Wednesday, March 30, 2011


When I created this blog I had the intention of writing posts about music and bands and such. Then I realized that I don't really know anything about music aside from being able to tell people what songs I'm really digging at the moment. So I think I'm gonna start sharing songs on this blog.

I've been listening to a lot of Best Coast lately. It's lo-fi so it has this awesome echoey and dreamy sound to it. The lyrics are totally cute and I have a thing for indie female lead singers. My heart throbs for them. Makes me think of Summer. So here are two of my favorite songs off their debut album Crazy for You. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

3DS- The Unboxening

It would be better if I had a cameraman. It's pretty much me reading while you stare at my wall. 

You're welcome.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Time Is Now

In a matter of hours I will be in the possession of a new Aqua Blue Nintendo 3DS. It's been a long time coming. From pre-E3 speculation to it's eventual unveiling and all the hype and news that followed. This will be the second system that I pick up on launch, the first one being the Wii way back in '06 when I was a measly 12 years old! Those were some good times. It was also the first time I ever owned and beat a Zelda game. I owned a golden copy of Majora's Mask that some kid lent me and I never returned prior to that (I was a sneaky kleptomaniac in my early days) but in my anime post we covered that Zelda games gave me the creeps so it was just gathering dust.

I recently had the pleasure of sampling the 3DS's wares at my local Best Buy and hey it really works! The first time using it really has a big "wow" factor to it. The technology works so seamlessly and pulls off 3D without a hitch like creating a small window right in front your eyes. We're slowly getting to the point where technology becomes so advanced it becomes indistinguishable from magic. Techno-wizardy I think is the term for it.

Unfortunately I didn't get too extensive with it because there were some people behind me. I hate gaming kiosks. So right now that memory seems like a dream almost. Did I actually experience the 3DS firsthand? It all seems so rushed.

Up until about a week ago I was torn on what game I should buy along with the 3DS. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I needed everything to be perfect.

Pilotwings? It seems pretty shallow. Street Fighter? Nah, I suck at 2D fighters and I'll just end up throwing my 3DS in frustration. Ghost Recon Shadow Wars? Seems pretty ordinary. Nintendogs + Cats? I have a dog for that. Rayman 3D? Hey, yeah! That sou- oh shit those reviews could be better... Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory? I like Splinter Cell! But, that comes out in April! I can't wait that long! Do I wait or spend money on something I don't really want? Fuck it. Pilotwings it is.

To which I must say: good call, me!

Thanks, me! Yeah Splinter Cell got some pretty bad impressions. Wonky controls, clumsy camera, unjustifiably lackluster graphics. Not really what I expected. While on the other hand Pilotwings has been getting some decent to great reviews and I did enjoy what I saw at Best Buy.

So here I am. Almost half a day away from the 3DS. My GameStop didn't get enough pre-orders to hold a midnight launch event but I don't think I would have been able to go tonight anyway. Which is good because if they were holding one and I couldn't go I don't think I could handle it.

I will be making a post on my impressions on Pilotwings and the system as a whole. Excitement! Maybe I'll even making an unboxing video! I've always wanted to do one of those. Depends on if I can pull off sounding cool and collected whilst masking my heavy breathing and high-pitched squeals.

I'll certainly try.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Back In Business

For the last few days, my temporarily cold and joyless room has restored to its former glory as the low hum of a new PS3 bounced against the walls and I have returned to my normally scheduled activity of playing video games forever. I actually haven't done much else but play PS3 since I set it back up. Before that I was spending a lot of my time playing Minecraft (blog post incoming) with some pals. Now I'm just trying to cram as many hours of worry-free playtime before I have to go back to school in about 28 hours.

In particular I have been playing 2 games- and what do you know, they're from the same development team! 

After I got through setting everything up PSN-wise and reinstalling my downloadable titles, I popped in GTAIV per my best buddy Alex's request and we both hopped into an online free roam of Liberty City- a sort of past time of ours. For hours we wrecked cars, ran over civilians, drove helicopters into the ground, committed suicide. Really fun and wholesome stuff. After we called it a night I considered replaying the game through it's entirety. Now that my saved data was kaput it was time to re-log some hours into my library just to prove that I've given them all a run. Then I decided against it. I love GTAIV but I needed something more. Something deeper. Something more perfect. I decided that game is Red Dead Redemption. But get this, I'm not actually replaying RDR. This would actually count more as my first real play through. I picked that game up first day and I never even got close to finishing it and I fucking love this game. 

It's pretty shameful but it was just a bad time for me. I was going through an identity crisis during the first half of 2010. I've sorted it all out and now almost a year later I feel like I'm really playing this game for the first time. This game is just dripping with personality and style and life! The whole game really feels like a living and breathing world. The characters are convincing, their back stories are intricate and interesting. And I'm not usually a big history buff but anything set in the early years of the 20th century really draws me in. I feel more cultured and intelligent just playing a game set in the middle of Americas' industrial developments. I don't think there has ever been a more immersive title. Everything is fun and carries a very rugged but adventurous spirit of the old west. Even playing poker makes me feel like a badass vigilante relaxing after a big bust. Turn off the lights and I could swear I am John Marston, if just for a moment. 

I must have played for like 15 hours or so last night. I think that might be a personal record. I can't be sure but record or not it's more than half a day. I'm actually playing right now. I think I'll go back to Dead Space 2 after this. I was able to beat the game right before I lost the PS3 but I don't mind replaying. Besides that we've got some big titles coming in over the next few months. Portal 2, L.A. Noire, InFamous 2, Shadows of the Damned, Catherine... ah, it's good to be back. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011


During my conquest of all things anime a couple of friends recommended I watch this small series called Fooly Cooly. They guaranteed that I would love it and would just talk about how crazy it was. I asked them what it was about but they wouldn't let me in on the plot. They just gave me small bits where the characters would break the fourth wall, that the show was generally perverse and it was revealed to me that Fooly Cooly means "to fondle a woman's breasts". With these clues I came to the conclusion that this would be your run-of-the-mill, meta, satirical and raunchy comedy anime.

Pretty much it was none of these things. 

Your first time viewing FLCL the only thought that will probably be going through your mind is "What the fuck is going on in this anime?" as you blankly sit there with a look on your face that is halfway between confused and concerned. But you can't even concentrate on thinking about it for too long and putting the pieces together because the show just throws more things at you to literally make you gape in amazement but you don't even know what it is that you're loving so much. 

My friends told me Fooly Cooly was a lot like Scott Pilgrim. And they were right. Although it would probably be more correct to say that Scott Pilgrim is like Fooly Cooly. Which makes sense because Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O'Malley credited FLCL as being a major inspiration for him. 

It's easy to see what concepts and styles he carried into SP. FLCL is about Naota, a young boy who is leading a normal life until a crazed young woman claiming to be an alien runs him over with her motor-bike and throws this average kid into an insane, logic-defying adventure packed with pop-culture references and over-the-top action. 

And it's easy to see why my friends knew I would love it. 

I was really lost the first time I watched FLCL about two nights ago. Everything is incredibly disjointed and I could not make any sense of anything. I cannot stress enough how hard it was to connect any two scenes together. I finally understood how people felt when they said they found Scott PIlgrim confusing- a feeling I never experienced. But Scott Pilgrim is still a much more linear story that is supposed to make sense behind all the madness. It's straightforward. FLCL is never straight on what it's trying to tell you. There are a series of underlying themes for every bit of action and dialogue. The consensus is that it's a coming-of-age story. I won't tell you how. It'll be more fun if you make the connections yourself.

It's a hell of an adventure. Bryan Lee O'Malley was right. For an anime from ten years ago this one is completely stunning in it's animation and it's execution. Everything works together to form a perfect combination of sound, look and plot that ensures anyone watching wouldn't be able to avert their eyes as they're totally sucked into the insanity of Naota's life. And for 6 episodes it really packs a powerful punch. I thought I would be done in no time but the show is so mentally draining (in a good way!) that I was always checking how much time remained in an episode thinking I must have long surpassed the 21 minute runtime. 

So to sum it all up: FLCL is an exciting, charming, funny and surprisingly sweet story that could only be done with anime. I have ordered my Blu-ray copy of the series on Amazon and look forward to sharing it with friends for years to come.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Hobby Long Overdue

The first result when I Google searched 'anime'.

I've always been drawn to anime. Some anime used to scare me, usually the ones that they would play on Adult Swim. But this fear was usually instilled by anything that came out of Japan. I remember I used to get scared by the Mask Guy from Majora's Mask and every time I put on a Deku mask I would shit my pants because of Link's shrieks of pain. However, there was anime that would totally captivate me as a little kid. The youthful adventure, the nobility and spirit that came with a lot of the characters, the explosive, impossibly dramatized and colorful battles. It spoke to me. So much anime is based in fantastical fantasy world where life is about living to the fullest and never turning your nose up at the chance of a new adventure. As a kid I had always and to this day still do pine for a life like that. Where the impossible is just another 24 minute episode away. 

I really miss  the good ol' days watching Pokemon.

I used to watch some DBZ when I was in elementary school, a bit of Sailor Moon- which I think was partly due to my younger sister- and Pokemon which would have been impossible to avoid even if I didn't know what anime was. Yet aside from Pokemon, this never became a trend and I didn't really grow up watching any anime like some other kids I knew. But because of them I was always aware of some of the more popular ones which would just usually be whatever was on Cartoon Network.  My extreme childhood fascination with Pokemon would dwindle down to a distanced appreciation for the franchise and aside from a couple of moments with months of time in-between, anime would have no part in my life. 

Then it must have been about the 7th maybe 8th grade when Cartoon Network was premiering Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow. Boom. Just like that a fiery passion for anime was ignited inside of me. I had seen Naruto a few times before but those episodes weren't as grandiose as that movie. I was completely amazed that something that fulfilled my creative desires so perfectly had been around for so long and there I was brushing it off! That day I made a promise to myself that I would watch Naruto from the beginning and surely this would be the start of my official self-introduction in to the world and culture of anime. Nope. Nothing happened. I don't know if it's because I didn't really know how to start or if I just forgot but that was it. I still carried a love for Naruto as I would make sure to let people know my admiration for it whenever I would overhear it in another conversation.

Intricate. Suspenseful. Confusing.

So it would be a couple of years and I would watch Naruto if it was on sometimes. Nothing big. Then there was this moment last year. A friend of mine gave me the first volume of Death Note. While anime and  manga aren't the same they both stem from the same root. I actually followed through with reading the rest of Death Note and thoroughly enjoying it. My next move- remembering my love of Naruto- was to read the Naruto manga from start to finish. I actually started reading it and bought the first 8 volumes. Discovering that I had about a bajillion more to go, I decided this wasn't the most cost-effective decision. Once again, my fervency for Japanimation subsided but this time it would be for a smaller period of time

Just last month I was on Netflix looking for something to watch on Instant Streaming when an impulse came over me. I went to the Anime & Animation category and just went to town on that shit. I immediately started adding everything that was even remotely interesting to me to my Instant Queue. There was so much to choose from!

I started with Ouran High School Host Club.


Adorable characters, hyper-realized school life, youthful love. It was all there and I was freaking loving every moment. I have once again fallen heads-over-heel in love with the world of anime. The art style, the adventure, the obligatory speeches on love and peace. It's tailor made for people like me.

Following Ouran I would start to watch Fruits Basket. I wanted to continue to watch light anime that were mostly just wacky kids getting into trouble. This was... not so hot. It was just so girly. And sure Ouran was pretty girly but it was girly in a mocking way. Fruits Basket is legitimately for tweens who wanted to ogle and giggle at a girl caught in a supernatural with a bunch of hunky and mysterious dudes. Pass.

