Wednesday, December 31, 2014

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

Given yesterday's semi-review of ALDNOAH.ZERO's first half, the debut of its second half in a few days, Expelled from Paradise pulling over $1M in just 13 Japanese theaters, and the PSYCHO-PASS movie coming out next Friday, I figured now would be a good time for anyone new to his work to get better acquainted with some of the previous work in his repertoire. And by "his," I mean Gen Urobuchi, the hottest and most in-demand name in the anime industry today.

First rising to notoriety with his writing work at game company Nitroplus (most notably on Saya no Uta), he rapidly rose to super-stardom after penning Puella Magi Madoka Magica in 2011. He's been having a very busy, but very successful, time since then, including this past year, and does not seem to be letting up anytime soon. While you await for his next slate of work, or are looking for something to marathon through New Year's Eve/Day and this holiday weekend, you can take a look at some of his anime contributions, nearly all of it online and streaming for free!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

:anime: Ani-Journal - For December 30, 2014

Everyone's favorite scrapped princess…

For whatever reason, I keep thinking that I have done a bunch of these, but in reality, this is only the sixth entry in "Ani-Journal" (or is that "of"? "In" makes more sense because it's like a journal and stuff, but "of" is more grammatically-correct…). So, without further ado, here is an all-new entry in/of Ani-Journal!

—In spite of the allure of Fate/Zero's Ei Aoki collaborating with that novel's author, Gen Urobuchi, for the then-new ALDNOAH.ZERO, I was not exactly enthralled with what was yielded in its first couple of episodes. Its premise was interesting, for sure, with its tale of haughty human Mars-dwellers raining down upon the Earth with their almighty space castles to subjugate it under a cloud of political upheaval on their end and the Earthers having to find a way to stop them with their inadequate mecha (this being a mecha show and all). The way it played out early on, though, also proved interesting, but not altogether exciting or that interesting. If anything, there was more of an air of familiarity and routine to it than any real whiff of originality (and this is not taking into consideration the strange vibe of a more modern, reworked Martian Successor Nadesico). For all of the hype, it was "good" but nothing "great", and if you are pimping out a show (or anything, for that matter), it better be "great".

Sunday, November 30, 2014

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Japan Anima(tor)'s Exhibition

© nihon animator mihonichi, LLP
(Picture Source: Edited from Official Site (banner image))

Japan Anima(tor)'s Exhibition

Official Site: Japanese/English
Video (Free {Streaming}): Japanese with English Subtitles

For a while, I have been searching around for a short anime (particularly an independant) to spotlight for Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month. I really couldn't settle on anything in particular, so the idea fell onto the backburner. Thankfully, the arrival of the "Japan Anima(tor)'s Exhibition" fulfilled what I was looking for, and more.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

:boxing: Quick Picks, Road Editions (Hopkins-Kovalev, Pacquiao-Algieri)

With two big/notable fights having occurred this month, Hopkins-Kovalev and Pacquiao-Algieri, you may be wondering that HardDoor has been inconspicuously silent the whole time. In reality, if you have noticed on HD's social networking sites, Quick Picks have been "taken on the road" this month, with the former's QP being featured on HD's Facebook page (post-fight comments included) and the latter on HD's Google+ page! I have done something like this in the past, but not to this extent. Still, it was a nice change of pace and show of love to the auxillary sites of HD. If you haven't yet, you can check them out at the links above. Hope you will enjoy (post-Pacquiao-Algieri comments will come after I watch the replay [EDIT: Now available here!!])…


Friday, October 31, 2014

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month's Fifth Anniversary!!

HD's "Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month": Sinking its teeth into legally-free and -low-cost anime since 2009!

A little over five years to the day, "Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month" first began on October 28, 2009 with manglobe's dark comedy short, TRIP TREK. Since then, somewhere between 70 to 100+ titles have been spotlighted (depending on how you count the batch entries), with the most recent being this month's selections of PSYCHO-PASS 2 and Your lie in April (which is a really fine show, thus far), part of HardDoor's commemoration of noitaminA's 10th anniversary.

