Let’s Make an Anime About Vampires and Werewolves, Except Without Vampires and Werewolves

 Anime, Darker Than Black, Games  Comments Off on Let’s Make an Anime About Vampires and Werewolves, Except Without Vampires and Werewolves
Nov 282011
 

Kinda surprised that I hadn’t seen this Darkstalkers anime before now. I love the video game it’s based on, since it’s a mash-up of Street Fighter and old school monster movies. I guess I avoided it since it’s one of those dreaded video game to anime adaptations. Those things almost always suck.

And you know what? This one sucks too! Way to keep the trend going, Darkstalkers!

It isn’t a completely suckfest, though. There’s some genuinely cool bits in this series. The fights, which are few and far between, are well animated. And they’re especially cool in that they lift moves straight from the fighting game without making it feel forced. It all melds together into generally cohesive action scenes, with Morrigan, Felicia, Demitri, and the like tossing fireballs and doing their versions of dragon punches and all that. Unfortunately the best fight comes right at the beginning of the series, where Morrigan and Demitri face off. After that, the fights slow down, and when they do happen they tend to be pretty abrupt. They still look good at least.

And while the actual plot behind their motivations is all but non-existent, the main villains are pretty cool. The Huitzil robots were placed on Earth by an alien civilization, and they awaken whenever life on Earth reaches an apex. When they awaken, they basically act as an extinction event, wiping out most life on Earth and allowing it to effectively “reset.” And I always dug their Mesoamerican look. They’re, like, fertility god robots that shoot lasers.

Pyron, the big bad, has a cool backstory as well. He’s another alien entity, and it’s implied that he’s the mythical “sun-god” that all of said deities on Earth are based upon. His arrival on Earth is essentially his “second coming,” and he’s here to judge us… through what amounts to a Dragonball Z styled fighting tournament of sorts.

This is one reason why this OVA sucks. Pyron has this cool story to him, but he devolves into Cell from DBZ. He’s on Earth to find a worthy opponent, so that he can experience a genuine, satisfying victory before he destroys the planet. He goes around, challenging the various Darkstalker characters, and kills them. It all plays out exactly like a DBZ arc.

If that were the only problem with the story, I probably wouldn’t mind. If we got to see this pseudo-tournament play out over the course of the OVA’s four episodes, it’d probably be silly fun. But Darkstalkers has more on its mind. It doesn’t want to be a mere fighting anime about aliens and vampires and werecreatures. It wants to touch on the human condition. Or, rather, the demi-human, half-Darkstalker condition.

At least half of the series is devoted to Donovan. He’s your Vampire Hunter D/Blade sort– half-Darkstalker, half-human, all angst. He’s supposed to be some badass monk type, decked out in huge Buddhist beads and carrying around a huge sword that he can fly on like the Silver Surfer, but he spends all of his time spouting variations of the same monologue. His Darkstalker blood is bad, but he wants to be good, so he kills Darkstalkers, but he’s still hollow, oh woe is Donovan, why can’t he just be human. The only thing keeping him from being straight out of Twilight is that he only has fatherly feelings towards his underaged companion, a little demon girl named Anita who has whatever super power the story finds convenient at the moment.

So while the world is falling apart at the hands of two invading alien forces, we ignore all of that and follow Donovan around as he waxes philosophically about his existence. Sure, he fights Bishamon, the samurai zombie ghost thing from the video games, but that fight ends with Donovan’s altruism confounding the spirit. Yeah, Donovan is SO DEEP that he makes ghosts blow up with his thoughtfulness.

What makes all of this even worse is that the series begins with some promise. Not only was the initial fight between Morrigan and Demitri cool, it also sets things up to where Demitri is going to invade the Demon World and claim its throne. It’s a simple set-up, but it was the perfect platform to allow for all sorts of crazy Darkstalker on Darkstalker combat. The monsters could have chosen sides, with some going with “I’m just M. Bison as a Vampire” Demitri and the others going with Morrigan. Instead, the series brought in the two bosses from the original video game to act as antagonists and completely dropped the Morrigan/Demitri conflict in favor of Donovan’s mope quest.

And I wanna talk about Morrigan for a moment. Considering that she’s the sexpot poster girl for the series, I was shocked at the general lack of fanservice centering around her. The series portrays her as a soft-spoken but dignified leader who can kick ass. She could have been a genuinely compelling heroine if the series didn’t choose to forget about her.

So yeah, I was expecting this to be an orgy of vampire-on-frankenstein-on-succubus-on-mummy-on-whatever fighting. Instead, the series focused on all the wrong things. It isn’t incompetent the way some other fighting game anime can be. It sucked because it didn’t want to be a fighting game anime.

Wrap Your Legs Around War and Ride it Until it’s Worn Out

 Anime, Un-Go  Comments Off on Wrap Your Legs Around War and Ride it Until it’s Worn Out
Nov 242011
 

This week’s episode of Un-Go (episode 7 for those of y’all reading this in the future while riding jet packs and shooting ray guns)? It was all a dream.

