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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hikaru no Go Manga Impression

Who know a board game could be this much fun!

When reading Shonen Jump you can expect plenty of action and adventure whether you prefer Dragon Ball Z or Naruto, but you also get something a little unexpected, a game of GO.

Hikaru no GO, created by Yumi Hotta with art by Takeshi Obata (Death Note), follows sixth-grader Hikaru Shindo as he learns to play the board game GO. After coming in contact with a old bloody GO board at his grandfathers, Hikaru now sees and interacts with Fujiwara-no-Sai, an ancient GO master who used to teach the Emperor of Japan in centuries past. These two have an interesting go at it (oooooo, sorry, pad pun :P) as they learn about each other and as Hikaru learns to play and chase his rival.

My initial reaction when I heard about a manga based on GO was luke-warm, I did not know what to expect, especially since I've never played GO. After reading the manga, and watching the anime I must say, GO is a very cool game. I still know nothing about GO, but I've tried my hand at it a few times, it really is tough, and it makes me enjoy the manga even more since I can understand some of the moves and strategy.

You need to do yourself a favor and pick up one (or two) volumes of Hikaru no GO. It's a great read and may have you playing GO in no time.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Naruto on Cartoon Network

Am I the only person here who really looks forward to Saturday nights and new Naruto? I cannot wait to watch, pathetically is one of my weekly highlights :( I adore, love, the manga, and I really like the anime, but I'm just not sold yet. Why? The voice. Listen, I get that women have to do most young male voices in anime, but how annoying could they make Naruto's voice. The best thing about the last episode (11/19) was not once did you hear 'better believe it' or some such nonsense. I took time to go back and reread volume 1 of the manga and to my surprise this phrase is not uttered, not once. On the other hand 'Ready, Steady, Go' is said a lot, and this is a sweet phrase. Well, I can get used to the voice, and the story is good, follows the manga pretty close, but what's up with the music? The background music is good stuff, I really like it, but why, WHY, do producers and such here think we need crappy 80's rock themes on our anime??? Anyone notice how good the Ready, Steady, Go intro for Fullmetal Alchemist is? Has anyone listened to the original Naruto intro's they are f'ing sweet, I imported the CD. Ok, the intro is not that bad, but I've seen the originals, and I want them. How many times can I contradict myself, I like it, I don't like it... hmmmmmm, confusion.

Naruto is a great manga, the anime is getting better and the music is sweet, so if you have no idea what I'm talking about go to the story, buy the manga, and tune in, check out the anime (it's on Vol. 2 of the manga right now). If you have the bones import some music, better yet, go here, http://www.toonamiarsenal.com/. Good Times, take care.

Monday, November 14, 2005

MS Saga, Gundam on the Go

MS Saga has launched is official web site, sort-of, and the next great Gundam game is just around the corner. There is not much detail right now on this game, but you can guess a lot from the screen-shots. The story is original, and don't worry, it's not another SD game. I for one love Gundam games, but up until now every game has been based on an existing franchise. Finally we get to play an original story, a side-story. Good times.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

IGPX -- Immortal Grand Prix Impression

IGPX or Immortal Grand Prix. The latest addition to Toonami's programming block, but one you must raise an eyebrow to. This series was created by and for Cartoon Network, and I must say it's animation is flawless. The story, actually it pretty basic anime fare. Young group, in this case a team, has to grow and overcome adversity all the while expanding their already heightened skills. The setting, not so ordinary. It's all about giant racing robots in future.

Now it was groundbreaking news when The Big O received new episodes due to demand from the U.S. At the time it was unheard of that the U.S. market could drive anything anime related. Heck just a few years ago the true Otaku were reduced to fan-subs to get the best series. Now the demand is growing and we get to experience more and more, and even add to the creativity.

Well, I'll be keeping an eye on this series because if it goes well hopefully there will be more, and more means we won't have to wait for a series to get over here, it will start here, good times. Oh, one last thing, does anyone remember when all good video game development was done in the Land of the Rising Sun? Those days are over, and I think that very soon the same will be said for anime.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

.hack//GU Impression

.hack//GU is looking great. I've watched the trailer so many times at on the Anime Gaming Guide, it's so sweet. Talk about chills. The character interaction in the trailer mixed with the music... yummy! Check out this site, http://www.cyberconnect2.jp/gu/menu/menu.html, lot of good info here on the game, if you read Japanese, but still pretty looking.

When it first came out I did not know what I was getting with .hack. I bought the game only knowing it also had a tie-in to anime, an upcoming card game and some manga behind it. I never expected the story, the world, to cover so many genre's so well, and from different perspectives and time periods. So why am I excited about G.U. (Growing Up)? Simply put I get to go back to a world, a land I love.

My journey into the world began with Kite and .hack// Infection, Mutation, Outbreak and Quarantine. These four games immersed me into The World, into an MMORPG that was not. I met and interacted with characters from the anime, from a story taking place before that of the games. I was treated to seeing these characters in-game, and also seeing the video game character in the anime (special at the end of the series). Each part, 1 through 4, of the game came with a 30 minute anime furthering the story outside the game world itself. These games (each a little short at around 15 hours) hooked me, next thing I knew I was buying the anime from Bandai. The world of .hack did not end, or begin, with the games, it just expanded The World.

The anime, and the phenomenon that is/was .hack, begins with .hack//SIGN. Am I here to tell you about the anime, no, but what I will tell youis that it's great. A character stuck in The World, unable to log-out. That's the basis and that's all I'm telling you because you can find these DVD's on the cheap, and it's just too good a series to spoil for you. It's the characters found in SIGN that you interact with (a few at least) in the PS2 games. It's the characters in the PS2 games that model designs and story in the second anime, .hack//Legend of the Twilight. This series is both shorter and funnier than SIGN, but still just as enjoyable as a brother and sister (twins) login to the world after the events of the games and SIGN, and enjoy their own adventure, with their own mysteries to solve. Sort of a departure, Legend of the Twilight is also (was first) told in manga form from Tokyopop. I'm actually going back and reading these now. There is also a novel (yup, no pictures) that you can get for .hack called .hack//AIbuster. Don't ask me about this, reading it now also.

Video games = good, anime = good, manga = good (well, all are actually great). What's left? The TCG , .hack//ENEMY is a mystery to me, I've never played or really seen it so just read up at this link, http://dothackenemy.fanhq.com/Articles/Article.aspx?ID=9. Everything comes back full-circle. I thought I was done with the .hack universe, but it's about to pull me back in. There is no excuse not to get into one aspect or another of .hack so get off your duff and get going, really, start with the trailers, it's really, really sweet.