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   Baloney In My Slacks   

Andrew - August 26 '03- 3:52 Eastern Standard Time

I should have known it was a mistake to try and go see a movie with my friend who I am never able to get to a movie on time with, especially when he was driving from over an hour and a half a way and the movie in question was the last show. Not only was this particular showtime located in a town twenty minutes away from us, it was also located at a theatre that apparently Did Not Exist, or so the fruits of our frantic finding labour would seem to indicate.

Yes, you'd think something named "The Colossus" would stand out, but apparently it just does a really good job of masquerading as various other theatres, none of which had the movie we were seeking, which was basically selected on the basis of its 11:00 showtime, and also because I saw Commando on TV this evening which got me stoked to see more Schwarzenegger.

Incidentally, don't be fooled into thinking this means I have any delusions about the quality of "Commando"; watch any two minutes of that movie and you'll see where most of the character traits Matt Groening stole from Arnie and plunked down on McBain came from. In fact, it's very tempting at various points in the movie to imagine what McBain might say, like when the helicopter with his old army buddies shows up and he looks out the plate glass window and miraculously doesn't say something lame.

Anyhow, there really is no point to this particular anecdote except to explain why I'm writing this at such an ungodly hour and why, resultantly, there may be a few letters that dribble over into tomorrow's column. Oh, well. At least then I can soothe my raging jealousy and get more than 39 letters, even if it's artificially enhanced like those crazy Terminator robots I've heard so much about but, apparently, cannot seem to find in theatres anywhere.

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FFVI Instruction manual... In JAPANESE
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It just occurred to me that maybe sixteen different anime recommendations might not be the most entertaining read...

To the fanatical bunny:

My favorite anime writers would have to be CLAMP. I really enjoyed Magic Knight Rayearth series, and Chobits is ludicrously fun. I've also read Angelic Layer, which is sort of interesting: battling dolls with martial arts one's thoughts alone... mmm...

Then there's Dragon Knights, a manga I picked up on a whim. As you may venture from the title, the main characters are knights who utilize supernatural dragon powers to fight the Yokai (demons). The first few books are light-hearted and not at all serious, as it entails the main heroes transporting the decapitated head of a demon ruler back to their home. Ironically, the main heroes become more serious, and the demons actually become moer funny.

I don't know... Is there any anime you would recommend for me based on the past description? You probably get this question all the time, but... I ask you, anyhow! Ha!

By the way, if this helps: You do a good job. You and Cortney. (See, I spelled it right, finally!). And the Queen of Dorks, too.

*removes lips from butt*

NeoCarbuncle The quote was from Shadow Hearts, by the way. Sea Mother is the WORST VOICE EVER in an RPG.

Andrew:
Magic Knight Rayearth, eh? Well, maybe if the good folks over at Working Designs hadn't had a hand in the localization of the game version of that particular anime I might be more inclined to not fear your recommendation of this series, but as it stands I have a terrible time with any game involving voice acting, which tends to be a rather prominent feature in WD work. That, and in this particular case, mediocrity on virtually every other level, if Zack's review can be believed.

In other news, please never mention battling dolls again. Dolls remind me of Rhapsody and anything that reminds me of Rhapsody deserves to roast slowly in some sort of deep-frier that turns the things in question into my own personal army of onion ring commandos. As far as manga goes, incidentally, I've flipped through a few here and there, but they appear to be overly concerned with the day-to-day sexual yearnings of young boys which, while it is comforting to know that there are other people who just can't get the girl, doesn't really do it for me in the entertainment department, supernatural accoutrements notwithstanding.

Thanks for the kind words, anyway, but I really won't melt into a little ball of sadness if someone doesn't tell me they like me every day. Still, I am an egotistical bastard, so please, keep it coming ^_^

 
Wow... I should demand everyone follow my topics every day :D

If you watch any one anime this year it has to be Haibane-Renmei. From the moment I first saw it, Haibane became an immediate favorite of mine. This show is a breath of fresh air for anyone who's looking for something honest and different.

With that out of the way, let's present some suggestions by genre: Fantasy: Berserk, Vision of Escaflowne, .hack//SIGN; Action/Period Drama: Rurouni Kenshin OVA's, Ninja Scroll OVA; Magical/Comedy: Magic User's Club, Magical Project S; Comedy: Excel Saga, Ping Pong Club; Science Fiction: Macross Plus OVA's, Serial Experiments Lain, Perfect Blue, Akira; Action: Noir, You're Under Arrest!; Mecha/Action: Full Metal Panic, Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040; Romance/Comedy: Tenchi Muyo!, Ai Yori Aoshi, Fushigi Yugi; Romance: Ah! My Goddess; Parody/Mecha: Martian Sucessor Nadesico; Sports: Princess Nine; Movies: Grave of the Fireflies, Ah! My Goddess the Move, Castle of Cagliostro, all of Hayao Miyazaki's movies (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, etc.).

Whew, sorry to dump all that. I hope it helps. I should note that I'm specifically listing well-known shows that are easy to suggest and are already released in the U.S. I could fill pages without those restrictions. Oh, and if you watch any one anime NEXT year it needs to be Wolf's Rain.

