Tuesday, December 21, 2010

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

Highschool of the Dead

Official Sites: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry
Video: The Anime Network (Free for promotion, Pay afterwards for Eps. 3-12 ("Subscribers"). Ep. 1 free for "Guests", Ep. 2 free for those who register, which itself is free ("Registered"))
Free Promotional Period: December 13-31(?), 2010

I was originally aiming for something pleasant and soothing for this month's pick, as it is December and the winter and holiday season is upon us.

And then The Anime Network presented a very, uhh, *nice* gift…

The broadcaster announced last Monday, December 13th, that they would drop the access level from "Subscribers" to "Registered" for each of the twelve episodes of the controversial hit anime Highschool of the Dead (or "High School of the Dead", though I'm going with the original spelling here, which is actually grammatically-correct, too). A tale of high-school students trying to survive in a world quickly overcome by the undead, this mix of zombies-and-boobs has been a polarizing title with its overt fanservice, but also a well-praised one for its genuine horror touches and nods to various entries in the genre.

Monday, December 20, 2010

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::12.20.10:: Pascal, Hopkins Draw…

For the previous prediction of the fight, click here.

Jean Pascal M-D Bernard Hopkins [Showtime]
Original Prediction: Hopkins, UD

In what was a much better fight than imagined, Bernard Hopkins took it to Jean Pascal, who was ahead after Round 4 following knockdowns in the first (more of a rabbit punch than anything else) and third (legit). Pascal fought a little better and was carrying less muscle than in the Dawson fight, and also used his aggression more smartly, though concurrently, he seemed reluctant to press the action in a more consistent fashion. Hopkins, on the other hand, was beginning to show frustration after the knockdowns and with his inability keep in step with the quicker champion. However, his near-exclusive targeting of the body from the second round on was beginning to play dividends, as Pascal was visibly uncomfortable from it, even from the outset. From round six to the end, Hopkins fought more assertively and like a man on a mission--and he had to, after the early setbacks. For whatever reason, Pascal appeared gunshy and barely did anything of note as Hopkins outworked him and plied his mastery with his body movement and shot landings, as well as his tightly-packed defense (though Pascal would show more life in the final two rounds).

:anime: First Impression:: Oreimo Ep. 7

<--To Oreimo, Ep. 6 | To Oreimo, Ep. 8-->

OreimoEp. 7 - "My Little Sister Can't Be A Novelist!"

Kyousuke arrives home one day to discover Kuroneko sitting alone in the living room--with the lights out, per her style. She was there to watch Kirino's favorite show with her after the two were debating its merits earlier, but Saori had last-minute matters to tend to and couldn't come along. With the "mediator" of the trio gone, she and Kirino got into a big fight over a story the latter had written, which featured a vaguely familiar character that meets a none-too-flattering end.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

:boxing: Quick Pick! ::12.18.10:: Pascal vs Hopkins

For the result of the fight, click here.

Unlike last week's Quick Pick, I had no intention at all to do a write-up on tonight's match-up between WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal and future-HOFer Bernard Hopkins. Why? Just like Jones-Hopkins II, I haven't been pumped about it, nor do I see it as being all that important, despite Hopkins' quest to become the oldest boxer to win a world title (45, and Hopkins is one of, if not my most, favorite fighter--off-color comments aside…). In addition are two potentially vital points: 1) Pascal is rather mediocre, if his sloppy win over Chad Dawson was any indication. He has great looking body, but having bulky muscles often translates to dwindling stamina over the course of the fight, which was also apparent in that bout. He has some decent skill and promise, but there is a good reason why Hopkins, at his age, chose him. 2) In spite of B-Hops being the bastion of fitness and technical prowess for many years, his recent fights and less-toned body signal that he is indeed on the decline, victories be darned. While his less-than-best can beat many young guns, Father Time is finally beginning to collect his dues, and even a wild-punching, inaccurate Pascal can win by being the more active of the two, or hitting pay dirt--plus, he has quick hands, which have been Hopkins' weakness.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

:anime: First Impression:: Oreimo Ep. 6

<--To Oreimo, Ep. 5 | To Oreimo, Ep. 7-->

OreimoEp. 6 - "My Childhood Friend Can't Be This Cute"

At school, Kyousuke is confronted by a friend about whether he and Manami are going out. Although he says that he doesn't view her in that light (comparing her, instead, to a grandmother turned 50 years younger), he is staunchly against the idea of any other guy trying to get with her. Later in the day, Kyousuke and Manami stop by her house as her family prepares do some Halloween-related events at their shop. They find her grandfather passed out on the table and cold, fearing the worse, but the grandmother tells them that it was just the result of a failed prank of his involving their store's freezer. A threat from her to pull out his hair is enough to get him going again and scurrying with fear.

Monday, December 13, 2010

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::12.13.10:: Khan, Mares Win Wars…

For the previous predictions of the fights below, click here.

One of the best and most significant nights in boxing this year took place this past Saturday night, with many surprises along the way…

Amir Khan UD Marcos Maidana [HBO]
Original Prediction: Khan, UD

Though this year of boxing has largely been lackluster, most of the great bouts have been compressed to these last few weekends. Amir Khan's unlikely meeting against Marcos Maidana, one of the biggest threats out there, suddenly became the latest candidate for "Fight of the Year"--and was just the second bout that very night to garner that distinction (to be noted later). From the get go, it got intense when Maidana forsook the customary touching-up of the gloves at the beginning of Round 1 to lob a haymaker bomb towards Khan, which missed. He was the aggressor, but Khan showed his freakish hand speed with impactful shots--far better than usual. And in the midst of that flurrying was one great shot in the final seconds that stuck into Maidana's right side that sent him down, which he barely got up from. Maidana made a steady recovery and stuck to his aggressive pressuring, but Khan was still able to move around and throw some impressive offensive.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

:boxing: Quick Picks! ::12.11.10:: Khan-Maidana, ShoBox's Bantamweight Tourney

For results of the fights below, click here.

