Thirty Day Anime Challenge: Days 13 to 17

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Earlier this month I was reading Matt Doyle’s excellent blog. He had just completed a Thirty Day Video Game Challenge. That reminded me that I had yet to finish the anime challenge I started way back in July. Oops! I better make some long overdue progress on that by answering a few more questions today. For those of you who only subscribe to this site for reviews, and therefore have no interest in this series, I recommend that you check out these reviews penned by other bloggers instead…

Anime: Sword Art Online (Season Two)
Manga: Black Butler
Movie: Aquaman
Video Game: Pokemon Red/Blue

DAY 13: CHARACTER I AM MOST SIMILAR TO

I pretty much resemble any anime character who is a stereotypical geek. Perhaps you could compare me to a male version of Moriko Morioka, as I stay indoors all day, am terrible with face to face interactions and often play characters of the opposite sex in video games. I once asked a friend what animated personality I remind them of. They said Master Roshi, as I am a bald headed pervert. Can’t argue with that logic!

DAY 14: ANIME THAT NEVER GETS OLD NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES I REWATCH IT

These days I don’t have enough free time to re-watch shows. Just keeping up with the current season’s anime (and older stuff that I want to check out) is a big enough struggle. Many moons ago however, when I limited my anime viewing to DVDs, I wasn’t averse to watching a series multiple times. One particular box-set that got a lot of mileage was Full Metal Alchemist. No matter how many times I watch FMA it never gets old.

DAY 15: FAVORITE ANIMAL SIDEKICK, PET OR SUMMON

I had to rack my brain to come up with an answer for this one. Generally I am not a fan of mascot characters. You can blame eighties cartoons for that. Back when I was a kid, the cartoons I watched often featured comic relief mascots who were super annoying. Anime critters aren’t all bad though. I recently had fun traveling with Pikachu in Pokemon Let’s Go for example. After much thought I am going to pick Taromaru, the pup from School-Live. He’s very cute and played a big role in the show’s emotional finale.

DAY 16: ANIME WITH THE BEST ANIMATION

There were many contenders for this category. Garden of Words has some exceptional visuals, as does anything that has Studio Ghibli’s name attached to it. The last Madoka movie is also worth mentioning, due to a particularly impressive fight sequence. All those nominations however have the benefit of a motion picture budget backing them up. With that in mind my vote goes to Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works. Who knew that a TV production could look so amazing? One could say that Ufotable’s artists brought their A-game to the (ufo)table in that series.

DAY 17: FAVORITE SUPPORTING MALE CHARACTER

I had to think long and hard for this one. Nothing immediately came to mind. Most of my favourite male characters, from the world of anime, are protagonists. Although I suspect a better answer will come to me later, I’m going to go with Akio Furukawa from Clannad. His childish antics make me laugh, as do the scenes were he gives Tomoya a hard time. Akio isn’t a one note comedic character though. During tough times he acts as a second father to Tomoya and is selfless when it comes to his family. This is evidenced by the reveal that he abandoned a career in acting in order to support his daughter. Instead of the stage he now works as a baker. The family business depends on him because his wife hasn’t got a clue when it comes to recipes. Octopus tentacles and bread do not make for a tasty combo.

 

Dragon Ball Z: Movie Collection One Review

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It’s time to review another movie combo pack from Manga Entertainment. Unlike the recent Beyond the Boundary set, I am pleased to report that this release’s content does not include a worthless recap film. Although Dead Zone and The World’s Strongest are not new movies (having premiered back in 1989 and 1990 respectively) this is the first occasion that UK fans have had to purchase either flick on Blu-Ray/DVD. Bundling both features together, rather than releasing them separately, is a nice gesture as neither film goes over the one-hour mark. Quality may trump quantity, but when it comes to anime paying full price for forty minutes of entertainment would be a bit of a swindle.

OVERVIEW

Dead Zone tells the tale of how Goku acquired the power of clairvoyance, after being involved in a car accident. Oh wait… I am getting confused with the Stephen King novel. In this movie the aforementioned Saiyan has to defeat a villain who has kidnapped his son. Said evildoer’s moniker is Garlic Junior, which is rather ironic. He resembles a Nosferatu and yet he is named after the vegetable people use to ward off vampires. Anyway, the rescue attempt won’t be easy as Garlic is more immortal than a Scottish swordsman – his reward for collecting all seven Dragon Balls at the start of the film. In order to defeat Garlic the spikey haired protagonist will have to band together with his nemesis Piccolo.

The World’s Strongest kicks off with Gohan and a humanoid swine searching for the titular Dragon Balls. Oolong, the perverted pig man, desires the mystical spheres so he can summon a pair of panties. Unfortunately for the horny hog, a scientist loyal to a genius named Dr Wheelo beats him to the punch. Said scientist uses the Dragon Balls to liberate his master from an icy tomb. Once freed, Wheelo arranges for Goku’s sensei Master Roshi to be abducted. Wheelo mistakenly believes that Roshi is the strongest human around and wishes to transfer his consciousness into Roshi’s body. Once again Goku ventures forth to rescue one of his acquaintances. Dragon Ball evidently relies on kidnap plots almost as much as it rehashes fighting tournaments.

VERDICT

My rating for Dragon Ball Z: Movie Collection One is a three out of five. From the limited selection of Dragon Ball films I have watched, I would have to rank Resurrection F above either of these two offerings. Long time fans of the series will however appreciate this nostalgic trip back to the franchise’s roots. Despite the age of the movies I didn’t think that the visuals looked all that dated. Although the animation is on par with what we have seen in the TV series, the artwork itself has received a slight clean up courtesy of a digital remaster. Out of the two movies I enjoyed Dead Zone slightly more. The World’s Strongest has a better story, thanks to its lengthier run time, whilst Dead Zone has the superior antagonist. Wheelo is just a Mother Brain wannabe with a robotic body.

One thing that I liked about the movies is that the action focuses on fisticuffs and energy blasts, rather than characters changing their hairstyles, as both stories are set prior to the time when Super Saiyan mode was unlocked. Goku even has to call upon the aid of his bow staff during one of the battles. Thanks to the concise running time neither movie suffers from excessive filler, which happens to be my chief complaint with the television show. Sadly the corny slapstick that DBZ is known for is still present here. If puerile jokes “piss” you off I can’t imagine that the scene were Gohan urinates on Krillin will be to your liking… pun intended.

Review of Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F

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I used to think that Marvel and DC held the monopoly on reviving deceased fictional characters, but the release of Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F reminded me that this isn’t the case. This latest movie from the hugely popular DBZ franchise once again sees the Dragon Balls (mystical wish granting orbs, not to be confused with lizard testicles) being used to reanimate a fallen character. The Dragon Balls are usually employed in the resurrection of dead heroes, but on this occasion the bad guys have decided to make use of their power instead. The recipient of the Dragon Balls’ necromancy properties is none other than Frieza – an extra terrestrial overlord who has a thing for detonating planets. After securing a second lease on life the effeminate villain sets his sights on Earth and getting revenge on the spikey haired chap responsible for his demise.

OVERVIEW

Technology is a marvellous thing. Back in my day hunting down the Dragon Balls took a season’s worth of episodes and completing homework required hours of research at the library. These days, thanks to modern scanners, the Dragon Balls can be unearthed in a quick movie prologue and school assignments can be finished promptly via the wonders of Wikipedia. Resurrection F wastes no time in concisely explaining how Frieza’s minions attained the Dragon Balls and revived their leader, which makes a welcome change given that DBZ is infamous for stringing things along with bloated filler. The script doesn’t even pause to explain how Frieza could pose a challenge to Goku (who in the last film attained god like strength thanks to the power of holding hands.) We are simply told that the antagonist beefed up by training for a few months.

Resurrection F’s main event is without a doubt the rematch between Frieza and Goku. After languishing in hell for many years, where he was forced to listen to a constant stream of obnoxious Telly Tubby ditties, Frieza is thirsting for blood. The alien destroyer of worlds is no push over, as he has unlocked a new Golden form that rivals the might of blue haired Super Saiyan Gods. Does anyone know why hairdo colour is used to denote the potency of Saiyan warriors? I think I preferred the traditional blonde Super Saiyan locks over the new azure style – although both are preferable to the goofy looking Super Saiyan 3 hair extensions Goku once sported.

Before the main bout commences viewers are treated to an undercard featuring Frieza’s weedy army and Earth’s second-string of superhuman protectors. The likes of Piccolo, Gohan, Tien and Krillin get to strut their stuff, although the mighty Majin Buu is mysteriously absent from the encounter. Oh well, who needs Buu? The battle is only determining the fate of the world after all. Let’s give his spot on the roster to a decrepit bald pervert (aka Master Roshi) instead. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, who has previously appeared in a spin-off manga, also makes a cameo appearance in the film. He’s there mostly for comic relief and to prove that Akira Toriyama’s artistic career isn’t limited only to DBZ/Dragon Quest sketches.

VERDICT

Given that my fondness for Dragon Ball has waned over the years I wasn’t looking forward to Resurrection F. The last DBZ film I watched (Battle of Gods) wasn’t to my liking due to the heavy emphasis on comedy. That’s a bad idea as I find DBZ’s humour to be only one power level higher than the gags found in an Adam Sandler feature. Thankfully Resurrection F’s script focuses on what the series does best, namely action, resulting in an entertaining popcorn flick. Is the movie perfect? No, the crude looking CG effects for example need work, but overall what I watched was good enough to earn four stars. I do however wish that badass Vegeta would get more to do in this second coming of Dragon Ball. Once again the prince of Saiyans is reduced to a bit part player and worst of all his sole moment of glory is usurped at the eleventh hour by a deus ex machina.

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F is an essential purchase for DBZ fans everywhere. Those looking to add the DVD to their collection are in for a bit of a wait however, as the UK home video release has been postponed to prevent it from clashing with current cinematic screenings. Manga Entertainment’s decision to delay DVD sales will annoy some anime collectors, but the company will feel vindicated by the movie’s good performance at the box office. If it’s any consolation, watching Resurrection F on a big screen is probably an awesome experience. It’s something I wouldn’t mind partaking in, were it not for the fact that I loathe stepping outdoors. Besides, knowing my luck I would end up in a theatre packed with screeching kids. The only thing worse than that is being stuck in the underworld listening to Telly Tubby tunes ad nauseam.