Since choosing a title like TRIP TREK, I normally like to pick a work that is befitting of the Halloween season for each anniversary. Since neither noitaminA series falls under that category, I would like to point you towards one that not only works quite well with the holiday, but also ties in to both noted anniversaries.

Friday, October 10, 2014

:anime: HardDoor's Seasonal Anime Preview 2014-15 Special:: noitaminA (Autumn, Winter)

The autumn season is upon us and so is the second leg of noitaminA's 10th anniversary celebration! For the fall season, the much-pushed and -anticipated Your lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso) and PSYCHO-PASS 2 will debut, with the former stretching into the winter season and Saenai heroine no sodate-kata. taking latter's slot then. With the number of returning favorites both on- and behind-the-screen, in addition to the amount of heavy-hitting new contributors and elevated profiles of these other anniversary projects to come, perhaps the best fit theme here would be "great expectations"…

Let's not waste any more time, here's noitaminA's upcoming slate for the autumn and winter 2014-15 seasons!!

(…But before we make haste,here's a friendly remember that all noitaminA series debuting throughout the duration of the block's anniversary will automatically be the "Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick" for their respective months (given that it a distro is available)!!)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

:anime: Free/Low Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: NANA


Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: NANA Franchise Official Site, ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video [Free {Streaming}]: Neon Alley, Hulu
Video [Pay {Download-to-Own}]: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Xbox Video

A funny thing happened on the way to coming up with September's (belatedly-posted) Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick. First, the original intended pick, Char's Counterattack--I discovered--was set to expire by the end of the month, not leaving a whole lot of time for anyone to really watch it. Then I turned to a few alternative picks I had in mind, only to find that I would rather save those particular ones for later time. With personal matters to attend to on top of that, I was in something of an extended bind.

In the midst of this, however, something dawned on me: "Have I ever showcased NANA?" Sure enough, nearly five years after doing these, I never, ever have. Well, that changes here, as one of the finest anime ever made is September's (retroactive) selection!!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

:boxing: Quick Pick:: Mayweather vs Maidana II

Last time we were here for Mayweather-Maidana, I picked Floyd Mayweather, Jr. to win, not so much because his skill set or him being a better fighter, but because Marcos Maidana posed more questions than definitive answers as to whether he could truly upend the fighter with his own formidable toolset and skills. Their fateful May 3rd encounter developed those answers as the Argentine gave the American all he could handle with a smothering assault and making him fight less characteristically.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

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

God Mars

Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Enrty
Video [Free]: Hulu

For July's Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick, I have decided to go a more obscure and old-school route, and at the end of that road is…God Mars!

Even as a huge, long-time mecha fan, I had never heard of "God Mars", much less knew that TMS Entertainment (Rose of Versailles, Lupin III, Akira, Itazura na Kiss, Yowamushi Pedal (Yowapedal)) ever made a mecha show (though I always wondered…). The 64-episode series centers on a young man named Takeru Myojin, whose strange dreams and hallucinations give way to the revelation that he is the son of a malicious emperor from another planet, sent as an infant (along with a giant robot) to destroy the planet Earth, whose expansion into space he saw as a threat.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::08.21.14:: Brook Shocks Porter, Big Knockout Boxing Debuts

In a battle of contrasting youths, an unknown beats a growing name, and a new boxing promotion tries to shake things up all in one night in this installment of "Boxing Bits"…


Kell Brook MD Shawn Porter

Prior to Saturday night, IBF Welterweight Champion Shawn Porter was one of the hottest up-and-coming commodities in boxing. His power, speed, and take-no-prisoners tenacity made him one of the more enjoyable combatants to watch, and his recent demolition of Paulie Malignaggi was sight, if not a very concerning one, to behold. His Aug. 16th bout against little-known English contender Kell Brook was seemingly another rung to climb over on his way to the top of the ladder.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::08.13.14:: Golovkin, Garcia Dominate, Rios-Chaves Unresolved, Jennings Unimpresses

Three weeks of boxing have gone by and a few big match-ups have come and gone. Let us look back (fondly and perhaps not…) in this new installment of Boxing Bits!!


