Gacha Life-ing That Character

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Me after drawing overload.

After creating a 17-page long chapter for a comic strip (Finding My Own Way), I’m pretty darn beat. Creating a comic takes a lot of work and is pretty time-consuming, so after a lengthy session of comic booking and drawing like a woman possessed, one really needs a way to cool down and relax. How do I relax, you ask? (Well, you probably don’t ask, but it’s a great way to smoothly flowing from one topic to another, so I’ll answer that question anyway)

I relax with some Gacha Life. If you don’t know what that is, Gacha Life is an app/game that allows you to create little characters, then play about with our creations. You can pose them, add in backgrounds and props and even add speech bubbles. Essentially, it’s just a cute little dress-up game, but being a professional eejit, I have found a new use for this game. I pick a random character or person and set myself the challenge of trying to make that character using Gacha Life. This can be a bit tricky at times, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Anyway, let me introduce you to my latest attempts.

Levi from Attack on Titan:
IMG_0853Sadly, the app didn’t have vertical maneuvering equipment, so poor Levi has to do without. He still looks pretty badass though, but Levi just wouldn’t be Levi without fighting a Titan or two, so I posed him with one.

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And for all the Levi Fans and even made one of him doing a spot of cleaning.

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L from Death Note:
IMG_0856Playing Gacha Life just wouldn’t be fun if I didn’t try to make my favourite anime character, L. In case you’ve forgot who he is, I’ve posed L like we last see him in the anime.

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Hmm… he looks a little lonely, so let’s add in a little Ryuk I made earlier to keep him company.

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Ed from Fullmetal Alchemist:
IMG_0860I’m pretty proud of how this one turned out. I tried to make an Alphonse and Alex to keep Edward company, but sadly Gacha Life just didn’t have the things needed to make those characters. (Lunime has an anime version of Gacha Life called Gacha Studio, so I might download it and try again with it. I will make a sparkling mini He-Man someday).

Grell from Black Butler:
IMG_0861Another of my favourite characters. I really love Grell, unfortunately though the game didn’t have a chainsaw I got equip Grell with, so I had to make do with a handsaw. Grell still looks pretty menacing with it though. But you know Grell does need a little Bassy to play with, so I made Sebastian too.

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Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street:
IMG_0886In case you’re not an anime fan, I also try to make non-anime characters like Freddy with the app. He may be a cute little chibi but I still wouldn’t want him appearing in my dreams.

Predator from Alien Vs Predator:
IMG_0888Okay, this one is a bit of the stretching, but it does sort of look like Predator.

Suga (Yoon-gi) from BTS:
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Lastly and cutest of all Yoongi, modelled on my favourite photo of him.

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This is my favourite photo

Since I’ll use any opportunity to add a little sweet Suga to a post, here one of Yoongi jamming.

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And one of him being the sleepy Yoongi we all love.

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Hope you enjoyed my Gacha Life characters; they were a hell of a lot of fun to make. There was a lot of failed attempts during the making of this post, including Goku, Colossal Titan, Alex Armstrong, Alphonse, Yuri from Yuri on ice, Dobby from Harry Potter and Edward Scissorhands. Sadly, Gacha Life just couldn’t capture the awesomeness of these characters, which is why I’ll be checking out Gacha Studio and try to bring you more amazing characters using it.

As always, Thanks for reading!

Top 10 Studio Ghibli Movies (Updated)

thumbnail_IMG_20190604_113740_084Lately I’ve been in a very Ghibli mood, a mood that consists of wanting to be awed by wonder, enchantment and cuteness and a hunger that can only be satisfied by watching Studio Ghibli films.  Back in the early days of this blog I made a post listing my top 10 favourite Ghibli films (click here to see that post). After re-watching most of my old favourites and a few Ghibli films I’d never seen before, my opinion on these movies have changed quite a lot. Don’t worry I still love Ghibli films very much and they still hold a big place in my heart (I wouldn’t be in a Ghibli mood otherwise). It’s just that over time and after a huge Ghibli binge-watch (best binge-watch ever), my preference has shifted and my top ten favourites is now very different from the first post I made.

