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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Great Composers You Ought To Know: Reijiro Koroku Pt. 2

Pictured: Japanese composer, Reijiro Koroku.

I didn’t plan on dividing this post over 2 days, but as fate would have it, I just had too damn much to say!

That being said, today we’ll be continuing our look at some of my favorite works of composer Reijiro Koroku.

After Godzilla 1984, the next big soundtrack I can remember hearing from Koroku, was his work on the Kyoshoku Soko Guyver OVA series.

Guyver: The Man-Boobs That Kill.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, my cousin back in Hawaii turned me on to the Guyver manga way back in the day, and ever since it’s served as a huge influence on my creativity.

Something about the incredibly detailed, yet purposely hoaky character designs, combined with the darkness and severity of the storyline resonated with me in a way that makes me hopeful the manga will eventually reach a logical conclusion.

On that note, when I first found out that a Guyver anime existed way back in the day, you can sure as hell bet I went out of my way to track it down as soon as I could.

Unfortunately, as it turns out the 12 part OVA series was actually kind of ho-hum, even by the standards of an impressionable grade-schooler.

The voice cast was pretty good, and the animation was decent if not inconsistent, however the plot was an absolutely horrid distillation of the source material, cutting short many memorable sequences, and outright ignoring a number of important story beats.

Oh yeah, and unless you want to see some of the most hideous animation ever put to film this side of a budget hentai, then you’ll probably want to avoid even looking at a single frame of episodes 7 and beyond.

Aw, come on! Drawing gray bubbles on someone to symbolize melting DOES NOT count as legitimate animation!

Seriously, I loves me some Guyver, but that was some ugly shit.

That ugliness aside, much like the not-always-so-fondly-remembered Godzilla 1984, the Guyver OVA just happened to benefit from an incredible soundtrack courtesy of Reijiro Koroku.

Though the music is stylistically very similar to his work in Godzilla 1984 just a few years earlier, Koroku’s Guyver soundtrack incorporates synthesizer and electric guitar in many of the tracks.

What can I say, it was the late 80’s and synthesizers were very much “in” at the time.

That’s not to say Koroku’s more electronic approach to the Guyver soundtrack was at all a poor choice.

Heavily inspired by tokusatsu heroes like Kamen Rider and Kikaida, Guyver’s inherently tragic character and brutally violent atmosphere made the property a perfect match for Reijiro Koroku’s potent melodramatic style.

Just give a listen to probably my favorite track in the series, included in the first third of this video, to see what I mean:

Once again brooding and downright creepy at times, Koroku’s score for Guyver shows a great deal of restraint for what basically amounts to a superhero story, however in many ways I feel this is it’s strength.

Like chanbara films of old, the style of action present in Guyver is largely efficient, with each movement and attack being distinct as opposed to the more repetitive style found in Dragonball Z among other things:

I sincerely apologize if you were dumb enough to watch all of that.

Because of this, the music actually benefits from keeping it’s crescendos in check, as otherwise the music would overpower the intensely violent, but relatively low energy nature of the onscreen action.

This track, once again featured in the first third of this clip, serves as perhaps one of the better examples of how Koroku’s powerful, but relatively lax music could effectively supply the series with solid action beats:

Despite how much I love the soundtrack for Guyver, the one downside to it is that the score is very limited in terms of breadth.

Composed largely in suites intended to be recycled throughout the series, the music is quite beautiful by itself, but loses some of it’s luster when heard in the OVA, as the tracks become repetitive after a time, and as such, lose their distinction and sense of place.

Even so, the Guyver OVA soundtrack was once of the first import CDs I ever purchased, and to this day I’m glad I picked it up.

Moving on, the last time I can recall hearing Reijiro Koroku’s music, was from his work on the early PS2 title, Kessen and it’s sequels.

That's a pimp-ass mustache.

An RTS set in the Japanese warring states period, Kessen was a big hit that enjoyed several sequels, however it’s not one that I ever really got caught up in.

Chances are I was to busy playing garbage like Street Fighter EX 3 to give a shit about Kessen.

Despite my lack of appreciation for it, Kessen’s music was a whole ‘nother story altogether.