Bryant Jennings SD Mike Perez

For two top-ranked heavyweights, Jennings and Perez fought as decently as one might expect from the division this day. In the larger context of history and as potential opponents for Wladamir Klitschko, there was little to be inspired by and even less to be fearful of by the longtime kingpin. The bout primarily consisted of both men lumbering around and throwing punches. There was nothing notable or standout about the affair. Neither asserted themselves as a frontrunner. Neither created any sort of compelling case not only as contenders, but as worthwhile heavy draws.

There was little distinction between the two, beyond Jennings getting the slight better of the exchanges. He may have set himself up for a chance to contend for the heavyweight championship, but if Bryant and Mike Perez represent the future of the division--one so lackluster, yet still so sorrily tied to the public's subconscious as the marquee and measuring stick of the sport--then the future is not looking any brighter…

Thursday, July 17, 2014

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: PSYCHO-PASS: Extended Edition

PSYCHO-PASS: Extended Edition

Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: HD noitaminA Preview Entry (original series)
Video [Free]: (New eps.: subscribers-only first week, everyone else one week later), Hulu (new eps. one week later)

File this under "surprise", but in my wait for Terror of Resonance to be posted onto Hulu, I happened upon the special extended edition of the PSYCHO-PASS, instead! Titled, of course, as PSYCHO-PASS: Extended Edition, this version of the hit anime series consolidates the original 22, half-hour-long episodes to 11, hour-long episodes with all-new additional footage. It focuses on the  efforts of a law-enforcement group that uses weapons capable of ascertaining a person's true nature and the troublesome relationship between "Inspectors" and their "Enforcer" partners--individuals marked as "potential criminals" by the devices.

I never heard about FUNimation intending to stream this series, nor did I bother giving it an entry in the spring/summer noitaminA preview, given its format. Despite all of this, I am adding this to this month's already-hefty list of Free/Low-Cost Anime Picks because of noitaminA's 10th anniversary and each of the block's anime automatically counting as Picks when they debut for the year. Not to mention, a lot of people like the series, as well, so here is something for them to look forward to. New episodes of the series are available first at (under the "Special [#]" subheaders) and a week later at Hulu, in Japanese with English subtitles.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

:boxing: Quick Pick:: Canelo vs Lara

When viewing Canelo-Lara at first blush, it is not quite as easy to automatically pick a clear winner. When delving more into the figures and data, it is not any clearer. Saul "Canelo" Alvarez has the dogged tenacity, that explosive, ever-pressuring fight style, the speed, and power, but Erislandy Lara is far better skilled and the technician, more experienced and poised, and--while not up to Canelo's level--possesses a good amount of speed and pop. Many of those traits could give one man that vital edge over the other, but a few oddities are also present.

Friday, July 11, 2014

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month Friendly Reminder:: Terror in Resonance

While both Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal have been selected as July's "Free/Low-Cost Anime Picks", Shinichiro Watanabe's Terror in Resonance (Zankyou no Terror) was actually already slated-in as this month's Pick, as well! As part of HD's commemoration of noitaminA's 10th anniversary, all TV anime from the block will become their respective month's Pick(s) when they debut during the year. And so, the terrorism anime is technically the first Pick of the month, despite being the third mentioned and debuting after SMC did…

…But I digress. You can read the show preview here and check out the series at, which debuted just yesterday, but is currently available to the site's subscribers only. As is typical with other FUNi simulcasts, it is likely to appear on Hulu and possibly YouTube, at no cost, next week. And lastly, it is in Japanese with English subtitles.

