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.)