Truth be told, much like was the case with Noozles, I wasn’t aware that Koroku had done the soundtrack for Kessen, however when I did learn of this, I was not at all surprised given his track record.

Booming and proud, the soundtrack for Kessen brings to mind Koroku’s military marches for Godzilla 1984:

Lacking the brooding tone of Koroku’s previous works mentioned earlier, the Kessen series had an appropriately colorful sound to it, though one that was quite dignified despite it’s epic scale and over-the-top design aesthetics.

It’s funny, hearing this music again kind of makes me want to go back and actually give Kessen a try.

Based on what I remember hearing of it, I doubt I’d be disappointed if I did.

Anyway, that’s about everything I could think of to say about Reijiro Koroku.

Hopefully you learned something over these past 2 days, and if not, at least you got to hear to some nice music!

Filed under: Comics, Games, Great Composers You Ought To Know, Movies, Tokusatsu, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Halloween Breakdown

Pictured: The Azn Badger's MANLY Jack 'O Lantern.

So, I don’t know about you, but I actually tried to make something of Halloween this year.

When I was a kid I did the whole Trick or Treat-ing thing, but in the years since, I’ve kind of treated Halloween as just another lonely and awkward day on the calendar.

Deep down I really wanted to make an effort to have a Halloween this year, but I have a problem that one could describe as “lacking balls,” so I decided to tag along with my good friend Mencius (who had to twist my arm just to make me leave the house) on an aimless trek through the night.

That being said, here’s a bullet-ed breakdown of my Halloween, from start to finish:

  • Woke up.
  • Ate pig sandwich.
  • Browsed web while watching Batman Returns.
  • Went to Unemployment Office for mandatory meeting.
  • Got bored during meeting, drew Gamera on my pamphlet.
  • Went home, resumed watching Batman Returns.
  • Got call from Mencius around the time Batman Wilhelms that one dude and blows up the strong man.
  • Got to the part when Penguin is controlling the Batmobile, got call from friend, hopped on bus to card shop.
  • Played 2 rounds of Magic, went 1-1 against a vastly superior deck.
  • Missed bus back home, had to run 2.5 miles home in time to rendezvous with Mencius.
  • Headed down to Capitol Hill with Mencius, he dressed as “Alternative Medicine,” and me wearing a non-costume in the form of my official Azn Badger t-shirt.
  • Saw a Blondie from The Man with No Name movies that had Ennio Morricone music perpetually playing from his phone.  Brownie points for innovation.
  • Saw a decent Quail Man.

He looked only marginally better than this guy.

      • Encountered hobo asking for money to cure an itch he had in his crotch.  Brownie points for innovation and grossness.
      • Saw a Weird Al Yankovic from his “Fat” music video.  Handcrafted with an embarrassing degree of love.
      • Saw a Ruby Rhod AKA Chris Tucker from The Fifth Element.  Very unique and detailed.
      • Ate sushi and drank tea.
      • Encountered Conservative Jewish Batman.
      • Conservative Jewish Batman expressed sexual frustration regarding female Seattlites, as well as Liberals in general.
      • Many topics were discussed, ranging from comics, to videogames, to politics and economics, though for Conservative Jewish Batman, everything always came back to Reddit AKA “That One Place On The Internet I Never Go.”
      • Sighted an Asian man in the bar that was “living the dream.”

"Living the Dream": Being an Asian man dating an attractive white and/or blonde girl.

        • Decided to call it a night, had long and fruitful conversation with Mencius regarding frustration over white people utilizing random Japanese words in English conversation.
        • It was decided that “Toki Doki” was the most annoying of said Japanese-isms.
And that was my Halloween!

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

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

Toshiaki Nishioka Prevails In 12 Round UD!

*Note* Pic not taken from this evening's fight. *Note*

It’s official, Toshiaki Nishioka is now the first Japanese world champion boxer to successfully defend his title on American soil!

Sadly, I was unable to watch the fight this evening, as I don’t get the channel it aired on, but from what I read it was a wash for Nishioka.

