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Articles on this Page
- 01/12/15--08:00: _#MoeMonday 1/12/201...
- 01/13/15--08:00: _Anime Figure Pre-Or...
- 01/16/15--08:32: _#FanServiceFriday 1...
- 01/19/15--12:58: _#MoeMonday 1/19/201...
- 01/30/15--09:07: _#FanServiceFriday 1...
- 02/02/15--12:06: _RIP Monty Oum
- 02/08/15--12:49: _Anime Shrine PodCas...
- 02/16/15--14:40: _Anime Shrine PodCas...
- 02/26/15--11:14: _#NetNeutrality: FCC...
- 03/04/15--11:38: _Video Game Graphics...
- 03/27/15--13:38: _#FanServiceFriday #...
- 04/04/15--19:07: _Anime Shrine PodCas...
- 04/19/15--06:31: _We Are Supporting A...
- 04/19/15--14:21: _Our Trip To NYC and...
- 04/20/15--09:55: _April 2015 Anime Fi...
- 04/28/15--09:29: _New Dragon Ball Ser...
- 06/15/15--19:43: _Final Fantasy VII R...
- 07/05/15--13:21: _Remember What Defin...
- 12/18/15--06:53: _Support Kenneos on ...
- 12/28/15--10:07: _Where Have We Been ...
- 06/05/16--18:51: _Anime Invades Las V...
- 08/23/16--11:55: _So About Our Long B...
- 08/26/16--17:05: _Game Development is...
- 12/11/16--08:38: _The Loss of A Frien...
- 01/16/17--20:07: _Anime Shrine PodCas...
- 01/12/15--08:00: #MoeMonday 1/12/2015: Cute Japanese Shrine Maiden by ZiZi
- Fate/Stay Night [Unlimited Blade Works] Rider Nendoroid
- KanColle: Amatsukaze Half-Damage ver. figFIX Figure
- THE IDOLM@STER Shijo Takane Yukata Ver. 1/8th Scale Figure
- Fate/Stay Night: Saber ~Last Episode~ 1/8th Scale [Realta Nua]
- Sword Art Online II: Asuna "The Flash" Idol of the Aincrad Ver.
- Sasara Kusugawa White bunny ver. 1/5th Scale Figure
- 01/16/15--08:32: #FanServiceFriday 1/16/2015: Angela Balzac By Shirabi
- 01/19/15--12:58: #MoeMonday 1/19/2015: "Revelation" By TID
- 01/30/15--09:07: #FanServiceFriday 1/30/2015: Angel Fumi By Kenneos
- 02/02/15--12:06: RIP Monty Oum
- 02/26/15--11:14: #NetNeutrality: FCC Votes In Favor Of Us, Citizens of The Internet
- 04/19/15--06:31: We Are Supporting Artists On Patreon! ^_^
- 04/19/15--14:21: Our Trip To NYC and Channel Frederator
- 04/20/15--09:55: April 2015 Anime Figure Preorders and Anime Figure News
- KILL LA KILL: RYUKO MATOI SENKETSU KISARAGI VER. By Good Smile Company
- DURARARA!! X2: Nendoroid CELTY
- T2 ART GIRLS: VALHELLIO - IRIS HARTLEY (For Collectors 18+ Only)
- and more ^_^
- 04/28/15--09:29: New Dragon Ball Series! Dragon Ball Super
- 06/15/15--19:43: Final Fantasy VII Remake is Real
- 07/05/15--13:21: Remember What Defines You and Never Let that Be A Job
- 12/18/15--06:53: Support Kenneos on Patreon! ^.^ (https://www.patreon.com/kenneos)
- 06/05/16--18:51: Anime Invades Las Vegas
- 08/23/16--11:55: So About Our Long Blog Post Hiatus...
- 08/26/16--17:05: Game Development is Science & Art...but Not Contemporary Art
- 12/11/16--08:38: The Loss of A Friend and The Song of Our Return
For today's #MoeMonday post, may we present this newly done and wonderful cute shrine maiden image. From the pose to the artistic polish, this simply a great pic.
Drawn by the artist, ZiZi. This and other great images by Zizi can be found right here.
A little late with announcing these ^^;; but here's some of the newest anime figure pre-orders we currently have in our store.
For this batch, we see the return of a classic Nendoroid...Rider from Fate/Stay/Night. There's also the adorable Idol Asuna and more ^^
Here's a list of some of the newest figures.
For today's #FanServiceFriday post is a character who's been drawn a bunch lately... the beautiful Angela Balzac from Rakuen Tsuihou: Expelled From Paradise.
This particular image is done by Shirabi.
For today's #MoeMonday post, here's a gorgeous and surreal image titled "Revelation" by the pixiv artist: TID.
Check out TID's other work (some are NSFW)
For today's #FanServiceFriday post... we have none other than one of our mascots, and one of the main characters in our (seemingly forever unreleased ^^;;) game, Tenshi-Oni...
...the sexy, cute and strong, Angel Fumi!
This is a brand new image drawn by Kenneos.
We will soon also have some new pixel art of Fumi and her forms as well and I hope more info on the game and it's ongoing production. Now that PikiPop is released, it's time to go back on this project that has tons of code, art and music already a part of it.
If any of you want to draw our mascots and have them featured here... feel free to email us and we will gladly show off your art and site(s)
We are really saddened by the news that Dead Fantasy/RWBY creator Monty Oum has passed :-(...
This past year has been nothing but loss for us personally and now we hear yet another person who inspires us in our creative fields has passed away.
Monty Oum was a person who proved that if you taught yourself and worked hard, you can be successful. It didn't matter what school you came from, or even if you finished school.... what mattered in the end was your love for your craft.
We here at Chuck's Anime Shrine want share our deepest condolences and heartfelt wishes for his family in this time of loss. May he continue to be an inspiration for new and upcoming animators, designers and anime fans alike long after today. I've been around long enough to have seen the entire span of his career and he deserved all success he earned and then some.
It's people like Monty that has kept me an avid anime & animation fan, even as I'm in my 30's now. People like him inspire me to keep improving and to always keep moving forward in this hobby...to not second guess our love for it and what can be accomplished with this love for anime, videogames, programming, voice acting and animation....even if the world around us tries to diminish that love.
