Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Well, won't be back for a few days

Well, I'm heading off on my long journey to Anime expo tomorrow. Won't be making any big posts, although I may do some small ones and some tweets from my phone. There will be a big report when I get back

Monday, June 28, 2010

Getting the most out of an anime convention

 <-Unless your dad acts like this guy, you should have an easy time having fun at an anime convention

With the onset of anime expo and myself being surrounded by convention n00bs, I believe it is time that I share my sage like wisdom on the ins and outs of making the most of an anime convention. After all, one of the most important things to having fun in one of these things is knowing exactly what you want to do.

1.)    Planning: Yes, in order to party as hard as possible at a convention, one must plan in advance exactly how they wish to accomplish partying, lest they wind up wandering around not knowing what to do. At that point, they wind up doing nothing, resulting in a watered down experience. Hence, look at the schedule before the actual con before you go there, so you have a general plan on what must be done
2.)    Don’t let others hold you back: Well, normally I’d say bromance is the key to success, but not in this case. Often, my friends will just sit around and discuss what they should do and not actually do it. One year, the group just sat around in their hotel room and played their Nintendo DS’s all day. What does this tell you? RUN! Ditch the morons as they squabble over petty details. If you do it right, maybe some of them will follow you. Most conventions are only once a year, and why should you spend the whole time standing around
3.)    HOTBLOOD: In order to REALLY make the most out of a convention you must enter a trance like state and let go of the logic you normally live by. Really, do you really need more than 5 hours sleep? Is eating on a regular basis THAT important? Or would you rather get to a really important panel or movie premiere? Allow the general energy and excitement in the convention to consume you, and allow your own excitement to sustain you as you make your journey through the convention. This will allow you to reach new heights of performance, on much less fuel. Fear not, you can eat and sleep when you get home. (You’ll immediately crash though… oh well)
4.)    Bromance: Ironic considering the previous point mentioned above. Bros can actually be very helpful in increasing your enjoyment of the convention, as long as they don’t hold you back. Doing exiting things alone isn’t nearly as exiting as doing them together, so make sure you try to drag one or two friends to an event assuming they aren’t too busy deliberating what to do. People who DON’T enjoy standing around and deliberating are lots of fun to drag around cons, or be dragged around by.

Unfortunately, one of the most important things to becoming an expert at enjoying conventions is experience, and that doesn’t come freely. I suggest that new people attempt to team up with an experienced conventioneer, and follow them. It’ll help you find good events. However, the ever important experience does not come unless you actually go to these conventions a lot, such as Anime Expo, and gather this experience first hand.

Related Posts:
My Journey through Anime Expo 2010
Convention Trances: Drawing on the Essence of an anime convention
My Experience Volunteering at an anime convention
Comic Con 2009

Civil War (Marvel Comics) REVIEW

Ah, remember that big comic book event back in 2006? I found it in my not so local library and decided it was necessary to read it.  Overall it’s a pretty solid plot, and it’s a step above most of the other Marvel books I’ve read (Aside from Planet Hulk, of course)

The overall plot is when some n00b superheroes attempt to take on a high tier super villain for the sake of promoting their reality TV show. This results in the super villain creating a gigantic explosion, taking out the superheroes, the film crew, and an entire school full of children. This gathers a large amount of media attention, causing the public to demand super hero reform.

Things are going well, some people create a bill to be sent to Congress in order to force all superpowered people to register with the government. This goes well until S.H.I.E.L.D is asking Captain America what he thinks about the plan, and how many people would oppose it. The big problem with S.H.I.E.L.D’s plan is that they assumed Captain America would be on their side. This is proven wrong when Captain America bails out on them and starts a team in order to resist the bill.

This then goes on about a civil war between superheroes, featuring Iron Man leading the heroes who demand that the superpowered people register, and Captain America leading the Rebels. While it is hard to argue with Captain America, I find that the registration side just makes more sense.

Commentary provided by Iron man in this comic I found a while ago: (click to enlarge)

Overall, I think if they were trying to portray a political message, they did a really crappy job. That’s not what’s really important though to me, because I strongly believe sending a political message is not more important than good writing. Fortunately, the writing here is pretty solid, although the overall plot feels skeletal. I assume the fleshing out occurs in Marvel’s side books about the Civil War, detailing the effects and consequences it has on individual characters. This is the mainline book however, which does not focus on the characters, but the overall conflict of the registration act, which is an interesting read. The plot twists and turns quite nicely, people die (nobody I cared about though) and people change sides throughout the book. Unfortunately, a lot of higher powered superheroes, such as the Hulk (who is busy in his own series, Planet Hulk, much better than this book) who have gone off to do other things, preventing their opinion from invalidating the opinion of the people fighting. I suppose this keeps things fair, but it looks kind of silly when you look at it from a universal scale.

