BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 8 – It Figures

Not much to say this week, honestly. I continue to work on stuff. Since I finished Chapter 24 of Skies today, I’m switching off to work on Tasakeru for the next week. An alternating system keeps me from getting too burnt out on any one project, I think.

I’ve decided that I definitely want to go ahead with more episodes of Silent InvenTOYry, so I’ll probably put my first-ever Patreon earnings toward registering my copy of Vegas. I hate to delay pre-ordering Figuarts Super Sailor Mercury and Cure Mermaid, but it’s probably for the best. And hey, Tamashii said they’re expanding their distribution in North America this week… maybe I won’t have to pay through the nose for exclusives from now on, yeah?

Speaking of figures, this weekend’s bi-annual Wonder Festival beat out the last several of them combined. There were a ton of new announcements I’m excited for: Overwatch Figmas, starting with Tracer and Genji with more doubtlessly on the way, a Nendoroid of Akko Kagari from Little Witch Academia… I’ve had some bad experiences with Nendos, so they’re not normally my thing, but the Nendo Luluco from last year was almost too adorable for words and captured Trigger’s art style perfectly. I can only expect that they’ll do the same with Akko. And also from Figma, there’s… Maara, the, um, interesting creature from the Persona and Shin Megami Tensei series (LINK ALMOST CERTAINLY NSFW)… I don’t know how exactly they’re going to make an articulated figure out of that, but if anyone can do it, GSC can. You’d think they’d have learned after what people did with that infamous Revoltech Woody from Toy Story, though…

Speaking of Revoltech, though! I haven’t bought a Revo for years, but damned if I’m not going to have to break that streak. They showed off a really gorgeous and flexible Spider-Gwen, and revealed figures for Zootopia’s Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde! I just hope all of these releases are decently spaced out, because there’s still plenty of Precure Figuarts on my wish list… Happiness Charge figures this year, Bandai? Please?

Anyway, see you all next week.


(Originally posted on DA:

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 7 – BACK IN

The big news of the week is the launch of my new YouTube series, Silent InvenTOYry. As I mentioned two weeks ago, I was playing around for quite a while with this idea. Now I’ve finally decided to go for it, and the response so far has been quite positive! I’m hoping I can put together at least one more episode by the end of the month. I mean, it’s not like I have a lack of stuff to review… I should probably try to stick to reviewing the newest items in my collection until I get a viewer base established, but once people are consistently watching, I’ll be able to go back to older stuff. I could maybe even cover some of the vintage stuff I have, like my classic Power Rangers Zords. It’s an exciting new frontier, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with it.

So after dropping Precure for most of last year because of Mahou Tsukai’s awful syrupy blandness, I’m now back in, and back in hard. Episode 2 of Precure A La Mode aired last night, and Himari Arisugawa/Cure Custard set a new all-time personal record for shortest interval between a character’s introduction and “OH MY GOD, I LOVE HER, SHE’S PERFECT”. Himari is a smol precious bae, in Tumblr parlance, and I’m thrilled that the fandom seems to love her as much as I do. As I’ve been telling people, PCALM already has shown more character depth in two episodes than MTPC had in its entire series… or at least in the nineteen episodes I was able to slog through. This is gonna be a fun year, I can tell.

You can see Episode 1 embedded below if you missed the announcement on Saturday.

It may be early, but I’m calling Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid as my favorite anime of the season. I mean, I love Little Witch Academia too, don’t get me wrong (and PCALM is going to run for a year, so it doesn’t count), but Dragon Maid has the advantage by virtue of completely destroying my initial expectations of it. And everyone’s expectations, it looks like… I saw so much hate going around based on the previews, blasting it as “just another monster girl harem show”, but it looks like word-of-mouth has spread about just how funny, smart, and surprisingly sweet it is. It really only resembles stuff like Daily Life with Monster Girl on the surface, and I was way off in my initial comparison to Haiyore! Nyarko-san. While most of Dragon Maid is gut-busting funny, it also has plenty of touching moments between Kobayashi and her weird little family… honestly, it’s more like a slice-of-life show that happens to have shapeshifting magic dragons in it than a fantasy harem comedy. Watching it has become one of the highlights of my week, and I can’t help but grin when I hear the theme music start. Wonderful stuff.

