2016 challenges, Challenges

Looking back on the 2016 Challenge: The failures


So, as I may have alluded to in a previous look-back post, I didn’t manage to achieve all aspects of my challenges. Rather than give those challenges the satisfaction of having their own post, I’ve decided to lump them all in one shameful sitting (because no-one likes having to reflect on failures).

As a reminder, the remaining challenges were:

  • Watch 80 films in the cinema
  • Watch 30 anime series
  • Platinum 24 games (and subsequently to get more platinum trophies than a friend of mine)

To say I’ve done badly on these things would be an understatement.

Here’s how I ended the year:

  • 49 films watched in the cinema
  • 15 anime series watched
  • 7 platinum trophies obtained (and a draw with my friend)

Let’s not dwell too much on this, as it’s very shameful and I’m very disappointed in myself. I may have overestimated myself, so lessons have been learnt on that front for the 2017 challenges list. Onwards!

2016 challenges, Challenges

Looking back on the 2016 Challenge: Books edition


Continuing with the theme of challenges I was actually able to achieve, we move onto books! My target, if you recall, was to read 24 books.

When I first started the challenge, I was only going to count novels towards this total, but as the year crept on and the numbers of books never went up, I started to relax my rules on this one. I decided if GoodReads counts it towards their challenge numbers, then I would too – which means manga and graphic novels were able to be counted!

I actually stopped adding things to my GoodReads once I hit the 24 book target I’d set, so my actually total is probably more in the 30s or 40s.


2016 challenges, Challenges

Looking back on the 2016 Challenge: Cosplay edition


As we’re nearing the end of the year, I thought I’d look back on my 2016 Challenges and reflect on what I’ve learnt about myself and how I can improve the challenges for next year.

Out of the five challenges, I’ve completed two of them, so not a great way to end the year, but perhaps I was a little ambitious with the others.

Let’s start with the ones I did manage to complete!

Create 5 new cosplays

2015 was the year I started cosplaying seriously, and in 2016 I managed to take it to another level. I actually managed to do 9 new cosplays over the course of the year (not including variants of the same cosplay, so sorry to my casual and vampire Yamaguchi cosplays).

Here’s the list of my 2016 cosplays:

  1. Yamaguchi Tadashi – Haikyuu!!
  2. Nekozawa Umihito – Ouran High School Host Club
  3. Negan – The Walking Dead
  4. Undercover Kageyama – Haikyuu!!
  5. The Emperor – Star Wars
  6. Ootori Kyoya – Ouran High School Host Club
  7. Umaru – Himouto! Umaru-chan
  8. Bandou Haruki – Cheer Boys
  9. Katsuki Yuri – Yuri on Ice!

I’m pretty proud of myself for all of these, but my Cheer Boys cosplay I made entirely from scratch (apart from the base t-shirt and shorts), so that’s probably my favourite outfit of the year.

I have a lot of ideas about where to go for cosplay in 2017, but that’s definitely for another post! In the meantime, here are some shots of the cosplays I did manage to complete (sans Kyoya from Ouran).  Sorry they’re mostly head shots – kind of defeats the object! One of my aims for next year is to get better quality photos of my cosplays, so hopefully I can share those another time!


2016 challenges, Challenges

2016 Challenges: A third of the way through


I’ve discovered if there’s anything I’m worse at than updating this blog, it’s actually achieving my 2016 Challenges. I had such a promising start to the year, but since then… Oh boy.

Let’s revisit each challenge and find out where I am! (Clue: not on target)

Watch 30 anime series from start to finish

“It’ll be easy”, I said. “You watch so much anime, you’ll get that one done”, my housemate said. HOW WRONG WE WERE. This year to date, almost half way through May, I’ve managed to watch 4 series; Sword Art Online S1, Prince of Stride: Alternative, Kuroko No Basuke S1, and Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches. What’s going wrong? I don’t even know. I love anime, I watch it pretty much all the time when I’m at home, but there’s something about having to do something that makes it so much less appealing. I also severely underestimated how long some series’ can be. I’m currently trying to boost my numbers by watching a lot of 12 episode anime, so hopefully I can get back on track with this one.

yamada-kun real
Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches was a real emotional rollercoaster

Platinum 24 games

Maybe 4 is my unlucky number, as I’m also stuck on 4 for the platinum trophy challenge. My housemate upped the ante on this one, and also simultaneously challenged me that he could get more platinum trophies than me. It pains me to say, he’s actually winning with 5 platinums to my 4. Joining Life Is Strange on my platinum list are Amnesia: Memories (finally figured out what I was doing wrong), Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ and LEGO Jurassic World. Despite being 6 platinums behind schedule, I’m still naively confident about achieving this one.

Watch 80 movies in the cinema

Hey, remember back at the end of January when I was all, “I’m doing really well on this one, going to smash it”, well, that was pretty foolish. I’m a quarter of the way through this challenge, having watched 20 movies in the cinema. I’ll spare you the list of what I’ve seen, but you can check out what I’ve seen by using the Twitter hashtag #cultureshack2016challenge. I think it’s still achievable, but my 20 movies need to quadruple themselves in the next 8 months.

