Archive for the Anime Category

‘Cosplay Melee’ Premiere: Swing for the Fences!

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, Comics, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Historical, horror, Movies, Musical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

So the SyFy channel is taking another stab at the fandom with the mostest, the cosplayers! You know, those insane peoples who like to make their own, often movable, skit-able, even stage and screen-ready costumes, to bring their favorite fandoms to life! One can’t even say it’s a kids or younglings game anymore, in the premiere episode one of the contestants was over 40. This is a fandom that people of all ages, genders, colors and backgrounds love, and is generally acknowledged by true cosplayers as all-inclusive, meaning no-one should ever be excluded or discouraged from cosplaying, for really any reason. (The so-called Ambassadress of Cosplay, Yaya Han, got herself some disapproval after she claimed on the short-lived SyFy show Heroes of Cosplay that cosplaying isn’t necessarily for people with larger body types. And that was the nice way of re-wording what she said.)

Cosplay is officially a full-fledged fandom these days, rather than any kind of hobby. And it would have to be, considering cosplay can now cost you would not believe how much money, often to make a single costume replication absolutely spot-on perfect, and yet still be able to wander around conventions wearing it the entire time, of course posing for multiple pictures too. Cosplayers rarely get paid (I wanted to say never but times are changing and cosplayers are being hired to advertise video games and such now), and the making of these fan-atical costumes require a ton of work, time, and energy. I think everyone should try it, but honestly not everyone can do a good Cosplay. If we’re gonna have a game show based around the ability to Cosplay, it had better be good, better, best, a passion, an obsession, a love that is almost scary. And that’s actually what this new show seems to be presenting, thank goodness.

We have a host who is also a judge, Yvette Nicole Brown, of Community fame and apparently a huge fangirl of all things geeky; LeeAnna Vamp, named as one of the “Best Comic-Con Cosplayers of All Time” and nerdy fashion model, fan-atic, and all-around jane of all things geekery; and Christian Beckman, builder, costume designer, creator, President of Quantum Creation FX, Inc., his creations have adorned movies like Tron: Legacy, Men In Black 3, and Ender’s Game, just to name a few. Basically, we have the “everyman, I love everything” Judge (Brown), the “make it pretty” Judge (Vamp), and the “make it work” Judge (Beckman); that totally works for me.

Four contestant cosplayers come in to the lab, very similar to the one they have for Face Off, they get given the theme for this contest, and then they go by rounds to get to this weeks winner. The pilot episode theme is Space Opera, and the opening challenge is to begin from the head down, with a helmet or headgear for your original character from whatever fandom you’ve chosen. On to our contestants!

Fred, the eldest at some 40+, loves him some SciFi, and of course the gateway drug to that world was inevitably Star Trek, so guess which space opera he picked for his character. Xavier is the tall and very quiet black guy, the huge Star Wars fan who’s already made a fan-film from the ‘verse and making that armor was what got him into cosplaying in the first place, so his characters theme is chosen too. Grace is a cop in real life, somehow even with that incomprehensibly long red hair, so she chooses a bounty hunter character in the Guardians of the Galaxy universe, where badass women abound, as it should be. And finally, Alicia of the mermaid hair is mildly uncomfortable in this genre, so she chooses the world of Chronicles of Riddick for her character, with their Necromonger armor as inspiration.

The first round concludes and while I didn’t agree with the judges’ elimination choice (as often happens on these kinds of SyFy shows), I stuck around to see what the remaining contestants would come up with and who would win the $10,000 prize. Round two consisted of mechanical parts being presented to the players, that they had to make some sort of flying jet-pack doohickey with as part of their characters’ costume. Hot glue, flying craft foam and mayhem ensue.

In the end, the quiet Star Wars fan who was bullied as a child took home the win, as his costume was the most cohesive and easily read as being from the Star Wars universe. The judges were all kind and helpful and reluctant to choose one over another and thereby eliminate anyone, but I felt that’s simply because they wanted to encourage the players to continue doing what they love, cosplay, and not play up any lack on their part that caused the loss of the contest.

