Tag Archives: convention

Back and Forth

The old year ended, the new has begun and as I didn’t feel like writing two posts, you get a combined look back and ahead.

2017 has been a year of firsts

  • The first time I’ve become part of a RPG group, where I wasn’t just a visitor.
  • My first own Blog-thing (Fairy Tale Summer)
  • The first time I had Guest Authors on my Blog
  • My first time visiting Vienna and Budapest
  • My first time at the Connichi.
  • I had my first ever Tonsillitis.
  • My first time at a book fair (BuchBerlin)
  • My first proper publication (Wintermond)
  • The first time I organized the writing of a story with more than one other authoress. (Adventskalender 2017)
  • The first time I really felt like an authoress.

and maybe some other things I can’t remember right now.

I’ve also met a lot of incredible people through Blogging and the Nornennetz that I’m very grateful to and for.

What else did I do?

  • I helped translate Gamers: The Series 0 and The Shadow Menace by Zombie Orhpeus Entertainment & Dead Gentlemen Production
  • I started working on The Queens Wish.
  • I participated in several Blog Parades, some concerning writing, others about books.
  • I send in three stories for anthologies (one mentioned above, two don’t have a result yet, but one is the English version of an old story).
  • Two more of my stories were published through the Bücherstadt Kurier.
  • I revisited Prague and Kassel.

and so forth …

What does this year hold in store?

  • I’ll be attending the Leipziger Buchmesse for the first time, I’ve already gotten accredited as Blogger.
  • I hope to finish re-working an old Project and publishing it – infos on the progress can me found under the Hashtag #AKWP 😉
  • I hope to finish at least one bigger project and potentially publish.
  • I hope to get positive feedback from the stories I sent in.
  • I want to do another Fairy Tale Summer, though not in Summer.
  • I want to do another Nerd-Week, probably in the week from Free Comicbook Day to Gratis Comic Tag.
  • I want to write more regularly.
  • I want to keep at reading the books that are waiting for my on my to-read pile and try not to buy that many new ones …

I’m not sure if I’ll be travelling that much this year, but I guess I’ll concentrate on exploring Germany again.

But the one thing I have to consider most this year:

Do I keep blogging in English or do I change to permanently bilingual or even German entirely?
I haven’t gotten much feedback from English readers and with something published in German and me being part of a German network makes it kind of hard to only write in English … but both are quite exhausting …
I’ll have to think on this a little more – feedback appreciated.

Well everyone:

Happy New Year! May all your plans and wishes come true!

PoiSonPaiNter

On the Road: September vacation

As I’ve just returned from my September vacation I felt like giving you a little overview of what has happened before I resume a more „normal“ schedule again.

Three one quarter capitals in nine days

I started my first longer vacation time in the beginning of September: Nine Days of exploring with Janzy.

We went from Berlin to Prague by train and stayed there in a Hostel for the night. From afternoon til the evening we went through all those alleys and streets filled with tourists, across the crammed Charles Bridge, all the way up to Prague Castle and back, where we also managed to see the last display of the Astronomical Clock. We wanted to do some more exploring on the next day, but the search for our bus station delayed us quite a bit and we pretty much only managed to have proper lunch before we departed by bus to Vienna where we stayed until our return flight back home.

For three days we used up the Vienna Pass for sightseeing where we visited amongst others Schönbrunn Castle, UNO City, the Prater and many more (I’m by the way thinking about extra posts for the efficient usage of the Vienna and London pass, anyone interested?). On our previous to last day we followed up on an invitation by EmmaN of the Nornennetz for self-made Zwetschgenknödel, which were really tasty and just one of several dishes we tried.

Our last day we used for a day trip to Budapest by bus. After some struggling with the transportation system we took a look at the two joined cities and soon discovered that we should give it a little more time and that we were pretty exhausted from all the walking around the days before…

The next day we already flew back to Berlin and with the next parts of a recording of „Moby Dick“ I returned to Neubrandenburg.

Because I’m clever and had to work three days between vacations. 😀

Con’st du noch oder schläfst du schon?*

The katzekagische Kürbisträger**

After the German Comic Con last year and the failed attempt to go there last year, Schmusejacke, AnnaTao and I finally managed to attend the Connichi in Cassel. And yes, one day I was in cosplay  as well – the day after I wore a fandom mix. 😀

With two days remaining we explored some places I had visited before when I stayed at Nazgul’s in 2009: Sababurg and Zoo and the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe.
One evening we ate at a front cooking Mongolian buffet restaurant were I tried kangaroo for the first time. It’s pretty chewy
You can read up on our exploits through our Twitter page: ASAP Chronicles.

* I’m sorry this wordplay is hard to translate as it uses the IKEA slogan „Wohnst du noch oder lebst du schon?“ (probably used as „Make a house a home“ in English, literally: „Do you still reside or already live?“) mashed up with con as short for convention in a form of can („kannst“). So probably something along the lines of: You’re still going or already asleep?
** Cosplay wordplay: Gaara, the Kazekage from Naruto, Katze is the German word for cat, Kürbisträger means pumpkin carrier: catzekagerian pumpkin carrier. 😉

A phenomenal finish

Celebrating their 25th anniversary I couldn’t resist to end the vacation with an Edguy concert in the Columbia Hall in Berlin. It was great to finally see them in a standalone concert after only seeing them at a Festival before. They are after all one of my first Metal Bands. It was stuffy and great. 😀

What’s next?

Well, tomorrow and Monday I’ve got to work. Tuesday is a public holiday in Germany, German Unity Day, something that leaves quite a bitter taste, seeing that so many Germans made quite a stupid choice during elections last weekend… If your German is good enough, I recommend you to check out the Hashtag #wirschreibenDemokratie (we’re writing Democracy) by the Nornennetz, where different people talk about their view on the election results.

In this time I still have to do a couple of things:

  • write a post for the #Buchpassion Blogparade – which I should have done already…
  • proof-read the translations of the newest Gamers episode – something I don’t NEED to do, but I still want to.
  • finish stuff for Nornennetz projects
  • finally get the postcards for the Märchensommer ready to send off.
  • continue working on this years Advent Calendar.
  • finally start with Inkblood for a Reading Circle that is currently facing difficulties…

and probably something else that I forgot…maybe I should go on vacation again…

See you around,

PoiSonPaiNter

TimeLash 2015: Cosplay-Time

As I told you in my Review for the TimeLash do I want to expand on something I didn’t talk about, namely: The Cosplay competition.
What was supposed to be just us having fun turned into something I don’t even know how to call it, but read for yourself.

Preparations, preparations…

As I told you did Schmusi, Anna and I participate in the Cosplay competition – and I still don’t know what lead me to agree to that. Still, we had a lot of fun preparing our performance.
Quite soon we decided that the sketch we wanted to portray would feature the Tenth Doctor (Schmusi), Donna Noble (me) and Rose Tyler (Anna), wearing a Gallifreyan Wedding gown based on this FanArt.
Thinking back and forth Schmusi then wrote a little sketch for us and I added a couple of thoughts to it, but most of it was slightly changed again when we recorded the whole thing. As explanation of why Rose was wearing that dress, we simply decided that Jack Harkness gave it to her.
We laughed a lot while recording and practising the acting part of the sketch and the more often we heard it and the more running gags (including but not limited to: noise effects, quotes and variations therefore) we created for ourselves, the latter didn’t always work out and we ended up laughing our way through a test-run.
When we arrived in Kassel on Friday, I tried my wig for the first time and Schmusi couldn’t stop laughing as I looked like an old hag to her, so we decided to get some hair tint for me. Well, that didn’t turn out too well, as it barely made my original hair colour a bit lighter, but nowhere near the red of Donna. So we had to use the wig after all and Schmusi styled it a bit, so she wouldn’t have to laugh about it.
Until the very last minute before our departure to the Con on Sunday Schmusi and Anna worked on the last tweaks on the costumes. Schmusi’s suit for the Tenth Doctor was already finished, but Anna’s Rose-gown still needed some work and my cerecloth/table cloth-coat (they couldn’t get their hands on fake leather in time, so they had to improvise using this) got its final touches on Saturday. Schmusi even sacrificed her Sherlock-Cosplay coat pockets, so I could put my hands into my table cloth, yay. 😀 When the coat was finished we practised our performance once again in Nazgul’s living room and to get a feeling for it, I put the coat on. We didn’t even make it through the first part of the sketch, as the coat creaked when I crossed my arms and thanks to that and the smell of the table cloth we just burst out laughing, unable to continue any further. The next try Anna made a pouty face during one of her lines and from that time onwards Schmusi always saw a Jigglypuff whenever she said that line.
As last minute addition I prepared a little sign saying „From Jack with Love“ – were I tried to imitate the characters hand writing as it was shown in the Torchwood book the others got at the Convention – that should indicate that Rose’s dress was a present by him – some people took it as Rose was the present, but we’re fine with that, too -, which Schmusi sew to the dress shortly before our performance.
You see, we had a lot of fun during this part. 😀

The Play

As we haven’t released it on YouTube (yet?) – and it’s in German anyway -, you’ll only get a Transcript for now (and maybe later I’ll add a link to the Channel).

<Intro>
Doctor: „Once more for you Donna, I am the Doctor and I am right. What I say will be done“
Donna: „Oh?“
Doctor: „Ye-hes. You are my Companion and I am the Tour Guide. Whom of us is automatically right?“ <points to self>
Donna: „Me“ <points to self>
Doctor: „Why?“ <in a whiny tone>
Donna: „Without ME, YOU’d still be running around with those three brats looking for the Philosopher’s Stone!“
Doctor: „That – that was Beginners Luck!“ <protests>
Donna: <nods sarcastically> „I am right and you listen to me now. Good thing we  cleared that up“
Doctor: „Of course Donna. You’re right Donna-“
Donna: „So, where to now?“ <interrupts>
Doctor: „But at least my Tardis still likes me and sees me as an honourable owner“ <touches Tardis>
<Fault noise>
Doctor: „What?“
Donna: „See, the Tardis is on my side. Women do stick together after all“ <touches Tardis>
<Fault noise>
Doctor: „She’s is on my side! I knew it!“ <jeers and touches Tardis>
<Fault noise>
<Tardis Alarm noise>
Donna: „What’s happening?“
Doctor: „You tell me! You’re the one who’s right!“ <starts shaking due to the turbulences>
Donna: <grabs suit lapels and shakes him> „Don’t get cocky with me! What’s happening?“
<They stumble about in the Tardis until the noise ceases and everything is silent>
Rose: „The Tardis! Finally a le-“ <opens Tardis door, steps inside and sees Donna and Doctor, steps back>
Donna: „And who are YOU now?“
Doctor: „Gallifrey“ <takes Donna’s hands away from him and walks over to inspect the gown>
Doctor: „That looks like…hmm…that looks…like…like the needlework of Lord Needles!“ <he realizes while poking and pulling at the dress>
Rose: „Doctor! It’s me, Rose!“
Doctor: „No. No. You’re just a hallucination! You can’t be here!  You’re in Norway. I left you at the beach…“ <recalls sadly>
Donna: „Ah, that’s how that happened. Was she right as well?“
Doctor: „Not now Donna“
Rose: „Yes, you left me behind, but I can’t be mad at you for that. But I made it. I’m here. I’m finally back!“ <tells him and strokes his cheek>
Doctor: „Ro-Rose…“ <steps back>
Donna: „You Dösbaddel*. The kids real!“ <smacks him over the head>
Doctor: „Ouch! What’s that for now?!“ <looks at Donna, who points at Rose>
Doctor: „You’re – still here…“
Rose: „I told you so!“**
Donna: „Don’t you want to tell her something? You know, from back then?“ <nudges him and has to point him back towards Rose while he talks>
Rose: „Doctor?“
Doctor: „Y-yes. Yes. Y-yes, it’s time. Rose Tyler, I -“
<Outro>***
*Northern German phrase for dim-wit/dumbo
** This is the Jigglypuff line
*** I listened to this often enough that I quoted most of it by heart before I checked the recording and corrected the few mistakes I made and that even though we didn’t say any of those words live on stage… >_<

Well, that’s it. Our little sketch. It’s nothing special and as far away from canon as you can probably get, but with Rose turning up before Stolen Earth, it’s kind of hard to stay there…
We considered it to be fun and it wasn’t supposed to fit in with canon anyway, it is just something to accompany the costumes…

The Competition

On Saturday we met up with the von PuchsKes and Frank, the couple that presented the competition – and were positively surprised how supportive and lovely they were and it eased the nervousness a bit. We talked with them about issues and negativity Schmusi had experienced at and especially after other competitions, as some reviewers tore her performance apart due to her physical appearance. Kes told us she had experienced similar things in her times as a Cosplayer and that we shouldn’t let stuff like that get to us.
After the Panels were done for the day we used the chance to see how less-large-than-we-thought the stage actually was and try how far we could/had to go to have the space we’d need for the movement during the sketch.
When it was time for the competition, everyone squeezed into the small space beside the stage and one after the other got called to their performance. Some were showing their incredible sewing skills, others had collected their Cosplay over the years. Some said a few lines, others just used the stage as a catwalk. It was a variety of people and Cosplays, fitting for the occasion.
And then there was us:
An unusual group of three stoutly build women playing a pre-recorded sketch, with Cosplays that could not match any of the high quality Cosplays, but were fitted for the person and created using the material available (*cough*table cloth*cough*).
We didn’t plan on winning anything anyway.
We just wanted to present our little sketch and make the people in the audience laugh, when we weren’t allowed to do it ourselves.
And they did.
They laughed when the Tardis didn’t want to work with The Doctor.
They laughed when Donna smacked The Doctor over the head.
And that was enough for us. It felt great.
We didn’t look perfect, but at least recognizable.
Neither of us fell or started laughing throughout the performance and that’s what matters to us.
It was a lot of fun to play our little sketch, even though all of us were awfully nervous.

The Feedback

Obviously we didn’t win any of the prices, as those were given to the people that actually deserved them, but we did get a few gimmicks and some positive response by a few people we met afterwards.
E.g. a young girl came up to us and delightedly told us that we portrayed her favourite characters and that she really liked how cheeky our (my 😉 ) Donna was and that really lifted our spirits. Some of the winners and participants and a few other guests gave us their approval as well, which is really great, but can’t compete with the girl. 😀
Still, there was also negative Feedback, though I am not entirely sure if I actually want to call it that, I guess negative Opinions would be the better term.
In the official Facebook group one commenter announced that she was afraid for the on-stage Tardis at some point of our terrible performance. Another guy wrote in his review for Sunday that when he tries remembering our performance his nose starts bleeding and his ears start to buzz. When I asked him – I admit, I didn’t tell him, who I was, but it would have been easy for him to make the connection – he revealed that he considered the performance to be quite bad and that someone even showed him a similar sketch from an English convention and said we just copied it (If someone knows that video, feel free to send me a link, because we had no idea a thing like that existed), but instead of simply asking US, he spread the misinformation.
Though this could be the reason that so far you could barely see us on any of the competition shots…no one wants to include people that just steal their ideas…or wear awful Cosplays…
While I wrote the review for the Convention another German review, this time from the WhoView, was published that called our performance embarrassing and bad Fanfiction that turned Rose into a Time Lady and just wanted to see some naughty action between the Tenth Doctor and Rose, disregarding all female empowerment in 5 minutes and I don’t even want to go into more detail about the paragraph that talked about us in a very bad light and a quite polemic way, as I simply cannot understand how one could get THAT idea from our story… or does anyone feel the same after having read my explanation and the Transcript above? I mean, it’s a flipping Wedding gown/dress, by a Time Lord randomly called Lord Needles that was given to her by Jack to make her look pretty when she finally meets the Doctor again. o.O
Still, it created quite a discussion in the Facebook Group, when we spoke up about the fact that we didn’t agree with the way he talked about us…though we are not entirely sure how many people noticed the connection. We didn’t mean to start such an uproar from it, but it just felt wrong to stay silent. I admit, some of the phrases used in our statements weren’t thought out properly, but I do believe that was the initial rage at the way it was written. Yet, the author and his friends continued talking down on Anna and everyone that tried to defend us, repeating over and over again that it’s nothing bad and just the way the author talks/writes and no one should get agitated by it and it just spiralled upwards from there and all the sides got more and more frustrated by the whole thing.
From what I now learned about the author, I believe it was deliberately written in that way to cause a discussion or at least tuck at the strings of those jumping at the chance to discuss something like that, but I still don’t agree with the way it was written, as it – as a part of the group – felt insulting and degrading, even though he didn’t use any direct insults and wrapped everything in more or less harmless phrases. It still hurt and there would have been several different ways to portray such a dislike for something without stepping on the people involved in the process. The author chose this way of writing and all we can do is accept his decision. I feel like no one deserves a treatment like that, that’s why I will not return fire with fire by insulting the author. We accept your opinion, we do not agree with it and are disappointed that you resorted to such tones to describe us and not even considered talking to us in person, but we accept it and hope that this settles the matter once and for all.
At some point the organizers got involved into this – we had thought about informing them, but in the end didn’t do it -, which caused the Link to the article to be deleted from the group. The author and the boss had a talk and the author apologized to him about the fact that his article resulted in such an uproar and as punishment the author has to participate in next years Cosplay competition. So far he has not said a word to us on this matter nor did any of the officials contact us about it.
I don’t care if someone insults me, I’ve been a target to a lot of negativity before, but Schmusi and Anna are two of the most amazing people I had the fortune of meeting during the last couple of years. They give so much for their friends and work hard on different Cosplays using whatever material they can get their hands on, all the while juggling the organisation of a regular Fandom meeting and everyday madness. They don’t get much in return and then something like this happens to them – again – and this time in a community that for a brief moment felt different, felt more open minded, felt like family.
It is a really disappointing and sad turn of events that what we anticipated and feared to happen prior to entering the competition did indeed happen and that in a Fandom that is supposedly so inclusive and supportive, where individuals suddenly turn on you behind your back because you don’t fit in with the norm – at least that’s what we get out of this. With the encouragement from the Puchs and the overall atmosphere of the Convention we had really hoped that we’d get the respect every participant of a competition deserves and not become the butt end of a polemic joke.
Yes, our Doctor is not as thin as he is supposed to be and neither are Rose and Donna.
Yes, our Donna had a table cloth for a coat and the rest didn’t look nearly as good as some of the more expensive costumes, but we were still recognizable.
Yes, we aren’t the best Cosplayers, let alone actors in the world. (Heck, it was MY first time Cosplaying at all…)
But we had fun and the audience laughed and – I dare to say and some of the positive responses in the group agree with me here – had a good time and that was all we wanted. Obviously except those that fled the room or whose insides crumbled while witnessing our disaster of a performance, but that’s to be expected.
And if anyone has anything to say about us and/or our performance that person should at least have the decency to tell it to our faces – or through a message – and not start talking behind our backs, but that doesn’t mean we’re not open for constructive criticism, so we know how we can improve.
Regardless of that would we like to thank all those lovely people that stood up for us and/or send us encouraging words! After all the negativity this whole ordeal created your words helped us to find the strength again to look at this matter from a different angle. Thank you!

What I got from this experience is

  • As long as you have fun, you shouldn’t let others negative opinions bother you – which they still do and it will hurt, but you have to try to not let them get to you too much and overcome them.
  • As soon as you start playing, you don’t notice the audience any more.
  • Getting applause and laughter while on stage feels great.
  • Table cloth can be quite warm.
  • Anna is a yellow broccoli.
  • Schmusi wears children’s caskets instead of sand shoes.
  • With my wig not prepared properly I’m an old hag with a standing table cloth coat. 😀

Anyway, I know I’m repeating myself, but we still had a lot of fun with this and as we enjoyed the recording part of the preparations and really like the result, we decided to do more with that. So stay tuned. 😉
I/we don’t know if we will be at the next TimeLash as well, we would like to go, but aside from the planning, the whole negative behind our backs discussion regarding our performance really makes us want to stay away, but at the same time there is this urge to not back down, to show everyone that we ain’t bovvered by those remarks and we obviously will continue to create and learn and have fun doing what ever it is we want to do.
PoiSonPaiNter

TimeLash 2015

Even though I am known for taking ages for actually publishing a review for something I’ve been at, I occasionally manage to do something on time and this shall be one of them.
As I have mentioned recently did I attend the TimeLash , the first Doctor Who convention in Germany with AnnaTao and Schmusi from the HGWAnime last weekend and I’d like to tell you a bit about it.

Funding the Fun

Some time last year three German fans (Simone Violka, Ralf Schmidt and Pascal Salzmann) with roots in Convention Management and the like, decided to try and start a Crowd Funding campaign to be able to organize the very first German Doctor Who Convention.
I read about it on Facebook, I believe, and talked about it with a friend from studying, but she didn’t want to participate, so I canned the plans. During one of the HGWAnime-meetings I casually asked Schmusi and Anna if they had heard about it and they didn’t. Well, it didn’t take long for the seed of curiosity to take root.
I discussed it with my parents and my Mum pushed me to buy the ticket, as I would have been disappointed if I hadn’t. So Anna ordered three tickets for us and I asked Nazgul if he’d let us stay in his place and that sorted out the sleeping part of the trip.
In March I shortly struggled with the thought of actually attending and told Schmusi and Anna that I wasn’t sure if I’d really be able to accompany and drive them, due to my Mum’s increasing health issues, as I didn’t want to leave while she was feeling unwell. In a cruel twist of fate that problem solved itself when Mum decided to leave us the next weekend. But I know she wanted me to go and enjoy the weekend, so I decided to do just that.

Twitter-Mania

I’m not entirely sure how we got to that idea, but somehow during the fitting session on Thursday before the Convention we got the idea to start a Twitter-Account and live-tweet throughout it. Said and done and the [ASAP Chronicles] were born.
We tweeted a lot of silly stuff ranging from comments regarding our hour-long drives, the convention itself or our preparations for the Cosplay contest. Most of it is in German, but we did even have some English Tweets, if you want to know what the German ones mean, just let me know. 🙂
As we had a lot of fun tweeting – especially I often asked for the Zwitscher-Phone/Twitter-Phone, as I do not own a smartphone myself(,yet ) – we decided to keep the account longer than the convention and also tweet stuff from the HGWAnime or other adventures. And as it doesn’t really fit with my own Page, we decided to create a new Facebook Page that accompanies the Twitter Page.
You can find it here: [ASAP Chronicles].

Dalek on the loose

As we arrived on Friday we had some time to find the Convention side before we went to get our groceries for the weekend. The Crew was busy with the last preparations and we took a sneak peek through the windows and already saw a Dalek, standing right in the middle of the room. The anticipation rose and we couldn’t wait for the Convention to start.

Pümpel!

Pümpel! Pew Pew!


As the other Cosplay was planned for Sunday Schmusi and Anna decided to keep it relatively simple with a River Song (Anna) and Dalek (Schmusi) Cosplay, while I simply wore my Cyberman-Shirt. 😀
Schmusi’s Cosplay earned a lot of looks and comments, especially the whisk and the plunger (Pümpel in German) she used as improvised weapons. Though we did have to take a de-tour as we realized half-way on the way to the Convention that our Dalek’s memory had a failure as we forgot the plunger at Nazgul’s. Though it kind of became a running gag, that I competed with the satnav in regards to our arrival time…I mean, we were right when it came to judging the time we needed to get from Greifswald to Kassel. WE anticipated all those traffic jams! >_<
The Dalek hat

The duck-taped Dalek hat


Anyway, aside from weaponry, our Dalek had a very cool hat, that I ended up carrying around most of the time.
The Convention was split in five areas: Panel room, entrance, Signing/Props room, Photo-Session/Wardrobe and Merchandise room.
In the Merchandise room there were several tables from different retailers and one in particular by The Who Shop, the official merchandise shop from London and it was quite exciting when a woman (I believe she is called Alex) at their booth was utterly fascinated by said Dalek hat. 😀 Though we utterly failed to put it properly on for her and kind of completely wrecked it in the process and we had to duck-tape the different pieces back together – good thing I still had some of it left in my car or as we lovingly called it that weekend: The Tardis-Tortenschachtel (Cake Box).
Anyway, that day before we started exploring all the different areas we sat down to watch the opening ceremony that started with a little delay, but was quite interesting, as this way we managed to see all the guests up on stage. It was quite surreal, especially when we strolled through the Props part of the other area and there just beside/behind us was e.g. The Doctor  (Paul McGann) or the voice of the Daleks, Cybermen and many others: Nicholas Briggs (Occasionally he and some of the guests even passed by, which was just as weird). Later we sat in the Panel of former Script Editors Terrence Dicks and Andrew Cartmel for a moment, but decided to leave, when we noticed that even though it was quite interesting to listen to all their stories, it was hard for us – especially Anna – to follow and understand Mr. Dicks, which was really quite unfortunate… 🙁
I was upgraded

I was upgraded


The rest of the day we mostly spent upstairs in a hallway in front of the Merchandise room or outside, as neither of us had that much energy or interest in the Panels and there wasn’t much else to do. We chatted and joked a bit with a group of Cosplayers that started a Vote Saxon campaign (with very smelly flyers…), but we mostly just relaxed or walked around taking pictures of other Cosplayers or ourselves using the displayed Props by the Rockin Robin Dr Who Cosplay Fanclub.
I would have liked to listen to Mr. McGann’s Panel, but the room was already full, so I only stayed in the back for a moment, heard some of it and then decided to go back upstairs to the others.
What we did manage to see completely that day was the Entertainment-Show by Toby Hadoke, which pretty much was my highlight of the whole weekend. He was easy to understand, a lot of fun and even if I don’t know all of the Classic Who stuff, his jokes were on point and absolutely hilarious. That show could have gone two more hours and I doubt anyone would have been bored. 😀
In the evening there was a special Star Dinner for a few selected people, but we instead got back to Nazgul’s place and in a team-effort cooked a very tasty Soljanka.

The big Finish

Still half asleep I caused a minor uproar when I suddenly announced „Guys, it’s seven o’clock!“ after taking a look at my phone. With a grumble Schmusi then reminded me of the clock change and told me that it was still six o’clock. So we kind of woke up before our alarm…oops…
Anyway, as this was the big day for my very first Cosplay and some things weren’t finished at Anna’s we got up early to prepare for the day and still somehow ended up arriving late. But still in time to hear some of Mr. Briggs Panel and it was really great. I even dared to ask a question, but ended up formulating it in the most difficult way possible, but he still answered the question I tried to ask. 😀 He just seems to be a really likeable person. Though all of the guests seemed likeable. Jason Heigh-Ellery from Big Finish even let us/me talk him into trying out a self-playing piano in the hallway upstairs, the day before, though it was unfortunately already turned off by then. 🙁
Big Finish by the way had a large booth as well, but as someone who gets easily bored by simply listening to something, I’m afraid non of their work – as amazing as it is – would help me to overcome the urge to do something entirely different while listening and then stop paying attention altogether, which is quite a pity. 🙁
Still, the writing process interests me quite a bit and while Schmusi and Anna got the last instructions for the Cosplay competition, I sat down in the writers Panel with Nev Fountain, Terrance Dicks, Andrew Cartmel and Nicholas Briggs. It was quite interesting and far too short…
Right after that the Cosplay competition started and everyone gathered in the small space beside the less-large-than-we-thought stage. We were ninth in line and I think at some point I just stopped thinking and simply concentrated on what was ahead of me, but more on that in a separate post.
After the competition we made a last round through the booths, were I got myself an AdiposeFunko Pop! figurine. The other two got – amongst other things – some Dalek merchandise the other day, but I’ve already purchased a couple of things that interest me over the last few months, so my purse didn’t cry as much as it did for others. Though I was kind of thinking about buying a totally un-Who-ish Groot-Scaler and was partly inclined to try getting one of the Supernatural mystery-Mini with the strange feeling that if I did, with my luck, I probably would’ve ended up picking Gabriel…it was irritating enough that one of the crew guys looked an awful lot like the actor…
Anyway, that figurine was still cheaper than the picture that was taken of us on our way back…stupid speeding camera…but taking the longer landscape route gave us a lot of time to discuss future plans, that you’ll hear about, when they are a bit more concrete. 😉
The last thing on our list, was the official ending round. While waiting for it Anna asked if she could have two of the WhoCast’s – the German DW Podcast that was also present at the Convention – posters and they indeed gave them to her. So she and Schmusi now have a Dalek and a Tardis poster from the WhoCast. 🙂 One of the posters still had some easy to remove poster glue left that Anna used to tinker a bit. The Dalek didn’t really work out, but the Adipose turned out quite well. 😀

You need a lot of imagination for this one

You need a lot of imagination for this one


Not so much for this one

Not so much for this one

The Conclusion/Finishing Panel was then another/the last chance to see most of the guests – some had already departed. Everyone said their thanks and the three organizers received a fully deserved standing ovation at the end of their speech. Everything was impressively well organized for the first instalment of a Convention, the star-guests were great, the crew was great and the whole atmosphere was quite familiar and nice. All in all a really great experience, even though we didn’t get any autographs or photo-shoots and simply used our time there to be amongst others with a similar interest.

So, a huge thank you for an amazing weekend!
I/we don’t know if we will be at the next TimeLash, we would like to go, but there are a lot of things to factor in regarding the trip and some of them will be explained in the follow-up post.
PoiSonPaiNter

PoiSonPaiNter goes Twitter!

At least for a little while…
As I told you on Monday am I attending the TimeLash this weekend with AnnaTao and Schmusi from the HGWAnime, who are also known as CosMamas Tipps.
For this event we decided to join forces and created a Twitter Page to live-tweet our experiences at the first German Doctor Who Convention!
If you want to follow our adventures look no further than:

@[ASAP Chronicles].

If you don’t have or don’t want to use Twitter feel free to check out my Facebook-Page, as the Tweets will be posted there as well.
Most of the Tweets will be in German, but I guess I’ll manage to sneak in one or the other English one. 😉
I’m quite exited for this weekend and hope you’ll have fun following our adventures through Space and Time.
Stay tuned and watch out for talkative birds! 😀
PoiSonPaiNter
 

On a Side Note #3

I feel like I’m really not getting anything done these days…
I managed to low and behold publish five posts in September and four so far in October and seven of those were Weekend Guesses
I don’t even know what it is I’m doing that keeps me from finishing any posts…
I didn’t even feel like reading either and now I have to give back all those books I got from the library back in February when it closed for renovations, unread…
Okay, I admit there were a few series I caught up with during the recent weeks and my trip to Stockholm and two Weekends at the HGWAnime, but that can’t be that time consuming…
It feels like all I’m doing is writing in the bus on my way to work, being at work, writing on my way back from work and doing stuff – possibly typing said writing or writing something else or watching something, when I get back.
Now you probably ask yourself: Why am I not seeing any of that writing?
Well, for one: It isn’t December yet. 😉
But I only need six and a half more Chapters and then it’s time for typing and polishing the whole thing to make it presentable for you. I’m quite exited if you will like that way of story telling, though right now I’m more curious about where the story will take me, as it made a few turns I had not expected in the beginning…
And for the other: I haven’t posted it here and I’m not sure I want to post it here and am even thinking about taking down the Fanfiction section in the Writings-menu altogether…
It’s the amok-running story that started with „Chance Meetings“ – a simple idea of Supernatural characters meeting people that read the in-universe books – and for some reason turned into the Season 11 AU „Light in the Darkness“ that I want to finish before I actually take a look at Season 11, which by now leaves me in a very weird situation between „Ah, I can wait“ and „Arg, I hate Spoilers, why can’t I be able to finish that stupid story and finally watch the show again like everyone else?!“. >_<
It is really frustrating when characters decide that they want you to tell more or different things than you actually wanted to do (same with the Calendar people by the way…)… I could probably write a whole post about that alone – and I probably will when I finished that story.
One thing you could see, however, is „Aequus„, my most recent story for Your Picture – A Story, that is a semi-continuation of this story from my Advent Calendar. Again it is only available in German, but I did manage to translate one of my „older“ stories of the project: The Secret of Milton Road. As Halloween is fast approaching, maybe something you’d like to check out. 😉
And as I’m already talking about the Calendar from last year: Last time I also told you that I left an excerpt of it in the mail box of a local publisher. Well, long story short: They were interested, they liked my stories and wanted to read more, but they also wanted me to support them with 2.500 € to pay for the copy-editing, marketing and what not, while they pay the same amount for the printing itself and only give me 10% royalties. That was not something I was willing to do, so I canned publishing plans for the meantime.
Now onto some more fun news: I probably wont be able to write anything this weekend either, as I’ll be at the TimeLash with AnnaTao and Schmusi from the HGWAnime. The TimeLash is the first ever Doctor Who convention in Germany and I’m quite excited as it will be my third convention ever (as a reminder: #1: Weekend of Horrors, #2 ChiSaiiCon). But I’m also quite terrified as I have agreed to take part in the Cosplay competition with Anna and Schmusi…
It will be:

  • my first Day ever in a Cosplay
  • my first time participating in a Cosplay competition
  • my first time playing after a pre-recorded story in front of a (huge) audience (all audiences are huge if you don’t like being in the spotlight, even if they can be at most 500 people…)

So yeah, I’m kind of practising to not miss my cues and do some acting and most importantly not start laughing, which probably will be the hardest part…
Anyway, noon Sunday it’s show time and I guess I’ll let you know how it went. 😀
We’ll by the way play a self-written (by Schmusi, with comments by me) story starring the Tenth Doctor (Schmusi), Rose Tyler (Anna) and Donna Noble (me) and the Tardis Control-Thingy (a cardboard box). 😀
So, see you around I guess
PoiSonPaiNter

Weekend of Horrors 2011

To get me back into the writing mood for the several festival and concert reviews I still owe you, I thought I’ll write a bit about an event that transpired some years ago, to get back into the flow after my long break due to said festivals and traveling. Don’t worry you’ll get the reports and reviews later.

Of hidden Hotels and changed plans

This event was a convention, my very first ever at that and it wasn’t about Anime and Manga – which would have been the more likely thing to happen. No, it was a Horror-convention called the “Weekend of Horrors” (WoH) in Bottrop Germany.
The WoH claims to be the biggest convention for its genre in Europe and provides its visitors with tons of Horror-movie actors, merchandise and other stuff a Horror-movie fan would like to have.
Back in 2011 someone from the Marketing of the convention wrote a post in The Forum (the one I’ve mentioned so many times >_<) and it sounded interesting, especially as The Other – a pretty cool Horror-Punk band – where scheduled to play there. When I mentioned it to the colleague of mine – whom I’ll be calling “Black Kat” from now on – she found it interesting as well and we started to look into getting there.
It was in the middle of my semester back then so Kat had to come to Hamburg for me to be able to pick her up and on her way there she send me a pretty hilarious SMS about her status:

“No failure in the course of operation, no suicidal sheep on the tracks and no megalomaniac persons that are hopping in front of the train.”
(And yes, I still have it as I’m far too lazy to delete the old stuff, if I don’t need to.)

Anyway, after I’ve picked her up at the train station we made our way to Bottrop, which took us quite a while, as the motorway down there always has quite a bunch of construction sites and stuff.
So when we arrived we looked for a parking lot and our Hotel. We soon found both, though the lot seemed to be for short parking only and the hotel was quite hidden in the boulevard.

Our Hotel entrance hidden between different stores

Our Hotel entrance hidden between different clothing stores


Anyway, all the days before, we eagerly waited for the program to be released, but only after we arrived did we get a chance to look at it.
And to find out that the convention was already over for the day, as we had arrived more or less late (5-6pm and yes, already closed…).
What we also had noticed was that there would be a town’s fair right beside our Hotel…with horrible Schlager music (I won’t go into more detail here, just look it up if you want to know more, sorry)…so staying was not an option.
So we had to make some different plans for the evening.
We ran a search for Gothic or Metal bars, clubs etc. on the Internet and what we found was the Cage Club/Drachenlager (Dragon’s Lair) in Bottrop
On our arrival we had asked the receptionist for bus directions to the convention side, as we stayed a few towns/villages away from Bottrop and after figuring out which bus we would need to take and when, we made our way for it.
After searching for it and asking Kats „personal road atlas“ (aka her boyfriend) we even managed to find it.
As this trip was filled with mishearings we ended up creating the term “Keksboxen” (Cookieboxing) for the kind of dancing we saw on the dance floor that night. (The others were about freezers and tan somehow…)
It describes the way some people dance to quite electric Gothic music – which would be EBM and stuff if I’m not mistaken – it looks as if they are kickboxing against an invisible foe. And yes kick was misheard as “Keks” (cookie)…but we preferred the other term and still use it. 😀
Anyway, we stayed quite a while that evening, had a good time drinking and talking and when we returned to the Hotel the fair was already closed, so no disturbing music while trying to sleep.

Convention time!

As I said before I wasn’t sure whether my car was ok to be parked where it stood, so after waking up I stumbled down and checked again to find out, the place was free for parking at the weekend…
When I walked back I saw a coffee shop and asked Kat whether she’d like something from it. So I went back, again, waited for the thing to open and got us something to drink before the breakfast buffet of the hotel was opened. And let me tell you: I’m horrible at carrying full tea cups on saucers up the stairs…

The stamps we got for the days we've been at the comnvention

The stamps we got for the days we’ve been at the convention

Well, after we got ready for the day we went off to Bottrop again.
When we arrived at the convention we had a wonderful discussion with the employees as we only had a print out of a mail that said that we bought the tickets, as they  weren’t able to properly deliver them in time – just as they weren’t able to release a program in time… Let’s just say: At the end we even got the card for Friday and the stamp for the day. 😉

The convention itself was in an hall-thing and housed several meters full of DVD stands, well, basically each hall was stuffed with DVD booths, one ending into the other. Other than that were there booths for costume articles, one or two for jewellery, games, merchandise, an exhibition of Alien-masks and of course the autograph alley. I don’t know what it is like on big conventions but paying 5 Euro for one mere autograph and even more for a photo session felt pretty much like a rip off…
Across from their alley was the stand of The Incredible Blood Brothers and when we told the younger – looking – one of them that we had missed their show the day before he gave us a little show of what they did. He simply put a spoon and a nail into his nose and one of us hat to pull it out…
Afterwards he even gave us an autograph, for free. 😉
When we later returned and his brother was there we also got his. 😀
(By the way: As I mentioned in my Wacken 2012 Review, I even saw the brothers again walking around in the mud. 😉 )

The Spidey Bathrooms

The Spidey Bathrooms

I think we also chatted with the guys from the gaming booth and I might even have tried one of the games, but I can’t remember…too many zombie stuff anyway…
Ahh zombies! They had a zombie-walk! With the high amount of three zombies, but one of them was quite funny as he walked into a pole and did other ridiculous things and a zombie couple that looked more ridiculous than frightening…
Also more cuddly than frightening were the two Werewolfs that ran around the convention and with whom we even made photos.
And of course the decorations: Spider webs in the bathrooms, for example, to get the people into the right mood. Very Scary >_<

That evening was also the one were The Other would play, so we eagerly waited for that. The concert was pretty great, but having an indoor concert at about 16 o’clock with about 150 people was a really weird experience as well. It was my second concert of them, but with a friend a concert becomes way more funny. And if the band is giving out jelly eyes…well it gets messy, but fun nonetheless 😀
Before the concert we talked to a guy that just stood there and found out that he was the friend of the zombie-guy 😀 It also took them about the same amount of time to get there from – I think it was – Sweden as we did from Hamburg…it’s always sad to hear things like that…
There also was this other guy, weirdly dancing in the front the stage, wearing ear plugs – not quite Keksboxing, but close to it. We weren’t quite sure if he knew where he was though…
But the weirdest thing about this concert was when we left the darkened hall and walked into the brightness of the afternoon sun…
Bright daylight after a Horror Punk concert, just as weird as their Midday concert at Wacken 2010
Oh, and the convention ended that day after the concert. Really obvious decision to end a day of a Horror convention around 17 o’clock. Remember the bright sunlight I mentioned? Absolutely understandable…[/sarcasm]

The result of eating Jelly Eyes....

The result of eating Jelly Eyes….or rather being fed them…

On our way out of the hall we continued to talk to the zombie-guys friend, before they departed and we were stuck with an even weirder fellow. He was somehow keen on making his own Horror movies, meeting his stars and he talked a lot about smoking, and I don’t mean regular cigarettes…To get rid of him we decided to return to the hotel before returning to the club again later.
The only good thing about the fair was that we could get some food on our way „home“.
The second evening in the club wasn’t as fun as the night before. Even the other people we chatted with didn’t make it better, but it might have been the music that wasn’t as good as the day before.

Lady bugs and trains can make for scary stories…

Sunday was the last day of the convention and we only had one point left on our list: A reading session with Boris Koch and Michael Tillmann.
The day before I had talked to them at their book booth where they sold copies of a Anthology (Gothic – Dark Stories) that I had read some years ago – though I had to wait for the next day to actually get it alongside two others (Gothic – Darker Stories, Ein Gänsekiel aus Schwermetall [A Goose Quill made of Heavy Metal], all of them Anthologies). While talking I also mentioned The Forum and asked  them whether they would like to participate in a reading circle for one of their books. They seemed interested and I handed them a book mark with the URL.
Their reading session was then in the cafeteria of the building, only separated from it through a more or less thick, black curtain. So you heard the rustling and dulled noises from outside.
It still was fun as we were the only two attending their session and they read some quite interesting stories. I will never look at lady bugs the same way…will you after reading the summary below?
Boris read a story about a man that obsessively collected lady bugs to gain their „luck“:

To collect the luck the man ripped off the lady bugs‘ legs and wings and put their black bodies into bottles, jars and everything he could get a hold of. And it worked. He got riches, he got beautiful women and everything else he desired. When he died old and satisfied after a long and prosper life his coffin was led into the ground and crushed the last lady bug. Not long afterwards, the world ended.

