Thursday, 26 November 2009

Lets Watch Viper's Creed: Part 3

Protester: Oh, there's fighting going on over there... do you think we should leave?

Protester:Ahh! Why is he aiming at us!

Protester: Oh I see, he knew the terror bot was going to jump down here-

Protester: AHHH! My flesh!

Protester: What the hell! You just killed a whole bunch of people!

Saki: Sorry... My bad...

Red Hair: Well, looks like your on the news again... could you not destroy everything when you go on a mission?

Micheal: Now now, lets not fight, have some tea.

Saki:... Why the hell does this not have sugar in it? Do you want me to kick your ass?

Micheal: Jeeze, I'm sorry.

Mai: I'm so glad you guys could come! If you feel sleepy after drinking your wine, don't worry... it's perfectly natural.

Har: Ur... Ok?

Protester: Being drunk makes me kinda gay!

Har: Oh no, he's coming over here...

Saki: Uh, I hate awkward dinners.

Protester: Damn you, my friends died cause of you...

Saki: Look, can we just take this outside?

Protester: Alright... I'm gonna kick your ass.

Sak: I hope he's going to be alright.

Har: What could possibly happen?

*Gun shot*

Saki: Ur... I didn't do it.

Then he runs away, thus proving his innocence.

Mai: Oh no! I'm scared! Please take me home...

Har: *Ooh, I wonder if I'll get laid?*

Sak follows him, but trips.

Saki: Are you serious?

Sak: Thanks for hiding Saki Doctor.

Doctor: No problem, were old friends.

Sak: Huh, I didn't know Saki could have friends.

Doctor: Tea anyone?

Saki's sugar count *Ding* 2

Doctor: Hmm, according to this magic radio they found your finger prints on the gun, yet you say you never touched it? Strange, seems your being set up.

Meanwhile Sak practices her O face.

Much later on-

Sak: Quick, come with me...

Har: No! I don't want to meet your friend again! She did things to me!

Har: Ok, so Sak told me everything, here's a gun because your trust worthy.

Sak: Why do you have a gun?

Har: Are you serious? Were a mercenary company? I'm the presidents son? Why wouldn't I have a gun?

Norma: Not so fast... I'm here to earn my cash...

Omg, could it actually be? The token female is actually a back-stabbing bitch? She's not a cliche?

Sak: No don't! He's clearly innocent!

*Flash back*

Doctor: It's simple really, he can't shoot people.

Sak: What? But you just told me he killed like ton's of people during the war? And just this morning he killed like five people?

Doctor: Probably just an accident.

Sak: You've totally convinced me!

*Gun shot*

Micheal: Ow! Why did you shoot me?

Norma: I would never betray my friends!

Oh god damn it.

Norma: Clearly your the one behind all this!

Micheal: What? I'm just here to collect the reward! Why would you think I'm behind this! They even found his finger prints on the gun!

Norma: Ah ha! But our token black guy figured out your little trick!

Gar: *Beep* Yeah... He probably used the finger prints on the cup he gave to Saki... The cup was even in his locker...

Micheal: What? That's crazy! It's my cup! Of course it'd be in my locker! If your using that logic anyone could have set up Saki, I don't even have a motive!

Norma: Ah ha! You were probably just jealous that he gets paid more then you!

Micheal: What? There's lots of people who get paid more then me! Why would I single out Saki!

Micheal: You guys are crazy! I'm out of here!

Micheal: AH! F***! My leg!

Har: Nice shot Rudra!

Rudra: Ur.... Yeah! Cause... I was totally aiming for his leg! Not his head at all!

Saki: Take him away boy's... Oh yeah, while your here, could you get me the gun that was at the crime scene?

Cop: Why do you need it?

Saki: Oh its my gun.

Sak: Oh Saki.

Then everyone laughed.

Har: Hahaha... Wait, what?

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The Trouble with Manga: Part 2


After yesterdays showings of what I’ve got to look forward to in anime I had to go into a massive binge of awesome anime clips.

Ah... Gaogaigar... Banish this darkness....

Hmm? Where was I? Oh yeah, things that are actually good in Manga.

Liar Game

“Nao Kanzaki, an honest college student, receives 100 million yen (about $1,000,000) and an invitation to participate in something called the "Liar Game Tournament". When Nao is easily tricked by her opponent, she turns to ex-convict and genius swindler Shinichi Akiyama for help out of desperation to get the money back.”
There is so much to like about this series.

