Monday, December 31, 2007

Ah~ 2007, Adieu...

Well, the year 2007 is coming to an end at midnight(and this is only the second post of December! Three papers around ten pages each and two exams will do that to ya... -_-) and it's been quite the ride. Mayweather beats De la Hoya and Hatton, Toney and Taylor lose, Hopkins and Winky finally fought one another, Geneon USA goes down, Kadokawa Pictures USA and a number of big titles (Code Geass, Ouran High School Host Club, Toki Kakeru wo Shoujo) came up (as well as digital distribution) and so forth (can't forget about that "Shocking Punch" either...). It's been swell, but what will 2008 yield?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

:boxing: The Battle of the Unbeatens:: Mayweather vs. Hatton

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Ricky Hatton have about three things in common: one, they are, as the title points out, undefeated; two, both are fighting in the same ring tonight for the same title; and three, both are boxers. Outside of that, they are "pretty" different. Mayweather is arguably the faster and more gifted of the two and the most technically-sound, whereas Hatton is the stronger and more tenacious fellow.

Monday, November 26, 2007

:anime: The Attack Of (and On) Digital Distribution...

For HardDoor's first anniversary, the occasion was celebrated with the creation of a web directory/guide leading to free or low-cost anime legally found on the Internet. One of the themes of it and its accompanying article was to show the efforts being made by anime companies and distributors in discouraging the "illegal" downloading of shows, which has been a major source of concern in terms of DVD sales in North America and other regions.

The digital distribution movement has picked up steam over the last year and can found through many means, from video game consoles (Xbox Live) to streaming video web sites. The latter have been on under hot contention, as a number have hosted both fansubs and officially authorized episodes from distributors (and in some cases, ones that were not placed by them). BitTorrent is another such method that is being readily used by both sides as a way of distributing anime. Its way of peer-to-peer interaction that is meant to be less resource-intensive and easier on bandwidth. However, with the sheer volume and the sizes of the video files being traded, these issues are still present.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Looooong Period... 2007 Edition

Ah, October and early to mid November. Quite possibly the busiest time of the year, with a myriad of papers, work, and exams to do almost back-to-back. Despite all of this, there were still a number of news bits coming down the anime and boxing pipelines. With things settling down a bit, I'll consolidate some of this in a nifty little this one.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

:boxing: Back to the Beating?:: Pacquiao vs. Barrera

Super featherweight champion Manny Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera both weighed in at 130 lbs in Las Vegas, the site of their highly anticipated rematch of their 2003 bout. However, just like that fateful Nov. 15 night, that may be as even as the two fighters will be come ringtime.

Pacquiao has been riding high since his signature win over the future Hall-of-Famer, including two KOs over the latter's archnemesis, Erik Morales. Meanwhile, Barrera has bounced back with a win over Morales and two wins over Rocky Juarez before a step-back in a loss to near-Pacquiao-victim-turned-near-Pacquiao-victor Juan Manuel Marquez (the fight was a draw). Pacman's attention have been divided by "extracurricular activities," while Barrera has been slowly steaming over that surprise beatdown a few years ago. Will a battle-worn body hinder The Baby-Faced Assassin, or will his willpower carry him to vengeance over the champion, who isn't exactly the uncouthly wild child he was back then?

Prediction: Pacquiao may be a far better, more complete fighter than he was in 2003, but coming in cold or too confident against a mad Barrera is a fool's game no matter the conditions. The pace will be violent and fast from the start, which may favor the faster, stronger former. This is virtually Pacquiao's to lose, as he should have more than all the tools necessary now to dispatch him in under five. However, if he takes Barrera lightly, as his recent attitude suggests, don't be surprised if the roles change from that night nearly four years ago. Pacquiao, KO6 or KO8 (if off-game, Barrera, MD or early/late round KO)

Friday, October 05, 2007

:anime: When Big Busts Go Bust:: Fanservice Gone Bad (and Good) -[Part3/3]-

Having characters with big breasts or a story with fanservice content may often be indicative of a bad show, but there are a number of works that have gone against this trend. These two are part of the exception.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

:boxing: Pavlik KO's Near KO Winner Taylor!

Kelly Pavlik stepped into the ring looking to dethrone middleweight champion Jermain Taylor. Instead, "The Ghost" nearly got exorcised out of Atlantic City.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

:boxing: The Prime Motivation:: Taylor vs Pavlik

Injuries seemed to KO more fights than actual boxers in the ring, as a number of big bouts set for September, such as Juan Manuel Marquez-Rocky Juarez, have been either postponed or canceled altogether. Luckily, at least one of them is still raring to go. Middleweight champion Jermain Taylor will lock horns with hot challenger Kelly Pavlik in a contest that has been on the wishlists of many a boxing follower for a long time, tonight in Atlantic City. Two young, undefeated fighters known for their potential, offense, and power, it is a bout that cannot be an absolute "will win" for either. Taylor, though, has not looked spectacular in much of his fights since his first Hopkins match. He has had some glimpses of greatness, but his lack of clean skills (which has deteriorated more with each fight) and lasting stamina have been growing issues, and he has not won many of those fights in convincing or definitive fashion. Despite this, he has won all of them (however contested they have been). Pavlik, on the undercard of Taylor-Spinks, showed many why he has been as lauded as he has been by displaying good skills and strength in a KO win against Edison Miranda--the kind that is capable of taking out the champ.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

:anime: Up and Over The Waterfall with Geneon USA:: R.I.P.?

On September 21, Geneon Entertainment [USA] Inc. sent out a letter announcing the foreclosure of their "distributing and marketing operations" as of 5PM PST tomorrow, September 28. Coming as a culmination of the dropped ADV Films deal, all orders from Geneon will be "FINAL" as of Friday and non-terminable afterwards. In addition, all titles with releases past November 6 have been cancelled and With the fate of their production team already sealed as of December 31 this year, the end of Geneon USA as we know it appears eminent as well. I say "as we know it" because it is unknown about what Dentsu is doing, or why Geneon is where it is right at this moment. Things do not look good at all for the subsidiary from all angles. However, the signs still point towards a "licensing arm" reformation and judging from polls on ANN and AoD, people still have a lot of love and faith in Geneon and are looking forward to purchasing their products again should they ever return in some capacity.

On the brighter side of news (depending on your feelings for the group), Bandai Visual USA has announced that their dot-anime web shop will be acting as their "interim retail center" , which become the primary spot to purchase their offerings until another deal elsewhere can be reached (as suggested earlier).

:anime: When Big Busts Go Bust:: Fanservice Gone Bad (and Good) -[Part2/3]-

::Ikki Tousen::

Like Eiken, Ikki Tousen was another series that had gained a noteriety for its flagrant use of fanservice--and ironically, was also another series by J.C.STAFF. Aside from these facts, the large-chested (nowhere near Eiken standards) and scantly-clad female character designs, and my wanting to see how a show as villified as this one would play out, the similarities end here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

:anime: When Big Busts Go Bust:: Fanservice Gone Bad (and Good) -[Part 1/3]-

[-:Pre-Word:- This was originally a review slated to be posted in August 2006. However, I never got around to finishing it, as I wasn't pleased with it initially (and writing about Eiken isn't one of the more joyous of tasks). Later I managed to fix it up, but after watching the-second-show-to-be-covered, I decided that this big breast/fanservice matter deserved a bit more than a simple post.

And here we are. --HD]

Sunday, September 23, 2007

:anime: When Big Busts Go Bust:: Fanservice Gone Bad (and Good) -[Intro]-

Since antiquity, human beings have held certain interests and "obsessions", for lack of a better word, of select matters across many fields. Violence, machinery, art, recreation, and nature are a few of which has fueled the fancies of mankind. One of its greatest is that of the human body. As an avatar and the primary visual distinction between individuals, the body has gained a high level of admiration and influence in terms of human relations, artistic expression, and physical activities. Perhaps the most focused-upon body type in our history is that of the female. In ways of maternity, fertility, and sexuality, the female form has been captured and idolized in generations of art forms and artwork. As such, the noteriety from it can create varying sensations of "obsession". Males, stemming from a number of factors, have shown over time to be tantilized by and strongly attracted to the female body, while the females themselves have shown a propensity for altering, or "bettering," their appearance in order to improve it, also for various reasons. This strive and attraction towards bodily perfection, either total or selective, is an ever present, ever evolving aspect in human existance. Every era and every culture has its own unique ideals as well as identical traits. One reoccuring aspect across time in repect to women has been of the breasts, one of their most noticible features. Though not pertaining to all periods and peoples, the penchant of having a large, full chest has been one sought after by both sexes for many generations. Males have tended to take notice of, if not become fixated on, them due to carnal or sexual notions, where as females may hold them in esteem or wish to attain that certain look for personal reasons or affectionate gain from the opposite sex.

:boxing: Golden Week:: The Gold Standard Magazine and The Golden Girl...

With much talk on the anime side of things concerning the now-dead ADV-Geneon alliance and the effects a consolidation of power would have on the industry, it comes as a bit of irony that on the other side of HardDoor--boxing--there was a surprise acquisition of its own. Sports and Entertainment Publications, a subsidiary of boxer/promoter Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Enterprises (and mostly owned by his promotion section), bought the venerable Ring Magazine, in addition to its other boxing and pro wrestling periodicals. Ring is considered a Holy Grail in the boxing community and its rankings are often taken as seriously as, if not more so than, those of the sanctioning bodies (well, those are disputable anyway, but that's another topic for another time...). De la Hoya has reassured everyone that the long running publication would retain its editorial freedom and that neither he nor his promotion would have any role in it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

:anime: Up A Creek with Geneon USA:: ADV Deal Done Away With...

Over a week ago, it was posted that Geneon and ADV Films would be entering a "strategic alliance" that would see the latter Houston-based company take over distribution, select marketing, and sales duties from the Japanese subsidary come October 1. Now, the biggest news in the North American anime industry just got much bigger...and more odd.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

:anime: ADV Films Acquires...Geneon?

ADV Films perhaps made the biggest acquisition of the year, if not in the history of the entire North American anime industry, two weeks ago as the company announced that it was taking over Geneon Entertainment [USA] Inc.'s distribution, sales, and "certain" marketing duties. This deal was originally rumored the weekend before, with both entities keeping quiet about the news leak. With it being now being official, ADV will take on Geneon's sizable catalog and will be handling their given affairs on October 1 this fall.

ADV and Geneon's new "strategic alliance" caught many by surprise. And going by their press release and the news itself, it isn't one that can be easily comprehended either. It isn't entirely clear as to how they will be handling sales (Are they doing the figures or are they partaking in the sales?) or what those "certain" marketing duties are or what they entail. Distribution is rather clear cut in its terminology, but it is this and other aspects of the deal that deserve to bear more scrutiny.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

:anime: Throwing It Down With Yawara!--For Free!

When AnimEigo announced their acquisition of Yawara! last year (hinted at in a rather interesting game on's forum), many fans and admirers of the show were caught by surprise. The 124-episode anime, a big hit in Japan and highly-rated by those who have watched, follows high-schooler Inokuma Yawara as she is being prepped by her grandfather to be a judo champion like him, despite her desire to live life like a normal girl. Recently, its licensor provided another surprise, this time in the form of a free preview disc. The disc will feature the first four episodes (sub-only, like much of AnimEigo's titles) and will be available at no cost to either those buying other AE products or those chiefly interested in the discs themselves (there is a $5.00 shipping & handling fee for them, though).

It's a great move by AnimEigo to offer a preview disc of a show like Yawara!. Though it will cost them, the impact is cushioned a bit by the length of the overall show ("Four down, 120 to go") and the increased prospect of potential buyers. When taking that and the adjustable preorder pricing scheme (more preorders, lower price) for the first season box in consideration, AE should be able to absorb the preview disc costs.

For the occasion, I'll be listing this on HardDoor's Free/Low-Cost Anime Guide. It may not be streaming or downloadable, but it is available thru the Internet and it is for free, so I suppose that it counts in the end. The ordering was simple enough, so hopefully Yawara! will be as good as they say once it comes onto my steps.

P.S.: AnimEigo could have done this via digital distribution, but I guess they either didn't have the capabilities/contacts, or they wanted something more concrete like a DVD, which can give the sense of obligation or drive to finish the rest of the series. Not to mention, it can be viewed and traded at any time more easily than by DD. Either way, I like the idea very much and I will be eager to see how good the show is and how it is presented.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

:anime: Boo for Bandai Visual USA? One Year's Difference...

A little over a year ago, I made my first official full-fledged post on HardDoor on the emergence of Bandai Visual USA, the American arm of the revered Japanese production studio. Bandai Visual was known for helping create such seminal classics as Gunbuster, Macross, and The Wings of the Honneamise (of whom would lend its name to that of the U.S. firm's label), and as such, expectations were high of the type of series and impact they would make stateside. The high-end job done on their premiere offerings, the Limited Edition re-releases of the first two Patlabor movies, and the potential in creating a strong library of titles showed a great deal of optimism for what to expect from the young upstarts in the future.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::08.01.07:: -:The Extended Rounds:- x 3

Three weight classes, three titles (or just two, depending on the last one), three bouts...all in one installment of Boxing Bits!

:Sat.07.21.07: Hopkins Out-Masters Winky
Bernard Hopkins defended his belt successfully against Ronald "Winky" Wright, via Unanimous Decision, in a fight that was both entertaining and ugly at times. Hopkins stuck to his usual pattern of starting off slow in the first four rounds and later mauling his opponents down as the fight wears on. Winky was game and the more active of the two, but his ineffective punching (in terms targeting, as both had identical punch stats per round) to Hopkins' more pinpointed flurries aided in his defeat. What also did not help was the class of Light Heavyweight, which no doubtfully had a role in his sluggish movement and pacing in the latter rounds. Hopkins, a poster boy of dedicated conditioning, looked as if he had become a little too comfortable at that weight, as he had a noticeable belly coming in the ring and looked fatigued by the sixth round. However, both fighters burnt off much of that excess fat as the bout went on, looking more like their usual selves at the end. As much action it contained, the fight itself had a good deal of clinching and holding (more from the champion than the challenger) and the actual combat itself looked less than masterful. If this was at middleweight, it could have been a much better fight--and an easier one for both. So if this sort of action couldn't cut it...

Monday, July 23, 2007

:anime: Ouran, Geass Overtake Otakon 2007!

The two biggest properties not to be announced at last month's Anime Expo (or at all, for a while) finally got picked up over the weekend. FUNimation, just two days off from obtaining the license, announced their acquisition of Ouran High School Host Club, ending the endless upon endless speculation of whether the company would be the one to get it or not. The day after, Bandai Ent. made known its own licensing of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, ending the bottomless amount of fearful speculation over whether they or Bandai Visual USA would get it. Both shows have been among the most popular and honored in recent years, so count on them ranking high in the sales department come DVD release time. Additionally, both have two very respected dub houses involved in the English production (FUNi's own in-house studio and ZRO Limit) and Code Geass already has a TV deal secured (Ouran will surely have one in the future). Bandai Ent. also announced the acclaimed, yet lesser known TV series Toward the Terra...

In smaller news, Wendee Lee will be providing the singing in the adored concert episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Aya Hirano's performance has always been well-acknowledged, so it will be interesting to hear how her own vocals will do (IMO, she has the potential to sound really good). Also, the revisionist version of the controversial final episode of Gundam SEED Destiny, FINAL PLUS, will be released on its own disc (methinks, it won't make the show any better).

For a full listing of acquisitions, click here.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

:boxing: The Match of the Masters:: Hopkins vs. Wright

In the world of boxing, the meeting of the minds of master fighters can be a rare occurrence, indeed. This isn't about a matchup between two top prospects (last weekend's Margarito-Williams), or one between a pair of action figures (the now dually-retired Gatti-Ward. It is not even one concerning merely the biggest names in the sport (Mayweather-De La Hoya). Saturday night will be a night when two of today's greatest practitioners and students of the ring square off in bout to decide who has truly mastered its game and craft.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

:boxing: Welterweight Marathon-- 2 KOs and a UD!