(Warning: Explicit Language)
(Warning: Explicit Language)
Not anime related directly but something we've been a part of on our blog and site for a long time since this can not only affect your anime viewing, but all of the internet in general.
Today, the FCC officially voted to protect #NetNeutrality by having ISPs and their services be classified under Title II utilities. There's still much to be done but now the ball is in our court for once when it comes to our internet and how important it is for everyone in our daily lives. Users of the internet, many whom popularized it with our anime, video games and yes even the memes.. now forced ISPs to end the Oligopoly of their internet services. This monopoly-like business practice has kept many people away from the internet speeds & pricing that reflect what it should be in 2015 based on current, available technology.. in favor of old hat business practices and good old greed. Not only that, but the ISPs (Comcast in particular) were getting close to closing the internet to only open it to the highest bidder with things such as "fast lanes" and other tolls that shouldn't exist in what should always stay open, low cost and free of Monopolies or Oligopolies. The internet is too important to be some BS, outdated, unavoidable cable/satellite/etc package deal.
For once, after all of the pressure we gave the FCC from both inside and outside the US...they are actually listening to us instead of the corporate lobbyists who are paid to stifle the internet.
Again, let's not put our guard down and there's still much to do, but not since the blocking of SOPA has the people of the internet been able to get our voices heard to prevent a terrible future.
We really are on the cusp of videogame graphics and lighting matching real life. I've been playing games since 1985 and this dream of us gamers and game devs is not too far from being accomplished..and I couldn't be more excited; especially now that these tools are available to any dev, AAA or not. Using the physics & lighting that govern our universe is in the calculations seen in the latest 3D engines... we are becoming masters of light and information.
Next milestone would be to create something in tune to what is in the SAO anime, where this data is streamed to your mind and you live the game or simulation like a dream. For that, we need to be masters of a computer that's had billions of years to evolve...our brains.
To celebrate both #FanServiceFriday and #NationalCleavageDay today, here's an amazing art piece of Gurren Lagann's Yoko Littner by Stanley Artgerm Lau. check out his other work here: http://new.livestream.com/stanleyartgermlau
It's been making the rounds on social media lately for good reasons (other than the obvious two); simply stunning art of your favorite anime and game characters.
Sit back, eat some sexy deviled eggs for this Easter weekend post...but make sure you don't drink the SJW punch, because that shit is poison.
(Warning: Explicit Language)
(Applause are welcomed; jazz hands not required)
For years we here at Chuck's Anime Shrine have been supportive of artists big and small behind our favorite media. We create content online as well and we know how hard it can be to do what we love while the daily struggles of life (mundane/underpaying 9-5 jobs...or lack thereof, etc) can derail the dreams and goals of artists, voice actors, video editors, game devs and other creative people. Like us, many of the artists and content creators out there have a simple dream...to do what we love for a living; making creations that can financially free us from the confines of the average daily life. If you don't come from wealth jobs or personal situations tend to never be what we want to do nor actually accomplish anything beyond running in circles for somebody else's dreams/goals. Thanks to the internet, some crowdfunding services have come up in recent years to help all of us break free from that endless loop; adding to the already established platforms like Newgrounds, Youtube, deviantart, Pixiv and other staples of internet content submission.
From the artists Kenneos and Eefi whom helped build the image of our mascots to other fan artists we try to promote here, we do what we can to show that we are here with you in this quest. (Also want to note that every day that our flagship game, Tenshi-Oni, isn't published... I feel a bit ashamed as I know so many talented music artists have granted us the rights to use their amazing music for free ^^;;)
One of the recent platforms for content creators to come up in recent years is the site, Patreon. Now, I'll admit, in roughly the past year I've been rather critical of crowd funding...moreso how some people have warped these services into some sort of welfare system just for existing and using false victimhood to get said funds. I've seen people use Patreon, GoFundMe and Kickstarter literally saying "help me pay for my bills because I'm 'so-and-so' ...I have nothing to give..but just pay me". Adding insult to injury, the people who tend to do this usually are those who already come from wealth/free-time/opportunity and thus bastardize the main goals of these platforms and the many people who work hard for their fans, whom are grateful that they are at or on their way to reaching that wonderful dream of doing what you want to do for a living.
Anyways...politics and semantics aside, on to why we have this post in the first place...
We are proud to say that we are now officially Patrons to two wonderful artists on Patreon... Zeronis (https://www.patreon.com/Zeronis) and Sakimichan (https://www.patreon.com/sakimichan) ^_^
Please do check out their work. As our anime business rebounds and our own game dev work progresses we will do what we can to add to this list. Sakimichan and Zeronis are rather well known and albeit, rather well funded creators now but they, like many of us started from the ground up and got where they are because of their skill and hard work. They are also very humble and great people who do indeed care about their fans. That's one thing we're liking about Patreon, is that the funding for the creators is based on them actually creating something for their backers/patrons. (Also want to note, outside of Patreon, we are currently commissioning a sprite artist who's working hard on making cool animations of our main mascot Fumi and her forms ^^)
So, what about Chuck's Anime Shrine and Patreon? Well, yes, we do have a Patreon account and we are in the process of building it up correctly for any of you who wish to be our patrons. You can check out our Patreon page here:
Granted, as of the writing of this post, the page is in dire need of editing and some palatable creations on there...pretty much just slapped stuff together initially and learning the platform ^^;; From me being a game dev, video editor, Let's Player, animator, voice actor, web dev and even recently a bit of a music composer to Danielle being an animator with Channel Frederator...we should soon be able to give people a reason to be our patrons. If we can achieve that dream...something we almost had with this anime site a few years prior, it will only mean more content here on the site..more figures in the store, more games (particularly the almost eternally delayed Tenshi-Oni project) and more artists/content creators we will support ^_^. I know for a fact that if I didn't have to work my current, mundane, underpaying 9-5 web-dev "company's computer guy" job that I oddly still have despite the anime figure business...I'd be working so many hours to make this site and our creations be the worth viewing / playing.