[UPDATE (07.17.14)]: Now updated with Hulu link.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal

Official Sites: Japanese, English, Viz Media
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video (Free {Streaming}): Hulu, Crunchyroll, Niconico (Free first two weeks per new episode, Pay afterwards), Neon Alley

…Since Sailor Moon is being selected as a Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick, why not choose the all-new adapatation, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal, too?!

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

Sailor Moon

Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video (Free {Streaming}): Hulu, Neon Alley
Video (Pay {Download-to-Own}): iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Instant Video, PlayStation/Sony Entertainment Network, Xbox Video

(As you may have noticed with the Picks over the past year or so, I have been experimenting with the show info format above, though I am closing down on a final one here. I will be trying to include more DtO links, as well as posting links to aggregates like Neon Alley, Aniplex Channel, Anime News Network, and Toonzaki. As much as I dislike listing sites that just show embedded video from other venues (i.e. Hulu, YouTube) or a collection of them from a company's catalogs, some of them have interactive social features and communities, so I will provide links there for those interested in striking up a conversation with other fellow viewers.)

This was one of the titles leftover from last month's intended anniversary special, where I was going to post one Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick for each week, but alas, life and other matters got in the way. I decided to shift some of the celebrations to this month, instead, so we'll be kicking off with one of the most no-brainer and mention-worthy titles to come around recently.

Monday, June 30, 2014

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Poulette no Isu (Poulette's Chair)

Poulette no Isu (Poulette's Chair)

Additional Links: MAL Entry
Video: YouTube

For HD's eighth anniversary, I had wanted to do a special series of four Free/Low-Cost Anime Picks--a "particular" one for each week. Unfortunately, things did not pan out time-wise this month and I already had two titles planned for July, leaving the whole celebration special in limbo. At the very least, I want to showcase a little one that fits snugly with noitaminA's own 10th anniversary (which the blog is also honoring).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

HardDoor--The Eighth Anniversary

Eight, eight, years ago today, a little unique blog about anime, boxing, and sometimes a drop of randomness, was started, and its name was "HardDoor"--for equally odd reasons. That was 2006, and in 2014, HardDoor itself is spread across social networks Twitter, Facebook, and more recently, Google+ (launched in March) and even through a sister site in HardDoor: Screenshot Haven, on tumblr (there is also the parody blog, Black Pearl Cove, but that has been on hiatus--before it has yet to even really start--with all of the delays and HD taking top priority).

These last two to three years have been quite busy ones with work and other personal matters, so I have had less time (and energy at the end of the day) to work on HardDoor. Lately, there have been many major changes going on in my life--but good ones. Even so, I hope to be able to contribute more to HD going forward.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

:boxing: Quick Pick:: Martinez vs. Cotto

If this was the Sergio Martinez of a few year ago, selecting him to go over Miguel Cotto, even in one his prime, would have been a forgone conclusion. His very unorthodox style, super quickness and agility, pinpoint accuracy from all angles, and pop would have been a poor contrast in styles for the more traditional, heart-before-health, future HOFer. Alas, this is not great Argentine of old--at least, we may not fully know that, yet.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn)

Mobile Suit Gundam UC (Unicorn)

Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: PlayStation/Sony Entertainment Network, Xbox Video, DAISUKI

For the most part, the vast majority HardDoor's Free/Low-Cost Anime Picks are free, primarily because I like to choose titles that are as easily accessible and with as little upfront "risk" as possible. However, there are rare instances where there is no real viable (and, *cough*, legal) way of viewing a particular one without having to pay for it. When that is the case, you hope that work happens to be worth the price of admission.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

:boxing: Quick Pick:: Mayweather vs Maidana

I've been pretty busy the last couple of days, but let's still try and predict stuff, namely with Floyd Mayweather, Jr.'s near-annual Cinco de Mayo bout, this time against non-Mexican Marcos Maidana. If there was one fighter that I could pick that would have a good shot of beating Mayweather outside of Manny Pacquiao, much less one fighter I would like to see him face, it would be Maidana. He is a natural welterweight, has power, has grown considerably as a pugilist over his last few fights, possesses a tenacious, smart-pressuring style that should match well against Mayweather's more technical and careful style, the instinct to capitalize and try to finish a hurt opponent, and has an underrated sneakiness to him.