I've had a busy week+, but there are just way too many significant matches on tonight to let pass by. No write-up, but let's make with some quick picks anyway. And they aren't coming easy…

Amir Khan vs Marcos Maidana [HBO]
--I'm very high on both fighters, but as skilled as Khan is, Maidana is the kind of guy that you could be winning against at first, and find yourself on the canvas the next. It isn't luck, as he himself is a good, though not technically-polished, fighter who is also quite dangerous. He has an unorthodox style, too, but Khan should be able to make it work against him. Too much gets made of his knockout loss against Brendis Prescott, and while a Maidana KO is wholly possible given who he is, Khan should be able to work from the outside and use his speed to outwork him.
Prediction: Khan, UD

Thursday, December 09, 2010

:anime: First Impression:: Oreimo Ep. 5

<--To Oreimo, Ep. 4 | To Oreimo, Ep. 6-->

My thoughts exactly as I was watching this episode…

OreimoEp. 5 - "My Little Sister's Best Friend Can't Be This XX"

Picking right up from where the previous episode ended, Ayase, Kirino's best friend, has run into her on her way out of Summerket. The cordial meeting, and Ayase's disposition, soon turn ugly as she begins to put the pieces together of the odd picture of her beloved friend acting shady, with two strangely dressed girls close-by (Saori and Kuroneko, who exit to preserve Kirino's cover) and carrying around a bag bearing the comic market's name. Kirino tries to dodge her, but an increasingly disturbed Ayase's snagging of the bag causes it to tear open and empty its not-so-delectable contents onto the pavement, wet from the pouring rain. One flip through of one of the doujinshi is enough for Ayase to abruptly sever all ties with Kirino.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::12.01.10:: Beatdowns Galore!!

It was never my intention for two weeks to pass without doing some boxing coverage here (I usually do live coverage on Twitter, though), given the amount of marquee match-ups that have gone down…it's been an odd week. But hey, that doesn't we can't do anything at all about it, though!


Manny Pacquiao UD Antonio Margarito

In perhaps Pacquiao's most impressive victory to date (taking Margarito's size and strength in consideration), the Pacman endured some good shots to shut out his tough opponent (and his eyes) in a one-sided, but still entertaining and competitive, bout. He really had to work for it, as the Tijuana Tornado took the fight to him in a new, more offensive style. His speed and maneuverability were the keys to success, however, and it worked quite well for him when he was in some trouble in the 5th (where it looked as if he was about to go down) and 10th. Margarito did what he could, but Pacquiao was too much for him to handle in the end, and if it wasn't for his mercy, would have been stopped prior to the twelfth. (Mentioning this fight now since it was replayed two Saturdays ago.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

:anime: Celebrating Impromptu Natsume Ono Appreciation Month!

A funny thing happened on the way to doing this month's free/low-cost anime pick…

As alluded to in the House of Five Leaves review, Ristorante Paradiso was going spotlighted as part of "Impromptu Natsume Ono Appreciation Month", which came sort of out-of-the-blue due to a series of coincidences. One of the reasons I wanted to choose the series was because it had something to do with food and that Thanksgiving was this month, so it seemed to make sense to follow up the review with it. The show has been available at Crunchyroll since it aired last year, so recommending it was a seeming no-brainer. Only one problem, though…

Thursday, November 25, 2010

:anime: First Impression:: Oreimo Ep. 4

<--To Oreimo, Ep. 3 | To Oreimo, Ep. 5-->

OreimoEp. 4 - "My Little Sister Can't Be Going to Summerket"

Kyousuke is badgered by Kirino to hurry up and finish one of her fighting eroge so she could face him. She suggests going online for help and spend the next day playing it while her school friends are over, who she doesn't want him fraternizing with, or so much looking at. Having difficulty finding help, Kyousuke logs into the game's lobby to start, and quickly ends it once he makes his fighter. Before leaving, a chat dialog box pops up with Saori on the other end, who he asks for tricks about clearing the game after she brags about whipping Kirino countless times online.

The following day, Kyousuke is rustled from his slumber on the couch as Kirino's friends arrive, one of whom catches his eye (and likewise…). Kirino warns him about oogling them and shoos him to his room. Kyousuke retreats to his bed after having a hard time with the game, where the image of the girl with the long, black hair enters his mind. The girls' banter on the other side of the wall breaks that train of thought, as they probe into whether Kirino has a secret boyfriend (judging from her behavior of late). Kirino's OOC cutesy voice begins to creep him out, but his interest perks when the girl from before asks about him. Kirino chides her, while the other friend dismisses Kyousuke as "average", which sends him away from the room in disgust.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

:boxing: Seconds, Please…:: Williams vs. Martinez II

This was originally supposed to be a full write-up, but I was too tired yesterday to do it and do it properly. However, this match is too good to not put something up about it, so here's a quick analysis (of sorts…) of the fight tonight.

Tonight is a great night of fights. Not only do you get a rebroadcast of Manny Pacquiao's thumping of Antonio Margarito (which did not come easy) from last weekend and UFC 123's showdowns of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson-Lyoto Machida and B.J. Penn-Matt Hughes but you also get the rematch between Paul Williams and Sergio Martinez, back at the same Atlantic City venue where the two unexpectedly put on the "Fight of the Year" in early December 2009. Williams just ecked out a majority victory in the thriller, in which both fighters went down in the first round and kept things tight throughout (just ignore Pierre Benoist's brick-pile dumb 119-110 scorecard in his favor, as the other two only had it a draw and one-round up for Williams).

Friday, November 19, 2010

:anime: First Impression:: Oreimo Ep. 3

<--To Oreimo, Ep. 2 | To Oreimo, Ep. 4-->

OreimoEp. 3 - "My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute"

Though she could have gone out with her fellow model friend Sunday, Kirino, instead, is out at Akihabara with Kuroneko and Saori. Meanwhile, Kyousuke and Manami are spending some time at the park. He lets her know that everything with Kirino went well with her advice, and Manami expects a hug out of it in return, but is left hanging. Oblivious at first, Kyousuke decides to make it up to her by treating her later. Back at the maid cafe, Kirino and Kuroneko are trying to get the other to like their show. The former begins to huggle her freshly-bought eroge and is reprimanded by the latter for trying to bring the wrong kind of attention. This prompts Kirino to ask if her family is aware of her hobby, which Kuroneko replies affirmatively, noting that she did not care what others thought of her life. Saori agrees, which dispels some of Kirino's own personal concerns. In the evening, Kyousuke arrives home, only to find Kirino sitting in front of their father in a room, with one of her eroge laying in front of them.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

:anime: First Impression:: Oreimo Ep. 2

<--To Oreimo, Ep. 1 | To Oreimo, Ep. 3-->

Originally, I was going to post episodes 2-6 together as a bulk review, but after watching the second episode, I thought it would be better to cover each separately (though I may still do that in the future)…

Oreimo, Ep. 2 - "My Little Sister Can't Bring Me To An IRL Meet"

Kirino continues her strong-armed induction of Kyousuke into her eroge hobby, though he's still not completely willing. As such, he suggests that she finds some friends that she can talk in-depth with about her hobbies.  She feels apprehensive about this, given how negatively society (and especially middle-school girls) view otaku, and doesn't want to risk being associated with or exposed as one at school. On advice from Manami, Kyousuke introduces her to a social networking service that can she use to meet with other people who are into the same things she likes.  After registering, she quickly gets an invite from the head of an "otaku girl" group she requested. who is holding a "tea party" the following week, though Kyousuke seems more enthused for Kirino over the occasion than Kirino is.