And this is only the short version of it…
Let’s just say: It was weird to be the only ones there, but it was still fun. 🙂
(Besides we later did have a reading circle for Boris‘ „Der Königsschlüssel“ (The King’s Key). 🙂 )

With that ended an interesting convention and we returned to the hotel to watch one of the movies I’ve acquired. Which was obviously a Horror movie and an adaptation of one of the most disturbing books I own – and read: Clive Barker’s „The Books of Blood“ and its story: The Midnight Meat Train. A story that makes you reconsider taking the New York subway at night…
Well, watching this resulted in two funny things.
The first one being that when Ted Raimi appeared on screen I said: „Ha, we’ve seen that guy today!“ 😀
The other transpired after the movie:

It was warm in the room and we opened up some of the windows, but after getting ready for bed we soon closed them again as there were roof overhangs before them.
When every light was turned off, I saw a shimmer below the door and asked Kat whether she locked the door. She confidently replied with yes. Not three seconds had passed and she got up again to check the door. 😀

We weren’t afraid. No. We just did not want make the same mistakes all those people in the movies make. 😉

Final words

The next morning we had to get up far too early as I had to attend some lessons. Several traffic jams in Hamburg cause me to miss half of the first one…

Have a look at a building nearby the convention side for the closure....

Have a look at a building near the convention side for the closure….

But regardless of all the negative stuff I’ve mentioned throughout the text we still had a great weekend, that we wouldn’t mind repeating one day.
It was weird to have the Convention end so early and the only scary things being „shock“ moments during the movie and our own imagination, but it was still fun.

And mind you: All the above was in 2011. They had plenty of time and chances to work on all the things I’ve mentioned. I can’t say how it is “today”, all I know is how it was back then. By now they also changed locations (they are now in Oberhausen), so maybe they manage to stay open longer than before. Who knows…

And as The Other and some more bands were announced to play this year it has become interesting again and Kat and I shortly discussed attending again.
We’ll see if we actually do it or pass again.
Probably the later as they will also play at the Hell Nights that we at least have in mind to attend in November.

Stay scared 😉

PoiSonPaiNter

Manga & Scanlations

What you can read below is the basis of my presentation for an oral English exam.
I couldn’t cover everything in the short time frame we had, but at least you will be able to read the entire composition.
Would have been a waste to just stash it away.

Do you know this guy?
What about him?
Do you have any idea what the general difference between them is?
No?
Well, let me tell you: Thor is a comic, while Nura is a Manga.
And  I hope you will be able to tell the difference between them after you read this post.
According to my topic – Manga and Scanlation – I will not just talk about Manga, but also about Scanlations, what they are, how they are made and what is good and bad about them.

But let me begin by looking at the difference between Manga and comics.

As you might know Manga are the Japanes equivalents of Western Comics like Marvel’s Thor for example.

But what exactly is a Manga?

The word itself can be divided into the Japanese phrases Manaimless or whimsical and Gapicture or drawing, giving an impression of unplanned continuity as the term is originally used for both comics and cartooning.
Comic in turn is used for both Comic strips (or Cartoons) and Comic books of certain series.
As a result the word Manga mostly stands for Comics originally published in Japan.
An exception for this are „Comics“ that copy the style of the originals, but are from a different country like Germany for example.
Unlike the western versions Manga are not published page- or strip-wise, but as chapters.
Varying from series to series they are published in anthology magazines in a weekly, monthly or random rhythm – which I’ll return to later on – and in lower frequencies as volumes of collected chapters.

Prejudices and Genres

The most common prejudice regarding Manga is that every character has huge eyes and cute looks.
While this might have been the case with the first series that swapped over the ocean in the 1970s/1980s, it is no longer. Or at least only characters that are intended to be the cute ones (especially children and/or young girls) have this features.
Nowadays character designs have more harsh lines and look rather realistic, yet not as abstract as a western Character like Thor does.
The stories itself range in the same genres as their western counterparts.
You can find pretty much everything from mere Romance over Action up to pure Fantasy or SciFi.
This again is diverted into Manga for females (Shoujo) or males (Shounen) and those in turn into different age groups (children, young adults, adults).
But the way it is portrayed differs from the majority of Comics.
While having a tendency to using comic relief characters and scenes, they always have a serious narration.
Even Manga for children have certain morales within them, while wrapped in light-hearted stories suitable for the reader’s age.
Regardless of genre or anticipated reader-base Manga always teach you something about the culture and/or history of Japan.
For example the rather new series called „Nurarihyon No Mago“ (literally: „Nurarihyon’s Grandson“, translated: „Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan“/“Nura – Herr der Yokai“).
Like several other series this one centers around a young boy, Rikuo, who has a rather unusual heritage. He is the grandson of the leader of all Youkai (Japanese monsters from folklore) and Rikuo as quarter Youkai not only has to take over his grandfather’s position, but also has to cope with being human for the majority of the day and Youkai at night.
And while doing that you also learn about the different types of Youkai that are believed to exist on the Japanese isles.
Additionally, it criticizes the thoughts of excluding someone because he/she is different, which is one of the main topics of a lot of Manga.

In short: Manga are Japanese Comicbooks with a variety of genres for all ages.

Manga vs. Graphic Novel

Though some people – retailers even – claim Manga to be „Graphic Novels„, which by the common usage of the term is quite incorrect.
As I said at the beginning: Thor is a Comic.
It is full of colour pages, has either a concluded or ongoing plot and is read from front to back and from left to right.
This, can be considered Graphic Novel.
It also consists (mostly) of colour pages and is read the same way, but is sturdier than the Comic and potentially also contains short narrative texts.
And Nura thus is still a Manga.
It has usually black and white pages, occasionally colour pages and most importantly is read from back to front and from right to left.
And while Comics and Graphic Novels have glossy paper Manga usually have sturdy, yet still more paper like pages.

But regardless of those differences, let me digress a moment into the Japanese Manga market itself.

Contrary to the way Manga are usually published in Western countries (almost) everything in Japan starts with an anthology magazine.
Within each magazine – as the name would suggest – you have the newest chapter of several different Manga series.
Furthermore, these series are collected according to their topic and the magazines theme.
For example the most famous magazine – the Weekly Shounen Jump – only contains Manga series primarily aimed at boys (Shounen) with lots of action, fights and comedy.
Series which are published in one of the Jump magazines (Shounen, Monthly, V Jump for example) are most likely to become bestsellers, simply because these magazines attract a lot of people ranging from the youngsters up to adults who have bought these magazines in their youth.

You can imagine a magazine like this: The Weekly Shounen Jump for example has currently about 21 series. Every week the creator of the respective Manga writes, draws and simply finishes a new chapter of about twenty pages – with the help of his/her assistants.

The German and the American Manga publishers tried to adept this concept, but failed in both cases as the Western audience seems to prefer the collected Volumes instead of buying the anthologies and then buying the volume versions as well.
The American version „Shonen Jump“ was based on the Weekly Shounen Jump, but modified for an American audience including information on Japan itself and other gimmicks.
It lasted from 2002 until winter 2011.
The German versions BANZAI! for boys and Daisuki for girls had a similar demise. While BANZAI! only lasted from November 2001 to December 2005, due to a discontinued license for the published series, Daisuki managed to stay in business from February 2003 until June this year (2012), when the sales became too low the be bearable any more.
Two to three months after a Chapter is published in the magazines the original chapters are collected into a volume per series; the so called Tankoubon.
When this is released the official translators begin their work, causing a gap between the original and the translated versions (i.e. the series „One Piece„: current Japanese chapter: 685; current Japanese volume: 67 – until chapter 667; current German volume: 63 – until chapter 626) that the Scanlators wish to fill.
Therefore the Japanese magazines provide the basis needed for Scanlations.

But what is a Scanlation?

