Thursday, December 31, 2009

So, That Was 2009...

2009 has finally come to a close and along with it, the decade as well. Personally, the year itself has been an uneventful one overall, but I'm still looking forward to a great 2010 (not like it would take a whole lot to make it better than this year was). The same could be said for the anime industry, especially on the North American side, which is still in a state of reformation and self-correction. If your name wasn't "FUNimation", then you most likely saw yourself releasing a whole lot of sub-only releases and not conducting "business as usual". The face of the global financial crisis was in full view, and with the dramatic drop in dubbing, FUNi's apparent monopoly, and lower sales, it was not a good 2009 for many companies, but there were still silver linings to be found in the rapid proliferation of digital distribution, new business models (i.e. the former, season boxes for series), and the steady growth of anime's domestic awareness. And for all of the talk of boxing's "death", there has been a number of outstanding fights (Marquez-Diaz, Williams-Martinez), surprises (Margarito-Mosley, Cordoba-Dunne, Cotto-Pacquiao), and developments ("Super Six" shakeups, movement from belt system, "catchweight") over the past year, including the widespread recognition of a certain Filipino fighter. However, we also had the all-too-real and unfortunate demises of Alexis Arguello, Arturo Gatti, and Vernon Forrest, who passed away sooner and more tragically than anyone would have ever desired to see.

In both cases, I believe that 2010 will be a more positive year than people may think. As is customary around this time, I'll post a few of my predictions for what may come. Sometimes they're right and other times not quite, but it's all fun all around.

Friday, December 25, 2009

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Yawarakame


Official Sites: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry, ANN Article
Video [Free]: BeeTV (See link above for viewing instructions)

This month's pick only comes around two week's after its announcement, and it's something of a personal pick. Yawarakame is a new ONA (original net anime) comedy that debuted on website of BeeTV, a Japanese mobile phone service (though it is accessible on any computer). It's the brainchild of Those Who Hunt Elves and Dokkoida?! mangaka Yu Yagami and ufotable, who animated the adaptation of the latter and whose profile has grown since producing the Kara no Kyoukai film series. Yawarakame is certainly in the vein of "Japanese cute/weird" (no surprise given Yagami's past work), but perhaps its most distinguishing characteristic is that Miyuki Sawashiro is handling all of the voices in the show. She's a very talented seiyuu and one of my favorites, so it was a gimme that it would get some sort of lip service here, along with ufotable's involvement.

Monday, December 21, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::12.21.09:: The Brave, The Bold...and The Buffoons

After two weeks of standout matches, the week after hit a lull, though the following proved to be a little more interesting...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::12.10.09:: More Breakouts, Beatdowns, and Bad Decisions

Now, the second part of today's earlier "Boxing Bits" installment, which was too lengthy to post as one single post. --HD

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::12.10.09:: Breakouts, Beatdowns, and Bad Decisions

This installment of "Boxing Bits", slated as one piece, is in two parts, thanks to my comments on the Willams-Martinez fight, among others. The second half will be posted later in the day. --HD

Unexpectedly good matches and inexplicable decisions permeated the last two weeks of boxing, as well as news that the camps of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao are close to finalizing things to make way a megafight in March. I'd say I'm excited, but I'll just be hoping that the former doesn't all of the sudden have an "injury" and the fight gets pushed back towards the summer...

Monday, November 30, 2009

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Kurokami The Animation

Kurokami The Animation

Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: Seasonal Anime Preview Link, ANN Entry
Video [Free]: Bandai Entertainment Japanese Anime Channel, Crunchyroll

When I first started this feature, I was debating whether to kick it off with TRIP TREK or with Kurokami The Animation--both being shows that debuted under the rare instance of having an English language track as its primary version, not the usual Japanese. In the end, TRIP TREK won out last month due to it being the Halloween season, so naturally, Kurokami was awarded as the following month's choice (not that it has anything to do with Thanksgiving or anything).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::11.26.09:: Champs Get Chewed Up

The past two weeks have not proven to be kind to almost anyone holding a belt, lead in dubious distinction by Miguel Cotto and Mikkel Kessler, who suffered only their second defeat, but did so in authoritative style via stoppage.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

:boxing: Super Seventh:: Cotto vs Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao, the little dynamo that could, wishes to gain a record seventh title at a different weight class. Certainly a doable task for a man that has charged his way though nearly every division from flyweight up to light welterweight, improving and honing his skills to almost perfection when coupled with his frightening physical capabilities and being involved in all-out wars, blowouts, and clinics, losing last to the great Erik Morales in 2005 (before KOing him twice the following year). After making sport of another great in Oscar De La Hoya nearly a year ago and demolishing Ricky Hatton this past May, Pacquiao wants to hang the WBO welterweight belt on his already wide Wall of Achievement as "Lucky No. 7" come Saturday night in Las Vegas. One little problem, though: it's buckled around Miguel Cotto's waist.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::11.10.09:: Dawson, Perez Impress

It's been quite awhile since the last "Boxing Bits" installment, but since I changed the format of the Seasonal Boxing Preview, I've been trying to figure out how to better utilize the feature and steer it away from the format it had used for so long. It was never intended to be so close in conjunction with the Preview, which stemmed from a temporary measure and experiment. While it will still be retain some connectivity with it, I'll solely be using it for commentary on select fights. We'll see how well it will work from here.

Since it's been so long since the last "Boxing Bits" (Super Six edition excluded), I will just be covering the fights within the last two weeks. Within that frame of time, there have been some pretty nice match-ups and interesting developments, such as the Agbeko-Perez slugfest, Haye defeating Valuev, and Dawson finally rising to the occasion to definitively beat Johnson.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: TRIP TREK


Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: Directory Link, ANN Entry
Video [Free]: English w/ Japanese Subtitles, Japanese w/ Japanese Subtitles

With Halloween coming in the next few days, it seems only appropriate to dedicate this inaugural feature to one anime befitting of the season. TRIP TREK, created by an "experimental" creative group by the name of "Estrella", is an obscure, web-original production by famous studio manglobe (Samurai Champloo, Ergo Proxy) about the off-kilter, darkly-comic tale of a strange little girl in search of her mother. Its style is what one might expect from a Flash-based animation--bold-looking, distinctive, and a little awkward. Being made primarily for online, its production values show, and though its purposeful arthouse-flavored visuals and sensibilities and overall macabre nature might not be everyone's tea (or more timely, hot apple cider), those looking for something to put them in the mood for the season or who either find themselves fancied by black comedies or just something "different" entirely will certainly want to check it out.

TRIP TREK has the peculiar distinction of being produced in English first, then into Japanese later, due most likely to Estrella's objective in creating works for a global audience. American English dub fans won't find anyone familiar in the show, since English-speaking voice actors (VAs) in Japan performed the roles. The result may be as awkward as the animation itself, but it remains a passable and acceptable effort. Both the English (Ep. 1-4) and Japanese (Ep. 1-3, 5) versions were put onto YouTube by producer bb-anime and features subtitles in Japanese (yes, both). And for a little "bonus", be sure to check out the Directory link above.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

:boxing: HardDoor's Autumn Boxing Preview - '09 Edition

<--To Summer 2009 Boxing Preview

The slew of issues that plagued this past summer's lineup has turned into the autumn's bounty, as this season is filled with a number of high-profile matches, including the start of the much-anticipated Super Six World Boxing Classic in the super middleweight division (and there's also that Cotto-Pacquiao bout, too). For this preview, I'll be trying out a new format brought on by the concise model used for last season's re-err--preview, which I sort of liked. I'm figuring out a way to still comment on them without using "Boxing Bits", but that's still up in the air. For now, we'll see how this style works. And also...happy viewings!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits - Super Six Edition:: Abraham Destroys, Froch Decisions

The Super Six World Boxing Classic in the Super Middleweight division kicked off to a super start (ugh...) with the King leveling Taylor with bad intentions (yeesh...) and the Cobra slithering away (sigh...) with a close, disputed decision against whatever nickname Dirrell has...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

:boxing: Super Six Super Preview Super Bracket!

Today, Saturday, October 17, marks the first set of matches in Showtime's "Super Six World Boxing Classic", pitting six of the sport's best super middleweights in a round-robin tournament to crown the division's undisputed world champion.