The Night of the Welterweights proved to be major one, as Kermit Cintron kicked things off with a devastating one and a quarter round performance, crushing Walter Matthysse with a sick combination. Afterwards in Atlantic City, Arturo Gatti appeared to have been put down for good by Alfonso Gomez, who outgamed and outgunned him for much of the fight. Gatti's dulled reflexes and dependence on boxing (rather than his trademark brawling) made it a rather easy affair for Gomez, in spite of running low on gas in the end (his own admission). After the brutal knockout and fight stoppage by the state's sporting official, he announced his retirement.

The main event also appeared to signal the end of Antonio Margarito's aspirations, as Paul Williams hustled his way to win his WBO championship via unaminous decision. The now-former champ seem too sluggish and slow to providing enough counterpunches, while Williams racked up over 1200 thrown punches over the course of the fight. In spite of having the higher connect percentage and a stronger presence in the latter rounds, Margarito did not do enough to warrant the victory. He been more active in the final round, he would have escaped with a draw and the belt.

But where does this lead the division? Williams could possibly see a date with Miguel Cotto, who would have had Margarito had he been the winner. Cintron himself has seemingly made a full turnaround, as he has jumped ahead of the man who derailed his rise a scant few years ago. And while Gomez is a relative non-factor and Matthysse has to build his way up again, Margarito showed enough in the latter rounds that he can still be a threat to the others--though that "fearful" luster has been officially tarnished.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

:boxing: Welterweight Marathon--Thrice the Action!

This past month and the current one has been a near constant showcase of major bouts across the boxing landscape. This weekend, right in the middle of it, plays host to three bouts at the welterweight class, each highlighted by its own individual appeal. Arturo Gatti fights Contender alum Alfonso Gomez in a battle that will surely enthrall brawl fans; Antonio Margarito goes up against undefeated Paul Williams in a highly-awaited showdown that could decide Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s next fight options (or not, knowing him...); and former contender (and Margarito victim) Kermit Cintron battles his way back up the latter against Walter Matthysse.

With so many potentially appetizing fights, who'll be crown the best of the bunch?

Gatti-Gomez could be a barnburner, but if Gatti is still shot, look for Gomez to notch a big upset in NJ. Prediction: Gomez, KO-Rd. 9 (Gatti, like Castillo, is too war-worn now to be much of a threat--especially against a hungry, antsy foe)

Margarito-Williams will most likely be the fight of the night. The latter didn't look to hot in his last bout, and if he has nothing for Williams tonight, he can kiss those PBF fight dreams good bye. Prediction: Margarito, Majority Decision (If he is all that he is made out to be, he will drive himself to deliver a first loss for the dangerous Williams)

Cintron-Matthysse is a bit of a toss-up for me as I don't recall having seen the latter fight. Cintron has looked good as of late (though a bit shaky and rough at times), so it remains to be seen how well he does in this bout. Prediction: Due to my lack of information on Matthysse, I don't think I can properly give a good guesstimate on this bout. However, I'll say this much--if Cintron doesn't win, he'll be in a worse spot than a losing Margarito (well, he could always go into MMA, as he was once challenged to after being spurned to defend the sport of boxing)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

HardDoor--The First Anniversary

At this time one year ago, I first launched HardDoor, my premiere foray into the world of blogging. Focusing on my two favorite subjects, anime and boxing, HD was to be my own personal gateway of conveying my thoughts on them and as a venue for trying out new aspects of writing and the such. I wish I could have accomplished more of what I had in mind, yet, I am also very glad to have at least posted this much, and more. I do hope to do even a greater amount of what I have in mind in this second round, so that's another thing to be happy about. :)

Hmm...but what of this "HardDoor" name? Where did it come from and why exactly is this blog called as such?

Well, a while before, there was a certain fighter on a certain show promoting his upcoming match, where he said that the fight would be "Rated H for 'Hardcore!'" However, instead of "Hardcore," I thought to have heard him jumble his speech and say "hard door." I rolled at this, but wanted to check a few sites covering it to see if he actually said that or it was just me.

Apparently, it was the latter.

The misnomer stuck around my head for a while. I still found it pretty amusing and wondered what, if anything, would fit for "Hard Door." Down the line, thoughts of making a blog were ever present in my mind, and with it, a name had to be given to it. One of the first to pop up was, of course, that, and the moment I put two and two together, it stuck. And thus, upon combining both words (and eschewing the once-proposed hyphen), "HardDoor" was concieved...

And HardDoor's still going strong!

Another year and onward...


:anime: HardDoor’s Directory & Guide of Free, Low Cost, and Legal Anime on the Internet


(For the article, please click here.)

Psst…want some free, or cheap, anime on the Internet?

Well, you came to the right spot! A listing of streaming and downloadable content vendors all offering anime for no cost (or just a little one)—and all of it’s legal!

This directory is kept up to date as often as possible, though the layout might be altered in the future. Additionally, all sites are in English, unless noted otherwise.

--NOTE: HardDoor is not affiliated with or endorses any of the sites/services listed here. Please use discretion with anything involving downloading and pay content. HD is not responsible for any of the content listed on any of the sites/services or any issues concerning them. Please take any such problems up with the sites/services themselves.--

And with that…happy viewing!

:anime: The New Wave in Distribution:: On Demand, Online, and Legal

Fansubbing has long been an integral part of anime fandom. Arguably, it is the greatest portal available to those wishing to sample some of Japan’s animation works without the need of actually knowing the language in order to understand what the actors are saying. Over a decade ago, the translation of anime titles by amateurs was solely relegated towards anime clubs and special mailing lists that released tapes of subtitled shows to paying customers. However, with the advent of computers and the Internet, nearly all fansubbing operations have moved to the confines of websites, chat rooms (most notably, IRC), and peer-to-peer networks, where they are offered for free, are highly prevalent, and easy to find.

Monday, June 25, 2007

:anime: Introduction:: Free (and Low Cost) Anime on the Internet…and It’s All Legal!

Over one year ago, I posted a thread on the currently “hibernating” fan site AnimeX.Com on a couple of spots where one could find free (or low cost) anime available on the Internet in a legal manner—no fansubs, and no bootlegs. Back then, the use of digital technology was in its relative infancy in terms of use among the industry players. Bandai Entertainment, ADV Films, and Central Park Media, as well as a few broadcasters, were primarily the only ones actively posting content on the web, ranging from trailers and promo packets to actual, full-length episodes. Much has changed over a year’s time, as much of the anime industry on both sides of the Pacific have offerings over the Internet. Viewing video streams is usually free and the downloading of episodes normally are low in price ($.99 to $5). And while some past venues have undergone changes—Anime Village went offline for a few months before returning as Bandai Ent.’s online store; BandaiChannel now blocks foreign viewers from its video contents—the explosion in growth of digital distribution has lend to a boom in the number of places one can visit for their anime interests.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

:boxing: Hatton KOs Castillo in a (Short) War!

Finishing the prediction post just on the cusp of the fight, I watched the first round thinking to myself about what would happen if I had to turn back to HardDoor to write on a KO that ended the fight early.

And here I am.

:boxing: War or Bore?:: Hatton vs. Castillo

Junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton has not had the most storied of journeys in the United States. Once a feared, vicious, unrelenting fighter, "The Hitman" has engaged in a number of battles that thrilled few and seemingly wiped away the venier that has accumulated over his 40+ fight career. Though victorious in every single one, an unexciting and slow beating of Carlos Maussa, and back-to-back struggles with Luis Collazo and Juan Urango have many questioning whether the 28 year old has past his apex. One can point to a good degree of issues that have supported this, such as his growing reliance on grabbing and "wrestling" tactics, his greater susceptibility to getting hit, the taxing brawler/heavy volume punching style that is his bread-and-butter, and his own publicized thoughts of retirement. On the other side of the ring is another big name fighter that has become known more for sleep-inducing waltzes than all-out, all-heart wars, Jose Luis Castillo. The veteran Mexican appears to be beyond the days of giving Floyd Mayweather, Jr. a run for his money and the late Diego Corrales the fight of the century. Rather, he has been listless in his most recent fights (Rolando Reyes, Herman Ngoudjo) and nearly sullied the aura of the first fight with his controversial victory in his rematch with Corrales and the infamous cancellation of the third, where a twice-overweight Castillo was fined and suspended for his transgression.

All things considering, one questions what the nature of this bout will be. If it were based on the past, it could potentially be capable of meeting that aforementioned "fight of the century" caliber. If it were based on the present, we could be on hand for a lower weight-class rendition of Byrd-Williamson. I'd gather that it will be in the middle, but more in terms of what we have been seeing from both fighters of recent. Hatton's costly style and Castillo's long fighting career (sixteen years and counting) are finally catching up to them, so while they may not fight with the fervor that made them beloved figures in the world of boxing any longer, we just might be able to see at least a few spurts from the past, tonight.

However, history dictates that the brawler does not fare well when being brawled against. Castillo is one who tends to fight the style of fight that his opponent employs and Hatton has not faired completely well against others willing to brawl with him.

Prediction: Castillo by late-round KO (10th-12th), or unanimous decision (in okay action).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

:boxing: Cotto Cans Judah...

As predicted earlier, welterweight champion Miguel Cotto would walk away victorious if Zab Judah did not bring his A-game and fight the "perfect fight," namely, outbox the champ, use his superior hand speed, and move around. I also insinuated that Kostya Tszyu was still haunting him all these years later, and well, that may have truly been a factor two Saturdays ago.

Judah started off well in the beginning rounds, rocking Cotto twice, but from about Round 3 or 4, and on, it was the champ's fight. "(Not-so) Super" Zab was trying too hard to land the money shot, waiting extended periods of time and missing prime opportunities to at least score some blows, while Cotto did what he does best--coming forward and grind his opponents down with body shots and persistent pressure. Judah barely threw any sort of punches for much of the fight and failed to utilize his talents to make it a more even-sided affair. Cotto, on the other hand, was game and mauled the Brooklyn native to an 11th round stoppage (not quite "mid-fight"...).

It definitely was not a classic or a "Fight of the Year" candidate that some were making it out to be (too one-sided and not as thrilling as other bouts earlier in the year) and Zab Judah surely didn't "prove/vindicate himself" with his performance. I don't want to sound too harsh, but truthfully, while he didn't meltdown like he usually does and managed to fire off some flurries in the latter rounds, he looked like someone trying to land the big KO and hesitant to make much of a fight beyond that. Perhaps that Tszyu KO was making him reluctant once again to go full out and engage a potential repeat danger like Cotto, and perhaps he just wants to create an impressive moment to mark his first victory in two years.

After that fight, I cannot see why that stretch would not reach past three.

P.S.: Those hideous low blows from Cotto and that headbutt may have taken the wind a bit out of him, but the outcome would have stayed the same, regardless...Judah is most likely still going through what other fighters have gone through after a career-changing knockout loss like the one back in 2001...

The Start of Something Big...

The first anniversary of HardDoor is only a week away! And with it comes...something big...

It might be one thing or it may be more than that, but regardless, I do have something very nice planned out to mark the occasion...

'Till that time...



Tuesday, June 12, 2007

:anime: First Impression:: Sci-Fi Channel's Ani-Monday Block

The Sci-Fi Channel shot off its first salvo at Adult Swim with its Ani-Monday program block--their first foray into anime in over a decade. A hodgepodge of stylized caricatures accompanied a J-Pop-inspired/skewered anthem promoting a rather stereotypical view of Japanese animation (mainly focusing on the violence and "coolness" factors) before going into their premiere feature, the broadcast premiere of Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society. This was very much in the spirit of the promos being shown. Commercial breaks were reasonably placed and lengthened, not interfering with the flow of the movie, and were normally introduced after a quick eyecatch showcasing an aspect of anime (e.g. a clip of the cloaked suspect from early in the original Ghost in the Shell movie shown gyrating his legs in the air in on a "broken record" sort of loop, appearing to looking like a breakdance move, until it shows his ankle getting twisted, leading to a caption reading, "Ani-break"). These were actually more humorous than eyeroll-inducing.

The primary mistake Sci-Fi made in their return to anime broadcasting was their apparent decision to show GITS:SSS in a Pan & Scan format--that is, in a 4:3 standard TV format rather than the 16:9 widescreen viewing ratio the movie was in. A normal practice for many stations showing movies, it not one that is very beneficial for an animated film, as much more of the picture is reliant on the visual aspect than a live-action work. The result led to a number of incidents of characters having parts of their heads (or the whole thing) cropped out of scenes and the movie as a whole having a sort of cramped look to it. Thankfully, this did not hamper the enjoyment of GITS:SSS itself, arguably the better of the three Stand Alone Complex works.

So far, a good return outing by the network in anime. They chose a very good title with name recognition and a big following to kick things off, though it would be for the best in future Ani-Mondays that they lessen its stylings (i.e. the voiceovers and the anime characterizations), which give it a bit of a dated, corny feel, and retain each feature's original screen aspect. Overall, very good, but not yet at the pedigree of Adult Swim. They do have a good line-up in Macross Plus and especially Noein, and possibly the original Ghost in the Shell movie and fan favorite Ninja Scroll (as seen in the promos and eyecatches), so it is at least a start in the right direction.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

:boxing: Cotto-Judah - Big Fists vs. Big Mouth

Miguel Cotto squares off against Zab Judah in defense of his WBA welterweight title in New York City's Madison Square Garden on the eve of its big annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. Judah has long been claiming that his friend(?) Felix Trinidad said that he (and himself, included) could take down the highly-respected prospect. Cotto, in spite of his undefeated record, has not looked completely invincible in a number of his recent bouts, as he has had his moments against fighters that he was supposed to handle with ease in the ring, such as Demarcus "Chop Chop" Corley in his native Puerto Rico and Paulie Malignaggi. On the other hand, Judah was too entrenched in his "thug life" (and his tendency to shirk in the face of growing opposition) to pull it together and beat Floyd Mayweather, Jr. last year. And lest us not forget that he has technically not won a fight since May 2005.

Friday, June 01, 2007

:anime: School Rumble Site Goes Live [Again]! The Dub Lives! So, FUNi's Production is Still Alive?!

Part 1 - School Rumble Site Goes Live [Again]! ::FUNimation's School Rumble site is made live yet again! A clustered, Flash-based design featuring the characters and a trailer (decent, though it simplifies the plot a bit oddly) grace the site in place of the "Coming Soon" promo pic.

Part 2 - The Dub Lives! ::Speaking of the characters, there are "hidden" audio clips of most of those featured being played by their English voice actors, all part of a prize-awarding guessing game for the cast. Said VAs did not sound too great or accurate, but another listen or two gave two impressions. One, being that they didn't seem as horrible as initially thought and that it could very well be one of those "take getting used to" sort of dubs, and two, the given clips sounded more like audition takes than actual rips from the finished product (meaning the end product may feature more polished performances).

Part 3 - So, FUNi's Production is Still Alive?! ::Great to see that FUNimation was apparently not neglecting or sitting on SR and its license. It's not in their nature in the first place, and telling by their current trend of license-->long wait (doing the whole production en masse)-->quick release schedule (and no broken promises--Media Blasters & GaoGaiGar), it seems very likely that the company was handling all 52 episodes and both OVAs at once in order to avoid VA scheduling conflicts, get the show finished and out of the way for other ones, and give the many devoted fans a brisk flow of DVDs. You do chance losing momentum from the initial licensing announcement, but the release schedule and renewed word-of-mouth should help regain ground.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Short Update...

...And just that! :O

::Mayweather prediction was pretty off. Forgot to take into account PBF's fear of getting hurt (read: touched) in the ring, leading to a lost opportunity to totally befuddle and embarrass the aging De la Hoya. Regardless, he still won based on the Golden Boy's own lost opportunity to take control of the last four rounds over a hesitant opponent.

::Taylor-Spinks decision (and especially HBO's cheerleading) was a complete joke. I guess dodging potential KO bombs is now taboo and ring generalship means not one thing nowadays.

::Speculation Corner turns up another red herring, as ADV Films seems to have somehow caught the GONZO fever from fellow Houston company FUNimation and licensed Welcome to the NHK!, Red Garden, and Pumpkin Scissors--all very different shows, all very good in their own rights.

Work's been preventing me from really going all out and proceeding with what I have planned out, though I will get to it eventually... ;D

Saturday, May 05, 2007

:boxing: Golden Boy vs. Pretty Boy -- The Prediction

There has been a ton of hype and a ton of exposition on this "mega" fight, so I'll make this short and sweet.

Oscar de la Hoya may have the edge in experience and possibly strength, but he is going past his prime and has had a history of difficulty against quicker, more agile opponents. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is just that type of fighter and much more, as he also possesses a great set of both physical and mental skills. His one, rather major strike--he rarely fights anyone within breathing distance of this abilities nor has he fought anyone that could really challenge him. Is the Golden Boy that type of guy?

If one went by his last fight, against Ricardo Mayorga, then that question just might remain as one. Sure he TKO'd him bad, but he got tagged far too many times by the lesser skilled brawler. Pretty Boy Floyd seems all wrong, but at the same time, he hasn't had a good elite-level opponent in ages, even if that person is relatively inactive and fading away.

In the end, PBF will still be too much for ODH to handle, despite the motivation to shut his big mouth up.

Prediction: Mayweather, KO--Rd 8, or sooner than that (nothing early, though)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

:anime: -:Speculation Corner:- Welcome to the NHK!

Welcome to the NHK!
This one's a little old, but on an installment of AnimeTV, an anime discussion webcast produced by dubbing studio Bang Zoom! Entertainment, there was a cheesy, tongue-in-cheek segment that "interrupted" the show. Featuring a stereotypically-played otaku hamming it up in Japanese, the guy rambled on about the greatness of GONZO's Welcome to the NHK! (oh, excuse me, NHK ni Youkoso! ;-) ), a satire on fandom and, essentially, people with deep social issues. This seems a bit odd that BZ!, on a show where they basically promote their own works and pat themselves on the back, would spend so much time and effort in marketing a show that they have no connection to. Of course, no distributor has been rumored to have acquired it yet, but perhaps something will come up at this weekend's Anime Boston convention. Either Geneon or Bandai Ent., in that order, if this proves to be true, considering they are the only ones who have sold the animation studio's titles in the past and do not have in-house dubbing units.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

:boxing: Dethroning a Giant

Friday night, I made the prediction that Ruslan Chagaev would be knocked out by WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev early, especially if he tried to swarm him. While "swarming" might be a bit of overindulgence, Chagaev managed to at least throw some good, quick punches to score against him, leading to a surprise victory in Germany. Chagaev wasn't afraid to mix it up, but played it smart by picking his openings and staying close to him. Valuev tried, but couldn't formulate a proper way to fight him when he was up close in the first half of the match. The much shorter, lighter challenger continued to out-hustle and outgun him until the latter rounds, when all of his maneuvering and in-your-face-and-out tactics began to catch up to him, as Chagaev showed slight signs of fatigue. Valuev capitalized and began to land more shots with greater frequency. What perhaps helped nail the majority decision for Chagaev was his tenacity and conversion to counterpunching, landing a couple of hits for every jab received. The now former champ did what he could, but ultimately could not come close to stopping the faster, more agile southpaw, who fought like he truly wanted to win the title (as opposed to just folding up and becoming another tomato can on the shooting range). The commentator put it best when he said that Chagaev was "doing the dance routine of his life." All in all, a good competitive bout with plenty of intrigue to keep all the more interesting (could the smaller man pull it off, or would the giant crush him with one punch?). Don't know how well he could handle some the other champions, but based on his performance, Ruslan Chagaev has a decent-enough chance at beating some of them.

Now, for that roasted crow...

Friday, April 13, 2007

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::04.13.07:: Calzaghe, Bayless, Shocking Punch

Boxing Bits... 'nuff said (I hope...) --HD

:Wed.04.11.07: Calzaghe Wants Taylor...Again
Joe Calzaghe's promoter, Frank Warren, offered middleweight champion Jermain Taylor $4 million to fight his man in England--with an American referee for "assured" fairness. Fine and all, but this sort of scenario is nothing new. Calzaghe will challenge some middleweight main attraction, says he'll beat him, then either injures himself during training or during a fight with a relative tomato can, and pulls out either due to that or due to his hopeful opponent's refusal to fight on his home turf. Hey, when will Calzaghe make good on that promise to fight on THEIR'S?

:Wed.04.11.07: Kenny Bayless Gets De la Hoya-Mayweather
Well, it's just like the title says. Referee Kenny Bayless, one of the best and most recognizable in the sport, will be the third man in the ring in the upcoming "megafight."

:Wed.04.11.07: The Legend of the Shocking Punch
Michael Sprott is claiming his KO win over Audley Harrison last year was a result of him receiving an electric shock from a wall outlet he was testing while renovating his house. The subsequent shock caused his left arm spaz in such a way that his strength there has greatly increased. The power, which would later claim Harrison as its first victim, was compared by Sprott's trainer to be on an Ernie Shavers-level, certainly high-enough praise. Waxing the exaggeration on thick? Perhaps, though just maybe, his muscles could have pulsated and/or realigned to the point where it maximized his output of energy. Or they read too many comic books and maybe even some shounen anime.

:Fri.04.13.07: Valuev vs. Chagaev Prediction
And now for something not from Wed.04.11.07. Thank you MSG for broadcasting a notable overseas fight that no one else wanted to pick up. Good to see someone other than ESPN(2), HBO, and Showtime do some live big fights. As for this fight, unless Ruslan Chagaev gets a Shocking Punch of his own, he'll stand little (heh, heh) chance against seven-plus-foot champ Nikolai Valuev. Fourth round KO for the giant, second round if Chagaev tries to swarm him with barrages. Yes, like this man could actually take down the guy on TV...


:anime: -:Speculation Corner:- NANA, Powerpuff Girls Z

A new spot on HardDoor, Speculation Corner is basically where all unconfirmed rumor mill products, or guesstimation on HD's part, end up... --HD

While looking at NANA's credit information on Anime News Network, I came across a peculiar listing of Bandai Ent. as "Production Collaborator". While this may not be an automatic lock, judging by past similar acts, such series have fallen into their hands in the end (Eureka Seven, Eat-Man '98, Escaflowne: The Movie). This might explain why Geneon never got the series alongside mangaka Ai Yazawa's other Madhouse-animated adaptation, Paradise Kiss.

Powerpuff Girls Z recent posted that the Ocean Group will be handling the dub for the series. Curiously, it doesn't look like the original PPG cast will be used (unless Ocean did that too). Now then, who is the licensor? It doesn't appear to be a Turner branch if they employed them, so could it be Bandai or Geneon, the dub company's main employers? Let's not forget that a good deal of Ocean's actors supply the voices on Ed, Edd, and Eddy and few other Cartoon Network projects, too...

:anime: Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits ::04.13.07:: FUN Piece, Not So Speed Racer, Little Mermaid--Miyazaki Style (sort of...)

:Fri.04.13.07: FUNimation Picks Up One Piece
Sure to bring out a collective cheer from fans, FUNimation licensed the popular-yet-mishandled One Piece months after 4Kids abandoned the property. With both the broadcast and DVD rights in place, the company will be giving it a new dub, which should debut on Cartoon Network sometime in August, with Episode 144, and uncut DVDs. Both entities and animation studio Toei made a joint agreement on continuing the show's broadcast, though it is up to fan interest as to whether they will dub the past episodes later on. I'd gather that will be a resounding yes, another part of a potential happy ending to the saga that is One Piece and its problematic time in the U.S. Very good to see FUNimation step up and pick up the...uhh...pieces (or is that just "piece?")

:Fri.04.13.07: Speed Racer Cast Fleshes Out a Bit More
Christina Ricci will be playing "Trixie" in the upcoming Speed Racer movie, joining a number of other notable thespians for the Wachowski Bros.' new project:

Speed Racer: Emile Hirsch
Pops Racer: John Goodman
Ma(?) Racer: Susan Sarandon

Racer X: Vince Vaughn (who was the main force behind pitching the film for years) if only the Mach 5 were real (totally CG in the film, not even a model!). Hope producer Joel Silver will at least allow for some should he still be up to doing that Last Exile adaptation that he wants to do. Oh, and no CGI Lupin while you're at it, either. :P

:Mon.03.19.07: Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki's New Project: Ponyo On A Cliff
The master himself, Hayao Miyazaki, announced his new film, Ponyo On A Cliff, about a month ago (making this about a month too late in reporting). The movie will return Studio Ghibli to its cel roots, centering around a young boy and a "goldfish princess," the title character, who wishes to become a human. Sounds a little familiar? It indeed has a Little Mermaid tilt to it, but Miyazaki says that it will have quite a bit of a Japanese style to it. I may hate the Disney movie with a passion, but hopefully this won't be the same case here. Look out for a summer 2008 release.

:boxing: Calzaghe, Clottey Victorious; HBO Hypocrisy

Last Saturday night brought forth two notable fights on two continents. In the first, WBO super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe made short work of Peter Manfredo Jr. in three rounds in Wales, England. Perhaps "short" was too much of the word, as the referee made the stoppage rather soon to many...just not me. Manfredo looked like he was thinking too much about what to do rather than trying to at least throw something at the wily Calzaghe (which he virtually didn't most of the time). Perhaps it was not having regular trainer Freddie Roach in his corner (busy training De la Hoya), regardless, he still allowed the veteran to have his way, punishing him with his hand speed and size in rounds two and three. It didn't do him any more favors that he was fighting on the champ's home turf and has had trouble before against slick boxers. Sergio Mora, his Contender foil in the championship bout of the reality show, was such a fighter of who faced similar success with similar traits, twice.

Hmm, reality. The HBO commentary team seemed fixated on drawing the line between "real" boxers and "reality show" performers. Never mind the fact that Manfredo was a well-known prospect, and former champion, I believe, before the series. They basically equated him and everyone else on there as "journeymen," which was half-true, as some of them truly were. However, they appeared to relish in the outcome of the bout, that it somehow retained the sanctity of the sport. I mean, let us totally place the weighty promotion of the network's own reality series focused around the combatants of its own overhyped Mayweather-De la Hoya telecast towards the back of our minds. It's nice to see HBO placing its attention on a loudmouth who likes fighting to an easy paycheck and a guy with a fight schedule akin to Santa's work schedule. If "The Contender" were HBO's idea or production, they would have treated Manfredo's annihilation like Ali was getting struck down by Leon Spinks.

*sniff, sniff* Do I smell crazy hippos...or is that just hypocrisy?

In much better action, Joshua Clottey dominated a completely game Diego Corrales in ten rounds in the later bout in Springfield, MO. Corrales was definitely out of his league in his welterweight debut, but nonetheless stuck in there with the skilled No. 4-ranked title contender, who appeared to be two to four punches ahead of him. The style of the fight itself was similar to the classic close-quarters-combating of Corrales-Castillo, only more one-sided and not as enthralling. But hey, I'll take a complete battle between two fighters willing to duke it out rather than an embarrassing "effort" on the other side of the pond.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

:anime: Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits ::03.31.07:: Haruhi No-Go, Geass Gold, 4Kids 4 Maids

It's been awhile since the last K'n'B entry, due to all of the busy activity lately. Nonetheless, I managed to make a few contacts along the way, culminating in some rather spicy news details...

:Sat.03.31.07: Haruhi NOT Coming to the U.S.?
The handling of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya for U.S. release has been a hotly contested one ever since Bandai Ent. had announced its plans for its DVDs and subsequent volumes. Well, for those antsy enough over the Kyon Order discs and pillowcases in the LE sets, you'll have no fear. They won't be coming. None of it. For no divulged reasons, the sets--nor the regular DVDs--will be arriving stateside as planned. "Ryouko," the representative I contacted, said that none of the Haruhi franchise will be coming to North America and that anyone who has preordered it will instead receive an I.O.U. and a box of Love Hina DVDs. "She" wouldn't budge any further from that when I tried to press for more information, sad to say.

:Sat.03.31.07: Harmony Gold Licenses Code Geass?
Through a number of undisclosed sources, it appears as though Harmony Gold has bought the rights to solicit the popular Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion series in the U.S. A formal announcement will most likely be given in the approaching days, meanwhile, the person I spoke to has said that while Carl Macek will not be involved in the adaptation, a few edits will be made "where appropriate" and that HG will "welcome the show warmly into the Robotech family."

:Sat.03.31.07: 4Kids Introduces New Anime Life into Lineup
After probing around 4Kids for comments on the recent stoppage of their One Piece production and their financial issues, I was given a major scoop on their Summer and Fall '07 broadcast plans. In hopes of getting more parents to watch along with their kids (and thereby gaining new attention to its products), the company is set debut a sort of hybrid of what they called "more adult" features. This new show, untitled as of now, will be a re-spliced and localized combination of the likes of He is my Master, Emma, and a third yet-to-be-decided series (said to be a toss up between Monster and a show with the word "maid" in it). Count on there being some major hyping of it hopes of getting 4Kids out of its slump.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

:boxing: Of Rematches and Future Rematches...

Today marks a day of redemption of sorts, as two major fights focus on title-rewarding rematches. The first fight, between Jean Marc Mormeck and O'Neill Bell, actually took place in the afternoon stateside, as it was contended live in the suburbs of Paris, France. Mormeck came out victorious in his homeland over the champion Bell, capturing two of the titles (WBC, WBA) that he could have walked out with in their landmark cruiserweight unification bout from last January. Though not fully avenging that KO loss, he managed to engage the formerly-undefeated Jamaican across the twelve rounds in an exciting and vociferous slugfest which seriously drained the two by the start of the championship rounds (and the reportedly sweltering arena probably wasn't doing them any favors either). Bell was game and tried to pull off a few feinting theatrics, but Mormeck served up more of the action and pressured him against the ropes as often as possible. He himself looked more wobbly than his opponent most of the time, where towards the end of the fight, he was keeping his distance away from the already spent Bell. Mormeck won a unanimous decision much to the fancy of the crowd.

But will championship wishes ring true in Las Vegas? Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez duke it out later in an anticipated bout between not only two well-respected Mexican fighters, but two men who have tasted the canvas and defeat at the hands of Manny Pacquiao. Barrera was clearly blasted away in their fight a few years back, which made the Pacman a household name, while in the sensation's follow-up match, he sent Marquez to the ground three times in the first round before escaping JMM's surge and subsequent schooling of him with a draw (thought he won that despite the knockdowns). Whoever wins this match will most likely see a rematch with the champ (unless Edwin Valero becomes the more enticing match-up).

Prediction: Split Decision - Barrera

P.S.: I right in thinking that Mormeck would get the victory, but it sure didn't seem like I would be a number of times in during the bout, especially in the final rounds...A better fight than last time, I surely would like to see a third and deciding encounter between the two, only this time, outdoors with some breeze :D ...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

:anime: First Impression:: STUDIOPOLIS, Inc.'s English Dub for Blood+ Premiere Episode

Blood+ finally made its long-awaited (and stealthily/barely advertised) debut on Adult Swim, showcasing an equally long-awaited (and stealthily/barely/unreliably noted) English dub. After enduring the lack of news on the series from distributor Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, viewers finally got a look--and hear--at a pretty good first effort by STUDIOPOLIS, Inc. (Afro Samurai, Naruto). Saya's VA (Kari Wahlgren; Witch Hunter Robin, Wolf's Rain) was, like most of the cast, near spot-on for her respective role. There were a few times where her voice was too high, but overall, she kept it on an even level, on par with the Japanese VA's depiction of the heroine. Even more on-target with their overseas counterpart was Kai's VA (Ben Diskin; new talent, much like a good portion of the cast?) who, considering the distinctive voice provided before, was surprising similar, yet in the same, brought his own style and attitude to the character. The voice actress for Kaori (Amber Hood) also did very well, retaining that innocent personality and high-pitched vocal of hers. One of the biggest surprises was Crispin Freeman (Hellsing, Read or Die OVA) ably playing two major roles in the series. The weightier of the two, Hagi, remained in the quite, soft-spoken tone that many fans of the show clamored to hear Freeman do, which he succeeds in doing well in the few lines he has. The other, as Van Argano, was a true surprise, as he pulled off a believably authentic French accent. It was very well acted and nearly indistinguishable from his Hagi voice (even more impressive when you consider the types of roles he has done which are normally akin to it in tone or style). George's voice wasn't too bad, if a little too light, while David's and Riku's seemed suitable choices (though the latter sounded slightly older than he should). The VAs for the secondary characters also sounded well.

Overall, a very nice premiere episode with the English dub cast, which in spite of its majority of unfamiliar vocal talents managed to formulate one close in spirit with the Japanese cast, which is good when you consider the rather sizable diversity of that one. The apparant use of accents will go a long way in giving Blood+ the sense of international authenticity that can further supplement the show. The better gauge for the cast's performances lies in the ensuing episodes, as more of its large group of characters become present and more speaking lines are given, as this episode was lite in that department. Still, a very good job by STUDIOPOLIS in this starting salvo.

(Link Courtesies: Anime News Network)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

:boxing: Klitschko KO's Austin (via SpamPunch)!!

Wladamir Klitschko nary broke a sweat in delivering a second round KO to top contender Ray Austin in Mannheim, Germany. Too bad I knew of the results beforehand by accident. I just turned to the fight as the broadcast began, thinking that it was live, until I went to open up a web browser, where the telltale headline stared me in the face on its homepage.

Just great...

Not too surprising an outcome, but still not terribly happy to have knowledge of a fight that end about two hours earlier. The foretold match was nothing much in terms of major action, with Austin making some serious mistkaes in terms of keeping his guard up and leaving himself wide-up, which made the ending that more obvious. This caught up to him early in the second round, as he was quickly and repeatedly left-hooked into the face as he made a retreat of the ropes to his right. Dr. Steelhammer already had him with the first punch, but as soon as Austin's body stalled in movement, he continued to, well, hammer him with the same hand (hence the "spam"-like moment) about four or five times until he gave out onto the bottom ropes.

In his post-fight comments, he expressed his interests once again in consolidating the heavyweight titles, even sharing the load with big brother Vitali, who is making a return to the ring in a probable fight against titlist Oleg Maskaev (much to #1 contender Samuel Peter's chagrin).

Of interest in the interview, however, is the seemingly growing indifference in Wladamir in having to fight him for those very titles, should chances arise...

I would not count out a fight between him and Peter again by year's end, at least. Vitali will most likely jump over Peter and get his shot at Maskaev's belt, thereby setting a very possible match between himself and the Nigerian Nightmare. After that, The Brothers Klitschko should be well on their way to making their long-time dream a reality.

Just so long as they don't get in each other's way getting there.

Friday, February 23, 2007

:anime: An Attempted Prediction of the American Anime Awards

About one night separates us from the big night, where anime efforts in the U.S. finally get their dues. The American Anime Awards, in their aloof first outing, have produced a rather suitable list of honors (already did two posts concerning the problems, so I'll eschew repeating them here). And since it wouldn't be an awards ceremony without predictions, I'll try to pry into the minds of the mysterious judges and find out who the winners will be (marked via " > "), while wishing who I want would want to win (via " * ").

Saturday, February 17, 2007

:anime: Amending The American Anime Awards

With the American Anime Awards a week away and with the posting of the finalists that helped alleviate some of the confusion surrounding the voting & nomination aspects of the event, I decided to post a list of suggestions that may help make the awards a more credible one, as well as categories that are either new or combine some of the more puzzling ones (can't say much about the ceremony itself yet, since I won't have the chance to see it for a while).

Friday, February 09, 2007

:anime: The American Anime Awards...Finalists?

A few weeks ago, many, including myself, were upset over the circumstances that was the American Anime Awards. The strange and numerous nominations gave the reeking sense that it was more fan contest than industry. Well, news of a list of finalists Wednesday was made, which seemed to make the large number of nods understandable, though it would have been of much better help to all if the organizers had actually made notice of the ballots being nothing more than of the selection type. Be it late addition to the rules or not, it is a good way of involving the fans in the awards, though I still wish that they would be excluded altogether. And though it is still plagued by the likes of "Akira = Comedy," among many others, there are some nice finalists that popped up, such as the Lupin III acting nods, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG cast, and the BLEACH Vol. 1 DVD package.

Good thing that I didn't post the follow-up piece yet (once-expected date of a week before or the day after the ceremony), as this shed a little more light on the AAAs. Of course, as I alluded to earlier, there are still quite a few kinks that need to be worked out before it can be truly revered or taken seriously.

P.S.: The "Babes of Anime" motif splattered constantly on nearly everything AAAs is eyeroll-inducement at its finest. ADV really needs to rein the horses in on that one.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

:anime: Honneamise Finally Releasing Honneamise! Plus Top Movie & Top 2!

This morning at the Anime LA convention, Bandai Visual USA confirmed not only its Wings of Rean license (already announced last year), but they have also made known news of its releases of its label's namesake, The Wings of the Honneamise, as well as Diebuster (to be titled "Gunbuster 2" here) and the Top wo Nerae! compliation movie. Though having not too much to do with the previous speculation (outside of some foreshadowing), it was perhaps the most likely of announcements in Honneamise, which would have been nonsensical if the movie was not released stateside by the same group that borrows its own name. It would have been nice if Diebuster was released as is, title-wise, as it is technically not "Gunbuster 2" ("Aim for the Top! 2", yes, this, not so much, especially considering that the subtitle only refers to the title mecha, not the series as a whole), but I am very happy either way for it coming to the U.S. I am also pleased to see the Top movie compliation make its way here, though I hope that it, and Diebuster, at least get an English dubs (could that also mean a dubbed Gunbuster, as long as that section of the film it does not rely on the OVA's masters?). Hopefully, BVU will be kind enough to create a Top wo Nerae! box set like the one in Japan.

Great news all around, and its good to see a number of those titles brought up here a while back get debuts so quickly across the Pacific. about those Macross properties and some Gundam lovin'? ;)

UPDATE [01/31/07]: AoD has posted a press release from BVU covering Gunbuster 2 and Wings of Rean, both of whom will be sold over three volumes and coming complete with extensive booklets, as well as the updated Kikoushi-Enma, which I once thought to be an interesting show to watch, as it was a mature remake of a 70s kids show...until I figured out that the title translated to "Demon Prince Enma". Well, it is a Go Nagai property... :P
[Official Press Release]

Friday, January 26, 2007

:anime: Mushishi Makes the Travel to the U.S.!

FUNimation capped off its week of acquisitions with that of the masterpiece anime, Mushishi. This is perhaps the best bit of news to come out of this event (certainly beats Aquarion *shivers*), and it is great that such a great series comes over to the U.S. I hope that they will retain the look of the box for the series (should they have one) maybe even that little paperweight that came with it (slim chances, yet one could always hope). As long as the roles, especially Ginko's, are well-cast and not over-acted, as they can be prone to do, as well as keeping a diversity in the vocal talent used (the show, partially due to its episodic storyline, does feature a good many characters), Mushishi could become a very good dubbing effort.

P.S.: Nice logo on the announcement page, if not a little too flashy for such a show, and too reminicient of xxxHOLiC's. The one used on the site is a little more appropriate and closer to the original.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

:anime: The American Anime Awards--Not Quite the Oscar-esque Vehicle It Aspires to Be...

In the midst of the traditional award season for American cinema and television acheviements lies a quaint little ceremony for an equally quaint little piece of fandom and culture. Japanese animation, or anime as it has become known as, has held a long and often overlooked history in American pop culture. Having itself being influenced by the early cartoon works of Walt Disney, Japanese animation has grown over the decades to have an identity all of its own, and in turn, has returned the favor to its neighbor across the Pacific. Kimba the White Lion (which so happened to be funded and co-produced by NBC), Gigantor, Speed Racer, Transformers, Robotech (an U.S.-produced amalgam of three unrelated mecha shows), Sailor Moon, and Dragonball Z represent only a few shows that have sept its way into the stateside consciousness. The distinct style of those anime and other works have inspired the kind of breakout hits--Avatar, The Last Airbender; Kappa Mikey; Teen Titans; Batman Beyond; The Boondocks--here that American-drawn byproducts had done for the likes of Osamu Tezuka and Tatsunoko Pro of earlier. Though lacking the type of attention that Hollywood works garner, anime has seen a growing and more present stature in the U.S., so in this time leading up to the Academy Awards, the industry itself has been long overdue for a celebration of its own. Taking place the night before the Oscars themselves, the American Anime Awards (AAAs) will be held on Saturday, February 24 in New York City. The AAAs, jointly produced by ADV Films, ICv2, and New York Comic Con, aims to "honor the best in anime as voted on by anime fans nationwide." However good this may be, herein lies one of the event's numerous flaws. There is much to point out, so for the purpose of critique, I'll be eschewing the usual paragraphical prose and instead be employing a listing of positive (+) and negative (-) aspects of the show.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

:anime: Academy Awards Anime-less Again

For the second time in three years, the Academy Awards will have no Japanese-animated film in the running for its ceremony nearly a month from now. Cars, Happy Feet, and Monster House are all in contention in a rather tight field for such a small number of films honored. In reality this should come as no surprise, as no anime films of note were released (at least in a respectable number of theaters) in the U.S. last year. The only ones that come to mind in terms of critical praise are actually two Madhouse productions, Satoshi Kon's Paprika (which was eligible) and the much beloved Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time), aka Tokikake. Perhaps next year it will have a chance, especially if it is given a theater run.

EDIT: Totally thought that Howl's Moving Castle was nominated the year before last, so now it is fixed from being "the second year in a row.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

:anime: Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits ::01.22.07:: Black Oceans, FUNi Announcements, SSJ7 Jesus

The start of a quick, little news snippet of anime news, and a few thoughts wrapped within, just so that it allows me to keep up with the latest news and comment on anything else without having to totally write out an entire post for it (since this isn't a soley news blog). Of course, I'll expand on something if I have something more to say on it ;) . --HD

:Wed.01.17.07: Ocean to Dub Black Lagoon?
During a somewhat related forum topic on AoD's site, a staff member of English dub database site made an "insider" revelation that Ocean will be supplying the dub for Geneon's upcoming release of Black Lagoon. Sure, it's not Next Generation, but Ocean is a more-than-capable group for a show like this one, just so long as they supply the proper accents.

:Mon.01.22.07: FUNimation Announcement Week Kicks Off
FUNimation kicked off a special week of special announcements with their licensing of Ragnarok: The Animation. Don't be the least bit surprised to see the shows that appeared on their Cease & Desist letter to fansubbers, such as xxxHOLiC and Mushishi, appear on their site this week, or some release dates/site update for School Rumble. "Dark Horse" says two of the next three GONZO shows get picked up: Welcome to the NHK!, Red Garden, Pumpkin Scissors.

:Wed.01.17.07: Jesus to be Animated
An anime version of the classic 1970s film Jesus is currently in the works. The movie will follow the Book of Luke's transcript and use the same dialouge loop as the original, which according to a producers quote, seems as if it will be animated in a way where any of the 900 translated voice tracks can be inserted for worldwide distribution. It is projected to be finished in two years.

:Sun.01.21.07: Live-Action Mushishi Trailer Available
Though another trailer has been available for a while, a new trailer has been posted on Apple's Japanese trailer site in the company's ever-present MOV format. A nice little short montage similar to the earlier one, those familiar with the other properties in the franchise will definently have fond recollections with a few of the images shown in it.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

:anime: Honneamise Finally Releasing Honneamise?

It's hard telling whether this plan is aimed specifically for Japan or for the US, but Bandai Visual USA made a press release available on Jan. 7 detailing its parent company's (Bandai Visual) partnership with Memory-Tech and Microsoft in bringing classics The Wings of Honneamise and Patlabor 1 & 2, as well as the hot new OVA title Freedom, to the HD-DVD format this year.

As great as it would be to see its namesake and flagship movie finally get a re-releasal here in North America (it was formerlly licensed by Manga Ent.), it would seem that this PDF is referring more towards Japan. All of these titles are already on DVD there, so placing them on the next-gen format of HD-DVD would likely be the next step. Making that sort of jump in NA would only be sensible with Patlabor, as the other two haven't been on the more widely available and accepted DVD format, yet. And of course, it would make plenty of sense for BVU to announce such a deal on their own site, as the news pertains to their own parent company and since Microsoft is an American company.

This also brings about some speculation as to why it was made available in English and with no clear intent as to which region the press release is referring to. I know that one of Blu-ray's regions encompasses both Japan and the US, but I'm not too sure if HD-DVD still follows the current DVD regioning or stills separates the two sides either way. Moreover, BVU's link is displayed under Freedom's description, yet only that one. It is given that Honneamise and said OVA will appear stateside, but it is unknown as to when that will actually happen. Although this news is most likely referring to Japan, perhaps this may be a first sign of future licenses and plans to come for their branch across the Pacific.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

:boxing: Nightmare Again for Toney!

Samuel Peter once again bested savvy ring veteren James Toney, in a suprisingly dominating fashion, via uninaminous decision (a total reversal of my prediction). The fight, while better than the previous, was more one-sided towards "The Nigerian Nightmare," who showcased improved skills and hand speed, including delivering Toney's first knockdown in over a decade in the second round, off of a jab. Despite being convincingly beaten, Toney still appeared to be in good shape and managed to hold his own (for the most part) under the crushing power of his young opponent. However, Peter, too, sported better conditioning than in the first fight, which no doubt showed as he was able to throw some impressive flurries (especially for a man his size) and accurate & effective counterpunching. Most notable, however, was his improved skill level, which seemed to borrowed at times from Toney's own evasive defense style and combos.

Both fighters looked very determined to take the other out, especially Peter, who has been pretty teethed(sp) about having to fight the rematch rather than the champion. With the definitive win, he has finally earned the title shot against Oleg Maskaev, which the WBC unrightfully denied him of the first time around (due to the controversy of that bout), while Toney still has a shot at one of the other titles, as his performance tonight led to no contradictory reason.

P.S.: The undercard bout featuring a victorious Travis Simms over Jose Antonio Rivera was pretty good and more one-sided than the main event. What may have fueled Simms fire could have been the complaints leveled against him by the opposition prior to the fight that he clinches too much, which led to some special prefight warnings and an extra watchful eye from the referee....which didn't really matter much, seeing as how a bloodied and battered Rivera got TKO'd in the ninth round.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

:boxing: Toney-Peter II: Enthusiasm and Trechery Again

Tonight marks the second bout between James "Lights Out" Toney and Samuel "The Nigerian Nightmare" Peter, a rematch to settle the controversy revolving aroung the decision victory by the latter. It was a tightly contested bout that tested the abilities, and further enlightened the weaknesses, of both fighters. Now that they have become familiar with each other and have gotten into much better shape this time around, it will be a very interesting fight to see. Both Toney and Peter are very motivated, but I think that the "Nightmare" will happen again for the veteren fighter. He will most likely be on the recieving end of some of those same power shots that pushed him backwards like before, only this time, Peter will be looking to actually KO him. In turn, this can also backfire badly, as Toney can and will easily exploit any sort of sloppiness or absence of defense (if Peter dwells on offense too much).

End Result: Peter via surprise KO in the later rounds (9-12); but if he is too offensive-minded, then Toney via (split?) majority decision.