BIG Announcement: Debut Screening Announced!

Cosmic Rage Siouxper Con Promo
Remember last week when I said I had some things going on behind-the-scenes? Well here part of it is. A DEBUT screening of Cosmic Rage is going to be held at a debut con, Siouxper Con, in my home state of South Dakota.

I can’t really put into words how excited I am to get to debut Cosmic Rage in South Dakota. Many people here know of the project and have supported it. However, there wasn’t a great avenue to get it debuted to anime and comic minded fans. Enter Siouxper Con and their amazing staff for allowing me to debut my work in South Dakota.

Following the screening, I will being a Q/A with those in attendance about the production of the project and also what the future holds for Cosmic Rage. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Again, a big THANK YOU to the South Dakota Arts Council for supporting Cosmic Rage. An exciting 2016 starts now!

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Recent Viewing: Terror in Resonance

The summer season of anime is wrapping up, so I thought I would recap the series that survived my cuts along the way, Terror in Resonance. One of the main reasons I wanted to watch this show was the duo of Shinichiro Watanabe and Yoko Kanno, this duo has worked together on some noteworthy projects; Cowboy Bebop and Wolf’s Rain.

The series spans 11 episodes and follows our two main characters Nine and Twelve who are terrorists that are planting bombs. The two of them operate under the identity Sphinx and generally play some games with the police throughout the early part of the series, almost Riddler vs Batman-esque. Many of the riddles are based in mythology and mythological creatures.

The main police character is a detective named Shibazaki and a student by the name of Lisa Mishima gets mixed up with the group after an attack. Rounding out the characters is Five, a mysterious figure with a past link to Twelve and Nine.

The story becomes a cat and mouse game as three different motives are brought to light by the characters and their affiliates. From a pacing standpoint, I felt the series moved pretty well. The introductory episodes do a great job of keeping your attention and developing some of the characters. The middle lays out a bit more backstory to the characters as well as a story twist that leads to a solid payoff in the end.

I typically watch series several times over a period of time, that way I can get to know the series more and pick up on things I missed in the initial viewing. I bring that up, because I believe that there is a social or political commentary in Terror in Resonance. While I can’t go farther into detail on it since I don’t want to spoil such a new series, if you are into shows along those lines, it is a must see. Personally, I will be picking up this series when it comes out to add to my collection. Very good stuff from from the team of Watanabe and Kanno. You can watch Terror in Resonance on FUNimation’s site.

Did you watch Terror in Resonance? What were your thoughts?

Recent Viewing: Godzilla

I have been wanting to see Godzilla since it came out in May, but through the grapevine I heard bits and pieces of the film and decided I would wait to check out the film until it went to the cheap theater in town. I don’t want to get into some of the things I heard prior to the film, and I am going to do my best to avoid spoilers in the film since it has only been out for a couple months.

I also need to preface this review by saying I can’t recall watching any of the previous Godzilla movies or any other “kaiju” films for that matter, outside of Pacific Rim. So with that in mind, let’s jump in.

The opening credits to the film, did a nice job of setting up the film. It had a nice top secret government, “for your eyes only” feel and it had some old historic footage to add to it. The movie opens with some nice paced and well laid out scenes and doesn’t look back from there. The pacing of Godzilla was something that really left an impression on me leaving the theater. None of the scenes felt too long or unnecessary and the film did a great job of making sure that each scene progressed the story. This is my initial reaction of watching the film for the first time, I could change my position after watching the film a few more times. But that is what we go to theaters for, to watch a film and be entertained. For me the film moved right along and told it’s story with purpose.

I didn’t know much about the production of the film heading into it, like what studios worked on the CGI, which there was a lot of. I was pleasantly surprised by all of the CGI in the film and the scope of the CGI from monster creation to city destruction and more. Considering kaiju films are not a big thing in the US I figured the CGI would be pushed to the end of the film and the rest would all be live action, not the case. The CGI was consistently used in the film and nothing seemed out of place.

I don’t think one would need to be a fan of kaiju to enjoy Godzilla. In my opinion, it was set up as a thriller film that a fan of suspense would enjoy, as long as they don’t have a misconception about kaiju films.

Maybe once the film is released for DVD/Blu Ray I will go back and revisit it a little more in depth and I’ll share some more of the film. Very pleased with the film and I will for sure be adding it to my collection when it is released!

Recent Reading: The Flowers of Evil Volume 10

July is here already and there is no better way to start the month off with a new volume of Shuzo Oshimi’s The Flowers of Evil series. I apologize for being wrong in my last post about the series, it looks like volume 10 was out sooner than I expected and it isn’t the final volume!

One of the biggest things that stood out to me with this book is the artwork. The cover of the book is absolutely gorgeous.

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The cover really prepares you for some awesome artwork inside. In particular there is a 2 page spread towards the end of the book that maybe rivals some of the imagery in the earlier books where Nakamura and Kasuga are in the school at night.

At times I would get lost in the art, looking at the grittiness of the hatching in several shots. The environmental shots are amazing, it is one of the best parts of manga, they tend to focus more on settings. Several areas in the book have periods where you get to look at the artwork instead of reading word balloon after word balloon.

This series really hits on the storytelling notion “show not tell”. The facial expressions and more aid the lack of text. Seeing a characters reaction is more powerful than being told how the character is feeling. This might be one of the best volumes I have read.

Seriously though, I can’t get enough of the art in this series, my words don’t do it justice.

In terms of story, after volume 9 I felt a big plot twist was needed or some more conflict. While I think volume 10 may have wandered in one section a bit, the progression of the story was sufficient and didn’t leave me disappointed. Who knows, the area that I felt wandered a bit, could still have a role in the story in future volumes, it’s one of the downsides of reviewing volumes as they come out and not the story as a whole. So take that personal feeling about the story with a grain of salt.

I am very high on The Flowers of Evil, I haven’t had a series keep me this engaged for a while. Very excited for the next volume from Vertical.

Recent Viewing: Kids on the Slope

I recently finished up Kids on the Slope from Sentai Filmworks and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Space Dandy), spanning 13 episodes. The story revolves around the main character, Kaoru, who moves to a new school and becomes friends with the class tough guy, Sentaro. The two of them find a common bond in music and start playing jazz together.

Sentaro’s childhood friend, Ritsuko, hangs out  with the boys as well. The three characters have their moments of friendship, heartbreak and misunderstandings. Surrounding these Kaoru, Sentaro and Ritsuko is an enjoyable cast of characters and family.

The story of Kids on the Slope is a solid mix of relationships, music and family. The story doesn’t feel repetitive, recycled or formulaic as some anime in this genre does, this may be due to the musical element which adds an additional layer to the story or a great blend of side characters to come in and provide depth to the 3 main characters.

Admittedly, the reason I picked up this title was mostly the name attached, Shinichiro Watanabe. All of this works to this point have been some of the best series I have watched.  The second reason, I heard the animation of the series was great and it delivered. If you didn’t check out the tailer I posted above, go check it out and look at the animation, especially when the characters are playing their musical instruments, Sentaro’s hands look great.

Kids on the Slope is one of the better anime titles I have watched recently, that has a strong story and great art style.

Recent Reading: Flowers of Evil Volume 9

The Flowers of Evil series from Vertical continues on with the recent release of volume 9. Personally, I was really excited for this volume to get released, I was heavily anticipating where Shuzo Oshimi was going to take the story. If you haven’t checked out this series yet, you have the summer to catch up before volume 10 is released. The series is worth checking out.

Now, after having said that, I am in a tough position to review volume 9, since I believe volume 10 is the final in the series. So of course this volume won’t have a major plot twist, or some other revelation since the impact of the story will be felt in the final volume.

There was a noticeable punch to the story, but in my opinion, it felt a little forced. I say that, because I feel like volume 9 could have skipped part of the beginning and jumped right into the plot point. Instead I feel like it wasted some time by trying to cram extra content in the first couple chapters, instead of fleshing out some more detail or character interaction.

Volume 9 also seemed to have much less dialogue as the other volumes, which means additional artwork with no text over the top, allowing the artwork to really shine. There are several environments and shots that you can really get lost in the line work, something that I don’t think you can do a lot of with current manga, simply due to the use of tones.

As a stand alone volume of manga, Flowers of Evil may not be the best read. However, it does frame up the final volume well. It is a bit unfair to say the volume is boring since it does the job of preparing you for the closing of the story in next volume, which is set up to be one of the more interesting finales in my recent media consumption.

Recent Reading: The Flowers of Evil Volume 8

I have made it 8 volumes into The Flowers of Evil series, and I must say, it is easily one of my favorite titles in a long time. The character development has been very intriguing. However, when we left the story in volume 7, we were introduced to a new cast of characters for Kasuga to interact with.

I will admit that volume 7 left me a little curious with what direction the story was going to go, volume 8 didn’t disappoint. A new character is introduced, Koji, who is Tokiwa’s boyfriend. Tokiwa introduces Kasuga and Koji outside her house. You can catch a glimpse of a jealous side to Koji as the characters begin to talk and get acquainted. The characters decide to go and hangout; Kasuga reluctantly.

Tokiwa, Koji and Kasuga meet up with other characters in a shack and have a discussion. As the conversation progresses, it shifts more towards getting answers from Kasuga about personal topics. Tokiwa comes to rescue Kasuga and ends the conversation.

Following the events of the group hangout, Kasuga and Tokiwa decide to go out and talk about books and writing. Kasuga is enamored with Tokiwa’s writing and urges her to finish her story. While leaving the area, Kasuga runs into a person from his past Saeki. We learn that it has been three years since the events in the first 6 volumes. Saeki and Kasuga meet up at the end of the volume and talk. The topic of their discussion really sets up volume 9 and has me totally sucked in again, which is out in April.