Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Gamera 3 FINALLY Coming To U.S. Blu-Ray


Well, color me surprised, I didn’t actually think this would happen.

Awhile back Mill Creek saw fit to release a confusing Blu-Ray 2 pack of 2 out of the 3 Heisei Gamera films.

My best guess as to why they would consciously omit the third (and best) film in the series, is that they were unable to obtain the licensing rights to it.

Me being me, I took it upon myself to support the daikaiju cause and shell out about $12 bucks to pick up a copy.

Holy shit.

That means I’ve bought the Gamera series 3 times across 3 mediums.

I first picked up the series on bootleg VHS when they were originally released, then again (from the same bootleggers) on subtitled DVD, and now I’ll have bought them on domestic Blu-Ray.

Let it be known, my passion for these movies is not to be questioned.

It’s funny though, when I picked up the Blu-Ray 2 pack, I did so grudgingly; as for whatever reason I take issue with the idea of collecting a 3 movie series across 2 boxes.

Seriously man, that’s fuckin’ weird.

You just don’t fuckin’ do that, it makes the shelf look all wonky…

Anyway, as I said before, when I first heard that the Gamera series was being released in the states on Blu-Ray in this manner, my gut reaction was to remain skeptical as to whether the 3rd film would ever get printed.

Well, as you can probably tell from the image above, a cover has been released, and while it kind of sucks, it at least confirms that the movie will in fact be coming out next month.

Why does the cover suck?

Well, because the image they chose to slap on the cover comes not from the film it represents, but from the first movie in the series.

This wouldn’t be all that big of a deal, had Gamera’s design not undergone some rather dramatic cosmetic changes over the 4 year span of the series.

Don't tell anyone, but I think Gamera was rockin' the 'roids by the 3rd movie.

The worst part is, as seems to be the case with lots of DVD releases, the European cover art is far better.

Don’t believe me?

Take a look:

A relevant and well-coordinated cover. Why the fuck can't we get more shit like this in the states!?

Oh well, a poor cover does not a bad film make.

Be a sport, make sure to pick this one up when it comes out next month.

You won’t be disappointed…

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

The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #5: Godzilla Crashes the Party

Today we finally crack the Top 5 of the Azn Badger’s Top 10 Manliest Man Moments in movies!

While the majority of the MANLY moments leading up to this one have been highlights from various MANLY action star’s careers, today we’re going to be tackling a moment that belongs not so much to a MANLY MAN of MANLINESS; but rather a fictional character that embodies many of the same values.

Said fictional character is of course the walking symbol of nuclear holocaust, Godzilla.

FUCK YES.

Anyone who’s read a post or 2 from this blog is likely aware that Godzilla is, and always will be one my biggest heroes.

I’ve been watching the Big-G’s movies since before I could speak, and though he’s not exactly human; even at a young age I found I identified with him in some bizarre way.

Now, as many of you are aware, Godzilla is a character who has been portrayed by a number of actors, in a number of different ways.

In his earliest appearances as well as much of the 90’s, Godzilla was essentially a wild beast; a force of nature driven by a wholly reptilian brain.

Hey, just because Godzilla's MANLY doesn't mean his brain isn't the size of a peanut.

In the 60’s and 70’s though, as the franchise lightened it’s tone to appeal to youngsters; Godzilla began to take on a more human-like characteristics, both in appearance and behavior.

More importantly, the kid-friendly Godzilla was often portrayed as a hero; a factor that was largely responsible for securing his place on this list.

In that sense, it should come as no surprise that our 5th MANLIEST MAN moment comes from the 1975 Godzilla flick, and last of the original Showa era of films, Terror of Mechagodzilla AKA Mekagojira no Gyakushu AKA Mechagodzilla’s Counter-Attack:

Terror of Mechagodzilla is hands down my favorite Godzilla movie.

Directed by Ishiro Honda, the director of the original 1954 Godzilla; the movie pretty much has everything you could want in a sci-fi B-movie.

Seriously man, despite the title of the movie only listing 1 monster, Terror of Mechagodzilla included aliens, secret agents, the only instance of exposed boobs in Godzilla movie history, and 3 giant monsters for the price of 1!

The copy of the movie I had when I was a kid didn’t have the boobs, but rest assured; everything else listed above went a long way towards making me watch it every fuckin’ day of my youth.

In particular, I found that Titanosaurus, a rare “tooth and claw” monster in Godzilla’s gallery of rogues; did a lot to keep me coming back to Terror of Mechagodzilla as a kid.

"DuRR! I HaS a RaDiO TOWer!!! DuRR!!!"

I loved his unique, cackling roar, and how he was tough and scrappy despite being largely unable to handle the Big-G without tagging Mechagodzilla in every now and again.

In all, I have a lot of love for Titanosaurus, and am still surprised that this was the only film he ever appeared in.