Monday, November 15, 2010

:anime: Final Impression:: House of Five Leaves

Originally, this review was going to be posted last month, but as I thought about it…Thanksgiving is in November…Natsume Ono also did Ristorante Paradiso, which has something to do with food…Thanksgiving has something to do with food, too…so.......

Instead, I decided to hold that off until now and declare November "Impromptu Natsume Ono Appreciation Month"! Granted, I never read her manga before, but the anime adaptations of them are pretty good and not your typical fare, and with said holiday around the corner, it seemed like as good a time as any to celebrate her work (that's synergy for you). You could probably guess what is going to be this month free/low-cost anime pick by now (or not, click the link above…), so in the mean time, give this series a chance and kick back to some Natsume Ono manga this November in commemoration.  -.^

Review: House of Five Leaves (Sarai-ya Goyou)

Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry
Video [Free]: FUNimation Videos, Hulu, YouTube

When reading the plot description for House of Five Leaves and seeing animation studio manglobe (Samurai Champloo, Ergo Proxy, Michiko e Hatchin) attached to it, a likely set of thoughts might pop up in one's head. An unassuming, down-on-his-luck samurai falls into a mysterious group of cool, eccentric thieves with a "Robin Hood"-complex. Rounding out its ranks are the dashing, enigmatic leader who reels him into a world of danger and intrigue, the seductive courtesan who knows all of the in's-and-out's of the underworld, the big, bald-headed muscle of the group, and the quiet, aloof spy who stays in the shadows and carries out espionage and assassinations. While the young ronin takes content in finally having friends and enjoys a new-found sense of being wanted, he slowly begins to discover that they may not be who they appear to be, and at the same time, falls in too deep in the seedy world they deal in…

Now, take all of those images, run them through a strainer, and toss what was sifted into the bin (or plop it into your pocket to make your own cool story with). Whatever you were thinking about it going along those lines should, and eventually will, be removed. And yet, that is quite OK, as House of Five Leaves is still a compelling piece of drama and animation.

Friday, November 12, 2010

:boxing: ...It'll Do, Part 2:: Pacquiao vs. Margarito

We find ourselves at that time of the year (again) where people are lamenting the absence of Mayweather-Pacquiao and bashing the "substitute", since, well, it's not Mayweather-Pacquiao. Not too difficult to understand given expectations, but with the soap opera-caliber negotiations that sunk it (multiple times), the deep legal trouble Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has placed himself in after the beating of his ex over the summer, and Manny Pacquiao's commitments as a congressman in the Philippines, the chances of that fight happening are dropping closer to zero with every passing month. It's not totally out of the realm of possibility, but at this point: just give it up. It's not happening, period, unless Mayweather is cleared of wrongdoing and Pacquiao is either 1) coming off a loss, 2) returning from a lengthy absence, or 3) is ancient/out-of-shape when he finally decides to fight him. That's just how he rolls, not because of the "blood testing" he suddenly cares about.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::11.10.10:: Johnson, Juanma Deliver the KOs…

"Boxing Bits" makes its semi-triumphant return to HD, covering the bouts (and bodies) that went down this past Saturday!  This would have been posted earlier, but things have been a bit wonky for the last few days…


Glen Johnson TKO8 Allan Green

The "readjusted" Super Six tournament continued with newcomer Glen Johnson icing Allan Green in an entertaining fight.  Green showed flashes of genuine competitiveness, but ultimately lived up to his surname as he couldn't overcome Johnson's style of offense. The latter has been a sparring partner of his and said to have gotten the upper-hand much of the times they have fought, so that surely did not help matters much for Green, nor did some of those inadvertent rabbit punches.  The 41-year-old Johnson, despite moving down in weight on short notice, looked great and weathered some good shots to batter Green all over and steadily take him out of the fight, which ended with a sudden right hook to the side of his head that sent him down and out. Though Johnson moves on to the semifinals, Green once again lacked the experience and fortitude to hang with the top players and veterans, which at 31 is sort of surprising--but not, given the caliber of much of his opposition in his 32-fight career…

Thursday, November 04, 2010

:anime: ANN Gets Its Stream On, Again:: Oreimo & togainu no chi To Resume…

Nearly a month ago, I was extolling the announcement of Anime News Network getting in on the simulcasting movement with their streaming of the new Aniplex-produced fall shows Oreimo (Ore no Imouto ga Konanni Kawaii Wake ga Nai, or "My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute") and togainu no chi ~Bloody Curs~.  Oreimo was scheduled to air the next day and togainu the following Wednesday, and for the Saturday afternoon that Oreimo debut, everything went relatively without a hitch.  ANN's efforts hit a snag, however, when an unknown party had breached the security measures on one of their streaming servers, obtained the as-yet-aired second episode of Oreimo that lied there, and distributed it over the Internet.  Immediately that very evening, the site removed the first episode and postponed togainu's scheduled debut--and the simulcasts as a whole--indefinitely.

Much like FUNimation's situation last year, ANN found themselves in a quagmire, with the simulcasting movement being jeopardized and getting egg on its face once more due to failed security measures.  Refunds were allowed, criticism was meted out, and the future of the streams remained muddy, at best.  Yesterday, though, the situation saw some light at the end of the tunnel, as ANN announced that the streams to both shows would be continuing. The catch-up schedule will look like this:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Halloween Havoc!!

Well, well, it's been a year to the day since I started recommending monthly free/low-cost anime available on the web, starting off with manglobe's obscure macabre comedy TRIP TREK.  Being that it's October and close to Halloween--as it was then--I figure it would only be proper to recommend a few "scary" anime this time, too.

**Most of these shows, besides being free, are aimed at older teen to mature audiences, unsurprisingly, so viewer discretion is advised.  And due to that, some sites may require you to register, which is often free, as well.  I'm so not responsible for any nightmares, either, regardless the cause.**

[FUNimation Videos, Hulu]

Quite the good action tale with monstrous figures with a hankering for innards getting sliced every-which-way by silver-haired ladies with big swords.  One of the best fantasy anime in recent memory, with fine production values by Madhouse (some inconsistencies with faces, but the designs from the original manga aren't that simple to draw for animation) and a rollicking, but still appropriate, score by Masanori Takumi (Witchblade, Genshiken, Koi Kaze).  Though only eps. 1-13 are currently available at the time of this writing, subbed-only, it has, personally, perhaps the finest collection of female vocal performances in a single anime.  Some genuinely intense moments, likable characters, and an involving story make Claymore a great and enjoyable watch.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

:anime: Blacks and Head Shots in Anime -Phase Two- Begins

As mentioned earlier this month, "Phase Two" of "Blacks and Head Shots in Anime" has just begun, with topics on the subject launched at Mania/AnimeOnDVD and Anime News Network's respective forums last night, with a poll present in the former.  It is my hope to get a good gauge of the anime community's thoughts on this through two forums with differing personalities, and while it's nothing scientific, I believe this may still yield some interesting results.  I have my predictions, but we'll see where things go from here, though I aim to post about the findings when the topics get enough responses.  I'm pretty anxious to see what people's opinions will be, and hopefully, everything will go smoothly.


Saturday, October 09, 2010

:anime: First Impression:: Oreimo Ep. 1

To Oreimo, Ep. 2-->

Oreimo, Ep. 1 - "My Little Sister Can't Be My Love"

As noted yesterday, Oreimo was a title that has been on my fall radar ever since happening across an illustration of it a few months ago, despite not knowing a whole lot about the series.  By appearance-alone, I sort of got a general feel of what to expect from the boy and the girl in it--"comedy, some sort of ongoing conflict".  Vague as it was (hey, it was just a picture…), it was still close to what we actually got…

Oreimo's premiere episode turned out to be a pretty good affair.  Kyousuke Kousaka doesn't get along with his popular younger sister, Kirino.  This isn't helped by the fact that they have fairly frosty personalities and perpetual scowls when around each other (and when they aren't).  One morning, they bump into each other, spilling the contents of Kirino's bag onto the floor and eliciting a snappy response from the girl.  Later on, something catches Kyousuke's eye under a piece of furniture and discovers what looks to be a sister-centric eroge-based anime DVD.

Friday, October 08, 2010

:anime: ANN Gets Its Stream On...

Over the course of the last year or so, Anime News Network has been hard at work over its streaming video service, doing carryovers from other sites such as Hulu, to hosting titles themselves (i.e. Nobody's Boy Remi).  The last month, however, has represented a major step forward in their campaign of streaming anime.  In September, ANN announced their license rescue of the quirky, yet informative, comedy Animation Runner Kuromi and its sequel, homeless after former licensor Central Park Media went under a few years ago.  Though the terms of ANN's deal only pertained to streaming rights, it was still a major score by the site to accomplish such a feat, though that would hardly be the end of their plans...

Thursday, October 07, 2010

:boxing: Six Degrees of Super Six Mess

Jermain Taylor - Knocked out of the tournament.

Mikkel Kessler - Gone due to eye injury.

Andre Dirrell - Removes himself due to currently-untold injury.

When founding something as ambitious as the Super Six World Boxing Classic, Showtime and others had to have prepared themselves for the worst.  Injuries are no stranger to the sport of boxing, so conducting a round-robin tournament is a big gamble, no doubt.  But I bet at this point, even the cable network didn't think things would have turned out this bad...

Monday, October 04, 2010

HardDoor 2.0!

When I said last Friday that HardDoor was going dark for maintenance, I really did mean it, so to speak. ;)

Friday, October 01, 2010

"Black Monday Comes to HardDoor" and Other Fantastic Stories...

"Black Monday Comes to HardDoor..."

 After months of stagnation (mainly due to B&HSiA), HD's Free & Low-Cost Anime Directory finally received its long-awaited/needed revamp.  I knew a lot needed to be done when I started Monday, but I found myself altering more of than I had anticipated (which was good thing, actually).  Many of the descriptions have been rewritten--some wholesale, a few twinked here and there--either because the info was outdated or just needed to be reworded (or both...).  Not too many links needed updating, but I supplemented a few entries with additional ones.  In the case with pay content and subscriptions, I made sure to mention rates as often as possible.  I began doing this with the "Anime on the Go!!" section and thought it was the right time to start including that information whenever possible, given how prevalent subscriptions are becoming.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

:anime: Blacks and Head Shots in Anime (Part 7 - Final)

<--To Part 6

Over the past six parts, we have explored the pattern of dark-skinned characters dying from head wounds in anime. We have also seen a number of peculiar traits shared among them and tried to place them in proper perspective with the issue, as well as history and culture. Yet, the question prevails as to why they die in such a particular way, beyond just story conventions.

Friday, September 17, 2010

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

Princess Tutu

Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: ANN Entry
Video [Free]: Hulu, YouTube
Video [Pay]: The Anime Network (after first free ep.)

An aspiring ballerina who is a bit of klutz (and really a duck) valiantly attempts to retrieve the shards of heart belonging to the one she loves: the prince. But while she possesses the ability to turn into the graceful Princess Tutu and ward off the darkness, she must not confess her love to her beloved, or she will perish...

The Anime Network recently started posting video onto Hulu and one of the titles they started off with was Princess Tutu, a 2002-2003 magical girl series that, even after the critical and viewer praise it has garnered, still has not gotten the love it deserves. By genre master Junichi Sato (Sailor Moon, Pretear, Sea Story (Umi Monogatari), the series showcases his skill at trumping its conventions and offering something new and fresh. Not only that, it also displays his oft-overlooked implementation of music into his shows, here filled with classic ballet compositions, from Romeo & Juliet to Swan Lake, along with an appropriate original score by Kaoru Wada (InuYasha, Samuari 7). All of it blends with and enhances a great and unique story (well-balanced with comedy and harrowing drama), memorable characters, and fine production values.

Personally, I do have broad tastes, so as much as I can appreciate a depressing show like TEXHNOLYZE or Now and Then, Here and There, or action-filled ones like Afro Samurai and Gungrave, I can also appreciate a (really) good shoujo series in Princess Tutu. However, even those not exactly warm to the genre have had glowing praise for it. Though dubbed only (but wonderfully done), it is freely available for view on Hulu (missing Eps. 22-25, but will probably be resolved soon), YouTube (in full), and Anime Network's own site (free first episode, the rest to paid subscribers only), now's good opportunity to give the show a chance (and maybe some of that lovin' too).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

:anime: Of Updates and Lengthy Write-Ups...