(Please note: we will be backing these two artists for at least the next month or two...we will try to do so longer... but due to financial restrictions there might be a future date that we have to pause said backing. Again, the goal will be to add to the list of artists we support)
On Friday we had the honor of meeting our friends over at Channel Frederator / Cartoon Hangover (@channelfred /@) My fiancee Danielle has been a member of their awesome network and for a number of months, I've became friends with Nicky from Cartoon Hangover and particularly when he by chance was stocking up on Nendoroids and other figures for the ToyPizza show ^_^ Danielle and I had the honor of meeting up & having lunch with Nicky, Cade and other wonderful people at the Channel Frederator office. It really was like all of us were friends for much longer as we love talking about the same topics, be it anime, figures, video games and the Cartoon Hangover shows like Adventure Time, Bee & Puppycat & Steven Universe.
If you guys are reading this blog, we want to thank you all again ^_^ Was a great day in NYC.
Here's some images from out trip and when Danielle an I went to visit Nintendo World later in the day:
Hey everyone. Pardon the long gap in seeing new figure pre-orders in our store ^^;; No worries though as a fresh batch of anime figure pre-orders are now up for the taking...but remember, there's only a limited time to reserve yours and that time is marked on the product listing pages.
In this batch of figures you'll find some really awesome ones like:
Until my book is done in late July and as I begin my new 9-5 role as a Unity/IOS game dev, expect probably not too much updates until after then ^^;; For this bit of news..we couldn't not mention it.
Hey everyone, a bit of an odd post (with a tad bit of title porn), but I thought it was a good time to give an update as the site, figure store and blog here probably deserves one.
Remember that rather long term situation I've dealt with? You know, the 8+ years of working at an underpaid web dev job while trying to bring this anime site, the store and indie game development into my main 9-5 workflow? Well, a few months ago that finally changed. Not sure what happened...hell froze over? the Cubs won? there was a glitch in the matrix? Yamcha didn't die in a DBZ fight?
What ever it was, a few months ago I got an interesting message from a site I all but thrown out as anything to care about, LinkedIn. Despite getting some success with voice acting, publishing the PikiPop game, getting into podcasting, Let's Playing and returning to the forever forgotten project, Tenshi-Oni...I've basically thrown out any seriousness I took from recruiters and contacts from job/ project sites. After dealing with IT recruiters for so long I learned quickly how much of a waste of time they are. They come at you with arms flailing, saying you'd be the "perfect fit", waste your time and phone minutes doing an "interview" while never letting you talk to their client's (the job potentially at hand) and simply forgetting you exist after they take your email and phone for their quotas. Even after I mention this interesting news....any of you going through the trials of IT/programmer recruiters...due take note of the scam artists many of them are. Just build your own projects first and don't let them waste time you could be using to complete such projects.
Anyways, a few months ago I got an amazing email from a publisher in the UK. The offer to author an IOS game development book. For the past few months I've been working on that book. More on it in a future post as I'm now half way done with that...but it's partially why we've been a bit weak with the updates and figure listing posts around here. A little over a month ago, as said before I got what I never thought I'd see from LinkedIn, an interview invite. Not some recruiter, not some test of a test of a test to have an interview. A flat out, "hey, we think you could be a fit, come to the office for an interview."
With in a few weeks, here I am now working as a developer in NYC for that said company. The underpaid camera store web dev job is over! I'm now a full fledged pro Unity dev and am working with some cool stuff for some big clients...mainly in the realm of non-game VR experiences. Stuff I'm still trying to get better at as I'm more of a game dev in the traditional coding sense and Unity is also still a newer platform for me.
So, does this mean this is the end of the anime site, the anime figure store and Tenshi-Oni or my own game dev projects? Quite the opposite. First off, the reason why I submitted my ego to the 9-5 job (when I'm obviously more fit for just running my own ship), is because sadly, past events outside of my control ruined my original run to have that life people like YouTube celebs, indie game devs and anime hobbyists have where their online sites/stores/activities pay for their lives. I almost did it but (as seen in a past post, a certain "Sandy" storm ruined that). I don't come from wealth like some of those people do whom can stand on such a platform and just grow it...so, like the rest of us I have to work a crap job that pays the bills; hence the camera store "web dev" job I had for all this time.
This new position is very great, I do like it and I even got to see some celebrities we get to work with in NYC. My long train ride is taken care of and I get to eat some good sushi during lunch. But... I came to know something about myself and I'm certain some of you might have gone through the same. As great as this job is, as much as I've fought to get it and as much I've dealt with in the past, I wasn't prepared for the shell shock coming out of my comfort zone was. In some ways I reverted back to my personality of my high school years (mind you I graduated high school in 2002, so it's been some time). Much of the professionalism, personality fixes and all got reverted back to the subservient mentality that honestly doesn't help me in the new job or anywhere else in general.
I do love the job, I have awesome new coworkers and all but I can not forget my goal of this, to utilize the job as a stepping stone for my true goals and dreams. The shock of a new work environment is finally starting to fade away and as soon as I finish the game dev book, we shall be back to normal here. Actually, I hope to bring things back to pre Hurricane Sandy times as I realized that it is indeed anime, video games, game dev and this site (and the sister sites) that I love. I probably won't be truly happy until my fiancee and I are married, living in our own home (not an apartment) and we are surrounded by these hobbies and the work we can and have done in them.
The past job was not helping that overall goal and this one hopefully will. It will still be a challenge until that day of true freedom comes but be it a great new job or an old job...don't let that position make you forget who you are and the hobbies you love. Sometimes the work obligations and such live changes in general could make us almost forget or feel guilty for liking our hobbies...but don't do that. Don't let a job (good or bad) change who you are. Always make sure your goal is to do what you love ALL days so that you'd never work a day in your life. There's still some work for me to do but now I believe I have a better vehicle with the new job to do that.
After this busy month, there should be some new stuff on the horizon here and in general for the site. No matter what life throws at us, we won't forget who we are..and hell, there's new Dragon Ball episodes, news Sailor Moon and Final Fantasy VII is getting a damn remake!
There's so much to miss by forgetting who you are and what you love, so, we are still here ^_^.
@Kenneos is one of the artists who made our site, anime store and Tenshi-Oni art come to life. The banner you've seen for years on our pages has been thanks to her and artists like her. We are happy to announce that she now has a Patreon page for you all to support.
Go check out her Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/kenneos
In due time we will also have our Patreon page all set up as well (once we get an idea which of the many creative tasks we can make worthwhile for Patrons ^^;;) Make sure to give her some support or at the very least follow her page. It's thanks to her and a number of our fan artists that help us keep this site going after almost 14 years now.
Where Have We Been?
Ok, we have to come clear with some things. It has been months since our last blogs posts. With the prior post about supporting Kenneos on Patreon, we have come back from almost near silence since our last post in July! Ironically, that blog post was about how not to make your job define you yet it was indeed my new job (and book) that caused the "hiatus". It wasn't a true hiatus as I simply didn't have the time to do much of anything these past few months (and I'm actually not out of the woods yet).
So, what have I/we been doing? Where the hell is the anime store? Why are you using a picture of Saitama from One Punch Man as the header?
To explain, back in June of this year something finally happened and (I believe) we mentioned in our last post. Basically I got a developer position with a major NYC studio. For years I was working as a very very underpaid web developer for a semi-local camera store...nearly 9 years to the day that I finally left. I used that job's mundane monotony to of course revive the site from stagnation that started in 2004 by starting this blog, running the anime business and beginning my own independent development work with our (seemingly forever unfinished) Tenshi-Oni game. The camera job hardly let me do anything development wise, Hurricane Sandy wiped out my anime figure business's momentum and like Saitama here in episode 1, I was searching for work for a long time, stuck in a sad state of loss and numbness. I had some programming jobs and even some well known game companies turn the other way either due to antiquated code tests or simply because of insane prerequisites. Nearly 5+ years of time wasting, hope raising daily emails from practically useless spam-like IT recruiters did nothing. My success as a business owner and skills in various fields that outdo most college grads meant nothing to them... and for some time, it was killing me.
It was back in April of this year that things started to finally break the status quo. I got an interesting email from the good people over at Packt Publishing. They wanted me to write a programming book centered on IOS game development and in April I began the tough work of writing a programming book. Not too long after that, I was emailed form the co-owner of that studio I mentioned before. They were looking for Unity developers to join their team. Interestingly enough, in November of 2014, shortly after publishing PikiPop, I taught myself Unity development. My past code-centric training that began in 2001 with C++ made knowing Unity a breeze and I was confident I could have been of help to that studio. It was that last blog post in July when I was already in the thick of things, working on projects for things such as The Late Show with Steven Colbert and some big business that oddly wanted boring boardroom garbage in VR apps.
There was a major problem with all of this that I couldn't mention until today...and that was the ridiculous hell that position put me through. Here I was finally leaving that camera store web job, excited about what this could be for my future as a developer and for what the move could be for the site as well...and at the same time I'm writing a 200+ page IOS game dev book. Problem was, this place didn't tell me my salary up front...something very sneaky; even more so when it's a studio with a shit ton of money and celebrity clients. I ignored this red flag due to my years of struggling to get out of my past position and the heart break of what Hurricane Sandy did to the anime business that could have broke me free much sooner. To the dismay of family and friends who warned me of the cryptic salary and expectations, I dove in and started that new position at the very start of June.
It goes without saying that with my book and this new job, my time for what remains of the store and this site was hampered. I was working 5 days a week in NYC from about 9:00am until 6:00pm with a train that takes 2 hours to get to and from NYC. My work day started at 6:45am and didn't end until about 9:00pm...and even then my bosses (all 4 of them) had me do work for them until 1 am from home. Most weekends was me also working all day, doing web tasks that nobody seemed to know how to do with projects that weren't even my own. I traded 1 depressingly computer illiterate boss for 4 horrendously developer illiterate & (mostly) computer illiterate bosses (half of them being bipolar). I was put into a place of great pressure to perform, but at times oddly was given some great tools to work with (ie: they gave my personal Unity account full pro benefits) Every day was both a kiss and a slap in the face. It took almost two weeks in before I found my salary..and it wasn't even close to the ~$60K that junior Unity devs make...it was half. I was making almost exact to the previous camera job. Ok, they did pay for my $400 monthly train ride and paid for lunch... but I always felt like I was being guilt tripped into it; yet people from MTV events and social media people at the place would just leech off the hours and relax while I struggled doing everything from web design to helping other people code their projects. Add this and the fact that they were having an unpaid intern work 30+ hours a week on development projects and at times calling developers "crazy and you can see the motivation to that post I made in July about not making your job your identity. That post was my realization that I jumped into a trap.
Not too long after that post, I began my own project...an insanely over exaggerated, rushed timeline app for a major diamond dealer. It was utter hell, given 6 weeks to work on an app solely (well, originally by myself) with ever changing features for a client that didn't even know what an app was, while still being told to assist my coworker 40 hours a week. It was enough to make a person go mad. After the app eventually went past the deadline (was really only given 3 weeks to focus on it) I got some extra time on it, with lovely bipolar scolding about how worthless I am to boot.
Thing is, I was doing stuff with Unity that nobody did before in time frames that would make any legit developer's head spin. In reality, like Saitama here, I went through a trial by fire. Out of it I realized I was indeed a legit programmer; able to solve problems that most programmers would throw the towel in for. I also physically got stronger. Despite the emotional distraught that job did (got nervous breakdowns that I haven't seen since I worked as a manager at Friendly's while in college 10+ years ago), I was physically getting stronger from the walking and train rides to and from NYC. The horrible work environment was uncovering the programmer I truly am and molded my physical body back to my high school age. Emotionally, the work was taking its toll and the client was making me see first hand some of the truth in some preconceived notions I had about NYC and what that city would deem as "successful" in certain "high ranking" individuals. I was seeing NYC through eyes that sees nothing but garbage, stupidity and evil that is the real NYC and the real New York/Long Island workplace.