That’s to say there was a good deal of dream logic playing out in this episode. What, exactly, was happening in this episode is purely speculative at the moment. It could be an illusion created by the novelist villain dude. It could be some fever dream brought on by the stress of the job. It could be reality and everything that’s happened to this point is the lie. It doesn’t really matter at the moment. What matters is what’s being said by all the people on the set of this war movie that’s popped up out of nowhere.

The three girls acting in the movie are basically talking about the nature of war. Before war takes place, most people are in denial. They can’t believe that the violence and chaos that comes with this sort of aggression will ever reach them. At the same time, war isn’t only inevitable, it’s something that people desire. No matter how much people may claim to want those ordinary days of peace, they flock to disasters just to watch everything burn. People get off on war, quite literally as one girl describes– they thrive on conflict, and when it’s over they feel like they should have sucked on its cock longer.

This all reminds me of last night’s episode of Coast to Coast AM. They had a dude on their talking about people’s fascinations with end times. He doesn’t buy into the reality of such scenarios, but he feels that people who are fascinated by them feel their allure because it gives them a way to feel important. These people fantasize about zombie apocalypses, the collapse of the government, and massive natural disasters because it’ll let them play the hero. They wanna be that proverbial Mad Max, going down the road in a tricked-out Mustang with a shotgun in one hand and a blessed crucifix in the other, ready to gun down Satan’s armies and right all the wrongs brought about by the end of the world.

And it’s that fascination that’s partly to blame for people’s need to go and blow shit up. If they bring about that sort of chaos, they can be the one to return order to the world. At the same time, there has to be someone who gets off on being the one who starts all this shit, and in that we have this novelist dude. He wants to create the “world’s last great detective,” and he wants said detective to be this idealized hero.

All of these ideas are being told in this dream-like state. The actions of the people in this episode don’t make much sense. The actors’ expressions don’t seem to match what’s transpiring in the movie. The city’s burning, yet one girl is disinterested and another is beaming. There doesn’t seem to be a script, despite the director insisting on doing things in the manner that’s already been decided upon. Scenes don’t make sense when connected to one another (not unlike the paragraphs of this post). This dream state is allowing characters to speak things that wouldn’t make sense in a normal wakened state of consciousness. It’d be silly exposition for these girls to sit down in their lingerie and talk about metaphorical sex with the concept of war, but once you put that speech into a stream of consciousness-like narrative, it makes perfect sense.

And there’s something up with the Shinjuro. Something from his subconscious is coming to the surface in this episode. It’s as if he was in a position pre-war, or during the war, to stop something from happening. He saw something strange and didn’t do anything about it until it was too late, hence the scene where he sees the director harassing one of the girls. Maybe it has something to do with the actresses being dubbed criminals. They almost seem be forced into their roles. Maybe the main dude had some responsibility for some people who were deemed to be war criminals? I don’t know, I’m just letting the ideas flow out just like this episode did.

Or I could be totally wrong about all of this. That’d be cool, too.

Also: “The Works of Director Frank Darabont?” Couldn’t they have picked a classier director to name-check? The only good movie he’s made is The Mist.

Wednesday Morning Pony Cult – Part 3

 Cartoons, My Little Pony  Comments Off on Wednesday Morning Pony Cult – Part 3
Nov 222011
 

The discoveries I made last week about My Little Pony were considerably disconcerting. I uncovered a scheme by the Illuminati to influence the youth of America to accept current global conditions so that they will be willing dupes in the upcoming collapse of our government. This revelation so distressed me that I threw myself headlong into the cult of the Pony. No longer could I take this investigation at a leisurely pace. I had to get to the root of this conspiracy as far as possible and watched the remaining sixteen episodes.

I believe I have discovered the truth behind all of this, and it is more horrifying than I imagined.

The crux of this lies with the Cutie Mark Crusaders. These three ponies are the true audience ciphers in this series. The six main cast members are what kids want to be when they grow up– they’ve found their role in pony society and fulfill it dutifully. The Crusaders have yet to find their place in this world. They’re the youth of the world with their future’s ahead of them.

Yet what do they desire? They aren’t fueled by potential. They aren’t inspired by an uncertain, anything’s-possible future. They desperately want to find their place in society. They want to find their niche at all costs. And in finding this role they will obtain the thing that gives them relevance in society: the cutie mark.

The cutie mark makes a pony worthwhile. Without one, a pony is a second-class citizen– no better than the other sentient animals the ponies keep as slaves and fodder. But with a cutie mark a pony can find a job and participate in society.

Yeah, the cutie mark is the Mark of the Beast. 666 with sprinkles on top.

The globalist conspiracy behind My Little Pony is purely Satanic in origin. It is conditioning children to want the mark of the beast. When the time comes for everyone to line up, it will be the masses of children who have been indoctrinated by this series that will eagerly line up first. It will be a dream come true for them to receive their very own real life cutie mark that determines their fate. And as this show grows in popularity, so will our chances of fighting back against the Antichrists brony-army dwindle.