It's been quite awhile, but the seventh and final installment of "Blacks and Head Shots in Anime" has finally been completed. Its creation was certainly more arduous than expected, even after having plotted it early on. There was a two week-long "writer's block" of sorts at the beginning, but things afterwards started to flow again and I made up a lot of ground. Even so, the proofreading and revision stage was extensive, with sizable portions removed (and subsequently saved for a later time...), streamlined, moved about, and altered multiple times, with the final fine-tuning stage taking good deal of time itself, featuring a number of twinkings and testings. Mix in a few diversions (including computer matters needing to be addressed), some lethargy on my part from working on this, and the series as a whole, for so long, a few wasted days trying to update an iPod touch (the neverending backups...), as well as some genuinely difficult times writing things out, and you have a final installment nearly three months in the making.

As much care as I like to take in the quality and substance of what I write, even this was ridiculous. But despite everything that happened, Part 7 managed to turn out as well as I hoped it would. At the same time, while I dislike taking this long to write something up, I would much rather take my time in doing so than rush out a subpar piece just to get it done and over with quickly (though that doesn't mean I haven't been trying to write faster over the course of time...). Still, my apologies for the lengthy gap between Six and Seven. And as something a "joke", the latter will go live in a few days on the 18th (Sat.) at 2:02 AM--exactly three months to the day that former was posted. :) It also gives me some time to fit in this month's free anime pick...

Thank you for your patience.


Friday, August 20, 2010

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Black Rock Shooter

Black Rock Shooter

Official Site: Japanese, English
Additional Links: ANN Entry, Wikipedia
Video [Free]: Nico Nico Douga, ANN Article (embedded)
View Period: August 19 - 31, 2010

It's been a while since announcements were made regarding the worldwide streaming and release plan for the OVA Black Rock Shooter, but finally, the anime is officially being made available over the web in its entirety!

BRS has a very interesting history. It first came to life towards the end of 2007 as a single drawing, entitled "Black Rock Shooter", by the artist huke, which in turn inspired a Vocaloid song by ryo, leader of the popular Internet-borne music group supercell (Cencoroll, Bakemonogatari ending themes). Huke would eventually join its stable of artisans and contribute to the song's animated music video the following year, which would go on to garner over 2 million views and a special "pilot" DVD release in 2009, further increasing its popularity. Prior to it, an OVA "expansion" was announced, spearheaded by Yutaka Yamamoto's Ordet studio, of which would be their first chief production effort. Accompanying the project would be huke's design work, and a score by ryo, along with a script co-written by Nagaru Tanigawa, author of the Haruhi Suzumiya light novels (which Yamamoto helped adapt at Kyoto Animation).

Friday, July 30, 2010

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: The Super Dimension Fortress Macross

The Super Dimension Fortress Macross

Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry, ANN Article
Video [Free]: Hulu, Anime News Network

When the Fourth of July came about, I originally was aiming to select the Stan Lee/BONES-produced HEROMAN as a patriotic nod to the holiday and month. Yet, time passed by and I decided against it, since the show already seems to have a good following going. Having already spotlighted other popular shows in Gundam and Haruhi Suzumiya, I decided to turn the shine onto another franchise that, while it has its fans, isn't quite as up there as the other two, most notably when concerning its first series.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

HardDoor--The Fourth Anniversary

Four years. Hard to believe it has only been four years since starting HardDoor, a little blog about anime and boxing (and bits of randomness). Since June 26, 2006, it's been quite the time and new additions have come along the way, such as Decade's Best and the Free/Low-Cost Anime Directory & Guide (or just "The Directory" for short, and don't forget about the monthly picks!), and special pieces like the current "Blacks and Head Shots in Anime". Every anniversary, I like to reveal a little bit behind HardDoor's background or introduce a new feature, but this year's a little different, since I already revealed it a month early!

HD's Twitter page has been a great complement to the site, celebrating its own one-month anniversary today. It has really filled that void of keeping things up-to-date and providing commentary on things as they happen, even trivial ones, without having to post a bunch of entries each time. It's a simple, yet very neat service that fits the site well, but that's not the only thing going on on HD. The aforementioned special piece "Blacks and Head Shots in Anime" is entering its final stretch with the last part coming up, with the first installment of this year's Decade's Best edition following soon after (I was originally aiming to have it start today, but the former has taken more time than expected). There is also the Directory's much-needed revamping, and then...well, I'll keep that one under wraps... ;)

Here's to four and more!!!! :D


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

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

Glass Fleet

Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: ANN Entry
Video [Free]: English Dubbed

For HardDoor's anniversary month, what better way to celebrate the occasion than with a free anime selection? And the pick for this month is...Glass Fleet!

...Wait, what?

Friday, June 18, 2010

:anime: Blacks and Head Shots in Anime (Part 6)

<--To Part 5 | Part 7 (Final)-->

(Note: As earlier, because these cases not only involve the death(s) of a particular character(s), but can also delve deep into a show's storyline, naturally spoilers will be involved. Also, most of the titles covered are either for older teen or mature audiences.)

With the pattern of dark-skinned characters in anime being shot in the head, the focus has primarily been on five cases, as well as any common traits found among them, such as being "traitors" and having monstrous transformations. However, there have been a few instances where they have been involved in scenes that may have involved elements of head-related deaths or injuries, but not as overt as the cases given. While these are not as major, they are rather interesting in their own right and worth a mention.

Monday, May 31, 2010

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Haruhi-Mania!!

Normally with the "Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month", I like to focus on lesser known or obscure titles, but every so often, I'll cover a notable work if there is something significant regarding it. Such is the case with the more-than-well-known Haruhi Suzumiya franchise.

Largely in honor of the debut--and quick licensing-- of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya film earlier in the year, the release of the Haruhi-chan and Churuya-san super-deformed manga in the U.S. and the recent run (and licensing) of the controversal "second season", U.S. distributor Bandai Ent., int'l streaming site Crunchyroll, and stateside manga publisher Yen Press have a cross-platform campaign promoting the franchise and its various parts. On the streaming anime front, CR is not only showing the megahit first season, but also the two anime adaptations of the SD manga mentioned. Both shows were just picked up by BEI within the last few weeks, and the second season will, too, make its appearance on CR later in the year. All of the shows can be neatly found here at no cost and in Japanese with English subtitles.