IBF Middleweight Champion Arthur Abraham, former champion Jermain Taylor, WBC Super Middleweight Champion Carl Froch, WBA Champion Mikkel Kessler, and top contenders Andre Ward and Andre Dirrel, as part of the agreement, will all face each other at some point in the tournament, and perhaps even more than once in the later rounds due to the format. As a refresher, here is the setup as posted in July (second half):

Friday, October 16, 2009

:anime: HardDoor's Autumn Anime Preview - '09 Edition

<--To Summer 2009 Anime Preview

When I first saw what was airing this fall, I was surprised at the amount of shows that seemed worth noting. Yet when I actually began to compile this season's preview and filter the titles, the girth didn't seem as remarkable, nor did titles themselves. A bit of time passed and I decided to review the list of offerings again, which revealed a whole slew of new ones that were added since then and were noteworthy enough to make it. And so, this year's autumn edition of HardDoor's seasonal anime previews is the largest one to date, featuring 21 shows in the main section, 23 shows "of interest", and six movies debuting in Japan in the "theater" section--a total of 50 works in whole (besting this Spring's record of 39)!.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

:anime: And Another One Bites...

Kadokawa Pictures USA, the licensing arm of Japan's Kadokawa Pictures, closed down on August 31, leaving a number of to-be-distributed titles such as Ga-Rei -Zero- and H2O ~Footprints in the Sand~ in possible limbo and becoming the fourth (or third, depending on how you view it) American anime company to dissolve within the year. It's such a shame to hear this news, as their products were of high quality and they seemed to put a lot of effort in ensuring it (as personally observed with The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time). The titles in question may still be in queue if the closing only meant a reallocation of resources and that negotiations would occur through the parent company and not the subsidiary, but as of this moment, there is no word on their fate or of those that have already been released by the likes of Bandai Ent., FUNimation, and Nozomi Ent. I have really enjoyed their work over their too-brief lifespan, and along with their awesome eyecatch, I'll definitely be missing them if this is truly it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

:boxing: Road to the Pacquiao Stakes:: Mayweather vs Marquez

Perhaps the one match-up worth seeing right now that isn't named "Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather, Jr." is "Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs Juan Manuel Marquez"--well, arguably at least. It may not carry as big a marquee ring to it as the first, but it is as big a fight as that is. The argument can be made that Marquez is the real #1 P4P fighter in the world, having knocked out Juan Diaz in stunning fashion after a brutal war earlier in the year and taking Pacquiao to the brink in their two encounters (and for the record, I thought he won the first and lost the second--both by a round). On the other hand, Mayweather once held the mythical title for a good while, but has last fought nearly two years ago. With a date against the Pacman looming just beyond, he'll need to get by a man that not only fights nearly as well as him, but has his own plans of getting after the fighter.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

:anime: HardDoor's Summer Anime Preview - '09 Edition

<--To Spring 2009 Anime Preview

To Autumn 2009 Anime Preview-->

It was roughly a year ago that I first started posting seasonal anime previews on HardDoor. It has never been my intention for HD to be an anime review site/blog like so many others and it still isn't, but I really wanted to comment on each of the season's newest shows and movies (or at least the ones that were either major or interested me). It was also because of how the seasonal boxing preview turned out--itself done on part of a whim, part of a want--that led me to try my hand at an anime edition. Over the previous three installments, the format as largely remained the same with a few more details, though creating a template has definitely made compiling such things easier and far less time-consuming. Ironically, like the first, this one comes much later than I hoped for, due to the lack of computer access for the last year, which has made the template all the more valuable in getting this completed in the time that I was able to.

With every season, there appears to be a reoccurring theme or pattern among the new shows--however unintentional or not. This summer has the distinction of featuring a number of things "new": be they a first-ever CGI feature from a particular major studio, a new "solo act" talent, a rare topic matter being covered, and the possible emergence of a great new power in the anime industry. It is also a season of "returns": from old partnerships and series being renewed, to the reemergence of certain individuals back in familiar genres and of certain themes. The strength of this summer's lineup seemed to have caught many by surprise, but it appeared likely from the beginning given how good titles were shaping up to be based on their staff credits and/or premise.

Monday, July 27, 2009

:anime: Free Anime Directory Update! ::For 07.27.09::

Here it epic "Free Anime Directory Update[!]" more than three months in the making! The palpitation can be felt as the excitement and adrenalin washes over the crowd as everyone awaits the news with baited breath! And...and...

Oh, who am I kidding? The notations have been there for months already. The only reason I kept them around so long was because it would make compiling this list and referencing to the Directory more easy. In reality, the feature itself has been kept up-to-date, but I never posted the mid- to late-April "Update" due to the time constraints mentioned in previous posts. So with that placed behind, let's kick off post #202 of HD with [*cough*something that should have happened ages ago*cough*] it!

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::07.27.09:: Vernon Forrest (1971-2009)

The month of July has not been a merciful one for the world of boxing, as another tragedy has resulted in another fighter's life being cut short outside of the ring. Former champion Vernon Forrest was shot and killed Saturday night in Atlanta after being the subject of an attempted carjacking. He, along with his girlfriend's young son, stopped at a gas station to refill a tire on his Jaguar. The details from there vary to some degree among reports (including an account from his manager in the linked article, which is differs from others), but in general, his vehicle was being stolen when Forrest gave suit and chased the attempted robbers until he lost sight of them and headed back, which was when he was fatally shot multiple times by them from behind.

Though it is easy to bring up his accomplishments over the years, from being an Olympian and the first person to defeat Shane Mosley (back-to-back) to returning to form from a few years marred by injuries to win the WBC Light Middleweight Championship in 2007 and regaining the belt from then-undefeated Contender winner Sergio Mora this past September in a rematch (his final fight) after losing it a few months before, what is perhaps of greater importance was his work with children and mentally-handicapped adults, which he seemed to have a great deal of love for. That fact alone makes the unfortunate news so tragic and the act that led up to it all the more shameful. My condolences to his family.

Friday, July 17, 2009

HardDoor--The Third Anniversary:: How I Got Into Anime

Wow, it's only been three years since HardDoor's inception?! It's been a fun, enjoyable ride all this time (in spite of the recent bouts with dwindling computer access time), with the introduction of the seasonal anime and boxing previews coming within the last year. Yet, throughout the time I have been writing this blog on anime and boxing, I have never delved into how I got into my two favorite subjects.

Since I expunged about the history behind HardDoor's moniker for its first anniversary, it seemed only fitting to do something similar for its third anniversary year (and 200th post!). It might be a little harder to peg down the origins of my boxing interests, but I can go into what got me involved in the strange, near "other-worldly"--at the time (and sometimes, still is)--realm of Japanese animation--or "Japanimation", as it used to be called back-in-the-day. What was once a "passing impression" and curiosity more than a decade and a half ago has now turned into something that I hold with considerable admiration--that little thing called "anime".

Thursday, July 16, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::07.16.09:: Of The Departed and The Young...

Before posting HardDoor's third anniversary post, I would be remiss in acknowledging two tragic passings that by now many have already known. The first of those being Alexis Arguello, one of boxing's greatest fighters and champions, who committed suicide on July 1. Despite his accomplishments, and classics bouts against Aaron Pryor and Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, Arguello had a history of drug problems and suicidal tendencies. He recently won the mayoral seat in his hometown of Managua, Nicaragua. His apparent suicide might have been foul play according to some, who have linking it to rival political forces.

Friday, June 26, 2009

HardDoor--The Third Anniversary:: The Overture

So, three years since the beginning of HD, huh? (thought it was four :D )

I have something nice planned to commemorate this year's milestone, but as you have it, and given how things have been lately, I only have a small window of time to write it out. So, for the time being, consider this as something of a "placeholder", unless something unforeseen happens. So for now, be on the look out for it!

To a great(er) fourth year and more...


**Now Available Here ;) **

Friday, June 19, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::06.19.09:: Cotto Decisions Clottey

This month's, and season's, first Boxing Bits installment was very light in its first week, with not too many other notable fights in the second week. This summer's boxing preview will be coming shortly, but in the meantime, below are some of the more noteworthy recent bouts.

