Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Short and Simple

I love my job.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring 2009: The Losers

The 2009 spring anime to watch is (so far) a toss-up between Phantom and Eden of the East. (More on those later.)

What got left behind? Basquash and Fullmetal Alchemist 2.

I know that Basquash will find an audience, but most of it has driven me in the opposite direction. Between a character named Iceman Hottie, a girl who gets sexual pleasure from losing, and Dan's CONSTANT SHOUTING OF EVERYTHING, I'm out. Oh, Dan also sees a woman at the end of episode 3 and says that she has something called a "lunar bust." Lo and behold, the woman in question has breasts the size of beach balls and they bounce all over the place with every breath she takes. It all makes me wonder if there really is a key demographic that thrives on this.

It's a shame, too. Out of the two, Basquash boasted the best animation and the most lovingly-detailed world.

I'm almost in shock from adding Alchemist to this list. Of all the anime debuting, it was the one I was looking forward to the most. Instead of a blistering, big-budget remake, it has gotten off to an incredibly shaky start.

The emotional punch that sucked me into both the anime and the manga has been dulled beyond belief. I am willing to admit that perhaps it is because I am seeing the story for a third time. Even so, all of the dramatic build-up involving the sacrifice of two boys attempting to revive their dead mother is missing.

The way they free the people of Lior from Cornello's cult of god was ruined, as well. Rose's constant pleading with Cornello to bring back her dead lover, her devotion to the church, and her unshakable beliefs in god are all brushed over. Instead, viewers got a 30 second sequence where Ed interrupts her prayer session.

The pacing is rushed, almost as if Studio BONES is intent on blowing past the stories they've already told. It's a shame, too, because the first 10 episodes are essential to laying the foundation of the story. Maybe they should have simply re-aired the original first season and then picked up where the original strayed from the manga's still-unfolding story.

The "new" comedic bits feel forced and break up what should be some very heavy, serious scenes. And episode 3's split-screen technique was used at least 4 times in a single, 20 minute period. Bad call.

At least I got to see Lust skewer Don Cornello's skull on her razor-sharp finger. That moment never gets any less awesome.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Update: Basquash

Official News: Basquash is crap. Shiny, pretty crap. But crap, nonetheless.

My main reason?

There's a character named...oh god, this is so terrible I can't believe it...

Iceman Hottie.

Where is your god now?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Review: Guin Saga Episode 1

For those of you who prefer epic fantasy, you'll find something to like about the first episode of Guin Saga.

Based on one of the longest running novel series in Japan (over 124 volumes have been published), Guin Saga has the distinction of being one of the key influences of Berserk (a personal favorite of mine). The similarities are obvious, as the main character has amazing strength, isn't very sociable, and kicks people's asses in ways you never would imagine.

The tale is set in motion when an enemy force storms a castle (the enemies are referred to as Monghols--insert your own South Park reference here), kill the King and Queen, and force the twin siblings (one male, one female) into exile. Someone attempts to defend the children while they escape, claiming he will "finally have his revenge." Six seconds later he takes an arrow in the chest and falls off a balcony. I laughed.

This otherwise generic story is helped out by the princess, Linda (Rinda?), who has to drag her pansy-ass brother along with her in the wild. A role reversal like this is not often seen in anime, which would traditionally require the prince to be brave and the princess to be bratty and frail. (To be honest, I was rooting for the Mongohls to kill Prince Lemus).

When the twins find themselves in enemy territory, Lemus' whining attracts a Mongohl horde, who move in to capture or kill the children. Linda accidentally awakens a behemoth of a man who has a leopard-head mask. The chaos that follows is nothing short of spectacular.

Guin smashes a Mongohl into the ground with a single strike, like a fatal, real-life whack-a-mole. The next guy gets hit so hard that when he careens into a tree, the friction from his helmet causes the trunk to burst into flames. I won't spoil the rest of it, as the fight becomes even more frantic once night settles in.

Review: Basquash Episode 1

What the hell is a Basquash?

That question (disappointingly) is not answered in this episode. Instead, viewers will find a show with some real fire to it. Energy practically explodes from this show in every scene, for better and worse.

Dan JD is a loud, obnoxious kid who likes attention and destroying public property. He's an odd protagonist, as he spends the opening scene being chased by giant police mechs (called Bigfoots) while destroying every television screen in town. He has a personal grudge against his world's top sport: Bigfoot Basketball, in which (surprise surprise!) people pilot their robots in a super-sized game of basketball.

Dan's world is bursting with more wonderful quirky details than you can imagine: rows of adorable ducks wander across crowded streets, police Bigfoots shoot handcuff-shaped missiles, pets shapeshift into masks and hats, and the ever-present (inhabited) moon lights up in gorgeous intertwining spirals of light at night.

While the rest of the town is enamored with Bigfoot Basketball, Dan is more into the kind played by people, spurred by his kid sister's abilities before she was paralyzed. By the end of the first episode, Dan pilots a Bigfoot of his own, crashes an official BFB game, and creates an wild and new style of play.

The show has its fair share of problems, though. Dan's constant enthusiasm/hatred starts to get annoying after the first half of the episode. His childhood pal, Miyuki, shows up in this episode, complete with a ridiculous rack. The animators seemed so proud of this that there is a 20-second sequence of her running that focuses entirely on her bouncing breasts. It's exactly the kind of thing that makes me embarrassed to be an anime fan.

Bigfoot Basketball turns out to be a really boring sport in real life that is jazzed up by tv crews. This, however, fails to explain why it is marketed as the most popular sport EVER. Perhaps the people living on the moon (the true home of BFB) are actually Americans of the future and the whole thing is just a marketing scheme. The fact that Dan is the first person to ever bring exciting moves (the announcer comments that the fact that he DRIBBLES the ball is spectacular) is ridiculous, too.

The biggest "god damn it, no" moment occurs at the end of BFB game, when Dan attempts a dunk (after taking the longest route possible to the hoop--seriously, it takes him a good 5 minutes to cross the court) and destroys the stadium. Post-dunk, the camera cuts to the female soft-drink vendor, who is sitting on her ass, crying tears of joy after his basketball moves gave her an orgasm.

I'll give you a moment to process that.

Personally, I threw up a little.

If you like your over-the-top anime with an extra heaping of ridiculousness, Basquash is for you. If not, you might want to look elsewhere.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Season!

The new season of shows is starting up this month. Check back on Thursday for reviews of one or more of the following:

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
Shangri La
Sengoku Basara
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

I'm especially looking forward to watching Phantom. Any show that has one word repeated twice in its title has got to be good. I think that's one of Einstein's lesser known laws of the universe.

Monday, April 6, 2009

New Review on MR

You'll find a new 200-word review of Case Closed from yours truly, along with several other words from my fellow (highly-regarded) reviewers. Click on my note and check out the link at the end!

NOTE: For some odd reason, using the link tool at blogspot causes my links to'll have to use the ol' copy and paste method for now.