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Monday, December 1, 2014

Anniversary# 4: World of Obscusion! Meet Demo Disc & Obscusion B-Side!

In many Asian cultures, the number 4 is equivalent to death. Luckily, The Land of Obscusion has survived its fourth year & today is celebrating it's 4th Anniversary! Woohoo!! This day isn't just special for me, but this entire year had a sense of nostalgic happiness for me. Early this year, February 23 to be exact, was the 10th Anniversary of the very first piece of writing I ever did that was released to the public: A short article I wrote about the Sega Genesis 32X for GameSpot as part of their shortly-lived GameSpotting blog feature; they encouraged fans to send in their own articles as a GuestSpotting entry alongside the editors' pieces. Looking back on it, the piece I wrote, 32X: Short Name, Short Life, Big Fun, is pretty rough & not my best work by any means. But as a 17-year-old senior in high school, seeing my name, & something I made on a literal whim, on a high-profile gaming site like GameSpot, during what I would call the site's "Golden Age", was just surreal & amazing. It truly was the catalyst for where I am now, ten years later.

As always, a gigantic "Thank You!" to every who reads & everyone new who comes across this blog, as the number of visits & page views are still trending upwards. At the end of last year I was surprised to see this blog hit just below 4,000 views in one month, but that ceiling was burst through with the coming of the new year; in fact, I'm now starting to scratch the 7,000 views ceiling! As for the blog itself, this year was the first to feature screenshots for every single review along with the use of italics & quotation marks to look more "professional". I also introduced the "30 Days of Popularity" sidebar, which showcases the most-viewed posts from the past 30 days. Unfortunately, that sidebar has resulted in a very skewed alteration to my most-viewed posts; B't X Neo has never left it since it's introduction, for example. I am thinking of maybe reducing it to "7 Days of Popularity", though I worry it will simply skew things in favor of the newest posts mainly. What do you all think? Should I change it to 7 days, or is 30 days doing just fine?

Anyway, one thing I've thought on occasion was how easy it was to see everything that I've written. Sure, you can look at every post by way of year & month it was "published" on the blog, but what if you want to look for something specific? What if you want to simply see a comprehensive catalog of what's been reviewed here? Well, it's not quite 100% finished as of this post, but I am introducing a new tab that will appear next to the "About" tab that I also introduced earlier this year: The Master List. An alphabetically-organized collection of every review, "12 Anime" list, Theory Musing, & "other" posts that I have ever put on this blog will now be easy to locate & link to in a single page. Like I said, it's technically not finished yet, I still need to link about half of the list, but I'm making it open to the public right now & will finish adding in the links within the next couple of days.

With the blog entering its fifth year, though, I am going to introduce some changes. Nothing that will change the focus or execution of the blog, mind you, but rather changes that I hope will benefit the blog from both a writing perspective & from a personal perspective. Just last week Justin Sevakis wrote his final Pile of Shame article, admitting that he needed "to stop writing about specific anime for a while, because it's a really good way to get burned out." Now I don't feel "burned out" by any means, but I will admit that sometimes I do feel like I need a break from watching anime partially for the sake of reviewing them; I don't want this to feel like a job (especially since I don't get paid to do this). At the same time, though, I do want to keep writing. Therefore, I am introducing two new series of posts to The Land of Obscusion: Demo Disc & Obscusion B-Side!

