#SummerBreak2017 is officially here! Let have an awesome Summer and have fun this Summer! School Resumes Monday August 21 2017! Have An Good and Safe Summer!
And with the money that the 16-year-old has raised in her three years of work in promoting autism awareness, it’s clear that Hiles has shown the unselfish qualities that make the Notre Dame High School sophomore a great human being.
On Thursday, her work throughout the community was evident again as Hiles, with the help of local Subway owner Jamie Dettwiller and Market Street Cafe operators Susan O’Neill and Mary Rase, was able to donate $2,500 back to the Autism Project of Southern Ohio (APSO).
With that total, Hiles — with the help of Subway and Market Street Cafe — has donated a total of $6,926 back to APSO since she’s began raising money for the organization.
Obviously, that’s a great accomplishment for anybody, but especially for a 16-year-old sophomore who has admitted her own struggles with finding her own niche due to the disorder.
“It feels great,” Hiles said. “I’ve had an easy school life, so I just want to give back and give the kids an easier school life. I just want to give money back to help the cause, because I’ve had it all my life. So why not spread the awareness and give back to a cause that I feel so strongly about?”
As far as Dettwiller is concerned, it’s a no-brainer to get involved, especially when one considers the heart that Hiles puts into everything that she does.
“I’ve known Alyssa since kindergarten,” Dettwiller said. “She goes to school with my oldest daughter (Katie), and they’re best friends. She’s grown in so many ways, it’s unbelievable. Her progress, along with the inspiration that she is to others with autism, shows them that you can do anything. There’s nothing setting you apart from anybody. Just reach for the stars.”
The Autism Project of Southern Ohio, which was founded in 1998, is a non-profit support group for families and individuals with autism. Its mission is to spread awareness, to educate the public about autism while supporting those with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, and to help autistic children and adults be the best they can be in school and in the community.
Hiles, like many who have autism, was fortunate to obtain the attention necessary in order to become the best person that she can possibly be.
“I’ve had so many people help me obtain the courage to help other kids with autism,” Hiles said. “It shows me that I’m not the only one who deals with the obstacles that autism presents every day. There’s more individuals out there who are going through similar struggles.”
However, even though many autistic youths do, indeed, receive the help that they need, there are many others — whether they have high-functioning autism or more severe cases of the disorder — that don’t get the help that they so desperately need.
In a study done by the National Health Interview Survey that came out in 2015, one in every 45 kids in the United States were diagnosed with autism. That number is a vast increase from totals in the 1970s, where one in every 2,000 youths were diagnosed with the same disorder.
In addition to those numbers, one of those individuals, Camden Uhl — who is of relation to Dettwiller and is close with Hiles — has autism, too, which explains why Hiles wants to do all that she can in order to help the next generation.
“Alyssa’s passionate about it, and we are, too,” Dettwiller said. “We’re always on board with what she’s doing. My great nephew, Camden, has autism. With them having autism, it inspires us to do as much as we can, because it’s a family thing. She’s family, he’s family, and that’s what it’s all about.”
“When I first heard of APSO being right here in Southern Ohio, I saw an opportunity to help kids in this area,” Hiles said. “I wanted to help spread the word and help individuals understand exactly what autism is.”
Hiles, however, hasn’t stopped there, as the NDHS cheerleader has been busy endorsing a new project that could transcend how autism is looked at from a worldwide perspective.
The Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge, or SPARK for short, has been designed for the sole purpose of building a research community where tens of thousands of individuals with autism — along with their families — can understand autism in a greater light.
Not only does this research go toward individuals in need, it also comes as no charge to the individuals who pursue the research, as the program is completely funded by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI). The results of the research, according to the SPARK for Autism website, will go completely towards new autism research that will further advance the understanding of the disorder.
“Alyssa’s new project (with SPARK) is really interesting, because it’s all brand-new,” Dettwiller said. “She wants to be apart of the latest technology (in order to advance autism studies) and I think that’s awesome. She’s an inspiration.”
However, it’s clear that Dettwiller isn’t surprised. After all, it’s that same inspiration and desire that has allowed Hiles to brake through the toughest barriers and setbacks.
