Tuesday, December 16, 2014

tofubeats special mix for hikki

Listen to this remix!  I miss Utada Hikaru a lot.  I hope the cover album that just came out means she is coming back with a new album soon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Another Levi Figure

Only about $195 USD (sarcasm).  From what I can tell from the store pictures and description, he has 5 different looks of disdain from his eyes and 2 different mouth expressions to express all that disdain.  Also included are the armchair, a full teacup, a black book, and a pistol.  He does look snazzy in a suit.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Movies I rewatch when they come on TV

"Dolores Claiborne" -- I remember actually seeing this in the movie theater and being really bummed out watching it.  It's not a feel good movie by any means.  Kathy Bates is unattractive and generally unlikable through the whole movie.  The movie (except in flashbacks) seems to have a dark blue filter over the whole thing making it even more dreary.  But it's a compelling drama.  You realize when Dolores went through her whole life to make a good life for her daughter.  The dialogue is very Stephen King-like which is not a positive, but this mystery/drama has a heart under the blue filter.  I think Kathy Bates was better in this than in "Misery."

"The Shawshank Redemption" -- Another Stephen King adaptation.  The narration by Morgan Freeman turns the movie into a modern fairy-tale.  Not a lot of chuckles in this one either.  Andy (Tim Robbins) crawls through a river of... well you know what... and gets sweet revenge while maintaining a lifelong friendship with Morgan Freeman's character, Red.  The ending is one of the best endings in movies.

"The Mummy" --  Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz star in the cheesiest of movie monster movies and its a heck of a good time.  The movie seems to know its just a fun romp and keeps a good sense of humor while chugging along a breakneck pace.  The special effects are pretty well done and still look pretty good for today.  Imhotep...

"Sling Blade" -- Billy Bob Thornton does a lot with his seemingly emotionless character Karl.  Dwight Yoakam is excellent is the sleazy boyfriend.  Young Lucas Black is incredibly likable as Frank the young boy.  It's the friendship between Karl and Frank that holds the movie together.  By the end of the movie we understand what Karl felt he had to do.  John Ritter has a small but memorable role.

"The Da Vinci Code" --  Another movie that has a blue filter over all of it.  Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou flee over Europe to find the Holy Grail.  The story is a bit muddled, but the music, the two leads, and the whole idea of finding the Holy Grail always gets to me.  It's another not feel good movie, and its a downer of a thriller, but the end where Tom Hanks is walking toward the Louvre always gives me the chills.  I think its mostly the music.

"Contact" -- A Jodie Foster science fiction movie?  Yeah, and its pretty good.  I like how the mystery unfolds about first the sounds, then the pictures, then the machine... but the end kinda sucks.  But Jodie Foster is likable and Matthew McConaughey is a young hottie in this one.

"Clueless" --  Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd in a "Emma"-style story.  Finally a romantic comedy on this list.  This story of a spoiled rich kid and her well-intentioned but misguided matchmaking is full of good writing and Alicia Silverstone really does a good job as Cher. Plus love that the song "Tenderness" by General Public plays at the end.  Love the 80s.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Steins;Gate" x IBM

It's cool to see the "Steins;Gate" group again in this short promoting IBM's "cognitive computing."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun" or "Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun"

It's all for the manga.
This show came out of nowhere this season to become one of my favorites.  Sakura decides to confess to her crush Nozaki.  Nozaki, being the clueless guy he is, thinks she is just fangirling over his secret status as a successful shojo manga author, and invites her to become part of his artistic crew.  Each episode has quite a few LOL moments.  You would think the show would dwell on Sakura and Nozaki's romantic relationship.  But the show actually focuses more on Nozaki's circle of friends who he has incorporated into his work, either physically as technical help, or spiritually as inspiration (or both).  Mikoshiba is a smooth-talking, popular high school boy, but he is actually the model for Nozaki's manga heroine.  Kashima is smooth-talking, "prince-like" high school girl, who serves as a model for Nozaki's manga hero.  The show has a lot of fun making fun of manga tropes by gender-swapping the inspirations for the manga characters.  Seo, Wakamatsu, and Hori, round out his group of friends and all their relationships get even more time than the Sakura-Nozaki relationship.  The comedy evolves from their each character's personalities and relationships, which go against manga-trope expectations.  It's all sounding academic right now, but just watch the show and bust a gut laughing.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

"Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders" ends... for now

Perfect poses.
So sad to watch the final episode of Jojo until it returns in January.  What will I look forward to on Fridays now?  The camaraderie among the group is fun to watch and each successive stand user they fight against is increasingly disturbing.  From evil babies to brain burrowing insect things, you can bet you will be surprised with each stand and stand user.  Still, my favorite is Joseph.  His sudden English exclamations of surprise and general upbeat attitude are something to look forward to each episode.  Polnareff might be my second favorite, just because he gets into the worst situations, but still keeps going.  Hurry up,  January!

OVAs for "Attack on Titan: No Regrets - Birth of Levi" manga

Original video animations based on "Attack on Titan: No Regrets" manga are coming out in December 2014 and April 2015.  Some cool action animation featuring my favorite character Levi is shown in this trailer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"JoJo's Bizarre Adventure"

Avdol, Kakyoin, Jotaro, Joseph....Bam!
"JoJo's Bizarre Adventure" is a 26 episode anime from 2012.  It's based on a manga by Hirohiko Araki. This season the sequel just began, "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders."  All the old episodes and the simulcast of "Crusaders" were recently made available on Crunchyroll.  I finished the old episodes quickly and am really enjoying the simulcast.  I like how the story starts off in the 1800s and the current story is set in the present day.  The show follows the adventures of the Joestar family, Jonathan in arc 1, Joseph in arc 2, and Jotaro in arc 3.  All of them are fated to battle the evil that is Dio, a really rotten guy who becomes even more rotten and totally evil when he puts on an ancient stone mask that turns him into a vampire.  The Joestars have special powers that allow them to battle Dio and other supernatural baddies just like Dio who could turn everyone in the world into a vampire.  The art style is old school, but still looks fresh, especially this season which seems to have a lot of money available for the production.  The drawings are well detailed and shadowed.  As the show progresses, there is more humor and self-awareness of how ridiculously fabulous all the characters are.  Each man is enormous and incredibly muscled and incredibly masculine but at the same time "fabulous" in its uber-masculinity with constant trash talk and occasional look-at-me pose that borders on a "feminine" vanity.  My favorite character is Joeseph, who is a little more fun than his grandfather Jonathan and grandson Jotaro.  Each week it's a treat to watch "Stardust Crusaders."

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Group shot at the end of the OP
"Haikyu!!" is a volleyball anime that started this Spring 2014 season that I'm really enjoying.  It's kinda like "Yowapeda" with great chemistry between all the team members.  Hinata is the enthusiastic, high-jumping, but short, first year member who is just happy to be on a team.  Kageyama is a self-centered first year settter who is learning to be a team player.  Will they be the awesome combo the Karasuno Volleyball Club needs to win?  Will there be a whiff of bromance every now and then?  Hmm.
Kageyama and Hinata
I really like the art style too with the characters looking not-too-moe but moe at the right times.  Note these shots of Sugawara-senpai.
Cute senpai
Regular senpai
There is quite a bit of comedy in the series, but still a decent amount of actual sports action.  I just finished episode 5 and they're about to start a match.  I wonder if it will be a 3 episode long match?  I'll find out in the next few weeks.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

