Saturday, July 17, 2010

Anime in Focus: Retro edition- Captain Harlock (1978)

This show is available for free legally on funimation’s website HERE

Well, after seeing the most badass trailer ever at AX, I decided I should do some research on this show from the 70’s.

The first episode is actually kinda bland unfortunately. I was pretty disappointed. The show starts out with an exposition about how humanity has dried up the oceans on earth and turned to the stars for hope now. Then we zoom on over to our protagonist on his space ship, combining the medieval wooden pirate ships with a Star Destroyer. Clearly the ship belonging to a man of good taste. We then see our lead, a man with both an eyepatch and a huge scar running across his face. Clearly, the potential for massive amounts of manliness is here. Sadly, this does not appear in this episode. In this ep, we see the ship fire off a bunch of space harpoons at the evil empire’s ships, freezing everybody on board. They then take their food, and dump out the loot. This is all done effortlessly and with almost no confrontation.

The second part revolves around Harlock keeping a promise he made to a little girl. However, in order to fulfill this promise, he has to appear publicly, and infamous space pirates are usually not popular in public places. Harlock’s sense of honor, however, seems to compel him to see this little girl, on what we are shown is the anniversary of somebody’s death.

Unfortunately, the issue with the military is solved in the most boring fashion possible, with almost no suspense about what is going to happen.

Hm, with this first episode, I’m quite weary about watching a second one.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

FLCL (Fooly Cooly or Furi Kuri): The big review

Well, it’s time to review that anime that everybody wanted me to watch because it offended them on a deep level for some reason.

Since this series is only 6 episodes long, I decided it was imperative that I watch it, if only get everybody to shut up. Fortunately, I actually enjoyed the series, which managed to be a plus.

This series is about a boy name Naota, who after getting run over by a lady named Haruko, who rides a yellow vespa, and his life is never exactly the same. From this point forward, weird robots start spouting from inside his head, which he must then combat with another robot that spouted from the inside of his head, along with Haruko hitting them with her guitar.

The whole thing plays like a big music video by the Pillows, the band that does the soundtrack for the series. This is to say that the plot flows with the style and consistency of a music video, along with the animation effects mimicking the style of one. The narration is all over the place, explaining the story in an abstract fashion that relies mostly on the viewer’s brain to put together. Basically, it’s not an experience that translates into words very well. It’s kind of like a painting. It’s definitely something that the artistic type needs to watch, just for the weirdness.

In order to understand the series, one can’t really analyze it at face value. It all makes more sense if you just zone out a little and watch as it goes by. It all makes more sense if you watch it that fashion. Watching it is like having your head sawed open, having your brains put into a blender, then put back in your head. Thankfully, this manages to feel good. Oh yeah, and apparently the series is about puberty and growing up, but by that logic, everything is about puberty and growing up.

Should you watch it? From what I’ve gathered, you probably have already. If you haven’t, go ahead and do it. It’s only six episodes, reducing the commitment factor. I will admit, it is very difficult to find the series legally, but maybe a friend has the DVD, or maybe they will show it on Adult Swim again (I don’t have cable)

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FLCL episode 1

Anime in Focus: Gankutsuou (The Count of Monte Cristo) episode 1

Well, I was feeling pretty random, and decided it was time that I watch that show about the Counto of Monte Cristo… IN SPACE! This is part of a relatively small genre of shows that revolve around taking those books you were forced to read in English class, and making them awesome.

This show starts out in a rave ON THE MOON on the same day as a holiday in Rome. We then see our main character, Monsieur de Morcerf entering an Opera featuring a singer wearing a bloody dress.  Out on one of the expensive balconies, a strange man with blue skin and fangs goes and throws her a bouquet of roses in the middle of the play. We learn that this man is none other than the count of Monte Cristo, the new self appointed noble that has all of the aristocracy talking.