“It is awesome,” Dettwiller said. “Alyssa works really hard, and she does it with great style. That’s just Alyssa. She’s all-in, 100 percent of the time.”
The Autism Project of Southern Ohio meets on the second Saturday of each month. Membership to join APSO is $15 for families and $10 for a single person.
For more information about APSO, call (740) 464-6781, visit http://www.autismproject.info, or visit the APSO Facebook website at https://www.facebook.com/Autism-Project-of-Southern-Ohio-129299407080990/.
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7
Today’s guest is Eliza Jane Schneider! Hear many stories including how she put the South into Mafia 3, how she intertied a ton of roles from South Park, the ongoing voice actor strike and so much more! Seriously, go listen to the interview! DO IT!
How To Stalk Eliza Jane:
We’re excited to announce that tickets for the very first Crunchyroll Expo are now on sale! Weekend and day passes are available as well as a limited amount of VIP passes that give special access to guests and exclusive swag! Purchase your tickets now!
The Crunchyroll Expo hotel block is also now open. Reserve your room in our block to receive a welcome kit including a Crunchyroll Store online coupon and exclusive art card. Click here for more details and to book your room.
After 20 years of Persona, and 8 years after Persona 4, Persona 5 is finally here. This very Japanese RPG series has grown tremendously since its beginnings, and Persona 5 is definitely their biggest release yet. So… how is it?
It’s pretty great.
Well, firstly, it’s definitely more Persona. Well, more of modern Persona. Persona 5 is a logical refinement of the gameplay we’ve come to expect from Personas 3 and 4. And if that’s all you need, then you probably don’t even need to read the rest of this review. In fact, you probably already have the game coming to you on release. Heck, even though I have a review copy (Thanks, Atlus!), I still have the Take Your Heart Edition coming in the mail. I am for sure a superfan.
But how about for those of you who aren’t Persona fans, who are looking for your first Persona game? Keep reading. I’ll come back to you in a bit.
In fact, for those uninitiated folks, let’s go over what a Persona game is. Persona is a turn-based RPG series based largely around the idea of setting an RPG in modern Japanese High Schools. You, the player, take on a blank-slate protagonist, going through their normal high school lives, dealing with high school problems. Oh, and also dealing with some supernatural disturbances that are beyond their understanding. So, just normal high school stuff.
Throughout the course of your typical modern Persona game, you navigate high school life, meeting people and becoming close to them. Almost simultaneously, you navigate themed dungeons, fighting enemies called Shadows and exploiting their weaknesses. So when I say that Persona 5 is more Persona, this is what I mean. It was also what I expected. But despite being clearly within these parameters, Persona puts a decently new spin on things and keeps them fresh.
Persona 5 is the slickest, most modern feeling Persona game yet. Before playing this game, I didn’t know how they could possibly alter the formula at this point to make it more modern while still retaining its charms. I’m guessing that’s a symptom of all the re-releases and genre mash-ups that Persona has been going through ever since Persona 4. But Atlus has done a tremendous job with exceeding my expectations on that front. Everything is streamlined; navigating dungeons and menus have become quicker, more kinetic. Modern hardware means modern conveniences; at least in my digital copy of the game, load times are quick and frame rates are smooth. As I said, it’s a logical refinement of Persona.
And when I say the game is “more Persona,” I also mean to say that there’s just… more in the whole package. There’s more voice acting than there ever was before, and Atlus has been able to do more meaningful 3D cutscenes than they ever have in a Persona game. It’s a clear combination of the scale of a Persona game with the technical prowess of Catherine, and that’s undeniably great.
The tone of the game is also darker than ever before. I know that “dark” is sometimes a cop-out filler word, but there’s not a better word for it. The deep red color scheme throughout the game is reminiscent of passion and rebellion, two themes that this game works heavily on. Your party’s goals aren’t as clearly heroic as they were in previous entries. You control a group of anti-heroes, doing what might be the wrong things for what might be the right reasons. The game sets up this tone early and it only gets deeper from there. Some messed-up stuff happens throughout the game, so be ready.
