What’s Your //Sign?

June 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Its been a long time since I wrote a new conquest post. Well guess today is an obviously busy day, but I managed to finish my application on time and i’m using the spare time I have to post this. Todays conquest is -drumroll- .hack//Sign!!!!

Oh goodness this anime brings back so many memories, mainly of the confusion in the story and characters. I was really young back then, staying up all the way to midnight just to watch it, and made my brother watch one episode with me. Goodness I want to thank toonami for having its weekend lineup with one of the most memorable animes for me, hell this anime was THE anime that clearly stuck with me, more so than Outlaw Star. .Hack//Sign is directed by Kōichi Mashimo and produced by studio Bee Train and Bandai Visual ; the show aired on the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) on April 4th 2002 that aired 26 episodes with character design by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (known for his Evangelion series). The show aired in America by Bandai Entertainment (time unknown). The unique aspect of .hack//Sign is that the world is set inside a game, an online game called “The World” with actual players logging in and out, doing quests, and NPC’s selling items or handing out quests.

The story revolves around Tsukasa, a confused player who, for some reason, cannot log out; not only log out but can feel things and pain in the game. Distraught by his current situation, he gets unwanted attention from the Crimson Knights for Cheating as well as players interested in him. Though the atmosphere of the world is set in a game, Tsukasas reactions are real, in which he himself is trapped, despite the few friends he has his psyche is pushed to the limits and he cannot bring himself to trust others later on in the show. Though the show takes a break from Tsukasa himself, the players interested in him for his well being (Mimiru, Bear, BT, Subaru, and Crim), all ponder on how to help him in his situation and more importantly how he is trapped in the game. In a sense despite the angsty and depressing air the show gives off, the viewers (or in my case) are hooked in to solve why Tsukasa is trapped. A mystery unfolds and slowly pieces of information begin to fit in place. The story is a bit vague for me, but more or less I remember that Tsukasa and this “Mystery” are intertwined together. If I could describe the genre of the show, it would be loosely around mystery and tear jerker; the characters each have an aspect that is real and us as viewers cannot help but love and follow these characters.

 

My most favorite characters are Mimiru, a heavy blade player who’s personality is an easily irritated girl who under her own “Tough Guise” wants to help and understand Tsukasa in her own way. My most favorite pairing for Tsukasa is Subaru, a cute girl who is disabled in real life, and plays in game to fill in for her disablity; Subaru is the first person that Tsukasa becomes attached to and the two both share a melancholic bond that form their trust. Bottom line is there are many characters that I would love to talk to but for the sake of expediency (and memory loss) I will talk about them in another post.

The world in .Hack//Sign is simply beautiful. The landscape around is much more interesting than your typical fantasy roleplaying game; the areas are brought to life with beautifully detailed land and the town Mac Anu gives off a busy but peaceful aura. The music fits in wonderfully with the characters, the fields, and the tragic moments that still give me awe (Hell I own one of the soundtracks). Art and music aside, the boice acting for the English dub is really well done (considering it was half assed back in that time). The dialogue is easy to pick up but not too boring that it would make one fall asleep. The strongest aspect of .Hack//Sign is its art, dialogue, and its depressing but strongly tied plot. Well that is all I guess. I shall pounce on this conquest as soon as I can, with 26 episodes and no laptop I will have to finish at my own pace. One thing is that I will not try to finish the entire show in one night (which made me depressed the last time I did, gave up on episode 5 and cried to sleep).

I wish you, my readers, will give me luck and I wish you all have a succesful week. Until next time “Live long and prosper” (yes I know Star Trek -.-) Before I go I would like to advertise someone I know who has done me a great service, my friend Skylo  is in need of some cheering up, so go watch her on DA if you can and tell her I sent you (no really, please do XD). Anyways, thank you for your time.

