Archive for the Umi & Sora Category

Oni Market #22: Chorissu @ Comicdom Con Athens 2010

Posted in Oni Market, Umi & Sora with tags , , , , , on April 25, 2010 by speedxgrapher

I had wanted to do this much, much earlier, but I have been busting my ass with the reports from COMICDOM CON, all besides everything else I have to deal with in my everyday life (too much, too boring, too doesn’t-really-matter-to-anyone-but-me). However, I have managed to steal some time (from the great, eternal Repository of Time, evidently) and say a few words about Umi & Sora’s new fanzine, CHORISSU. First off, I would like to thank all the friends who came by over the three days to support us and everyone else who picked up our fanzine, totaling sales of over 100 copies (which, trust me, for a virtually unknown fanzine – which in addition is more article than comic-centric –  is not shabby at all).

As with all collective works, there were bound to be some mistakes and judgment errors which sadly, either do not do justice to all the people that contributed their artwork, or ended up slighting them.  For that I would like to apologize and attempt to make some feeble amends, if anything to at least give my conscience some peace.

So first-off, in the artwork credits, two artists have not been listed with their full names: Korinna Veropoulou (Tori) and Efrosyni Giannakaina. I can only say that we never meant for that to happen and it was just one of those mistakes that slipped through the cracks. Furthermore, it is my opinion that the format in which Korinna’s contribution was printed does not do it justice and therefore you can see it in its original, disturbed glory below.

Additionally, there is one of Efrosyni’s pieces which I felt would have been better as a full-pager and in color (the color part was obviously impossible) and so I would like you to see it as I saw it in front of me. Note that it is watercolored and not by Photoshop and you will probably notice it is a variation on Kuroshitsuji.

Finally, and this where it hurts the most because she is a dear friend, I feel that Elli “Asaph” Moka’s artwork has been grossly misrepresented and its inherent humor lost due to the miniaturization. Therefore, I am also posting it here in its original form with my sincerest apologies and regret.

Those things having been said, now go buy the damn fanzine. It will be soon made available through certain venues, which will be promptly announced.




April 2010 Events: Update #1

Posted in Events, Oni Market, Umi & Sora with tags , , , , , , on April 13, 2010 by speedxgrapher

I said I may have some more news for you this week and here they are:

Press Release

Umi & Sora have remained somewhat silent after the successful Cosplay & Maid Café at The Mall’s FNAC and this may have given the impression of an untimely retirement, an impression entirely false at that! On the contrary, after careful consideration, followed by many months of planning, we are proud to present our latest project!


CHORISSU is a magazine focused on our well-loved modern Japanese culture, which covers a broad spectrum ranging from manga, anime and cosplay, to music and video games. The magazine has been composed by the entirety of the team, guaranteeing variety in subjects, opinions and writing styles. Furthermore, the magazine is illustrated with artwork from a number of young Greek artists, within and outside of the team.

Inside you will find reviews on manga, anime and bands, interviews and articles concerning the Greek as well as the Japanese version of modern visual culture and much, much more!

CHORISSU will be available over the three days of COMICDOM CON at the Hellenic-American Union (16th-18th of April – Massalias 22, Athens), at the fanzine area.

We hope to see you there!

Jya ne,

Umi & Sora

Time Capsule Files: Cosplay & Maid Café @ fnac – The Mall Athens (22 – 24/10/2009) – Day 3: Part 1

Posted in Umi & Sora with tags , , , , , on February 17, 2010 by speedxgrapher

Well, it seems I finally found a (very) small niche to post some photos from 4 months back (wow, its been THAT long). Looking at this event in retrospect, I am very happy we had the opportunity of doing it and also feel a bit pessimistic about modern J-culture in Greece. Why? Well, it’s really simple: while I have not come at a cosplay party for some time, news do reach me and I do tend to see the connections between things. At this moment in time, modern J-culture in Greece is becoming a rapidly fading trend. It is centered exclusively around the parties and then again to a great degree around cosplay. Make no mistake, the crowd IS thinning (the Carnival season does not count – it’s the only time of the year when cosplay is widely accepted in Greece, after all) and at some point not in the far distant future, if things do not change, everyday life will take its toll and you will have done this one too many times to find it interesting anymore.