- Ty "Rambling is good!" Goetz

Andrew:
So what... I can only watch one anime a year? Well that's depressing. At that rate, I won't be through your list until 2041, at which point that Bubblegum Crisis better be resolved, because by then I'll be old and grey, leading me to believe that bubblegum will not be something I would like to be concerned with.

 
I have no attention span

So I was reading through the August 24th column, and in one of your responses you mentioned several RPGs you'd recently played and that none of them had been good. Since Star Ocean 2 and Legend of Dragoon were both listed I am compelled to ask what you found wrong with them?

Legend of Dragoon is probably not the most original game as far as game play, but I found the story to be pretty interesting. The plot twists are usually completely unexpected and yet believeable after they've been explained. The challenge level of the game wasn't exceptionally hard, but it did present some difficulties; enough so that you didn't feel like you were breezing through the game.

Andrew:
Legend of Dragoon isn't just not the most original game as far as game play, it's the least original game ever. Those plot twists were entirely predictable to the extent that I was just waiting for Lavitz to eat it, and crying every time something took place that has happened a hundred times before in numerous other RPGs. It's really sad because Sony came up with a halfway decent backstory, but then they botched it horribly with a terrible script and the aforementioned watery plot. I suppose you might not have played very many games and if that's the case then I can see how some of the developments might have been shocking, but when a game is out to copy another game in every conceivable way (gee.. Winglies? Ancients? nawww... Limit Breaks? Dragoon Attacks? pure coincidence!) it kind of wears out its welcome in my neck of the woods, at any rate.

Star Ocean 2 is one of the more fun games I've played. It's plot is definitely far from perfect, but the game play style has drawn me back to it more than once.

Anyway, I was more curious to see what you found wrong with the games, than I was to pump them up, as I admit both have their downsides. Long time reader, first time writer, Josh

Andrew:
As for Star Ocean 2... Well, I actually quite enjoy the game while I'm playing it. The problem I have with it is its utterly terrible pacing, its lack of direction, and the fact that there's so bloody many items that do exactly the same thing. I mean, it's a nice diversion to sit there trying to brew up some root beer while you're in the middle of the Ice Cave of Doom, but not only is it highly unrealistic, it's hiding the fact that the game is rather generic in many other respects, the six billion endings notwithstanding. Nonetheless, it appears your fanhood is supported by the majority of people who have reviewed the title so I will concede it probably has something going for it. I'm just going to cry if I hear "Leaf slash!" one more time, which is why I changed Ashton's killer attack today ^^;;.

 
Yeah, that's ...cool is what it is

ITS VASH THE STAMPEDE!!!!!!!

Hey Andrew,

A cool anime, but it can't beat Evangelion. Trigun is really good western themed anime telling the story of a guy named Vash, who did something really horrible in his past, and then in his future he promises not to kill another person again, and he just goes from place to place, with 2 girls who follow him most of the anime, to a traveling priest who is just cool, even though he "kills" in the name of God(WolfWood is his name by the way). The main enemy in the anime is Vash's brother, who hates Vash, named Knives, and has an ally that uses telekenesis and telepathy to control his enemies(who is cool as well).

Anyways, to talk about something else, in chapter 4 of Tactics Ogre, you have the choice of killing Kachua, letting her kill herself, or getting her to join your party by telling her the truth and telling her you love her. I've already played through Tactics Ogre without training once, getting to chapter 4 on the law route and having to fight Lans on level 18 due to the fact that I went through the game without training once that character. So I was thinking the other day, wouldn't it be cool getting a Lord at level 1, your stats raising dramatically, because the Lord's stats raise about evenly, except the fact that even though they're even, they're way more than any other class can get, even if Denim is the character. So you think I should keep Denim at level 1 until I get to chapter 4 where i can turn him into a Lord(which would be training alot with the normal characters and finishing the game with them, since Denim would end up being killed in hit, and the fact I want to see what Denim's stats will end up as. So you think it would be a good idea seeing how high Denim's stats can get(without using stat enhancement items, and only possible on neutral and chaos routes, because you have to fight Oz in a 1 on 1 battle in the law route).

And any anime that has a cool quote like, "ITS VASH THE STAMPEDE," has to rule

Also if you want other cool animes, try Cool Devices, New Angel, La Blue Girl, Twin Angels, and Immoral Sisters(which I am kidding by the way because every anime that I just named right here are hentai series and I just wanted to make a joke, but for an actual anime, you should watch Mobile Suit Gundam(which is the original Gundam, where they are supposedly showing the SD version of it on Cartoon Network which is really funny).

"I can't move, my feet are stuck to the floor."... "I told you not to use too much double side tape."

-andrew- -kupomogli-

Andrew:
Man, you guys sure do love talking about Tactics Ogre... Makes me think I should devote a topic or something to it. Hentai I shall avoid topicking like the plague since it will doubtless end up getting me plagued, which I hear is company policy around here for bad behavior. At least, it will be if I get my way...

 
Now, where were we? Ah, yes.

