Monday, December 31, 2012

:anime: Ani-Journal (BETA) - For December 31, 2012

Don't fret. Hopefully, you'll be license rescued… (Hopefully…)

We started the year with an Ani-Journal entry and now we end the year with an Ani-Journal entry (although the gap was unintentional. Been a busy bee…)!

--Speaking of, I would've caught Sacred Seven a little earlier in the month, but I spent much of that time doing Christmas decorations and watching holiday programming (I'm the festive type… ^^;; ). Thankfully, it was a marathon-easy show and I had enough time to watch it over the course of two, because it turned out to be a really good show. I wanted to see it due to its production quality from some screenshots and promotional pictures, but given that it 1) revolved around rocks and 2) looked like just another shounen action show, I put it towards the back of my list of shows to watch. However, with Bandai Ent., who licensed it, going down and them relinquishing titles they are unable to release, Sacred Seven was one of them and was disappearing from Hulu by the end of the year (and already had from Crunchyroll).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: The Rose of Versailles

The Rose of Versailles

Official Site: English
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Viki, YouTube (first ep. only)

There are many great anime titles that one can buy and/or watch in North America. At the same time, there are still plenty more that have yet to see the light of day here, much less have been license-rescued. Older works, despite their quality, tend to have the least-likely chance of being acquired, due to their age. There has been one title, however, that has defied that stigma and has been among the most requested titles--and for good reason.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

HardDoor--now tumblr-ized!

If you couldn't tell by now, I like posting pictures here at HardDoor whenever I can. I have literally thousands of pictures, and there are a number of things I'd like to do picture-wise on HD, but alas, the Blogger-connected Picasa only gives you so much room, and I'd rather save that space for future anime reviews and previews. Additionally, I don't think some of what I had in mind would necessarily fit into the style and format of the blog.

So I got to thinking: since HardDoor isn't really confined to just Blogger anymore--Twitter (personal thoughts, live blogging, biggest source of random content) and Facebook (exclusive pictures, rankings, the occasional quick prediction) have their own functions by extension--why not just expand the blog through another venue? It crossed my mind beforehand, but I had decided to start something at tumblr!

HardDoor: Screenshot Haven has actually been open since Dec. 13, but it is dedicated primarily to screenshots that I have taken over time, as well as other nice, pretty pictures. The screenies range from the cool-looking and elegant, to the weird and embarrassingly-drawn, plus I'll post the occasional edited screenshot and a few shots from HardDoor, itself. These are predominately ones that I have taken and/or edited myself, though pictures beyond that will have likely have come from elsewhere. I'll also be "reblogging" interesting pictures from other tumblr users, as well, and while the majority of what's posted will be anime-related, there is no real set type of content that'll be shown. If it's neat, I'll post it.

More or less, it's kind of like HD in picture form or some mini-version of it (it even has a slightly different logo!). I'll still post pictures here, mind you, but if you are in the mood for some more interesting screenshots or pictures, come and check out HardDoor: Screenshot Haven, too. Hope you all enjoy it!!


Monday, December 24, 2012

:anime: Nice Box…:: Ristorante Paradiso Complete Collection

In what is now a semi-regular segment on HD, "Nice Box" takes a quick look at recent releases that I've personally purchased, featuring "beautifully"-captured cell phone pictures of the sets from the blog's Facebook page. I don't intend to post pictures of every single thing I get, but I would like to at least showcase particular major releases or something that I've found neat or liked. It's essentially meant to give you a basic feel of how they came out, plus I'll share my thoughts on the content of the discs themselves (menu design, video quality, extras, etc.). So, please enjoy! --HD

While work has played a major role in the lack of updates lately, one good side-effect to it is that you get money out of it. And when you get money, you can get stuff, like nice anime box sets! This particular one, though, isn't a box set, per se…

Thursday, December 13, 2012

:anime: Nice Box, Pt. 3…:: Madoka Magica LE 3 Pics!

It's been awhile since the last post of pics from Aniplex USA's release of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, but here are the final batch of the final set! Box 3 concludes the company's very strong presentation of the series, featuring much of the same kinds of swag that came with the previous two: double-sided posters, double-sided BD/DVD case cover, a soundtrack, a booklet, postcards featuring the episode endcards, and a proof-of-purchase card (OK, so that last one's not quite "swag"…). The quality is evident all around and once more shows that Aniplex USA knows how to pull out all of the stops for a top title like PMMM. It would have been nice if the disc extras had more worth beyond a textless OP (the memorable second/true ED never received the same treatment even in Japan), but all of the physical material certainly makes up for it (although I do take some points off for not fully translating the credits--a growing problem with recent releases).

Friday, November 30, 2012

:anime: The Lights Are On Neon Alley

(Source: Edited from Official Site (background image))

In The Beginning…

About two years ago, Google released a product named "Google TV", a set-top box-like device/platform which integrated itself in between one's set-top cable/satellite box and HDTV. It enabled people to access the Internet and streaming content, such as that from Google's own YouTube, on their HDTVs, while giving them access to their cable/satellite service at the same time. The instant my eyes laid upon the article I read, my mind began to race with ideas. The notion of having an anime-based network as already been realized by two entities--The Anime Network and FUNimation Channel--but neither have a great deal of exposure over the airwaves, though they have fared better via cable video-on-demand (VOD) and even more so on streaming sites, such as the aforementioned two. It is not an easy venture to grab a spot on a cable or satellite system, particularly as a niche one with a smaller viewer base than most. A streaming site can offer more flexibility, control, and security, but it lacks the type of access one can achieve by being "just a click away", nor does it possess the greater comfort and larger screen size one can enjoy on a television screen, especially when it comes to HD content.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

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

Ristorante Paradiso

Official Site: English
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: YouTube

Two years ago, a confluence of thoughts led me towards dedicating November 2010 as "Impromptu Natsume Ono Appreciation Month". This was, as you can guess, a sudden event, so it was perhaps only appropriate that the title I wanted as its centerpiece and that month's Pick--Ristorante Paradiso--was, all the sudden, gone from Crunchyroll when I went to write about!. This was before I was aware that titles could disappear from CR (something I wish the site would make more apparent for affected shows; a listing would), but even so, it was pulled rather surreptitiously.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: All Vamped Out

Uh oh…

Many people have a thing for vampires Whether it's stuff like Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, or even the Blade movies, there is a certain allure to the legend,  and the occasional spin, as well. I've always been a fan of the genre, myself (not so much for the overt sexuality or gore that can be assessed to it), and there have been a fair share of anime titles in it, too, so in this Halloween installment of "Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month", we'll be taking a look at a rather broad range of vampire-based works, some well-known, others not.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

:anime: HardDoor's Seasonal Anime Preview 2012-13 Special:: noitaminA (Autumn, Winter)

Back once again is HardDoor's coverage of noitaminA's offerings for the season--but this one is a bit different than previous installments. For one, information on both series has been rather slow and vague until recently (Robotics;Notes had some since its PS3 game counterpart was announced, but it wasn't terribly clear what it was all about, whereas PSYCHO-PASS wasn't detailed until the last month or so). Two, with the latter taking up two cours and the former, thus far, looking like the standard 11 eps., no other series has been announced yet to fill Winter's of slot 11 eps.. And three, Production I.G is handling both series, returning to the block after the ill-fated GUILTY CROWN.

There tends to always be an unintentional theme each season, but instead of the "all-star staff/casts" of the past two, this one feels more like a case of "If that anime was popular for x reason, why not this one for x reason?!" It remains to be seen if that mindset will pay off (spoiler: most often than not, no), but fortunately, both series have been acquired by FUNimation for streaming, set for, well, today, so let's get on with the preview!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Even More Mari Okada!!

For the past two "Free/Low-Cost Anime Picks of the Month", I have highlighted a few titles penned by screenwriter Mari Okada, one of the most in-demand--and divisive--talents in the anime industry. This was largely unintentional and no, I haven't been too kind about her work, either. However, she is a hot commodity for a reason and not everything she has done has been a complete mess (maybe well-controlled messes, but still…). So I figured, why not conclude our little "Unintentional Mari Okada Awareness Special" by spotlighting two shows of her's that are actually pretty good!

Friday, September 28, 2012

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::09.28.12:: Martinez-Chavez & More!

Sergio Martinez UD Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.

Having a chance to see the big match replay last Saturday night, I have to admit: the much ballyhoed 12th round gave me more respect for Martinez than it did Chavez. No doubt, Chavez landed a good shot, but for Martinez to have stuck it out and kept fighting (despite tearing his knee and slipping soon after) was as nearly as jaw-dropping as the knockdown. Furthermore, his continued pressing of the fight actually helped keep Chavez at bay enough to help him stick it out and avoid the finishing blow.

