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: