MY POWER'S GETTIN' TO THE FUCKIN' MAAAAAAAXIMUUUUUUUM. However, I will wait until Otakon to purchase this magnificent object. I'm already watching too many damn cartoons as it is.
MY POWER'S GETTIN' TO THE FUCKIN' MAAAAAAAXIMUUUUUUUM. However, I will wait until Otakon to purchase this magnificent object. I'm already watching too many damn cartoons as it is.
Ryoko's Case File is another adaptation of a novel by Yoshiki Tanaka of Legend of the Galactic Heroes fame, and it's nothing nearly so sober as LoGH. Instead, enjoy a light supernatural detective show with a French-language fetish instead of a German-language fetish! Junichirou Izumida is an ordinary cop working under superintendent Ryoko Yakushiji. Guess what: strange things tend to happen to them. In this first two-part case, Ryoko and Izumida deal with exploding people and Wacky Cultists, and things move along leisurely from there. As you might know by now, I don't mind a slow-paced, talky story, and this is one of those. Yes, the action is there (I mean, people are exploding here) and the production values are admirable, but it's still a relaxed detective novel at heart.
I will leave the details of the case to you, the viewer, but I'll talk a little bit about these characters. Ryoko is the same arrogant, childish genius kind of character as Reinhard is in LoGH, and like many of Tanaka's protagonists, it seems, dangerously lacking flaws. Sure, she's kind of a raging bitch, but just like Lina Inverse, that only makes her more endearing. She even has a cutesy abbreviated nickname, like Lina does. Izumida is one of those hard-working, put-upon salaryman husband sorts. He describes his job as "babysitting" Ryoko, but the dude's absolutely p-whipped and he only appears slightly inconvenienced at worst to be called her slave. If we had to type Ryoko, she'd be a tsundere type on the deep end of "tsun", wouldn't she? Maybe that's why this show got made in today's age of anime writing, where characters are defined by a list of crazy fetish words pulled out of a hat.
Together, Ryoko and Izumida are reminiscent of a straight version of Reinhard and Siegfried, except the sexual tension is a bit more overt. You know what it is? Tanaka knows what works on fangirls: longing glances and "I'll never leave your side!" speeches. Tanaka knows what works on fanboys: hard-ass borderline-dominatrix chicks who get all soft on the hero for maybe thirty seconds or so at a time. Except, of course, our hero ignores our heroine's regular advances, because he's such a professional. So we have a bit of "sleep with her, already" disease.
There is evidence of an ongoing storyline here, but it's worked very gently into what looks to be an episodic structure. I'm looking forward to continuing on this, as I just like to sit down with a mystery every week. In the long run, some of the slow-burn brilliance that LoGH gave me would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath.
Why, detritus is the core of my being! And Otakon is coming right up, which means I need a stash of Kageyama Kash. I'd like to bypass the annoyances involved in Ebaying the smaller stuff here. The higher-demand stuff, like the rare videogames, those are going straight to Ebay. And you'll have to pry my US and JP Dreamcast copies of Bangai-O out of my cold, dead hands.
Unless otherwise stated, prices are before shipping. All prices have been checked against going Ebay rates. Paypal me at sub_abbreviated ART hotmail DORT com and make sure to let me know which of these items you're buying. Of course, if you just want to drop money into my Paypal account just because you like me, I am an unemployed college student and won't try to stop you. I don't have long to get rid of this stuff, so get on it quick before they go to Ebay instead. This post will be updated as the situation-- and my willingness to sell off my Bemani games-- develops.
A couple of Guilty Gear XX gashapons: these are tiny busts of Sol Badguy and Jam Kuradoberi, both in normal colors. $6 apiece, $10 for the both of them.
Bleach DS 1, Japanese version: Complete. If you like, I can leave my finished save on it, as you can replay the story mode any time you like and unlocking all the cards in this game yourself is both difficult and extremely boring: I'm not talking about regular boring, I'm talking about multiple 6-hour sessions in Survival mode. Seriously. Keep the save. $18 shipped.
Street Fighter Zero 3, JP PS1: Complete, including manual and advertising insert. $25 shipped.
Toynami Serial Experiments Lain doll: Street clothes version. $25 shipped.
Gamecube Zelda - Ocarina of Time and Master Quest: Complete, $40 shipped.
Rurouni Kenshin "Masterpieces" artbook: an archive of promotional images done for the TV series, with a small section on the OVAs. $18 shipped, AAAAAAAH.
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow for the DS. $25 shipped. Taken!