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The Epic of Trigun Part 2

May 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

At long last after almost a week I have finished watching Trigun, perhaps one of my most favorite animes so far to date. The previous blog image for Trigun made me think “So this is how Vash is. Seems hardcore”, though after finishing the series he is such a caring pacifist who only fights when its to save someone. This image does so much justice to Vash’s real nature, a funny wuss who always manages to get himself out of the most troublesome of situations. I only saw 1 episode when I was young but that one episode stuck with me until I downloaded a torrent and managed to watch it from beginning to end. Aside from Vash being the star there is Meryl Strife and Milly Thompson and Nicholas D. Wolfwood who tag along during his journey; each bring a great variety of comedy and drama that makes the series quite interesting.

To start off the first episode starts with a group of locals talking about Vash the Stampede in a saloon, giving a bit of an introduction to the would be hero as “The $$60,000,000,000.00 Man” and the “Humanoid Typhoon”; yet with such a high reputation and an equally high bounty the legendary gunman is actually a lighthearted man who promotes love and peace and despises the act of killing in which even in the most troubling situation he never kills a single gunman after him. Even if he is a king and slightly screwball person it is still no surprise bandits and mercs try to hunt him down, yet no matter what the situation he manages to come out of it alive. Later introduced in the episode is Meryl and Milley, two agents from thr Bernadelli Insurance company in search of Vash and keep surveillance on him, though when they meet the real Vash they dismiss that such a wimp is the “Humanoid Typoon” and continue their search.  The entire series is quite interesting, each episode is a different scenario and although it sometimes repeats the series is darn well done. As for plot it kicks in sometime in the middle in which it introduces the main villains of the story and cause mayhem and chaos for Vash. If this seems like a typical hero story then you’d be wrong to assume and dismiss such an interesting anime.

The series seems mostly like an action comedy set in a space western world, but halfway through the plot thickens with the introduction of Legato and the Gung-Ho-Gunz, a group of skilled assassins with extraordinary skill and equipment hell bent to cause Vash as much suffering as possible by killing innocent people or endangering his friends. Vash usually puts them in his place, but the damage caused is almost unbearable for the gunman. The group is led by Legato, a fanatical henchmen of Knives (Vash’s Twin) who has telepathic powers; the real brain is Vash’s brother Knives who despises humankind and sets plans in motion to kill them off to extinction and every situation involving the Gung-Ho-Gunz is directly caused by Knives.

One thing I did enjoy in the series is the character development over the series, mainly over Vash. Not many heroes are like him in the sense that he not only saves the innocent but saves the enemy; hell not many action heroes can walk in his shoes and save every person, even the bad guy. He’s one memorable hero with a bad ass trench coat and one memorable saying “Love and Peace!” So until Next time keep the lead running and the peace flowing. Later.

The Epic of Trigun Part 1

May 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Trigun

When it comes to a science fiction space western people tend to either enter the yes or no category; some love space westerns such as Firefly and some just want to stick to their cheesy vampire shows (Angel/Buffy is beast compared to others). Now what would happen if you change that formula differently, add in a story of a legendary outlaw who destroyed an entire city, now finally add that said gunman and make him a pacifist/dumbass and you get Trigun. The story is set on a desert planet lightyears away from earth where the only law is to carry a gun for protection. On this planet there is one man with the highest bounty dead or alive, whose legend is to have leveled an entire populated city, this mans name is Vash the Stampede. The beginning episodes start off with two insurance collectors who hunt his trail, following their quest a random event of destruction and comedy awaits them as they meet an oddball stranger in a red trench coat.

With what I remember from this show is that I only watched one show on Adult Swim, and I loved it instantly. My cable was cut soon after and all other chance to continue ended, but I followed the manga and loved every bit of the story since. Now today after a long time I shall once again redeem myself and conquer Trigun! I can feel myself going gun crazy just thinking about the series and I’m totally eager to jump into it again. I can continue to go on and express how bad ass the Opening, the manga, and how bad ass this world is but I have no idea what I’ll see minus one episode (somewhere in the middle). I really am disappointed that this entry is short but I guess its better to go in blind sometimes, more surprises along the way. Until next time have a great day and always pray to the Anime Goddess. Bye bye ^^

Fooly Cooly Conquest 2

May 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Completing Fooly Cooly was no easy task; during my conquest I’ve had 5 mirror videos get removed, and an entire mirror site go down for several days. It has not been much of a lucky day, what should have been an easy hunt turned into a long game of cat and mouse to not only find the show but to find a decent quality version. To say the least after all the failed attempts to complete the last episode I am quite pleased to say I finished the series without the need of using any of the backup torrents (would have slowed the connection for days).