Read 24 books

On paper (haha) this one seems like it would be hardest, least to me, anyway – reading books is time-consuming! I set my quota for this one using the GoodReads challenge system, and have logged everything I’ve read. Now, GoodReads is telling me I’ve read 15 out of my 24 books, all thanks to manga, which it counts as a contribution towards the end goal. If GoodReads counts manga, then so do I! Ridiculously confident about this one, but I’ve been burned before (I’m looking at you, movie challenge).

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 15.52.30

Create 5 new cosplays

MCM London is in two and a half weeks, the first big cosplaying con in my year. I’ve decided to go for 3 new cosplays for the event, and I’ve not finished a single one. A photo of my proposed roster is below, so fingers crossed it all comes together! I’ve got Nekozawa from Ouran High School Host Club, Yamaguchi from Haikyuu!!, and Negan from The Walking Dead. Each day, I’ve got at least one person cosplaying with me, which is a first for me, and I’ve got a couple of shoots planned, so I’m really excited about MCM this time around!Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 15.37.21

Writing this, I’ve realised the moral of the story is that I really need to pull my finger out if I’m going to meet all these challenges! Let’s see how the next month goes…

2016 challenges, Challenges

2016 Challenges: January Recap


January has proved to be a pretty poor month for the challenges. Going into this, I thought, “I watch a lot of anime/read a lot of books/play a lot of games/go to the cinema a lot”, and I guess I do, but just not enough to meet the lofty expectations I’ve set for myself.

Here’s an overview of how I’ve done, and proof that I really need to buck my ideas up for February.

Watch 30 anime shows from start to finish

So, this is the one that I seem to be struggling with the most. I watch a lot of anime, but I need to watch a heck of a lot to make it count. So far this year I’ve watched series one of Sword Art Online. After checking with the challenge maker, each series of a show is allowed to count as one of my 30, so at least I’ve got one tick alongside this one. I’ve calculated that I need to watch 2.5 series’ per month, so I am way behind on this one.

Platinum 24 games

I started off with nothing but good intentions on this one, but came across a glitch in the first game that I attempted which prevented me from getting the platinum and set me back quite a bit. I’m still holding out hope for a patch or solution to my problem on that one, so may be able to add Amnesia: Memories to my platinum list later this year. I have managed to obtain the platinum in Life Is Strange, so I’m only one game behind.

Watch 80 movies in the cinema

The only challenge I’m actually doing well on. So far this year I’ve seen 7 movies in the cinema, so I’m ahead of schedule here. Hooray!

Read 24 books

Just terrible. One book down. One book behind schedule. Thank God for manga and graphic novels.

Create 5 new cosplays

February should have been my month to do this. I have 3 cons in February and a grand total of 0 new cosplays. Hopefully this will be one that comes into fruition for the summer cons, I certainly have a lot of ideas brewing.


If you want to follow how terribly I’m doing, I’m logging my progress on platinums and movies on Twitter using the hashtag #cultureshack2016challenge.

2016 challenges, Challenges

2016 Challenges


You know what I hate? New Year’s Resolutions. It’s basically creating a list of everything you suck at, and making a doomed promise to be better at those things for the next year, only to remember in the second week of January that you’re lazy and there’s a reason you suck at doing those things.

So, for 2016, I’m saying goodbye to New Year’s Resolutions, and hello to challenges. The idea is that it’ll help me become a more well-rounded person, and give me some good content for blog articles.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Watch 30 anime shows from start to finish
2015 was the year I became addicted to anime, but as it is a recent interest of mine, there are a lot of gaps in my knowledge. My challenge for 2016 is to watch 30 anime shows from start to finish. The rules are that it can’t be anything I’ve already watched, and it has to be something I am watching in 2016 for the very first time. I’m preparing to get the most out of my Crunchyroll and Netflix subscriptions!

Earn 24 platinum trophies
For those who have read my confession, you will know I’m a platinum trophy addict. Sadly, in 2015 I only earned four platinum trophies. Four! What’s the point?! I might as well have not bothered, I’m a traitor to my own cause! That’s why 2016 is going to be different, and I’ve pledged to earn 24 platinum’s over the course of the year. Unlike my anime challenge, the trophies can be earned from games I have already started playing, so I’ve got a lot of clean-ups to do!

Watch 80 movies in the cinema
I’ve previously spoken about how great Cineworld Unlimited cards are, but this year I sort of neglected mine. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely got my money’s worth each month, but I could have done better. So for 2016 I’m going to watch 80 movies in the cinema. I may watch the same ones more than once (I’m looking at you every superhero movie that’s going to come out next year), but I will be watching 80 movies in the cinema.

Read 24 books
Last year, I set my Goodreads reading challenge to 50, and I failed spectacularly. I was doing really well, but then I started watching anime, and that was the end of any sort of productivity. This year, I’m easing myself back into it, and have set my total to a more modest 24.

Create 5 new cosplays
Over the past year, I’ve done a few different cosplays. Whilst I do want to get more wear out of the ones I’ve created, I also have the cosplay bug and want to make more. Five seems like a pretty reasonable target given that I’m pretty inexperienced with it all.

So, I’m ready for 2016 and ready for the challenges to begin! If anyone else has any suggestions of challenges to add, send them my way!