Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Black Rock Xmas!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chinese Gundam Goes away...

So first they built it.  Then they denied that it was a copy.  Now it's gone.

those crazy Chinese.

Source:  Kotaku

Tron: Legacy

Tron was not a successful movie in it's time.  It was groundbreaking, and certainly influential, but it failed financially.  In fact if you even mentioned a Tron Sequal in the  Eisner Era you'd probably be fired.    That said it's grown a following over the years.  A sizable chunk of Gen Yers saw Tron and saw the future.  They didn't see the flaws their parents did, all they saw was flashy effect, cool motorcycles, and the future.  These children grew up to be adults, and a bit of revisionist history happened.  Sometime in the early 00's Tron went from one of Disney's great failed experiments to a triumph of visionary movie making.  A movie of that stature surly deserves a sequel, right? John Lasseter though so.  So one of the first things he did when he took over the reigns of Disney was green like Tron 2.

It's not secret that Tron: Legacy is, for me, the most anticipated movie of the year.  Even since Disney dropped the test teasers in 2008 I've been hooked on the Idea of a Tron sequel. I was slightly too young to see Tron in the theater, but I caught it years later on Disney Channel or Wonderful World of Disney.  For a young computer guy the the whole concept spoke to me.  I will be honest though.  Until I was forced to examine my thoughts on Tron when the sequel was announced, I can't say I was a huge fanboy.  In this examination I realized how much I really did like it, but no where beyond, "I liked Tron so a sequel would be cool" territory.  The Eureka moment happened when it started to Disney's plan for the movie started to coalesce.  Stephen Lisberger was involved as a writer and a producer.  Jeff Bridges was in talks for more than just a Cameo.  The film would be a real time direct sequel as opposed to a remake or re-imagining.  (Can you imagine Tron: Begins?)  It seemed for once Hollywood was doing everything right.  They weren't cutting corners, they were doing what the fans want.  Signing Daft Punk to score the movie was the final proof that these guys were doing something special.

They did do something special.

There has been a lot of initial criticism about the normal things in a Genre movie.  Wooden acting, bad script, etc.  What I found amazing about the film was how layered it was.  Yes on the surface it's a cliche movie about a kid who's pissed that his dad left him, and how he deals with that, and how it affects his relationship with his dad after he's been found again.  It's all been done before.  (These days what hasn't).   There was much more to that movie thematically, and it touched on the mythos, logos and ethos of our modern area.

The first overarching theme deals with the nature of freedom itself, and more specifically technological freedom.  The opening scene is all about Sam continuing his fathers dream of software being for the people.  No corporation should own software, it should be available for all.  This ultimately is a critique of DRM, and whether anyone can really own a program.  It's this notion that pushes Kevin Flynn to create The Grid.  A perfect world, where all programs can be free, an allegory for what's going on in the real world with his Operating system.  His world was so perfect that a new lifeforms was able to come to being.  Life though is in inherently imperfect, and the same drive for perfection spelled the end of his dreams.
There were a number of mythological aspects to the story that would make Joseph Campbell proud, I noticed both references to Paradise Lost and Icarus in the way the dealt with the message they were trying to get across.  Flynn thought he could create perfection only to be shown that The Grid like The Sun could not be tamed by a mere mortal.

Paradise Lost, tells the story of the war in heaven between the rebellious angels and God.  Flynn being God created a perfect world with perfect followers to build it.  He created Clu first, who was to help him build his world.  More programs were created who like angles were prefect, and where subservient to The User.  ISO's would be analogous Humanity.  Flynn saw greater potential in the ISOs than he ever did in his creations.  Clu's singular drive was perfection, but in some ways it was also Jealousy.  His coup was motivated jealousy.  Jealously of having to share Flynn's love and Jealousy that ISO's have a choice.  Choice is key.  Choice in Faith is what separates the ISO's and Programs, and Humans and Angels alike.  There are two story arch in Paradise lost, one tell the story of the fall of Lucifer, the other tell the story of the Fall of man.  The question I have, if we get a sequel, are Sam and Quorra Adam and Eve?  Cast out of the Garden of Eden?  Is Sam Jesus?  Is Neo Jesus?  Stop trying to hit me and hit me!   Don't get me wrong, this isn't a "Christian" movie, it's probably more aptly a "Milton" movie.  The allegory isn't nearly as blatant as Narnia.  But still it's there.  It merely uses a familiar construct to get it's message across...

I'd be wrong to not mention the Music and the 3D effects.  As expected Daft Punk's score for this was amazing.  It's probably up there with John Williams- Star Wars, or Danny Elfman-Batman, in terms of shear perfection in setting tone and mood for the film.  I'll be posting a separate review of the soundtrack when I get it.

The 3D effects were also excellent, they did a mix of 2D and 3D, and only the scenes that benefited from 3D done.  This was great because it gave your eyes a rest during slow parts.  The special effects were also awesome.  A great update to the classic Tron look.  I've heard some criticism. about the CGI Clu.  I though the effect was good, at least as good as Avatar.  The only real difference, and the reason it stood out more, is that unlike Avatar, Clu spent most of his screen time on with other real humans.  This direct comparison widens the Uncanny Valley.  He's also suppose to be a computer program so being too "Perfect" is to be expected.  

Oh... and for the critics who called the acting wooden... Most of the character are computer programs. They're suppose to be a little stiff.  This is why Quorra is more animated than the rest.

Bohemian Rhapsody: String Quartet

It's always fun to see this arranged in new ways.  In 300 years Freddy Mercury will be like Beethoven... 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Secret Nazi Origins of Scrooge McDuck!

For any child growing up in the 80s, there is one Disney Duck that is second only to Donald himself, and that is Scrooge McDuck.

There should be nothing about Scrooge that says, "action hero". He is old, Scottish, rich, and stingy. Yet somehow, he has adventures that rival or exceed those of Indiana Jones. In fact, much of Indiana Jones is based on the Scrooge McDuck comics penned by Disney duck scribe Carl Barks.

But the similarities between Indy and Scrooge might run deeper than just escaping giant boulders. Both have ties to a very evil and very infamous military power: The Nazis.

For a duck of Scrooge's stature, hearing that he has Nazi ties might make you think some of his imminence wealth is due in part to some seedy McDuck family back room dealings. However, I can say assuredly that all McDuck money was earned in his lifetime with his own feathery hands. It started with a dime you know.

No, Scrooge's Nazi connections come from the creation of the duck himself, as a piece of propaganda.

Enter the Spirit of '43. During WWII, Donald was literally the propaganda poster duck for the war. Disney slapped his bill over anything that could be considered American. For many people, Donald represented the everyman. He wasn't squeaky clean like Mickey, he fell pray to temptation and selfishness. So when moviegoers saw Donald going back and forth emotionally on his stance on war, it gave people a fictional character they could relate with.