Andrew,

Anime week, eh? A few questions (and comments), then... What do you think of the live action Evangelion film that's being produced? It's GAINAX and Weta Workshop (the company responsible for special effects in LoTR: Part Deux), both outstanding companies in my opinion. At first, I was a bit skeptical...Evangelion is a philosophy centered series with some thrilling giant-mecha battles to propel it along - but I've also always believed that the content and emotions conveyed throughout the series depends heavily on the animation. Scenes like in episode 24 (I think) that stretched on for a whole minute, giving you time to comprehend what was really happening...I don't see how they would be able to recreate those moments in a live action film. Still, in spite of that, I am looking forward to it - I've decided that if it turns out crappy, I can just discard it and not except it as part of the series.

Andrew:
I think that people are entirely too enamoured of live-action versions of cartoons lately and I agree with you there - Evangelion was conceived of and executed as a cartoon and doesn't deserve to be cheapened by some Warner-style Nickelback-pushing ticket-selling puke-inducing monster that really doesn't have much going for it beyond the "gee-whiz" factor. It happened in the early 90s with that whack of old shows getting made into movies and it's happening again now with cartoons, and it's sad to hear that even Japan isn't immune to it. Well, that's just the way I look at it. Apparently Spiderman rates Super Great in everyone else's books, although I have a fair amount of support in my firm conviction that the Hulk is a steaming pile of adverrific green doodie.

Hmmm..looking for a new series to watch? I'm currently trying to finish Chobits (A romantic/comedy involving humanoid robots and a country boy living in Tokyo), RahXephon (What some have called an Evangelion ripoff, though I don't see any intellectual parrallels yet), Full Metal Panic (An Action/comedy with more giant mechas), and Aoi Yori Aoshi (Yet another romantic/comedy). Of special note is "Hoshi no Koe" (Voices of a Distant Star)...hands down one of the most emotional, jaw-dropping films I've ever seen. It's a bit short (only about 30 minutes) but everything was done by one man. There's some incredible CG work and the storyline is heart-wrenching - definetly worth the money.

In other news, Final Fantasy XI is teh goodness - yes, teh goodness. I'm lucky enough to be beta testing it for the PC and it's pretty cool so far. Haven't come across any noticeable bugs or glitches yet and the battle system is pretty neat. The only real gripe is the keyboard setup which can be confusing and hard to reach sometimes. It's definetly a step away from the other FFs though, and not just because it's online.

As of last Friday, Fun 'N Games in Tulsa, OK is the _ultimate_ bemani arcade in Oklahoma. DDR Extreme, PF 7th Mix, GF 3rd Mix, DanceManiax 2nd Mix JPARADISE, and our newly acquired Beatmania IIDX 8th Style *drool*. I must say, IIDX is better than I had hoped for. Might as well throw up this link for some pictures for those who have never seen a bemani game.

That is all.

~Afwe

Andrew:
Bemani? Is that some sort of Pocket Monsters-style crumpling of words together in an effort to sound cool? Because if it is, the introduction to this next letter is going to irritate me horribly on account of my erstwhile request for such things to never appear within these walls...

 
Yup, this is the one all right

Dear Andouryuu-sama:

Andrew:
Calamity be with you, dirtling. I'm pretty sure that's no way to say Andrew, and besides, I've already made clear my views on fragments of random Japanese that probably doesn't make sense (namely, that I hate it). Still, I think if we keep that in mind I may be able to restrain my irascibility, since that roguish scamp RabidPGamer managed to sneak in a letter to Cortney while I wasn't looking and I sure wouldn't want to offend his sensibilities. Also, I'm a caring individualŠ and certainly wouldn't want to give the impression of ogrely behaviour.

Here's a brief list of anime that doesn't suck:

  • Outlaw Star
  • Gundam 08th MS Team
  • Haibane Renmei
  • Steel Angel Kurumi
  • Card Captor Sakura (when not done by Fox)
  • Escaflowne ( when not done by Fox )
  • .hack\\sign (the anime, not the RPG. )
  • Crest of the Stars

    If you like yaoi, there's always Yami no Matsuei. No, really, it's good! And not graphic! And the guys are hot! I promise!

    hehe... now for my question

    I'm desperate for a PSII game that doesn't Suck. It needs to have decent graphics, a good storyline, and not bore me to death. Replay value optional, since it's just a standover drug until Wednesday (Soul Calibur II, *drool* Ph34r the 01d M4n p4ntz.....)

    *glomp*

    - Alexander Bryanson

    7th Circle Technomancer of the Virtual Adepts

Andrew:
Hmm... Apparently I've been making too many slashfic jokes. Anyhow, PS2 games all suck, so my advice is buy a GameCube and play Metroid Prime.

 
Grah... Two Rayearth recommendations? This can only end in disaster, by which I mean Rayearth

Yay a fun topic!