Instead I ended up watching the Sergio Martinez/Darren Barker fight on HBO, which turned out to be suprisingly frustrating for Martinez in a Winky Wright sort of way.

I hope Barkers’ alright, as I’ve never seen a guy wilt to the canvas without taking a solid shot the way he did.

It reeks of an injury or lack of will to continue, but I’d hate to hear he had a brain bleed or something.

Enough with that shit, back to the Azn celebration!

Rafael Marquez has been getting long in the tooth ever since his costly series of fights against Israel Vasquez, so in many ways I guess he was the perfect opponent for Nishioka to test mettle against.

That is, he entered the ring shopworn, but still strong and bearing solid name-recognition.

In any case, I am immensely proud of Nishioka for his historic victory, and I greatly look forward to watching the fight to see just how well he did.

Despite this, as much as I’ll root for him, in all honestly I don’t see Nishioka being able to handle the likes of Nonito Donaire.

Like I said though, I’ll still be rooting for him, should that fight materialize in the near future.

Scores: 117-111, 116-112, and 115-113, Nishioka UD 12

 

Filed under: Boxing, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I Believe In Toshiaki Nishioka

Pictured: Toshiaki Nishioka posing with Rafael Marquez.

Well folks, it’s that time again.

Tomorrow night, a Japanese boxer will once again challenge fate and attempt to defend their world title on American soil.

Said boxer is Toshiaki Nishioka, a hard-punching and tenacious veteran who will be defending his Super Bantamweight title against the equally powerful, but slighty shopworn Rafael Marquez.

It might not sound like a big deal to us here in the states, but to date, no Japanese fighter has ever succeeded in defending a legit world title on American soil.

The last champion to step up to the challenge, was former Jr. Featherweight champion Akifumi Shimoda, who if you’ll recall was knocked senseless in the 7th round via a left hook to the jaw from the challenger, and now champion; Rico Ramos.

Pictured: Shimoda, laid out after a monster left hook from Ramos.

Though it hurt to watch Shimoda lose in such dramatic fashion, but in my heart I knew it was to be expected.

I keep tabs on quite a few Japanese fighters, and in that sense I feel the fact that Shimoda was never one of them should speak to his abilities/promise as a fighter.

Besides, the man he won the title from, Ryo Li Lee; was perhaps the biggest underdog champs in recent memory, so in many ways it’s surprising that Teiken was willing to take the gamble in sending Shimoda to the states without a few more tune-up fights under his belt.

That being said, unlike Shimoda, I truly believe Toshiaki Nishioka is the real deal:

Hozumi Hasegawa was, and forever will be, “my guy” in Japanese boxing, but deep down I’ve always known he was little more than a upper-middle tier fighter.

He was never as good as I hoped he would be, but I “picked” him, and wasn’t about to lose faith in him just because of a few losses.

A few REALLY BAD losses...

That’s just who I am.

While Nishioka may not be “my guy,” the fact of the matter is, he’s likely one of the best Japanese world champion boxers of his generation.

2 names always pop up in discussions involving the current state of Japanese boxing, namely that of Koki Kameda, and Toshiaki Nishioka.

While Kameda is easily the more popular fighter, especially among Japanese fans, in my mind I view the older and more accomplished Nishioka as the better and more complete fighter.

Kameda has immense potential, but I don’t see his no-jab, counter heavy-style sustaining him on the world stage for very long.

Plus, HE LOOKS LIKE A MONKEY. And he smells funny.

Like many Japanese boxers, Nishioka took a few losses early in his career, though this in no way prevented his career from being a consistent march upward in terms of quality of opposition.

Left-handed and atypically powerful and gutsy for a Japanese fighter, Nishioka’s only real sore spot in his career was in the early 2000’s when he fought the immensely prolific and longstanding Bantamweight champ, Veeraphol Sahaprom a mind-boggling 4 times in as many years.

During this series of fights, Nishioka lost to, and drew with Sahaprom 2 times, with each fight going the distance and being closely contested on the scorecards.

Fun fact:

Despite Nishioka’s 4 attempts to dethrone Sahaprom, it was my boy Hozumi Hasegawa who ultimately succeeded in 2004 via unanimous decision.

Not only that, Hasegawa KO’d Sahaprom in the rematch the following year, thereby cementing his reputation as a true Bantamweight champion.

Nishioka got a badass clip, so I figure it’s only fair I give one to my boy Hasegawa as well:

In fighting Sahaprom, I feel Nishioka came up short due to a clash of styles.

Nishioka isn’t the most elusive of fighters, making him easy prey for Sahaprom’s cagey tactics and seasoned boxing.

In this way, Hasegawa’s superior handspeed and constant lateral movement were likely responsible for his victories over Sahaprom.

Nishioka may not have Hasegawa’s speed or elusiveness, but he does have a solid chin, power in both hands, and the tenacity of a pit bull.

That counts for a lot when you’re a world class Southpaw with soild fundamentals.

At 35 years old, may not have many fights left in him, nor does his “on paper” reputation paint him as the best of fighters, but as of writing this, I truly believe him to be the best active boxer in Japan, and potentially in his weight class.

Despite his age, Nishioka hasn’t lost since 2004, and in the days since then, his career has blossomed in a renaissance of sorts, rewarding him with sound victories and highlight reel knockouts against solid competition.

He may not have been “my guy” in Hasegawa’s heyday, but now, when I’m forced to pick between him and the impetuous Koki Kameda, I think I’m finally ready to call Nishioka “my guy” in Japanese boxing.

Again, HE LOOKS LIKE A MONKEY.

I believed in him all those times he came this close to edging a victory against Sahaprom.

I believed in him when he finally won the title from Genaro Garcia.

I believed in him when he knocked the piss out of Jhonny Gonzalez.

And tomorrow night, when he faces another cagey veteran in the form of Rafael Marquez, I will believe in Toshiaki Nishioka all the same.

Do it for history!  Do it for Japan!

Filed under: Boxing, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Zack Snyder’s Superman Looks Like… Every Zack Snyder Movie Ever

At this point you’ve probably heard that CGI and slow motion enthusiast Zack Snyder will be directing the next Superman film.

If not, congratulation, you have a life and are not a hopeless comic book dork like myself.

As tends to be the case when films make as much money as The Dark Knight did, the folks over at Warner Bros decided to hop on the “let’s not feature the name of the title character in the title” bandwagon, and went ahead and called the film The Man of Steel.

Far be it from me to say that there’s anything wrong with a movie called The Man of Steel, but to me the logic behind that decision seems more than a little transparent.

*ANYWAY* The photo at the top of this post is the first promotional image to be released featuring Henry Cavil donning the iconic Superman costume.

Truth be told, I couldn’t tell you, nor give a fuck to learn, just who Henry Cavil is, or what he’s done; but oh well, I’m just here to talk about the costume.

Strangely enough, the first thing I noticed about this image, was the post-processing and color correction that went into manufacturing it.

Simply put, Zack Snyder’s films have a “look” to them.

In fact, with the exception of the Guardians of Ga’Who-Gives-A-Fuck, an animated children’s film; they all have the same damn “look” to them.

Even though it’s not at all achieved through the use of a filter, I like to call it the “Zack Snyder Filter”:

Zack Snyder: The Unreal Engine of Hollywood

Oh well, I suppose consistency like this is easy to achieve, and mostly forgiveable; when the man’s only made about 5 movies…

Anyway, in looking at the Superman image above, it’s pretty clear that The Man of Steel is going to embody the same aesthetic that Zack Snyder has utilized in virtually all of his films.

That is to say, everything will be grainy and metallic/bronzed, and there will be much slow motion fighting for the sake of… Well, slow motion fighting.

Replace Goku and Frieza with Superman and General Zod and you have Zack Snyder's Superman.

Moving on to the actual costume, in all honesty; I don’t hate it.

Superman’s costume is iconic to the point of being one of, if not the best superhero designs of all time.

To attempt any sort of radical change to the traditional costume is betray the fanbase, shit on the character, and ultimately throw away one of the most perfect distillations of the archetypal golden age caped superhero design.

In other words, when it comes to Superman, you just plain DON’T fuck with the costume.

Otherwise you end up with shit like the “blue” Superman of the 90’s:

May we never speak of this again...

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the similarly muted Superman Returns costume, The Man of Steel costume seems to keep everything you’d expect in a Superman costume, while bringing very little new to the table.

Oddly enough, the one notable unique quality of the new costume, is the almost chain mail like texture to it.

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the various Spider-Man movie costumes, as well as some of the redesigns for the Watchmen movie, I find this texture to be distracting and excessively gaudy.

Then again, Zack Snyder films have a tendency to be excessively gaudy as a whole, which would probably result in said extraneous details to be more consistent with the aesthetic of the film, rather than overly extravagant.

In case you couldn’t tell, Zack Snyder would not have been my first choice as director for a Superman film.

Then again, I haven’t really liked a Superman movie since the second one; so it’s hard to say if I’d have confidence in anyone to do justice to the Man of Steel.

Anyway, the costume is kind of “meh,” Henry Cavil has failed to generate enough interest for me to even take a peek at his Imdb page; and in general, I really see no reason to be excited about The Man of Steel at this point.

The Dark Knight Rises on the other hand, now that’s a movie to flip out about and irrationally anticipate despite it’s release date being WAY the fuck out there…

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

Another Japanese Fighter Bites The Dust…

Pictured: Akifumi Shimoda smacks super-underdog champion Ryol Li Lee.

Before anyone jumps to any conclusions based on the heading of this post, let it be known; nobody actually died.

I merely used the phrase “bites the dust” because, well; frankly it sounds cool.

That being said, this past Saturday night, I was blessed with a rare opportunity to see a Japanese boxer fight on American soil in the form of Jr. featherweight champion Akifumi Shimoda’s title defense against amateur stand-out, Rico Ramos.

Said fight was staged on HBO, which in the boxing business basically translates to “the big leagues.”

That being said, I came into the fight hopeful, but fully aware of what to expect.

As detailed in some of my previous posts here, and here; Japanese boxer’s are not exactly a dominant force in the sport.

Well, except for maybe Piston Honda...

In most cases I have to go very much out of my way to dig up videos and records of Japanese fighters, largely because even the very best of them rarely get to a stage in their career where fighting outside of Japan is an option, let alone economically viable.

The fact of the matter is, Japan is a small island nation that isn’t exactly crazy about boxing; making it difficult for their fighters to grow beyond the competitive confines of their nation’s borders.

The last couple of fights that I can recall involving a Japanese fighter fighting in a high-profile match on foreign soil; had very mixed results.

On the one hand, long-standing (or should “sitting”) middleweight champ Felix Sturm tattooed the face of, and utterly annihilated the unproven Koji Sato.

Pictured: What happens when protected champions are fed unproven competition.

On the other, underdog Nobuhiro Ishida managed to beat the odds and inexplicably force a first round stoppage of up-and-coming Jr. middleweight beast, James Kirkland.

Pictured: What happens when a young fighter doesn't know how to react to a knockdown.

Oddly enough, both of these contests involved Japanese fighters from 154-160 lbs., the highest weights the national Japanese boxing commission stages fights at, and consequently some of the weaker divisions in terms of talent.

While Ishida’s win seemed like a fluke, given that Kirkland seemed very much clear-headed despite the multiple knockdowns; Sato’s loss was a forgone conclusion.

Both guys were low-rated, and obviously brought in as fodder for their opponents.

The only difference was, one pulled the upset, and the other may have had years taken off his life.

Now that I think of it, I think that’s why the fight from last Saturday night meant a little more to me than the others I mentioned:

Akifumi Shimoda went into the fight last Saturday night a legitimate, defending world champion.

While hardly a big deal to anyone outside the hardcore, it meant something to me to know that Shimoda was held in high enough regard that the people of Teiken Boxing Gym felt it wise to send him to America to defend his title.

Not only that, in winning the fight he would’ve made history as being the first Japanese champion to successfully defend his title.

In case you couldn’t tell from the way I phrased that last sentence, and indeed the heading of this post; Shimoda did not make history.

A Southpaw, Shimoda came into the fight sporting excellent footwork and a straight to the body with mean intentions.

To my surprise, Shimoda proceeded at a measured pace out the gate, cutting-off the ring and pressing the action.

He didn’t look great by any means, but he did more than enough to stymie Ramos and shut down his anemic offense.

All through the fight, I couldn’t help but smile at the sight of a small group of Japanese fans positioned behind Shimoda’s corner, shouting his name and waving a big white banner in support of their champion.

Like me, they were rallying behind the Japanese guy despite virtually everyone else in the New Jersey arena not giving 2-shits about who he was or where he came from.

Indeed, I felt myself wince at the sound of the ring announcer pronouncing the bout as a production of “Tai-Ken” Boxing Gym.

It’s “Teh-ee-ken,” asshole.  Get it right.

Despite my better instincts telling me Shimoda was going to get knocked the fuck out like seemingly all of his countrymen do when fighting away from home; I found myself feeling in the later rounds that Shimoda might actually get the win.

Then came the 7th round.

Early in the fight, Shimoda slammed Ramos with a nasty headbutt that opened a gash over the challenger’s eye.

The cut was pretty bad, and as such; Ramos’ trainer urged him to step up his efforts and throw more punches.

It took a few rounds of nagging from his corner, but for whatever reason; Ramos came out to fight in the 7th.

All through the round, you could tell something was different.

Mostly defensive and counter-oriented, Ramos lost the majority of the rounds in the fight purely based on his sinfully low punch output.

In the 7th, Ramos poured it on and went on the attack.

From the opening few seconds of the round, Shimoda went from being an indefatigable and confident young champion; to a fighter on the run.

Ramos backed Shimoda up for much of the round, something he hadn’t done for 1 second in any of the earlier portions of the fight; and indeed, seemingly couldn’t miss with his right hand.

Gassed or hurt, or maybe both; Shimoda spent his last moments in the fight stumbling backwards, seemingly without any answers to his opponent’s assault.

Stepping back and around the left side of Ramos amid a torrent of punches, Shimoda walked right into a cracking left hook that sent his jaw from one corner of the ring to the other.

BOOSH.

Oh yeah, and he went down too.

Splayed out on the mat, utterly devoid of consciousness, Shimoda’s last act before the referee’s stoppage was to clumsily, and pathetically rise to his knees and face first onto the mat.

In watching that 7th round, you got the sense that, had Ramos asserted himself earlier in the fight, there’s a good chance he would’ve walked right over Shimoda.

While there was no clear disparity between the 2 fighters in terms of technical ability, the difference in guts and raw athletic power seemed fairly evident during the final round.

It saddened me to see Shimoda lose his title, knowing full well that he; nor likely any other Teiken fighter would likely be making their way over to the states any time soon.

At this point it seems Toshiaki Nishioka and Koki Kameda may be the only 2 Japanese boxers that stand any chance of competing on the world stage.

Personally, I fail to see the beauty of Kameda and his brother Daiki’s collective souls, so here’s hoping Nishioka makes his way over here someday.

Hopefully he’ll fair better than most Japanese fighters seem to.

 

 

Filed under: Boxing, Games, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More Footage From My Adventure In The Woods

The clip above was taken on July 2nd when I was out in the woods with my buddies.

As I mentioned before, we had one helluva’ bonfire going out there, so naturally one of us took it upon themselves to snag a flaming stick from the fire and start swinging it around like Conan the Barbarian.

What can I say, boys will be boys…

As it so happens, the guy swinging the stick around in the video has a fair amount of training in kenjutsu; which is likely the reason for him making such a fundamentally simple activity look so damn awesome.

Anyway, I was starved for words today, so I figured I would share this clip with you.

Hope you like the song!

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Sometimes Spoilers Are A Good Thing…

Evaluating an opinion on a movie purely based on pre-release materials is tricky business.

Inevitably, one’s decision making process ends up relying on one’s knowledge of the various actors and director’s track records, but at the end of the day; sometimes a really good (or really bad) preview can end up shaping one’s opinion quite handily.

Take for instance Green Lantern.

I’m a big fan of the Green Lantern comic, however up until about last week; my opinion of the upcoming live-action film was largely negative.

Early pre-release footage for the movie had it seeming silly, narrow, and very hard to take seriously.

Truth be told, the one thing that kept me from turning my back on Green Lantern in the early goings, was the presence of director Martin Campbell.

Seriously man, the guy made Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro, and Casino Royale.

... Then again, he also directed THESE.

Despite some spotty pieces in his filmography, the man has proven that he knows how to make awesome movies, and in that sense; I never completely lost confidence in the possibility of Green Lantern upsetting it’s poor marketing campaign and turning out to be legitimately good.

In the case of Green Lantern, and as you’ll later read, Donnie Yen’s recently released film, Wu Xia; my apprehension about the film’s integrity was culled through viewing a brief preview clip of the film in it’s unedited state.

Though it’s uncharacteristic of me, I sat down and watched a (publicly available HERE) 1 minute clip of Green Lantern in hopes of finding a reason to go see it.

Said clip involved Hal Jordan desperately attempting to fend off what I’m guessing is supposed to be Parallax (who doesn’t seem nearly as “bug-like” as he did in the comics).

THAT'S fuckin' Parallax!

The action in this clip was nowhere near mindblowing, but unlike in the trailers; it at least seemed like how it plays out in the comics.

Green Lantern has always been a story about “space cops,” though in recent years the scale and severity of the violence in the comic has evolved to something more along the lines of “space soldiers.”

In short, sprawling splash pages of Lanterns hurling variously colored constructs at each other en masse are quite common in Green Lantern comics these days.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT!

Green Lantern combat isn’t about guys throwing progressively bigger and more elaborate constructs at each other; it’s about speed, precision, and who gets their shit off first.

In other words, it’s more like a hectic galactic gun fight as opposed to something overblown or drawn out like Dragonball fighting.

I saw a hint of this in the clip I watched, and as such; my opinion of Green Lantern has changed from “skeptical” to “somewhat optimistic.”

Which brings me to the recently released Peter Chan directed Donnie Yen vehicle, Wu Xia.

Hmm, SOMEBODY had a degree in graphic design...

Given that Wu Xia stars Donnie Yen and Takeshi Kaneshiro, one can assume I was psyched for this one from day 1, right?

WRONG.

When I first saw the teaser for Wu Xia, my initial reaction was basically to let out one big-ass, slightly pompous sigh.

Okay, maybe “slightly” pompous isn’t the right word.

More like “IMMENSELY.”

I’m not big on Mandarin films, and for whatever reason; the teaser for Wu Xia just didn’t do it for me.

Then I watched an 8 minute clip of the movie that popped up on Twitchfilm.com, and suddenly I found myself intrigued.

By the way, if you go by Twitchfilm, and see all the Legend of the Fist ads; don’t buy into the hype.

Aside from literally, a few good fights, Legend of the Fist sucked some serious balls.

Well, at least this part was kind of funny... In the "good/bad" sort of way.

Anyway, said clip of Wu Xia revealed it as being kind of like Rashomon or Hero in the sense that it’s a story potentially told from an unreliable viewpoint.

Though I don’t understand Mandarin, the visuals of the clip were very clear in establishing that Donnie Yen’s character, while portrayed as feeble, but lucky; in one instance, may actually be a martial arts master hiding in plain sight.

While I didn’t care much for this storytelling device in Hero, (nor did I care much for the movie itself) it’s cleverness combined with Peter Chan’s beautiful cinematography leads me to believe Wu Xia could be a lot of fun.

I don’t expect Donnie Yen’s “Donnie Yen-ness” to be front and center, but the story seems to have legs; and Takeshi Kaneshiro is pimp-as-fuck, so I’m fairly optimistic.

PIMP. AS. FUCK. Too bad he's basically full-time Chinese now...

So there you have.

2 instances where an otherwise skeptical moviegoer had their opinion reshaped through spoiler clips.

I guess I’ve come a long way from being the fat little 10 year old that shunned all media outlets in hopes of seeing the American Godzilla movie in theaters before having the monster’s appearance spoiled for him..

Yeah, that worked out jusssssssst fine….

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