Anime Recommendation: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn (or RE:0096)

0096Age Recommendation: 13+

Genre: Action / Sci-Fi / Mecha

# of Episodes: OVA 7 (60 min.), Series 22 (30 min.)

Synopsis:

TU.C. 0096, three years after the end of the Second Neo Zeon War. The mysterious Vist Foundation attempts to hand over a certain secret to the Neo Zeon remnants known as the Sleeves. This will mean the opening of Laplace’s Box, which holds a great secret tied to the origins of the Universal Century. The exchange is to take place at the manufacturing colony Industrial 7, home of the student Banagher Links. When Banagher rescues a girl who gives her name as Audrey Burn, he is drawn into the conflict surrounding Laplace’s Box.” –Sunrise International

http://www.sunrise-inc.co.jp/international/works/detail.php?cid=338

Commentary:

Now one of the most popular Gunpla advertisements put out by Bandai, Gundam Unicorn is an exciting tale of political intrigue, war, romance and the human condition. Also giant robots beating the tar out of each other.

Unicorn follows Banager Links as he uncovers the mystery of the Laplace’s Box and the giant robot given to him by his father, the prototype mobile suit RX-0 Unicorn. This OVA series blew up big a few years ago and now has an additional TV release. It was even chosen to replace the original Gundam statue in Tokyo (it transforms!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rThAlUJY5Ls

The most striking thing about Unicorn is the visuals. The series has some of my favorite designs in all of the franchise and everything looks great in movement. This is especially true of the titular robot, with its flashy transformation sequences and Tron-esque design cues. Most of the music was done by the renowned composer Hiroyuki Sawano, who has worked on many big name shows. As with most Gundam stories, the plot relies heavily on melodrama and soap opera twists to move things along, but it’s too pretty for me to care.

There are a few of call backs to previous Gundam entries, most prominently Char’s Counter Attack and Double Zeta, but they aren’t necessary to enjoy it. Not everything makes sense, but if you what is essentially a cheesy love story with giant robots, then Unicorn is for you.

With the recent announcement of the Gundam Live Action film by Sunrise and Legendary, it is a great way to jump into the franchise.

We carry the first two volumes of the OVA containing the first 4 episodes. Library staff will be more than happy to help you get the rest of the series through interlibrary loan or you can watch the TV release for free on Crunchyroll.com.

http://pinnacle.polarislibrary.com/polaris/search/searchresults.aspx?ctx=3.1033.0.0.1&type=Keyword&term=mobile%20suit%20gundam%20unicorn

Call Numbers: DVD ANIME MOBILE V.1

DVD ANIME MOBILE V.2

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Jay

Yoga with Adriene

Ever wanted to try yoga but found it too intimidating? You’re not alone! I did too!

After experiencing a little yoga here and there with classes or dvds, I still found it a little difficult. I’m not the most flexible person, and even with the class, I still felt like the instructor went too fast! Wait, we’re doing what now? I put my legs where? Oh we’re on another pose now? Ahhh! It definitely wasn’t for me, or so I thought!

I’m still doing Blogilates videos occasionally (not as often as I’d like!), but one day she had her yoga instructor sister do a guest video with yoga. She still went kinda fast, but the poses weren’t too bad and I had an ok time following along. I wanted to see what other channels were out there that were aimed at beginners like me!

In comes Yoga with Adriene. After doing some searching, she seemed pretty nifty and well, why not? Worst that happens is I turn the video off.

She’s awesome! (She also has an adorable dog!) She is suuuuuper chill and has amazingly calming energy even though it’s just a video! She goes slow enough and explains what she’s doing as she does it. I really, really like it, and I encourage anyone who’s interested in yoga at a beginner level, to give it a shot!  I’ve been started with her 30-day yoga journey videos, but feel free to start wherever you’d like!

The library also has tons of stuff on yoga too, if you’d like to learn more.

Namaste.

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Ashe

Book Recommendation: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter_MeGenre:  Sci-Fi / Romance / Dystopian

First Released: 2011

Part of a Series?: Yup! This is the first book in the Shatter Me series.

Synopsis:

“Ostracized or incarcerated her whole life, seventeen-year-old Juliette is freed on the condition that she use her horrific abilities in support of The Reestablishment, a postapocalyptic dictatorship, but Adam, the only person ever to show her affection, offers hope of a better future.”

Where can I find it in the library?
This will be on the second floor of the library in the Vortex.

Call Number
YA F MAFI

Commentary

I haven’t enjoyed a YA series this much since Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Vampire Academy! It hits all my fan-buttons at once: romance, fantasy, strong characters, and plenty of witty banter along the way. (It’s mostly from Kenji. Kenji is bae. Fight me.)

The story also keeps moving at a decent pace which I liked. Plenty of action, dialogue, or descriptions to keep me interested!

Once you get far enough along to learn more, the book has an X-Men type feel to it which I enjoy. There is a dystopian backdrop, but there’s not really enough word building and descriptions of the world to justify it truly being a dystopian. Most of the conflict is internal for Juliette. I’d call it more of a Sci-Fi / Romance—heavy especially in the romance aspect. Both things I’m a sucker for.

I’ve already breezed through books 1-3, and just have to wait for my hold on 4 to arrive!

Check it out today! ❤

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Ashe

8 Ways to Be an Ally

It’s LGBTQ+ Pride Month and, for a switch, I’d like to send a shout-out to the heterosexuals in the crowd.

It is overwhelmingly probable that you know at least one person that falls under the LGBTQ+ spectrum (even if you don’t know it.) It’s commonly cited that 1 in 10 folks is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual or otherwise not straight or cisgender (meaning you identify with the gender that was assigned to you at birth). So, if you go to a school with 1,000 people, roughly 100 of them are queer. They might not be out of the closet to everyone. They might be exploring their feelings and haven’t come out to themselves yet. Or, they might be loud and proud and tell everyone they meet about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. And all of those options are totally okay.

Image result for rainbow banner lineImage result for rainbow banner line

So, how can you be a good friend to an individual or a good ally to the LGBTQ+ community as a whole? Here are eight tips to get you started. 

  1. Understand that sexual orientation is a spectrum. Some people are only attracted to people of the opposite sex; some are only attracted to people of the same sex, but there are a whole of people in between. Asexuality and Aromanticism are also real. Some people are just not interested in relationships and that’s okay. Gender Identity is also a spectrum. There’s male and female (and these identities don’t necessarily correspond to a person’s physical sex) but, again, there are a whole lot of folks in between. Some gender non-conforming identities include: genderqueer, genderfluid, agender, two-spirit, bigender, non-binary, and androgyne. Don’t presume that you know more about a person’s feelings or identity than they do. If a person says they’re bi or pansexual but they’ve only dated girls, that doesn’t change their orientation. If someone claims to be non-binary but presents themselves as masculine, that presentation is irrelevant to their identity.
  2. Educate yourself. It is never someone else’s job to teach you about social issues. Expose yourself to fiction, nonfiction, articles, blog posts, tumblr entries, tweets, youtube videos, feature films, documentaries, music, art and any other media you can find to gain further knowledge and perspective. If you don’t recognize some of the words I used in the above paragraph, this page is a good place to start. Not everyone will define every word exactly the same way. As with anything involving human beings, theories and ideas abound.
  3. If a trans* or queer friend does want to confide in you about their lived experience, listen with your all your being, even if it’s sometimes uncomfortable. Ask yourself what is so uncomfortable about it. Are you discovering that you’re carrying around some internalized homophobia or transphobia? Think about the discriminatory, hurtful or offensive thing you might have said (seriously or joking) or done in the past and how you can avoid making those choices in the future. And, no, “It was just a joke,” does not excuse you from hurting someone.
  4. Normalize LGBTQ+ identities. Most folks assume that  people they meet or characters in books/shows/movies are straight and cis until  the person or character comes out and explicitly states that they’re gay. How much would your worldview change if you figured everyone you met was queer until they told you they were straight?
  5. Similarly, try to use gender-neutral language. When you see a group of people that have long hair and are wearing dresses, don’t address them as “ladies.” It’s entirely possible that some of them don’t identify as female. Try calling them people, folks, friends, or guests. Avoid heteronormative assumptions like asking a young woman if she has a boyfriend unless she has already indicated that’s she’s straight. Basically, don’t put a person in a position where they either have to correct you about their orientation or identity or lie about it.
  6. Come out as straight and cis. LGBTQ+ people frequently list their sexual orientation, gender identity and the pronouns they use to describe themselves on social media profiles. We have to do this because of the above assumptions. If a genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary or agender uses pronouns like “they” or “ze” they have to let people know that and that’s perfectly understandable. cis woman who introduces herself by saying “Hi, my name is Kelsey, I’m straight, and I go by she/her,” is telling the world that you can’t assume a person’s orientation or gender identity simply by looking at them.
  7. While we’re on the topic of pronouns, I know it’s hard to change how you think about and talk about a person. Just keep trying. If you mess up a person’s pronouns or new name, apologize and try harder next time. It gets easier the more you say it.
  8. And, as with allies for any alienated or oppressed group, use your privilege to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, to enlighten the ignorant and to fight against homophobia, transphobia and bigotry.

