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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Witchblade Vol. 2
So, I bought the new Witchblade DVD yesterday and watched it when I got home. Once again it didn't fail to entertain me.

There wasn't quite as much action as the preview suggested (I should learn by now that previews are misleading and designed specifically to work up the veiwer), but that's not to say it wasn't a bad 4 episodes. Again, the action is balanced by a well-paced story and excellent character interaction and development. There was a bit more comedy this time around, mostly centered on the quirky tennents of the apartment building Masane and Rihoko now live in.

I love the dynamic between Masane and Rihoko: I don't think an adult being useless while the child is the efficient, responsible one is a unique situation in anime or film/TV in general, but they play it just right in this series. This also highlights the major important difference between Masane and the original Witchblade heroine, Sarah Pezzini.

I wanted to talk about this because in the comments for Gail's review of Witchblade Vol. 2, someone (I won't use names) said: "I could do without the fact that the Sarah Pezzini character has a kid." This comment irked me.
I think it's wrong to equate Masane and Sarah to each other at all; they are completely different characters. One is a cop, the other is a single mom suffering from amnesia.
I love how the Vol. 1 review on ANN covered this: while Sarah had her sense of justice as an internal motivation, Masane's maternal instincts and need to protect Rihoko from harm are her (external) motivation. Therefore, Rihoko should be thought of along those lines as an essential element of the anime series. It's an important distinction between this incarnation of the story and those that came before.
Though personally, I have no problem with Rihoko and enjoy her character (besides being a bit of a fan of her VA, Carrie Savage).

The promise of battle between the Witchblade and Cloneblades ended up being a bit muted, since we only saw two Clones, and only one really got into the fighting. What fighting there was was good though, and there was a glimpse at what could eventually happen to Masane as the Witchblade takes more control, with one of the Cloneblades consumed by her power.

All in all, I'm happy with how the show is progressing. You don't really need to knock out viewers with endless action so early in the story, so the build-up helps keep it from running away from the overall plot. It handles it's character extremely well, and that alone makes it more entertaining than a standard action series.

I forsee some danger ahead for Rihoko, as one of the Cloneblades has developed an interest in her...

In other news, I'm very happy today: I received shipping confirmation on my CDs. I made a bulk order of 10 (told I went crazy), and they've all cleared. I hope they'll get here by the end of the week.

Fingers crossed now.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Another Tuesday, another dollar...
Since anime, music and most everything else gets released on Tuesdays, I've come to enjoy these days. That is, unless it's a dry week with no releases.

Volume 2 of Witchblade is out today. I've been waiting for this... well, ever since the end of Volume 1. The preview on the Hell Girl DVD looked very promising. Expect a review here later...

I went a bit crazy ordering CDs this morning, but I've almost needed a trip to the rubber room with how much I've been climbing off the walls, hoping things wouldn't go out of stock before I had the chance to buy them. I still won't know if all of them clear until I get shipping confirmation.

Music (and anime) is pretty much an addiction for me. Healthier than drugs, but in the end it probably costs the same =P


And to add a bit more meat to this post: another video!

The band is Mind's Eye and the song is "Feed My Revolver" from their new album A Gentleman's Hurricane. It's a concept piece about an assassin on his last job.

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

And now for something completely different...
Ever listened to a song and couldn't quite understand the words? If you have, you can relate to this humorous video.

The song is "Wishmaster" by Nightwish, and this is what can happen when you mistunderstand lyrics.

Kimmeh, if you haven't already seen this, you're in for a laugh ~_^'

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Friday, November 2, 2007

Things are going well
The day wasn't the nightmare I was afraid it might be. Once again the aggrivating part was the long drive there and back.

They didn't want contrast in the CT scan this time, so there was no grief trying to get an IV in. The doctor was happy with what pcitures were showing, and she said it looked like a 75% improvement. For now there will be no change in the antibiotic doses or how often I take them.

I didn't escape needles altogether, as we decided to get the flu shot taken care of while we were there.

