BitSnark

A place of scribblings located in the darkest corner of the internet. Yup.

Archive for February 2006

Disgaea Anime Promo

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A few months ago, you guys might remember me saying something about an anime being made on the PS2 RPG Disgaea? Well, it looks like there is a promo trailer up and ready for some torrenting on Animesuki.com.

Check it out.

Written by bitsnark

February 27, 2006 at 7:39 pm

Live Action Robotech

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In an article printed on ANN (AnimeNewsNetwork) today, it would seem that Kickstart Productions has plans for a live action Robotech TV series and feature length live action movie. Kickstart Productions are currently working with Harmony Gold on the Robotech: Shadow Chronicles OVA that continues the story after the end of the original 80’s TV series.

Well what do ya think of that? Personally, i’m not holdin my breath on this one.

Battlestar Galactica?

I think not.

Written by bitsnark

February 27, 2006 at 7:35 pm

More Ghost In The Shell On The Way…..

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According to animenewsnetwork.com, Bandai Visual and Production I.G are working on a Ghost In The Shell ‘related’ anime that is due sometime soon. Guesses anybody? A third Stand Alone Complex season, or a brand new OAV?

My money is on the latter, what do you guys reckon?

Written by bitsnark

February 22, 2006 at 7:12 pm

Virus Buster Serge Review

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A review on an oldie from the 90’s for you on this lazy sunday evening 🙂

Virus Buster Serge

Genre: Cyberpunk Action Adventure
Director: Masami Obari
Distributor: Manga Entertainment
Duration: 25 minutes approx. per episode with 12 episodes total
Production Creation: 1997

Plot Synopsis

In 2097, man and machine are one. The result of technological advancement has meant that mankind can now surf the Internet, not with a personal computer but instead with his very mind. However with every technological advancement comes the balance of error and exploitation. In this case, the problem lies with an entity known as the ‘virus’. The virus is sent down from orbit by a facility known as the Incubator, and it can infect systems attached to their human hosts, take them over and mutate them into terrible abominations.

Led by a mysterious man known as Raven, S.T.A.N.D (the acronym is never explained, so don’t ask), is the force whose mission it is to track down and destroy all traces of the virus with their ultimate goal being the destruction of the Incubator itself. Everything however is disturbed and turned into chaos when an enigmatic stranger called Serge appears on the scene and demands revenge against Raven himself, a man whom he has a dark connection with.

The Review

I hate things that are half finished. Virus feels like that – a half hearted job, but not only that, the show has a bad identity problem, since it does not know what it is meant to be or what it’s attempting to do.

Does it try to be an action show along the lines of Bubblegum Crisis (of which no doubt the biggest comparisons will be drawn), or does it try to be a thoughtful and complex work like Evangelion? Well, it falls directly between the two stools so to speak and will disappoint fans of either show. The action scenes although watchable, are nowhere near as intense or as excitable as those seen in BGC, and the plot and characters are so laughably weak and unfinished that a comparison to Hideaki Anno’s opus is simply a joke.

One of the biggest problems with Virus Buster Serge is it just reeks of an unfinished show. It’s almost as if the show was booked to run at twenty-six episodes, but they had to cut the show in half and forget y’know the little things, like plot and character development. To say that there are many loose ends in Virus that are never tied up would be an understatement.

I mean take Raven for example, the leader of STAND, has a connection with Serge and Serge with him because apparently Raven ‘killed’ Serge sometime ago. Okay, a dubious plot no doubt, but it’s made all the more unbearable by the fact the relationship between the two is never really explained, and this happens a lot with other aspects of the storyline too. The characters also have vague backgrounds that are sparsely detailed and as a result of this, I found myself just not giving a damn about them or the plot that revolved around them.

As far as Masami Obari goes, I’ve never really been impressed with his directorial work, much preferring his character designs instead, only to be let down by those here too. The designs themselves are a nasty mixed bag with the males looking like ultra-effeminate catwalk models (Serge in particular looking like an ad for famine victims) and the supposedly sexy women sporting the nastiest of snaggletooth mouths and ever-changing chest sizes.