Bearing a decidedly more severe and mature tone than most of the other 70’s Godzilla movies, Terror of Mechagodzilla is for sure a dumb enough movie for kids to understand; however it goes out of it’s way to do so without being condescending.

In addition to this, the movie also gets brownie points for serving as a time capsule for perhaps the gaudiest and most hideous examples of mid-70’s Japanese fashion.

Seriously man, if the lapels were any bigger in this movie the actors probably would’ve suffocated on the set…

My favorite character in the movie (besides Godzilla of course) was Jiro Murakoshi, the pimp-ass Interpol agent who I’d later learn stole his entire pimp-ass wardrobe from the Japanese apex of pimp himself, Golgo-13.

Cosmic...

I could go on an on about how awesome Murakoshi was, but in the interest of keeping this post at least a little bit focused; I figure I should move on to our MAN moment for today.

In all my years of watching Godzilla movies, I’ve found that the overall quality and tone of a Godzilla movie can often times be gauged by the awesomeness of Godzilla’s first appearance in the film.

As I mentioned earlier, Terror of Mechagodzilla is easily my favorite Godzilla movie; and as such, it also happens to be the film that bears his finest entrance sequence:

At this point in the movie, Mechagodzilla hasn’t been completed yet; so Titanosaurus is really the only monster we’ve seen in action.

Tearing his way through Yokosuka under the control of Akihiko Hirata’s Dr. Mafune and his daughter, Tomoko Ai’s Katsura; Titanosaurus easily routs the JSDF and makes his way towards the downtown area.

Meanwhile, the alien leader Mugaru played Goro Mutsumi consults with his right hand man regarding an incoming source of radiation approaching Yokosuka from the sea.

Pictured: HD TV in the 70's.

Concluding that this massive source of radiation can only be Godzilla, the aliens snicker to one another as they decide to let the monster make landfall and confront Titanosaurus in the hope that 1, or both will die in the resulting conflict.

We then cut back to Titanosaurus stomping through the city, causing incalculable amounts of property damage; when out in the distance an angry shadow emerges…

As yet another building falls to the wanton fury of Titanosaurus, out of nowhere a familiar beam of sapphire-blue fire streaks across the sky and knocks the long-necked beast the ground:

Smoke billows from the streets beneath Titanosaurus as the camera sweeps across the skyline to key in on the massive shadow in the distance.

An electrical crackle lights up the night sky as Akira Ifukube’s legendary score roars to life and the shadow emerges from the darkness, revealing the scowling face of our savior and hero, Godzilla!

Godzilla bearing his classic, "Angry Shave Monkey" look.

Seeing his would be opponent felled so easily, the King of the Monsters lets off a domineering roar, to which Titanosaurus can only respond with a reluctant whimper.

His challenge accepted, Godzilla enthusiastically bashes his knuckles together and bears his claws; signaling his urge to fight.

With that, the tension mounts as the 2 monsters square off in classic samurai fashion, only to abruptly slam into one another; sending a cloud of debris and dust into air.

Minutes later this sequence comes to an equally abrupt end as Dr. Mafune orders the retreat of Titanosaurus as a result of Katsura being injured during the engagement.

Watching Godzilla emerge from the shadows in such bad-ass fashion is a memory I’ll always treasure as one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in movies.

Truth be told, the score during this sequence, and indeed the entirety of Terror of Mechagodzilla; is largely responsible for it’s awesomeness if you ask me.

Sure, the music played during this sequence is just the same old Godzilla march we’ve been hearing for the past 50+ years; however this particular version of it is one of, if not the strongest version I know of.

It’s slowed down a bit, with a deeper and harsher sound to it, lending the track a severity that is foreign in an otherwise colorful and energetic piece of music.

Anyway, this was MANLY moment #5, check back tomorrow for #4!

Filed under: Movies, Tokusatsu, Top 10 Manliest Man Moments, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Gamera On Blu-Ray!?

While it’s probably old news to all those that care, the first 2 films in Shusuke Kaneko’s Gamera trilogy were released in a Blu-Ray 2 pack last month.

The third will be released at a date TBA.

Why no one saw fit to tell me about this, is beyond me.

Seriously man, the idea of seeing big, rubbery daikaiju goodness in HD makes me giddy with excitement!

Make no mistake, as soon as I can get a break from work, (though lately it feels like that may never happen) I’m gonna’ track me down a copy of this and buy it so hard, it’ll wish I hadn’t bought it so hard.

This will be the third time I will purchase the Gamera films (bootleg VHS, bootleg DVD, and now legit Blu-Ray).

The Gamera films are truly special films in the daikaiju sub-genre, largely because they are all legitimately great films that have the capacity to appeal to non-fans of Japanese monster movies.

Watching the Gamera movies progressively as they came out was one of the greatest film experiences of my youth.

I’d imagine it must have been akin to how young people feel watching every new Harry Potter film as they come out.

... And by the end of it all, it was assumed that the audience had "grown up" enough to watch Harry get fucked by a white horse and appreciate it as art...

I wouldn’t know though, being as I’ve never seen a Harry Potter movie, and unlike those fanboys, I wasn’t able to see Gamera in theaters.

Anyway, what I mean by the comparison, is that; like the Harry Potter series, the Gamera series “grew up” progressively.

The first was colorful and fun, with a simple, yet provocative storyline that served to draw us in.

If you can't appreciate this poster, then you and I probably wouldn't get along...

The second was a rollercoaster of action and suspense that felt more like a war movie than a monster movie at times.

That's a big bug...

The third was a very dark, yet gorgeous and thoughtful film that discarded much of the science and technobabble of the previous films, and effectively reinterpreted it into mystical terms.

ART.

While the complexity of the plot lines definitely grew as the series went on, as did the special effects budget; all 3 films are drastically different in tone and perspective, such that in the end, all of them have something special to offer.

The first is probably the most fun, and easily the most accessible, making it a great choice for non-kaiju fans.

The second is the fastest paced, and has hands down some of the best action sequences in kaiju history.

And the third, while very slow at times, serves to tie everything together, serving as a beautiful (and open-ended) conclusion for those that enjoyed the previous 2.

Before I sign off, there’s one thing I’d like to mention about the Gamera films, and that is that none of the movies would be half as good if not for their attention to detail, and insistence on showing much of the action from “street level.”

Probably half of the dialogue in the entire Gamera trilogy is delivered through faux news reports and radio chatter.

Given that the plots of these 3 movies involve giant monsters trashing major cities in Japan, it only makes sense that the airwaves would be crammed with reports on every move these terrible creatures make.

Honestly, you don’t notice it at first, as it’s quite seamless; but it makes a huge difference having a news anchor within a movie report on the death toll in their professional manner, rather than have Soldier A run into the command center and yell: “We just lost 50 men!”

Anyway, just a small observation that I felt needed mentioning.

Goodnight everyone, hopefully you’ll get more sleep than I’m about to!

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

Top 5 Traumatic Deaths in Movies

Today we’re gonna’ be talkin’ about SAD SHIT.

SAD SHIT as in The Top 5 Traumatic Deaths in Movies kinda’ SAD.

Please take note that everything contained in this list is a product of the Azn Badger’s childhood; so don’t expect any movies on here to be made anytime past the mid-90’s.

Anyway, let’s get thing’s rollin’, shall we?:

#5. The NeverEnding Story – Artax Eats Some Mud. Check That, A Lot of Mud…

The NeverEnding Story was a tough movie for me to watch as a kid.

It was long, I didn’t really get it, there was a lot of unintentionally scary imagery, and oh yeah, it was long.

Pictured: One of the INTENTIONALLY scary parts of The Neverending Story.

So long in fact, that I never really finished it as a kid, resulting in me thinking the whole thing ended with the end of the world at the hands of The Nothing.

Pretty fuckin’ sad, am I right?

Thankfully, I went ahead and saw the rest of the movie a few years ago, thusly patching up a few childhood scars in the process.

That being said, while this death doesn’t really count as a death; ’cause if memory serves, Artax is still alive and well at the end of the movie, to the young Azn Badger the fuckin’ horse died in the mud hole.

Anyway, this death marks probably the first and only time the Azn Badger ever felt any sort of emotion in reference to a horse.

It was the fuckin’ kid that got to me, that girlie-boy Atreyu.

Hah! Father Time kicked his ASS!

They’re both standing in them mud, and the fuckin’ kid is blowin’ his lungs out screaming at his fuckin’ horse to “not give in to the sadness of the swamps” n’shit.

Meanwhile, the music is swelling and gettin’ all sad and crestfallen n’shit.

The whole thing was just too much for me as a kid, and for the life of me; I bought into it.

"Artax, you're sinking!" Oh God, make it stop!!!!

While I didn’t really “get” the Neverending Story back then, little episodes like Artax bitin’ the big one stuck with me on a visceral level; in this case, making me very sad.

Fun Fact – The only reason I remember that damn horse’s name is because of his death scene when Atreyu yells it about 50 times.

Repetition:  It works.

#4. The Lion King – Mufasa Gets 50,000 Wildebeasts Rammed Up His Ass

Who's featured most prominently on the poster? That's right, MUFASA.

Mufasa was a pimp.

You take the raw power of James Earl Jones’ voice, and transplant it into the body of the biggest, baddest, most pimp-as-fuck lion in all of existence; and you’ve got Mufasa.

"This, is CNN..."

Needless to say, in my youth; Mufasa’s death hit me pretty hard.

As I hope we all know, Mufasa met his fate at the hands of the combined force of a stampeding herd of wildebeast, and the nasty claws of Jeremy Irons.

Wow. Believe it or not, I think Irons just topped himself...

Any less, and I’m sure his pimp-ass self would’ve survived somehow.

Anyway, Mufasa; pimp that he is, rushes headlong into the stampede to save his pussy-ass son, Simba.

'The fuck was up with kid in the 90's anyway? He was EVERYWHERE.

While he is successful in rescuing the boy, Mufasa takes some serious shots from the fuckin’ wildebeasts, the kinda’ hits that would fold a lesser lion in half.

All the while, Hans Zimmer’s music was goin’ crazy, and all the kids in the audience were either pickin’ their boogers, or hoping against hope that ‘ole Mufasa was gonna’ pull through and not fall prey to “Bambi’s Mother Syndrome.”

That’s right Disney, don’t pretend that us kids don’t know about “Bambi’s Mother Syndrome.”

Disney: Teaching kids that their parents are gonna' die.

Just as Mufasa’s managed to escape the stampede for just a few seconds, out strolls his brother; Jeremy Irons.

Slimey prick that he is, Jeremy Irons busts out his freshly manicured nails; and digs them puppies into Mufasa’s paws; but not before saying something creepy and vaguely savage like:

How ironic that the pimpest of all lions would be felled by a bunch of wildebeast AKA the butt of every Discovery Channel predator/prey joke…

To make matters worse, Mufasa’s death has the added impact of having a 40 minute guilt trip attached to it.

Jeremy Irons tells Simba, straight to his face; that the whole thing was his fault.

This of course results in Simba running off into the wild for the next 10 years to eat bugs and talk to clouds.

Talking to clouds: Useful for convincing one's self to go out and kill their uncle.

Oh well, guess we all have to cope somehow…

#3. The Land Before Time – Littlefoot’s Mom Gets Sharptooth-ed

I betcha' this movie wouldn't have done half as well without the T. Rex on the cover.

The Land Before Time was a special movie for me back in the day.

Come to think of it, while I’m sure how it all worked out, Don Bluth movies were all some of my favorites as a kid.

Not this one though... This one was just plain awful...

While the Secret of NIMH was definitely the cream of the crop, even back in the day, (sword fight!) The Land Before Time had dinosaurs and Spielberg-ian funding, making it a close second.

Although it wasn’t a Disney production, rest assured Mr. Bluth saw fit to work some “Bambi’s Mother Syndrome” into the mix in the form of Littlefoot’s Mom.

Much like the Lion King after it, Littlefoot’s Mother meets her fate partially due to the actions of her son.

Stop smiling, you killed your mother!

In short, Littlefoot and Cera are dickin’ around in the wild, they piss off Sharptooth, Littlefoot’s Mom shows up to save the kids, does so, but is mortally wounded in the process.

Easy to see why, look at that beast! He's a fuckin' Pimp-A-Saurus Rex I tells yah'!

Cue lengthy and heartbreaking death scene wherein parent reminds child that “they’ll always be with them.”

While the actual battle with Sharptooth was awesome to the young Azn Badger, instead of horrifying as it may have been intended to be perceived, the death sequence afterwards was just plain tough to sit through.

Oh no, it's happening again!!!

Even now, I bet I’d have a tough time getting through it without biting my lip or taking a deep breath or 2.

#2. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea – Captain Nemo Succumbs To His ACTING TALENT

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, along with The Adventures of Robin Hood, was one of those terrific “old movies” that as a kid; I never knew was “old.”

I watched the both of them about a million times, and I don’t think I ever got close to getting tired of them.

While Robin Hood had swashbuckling and and ungodly amount of merry laughter, Leagues had Kirk Douglas and a GIANT FUCKING SQUID.

You have no idea how many times I sat through this entire movie just to get to this part.

The epic-ness of these 2 factors made for one of the single most spectacular and enchanting films of my childhood.

That being said, despite Kirk Douglas’ Ned Land being my favorite character, James Mason’s Captain Nemo was a pretty close second.

SO fucking pimp...

Even as a kid, I loved his pimp-ass beard, and the curious way in which he spoke.

His voice was awesome and all, but I loved the pace of his speech, how it was just a half beat slower than everyone else.

Appropriately, it made him seem enigmatic, like you’d never be able to figure out what he was thinking in a million years if you tried.

Anyway, while 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was yet another movie that I didn’t quite “get” when I watched it as a kid, Captain Nemo’s death was something that I understood all too well.

As with seemingly all deaths on this list, the music made all the difference.

Captain Nemo is running atop the Nautilus, dodging incoming gunfire from the dudes that want his technological secrets.

He jukes left, he jukes right, and all the while the strings in the orchestra are goin’ fuckin’ nuts.

Suddenly, just as he’s within feet of the entrance to the lower deck of the submarine, his body spasms and the music crashes to a halt with a horrifying *DOOOOMMM!*

No squib, no blood spurt, just James Mason’s ACTING TALENT and the power of a music cue.

From there, the rest of the movie has Nemo, resigned to the fate of his eventual death; lurch and stumble his way through the submarine to a couch next to an undersea viewing window.

Nemo’s last moments are spent gazing into the deep blue that he loved so much.

While the death was pretty epic, it was the initial gunshot that hit me as a kid.

As soon as that music cue hit, my tiny heart sunk down to my toes.

*Sniff!* I honestly thought he was going to make it…

#1. Transformers: The Movie – Optimus Prime Becomes One With The Matrix

FUCK YES.

This may seem like a cop-out to some.

A predictable, bandwagon-y ploy to get the nerds to read the blog; however if any of you genuinely think that, then you obviously don’t know the Azn Badger.

As mentioned several times on this blog, I watched Transformers: The Movie, quite literally nearly every day of my early childhood.

My older brother did the same.

Transformers: The Movie was one of those magical films that just did it for me as a kid.

I loved Godzilla movies as kid, but that was because I loved Godzilla as a character.

Man, what I would give to have been one of those kids...

Transformers: The Movie was a case of me simply loving an individual movie more than any human child should.

While I was a little bit too young to have enjoyed the Transformers TV show while it was first airing, The Movie served as my ambassador to the series; giving me a crash-course on the Gen-1 stuff before I even started watching the re-runs.

That being said, the opening battle on Cybertron, that takes the vast majority of the original cast of the show and kills them off in favor of new toys, I mean characters; was truly a thing of beauty.

The battle on Cybertron worked because it had actual stakes.

Lives were lost on both sides of the conflict, such that you truly got the sense that everyone was fair game.

Hell, Ironhide was one of my favorites from the TV show, and he got his head blown off in the first 10 minutes.

"Such heroic nonsense..."

Not only that, Prowl died a few seconds earlier via some hot chili; and Wheeljack, fuckin’ Wheeljack wouldn’t even get the respect of having an on-screen death.

Should probably cut back on those habaneros Prowl...

These were big name guys, characters that were at the forefront of the action in every episode of the TV show, and here they were gettin’ their clocks cleaned in the first 20 minutes of The Movie!

Then they went and killed Optimus Prime.

If the battle between Optimus Prime and Megatron at the beginning of Transformers: The Movie is one of the best fights in cinema history, then the death of Optimus Prime is surely one of the most dramatic deaths.

I love the subtlety of the death sequence.

Everyone is gathered around Prime, their facial expressions communicating far more than words could hope to.

Aw, Kup's sad face is sad!

Perceptor, the closest thing the group has to a doctor, presents his diagnosis with a simple:

“I’m afraid the wounds are, fatal…”

With the silence broken, Daniel; the child of the group, is the first to speak his mind:

"Prime, you can't die!"

From there, the whole thing just gets more and more epic.

We have the passing of the Matrix to Ultra Magnus, the not-so subtle symbolism of Hot Rod catching the Matrix, and Optimus Prime just plain being awesome, even as he’s moments from death.

"LIGHT. OUR DARKEST. HOUR."

At the end of it all, the hammer of childhood trauma drops as Optimus Prime’s entire form turns black, a decidedly fatalistic percussive music cue hits; and Prime commits his final act as his head limply turns to the side.

Shit just got real.

That, my friends; is how you kill an icon.

... And thank you Michael Bay for showing us how NOT to do it.

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Azn Badger’s Top 5 Songs That Keep Him From Stabbing People (Japanese Edition)

In light of my ongoing blood feud with my virus infected laptop, I figured it would be a good idea for me to take the time type up an article (or 2) regarding a therapeutic topic.

In this case, said topic would be songs that keep me from stabbing people AKA songs that, for whatever reason; make me feel happy.

Being as I am indeed an Azn Badger, with relatively Azn interests; much of my song library consists of Azn tunes.

That being said, I foresee this post being part of a series, so I’ve thusly labeled this one the “Japanese Edition” of this particular Top 5 list.

Anyway, the only requirements for entry on this list, are that the track must indeed be a song; meaning it must have lyrics, and in this case, it must also be Japanese.

Expect other versions of this post for the next couple of days.

Apologies in advance to those that truly don’t give a shit about music, much less of the Azn variety…

Anyway, let’s make with the list!:

*PLEASE NOTE, I DID NOT WATCH ANY OF THE VIDEOS BELOW, SO DON’T COMPLAIN TO ME IF THEY’RE OBNOXIOUS, STUPID, ANNOYING, OR ALL OF THE ABOVE.*

5. Sanpo (A Walk) – Azumi Inoue


That’s right folks, #5 on my list of Japanese songs that keep me from stabbing people is the opening song from My Neighbor Totoro.

Honestly though, you can’t mention “happy” without including Totoro, can you?

This song brought me much joy as a child, both in English and Japanese, and it continues to put a smile on my face to this day.

Hell, being as it’s written for kids, it’s one of the few songs on this list that I can actually understand 100% of.

Azumi Inoue has a wonderfully sweet voice that’s perfectly suited for the Blue’s Clues-y, Wiggles-esque, sugar-coated pre-schooler nursery rhyme feel of the song.

The only other song I’ve heard her perform was Chiisa Na Inori (Tiny Prayer) from the Guyver Image Album, (yeah, I actually went and bought it…) and I’ve gotta’ say, the woman’s got some pipes.

Not necessarily of the “strong” or “booming” variety, but I think “sweet” describes her sound pretty well.

4. Yume De Aeta Nara (If We Met In A Dream) – 175R


DISCO POP = FUCK YES.

Yume De Aeta Nara was a song featured in the first film in the Kamen Rider Den-Ou series.

Around the time the movie came out, I was knees deep in my own personal period of “Tokusatsu Revival.”

Just a year or 2 before, I had rediscovered Ultraman and Kamen Rider; and so when the movie came out, I was really fuckin’ excited.

Like, REALLY excited.

Anyway, while Den-Ou was perhaps one of the best Tokusatsu series I can recall, the first movie of course turned out to be kind of “meh,” leaving me with a sour taste in my mouth until fairly recently when the Den-Ou franchise miraculously resurfaced.

That’s a story for another day though…

So anyway, the movie sucked, but the one awesome thing I took away from it, was this song, Yume De Aeta Nara, by 175R.

I’ve never heard any other songs by the group, but honestly I don’t feel I need to, as this one has since provided me with more than enough enjoyment.

Like I said man, disco pop is THE SHIT.

When it comes to making an Azn Badger happy, few things do it better than a disco beat and nostalgic ties to Kamen Rider.

3. Yuke! Tiger Mask! (Go! Tiger Mask!) – Hiroshi Nitta


Tiger Mask is the fuckin’ MAN.

Initially starting as a manga, and then later serving as the inspiration for countless videogame characters, an anime series (or 2), and even a legacy of real-life pro-wrestlers, Tiger Mask is brilliant to the point in which I’m actually jealous that I didn’t come up with the idea.

Really, I ask you, who the fuck wouldn’t enjoy a story about a man in a tiger mask wrestling the shit out of dudes, while protecting the children of the world from an evil Illuminati-esque organization?

Anyway, the song I chose for this list comes from the 1980’s anime series, and as such, it’s sound bears the remnants of the enka style of vocalization that was popular in the post-war period.

By the way, enka is THE SHIT.

That being said, the enka style of the lyrics, combined with the almost spaghetti western-like music, make for a wonderfully cheesy and over-the-top theme song to a cheesy and over-the-top hero.

By the way, I should’ve included this song on my list of ways I keep sane at work; ’cause I have a tendency to sing it when I’m on the shipping line…

I’m not retarded.

I swear.

2. My Lonely Town (Mai Roneri Taun) – B’z


Oh B’z, how the fuck did I live without you?

Seriously, B’z is a Japanese band that’s been around FOREVER, but me being me, I didn’t find out about them until 2004 when their lead guitarist, Tak Matsumoto; composed the soundtrack for the movie Ultraman: The Next.

Come to think of it though, news of stupid-ass movies about dudes in rubber monster suits duking it out seems to be how I get most of my news from Japan, so I guess that makes a fair amount of sense…

Anyway, I was really impressed with the soundtrack for that movie, (another one that I eventually bought) so I looked up the composer, which led me to B’z, which led me to finding a mega-awesome band that I hope will continue being awesome for years to come.

My Lonely Town is an unbelievably awesome song from B’z(‘s?) most recent album, Magic.

When I first put this song on, I was reading the Wolverine comic, Old Man Logan; and I gotta’ tell yah’, it just fit too fuckin’ well.

Seriously, My Lonely Town has a big, loud, Bon Jovi-esque rock sound to it, but at the same time it also has some amazing string work that gives it an epic, again, almost spaghetti Western-like feel.

It was a brilliant case of right song, right book, right time.

1. Let It Go – Yuna Ito


This one is special.

I can’t really put my finger on it why, but for whatever reason; Let It Go has been my favorite song for almost a year now.

I don’t have “favorite” songs.

I have songs I like, but never “favorites.”

This song is one of the few exceptions I can name off the top of my head.

Songs from Transformers: The Movie and the Rocky series don’t count, ’cause those are built in.

Seriously, I didn’t “choose” to love those songs, they chose me.

*Ahem!* Anyway, Let It Go is sung by Yuna Ito.

While it lends no credence as to why I like the song so much, it’s interesting to note that she’s a hapa girl.

That is, she’s half Korean, half Japanese, raised in Honolulu.

Way to represent the local people… By leaving the country and making music in a foreign country.

All kidding aside, while the music is definitely the biggest selling point for me in this song, with it’s beautiful, and surprisingly almost country-esque string work coupled with an unrelentingly upbeat tune, I have to say Ms. Ito’s voice is pretty fuckin’ good.

I’ve never really paid much attention to vocals in songs.

Like I’ve said in previous posts, I was a “hummer” as a kid; and thusly kept music in my head rather than songs.

That is to say, while the other kids annoyed their parents by singing “Under the Sea” at the top of their lungs everyday, I was busy pissing off my folks by incessantly humming music from Snow Bros. and Mega Man 2.

I can’t explain it, but for some reason I have a lot of trouble understanding the lyrics to songs, regardless of language.

Despite this, from what I know of Japanese pop music, Yuna Ito is a rare talent.

Near as I can tell, most Jpop stars are, like our own American ones, studio musicians I.E. pretty people that can do just enough of everything to appeal to the core demographic.

They have flat voices, and more often than not; hide behind backup dancers, high production value music and voice modulation.

Ms. Ito, while most likely guilty of all of the above, actually seems to have a genuinely strong singing voice.

While I’m probably wrong, my first thought process was that it may be a cultural difference.

She may be fluent in Japanese, and indeed have lived there most of her life for all I know, but being raised in Hawaii, as an American; would most likely lend some boldness to her style of singing.

It seemed to be the case for Utada Hikaru, who was from New York; so I don’t exactly feel dumb for making this assumption.

Anyway, if ever the Azn Badger seems primed for a stabbing session, just remember to put on Let It Go, or any of the above mentioned Japanese songs, and chances are you’ll be just fine.

Don’t quote me on that though.

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Tokusatsu, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jimminy Christmas! 10,000 Hits!?

Holy fucking shit.

10, THOUSAND hits?

Wasn’t it less than a month and a half ago that we were celebrating the 5,000 hit milestone?

I don’t know what’s changed, but in the past week or so has been nothing but peak day after peak day.

For whatever reason, the hits have come flooding in as of late, and for that, I am truly thankful.

To all who have stopped by from time to time, thanks a bunch.

With 10,000 hits (and change) now firmly under my belt, I feel I’ve reached an important turning point in the progression of this blog/writing project of mine.

By that I mean, it may be time to expand and do more than just write articles everyday.

Some of my coworkers suggested, and in fact offered to participate in the production of a podcast.

I know what you’re thinking:

“A multimedia Azn Badger’s blog?  Surely you must be crazy…”

Gary Busey: A Man All About "Crazy."

I’ve never done a podcast before, but I am sincerely intrigued by the prospect of making one, so expect streaming audio goodness in the near future.

In addition to this, my brother, upon hearing that I’d reached 10,000 hits, was quite adamant about me investing in my own website.

His feeling is that, now that I have a proven audience, and some degree of presence on the internet, I should take advantage and create a formal hub for all of my work.

Doing so would allow me greater flexibility, and domain hostings aren’t all that expensive, so I think I’m actually gonna’ do it.

It’ll take some time to get it looking/working right, and it’ll probably be a pain in the ass for a month or 2, but in the end I think it will be a good investment.

Anyway, no apologies this time, ’cause frankly I think I’ve done pretty well for myself the past 5,000 hits.

Thanks again for reading!

See yah’ tomorrow.

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

How To Incite the Wrath of a “Professional Box Maker”

Yup, there's me, at work...

I work at Amazon.com as warehouse contractor.

It’s what I did 2 years ago, before my brief stint as an assistant graphic designer/chaffeur; and it’s what I will continue to do until I can find something better/grow some talent.

No, not that kind of "talent."

Anyway, my days at the warehouse are mainly spent packing and shipping parcels, though on occasion I am forced to venture into the refrigerated, vile pile of ass-ness that is Sea-8: Amazon Fresh AKA the grocery.

I don’t like working the grocery.

Putting me in the grocery is like putting a nudie magazine in front of me when I’m really depressed and have  2 broken arms.

You can bet I’ll try my best with what little I have at my disposal, but my heart won’t be in it; and because of that, the job just won’t get done…

Bizarre metaphor aside, I consider myself a “Profession Box Maker” at Amazon.com, and to be honest, that doesn’t bother me.

I don’t necessarily take pride in what I do, but I work hard and make a living.

*ANYWAY,*after completing a 41 hour work week (I stayed late…), I made the foolish decision to do 10 more hours of overtime tomorrow, leaving me with nothing in my head to write about other than, well, work.

Pictured: The Kind of Shit That Occupies My Thought Process at Work.

So, after a long-ass day at work, I figured I’d compile a short list of the ways PEOPLE PISS ME OFF when ordering things from Amazon.com that I have to pack.

#1:  Purchasing 2 Books in the Same Order That Are of Different Heights and Widths

This one is kind of complicated.

You see, there are these boxes we use at Amazon called “V4’s.”

V4’s are those foldy-flappy boxes that you get with hardcover books, or larger, comic-sized books.

While packing more than 1 book into a V4 is not all uncommon, and is in fact a welcome task, being as it’s faster and easier to assemble than a standard box, packing 2 items of significantly different proportions, is a different story.

More specifically, instances where one of the 2 items is shorter, yet, wider than the other, are fuckin’ bullshit.

Seriously, short of bending the ever-loving shit out of the wider item, there’s just no good way to pack that kind of order into a V4.

#2: Buying ANYTHING With a Satin Finish

FUCK SATIN.

FUCK IT HARD.

Seriously man, I love satin-finishes on business cards, and they certainly make for handsome covers to books, but when it comes to packing that shit, it just doesn’t fuckin’ work.

You know what happens when you put something with a satin-finish into a V4?

The ultra-smooth surface of the material causes it to slip around in there, thereby destabilizing your previously PERFECT pack job, resulting in a worthless-ass package that gets kicked back to you by the shipper, who; by the way, sees fit to shoot you a nasty stink-eye every time you fuck up!

*Sigh*…

Satin is evil.

FUCK SATIN.

#3: Order 45 of ANYTHING At the Same Time

45 Amazon Kindle E-Readers.

No really, 45 Kindles.

What's the big fuckin' deal?

In 1 box, mind you.

Why the fuck would you need 45 Kindles anyway?

Fuckin’ people, too lazy to buy real fuckin’ books…

#4: Order HD DVD’s

Okay, this one doesn’t so much PISS ME OFF, as it does make me laugh in a confused sort of way.

We all know Toshiba’s HD DVD got killed by Sony’s Blu-Ray several years ago, right?

Of course, we all know that this kind of shitty box art was largely responsible for the death of the format...

Well, apparently not all of us know this, as every now and I again I’m asked to pack and ship those familiar red-cased HD DVD’s to losers that are too dumb to admit that they backed the wrong horse.

Regardless, I’ve got no qualm with said losers, as HD DVD’s are usually a breeze to pack.

Unless said loser decides to buy a giant-ass book in the same order.

Then we’ve got issues.

Then, somebody’s gonna’ get cut.

Oh wait, they only give us fish-shaped “safety knives” at the warehouse.

Pictured: The Azn Badger's Weapon of Choice.

Regardless, somebody’s gonna’ get bludgeoned with a plastic tool in such a manner as to eventually ’cause skin irritation and/or drawing of blood…

#5: Order A “Ready-To-Ship” Item from Amazon

I know what you’re thinking:

“Ready-To-Ship?  Shouldn’t that mean the item is already packed and is ready to go?”

Well, yes, it does in fact mean that the item arrived at the warehouse pre-packaged in an official Amazon.com box.

Despite this, for whatever reason, we packers are required to pack said pre-boxed item, into another box.

No joke, it’s like one of those Russian matryoshka dolls-within-dolls-within-dolls, etc…

Haha, it's funny 'cause there're lots of them and they're inside each other...

Now, while that probably seems mildly inconvenient, being as it forces me to pack something that, at first glance, seem like something not needing to be packed at all, this task is in fact extremely inconvenient being as said pre-packed boxes often “confuse” the shipping computer.

Pictured: Why we don't "confuse" Skynet, I mean, the computer...

Here’s the run-down:

Amazon.com uses a computer driven sorting system that catalogs all of the items and parcels within the warehouse.

On the Sea-6 side, the dot-com side that I work on, every order has box type associated with it ahead of time based on the contents of said order so as to inform the packers of what box type is required for each order.

When I say an item or order “confuses” the shipping computer, basically I mean that the computer recommends the wrong box type.

This generally happens because an item was cataloged incorrectly, however; in the case of “ready-to-ship” items, the cause is actually the fact that pre-packed box has, in the view of the computer, skewed the proportions of the item, thereby resulting in a box recommendation that is often a few sizes too small.

You really wanna’ know how to piss of a Professional Box Maker?

Ask him to make a box, and then tell him he did it for no other reason than to waste his motherfuckin’ time.

THAT pisses me off.

Anyway, that’s my rant.

Sorry for the uncharacteristically personal/whiny post, I swear I’ll get back to normal once I, you know, get a motherfuckin’ day off.

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

Let’s Play Godzilla, Part VIII

Alright folks, we’ve finally reached the end of the 8-bit abortion that is Godzilla on the NES.

Sorry for the protracted nature of this post-subject, I didn’t realize how long and BORING the game was until I had already reached the point of no return

Oh well, live and learn I guess.

I think it goes without saying that you won’t be seeing a Let’s Play on the Azn Badger’s blog for quite some time…

I just finished reading DC’s Blackest Night and Marvel’s Siege, so hopefully I’ll be able to type up a little something about one or both of those major event comics!

Filed under: Comics, Games, Movies, Tokusatsu, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let’s Play Godzilla, Part VII

Godzilla fatigue has officially settled in.

For real, I ran out of things to say on the subject more than a few days ago, but this game just WON’T FUCKING END.

*Ahem!* Anyway, after today we’ve only got one more stage to go.

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I’ll be to start writing about something else…

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

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