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...

Courtesy: Fightnews.com

: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
CrystalAcids.com 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)

...now 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.