The animation and art in general tend to be around average but suffer from unremarkable backgrounds and spotty character movements. That said, while some of the variable gear battles aren’t up to the standards of say BGC or Spriggan, they are still good to watch, it’s just shame they are few and far between. The music which is certainly Virus’ high point can be quite catchy and features a good use of instrumentals that provide much atmosphere to the show, but besides the seldom Variable Gear battles, it’s quality certainly isn’t matched by any other aspect of Virus.

If only the creators had decided just what they wanted Virus to be and stuck with it, we would no doubt be looking at a better show, as it is, Virus is a deeply flawed anime that often appears half-finished and sub-mediocre.

Ratings Summary

Animation: C-
Art: D
Music: B
Content: D-

Overall: D-

Review by: JP Jones

Suitability for children

There are a few instances of blood and the odd ‘scary’ moment but really nothing that isn’t suitable for those aged 12+.

If you liked this why not try…

Original Bubblegum Crisis – AnimEigo

Written by bitsnark

February 19, 2006 at 7:38 pm

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children English Cast and U.S Release Date Now Official

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Yup it’s in the books, Square Enix’s long awaited CG continuation of the supremely successful RPG Final Fantasy VII, will hit DVD and UMD on April 25th… In the U.S. A U.K date? Well Somewhere in mid-June sounds reasonable to me, but I wouldnt be surprised if it slipped back to September.

As far as the English voice cast goes, there are a couple of Hollywood alumini there, such as Mena Suvari as tear-jerking Aerith Gainsborough and Rachel Leigh Cook as feisty Tifa Lockheart. There are also a couple of anime mainstays in there too, such as Steve Blum (Spike in Cowboy Bebop and Mugen in Samurai Champloo) as Vincent Valentine, and Crispin Freeman (Alucard in Hellsing) as Turk flunky Rude.

Although the casting choices seem good for the most part, I cant help but think that Mr. Freeman and Mr. Blum should have their roles reversed. Crispin Freeman would prove to be an excellent Vincent Valentine, based on his performance as Alucard in Pioneer’s Hellsing, I thought it was a dead lock, but oh well.

Here’s the list of folk contributing their vocal talents to the English dub.

Steve Burton as Cloud Strife

Mena Suvari as Aerith Gainsborough

Quinton Flynn as Reno

Rachael Leigh Cook as Tifa Lockhart

Steve Staley as Kadaj

Wally Wingert as Rufus ShinRa

Andrea Bowen as Girl

Beau Billingslea as Barett Wallace

Benjamin Bryan as Denzel

Bettina Bush as Elena

Chris Edgerly as Cid Highwind

Christy Romano as Yuffie Kisaragi

Crispin Freeman as Rude

Dave Wittenberg as Yazoo

Fred Tatasciore as Loz

George Newbern as Sephiroth

Grace Rolek as Marlene Wallace

Gregg Ellis as Cait Sith

Jamieson Price as Reeve

Liam O’Brien as Red XIII

Rick Gomez as Zack

Ryun Yu as Tseng

Steven Blum as Vincent Valentine

Apparently the delay of the Western release of Advent Children has been down to the finialising of the voice cast, which if you look includes many crossover performances from the recently announced Kingdom Hearts II dub, and also the inclusion of extra bonus features.

While the film may be old news to those who have downloaded it from the internet, I still implore those of you who have to stump up the funds for either the region 1 or 2 release, as the film is such that it deserves it. Well i’ll get off my soap box now 🙂 Review coming as soon as I get my hands on the Reigon 1 DVD.

Stay tuned.

Written by bitsnark

February 18, 2006 at 7:52 pm

I’m back! And yes, i’ve brought the Steamboy review with me!

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Hey all!

Sorry for the extended hiatus, but i’m back and regular updates will resume again, starting with Otomo’s Steamboy. Enjoy! ^_~

Steamboy: Directors Cut Review

Genre: Sci-fi Dystopia Disaster
Director: Katushiro Otomo
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Duration: One movie – 126 minutes approx.
Production Creation: 2004

Plot Synopsis

In Victorian Britain, a young Manchester boy by the name of Ray Steam is hard at work on his latest invention. Like his father, and grandfather before him, Ray is a tinkerer and creator of steam powered appliances. However, when his forefathers discover how to tap the near limitless potential of Steam in Alaska, Ray’s world begins to fall apart as a group known as The Foundation raids his house trying to discover the ‘Steamball’, a solid ball of iron and compressed steam that contains the secrets of his father and grandfather’s research. Hiatus

It is up to young Ray Steam to protect the secrets of this astonishing power, lest London, the primary target of a new high-tech steam powered army led by The Foundation, falls into utter ruin.

The Review

Being some ten years in the making, Steamboy signals Katushiro Otomo’s proper return to the anime stage, being his first feature-length film since the groundbreaking Akira. Although not as adult or as head scratchingly complex in either characterisation or plotlines as Akira, Steamboy stands on its own two feet as a worthy sci-fi action piece, though it isn’t not perfect.

Steamboy is your quintessential sci-fi action adventure movie. While the Victorian setting provides a novel retro-fi styled backdrop to the action, the film largely follows standard conventions of the sci-fi action genre with a nothing-happening boy becoming a legendary hero by the end of it. Not that this is a bad thing when executed right, as Steamboy manages to do, but the film itself seems a tad long, running at just over two hours, and as such feels strained in places, especially considering how straightforward the plot and characters are.

Still long as the film may be, your attention often finds itself distracted by the staggering visuals that are on offer here. Although there is some computer aided animation in here, the great stuff comes from the meticulous hand drawn cels that make up the majority of the movie. Carrying with it the same meticulous level of detail and care that Akira did all those years ago (and Akira still looks good), every frame is literally dripping detail off the screen with a lushness not usually seen outside Akira and high-budget Studio Ghibli productions such as Princess Mononoke.

Although amazing to look at, the integration of the cel animations with those of the computer aided ones lack the near seamless standard of say Metropolis, and as a result aren’t always so smooth. But it’s truly a minor visual blemish on what is otherwise an astounding looking movie.

Moving on to the audio side of things, Steamboy succeeds well here as well, with an epic rousing score which is only slightly tempered by an initially awkward English dub. The awkwardness can be attributed to Anna Paquin’s (X-Men) initially uncomfortable turn as Ray Steam. The oddity of casting a 22 year old New Zealand woman to provide the voice of a 13 year old Manchester boy, is one that hasn’t escaped the actress either as she comments on how challenging the role was for her in an interview on the DVD. Still to her credit, she settles into the role nicely about twenty minutes in, and any awkwardness (particularly with the accent) is soon forgotten about.

Patrick Stewart (X-Men) and Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2) also lend their voices to grandfather and father Steam respectively, and pull off their roles with appropriate gusto and due aplomb. Alfred Molina, in particular having no problems lending the eccentric scientist qualities to his voice in Steamboy that he so perfected in Spider-Man 2.

Steamboy will however, unfortunately disappoint those who look at the ‘Created by Katushiro Otomo’ tag thinking this to be some gritty and cult successor, to Otomo’s 1988 opus. It is not. What it is however is an elaborate sci-fi animated feature that although straightforward and perhaps a little long, never fails to appease the senses with it’s well animated and choreographed chase, battle and war scenes.

That’s not to say this is a dumb movie, far from it, but it isn’t Akira and because of that, if you’re mind is still hankering for more of what Otomo showed you back in 1988, then your mileage may vary with Steamboy. For the rest of you, and I’m certainly speaking for myself here, Steamboy represents the kind of fresh no-nonsense animated action epic, that Disney itself would love to create. As such, Steamboy comes highly recommended.

Ratings Summary

Animation: A+
Art: A+
Music: A-
Content: C+

Overall: B-

Review by: JP Jones

Suitability for children

In Steamboy there is basically zero profanity, what there is however is a fair bit of violence with war machines, big explosions and so on. There is even a gory close up at one point of a man lying dead with a pool of blood expanding from his face. A nasty moment for sure but it’s the only thing that wouldn’t be suitable for anyone aged under 12 years old.

If you liked this why not try…

Metropolis – Columbia Tri-Star Entertainment

Written by bitsnark

February 6, 2006 at 5:36 pm

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