Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood 22 & 23

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood Episode 22

In this episode, we get a lot of background history on Scar. Winry has a chance to avenge her parents, but doesn't have the heart to do so. We are informed of a little skill Ling and Ran Fan have in respect to detecting Hommunculi. We also finally get to see Ling's true fighting abilities.

The thing that struck me the most in this episode was Scar's background information and how the events that happened in Ishbal greatly reminded me of the Holocaust.

Blue eyed, blonde hair army

Speaking to a friend about this, she told me that Full Metal Alchemist intended to be a representation of old Britain rather than Germany. Not being very well versed in history, I wouldn't have been able to make that connection. Nevertheless, themes being played with are what power and strength in numbers result in. We pretty much are an ugly race.

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood Episode 23

As far as episodes go, I have to say that this one was pretty good. The episode starts of with some epic action sequences and gets the viewer excited early on. Key points from this episode is that Winry has realized she is in love with Ed and that everyone in team Mustang know that King Bradley is a Hommunculi.

Though the team lost sight of Scar, Gluttony was taken into captive. However, when an overgrown baby realizes he is in the midst of his Sister's killer, no mere wire can stop him. And thus we are left hanging until next week.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Japanese Lesson 3: Comparing Objects

During Japanese summer classes, I was absent during the week we learned about comparing objects. This was something I always regretted not learning and wished I didn't miss out on. Today, these anxieties will end as you and I learn the concepts involved in comparing objects and ideas. For this lesson you will need to know:

  • Hiragana
  • Katakana
  • Basic Kanji

A is more than B

Unlike the English language, adjectives are not changed when comparing two objects. (ie: A is faster than B, A is better than B). Instead, certain endings are added to the nouns to indicate this. The format is as follows:

Object A のほうが Object B より adjective.

To better understand this, let us create some examples.

Hamburgers are more tasty than pork cutlet.

Yamada san is more interesting than Kyoko san.

Asking which is better

When asking another person's opinion between two objects. The form is as follows:

Object A Object B とどうちのほうが adjective.

Here are some examples:

Is Eden of the East newer than Death Note?

Is Canada colder than Sweden?

For those who couldn't read Japanese but decided to look anyways, the basis for the 'A is more ___ than B' is A no houga B adjective. For 'Is A more ___ than B' the structure is A to B to douchi no houga adjective. There are a few ways to do this structure so please do not look at this as a be all and end all. Use it as a starting point in learning comparisons. This is definitely something you hear a lot in manga in anime (especially in shoujo when guys are being compared!).

Related Posts
Japanese Lesson 2: Let's translate it - よつばと!
Japanese Lesson 1: Translate the blog title

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Faster than a Kiss

This month, we will be reviewing Faster than a Kiss, a series written by Meca Tanaka which focuses on the relationship between Fumino Kaji and Kazuma Ojiro. Though they may seem to be just a teacher and student by day, they are really a married couple by night. But don't get any crazy ideas just yet. Though they are legally allowed to do whatever kinky thing they want, they have yet to kiss, let alone anything beyond that.

Faster than a Kiss

Faster than a Kiss cover

So why are they married in the first place? Well, Fumino's parents died one year ago, leaving Fumino and Teppei (her little brother) on a long road of hopping from relative to relative. Sick of it all, Fumino decides to drop out of high school and work full time to support Teppei. But before she can go with this idea, her Homeroom teacher (Kazuma), promises to take them into his home. Being the prideful being that she is, Fumino won't believe his kindness unless he makes it concrete (ie: marriage). And so our story begins.

Initial Thoughts

Though the concept and constant feeling of taboo intrigued me at first, there seemed to be a repeating story cycle in each chapter. It went as follows:

  • Fumino is seen at school, defending some helpless student, Yankee style
  • Fumino and Teppei welcome Kazuma home in cosplay outfits
  • Kazuma hugs Teppei in an outburst of "omg you're so cute!"
  • Fumino says or does something that provokes intimacy
  • Fumino wussies out
  • Fumino is presented with a challenge which she takes on wholeheartedly
  • Fumino either fails at the challenge or is placed in danger resulting in Kazuma using his super athletic or Ex-Yankee skills to save her
FTAK Cosplay

One of the many cosplay scenes

It's cute and durable a few times (like maybe 3 or 4 times), but to have the same cycle over and over again could make a manga reader want to puke.

On the positive note, the artwork is pretty well done and the story does make progressions. Chapter 13 had a cliffhanger that I am curious in seeing the outcome of.

Prominent Themes

  • Teacher-Student relationships: Ah yes, the taboo involved between a teacher and student, adult and child. Constant secrecy in the public eye. Every touch between them forbidden.
  • Pure Female lead: Never been kissed, and blushes at every touch. The Japanese have this fetish with purity so it's no surprise that Fumino is that way. Of course, it is always fun watching all of someone's firsts.
  • Mysterious Past: This seems to be staple for most mangas. We know Kazuma was an extremely talented ex-delinquint, but that's as far as the information goes. His family, ex girflriends, and childhood all remain a blur. The curious reader will continue to read just to find out more about how Kazuma came to be the plain teacher he is today.