All-around, beyond the traits, Maidana has long struck me as someone who could pose a significant threat to Mayweather. The latter has been snacking on baby food for far too long in his career and seemed to allow a few too many shots to land from the green Canelo Alvarez last year. Maidana is more battle-tested and attuned to his skills, and one has to wonder if Mayweather's 37 years of age and potentially-slowing reflexes will combine for a tough night for him.

So, then…why am I not in a rush to pick the Argentine to win?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

:anime: HardDoor's Seasonal Anime Preview 2014 Special:: noitaminA (Spring, Summer)

Nine years and three days ago, on April 14, 2005, Fuji TV launched their "noitaminA" anime block with the series, Honey & Clover. With the aim of breaking the trend of and expanding the demographic of anime programing beyond young and teen boys, noitaminA would become the birthplace of antithetical works of the likes of Paradise Kiss, Hataraki Man, and Ayakashi/Mononoke.

The great success of the Nodame Cantabile franchise (still its biggest to date), Moyashimon, Library War, and Eden of the East, as well as the notoriety of the block's quality and content helped fuel noitaminA's expansion to a one-hour format for its fifth anniversary. Since then, it has experienced its share of sleepers (Shiki, Black Rock Shooter (TV)), diamonds-in-the-rough (read: critically-praised, but poor-selling) (Hourou Musoko/Wandering Son, Princess Jellyfish/Kuragehime), high-profile flops (Fractale, GUILTY CROWN (sold decently, but not up the lofty expectations of its hype or as well-received), Samurai Flamenco), big hits (AnoHana, Bunny/Usagi Drop, PSYCHO-PASS), and even a live-action series (an second adaptation of the Moyashimon manga).

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Mystery Meat AniMe

*Hey, look! It's a Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick not at the end of a month!*

I have highlighted many anime for each month since Oct. 2009 and normally, I would list the anime's name in the title. But for craps-and-giggles' sake, I want to change the pace a little, so let's play that little game where you reach your hand in the bag and guess what the object is!!

The rules are simple: I'll give you a very vague description of the anime and the website(s) where it is listed at. The URL is simple enough that all you need to do is enter the anime's title (if you can guess it correctly…) at the end of the site's address (if you can guess that, too) to get to it (i.e. "", and make sure to use hyphens where/if there are spaces). And to be an extra pain-in-the-butt and even more in spirit of the game, everything is in "invisible text", so you'll have to highlight the text in order to see it. :D So, without further ado, click below and have some fun!

Monday, March 31, 2014

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Hulu

With noitaminA celebrating their 10th anniversary, along with HardDoor's coverage of the block since 2011, I thought it was only natural to help commemorate the milestone by showcasing a 2009 title of theirs that has not only until last year been released in North America (nearly a year to the day, actually (Apr. 2, 2013)), but also has an uncanny hue to it due to events that would occur not long after. That series is Tokyo Magnitude 8.0.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

:anime: Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits ::03.29.14:: noitaminA 10th Anniversary, Gundam 35th Anniversary, and Macross 32nd Anniversary(?)!!

*rubs hands together* Lots of great anime goodness ahead, so put on a party hat and let's jump right in!


noitaminA Celebrates The Big 1-0!!

2015 marks the 10th anniversary of Fuji TV's lauded noitaminA block, and on Mar. 21st, the producers announced the slate of new works not just for summer, but for the whole year leading into it. Along with the previously-announced spring titles and the PSYCHO-PASS sequel, the list includes a mix of returning favorites, big names and studios, and big surprises…:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics Blog - The Final, Final Stretch!!

