Thursday, May 26, 2005

School's OUT!!

YES!!! Of course, taking 6 courses by day and 1 more course by night, I was bound to stop blogging for a while. But no more!!!! I'm free, I tell you!

Agenda: Catch up on the blogging status.
Will be posting up pics soon for the figures and DVDs in the past few months, as well as trying my best to give some description (NOT reviews) of them.

Stay tuned.

Friday, February 11, 2005

DVD: Bleach vol. 01

Released a few days ago (~02/02?), the first volume of Bleach has finally been received and watched. Below are my impressions of the disc release. I leave the summary to other people, should they want to do it.

Bleach vol. 1 was released in two different versions. That is, as far as Amazon Japan is concerned (where you can still get it if you want). One contained a Drama CD issue 1 and the other, just by the disc itself. If you're having trouble which one to get, go get the version with the CD, as it's just priced the same. I went with the w/-CD route and am currently enjoying the CD itself.

In terms of packaging, it comes with a jacket-box to hold the DVD and CD cases together. Both discs come in a DVD-sized jewel box. For some reason though, both discs are turned upside-down and were very hard to remove from their respective cases initially. (Sadly I accidentally broke the CD case. [cries] ).

Cover art-wise, we get a standard shot of Kurosaki Ichigo in his Shinigami outfit, while posing as a badass with his Zanpakutou. The shot itself takes the entire cover art and when removed works as a small fold-out poster. The show's lettering are foil-stenciled, and are done somewhat lazily. Instead of having a reverse cover for this release, the DVD specs are listed on one side, while the other has "You are to become a soul reaper"-comment written all over it.
With the disc itself, we get to see no design image at all, except possibly the show's logo and the DVD logo. But that's about it. Heck, both the CD and DVD look almost exactly alike you can confuse the two.

Extras and Menu. Since these two are just going to be short, I'll link them together. If we're talking about the bundled version, the extras include the drama CD and the jacket-box. On disc itself, there's none. There might be some easter eggs but haven't found any so far. Considering this series is an anticipated release, I was really hoping to see even just the creditless OP or ED. The menu itself, leaves much to be desired as well. All you get are the play and menu-buttons, and depending where you are, some episode shots while browsing the chapter stops.

Impression of the episodes itself : If you've basically followed the manga version of the show, I highly suggest that you stick to that version as far as this first set of episodes are concerned. Too many things were moved here and there, and while they make it more cohesive somewhat, it's being done at neck-breaking pace. The episodes themselves weren't bad, but it definitely needed to be slowed down even by a bit. :sd: Of course, this being a manga-to-anime series, it follows the original relatively close, if not for the minor changes. Compared to some shows like Starship Operators or School Rumble, it doesn't take much to understand what is going on with the show.

As a recently aired series, the DVD release does look great in this format. Though I have to wonder if it's just me or do the episodes themselves do kind of look flushed out, if not blurry. In some cases, it's not bothering and serves as to enhance the presentation (like in episode 1), however, in most cases, it's very distracting (episode 4).

Overall, volume 1 serves as an introductory volume for the unfamiliar to the series, and that's just really what it does. No frills, no anything. Well, except the CD. I can only hope that volume 2 gets a nicer DVD cover art and some extras in that this volume didn't.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

The much delayed post...

After 1+ week hiatus, I'm finally able to post again in this thing. Y'know the deal, school + work = less anime viewing time. Though it may seem to have hampered my viewing sessions, I'm glad it happened. In a way, a breather was required for my part, what with the deluge of R1 DVDs I ordered from last year that I am slowly but surely reducing in size (just finished the underrated and often ignored Black Heaven and the first volume of Kino's Journey), as well as the still torrenting (hah!) wave of what's currently on in Japan (well, what I'm viewing anyway).

Just by looking around, looks like a lot has happened as far as the new shows are concerned. Bleach managed to pick up now. Xenosaga Animation is getting it's DVD release in April, and a lot of mysterious convoluted stuff is happening in My-HIME. Jinki EXTEND got a lot better too, from what other blogs are showing!! I guess it's time to do a marathon now. -_-

Xenosaga. As far as this anime goes, someone confirmed it that it's going to run only for 12 episodes. DVD version is to come out on Apr. Go check CDJapan for the actual release details. While I'm a heavy fan of the line, I'm having some serious doubts now as to how the anime is beind dealt with. First episode showed incredible promise, that while there were some significant changes, it catered to every fanboy's delight. Sure, we see some annoying cowlicks or that KOS-MOS used her special weapon too early on, nonetheless, it was animated good and it was really cool to hear some of the original seiyuu reprise their game counterparts here. But come the subsequent episodes, I can only ask, "what happened?" Things really got off-model, and not animated correctly. It's as if there were the same instances with the aired version of Bakuretsu Tenshi or the sudden nose-dive of Vandread's second episode (well, at least the CG remained intact). We're already at episode 5, and there's still no sign of improvement. KOS-MOS and Momo are two of the known characters that really get off-modeled. Junior is slowly joining their ranks as well...

With the DVD version coming and at a staggering price of $180 for the first box (contains 6 episodes), I'm not sure if I should buy it or not. That's almost the same price as getting the limited edition of Xenosaga Episode II. At least with that one, there are figures included. (Note: If you do the math, Xenosaga Animation boxset actually comes out cheaper than, say individual School Rumble DVDs).

Speaking of figures, my BLEACH figure (Kon and Rukia) along with the Fujisawa Yayoi (Stellvia) figure finally shipped from HLJ. Ichigo is still being held hostage for undisclosed reasons.. [cries]. In addition, it looks like there's a new set of gashapon set that's coming out probably in April. A search in ebay and Hobby Search turned up the results. IMO, this set looks more promising than the previous one.

My A!MG Terzetto figures have also arrived but with a very significant incident. Once I'm finally resolved the matter with the seller, I'll get the pics up for this set.

School Rumble. I'll have to drop this one from my viewing pile. Why? Because I'm getting the R2 release anyway. True that I'll end up waiting for a while til I see the next episode (uh, I think 17?) but then again, it works to my advantage. By not seeing it, the anticipation level increases. Besides, I'm doing my part to support our Japanese brothers' industry. Hmm.. still have to pick up Eri's OST.

By the way, pick up Starship Operators from Amazon JP. Not only is it an excellent show, first volume DVD is pretty cheap too. Of course, it's probably a ruse to sucker you in (much like School Rumble 1), but hey, it's an excellent show.

Did I mention that I got my computer fixed? Now I can take screencaps once again! ^_^

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Bleach episode 16

First part.. What the hell. Succeeding part til closing, kickass. They really should have opted out the angst part from Rukia. It didn't suit her at all. That and there's too much talking from the other Shinigamis. Good thing Ishida's ther to shut them all up. ^_^ Then he got beaten...

Bright side? Mood, episode setting, and animation are at an all-time high. Rukia's also like SailorMoon's Usagi. LMAO. Yes, I'm aware it's a code.

Downside ? Too much dialogue, and it all feels too familiar with other fighting anime shows, like Kenshin and Naruto. The whole transformation of Renji's sword was somehow out of place. Add this to the fact that you could get a sense of the rush from the production-side cramming and cutting a lot of stuff from the manga. Though I'm enjoying the anime itself as well as the manga, I don't know. I'm getting a deja vu aura (re: Tenjo Tenge) all of a sudden.


** patiently waits for the localized manga.

Fellow blogger Athena managed to obtain a copy of the new ending song for Bleach and translated it. Give it a look and read. It's very well done.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

PITA...

In my attempts to fix my machine, suffice to say it's more messed up than before. Now it has lost its DVD viewing and CD burning capabilities as well.. Piece of shit. Well, off to the repair center for this one. Good thing it's still under warranty.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Bleach episode 15

* Note: Due to crappy setup and my funky computer acting up, I won't be able to get the pics up til this weekend.

Bleach 15. Interesting and crammed are two words that describe this episode. It's not a filler per se, but it's not a whole episode also. It's a combination of both. Basically, a simmering down of things that happened since the Quincy sub-arc, and a preparation for the upcoming Soul Society arc. Frankly, I just wish they had concentrated on the former so that it wouldn't have made the Kon-featurette seem out of place.

A word on the design and animation though. Animation is still high all throughout, and despite the color somewhat being a bit flushed out, the designs are still pretty consistent for the entire case. All except Orihime. She was actually fluctuating from a growth-spurting girl to a freakin' cow!!! [fanboys can be heard swooning in] I don't know if it's a joke of the episode alone, but Orihime's breasts were only second to Rukia's face, in terms of panning shots.

As for the Kon featurette, it's too bad that it was severely changed and reduced compared to the manga. We don't even get to see Chad chasing the poor guy. On the bright side, we get to see Kon by the end Rozen Maiden-style. LOL!

School Rumble 16

Girl gang goes to remote location. Guys crash in. Yakumo and Harima do a 1-1 this time. Awesome. More misunderstanding, partially thanks to Tenma.. ^_^ After that, some minor revelations were made.

I have to admit the calibre presented by the last two episodes had me a bit wanting for more of the same story quality and feeling (They just had to tease us, didn't they?). Too bad, they reverted to do more gags instead. More Yakumo & Eri this time around, and still no Akira. [sigh] Or Itoko [double sigh].

On the bright side, got to love Jubei-chan Eri Sawachika. ^_^

Monday, January 17, 2005

The R2 Onslaught. (i.e. the beginning of the end).

Remember when I said I was going to cut back? The good thing is I still am... as far as R1 purchases go. I've been R1-order free for a good 3 weeks now (Hooray for me! Hah!). The bad side, those supposedly saved funds are going to be diverted now on future R2 purchases. Looking at the current season, it appears it's going to be a hoozie. [cries] Fortunately enough, through the wonderful method of elimination, and other powers be, I have limited most of the items I want to the following:

- Bleach TV
- School Rumble TV
- Jinki EXTEND: the Animation
- XENOSAGA the Animation
- Mahoraba

Some of them haven't been listed yet, but you get the gist of which titles I'm going to be getting as far as the R2 is concerned. At the moment, my concern would be Bleach TV though. While it is theoretically the cheapest as far as per volume goes, it will most likely be the longest. Heck, rumors are already circulating it will be 13 volumes minimum. (Double gagging Ack!) As for the rest of the anime that I'm watching or expecting to watch, it's a wait-&-see deal.

I would still want to get Tsukuyomi and Rozen Maiden though, but those two cost a mighty arm and leg. [cries]