So, for that reason its about time I updated this list and brought to you an updated version of

My Top 10 Favourite Studio Ghibli Films:

Honourable Mention- Pom Poko (↓4)
A lot of people seem not to like this film, personally I found the raccoons antics in this movie really funny. It can be a little crude at times, but looking pass that it’s quite a good film with a positive eco-friendly message to look after the environment and not destroy natural habitats. (Which is a bit of a running theme in Ghibli films)

thumbnail_640EA4E8-C292-49B0-8718-B16564FB153710: My Neighbour Totoro (NE= New Entry)
This is kind of a funny sort of a film. It’s very nice to watch but it doesn’t really have much of a storyline, it’s more like a series of happenings. I’ll try explaining the plot to show you what I mean, two little girls move to the countryside with their father. The house they move into turns out to be haunted by very cute harmless spirits. You learn the girls’ mother is in hospital with TB and can’t come home which upsets the girls. Their father has to work a lot, so the girls are pretty much left to run wild in the garden and surrounding area. Which leads to them meeting a giant cute bunny-bear like spirit called Totoro. The children hang out and play with Totoro, then the youngest one goes missing. Everyone panics and thinks she’s either gone by herself to visit her mother or drowned in a pond. Then the oldest girl gets on a cat bus and finds her younger sister and the movie then ends with them both eating corn in a tree.
As you can see it’s a bit of a strange film with a very loose plot, which has led to a lot of theories being made about what actually is happening in this film. From suggesting its references toward a real-life disappearance of a school girl, to people theorising that the girls actually die at the end of the film and that’s why they’re sitting in a tree (because apparently spirit rest in trees at night). However, it’s incredibly cute and sweet, which is what makes the film so enjoyable (you could quite possibly get tooth ache from watching it).

9: The Tale of Princess Kaguya (NE)
The animation style of this film so very different from other Ghibli films, it looks more like a hand painted moving talking watercolour, than the typical Ghibli art style. It’s subtle colour scheme and intriguing storyline makes it very relaxing and beautiful to watch. It does have a lot of religious and mythological references, which some mightn’t like. But if you’re interested in mythology and don’t mind the odd religious reference, its quite a nice watch. Like most Ghibli films it also has a positive message, which is to not chase after others idea of happiness or force your idea of happiness upon others (including your children and other family members). Basically, the film’s message is about achieving true happiness.

8: The Secret World of Arrietty (↑1)
This film has moved up one place in this list mainly because of its breathtakingly beautiful scenes and animation. In the last list, I think I underappreciated how amazing and stunning the animation was (probably because now I know the level of work that goes into creating scenes like those in the film). Story wise I prefer this version of the borrowers over the 1997 borrowers films. It’s very heart-warming and lovely to watch and puts a nice wee spin on the concept of borrowers.

7: Castle in The Sky (↑3)
Castle in The Sky has moved up quite a bit in this list. In the last list I forgot about the sense of wonder this film creates and about the sky pirates. Ghibli sky pirates are a rather likable odd bunch. At first, they seem like bad news but as the film goes on, they become goofier and seem more like a big bunch of softies. Especially, Dola who is a great character and is like a kooky, really cool grandmother that takes no guff and is tough as nails but is still kind at heart. The sky pirates all add a little bit of comedy and relatability to what is already a sweet and mysterious film with beautiful animation.

6: Kiki’s Delivery Service (↑2)
I re-watched Kiki’s Delivery Service with my nephew and he was outrage at behaviour in this film, which made me realise how bananas this film actually is. My nephew was completely horrified that parents would let a 13-year-old go off by themselves and in complete shock at Kiki breaking the stranger danger rule over and over again and getting in a car with a stranger. You would have sworn he was watching a horror movie instead of a Ghibli film. His overreaction and ranting towards this film made watching it so much funnier. But in saying that he does have a point, this film is sort of messed up and the more you think about Kiki does put herself in quite a few situations that would be incredibly dangerous in the real world (even for an adult). Anyway, seeing Kiki’s Very Dangerous Delivery Service from a new point of view, made me appreciate how surreal the Ghibli universe actually is (there is so many Ghibli films where children wander of by themselves and do really dangerous things and everyone acts spookily happy about it), which is why it was given a higher place on this list. (Funniest thing is my nephew says he liked this film, but like Ponyo better. He really loves Ponyo)

thumbnail_90DDF0C2-ADBB-47CC-B77D-4C830420E57E5: Ponyo (↓1)
Ponyo is a very cute and magical Ghibli film that really has the awe factor. With its beautiful use of colour and breath-taking animation, it’s really enjoyable and hypnotic just to look at. Story wise, its incredibly sweet and just plain adorable. It’s the kind of film that would warm even the coldest of hearts. No matter how many times I see this movie I never get sick of it. The only reason it fell a spot on this list, was to make room for a film I’ve only seen for the first time recently.

