal that was as overwhelming as what I experienced.

I usually stick to a more serious genre of anime, not that that they do not involve comedy (just not slapstick comedy). The Seven Deadly Sins proved to be an outstanding exception in my anime comfort zone, and at the end of the day I learned something new about myself.

If you thought anime was restricted only to TV series, well, guess what! Some of the greatest creations in the anime industry are the anime movies!

You might have heard of the popular Studio Ghibli, famous for their movies like My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle, etc. At first, they might seem like they are suitable for 6 year olds. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t watch them! People of different ages draw different insights, meanings and fun out the movies. But all the same, for everyone they could be an incredibly pleasant and enjoyable watch. I have watched most of the Ghibli movies along with my mum. Both of us are very fond of them!

Ghibli movies are known for their fantastical stories that capture our imagination and detailed and passionately drawn art that gives way to scenic visuals and characters that one misses and holds dear to one’s heart once the movie is over.

They span across a wide variety of genres, from a love story to a tragic loss, from a real world documentary to fictional islands floating above the clouds! I would be able to watch any number of them at a time.

One of my favorites from Studio Ghibli is a film called My Neighbour Totoro. It’s really a very light-hearted film to watch. It’s about two little girls, Satsuki and Mei and their Dad who decide to relocate to the countryside to be closer to their mother who is hospitalized. The story revolves around the little ones and the extraordinary creatures they encounter living peacefully in their surroundings. It’s a very beautiful story with beautifully drawn art.

Tonari no Totoro (romanized form of the Japanese title of My Neighbour Totoro) was aired in the year 1988.

One of Ghibli’s underdog titles is Whisper of the Heart although its Japanese name “Mimi no Sumaseba” (romanized) translates directly to “If you listen carefully”. It is one of the rare Ghibli titles that has romance at its heart and is executed stunningly well. According to MyAnimeList it is a shoujo movie.

Unfortunately, I remember very little of it. Which means it is time to re-watch! I might remember things vaguely, but I do remember that I had absolutely loved it! Also, I take a minute and listen to Country Roads by John Denver anytime I think of Whisper of the Heart. Here are some enlightening facts from MyAnimeList:

Mimi wo Sumaseba is the highest-grossing Japanese film of 1995. It is also the first Studio Ghibli film that was directed by someone other than Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata, and the first Japanese film that used the Dolby Digital sound format.

While we are on the subject of Romance, let’s take a dive into one of the most heart-breaking love stories I have ever seen. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso takes the cake. If you’ve watched that series, just taking in the significance of the movie title might moisten your eyes. What can I tell you, it’s so beautiful and sad at the same time.

Your Lie in April (synonymous with Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso) brings out the power of music in transporting you into the harmonious mind of the player of the musical instrument and letting to get a glimpse of their emotions. As a fan of deep themes, Your Lie in April was an absolute delight to watch! If you are touched by it like I was, you might even take up to playing a musical instrument.

If you are into sword fighting, and can tolerate gore you might like this anime movie called Sword of the Stranger. One of my friends had suggested it to me. It is honestly not a very popular film, since I haven’t heard a whole lot about it, but it is really good nevertheless. The animation and orchestration of the sword fighting are really top of the class. It’s really more of a thriller than story-centric and I found myself enjoying the film even though the story seemed a little difficult to grasp at the time. I would sum it up as an action flick, and just as with every other action flick this one has a good re-watch value.

Possibly a more story-centric samurai anime would be Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal. It is an OVA that gives birth to the popular Samurai X franchise. I won’t go into details because I can’t remember a whole lot, but I remember that it has got a lot more gore and bloodshed. I wasn’t really able to stomach that much violence, but that’s just me. It still has got pretty good reviews.

Steins;Gate might not have a great re-watch value but it’s number one on my “mind-blown” list. It’s about time paradoxes, time machines, and a really confusing plot which has got me goosebumps plenty of times through the course of the series! I would say that it’s a must watch. The outro music gives me shivers every time! Also, don’t miss the specials at the end of the series, they are totally worth it.

The re-watch value of this particular anime is less because once you know how it’s going to play out it won’t “thrill” you like it did the first time. So I’d recommend you to jump right into this masterpiece rather than reading reviews or summaries first. During the middle of the series it might get a little boring, but keep at it, because it will get interesting very soon. If you need more convincing, let me say this: it’s captivating enough to make you believe that time machines do exist (oh yes, they do!).

