Henshin Robo Genndyzer (Or, Mike’s Quickie Review of SYM-BIONIC TITAN!)

Going through my referrals, I discovered that the one entry on this blog that always generated a large portion of the weekly hits turned out to be my report of Genndy Tartakovsky’s new series, Sym-Bionic Titan. It wasn’t so much because of it being a hard-hitting article, but rather the wait for its broadcast felt like listening to the first prolonged note of a three-hour opera –you want it to just start already! Thankfully enough, as of Friday night, that first note finally carried into what we came for.

Sym-Bionic Titan finally made its premiere on Cartoon Network, one of the two things worth watching that night (the other being the Star Wars: The Clone Wars season premiere. Screw everything else), and I’ll just tell you right now: It was worth every second of the wait. I posted about it on Facebook straight away, telling my friends “Animation buffs, you will love what they did with the style and backgrounds. Mechaholics, you will love all the homages and nods. Star Blazers[/Yamato] fans, you will cream yourselves at the climax”. Really, that’s the shortest possible way I can best sum up this premiere, but if you want the long-version? Hit the jump.

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Knocking Weight Out of Orbit

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Awhile back, I had asked for a review copy of Sayonara, Mr. Fatty: A Geek’s Diet Memoir; Toshio Okada’s quasi-memoirs about his miraculous 110lbs weight loss attempt. I figured, hey! I’ll review it for OUSA! This did not happen. R5 seemed to not work out either, things being the way they are. Now with my Dad recently out of surgery, I’ve devoted what little free time I’ve had to working on this and other projects of mine…and having to do a lot of waiting as a result of it. Believe it or not, the interim actually made me think back to this book–no, this is not a cop-out intro.

Read the short yet full review after the jump!

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KITT, Transform…and Roll Out?

Alright, after viewing the second episode of Knight Rider, it’s time to unveil the Knight Rider Drinking Game

Take a drink when…
-Somebody fails the Bechdel Test
-Sarah gets scantily clad and/or captured
-KITT transforms into the 4×4 for less than 30 seconds
-KITT pulls a deus ex machina out of his arse
-The show starts to feel like it’s trying too damn hard

Take a shot every time when….
-Somebody spouts off some innuendo
-Zoe spouts off really bad innuendo
-KITT gets deactivated/damaged to the point where he goes offline
-There’s a Trademark Romantic Tension Moment between Mike and Sarah

Slight improvement but otherwise, it’s still crap. Three more to go before I jump ship. In the meantime, next week is At the Beach! What does this mean for you? More stuff for the drinking game :P

Please Don’t Turbo Boost The Shark

So you guys have probably heard about the whole KITT-Napping hoax.

To summarize, at a promo event in Toronto, some guy B-Lined it out from the audience and drove off with the new KITT from the forthcoming Knight Rider series. People thought it was a real thing but it turned out to be a stunt set up by E! Entertaiment as a contest to win the car. After watching the first episode of the series that’s now available on Hulu and Amazon Unbox, I kinda wish that the heist was real…and that he smashed the damn thing into a tree.

More after the jump. It contains spoilers but trust me, you’ll thank me later.

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With Apologies For Chiharu…

Kamen Rider Kiva (right) pictured with Den-O (left), showing off his charming side by sweeping Nana Akiyama off her feet. You sly half-Fangire you…

Anywho, Igadevil has posted up his reviews for Kamen Rider Den-O and Kiva: Climax Deka. Go over to his site and check out both the Spoiler-Free and Spoiler-Full reviews.

When was the last time a Rider movie featured Riders from two separate series in the same movie? When was the last time a Rider film wasn’t just a vehicle for the writer’s self-indulgent pop star revenge fantasy/ horror movie rip-off that unashamedly sidelines the characters we paid to go see? Wait, don’t answer that last one.

From the descriptions, I’m really looking forward to catching this one on DVD when it comes out…whenever it does.

The magic of the loincloth is irrepressable…

Just finished watching Phoo Action, the hour-long pilot based off of Jamie “Gorillaz” Hewlett’s comic Get The Freebies.

I found out about this at the last second and got my hands on the episode from a friend. I wasn’t expecting much even though this boasts Carl Weathers at the police chief, a script co-written by Jessica Hynes from Spaced and Euros Lyn as the director but it turned out to be a lot better than expected.

WARNING: The following show requires an open mind.

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Here’s how this works: You’ve got Terry Phoo, a mutant hunting specialist from Hong Kong’s JKD Police Division in the year 2012 (and one step to the left) who is sent to London after the Queen is murdered by The Freebies, a trio of mutants led by Johnny Freebie: a guy with a basketball for a head and a tracksuit. (Yes, it sounds crazy already. If you can’t cope at this point, you might want to turn back now.)

Amidst this is Whitey Action, daughter of the Police Chief, who has a bit of a party streak in her (along with her friend, the Lady Eleanor Rigsby) but, as Carl Weathers best put it, “she’s got a smart head and a smart mouth and the two can’t seem to match up”. During a botched attempt by the Freebies to kill the next heirs to the throne, she meets Phoo and the two of them have to hurry to save London from having their new King(s) from turning blue. Literally.

Let it be known that I’m kind of nuts so I’m open to a lot of things. I’m a fan of the Japanese SpidermanTV Series for crying out loud. Then again, after Spider-Man 3, who can blame me? I tend to gravitate to shows that may look bad in special effects, overdosing on on-screen insanity, and are just sweating camp but I still enjoy them. The pilot of Phoo Action is a lot like those kinds of shows but it has something a lot of them don’t: People who are in on the joke.

Honestly, had this taken itself seriously, I’m sure I’d be breaking my head through wooden boards without any formal training at all whatsoever because it would have been horrible. Phoo Action has all the feel of a comic book mixed with 1960/70’s martial arts and cop shows and it shows. While we’re going on about comic books, having never read Get the Freebies, I can’t say anything about loyalty to the source material but if any of the other reviews online are any indicator, it seems like they nailed it.

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Visually, I have to give props to the art direction. The whole thing looks like it was lifted from the Get the Freebies comic with its vibrant colors that add to the on screen craziness and make this a pleasure to watch. Double props go to the SFX team. Suits with a mixture of CG on the eyes and animatronics bring the Freebie trio to life and make them all the more fun and slightly creepy. I can only imagine the layer of hell those are to move around.

The acting is solid all the way around. Like I said before, everybody’s in on the joke so they’re able to have fun with it. I mean, there’s no way you can play the concept of a pair of hot pants turning out to be Buddha’s Loincloth seriously.

Oh and Carl Weathers freaking rocked in this, and I hope he sticks around because he stole the show.

The only real gripe I have with this is the action. It came off looking like something from the 1960’s Batman series with a bit of modern Kung Fu Finesse on top for good measure. Personally, I really feel that faster and tighter action scenes could really compliment the show and get people watching but then again I’m the guy that liked Death Trance. Here’s hoping The Powers That Be see this too and make a move in that direction. Even if they don’t, it fits either way.

All in all, I’ve just gotten my first thing to look forward to in 2009.

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Retrospective In Print Continued

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Remember awhile back when I did my magazine retrospective? I always thought of going back and covering other mags as I felt like I didn’t really scratch the surface but it seems like some other blogs beat me to it.

Head on over to destroy tokyo to check out their retrospective which covers such missed mags like V-Max and Anime UK or check out AltJapan for a look inside My Anime.