4: When Marnie was There (NE)
The best way to describe this film is a mysterious ghost story that shows the beauty of friendship. There is just so much twist and turns in this film and it’s just so mysterious. It will constantly keep you guessing and glued to the screen. At one point I didn’t have a baldy (a clue) what was happening and found myself completely enthralled in the film, very eagerly wanting to know what the fudge was happening. The ending of this film is very bitter sweet, it’s lovely and warms the cockles of the heart but is also really sad and might even make you shed a tear. It has a little more of a mature feel to it than other Ghibli films, but all around it’s an amazing film and one definitely worth watching. I regret not watching it sooner.

3: Spirited Away (↓1)
Spirited Away is a film that most anime and Ghibli fans will have seen at least once in their life. It holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts and it’s not hard to see why. It’s so magical and cute and very different from anything you’ve probably ever seen. For me its where my love of anime and Ghibli began. As a child I was so innocent and naïve that I didn’t even know anime was a thing. Weird thing is I had watched quite a lot of anime before this film (Pokémon, Digimon, Beyblade, Yu-Gi-Oh! and even Princess Mononoke), but never caught on that they were anime. To me they were just cartoons the same as all the others I loved to watch. It wasn’t until my Dad put a film on the TV (which was Spirited Away) and the announcer called it an Anime film from Japan, that I know there was such thing as anime. I was so taken by Spirited Away, that I wanted to know more about what anime was and from there my love of anime blossomed. Which is why it’s in the top 3.

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I love Turnip-head so much, that I redrew him.

2: Howl’s Moving Castle (↑1)
Glob I love the sassy old lady power in this movie. Howl’s Moving Castle is one of those Ghibli films that really deliver on that magical mysterious feel. Its story contains so much mystery that on the first watch, it’ll constantly have you guessing about so many things like Howl, the castle, the fire demon Calcifer, turnip head and what on earth is going on in this film. This mixed with its magical creatures and enchanted objects and devices, gives a real feel of awe and wonder. On top of this, it tells a heart-warming love story that teaches there is more to being loved than a pretty face. Its animation is absolutely beautiful and has so many cool little details which is why it’s my favourite film animation wise. All round Howl’s Moving Castle is a wonderful Ghibli film.

1: Princess Mononoke
Although everything else in this list has changed, my no. 1 favourite Ghibli film has stayed the same. It was the first Ghibli film I had ever seen (even though I didn’t know it was at the time), so it’s kind of special to me. But I think that’s the same with everyone’s first Ghibli film. Your first Ghibli film is usually the one that makes you fall in love with Ghibli and opens the door to the wonderful world of Ghibli. So, it’s not hard to see why most people’s first Ghibli film is their favourite.
First time I watched Princess Mononoke, I was completely dumbfounded, in a state of pure astonishment and amazement. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. I instantly fell in love with its beautiful animation style and was really taking by it. I remember the first time watching this film, trying to slowly edge closer and closer to the TV, to really take in its beautiful scenery. Then having sofa cushions flung at me by my siblings and having the snot beat out of me with one for blocking their view. Though I didn’t fully understand the films plot or symbolism as a child, I still loved it and enjoyed every minute of it. As an adult, I continue to love this film and have re-watched it so many times. It’s just so amazing and unique, it really is a great Ghibli film.

Hope you enjoyed this Ghibli top 10 update. The first time I posted a Ghibli top 10, I made a top 10 Non-Ghibli anime film list, to link in with that post. I haven’t decided yet whether to update that list too, but if people are interested in seeing that update, I’ll update it too.

As always Thanks for reading and if you have a favourite Ghibli film, don’t be afraid to tell me about it in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it.

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The Dark Lotus Company (Part 3)

img_0403It’s been quite a while since I posted part 1 and 2 of this little chibi style animated comic. Its probably about time I finished the episode and let you all know how it ends and if the detectives find Mr Flops. Part 2 left things on a bit of a cliff-hanger, so it’d be a bit mean not to finish it. You’ll be happy to know I’ve gotten the hang of the stop-motion a bit more, so was able to get the characters and objects to move a lot better than in the last videos.

In case you’ve missed part 1 and 2 and would like to watch them, I’ll post them both under part 3. Hope you enjoy!

Part 3:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Hope you enjoyed the episode. If people like these little chibi videos posts, I’ll try to make more episodes. Just keep in mind that they take a really long time to make, so there might be quite a gap between videos. There’ll a lot of fun to make though and sort of relaxing, so I’ll probably end up making another episode even if I don’t turn it into a video and post it.

As always Thanks for reading!

