Books: Twilight vs. Sookie Stackhouse

25 04 2009

I love vampires. They’re a really fun supernatural trope to play with, and I love to read vampire books. My all-time favorite vampire book is, hands down, “The Vampire Lestat” by Anne Rice – I know, it’s a cliche, but it’s also a really good book.

Lately, I’ve been reading the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris and really enjoying them – the fact that each one is a self-contained mystery is really fun, and Sookie herself is a hoot.

In reading “Dead to the world“, I noticed a some similarities between events in this book and “New Moon”, the second book in the Twilight series. I won’t even link anything to Twilight because really, everyone knows the tweeny vamp series by now. I love to hate Twilight, and someday I’ll go on a huge rant as to why.

So anyways, here is my mashup of “New Moon” vs. “Dead to the World”!

Copyright Stephenie Meyer, Charlaine Harris

Copyright Stephenie Meyer, Charlaine Harris


Read the rest of this entry »

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Youtubery: Gintama Edition!

20 04 2009

Finally, a Gintama-related post! As this series doesn’t get enough love (and I love to go on about the fact that it doesn’t get enough love), I’ll definitely be posting random Gintama crap. And often.

After the credits of certain episodes, Gintama adds an additional alternate-universe parody called 3rd Year Class Z Ginpachi-sensei (which is a parody of the Japanese Television show 3 nen B gumi Kinpachi-sensei).

This video features Gintoki as Ginpachi-sensei and parodies a certain character’s bad habit from a certain anime which was edited by a certain company. Ok, it’s One Piece and 4Kids.

Sanji’s ridiculous cigarette/lollipop from the 4Kids version of One Piece:

Sanji - smoker or addicted to candy?  Copyright 4Kids ... or now, I guess it's Funimation...

Sanji - smoker or addicted to candy? Copyright 4Kids ... or now, I guess it's Funimation...





Review: PeaceMaker Kurogane Volume 1

17 04 2009

PeaceMaker Kurogane Volume 1 is not actually the first volume in this series – though ADV did license and distribute this one a couple of years ago without ever doing the first series. This is a new version by Tokyopop. Confusing!

PMK Volume 1 - Copyright Tokyopop, Nanae Chrono

PMK Volume 1 - Copyright Tokyopop, Nanae Chrono

In Japan, the first set of volumes to the story by Nanae Chrono was called “Shinsengumi Imon PeaceMaker” – which Tokyopop shortened to “PeaceMaker” – Ok, fine.

But then the series switched magazines in Japan, and became known as “PeaceMaker Kurogane” – which Tokyopop kept as is. Ok, fine. But ADV actually did a version of PeaceMaker Kurogane a couple of years ago … without ever doing the first series (“Shinsengumi Imon PeaceMaker”). So there are now two versions of the second part of the series (the new, Tokyopop one is what I’m reading) but only one version of the first series, by Tokyopop.

Confusing!

So, instead of stating the fact that PMK comes after PeaceMaker 1-5 … Tokyopop just calls it PMK Volume 1 and lets readers figure it out.

This is probably not the way I would have done things, but then again, I’m obviously not paid to do these things. So, confusing even loyal PeaceMaker fans, we have PeaceMaker Kurogane Volume 1, by Tokyopop.

Since it isn’t made completely obvious – PMK is a continuation of PeaceMaker and should be read after PeaceMaker volume 5. NOT BEFORE! The entire gag of the first chapter depends on previous knowledge of the characters – without knowing how ridiculous and juvenile Tetsunosuke is, or how hard-nosed and downright cruel Hijikata is … the joke would sail right over the reader’s head.

This volume jumps straight back to the story (after a brief time-skip of 3 months – which actually seems too short…) and builds on the incidents of PeaceMaker volume 5, which Japanese history buffs (and anime fans who pay attention) will be familiar with – the Ikedaya incident.

Dealing with the aftermath of the bloodbath at Ikedaya, the series turns a little darker, a little angstier, and adds a dash of the supernatural. I enjoyed the darker feel of the volume, but it may turn off fans who were simply looking for sword-fighting bishounen. The comedy is still there, as are the awesome sword fights – but there are also severed heads, pedophiles and creepy cat-children.

