Saturday, February 28, 2009

Movie List

This is one of those odd movie lists which if you've seen too many of them, then you're some type of lifeless geek.... I think that number is supposed to be around 85...

So, without further delay, here's the list...

(x) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(x) Grease
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest
(x) Boondock Saints
( ) Fight Club
( ) Starsky and Hutch
(x) Neverending Story
(x) Blazing Saddles
(x) Airplane

(x) The Princess Bride
( ) Anchorman
(x) Napoleon Dynamite
(x) Labyrinth
( ) Saw
( ) Saw II
( ) White Noise
( ) White Oleander
(x) Anger Management
(x) 50 First Dates
(x) The Princess Diaries
(x) The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Total so far: 23

(x) Scream
(x) Scream 2
(x) Scream 3
(x) Scary Movie
(x) Scary Movie 2
(x) Scary Movie 3
(x) Scary Movie 4
(x) American Pie
(x) American Pie 2
(x) American Wedding
( ) American Pie Band Camp
Total so far: 33

(x) Harry Potter 1
(x) Harry Potter 2
(x) Harry Potter 3
(x) Harry Potter 4
(x) Resident Evil 1
(x) Resident Evil 2
(x) The Wedding Singer
( ) Little Black Book
(x) The Village
(x) Lilo & Stitch
Total so far: 42

(x) Finding Nemo
( ) Finding Neverland
(x) Signs
(x) The Grinch
(x) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
( ) White Chicks
(x) Butterfly Effect
(x) 13 Going on 30
(x) I, Robot
(x) Robots
Total so far: 50

( ) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
(x) Universal Soldier
(x) Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
( ) Along Came Polly
(x) Deep Impact
(x) KingPin
(x) Never Been Kissed
(x) Meet The Parents
( ) Meet the Fockers
( ) Eight Crazy Nights
(x) Joe Dirt
Total so far: 58

( ) A Cinderella Story
( ) The Terminal
( ) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
(x) Passport to Paris
(x) Dumb & Dumber
( ) Dumber & Dumberer
(x) Final Destination
( ) Final Destination 2
( ) Final Destination 3
(x) Halloween
(x) The Ring
( ) The Ring 2
( ) Surviving X-MAS
(x) Flubber
Total so far: 64

( ) Harold and Kumar go to white castle
(x) Practical Magic
(x) Chicago
(x) Ghost Ship
(x) From Hell
(x) Hellboy
( ) Secret Window
(x) I Am Sam
(x) The Whole Nine Yards
(x) The Whole ten yards
Total so far:72

( ) The Day After Tomorrow
(x) Child's Play
(x) Seed of Chucky
( ) Bride of Chucky
(x) Ten Things I Hate About You
( ) Just Married
(x) Gothika
(x) Nightmare on Elm street
(x) Sixteen Candles
( ) Remember the Titans
( ) Coach Carter
(x) The Grudge
( ) The Grudge 2
(x) The Mask
( ) Son Of The Mask
Total so far: 80

(x) Bad Boys
( ) Bad Boys 2
( ) Joy Ride
( ) Lucky Number Seven
(x) Ocean's Eleven
( ) Ocean's Twelve
(x) Bourne Identity
(x) Bourne Supremecy
( ) Lone Star
(x) Bedazzled
(x) Predator I
(x) Predator II
(x) The Fog
(x) Ice Age
(x) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
(x) Curious George
Total so far: 91

(x) Independence Day
(x) Cujo
( ) A Bronx Tale
(x) Darkness Falls
(x) Christine
(x) ET
(x) Children of the Corn
(x) My Bosses Daughter
(x) Maid in Manhattan
(x) War of the Worlds
(x) Rush Hour
( ) Rush Hour 2
Total so far: 101

( ) Best Bet
(x) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
(x) She's All That
( ) Calendar Girls
( ) Sideways
(x) Mars Attacks
(x) Event Horizon
(x) Ever After
(x) Wizard of Oz
(x) Forrest Gump
(x) Big Trouble in Little China
(x) The Terminator
(x) The Terminator 2
(x) The Terminator 3
Total so far: 112

(x) X-Men
(x) X-2
(x) X-3
(x) Spider-Man
(x) Spider-Man 2
(x) Sky High
(x) Jeepers Creepers
( ) Jeepers Creepers 2
( ) Catch Me If You Can
(x) The Little Mermaid
(x) Freaky Friday
(x) Reign of Fire
(x) The Skulls
(x) Cruel Intentions
( ) Cruel Intentions 2
(x) The Hot Chick
(x) Shrek
(x) Shrek 2
Total so far: 127

( ) Swimfan
(x) Miracle on 34th street
(x) Old School
(x) The Notebook
(x) K-Pax
( ) Krippendorf's Tribe
(x) A Walk to Remember
( ) Ice Castles
(x) Boogeyman
( ) The 40-year-old Virgin
Total so far: 133

(x) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
(x) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
(x) Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(x) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(x) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(x) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Total so far: 139

( ) Baseketball
( ) Hostel
( ) Waiting for Guffman
( ) House of 1000 Corpses
( ) Devils Rejects
(x) Elf
(x) Highlander
(x) Mothman Prophecies
( ) American History X
( ) Three
Total so Far: 142

( ) The Jacket
( ) Kung Fu Hustle
( ) Shaolin Soccer
( ) Night Watch
(x) Monsters Inc.
(x) Titanic
(x) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(x) Shaun Of the Dead
( ) Willard
Total so far: 146

( ) High Tension
( ) Club Dread
(x) Hulk
(x) Dawn Of the Dead
(x) Hook
(x) Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
(x) 28 days later
(x) Orgazmo
(x) Phantasm
(x) Waterworld
Total so far: 153

( ) Kill Bill vol 1
( ) Kill Bill vol 2
(x) Mortal Kombat
( ) Wolf Creek
(x) Kingdom of Heaven
( ) the Hills Have Eyes
( ) I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
(x) The Last House on the Left
(x) Re-Animator
(x) Army of Darkness
Total so far: 158

(x) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(x) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(x) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(x) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(x) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(x) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
(x) Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
(x) Ewoks The Battle For Endor
Total so far: 166

(x) The Matrix
(x) The Matrix Reloaded
(x) The Matrix Revolutions
( ) Animatrix
(x) Evil Dead
(x) Evil Dead 2
( ) Team America: World Police
(x) Red Dragon
(x) Silence of the Lambs
(x) Hannibal
TOTAL: 174

yeah.... that's twice the number necessary to not have a life....

Monday, February 23, 2009

LFL has lost it....

I love Star Wars, and I often have to fight the compulsion to make random purchases regarding Star Wars collectibles. Even random purchases of the $350 lightsaber hilt replicas (and believe it or not, that was a HARD fight for me to not follow through on).

But there comes a point in a collector's life, when he looks at something, and thinks "now, they're just trying to extort money out of us."

Of course, for me that was while purchasing Galactic Heroes Series III figures (as two-packs) when they'd put new figures in with repacks, as I ranted about here.

But today I have come across something which put that to shame. What is it?

Why, this new set of books, entitled: Star Wars Frames.

Here's the product description (from Amazon's listing):

STAR WARS: FRAMES is an unprecedented, exquisite collection of defining moments from the revolutionary film series as seen through the eyes of its creator. FRAMES pays tribute as never before to the extraordinary visions seen in the epic, intergalactic adventure saga.

From the first view of the Death Star, to a planet of molten lava, or a dizzying asteroid field, the six films of George Lucas’s Star Wars Saga have been filled with astonishing, unforgettable images that changed the way we see cinema.

Each edition of STAR WARS: FRAMES contains 1,416 shots selected by Lucas from more than a million film frames. Contained in six hardcover 11” x 22” volumes, the images are printed from the original film stock in an exceptionally large format that preserves its full resolution and glorious widescreen aspect ratio. Combining cinematography with bookmaking’s highest production values, this remarkable and deeply personal collection is the closest thing to a piece of the original Star Wars film stock. FRAMES offers matchless insight into Lucas’ creative process and boldly illustrates his 30-year vision and passion for the Star Wars saga.
Yes, this is a set of books which contains ~8,500 screenshots. That in and of itself is not that bad of a thing. I mean, there are a number of film-based art books out there, this isn't the first and it won't be the last; and it has a good gimmick as they're Lucas' favorite scenes.

At least that's what you think about until you hit the price tag, which ranges from $4,000 to $5,500.

Yes, you read that right. That is a four digit price tag, for a bunch of screen shots in a wooden box.

In truth, I have never been so amazed at the audacity of LFL as I am right this moment.

I mean, what ever made them think that this was a good idea? Who in their right mind is going to spend four to five grand on a box of picture reprints? It's ludicrous.

Sadly, these days the more aware I am of LFL products, the less that I actually like Star Wars. I feel like I'm being taken advantage of whenever I purchase a LFL product these days. It's getting to the point where I'm thinking that anime will be a better genre-based time/money sink.

At least the 1/8th figures, like the original "Star Wars Unleashed" figures are pretty to look at....

And they don't cost four grand.

Mondays! Why, oh why....

Have yet more amusement from the wonderful land of parenthood. As any who may know me, or may have stumbled onto this blog in the past may know, I am the proud father of two geeks-in-training.

This particular fact has been driven home to my beloved wife many, many times by my eldest. A few days ago, my youngest got in on that particular act. What happened was that we were having dinner--taco salad for the record, and my boys were using their Star Wars dinner sets (or at least the cup & bowl portion of the set).

Well, my two year old, starts naming off the characters on the cup, including Ahsoka. Then he notices the cup my wife is using, which is a Princess Leia, RotJ cup that came as a part of a pack with a Slave-Leia figure. He pointed to the image of Jabba on it, and clearly stated "Jabba."

I was all sorts of proud, and my wife was amused. At least, until I thought of pointing out that he now knows more Star Wars characters by sight recognition than he does numbers, letters and/or shapes.

Sadly, I don't have a lot of random thoughts about geek things this week as I've been majorly busy at work.

The worst thing though is the NY Post's article claiming that ABC Family has officially canceled The Middleman.

All I must say to that is BAH!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Time For More Mondays!

