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Isaac Sher
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Lives in Chicago, IL
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Just watched JoJo's Bizarre Adventures for the first time.  It's an old manga that's a beloved classic in Japan, but almost unknown here in the states.  The story spans several generations, generally involving conflicts between the Joestar family and a powerful vampire named Dio Brando, and this anime looks to be a prequel, showing how Dio first came to meet the Joestars as a young mortal.

It's melodramatic, a little on the deliberately odd side in its presentation, and I'm not sure if I'm going to watch more of it or not... and it uses the classic YES song "Roundabout" for its closing credits (the original, not a cover).   Which strangely enough makes me respect the show a touch more, for having such good taste in music.  :)

#AYearOfAnime  
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Isaac Sher's profile photoMichael Ostrokol's profile photo
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Ah! Then yes, it's very 80s. Araki comes solidly out of the Hokuto no Ken / Ninja Scroll school of character design. ;)
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Blame +Daniel Swensen for this one, he's the one who somehow got me in a filking mood.  This one's a short bit, set to the tune of GODZILLA by Blue Oyster Cult:

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With a purposeful swagger and a terrible sound
He pulls a party’s good-feeling vibes down

Helpless people in convention lines
Scream, bug-eyed, as he creeps around them

He sneers at geek girls and then he grumbles and frowns
As he wades through the dealers as they close their booths down

Oh, no, they say he’s got to go
Get out, Damn Dude-bro
Oh, no, White Privilege on the go
Get out, Damn Dude-bro!   (repeat x3)

History shows again and again now fandom ignores the folly of man… (reapeat x4)

DAMN DUDE-BROS!

(I won't claim it's high art... any extended version would have the sound of dudebros making lame pickup lines or attempting to shame geek girls and failing, while the instrumental bridge plays)
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Humza Kazmi's profile photoTony Love's profile photoTonya Wershow's profile photoDaniel Swensen's profile photo
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Epic. Engage filk mode as often as you wish!
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Every now and then, something comes along that tickles my nerd-bones something fierce, and CHAIKA -- THE COFFIN PRINCESS is one of them.

One of my most loved things is when you get interesting intersections between magic and technology, and this fantasy setting seriously delivers on that -- because the title character is a mage, and instead of a staff, what is her implement?

A SNIPER RIFLE.

She casts magic spells through a cool-as-hell sniper rifle that she carries in a coffin on her back.

SOLD!  And the show itself is actually pretty cool even beyond that!
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Gretchen Sher's profile photoIsaac Sher's profile photoPatrick Reitz's profile photo
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I'm absolutely floored by it. I want to marathon it but the episodes are so intense that I need time to absorb them and enjoy each of them on their own so I've been pacing myself to 1 or 2 of them per day. It's just so so fun though!
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I just had to drive my son's urine sample to the doctor's office, because he couldn't produce one this morning when actually in the office.

It ended up being a one hour trip.  EACH WAY.  It should've been twenty minutes each way, tops.

And then to cap it off, I have to pull into our local gas station once I reach my home exit, because my tank is running dry -- and some asshole in a Richer Than You, Plebe SUV zooms around in front of me, cutting in line for a gas pump, and gives me a shitty look and arm gesture, as if I was the one who'd just been the asshole in that situation.

Hey, random rich asshole guy?  You should be very, VERY thankful that I'm not the sort of person who would come at you and/or your car with a crowbar for that sort of thing.  Instead, I'll just settle for thinking about that scenario and wishing I had a more immediate way to safely vent some cathartic rage at that moment.

I'd like the world to be a little on the quiet and calm side for the next hour, please, while I figure out some way to not be really angry at the whole damn planet.
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Deborah Scott's profile photoIsaac Sher's profile photoJack Stephenson-Carr's profile photoTonya Wershow's profile photo
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I'm holding my baby too, salve for the soul, I tell ya!
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Sixteen episodes later, and I have completed one of my relatively minor goals for #AYearOfAnime , to rewatch the famous "Third Tenkai-Ichi Budokai" arc from Dragon Ball, something I'd last seen twenty years ago and made a huge impact on me at the time, but never had an opportunity to see again since.

It's a fascinating arc, because it's the last storyline of that manga before it transitioned to the era that the anime referred to as "Dragon Ball Z", which changed the show from a fantastical one to something more science-fiction oriented, where characters once thought to be strange mystical creatures turn out to be superpowered aliens, and the fight scenes became more focused on big energy blasts than martial arts choreography.   The Third Tenkai straddles that line nicely, using the spectacle of giant chi-blasts in conjunction with clever martial arts manuvers, and I still find its execution a delicious bit of candy to watch even today.

As is often the case, the anime does occasionally fall prey to pacing issues, where some scenes are drawn out much longer than they need to be, especially non-combat moments, but that's a constraint of the anime needing to make sure it doesn't overtake its manga source material, so I can make some allowance there.  It's not too egregious in this arc, but you can definitely see a tiny bit of padding here and there.