If you do not believe me, you only have to look at all the other imported cultural (subcultural in Greece) trends of the past and see that I am right. Those who did not manage to find a sense of community, a REAL sense of community, faded into obscurity and vaguely remembered fun times. Which brings me to the main problem: there IS no community, in that there is no sense of purpose or direction and with the exception of a very few people, J-culture is not treated as a whole but segmented in its various aspects, the various followers of which are even hostile to each other (again, if you do not believe me you only have to open your ears, check backlogs in forums, remember discussions, have a look at widely publicized fights and ask people who thought there was a community and rapidly found otherwise). Each has their own agenda, each seems to think “they are right”, “they are the Keepers of J” and in a number of variations “cooler, wiser, better dressed than thou”.

Now, I will be the first to say this is just a hobby (for which opinion I have also been criticized) and as such, it is supposed to be fun, to take the mind off problems, not create more for someone to solve or even be aware of. As a hobby, it is also supposed to be creative. Sure, cosplay IS a really creative process for some but looking at the pictures, there is the evident presence of a peak and the beginning of a decline, not only (or even at all, all things considered) in quality but mainly in the choice of character, the roleplaying and slowly, even the physique. It’s becoming a habit, instead of something special. At any rate, what I witnessed at the event in fnac was a good start, an opening to something that could maybe survive the trend’s death, that could inspire a different way of thinking, a sense of… COMMUNITY. Sadly, it’s not happening and rest assured, the way the economy is going, soon our troubles will outweigh the remaining fun value of the parties, which will end up not being worth the trouble.

Sound bleak? Yes, I know it does and I assure you that I thought long and hard about this before writing it here, knowing full well I might become unpleasant. My inner demons are not for public consumption and I would never entertain the thought of basing anything I posted here on them. So after you entertain yourselves with the following photos, stop for a moment and think what this whole modern J-culture means to you, what it is and what it could or even should be. On the other hand, don’t: it won’t be the end of the world and I am sure something else will eventually replace “the J”.

On with the show…

Well, I hope you enjoyed that little bit of time-travel (there are, of course, tons more which I have no idea when I will be posting) but more importantly, I hope you will take a moment and think about what was different there and how it can be accomplished again.

From the depths of oblivion (no, not the game),


Cosplay & Maid Café @ fnac – The Mall Athens (22 – 24/10/2009) – Cinemascope #5: Overview

Posted in Akai Panda, Umi & Sora with tags , , , , , , , on November 17, 2009 by speedxgrapher

It’s been nearly a month and the material keeps piling up, with Vegetasmate (a.k.a. Yasminblossoms) producing a new video with compiled photos from all three days, to the sound of “Dame!” (Rurounin Kenshin’s 7th ending from the TV series),  “Ready!” (BGM from One Piece), and the full (!) Saber Rider opening, which I heard in this video for the first time. Pay attention to the first couplet, when the song begins. Historical trivia: “Ready!” was the first song Vegetasmate ever asked me to play in the OdC days.


As for me, I have gotten back to trying and empty the backlog, and I have currently edited around 40 photos from Day 3 of the Cosplay Café. Right now the target is 100, before I post for this event anew.



Halloween J-Party @ Art House (13/11/2009) – Cinemascope #2

Posted in Akai Panda, Nozomi Ongaku, Umi & Sora with tags , , , , , , on November 16, 2009 by speedxgrapher

Currently, the community’s creative urge is higher than a hormonal woman during the bloody moon (sorry if that brought a nasty image to mind – I was trying to be poetic). Therefore, here’s another two videos from from Friday the 13th’s uber-spooky (and mega-fun) party:

First up is Takara089’s Part 2 (Part 1 is over here).

Second feature, Vegetasmate Master Edit.

Enjoy the madness!


Halloween J-Party @ Art House (13/11/2009) – Baby Smile for Me When I Got the Blues

Posted in Akai Panda, Nozomi Ongaku, Umi & Sora with tags , , , , , , , on November 15, 2009 by speedxgrapher

Hello then, hello. Back as I promised and I gather most of you are still asleep from being up until 05:00 in the morning. No matter – you will be roused from your warm bedding when you will and this post will be waiting for you. Friday (the 13th) ‘s event went through quite a bit of turmoil before it turned into a success, first by having it canceled and then moved to its new location. Furthermore, the new location could not be properly communicated, some people got mixed up and then, those who finally got an idea of where the actual place was (in fact ridiculously close to Kerameikos Metro Station), were not at all sure they had the right building and so members of the team took turns standing outside to point them in.

One of our first mistakes was closing both front doors, so that people would use the (actual) side entrance, but I realized pretty early on that it was practically invisible, so we reverted to half the front entrance again. I must confess to being extremely nervous when there were only a very few people until 22:00, but at some point you started seeing each other (after the habit of standing outside, rather than going in – I realize that you may have gotten used to it due to the more tight past party spaces, but I cannot imagine how the cold did not motivate you quickly enough to enter the vastly larger Art House) and in time gathered a big crowd.