My most recently watched anime is coincidentally the highest rated on MyAnimeList. I do agree with the community on this one. It’s an extremely engaging story combined with stunning art-style and these elements together combined have resulted in a masterpiece created by the one and only Makoto Shinkai. The name of this masterpiece is Kimi no Na Wa.

Kimi no Na Wa was a highly anticipated movie prior to its release and once it was released people instantly started falling in love with it. It overtook the long standing Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood at first place. I believe that Makoto Shinkai has been on a course of progressive improvement due to the experience gained from his previous creations such as Garden of Words and 5 Centimeter Per Second but he hit the nail on the head with Kimi No na Wa.

I won’t give away anything even for this one, because I care about you and I don’t want to spoil the fun for you! I’ll say just this: it’s a very sentimental story which has a delicate way of tugging at your heart and reminding yourself that if an anime can be so beautiful, how much beautiful can be reality.

Strong and Weak Minds

What makes a strong mind strong? It might be apparent to you that strong minded people are the ones who become really successful in life. How does one create or develop their minds to become strong?

I found this helpful article on the in a simple Google search. They make some incredibly valid points. Meditation especially does a huge help for your mind. It is as they say in the article,

If you want a stronger mind, you can achieve it with some work and patience, just like you would train your body in a gym.

This fact is absolutely true. Even your mind requires exercise just like your body does, and it is meditation that entails these benefits into your life. Meditation is simple. All you have to do is focus, concentrate on something. One of the ways I do it is by visualizing a burning candle without losing focus. Your concentration needs to be so good such that it feels as though you are staring at a candle in real life without blinking. So, not even once do you divert your attention to other thoughts or sounds. All this with your eyes closed, obviously. It might sound simple at first, but it’s really really difficult to accomplish. It will take a few days to get better at it.

I have discovered while experimenting with myself, that diving into such states of meditation is linked to how much betterment you want to do to yourself, because meditation is naturally linked to your body’s mind.

Another practice of creating a strong mind is again very rightly stated by the earlier blog.

Develop your mental toughness by knowing what you believe, having the conviction to live by your values, and becoming resilient enough to recover from adversity.

This is the part where you have to show the courage to change, once your mind is able to sort out through thoughts and an orderly fashion (thanks to the meditation), it’s time to take the controls in your hands (or in your mind’s hands) and steer the vehicle in what which way that you desire it to go.

I know that sounds abstract, but the gist is that you must have the willingness to become a much better person, only then can that willingness drive you to make the right decisions and choose the right words in your life. A Positive Mental Attitude is something that needs to be forced into your thoughts for a while until your mind subconsciously starts using that approach.

It’s easy, requires a little work, but certainly possible by anybody.

Once upon a time, there was a Garden City

This article talks a little about the Garden City that Bangalore once was proud to be, but talks mainly about how Bangalore or Bengaluru as people lovingly call it is an incredibly special place. I was born in Mumbai, but I spent my life in Bangalore with primary and secondary education. I must say, I was happy back then as happy I am right now to be back in Bangalore after completing my engineering. We were too naive to realize back then what a blessing Bangalore was, and the huge impact that it had had on our lives. It was only after I went out and witnessed with my own eyes what the rest of India was like, it dawned to me that I had been living in the dark, in a place where our naivety wasn’t challenged. But god forbid! Bangalore wasn’t our ‘dark’ place at all! It was the most bright and cheery place ever, that nobody really cared about what it was like outside. Not that people didn’t want to care. It was just that people were too engrossed in their own lives to notice anything else. That is incidentally the reason why Bangalore is the way it is. People are so happy with their own lives in general that they now live in their own bubble of satisfaction. Don’t get the wrong idea though. It’s not like we turn a blind eye towards the underprivileged just because of our contentedness. We like to share our happiness with others to empower our community.