So far it’s a fairly standard SyFy contest show, in the vein of Face Off and the like, that you could actually learn cosplay techniques from if you pay attention. Not everyone has access to giant portable heaters and hot glue guns and craft foam with designations like they came from an aircraft carrier, but the show is making sure to name at least some of the things they’re using, and sometimes suggesting cheaper alternatives. It’s a fun little show and worth giving a try at least once.

Celebrate all the fandoms and fan-atics with Cosplay Melee on the SyFy channel, Tuesdays @ 10/9c!

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‘Re: Life in a Different World from Zero’: Return by Death can really kill you!

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, horror, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2016 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

So, high school student Natsuki Subaru is transported suddenly to another world, where there are fairy cats and RPG-like markets and all sorts of odd creatures, including the Half Elf girl Emilia, who may be Natsuki’s destiny.

The anime moves rather painstakingly slowly in the beginning, and it seems like a fairly standard other-worldly trope of modern-day boy gets whisked away to some fantasy setting to have an epic adventure. But then, very suddenly, Natsuki dies. And resurrects, to find himself repeating the same hours earlier when he first got here, meeting Emilia and others and the events that lead up to his death. And again. And again. Because it turns out, Natsuki has been blessed (or cursed, it depends on who you ask) with this odd ability, Return by Death. Which literally returns Natsuki Subaru to a previous “save point” when he dies. The save point does move eventually, so Subaru isn’t stuck repeating exactly the same day over and over, but he is forbidden from telling anyone about this strange ability, lest some shadowy Witch person who’s taken a personal interest in Subaru stretch out the hand of fate and take the life of whomever Subaru told.

Okay so, the anime has taken a rather odd turn, cool beans. That’s it for the odd turns, right? Totally not even close. Re: Life is one of the most unique anime I’ve ever come across, and that says quite a bit, considering how much anime I’ve watched over long years. Natsuki takes a job as a kind of butler in the mansion of a friend of Emilia’s, to try and learn his way around this new world he’s apparently stuck in, and starts making friends of sorts. Here he meets Rem and Ram, a pair of maids who work in the mansion as well, but have all sorts of hidden talents and plans. One of them eventually develops an obsession with Natsuki, who of course only wants to love and be loved by Emilia, but all of this is but one of the several main plotlines floating through the anime we have to figure out.

Now what? We somehow went from butler to leader of the revolution, or at least savior of the peoples of this new world, from some ill-explained cult of witches and this one bug-fuck insane guy, who declares his name as Betelgeuse Romanee-Conti, but also a Sin Archbishop of the Witch Cult, who represents Sloth. Whew! To say that this guy is the epitome of insane contortionist villainy only hints at the beginning of the way Betelgeuse proceeds to screw Natsuki and his pals over and over, in all kinds of screaming almost Bleach-like bedlam.

As we head towards the end of the season of this convoluted anime, Natsuki has managed to shake his fears and concerns about returning to his regular life, the only thing he wants is to save Emilia and everyone else he’s come to care for, perhaps even getting Emilia elected to governance in the process too. Natsuki still encounters a ton of problems getting people to listen to him – he’s still experiencing his curse of Return by Death, which means he gets to watch his comrades DIE over and over, only to come back and do it again, trying to stop whatever happened from happening again in a kind of desperation that you and I could only have nightmares about. There are a few episodes in which Natsuki does little other than scream and sob and rant and rave about everyone dying so much on his watch, and the extent of his pain and emotion is something rarely seen in any anime; it’s that well done.

The anime studio White Fox, known for the Steins;Gate anime among other things, produced Re:Life and put a ton of effort into making a show as faithful to the manga source material as possible. The noted composer Suehiro Kenichiro was hired to provide the soundtrack for the anime to director Masaharu Watanabe’s very exacting specifications, and while the music has a distinctly un-anime feel to it, I thought that was yet another thing that made Re:Life truly unique and really hot damn cool.

