Saturday, May 24

Anime: Kiddy Grade

GOTT agent Eclair is cute, lively, sexy and awesomely powerful.

Despite the weird name, this new series from Gonzo Animation (Blue Submarine No. 6, Vandread, Hellsing) is not about kids or adventures in grade school. It is a futuristic action/drama series akin in many ways to the classic Dirty Pair, in that it's main characters are two lovely young (or at least young-looking) cybord babes working for a galactic peace organization. Taking the helm in the series are Eclair and Lumiere (how cute!), two agents of GOTT, or the Galactic Organization for Trade and Tariffs. GOTT is basically the 'good guys', doing everything from settling peace treaties to escorting VIPs from planet to planet.
Eclair is a sexy cyborg who apparently has been re-set (meaning rebuilt since she's been killed in action several times before) so many times that she acts like a young girl (despite having a very mature physique). Despite this, she's probably one of the most powerful members of GOTT's ES Section (a special powers division), given superior fighting skills and powers. Lumiere on the other hand is a silver-gray haired little girl who has the ability to hack into any system at will, for a multitude of effects.
As GOTT agents, Lumiere and Eclair basically head into dangerous missions independently, letting their super powers and GOTT's superior technology and resources do the talking. Along with the slick action and mecha, there's tons of cute girl images and quite a bit of fan service to spice things up. And of course, since it IS a Gonzo work, it resembles past series like Vandread and Samurai Girl in art style.
Though it looks cute and light with the bright colors and child-like characters, Kiddy Grade is apparently a very serious series, and it gets pretty dark as the series moves along. I am quite intrigued at this, given an intriguing article in the latest Newtype. Have to see what the fuss is all about. Anyway, as the latest Gonzo anime, I think I will enjoy this one. Recommended to mecha fans and enthusiasts of cute girls along with big guns, big mecha, fast starships and lots of hi-quality animation.

I've already ranted about the DAMNABLE Dungeons and Dragons movie. Well, it seems that a great evil still lives within that thing since a SECOND movie in that series is being planned. GAH! The movie is apparently being dragged forward by Courtney Solomon, the same guy who made the first (it failed miserably due to horrible acting, a moronic script and bad production values) who coincidentally hasn't made another film since that one (resting on our laurels, aren't we?). Somehow, he managed to get producer Joel Silver to put this evil plot back in motion. Perhaps he used a Charm Person spell?
Anyway, no word if any of the incompetent cast and characters from the original are returning. I say, burn ALL the ties to the original and get a decent script from any of the hundreds of great novels, worlds, heroes and legends from the D&D franchise. Or at LEAST get something from a good game module. Anything is better than the troll crap goblin vomit orc shit that was the original D&D film. I have seen stains on toilet paper that made more sense than the script of that hellish first movie. BAAAHHH!!!!!

Haah. Rant over. Moving on.
Too much Spaghetti.

Yesterday, I had a Spaghetti Bolognese dish for lunch at The Green Tomato in my office's cafeteria.

Last night, I had Spaghetti Bolognese at Salsa Rossa.

Today, I just had lunch at home. It was mom's spaghetti with meat sauce. In other words, Spaghetti Bolognese.


Gotta getah a-something else-ah before-ah I-ah start-ah feeling I gotta join-ah the Mafia.

Thursday, May 22

Missing Anime

I haven't been able to devote enough time to anime lately. The past couple of weeks have seen me go to Greenhills and walk away with nary a single VCD or DVD of any new stuff. The last series I was able to watch a bit was the girlyboy action comedy Getbackers, which stars a couple of super-powered pretty-boy repo men and their many equally super-powered rivals and allies. I was able to catch a couple of the closing episodes of Groove Adventure Rave on AXN, but unfortunately I think I missed seeing the final episode (thus I may be forced to buy the VCDs to see what happened at the end).

The sad part is, I've got a ton of anime just waiting for my attention back in the Sanctum. Got to give it time. But given that I have so many art and comic requirements, I won't be able to do that very soon. It just simply won't do to draw AND watch subtitled anime. It's impossible.

Oh well. Then again, maybe I am just waiting for that next Big Thing in anime. Or the next Inu Yasha DVD collection. Whatever.
Animated Angels 2

The second episode of the Charlie's Angels 'prequel' online cartoon is now available for download. As before, the animation isn't groundbreaking (apparently all the great anime artists and producers went with the Wachowskis) but I have to admit, there's lots of action and the leggy heroines have a penchant for sexy fetish outfits (a feature from the actual movie), so it's quite interesting to look at, at least. I am thinking that while Animated Angels won't see a DVD release like The Animatrix, the 6-part cartoon should be a nice, no-brainer extra for the Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle DVD later.
You can download the 2nd episode of Charlie's Angels: Animated Adventures here.

Wednesday, May 21


According to some sources on the web, there will be a live-action Evangelion feature in the near future! This project will be a collaboration of Gainax (the anime production house responsible for the original series), ADV Films (the US distributor) and, get this, Peter Jackson's WETA Workshop (which made a name for itself with a recent fantasy movie trilogy of some repute).

On another anime/game to movie tidbit, a SECOND Street Fighter movie is in the works, reportedly starring
Jean-Claude "I'm gonna keeck Bison's ahss" Van Damme and Dolph "You will lose" Lundgren. Another name identified with this sequel is Australian actress Holly Valance. No word yet if this new film will be in any way connected with the first live-action Streetfighter movie (which starred Van Damme and the late, great Raul Julia).

Anyway, no word on release dates for both projects. Evangelion is a critically-acclaimed anime about giant mecha called Evas and the pre-teen pilots that guide them into battle. It is as much about psychological drama, personal intrigue, X-files-esque conspiracies, generation gap conflicts and religious symbolisms as it is about giant robots battling alien monsters.
Streetfighter is based on the classic Capcom videogame series about an international cast of battling martial artists and the various evil plots they get involved in.

My Gosh. We'll keep everyone warned... I mean, posted... on any updates on these disturbing subjects...
Mummies and Matrices

What happened to the heavy-handed Matrix sequel is something that happens often in Hollywood movies. A relatively unambitious film which happens to strike a chord of excellence whether in theme or execution gets big returns or reviews. The resulting sequel becomes infused with a bigger budget, more ambitious plans and storylines that often involve epic proportions, more eye candy and fan service, and tons of hype. Such is the need for sequels to go beyond the tiny borders established by the earlier film. Unfortunately though, the flavor and elements that made the first so great are lost in the next film.

Remember The Mummy? It was a relatively quiet and understated film that started off as a remake of the old monster title. However, it took the original premise and gave it a shot in the arm. Not so much a horror movie, it was part scary movie, part pulp-action, part period film, part comedy. It had thrills and chills, a wonderful cast of characters, great special effects, rivetting action and an original take on the mummy story. It remains to this day one of my favorite films.
However, then came the sequel. Bigger budget, bigger cast, bigger story... which translates to tons of CG that looks like CG, heavy-handed large-scale battles, an Egyptian catfight with Japanese sai (EH? Okay, I enjoyed the skimpy outfits but SAI? EH?), an over-abundance of villain characters, a hokey airship and... The ROCK! The Mummy Returns was loud, corny and pretty crappy compared to the original. Though most of the blame I think goes to the WWE, which apparently bought the whole kit and caboodle as a star vehicle for Dwayne Johnson. And I won't even mention the awful 'third' part of the Mummy Triad (not a trilogy), which is horrid beyond words (despite having Kelly Hu... who gratifyingly was able to leap from that into X2).

Sigh. I still regard The Matrix as one of my fave films, despite Reloaded. I really hope that Revolutions somehow redeems the trilogy. This November I hope it's not another Scorpion King. AAARRGHH... mentioned it...

Tuesday, May 20

Recovery Period

Yesterday I didn't go to work since I spent pretty much all of Sunday and a good part of Monday morning working on an AVP (Audio Visual Presentation) for a client. The whole job was passed to me just last week; with little time to come up with a feasible but presentable concept, the necessity to accommodate an additional requirement in the same time, with no budget to speak of and having to deal with an inexperienced and barely adequate production house. Wonderful!
Of course this is on top of the fact that I was then forced to watch Matrix: Reloaded a third time, spend money to feed myself and infuse coffee into my veins. Grrr. Anyway, I got back my time by having a vacation of sorts, percolating at home and trying to ink pages and draw, play an odd session of Neverwinter Nights and watch anime.
Little pleasures, but with the madness that is imposed on you, they're vital to keeping your sanity. Ah.

Well, back to work.

Monday, May 19


YES!!! TechTV on my cable service is FINALLY going to show their new X-Play gaming show soon. No more endless replays of the now-defunct Extended Play. Thanks be... THANKS BE!!!!
Matrix Reloaded Top Tens (SPOILERS!)

Having watched Matrix: Reloaded a THIRD time since I was stuck in Greenbelt having to kill time while waiting for a work-related thing (ON A DAMN SUNDAY!!!!), I am now compelled (insert Smith impression here) to make a couple of Reloaded Top 10 lists...

Top Ten Coolest Things in Reloaded

1. The Freeway Chase. Big, loud, exciting, long and thrilling. Morpheus and Trinity get to shine as they race to keep the Keymaker from the hands of the Merovingian's evil Twin henchmen and Agents. Lots of cool fighting, car wrecks, jumps and leaps, motorcycles and guns aplenty.
2. The Twins. These dreadlocked albino nasties have the moves, the power to phase and the attitude to make them distinct in a movie full of generic thugs and evil programs. Coolest moment: When they say the line: "We are getting aggravated. Yes, we are." Heh.
3. The Merovingian. He's French. He's foppish. He's evil. He's funny! Yeah, I thought that whole dialogue with the Why's and the cake thing were all hi-faluting gobbledy-goo, but he leaves a good impression. He'll probably be coming back to stir up more trouble in revolutions...
4. The Burly Brawl. Yes, it was long and had a bad resolution, but it was fun seeing all those Smiths. Actually it made me think of some pretty funny things; Like it was kind of the 'Attack of the Dead Poets' Society'. I pictured a school bus full of Smiths driving in. All those Hugo Weavings scrambling into the area looked like kids in a playground. Heh-heh. Fun.
5. Neo's Flight Powers. I can't remember the last time I saw flying done this coolly, this nicely. It's so smooth and fast it makes the power of flight (which I believe is one of the coolest super powers you can have) really awesome.
6. Neo's new black costume. Damn he looks cool in those threads. Nothing like a bad-ass kung-fu priest to strike the Fear of The One into evil programs everywhere. Remember how Luke Skywalker looked uber-cool in his black outfit back in Return of the Jedi? Neo's outfit is many times cooler.
7. Zion Battlesuits. Wanna see those things kick Sentinel ass in Revolutions.
8. The New Agents. Upgraded baddies Thompson and company are a lot meaner and imposing than Jones and Brown in the first.
9. Persephone. It's Monica Bellucci. With no bra. Nuff said.
10. The Revolutions Trailer at the end of the credits. Worth the wait. Cool as hell. Almost worth agonizing through the Rave again just to see it.

Top 10 WORST things about Reloaded.

1. The RAVE. Boring, long and seemingly out of place. This encompasses Morpheus' bad speech, imagery of The Flinststones and Fraggle Rock, Bob Marley clones and an uninteresting Neo-Trinity sex scene.
2. Trinity. WHY does Carrie-Ann Moss look so old in so many of her shots?! When a Trinity-spoof in a Heineken beer ad looks TEN times cooler than the actual character in Reloaded, something is very, very wrong. The Matrix's number one girl seems to have lost her edge, going from super-sleek to shiny but frumpy.
3. The Mansion Fight with the Merovingian's goons. At this point, I actually got tired of kung-fu fighting. And I love kung-fu fighting. Too long, generic and uninteresting opponents, too many jumping up and down and slow-mos.
4. The Burly Brawl ending. Pointless and unsatisfying.
5. The Zion Interlude. Too long, boring and reminded me of Episode One...
6. The Architect's Exposition. Hi-faluting jargon that is a poor climax after the wonderful Freeway chase.
7. The Kid- Almost as irritating as Jar Jar Binks. Almost...
8. A Heart-gripping ending. Okay, it had to happen, but did it had to have to be done so badly?
9. Too many Smith puns about his cloning powers.
10. The RAVE. Yes, It's that bad.


Sunday, May 18

Ninja Freakshow

I splurged and got a dvd of the Japanese movie Kunoichi Lady (Ninja Lady) at Greenhills yesterday. The film stars Yuko Minamura, who has also starred in a large number of other Japanese samurai/ninja fantasy films. It's about seven ninja women who seek revenge against an evil lord and his sorcerous minions. Aiding the women is the legendary swordsman, Jubei Yagyu.
The film features lots of bloody swordfights, hammy Japanese acting, pretty Japanese girls, quite a bit of nudity and dramatic death scenes and drama as only the Japanese can do. B-movie all the way... and not the kind of film I expected to see (when ninja girls start radiating magic out of their breasts, I can't take the film seriously). Haven't found a ninja girl film yet that isn't hentai (LA Blue Girl) or live-action sex-fantasy (THIS movie). I'm beginning to think the perfect ninja girl film doesn't exist (unless Capcom does an anime featuring Ibuki from Streetfighter or something). I'd hate to say I wasted my money on this, but I think I did. Sigh.
Matrix Repeated

Last night, the gang trooped to Greenhills Theater Mall for our first (and last) viewing of Reloaded as a group. We watched the Last Full Show and got nice reserved seats. Some of us came in looking simply for eye-candy (Hi Carl!), which suited them perfectly. Some of course, were utterly horrified by the film (Hi, Dean!).
I came in for my second viewing of the film, and went away with several things. I finally got to see the Matrix: Revolutions trailer at the end of the credits, I finally was able to understand the Secret of the One more or less.

I still found that Reloaded suffers still from a glaringly boring first third (ALL of the Zion sequences are BAD. Morpheus' speech, the 'Rave', the talk with the councillor, Link and his wife, etc.). The fights go on too long (never thought I'd say that), much of the writing is just masturbatory (writers went wild thinking their stuff is hot shit) and again, the movie's climax comes long before the end of the movie, leading to a boring lull and a horrible exposition section at the end. Oh well.

The Revolutions trailer looks nice, and it all just convinces me that Matrix is probably better as a manga. Maybe someone should do that... have a great manga artist adapt the trilogy into printed form. It would probably ROCK as a comic; far better than as a film.