Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Land of Obscusion's Twelve Favorite Posts of 2012!! Part 2

Now, in time before the end of the year, here's part of of my favorite posts of this year! Let's not waste time and just get right into it.

Rokudenashi BLUES 1993 (July 29)
It's a production like this that really makes me wish that a full-on TV series was made. Rokudenashi BLUES is one of the best yankii/delinquent manga you can read, but when it comes to anime it's a very niche genre with little to none TV anime series made around this idea of a certain type of schoolkid (Hareluya II BØY is pretty much the closest one can get to an actual delinquent TV anime). Even though I have not been able to watch the first movie yet, which is a 30-minute adaptation of the beginning of the manga, after reading the story arc that this specific movie adapts I just had to see how the 1993 movie sequel worked out. In the end, even though some elements of the story were altered to work with the 90-minute time restraint, Rokudenashi BLUES 1993 is an excellent movie, and I wish it had English subtitles of any sort... Hell, I wish it had a DVD in general, because even in Japan both Rokudenashi movies are VHS-only. The funny thing is that there was a live-action J-Drama adaptation that aired last year, yet Toei never thought about releasing its anime movies on DVD & use that recent promotion to help it sell. Still, there is an okay raw out there that has only minor issues, so if you're willing to watch anime raw then by all means check this movie out!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Land of Obscusion's Twelve Favorite Posts of 2012!! Part 1

Happy Boxing Day, everyone! I hope everyone had a fun holiday, because I had an enjoyable one. Anyway, we're coming up on the end of the month, so just like what I did at the beginning of this December I am now going to talk about my favorite posts of this year. 2012 was an interesting year for the blog, as I didn't post as much as I did each month last year, yet I still was close to matching the total number of posts in general. Review-wise, I looked at anime with fun titles (Bastard!!, Goddamn), I was able to sneak in titles that are as "mainstream" as you can get in terms of anime in North America (Fullmetal Alchemist, One Piece), and overall it was fun squeezing the term "obscure" as much as I did at times this year. When it came to non-review posts I had some interesting picks, like comparing the two versions of Zaizen Jotaro (TV vs. DVD), investigating the early days of late-night anime, admiring Kokusai Eigasha's legacy of giant robots, and, most importantly, lots & lots of "12 Anime" lists & variants, and that's not including the two lists from this month! But enough talk, let's get to this list!

B't X Neo (February 2)
I had really thought about putting my review for the B't X TV series into the 2010/2011 list, but when I thought about it more, Neo was simply the better part of the B't X anime series. It took everything that was good about the TV series and still improved upon them, and those final episodes are simply amazing in the story they told. Sure, in terms of adapting the original manga, Neo only goes so far, but it more than makes up for it by delivering an ending that I can only hope got the approval of Masami Kurumada himself. I still assert that Ring ni Kakero 1 & Saint Seiya are better titles than B't X in the grand scheme of things, but when you have a production like Neo it certainly puts up an amazing fight for recognition. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but knowing how badly Illumitoon screwed up their releases really pisses me off, because B't X definitely deserved better. I can only hope that Discotek does in fact read this blog, because this here is an anime that deserves an actual fair chance over here. If nothing else, I can only hope that TMS will one day get involved in Anime Sols, that streaming/crowdfunding site Sam Pinansky will be opening up next Spring. TMS has an amazing line-up of titles, and I'd easily put my money towards B't X if it became available on that site.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G: We Are... Gunpla!

When it comes to mech anime, Gundam is THE phenomenon. There are anime productions dating back to 1979, tons of video games, and even entire magazines dedicated to Gundam manga, to say the least, but one of the biggest parts of Gundam are the model kits that have been around since 1980. Gundam models are so big that they even have their own term in Japan: "Gunpla", which is a portmanteau of "Gundam plastic model". Personally, I have a few Gundam models, and it is a fun little hobby to do, and while I am pretty barebones when it comes to making them, when you see the hard work of someone who went through the trouble of painting the proper parts, lining out all of the indents, and even adding their own little touches it really looks amazing. Nothing really showcases Japan's (nay, the world's) love for gunpla than this hobby's very own anime: Mokei Senshi/Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G. In 2010 gunpla hit its 30th anniversary, so Sunrise created three little shorts that combine together into a single 40-minute short story that takes gunpla and, arguably, makes it all the more awesome. It also celebrates the hobby in a way that makes one proud to have built a model kit sometime in his/her life.

Haru Irei is visiting the life-size Gundam in Odaiba with his father, Hinode, and his friend, Kenta. After becoming in awe of the Gundam, Haru decides to buy a gunpla, which Kenta already plays with and Hinode did back when he was a kid. After seeing the last 1/144 scale High Grade/HG RX-78 Gundam model taken, Haru comes across a different HG model on the ground: The 1/144 Beginning Gundam. After building it, Kenta takes it to the local hobby shop, AXIS, where he's shown Gunpla Battle, where gunpla builders can "pilot" their very models in a game where the object is to defeat your opponents' units/models. Haru's spark of piloting ability catches the eye of Boris Schauer, a "Gunpla Meister", who wishes to see what Haru is made of.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mabudachi Jingi: Short & Simple, but a Nice Start

Time for another Masami Kurumada mini manga review! Last time, I looked at Aoi Tori no Shinwa, a prologue to what would have likely been a crazy baseball title if it didn't end at only two chapters. This time, though, we're going back to the past and taking a look at a 1978 one-shot, done during the serialization of Ring ni Kakero.

While doing Ring ni Kakero for Shonen Jump Masami Kurumada also made a couple of one-shots: 1978's Mabudachi Jingi/True Friend Duty & 1979's Shiro Obi Taisho/White Belt General. During the serialization of Fuma no Kojirou, Shueisha released these two one-shots, as well as the first six chapters of Sukeban Arashi from it's initial irregular run, into one single book using the Mabudachi Jingi name. As of this post only Jingi has been scanlated, so let's take a look at this 44-page one-shot.

Kintarou Oodera, Kin for short, may not be tall, but he's easily the toughest kid in his school, and when people need him to fend off students from rival school Kamedama High he's usually ready to help out... All the more so when his best friend Sada is in trouble. One day, though, a girl called Momoko Kinoshita transfers into the school and becomes the desire of every male. Unfortunately, everyone assumes that a cute girl like Momoko already has one or two boyfriends, so when some of the guys try to pull a prank on Kin by forcing him to admit his love for Momoko, the unthinkable happens: Momoko accepts Kin's admission and the two become a couple. Momoko's hatred of violence, though, makes Kin stop fighting, which is the worst possible scenario when the leader of Kamedama's delinquents comes over looking to fight Kin, & Sada decides to take his friend's place.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Land of Obscusion's Twelve Favorite Posts of 2011!! (& December 2010, too) Part 2

It's time to continue celebrating 2011 (& December 2010) with Part 2 of my favorite posts from the first 13 months of the blog's existence, so let's get straight to it with another series of posts.

The "Madhouse Gambling Quadrilogy" (January 2011, February 2011, September 2011)
Like I said at the end of my Akagi review, if Ring ni Kakero 1 is my #1 most-wanted North American anime license then the "Madhouse Gambling Quadrilogy" is my #2, #3, & #4 (literally, it's Akagi, Kaiji [both seasons], then One Outs). If Ring ni Kakero 1, in my mind, represents anime at some of its most fun & concentrated, then the Gambling Quadrilogy represents anime at some of its most dramatic & psychological. Nobuyuki Fukumoto's general style is simply masterful in its ability to take seemingly simple games and making them outright evil in their execution, & Shinobu Kaitani was able to take baseball and twist & turn it into something that makes you wonder if that's what actual baseball games are like. Akagi's characters & dark demeanor help make the title more approachable to people who don't know anything about traditional mahjong, Kaiji is probably the only title I've seen that makes rock-paper-scissors look demonically manipulative, & One Outs actually made me care about baseball for once. If you haven't seen any of these shows then you are truly missing out, and if you've only seen some of these shows then definitely get to the others, because you're still missing out.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Land of Obscusion's Twelve Favorite Posts of 2011!! (& December 2010, too) Part 1

With the blog now starting it's third year of existence, I figure long enough has passed that I can look back at the first year with some sense of minor nostalgia and take a look at what I had posted back during 2011, while also adding in December 2010, the first month of the blog where I posted like a madman who felt that tons of posts in each month was the best idea... Boy was that a silly idea.

Anyway, what were my favorite posts in those first 13 months? That is actually a pretty tough thing to say, and cutting it down to my usual twelve entries was really hard. I had to bite the bullet and not include stuff like the Xevious CG movie "non-review", Salamander, Kochikame the Movie, the Enoki Films USA catalog look-at, and B't X, among many others. That first year had a lot of favorites of mine, but I do feel that these twelve posts (or series of posts in three certain choices) are my absolute favorites from 2011 & December 2010. As usual, there is no actual order to this list, but here are my favorite posts in those first thirteen months!

Blazing Transfer Student (April 5 , 2011)
"Moeru Faiyaaa! Ta-Ta-Ka-E!" This OV... Sorry, I mean OLA is just so much fun to watch and absolutely funny & admirable. Only Kazuhiko Shimamoto can create something that is both something you want to enjoy in an honest fashion yet be so willing to poke fun at at the same time; it's okay, the anime does the same thing. To be honest, the only possible reason I can think of for GAINAX not including this two-episode production in their "WORKS" page is simply because the "brilliant" idea of the Original Laser Animation ended up bombing so badly. Since Japanese businesses don't like to talk about horrifically bad business decisions I'm going to guess that GAINAX probably decided to just ignore Blazing Transfer Student's existence and hope no one will remember it. Well, unfortunately for them, people do remember this little anime short, and it is amazing.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Land of Obscusion Anniversay #2! Cue the Electric Boogaloo!

Happy Anniversary to Me!

That's right, everyone, this blog has now become two years old! Hitting the one year mark last year was an awesome feeling, and while the second year doesn't quite hit the same excellent feeling it's still just as awesome. While the overall number of posts this year won't quite hit the number it was in the previous twelve months, I still got a really nice number of posts, and I have kept up my goal of keeping an average of one post per week, for the most part.

Anyway, I had planned for two more reviews to do for Mecha Month last year, but having a brand new Wii U, combined with friends who wanted to play games like Mario U, ZombiU, & Tank! Tank! Tank!, kind of took the place of watching those two titles for review. Hopefully I'll get to them for this month, as well as a very special review that I am willing to break a rule of mine, technically, to cover this month. But, outside of those reviews, this month will specifically be about celebration. This blog has hit two years, and the main attraction for this month will be me taking a look back at the previous two years, plus December 2010, & bringing up my favorite posts of each year. Trust me, out of all the list-style posts I have planned out, these two upcoming lists have been the hardest...And I haven't even reduced the list for this year down to twelve entries yet!

Anyway, last year's anniversary was filled with stats that I compiled for the hell of it, so this year I'm doing something similar: Here are, according to Blogspot's "Stats - Posts" category as of this post, the Top 10 Most Read Land of Obscusion Posts of All Time! (Plus my thoughts on each one)