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.