Friday, June 12, 2009

:anime: The FUNimation "Leaky Stream" Fiasco

I originally wasn't going to comment on this until more of the facts came in, but I think there has been enough disseminated to draw an overall view of opinion on. Should there be anymore major developments, I'll comment on them further.

As many know, FUNimation has been going through a series of major complications and setbacks to its streaming anime campaign as of late. The crux of the issue has settled primarily on the company's ill-secured and ill-planned method of preparing their video files for same-day streaming (aka "simulcast"). The first problem surfaced on May 30 with One Piece's then most-recent episode, #403, which was to be part of the company's effort to simulcast the series as it aired in Japan, being accessed and distributed onto torrent sites by someone hours before it was to be aired there. This act would lead to FUNimation and Toei Animation and its other partners to cancel the simulcast "for the immediate future" on all of the sites it was set to be on. Additionally, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, another high-profile title, was pulled from FUNimation's site, until better security was implemented. The second problem arose shortly after on June 3 when not only a pre-broadcast episode of Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ was leaked, but also an episode of FMA:B, which, while having already aired in Japan, had yet to appear on their video site at its scheduled time. With these developments, FUNimation's video site was shut down soon after for "maintenance".

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::06.03.09:: Berto, Cintron Successful

A few good fights rounded out the conclusion of this spring's boxing season, but a particular one did not. That bout was to be a championship decider between WBA Heavyweight Champion Nikolai Valuev and Ruslan Chagaev, the "Champion in recess" (no really, that's the title bestowed to him by the WBA, since he hasn't been able to defend quite often, as to be explained). The scrappy Chagaev whupped on the giant Valuev in 2007 to take his belt and undefeated record and the latter has wanted the title back ever since. However, Chagaev is rather injury/mishap-prone, causing their rematch to be hampered on more than just this occasion. In the meantime, Valuev defeated John Ruiz to claim the WBA belt as a co-holder, with the just-cancelled rematch to determine the one true champion. After the latest call-off, Valuev's promoter, Don King, wants Chagaev stripped of his (pseudo-)title and his man crowned the real champion. The cause this time? A positive blood test for hepatitis that Chagaev and Universum have refuted.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

:anime: Spring Anime Preview '09 - First Episode Review Pt. 2:: K-ON!, Haruhi S2

The second batch of first episode reviews for the spring season are finally here, featuring two shows that were quite good and two that were quite torturous to watch (yes, I'm probably the only one who wasn't enthralled with one of them...). The previews from last time were pretty long, so I tried to streamline and shorten by comments as much as possible (with a heavy emphasis on try...). As before, these are my general thoughts on the shows covered below and their premiere episodes, not synopsises or great dissertations. That said, one of the bad ones first...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::05.27.09:: The Cubans Make a Statement

This weekend proved to be mix of a showcase of new contenders and up-and-comers and a few big fights.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::05.19.09:: Ward Beats Miranda

On a light weekend of boxing action, Andre Ward overcame some big odds to score a win over the dangerous, more experienced Edison Miranda.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::05.13.09:: Dawson Bests Tarver Again

After a big fight weekend the week before (afterword now available), things, comparably, mellowed out for the Chad Dawson - Antonio Tarver rematch on a lighter weekend of boxing action.

Monday, May 04, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::05.04.09:: Pacquiao Annihilates Hatton

Anyone that was doubting Manny Pacquiao's place as the best P4P fighter in the world was more than likely silenced following his utter destruction, and KTFO, of Ricky Hatton this past Saturday night...

Saturday, May 02, 2009

:boxing: The Brawl of the Brawlers (Maybe...):: Hatton vs Pacquiao

Everyone by now knows how big this fight is and how monumental a match-up it is, so I'll spare the introduction and just get straight to the point...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

:anime: Spring Anime Preview '09 - First Episode Review Pt. 1:: FMA:B, Saki, Shangri-La

With all of the anime that gets covered in the seasonal anime previews here on HardDoor, I figured it would be remiss not to provide a follow-up on their coverage. Normally, this would be difficult to do on a timely basis, but it has now been made easier due to the sheer number of companies and studios seeking out online ventures to showcase their newest works (which shows just how far digital distribution and advertisement have come). These reviews are not synopsizes or long dissertations of the episode, but my general thoughts on them (ok, well, some of them are long). This installment covers the first episodes of the series below, and I aim to have another follow-up every fifth episode. I should note that not every show covered is available through "official" means, per se, and coverage may change based on show and time availability. I intend to cover other new shows later, so be sure to keep an eye out! --HD

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::04.29.09:: Froch TKOs Taylor in Final Seconds

Both Friday and Saturday provided for some massive fight nights--and a sizable amount of surprises and upsets, as well. One such result coming from Froch-Taylor...

