When reviewing a long-running shounen series, it becomes difficult to keep saying new things. The characters don't change much from one volume to the next and the forward motion of the plot is often incremental. So without going through the plot point-by-point, what can you say about a story like this? Its simplicity is its strength. Lovable characters, fun art, and great dialogue keep something like this alive. Inoue provides plenty of that in Slam Dunk, and this volume is no different from the first two - in all the right ways.
March 2009 Archives
OK, I’m three chapters into RE5. Here are a few thoughts.
1. I have no problem with the controls. I am quite good with them and I’m having a lot of fun with the game.
2. I like that you and your partner have to open doors together. You never get the “I was about to get that ammo!” problem.
3. I don’t like that there’s no way to completely pause in Co-Op. There should be a way to completely pause in case, say, your wife’s UPS starts beeping loudly and she needs help right then. Who can play a game for that long without having to put it down?
4. The whole co-op thing is fabulous. I adore it. This is a LOT of fun so far.
PS. Sorry I haven’t been updating this, I’ll explain why in the coming week or two.
That’s what Shin-Chan is all about: buttcrack, balls, and honor. Honor and a penis.
Oh, you’re still here? Good! Then Shin-Chan might just be for you. The incredibly dirty reimagining of this anime isn’t for everyone—especially kids, and most of all anime purists.
The Shin-Chan we see here in America is not the same long-running show that Japanese viewers enjoy, but instead a ground-up reworking with an entirely new script and characters. It’s akin to how Takeshi’s Castle was ground up and spit out by Spike TV as Most Extreme Elimination Challenge. The only thing intact is the animation. The weird thing? It works.
There's a moment in this volume of Eden when a character is killed. After flipping desperately through the book to see if they could've possibly made it out okay, I had to put down the book and choke back tears. I hardly realized it as it happened, but more than perhaps any character--anywhere, really--I'd grown attached.
Despite what the lines that make up the gorgeous art of Eden might suggest, nothing is black and white in the world Elijah Ballard lives in. There aren't many heroes, and very few people - hero or not - last long. Even with this seemingly blatant disregard for human life, death is not something taken lightly, either. Fortunately, for every time we have to say goodbye, there are a few new faces around the corner.
If you try to tell someone about Berserk, it’s easy to make it sounds like a mindlessly violent piece of popcorn-gore. This is not the story of a man with a giant sword slicing through everything in his path. It only looks that way at first. Watching the show, though, makes it quickly apparent that the violence is secondary—a result of the story and the characters—rather than the focus. Those characters are the real focus of the show, and they are what make Berserk stand the test of time.
Berserk brings us to the kingdom of Midland, a sort of pastiche European-like nation, stuck in a brutal war with neighboring kingdom Chuder. Between them stands the band of mercenaries known as the Band of the Hawk. Led by the charismatic Griffith, the Hawks (which include a single female soldier, Casca) have been hired on by king of Midland in hopes they’ll live up to their spotless reputation as efficient warriors and make a difference in the interminable war. Even more than being a historical war story, though, Berserk is at core a sort of three-man play, starring Guts, Griffith, and Casca.
You're holding your gun to his head: this villain, this monster you've been tracking for days, weeks, maybe months. You've used your wits, your talents, and every last resource getting there, and your finger is on the trigger. Why the hell aren't you pulling it? Why do you still have that save game, right before the end boss, unfinished?
This is something a lot of gamers run into, I think. Pondering it, I've come up with some possible reasons.
The first reason is one that crosses over from other media: It's so good, you don't want it to end. Some games are just fun to play and play. Morrowind was like this. I spent 80 hours with my stupid tiger (he wore a hat) and never finished the game. I enjoyed the gameplay itself so much that I just kept toolin' around, and by the time I eventually got tired of it, I still hadn't beaten it. I made up for this in Oblivion and Fallout 3, so Todd Howard doesn't have to hunt me down in my sleep.
I think another explanation for this--coming from my experience with Final Fantasy X--is the "effort" factor. After about 48 hours of the game, I asked myself "Do I really give a shit about any of these people? Other than Yuna being cute..." The answer was no, and I quit playing. I don't really regret it, either.
The third (and easy) one, is of course, distraction. How many games on the shelf lay unfinished because another, more interesting game came along? The only difference here is the distraction's timing.
I'm sort of just babbling here; this doesn't really have a point. Can you think of any games you've left unfinished, mere minutes from the end?
One of the frustrations I frequently run into with the manga I enjoy is the long periods between releases. Books with as much detail as Vagabond, Blade of the Immortal and Eden aren’t exactly rushed out the door. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it's a bitch on the memory. So on coming back to Eden the characters are not strangers for the most part; I just have to get to know them again. What makes Eden so great is how satisfying that process really is.
The book opens with one of the exciting action scenes that help make Eden one of the best-looking books out there. Cool robots, big guns, and an unflinching eye to the violence of the world. Good cops are torn apart by .50-caliber rounds while a cyborg with a couple big knives is lopping off arms—left and right.