Am I glad I saw it again?  Yes.  Does it hold up well?  Mostly, yes, but there's been plenty of shonen stuff since then that are much slicker with a similar tournament format -- but it's still worth noting that they probably drew quite a bit of inspriation from this arc.  I'd still suggest this arc to anyone interested in a good sequence of fight scenes and superpower battles.
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And in positive health news, my cold seems to have reached the point where the gunk has settled into my upper chest, but is also responding well to expectorant drugs and is getting coughed up, bit by bit.  Usually this means the cold will be all but gone in a couple of days, if everything goes well.  Phew!
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Tonya Wershow's profile photoDaniel Swensen's profile photo
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Another vote for "get well soon." Being sick is no fun.
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Isaac Sher

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Hey, +Filamena Young and +David Hill -- are you seeing any advertisements for Easter?  I know that Christmas has been gleefully appropriated as a holiday in Japan (for couples, strangely enough), but what about Easter?  Are they even vaguely aware of it in general culture, or is it something that only devoted Japanese Christians pay attention to?
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Filamena Young's profile photoDavid Hill's profile photo
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The kids know what an easter egg is. But no connection from it to anything from what I can tell. 
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Welcome back to another installment of Threat Or Menace's "Fav Five Fridays!"  Our topic this week is our favorite film directors!  Curt's out sick this week, but we have a new guest contributor filling in for him -- please welcome +Tonya Wershow to Threat Or Menace!
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Bruce Baugh's profile photoTonya Wershow's profile photoJerome Comeau's profile photoCurt Thompson's profile photo
 
That's a really good set of lists!

Some worthy contenders:

Godfrey Reggio. Nobody's ever made the wordless documentary work so well as Koyaanisqatsi, a movie that genuinely taught me to see the world in new ways.

Chris Marker. I haven't seen much else of his work, but La Jetee is like Pachelbel's canon in D - the one work suffices to earn you a place, sometimes.

Jean Cocteau. Another one like Kurosawa, creator of a large chunk of the basic visual language of film. His versions of Beauty and the Beast and Orpheus are staggeringly beautiful much of a century later, intense and yet thoroughly accessible, too.

Andrei Tarkovsky. Action takes on meaning when there's possibility of stillness, and some things take time to see. Tarkovsky was a master of stillness and persistence, pacing his films to allow the viewer time to really enter in and establish themselves in a scene. Also, his work is deeply compassionate; there are a bunch of brilliant directors who are basically misanthropes, but he's not one of them.
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#AYearOfAnime  

It has begun.  You know that an anime has really made a big splash when the imitators start showing up, and I've now come across a first example of this in regards to last year's smash hit, ATTACK ON TITAN.  The new imitator is BLACK BULLET, and the show announces its intentions to homage Titan right from the opening measures of the opening theme song, complete with Big Epic Chorus Chanting right out of the AOT opening.

The basic idea is that these bug-things called Gastrea showed up ten years ago, and aside from all the destruction they cause in general as Giant Insect Monsters, they also infect human victims, who then turn into more Gastrea monsters themselves shortly afterwards.

Conventional weapons don't work on gastrea, because of their rapid bodily regeneration, but a mystery element called "varanium" is these monster's achilles' heel, as damage done with it to a monster won't regenerate.  Thus, the main hero has a gun with varanium ammo, the eponymous "black bullet".   We also find out at the end of the first episode that the city is surrounded by a ring of giant Varanium monoliths, which seem to keep most (but not all) Gastrea away -- could the AoT comparison be any more obvious at this point?

However, in addition to varanium, humanity has another trick up its sleeve -- the "cursed children".  Normally the gastrea virus is passed through body fluids, bites and such, but there are occasions where if a pregnant woman ingests matter contaminated by the virus orally (a splash of contaminated blood getting in her mouth, perhaps), the child will be born with a very slow-spreading version of the virus that can be contained with medication, gives the child superhuman powers, and will also have glowing red eyes when they use said powers.  These children are always female, and are paired with a handler (who is armed with the varanium bullets) whose job is to make sure the cursed child stays under control -- and I suspect that since the virus is "slow spreading", it's the keeper's job to eventually kill the child before the virus gets to the point of transforming her into a full-on gastrea monster.

So, it's Attack On Titan in modern day Japan, with cute loli-con girls with superpowers as the anti-monster countermeasure.  A little less on the heavy despair and horror of AoT, with a deliberate attempt to inject some comic relief here and there, but still plenty of material to be horrifying with when you think about it.

Overall... not bad.  I will probably watch at least another episode or two of it.
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Daniel Rodriguez's profile photoIsaac Sher's profile photo
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That one's on my to-watch list too. :D
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Threat Or Menace continues its weekly feature of WHERE WE WATCH WEDNESDAYS, with +Daniel Swensen covering the second episode of Babylon 5, "Soul Hunter"!  Will Delenn pop a cap in this mysterious new alien?  Will the new Doctor ever be able to settle into his office?  How will the Iron Chef strike back?  And what about Naomi?  Will she ever love again?
Babylon 5 : “Soul Hunter” Original air date: February 2, 1994 It’s time for another Where We Watch Wednesdays: Babylon 5 edition! This week is the second episode of the first season, “Soul Hunter.” Daniel's entry this week will be considerably shorter than last week’s, mostly because it doesn’t unload a giant dump truck of exposition like ...
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Alexander Osias's profile photoCurt Thompson's profile photoDaniel Swensen's profile photoDave Hill's profile photo
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An awesome 2nd ep.
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