Our main character Nao is a kind and foolishly honest person, which is why it’s a tragedy she’s gotten caught up in the cut-throat tournament of Liar Game. The idea behind the game is that you use the money loaned to you in a number of games in order to steal other contestant’s money. The problem of course is the people behind the liar game expect that money back, so when you lose your put into a massive debt you can never pay off... And it’s never said what happens to losers of the liar game (But a few rather unpleasant fates are hinted at). However if you win you can expect a big pay off.

It’s a wonderful piece because it explores how far normal people are willing to go in order to con one another. You see some seriously dickish moves by some people, but before you start hating on them too much you’re reminded that they are just normal people with normal fears... and you have to ask, forced between a rock and a hard place... can you really say you wouldn’t do the same?

The characters are very well done, really making you care for people like Nao and Akiyama.

Now if it was only just good characters it would perhaps be an average one... but what sets this manga apart are the actual ‘Liar Games’. Each one is very clever, with alot of thought behind them. The key to beating these of course is to never play by the rules, and to really think outside the box when approaching them. Whenever the trick to winning is finally revealed you’re like “Oh that’s so obvious- Jesus Christ! That was so complicated! How the hell was I ever gonna work that out?”

I have yet to work out the trick for some of the bigger games... and alot of the time I have to re-read some of it just to make sense of it. The answers are not obvious or easy, there really is alot of thought placed in these games.

Break Blade

It’s a manga about giant robots. A kingdom is under attack and they have a secret mech that only one person can pilot.

That’s all very cliché, it’s probably a pass right?

I mean... Let’s see... I guess the setting’s kinda interesting, the characters are approachable and relatable... The relationships between characters are fascinating I suppose... The mech combat makes sense... the political plots are deliciously nefarious...

Yeah you should probably skip-

Holy shit this is good! I can’t remember the last time I read something that ticked almost every single box for me.

“ Rygart Arrow is the only one in his world who lacks the inherent ability to power up quartz, the energy source that makes all of the machines run. Nevertheless, he's pretty well connected. The King and Queen of his country of Krisna happen to be old college friends. But so is Zess, the guy who is leading the army of a neighboring kingdom in an attack on Krisna.

How did it comes to this? There's little time to ponder the implications as an army in giant, mechanized battle suits attacks. Arrow just feels like he's in the way - until he comes across a powerful, ancient mech that no one has yet to be able to figure out how to run. But his natural affinity for the suit's operating mechanism may just turn Arrow into the most important player of all.”

I love how instead of being ‘special’ with his own gift, Arrow instead is cursed with being... normal. In a world where machines are almost essential for everyday living, Arrow has had to grow up without the connivance's everyone else has had. While it has made him compassionate it hasn’t made him into a ‘strong’ character that never gives up, he is well aware of his own weakness’s and knows when to call it quits.

I love their approach to the mech battles, especially when our main man takes the stage. He almost has no idea what to do. That is so refreshing, as usually the main character just knows how to pilot mechs despite never being in one before. At least in this you can understand if he has some basic knowledge about it, since he did study in a military collage. But more times than not his mech gets shot to pieces, but luckily the frame of the mech appears to be semi bullet proof so it hasn’t broken down completely yet.

Hands down this is the best thing I’m reading at the moment, and if you’re looking for a well rounded and interesting story you can’t do much better then Break Blade.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Hype: Anime Winter 2009

Oh thank god. After the absolutely poor fall season, perhaps this time there will actually be something for me to look forward to?


Oh Christ.

Dance in the Vampire Bund

I thought I made it clear I don't like vampires? Why do you keep doing this to me?

While were at it... Japan... You have a problem... You need to face it if your ever going to get better. If it looks like a little girl, your a pedo. You cannot use the argument "But shes a monster/angel/thing that only looks like a little girl".

Your not fooling anyone.

But seriously don't watch this, it will totally get you thrown in jail)

Sora No Woto

Oh I can totally imagine the thought process behind this one.

"Hey guys, why don't we make an anime about underage people joining the army during a time of war? It could be a good look at the social implications of that, and the shattering of young naivety in the cold world of-"

"Dudes! Have you seen Kon! Everyone loves it! We must copy it! Our anime will be about five underage girls forming a band during war time! They'll rock their way to peace!"

Really? I mean... Really?

This one actually looks kinda interesting, mainly because it's the only one on the entire list that is using a different art style. It's a short series about our Samurai looking for 12 legendary swords... to add to his collection? I don't know.

But wait! Before you get excited at the prospect of something good, each episode will come out once a month.

Once a month.

Once a fricken month.

Each episode better be like an hour long, otherwise... who the hell do you think you are? Thinking you can get away with that in this day and age.

Seikon no Quasar

Well he looks kinda cool I guess- Wait... What?

In St. Mikhailov Academy, Oribe Mafuyu meets a silver haired boy called Alexander. He is a Qwaser, a being who can manipulate iron and draws his power from breast milk.

from breast milk.

from breast milk.

I.... You.... Wha.... THE F***?

Harukanaru Toki ni Naka de 3 Look, I'm sorry I have to be the one to break this to you, but you will never out do fushigi yuugi or twelve kingdoms.

Just accept it, and write different stories, ok?


Do I even need to mention anything at this point? Answer: Yes.

Anime, what the hell? What is wrong with you? Whatever happened to... you know.... making good things? I release that your genres of girls... and... 'fanservice' are well liked in Japan, and I did watch a few of these back in the day.

It was cute then Japan, something non-serious people could dip into once in awhile. Then it became kinda awkward when you started doing more, we all smiled and nodded thinking you were just going through a 'phase'. But then it didn't stop, and you just made more and more... until now... it's the only thing you do.

What the hell happened to my mainly men? You know, those guys who would sooner karate kick your face off then talk about their 'feelings'. Or your deep stories like Towards the Terra, did it suddenly become too expensive to use good ideas?

And I never thought I'd ask myself this, but where are the giant robot's Japan? You used to be cool.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Trouble with Manga: Part 1

Ah god damn it.

Why do I do this to myself?

Well reader if you go looking into the comic world of manga... It’s a bit like a roller coaster. At first you have the tension and excitement of slowly going up, building up to the stories crescendo, until finally you’re dropping down at break neck speeds screaming all the way. That was fun wasn’t it? Want to do another one? OK then!

Repeat a million times.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with roller coasters, but let me just say there’s a reason most people only go to them on special occasions and not all the time. It is because regardless of how much fun it is, too much of it will ruin the whole experience. Now I made the comparison for a few reasons, but here’s the main one:

Most manga’s are exactly the same. They all have these exact slow bits, leading up to the big dive. If I had the time I could probably prove this with mathematics. It all stems from the problem of tried and true methods of storytelling, which most media’s suffer from. In manga’s case you have the Japanese clichés and cultural jokes, there almost always in there (Nothing wrong with that of course, I mean.... It is made by Japanese people?) but there’s this story tool they use over and over again, and it’s just frustrating.

I’ll give you two examples, now I am actually reading these as there kinda good.... but every now and again I do wonder if I should carry on.


Blue hair, really? And that white hair, too much bleach is bad for ya.

Let’s see, how to sum this up... well here’s the synopsis anyway:

The story follows Yoshina Ageha, a high school student for hire who will solve any one of your problems for a fee of 10,000 yen. On his way home one day a payphone suddenly rings, when he answers it all he can hear is his own voice. His life is changed from this point on through a series of events as he’s drawn into a mysterious new world.

First of all our main character is introduced with his ‘part-time’ job, and I guess this is supposed to characterise him? After like the first chapter this is never mentioned again, so it makes me wonder why it’s even in the synopsis. The story is about him and a bunch of other people being taken to this strange world, and they set off trying to unravel its mysterious and get home. For those of you who do read manga, it has a very Gantz feel about it.

It’s a good story tool, because thanks to this you can place characters with very different backgrounds and motivations into a pot and see what happens. So then it’s just a matter of deciding if the story is about the characters or deeper meanings and mysteries.

Psyren is about psychic powers.

I know what you’re thinking “What? Where did that come from?” and believe me, it’s well random. The story starts off interesting like gantz but then... descends into a story about becoming powerful psychics with dragonball z like powers. You’re left wondering “Why the hell did they take this angle? It’s completely off the premise of the start of the story isn’t it?” (And we’ll get to that answer later).


Ok, so it’s actually about the future and how the world as we know it is gonna end in death and monsters. For awhile it’s still interesting because the char’s come to the conclusion that they were brought here to find out what happened in the past and stop it (At this point the whole idea of meeting new and different people is thrown away, as now we have a cast set in stone... so now none of them die.... ever).

Eventually they actually track down the one bringing them to the future and... Honestly? I wish they hadn’t. Not only does it destroy almost all of the mystery in this manga, a serious mistake to do before the end (At the point it’s revealed it’s only like 2/3 in the series, I think), but the answer is a total bitch slap to the readers face.

Ageha: If you didn’t bring us here to change the past, then why did?
Nemesis Q: ..... For shit’s and giggles.

I wish I was joking, but that’s basically what she says. Its total bullshit, and a dick move by the writer.

Then you’ve got the bad guy who is a super psychic raised in a military lab yadda yadda, you know it. He wants to destroy mankind and so on. Characters like this have always frustrated me, even when they’re done well, because it gives the writer some sort of license to demean the value of life. You know that character in the background, just minding his own business and doing some shopping? Then boom! Laser cannon through the head, just because he stepped into the background of the main characters. This always annoys me because there’s no after for these characters, no value placed on them whatsoever, there like pop corn. This always angers me cause the writer seems to be playing favourites at this point, so even if the good guy’s cause a bunch of people to die in the background there never given any flak for that. And honestly, it looks more ridiculous then anything... Oh no! The villain just killed 30 faceless people! What a monster! See if you humanized those people first then the audience would get a better feeling of the gravity of what he just did.

Another thing that pissed me off was the addition of a small girl with god-like powers that is probably the cause of all this mess, and the fact that she’s ‘too young’ to tell right from wrong. This frustrates me as a person cause I always just want to sit these little buggers down and put them straight. I don’t care if they can make my head explode, you got to show some tough love to these little shits. While I would say there’s nothing stopping you put a character in like this... it does strike me as a bit lazy. You don’t need it to be the focus of the story because other people have already done a great job at that... so otherwise if you put them in... it’s just a villain, expect you don’t have to work on any back story or motivation.

*Spoiler end*

Defence Devil

Try finding a bigger picture of this, I rather like the art.

Ok, so let’s say you got kicked out of hell for being a bit of a pussy and you lose all of your powers, what are you gonna do? Well since demon’s are powered by people’s sins you can just abuse a loop-hole where you prove some people were framed into going to hell... and... take their pretend sin power?

I know, it doesn’t make sense of paper, but that’s basically what this is about. Thanks to a good mix of great art, comedy and action scenes though it works.

The story then hits off with our devil going through different clients, learning about them and there problems, and generally seeing how nice our little devil is. We also get a few chapters about this Nun thinking our devil is evil, thus she pulls out guns and shit.... cause according to Japan nun’s are all young women prone to violence. It’s a fun little side step off the story, but were quickly back to the way things were...

.... Or not. Turns out she’s a main plot character... and there’s been a revolution in hell so our devil needs to get back home. So they team up to kick some ass!

Wait, what? When was the last time you had a client? Wasn’t there like a whole plot about there being a conspiracy to frame humans for sins? Was that only done by the five dude’s you beat? What?

Another thing while it has a hell and Christianity, at first it’s still very fantasised, but later on your hit in the face with very big Christian message... and while I guess that’s alright, it puts me off somewhat... As I like to keep my religious beliefs and my fictions separate.


So reader, what did you notice?

Everyone who said “Massive change in overall plot” you get a gold star (Remember to keep track of how many you’ve got). There’s a very simple reason why this happens, there’s the plot the writer wants to tell, and then there’s the plot the writer has to tell. The first parts of each of these stories are tried and true methods, which translate to: Use a basic story already used before, but mix it up with one or two gimmicks. The gimmick’s are necessary in order to separate themselves from other works in the populated world of manga, it’s almost impossible to get noticed without them.

The basic idea is to hook your audience with an interesting premise, then when there already dedicated change the premise when no one’s looking. Very few people notice this, and even if they do they might already be caught in the stories traps... you have to find out what happens because you’ve put too much time into it (I.e. Me and Psyren). Why do this? Simply because the story they want to tell is usually very bland, full of the most generic fluff ever. Once you’ve got the ball rolling and a small fan base you can easily get away with being generic, I see it all the time, even in anime.