Monday, April 20, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::04.20.09:: Gamboa Claims Championship

Yuriorkis Gamboa claimed his first major title after only fifteen fights (more on that below) and two champions fall by the wayside.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::04.15.09:: Willams Beats Wright, Arreola Steams Ahead

Paul Williams continued to stake his claim to fame against a returning "Winky" Wright and Arreola trudged through another heavyweight victim on his quest for a major title. Plus, one favored champion had an eventful night in the ring...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

:boxing: HardDoor's Spring Boxing Preview - '09 Edition

<--To Winter 2008-09 Boxing Preview

To Summer 2009 Boxing Preview-->

The season of spring often brings about a good number of great fights, and 2009 looks to continue that trend with its own bevy of intriguing bouts. The string of match-ups, stretching into summer, feature some long in the making and others totally out-of-left-field. As always, any scheduled fight can collapse at any given moment or be moved to another date for whatever reason, so do keep that in mind. And as part of my move to make HardDoor's long features more navigable, I included bookmarked links and a bar to help making moving through the preview more easy.

Monday, April 06, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::04.06.09:: Valero, Andrade Win, Holt, Diaz Lose

April got off to a good start with a number of notable fights, with some fighters taking a step forward and few others a step back...

Thursday, April 02, 2009

:anime: HardDoor's Spring Anime Preview - '09 Edition

<--To Winter 2008-09 Anime Preview

To Summer 2009 Anime Preview-->

Spring's upon us and as is often the case, with it comes a massive influx of new titles. 2009's is no exception and with 18 shows covered in both the main and "of interest" sections, and three in the "theater" section, there is quite an amount of intriguing and potentially good shows set to debut. It took over twice the length of time to prepare this preview, as there were many works that I wrote extensively on (and because there were so many, period!). Though there hasn't been a definite theme among the shows like in past seasons, there is an unusually large number of original stories and new retellings to go along with the requisite adaptations. In all, this spring may prove to be an enjoyable one with the sort of works mentioned ahead.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

:anime: PN Scan's Book Bestseller List - March 22 - 28

I just received an interesting e-mail last night detailing the latest bestselling books from PN Scan, who monitors book and video sales across many genres. Here is the listing for the top sellers of the week of March 22 - March 28.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

:anime: April Fool's Look-Back:: An Open Letter to ADV: Stop Butchering Robotech

If it is to be believed, April Fool's Day is almost upon us, and aside from my ritualistic playing of jokes, I liked to start certain threads on forums around this time of the year. One of my favorites was this particular one that was an open letter to ADV in protest to their egregious hack-job on Robotech, repackaged as something called...Macross? This was posted on the currently-hibernating AnimeX.Com forums in 2006, around the time when the distributor re-released the venerable series on DVD (AnimEigo being the first, in 2001), which makes it an appropriate "look-back" now, coming off the heels of Macross Frontier's big success...

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::03.31.09:: Soto, Montiel, and Chambers Victorious

Not quite a good weekend for boxing progeny, with one suffering a major setback and the other barely making it through, whereas most of the prospects underwhelmed...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::03.24.09:: March Madness--Boxing Style...

The spring anime preview has taken much longer than I had anticipated, having written far more than I had predicted for so many shows. A usual one week job has taken twice as long, and so, we have this belated edition of "Boxing Bits" (the loaded spring boxing preview will be following the completion of the massive anime one). There were a few names that came up to prominence and a few surprises that have occurred over the last two weeks, so let us get to the review...

Monday, March 02, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::03.02.09:: Marquez Bests Diaz in War

The winter boxing season ended off on quite the high note with a nasty war of attrition between Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

:boxing: HardDoor's Winter Boxing Preview - '08-'09 Edition

<--To Autumn 2008 Boxing Preview

To Spring 2009 Boxing Preview-->

Finally making its arrival, HD's boxing preview (or in this case, more like a "review") for the 2008-2009 winter season is here with the biggest matches, the most important bouts, and/or the most intriguing match-ups of these (nearly past) three months (December to February). Due to the lateness of this Preview, most of the links given are connected en masse to a single post that largely covers their respective month as a whole (especially January). Regardless, a number of top-notch fights are listed below...

Monday, February 23, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::02.23.09:: Pavlik, Cotto Return to Championship Form

Getting back to "Boxing Bits'" regular form, this weekend was one of redemption for Kelly Pavlik and Miguel Cotto following their humiliating losses last year (schooled by Bernard Hopkins, quitting late against Antonio Margarito's onslaught, respectively). In spite of those experiences, which could have been the beginning of a downward spiral in their careers, they appear to have rebounded

Sunday, February 22, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::02.22.09:: Winter Review Part 3 -- February Edition (...So Far)

Wrapping up the updates of "Boxing Bits", here are the fights that have taken place in February ( far)...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::02.21.09:: Winter Review Part 2 -- January Edition

Continuing the big catch-up in "Boxing Bits", here are the matches that transpired in January, which kicked the year off big...

Friday, February 20, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::02.20.09:: Winter Review Part 1 -- December Edition

HD's been pretty behind on the Winter Preview and accompanying "Boxing Bits", due to a bunch of circumstances, but now it's time to play a little catch-up with what has been happening for the past few months, which has certainly seen its share of surprises and developments. There will be three installments of this series, one covering each month till this point. And so, here is the rest of December's match-ups...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

:anime: -:Speculation Corner:- Macross Frontier

It's been close to a year since the last real edition of "Speculation Corner" (or over a month, if you count the "unofficial" one that tail-ended last year), HardDoor's little space of guesstimation and rumor mill mongering. The record has been, well, spectacularly wrong for the most part, but yet here we are again. There will always be an unlicensed show out there with some dangling strings to it that may (or often, may not) lead to a possible announcement by a stateside distributor in the future, so "Speculation Corner" will always have something to ponder on. And without further ado, we take a look at a major title that supposedly has little to no chance at coming to North America--so we're believed.

Friday, February 13, 2009

:anime: HardDoor's Winter Anime Preview - '08-'09 Edition

<--To Autumn 2008 Anime Preview

To Spring 2009 Anime Preview-->

Even in the midst of winter there are a number of notable anime that are making their debuts (considering how late this is coming, most probably already have). While this season may not be loaded with as many potential hits like last season, it doesn't mean that there is a dearth of good shows to look out for. Each season seems to have its own inherent theme or trend, and this winter's seems to be one of "relations", be they sequels, continuing seasons of certain shows, or retellings of them. Around ten of the works listed here are related to previous ones, though there are also a few fresh titles--one a novel approach to robots, another being a landmark approach to how anime is viewed across coasts at the same time. Like always, this isn't an exhaustive of every work out there, just the ones I found interesting or of note. This season's main group is quite smaller than previous times, though that is mostly due to me never seeing some of the returning shows beforehand and simply because I found interest in just this handful. Pardon for this coming so late, due to various circumstances, but let's get to watching nonetheless, shall we?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

:anime: Free Anime Directory Update! ::For 02.10.09::

A few minor updates and a few major ones highlight this round of Directory updates, including the disappearence of one service and the emergence of a new one...

Saturday, January 31, 2009

:anime: Decade's Best…So Far (2008 Edition) :: Anime (Top 20) ::: Overview & Honorable Mentions

<--To 2007 Edition

The twenty best anime of the decade, as they stand as of December 31, 2008:

:anime: Decade's Best…So Far (2008 Edition) :: Anime (Top 20) ::: Insight

For a fuller account of how the list was created and what thinking went into it, I strongly suggest reading last year's Insight, which covered it in an extensive and generalized manner. As this year's list is so close to the previous, it would be better to refer its behind-the-scenes feature instead of merely rehashing it here. Rather, this Insight will focus on why there was a lack of change, what works failed to make the Top 20 (or, in one case, even Honorable Mentions), and what the future may hold in the final installments for this decade...