Friday, September 21, 2012

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::09.21.12:: The "Other" Vegas Fight Card

Martinez-Chavez may have went down this past Saturday night, but it wasn't the only notable fight of the evening. Not only that, it wasn't even the only one in Las Vegas, as Showtime hosted a counter-card in the very same city as HBO's PPV telecast! Luckily for boxing fans, that meant that there were two venues featuring outstanding bouts, as Showtime's event did not disappoint…

Saturday, September 15, 2012

:boxing: Quick Pick:: Martinez vs. Chavez

Let's see…Sergio Martinez & Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. don't like each other and want to punish and KO the other. Martinez has the speed & KO ability and Chavez the size & power. Chavez can feasibly win it, given his tenacity and, well, his propensity for coming in two weight-classes above the contested weight. That means he can absorb more punches and dish out the harder shots, but Martinez has his signature speed and agility, which has enabled him to rack 'em up and befuddle opponents. Martinez also really hates Chavez and has been begging for this match for ages, but such spirit and determination does not always migrate into the actual bout.

However, I'll give him the benefit of a doubt and say that a determined, and more experienced, Martinez uses his speed and unorthodox style to pick off a very game Chavez in a tough, tight bout, ending him by Rd. 8. As much as I like Martinez and dislike the overvalued son of the legend Mexican fighter, I don't believe it will be so easy to psych him out as he has done other opponents, as the latter has shown some recent improvements. He'll need to pull off another Paul Williams/Kelly Pavlik-type of generalship if wants to make his mark on the sport once again. On the flip side, if Chavez is unfazed by him or gets the best of Martinez, a 9th round stoppage or UD is very possible.


Outcome: Martinez, UD. No stoppage by Martinez, but he very nearly got stopped apparently in the final moments of the final round after schooling Chavez the whole fight. Can't count out someone with that much weight on him, plus the weight of that family name, when the chips are down, but Martinez was in a bad spot  in the beginning of the first Paul Williams fight getting knocked down before coming out of it fighting. He made it back here and managed to hold on to his claim of victory and saving what observers were calling a "masterpiece". But if you make sport of someone the prior 95% of the fight, do you fight the guy again? I guess the money will do the talking for Martinez on that question…

For the review, click here…

Friday, August 31, 2012

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


Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Hulu, The Anime Network (NOTE: Japanese w/ English Subtitles at both (via Hulu), English Dubbed at TAN (1st two eps. free, the rest for Subscribers only))

For July's Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick, I chose AnoHana, tying it to a review I did for it. I didn't have many positive things to say about the series--chiefly due to the shaky work of screenwriter Mari Okada--despite the show itself being very highly-regarded. For these "Monthly Picks", I try to select titles that are either interesting, notable, have been well-received, or "off-the-beaten-path", but for the most part, I'd rather highlight an anime that was "good", rather than one that wasn't. However, there's the old adage that "another man's junk is another man's treasure". As AnoHana showed, not every show that I dislike is going to be disliked by everyone else, and vice-versa. Of course, that doesn't mean that I would recommend a title that is nearly indefensibly-awful (a la Sword for Truthwell, sort of…), but I don't want to mention just shows that I have found to be good, as you might be able to find something enjoyable in ones that I have not. So I figured, why not recommend another show that I didn't like?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

:anime: Final Impression:: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai. (AnoHana)

This was actually posted on Aug. 28, but since this was originally supposed to be posted as a "Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month"/review hybrid for July, I am listing it as an item for that month, even though it, uh, quite isn't…

Review: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai. (We Still Don't Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day.)
Alt. Titles: AnoHana, anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Crunchyroll (Note: First four episodes available to everyone, rest of show available to Subscribers only)

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai. (or "AnoHana", for short) was one of four series spotlighted in HardDoor's spring/summer 2011 noitaminA preview. From its April debut, the 11-episode drama went on to become one of the year's most heavily-lauded series, second only to its biggest star, Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Perhaps it is of little surprise, given that many of the key individuals behind it also made the beloved Toradora!, but so praised has AnoHana become, that it has already cracked the top five of ANN's top-rated anime of all-time. The Toradora! carryover was to be expected, but the amount of praise it recieved took me by surprise. I was looking forward to the series ever since it was announced, so in a rare break from protocol, I sought out a fansub for the series, since it was unavailable through "legal means" at the time (though now is at Crunchyroll). However, after clearing out time to watch the entire 11-episode series in the span of a few days, I could't say that I shared the same sentiment as everyone else.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: HardDoor At The Movies! (Part 2)

We're back for Part 2 of our trip to the Hulu Multiplex with three more titles debuting on-screen. One's a big-screen revisit to a popular show, another is a somber classic, and the other is yet another classic film (and a personal favorite), but with a new layer of polish…

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

HardDoor--The Sixth Anniversary

It's been six years since HardDoor was first started--six already? In just a year since commemorating its fifth anniversary, the blog has hit a number of milestones, such as crossing the 20,000 pageview mark (…though that only counts for the last two years, when stats were first being kept), 100+ pageviews in a day (…ditto), and crossing 3,000 views (and nearing 4000) for one post (I won't doubt that one…kids must love their zombies and big boobs). Readership, as a whole, has more than doubled since this time last year, which is both remarkable and funny when you consider that it has been the least active year for HardDoor since it began in 2006!

Suffice to say, there is no dearth in hyperbole when I say that I have been very busy over the last year with work. My nights have often consisted with me falling asleep at my laptop try to type something up (and trying to type while 3/4 asleep is not fun), though without that work, I would not have had that laptop or the ability to post pictures of latest Madoka Magica box set's arrival. Still, especially lately and over the last month, I haven't had much awake time to watch much anime or boxing, so I have not been able to accomplish a lot of the big things I wanted to roll out for HD's 5th anniversary, but hopefully I can get all of that and my time situated for HD's 6th…

Thank you to all you readers who have propelled all those stats and for reading (and sticking around for) HardDoor. I really don't like delaying so many things, so here's to a more hefty and busy year for HD, too!

To six & s'more…


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

:anime: Moonlightin':: @ TeddyChanTastical! - "Anime Highlight: "The Return of Toonami!! (Or Something Very Close to It…)"

While I haven't posted much of anything for the month (with, *cough*, one exception), I did do another guest post at TeddyChanTastical! earlier this month, this one reviewing Toonami's sudden return to the airwaves and its two new shows, Deadman Wonderland and Casshern Sins. Is it the same, good ol' Toonami that we've all have known and loved, or is it something decidedly different? Check it (and TeddyC's blog) out at the link below!

TeddyChanTastical! - "Anime Highlight: "The Return of Toonami!! (Or Something Very Close to It…)"

Thursday, May 31, 2012

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: HardDoor At The Movies! (Part 1)

Okay, this is actually being posted on June 19, but was originally aimed for the end of May. Due to the last couple of months (especially the last one) being absolutely stuffed with work, I've barely had the time or energy to work on the blog or get this posted on time. But, for the sake of keeping with the conventions of this particular two-parter, this is being published as a "May" post, so Part 2 can be published this month and still make this all feel "special" for spanning over two months (it was mostly done last month, so in a way, it still kind of counts…). Hope that makes some sense, sooooo, without further ado…

For whatever reason, for the past few months, a number of anime distributors have been posting full-length anime movies onto Hulu. The vast majority of anime titles on the site are television series and up till now, there were barely any movies to speak of. Since early this year, however, that amount has risen precipitously, and while the selection is still a relative handful, the line-up is no slouch. It's an impressive mix of hot new titles and classics, so HardDoor is marking the occasion with a special two-part Pick!

The Hulu Mulitplex is now open, so let's take a look at some the films they are offering!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

:anime: Nice Box, Pt. 2…:: Madoka Magica LE 2 Pics!

I originally received the second pretty box set of Puella Magi Madoka Magica last month, but thanks to a few very busy weeks, I am just now managing to get around to posting the pictures I took of it now (which is actually a second round of shots, since the first batch was marred by a setting sun). Aniplex USA, once again, did a stand-out job with box set and its content. Same items of postcards, a booklet, and posters (two this time around), but the quality of it all is high, as is the presentation that went into the discs and cases. I could certainly question having Mami on the front side of the box as opposed to Sayaka--who is the real star of these batch of episodes, but is regated to the opposite side of the box--but, it does not subtract from the overall impressiveness of the set.

