Go To DoubutsuMechaCity! Go To DoubutsuMechaCity!

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May 222012
 

SMUT! Smut I say, that’s totally what the newest ep of Polarape Cafe is all about. It’s all about fucking murdering you and raping your slutty corpse.

 

 

 

 

You know why Pandas are going extinct? Because they refuse to fuck, but that’s why they need to RAPE!

Yeah you dirty little penguin! The polar bear will rape you like a seal, then push you over and rape you again!

 

 

 

 

Tapirape!

 

 

 

 

 

Chairape!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat yaoi/straight rape while being filmed by a voyeur rape! (Seriously, Poyo Poyo literally ge

 

ts raped in this ep).

 

Go To DoubutsuMechaCity! Go To DoubutsuMechaCity! Go To DoubutsuMechaCity!

 

Bonus: Evil Gay Robot on human RAPE!

Cutting Useless Nations

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May 172012
 

Something that’s always annoyed me in fiction is how fictional nations will be conjured up and inserted into the real world. You look at Marvel Comics and you have places like Dr. Doom’s Latveria. The writers didn’t want to have him take over an actual Eastern European country, so they dreamed up some small Transylvania-like place and shoved it into the cracks of the Balkans. The concept works, and it isn’t one that particularly bothers me in and of itself, but it’s an example of sidestepping reality in order to shoehorn a foreign, fictional concept into the story.

They do this in order to maintain the political status quo. They don’t want to turn the US into something different, since they want to keep the familiarity of New York and the like, but they don’t want to use anything else in an inaccurate manner. Makes sense I guess. I can imagine people getting irked over some comic book dude taking, say, Hungary and turning it into a dictatorship controlled by some egomaniac in a power suit with mommy issues.

That’s what I really dug about this week’s episode of Lupin. They clearly wanted to do a play on the Cuban Missile Crisis, but they wanted to take some historical license with it. That’s an awfully romantic picture of Castro they paint there, but they wanted to use him as yet another foil/pawn for Fujiko to manipulate while using the USA/USSR bit as a backdrop. They could have created a completely new Caribbean nation and had it play the same role as Cuba, and its revolutionary leader could have been Fujiko’s plaything.

And they do just that, but they don’t plop it down in the Caribbean we know. Everything in the Lupin world is slightly out of phase. The world has the same map, but nothing goes by the same name. The tensions are the same, but the world leaders are completely different. This is the Cuban Missile Crisis, but by changing everything’s outer appearance they’ve turned it into its own thing.

Someone might find this lazy. “They just renamed everything. That’s nothing!” But I think it’s pretty damn clever. By doing this you make everything familiar. Anyone with a modicum of world history knowledge knows what’s going down, so there’s no need to over-explain things. At the same time, that familiarity makes changing history that much easier. It’s familiar, but it isn’t the same, so the way the show plays with history (Goemon cutting the needless nuclear war) doesn’t feel as revisionist as, say, X-Men First Class and its similar set-up. Not that said revision is really bad, but it avoids some of the “really, you’re gonna go there” vibes that playing with the real names can create. Those vibes don’t go away completely, but they’re lessened. At least for me.

In a way it’s just a matter of appearances, and it’s a bit of a shallow observation in that regard, but I got no problem with finding meaning in the shallow end of the pool.

But damn, man, Goemon did in one swipe of his sword what Magneto did with all of his might. and I’m really liking his interplay with Fujiko. She’s playing to whatever little boy still lives inside of his stoic, cold-blooded heart. She isn’t playing the unattainable goddess like she does with Lupin, and she isn’t playing the femme fatale like she does with Jigen. She’s toying with him by being the flirty schoolgirl he never got to meet since he’s lived the life of a cloistered monk even amongst his peers. It’d almost be sweet if we didn’t know everything Fujiko does is an act.

The Corporate Hero

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May 162012
 
The whole “will you show us your full potential” aspect of Zetman ain’t doing much for me. It’s all a little too Dragonball Z for me with its power levels and unlocking of new forms. So Zetman himself isn’t really keeping my attention all that much. What’s really caught my attention these past few episodes is the way his buddy is being groomed while in his ALPHAS mode.