You know, sometimes I wonder why I started these random posts on Mondays. It's not like I like Mondays or anything--in fact quite the opposite. Though I fear it may be because I just didn't want to start work as the first thing on Monday mornings all those years ago.

Regardless, my Little Ewok (more commonly known as the youngest child) has become quite taken with the toy lightsabers which we have in the house (at latest count 5, and that doesn't count my ForceFX saber). This, coupled with his propensity for fighting seems like quite the recipe for a broken something in my house.

Anyways, like all good play-fighters, my youngest has a DEATH SCENE which he enacts whenever he gets struck by a lightsaber, or his lightsaber gets struck by a lightsaber. I guess he just assumes that every lightsaber hit is a natural critical hit.

So, my youngest smacks his saber against mine, and then he staggers backwards until he is in the middle of the living room's throw rug (and it doesn't matter WHICH room he starts in, it's always to the middle of the living room rug). Once there, he grasps at his chest and drops to his knees, before flopping, and rolling onto his back.

One must love kids.

Oh, well, now that the death scene is taken care of, we can carry on with the show. The first thing we've got from the past week is the fact that we can learn Japanese grammar from our good friend Yoda! It's an interesting take on things, and does make me wonder if Yaddle speaks Japanese as well.

Now, I don't normally do that much Star Trek stuff here, as I'm just not that into Star Trek. Yet this particular image has made the rounds on the various blogs--including the Star Wars ones, as it is a Star Trek inspired corset created by a clothes designer on the website Etsy.

See, it's folks like this that are happily destroying the stereotypical image of a Geek as someone who a) lives in their parent's basement, and b) is a virgin living in said basement.

But, me and the Beloved Wife did do a few things this weekend for Valentine's Day. First, we took the boys to Lowe's on Valentine's Day itself for their "Build-n-Grow" clinic. On the way out though, my Beloved revealed just how much of a NASCAR-geek she has become.

There was an issue of Sports Illustrated and on its cover was Jimmie Johnson and his crew chief and it was about NASCAR. An issue which my Beloved felt that Otaku-like yearning that she had to purchase said magazine.

So, as she got into the car after purchasing said magazine, I grinned at her, and just said "Geek."

But it's all good, because we went to see Coraline as well. My wife was less than thrilled by it, but I adored it, and thought it a great movie. It is a "kid's movie" but it's one of those brilliant ones which doesn't pull punches, and isn't afraid to scare them a little.

This was a feature of kids movies in the past, things like The Secret of NIMH or The Dark Crystal, or even Cinderella. Yet, recent movies have shied away from this--as if their producers are scared of the potential backlash which a slightly scary kids movie could possibly engender.

Regardless, it's a movie which I heartily recommend.

Oh well, that's it for this week's does of rambling nonsense. But hey, at least now we have just that much more geek in our lives--even if it's NASCAR geek...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Review: Chrome Shelled Regios episode 1

My Thoughts
My first thought was: huh? The episode was disjointed, and random--at least on the front of things. My guess is that some of the episode was flash-backs and some weren't.

Above and beyond that, this looks like a promising start to an episode. It reminds me vaguely of Full Metal Alchemist, and I find that despite the less than stellar animation I'm interested in seeing where this leads. So much so, that I went and grabbed the rest of the episodes that I hadn't downloaded yet.

Episode Summary
The episode begins with a bunch of giant insects attacking a domed city. Three fighters, one of whom is in training, attack the thing.

We get a sudden switch, and Layfon Alseif, the main character, leaves his town and rides off to attend the academy in Zerni. Then we flip over to Nina Antalk, the leader of the 17th platoon, and discover that she's loosing one of her members. So of course, she's off to hunt through the incoming students trying to find someone to join her platoon--but isn't having much luck because all the incoming students had already been picked up by the other platoons.

Layfon arrives at the school, and meets a trio of girls, one of whom is taking pictures of him. Then a fight breaks out, and he wanders away, while the girls begin to watch. Somehow, one of the girls gets caught up in the fight, and a portion of a building is about to fall on her, and Layfon recieves a telepathic command to save the girl, which he does, and Nina sees.

This leads to him having to meet the Karian Loss president of the student council. Karian then forces him to enter the military arts section of the school. Nina is chatting with Harley Sutton, one of the other 17th members, and discovers that Layfon is meeting Karian. So, she runs off to request that he be assigned to her platoon.

The next thing we get is Nina and Layfon getting off the bus near the boys dorm. Nina points the way, and then runs off, and Layfon meets Felli Loss. Felli is a member of the 17th, the younger sister of Karian, and the telepath who sent the command that made him save the girl earlier in the episode. They chat for a few moments, before she wanders away, and then Layfon goes to his dorm room and to bed.

Then it's back to the three folks fighting the giant beetle thing. After fighting it for a while (it kept regenerating) they finally defeat it, and it's strongly implied that one of the fighters was Layfon (they had the same eyes), and that all those fight scenes were dream sequences.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Review: Asu no Yoichi episode 5

My Thoughts
This episode revealed a lot about the dynamic between Ibuki and her feelings. The ones she hides and the ones she shows to everyone.

Frankly, there is something serious, psychologically wrong with Ibuki. My guess is that she suffers from an extreme bi-polar disorder, as one moment she's happy and smiling, and the next she's smacking the tar out of Yoichi.

That aside, I had to feel a bit sad for her at the end of the episode. She had forgotten a salient fact of the episode, and one could tell that she was shocked and hurt by the sudden reminder.

Additionally, one of the scenes gives her the shadowed eyes which is a standard anime trope for dangerous, deranged or evil characters. Of course, you're supposed to think of the dangerous aspect of that, but in light of her violent mood swings in this, and earlier episodes, it sets off the deranged flags in my head.

Finally, I must know... how was the sanjegun hidden under the skirt?? The character design for all the girl's school uniforms have the skirts at mid thigh at its longest. Now, a sanjegun is a Chinese weapon which is basically three staffs, each of them ideally the length of the welders arm, and connected by a chain.

I mean, it's physically impossible that that weapon could be hidden under the skirt--especially the front of the skirt the way it's shown.

I know its anime physics that we're talking about here, and this is a series about a guy that uses the wind from a wooden sword to beat people up, but still, one would think that they would at least attempt to keep things in touch with reality at least in concern to where weapons are hidden.

Episode Summary
Yoichi and Ibuki are walking to class, when a freshman girl, Hinagata Yui, runs up and hands Yoichi a letter. Much to the dismay of the male classmates. So, the two make it into class, and Ibuki reads the letter revealing that it is an invitation to a date. All the while Yoichi mistakes the invite for a duel challenge. Ibuki's bi-polar disorder flares to life as she tries to explain things to him, and then she storms out of the class. As she's stalking the halls, she realizes that Yoichi doesn't know anything about dates, and might damage the Soaring Wind's reputation. So, she runs back and invites Yoichi on a practice date--much to the dismay of their male classmates.

Once home, Ibuki is trying to determine what would look best to wear on the "practice" date when Chihaya and Kagome enter her room and surprise her. Flustered, Ibuki rushes from the room, and falls down the stairs.

So, Ibuki and Yoichi return to the shopping/entertainment district from the first episode, and the first thing he does is challenges the shoppers to a match. An action which brings forth the swift and terrible retribution of Ibuki. Then she forces him to change into "normal" clothes and off they go shopping. One of the stops is a toy shop, where she's all but jumping up and down in child-like glee over a stuffed cat. Yoichi admires the girlish/childish Ibuki, and she instantly stops and leaves the shop.

While this is going on, we discover that Ayame and two of her friends are clothes shopping. One comments about Ayame's breast size, which invokes an almost Ibuki-like reaction on Ayame's part. Then Ibuki and Yoichi are noticed, and Ayame abandons her friends to follow the pair.

The next part of the date is bowling. Yoichi's first try, he throws the ball hard enough to break the wall. After that fiasco, Ibuki takes a stronger hand in teaching him how to bowl, at least until they realize how close they were and both become embarrassed. Which causes Yoichi to drop his ball on his foot. He rolls about on the ground, and when he opens his eyes, both him and Ibuki realize that he's staring up her skirt. She punishes him for that, and eventually get in trouble by the workers for bother the other customers.

At the same time, Ayame is watching the pair, and wondering when they had grown so close. Then she realizes that Chihaya and Kagome were there watching the date as well. Once she realizes that, she decides that she doesn't want to get in Ibuki and Yoichi's way so she leaves; while the other two stay and continue observing the date.

As Ayame's leaving the bowling alley, Washizu and his Toady see her looking all sorts of dejected. Torikaya (the toady) starts chatting about how she is second string to Ibuki, and Washizu sticks up for her, because he sees her as a potential sister-in-law.

After the bowling, Ibuki and Yoichi are walking through a park, and Ibuki tries to hold Yoichi's hand. Before she can get it though, he turns around and she jumps back, shy and scared. In the process of stepping away from him though, she trips and falls into a fountain. Yoichi, attempting to save her, falls as well.

They get a water-covered, laughing moment, and then Yoichi gives her the stuffed-cat thing she had been admiring in the toy store; immediately before reminding her that this was a "practice" date.

Startled, Ibuki, rushes off to buy drinks, and we find that Chihaya and Kagome had been hiding in the bushes all this time. And since Ibuki had stepped away, it was the perfect time for Hinagata to show up. Since she was there, Yoichi went ahead and gave her an answer to the date invitiation by turning it down because he didn't know her.

This of course is the time when she yanks out a sanjegun from beneath her skirt and attacks Yoichi.

And since this is these two, while Yoichi is getting attacked, Ibuki is being harrased by 2 men who want her to drop Yoichi and hang with them.They knock the cat out of her purse, and activate Ibuki's bi-polarness.

Switching back over to Yoichi, he disarms Hinagata and breaks off a section of the sanjegun turning it into a kind-of-boken which he uses to attack, and his wind-based strike ruins her uniform. She calls him mean and then runs away.

Yoichi calls out to Chihaya and Kagome, revealing that he knew they were there the entire time. Then they here Ibuki's raised voice, and rush to help her, only to find that she's beaten up the pair.

Final scenes were just clean up, such as that Hinaga would not be getting any money since she failed to defeat Yoichi and Ayame learns that the date in this episode was just a "practice" date.
The last thing, is a scene between Yoichi and Ibuki, where he tells her that he turned down Hinagata's request. He then muses how he will probably never find anyone that would love him, which in turn makes Ibuki scream at him that he's a pervert and a failure, but someone likes him all the same. Then, embarassed, she turns and walks away.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Still Here, Alive and Breathing....

As I stated last Monday, the 10 days prior to that post were filled with many, many family members traipsing throughout my house. That in and of itself, wasn't a problem, though my beloved wife watching 6 kids for the week was, as one individual put it, "Saint-like." Now, the unfortunate side-effect to this (either via a bug one of the bunch brought, or just from my being susceptible due to lack of sleep) was that I got sick. Bad. I ran 102+F fevers a couple nights and in general felt as if a freight-train had struck me.

Or maybe like 6 kids were using my sinus cavity to play hide-n-seek in.

The good news is that I'm back up to... well, working standards, so I'll begin plugging away at getting caught up on my anime viewings.

And speaking of anime, in anime news, The Anime Blog has a post talking about the upcoming second season of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi that has been (or maybe should be) announced in the Newtype magazine. Moetron did a bit of digging and much to my dismay the "upcoming telecast" in April that is discussed in NewType is actually concerning a re-broadcast of the original season.

Now this is all based off of pre-magazine release information, so there is still hope and maybe this will all clear up tomorrow once the magazine gets released.

Regardless, it's been a year or three (if not 4 at this point) since the first season aired--so one does have to wonder if KyoAni has any concern at all about continuing this anime, or if they're just happy at letting the characters rot in the proverbial Limbo.

Now stumbling back over to my one, true geek-love of books, E! Online reports that in a recent interview, Stephen King has told the truth about Stephanie Meyers, the author of the horridly written, yet oddly beloved Twilight series.

The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephanie Meyer can't write worth a darn. She's not very good.
I've got to be honest... my first response when I read this was "mwahahahahahahahaha." Well, that's the response I sent in the reply email to my beloved wife who sent me the link, and it was the emotion that I was feeling. If my throat wasn't so sore from coughing I would have laughed like that aloud.

In the glee, movies! section of things, there is a new Harry Potter teaser poster out on the net now. Nothing all that fancy but blah. Speaking of movies, the upcoming Avatar: The Last Airbender live action movie had come under fire for being too "white" in its casting choices. Well, one of the actors fell through due to a scheduling conflict so they got a more.... ethnically correct actor to play Zuko (who is the bad guy, but is still a primary character in the story). Well, the nay-sayers still weren't happy, and starting bashing the fact that it was the bad guy who was the only ethnically correct character.

It really does make my brain hurt sometimes at how folks act and react to things.

Star Wars though, had some major spoilers hit the net on Saturday. I covered the one that really interested and excited me in a post dedicated just for it, but also posted an entry that provides some major plot points for the first novel in the Fate of the Jedi series, Outcast in the shape of the dust jacket blurb. Additionally, one can find even more spoilers out there on the net, if one knows where to look for them.

Also in comic news, there's a one shot featuring Fixer (a character from the "lost" opening of A New Hope) and Star Wars: Rebellion is being canceled.

Alas, that's it for this Monday morning. Now it's time to start a whole new week...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Review: Asu no Yoichi episode 4

My Thoughts
I am enjoying this series, and have almost gotten caught up with it. This time around, we focused on the youngest of the three eldest sisters. I don't count Kagome in the running for Yoichi's affection because she's so much younger than the rest of them.

Anyways, Chihaya is a full-time mangaka as well as a full-time student. As such, she's usually busy, and not always that cheerful. Another fact is that even though she's a successful mangaka, she's still a teenager and has the same actions/reactions of such.

But of most interest is that she is the most aware of what Yoichi, Ayame and Ibuki are feeling. She's also creating the situations that cause conflict between the three for fodder for her manga. Truthfuly, I'm not sure whether to be aghast or amused.

We're still getting all the usual looks, and knowing glances between Ibuki and Yoichi, much to Ayame's dismay, so either the writers are taunting us, or they really want those two to end up together. Alas, we still have quite a few episodes to go until we find out.

Episode Summary
Chihaya is working on your manga, having a bit of trouble coming up with a side-plot for the serialization.

While this is happening, Ibuki and Yoichi are sparing in front of Ibuki's four students and Ayame. During the fight, Yoichi accidentally rips Ibuki's clothes across the chest with a sword swing. In usual anger mode, Ibuki punishes Yoichi and the students for seeing her in that state.

As the kids were leaving, Ayame wanders off to take a bath and be emo over how good Ibuki and Yoichi are getting along. Chihaya shows up to take a bath as well, and ends up questioning Ayame's feelings for Yoichi. Then Chihaya decides to interview Yoichi for her manga.

While this is happening, Washizu shows up at the gate, wanting to return Ibuki's handkerchief. As he steps forward, he notices that his shoes are dirty so he runs away.

Chihaya takes Yoichi back to her room, and shows him her manga. He does that praise thing as he spouts the usual nonsense about the power of spirits and believing in ones-self. At this point, Chihaya starts to seduce him, and after a minute, he firmly turns her down.

At which point Ibuki enters the room and misunderstands what she sees. A misunderstanding which Chihaya encourages. After the required beating of Yoichi, it's shown that Chihaya is basing her manga relationships on the one between Ayame, Yoichi and Ibuki.

Later, Kagome is arriving home from school and carrying a craft project. Yoichi, being chased by Ibuki for something or other, and thus breaks the project. Ibuki takes the time to beat Yoichi again for making Kagome cry. A few minutes later, Ibuki sends Yoichi on a task to take Chihaya her notebook at cram school.

Chihaya is at school, and is getting in trouble for doodling, and working on her manga rather than doing school work. While this is happening, Yoichi accidentally enters the girls' changing room and is chased about the school.

That's solved by Chihaya explaining Yoichi to her classmates. Chihaya then thanks Yoichi for the notebook, and he wonders off. As he's walking around the school, Yoichi hears three boys talking about Chihaya and hint at ruining her work. Yoichi runs back to the class and finds Chihaya there, holding her torn manga draft. She notices Yoichi, and tells him to not go beat the boys up, and then pushes him out of the class and locks herself in. Then she breaks down into tears, and crys about people putting down the things she works so hard on.

Yoichi overhears her crying, and angered he goes to find the boys. As they're leaving the school, he hears them bragging about things, and saying how they disliked people who worked hard at things. He catches up to them quickly, and then beats them and gives them a lecture.

After getting her emotions under control, Chihaya leaves the school and finds the three boys, on the ground. The ringleader asks her why she works so hard, and she explains that one day the he will find something worth working hard for.

Later Ibuki finishes fixing Kagome's project. And at the same time Chihaya finishes the side-story to her manga, which she bases on Yoichi. She then grabs Yoichi's hand to show that they're alike (both have calluses on their palms). She then leaves the room, an dboth Ayame and Ibuki attack him.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Star Wars: Invasion

It was announced at ComicCon today that Dark Horse is producing a new Star Wars comic series, this one set in the New Jedi Order portion of the time frame.

There are some good things for this:

  1. A new Star Wars comic just rocks
  2. Good visuals for the Vong & vong-tech
  3. Possibly toys now that there is the toy/comic two packs--I'm hoping for an Anakin Solo & Tahiri Viela two-pack
It has potential. Lots and lots of potential. Unfortunately, it also has risks. The biggest is that this is a shared universe, and this product can easily... impact existing canon. That said, there are definitely some parts of the canon that I would enjoy, and cheer at, being impacted.

Consider this: it's a standard operating procedure to resurrect characters in comics, even those who have died on-screen.

The next issue which could impact it's success is the fact that the NJO was a markedly gore-filled, dark, and nihilistic story. Every time you turned around, the good guys were winning Pyrrhic victories. It didn't read like Star Wars because of the depressing, and dark nature of the stories, and finally, Del Rey never offered a truly emotionally satisfying resolution to the story--a concept that I have waxed eloquently on in the past.

Personally, I can't wait for the first of the Trades to start appearing on shelves, and I hope that we do get a good bit of seeing the Solo-kids in action.

But at the same time I find myself hoping that the story is not as dark this time around. That it doesn't create the same sense of depressing fatalism which the NJO series seems to be known for.

Well, I guess I'll find out come this summer.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Review: Asu no Yoichi Episode 3

cheering because Stephen is getting this review written

They're happy because I'm actually getting this review written and posted. I tried nearly two weeks ago to do so, but due to overwhelming numbers of family members visiting, plus sickness,
I've only just now gotten around to it. So, without further ado....

My Thoughts
Ayame picture goes here, because Stephen thinks she looks like his Beautiful WifeAgain, I find myself enjoying this show. That said, I fear that we run the risk of people changing their beliefs due to the power of fisticuffs followed by a series of flowery praises.

Once or twice can be forgiven, but if it happens too many times, then we're starting to drift over into Sailor Moon and the power of love and sunshine territory.

Anyways, this episode also featured odd changes from the manga which this is based upon. In the second half of the episode, Angela and Yoichi fight.

In the original source, that fight occurs while Yoichi is asleep, and he is able to dodge all of her attacks and restrain her without waking up. There's also a sub-plot in that portion of the manga aobut ghosts at the dojo which just does not exist in the anime.

Angela starting to catch a clueI'm not entirely certain why that was changed. I mean I can almost see the reason for going from pocket knifes to maces (almost) but this? I mean they still fight, so violence can't be the issue.

The only thing that even seems conceivable as a reason, is that the writers wanted to be able to give the viewers more fan-service.

Again, it does not detract from the story, but at the same time it does not add anything to the story either. Although it does deny Yoichi another chance to show just how awesome he is.

Digression aside, the episode was good but did not get Ayame any closer to winning Yoichi. Though, I have to wonder if Ibuki is beginning to suspect some of what Ayame's feeling.

Yoichi, in typical male fashion, is still clueless about Ayame's feelings, and the reasons behind some of her actions (such as helping them clean). My Beloved Wife would point out that that makes him like me.

Episode Summary
Starts out with two new characters appearing (Tsubasa And Angela), and we find out that they're there to fight Yoichi.

Picture of Ayame, because she reminds me of my Beautiful WifeThen we switch over to Yoichi, Ayame and Ibuki cleaning the dojo--with Ayame there in an effort to spend more time with Yoichi.

Well, Tsubasa comes into the high school as a transfer student, and is placed in Ibuki's and Yoichi's class. During a break, she reveals her martial arts skills by cutting an out-of-control soccer ball in half with her hand, much to Tsubasa's chagrin (she's painfully shy apparently).

After the school day is over, Tsubasa leaves and is confronted by Angela, who sends her back to fight Yoichi. So, she runs away from Angela, who catches up with her in time to rip her clothes off, and send her to fight Yoichi. Apparently, Tsubasa's shyness was getting in the way of her training, so Angela trained her to fight harder when she basically had anxiety attacks due to embarrassing situations.

They begin their fight, broken with occasional expositional plot points, at least until Washizu comes up and interrupts, breaking the anxiety attack/fugue that Tsubasa had going on. Tsubasa runs off, and then Angela disappears as well.

The scene switches to them, and Tsubasa and Angela, with Tsubasa attacking like a young girl, and telling Angela that she hates martial arts and Angela. Angela is shocked, and disappears in response.

To show up and the dojo and fights Yoichi instead. Fight scene, and then expositional dialog to change the antagonist's POV occur. Angela runs away and finds Tsubasa and they make up.

The next day, we find that they're working at a restaurant (Angela as cook, Tsubasa as delivery). The gang chat amongst themselves, and then we switch over to the man-in-shadows complaining that Tsubasa failed in the task.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Review: Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

I can honestly tell you that I have a stack of other books to review prior to this one; but I put those all to the side, and proverbially jumped for joy at the return of a fun Star Wars novel.

Anyways, this is about Matthew Stover's latest entry into the Star Wars canon: Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor (ISBN:978-0-345-47744-0). It clocks in at a decent 309 pages in the hardcover edition, and I have to say that the title is pure genius. In a heartbeat it hearkens back to old serials. Titles such as Flash Gordan's Trip to Mars, The Adventures of Captain Marvel, Tom Swift and the Visitor From Planet X, or even Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.

It builds certain expectations; we're expecting bubble-gum pop SF. We're expecting our heroes to be heroes, and our damsels to be in distress. We're basically expecting the joys of those old Flash Gordan movies and even A New Hope. That's the power of that title; it lends itself beautifully to those expectations, and yes, hope that the days of dire, boring, gore-filled snooze-fests, with the grim and gritty "reality" state have finally flew from Star Wars.

The A plot itself holds up those expectations. We're seeing Luke's stint as a General of the New Republic here as he goes about tackling those bad guys in the ways which only he can do. Then of course it's the obligatory rescue attempt of him by Han and Leia. It's just classic Star Wars fun.

The thing is that Matthew Stover takes that plot and wraps it in proverbial bacon.

Because the B plot is just pure Stover as it deals with light/dark and good and evil in ways which Star Wars fans have loved since Traitor. The B plot basically revolves around what it means to be a hero and a celebrity, and this is also couched in the Dark/Light motifs of the Star Wars mythos. It touches on questions about Luke, and what it means for him to be both a Hero of the Republic, as well as personally responsible for millions of deaths on the Death Star; and how Luke is portrayed in what amounts to pop-culture in the GFFA. As the repercussions of the B plot slapped into place in my head, I just had to stare at the novel in awe; it made me feel smarter, just holding a book that Stover wrote.

The characters here were just a joy to behold. The primary players are the usual suspects in terms of the Star Warriors as represented by Luke, Leia, Han, Lando, Chewie and the droids. On the opposite side of things we have Blackhole, the old Marvel villain, as the baddie.

I must say, after the horrible handling the past, oh... decade of the big three, it was a joy to see them once more in their prime. Luke worried about doing the right thing. Leia, caustic, certain and in love with Han. Han himself a pirate, and not quite willing to turn in his upgrades and of course, Lando, the consummate gambler, willing to bet all sorts of things in order to get things done. Best of all, Matthew Stover just seems to understand these characters, much in the same way that Timothy Zahn seemed to.

Blackhole on the other hand is just pure genius. Everything from his thoughts on his training to how he perceives the other characters. I just loved him; he was overtly and purposefully two-dimensional for a good bit of the book, and we find out just in time that, yes, he does have a ton of depth going on there.

As for minor characters, there was a forgettable Mando, and a forgettable Clone Soldier, and finally a couple of characters from another of Mr. Stover's Star Wars novels--the one that's not Traitor.

Most of the action occurs on the planet of Mindor; a former resort world more or less decimated by a science experiment gone awry. The most interesting thing there though, is the meltmassif. One can't go into just why without spoilers, so you'll have to read the book to find out.

All the technology is pretty old-school as far as starships and what not are concerned. Which is sensible since the book is set just shortly after Truce at Bakura. One important thing to note is the inclusion of a Ship's AI. We still don't have them using the holographic communication arrays to generate avatars a la the Andromeda Ascendant, but this is a clear cut case that starships, at least the Republic ones, have AI's that have distinct personalities. For example, Corellian starships are ornery and somewhat rude, while the Mon Cal cruiser which is Lando's flagship is distinctly female--and a flirt.

As one might have surmised from the somewhat... glowing nature of the technical merits of this book, I enjoyed it a lot. This is much like the memory of the feeling I had when I first picked up I, Jedi all those years ago and was thus the starting point for this whole Star Wars fandom thing for me.

I honestly can't think of a single thing that I found distracting or bad about this book. I'm certain that there are things of that nature within it; and I will probably find them in a year or two after 3, or 4 additional reads (again, much like I, Jedi). But the book itself was such fun, the characters so recognizable, the situations enjoyable, that the book as a whole occupies a basically rose-tinted, warm fuzzy place in my heart.

But it gets better. This is a book crouched in Star Wars lore. Everything from characters that pop up at random to the main antagonist. There are nods for over 30 years of continuity through out this book. And Matthew Stover made it accessible. I had left it sitting on a table, and my wife--who doesn't read Star Wars novels--read some of it, and said to me, "I could read this book. It doesn't seem like I have to read all those other books to understand it."

So, after great mechanics, being accessible, and just a joy to read, this novel gets a 4 out of 4.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Emperor Gets A New Job

It's video Time!!

Monday Mornings for the Magick Man!

As any and all who know me in real life is probably aware, I spent all of last week, assisting my wife in watching my brother-in-law's 4 children while they were indisposed due to their job. What this translates into is, not nearly enough time for my geeky things as any spare time I had was helped fielding issues involving the 6 of them. Also, for the record, I have the eldest grandchild on my wife's side of the family; this batch was aged 5,4,3,2,1,1(yes that's a set of twins).

But it gets better! That batched went off on 1/30, which happens to be my eldest son's birthday. On the 31st, my younger brother and HIS 4 came up for my eldest's birthday party. That means for that weekend, I had 6 kids in the house aged 7,6,5,3,2,1.

My eyes kind of look like this:

Yeah, it's definitely a Vision day. But the torture was not without its amusing moments. For example, early on with my brother-in-law kids, I took the eldest two from each set and went up the road to Kroger's. On the way home, Ron (the eldest from my Bro-in-law) pointed to the little button that controls the window for the back seat and said, "Uncle Stephen, Mr. Rick has this button on his car, and he says that his car is a magic car because of that. So that means you have a magic car too."

Nonplussed, because who doesn't want a magic car, I merely agreed, and was ready to push it from my mind, when my son spoke up.

His words were,"It's not magic. See," at this point, he began pushing the button, which we have turned off because of the children riding in the backseat. "They don't work, so this isn't a magic car."

Now, one can hear the slight confusion in Cam's voice as he then asks me, "So how do you control the windows?"

Without missing a heartbeat, I exclaimed, "I do it!" And then reached my arm into the back seat, pointed at his window and then waved my hand down, while at the same time pressing the window control built into the driver's door console. After a moment, I waved my hand upwards, and rolled the window back up.

One can imagine the gasp of surprise from this 4 year old, who mainly rides in mini-vans.

My son though, God bless his literal soul, was entirely unimpressed by my supernatural capabilities. I could HEAR his eyes rolling as he said, "Dad has buttons on the door that controls the windows."

Luckily, my son's disclaimer did not overcome what the younger child viewed as unequivocal proof of magical capabilities on my part. Thus, he leaned over to my son, and in a somewhat loud whisper, declared, "Nathan, I think your Dad is the...[yes, there was a pause for dramatic effect] Magick Man!"

At which time I tried my best not to burst out into gales of laughter, which would of course have ruined my image as the Magick Man.

There was one rather large drawback to the influx of family taht stormed through my house over the past few days (upon days) and that is that I now have a rather large backlog of anime/manga and other geekiness in which to wade through.

In fact, it's so bad, that I only have the barest of impressions for you all today, so here goes:

  • V: The New Series -- Good Lord, wasn't the first series bad enough? Or are we finally going to learn about the Star Child??
  • Pride & Prejudice & Zombies -- All I know is that I hope the Zombies eat Mr. Darcy
  • Star Wars: DeathTroopers cover -- Is this going to be a Star Wars/SAW crossover or is it Star Wars Zombies? Not sure which concept frightens me more...
  • A He-Man remake? Just so long as they get Dolph Lungden again.\
  • The Final Watchmen poster -- I'm still truly and totally stoked over that movie, and can't wait for it. ... that's odd, there was no snark in that comment... :|
  • The MiddleMan on DVD -- YES! YES! YES! Now, if only they don't make the rather stupid decision to base the second season on DVD sales. I believe this may be ABC Family's last hope in keeping my attention. If it is not revived, I'm permanently removing the channel from my TV.
There, that wasn't so hard, now was it? And fear not, I'll be back to my rambling self in time for next week's edition.

So, that's it for this week, and let's remember that it's good to be the Magick Man. Now, if only I could decide if I wanted to say that with the cadences of "It's good to be a Gangster" or not.

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