I'm not very sure how much I've stressed this, but if you want great anime that will leave you crying with laughter and deeply moved with a wonderful plot, go find The Slayers! All of the characters complement each other so well that everyone will find someone they can relate to if not idolize... There really is no one quite like Lina Inverse, a young underdeveloped sorceress, who possesses the most powerful of all black magic, and is willing to use it in almost ANY situation as long as it is not 'that time of the month.' She is accompanied on her journeys by a dimwit swordsman, a one third golem, one third demon, one third human(obviously a crack a D&D), a klutz of a princess obsessed with justice, and a priestess with a few odd quirks(ie trying to learn black magic!) The majority of The Slayers consists of three seasons that only increase in yummy goodness as each episode passes. I only present one warning to any who watch Slayers, stay far FAR away from the dubbed version! It completely distorts all of the characters and effectively turns Lina's character into something totally different than what the awesome Megumi Harashibara manages.

On another note, Rune Soldier does capture some of the fun possessed by The Slayers but it is definitely not a substitute... However, yet another choice would be Rayearth. It involves three schoolgirls visiting Tokyo Tower and getting magically transported to a mystical fantasy world... Even though it boasts a light happy feeling, it seems to get really depressing around the end of season one and for the most part of season two.

Another good choice for fantasy fun would lie in The Record of Lodoss War: The Chronicles of the Heroic Knight. It can most easily be described as a more serious romp than any I've mentioned before and is definitely worth it if you like a good love story and a large wonderful cast of characters.

If you are into the Wild Arms games you should check out Wild Arms: Twilight Venom. It basically combines all of the wonders of westerns and magical creatures and squishes them together quite well.

Weeeeeee!!! That was fun! I know you said what was my favorite, but I like going all out! Also if you don't have Cartoon Network I would recommend getting it somehow... After all, it has The Big O(weird robot anime), Inuyasha(girl transported to Japanese feudal era), Blue Gender(Starship Troopers on the Earth), .hack//SIGN(umm... like the games just it has Tsukasa! Well technically the games do too...), Ruroni Kenshin(Mejii era samuraii), Yuyu Hakusho(Demons and a Spirit Detective!), Trigun(Western/SciFi), and probably some others I'm forgetting too...

Umm... I don't rally have a RPG question, so... How are you?

Vrumugun

Andrew:
Isn't that the Meiji era? I mean, Japanese history and I didn't get along too well because my professor was a racist, boring old man who sucked all the fun out of life and also claims that there are fully three races of humans (Caucasoids, MON-goloids, and NE-groids with approximately that intonation) and also that all those free thinking hippies over in the arts department need to get an attitude adjustment and shape up and fly right and stop all that sharing of opinions because us kids don't know squat. As you can see, I paid very careful attention in the grand total of six lectures out of fifty-two that I attended. Yeah, I know I should have dropped the course, but then I would have had to give the government back the money they loaned me, so I'll take the hideous splotch on my academic record and hope they don't catch on to my embezzlement. Meanwhile I think the prof went back to Japan to leech more gifts out of the unsuspecting citizens, because you know, Japanese people like gift-giving. I can only hope he is brutally electrified in a tanuki mishap.

And uh.. I'm a-ok, like white on rice, or birds in trees or a spatula in heat. I guess I'm also wacky, since that was a lot of gibberish and I hear that's one of the main building blocks of wackiness.

 
Another giant list

Condor Hero. Best. Anime. EVER. EVER! And something that I highly doubt will ever be licensed here in the US (Probably the same odds as Return of the Condor Heroes being translated in English :( ). That, and Hunter X Hunter. Then there's

(Shonen-type) Serial Experiments Lain, Haibane Renmei, Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne, Evangelion, Hunter X Hunter, Hellsing, Berserk, Vampire Hunter D/Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, Scryed, Rurouni Kenshin (Gods, not the CN-network version), Wolf's Rain, Last Exile, Candidate For Goddess, Kaze no Yojimbo, Read Or Die, FLCL (Furi Kuri?), 3x3 Eyes, Blood: The Last Vampire, Gasaraki, Grappler Baki, Initial D (Only if you are into street racing or cars, but it's great! :), Hajime no Ippo (Boxing), Naruto, Noir, Slayers, Spiral, Seikai no Senki/Seikai no Senki II, Scrapped Princess, .hack//SIGN, Get Backers, Dual, Bastard, Big O, Battle Angel Alita, Iria, Macross Plus, Macross Zero, Rave, RahXephon, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Blue Sub 6, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Gundam SEED, Jubei-Chan, Shadow Skill, Zone of the Enders, Weiss Kreuz Gluhen, Witch Hunter Robin, Arc the Lad, and E's Otherwise.

(Shojo-type) Full Metal Panic, Fruits Basket, Chobits, Gravitation, Angel Sanctuary, Fushigi Yugi, D.N.Angel, Pretear, Nanaka 6/17, Marmalade Boy, Mirage of Blaze, AHHH! Megami-sama (Oh! My Goddess!), Ai Yori Aoshi, Ayashi no Ceres, Kodocha (Kodomo no Omocha?), Saiyuki, Saikano, X TV, Tenshi na Konamaiki, Video Girl Ai, and Kanon.

(Humorous/Ecchi/Other) Rizelmine, Iketeru Futari (BEST! EVER! :P), Azumanga Daioh, Tenshi na Tamago (Angel's Egg?), and Tenshi na Shippou.

