Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

This will be one of those blog through the movie exercises.  My cousin and I were strolling through the library and picked up couple movies to watch.  I picked up Crank 1&2, he picked up this feature.  I was surprised to find that this film made it out last year.  I'm not a fan of the Street Fighter series, nor any of Capcom's titles, but it is interesting to see a translation.

The beginning isn't slow, but it isn't fast.  There is plenty of dialogue, and at least there is action here and there.  The casting is pretty fitting, but I can't say if they accurately portray the original characters.  Kristen Kreuk looks even younger in this film than in the Smallville series, that I've watched often in the past.  Most of the cast is oddly half Asian.  Acting is a little less than standard fare and dialogue is just too typical.

Some of the action is actually new and refreshing.  It's always hard to do something different in martial arts.  Jackie Chan pretty much set the bar and covered all that ground in his countless films.  I don't like the camera angles used during those sequences.  We do see some contacts between the fighters, but most of it is weak and can be seen as a facade.  

Music is quite out there.  Mostly Chinese melodies, and the use of woodworks, for the tension.  Although like most American films.  I won't be commenting on music. 

This movie is satisfying, regardless of the immense amount of material left out.  I liked the fight against Bison most.  It was quite professional.  Some story elements left my head scratched and scared.  Such as, the energy balls, those were never explained, but they're not a big deal.  Anyone can just accept it.  The detectives on case are what I would call the biggest side story ever.  I just see no reason from them to be included. 

The movie is about Bison getting his daughter, but just how he lost her and why the big deal was for him to obtain her was not explained.  That's where the movie failed in terms of plot.  We're dealing with a mafiatic maniac and we are not given much details as his motives, business(what the main characters father was doing?), and goals.  You can be leaving the movie enjoying the action, but then the actual story will be never realised.  It is worth the watch, just don't worry about deep plot because it will leave you hanging.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm also a busy body!!!!

Busy and getting little to none done.  I will have a post for everyday, which means I'm cheating.  How is that?  Well, under post options, we bloggers are allowed to choose the time of post.  Meaning, there could be no updates from me in month, then the next day, you see it all filled up.  That's because I have school in the morning and work at night.  This blog is the new and few moments of "me-time" which is also for someone other than me. 

I started to write on a lot of stuff.  At this point there is, Tenchi, Agga Ruter, Escaflowne, various cds, Fall of Eagles, the syrian comedies, Kajishima doujin, and games.   But, there is still more I have to put out there.  Besides just giving you my personal feelings about the various products, what else can I do that you would like to see?  I've started Escaflowne, I'm liking, but I'm still not putting it in my collection.  Give me a new title that you think I might like, for me to view and review.  I'm open to suggestions, so there isn't something on this blog about what I like. 

Regardless, I've already picked a new category.  Every month I will post thorough biography about a person and why he/she inspires me.  I call it "Person of the Month"!  Now this is not a program to brag about my idols, but merely extracting people from their work.  Japanese persons will mostly be the ones I'll be extracting information on, because they are very private people.  Whereas, Americans are, "here I am, look at me, nothing would have been done without me, blah, blah..."  So there won't be much work/search on them, and there is not many to choose from.  These specific persons is not my way of picking favorites.  I don't favortize people.  PotM is an editorial to bring out my views on the persons history, bad and good.
Looking forward to reactions and feedback.  I know at this point, what with 30 views, it's a deadzone here.  Though thats more than a click from somebody a day.  I'm looking to get 1000 view by the end of the year.  Meanwhile, enjoy some rare tenchi images below and above.
This and the one straight above are from one of many doujins.  I like the artist on for this one.  Very OAV like, especially since we don't see Kiyone with a tie.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

F-Zero Arranged Album

 Having played F-Zero GX for the Gamecube and loving it and the music.  I went after the soundtracks.  I found this gem, after reading the few reviews.  Most gave it a 10/10.  I am not a big fan of jazz, but I like collecting the few and expensive extra's that Nintendo puts out there.  Seikou Nagaoka does a lot of jazz outside his soundtrack career, but I've grown to like his style.  So it was worth giving it a try. 

I was really turned off and away running through this cd the first time.  It was mostly the jazz orientation that scared me.  I was think of GX and I was wanting rock or even heavy metal.  Actually, I was skipping through the first time.  The alto sax sounded like a big one was being ripped, lol.  Which is I am not into jazz.  Especially since most music incorporated with it.  But I was drawn to the drums, guitar, and the use of a band-like musicians. 

This album production has banded together a bunch of American musicians, under lock and key of Nintendo composers of course.  All tracks composed by Yumiko Kanki, except 2 and 12, which are by Naoto Ishida.  Of the Americano's, Marc Russo(Sax's) and Robben Ford(Guitar) are the star of the show.  We get a picture of them, along with a comment by Marc.  Of course, they couldn't have an American translation.

01 Opening Theme 4:21
02 Big Blue 4:03
03 Red Canyon 4:11
04 Fire Field 4:16
05 Silence 4:34
06 White Land 4:22
07 Port Town 4:40
08 Select Time Theme 3:42
09 Mute City 4:25
10 Sand Ocean 4:39
11 Death Wind 3:31
12 Ending Theme 5:05
Realizing that I may eventually like, and I do, which is why I'm making this review.  Number 1 is great for a introductory jazz peice.  Makes you feel like a TV program is running through the list of racers and tracks.  Just before the 2 min. mark is where Marc works his lungs.  I like the sax player's lead from that point on.

I'll skip number 2 for now, but 3 Red Canyon, begins with the bass and carries you throughout with drums and sax.  It feels like those old movies, or like on broadway.  Think in the Mask, as he's going into the club.  That scene where Jim Carrey, livening up, I think I can remember the music to be of the like.  The way this track ends, perfectly fits that scene. 

Fire Field is where it gets good.  This actually fits into the racing genre that this cd should be doing.  Drums and electric guitar gets you into that racing mood.  Then the second guitar rocks out the show, leading to a great finish.  5 Silence has left me silent.  I have no comments good or bad for it, but I will say this,  I can listen to it but not worth repeating.  It has its uses for the F0-verse.  I remember the Ford commercials in the 90's sounding like this.

White Land is a perfect bland of mellow jazz and rock.  It's more of an atmospheric track.  It's very addictive, I repeat often.  Port Town sounds like your in Mexico, Spain, or Hawaii.  It doesn't seem like it in the begining, but definetly after the first minute and on.  If you're having a party at the luao, this music should be played doing the limbo or the Moroccan dance.  Select Time Theme definetly takes its time.  It is a slow piece, as if the jazz didn't slow the overall pace of the album.  I like the use of the bass in the middle of the track.  Has a fun fading finish. 

Mute City and Sand Ocean don't grab me so.  Especially Mute City, what with all its many arrangements out there.  I am kind of sick of it.  It is still one of the better arranged ones.  Sand Ocean starts out with the beachy feel, but kind of gets crazy with the strings, it sounds like techno.

Ah, Death Wind, it literally blows you away(I am not apologizing for the corny puns).  This is what Jazz-Rock Fusion is made for.  It's fast pace from the start, but it's too short.  Its the best one on the cd.  I can't sit down on this one.  Sadly, it's too short, as it's fading out it gets even better.  You must hear it.

Finally, I saved Naoto's tracks for last, because they are the odd ones.  Thankfully, he/she did two, but I think there was no need for him/her to be involved in this project.  Big blue is also like Mute City with tons of other arrangements, but like Mute City it captures the funky urban city life that this series is placed in.  Ending Theme is fitting, for an ending though.  It's these two that is hardest to listen to.

The package of the album is nothing at all, 4/10.  Why, well Nintendo is not known for it's CD's physical contents.  That score is too high of a score.  We get a picture of two of the musicians, and a small comment by Marc, but thats it.  There should have been more from the musicians, interviews, comments, how they(the Americans) got into this production.  Nintendo often doesn't know how to show their love.  They need help.  Cover art is not even noticeable, F-Zero as the title, how am I supposed to know if it's an arranged or an OST.  I can barely see that there is an engine on the cover and back.  The inside of the panphlet, has Falcon looking into the desert.  I won't scan it becuase it's not that fascinating. 

This CD gets in A for composition and arrangement.  A perfect, live arrangement of the games original soundtrack by Hirokazu Ando.  So well done, Nintendo doesn't give us his original compostions.  We don't need them though.  This cd is not terribly rare, but definetly not cheap.  The contents on this cd are all you need to go and find this rarity.

Monday, January 17, 2011

جميل وهناء - Jameel wa Hana

Thankfully, I was born into an arab family.  I would have never seen this, a classic among classics. This is the first Syrian comedy series, I've been introduced to, and hooked to.  I still repeat every so often.  Unlike the other arabic series, Ailet 7(for short) this is compiled into one straight series.  In Ailet 7, each episode had a title and a focus, whereas this show carries the plot.  33 or 34 episodes I believe, from begining to end, and it's all interconnected.  There is not a person who has not seen or heard of it.  Most arabs don't like to repeat things.  Even if its good.  I always get the comment from many of my family members, "You're still watching this old show"  Well, there is nothing like it, and I'll explain to you why.

Plot Synopsis
Saleem, the problematic child, sneaks into his parents room to change the alarm.  Jameel barely wakes up by himself, realizing that his son changed the alarm.  Hana asks her husband, Jameel, to get the boys, Tahre and Saleem, ready for school.  Jameel is not happy with her request, because he says that his work is enough on him, and that she should be doing all this, but he does so any way.  As he is waking the boys, Saleem is stalling purposefully, just to get his father to take him.  Saleem gets what he wants, as he will, most of the time.  Jameel burns the coffee and it overflows, barely getting a cup for his wife.  Her ride comes from her job, in which she runs off to it only to be grabbed by Jameel.  He asks that she back early so that he comes home to find dinner ready. 

At Jameel's offices, we have Amal Jamal, his secretary, doing her makeup. Zooming outwards, we see Darweesh, the coffee maker on the telephone, with one of his wifes.  He starts to deliver coffee and tea to the other employees.  He has a habit of rubbing cologne on everyone.   

Salem, one of the employees, enters with a rose in his hand, to flirt with, Werde, his co-worker in their department.  Werde is not keen at all to his constant flirting, because he is married to Manal.  When Werde throws Salem's rose, he goes to pick it up from the feet of his wife.  Manal is pissed to see him at Werde's desk.  She asks him where he stayed so late, and he replies at his mothers.  Manal asks him that next time he goes, he takes her with him.  He is able to calm her down.  She then goes back to her department, and talks with her co-workers.  She says to them that Salem's story at his mothers is a lie, and calls her to make sure.  Manal's co-workers try to get her off Salme's case, so that she doesn't ruin their marriage over his freedom.

Manal goes back to Salem to find the truth.  Layla tries to stop her, but fails.  Layla says that she never asks her husband about his whereabouts.  Samia tells Layla that they are both wrong and that they need to find the middle.

I'm going to skip synopsis for this series.  It's just too long and I should be paid to do a half-assed translation.  I really recommend watching this, especially if you like comedy.  The technical merit is unsurpassed by any American film or soap opera.  The screenplay, the acting, the music, camera usage, it's just sweet simple harmony. 

Actually, it's going to take pages upon pages to translate a whole scene.  So I'm going change it up.  Since this is my favorite series.  I'm not going to torture myself and write on each episode.  Next post will be character introductions and descriptions.  I will do a brief synopsis of episode 2 and cover some material from this episode.  I have provided a link for you above, so that you can see the brilliant creation.  Every 7 parts is an episode.  The account has the whole season up there.  Video quality is low, and sound may be ahead the picture or not in sync at times.  This is recorded of a VHS anyhow.  Sometimes the sound will only come from one side. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

暗黒神伝承 武神 -Takegami:Guardian of Darkness

File:Guardian of Darkness.jpg

The only reason I obtained this DVD is because of my interest in Seikou Nagaoka's music.  He's the only reason why I'm exploring other anime.  I always go back to this DVD every now and again just to hear this epic score.  I'm mad that it didn't get a soundtrack, especially since there is a song at the end. 

A three episode OAV, is something really not worth passing.  Any longer would probably be a drag.  This anime is dark, which makes it very slow, even during the action sequences.  The voice cast as can be heard, may be fitting for the role, but they don't know squat about acting.  It's worse than the Anime 18 voice actors.  I'd say Koichi's voice is most normal, and Terumi's is ok.  Everyone else just lags behind. 

Episode 1 starts out with nothing but music that chills the spine.  Then we get an upbeat tune and we get some humor from this episodes characters.  Though thats the only high point.  This is all about Terumi's crush and the bullies from school.  It's kind of confusing at times how the supernatural forces take over and heighten the drama of teenage life. 

Koichi is my favorite in terms of character design.  It's rarity to see a male lead to get unnatural designs.  Everyone else is normal.  Terumi did not look ugly in the begining.  She was cute, and only lost the freckles.  I don't see the Hollywood makeover that this episode was talking about.  I like Osayo, very cool, mysterious, but the lifeless voice actor kills her.  I refuse to watch in Japanese.  I usually like the English cast better, but they don't perform. 

The dragon and monster designer is by Masami Ohbari.  What a fantastic and realistically evil creatures he has concepted.  Too bad we barely see them in the anime.  The eight headed dragon only focuses on the lead head, and the lightening dragon appears for brief seconds.  Like Susano was fighting with air. 

Episode 2 is not exciting, very slow pace till the very end.  I find the Osayo background most intriguing.  The music played in the lust scene was just beautiful.  Action music was much better, as well as the ending dramatic theme.  Stunning.  Animation was ok. 
 Opening scene for Ep. 3 was aesthetically beautiful.  We get another confusing Japanese/Chinese history/myth lesson.  I love the divine music(aren't you getting tired my nods to the music) played with the images of the mythlogical characters.  The portraits of these historical people are awe inspiring.  Much better than our teenage lead characters.  Kenichi Ohnuki is our character designer.  He keeps it real, nothing too fancy.  Better than most typical anime characters, being cute and big eyed, or just plain silly. 

The action returns in this episode, but again with the confusing otherworld characters.  The addition of Kouichi's cousin wasn't that much of a plus.  Niether was Juinbo's interest in Terumi.  His voice actor was even slower than Osayo.  The head priest was neat, but slow again. I like the new monsters.  We get a lot of cheap action flicks.  At times the imagery in the fights are better than most, then we get still images of the opponents throwing punches.  It's that kind of on and off again effect, that lowers this animations value.  I
 The only thing going for this animation is the artwork, design, and music.  Of course, I went into this for the music, and it didn't disappoint.  In fact, it should be made an example of.  I don't know how Seikou Nagaoka does it.  He must get some kind of feeling watching this.  It definetly wouldn't keep you entranced if it was for the rocking soundtrack.  Character designs are standard fare, with the exception of Isenagi and Isanami.  Ohbari's monster designs are hard to surpass.  Hiruko would have to be my favorite, especially the face's armor, directly above.  Animation, like I stated at the end of the last paragraph, is fluid at times, and then they take shortcuts.  English voice cast is lifeless, but at the Japanese track is definetly a lot more lively.  Where its quite in the English version, there is a party in the Japanese. 

It is not an really worth the original price, but I have kept it.  I didn't pay much for it.  Unreel Magazine states on the back of the box, "Watch it, enjoy it, then go back and watch it again!"  Though, thats what I've been doing, but not to watch, to listen.  That comment is one of those damned marketing and sale enhancing tools.  I certainly encourage you to watch this.  I want to rewatch just to understand the mythology.  I have my reasons for popping this back into my player.  Other than that, it doesn't really warrant a repeat. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fire Emblem: Thracia 776-Blow'in in the Wind Single

Very rarely do video games have CD soundtracks, and even fewer do have songs, and even far fewer CD singles.  I find no use for CDS's.  For franchises, singers, animations, etc, that barely make any songs, is where they are needed.  This is one of those rare cases. I don't like to have media divided in so many different formats.  
Koh Ohtani helps arrange these unique songs, with our veteran composer, Yuka Tsujiyoko.  Ohtani adds his jazzy style, yet Tsujiyoko manages to keep the songs magically entrancing.  Blow'in in the Wind(odd how they spelled Blowing) fits nicely into the Fire Emblem series.  I understand that these were used for the BS satelite game.  Which was taken in place with the Akaneia saga.  Funny, how these songs made out two years after the fact. I like the middle of the song with the jazzy sounds and synth piano. 
Wind rocks, with a nice rock guitar.  I'm glad that the lyrics are done by our beloved composer.  It works wonderfully with the vocalist, Juliana Schano.  Nothing annoying about her voice thankfully.  She is pictured on the back.  She sings every note perfectly.  Even the high notes, which is where people tend to mess up.
For this CDS, it is necessary to have it.  If you are looking for karaoke versions.  I like the cover art, done by Miyumi Hirota.  It's the only place you can see it, as far as I can tell.  Problem is, that only the one song has karaoke.  You can find both songs on the games original soundtracks. So the only thing of value is the karaoke and the images. Both songs, beautifully arranged, all thanks to Yuka. Good luck finding this, and you will be paying a hefty price. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

お祭り前日の夜- O-Matsuri Zenjitsu no Yoru 1987, Kajishima's First

 Yes, Kajishima junkies, he had a life before Tenchi Muyo.  And he's certainly had a life since.  A life in hiding.  Thanks to Jen, a discontinued Tenchi site owner, I found his picture.  I will show that picture of our little coward another time.  For now, I will discuss his first big work before Tenchi.  Gone by the title he uses often.

I believe that Kajishima has done the story telling.  He could have done the art as well.  He used the same style in one of his later doujins.  I do like the whole book, but these scans are from the Kamidake Onsen CD-ROM 2005.  I have found an auction site where one guy has it posted for 100,000 yen.  Been posted for months.  Good luck to him.

 There are plenty of places to learn the story of K-sensei.  I find the interviews at AIC's website,
http://www.aicanime.com/about/index_talent.html to be full of good information. Unfortunately, I can't find any information on the other people involved in this publication.  In the image below, are the credits.  This is during Kajishima's start at AIC.  He was an inbetweener for his favorite, Rhea Gall Force, as well as for Sol Bianca.  He does have the sketches for Puttsun Make Love, as he was the animation director and character designer.  Knowing what he's been working on, gives you insight as to what he inputs in his creations.  I've seen Sol Bianca, but I look forward to viewing Gall Force. 

I only posted four of forty pages.  I wanted to get the important stuff out.  If I get enough push, I will post the meat of the book. First half deals with the story, then mecha designs, than Putsun Make Love sketches, and comic style story.  It's a really good doujin.  This answers astronerdboy's question as to why he chose the doujin route.  Most of my information comes from him and animenewsnetwork.com 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jackie Chan Adventures- Season 1

Opening episodes normally have either slow, rocky, boring, or non-thrilling sequences.  Though, Ep. 1 and 2, interconnected, grab you immediately.  Especially since we get introduced to most of the main characters.  It's amazing that 7-10 characters are usually played per episode, and with good to funny lines.  Of course, I would have considered this an adults show if that little brat Jade, would have stayed quiet throughout.  I don't like kids on tv.  Her voice is played well but she is just annoying.  Capn Black is your ordinary secret agent.  The Dark Hand organization leader Valmont is very fitting.  Sad he doesn't have very good henchman, especially if he is sad to be wealthy.  The demon sorcerer, Shendu, his talismans, and the Shadowkhan are very interesting and creative.  

A neat extra feature was the mini-interviews with Jackie Chan himself.  Not that great, but adds a little variety.  13 episodes, with nothing off track makes this first season strong.  Lots of action and comedy, to keep you hooked. Any scenes with Uncle or Shendu are what I repeat the most.

Initially, I thought there was only a few dvd's containing the episodes, but now I see that the whole season is on one dvd.  Yet I can't find it.  Though now with digital media, you can get through the Netflix subscriptions.  The clearest version you can find on youtube is from Crackle.  They have up to season three, but have those annoying mandatory commercials.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

Fire Emblem, one of my treasured series.  Look at the cover art its beautiful.  I see that it's work is like done as a painting.  This will be a quick review. 

First, this game was released as, how should I put it, as a decoy.  To keep the fans sidetracked from the upcoming Gamecube title, for the series.  Not a lot of thought went into this series.  The game is fun, but short.  Even with the extra battle modes and unlockables.  Shorter than the more linear games before and after it.  Not a lot to keep you attached.  It's one of those get in/get out, disposable games, that Nintendo does often, to keep the audience busy.  This wouldn't have happen if the original creator Shozo Kaga, had been still involved.  I'll leave him out of this, like Nintendo has.  For another time I will talk about him. 

On to the game mechanics, which I'm not real to critical about like other professional sites, such as my favorite http://www.ign.com/.  Graphical it has no difference then the previous ones.  Certainly, Intelligent Systems made no effort in improving or making new moves in that department.  Musically, it has it's style, but nothing like my gal Yuka Tsujiyoko.  She supervised over Yoshito Hirano and others.  Not much from the short selection of music that I can pick out.  Maybe because three composers were involved, same number of directors for this game.  Can't tell who did what. 

The first half of the game is a breeze.  I find it fun. Difficulty is laughable.  I like the plethora of units to choose from.  Though there were little as one to each category.  The summoner was a real neat class, as I like most of the magic users.  The best feature of the game is the choices, although its not expansive enough.  The places to go, is one of those features, but nothing too attractive about.  Nothing that can make me go Tower of Valni a second or third time after everything is unlocked, or even enough motivation to level up units through the skirmishes.  In fact, all those map choices made the game a bit too convenient.   

What should have been done was, between each chapter, have the ability to have some side plots for the minor characters.  They could have upped the difficulty on the next main story chapter, so that extra skirmishes wouldn't be making the map so easy to clear.  I like the choices available for unit growth. It's not as one way like before, but that feature was soon discarded.  I would actually be hasty as to make Ewan a Sage or Druid.  Though with the mine cheat, you can get all four magics as a sage. 
I would have liked a little more choices on the weapons side.  Especially the magics.  I wanted to see different sprites for each individual and the weapons they use.  Fire Emblem has a lot of variety, but it calls for more. 

 Story wise, it's below standard.  The things that grabbed me most were the characters that either died or the minor ones.  Such as, Orsen's betrayel, and his illusion of being with his dead wife.  Then Queen Ismaire's death, La'Rachael and her gangs quest for justice.  I found that last one to be a comical situation.  For the villians side, Selena and her relationship with the king, to Lyon and his turn to the dark side is most revelating. The twin leads didn't hook me much, but Ephraim was a cool unit to use.  I liked that each nation had dual sets of sacred treasure.  Since this was a decoy game, a vast world was made but little to no information was bothered to be included. 

 Character design was really unattractive.  I've inserted the images above of my favorite artwork.  Minor characters were very weak, in design and personality.  Getting through all their support conversations really didn't help much.  La"Rachel and her gang amused me, as well as the uptight, Lute.  I still don't like her.  The villians dialogues are what made me intrigued.    Selena was a strong character, as were the other generals, but thats normal for me to like such evil characters.  Very few characters had good background stories.  It left the characters and therefore, Magvel, a short one-stop place.

One final note is that I wish there was actually artwork for exlusive weapons and worlds.  I'm kind of tired of seeing just character artwork and the few epic posters.  This is a quality game from Nintendo and Intelligent Systems, though to them, this was bait for us.  I'd get it just to enjoy the short story and have fun with many of the new and exclusive features to the series.