Thursday, April 17, 2008

WHO DO YOU TRUST???? (Answer: DC's Writers.)

If the exceedingly lengthy posts I did in prior months didn't tip you off to this, I'm a gigantic fan of comic books. And yet, aside from those two and a really crappy impression of a really excellent comic (Sinestro Corps War...and give me a break...I'm trying to develop a way to showcase shit I like without "reviewing" it), I've mostly just stuck to anime on this thing. I'm not sure why, I guess its because everyone I'm friends with is into anime (that's by design), but few people I know are into comic books.

Still, the whole reason this exists is to show all sides of me instead of "filtering" it depending on the friend I'm talking to at the moment. And thus, for just a short bit, I'm going to focus on a comic book story that I'm hyped about for 2008.

Truth to tell, for me its an excellent time to be a comic book fan. All my favorite writers are working on my favorite characters, and mostly, none of them have any intention of leaving. The year has just gotten started and already its shaping up to be one of the best years in comics history...nevertheless, there's one story that stands above the rest as far as what I'm most hyped about: Final Crisis.

Written by the utterly brilliant, utterly insane Grant Morrison, and drawn by the absolutely astouding (okay, I'm about to knock off the adjectives...starting to turn into Stan Lee) JG Jones, who's covers you can see above, I literally screamed and had a fangasm when this was first announced. I shit you not. I became a Grant Morrison fan at the age of 9, when I began reading his JLA series. Full of the best characters in comics (DC's Big Seven, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Aquaman) and the biggest ideas (each arc would throw a bigger threat at the team, and the team itself was essentially Morrison's way of interpreting them as greek gods), even when I couldn't fully understand the plot I was still completely able to enjoy the adventure. As I grew older, I realized he leaned towards stories with big, mind-expanding, mind-bending ideas and I've always gravitated towards work like that.

So, imagine my surprise when I learned that my favorite writer in the world was given free reign over DC's next big comic event--where characters are known to die, others can come back to life, and reality itself bends to whatever mind is in charge of said event. At the time I didn't know *anything* as far as what the story would be about, and I was still excited.

As the days tick by and the release date of the first issue comes closer though, we fans have finally had some light shed on the plot of the mysterious Final Crisis. Quoting directly from the writer in a recent interview:

"The first god character Jack Kirby did, really, on that scale, was Galactus in the Marvel U. So for me, it was simple, look at the threat created by one Galactus appearance on Earth and imagine what would happen if an entire pantheon of these guys showed up, all actively evil. Imagine the scale and the power of just one creature capable of inspiring entire religions, then add more, each more cruel, perverse or demonic than the last. That's the set-up.

The Gods are here to destroy everything that we hold dear, everything that has meaning to us, everything that has value for us. They want to utterly crush the human species and reduce us all to slavery and that's as big a threat as it gets. We wanted to do a primal superhero myth that would pit absolute evil against pure good in a way you don't see much of in comics these days so it's the story of the DC universe facing its apocalypse and only Darkseid could cut it as the main villain."

Upon reading that, I had another fangasm. People have dumped so many buckets of grey on things in real life and long ago all that grey bled over into even superhero comics, where you should always be able to tell the heroes from the villains. The idea of just getting a chance to see good and evil go at it in a gigantic battle royale makes me downright ecstatic. And at the same time, its going to be filled with all sorts of big ideas that make my brain want to explode and drool out my ears, as my aunt would say. What's not to like?

Spring Season Anime Picks

Yay! Its Spring! Wait...Spring kinda sucks. Yeah, everything's turning green, but I live in the South so shit's about to get incredibly warm and humid...soon to turn hot and humid. Which means sleepless nights, sweat-soaked clothes, and days where I feel like I'm about to pass out from the heat 'cause I don't use the AC in an attempt to "conserve energy". (Read: Save Money.) But the positive is that with the Spring comes many (hopefully) cool new anime to watch! Except I'm on dial-up so I have to limit myself to a scant few series...fuck. Why was I excited about Spring again? Ah are my picks for the Spring season.

Yes, the summaries are jacked, and I would link you to the place I got them from, but the original preview thing was taken down and commentaries were put in their place. ...That's what you come here for, so why would I send you somewhere else?

- Date: April 5th

Summary: Tokidoki is just about failing history, so he makes a last-ditch attempt to pass by entering an Edo-era simulation game called Amatsuki at a history museum. In the sim, he finds himself battling a monster and he loses an eye– and then finds that he can no longer leave the game.

Why I'm Interested: Okay, let's be serious. If you can't tell by now, it doesn't take much to please me. A decent action setting (like say...Edo-era) with decent art (see above), and the promise of a good mystery to keep me watching (has he been sent to the past, or another world, or what), pretty much has me drawn in. Plus, Jun Fukuyama (Lelouch) is voicing the main character and he's just dreamy. (Kidding, but dude IS damn awesome.)

Will I go past five episodes? Possibly...80-90% chance.

Blassreiter - Date: April 6th

Summary: Taking place on the streets of Germany in the near future, reanimated corpses and strange shape-shifters suddenly appear and begin to attack the city’s inhabitants. The world devolves into a battle royale between the living and the undead. The series focuses on a demon hunter known as Joseph, who fights for reasons unknown.

Why I'm Interested: As easy as I am to please, I like new twists on shit. Zombies have been done six thousand times. Always against normal humans and the end result is always the same: "OMG ZOMBE URTH!!!111". Fuck that. Now. A straight out fight (rather than what most zombie stories devolve into, a battle of attrition) between zombies and humans and the humans have powers? I'm signed up.

Will I go past five episodes? Interesting as this sounds, probably not. Its directed by the same guy who worked on Gantz. (Ultraviolence and random scattered bodyparts galore..) Getting lost in this when there are so many better series (to me) coming seems like a waste.

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2
- Date: April 6th

Summary: Ahh, the adventures of the arrogant bishounen Lelouch Lamperouge and a colorful cast of Japanese insurgents and the Britannian empire and army continue. Look forward to more batshit insane, so-far-beyond-soap-opera-you-can’t-believe-it twists and turns in this political mech drama comedy crazyfest.

Why I'm Interested: 'Cause the first season was fucking awesome, despite the shitty cliffhanger. There are many plots left unfinished, and lots of questions left unanswered from the end of the first season so even though I'm worried this might suck, there's no way I'm skipping out on it. Yay for political drama and giant fucking robots named after characters in Arthurian lore and immortal hotties who are addicted to pizza hut.

Will I go past five episodes? Yes. Definitely.

Crystal Blaze - Date: April 8th

Summary: A general-service detective agency in a near-future Japan is helmed by a man with a sketchy past named Shuu. One day he meets a young female amnesiac and, surprise surprise, takes on her case. “Gun action” and “sexy action” ensue.

Why I'm Interested: To be honest, in this case, its less of "Why I'm Interested" and more of, "Why the hell not?" Anime is so often samurais and giant robots and lolis and deities that have forgotten their genders that its rare you get to see a detective show. Well, not entirely rare...the rare part is finding a GOOD detective show. Of course, whether this one's good remains to be seen.

Will I go past five episodes? Prolly not. Another one of those cases where there are better series coming out so this is somewhat of a waste.

Druaga no Tou ~the Aegis of URUK~
- Date: April 4th
Summary: After an 80-year battle between humans and demons, humans were able to take over the first floor of the mighty Druaga tower. Now it’s up to a warrior named Gil and his companions to fight their way to the very top of the tower, where a legendary item is said to be located. But the obstacles he encounters won’t always be demons…Oh, and one of the original press release states that it’s a series that “never takes itself too seriously.”

Why I'm Interested: Everyone has certain types of worlds they're more interested in than others. For some, its dystopian worlds. (I don't like those people much.) For others, its steampunk. For me, its fantasy worlds. Given that this isn't some shoujo series meant to shove as many androgynous pretty boys down my throat as possible, this anime is really a no brainer. Maybe I'll get lucky and it'll be as amusing as Ragnarok: The Animation.

Will I go past five episodes? Hopefully. I'd give it about 85-90% odds.

Himitsu ~Top Secret~
- Date: April 9th
Summary: In the world of Himitsu ~Top Secret~, five decades has passed since the present and the government has the ability to view up to five years’ worth of memories of any dead person. Investigators use these memories to solve crimes, but worry about the ethics of the invasion of the privacy of the dead.

Why I'm Interested: It takes a genius to have a wide range of interests like mine. (I'm so modest, aren't I?) I love fantasy stories, I love action tales, but I'm also a pretty big fan of detective stories too. Especially ones set in the future like this, as I think the scientific advances that could come in the next future years add spice to the genre. Depending on how they deal with the issues of how invading the minds of the dead affects humans and whatnot, it could turn out to be one of the best series of 2008. Or it could just become a NGE-spinoff, with all sorts of useless symbolism that goes nowhere. We'll have to see.

Will I go past five episodes? ....Eventually, sure. At the moment? Prolly not. From an artistic standpoint, it probably will be one of the better series of 2008, but I'm also in this for entertainment and this may be more about being a mindfuck than telling an interesting story. Meh to that.

- Date: April 5th
Summary: Kouta Oyamada is a country boy who’s moved to the big city and is starting at a new school. There, he meets a second-year student named Chizuru who, for reasons of her own, reveals to him secretly that she’s actually a fox demon.

Why I'm Interested: Fox. Girl. Honestly. When it comes to something like this, a non-serious comedic-type anime? All I need to know is that there's a foxgirl in it. I'm there.

Will I go past five episodes? Mmm...prolly not. I love comedy but I have a lot of other anime to catch up on.

Kure-nai - Date: April 4th
Summary: He may only be 16, but Shinkurou Kurenai is an expert negotiator, always able to settle disputes between those around him. One day a young girl named Murasaki Kuhouin, the scion of a wealthy and powerful family who requests that Shintarou act as her bodyguard.

Why I'm Interested: Its just curious enough to be a "sleeper" anime of 2008. Of course, its also just unappealing enough to be one of the most boring anime of 2008. We'll see.

Will I go past five episodes? Shit, I might not even make it past to two! Nine hours is a long time for a thirty minute experience.

Kyouran Kazoku Nikki
- Date: April 13th
Summary: A thousand years ago a god of destruction appeared and wreaked havoc. Back in the present, it’s possible that the god has been reborn, and the military has found a number of children that are possible matches, called “children of evil.” These children are placed with families to acclimate them to normal human life. Before you go thinking that any of this is serious, our heroine is one such child, and also a crazy-ass catgirl. Wacky hijinks ensue!

Why I'm Interested: Go back up to Kanokon. Replace any instance of the word "fox" with "cat"? And that'll be your answer.

Will I go past five episodes? Again. See Kanokon.

Macross Frontier
- Date: April 3rd

Summary: Set in the year 2059, the 25th Colonial Fleet (known as the Macross Frontier) is on a mission to explore an asteroid belt when a reconnaissance vehicle is destroyed by alien mechs. Cue war.

Why I'm Interested: I've always wanted to watch a pure Macross series, but most of them have been movies or short OVAs as opposed to a full series. Getting the chance to take one from the beginning, week by week, is a dream come true. I watched the first episode in December...beautiful animation, transforming robots, and interesting characters....what's not to like?

Will I go past five episodes? A fucking definite. This and Code Geass are two series I refuse to miss out on. Speaking of, the script is being worked on by the same guy who did Code Geass and Mai-HiMe, both of which are series that cracked my Top 10. Not finishing this series would be just plain wrong.

Monochrome Factor
- Date: April 8th
Summary: It’s happened to all of us: a mysterious student calls us out to meet at night, and we do so even though we think it’s creepy, and then we get attacked by a monster. Then it turns out that we need to become a shadow creature ourselves in order to help the world balance between light and shadow. Wait, that hasn’t happened to you? Uh…I wasn’t talking about me. I was talking about the main character of Monochrome Factor, Akira Nikaido. I swear.

Why I'm Interested: ...Really? I have no fucking idea. Always interesting to watch someone turn into a hero, but I get no specific feeling about this anime, which usually screams "medicore". Guess we'll see.

Will I go past five episodes? I doubt it makes itself stand out the way it should within the first five, so I'm thinking no.

Nabari no Ou
- Date: April 7th
Summary: Miharu thinks he’s a perfectly normal high school student. Turns out, shocker of shockers, he’s not! He’s actually got a hidden power known as “nabari,” or omnipotence, hidden within him. Turns out that many of his acquaintances are, in fact, members of a ninja clan sworn to protect him from other ninja clans that want the power. So Miharu has to go into the world of “Nabari” and become king in order to stop the fighting.

Why I'm Interested: Ninja, motherfuckers. There are three job occupations in the history of the world that own all others. The first is a knight. The second is a samurai, and the third is a ninja. (Actually they're all interchangeable. They pwn so hard you can't measure them with your tiny human brain.) So as long as Nabari no Ou has a decent plot, decent fight scenes, and doesn't become Flashback no Ou (which would be hard'd have unseat Naruto), I'm SO there.

Will I go past five episodes? I hope so...

Nijuu Mensou no Musume
- Date: April 13th

Summary: Chizuko Minamo is the 11-year-old daughter of a wealthy parents who, unfortunately, died when she was young. She was raised by her aunt and uncle, and is working to become a master thief so she can get back what was lost to her.

Why I'm Interested: Its Lupin with tits. Well, loli Lupin with tits, but honestly how does that NOT make it better? Anyway, I just got a feeling about this series. And my intuition is so sharp it can cut reality in half. (Yes, I'm in love with hyperbole. So what?) Its even directed by a guy who worked on the Lupin franchise...what's not to like?

Will I go past five episodes? Uhm, good as this sounds, probably not. Other stuff to focus on. Like this next one...

RD Sennou Chousashitsu (Real Drive)
- Date: April 9th

Summary: The year is 2061, and humanity is all plugged into the Network, allowing people to connect with one another at a fully conscious level. But as you might suspect, there are a few problems, giving the term “memory leak” a whole new meaning. A system known as “the Metal” is put into place to protect people, but it puts people’s emotions under a pressure which occasionally causes them to explode, and then drown in a sea of information. These abberations are investigated by “cyber divers” like our hero, Masamichi Haru.

Why I'm Interested: Basically its Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (which I loved) all over again. Same studio, same writer (!), and same kind of cyberpunk setting. All I need is a very hot, very scary woman like the Major to be either the star or a main character. But even without that, cyberpunk makes me happy.

Will I go past five episodes? I'm thinking there's a good chance, yeah.

Soul Eater - Date: April 7th

Summary: You know that school in Bleach that shinigami go to to train? Imagine a series based on that concept and you’ll have Soul Eater, which follows a group of students on their way to reaching “death scythe” status as shinigami. The trick? Each student is paired with a weapon…a human weapon.

Why I'm Interested: Anime set around schools where they teach you shit besides The Great Gatsby, lies about American history (Christopher Columbus was fucking nuts--look it up), and what a cube root is are a requisite for me. The art's not much to look at but I'm thinking it looks better in motion.

Will I go past five episodes? ....Eventually, yeah. Not right now though.

To-LOVE-Ru - Date: April 4th

Summary: Meet Yuuki, a normal high school boy with normal high school problems, like confessing to his crush. Now meet Lala, an alien from another world who apears in Yuuki’s bathtub, naked. Lala is on the run from her father, who wants her to marry one of his “husband candidates.” Instead, Lala decides to marry Yuuki. Yuuki isn’t so sure he wants to marry the hot naked alien girl. Who is also a princess. Yeah, I know.

Why I'm Interested: You need something stupid now and again.

Will I go past five episodes? Heh. Do you really need to ask? (I know I'm easy to please...not THIS easy.)

Toshokan Sensou
- Date: April 11th

Summary: In the year 2019, the government is supressing people’s civil rights to enforce public order and morals. In order to protect the people, a military organization known as the Toshokan, or Library, is formed.

Why I'm Interested: Heroes fighting back against an oppressive government. I like that. Only problem is, usually, Westerners do it and fuck it up 'cause at the end nothing's changed and the hope of things becoming better is extinguished. We're some depressing motherfuckers over here. :P But in Japan, there's actually a vague hope of things becoming, know...BETTER. (Especially since its action/comedy.) When that's the case, I can't help but check it out.

Will I go past five episodes? If the first five don't fuck it up for me, yeah. I'll most likely stick with this one for the season.

Vampire Knight
- Date: April 8th

Summary: Yuki attends the Cross Academy, an elite school with a lot of smart (and attractive) students. As a school guardian, she also helps keep the Night Class separated from the Day Class, and she also knows the school’s biggest secret: the Night Class consists entirely of vampires. She and her fellow guardian Zero both have their own histories with vampires, and are dedicated to keeping the Day Class safe– though the Night Class has promised to be good…

Why I'm Interested: All I am give shoujo a chance.... Yeah. When someone mentions anything shoujo-related, I'm usually holding up a cross (get it? 'Cause of the vampires and...ah fuck it) but I'm trying to give it a start, beginning with what I'm hoping is a decent action-shoujo series. If they fuck it up though...oh the bitching I will do...

Will I go past five episodes? If it doesn't suck...eventually. But mostly I'm concerned with the one above and this next one...

Wagaya no Oinari-sama
- Date: April 7th

Summary: Move over, Spice and Wolf: Wagaya no Oinarisama features a fox demon who has just been released from a long-standing seal in order to protect the Takagami family. The demon’s name is Kou, and s/he doesn’t remember his or her original gender, and so appears as either depending on its preference that day. Most of the series art offers up the female version, for obvious reasons.

Why I'm Interested: After spending most of my late teenage years around people who believed they were either angels or demons (I have a weird life), I'm always interested to see stories focusing on immortal deities. And the idea of being SO old you've forgotten your gender...well that strikes me as so hilarious I just have to see what its about.

Will I go past five episodes? I'm thinking so, yeah.

I'll be re-editing this after having watched a few episodes of all these series (my poor, poor modem), to give more definitive opinions. I wouldn't expect that until about June or so, though. Also, I feel compelled to mention that I'm also interested in xxxHOLIC Kei and Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's (not mentioned on that preview, but here's a link to its MAL article), but they're not on the list because in the case of one I've yet to watch the previous season and in the case of the other nobody's going to sub it anyway. Stupid stuck-up fans that don't wanna sub Yu-Gi-Oh....


Okay, this was done nearly two weeks ago, and I've gotten the chance to actually watch some of these series, so the next post will be likely be talking about my actual perceptions of these shows.