Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So Long, 2008!

And so ends quite the year that was 2008, or at least when midnight comes around later. The North American anime industry saw its biggest shake-up in years, if not in its history, with FUNimation solidifying itself as the dominant company with its acquisition of the titles from the doomed Sojitz-ADV venture and their partnership with the reduced Geneon (not including the major shows they picked up on their own) as well as its massive push in the digital distribution sector (more on that later). Bandai Ent. shocked many with its pick up of Gurren Lagann off the heels of the aforementioned deal collapse and created some intrigue (and amusement/annoyance, depending on who you ask) with their still-mysterious Project Nebula and the "novella" being played out within their site's source code. Even a small company in Media Blasters got in on the surprises when it announced its "rescuing" of Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit when it became a victim of Geneon's collapse late last year. On the boxing side, there were upsets galore, with Bernard Hopkins schooling Kelly Pavlik, the U.S. Olympic boxing team stinking up Beijing (and let's not even get into the scoring, all-around...), Antonio Margarito's march through Miguel Cotto, Joe Calzaghe smoking out Roy Jones, Jr., and the biggest of all, Manny Pacquiao's absolute destruction of Oscar De La Hoya.

Friday, December 26, 2008

:anime: Free Anime Directory Update! ::For 12.26.08::

I figured that if the "Seasonal Boxing Previews" can have dedicated update posts like "Boxing Bits", why shouldn't a frequently-updated feature like the "Free/Low-Cost Anime Directory & Guide" get ones of their own? In addition to that, it also goes a long way in doing so to bring more attention to it and the new links made available there. These types of posts will be done every-so-often when content is added, updated, or removed, with bits of information (and some personal thoughts) to go along with them.

The title listed for this post is a working one, since I haven't really come up with a suitable one just yet. Hey, maybe I'll even keep it, but in the meantime, enjoy yourselves some free anime (...legally...) on the web!

I guess one could consider this as something of Christmas present... --HD

Since this the first post, and because of the large amount of actual updates recently, it is pretty sizable. Some of the notices attached to some entries have been listed on the Directory for a little while already, but they are still plenty new (that, and I wanted something to showcase from there, so I let them stay for a long period of time than I usually do). The format style may change over time, but the overall template should remain.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::12.17.08:: Pacquiao Demolishes De La Hoya, W. Klitchko Bests Rahman

Manny Pacquiao shocked the boxing world, and myself, by thoroughly destroying Oscar De La Hoya, whereas Hasim Rahman continued his perpetual "unlucky" streak when he stepped into the ring with Wladamir Klitschko.

Friday, December 05, 2008

:boxing: The Big Fight, The Big Risk, and The Big Pay Day:: De La Hoya vs Pacquiao

Oscar De La Hoya would have you believe that his upcoming duel with Manny Pacquiao was one of impeding epicness, a summit meeting long awaited between the two, in part fueled by his own sense of injustice at Pacquiao betraying him and reneging from a contract with Golden Boy Productions to be managed instead by rival Top Rank (his former promoter, before their (in)famous falling-out (on the other hand, De La Hoya does have a history of taking things personally before a match). In reality, it is all smoke-and-mirrors meant to hype a match that, by marquee, looks spectacular, but is really just a sizable mismatch dipping wholly in the Golden Boy's favor.

Monday, December 01, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::12.01.08:: Hatton Dominates Malignaggi

The last post for this autumn's boxing season sees Ricky Hatton come back to form in a big way and some new talent make bigger names for themselves.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

:anime: Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits ::11.20.08:: Gettin' Straight, GONZO Haet, Broccoli USA Dissipates

It's been a good while since the last "Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits" posting, so here is a smattering of news emanating from the anime side in recent times.

Monday, November 17, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::11.17.08:: Taylor, Cintron, Bika Reach Towards the Top Once More

A number of former champions, contenders (in both senses), and current prospects met and either continued their way (back) to the top, or slunk their way down further...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::11.13.08:: Calzaghe Runs Through Jones

Joe Calzaghe laid a beatdown on Roy Jones, Jr. and Arthur Abraham took care of business on an eventful weekend (and an old ghost from Jones' past scores an ironic victory on Tuesday...).

Saturday, November 08, 2008

:boxing: A Night at the Tracks:: Calzaghe vs Jones

Imagine, if you will, a big racetrack, packed to the rafters with eager spectators (and bet placers). Today is the big meet, a highly-anticipated match-up between two dominant thoroughbreds that might be edging for the "stud" life, but still has some left in them. Trotting onto the grass first is the dark chestnut horse--a multiple-time champion across the world with unheard-of speed and considerable power, with a physique that could put all others in the competition to shame. The stallion may not be as solidly built now, but he can still be one to reckon with. To another round cheers from the crowd comes the pearl white horse from overseas who had never encountered a loss, beating a sure-fire upstart and even a famous old veteran on his own turf along the way with a consistently-fast pace that couldn't be matched. Though some of the scribes and critics have debated about the caliber of their competition for the bulk of their racing career, among other matters, no one has objected to the opportunity to watch two fine specimens of the sport duke it out one-on-one on the racetrack in a duel of impressive speed versus impressive speed. Both horses can certainly sense the excitement in the air as they are loaded into the paddocks, with the raucous onlookers chanting and raving for their respective steeds and the impeding battle. The pistol's shot echoes throughout, the gates draw back, and off they go...