It all goes back to that moment in the burning building. The buddy wants to save those that can be guaranteed survival while Zetman wants to save everyone. They’re both making decisions based on their internal logic– their actions make sense to them. It turns out that Kouga made a decision that weighed on his heart a bit. He saw that leaving behind the mother was a bit of a heartless move, especially since Zetman was able to save the whole family, and now that’s coming back to bite him in the ass.

Now that he’s gone full ALPHAS, he’s faced with having to own up to the ideas of his superiors. He may be a rich kid with a family fortune to play with, but he has to answer to the guys that authorize the spending of said fortune. In a way, ALPHAS has to answer to his shareholders since he doesn’t own all the stock in his heroic business.

He’s basically a corporate hero.

Tiger & Bunny kinda hit on this last year. The heroes had to make sure their showed off their corporate sponsors, kinda like glorified NASCAR drivers. Make sure you mug that camera while punching out the bad guy and saving the old lady from a runaway train or whatever. But what’s going down with ALPHAS is on an entirely different level. He isn’t trying to make his sponsors look good, he’s trying to satisfy the bottom line. He’s in beta testing mode right now, and while ALPHAS is all about being a hero, what’s most important to his backers is maintaining the safety of the test subject and gathering data.

So ALPHAS can be a hero, but he has to do so within reason and within the perceived budget. I get the feeling that what’s important is the image of the hero. If you save your sister from some derelict scum, you make your daddy’s company look good and you show that his technology has the potential for all sorts of applications. And on top of all of that you’ve created the perfect spokesman for the product: a hero of justice straight out of the comic books and TV shows the kids love.

All that said, you’re in the black. Yeah, you might lose your sister’s best friend and some other teenager in the process, but it’s a net gain for Justice and a net gain for the company. No need to self-sacrifice and take unnecessary risks when guaranteed growth and guaranteed crime-fighting is staring you right in the face.

The heroes in Tiger & Bunny still had that selflessness about them. They may have been shilling products, but they put their lives on the line. The backers behind ALPHAS aren’t looking for that sort of hero. They want to remake the image of the hero in the corporate image, and that’s a pretty fascinating take on the concept. We’ve seen the selfless do-gooder. We’ve seen the at-all-costs vigilante. And while this concept isn’t exactly new (Pretty sure Booster Gold from the DC universe has been interpreted in this manner before.) it’s cool to see it in Zetman. And it’s cool to see Kouga struggling with this proposition when it’s in line with the way he viewed things as a kid. His ideals are in conflict here. Can he maintain his dream of being a hero without “selling out” in the truest sense?

Cat & Chocolate –> Texas Zombies

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May 152012
 

I was checking out the new board game releases last week and I came across something called Texas Zombies. I was gonna pass it over, since I’m damn tired of the glut of zombie-related things (Board games aren’t immune to the plague.), but I noticed that the designer of the game was Japanese. For those of y’all not up on board games, most of the gamer-centric ones put the designer’s name on the box much like how you’ll see a director’s name on a movie or something like that. Designers tend to have certain tendencies to their games, so peeps like seeing that soandso made this and that game.

So yeah, a Japanese designer. That didn’t necessarily mean it’s a game from Japan, but it caught my eye since I’ve been going out of my way to check out from-Japan games for the blog. Turns out Texas Zombies is a game from Japan, but that isn’t what’s interesting about it.

“Texas Zombies” isn’t the game’s original name. In Japan the game was released as Cat & Chocolate.

Old school anime fans are used to things being “rethemed” for the western audience. Go-Lion gets mixed up into Voltron. Yamato becomes Starblazers. Stuff like the early episodes of Pokemon would call riceballs and meatbuns “donuts.” Even more recent localizations like Asobi ni Ikuyo get more “accessible” names like Cat Planet Cuties. But even the most drastic changes usually didn’t change the inherent meaning of the anime in question.

And that’s what’s interesting about this game. While I haven’t played the game, everything I’ve heard says that the actual mechanics of the game are unchanged. It’s a party game where the players deal with randomly drawn events, and all of the rules and card text was not altered when the game was “localized” for the US and European market. For most board gamers, this is all that matters. To these fans, the visuals and “theme” of the game are fluff that has no real impact on the actual experience. Some people might be turned off from the zombie theme, but for most gamers they’ll play it regardless if the actual game is enjoyable.

But I’m curious to see what fans of Japanese stuff think about this. Part of the reason why a lot of us like anime/manga/etc that is because of that aesthetic that’s inherent to it all. So in taking away the anime-ish art and replacing it with something wholly different takes away part of the appeal of the original product. It may make it more “accessible” to the board game audience as a whole, but it pushes away an entirely different audience that might find this interested for the very fact that it’s Japanese.

