The Land of ESH

Log OutLog In

Posts Tagged ‘Comics/Manga’

One-On-One: Brer Rabbit of Flobots

Hands in the air, Presidents and Prime Ministers! We’ve got one of the main vocalists from the Flobots guesting on another edition of One-On-One!

King Baby Duck sits down with Flobots’ Brer Rabbit, as they chat about his and Johnny 5’s comic book origins (including one hell of an X-Men analogy!), the evolution of the band, and the current political structure of the United States. Plus hear his thoughts on what he feels makes a standout show, his most favorite moment on the new album The Circle In The Square, and a special twist on Three Album Island featuring drummer Kenny Ortiz.

It’s no quagmire, it’s One-On-One: Brer Rabbit of Flobots!

Click here to check out Blueonic’s photos from last Friday’s Flobots show on the official B3 page!

Special thanks to Another Reybee Production, Inc. for making this interview happen!

Episode CLVI: Side Effects May Include Motion Sickness

Take some Dramamine, because it’s time for another episode with the Bastards!

This week King Baby Duck and Blueonic talk about the gripes of having swarms of tourists around the Salem area, and wonder if and when they’ll start getting used to having movies being made around the area. KBD reviews the first episode of Hayate the Combat Butler: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, and discusses its non-canon elements that make it different from the other anime seasons. The recent film End of Watch is talked about, and Blueonic goes gun crazy with the beta for Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Finally the recent HD remasters of Sonic Adventure 2, Jet Set Radio, and NiGHTS into dreams… are looked at, and Blueonic explains why that spiky blue hedgehog is making him literally feel ill.

Buckle up your seatbelt, because you don’t wanna fall off during the loop-de-loop! It’s Episode 156: Side Effects May Include Motion Sickness!

Episode CXLVII: The Bane Of Our Existence

Comics, comics, comics! The Bastards get neck-deep into the realm of superheroes and powers beyond human capabilities, and they called in a specialist to help with the matter…

Russ Pirozek of DigitalNoob guests on an all-new episode, as he shares his experiences about this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and the plethora of what-if scenarios that comic book fans & geeks have pondered about for many years. Plus the B3 crew chat about their opinions on the recent films The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises, as well as the tragedy that befell in Colorado during a midnight screening.

Justice will be served with a swift kick in the groin in this super deluxe episode! It’s Episode 147: The Bane Of Our Existence.

WARNING: THIS EPISODE MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!

"Firefall" Web Comic Hitting Official Site, With A Big Writer To Boot

The upcoming free-to-play title Firefall amazed us all this past April at PAX East. Now they’re looking to add some extra back story in the form of a manga-influenced web comic series. Oh, and did I mention famed sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card is involved? Check out the video preview after the jump!

Be sure to visit the official Firefall site for updates on the comic.

Episode CXXXIX: Ave–PUT THOSE NIPPLES AWAY, HULK!!!

Avengers time. C’mon, grab your friends. We’ll go to very distant lands!

This week the gang tear a new asshole in parents who bring their children to a film that is neither appropriate or would hold their short attention spans, before going into the movie of the moment: The Avengers. Anvil gives his weekly sports report, tributes to the late Patriots player Junior Seau and Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch are held, and the demo for Dirt Showdown is examined.

The action-packed madness can be found here in Episode 139: Ave–PUT THOSE NIPPLES AWAY, HULK!!!

"Magic Knight Rayearth": The Quest To Save Cephiro!

Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the very first manga to ever get me into the world of Japanese animation. To celebrate I dusted off the Magic Knight DVDs and traveled back to the land of Cephiro with Umi, Fuu, and Hikaru. Magic Knight Rayearth was one the very first magical girl series, and has defiantly stuck with me throughout the years as one of my all-time favorites.

The story starts with three high school students, all from different schools, on a class trip to Tokyo Tower, when the cries of Princess Emeraude, the pillar of the world of Cephiro, summon them from Japan into her own world, to help save it from the evil reign of the Lord Zagato.  Once there they team up with the Master Mage Clef and a small create call Mokona in order to save Cephiro and find the Princess. In this world, a person’s will-power gives them strength, and can alter the world. Evil will creates monsters, while good while creates miracles. The Princess is the pillar of the world because her will is stronger than any other, so she must pray for the world to keep it safe. The high priest Lord Zagato has her captive however, keeping her from praying for the world. The three girls are charged with finding and using the power of the ancient rune gods in order to defeat Zagato and restore order to the world.

While Rayearth may not have the shining new look of today’s manga, it still holds its own after nearly 20 years since its production. The magical girl theme may seem a bit stale in this day and age, to go back and see one of the very first of its kind is a whole different matter, but it is truly amazing to see the differences that have emerged throughout the years. It does have its obligatory cutesy moments with the girls in little chibi forms and cat ears, yet it still manages to maintain a level of gravity that most modern shows seem to forsake. The plot lines, no matter how big or small they all, are all very fleshed out and full of story. The girls meet a woman to forge their magical weapons which grow stronger with them, and find in her an almost mother figure in the harsh world of Cephiro.

In terms of honoring the story, the anime follows the manga during the first season almost perfectly, aside of the inclusion of one made-up character. The second season, however, has even larger discrepancies in terms of major plot points that can be a bit aggravating for fans of the manga. In general however, both seasons are still demanding of attention for holding to a time when the quality of shows was at a bit of a higher importance level. With modern shows sinking into more and more fan service and less and less plots, Rayearth is a classic. The classics will never be bad, just old, and they don’t suffer for it.

For anyone looking to go back in time and see what some of the classics truly are like, they should look into Magic Knight Rayearth.

FINAL GRADE:

Anime Version: 4.5 (out of 5)
Original Manga: 4.8 (out of 5)

Written by Saignement

On-Site At Anime Boston 2011: Day Three

Team SITCAS was on stage. Tons of dancing filled the Auditorium. It was time for some Cosplay Chess!

This year’s theme was Magic VS Science, with Link representing magic and Professor Oak playing for science. I’ll be honest that this year could’ve used a bit more rehearsal time, as there were many technical errors throughout the show. Nevertheless the crowd was really into seeing the battles between their favorite anime and video games. (Having Queens of the Stone Age play during Bioshock‘s Little Sister character battles was a nice touch, in my opinion.) In short: this year’s Cosplay Chess was entertaining but flawed. Here’s hoping that the Cosplay Dodgeball game they announced for next year will be a lot more fun to watch.

Alas this was to be the final main event today, as the only thing left was the Closing Ceremonies. The guests this year gave their final bow for 2011, and it was time to close the book in Anime Boston 2011. Anime Boston 2012 was announced for April 6-8 of next year. The main issue with these dates is that it falls on the same period as PAX East. The staff at Anime Boston has reassured everyone that there will be a way for people to go to both. How they will do that is still up in the air, though.

I will say that Anime Boston 2011 was an improvement from this year. They went all-out on the guests and panels, and made sure that everyone had something to do during the entire duration. However I do believe that they should work on trying to avoid various technical difficulties that would’ve been simple to steer clear of (i.e.: music cues, video errors). Also I believe that seating really needs to be fixed in regards to the Main Auditorium, at least from the Press perspective. Where they have us sit is too far to the right, and because of that we missed a lot of the video-based stuff that was part of Masquerade. (One skit involving Deathsmiles was done in a silent film style, and the words could only be seen on the center screen. Because of that the majority of the people on the right-hand side missed on half of the bit.)

One other thing that should be fixed this year is the overlapping. Too many of the more popular events wound up running at the same time, so it made it difficult to cover everything. This was heavily evident in the timings of the Hentai Dubbings and the stereopony concert, and while I really enjoyed laughing my head off during the Dubbings I still wish I could’ve seen stereopony, as well. I don’t regret my decision, but I’m disappointed that I never got the chance to see the band perform live.

As Anime Boston 2012 will be its tenth anniversary I suspect that they’ll want to plan something big. Perhaps we’ll see some old guests return, and maybe some newer anime series make an appearance. Nevertheless it’s going to be tough, as it will be overshadowed by PAX East. It’s a dilemma I’m still trying to figure out, and will still think about until the time comes once again to register.

This concludes the main coverage for Anime Boston 2011. Stay tuned during the next week or two for the interviews with Brina Palencia and girugamesh.

On-Site At Anime Boston 2011: Day Two

I arrived at the Hynes at about 8:30 a.m. for the start of Day Two of Anime Boston 2011. Unfortunately due to an error I only blame myself for I came in thinking that the next event on my planner, the Anime Music Video contest, was at nine, only to find that it was actually at ten. I killed some time wandering around and checking out the cosplayers. I’ve started to notice that I’ve seen a lot of these costumes from last year. Maybe the economy’s to blame, or perhaps they worked so hard on the costumes that wearing it only once wasn’t enough to merit their craftsmanship. After a few minutes of walking around aimlessly I sat myself down in line to check out the AMV show.