Strangely, Morcerf notices that the count accidentally drops an incredibly fancy gold watch, and tries to give it back to him, unsuccessfully. Even weirder, Morcerf and his friend Franz have been invited to dinner with this mysterious count. During this they learn a bit about the count’s philosophies, and are invited to his private balcony to watch an execution. While Franz objects to this sort of thing, it inspires the rebel within Morcerf in order to go check it out, as he seems to greatly admire the count. Unfortunately, this admiration causes Morcerf to learn a bit about the Count’s sick sense of humor that he really wishes he hadn’t taken part of.

This show gets off to a pretty solid start, introducing a few characters and showing some of the more interesting facets of their personalities. The art in this show likes to take liberties at almost any chance it can get, as shown by the character’s clothes, which manage to appear borderline holographic. Furthermore, these clothes seem to react to light in ways that most modern fabrics would never react. Thankfully, it is quite obvious that the artist’s intended to use this style in order to spice up the visuals in the show, in order to give it its own highly recognizable style.

I will most certainly be watching more of this show sometime later.

Coming soon! Episode 2

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Anime in Focus: K-On episode 3

Well, I had a relatively large hiatus on this series, but I managed to get back to it.

This episode revolves around everybody’s ADD and Yui screwing up on a midterm. Thanks to this, Yui has to take a midterm, and this causes a major problem, seeing that she needs to pass the midterm before she’s allowed to pursue club activities. This is a problem, because the lite music club needs four members to operate, and Yui getting canned would cause them to get booted.

Unfortunately for the group, Yui has no attention span, and studying leads her to study her guitar when she should be studying algebra. While this is good for the club, in the short term, nobody is amused at how helpful it is in the long term.

Towards the final act, the group decides to get together and help her study, which according to Yui is akin to being stuck in a snowstorm. This leads to an interesting scene, but I never really got any feeling of suspense from the episode.

This episode was a bit boring towards the beginning, but got much more exiting towards the end. I certainly hope that the show gets more exiting as it goes along, because not much has actually been happening. I was promised cute girls with guitars, and they haven’t been spending nearly enough time with guitars in their hands Also, I hope to see more of the rest of the band, because we've spent plenty of time with Yui

Coming sometime: episode 4

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K-On! Episode 1

Shira Oka: Second Chances demo review

 Today I'm going to discuss the gaming demo available HERE

Alright, I reported on the dating sim project Shira Oka: Second Chances about a month or so ago, and it has been brought to my attention that the studio has released a demo of the game. Due to this, it felt logical to do a follow up on what has been released, since it does show that progress has been made. Besides, I haven’t been giving dating sims as much attention on this site as I should, since they are pretty popular among the Otaku community.

Anyhoo, the actual game. The demo starts with the game’s introduction, showing our character who’s managed to screw up as much as a 30 year old at age 20. Alas, due to being age 20, he still has vivid recollections of what he thinks he should have done during high school. During a hangover, he manages to wind up seeing a bunch of delusions, until he winds up in bed feeling a bit better with an angel standing before him…

Anyway, she explains that you’ve been sent BACK IN TIME to your first year of high school. She then helps you generate stats and character quirks, and then explains a few of the buttons and things you can do to get the game going. This game operates like Persona 4, except without the going inside the TV and killing shadows part.

What? Haven’t played Persona 4? I know, it’s not a very popular game. The gameplay in Shira Oka plays from a first person perspective, and you just decide what the character you generated does when a crossroad comes up, such as how to blow time, (options include working out, socializing, studying, and getting more sleep) or what to say to people.  I made sure to have my character work out until he was the Greco-Roman ideal, then work on his skills with the various women at the school. Who cares about studying, this game advertises doing high school differently! Unfortunately, in the demo there were almost no options to be flirtatious, which is a major crime in a dating sim.

The plot in the demo doesn’t have many twists and turns, aside from the mandatory cliffhanger ending. You wake up in a high schooler’s body, get your exposition, and meet the various people in the school. Or at least most the girls. There’s only like one guy in the whole school, who has the delusion all the girls belong to him, when they clearly belong to me and my rank 9 in sportsmanship.

The girl that seemed to attract my attention the most during the demo was Aya, (upper left) who happened to talk the most. This resulted in the miraculous effect of me remembering her name.

The other girl that caught my attention was Yuki (right)

Oh wait, sorry, wrong picture, I meant Yui (lower left)
Who happens to be the school shy person.

Alas, one thing that I realized at the end of this was…Where’s your parents? I assume their overseas with every other high school anime’s parents but still, they didn’t even give us a lampshade in this one. I did manage to find the game fun, and the demo managed to last about an hour or so. Hopefully, the full game will beat out the dating sim aspects in Persona 4, since this game does not have you kill time by going into a television and killing monsters.

While no release has been announced, due to the relative bug-free nature of the demo, and relative polished off look, it can’t be too far off. I’m ambiguously exited about it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Anime in Focus: School Days episode 10

 <- Well, she may look like she's in middle school, but she's in the same grade as Itou. Since Itou has slept with almost every other girl with a name, guess who's next?

Ah, our little train wreck is about to happen. Itou finally breaks up with Katsura. Brutally I might add. He then kisses Setsuna in front of her. It should be noted that during the episode, Katsura mentioned something about a nice boat.

After this, Itou goes about sleeping around with most the other female characters with names. Katsura isn’t taking this all very well, as seen in the scene where she’ standing in the kitchen, looking depressed, and her eyes start going towards the set of knives sitting on the counter (Why yes, I am serious)

I like where this is going.

Meanwhile, Itou hasn’t been having as much filthy sex with Saionji anymore. In fact he seems to be paying more attention to Otome, the girl he want to middle school with, and slept with in the last episode. This is because Itou sleeps with women in the same fashion I eat Cheez-its… he can’t just stop at one.  

Meanwhile, the basketball team is having a farewell party. Saionji is invited. Unfortunately, this party turns out to be a setup for a  tape showing everybody who had sex in the backroom during the school festival. This causes some screaming, especially from Saionji, who sees Itou sleeping with Otome.

Meanwhile, Katsura’s been wandering around like a zombie for some reason. It’s kind of creepy, really.

This has me exited for the next episode, since everything looks like it’s on the verge of exploding in the most horrible ways possible.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My reactions to the rumors of a live action Rurouni Kenshin movie

 ^-Hopefully the movie won't be so CGI dependent as to look like this

Well, according to This site and a few others, there is apparently a live action Rurouni Kenshin movie in the works. I am skeptically exited about this for a few reasons.

My number one concern about a live action Rurouni Kenshin movie is the studio mentioning that CG technology has advanced enough to do the movie. What is this? Rurouni Kenshin is a martial arts anime that is actually pretty grounded compared to a lot of other Martial arts anime, which means that CG wouldn’t logically be that important. George Lucas had enough CG to do Star Wars back in 2000 ish, but Rurouni Kenshin doesn’t need NEARLY as many special effects as a Star Wars movie does. The fact that CGI was a major concern to create such a movie worries me, for I’m afraid this may turn into Star Wars: Episode -2: The Shogunate Strike Back

On the optimistic side, the actor selected for the role looks like he’s capable of the job. He’s apparently been in a few dramas, and has taken sword training before. These would be absolutely essential for anybody who plans to play Himura in a movie. Unfortunately, nobody else has been announced for the cast. Furthermore, we are going entirely off rumors, so nothing is for certain. The important thing is our lead looks good, see:

He certainly looks like he'll satisfy Kenshin fangirls and their borderline lesbian tendencies.

Anyhoo, hopefully I’m wrong and it won’t turn out to be a lame CGI fest. Maybe they’ll capture the essence of the show, and make another live action Death Note. I thought those were the Japanese equivalent of Spider man.

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Artist Profile Zelda Wang (Zelda994612)

Today I’m talking about an artist I found while attending Anime Expo this year, Zelda Wang, who caught my attention by having a booth exhibiting manga-fied versions of the Greek gods. Having just finished an art history course, and doing my major project on Greece, my first thought was AWESOME!