Art in this book was very nice. Faces were expressive, and you could easily tell what was going on in the scenes. Colors were vibrant, and they kept the production values in line with the amount of hype the book received.

The ending is sort of okay. It could lead to an interesting aftermath story, but it really didn’t fulfill anything as presented in the book. Ending left more questions than answers really.

Should you read it? If you like Marvel, you probably should. It did kind of change everything in the universe for a while. Plus, a lot of high profile Marvel characters are in it, like Spider Man. I wouldn’t consider it worth going out of your way to get if you aren’t into Marvel though, because past familiarity with characters is incredibly important in this book.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wolverine: Prodigal Son (manga) review

Like X-Men Misfits, this series got canned, so this is the only book in the series. Kinda sad, since I liked the book.

You know, after watching that absolutely horrid movie in 2009, you’d think that I’d be permanently turned off from Wolverine. Alas, I decided to pick this book up from ye not so local library, and was actually quite surprised by it. An important thing to remember is that like the introduction says, you really shouldn’t hang on too much too you’re previous knowledge of the character.

This story starts with a rebellious teenager in a martial arts school somewhere in Canada. We see him beating the crap out of pretty much all of the other students, with the exception of one who breaks his leg. He manages to pin her just like all the rest of the students, just  with more trouble. We find out that the girl is known as Tamara, the headmaster’s daughter, and the guy with the long black hair is Logan, which as we all know is Wolverine’s real name.

After a bit of angst about how Logan’s a freak because he healed that broken leg up in a few minutes, then a major trial that Logan and Tamera have to face, and Logan and the sensei wind up in New York City. This leads to Wolverine realizing that the world is much bigger than he thought it was. Finally, some ninjas break things up leading to Wolverine hunting them down.

The first thing that struck me was “WHY is there a hardcore Japanese martial arts school in the middle of Canada?” something just felt a little shoehorned to make it feel more “manga.” Another thing, if Wolverine has lived his whole life at a martial arts school, how come he knows how to hotwire a car and is a great driver? Little things like this frustrate me a bit, but they don’t necessarily ruin the book.

Overall, this is an interesting alternate take on Wolverine, without worrying about about a million years of continuity. Along with that, the author’s wouldn’t have had to worry about stepping on anybody’s toes if they continued the plot, meaning Wolverine’s actions could have larger consequences than they do in the Marvel universe. They haven’t even made any references suggesting that the X-Men would be involved in this book.

While the plot takes very few risks, I did not find myself wanting to put the book down, which is a solid sign. The art style is a bit rougher than X-Men Misfits, although Wolverine looks a little too bishounen for my tastes, since Wolverine is the paragon of manliness in the Marvel Universe. However, this is an origin issue, so it is quite possible that they could have planned to turn him into a much gruffer, beefier Wolvie we know and love. Alas, without the universe binding the authors, they could go any direction they would like, creating this thing called SUSPENSE, which every project involving Wolverine lacks.

Since this series did not get continued, I would only suggest the book if it was on sale, or checking it out for the novelty of it. Definitely better than that atrocious movie that came out in 2009 though, so I will give it that.

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X-Men Misfits Review
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Anime in Focus: School Days episode 8

Hm… pace hasn’t been kept up for the last couple of episodes.

I guess they had to stretch the plot a bit to fill 12 episodes. This episode takes some time to pretend this is a light romance series. I’m not going to fall for it though, too much **** has happened in the last few episodes, so I refuse to believe it’s going to calm down. You can FEEL the bloody tension between the characters, this episode just takes time to show them in their off time.

In this episode, Setsuna decides to pull Itou aside and find out if he’s really after Katsura or Saionji. He says he loves Saionji in the most spineless manner possible, which makes me want to pimpsmack the boy more than usual. Doesn’t help that he’s still listening as Katsura tries her best to please him, rather than dump her already.

Oh yeah, and something about a school festival. It leads to a rather silly scene with some mascots taking on hoards of zombies. It’d be funnier in another series though, since this series doesn’t really put you in the mood for silly antics. Don’t get me wrong, I like that kind of stuff, but it’s about as welcome as a clown in a WWII movie.

Stuff gets a little crazy towards the end, and we find out Setsuna’s going to move to France

And stuff gets real…ish at the end, but not as real as it usually gets.

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Next Episode: School Days Episode 9->

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School Days Episode 1
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Being in a Harem anime sucks when you aren't the lead