This was the first time I’ve been to an AMV contest where all the entrants were really good. The edits, synching techniques and just overall themes of the videos fit well with the anime series that were being portrayed. Favorites this year included “Dogs of War” by 3 put to Soranowoto, Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” to High School of the Dead, the under-appreciated 1001 Nights put to the Beatles track “Love To You” and, yes, the popular YouTube track “What What In The Butt” synched perfectly to Ouran High School Host Club. However my pick for AMV of the Year at Anime Boston 2011 went to one from the Romance Category: Ke$ha’s “Grow A Pear” to Toradora, and for me to pick this even when I despise Ke$ha shows how good of a video it was. I’m kind of surprised to have seen it in the Romance category, as it should’ve been placed in the Comedy section.

Following the AMV contest was another press interview, this time being with girugamesh. Along with myself and the folks from JRock Revolution we sat down with the visual kei quartet and discussed about their lives and careers. They shared us stories about life on the road, the origin of the band, which artists they grew up listening to and even shared with us some of their favorite popular and under-the-radar anime series. It was also very nice to hear them give their true thoughts on the wrongfully negative perception of the visual kei, as it’s something that they — along with many other bands — are trying to fix. The firecracker story was also interesting, as the victim of the tale was in the room with us. (The Podcast recording of this will be coming up sometime this week or next, just as soon as I get some notes regarding translation errors from Mari Morimoto, who should be commended for her fantastic work during the interview.)

Next on the agenda was the concert put on by Odaiko New England, a taiko drum group stationed out around here. The group showcased the vast kinds of drums used in the group, each with their own unique sounds (the smallest being the shime-daiko). For the most part they featured the Nagado-daiko, which features a sound best described as a roaring thunder. Its quite a marvel at how a singular sound from these drums can be both powerful and melodious. The Led Zeppelin-inspired “Kashmir” was a nice touch.

After Odaiko New England finished up their set it was time to get ready for the Masquerade. I got my ticket early for the balcony, as you can see everything far better from above than on the floor. Unfortunately I had lost my ticket, but fortunately there was seating for press. Although it was on the floor it was in a good area where you can still see everything. The intro videos continued to entertain, thanks in part to its many mini-games and letters to the con. Finally the show was set to begin.

Hosting the show this year was the Roadie character for the Anime Boston mascots, who milked the “lift-things-up-and-put-them-down” line for what it was worth without it getting boring. This year’s skit highlights included a PoKéMoN/Inception spoof, Romeo X Juliet in two minutes, a Vocaloid opera and a Powerpuff Girls parody put to an anime whose name I can’t remember. The winners of the AMV contest were announced, with the Ke$ha/Toradora video winning for best Romantic video, and the Best In Show going to “King & Queens” by 30 Seconds To Mars put to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. This was followed by a hilarious video with the AB mascots parodying the Lonely Island’s “I’m On A Boat.”

After dinner I ran into Mannie of the_Stampede, and it was here where I was stuck in a conundrum: do I check out Stereopony on my own, or do I hang out with some friends for the Hentai Dubbings? Considering this was the first time all day I saw one of my closest friends I decided on the latter. My ears were kind of hurting from the screaming girls at the Masquerade, and were still recovering from the girugamesh show. Though I do enjoy stereopony, I needed a chance to hang with some buddies and enjoy the dubbings. After all I had to miss out on it last year, after promising Dick Tripwire that I would be in attendance.

This year the Dubbings had a special guest in the form of Sean “Goku” Schemmel, who despite everyone’s pleas didn’t do the voice in fear of losing his job (an understandable excuse). Although this site is geared towards the 18-34 crowd I cannot discuss anything regarding what happened this year. There is one thing I can say: Boom goes the dynamite.

All in all Day Two was filled with much to love. Here’s hoping the final day is filled with tons of fun and pocky!

On-Site At Anime Boston 2011: Day One

With a mere five-minute wait in the pre-registration line I was given access to Anime Boston 2011. As soon as I walked in the insanity didn’t just walk into me, it punched me square in the jaw. Cosplayers, steampunk, random dancing and the nonstop Marco Polo filled the air, hallways and panel rooms as the annual crazy otaku weekend began at the Hynes Convention Center. And the day hadn’t even started.

At around 10:30 the convention officially opened with the Opening Ceremonies. The Ayers Brothers (Chris & Greg) were there, as they have become the unofficial godfathers of Anime Boston guests, as were J. Michael Tatum, Spike Spencer and Trina Nishimura. Brina Palencia had not yet arrived, as her flight was delayed. Tom Wayland, the Yankees lover, once again made a great intro video, which poked fun of 4Kids TV’s bankruptcy, how he gets a lot of parts since he’s the voice director and the little mention of his now-infamous Hentai Dubbings showcase (as he is the magical man known as Dick Tripwire). The Japanese guests stereopony and girugamesh appeared, along with Mari Ijima, who said that she almost had to cancel on account of her sick bunny. (I originally thought that was a pet name for her boyfriend/husband, but she actually has a pet bunny back home in LA that’s been sick, so hopefully he feels better soon.)

As soon as the Opening Ceremonies were finished I took off to roam around to see who else people were dressing up. Some costumes caught my attention, including a poorly-made Gundam costume made out of beer boxes, a human-sized Pac-Man, a very well-done Jack Sparrow and a couple of Master Chiefs. I do have one beef, though: what’s with all the Lady Gagas? For one she’s not even related to anything anime or game-related, and the only comic they have of her was that horrible one Linkara recently reviewed. The J-ROCK costumes I get, but this I don’t. Still I guess there’s not much you can do about it, and if I can allow someone to cosplay as the Dresden Dolls, then this should be okay.

I next walked into the Artist Alley, where all the fanbased and original creations are showcased to hopeful buyers. Sitting at The Devil’s Panties table was our old friend Tater Tot, who was working for Nigel Sade (a pirate-based artist) right next to her. Much of the fan-made creations were very well-crafted, though there were a few people selling stuff that were both expensive and poorly-made.

Soon afterwards it was time to take part in a press panel interview with Brina Palencia, best known for her roles in such anime as Sgt. Frog, Black Butler and School Rumble. Here everyone (including myself) asked about her background, favorite series and if she prefers directing over voice acting. I was very surprised at her honesty, especially when I asked her the same question regarding fan-service and storylines that I did with Mamoru Hosoda, the director of Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. (A full article will be coming soon.)

After the press interview I went to check out Anime Unscripted, Anime Boston’s version of the TV series Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which features some of the top American voice actors like Palencia, Chris Ayers, Tatum and Sean Schemmel partaking in improv games. All four voice actors did an amazing job playing such skits as Let’s Make A Date, Party Quirks and Weird Newscasters. The biggest highlight of the show was the Slideshow game, where Schemmel did a hilarious Hindu accent and talked about an archaeological dig involving huge people, explosive puppies and the Pop Tart Kitty. The three-headed professor bit felt flat, unfortunately, but much of this can be blamed on audio difficulties.

The final event I checked out before hanging it up for the day was the girugamesh concert. Opening band Acey Slade & the Dark Party was quite the crowd pleaser, as many ran up to the stage to rock out like crazy. They premiered two new songs: “Shinigami Eyes” and “Cyclone,” both of which got the crowd really going. In short: they sounded like Stone Temple Pilots in their prime, so a good future can be seen for this band if the cards are played right.

Finally the time had come for girugamesh to hit the stage. This being their second time in America the pressure for them to gain a following wasn’t there, as everyone in the Auditorium was in hot anticipation for them to appear beforehand. For an hour the floors had become a massive screamfest, as girugamesh had run through a vast amounts of their hits, as well as a couple of tracks from their new album GO. Satoshi had the crowd at his fingertips, and his fellow band members Nii, Shou and Яyo smashed and bashed their way through the loud and crazy set. Had it not been for fire hazard rules the floor could’ve easily become a massive mosh pit; alas, it was not to be. Still girugamesh gave an amazing show for a captivated audience.

All in all, a good first day of events and interviews. Let’s see what’s in store for Day Two with the Masquerade and stereopony.

To A Point, Web-Slinger Shatters Expectations

The gaming world of Spider-Man has had its ups and downs, and to be blunt it’s always been more on the downslope side of things. In fact the last great Spider-Man video game I can remember was the (albeit) short one that came out for PlayStation, N64 and PC back in 2000, though this can be up for debate. Last year, however, the folks at Marvel and Activision decided to take the game to a far greater level, giving players not just the chance to play as America’s favorite web-slinger but also three other versions of him. Unfortunately while spending so much time prepping the worlds of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions they forgot to fix some issues that keep the game from being as great as it should’ve been.

The premise of Shattered Dimensions begins with Spider-Man battling it out with Mysterio, who is trying to steal an artifact known as the “Tablet of Order and Chaos.” After accidentally breaking the tablet, the pieces of the artifact are cast out into four different worlds of Spider-Man: Amazing, Ultimate, Spider-Man 2099 and Noir. Throughout these worlds the four different Spider-Men have to battle it out with familiar foes to collect the tablet pieces, though with the powers each piece gives the villain the task is easier said than done. Can Spider-Man and his alternate universe pals collect the pieces before Mysterio discovers its true power, or will the world finally fall under the dark cloud of evil? (Knowing your Spider-Man trivia the answer’s kinda obvious.)