I was huge on the first season but a little disappointed with the direction and execution of S2 (and virtually none of it had to do with "Endless Eight"...), though I still liked it enough. Personally, at least I finally have a chance to watch the manga shorts, after Kadokawa's lacking job of making them easy to find on their YouTube channel last year. In all, it is a show definitely worth checking out if you still haven't or have just heard about it. And if you like it and its gag spinoffs, be sure to purchase the DVDs!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

HardDoor, Now Serving:: Cream of Twitter!!

I was originally going to wait to debut this exactly a month from now for HardDoor's fourth anniversary, but I decided to shift things up and announce the start of HD's new Twitter feed!

Originally, I was never that keen on joining the Twitter-sphere/scape/dome/whatever, and often poked lite fun at it from time to time for some of those banal, minute tweets about meals and lunches. However, I began to see the good in the service and decided that it would make a good match with the blog. I'll primarily be using it in conjunction with HD as a micro-blog of sorts, where I'll tweet about a few things anime, boxing, and a bit of randomness that I come across of--think of it as an extension of HD. I'm not quite sure how my timing will be, but that's all part of the learning curve and the fun! It also gives me the chance to post or comment about quick little things without having to do a bunch of little posts or a big compilation one (though I can't completely rule that out, either ;) ). A little quip on an anime show I watched...some words on a good boxing match that just aired...updates on a feature...interesting news alert...a nice recipe--just a few things that you might expect to see on HardDoor's Twitter page found below (and on the link bar to the right)!

Twitter: HardDoor (harddoorblog)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

:anime: Blacks and Head Shots in Anime (Part 5)

<--To Part 4 | Part 6-->

(Note: As always, because these cases not only involve the death(s) of a particular character(s), but can also delve deep into a show's storyline, naturally spoilers will be involved. Also, most of the titles covered are either for older teen or mature audiences.)

Case #5

Title: A Wind Named Amnesia

Character: No name given.

Format: Film

Description: Robot operator/apparent priest of the city's "god." Balding afro cut; wears a garish attire with tights, a fur cape, long black nails, two (apparently) bone-adorned necklaces (and an additional jewel-laced one closest to his neck), and large beads grapevined around his arms. Semi-realistic features (i.e. facial structure, average-sized lips, and complexion). Looks like a normal man in an outfit crossed between a wrestler and a witch doctor (though much more of the latter).

Background: One day, circa 1997, a wind blew across the earth that caused everyone to lose all of their memories and anything they had learned. With humanity reduced to nothing more than wild animals, the world quickly devolved into a chaotic state. A young man, roaming feral like everyone else, comes across a large building where a boy in a wheelchair is being attacked by a large, hulking man with physic powers and wires coming out of his body. Instinctively, the young man tries to help the boy by tossing rocks at the crazed figure, but he is slammed into a tree by a psychic wave. As he goes to finish him off, the boy shoots the man in the head from behind and kills him. Johnny, as he is called, befriends the young man and takes him to the research facility that was housed in the building.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

And Now, For Your Reading Pleasure...THE OMNIUPDATE!!!!

Everything you could ever ask for in a post on HardDoor: anime, boxing, free anime, special features, beatdowns, and excessive fanservice! Let's get it on!!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

:boxing: ...It'll Do:: Mayweather vs. Mosley

Though I've been busy with the anime Black History Month special, I haven't forgotten about boxing and nor have I not watched anything (and trust me, I'll have a lot to say about in the near future...). I have been waiting for Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Shane Mosley to duke it out in the ring for a long time, so I'll finally be getting my wish come May 8.

Wait...it's tonight and not next Saturday? Hopkins vs Jones II all over again...

Once again, I thought a major fight was happening the following week, only to discover that it will that very weekend (it also doesn't help that it's been a busy couple of days for me, also hence the lateness and brevity), which is pretty bad considering it's Mayweather vs Mosley, the fight everyone shouldn't be getting down on because it's not "Mayweather vs Pacquiao" . Yes, it's not that, but it is pretty darn close--and it could damper any chance of that fight happening.

Friday, April 30, 2010

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

Nodame Cantabile

Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry
Video [Free]: English Dubbed

As I have been churning away on the Black History Month special, I've had to push back many things on HardDoor, from boxing previews to the revamp of the Free Anime Directory. The monthly "Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick" has, of course, been one of them, but I can't just let April slip past without giving up one pick, so here is this month's very belated, quite-to-the-last-minute anime pick: Nodame Cantabile!

That's right! No need for the eyedrops, NC really is available, and dubbed in English, no less. Yet, it's pretty odd that the introduction of one of the highest rated titles in the last decade gets nary a mention anywhere. Sony's Crackle video site hosts the "international version" of it (English dub for overseas market), which I was not aware of until someone made a passing mention of it in an unrelated ANN forum thread. Regardless, it isn't an indication of a coming DVD release in North America, but it's at least great to have an opportunity to watch the much-beloved tale of two pianists who fall in love.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

:anime: Blacks and Head Shots in Anime (Part 4)

<--To Part 3 | Part 5-->

(Note: As before, because these cases not only involve the death(s) of a particular character(s), but can also delve deep into a show's storyline, naturally spoilers will be involved. Also, most of the titles covered are either for older teen or mature audiences.)

Case #4

Title: 3-D Magical Play
[Official Site - Japanese]

Character: Coffee/Cofy (Spelt as "Cofy" in the credits, but as "Coffee" in the subtitles. Because of the connection between names and food items in Magical Play, I will be sticking with "Coffee" for this piece.)

Episode: 1 (single-episode OVA)

Description: Mayor of Dance Valley and self-proclaimed "master of magic and dance." Heavy-set; wears tight, form-fitting green spandex, small white high-heels; wears a large round pendant around her neck and other forms of golden jewelry. Small, thin lips with silvery gloss. Tall, white box-cut hair with a purple-highlighted top. Overall appearance looks to be fashioned in an Afro-Caribbean flavor (introduction shimmying included) with an '80s-'90s flare. Likes to do a lot of dance moves and singing and combine magical attacks with them. Additionally, her musical cues bare resemblance to late '80s, early '90s dance and hip-hop beats. Has three stick figure-like attendants who dance along with her and act as her personal chair together.