For example, in the propaganda cartoon Spirit of '43, after Donald gets paid, he is faced with the dilemma of saving his money and using the taxes to help pay for the war effort, or be stingy and spend the money on something for himself. The part of Donald that tells him to be a spend thrift and save the money, comes in the form of a Scottish duck with the same beard and accent of the Scrooge McDuck we know and love today.

And while the "Scrooge" persona in Donald is his "good" side, it's characteristics are still those of Scrooge McDuck, in that Scrooge would always tell Donald to save his money before spending it.

Here is the cartoon in it's entirety. The Scrooge part is only at the beginning before it goes into a typical "America is so friggin great!" rant:

Scrooge's first official appearance came in 1947 in the Carl Barks comic Christmas on Bear Mountain, though that Scrooge is very different in appearance and attitude than the Scrooge Barks later made the hero of his comics. He eventually becomes much more like the character seen in Spirit of '43.

If we wanted to look at this canonically, we could assume that the "Scrooge" persona in Donald is just his manifestation of his dear Uncle Scrooge, whom he knows would tell him to save the cash. To go along with this, Donald's evil persona is much more akin to his free spirited cousin and adversary, Gladstone Gander. In Spirit of '43 Donald could simply be channeling duck's he already knows and use them to fill the roll of "good" and "bad" in his head. Of course practically all this is impossible because neither character had been conceived yet, but I figured I'd channel the great Don Rosa myself and canonize the most minute of Duck Universe details.

Regardless it is interesting to watch Spirit of '43 and see what I think could be the roots of Scrooge McDuck.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Chinese will knock off anything...

The Chinese love Gundam almost as much as the Japanese.  During the period of economic liberalization in the 80's Chinese television was flooded with dubbed content from both the US and Japan.  You could ask anyone born in China between 1975 and 1987 and they'd probably know just as much about Transformers, He-Man, She-Ra, Gundam, Macross, Doromon, and Detective Conan as any adult from the same generation in the USA or Japan.  

What do you do then when you want to build a theme park in Mainland China.  Paying license fees is expensive, and what's the point when the legal system in China really done't protect international trademarks... I'll tell you what you do... you build it anyway, just paint it red.  

What you see to he Left is almost exact replica of the RX-78 currently residing in Shizuoka (Right).  The Senario is pretty much as stated above.  They wanted a Gundam exhibit for a new theme park in Sichuan so instead of paying Bandai for the rights, they just built it themselves.  Industrious? Yes.  Legal? Probably not.  

Source:  Dvice

Monday, December 13, 2010

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt Impressions

I'll go ahead and be forthcoming with the statement that I'm probably what some might consider a Gainax superfan. But I always stop at calling myself a fanboy of anything, because while I might feel strongly about certain brands and properties I will always point out their flaws if any exist.

Gainax I will admit I probably defend more often than they sometimes deserve. I will also admit that the current Gainax is somewhat of a post-modern version of their former self. This is part due to most of the founding members moving on to bigger things (*cough* Studio Khara *cough*), or leaving due to making brilliant critiques of 2chan members. So what is left of Gaianx is a studio of people constantly trying to reach the greatness of their early genre defining works such as Nadia, Gunbuster and Evangelion (what three things do those shows have in common I wonder).

Where some people have given up on the "new" Gainax, I have found their new face quiet entertaining. What they have come to specialize in is a sort of hyper action super camp. A lot of the humor falls into well executed camp, but at the same time can turn on a dime and get deadly serious without showing it's hand. And slowly, over the years, it seems they have turned more to the former and less of the later.

This is where Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt comes in. One of the campiest and grotesque anime in modern times (or ever).

I love camp. Army of Darkness might be my third favorite movie of all time, behind Citizen Kane and End of Evangelion of course. I also love cheesecake. I believe my posts defending Queen's Blade and Highschool of the Dead prove that. So it seems like a show containing both those elements would be right up my alley. Well... you are right, but maybe not as much as I thought.

Let me try to explain. When Panty and Stocking (here within referred to as P&S) first aired and I watched it I was not impressed in the least. The first episode was about a giant poop monster attacking the city, all which has been covered in Dogma. The dick jokes went limp and the whole poop thing seemed like a pandering mess. So I instantly denounced the show.

Then, after a few more episodes aired, I decided to give it another go. After watching a little more into the series, I got the joke.

I think maybe the first time I tried watching it, I was watching with "South Park" eyes, when I needed to be watching with my "Evil Dead" eyes. It's a different kind of comedy then you might expect. It isn't so much poking fun of western culture as much as it is acknowledging it as a type of homage.

And before I go further, I must explain exactly what P&S is. The style of P&S is a direct reference of Western animation. Looking like something from Cartoon Network from the early 2000's. Maybe a little Dexter's Lab and Powerpuff Girls, mixed in with a dash of Invader Zim.

The thing is, Gainax really REALLY did their homework when it comes to the western references in this show. It really feels like an anime made so that people in America will catch all the jokes. A send up of Ren and Stimpy appear in one episode as a husband and wife. Panty and Stocking steal the spark from Optimus and Megatron in another episode and turn into Transformers in probably my favorite episode so far. Their dog companion Chuck looks just like Gir from the aforementioned Invader ZIM. These go on and on. Panty constantly quotes American action movies, and she is even seen wearing a Slave Labor Graphics (creators of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac) T-Shirt in the newest episode:

That right there is a hard-core reference to western culture.

In that respect the show is really well done, and I think worth the viewing of anyone who would appreciate such references.

Since it comes from Gainax, the show is not without it's commentary on society, as one episode completely ditches the pop art style and goes instead for hyper realistic depictions of Japanese business men and women working a thankless existence. And Garterbelt's shocking backstory to live through hell on Earth to make up for his past transgressions. Both these examples, while dark and depressing both end with a ridiculous and upbeat finish, which makes the dreariness of the tale stand out even more and remind the audience that all they are watching is escapism in it's purest form.

Though with all that said P&S still isn't as amazing or ground breaking as I had hoped it would be. Being Gainax I know I set my expectations too high, and while I eagerly look forward to each episode and really enjoy myself each time, I know I am not laughing at the jokes as much as the creators probably wish I was. It's more like a fun, refreshing ride, than it is a rule breaking piece of art. But the series isn't over yet, and like many Gainax shows I'm somewhat expecting them to turn the series on it's head so that by the end it won't even resemble the first episode.

Monday, December 6, 2010

P.B Crisps: Let Your Voice Be Heard

Somehow I've started a P.B. Crisps Revolution, when I first blogged about them earlier this year. P.B. Crisps has become our top search term and after many comments I realize there is quite a need for these delicious morsels to make a second coming, fittingly around Christmas (yes, I just compared P.B. Crisps to Jesus Christ.... They are that good.)

Planters just opened a Facebook page dedicated to marketing their new creepy talking Mr. Peanut. You know what to do devoted P.B. Crisp fans. Spam the hell out of the page demanding the return of your favorite after school snack.

Carpe Diem. Viva La P.B. Crisps!

Lonecow's Top 10 Anime Women Recap

Here are links to all previous entries in the nearly year long look at anime's greatest female protagonists.

10. Ritsu Tainaka - K-On!

9. Sheryl Nome - Macross Frontier

8. Motoko Kusanagi - Ghost in the Shell

7. Rei Ayanami - Rebuild of Evangelion

6. Tohsaka Rin - Fate/Stay Night

5. Yoko Ritona - Tenga Toppa Gurren Lagann

4. Senjogahara Hitagi - Bakemonogatari

3. C.C. - Code Geass

2. Haruhi Suzumiya - Melencoly of Haruhi Suzumiya

1. Asuka Langly Soryu - Neon Genesis Evangelion

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lonecow's Top 10 Anime Women .... # 1

I have put this off for long enough. Honestly, part of the reason I haven't posted as much, is the impending thought of finishing up the Top 10 Anime Girls Feature. Partly because I've already said a lot about my number 1 on this blog and to every one who knows me.

At the same time I'm scared that once I start talking about her I won't stop. Luckily the world invented an "Edit" feature.

So in the immortal words of a janitor I once heard after the credits had rolled on the movie I was watching, "Let's do this."

Number 1: Asuka Langley Soryu

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. Fact is, if you don't know who the red headed fire goddess of modern anime is, then you probably don't care.

But for tradition sake, she is the female protagonist of Neon Genesis Evangelion, the 14 year old pilot of Unit 02.

Why is she #1: Asuka's placement as #1 on my list should be a surprise to no one who frequents this blog or is a close friend of mine. She is the first anime character I literally fell in love with, and I don't mean that in a light sense or a "I think she's a real cutie." I mean, head over heels in love.

This is due in part to what Asuka stood for and embodied at the same time. As I mentioned in my review of Evangelion 2.22, when I watched the original series I was Shinji and I identified with him wholly. Asuka is an equal part of that puzzle. For a long time, nearly every girl I dated or had a crush on was like Asuka. Loud, abrasive, and condescending. That isn't an insult to my past women, because dammit, that was what I was looking for in a woman. I loved that type of girl. Sure, those qualities made them harder to get to know, but when you could get past that and get to their sweet side, it made it worth it.

However, at the same time, this left me an uncontrollable wreck of an individual in nearly every relationship I was in. In fact, to make matters worse, at the time I was watching Neon Genesis, the girl I was with was a red head.

While I'm putting all this out there I might as well theorize that my fondness for these type of women go back to the third grade after my house burned down and we had to move to a new neighborhood. While everyone else had been really nice and generous to me, the first new "friend" I met in my new neighborhood was a girl who could have been the spitting image of a young Asuka. She was mean, proud and insulting and never showed the least bit of sympathy towards me or my situation. But for some reason we were still friends. She would come to my house to play and I'd go to hers, and for whatever reason it worked. It was a dating sim game turned reality.

But unlike dating sims, I moved away when our house was rebuilt and never saw her again. Hell, I don't even remember her name. So I know for a fact there is something psychological stuck in my brain regarding her, and Asuka is the fictional embodiment of that lost mean little girl.

That was partly why Evangelion was a psychological cleansing for me. It helped me get over all my issues. Sure I could have gone to a therapist and worked that stuff out naturally, but the show did that for me. I would never be able to get back to that "lost innocence" I had with that girl and a string of unhealthy relationships weren't helping. So enter, Shinji Ikari, to help me attach myself to his consciousness and Asuka as the form of all my failed romances. Both characters worked through their problems and regardless of how they turned out, I became a better person from their struggles.

You might think I should have a negative opinion of Asuka if I viewed her as the personification of all my botched attempts at love, but quite the opposite. She represents a time in my life that was very important to me because it shaped who I became. I'm still attracted to those type of girls and I doubt that will ever change.

As a side note, my wife is much more like Misato, which is why I am of the opinion that Misato and Kaji are future personality reflections of Asuka and Shinji. When Asuka matures she will be like Misato and Shinji like Kaji. That is just my opinion. That would also imply that I see myself as Kaji.

Ah, that was therapeutic. Probably boring for you though. Sorry about that.

In a nutshell that is what the character of Asuka Soryu means to me. But she is even more important in the history of anime.

As a character, Asuka is groundbreaking. Now weather you are of the camp that Shinji and Rei should be a couple or Asuka and Shinji should be a couple, by the end the clear parring is Asuka and Shinji, at least in the original series. This isn't really up for debate.

Why this is important is because at the time, in anime, a soft spoken, gentle, motherly character like Rei would be the stand out love interest. And to be sure, most of the Japanese fan base felt the same way. Rei was a phenomenon in Otaku culture. She was the prototypical example of what most lonely Otaku wanted in a wife.

But despite that, the redheaded stepchild, with the loud obnoxious, bratty personality was the female favored by the male protagonist. Asuka still had her fans, and I don't think she was outright hated by most fans in her time, but she defiantly went against the grain. Despite her flaws she was a strong independent woman who strove to be the best without the help of any man.

When so much of Evangelion is written in a way to be slightly insulting to the people who show the most fondness for it, I wouldn't be surprised if Asuka is Anno's way of saying, "You all want a Rei to do whatever you say, but you all need and deserve an Asuka to kick you into shape."

Also if you go back and watch the first four episodes, or some of the last episodes without Asuka her presence is defiantly missed. She took what could have been a very melancholy and dismal atmosphere and put some life into it. Her energy effected those around her and the entire show as a result. Without her interjections and personality the entire show is a little like a Geofront itself (hollow on the inside).

That is my opinion on Asuka Langley Soryu, not just one of the greatest female characters in anime, but one of the greatest characters in fiction itself.

Voice Actress: Tiffany Grant

Though I've become a bit of a sub snob in recent years, Asuka's voice will always belong to Tiffany Grant. When I think of Asuka, that is the voice I hear.

Though after repeated watching of Eva in it's original Japanese, I have issue with some of Grant's interpretations of some scenes. For example, the "kiss" scene is almost completely wrong in the dub, and not to mention the last line in End of Eva being up for heavy debate (I should also point out these are directorial decisions and not the fault of Grant). However, these are minor squabbles in comparison to her complete mastery of the character's personality and demeanor.

Her ability to speak fluent German gives her a major leg up on Yūko Miyamura (Asuka's Seiyu). Yūko Miyamura's inability to speak German became something of a running gag at the time of Eva's original airing and in my opinion takes a little oomph out of the character.

I hope Grant gets to reprise her role in Evangelion 2.22, and I wish they add a feature where you can keep her vocal track for Asuka and the rest in Japanese.

Speaking of Evangelion 2.22, that brings me to the final Honorable mention. Drum roll please....

Honorable Mention: Asuka Shikinami

Ha! Bet you didn't see that coming. Shikinami can be a dirty word with Eva fans, and most, including myself see her has a completely separate character than Asuka Soryu. But unlike most fans who don't like her, I am very fond of her.

She still doesn't hold a candle to Soryu as far as depth and character, but to be fair she has had much less screen time than her forebear and with that little amount of time she has managed to do quite a bit.

Admittedly, Soryu is too abrasive for people to get to know and love in a short amount of time, so some major modifications needed to happen to make Asuka a little sweeter. First of all (and the best part) is her complete child-like obsession with Kaji has been dropped. I never liked that subplot and the manga made it even worse. She also is no longer completely obsessed with being #1. This allows her to not see Shinji as a rival as much and can see him much more as an object of affection. She is also more willing to open up to others, and sadly realizes this just a smidgen too late into the film.

These qualities make Shikinami more lovable and likable than Soryu, but she doesn't have the depth or sides that Soryu has, so it is a bit of a give and take. I talk about Tsundere's a lot on this blog, and I don't think Soryu qualifies, even if the term itself is slightly inspired by her. However, Shikinami is a loud, proud Tsundere, in the fullest extent of the made up word.

Regardless of their differences and similarities, both have a place in my heart.

And with that my Top Ten Anime Women list is finally done! It's been a long ride, and I can finally relax and not feel the pressure of finishing this list. I was planning on following up this feature with the Top 10 Male Anime characters (though I realize that won't bring in as much traffic from Google Images), but I might take a year or two off before going into that venture. Maybe just a top 5 list next time... or top 3.... or 1.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Black Rock Shooter Game Coming Stateside

Maybe you have noticed the banner ads on the sidebar for Disgaea 4 and ZHP. No, we aren't getting paid a penny for those ads, I simply added them because I'm something of a Nippon Ichi nut. My love for them started when I found Disgaea for PS2 used, one day after it had been released. Seems someone had bought it because they liked the character design but hated SRPGs. I know this because I worked with the guy who traded it in.

I can't be too critical because I bought the game for the same reason. The characters looked cool. Luckily I quickly found out that I love SRPGs and have followed the company and bought and played every game they have released over here.

Also if you follow this blog you might notice I'm also a Hatsune Miku nut, and along with that Black Rock Shooter. I was disappointed by the anime OVA, and even did a post on this blog about how I hope the franchise is handled in the future. In that post I also mentioned my optimism for a BRS game being made by the Persona people, that might be awesome, but will never come here.

Well guess who's bringing the Black Rock Shooter game to America? That's right, Nippon Ichi baby (Or NIS America more specifically)!

I'd recommend anyone who is a fan of Japanese RPGs join the Nippon Ichi forums. They have a board dedicated to taking fan requests in bringing games over here. And if this niche title is proof of anything, it's proof that NIS listens to the fans (well most of the time. Where is La Pucelle Ragnarok NIS?).

Source: Destructoid

Monday, November 29, 2010

Transformers Prime Impressions

First of all, I want to apologize for the severe lack of updates lately. I've decided to take on a side project, helping my wife with her own blog, and haven't gotten around to working on my own. But now Thanksgiving is over and done and it's time to get back into the swing of things before I zone out for Christmas.

Over the above mentioned Thanksgiving break I managed to check out the first two episodes of the new Transformers Prime animated series, produced by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the writers for the first two Transformers flick.

The show starts off with a quick introduction to Cliffjumper, voiced by Dwayne Johnson. Quite a change from Casey Kasem from the original show. Ol' Cliff doesn't last long, as he is quickly killed off (keep count, it's not the first time he dies in two episodes). His death scene and following funeral really brought back memories of Beast Wars, and Dinobot's death and funeral. That was probably enough to draw me into the show as I am a huge Beast Wars fan.

Peter Cullen is back as Optimus, and at this point, it is going to be a really sad day when he can no longer voice Prime as he has become the voice for Optimus as much as Chuck Jones was the voice of Bugs Bunny. The real surprise to me was Frank Welker back as the voice of Megatron. He sounds fantastic, and it is a real shame he isn't the voice of Megs in the movie. Transformers Prime proves he still has it, and will always be Megatron in the hearts of millions over "Agent Smith".

The other Autobots are all pretty interesting. Bulkhead hasn't done much yet, but had a few good jokes. Personally I would have preferred Ironhide over Bulkhead but we can't have it all. Ratchet was always one of my favorites, so I'm glad he is in there and his personality seems to be a mix of the movie and his G1 version. Bumblebee is a waste of screen time as usual. All they did was hire Bumblebee from the films, as this Bumblebee doesn't speak for some unexplained reason (but the nerdy kid can understand his beeps for yet another unexplained reason).

The real standout character in Transformers Prime thus far is Arcee. I've never been a huge Arcee fan. She was one of the few female Autobots, but she never really commanded much of a presence. She started off great in the 1985 movie, but really fell to the background after that. Plus I was always a huge Rodimus Prime fan, and they clearly had some sparks fly for most of the movie and then she just dumped him for Springer without a word. Trampbot.

In Transformers Prime she is tough and a bit of a loose canon. Since she is so divergent from the Arcee from G1 (in looks and personality), I would have liked if they changed her name to Elita-One, and give Optimus a love interest for once. She cares much more for her Autobots than she does humans, and to go along with that, the only bit of the "humans" I like so far is her interaction with the main boy. Which brings me to my main point of contention.

Humans are the main thing any Transformer fan dreads.

Humans pretty much ruin every Transformers cartoon and/or movie. I don't really understand why it is so hard to make human characters work with robots. Beast Wars is the best Transformer series, and I think the reason is the complete lack of human characters (well there are the cavemen, but they don't count). It seems like every human in Transformers must be based on a stereotype. Here we have the normal looking everyday kid, who seems like a nice witty guy but for some reason is a loser that nobody likes, we have the nerdy little kid who is a computer hacker and genius and the spunky Japanese girl whose parents live in Tokyo. Real deep.

Or maybe this is always a creative decision by the writing staff to make the humans seem bland and lifeless compared to the excellent cast of robots.

Regardless, the first two episodes are really enjoyable and hearkened back to the glorious days of Beast Wars more than G1, which I am perfectly fine with. Though I will say this also feels slightly like the Transformers movies without a Michael Bay influence, which is defiantly a good thing. I have a feeling, Kurtzman and Orci are trying to make their version of Transformers how they originally planned, before Bay blew it up with explosives. However, like the Bay films the humans are the weakest part thus far and hopefully they will grow on me in time.

The designs of the robots don't bother me too much. They are a combo of my two least favorite Transformer series: Animated and the Bay movies, but they come together to make something better then the sum of their parts. One thing about the series I hope they continue is the use of beautiful hand drawn pictures for the establishing shots. The first time Cybertron was shown I was sent into a nostalgia dream state.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Give a Hoot

Brand new SNSD (Girl's Generation) music video hot off the presses, Hoot.

I genuinely love their music. Anyone who is a fan who hasn't picked up their amazing iPhone app that includes their second album and music videos and pictures can do so: here. Otherwise enjoy their new video:

I think Yoona has slowly worked her way up to becoming my favorite of the girls. She looks especially hot in this one.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Daft Punkin'

To keep up with current themes...

Source:  Hack of the Day
Via: Engadget

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Daft Punk Video/Trailer for Tron Legacy ..

I know, I know... It's been a while. Most of you probably hardly noticed. My return is imminent but to start things off I'll post the recently released Video for Tron: Legacy and featuring Daft Punk's Drezzed. I can hardly wait for December.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lonecow's Top 10 Anime Women - Haruhi Suzumiya

We are down to the last two entry's in this "Top 10 Anime Women" Series I started a few months ago. Clearly, I've been putting off these last two, just because of how much I want to cover with each of them.

Neither of the final two will really be a surprise, and they are two of the most popular females in anime. But there is a reason for that. They are both excellent characters who deserve the attention they receive. With that said, I give you:

Number 02: Haruhi Suzumiya
Show: The Melencoly of Haruhi Suzumiya

Background: Haruhi might seem like your every day frustrated high school girl, but there is something much different about her. She is God.

Well maybe not God, maybe just a powerful Esper, or a living singularity. But whatever she is she has the ability to alter the world around her through her subconscious. Haruhi doesn't know this, of course, she is just angry at how boring her life is. It is up to the people around her, most notably Kyon, to make sure she never figures out about her power, otherwise the world might be doomed.

Why she is on this list: The Melencoly of Haruhi Suzumiya was a revolutionary anime. Some people might take issue with that statement, but as I said before it is a popular anime because it is such a good show. Before Haurhi, television anime, was mostly "monster of the week" or "magical girl with reused stock transformation sequences". Anime was all about flashy specticales with super powers and transformations. Then Haruhi came and turned the genre on it's ear.

Since then, Haruhi has been the main progenitor of moe culture. So many see it as the anime equivalent of Saten, with moe as it's unholy hell spawn. As I have had to defend moe a lot on this blog, I will do so again. Moe, is to love an anime character. It isn't a genre of anime. Slice of Life is a genre, moe is not. Haruhi started the moe craze because when she showed her face in the second episode of the TV show, millions of Otaku fell in love. Love with a 2D character = Moe. That is the extent of it.

And while I did find Haruhi to be quite an appealing character, it was the show's concept that drew me into it. It wasn't a show about "in your face" science fiction. It was a very clever sci-fi show where all the supernatural stuff happens in the background. It happens in a way where you could even say, "Hey this kind of thing might be going on right now".

Don't get me wrong, I love crazy explosions, and Star Wars, Aliens, etc type Sci-Fi as well, but sometimes I like the calmer affairs. Something like the novel, Never Let Me Go, which was just made into a film, to me is on the same lines of Haruhi. Of course they are very different in tone and quality of writing, but they are the same type of science fiction. It's the world these characters live in, but it isn't what drives them through their daily life. The supernatural is there, and they deal with it when they need too.

It also makes the scenes where there is explosive action stand out and become that much more rewarding, as opposed to having every episode with characters throwing fireballs at each other. The bloody battle between Yuki and Asakura is so memorable because there isn't a ton of those types of scenes throughout.

But here I am going on and on about the show, when this is supposed to be about the character of Suzumiya. Of course none of this show could work if she wasn't one of the greatest anime protagonists in history. The show would fall flat if Haruhi was just as flat.

She is a complex character, that you never really know what she is thinking. She is smart, brash, eccentric, outgoing, ambitious, emotional, bipolar, and just a little bit sweet. All these qualities I've listed double as both her greatest strength and her biggest weakness. Any character that can't be simply defined by a word or a stereotype (like so so many anime characters out there) is a great character.

The "sweet" moments I mentioned above are what makes her work her way into your heart. Most of the time she is "balls to the wall" full of ambition with her next totally insane plan, but in an instance where Kyon tell her she looks good in a ponytail, only to see her wearing a ponytail in the next episode. Those are the endearing times where we see her humanity, and that she really is a normal teenager who wants to be loved. And because of that you can't help but love her.

Haruhi was number one on my list for a long time. Pretty much ever since I watched the first episode. Then Endless Eight happened. Now I'm not one of these people who got so pissed at Endless Eight that I stopped watching the show, or wrote angry tirades on ANN. I just watched two episodes of it and went on. But the negativity surrounding the whole debacle did wear on me a little bit, and as a result Haruhi dropped slightly in favor. But I haven't seen the movie yet, so she still has a chance to work her way back to the top spot.

Seiyu: Aya Hirano

In many ways I've be waiting to do this article just because I knew this section would be much longer than other Seiyu's in past entries.

When I first got into Haruhi, and decided to look up who was the voice of Haruhi Suzumiya, like I do most characters I like, I never thought it would take me down the path it took me.

If I had been born a Japanese Otaku, my love for Aya Hirano might have led to possible stalking and a restraining order. I haven't fallen so hard for a celebrity since I was a teenager watching Natalie Portman in Phantom Menace.

I mean here was an anime character I absolutely adored, Haruhi, and her real life voice actress was just as beautiful and quirky as the character. It was too good to be true. And it was the closest thing to having Haruhi exist in this plane of reality.

Aya became the first Seiyuu whose career I actually followed. I watched some of her anime before Haruhi, such as Death Note, and Kiddy Grade (horrible anime btw), and after Haruhi I've followed her through a majority of her work, often by accident, such as Lucky Star, Marcross Frontier, Bakemonogatari, Queen's Blade, White Album, Seikon no Qwasar to name just a few.

Like most Seiyu's these days she is also an accomplished musician and has had a few albums released, as well as hit singles. I had the pleasure of being in Japan when Riot Girl was released.

It's been rumored that she is giving up being a Seiyuu. When this was announced, most Otaku went into rage mode. However, if you see how much she works, and how much she is scrutinized by her "fans", it is no wonder she wants to possibly call it quits. She was lampooned so bad by the people who claim to love her, just for wearing a bathing suit upside down. At some point I also would say, "It's not worth it."

If anything I think she will just cut back on the number of roles she takes. Right now she is rivaling Megumi Hayashibara for the hardest working woman in voice acting, and I'm sure it is taking its toll. I have little to no doubt that she will always voice her main characters such as Haruhi, Naneal, Konata if asked to do so. We just won't see her playing side characters anymore.

Regardless of what her future is, I always hope she comes out on top because she really is an amazing vocal talent and it would be a shame to see it wasted.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Unlimited Blade Works Review and Preamble

I haven't been a Fate/Stay Night fan for long. In fact it's probably been three years this month. However, despite not being into it as long as some fans, I feel about as strongly about it as I do many other properties that have been with me for a longer time.

My love for Fate/Stay Night is exclusive to the Visual Novel. The Visual Novel is unlike many other Eroges and VN games in that there are three distinct paths the main character, Shirou Emiya must go down. Each path cannot be unlocked until the former has been played through until the end. These three paths are called: Fate, Unlimited Blade Works (henceforth referred to as UBW), and Heaven's Feel (HF).

The real genius in this model is that although all three stories have the same beginning, they don't reiterate a lot of the same information. For example, some of the grand revelations in the "Fate" storyline aren't even addressed or are figured out a lot quicker by the characters, so there is a never a point the reader is like, "Alright get on with it I know all this already." However, there is some things revealed in Fate, that is needed to know by the reader to understand UBW and HF. It is a literary work of art in my opinion. How can you tell a story in three alternate universes, that is essentially the same story but have all three versions be compelling? Fate/Stay Night is the answer to that question.

That being said, the Unlimited Blade Works is hands down my favorite route in the novel. Fate I liked because of Saber and all the mythology, but I really hated Shirou in that path. He was a male chauvinist to an umpteenth degree. Some of this I realized is deeply routed in Japanese customs, but when you compare Shirou in Fate to his UBW and HF versions, you have to wonder what was wrong with him. In UBW he is a complete heroic badass, and doesn't even stop to let Tohsaka or Saber fight for him (though he still prefers protecting them when possible).

The Heaven's Feel route I enjoyed for the story and creepy atmosphere and the focus on Rider, but I absolutely can't stand Sakura, whom is the female protagonist in HF, and thus really made it less enjoyable for me.

The Fate/Stay Night anime was mostly based on the Fate scenario, with some bits added from UBW, and some made up stuff, that just make the whole thing unwatchable. When I went back and watched it a second time, I enjoyed it more, but really I don't like the anime.

So when the movie version of Fate/Stay Night was announced, and claimed to be based on Unlimited Blade Works, I couldn't help but get excited. Then news came out that Studio Deen, the company behind the anime, would be handling it, and I got nervous.

Last night I watched the Unlimited Blade Works film, and I haven't been this torn about a movie in a while. I mean that quite literally. Half of me loves it and half of me hates it.

Compilation films, when spoken together, are two dirty words to western audiences. I'm not sure how the Japanese feel about them, but I know whenever news comes out that an anime is getting a feature film, all excitement is instantly quelled when it is later reveled the film will be a compilation film.

Compilation films are those that takes the anime and cuts it down into movie length. Usually, what results is a truncated version of the story with much of the personality cut out. On top of that, huge gaps of the story are missing and as a result, the movie makes no sense to anyone who hasn't already seen the TV series. To this day I don't really know who the intended audience for these films are.

Now that I have said that, I must point out that Unlimited Blade works is not a Compilation Film from the Fate/Stay Night anime. UBW features brand new animated scenes, that could possibly melt your eyeballs with their flashy elegance and beauty. There isn't a single scene in UBW that comes from the anime.

So why do I even make the distinction of a Compilation Film? It is because that is exactly what UBW feels like. It isn't a real movie. It is a Compilation film based on the Unlimited Blade Works route in the visual novel if that had been animated into a TV show.

What I mean is that unless you have read the Visual Novel, Unlimited Blade Works likely won't make a lick of sense to you. This is mostly true for the beginning of the movie, when the scenes change location to location without a single speck of dialog explaining how the characters where at home and now in a church and now on a bridge. It kind of reminds me of the anime equivalent of the Old Spice commercials. I halfway expected Shirou to look at the camera and say, "I'm on a horse."

However, if you read the visual novel, everything will make perfect sense.

This is why I said I am torn in my feelings for the film. I actually caught myself thinking during one pivotal scene in the film, "I love this." When I read the novel, I wanted to see that scene animated, and here it was in full glory, rendered almost exactly how my mind had pictured it. For that, the film succeeded in matching my expectations from a visual level. The action is so fluid and so beautiful that it is almost a dream come true to see it as such.

But as a film it just doesn't work. A film needs to be able to tell a story from beginning to end without need of previous knowledge. It needs to stand alone. This is why adapting a book into a screenplay is such a hard and tedious job, and no one likes doing it. The creators of Unlimited Blade Works movie just decided to skip this integral step and animated their favorite scenes. So as a film it is a complete and utter failure.

So really it comes down to what kind of a fan you are. If you read the Visual Novel, and have a complete understanding of the situation, then you will most likely enjoy this film. Even if you haven't read it in a long time, it isn't confusing at all, as long as you have read it.

If you are completely ignorant to all that is Fate/Stay Night, then you might want to stay away from this film. It is not the way to be introduced to the wonderful and magical world of Fate Stay/Night.

Ultimately, the perfect place for this movie would be to be re-edited into the original visual novel, so that when those scenes happen it goes straight to the animated version. That I wouldn't mind seeing at all.

Queen's Blade Battle

I make no qualms about being a huge Queen's Blade fan. I'm sure that isn't surprising to anyone who frequents this blog.

I am a fan of cheesecake camp. If you go on a message board and say you like this type of stuff, some prude always channels their inner Puritan, and has to say, "Just Google porn if you want to see bewbs." The type of person that responds in this manner is most likely also the type of person to stay up all night, pasty faced, watching all kinds of deplorable acts between a man/woman and a horse, in the same way that conservative senators and politicians who make legislation against homosexuals are always the ones taking it from both ends at a dive in San Fransisco. But I digress.

Watching the Queen's Blade anime has never once prompted me to "whip it out and go to town". I just like what I like, and I like seeing busty women fight their way to to be Queen of the land.

I also enjoy barbarian type fare, that goes back to my childhood such as Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja, Xena, hell, even He-Man. It's always been something to just turn your brain off and just watch the mindless violence and sex (not so much with He-Man). I don't like football, but I like this stuff. Make of that what you will.

But my fondness for Queen's Blade didn't start with the anime. It actually started with the Lost World battle books from which the property derived. The Lost World series of books is like a Dungeons and Dragons style tabletop game, with the Queen's Blade exception being, instead of fighting zombies, and mummies, you fight beautiful women who can't seem to keep their clothes on. In other words, it fixes everything wrong about Dungeons and Dragons (i.e. needs more partial nudity).

I bought a few of the books, and tried playing them with a friend of mine, though we could never really keep up with itin the way I would have wished. Really this type of thing is better suited for having a group of people with their own books. I only have two friends who are into the same level of geekdom that I am, and surprise, they are the other two people that run this blog. I'm just not set up socially to get the full effect of Queen's Blade.

Enter Queen's Blade Battle.

Queen's Blade Battle is an application made by leecherboy from the Hongfire forums, which allows anyone to play Queen's Blade without having to bother with figuring out the metricises or translation of the Queen's Blade books. It also allows one to play the game in an Arcade game type format, complete with (some) character introductions, endings, and fights against the rival. People can either play solo, against a computer, or online and locally with a friend. It's truly a brilliant effort put forth by one individual.

I can only dream about this reaching portable devices like the iPhone, or PSP. Though I expect for it to work on those formats, a fair amount of hacking would be involved. I would actually consider buying an Android just to play this on the go if that was the only way to play it without modification.

I'm trying to place some discipline on myself while playing this game and only use characters that I physically own the actual books for or figures. It should also be noted that character progression is permanent so any mods to your character earned through game play stay unless your characters is killed, which adds a layer to the app to make you want to stick to a certain character.

Link to Queen's Blade Battle homepage

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bert and Ernie sing Gangster Rap

Probably old as the Internet but I just found this and had to share.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Anno hearts Asuka

Going around my weekly Evangelion internet haunts, I stumbled upon this old interview from 96 in which Hideki Anno, in round table format answers fans questions. Some of the things he answers on here are surprising because he is usually guarded about these subjects in other interviews. Maybe he gave Americans a free pass, because I've seen a lot of interviews in Japanese where he hates talking about the actual characters in his show in a light hearted manner.

My personal favorite part, obviously, is at the end when he is asked his favorite character and says, Asuka, and also explains why Japanese men like Rei as opposed to Misato and Asuka. Of course a lot has changed in over ten years.

Reprinted Interview:

On the unique appearance of the Evangelion Units...

ANNO: There is a monster in Japan called the oni, which has two horns sticking out of its head, and the overall image of the EVA is based on that. I wanted also to have an image that beneath the image of that robot monster is a human. It's not really a robot, but a giant human, so it's different from other robot mecha such as those in Gundam.

On Gunbuster's alternate future -- is it dominated by Russia?

ANNO: There's a Japanese Empire. In the year 2000, the U.S. and Japan had a war, and Japan occupied Hawaii. Sorry.

On the decision to have the final episode of Gunbuster in black-and-white...

ANNO: When you have color, you have an extra dimension of information. Color would have gotten in the way of the sense of scale we wanted to portray with the black hole bomb. Also -- no one had ever done it before.

On the date 2015 which figures in both Gunbuster and Evangelion...

ANNO: The date is from an old show I liked as a kid, and it was also the year in which Tetsuwan Atom took place.

On his favorite American animation...

ANNO: Tex Avery, Tom and Jerry. I don't like Disney.

On anime creators who inspired him...

ANNO: Outside of my staff, Mr. Yoshiyuki Tomino. Tomino's Mobile Suit Gundam and Space Runaway Ideon are my favorite anime besides Yamato. Hayao Miyazaki, with whom I worked on Nausicaa, animating the scene where the God-Soldier fires, was also a mentor to me.

On computer games...

ANNO: I myself have no interest in them; however, I am interested in computer graphics for animation.

On how the protagonist of Evangelion reflects Anno himself...

ANNO: Shinji does reflect my character, both in conscious and unconscious part. In the process of making Evangelion, I found out what kind of person I am. I acknowledged that I'm a fool.

On his religious beliefs...

ANNO: I don't belong to any kind of organized religion, so I guess I could be considered agnostic. Japanese spiritualism holds that there is kami (spirit) in everything, and that's closer to my own beliefs.

On whether he is a vegetarian like Nadia and Rei ...

ANNO: I like tofu. I just don't want to eat meat or fish. It's not for religious reasons.

On expressing himself through animation...

ANNO: Animation makes sense to people in the process of their seeing it. So when people get confused by my themes, or cannot get the overall message, the connection is not really going through, because it didn't satisfy that person. So there would be less meaning for that individual. There has to be a relationship that comes into being between the person watching and what the character's saying in the animation itself.

On what he thought of Patlabor 2 and Ghost in the Shell...

ANNO: I haven't seen Ghost yet, but I think that Patlabor is really good. I liked the scenes better in the second film.

On Evangelion's success...

ANNO: As for all the merchandising, it's just a matter of economics. It's strange that Evangelion has been a hit. Everyone in it is sick!

On his next project...

ANNO: Another TV show, probably some kind of space adventure.

On The Wings of Honneamise...

ANNO: The director of Honneamise, Hiroyuki Yamaga, is pretty serious as a matter of character, certainly -- so he doesn't really think of compromising with the audiences. Therefore it wasn't a radical film from Yamaga's perspective. There's something like a sequel planned, but it's been stopped for now. Yamaga wants to make it 'the final anime of this century'. He wants to make it happen.

On the future of the anime industry...

ANNO: The creators have to change their frame of mind for the field to advance. And it doesn't look too hopeful in today's Japan. It's in a critical condition right now. I don't think there's any bright future. That's because the people who are producing it are not doing well. But there's also problems in the people who are watching it. The people who make it, and the people who want it, they're always wanting the same things. They've been making only similar things for the past ten years, with no sense of urgency. To get it going once more, you need to force people to go outside, to go out again.

On recent attempts to adapt anime from novels...

ANNO: There are many novels written today which are made with the intention that they will be animated -- so it's not that big a step. I think that Legend of the Galactic Heroes was well done, but then, it was that kind of a novel.

On his feelings about the current trend toward Japanese historical content in manga and anime...

ANNO: I have no interest in it; they are searching for a theme.

On his hobbies and interests...

ANNO: My hobby is scuba diving, and besides science fiction, I like to read romance novels written by women. Since I'm a male, I don't really know the emotions of women. And because I want to understand their feelings, and create more realistic female characters, this is something I have to pursue.

To an American fan who boasted of having spent all his schoolbook money on anime goods...

ANNO: You're a fool. Study harder. If I could go back in time and tell my college-age self something, I would tell him to study harder, too.

On where he would like to travel...