Since when I was a child, my hobbies were crafted out of the hobbies of my friend group which mainly comprised of computer and video game enthusiasts. We liked to try out different games and different consoles. It was not really a competition on who was best at playing or anything. There wasn’t any competition between us at all. We only cared about was having a great time! How I miss those days. But I realized later on that because I was with these guys, and because I was involved with all the new stuff that they explored on the web, and how we hacked consoles so we could play any game we wanted, I realized that I began to know more about software, games and consoles than other people around me. It wasn’t a sudden realization of course, because I wasn’t even really interested in the intricacies of software installations and the kind at the time anyway, but it paved the way towards my field of interest. Once I was in 11th and 12th grade, I could understand technical talks of people who had also shared a similar background and even make conversation with them. I seemed to get along with the people who knew their way around computers because we had a common interest, and we would take a moment to discuss stuff. That’s pretty common, but think about it in this way. You find out something really cool in your field of interest, that you want to share it with somebody else. So, you would at least want to share it with someone who can appreciate how great your discovery really is! Therefore, it is common to look for people who have similar interests as you. Not to mention, they will announce their discoveries to you too when they find something new! And one thing leads to another, and you guys start working on it. Explore it together. Meet up somewhere, at someone’s house, maybe even stay up for a sleepover. All this… But for what? That’s simple: Passion for life. Something as trivial as interest. Why do we do things that interest us? Simply because they do! Yet it gives rise to a chain of several other questions: If we are all just going to die one day, then why bother doing anything at all? Although that’s pretty common-sensical inquisitiveness, it’s also prey to an equally good counter question: If we are all just going to pass on to another world one day, why not try doing something worthwhile while we are still here? Ha! Think not much. It’s easy, do what makes you happy. Life is big, and life becomes longer than you would like it to be if you are not enjoying yourself. And most important of all, this life is yours! In Bangalore, people understand what it is to have a calm and stable society and people have learned to keep their eyes open to new trends, adapting to those who have not yet adapted and we collectively understand the serenity of such an environment and strive to cherish it and keep it the way it is (although not consciously, it seems to magically happen).

It is known that Bangalore is the Silicon Valley (or “Plateau”) of India. Naturally, based on sound reason. People here have jobs. Many even start their own startups with their friends and colleagues, hoping to “make it”. IT jobs generally pay well, so the general population of Bangalore has no lack of money. Surely, they are trying to make more, but not out of desperation. On the other hand, things have become expensive in the recent years, and Bangalore’s economy has proven to be quite stable. Bangalore is not associated with a particular type of population that speaks a certain language or has originated from certain place. It quite suddenly came into being and people from all over India and all over the world settled here in Bangalore. Another reason for that is that Bangalore has great weather. It’s neither hot nor cold. It does not fluctuate more than 20-25 degrees Celsius throughout the year, it’s usually between (15-35 degrees C). Over the years, a lot more people have poured here to grab hold of the opportunities, so the environment of the place has changed a little bit from how it was before, but it’s still as I remember it, quite the same.

People are friendly in an unconditional way. They don’t help you as a way to grab opportunities from you later, but really because they know you now, and would interact with you in the future, and who knows they might even become your good friend. It’s really about open and free friendships, no bounds to the people you meet. Often times I have seen friends-of-friends-of-friends forming a distant connection on Facebook. It’s just that, there’s nothing else that can come between what you love. And Bangalore is with you on that. The whole framework of Bangalore conspires to bring out the best in you. All you have to do is spread your wings and take flight!

What went wrong with our education system

How bad can education be? It shouldn’t be bad, or it’s not even supposed to be! But here we are… Quite heartbroken, and restricted because there is no other option out there but educate ourselves in the tiring, coercing manner they teach us. Mugging stuff up on the last day of the exam, not only because it doesn’t make any sense to you but also because the exam is the only time we are going to require it. Mug and vomit. That’s our routine 4 times each semester, for every subject and that’s repeated for 8 semesters in total. What a dumb shit thing we have had to go through. I’ve just cleared engineering, and what can I say, the most pathetic experience of my life was in these 4 years. What the hell did I learn in these 4 years anyway? Well, one thing I did learn, and that was how flawed our education system really is. It’s not flawed in a certain number of places or anything like that. It is a 100% wrong! I am emotionally vested in myself, and the education that I get, and the training that I get which I can use once I start my real job. But honestly, after receiving the kind of dull, lacking creativity, lacking enthusiasm kind of education I (or we all) have had to endure, I can say one thing: a serious change is required in our educational system. Also, our lecturers need to be better equipped with the right knowledge to guide us, pave the way for us to race across the sea of knowledge so we could grasp all we can. All they did was give silly excuses like “Students aren’t interested”, “Need to get approval from Principal”, etc. BULLSHIT! I say. If you really want to get something done, you would go out of your way to get it done, come what may. As a student, I don’t have time to entertain my professor’s excuses about lack of interest. Great teachers can gather a crowd of students out of their own interest. Our teachers forget that not only do they work for us, but also that they need to work for the future of our world and our country. Without passion, teaching is a very useless profession and my request to all teachers who lack it is to go find a different profession rather than expose to the students how boring the subject is. Good people, engineers or any other grad for that matter can be made if the people at the top most level are good. In the case of education systems, the Principal, and of course the teachers. We need teachers who can bring out the creativity in them and show us the joys of the subject. Students will then realize the possibilities that can come from learning the subject. For some, it will act as a way to retain information, for they can remember the creative act better than say, reading a textbook for instance.

As a kid, I was taught that all of us are special. Yes, each and every one of us, whether adult or child. We were born with a purpose in our lives. God simply does not roll dice! As humans, we are the chosen ones. But to learn, and experience the fact, you need a kind of education which nourishes your senses to a world with endless possibilities, where you can become whatever you desire, pursue your interests to the fullest and to give back to the society as much as you can. Someone needs to instill or invoke the untapped fire of creativity in us. Creativity. It’s really such a magical thing. Gives me immense joy creating things, whether the world knows about them is another thing altogether but I enjoy creating things. I believe my early days in school helped me out immensely. I realize this now, after looking at India through the scope of my college. From an early age onwards, I have been encouraged to open my eyes and fling my arms to the world. There’s everything out there. So much happiness. Something that I deeply feel that I need to share with the rest of the world.

Why people play MOBA

Usually, a lot of things in life are based on actions and consequences. When you act on something you can somewhat (if not fully) expect what the consequences will be. This theory has way too many variables in games like LoL where prediction on whether you will be the victor or loser depends on a multitude of configurations, players, their states of mind, their alertness, knowledge of the game, reflexes just to name a few. Non-scientifically you could even say these games are equivalent to gambling! That’s how unpredictable they are.

Victory depends not only on you but also on how your team plays, but at the same time without you your team will lose. It depends on the enemy team as well, and each and every player contributes to their team’s fate.

“Mayhaps this is a game of luck, like battleship”, you might say, but think about the hours of practice and the experience people have gained in order to control the turn of events in the game! It’s like reliving a war every time. There’s a Japanese saying which goes like, “A war is won before it is fought”. Mayhaps wars are inevitable, and mayhaps people are forced to join it even if it’s against their will. Mayhaps even the above quote is more intuitive than it seems.

But we don’t know unless we play :3

First game as Spectre

One day before my mid semester examination.

Well, it wasn’t my first game to be completely honest here, because on my actual first time my PC crashed and by the time I had reconnected I got an abandon. I cannot blame Steam for this. Just this new modem (I have no clue what the hell is wrong with it). So, I played a Single Draft match with Axe (my first time) and we won! What luck that is huh. Axe has a pretty lousy ult btw. It doesn’t do any real damage from what I saw [update: now I know how to play him]. The only good thing about him is that he’s kinda tanky like all the male characters in dota (and also that he can deal more damage when he’s alone). So anyway, we won that match somehow (I forgot to mention we had a broodmother whose user was at level 52! Yeah, after that match I decided that I had to play Spectre again because I didn’t get to test her out fully the last time (if you count that).

This time the enemy team her strong picks like Juggernaut (god knows why he’s picked in every match), Sven (goddamit this guy!), Huskar (Mista Gank), Naga (she was total noob and fed like anything), and somebody else (I forgot). We had myself (Spectre), Templar Assassin (girls get to have all the fun), Phantom Assassin (the girl who I first thought was a guy), Venomancer (amiable support) and of course Sniper (apparently the character everyone hates). I assisted in getting first blood I think. Spectre does good damage with her Q initially. Out team had less conventional picks unless you want to include PA with her ‘blur’ evasiveness.

In any case, I took the bottom lane with Venomancer and he was a really helpful support. I remembered the last hero of the enemy team: Spirit Breaker (damn those stuns!). The thing was that most of the time the whole (at least 3-4) heroes of the enemy team would suddenly appear and gank. Lots of times Sven killed me. I fed quite a bit in the beginning and hoped that the rest of my team was doing well in absence of the enemy heroes in their respective lanes. Funnily enough it played out quite exactly like that. The got plenty of farm and one tier-3 tower of top lane also fell. I believe PA was top. Either her or sniper. Once I got my ult, I could teleport to any team fight that I chose and we started winning team fights. Not only because of me, PA, TA were playing great too. But I got the highest number of kill assists: 29. I thought this match would be cutting it close, but I was wrong. We won pretty easily. I usually feed a lot in the beginning. But as the game progresses I start getting kills and assisting. I got a battle fury first, then Radiance and finally a moon shard which I consumed and then bought another one. What do you basically need? Good damage and attack speed! That’s something I learnt playing LoL. Speaking of LoL, it’s mechanics are totally different compared to Dota. Which is better I cannot say, but LoL looks to be the one attracting the crowds.

Switched over to Ubuntu

Debian was getting a bit rusty to work with, so I decided to install an operating system which had a large community backing and latest software updates. Ubuntu seemed to be the best answer. I’ve used Ubuntu before, but it didn’t impress me as much as Debian had done the first time I used it. Debian has an unique quality of clicking with the user’s wishes, and everything just falls into place once you become well acquainted with the commands. Ubuntu is basically Debian with an attempt to have a more user friendly interface. They have done a good job no doubt, but a few bugs keep popping every now and then in the GUI. I felt it better to stick to the terminal. I guess, that goes for any Linux distro. Ubuntu can become an exciting development platform for me, which is the main reason why I chose it. Debian lacked latest updates, and self-updating packages like the android SDK required newer versions of the IDE. When I went to bring Eclipse up to date, it stopped working at all. Not that I was surprised. If I updated just one package to it’s latest version, it is natural to update all it’s dependencies as well. But that solution would have costed me a lot of time and bandwidth. So I went for a permanent solution of installing an OS with relatively new packages. Bam! Ubuntu!

Secured an internship at Robokraft

After nearly 18 hours of coding, I managed to make a GUI (Graphical User Interface) for a Laser Tag game. This goes down as my first ever programming project, and I can’t tell you how happy I am both for completing it and getting the internship as a result. I show them what I had done today, and they really appreciated my work. I could tell that they were surprised when I told them that I had written all the code, and not just used a software to build the GUI. Python, ILY <3 Same for tkinter <3

What’s more, they gave me more work to do after my internals. I need to write a script to log all matches, and something for a bluetooth module, and even a USB module. Well, since it’s Python, it shouldn’t be too hard to code. There are tonnes of libraries too. I am really glad I decided to learn this language. The GUI code was not too difficult after I’d got a hang of it. Loved the total experience. All of this inspires me to work on bigger projects, and I will in the future.

An anticipation video I made for a friend

A friend of mine was making a forum RPG game, and he asked me if I wanted to make the game with him. I accepted. At first, we were planning to have only a banner to tell people that a game was going to be launched. So, we decided what to write on the banner. But later I realized, it would be really cool if we could make a video. So I made one. We were in a little hurry to publish it, so I couldn’t sync the audio with the video. But a few days later I updated it.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7g_EjqQ7w0&feature=youtu.be

Hey!

Hello! I had wished to start a blog a long time ago, but my exams did not permit me to do so. My exams are in the past now, I have finally fulfilled my wish. This is my first blog, so you might notice a few things changing from time to time. I made this blog because I want to share with the world my many experiences. These experiences are not just events which happen in my life. They may be anything at all. I did not want to limit my scope because of the subject of this blog. So I decided to widen the scope of the subject. It is a blog about different topics all under one roof.

I almost forgot to give you a brief introduction on me. I am a computer enthusiast, I love the internet, I love browsing and scavenging for information. Among my many hobbies are watching anime, talking to my best pal, reading books, listening to music, learning all kinds of different things, playing games and many more.

A warm welcome to all the readers. I hope you enjoy!