Background: Padudu is a young girl looking to make a name for herself as a "Magical Girl" and win a tournament that will allow her to go to Earth and make it big there. She soon finds herself in jail, however, after being suspected of carrying magical weapons, which are illegal in the town she floated through (Magical Girls included). In Dance Valley's jail, she meets an older female Magical Warrior named Nonononn, who tries to discourage her from the path she's following, and is approached by the mayor, Coffee, who makes a flashy entrance and berates the two. After Nonononn insults the land's Queen (with whom she has shares a sordid history with), an angered Coffee decides to up her execution date to that night and invites the whole town to it. At the "party," she issues a challenge that if her "sister" could be defeated, she would be let free. The catch? The green Padudu would be fighting in place of the veteran, with both of their fates on the line.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

:anime: Exclusive Interview with Famed Mangaka "Musashi-oh"

Wait...what now? April Fool's Day has already passed?! Dang it!!

Just...just forget it.

*goes back to work on special*

Saturday, April 03, 2010

:boxing: The Big One:: Hopkins vs Jones II (Or "The Fight I Stopped Caring About")

Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones, Jr., two of boxing's most storied technicians, finally meet in a long-awaited rematch to their bout nearly twenty years ago, where a shipshape Jones decisioned a pre-prime B-Hop unanimously. And now, come Saturday night, they meet once more in what could be one of the final matches in both men's storied careers. But, I don't really care.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

:anime: Blacks and Head Shots in Anime (Part 3)

<--To Part 2 | To Part 4-->

(Note: As mentioned before, because these cases not only involve the death(s) of a particular character(s), but can also delve deep into a show's storyline, naturally spoilers will be involved. Also, most of the titles covered are either for older teen or mature audiences.)

Case #3

Title: Gungrave
[Official Site - English]

Character: Bear Walken

Episode: 23

Description: One of the top executives in the mafia group known as Millennion. An enforcer and absolutely loyal to its leader, Big Daddy, "The Family", and the "Code of Iron". Tall, solemn, imposing figure respected by everyone in the organization. Average black skin tone; Gray beard, black, short, swept-back hair. Always wears a pair of shades and a suit, except at home, where he is normally seen wearing a kimono in his Japanese-styled abode (follows a strict samurai-esque edict). Dotes heavily on his only daughter, who he raised alone after her mother (presumably of Japanese descent) died when she was younger.

Background: Brandon and Harry, the two central figures in the series, are street punks and childhood friends that find themselves in deep water after Harry crosses paths with the wrong people, including a rival gang and its leader's dangerous hitman brother. With three of their friends already dead, along with the uncle of a female friend of Brandon's, Maria, the two come close to losing their own lives until Bear appears to avenge the life of Maria's slain relative, who was an old friend of his boss, Big Daddy, that he had recently visited on his behalf. After the incident, Brandon and Harry go on an angry tear through the city and become one of its most feared forces. Harry, however, begins to feel restricted by its confines and wishes to expand elsewhere, leaving Brandon to take care of Maria.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

:anime: Blacks and Head Shots in Anime (Part 2)

<--To Part 1 | To Part 3-->

(Note: As noted in the first post, because these cases not only involve the death(s) of a particular character(s), but can also delve deep into a show's storyline, naturally spoilers will be involved. Also, most of the titles covered are either for older teen or mature audiences.)

Case #2

Title: Blood+
[Official Site - Japanese, English; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Crackle, YouTube]

Character: James

Episode: 47

Description: One of Diva's Chevaliers, apparently her favorite. Rather generic-looking "black person" design: low-cut black hair, basic facial features and build. Noticeable, large pink lips.

Background: The heroine of the story, Saya, has reluctantly taken on the task of aiding the secret organization Red Shield in dispatching the world of Chiropterans--beastly, vampiric creatures that prey on humans. Part-Chiropteran herself, Saya is also in search of the twin sister, Diva, that she never knew. However, she is at the center of the atrocities and has loyal servants named "Chevaliers" to protect her. These individuals were once human, but after being given some of her blood, now possess the abilities of a Chiropteran: from super-strength and -speed and immortality, to the ability of turning into super-powerful versions of the creatures themselves (similarly, Saya's blood contains the same properties, as she has her own Chevalier, named Hagi). Among Diva's five protectors is the stoic, by-the-books James, a U.S. military officer who is fiercely devoted to the one they call "Mother", who she seems to care for him the most.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

:boxing: Duel in JerryDome:: Pacquiao vs Clottey

I'm still hard at work on the special Black History Month series that I just started this Wednesday, so pardon as I make this boxing preview brief and to the point:

P4P king Manny Pacquiao meets the tough Joshua Clottey inside Jerry Jones' massive shrine to sports, Cowboys Stadium, in Dallas tonight (home of my favorite football team ;) ). Since the Mayweather fight predictably fell apart and due to both the Pacman's camp still wanting to fight in March and to Jones failed desire to host the pre-failed PBF showdown, the replacement match-up is taking place in Texas. Clottey's not exactly Mayweather and thus the mainstream media does not care about it and they have instantly label him as a pushover of sorts, given his lack of name recognition.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

:anime: Blacks and Head Shots in Anime (Part 1)

This was originally slated to be posted in mid- to late-February for Black History Month, but the past Winter Olympics and fine-tuning pushed its start to March. Parts 2 and beyond will be published every other day.

I have been an avid fan of anime for nearly fifteen years and have watched some 370+ works along the way. As much as I have enjoyed it and so much of its stories and artistry all this time, I could not help but notice a very strange, if not disturbing, trend concerning the deaths of black (or at the very least, "dark-skinned") characters.

Friday, March 05, 2010

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Global Shinkai Day

Today marks the beginning of Global Shinkai Day, an online weekend festival celebrating the works of anime auteur Makoto Shinkai. The commemoration first started last year at this same time by fan site Cherry Blossoms Falling and Crunchyroll, who streamed his first three major works for free. It became a substantial hit and makes it return tonight at 5 PM PST (8 PM EST). Once again, they will be available for free viewing until 8 PM PST (8 PM EST) Sunday. All of the features will be available in Japanese with English subtitles, though a dubbed version of 5 centimeters per second will also be present. [Correction: Scratch that, the dub was initially present, but was taken off a few hours later without any given reason.]

HardDoor's Winter Olympic Wrap-Up! '10

"A funny thing happened on the way to the forum..."

I was beginning the special I had planned for February when I remembered all the sudden that the Olympics were starting soon. Being the massive Olympics fan that I am, any time spent watch television was spent watching the events in Vancouver, which admittedly interfered with my plans. Turning around to watch things happen while typing was a little taxing and took up time at first, but luckily I found a way to get my computer's TV tuner card to be read again and was able to watch and type on the same screen at the same time. Overall, everything is going quite well with it, but due to its length, it appears that I'll be changing its release format to be more multi-part than I initially thought...