The show's quality shines on both the BD and DVD and the accompanying soundtrack is quite pleasing to ears.  The English dub makes a few, somewhat questionable script choices--one, for example, sort of spells out a subtle, yet big, reveal and another punches up a conversation between two jerks into an overly "street" one that sounded more like it was coming from two stereotypical black thugs than two casually-speaking, callous guys. I got the intent and purpose of conveying them in a "hoodlum"-kind of light, but it was hard not to squirm while hearing them talk. That aside, the dub is a very good and strong one, with the largely inexperienced cast bringing their A-game and the script holding its own and staying accurate and true to the spirit of the great original. And as much as I don't want to single out any one VA, Sarah Williams was simply perfect as Sayaka.

Just one more set to go, and I'm expecting more of the same (which is a good thing, in this case).

Monday, April 30, 2012

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

© 2005 FUJI CREATIVE CORPORATION (Source: From noitaminA English Site (top image - older version))

As this April marks the first anniversary of HardDoor's noitaminA previews, I thought it was only appropriate to dedicate this month's Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick to the noitaminA titles currently available online! You just might be surprised by which titles have been a part of the block, so let's cut to the chase and get right to it! [All of the series are available for free, BTW…]

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

:anime: HardDoor's Seasonal Anime Preview 2012 Special:: noitaminA (Spring, Summer)

Hard to believe that it has been a year already since I started doing seasonal previews for Fuji TV's venerable noitaminA anime block. What started off as a one-shot special preview for what looked to be an outstanding spring-summer lineup last April, has turned into perhaps the most popular feature on HardDoor, with that preview and the most recent being the second and third most-read posts here. More or less, it has become something of a regular feature on HD, but that is more of a testament to the continuing allure that is noitaminA's programming. Its pedigree has yielded a deserved amount of attention and anticipation with its varied, challenging (in more ways than one), and often high-caliber quality of work. Even when a recent work, for instance, in GUILTY CROWN turned out to be a rare disappointment for the block, there were still surprises to be found in the sleeper Black Rock Shooter and Thermae Romae.

This year's tandem of spring and summer offerings seems to have brought everything full-circle from a year ago with another very strong selection: one from [C] - CONTROL's Kenji Nakamura, another a returning fan-favorite, one representing a step-up for a studio accustomed to mostly assistance work and fluff pieces, and one particular title being the highly anticipated return and reunion of a famed director and composer duo. So, once again, let's take a look at what lies ahead for noitaminA!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

:anime: First Impression:: Nisemonogatari Ep. 7

<--To Nisemonogatari, Ep. 6

Nisemonogatari, Ep. 7 - "Karen Bee, Part 7"
[Crunchyroll] [Crackle] [Hulu]

Sorry for such a long wait. With the importance and amount of notable information in this episode, I got away from the brief summarizations and fell back into a more full review (I slimmed it down since then, but there was too much good info to simply gloss over). That and a number of other factors have led to this coming as late as it has. --HD

Everything comes to a head in Nisemonogatari's Karen Bee arc, and so, straight from last time…

--On Shinobu's tip, Koyomi finally finds Karen, resting in a park. Given her condition, he wants her to go back home, but she is still too angry about Kaiki. As Koyomi won't listen to her, she decides to let off steam by fighting him instead. They engage in an all-out brawl, albeit a one-sided one where karate master Karen pummels Koyomi, who is reluctant to use his vampiric powers or Shinobu's help against her. The fist fighting soon turns into a war of words, as Karen tries to vindicate herself and the Fire Sisters' operations, but Koyomi wants to hear nothing of it. He points out the hollowness in their duty to "justice" and reasserts that they are not "heroes" but "fakes" and children playing a game. Karen, still in belief that that they are doing nothing wrong by helping others,  is hurt by his criticism, but in an embrace is told by Koyomi that despite everything, he is still proud of her and Tsukihi and wants her to leave it to their big brother to fix…

Sunday, April 01, 2012

*HD EXCLUSIVE!!* Coverage of Top-Secret Boxing Event NOW LIVE!!

Much of March was a pretty quiet one for HardDoor, but there was a good reason for it. Earlier in the month, I received a special press pass to provide coverage for a then-upcoming special boxing event. The fight card looked promising and it was an all-expenses-paid trip to boot, so I decided to take the promoters up on their word for it.