Sigh of relief then and the party was on. There were lots of amazing costumes, lots of good cheer and humor and a crazed photography marathon. When it was my turn to take helm at the decks (I played the first half-hour from 21:00 to 21:30, then it was Namida until22:00, then our guest DJ, Force_Impulse until 23:00, then the almighty KrizD until 24:00, Namida again until 01:00) at 01:00, someone remarked to me that I had such a long face that it practically touched the mixer (I believe it was Ioli the loli). Truth be told, I was very tired, not from the party, but from a rather tough week and I will admit I have not been in my best mood recently, for a number of reasons pertaining to work and everyday problems. However, it is at times like these when taking pictures becomes most precious to me, especially when I see so many unabashed, careless smiles. More than once, I heard the remark: “noooo, take another, I am smiling like an idiot”. Well, this geezer believes the world (and if not, at the very least this poor, messed up, sad country) needs more people to smile like idiots, not masking their true feelings for the sake of appearances.

At the other end, people who are sour and spray bile on anyone around them (yes, I see those as much as I see my favorite “smiling idiots”) should give it a rest, take a deep breath and try to do something for themselves instead of concentrating their efforts on making others feel as shitty as they do. Trust me, it will do you a world of good. But look at me, getting all philosophical again at the wrong blog. You are here for the pictures and pictures you will get! The other half of the meaning “Blues” in the title refers to the three colored spotlights we had at Art House, among which the blue one was the most widely used, especially on Evaofdawn, Takara089, Vegatasmate, the Dinner Loli (a.k.a. Anna-chan) and in general that was where extensive photo-shoots took place.

I think you will enjoy some of the creative editing: lights out, curtains up!

Well, here was a first good taste, since it will take quite some time before I can upload the rest of the cache, but hopefully I have chosen some of the best moments over here, to keep you going.

Incidentally, my two lists were the following (thanks for the kudos Six Winged!):

Playlist – 2008-04-27 – Mini (yup, from way back when)

01 – Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai – Naraku no Hana (TV OP).mp3

02 – Weiss Kreuz – Velvet Underworld (TV OP 1).mp3

03 – Koi Suru Tenshi Angelique – Infinite Love (TV OP).mp3

04 – BGC 2040 (TV OP).MP3

05 – Bleach – Rolling Star (TV OP 5).mp3

06 – Fullmetal Alchemist – Ready Steady Go! (TV OP 2).mp3

07 – Gundam SEED – Believe (TV OP Final).mp3

08 – The Soul Taker – Soultaker (TV OP).mp3

Playlist – 2009-11-13 – Walpurgisnacht

01 – Hyaku Monogatari – The Flame (TV OP).mp3

02 – Kara no Kyoukai – Oblivious.mp3

03 – Hellsing – The World Without Logos (TV OP).mp3

04 – Gilgamesh – Crazy 4U (TV OP).mp3

05 – Vampire Knight – Futatsu no Kodou to Akai Tsumi (TV OP).mp3

06 – Higurashi no Naku Koro ni – Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (TV OP).mp3

07 – Buck-Tick – Muma  the Nightmare.mp3

08 – Anima Mundi – Dark Alchemist OP.mp3

09 – Final Fantasy VII – Dirge of Cerberus – Longing.mp3

10 – Mnemosyne – Alsatia (TV OP).mp3

11 – Onmyouza –  Nemuri.mp3

12 – Kaya – Kagami Oni.mp3

13 – Shion no Ou – Lady Love (TV OP).mp3

14 – D-Gray Man – Brightdown (TV OP 2).mp3

Keep smiling carelessly,


P.S. Many thanks to Wabbit for filling in many of the blanks! Great job, as always.

Halloween J-Party @ Art House (13/11/2009) – Cinemascope #1

Posted in Akai Panda, Nozomi Ongaku, Umi & Sora with tags , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2009 by speedxgrapher

Well, the hype is still going strong as videos and photos pop-up left and right. For my part, I have edited just 30 of the 262 pictures I took but they are among my favorites and more importantly, very representative of the event. Those I will be posting in the morning, in order to sate your thirst for the time being. However, as I do not want to leave you hanging dry for the next few hours, here’s a video by Takara-chan (the party’s Visual Kei Blodied Zero from Vampire Knight) and a much shorter one that I took on a whim right then and there.

Hope you like them!  Talk to you tomorrow,


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