The mangaka even apologizes at the end of the volume for the “unpleasant scenes” and states that she is “mindful of the growing angst.” Even though this volume does deal with a lot of pretty disturbing subjects, it also adds character to Suzu (who had been pretty flat before, simply worshiping his psycho master Yoshida but lacking any personality of his own) and makes Tetsunosuke a little more interesting and a lot less annoying (taking away some of the Naruto-ness of his character).

The darkness of PMK Volume one adds a sort of spooky, doomed atmosphere to the story – which fits right in with the story of the Shinesngumi, not exactly a happy chapter in Japanese history.

One problem I had with this volume is that I’m really getting into the story – and yes, that’s a problem. Because I know that it’s going to end, and abruptly. The series never got a satisfactory ending in Japan, ceasing publication before the story concluded. The fact that I’ll never get to read the ending is leaving me in despair!

I’m really starting to dig the creepy atmosphere, and Suzu as an evil villain, gearing up for Yamanami’s betrayal and the upcoming drama with Itou – along with the introduction (finally!) of Sakamoto Ryoma, the weirdly awesome character with inexplicable dreadlocks. But I know it doesn’t have an ending! Despair! Despair, I tell you!





Damn, that’s cool! Cowboy Bebop edition

4 04 2009

Cowboy Bebop: The Move copyright Sony Pictures, Shinichiro Watanabe

Cowboy Bebop: The Move copyright Sony Pictures, Shinichiro Watanabe



The Scene:

Bounty Hunter Spike Spiegel has chased wanted bio-terrorist Vincent from a mysterious military industrial lab onto a skyrail high above Mars and the two confront each other for the first time in a dramatic, violent, adrenaline-pumping gun/fist fight. Spike shows off his impressive Bruce Lee-inspired moves, and is promptly thrown out the train window by equally skilled and genetically enhanced Vincent – I think his emo gives him power, aka the Sasuke effect.
Spike Spiegel - copyright Sony Pictures, Shinichiro Watanabe

Spike Spiegel - copyright Sony Pictures, Shinichiro Watanabe

Why it’s pretty damn cool:
This scene demonstrates two of the reasons why Cowboy Bebop is Cowboy Bebop (and Keanu Reeves should never ever ever be let anywhere near this anime):
1- Kick-ass fight scenes.
Spike’s movements flow smoothly, as he thoroughly beats on Vincent. Spike has the ability to make an all-out brawl look like an expertly choreographed, incredibly violent dance.
2- Defenestration.
For the non-English majors: being thrown or otherwise ejected out of a window. Spike is thrown out of two windows during the series and survives each one – barely. Both times mark a turning point in Spike’s life/journey – this time Spike learns the connection between him and Vincent, both “dead men”.

Vincent vs Spike - copyright Sony Pictures, Shinichiro Watanabe

Vincent vs Spike - copyright Sony Pictures, Shinichiro Watanabe


Add an awesomely beautiful and creepy Yoko Kanno soundtrack – and that’s Cowboy Bebop for you.

Watching this damn cool scene again has only reinforced the notion that Keanu Reeves can NOT be let near Cowboy Bebop!! I don’t care how great the script is, not Keanu! I don’t care how great the music or the other actors or the director is – not Keanu!

*ahem*

Anyways, here’s the train scene (real action starts about 2 minutes in):





Character of the Day: Rossiu Adai from Gurren Lagann

3 04 2009

Rossiu may seem like an unusual choice, but considering my tastes in favorite characters – Rossiu is right up The Cat’s alley!

(This post is rife with Gurren Lagann spoilers – read at your own risk!)

Rossiu - copyright Bandai Entertainment

Rossiu - copyright Bandai Entertainment


Background:
Rossiu is from the Village of Adai aka The Lottery village. Ruled by a “priest” with absolute authority, the village casts out a random member each time their population reaches above 50. Conditions in Rossiu’s village are bleak and the attitude is that of people who toil their entire lives to eke out a meager living – a far cry from the freeloading, free-spirited, colorful, crazy members of the future Team Dai-Gurren!

**Spoiler Warning**

After Kamina’s death, Rossiu pilots Gurren, with Simon in the lead as Lagann’s pilot. He becomes the head of most divisions of the New Government after the fall of the Spiral King (aka Time Skip no Jutsu!), and executes his authority over everyone – including Simon, who becomes the Supreme Commander.