These are just off the top of my head - there's a whole lot more, but I think that's plenty ;). Yes, I have watched them all, have them all, and like them all - I'm just a sad, sad anime fan, ain't I?

As for the questions: What're the odds of the Naruto game released over in Japan coming over to the US? Any opinions on it that you have yourself? I've also heard rumors of a Hunter X Hunter game over in Japan - do you know anything about that?

Oh. And Xenogears is the best. game. ever. - Xenosaga is blasphemy to the Xeno name :(.

-D

P.S. This is my first e-mail - ever - to any column! BWAH!

Andrew:
Welcome aboard. You shall forever be revered for your use of the word "Bwah!". As far as a Naruto game, there's been a fighter announced for the GameCube, but Bandai is behind it, and Bandai never brings over anything unless someone else forces them to, and then they kick and scream their way across the Atlantic, although I hear the Pacific lulls them into a false sense of security which means less thrashing about.

 
You'd think someone in grad school would have enough sense to ignore my ramblings :D

Hey Castomel,

You know, I was thinking about writing in on the Evangelion topic, but I wasn't certain if I should because in the same column you said, "I'd hate people to go around still thinking that junk actually meant something when it so clearly didn't." and besides which I got extremely busy and realized today that the Monday column in question would be up by now.

Andrew:
Well I did say that, but I also went on to say that there was other meaning that had nothing to do with the confusion of religious images sprinkled all over the show, which was what I was deriding.

The thing is, in the same column you seemed to imply that there wasn't anything beyond the surface of Evangelion to look at, and then brought it up as a discussion topic at the end of the column. Kinda felt like closing the topic before opening it, where I was wondering if any ruminations I would write would simply get tagged as seeing something that isn't there. It's like you dismissed the series and then asked what we all thought. At least, that's kind of how I felt. Maybe that's why there weren't that many responses, I don't know.

On the topic though... that topic is a gigantic dissertation in and of itself but I will say two things on it: First is someone who mentioned that he heard some company guy say they stuck that "religious stuff" in there to look cool and that's all... he didn't really point to said statement though to show it, and I've never seen anything like that... the series, at least Anno's work in it, does show his whole take on Jungian psychology among other things, and considering how the whole story ends out, there is SOME religious manifestation in there, such as post-2000 apocalypse, and indeed, at the very very end (thinking movie here) a new genesis for mankind, the start of a new period in the history of the world. That at least is some of the superficial stuff I can think of that is a matter of course in the plot, outside of interpreting. Anyway, I'm willing to be open to different takes on it, but if he cites something like that I'd really like it cited, and opening the floor to discussion rather than dismissing ideas.

Anyway, regardless of all that, the one other thing I will say on this work is that it's a PIECE OF WORK. The interconnections and the complexity to be seen in what's only 26 episodes and about (calculates) 2 and a half more hours of material continues to impress me to this day despite having seen it up the wazoo and continued on to other anime series.

Anyway, I was encouraged to write in this time by your comment, "Hence, Evangelion, in my opinion, continues to stand on its own merit because it is one man's attempt to explain how he finds meaning in life, which to me is one of the chief purposes of any work of art, be it a film or painting or Shinji/Kaworu slash fic." which sounded like you were once again open to considerations on it :).

I've been rambling, so I'll stop now :). I have to head to my first day of grad school now anyway.

Sincerely,

Ismail

Andrew:
Fantastic. Perhaps they'll teach you not to throw words like "Jungian" around without giving some indication as to why you're doing so. I'll admit - beyond the whole synchronicity business I have scant familiarity with senor Carl, but if you're going to wave his name at me like some sort of brain flag at least don't pull a Namco on me here and hope I'll just accept the mystical equation of "Namedropping=deepthinking".

And uh... Post-2000 apocalypses are by no means necessarily related to religion in any way, and the other things you've sandwiched that with aren't either. Still, I didn't and don't want to just shut you up like some book-burning zealot, so please: let's have some justification for throwing Jung's name around and maybe you could identify some religious themes that aren't utterly superficial while you're at it. I'm too lazy to actually go read Jung anyways, so perhaps you can even educate me, and indeed, those of your fellow readers who are in my boat.

 
.hack 2, Fruits Basket, 2, Haibene Ranmai 2, Escaflowne, 3, DBZ... 0, just the way I likes it

So you want a non sucky anime, do you? Well, I'd say that Fruits Basket is a pretty good way to go. Not only are the visuals great, but all of the characters have depth and are unique in every single way (well, except for the members of the Prince Yuki Fan Club, for one.) It has a Chinese curse like Ranma 1/2, but instead of Ranma-chan prancing around topless, we've got a family whose members turn into Chinese zodiac animals when hugged by the opposite sex. Mixed into all this is a girl named Tohru who was recently orphaned (her mother was a single mom) that is taken on as a member of a branch of the Sohma household consisting of Yuki (the Rat), Shigure (the Dog), and Kyoh (the Cat, and the family outcast.)

Another non-sucky anime I can recommend is Hoshi no Koe: Voices from a Distant Star. It is a 30 minute anime made by one guy on a Macintosh, I kid you not. And it is spectacular, both visually and story-wise. The basis of the story is that a boy and a girl start out just about to enter high school, when the girl is called to operate a robot far off in space. They keep in touch using cell-phone e-mail, but even so the girl goes farther and farther away from Earth, and the gap between messages and replies gets longer and longer. The boy has gotten eight years older while the girl stays the same age--such is traveling through space. It's very profound. I watched it just before I was to go off on a very long distance away from my family and friends and it spoke to my heart.

Finally, if you haven't watched Dragon Half yet, and SD (super-deformed) doesn't turn you off, do so.

Bucket Mouse

Andrew:
A mouse? In a bucket? Good things just can't be happening to you ;_;

 
And finally...

So you've watched Evangelion and you're going through Cowboy Bebop? Good good, as those are the two most popular anime series out there. Not sure it'll help anyone recognize what kind of anime you'd like to watch, though, since *everyone* watches Eva and CB. But anyway...

Escaflowne is good if you like a) good classical-style music (my roommate has said that the cello is Escaflowne's patron instrument), b) neat fights with and without mecha, c) hot cat-girls (though you'll have to get more than halfway through the series to see them) and d) a certain amount of teenage girl angst. Yes, it's a crazy combination, but it works really well. It's one season long (26 episodes) and on 8 DVDs. Watch it in Japanese with subtitles. The dub makes my ears bleed.

If you're more into intricate swordfights, there's Rurouni Kenshin. It's lighthearted for the first season, more serious for the second, and ... well, it falls off a little for the third, but you don't have to watch that far if you don't want to. Again, go with the subtitles on this one. The dub is, however, being broadcast on Cartoon Network IIRC.

If you like the gun fighting and scifi aspect of Cowboy Bebop but want something that's (for the most part) more light hearted, you can take a look at Trigun. It's requires a bit more suspension of disbelief that Bebop does, but it's also good. It's one season long, and has a pretty good dub if you want to watch it in English.

Inu Yasha is a series that was shown on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block for a while. Maybe it'll come back sometime. It's set in Warring States (pre-Tokugawa era) Japan and in modern Japan... they do a little bit of time travelling. There are some high-energy/magic sword fights, demons and ghosts, and schoolgirls. It's a good mix of shonen (for boys) and shoujo (for girls) anime. It also has a lot of fanservice (ie: nudity.)

Currently all the girls in my apartment (there are 3 of us) are more than a little involved with Yu Yu Hakusho. It's a very shonen series with lots of fighters and action. A lot of Americanization has been done with the dub, but that just means that it can be very, very funny sometimes. The subbed version is good, too. It gets compared to DBZ a lot, but I like YYH and I can't really sit through an episode of DBZ, so... well, let's just say that it usually takes only one episode to wrap up a fight in YYH, as opposed to one episode to watch Goku throw a Kamehameha. If you watch and like this series, though, stay away from the fanfiction. Actually, that's a good idea in general, but particularly with this one. And yes, I'm being a hypocrite in saying this as I write/draw a lot of tasteless fan-stuff and read some of it, but it's a good warning. Trust me.

There are a couple of other things that are around and amusing or interesting. Lodoss Wars, The Slayers, Ranma 1/2, Excel Saga, .hack//Sign, and Noir are all good series. For one shots or movies, there's Read or Die, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Grave of the Fireflies, and Dragonhalf. And that's about the entirity of my anime DVD collection.

-Meghan

--

http://not-the-hub.mit.edu/meghanm/index.html

"My fist is the divine breath! Blossom, o fallen seed,

and draw upon thy hidden power. Grant unto thee the power

of the glorious 'Mother of Destruction!'"

- Grafh

Andrew:
Dubs of any sort make my ears bleed - that's why I refuse to watch anime on Fox. Well, that and the horrible censorship. And given your current status as an inhabitant of a feminine anime lair, I'd be at least apprehensive about posting my homepage or any personal information in the presence of all the fanboys hereabouts, but far be it for me to censor your letter - I mean, I did just bitch about Fox doing almost the same thing. Well, except I'm fairly certain it's impossible to stalk cartoons - believe me, I've tried. Sigh... Maybe someday I'll meet Astroboy...

 
Alors, ca c'est la lettre finalement d'anime, mais n'avez-peut pas! Ils y sont des autres lettres!

Eh, the only anime I like are movies; Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Cowboy Bebop. That's about it.

I was wondering about RPG music. Now, like any self-respecting video gamer, I whole-heartedly enjoy OSTs such as Chrono Trigger/Cross, FFVII, FFIX, whatever, we all love the stuff. Burn it on a CD, however, and you run the risk of having someone who isn't familiar with the genre listen to it...and immediately proceed to ban you as a complete psycho who listens to the most screwed-up music on the planet. What is it that makes us like it and they not? Don't they know good music when they hear it? Perhaps the answer lies in the song's origin...tell me, could you possibly listen to Robo's Theme and NOT instantly visualize Robo's spritey goodness, dancing around Dome 32? Perhaps its not only the music, but the memories they instill in us, the experiences they make us remember...anyway. I was just thinking about it, because I have, indeed, been branded by a friend recently as one who listens to "weird music". I wonder...if they gave it a chance, would they like it?