Alright, everyone, let us visit Sochi one last time for some Para-/Olympic goodness!!

Days 8-9--No Adjustment Required

--So this version of snowboard cross, in video game terms, is more like a speed or time trial than the outright race. All things considered, I guess that is reasonable. I imagine that in the next few years, you'll see something resembling the usual craziness…

--The current state of the sport reminds me of a lot of the Paralympic sports in earlier times. It's a little rough around the edges and touch-and-go, a handful of riders are clearly better than the rest of the field, and maybe it is not as exciting as the others, but give it some time to maturate and grow…

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics Blog - Days 2-7 (Or Days 2-7)

I can't think of better way to commemorate the 400th post of HardDoor than with a post that has absolutely nothing to do with either anime or boxing!! (Remember, this blog does have a little bit of randomness, or at, it is supposed to…)

To get serious for a moment, I cannot say I have been impressed by NBC's level of coverage for the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics. When I heard that they were going to be offering an "unprecedented" 52 hours, I balked at that and originally started about that and the lack of respect for the Paralympians in the previous entry. But, then I saw when the events were being broadcast and decided to relent before I watched how they were being offered. Six days in, and unfortunately, my biggest concerns still came true.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sochi 2014 Winter (Para-)Olympics Blog - From One Beginning and End to Another Beginning and End

My, what a difference three weeks make…

With the Olympics, politics are not supposed to be front and center, but sports and the idealism of peace, unity, and cooperation are. For all of the security, political, social, and domestic concerns, for two and a half weeks, all was right in the little globe of a world. Athletes from many different nations and cultural backgrounds competed against and intermingled with one another with nary an issue or grand controversy, with everyone appearing to have enjoyed themselves. IOC president Thomas Bach has emphasised that the Olympics showed that, indeed, peace is a tangible thing and the Games are a prime example that that can very much be grasped.

But then, reality came knocking on the door.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Blog - The Final Stretch!!

**cue mad sprint for the finish line**

Day 16…15…No matter, it's the third-to-last day…

--The Canadian men's curling team play, scream, and work like you'd think they would with their physique. They throw rocks mega-hard, sweep the ice so hard, you'd think it would melt to the bottom, and yell hard enough to make drill sergeants blush. For their effort, I, thus, dub thee, "The Curling Curlers" (or "The Curling Canadian Curlers", for you nationalistic folk).

--Is there some kind of curling division in the Canadian Army?

Friday, February 28, 2014

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: La maison en petits cubes

La maison en petits cubes

Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Crunchyroll (Subscribers only)

For a while, I had planned on spotlighting the 2009 Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short Film, La maison en petits cubes (Tsumiki no Ie), as this month's Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick, as the 2014 Academy Awards are this weekend. Unexpected, however, were the nominations of Hayao Miyazaki's final(?) film, The Wind Rises, and Shuhei Morita's Possessions for Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short, respectively, which makes this selection all the more timely.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Blog - "On the Fifthteenth, or Fourteenth, Day of the Winter Olympics, Sochi Gave to Me…"

--Filip Flisar (Slovenia, ski cross) = epic mustache

--Didirk Bastian Juell (Norway) = epically big air

--The ladies' long program skate was no more short on surprises than the short program. Actually, it may have been even more so…to an extent.

--The night, though filled with very fine performances, was also bittersweet on some levels. The final outcome was both a surprise and not…

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Blog - Days 13/12 - 14/13 (**Not to be Read as 1 1/12 - 1 1/13**)

For the slightly confused, the larger date number is my convention ("Day 13", which counts Feb. 6 as "Day 1"), and the lower one is the (*deeply, deeply flawed*) "official" designation ("Day 12", which counts Feb. 6 as "Day 0" (oh, you sad folks…)). In all, it's just code for "Feb. 18-19".

