November 3, 2014

  • SERIES REVIEW: The Devil is a Part-Timer

    13 Episodes

    GENRE: Japanese Comedy Anime

    SUMMARY: Lord Satan’s attempt to take the lands of Ente Isla are near completion when the hero Emilia turns the tides and forces the king of demons to flee through an inter-dimensional gate landing him in modern Tokyo without his powers.

    REVIEW: This is actually a pretty funny show. There’s some fun humor throughout the show. The art is above average, but the standard art of the day has raised the bar to that level as standard. The characters are entertaining, but fairly standard. The woman are all weak and emotional which is frustrating. It’s unlikely that will change anytime soon for anime outside of my favorites Ghost in the Shell, Moribito, and the Legend of Korra. This just means we have to deal with shaky emotional eye shots whenever a female character worries about rejection from a some male. It’s still a fun show, but nothing that stands out.

    Random side note: I surprised myself by becoming a little squirmy due to my western Christian foundation of  beliefs weighing the taboo of taking the topic of Satan and Lucifer so lightly.

    ART: 5/10
    STORYTELLING & PLOT: 7/10
    CHARACTERS: 7/10
    OVERALL: 6/10

  • INCOMPLETE SERIES REVIEW: Ghost in the Shell: Arise

     

    2 of 4 episodes watched (all that was on Netflix)

    GENRE: Japanese Sci-Fi Action Anime

    SUMMARY: Witness the forming of Section 9 and the rise of the Major.

    REVIEW: I don’t want to spend too much time on this review because either you know about Ghost in the Shell and understand or you don’t and need to take a look. I’ll just give it the biggest compliment I can by saying that it is par for the course of the Ghost in the Shell franchise and fits very well within that universe.

    ART: 8/10
    STORYTELLING & PLOT: 10/10
    CHARACTERS: 8/10
    OVERALL: 9/10

  • SERIES REVIEW: Knights of Sidonia (2014)

    12 Episodes (only 1st season)

    GENRE: Japanese Sci-Fi Action Anime

    SUMMARY:  It’s been over a 1,000 years since humanity fled Earth in enormous “seed ships” to escape the mysterious alien race known as the Gauna. Now Nagate Tanikaze must rise as a hero aboard his ship Sidonia to defend humanity in his mecha Gardes unit.

    REVIEW: Netflix’s venture into anime lands squarely on “mediocre”. I feel like die-hard anime fans will love it for it’s formulaic composition: a mysterious quiet male hero unsure of his prodigy-like abilities is forced to overcome his fears all the while being pursued by various stereotypical throw-away anime women. The art is skillfully computer generated, but it becomes lifeless and stale because of it. The whole lacks spark. What’s more annoying is that every character lacks the spark of bravery and confidence as well. Everyone is unsure of themselves which makes it feel like being in an emo convention with endless internal dialogues, shots of shaky tearful eyes, and annoying blushing and gasps. Annoying stuff without a hero in sight.

    ART: 6/10

    PLOT & STORYTELLING: 5/10

    CHARACTERS: 4/10

    OVERALL: 5/10

October 14, 2014

  • SERIES REVIEW: Kill la Kill (2013)

    24 Episodes

    GENRE: Japanese Comedy Action Anime

    SUMMARY:  Vagrant schoolgirl Ryuko Matoi is on her search for her father’s killer, which brings her into violent conflict with the iron-fisted student council president of Honnouji Academy, Satsuki Kiryuin, and her mother’s fashion empire.

    REVIEW: This is an great try at an epic saga that only delivers with something average. It tries to tap into the greatness of Gurren Lagann with a central them of wild willfulness conquering all, but it isn’t near as elegant or skillfully done. It trips on itself by turning what could be fun action scenes into rambling monologues. It also obsesses with sexuality and nudity. One might think, “well great”, but it doesn’t address it as in interesting mature theme that could be both intellectually and sensually stimulating. It’s a cheesy distraction much like in Game of Thrones where I found myself thinking “and now lets move on with the plot”. The humor is good but not great. The focus on friendship is also only mediocre. The plot clash between clothes and humans is gimmicky. It’s a try for something awesome that doesn’t pull it off. All that being said, the music was pretty decent and it was a fun and distracting watch. Just don’t go into it for a truly engaging series.

    ART: 5/10
    PLOT & STORYTELLING: 5/10
    CHARACTERS: 6/10
    OVERALL: 5/10

November 6, 2013

  • INCOMPLETE SERIES REVIEW: The Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (2010-2012)

    1 Season of 2 Watched (2nd not on Netflix)

    GENRE: American Action Anime

    SUMMARY: Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Ant Man, Wasp, the Hulk, Hawkeye, and more join forces to combat evil in New York and all over the world. Avengers Assemble!

    REVIEW: It’s a really good solid cartoon. It just illustrates the difference between American vs. Japanese animation production differences. The plot is deceptively simply executed in such a careful way it hides the complexity that is written into it. Bad anime is un-focused and attempts to be overly complicated and emotional. It’s the same story with the animation. At first, it looks like that same tried and true style as the DC Justice League which has its roots in the amazing Batman animated series, but there is more too it. There were still-frames when I found myself appreciating the perspective and correct anatomical foresight of a character. They do so much with few lines and shading. Anime can just try to dang hard. It is more close to the comic than the movie which means the character is more like the original comics (ex. Hawkeye wears a purple pointy headed hero’s uniform while in the movie he’s in tactical gear). Go into realizing it’s made for kids but adults can appreciate and enjoy it as well (like Finding Nemo). Overall, a very solid showing.

    ART: 7/10
    STORYTELLING & PLOT: 8/10
    CHARACTERS: 8/10
    OVERALL: 8/10

June 14, 2013

  • SERIES REVIEW: Dance in the Vampire Bund (2010)

    12 Episodes

    GENRE: Japanese Action Anime

    SUMMARY: To the horror of Japan and the rest humanity, vampires are real and the child princess of the vampires Mina Tepes plans on building a community only for vampires. When teenager Akira gets caught up in her plans, they find themselves facing rogue vampires and other vermin.

    REVIEW: The director has issues. The art is pretty good, but Princess Mina is annoying. Because she’s thousands of years old, the director uses it as an excuse to get her naked and in provocative clothes, but here’s the catch…SHE’S IN AN 8 YEAR OLD’S BODY! Yeah, that killed it for me. Couldn’t get past it. The plot was alright, but with how obsessed the writer is apparently with naked little children, the whole show became tainted for me. There were so many more interesting characters. Take for example the princesses guard which only come up in one episode, there is like 8 of them and they all look like the come from a fighting game each with a different weapon. I want to learn about those guys, but no. Instead lets get a little girl naked and have her try to seduce a teenager. Sweet! 

    ART: 8/10
    PLOT & STORYTELLING: 6/10
    CHARACTERS: 5/10 (not into kiddy porn)
    OVERALL: 5/10 (the kiddy porn aspect just got me pissed off that I invested time into it)

April 4, 2013

  • RESTAURANT REVIEW: Sno Boba Tea Cafe (SOUTH OKC)

     

    CUISINE: Vietnamese, Cafe, Tea/Coffee

    OVERVIEW: 8/10
    My wife and I have been coming here for over a year now after moving from Norman and losing quick access to milk teas via T.E.A. Cafe. We tried various local joints in south OKC and settled on Sno Boba because of the great milk teas, cheap prices, and great staff. 

    FOOD: 6.5/10
    I primarily try to eat gluten free stuff so I haven’t tried very much of their menu, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good their Greek salad was. I was honestly expected ice burg lettuce and a few croutons from such a small tea joint, but got fresh green romaine lettuce with healthy portions of seasoned chicken, feta, veggies, and a great Greek dressing. I’ve eaten their spring rolls  as well during a study session and enjoyed them. They’re seem non-traditional (you’ve been warned), but I don’t get spring rolls very often so hard to say but they were good. 

    DRINK: 9/10
    You have to like the milk teas obviously, but we love milk teas and these are some of the best. We’ve tried just about every flavor they have and have yet to be disappointed. My wife and I’s favorite is the coconut milk tea with black tea and no boba. I know it’s crazy to some of you bubble tea fans out there, but we both think that boba in general tastes like snot balls.

    STAFF: 4 to 10/10 depending
    Okay this is one of the reasons we love this joint. The owner is an awesome friendly gal who we’ve only spoken to when we stop by but she’s turned us into her advocates on a mission to make sure the place succeeds. Her along with the standard staff are great. The only thing is they get in young staff to help out now and again and none of them have never been very good. They seem to be the epitome of what old folks gripe about the young generation: lazy, rude, and not as good at making the food/drinks. However, this only has been an issue 2 or 3 times out of the many many times we stop by and hasn’t stopped us from coming for our frequent mood-lifting milk tea treats.

    BUILDING/ATMOSPHERE: 5/10

    The building is very small, but well kept and comfortable. It is surround by windows on three sides that make it nice to sit in as well.

    PRICE: $

    Sno Boba Tea Cafe on Urbanspoon

March 18, 2013

  • MOVIE REVIEW: Star Trek II Wrath of Khan (1982)

    GENRE: Sci-Fi Movie

    SUMMARY: The title and responsibilities of Admiral feel ill-fitting for the recently promoted James T. Kirk as he attempts to hang up his captain’s uniform and his desire to explore far-off galaxies with it. They set off on a simple training mission, but with the re-emergence of his past foe Khan, a genetically engineered super-genius, and the Enterprise being the only ship in the quadrant, can Starfleet afford not to have their best captain back?

    REVIEW: After finally re-watching Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan I can see why Shane and Ash like Kirk so much. It’s also made me realize why Shatner says his performances were better than Chris Pines’ (from Shane’s post a while back: http://geektyrant.com/news/2012/12/1/william-shatner-says-star-trek-reboot-not-as-good-as-his-own.html). While new Kirk may be dashing, a rebel, and fun, Shatner portrays a truly radical captain who takes command of the scene when he takes command of the ship. 

    In Star Trek II, the whole feel of the movie is like a navy submarine battle in space and it’s amazing because of it. The crew is called to attention for Kirk’s boarding with a electric bosun’s whistle, they respond to Kirk with “Sir” and follow his orders, despite the technology being older for the special effects the computer consoles look more appropriately utilitarian and functional, and the uniforms feel right instead of like fashion statements of the future. The mood they are creating is clear and the director’s vision is carried out expertly. They even subtly explain why the captain beams down to check something out: Lt. Saavik tries to warn him but he goes anyway because he’s Kirk and in command so he does what he wants. When they go they go with weapons drawn like any sensible person would. It really has a true Navy feel to it which should mean something coming from a sailor. It’s sad that almost all this feel and awesomeness was lost in the next movie (from what Mere and I could stay awake through). They move away from the military feel and are clearly influenced by Star Wars in an attempt to make the Starfleet universe feel “fresh” and “edgy”. Unfortunately it comes of as fitting a square peg in a round hole and they lose all the good parts of their storied landscape (what idiot would put Nimoy in charge of a movie whose whole plot centers on his character?).

    This movie meant a lot to me personally because as I’ve started to finally explore the Star Trek universe as an adult, I’ve started to grow weary of the direction its taken. It’s a world envisioned by those more obsessed with “what ifs” that’s grown unnecessarily out of touch with a grounding in the reality of human emotions. It’s rather un-compelling intellectual fluff. Thematic and philosophical story lines can easily be gripping as good sci-fi and Nolan’s Batman trilogy demonstrate. I keep wondering why Picard’s crew is just so soft and undisciplined. Granted they keep using the excuse of “this is a science vessel” but when put in a combat situation there is no reason that Picard shouldn’t switch the ship into a military mode and have security that has been through some training. It also always frustrated me how, because of their limited cast due to budget, the command and support officers would beam down to a possible hostile situation without a heavily armed and trained escort. Even a science vessel could benefit from discipline and a well enforced chain of command. Star Trek II is a vindication of everything that frustrates me. It’s a coming together of all these loose threads into one glorious 2-hour event. The movie is a glimpse into what the Star Trek franchise could have been and a clear illustration of how they missed the starship on this one.

    9/10 DIRECTING, CINEMATOGRAPHY, & STORYTELLING
    8/10 ACTING
    8/10 PLOT & WRITING
    8.5/10 OVERALL (Great great movie!)

November 9, 2012

  • MOVIE REVIEW: The Secret of Kells (2009)

    GENRE: Children’s Adventure-Fantasy Animated Movie

    SUMMARY: In a medieval village, young Brandon lives in a small Irish abbey lead by his uncle the overprotective abbot. When the shadow of invading Norsemen falls over the land, Brandon must brave the enchanted forests to complete a work of legendary illuminated text.

    REVIEW: This was a random find suggested in a forum by a fan to the artist of one of my favorite web-comics (http://tmkcomic.depleti.com/). Just like the comic, it is influenced by illuminated texts only more so. The art is super graphic and beautiful. It is amazing and the best part of the whole movie. It alone is worth the look. The storytelling is weird. There isn’t a lot of explanation and a whole lot of “that’s just the way it is”. It made it feel a lot like traditional stories. Because of this though the movie seemed short and lacked traditional American plot development. So the plot was rather blah but the way they told it was really cool and folksy. It is very much a mesh of Paganism and Christianity. Very cool and worth a look if you have the time.

    ART: 9/10
    STORYTELLING & PLOT: 7/10
    CHARACTERS:7/10
    OVERALL: 8/10

November 6, 2012

  • INCOMPLETE SERIES REVIEW: The Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (2010-2012)

    1 Season of 2 Watched (2nd not on Netflix)

    GENRE: American Action Anime

    SUMMARY: Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Ant Man, Wasp, the Hulk, Hawkeye, and more join forces to combat evil in New York and all over the world. Avengers Assemble!

    REVIEW: It’s a really good solid cartoon. It just illustrates the difference between American vs. Japanese animation production differences. The plot is deceptively simply executed in such a careful way it hides the complexity that is written into it. Bad anime is un-focused and attempts to be overly complicated and emotional. It’s the same story with the animation. At first, it looks like that same tried and true style as the DC Justice League which has its roots in the amazing Batman animated series, but there is more too it. There were still-frames when I found myself appreciating the perspective and correct anatomical foresight of a character. They do so much with few lines and shading. Anime can just try to dang hard. It is more close to the comic than the movie which means the character is more like the original comics (ex. Hawkeye wears a purple pointy headed hero’s uniform while in the movie he’s in tactical gear). Go into realizing it’s made for kids but adults can appreciate and enjoy it as well (like Finding Nemo). Overall, a very solid showing.

    ART: 7/10
    STORYTELLING & PLOT: 8/10
    CHARACTERS: 8/10
    OVERALL: 8/10