That’s it for this week. Expect a new Shattered Skies chapter within the next few days!

(Originally posted on DA:


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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 6

Well, this was an improvement. I hesitate to say that things are looking up, but there’s no doubt they’re looking better. As you can see up there, I grabbed my second Patron, whose generous pledge has put me within striking distance of my first goal! That inspired me to get Chapter 2 of Soulsnatcher finished, and I’m particularly proud of the changes this one’s gone through as of the relaunch.

As you might also notice: I’ve made some adjustments to my Patreon’s reward tiers. The first tier now starts at $20 per chapter, which gets you acknowledgement in the future print editions of the Tasakeru books. I’ve also added the acknowledgement to the second tier, along with the free item of merch, for a $40 pledge. The third tier is now $80 for an acknowledgement, two merch items (with autographs and personal messages by request), and a private Q&A session with me in the format of your choice.

Of course, you don’t have to pledge $20 if you don’t want to… the minimum is $1 per chapter, and I’m sincerely grateful for any pledges at all, frankly. Since I can’t offer the kinds of incentives other Patreons do, I have to sell this thing on the merits of the work itself… it’s always nice to see somebody confirming that it does have merit.

So. KiraKira Precure A La Mode started yesterday. As I said in my status update and my Tumblr post on Sunday night: yes, it’s better than Mahou Tsukai, thank God, but at this early stage it’s also making some interesting departures from the standard formula… departures for the better, it looks like. Frankly, any improvements over MTPC are welcome. I’m so, so glad that Ichika/Cure Whip isn’t a personality-less cardboard cutout like Mirai/Cure Miracle, and that the episode’s fight scene was not only decently animated but clever, with some unexpected moves and neat camera angles that I wasn’t expecting. I also appreciated the return of two of my favorite Precure franchise running gags: accidentally jumping a thousand feet high when making the first dodge in Cure form, and the universe hitting the pink Cure in the face with random objects. Slapstick may not be the highest form of comedy, but it’s always encouraging to see it utilized well, and those two gags are so familiar to long-time fans like me that they were almost like an apology for the past year, like Toei was saying “We get it, we’re sorry, things will be better now.”

Yes, the dessert theming is pretty silly, but it manages to be silly in a charming way, rather than MTPC’s bland, generic cuteness. Believe it or not, the series with the sweets motif looks to be less sugary than its predecessor, if you’ll pardon the pun. Just in the first episode, there’s already been a surprisingly melancholy turn from Ichika, when she learns her world-traveling doctor mother won’t be able to make it home to share the shortcake she worked so hard on… now that feels real and compelling in a way that MTPC’s “all cute, all the time” aesthetic never did.

Look, I’m not expecting great art here. Precure, at its heart, is Power Rangers for girls: it’s a vehicle to sell toys and merch first and foremost, with everything else secondary. Despite that, though, the Precure franchise has managed to have moments of surprising depth, even beauty. The best of them have had fantastic character development in addition to the obligatory sparkly transformations, dramatic speeches and poses, and monster-pummeling fight scenes. I’ll take Madoka Magica (and, I’d argue, Cardcaptor Sakura, and most of most versions of Sailor Moon, with some well-known caveats) as the shining examples of what the genre can be… for Precure, I’ll settle for harmless fluff as long as it’s entertaining harmless fluff. Sometimes, as with Heartcatch and Go! Princess, it’s far more than that. It’s too early to tell whether KKPCALM (God, that acronym) will be one of the greats or just a fun way to spend each week, but I have my hopes up.

And that’s about it. I watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens again, with my mom this time, and… what else is there to say, really? It’s still a fantastic film, and for me it held up just as well the third time as it did the first two. I didn’t find out until about fifteen minutes in that Mom has never seen the original trilogy, though… so that’s one of my projects for the coming weeks.


  • Tasakeru Book III: Soulsnatcher, Chapter 2: COMPLETE!
  • Tasakeru Patreon: 2 Patrons (Reward Tiers Updated!)
  • Book II Appendix: 0.5 pages done
  • Shattered Skies Chapter 24: 4 pages done

(Originally posted on DA:

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Caution and conquest

A monster and a maiden

The theft of a soul


“Being haunted is the mark of people who have made important decisions. Some of us are haunted by mistakes we’ve made; failures and flaws; words spoken in anger; lovers lost;  misdeeds that can never be redeemed; the best of intentions, gone wrong. And some of us are haunted by doing the right thing, because sometimes that can be the the worst of all.”

[Final words of Lady Crocus Argenteus, 31st Grand Mistress of the Silver Order, Years 1201 – 1240]


“I don’t know about this, Faun.”

“Come on, don’t be so timid. He’s right there.”


“Look, Flowers. As your friend, I’m telling you to go for it. You know you’re never going to do it if you keep hesitating. It’s your move, it’s your moment. Go.

“I just don’t think it’s right.”

“What’s not right about it? He’s open, you know he is. Yours for the taking, so take the advantage, girl! Get over there and rut him..”

“A-all right…” With trembling fingers, Hanami reached for the carved wooden figure. Her eyes were set as she moved the scout over the head of Faun’s paladin and placed it in the square behind it. Satisfied, she took up the captured paladin and dropped it in the cloth pouch on her side of the board.

Faun waited until her paladin was in the bag, then leaned forward. “You’re sure, right? You’re positive that’s your move?”

Hanami nodded. “Yes.”

The vixen’s face split into a triumphant grin that stretched from ear to pointed ear. “Gotcha!” Snatching up her scholar, she jumped it over Hanami’s scout… and her mage, and her archer, then finally over her noble, knocking it over for good measure. “Shouri. You owe me two hundred tri.”

A moan of despair escaped Hanami. “Not again” After handing over her coins, she slumped in her seat. Her tail drooped in abject misery. “That’s four games in a row. Faun, you’re a genius at this game, I don’t know how you talk me into this…”


BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 5

Lord almighty, this week.

Not gonna lie: I’ve been feeling pretty damned uninspired for the past few days, given that my dog is sick, the weather’s turned cold again, and every day seems to be bringing us closer to the total collapse of civilization. Just getting out of bed in the mornings is turning into a challenge. As a matter of fact, were I not reasonably sure my mother was going to be reading this, quite a lot of this week’s Blogress Report would consist of the word “F–K” repeated over and over and over. Therefore, I’ll go with a slightly more articulate way of expressing the same sentiment.

First off, since I can’t join the marches, influence what I refuse to dignify as “policy” without sarcasm quotes, or otherwise make much of an impact, I’ve been using FaxZero to send free faxes to the spineless cowards in control of Congress, who could maybe do something about Voldemorange and his inner circle of Nazi sociopaths if they had any shreds of decency or principles. I’m not laboring under any illusions that most of them will even see my messages, let alone pay attention, but it’s at least helping me to feel a little less useless. I’m also selling a new design on teepublic, “Tuck Frump”, with a quarter of my profits going towards the ACLU and other progressive causes. Heaven knows they need all the help they can get right now.

I’ve been contemplating an idea for a series of Japanese toy reviews on YouTube. I thought maybe doing in-depth looks at items from my giant collection might make me a few extra dollars. Of course, I’d need decent camera equipment, space, and lighting for something like that… not to mention that I stutter badly, especially when I’m nervous, so I’d need to find some way of doing reviews that doesn’t require talking.

Sailor Moon Crystal is getting another season! And that’s all the information that’s out right now, but it’s a pretty sure bet that this will be an adaptation of the manga’s Dream arc, covering the fight against Nehelenia and the Dead Moon Circus. I’ll bet a lot of you cringed from reading that if you’ve seen any of the original anime’s fourth season, but as I’ve been saying to people: the manga version is incomparably better in pretty much every respect. In brief, it furthers the mythology, gives all the Senshi awesome solo moments, elevates Mamoru/Tuxedo Kamen to rear-equal with Usagi/Sailor Moon, features the return of the Outer Senshi including Saturn, and ends with the grand debut of Eternal Sailor Moon. Not only does Chibi-Usa not take over the series in the manga’s version of this storyline, but her subplot with Helios is A) far more subdued and B) far less creepy, since the possibility of romance isn’t brought up until after it’s clear he’s not a horse. If your only exposure to this arc has been the 90s anime, then you’re in for a hell of a nice surprise.

And speaking of magical girls, this week will see the premiere of KiraKira Precure A La Mode. From what I read online, Mahou Tsukai blew its final chances to be interesting, so that means even if PCALM is only kinda good, it’ll be a massive improvement. And again, we’ve got bunnygirl and squirrelgirl and catgirl Cures this year, all of whom are getting massive amounts of pre-series fan art, so it already looks like this year’s series will be far better received. On a related note: as I mentioned last week, I have a new photo project idea, one that’s a tribute to Smile Precure on its 5th anniversary. If I possibly can, I’m going to have that up on Sunday.

Hang in there, people. It may not be much of a comfort, but at least we’re all suffering together. That counts for something, right?


  • Tasakeru Book III: Soulsnatcher, Chapter 2: 2.25 pages done
  • Tasakeru Patreon: 1 patron (REWARD TIERS NOW ACTIVE!)
  • Book II Appendix: 0.5 pages done
  • Shattered Skies Chapter 24: 4 pages done
  • Steven Universe Commentary: See this post

(Originally posted on DA:

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 4

Not all that much to report this week. Thursday and Friday were… really bad, the worst days I’ve had in a while, but Sunday was a definite high point. I was surprisingly productive on both Tasakeru and Shattered Skies, so there’s that.

Huge props and respect to all those who attended or supported the Women’s March on Saturday, my mother among them. You made yourselves heard and you spoiled Voldemorange’s day, so I’d call that a rousing success.

I finished Season 2 of Voltron: Legendary Defender today. The first season was already great, but the second was a massive improvement. Better story, more character development, darker themes, and one of the sickest mecha fights I’ve seen in ages in the finale… Season 3 can’t get here fast enough.

Figuarts Sailor Moon Crystal and Cure Twinkle should both be shipping out this week. I’ll try to get some quick shots, but the primary photo project I’ll be working on in the next week-plus will be focusing on a series about to celebrate its fifth anniversary. More on that next week.


(Orignally posted on DA:

  • Tasakeru Book III: Soulsnatcher, Chapter 2: 1.75 pages done
  • Tasakeru Patreon: 1 patron (REWARD TIERS NOW ACTIVE!)
  • Book II Appendix: 0.5 pages done
  • Shattered Skies Chapter 24: 3 pages done

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 3

Huge thanks to the amazing Chronorin for becoming my very first Patron, and hopefully the first of many! Thanks to him, I’m already 1/5th of the way there for my first fundraising goal. Once I hit $15 a month, I’ll be able to offer the Tasakeru Original Soundtrack (composed by yours truly, natch) for download on SoundCloud. Hopefully, by the time I’m there, I’ll have a full album’s worth of stuff ready for it.

This week’s activities, apart from Shattered Skies Ch. 23, have mostly been Pokemon, Pokemon, and more Pokemon. I hit the point in Pokemon Sun where the game truly opens up, and oh am I so back in. I had heard the story was one of the highlights of this one, and now I can confirm: it’s far and away the best plot that’s ever been in a Pokemon game. I mean, not like it’s got a lot of competition, but still… this is a damned good JRPG in addition to a damned good Pokemon title.