Kaiyodo Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star) 200X version Rei, blue hair version. Comes with one of the Jackal gang guys who has fallen victim to Rei's Nanto Suicho Ken jazzhands: you can twist big chunks of his body sideways to demonstrate that he has in fact been sliced up. Now that's entertainment! Mint on card with some card wear. $35 shipped.
Gamecube Ikaruga is up on Ebay with a $40 Buy Now. I also have Ar Tonelico with artbook and soundtrack, as well as Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne with soundtrack, but those are likely going to Ebay or Amazon as they're both worth rather a lot. If you want one of them, name your price.
Listen, I love you too, but we need to talk. You are not fooling your friends. Nobody watches Marimite for the plot. If your friends tell you that they are watching Marimite for the plot, they are lying, just like you. The plot of a typical Marimite episode is best summarized as "schoolgirls worry". One watches Marimite for the moment at which the cookies are delivered. THIS IS THE MARIMITE EXPERIENCE.
That said, I am glad I was able to convince you to watch Marimite. If I had known that the Badass Manly Anime Reviews were going to get so many people to watch these shows, I would have gotten you guys to watch something really manly like Wounded Man or MD Geist.
On that note, Rosa Gigantor is still Most Dangerous.
On the other hand, I got the opposite of a packed theater when I came out to see this at the tiny Imaginasian theater. Ah, Imaginasian. I still watch Cat's Eye every so often, even though it's total poorly-written nonsense: I mean who cares about the writing, they just ran an episode with a guy named Slim Suspense. I can't imagine the TV channel is doing too well, though: to this day I have never seen a single paid advertisement run on their increasingly infrequent reruns of Cat's Eye or Orguss or Nobody's Boy Remi. Plus you can't even get these shows on video anymore! I'll never complete my Orguss collection!
But let's talk about the thing I actually did on Friday. I sat down in a nearly vacant theater and I watched Bones' Sword of the Stranger. I haven't heard too many people talking about this and I'm not sure why: this is an amazing piece of animation and it's worthy of a wider release than a single weekend at a tiny theater with two people watching.
Without spoiling anything in particular, this is the story of a wandering ronin who bumps into a boy who's being chased by the Ming dynasty. The boy hires him as a bodyguard, they bond, there's coming-of-age, there's redemption, and there is gigantic throwdown. There is also skinny Raoh. The plot has its twists and turns, and the characters are likable, but it's not far off the samurai movie's beaten path. What's so stunning about this movie is its execution.
This is an action movie first and foremost, and Bones' animators have really brought their A game here: there isn't a frame in this movie that isn't gorgeous. There's a lot of shakycam and motion blur in the fight scenes, but these digital effects never cover for the animation, they merge seamlessly with it. The detail in every single quarter-second flash of a blade is just astounding: sparks, sweat, rain and snow, arterial spray. You could watch this in slow motion and have just as good a time.
One caveat for the fanboy here: the showing I was at was dubbed. Kind of surprising that a tiny arthouse showing would show the English dub, but I imagine that's all Bandai gave them to show. The dub is decent: above-average Ocean Studios stuff where the main characters are voiced well and the many incidental roles sound horrible. I never found myself groaning at the delivery, so I would say the job was done just fine.
Today is the last day Stranger is running here in NYC, by the way, so if you don't mind a dub and want to see it on a nice big screen, you've got to see it right this second. Sorry I didn't get this to you sooner!
YES I AM PROBABLY SPOILERS
Thursday night, I figured that if I was going to get a chance to see The Dark Knight, I was going to have to catch a morning show at the local theater and show up really early to avoid a sold-out show. I did myself one better and bought a ticket for the second show of the morning, hoping to avoid the rush of the first. This all ultimately backfired on me: it was in fact the 10-o-clock show that drew the packed theater, and especially the kids. It's not that that's shocking or new: this movie is very decidedly not for kids, but it's not like it isn't still Batman. It's still sold to kids. I've seen plenty of parents bring toddlers to far bloodier spectacles. And hey, if you want to expose your kid to nonstop fictional violence from birth, they're not my responsibility. All I ask is you keep the kid quiet. Please.
I didn't catch a lot of the dialogue in the first hour or so of this movie because the two kids directly behind me spent that time screaming at the screen. Really screaming: it was so loud every thirty seconds somebody in the theater would let out a loud SHHHH, so the audio went like "THAT'S BATMAN THAT'S NOT BATMAN SHHH THAT'S BATMAN THAT'S THE JOKER THAT'S NOT THE JOKER SHHH THE DARK KNIGHT THAT'S BATMAN THE JOKER SHHH THE DARK KNIGHT" You can't blame a little kid for getting excited, but you can blame a parent for just sitting there like a jackass and allowing their child to ruin a huge chunk of the experience for a crowd of a few hundred people. Just sayin'. I freaked out during Willow when I was a kid and my dad took me out of Willow.
But yes, the movie that I saw and the movie that I could hear was incredible. I mention the kids right away because this movie is not a PG-13: it is an R where they just cut away from the bloody violence when it's about to happen. I would have been terrified for weeks if I'd seen this as a kid, and the presence of all these very young kids in the theater made me feel a little sorry for them. You'll understand the fan speculation about an uncut video release, because all those offscreen acts of violence simply appear as though they've been heavily edited. The cuts seem to be apologizing to us: "Sorry! Can't show that!" It's also unsuitable for kids in that it's dark, constantly tense and occassionally creepy: the Joker's MO is, after all, to strike at people's fears by putting them in kill-or-be-killed moral crises. People are making Saw comparisons, but that's just the Joker, you know? He's always been that way.
What this all means is that Nolan is not compromising one bit on his vision for Batman, and for a big summer studio blockbuster like this it's genuinely shocking. You hear a lot of stuff like "this film is really transcending its worthless kitsch comic book origins" from the mainstream press about this movie, and what it's not catching-- because the mainstream press never bothers looking at geek stuff before dismissing it-- is that this is the comic book Batman character, portrayed as honestly and effectively as possible.
The conflicts set up so well in this film-- Bruce vs. Harvey (embodying The Book), Batman vs. Joker, The Batman vs. Gotham-- are conflicts that have always been at the core of the character. Batman's kind of a bummer character, if we go over his origins: a lost boy sets out to avenge his murdered parents by putting on a costume and assuming personal responsibility over a major city. It's kind of irrational and nuts, and I have always seen a kind of principled madness at the core of Batman's character. It's why the Joker is the essential Batman antagonist: he gets under his skin because he's so much like him. It's impressive that the film has the sheer balls to give us a mature and thoughtful take on that situation when it's floating in the summer cinematic kiddy pool. Of course it wasn't supposed to be a summer movie, but they didn't compromise for that either.
I wish Nolan the best on the next movie, but I can't imagine how he can possibly make a better, more loaded Batman film than this. And then after that I saw another movie!
Nothing came close to the sheer mania of that first scene. What I ended up watching was an entirely standard shonen fight manga adaptation, with all the flaws that implies. More than anything, watching the Ring ni Kakero ("Put it all in the ring") anime makes me wish I could read the Ring ni Kakero manga. The 70's source material is apparently quite insane. If you want to understand how Saint Seiya author Masami Kurumada's approach to boxing works, you might want to look at the underappreciated Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga. In the "how to draw mahjong manga" section, the authors tell you that you don't need to know a thing about mahjong to draw a mahjong manga, just like you don't need to understand mahjong to enjoy Akagi. To prove it, they offer two pages of mahjong manga in which the hero does a bunch of ridiculous bullshit that's dramatically effective, but is completely inaccurate to mahjong. Ring ni Kakero simply does this for boxing.
You see, Ring ni Kakero isn't like the much more recent Hajime no Ippo, which, while fantastical, is still somewhat grounded in the sport. That's now how this show is. The boxing ring changes sizes for effect, punches shoot fire lasers and tornadoes, people hang out on the ropes in the middle of a fight, and technique is nothing next to guts and courage. It's clear why Gaogaigar director Yoshitomo Kometani is a fan. The storyline is typical Shonen Jump fighting tournament stuff all the way through, with a perfectly stock collection of characters: the generic hero, the goofy buddy, the cool guy with a pompadour, the pretty boy who can only speak in musical analogy.
It's just blown up and hysterical: the very first fight is a middle school match where one of the participants has his arm (his golden arm, he says!) completely shattered. The two trainers both know Rei's clothes-ripping Nanto Seiken. The German boxing team has a Fuhrer, and Nazi computers that calculate the hero's chance of winning at zero. When he wins, Helga exclaims, shocked, "his power surpasses EVEN A COMPUTER?!" America, meanwhile, has Black Shaft, a guy who gets so pumped about fighting that he punches a hole in his hotel room. He may be the villain, but this is the kind of national representative I like. Plus, in America, everybody carries a gun.
My real issue with this show is that I wish it had some budget. The animation falls into every single one of the pitfalls of a shonen fight adaptation: the overuse of extended flashbacks and repeat animation are particularly grievous. It's crazy, it's over-the-top, but the fights still aren't really satisfying. As much as I like the show in theory, I still often found it a chore to get through the 12 episodes of the first arc, and I'm pretty hesitant to sit through the second. If you decide to go ahead and watch this show, my sole warning is that the sight of these cheerleaders will drive you mad with rage by the end.