Demo Disc, named after the now forgotten concept of offering samples of multiple video games on a single disc, has been created as a way for me to talk about anime that I just can't review normally. For those who aren't familiar with my general rules, I only review something after having watched all of it. Now, yes, there are have been a couple of exceptions, namely Gakuen Toshi Vara Noir (which was due to confusion over how much had been actually fansubbed) & Matchless Raijin-Oh (though I have since reviewed the entire thing). Still, there is so much obscure anime out there that I just don't have the ability to see in full, but I would love to still talk about in some way. That's where Demo Disc comes in. Posts in this series will have a similar execution to that of my reviews of the Jump Super Heroes Special Collection DVD Series & the Kochikame DVDs I looked at, except that these won't technically be reviews. So, in short, a Demo Disc post will be me talking about the first episodes of numerous anime, about 4-6 per piece I'd say, & each post will have a theme to it. In some cases, though, I might look at more than one episode for each show (2 or 3 eps in these cases), and the total number of titles for that post will likely be lower to account for the extra content each show gives me. Finally, much like the old days of shareware that predated demo discs, I might only talk about one show, but it would have to be something that I can only find incomplete & may never have the chance to see in full; these will be rarer but still possible. In concept, Demo Disc should allow me to still talk about numerous anime while hopefully allowing me to possibly review longer titles without having a giant gap between posts.

Obscusion B-Side, however, is something larger. Much like the B-Side of a music single is usually something completely different from the more known A-Side, Obscusion B-Side (which I guess would be "Feeding the Obscire"?) will be completely different from what The Land of Obscusion usually is about. In other words, B-Side will be about anything that isn't anime-related. Yes, The Land of Obscusion is expanding into non-anime/manga content, but I swear it isn't for the money (did I mention that I make no money from this?). Rather, much like Demo Disc, Obscusion B-Side should simply allow me to continue writing while being able to make way for larger things on the anime side. I'm more than just an anime fan & I would like to share these other aspects of what I enjoy with all of you. With Obscusion B-Side I can review things like Kamen Rider, Ultraman, non-anime derived live-action Japanese movies, and, yes, even video games; I know that last one has seemingly become a bit of a minefield, but I'll try to avoid entering that territory. Admittedly, the focus will still likely be on Japanese-derived media, but if there's something from North America, Europe, or elsewhere that catches my interest it will also be a B-Side post. I already have some stuff in mind for B-Side posts, but this will not be a regular thing; it's not replacing what The Land of Obscusion is known for, but simply adding to it.

I hope you all will find these two new series interesting & worth your time, because I've been planning on introducing them for a good few months already. In fact, this month will feature the first ever Demo Disc & Obscusion B-Side posts, so look forward to them! Now, to finish up this post, let's have some fun & look at something silly...

If you haven't noticed, I sometimes try to be witty with the taglines I give my reviews, and if that fails (which is probably 99% of the time) I go with either a reference, a pun, or both. Looking over all of these dumb taglines, I've made references to all sorts of stuff, including movies like Batman Forever, Highlander, Shrek, Galaxy Quest, & Patton, TV series like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, South Park, & The Simpsons, & music artists like Black Sheep, Destiny's Child, & The Clash. So, out of all of these, which are my favorites? Well, here are all twelve(-ish) of them:
-It's Hip to be a Loser & He's Got 99 Problems But a Debt Ain't One (from Kaiji Seasons 1 & 2)
The first one was actually the very first referential tagline I ever did, and it just felt so right to parody Huey Lewis & The News for a show about a man who was a down & out loser. For the second season, there was no other choice... I had to parody Jay-Z, even if the line itself doesn't quite work if you really think about it.

-Arrive. Raze Hell. Leave. (from Mononoke)
Anyone who's a fan of Attitude Era & Post-War Era WWE knows what this is a reference to, but I'll spell it out anyway. This is a variant of Stone Cold Steve Austin's popular shirt that simply stated "Arrive. Raise Hell. Leave." It was simple, to the point, & it also fit the Medicine Seller's general mission to destroy any & all mononoke he comes across perfectly.

-Who's Kafka?! Tell Me!! (from Karneval)
For this show I had two choices. The first was to reference Creature Feature's "Greatest Show Unearthed", which would have fit just as well, but in the end I went with possibly the best line uttered in the 1995 movie Congo. I honestly love this movie, and that tagline not only was a blatantly dumb reference but also fit Karneval extremely well, since the evil group Kafka is very much a mystery.