On that subject: in preparation for the Pokemon Box update that should hopefully be happening by the end of the month, I went back and transferred everything worth transferring from my Diamond Version, through White 2, and into Y. Doing so has made me appreciate just how many quality-of-life improvements have been made to the series since Gen IV. Honestly even going back to Y was kind of a chore, because Sun/Moon has streamlined so many little things that should have been streamlined several generations ago. There’s finally a one-button shortcut to access your Pokeballs, for one thing, and HM moves are straight-up GONE, replaced by the far more enjoyable Ride Pokemon feature. Now traveling long distances is as easy as opening a map and choosing a place to go; you don’t have to lug around somebody with Fly anymore, or waste a valuable move slot on Surf or Strength. All of these and more are Ride Pokemon functions now, they’re always there when you need them from the moment they unlock, and they have tons more personality that surfing or flying on a generic blob or shadow ever did.

And oh lordy, the characters. Now I see why the explosion of Team Skull artwork and memes happened. Instead of trying to one-up the previous gens’ obligatory villain teams yet again, they took the brilliant step of making Team Skull hilariously pathetic losers for the most part. I’m talking like Jessie, James, and Meowth from the old days of the anime, here. Somebody finally figured out that no matter what they did, these guys were going to end up looking like chumps anyway… so why not cut to the chase?

Then there’s Lillie. Lillie is a precious bae, and


her mom is a scary, scary lady, whose comparisons to Ragyo Kiryuin of Kill La Kill infamy are not unfounded in the least. There’s something I never thought I’d write about a Pokemon title, good lord.

I also started the Little Witch Academia TV anime, as I mentioned last week. I’m surprised that they’re going for an origin story rather than pick up where the movies left off… but hey, it’s still LWA, it’s still Trigger, it’s still funny and charming and gorgeous to look at, and Sucy is still the best. Would that all trolls were as awesome as she is.

The other new anime I’m trying out is Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, which I dismissed at first as yet another monster girl harem show trying to cash in on the subgenre while it’s still making money. Then I found out that my beloved Emiri Katou is in it. Then I found out that the role of bland love interest/straight man to the wacky dragon maid is a woman, an actual adult, single, working woman, IN AN ANIME(!!!), and my interest was piqued. Having seen the first episode, I can confirm that it has a lot of fun with its bonkers premise, it has glorious amounts of deadpan snark from Kobayashi, and it’s just as delightfully strange as I hoped it would be. Maybe it’s not as balls-to-the-wall insane as Nyarko-san was, but I think it’ll do just fine as a replacement, since that one’s probably not coming back without the dearly departed Miyu Matsuki, RIP.

And that’s about it for now. Here’s hoping we all survive the next week, everyone.


(Originally posted on DA:

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 2 – PATREON LAUNCH


I’ve been mulling over the concept of launching a Patreon for at least a year now, but I decided it’s finally time to go ahead with it. I can’t really offer much in the way of rewards right now, but when/if I get pledges of $15 or more per chapter, I’ll be able to put the Tasakeru soundtrack up on Soundcloud for download. If I can reach that, then we’ll see what we can do from there. This is all still experimental, but I’d appreciate if you would at least consider pledging a few bucks every month. And yes, that’s per chapter… I wouldn’t feel right accepting money during my dry spells, so I’ll only charge when new chapters get posted.

It’s been a slow week otherwise. I got my Chogokin Voltron, which you can see in my gallery… I took an entire battery’s worth of unboxing pictures too, which are up on Google Drive.

I’m getting more and more excited for Precure A La Mode. The only concern I have is with the mascot, and as long as she’s not horrible like the ones from Precure 5 or stupefyingly boring like, well, the entire cast of Mahou Tsukai, I think we’ll be good. The large amount of early fanart I’ve been seeing both here and on Pixiv is a good sign that this will be a fan favorite.

Off to watch the first ep of Trigger’s Little Witch Academia TV anime. This gon’ be good.


  • Tasakeru Book III: Soulsnatcher, Chapter 1: COMPLETE!
  • Book II Appendix: 0.5 pages done
  • Shattered Skies Chapter 23: 4.5 pages done

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Chapter 1

On an autumn night

Innocent lives cross paths with

Hunters in the dark


“Let us lay to rest a common misconception: though the Outcasts of Tasakeru (at least, those of the era that this book covers, with Hanami, Zero Takaishi, Faun Muranaka, Rowan Longstripe, and the rest being by far the most well-known of them all) are considered folk heroes, they were by no means seen as such at the time. According to most stories, the Magistrate Representatives and their various species governments made every effort to paint them as traitors, outlaws, scoundrels, and what-have-you. This despite the fact that, Muranaka aside, they were not career criminals… at least, not in the traditional sense. The majority of the Outcasts of that era were exiled for violating cultural taboos, rather than exhibiting criminal malice: Hanami for use of magic, Longstripe on his own volition as an act of symbolic protest, etc.

“Of course, that is not to say that all Outcasts were considered heroes. Far from it, in fact. Some Outcasts were undoubtedly exiled for very good reason…”

[An excerpt from The Outcasts in Fact and Folklore, by Hill Jakes]


The problem was that they just couldn’t see. Couldn’t, or wouldn’t. It was because of that stubborn blindness on their part, that refusal to see what was right in front of them, that he had to do it. He wasn’t to blame. He had done no wrong. Why couldn’t they understand that?

The young brute wolf thought these bitter thoughts to himself as he trudged through the  forest at close to midnight. His dark eyes glowered, hidden in part by strands of long, lank black hair that threw the details of his features into perpetual shadow. Perhaps he would have been handsome, had he groomed himself with more care: the claws on each of his long, thin fingers were ragged and overgrown, and his fur was shaggy and unkempt over a lean, wiry frame. Like many wolves, he normally eschewed clothing. Unlike almost all of the wolves, however, his fur bore no markings, no patterns, no indication of any kind that he belonged to a pack.

This was because he didn’t. Not anymore.

They exiled him. They made him an Outcast, because they couldn’t see.

Fools, all of them.

Why couldn’t they understand? He explained it to them over and over, but each time they refused to listen to reason. They imprisoned him, stripped him of his markings, exiled him out to Tasakeru in the cold autumn night. They couldn’t see.


BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 1


That’s me and my best friend/co-author/editor/proofreader/partner-in-crime VDrake, wishing everyone a happy and productive new year. The two of us had a blast during his visit, of course. One of the highlights was presenting him with the very first copy of the finished Tasakeru Book I manuscript, seen above. We also saw Rogue One (which was fantastic), marathoned Gainax’s classic mecha series Gunbuster and Diebuster, and jointly discovered Netflix’s Voltron: Legendary Defender, which got us both hooked in a hurry. So that was the best possible way to end the flaming garbage year that was 2016.

Now that I’m back to semi-normal, my first order of business at the start of the second year of Blogress Reports is to set several long term goals. In no particular order:

  • Finish the revision of Tasakeru Book III: Soulsnatcher by July
  • Write the Book II Appendix and send the complete manuscript off to the copyright office
  • Compose at least three new songs for the Tasakeru soundtrack
  • Write at least ten chapters of Shattered Skies
  • Finish reading at least three of the half-dozen-odd novels that I’ve been neglecting, including Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Neverwhere
  • Resume work on my incomplete photo projects
  • Avoid politics whenever possible until a certain orange-skinned cockroach gets himself impeached
  • Continue posting Blogress Reports every Monday, with no late ones this time

There are other goals, of course, but these are the major ones.

A weather-related headache is currently making it difficult to focus on much else, so for now I’m signing off. Next week (hopefully), I’ll have some pictures of my shiny new Chogokin, along with a detailed review.

  • Tasakeru Book III: Soulsnatcher, Chapter 1: 4 pages done
  • Book II Appendix: Pending
  • Shattered Skies Chapter 23: 4 pages done

(Originally posted on DA:


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