Why I like him:
Rossiu is a very atypical Gurren Lagann character – he is not loud, brash, emotional, over-the-top. He does not (usually) spout the chant-like slogans of Team Dai-Gurren with abandon (Who the hell do you think we are??!).

Rossiu is quiet, meticulous, intelligent and pragmatic. He brings logical thinking and common sense to a show where common sense does not apply in any way shape or form.

These qualities cause Rossiu to clash with the rest of Team Dai-Gurren in the latter half of the show. Rossiu’s desperation int he face of overwhelming opposition from the AntiSpirals causes him to face the ultimate dilemma for a world leader – to be able to sacrifice a portion of the population in order to save the rest of humanity.

Rossiu & Rossiu - copyright Bandai Entertainment

Rossiu & Rossiu - copyright Bandai Entertainment

Quote: “You understand nothing.” Episode 17
External Link:
Black or White – The Rossiu Fanlisting





Taking a look at the various Spring ’09 Anime Previews around the web…

2 04 2009

…and these are the two that I think I’ll be interested in the most:

07-Ghost

From Studio DEEN, directed by Norihiro Takamoto, and adapted from the manga by Yuki Amemiya & Yukino Ichihara.

This looks to be pretty standard shounen action/fantasy fare – complete with the military, best friends torn apart by … something (maybe the military?), amnesia, confronting the person that killed your father, and some sort of magical combat.

But! It looks pretty cool from the trailer, and I’m a huge sucker for Mitsuki Saiga, the seiyuu playing our main hero. Not to mention Sho Hayami as the villain – and I think his best roles are his villainous ones, Aizen-taichou wouldn’t be quite as evil without that evil, sexy voice.

And…

Pandora Hearts

From Studio Xebec (don’t know much about them), directed by Takao Kato and adapted from the manga by Jun Mochizuki.

I don’t know anything about this one, but it looks shiny! It’s got sortof a gothic-Gankutsuou thing going on, with all the wacky colors and textures. Then it collided head on with CLAMP, or something. Anyways, I think it looks kinda neat!

And! According to ANN, Akira Ishida is in it, as … someone (Xarxes Break). And Akira Ishida means an instant watch as far as The Cat is concerned. The Cat likes Akira Ishida. To an unhealthy degree.

…oh, and of course there’s always the new Full Metal Alchemist. Will anyone not be watching that?

T.H.A.T Animeblog’s Spring Preview is here, it’s definitely worth a look!





Casshern Sins: First Impressions

1 04 2009

Casshern - copyright Studio Madhouse & creator Tatsuo Yoshida

Casshern - copyright Studio Madhouse & creator Tatsuo Yoshida


I’ll admit – I only started watching this show because of the shiny. I saw an AMV that looked way cool and downloaded the first five episodes right then and there.

10 episodes in and I’m still totally digging the style of the show, but the plot is paced very slow – and at this point I’m hoping it picks up steam soon!

Casshern Sins is a remake/continuation of a series that aired in 70’s (called Neo-Human Casshern) and it retains that retro style character designs with a definite modern update. The characters look like they came right out of that SpeedRacer era of colorful, sleek-yet-retro animation. Set against a post-apocalyptic wasteland for a background, the contrast is quite striking.

Casshern is an amnesiac robot who is supposedly immortal, and thus immune to “the ruin” that is plaguing robots all over the world (how’s that for a premise! Only in Japan…). “The ruin” causes robots to decay and die started when Casshern killed a robot named Luna – but as of episode 10 Casshern, and the audience, have no idea why or how this happened.

Pretty, but bleak - Copyright Studio Madhouse &Tatsuo Yoshida

Pretty, but bleak - Copyright Studio Madhouse &Tatsuo Yoshida

We follow Casshern as he wanders, trying to piece together clues about his past and the ruin. Casshern meets various robots and humans in his travels, and each have an effect on the emotionally-fragile yet physically-super-strong Casshern.

The overarching plot of Casshern Sins is interesting enough to keep me watching, and the action scenes are very well-animated and totally fun to watch. The moody, intensely gloomy atmosphere permeates every episode and really emphasizes the despair of the decaying robots.

However, Casshern hasn’t seemed to make any progress towards improving the situation in his world, and unless something happens soon, the audience might also start to decay while we watch!