"Let's Eat" K-drama

I haven't enjoyed a K-drama this much in a long time.   "Let's Eat" is  romantic comedy with FOOD PORN.  Seriously.  Every show has a long series of shots of the actors eating delicious food and looking extremely happy doing so.  I am amazed these actors did such a good job of eating on camera without looking like total messes and still conveying "this is yummy" all at the same time.  Each show had me hungry while watching.  Soo Kyung is a 30 something woman living alone in  Seoul who slowly becomes friends with her neighbors Dae Young, a younger man who is suspiciously slick, and Jin Yi, an optimistic and naive younger woman.  The chemistry between all the actors is very good and the comedy made me laugh out loud quite a bit.  There is a strange subplot involving a serial murderer, but it does serve to get the romance going.  If you want to watch a charming show with gorgeous people and gorgeous FOOD, watch "Let's Eat."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"Ping Pong the Animation"

Spring 2014 season has started and one show has stood out for me so far.  It's "Ping Pong the Animation."  The art style is unique, realistic but simplistic at the same time.  The dialogue is very realistic as well, almost like a live drama.  This one episode introduced Hoshino (aka, Peco) and Tsukimoto (aka, Smile) two talented first year students in a high school ping pong team.  They're childhood friends who trained at the same ping pong dojo (who knew there were ping pong dojos). They sneak over to the another high school to peek at the new Chinese exchange student recruited for ping pong.  All the dialogue from the Chinese student Wenge and his coach are in Mandarin, and it's not broken Mandarin or magically changed to Japanese. It's refreshing to see the producers committed to using fluent Chinese speakers.  Can't wait to see more of this noitaminA show.  It's currently streaming at Funimation in the United States.  Elsewhere it can be found at Crunchyroll.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

"Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden"

Oh Kircheis.
I put off watching the last two episodes of "LoGH Gaiden" because I didn't want to end the epic marathoning I've been doing on all things "LoGH."  But I have finally finished watching the main series, the "Gaiden" side stories series, and the movies which are retellings of the main series.  I admit the last season of the main series was a bit slow going, but it was all very satisfying.  I read that there is going to be a remake soon, but I find it hard to believe any animation studio will undertake to adapt the novel series in such a deep and detailed way that the existing 110-plus episodes does.  I hope to watch a "mature" anime like this again.  It's a war story that is sympathetic and critical to each side.  Loyalty and honor exist in the Galactic Empire and the Alliance.  So do corruption and greed.  Heroes Yang and Lohengramm exemplify loyalty and honor, but have opposing views on government.  The existence of this conflict alone makes this an anime of note, but the fantastic art style, classical music soundtrack, and intelligent internal and external dialogue really put this over the top.  Oh yes, and Reinhard von Lohengramm is super fabulous.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Legend of the Galactic Heroes"

I've been binge watching this 100-plus episode OVA series these last few days.  It's a fabulous space opera, full of political intrigue,  large scale space ship battles, and enjoyable characters.  Sure, it's full of long-winded explanations of past galactic history, but even that is fascinating to listen to.  The show is so deep it goes past 500 years sometimes to tell the backstory.  It's the democratic, but corrupt, Free Planets Alliance versus the autocratic, but corrupt, Galactic Empire in a fight for literal universal domination.  Yang Wen-li is an unwilling but capable military leader of the Alliance and Reinhard von Lohengramm is the charismatic up-and-coming military leader of the Empire. They develop a respect for each other's abilities even as they try to kill each other over several battles.   Each has their own cadre of several trusted subordinates and a cast of hundreds to interact with as they fight for victory.  In particular, Reinhard's relationships with his sister Annerose and his bestie Siegfried Kircheis are a big part of the show.  Yang Wen-li's relationship with his ward Julian Mintz is also a big part of the show. I've reached episode 62 and watched "My Conquest is the Sea of Stars" 60 minute OVA.  I really like the realistic art style of each person.  It's not moe eyes and adolescent bodies, although I do appreciate how gorgeous Reinhard is (see above).  The second season is a bit more gory which was a bit of a surprise, but I think it well emphasizes the devastation of war.  Seems like Yang is always treated badly by his government and that maybe he should just join von Lohengramm sometimes, but that wouldn't fit into Yang's character or the story.  Well, that may change since I haven't finished the series yet, but I am working on doing just that.