Thanks to everyone and their concern for me, makes me feel better =)

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Time for a check-up
Tomorrow we have to take a trip back to the hospital for a check-up.

I'll be going through another CT scan to see how well my lungs have cleared after being on the antibiotics for two months, and a visit with the doctor.

I'm pretty sure things will go well, it's just a frustration to have to make this trip, because it's a 3 hour drive up there, the time it takes to get everything done, and 3 hours back home. And with the scan scheduled at 2 PM, we won't be back here until evening.

I'll get online once we're back and post how things went.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Another Halloween, sigh...
This year is the same as the last few. Nothing to do, nobody to hang out with. I'm here at home, waiting for good TV shows to come on. At least being Wednesday, there's MythBusters.

All I'm doing to keep some vestige of Halloween spirit is to wear my Hellsing shirt. Not that I really went anywhere today to proudly dsiplay it.

My Mom had an accident at school today. She was stepping down from somplace high onto a short desk, which then tipped out from under her. She whacked her head on the floor pretty hard, and was taken to the hospital to get checked out. Fortunately there wasn't any serious injury except for a large knot on her head due to the impact.

I think if she goes to bed early, I'll put on Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Gotta watch at least one appropriate movie tonight.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Goke and Shigurui
So I ended up watching the entire movie last night, and it exceeded my expectations for weirdness. Here is the summation I sent to a friend today:

I watched the weirdest movie last night... o_O

"Goke: Body Snatcher from Hell"

Ok... so an airliner is on it's way to Japan, flying through some rather nasty red clouds with birds committing suicide by slamming into the windows (actually the same bird repeated several times).

Crew gets a call from the ground that there was a threat called in to the police about a bomb being on the plane. The don't find a bomb, but instead a rifle owned by some dude who attempts to hijack the plane.

In the middle of the hijack, radio reports that a UFO has been sighted over Japan. Said UFO strafes the plane, instruments and engine blow out, and the plane crashes in the desert (apparently Death Valley has moved to Japan).

Several people survive, including the hijacker, who takes the flight attendant hostage and runs. Unfortunately, hijacker comes across the UFO, and the thing hypnotizes him and pulls him in. Inside, some blue alien blob cuts open the guy's forhead and oozes inside (and the wound is FREAKING HUGE AND OBVIOUS!)

Long story short, alien-possessed hijacker-man starts coming after the survivors, drinking their blood vampire style. Passengers continuously turn on each other cuz they are a whining, sniveling bunch of babies (what do you expect of a corporate high-climber and a greedy politician).

Aliens make contact and reveal their grand plans to invade and wipe out humanity (um... WHY?).

Hijacker dude is eventually killed with fire (ooooh, aaaah...), but the alien survives and just crawls inside someone else (D'OH!).

In the end, the only ones left are the co-pilot and flight attendant (who does nothing but scream on cue). They wander in the desert for a few minutes until they find a highway (oh, by the way, there was another radio report that said the plane couldnt be found and the rescuers were giving up hope... so WHY ARE THEY 2 MILES FROM A HIGHWAY???).

Anyway, everyone is dead in their cars, and more people are dead in the city. The aliens have already killed Japan.

Last shot is a fleet (well, maybe 15) of UFOs coming for Earth.

What the ^&(*$#@ did I just watch?!?!

I'm not sure if it's all films or just this Z-grade scifi stuff, but Japanese people really over-act (and make the silliest facial expressions ever).

And Quentin Tarrantino loves this movie. Go figure...

And now for something completely different...

This is a historical samurai action drama that recently began airing (only 6 episodes subbed so far), produced by MADHOUSE.

I'm a bit confused at the beginning right now, but hopefully as I watch it this will become less of a problem.

As expected of any MADHOUSE series, the animation is truly superb, and rather artsy in a way. Plus it's samurai slicing the hell out of each other, who doesn't love that?