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::11.08.08:: Darchinyan Demolishes Mijares

Things got a little busy recently, so this "Boxing Bits" installment is covering the last two weeks of results...

The sharp-tongued Vic Darchinyan proved just how dangerous he is when he pulled the major upset against Cristian Mijares, another in a long string of others this year.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

:anime: The End of Toonami:: Are TV Blocks Needed Anymore?

I've wanted to write up another anime feature for quite a while, since it's been so long that I last did one. Like with the boxing one earlier, it's great to have a chance to get back at it again! --HD

Toonami, for much of its eleven year run, was one of Cartoon Network's brightest stars and perhaps the most influential programming block on television for anime fans, new and old, in the U.S. over that period. Though more modern fans may fail to notice its significance during its waning years, it provided a girth of landmark shows over much of its history that helped pave the way for the industry's growth and popularity, from Sailor Moon and Tenchi Muyo! to Dragonball Z and Gundam. In addition, it was the block's "Midnight Run" of uncut Gundam Wing that eventually lead to the creation of the very successful Adult Swim block and "network," which itself became a gateway for seminal titles like Cowboy Bebop (its first show), FLCL, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and Fullmetal Alchemist that would, too, usher in new fans. However, the recent climate at CN and AS has been one of change, as has been the way that people view their anime.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::10.21.08:: Hopkins Returns to Form

Quite the shock was delivered in the boxing world Saturday night, as Bernard Hopkins completely dominated the current No. 1 of his former middleweight division, Kelly Pavlik, at light heavyweight. More of this is covered at the linked content below.

[C] WBC Featherweight Champion Oscar Larios SD Tahahiro Aoh

[C] WBC Bantamweight Hozumi Hasegawa TKO2 Alejandro Valdez

[C] IFBA Light Middleweight Champion Holly Holm M-D(10) Mary Jo Sanders
--"M-D" = Majority Draw

[NIXED] Aaron Pryor Jr. vs Sam Merza (Super Middleweight)

Bernard Hopkins UD Kelly Pavlik (Light Heavyweight) [PPV - HBO]
--Afterward: Good to hear Hopkins give Pavlik advice and words of encouragement after the fight, even to the extent of offering his services to him as a mentor of sorts. Pavlik's still has plenty of talent and what it takes to be a great boxer, so long as he learns from what happened Saturday night and make whatever changes are necessary both boxing-wise and mentally. It also might not hurt taking him up on his offer in the near future...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

:boxing: Battle of the Scary Nicknames:: Pavlik vs Hopkins

It's been a while since I last wrote a boxing preview, so it's great to get back to doing it again! --HD

It is perhaps only fitting that with only two weeks until Halloween we have a match-up between a "Ghost" and an "Executioner". The former, Kelly Pavlik, is the current king of the middleweight division, coming off of two consecutive wins over Jermain Taylor and an easy ousting of mandatory challenger Gary Lockett. It is the morass circumstance of taking on "mandatories" deemed by the title organizing bodies and the lack of a viable opponent that has sent Pavlik north to take on the former undisputed champion at middleweight, who now resides in the light heavyweight division. That person, Bernard Hopkins, is at the end of his illustrious career, with age finally catching up with him and having lost to Joe Calzaghe earlier in the year. Both are at a crossroads of sorts, but in different capacities.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::10.07.08:: Gamboa Impresses, Martinez Destroys

While there weren't any big, major fights last week, it still was packed with top-notch action and young up-and-comers.

Michael Walker MD(8) Antwun Echols (Middleweight)

Eddie Chambers TKO5 Livin Castillo (Heavyweight)

Mike Alvarado TKO4 Manuel Garnica (Light Welterweight)

Kassim Ouma TKO6 Martinus Clay (Light Middleweight)

Yuriorkis Gamboa KO2 Marcos Ramirez (Featherweight) [HBO]

[C] (Interim WBC Light Middleweight Championship) Sergio Martinez RTD8 Alex Bunema [HBO]

Alfredo Angulo TKO10 Andrey Tsurkan (Light Middleweight) [HBO]

Juan Manuel Lopez KO1 Cesar Figueroa (Light Featherweight)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::10.01.08:: Mosley Victorious With Last-Second KO...Literally

Shane Mosley continued to show that he's still got it, while Andre Berto showed that he might have something to behold in the future at the end of a (T)KO-packed two weeks...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::09.23.08:: Marquez Wins Big, Forrest Wins Back His Belt

Originally appearing on HD's Autumn 2008 Boxing Preview page (posted on Sept. 16) as a sort of placeholder for the feature-to-be, here are the results for the big fights that took place earlier in September...and the one that didn't.

