Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Dirty Pair

Yuri and Kei are the two members of a "trouble consultant" team codenamed Lovely Angels in earth's far future. Trouble consultants are some kind of agents whose job it is to eliminate threats to humanity. Or catch'n'kill terrorists and such.

The Lovely Angels are pretty competent in their job. However, most of their missions end up with tremendous casualties along their way through no fault of their own. Don't think collapsed buildings - think nuked cities, space stations, planets, solar systems. This - along with their working attire - earned them the name The Dirty Pair.

The Dirty Pair are the archetypes of anime-chicks with guns. The whole series flows over with action in a strange utopian/dytopian high-tech setting. Every technological advance - no matter how ethically deplorable - has been made and commercialized. Cyborgs, AIs, The Matrix, Mutants, Bio-Engineering, Genetic Modifications, Personality Transfers and weapons in all forms and sizes inside.

The original series is pretty old and started out as a light novel (i.e. trash), became an anime and then a manga ... or rather a comic. The main guy responsible for this comic is the american Adam Warren, so this can't technically be called a manga despite the japanese drawing style. You even have to read from left to right.

But no matter who dunnit - this series is great fun and utterly chaotic. You probably won't get more chicks'n'guns per square inch than in Dirty Pair for a very long time.

Sex&Crime: Lots ! Ok, they don't do sex (publicly), but they know exactly how they are showing of their assets. ^_^
Nah, the violence displayed is ... well ... much, but not the kind of nightmare inducing violence you sometimes see in other mainstream mangas (I recall a couple of very disturbing Berserk panels). And the utter disregard for human casualties is strangely undisturbing - probably because you never have to bother with the aftermath of all the carnage.
Imagine Plastic Man on a mission to recover a nuclear suitcase-bomb from terrorists. The mission succeeds although two passenger planes fly into the twin towers and the last panel shows a grinning plastic man flying away from the collapsing buildings while saying "Doh! Well, could've been worse.".
Well, you get the idea. If you can laugh to that then you'll love the Dirty Pair.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Ultimates

US-Comics for a change. And this one is awesome.

You probably read a few classic superhero comics at one time or another. Superman/Spiderman and shit like that. Some probably ditched this kiddy stuff and switched to some advanced forms of graphical novels, like Sin City, V or Preacher. Or the no-nonsense brutal reenvisioning of the superhero genre, like Planetary, The Authority or the relaunch of the Squadron Supreme with the almighty Hyperion. Definetly not the Justice League.

Now imagine that the new generation of authors responsible for the new, realistic and cynical tone of the best comics america has to offer - what if those authors gang up and take over Marvel Comics shitty Avengers series. Enter The Ultimates.

You get nazis, aliens, nazi aliens, superpowered domestic violence, heroes killing brand name villans, heroes killing innocents, cannibalism, a black Nick Fury (and boy, this guy is hardcore), torture, a god out of a mental institute, a naked giant man and his 10-foot dong, politics, intrigue and a captain america that knows how to use guns and grenades.

And most important: A believable and great story.

The Ultimate relaunch of the Marvel Universe is probably the best thing Marvel ever did. And now you get it on the iphone.

The images were scaled down to a width of 480, which makes the text readably - not as readable as the larger manga text bubbles, but readable enough. I had to compromise a bit to ensure that the images load fast in the Comic Viewer. It's not optimal but it's enough, i think.

If you haven't installed the Comic Book viewer program yet then you can find a guide for that if you follow this link.

I hope you'll enjoy it. I did so much that I bought every single Ultimate hardcover I could find. Well worth it.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Exporting Contacts from iPhone/iPod Touch to PC

I just received my new iPod Touch 16gb. My old one actually suffered a weird hardware malfunction that prevented it from starting up again.
Apple was kind enough to deliver a new one, even though my old one had some tiny dents in it's case (very very tiny, but apple is notorious for refusing to replace defective hardware on the basis, that they might be defective).

Anyway, I got a new one (complete with the new applications) and lost all contacts and bookmarks, which I assumed they'd been backed up by itunes.

So, does anyone know of a way to comfortably export or synchronize iphone/ipod contacts ?

I'm using Windows Vista, btw. I'd prefer to use Ubuntu, but iPods don't take well to Linux.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Black Lagoon

Original release by KAA (Kick Ass Anime, i believe)

Meet the latest anime star: Revy, the chinese gun-chick (or Levy, depending on how oul japanese fliends decide to distlibute celtain lettels).
Revy is part of the Lagoon Company and provides the muscle (and bullets) for the team. She is not a people person - to best describe her in friendly terms I'd still have to use words like "psyochpathic", "manic" and "killer". It would be unfair to call her a serial killer, though ... she's at best a massmurderer.
And rejoice, she's one of the "good" guys (koff, koff).

Other good guys include:
  • Rock - a japanese sarariman, who joined the company after he got abducted by said company and sacrificed and nearly killed by his then employer.
  • Dutch - a huge african american, leader of the Lagoon company and owner of the well armed torpedo boat
  • Benny - the american technical expert of the team. Doesn't usually participate in fights but doesn't let the abundant killing bother him anymore (spending any length of time with Revy probably does that).

Most of the action (of which you'll get plenty) takes place in Roanapur, a fictional city somewhere in thailand. Since the Lagoon company is basically a mercenary outfit and Roanapur is rife with corruption and a gathering place of crime syndicates from every country, they don't really lack employment.

Some of the major power players in Roanapur include Hotel Moscow, part of the russian mafia led by a scarred female ex-army officer called Balalaika, the chinese Triad, led by non other than the slim brother of Cow Yun-Fat and the most original one, The Church of Violence led by mother Yolanda. If you need any weapon short of intercontinental ballistic missiles, ask the lord for guidance and give the church their tithe.

There are lots of original characters in this series - and nearly everyone has more than enough traits that would make them a danger to society in any civilized country, but they all find their home in Roanapur and enjoy their drinks together before and after missions, murders and firefights (sometimes against each other).

This series has everything you could wish for in an action oriented anime. The art is really good with detailed and slightly exagerated drawn characters and even more exagerated gun fights. If they ever make a game out of this, then it'll look like "Lara Croft in Far Cry".

Sex & Violence: Killing without mercy is pretty common with Black Lagoon. Life is worth nothing more than what you are willing to pay for it. And sex ? Well, the girls are absolutely sexy and Miss Balalaika is known to personally edit hard core porn movies if duty demands it. And I'd like to recommend everyone the Black Lagoon Hentai Artwork from Azasuke Wind. But apart from that I haven't spotted anything more "offensive" than one lone panty-shot. And an attempted rape very late in the series. But considering the pants Revy wears you have your offensive stuff pretty much everywhere. ^_^

Conclusion: Awesome action, iconic characters, fast paced story arcs and a sprawling dystopian town in the south-east asian sea ... what's not to like ? Recommended!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Perfect Blue

no idea who released that one ...

Perfect Blue is a classic psycho thriller.
The story centers about the idol Mima, who left her band to pursuit an acting career. This - however - doesn't sit too well with some of her fans and subsequent attacks add to her growing doubts if she made the right choice. A stalker, stress at work and a website that knows every single private detail about her further attack her shaken psyche to the point where she starts getting delusions. Then the killing starts ...

The anime is a real masterpiece. Not the art, which is solid. Not the sound either. It's the story and the solid directing which takes Mima on a psycho-ride to perdition - and drags you along in the front seat. While the whole scenario is less than spectacular - I mean, who cares about second class idols trying to make a career in second class japanese TV-Dramas - the execution is brilliant and captivating.

Sex & Violence: I included this section not in consideration of some peculiar american morals - I just figured that most iphone users don't want to risk getting caught staring at a pair of humongous anime tits by colleagues, seniors, family or other "moral" figures. And while this movie belongs in the adult category (on account of kids probably not being able to understand this movie anyway), sex has nearly no relevance here. Apart from one staged rape scene for the TV-Drama Mima is playing in. It is rather - hmm - explicit but we are not talking Mezzoforte, so relax. :)

Conclusion: Great movie. If you dislike thrillers generally, then you'll hardly appreceate this one either. But everyone else should give this one a try. I keep thinking "Silence of the lambs" when thinking of "Perfect Blue" in terms of supense and atmosphere, even though they are not similar at all.

PS: Don't let the ghastly dubs of the youtube video fool you: This release is in japanese with english subtitles.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Spice and Wolf 7 & Hayate no Gotoku 47-52

Sorry for the last incomplete releases. Today I'd like to deliver the missing pieces.

In the case of Spice & Wolf I simply forgot that the seventh episode wasn't aired and thus not released in order. Anyway, it's a filler episode so if the guys at bss wouldn't have labeled them correctly no one would have noticed.

The Hayate episodes were missing because i mentally closed the chapter of Combat Butlers due to my slight aversion to this series.

Anyway, here's the rest for those that enjoy this series and it's wacky humor.

Cheers !

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Combat Butler Hayate

Episodes 1-46
Episodes 47-52

Original release by SS-Eclipse

This show is simple, brainless nerd fun ... for those that find this kind of stuff funny. Which I don't. Sorry fanboys.

Short short synopsis: A debt ridden boy gets sold by his parents to the yakuza as organ donor. He avoids this fate by a weird twist of fate which places him in the employ of an incredibly rich small girl. As a butler he is both servant and bodyguard to the child, as well as her secret love interest also he is too thick to realize that.

He then is routinely pitted against assassins, giant robots, wild animals, assassins, weirdos, other butlers and more assassins.

Since that's obviously not stupid enough you are constantly graced by jibes and references to other animes. I didn't understand a single one. This might have to do with the annoying beep over every possible mention of an established (and better) brand name. Imagine watching a TV show where not just every utterance of "shit" or "fuck" gets censored but every single product name, too. Beeeeeeep !

Nah, this series is pure bullshit and I can't wait till i get this seeded and off my precious harddrive.

Sex & Violence: Cartoonish violence, no sex. I think. Had to avoid watching the complete show to preserve my sanity. But the show didn't look like the main characters would get some action anytime soon. Oh wait - I just remembered that Hayate is repeatedly forced to wear girls clothes to the joy of the maid of the house.

Conclusion: Avoid like hell. Unless you like this kind of shit, of course.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Original release by Shinsen-Subs, Rumbel

This anime is fucked up strange. And boy, it's depressing. A fuckload of Weltschmerz in armageddonland.

Well, you're going to leech it no matter what I say, so let me just say that you don't want to watch it when I start spoiling the story. I didn't understand it anyway - especially not the end - so no worries there.

Here, have a look at some of the sad streaks of misery that make up part of the (evil) cast.

And regarding Sex & Violence: Plenty of violence, although both parties try to avoid hurting innocents, which is a bit strange since one side tries to destroy the whole world. And sex is implied unless you believe in immaculate conception. We also have a crossdresser. Harmless in that regard, but not for kids anyway unless you want them to commit suicide out of depression.

Conclusion: Weeeeeell ... i've seen better. Unusual art, pale coloration, faces devoid of feelings. Weird story (think End of Evangelion) and an unsatisfying conclusion. I'm seeding it so I can finally delete that stuff from my harddrive. Enjoy! ;)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Spice and Wolf

Original release by BSS

Spice and Wolf has one of the ever-so-popular catgirls inside and thus is guaranteed to draw all kinds of fans from the furry fancrowd. The minor detail that it's in fact a wolfgirl can be neglected as well as the pretty fox-tail she has.

So, one would think that the stage is set for either a fantasy might & magic werewolf battle flick or a juicy harem anime. But it ain't so - in fact it's completely different from anything you'd expect.

Maybe you should start by listening to the opening song, a beautiful and melancholical piece which perfectly sums up the mood of the whole anime. This song actually deserves a blog entry of it's own, but I'm a bit lazy right now.

Anyway, back to the topic: The anime.
Horo - the wolf girl - is a kind of god (in the japanese sense of the word) that once wandered south and took up the role of the god of harvest in a small rural community in exchange for a bit of worshipping and a bit of sacrifice (not humans. Just a bit of grain). With the rise of the church (christianity is implied) and the erosion of belief the prospect of spending more time in this area didn't look as attractive to her like it did before. Thus she decided to sneak away hitchhiking with a travelling merchant named Lawrence.

Horo the Wise (as she calls herself) may look like a fifteen year old girl, but behind all her bragging is indeed the experience of centuries, which she occasionally uses to help out Lawrence in his dealings with guild, other merchants and swindlers.

This is actually the part where the anime gets different than what one would expect, because anything not related to the incentive driving the plot - Horo wants to go home - is about trade, currencies used for trading, trading gold, fraud, medieval politics and trade as well as the influence of the church on trade. You get the general idea. In that regard the anime is incredibly detailed - so detailed in fact, that I didn't understand a word of it even though it gets explained in great detail.

The main characters are also detailed and very likable. The star of the show is - of course - Horo the wise, who is wise indeed as well as teasing, manipulative, a bit mischievous and a glutton for apples. She is also completely immodest (which shouldn't surprise anyone since wolves usually don't wear much clothing) and is the cause for giving Lawrence the occasional red ears, which leads us to the next topic:

Sex & Violence: Well, she wears her nakedness like we wear clothes, so it's not really erotic. At least not intentionally. The violence is rare but when it comes, it's the primal violence of a beast unleashed. After all, Horo is a wolf and if she absolutely has to fight she fights without wasting a thought about not harming the enemy. Lawrence is a wimp but he can afford it with a 10 foot wolf guarding his back.

Conclusion: The focus on medieval trade and everything related to it is certainly a new twist, but it's too specialized for my taste to generate more than a passing interest. The characters make up for this completely and the melancholic tone of the budding romance is captivating enough. Add some insights about medieval european life and a decent dose of treachery and action and you have a highly entertaining anime. Recommended !