Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Hapa Bro-Cast 02/24/2015


So….. My brother and I randomly sat down to try our hand at a podcast!
Sadly, I think I derailed some of the finer points he was trying to make, but oh well, it was fun to make.
Here’s hoping we do it again sometime!

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Garo Is Back!!!

It’s been more than 5 years now, but Garo is finally back on Japanese television!

For those who are unaware, (and I know there are lots of you) Garo was a tokusatsu series that came out back in 2005.

At the time, I had just entered college, discovered bit torrent, and was just beginning to rediscover my love for the genre via shows like Ultraman Nexus and Kamen Rider Kabuto.

I’d always loved tokusatsu, growing up with Godzilla movies and Power Rangers on TV, but it wasn’t until I got into college that I really began to understand how deep my love for the genre ran.

In many ways, you could call 2005 my own personal perfect storm of dorky self-discovery.

That being said, I think a lot of what got me to start following tokusatsu shows again, was the superb level of quality that many of the shows around the mid-2000’s represented.

In my eyes, other than the older shows like Ultraseven, Ultraman has never been as good as it was with Nexus.

Similarly, Kamen Rider V3 and Black will always be my favorite iterations of the character, however Kabuto and Den-Ou easily represent the best it’s been in the past decade or so.

You really expect me to watch a show about a motorcycle riding rocket shuttle-man? Try again Toei.

That being said, as much as I loved these shows at the time, in my eyes it was a brand new series, Garo; that represented the cream of the crop.

Boasting superior production values, a more serious tone, a strong cast, and a surprisingly deep universe; Garo was the show that kept me coming back to tokusatsu despite several consecutive years of less than stellar programming.

I guess you could say I kept wading through shit like Ultraseven X and Kamen Rider Kiba in the hopes that they could somehow live up to the benchmark set by Garo.

*Sigh* Few shows excelled in the realm of suck-age and melodrama than did Ultraseven X…

I think a large part of what made Garo so special, was the fact that it was the product of director/writer/artist Keita Amemiya’s truly wondrous imagination.

Over the years I’ve seen nearly all of Amemiya’s movies, and while many of them are poorly scripted and acted, the man’s art design remains some of my favorite in all of film.

Case in point, Zeiram, one of the most iconic characters in Amemiya's portfolio.

I’ve always said, if there was one director I’d like to see be given a chance to work with a Hollywood budget, it’d have to be Keita Amemiya.

That being said, Garo represented a rare occasion wherein the script, costuming, and effects all came together exceptionally well.

The characters were memorable and arched very nicely, and unlike many tokusatsu shows that run out of steam later in the series, the 25 episode length proved to be just about perfect, even if the last episode turned out to be 30 minutes of pure action.

Not that I have a problem with that sort of thing.

In the intervening years since Garo wrapped, a pair of movies have been released, but no series was announced until a few months ago.

The first of these movies, the 2007 Beast of the White Night, stands as perhaps the crowning achievement of the franchise.

It’s action-packed, accessible, concise, exceptionally imaginative in terms of effects and stunt work.

The second movie, the 2010 3D film Red Requiem, is currently on my hard drive, though I have yet to watch it.

I’ve heard it’s kind of a misstep when compared to the level of quality yielded by everything that’s come before it,

When everything else in the franchise is nothing short of “excellent” though, I’d be curious to see what a “misstep” looks like.

That being said, as of a few weeks ago, Garo has returned to Japanese television in the form of Garo Makai Senki AKA Garo Supernatural Chronicles.

I’ve only watched the first episode so far, but it appears the series is on track for greatness once again.

The original Garo hit it’s stride for me around episode 7, and then only continued to get better from there, especially in episode 9 when they finally gave the character a bad-ass theme song… And a horse:

So far Makai Senki is a little on the slow side, definitely making more use of the horror elements in it’s storytelling than the action, but time will tell if it ascends in quality from here or not.

Regardless, I’m just glad Garo’s back, as now I finally have something to fill the tokusatsu gap in my life.

I gave up on Kamen Rider after Den-Ou on account of every show sucking balls after that.

I gave up on Ultraman ’cause frankly, they don’t make Ultraman shows anymore, just silly, over-budgeted movies.

I never gave up on Garo though, so here’s hoping they didn’t give up on me.

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

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Azn Badger Pokemon!

Pretty neat, huh?

As much as I’d love to take credit for it, the work of art you see at the top of this post is in fact a donation from my buddy Mencius over at AnotherSunnyMorning.

I love the design of it, how it works from the actual Pokedex template of the Pokemon games.

Also, some of text and descriptions are a lot of fun, given that most of it is written in actual Pokemon syntax.

I especially the like “SERIOUS nature” and “Freezer Rage” elements of it, as they reflect my character quite accurately.

Anyway, given that I’ve been pumping out faux-Magic cards all this time, I figured it would be fun to take an opportunity to change things up by hosting a faux-Pokedex entry made by a good buddy of mine.

Mencius also made a Pokemon for himself as well, but I figure I’ll let him post it on his own blog.

Expect a link to that one somewhere down the road.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by; and make sure to take a look at AnotherSunnyMorning, I’m sure Mencius would appreciate it.

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Thoughts On Chris Evans As Captain America

Let’s get one thing straight:

I like Captain America.

I like his “patriotic weakling to walking symbol of hope and freedom” origin story.

I like his old timey way, and how it juxtaposes so well with the often times annoying immature antics of today’s comic superheroes.

I like his powers and abilities, as the range of his physical capabilities allows him to be “super,” while at the same time quite vulnerable.

Hell, as goofy as it can look at times, I even like his costume design.

Well, except for this, the "flag conspicuously pointing at crotch" variant.

When I first heard that Chris Evans was going to be playing Cap in Captain America: The First Avenger movie, my initial reaction was to say:

“Really?  Chris Evans is in another comic book movie?”

Off the top of my head, Chris Evans has been in 4 comic book movies, playing 3 different characters, with no less than 2 more roles down the road if you count the Captain America film in question, and his appearance in the upcoming Avengers film.

Chris Evans has an acting portfolio. At least I think so anyway.

Make no mistake, comic book movies as still very much “in” at the moment, and if anyone is making bank off of the trend, my guess is it would be Mr. Evans.

Now, while that may have been my initial reaction to the Captain America casting news; my honest to God feelings on the matter were lodged somewhere in the valley between confusion and disbelief.

To date, I still can’t understand why he was chosen for the Captain America role.

With the exception of Street Kings, wherein he played a very vanilla and by the book cop; every role I’ve seen Evans in has had him cast as the “funny guy” or failing that, the “funny guy that can set himself on fire.”

Although he was without a doubt the best part of the Fantastic 4 movies, that doesn't mean they weren't pure ass.

Truth be told, I’ve never been disappointed by any of his performances, not that that’s saying much; but the point is:

Unless he’s hiding some well-concealed stoicism or acting range beneath his “funny guy” exterior, he just doesn’t seem like Cap to me.

Captain America is one of those characters that, to me; is more easily represented as a somewhat older man.

While the First Avenger is most likely going to take place exclusively in the WWII era, when Steve Rogers was cutting his teeth on Nazis, for some reason I’ve always pictured Captain America as being one of those guys that’s been a manly man since the cradle.

Kind of like Charles Bronson, James Coburn, or Anthony Hopkins.

Pictured: Charles Bronson at 9 months.

I know It’s unfair of me to judge an actor, or a film for that matter; before it’s even had a trailer, but in my mind the actors that would have best played Captain America have already aged themselves out of the running.

Despite a distinct lack of physicality, I always felt that Robert Redford could’ve made for a very effective Captain America.

His voice, face, hair color, acting ability and God given aura of gravitas would’ve gone a long way towards legitimizing the character and the film.

Not only that, with movies like A River Runs Through It, and The Natural under his belt, he always had that all-American feel to him.

Some people said the same of Kevin Costner.

Said people are of course, utterly retarded and full of shit, as Costner’s just about the most boring and vanilla pile of feces to ever walk the face of the Earth.

Pictured: Feces with a soul patch.

Sadly, “boring as shit” seems to describe far too many young actors these days.

Maybe it’s just because they’re young, and seem to be cast more for their looks than their acting ability, but to me it seems like most of the big-budget blockbuster movie actors these days just seem to lack “character,” at least in a physical sense.

When you look at the actors from back in the day, they had a look to them that lent a lot to their performances.

Not only that, in the post-studio picture era, subtlety was an acting trait that was considered praise worthy among performers, a fact that has not changed since; but seemingly has eluded many of the young actors of today.

..... Y'know, I'm not even gonna' say anything.

 

I’m rambling.

Anyway, at this point in time, The First Avenger seems like a pretty decent movie on paper.

It has a pretty strong cast, with Hugo Weaving sure to steal the show as The Red Skull, and a competent, if somewhat bipolar director at the helm in the form of Joe Johnston.

If Johnston gives us another Rocketeer or Jumanji, then Captain America’s gonna’ kick some serious ass.

If he gives us another Jurassic Park III though, then I just might have to sit this one out.

In either case, the man has shown considerable zeal for crafting old timey period films, not to mention he has a tremendous visual effects background, so if nothing else; the film will be pretty to look at…

That being said, on a final note, I’d just like to say that I sincerely disapprove of Marvel’s decision to rely on the Ultimate Universe for some of the visual stylings and character interpretations for their current and future films.

I understand that the Ultimate Universe has not been confirmed to be used as direct source material for said films, but from what I’ve seen, that seems to the case.

Maybe it’s because the Ultimate Universe was never targeted at my age group, as it’s intended audience is that of younger, less seasoned comic fans, but honestly I’ve never seen the appeal of it.

I can understand Marvel’s desire to use the black Nick Fury, as Samuel L. Jackson is the bees knees in the eyes of dorky haole kids, but to be perfectly honest; it makes me sad that both the Captain America and Thor movie’s character designs have drawn influence from the Ultimate Universe.

Long story short, Ultimate Thor is okay, but Ultimate Captain America is absolutely hideous in my eyes.

Concept art from the movie. Where's the fuckin' wings!!!??

 

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

Best Boss Music #1: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie

Hello everyone, this will be the first in a new series of short-posts on my favorite tracks of boss music from video games.

Hopefully you’ll all enjoy and learn something at the same time!

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie was a multi-platform game released in tandem with the film of the same names’ release.

Despite the movie license, and the general ho-hum quality of most movie tie-ins, I found the game(s) to be a pretty solid entry in the side-scrolling beat ’em up genre.

As a youngster, I played both the Genesis and Super NES versions, though most my my time was spent with the Genesis version.

These fuckers was a pain in the ass...

In my opinion, the Genesis version, despite it’s technical limitations, (sound quality mainly) was actually the better iteration of the game.

Though both games were sidescrollers, the Genesis version maintained a more conventional design, I.E. each of the players had a one-button combo attack, utilizing both action buttons in tandem would perform a life-draining “knockdown” attack, players could move vertically and horizontally etc.

The Super NES version was an oddity among sidescrollers in that it had none of these features.

YOU HAVE TO PUNCH HIM IN THE BIG "Z" ON HIS CHEST, OTHERWISE HE'S INVINCIBLE!!!!???

Instead of allowing the player free vertical and horizontal movement, the Super NES version instead restricted the players to moving on one of two separate planes, a foreground, and a background; though sometimes the players were restricted to a singular plane.

Using a single button-press, the player could switch to either plane, an action that was sometimes necessary to avoid obstacles.

Most of the enemies in the game were also dispatched with only one or two hits, a rarity in most beat ’em ups.

LOOK OUT IT'S A PURPLE PUTTY!!! THEY TAKE TWO HITS EACH!!!! THAT'S MORE THAN ONE!!!!!???

Also worth noting was the fact that, despite the fact that the various versions of this games’ status as a movie tie-in, the enemy rosters of them largely consisted of characters featured on the TV show and not the movie.

For instance, the Super NES version makes extensive use of Lord Zedd’s Z-Putties, who were completely absent from the movie.

These guys, who were actually revealed to be even easier to kill than NORMAL Putties.

The Genesis version does a much better job maintaining continuity with the movie I.E. it includes Ivan Oozes Ooze Men and Tengu Warriors as grunt characters, however even it is guilty of a few slip-ups, particularly in including characters like Goldar as bosses.

Always thought this guys was hella' pimp. Well, at least whenever he wasn't talking...

Perhaps most strange of all however, was the fact that the Super NES version’s gameplay completely omitted any inclusion of the Power Ranger’s Zords.

The Genesis version had numerous stages where the players would take control of the Mega Zord(s) and/or Falcon Zord (the best guy in the game), with the gameplay maintaining it’s usual controls.

The Super NES version though, has the player assuming the role of an Angel Grove High School student or Power Ranger from the opening stage to the final battle with Ivan Ooze.

Speaking of Ivan Ooze, the whole reason I’m typing up this article, is the fact that the boss music in this game kicks ass.

Seriously, check it out:

I love the unrelenting energy of this track.

The rockin’ over-the-top guitar/synth riffs really give the track a dangerous and dramatic flair, while at the same time doing a wonderful job of maintaining a similar sound to the Power Ranger’s TV soundtrack we are all so familiar with.

For a game with mediocre action gameplay, it’s pretty amazing to think that a track this energetic and powerful was actually composed for this game.

It’s worth nothing that, despite my focus being solely directed at this track, the soundtrack as a whole is actually really solid.

In many ways, I think that speaks volumes as to the skill of the composers over at Natsume and Bandai.

The two companies also collaborated on a Super Famicom exclusive game, Gundam Wing: Endless Duel, which just happens to have a very similar soundtrack, with much of the same midi “instrumentation.”

In example here’s my favorite track from Endless Duel:

Did I mention Natsume kicks ass?

Well, they do, Ninja Warriors Again and Pocky and Pocky serve as living proof of that.

We’ll revisit Pocky and Rocky on this blog sometime, that’s a promise.

Anyway, the Super NES version of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie had a crazy-awesome boss theme, and thusly I hereby declare it ONE OF THE BEST BOSS TRACKS EVER.


Filed under: Best Boss Music, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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