Fooly Cooly as I said in the previous post revolves mostly around Naota, a six grade boy who is assaulted by a strange woman named Haruko, who afterwards lives in Naota’s home as the house maid. Even in the beginning things do not make sense, a series of random events caused by the growing warts that pop out of Naota’s poor head. It is not made clear in the beginning as to why random monsters and robots come out of his head until later on in the series, and despite the oddities in the show the action sequences following the newborn robots are quite entertaining. Though the plot is wonky at first and confusing to get into until a few episodes in, the show starts to take a small turn from random to reasonable. We later learn that Haruko is not an earthling and her reason for coming to the planet was because she tracked down a powerful space pirate called Atomsk; though even as to why that is remains unclear until the finale.

The final episode starts off depressing with Haruko and Canti gone, leaving behind Naota to continue on his life with a city covered in white smoke caused from the previous robot attack. Suddenly without any warning Haruko returns for one last job and in order to see it through she needs the help of Naota. The final episode is 30 minutes long and finishes the series by not only explaining whats going on in a nutshell but the twist ending was also something that would be memorable for me. 8 years ago I missed the final episode, so I did not get around to it until now and honestly it was a badass and also cute way to end it. Canti, Naota, and several other computer components combine together to form the space pirate but somewhere during its transformation Naota gained the space pirates power and completely became super powerful, ticking off Haruko who reveals her true intention. The two duke it out in a brawl with Haruko on the edge of losing, just when the finisher comes Naota freezes in place, confesses his love to her and kisses her. In the end Atomsk escapes elsewhere and Haruko follows after him and this time leaves earth for good.

To express my feelings for the show, I can only sum it up as the most confusing yet most kickass series I have ever watched. It not only knows how to handle the action but the ever changing Naota gives it a refreshing sense that he is growing more mature thanks to Haruko and the events around him. Sure the only other character I enjoyed other than Canti and Naota is Eri, the mayors daughter, but her role in the series may have been minor but enjoyable. The music is still kickass to listen to and goes well with the fights but to really explain how I felt finally watching the final episode felt absolutely fantastic to have some closure to what I started 8 years ago. Fooly Cooly is an interesting series that a lot of people would enjoy; I would have enjoyed the series more if I could find a higher quality video and didn’t have trouble finding them but it was a worthwhile journey from beginning to end. For 6 episodes the show gave its viewers a rollercoaster ride that has left many people satisfied (including myself).

Fooly Cooly Conquest 1

May 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Fooly Cooly

Fooly Cooly image

There are many animes that I have loved, some I found okay and a few I totally disliked, but only one just leaves me with a vague and unanswered questions that just make me say “What the hell was I watching?” That such anime is called Fooly Cooly (a.k.a. FLCL). For a long time I had wondered what the point of Fooly Cooly was, with its kickass female character and a 6th grade boy? Most of the show to me seemed like a random mess that I didn’t want to watch so soon but with my friends Adam and Paola’s positive opinion on the show I thought I’d make Fooly Cooly my next conquest for this challenge. With only 6 episodes its bound to be easy right?

To start this off Fooly Cooly is a Japanese animated series that came out around 2000 and it’s a random scifi/comedy about a fictional town called Mabase, a boring town like city that had recently gotten a giant medical factory up top on a hill. The main story revolves around a twelve year old boy named Naota Nandaba, in which at the beginning of the episode is with an older girl who seems to be infatuated with him. Just when Naota leaves to go home he is then run over by a strange woman in a Vespa who then does CPR to resurrect the shocked Naota. With his consciousness back into full gear the woman does not apologize and instead bashes his forehead with her bass guitar (a mighty fine one at that), and the story begins there. The story mainly focuses on Naota but it tends to shine the spotlight on other characters from time to time which is unusual for an anime with only 6 episodes each 24 minutes long. With its release and smash cultural impact it later gave rise to a manga (a Japanese comic that reads from right to left) later that June and a Blu-ray release on 2010. The genre is classified in Science Fiction, Comedy, and Surreal (and surreal it sure is).

Now for my opinion; When I watched Fooly Cooly for the first time on the Adult Swim channel I had no idea what the plot was about. I vaguely even remember it at all other than the random mess Naota had during his first encounter with Haruko (Vespa Woman) and her strange and perhaps sexual relationship with Naoto’s father. The series was most definitely quite mature for me despite the editing put into it. What I do remember clearly is how the first episode Naota had a growing wart on his head that close to the end of the episode grew and separated into a robot. I really enjoyed the robot (which they named Canti), humanoid shaped robot with a television for a head he was by far the most normal seeming character other than Naota (when they’re not fighting other robots), epic robot for the win! The only fascination I had with the show was staying up late attempting to watch Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop, but eventually the show got me interested; just when I wanted more I missed the end because I slept through it and the next morning I awoke in a fit of rage because of it. I had missed the last episode and since then I resented that show for being on so late at night.

The music for Fooly Cooly was undoubtedly the most bad ass compliment to the show aside from the characters themselves and even when the episode was almost done the song “Ride on Shooting Star” by the pillows was the perfect way to end the show with its soft rock music; I even began to sing the song repeatedly because it was stuck in my head (even though my singing was bad and I didn’t know what the lyrics were saying). It is a show that was a crazed hit for more reasons than I can remember, 8 years is a long time to finally remember something.

Now for my conquest to re-watch Fooly Cooly, I am quite excited and to watch this series again and hopefully understand what my prepubescent mind could not pick up so well. I have two friends I know who both love the show and I feel hyped up just to listen to The Pillows again after almost 8 years. If the world will end on 2012 (not that the world will end… Major Atheist ^^) I want to go out of this world to the song “Ride on Shooting Star”. Until next time this is Edwin to remind you that December 31st will be the deadline to finish Fooly Cooly as well as the entire 23; MAY THE ANIME GODDESS BLESS ME! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cz8Rgqfe-8&feature=player_embedded

Outlaw Star Part 2

May 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

WARNING! Any spoiler revealed in this entry is entirely intended to explain my views on the show for the challenge’s sake; if spoilers aren’t your thing then GTFO!

Outlaw Star

Outlaw Star

To summarize what the show is about, it is a random mess of jobs and fending off pirates and whatnot from retrieving Melfina, a bio android with not only the knowledge of the Leyline she is also the key to activate it as well; Melfina though is unaware of her destiny and is made a promise from Gene to work together to dig up her past and in the process make it big. Pretty standard idea but believe me that there is more to it than just this, each episode is an individual slice of variety that makes new shows seem dull. I had no complaints watching this series and I must say the rumors for a second season should have come true ten years ago; sadly no such luck. Characters I did not mention much in the previous post are Jim Hawking, Suzuka, Hilda, and definitely my two favorites (aside from Gene and Mel) Aisha Clan Clan and Fred Luo, but this part is a more intuitive part of how I felt as a kid (which I semi neglected in the first post)

The main thing I can remember from Outlaw Star was watching the series when I was young, sitting in my ninja patterned pajamas with my dinner on my lap and the tv in front of me. I sat on my parents bed since the tv is on the drawer, but when I was young I had to look up just to see it, but no matter what I fell in love with many of the shows on toonami, but to me Outlaw Star was special because it was the only space scifi anime of its kind in my life that made me fascinate over space. I was afraid of the dark but to me it seemed that space was a prism of color and variety that my naive mind could not comprehend. I was fascinated and ended up doing well in school, sadly I got in trouble and ended up becoming more social, mainly around a group at school. Me and my friends always got in trouble and when someone picked on us we’d back each other up; it was a friendship that was strong during our youth and because of OS influence I took part in such an event. I met interesting people during this gang of ours, but as we got older and we were no longer in elementary school we drifted off; but a few friends stayed and we’ve been together ever since. The days were golden for me, school was a paradise, but being home was not much of a sanctuary with my parents fighting. They weren’t big fights but as a kid it was not nice, and anime was always a good distraction (and power rangers). For once in my life I felt like I could take on the world from watching Outlaw (as well as DBZ), and I would not have it any other way; thats the magic I felt when I saw Outlaw Star.

Jim Hawking, a boy genius and hacker with a knack for the business world, Jim is the partner of Starwind and Hawking Enterprises, an all odd job business whose logo is that they’ll do any work. Jim spends most of his youth working on fixing his cars; he is later plunged into space with Gene and Hilda and then takes care of the Outlaw with Gene and the crew.

An Outlaw is someone who makes a path for himself working as a mercenaries, some are treasure hunters hoping to make it big; but all Outlaws follow the rules and code they make and make it a point to keep flying in hopes of becoming the best of their trade and make it big. Hilda is such an Outlaw, famous for being cool headed in even the most dangerous situations, she is a fearless woman with much experience in combat. Hilda is shown in the first episode, under the guise of a business woman hiring Gene and Jim for work; it does not take long for the pirates to catch up and attempt to retake their stolen cargo. Gene later forces her hand to reveal her true intent and then opens her secret cargo, in which Melfina rested in cryo sleep. Escaping the planet of Sentinel 3, Gene and Jim’s home, the three escapes to Blue Heaven (a satellite station) and later head off to hijack the XGP, a secret spacecraft later dubbed the Outlaw Star by the crew. Though Hilda had her brief spotlight in the series she dies saving Gene and Melfina from pirates, a truly gutsy woman indeed.

To start off Aisha Clan Clan (as spelled) is a Ctarl Ctarl, a race of cat eared metamorphs that are immensely strong, and in their beast mode they are so strong that they could tear down an entire space port. Aisha and Gene meet in the early episodes demanding Gene to halt her position but instead the crew leave for warp space and later it is known to the Ctarl Ctarl Empire that Hot Ice Hilda, a famous Outlaw who knows the location of the Leyline, escaped with them on Hilda’s ship. She is then demoted and forced to stay on Blue Heaven to earn money to hunt them down. Their second encounter she attacks them before Gene feels pity and offers her to eat; it did not take long for her to get into the fighting spirit in which Gene shoots her with a Caster Shell, knocking her out and leaving her with the bill. She continuously hounds Gene and eventuallyl joins the Outlaw crew to serve her own ambitions for the empire but after the end it is said she permanently joined the crew’s ranks.

Fred Luo is a business tycoon who inherited his father’s trading business. With an interesting ego and an emotional (and sexual) attachment to Gene he offers him many job opportunities and investments, in which Gene would eventually have to pay back the entire debt he owes to him. Fred has a thing for males during the show but it is said he is merely curious and does not mind the company of females, but it is during one of the episodes that he frets over one woman. Desperate for an escape, he hires Gene and the crew to defeat his fiancé, whom he made a deal to marry if she won the strongest woman in the universe tournament five times in a row; with four down and one more to go he would be forced to marry her if she won a fifth time.

Now the show makes it a point for the bad guys to pick a fight with Gene, and Suzuka is no exception. Originally targeting Fred Luo she later turns her sight on Gene Starwind who thwarted her assassination attempt. After losing she makes it a promise to one day kill Gene in an honorable duel, but later she takes an interest at the end and joins his crew. Like Hilda she is cool headed and is extremely formidable with her wooden sword.

Now I must say when I finish a series I feel a sense of completion and momentary gloom, with OS it leaves a lot of room for hope in that another season will come out. Outlaw Star honestly is a win, the magic from my youth was not only there but it had gone farther than I expected and awoke my inner child. The american televised version of OS was heavily edited in my youth to remove some if not most of the adult content for Toonami to air it; and watching the regular version just made me scream for more. The anime is more gritty than I remembered, one such moment was when Jim said “Looks like Gene popped his space cherry!” which shows the adult content of the show (among Gene waking up to a girl in his bed in the first episode). A lot of things I saw were old and refreshing to watch, but one episode was completely new to me, which was episode 23 in which the entire Outlaw crew stepped onto a hot spring planet in search of Caster Shells (I lol’ed my ass off the entire episode). The hero Gene is really bad ass in his own right, but his first venture into space was a sudden thing and it gave the viewer a slight laugh to see Gene have a minor weakness and a nice new pace.

Throughout the series there was a few repetitive bad guys that always returned, the Kei Pirates who wanted Melfina and the Outlaw and the diabolical Mac Doughal brothers who were responsible for killing Hilda and Gene’s father. Throughout the show things get interesting between the pirates and Mac Doughal, and at the end each meet up at the Leyline and attempt to get the treasure themselves. It is later revealed that the Leyline has substantial power to grant any desire, a treasure the Mac Doughal brothers never obtained and retreated. The space pirates and Gene later fought in a powerful struggle with the Outlaw as the victor and the Leyline disappearing to a new destination in the universe. The story ends there but the Mac Doughal brothers will hound them in the future. No new season has been announced and I do hope it comes out soon, ten years have passed and no new OS.

The music is fitting for the show, and the ending themes were both enjoyable to watch and hear. The art in the credits were made by a well known artist who instead of drawing or digital art he paints fantasy and scifi images each with their own feel to them. I recommend that you watch his gallery as they are breathtaking to watch, Hicaru Nakata has done some serious artwork with paint for several books and did the ending theme imagery for Outlaw Star.

So what did we learn today? Outlaws are bad ass, pirates can suck it, and Gene Starwind is probably one of the most memorable heroes among the other top tiers. Until Next time, stay gold and have anime pride.

Outlaw Star Part 1

May 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Outlaw Star Manga

Outlaw Star

My first conquest will be Outlaw Star, an anime series that has riled up my youthful spirit to become more confident and gutsy (to some success), and I am glad to say that I will be watching the series. Outlaw Star first came out as a Seinen manga (a manga series that is focused on 18-30 year old males) and it is a science fiction space western in which 150 years ago humanity stepped out into space with spacecraft that harness energy to make faster than light travel possible. The story revolves around Gene Starwind and his odd crew onboard a starship called the “Outlaw Star”. The crew is made up of a mysterious assassin, a kid genius and business partner of Gene, a hyperactive cat woman, and a gorgeous navigator named Melfina; the Outlaw Star and her crew onboard are all in search of an ancient treasure that can only be found in the Galactic Leyline, on their journey the crew encounter strange aliens, pirates, and various job opportunities that help them along their journey. The manga was published in 1996 and the anime adaptation followed around 1998.

I first saw Outlaw Star sometime around 2001 when it first aired on Toonami, and though the original series was slightly mature and therefore edited heavily, I quite enjoyed the series due to the space fights with the Outlaw Star and the various pirates, I did enjoy the entire cast of characters and the random jobs they take to earn money for a living. From what I remember Gene Starwind is quite the ladies man and throughout his journey he makes it clear that he loves to screw around with gorgeous girls. There is Melfina as well who is a strange woman who was awoken from a cryo-sleep sometime around the first two episodes; she does not remember her past or who she was but relies a lot on Gene to help her find the answers. I can’t remember most of the cast of characters but the main two focus is usually on Gene and Melfina and even as a kid I felt a romance attachment between the two that just even made me feel more for the show.

With that said this conquest will be my first and by far my favorite. I cannot wait to watch the series and I really do recommend people watch it. Though from what I know there was suppose to be a seconds season but it was frozen for almost a decade, so please support the official release and help us get a second season! This series must continue on! Until next time ^^

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