Re:Life in a Different World from Zero is a truly involved anime and hard to wrap your brain around, not for the faint of heart or casual anime fan, that’s all true. But the depth of emotion, the characters and even the happily convoluted plotline, is so worth it if you like deeply involved stuff.

Re:Life can be devoured by you brave souls on Crunchyroll!

‘Danganronpa 3 The End of Hope’s Peak Academy’: Twice the pu-pu-pu!

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, drama, Foreign, horror, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2016 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Okay so before we go any further into this awesome finale of the Danganronpa anime series, you should be reminded that the show is just that – a series. We have the crazed black-and-white bear with the killer smile, Monokuma, who traps a bunch of talented high school kids together and has them Battle Royale each-other to death. The events of Danganronpa 3 take place after the video game the series is based on, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, for the Playstation.

So those of us who remember Makoto Naegi from the original series will find his familiar milksop never-ending hope springing back up again in the first half of the season. The animators of D3 did something incredibly clever, and I would bet back-breaking, with the finale season, splitting the show between the Future Arc storyline and Despair Arc storyline.

We begin with the future, which is technically the present. The world has seriously gone to hell in a handbasket, Monokuma-bots with terrible weapons are everywhere, and the Future Foundation has called a meeting which Makoto Naegi is forced to attend. The evil Enoshima Junko, the mastermind behind Monokuma and all his machinations, was roundly defeated by Naegi, that’s true. But the fact that he let Enoshima’s followers, the Remnants of Depair, go freely, has the Future Foundation highly suspicious of his motives. But before further accusations can be levied, Monokuma attacks the building to force the Future Foundation and everyone else inside to one final killing game!

Meanwhile, going on at the same time in a past timeline, we have Despair Arc, everything in the beginning that led to Enoshima’s diabolical plan and effectively, the beginning of the end, how we got here. Hope’s Peak Academy is the school that some secretive government peoples made, to train elite High Schoolers in their Ultimate Talents, whatever they may be. There is even the Reserve Course, for normals who want to pay a ridiculously high tuition fee to attend class with the other Elites. Chisa Yukizome is their new teacher, and she and her former classmates who are also Elites, have plans for her class at Hope’s Peak Academy. Enoshima Junko is unsurprisingly in the same class, and has all sorts of nasty plans of her own, ultimately leading to what is known in the past and the future as The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History that of course originated right here at Hope’s Peak Academy!

It’s very important, for the pace of storytelling and the manner in which the purported final chapter comes about, to watch the show in the original intended format of which it was aired. That is to say, watch the beginning of Future Arc first, then the first episode of Despair Arc, and continue on in that manner for the rest of the show – it’s fairly self-explanatory.

As for the actual pair of stories themselves, I think I enjoyed Despair Arc more than Future Arc, but then I usually like origin stories and I already got kind of tired of having to sit through Naegi’s special brand of always having hope while being singularly ineffective when it comes to physically saving the people he cares about. Despair Arc has more intrigue and you can really eat up the despair and the insanity of a burgeoning Enoshima too. That’s not to say giant robotic killer Monokuma in the Future Arc aren’t a literal blast, as well.

Keeping the same tone as every other Danganronpa video games and anime and stories, while at the same time giving a gritty if not semi-realistic backstory, in simultaneous animes no less, is a terrific feat for the folk at Danganronpa, and will be hard for anyone to top. While it’s a shame the anime seems to have finally ended, at least it went out with a giant crazed BANG!

Danganronpa 3 The End of Hope’s Peak Academy can be caught on Funimation!

Amazing Anime of 2013

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, horror, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Attack on Titan

Decades after humanity was nearly wiped out by the Titans and built their sturdy walls, the Titans return to wreak havoc! Based on a manga by Hajime Isayama, this anime explodes out of the TV in every single episode! Eren Yager is a boy with a past even he doesn’t remember, who of course wants nothing more than to join the military and kill Titans with his adopted sister Mikasa and his friend Armin. Training with the Vertical Maneuvering Equipment is hard, but it looks truly bitchin when Eren and pals get the hang of it and start fighting back! Yet their world, as bleak as it is with the Titans crushing walls and morale all but nonexistent in the ranks, is about to be turned yet again, when Eren discovers he himself has the power to turn into a Titan! Attack on Titan also wins for the best Score!

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Sword Art Online

Not since .hack has there been an RPG Anime worth it’s salt, til now. SAO is a brand new virtual reality Role Playing Game introduced to the world in 2022, where players jack in via their Nerve Gear helmet and experience a much more real version of the gaming world. A little too real, matter of fact, when SAO’s creator Akihiko Kabaya pops into the game and informs everyone playing that they’re all stuck there! Reach the 100th level of the games tower and defeat the Final Boss, and you can leave, but beware, if you die in SAO, you die in real life. Our hero Kirito and our heroine Asuna, who’ve managed to fall in love and make as best a life they can for eachother in these circumstances, are now faced with further trials, as the Real World begins conspiring to keep them apart!

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Danganronpa

The school is called Hope’s Peak Academy and is very exclusive, taking only what are called Ultimate students. (Ultimate Lucky, Investigator, Super High School, etc.) Somehow average student Makoto found himself here, being informed by the most psychotic teddy bear you’ll ever see called Mokona, that the only way to leave Hope’s Peak is to kill all the other students there and be the last survivor. These Ultimate students are all funny twists on stereotypical Anime characters – the huge male fighter with the flowing hair in a Sailor Moon schoolgirl uniform; the plain Jane who happens to have a split personality of a perverted old man killer; the Gothic Lolita doll who’s a coward; the total jock character who happens to be a girl; even a Stoner goofoff who’s actually rather smart. Every time a murder is committed, Mokona holds a farce of a trial to see if the other students can figure out and accuse who did it, and then punishment is handed down like the harshest schoolmaster ever! Rumor has it the show is up for a sequel season in 2014 too.

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Log Horizon

Not a contender for the best RPG Anime out there, but since SAO finished, Log Horizon has become the next best thing. Like Fairy Tale if the Anime was made into an RPG-base, LH is based around the same general ideals that seem to be inundating the RPG Anime world. Basically the worlds largest online RPG suddenly becomes a lot more real when the players get sucked literally into the game and have to fend for themselves on the inside now. The Anime focuses mostly on the machinations of Shiroe, awkward young man in the Real World, but a right bastard of a genius when it comes to strategizing inside Elder Tale, and his struggles to carve out a place for himself and his friends!

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Ghost in the Shell: Arise

A four-part OVA as a prequel re-imagining of the Ghost in the Shell universe, Arise is really great for any GITS fans who miss the show. The animation style is a bit different, and so are a lot of the voices, but there the differences end. We have all our favorite characters – the Major with her eternally blue hair, Director Aramaki with brown thinning hair instead of grey, Batou before he was part of the Unit, Paz and Togusa and everyone oh my! The major war is finally over and all our disparate parts are feeling the aftermath sting, since most of our Protags served in the military in some form or fashion during the war. With cybercrimes on the rise, Aramaki is being pressed (and creating his own pressure) to make a specialized team with intent to go on the offensive against the corrupt in their city! We’re even introduced to the Tachikoma precursors, which Aramaki named Logicoma, who is of course adorable.