To the shock of many who didn't know my struggles, I quit that job...with the true colors of my past employer quickly showing in light of me finally standing up for myself. As a business owner, author of a programming book and a fully realized programmer, it was my time to finally end the nearly 20 years of being a door mat by employers. One would think that I would be happy to be free... but it was only a brief time of relief as the realization of the debt I still faced (and still do) was now looking at me straight in the face now. What remains of my anime figure business and this site was not enough to survive. So,in a panic I applied for a retail job at a Costco near my apartment and even managed to begin the training stages of a consultancy job I found through Flexjobs.com. One week out of that last NYC job I was now having to wait for the processes of two jobs to come through and feel the grief of returning the the horrors of retail/food after a decade of being away from it. At the same time we were losing my fiancee's grandmother to the complications of heart disease and age; soon to be the 4th grandparent we've lost since November of 2013. As one can guess, things have not been great up to this point. Yet, despite the despair and fear, I felt a sense of calm and a feeling that all will be ok now that now I'm free from the employers that bound me and hindered me from my goals all these years.... or maybe... I finally cracked. It was what happened next that took me by surprise.
The week after I quit that NYC studio didn't give me time to rest nor did it grant me the ability to grieve over the fact that the woman who gave us an apartment to live in, my fiancee's grandmother, was on her death bed. Recruiters were ruthless now that I came from a developer position. The change to Unity last November was a blessing as it oddly gave me more credibility than my C++ and iOS native coding experience (skills that are more advanced than Unity honestly). IT recruiters were on me like flies on shit and I was on the phone hours on end. I wanted to reboot the store and my own projects but was in the full time job known as ferrying IT recruiters and going through, again, mostly time wasting pre-interviews and questionieers. I was on the verge of getting two low paid jobs (Costco and that social media consultancy) but they too had me wait and go through hoops.
Then, amongst all of the emails, Linkedin posts and calls was one LinkedIn message from a studio in NYC. This wasn't some recruiter but one of the heads of the company. Granted... this was the same scenario as what got me the job at that hellish the studio I quit; a company head messaging me directly on Linkedin. Understandably, I was a bit hesitant at first. I did the routine I have become so accustomed to, scheduling a call and preparing to tell my job situation now with the caveat of the recent Unity dev hell I went through. To my surprise, the manager was really nice and they were a studio really looking for my exact skills, skills I came to learn are almost nowhere to be found...the ability to make non-game features / APIs in Unity (since Unity is a game engine). That development hell made me a rare commodity in the programming world. I found out from this person that I was ranked as the #1 person in the NYC area on LinkedIn for Unity development; my constant phone calls and emails were the result of this. He hired me on the spot, at 2x the pay I was making at that last studio with the ability to work from home some days and via contract. In other words, I'm still my own business owner but get to help a studio, a studio who this past month I've come to see really likes me and is just an amazing group of people to work with. I work with other devs and for the first time in the 17 years I first started working a job, I felt like I am actually appreciated for my work and skills. The hours up until x-mas eve were in some cases (due to the project) even worse than my last studio job... but I didn't care. It makes me tear up in happiness thinking about it. My first job was as a baseball umpire at 15 for my baseball league..I was told I didn't have what it takes. My next job was a toy stocker at Kay Bee Toys during the x-mas of 2000 when the PS2 was launched...I was never told that I was seasonal. The following role was that horrid job at Friendly's in April of 2001, the job that I found first hand how horrible people from my town were. I was call a retard by people, treated like garbage and worked to the bone while in college. In college I was doing computer science mainly with the goal to make videogames...I was told I was an idiot for not wanting to do CS for what it "really is for". The hatred for the job at Friendly's made me join a network marketing group that I worked my ass off...only to come out as the only person willing to put in work and ending up $40,000 in debt. After Friendly's I got a job at Office Max... and was told I was stupid by customers who thought I was "on speed" because I drink one energy drink in the day instead of the 10 cups of coffee most do. I left Office Max to work at an eBay consignment job...that soon went out of business (though it did help the start of the anime store). The next job in the summer of 2006 was that camera store "web dev" job... a job I was told I was useless in as well and got stuck in until June of this year. Then finally that studio in NYC in June... where I was told I was a useless programmer.
As one can see, I've been stepped on for many years and now, now it's finally time I stand amidst the ruins of the past. Not only has this job finally give me a sense of confidence and an eagerness to improve myself, it also helped start something that now finally is happening...the marriage to my other half who's been here since the site started in March/April of 2002. On x-mas eve of 2007 I proposed to her but we stand still not married thanks to the myriad of events that tried to prevent it. Now, we stand here with that date, September 10th, 2016. The papers have been signed and we are getting ready for the wedding that should have happened so long ago. I'm hoping this new studio will last for at least all of next year but even then., I know we will continue to stand stronger than ever before.
With this, it is now time to get back to the anime store, my voice acting and oh yes..the Tenshi-Oni game...
Where is the anime store?
In the middle of my development hell chaos there was a change in security measures for online stores and retail in general in the US. Many of you probably got those surprise credit cards in the mail with the chips on them...yep, that security measure. Well, we had to update the SSL of the site for the additional safety of the customers. Granted, we don't keep any payment information on the store. All of that is done on the site of Paypal, Amazon and Bitpay. So the store was automatically taken down in absence of a new early enforced SSL certificate. We got it back but the database connect is still off. So, as we speak the anime store is still down but once we tidy up the SSL and reconnect the database (something we couldn't even focus on in the few months it's been down), the store will be back up. In the mean time we will soon (I know, it's after x-mas) have a bunch of our new and old stock on the store on our Ebay and Amazon branches in the mean time. The store is not gone and we have a number of really great figures on hand we need to move out before we even think of doing any more preorders, pre-orders going forward that unfortunately will have to have deposits due to a number of customers abusing our generous no-deposit preorders we've been doing since 2007 :-/.
It's the game that both won't ever die nor ever seem to come to life in a completed form. It started in 2003 and almost became a full game on iOS back in 2012. So many music artists in particular gave us music to use for the game... a number of people have waited and have gotten nothing in return. I have promised Tenshi-Oni for many years and it is killing me that it keeps being stuck in limbo.