ANNO: I want to see the universe, outer space -- it's one of the places I want to go while I'm still living. When I was a child... I thought that it would be possible to go out into space when I grew up. And that's not possible now. But I'd like to go to the moon, or ride on the space shuttle.

On getting into the anime industry...

ANNO: If you want to get into anime, my best advice to you as a creator is to please have diverse interests in things besides animation. Look outward, first of all. Most anime makers are basically autistic. They have to try and reach out, and truly communicate with others. I would guess that the greatest thing anime has ever achieved is the fact that we're holding a dialogue right here and now.


On his favorite Evangelion character...

ANNO: Asuka , because she's cute.

When told that the American audience favors Misato ...

ANNO: I'm surprised. In Japan, the overwhelming favorite is Rei . They can't handle strong women such as Misato and Asuka .

On Evangelion's last two episodes , which upset many fans...

ANNO: I have no problem with them. If there's a problem, it's all with you guys. Too bad.

Behold... THE FUTURE!

Soon Japan will be filled with these interactive virtual hosts that are completely and 100% not operated by humans at all. You can ask them questions and watch them dance.

Of course, the obvious application is for people to be able to interact with Hatsune Miku. Watch the entire video for her cameo.

And this being Japan I can see this technology making its way into some of the shadier regions of Shinjuku.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Phantasy Star Portable 2: Best unlockables ever

I've always been a big Phantasy Star Online fan, but not as long as most hardcore addicts. My first exposure to the series was on the XBOX, and since that time, has been the only MMO I feel any fondness for.

Although it is debatable to call PSO a MMO, at the time I payed 10 bucks a month to play it while I was a struggling college student, so I'm going to go ahead and call it a MMO.

PSO was great back then because unlike other games that used online features and the voice chat, every time I logged in to PSO and started a mission with random people I felt like part of a community. People were polite and always eager to help you out and level up and get you the best loot. So I only have fond memories of PSO.

But sadly, like all things I eventually moved on, and shortly afterwards the servers shut down so any hope of returning was gone. I considered playing the next PSO game which was card based, but just couldn't do it. Then, with much anticipation Phantasy Star Universe was released, and after playing it, all hopes for the series had left me instantly.

When Phantasy Star Portable was released, feeling burned by PSU, I didn't even give it a glance. But by the time 2 was announced and the demo was released on PSN, I figured my mourning period was over and I decided to give the old girl a spin. What I found I was pleasantly surprised by. PSP2 felt a lot like PSO. The fighting had been taken back to the PSO days and a lot of the unnecessary junk from PSU was removed. So I took the plunge and bought the full game, and what I found was one of the greatest surprises of my life.

Now, if you frequent this blog regularly you might have picked up on the fact that there are some things I am obsessed over. These things are Evangelion, Fate/Stay Night, and Hatsune Miku. So maybe you can imagine how I felt when I realized all three properties are in Phantasy Star Portable 2:

Evangelion. So far with codes you can unlock Asuka, Rei and Shinji's plug suits, and the Lance of Longinus as a weapon! In Japan you can unlock Asuka's Test Plug suit, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Fate/Stay Night. This set hasn't been released yet but will be in January, so I guess I need to stick with the game until then at least. Saber and Archer sets are both confirmed to be part of the release.

Hatsune Miku. My favorite vocaloid superstar, now I can play as her and use her to beat up space monsters. Life is good.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lonecow's Top 10 Anime Women - C.C.

Drum roll please... We are now down to the top three women in anime that I find to be the creme de la creme of anime heroines. These three have withstood the test of time and although they may rearrange in order from 1-3, it will take an act of God (or Haruhi) to move them from these lofty places.

So without further ado, I give you number three....

Number 03: C.C.
Show: Code Geass

Background: C.C. is rescued by Lelouch in the first episode from some sort of capsule. From there the two form an uneasy partnership each with their own set of goals, not fully disclosed to the other party.

C.C. is centuries old, and in the end is just looking for a way to die, though for an immortal, that is a tall order.

Why She is On My List: I think of my list so far, C.C. is the most elegant. Her design, both physical and internal, renders a remarkable fictional female heroine, that could really stand up to some of the great female protagonists in literature. I feel this is true for all three of the ladies in my Top 3, but there is something about C.C. that makes her seem she would be right at home standing next to the likes of Hester Prynne, Scarlett O'Hara, and Lady McBeth.

While she might not favor any of those three women in an obvious manor, she is subtly like all three. Like Prynne she faced persecution in her own time, but rose above it and later wore it as a badge to shape who she became as a result, her strong independence and self assurances could be rivaled with O'Hara, and her ambition and ability to manipulate a powerful man to reach her own goals would be the envy of Lady McBeth.

The way she looks and holds herself hails back to the golden age of anime. She looks like she comes straight from a Leiji Matsumoto anime, with long features and sensual, seducing eyes.

Her mannerisms are endearing, and I'm sure otaku the world over, hearts all skipped a beat when she tried to put a gun together and it fell apart in her hands. Or when she orders pizza at the most inopportune time.

For all these reasons she holds a coveted number three spot on my list. Sunrise plans to turn Code Geass into a multimedia franchise, so there may very well be more C.C. in the near future. My only hope is she is handled with the same care and consideration that we have seen used so far.


I'm going to be lazy here and point you in the direction of Koji's article on CC: here.

Honorable mention: Horo (Holo)

It might seem like I should choose Kallen or any of the other amazing women from Code Geass as an honorable mention, but I chose Horo from Spice and Wolf for a very specific reason.

Major Code Geass Spoilers ahead (but you should have watched it by now anyway)!

There is much speculation of the last scene of Code Geass. Is Lelouch alive or dead? All we see is CC being carted along in a horse drawn cart, talking to some mysterious driver. Is it Lelouch?

Personally, I like to think it is. Or even if it isn't the idea of CC and Lelouch traveling the world in a horse drawn cart for the rest of eternity seems like an appealing idea to me, and I imagine if that is what they were doing it would happen much the same way that Spice and Wolf does.

Lelouch would be trying to scam trade deals and CC would give him advice she has accumulated over the years, much in the same way Lawrence and Horo function.

While I wouldn't go so far to say Horo and CC have the same personality (they don't) they still represent the same strong female protagonist who doesn't need to rely on anyone but themselves to stay one step ahead of everyone else. These character archetypes are becoming more popular in Japan, and I couldn't be happier as they stray from the concept of the meek woman who's only need is to serve her husband. A lot of these types end up being tsunderes, and some might say Horo falls into that category (she doesn't, as she is clearly flirty and affectionate towards Lawrence from the very beginning), and CC certainly doesn't, and that might be their most important trait. Strong women in anime that aren't tsunderes (though I still love tsunderes).