Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

*Sigh* Thundercats Reboot… By Way Of Japan

Ugh.

Now, I’ve already gone on record stating my disdain for the idea of remaking Thundercats, for film or television; so it should be no surprise that the preview trailer above succeeds in pushing those very same buttons.

It’s not so much the idea of a Thundercats reboot being made that bothers me, it’s the simple fact that someone felt the need to do it.

It’s like Ian Malcolm said about the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park:

“Thundercats had their shot, and nature selected them for extinction”

To me, Thundercats; along with the Ninja Turtles and other such pop-culture phenomena, were a product of their time.

I know I’m being an ass about this, but I’m a very nostalgic young man, and have a good memory to boot; so whenever I hear news of unwarranted remakes, I take it kind of personally.

I say this not in reference to “open to interpretation” properties like ancient mythology, but rather mainstream elements of pop-culture of the past 40 or 50 years.

Some people consider remaking or rebooting pop-culture characters or stories of their youth to be a sign of respect, a way of showing that something is loved enough be done justice a second time.

To me, the best way to honor or respect things such as this; is simply to remember them.

More is not always better.

Anyway, I’m done rambling.

No wait:

I suppose I could bitch about how the new character designs bother me, much in the same way that the blatantly anime-inspired designs in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse bothered me, but I feel my efforts would be wasted given that Thundercats was originally animated by a Japanese animation house, thusly making the progression fairly logical.

I just can’t help but feel bothered by the idea of anime-style visuals simply because the look is en vogue.

*Sigh* A nation of fuckin’ weeaboos and Narutards…

Regardless of the actual quality of the animation, it feels cheap, unseemly, and downright silly seeing so many American cartoons go down this route.

I’m done bitching.

Hopefully everyone feels happier about this than I do…

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Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 3 Academy Awardees… That Make The Academy Facepalm

Tonight we celebrated the 83rd edition of the Academy Awards.

Predictably, the English thespian uber-beast that is Colin FIRRRTHHHH managed to walk away with a Best Actor award, while Natalie Portman bagged the Best Actress.

While I haven’t seen The King’s Speech or Black Swan, and thusly can’t speak to the performances of these actors; in keeping with the spirit of the Academy Award festivities this evening, I’ve decided to put together a small list of the top 3 biggest FUCK-UPS the Academy saw fit to hand Best Actor awards to.

The following actors all have one thing in common:

While all may have had some bankability/acting merit at some point in their career, somewhere down the road they saw fit to sell-out and participate in some legendarily horrid films, some of which may or may not contain bear suits and bees.

Anyway, let’s get on with the list:

#3. Anna Pacquin

Yikes! 'Guess I can throw away that theory of her "growing into" that gap...

Anna Pacquin managed to charm her way to a Supporting Actress golden statue for her role in 1993’s, The Piano.

She was 11 years old at the time, making it fairly evident that the Academy staff is likely packed to the brim with pedo-faces.

For those that need a visual aid...

Now, given that Ms. Pacquin was very young when she received her Oscar, you’d expect her experience in the craft would improve as she grew older, right?

WRONG.

Sometime after The Piano, Anna Pacquin would go on to have supporting roles in such classics as, She’s All That, the X-Men series, and even the oh so cleverly titled horror anthology film, Trick ‘r Treat.

Also featuring that fat kid from Bad Santa!

While some might argue that Ms. Pacquin has seemingly found new life in her career with her leading role in the cable series True Blood, I would argue that she’s still very much in crap-town in terms of her bankability.

Case in point, she’s been cast in the upcoming (and largely unwanted) Scream 4, which retains almost none of the cast from the previous films.

Typically that’s not a good sign when dealing with (unwanted) sequels, just look what happened with Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd

#2: Sandra Bullock

 

Am I supposed to be turned on? 'Cause I'm really not... Kinda' hungry, but definitely not turned on...

“It was called The Net, with that girl from the bus…” – Frank Costanza, Seinfeld

Sandra Bullock snagged a Best Actress award in 2009 for her “transformative” role in The Blind Side.

While I would argue that the movie itself was actually kind of flat, with Ms. Bullock’s performance doing little to add to it’s mediocrity; the academy saw fit to give her the nod, thusly solidifying her place on this list.

Sandra Bullock had a rather odd journey to the Academy Awards.

Early on she was TV movie tripe like, Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman.

Thought I was kiddin', didin'cha'?

Then she started to move up in the world, landing supporting roles in modern classics like Demolition Man, and Speed.

That’s right, MODERN. CLASSICS.

Then she got greedy and started conning her way into starring roles in horse shit like The Net, and Speed 2: Cruise Control.

 

Pictured: A shitty, and severly dated movie.

Then came the beginning of the new millenium.

Then, came the era of congeniality.

Tens of thousands were killed in the angry riots spawned by the release of the first Miss Congeniality.

Entire nations were felled in the anarchic firestorm brought on by the announcement of the second in the series, Miss Congeniality: Armed and Fabulous.

Given her greedy nature, combined with the relative stagnation of her career since achieving Oscar gold, I would not be surprised if Ms. Bullock had her goons in Hollywood pounding out a script for Miss Congeniality 3: Botoxed and Beautiful, as we speak…

#1: Nicolas Cage

If you're trying to scare me Mr. Cage, you have succeeded...

No list of Hollywood burn-outs could be complete without the inclusion of Nic Cage.

The Cage began his stint in Hollywood from humble beginnings.

Well, if you call being the nephew of one of the most influential and respected directors of all time, “humble.”

Early on, Cage made an impression in Hollywood with his critically acclaimed role as a douche bag in a handful of scenes from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

 

The Birth of a Legend...

Said performance would prove to be an acting formula Mr. Cage would draw from in crafting many of his finer roles.

For several years, Nic Cage would pop up in films, largely in background roles; often times stealing the show with his unearthly powers of scenery-chewing and not-giving-a-fuck.

Then came Moonstruck, a film that received enormous critical acclaim; and very likely would’ve netted Mr. Cage an Oscar had Cher not overwhelmed his performance with her massive aura of FAIL and gender neutrality.

 

WHAT.... IS, IT!!!!!????

Years passed, and Cage, now starting to make waves as the possible “next big thing” in the industry, started churning out half-assed shit like Firebirds, seemingly for the fun of it.

Few realized it at the time, but the man was challenging us to a twisted and bizarre game of his own designs, daring us to take him seriously as an actor one minute, only for him to turn heel and pump out half-assed performances in blockbuster films.

It was a game only he himself could understand, let alone enjoy; and yet for some reason we foolishly kept coming back for more.

As with his acting method founded so long ago on the bleachers of Ridgemont High, Nic Cage; sly son of a bitch that he is, once again found a new devious element to add to his modus operandi…

1995 saw the release of Leaving Las Vegas, the film that would finally give Nic Cage his Best Actor award.

 

Pictured: Nic Cage's acting coaches.

Despite receiving universal acclaim critics worldwide, Nic Cage would later go on record stating that he had no memory of ever having made a film called “Leaving Las Vegas,” claiming that he spent all of ’95 fighting savage women on one of his privately owned islands while wearing a bear-suit.

Regardless of the truth of this matter, Nic Cage would display great proficiency in bear-suit combat tactics in some of his later films, suggesting he may indeed have had prior experience in said activities…

Following his Oscar success, the Nic Cage floodgates of crappiness and truly not-giving-a-fuck would burst wide open.

Amplifying Nic Cage’s powers of “phoning-it-in” and “not-giving-a-damn” 10 fold, Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay would go on to sink their claws into the enigma that is The Cage; casting him in overblown crap-fest after overblown retarded crap-fest for years to come.

 

Urge to kill, RISING...

Con Air, the Gone in 60 Seconds remake, the National Treasure series, horrible movies thrown in our faces cock-first, over and over and over again every summer…

Then, things got worse.

While few could argue that Next, Bangkok Dangerous, and The Sorceror’s Apprentice were *ahem!* “taxing,” even for the sternest of Nic Cage fans; everything seemed to come to a head with 2006’s remake of The Wicker Man.

Awe-inspiringly bad, to the point where few could argue that Nic Cage had finally topped himself in terms of simultaneously not-giving-a-shit and intentionally trying to ruin a film; The Wicker Man was the proverbial dick-slap to the face of the Academy that awarded him as Best Actor of 1995.

It was a facepalm for the ages, and one I believe most in Hollywood relive every time Nic Cage’s face pops up on a movie poster.

With potential gems like Drive Angry and Ghost Rider 2 still regularly showing up on Mr. Cage’s resume in the foreseeable future, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Academy actually tries to take back that award somewhere down the line…

 

 

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New Godzilla Comic!

Godzilla is one of my biggest heroes.

Anyone that has read even a single article on this blog is probably aware of that by now.

I’ve been watching Godzilla movies since the cradle, and despite the character’s less than stellar film catalog over the past decade; I’ve remained an ardent fan ever since.

One particular aspect of Godzilla mythology that was particularly special to me in my youth however, was the Dark Horse comic series of the early 90’s.

While there was in fact a Marvel Godzilla comic sometime before the one in the 90’s, even as a little kid I found the art, storylines and characters to be somewhat disagreeable.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't like Avengers in my Godzilla...

That’s saying a lot coming from a hardcore Godzilla fan.

Anyway, the 90’s Dark Horse comics were, in my humble opinion; actually quite good.

I still have every issue I collected from way back in the day, and I find that every time I crack one open for a little taste of nostalgia; I end up having a good time.

While the art and writing staff would change pretty much from issue to issue, I found that Brandon McKinney’s pencils stood as some of my favorite in the series; not to mention Arthur Adams’ always stellar cover work.

My first, and favorite issue, featuring the work of both the aforementioned artists.

The overarching plot of the series concerned the exploits of “G-Force,” a team of Godzilla-focused Japanese scientists who curiously seem to spend almost no time on Japanese soil.

Over the course of their adventures, they end up doing battle with Godzilla, attempt to protect Godzilla, fight several varieties of alien species, and even travel back and forth through time to thwart the nefarious machinations of an evil scientist.

Needless to say, the storyline wasn’t exactly the main draw of the comic.

The real selling point of the comic, was the same as is typically the case in most Godzilla movies, that of getting a chance to see Godzilla stomp through cities and beat the shit out of other monsters.

... Or in the case of Godzilla vs. Barkley, shut up and jam.

The biggest success of the comic, in my opinion; was that it managed the rather impressive feat of crafting it’s own unique characters and universe, all while maintaining the feel of the Godzilla movies, both new and old.

While there were a few issues that I purposely ended up skipping do to poor artwork or writing, the Dark Horse Godzilla comic of the 90’s is one that I regret not fully collecting, as well as one that I wish had lasted a little longer than it’s 17 issue run.

Fortunately, I happened across a news article on Sci-Fi Japan today announcing the impending release of a brand new American Godzilla comic published by IDW.

While no real details are available as to the nature of the comic at this point, one thing that’s certain, is that Toho is involved in it’s production on an advisory level; and the creators of the comic have been given free reign over their use of the extensive roster of Toho’s monsters.

While it might not seem like a big deal to some, both of these points do quite a bit to bolster my optimism regarding the release of this comic.

The sum of these points is that Toho trusts IDW enough to allow them use their characters; but more importantly, it means that I’ll finally get a chance to read a Godzilla comic where he fights a monster I actually give 2 shits about!

Pictured: A monster I give 2 shits about.

Anyway, the new comic comes out in March, and rest assured; if it comes out in trade paperback and is at least somewhat good, I’ll pick it up without hesitation.

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Tokusatsu, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Virtual Boy Sucked…

The Virtual Boy was a piece of shit.

I’ve known exactly 2 people that have owned one, and both were anything but proud of that fact.

Boasting a bulky, not-quite portable design, a crappy 3-D gimmick, and a truly hideous red-and-black only graphical display, the Virtual Boy represented one of, or possibly; the biggest failures in Nintendo’s long history.

Piss-poor sales figures were attributed to a fairly high price tag, miniscule (and crappy) game library with very few third-party products, and of course; poor quality of product.

