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Monday, 31 January 2011

Manga Review: Sukimasuki

I actually thought they were looking at each other from between floorboards. Wouldn't be the first manga to do that.

Title: Sukimasuki
Author: Unita Yumi
Release: Monthly
Status: Complete
Genre: Seinen, Slice of Life, Comedy, Romance
Art: B
Originality: A
Story: A
Characters: A
Humor: A
Action: B

Impression: Well this is an interesting series by the author of Usagi Drop. It’s about this guy who has a bit of a fetish with narrow see-through gaps and peeps on his next door neighbor who just so happens to leave just enough space between her curtains to give him some flashes of her in her underwear. He feels conflicted with himself about this and knows that any normal girl would have him arrested for little voyeurism hobby. Luckily for him this is no normal girl as she herself is a pervert who takes pictures of him through that very same gap between her curtains. I really like how this short but sweet series went. Rather than the odd but otherwise straight romance manga it seems to be, this series seems to be more about the weird little things that people do in their everyday lives making it a mainly slice of life series. I actually found myself relating to quite a few of the topics brought up in here. For example, in one scene the girl is shown to be a light drinker despite liking her liquor a lot and they compare her to someone who’s allergic to crabs but still eats them. I myself am allergic to white chocolate but my inability to resist treats containing it often leaves me with itchy eyes and a runny nose so it really struck a chord with me. This particular work of the author uses a style very reminiscent of Asano Inio’s. It’s set in a realistic tone showing the good and the bad of the many unique and colorful personalities portrayed in this manga, putting them in scenes that let them play off one another and build the one main plotline with lots of entertaining little plotbits. It’s certainly a work that needs be recommend to all seinen fans alike and doubly so for those who are avid fans of Asano Inio’s style. Like me, you’ll probably find a lot of those little things that’ll have you go “Yeah, what’s up with that?”. It won’t necessarily be quite the same as my relatibility to the lead’s gap fetish is more in the area of hiding in them and taking people by the surprise. Don’t worry though, in my case it’s just for laughs and I don’t do that for any reasons that Candlejack would and doe

Manga Reviews Index

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Blackout Spoiler Installed

This is a 4chan styled spoiler for my blog. Still haven't figured out how to get Madoka Runes to work like this but maybe I will in the future.

Hover over that blacked out text to see what it says. Thought it'd be good to have this in the future for my reviews and if I ever do figure out how to get the Madoka Runes spoiler text below to work on computers that don't have the necessary font installed I'll be switching over to that instead - unless of course I start liking having blacked out text on my blog and that's quite possible really. Go here to install the font to see what I mean if you don't.

If you can read this then either you don't have the font installed or you actually memorized the runes. You have my admiration if it is the latter.

Additionally these are the css coding I used to get this to work on my blog. If you want the same effects on yours just copy and paste them in before the '/head' tag in the template's html. For the even less html inclined, these are activated like normal spoiler tags only instead of using the "[]" brackets you need to use the "<>" brackets. Substitute the word 'spoiler' for 'madoka' when you want to use the 'madoka' spoiler.

madoka {
font-size:30px; font-family:"MadokaRunes";
madoka:hover {
font-family:"Times New Roman"

spoiler:hover {

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Manga Review: Usagi Drop

 Still don’t get why it’s titled Bunny Drop though

Title: Usagi Drop
Author: Unita Yumi
Release: Monthly
Status: Ongoing
Genre: Josei, Slice of Life, Comedy
Art: B
Originality: A
Story: A
Characters: S
Humor: A
Action: B

Impression: This series is the story of a 30 year old man and his newfound 6 year old aunt whom he takes into his care upon the death of his grandfather as her other relatives aren’t quite as welcoming as he is. The man’s grandfather recently died at the ripe old age of 79 and much to the surprise of his family, the old man still had it in him to knock up someone less than a third of his age, raise an illegitimate daughter for six years in complete secrecy without having leaving a single inkling in all that time for his kids, grandkids and great-grandkids to find. My immediate thoughts on this old man? You are one awesome old dude old timer! Well, in all seriousness to me this manga is a breath of fresh air that I managed to take in amongst all the other foul odors that I’ve run into lately. It’s funny, has a unique premise, incredibly likeable leads and many a moment that will catch you off your guard and inject warmth and happiness directly into your hearts. It really does scare me how good the author is at doing that, almost seems sinister in a way if you ask me. The story so far is split into two parts, the first holding a great deal of the best stuff during the first year of their life together and the second which takes place a decade later when that little girl is now a teen. While the second half still makes for a pretty good read, I do hope that the upcoming anime series only animates the first half since that was the part of the story that was, in my eye, absolutely exceptional as well as the main draw and point of the series. The second half wouldn’t work without the first half and frankly, I wasn’t anywhere near done with reading about their early days when the time skip came. The first four volumes alone are definitely worth reading as you’ll absolutely be compelled to read the ones after once you're done with them.

Manga Reviews Index

Monday, 24 January 2011

Video: Hatsune Miku, Virus Buster!!

Take note that's not the actual title of the video I found today on nico nico douga and that the actual title would be something along the lines of "My PC's turned into something awesome but...". This nine minute short MMD film features Miku coming to life and stepping out the MMD programming window and onto the computer's cyberspace where the entire place soon gets overtaken by this kickass looking virus. Miku escapes and finds herself in a desolate infected part of the computer when all these anti-virus software come in around her and upgrade her to netnavi status ala the megaman battle network games. You can easily guess what follows as in the end the PC is restored back to normal and Miku steps back into the MMD program. An interesting piece of work and though the idea of having eight different brands of anti-virus installed in your computer is ridiculously redundant I must say I loved how Norton was portrayed in the video. I can't tell if that hero helmet clad office guy was the result of creative liberty or really the actual packaging for the software in Japan but I know I'd feel safe having that guy protecting my laptop.


Madoka Tag Testing

Dies text ist ein prüfend. MadokaRunes Schriftart benötigt für Einschaltung

Testing out Madoka Runes tag for the blog. If you see the above text in German then you need to install "Madoka Runes" font to see it properly.

Currently working out a way to change this to a blacked out piece of text when you don't have the font. If anyone's got a suggestion I'm open to suggestions.

[EDIT]Go to the following link figure out how to do the same for your site:LINK

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Manga Review: Lying Mii-kun and Broken Maa-chan: Precious Lies

 I really xxxx this manga

Title: Lying Mii-kun and Broken Maa-chan: Precious Lies
Author: Iruma Hiruma, Satou Atsunori
Release: Monthly
Status: Complete
Genre: Mystery, Psychological, Seinen
Art: B
Originality: A
Story: A
Characters: A
Humor: B
Action: B

Impression: Based on the first volume of a seemingly obscure series of light novels, this manga is the story of a boy and a girl who go by the names “Mii-kun” and “Maa-chan”. The two share the trauma of having been the victims of a kidnapping eight years prior and because of it, neither of them have all their screws in the right sockets. This is especially so for Maa-chan as she herself has kidnapped a pair of kids for no apparent reason. Between this and the serial murders that’s been taking place in their town, Mii-kun has his work cut out for him when it comes to resolving the problem Maa-chan’s gotten herself into. The author weaves a delightfully unique story with the fascinatingly screwed-up characters, unusual plot and his masterful use of implicit and explicit information. The misdirection of the mystery actually relies on the reader’s ability to put two and two together as the author uses unrelated implicit bits of information to make us fill in the gaps in the whole picture. I myself couldn’t help but be amazed at how brilliantly I got fooled by this since I only had my own assumptions to blame for being wrong. Sure, the presentation could be blamed for a few of the points(the killer’s identity comes to mind) in the story but I’m certain that the original novel was much better about it considering how many filters the version I read went through. It’s really a shame that they didn’t go on and adapt the other nine novels in the series cause there’s a good reason why the series has won a couple of awards.

Manga Reviews Index

Friday, 21 January 2011

Video: "Strobe Last" & "Crybaby Boyfriend"

Found two great videos on the nico nico rankings at the 24th and 27th spots today and they're respectively called "Strobe Last" and "Crybaby Boyfriend". The first one is a brand new Miku song and features a strangely relaxing trance-like beat to it while the other one is a cover of a Miku & Len song about a crybaby breaking up with his girlfriend by Wotamin and TaMU that I somehow missed last month.

Hatsune Miku - Strobe Last

I've listened to this at least ten times now and every time I try to understand what the lyrics are saying I always get distracted by the melody. Lyrics shown in the video aren't helping me much either cause this song's got a semi-hypnotic effect on me. I'm certain that the one persistent tone in the song is responsible for that since it's synced to play once every second and my own internal clock, one that's been proven to be quite excellent, can't help but try to match it too. Fact is that if you're listening to this song it won't be for the lyrics, it'll be for the great rhythmic beat that's making you tap your finger, foot, etc.

Crybaby Boyfriend by Wotamin & TaMU

This duet features the story of a couple who break up with the girl comforting her crybaby of a boyfriend as he boyfriend tries not to cry like he usually does for their farewell. Wotamin's an amazing singer so her singing at all makes it a worth listening to but the TaMU did a pretty good job too. I find this to be the best of the three versions I've found with the nice balance the two of them have going during the song though I like lino's take on the girl's part of the song better than Wotamin's.

Original Version by Hatsune Miku & Kagamine Len

Another Cover by lino & MISAKI

P.s. It seems that Youtube embedding's gotten so popular that they shortened the embed code to a more simplistic one. Going to miss being able to choose the player color though.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Video: "Bad Apple", Reaper Style!

Well it looks like the reaper strikes again with another one of his violin renditions and Bad Apple doesn't disappoint in the least. This video's actually been floating around up there in the higher half of the nico nico rankings for the past few days but I hadn't been able to find a youtube reprint of it till now. To be honest, I have no idea what this guy is called but his covers are easily identified by that signature reaper mask of his, the one he always wears in his vids. As per usual to his skill, it's a great cover of the original song albeit a little fast so take a listen to it.

Reaper Rendition

Original Version w/ subs

NIWANGO English Cover

Friday, 14 January 2011

Video: 【Hatsune Miku】 What's up? -どういうことなの!?

An interesting new Miku MMD showed up at the top spot on today's nico nico rankings this morning and it features what I suspect to be Miku driven by the Kinect's motion capture, music engineered to stay stuck in your head and a whole lot of awesomely screwy animations inspired by both madness and the cyberspace scenes from the first digimon movie and Summer Wars. I say I suspect that the Kinect was used to work out the subtle gestures and movements our favorite virtual idol because you don't usually get such precise movements from MMD software alone. Even the Project Diva modules used motion capture to come up with the dances in the game. Seeing as how brilliantly the Kinect can be utilized outside of its initial gaming specs Microsoft might as well start selling them off as standalone commercial motion capture devices cause there's no telling what other incredibly entertaining purpose those crazy Japs might come up with. Now that I've shared my opinion on the Kinect, please do take some time to watch this amazing new MMD and appreciate its awesomeness. I highly suggest watching it in HD.

Hatsune Miku - What's Up?

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Manga Review: Release: The Emancipation of the Self

 What is this? I don’t even…

Title: Release: The Emancipation of the Self
Author: Sagara Naoya
Release: Monthly
Status: Complete
Genre: Seinen, Sci-fi
Art: C
Originality: B
Story: B
Characters: B
Humor: B
Action: C

Impression: This is an odd series that I happened to find. It’s got the makings of something interesting but it’s very hard to discern the direction the series is taking. Emancipation of Personality features an amnesiac who was said to have been living in Tokyo for the past 5 years but is unable to recall any of it. The people in his life seem pretty normal making this seem like a story of an ordinary amnesiac living in modern times who has some dark hidden depths but then he has people coming after him who kidnap and bring the guy 70 years in the future where he actually comes from. I figured it’d be more of a psychological series based on the title and it turns out it’s a sci-fi of some ex-assassin who just wants to go back to the home he’s known as far as he remembers it. I feel like the author has a particular plot in mind but threw in some unnecessary elements that just didn’t come out right in ink and paper. First volume in and three more after, I just couldn’t come to grips with how the main character was important enough to drive the plot and as such I diagnose this series with a case of messy writing and lack of a properly done setting. I would have preferred to read more about his present life than what he did before that since the sci-fi bits just aren’t very well thought out.

Manga Reviews Index

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Supercell Stowaways Tribute Album

Not too long ago a bunch of different vocaloid composers decided to make a tribute to Supercell's original debut album and make one of their own based on it and individually remix all the original songs with their own touches. That tribute album was released at Comiket 79 around two weeks ago and these are those remixes. They're all nicely done and a few have actually outdone the original versions.

Love is War by マチゲリータ.

This was already an awesome song and this remix made it even more so. This version sounded even more like declaration of war than the original did. I actually felt the urge to rise up and kick ass in the last quarter of the song when those incredible guitar rifts kicked in. This could really go well if someone used in a MAD.

Heartbreaker by 梨本うい

Certainly an improvement over the original but not by much.

Melt by cosMo (暴走P).

This one was really interesting and not just because of how much cheerier and girlier it sounded. At first I thought he used Len to replace Miku in the song using the original lyrics which were meant to be sung by a girl but turns out it was Luka. Given how some composers make him crossdress in some PVs it really made me wonder to myself why no one's done it yet given the rise of the trap trend in Japan. That seriously would make for an interesting PV and I suspect that if someone actually were to make it Kaito would probably be in for a big surprise at the end of it.

Black Rock Shooter by minato(流星P)

For most parts it sounded about the same but some of it sounded grander than the original.

Kurukuru Mark no Sugoi Yatsu by ゆよゆっべ

I don't think I've ever heard the original version but this is a nice rock song.

Line by ジミーサムP

It's okay. Didn't particularly care for the original version either.

World is Mine by Dixie Flatline

Easily the best remix of the album! The extended prologue and all the other additions to the song really made Miku sound even more like a Diva here. The original version made her sound like a spoiled girl used to getting her way but this one made her sound like a princess who's being coy with you about what she wants and knows it. I'd love to see how this version would do with a PV.

When Love Ends for the First Time by doriko

This version's nice and all but it makes it sound like Miku's fondly reminiscing about her first break up which is kinda weird.

Liar's Parade by 小林オニキス

This is much mellower than the original's rocking version but I quite like both of them.

Sono Ichibyou no Slow Motion by KNOTS

The original was much more upbeat than this version so while this one's good I like the original version better.

Hinekuremono by トラボルタ

I remember this being a bit of drag while I played it on Project Diva. This version reminds me of a rather moving arrangement Saihate that fit the lyrics better.

Matane by ichi (BaguettesEnsemble)

Rather than a remix of the original Matane this was more like a completely new medley since the original version was only a 42 second farewell to the listener. Didn't really care for this so called "remix".

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Video: "Chiisaki Mono" by ENE

Do you remember the sixth Pokemon movie Jirachi Wish Maker from all those years ago? I barely do since all I can remember is the horribly paced plot and story for that particular movie and that I didn't stick around for the credits. Today however, I discovered that I probably should have at least stuck around for the credits cause the song at the end was quite probably the high point of the entire film as I came across this cover of the song by ENE on the Nico Nico rankings at 40th place:

This really should have been in the top ten of the day.

After taking a listen to that blissfully angelic rendition of the song I searched around for the original versions of the songs and it turns out they were pretty good too, beautiful even. I can see why that's the first time the localizers decided to keep it in the English version of the movie. They even had the singer they hired to sing it in both English and Japanese for some reason. I do prefer ENE's cover by far because her voice makes it a lot more soothing. I would highly suggest that you take a listen to all three songs and find out just how amazing they are.

Original Japanese Version by Asuca Hayashi

English & Japanese Version by Cindy Mizelle.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Manga Review: Doubt

Saw, the manga!

Title: Doubt
Author: Tonogai Yoshiki
Release: Monthly
Status: Complete
Genre: Mystery, Horror, Psychological
Art: A
Originality: A
Story: D
Characters: C
Humor: C
Action: B

Impression: What do you get when you cross the Saw franchise and some paper and ink? Saw, the manga! That’s the easiest way you can describe this and I’m sticking to that. There are a number of slight differences though: 1)The victims are stuck in the same building that the schemer is and they have to figure out who it is 2)There aren’t really any of the cool murder devices like in the movies. 3)The schemer is NOT an old man in a wheelchair talking through a creepy puppet. I had high hopes for this series when I accidentally read who the mastermind was on TvTropes but when I actually got around to reading this I found that the plot falls flat on the premise. The mystery aspect of the series was poorly handled and depended on everything going right and all the victims being complete idiots. If anyone had bothered to think things through or done one thing different then no one would have died. In fact, the one person you’d expect to actually do something right stupidly ends up HELPING the mastermind’s plan succeed! The scope that the series covered was quite underwhelming given the elements that were there by the end and I would rather read more about the mastermind than the so called “mystery” that the manga provided. Seriously, the true identity of the mastermind alone was at least ten times more interesting than the actual plot and I would have enjoyed a series from their point of view.

Manga Reviews Index

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Movie Review: Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer

For my first post of 2011 I’ve decided to go with a review of the Gundam 00 movie and thankfully enough it turned out to be as good as I had hoped it would be. Contrary to what a lot of people are saying the movie didn’t disappoint me in the least and all those complaints I’ve heard about it we completely blown out of proportion. Well, maybe not the whole 00 Qan[T] only having five minutes of screen time but I didn’t mind that in the least.

This was a pretty creepy scene.

The movie is the final act of the Gundam 00 where humanity finally makes first contact an unknown extraterrestrial lifeform from god knows where and the impending threat that their approach to Earth brings. With the Earth currently going through an era of peace under the new ESF administration Celestial Being has been keeping a low profile on their activities but this alien threat forces them out of hiding as Innovators with Quantum Brainwaves like Setsuna are the targets of this new menace. The threat proves to be far greater than they had imagined and Setsuna becomes the key to resolving this entire mess.

Raphael was the least impressive of the new machines and this was impressive.

These Braves are definitely on par with the 4th generation Gundams.

Wallpaper sized yo! Click it! TransGraham's Brave was awesome!

I personally feel that the movie was very well done and ended the series perfectly. Although the plot is pretty straightforward and simple I thought it served as a perfect conclusion for the entire Gundam 00 franchise. Not only did it tie up all the loose ends and bring back all the remaining characters for a grand finale, it also made good on its themes of understanding and conflict and finally showed us what Aeolia Schenberg intended for. With the exception of the very final scene which could have been handled better, the direction of the movie was superb and kept to a great pace that just made the movie feel a little too short at the end. I suspect there’s probably a director’s cut or the like in the works because I sincerely doubt that being exactly two hours long was a decision made by the production staff and not the executives. You have scenes where the ELS activities were genuinely unnerving and you can just feel the tension and intensity at times when the movie demanded your attention. Don’t think it was a completely serious affair though as they slipped in a few jokes here and there to keep the mood from going too sour. My favorite ones were where Billy told his all too enthusiastic lover to be gentle with him and the fact that Setsuna actually chuckled at Ian’s outrage at Mileina’s confession. Patrick even delivered a good one in the middle of the climax that had me partly relieved.

Sunrise should probably try that Gainax parody style on the next Gundam series.

Setsuna is actually smiling in this pic! Seriously!

I'm really liking this meme. So very much applicability.

The animation of course was top notch and made for insane levels of action in the final confrontation with so, so many things going on at once. You really have to be amazed at all the technical details they put in and the sheer brilliance behind the alien ELS. Their being living metal that operated on a hive mind and their modus operandi at understanding things made them absolutely perfect for their role as it showed just how easy it is for things to go very wrong when you don’t understand a thing about the opposite party. It gets bonus points from me for being a threat that was part alien part nanotech part robot and part legion.

Harute's scissor bits cut an ELS GN-X into 16 pieces like giant metal scissor piranha hybrids.

Wave motion cannon prep in Marute mode.

All hail to the new king of beam spam, Zabanya!!

See all those pink beams? God-tier beam spamming Zabanya!!

I’ve actually watched this movie twice now(and will probably watch it again at some point), before and after BSS released their subs and found that the only difference between the viewings were some small details that I missed out on the first time along with some small jokes that weren’t entirely due to the movie(transgraham. Lol. Very cheeky BSS.). That having been said, the movie is actually quite simplistic and quite easy to understand which is why I find it odd that there are people calling it a failure simply because the Qan[T] didn’t get to showcase all of its power. That obviously would have conflicted a lot with Setsuna’s character and the movie’s themes and I’d have been very disappointed if that’s all the movie amounted to. At any rate, they’d complain anyway about the hax and Setsuna being the new Jesus in Gundam even if the Qan[T] did take down the ELS like the director said it could. Anyone who actually applies to that mindset about the movie has clearly been taken in by the all too effective marketing that Bandai is notorious for.

Regular Trans-am, Buster Rifle Mode, charging... 7... 6...

5... 4... 3... 2... 1... FIRE!!

The sheer scale is just ridiculous.

There is no doubt that he really could have taken them ALL on. The ELS and the Humans.

Quantum Burst. More impressive than I thought it would be.

Keep in mind that Quantum Burst uses way more GN Particles than regular Trans-am.

Assuming that's the meter for his GN particle reserves on the right then the Hax is uber strong in this one.

To be honest, I actually had an embarrassingly difficult time writing this review thanks to all the little things I loved about it. There was so, so, so much I liked in there that it was very hard to fit it all in this review and it's gone past the thousand word mark already. It even has me posting up the most screenshots of I've ever put up for a review. Everyone had their moment in the spotlight to shine and shine spectacularly they did. The movie wrapped things up quite nicely and I honestly can’t see how they could continue the 00 universe from here. I mean they actually could but it’s going to be tricky feat considering how the story and cast are pretty much settled with the movie. Hopefully they’ll just leave the story at this and not try to follow it up with a sequel ala SEED Destiny cause the series is pretty much complete with this. Well that’s it for my review on the movie and let’s pray that the new Gundam series they’ve got lined up for us is something completely different cause now’s a very good time for something different. I could really go for something like nanomachine based technology with a female A.I. as the protagonist piloting a constantly adapting Gundam that’s the center of a new conflict. Just throwing the idea out there.

Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved through understanding.
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