Being your usual tight-lipped Japanese company, there were a number of controls and embargoes set in place to avoid leaks, so they made me and a number of other bloggers and journalists ride in a darkened limo and then a shuttered plane to an undisclosed location. From there, we were led directly from the plane and through a tunnel leading to the rather-swanky hotel we would all be staying at (and weren't allowed to leave from). The arena was housed in the same construction as the hotel and the event was only a day away, so even with no wi-fi and cellular coverage, it wasn't too bad. Can't argue with free breakfast…

The next day came and with it, Fight Night had finally arrived. The arena was filled to the brim with spectators, somehow, likely from a raffle or lottery under the same restrictions (Which, as I understood from an official, was done so that the special could air in Japan first before being shown worldwide a week later. Go figure.) The lights dimmed, the entrances were made, and with it, the first bout of the evening kicked off:

Friday, March 30, 2012

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Nozomi Ent.'s YouTube Channel!

From top left, clockwise: Boogiepop Phantom, ARIA The ANIMATION, Emma: A Victorian Romance, Dirty Pair

"Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month" has showcased a number of titles over the past 3+ years, and with the proliferation and growing importance of digital distribution, that amount continues to increase more and more. There are a lot of good titles out there for many discerning tastes, so for this month's pick(s), I'll be doing something a little different, and rather than recommending a single series, I'll be recommending all of the titles from one particular company that not only exemplifies this, but targets a number of entries that might have gone unnoticed or unlicensed, otherwise. And that company is Nozomi Ent.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

:anime: First Impression:: Nisemonogatari Ep. 6

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

Nisemonogatari, Ep. 6 - "Karen Bee, Part 6"
[Crunchyroll] [Crackle] [Hulu]

Nisemonogatari continues to get better with Episode 6, which picks up right were it left off…:

--Koyomi, despite his efforts, was unable to take on all of the poison, though Karen's condition has slightly improved. Walking to Hitagi's house, he comes upon Mayoi, who notices how pale he looks. He tells her everything that has happened and remarks how "idiotic" his sisters are, but she says he's a bit like that as well, but since he was able to help save her, they must have saved many others, too. He questions whether, being kids, it's fair for him to hold them to adult standards, but Mayoi suggests that the problem may be that they are forgetting that they are kids…

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

:random: And Now, For Something Totally Different…

Since its inception in 2006, I have been covering anime and boxing here at HardDoor. But, since 2009, I've been planning…something different. Aside from the previews, reviews, and analysis, I also like to do some free writing and off-kilter stuff, and I've been looking to do something experimental and out-of-the-ordinary: a little bit commentary, kind of like a blog, along the lines fiction--altogether, something meant to be a fun little diversion.

That's basically the gist behind the start of "Black Pearl Cove", the "official blog" of the Pérola Negra Pirotas (or "Black Pearl Pirates"--named after a song, not the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies). It chronicles the life and adventures of a group of space pirates flying under the "Space Communism Charter". Of course, this is all for craps-and-giggles and a quick read (and what better day to start it than on a day that can only be commemorated once every four years?), so for the most part, there won't be any in-depth articles or thoughts like here. I'll also somehow be shoehorning wrestling and political commentary (something I originally thought to do here) into it, but I'm largely taking a loose approach to everything (and the look is subject to change).

To current readers of HardDoor: don't worry, Black Pearl Cove is not a replacement of HD, certainly not the end, and nor will it be impeding on its "time share". HardDoor comes first and foremost--BPC's more of a side-project (and a breezy one at that). I won't be discussing anime or boxing there, but if you like light, comedic fiction revolving around (supposedly commie) space pirates, and (likely in-character) takes on wrestling and politics, Black Pearl Cove might be to your liking…


:anime: First Impression:: Nisemonogatari Ep. 5

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

Nisemonogatari, Ep. 5 - "Karen Bee, Part 5"
[Crunchyroll] [Crackle] [Hulu]

After the previous so-so bath episode, Nisemonogatari revved up once again as delved deeper into its storyline…

As such…

--After a lot of stalling tactics from Tsukihi, she finally tells Koyomi about what happened to Karen. She tried to confront Kaiki at his place of business to kick his butt, but the nonchalantly unrepentant con-man showed no remorse or fear of her, only offering to go away for a large sum of money. He then picked apart her sense of justice with a twisting of words and morals before ending their conversation with a "gift" in the form of a "bee". With a simple poke to the head, Karen fell to the ground in a state of catatonic shock as Kaiki left a few departing words and departed with all the money in her wallet ("payment" for their talk).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

