Michael Uslan (Batman)
Ryuhei Kitamura (Azumi)
Mitsuhisa Ishikawa (Blood, Ghost in the Shell, Evangelion, Jin-Roh)
Kazuhiko Kato (Lupin III)
Hiroshi Koizumi (Spiral)
These series of lectures will take place on Saturday, April 21st from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. General admission is $45.00. You can check out the details and buy tickets here.
You are instantly thrown into battle as loyalties are tested and revenge sought. It's a roller coaster ride right from the start and does not ease up even at inch throughout the entire game. The transition between the CG sequences and real-time/action scenes are seemingly unnoticeable. You may miss it if you blink twice. In addition, there are a handful of scenes that usually get the CG sequence treatment, but "GoW II" makes the player actually do whatever action is needed (like running across long distances between islands and dragging yourself as you bleed to death) making you experience the event first hand.
The battle combos are sick and sweet, and the storyline is extremely prominent, balanced, and strong. Plot is definitely not lacking. "GoW II" brings what makes Greek Mythology so awesome. People just observing will no doubt be entertained as well. "GoW II" also has a great soundtrack to match the game. I can't think of any bad criticism to make, so I'll stop looking.
The bonus DVD included is over-stuffed with extra goodies including deleted levels, trailers, behind the scenes, music, interviews, and more. Unlockables include new costumes and more game levels.
Trust me when I say this - Once you start the game, you won't want to stop till you finish it!! It's definitely gonna be a torturous wait until "God of War III." Is revenge nigh for Kratos?
After playing for a couple of hours, I could already tell that "Elder Scrolls" most definitely had a home on the PS3. While not overwhelmingly superior to the PC or Xbox 360 versions, the PS3 game no doubt has quite a few perks ofi its own.
The visual and audio quality is stunning. The loading time feels as though it has been cut by more than half. In addition to all the epic quests from the original version, an extra chapter has been added. "Elder Scrolls" is truly one of the best RPG games ever made. No plug-in downloads have been announced yet, but its potential is limitless.
The gates of Oblivion has been opened once again. It's time to unravel the malevolent plot behind it all.
"Kino no Tabi" is full of philosophical insight and takes a hard look at different aspects of morality. The ugliness and imperfections of the world truly make it beautiful. The tone and direction of the novel reminds me a lot of "The Little Prince" as Kino tries to understand the outlook of life throught the point of view of grown-ups. Traditions, responsibilities, adulthood, feelings, society, technology, idealities, and morality are all examined. "Kino no Tabi" is a wholehearted yet haunting story that leaves you questioning what we do or don't do and how we view life as it stands.
This novel is nice and light, and not heavily bogged down with philosophical reasoning. This makes it a must read for all. Eight volumes make up the series, also an anime. Book Two is tentatively set to be released this July.
"Ghost Hound" is set to premiere in Japan this Fall [Source: WOWOW].
"White Maze" returns to the one-story mode as in Volume 1: "The Lost Memory." I find that the one-story mode is more aesthetically pleasing rather than applying the 3-stories-in-1 method. But depending on the individual circumstances, I can't exclusively rule out the multi-story method.
As I mentioned in my review of "The Lost Memory," the english translation lies on the mediocre side. Quality is still left in tact because of everything else it has to offer. Out of the three volumes currently available, "Revenge of the Cold Machines" does to best job as far as translation goes. "The White Maze" is sprinkled with simple errors such as spelling mistakes. I almost feel compelled to take the position of editor.
Be that as it may, "White Maze" has plenty to offer. The cover art for the SAC novels are vividly stunning and so fluid. It would be difficult not to find beauty behind the art which embodies the profound characters and plot.
Genius Party (Opening) // Atsuko Fukushima
Space-Time Wars // Shoji Kawamori
Deathtic 4 // Shinji Kimura
Doorbell //Yoji Fukuyama
Limit Cycle // Hideki Futamura
Dream Machine // Massaki Yuasa
Baby Blue // Shinichiro Watanabe
Tojin Kin // Tatsuyuki Tanaka
Untitled // Hiro Yamagata
Nicolas de Crécy // Le manchot melamane
Gala // Mahiro Maeda
"Wanwa" the Puppy // Shinya Ohira
Moondrive // Kazuto Nakazawa
Dimension Bomb // Koji Morimoto
Three trailers are available on the official site, www.genius-party.jp, Trailer One // Trailer Two // Trailer Three [Source: Catsuka]. Trailer 3 is worth checking out. "Baby Blue" looks to be my top contender so far. But choosing is hard to do with this party of geniuses, to say the least. Four trailers are available on iTunes to download for free.
The news most definitely does not stop there. The world premiere screening of "Genius Party" will take in place in February 2008 at the John F. Kennedy Center in DC!! This international premiere will be part of the Center's two week event (February 5-17, 2008), "Japan!Culture & HyperCulture" [Source: Washington Post].
You might remember about two or three years ago, the John F. Kennedy Center held an event called "Anime Explosion." Voice Actor Chris Patton and Gainax Co-Founder Hiroaki Inoue were among those present. A special screening of "The Old Crocodile" by Koji Yamamura was shown as well. It looks like "Anime Explosion" may mark the beginning of a growing and continuing trend in the US.
"Revenge of the Cold Machines" is full of action, twists and turns, and never loses steam for the entire duration of the novel. The tachikomas take a much greater role and should no doubt please many fans. A hard book to put down!
Due Summer 2008, "Gake no ue no Ponyo" (Ponyo on a Cliff), chronicles the story of a five year old boy named Sosuke and a Princess Goldfish, Ponyo, who wants to become human. Miyazaki's character designs often trademark people he knows or has encountered (e.g. "Spirited Away"). Sosuke, as it happens, is modeled after Goro's son, Miyazaki's grandson. Quite remarkably, the storyboard will be painted in watercolor. With the majority of the film setting in the ocean's depths, it will be an interesting treat to see how it all works out.
On another note, it has been confirmed that Joe Hisaishi will compose the film's soundtrack...and I wouldn't have it any other way.
And for the big news, just announced, an extremely very special guest will be in attendance during the Anime Marathon at Freer. Are you ready for this? The one and only Satoshi Kon!!! That's right, Satoshi Kon, director, character designer, and writer for films including "Perfect Blue" and "Millennium Actress." Kon will introduce and discuss two of his films. Tickets are first-come, first-serve (limit 2 tickets per person) at 10:30 AM. Visit http://www.asia.si.edu/ for more information.
The scheduled line-up is as follows:
11:00 AM - "Yu-Gi-Oh: The Movie" (Katsuki Tsuji, English Dubbed)
Here we adventure to Egypt, where Yugi must defeat the awakened ancient evil spirit, Anubis, to vanquish evil once again. The overall movie is less than mediocre with the dubbing and plot below par. Nevertheless, it should provide some entertainment to more avid fans of the series and card game.
1:30 PM - "Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters" (Mamoru Oshii, Japanese with English Subtitles)
From Production I.G. and the genius who brought us "Ghost in the Shell," Mamoru Oshii, comes an animated feature film that depicts one entire nation's dietary history. This comedic parody is based on the original novel written by Oshii himself. I personally have not seen this movie yet and am anxiously waiting for April to come.
4:00 PM - "Tokyo Godfathers" (Satoshi Kon, Japanese with English Subtitles)
We kick off the Satoshi Kon section of the marathon with "Tokyo Godfathers." This film marks the adventures of three homeless friends: a young girl, a transvestite, and a middle-aged bum, who encounter an abandoned newborn. They run into many obstacles as they set off to find the baby's parents. I always enjoy watching this movie, it brings a smile to my face. Here I go...*clears throat*..."Climb every mountain..." Okay, I'll stop.
7:00 PM - "Paprika" (Satoshi Kon, Japanese with English Subtitles)
Finally, we end the run with "Paprika." I've written several posts on this movie, so I won't go into much detail here. A device with the ability to read dreams is stolen and it is up to Paprika to capture the culprit and save the world. I'm excited to get a chance to watch this again. Last time I saw this was in Paris, France and since then I've been eager to see it a second time. I'm also excited to see what Kon's comments will be. For most, this will be the first time area residents can watch this movie. The movie is set to be released on DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and UMD this May in Japan; and is set for a theatrical release in the US in May.
The second live action movie, "Death Note: The Last Name" was just released on DVD in Japan this week and I'm sure everyone wants to get their hands on it. To commemorate this latest release, life-size figures of the shinigami, Ryuk, have been displayed in various locations in Japan. The streets of Japan are also plastered with ads for the spin-off movie, "L." The interest in this series is nowhere close to being exhausted.
"The Lost Memory" is fast-paced filled with the characters we all love like Major Kusanagi and Batou, for example. References to the TV show, such as the Laughing Man, are strategically placed in the novel. It keeps you hooked to the very end. Despite being set in the not-so-distant-future, the balance between future technology and the roots of human thought and action is nicely even, emphasizing the already known fact. The fact being that GiTS is on a higher caliber. Anyone can pick up this book: if you're new to the series or have yet to watch SAC, this novel gives you a nice taste of what you've been missing. If you're a veteran of the series, "The Lost Memory" is done gracefully keeping the integrity of the original plot. You will be in for a treat. And anyways, who wouldn't want more SAC?
Japanese to English translations are always risky, but must be done if we are ever able to get a chance to read these wonderful stories. Some translations have been really bad, but there is a good number of successes. "The Lost Memory" is somewhere in the middle. The translation wasn't flawless, but luckily the plot is so deeply intriguing and integrated that it does not jeopardize the story. The best translation I have encountered thus far are with the "Vampire Hunter D" novels. Nevertheless, this novel is worth picking up.
Volumes 2 and 3, "Revenge of the Cold Machines" and "'White Maze," are now available in stores.
"Mushishi" is rather episodic rather than following a major plot. Nevertheless, it delivers a light and unique world that is unmatched by previous works. The animation quality is appropriate and the mood mixes between all seriousness and comedic elements. A live action movie, by no surprise, was produced in 2006 and directed by one of my favorite icons, Katsuhiro Otomo (known best for his work on "Akira").
With the club reopened, the Roppongi Crisis gets underway. Will corruption, power, and money bring the ultimate downfall to Japan and its people? Tragic loss, tragic gain, tragic love, revenge, and lust befall as "Speed Grapher" comes to a conclusion. You don't want to miss it, I guarantee it!! Let the "Burning Crusade" begin...
Okay, I'm not trying to project an elitist view or anything, but I wish Eva spin-offs would just stop. I tolerated "Evangelion: Angelic Days," but this "Evangelion@School" is asking way too much. The plots of both are fine, but would've been even better if there were totally new characters, rather than borrowed.
Create new characters and don't piggyback on the exuberating spirit and essence that is Eva. Even if it is GAINAX, or especially since it is, the creation of new character design and plot should not be impossible. In fact, we can be sure that what is produced will be amazing. So please, stop it already. Yes, I know I could simply not watch or read it, but the mere existence makes me cringe at the thought that these personalities - Rei, Shinji, Asuka, et al. - are being compromised, for lack of a better word.
Update: 9 March 2007: The Death Note laptops have been SOLD OUT!
The first frames of the movie immediately capture your attention. "Origin" definitely provides entertainment to the very end. Though I wonder how it would've been if the ending went the other way...There's some familiarity to the movie, maybe some remnants of past anime works, but has plenty to stand on its own. The machines/mecha, in CG format, felt out of place, as if forced in the movie to appeal to the mass audience. Fortunately, those elements were not over used.
Just what are the consequences of living in the past? What are the consequences of discarding the past, and living for the present and future? What side will you ultimately choose?