Reviewed by Alicia Glass 

Comic-Con International 2013

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, Comics, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Historical, horror, Kids, movie news, Movies, Musical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense, TV Movie, VG Movie with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Comic-Con International is one of those insane events that happens once a year, that everyone and their family looks forward to. Shwag is given out in spades, autographs are hoarded, lines are formed for miles, and cosplay is proudly displayed, often by folk who are considered completely “normal” otherwise. CCI is like it’s own world, with it’s own rules, and it helps to know them if you’ve never been to Comic-Con before. For example:

1. The FREE STUFF

Literally right across the street from the convention center, past the trolley tracks and the hordes of fan-atics trying to cross the street, is always set up as the ads and the FREE STUFF. Often new or returning TV shows are advertised with exhibit walkthroughs and at the end, you get a FREE something with the shows logo stamped on it. Clever geegaws, FREE photos with sets as backdrops, games and trivia and hotties giving out t-shirts, oh my! Someone this year was a genius, and for the Dracula walkthrough, the FREE thing given at the end was a chair. Now I grant you, it’s just a folding piece of cardboard with ads printed on it; the thing still supported my weight during those interminable lines for more FREE STUFF, so that’s awesome. All day Thursday, all I did was wander around the across-the-street area, didn’t even go in to the convention center itself, and yet I came home with a bulging bag of FREE STUFF. There was even a place giving out free half-pints of ice cream, advertising Elder Scrolls. I do not kid.

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1-A. TRIVIA PRIZES

Sometimes, not always, you can be in the right place at just the right time. I was in line for the Falling Skies trailer exhibit across the trolley tracks, when a Volunteer came out with t-shirts over one arm and announced to the line he was doing FS trivia, and asked who on the line was a fan?! …*crickets* Really? Well, I’m a fan! After gleefully giving some trivia about the latest show, I was handed the last in a lot of only 200 made, the Volunteer said, of an official Falling Skies hoodie, with a patch and a logo and thumbholes in the sleeves. This happens to me, as a rabid fan, often, and who knows, it may happen to you too!

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1-B. CCI BAG LOADOUT

Several years back, someone else was a genius and started giving out these high-end bags to hold shwag as part of the Comic-Con package when you pick up your badge. Everyone gets one, they usually have some sort of theme, and this year is no exception. This years CCI bag featured Warner Bros. (of course) and CCI on one side, the other side reserved for ads for shows like ARROW, Retro Batman, The Vampire Diaries, The Big Bang Theory, and many others, also featuring double arm straps so the bag could be a backpack, thank heavens. But that wasn’t the highlight of this years bag, oh no. Along with the CCI bag and it’s helpful lugging-stuff goodness, each bag came complete with a detachable ad cape. I grant you, it’s this cheapo piece of fabric with a logo screened on it and neckties, but come on. Now everyone can Cosplay at Comic-Con!

2. The LINES

In Comic-Con, there are lines literally everywhere. For the panels, for the Halls, down in the shopping mall, and don’t forget the FULLFILLMENT ROOM. (We’ll get to that.) The lines in the Exhibit Hall, where we do all the shopping and yes get more FREE STUFF, are often girded by Con security and hapless Volunteers with signs that don’t really work. Usually after Friday, the lines for the really swell FREE STUFF become impossible unless you attended such-and-such panel beforehand and received the postcard that entitled you for a FREE t-shirt advertising their movie. The Exhibit Hall frankly, has needed for years traffic signals and cattle prods, and not necessarily in that order. You were warned.

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2-A. The MAIN HALL LINES

The LINES for Hall H and Ballroom 20 need to be addressed as well. It’s been years since I’ve bothered at all trying to get into either one of these rooms, and with good reason. Hall H and Ballroom 20 are the largest venues at Comic-Con and therefore have the coolest panels shown there. Hall H in particular gets insane, due to the fact that the overflow line is outside (someone finally put up tents a few years ago to shield the line from the sun, hooray) and these days people will often camp out overnight to ensure getting in to Hall H the next day. I’ve heard stories of die-hard fans camping out there three days before the Con was to open, just to see their favorite star in real life. And I think that’s why these lines are so insane: most of these people get to see a real-life celebrity once in their miserable lives, here at Comic-Con. Even the lines for the smaller roomed panels are getting interesting, so nevermind what the website says. If you want to see a panel, any panel at all, come early for the line.