It doesn’t take a genius to tell you that a not-quite portable videogame console that requires the player to strap it to their fucking head in order to play it, probably isn’t going to appeal to all that many people, especially to those that, y’know; have friends.

Pictured: No-Friends McGee enjoying a good skull-fucking via his Virtual Boy.

Despite all this, Nintendo went all-in with the Virtual Boy, going to great lengths to advertise the everloving shit out of it in classic mid-90’s, ” in your face” fashion:

To be fair that was pretty fuckin’ epic, however that doesn’t make the Virtual Boy itself any less crappy than it actually was.

Of the 14 North American games for the Virtual Boy, Teleroboxer and Wario Land stuck out from the crowd with their lush graphics, tight controls, and solid gameplay mechanics.

Curiously enough, that Real Steel movie has basically the same concept as Teleroboxer. Jus' Sayin is all...

Trust me, it’s never a good sign when your consoles best games consist of an inferior Super Punch-Out!! clone, and a port of year old Gameboy game.

Pretty much everything else was total crap though.

Especially Waterworld.

Waterworld was absolute shit.


In the interest of having at least one element of positivity in this post, I figure it would be good of me to point out a few aspects of the Virtual Boy that I actually liked.

The first thing that comes to mind, is the design of the Virtual Boy’s controller.

While it’s button configuration is a little awkward, with it’s dual d-pads and left-adjusted “start” and “select” buttons; I personally found the Virtual Boy controller to feel quite comfortable in my tiny Azn Badger hands.

Curiously enough, the Virtual Boy controller bears a vague resemblance to current gen controllers like the Xbox 360 one, largely due to the inclusion of “trigger” buttons located on virtually the same part of the controller.

Pictured: An Xbox 360 controller AKA The "American" controller.

The second aspect of the Virtual that seemed kind of cool to me… doesn’t exist, because the Virtual Boy was that damn shitty.

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got to say about the Virtual boy for tonight.

See yah’ tomorrow!

Filed under: Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Heavy Rain: The Playthrough

Sorry, I couldn't resist slipping this one in...

Heavy Rain is one of those games that I’ve been this close to picking up for a long time now.

Essentially a long-form interactive cutscene/choose your adventure game, the game has always struck me as an intriguing, if not unique; gaming experience.

While I’ve heard many complain about Heavy Rain’s slow start, and distinctly hands-off approach to gameplay; based on the hour or so I’ve seen of the game, I feel that my personal opinion of the game remains mostly positive.

It’s taken me a long time, but recently I’ve come to realize that I tend to favor games that tell stories, even if said games can often be intensely linear or tedious.

I’m a completist, so open world games tend to intimidate me with the breadth of options they present to me.

At the same time, first-person shooters tend to bore me with their largely one-note gameplay mechanics and twitch oriented gameplay.

These days, story driven action-adventure games with a clear cut A-B-C progression seem to be my what appeals to me.

While it’s supposedly very far from a linear experience, the core concept and mechanics of Heavy Rain appeal to me for perhaps the simplest, and most base of reasons:

The objective of the game lies within unraveling it’s story, a story that I just happen to be somewhat interested in.

While I probably will in fact get around to playing Heavy Rain at some point, the real point of this post concerns a little blip I happened on Kotaku.com.

Apparently someone went out of their way to create a 12 hour playthrough of Heavy Rain, with the strictly gameplay oriented segments removed in favor of presenting the story in a straightforward cinematic fashion.

Think of it as viewing Heavy Rain as if it were a long-ass movie or TV series.

Here’s a link, and bear in mind this is a playthrough, so be ready for *EVERY HEAVY RAIN SPOILER IMAGINABLE*:

http://www.youtube.com/user/direx1974

Anyway, while I myself won’t be viewing this playthrough, for fear of spoiling the gameplay experience for myself; it does in fact sound like the kind of thing I would watch after I’ve played through the game once or twice.

In any case, consider this post a heads-up for those who might be interested in checking out something like this.

One thing that’s kind of neat about a project like this, is the fact that the game is known to contain so many branching paths, making for a video compilation that very well may differ drastically from the gameplay experience of those who’ve played through Heavy Rain following a different route.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for tonight, see yah’ tomorrow!