I'll use this to announce that in secret I've been rebuilding Tenshi-Oni in Unity. With a combination of my vastly improved skills as a developer and the tools I have as a Unity pro developer... Tenshi Oni is back in production and it is planned to be greater than it ever was, being a "living AMV" 2.5D-side scrolling slashing bullet hell. If any of you are following our other site, Anime.fm....you will get a hint of what we have on the development block. I know I have sometimes bashed Kickstarter and other crowd funding platforms, but to help make this as close to looking like a AAA title as possible, I will make a prototype/tech demo as soon as possible and that will be used to promote a crowd funding campaign. I want all artists who have helped us thus far (and others we plan to contract along the way) to get compensated in what can be a really great game if my vision is brought to the numerous platforms Unity can export to. AMVs were what got this site on the map back when internet fame wasn't even a thing and it could be AMVs that inspire a major part of the gameplay in this game. After working in production studios as one of the lead developer in numerous current gen projects, I could very well make Tenshi-Oni something far beyond the amateur iOS build it was a few years ago.
I don't want to jinx myself again with that game so we will only post new Tenshi-Oni status when there is more to show...but it is being reworked into Unity. Like Saitama, it was through the pain of extensive training that has brought us back from the brink.
Here's to a bright new future in 2016. It had a long time coming.
Anime is appreciated by both children and adults nowadays - the latter growing up watching Dragonball's Goku to Naruto. Now, it seems that anime's appeal has transcended to the grandest of casinos, as its artwork is being utilized as core themes on a slew of gaming machines. Even online slot machines have started incorporating anime. Spin Genie was one of the first portals to showcase the groundbreaking Koi Princess game which has garnered mainstream success among anime fans.
Slot makers are even partnering up with triple-a game publishers to draw and animate character designs for slot machines in order to attract people who adore them. Konami, in particular, has created several titles with anime themes such as Pretty Devil and Sakura Lady. Perhaps it's only a matter of time until other video game companies follow Konami's lead, as the market for these kinds of games are huge. A quick glance at Play Store or iTunes' casino game genre and you’ll see just how many people play these kinds of games. And that's just the free-to-play games. Right now, apart from anime, there's an ongoing trend where slot machines are using commercially licensed themes from pop culture and superheroes from both Marvel and DC. For instance, the Superman slot is extremely cool given its animations and realistic sounds – a far cry from the traditional slot machines that only feature bars, 7s, and cherries on their reels. There's also a Star Trek slot machine now, which presents players with awesome graphics as well as snippets from classic Star Trek episodes whenever players hit the jackpot.
It looks inevitable that we’ll see more anime-themed slots in the near future what with the popularity of the genre. What are your favorite anime titles? Let us know in the comments section below.
Well... it's been some time. Our last blog post (not including the previously sponsored one) was back 9 months ago in November. Simply tons of things have happened in that time and it's about damn time to get this site (and the anime figure store) back in gear. There is just too much going on not to talk about and with a number of anime, gaming and pop culture blogs/sites, most much younger than this site getting too much lime light (and some falling off the deep end of selling out)....I think it's about time we keep our hands game....or am I just talking to myself here?
Where the hell have we been? (wait, didn't I ask this in the last post?!?)
The last post talked about something that finally happened in the 16+ years I've been working a job and something sadly most of us today might never experience... 1) being treated like a human being and equal at the job 2) being in the field / job you wanted to.
To somewhat summarize..I was trying to get out of a dead end "web dev" job. I almost did that with the anime figure business and voice acting when Hurricane Sandy wiped much of that away (well, much of the figure business that is; voice acting helped a bit after). Since the late 90's and after many years of being told of how stupid I was for doing it by "professionals" in Computer Science, I was always looking to be a game / app developer. The forever unfinished game Tenshi-Oni and the characters from it whom are the mascots of this site came from a flash game idea I started in 2003. Then I moved to IOS native and almost got Tenshi-Oni rolling out on IOS in 2012; yet another victim of that storm's aftermath. This later turned to Unity development.
With voice acting picking up and getting the honor to write my own published IOS development book, I somehow broke free from the IT recruiter purgatory and got a Unity developer job in NYC for a major production company. They sadly were wolves in sheep's clothing and I actually flat out quit them for the sake of my sanity and to not give such terribly ran places the satisfaction of having developers at 1/4th the pay and 4x the workload/stress. During that time, my anime figure store's php code got nerfed by some .htaccess hack that I to this day haven't had the chance to undo. (just frontend stuff, nothing else in terms of logins and whatnot)
There was a silver lining in me quitting as within that week I got scooped up by a smaller yet much more awesome group of developers in NYC who were in desperate need for a Unity developer who worked with game and particularly non game work; something I did exclusively for the few months I was with that horrid & vapid production company. Working with non game applications in Unity was (and still kind of is) something almost nobody is doing so I instantly became a need asset for this and other companies. This was ALL without the help from IT recruiters who now more than ever come to me with roles, to which I gladly say, "sorry, I'm taken." It's seriously like relationships...the moment you are taken, people want you.
Speaking of relationships. I started this site only a month before I met my fiancee Danielle in April of 2002 and we got engaged..get this.. Xmas eve 2007. The various trials of life always kept the wedding and a chance to move on in life far away. Thing is, in about 3 weeks, Danielle and I will be finally married...FINALLY! The wedding ceremony was officially signed for back in January....near the beginning of this long blog hiatus.
Up until now, the Unity work was indeed rather grueling with any all nighters and weeks of crazy debugging and fixes. The app was for an awesome famous beer company who made the process much easier to bare (unlike the jewelry client I had the misfortune to work with under that production company). I've even got to be the one responsible for this.
However, to think I've abandoned this blog, the site, the figure store, Tenshi-Oni and the voice acting you are completely wrong ^_^
This crazy 2016 year:
So... if there aren't many posts after the one.. soon after the wedding on Sept 10th and the much needed 2 week honeymoon vacation, we will be hard at work to get back to regular posts, finally get the store back up, back to Tenshi-Oni work and maybe upgrade the look and feel of our sites as well. (feeling very 2007 around here).
This year has been the most insane, eventful year I have ever witnessed in my almost 33 years alive; not just for me personally but in terms of public news and events.. from the insanity brought on by Pokemon GO last month, to the anime and gaming news, to the wonderful and much needed death of Gawker and to the explosion in new emerging tech. There is just too much to talk about and we should have been talking about more. The internet moves fast and forgets fast but as always, we are still here and will soon catch the next wave back into the fray.
Sounds weird, right? Claiming that video game development is an art but not contemporary when video games have only been around for the past ~40-50 years. Hear me out here because a lack of understanding this is positively ruining the game industry as well as the credibility of indie game development; possibly even game development as a whole.
Listen, I'm guilty of being one of the many over the past decade who pushed for categorizing both anime and video games as art. This is from decades of dealing with a usually right winged, religious conservative mentality that since the 80's tried to demonize our hobbies and games from either a position of ignorance or a position of envy that they have no discerning hobbies and dreams. Since my early years of gaming in the 80's I've been told a number of times that I was "wasting my time" with my love for video games from those in my own social circle, on public news and even my academic sphere of influence in Computer Science during the early 00's. Oddly, we are now seeing the same bullying from those on the far left.
It was a battle of creditability that many of us fought and still try to fight to this day. Thing is something (mostly) great happened. A few years after I
So the battle was won right? We did it. We, the gamers (and yes, even anime fans to some degree) didn't have to be shunned for liking a hobby that was scientifically proven to improve a number of our senses and expand our imagination; with the development of which encompassing the entirety of of Computer Science and also responsible for moving that field forward. Trust me, the old hat enterprise apps being outsourced to India in the early 00's were in no way improving Computer Science. Much of the mobile / smart phone revolution was due to gaming... as is the current revolution of VR and AR. Games have and will always move tech forward.
Not so fast with the celebration, though...
With this great improvement of the field and hobby came some issues; one of which was a ghost of gaming's past that almost killed it before. The main issue is that the popularity of games and thus the money that can be had from clinging onto it's coattails invited a feverish group of marketeers and later, non-tech contemporary "artists" into the field. The prior, the marketers, where actually the group who almost killed games in the 1980's, whom shunned games after a crash they created, and whom their succesors today like to keep the indie game scene in some sort of clique. If you are not a part of that clique, forget any preemptive rewards, accolades, blog posts and well... hype. The "clique" now includes a bunch of well positioned non engineer contemporary "artists" who don't know what it takes to make / code a game but want to "change" the industry similar to how a contemporary artist wants to "change" art with a canvas full of literal, actual shit.
See the above example of two games; Depression Quest (DQ) and Dark Souls 3 (DS3). First off, I initially honored Depression Quest's "doing something different" angle. Though one was by one person and the other was by a big budgeted studio, the politically motivated gate keeping created by the maker & bloggers supporting DQ shows what is wrong with the Western Indie game dev scene. Dark Souls was created by a person (Hidetaka Miyazaki) who, like me, was told he'd never be good enough for the industry. The creator of DQ took the fame to her head, not looking for improvement of the craft while Miyazaki stays humble and always trying to do better with each game since Demon Souls. If you are to be a true game designer, the latter is the way to go and how you make art out of the craft. The other way is like being a cat who sprays the yard to keep others out while also letting the yard die from the abundance of urine.
Like Art, Game Development and Programming is a Craft & Skill
The issues of Over-Hyping By Marketers, Devs and Computer Illiterate Journalism
Back when a non gaming marketing-based company like Warner Bros took over a then new industry when they bought out Atari in the 80's, it echoed the current situations of when major blogs posing as news sites (blogs younger than even this blog) haphazardly promote or degrade individuals via political motives with the end goal of who gets the most clicks while awarding and promoting games that aren't even out in the market. WB was an uptight, stuffy, suit-filled cubicle factory that saw the groups of free loving Atari devs, cabinet builders and it's former owner as a bunch of hooligans. In what became a development hell for Yar's Revenge's creator Howard Scott Warshaw, the computer illiterate marketers / owners of WB tried to ride the hype of the E.T movie and rush out a game based on the movie. This mistake and ignorance of what it takes for developers to make a good game was what lead to the crash of '83 (and not Warsaw's fault).
When you have people who are not familiar with the craft trying to sell the craft, you run into a big problem. There have been a number of companies who have done this mistake over the years but the most recent example of this was with the game, No Man's Sky. This one was a collision of two of the bad issues that arose in video games being in the mainstream. Not only was this game over hyped by bloggers and game "journalists" who hardly know about the technology (just how to spin things for clicks) it also was over hyped by it's main designer, director and yes, the rare thing of also being a developer as well.. Sean Murray. As a fellow dev who loves procedural computing, I really feel for why he was maybe a bit too excited about this. To make a game even like the final output of No Man's Sky all procedurally is a feat of the science. However, the current Indie culture does nothing but make insane expectations for upcoming games and applications. Marketers are paid to do just that, market products and make them look good. To a point we can see where they were coming from but we have to stop over selling something that isn't even out. Even worse, when you look at games like Fez or No Man's Sky... the games were not even out, yet the creators were given awards and accolades for what was nothing but hot air at the time of the awards. The indie "clique" is creating a hashtag leeching, gatekeeping "club" of people who are all high on themselves. Instead of the humble attitudes we see from someone like Miyazaki, we see nothing but pats on the back, oddly synchronized well edited Youtube videos and blog posts for a select batch of games the "club" feels worth it. Not only is this counter to what it means to be an indie dev, as all of these "indie" award conferences resemble the averous of the Oscars, but it also goes a few steps further in it's delusion by shunning and blackballing those who call them out. It's awarding devs too early in what the Oscar equivalent would be like giving the Oscar away to a movie where only the trailer was shown.
So, how do we fix this? How do we, the gamers and game devs stop the over hype? It's unfair to the gamers who are already tired of the now over two years of being demonized by people "in the industry" who don't even represent the end clients. It's also not fair to developers who work hard to get a game out but have to feverishly try to match the extra hype that might not have matched the scope of the work they had to do; an extra scope brought on by the blindly passed accolades & overzealous, uninformed bloggers.
