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Arcade in the Sky Blog: September 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Justice League Unlimited

Quite by accident, I stumbled upon some Justice League Unlimited last night. I really enjoyed the episodes. I had given up on the League when I saw the first episodes of Unlimited. Now I regret giving up on it and am determined to see the whole series.

For anyone else who dismissed the Unlimited episodes as silly, I recommend you go back and give them a second chance.
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Monday, September 29, 2008

Gunbuster 2

The other day I went out for a drive, just to clear my head. I found myself at the mall where my old haunt, Saturday Night Matinee was still up and running. They were still stocked with all sorts of anime. I browsed their anime wall to find that they seemed to have a new policy of buying back anime and reselling it cheap, not unlike GameStop and video games. There was some good deals there, but one hit me like a ton of bricks. Gunbuster 2 volume 1 for 4.99. The Gunbuster box set never came down below 62 dollar-last I checked, and Gunbuster 2 was a whopping 32 dollars a volume. They're selling it for $4.99? Are they insane? In inspected the box of this too-good-to-be-true deal to find the plastic had ripped, but the box was unopened. I got it right away before any store clerk could realize the error.

Of course, now I'm hooked into buying the other two volumes at full price, but for now lets look at volume 1...

For those who read my thoughts on the first Gunbuster, you'll know that the first two episodes don't indicate where the series will end up, at least in tone. Knowing this, it should be fun to review each volume of Gunbuster 2 separately.

The series starts with Nono, a young girl from a snowy mountain town who travels to the big city to be a space pilot. Her journey is burdened by her clumsiness and the fact that almost everything she touches breaks (or more accurately, splits). She needs to wear a maid costume with a ridiculously short skirt. Fan Service! She is saved from some Giant mechs on shore leave by a girl and her sticker on her forehead. She is a member of the topless, a group of space pilots with the ability to shed the top layer of their psyche and bend reality with their mind powers. A necessity for piloting giant robots, or "Buster Machines".

I don't need point out how poorly chosen that name is. Even the mentally challenged Nono points this out.

I'll stop there to avoid spoilers, but I will say that the story is crazy and filled with action. It's tone is informed more from FLCL than Gunbuster, which is fine by me. The design work is very refreshing and "out there". While the first episodes seem filled with silliness, I'm forced to note that the first Gunbuster was that way also.

I really like the music and art. The first episode lacks the opening title, which I find to be a good choice. Sci-fi first episodes are burdened with establishing all the characters as well as the setting and all the special rules that come along with it. Jumping straight into the story is a wise choice. Plus, opening titles often recycle animation from later in the episodes, so it sort of amounts to a spoiler. The songs they did use in the opening and end titles are delightful.

I'm going to stick with this, but don't think I won't sneak off to Saturday Night Matinee to look for some more deals. I'm a cheap bastard.
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Never Out to Lunch Again

My Gunbuster 2 review will have to wait. We've had an emergency here at the office of my day job. A co-worker collapsed at her desk, and we had to call an ambulance. And it all happened while I was out to lunch too. Earlier we had a catastrophic black out while I was at lunch, and now this. I've sworn off leaving the office during lunch break ever again.

In the meantime, check out my youtube channel, as I'll be going on an adventure this weekend, and it's not what you think.
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Thursday, September 25, 2008


I'm going to do a review of Gunbuster 2 tomorrow, so I thought it fitting to establish my history with Gunbuster first...

When I was growing up, the local video store had a small anime section. Back in the eighties, this was rare and to be appreciated. I was lucky enough to able to afford to see things like Akira and Bubblegum Crisis. Some of the anime seemed a little *too* adult for me, so I avoided Gunbuster and The Humanoid. Avoiding the 'noid was probably a good idea, but I realized later that not viewing Gunbuster was a cardinal sin. Gunbuster, or "Aim for the Ace" as it was originally called is a cornerstone of Gainax and by proxy, all of modern anime.

At six episodes, it's not long for a series, but long enough to be grander than an epic movie (except LOTR). Great animation, characters, and design are all expected of a company as great as Gainax, but what makes this show unique is it's plot progression. It ropes the audience in with campy silliness. However, by the time we reach the finale, everything has become so deathly serious it makes Stanley Kubrick's 2001 look like Tim Allen's Galaxy Quest.

There have been few moments when watching a show has caused me to tear up, and Gunbuster is one of them. I can't recommend it enough, so what are you waiting for?
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Speed Racer DVD review

When I buy a DVD for a movie, I've usually seen it several times and know everything about it. So if I'm going to buy a DVD, it had better have a director's commentary as well as a load of other features. There are some movies, however, that can be forgiven for not having them, and Speed Racer was one of them.

I should preface this by saying that I am a fan of the original Speed Racer cartoon. When I finished high school, MTV started playing Speed Racer late at night. It was more for a joke than anything else. They were all like "Hey, here's another music video-on no! it's Speed Racer! Haha! We are such a funny and rebellious TV station! Love us!" Notwithstanding, I fell in love with the quirkiness of the whole thing. It's a show you laugh at as much as you laugh with, like Adam West's Batman.

So, when they announced a movie, I was ecstatic. I wanted to see it with my friends, but it seemed like they lack my enthusiasm for the property. I saw the movie by myself and loved every minute of it. I rank this movie right up there with the Princess Bride.

That said, I will admit to some conceptual flaws with the film. Speed Racer has always been a cult classic, not a mainstream classic; so pumping a hundred million dollars into the production of the movie might have been a misstep. Also, the races in the movie are so fast they make everything else slow by comparison. People have said that the talking parts are slow, but they really are not. They continually push plot and character, but when compared to the lightning pace of a race, anything would seem slow. At any rate, the DVD format fixes this problem, because you can always fast forward through the talk and get to your adrenaline fix.

There are two special features and no commentaries. One follows the actor who plays Spritle as he explores the film set. It starts with the press conference where he didn't get to answer one question. I found this hilarious because I saw that press conference a hundred times on Youtube in anticipation of this movie and I didn't even see him. Of course, some find Spritle annoying and those folks would not like this.

The other is nothing more than an announcer talking over turn-arounds of all the cars and their logos. The anouncer sounds like Mr. Ed. Y'know, no one can talk to a horse unless it's is th famous Mr. Ed? Nevermind-this is clearly meant for small children who got this DVD in their christmas stocking along with some hot wheels.

All in all, I couldn't resist this DVD. I hope there's an expanded special edition later, but I'm happy for now. I don't mind buying a movie this good twice.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Need to Post

I really need a new blog entry, but I can't think of anything to say.

I really want to do more youtube videos where I just review anime, but then I'll have alot less material for my blog. I guess I'm torn between my two loves. Like a deer in the headlights.


I'll sort this out soon.
In the meantime, I'll be publishing a new game soon, so watch out!
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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Deadlines Deadlines

I've got a deadline to meet tonight, so I might be out of it again... @_@
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gurren Lagann is awesome

The third and final volume of Gurren Lagann came out yesterday. This anime is totally awesome, so if I disappear for a while, I'm probably watching this series. @_@
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Monday, September 1, 2008

Laybor Daybor

Man, I love Labor day! Time for a barbecue. I just wanted to remind everyone that I have a game on Kongregate. Besides that, everyone enjoy.

Corner Cannons

Have a great day!
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