This is the kind of show I have been desperately waiting for. Basilisk disappointed me from the get-go: I didn't like how it threw a bunch of unrealistic mutants into a historical setting.
Shigurui rectifies this, living up to what I like to call the "Kenshin Factor" - that is, I compare all animated samurai shows to the Kenshin OVAs. If it doesn't match or top that, it isn't worth the time.

Word of warning: If you plan to go check out Shigurui for yourself, be advised that it is intense in it's violence, and there are some sexual scenes (not sure how many yet, but there was one in the first episode). Keep this away from impressionable young eyes and minds.

And now it's about time for me to drift off to bed. I have to go to the lab tomorrow for my bi-weekly bloodwork, and thanks to this Tropical Storm Noel, I can envision the weather not being very pleasant. This doesn't thrill me, because I still have to deal with a leaky car windshield o_O

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Surviving the Otakulypse
Looks like we had another this weekend. Yow...

At least things appear to be up and running once again. Other than that, life continues on dull as ever.

I'll probably be back later in the day with a few thoughts on an new anime, Shigurui, which promises to be a blood-soaked historical samurai extravanganza.

Oh, and there are some Japanese monster/horror films tonight on Turner Classic Movies. I'll probably just tune in to the beginning. Who could resist checking out a movie with the title "Goke: Body Snatcher from Hell"?

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hell Girl, Volume 1 - Butterfly
Your grievance shall be avenged.

Tonight, I watched the first disc of the Hell Girl series, so I decided I'd put down some of my thoughts about it.

First off: WOW! I'm very picky about the anime I buy, so I only purchase shows I know will entertain me. And I have to say, this was very entertaining.

The design and animation were well-executed, no problems there.

The things that stood out to me the most were the performances and the music.

I'm not normally all gaga (yes, gaga) for OSTs. I own three, two of which I actually bought. But the music of Hell Girl really stood out to me, so much that I would easily purchase the soundtrack if I can find it.
It starts with the tune picked to loop for the menu screen. It sounds like it could have come from any of the symphonic/gothic/power metal bands I love: a mix of heavy guitar, fast drums, string instruments and gothic choral voices. What's nice is that this is actually a song from the anime itself.
The rest of the music was suitibly dramatic or creepy, befitting the mood of whatever scene was playing.

I watched the dub, and It was very well-acted. I haven't heard the original Japanese audiotrack, so I can't really do a comparison.
Enma Ai, the Hell Girl, had a wonderfully chilling monotone to her voice. Her three assistants were also well done.

There was an unfortunate repetative nature, though it didn't dampen my enjoyment of the show. Some scenes are replayed (mostly when Ai travels from Hell to the Earth in her flame-wheeled, flying carrige), and her dialogue deviated little from episode to episode.
So at the moment, the show is very episodic and "vengenace of the week" oriented, although I am aware that elements of backstory and an overarching plot will come into play somewhere down the road. The 5th episode did relieve this somewhat by delving into a slightly more complex story, so except for Ai's usual speech when she's about to harvest a soul, the repetative aspects were not present.

I don't think there'll be too many comparisons to Death Note. The horror elements come into play after each episode's protagonist asks Ai to send their tormentor to Hell. Ai's assitants - Ren, Onna, & Wanyudo - create scenarios to mentally torture their victims, driving them to confess their crimes, after which Ai takes their souls, ferrying them to Hell on a barge.
It's this dark, disturbing playfulness that really is the essence of the series.

With Higurashi on hold for the forseeable future, I'm really looking forward to the next installment of Hell Girl.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

FMA - Panic Attack
I would love to suggest this AMV for the Otaku Attraction, but I doubt it would ever be picked for the simple fact that it is 7:28 in length. If people found the 5:46 Porcupine Tree "Place Promised" video too long, I doubt their attention spans could stretch any further.

It's an action video, incorporating some of the best fight scenes from Fullmetal Alchemist with one of Dream Theater's faster-paced songs, "Panic Attack".

So, I hope you watch the whole video and enjoy it =)

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