Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I found my very first treatment of WotA

Hi guys!

My mom dropped off some old papers the other day and I had the time to go through them today. Hidden amongst them is one of the very first written treatments of what would become the setting for War of the Ages—written sometime around 2001-2003.

I thought it might be interesting to share—for my own personal history record if nothing else—so I made some minor edits for readability, but otherwise kept my mistakes—such as however the hell I counted the number of millenniums of human civilization and thinking that dinosaurs died out in 65 million BC instead of 65.5 million BC (note: none of this is officially canon anymore, but well, most of it actually is pretty close to the true setting. Why change a good idea, right?). Here's a snapshot of a written out timeline outline that was included with the treatment:

Monday, February 22, 2016

An aside on how I was taught to romanize Japanese

When I first started studying Japanese in an official capacity, I did it at the University of Pittsburgh. We had two "main professors" and a set of 5 or so native-Japanese speakers as graduate student instructors that switched off for our recitations (it was a 7-hours-of-class-a-week course). I don't really remember the main professors very well, but they were rather large proponents of the romanization used in "Japanese: The Spoken Language" by Eleanor Harz Jorden with Mari Noda.

A quick Google search reveals that this text has a LOT of detractors, and it's pretty frustrating to look back and think about how it's handicapped me.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Macaroni and Cheese (of the stovetop variety)

A quick rant, I promise.

First, some background. I love macaroni and cheese. When I was a child, it was one of 5 dinner foods that I deemed worthy enough to consume—along with cheese pizza, scrambled egg sandwiches (first without crust, but eventually progressing to crust included), cheeseburgers (ketchup only), and spaghetti with Parmesan. (I've since graduated to other foods of course, but these 5 still hold a special place in my heart).

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


 I love RWBY and want so much out of it. With the passing of Monty Oum, (creator and lots more for the production), that hope is pretty shaken. S3 has shown us that they can still make RWBY arcs and storylines that are worth watching, but I am worried moving forward.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Why Not Romance Anime?

So it's St. Valentine's Day . . . err, at least it was (a little late!). Maybe you're lonely and want to push the knife in a little deeper or maybe you're happily in love. Or maybe you're like me and just love well done romances no matter what is going on in your own life.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, but one of the very best things about anime is that there is so much choice. I honestly can't remember the last good Hollywood romance I saw (maybe Definitely, Maybe, but how many freaking years ago was that? 7? 8! 8 years, sheesh), but there are *GREAT* romances put out every year in anime format. It's awesome.

Here are some recommended romance anime shows and movies. Some of these I've reviewed before, others are still on the to-be-reviewed list. All of them I think are worth your time, and a few contain some of the greatest moments in fiction I've experienced the last few years.

(There are also great romance plotlines in other great genres, but I'll try to keep it to primarily romance genre shows and movies here.)

Friday, February 12, 2016

DEADPOOL!!!!! Movie Review

Deadpool is here! WHOO!

My fiancee has been pretty in love with Deadpool for years and it remains the only comic I can get her to read (Also, she's done some genderbent Deadpool cosplay HERE). (And of course her cosplay has gotten more views than the last two months of my blog) so needless to say the Deadpool movie has been a topic of conversation ever since the test footage leaked.

No need to worry about spoilers here and I can promise that some of the funniest parts of the movie remain firmly in the movie and not in the trailers (although in hindsight if Deadpool was like Captain America or the Avengers I would have been pissed I saw the trailers). I'll leave the decision up to you. Redband Trailer:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Erased is a must watch for Winter 2016!

Holy cow! How could I have overlooked this one? For some reason the description of a mangaka traveling through time to try to save a child abduction victim he knew as a child just came off as stupid in my head.

I could not have been more wrong. I was hooked 5 minutes into the first episode.

I feverishly devoured the first 5 episodes that are presently out and am waiting the sixth with bated breath.

Guys, it's so good. Sooo good.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

There's nothing like a new Evangelion — Evangelion 3.33

Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版: Q

If you're caught up with what Eva is, scroll down to the embedded video for the start of the review of Eva 3.33. Personally, I can't just jump into a review of a new Evangelion without talking about the past first.

I have a very long history with Evangelion. A VHS tape of Asuka's (惣流・アスカ・ラングレー) premiere in the original series was the very first anime I ever purchased and I was originally the same age as the characters when it came out. The characters go through a metric fuckton of crap concerning relationships and psychology, and the series became intertwined with my own identity. I would not be who I am today without Neon Genesis Evangelion (NGE).

If you're not aware, the "mecha" genre (giant fighting robots) was completely revolutionized by NGE in the late 20th century. Mecha and anime today would be vastly different without NGE. If you were to go back and watch the original series after years of watching anime, you might think that it is unoriginal until you realize that everything you are seeing was the first time it was done or effectively the first time it was done. Also noteworthy, its airing on Japanese television prompted the JAPANESE to go and revise their rules for what can be aired on daytime television for its violence.

Unfortunately, the production was rather troubled. Failure to budget properly meant that the ending of the series was drastically lower quality than the beginning to middle, with an over-reliance on text and long shots on immobile backgrounds. For all that, it was and remains one of the all-time great anime series and one that I have never gotten tired of.

A few years later, Evangelion received two films designed to be a retelling of the end of the series. Death and Rebirth was a retelling of the first 20 episodes (Death) and a "director's cut" of episodes 21-24 (Rebirth). End of Evangelion gave alternate versions of episodes 25 and 26. I've heard it said that if the series was what happened inside Shinji's (碇 シンジ) head during the Human Instrumentality Project, then the movie was what happened in the outside world. It's an incredible movie that I've only been lucky enough to watch two or three times (due to production problems with the DVDs).

My largest complaint is that they do some really stupid, jarring things involving real-world images and shots partway through that really take you out of the experience. For all that, it is still an incredible experience.

Then, the Rebuild of Evangelion came into existence through Studio Khara (株式会社カラー). According to Hideaki Anno (庵野 秀明) (director, writer, producer of most Evangelion projects, but not directing these films), this is Evangelion as it should have been with all technical and budget restraints removed. Evangelion 1.0 came out in America in 2009, 2.0 followed in 2011. Evangelion 3.0 had a THEATRICAL RUN in 2013 and it's taken THREE YEARS TO FINALLY BE RELEASED YESTERDAY (in 2016).

My fiancee has had the third film (home releases differ in title by adjusting the numbers to 1.11, 2.22, and 3.33 and include improved graphics) on pre-order for over two years and was amazed that it was being shipped and arrived in the mail yesterday. She surprised me with it at the end of the night and I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning watching the film I waited three years for.

Without further ado, let's get into it. Trailer for the dub: