So I’m Back… Kinda… Maybe.

by | May 9, 2013 | In [Site News | Comments Off

yuisick

Just wanted to update to anyone who does read my site… The reason I stopped writing (and that the site went down for the last few months) was that I was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkins lymphoma last summer, and have been undergoing chemotherapy for the last 7 months. I decided to let the site expire (since I can’t afford to host it anymore), but got itchy to get back online, so I am currently using a free hosting account just to get the site back up.

Don’t know how much or how often I’ll be writing, but at least the site seems to be working again.

Gantz [Anime Rewind]

by | February 15, 2011 | In Anime | 1 Comment »

After reading comments and praises of Gantz for awhile now I finally decided to check it out… And have to admit I’ve come away with some mixed feelings on the show. The plot does sound very interesting… People die and wind up in an apartment with nothing but a large black sphere only to discover that to get out and back to “normal” life they must hunt aliens. They also get cool weapons and suits that give them superhuman powers. At this point it sounds pretty good, and I’m totally in.

Unfortunately… The show is also burdened with some major flaws (in my opinion). First being the insanely long drawn out dialog scenes that seem to go nowhere. And I’m not talking a few scenes here and there… There are whole episodes made up of seemingly pointless dialog, or long drawn out explanations of things the audience has already seen and likely figured out for themselves. I found my self yawning and my mind drifting to other things during many of these scenes, and there were a few times I thought about quitting watching the show altogether. Seriously… People joke about A Certain Magical Index and Touma’s monologues, but they have nothing on Gantz’s insanely long dialog scenes.

Another issue I had was looking forward to the action scenes, and then finding them to be more “action-less” scenes. Rather than fighting the monster these people are… Still just talking… Do you really have a ten minute dialog about whether you should save this guy being killed by an alien while watching him being killed? There were a few good action scenes in the show, but for a show that is essentially a repetitive monster battle show you would expect more. The creators could learn a few things from other repetitive battle shows like Yu Yu Hakusho, Inuyahsa, or even Pokémon. These battles seem like they would be more suited to still frames on a page than on screen.

And finally… The Evangelion style wtf?! ending. I’ve read some comments that suggest that the show follows the manga up until around the last few episodes at which point a rather unintelligible end was tacked on. It just makes very little sense and nothing is really resolved. Aside from the fact that the manga was still ongoing it made even less sense to give the show a rather definitive end. Many fans have commented that the show should have just stopped at the last story arc that followed the manga and left it there. I rather agree. It was actually a nice spot to stop, was no more wtf?! inducing than the ending they made up, and it still left the series open to future series. Unfortunately this happens when the animation companies stray completely from the original material. It is never a good thing. I do understand that the show ending rather abruptly might seem awful, but anyone who wished to continue the story could simply read the manga to find out what happens next.

So my points listed above aside the show was somewhat entertaining. The concept of the show is really awesome, but the execution was poorly done. While I have not read the manga I have heard that it is vastly superior to the anime, and the fact that the manga is still ongoing after 11 years tells me that this may be true.

Now for the technical details… The show is animated decently, although there are points where the CG is blatantly obvious. But it still looks pretty overall. The English dub is pretty good, and Chris Ayers does give a great performance in the lead role. Since it is an ADV dub it can be fun picking out the usual suspects in the supporting roles like Luci Christian, Monica Rial, and Greg Ayers. Also one of the redeeming points of this show is that it has really great OP and ED songs. The OP song is Super Shooter by Rip Slyme and has an edgy fast hip hop beat while the ED song Last Kiss by Bonnie Pink is a rather sweet ballad.

If you ask would I recommend this show to people??? Yeah I would… It does have some interesting bits, and touches on some very gritty and edgy subjects like murder, rape, and violence. Interestingly there are characters in the show that are more monstrous than the monsters. All in all I think the show could have been great if it had addressed some of the issues I listed, but it’s still a decent show. I would recommend that one might wish to skip the last three episodes… Or actually watch them, but keep in mind that that is not how the real story goes, and then read the manga if you want to find out what happens next.

Oh yeah… I guess I should put a warning here that there is quite a bit of nudity, and some seriously graphic sexual scenes. If these things bother you then maybe you might consider avoiding Gantz.

School Rumble [Anime Rewind]

by | January 12, 2011 | In Anime | 1 Comment »

So right off the bat the name might give someone false impressions of this show… I mean… School Rumble??? You might think it’s another Ikki Tousen type of show (which is funny that the name would be more fitting to ikki tousen), but no there is very little rumbling in School Rumble. Rather than a fighting show it is a romantic comedy with extra emphasis on the comedy. While there is some fighting it is mostly in parody of other more serious shows (Japanese period dramas in particular). The anime is based on the manga of the same name by Jin Kobayashi, and they have been pretty faithful to the style and source material.

To describe the plot is a rather tall order… A girl named Tenma Tsukamato is in love with the class geek Karasama while the class delinquent Kenji Harima is in love with Tenma. Already starting off with a love triangle is usually enough for most shows, but School Rumble has only gotten started. You also have Haruki Hanai who is in love with Tenma’s sister Yakumo, and of course the Japanese tradition of using last names causes tons of misunderstandings between Harima and Hanai. Not to mention the rest of Tenma’s friends and class thrown into the mix. It’s one crazy situation after another on a non stop roller coaster ride.

At first the extreme slapstick comedy of this show might seem a bit much and way too over the top, but once you come to understand the physics of the world you’ll just accept that these things could happen there. It’s kinda like The Three Stooges and The Little Rascals got together and invaded Japan.

One interesting aspect of this show is the dub. I’ve always said that this show has one of the best English dubs ever created, and it actually fits the characters better than the original Japanese dub. The characters are so good that you can’t help but like them all. They get to feel like family, and it’s a show you wish had continued. Alas we only got two full seasons consisting of 52 episodes plus 2 OVAs. There was a pseudo third season which was only two episodes meant to end the series, but they kind of fell flat with those, and personally I like to pretend they never existed, and that somewhere the series continues on. Since those two final episodes never released in the US it’s quite easy to pretend they were just a bad dream and not real.

If you want to check out School Rumble for yourself all the episodes are streaming on Funimation’s site free, and the DVDs are way lower now than when I purchased them. I whole heartedly recommend that everyone watch this series… At least twice. I personally think this is one of the funniest shows ever created.

Oh… Almost forgot… The show has a really cool soundtrack as well. The music in the whole series is pretty amazing.

Wolf Link & Midna 1/4 Statue

by | January 11, 2011 | In Anime Collectibles | Comments Off

 

For a die hard Zelda fan the First 4 Figures  1/4 scale Wolf Link & Midna statue is a “must have”. For those of us who are just regular Zelda fans it’s a “must want”. The detail on the statue is rather impressive, but for the price it had better be… The regular version will run you $329.99 and is limited to 750 pieces worldwide. The Exclusive version which adds a light feature to Midna’s hair will cost you $349.99, and there will only be 350 pieces made. These are scheduled to be released in Q2 of 2011, and First 4 Figures is taking pre-orders on both now.

“Midna wears her distinctive helmet and reaches out her arm as a warning. Wolf Link turns and snarls. They are working in perfect unison. The Wolf Link and Midna statue captures every aspect of this iconic duo with stunning realism. Each piece is individually painted and finished to exacting standards. They are an amazing addition to your Zelda display.

At 1/4 scale, they measures approximately 15 inches tall and 15.5 inches long. Cast in high quality poly-stone, the statue is hand finished and hand painted. Working with the official Twilight Princess game files has allowed First 4 Figures to faithfully recreate Wolf Link and Midna’s distinct style and add fine detail.”

For those of us who can’t afford the hefty price tag we can still revel in the glory of the pictures.

Monster Hunter Tri (Wii) [Game Review]

by | December 24, 2010 | In [Everything Else | Comments Off

My annual winter gaming binge this year started with Monster Hunter Tri… Actually I picked this up back near the end of August, and am still enjoying it. I’ve been aware of the Monster Hunter games for a long time, but having no PSP the previous games were unavailable to me. When I realized Tri was on the Wii I grabbed it up.

The game is pretty impressive… Game play is pretty smooth once you get used to the controls (particularly the camera which is controlled manually). It takes some time to learn all the controls, but that is true of all games. I do recommend the Wii Controller Classic Pro with this game. Capcom worked with Nintendo to co-develop the controller specifically for Monster Hunter Tri, and it works amazingly well. There is also a bundle with the controller included (which I was unable to find until after I purchased the items separately). I recommend the bundle since it will save you $10 (US) compared to buying the controller and game by themselves.

The Monsters in this game are… Just freaking huge!!! It’s one thing to see a boss take up most of the screen, but then you realize that compared to your character these things are like city buses or some even the size of buildings.  The other thing that you immediately notice is that these critters are fast. They don’t sit around waiting to be hit. Although they do have defined attacks and patterns that can be figured out and anticipated in most cases.

One thing that seems to bother many casual gamers is that you have to grind for everything in the game. While it’s not as bad as a typical MMORPG it still turns many of the “I want it now!” crowd off. Your weapons and armor come from items that you gather by foraging and mining as well as parts of monsters you hunt. It can get a bit tedious, but once you learn the basics it’s fine. Use the fishing boats to gain “resource points” and the farm to make money or farm-able items you need. Everything else you have to go out and find.

The graphics are pretty amazing. The background scenery is beautiful, and the monsters are very well designed and rendered. The water areas are impressive and actually “feel” like you are swimming… Well… Aside from the unbelievably long and generous air supply that you have.

Weapons in the game are… Well they pretty much are the game… Every monster in the game has weapons that can be made from it’s parts, and with the different weapon types that makes for a lot of weapons that are available in game. You have great swords, sword & shield, hammers, switch axes, long swords, and bow guns. Not only that you can use them all as you see fit. One thing I notice about people who play this game is that they seem to be used to standard RPGs where you pick a weapon type and you are stuck with it. Not so with Monster Hunter games. They allow you to use any weapon in your arsenal at anytime. Certain weapon types are better against some monsters than others, and while many choose to stick to one weapon type I find it’s much more fun to try and learn them all… Or at least a few rather than sticking with one boring weapon for the whole game.

Now in offline mode there is quite a lot of playable content, and you can get more value out of the game than many other games just playing offline single player, but this game also has online multi player with up to 4 persons per hunt. The online mode consists of a set of quests somewhat similar to the offline quests except more challenging to cater to 4 players, and there are also special online only events as well as a few monsters that can only be fought online. And did I mention that online is included for free??? (At least in the US/Europe).

All in all Monster Hunter Tri is a fantastic game, and I agree with some who opine that it is currently the best game that has been released for the Wii.

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