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Friday, 31 December 2010

The End of 2010

Well 2010 is now coming to an end and 2011 is knocking at our doorsteps so it's time for my year end of post. Time sure flew by quick this year but I suspect that has more to do with biological conditioning more than anything else. Oh well, let's start off with the usual list:

Top 10 Anime of 2010

1) Katanagatari
2) Durarara!!
3) Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin
4) Angel Beats!
5) Shiki
6) Shinryaku! Ikamusume
7) Kobato
8) Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
9) Star Driver
10) Super Robot Wars: The Inspector

There were some pretty good shows this year though not as quite as many grabbed my attention like last year. There were plenty of good OVAs and movies that came out this year to make up for that but I'd rather have more interesting shows in the season line-ups instead of the all too many harem and fanservice shows this year. Though I do disagree with the controversial bill 156 that'll take effect halfway next year, I do hope that this will get the studios to stop producing crap like Ladies vs Butlers and Ichiban Ushiro no Dai Maou. I hope to see some more plot oriented series next years and that Kyoto Animation finally stops wasting their talents on stuff like K-On!!. I'm a fan of the manga and it's humor but I really feel that they screwed up with the anime cause they stretch it out as much as they could taking out all the funny so they could trick moe-addicted saps into worshipping fictional characters doing everyday stuff in dull and melodramatic ways. That's what I have to say about that matter so let's move onto the "Best of the Year" bits.

Best Animated Movie - Rebuild of Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance

It's was a pretty close one here between this and the Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi but let's face it, Eva 2.22 was so much more awesome. Disappearance had the best animation work of the year and had lots of good scenes but Eva 2.22 had amazing mecha battles with awesome moments that just keep topping the one before it.

Best OVA - Darker Than Black Gaiden

With four episodes to it and a lot of great moments that explained plenty of things from the first and second seasons it’s a real no brainer here.

Best Animation - The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi

Is it unfair to give this one to a movie when it obviously has the budget to win? No, not when Disappearance not only blew everything else from this year out of the water but everything else from the years before it. Kyoto Animation put in a LOT of work into this one and it really, really shows.

Best Anime Soundtrack - Katanagatari

This one was very hard to choose from with all the amazing soundtracks from this year. Besides Iwasaki Taku's powerful and occasionally quirky feudal themed compositions there were also Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt's awesome techno beats and Black Rock Shooter's amazing tracks. Katanagatari had some of the man's best works with songs like "Gettouka" and "Bahasa Palus" in just the first OST album. There were quite a few other tracks that I loved that weren't in the first one while the other two already had theirs fully bared. Mind you though, this only applies to the anime cause Murray Gold's magical work for series 5 of Doctor Who is nothing short of spectacular and easily triumphs over them all.

Best Song - "God Only Knows"

Eight minutes long, composed of several chapters and sung in an epic hymn-esque fashion to usher in the Capturing God himself, "God Only Knows" is the clear winner of the year. The anime was a bit of a disappointment but this song was just so goddamned amazing. Honorable mentions go to "Gettouka" and "Bahasa Palus" of Katanagatari, Supercell's "Hero" as well as "I am the Doctor", "Amy in the TARDIS" and pretty much the rest of series 5's albums.

Best Character - Ika Musume


Ika-musume wins this year hands down. Shichika saw some of the best character development this year but nothing can beat the invader from the sea. I totally called it when I said that Ika-musume would make a great mascot when I reviewed her manga series.

Best Comedy - Seitokai no Yakuindomo

Well this might be a bit odd considering I put up Shinryaku Musume up on my top ten but not this but watching a bunch of perverted girls crack innuendos and dirty jokes was both absolutely hilarious and incredibly refreshing to watch. If you must know where exactly I place this series on my rankings this year I'd say at 12th, just behind Kuragehime and after Hanamaru Kindergarten. Speaking of Hanamaru Kindergarten...

Most Memorable Scene - Hanamaru Kindergarten, The Panda Neko Taisou

I will probably never forget this dance for the rest of my life. If I ever have a daughter I swear to God that I'm getting her a Panda Neko costume just like Hiiragi's and have her do this dance!

Biggest Disappointment - Iron Man

Remember when I said The World God Only Knows was a bit of a disappointment? Well, the Iron Man anime was a complete and utter failure. The trailers made it look like the awesome shit that the movies wished they could be but then Madhouse turned it into the shit regular shit shits. I really wonder what went wrong during development that made it that way. On a slightly related note, the missing battle between Sabi Hakuhei and Yasuri Shichika.

And to wrap up my last post for the year, here's a list of things to look forward to in 2011:
  • Doctor Who Series 6
  • Sherlock Series 2
  • The Fate/Zero Anime
  • The Stein’s;Gate Anime
  • The Nintendo 3DS
  • The English Versions of Pokemon Black & White
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part II

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Movie Review: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 1st

Finally got around to watching the Nanoha 1st movie that’s been hiding around somewhere amongst the other things I’ve got to get around to watching and I have to say I didn’t feel like I wasted two hours and ten minutes on this remake. I considered the first season of the Nanoha series to be its weakest but this retelling has me putting it on par with the second. By that I mean I thought the movie was pretty big improvement from the first season much like A’s was.

The movie recaps the events of the first season and chronicles the very beginning of Takamachi Nanoha’s life as a magical girl and her relationship with Fate Testarossa. Some sources like this one say that the movie itself is not only an alternate retelling but also exists in the franchise’s universe as well as a semi-biographical “based on a true story” movie, one that apparently that had consultation from the main characters as well so any changes anyone feels they’d like to complain about should voice them out to the in-universe production staff as well as Nanoha and Fate themselves but I think they’d find that the metaphorical meta wall is going to make that very difficult.

This actually is official promo art.

So what are these changes they made to the movie exactly and what do I think of them? The biggest one much to amusement is the fact that they downplayed Yuuno’s importance in the movie. Even after Nanoha found out that Yuuno was actually a boy and not a ferret she still let him sleep in the same room with her as a ferret and we get no mention of what happens to him after the incident is over. He basically demoted from an actual person to a magical pet. Make that of what you will but I’m taking that as further proof that Nanoha and Fate are two loving mamas happily raising their daughter with little to nil involvement from Yuuno. They obviously had a reason to increase the subtext behind their first meeting cause I definitely don’t remember Fate saying Nanoha’s name over and over again with increasing joy or their farewell hug being quite so intimate and long. You’d have to be blind not to see it by that point cause well… You know what, let me just show you:

I present the evidence right here

Ahem! Well, my yuri fanboy tendencies aside they really did make quite a number a good changes to the movie. They cut out pretty much every bit of padding the first season had and replaced it with much better flowing scenes and great new action sequences and added in new scenes to show Nanoha’s development better as well as more backstory on Precia and Fate that really made the story even more tragic than it was before. The animation’s obviously improved by leaps and bounds compared to the original series but it’s not quite at the standard you’d come to expect from anime movies nowadays but more like a high quality OVA. That however does not apply to the battle scenes which are as I have said before are quite good. My favorite one was where Nanoha shot out a Starlight Breaker at Fate and leveled an entire city in the process proving that nine year old girls are a force to be reckoned with and possibly feared, especially with magical girls like Nanoha. There are many reasons why Nanoha is often compared to a Gundam and that right there is one of them – not very many Gundams are capable of demolishing an entire city in one blast. I think she probably still had it on stun too when she shot that cause there’s no way Fate could have survived it otherwise.

