Archive | March, 2012

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Being a Better Geek: Mobile Suit Gundam 31-33

Posted on 31 March 2012 by VinnieAve

Vinnie’s Take

I will freely admit that I am the reason there is such a small batch this week. I flew out to California for a conference and didn’t have much to watch much. That being said, at last we have left Earth and are now making way to ending the series. I think its hilarious that Zeon is so impressed with White Base that they will pursue it so heavily that the real fleet can move out into space. The mobile armors keep getting sillier peaking with the Zakrello. The last important thing this week was the introduction of Sleggar, big dumb asshole, who while is a good pilot and gunner has decided that the will keep hitting on Sayla and Mirai. Speaking of Sayla, she’s back to obsessing about Char and making sure she doesn’t kill him.

DM’s Take

While Vincenzo is the reason for our short run of episodes this week, I am the reason for our delay.  So let us get to it.  First off before I rag on Amuro anymore; how badass was it with him dueling in space with the enemy mobile armor and just casually killing some folk in the spaceship.  I am pretty sure our little boys grown up a bit but I think we can honestly say his mother would not be proud.

Poor Fraw Bow! She really gets no respect from Amuro.  Sleggar is introduced in this set of episodes and I love him. I spoke with Vincenzo about this earlier this week and he expressed some surprise about the fact that I’m digging Sleggar but let’s face it, anyone who can keep Amuro a notch down is ok in my book.

OK really?! “Oh, hi Amuro.” That’s what he gets? Brain damaged or not that’s kind of ridiculous.  Between that and Mirai betrothed this was a fairly silly episode.  Till next week.

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Being a Better Geek: Mobile Suit Gundam Episodes 25-30

Posted on 24 March 2012 by VinnieAve

DM’s Take:

Let’ss start with the Battle of Odessa. It was a bit of a letdown frankly. The battle scenes seemed phoned in (which has got to be hard to do with animation). I did like the bit about the traitor. Char’s return seemed to lack any emotional resonance as well. Maybe its just because I valued him as a character but it certainly wasn’t portrayed as momentously as I thought it should. That said I love the idea of new Zeon battle suits even if they seem to come in every flavor of the rainbow.

I never thought that I would say it but Amuro seems to have calmed down and accepted his life, drafted in the military. Almost no whining has been heard and hes even running military briefings. It may be too good to last though. I was also happy to see characters like Kai get some development time. He was a lot more likable after he got a few episodes to work with. I loved that they made me care about the spy’s death. If nothing else that in itself raised my respect of the writers for the show.

Does the fact that they are taking lots of brain pictures of Amuro make anyone else suspicious? It makes me wonder. Well all the kids have rank now so I suppose its official: they are never getting off that ship for any length of time. Until next week, watch out for those enemy bombs.

Vinnie’s Take:

I never thought I would say this but there isn’t enough giant robot in these episodes and I am sure that everyone else who has watched these episodes, really there wasn’t enough Gundam but there was a hell of a lot of G-parts, which I have gotten tired of, really I just want to see the Gundam fight other robots or planes or that kind of stuff. Part of me tiring of the G-parts is that so many episodes start with stock footage of Amuro in the core-fighter and combining with the other basic parts of the Gundam as they fall from the ship. I have gotten entirely sick of seeing that animation. There are so many examples in these episodes of reuse of footage, sometimes hidden on top of a different background, sometimes with different voice work.

All the while Zeon has developed 1000 new suits in a week. Up until this point there never a monster of the week feel in the show. Char is back but he’s at the bottom of the ocean in a submarine sending out a different suit each week. Each one was uglier and more ridiculous than the last. To me that is monster of the week bad writing. Meanwhile there is a nice spy plot with Kai. It was nice to Kai get some screen time where he is not whiny and complaining. I think we’re at the point where all the characters have removed the characters not being loyal to the ship entirely. I enjoyed some of the Jaburo battle episode and it was kind of cute to see the kids save the day. Other than that we’re done with Earth for the series and yet they still haven’t explained why Amuro is such a great pilot, but he got all those brainscans.