Combat is very similar to previous games, but refined. Battles still operate as puzzles, a game of “guess the weakness” where you try different abilities until you find the one that your enemy is weak to. Boss battles in Persona 5 go a step beyond that, sometimes operating as legitimate puzzles where you decide what to target when. There are also segments of boss battles where you have to send a party member off to perform some other task while you keep fighting. It does a good job of adding variety to boss fights.
Speaking of variety, combat has a few new mechanics to spice things up from previous games. Well, I say they’re new, but they’re really borrowed from Personas 1 and 2, and Shin Megami Tensei, a series that Persona spun off from back in the day. Your party now has access to guns, a separate battle command with its own separate resource management that some enemies are weak to. Also borrowed from SMT is the ability to negotiate with your enemies; as an alternate option from the All-Out attacks from previous games, when you’ve exploited all your enemies’ weaknesses and knocked them down, you have the opportunity to hold them up at gunpoint and take their money, items, or their power (in the form of a new Persona). Yeah, like I said before, this party isn’t necessarily heroic.
Also, once you’ve exploited an enemy’s weakness, you can tag in another party member and insert them just after you in the turn order. It allows for some interesting strategy, giving you much finer control of the turn order in combat.
It’s a great direction for the series, one that Persona fans will love and enjoy. It has definitely been worth the wait, and those that have been waiting the past 8 years since Persona 4 have no reason not to dive in.
Now, back to those of you who aren’t superfans. Thanks for holding out! I think there are a few reasons for you not to pick up Persona 5, or at least maybe not as your first foray into Persona.
No, I’m not one of those purists who says you need to go back and start with the original Persona on PS1. That would be ridiculous. But I don’t know if Persona 5 is the best jumping in point for the series. The intro to the game is very fast pace and high energy, but after that, things get a little sluggish. I’m not trying to claim that previous Persona games weren’t slow to start (it game take a couple of hours to get control of your character in Persona 4), but Persona 5‘s intro is sluggish in a different way.
Conversations about the first antagonist go around in circles. Characters will end up repeating, in different words, exactly what they said a few moments ago. It could be an attempt to make sure you retain all the information, but it made the time before the first dungeon began feel sluggish. Once I got into the first dungeon, things got a lot faster and more fun, but even inside the dungeon conversations get repetitive. Some characters only have one or two lines for exploiting an enemy weakness, and they’ll repeat it every time you exploit them. In a battle against three of the same enemy where you’re on a roll, you’ll hear the same line 3 times in less than 15 seconds. Maybe it’s a side effect of how much faster they’ve made combat, but those things begin to grate.
But, admittedly, as I got deeper into the game, these annoyances stopped bothering me. Some of them didn’t go away; character voice lines keep repeating, after all. But the style kept me going. The story picked up and found its legs, and the dungeons began being more varied. It’s undeniably a good game, but it might be hard for a newcomer to handle up front.
I don’t think that, gameplay-wise, Persona 5 is a bad intro for newcomers. I think it explains its mechanics fairly well and isn’t too overwhelming. But I think some of these gripes could end up driving the newcomer away before they can even scratch the surface of this long 80-hour epic.
Now is when it would normally be time for the score. Full disclosure, I haven’t gotten to complete the main storyline of Persona 5. That’s why you don’t see my thoughts on the story here. But since I haven’t had time to complete the game, I don’t feel comfortable giving the game a numeric score. But what I can say is that this game is a great Persona game that’s worth a look.
The average Persona fan stopped reading this article at “more Persona,” and that’s fine, because for anyone with experience with Persona that’s itching for more Persona, this is what you’re looking for. But for the newcomers here, Maybe don’t take the plunge just yet. I recommend renting it first to see if it grabs you, or maybe to grab the Vita release of Persona 4, Persona 4 Golden, to dip your feet into the Persona series. But either way, if you can sit through some of the annoyances, you’re in for a fun time.
P.S., for those of you wondering: the English dub is great! I recommend giving it a shot before you immediately download the Japanese voice pack on launch day.
If there’s anything I didn’t mention about Persona 5 that you want to know, ask in the comments and maybe I can answer for you! If you want to read more about Persona, check out my article on the merits of the Persona 4 anime!
X Japan, the biggest band you have never heard of, or at least that is the tagline from the documentary film, We Are X. The film follows the life of the band’s mastermind, Yoshiki discussing the trials and tribulations that befall the drummer/pianist/composer and his thirty year career. From losing his father at an early age, to losing his guitarist and then his singer to a cult. We Are X showcases the band in a new light.
Like all films, this documentary will have a soundtrack to go with the upcoming DVD release on April 25th. We Are X, the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is out now from your favorite digital retailers. The album features 14 tracks total and all are pulled from their studio albums, live versions from three live shows, as well as unplugged, and acoustic songs. The album also includes two exclusive songs, La Venus and Without You (Unplugged). La Venus was nominated for ‘Best Original Song’ at the Oscars.
The music, much like the film is a historical lens into the band’s history, emphasizing the band’s diverse musical evolution from a burgeoning speed/power metal band to becoming one of the forefathers of symphonic metal, and as the most recognized band of the wholly Japanese movement of “visual kei” to their more sappy rock ballad hits.
The band debuted with Vanishing Vision in 1988 and helped to define the ‘Visual Kei’ movement with songs such as ‘Kurenai’, although the one featured on the album is from The Last Live. ‘Kurenai’ much like X and ‘Standing Sex’ showcase the band’s faster speed metal roots that continued with 1989’s Blue Blood. But, Blue Blood also featured the hard rocker ‘Xclamation’ and the ballad ‘Endless Rain’. Although the version of ‘Endless Rain’ on the soundtrack is from The Last Live.
Jealousy was release in 1991 and continues the flirtation with ballads and fast guitar work, but it was in this album that the band would start to experiment with symphonic elements, making them one of the first bands to accomplish this. ‘Piano Strings of Es Dur’ is a good example of this. However, in 1993 X Japan would release Art of Life which is a 29 minute love orchestrated song that was recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Third Movement from Art of Life is available on the album.
In 1995, X Japan released the singles ‘Longing ~ Togireta Melody’ and ‘Longing ~ Setsubou no Yoru’. Interesting factoid about these singles is that music videos for both were filmed and directed by David Lynch. ‘Longing ~ Togireta Melody’ was the only video that was released, the documentary features behind the scenes footage of the shooting.
The rest of the songs from the soundtrack: ‘Dahlia’, ‘Crucify My Love’, ‘Longing ~ Togireta Melody’, ‘Tears’ and ‘Forever Love’ all are from the album Dahlia. It is their last studio album, and is mostly full of ballads. It shows the evolution away from the power and speed metal elements, and is the last album to feature guitarist hide, who would pass away two years later in 1998.
X Japan broke up in 1997, and then returned in 2007 and have gone on to play at Madison Square Arena, which is what the documentary leads up to, and will play Wembley Arena later in the year. They have inspired fans and bands from both their country of origin and throughout the world. They have been considered one of the best live acts in rock, and Yoshiki has become known as a producer, classical composer, and voice of the band. Fans of X Japan should check out, ‘We Are X’ and if you liked the film, then maybe purchase this soundtrack as well.
The Good: It showcases the band’s diverse catalog, and is something any fan would like, especially if you have watched the documentary.
The Bad: Besides La Venus and Without You, there is no new songs, and they are just extras included.
The Final Verdict: This soundtrack features the history of one of the most important rock/metal bands from Japan, and is a must have for any fan of the band.
Favorite Tracks: Kurenai, Dahlia, Standing Sex, Endless Rain, X
Total Score: 4/5
X Japan, We Are x Soundtrack:
1. ‘La Venus’ (acoustic version) *
2. ‘Kurenai’ (from The Last Live)
3. ‘Forever Love’
4. ‘A Piano String in Es Dur’
6. ‘Crucify My Love’
8. ‘Standing Sex’ (from X Japan Returns)
10. ‘Longing ~Setsubo-no-yoru~’
11. ‘Art of Life -Third Movement-‘
12. ‘Endless Rain’ (From The Last Live)
13. ‘X’ (from The Last Live)
14. ‘Without You’ (Unplugged)*
* Soundtrack Exclusives
Grab It For Yourself!
20 Years Ago Today , I watch anime for the first time ever and #Toonami first broadcast on Cartoon Network! My first ever anime I watched was Voltron and its looks amazing! It was the best night of my life! Over the 20 years as an otaku I’ve watched DBZ / Dragon Ball / One Piece / Pokemon / Digimon / Fairy Tail / Sonic / Huntik / Much More Awesome Anime! I started watching anime since I was 2 years old almost 3 and it’s changed my autism life over the years! Anime and Gaming is awesome! Also Twitch Gaming Streaming Site has helped my social skills for autism since 2012! My first anime convention was at Louisville KY at Pokecon in July 2013 and it was an blast! Next Month I’ll be attending my 10th anime convention at Shumatsucon in Columbus Ohio! I like to give thanks to my family , twitch , @Kintinue . @wgrates , Toonami Crew, and you for making my special needs life amazing! Here to the next 20 years to my otaku life! #HuntikOtaku20th
I made it my mission to cover every convention in my area. While I have a ways to go, I did mange to knock one more off the list. Today, I’ll report on J1-Con. J1-Con is an anime focused convention that take place in Philadelphia. It is run by J1 Studios; an online geek entertainment hub. After holding one day events for a few years, they were finally able to expand to two days. That expansion was what prompted me to finally check it out. Well, what really prompted me to check them out was their Facebook ad. It’s not the most sophisticated way to discover a convention but that proves advertisement does work.
I do have to object to some of the claims their advertisements have though. First, they claim to be Philadelphia’s number one anime convention. While it is true, it’s not as impressive at it sounds. By and large, anime conventions generally establish and respect each others’ territories. Larger cities may host multiple conventions due to having enough of population to support them. It’s like the local newspaper declaring a place has the best apple cider donuts in town. It’s easy to be the best in town if you’re the only one in the town! Secondly, J1 announced that they had the most fan panels ever that year. While they have surpassed a personal best, running only two panel rooms is unimpressive. While I do have objections when it comes to their marketing, we all know the real deal is the con itself.
J1-Con houses itself at 820 Spring Garden Street, which is also known as the Dome.The Dome is also home to such events as the Spring Garden Antique Vintage Flea Market and the Philadelphia Punk Rock Flea Market. It’s just few blocks north of Chinatown and easy reachable with Septa. If you prefer to drive, there’s on site parking for just ten dollars. I should note that the area around the Dome is rundown. While J1 does have security guarding the con, I wouldn’t dawdle in the area after dark.
What really sets the Dome back as a convention spot is that it’s basically a warehouse. For any convention, you want several separate rooms so that each event will have its own space. The Dome doesn’t have that. It’s one giant space not broken up at all. J1 can only have two panel room because that’s all they have space for. The site is ill suited for an anime con. On the bright side, there are five nearby pokestops and you get Koffing and Tangula there. J1 has taken steps to alleviate the issue by also using District N9NE to host its varied video game tournaments.
I don’t consider the Dome an ideal space for an anime con by most standards. I believe that J1’s choice of location is due more to lack of good options then ability to pick a place. My impression is that Philadelphia isn’t a good place for smaller cons. The Philadelphia Convention Center is great if you need a lot of space and have a lot of money but smaller conventions (and their smaller budgets) must find homes elsewhere. Zenkaikon said, “nope” and went west. Fillycon (short review of Fillycon: it’s a small but fun My Little Pony con) tried to find a good place and they’re gonna try again.
While J1-Con is iffy in a few departments they also do a lot right. I gotta talk about the food. Admittedly, food is a minor concern but I can’t enjoy a con if I’m hungry/thirsty. Being right next to Chinatown, several good restaurants were but a short walk away. But why leave the con area if the restaurants will go to you? Every water ice selling biker came out to sell their stuff. Local Establishment Tea-Do also set up shop to sell bubble tea, ramen, and other various Japanese foodstuffs. There was even a food truck. It’s wheely wheely good in fact! There were multiple places where you get onigiri at J1. Just try getting a rice ball at Otakon! What I really liked was that cans of soda and bottles of water were only one dollar each. It’s quite refreshing to not get gouged for drinks at a con.
