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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.
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