Thursday, September 29, 2011

:anime: HardDoor's Seasonal Anime Preview 2011-12 Special:: noitaminA (Autumn, Winter)

Fuji TV's noitaminA block has regularly produced a number of high-quality and notable works, but its spring and summer lineups this year looked so promising, I decided to do a mini-seasonal preview special on it. It was intended to be just a one-time feature, but I was open to doing it once more if the block proved especially interesting once more. No offense to Fuji TV or noitaminA, but it seemed so unlikely at the time that they could possibly strike such gold again.

And yet, here we are…

Similar to the past two seasons, noitaminA looks to have pulled out all of the stops for their autumn and winter lineups, which carry a number of interesting notes. The first of those are the big-named staffs being assembled for UN-GO and GUILTY CROWN (by BONES and Production I.G, respectively (well, a division of the latter, anyway), who also handled the summer slate of titles), creating an intriguing mix of talent whose final products should yield some equally intriguing results. GUILTY CROWN's run, however, will be stretching into the winter as a two-cour series, leaving the second timeslot to the surprise entrant of a Black Rock Shooter TV series in January February 2012 (thus making it "A Very supercell Winter", with the group's involvement in both noitaminA shows for that season's lineup).

[UPDATE (01/10/12): NoitaminA made a surprise announcement of a fourth series to debut in the season, albeit a three-episode long, Flash-based animation in Thermae Romae, whereas Black Rock Shooter was pushed back to February. More after the break…]

Monday, September 26, 2011

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

Halloween comes a little early. But not really…

Black Cat

Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: Manga Site, TBS Site, ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video [Free]: FUNimation, Hulu

It's not exactly Halloween yet, and despite its title, it's not exactly a Halloween, or even scary, title, either, but what Black Cat is, though, is a very fine and stylish action series.

Train Heartnet, aka "Black Cat", was once one of the most feared members of an elite assassin group, but after a life-altering encounter with a female bounty hunter, he shunned his former killer persona and left the organization. Sven, an older, down-on-his-luck bounty hunter, takes Train up as a partner, alongside young girl/deadly bio-weapon Eve. While the trio chase after bounties and their new future, Train's obsessive and power-hungry mentor vies to have his ward of old return to his former self and be by his side as he spearheads a rebellion against their former employer…

Saturday, September 17, 2011

:boxing: Smoke & Mirrors…:: Mayweather vs. Ortiz / "Give Us Barabbas!":: Alvarez vs. Gomez

For the past couple of weeks, you may have wondered as to why you have not seen any sort of mention about tonight's Floyd Mayweather, Jr.-Victor Ortiz bout either here or on Twitter. Simply put, I didn't want to give it any more hype than it already has, much of it very bloated. Copious amounts of airtime has been dedicated to the promotion of the fight on mainstream media venues, as everyone has treated it like it is the biggest event of the year. In actuality, it's not--not even close (More than Pacquiao-Marquez III? Really?)--but by vaunted perception, it, sadly, is. The reality is this: Victor Ortiz should not have been matched up with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and is nowhere close enough to being at his level to either warrant it or this level of attention. Of course, he garners much of it because of Mayweather (the only real reason), his rough-and-tumble childhood, and his brash talk of knocking him out, but if the non- or casual boxing fan steps away from the media pressers or the fighters' chirping, they might realize that much of the bout is smoke and mirrors…