Did some practicing on my cartoony style last night and I quite like how it’s turning out. Also included, a character who will later appear in a card game I’m creating, Morgan the Reaper Girl, Hellhound, and of course, Invader Zim. – Nathan Seals

I absolutely love the Valiant universe (probably because they’re an indie publishing company that’s doing what I want to do) and really wanted to do some fan art of it. Bloodshot was the obvious choice, especially because they’re tossing around some casting choices for the movie. Ahhh! – Nathan Seals

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Prior to the airing of several new shows in this new season I wasn’t terribly impressed with the concepts of a lot of them. Some of them seemed more like the ‘same old same old’ that have been airing for awhile and others were mildly interesting ideas that I figured probably would end up sucking anyway.

Last year we got some awesome anime that I was excited for and stuck around with me even after I had finished watching them; To Be Hero, Mob Psycho 100, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, and Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto. I’m really hoping that the 2017 season will provide more than a few shows that I can add to my all time favorites list and (spoiler) there are already several shows that I’m very excited to keep watching.

I’m only including brand new shows on this list until I get a second season of a show I *REALLY want to see. (Like Mob Psycho 100.) As of writing this article, we’re only a few episodes into the new season and as a result, this list is only comprised of shows that I have watched only pieces of. I’ll likely go back and write season reviews of each series when the time comes, we’ll see what happens.

*Side note: Everyone I know was excited about Konosuba Season 2, but to be completely honest I wasn’t incredibly impressed by the show. Aside from subverting some fantasy tropes in a funny way, it didn’t really tickle my fancy as much as some of the other shows last year and the first episode was more of a recap than anything else. There are also several new series I haven’t even started, and a few I don’t plan on watching until the entire season is over (as well as a ton of older shows that I’m just trying to watch all the way through for the first time. I just keep watching and watching and it never seems to end.).

Top 3 Anime to Watch Out For (Winter Season 2017)

#3.) Saga of Tanya the Evil

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I’m going to be really honest here, I watched the first episode of this and really didn’t enjoy it. (I’ll probably write a review on in soon.) I was actually considering dropping the show right then and there, but I decided to give the second episode a shot. WOO BOY I’m glad I didn’t.

(Slight Spoiler Warning)

The second episode’s opening, where they introduce this cosmic being that’s either God or the Devil, I was incredibly impressed by the entire sequence. Where time freezes and he’s just there, seconds before death, arguing with this being about wither or not he actually exists before being thrown into an alternate reality. I was like, SOLD. Almost immediately, in fact, I wondered why they didn’t just open with that. Who even knows, but I’m excited enough about the show now to where I will probably try to finish this season.

(End Spoilers)

Again, the first episode doesn’t really go into what the show is actually about. The second one is what got me interested in it. The synopsis for the show is as follows; for having insulted God, an arrogant Japanese salary man in the moment of his sudden death is sentenced to be reborn in an alternate universe similar to 1920’s Europe, in an empire torn apart by countless wars with all nearby countries. The man is reborn as Second Lieutenant Tanya Degurechaff of the Imperial Army, a 9 year old soldier girl. Plus, at least according to ‘Being X’s’ words; if she’s not able to die a natural death or she refuses to have faith in Him, her soul will leave the circle and be sent to hell for the countless sins that Tanya has committed in her previous life.

The show centers around a Japanese man who insulted god and is sentenced to be reborn in an alternate war torn universe that’s very much like 1920’s Europe. The man is reincarnated as Second Lieutenant Tanya Degurechaff, a 9 year old girl.

Overall, this show is worth a /shot/ at a bare minimum. It’s a show made by a brand new studio trying to prove something, so it’s really worth watching to see the overall stylistic choices and interesting way they’re trying to tell the story overall.

#2.) Gabriel Dropout

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Let’s be honest, considering I’ve created a six issue comic series based around the war between angels and demons, I’m obviously a fan of stories on the subject. This one immediately got me hooked, the premise is hilarious and the execution is near perfect.

Gabriel Dropout centers around a small collection of angels and demons who finish their angel training in heaven and are sent to Earth to learn more about humanity. When Gabriel, one of the more promising students, ends up on Earth she discovers that video games are a WHOLE LOT more fun than going to school and messing around with humans, she basically decides to stop caring about everything and just messes around all day until she can go play more video games.

It’s really funny, lighthearted, and has a unique flavor that I wasn’t sure was going to shine through when I first started the episode. The demons are actually some of the most endearing part, as one of them is friends with Gabriel and is trying to get her to get out of her comfort zone, while the other is trying to be as evil as possible (and failing)… In fact, Gabriel ends up being more evil than she is. Overall, if you’re looking for something fun to watch this season, go with this one.

#1.) Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

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I know there is some kind of irony somewhere when the three shows I enjoyed the MOST this season feature blonde protagonists… But when I saw the trailer for this one I was like, “YEP. I’M IN.” This series feels a lot like is could be a Miyazaki film and is another one of those shows that really doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be over the top epic. (Granted, I’m only an episode in… THE NEXT EPISODE COMES OUT TOMORROW THOUGH.)

One night a coder named Miss Kobayashi gets crazy hammered and comes across an injured dragon (Tohru) and helps her. The dragon wants to repay her debt to the woman, so she starts living with Kobayashi as her maid.

I didn’t read the manga, but so far it’s a simple premise. The first episode is actually incredibly fun and genuine; the dragon doesn’t understand how people work, so there’s a lot of natural humor coming from that, and Kobayashi really wants to live a normal life… She has a dragon, but she’s just kind of going about her days normally… She has back problems and complains a lot, works as a coder, and goes out drinking with her (boyfriend?) at night. Meanwhile the dragon Tohru is enthusiastic, adorable, incredibly deadly and powerful at the same time. There are a lot of things I want to know about the dragons in that world, and I’m excited to keep exploring that world with the main characters (and the ones that pop up).

I’ve seen the first episode four or five times already and I’m incredibly excited to see more from this series.

Got any shows from the Winter 2017 Season you really like? Let me know in the comments below! 

Nathan Seals is an independent filmmaker, artist, and author who has created various comic books, films, role-playing systems, and card and board games throughout the years. He’s either insane, or a genius. Either way he’s having fun.