I’m tossing up a weird video this week. This is song from the end of the second movie as the White Base files to space. This is from Andrew W. K.’s cover album Gundam Rocks

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Noburo Ishiguro Passes Away

Posted on 21 March 2012 by VinnieAve

“In every age, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same”

These deeds include creating great art. Today when I woke up I saw the sad news that Noburo Ishiguro has passed away. However, his art some that stands above almost all others. As a man that worked on Tetsuwan Atom, Space Battleship Yamato, and SDF Macross he had a connection to almost all nations of anime fans through Astroboy, Star Blazers, and Robotech. I can’t say that I’ve watched all his works but I am almost trying to fill in the gaps. As I write this I am listening to Legend of the Galactic Heroes: My Conquest is the Sea of Stars. I understand no Japanese but I’ve seen that film several times and I still love it as I love all of Legend of the Galactic Heroes that he worked on and with the beautiful score listening to it evokes so many images.

There is no director that I associate so much with music as Ishiguro. I talked about it briefly with respect to LoGH but after robots what is remembered about Macross: Do You Remember Love? are the songs that Minmei sings. If you haven’t seen DYRL, go and download a copy of this film (I say this is good faith that it will never be licensed for North America, ever), my mom who doesn’t like animation or reading subtitles enjoyed this film. I am inclined to say that the final sequence is the best space battle ever (YouTube video below, its not perfect but it will have to do). Other great scenes include the 4th Battle of Tiamat from LoGH: My Conquest is the Sea of Stars and the dance scene from LoGH: Overture to a New War (YouTube video below).

This loss is a great one for how much and how long this man has been involved with the anime industry, he was there essentially at the beginning and for many years he’s been very hands off with his last directorial job being Tytannia in 2008. However, all his works build to a great collection, sadly much of this will never be available here in the United States.

This is short video that Walter Amos made to introduce Noburo Ishiguro at AWA when he was a guest:

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Why You Should See John Carter

Posted on 19 March 2012 by VinnieAve

So it’s been over a week since John Carter came out and it really hasn’t found an audience but it seems like plenty of people who enjoy sci-fi and action have enjoyed this film. This film is by no means perfect, hell it even has issues but in many ways it’s the kind of film that I want see more of. Normally, I wouldn’t write an article about something that I am not in love with or hate passionately. However, I am passionate about wanting more people to see this film. John Carter is the story of a man who is sent to Mars (called Barsoom by its people) and his thrust into a war been the different groups but mainly Helium and Zodonga. When he arrives he first meets the Tharks, the green, four-armed creatures who are more the barbarian type people of the planet.

I will start off with what is wrong with this film. For one it is long, running at about 2hrs and 20minutes, this doesn’t make for a good action movie (although this is standard fare for a Disney action movie, like the Pirates of the Caribbean series). Like those films it had moments that were slower and not particularly good. The action was so-so at times but in generally I thought it was pretty good. Some might call the story cliché but the movie was based on a novel from the 1917, so many of these tropes were established with this book.

On to the good that was John Carter, for someone who has spent the bulk of my life watching sci-fi there are things that you look for. If it exists in a world that is different from our own the first thing to look at is design. I was not disappointed once with the design ascetic. In particular, the design of Helium and Zodonga were heavily inspired by years of science fiction and fantasy. It was great to see John Carter, our protagonist, trying to adapt to his new world with a different gravity and how he uses this throughout the film, it’s not like too many works where an ability will be shown once and then forgotten or it will come out of nowhere. The special effects are just what one would expect out of Disney, which is to say very good if not great. The CG for the Tharks and the air-ships is wonderful. That’s right I said air-ships, there are a few good air-ship battles in this film. For me this is the film that I have been waiting for, a solid sci-fi film that isn’t a military heavy film with a decent story. I feel like everyone is afraid to make something like Avatar but I will stand by that film too.