The word „Scanlation“ is a portmanteau of the words scan and translation. This way the meaning of the word lies within the word itself.
Basically a Scanlation is the process of scanning, editing and translating Manga/Comics from their original language into the translator’s language.
In most cases this is done by non-professionals, by fans who just want to provide a certain series for other fans/readers.

But before Scanlations had been even thought of there were the so called „FanSubs“, which provided fan-made subtitles for Anime (Japanese Cartoons) that aired at that time.
In the late 70s to early 80s fans started to send tapes with the translations from fan-group to fan-group, to share their work.
Coming from there people started to buy the Japanese magazines and/or Manga as well.
They bought the original and put a translation note inside it and send it off to whoever wanted to read it as well.
It was a small community at first, but „thanks“ to the Internet the whole process evolved.
People started to scan the pages, but still only enclosed the translation until the point when some of them started to include them in the scanned pages.

The Scanlation process

From that time on many Scanlation groups went by a simply yet effective process that can be seen in the following chart:

The Process of Scanlating a Manga chapter

What you also can see is that in each stage there are different people involved.
But it all starts with someone buying the magazines I mentioned before.
This magazine is then dismantled into single pages – either by cutting the spine of the book with a razor blade or putting it in a microwave causing the glue to melt.
The scanned pages are now called „Raw“s and are put online via different file sharing systems or send directly to the Translator and/or Cleaner.
This position can be hold by the same or different persons.
The work of a translator is what the name suggests, he/she translates everything in the chapter from sound effects, over thought- and speech-bubbles, to author’s comments, as close to the original meaning as possible.
The work of a Cleaner is a little less clear, it consist of cleaning up the scanned images (removing spots that shouldn’t be there as well as removing the original texts), converting them to black-and-white and adjusting the brightness and contrast levels until they look like the versions you see in published volumes – the scanned pages usually have a more grey colour instead of plain black and white.
When both the translation and the cleaning are done the Typesetter uses both things and puts them together.
Depending on how fast a Scanlation group wants their work to be published the finished chapter has to go through a Proofreader, who checks if everything is done correctly. Afterwards the result is right away posted online or send off to Aggregation websites, who basically are libraries for all the different series. With this the newly released Japanese chapter is scanlated and shortly afterwards available for the foreign audience.

Summarizing this into a few words: Scanlations are fan-made scans and translations of (mostly) Japanese Manga that are published online and (usually) available for everyone.
Yet scanlating and distributing any series is illegal.

Reasoning against Scanlations

I’d like to give you some of the reasoning of the publishers and retailers and show you why they are not that valid.

Demand and Prices

The main reason for publishers and retailers to claim that Scanlations are evil is that they ruin the sales. When people have a free version the companies do not see a reason why they should buy the official version.
But that is not really the case.
A lot of fans still buy the volumes and the merchandise accompanying them.
Of course there are still those who only read and not buy it, but the overall tenor in Germany is still positive.
Even though the sales for the anthologies I mentioned earlier dropped that far that their cancellation was necessary, the sales for Manga were and are still increasing.
It is a bit different in America though, where you can see the negative effect on the demand-supply curve.
The demand is still there and increasing, yet not that many people are willing to buy the volumes at their current price, still their non-buying causes the publishers to increase the prices again, so they will be able to cover their costs, which again leads to less people buying it and so forth.
But with the current prices it really is not that surprising that people stop buying the printed versions.
An average Volume in Germany costs around 7 Euro, while the American versions are around 10 Dollars, which adds up to quite a fortune with each bought series.
Besides it is quite a temptation if you have to pay for this when you could have this for free and just some days after the official release.
Manga fans want to stay up to date with their favourite series, explore new ones and simply want to try out things. Scanlations grand people access to these things without having to pay for them.
This gives people a chance to read them, not just when they are short on money, but also if they simply want to try it and are afraid to make a misinvestment.
This way of thinking is similar to what people think of libraries.
If you wish to try a book without having to buy it you go to your local library and take it from there.
The Aggregation websites I mentioned earlier are nothing different.
Like in every other scene as well: Those who want to buy them will buy them – regardless of the price.

Besides, not wanting to buy the Tankoubon volumes doesn’t mean a fan isn’t willing to buy other merchandise or special features, such as plush toys, figurines, special volumes, artbooks, novels and so forth.
Yet theses things are rarely sold in your local bookstores.
Though you might have the chance to buy them in a well-equipped Comic store it still is very unlikely.
The best chance fans have to buy additional stuff is by using the Internet or attending Conventions.

Just a small excursion on this before I continue with the next problem:

Conventions or Anime Conventions are meetings for fans from fans and/or supported by studios or publishers. For several days fans can indulge in their fandom: Buying the stuff I mentioned before, attending discussion panels, participating in workshops, while dressing up as their favourite Characters – called Cosplay. (There are all kind of other Conventions as well, but covering those does not serve the purpose here.)

Wrongful profit

The next problem with Scanlation is that some of the Aggregation websites try to make a profit of their work, by forcing readers to log in and pay a monthly fee (like libraries) to read (and/or download) as much Manga as they wish or simply gaining money from advertisement on their sides.
But this is in my opinion an even worse Copyright Infringement than hosting the Scanlations in the first place as the authors (and other people involved) don’t see a cent of this money (as they’d to through library fees).
In 2010 36 Japanese publishers and American publishers like VizMedia, TokyoPop and Yen Press formed a coalition to fight the “rampant and growing” problem of Scanlation.
They tried to force these sides into closing.
Though only the three biggest Aggregation websites at that time – OneManga, MangaHelper and MangaFox – are remembered to have closed their doors because of this.
Still from their ashes several other websites like MangaStream or MangaReader rose to popularity, as the readers looked for a substitution.
Afterwards not that much has been publicly heard of similar actions.
For a short period of time MangaStream had put down its releases of the Weekly Shounen Jump series due to VizMedia starting a new campaign, claiming that they will only host reviews and release notes for the chapters.
Only a few weeks later they started to publish the series again by saying, that they will be removed after 60 hours.
By now they stay longer in their directory but less than the amount of time on other sides where you can read them years after they were published.

Declining sales?

While it is good that the publishers and creators wish to protect their rights this might not been the best way to try this.
It is the same principle as with the movie or music industry.
Publishing without permission is forbidden, yet it is still practised – regardless of the consequences.

The Sales of the Weekly Shounen Jump magazine

In Addition to that did the sales of the anthology magazines in the Japanese Manga market decline in the recent years.
It is still higher compared to those in the western market; yet lower than their own former sales.

From 1995 to 2005 the sales of the Weekly Shounen Jump magazine halved, only having a slight increase again in 2005.
I would have liked to explore more on this graph, but the data it contains is slightly biased as it sometimes shows the circulation of New-Years‘ issue, the average circulation or the bestselling issue, but it gives a good overview over the situation.

Therefore I’d like to show you this graph here with the First Week Sales of the Manga series Bleach for its last ten volumes.
As the sales are cumulated from the day of their release until the Sunday of that week it is not always the same amount of days a volume has been available.

Bleach Sales per Volume in the first three days

For better comparison I calculated the amount of sold volumes for three days, as this was the number of days the most volumes had been published.

Seeing these sales figures would suggest a decline, but it is not as simple as that.
The story of a series is just as important as the overall popularity of it.
For example volume 48, which is the peak here, is the ending of the first major plot arc in the entire series, so everyone wanted to have it.
Volumes 49 to 54 are an interlude arc for the main character to regain the powers he had lost in the previous arc.
With 50 and 51 being the ones with the most progress and 53 being the one with the return of much anticipated side characters.
And even though it is the final arc the sales for volume 55 are still lower than those of the previous arc.
When this volume was released in June 2012 the story had just begun and it wasn’t clear where it would lead, so people might have wanted to look at what will happen before they bought the volume, besides they probably were still disappointed at the interlude arc, which wasn’t that good.
Looking at the complete sales figures this volume would have been the second bestselling one beside volume 46.
My prediction for volume 57 is that the sales will rise again, as the story this time is pretty cool.

You see a decrease in sales in this field is not only because of general reasons like lack of money or interest, it also depends on what the volume contains that the buyer wishes to read over and over again.
Regarding Scanlations this can be done on the Aggregation websites as well, but it is always a different feeling if you hold the volume in your hands and turn page by page than simply clicking a button on your keyboard to do the same.