Filed under: Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summon Ned Land!

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a movie that is very dear to my heart.

One of the earliest films I can recall seeing in the earliest years of my childhood, Leagues is embedded in my memory as easily one of the most enduring, and wholly watchable films I’ve ever encountered.

Simply put, the film has everything a young boy could want in a movie:

Action, adventure, fantasy, sci-fi, fist fights, giant squids, sea shanties, virtually everything awesome and worthwhile in the world of film is found in some capacity within 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Perhaps the largest factor in my enjoyment of Leagues, both as a child and as a nostalgic adult; was the combined awesomeness of Kirk Douglas and James Mason.

While I mentioned James Mason’s Captain Nemo at great length on my top 5 traumatic deaths in movies, Kirk Douglas’ turn as the harpooner Ned Land was easily the biggest selling point for the movie.

Well, besides the giant squid anyway…

Giant Squid FTW!

Seriously, if you any appreciation for acting performances involving manly dudes being manly in the 50’s, then 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea should be on the top of your “most awesome movies” list.

Anyway, for the Leagues deprived people reading this, I present to you this fantastic little diddy sung by Mr. Douglas himself:

If you haven’t seen Leagues yet, then be sure to check it out.

If you have seen Leagues, then it’s probably about time you sat down to watch it again.

At least that’s what I’m gonna’ do tonight…

Filed under: Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Oh My God, The Quarterback Is Toast!”

I love Die Hard.

To me, it’s one of those special action movies that I don’t ever think I’ll get tired of.

To this day, it’s endured as one of the tightest, and consistently enjoyable action blockbusters of all time; no small feat given that it’s also one of the earliest examples of the genre.

Anyway, like most any movie that the Azn Badger deems “special,” Die Hard is chock full of quotable, or otherwise memorable scenes, with “Oh my God, the quarterback is toast” ranking in as one of the lesser, but otherwise still worthwhile quotable phrases in the film.

For the truly sad, that is; the Die Hard deprived, here is a clip for the sake of providing context:

My reason for starting with this most embarrassing of Die Hard moments, is that I see myself digging from the Die Hard mine for card-worthy material for quite some time, so I figured it would be in my best interest to start from the bottom of the barrel and work my way up.

Trust me, we’ll get to the A-grade Hans material eventually.

Anyway, thanks for takin’ a look!

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Thoughts On The Dead Island Trailer


For the past week or so, the gaming world has seemingly been up to it’s knees in news AKA dick-sucking festivals regarding the announcement trailer of a new videogame titled Dead Island.

Developed by the Polish studio, Techland; and incorporating first-person, open world play mechanics, married with some RPG elements, Dead Island is nothing if not an ambitious undertaking.

I suppose it’s also worth noting that the game has been in development for over 5 years at this point.

Curiously enough, a quick look at Techland’s portfolio of games reveals that the vast majority of their products were racing games, with notable exceptions being the first-person action/adventure games of the Chrome and Call of Juarez series.

While I haven’t played either of the Chrome games, from what I’ve read and been told, the Call of Juarez series has been consistently good, but unfortunately; not great.

That being said, I’m not here to speculate on how Dead Island will or won’t succeed, rather I’m just here to lend a few of my thoughts regarding it’s much hyped/publicized trailer.

In short, I found the trailer to be both clever, and technically impressive.

And this is coming from someone who regards zombie games/movies/TV shows/muffins as being overplayed these days.

Taking advantage of it’s brief running time, the trailer is effectively, and cleverly arranged in such a way as to reach out to it’s viewers on a visceral level in the form of showing us a dead kid, while playing out it’s content in ultra-smooth reverse motion.

While it might sound, um, “wrong” of me, I’ve always felt that kids should be fair game in movies.

Seriously man, nothing pisses me off more than watching a movie and getting that nagging feeling that some kid was spared getting his head torn off just because some producer or PR guy felt it would hurt ticket sales.

Thank you Feast, for killing a child. With considerable zeal, no less.

Tangents aside, my point is that the trailer does a good job of working from a short running, while managing to tell a very complete story despite itself.

Curiously enough, said story, that of a family going on an island vacation only to be killed by rampaging zombies; (or is that, be killed by rampaging zombies only to end up going on vacation?) feels largely familiar despite very likely being unique.

This most likely stems from visual and tonal similarities to other, pre-existing films.

Case in point, the theme of having an “innocent” child turn against her family as a result of becoming a zombie is something we’ve seen in many other zombie stories, most notably the original Night of the Living Dead, as well as the opening sequence of the Dawn of the Dead remake.

I know there are very likely a billion other zombie films that utilized this plot element, however I haven’t seen them, most likely won’t ever see them, and sure as hell don’t need you posting some fatty complaint about how I failed to represent them on this blog.

It’s not often I take opportunities to say “fuck you” to whoever might be reading this blog, however consider this my way of saying just that to all the zombie-whores/hipsters across the globe.

*Ahem!* All tangents aside, let’s get back to talking about stuff that reminds me of other stuff.

It’s a minor element, but the “found footage” segment at the end of the trailer seems to bears some resemblance to the closing moments of Cloverfield.

A quick Google search also reveals that some people believe the whole trailer bears some resemblance to a Coldplay music video as well, but at this point I’m done being an ass, so don’t expect me write about that, let alone even watch the fuckin’ Coldplay video to confirm the validity of said claim.

Coldplay and the Azn Badger…. Let’s just say they don’t mix…

Such resemblances to pre-existing shit throughout the trailer may in fact be intentional on the part of the production crew, however that doesn’t change the fact that I found the home video portion of the trailer to be more than a little extraneous.

I get it, they’re a family.

It’s sad that they’re dead.

You don’t have to spell it out for me.

On a side note, the minimalist piano score of the Dead Island trailer deserves just as much credit as it’s animators, as it manages to hit all the right notes, making for an experience that feels much more genuine than it likely should.

Make no mistake, the Azn Badger is not one to get emotional over a trailer for a fuckin’ zombie videogame, however I tip my hat to the production team, as despite the core concept of the game they were working from, they did a pretty swell job of balancing the fun and serious in this clip.

Did I really just use the word “swell” in a sentence?

Anyway, I think I’ve just about run out of steam on this one.

It’s a neat trailer, worth checking out if you’re into digital art, videogames, or *sigh,* zombies.

I don’t see why it’s success was deemed significant enough at this point to dictate a purchase of the Dead Island movie rights, long before the game has even debuted; however such is the arcane world of business and marketing.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

 

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Summon The Mogwai!

I always liked the Gremlins movies.

While some criticized the first film for being a little too dark for it’s own good, personally I found it to be an enjoyable film as a whole.

Personally, I view the much more cartoonish and tongue in cheek sequel as being the superior film, but that’s just me.

Anyway, the above Magic card is my nod to the Gremlins movies, and to be perfectly honest, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Hell, you should’ve seen my first draft, it was an absolute piece of crap, and uninspired to boot.

It’s kind of funny actually, though I was largely unhappy with the first draft, I came very close to posting it.

Truth be told, the main reason I started over from scratch and made the image featured at the top of this post, is because my photoshop crashed in the middle of crafting it, thereby preventing me from saving my progress.

I guess this was just a case of my computer telling me to bone up and try harder.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and I’ll see yah’ tomorrow!

 

Filed under: Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Donaire vs. Montiel: Vengeance By Proxy

A funny thing happened way back in 2005.

You see, I’ve been a fan of boxing ever since the first time I watched Rocky with my old man; but up until 2005, there were no active Asian, or more specifically; Japanese fighters that caught my interest as being noteworthy in the sport.

Sure, Toshiaki Nishioka and Daisuke Naito were, and are pretty good fighters; but nothing about them ever seemed competitive on the world stage I.E. the elite level of the sport.

The simple fact of the matter is that boxing simply isn’t all that popular in Japan, nor do I believe the Japanese physiology is all that well-suited for the sport in the first place.

We’re short, we’ve got stubby limbs, we’ve got a reputation for being pillow-fisted, and we have a tendency to grope/fondle others in public.

Pictured: How we say "hello."

Bullshit aside, a major factor in the stunted progress of Japanese boxing, is the simple fact that the country is an island nation.

Combine the insane travel arrangements required to put fights together on Japanese soil between a foreigner and a national, with the public’s general lack of interest in the sport; and you have an equation that results in Japanese fighters rarely having the opportunity to test their mettle against the world’s best, nor having the in-house competition available to them to prepare them for said contests.

Needless to say, most of what I read (I never got to see an Asian boxer on TV until Manny Pacquiao’s HBO debut) about Japanese fighters consisted of Ring Magazine articles about them getting flattened by Mexicans, or worse yet, beaten by their countrymen in boring 12 round jab-fests.

For most of my life, hall of famers like Khaosai Galaxy, Gabriel Elorde, Pancho Villa, and Masahiko “Fighting” Harada would serve as my only “Azn Boxing Heroes.”

That all changed for me when I discovered the Kobe based bantamweight, Hozumi Hasegawa.

Not a handsome man by any standard, but a good fighter nonetheless...

Hasegawa first caught my attention when he dethroned long-reigning bantamweight champion, Veeraphol Sahaprom.

To put things in perspective, Sahaprom had held the bantamweight title since 1998, not to mention had fought Toshiaki Nishioka 4 times prior to this, drawing and decisioning Nishioka on every occasion.

While the man had the kind of bloated record that only Thai fighters can produce in this day and age, few could argue that Sahaprom was a stiff challenge to any bantamweight of the time.

Seriously though, only a Thai could be so audacious as to defend his world title against debuting fighters, or worse yet, 0-1 fighters; on multiple occasions no less.

Hasegawa’s victory over Sahaprom would serve as the first of many happy moments I would be proud to witness as a half-Japanese boxing fan.

Pictured: The face of a half-Japanese boxing fan. That's right, we do exist!

For the first time in my life, I had found a contemporary Japanese fighter that was not only winning consistently, but seemingly growing and improving with every bout.

The funny part was, aside from being left-handed, Hasegawa never really seemed all that different or special compared to other Japanese fighters.

For most of his career he was a defensive minded out-boxer with with quick yet economical hands, sharp straight punches, and a good eye for counter-punching.

He wasn’t a powerhouse, he wasn’t a physical specimen, he was just a good Japanese fighter that, for whatever reason; was on a helluva’ winning streak.

Following his victory over Sahaprom, Hasegawa would go on to win their rematch by TKO, as well as defend the bantamweight title more than any other Japanese fighter in history, all while amassing 7 KO’s, more than he had accrued in his entire career up until 2005.

Despite all of my apparent dick-sucking of Hasegawa, I feel it’s worth mentioning that there’s another little element to my hero worship of the man.

You see, way back when, my brother actually went to live in Kobe for a year.

While he was there, he joined a boxing gym headed by trainer Senrima Keitoku, the man who would one day go on to train Hozumi Hasegawa.

While it’s a loose connection at best, for whatever reason, it means something to me to know that the same goofy old Korean-Japanese that my brother told me used to cane fat kids in his gym, just happens to be same one that trained one of my personal sports heroes to world champion status.

Pictured: A pennant my brother back with him from Kobe.

Like I said, it’s hardly a connection, but to me it means something special.

Anyway, before I let things totally veer off into weird touchy/feely bullshit, I think it’s time we actually got down to addressing the subject heading of this post:

This evening, Filipino bantamweight superstar Nonito Donaire challenged stalwart Mexican champion Fernando Montiel.

This is called a "filler" image. It bears no purpose other than breaking up the text in an eye-pleasing fashion.

Coming into the bout, the 2 men represented the top-tier of the division.

While a bantamweight tournament is currently being hosted by Showtime, a tournament which both Donaire and Montiel were invited to participate in; both opted out in favor of fighting each other due to the general belief being that they were “above” the majority of the other participants in the first place.

It was one helluva’ big deal, and a bout that I was very much anticipating.

On paper, both fighters were quick-fisted and fleet of foot, with Donaire having a slight edge in both categories, while Montiel held the more intangible advantages of caginess, fundamentals, and; arguably, tenacity.

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the bout however, was the fact that both fighters were known to possess extraordinarily heavy hands for their weights.

Maybe not Carlos Zarate “heavy,” but heavy nonetheless.

Goofy 'stache or not, this man wrecked so many people's shit it wasn't even funny...

Despite all this, my interest in this bout came not as a result of their skill sets or attributes, but rather as a consequence of their previous in-ring achievements.

While Donaire had indeed caught my eye with with his revenge KO of his brother Glenn over Vic Darchinyan back in 2007, Montiel was the one that really got me invested in this match-up.

You see, Fernando Montiel actually fought Hozumi Hasegawa this past April.

While Hasegawa looked to be on the way to a comfortable points victory in the early goings, Montiel caught him on the point of the chin with a savage left hook.

Thoroughly knocked onto Queer Street, or rather; 2 blocks down the road onto the even queerer street that is “Queer Manor,” Hasegawa got hung up on the ropes and was brutalized for several seconds longer before the match was stopped, his titles were stripped from him, and his winning streak and reputation were sent down the shitter.

Despite how much I hate to watch it, here’s a clip:

Regardless of what Hasegawa’s gone on to accomplish, coming back to win a bout 2 weight classes North at featherweight and generally staying out of trouble; my heart sunk the day I saw the man utterly destroyed at the hands of Montiel.

While I would go on record saying I bore nothing but respect for Montiel, after all not that many Mexicans are willing to fly all the way out to Japan just to claim an alphabet title, I would be lying if I said I came into the Donaire/Montiel bout not hoping to see the man knocked silly.

Seriously, I wanted to see Montiel knocked the fuck out almost as much as I wanted to see Ricky Hatton get Pacquiao-ed in every fight he ever had.

Fortunately, tonight I had Nonito Donaire AKA “The Other Filipino” to sub in for tonight’s Pacquiao-ing of Montiel.

From the opening moments of the fight, it was quite clear that there was a palpable disparity in overall speed between Donaire and Montiel.

Both guys looked a little pensive, an expected consequence given both fighter’s punching power; however Montiel seemed almost too relaxed, holding his arms outstretched as if expecting to deflect the majority of the incoming punches.

Not exactly a sound tactic when the other guy is clearly the faster fighter.

Despite this, only about 2 punches of note were landed in the first round, a counter left hook to the chin, and a heavy body shot, both of which were landed, quite authoritatively I might add; by Donaire.

In 2nd (and final) round of the contest, Montiel rushed out the gate, landing a few decent shots here and there, and generally looking to set the pace of the fight.

Then, as if answering my prayers; Donaire flattened Montiel as I have seldom seem a fighter flattened.

Charging in and pressing the action, Montiel let loose with quick straight right hand, unaware of the monster left hook that Donaire had begun the process of uncorking just a millisecond earlier.

In short, Montiel landed his shot, and fairly cleanly at that; however in the process of doing so he overextended himself and quite literally ran chin-first into the sock full of quarters that is Nonito Donaire’s left fist.

Splayed out on the mat, eyes unseeing, and brain thoroughly checked at the front desk, Montiel rolled about like a turtle on it’s back, a very drunk and/or “special” turtle; for half of the referee’s count.

Like this, but on his back. And y'know, almost half-conscious.

Why the ref even bothered to count, or allowed Montiel to continue, even if it was only for a few seconds; is beyond me.

Despite my feelings leading up to the bout consisting of wanting to see Montiel punished, and my hero avenged; I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Fernando Montiel…

For about 2 minutes.

Seriously though, he’s a terrific fighter, that sadly doesn’t (and probably won’t) receive the press or fanfare that he likely deserves, but tonight, Nonito “The Master of the Revenge KO” Donaire was by far the better man.

Anyway, thus was the tale of the Azn Badger’s boxing hero, Hozumi Hasegawa; and his vengeance by proxy via the fists of Nonito Donaire.

Thanks for reading, I know it was long; but hopefully it was worth the trouble!

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