Soul Calibur 2...TOMORROW...OMFG...

- Feep "No, guard impact the low...! 3A, 3A! Jump it! Oh, you guard-cancelled, you sunnuva..."

Andrew:
Well... I like videogame music as much as the next fanatic, but let's be honest. The dreck that most people consider to be music tends to differ wildly from what you find in RPGs, and despite the attempts of Nobuo Uematsu to cool it up and write #1 platinum smash hits, reality is much harsher and it sounds like a Celine Dion ripoff. On top of that, most people seem to enjoy songs that dwell overfulsomely on the heartwrenching ins-and-outs of "smacking my bitches up" and "pimping my hoes" and "Do[ing] me baby, all night long", so if you suddenly throw something at them that doesn't speak in honeyed tones of sexual assault in one of its various and sundry forms, you're probably going to be met with a blank stare at best.

Your best bet is to go after people who like electronic music. They're already used to repetitive crap, and after eight hits of ecstasy, it's probably nice to have something that you don't have to think too much about while you sit there waiting for your brain to finish leaking into your shoes.

 
Et maintenant, je dois finir avec la francais, parce que je ne connais pas d'assez pour continuer ici

Ahoy2 So a rant that wasn't an agricultural report? It appears I got the first, AND last laugh. Ha hahahahaha. But seriously now, stay, or I'll kill whoever makes you leave. I have connections in the furthest reaches of the world, even Virginia. I'm ready to go as far as Virginia if that's what it takes. I've always wanted to see an RPG with a soundtrack by modern musicians. I mean, it's hard to say that, but I mean, not an instrumental/orchestral soundtrack. Something with the musicians you hear on the radio, or, in the back of the CD store. You know? You know? Maybe I'm the only person alive who wants to hear an RPG open with The Who - Baba O'Riley. So back to basics, did you think Final Fantasy: Spirit Within sucked? I'd hope so. But I always wanted a movie remake of like, Final Fantasy VI. I bet it'd be sweet. It'd be hard to do a movie based on an RPG though, since you'd have to incorperate battles and stuff. Oh well. Bye. - Ducky

Andrew:
Oh, I have a thing or two to say about FF:tSW, but they're best left unsaid because they involve copious swearing and a great deal of unflattering comparison, which tends to get rather repetitive after awhile. The reason you don't see modern musicians doing video game soundtracks is because of how much it would cost. Not only would companies have to pay them to do the music, then game sales would see a little chunk go to the band each time a copy is sold, and I'm sure the RIAA would probably get its greasy tendrils in there somehow, since it likes to protect artists by ensuring that only the crappiest among them ever succeed. Which means you'd probably end up with something terrible like Justin Timberlake singing the intro to Kingdom Hearts 2.

 
Ahora, bienvenidos a pobre espanol! Si, estoy muy cansado y ... ;_;

Hey Andrew, I have a predicament for you, and I'm checking to see if I'm the only person in the world thinking about this. Here's the deal. There a great deal of games for Game Boy Advance that I would absolutely love to play (chief amongst them is FF: Tactics Advance), but I don't have a GBA. And honestly, I don't WANT a GBA. I'm a grown man, I don't ride around in cars with parents, I don't want to sit in my apartment staring at a tiny tiny little screen, straining my eyes and no doubt creating some sort of macular degeneration, just to play a game. I have a potential solution to this problem: The Game Boy Player. The idea of being able to play all the games I want on a regular TV makes me very exciting, but.... I don't have a Gamecube either. And on top of that, there are very few, if any, games that I have any interest in playing on Gamecube. So, here's my predicament. I'm actually considering buying a Gamecube AND a Game Boy player just for the ability to play GBA games on a television. Is there anyone else out there who would actually do this? I have no desire for a system to be portable... I only play games in my living room on a big TV anyway. I know that buying a system and an add-on just for the ability to play games that aren't even made for that system might seem a little absurd... so I just wonder what you think of the whole thing. Craziness? I don't have money to burn, but I loved FF:Tactics on PS, and I'd love to play the sequel on a regular size screen. What do you think?

Seth

Andrew:
I think you're wringing your hands over a whole lot of nothing, since all GameCubes sold since about a month after the Game Boy Player was launched have come with the sucker bundled in. So rejoice and go buy yourself a GameCube, secure in your grownmanness and the knowledge that you'll never have to worry about people questioning your masculinity as you sit straining to see that tiny little screen.

 
Reintroducing: Unfit for print!

You know what, it's my first time ever writing to this, or any other anyway, Q&A column. In fact, it took me quite a number of days before I started to get a glimpse of an idea on what that was all about. Well... now that I know, I'll try to write something coherent! First, about the anime stuff, I'm not quite a pro at it, but I can say that I did watch and liked Ghost in the Shell (which you surely already saw) and Princess Mononoke, I think, even though it was weird. So now I'm just gonna sue (is it that how it's spelled, hehehe) because you suck... Hmmm... No... Yeah... No wait a minute, I can't write that, it's not true, hehehe... Anyway, that was just my pitiful attempt at writing something for all three issues :) Other than that, hummm... damn, I can't find any question to ask you now that I'm at it... Sorry!