To be brutally honest, there are better mangas out there right now. But if you want a casual laugh, it's a quick read with only 13 chapters currently out.

Rating: 3/5

Related posts

October Review: Kimi wa Pet!
August Review: Hana to Akuma

Monday, September 7, 2009

Rebuild of Evangelion 02: You Can (Not) Advance

It has been 9 months since watching the first installment and about ten years since watching the original series. So watching the second installment of the remake of Neon Genesis Evangelion felt like a whole new experience, while keeping the feeling of nostalgia

No matter what decade we are in, Shinji still needs to grow some balls

Setting the Stage

So in the first installment, Shinji joins NERVE as a way to get the attention and praise of his father (haha good luck with that). He moves in with Misato in attempt to establish "a home atmosphere." He transfers to a new school, gets beaten up, meets Ayanami Rei, gets beaten up some more, goes emo, and fights some angels.

And Action!

We begin with episode with a battle between Eva Unit 05 and some angel. The angel is eliminated but so is Unit 05.

The scene changes to a cemetery. Commander Ikari and Shinji are at Yui Ikari's grave. A brief and somewhat awkward conversation passes between the father and son as they recall memories of Shinji's mother. Commander Ikari gets on a helicopter and leaves and Shinji is left alone, looking wistfully at the helicopter.

Commander Ikari and ShinjiShinji Ikari

Being the great babysitter that she is, Misato is waiting at the scene to bring little Shinji home. Unfortunately, another Angel decides to cause some traffic on the way home.

MisatoThe 7th Angel

But don't worry Shinji, a Crazy German Girl has everything under control.

Unit 02

That's right, Asuka has arrived to Japan in order to kick some angel ass. Given she's a little pretentious and doesn't really like anyone. But deep down, she just wants to sneak into people's beds.

Shinji and Asuka

After a field trip and some more angels, Asuka understands the meaning of teamwork. Sadly, this lesson can not be put into use. Unit 02 is banned for usage, but fear not Asuka! Unit 03 (along with some dummy plug for Unit 01) has just arrived and is ready for use. Unfortunately, some creepy cell that takes over things has landed on Unit 03, causing it to turn into Angel 09. With Unit 00 under repairs, Shinji is the sole Eva pilot capable of destroying this angel. Of course, Shinji refuses to fight this monster since Asuka is inside. Commander Ikari's order? Screw Shinji, get the dummy plug to do it.

Shinji IkariUnit 03

Shinji doesn't like this order and throws a tantrum, gets in trouble, and gives up piloting Eva unit 01. The ex pilot for Unit 05 steals Unit 02 to defeat another angel that appears. She doesn't get very far, so she turns unit 02 into Beast form. This helps the fight a little bit, but still looks like a lost cause. Ayanami Rei gets on the scene to do the job right, but gets absorbed by the angel. Shinji, who is conveniently located on the scene of the battle, goes berserk and runs back to HQ in order to save Rei. To match Shinji's emo attitude, Unit 01 goes into Beserk Mode and saves the day. The angel is destroyed but it is apparent that this is the beginning of the Third Impact - better known as the end of the world.

Third Impact

And Cut!

Even though it has been ages since I have seen the original series, the movie seems to follow the story very well. The effects, just as with the first movie, have improved dramatically. The english voice acting at the beginning is also nicely done. My resource for watching this was a bit poor, thus harming the graphics. But when the release for this movie has hit places other than Japan, I'm sure higher quality versions will become available. When the happens, I definitely recommend watching this movie: wheither you saw the original series or are just beginning to understand the legacy that is Evangelion.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Japan's First lady: ちょうとへんですね!

I'm not really a fan of politics, but when you get Tom Cruise and UFOs involved, it's a bit hard to ignore.

Tom CruiseUFO

Wait, wasn't this post about politics? Oh but it is! Japan's future First Lady Miyuki Hatoyama has made multiple claims which include:

  • Meeting Tom Cruise in their previous life
  • Tom Cruise being incarnated as Japanese
  • Having gone to Venus in a triangular shaped UFO
  • Eating the sun

I don't know about you folks, but I hope she was not the factor that lead to her husband's landslide victory.

Prime Minister and Wife of Japan

Good luck you two, with leading Japan and battling aliens

Read about it here

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Suzumiya Haruhi as Phoenix Wright

On my conquest to Compare Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu with Clannad, I stumbled upon an interesting discovery on episode 7 (or 10 depending on the order). This is the conclusion of the remote island storyline where Haruhi wraps up the fake murder case. Of course, other PW fans spotted this parody and one even made a Youtube Video about it.

Upon watching this we can make certain connections:

Phoenix Wright = Suzumiya Haruhi
Koizumi = Miles Edgeworth

We can also make the assumption that Kyon's little sister is Pearl Fey and Mikuru is Maya Fey but I couldn't find pictures that did the comparison justice.