Juan Manuel Marquez TKO11 Joel Casamayor (Lightweight)
--The fight going in was a bit of a toss up in my opinion, with me giving Casamayor the slight edge, as I thought that his skills and old-school technical prowess would be just enough to hold Marquez off. It sounded like a close bout at first, going by reports, but Marquez pulled away and stopped Casamayor in stunning fashion. Now, Marquez can finally call the shots on his career, though Casamayor should still remain in the mix.

[NIXED] [C] WBA, IBF, WBO Lightweight Champion Nate Campbell vs Joan Guzman
--In the moments before the hotly-anticipated fight, Guzman suddenly pulled out due to illness...or he just didn't make weight like Campbell thinks, and would've lost his title chance.

[C] Vernon Forrest UD WBC Light Middleweight Champion Sergio Mora
--Forrest got back what he lost just a scant few months ago and Mora got his perfect record tarnished. At the very least, it was to a still-potent veteran he beat not long ago, of whom also now finds some renewed vigor on the boxing scene.

[C] WBC Light Welterweight Timothy Bradley UD Edner Cherry [Showtime]

[C] (Interim WBC Light Flyweight Championship) Jorge Arce RTD9 Rafael Concepcion

Jorge Solis TKO4 Jorge Samudio (Super Featherweight)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::09.17.08:: The *REAL* Late Edition ::: Final Olympic Results, Calderon (Sort of...) Wins...

Yeesh...I really don't like falling behind posting things, especially boxing news and results. This post formally concludes HD's inaugural boxing preview for the summer of 2008...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

:boxing: HardDoor's Autumn Boxing Preview - '08 Edition

<--To Summer 2008 Boxing Preview

To Winter 2008-09 Boxing Preview-->

The dates and bouts listed for this season's boxing preview is pretty much complete, save for a few fights that happened at the beginning of September (for now...). The comment snippets will be coming soon, but in the meantime, here's a look at what you can expect this autumn.

Monday, September 15, 2008

:anime: HardDoor's Autumn Anime Preview - '08 Edition

<--To Summer 2008 Anime Preview

To Winter 2008-09 Anime Preview-->

The autumn season of 2008 is upon us, and with it comes a fine mix of returning favorites, remakes, and completely new works. The summer played host to a good deal of intriguing shows and the fall appears to have even more. If anything can be derived from this year thus far, it is the apparent reoccurring theme among a few to have stories involving immortal characters and the suffering that that comes with the territory (and having to kill a bunch of supernatural creatures or bad people to finally pass away). Not to mention, the abundance of sequels to recent, popular franchises and especially remakes of older ones (anniversary years/exposure to newer audiences/cash cow milking/just plain ol' nostalgia). As before, this preview doesn't denote every single title, but it does list the ones that I've found to be of either interest or significance.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

HardDoor's Olympic Wrap-Up! '08

A little late coming, as a number of things occurred in the past week that prevented me from getting this finished earlier. Nonetheless, here are a few of my thoughts on the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. --HD

Alas, the Summer Olympics Games have concluded, and Beijing certainly didn't disappoint. The level of competition all around was great, the athletes and those involved seemed to enjoy themselves very much, many new faces made their presence know and a few old ones made their final bows. Outside of a relatively very few unfortunate acts unsportsmenlike conduct, the human rights antics and information suppression of China even during the Games, and the usual gymnastics drama, the events were very smooth and went without a great deal of controversy. The following is a simple list of random thoughts about the experience of watching all of those events, which gladly dominated the bulk of my TV viewing time, and of how the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games played out.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Olympic Fever Hits HardDoor! '08

Ah, it's that time of the fourth year! When the many countries of the world center around one city for two weeks to compete over twenty separate athletic games to vie not only for national pride and bragging rights, but also for personal and individualistic achievement as well.

I've always been a big fan of the Olympic Games and this year's festivities in Beijing have certainly been on my mind as of late. I like to watch as many of the sports as I can (read: all) and I'll probably be literally only watching Olympic-related programming all throughout (that's just how I like it :D ). At the same time, however, Otakon 2008 will be taking place this weekend (with some big news bound to come up) and then there is the preparing of the fall anime and boxing previews (with some great titles and fights coming up).

Things might be a little tight in getting posted, but I certainly will try be up-to-date with everything. But hey, here's to a safe and great Olympics and Otakon!


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::08.05.08:: IBF Titles - Darchinyan Wins, Judah Falters

The welterweight division just keeps shifting, as another major player gets derailed.

