Posted on May 12th, 2007

Filed under: Pictures,Reviews — Karl Olson @ 4:19 pm

So, last night I hung out a with few friends of mine and played WiiPlay on the Wii. Pretty cool, though it’s a bit annoying that you have play through a game first to unlock the next game. It assumes that you know nothing about playing with the Wiimote. To be fair, I really didn’t, but I really wanted to play Ping Pong and Pool immediately. However, it’s a lot of fun and really is the kind of gaming I like – namely, it’s a game, not a story. Not that I don’t think of video games as a valid storytelling medium – on the contrary, I think they allow for a previously unheard of level of immersion, and can communicate just as much as any film or novel. It’s just that since I’m already getting a heavy dose of storytelling from manga and anime, I don’t have time to invest in storytelling-oriented gaming, so gaming that just does a good job of being instant fun, like Wii multiplayer games or matchmaking-based multiplayer FPS are definitely favorites of mine.

All in all, I’d say Wii Play is like 7.7/10 (and not a review magazine/website 7.7, but a real, “this game is a C+” 7.7.) as it could be a bit user friendly or at least a bit more instantly gratifying, but it’s worth picking up if you have the console and you have friends. I hope more of these party games have online play in the future as well. That’d be a blast.
hyphy hyphy hyphy juice and karl
Now, on the way over to my friends’ apartment, we stopped by a 7-11, and what should have there but Hyphy Juice. For those of you not in the know, Hyphy is a sub-genre of rap from the Bay Area that popularized the concept and term “Ghost Riding the Whip.” As I enjoy Hyphy, atleast from a production/music perspective (the lyrics are pretty much about partying and getting Hyphy, which is cool and all, but necessarily notable except for things like Mistah Fab’s ingenious “Ghost Ride It”,) I was compelled to buy Hyphy Juice, and much to my surprise, it tastes pretty good. It’s like Grape and Apple Jolly Ranchers, with no gross energy drink taste or after-taste. A little over sweetened maybe, but still very good. If I drank energy drinks regularly, Hyphy Juice would be my weapon of choice.

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So, I Just Finished Bingeing Threw Honey & Clover…

Posted on October 5th, 2006

Filed under: Reviews — Karl Olson @ 2:34 am

…Or rather, through the last 10 episodes of season 1 and all of season 2. I’ve always been a sucker for more character driven anime, and for anime with more realistic settings. I mean, I wouldn’t have had series like Haibane Renmei, Twin Spica and Koi Kaze in my top 5, with Haibane sitting at what felt like a permanent number 1. However, Honey & Clover just might have aced it out. Maybe it’s just because it resonated so directly with my current life (student in a transitional phase and so on.) I mean, after a certain point it felt like I was watching my past, present and possible futures play out before my eyes almost. It was simulateously very hard to watch, yet so compelling and frank I felt that I had to finish it.

But really, it’s an excellent show – like I said, maybe even my new number 1. I mean, the series is loaded with visual cheats, and I can break down the direction easily at points, but yet, I could still get lost in it, I could still be swept up in it. Only a handful of series can grab me so entirely that I can ignore, nay, embrace it’s flaws and formulas. Honey & Clover joins that club. All of it. There are prettier series, their are more directly metaphysical and intellectual series, but ultimately Honey & Clover does what a great show should do first and foremost – it connects with you. Or atleast it connected with me, and deeply. Maybe I won’t say that when I’m 30 or 40 or whatever, maybe it’s just tapping a different issue than earlier top favorites of mine did, but I know that either way I hope some one licences this so I can buy it. I haven’t wanted to buy a series this bad for a while.

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Z O M G Torrents.

Posted on June 7th, 2006

Filed under: Music News,Reviews — Karl Olson @ 10:02 am

Rhyme Torrents that is, as in the first disc of that compilation is now up online as a torrent. And it’s fairly awesome. It’s by no means perfect, but pretty much everyone raises their game when they aren’t in fact delivering for the first time, though the debut tracks on this CD are fantastic. Particular favorites are as follows:

Nursehella – Nursehellamentary – Absolutely off the hook. With lines like “I’m super evil dead / so won’t you hail to the queen,” combined with her ODB meets Mia delivery and Baddd Spellah’s intensionally raw but excellent production, and it’s got indie radio classic written all over it. It just explodes with personality, and it’s one heck of a track to step on the scene with.

Beefy – Tub of Tabasco – Easily the best rapper in all of Pasco. On a more serious note, he leveled up his game yet again, and the result is just awesome. Funny, energetic and generally great in a party rap way, though there is certainly plenty of wit in their as well.

Monzy – Kill Dash Nine – If you get the reference in the title, you’re already pretty darn nerdy, and after the smart alek 50 cent reference at the very opening of the song (“G STUDENT”,) from there it’s a non-stop barrage of computer references, all in the context of furthering the CS geeksta feud between Monzy and MC Plus+, and with lines like “You thought the seven-layer model /referred to a burrito,” I think there will continue to be “drama in the Ph.D.”

Lil Nix – Off the Markov – Speaking of Comp Sci feuds, Lil Nix swoops in and makes her own claim to be the best Comp Sci mc. The production is a bit plain, but her delightfully jazzy and ambient flow combined with lines like “Homeboy couldn’t program a TI-82,” and “I dream in assembly” result in pretty cool little track.

MC Frontalot vs. Baddd Spellah – Nerdcore Hip Hop 2006 – Absolutely sick. The word “crunk” even applies here – I’m almost expecting Lil Jon to pop out at any minute and be like “NEEEEEEERDCOOOOOOOOORE.” Baddd Spellah just recontextualizes the song excellently, and the additional elements recorded for this new mix are awesome (“In the dos double O six! Uhhh, that’s what year it is, currently.”)

Shael Riley feat Beefy – Miss Information – Filthy, smart alek and insane, but the flows are excellent and the misinformation on various nerdcore mcs is witty and sharp (their jab at me “What’s the problem my son? It seems that you met my friend Ultraklystron! He’s a werewolf, by gum / and he can’t stand Japanese Animation.” The production is pretty pretty solid too.

Oh yeah, my contribution and Rai’s track are the best. Totally 😉

/yes, I will be doing this for each disc as they are released.
//or not.

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Country roads take me home to the place where I belong.

Posted on March 12th, 2006

Filed under: Reviews — Karl Olson @ 3:12 am

So, I recently acquired the latest wave of Ghibli films on DVD, namely My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle and Whisper of the Heart. Howl I caught in the theater, so I’m not hot to watch it right away, but I did watch Totoro and Whisper saturday night. Totoro was quite a fun family film, and undoubtly the best film to introduce kids to Ghibli (and animation in general even,) but it’s definitely an upbeat, straightforward family picture.

Whisper, on the other hand, really connected with me in ways I’m not even sure I can properly describe. The characters in that film, particularly Shizuku and Seiji, resonate really solidly with me. I can completely understand the mindset that drives them, that holds them back, that gives pause to doubt themselves, that makes cry and that makes them smile. This is not only as a creative person striving to hone craft like the characters I mentioned, but also as a person who has been through that feeling of having to better oneself for the sake of another. Further still, the musical elements of the film hit me on multiple levels, and the advice Nishi gave to Shizuka hit me in the same way. The overall ability of the film to wordlessly capture both mono no aware (the pathos of things) and the genuine connections that can form between human beings was simply stunning. Unless Only Yesterday manages to ring even more exactingly with me, Whisper of the Heart is probably my favorite Ghibli film ever.

“Country Road, tomorrow, I’ll be the same, you know
I want to go home but I can’t, farewell, Country Road.”
-from the Japanese lyrics of Country Road.

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This Year’s Anime For Karl? Finally?

Posted on October 19th, 2005

Filed under: Reviews — Karl Olson @ 1:11 am

Just watched the first episode of Paradise Kiss. You know, I’ve been waiting all year for an anime like this – something that’s really neat and fresh. I mean, maybe it’s just that in a sea of garbage, even the dimmest gem shines like a fine diamond. However, I really think it’s an issue of real quality. It is pretty well made, and it’s got a style and design that agrees with me (so pretty and elegant.) It has a sense of humor I can get into (great use of SD and even Looney Tunes-like humor.) It has good music. It has good characters. I mean, it’s a pretty straightforward fairy tale – buttoned down girl broadens her horizons and becomes a pretty model. It’s not necessarily life changing stuff, atleast not yet, but it’s got a level quality and style that’s just been lacking in this year’s batch of new anime. It’s nice to see a short show that’s not just fanboy fodder (KamiChu comes close to fulfilling that requirement, though it’s a little too light at points – kinda uneven – not like I can make great evaluation of it since noone is subbing it regularly.) Maybe it’s just fangirl fodder instead, but if it is, it’s at the excellent, worth-while end of that spectrum. Maybe it just hits a lot of the right notes with me personally, and it’s crap to most people, but I don’t particularly care if that’s the case. Never have been.

To put it another way, I’m really really looking forward to the next episode, and I already wish it was licenced so I could look forward to DVDs with high-rez video. Haven’t had that feeling since… well, Beck.

PS: My thoughts on the Boondocks here.

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Since I probably will doing most of my reviews for Toon Zone… Updatedx1

Posted on July 19th, 2005

Filed under: Reviews — Karl Olson @ 2:15 am

…Here’s a big ol’ list of my reviews:

Someday’s Dreamers Vol.1 – Still agree with this review.
Astro Boy – I retract my positive review of this since they didn’t release an uncut or even fully air the show.
Harvey Birdman – SPF – Still agree with this review.
Grrl Power – Still agree with this review.
Gravitation Vol.1 – Still agree with this review, and I love the tagline for it to this day.
Koge Donbo Interview – Ok, this is actually an interview, but I figure I’d include it anyway.
Kino’s Journey AniMini – Still agree with this review.
Brandy and Mr. Whiskers – Still agree with this review.
Sentimental Journey Complete Series – Still agree with this review.
Gravitation Vol 2. and 3 – Still agree with this review.
Drawn Together – I can’t believe it got renewed.
Cyberteam in Akihabara vol.1 – Still agree with this review. I mean, DOS Burger. That’s just awesome.
HiHiPuffyAmiYumi Pilot – Still agree with this review, but the show never went anywhere, so ultimately, I kinda retract. I mean, even the show itself metareferenced the fact they never do rock star stuff.
DNAngel Vol.1 – Still agree with this review.
Stellvia Foundation I – Still agree with this review.
Gantz Screener – Still agree with this review.
Fighting Spirit vol.2 – After falling asleep during volume 3, maybe I was too nice. It really only works if you like boxing.
Stellvia Foundation I – Still agree with this review.
Petite Princess Yucie vol.1 – Still agree. Someday I’m gonna have to buy the rest of it.
Cromartie High School Screener – Still agree. I really enjoy the finalized disc too.
Spiral vol.1 and 2 – Still agree. I hope Funimation sends the rest, though push comes to shove, I’ll buy it.
Stellvia Foundation II – Still agree with this review.
Madlax Subtitled Screener – No, it’s worse than I thought cause another two episodes didn’t help it.
Koi Kaze vol.1 – Still agree with this review.
Clone Wars Screener – Still agree with this review.
Stellvia Foundation III – Still agree with this review.
Princess Tutu vol.1 – Still agree with this review, and I hope that ADV sticks with it.
Tsukihime Complete Series – Still agree with this review.
E’s Otherwise vol.1 – Still agree with this review.
Travis Willingham Interview – Another interview, but that was fun stuff.
Elfen Lied Screener – Still agree with this review.
Madlax vol.1 – This is why I don’t agree with my prior review: it doesn’t improve.
Gunslinger Girl vol.1 – Still agree with this review. 1000%.
Juniper Lee Screener – Still agree with this review, though half way into the season, I’m still wishing they’d farther.
Ultramaniac vol.1 – Still agree with this review.

Kyo Kara Maoh vol.1 – Still agree cause it’s so new. We’ll see whether later volumes hold up.

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