Anyone know Bleach? I thought that used to be about a High school kid fighting monsters in his spare time, in order to protect the souls of people in his town. We go through this whole monster of the week thing, but then suddenly shifts... and now it’s about conspiracies and rescuing friends, because there too ‘honourable’ to put up a fight themselves? There’s a whole bloody season without a single monster. Then it shifts back... But then they just retell the same god damn story over again, expect now you get only monsters and the good guys are exempt for most of the season.

What? Surely there’s a smoother way to tell that story? Plus your whole setting makes no god damn sense. I dare anyone to argue that point with me. Where do souls go when they die in soul society? How can you grow up in a place for dead people? Why is there a rich and poor divide in the afterlife, surely one of the nice powerful good characters would try to fix that? (Hint: they don’t) and finally, why was hell mentioned like once? Don’t you think that setting would be interesting to explore? Instead of just ignoring it?

So then, you must be asking yourself, James... If all manga is like this, why do you keep reading it?

I’ll tell you, I read it for things like Liar Game and Break Blade. Next post I’ll tell you everything good that can come out of manga.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Lets Watch Viper's Creed: Part 2

Bum1: Damn these foreign company's, what have they ever done for us?
Bum2: You mean, other then rebuilding our city's infrastructure? Or improving our standard of living? Or all the economic growth we get now?
Bum3: They took our jobs!

Sak: You don't have jobs cause your a bunch of lazy bums!

Saki's sugar count *ding* 1

Walter: Everyone this is your new member, his name is Haruki.... Yes I know... It sound like a girls name, just try to be nice to him.

Har: Hello everyone! I... Errr....

Saki: Don't worry... there just mad cause James skipped their openings in episode 1.

Har: Oh... I see.... I've heard about you! I was really-

Saki: Whoa... Whoa.... I didn't say you could talk to me.

Bitch1: So I heard the new kid is actually the company presidents son...
Bitch3: Is that important to the plot?
Bitch1: It is actually.

*During a mission*
Har: Take this! Dakka dakka dakka!

Terror bot: Beep voop?

Rudra: Nice, you hit everything expect the Terror Bot.

Intel: Terror bots down, more have been found upahead.

Har: Urr... Oh! On my way!

Har: I'm here to help-

Saki: Too late, were already done.

Har: Oh man...

Sak: There's one more going up this... pipe thing... go stop it.

Har: I'll take the lead!

Saki: What? No! Don't do that!

Terror Bot: Beep Kill Bop!

Har: Oh god!

*Saki catches Har's mech as it falls*

Saki: Har....

Har: Y... Yeah?

Saki: Why are you as stupid as f***?

Har: I really messed up there, huh?

Sak: Yep, you sure did.

Har: *sigh*... Urr, why did you join up then?

Sak:... Money, duh.

Har: I want to protect this city... My father... He's wrong....

Sak: That's.... Nice... why are you telling me this?

Saki overhears their conversation... through a metal door... does... does Saki have super powers?

Intel: Move out Viper Squad!

What the hell? They even have tubes to slide down to get to their bikes? Why don't they have a theme song?
Oh that is it, by the end of this lets watch I will have made a theme song.

Rudra: Great, we go looking for shit, and its not even here.

Har: I picked something up a bit below us.

Rudra: Eh... Nah, we don't get paid for looking outside the search area, so pass.

Har: Grr... Then I'll go by myself!

Har: Saki? Your coming with me? Why?

Saki: Shits and giggles mostly.

Har:Oh... There they are.

Har: The hell?

Sak: The track there isn't powered! Your mech's gonna shut down!

Sak: Quickly Saki! Go help him!

Saki: Can't. Kinda busy.

Har: Oh god! I'm going to die!

Sak: Don't give up... Use the power of friendship!

Har: The f*** you talking about?! Friendship can't power my mech!

Sak: Just think of something!

Har: I'll use the missiles manually!

Har: F*** you terror bots!

Sak: Great! Now turn around and help-

Saki: No need, I'm done, there all dead.

Sak: Wait... Could you have done that at any time? Did you leave Har to die on purpose?

Saki: Maybe.... Sorry my bad.