Lazy Onion

December 19, 2009

Old Movie Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — JKTrix @ 12:07 pm

I wrote this review of Ghost in the Shell for a Science Fiction class, and a teacher who never watched anime. I was recently reminded that I actually had an anime blog, so, here’s some content. Regardless of how current the content is.

Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
In the high-tech world of Ghost in the Shell, humans and cyborgs coexist. Cyborgs who were once normal humans retain their humanity by having a part of their cybernetic brain contain a ‘ghost’, which represents their memories and individuality. A hacker known as the Puppet Master surfaces who can not only hack into the cyber brains of people to control them, but also alter their ghosts. There are two criminals at the beginning of the movie who are victims of a ‘ghost hack’. While they appear to be lucid during interrogation, when asked about personal things such as their parents, childhood memories, even their own name (things that would be stored in one’s ghost), they can’t recall any of them.
This attracts the attention of Section 9, a military division that is particularly specialized in cyber warfare. We later learn that the Puppet Master is a computer program that believes itself to be a sentient life form. For reasons best explained in the movie (as it is the core plot that I don’t want to spoil), it has wanted to get in contact with Section 9 for a long time, and this was the best way it decided to do it.
Other reviews:
Roger Ebert once called Ghost in the Shell “Unusually intelligent and challenging science fiction, aimed at smart audiences” (proudly printed on the cover of the 1996 VHS release). Director James Cameron described it (on the UK version of the recently released remastered Blu-ray edition) as “a stunning work of speculative fiction, the first truly adult animation film to reach a level of literary and visual excellence.”

My Review:
Ghost in the Shell thrives in its SciFi “post cyberpunk” setting. The main character is a female member of Section 9, referred to as the ‘Major’. She is fully cybernetic, having no human parts in her besides her ‘ghost’. The first dialogue we hear from her is not spoken with her mouth, but through her cyber brain to one of her teammates over a network. For them, everything revolves around the information network, which is where the Puppet Master emerges from. Once she learns of the Puppet Master’s ability to hack and change a ghost, she begins to wonder if she ever really was human. After all, if a hacker could change someone’s ghost, it could be easily manipulated by the organizations in charge of maintaining cybernetic bodies. The question of what makes a human, what constitutes life, sentience, and individuality is a theme that prevails in all of the media that the Ghost in the Shell franchise encompasses (it started as a Japanese comic, then this movie, then later another two movies and a 52 episode television series).
When I first watched this film almost seven years ago, all of the philosophy talk bored me. The movie also isn’t afraid to utilize its vocabulary of ‘technobabble’, which can make it hard to follow at times. Now that I’m a little older and more patient, and more familiar with anime, science fiction and this particular franchise as a whole, I can absorb a lot of the heady concepts they present more easily. The expertly animated action sequences still hold up incredibly well fourteen years later and are what really kept me interested in it when I was seven years younger. Now, I can derive even more intellectually stimulating entertainment from it.
This is certainly a film intended for adults. The violence is graphic (though only average by anime-of-the-time standards) and the Major spends much of the movie naked. As an example: the first few minutes of the film have the naked Major shooting a diplomat in the head, causing it to explode in a mess of red liquid and electronic wiring. Immediately after that, she activates her thermoptic camouflage to disappear from sight. We learn in one of the other series that it’s not really necessary for her to be nude to use thermoptics, but she prefers it anyway. This is a trait inherited from the original comic creator, Shirow Masamune, who is notorious for finding any excuse to draw women in various states of undress.
The only criticism I really have for it is its accessibility issues: there are long, pensive scenes where not much happens (a trademark of the much respected director Mamoru Oshii); esoteric philosophic and ‘technobabbley’ conversations which also go on a little long sometimes; and frequent nudity that might turn off people who might otherwise really enjoy the film. In spite of that, I’m glad that this is a film that I can appreciate even more as I mature. I actually envy people whose first exposure to anime was Ghost in the Shell. It is a spectacular way to be introduced to the medium of anime.


March 27, 2008

Could this be why our ADV Gurren-Lagann DVDs are delayed?

Filed under: Anime,DVD,Gurren-Lagann,rumours&speculation,weeping wallet — JKTrix @ 11:05 am

Thar be slight spoilers here, but nothing series-destroying if you haven’t seen the show yet.

This is depressing.

I have no inside knowledge, and very little knowledge of how the actual licensing process goes, so this post is mostly speculation (and desperate rationalization) on my part. I thought I’d share in hopes it would help calm the minds of other fans who are awaiting the ADV DVD release of Gurren-Lagann.


February 8, 2008

Mnemosyne – Daughters of Mnemosyne

Filed under: Anime,Fansubs,First Look,Single Episode — JKTrix @ 11:44 pm

I have no idea how to pronounce the show’s name properly in English, but the katakana used for the name are pronounced ‘mu ne mo syu ne’. Which is funny, since the ‘mune’ part taken on its own means ‘breast’ in Japanese. Haha, tits. I’ll get back to that later.

The structure of the show is pretty interesting. It’s a 6 episode series and each episode runs for an hour (45 minutes without commercials). Starting Feb. 3rd, they’re airing one episode per month. Pretty weird. It’s like an OVA, but on Satellite.