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MangaNext 2012

Posted on 17 March 2012 by VinnieAve

This time around DM and Jess give their report about MangaNEXT 2012.

Links
Dave Lister’s Studio Nasu
Erica Friedman/Yuricon/ALC Publishing
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund — Also charges have been dropped against Brandon X
Lizbeth Jimenez
All New Issues
Chipocrite
Ed Chavez/Vertical, Inc.

And although I was not in this episode I would like to give a shout-out to Xan at Spiraken for running two excellent panels that I managed to catch, one on Berserk, which I am now reading and another on manga taking place in the post-Apocalypse.

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Being a Better Geek: Mobile Suit Gundam Episodes 19-24

Posted on 16 March 2012 by VinnieAve

DM

I am going to preface this by stating that Amuro is still a ridiculous boy with an inflated sense of self-importance. However, I do like how they dealt with his desertion and his redemption. Character development continues full throttle with Mirai showing some emotion towards Bright and getting some command experience. We also have Sayla discovering more about her past and perhaps maturing a little herself. And Ryu…oh Ryu. You were starting to become such a favorite character and now you are dead. Why couldn’t it have been Amuro?!

I’m sure that I was supposed to take Amuro losing his first love more seriously than I was but it was hardly a serious situation. She was twice his height and acknowledged his existence on a purely professional level. In the meantime, we have upgrades to Gundam (like it needs them) and next up we have the Battle of Odessa. Looks like it will be a good time. I hope Bright is better by then because Mirai is a much better second than commander.

Vincenzo

The block puts us over the halfway point in the series and some of the plot points are starting to come together, we’re getting very close to the point where they explain why Amuro is an ace pilot but it seems like the they are focusing on why Mirai is a constant worrier. Also, if you are watching along you might have noticed that you saw a flash of light across Amuro’s eyes, I think this is the first time we see this. This will later become very important.

Also the body count starts to stack up in these episodes, this week we’ve lost one of my favorite characters Ramba Ral, his wife Hamon, Ryu, and Matilda. Out of these we get two funeral on the federation side, the very heartfelt one for Ryu, and the stoic military one for Matilda, which Sayla and Amuro crying. With that I have to say I’ve gotten really tired of Sayla, I feel like every time she leaves the bridge she does something wrong, but I guess with Ryu gone someone has to try to fill-in for him.

As I mentioned we crossed the halfway point this week and every fan of Sunrise mecha shows knows that that means, its time for a midseason upgrade. This has to be one of the sillier ones out there. I want to know who decided it would be cool to turn take the cool looking robot and make it into this flying tank thing. Some of the forms are cool, like the one that the Gundam can sky surf on. Again, I say you at Bandai, you’ve done a wonderful job on the toys.

Also if you want to relive the Black Tri-star Attack, there is no better way than to have done with grainy film and people. So for your viewing pleasure I present 3D Gundam:

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Saga

Posted on 15 March 2012 by DM

Would you like to read about a galaxy that is unlike any you’ve read about before? Something that involves aliens and monsters, magic and technology?  Then I may just have something for you.  I picked up Saga knowing I needed to read it for job purposes and expecting, based on the seemingly thoughtless hype, that I would think it mediocre at best.  I loved it.  This is a novel with pictures.  It is not too wordy but enough so to convey the construction of a universe full of depth.  I do not want to spoil it.  It is worth it not to and let you discover it on your own.  It is accessible to American comic readers, manga readers, and novel readers.  Go pick this up and give it a try.  At $2.99 for a 44-page no ad book is not exactly the direst of risks.

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Podcast: Firefly and Serenity

Posted on 13 March 2012 by VinnieAve

Sorry for the delay in posting but I will be posting another episode by weeks end. This time around we talked about Firefly and Serenity as well as the comics that were published after the show and movie came out. Please leave a comment or review on our iTunes page.