Just imagine what she really could do with this

All in all it was pretty good remake of the original season. They really improved on a lot with this one. Music, animation, emotional depth, logistics – everything really. They even paced the whole thing nicely enough that you’ll feel that two hours and ten minutes was just right for the movie. While I’d like to see a fourth season animated with the quality they put into the movie I’m pleased to know that the 2nd movie, the remake of the second season, is already in the works and is set to premiere in 2012. I’m really looking forward to that one since A’s was the best season of the series and am hoping that they somehow improve Nanoha’s Divine Buster sniping scene since that was the best part of the series. Here’s to even better Nanoha movies. Let’s hope that the Mayans aren’t right and we’ll get to live long enough to see the StrikerS remake.

My favorite frame of the movie

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Movie Review: The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi

The long awaited animated movie adaptation of the fan favorite fourth installation in the Suzumiya Haruhi light novel series finally went on sale around two weeks ago and I am very pleased to say that Kyoto Animation pulled it off perfectly. It’s been years since I last read that particular novel but it’s still as clear to me in my memory now as when I had first read it which really is a testament as to how brilliant that book was. Having declared that I can honestly say with the utmost confidence that it is most faithful movie adaptation of any novel that I’ve ever seen.

The movie runs 2 hours and 43 minutes long and revolves around Kyon who suddenly woke up one day that the world around him had changed overnight as he slept. He doesn’t realize this at first but he slowly comes to this shocking revelation that all the odd discrepancies between his and everyone else’s memories culminating with the impossible return of his attempted murderer Asakura Ryouko in place of the ever troublesome brigade chief he’s come to know in the past few months of his life. Coming to grasp this world so similar to his and yet so significantly different to the one he has known all this time he must discover the truth behind the events that put him in this situation and find a way to fix things so that they go back to the way it was.

I don’t mean to come off as fanboy of the series with what I’m about to say about the movie but this is in my opinion one of the very best things that anime has to offer. The animation work seen in this movie is its biggest plus and deserves absolute praise as they just piled detail upon detail upon detail here. Every character named and unnamed feel like unique individuals while the scenery can be just so mindbogglingly breathtaking that you have to wonder just how much work they put into all of it. The audio that went with the visuals was also made use of superbly and conveyed the ambience and tone of the movie perfectly. We’d get quiet sombre melodies when we were meant to feel Kyon’s anguish and alienation in the world while uplifting, hopeful tunes when he’d find some form of a clue out of his predicament. Subtlety was clearly the key to making this as good as it is. They went as far as to show very small things like Yuki stroking a teapot to show just how timid she is in the new world and even put in sounds like the flapping of arms and the low humming of lights, sounds that we’d just ignore and tune out. KyoAni did far more than go the extra mile with this one, they ran a whole marathon just for the heck of it.

Proof that you don't have to be flexible to step on your own head
Kyon's defining moment

Though the movie is called the Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi, she doesn’t really do much in the story and most of the focus goes to Kyon and Yuki. Disappearance is there to show just how much the two of have changed and what their roles in the messes that Haruhi brings them into means to them. When you think about it, there really isn’t much plot and is pretty much secondary to the characterisation but that more than makes up for it. You’re probably not even going to realize that with how great the scenes are. My favorite parts were when they played Asakura showing up in class like a horror scene, Kyon’s expanded inner conflict scene and also when Asakura showed up at the end to “protect” Yuki. Asakura showing up was just as good as the novel made it out to be but they really outdid themselves with Kyon’s inner conflict with whole symbolic way they went about it when it was just a bunch of lines in the book. As for Asakura’s protection, I just loved how psychotic she was while giving Kyon that pleased smile of hers.

Asakura Ryouko: Yandere Mode
Asakura the Happy Knife Wielding Psycho. My favorite character of the series.

I do have to point out that they did exaggerate some of Kyon’s reactions, particularly his outburst at Asakura but I think that just made the later scenes even more powerful, especially so for the self-confrontation scene. The movie can also seem a little draggy in the beginning but I suppose that was intended as bit of a refresher for fans since even Kyon lampshades the fact that it was a very long prologue. The rest of the movie though is quite enjoyable though so you’re probably not going to feel the length till maybe the end with Koizumi but that’ll wear off when you get to Yuki.

When I read the original novel I thought that Tanigawa Nagaru painted an amazing picture with his words but what I saw in its movie was an even grander one that surpassed. It really did make up for the whole Endless Eight troll they pulled on us in the second season and it was most certainly worth the wait. You might even want to watch it twice if you don’t mind the sitting down again for it for another few hours. Even if you don’t want to make just make sure wait till after the credits are done cause there’s an extra scene they threw in as fanservice for Yuki fans. Another really nice touch that wasn’t in the book.

Yuki at her cutest
This wasn't it but I thought it deserved to be shared

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Movie Review: Gulliver’s Travels

Went to watch this with some of my friends some time ago when I was actually hoping to catch Warrior’s Way at the cinema that day. Unfortunately, maybe, they stopped showing it that day so we were left to choose a different movie to spend a couple hours on and our fallback movie, Tangled, wasn’t available. That left us with either this or Tron Legacy to watch and I really didn’t want to have to sit through that again so we opted for this. Frankly I’ve never liked any of Jack Black’s roles in the movies I’ve seen him in and this one just cemented my opinion of him – a noisy living indication for what movies I should stay away from. I really hated Nacho Libre by the way.

Jack Black’s latest offering to the ever increasing pile of crap they churn out over in Hollywood is just as you would imagine it to be, a story about a man-child set in the classic tale of the giant who finds himself in the classic tale’s island of Liliput where very, very, very tiny people live in a pre-tv age and view him as a giant beast. In this take of big man on tiny people island, Jack Black’s character is a guy who’s life is going nowhere and tries to impress the girl he’s taken a fancy to for the past five years by taking up a travel writing assignment despite having little to no experience with either of the necessary components of that task. He ends up going to the Bermuda Triangle where he gets caught up in this strange magical waterspout that has him washing up on the shores of Liliput and in a situation I suppose you could call an adventure.

I should start off with the biggest problem I had with the movie – either nobody on the writing team cared enough to write a good story or they hired a bunch of kids to the job. You can tell that they really aren’t bothering to use the other characters for anything and give them lines like “We are kidnapping you!”, “Oh! I am being kidnapped!” and my personal favorite, “She has been kidnapped!”. Whatever the case may be it seems that they tailored the whole thing to Jack Black and the type of acting he’s been pigeonholed into all this time and that was something I had hoped that the movie would avoid. I would have commended them for not throwing a single fart joke in there but they just had to replace it with showing a giant ass and moon us. Did I mention that at one point he had to piss floods of nasty brown liquid on a burning palace and save it? I can never unsee them and my memory continues to refuse utter and complete erasure from my brain banks.