The second edition of this Decade's Best series, having only started it last year, bears much a resemblance to its predecessor. The primary reason for this is that we are already nearing the end of the decade, and a number of the works present have had a longer scale of time to be judged on and compared to one another and others. Critical and popular opinions have also had a longer time to grow and solidify, meaning that any sudden or great change in the rankings would be less likely to happen than it would earlier or even halfway through the decade. Naturally, that means that newer works may have a harder time competing against these more established ones in obtaining a spot in the Top 20. The barrier-of-entry can be especially difficult when there are already a great number of quality titles among the 55 Honorable Mentions alone. This dilemma led me to designate a "Final Edition" of the list set to be revealed a year after the decade ends to give those shows a better chance. Through the tough competition, there were a few standout title which concluded in 2008 that where poised to make a crack at the upper echelon, though they ultimately did not make it (at least, for this edition...).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

:anime: Decade's Best…So Far (2008 Edition) :: Anime (Top 20) ::: Introduction and #20 to #16

Last year's introduction started off with a mention of the debate about whether this decade has been a "golden age" for anime or not. While that argument has lessened some and has gone to the way side in turn for the more dire matter of the worldwide economic downturn's effect on the industry as a whole, a number of well-made titles that have come out since then, despite the circumstances. As good as they are, they will have to contend with an already crowded list of stellar anime, much less one centered around the top twenty anime of the decade--so far. The anime in contention (shows, movies, OVA, etc.) are judged primarily on their 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 Note" with each entry, which details why that particular anime is there, at times a bit of history behind it, and of course, my own personal opinion of it.

Because much of the information in this introduction and in the entries to follow were more informational and insightful than time-related, there was little need to rewrite everything all over again. As such, what is displayed is nearly the same as before, only with some parts updated with newer information, reflections on why a title's ranking may or may not have changed (whether it might in the future), and additional opinion.

The rules remain as followed: only anime that have either begun showing since January 1, 2000, have been shown in their entirety from that date to December 31, 2008 (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 once more, we start, from #20 to #16...

:anime & boxing: Decade's Best…So Far (2008 Edition) :: Introduction

This year's edition comes a little later due to matters previously discussed. Yet still, it's that time of the year once again, when HardDoor puts out its listings of the twenty best anime and the ten best boxers of the decade ( far)!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

:boxing: Young and Old, Big and Small...:: Margarito vs Mosley

Veteran boxers fighting younger talent is nothing strange in the sport. Be it a simple reason of an old "gatekeeper" testing a hot prospect or a young champion battling the division's long-reigning kingpin, there has always been that spectacle of seeing not only two generations lock in combat, but also if one either has the experience or vitality to take the other out.

Friday, January 02, 2009

:anime & boxing: Decade's Best…So Far (2008 Edition) :: Briefing

Usually at this point of the year (well, ever since last year, when I first started it) I post two lists detailing the best anime and boxers of the decade--appropriately named "Decade's Best". Recently, however, my access time to a computer has been erratic, so this year's installments will be on delay, unfortunately. Thankfully, I already know how mostly everything is going to play out and I don't have to spend numerous hours and days writing up entire entries, as was the case when I first began doing this (especially for the boxing one, where writing two entries would be an all-day affair due to the amount of details involved). That doesn't mean that last year's will be entirely regurgitated for 2008's, as they will be updated where appropriate and given some additional thoughts. If there are any sort of hints that can be relayed for what is to come, it's that there will be some surprises in store and perhaps a reshuffling somewhere...

And so, pardon for the delay, though both will certainly be up in the very near future (and no six-month spacing period for the boxing list...).


Thursday, January 01, 2009

:anime: Free Anime Directory Update! ::For 01.01.09::

A whole new year is deserving of a whole new update of some wholly new additions to HD's Free/Low-Cost Anime Directory & Guide, which just so happen to be covered below in this edition of the Update! Big changes have been going on over the past couple of days since the last post as part of the Directory's well-needed revamp, as well as the introduction of a certain service that has gone unmentioned for quite a while (for a few good reasons...and some forgetfulness).