:anime: First Impression:: Nisemonogatari Ep. 4

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

Nisemonogatari, Ep. 4 - "Karen Bee, Part 4"
[Crunchyroll] [Crackle] [Hulu]

I think it's safe to say that after this episode, there is absolutely no chance of this show ever airing on Adult Swim, or let alone anywhere else on American television…


--Back at home, Koyomi tries, in vain, to get his sisters to spill on what has happened to Karen, but Tsubasa intervenes before he loses his cool. Back in his room, she let's him know that she has been assisting the girls in getting to the bottom on the charms. This isn't something Koyomi is too keen on and it reminds him of Meme's concern over her being too smart for her own good. Though she was unable to be around to help Karen confront the apparent source, she says that the "ill-omened" man's name was Kaiki Deshuu…

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: The Two Faces of Akitaroh Daichi

Director: Akitaroh Daichi
Official Site: Main Site
Additional Links: ANN Entry


Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN EntryMAL Entry
Video [Free]: Crunchyroll

Now and Then, Here and There

Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Enrty
Video [Free]: YouTube, Hulu, Manga.comAnime News Network

Director Akitaroh Daichi is known by most as a purveyor of wacky, out-there comedies. Be it the crazy inner works of the animation business in Animation Runner Kuromi, the weird family dynamics of Fruits Basket, or the completely-in-another-universe stylings of Gag Manga Biyori, he is someone who seems to truly revel in the realm of absurdity and humor. And the latest series of his, Poyopoyo, is the subject of this month's "Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month". Well, co-subject,that is…

While this bizarre slice-of-life entry of a cutesy, roli-poli cat and his adopted family is certain to tickle many funny bones, especially those who count themselves among Daichi's fans, there is one title of his that is anything but humorous…

Monday, February 13, 2012

:anime: Nice Box…:: Madoka Magica LE 1 Pics!

The first volume of Puella Magi Madoka Magica comes out tomorrow in a limited edition BD/DVD combo set and regular edition DVD and BD, but with pre-orders having shipped out last week, some have been able to get there's a little soon. I was one of those people, so I decided to do something a little different and post a few pictures of the loaded set and all of the swag that came with it on HardDoor's Facebook page! In actuality, I've been planning to do something like this for a while for a major or special release, and since my new cell phone has a camera, I now had a means of doing so. The quality's not the greatest, but they're there to give you an overall gist of what everything looks like.

Overall, I really liked the set and the high-quality job Aniplex USA put into every aspect of it. Even the paper and print job is of a high quality, with the images and type coming out very clear. The discs themselves were very well done, and even featured the original Japanese menus. The Blu-ray's colors were eye-popping in their vibrancy and the shading was great as well and the DVD was impressive in its sound and visual quality, especially since I was expecting it to get piecemeal treatment (it basically mirrors the BD version). I'm glad to see the amount of effort that was placed into the release and it has me anticipating the next two boxes even more now.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Journey to the (So-Called) End of the World: From 2011 to 2012…

(NOTE: This was originally done and aimed to be posted in January, but Nisemonogatari and other circumstances have led to it being posted now. However, this turned out to be a blessing-in-disguise given the upheaval in the R1 anime industry: Bandai Ent.'s downsizing, Media Blaster's own downsizing and subsequent production issues, the potential nuclear winter that could be wrought by FUNimation and (Neo)-ADV Films lawsuit battle, and the rise of NIS America and Discotek in the wake of BEI's quasi-demise. So parts of this post had to be edited and altered a bit, but I still retained the "new year outlook" format of it and the predictions already made, In particular to the anime predictions, though I added a few more titles since January that have yet to air, I did not add any titles that are airing right now that I didn't add before, nor did I change their prediction category (see "Moretsu Space Pirates"), which would've been pretty cheap of me. ^^;; )

Thursday, February 09, 2012

:anime: Moonlightin':: @ TeddyChanTastical! - "Anime Highlight: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time"

With Valentine's Day in mind, I was recently asked to do a guest post on anime at TeddyChanTastical!, a really neat and insightful blog covering the going-on's of the Asian Pop scene. For it, I did a special review of the modern classic, The Girl Though Leapt Through Time, a fine title for both romance lovers and those new to anime (and don't worry, it's safe for guys, too). Check it and her site out at the link below!