Bye,

Persil

__

" Now what a lame name that is, Persil. "

-- Persil.

Andrew:
Once again, I must remind everyone that while I am occasionally accused of rambling, at least I do it with style.



Quickies

It's probably for the better that they shortened Cyan's name. If he had been called "Cayenne," I probably would have spent all my time trying to arm him with dual chicken wings.

And were I to come up against you in a battle of wittiness I would find myself sorely overpowered by the sheer force of your armaments!

Hello my igloo-building friend, Do you think many of the readers don't want Cortney to leave Q&A because when she answers their letters, it is the longest response from a female that they have ever received? Also, don't you love stereotypes? Doug "Stom" Hill

Yes and yes. And now I must prepare for death.

Cowboy Bebop is the best! I command you to watch more! If you enjoyed Evangelion, have you seen Kareshi Kanojo no Junjo (Kare Kano for short, also called His and Her Circumstances)? It's very good and it was done by the same studio as Eva, except the director was NOT having a mental breakdown during the end of the series. I have also heard good things about Fooly Cooly - don't take my word on that, since I haven't seen it, but I know it does involve a crazy alien girl who uses a guitar as her weapon. -Souji

I have heard terrible things about Kareshi Kanojo no Junjo, so I think mental breakdowns notwithstanding, I shall endeavour to avoid it like the pestilence it may well be.

Dear Andrew,

I should probably sleep and think a bit more before I fire off e-mails, yes?

-rob "hangman" mcg

It's really not a requirement, but if that's what makes you happy, then it makes me happy too.

Hey Andrew, Am I the only one who was devastated by Mario beating Crono in the gamefaqs character battle by only 137 votes? ninjad

Yes, yes you are. And don't look at me like that. What difference could one vote have possibly made? Seniors always vote in record numbers...

What's the deal with Dungeons and Dragons Heroes being more than just a Gauntlet clone? I want a gauntlet clone! I want more Gauntlet! Where's it coming from?

By the way, if you take apart your keyboard, make sure you keep those little metal things that let your shift key work. 'Cuz otherwise it sucks.

Funny you should say that... My shift key sticks all the time, which makes me want to murder. I think I may have rage issues, or at least fake rage issues which are almost as bad <.<

That email with no subject was from me. Yeah. Just so you didn't delete it as a SoBig ploy, or something.

- Feep

Actually I always open email with no subject because turkeys like you always forget to title their work. Yeah, it nets me a few offers to add inches here and there, but who doesn't want a bigger schlong?

I want to be the first to say that the Star Wars Kid (you know who I'm talking about) is suing the kids who did "that" to him. I say slap each of the kids with $250 000... REWARDS! MWA HA HA I love that movie clip. I love it

- Ducky

I have no idea what you're talking about, but anyone who doesn't like Jake Lloyd's acting is okay in my books. Welcome aboard, nutcase!

Well, Cowboy Bebop is certainly my favorite anime EVAR, so you're certainly in a good spot at the moment. The series Trigun is very, very good (albeit not what you'd expect), and I'd also hafta recommend Record of Lodoss War. FLCL is one of the strangest things I've ever seen...but I like it, plus it's only 6 episodes long. And, as anyone knows, Lupin III is wondermous.

Anyway, hope that list keeps you busy, entertained, and not rueing the day you took a bit of advice from yours truly.

-Rich˛˛

Now why wouldn't you want me rueing this day? Any publicity is good publicity, or so I hear.

I always read your Q&A, but never write (not enough guts, fear of getting rejected) But this time, I can't take it! DragonBall Z does not suck! Is that clear! Well, o.k., maybe it's a bit childish, but even you must've followed a couple of episodes. Come on, admit it! Anyway, maybe if my taste is that bad, my other suggestion will make you feel worst than DBZ, try Escaflown, I found that very good too.... well?

Well what? I'm waiting to hear what's entertaining about "Aha! I am very powerful! But so are you! Let me now jump and shout and turn blond and then we shall see who is more powerful! AHA! It is ME! AND NOW YOU MUST DIE! BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh, Goku, you naughty scamp! You've eaten all the noodles again!" every-single-freaking-time. This, I believe, falls under the category of "Everything that is made in Japan is not gold", a maxim you should probably latch onto if you hope to have any money left by the time you hit college.

The Final Grumble:

Well, then. I guess that's a fine starting point for my upcoming foray into the wide world of Japanese animation, and I thank everyone for their suggestions. Now that we've gotten that part of anime week out of the way, let's tie it in with games a little. Which games do you think are most conducive to anime spinoffs? Which anime spinoffs, or games based on anime, do you think do the most justice to their counterparts? Finally, why does milk that I leave in my fridge always turn chunky five days before the expiration date?

Well, you don't have to answer that last one - I know I need a new fridge.

Andrew "Mmm.. free cottage cheese!" Long

Discounting, of course, the $3.99 paid for the milk

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