[C] Vic Darchinyan KO5 IBF Super Flyweight Champion Dimitri Kirilov [Showtime]

Not Previously Mentioned
[C] :Sat.08.02.08: (Vacent IBF Welterweight Championship) Joshua Clottey TD9 Zab Judah [HBO]
--Not a bad match, as Judah looked to be up in the first couple of rounds before Clottey began to take advantage of the seemingly tiring fighter. An "accidental headbutt" created a long, nasty cut above Judah's right eye and he failed the ringside doctor's "finger count" test, the fight was stopped and went to the score cards (the replay, however, would show an uppercut as the more probable culprit, as there was no such head contact shown). Clottey's command of the mid- and latter rounds helped him win the unanimous decision. Judah, fighting at his best in years (and not completely melting-down like in other bouts), held steadfast that the cut was caused by a headbutt, even though the tape shown to him said otherwise. Will this win garner Clottey another chance at toppling new division king Antonio Margarito, who he gave such a hard time two years ago?

:Sat.08.02.08: Anthony Peterson UD(10) Javier Jauregui (Light Welterweight)

Monday, July 28, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::07.28.08:: Margarito Uncrowns Cotto

Quite the week in boxing, with upsets galore and new horizons shining through...

:anime: HardDoor's Summer Anime Preview - '08 Edition

To Autumn 2008 Anime Preview-->

Coming a bit fashionably late, I finally managed to start HardDoor's first seasonal anime preview! Like the boxing one earlier, I hope to make this a permanent fixture of the blog. This is basically a preliminary format, so details about it may change over time or in the next installment. But for now, enjoy! --HD

It's summertime, and with each season comes a new set of anime features making their debuts in Japan. The following doesn't denote every single title, but it does note the ones that I've found to be either of interest or significance. This season has a number of such shows, from returning old favorites and cross-seas adaptations to all new sequels and manga-to-anime adaptations, as well as a few fresh new stories.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

:boxing: Decade's Best...So Far (2007 Edition) :: Boxing's Pound-4-Pound (Top 10) ::: Insight

This "Decade's Best" list for boxing followed in the footsteps of the anime list earlier, though both are, altogether, very different. Originally when I started this, I said that my personal discretion would have a heavier influence on than one the anime one. The end result showed something almost entirely opposite of what I had planned, either unintentionally or I just plain came to those conclusions similar to that of the scribes or critics. During the planning stages, Oscar De La Hoya was in the top running for No. 1, as I felt that his willingness to fight the best was admirable when compared to other P4P residents like Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Roy Jones, Jr. (must be a "Junior" thing...) who I saw more as resting on their laurels rather than actually going out there and challenging someone worthy of their tremendous talents. Personally, anyone can look good against opponents that have no real chance of beating them, and while boxers will fight those types a few times in their careers, it becomes a problem when they constantly just fight those types and not ones who can legitimately challenge them. In my opinion, if you can beat them, your legend and credibility grow in my eyes. This, however, turned out to be a double-edged sword, as De La Hoya lost a number of those sorts of match-ups, despite being close in all of them, and Mayweather went up due to his undefeated record, victories over a few notable opponents, and his own win over the aforementioned fighter.

Monday, July 14, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::07.14.08:: W. Klitschko Racks Another KO Win

The heavyweight division is closing in on a potentially major shift, starting off with Saturday's action...

[C] IBF, WBO, IBO Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko KO11 Tony Thompson [HBO]
--The fight turned out to be better than expected, as Thompson stood in there with the hard-punching Klitschko, often trading and pressuring the champion. However, he couldn't keep in step with him and Klitschko kept peppering him with good, clean shots, with a declining, tiring Thompson finally getting KO'd in the penultimate round. Klitschko looked well in a decidedly un-robotic bout and the experience in such a fight should help him should he face more rambunctious opponents like Sam Peter or Chris Arreola. Thompson, on the other hand looked good enough to warrant some other viable matches in the future.

Not Previously Noted
:Fri.07.11.08: Tomasz Adamek TKO7 Gary Gomez (Cruiserweight)
[C] :Fri.07.11.08: WBA Inter-Continental Light Middleweight Champion Alex Bunema TKO6 Walter Dario Matthysee
[C] :Fri.07.11.08: Daniel Santos KO6 WBA Light Middleweight Champion Joachim Alcine
:Sat.07.12.08: Michael Grant UD(8) Demetrice King (Heavyweight)
:Sat.07.12.08: Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. SD Matt Vanda (Middleweight)

Monday, July 07, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::07.07.08:: Return of the Round One KO

Yeesh...the schedule for last week was totally messed up (and antiquated), as the Chagaev-Valuev fight was postponed after the former suffered an injury during the final phase of his training, the John-Lozada bout seemed to have been scratched (with the champion fighting one Jackson Asiku on July 26), and their were a few notable ones that actually did take place that I did not know about...

[C] Kendall Holt KO1 WBO Light Welterweight Champion Ricardo Torres (Light Welterweight) [Showtime]
--So, in the rematch to their controversial bout last year, the match went something like this in the first round: Holt knocked down twice, not looking good on the second trip, accidentally headbutts Torres, catches him with an overhand right, KO's Torres completely cold (left fixated in a kneeling position against said ropes perfectly still), avenges loss, becomes new champion...