J1 also has good taste in selecting guests. The theme for 2016 was the 20th Anniversary of Pokemon so they got people from the show. There was Alyson Rosenfeld who plays both Bonnie and Nurse Joy and Eric Stuart who was Brock. He was also Seto Kaiba in Yu-Gi-Oh! These voice actors are solid picks for any con and shows that J1 know what they’re doing when selecting headliners. This being a small convention, you could get close and personal with them too. You could walk right up to them and tell them how great you think they are.
All the other bases were covered more or less. There were panels and a maid cafe but like I said, the venue wasn’t well suited for those activities so I ignored them. The video gaming section was good though. District N9NE hosted gaming tournaments before so it was smooth sailing. While I never got to try any myself, I did the feeling that everyone was generally having a good time. What really popped out at me was the cosplay. I wasn’t expecting too much because it’s a small con but the quality and quantity of the cosplayers was a lot higher then I expected. The cosplayers of J1-Con are just as good at as the people you see in the major cons.
Overall, J1-Con is a small but respectable convention. The amenities are not the most robust I ever seen but J1 does have the right idea and are leveling up as a reasonable rate. I wouldn’t book a hotel room for it but a day trip certainly isn’t out of the question. J1-Con is a contender and you should definably keep an eye on them. I plan on going again next year. I was only able to go on Sunday so I would like to further see what J1 has to offer. Follow them on their Facebook page because they post things of interest to the local otaku population as well as updates on their convention. They just recently posted that The Dome was sold and that J1-Con will have to find a new home as a result. I’m not sure where they’ll end up but I’m willing to go along for the ride. Are you?
The word is out in today’s Wall Street Journal that Crunchyroll has hit the big 1 million subscriber mark. And, as part of the celebration, a bold new direction for the brand has also been announced: Crunchyroll Expo! Read on for more details about this new 3-day convention experience coming to Santa Clara, CA later this year!
To quote from the official press release
Crunchyroll Expo will present three jam-packed days of anime, manga, games, cosplay, and more. Fans can expect everything they already love about Crunchyroll’s appearances at past conventions – unique exhibits, immersive activations, and access to massive crowds of Japanese and American guests. The event will also feature a host of special events, premieres, and interactive features focused around anime pop culture, the latest content coming out of Japan, and ways for fans to connect with each other to share their passion for anime. In addition to anime, Crunchyroll will bring together key partners, exhibitors, and influencers from the video game, manga, and cosplay worlds to keep fans excited and engaged the whole weekend.
Crunchyroll Expo will be held on August 25-27, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Fans are invited to sign up at www.crunchyrollexpo.com for more information, including when tickets go on sale. SEE YOU THERE!
Stay tuned to Crunchyroll News over the next few days for more big annoucements!
After 11 years online, Disney’s kid-friendly social network Club Penguin will shut down at the end of March, to be replaced by a new mobile-only version called Club Penguin Island. The site originally launched in 2005 before Disney bought it up two years later and devoted considerable resources towards making the platform a safe space for kids to play games and chat online. When it launches on March 29th, Club Penguin Island will carry over the same philosophy to a new standalone mobile with an updated look plus new features, games and quests to engage with.
Unfortunately for the tweens who have spent considerable time and energy building up their Club Penguin presence, players won’t be able to bring their memberships or their virtual items and property over to the new version, but Disney has opened up pre-registrations for Club Penguin Island so kids can go ahead and reserve their usernames before the app goes live. In the meantime, the site will be celebrating a “Waddle On” goodbye party starting on February 1st and current members can keep playing until Club Penguin sunsets on March 29th.
As TechCrunch reports, Club Penguin’s web traffic has been on the decline since it peaked around 12 million users in 2013. As of last month, the site was down to about 5.5 million monthly visitors and the launch of Club Penguin Island hopes to recapture some of that audience while bringing the next class of elementary schoolers online. The market for kids’ spaces is also much more crowded than it was back in 2005, and Disney will be competing directly with services like Lego’s Lego Life social network, also aimed at that under-13 demographic.