Wolverine – Episode 1 (2011)

Wolverine Anime

This is the first episode of the second of the four Marvel anime TV series (Iron Man, Wolverine, X-Men, Blade). Directed by Hiroshi Aoyama (Top Secret ~The Revelation~), story by Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan), scripts by Kengo Kaji (Iron Man Rise of the Technovore) and animation direction & character designs by Hisashi Abe (Highlander The Search For Vengeance).

The first three of the Marvel Anime got a budget box set release in the UK a year or so back (along with Avengers Confidential). And as I bought the set, I figured I better watch them at some point. So I am going to try and watch Wolverine weekly, as it aired five years ago. It’ll be like it’s 2011 today.

Bishonen Logan
Bishonen Logan.

First thing that struck me in 2016, is it’s even odder to have this young, bishonen Wolverine now than it was in 2011. Nowadays in comics Wolverine is either a young woman or a senior citizen from an alternate future. On screen, he’s Hugh Jackman or Steve Blum’s voice. Nowhere is he the skinny model that appears at the start of the episode. But that matters not. As long as you go “snikt!”, “bub” and heal mortal wounds in seconds you are Wolverine, no matter how beautiful you may be.

As a kid I was fully on board with Wolverine the moment I saw him. Which was not in a comic per se, rather it was in an advert for the Marvel Superheroes Role Playing game. What 9 year old isn’t going to want to know more about this superhero with knives coming out his knuckles? I have remained pretty much on board ever since.

Despite my general pro-Logan stance, I have never read the Claremont/Miller mini-series that this series is taking as its basis. I’ve a vague idea what went down, but the specific details are probably lost to me. So I have no idea if this is going to annoy the hell out of you if were a fan of that.

Our heroes discuss the plot.
Our heroes discuss the plot.

In this opening episode, Wolverine returns to Japan, when a friend, lets him know that his former girlfriend, Mariko Yashida, has been kidnapped by her father with the intent to marry her to an AIM scientist, Hideki Kurohagi.

So he barges straight into their house and ends up duelling the dad by the end of the episode. Which given that earlier they spent a long time with two men sitting in a bar explaining the plot, I was surprised by this burst of momentum.

Shingen Yashida
GLARE~!

It has the feel of a show like Golgo 13, in that it is competent, mechanically sound, but lacking flare. And has lots of close ups of men glaring at each other. The high point is Hisashi Abe’s character designs. It feels like they wanted a stereotypical “Madhouse” look, and Abe gave it to them. If anything Logan himself is the odd man out, made to look more handsome and less grizzled than we are used to seeing him.

The episode ends mid-duel with Logan popping his claws, so be back next week to see if the show keeps up this middling level of interest!

to be continued...
TO BE CONTINUED…
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Anmitsu Hime From Amakara Castle – Episode 1 (1986)

Anmitsu Hime

Funny and charming Studio Pierrot adaptation of the 1949 manga Anmitsu Hime by Shosuke Kurakane. Directed by Masami Anno (Wonderful Adventures of Nils) and written by Yoshio Urasawa (Nintama Rantaro).

Establishing shot of Amakara Castle
Establishing shot of Amakara Castle

In this first episode, Princess Anmitsu is turning 11, and her parents have bought her a special present from Europe. When the present turns out to be a tutor, Mrs Castilla from the Pudding Kingdom, Anmitsu thinks her birthday is ruined.

Mrs Castilla emerges from a birthday present.
Mrs Castilla emerges from a birthday present.

However, Mrs Castilla is a Mary Poppins-esque figure, who lets Anmitsu decorate the castle with giant paintbrushes. This brings them into conflict with the chief retainer and the hand maiden, who disapprove of fun and wasting money.

Chief Retainer and Hand Maiden
The Hand Maiden makes a move on the Chief Retainer.

Laden with gags throughout, it starts with Anmitsu taking over the kingdom’s public address system and declaring her birthday a holiday. This leads to all sorts of physical comedy from how the populace reacts.

firefighters
Hearing it’s a holiday, the fire fighters clock off for the day.

The biggest part of its charm though lies in the big, open, expressive faces of the Koji Nanke character designs. As well as doing opening and ending animations for Studio Pierrot shows in the 80s, Nanke also did character designs for this and Spoon Oba-san (the Mrs Pepperpot adaptation).

Shigeru Chiba
Your obligatory Shigeru Chiba character

Plus, being an 80’s Studio Pierrot show, they invented a character for the show so that Shigeru Chiba has someone to voice. In this case it’s the swordsman Tanesuke, who repeatedly claims he’s the reincarnation of different historical figures.

Hang gliding!
Hang gliding!
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Anime Openings Of Interest

Anmitsu Hime

It’s a Koji Nanke animated OP (and ED) that I hadn’t seen before. Which is always nice.

Araiguma Rascal

When we did a Dynamite In The Brain podcast on World Masterpiece Theatre earlier this year, this was the omission we regretted the most. Purely on the basis of this fun, fun, fun opening theme

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xhici3_%E3%81%82%E3%82%89%E3%81%84%E3%81%90%E3%81%BE%E3%83%A9%E3%82%B9%E3%82%AB%E3%83%AB-op-ed-hd_shortfilms

Tonde Mon Pe

If you are creating a list of all time greatest anime openings, then you probably overlooked the opening to Tonde Mon Pe. And I am here to tell you that you made a mistake. What could be better than a Cathy knock-off rocking out in an 80’s 50’s nostalgia sort of way?

ACK!

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What if I started a Linkin Park AMV tumblr?

linkin park amv

Who likes AMVs? Do you like them enough to follow a tumblr that only posts Linkin Park AMVs featuring Linkin Park’s “In The End” regardless of quality? Then you’ll love my new tumblr.

http://linkinparkintheendamv.tumblr.com/post/107141175972


Once a day I will be posting a Linkin Park AMV from Youtube that uses their hit song “In The End”. I will continue to do this until people stop making and uploading “In The End” based AMVs. Which I hope is never.

If you wish to assist me in doing God’s work here on Earth, then you can submit Youtube videos to the tumblr here.

Please make sure that these videos feature Linkin Park singing “In The End”. I do not want to see any AMVs featuring the completely different song “In The End” by the inferior band, Black Veil Brides.

The Black Veil Brides are imposters and agents of Chaos, who are making this heaven sent task harder to accomplish by tempting honest AMV makers. These corrupted innocents then slave away on their pirated copies of Adobe Premiere making non-Linkin Park AMVs that have “In The End” in their descriptions and file names. Disgusting.

In conclusion, long live Linkin Park AMVs that feature the song “In The End”!

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Alphabet Stew

Welcome to Alphabet Stew, the wordsearch podcast for people on the go!

Do you not have time to sit down with a wordsearch and ring the words on the grid? Well Alphabet Stew is here to solve that problem with its innovative AUDIO WORDSEARCH.

Today’s show notes:

  • 00:00 Today’s words
  • 01:09 Today’s grid
  • 03:44 Today’s answers
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The Top 10 Anime of 2014 That I Will Never Find The Time To Finish Watching

10) Rowdy Sumo Matsutaro I managed to watch 6 episodes of this story of a jerk becoming a sumo wrestler. Only 17 more to go!

9) Hozuki no Reitetsu 4.5 episodes watched out of 13 means I am going to the Hell Of Uncompleted Crunchyroll Queues when I die.

8) Tonari no Seki-kun Three episodes watched over the course of half a year. At this rate I’ll be done watching this series of 10 minute comedy episodes by the end of 2017.

7) Nandaka Velonica Not only can’t I remember how much of this I’ve watched, up until a week ago I had completely forgotten it even existed.

6) Kokkuri-san As great and funny as the first episode was, Bob’s Burgers and Brooklyn Nine Nine are better uses of my laughing time.

5) Witch Craft Works Two episodes and never touched again, all year long. I’m a big proponent of Tsutomu Mizushima and yet I never find time to watch his shows these days.

4) Shirobako Tsutomu Mizushima again, and this time with his greatest collaborator, Michiko Hokote. That still doesn’t mean I will find the time to watch more than one episode of it.

3) Gundam Build Fighters Try I managed to watch fewer episodes of this sequel than I did last year’s Gundam Build Fighters. Which is to say, I watched one episode.

2) Garo the Animation I have watched the OP multiple times. That’s it. No idea what the show itself is like. It is a great OP though.

1) Log Horizon Haven’t even found the time to finish season 1 let alone start season 2.

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Log Horizon Episode 1

Kill la Kill Episode 1 and Kyousougiga Episode 00 are great, but I don’t have much to say about them other than that. A middling adaptation of a serialised e-book about MMOs though, that I can get a couple of hundred words out of.

It’s going to get compared, fairly or unfairly to Sword Art Online. Unlike that show, there was nothing in the first episode that made me go “This is so stupid I am not watching any more”. While it has that “trapped in a deadly video game with just one man” element, it owes a lot to .hack too.

Like .hack, the game in the show, Elder Tale, is long established rather than a new launch. Likewise the characters are experienced players of the game. Unlike .hack it does feel like the characters actually play the game rather than use it as a fancy chat room. In one of many nods to real life MMO game mechanics, all the characters we meet are 90th level, having already hit the game’s level cap.

That element makes it feel like it’s written for people familiar with MMOs. I’m not sure how much that would tell you if you weren’t aware of them. The character who hasn’t played for two years, but decided to come back for the new expansion pack (that seems to be the cause of the game’s entrapment), also felt true to real life MMOs.

There were some nice gags too about being stuck in a videogame. People whose avatars diverged from their own body shape had difficulty controlling their new bodies. There’s a nice gag about what videogame food would taste like (and which may also be some foreshadowing). Other gaming gags included one about how tricky navigating menus would be if you had to do them in a real fight and another about the illogical nature of in-game architecture. And there’s a legendary raid party with the sort of dumb almost-a-joke name that real world game groups would give themselves.

The reason it’s only middling, despite these touches that make it feel fairly smart, is that it plods along with a lot of exposition that it’s humour and self-awareness can’t hide. In a week that gave us one great show with a simple revenge mystery and another that foregoes talky world building for hitting things with giant hammer, the literary origins of Log Horizon stick out like a sore thumb.

Still, there’s Jouji Nakata as a Puss n Boots type swashbuckler next episode to look forward to.

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