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August 2, 2006

Suspension of disbelief...

Some questions that I just have to ask after watching way too much anime.

1. You are a mildly crippled widow who lost your one true love in a car accident a few years back and you've been living your life as a shadow of your former self. You now have a coworker who's madly in love with you. This coworker just confessed that he's been reading through ALL your correspondence for who knows how long, and I mean everything: emails, faxes, browser history even. What do you do?

    a. Strangle him with your bare hands.
    b. Get all weepy cause he... really... cares...
    c. Report him to the authorities and slap him with a restraining order.
    d. Sleep with the bastard.

2. Your significant other, someone you've known since you were little, gets into a traffic accident and winds up in a coma. How long do you wait for them to come out of the coma?

    a. A year.
    b. As long as it takes.
    c. Until someone more handsome/beautiful comes along.
    d. 5 years

August 11, 2006

Never gets old...

Mushishi

I've been watching anime for what, 12 years now? I've seen pretty much every type possible yet I still keep watching. Much of it is forgettable fluff but every now and then you run into a title that makes the time spent worthwhile. Mushishi is one such title. Every episode is a mystery centered around mushi (a life-form that shares our world but can't be seen by most people) and Ginko, the one-green-eyed wanderer and one of the few who can see them and understands their world. Think ghosts and ghost hunter. One site calls it the X-Files, anime-style.

At first I wasn't too excited about this series but like some of the mushi that you'll encounter along the way, it seems to have a way of creeping into your mind and drawing you in until you reach the end of an episode and find yourself thinking, "Holy shit, this thing is good!" And good would be an understatement. Mushishi is possibly the most interesting and imaginative series that's come down the wire in a quite awhile. It's good to see that the anime industry is still capable of unveiling series such as this instead of just more endless rehashes of Dragonball Z (like Naruto and Bleach). Which aren't bad series at all but that general formula is getting old, old, old. So run, don't walk to your nearest anime BitTorrent site and check it out. ;-)

August 16, 2006

Just another Haruhi fanboy...

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is simply the most fantastically entertaining comedy series in recent history. It can be a bit of a difficult watch because the 14 episodes are not in normal chronological order but it's so vastly comical that it's well worth the effort. The main character, Kyon's internal monologue/narration in a low-key, deadpan style overlays the general absurdity of the events taking place perfectly. And despite the craziness and complexity, at its core, the underlying message in Haruhi boils down to one singular theme. Not exactly earth-shattering but given the entire package it doesn't detract from what's just a fun journey. However, this is just wrong. And for the really obsessive hardcore Haruhi fans, there's always this.

March 31, 2007

Anime for the Well Heeled

Nodame Cantabile

Thanks to a recommendation from Lee a little while ago, I started watching a funny lil' anime series called Nodame Cantabile. Brought to you from the same studio who gave us Honey & Clover I & II, the two titles share similar character design and animation but little else. While H&C was more slice of lifey and tended to amble along at a leisurely (sometimes too leisurely) pace, Nodame has a story to tell and rather quickly at that.

With the setting in a Tokyo conservatory, the series revolves around a group of classical music students so if that type of music doesn't interest you, then you may not get as much enjoyment out of it as I have. I won't guarantee that watching this will make you ga-ga for classical pieces, but if you've had any exposure to that type of music and didn't find it lacking, this series could pique your interest once more. But classical music aside, the humor is well done and it's an engaging series. Definitely worth a look. There's also a live-action version of it that you can check out if that style interests you more.

April 17, 2007

The anime for anime fans...

gintama.jpg

While meandering through the Anime & Comics board over at RiceBowlJournals, I picked up on this title and although a cursory glance over at AnimeNfo wasn't particularly overwhelming, I took a look anyway. Twenty episodes later, I'm pretty glad that I did. The overall humor and zaniness of this series tickles my funny bone perfectly and it's also got a very catchy OP: Pray by Tommy Heavenly6. I normally jump right past the OP/EDs but this one had me scouring BitTorrent.

What makes the series so good? Well, Gintama's a naturally-permed, silver-haired, JUMP and chocolate-parfait addicted ronin living in an Edo where aliens have taken over the world and brought their advanced technology with them. So even though he dresses traditionally, he putters around on a scooter and the police have flying cars. Plus the antics of the Shinsengumi is such a contrast given their traditionally more serious roles in series like Rurouni Kenshin and Peacemaker Kurogane. The humor draws from literally everything. They make fun of anime, themselves, even stuff from recent history, nothing is untouched. Plus there's a warm-heartedness that's thrown in for good measure. It's just a fun, fun series to watch. A bit long though; it's still running in Japan (right after Bleach) and there's currently 50+ episodes.

June 6, 2007

Can't... look... away...

While it hasn't hit flash mob status yet, it's only a matter of time...

On the heels of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya comes Lucky ☆ Star. First, the anime OP:

And now the fanboys:

I wonder how long this trend is going to last?

As for Lucky ☆ Star, it's no Haruhi.

August 26, 2007

Like a Dull Knife to the Gut, but in a Good Way

5 Centimeters per Second

I recently finished watching Byousoku 5 Centimeter (5 Centimeters per Second) which turned out to be another insanely gorgeous and sonically lush release by Shinkai Makoto, king of the slow-paced, meticulously-animated, and nostalgia-laced anime.

Shinkai became known to me when his first piece, Voices of a Distant Star arrived from Netflix. This half hour OAV was created entirely on his Mac with character voices provided by himself and his fiancée.

His followup work, The Place Promised in Our Early Days was a 90 minute masterpiece. No sophomore slump here.

His latest release, 5 Centimeters per Second, is actually a series of 3 shorts that total about an hour running time. A little controversial because chapter 3 is much shorter than the preceding two and the ending is a bit... unusual.

While I absolutely love his work, as usual, it may not be for everyone. The stories in these 3 titles tend to make my heart ache, especially in Voices and 5 Centimeters. But that's mitigated, for me at least, by the spectacularly beautiful artwork and animation that's become his signature style. Many of the scenes in The Place Promised and 5 Centimeters had me slack-jawed. Aurally it's wonderfully detailed as well so it's really a complete package. This guy does great stuff.

Anyhoo, I'll definitely be picking these up on DVD. ADV Films has released the first two and apparently will be releasing the third as well. Well worth it.

January 9, 2008

Amazon... Really-Bad-Smut Peddler

So I've been mildly addicted to Amazon's recommendations page for quite some time now. When I'm really bored or vegging out in front of the boob tube while web surfing I'll go there and "improve my recommendations" by flagging anything they recommend that I'm not interested in or rating stuff that I already have an opinion of but just don't want. For the most part their recommendations are pretty on the level but every now and then it'll notify me of some interesting things.

But then, just the other day, they hit a new low. Advance warning, may be mildly NSFW. When I first saw this I thought it was a joke. But alas, it is not. There's even a part 2. And who can resist Star Ballz? C'mon, you know you're at least just a little bit intrigued. ;-p I know Amazon didn't used to deal with pr0n but apparently, after a little poking around on the site, that seems to have changed. Granted for the most part it's not Amazon themselves selling the stuff, it seems like it's more a result of them allowing third-party vendors to use their site as a storefront. But these products are working their way into other aspects of the site. Now it doesn't bother me that they've gone that route but fer cryin' out loud, at least recommend to me some good pr0n! ;-p

March 14, 2008

Query

Has anime in the US officially jumped the shark?

April 26, 2008

Another Year...

Macross Frontier

another Macross series. =) Not to make it sound like they make a lot of them but this is definitely one long-running title. The last Macross series I watched was Macross Zero which was actually quite good. Prior to that there was Macross Plus which I also enjoyed but which seemed a bit removed from the original Macross story. I have yet to watch Macross 7 because I've heard bad things about it but I suppose one day I can go back and take a look. As for the newest incarnation, Macross Frontier, well... they've definitely sexed it up a bit. As typical with the Macross line, the action is top-notch as is the animation for the most part but the story so far is just ok. Watching Valkyrie battle action never gets old for me so I'll definitely be sticking with this one till the end.

May 9, 2008

Mmm... Preetttyyy...

Appleseed Ex Machina

So I finally had some time last night to veg out in front of the plasma and watch my second Blu-Ray title ever. The first being Talladega Nights which came with the PS3 two years ago. And if the image above didn't clue you in already, the movie du jour was Appleseed Ex Machina. Historically I'm not a huge Appleseed fan. I like Masamune Shirow's work, and while the anime adaptations for his Ghost in the Shell title has generally been quite good, Appleseed has been pretty neglected as an animated feature, until now.

Appleseed Ex Machina is very much a visual tour de force. And viewing it in high def is a must. My plasma only goes up to 1080i and even then I was hugely impressed so on the ubiquitous 1080p models these days it's gotta look even better. The artwork is rather unique as it kinda looks like vividly colored 2-D cel shading wrapped around 3-D models which is somewhat disconcerting but quite pretty. Deunan has never looked so hot as she is in this movie. ;-p

Unfortunately the animation seems to be a bit weak. No issues during the fast-moving action scenes but character movement just looks kinda unnatural when the characters are moving slowly or just doing casual motions. Produced by John Woo, pretty much all his signature touches are found in the movie. Unfortunately they all come in one action sequence at the beginning. And that's another problem with this movie; the really good action sequences come in the first third of the movie, everything else, I'm sad to say is nothing special, even though they involve the cool-looking Landmates. If you're looking for ridiculously off the wall, physics defying but very cool-looking fight sequences, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is still the best there is.

And the other area where this movie falls short is the plot. It's really not that good and feels like the writers just threw a whole bunch of used story elements at a wall and went with it. And obviously it's very predictable. Very disappointing overall. It's basically a sci-fi Borg/zombie movie, declawed.

So, while there's no doubt that while this title is one hell of a good-looking flick, that's pretty much all that it's got going for it. Which is really disappointing. Worth a rental, but only if you've got the high def equipment to have it shine on.

July 12, 2008

Now and Then, Here and There

Shu and Lala Ru

When I first ran across this series on Netflix, the title intrigued me as I thought it may be similar to some other anime with similar sounding names that were quite good like Only Yesterday or I Can Hear the Sea or The Place Promised in Our Early Days. Boy was I wrong. Not that this series is bad, it was just completely not what I was expecting. 13 episodes in all, after the first disc of 5 episodes I was ready to give it a solid 8 out of 10. After finishing the other 2 discs, I originally lowered it down to a 7 but after sleeping on it, brought it back up to 8.

This is not a children's title despite the main characters being children. The themes and plot are seriously adult and the fact that it's happening to children makes it doubly worse. I must commend the storywriter for being hugely more optimistic on the merits of "no killing" and the extent that one should take it to than I. When I first finished watching it, I was left a bit uncomfortable and disturbed. After sleeping on it, I realized that the reason I felt that way was because even though the series seems to have had a "happy ending" at first glance, it actually didn't. [SPOILER ALERT] Sure the psychotic (and really freakin' annoying) villain was dealt with and the protagonist was able to go home but the casualties along the way lingers in the mind and just keeps gnawing away at you. So really it's not a happy ending at all.

So I don't know if I want to recommend this series or not. As usual it's not for everyone. I was pretty engrossed while watching it and I usually like recommending stuff that really gets my emotions going but I'm still hesitant on this one for reasons I can't articulate at the moment. But if you've got the time, by all means check it out and let me know what you think.

February 25, 2010

Anime Relics

Recently dug up some old anime LDs (yes, those big shiny discs) from over a decade ago that was stashed in our storage closet. Surprised that they've survived in quite excellent condition. Too bad they're worth next to nothing but does still hold some nostalgic value for me at least. ;-) And also, too bad that I haven't owned an LD player in about a decade. =p

KOR LD Box Set - Front

KOR LD Box Set - Back

First up, the ol' Kimagure Orange Road TV Series box sets. I remember these being a big deal back in the day. Here's a good writeup on exactly how this set came about. Yes I was amongst the initial 1000+ fans to petition AnimEigo for this set. So imagine my chagrin when they totally f'ed up my name in the credits. No, I'm not still bitter about it. ;-p

Back in the day, Maison Ikkoku and Kimagure Orange Road were my most-loved series. Since then, Maison Ikkoku has remained my number one while KOR has fallen by the wayside. I only recently noticed that AnimEigo had also released a DVD box set for it that's also out of print but I can't bring myself to spend anywhere between $400-750 for it as they seem to be going for on eBay.

Continue reading "Anime Relics" »

March 15, 2010

Anime I'll Be Watching When I'm Old & Decrepit

Anime Collection

Those who know me know that I've been a pretty avid anime fan since my college days. There was a lull during my first few years in the workforce when it fell a bit by the wayside but it began again in full force these last few years thanks to the ease of obtaining torrented fansub content and the explosion of commercial releases available through retailers and Netflix. While I have watched a significant chunk of series in the past almost twenty years, I'm definitely nowhere near the top.

When it comes to my personal collection of commercially available titles though, I have a pretty meager set (see photo above). I collect commercial anime titles the same way I collect regular movie titles. It's gotta be something that I believe I'll actually want to go back and watch numerous times years and years down the line. Or it holds some sort of sentimental value to me. Cause let's face it, there's way too many titles out there (past, present and future), and not enough time to watch most of them more than once. Unless you're independently wealthy and don't have to work for a living. Plus with services like Netflix around, that takes care of the huge chunk of good, but not great titles that I may want to see. Sure, I may not be fully supporting the US anime industry (which has apparently been about to go belly up for the past decade now =p) to my utmost ability but I'll leave that to the current crop of young otaku who don't have a wife and kid to feed. Along with two other, even more expensive hobbies. ;-p

Continue reading "Anime I'll Be Watching When I'm Old & Decrepit" »

May 16, 2010

More Digging Through my Anime Past

During my last visit to my folk's place I dug up an old CD (remember those?) that I had burned containing anime songs that apparently I enjoyed back then. This must have been at least 14 years ago. Frankly I'm surprised the disc is still readable considering the crappiness of some of the DVD-Rs I've had to deal with lately. But anyway, in the process of importing them back to iTunes, I figured I may as well share them with y'all. Most of them I still enjoy, a few I'm more like "Really? I liked this?" But anyway, without further ado...

Continue reading "More Digging Through my Anime Past" »

January 2, 2011

General Vamp's Quick Recipes #1 - Simple Tarako Spaghetti

One of my absolute favorite anime series of the last two years is Tentai Senshi Sunred. Two seasons of short (~10 min.) episodes packed with hilarity that's right down my alley. The series is basically about a slacker ex-Power Ranger (Sunred) and his "mortal" enemies: General Vamp and the evil monsters from his local chapter of the evil organization, Florsheim. However, the monsters all have day jobs and fit into society like regular people and Vamp makes a better neighbor than Sunred does.

Despite each episode being only about 10 minutes each, they're able to throw in a couple of themed skits throughout. One of the main ones being "General Vamp's Quick Recipes" which is pretty self explanatory. So I figured what the hey, it's a new year, I might as well give 'em a shot. So tonight I made recipe #1: Simple Tarako Spaghetti.