After getting back from the convention and collapsing, I did some research on this mysterious artist. Here’s a little timeline on her work…

Of course, the first thing that caught my mind was her work illustrating Greek myths. After a little bit more research, I discovered she’s done some short comics on Greek myths. Here’s the cover to one of her books “My Seasons” about how Hades met Persephone (well, her version of it)

While it should be noted that this cannot be an accurate representation of how the Greek gods looked, because they were all 100% manly men with no girly traits whatsoever, except for the women. I am willing to forgive this because Zelda does not give us the candy coated versions of Greek myths where Hades is bad and Zeus is good, but the more diverse pantheon of characters that act very human.

Outside of the Myth story, Zelda has also written a comic known as “Rain of Flowers,” which appears to be a fantasy tale involving wizards.

Upon further research, I have learned that Zelda was the person who created the anime expo mascots back in 2006, back when it was in Anaheim

Overall, Zelda has a nicely rounded portfolio, and manges to do a lot of nice stuff. Not to mention, people versed in Greek mythology are usually cooler than people who aren’t. I am partially tempted to ask her to do a commission of Orpheus and Eurydice, but alas, I’m quite broke right now. I may wind up reviewing some of her individual works later, because those happen to be long enough to warrant their own reviews.

Next artist: dunno. Got some contacts at Expo

Anime in Focus: FLCL (Fooly Cooly or Furi Kuri) Episode 1

While this show has been out for a while, some people are now forcing me to watch it at gunpoint (people haven’t been so mad at me since they found out I hadn’t seen EVA) Strangely, the first thing that comes to mind is “Why can’t anybody make up their mind on what to call this show?”

Anyway, the first episode starts out with our main, Naota, sitting under a bridge giving a speech about the normality of his life, and the normality of the town he lives in. He’s seen sitting in his usual spot under the bridge, hanging with the usual girl, until he gets run over by some lady driving a yellow vespa. This causes him to get a heavy dose of TV CPR, and then develop a large bump on his head.

The rest of the episode deals with Naota trying to hide this rather large bump on his head, which appears to be growing in a very phallic fashion. While he insists everything is normal, this is clearly not the case. Oh yeah, and that crazy Vespa chick, Haruko winds up moving in with Naota for some reason. This is apparently in order to investigate that gigantic bump on his head. Oh yeah, and there’s a scene where they almost give an explanation to the term “Furi Kuri” in slightly animated manga panels that fly by really quickly. Since I was watching it in subtitles, that scene almost caused my head to explode. I’m just going to assume “Furi Kuri” is a silly teen innuendo.

Well, this episode concludes in a way that leaves me wanting more. I believe some guy on GameFaqs said it best: “Watching FLCL is like having sex in the dark. You’re not entirely sure what just happened, but you’re pretty sure you liked it.” While I have not fully comprehended what just went on this episode, I am in the hopes that it will make sense in the greater context of things. I would also like to congratulate this show on avoiding first episode syndrome, where the first episode is just boring exposition. Since I am being held at gunpoint, I will definitely continue with the series (and hey, it’s only six episodes)


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FLCL the big review

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Analyzing the various sects in the church of Haruhi

As I have gone about my journey as a high priest in the church of Haruhi, I have had to discuss my beliefs in Haruhiism with other followers. It is during these journeys that I have discovered that there are in fact many sects of the church of Haruhi, each with their own separate beliefs on the divinity of Haruhi, and her relation to the SOS Brigade, the SOS Brigade’s relevance, and how Haruhi’s will manifests in the universe.

Western (Roman Catholic) Haruhiists These Haruhiists take the most basic approach to their faith in Haruhi. They take the teachings of the anime at face value, and believe that Haruhi is by far the most awesome character in the show. I’ve encountered these Haruhiists on various occasions, who value her views quite highly. These Haruhiists believe that the show would fall apart without her, and value episodes where she plays a prominent role. To these members of the church of Haruhi, the show is called “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” because Haruhi is the main character, and her developments keep the show running, along with shenanigans.

Eastern Orthodox Haruhiists: The sect of Haruhi that I devote myself to, where while we do acknowledge Haruhi’s divinity, we do not actively worship her as the western Haruhiists do. In this sect, we do not attribute the show’s greatness to Haruhi, and prefer episodes that focus on side characters. This is because Haruhi can in fact, become quite annoying. Hence, these Haruhiists actually favor other members of the SOS brigade in their conversations, for they often bring more to the show than Haruhi herself. It should be noted that to this sect of Haruhiism, the main reason the show is called the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is because Haruhi puts events into motion, not because she is the main character.

The Kyon reformation: These Haruhiists believe that Haruhi is just a front for the true power behind the universe, Kyon. This sect believes that Kyon does not wish to have the universe altering powers he possess, and hence blames everything that happens on Haruhi. This sect is mainly followed by people who enjoy looking at alternative explanations to the universe. This theory is supported by Kyon’s opening statements, showing that he once had a desire for there to be secret organizations out to do…. stuff. However, giving this ability to Haruhi would give him his much desired right to complain, so he gives the reality warping powers to her. While it would be more accurate to call this sect the “Kyonists,” they stem from the same source as the other Haruhiists. 

Biblical Haruhiists: These are those Haruhiists who have read all of the books, even the ones released only in Japanese, and discuss the repercussions of everything that happens to them. I, for one, can’t really stand reading translated novels on a computer, for I find it quite dull. Instead, I wait for such items to be released so I can read them on the bus. While these Haruhiists MAY possess deeper knowledge of Haruhi than I do, I plan to eventually read the light novels. Eventually. It should be noted that a great portion of the Kyon formation is also a member of this sect.

According to TV tropes and my conversing with other Haruhiists, these are the most prevalent factions of the church of Haruhi. It is quite possible that other factions exist and are running rampant, spreading alternate doctrines about the Church of Haruhi. Alas, for the time being, this is all I have encountered.

Anime in Focus: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Season 2 Episode 12

 <-In this episode, we get a behind the scenes look at the making of the Mikuru beam. Also, a mind boggling look at the type of contact lenses Anime characters wear

 <-Previous episode

Well, after a bit of a hiatus on this series, I’ve decided to come back and finish what I’ve started. This leads us to episode 12 of the second season, which continues right where the previous episode left us. While I do enjoy nice structured series with a clear start and end point, I did not get into Haruhi because of it. Instead, I got into it because of the chaotic pacing. However, this episode manages to be much better than the previous two, revealing more about the universe the characters live in, and the very weak principals that hold reality together.

This episode contains several highlights, such as the part where Kyon almost falcon punches Haruhi, just like we’ve always wanted to see him do. This was brought up because Haruhi was pushing Mikuru a bit too hard, with her expecting her to shoot laser beams out of her eyes and all. Unfortunately, due to Haruhi’s control over the nature of reality, Mikuru does start firing laser beams out of her eyes, nearly killing everybody.

This leads to a scene where Yuki winds up tackling Mikuru and stealing her contact lens, which Haruhi believed was giving her the power to shoot lazers. This didn’t seem eventful, until they actually SHOWED the contact lens, (see right) and anybody could tell you that thing would NOT fit in Mikuru’s eye. (see above for comparison of Mikuru’s finger to Mikuru’s eye? Now then, if this lens is smaller than Yuki’s finger, there’s no way that would work) Anyway, the rest of the episode is spent explaining that fiasco, leading Itsuki to comment on Yuki being much less social than all of the other units like her. Unfortunately, he doesn’t elaborate on these other units, or what his organization believes they do.

Overall, this episode manages to be pretty good, especially since stuff happens, unlike a lot of the other episodes in this season. It should be noted that there are a lot of scenes where Mikuru looks absolutely adorable, and deliciously moe packed. It makes me a little bit more exited about watching the rest of this season.

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