The XXI Winter Olympiad in Vancouver started on a somber note with the passing of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili at the controversial Whistler Sliding Center, who died during a training run when he slid off the course dubbed "the fastest in the world" and collided with a steel pillar. Though the tragedy weighed on the minds of many, the Games became one of the best and most memorable in some time, both Winter and Summer--in spite of the fluctuating weather. And thus we begin the now-traditional post-Olympic review...

Friday, February 05, 2010

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Gundam's 30th Anniversary Celebration

February marks a big one for the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise, leaving little wonder as to why it is this month's anime pick (well, I'm also a big Gundam fan...). Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Bandai and Sunrise are going (almost) all out with its Gundam programming via three big names in anime digital distribution--YouTube (AnimeChannel, BandaiChannel's YT portal), Crunchyroll, and Anime News Network--to hype the February 20th Japanese debut of Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn), the centerpiece of their commemoration (available on Blu-ray via Amazon on March 12).

Monday, February 01, 2010

So...We Talk Again...

This month will prove to be a busy month for HardDoor, but also a very special one in many ways. I'll be working hard on a particular topic that I have been saving specifically for this month ever since I started the blog, and because of that, a few "sacrifices" will need to be made to accommodate this.

As such, the winter anime preview will be truncated to a basic listing and a few brief thoughts for each title (though I will still give the usual links, such as to free legal streaming). I'm still unsure of what I will do with the boxing edition, though I would really rather not drop it for the season.

The past two months have seen two free/low-cost anime picks and February will continue that unintended trend thanks to the streaming of a certain mega-franchise celebrating its 30th anniversary. It was originally going to be about the commemorating anime, but it will now include a few of its peers as well, most likely across two posts. And speaking of free anime (and back to "sacrifices"), some may have noticed the few, slight changes made to the Directory, including the recent section addition. It's definitely not the last and some big ones lay ahead over the course of this month and the ones to come--and maybe some outside it as well.

For a good while, I have had trouble with time and access restraints, but now I'm in a good spot and have switched things up a little, as evident with the consecutive posts for the last couple of days. All things considered, I'll probably start posting the "Decade's Best" lists next month ("Anime" is largely done, "Boxing" needs a little more cross-checking) and some other nuggets of joy. See y'all soon!


Friday, January 29, 2010

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Independant Shorts!

It should probably come as little surprise given the first Directory update that this month's anime picks happen to be two short works both done primarily by one single person. Such is the case with Kousuke Sugimoto's "the TV show" and Hiroyasu "Tete" Ishida's YouTube Video Awards Japan-winning "Fumiko's Confession". Watching both of these videos, along with Makoto Shinkai's Voices of a Distant Star and Atsuya Uki's recent Cencoroll in the past, you really do appreciate and awe at the talent, creativity, and execution they display in constructing their personal creations (Ishida did have some assistance with the backgrounds, 3D graphics, and in-between animation, but still handled every aspect of the animation production himself). I already went into detail about both shorts in the Directory and the Update information- and opinion-wise, so won't repeat things here, but I will still give a little quip about each below. The videos are less than 3-1/2 minutes long, so please do give them a look, as well as both artist's YouTube channels.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

:anime: Free Anime Directory Update! ::For 01.28.10::

It's sort of a rarity to have two Directory updates in a single month, but this is a big one. Ever since I got an iPod touch last April--enjoying all of its app and video goodness--I have been debating as to whether to have a section dedicated to apps for the player in the Directory. There have been a few anime-focused programs out there, but the "stealthy" release of Crunchyroll's own app finally pushed me to go ahead with it. It may not be the Internet in the traditional, PC-sense, but it still requires it and is just as viable and important a venue as the use of a computer (I'm certainly a testament of that). It is also made all the more relevant with the big movement towards smartphones and other Net-enabled mobile devices, even with yesterday's reveal of the Giant iPo--umm, iPad (though this section's intro had that announcement beat by about a week, so take that, Apple!).

Those without an iPhone or iPod touch, sorry, but this new addition only covers apps available on those devices. However, as I have noted in the Directory, you may want still utilize it as a reference for ones that might be available on yours. Lastly, the just-added Nippon Animation Theater has been moved to the "Off Sites" section, since the videos have unfortunately been region-restricted, and I've included an anime title that I forgot to include in the earlier Update--and it's a doozy. ;)

-:..not the end of change...:-


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::01.12.10:: Super Six Edition - Taylor Exits Competition

Jermain Taylor, who last lost to Arthur Abraham by sudden and brutal KO in the final round last October, dropped out of the Super Six World Boxing Classic today. An upcoming fight between Allen Green and Sakio Bika will most likely determine his replacement, who would then fight Andre Ward, Taylor's then-upcoming opponent. Personally, I am very pleased to hear that he is taking time off to give his mind and body "some much needed rest." Its for the very best that he takes time away from something of the likes of boxing and reenergize (and reevaluate his life), especially after sustaining three recent KO losses, all of them serious.

This development perhaps confirms that he hasn't fully recovered from the Abraham KO (the worse of them) and was being honest with himself and his well-being, though I would also surmise that promoter Lou DiBella leaving him due to Taylor's previous intention to continue in the Super Six also had something to do with it. His experience with Leavander Johnson's unfortunate ring-related death led to his decision last month, so perhaps that event and other tell-tale signs from the sport, such as Muhammad Ali's deteriorated condition, gave Taylor some necessary pause, not just losing support from the man who promoted him. Regardless, he made the right choice and I wish him the best in the future, whether he returns (as he aims to) or not.

As for Bika-Green, give me Lucian Bute instead. No offense to either, who are pretty good, but the Canadian is arguably the second best super middleweight (and one of the best, period) in world. He would turn the entire tourney on its head.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

:anime: Free Anime Directory Update! ::For 01.06.10::

What better way to start off the new year and new decade than with a bunch of new, free anime? (Alright, well, some of it has been listed as such in the Directory for awhile...) There are some really great selections below, especially on the "self-produced" front, and with the arrival of "World Animation Theater" onto YouTube, hopefully enough attention and demand will be clamored for some decent subtitles to be added to them and others (which is possible with the recent feature additions). Hmm...you know, the Free Anime Directory & Guide is well due for a change itself...