Opinion Prone

My opinions, let me tell them to you.

Archive for the ‘ Review ’ Category

My friends are always shocked and appalled at just how much modern pop culture I seem to have missed out on. Music, movies, and a few decades worth of references and jokes all go over my head. Before this, I had never seen a Star Trek movie. It wasn’t avoidance; it was just a matter of no one ever sitting me down in front of a TV and saying, “Hey! Watch this movie!” I had seen an episode or two of Next Generation once while wasting time in my roommate’s room, but that was about it. I liked that episode or two (because Patrick Stewert is kind of awesome), but it wasn’t enough to make me go out of my way to see more of it, especially since I don’t have a TV myself.

The aforementioned roommate is actually a closet Trekkie, but I guess “closet” negates any evangelical aspect. Still, roomie’s [also Trekkie] parents were in town last weekend and offered to treat, so why the hell not? Let’s go see a movie. Who cares if it’s finals weekend?

(this review contains no spoilers!)
Star Trek

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Review: HYDE’s HYDE

May 19, 2009 Review Comments Off on Review: HYDE’s HYDE

HYDE’s 1st compilation album
18th March, 2009

Usually my album reviews are labeled “first impressions” instead of “reviews” because I think it’s an interesting angle to compile my first thoughts on an album during my initial hearing of it; impressions of music are more prone to changing over time and a tenth hearing may very well be different from a second hearing. But that theme doesn’t really apply here as its a compilation album! HYDE’s first solo compilation album, uninspiredly entitled HYDE, contains all of his singles, as well as a few popular tracks from his four existing albums.

So that portion of his discography isn’t really isn’t something I listen to often. There are a few songs I like, sure, but the majority is kind of just “eh.” Still, compilation albums are a good way to revisit things, right? I figure, what the hell.

TRACK 01: Made in Heaven
As Faith is my least favorite HYDE album, I don’t remember this song very well at all. There’s a nice guitar opening; intro vocals are pretty typical of HYDE’s solo work, though a bit rough and forceful. This is in Engrish, but I can’t understand much beyond a word here and there. I kinda feel bad because it sounds like he’s trying so hard. The chorus doesn’t stand out much and sounds pretty awkward with the poor Engrish. It leads into the second verse with little pause; meanwhile, the music in the background isn’t very interesting as it isn’t changing up much. Most of this song blurs together for me, including the end.

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Bucky O’Hare was one of those awesome cartoons from the 90’s that almost no one seems to remember nowadays. Bucky was the underdog beating up toads in space while the Ninja Turtles beat up foot soldiers in Manhattan. I have many fond memories of it, though I don’t think I actually ever saw the entirety of the thirteen-episode series back in the day. Still, the fondness stayed with me, and I was excited when I found out that the TV show was based on a comic series.

The comic was written by Larry Hama and penciled by Michael Golden. Hama is a third-generation Japanese-American, but that doesn’t really explain why I’ve always thought Bucky O’Hare had a very anime/manga feel to it. The original comic ran in the late 80’s and only had one plotline; more were written to coincide with the TV series when it debuted in 1990. The original comic along with two of the later, additional issues were collected together in a manga-like graphic novel released by Vanguard in 2007. I have no idea why they didn’t include the rest of the additional issues, but it doesn’t really matter. I ordered my copy of Vanguard’s release of Bucky O’Hare when I ordered my copy of Viz’s releaseof DOGS vol. 0, and I gotta say: Bucky’s comic is very disappointing.

(this review contains no spoilers!)
Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars

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Review: Kanpai!

May 1, 2009 Review 2 Comments

A month or two ago, BookCloseouts was having a $0.99 TOKYOPOP sale. Browsing through, there were a bunch of old, random titles I cared little about… along with Planetes vol. 1 and both volumes of Kanpai! The former was more of an impulse, but the latter was something I’d kindasorta wanted to check out for a while, but never wanted to put down the money for since I was half-certain that it would suck. I guess it’s kind of sad that as much as I love Gravitation, I never had too much respect for Maki Murakami. Maybe it’s because of her doujinshi. Maybe it’s because of Gravitation EX. But yeah — even though I liked the one-shot off which Kanpai! is based, I wasn’t too inclined towards the title.

But come on, for ninety-nine cents? The whole order plus shipping cost less than a normally-priced TP manga. So here is a review.

I actually finished reading Kanpai! a few weeks ago but never got around to writing a review. I had to sit down and force myself to just do it tonight though since I’m bringing the two volumes with me to a departmental garage sale thing tomorrow — if I’m lucky, I might actually profit a little from them, hahaha. Maybe I’ll also be able to get rid of this copy of Catcher in the Rye.

Finally! The announcement of the license came in July of last year, but DOGS finally officially released middle of last week (though a few people have reported seeing them in stores before then). I had had my preorder through HeavyInk, which has only served me well in the past, but I’m beginning to think that their strength is only in subscriptions and US trades, rather than licensed manga — typical of a comic store, I guess. They seem to have had various complications/delays with my order, so I finally just canceled it and ordered through Amazon. It arrived within three days. Because they only included bubble packaging on one side, my cover was a little warped, but other than that: it’s beautiful~.

I’ve updated my MAL review for DOGS to include some commentary about Viz’s release, but I’m going to do an in-depth semi-review here because I feel like it.

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Review: Lovely Complex

April 21, 2009 Review 6 Comments

I still need to write reviews for Soul Eater and Gundam 00 S2, but I still don’t feel like writing either. So instead, here is a review for the Lovely Complex anime, which I finished last night because it is adorable. Sickeningly adorable. The premise is exceedingly simple, the characters somewhat predictable, and the animation is all over the place, but damned if it isn’t an extremely well done series despite all that. I really want to check out the manga and the live action movie now.

Baww, shoujo. Damn the genre for being so appropriate for adaptation into live action because there are so many series I want to check out now (still need to hunt down the Nodame Cantabile dramas). If the first NANA movie is any indication of how awesome these adaptations can be (granted, I haven’t seen the anime nor read the manga in that case), then I’m pretty sure the Nodame and Love★Com are at least worth checking out.

I discovered whilst looking up some information for the review that most of the characters in Love★Com speak in a Kansai/Osaka dialect. What followed was a gigantic “no wonder!” kind of epiphany. I am simultaneously proud of and endlessly amused at the fact that I noticed something was off about the way they were speaking — sure, it would be LOL OBVIOUS to someone with better knowledge of the language, but for a weeaboo, I’d say just noticing at all isn’t bad. :P The easiest indications were the replacement of “aho” for “baka,” which I also noticed in BECK way back when, and “na” for “ne.” The second easiest was the substituion of “chau” for “chigau” because the dialect apparently likes to contract the hell out of everything (which makes a lot more sense than whatever the hell Shanghainese does to Mandarin!).

Purusing through this list, I spotted a good number of other things that I noticed, including “denna” for “desu ne” though I believe Seiko and a few others still used “desu ne.” Actually, I also noticed that a lot of things on that list didn’t actually show up. Otani definitely never used “wai” in place of “ore,” and Risa never used “wate” in place of “watashi” or “atashi.” I really love first person pronouns in Japanese (they’re so much fun and can say so much about certain characters!), so I’d have probably noticed much faster if those had been swapped out. Also unmentioned on the list is “-chi” as an affectionate suffix, though I don’t know that much about it either way — why did they only use it for Nakao? And why did both Risa and Nobuko use it?

Fun times, Japanese. I should just get off my ass and learn it some day. I might be going there in December. Maybe that can be some motivation.

You know, I almost didn’t want to write this review because it meant I had to keep thinking about this movie, and all I want to do is forget that it exists. My immediate thoughts after viewing Dragonball Evolution were: “LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED.” Sentiments haven’t changed much since then, but I’m pleased to hear that it’s bombing at the box office. I hope pray this means that they’ll put to rest their undoubtedly terrible sequel/trilogy plans. Anyway… this review. It’s obviously not going to be pretty, but I’m going to at least try and shelf some of the fan rage in favor of a coherent analysis. Try.

(this review contains no spoilers for neither the anime, manga nor movie… not that the latter has anything to do with the former two)
Dragonball Evolution

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This Is The One

UTADA’s 3rd English album
14th March, 2009
(Japanese release)

I was a bit skeptical about this album. I wasn’t all that fond of Utada’s previous English album, Exodus, because I found a lot of the lyrics to be really awkward (“You’re easy breezy, and I’m Japanesey”?). In general, I’m much more fond of her older stuff than her newer stuff… I didn’t like her most recent Japanese album, Heart Station, all that much either. I didn’t listen to the “Come Back to Me” single when it came out, so I was walking into this album blind more or less. Here are my first impressions during my first run through of the album:

TRACK 01: On and On (YouTube it)
Very upbeat opening; I like the guys yelling in the background in addition to Utada’s voice, which is gorgeous. Steady beat continues into main melody, and it’s very energizing in that you-gotta-tap-your-feet-and-move-your-body kinda way. Awesome transition into the chorus via a sudden silence in the background, same with the transition into the second chorus. This song definitely has a very American feel to it, which I almost find surprising because I didn’t think Exodus was very American at all. I really love all the layers of voices in this — the guy in the background just keeps going and going, then there’s Utada’s voice, and at the bridge and end, there’s a second layer of Utada’s voice; it’s a very nice combination of sounds. What a great way to start the album!

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Review: Antique Bakery

March 28, 2009 Review 3 Comments

I always pick up the most random series in the amidst of finals and such, and Antique Bakery was just one of those series, I guess. It was short and available, so I watched it. Now here is the finished review. I think it’s going to be one of those very forgetful sort of series; honestly, it didn’t leave much of an impression on me at all except that I think the Japanese pronunciation of “cake” is kind of hilarious. I’m also ever impressed with Mamoru Miyano’s voice acting abilities. And lastly, screw what anyone else says, Antique Bakery isn’t actually a shounen-ai series.

This is my first review on MAL since its review overhaul though, and I must say, I really, really miss that BBCode. I am still using my old review template, so I still wrote the review containing BBCode assuming that it would just be stripped out when I actually posted. Instead, MAL posts the review, code and all, forcing me to manually weed out what I’d put in. This made me realize just how much I do actually use italics to emphasize certain words so they’re easier to read mentally.

I also still hate how jumbled the review looks without bolding to announce each subsection. I suppose I should just swap to “traditional” reviewing and write everything in that cohesive essay format, but I don’t want to. :|

I’m not really sure this should be considered a review. I cover the basics, I guess, but it’s more like me rambling in an semi-organized manner about the movie and the book and describing which of the changes I liked and which I didn’t. As such, this is your spoiler warning:

(this review contains spoilers for both the book and the movie!)
(Hey, this poster looks kinda familiar…)


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