I’ve only seen the first episode raw (I don’t think there are any subs yet), and my Japanese is hardly at the level where I can ‘get’ everything, but I have the general idea of the show. Taking place in 1990, it centers around the green haired lady in the image above. She’s Rin Asougi, the central character who runs a sort of detective agency along with a loli chick named Mimi. Rin strikes me as a cross between Yomiko Readman of Read or Die and Motoko Kusanagi of Ghost in the Shell. She’s highly skilled and pretty ruthless at times, but when she’s not fighting someone she’s playful, compassionate and even a little clumsy.

Now let’s get back to the boobs. This is definitely an Adult show. Rin doesn’t have any problems rolling around unclothed with nary a puff of steam or strategic prop placement to be found. Putting aside the nudity, there’s some pretty disturbing violence in one extended scene involving a chick with a piercing fetish. It’s actually worse when the piercings are taken out. Yikes. Rin actually dies 3 times in this episode. This was being advertised as having ‘erotic violence’, and it certainly lives up to that advertisement.

If you’re the type that follows seiyuu, this show has a few big names to it. Mamiko Noto, Rie Kugimiya and Rie Tanaka all play major roles in this show. Nobuyuki Hiyama is in it as well, but I didn’t recognize his voice at all. The opening and ending songs are done by the Japanese metal band Galneryus

Looky here for a 3 minute trailer to have an idea of what the show looks like.

I’d imagine Mnemosyne would be more interesting if I understood what they were saying. It did hold my attention through its entire 45 minutes, so this is something I’ll be following during its run. It wasn’t anything particularly spectacular, but it is one of the more exciting programs this season. Hope someone subs it!

January 25, 2008

Damn you, Sunrise! *shakes fist*

Filed under: Uncategorized — JKTrix @ 5:46 pm

Bunny Suit Kallen. Geass was always a huge pile of pandering amusement, but now they’ve gone too far.

They’ve hit my weak spot.

For massive damage.

[via DbD]

December 19, 2007

Chow Yun Fat is Master Roshi

Filed under: Anime,comedy,DBZ,News — JKTrix @ 3:30 pm

From Anime News Network.

This DBZ movie is getting really weird.

November 29, 2007

Wolf’s Rain

Filed under: Anime,Bones,DVD,Opinion — JKTrix @ 1:38 pm

…is freaking depressing.

November 7, 2007

Loot for Oct 29-Nov 5

Filed under: Anime,DVD,Fansubs,Gaming,loot,Next Gen,Virtua Fighter,weeping wallet — JKTrix @ 9:52 am

It probably seems like I don’t actually watch much anime or play much games. I certainly haven’t been keeping a steady flow of content here. However I figured I’d post what I’ve acquired within the last week alone to show that I do, in fact, enjoy and purchase anime and games. Scrubs too.

Click for full size

Click for full-size.

I’ll list what these actually are:
Row 1
-The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: Special Editions vol 3 & 4 (Complete)
-Eureka 7 Special Editions vols 9 & 10
-Fighting Spirit/Hajime no Ippo Complete Collections vol 1 & 2 (Complete)
-Gundam the Movie: Char’s Counterattack
-Scrubs season 6 (one of these things is not like the others…)
Row 3
-Virtua Fighter 5 for 360
-Ace Combat 6 for 360
-Zack & Wiki for Wii (this game is all kinds of good. I’m thinking of making a post about it in the future)
-Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations for DS
-Flash Focus: Vision Training in Minutes a day for DS(I really like these games. Once I get bored of them, I can give them to my mom as a gift…if she doesn’t go out and buy it herself)
-Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for PSP

So there. Eight of these items I have already seen/played to completion in previous forms. Suzumiya, Eureka 7, Ippo I’ve seen on fansub. Virtua Fighter 5 I already had for PS3. I had already played the Japanese/English version of Gyakuten Saiban 3.

Please don’t ask how much all of this cost me. I really don’t want to think about it…

October 30, 2007

Nabeshin’s thoughts on fansubs

Filed under: Anime,downloads,DVD,Fansubs,Opinion — JKTrix @ 2:06 pm

Shinichi Watanabe (also known as Nabeshin), director of comedy anime Excel Saga and Nerima Daikon Brothers, was at a convention in the US last week. There was a panel in particular about Anime Bootlegging that he requested to contribute to and share his opinions on.

You can watch video clips of the panel at this site.

August 9, 2007

Stranglehold demo

Filed under: downloads,Gaming,Microsoft,Next Gen,Review — JKTrix @ 4:43 pm

cropped stranglehold game cover

This is on Xbox Live right now, but I believe demos will be coming to the PSN and somewhere on PC as well. (Long story short, I want this game now.)

Quick history lesson: Stranglehold is the ‘sequel’ to the John Woo film ‘Hard Boiled’, starring Chow Yun Fat. Fat’s likeness and voice are in this game as well, as the main character ‘Tequila’. The PS3 special edition will actually come with the BluRay version of the Hard Boiled movie.


August 1, 2007

Dodgeball DS – 8 player wifi

Filed under: DS,Gaming,Import,Japan,News,Nintendo,Online Gaming — JKTrix @ 1:14 pm

I don’t know how many beats my heart skipped when I saw this.


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