And in this I fear I’ve learned too much. In the days after I’ve finished this series and begun to work out my theories, I’ve seen strange things. Odd noises ring out at night, as if something large and four-legged lurks outside my window. Even as I write this post the night before I intend to post it, I can hear the rustling in the grass. One-two-three-four steps. Pacing back and forth. Waiting. I believe it is too late for me, my friends in magic, but don’t let my efforts go to waste. Don’t give in to the Cutie Mark of the Beast! If these words reach enough of you, your numbers will be able to grow with just as much might as these vile ponies.

Catherine is Kaiji with Sexy Sheep

 Anime  Comments Off on Catherine is Kaiji with Sexy Sheep
Nov 202011
 

I haven’t worked my way through Catherine yet, but I’ve played enough of it to get a good feel for what’s up. All of the shit you’ve heard about or seen is in it– puzzles and sheep and sex and infidelity and all that. And I’m loving it for the most part. It reminds me of that Devil Dice game for the PS1, except with some platformer elements.

But there’s one part of the game that I wasn’t expecting, and it’s pretty cool. And like the title says, it reminds me of Kaiji.

Catherine boils down to some malevolent force luring in down-on-their-luck dudes to participate in a game of death. Instead of punishing them for sins of debt, this force is punishing these guys for sins of the heart. From what I can tell, the main dude and all of his fellow “sheep” are guilty of some love-related problem. They’ve cheated on their lover or done some intentional or unintentional wrong against women, and the game is all about them confronting their guilt and most likely dying in the process.

And these similar set-ups lead to similar scenes of young men bemoaning their existence. Between each stage, you get to talk to your fellow climbers, and they all react differently to the situation. Some become suicidal or homicidal due to their situation, and being the main character of the game it’s up to you to try to calm them down and bring them back to their senses. At the same time, some of the dudes are banding together in order to survive the ordeal together. They try to find strategies that can be shared among the group, support one another, and all that. It all feels exactly like those scenes in Kaiji where he gets his buddies together to try to find some mutually beneficial solution.

So yeah, all that sex and block-pushing and vagina monster shit is awesome, but chalk up Catherine as a cool little companion piece to Kaiji’s new millennial masculine malaise. It might not have the same grandiose, operatic emotional/humorous appeal, since Catherine’s humor is more dry and cynical, but it’s hitting the same notes.

Wednesday Morning Pony Cult – Part 2

 Cartoons  Comments Off on Wednesday Morning Pony Cult – Part 2
Nov 162011
 

Something’s lurking below the surface of My Little Pony. It may be my personal biases starting to color things in the wrong light, so take what I’m about to say with a healthy dose of “what the fuck is he saying?”

For the most part, episodes 6-10 of the series are more of the same. We get the same morals, such as when Twilight Sparkle learns that it’s fine to be a show-off so long as you aren’t a dick about it. We even get some stuff about racism, where the ponies realize that zebras are just as prone to preachy endings as any other anthropomorphized horse. Characters had more chances to show their stuff. Real chemistry is starting to form between the characters. But something bothered me about these episodes. Bothersome in a fascinating way.

It started with the Fluttershy episode. A dragon moves into the neighborhood and starts spewing smoke and polluting the air in Ponyville. This dragon brings great wealth with him, but the ponies aren’t concerned with his riches. All they care about is the pollution he’s creating. It’s a perfectly understandable reaction, although I have to wonder why the pegasus ponies are helpless to deal with this smog (Isn’t it their jobs to clean the skies?). So the ponies try to reason with the dragon to reduce his pollution production.

The catch is that they want the dragon to simply go away and move to another area. They don’t want to work with the dragon. They don’t care about any kind of productive, economical advantages he might bring with his treasure. They just want clean air that the pegasi are too lazy to clean.

See, the dragon is essentially a metaphor for a factory, and the ponies are the USA. They’re preoccupied with the environmental impact of the dragon and don’t realize the benefits of the dragon’s presence. Maybe the dragon is benevolent (In fact, once they encounter him he seems that way), so maybe he could share his wealth or become a tourist attraction. And if he was a malevolent dragon, adventurers could travel from abroad and use Ponyville as a waypoint on their dragon-hunting quest. Either way, the dragon was going to be some sort of economical boon to Ponyville.

But no, the ponies only cared about their clean air. So they booted the dragon from town so he could pollute elsewhere. It’s not unlike factories being driven out of the US and into the waiting arms of other countries that are all too eager to weather some pollution and other problems if it means economic growth.

My Little Pony is presenting this situation as a good thing. The show wants little kids to look at this situation and say “Yay! The big, bad polluter is gone to some other magical place and away from us! I want real life to be that way as well!” The series is training kids to be accepting of the changing economic climate of the world. It wants kids to like the fact that the US is losing production jobs to other countries.

And this is exactly what the globalist Illuminati conspiracies want. They want an entire generation brainwashed into believing that the world’s problems are a good thing. It’s OK to live in a country where you can’t get a job because that means it’s clean and shiny just like your precious Ponyville.

My Little Pony is a vicious Illuminati brainwashing experiment. And I need to watch more to see where its horrific agenda leads.

Also: my favorite pony is Rarity.