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!

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

Captain America Score Sounds Pretty Good So Far

I’m a lover of movie scores.

Something about the way movie soundtracks are arranged just makes the music stand out to me as something special.

I’ve always liked the “big” sound of an orchestra, but the one reason I rarely listen to classical music; is because I have trouble drawing emotion from it.

Movie soundtracks are typically composed with the intent of harmonizing with the visuals they accompany, and in many cases; one simply would not be the same without the other.

While I can’t see myself ever watching Star Wars without Johnny Williams backing it up, I’ve always found that I can enjoy Star Wars music without the films.

I’ve always made it a point to pay attention to the music in films, and doing so has resulted in me seeking out a vast library of movie soundtracks.

Seeing as this is me we’re talking about, it should come as no surprise that the vast majority of these soundtracks are dumb action movies, kung fu movies, and/or old cartoons.

Oh yeah, and lots and lots of Godzilla and Ultraman soundtracks:

Pictured: One of my prized possessions. Yes, I am a dork.

Nerd-gasm aside, while it’s hardly the best soundtrack I’ve ever heard, I feel I need to point out that, from the 14 minute sample I’ve heard of it; Captain America The First Avenger sounds pretty damn good so far.

Composed by industry legend Alan Silvestri, the Captain America soundtrack makes great use of his signature sound, both old and new.

On the “old” front, Captain America has some marches and cadences that borrow somewhat from Silvestri’s work on Predator, while the “new” aspect of the music, primarily the more uppity synthesized segments; draws comparisons to the composer’s work on Van Helsing.

Yes, I am aware Van Helsing was an epicly shitty movie; however few can deny the soundtrack had it’s moments.

The movie, sadly; did not.

It DID however have vampire bimbos. Lots and lots of vampire bimbos...

Boasting a bombastic, and appropriately militaristic feel; the soundtrack sports Silvestri’s trademark heavy brass, but also makes subtle use of synthesizers; such that end result feels very much like a period piece, but with the energy of a modern summer blockbuster.

The 14 minute sample I was fortunate to get a chance to listen to contained several arrangements of a few different cues, one that I feel comfortable assuming was one of the central themes of the film; and one that had to have been an action cue.

The “theme” feels like a throwback to WWII themes of the past I.E. Patton and The Great Escape.

Curiously enough, parts of it feel kind of like The A-Team theme, (minus the BADASS electric guitar solo) which Alan Silvestri recently remixed for the feature film adaptation:

Really now, did I seriously need an excuse to embed that clip?

Didn’t think so.

Anyway, truth be told the “theme” feels kind of weak when compared to the greats of the past, however it’s far stronger than Patrick Doyle’s work on Thor, which in my eyes was one of the summer’s biggest missed opportunities for producing a great action movie soundtrack.

That’s not to say the Captain America “theme” is all that great, it’s not; it’s merely good.

I think it’s biggest weakness is that it comes across as somewhat generic, largely because it’s “militaristic feel” overshadows the fact that it’s supposed to be the theme music for an individual.

When I listen to the “theme,” I get images of Americana and WWII stuff, but sadly I don’t get any pictures of Cap’ wearing his goofy blue costume.

Not that I have any idea of how one would compose music to convey such imagery in the first place.

Maybe this:

Wow, that brought back some memories… Mostly bad.

Moving on, the action cue from the sample was actually quite good.

Energetic and colorful, the action cue feels like a mix between Silvestri’s great work on Beowulf, (minus the overbearing choir) and his equally great work on The Mummy Returns; however composed at a much faster clip.

Truth be told, the cadence of the music leads me to believe part of it was arranged with the train sequence from the trailer in mind; however I could be, and likely am wrong on that.

In any case, I like what I’ve heard thus far, and truly hope the movie ends up yielding a similar reaction from me when I finally get to see it next month.

Post a comment if you’d like a download link to the Captain America sample soundtrack!

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

Looking Forward To Ultraman Zero: Super Decisive Battle! Belial’s Galactic Empire!

Remember my scene-by-scene dissection of Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy The Movie?

Remember how I poked fun at it’s paper-thin plot and absurd action-to-dialogue ratio?

Well, as fate would have it, Mega Monster Battle just got a theatrical sequel, and near as I can tell; it’s a helluva’ lot better than it’s predecessor.

Check out this review by the always reliable (and thorough) folks over at Sci-Fi Japan.

Despite tokusatsu film’s tendency to seem phoned-in when it comes to film adaptations of TV series, (especially in regards to sequels) I can honestly say that, even at a glance; the production art and character designs for Ultraman Zero had a level of investment and detail to them that suggest a lot of care was put into the project.

While Mega Monster Battle made use of Tsuburaya’s extensive collection of monster suits previously used in their Ultra Galaxy TV series, I was surprised to note a staggering number unique characters and costumes featured in the promotional material for Ultraman Zero.

In a clever homage to some of the older and more obscure characters in their extensive production history, several of the new hero characters are intentionally designed to resemble said characters.

Combine this, with the director of Ultraman Nexus, (my favorite series) even better effects work, and composer Kenji Kawai, and you have the makings of an Ultra film that I’m proud to be looking forward to seeing.

So what if the acting is shit?

So what if the live-action sets look hokie and cheap?

So what if the trailer shamelessly rips-off scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Star Wars Episode I?

As long as the movie is competently put together and has an ounce of the spirit that makes Ultraman so special, (as well as a awesome fight here and there) I’ll gladly pony up to see this one.

Filed under: Kung Fu, Movies, Tokusatsu, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Deadly Premonition Review

Deadly Premonition is a budget game.

Plain and simple.

Described by Destructoid as a “beautiful trainwreck,” Deadly Premonition is an open world/survival-horror hybrid developed by Access Games.

I first caught word of Deadly Premonition several months ago when I sat down to watch the first part of Spoony’s (Noah Antwiler) Let’s Play of it.

To my knowledge, that first hour or so of gameplay, is the only portion of the game that Spoony has posted any footage of.

Pictured: A man that has better shit to do than play a shitty game like Deadly Premonition.

After having played, and beaten the game over the course of 30 hours of gameplay, it’s easy to see why someone would so readily drop this game.

Deadly Premonition is a game that asks a lot from the player.

It has terrible graphics.

The soundtrack is extremely repetitive and is often times far too upbeat given the seriousness of the story.

The gameplay is equally repetitive, with controls approaching Resident Evil 1 levels of clunky-ness.

Knife vs. Zombie!? Not bloody likely!

For the most part, the only 2 saving graces of Deadly Premonition, are the strength of it’s writing, especially in regards to the characters, and the design of it’s surprisingly expansive map.

While the writing in Deadly Premonition is by no means brilliant, it has a a lot going for in that it’s just so damn quirky.

David Lynch’s Twin Peaks was a huge stylistic influence on Deadly Premonition, and it shows from beginning to end.

Numerous homages are made to the TV series in the form of the game’s setting, (a Pacific Northwestern town) as well as the unexplained abundance of cherry pie.

Oh yeah, and this kind of cryptic-ass fucked up shit:

"THE, SUIT, BURNS BETTER... LOOK!!! BURN'S SUIT! BURN'S SUIT!"

To call the characters in Deadly Premonition “odd,” is to discount the power of that word.

In the game, the player takes on the role of FBI profiler, Francis York Morgan, (his friends call him York) a facially scarred man that has a strong connection to the paranormal, smokes way too fucking much, has prophetic visions by looking into his morning coffee, and has a tendency to speak to an imaginary friend name Zach, often while in the company of others.

Well, looks like we caught him doing all of the above at once. His coffee is in between his legs...

If the above character traits aren’t intriguing to you even in the slightest, then congratulations, you are the snootiest high-brow motherfucker on the planet.

Pictured: You.

The game begins as York arrives at a fictional town in Washington called Greenvale.

Greenvale has recently played host to a gruesome murder/crucifiction, the investigation of which serves as the chief subject of the plot and gameplay in Deadly Premonition.

The closest thing to nudity you'll find on this blog. Except maybe the occasional dirty Donnie Yen photo...

The actual execution of the gameplay in Deadly Premonition, is that of a sandbox-style game, married with the over the shoulder shooting mechanic of Resident Evil 4.

Though I’m not much for sandbox games, I have to say, I was fairly impressed by Deadly Premonition’s take on it.

To be fair, I think most of my enjoyment of the map in the game springs from it’s impressive recreation of a Washintonian town.

Yup, a whole lotta' trees and little else...

As a life long, Seattlite, and one time Olympian, I can say with certainty, that the developers of Deadly Premonition really got the look and feel down pat.

The sprawling country roads, surrounded by evergreen trees, the big ass farms with seemingly nothing growing in them, the not quite picturesque lakes, it’s all there.

Haven’t you ever played GTA and wondered what it would be like if it was set in your hometown?

Then again, if you grew up in South Central, there's a good chance GTA strikes pretty close to home for you.

Well, if you’re from Olympia, Nisqually, or anywhere in Eastern Washington, Deadly Premonition; while not really possessing the vast breadth of sandbox-y goodness that GTA is known and loved for, absolutely gets the look just right.

If there’s any downside to the design of the map though, it’s due to the fact that it requires the player to drive around a little bit too much.

You see, unlike GTA, which offers a myriad of distractions while traveling from point A to point B, Deadly Premonition’s map is pretty sparse.

Pictured: Grand Theft Auto's definition of "distractions."

Sure, there’s fishing mini-games scattered about, as well as the occasional dirt road or hidden item, but for the most part, you really are just driving for minutes at a time.

Pictured: Deadly Premonition's "distractions."

Remember those country roads I mentioned awhile back?

Well, you better get used to them, ’cause if you start playing Deadly Premonition, your gonna’ end up driving up and down them like no other.

Let me put it this way:

The driving in Deadly Premonition is kind of like the sailing in The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker.

It’s boring, there’s altogether too much of it, but if you can force yourself to power through it, there’s actually a pretty good game beyond it all.

A pretty good game that I WILL beat someday...

Which brings me to the review proper.

Deadly Premonition is an okay game.

It’s not great, it has a shit ton of flaws, but if you’re willing to accept the game as being the best that it’s studio could manage with what they had, then it’s actually pretty good.

Trust me, it's a lot easier to appreciate Deadly Premonition when you grew up watching shit like Ultraman.

The murder mystery storyline is fairly well developed with some pretty cool kill sequences and red herrings thrown in for good measure.

The murders in the game involve a psycho-killer cutting out the tongues of young women, stuffing their mouths with red seeds, and then somehow rigging them in Saw-esque death traps for the main players to stumble across.

In all, while actually not very graphic or bloody, most of the murders are quite unique, and indeed even shocking due to the excellent voice work and dialogue.

Pictured: Why we always knock before we go into the bathroom...

The cast of characters is quite vast, with every character in town having a unique voice, personality, and even side-missions offer you from time to time.

Like York, most of the cast are endearingly quirky, such that I found I had no trouble remembering most by name.

The game is surprisingly long, with admirable pacing that sees the first half of the game being a largely sandbox style experience, with important story beats coming at the appropriate times, and the second half taking on a more urgent, and therefore more linear and focused style of progression.

That is to say:

The game allows you the freedom you desire from the outset to get to known the lay of the land, and collect all of those hidden goodies and side-missions, but just before you get tired of slogging through all of that, the game forces you get on track and follow the main storyline.

Deadly Premonition: A Story of Male Bonding.

The storyline has a few holes in it, such that you’re left scratching your head from time to time, but when focus is left on York, or any of the other main characters, it’s actually quite good.

I was particularly impressed by how they handled the explanation for York’s imaginary friend, Zach.

While the actual explanation was kind of muddled, I found it to be effective from a purely conceptual standpoint.

If there’s any one thing that I need to slap Deadly Premonition across the face about, it’s the game’s shooting mechanic.

About half of the gameplay in Deadly Premonition consists of Resident Evil 4 style shooting/adventuring segments.

During these sections, the player is confronted with goofy looking backwards walking ghouls that attack you by shoving their hands down your throat.

"GIMME' BACK MY TIC-TACS!"

There’s only a handful of enemy skins, and only about 2-3 different enemy types throughout the game, resulting in a bland and repetitive experience.

Worse yet, most of the enemies have horribly inflated lifebars, resulting in boring gameplay that takes forever to get through.

No joke, I put a third of a 300 round magazine into an enemy’s head one time, only to find that I had to stop to reload before I finally killed him.

That, my friends, is called padding one’s gameplay.

Pictured: About half of the total enemies in Deadly Premonition. I'm not even joking.

Being as all of these segments take place in a Silent Hill-esque “other world,” the creators of this game may as well have omitted the shooting segments altogether, as I think it would have been more efficient to simply force the player to run away from danger.

Anyone remember Run Like Hell? Shitty game, fun premise...

Which brings me to the quick-time segments of Deadly Premonition.

They were actually quite good.

While the button variations weren’t diverse enough, (B always dodges throwing axes) their frequency and difficulty level are pretty good.

I especially enjoyed the protracted chase segments, as they were actually quite tense, and made impressive use of a split-screen effect showing both York’s and the pursuer’s perspective at the same time.

Pictured: The Bad-Ass Pursuer. Playable at one point in the game!

In all, Deadly Premonition is an impressively detailed game for a budget title.

While it lacks polish in virtually every area, it’s easy to see where the developers had good ideas, but lacked the resources to act on them.

Requiring the player to eat, sleep, shave, and clean their wardrobe regularly was a nice touch that went well with the game, being as it forces you to play out every minute of every day in-game.

Pictured: My favorite suit in the game.

Well, that is unless you’re smoking to speed up time.

I enjoyed the deadline system for the story missions, as I found it fun to cruise around town all day doing side-missions, only to take a look a the clock and discover I only had 5 minutes before I had to be at the old mansion for an important story event.

Despite all of my praise though, Deadly Premonition is definitely only for those who, like me; can find it within themselves to play the game and accept it’s problems.

I picked up the game because I was intrigued by it’s characters and story.

I accept that it’s hideous, often times boring, and only has about a half dozen tracks of music.

Because of this, I simply cannot recommend Deadly Premonition to anyone but myself.

It’s not a game for everyone, but I happened to enjoy my time with it.

I’ll probably never touch it again, but it was fun while it lasted…

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

The Best MAN!!! #3

First thing’s first, it needs to be said that Mega Man 3 has one of the best soundtracks in all of gaming.

Well, it's an improvement from the first 2, but still, that is some shitty cover art.

Not only that, but it’s Title Theme is MY FAVORITE track of the NES era.

That’s right, not The Moon from Ducktales,

not the Super Mario Bros. theme,

but the Title Theme for Mega Man 3.

Give it a listen:

That business aside, Mega Man 3 was a truly awesome Mega Man game.

I mentioned yesterday that I’m still on the fence as to whether I like Mega Man 2 or 3 best, however I’ve found that as I’ve grown older I tend to favor 3 just a little bit more.

The game introduced several new features that would go on to become staples of the series.

Well, that is until Capcom decided to whore themselves to the “Xbox Generation” and release the DLC oddities that are Mega Man 9 and 10 anyway…

WTF!!!!????

Protoman and Rush the dog made their first appearances in Mega Man 3.

The pair didn’t really add much in terms of gameplay, other than serving as a lame miniboss

Protoman: He jumps, he shoots, he sucks the cock.

and replacement for the numbered gadgets of the previous game respectively,

Rush: Fucking worthless when not in Jet form.

however their addition to the series canon personalized, and added character to a roster of characters that was actually pretty slim for the time.

More importantly however, Mega Man 3 gave us the slide maneuver.

While the slide has since been removed in those goddamn fuckin’ DLC games, I always found it to be a wonderful addition Mega Man’s limited repertoire of moves.

It expanded the level design by allowing you to enter narrow passages.

It sped up the pace of the gameplay due to your ability to progress faster through the stages.

It allowed the bosses patterns to be more aggressive, as you now had the ability to dodge quickly.

In all, it was a great innovation that changed Mega Man forever… Or at least until the DLC games.

That’s enough Blue Bomber cock-sucking though, let’s get down to who’s The Best MAN!

That would have to be:

Snake Man

SNAAAAAAAKKKKKKE MAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNN!!!!

This one was almost a 3-way tie.

However, by MANdate of MAN-law, there can only be one Best MAN, and that just happens to be Snake Man

As a kid, Gemini Man was my favorite, hands down.

Remember that Bubble Man helmet I had my mom make for me way back when?

Well, I also wanted her to make me a Gemini Man one.

I never got that helmet, but even so, I still loved Gemini Man.

He had great background music,

a neat fighting style, and probably the pimpest weapon in Mega Man 3: The Gemini Laser.

Gemini Laser Skin Treatment = Icky...

Next to Gemini Man, Shadow Man was a close favorite as well.

I don’t really buy into the whole “he’s awesome ’cause he’s a ninja thing,” however I find that his character, trademark shuriken weapon, and crazy stage made him standout nonetheless.

Don’t laugh at ninjas and Jesus just “because.”

YOU’RE LETTING THEM WIN.

Finally, we come to Snake Man.

Amongst the 3, Snake Man stands out as perhaps the most iconic design.

He’s got the crazy snake helmet, with the distinctive ponytail-like portion of the snake sticking out behind him.

Well, as a kid I thought it looked like a ponytail...

He’s got a gimmicky weapon that travels across the floor and just happens to be vital to beating the game.

On top of that, his stage is wonderfully designed, with good, but not great, background music.

Also, the actual fight with Snake Man is pretty intense, largely due to the tiered nature of his arena.

Mega Man battling Snake Man with the Shadow Shuriken.

In my eyes, Snake Man is the tortoise to the hares that are Shadow Man and Gemini Man.

He may not be the flashiest, he’s certainly not a ninja, but for some utterly intangible reason, he’s The Best MAN in Mega Man 3.

By the way, the best stage music in Mega Man 3 is Spark Man’s stage:

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MASSIVE Summary of Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend, Part IV

Welcome back everyone, to the fourth and final part of my MASSIVE Scene-By-Scene Summary of Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend!

Yesterday, things were looking up for our heroes, as we were treated to our first glimpse of the awesome power of Ultraman Zero!

What evil tricks does Ultraman Belial have up his sleeve for our awesome new hero?

Read on to find out!

Let me begin by saying this: Kudos to the people over at Tsuburaya for not fucking up by having Zero fail to live up to his hype.

He does.

And he does it well.

Too well in fact.

You remember in Dragonball Z movie 12 when Goku and Vejita fused into Gojita and flattened Janenba inside of a minute?

Okay, maybe you don't. I do though, so fuck you.

Well, that was awesome because we spent half of the movie waiting for the fusion to happen, and when it finally did, we were treated to the arrival of a character so powerful that he pretty much turned the whole power level spectrum upside down.

Ultraman Zero on the other hand, gives the same impression of being overwhelmingly powerful, but we spend 10 minutes watching him be awesome.

10 minutes is an eternity when dealing with awesomeness.

As was the case in populating a movie with, literally, over a hundred unique monsters, sometimes less is more.

Anyway, personal objections aside, Zero cleans house in epic fashion, taking out all the monsters, and pwning Belial like a little bitch without so much as breaking a sweat.

"SHIENKYAKU!" Brownie points to all those that recognize the reference!

Eventually, Zero blasts Belial with possibly the pimpest Ultra finisher in franchise history, sending him into a volcanic ravine.

You would think that would be the end of the battle, but being as this is an Ultraman movie, Belial decides to come back for one more round by combining the fallen souls of his 100 bitches into a single massive, rod-puppet controlled body.

So rubbery... So very rubbery...

With the arrival of this most impressive super monster, Ultraman Leo and Astra finally decide to show up.

No sign of Ultraman King though, lazy bastard.

Everyone jumps into battle against the largely immobile super monster, launching their respective trademark attacks, and unfortunately inflicting little to no damage in the process.

Oh yeah, you know Dyna tried to put it in his mouth. However, even a dick licker like Dyna couldn’t fit 100 cocks in there at once…

Just when things start to look grim for our heroes, Rei gets the bright idea to use his Battle Nizer to take control of the still functioning Pimp Cane that Belial dropped in his battle with Ultraman Zero.

Apparently, this is what it takes to steal internet from Comcast these days...

Sure enough, the plan works beautifully, and the super monster is thrown into spasms and seizures, as the 100 monsters comprising it’s body begin to rebel against it.

Ultraman Zero approaches the Ultra Spark, (yup, it hasn’t moved since Belial planted it in the ground almost an hour ago) and uses it’s power to transform his twin Eye Sluggers into one of those Klingon blade thingies.

Yeah, this time YOU know what it is, not me. Fuckin' Star Trek, bein' all complicated n'shit...

Following this, Ultraman orders everyone to, you guessed it, use their trademark attacks to distract Belial (he’s mounted atop the super monster’s head) and the monsters so Zero can land the killing blow.

From a distance it almost looks like the end of Ghostbusters...

Cue epic explosion:

Sorry, no George Lucas Special Edition "Vertical Rings" though. Maybe in 20 years.

With that, Belial is finally defeated, and peace restored to the universe.

Ultraman Zero returns the Ultra Spark to it’s rightful place, thereby redeeming his past wrongdoings and freeing the Ultra homeworld from it’s icy state.

"Okay Taro, you can have your ice cream back."

Asuka and the ZAP crew are invited back to the Ultra homeworld for “thank you’s” and mutual, emphatic nodding.

Unfortunately, they aren’t allowed to tour the planet, as apparently the radiation of the Ultra Spark will, well, kill them.

Dyna escorts Rei and the humans back home, and then Ultra King brings our film to an end with a nifty little speech that isn’t all that dissimilar from the one at the end of Starship Troopers.

"They'll fight, and they'll win! Join the Mobile Infantry today! Would you like to know more?"

Oh yeah, and then there’s a last minute reveal where we find out Belial’s still alive and will likely show up whatever Ultra whatsit they decide to follow this movie up with…

But you wouldn’t care about that.

Hope you enjoyed the experience of READING a plotless movie, I know I did.

Hopefully, I’ll never do something like this again, don’t think my brain can take the stress…

Until tomorrow folks!  See you later!

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MASSIVE Summary of Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend, Part III

Welcome back everyone!

Where we last left our heroes, they were fighting for their lives at the Space Graveyard against the evil Ultraman Belial’s army of 100 monsters!

How will they make it out of this one? Read on to find out!

Some time during the “Mega Monster Battle,” the movie takes a break to check on the ZAP crew, and what they’ve been up to all this time.

Hey, remember these guys!? Yeah, me neither...

Turns out, they’ve been sittin’ around with their thumbs up their butts.

In fact, despite all the time that’s passed, they’re just now discussing the idea of tracking down Rei.

Unfortunately, it is revealed that the Space Graveyard is light years away and would take decades to get to anyway, OH MY GOD LOOK!!! A SPACE DRAGON!!!!!!

.... I got nothin'.

Oh well, I was getting bored of that conversation anyway.

Well, turns out this, uh, space dragon, is called Space Dragon Nurse, and apparently it works for Belial, cause it goes after the ZAP crew’s Pendragon ship like they stole from it.

Eventually, Nurse catches up to our heroes and coils around their ship, viciously constricting it in the process.

Then, for apparently no reason at all, Alien Zetton decides to join the party, teleporting into the hull of the Pendragon.

His first action is of course, to start waving a gun around like a chump.

Well now, I don't see how pointing a gun in everyone's faces in going to help blow up their ship any faster, but okay.

With Zetton bein’ all gangsta’, Nurse crushing their ship, and all of the universes’ Ultramen apparently off doing more important stuff, things look crazy bad for the ZAP crew, when out of nowhere, another plot convenience arrives to save the day!

And I thought he looked dumb BEFORE he bleached his hair...

Behold, Shin Asuka AKA Ultraman Dyna!

Now, normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, after all, Deus Ex Machina is the name of the game in Ultraman movies, but in this case, Dyna’s not even from the same continuity, the same universe as the other Ultramen.

Oh yeah, and he was a clown-ass bitch that nobody liked in the first place.

Whatever… Anyway, Asuka beats the tar out of Zetton, then elects to TELEPORT our heroes to the Space Graveyard to lend a hand in the battle against Belial.

How convenient.

Oh wait, but first Dyna has to blow the shit out of ‘ole Nurse:

Nurse go boom!

We then cut back to the battle at hand, where we are treated to a sequence wherein Rei takes on a number of human-sized monsters, well, after he transforms into his Super Saiyan, I mean Reionix form.

... You sure he's not related to Ultraman somehow?

Following this little skirmish, Belial and Rei once again pick up their “Join the Dark Side” conversation, only this time, I shit you not, Rei actually gives in!

That’s like Darth Vader bein’ all like:

"Yo, Luke. Join the Dark Side n'shit."

Then Luke bein’ all like:

"Man, fuck dat' shit, FUCK YO' FAAAAAAACE!!!!"

Then Darth bein’ all like:

"Yo, c'mon dawg, foh' real."

Then Luke bein’ all like:

"Yeah okay, sounds fun."

ANYWAY, Rei freaks out and turns into a Dark Reionix or some shit, presumably because he gets too pissed off or something.

Consequently, this also causes Gomora to go Super Saiyan, as well as totally batshit crazy, meaning he starts focusing his attention exclusively on the Ultramen.

Oh yeah, and that worthless piece of CGI crap, Ritora, is nowhere to be seen.

"How nature says, do not touch."

Gomora proceeds to clean house as Ultraman Dyna and the ZAP crew finally show up just in time to calm Rei down.

I gotta’ say, Captain Hyuga has probably the craziest and most awesome entrances I’ve seen in awhile.

Right after he tells the pilot, Haruna, to land, he goes and does this:

HOLY FUCKING SHIT.

He jumps out the fucking ship!

What follows is an embarrassingly melodramatic and LONG sequence wherein the ZAP crew all try to stage an intervention for Rei by physically restraining him and repeatedly calling out his name.

Yeah, ’cause I’m sure that’s exactly what the specialists do when uncle Jeb won’t put down the crack pipe.

Despite this, I have to say, things do wrap up pretty epic-ly as Captain Hyuga slow-motion smacks Rei back to his senses.

WAAAAAAAAAAATAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!

During all this chaos however, Ultraseven gets low-blowed by Belial, resulting in him being incapacitated moments after throwing his Eye Slugger into space.

Because Dyna is a cock-goblin, and couldn’t possibly make up for the loss of Seven, our heroes immediately start falling behind in battle.

Cut back to Ultraseven’s son and Leo off in space training.

During their sparring match, a cute little red alien, Pigmon has been hopping around in the background, being well, cute.

Not sure "cute" was the best word...

At some point, Pigmon is almost crushed, however, Seven’s son manages to step in just in time to save him.

Apparently Leo was counting on this happening at some point, ’cause he calls an end to their training session, declaring his pupil ready to be a real Ultraman.

Ultraman King finally makes his presence known to everyone, throwing out a few inspiring words in the process, then sending Seven’s son, who apparently wasn’t aware of who his dad was, on his way after Seven’s Eye Slugger (that mohawk blade on his head, c’mon man, try an’ keep up) crashes on the training planet.

With that, Ultraman King orders Seven’s son’s armor removed, then promptly sends him on his way to fight Belial.

Curiously enough, despite the universe being at stake, Ultraman King, Leo and Astra don’t so much as call a cab.

Oh well, it’s only the universe, not like we can’t just get another one of those.

Cut back to Dyna chugging the cock with a smile:

Only Dyna could elect to take on 100 penises at once...

Just before Dyna drowns in all that cock sauce however, Ultraseven’s son FINALLY shows up, blowing up a half dozen monsters and rescuing his father in one fell swoop.

With that, Ultraseven’s son is finally revealed in full, declaring himself Ultraman Zero:

And wouldn't you know it, he actually looks pretty bad ass.

Check back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend!

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MASSIVE Summary of Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend, Part II

Welcome back to the Ultra Summary of “Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend!”

Yesterday we covered the film’s opening act, wherein the evil Ultraman Belial wrecked the Ultra Homeworld of the M-78 Nebula and set out on his way to summon an army of 100 giant monsters!

Read on to find out what happens next!

Our story resumes as we are whisked away to planet Dent, an Earth-like planet that Rei and the ZAP crew are currently assigned to explore.

It’s interesting to note that the folks at Tsuburuya managed to slip in a bit of fanservice here in form of giving that dick eater Musashi Haruno (from Ultraman Cosmos) a brief cameo.

Only God knows how many cocks have graced those lips...

Not 2 minutes after the ZAP crew touch down, a giant monster, Zaragas, shows up and tries to kill them.

"GET, IN, MAH' BELLAY!!!!!!!!"

Such is the life of a human in the Ultra universe.

The ZAP crew pull out their HANDGUNS and start plugging away at the 200 ft. tall Zaragas, only to find that it’s not very effective…

Fortunately, Rei, Pokemon master that he is, just happens to have just the Fighting Pokémon needed to carry the day.

"He's goin' for the Thai clinch!"

After a few Tail Whips and Quick Attacks, Rei orders Gomora to use Horn Drill, which, unbelievably, actually lands for a change and causes Zaragas to faint in one hit.

In truth, the wild Zaragas finds this particular form of penetration to be pleasurable rather than painful.

Following this, we are almost treated to some dialogue between the ZAP crew members, but just before they can open their mouths, Moebius drops in and… takes off into space with Rei in his hand.

The scene that follows is, in short, the plot.

Everything you need to know, every little bit of exposition you will ever need to understand just what’s going on in the movie, is covered in this one scene as Hibino Mirai/Ultraman Moebius talks at Rei.

Man, this guy's hair just gets more and more epic every time I see him...

Apparently Anakin, I mean Belial, was a young Ultraman way back when that broke the Ultra law and touched the Ultra Spark, sampling it’s power.

Cocaines' a hell of a drug...

Touching the Ultra Spark proves to be too much for young Belial, as it drives him nuts and gives him an insatiable lust for power, kind of like ‘roids.

With that, the Ultra brothers banish Belial and leave him out in deep space, where he becomes possessed by the power of an alien named Reiblood.

That'd be a helluva' thing to walk in on.

With his new powers in tow, as well as his Giga Battle Nizer, which gives him the power to control 100 monsters, Belial wages war on the Ultra homeworld.

Things go pretty much as they did earlier in the movie, except this time around, Mr. Deus Ex Machina himself, Ultraman King shows up.

Then one day, the great Burger King descended from the heavens, and all was good.

Long story shot, Belial gets thrown into the Rubik’s Cube/Phantom Zone and is never seen again… until 5 minutes into this movie.

Moebius explains to Rei that the alien that possessed Belial, Reiblood, just happens to be of the same race as Rei himself.

Through logic unknown to me, Moebius comes to the conclusion that Rei will be a key factor in winning the battle against Belial.

Meanwhile, Belial takes up residence at the Monster Graveyard, using the combined powers of the Ultra Spark and his Giga Battle Nizer to revive his army of 100 monsters.

Whoops. Somebody done overfed their gold fish...

Belial will spend the next half hour or so of the movie roasting marshmallows with his monster buddies.

Seriously, after freeing himself from imprisonment with a shit ton of gusto and brew-ha-ha, Belial spends a third of the movie doing jack shit.

Oh well, he might not do anything, but he at least sends some of his buddies to take out Moebius and Rei who’ve now decided to go back to the Ultra homeworld to snag the last bit of light that Taro managed to salvage.

Dorako, Bemustar and Salamandora get the jump on our heroes, then curiously decide to stand around and do nothing with the opportunity.

So... You guys just gonna' stand there, or what?

Fortunately, Belial saw fit to send Alien Shaplay to act as their wrangler.

And Shaplay done brought his gat’. That’s right, he been tuh’ prison.

That's right, Tec-9 in space. Fuckin' Gangsta'...

One of the most absurdly acrobatic shoot-outs in cinema history follows, complete with over-the-top tactical rolls and homages to Equilibrium’sGun Kata.

Yes, I own Equilibrium. And no, I don’t think it’s the best movie ever.

Moving on, Rei elects to let Mirai take on Shaplay all by his lonesome, reasoning that he will use the opportunity to take on the 3 giant monsters hanging out just over the hill by summoning Gomora.

Unfortunately, Rei slips and drops his Poké Balls, I mean Battle Nizer, into a crevice.

I hella' thought for sure he was gonna' Force Pull it to himself. No fooling.

At the same time, Alien Shaplay barfs gunk all over Mirai’s transformation device, the Moebius Brace, thereby restricting him to his human form.

Fortunately, Ultraseven’s capsule monsters, Windam, Mikuras and Agira show up to save everyone from the monsters that were in no way posing a threat.

"This is a real slobber-knocker!"

As the melee unfolds, Ultraman and Ultraseven, in human form, show up to aid our heroes in their respective crises.

In short, Dan Moroboshi helps Rei retrieve his Battle Nizer, and Shin Hayata uses an assault rifle(?) to put a few rounds in Shaplay, causing him to be buried by an avalanche.

What follows is one of the hokiest zoom-in reveals I can recall in recent history.

Ultraman gets HARDCORE.

With the monsters defeated for the moment, our band of heroes settle down for a Ultra Pow-Wow to discuss a plan to take on Belial.

Seeing as Ultramen aren’t exactly known across the universe as “planners” so much as “fighters,” their plan boils down to getting their powers back and recruiting Ultraseven’s conveniently over-powered son so they can get their lunch box back from Belial or some shit.

I don’t know; I wasn’t paying attention. 2 dialogue scenes in 45 minutes of fighting has a way of A.D.D-ing the fuck out of you.

It's a good thing that hood is blocking his view. That boys' eyeing him something fierce.

Also convenient however, is the fact that Ultraseven’s son is off on a faraway planet training with Ultraman Leo and his brother Astra.

Well, he isn’t exactly training so much as he’s going through a sort of initiation.

You see, he just happened to try and touch the Ultra Crack Rock, I mean Ultra Spark, just like Belial did.

Fortunately he was stopped just in time by Ace and Jack, who promptly sent him off to Ultra Rehab.

"Someone touched my ass!"

Anyway, in the present, we are shown clips of Ultraseven’s son sparring with Leo while Ultraman King looks on from above.

Seven’s son is, once again, conveniently clothed from the waist up in a suit of armor designed to encumber him so as to train his muscles or some shit, really though it’s just a clever way to mask his form until the final reel.

May I remind you, that these guys are supposed to be made of fucking LIGHT.

Well, because Rei didn’t get to use his Pokémon in that last battle, Shaplay, somehow freed from the avalanche, pops up again and throws out his strongest monster yet, Black King!

What follows is a brief skirmish, wherein Gomora pwns the shit out of ‘ole Black King.

My guess is that the “Black” in Black King’s name refers to him being a Dark type Pokémon, ’cause Gomora’s Fighting moves were super effective…

Anyway, Shaplay follows our heroes into the chamber housing Taro’s frozen body, then promptly proceeds to engage in another bullet ballet with them.

...which he promptly loses.

With Shaplay and Black King defeated, our heroes approach Taro’s frozen body, and retrieve the power they need to transform and combat Belial.

Mass nodding and transformation sequences follow shortly thereafter.

HENSHIIIIIIIIIN!!!!!!

With that, our heroes take off to face Belial for the final showdown.

Hang on, what now?

We’ve just hit the 50 minute mark, and our heroes are already on their way to the final battle?

Where they fuck did they hide the middle of the movie!?

*Sigh* Oh well, moving on…

Remember when I told you Belial spent a good third of the movie with his thumb up his butt?

Well, we’re now almost an hour into the movie and he’s still just sitting around marveling at the majesty of his pimp cane.

Dumb shit...

It’s not long however, before our heroes crash the party at the Space Graveyard and get ready to raise hell.

But not before Belial and Rei engage in the obligatory “Join the Dark Side” conversation.

Belial somehow reasons that, Rei should join him because they are of the same race.

Rei declares such words untrue, and therefore impossible, then summons Gomora and this faggety-ass CGI bird thing called Ritora.

In response, Belial uses his pimp cane to call out all 100 of his huge-ass bitches at once.

Goddamn 'dat be a lot ah' bitches...

What follows is perhaps the Ultra brawl to end all Ultra brawls.

The fight is energetic, colorful and well-shot, with virtually every one of the 100 monsters represented to some degree, however if ever there was a case to argue that 100 monsters is just too many for one movie, this would be it.

Black Joe layin' the smack down on Ultraseven.

Seriously, as awesome as this fight is, it goes on all the way to the end of the movie.

And remember, we’re barely an hour in.

Wow, that climax sure popped up early! Tune in tomorrow for Part III!

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