Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ring ni Kakero "104" + Extra Credit: An Overview of Volume 4 & Final Thoughts

Well, Volume 3 sure was nothing but fighting, much like what the focus will be when the anime starts adapting.  We're now at Volume 4, and this will be a short overview, as the anime starts adapting pretty early into this volume so I'll only be covering the chapters that feature pre-anime story.  Afterwards I'll give my final thoughts on what should be taken from these early chapters and how important they really are when it comes to the anime.  So here we go with Volume 4:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ring ni Kakero "103": An Overview of Volume 3

Well, Volume 2 was pretty heavy in story and characters in the middle, not to mention some of the chapters were kind of long, but now that all of the recurring characters have been introduced Volume 3 should be pretty easy to get through.  Also, as we could tell from Volume 2, Kurumada was fine with using stereotypes for Japanese people as well, especially when it came to delinquents.  Now let's get to Volume 3, which is mostly fighting, fighting, and more fighting.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ring ni Kakero "102": An Overview of Volume 2

So after giving an overview of Volume 1 we can already see that Ring ni Kakero 1's beginning is pretty different from where the anime starts adapting.  It's definitely more character, story, and drama-driven than what the title would turn into.  Trust me, there's a lot of talking and boxing explanation in these early chapters; stuff that I can't fully translate nor would I do so if I could.  Again, this is an overview.  With that in mind, let's continue.

*WARNING: There's a lot of story and character introduction in this volume, so the chapter overviews here might be very long*

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ring ni Kakero "101": An Overview of Volume 1

Those who read my review of the Ring ni Kakero 1 anime series, specifically the first season, might remember that I had mentioned that the anime doesn't start from the beginning.  In fact, the anime skips over the first 24 chapters of the manga and starts adapting half-way into chapter 25.  Now in the review I mentioned that this early part of the story isn't fully important in the overall scheme of things, or at the very least not knowing about this part won't keep you from understanding who these characters are and what is happening, partially because the most-important parts are brought up through flashbacks in season 1.  But, naturally, there will be people who are curious about that early part of the story and with Season 4 debuting on April 10 I think it's probably best to cover these first 24.5 chapters of Ring ni Kakero.  Now before I start, let me state these things:

-I will be using the 2001-2002 reprint of the original manga, which was the first time the "Ring ni Kakero 1" name was ever used.  This reprint collected the manga in 18 volumes while the original print lasted 25 volumes, so my volume counts will vary with that of the original print.  It also changed some terminology, like Ryuji's weights going from being called the "Power Wrist" & "Power Ankle" to the "Dragon Wrist" & "Dragon Ankle"; also, Kenzaki's "Apollo Exerciser" becomes the "Galaxian Exerciser".
-My knowledge of Japanese is limited (read: one semester of Japanese in college + listening to Japanese with subtitles) so I can only explain so much...  But that's fine as I don't want to go into every line that's being said.  This is simply an overview and nothing more.  Wikipedia and Suteki.nu's translator will help whenever possible.
-Parts which the anime does adapt will be typed in bold font, with a mention as to when they are shown (if it's a quick shot from the opening sequence I'll say "OP").

So let's get started with Volume 1 (note: I will try to mention and translate the chapter titles if possible and to the best of my abilities):

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Psychic Force: A Fighting Game-based Anime? That's Absurd!

In the mid-90s fighting games went through a big change with the advent of the third dimension.  Virtua Fighter, Tekken, and Battle Arena Toshinden all revolutionized the genre in some way, but there was another game from that time that also was very different from the others: Psychic Force.  Created by Taito in 1996 for arcades and then ported to the Playstation the same year, Psychic Force had two characters, who each had some sort of psychic or elemental power, fight in a floating transparent cube.  Because of this the fights could easily happen in vertical and diagonal directions rather than the usual horizontal plane and overall it was an enjoyable change of pace.  A sequel was made in 1999 called Psychic Force 2012 which added more characters and some new game mechanics, but that was the last of the series (the PS1 did get a updated version of 2012 simply called Psychic Force 2 and there was a Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move game that used the characters).  In North America the series was mostly a second-tier series that never went far, but in Japan the series was a slight hit...  And every hit fighting game needs an anime!

Released in 1998 the Psychic Force anime is a two-episode OVA that, oddly enough, was recorded in Los Angeles.  No, I don't mean that the dub was from L.A. I mean that the original Japanese voice cast actually traveled to L.A. to record their lines!  But that's not important in the long run.  What is important is whether or not this OVA is any good, because fighting games haven't had the best track record when it comes to anime adaptations; most people tend to ignore the Tekken anime movie (not to mention the recent live-action movie), for example, while the Virtua Fighter TV series is considered enjoyable but is pretty obscure (not to mention North America never got the last 11 or so episodes, which was a second season of sorts).  So let's take a look at Psychic Force...