I immediately jumped into FullMetal Alchemist. I had heard about this series many times from anime fans before. But would the popularity live up to my expectations? Yes. Yes forever. I would spend about a month watching the entire series on Netflix. It was fun, intense and sometimes surprisingly dark. The whole series crosses into philosophical questions of life and death in a wonderfully created universe where Alchemy overcame science and machines. It was gripping from start to finish with a total bomb being dropped at the end that leads up to an equally awesome film finale- FullMetal Alchemist: The Movie: Conquerer of Shamballa. I was ready to continue the adventure with FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood until I found it wasn't a sequel to the first series but rather a recreation that stuck to the manga and told a different story. I was kinda sad. Regardless, I ordered the disc through the mail and I still haven't sent it back. The beginning is so similar to the series that I just finished watching that I can't held but fall asleep. It's also mostly due to the fact that I try to watch it after coming home from school and I'm without energy to even speak. So, yeah. I'll get that done this week.

That brings us to now! There are 3 anime that I am in the midst of viewing.

Darker Than Black

This is pretty meh so far. I haven't decided if I like it enough to even keep watching so not much on that. I like it it's just moving along kinda slow and I've been told it's no good so who knows.

Soul Eater

I'm enjoying this quite a lot. The characters are cool and the universe is interesting but some things are confusing because it's a hybrid of our world and there are demons and humans can become demons and yeah. The plot is fine. Just some things are cheesy and dumb. There's one character whose name is Dr. Franken Stein. Mmhmm. There was some other allusion like that which I found equally upsetting. But there's one thing that really puts me off about the show sometimes and it's the art direction. The academy where the main characters go to train to become demon killers is really gross-looking and they show it off in CGI and it's just so gaudy. Then there's the sun and the moon which have faces on them and it's just annoying as shit to have them lingering behind every scene. I can't take it seriously sometimes. We could have an intense moment happening and the fucking sun is heaving in the background like he's watching people have sex through a window across the street. The moon is just bleeding all the time. Not as bad but still. I find that the show just looks oddly distorted for the most part. I can deal.

Gurren Lagann

Boobs and robots. Anime at its finest.

Now I am really digging this one. It was recommended to me by a friend who was hesitant to let me know about it because they knew I would like it. They feared this would result in me never being able to shut the hell up about therefore ruining it for everyone because the anime would become synonymous with me.(See: Scott Pilgrim) Well they were right on the money and I apologize for nothing!  Gurren Lagann is about a post-apocalyptic world where humans have to fight a horde of enemies in giant mecha in order to survive. Then a couple of bad-asses who were living underground until their home was invaded steal a mecha and use fighting spirit and pure heart and to fight back; ushering in a new reign of human resistance! AWESOME! It's a lot of crazy, nonsensical fights loaded with breasts as a bonus. Reminds me of Gundam, except Gundam wasn't as sexy.

My relationship with anime has been a strained one with it's ups and downs but we finally seem to have been reunited for good. What will I watch next?! Cast your vote now!

So that's about it. But last night I saw FLCL. Holy shit. This warrants it's own post.

P.S. I would be remiss if I wrote this much about anime and don't bring up what's happened in Japan. For a place where so many of my favorite things are born this takes a heavy toll on me. It's always painful to see something like this happen and feel hopeless at the inability to get in there and help but my heart is with those affected by this and we can hope that everything is being done to move towards a resolution for those in need.

Spring Break: Indoors

Aaaah Spring Break! A time to frolic and soak up some sun as you and your best buds hit up the beach! 


You can stay inside and catch up with all your hobbies that ultimately just require you to look at different screens for hours on end which you would be doing even if you didn't have the time off for it! 


Now that I have this whole week off I can dedicate my time entirely to watching anime, being able to play my PS3 games once again and reading! I also have some time for my eternally beautiful and compassionate audience- that's right I'm talking about you! I've had some posts I've been wanting to churn out and now I totes can! So let's bring down those blinds, and sever all communications with the outside to make this the best Spring Break ever!