September 26, 2008

Black Lagoon Second Barrage

The first and second volumes of the second season of Black Lagoon came in.

For those unfamiliar with this show, it is despite its name, annoyingly Creature free.

 Rather, it concerns 4 modern day, free agent pirates who operate out of a seedy town in northern Borneo. The audience identification character, Rock, is a former Japanese salaryman who was initially kidnapped by the pirates but, upon having his ransom paid, elected to join their crew...because...modern Japan know....not genuine and shit....or something. (actually he was in a tough spot, but he's still the poster boy for Stockholm syndrome).

The show is violent, grim and surprisingly interesting. The near nonstop action does not get too stupid and the shows characterizations are intruiging. The first 3 volumes had a surprising ammount of character development.The animation was top notch, the music engaging and the stories engaging.

Black Lagoon was one of several that died with Geneon so I was happy to see it picked up by Funimation, and even happier to find that , at least for the first two volumes, they are using Geneons dub team (I assume that Geneon had the first two discs in the bag).

As to the content of these 2 discs, I'm a little nonplussed. The storyline with the two children of the damned is just over the top disturbing on several levels and it is really really gratuitous. The next arc is satifyingly action packed, while the last arc, incomplete at the end of disc 2 is less so...but looks to be serious pathos.Gut punches all around, very well drawn and well animated gut punches mind you.

This dub is hands down the best I've ever heard.

In fact after switching between the two audio tracks, I'll go so far as to say its better than the Japanese version. This is in no small part because of Venus Terzo's superb performance (via ultravoice) as the demented, murderous, implacable, mute, chainsaw wielding, goth chick.

That those last 8 words  were used together give an idea of the level of win this show occasionally achieves.

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Oh...So THAT'S the Problem.

Steven Den Beste explains my life....

If a high school girl wears glasses it means she's smart and sexy and repressed, a volcano of passion waiting to explode. If a guy wears glasses it means he's a dork. Everyone else who needs vision correction wears contacts.

This is doubly troubling as I am now far too old to date highschool girls...glasses or no.

UPDATE: It also implies that all the cute 30 something girls with glasses are, in fact, dorky traps.

( Thanks Steven! That could have led to...awkwardness! WHEW!)

It sucks to be me.

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September 13, 2008

You...You Spilled Gainax on My Robot Show!

The long awaited paycheck arrived...the first one in 5 weeks...and after the filling up the pickup of peril....with what must have been vintage wine or something... and getting the last book for school I walked out of a local store with Gurren Lagaan Volume 2. Today was spent studying, composing E-mails in Japanese and fretting about Ike, but at 6pm I hung it up and popped in the much anticipated DVD.
Like volume, one volume 2 is a very reasonably priced 2 disc set containing 9 episodes. Unlike volume one however, the marketing department very sensibly put teh Yoko on the cover of volume 2.

I had been quite taken by the first volume and was looking forward to 9 episodes of teh Yoko, giant fighting robots, adventure and teh Yoko...

What I got was 8 episodes of satisfying giant robot battles, a goofy albino Moe Maiden, adventure, heroism, a basically satisfying wrap-up of most plot threads and not quite enough of teh Yoko.
Oh, and one episode of patented Gainax Gut Punchery....

My biggest problem with the show is the crass stupidity and pig headedness of a lot of the cast, which frequently leads to seemingly unnecessary plot complications this is not as annoying as it could be due in part to the fact that said problems are usually resolved by thoroughly amusing giant robot battles. I should mention that the bombastic character Kamina comes off much better in this volume than he did in the first disc

This show is indeed very goofy on its face but there is a surprisingly poignant side to it too.Nia Teppelin the Erie pale outsider with the jigsaw eyes introduced at the end of volume 1  is an effective foil for and observer of the rest of the cast, alien in her outlook, her decency and forthrightness are not only admirable but, at the end of volume1, had saved everyone's behind, however she is so socially inept and awkward that she frequently comes off to the cast as callous or thoughtless. 

image via Concrete Badger
 Now I'm a bit put off by the Moe' thing (which Pulpjunkie describes as "a girl as a pet" ) and Nina is so Moe' it is jarring, but the character is actually quite deep and strong in an utterly different way than teh Yoko.

The goofball nature of the series combined with the genuine drama and pathos is an odd mix that has rarely been pulled off, being reminiscent of Van Dread in a way. All in all it was a very satisfying and quite enjoyable 8 episodes. I was impressed.

Then suddenly... I was reminded this was a Gainax show...and the show began chanelling Josh Wheadon.
There is a clifhanger.
We'll leave it at that....
...while we contemplate the obligatory beach episode...and teh Yoko

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September 04, 2008


What, gentle readers, is this?

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September 02, 2008

Beyond Maladjusment

In the previous post I mentioned that one of the girls in Lucky Star (Konata) is an Otaku and slightly maladjusted.

As far as maladroit fandom goes....there are levels.

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The Costs of Not Watching Lucky Star

 I just watched Lucky Star volume 3.

Lucky Star is a show that ought not to interest me in the least. Yet this show has grown on a fungus.
Based on a 4 panel strip, this slice of life show focuses on the antics of 3 normal if awkward Japanese teenagers...and a slightly maladjusted otakuette. A collection of short skits, with topics ranging from dessert consumption etiquette, to the dark results of child star exploitation  (!?), the show is reminiscent of Peanuts more than anything else.

It is also a costly thing to miss.

Recently, I went to Japan, and suffered a bit of a mishap my first night there. The guest house I was to be staying in had burned down and I found this out shortly before the trains shut down. While in Chofu station waiting for a transfer I spied what I mistook for a cybercafe, so, thinking this area had to be cheaper than Shinjuku I left the station...and what proved to be the last train out.

 "Relevancy?" you ask?

   Now if I had watched Lucky Star volume 3....I would have learned that Chofu is an expensive and hoity toity yuppieville, thus I would not have left, I would have gone clear to Shunjuku and not paid nearly twice what any other hotel cost me on the whole trip, just to get out of the rain....which would have been most useful given that the mishap cost me a large chunk of my available funds. Lucky Star, buy it AS SOON as it comes out...don't wait!

It's important, and there WILL be a test.

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September 01, 2008

What to Watch?

Between school, work and physical therapy, I'm not watching all that much this month, but if you get the itch, Pulpjunkie has a quite large list of DVD reviews and speculation up.

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