Now let me share my thoughts on what they could have done to make the movie better – focus on the secondary characters. Though Gulliver was the eponymous main character of the movie I found that I wanted to see more of the other characters than him. I was actually cheering for the antagonist played by Chris O’Dowd, Roy of IT Crowd, who was an absolute delight to watch. I didn’t recognize him while I was watching movie but I certainly did like his take of the only sane man in Liliput. Besides that brilliant Irish funny man there was also Marshall of How I Met Your Mother fame. Both these men have shown just how much funnier they are than Jack Black in their respective shows and played their roles as best as the script would let them so I simply cannot not lament on how much better the movie could have been if they had been given more attention. The romantic subplot was just tacked onto the ridiculously predictable and unappealing main plotline and could have been explored better by having General Edward and Horatio square off against each other at some point. I mean seriously, who was actually expecting anything good out of Gulliver? Definitely not me.

In order to truly enjoy this movie I believe you’ll require two things: 1) The company of others to snark with and B) The ability to turn off your brain. I had the former but the latter would not come to me since I didn’t sneak an ice cold slushie or the like with me to give myself brainfreeze with that day. I don’t consider this a movie worth sitting down for an hour and a half at the cinema so I would suggest you don’t bother with this one unless you have elements 1 and B. If I had gone without either of these then I’d assume the people sitting next to me might mistake my ever frequent cringing for a seizure.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Video: Shinryaku Shinryaku Shinryaku and a Santa

Found this MAD someone made up on the second place of the Nico Nico rankings and it's got the cast of Shinryaku Ika-Musume parodying the original opening song of Darker than Black along with a trailer for DtB's second season and a mock-up of what I assume was the title menu of its DVDs. I was honestly surprised at how many usable scenes Ika-musume had for this video and was highly amused by how well they fit the music. Fans of both series simply have to check this out cause it's of LMAO quality and just shows how great the production was for Shinryaku Ika-Musume.

Darker than Ikack - The White Invader

There was also this video someone made for Christmas not too far down from the MAD on the rankings and it features a rags to riches toymaker and the nun that's always been there for him. Love the art style and the short and sweet story it told so do yourself a favor and enjoy this vid as well.

Incidentally, this year's Doctor Who Christmas special went pretty much the same way. A pretty good take on the whole Christmas Carol plot.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Movie Review: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part I

So the movies are finally at the final stage of the series and the producers have deemed it necessary to split up the doorstop of a finale into two parts. Though that idea may seem a bit odd to fans who are not readers of the novels(They DO exist. I am related to some sadly), the adaptation of the seventh book really benefited a lot from this decision. I only deem the first two movies to be good adaptations of the novels and thought the two after were terribly off the mark. I didn’t even try to watch the fifth and sixth movies knowing their difficult length and literary density couldn’t be properly adapted even with 3 hours of time. That having been said, I am quite pleased to add the first part of finale to the list of movie adaptations I am satisfied with.

Usually I go through the synopsis of the movie or make some vague, relevant and hopefully witty snarking at its ridiculousness but I really shouldn’t have to bother with it this time. Anyone who actually requires me to recap what’s going on in this movie should go crawl back into the cave they live in and smash the final Harry Potter novel they have yet to read. Seriously, if you have to ask then this movie just isn’t for you.

Now for me to heap praises unto this movie and ignore whatever tiny insignificant scrap of dissatisfaction I may or may not have had about the movie. That’s not because I’m a fanboy of the series but rather because my memory tends to be very faulty when I try recalling those tiny, insignificant scraps of dissatisfaction are. Big ones are easy, small ones are not and my review happens to be based on its score as an adaptation rather a standalone movie so it is quite skewed here. Essentially, I consider to be a very well done adaptation that stripped down the story of its superfluous details and scenes and focused on the experiences that the trio go through. I personally didn’t mind that they left out Lupin’s visit to the Black house or that the new minister wasn’t as badass as he was in the books since spending precious time on secondary characters would only waste it. They also expanded certain scenes and moved them around in ways that actually helped keep the movie from dragging along as well as build up the first part as a prologue to the much more exciting latter half of the finale.

My favorite part of the movie was the whole animated segment with The Three Brothers tale since they changed from a lackluster bit of exposition by some guy to an enchantingly illustrated fairy tale that they threw at the end to set up the plot central magic artifacts of the finale. Put this together with the final scene of Voldemort finding the Elder Wand and shooting a pillar of lightning into the sky at the end and you have a very good cliffhanger to end on. I also liked that dance scene between Harry and Hermione they put in since it was perfect for conveying just how much the events of the movie have affected them in spite the fact that it was never in the book. I found it to be a very nice touch on the director’s part and has me looking forward to part two even more because of it. The fact that it seemed to be a jab directed at the HarryxHermione shippers also helped me appreciate the scene even more considering how oblivious you’d have to be to miss the obvious intention the author had with their relationship.

All in all it was very faithful and very well executed adaptation of the finale’s first part. No major flaws for fans like myself to shake their heads or fists at and very understandable changes that just made the movie experience stronger. I could scarcely believe how it stacks up in terms of ratings on rotten tomatoes but my guess is that a sizeable portion of the reviewers aren’t readers of the novels. Maybe it does seem weaker in comparison as a standalone movie but as an adaptation of what will no doubt be a classic for generations to come, it is exactly what I have been waiting for.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Movie Review: Tron Legacy

I have never watched the original Tron and frankly I’ve never been interested in the story so I figured this would be one of the movies I’d pass on and wait till it shows up on HBO next year. Unfortunately, my cousin talked me into it so I went anyway and surprise, surprise – I didn’t like it. Oh, and it was in 3D too so you can imagine my displeasure as I stumbled out of the cinema. I’m really starting to hate those damn glasses.

Anyways, Tron Legacy is the official sequel to the original cult classic of 30 years ago featuring cyber-people in the cyberspace of a game. I’ve read about the original movie’s plot and just the summary alone makes it out to be a more interesting story than that of its sequel. Legacy features the son of the original’s protagonist who has had to grow up without his father after he disappeared one night with even a clue of what might have happened to him only for a disconnected phone number of his to dial up a pager in the hands of his friend more than a decade later. The younger Flynn then discovers the world his father has been trapped inside of all these years and just why exactly he’s never ever been able to return. Now in the same predicament, he tries to get him and his father out of the Grid before the portal back to the real world closes.

While I was watching the movie, I just kept seeing ways where the plot could be more interesting and it bugs me that they decided to keep the story as plain as possible. I facepalmed when the absolutely FABULOUS Castor didn’t even bother try to take things into his own hands and mix things up after he got his hands on disc the big bad was after. That was a really huge waste of potential plot especially since they brought up the fact that there was a resistance in the Grid and with how bland Clu was as the main villain. That scene in the club looked like a great turning point for the story especially when the older Flynn came in showing off his cyberspace manipulation skills. Easily the best scene in the movie but they go and keep things so predictably dull that I took my time getting back from my toilet break.

Okay, aside from the lackluster plot there were also some very clumsy scenes, lines and characterization thrown in the movie. Sure the action scenes were pretty nice but the barely there at all 3D ruined it for me and I would have much preferred to see them make more panoramic takes of the Grid and have most of the action take place in the streets and towers instead of that aerial battle high up in the dark. What happened to that scene where a lightcycle fell from the top of a tower and rode down the sides of the walls? That may have been something from the game though but that was what I wanted to see, not a dogfight in the very foggy airs of cyberspace.

Basically it was one of those misguided attempts at 3D with plot that failed on both accounts. I was bored for a major portion of the movie and almost fell asleep at points. The sushi I snuck in helped keep me awake but that’s mainly because it’s hard to pick out which rolls you want to eat in the dark. My recommendation for this movie is just to pass it over for something more entertaining. I mean two straight hours of thinking “And this will happen, just like it always does” is clearly not worth the ticket fare, especially not the 3D ticket fare.

I’ve got another review set up for tomorrow. It’s a little late but I finally went to watch Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 at the cinema the day before I watched Tron Legacy. Glad I did too because the Mall Cineplex just opened up four new theatres. Though they might be smaller, they have very comfy chairs. And I cannot stress it too much when I say very comfy chairs. They even recline a bit and the ticket only cost half of Tron Legacy’s. I have to catch more movies in those new theatres.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Omegle Trolling 1

Feeling a bit of burn out from translating so I decided to go troll people on Omegle. I've come up with quite a good number of interesting chats with random people through there and have convinced so many people of things so ridiculous that they just can't be real. Let me share with you the five I came up with today.

Dying Agent

Murder Confession

How do I do this?

ginpyt esreveR

How to lose an omegler in two words

I would have tried to make some more interesting ones but I kept getting delayed messages and server disconnection messages for some reason. I did have this one chat with a korean schoolgirl as a rather ridiculous character who dealt with porno-loving catholics but she took me seriously and I ended up with a serious chat that just would be just sad to show. Sigh~

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Video: Calc. Piano Version by Wotamin

Wotamin came up with yet another wonderful dub of a vocaloid song and I have to say I prefer her version over the original one which I quite liked as well. The original version's is quite a bit more upbeat than this one but it turns out the song works better with the slower pace. I'm betting the fact that the song is about a failed love had something to do with it. Also, I didn't notice it with the original or the Nico Nico Chorus versions but the piano arrangement made me realize that the has a composition style that's somewhat similar to Supercell's stuff, particularly that of "Kimi no Shiranaimonogatari". It's not quite that noticeable with the regular versions especially since Supercell's style is much livelier but take the piano versions and compare them and you'll see what I mean. And for those not willing to go to all that just exactly what do I mean? Simple, if you like Supercell's stuff you're going to like this.

Original Version

Nico Nico Chorus Version

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Video: Matryoshka Gintama Style - Parfait-Mayoryoshka

I swear they did something like this before in the manga only without singing.

This latest take on the ever popular Matryoshka originally sung by Miku and Gumi has me busting my gut, my sides and the general area around my abdomen with laughter. It seems that someone had the brilliant idea of making a Gintama parody of the song with Gin-san and Hijikata-san singing off with one another about their favorite things to eat. I'd say food but I personally don't believe that Hijikata-san's beloved mayonnaise should even be categorized as an edible substance. Yuck. Anyways, this video certainly deserves the top ranking it snagged on today's nico nico douga rankings with the awesome animation any voice work by the singers. I never watched the Gintama anime so I have no idea if that sounds anything Hijikata-san's seiyuu but I do know that Gin-san's voice in this video sounds just like his official seiyuu, Tomokazu Sugita. Gintama fans should do themselves a favor and watch this bit of genius.

Original Version

Friday, 3 December 2010

Movie Review: Tangled

I recently went to the cinema to see the latest Disney movie with my siblings. I honestly didn’t have very high expectations even with the inclusion of Chuck’s Zachary Levi among the cast. The fact that the screenwriter of Bolt and much to my surprise, Fred Claus…ugh, was behind the writing really didn’t help either. At most I expected something along the lines of “Chuck: The Fairy Tale Version” to fill up the run time of the movie. To my pleasant surprise that’s exactly what I got plus a little more. To my unpleasant surprise, they only had 3D tickets available.

The movie is Disney’s take on the Rapunzel fairy tale making this another one of Disney’s princess movies so it’s basically guy saves girl from evil thing as they grow from their experiences together and fall in love with one another. It’s been a while since I watched one of those but I knew what to expect of the ending. Personally I didn’t mind it so much with this movie but the scenes at the end just didn’t strike a chord with me. I get that it was made to be a family movie but I feel that they could’ve gone in another direction with what they set up on the way to the ending.

Like I said before, this is basically “Chuck: The Fairy Tale Version” and as such you should expect brilliantly witty humor, great characters and an enjoyable if predictable plot. The only difference is that instead of the sharp and formidable Sarah you get the naive, wide-eyed and absolutely adorable Rapunzel. That and Casey’s a horse. Seriously, that is the most badass cg animal I’ve ever seen and I suspect it might even have the same rank as Casey or at the very least its medieval equivalent. “Chuck” puts on a braver face in this movie and snarks a little more frequently but it’s still basically Chuck and we still get some hilarious reactions from the guy. My favourite line is one of his and it’s given while he’s in a swordfight with !HorseCasey wielding a frying pan, “I have to tell you this is the strangest thing I have ever done!”. As for the adorable Rapunzel you should know that she’s got a “Moe” trope listed for her on the movie’s TvTropes page and it is well deserved considering the antics she gets up to in the movie. I really wouldn’t be surprised if I run into a doujinshi of the movie sometime in the future. All these great materials might actually spawn a decent sequel but given Disney’s tendency to drop the ball when it comes to them I wouldn’t count on it.

Now onto the bad points or rather the really bad point and the forgivable and expected snags that seem to very tenacious and hard to stamp out of the movie industry. These snags that I speak of can basically be attributed to the wanting to make movie more marketable resulting in the simplification of the writing and the outright black and white morality in the movie. Going by, well, most of the movie, you get the feeling that there was actually more to the story and that it could have gone for a more complex and more unorthodox ending. You don’t go out of your way to make such well written characters to have them play out such a simple conclusion. It’s something worth a short lamenting but not something would ruin the overall feel and fun of the film. What is worth lamenting over and over again however is the fact that they sold it a 3D movie when there was minimal 3D work done in there. The previews looked far more impressive in 3D than the movie ever did and that’s just sad. I would have preferred to watch it in 2D with more vivid colors and pay for it at the standard ticket price. 3D is an element that shouldn’t have to take away from the movie experience but when used badly it becomes easy to denounce its wonders. When used properly it would make even make me want to watch the Sorcerer’s Apprentice again in 3D and I just abhorred that piece of crap.

To sum it up, Tangled is a fun and surprisingly well done movie that I’d recommend to those curious enough to solicit my opinion of it. In fact, I imagine I’d enjoy watching it again but I suppose I’ll have to wait till the Disney, HBO or Star Movies channels start showing it sometime next year as I do not want to have to sit through another hour and a half of fun with 3D glasses over my own spectacles. I really hope they clean those damn things.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Supercell's Hero Plus English Lyrics

Supercell's latest single just showed up on Nico Nico douga and I'm pleased to say I'm pleased with the song this time around. Utakata no Hanabi was nice slow song but to it just didn't feel like one of Ryo's compositions. None of his riveting strings to lift up and bring down the song's mood and thus nothing that really clicked with me like in their previous works. Thankfully "Hero" brings what I like best about their works - Ryo's story-like structured melodies, Nagi's sincere sounding emotion-filled singing and the sweet, short tale of the upbeat ballad. I wouldn't say that it's their best work so far but that doesn't stop it from being an incredibly catchy piece of music. Pretty sure I'll be listening to this for the next week or so myself.

Also, I took a half hour of my time to translate the lyrics since I was curious just what kind of song this was and why it was commissioned for the sake a manga which just seems to have made its debut. Used the romaji lyrics from this website to work it out. First time I translated a song though so it's a little rough since I usually have visuals to help me out on my scripts.

Supercell - Hero

As she talked to a friend that smile of hers was all too lovely
I pictured that form of hers as that of a heroine in some manga
I fell in love the moment my eyes saw her
I really, really came to like her
But you see, if she saw me
I would definitely be hated

See, that giggling voice again
It's fine though, I'm used to it after all
I'll forget about it but my chest feels like it's bursting

That's how the boy met
I wished that was definitely not just some coincidence
So that I would meet you
I wished it so many times
Someday, definitely!
But for people, that kind of miracle
They'll say they don't believe in it

The girls whisper
"That boy has been looking here since just now
What's up with that, it's gross
Don't come any closer you downer"
Sorry, I didn't mean to...
As I hung my head down, her voice called out
"I know this person!"
In my amazement I was dumbfounded as well

"I saw the drawings on that table
You drew them all right?"
Ahh! They're going to laugh at me again
But then you went
"I like things like this"

That's how the boy met her
Even if you were by billions of light years away
He'd still be captivated by you
No matter what obstacles are there
Overcoming all that
If that is to be called fate
Then he's sure to be a hero

But that day I saw it
Alone, your eyes swelling in tears
How powerless can I be
No wait, what did she say?
By your own doubtful existence
The girl is waiting to saved

"Acting all brave but actually a crybaby
Umm, this one's almost exactly like me"
She finally smiled! In front of the rejoicing me
But she who was in tears
What should I do?
You said this
"Thank You"

The boy met you
And he learnt of the meaning in living
Not that of a lie but a truth
And so, he'll become the knight that will protect you
Someday, definitely,
His left hand and her right
They will hold on tightly so that they won't part

And so I met you

[EDIT] Managed to check it further with the Japanese lyrics here so these should be as correct as I can make them.

[EDIT] Anon pointed out a mistake I made in one of the verses. Corrected.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Video: Hoshi no Samidare MAD OP + The Pillows

Came across this fanmade MAD OP of Hoshi no Samidare a.k.a. The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer and while it's not quite exactly a fitting OP for an animated version of the manga it's still pretty well-done and captures the awesomeness of the story quite nicely. It'd make a great trailer but I'm a little bit put off by the fact that I only found this just now. It's also making me want an anime adaptation even more but sadly I can only hope that GAINAX picks this up sometime soon. The series was practically tailored for their animation style so it really just has to go to them if they ever get it green-lighted. In any case enjoy the video down here along with a couple of the music videos by The Pillows as well as the other two Biscuit Hammer MADs. I'm not putting them all up cause these guys really made a lot of them.

The MAD in question

The song used in the video, Babylon Tenshi no Uta.


Terminal Heaven's Rock

I Think I Can

Ride on Shooting Star

Tiny Boat

Another Hoshi no Samidare MAD. Huge Spoilers if you haven't finished reading it all.

One more MAD I thought was worth sharing. Even more spoilerish.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Manga Review: Arisa

I wish I had a mystery like this to solve during my high school days…

Title: Arisa
Author: Andou Nasumi
Release: Monthly
Status: Ongoing
Genre: Shoujo, Mystery, Romance
Art: A
Originality: A
Story: A
Characters: A
Humor: B
Action: B

Impression: This is about a pair of twin sisters, Tsubasa and Arisa, who have been living separately after their parents divorced and the mystery that surrounds the eponymous character and the strange game that her class plays. Shortly after reuniting with each other, Tsubasa impersonates Arisa at her school for a day and discover just how envious her school life seems compared to her own. However, a dark secret lies beneath the bright happy exterior of Arisa’s class as she apologizes her to her sister and lets herself fall out of her own window right after Tsubasa shows her a letter that was left for her in her shoe box. Wanting to know the reason behind her sister’s actions, Tsubasa starts impersonating Arisa at her school only to find that her class has been engaging in a secret game of chance called the King’s Game that rewards the winner by granting whatever wish they desire. A pretty interesting shoujo series this one. The manga starts off very strong with a mystery premise that just pulls you right in and keeps you guessing as to who the King really is. I lament the fact that this isn’t a dedicated mystery with the clues quickly being unraveled after their reveal. Though the shoujo style does add to the reading experience I would have liked a slow build up of clues to instead of using the reveals to flesh out the characters. Definitely a series worth checking out but mystery buffs might be annoyed with how the author handles their main point of interest.

Manga Reviews Index

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Video: Hatsune Miku - むかしむかしのきょうのぼく by DECO*27

Just found DECO*27's latest vocaloid song at the top of today's Nico Nico Douga rankings called むかしむかしのきょうのぼく which would translates to "Today's Me From Once Upon A Time". The song's about someone, in this video's case Miku, who's basically asking some anon to listen to the troubles she's been having and how it's got her feeling down since there's nobody else for her to confide in. The songs got three parts to it, the first being Miku having just asked the person to listen to her, the second about how she's trying her best despite the adversity thanks to the anon's encouragement and the third where she's looking back on those hard days and tells them that it's her turn to return the favor and thank her fans. Kudos to poeyama for making such a great video to accompany the song and throwing in all those references to Miku's journey from obscurity to fame in the real world. I wonder how long this one's going to stay on the charts.

Hatsune Miku - Today's Me From Once Upon A Time

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Video: Mind-blowing Guitar Duet

Found this little gem while I was browsing today's Nico-Nico Douga rankings and though I have absolutely no musical knowledge concerning guitars or otherwise, the duo in this video just blew me away with their unbelievable strumming. No idea if the two came together to make this video or someone just decided to mix together their own respective takes on wowaka's "Ura Omote Lovers" but damn if they didn't do an amazing job here. Click down on that video down there and prepare to have an eargasm!

And yes, that is a guy cosplaying in a high school girl's uniform.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Manga Review: Rave

Sigh~ Start-Great, Middle-Crap, End-Great

Title: Rave
Author: Hiro Mashima
Release: Weekly
Status: Complete
Genre: Shonen, Fantasy, Comedy, Adventure, Romance
Art: C
Originality: A
Story: B
Characters: A
Humor: B
Action: B

Impression: Hiro Mashima’s previous long-running series had anime adaptation I truly enjoyed. I thought it pretty well-paced, had a great story and loads and loads of creativity thrown into it. And though I was disappointed that it had to be cut short at what I thought was the halfway point of the series I still thought it was an amazing series. Unfortunately, I was wrong about it being the halfway point and was thoroughly disappointed with the arcs that followed after the point where the anime stopped. Apparently the author decided to stretch things out as much as possible with subplots that really didn’t need to be there and recycle the same old set of clichés for EVERY SINGLE GODDAMN battle that I just couldn’t believe how bad the series got after that. Power levels didn’t make sense anymore, character focus was all over the place and the lacking art style didn’t help. Somehow it did all get better once the art style improved and the story shifted its focus back on the Raves and how the characters tie into the whole scheme of the universe but not after spending half of its publication on pointless subplots and characters. I would have given the story an A rating if the middle chapters were condensed and handled better but there was too much crap in between the great starting and ending arcs. Seriously, Rave would have made an overall amazing shonen series had it not been for the middle. Good thing he’s gotten better with tying plotlines together in Fairy Tail.

Manga Reviews Index

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Manga Review: Love Allergen

Love CAN be harmful to your health

Title: Love Allergen
Author: Akahori Satoru, Katsura Yukimaru
Release: Monthly
Status: Ongoing
Genre: Romance, Supernatural, Comedy
Art: A
Originality: A
Story: A
Characters: A
Humor: A
Action: B

Impression: This is the story of a boy and a girl who have allergies they want to rid themselves off and the task they must complete to make that a reality. Together they meet this personification of this mystical sentient blue Sakura tree who wishes to learn the meaning of love so that she can teach the human baby it will give birth to and with that goal in mind the pair are to find that answer she seeks in exchange for doing away of their allergies. Brought to you by the creators of Kashimashi~ Girl meets Girl, this series has a pretty good cast of characters. The boy is a kid who just moved into the village this story takes place in and hates his looks because of how much trouble his beauty brings him. It caused him to even renounce the very notion of love which is obviously going to change given how the manga starts off. The girl on the other hand is basically the idol of the village with reputation for having the irreproachable manners but in actually the most hyperactive and bubbly person in the manga. Unlike the boy’s mundane pollen allergy, her allergy is love itself. Anytime she feels anything close to that emotion, she breaks out in hives and her condition gets worse the more she’s exposed to it. The chemistry between these two characters alone is the source of maybe 70% of the humor and the jokes in this series rarely miss their marks. A great series with lots of good material and a lot to look forward to. Shame that no one’s gotten around to pick up the rest of the chapters since the original scanlator seems to have gone awol.

Manga Reviews Index

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Manga Review: River’s Edge

What a screwed up bunch

Title: River’s Edge
Author: Okazaki Kyoko
Release: Monthly
Status: Complete
Genre: Josei, Slice of Life
Art: F
Originality: B
Story: A
Characters: A
Humor: B
Action: B

Impression: This is the story of a bunch of screwed up teenagers at a school in some random town that a river runs through. The story focuses mostly on the friendship between a girl in a dysfunctional relationship with an insecure jackass and the gay boy ostracized by said jackass’s gang along with several other members of their peers. A friend recommended this to me a while back so I should tell that if it weren’t for her recommendation, I wouldn’t even be going near this series on account of the horrible artwork and the angst filled premise. A little angst goes a long way in terms of characterization but nobody actually wants to see a bunch of teenagers feeling sorry for themselves doing stupid self destructive things. Thankfully though, the angst is played off quite well here. The setting and society shown in the story certainly justifies it since the bleakness of their lives is just absolutely depressing. Nobody seems to be anywhere near the well-adjusted mark in this series so it’s a little hard for me to take this story seriously. The author probably didn’t mean for the teens’ antics to be humorous but I found myself more amused at how silly they were rather than appalled at their behavior. Things do make sense and the themes of the story are done quite nicely but I honestly just cannot take this story seriously. Still, I enjoyed reading it so maybe you will too.

Manga Reviews Index

Friday, 12 November 2010

Manga Review: My Girl

Adorably Heartwarming

Title: My Girl
Author: Sahara Mizu
Release: Monthly
Status: Ongoing
Genre: Seinen, Slice of Life
Art: S
Originality: A
Story: A
Characters: S+
Humor: A
Action: B

Impression: This story revolves around the lives of a barely out of college 23 year old office worker and his newfound five year old daughter and their days together as father and daughter. Having turned up at the funeral wake of his former girlfriend who’s been out of touch with him since she went abroad to study he learns that she been keeping a huge secret from him all these years. For the past five years she’s been raising their child all on her own without his knowledge and now their daughter comes to him to fill the void in their lives. A lovely little series that’s sure to melt the hearts of even the most hardened war veteran with its charming characters, delightful plots and adorable art style. Speaking of which, the art style on the covers and in the manga are of two completely different flavors for some reason though I do find both to be illustrations worthy of praise. Also, I’m completely aware just how corny this sounds but this manga is chock full of love. It’s basically “Clannad: After Story” under a different name sans the wretched tearjerking moments it’s famous for – so far that is and hopefully it’ll stay that way. This definitely belongs in the TvTropes under the sweet dreams fuel section and hopefully someone will get around to creating a page for this series there. A wonderful title all around and most definitely worth a thorough read.

Manga Reviews Index

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Manga Review: Yozakura Quartet

Tsun Tsun Tsun Dere Tsun~

Title: Yozakura Quartet
Author: Suzuhito Yasuda
Release: Monthly
Status: Ongoing
Genre: Shonen, Supernatural, Slice of Life
Art: A
Originality: A
Story: A
Characters: S
Humor: A
Action: A

Impression: This story takes place in a town surrounded by seven gigantic Sakura where humans and youkai live together in peace. This peace is upheld by a foursome who run an office purposed with taking care of youkai-related issues including rampaging youkai, rampaging half-youkai as well as babysitting kindergarteners. This office officially consists of a telepathic fox youkai, a kotodama user, the town’s 16 year old mayor and an ordinary human. Quite a solid series this one. There’s quite a nice assortment of colorful characters in this series with uniquely memorable quirks and they’re all given appropriate amounts of screen time. This does hamper with the plot’s progression a little bit since the author seems to prioritize them over the overarching plot. On the other hand, it does make for excellent story arcs but the series itself hasn’t shown us anything that looks like a halfway point for the story even after forty chapters. Now that I think about it, I honestly can’t predict what might come up in future arcs thanks since it still feels like it’s missing more key characters or plot devices that would determine the ending. As of the latest chapter I’ve read, we have the heroes, the things at stake, the key villain, the imminent and eventual threats but not anything that really ties them together or any urgency to take care of things. As good as I find this to be, I still feel it’s a little too early to expect this to end brilliantly but I’m certainly going to stick with this the rest of the way.

Manga Reviews Index

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

Glad I could finally watch Edgar Wright’s latest work since it sadly never got around to premiering in theatres in Brunei for some reason even though the trailers did screen here a couple months ago. Hot Fuzz and Shawn of the Dead are up there on my list of favourite movies along with V for Vendetta, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile so I figured I might as well get another one of the guy’s movies up there. Unfortunately, it’s not going up there. Can’t even say it was anywhere near the entrance but I’m quite certain it’ll make it into someone else’s list.

The movie is about this NEET in a band who goes by the name of Scott Pilgrim and has an in-movie rating of awesome. One day he sees this punk rocker-ish chick in the library and falls for her the instant he does and decides to do whatever he can to make her his girlfriend. He tries and after some pretty pathetic tries he sees some degree of success only to have one of her exs come in on one of his band’s performances with the intention of pummeling him into oblivion with his superpowers. Now getting and understanding this declaration of war, Scott now has to fight and defeat all seven evil exs of his new love interest. What follows after is a flurry awesome, flashy, loud and funny – everything a block buster should be and more.

Now let me address the strongest point of the movie – the writing. Edgar Wright is one of those sadly too few writers who’s capable of turning a convention on its head and show us a side that we would not expect and love it for that. Scott pilgrim’s script references so, so, so many different tropes and combines, inverts, subverts, averts and plays with them at such breakneck speeds that they almost flew over my head. I can’t imagine how confounding it must have been for those not equipped with the knowledge that comes with wasting time on TvTropes but I do know anyone would feel overwhelmed during this movie no matter what. The transitions between scenes does get disorientating from time to time and that does detract from the experience no matter how inventive it may be but I found the pacing to be quite well done in terms of cramming the fights and character establishing scenes.

I would say some star power from Simon Pegg probably could’ve pushed this movie right into my favourites list but that would be a lie. The actors played their parts brilliantly so I doubt his inclusion would have made much of a difference. It’s actually the romance that my most of my displeasure with the movie stems from which is an incredibly unusual thing for me to complain about. As marvelously fluid and tight the writing and directing was, the budding romance between Scott and Ramona just felt horribly forced. Love at first sight? Fine. Love makes you blind? Also fine. Going for the girl who’s still lukewarm towards you after having put you into one near death experience after another when it’s much easier to feel pity towards her rather than anything remotely close to affection while the girl who’s developed a stalker-level crush on you urges to go after her? Scott, not only did she blind you but her presence seems to have altered personalities in this movie including but not limited to your own. From a certain point of view that’s also a perfect demonstration of some brand of the Mary Sue trope which is a worth yet another kudos for Edgar Wright’s talent but I can’t say it justifies the bad romance here.

To sum things up, the film was flashy, action-packed and hilarious but all too easy to lose track of. Absolutely worth watching and I regret that I was not able to watch it on the silver screen but I just can’t bring myself to put it up as one of my favourites with my dissatisfactions towards the movie. Here’s hoping we’ll see the third of Edgar Wright’s, Simon Pegg’s and Nick Frost’s Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy sometime soon.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Manga Review: Little Little

Silence Will Fall

Title: Little Little
Author: Rokuko
Release: Monhtly
Status: Complete
Genre: Slice of Life
Art: S
Originality: A
Story: B
Characters: B
Humor: B
Action: B

Impression: This is a series done almost entirely done without dialogue and focuses on the day to day lives of a frail young girl and the little fox girl that stumbles into her garden one day. The fox girl quickly becomes attached to her and quickly becomes a resident of the girl’s household. Quite remarkably well done really. Here’s a series without a plot and only one instance of dialogue(used brilliantly by the way) that manages to tell a story that’s both endearing and enjoyable despite all of its restrictions. I was hoping it was yuri series when I first found it but as far as I can tell it’s just got fluff that comes with yuri manga and none of the actual romance. Not complaining though, I loved the tranquil ambience of the series and the innocence portrayed here so I’ll have to say it’s worth checking out.

Manga Reviews Index

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Manga Review: The Phantom King

Standard Im Dal Young Story: Evil Shadows version

Title: The Phantom King
Author: Im Dal Young, Yoon Jae Ho
Release: Monthly
Status: Ongoing
Genre: Shonen, Supernatural
Art: B
Originality: D
Story: C
Characters: B
Humor: B
Action: B

Impression: If it were any other author I’d have to give this at least a C in terms of originality but Im Dal Young has rehashed the same old plot so, so, so many times now that I can’t understand why exactly he writes so many different stories simultaneously. It’s your run of the mill supernatural shonen manga set in a village where an incident involving shadowy monsters called evil took place years ago and centers around a bunch of survivors from then who came out of it with no memories of their past selves. Trouble has been starting up recently with the evil sealed up secretly in the huge rock formations just outside the village coming up one by one, possessing and killing people with significant levels of negative emotions. I found this to be the most lacking of all their works so far with the half-assed premise and storytelling so I wouldn’t be too keen on spending any time reading this if I were you. I really liked Aflame Inferno by these guys with the great characters and its atypical focus on them but I can’t see this turning out anywhere near as good as Aflame Inferno. Far too typical and shallow to even compare to it.

Manga Reviews Index

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Video: Unbelievable Victory!! Level 1 Pokemon vs Sinnoh Champion Cynthia!!!

This is just plain ridiculous. I know there are some really, really, really serious people about pokemon and the whole meta-battling stuff out there but I never thought I'd see a team of level ONE pokemon take out a champion's team, one whose average levels are 75! How he got level one pokemon in Black and White so quickly doesn't really matter, it's the fact that this guy used said pokemon to take down a champion with some of the most brilliant strategies I've ever seen. Seriously! You just have to see this for yourself!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Manga Review: Mushibugyo

Giant Bugs & Samurai Exterminators

Title: Mushibugyo
Author: Fukuda Hiroshi
Release: Monthly
Status: Ongoing
Genre: Shonen, Supernatural, Historical
Art: A
Originality: C
Story: C
Characters: C
Humor: B
Action: B

Impression: This series features a main character happens to be a guy with a whole lot of spirit and the brute strength to back it up and he aspires to make it big as a warrior in Edo. One day, this guy from said city comes to scout him as a protector of the capital. He eagerly accepts and soon finds himself in said city but not quite for the reasons he believed. He’s there to protect the city alright but not from soldiers from another province, robbers from some band of ruffians or even fierce, ferocious, fearsome bears – he was brought as pest control. He is the latest in a long line of new recruits for the Mushibugyo monster bug elimination squad because of his talents in combat. Pretty mediocre really. The only thing I actually like about it is the art style. Everything else is substandard, especially the main character himself who’s only proved himself to be a one trick pony. Can’t see any reason to recommend this one.

Manga Reviews Index

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Manga Review: Princess Lucia

Apocalypse How? Inter-Species Sexual Reproduction!

Title: Princess Lucia
Author: Seo Kouji
Release: Monthly
Status: Ongoing
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Ecchi, Supernatural
Art: A
Originality: B
Story: B
Characters: B
Humor: B
Action: B

Impression: This series is about a guy who one day suddenly has the princess of the demon race appear before him in his room demanding him to take her then and there so they can conceive a child together. The guy was born at a truly auspicious moment having six 6’s lined up for his own moment of birth and it is said any child born of a person and a demon will possess the power needed for world domination. The manga itself isn’t quite as unimaginative as it sounds though. The demon race has fallen over the past thousands of years leading to the Demon King having to run a ramen shop for a living in these modern days. Their only hope of regaining their once mighty standing in the world is the child to be born between the guy and the demon princess so she decides to take one for the team and get him to copulate with her while fending off the harassment of the two guardian angels watching him. Furthermore, one of the two angels responsible for him happens to be the girl that the guy had a crush on long before the titular princess Lucia shows up. I didn’t particularly care for the mangaka’s other series(Kimi no Iru Machi) but I do like the fun he’s having with this series. Straight out romances aren’t my thing so I really did appreciate the fact that he threw in some fun elements into an otherwise mediocre love triangle story. Worth checking out but you’re only going to stick around if you’re the kind who values fun over serious storytelling.

Manga Reviews Index

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Manga Review: Koharu no Hibi

This Girl Scares Me

Title: Koharu no Hibi
Author: Ooshiro Youkou
Release: Monthly
Status: Ongoing
Genre: Romance, Psychological, Seinen
Art: B
Originality: S
Story: A
Characters: A
Humor: B
Action: B

Impression: You know how love triumphs all else? How the main couples in stories would usually overcome their crisis by believing in each other and sticking to their guns now how bad things looked. Nothing is as powerful or everlasting as true love. A wonderful statement wouldn’t you agree? Well, I’d have to agree that love is a powerful thing but it’s not always as pure and innocent as romantics would make it out to be. I actually find it to be a terrifying emotion and if you feel that I’m wrong let this series show you a way in which why my opinion about this matter is perfectly valid and justified. This series is about a guy who bumps into this tiny timid girl who happens to be one of his juniors at school while riding the train back home. He helps her with her fallen books and a couple days later gets cookies from her as thanks. He then keeps running into her as if they were in a sweet high school romance story but he soon discovers that this seemingly innocent tale has a disturbing twist to it. The otherwise cute little girl is not only in love with him, she is obsessed with him. And it’s not usual kind obsession, she doesn’t have these obvious signs of mental instability so it’s all the more disturbing when she really, really, REALLY loves the guy and is taking every sweet little thing you can do for the one you love and amplify the sweetness till it gets sickeningly so. Seriously, I almost labeled this as a horror series but figured it’s more in the psychological kind of thing since the main subject matter is obsessive love. Loving the subversion this story is going for the theme of love so I personally recommend this one to those of you who love yanderes.

Manga Reviews Index

Monday, 25 October 2010

Nerf Nitefinder EX-3 Mod

Just a few days ago I bought my first nerf gun, the Nitefinder EX-3 pistol. My brother has a couple of them namely two Maverick REV-6s and the N-Strike Recon but I waited till I had some extra cash to pick up one for myself. I actually wanted to get the Longshot but they don’t seem to sell them anymore in Brunei. There are a lot of Longstrikes though but that’s supposed to have lousy performance even after modding. Not wanting to buy a rifle model that I would not be able to mod satisfyingly enough I decided to opt for the Nitefinder until a Longshot pops up somewhere in one of the stores here.

Now, I’ve been searching around online for good sites that would help me out in modding my new nerf pistol and boost the range but only came across very few posts about actually modding the Nitefinder to do so. Right out of stock the thing is stated to shoot 25ft-35ft (7.5-10.5m) away parallel to the ground but I found mine only shot about 15 paces away parallel which was about 18ft (5.4m). This was about two thirds of the range my brother gets with his guns so obviously I was unsatisfied with this so I chose to make adjustments.

What I write here will not exactly be a modding guide but more like my findings on how and why the mods work. I will be giving details on the mods I made to my own gun but unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures as I modded the thing so you’re going to have to settle with a textbook like explanation.

1) Air Restrictor Removal
The Air Restrictor is the first thing you’ll want to take care off before anything else. As the name implies, this part limits the amount of air that gets utilized in launching the dart. It does this in two ways. The first would be by limiting the of air flow going into the barrel when you prime it and the second would be by restricting the air that pushes out the dart when you pull the trigger. You won’t see much change until you remove this part so you really have to get rid of it. For newer models of this gun, you’re going to have to cut through the barrel along the furthest ring on the barrel with a thin but sturdy knife before you can take it out and reseal it with tape or some sort of bonding agent later on. Incidentally, you’ll want to load the bullet after priming the gun since the dart gives the same effect as the Air Restrictor by the first way. That goes especially for fully modded guns.

2) Spring Reinforcement
Obviously, the spring is the part that influences the power the most so get to it here. Think of it like a rubber band and you’ll understand that the more you pull back the stronger the recoil will be when you release it. What you need to do here is make it harder to pull back the plunger and I did that by rolling another spring in between the stock spring. For some reason, I have yet to find a hardware store in Brunei that sells springs so I made do with the spring from my brother’s broken Maverick. Problem with this is that the recoil is too strong that you won’t be able to prime the gun if you leave the cocking mechanism unmodified. To remedy this you’re going to have to either use a strong pen spring to replace the tiny spring that keeps the plunger in place after priming and/or carve out a little of the indent so that it curves slightly inwards instead of just being a straight wall.

3) Plunger Padding
The plunger isn’t really all that airtight right out of stock so you’ll want to add padding to make it so as well as to reduce the stress on the plunger when it slams back into the barrel. Not quite sure how much this improves the air pressure but having all the air push out of the barrel is better than having less. Use some soft and non-porous form of padding for this. Also, you might want to sew it onto the plunger head in addition to gluing it because I personally don’t trust the glue to remain stuck after a couple hundred shots.

4) Results
By the end of it, my Nitefinder was shooting a minimum of 30(36ft/10.8m) paces parallel to the ground and easily 50(60ft/18m) angled slightly upward. I say minimum because the gun now switches from straight shots to spinning shots almost every other pull of the trigger and that drastically reduces the travel distance. Still, a modded misfire ended up twice as far as a normal unmodified shot and that’s a plus. It can even shoot those slim cartridge darts that always misfired under normal specs. I get the best distance with vertical shots since it consistently reaches 4 stories upwards. Accuracy’s also pretty good when aimed that way as I’ve shot a friend from four floors below him in a shopping centre. Yes, I shot him with a nerf gun in the middle of a shopping centre. QLap mall for Bruneians curious as to where I did this.

As for the newfound lack of accuracy and consistency with horizontal shooting, I’m guessing the power reached its limiting factor (i.e. pressure) and now releases excessive amounts of air along with the required amount needed for compression to overcome the friction keeping the dart in place. Basically that means not all the air is utilized for the shot and the extra bit winds up messing with the accuracy of the shot. That’s the reason why I get such fantastic results shooting upwards. Gravity and air pressure act more keenly on the dart increasing the resistance of the dart allowing more pressure to build up before the dart launches out of the barrel. In my gun’s case, my optimum shooting angle would be somewhere between 50-70 degrees upwards as I have gotten the range past 40m shooting within that range.

I have yet to devise a method to rectify this inefficiency but I do know that I have to up the friction enough for all of the air in the barrel to build up before launching the dart into the air but not so much that it would end up reducing the speed instead. My theory is that I should increase it at the very base of the dart so that the extra friction allows more pressure to build up without increasing the overall resistance in the barrel too much. Hopefully I’ll figure out a modification that won’t need regular maintenance. Additionally, if you think that I have made errors with the physics of the entire thing then feel free to correct me on whatever you feel is wrong as my knowledge in that particular field of study is limited to O’ level standards.
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