Monday, March 31, 2014

Arcade Gamer Fubuki (by RamuneRoxy)

Arcade Gamer Fubuki was an OVA produced by Bandai in 2002. Theme wise, it bears similarities to the '89 film, The Wizard (A film best known for being a 90-minute Nintendo commercial), although it has more to do with a '78 manga titled Game Center Arashi; which this show serves as a fan-made sequel to. The DVD cover proudly proclaims it to be "from the screenwriter of Cowboy Bebop", but it's actually from someone who only wrote one episode for that series, so the blurb on the package is only half-true.

This pic sums up part of the series quite well, actually

The story stars a girl named Fubuki, whom was gifted with a pair of Passion Panties; magical underwear that grants her supernatural skills at arcade games. With this secret weapon under her skirt, she enters a game tournament to test her skills, but finds more than she bargained for when it's revealed that an evil organization is trying to disrupt the tournament as part of their mysterious plans; and among their ranks is a girl with her own pair of Passion Panties.

Who needs Gameshark when you have magic panties?

For something from '02, the plot is full of the sort of cheesiness you'll find in mid '90s OVAs, with some fanservice (Nothing more extreme than a panty shot or bouncy breasts, though) and Sega arcade games. The art style is visually pleasing; it has a very nice look and feel to it, and the arcade games featured (All "off-branded" versions of real games, like Space Invaders) have a retro feel, with the exception of the Sega games featured; which use real game footage, in similar vein to Ben-To.

A gamer 65 million years in the making

To me, the story in this progresses at a fairly comfortable space within the number of episodes given; it feels like watching a movie broken down into four 22-minute parts. The only real issue I have is how one part of the ending had little build-up to it, but to avoid going into spoilers, I can't say much beyond it being brought up in episode 1, then never mentioned again until the final episode. But, it's not too bad compared to some other obscure OVAs I've watched in the past; that seem to resolve major plot threads almost immediately after they're introduced. There is a bonus 6-minute episode, but it really only amounts to a fanservice reel narrated by Sanpeita (The creepy boy with the camera; who seems obsessed with Fubuki) with only a few laughs; not really worth watching, since it doesn't add anything beyond fanservice.

Although I'm sure some will enjoy the fanservice as much as he does

The original Japanese voice acting is actually pretty solid, although the subtitles on the official release leave much to be desired; especially in how they somehow mistranslated Glass Joe, whose name is a reference to a character from Nintendo's PunchOut series, to "Joe Dallas"; even when the announcer says "Glass Joe" in English. Granted, I heard that the group who did the subtitles for this actually despised the series greatly; hence why they gave it such minimal effort.

As for the English voice acting, it's not that great; many of the problems with translation that exist in the Japanese sub are present here as well, while some of the main cast come off as annoying due to their choice in voices. However, it's worth watching if only for Dan Green; who somehow makes it worthwhile.

Se-ga~

This OVA has a certain charm to it for how laughable the whole thing is. It's also definitely not for everyone; you might want to avoid showing this to younger viewers, more conservative relatives, or people uncomfortable with a series that routinely shows the panties of a younger girl. However, if you have a group of friends that are at least 14 or older, and are looking for something that will give you a good laugh, then by all means check this out.

Her skills at DDR are also a plus

Arcade Gamer Fubuki is available from Central Park Media and various torrent sites. Although it's been out of print for years, the DVDs are fairly cheap to come by if you want to own a copy.

Not quite what I meant by "panty shot", but alright

2.5\5

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Anime Boston 2014


Dear readers, do you like going to Anime Cons? Want to, or perhaps, like me, attend regularly? I figured since this is an Anime blog, I'd write a quick post about this year's trip to Anime Boston.

A poster my friend got. It's signed by one of the producers of Sailor Moon, as well as the english Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon, and the original Sailor Saturn! :0

Some families take vacations every year; in my case, I go to Anime Boston every year. It's right around my birthday, so as a gift, people often give me con money or pay for my registration. This was my 5th year going, and although I say this every time, this was the best year yet.

For some reason it gets better and better every con. -w-

It kicked off thursday evening, with a very rushed bout of packing and screeching out at about 7pm (a full hour after I had intended to leave), after spending the day cooking snacks for con and going to my monthly volunteer position at the local library's anime club. Me and my Mum (she volunteered to drive me down; I'd gladly have taken my own car, but sadly, parking in the city was not meant to be) sped down the highway as I frantically gave out directions and tried to contact all of my friends who were going to confirm exactly when Pass Pickup closed (we eventually found out it was 10pm, so we breathed a sigh of relief as I ran in and out of the hotel to snag my badge). After this little fiasco came the worse part: locating my friend's apartment. Despite having correct directions (for once, Google got it right) and phone reassurance from my friend, Mum kept second-guessing everything and turning around every 2 minutes, resulting in quite a bit of shouting and back-tracking. By the end of it, she rescinded her offer to pick me up sunday since she was so stressed out. Once there, I settled into home base (a large chair) and set to work preparing the weekend's porn folders (I'll explain later).

The porn folders are a gag i've been doing since my first con. Pictured is a lovely woman i became fast friends with during the con (i hope she doesn't mind her picture being up here!! ;^; ).

Friday saw me waking up very early (7am?), and spending at least another 2-2.5 hours on the folders, then sharing the bathroom with my fellow con-goers (my friend Mel, her room mate Sarah, and Mel's friends Alex and Jake) as we all got ready and left. We tramped down the street proudly, cosplays donned like flags of honour, and headed off towards the train station. One short (but likely awkward for the other MBTA patrons) train ride later, and we were walking down the sidewalk towards the convention centre. After Bag Checks (these became manditory after the Marathon Bombings last year, with items as benign as sewing needles being labeled "contraband" and confiscated), we all parted ways and went off to our respective panels. First up for me was a Gijinka panel (if you're unfamiliar, read up here: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/gijinka-擬人化-humanization ), which, being that I was cosplaying an OS-tan (japanese meme character; personifications of various computer OSes, programs, etc), I had to go to to edumacate some bitches. The hoster turned out to be really nice and very receptive to my porn folder afterward (I've cosplayed as OS-tans for 5 years, so I like to do a little "file sharing" in the form of gag "porn" folders which have links to OS-tan sites and my sites, including this blog). After this, I wandered, eventually being drawn into the weekend's first trip into the Dealer's Room. I met a lovely woman who I would converse with several times over the course of the weekend, and happily accepted one of the porn folders as well. After checking out at the booth she was volunteering at, I wandered, snapping pictures of the various nice things I couldn't afford. I found my way to the vintage booth, where I was informed that yes, sadly, their Lum Plushie from last year had been sold. However, I perked up once I saw some moderately priced Evangelion items. I ended up putting a deposit down on an Asuka figure, since my brother-in-law adores the character and I knew would appreciate her quite a bit.

I had also toyed with the idea of getting him a wall scroll, but both he and my sister assured me that they didn't have the room (and the cats would potentially destroy it).

Friday continued with panels, though (much to my and two other cosplayers' frustration), the Gender Identity in Anime panel was full by the time I got there. Instead, me and my friend Arty (who was working security that year and had taken a break to go to the panel with me) wandered off, having some "fun" with a Unicorn, getting a present for Mum in the Artists' Alley and eventually stopping in the Sheraton so I could switch cosplays for the evening. Right after switching, I hit the Swap Meet. I had been looking forward to it for months now, having acquired a large number of manga (and even a DVD) to swap. Towards the middle, Arty had to go back on shift, but I stayed, managing to swap about half of my trade fodder for a mountain of rare stuff and getting a nice cardboard box to store it all in. Shortly after, I was met by Mum and my sister, who dropped off some additional con funds, and then went on their way. I did as well, heading to the next (and final) big event of the night: Extreme Geek. for those unfamiliar, Extreme Geek is part panel, part game show, and all weird. I met up with some friends, and we got excellent seats (2nd row from the front). Most of us even got to participate (which was a crapload of fun), but despite all efforts (including me helping to act out a scene from Game of Thrones and my friend Kevin drinking what sounds like one of the most awful concoctions ever thought up....and then going back for more), the audience lost this year (a shock!). After filing out, we went our separate ways, me meeting up with Mel, Sarah, and Sarah's boyfriend Kevin, who had joined the group staying at the apartment. One cab ride later, and we were back at the abode, me settling in to work on folders and eventually heading off to sleep (despite the others' wish to watch Attack on Titan).


Your lovely reviewer is in the centre, with the teal hair, glasses, and the tiger-print bikini.

Saturday rung in at the same early hour as Friday, which was not good given that i went to bed around 2:30 or so. Despite this, i downed breakfast (a coke and half a bag of goldfish...whoo~) and ended up getting ready and leaving without everyone else (since they were wasting their con away in bed and i had an early panel). Short walk, train ride, bag check, and i'm back in the fray, only to find out that my early panel had been canceled and replaced with.....Zelda. (ugh. no offense to Zelda lovers out there, i like it too, but it was a Princess Jellyfish panel....how often do those come along!?). Feeling sour, i sat down in front of the windows on the second floor, at a loss of what to do. I waited around and texted some friends, eventually meeting up with my dear friend Cockle, and she and I hit the Dealers' Room once again. Eventually we parted ways (she was late for a check-in), and i did one of the things i had resolved to do this con: i went to the Doujin booth and bought an OS-tan doujin. (for those unfamiliar, learn about Doujinshi here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dōjinshi ) after this, i occupied myself with the Know Your Meme panel (got picked twice and answered correctly both times, it was a proud moment -w- ), and after that, finding myself in a lull of activity, i went to the Manga Library. there (after some texting) i met up with Arty again, who got some cosplay pics of me before i switched back to Lum and sped off to the Sailor Moon Merchandise panel. She went back on shift and I enjoyed hearing about all the interesting items released back in Japan, and afterward went back to the gem of the con: the Swap Meet.

Two manga, and this was mine!!! :0000

after spending a good hour in there and swapping off the rest of my manga (as well as chatting with some very nice people, including the author of the Anime Nostalgia Podcast located at http://animenostalgia.blogspot.com/ ), i ran into a Michael Jackson cosplayer (in his Beat It outfit) who i had met years before. He took my picture, and wanted to arrange for a small photo shoot, but before he could come back with all the other people, i had to leave to go off to one of the largest events of the con: the Hentai Dubbing. however, by the time i left, it was too late anyway, as my friends (who had been saving a place for me towards the front of the line) had already filed inside. feeling burnt out and frustrated, i tracked down Mel and managed to get her keys, heading back to the apartment alone.

I always laugh a little bit whenever i see convention advertisements in public spaces. It's like we're space invaders and this is our way of saying "WE COME TO TAKE OVER YOUR CITY (for a weekend)". -w-

Sunday was filled with that same contradictory feeling it always is: at once, you can feel a winding-down of things, and an urgency to pack as much experience as you can into the final moments of the nerd mecca. I started the day not knowing what to do, so i went to the Mamas of Shojo Manga panel (and was very glad i did, as i picked up on some new titles to check out). After this let out, i had some time before my next panel, so i went back to the dealer's room, spending every last dollar i had (i feel weird if i leave the con with money, like i didn't complete it to the fullest). Now broke, i sped off to the final panel of the day: Bishonen: Princes vs. Scoundrels. i met up with an old friend (whom i couldn't place until literally just now) and met some nice girls from a city near mine. the panel was fun, i was glad i went, and after it let out i had some time to kill, so i went to the Manga Library again, where i met up with my friend Katherine and eventually Cockle again. this reunion was short-lived, however, as i had to get in line for Closing Ceremonies and they had to go off to meet up with their friends to go home. We parted ways, and i eventually met up with Kevin and Ron, and eventually Dan (3 of the friends who went with me to Extreme Geek and had saved the place for me during the Hentai Dubbing) in line for Closings, and we all sat together as we said goodbye to the big con guests, learned of the attendance number (we broke 25,000 attendees this year!!) and of next year's con dates and theme. after staying for the winning AMVs, i took the train back to the apartment and packed.

Your hapless reviewer, in her daytime cosplay, Windows XP Home (aka Homeko).

About an hour later, we were picked up by Mel's mom, and she drove us 4 (me, Mel, Jake, and Alex) back home (with the exception of Mel, who ended up leaving immediately to take a bus back to Boston). A quick stop, and then i was back home, where i was recieved by a very hostile reception (a typical day in the life of living with my dad) and settled in for some much needed food and rest (the last full meal i had eaten had been thursday morning).

I filled this entire cardboard box to the top with stuff from con.

despite the unwelcome homecoming, it was a spectacular con that i dubbed both RareCon (due to the large amount of rare items and happenings i had) and BootCon (this being the year i premiered my calf boots for my Lum cosplay and was introduced to Das Boot at Extreme Geek (don't worry, it's SFW): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuDtACzKGRs ). i walked out of there with 29 books, 2 dvds, 6 posters/wall scrolls, 10 plushies/figures, and 16 miscellaneous items. yep, this was probably the best con yet. -w-

That unicorn had it coming.

Announcing the Advent of Guest Reviews


Hello Readers~!

As you may have noticed, I'm not the most attentive reviewer, or at least not as much as I used to be. Life gets in the way, and before you know it, 3 weeks have gone by and you haven't watched a thing. Time has a tendency to slip away from you when you aren't looking.

Please hit me. I feel like this is exactly what I deserve. (Image from Magical DoReMi)

What does this mean? Though my melodramatic speech may make it sound like I am closing down the blog, I love you all (and the anime) too much to do anything nearly as drastic. Instead, I'm going to start posting reviews from my friends as well as me, to fill in the gaps a little bit. Sure, it may not be my voice writing it, but I can assure you this is a good thing, since in addition to picking up some of the slack, it opens up a wider pool of series to review. For example, there are plenty of series that I simply have no interest in seeing. (*coughcoughAttackonTitancough*) They may be excellent series, but without that marginal interest there I just won't make it through at all. (*coughcoughNichijoucough*) It's nothing against the series itself, it's more about how I'd subconsciously procrastinate and we'd end up with a situation much like the one I've dug myself into now.

I'm not worthy of your forgiveness, but perhaps this humble offering will please you? (Image from Sailor Moon)

For the time being, there's only one other person that will be contributing to this blog, Ramune Roxy. However, I have opened up the possibility to my whole pool of friends, so there is the potential for more in the future. One of them even toyed with the idea of doing video reviews, since he's much better in a spoken than written context (the exact opposite of me, ha ha). At the moment, this all remains speculation, however, and we will start off slowly, with a review by Roxy next week. ^^

I'M NOT WORTHY OF YOUR PITY, I'M REALLY JUST AWFUL, ASYMMETRICAL GARBAGE (PLEASE TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR ROXY'S FIRST REVIEW) (Image from Martian Successor Nadesico)

I hope that this works out best for everyone, since I know I'm excited about it! ^^

Thanks for Reading~!

- 光♠

From Up on Poppy Hill


Miyazaki's second-to-last film (or is it?), From Up On Poppy Hill premiered in the summer of 2011 and was scripted by Miyazaki Senior while being directed by Miyazaki Junior. It is based off the 1980 manga of the same name, and follows a high school girl named Umi in the 1960's as she comes to terms with aspects of her family life while helping her classmates clean up and save a prolific old building on their school's campus.

Ships play a big role in this movie. (Also, I love Ghibli's habit of working their name into the background.)

Matsuzaki Umi is a 16-year-old who lives in a boarding house on top of a large hill in her town. Due to absentee parents, she takes on many duties in the house, such as preparing breakfast for the residents (including her grandmother and younger siblings) and getting her brother and sister ready for school. Her deceased father, a ship captain, taught her about signal flags in her youth, so before school every morning she raises some in the back yard. This captures the attention of her classmate, Kazama Shun, who is the editor of the school newspaper and writes a poem about her and her signal flags. After a publicity stunt by him leaves her with a negative impression, Umi's friend wants to get Shun's autograph, and Umi accompanies her to the old Quartier Latin building which serves as a hub for the school's many extra-curricular activities. After this encounter, Umi and Shun strike up a friendship and eventually team up (along with many of the other students) to clean up the Quartier Latin building in an attempt to save it from demolition.

I will never understand why she doesn't just put on her school uniform first thing in the morning.