Then there’s the bit where you can’t help that they changed it not so much because they wanted to make it palatable for western audiences and more because it was too Japanese. Maybe they aren’t changing it because “zombies sell more,” but because “no one wants that anime crap.” It’s the whole “why the fuck are they getting white dudes for the Akira remake” thing in cardboard form. Or maybe they think the game won’t be taken seriously if it gets associated with Yu-Gi-Oh.

Whatever the case, it’s “interesting” to see import board gaming go through a lot of the same motions as the early days of import anime. Sometimes you get something completely untouched save for translation, like Tanto Cuore, and sometimes you get ghost cats turned into Texas Zombies.

Also: If anyone can find a copy of Cat & Chocolate, let me know. It’s sold out at all of the online shops I know about.

The Expendabears

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May 122012
 

It wasn’t just the dark underbelly of the Polar Bear Cafe universe that was exposed in this week’s episode. I always knew there was something a little strange about Polar Bear himself, but this episode finally exposes his questionable past.

If you’ve seen enough action movies, you’re familiar with this cliché. You have your “retired” action hero type. Once upon a time he was a hired killer or a mercenary or a Marine or something like that. He did some things that the average dude would find regrettable at best and abhorrent at worst, and he was damn good at those things. In fact, he was the best at doing those things. But he reached a point where he couldn’t take the lifestyle anymore. Maybe his wife was caught in the crossfire. Or maybe he met a kid who made him question his actions. Or maybe he saw one too many friends die a miserable, lonely death. Whatever the case, he’s turned away from his violent, shadowy lifestyle and wants to start anew.

To get away from that life, the guy usually takes up a career or hobby that’s a complete 180 from his prior gig. Steven Seagal in Under Siege becomes the cook on his ship. Sylvester Stallone owns a taxi boat in the new Rambo. Bruce Willis is just some bored retired dude hitting on the call center chick in Red. Their characters were all highly trained military types, and now all they want to do is live a relaxed life that has no hint of danger, conflict, or violence.

These guys always get dragged back into the action. Something comes up that forces them to use their badass killing skills in order to save themselves or save someone they care about. But before that they usually have some moment of temptation. Some old acquaintance comes along who tries to talk them into “one last job” or the like. This old friend never left “the life” and needs the main character to fulfill some big scheme or rescue the president or whatever.

What’s important in these scenes isn’t the actual “sell.” What makes these scenes cool is that you get a lot of hints of the history between these two characters. There’s always a  sense of uneasiness, since the main character doesn’t want any part of what’s being “sold,” but he also knows that he can’t really be abrupt about his unwillingness to help out. This guy is his friend, or at least used to be, and he doesn’t want to say the wrong thing. Or maybe he does want to say the wrong thing just to tick the guy off. And then there’s the references to past actions. Maybe someone brings up “that time in Guatemala” or something like that, and the two exchanged a few words about how they saw those events differently. Their history is detailed in as few words as possible, but you get the gist of it.

That’s exactly what went down when Polar Bear and Panda when to hang out at Bar the Grizzly. The Grizzly Bear who owns the place clearly has a past with Polar Bear. They exchange some banter that shows that their friendship is a little more than “two bears hanging out.” Their ways of life are clearly at odds, since Grizzly sees Polar Bear as being a bit soft while Polar Bear’s uneasy with Grizzly’s rough personality and wild patrons.

I get the feeling that Polar Bear has done some particularly nasty things in the past, and opening up his cafe is a way for him to get away from that past. His love of puns is probably some gallows humor that developed out in the field, where he’d lighten the mood with some awful quips. And maybe he chose a cafe because a woman he loved had a dream of opening such a shop, but she died before she could do so, and now he’s honoring her wish. Grizzly probably finds all of this a bit silly. While he’s set up his own place, he likely still keeps in touch with old friends in whatever line of work they used to be in. That alligator that tried to eat Panda is likely some mercenary taking a breather between jobs and wanted to scare the shit out of some wimpy-looking kid for a few laughs.

Yeah. Polar Bear Cafe is doing everything that Jormungand anime wanted to do (exploring the minds of mercenaries and the like), did it way better, and did it in one half of an episode.