But not everything is bad with Scanlations

Thanks to Scanlations a lot of series made their way into peoples mind.
Scanlation groups came across series they would enjoy reading and translating, thus creating a fan base for series that none of the official publishers would have thought of.
And this effect can be seen in both the German and the American market.
For example the series Ao No Exorcist (Blue Exorcist), which is a huge success in Japan, had its first Cosplayers long before it was even licensed in Germany.
The new(!) German publisher „Kazé“ then took it into their repertoire to give in to their needs.
As well as the series „Maid-Sama„.
If I remember correctly some girls suggested this series to be published when representatives of „CarlsenComics“ and „TokyoPop“ held a panel at the Hina Matsuri – a Japanese cultural feast in Hamburg.
And what happens if publishers do not comply to their readers wishes can be seen by the American branch of TokyoPop, which had to close because they diverted that much from their main aspect – selling Manga – that they weren’t able to uphold their business.

Another reason for fans to prefer the Scanlations is that these translators put more heart into their work, they translate what is said – unlike some publishers who translate what they wish it to say – and try to keep it as close to the original as possible, even including some of the Japanese words.
Official translators try to translate everything, only recently did they start to include words like „-sama„, „-san„, etc. simply because they noticed the audience know these words and a formal translation wouldn’t work.
Though you feel kind of stupid when you read the translators note still in the 50th volume as if you still don’t know what it means.
Often the official translators change the names to become such the western audience are more familiar with or translating it with the wrong pronunciation – especially with names that contain an „R“ – (Luffy  -> Ruffy – One Piece).
Sometimes they try to include the pun intended with the name to be in the translated version as well (Usopp -> Lysop – One Piece).
Scanlation translators simply leave the names as they are and do the same with catchphrases and speeches.
They look at the tone of the conversation and translate it that way, while the professionals create a rather unemotional translation.
This, beside the fast and free availability, is one of the reasons readers tend to use Scanlations.

Anyway, to summarize this:

Publishers do not like Scanlations and try/tried to stop them, yet at the same time they use them to gauge peoples interest in certain series to see whether or not it would be profitable to sell them.
Yet with the prices they are selling them for, they consequently force their readers to look for alternatives, thus supporting the Scanlation market – if you want to call it that way.
With the current way of thinking and the lack of money within the reader’s hands it is most likely that Scanlations might exceed the printed volumes, thus causing the downfall of the print media.
Yet there still will be people who wish to buy these things – either to collect them or simply to read them as book.
If both Scanlation groups/Aggregation websites and publisher would find a compromise for their readers that would be affordable and have at least the same standards the Scanlations already provide they would be able to stop this conflict.

But let’s recap what I told you today:

I talked about Manga and how to distinguish them from Comics and Graphic Novels.
Then I talked about Scanlations and the process of making them.
Additionally, I explored a bit on how Manga are generally published in Japan.
At the end I looked at the pros and cons of Scanlations, leaving you with the thought that both parties – publisher and scanlators/readers – have to change their minds on this „problem“, so they might be able to solve it.

And I hope you can now look through the links above and are able to tell the difference between Comics, Graphic Novels, Manga and Scanlations.

References:

Other interesting things to read:

© I own none of the above mentioned Comics or Manga, though I do own issues of them, but no Copyright at all. They all belong to their respective creators. The pictures provided here, were simply used for visualization.
The Chart for the Jump Sales was taken from „The Rise and Fall of Jump„, as well as the data for the Scanlation process chart and the Bleach volume Sales were taken from „Scanlators tell their Stories“ and „Bleach Volume Sales„.
No Copyright Infringement is intended by any of this.
If you would like to use my graphs (Scanlation Process and Bleach Sales) or any of my conclusions please send me a note as I’d like to know how you interpret (and use) them.

Hina Matsuri

or „Japanese Doll Festival“ (or even shorter: „Girl’s Day“) is celebrated every year on the 3rd of March in Japanese families with daughters. On platforms covered with red carpet they display puppets which symbolize the Emperor, the Empress, their attendants and musicians in traditional court dresses of the Heian period. In front of this royal household the girls welcome their friends and families and entertain them by any means of etiquette.

Due to their partnership with Osaka the city of Hamburg celebrated this day for the 19th time this year in the Museum of Ethnology. The Doll Set or „Puppet Mountain“ („Puppenberg“) is displayed from the end of February to shortly after the Festival. Regardless of the superstition that if the set isn’t taken down after the 4th of March (resulting in late marriage for the girl) the Festival in Hamburg is celebrated on the first weekend of March.

The Doll Set from the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg (c) bunny_doll

Additionally to this the museum provides it’s visitors with all kinds of cultural activities. Ranging from workshops for Origami and Calligraphy over material arts demonstration and music performances to presentation about Japan and so forth.
I’ve been at this event for the last three years and it gave me the chance to try out all kind of different things.
By now for example I know how to properly fold a paper crane and how to play Hanafuda (a Japanese card game with the infamous InoShikaChou-combination that is used in several Manga).

A coincidental discovery

My first visit there in 2010 was a mere coincidence.
During that time I had Japanese classes and our teacher asked us if we were interested in participating in a Manga drawing workshop. Well, I was curious and looked it up whereas I found out that the same workshop was held on the „Hina Matsuri“ – without age limit as the other course would have been.
As a result I went there and had the change to talk to some interesting people. One of which I talked to for hours about Bleach and other Manga/Anime. Unfortunately we never talked again afterwards.
That year was also their first attempt at a Cosplay competition, with the large amount of three participants.

2011 wasn’t that much different. Some other workshops, a different material arts group – I think Kendo this time – and an increased number of Cosplayers.
That year they tried creating a dialogue between German Manga publisher and the audience, which wasn’t really a success. The room was too vast, the people to eagerly waiting for the cosplay contest to even think about getting into a proper discussion. Though the topics were interesting and relevant, i.e. they talked about Scanlations and Streams, which I’ll talk about in a later post.
My second time there was rather quiet. I didn’t find anyone like the year before, though I volunteered in taking some photos from the contest and sending them to someone. (I am still sorry that it took me so long to do so…). But among the participants was a little boy cosplaying as Ruffy (or Luffy) from One Piece, that was fun. 😀 Though I kind of pity the Chopper plush toy he tormented…

Of cows, Anime and dying people

This year was the first time I was accompanied by a fellow student and two acquaintances of mine, whom I’ve met in between the Festivals.
I could bribe them to come along because of the show acts, as i.e. Hamburg’s school for Ninjutsu had a performance this time. Though we cheered for the ones that had to play the „looser“ quite often…

Some time during the day there was an elderly woman telling stories for the children in the so called „Princely House“ in the museum (see links below for further information). Cushions had been placed in the front yard of the house where the most people where seated. We set on a bench nearby, though only two of us listened.
One of the acquaintances had to retell the last story – a story about a girl, a calf and a rather stupid mother – and her version was way better/more fun than the original.  😀 I would retell her story, but it’s not possible without her expressions and way of speaking.

Beside that we also watched „The Girl who leaped through Time“ and we were entertained pretty well or rather we entertained ourselves and everyone around us pretty well.
Once „Chucky“ complained that he couldn’t run and think at the same time one of my companions argued: „Of course!“, which forced me to add: „But not as man.“ The elderly lady in front of us turned around and grinned to this.
Later on the girl – whose name I have forgotten –  called out: „Chucky, Chucky where are you?“ Right then from the other side of the room came the reply: „In the large auditorium.“ Causing everyone to laugh.
When the movie had ended said lady turned to us again and told us: „Well, that was a funny movie. But I do not wish to leap back through time. At least not two and a half years back. My mother-in-law was still alive back then.“ We could only stare at each other and grin, unsure what to say.

After some more Sushi we then made our way into the auditorium again to watch the Cosplay competition.
As a lot of people wanted to see the Japanese Cheerleaders who had their show beforehand and it took us some time to get in there. Passing several Shinigami (Bleach) and an Amaimon (Ao No/Blue Exorcist) Cosplayer among others. The later and the fact, that it was released by the new German publisher Kazé, reminded me of a great series where I read the first chapter, but forgot to continue.
Anyway, the room was packed and the number of Cosplayers had tripled. In the contest were i.e. an Aizen, a L, a Near, Narutos and a Konan. We couldn’t resist telling her that she was about to die the next week. She was quite relieved when she realized we meant her character and not herself.

Sometime in between our idea for our own Cosplay blossomed, but so far we haven’t made a step towards it. Yet there still is the thought and some time left till March 2013. 😉

PoiSonPaiNter

Sources for Information:

My Galleries on Animexx: