Sunday, September 25, 2016

WTPT-2.B.A. Master Review-Part 4 (Listener Mail) + First Movie Ending Theme Discussion

In the last part of the episode, we go over some of the mail Jowy and KC received:

Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.

If you missed some of the earlier parts (or want to restart from the beginning), all four parts are available in a playlist:

If you still need more discussion of Pokemon music, Anne from Pikapi Podcast and I recently recorded a comparison of the Japanese and English ending themes for the first Pokemon movie ("Together With the Wind" and "We're a Miracle"). It will appear here eventually, but for now it's a timed exclusive on the Pikapi Podcast Patreon feed. Here's a sample:

Monday, September 19, 2016

WTPT-2.B.A. Master Review-Part 3

We continue our discussion of the Pokemon 2.B.A. Master album by giving our overall thoughts:

Special thanks to Jowy Romano for permission to upload this audio.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Mega Shiny Garchomp Cosplay (Geek.Kon 2016)

At Geek.Kon 2016, I had an opportunity to interview Ross Cunha, a cosplayer with an amazing Mega Shiny Garchomp outfit. Find out what materials he used, and what went into the build process:

After this video was posted, Ross provided us some photos showing the construction of the costume:


Partially assembled headpiece

Partially painted headpiece

Wire planter used for tail
Dorsal fin
This is definitely one of the most impressive costumes I've ever seen at a convention, and I had a great time interviewing Ross about his creation.


Steven: What does it take to make a killer Garchomp costume? Let’s find out.

Hi, I’m Steven Reich, here at Geek.Kon 2016 with Ross Cunha, who has made an absolutely fantastic Mega Shiny Garchomp costume. We have a little bit of it here, but you can see a full picture of it right now.

And Ross, let’s talk about a few parts of it. Start at the beginning. Why did you choose to make a Shiny Mega Garchomp in the first place?

Ross: Well, I was playing Pokemon X and just wondering around Route 13, the desert area. I came across a random encounter and it was a Shiny Gible. Like, oh my goodness, that is the first Shiny I’ve ever encountered in the wild. So, I just had to capture it. And I did. And I leveled it up into a Garchomp and Mega Evolved it. I had no idea that the Mega Evolution form would look so drastically different from the regular version. I’m like, wow that is beautiful. That is going to be my next cosplay.

Steven: Absolutely. That’s sometimes the inspiration there. Let’s just do this head to toe. So, you’ve got right here with us, you’ve got the headpiece. Which, you can see there has the face, and the teeth, and the little side things. How did you go about making that? Where did you start? And what was the process like?

Ross: I started off with a bicycle helmet. I decided I would build up the basic shape with paper mache and wiring. And then I wanted to experiment with a type of thermal plastic. So, I decided to go with WonderFlex. What I did was I basically used cardboard that I got from my work. The fins here are made from cardboard tubes. So I built up the basic shape, covered it in WonderFlex. Then, I decided I wanted an articulate jaw.

Steven: Oh, it actually moves. That is really neat.

Ross: I built up the jaw using wood and cardboard. Made the teeth out of wood. And I put little hooks and rubberbands on the inside of it so that the jaw would move when I talk. After that, came the painting. And it just came out better than I had ever expected. I put a lot of time mostly into building the helmet alone, compared to the rest of the costume.

Steven: But we do still want to talk about it and let the folks at home know about the rest of the costume. So besides the head, you also had to build basically a jumpsuit. What went into that to cover the torso and legs?

Ross: Well, first came the material. I wanted to do a Shiny version. But knew that if I went with anything that was actually shiny in material, it would probably look pretty bad for pictures. So I went with a dull satin. And I managed to find just the perfect color at my local fabric store. Started off with the leggings, and then I built the shirt to go with it, and I sewed them together. I left a slot in the back because I knew that I had to be wearing a dorsal fin as well. So, I had to accommodate for that as well.

Steven: You really got everything in there. The fins in the back- well, there’s a fin and then there’s a tail. How did those come together?

Ross: First thing that I had to do was I made the fin out of wood. And I took pictures from the game, blew it up, and made it to scale. So I cut out the fin, and I made myself a harness using a metal plate, and bolts, and brackets.

Steven: And you actually attached- the tail is attached to the fin by a wire there. Is that just to keep it from dragging on the floor?

Ross: Yes. The wire is also a conscious safety choice for other people that might be near my costume. Because obviously, if they get caught on it, it could damage their cosplays or anything like that. Fortunately, that’s never happened. But yeah, it’s for both support and visibility.

Steven: You also had to make some claws on your arms for the costume. Is that more wood there?

Ross: Yes. Those are made out of wood. And I drilled finger holes for them. So, I’m basically holding them like this at all times. And the interesting part about that one was making the sleeves that cover up my wrists. So, I wanted to go for a complete look. And my wrists are completely covered up. I have literally no use of my hands at all while I’m wearing the costume.

Steven: Yeah, it’s obviously not something you want to wear all the time. Which, is one reason we only brought the headgear down for this interview. How much would you say the costume weighs, overall?

Ross: Let’s see. This helmet alone weighs about 7 pounds. The tail itself is made from an old tomato planter that I found in my back tool shed. And that’s about 2.5 or so. The dorsal fin, probably another 2. All around, I’d say probably about 15 pounds. The sides themselves are rather heavy for their size.

Steven: Yeah. That’s always something to consider. But, it looks like you managed to accomplish getting around at the photo shoot yesterday pretty well. You sort of implied earlier you’ve made other costumes. Which ones have you made?

Ross: I’ve never done any other Pokemon costumes before. The ones I’ve done before this are Batou from Ghost in the Shell, and Dust from Dust: An Elysian Tail. I’ve never actually made a costume of this size and scale before.

Steven: Absolutely neat. And like I said, super impressive costume when it’s all put together. Alright. Well, this has been Steven Reich from Geek.Kon 2016.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Geek.Kon 2016: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament Winner

At Geek.Kon 2016, I had an opportunity to interview Jesus Solis, winner of a Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament. We talk about how he got  into competitive Smash, his choice of characters, and his strategy for the finals:


Steven: Hi, I’m Steven Reich here at Geek.Kon 2016. I’m here with Jesus [pronounced hey-seuss] Solis, who is the winner of the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Tournament for this year. Jesus, we just have a few questions. First of all, how did you get into competitive Smash Bros.?

Jesus: Well honestly, I’ve always loved Smash Bros., but I just recently got into it when the game came out. I hung out with some friends around Geekplastiq, which is a local store around Madison. And they held these tournaments. I just figured I’d go, and I got to meet some friends who really got competitive with it. So, I kind of just hung around the crowd and kind of got into it.

Steven: That’s neat. So, what were the basic rules for this tournament? How many stock did you have, and what were some of the other things about it?

Jesus: The tournament rules were you had 2 stocks. It was timed for 6 minutes. The stages were a little bit weird, but they were tournament stages. And otherwise than that, it was just basic standard tourney rules.

Steven: So you are allowed in certain cases to switch characters. Basically, if you lose a round, you’re allowed to switch your character for the next round. So you actually used several different characters for this. What were the characters you used for this tournament?

Jesus: I only used 2, which were Mario and Kirby.

Steven: Why those 2 particular characters? Let’s start off, first of all, why Mario?

Jesus: Well, I love Mario’s move set. The mechanics just feel good. He always has a good reflector going on. And the FLUDD is kind of underestimated, because it can be used in very good moments, especially in gimping. And he just worked out pretty well.

Steven: And Kirby is your alternate character there. What do you like about Kirby?

Jesus: To be honest, he’s just a big ball of pinkness. But just his move set as well. There’s a lot you can do with Kirby that people don’t really quite notice. For example, if you’re trying to gimp a Little Mac off a stage here, they can just rush into you and you can swallow them up and poof them back out. But it’s kind of risky, because Little Mac is just this brute of superarmor.

Steven: Yeah, that did kind of come up in the finals as well. So, in the finals, you were paired against a guy-he used Cloud, which is of course one of the new DLC characters, relatively new, and Little Mac. So what was your strategy, first of all, against Cloud?

Jesus: Well, against Cloud- Cloud is definitely strong. And he definitely is fearful when he is charged of his move. So the only thing that’s unfortunate is his recovery. So my strategy was to try to gimp him off a stage here and make him fall off stage.

Steven: Yep, that was the basic strategy there. Eventually though, your opponent did switch to Little Mac. By that point, you had switched to Kirby, so what’s that matchup kind of like?

Jesus: Well, it was completely-it was a wait game, to be honest. Because if I had approached him in the middle of the stage, he would have definitely gotten me. Little Mac here, he’s easy to get in the corner of stages here, just because his recovery’s also really bad, his Up+B, and his side+B. From there on, it’s just a patience game with him. Because, you really need to just try your best to avoid his smash moves, because they’re all just strong. It worked out pretty good. It was just very, very intense.

Steven: It’s an interesting match up there. Well, this is the fourth, if you count the 3DS and Wii U versions together, fourth entry in the series. It’s almost certain, although nothing’s officially announced, that there will be a 5th generation Smash. What would you like to see in a new iteration?

Jesus: First of all, a good controller. Continue to have the GameCube controller as the controller for the mechanics, because the WiiPad is not the greatest, the Wiimote is not the greatest. The 3DS isn’t so bad as a controller, but it’s just a bit strange, just because people are used to this mechanic going on with Smash and so on.

Steven: It is interesting how that controller that was originally designed for games like Luigi’s Mansion and Pikmin and stuff like that has sort of lived on as the default Smash controller, especially for competitive players. Alright, well thank you very much, Jesus. This has been Steven Reich from Geek.Kon 2016.

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