SDCC 2013: Friends, Family, Geek Nirvana.

First off, thanks to my friends, family, and all you cool geeks that made it out to SDCC 2013.  You all deserve a round of applause.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

*waiting*

Okay, good.  Here are my pictures from that fun-filled nerd orgy.  Special thanks to my crew, Jabronie Pictures, Detoonified, The Stunt People, Almost Good Films, RhythmEmoti#n.net, and the #HLGKTA.

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An Anime Conji plug, among other things.

 

477750_10150661854814035_2029012070_oAnime Conji.  San Diego’s only anime convention.  You might be wondering what a small website like ours has to do with this anime convention?  Well…a few things.

For one thing, I’m one of the volunteer coordinators.  And yes, we are recruiting.  Interested?  Sound off in the comments, and I WILL RESPOND.  Serious.

The volunteer department’s mascots are named “twitchy” and “gatcha”, both named for the first volunteer coordinators.  Myself and Gail I.  GAIL!  SHOUTOUT TO YOU!  I KNOW YOU READ THIS!  THANKS SO MUCH!!

So I think you all should go to this convention and say hi to us.  Neggy and Ro will be there taking pictures and such.

And before I forget, I wanna give shoutouts to my homies that I met through Anime Conji:

  • @whitedarryl
  • @kaleionapua
  • @vince85
  • @flareboost
  • @elfgrove
  • @mgshogun
  • @richandcreamy
  • @eyemusing
  • rhythmemoti#n.net
  • @kawaii_kupo
  • @kupomatic

If you’re not gonna volunteer, you can still go.  Real talk.  Here’s the link.

 

Twitchy’s Anime Rocking Chair – I can’t watch Dragon Ball Z in English.

Call me a purist, or a weeaboo, or whatever the hell you want, but I can’t watch DBZ in English.  I just can’t.  The voices don’t sit well with me.  The translations don’t go over well…and the Americans have a history of fuckin’ shit up when they don’t need to.

Exhibit A: Gohan’s transformation into Super Saiyajin Level 2.

Android 16 begs Gohan to protect nature.  After he says this, Cell (Voiced by Norio Wakamoto) curbstomps him and tells him that he’s said his last words.  Gohan, filled with rage, surpasses his own limitations and goes into SSJ2  for the first time.  The timing of everything in that scene was absolutely perfect.  Gohan was speechless up until the curbstomp, and even into his transformation he still didn’t say a word.  The placement of Hironobu Kageyama’s “Unmei no Hi” (Day of Fate) was timed perfectly.  The result?  One of the most moving scenes in any animation series.

In the American version, Gohan says a few more lines (THAT WERE UNNECESSARY), Android 16’s voice carries far less emotion, and there’s NO UNMEI NO HI.  WHAT THE HELL.  They replaced with more of their generic rock music.

For a guy that’s grown up on the Japanese DBZ, I could never bring myself to watch the English version.  I still can’t.  The English dub does have some moments, but for every good moment, I would always find something that I just didn’t like.

hair wax

hair wax

Twitchy’s Videogame Rocking Chair – MechWarrior 2

936full-mechwarrior-2--31st-century-combat-cover

The sound of a rocking chair fills the room you’re sitting in.  The creaks start getting louder, almost enveloping the area.  Then…this song drops.

Now you’re sitting inside the cockpit of a Timber Wolf mech.  You’re armed to the teeth with a bunch of LRM’s, a few Pulse Lasers, a PPC cannon or two, and a Gauss Rifle.  Your teammates are telling you to flank your enemies.  SRM’s start flying towards your mech as you activate your jump jets just in time to avoid the impact.   Then, you skillfully land on top of the enemy Jenner mech that launched those missiles..because…FUCK JENNERS.

This was my life in the Mid-90’s.  I borrowed MechWarrior 2 from my neighbor Nelson, and oh man, did that game kick my ass.  MechWarrior 2 was my first exposure to the BattleTech Universe.  I played through both of the game’s scenarios, Clan Wolf and Clan Jade Falcon, the two sides of the “Refusal War”.  I barely knew just what the hell was going on, so I just followed what the missions told me to do.  Basically it all boiled down to these objectives:

  • Go to a Navigation point
  • Blow shit up
  • Protect this shit
  • Blow that shit up
  • Head to dustoff site for extraction.

The levels I played through varied very much, and the environments played a factor every single time.  On planets with a very hot climate, you’d want to avoid overloading on energy weapons, naturally.  Planets that were cold as fuck…well, load up the energy weapons and jump jets, ‘cuz you’d rarely overheat!  You also had close urban combat scenarios, low visibility missions, missions with low gravity, lunar missions…I could go on, and on, and on….

Gameplay?  If you had the proper joystick, the game felt like you were piloting a mech.  The controls were complex, but once you got the hang of it, it felt natural.  You had to control your walking speed, attack angles, and how your torso would move.  Strafing was your friend.

Customizing your mech was the meat and potatoes of this game.  You had a myriad of weapons, engines, heat sinks, armor choices, and mechs to choose from.  I remember spending one hour trying to get the proper mech setup for a mission.

The music was awesome too.  Too bad I lost my soundtrack.  The soundtrack had all sorts of music, ranging from industrial techno to fully orchestrated tracks that conveyed the energy and fury of a battlefield.

Chibi, this one’s for you.  Now get to work on your Japan trip pictures.  Unless you’re playing MechWarrior Online.

Twitchy’s Anime Rocking Chair – The Animix Project.

Back in 2003, a group of people from animemusicvideos.org decided to get together to make an anime music video.  On April 4, 2004, the video was finally released.  Using a 1990’s dance megamix as their soundtrack, over 100 AMV editors banded together to make an anime music video that ran for one hour.   This is where things get kinda crazy.  You have to remember that the average anime fan’s attention span is rather small.  How did the creators of this AMV deal with the length?

Simple.  They used a ton of anime series, and each clip doesn’t go over one minute.  Plus, the video was skilfully edited together so it all just flows.  All you see is the goodness.

I’ll admit that the video is a little dated now, but it’s still fun to watch.  And I’m a huge fan of 90’s eurodance/techno songs.  Double win.

I’ve tried to get into contact with the head of the animix project, but I haven’t been successful as of yet.

I first saw this during my stint with the Southwestern College Anime and Games/Pacific Media Club.  Ahhh…memories.

 

I really want to take one of these to go.

Twitchy’s Anime Rocking Chair – Metal Fighter Miku

You can tell how old this ad was. I mean, we’re nowhere near close to having pro fighters with colored hair. Unless you count Masato.

The sound of a creaky rocking chair permeates the room you’re reading this in.  Yes.  Even in the bathroom where you’re probably taking a shit as you read this.  THERE’S A FUCKING ROCKING CHAIR IN THERE TOO RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR.

*ahem*

Babes in powered suits.  It doesn’t get old, does it?  In the mid-90’s the practice was alive and well.  And wouldn’t you know it, they decided to make a sports anime out of it!

Metal Fighter Miku was like the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”, if Sisterhood involved MMA and powersuits.  You had 4 girls that formed a pop/wrestling group called the “Pretty Four”.  Miku was the leader.  Nana was the loli-looking girl with the smarts.  Ginko was the strongwoman who spoke with a Kansai accent.  Sayaka was the most technical fighter out of the 4.   The four girls dealt with issues like boys, dating, singing, squats, and MMA.

Did I mention MMA?  At the time, a form of pro-wrestling was popular in Japan, called puroresu.  Puroresu is the Japanese pronunciation  for “Pro-wrestling”, but it’s actually like modern MMA, with use of strikes and submission moves on top of wrestling techniques.

Oh yeah.

When I first laid eyes on this series I only saw 4 episodes, as that was all my cousin Charlie had on his bootleg tapes.  It wasn’t until comic con 2010 that I was able to finish the entire series.  I found the complete series on DVD.  And boy…was it dated.

Still, this series holds a special meaning for myself, Ferrisb1, and Charlie.  The three of us can still sing the opening.  To this day.  And we each had our own personal favorite.  Charlie liked Sayaka, the purple-haired technical fighter.  Ferris liked Miku.  I…liked Nana.  Guess I’ve got a thing for petite dangerous smart girls.  I never learn.

In closing, I’d like to say that despite the age of this series, it’s a great watch.  It’s fun, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the action is top-notch.

Charlie, you and Cherie are moving up to LA, so you two take care of yourselves.  The reason that I’m the geek I am now, was because of you.  For better or worse.  I can’t begin to thank you enough, but I suppose that I can start by giving you some props here.  Have fun, be strong, and don’t change….only for the better.  
(Damnit Justin).

-Francis

P.S., here’s charlie.

SWAMP THING

I really want to take one of these to go.

Twitchy’s Anime Rocking Chair – Azumanga Daioh!

Opening this entry causes the sound of a creaky rocking chair to fill the space you’re reading this in.  Yes, there’s a rocking chair at tea ‘n more.  Serious.  

I’m gonna keep this one simple and sweet.   For you see, the anime I’m reminiscing about is also short and sweet.  Swort?  Sheet?  Ehhhhh…

Yep.  Azumanga Daioh.  Chiyo-chan’s high school misadventures.  There you go, I just summed up the premise of the series in 5 words or less.

Azumanga Daioh followed Chiyo-chan, a genius girl who got skipped ahead to high school.  As you would imagine, skipping a few grades can leave the person a tad naive about the world.  Fortunately, Chiyo makes friends with a group of girls that are the quirkiest in the school.

From the left: Ayumu “Osaka” Kasuga, Chiyo Mihama, Koyomi “Yomi” Mizuhara, Tomo “Wildcat” Takino, Sakaki, and Kagura.

What made this anime/manga series special is that there was no overarching plot.  These girls didn’t have to save the world, fight monsters, or pilot a giant robot.  They were simply going to school.  And having weird dreams.  With talking cats voiced by Norio Wakamoto.  And dealing with perverted teachers.  It was surreal and delicious.

Every girl had their own personality quirk to them that made them stand out.  Osaka’s a spacey airhead who’s got a VERY skewed view on life, Chiyo’s still trying to figure out just how to be a high school girl while skipping middle school, Yomi’s obsessed with her weight and annoyed with her best friend, Tomo.  Tomo is….energetic.  Sakaki’s popularity is shadowed by the fact that she’s obsessed with cute things.  Kagura’s occupied with her one-sided rivalry with Sakaki.  The teachers…are just as crazy as the students are.

Each episode had the girls encountering some new situation, and would deal with the situation the only way they knew how.  By being themselves.  For better or worse.  The series was brilliant in its execution.  It portrayed Japanese high school life as not dramatic…but as simple and fun as…well, high school.

I picked up the box set some time ago, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t get it.  Go.  Now.  Or Sakaki’s cat will bite you.

Azumanga Daioh was one of the first anime  series I watched when I first got into college.  Man…has it been that long?

I really want to take one of these to go.

Twitchy’s Anime Rocking Chair – Burn Up W!

The nineties was a good time for Anime.

The sound of a rocking chair fills the room you’re reading this entry in.  Violently, the creaking of the rocking chair is replaced with an explosion.  Then another explosion.  GUNSHOTS.  EXPLOSIONS!   Titties?  Wait, what?

Remember my previous Rocking Chair entry?  I reminisced about a watershed anime title called “Bubblegum Crisis”.   4 anime babes fighting crime on the streets of a cyberpunk futuristic Tokyo.  Today’s title also has 4 anime babes fighting crime on the streets of a Tokyo 15 minutes into the future, though it’s not as cyberpunk-y and it’s nowhere near as grimdark.  Well, not at least toward the end of the OVA series.

Welcome to Burn Up W.

Directed by Hiroshi Negishi(of Tenchi Muyo! fame), Burn Up W featured 4 police officers, codenamed “Team Warrior”,  fighting various forms of crime.  They could be anything from terrorists extorting money from world governments to panty thieves.

The Cast –

 Rio Kinezono – Rio’s the main character of the series.  She’s hot tempered, impulsive, brash, and very bratty.  Her hand-to-hand combat skills are second to none and she serves as the leader of “Team Warrior” on the field.  She’s also got a tendency to blow through cash rather quickly, so she depends on the Team Warrior jobs to supplement her income as a regular cop.  However, when that isn’t enough, she’s not above selling her used panties.

Maya Jingu - The demolition expert of Team Warrior, Maya’s got a problem.  She’s sexually frustrated.  Very frustrated.  If she’s not shooting off her M-82 anti material sniper rifle, blowing up buildings with C4, or firing off a bazooka, she’s really, really irritable.  Despite her occupation as a cop, she actually comes from a Yakuza family.   Unfortunately for her, Rio usually completes missions without having to rely on Maya’s brute force.

Lilica Ebett -Lilica is the daughter of an unnamed Japanese Zaibatsu CEO and as such, she’s got plenty of cash to throw around.  Unlike Rio, she doesn’t have a need to spend any of it.  She’s a tech geek who supports Rio and Maya behind the scenes, much like Nene in BGC.  She’s cheerful, energetic, and a pleasant person to be around.  Rio always tries to mooch cash off her though.

 Maki Kawazaki is the commander of Team Warrior.  She’s got a ton of experience under her belt, and she controls the group with her no-nonsense attitude.  Maki knows exactly how to control and squeeze her girls to get the absolute best out of them, but she’s not without compassion.  She’s also the “Team Mom”, always ready to listen to the problems of her team members.

Burn Up W, and its later TV series Burn Up eXcess were similar to Bubblegum Crisis, however, the shows differed in a few key points.  Burn Up W was more of a comedy action series, and the setting wasn’t too important to the plot.  Where Bubblegum Crisis had an overly dramatic tone throughout, Burn Up W’s drama didn’t kick in until the last two episodes of the OVA.  Last, the fanservice.  There was relatively little direct fanservice in Bubblegum Crisis, but in Burn Up W, it was IN YOUR FACE.

See?  Yes.  Totally nude bungee jump!

Burn Up W was available in the US through ADV films in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  I managed to snag this title at one of the many Comic Cons that I attended in the past. In later releases of the series, ADV films actually added a “Jiggle” counter that would keep track of how many times the boobs would jiggle on screen per character.  Classy.

I really enjoyed the character designs.  In typical 90’s style, the “feminine” features of the girls was drawn over the top, the hair was spiky, wild, and came in all the colors of the rainbow, and the eyes had that look.   Last, the dub was actually well done.  I don’t remember wanting to change audio tracks on my DVD.

If you can find this series, I highly recommend giving it ago.  It probably isn’t that expensive now anyway :P.

I really want to take one of these to go.

Twitchy’s Anime Rocking Chair – Bubblegum Crisis

This was “fanservice” back in the day. No, really. Moe Moe Kyun.  Pictured from the left, Linna, Sylia, Priss, and Nene.  Asswhuppin’ in a can, baby.

Remember when cyberpunk dystopian environments were all the rage?  I do.  And believe me, it made for some pretty damn awesome entertainment.  Even Anime wasn’t exempt from the cyberpunk bug.  What you see above you was one of the most pivotal titles to ever hit the US.  BUBBLEGUM CRISIS.

Bubblegum Crisis chronicled the adventures of an all-female mercenary group-for-hire called the “Knight Sabers”.  Equipped with powered exoskeletons, these 4 girls would fly off into the night and keep the peace.  During the day they would have to deal with their normal day-jobs.  Apparently in the future, shit’s gone so crazy that people rely on robots(or are they?  They’re half android/biological organisms) called “Boomers” to do most of the really gritty work that people don’t want to touch.  What happens when those boomers run amok?  The Knight Sabers come in and whup some robot ass.

The group is lead by Sylia Stingray.  She runs a lingerie shop in the daytime, but at night she’s the driving force of the Knight Sabers.  The main muscle of the group is Priscilla “Priss” Asagiri, and she’s your go-to girl for up-close in your face combat.  Rounding out the group is Linna Yamazaki, who has athletic precision when she fights, making her an excellent support character for any situations they would come across.  Finally we have Nene Romanova, a cutesy tech geek who absolutely hates fighting.  She’s really suited for hacking into computer networks and stuff.  The primary antagonists of the series are the shady GENOM corporation, a giant Japanese zaibatsu responsible for the creation and maintenance of the “Boomers” that the modern world depends on.

What made this series so popular, you ask?  For one, the characters were all real characters who had their own shit to deal with, on top of their duties as Knight Sabers.  Priss is a biker that lets her temper get the better of her.  Linna is a tad money-hungry and she serves as an aerobics instructor/manager to get by.  Nene is a police officer, and she feels conflicted with her duties as a cop, and her vigilante assignments as a Knight Saber.  Sylia is still haunted by the murder of her father and the coverup by the GENOM corporation.  Real heroes with real problems.  Sorta like Marvel.

Second, the art was simply fantastic.  The characters were drawn out by Kenichi Sonoda, the artist behind the Gunsmith Cats.  Animation duties were handled AIC and Youmex.  The art reflects the doom and gloom technological psychobabble that cyberpunk series at the time were known for.  Shit’s not all roses and rainbows in post-apocalyptic cyberpunk Tokyo.

Third?  THE MUSIC.  This anime series has one of the best damn songs I’ve ever listened to EVER.  Here’s some of the music from the original series.

Okay, I know some of the fashion’s a little off.  It’s the 80’s.  Shit was crazy in the 80’s.

As is the case with cyberpunk stories, the issue of humanity is touched on quite a bit.  What makes something human?  Can machines feel like we do?  How far can we go with technology before shit blows up in our collective faces?  You blend this all together and you get one of the most iconic anime series EVER.   BGC has a pretty good following in its native Japan, but in the US…..HOLY SHIT.  It’s HUGE.

Growing up, I always wanted to watch the series, but once I was old enough to actually start buying anime, the series went out of print.  It was a battle to find them in my local electronics stores.  Only last year at Comic Con 2011 was I able to buy the entire boxset.  AND IT WAS WORTH IT.