Square Enix at Jump Festa

A brainstorm-like arrangment displays a handful of the games coming out in 2010 from Square Enix.

Square Enix
excited eager fans with a short list of their 2010 game releases at Jump Festa. It's a notable trend that Square Enix has been diverting most convention goers' attention from all the other companies' booths; and it's no wonder, seeing as the real-time RPGs of today are becoming more and more popular. With games like Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep and Dragon Quest VI on the horizon, Square Enix deserves every bit of the glory it gets.

Here's a "rough draft" of Square Enix's future games and projects, compile by Square Enix themselves:
  • Cross Treasures (DS, movie, playable)
  • Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (PSP, movie, playable)
  • Dragon Quest VI (DS, movie, playable)
  • Star Ocean The Last Hope International (PS3, movie, playable)
  • Dragon Quest IX (DS)
  • Dragon Quest Monsters Battle Road (Arcade, movie, playable)
  • Final Fantasy IV (Mobile, playable)
  • Dragon Quest III (Mobile, playable)
  • Kingdom Hearts Mobile (Mobile, movie)
  • Dragon Quest Battle Road Mobile (Mobile)
Source: Andria Sang

Indie Short Films on Yokozoma Art Foundation's YouTube

Yokohama Arts Foundation has launched a new initiative to display and expose original short movies and animations created by young aspiring directors and artists internationally by posting them on their YouTube channel. More shorts will be added gradually, until March of 2010.

Source: YAF Official Site | YAF YouTube Page

Bandai's Latest Five Foot Tall Advertisement

Bandai got the okay from Akihabara's bigwigs to set up a five meter tall Christmas tree decorated wthl Gundam model kits to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Gundam and the upcoming release of Gundam: Gundam vs. Next Plus. Also, if you happen to be the lucky hundredth fan to purchase the game, you'll be entered in a raffle to take a picture with Touri Furuya, the voice actor of Amuro Ray (if I'm not mistaken, he's also the man behind Casshern from Casshern Sins).

The funny thing is that the tree was put up for reasons other than Christmas. That's just wonderful. The darn thing will stay up until the 25th of December.

Let's just hope it doesn't catch on fire after a passionate rebel lights it up with a match very discreetly . . I would have nothing to do with it.

Source: Game Watch Japanator

Kenka Banchou 4 Movie?

Kenka Banchou 4 for the PSP is coming out soon, and following it's release will be a Kenka Banchou movie, which will be coming out sometime in the Spring of 2010. Spike said so, at the ChunSoft x Spike Great Harvest Festival. No actors have been chosen as of yet.

Source: Japanator

New Manga Won't Be A Nightmare (I Hope)

I'm feeling the art style.

Setona Mizushiro, the manga-ka that created After School Nightmare and X-Day will be launching a new manga series by the name of Nonai Poisonberry (Cranial Poisonberry) in the next issue of Shueisha's Chorus magazine, which will be on grocery store and comic shop shelves on December 28th.

The shoujo will be about "accidental love" (I don't know how the hell love can be accidental, but alright). Hopefully it won't be an after school nightmare?


Mitsudomoe Manga Anime Adaption

Nori Sakurai's Mitsudomoe spoof manga has been confirmed for an anime adaptation. The story is based on the made-to-be comedic learning experiences and adventures of the Marui triplets in sixth grade (oh joy, sixth grade, the age of puberty and so-called love).

I have a feeling this new anime will be much like Azumanga Daioh. Simply because the characters in there still look like grade schoolers.

Source: ANN

No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise Gets New Jam

No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise will be using 9MM Parabellum Bullet's "Elevator ni Notte" ("Ride the Elevator") in commercials and promotional movies. This song will be coming out on sometime soon in the band's second single "Inochi no Zenmai". I listened to the song, and it's not half bad. It actually makes me look forward to seeing the commercials, not that I'm not anxious enough already.

No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise comes out on February 25th, while the album comes out on January 6th. Sweet.

Source: Andria Sang

Final Fantasy XIII & Justin Timberlake?!

My eyes must be decieving me, for I see Justin Timberlake with long hair.

News about Square Enix's latest Final Fantasy XIII tie-in product is encircling the anime blogosphere, so I decided I had to get in on it and leave my opinion of the preposterously funny advertisement Square Enix put out.

This time around, it's for a beverage called Elixir. With a name like that, you're sure to recover from drastic physical damage after newspaper and traffic cones and park benches fly into your forehead for no particular reason other than to be used as a marketing device.

Along with the enlightening Elixir, Square Enix is putting out another FFXIII tie-in: perfume. No video game release is perfect without perfume. It's called "Lightning eau de Toilet", so it must smell like lightning. Or toilets. Or both. Some say it's actually a "sweet peach smell with a rose and feminine musk after-smell". But I'll stick to believing it smells light lightning and toilets, simply because the thought of that is much more entertaining than peaces and femininity. And a perfume called "Peachy Roses That Smell Like Femininity" is no where near as provocative as "Lightning eau de Toilet".

And based on the screenshot below (from the official game commercial above), FFXIII is is slated to come out on December 17th of this year. Couldn't get any better, really. Game releases that are just a few weeks away, Elixirs, and lightning-and-toilet perfume.

Source: Andria Sang | Not Cliche

Asahi Production's New Studio

Hello Kitty is an irresistibly cute little feline that has become a symbol of Japan and Japanese pop culture. Spawning movies, TV shows, cutesy school supplies, and fashionable clothing, the Hello Kitty franchise is dominant not only in Japan, but in other developed countries like the United States and Europe.

Asahi Production, the Tokyo-based anime studio that created Hello Kitty, has announced development of a new production studio in Miyagi's Shiraishi City next year, in April. The plus-side(s) about this is that new employees will have to be employed, thus creating more revenue for Shiraishi City, more job opportunities for the people of Shiraishi City, and more anime series that's completely kawaii.

Their first venture? Musubi-maru. Asahi President Munehara Yamaura stated at a Thursday press conference that the amount of people willing to work in the anime industry has been dwindling. This new studio was created partially for the hope that young entrepreneurs seeking to find jobs and enjoy their work in the anime industry would be able to do so. The studio will employ 30 people, maximum, from the area.

Miyagi prefecture's government agreed to pitch in approximately 17,000,000 yen (about $200,000 in USD) from its job creation fund. (Which just goes to demonstrate the trouble the US is in; they probably wouldn't give a dime to a project as this, simply because they can't. The US government's job creation plan is too large-scaled that they wouldn't give notice about the seemingly futile attempts of an animation studio.)

Musubi-Maru is the prefectural mascot of Miyagi, and anime episodes and commercials will be created at Asahi's latest studio. As the name implies, Musubi-Maru is a musubi, or onigiri, or moreover, his head is a musibi or onigiri. Musubi-Maru will sport several different traditional Japanese costumes, like the crescent symboled samurai helmet which was worn by Date Masamune, the medieval warlord of northern Japan. Musubi-Maru is already a famous character among the inhabitants of Miyagi. He usually reveals himself at public events ranging from anime conventions to grand openings. So of course he'll be there when the studio opens. Heck, he might even be on site, helping in the construction of his studio!

I don't know about you, but I'm rather anxious about this series, seeing as I'm a huge history buff. If Japan's medieval times, which were one of the best eras in the world, are depicted and portrayed in a cutesy-esque way, by a human-like onigiri no less, I'm all for it. Plus, I just love spam musubi and onigiri!

Source: ANN | 47 News

Man Marries Video Game Character?!

One must be really, truly desperate to marry a video game character. Of course, everyone knows that isn't possible. Or is it? "Sal9000", whose actual name will not be revealed for embarrassment/harassment reasons, officially and legally wedded Nene Anegasaki in Japan on November 22nd. Anegasaki, get this, is one of the three virtual girlfriends available for dating in the creeper of a game called Love Plus. That's right. There was a real wedding reception, a true-to-life "kissing-of-the-bride", and even guests that were invited. Heck, if I were one of them, I'd probably take it as a joke.

"Sal9000" is one of many people, mainly males, who have become addicted to this game called Love Plus. It's actually been around for quite a while, and that's exactly the problem: wives have been getting to the point where they send complaint letters to Konami, saying that their husband is cheating on them with a game, and that their men are more infatuated with the fictional females in the game than the real ones right in front of them!

This doesn't come as a surprise, seeing as Love Plus is a significantly different dating sim than most others. In the beginning, you do what you do in any other sims; get the girl to like you, and then the game ends with a "Happily ever after" kind of ending. Not with Love Plus. You go all the way. Get engaged, kiss (no, you don't have to kiss the screen, thank goodness, you just tap the puckered lips with a stylus), talk (for example, say "I love you" to the game girl in order to advance through the game), and do . . other things which will be left at "unmentionables". Sounds pretty . . . adult-oriented, right?

How this game made it past Nintendo's regulations, I don't know. Even though the ESRB exists to give games like these appropriate ratings, I still don't understand how Nintendo allowed the production company to make a game like this with "Nintendo" branding the cartridge and game box. After all, Nintendo is mainly a gaming company that's supposed to have children in mind; although it isn't evident with their latest releases like Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Nintendo started out as a company with the younger generation in mind. To allow Konami to produce a game like Love Plus, or any other dating sim for that matter, under the wing of Nintendo is absolutely absurd.

I would understand if these games were homebrews, made for DS gamers with flashcards, or even if these were on the PSP, mainly because Sony is known for adult games. But Nintendo? I sound like a complete prick to those people who are right now reading this and secretly denying the fact that they play these types of games, but I am honestly disgusted.

(Note that any details of the game that were described specifically was not from personal experience, but from what I read in other blogs. I would never, ever, in a million years, in this lifetime, or any other -- well, if I'm reborn as a perverted man, maybe -- pick up this game at all, you can be assured.)

Source: Gizmodo JP | Tiny Cartridge

Three New Super Street Fighter IV Challengers!

You have to admit, Street Fighter is a classic arcade fighting game that would draw anyone, even the most devoted of pacifists. After all, how can resist the vibrantly colored sprites and 2D graphics, which later on became real-life, 3D monstrosities? The draw of Street Fighter is amazing; the variety of different characters, a million combos to use to whup your in-game opponent, and the over exaggerated sounds that come out of the fighters' mouths.

To further expand the horizons of Street Fighter, Capcom has introduced three new challengers to debut in the latest Street Fighter game, Super Street Fighter IV, which comes out sometime next year.

"The first of the lot is Adon, a Muay Thai fighter who made his first appearance way back in the original single-player Street Fighter game, but is most known for making a comeback in the Street Fighter Alpha series.

Joining Adon are Guy and Cody from Final Fight, the latter sporting his Street Fighter Alpha 3 convict uniform. All said, it looks like Super Street Fighter IV is shaping up to be one hell of a package. We'll update as more announcements hit the Internet. For now, check out the source link for some mag photos of the reveal."

- Otaku USA

Actually, Capcom has been adding a good amount of new characters, or bringing back old characters that weren't mainstays in the Street Fighter world, like Adon and Guy, for example, as well as Juri and T-Hawk. It does a lot to bring variety to the popular series. Of course, I'm not saying it would ever get boring, but variety works for me.

Source: Examiner | iPlayWinner | Otaku USA | Kotaku

Eden of the East Movie Delayed

Due to a massive explosion caused by radioactive cells that were found hidden in the lower levels of Production I.G's producing studio, Eden of the East's second movie will be pushed back. Sorry.

Eden of the East: Paradise Lost, the second movie that was slated to be released in January as part of the Eden of the East anime series, has been pushed back to March of 2010. Production I.G said they were having "production issues", or "technical difficulties", or just "human error", but anyhow, they extended the film's run time from 60 minutes, a good hour, to 90 minutes, an even better hour and thirty minutes. I guess the longer film compensates for the delay, so the negative of waiting three months is replaced by the positive of having a 30 minute longer movie.

Fortunately, the first movie will still be coming out this Saturday, November 28, in Japan. I can't wait to get my hands on it online; I don't have to wait for subs, like some unfortunate suckers ;P

Source: ANN | Mainichi Shimbun | Official Eden of the East Blog

Sherlock Holmes (2009) Preview

The poster image could've been much more appealing. Instead we're left with a close up of Downey's body, and an obscured view of the wonderful Jude Law. Fantastic.

Name: Sherlock Holmes
Production Status: In Production/Awaiting Release
Genres: Action/Adventure, Thriller, Adaptation and Mystery
Release Date: December 25th, 2009 (wide)
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution
Production Company: Wigram Productions, Lin Pictures, Silver Pictures
Studios: Warner Bros. Pictures

"Robert Downey Jr. brings the legendary detective to life as he has never been portrayed before. Jude Law stars as Holmes' trusted colleague, Watson, a doctor and war veteran who is a formidable ally for Sherlock Holmes. Rachel McAdams stars as Irene Adler, the only woman ever to have bested Holmes and who has maintained a tempestuous relationship with the detective. Mark Strong stars as their mysterious new adversary, Blackwood. Kelly Reilly will play Watson's love interest, Mary."

- Sherlock Holmes at Yahoo! Movies

I saw the trailer on TV a few days ago, and I felt a nagging urge to post about it. And so here I am, posting about a movie I'm slightly indifferent about, but somewhat interested in. After all, it is a remake of Sherlock Holmes' adventures. Or is it? I've heard a completely new case, or series of cases, have been created especially for this movie. Whether that's true or not, I don't know. But if it is, then this could be somewhat of a treat, considering I've read about and memorized all Sherlock's cases. This could provide for a little variety for a Holmes fan like me. If it isn't, then my interest won't be diminished a single bit. I'm still very anxious about this film, considering Sherlock is being played by Robert Downey Jr.; in most of the roles he's played, he's often a semi-optimistic who cracks jokes and maintains an amusing nature throughout strenuous times. Unless the director made this film in a comical light, I really can't imagine Downey pulling it off (especially Holmes' intellectual British accent, and the fact that Holmes is describes as a "well-kept", "polite mannered gentleman". Can you imagine Downey being well-kept and polite? Because I can't. He's a great actor with good record, but I think someone more suitable could have been chosen for the role). And if the director did make the film light-hearted and less serious than the context it originated from, then I'll most likely rant about it in a review post.

Jude Law looks absolutely dashing here. Bowler hats and Victorian European outfits can make any man look delicious. I would know, I'm obsessed with Baccano!, which takes place in around the same era as this film, only in different countries, Sherlock Holmes in England and Baccano! in the U.S. Jude Law looks like Isaac from Baccano!. How coincidental is that. I think it's just the burns and the outfit that make it seem so. But I'm content, as long as I get my share of imaginative crossovers.

The film comes out in theaters on December 25th, the day of Christmas! (So I assume it's family friendly?)

Jude Law has a striking resemblance to Isaac, no question about it. Downey, however, looks nowhere near as proper as Sherlock.

Casshern Sins

Name: Casshern Sins
Episodes: 24
Genre: Action, Horror, Drama, Physcological
Year: 2008
Must Watch

"A revamp of the classic anime series, the world is plagued by a decay of all life both natural and robotic. The light of the world, it's sun called the moon, Luna, was kill by the cyborg Casshern; bringing with him the end of the world called the Ruin. Now Casshern wanders in the wasting lands he created in an immortal body and no memories of his past; searching for clues to who he was, meaning to his life, and redemption. Casshern continues to fight against bandits and those who do wrong, as well as himself and those who desperately cling to life; driven by the legend that one can gain new life by consuming Casshern.

After the murder of Luna, the robot society that rules the planet starts to rust and decay. Death and despair spread through the land like wildfire. The only one unaffected by what becomes known as "The Ruin" is Luna's assassin, Casshern. Unable to remember if he really triggered this capital sin against the entire mechanized civilization, Casshern embarks on a journey to unravel the mystery that connects him, Luna, and the plague.

Casshern, a subordinate of Braiking Boss, was sent to assassinate Luna after she appeared as a savior to the human race. After the assassination, Casshern disappears with his memory lost. Years later, he resurfaces to fight off anti-human robots in a post-apocalyptic Earth where humans and robots are dying due to "The Ruin", an unknown phenomenon which kills off robots by rotting their bodies while forcing humans to survive by hiding."

- Casshern Sins at ANN (Anime News Network)

Casshern Sins is most probably one of the most impressive anime series I've come across. There is not a single flaw in its structure. Everything about it is complete, and perfect and beautiful, like Casshern himself, and the meaning of life that is mentioned so many times in this epic anime series.

The depth of the characters and their realism is incredibly intriguing. Casshern starts out as a completely confused man; infamous for being immortal in a world of dying beings, everyone wants to devour him. The worst part is that he doesn't know this about himself. He doesn't know how he became immortal, or how he even came to being. He doesn't even know who or what he is. Despite knowing anything about himself, he consistently tries to save suffering robots, and be a sort of 'hero'. But his heroism is not appreciated; the very robots that he saves discover his identity and end up wanting to devour him! Casshern reminds me of Batman in many ways; he's a confused hero with not much purpose, yet he does what he does simply because it's right. Later on in the series, he becomes less of a WMD (weapon of mass destruction). He obtains compassion and caring for the others around him, and he finds purpose to keep going (well actually, he has to keep going whether he likes it or not, since he's immortal).

Casshern is not the only person to realize himself and grow mentally in this series. Lyuze is the sister of Leeza, who was Luna's bodyguard. After Casshern killed Luna (SPOILER! You will learn later on that he didn't do it out of his own accord; he was ordered to by Breaking Boss), the ruin began. Leeza was the ruin's first victim, and Lyuze swore to her sister she would kill Casshern. But soon, they're journeying together to find Luna, who has been rumored to be alive, and Casshern and Lyuze often get many intimate scenes together. Lyuze always tries to deny that she loves Casshern; after all, this is the man she swore to kill out of revenge for her beloved sister! But in Episode 18, Lyuze begins to truly question her feelings towards Casshern, and the episode seems very Evangelion-esque, with flashbacks and confusing dreams and lots of deep monologues. Their relationship is very subtle, and that's the draw of them. Every single character is unique to its core, to the way it speaks, to character design, to the background, to the amount of work that was put into building the character.

The robots that are always attacking Casshern seem like just minor characters, but they actually relay an important message which resonates throughout the whole 24 episode series. Robots are a lot more similar to humans than they'd like to think. They're all hungry for "parts" which will keep them alive for only a little longer, they'll do whatever it takes, including stealing from each other and killing each other. This just goes to show you that in the name of survival, you would do anything to live. It's just human nature. And in this case, even robots are brought down to the level of humans. This actually symbolizes a lot of things in this series, and that's another great part of it. All the mysteries and ideals and symbols have been embedded and hidden under the surface of the series very well. You have to think and look to fully grasp the mature concepts that are brought up over and over.

I also found that the first few seconds of each episode were also important to the growth and build-up of the series. In every episode, the couple seconds in the beginning, before the opening, show the killing of Luna, by Casshern. This creates a lot of questions and confusion, but that's actually very smart. It keeps the viewer curious as to what happened, and what led up to that, and why Casshern would do such a thing in the first place.

The voice acting can't get any better. Casshern Sins displays the essence of voice acting. Each episode has monologues and dialogues that are extremely significant to the plot, and the seiyu convey that mainstay idea very well. I've never come across a series with so much horrendous screaming, but it's here, in the form of Casshern Sins. Even the screams sound authentic, not a monotonous "aahh," but a real scream that comes from the stomach, with changes in pitch and tone halfway. It doesn't get any more real than this.

The art style is similar to that of a classic anime series. I don't mean, like, Cowboy Bebop, but older than that. Around the 1960s, like . . SPEED RACER. Yeah, the animation style is reminiscent of Speed Racer, but the lines are thicker and bolder and cleaner and more refined. The great thing about this series is that it's like a combination of old art styles, new, and even western! The character designs are unique also; each character is individually its own, from Casshern down to the littlest robot girl. Casshern's character design is so intriguing, because he's a mixture of everything! Anime eyes, western hair style, and a completely otherworldly costume! Casshern Sins definitely is the best looking series I've come across so far. Every single character looks graceful, as if they could walk down the runway as a model. (Yes, that includes Breaking Boss.)

Also, despite Casshern being a lightning-speed, close-combat type of robot, the animation doesn’t skimp by adding in cheap blurring effects, so the action comes off quite crisp. The visuals never lack anything, even during action scenes. Usually, animators replace quality of animation for the speed and the quick pace of action scenes. In the case of Casshern Sins however, the action scenes look better than when the brawlers are in a stand still. The fitting sound effect and that fact that the environment impacts a fight very heavily also assists in giving Casshern Sins a very perfect feeling. The action is also pretty gory (as gory as robot destruction can get, I guess) with Casshern ripping the innards out of his enemies while they scream in agony.

The musical composition is one of the more noteworthy ones I've heard. A series of frantic violins, crashing drums, and clashing cymbals make up most of the OST, but each and every tune conveys the effect that it was meant to. If used correctly in a certain scene, the feeling of desperation, of suspense, is heightened. I often found myself hugging my knees because many scenes were incredibly gory and horrendous, and with that ominous background music, it made even worse. But that's proof that this series is really good at getting its message across.

Casshern Sins is definitely a real treat for anyone who can understand deep concepts and symbolic dialogues and events. Casshern Sins is not for the light-hearted; if your one of those fangirls that swoon over bishounen and get easily amused by reverse harem and harem shows, this is not for you. But if you're a thoughtful anime fan that likes to look beneath the surface to find thought provoking content, Casshern Sins is the way to go. It's the most complete, well-rounded series that is immensely recommended.

Director For Haruhi Suzumiya Films?

Mamoru Hosoda is the man behind The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, which was a widely applauded anime style movie in Japan It won numerous awards, nominations, and positive reviews from anime fans and casual movie goers alike. Mamoru Hosoda is also the man behind Summer Wars, which has also been largely acclaimed by many satisfied watchers. So it's no surprise Hosoda was asked to direct the upcoming Haruhi Suzumiya films.

Hosoda stated he'd like to do it, but there was no official acceptance or announcement stating he would direct the films. So as far as we know, Hosoda will not be directing the series of films. He mentioned that he was already wrapped up with his latest work.

So, who will actually direct the films? A strong, innovative director with background and experience would be perfect, of course. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya isn't an epic series, but it's not to be taken lightly either, with the mature sci-fi themes and intense subject matter. I'm pretty sure Hosoda won't take up their offer; he probably only said,"I'd like to," to be polite.

So who do you guys think would be suitable for directing the Haruhi Suzumiya films? I had a couple in mind, actually. Hideaki Anno, the man responsible for the Rebuild of Evangelion series, would most likely pull it off; I can just imagine it now: epic overemphasized effects, impactful dialogue, he would take Haruhi Suzumiya to a whole new level. Or perhaps Katsuhiro Otomo, the director of Steam Boy, another immensely popular anime film.

Truth is, there are a lot of great directors out there. But can they really tackle the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise? It's a complicated series, because it's comical and light-hearted, and then dark and foreboding in a split second. The perfect director would have to approach the film in a very different way than in any other straighforward film. And this will be a very difficult challenge. If the right director isn't chosen, this next series of films could be disasters.

Source: ANN

School Days

Name: School Days
Episodes: 12, 1 OVA
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Horror, Romance
Year: 2007

"Makoto Ito rides the train to and from school every day. However, at the beginning of his second term, he falls in love with a beautiful girl that also rides the train. Unfortunately, she barely knows of his existence. Her name is Kotonoha Katsura, and though they attend the same school, they are not in the same class. In an attempt to catch her eye, Makoto enlists the aid of a close female friend of his: Sekai Saionji. She helps him, despite the fact that she--unbeknownst to Makoto--is in love with him. Thus the three are bound in a love triangle of life changing proportions."

- School Days at ANN (Anime News Network)

School Days isn't your average anime. No, it's been recycled through several different forms. It was first created as an H-Game. These games were actually quite popular, spawning sequels and a lot of perverted fans. Then some smart person decided to transform this beloved game of theirs into a manga series. There was nothing really wrong with that, either.

And someone more intelligent than the manga guy came up with the idea,"Hey, why don't we make an anime series?!"

And so now, many unfortunate viewers are scarred with the memory of School Days. The endless amount of shallow love triangles, the plethora of stereotypical characters, the mess of a storyline, the absurd ending, and a jerk of a guy that goes by the name Makoto Ito.

Let's begin with the asshole that is Makoto. In the beginning, he seems like your typical anime boy -- his eyes are set on the one girl of his dreams, and that unrequited love in the first episode gives the impression that the series is about Makoto getting with that one girl, Kotonoha. Poor, poor viewers. We couldn't be anymore wrong. The series is actually about how Makoto frolicks around and screws anything with girl parts, and how he hurts a lot of these people, including the girl he was fawning over in the beginning. The sad part is, this series couldn't be anymore true. A lot of men are jerks, and treat females as mere toys, possessions that can be disposed of after becoming tired of.

Along with Kotonoha, which by the way, is the only girl that Makoto doesn't end up screwing, there's Sekai, who is responsible for hooking up Makoto and Kotonoha. Sekai, however, likes Makoto, but plays cupid so that Makoto can be happy with the girl he likes. And then she kisses him, and teaches him about sex by physically demonstrating it to him, with him. As you can see, this is one messed up love triangle. Makoto soon loses his feelings for Kotonoha, and goes off with Sekai. The worst part is that there is no official breaking up; Kotonoha insists that Makoto is still her boyfriend, even after she catches him making out with Sekai on the school's rooftop. Eventually, Makoto tires of Sekai, and soon gets involved with Sekai's best friend Setsuna. After playing with her heart, he moves on to the girl that likes his best friend, Hikari. Sometime before or after that, he screws Otome, who has liked him since junior high.

Those are the major victims of Makoto's, and there's simply too many to recall, that I had to settle at four. As you can see, the love triangle grows into a square or trapezoid or otagon or whatever you'd like to call it. In short, Makoto is the most inconsiderate and selfish harem protagonist (or antagonist) that you will ever come across.

This brings me to the topic of the characters themselves. They couldn't be less shallow. All they do is talk, have sex, and talk some more. They have no depth. And with a story this badly written, and organized, this series needs all the depth it can get. The story itself is so unoriginal, it's not even funny. Maids, teenage pregnancies, ecchi scenes, and girls with phones. I dare you to tell me that sounds authentic.

Exactly. You can't. How can you?! School Days is basically a smoothie in a blender, except all the wrong ingredients have been added for the right reason. You won't believe this, but I think the producers made it so bad on purpose. Maybe that's the draw, the lure of the series; it's so bad, you have to see it. That's probably why I recommend you watch this train wreck, if not to laugh at all the cliches and the love triangles. Or octagons.

Durarara!! Trailers

Seeing as Durarara!! was penned by the man behind the hit Baccano!, I immediately jumped at the prospect of this series. It looks even better than Baccano!, and the modernized and original plot seemed very intriguing. The character designs are clean, simple, and smooth, so the animators get kudos for their work as well.

Watch the first preview here, and watch the second one here.

Watch the promotional video that was shown at the Summer Comiket here. The music and animation and art style looks rather spiffy, if you ask me.

Source: ANN

Pokemon: Arceus & The Jewel of Life Premiere

Pokemon is a series that even interests seemingly "mature" anime fans. The draw of it is just that it's so . . imaginative. It's like a dumbed down sci-fi with vibrant colors and millions of monsters. No wonder why so many people, way beyond their prime, still love Pokemon. It never gets old, as much as the same concept has been reused.

So when I saw Pokemon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life on the Anime Nation News Blog, I didn't jump in delight, but I was interested. Arceus is a legendary obviously, and any legendary looking as god-like as that would arouse the curiousity of anyone, including non-Pokemon fans, not saying that I'm not one.

The film already hit Japanese theatres just several months ago, in July, raking in over $45 million at the box office. It premieres on the North American Cartoon Network at 5:30 PM ET/PT on Friday, November 20th. The movie will ship in American DVD next spring.

Watch the trailer here.


Name: Suzuka
Episodes: 26
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Year: 2005
Not Recommended

"High school is a hectic time of change for most . . But for the happy-go-lucky Yamato, it's going to be a complete revolution! He's the new kid in class, having transferred to the big city to attend Aoba High, where he finds himself smitten with the local rising star of track and field. Yet two people could not be more different!

As Suzuka remains completely uninspired by Yamato's cheerfully irresponsible nature, things progress from bad to worse with record-breaking speed. So when the young man decides to step up his efforts and join the track team, his best might not measure up!

It's mixed signals and high school hormones with everyone running in circles! Throwing in the antics of a handful of high school stereotypes, and Yamato's completely out of his league! When love is not a spectator sport, the only question is, who will go the distance?"

- Suzuka at Funimation

I first learned of this series from Gaia Online, many years ago. It piqued my interest, mainly because it was a sports and romance series. Later on, however, I would find out that "sports" had little to do with this inadequate excuse for an anime. In case the anime was too unbearable, I read the manga first, so I wouldn't shun the manga based on negative opinions of the anime. I was extremely pleased with the manga; it was made of everything that was required to keep a reader glued to the series. The anime, however, is another story.

Usually, in the beginning of any anime series, the animators give their best effort to brush up the animations and make the series look good, so as to keep viewers' attention. It did nothing of the sort. Right off the bat, the animations were mediocre. As the series progressed, the animations seemed to get crappier and crappier. Especially in the action scenes, where the animation quality is sacrificed for the fast paced scene, the animations looked extremely shabby and poorly animated. Faces seemed unusual at certain angles, bodies were unproportional, and characters looked unlike themselves. And usually, in the end of a series, the animators make the series look super good, to give a satisfying, finishing feeling. None whatsoever. I was very dissapointed with this series, in terms of art style and animation. It's nothing compared to Seo Kouji's manga renditions.

The characters, the main ones especially, were incredibly shallow and dull. There was no or little character development, and I couldn't relate to any of the characters, or "feel their pain". The fact that the voice actors' voices, including the English dub and the Japanese audio, were flat and emotionless didn't help either. The characters were basically lifeless . . crap animations in a crap anime. Once again, manga scores against the anime.

The story is actually good, if you're talking about the manga. But the producers of the anime decided to cut out half of the original manga content, and stretch the remaining half into 26 episodes. The result was a slow anime series that had a dragged out kind of feeling. I fell asleep on numerous occasions, watching this pathetic series. The dialogue was dramatically different from that of the manga, and it had a very alien feeling. The only really good part was when Suzuka and Yamato argued, and when she slapped him after he acted like an asshole. But the story overall lacked a lot of essential things from the manga, mainly because they were all stripped and cut out. That was a really bad move.

I can't say much for the music. It's between average and good. There were a few good tracks, but they usually felt out of place when they were being played. Either they weren't appropriate for the occurring scene, or they were composed so badly/too well to fit in with the quality of the animation. I do have a few tracks, and the opening theme, on my iPod, though.

Really, I was disappointing in this series. I thought it could live up to the Suzuka/Seo Kouji legacy, but it couldn't. Suzuka's quality is easily diminished by Funimation's other anime ventures, and one gets to wondering: what happened? Why were so many good parts cut, and why were the few good parts stretched and dragged out into 26 poorly animated and narrated episodes? There are some things we'll never know, and I guess one of them is why such a successful manga like Suzuka became such a failure of an anime, like Suzuka.

Special A

Name: Special A, S.A, Supesharu E
Episodes: 24
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Year: 2008
Not Recommended

"Hikari Hanazono has always been second to Kei Takishima. When they were six years old, their pro-wrestling loving fathers introduced them to each other. Assuming that she was the best in wrestling, young Hikari challenged Kei to a wrestling match only to be thoroughly defeated by him. Ever since that fateful incident, Hikari swore to beat Kei in school grades, sporting events or any competition. To do this, she has enrolled in the same school as Kei since elementary. Now she attends Hakusenkan, an ultra elite school, that costs her carpenter father a lot of money. Hikari and Kei are the top two students in the school, with Kei holding firmly to that number one position. While Hikari considers Kei to be a rival and important friend, she is completely unaware that Kei loves her. The story primarily focuses on Hikari and her constant attempts to defeat her one and only rival, Kei, and how she finds love in their rivalry."

- Special A at Wikipedia

The students in the Special A are described as "the top seven students at Hakusen", but I don't know how they are ranked. Never do the students really demonstrate their academic prowess. In fact, they seem as dumb as any other bunch of "happy-go-lucky" school clique. As Hikari admitted to another student that was getting angry at the Special A for making a mockery of the lower students, they don't study. The Special A never does anything to truly improve themselves or keep their position. Sure they get perfect test scores once in a while, but the series is essentially only about the rivalry between Hikari and Takishima, and how they eventually fall in love. I've watched series like this all the time, and truthfully, I'm getting sick of them. Special A does nothing to keep my interest.

The first episode was incredibly cliche itself. Hikari was being "bullied", in a way, and Takishima, her life-long rival, comes to save her. To top it off, after calling her Ms. Rank Two for so long, Takishima starts calling her an incredible person and what not. And then he takes off his tie and unbuttons his shirt to make a point to the bullies. Was that really necessary? His acting so gracefully just to rip off a tie and clothes? That took up at least five seconds of screen time, which could've been replaced with the "FAIL" type of humor.

The art style didn't appeal to me either. What I saw here, I saw in other series. The characters' designs weren't that great either. They always changed, as if the characters were shape shifting things. A little more effort should have been put into keeping the characters' look consistent and smooth, but the animators couldn't even succeed in that. And don't even get me started on the music. There's nothing great about that either. It's just . . there. Just because it has to be.

In conclusion, Special A really isn't worth watching. If you're a fangirl or fanboy or something, and willing to waste twenty four episodes on this series, go ahead. Try and enjoy yourself, because I had trouble doing so.

Ouran High School Host Club

Name: Ouran High School Host Club, Oran Koko Hosuto Kurabu
Episodes: 26
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Year: 2006

"Haruhi is a poor tomboyish student at a school for the ultra-wealthy, able to attend because of a scholarship, and unable to even afford a uniform. One day, she stumbles across the decidedly peculiar but very popular Ouran Host Club. She tries to leave, but accidentally breaks a vase, and unable to pay for it, she's told that she'll have to stay and do odd jobs. That is, until they decide she would be more valuable as a club member. Not realizing she's female due to her appearance, they fix her up and give her a male uniform. She's an instant hit, so they decide to have her keep up the charade even after they find out the truth. Haruhi, being average almost to a fault, doesn't know what to make of the unconventional activities of the Host Club (or of the even more unconventional members), but having little choice, she plays along. Before long, real bonds are formed, friends made, and Haruhi finds herself accepted in a way she could never have been otherwise in this affluent school."

- Ouran High School Host Club at ANN (Anime News Network)

Ouran High School Host Club is your typical shojo series. It's flowery, has bishounen, and is indescribably cheesy and cliche. But hey, at least it can make itself look good. The art style is clean and simple, yet elegant, in it's own special way. Plus, it's a barrel of laughs, with misconceptions, stereotypes, human error, and naivety.

The story actually isn't all that spectacular. It's funny and somewhat original, but it didn't give the series room to grow into something more than a reverse harem with a bunch of pretty boys. So basically, the series was trapped in a box. Although the series became more serious near the end, because Tamaki Suoi, the leader of the Host Club, was going to move to France to find his long lost mother, that did add a twist. But it strayed so far from Ouran's usual light humor that it seemed somewhat unusual.

The comedy part of it though, was classic. The ignorance of all the rich children at Ouran High School was hilarious. When Haruhi brought instant coffee, they treated it like a new specimen of lizard. "Be careful, it might be dangerous!", and things like that. When Tamaki gracefully "tested" it, everyone was on edge, believing it was "poor people poison", which really offends and cracks me up at the same time. What can I say, I guess ignorance really is bliss. Most of the humor was actually from the stupidity of the Host Club. Even Kyouya, the Vice President of the Host Club, and a genius, acted so rashly in a "poor people world." Being a "poor person", or a middle-class person myself, I found this to be extremely hilarious, how one little misconception could blow up into a big thing. (Like when Haruhi invited the Host Club to her apartment, they thought she'd be butt poor, and so they rejected her offer of letting them eat, or drink, fearing they would drain her food supply and have to use mismatched coffee mugs and tableware.)

And the second most important part of all, the "love". The relationship between Haruhi and every guy in the Host Club. Haruhi and Kyouya's relationship is complicated, because Kyouya is really seclusive and hard to understand. Although he's rich and extremely intelligent and handsome and suave, he actually has a fair share of family problems, which makes it difficult for him to participate in most Host Club activities. But Haruhi is a wise and observant girl, and she notices these kind of things. The two understand each other very well, more than they'd like to admit, and that's the beauty of their relationship.

And then there's Tamaki and Haruhi. (Let me remind you this is a reverse harem.) There's nothing really special about these two actually, yet the author made them the "it" couple of the series. Tamaki is always fawning over Haruhi, and she plays the "hard-to-get" role, which is really cliche, and isn't new at all. I really don't ship Tamaki and Haruhi, but that's just the way it is. Haruhi and anybody besides Tamaki is actually a great pair. Just saying.

The music selection and composition is actually in a much better condition than the flurry of relationships. There's a lot of classical music to reflect the classiness of the series, and the series' subject matter and characters. I actually downloaded a few for my iPod. Note that if an Anime OST makes it to my iPod, it has to be good.

So, Ouran High School Host Club was actually worth it! The only reason I doubted it was because many of the people who referred to it as their favorites were just fangirls that fawned over all the bishounen, and the shallow relationship between Haruhi and Tamaki, or shipped another pair. I never thought that this series would be the least bit enjoyable, but whaddya know?

Gundam Unicorn

I've never considered myself a particular Gundam fan; I've only watched one Gundam Seed movie, and I used to collect the Gundam Wing trading cards, just because the card art seemed fascinating to me, at the time. When I tried to watch the widely renowned Gundam 00, I felt that I was being overwhelmed with too much information in the beginning. I was also busy with Code Geass, so I put it off for another time, and completely forgot about it.

But this Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, I could like, even if the name "unicorn" is rather peculiar. It's only an OVA series, so it shouldn't be very long. The protganist in the short, 2:14 trailer, is Banagher Links, a Gundam pilot, obviously. The female in the trailer is Audrey Burne, who is most likely Links love interest, which I assume based on the way he looks at her, with eyes shining, in 0:38. The art style seems . . retro, but that's no surprise, since Unicorn is set in the earlier parts of the Gundam timeline.

The end of the trailer shows a Blu-Ray and Playstation Network release date, which will be on February 20th, 2010. Anime News Network further details that the "first Blu-Ray Disc volume for the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn anime series will have a simultaneous overseas release on March 12th with Japanese and English dubbing, as well as Japanese, English, French, Spanish, and Chinese subtitles."

Eve no Jikan

Name: Time of Eve, Eve no Jikan
Episodes: 6, 1 ONA Movies
Genre: Psychological, Sci-Fi, Romance
Year: 2008
Must Watch

"In the not too distant future androids have come into common usage. Taking the androids for granted, humans treat them as if they were common everyday tools, while on the other hand, some people empathize with androids due to their human-like appearance (save for a digital ring floating above their heads). This has become a social problem and these people are frowned upon as a result. Rikuo, one who has taken androids for granted for his entire life, one day discovers that Sammy, his home android, has been acting strangely and finds a strange phrase recorded in her activity log. He, along with his friend Masaki, traces Sammy's footsteps and come upon an unusual cafe. This cafe's main rule is to not discriminate between humans and androids."

- Eve no Jikan at ANN (Anime News Network)

Eve no Jikan is short and sweet. And it really is short, as it's only six episodes long. I'm sure we all wish that it was longer, but I think that if the series were longer and dragged out, it would lose it's charm. "Long and sweet" doesn't actually have such a nice ring to it, especially when the "sweet" eventually goes away.

Eve no Jikan is probably the most educational anime you'll ever come across. It doesn't educate you on arithmetic or reading comprehension or anything, but it does educate you on morals. Human beliefs, ideals, and single-minded discrimination. This series takes anime to a whole new level. This proves that anime can be a learning experience. This show informed me of discrimination more than any Martin Luther King Jr. documentary ever did. Androids and humans can coexist and care for each other just as much as an African American and a Caucasian can coexist and care for each other. I think that was the main point of the six episodes.

But on the side, I got to learn a few tidibits of the Eve no Jikan regulars; Sammy, Akiko, Koji, Rina, Chie, Shimei, and Setoro. Sammy, Akiko, Koji, Rina, and Shimei have been proven to be androids; Setoro is a human "watchdog" that reports Eve no Jikan activity to a superior, but it doesn't seem to be for bad intentions. Chie is a human six year old, who is under the care of Shimei, an android father. I guess I should stop trying to summarize each and every customer at Eve no Jikan, because that'd be impossible, considering all the relations, connections, secrets, and mysteries shrouding this odd bunch of detailed, sophisticated characters.

Each episode is a short story covering the backgrounds of the characters. Every single episode has made me feel good about watching this series. I know I sound kind of mushy, but . . this show warms my heart? Because all the occurences are so realistic, and human-like. For instance, Rikou, the protagonist of this show, shows later on in the series that he has hesitant feelings for Sammy, his android. I suspect she feels the same, because she's always trying to please him in some way. But they cannot be with each other, because of the Three Robot Laws, which forbids a human from being with their android intimately, and vice versa. It's sad that these two can't publicly show their feelings for each other, especially in a very discriminative household as theirs, and that's why their relationship is so tense and hard to understand. But this also means the most subtle actions can mean the biggest things, which is a great part of this series.

Another notable feature of the show are the effects. More specifically, the camera effects. The show feels as if it's being recorded on a video camera, like a home video. The "camera" often swerves at dramatic moments, and sometimes even shows a certain character's perspective. For instance, in Act 04, when the Nameless Robot enters Eve no Jikan, the screen shows what he is seeing through his visor. A small child, the side of Nagi the hostess' head, and the baffled faces of Rikou and Masaki. You start to feel as if you're at the scene itself, and that only makes you enjoy the series even more.

The animation style is unique itself, with CG animations for backgrounds and props. The show looks so realistic, and different from all the others. Imagine, beautifully drawn characters, that feel like a cartoon, and then soft, realistic objects in the background. It's a stunning sight to see. I was blown away by the visuals as soon I started watching. The seiyu are great too; they conveyed the idea of the anime really well with their voices, and this is no surprise, as Rikou is voiced by Jun Fukuyama, the same man who played LeLouch Lamperouge from the renowned series Code Geass. Fukuyama has won several prestigous awards for his voice acting skills, and has been in an extensive amount of anime series and movies since 1998. Kenji Nojima, who voices Masaki in Eve no Jikan, also has a long history with well known anime series, like Blue Gender (Yuji Kaido), Air Gear (Akira Udo), and Blood+ (Karman). Nojima does an excellent voicing Masaki, and I can't think of anyone else who could do a better job. He especially masters the part when Masaki is filled with anger towards androids in general, after his android "betrayed" him. This show has nothing but good stuff.

I had some unanswered questions near the end, like, how are the androids' ring (a halo above the head of the android that signifies that the android is an android) turned off when they're in Time of Eve, or who Nagi really is, but other than that, I have no complaints with this show. Eve no Jikan is anime at it's best, and I'm sure you'll agree. I'm looking forward to the movie that's been confirmed for release at the official blog. The movie will be a mashed up version of all six episodes, with additional scenes that will hopefully clarify things for all those confused fans out there, including me.

Kurogane no Linebarrels

Name: Linebarrels of Iron, Kurogane no Linebarrels
Episodes: 24
Genre: Mecha, Sci-fi, Action
Year: 2008
Rating: Not Recommended

"Fourteen-year-old Kouichi Hayase’s life has always been a mediocre one, if not dismal. However, those days of being bullied by classmates and escaping to a fantasy of being a hero are put to an end when a certain “accident” bestows on him a girl and a gigantic humanoid robot called “LINEBARREL”. The extraordinary power that Kouichi obtains puts him and everything around him on a sudden rollercoaster ride of battles, intrigues and friendship! During the course of his adventure, the boy starts to learn what life has to offer; he meets new friends, bids farewell to the old ones, but most of all he now has considerable responsibilities and is forced to confront the world around him."

- Linebarrels of Iron (Kurogane no Linebarrels) at Linebarrels of Iron: Official Web Site

Oh poor, poor Gonzo. 2008 wasn't their year. They kept putting out crap anime that were adapted from manga. The manga were somewhat decent, but Gonzo just had to completely butcher the whole series by making an anime for it that would disgrace the very name it branded. The other series they put out, like The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk, Special A, and Blassreiter became somewhat popular series with the fans, but they didn't win any major awards or anything. They were just average. But Kurogane no Linebarrels? It was a train wreck. A major "FAIL" on Gonzo's part.

Let's begin with the main attraction: Hayase Kouichi. Now let me select some very descriptive adjectives from my word bank to illustrate Kouichi's character and personality to you: Wimpy, annoying, whiny, smug, arrogant, stubborn, naive, idiotic, perverted, selfish, ignorant, douchebag, prick and so on and so forth. You get the picture. No wonder why every single person who watched this series flamed him so badly. "Hayase is such an annoying brat, I wish he was killed off!" As much as we wish this would happen, he is the sad-excuse-for-a hero in this sad-excuse-of-an anime. Many people, in fact, dropped the series after the first few episodes.

But if they continued to watch, they'd discover that, whaddya know, Hayase turns over a new leaf! Well, actually, his idea of "justice", which is overly emphasized way too many times in this series that it gets cheesy and cliche, is now replaced with a more sensible idea: save the world from evil people from another world, which later on join your side in the last few episodes, because you were all fighting against a common enemy! How dumb is that. Not only does Hayase remain a shallow, ignorant, arrogant prick with a less warped sense of justice, but people who died come back to life with very weak reasons, and people change sides like a street game of basketball! The story is all over the place, even with an idea that's been used many times over and over. They tried to make it different and original, and BOY, did they, with all the fanservice they stick in. It's so original, and so different, that any real anime fan hates/dislikes/wants to kill it!

Another thing that was pitiful was the CG animations. It looks like something out of Power Rangers. Although the mecha had somewhat attractive exterior designs, the CG animations ticked me off so much. Of course, they got better over time, because the animators probably saw all the mistakes they were making, but by the end of the series, the CG animations were still crappy, still laughable, and still not on par with the usual Gonzo quality.

Hisashi Hirai was the Chief Animation Director for Linebarrel. If he was the Chief, I cannot imagine how terribly lazy the animators below him are. Out of the whole twenty four episode series, only about ten minutes actually looked decent. The remaining 517 minutes (24 episodes times 23 minutes, the length of each episode, minus 1:44, the Opening's length, times 24 equals 517.44, or 517 minutes; there's a math lesson for you) were filled with ugly, unproportional, overdetailed or underdetailed animations. The limbs and face always looked unnatural in certain angles, and at times I even mistook a guy for a girl! I'm sad to say that they couldn't even at least make the animations and stereotypical character designs look good.

The series is also extremely cliche. How many times have you seen the hero get mad when his friend has been hurt? A bagajillion, I bet. Well in Linebarrel, you see them about twenty times more, which is too much for a 24 episode series. And also, how many times have you seen the hero using the secret hidden power (in this case, Linebarrel's "Mode B") to whup all the bad guys in a flash? A bagajillion as well, I'd put my life on it. And lastly, how many times have you seen all the characters give their energy/power/spirit/life to the hero so he can make one gigantic, planet Earth saving attack? You hardly see that in anime, truthfully. It's so cheesy and Megaman Battlenetwork-ish that no anime producer dare use it. Hey, you got to give them the credit, at least they have the guts to do the unforgivable, and then take the lashing.

In conlusion, it's very clear that Kurogane no Linebarrels is not my favorite, or even my least favorite. It's a sorry excuse for a mecha anime series that it isn't even worth attention. Nothing about it was great, or spectacular, or even decent. It truly puts it's manga counterpart to shame. I wonder what the people behind it are doing right now. Hopefully they'll have learned their lesson, and aren't planning to try and butcher another series.

Eden of the East

Name: Eden of the East, Higashi no Eden
Episodes: 11, 2 OVA Movies
Genre: Psychological, Mystery, Romance
Year: 2009
Rating: Recommended

On November 22, 2010, ten missiles strike against uninhabited areas of Japan, claiming no victims. This apparent terrorist act is referred to as "Careless Monday" and disregarded by most people. The series begins three months later, with a young Japanese woman named Saki Morimi visiting Washington D.C. as part of her graduation trip. When she gets into trouble, a mysterious Japanese man, who introduces himself as Akira Takizawa, helps her through it. The man appears to have no memory and is dressed down way too much, carrying only a gun and a cell phone charged with 8.2 billion yen in digital money.[1] The cell phone has the phrase, noblesse oblige ("nobility obligates" or "noble's obligation" in English), printed on it. While they are coming back to Japan, they learn that a new missile attack has taken place in their country.

- Eden of the East on Wikipedia

"Johnnies", conspiracy, money, murderers, nosy stalkers, twenty thousand angry men, and Americans who understand Japanese. This may seem like a odd combination, but it isn't -- oh wait, it is. This is Eden of the East we're talking about here. Of course there's bound to be confusion and a whole lot of questions.

When I started this series, I got the feeling that I wouldn't be able to take it seriously. After all, a clothless boy came out of nowhere, in broad daylight, with a cloud of squiggles covering his "johnny", and he almost got run over trying to get to the other side of the street, where an utterly confuzzled and embarrassed Saki stood. This guy had no recollection of the events leading to his nude adventures in front of Washington D.C., which made the series even more unbelievable. To top it off, he ran down the streets of Washington with a jacket and scarf, given to him by Saki, waving cheerfully to some very alarmed strangers. Would you want to take this seriously?

But things started to take a darker, more ominous turn when Takizawa went into his temporary apartment room. While looking for some clothes to wear, he found guns, ammo, explosive devices, and multiple passports. He started to wonder if he was a terrorist. I got the feeling that was somewhat true, because the dangerous weapons couldn't have been put there on accident. But Takizawa didn't seem like a bad person either, so more questions started to form. Who he really was, what he really was, how his memory had been erased, and why he was in Washington D.C. in the first place. But all the questions were shoved out of my mind when I started to think how stupid Takizawa was. He had just put the passports in the toaster, and burned them. I don't know if he did that on purpose, but I got the feeling that he was putting the passports in there for storage.

As the story progresses, which by the way, it progresses at a good pace, we start to learn more and more about Takizawa. Later on, we're informed that Takizawa is actually a Selecao, a "chosen one", who is one of the select few to have been chosen to play a dangerous game that involves cell phones that look like Power Ranger devices, lots of cash money, personal concierges, real terrorists, and guys with pink rings. Okay, I overexaggerated, it actually isn't that amusing. But the bottom line is, this series has a nice balance between what should be light-hearted, and what should be taken seriously.

Towards the end of the series, I had so many questions in my head. Takizawa made himself the king of Eden, with all the money remaining in his account. So I was wondering, why the hell would you do that, and drain your money while your at it, only to have the Supporter (one of the twelve Selecao is a Supporter, one who kind of "administrates" the game, but none of the twelve Selecao knows who it is) come after you, and kill you? What would you achieve in becoming the king anyways? And then I started to wonder if Takizawa was the Supporter. The other Selecao, upon meeting him, always said that he was the Supporter, and they said it so surely. But how did they know in the first place? Questions like these arose much too often. So imagine how determined I was to have all these questions answered by Episode 11! The credits roll, I have more confusions that haven't been clarified than I started out with, and I'm told that there will be a two part OVA in the form of two movies. One is being released a couple weeks from now, November 28, and the other is coming out in January. Of course, I was enraged. The producers leave the viewers in the dark so they can make money off of the movies that answer the questions they have. How shady is that?!

Of course, that doesn't mean I won't watch them. But if you plan on watching this series, I suggest you watch after the two movies have come out. That way, there'll be no waiting period in between, and you won't forget anything significant that could be the key to the series, like when Takizawa hides the phone in Saki's pocket.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Name: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Episodes: N/A, Movie
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Year: 1984
Rating: Must Watch

"Based on a 12th Century Japanese folk tale (“The Princess Who Loved Insects”), Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans struggle to live amongst poisonous fungus forests, mutant insects, and herds of giant blue-eyed slugs called Ohmu. The heroine, Nausicaa, is a chieftain’s daughter, lives in a small nation in a protected valley, and shares an empathic bond with the insects of her world; she firmly believes that humans and insects can peacefully coexist, despite the ever-present threat of the growing forests. She’s the archetype of the Miyazaki heroine: strong-willed, confident, and full of spirit.

The Valley of Wind suddenly finds itself in the middle of a war between two warring nations, Torumekia and Pejitei. The combatants disrupt the relative peace of the Valley and start shoving their weight around. A God-Warrior, the ancient weapons responsible for the destruction of civilization, is unearthed. Both sides vow not only to defeat their enemy, but to burn back the forests and reclaim nature. This sets the stage for a number of action set-pieces (including some terrific aerial combat scenes), moments of quiet introspection, a fair amount of light humor, and a search (by Nausicaa) to solve the mystery of the mutated environment."

- Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind review on The Ghibli Blog

Nausicaa of The Valley of the Wind is definitely a classic in my book. It's one of Hayao Miyazaki's finer works, for sure. The plot was so original, moving, and unrivaled, you'd only expect something like it from the mind of Miyazaki.

Let's begin with the story, the plot, the most important part of the film. It's original, unique. No one can pull of an adaptation of a folk tale like Hayao Miyazaki. He blows the mere folk tale up to epic proportions, adds political twists that greatly impact the story, builds on the characters to sculpt them into believable, yet unbelievable people, and inserts a great musical score by Harumi Hosono. The story alone is certainly magnificent, in this timeless story of courage and compassion in the face of danger.

Next up are the characters, or most importantly, Nausicaa. She is not your typical princess. She would not shriek at the sight of large, revolting insects. Instead, she would approach them and speak kindly to them, and make friends with them, because she believed that insects and humans could coexist. She is not a stereotype. She isn't a "damsel in distress" that sits around and waits for her fated prince to save her. No, Nausicaa takes action, takes matter in her own hands, and even if she may be reckless at times, she ends up doing the right thing, for the better. That includes saving a tyrant, that took over The Valley of the Wind, from a burning ship. Nausicaa takes risks, but not foolish or petty risks, like most teenage heroines with lesser problems on their minds, like boys and fashion.

The music is another reason why this film is worth watching. Haruomi Hosono is an extremely talented songwriter and composer. The music is a fourth of the reason why I loved the film so much. The compositions are individually unique; not a single one sounds like anything you've ever heard. They also vary greatly, from somewhat Indian tunes that give you an uplifting sense, to dramatic tunes that hold your attention, making you want to see what happens next, making you feel as if something unexpected would appear on the screen when nothing actually does, when in fact it's just the excellence of the tune. And then there's that mainstay tune that plays several times throughout the movie. The one with a child humming the same couple notes over and over. You're probably thinking this would get annoying. It doesn't. First off, the voice is indescribably cute, no questions asked. Secondly, everytime the tune is hummed again, more instruments and swells are added, making the piece even more and more epic. Add the nostalgic, slightly surreal scenes that always accompany this tune, and you have a surefire film that is destined to be successful.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is one of the best films I have ever watched. Ever. It's a film that is worthy of all the praise it has recieved. It is significantly different from the rest; it doesn't teach the same morals in a cheery, bright way like Disney does; it cannot be classified as an action or adventure film, although there is a lot of that in the movie. The meaning of the film is too deep and the storytelling is too great, to be given the shallow label of 'action' and/or 'adventure'. The film should be in a category of it's own, and that category should simply be called "epic".

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