Finally! My first Master Grade Gunpla

24 November 2014 | 2 comments


It’s been over a year since I wrote about building my first Master Grade, and I finally did it. (The one I talked about last September ended up being a joint project between John and I since it was too hard for me—also it was a wedding gift so that made sense.)

For the uninitiated, Gunpla come in different grades of difficulty. Master Grade is a step up in both complexity and detail from what I usually build. I put the finishing touches on it Friday night while listening to ’90s emo music with my friends.

Gundam has really taken over my life lately. I’m reviewing Gundam Build Fighters Try for Anime News Network. I’m hyped as heck for the new Gundam: The Origin movie, which is based on the manga I can’t put down. I just constructed an enormous Gunpla holiday shopping guide. Most recently, I’ve just discovered Turn A Gundam amid my husband’s extensive Gundam collection. Considering it has a journalist supporting character and the main character’s name is Loran, I think I was destined to fall in love with it sooner or later! 

Actually, I had a whole post ready on the delightful absurdity of Turn A and why we all seriously need to watch more old anime, but then I found out I’m watching fansubs and in fact, Turn A won’t be legally in the U.S. until probably next year. So I’ll share my further thoughts on it closer to its release.


Until then, plenty of other decent shows are available, like Gundam Seed, which my Master Grade Strike Rouge comes from. Read all about how I built it on Gunpla 101.

Otaku Links: My oldtaku is showing

21 November 2014 | 1 comment


  • It’s almost time for the Twelve Days of Anime, Scamp’s long-running meme in which bloggers write about the anime they watched this year. I’m already writing up my posts in advance. You should participate, too!
  • The Shirobako cast illustrates the egregious world of anime income disparities using the bright, cheerful character designs it is known for. The show itself does a great job humanizing the thankless jobs of animators, too.
  • Also in Oldtaku News: Anime Web Turnpike is kaput, just shy of 20 years old. I used to use this in middle school to find Gundam Wing “shrines,” as we called fan pages back then. Anybody else remember those days?
  • I love when people leave their website links while commenting on Otaku Journalist, because then I get to find new blogs to read. Lately I’ve been enjoying reader Amby Felix’s cooking blog, where she makes treats inspired by her favorite anime and video games.
  • “It seems that when you want to make a woman into a hero, you hurt her first. When you want to make a man into a hero, you hurt… also a woman first.” Leigh Alexander on our one-step sympathetic games protagonist problem.

Art via Twitter The Comic

Christmas present ideas for anime fans

17 November 2014 | 1 comment

When I was in seventh grade, I spent a weekend carefully printing out pictures of the four main characters of The Slayers, cutting them out, and pasting them onto my school binder. I wish I could show my 13-year-old self how it is today, now that you can buy merchandise from T-shirts to school supplies for every possible anime.

I love that convenience, but what I don’t like is how so much anime merchandise is the same wherever I go online. So I set a precedent with last year’s Otaku Holiday Shopping Guide to showcase something other than endless Zazzle shirts featuring Pocky.

Here are twelve gift ideas fit for that special anime fan or Japanophile on your holiday shopping list. As usual, Amazon links are affiliate; all other links are not.


1. Olympus Poster. Boomslank’s indie designs that are evocative of anime, but not fan art. Their latest poster is inspired by Gundam Unicorn. $20,

2. Snack Subscription. A monthly box stuffed full of Japanese treats to supplement even the most ravenous otaku diet. $25,

3. Geek Travel Guide. Because reading A Geek in Japan is sure as heck a lot cheaper than actually making the trip. $10,


4. Party Game. Channel A: The Anime Pitch Party Game was invented by my friend Ewen Cluney and is crazy fun. $19,

5. Personalized Stamp. In Hiragana, my name is ろうれん. What’s yours? Get it on a hand-carved custom stamp. $20, StampsbySachi on Etsy.

6. Bento Book. I bought it because of anime, but I actually find myself eating healthier when I cook recipes from this book. $12,


7. Tentacle Nails. None will be the wiser when you wear the appendages of anime’s most infamous sea creature on your fingers. $10,

8. Fullmetal Makeup. Wear your love for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood to the office without getting in trouble with the dress code. $1 – $6,

9. Kawaii Shirt. Visual artist OMOCAT’s fashion forward designs take inspiration from anime, games, and glitch art. $30 – $45,


10. Pixel Pad. Support an independent artist and write the most kawaii grocery lists ever with this “Dreamy Tokyo” notepaper. $8.50,

11. Doki Doki Print. A minimalist typographic print that any shoujo manga fan will understand. $13, vbtypography on Etsy.

12. Snowy Figure. Some Nendoroids are simply works of art, like this winter special edition of Hatsune Miku. $110,

See also: The Otaku Holiday Shopping Guide 2013

Otaku Journalist is five years old!

14 November 2014 | 10 comments


thenandnowMe in early 2010 and late 2014. Still blogging, still wearing funny things on my head. 

This is my 563rd post. That means I’ve been blogging about 112 days a year for five years now here on Otaku Journalist.

I try to write something on my anniversary every year. In 2010 I had a giveaway. In 2011 I did a recap. In 2013 I summed up my entire life as it grew around the blog, perhaps to make up for 2012 when I simply forgot!

I started blogging because I thought it’d be a helpful way to start my career as a writer. Now that I have one (no small thanks to this blog), I write to have somewhere to share my independent thoughts, to have a home online where I’m not indebted to any company and I don’t have to answer to anyone about what I post. I keep it up to make my mark amidst the noise of the Internet.


Various Otaku Journalist blog themes from over the years. There have been three total.

Blogs are so temporary. If you don’t keep them up it’s like they never existed. There’s so much interesting content to read on the Internet that if Otaku Journalist disappeared, nobody would miss it but me. That’s how it should be. People say the blog is dead, but it’s really only blogging for the approval of other people that’s a dead concept. I love my readers and I count myself lucky for every person I manage to drag away from Facebook or Twitter for a moment with my weird anime thoughts, but I also know it’s up to me to earn their time.

This year I’ve been experimenting with more permanent ways of making my writing last, namely in books. Otaku Journalism was completely a result of this blog, and of the back and forth I’ve been lucky to have with journalism students ever since I became a journalist.

I think the most fitting way to celebrate Otaku Journalist’s 5th birthday is to make my knowledge more accessible. So starting today, Otaku Journalism is $2.99. Permanently.

Whether you’ve been reading Otaku Journalist for five years or five months or five days, thank you for taking a look. Let’s see where the next five years take us.

Otaku Links: No, it’s not Friday

12 November 2014 | 1 comment


Welcome to the extra-early edition of Otaku Links! As it turns out, this Friday is Otaku Journalist’s FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY not that I’m excited or anything, so I want to do a special post for that. Until then, enjoy some Wednesday links.

  • I’ve only turned in one episode review so far this week, for Yowamushi Pedal. I compared Midousuji and Machimiya as effective villains.
  • More writing by me! This has nothing at all to do with anime, but I wrote an essay about my first year of being married over at Femsplain.
  • Where do you buy anime figures? Confusedmuse knows, and she has a massive collection to back up her knowledge. Here are their top picks.
  • Is anime a genre or a medium? I’d say medium myself since it spans dozens of genres (action, fantasy, romance, etc.) but Serdar takes a close look.
  • Kernel, the Daily Dot’s Sunday magazine, published an entire issue on what they’re calling the geek girl revolution, spanning every topic from girl gamers to woman inventors to geek fashion.

Photo via boredpanda

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