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Being a Better Geek Mobile Suit Gundam 14-18

Posted on 10 March 2012 by VinnieAve

Mobile Suit Gundam 14-18

DM’s Take
We have some firsts in this swath of MSG. We have our first POW, our first promotion, our first punishment via brig, our first desertion, and our first nude scene. Lots of good stuff. I want to start by saying that this show has really started to pick up for me. We’ve got some relationships forming and that is helping development in my mind. I am also pleased that we got a really solid standalone episode in Time Be Still. There is still plenty to rag about. Amuro is still the most selfish person is selfishonia. Who the crap runs away and takes the giant robot the ship needs to defend itself with them. I would smack that kid so hard he would think he was back on his colony. I really do not know why anyone puts up with him. See me next week and let us hope that I get to find out more about this brother/sister mystery.

Vinnie’s Take
This block included the only episode that was not included in any N.American release. I have to say that every warning that was given about it, the animation is weaker than the other episodes. It was an interesting little bit. In other news we have one of the best of standalone episodes of “Time Be Still” which has a few Zeon soldiers trying to blow up the Gundam by quickly planting small bombs over the body. This seems like the best plan so far to destroy the Gundam. The should re-try this plan. Otherwise in this batch of episodes the Whitebase captures a Zeon pilot, who Salya goes to when she wants to find out Char. Beyond this Amuro steals the Gundam and destroys a Zeon Mine. Of all the people to see this is Kycilia Zabi, who realizes that the only way to defeat the Gundam is to put more of the experimental mobile suits into production. To this I say that you toy company sponsor, and thank you Bandai for 32 years of Gunpla.

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Being a Better Geek: Mobile Suit Gundam Week 3 (episode 9-13)

Posted on 03 March 2012 by VinnieAve

Mobile Suit Gundam Episodes 9-13
DM’s Take
We are starting out with Amuro suffering from mental fatigue from his recent combats and that delights me. The realism inherent to the situation pleases me to no end. There is a patriotic air to the draftees that puts me into the scene better than I would have expected as well. With all that said, I was pretty satisfied with Amuro getting the crap beaten out of him. Ah well little Amuro is growing up.
A little bit of world development in episode 10-13 went a long way towards making this an engrossing series. I love how, as in Firefly, the future always resembles the past. What the hell is up with Char that he won’t even show his own people his face? Maybe they are not his people since he seems to casually betray them at a moment’s notice. Hands down, my favorite part of the series to date is the inner city combat scene in episode 10. It was a very entertaining bit of video. Second: The super weapon known as lightning.
The major thing I got out of episode 11 was that Zeon fought for independence so they could form a dictatorship on all of humanity? I am confused. This set of episodes adds a great deal of intrigue that I do like but it makes me feel like they were writing it as they went along. Amuro’s homecoming was not exactly what I expected. I wonder how mentally healthy he will be now that he has no hope to anchor him.

Vinnie’s Take
Watching these episodes, I saw a lot of the things that made me love Gundam, most of this was some of the great story elements that we had, the bulk of these were either finishing up the Garma Zabi story line from last week or its 2 episode epilogue. This was our first experience with the Zabi family and we get to understand more about the politics of Zeon. Like so many sci-fi franchises, it seems like the bad guys are more fun to learn about. Zeon is no exception to this. We start to see some of the family politics of a royal family, so fans of Downton Abbey, you should be watching this show, because I know you love seeing rich people wear ornate outfits.
As for the main characters, I think Amuro is just starting to figure out that he’s actually killing people but it seems to swing wildly between episodes depending on what the story needs, when he sees Icelina die he is clearly shaken by this but only two episodes later he fairly cavalierly kills a soldier, not while in a mobile suit but while looking at him. I would take this for a weakness of the show. I keep avoid watching episodes but in the end I’m enjoying them, not as much as DM enjoyed rewatching Firefly but that could be due to the fact that I just watched the movies back in December. Although, we are in the part with my favorite Zeon commander (excluding Char) Ramba Ral, who I will talk more about next week.

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