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3. The FULLFILLMENT ROOM

CCI some years back instituted this sort of reward program that gives away yet more FREE STUFF advertising various programs shown at Con. At a lot of the panels, while you’re sitting there listening to Noah Wyle crack wise about Falling Skies or whatever, Con Volunteers will pass out along the lines of Con-goers these little faire-type tickets. What not everyone knows is to keep these tickets, they’re not for a raffle you’ll never win or anything, it’s for the FULLFILLMENT ROOM. Next door to the convention center is the Marriot Hotel, and here is where the FULLFILLMENT ROOM is set up. What they don’t tell you, is that the ROOM is set up in the very back end of the Hotel, and the place usually only has Volunteers with signs for the ROOM about halfway through the Hotel, if at all. Also, inevitably, there are lines of eager Con-goers already in the know about the ROOM. However, if you’ve kept your non-raffle tickets (I store mine in the back of my Con badge, that always works) and walked huffing and puffing all the way to the ROOM, stood in the interminable lines and tried to be nice to the harried Con volunteers, you can get yet more FREE STUFF. Bags from everywhere under the moon, posters and comics and booklets oh my, in previous years I got full-on video games with unlockable content, bracelets and pins and don’t forget the t-shirts, all with the logo of your favorite movie or show!

4. The COSPLAY

A lot of people go absolutely apeshit insane trying to do Cosplay for Comic-Con. I tried it once or twice a few years ago, and truly, it does not mesh with wandering the exhibit hall with a bag stuffed full of free shwag. But there are a couple of things I’ve learned about the Cosplayers and their ways. One, they always prefer to be asked before you start blinding them with a camera flash and effectively block their way to wherever they’re going by mobbing them with picture-taking. Two, very few of them actually mind if you come right out and ask where their costume is from, if you don’t know. A lot of those Anime Cosplayers can get downright obscure, and they know it, so if you don’t know, ask already. Three, after you take their picture and thank them for it, say something nice about their costume already. It costs you nothing to say, “Love the shoes” or “You look just like the Khaleesi”, even if you don’t mean it. And who knows what it cost the Cosplayer to make that costume; show some appreciation for their fan-aticism and love, if nothing else.

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5. FINAL THOUGHTS

Comic-Con International is an event like no other in the whole world. Every year people from all over the planet come here to San Diego in massive hordes for this four-day insanity extravaganza. Yes, the lines are terrible, the crowds are massive, and the heat is stifling. Yes, there are always disappointments: I didn’t get in to the Doctor Who panel, I didn’t get that geegaw from thus-and-such retailer I really wanted cuz’ they sold out on Thursday, I missed the pirate ship walkthrough because they closed it a day early, et cetera. But what you do get in exchange for all the headaches is an experience like no other. I saw Travis Fimmel from Vikings live and in person, I came home with four free bags of shwag, I spent all the money I studiously saved just for this event in the exhibit hall on fan things, and overall I had a blast. Comic-Con brings together people from all over, who all have one thing in common: I’m a fan. In a lot of cases, we’re all insane fan-atics, and Comic-Con connects us all for those four glorious days of squees, cheers, and die-hard unabashed and unapologetic geekdom!

Ranted & Photographed by Alicia Glass

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Movie Moxie covers Anime Conji 2013 — Pics 3

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Historical, horror, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Epic battles in the Exhibit Hall!

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Prince of Reese’s!

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Alice Madness

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Big game hunter!

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It’s River Song! From Doctor Who!

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Avast ye, cosplayers!

Captured by Alicia Glass 

Movie Moxie covers Anime Conji 2013 — Pics 2

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Historical, horror, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Look, it’s a cool Edward! 

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Princess Mononoke!

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A masked Assassin strikes!

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Welcome to Hyrule.

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Don’t know; love the costume.

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It ain’t an Angel, baby.

Captured by Alicia Glass