Gasping heavily as he ran down the dark hallway in a dead sprint, the heavyset boy Jack, clad in emoji boxers and old t-shirt, slid past a corner and quickly regained traction as he burst down a second hallway towards his bedroom. The boy had two options; run to his bedroom or die a horrible, awful, terrible, death that involved being burned alive or something.
Running. He chose running. Despite being a hefty boy, about sixteen, he ran. Jack had already started to prepare for bed that night when /it/ showed up at his doorstep. The Caorthannach, a fire spitter, an extra-dimensional monster that, for some reason, was currently in his house and looking for blood. One second Jack was brushing his teeth and the next a terrible extra-dimensional monster was staring into the window, which was rapidly melting at the simple act of touching the glass.
The Caorthannach was a massive black creature made up of hardened lava and pure rage. The thousand degree molten lava inside of its body was visibly getting hotter, something that was obvious through the cracks in its skin. The orange-red color ran from its mouth all the way to its long tail and cast an ember-like glow on everything around it.
“Shit shit shit shit.” Jack repeatedly swore as he rushed towards the door of his bedroom, his knees nearly hitting his chest every step along the way. Luckily his mom had a date tonight, so she wouldn’t be harmed. His mind flashed with images of his mother making out with the teacher she had decided she ‘hit it off’ with during one of the parent teacher conferences. Jack gagged at the thought of his mom making out with anyone. On top of that, he was an old bald guy who was more muscle than person. He had to have spent at least a thousand hours in the gym. Why did people waste their time working out, anyway? Especially because magic was a real thing.
Not that anyone else knew that.
Jack stopped mid-run and bent over to take in several deep breaths. Alright. So maybe he needed to work out. The dark haired boy pulled his toothbrush out of his mouth and brushed his arm across his chin to sop up some of the wetness that had gathered there. God damnit.
Suddenly the creature appeared in the archway beside him; even at such a distance it loomed over him. Jack swallowed the lump in his throat. Hard. He barely got out a syllable of the swear word forming on his lips before the ape-like fire spitter suddenly charged at him like a gorilla, smashing through the wall across from him as he lunged desperately to the side and rolled over onto his back.
‘I am so grounded.’ He thought, looking at the path of destruction that the creature had smashed into the house. Everything was catching on fire, so he quickly rolled up onto all fours and started to rush forward again as best as he could. At the very least he needed to try to explain to his mom that he was part of a small party of teen extra-dimensional warrior wizards that were sworn to protect all of the dimensions from a psycho flaming skull-you know what- that sounds insane. She was just going to think he is insane and lock him in one of those white suits with the sleeves and- that’s when the creature smashed through the wall.
The creature appeared in the hallway in between him and his bedroom, and roaring loudly enough to shake the entire house.
Well, he wasn’t going to get his wand now.
The creature smashed its fists into the ground and inched ever closer to him, so he slowly stepped back, taking in several deep breaths as he felt his body hit the wall behind him.
Jack felt the sweat (brought on by the pure heat of the creature) begin to pour down his face. He was so dead. Desperately, he looked around for something, anything he could use as a wand. He just needed a stick, or a broom or… Wait!
“My toothbrush!” Jack shouted loudly, lifting the brush into the air triumphantly. The creature returned a confused expression, hesitating at the sudden change of mood coming from the boy.
“This better work…” Jack gritted his teeth and swung the toothbrush out in front of him, holding it tightly with two hands and feeling the energy from his spell building up in his chest and pouring towards his hands…
“OSTIUM APERTUS!”
What did you think of this story?
What did you think of this story?

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It’s a new year, in case you didn’t know. I’m sure you didn’t. It’s this new thing they’re trying out, where, after a collection of about twelve months they decide to reset the months back to one and start over again.

Anyways, during this time of year people have decided to set their minds to accomplishing a specific set of tasks they want to do to improve their lives; eat better, work out more, etc. For years I did the same thing; ‘It’s 2011, I’m going to accomplish this, create that, workout and look like this…’ etc etc.

Eventually I realized that making a resolution at the beginning of the year, no matter how well intentioned, wasn’t accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish out of life (and statistically most resolutions fail anyway).

So I gave them up entirely. What’s the point?

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THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY!

The last three years, I didn’t have any resolutions at all. Instead I focused on spending each month on a single project that would allow me to close the book on that project after that month and start the next month with a new project. I’ve had varying levels of success on these different projects, but overall I’ve been very happy with what I’ve been able to accomplish over the last several years. (IE: A LOT more than before… Which was nothing.)

I’m not stopping that by any means. It’s given me great momentum and this upcoming year is going to allow me to release some projects that have been in ‘development hell’ for almost a decade.

BUT I’m constantly seeking self improvement and there are several things I’ve been wanting to make a habit in my life. I have a clear picture of who I want to be and what I want to do with my life, so I’m constantly striving towards that image.

One of the major things I’ve wanted to  be able to do is to read more… But I just didn’t seem to have time. AN ENTIRE BOOK?! THAT’S TOO MUCH!

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To give you an example of how my last eight or so years of reading has been, I’ve read a LOT of comics (though last year even my comic reading dropped significantly) and I usually manage to read about two to four books a year (usually business and finance books, I rarely make time for fiction anymore).

Which is odd, considering I’m a fiction writer. Huh.

WOW! You might say, that’s a LOT more than what I read in a year!

Well, considering that I used to read a full novel every day and still had time to accomplish everything I needed to… I’m going to say that my reading has someone diminished since college. Ha.

Well, I took December off in order to kind of reassess my life and my goals. Make sure I was still headed in the direction I wanted to head and to plan to set myself (and my family) up for success in the upcoming years. I’ve been so frustrated over the last several years because I can’t find the sort of inspiration I’m looking for; I watch movies, television shows, SORT OF play video games… Yet I have this sort of empty feeling that doesn’t tickle my mind and I’d often just kind of feel like I could be working on a project instead of consuming the media I am consuming.

I’ve constantly been looking for that feeling that I’d felt when I was younger, when I was more creative and expressive, when I had a seemingly endless supply of stories and ideas… But for some reason, over the years, I’d begun to lose it. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was…

Well, about a year and a half ago my phone stopped working and I lost my constant access to social media (and generally the internet). I realized very quickly that I was incredibly addicted and was, of course, spending a tremendous amount of time on these sites. (Hereby attributing to the ‘I don’t have enough time to do ‘x’ excuse.)

In December, aside from taking it off from projects, I also took it off from Facebook entirely and managed to discover that I actually have a TREMENDOUS amount of free time. That is when I picked up some of Kevin Strange’s bizarro stories. It’s not secret that I’m drawn to weird stories, filled with unique characters and just a bizarre, out of the ordinary premise; some of my own stories or pitches reflect that, I’m sure. If it is a fantastically told story on top of that; all the better. I’d been wanting to pick up some of Kevin’s stories for awhile, but after I had actually read some of Strange’s stories (in particular Texas Chainsaw Mantis) I began to realize something; that feeling of inspiration and imagination that I had felt before college?

I got that feeling from reading.

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Obviously! Duh! Over the years, as I’d begun to read less and less (as I got ‘busier’). I became less creative and became less inspired.

RIGHT after that I began to read quite a bit every day and ended the year by reading (and finishing) about four different books and a small set of short stories. So, I immediately I realized that reading was more than just a hobby or a goal for me; it was a NEED. Reading is a source of creativity, inspiration, and stimulation.

I was happier, I had an influx of creative ideas, I enjoyed the media that I was consuming more, and my mind was more focused on the other things I was trying to accomplish. I knew in that moment that I needed to get off my ass and start reading more.

HEY! It’s a new year! Let’s make a resolution! 

Well, for the most part what I’ve realized that most people don’t go into this sort of momentous task without having a specific set of tasks in mind that will help this accomplish their overall goal. That’s why only 8% of people succeed in their resolutions. They’re too broad with what they want to accomplish.

So how am I going to make reading a habit? Well, I’m taking a very similar approach to the whole #FinishIt method that I’ve been successfully using over the last several years to accomplish various projects that I’ve been wanting to do for over ten years. This version, however, will take the form of a 100 day goal.

Every day for one-hundred days, my goal is to read as many books as possible.

Yikes. That’s a big goal. Well, after I broke it down, it seemed more reasonable; thirty days to establish a new habit, the bite-sized goal from now until then is to read at least two chapters a day in a book. This gives me a very straight forward, broken down goal that I can accomplish every single day for the amount of time I need to (the 100 days). A bunch of smaller tasks accomplished each day takes me a step closer to getting to where I wanted to be overall.

Instead of waking up in the morning and browsing Facebook, I wake up in the morning and read a chapter in a book. Instead of browsing Facebook when I’m bored, or before I got to bed, I read a chapter. Now I ONLY get onto any social media when I have a reason to and (big surprise) I’m accomplishing a lot more.

Well, I’m almost two weeks into the new year and guess what? I’ve almost read two books. With this method, I’m on track for reading a book a week. How awesome is that? I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing on fifty days and on one-hundred days… But so far I’m going strong!

So, in summation; I realized that, despite already cutting down my social media time SIGNIFICANTLY, I still waste a massive amount of time on it. I’m using my time to accomplish things that don’t matter and just eat up my time instead of accomplishing my goals. So, instead of using social media as a method of entertainment, I’m doing something else more productive and beneficial to my life. Reading.

What are some of your goals for this upcoming year? What do you want to accomplish?

Nathan Seals is an independent filmmaker, artist, and author who has created various comic books, films, role-playing systems, and card and board games throughout the years. He’s either insane, or a genius. Either way he’s having fun.