Not Previously Noted
[C] :Sat.07.05.08: WBA Middleweight Champion Felix Sturm UD Randy Griffin
--Hopefully this rematch win will get Sturm back into the fold as a potential opponent for Kelly Pavlik.

:Sat.07.05.08: Ali Funeka KO4 Zahir Raheem (Lightweight)
--Just when it seemed Raheem was on the way back up after his lost to Acelino Freitas in 2006, he suffered a severe setback after getting blown out by top-ranked Funeka. It was the first time he had ever gotten knocked out and, based on the linked report, it seems like Funeka was too much for him. Who knows if Raheem will ever reach the top again...

EDIT [07.08.08]: Revised Torres-Holt comments after finally seeing the fight. Quite crazy and nice--and in definite need of a third match to break the tie...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

:anime: Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits ::07.05.08:: ~Anime Expo 2008 Edition~

The anime license-a-thon continues at AX '08, though surprisingly, FUNimation has nothing to do with it...

Friday, July 04, 2008

:anime: Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits ::07.04.08:: ~Anime Expo 2008 Edition~

It's only fitting on the Fourth of July that the fireworks at Anime Expo '08 keep going higher and greater today...

Monday, June 30, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::06.30.08:: Pacman Devours Another Title

Closing out the month of June, a certain Filipino claims not only another victim, but another title, and record, as well

Julio Diaz KO5 Rolando Reyes (Lightweight) [ESPN2]

[C] Manny Pacquiao KO9 WBC Lightweight Champion David Diaz [PPV - HBO]
--Pacquiao, judging from the reports, seemed to have thoroughly dominated his first fight at lightweight by dethroning WBC Champion David Diaz in a dramatic and masterful action, becoming the first Asian to win titles in four different weight-classes. Many have said that it was his best-fought fight to date, though he said that Diaz was the toughest opponent he ever fought, as he didn't go down as soon as he thought he would. Diaz did show a lot of heart, though his badly-cut and bruised face was testament to that fact and his admitted inability to take Pacquiao's blinding hand speed. The new champion can't stay restful for long, as Juan Manuel Marquez, Joel Casamayor (who's fighting Marquez in September), Nate Campbell, and perhaps even Amir Khan and Edwin Valero will be breathing down his neck very soon.

Monte Barett KO1 Tye Fields (Heavyweight)
--In 57 seconds...

:anime: Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits ::06.30.08:: The Silent Age...

June's been a relatively quite month, as mostly everyone is holding back on their big announcements for the upcoming Anime Expo convention. Given that, there were a few "bits" of info to be had.

:Mon.06.30.08: FUNimation Licenses Heroic Age
FUNimation pulled off a surprise pre-AX announcement with their acquisiton of the lauded mecha show Heroic Age. A number of people have been clamouring for it, with many thinking that Bandai Ent. would be the one who get it, judging from their site's source code messages. Having seen the first episode, it certainly seems like an interesting tale, sporting some great visuals (Hisashi Hirai's character designs looked very good) and music, as well as an intriguing story. It joins other recent titles Shigurui: Death Frenzy, KenIchi the Mightiest Disciple, Save Me! Lollipop, and Ookiku Furikabutte (Big Windup!) as FUNimation's newest additions to its library.

:Wed.06.11.08: Kadokawa Pictures USA Sends Out Ceist & Desist Letter to Popular Torrent Site
A well-known site that provides torrent links to unlicensed anime recieved a C&D letter from the subsidiary regarding 11 anime titles related to its parent company. None of the works mentioned, including popular fare Spice and Wolf, Rental Magic, and Canvas2, have been picked up or hinted at, though it may only be a matter of time till then.

:Wed.06.21.08: Strike Witches TV Series to Become GONZO's Next Worldwide Streaming Effort
Strike Witches, a TV series version of the 2007 OVA short of the same name, is set to become GONZO's next internationally-streamed show at the beginning of July. YouTube will be among the webcasters hosting it and it is coming on the heels of the first two shows to have garnered such a run, The Tower of DRUAGA -the Aegis of URUK- (which recently ended) and Blassreiter (still airing). I enjoyed the eight-and-a-half minute anime when it first came out, so hopefully its charm will hold over a more standard runtime.

:boxing: Decade's Best...So Far (2007 Edition) :: Boxing's Pound-4-Pound (Top 10) ::: #3 and #4

And now, #3 and #4...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

HardDoor--The Second Anniversary

Alt. Title: Possibly Fully Metallic HardDoor--The Second Anniversary...