In each world you play in Spider-Man is given similar web-slinging maneuvers, ranging from the usual punch ‘n’ kicks to swinging your opponents around using your web. However within the worlds come special attacks that none of the other Spideys have. Case in point Ultimate Spider-Man has the ability to use Rage, which will make defeating opponents easier and will take less life points away if attacked in this mode. Also unique is how you have to defeat your opponents, which showcases these special tactics well in the Noir levels. In there you have to be sure not to be in the sight of the villains, as well as stay out of the spotlight if you want to take them down; otherwise you’ll be shot up and probably killed, starting the level again at the checkpoint.

Also unique to each world is its art style. While the FMV contains the same realistic look (and they do look phenomenal), the universes themselves have a different look to them. The Amazing world has a Saturday morning cartoon sort of flavor to it, whereas the Noir levels were more Sin City-based with the occasional color here and there when Spider-Man is being tracked by the villains. The best-looking of the worlds, however, has to go to Spider-Man 2099, with its bright futuristic look and overall appearance. Every building and vehicle seems to want to jump out at you while you’re in a tussle with villains and henchmen alike.

Props also must be given to the voice actors, and having Neil Patrick Harris return to voice the Amazing Spider-Man was the perfect choice, as his Spider-Man in the MTV series was sincerely the best. I do have an irk about using the original Spider-Man voice Dan Gilvezan to don the vocals for Spider-Man 2099. While I do understand the nostalgic aspect of having the guy who voiced the web-slinger in the cartoon from the 1980s do his voice it makes the 2099 Spidey sound a lot older than he should be. Maybe I’m just being picky, but to me this Spider-Man doesn’t sound quite right. Having Christopher Barnes (who played the Spider-Man in the FOX Kids cartoon when I was growing up) come back to portray the Noir version is also a plus, as he brings a bit of much-needed humor into the Noir’s dark world. Josh Keaton’s Ultimate Spider-Man has its moments, though for the most part he sounds a bit too much like a Harris clone; in fact I didn’t even know someone else was voicing Ultimate until I did my research.

In regards to the villains in Shattered Dimensions they’re a mixed bag. I got bored quickly with fighting Kraven the Hunter in the Amazing universe, along with his henchmen, and I grew weary of having to chase Vulture in the 2099 universe. On the other hand I couldn’t get enough of the Deadpool level in the Ultimate universe, as the concept of giving the mad hero/villain his own reality show was beyond hilarious. Granted finding the cameras to destroy was easier said than done, but having the commentary by Marvel’s favorite loony in tights eased the difficulty a whole lot better. In fact I can’t help but say that the Ultimate villains were the most fun dealing with, whereas the 2099 world ones were the most difficult; but on the whole the choice villains were hit-and-miss.

The weakest aspect of Shattered Dimensions is its control scheme, and while there are plenty of maneuvers to do there isn’t enough time given to you to complete them before you get smacked around. Swinging from your web also has its share of issues, none bigger than the camera angles. Like motion pictures it takes the right angle to make a remarkable scene, and unfortunately it looks like someone left the cameras on auto-pilot. While you can adjust the camera it seems like you have to do that every 20 seconds, making battling the henchmen a major pain in some areas, along with traveling via web. There were some instances where the camera was so bad while traveling I just gave up and had Spider-Man fall to his death so I could start all over again. Sometimes you’ll find yourself going into first-person mode, and depending who you’re facing this gaming aspect can be either fun (Kraven) or just plain annoying (Vulture).

Fortunately the folks at Activision and Beenox managed to put together a game that’s both lengthy and interesting (for the most part). Each level takes roughly 30-60 minutes to complete, depending on how well you adjust to each level, and given that there are thirteen levels and one tutorial you have at least a fair 10 hours of gameplay given to you. There will be some frustrating levels, mind you, but for the most part the game is pretty well worth going through the entire thing.

PROS:

  • Graphics look great
  • Storyline’s good for what it’s worth
  • Gameplay is pretty fun
  • Deadpool level

CONS:

  • Villains are hit-and-miss
  • Adjusting the camera every so often is annoying
  • Controls — especially combos — are tough to handle while having your ass handed to you

FINAL THOUGHTS:

While Shattered Dimensions has its flaws there’s enough good to be found in this new gaming chapter of the world’s favorite neighborhood Spider-Man. The camera angles might ruin some of the great aspects of the game, but in the long run there’s plenty to like in this story mode. Yes, the whole broken artifact thing has been done in so many other comics and video games, but the way it’s accomplished makes it a fun title as a whole. Just be warned that there will be some frustrating parts in Shattered Dimensions, so be prepared to curse loudly at your console and TV.

FINAL GRADE: 7.2 (out of ten)