I started up a Ko-fi, unfortunately this old butt can’t work out how to put the Ko-fi button in a post. So, if you’d like to show your support for my artwork and blog by buying me a coffee. Which will provide the caffeine fuelled madness creativeness needed to produce such work, feel free to check out my Ko-fi page using this link: Ko-fi.com/thethingsiveseen

Animation Makeovers!

Time to have a little fun, over here on The Things I’ve Seen. About a week ago, my niece introduced me to an app called Facetune 2. An app one can use to edit your selfies, to make yourself look stunning. But of course, if you’re like me and not really into that sort of thing, you can find a different purpose for this app. This being, messing with your own face until it looks hilarious, and amusing yourself with your brilliant creations.
After, messing up one’s own face a whole bunch of times, you may start to wonder what else you can do with the app. This is when I discovered Facetune 2 can’t tell the difference between real faces and animated faces and of course being a little messer, I decided to perform a little animated plastic surgery on a few anime characters. But you know, this post wouldn’t be as fun if I didn’t give myself an animated Doctors name, so let go with Dr Kelly Fixenfacer (Dr Nel, for short).

So, what did Dr Kelly Fixenfacer get up to? Well, let me show you with some great before and after photos of my anime patients:

Levi: Before

IMG_E0001I’m pretty sure if you’ve ever watched Attack on Titan, you’ll know who this guy is. He’s a really cool character, however one thing I’ve noticed is that he doesn’t smile a lot (like just look at his photo, he looks like his puppy just died), so let’s fix this.

Levi: After

RMRM9459There we go, now he looks like he’s just thought of a really funny joke. His transformation just wouldn’t be complete without some lippy and blush, so I added those too.

L: Before

IMG_E0004Poor L, not sleeping has given him bags under his eyes and all that sweet eating and lack of sunlight has left him quite pasty. But you know, I believe Dr Nel can help him.

L: After

TXUE5070L’s a new man! Now he’s a beautiful shade of orange, those bags are gone and his new blue hair is so less draining than his black hair. Look, he ever has a little smile on his face. Sonic the Hedgehog would be so proud of him right now.

Strange Anime Girl: Before

IMG_E0008I don’t have a clue who this character is or what anime she’s from, but glob she looks disturbing. Let see if we can fix this a little.

Strange Anime Girl: After

GTGX7573There we go, reducing the eye size, giving her a longer face and drawing on a little bit of a nose, has made her look kind of cute.

Witch of the Waste (Howl’s Moving Castle-Studio Ghibli): Before

IMG_E0009Hmm… ever notice that the slightly eviler witches in Ghibli films, tend to be a little exaggerated (not that this is a bad thing. It makes for some very memorable characters). Yubaba (Spirited Away) for example has a massive head and the Witch of the Waste (which we have here), has so many necks that I’m not ever sure if she has a body. For curiosities sake, lets see what she would look like if we made her less exaggerated.

Witch of the Waste (Howl’s Moving Castle-Studio Ghibli):

NUOT2364Hmm… she kind of looks like the witch from The Little Mermaid, now. Who would have ever guessed that.

Lord Cob (Tales from Earthsea-Studio Ghibli): Before

IMG_E0011Aww… this poor soul doesn’t even have eyebrows or eyes for that matter. Actually, this character is pretty terrifying, but I think Dr Kelly Fixenfacer can make him look friendly and approachable.

Lord Cob (Tales from Earthsea-Studio Ghibli): After

PNIA6800Now, this is so much better. Closing up those eye holes, drawing on eyebrows, smoothing out his wrinkles and giving him a beautiful smile, has made him look so much more approachable. Now he doesn’t look like he wants to devour your soul, but wants to give you a friendly hug. His transformation wouldn’t be quite complete, if I didn’t give him a new hairdo, too.

Hopefully you’ve made it to the end this post without passing out, from laughing too hard at my creations. Scary thing is, Facetune 2 is a really simple app that even a child could use. Granted, it took me a while to manipulate the photos to look like this, but you can still imagine if someone really wanted to, they could easily use this app to completely alter their appearance in photos and deceive people. Anyway, putting that scary thought of the back of your mind, I hope you had as much fun reading this post as I had creating it. If you’d like me to improve (or mess up) the face of a particular animated character, let me know in the comments below.

As always Thanks for reading!

Finding A Little Animation

While searching deep in the memory of my computer trying to retrieve lost drawings, I came across something kind of funny that I had completely forgotten about. It was a little animation I created well over a year ago, when I had gotten really curious about how animation worked and decided to try it myself. Granted this animation is only 4 seconds long and the art work isn’t spectacular (my art skills have greatly improved since then). But, I remember making this little animation and it taking forever (several hours) to create just 4 seconds. Then being all chuffed, when it was finally finished and played through smoothly.