Now, that said…

Day 13/12/Feb.18

--Paul-Henri de le Rue (France) may have up short for the bronze, but knowing that he was in an induced coma a month ago, fourth in an Olympic final in an unpredictable event like snowboard cross must still be some slice of victory, however thin…

--Without context, you'd likely think that Alex Deibold (USA) earned the ire of some upset snowboarders. Funny…

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Blog - Sure, They May Say It's "Days 10-11", But Somewhere Else In The World, It's "Days 11-12"…

 I mean, right?

Day 11? Day 10?

--Every cross-country distance ski event is an exercise in torture, plain and simple…

--Although, to be perfectly honest, I would love to see them compete in a swirling blizzard with low visibility…

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Blog - Day 10 or Day 9…Whichever…

As of Feb. 15, a little over a week since Sochi 2014 Olympic Games started, and for all of the overblown budgets, questionable construction projects, the weather (which still played role), and the politics, this has been a pretty enjoyable and successful Olympics, thus far. The athletics have been high, there have been few, if any, controversies, the athletes appear to be enjoying themselves, and the officials have been trying hard to deal with the effects of hosting a (relatively, and sometimes literally) warm Winter Olympics, who have earned high marks from the participants.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Blog - I Call It "Day 9", You Call It "Day 8"…

February 14, a.k.a. Flatland Valentine's Day, may have been the Day of Love, but it was also a day of lovely sports action *ugh*

--After the some (very) fine skating from the individual male skaters in both the team skate and short program, most notably from record breaker Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan) and three-time world champion Patrick Chan (Canada), I was expecting an exemplary battle and display of skating prowess from them and the rest of the field. Instead, it was a rather tepid affair, maybe part nerves, part fatigue from back-to-back nights of competition (previous Olympics featured a day of rest in between). I was expecting to be wowed by Hanyu, based on his work thus far in Sochi, but he skated to a proficient, but also somewhat bland, long program, which saw two inexplicable falls.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Blog - Day 8, or Day 7, Your Pick…

The Sochi 2014 Olympics. February 13. As according to HD…

--Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan) channeled some of that team skate goodness into a great, record-breaking short program. Just the kind of start you'd want to see out of someone who looked the way he did in that prior event. Unfortunately…

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Blog - The Site Says, "Day 6", But My Heart Says, "Day 7"…

Sure, says that the Olympics "began" on Day 0, but why's that? I could get prelims not really counting, but since the actual team skate competition began that day, that should really be "Day 1". Is this going to turn into a "Year 0" argument, now? I mean, if zero means "nothing" did that day really exist? And when you really look at it--

[rest of post deleted]

All that said, here were the various thoughts and observations for Day 7 (for us rational thinkers) / Day 6 (crazies):

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Blog - Days That Lie Somewhere Between 4 & 6…Or Is That 5?

Be it Day 5 or 4, Feb. 10 churned out a great day of Olympic action!

--The men's 500m speed-skating final was certainly something. First, the Netherlands' Ronald Mulder posted the fastest time in the medal run. Then, his identical twin brother, Michel, bested his time, leaving Ronald to sulk on the bench with his head down in his hands. Right after that, fellow countryman Jan Smeekers topped his time, and Michel was left to sulk on the bench with his head down in his hands. Ten seconds later, however, Michel's time was adjusted, and instead of hitting the time he needed exactly, Smeekers was now off by 1/100th of a second, leaving him the silver medal-winner and a re-delighted Michel Mulder the gold medalist (with Ronald still with the bronze).

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Blog - Day 4/3

Before we dive into yesterday's proceedings, let's revisit the Opening Ceremony, but not because I liked it so much…

Day 2/1: The Opening Ceremony:: Reloaded

--So I understand that NBC removed content from the OC. Some of it important. Again. I was wondering what happened to the Olympic Oath…

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Blog - Days 1-3 (Or is that Pre-day-Day 2?)