I wound up using thin linguine since that was the only pasta we had on hand. And topped it off with a bunch of shredded nori pieces (that also had dried bits of tarako in it). Turned out quite well although I've already been a fan of tarako spaghetti. But it's really quick and easy (4 ingredients and 15 minutes of your time). Definitely something even Sunred could make. ;-p

Simple Tarako Spaghetti

The shredded nori I used is quite good by itself as well. We polished off the rest that came in the little packet. Most of the time you'll find nori in rather large sheets and packs but since it's not something we usually eat, I managed to find this smaller packet in the rice toppings section of our local Mitsuwa.

nori.jpg

So General Vamp's Quick Recipe #1 certainly lives up to its name. Quick, simple and tasty. Probably not the most nutritious of dishes but it will fill an empty stomach just fine. I give it an 7 out of 10. =)

January 10, 2011

General Vamp's Quick Recipes #2 - Kimchi Jyako Stir-Fry

After last week's successful attempt at Vamp-sama's Simple Tarako Spaghetti, I got ready for recipe #2.

Now this one I wasn't looking forward to at all. I'm not a fan of kimchi for starters. And I'm even less of a fan of jyako. But we always have a package or two of jyako in our fridge since Erin loves frying them up with some scrambled eggs as a calcium supplement for Devon. So I bit the bullet and bought a small jar of kimchi from Mitsuwa. The plan was to just make a small portion in case it was as un-palatable as I was expecting. I do love sesame oil though so it at least had that going for it. ;-p

Pretty much zero preparation is needed for this dish. Frying up the jyako in the sesame oil was heavenly (again, LOOOVE sesame oil) and then dumped in the kimchi. Stir fried in our little wok for a few minutes before dumping in some water. I think adding enough water to cover the kimchi is way too much water so next time I'll be adding much less.

Kimchi Jyako Stir-Fry

As for the final result... Surprisingly, this dish was really good. Goes awesome with plain rice. Couldn't believe it. Polished off the entire portion I had made and was left wanting more. I think if you wanted to meat it up a bit you could probably throw in some thin pieces of pork instead of or in addition to the jyako. But yeah, I was pleasantly surprised at how nicely this one turned out. Final verdict, an 8 out of 10. =)

December 25, 2012

General Vamp's Quick Recipes #3 - Simple Kamatama Udon

Well this project is taking a lot longer than I originally was planning. Blame it on my well developed sense of procrastination. =p But anyway, after an almost 2 year hiatus, I'm back with Vamp-sama's recipe #3.

This particular recipe is definitely super easy. Doesn't even need the use of fire, just a microwave. For awhile I was hesitant to try it because I'm not a fan of raw egg. I know the idea is that the egg gets "cooked" a little bit when it comes in contact with the noodle when you're mixing everything together but since you don't really need to heat the udon up all that much, you're still pretty much eating raw egg. The only other issue I had when throwing this together is that I didn't defrost the udon noodles enough before microwaving them. So the udon was still stuck together afterwards and broke apart into chunks instead of individual strands.

kamatamaudon.jpg

When everything's mixed up together, it's actually not that bad. I over-soy sauced it this time so it came out a little saltier than I like but otherwise it's pretty good. The only other problem with this particular dish is that one package of udon is pretty damn little, especially for an American-sized appetite. And with the lack of anything really of substance to it, it doesn't do very much to satiate hunger. But I guess you can't really beat it in terms of simplicity and low cost. Final score, 6 out of 10.

kamatamaudon2.jpg

January 2, 2013

General Vamp's Quick Recipes #4 - Tomato Toast

After last week's simple udon recipe, this week's recipe #4 is even easier, requiring just a toaster.

Not too tough to toast a piece of bread, slather it with mayo and layer a couple of slices of tomato on top. I did it w/a slice of tofu bread and Kewpie lite. The mayo and tomato makes a nice combo and I like the taste but as with last week's recipe, not particularly filling.

tomatotoast.JPG

So for my second slice I added a couple of slices of prosciutto that I had lying around in the fridge. Could also make do with ham (or any other sliced meat of choice). Prosciutto may be wasted on this particular recipe though since the mayo tends to dominate the distinctive prosciutto taste. Anyway, final score for the original recipe: 6 out of 10.

tomatoprosciutto.JPG

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Absurd Singularity in the Anime category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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