To make it easier to watch I uploaded it to YouTube, but don’t worry I’m not leaving you all to become a YouTuber. Videos just upload nicer on YouTube and load a lot quicker, making it the better option.

It might not be that pretty, but it was my first attempt at animation and I thought it would be cool to share with you all. Looking back on this, it’s rather funny because I made it just after watching Cat Soup and was inspired by the wee boat the cats sail in. All I can say is that it could have been worse, I could have made an animation about that Mickey Mouse impressionist from Cat Soup. Which would have been creepy and messed up on so many levels.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little find and if I ever find the time, I’ll try to make another little animation like this one (hopefully it’ll be a little better).

As always, Thanks for reading

Valley of White Birds

44e9925a-3968-44d2-8400-8afa01465f0cTime to get back to my roots and get stuck into a review. Truth be told, I haven’t done a review in quite a while (well, other than Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, but it’s awesome and incredibly easy to talk about). Like what happens to many bloggers from time to time, I kind of burnt out review wise and started focusing more on my art work. Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, I feel like I’ve made some progress in bettering my art skills. Anyway, back to the task at hand, I thought I’d ease myself back into the swing of things, by reviewing a very beautiful short film called Valley of White Birds, from Wolf Smoke Studio.

Being just over 15mins long, Valley of White Birds begins with a young man walking through a forest alongside a stream. He is then joint by an old man and they both walk together along the forest path, as white paper-like birds fly around them. They soon reach a village, where suddenly the young man takes an awful disliking to the white paper birds and goes on a mad paper bird killing spree, turning a large number of the birds into Autumn coloured leaves. These actions must displease the forest spirits, because soon after the boss white bird shows up and appears to taunt the young man. The young man attempts to stealthily attack the boss bird but is distracted, by what was most likely a vision of his younger self. The vision quickly vanishes and the young man chases after the boss bird, whilst using his magic bean-shaped pebbles to tries to kill it. The boss bird leads the young man to a shrine, where the young man engages in a boss battle.

As you may have guessed from that description, this short film has no dialogue. In my opinion this doesn’t take away from the film and to be honest, the young man was fighting with a bird. Having him scream things at the bird, would have just been weird and destroyed the peaceful and intriguing feel the film creates. Story wise this film is pretty easy to follow and the creators have done an excellent job of leading you through the tale, with visuals alone.

125fe3f1-8ce1-4182-80cd-518c6f024bb5In saying that however, trying to understand this film on a deeper level (what it means and is about) is another story. I can only guess that it might be based on an old folk tale or book or that the whole thing reflects the young man’s fear of getting old (based on black birds covering the boy, turning him into the old man, then turning him back to a boy when the shrine was destroyed) or his loss of innocence (base on the boy innocently following the boss bird and seemly worshiping it. Then things turning sour, when the boy gets to the shrine. Also, the young man seems more angered and untrusting of the boss bird, than the boy. As if he’s more aware of the boss bird’s intentions). It could also be a play on the stages of life (the bird representing life and each version of the young man representing the common mind sets at each stage in life) or a play on the balance between yin and yang (black and white were used a lot and very symbolically). It’s very hard to pin down exactly what this film is about and these are only examples of conclusions I could come to while watching Valley of White Birds.

One very notable aspect of Valley of White Birds, is how beautiful and visually stimulating it is. The backgrounds are just stunning, you can tell a lot of time and love went into making this film. Without getting all artsy, I’m aware of the techniques you’d need to use, to achieve the backgrounds on actual paper. But the fact this film was probably done digitally, has me completely flabbergasted and makes me love it even more. The amount of work it must have taken to achieve that look, would have been crazy. You can really tell the creators were giving it their all while making this film. Even just on face value the animation and backgrounds, completely suck you in and sets the tone very well. The colour palette and use of shape, is incredibly pleasing to the eye and bring the film to a whole other level. It’s just one hell of a beautiful short film.

Overall, Valley of White Birds may be a little difficult to work out but is definitely worth watching, if only for its beauty alone. It an incredibly cute and stunning film, that will draw you and capture your attention, for the full 15mins. I would highly recommend checking Valley of White Birds out for yourself and seeing what you can conclude from this film.

Rating: 4/5

If you’re interested in watching Valley of White Birds, I’ve left a link to the film here
and a link to Wolf Smoke Studio’s YouTube channel here.