To fix this, we have to realize that great game development is the combination of both great science and great art. Flimsy contemporary art methodology could maybe work on the most abstract, upper level...an after thought after the presentation, but won't fly as the foundation of the development. Secondly, in addition to gamers (and some devs) speaking out against the collusion in the game journalism and the indie scene, we have to also let it be known that journalists have to know at least some of the technology before they go out and hashtag bomb the hell out of social media about some "industry changing game." We need less business people and marketers behind the voice of games and more gamers and game devs being that voice. If you are a game dev like me, get blogging and though I've be a "dev" technically for over 15 years, I'm not some amazing dev, I'm always improving and learning. Yes, the blogs that spawned a few years after this one became huge and yes, they love to blackball devs and gamers who go against their marketing campaigns or political agendas (things that have no place in this field) but your voice can matter. Gamers still love it when a dev is open and honest about the hard work that it takes to make even a basic game. It might drown out the marketers who are only writing about games because it's a hot topic is just a feather in withered cap of journalism.
In the case of No Man's Sky, it was also much to the fault of it's director. So studios, indie or not, need to find that median between what they are delivering and representing it in a good promotional fashion to the gamers. Basically, under promise, over deliver.
2016 has been an interesting year. It started on a promising note after a low point for me when I had to quit from the NYC job that originally freed me from a dead end job. It was a horrid place to work for and a perfect example of the clueless world of the "posh" NYC elite. Things changed for us when I got the position as a Unity developer for a smaller startup company that was in desperate need to finish a project for a beer company. Without the efforts of me and my fellow devs, the company would have fell apart. As stated in the prior posts, success came after working the longest consecutive hours I've ever had to do. The rewards since have been wonderful. 2016, despite what is popular right now, was and will probably one of the greatest years in my life. Danielle and I, after dating only a month after launching this site almost 15 years ago and being engaged since 2007...finally, finally got married in September. Here's a picture of us...not too often do I show anything buy anime on the site but I do like shutting up the complainers of 2016...
Not everything was happy and wonderful for us in 2016. This was stated a while back on our Facebook page but I also promised to talk more about this...
Just before our wedding in September, we lost a dear friend and somebody who was very important to us at Chuck's Anime Shrine. Our main artist and probably one of our site's number one fans, Kenneos (real name, Victoria Chamizo)... tragically passed away. It was real a shock for Danielle and I. Her death and the fact that I've been extremely busy as the now lead developer of my current job... is why this blog and site was left dormant yet again for much of the year.
Here are some pictures Kenneos made for us.
This picture was the last one she made. Since our mascots matched the Pokemon Go Team colors so she was to draw all three with their respected teams; Fumi for Team Mystic, Demon for Team Valor and Angel Fumi for Team Instinct.. seen below. This was the only one she was able to finish since she past away shortly after this image's completion.
Her death almost made it feel like it was time to pack our bags here with the site as well. However... with everything going on the internet like the fact that many of the major gaming and "geek" blogs are now over ran by fan-hating marketing hipsters and the way Google, adsense and Youtube are screwing over the independent creator...there is a need for people of the "original internet" to step up.
Throughout the years we had a number of opportunities to be like many of the big names out there as we were the firsts in a number of things we either never cultivated or simply had inconveniently bad situations that prevented our progression. We were one of the first to post AMVs online, before Youtube was a glimmer in anyone's eye. We could have eventually moved to licenced anime streaming and been Crunchy Roll way before them. We were one of the first indie "geek" blogs posting games and anime reviews after receiving actual review copies from the industry. We could have been Kotaku before Kotaku...hell, before Kotaku went off the hipster/SJW deep end...we used to be one of their biggest supporters. We were one of the first anime figure businesses in the US to be a legit distributor of Good Smile Company & Figma figures back in 2006/2007...long before Crunchy Roll took that market into their own as well. We were one of the first sites to delve into Indie game development.
So many what ifs, so many missed chances. Yet... things this year have never been better and I've been coming into this industry on a different angle. I'm the lead dev to a rapidly growing startup that is all in the fields I love. Despite being blackballed/gate-keeped by some from doing anime voice acting...I've done a fair share of various other voice acting projects/ genres with others in the pipeline as we speak.
Still...various questions arise...
Should I continue blogging?
Should I continue updating this site and anime.fm?
Should I continue the Tenshi-Oni game?
Should I bring turn the anime store back on?
Should I continue making content online despite being one of the earliest content creators on the internet yet being a nobody in comparison to other content creators after many years?
Yes, yes I should continue all of that.
Kenneos would have wanted that and just the other day I got a message on my old AMVs on Youtube from a few people. They told me they were nostalgic about our AMVs and it was those videos that got them into anime, games and these hobbies that are now the forefront of popular culture... over 10 years ago. There are music artists who are still wishing to see the Tenshi-Oni game come to fruition. There are artists we support and others we would love to support by bringing their talents into our sites, our games and our content. There is so much we can do even as old forgotten starters of the internet. My job keeps me very, very busy but it's all doing the highest levels of development that is related or connected to these hobbies. I might not be able to get in as many updates and be able to man the anime figure business constantly (that is still going through a php "white screen of death" issue), but I have a wonderful wife who has been here since a month after this site started in April of 2002. You guys might hear more from here than me when I'm too busy to even post.
Since money is not as big of an issue as it used to be for this site and since I want to stick it to Google Adsense for trying to censor my blog posts...we'll be phasing out Adsense ads (I mean who views/clicks them anyways...I use adblock too). We'll instead let the anime figure store (sorry, it's still down ^^;;) and donations on our new Patreon Page keep the site going.
We hope that we are indeed "back" again. I did promise a song. A bit weird and cheesy, I know, but this song is what got us through the end of 2015 and into the start of the life changing year of 2016. It's honestly the song and cover version I want to licence in our Tenshi-oni game...granted it's from an anime too so who knows if I'd ever be able to licence the cover for use.
Happy end of 2016 and here's us moving on and moving forward.
(Warning: Explicit Language)