Just a year ago for HardDoor's very first anniversary, I commented on my happiness over the accomplishments made over the year, but I also stated my desire to do more with the blog. Now on the second year, I'm glad to see that that feeling is being fulfilled on some level in the form of "HardDoor’s Directory & Guide of Free, Low Cost, and Legal Anime on the Internet", a premiere feature that I launched on this very date last year. It's been sort of my second "pride & joy", as it's been something that I've always been high on and wanted to make available for a while (and it was pretty good timing, too, considering the sudden rise in digital distribution). Another highlight has been the "Decade's Best" lists, which has been my sort of answer to the various yearly top ten features that often make the rounds (and they have been surprisingly enjoyable to make) (the anime edition first brought in the new year). Speaking of which, today marked the beginning of the long-delayed boxing edition (HD's very first P4P listing!), which was introduced at the beginning of the day. The second year also yielded an unfortunate follow-up to the first "official" article on HardDoor, a three-part series on the aspects of "big busts" & fanservice in anime (ever so true...), a bevy of "Kibbles 'n' Bits", and the first ever pairing of "anime" & "boxing" in a post, not to mention a couple of comments from passer-bys (for which I'm very grateful for :D ). While it is great to see HD progress so much, so much more can (and will...) be done, so look forward to more articles, features, and maybe a few random things along the way ( ;-) ).

To a grand third year and beyond...


:boxing: Decade's Best...So Far (2007 Edition) :: Boxing's Pound-4-Pound (Top 10) ::: Introduction & #9 and #10

"Pound-4-Pound" lists have long been a staple of the sport of boxing. In a world that is surrounded by a number of great fighters in a number of different weight classes, it is only natural that cross-comparisons would arise among those at the top. As such, in another small bit of comparison, it would only be natural for an anime & boxing blog like HardDoor to have its own P4P list to go along with the "Decade's Best" list of Anime (Top 20) from the beginning of the year. Similar to that one, the only part of the boxer's record taken into consideration are those bouts taking place between from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2007, regardless of how stellar or legendary they and their record were before then. However, unlike that list, this particular one counts my personal discretion a little more heavily, with less an emphasis on critical opinion. Points such as activity, caliber of opposition, skills, bout results, championships, and inter-competition amongst those on the list (where applicable) will hold a greater weight, and thus, the need for such opinion becomes less needed. As a more complex set of criteria has to be taken into account and the boxer's themselves are the ones at the center of it all, it makes more sense that their body of work stands for itself rather than through critical opinion.

Monday, June 23, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::06.23.08:: King Arthur Slays the "Pantera"

Arthur Abraham just got a little closer to a fight with "The Ghost", while an old veteran just landed himself a second lease on his career...

Monday, June 16, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::06.16.08:: Powell Upset, Valero Keeps KOing

After last week's near cleanout of defending champions, this week saw a reversal, as all of noted champions successfully defended their belts against the opposition (with the exception of Amy Yuratovic, who lost her "WBC International" belt to veteran Mia St. John...though I'm not exactly sure how much weight that title has outside of "Lightweight"...). Ever since being medically cleared in one of the states (having previously failed a brain test of some sort a few years ago), Valero will certainly become the talk of the town should he get a good or intriguing match-up here...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::06.07.08:: Champion Pavlik Stands Alone on Upset Night...

A champion-studded night turned disastrous for all holding a belt--except one...

:boxing: HardDoor's Summer Boxing Preview - '08 Edition

To Autumn 2008 Boxing Preview-->

With the coming of the summer season comes the big fights. It's as annual as the former and this year poses no exception. There are a number of exciting new matchups on the horizon, so HardDoor thus presents a short list of major or notable bouts taking place between now and the end of August. The outcomes may yield even more interesting fights in the fall or later in the year, but as anyone who follows boxing will know, any scheduled fight can collapse at any given moment or be moved to another date for whatever reason, so remember to always keep that in mind. I'll still try to give individual coverage to certain intriguing matchups, though... --HD

Thursday, May 22, 2008

:anime: -:Speculation Corner:- ~Bandai Ent. Special Edition~

For the past few weeks since last mentioning Bandai Ent.'s grandiose (and mysterious) "Nebula Project" and the number of surprises that came along in the first salvo, the company has been escalating the stakes, promising a "new era" and "something that has never happened before in the history of anime in North America". With a myriad of counters on its homepage and cryptic source code messages galore, now appears to be a better time than any for another round in the Speculation Corner!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

:anime: Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits ~Special Unlimited Collector's Edition~ ::04.30.08:: Bandai Ent. Owns All and Sees All~

Yeesh, I couldn't allow a whole month to go without noting some kind of anime-related content! Especially not one as massive as this...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

:boxing: Getting Up There...:: Hopkins vs Calzaghe

I may be busy lately, but there's no way I would allow myself not to say something at least on tonight's light heavyweight bout between Bernard Hopkins and Joe Calzaghe. Due to the time constraints, I'll make this brief and concise to the point:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

:boxing: Free Boxing on the Internet!:: Don King-Style...

I have been covering the field of legally-free/low-cost anime on the Internet for some time, even before HardDoor's inception, so it's somewhat embarrassing that I didn't even post about legendary promoter Don King's new TV network on the web, which kicked off with a free live webcast of Cory Spinks fighting in his hometown of St. Louis against veteran Verno Phillips (the latter won in a close, and some say even "controversial", match), as well as the undercard. I mistakenly thought, a quick glance, that the fight would be on Saturday, like most usually are, but then I found out that day that the match had already occurred, much to my chagrin...

DKTV offers at least one free fight, with the bulk of its currently-available library being accessible for about $4.99 a bout. Almost in typical old-school boxing promotional spirit, the site entices you with the free bout by asking you to sign up (which, too, is free), which then is viewable via a download of its Flash-based player. And in almost typical Don King fashion, there are number of videos featuring the promoter himself doing his numerous charitable and/or self-promotional appearances.

I know that King has always wanted to start a TV network of his own and even has his own production & broadcasting team for international feeds, so I suppose that something like this will do in this current day and age, especially with the way the market has been as of late.

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::04.02.08:: WrestleBox 24, Mayor Vitali, Pavlik Goes...

:Sun.03.30.08: Mayweather KOs Big Show (with help...)!
Floyd "I Printz Moneyz" Mayweather, Jr. made good on his prediction and knocked out the seven-foot tall wrestler Big Show on the jaw at WWE's annual WrestleMania event. Of course, he did need the help of his entourage when the going got tough...and a few chairshots...and a low blow...and a set of brass knuckles... to get the job, and of course, this was all predetermined, but it appears that what was once feared to be a disaster-in-the-making turned out to be a pretty good match. However, I don't think he'll be able to use those knuckles on De la Hoya in the fall (not that he'll need them, anyway...).

:Mon.03.31.08: Vitali Klitschko Vies for the Mayor of Kiev Seat Again
The elder Klitschko brother is once again trying to run for the mayor of Ukraine's capital. He failed to get it a few years back around the time of his first retirement, but the doctor/boxer is at it once again. He wouldn't be the only fighter in his era to try out in the politician's shoes, as Manny Pacquiao ran, yet didn't gain, a seat in the Philippine Senate.

:Tues.04.01.08: Kelly Pavlik to Retire...
The middleweight king announced that he intended to retire after his mandatory title defense at the end of June. Why do something like this at the top of his career?

"Because it's April 1st!"

Monday, March 31, 2008

:anime: The Mystery Press Release of the Mysterious Shows...

Ever since starting HardDoor, I've managed to amass a decent list of contacts who keep me up on the latest happenings on the anime scene. This press release hails from the good folks at a distributor who wants to keep their name--and their acquistions--a secret for the time being. In the coming days, more info, as well as the identities of the company and the titles, will be revealed, though in the meantime, they would like to play a bit of a "guessing game" with the community as far as what will soon be in store!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

:anime: GONZO Goes (More) Gonzo for Digital Distribution

If anyone's been keeping their ears close to the North American anime industry, there has been much a clamor concerning the state of how business is being conducted and the growth of digital distribution there. The Japanese side has grown more privy of what is going on across the Pacific, as more companies have looked towards there for production financing and licensing deals and more have become aware of the presence, and influence, of fansubs on the market.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

:boxing: Before, After...and Now:: Pacquiao vs Marquez II

About four years ago, a young, hot upstart named Manny Pacquiao was riding on the wave of his big upset over Mexican boxing legend Marco Antonio Barrera less than half a year prior. A relative unknown, another fighter hailing from the country with three parts to his name, was set to be the proverbial lamb led to the slaughter--a simple snack for the hungry warrior to have on his road to championship glory. The first round only served to reinforce this sentiment, as the person went down three times in those fateful opening minutes. It looked as if the "Pacman" was going to devour another victim, as he bounced around the ring with his signature rambunctiousness. However, the tide changed as the "inevitable" victor was beginning to get beaten to the punch and outgunned for most of the fight afterwards. A few late-round improvements in tactics perhaps saved Pacquiao from a belittling loss, as the fight ended in a draw, but it also raised the profile of one Juan Manuel Marquez, who made a name for himself in a similar fashion that he had just the year before.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

:anime & boxing: Anime 'n' Boxing Kibbles & Bits ::03.09.08:: Belts, Blames, and Big Guys

:Sat.02.23.08: Klitschko Claims The First Stake in the Heavyweight Unification Race
Wladimir Klitschko started off the apparent road towards unification of the heavyweight titles with a non-crowd-pleasing performance at the vaunted Madison Square Garden in New York City in dethroning then-undefeated Sultan Ibragimov. He stands the best chance out of everyone (including his older brother, Vitali) in reaching the end of that path as the undisputed champion and he could feasibly be marketed well to represent the division to the public--given he fights better matches than what was reported that night.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Updates Galore! The Not-So-Long Period... February 2008 Edition

Yeesh... I really hate leaving HardDoor so fallow for nearly a month (one post & an update). There were a few things I had wanted to do, such as the "Decade's Best" boxing list and a Black History Month-related post, but that'll have to wait until a later time, as I hit a busy patch during the end of the month and parts before.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

:boxing: Least Expectations?:: Pavlik vs Taylor II

Five months. It has only been that scant amount of time since the cataclysmic battle of the undefeated middleweights commenced. Kelly Pavlik, nearly losing his head (and the fight) in the second round, surged back and defeated the champion, Jermain Taylor with a crushing seventh round KO. As HBO's god slumped to the ground in the corner, many whispered hushed sentiments about whether it was the end of the era of him. A good deal of the scribes would tell you that his unpolished style and bad fighting habits were his undoing and that the gangly warrior from the old mining town had more than a passing chance of winning, though high prophet Jim Lampley and company would lead you to believe otherwise. Alas, we gather in the old square den once again to see if the new king of the middleweights can dispatch of the former once more...lest he rises from his ashes and lays claim to what used to be....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

:anime & boxing: Ashita no/Tomorrow's/Champion Joe Finally Enters North America!

After a a bit of an "unofficial" first post, here we are with the first real "official" anime and boxing combo topic! And it's on a title that I had long wished to have covered for the first one. It's a tad late (this was announced yesterday), but it is welcomed news, nonetheless...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

:boxing: The Bout That Happened Too Late:: Jones vs. Trinidad

Roy Jones, Jr. is one of the most gifted fighters in history, a multi-weight-class champion (from middleweight to heavyweight) with great God-given talent. Felix Trinidad is one of the most storied and feared middleweight champions in history, possessing both power and a brutal fighting style. Now, the two icons will meet, at light heavyweight, in what one could describe as a "dream match" on Saturday in the vaunted Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

:anime: Decade's Best…So Far (2007 Edition) :: Anime (Top 20) ::: Insight

I tried to remain as fair and impartial as possible in formulating a list of the best twenty anime in the seven years that have passed thus far, which wasn't quite an easy feat given the field. Nos. 2 through 5 were all strong contenders for No. 1, constantly being switched out of the spot during the formulation period. It wasn't until towards the very end that I remembered Spirited Away. Though the others were all more than worthy, it seemed perfectly well that the movie was most deserving at the top, given its praise, awards, and production values. After some thinking and multiple considerations, forming the list started to feel more natural once I gathered twenty titles together. I had a good idea then of which would occupy Nos. 20 through No. 16, which, more coincidentally than intentionally, contained shows that had a greater amount of praise on one side than the other (i.e. more attention from critics than from fans, vise versa). No. 15 to No. 11 featured (once again, more coincidentally than intentionally) shows that have experienced a mixture of both, as well as good deal of success, though they had not had the sort of impact, including in terms of success and praise, as those in the Top Ten. I suppose that FLCL could be an exception to the rule, but ultimately, there were other shows that there better than it in the grander scheme. The aforementioned Nos. 10 through No. 1 turned out to be the most popular shows in respect to the thoughts of critics and fans. As critical response holds a greater weight than that of the latter, there are some titles that were supported, in part, by this over some of the more fan-intensive ones (Eureka Seven over Gurren-Lagann, Millennium Actress' placement on the list comes to mind). Of course, it is overall merits that hold the greatest share in the decision, so the picks were not solely limited to being some popularity contest.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

:anime: Decade's Best…So Far (2007 Edition) :: Anime (Top 20) ::: Introduction and #20 to #16

Many a debate has swirled around whether this decade has been a "golden age" for anime or whether it has been not. While that sort of label is not the topic of interest here, what is is what are the top twenty anime of decade--so far. This list of will be updated accordingly after the end of each year until a final master list is achieved at the end of the decade. The anime in contention (shows, movies, OVA, etc.) are judged primarily on its own merits and critical opinion, with slight attention being paid to popularity (this isn't exactly "Decade's Most Popular") and a dash of my own personal discretion (the list is unbiased overall, outside of the accompanying "Personal Opinion" with each entry). Only anime that have either begun showing since January 1, 2000, have been shown in their entirety from that date to December 31, 2007 (2009 in the end), or have aired a vast majority of its episodes (i.e. long-running shows of 75 eps. or more) in that given period of time are eligible. Five will be revealed until the number one anime of the decade--so far--is revealed.

And so, we start, from #20 to #16...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

:anime & boxing: Decade's Best…So Far (2007 Edition) :: Introduction

*Gasp!* The first ever "anime" and "boxing" combo topic on HardDoor...even if this isn't a true collaboration of the two...

Ah, it's that time of year. A time when people ponder deeply and formulate lists of what is the best of the best of the past 365(6) days. However, at HardDoor, things are done a bit differently in this respect, as such aspects in anime and boxing will instead be reflected against the entire decade (as it currently stands) and reevaluated with each passing year. Doing it this way is a little more unique among other lists and it would seem pretty interesting to see how the lists evolve as the decade come to a close.

A list of the top anime will be posted first, followed by a list of the top boxers. The latter will come later since more thought will be needed in assessing it (unlike a normally completed work like anime, boxers and their merits are constantly changing with each fight; one fighter may be consider be considered great in one bout and totally exposed in the next, which further leads to a need to carefully judge those in consideration). They will be revealed in countdown order (last-to-first) in set intervals until the best of the best is revealed. Other similar lists may pop up as time goes by, so keep a look out!