Archive for August, 2008

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Dee-lightfully yours…

August 27, 2008

In lieu of pondering doing a Bleach review like my Naruto one, or wondering which new anime series to watch (currently I’m re-watching Samurai Champloo), I didn’t want to leave the blog entry-less until I figured out what to do review-wise.

So… I decided to personalize, just a bit.

Yes, this will probably get the least read statistics when I’m looking over the blog, but no matter. We’ve always got to start somewhere.

Anyways, I’m currently reading the Maha Go Go Go manga [Japanese comics, and BTW, pronounced MAN (with the A like in mama) – GA (same thing as before with the A). If I hear one more person call it meingaa (like kanga)…..], which has done nothing to help with the wait for the Speed Racer DVD release. I suppose I could watch the old series again. (Well, the manga and the soundtrack. Good soundtrack, by the way.)

I’ve also tried to take up knitting. Yeah, I know, sounds totally dorky, but after I saw this Wonder Woman sweater, well, I imagined the possibilities. This is obviously something incredibly advanced, so I’m working on a beanie. Knitting is fun and it does look cool rather quickly, however the biggest problem I have with it is the time it takes. It makes me wonder how we as the world survived before textile factories…

I’m also in the midst of finishing off Doctor Who: Series 2. It took me a lot longer than I had thought to warm up to David Tennant. It’s not that I don’t like him as an actor, it’s that I found myself wishing for the Eccleston days. There may be a part of me that always misses that Doctor, but Tennant has solidified himself as far as I’m concerned. I’m hooked.

And believe it or not, yours truly is stressing over an upcoming kung fu test. My master is from Taiwan, so he doesn’t subscribe to any kind of belt system. We have three levels: teacher, disciple, and master. (I often explain it as starting off as a padawan, then jedi, jedi knight, and jedi master.) So I’m looking to leave my padawan status and become a jedi–teacher. The toughest thing right now isn’t necessarily the forms but the other parts, like holding the horse stance for two minutes and other proof of flexibility and strength requirements. *sigh* It makes me wish I’d done this as a kid, it’d be easier now. 😉

Lastly I want to recommend a website, I mean, since this is a blog about animation stuffs. This is my manga avatar I designed at Faceyourmanga.com. Contrary to what it says on the front, you don’t have to pay anything to get at least an avatar appropriate sized copy of your avatar. (And if you’ve got skills with Illustrator, getting a hi-rez version should be no problem). Head on over and see what you come up with.

So, that’s what’s happening currently in Dee world. (And only a few weeks to go for Speed Racer DVD, Avatar Book 3 DVD, and Pushing Daisies Season One DVD).

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*Fox sues WB over Watchmen?

August 21, 2008

This is super lame, Fox. Seriously, are you really that pathetic now that you have to resort to this?

Twentieth Century Fox is trying to stop Warner Bros. from releasing the Watchmen. In a lawsuit, Fox says it acquired the motion pictures rights to the graphic novel in the ’80s, and when it gave up some of those rights in 1991, it held onto the right to distribute the movie.

Monday, a federal judge in Los Angeles agreed with Fox’s claim and said there is enough evidence to keep the lawsuit moving forward. As a result the film’s March 16 release is on hold until the two sides or a judge settles the dispute. Fox has announced that instead of seeking a share of the sure-fire hit, it is intent on stopping the movie from being released.

The complaint states that when Fox teamed up with producer Larry Gordon in 1991 to develop a Watchmen movie, the rights were transferred to them and so was due payment if the film was ever made. Things didn’t work out in developing the movie so Fox and Gordon went their separate ways. In 2006, Gordon made a deal with Warner Bros. to make Watchmen and Fox is saying they never got paid.

Zack Snyder, director of 300 and Watchmen, has finished shooting the movie with stars Patrick Wilson, Carla Gugino and Billy Crudup, and is continuing post production. Watchmen is based on the groundbreaking graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

Well, at least they didn’t try and bring it to suit in January 2009, but STILL. I’m sure some of you are thinking, boycott Fox, but what’s that honestly going to do? What might get the right kind of attention would be sending smiley faces to Fox executives. (Because, yeah, you can quit watching 24 and the Sarah Conner Chronicles, but you’re not hurting Fox you’re hurting the producers, actors, and writers of those shows).

Anyways, thought I’d share the lame story.

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*Dilbert The Animated Series: Dull and Disappointing

August 18, 2008

I’ve had this series buried somewhere in the Netflix queue (it’s a problem for folks like me who find the 500 DVDs in your queue limit annoying) and when it appeared on the instaview list, I gave it a look. Now, let it be known that I LOVE the Dilbert comic strip. It’s probably the first one I look for in the “funnies,” and too realistic at times. 😉

I’m an avid fan of The Office and Office Space so you’d think I’d be all over this series. Well, I watched the first episode of the season… It was, well, forgettable. Still, I’m willing to give shows a fair chance. I looked over the episode descriptions and picked another that sounded amusing, still a C- at best.

The voice acting is spot on for the pointy-haired boss–at least I found it believable–Dogbert as well, but everyone else just seemed moderate. The writing was also just moderate (meaning not puke-faced terrible, but not great either). Larry Charles of Seinfeld fame was the head writer, so you’d think he’d have comedy down, but perhaps it was the direction or voice acting that dragged the series down.

There are, of course, Dilbert otakus who love the show and perhaps you’ll be one of them. But if you’re more like me, a when-I-see-a-newspaper, etc. reader, you’ll probably want to pass. For the most part, the funny comes from more bathroom and sexual humor than actual wit or clever writing. A couple of things were amusing, but this show doesn’t even hold a match stick let alone a spark to Family Guy, Simpsons, Futurama, or King of the Hill. Let’s just stick to the comic strip.

Comic Strip: A+
Series: C-

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*Death Note does Anti-Hero right

August 12, 2008

Mac of Visual Crack was the first to introduce me to Death Note, but really only in manga form. I read the first volume in English and decided the anime series was worth a look. Netflix sent me the first disc and I was hooked.

Death Note is the story of a kid stumbling upon a strange Death Note (as the Japanese word for notebook is noto or “note” basically. So when you hear the word “note” just substitute “notebook” in your mind). The notebook has the power to kill simply by writing the name of the victim in the book while picturing him/her. Believing the world is too corrupt, the kid takes it upon himself to rid the world of criminals–and anyone who gets in his way.

THE CHARACTERS:

Light Yagami
A 17 yr old, attractive, things come to me too easily, high school student who soon goes to college to study law and basically become a cop like his father. He stumbles upon the Death Note and becomes the owner and the anti-hero protagonist of the story. He is also referred to as “Kira” (a japanese version of the word killer) by the police.

L
A world famous detective no one has ever seen before the “Kira” case. L is odd, smart, and a sweet-aholic. (And no, he isn’t sucking his thumb, he’s pressing it against his bottom lip, a habit when he’s thinking hard). L’s my favorite character of the series. I think the chibi version of him in plushies and what not are chou kawaii!

Shinigami: Ryuk and Rem
A shinigami is like a grim reaper, literally translated as “death god.” I’ve also seen it translated as “soul reaper” (see Bleach). In the series they are the owners of the death notes, and Ryuk in particular likes leaving them lying around for unsuspecting humans to pick up. Ryuk probably comes second in my favorite character of the series. I like his “whatevs” attitude.

Misa Amane
Hey, what’s anime without an annoying character? Very much typical teenage Japanese girl–well, that and a pop star–Misa has a super mega crush on Light and wants to help him in anyway she can. One of those self-sacrificing girls, but in a pathetic way. She’s probably my least favorite, but she makes for some interesting moments between the three of them (L, Light and Misa).

Mello, Near, etc.
There are quite a few other players that impact the story significantly, mostly being Mello and Near, but also Light’s dad and members of the police team to catch Kira. I can’t say I really cared for Mello or Near, though Near I like more, since he’s kind of like a little brother version of L. (If you think an L obsession is weird, watch the series and tell me if you feel differently! I dare you!)

ANIME SERIES & EPISODE GUIDE:

Well, this is really more of a warning. It’s interesting how like the villain the movie Seven, you almost find yourself agreeing with Light. It’s also kind of disorienting to have the main character really be the bad guy in a sense (I’m trying not to spoil too much here).

Since the show isn’t hardly as long as Naruto, nor Bleach, this guide will be short. Without posting spoilers, once again, you should know you’ll likely be addicted to the show like crack until about episode 25. Some major plot changes are implemented, and in my opinion, the anime becomes less good–at least I didn’t care. In fact, I was affected so much by the change I had zero motivation to keep going with the anime and it took me a couple of weeks to get myself to finish it off.

Episodes 26 and on (up to 37) do contain interesting plot points and are worthwhile if you’ve enjoyed the series thusfar. There is also a bittersweet ending to the series, in a Shakespearian way, so the end was worthwhile for me, but it’s ANIME, 9 times out of 10 it isn’t going to end the way you’d want. 😉

So is it worth it? Yes. You’ll love it, well, if anime is your thing.

Anime series: A

LIVE-ACTION MOVIES:

Sometimes you wonder how a live-action movie will translate from manga, but if it works for Nodame Cantabile it’s gotta work for others, right? (*wink*) In this case I think it added to the Death Note universe. A warning to the animation fans… They will deviate from the manga and the series, but I think a lot of the deviations work.

Ryuk and Light argue over the philosophical issues of the Death Note. ;)

Ryuk and Light argue over the philosophical issues of the Death Note.

When we join Light in the first movie he’s already discovered the Death Note and is off-handedly discussing it with his girlfriend (aka he’s talking about Kira and his opinion of Kira without actually connecting the dots). And yeah, GIRLFRIEND. For the movies (since let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no, no, no, no way you can put EVERYTHING everybody wants, let alone yourself into a two-hour movie, especially with a series with enough material to make 37 episodes. 1/2 hr x 37 = 18.5 hours of material which equals at least 9 movies worth of time. Keep this in mind when you’re hating on Harry Potters or Twilight or other book adaptations.) …as I was saying, for the movies, his having a girlfriend worked. There just wasn’t enough time to develop the characters as well as the series did, even with two, and the girlfriend factor helped Light arc quickly.

L reveals he's the real brains behind the Truman Show.

L reveals he's the real brains behind the Truman Show.

But don’t get the movies wrong, for the most part they stick to the plot. My only qualm with the movies was the seemingly lack of time spent on developing L and a non-existent friendship between L and Light we got to see in the series. (I’m an L fan, ya know). However, the actor who plays L (Ken’ichi Matsuyama) I thought did a fabulous job. He had a lot of the mannerisms down and I thought was a little more interesting than Light.

The actor who played Light (Tatsuya Fujiwara), did a good job, but there was just something lacking. I think I prefer the voice acting job (Miyano Mamoru) did as opposed to Tatsuya’s performance, but it works for the movie.

L refuses the DoCoMo promotion.

L refuses the DoCoMo promotion.

I prefer the ending of the story in the movies to the anime series, simply because I kept expecting something like what happened in the movies to happen in the anime series. But if we’re talking overall Death Note, then I’d like a mix of the movies and the series. It’s interesting the trend even Hollywood is taking to making anime into live-action. (I just am opposed to Keanu playing Spike Spiegel is all).

Obviously it works, since Death Note was wildly successful in Japan ($28 mil for the first movie $53 mil for the second–tix sales) and will make some good money for Viz here.

Movie: A- (mostly for lack of development for L)

HOW TO SEE DEATH NOTE:

The anime series you can catch it in English (*puke*) on Adult Swim (Cartoon Network for the uniformed) in the early morning hours. It’s posted on the net with good fansubs. Or you can do it the Netflix way (which is the way I started) with your choice of English or subs–they have 6 discs available. I did Netflix + the internet.

The movies they recently screened at select theaters back in May across America, and you’ll be able to pick up the first movie on September 16th at Amazon or the like. I got both on ebay, Hong Kong versions. I’ve heard the dub is no good, so stick with subs.

There’s also a new spin-off movie called L: Change the World which came out in February which I have yet to see, but if it’s got L I’m all about it. Once I see it I’ll let you know.

MANGA:

I think the full series is available in English. It’s good, but yeah, it’s basically the book version of the anime. Still, I’ve been reading it in my spare time and find it worthwhile.

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*Comic-Con 2008: Swag, Costumes, etc.

August 1, 2008
Bags were a popular handout this year.

Bags were a popular handout this year.

This will probably be my last entry for Comic-Con 2008, but there’s always the 2009 event upcoming. There are lots of forums to attend and lines to stand in, but that’s not all of the Comic-Con experience. There’s also the exhibit floor, the wacky costumes and of course, the free stuff.

As I mentioned earlier, I never was able to get me a “Big Frakkin Bag” and I’m sad I didn’t get the Pushing Daisies Warner Bros. bag either, but I still came away with loads of stuff, most of which is posters, sample books, and flyers (so many flyers), and a lot of which is not pictured here. I just wanted to give the curious an idea of what you’re in for. I think we may expect an increase in entry fee to the Con as well. Last year I believe it was $55 for a 4-day pass, this year it was $75 (which still sold out), I’m wondering if they’ll keep bumping it to see how far they can take it. I wouldn’t be surprised.

The Caped Crusaders--lego-ized!

The Caped Crusaders--lego-ized!

Lego Indy

Lego Indy

Something else to look forward to is what Lego will present. If it seems odd to you that Lego would be at a “comic” convention, well, it shouldn’t. Not with Lego Star Wars, Lego Batman, and Lego Indiana Jones all making it to consoles. I’d really like to take one of these statues home. I think they’ve had contests in the past. Anyone ever built something to these scales out of Legos? I’m always impressed.

The Dynamic Duo?

The Dynamic Duo?

Hyrulians invade!

Hyrulians invade!

Costumes. Lots of people dressed up. I think July could be the second most likely month to find grown ups wearing costumes in a perfectly acceptable environment (the first being Halloween).

And you are guaranteed to find someone dressed as a storm trooper, simply guaranteed. Take a moment to absorb.

more troops

storm troops

Storm trooper

another

People love to dress up. I’m kind of sad I didn’t have some kind of sweet costume I’d been working on all year (except for the all year part). Dunno, I’ve got friends who want to dress up next year, and well, it wouldn’t be Comic-Con without cosplay. If I do, I’ll post it here. 😉

A few more costumes to enjoy:
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

mad?

mad?

aliens!

aliens!

the firelord!

the firelord!

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He's got the power...

He's got the power...

Quantum of Solace?

Quantum of Solace?

The exhibit hall is basically a quarter mile of booths, some with swag, some not. You can still buy comics (*wink*) but you can also pick up art from upcoming artists, get advance copies of books, or partial advance copies, or just look at awesome He-Man and Grayskull decor. And just because comics have a nerdy stigma, don’t think James Bond won’t be stopping buy.

yeah, that's a star trek guy takin' the photo

yeah, that's a star trek guy takin' the photo

If you’re tired of the forums on the inside, you can head just outside of the convention center, where there may be events going on. I particularly liked seeing all the statues promoting Mummy 3, but they also had people holding Fringe balloons and it’s also where I got my History Channel Dinosaur bag (kind of odd to be at Comic-Con, I thought, but whatever, it’s free).

Will Riker

Will Riker

And last but not least, a typical sight at a Comic-Con is the has-been actors. Oh, come on! Yes, he was in Star Trek: TNG, and yeah, he’ll probably always (at least to the Star Trek crowd) be remembered for it, but what has he done lately besides conventions and docs about Star Trek. Honestly? Well, either way, it was fun to see him and snap a photo anyways.

You can always count on a new Star Trek movie to bring the old stars back out of the attic. Which, btw, I’m a little excited for, simply because I love Zachary Quinto. Hey, is it wrong to love villains, namely Sylar. Sure, he’s evil, but he does such a good job at it.

Well, it’s been fun and interesting and crowded, but still a worthwhile go. The weather was great, and next time I really should try to see the San Diego sites instead of just hanging out with 25,000 + people all day. 2009, here we come!