As big a fan of the Olympics I have been--enough so to all but shun anime, boxing, and anything else I normally watch--I really have not had the time to get pumped up for either the London 2012 Summer Games or this most recent one in Sochi. Regardless, I somehow managed to watch more of the former than I thought I would be able to, but still never had any real chance to write about it, Twitter notwithstanding (and I was chomping at the bit on the (mind-numbingly stupid) subject of Gabrielle Douglas' (just fine) hair and the-sport-that-was-boxing-in-name-only). I may not have been able to develop the kind of connection I had wanted to with it, but it was a great Olympics, nonetheless.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

:random: From Super Bowl to Super Blowout:: Super Bowl XLVIII - Seattle Sinks Denver

I was originally going to post this on HardDoor's Facebook Page, but I thought what I had to write was going to be lengthy, so I am posting here on the blog itself.

When making my Super Bowl prediction, I had chosen the Seattle Seahawks to prevail over the Denver Broncos. I considered them to be the stronger team overall, enough so that I thought that a blowout would not be out of the question. That was strange to think on my end, but given the way the Seahawks' defense had played--from their swarming tactics and speed to the way they totally entrapped runners with their aggressive tackling and pulled them backwards (lessening yards gained), as opposed to tackling forward with their opponent's momentum (and, thus, giving them that extra yard for a first down)--and the potency of their offense (which had yet to operate on all cylinders, but had two weeks to gel and was getting Percy Harvin back), I thought they were a better team on both sides of the ball than their Denver was. The Broncos had Peyton Manning, to be sure, and some good aspects to their offense and defense, but I never considered them to be beyond a "very good" team, however their records. The numbers said they were impressive, but their level of play did not show me they were that outstanding.

Friday, January 31, 2014

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Bonus Pick!! - Wake Up, Girls! / - Seven Idols

Wake Up, Girls! - Seven Idols (Movie)
Wake Up, Girls! (TV Series)

Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entries (Movie, TV), MAL Entries (Movie, TV)
Video: Crunchyroll [Japanese w/ English, German Subtitles]

Hey, you thought Dead Leaves was January's sole Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick? Well, we have a special Bonus Pick here with the new anime Wake Up, Girls!(!) The series is akin to a spiritual successor to director Yutaka Yamamato's (Kannagi, Fractale) blossom, a very well-received music video supporting those affected by the 2011 Touhoku earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan. Wake Up, Girls! sees "Yamakan" (who also conjured the idea) and character designer/chief animation director Sunao Chikaoka teaming again for another tale set the affected region, this time in Sendai, where a disparate group of girls--not all of them necessarily being talented--are being joined together as an idol group by a talent agency on the downturn. They hope to creating the next big thing on the scene, but are missing a centerpiece. There is one particular girl they do discover, but she refuses to get back into the harsh spotlight once more…

Sunday, January 26, 2014

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

Dead Leaves

Official Site: English (Production I.G Page)
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Hulu, YouTube

In light of December's Free/Low-Cost Anime (Co-)Pick, KILL la KILL, I was immediately reminded of some people's criticism of or surprise by the fanservice in the show. From Ryuko's outfit (a main critique) to some choice close-ups and antics, some have put off by its brashness. I can understand where they are coming from and am not into fanservice, myself, but in the show's defense, its use has been in moderation and has either been tied to an overall theme, used for unconventional purposes, or in a more lighthearted way, not to mention that it is played both ways (though a relatively few gratuitous moments do exist).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::01.22.14:: Pascal Beats Bute, Perez Draws vs. Takem


Mike Perez D Carlos Takem

Perez's name has been floated around as a major contender against the Klitschkos, an heir-apparent to the heavyweight crown (post-Klitschko), and was touted as having the eye of Gennady Glovokin, whose trainer he now has on his side. None of those laudables, however, were on display Saturday night following a listless performance against Carlos Takem, with whom had a (questionable) majority draw.