Remember Kid, There's Heroes & There's Legends...Heroes Get Remembered, But Legends Never Die (from Champion Joe 1 & 2)
These two taglines come from a single line from the movie The Sandlot, which is one of my all-time favorites. Yeah, it's a movie about baseball & these were reviews of a boxing series, but the line was just too perfect for a series as iconic as Ashita no Joe. There was no contest, because nothing else was considered.

It All Starts Here... (from Ring ni Kakero 1 [Manga])
Similarly, another one of my favorite movies of all time is The Goonies. This line is uttered by Mickey when he & his friends realize that they have no choice but to make their way to One-Eyed Willy's pirate ship in order to get back home. Therefore, when I was reviewing the "Hot-Blooded Fighting Manga Bible", as Shueisha itself calls it, this was the first & only tagline I thought up. Much like how that line marked the beginning of the Goonies' adventure, Ring ni Kakero 1 was the starting point for what we now all acknowledge as modern day shonen fighting manga.

(from) Explorer Woman Ray: and the Light of the Ords
This is as blatantly obvious a reference as one can be. Explorer Woman Ray was essentially anime Indiana Jones, so the only choice for a tagline was one that sounded like a Indy movie title.

Punnin' with the Devil (from Ghastly Prince Enma Burning Up)
This one actually wasn't chosen until shortly before the review was finished & posted, but once I thought it up I wondered how it wasn't so obvious to me. For a show so inundated with puns there was no way I couldn't have one for the review's tagline, but for some reason Van Halen's "Runnin' with the Devil" just escaped my mind until the last second. Luckily, I remembered that this song existed, because nothing else I could think up worked quite as well.

Twilight's Father's Brother's Nephew's Cousin's Former Roommate (from Legend of DUO)
Honestly, the only reason I even re-watched & reviewed Legend of DUO was so that I could use this dumb joke as the tagline. I love me the Spaceballs movie, and Twilight is such an easy thing to make fun of, so the tagline essentially wrote itself. What does that make Legend of DUO? Absolutely nothing!

There's No Dying in Baseball! (from Team Astro)
This is still one of my all-time favorite taglines. Like a number of these, this tagline popped into my head first & there was no other option. Team Astro is still one of the most awesomely insane things I have ever watched, and you absolutely have to see it to understand how inexplicably crazy it is. And, yes, the tagline is not a lie... Multiple people do indeed die during baseball games in this show.

Anime That's Untouchable Like Eliot Ness (from California Crisis: Gun Salvo)
I've wanted to review Califonia Crisis for a good while, and I desperately wanted the tagline to reference 2Pac's iconic song "California Love". There was no getting around it, and I wouldn't watch it for a while partially because of that reason. I finally got around to seeing it early this year, and I decided to parody the "State that's untouchable like Eliot Ness" line. I think it worked out well, don't you?

Love, Shonen Style!! (from Buso Renkin)
I do wonder if this reference went over the head of numerous people. In fact, I've never seen an episode of the show I referenced here. Lots of people know of the 70s sitcom Happy Days, because it's awesome, but few know that it was a spin-off of the show Love, American Style. Considering how much of a love-letter Buso Renkin was to shonen fighting manga, not to mention it having an excellent love story, this was the best tagline I could think of. It's simple, but highly effective.

Our Frothing Demand for this Show Increases(?) (from Gin-Iro no Olynssis)
It's the newest review, but the tagline is already a favorite. The joke comes from the bogus license announcement AnimeMaru made for the show this past May, which included fake quotes from Sentai talking about how influential Olynssis (supposedly) was. Therefore, I decided to go off of that joke & utilize IGN's bizarre anticipatory line from one of their previews for Ikaruga on the GameCube. The question mark only makes the joke more obvious, because do we truly know what we demand for frothingly?

Well, that's all folks! Look forward to the debuts of Demo Disc & Obscusion B-Side later this month, as well as the usual "Favorite Posts of the Year" list. Also, I have a special review planned for the holidays, because I am being (willingly) forced to do so.

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