TeddyChanTastical! - "Anime Highlight: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time"

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

:anime: First Impression:: Nisemonogatari Ep. 3

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

Nisemonogatari, Ep. 3 - "Karen Bee, Part 3"
[Crunchyroll] [Crackle] [Hulu]

After two episodes of fun banter, the story really kicks it up in this installment. So, let's get it start…:

--Taking a break, Koyomi and Suruga discuss his love life, when she warns him to be careful of girls taking advantage of his kindness. While she jokes about him marrying Tsubasa instead of Hitagi, she also makes a cryptic note about the two's relationship. With his secret still on his mind, he asks her about how she deals with her family regarding her left arm being constantly wrapped. For her, she has played it off as an "injury", but because of an incident regarding her mother, she not on much speaking terms with her grandparents, whom she lives with.

--As he leaves her home, Koyomi comes face-to-face with a mysterious man named Kaiki. The nonchalant, solemn stranger happened to be in the area when he was passing by the supposed residence of a certain woman's child--one bearing the same surname as Suruga's mother. But with little aura to be found, no money was to be found for him, either, so he simply leaves. The man's presence invokes reminiscences of Meme Oshino (Bakemonogatari) and Guillotine Cutter (Kizumonogatari), causing Koyomi to follow suit. But as soon as he is peddles in his direction, he swiftly peddles in the opposite, his instincts telling him otherwise…

Thursday, January 26, 2012

:anime: First Impression:: Nisemonogatari Ep. 2

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

Nisemonogatari, Ep. 2 - "Karen Bee, Part 2"
[Crunchyroll] [Crackle] [Hulu]

For the type of show that Nisemonogatari is, I've decided to do something a little different with the review format (well, not that I've ever had a universal one set, but still…). As first seen in the previous installment, an unorthodox show deserves an unorthodox review, so to speak…

This time on Nisemonogatari…:

--Koyomi pays Nadeko a visit, who is anxious for his arrival and warmly greets him. While having some fun over games when she lets him know about a strange charm that's going around all of the middle schools, including the school she and his sisters attend, And, of course, the "Fire Sisters" are investigating it…

--Afterwards, Koyomi decides to stop by Suruga Kanbaru's house to help her clean her room, but on the way there he runs into the eldest of his younger sisters, Karen. Their little chit-chat session is interrupted by a phone call that pulls her back to her "volunteer work"…

--At Suruga's house, Koyomi has to contend with her antics and mountains of books. After questioning the validity of her eccentricity over the books she possessed, Suruga decides to convince Koyomi--by force--that she really is as offbeat as she purports herself to be.

Now, this also entailed…

Sunday, January 22, 2012

:anime: First Impression:: Nisemonogatari Ep. 1

To Nisemonogatari, Ep. 2-->

I made a promise to myself before the season that if Nisemonogatari--someway, somehow--got licensed and was made available for streaming, I would recommend it as "HD's Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month", no question (even if I already posted one; doesn't hurt to recommend more ;D ). Well, not only did it get picked up, you can also watch it, and many other shows this season, in non-upscaled 1080p at Crunchyroll (subscribers-only)! And having a full-HD laptop (with a fast Internet connection) and a show this gorgeous, I can attest that this is certainly the way to go…

Nisemonogatari, Ep. 1 - "Karen Bee, Part 1"
[Crunchyroll] [Crackle] [Hulu]

Ah, just like old times…

Nisemonogatari, the long-awaited sequel to the mega-hit Bakemonogatari, kicked off with--how else--a six-minute long banter consisting of Hitagi Senjoughara playfully teasing/mind******* with Koyomi Araragi, who--for unknown reasons--is bound-up and--for equally unknown reasons--is being "protected" by her…

Friday, January 06, 2012

:anime: Ani-Journal (BETA) - For January 06, 2012

"LOVE" in Mirai Nikki is spelled "YUNO". Other acceptable spellings include "CRAZY", "NUTS", and "CERTIFIABLE"…

What better way to ring in the new year, celebrate Three King's Day and Epiphany, and send off Christmas (the twelfth and final day of) than with a second installment of HD's newest feature (still under "BETA-watch", of course)!

--Chihayafuru notwithstanding (haven't seen it yet), I had considered Fate/Zero to be the best show of the autumn season. Theater-level animation, an intriguing storyline and take on the Dungeons-&-Dragons-type board games, and interesting characters (complete with fantasied figures from fables and world history) made for a very solid and enjoyable series with few hiccups.

…And then I saw Mirai Nikki/Future Diary.