Broken, broken, broken. Anyway, calm down, there aren't any tits in this game. If they were, they'd be broken tits, and nobody wants to see that. Double D Dodgeball-- 2D get it-- is a simple dodgeball game by Yuke's being released via XBox Live Arcade. My first note to Yuke's is that their official site for this game is goddamn hard to find.
Anyway, the basic premise is Space Invaders Dodgeball, with the Galaga-era graphics that implies. Now, playing dodgeball on a pixelated starfield with little red and blue aliens is an experience I am willing to put ten bucks up for. I am an anomaly. Judging from online reactions, the graphics, along with the lack of boobs, have repulsed absolutely everyone. Their loss. And Yuke's' loss. And my loss. Because this is a pretty good game, and it takes a lot of people to play, and I'm not sure a lot of people are going to buy it.
It's pretty straightforward stuff. There are a number of different rule and stage variations that change the intricacies of the game, but dodgeball is dodgeball. Throw-- sometimes super throw-- the damn balls at each other and if you don't catch them, you're out. The left analog handles movement, and the right analog controls the direction your player faces, so movement and aiming are independent as in Robotron or Geometry Wars or any number of XBLA shooters hoping to cash in on the latter. This is important, as you have to be facing the ball to catch it, and you have to make a button press to do so (perfect timing results in a faster return). Hitting a player in the back is obviously the best way to go, and that opens up its own mind games, especially in Eastern-style rules where players who are out go to the sidelines to surround the opposing team.
You can play one of five different characters, each with its own function on the team: the one that's good at catching, the one that throws fast, the runner, the oddball character, that kind of thing. Between these characters there's a lot of room for team-building strategy, mind games, fakeouts, trick shots, and so on.
But I can't tell you much more than that about team-building and multiplayer because you know what? The multiplayer is the broken part. The game disconnects you from Live as soon as it starts: then Live stops working until you reset the damn system. This is why, as of now, the game is being patched by Yuke's and is no longer available for download. There is only so much teamwork that can go on-- and so much fun you can have-- in one-player exhibition matches between you and a bunch of AI drones. So yes, I recommend Double D Dodgeball, but I don't recommend it right now. In fact, I deserve a refund. But you can't buy it right now, so you don't have to worry about all that. So buy it when you can buy it, okay?
What I love about anime and manga is that you just can't make this shit up. You can certainly try, but the fact of the matter is that the otaku subculture will inevitably turn out something far stranger than your mere imagination could ever produce. I just got shot a link to this lovely work, for example. It's called Onani (Masturbation) Master Kurosawa. I am not making it up. It is a real and technically non-pornographic comic that the expert team of Ise Katsura and YOKO likely poured all their bodily fluids into.
This is the story of a high school student whose solitary joy in life is to masturbate in the girls' bathroom every day after school while fantasizing about degrading sex with the girls he goes to class with. (He'll trample them with his imagination!) In other words, he's a total loser. What makes this hysterical-- as opposed to simply the sad life lived by high school creeps all over the world-- is the over-the-top presentation. Even though only the otaku talk to him, this kid is presented as the world's coolest guy. We see everything through the hero's delusion-goggles: an act which is, in reality, sad and depressing is played as a cunning, devious accomplishment. I dare you not to laugh at it his smug, fulfilled smirking! From the way he's drawn, and the expressions he's given, one can only compare him to Death Note antihero Light Yagami. If, of course, Light was a serial masturbator.
And what more can I say about this oddity than that? If you want to read the first translated chapter, here it is. And again, while this isn't outright pornographic, I wouldn't exactly go reading it at work or anything. Don't blame me if it gets you fired.
I wasn't familiar with any of your roles until I looked them up today. I'm still not familiar with most of them, but I noticed you played Mitsuru Kirijo in Persona 3: I once, while a tad drunk, described your lovely voice as a "smoke-filled room." Thank you for your public service in performing this role.
In humble exchange, it's come to my attention that you're going to have to sit through the Masquerade at New York Anime Fest this year. As a fan of your work, I'd like to offer you my sincerest condolences. It's not easy to make it through an anime convention masquerade, a phenomenon defined in Webster's as "the absence of fun, joy and love; abandon hope all ye who enter here." It would be unbecoming for a major foreign guest such as yourself to simply escape under the cover of the deafening laughter and applause following the eighth consecutive Naruto/Kingdom Hearts dance skit, but it might be for the best. If you do decide to stick it out, remember to kick back and be real chill. Think about other stuff: maybe concentrate on an interesting object in the distance. If someone asks you how their skit was, say "sugo~i" or something. They'll eat it up. So just take it easy. It's only two or three hours long, after all. I'll see you at the autograph table!
Sincerely, a fan.