Here are a few resources that might help you.

NONFICTION:

Queer NONFICTION pathfinder_2

FICTION:More LGBTQ Pathfinder April 2018_2

I realize that this is kind of a long list and it might seem overwhelming and even intimidating to take on the role of ally. It’s always hard to stand up to injustice, inequality and straight-up bullies. But for the things you believe in and the people you love, it’s more than worth it.

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Tara

ACEN 2018 Photo Dump

I let my husband take over phototaking at Anime Central this year, his camera is much better than mine, so enjoy the awesome cosplays we found! (My absolutely favorite were the ones who brought in an ACTUAL CORGI NAMED EIN WITH THEIR COWBOY BEBOP COSPLAYS AHHHHHH SO CUTE!!)

Hover over the images with your mouse to see what the cosplay is from! Or click on any image to open up slideshow view!

 

Calling All Witches and Wizards

Have you ever wanted to learn spells and charms? Have you taken every quiz ever written to determine your House? Have you dreamed about what it would be like to actually live at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Here’s your chance! The Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery app is here and it’s pretty enchanting.

(Sorry. I couldn’t resist.)

The Game:

You start off by creating and naming your character. The choices to start with are a little limited, but as you play and gain levels, more options for clothing, accessories, hair styles, etc. become available. And you can always go back and change your character’s hair color, eye color, skin color and facial features. So, don’t feel like you’re stuck once you’ve created a character. Also, you CAN make in-app purchases, but it’s totally not necessary. Anything that you can buy with IRL money can be acquired through gameplay. It might take a little longer, but where’s the fun in buying your way through a game anyway?

You will start off in Diagon Alley. The graphics are pretty darn good for a mobile app. There’s the Leaky Cauldron, Ollivander’s and Flourish & Blotts, among other recognizable settings from the books/movies. Other students and magic-wielders are bustling about the Alley. Here is where you meet your first new friend. She’s easy to spot as she has an exclamation point above her head. (Her name is Rowan in my game, but they may randomize the NPCs in different games. I’m not sure. If you play too, leave a comment and let me know if your details are the same.) Any NPC (non-player character) with an exclamation point or other symbols above their head has something to share with you. The game will let you know what things you NEED to click, but you can also try tapping random stuff like house elves and ghosts to see what happens.

When you arrive at Hogwarts with all the other frantic first-years, Dumbledore lets everyone know that the infant Boy Who Lived has been safely placed, and Voldemort is in hiding. It’s kind of cool to play in a pre-Harry setting. There are some familiar characters like Bill Weasley, Nymphadora Tonks and all the professors, but you get to experience a different story that centers around you.

Once in the Great Hall, you can choose your House. I, of course, chose Ravenclaw, because Ravenclaws are the best. It’s just a fact. There can be no argument. You can explore your House Common Room, the Castle Grounds and all sorts of places! Some doors will have Lock symbol on them. These rooms or floors can’t be used until you’ve reached a higher level.

You get to attend classes, learn spells, mix potions and even duel! Because, of course, there’s a nasty Slytherin bully. Also – surprise! – Snape is a jerk-face. As you explore the school and meet its students, you also discover a mystery involving your brother and the clues to solve it!

Tara’s Analysis:

Even though, the game leads you through your lessons by telling you who to talk to you and what to do to cast spells, I like that it’s not just a bunch of mindless clicking. As you go along, you’ll be asked questions and given choices, and some of the options are definitely better than others. Your answers will affect your gameplay. I’m glad that the characters are so customizable. There’s a range of skin tones and eye and hair colors. (Sadly, no green hair. I’m hoping that opens up at a later level. If Tonks can have pink hair, I should be able to have green!) Mostly, I love the scenery, characters and spells. The graphics are beautiful, the NPCs are engaging and the whole game just feels like visiting old friends and they are just as wonderful as I remember.

   

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Tara