I didn't expect much out of From Up on Poppy Hill, but (due in large part to owning a local theatre's poster of it) was still excited for the movie. I was blown away from my initial judgement of it; it may appear slow and sedate on the surface, but inside is something colourful, alive, and multi-faceted. It's a very refreshing addition to the Ghibli roster.

Yay, friendship!

The artwork is impressionistic, which isn't something commonly seen in Ghibli films, and it compliments the loud, bold nature of the parts it's featured in. The mixed representations of colour in certain scenes comes together with the jazzy soundtrack and the solid linework to paint a distinct picture. it uses a much wider pallet than you would expect out of a Showa school story, leaving you with a bold, crisp visual.

It may look like a hot mess, but the Quartier Latin has a rich history worth saving.

The story behind From Up on Poppy Hill is a solid one. I haven't read the original manga, so I don't know how faithful it is to the original story, but the movie is a fine example of Ghibli's work. The main, overarching plot is interwoven with subplots, resulting in a rich, engaging story that kept me hooked until the end. The subject matter, while not risqué, may go over the heads of younger viewers a bit, but is otherwise easy to enjoy as well.

Yay, liquor!

From Up on Poppy Hill is available from Toho in Japan, GKids in the US and Canada, Studio Canal in the UK, and Disney worldwide. A google search should find you a torrent pretty easily.

It sort of helps the Impressionist vibe that one of the characters is an Impressionist painter
.
4/5

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Borrowers


The Borrowers (otherwise known as The Borrower Arietty, The Secret World of Arietty, or simply Arietty) is an adaptation of the 1952 novel The Borrowers by Mary Norton. It follows Arietty and her family as they are forced to move from their home, and how they receive help from a human boy named Sho (Shawn in the US release). The film was directed by Yonebayashi Hiromasa, who received supervision from Miyazaki, who took on the movie as a Producer.

I think they have an understanding.

Arietty and her family (father Pod and mother Homily) are Borrowers, a race of tiny people about the size of a human's thumb. They have lived in the home of Maki Sadako for many, many years, and are quite cozy there when the house is visited by Sadako's great-nephew, Sho. Sho is there to rest before receiving a heart operation, and happens upon Arietty by accident. Knowing full well that in order to survive, she needs to remain hidden, but Sho's persistence combined with her curiosity lead the two to strike up a friendship. Unluckily for them, they are seen by Sadako's maid, Haru, who decides to capture the borrowers for her own financial gain.

It was never very clear what she had intended to do with them, but i'm thinking something like selling them to science or a tabloid magazine.

Like many Ghibli films before it, The Borrowers is filled with delight, suspense, action, and heartwarming coming-of-age moments. One could even say it's a bit like a carbon copy of past movies such as Castle in the Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away and The Cat Returns, but that's likely just a reflection of Ghibli's choice of story material versus a flaw in their design. Regardless of this observation The Borrowers was a joy to watch and I was more than happy to indulge myself with it.


I got you a berry. Bitches love berries.

Ghibli seems to have a penchant for countryside locales in their movies, and in this regard they do not disappoint with this movie. Each leaf and dewdrop is done with careful attention to detail, even in scenes where things are shown from Sho's perspective, not Arietty's. Of particular interest are The Borrowers' surroundings; given their tiny size it's quite interesting to see how they get around and make use of things such as nails and Christmas lights to navigate.

They're a very resourceful bunch.

The Borrowers was pretty standard Ghibli fare; I don't remember it being awful, but I don't remember it being a stand-out hit in the way that movies such as Nausicaä or Howl's Moving Castle wowed me. It was, however, a cute, sweet little movie, without being too geared towards small children (in the way of Ponyo and Totoro). It has less violence and potentially upsetting moments, so you can still show this to kids, but it's not sickly-sweet the way that some of the younger-orientated Ghibli films are.

Ghibli rather outdid themselves on the backgrounds in this one.

The Borrowers is available from Toho in Japan, Madman Entertainment in Australia, Disney in the US and Studio Canal in the UK. torrents are easy to find through your search provider.


This one doesn't look as friendly as the ones in Pom Poko.

3.5/5

Majestic.