Monday, November 20, 2006

Review -> Scrapped Princess

I was going to do a review of Desire, an absolutely wonderful hentai game that I've just finished. However, something a lot more wonderful and heart-filling stumbled across my way. No, I'm not talking about the recently downloaded Final Fantasy XII that I'm currently playing, though that's really awesome too. I'm talking about this 2003 anime which I've been wanting to download and finally had the time to do it. There may be some spoilers in the review, though not any direct ones, only through comparison; I hope that you can forgive me (I felt like I needed to make that statement). So, let's start!

Full Title: Scrapped Princess
Structure: TV series - 24 episodes
Personal Comment: This anime has got it all!
Favourite Quote: Way too many to add here!

Plot (10/10): That's right, you've read the score correctly! The Casull family: Raquel, Shannon and Pacifica are on the run. A prophecy from the almighty Lord Mauser declares that Pacifica is "the poison that will the destroy the world" when she turns sixteen. Her foster brother and sister swear to protect her against the entire kingdom of Leinwan and against the followers of the Mauser faith. It starts out as a simple high fantasy story, but hastily turns from that into a truly unique experience. Spoiler warning: To put it simply, this anime is a perfect combination of Black Company, Final Fantasy, The Matrix and Dark City. I have never seen such a good blend of techno-fantasy. Most of it is implemented through Clarke's Third Law. Spoilers end here.

Characters (10/10):
What?! Max score again?! YES!!! And that's because the characters re so complex and well detailed that you'll have the impression of them being alive. Everyone has a hidden agenda and is torn between difficult choices. Loyal subjects who are tired of warring betray their king and those who are "evil-spirited" shall not turn upon seeing someone they care about suffer. People hide behind superficial faces while they endure pain deep inside. Trust is gained through hardship and even those tied by blood can turn to betrayal. The epic nature of the story keeps main characters from dying... all the more shocking when you really see that some are not coming back. Character design was made by Takahiro Komori (responsable for Cowboy Bebop... maybe it was his influence that the episode titles include a form of music, much like the aforementioned classic.) Let me just mention some of the seiyu (voice actors): Fumiko Orikasa (Celas Victoria from Hellsing, Hikari from Haibane Renmei) is Pacifica Casull, Shinichiro Miki (Kurz Weber from Full Metal Panic!, Mullin Shetland from Last Exile) is Shannon Casull, Sayaka Ohara (Kimura-sensei's wife from Azumanga Daioh, Alicia Florence from Aria the Animation) is Raquel Casull, Ayako Kawasumi (Osaka from Azumanga Web Daaioh, Kanako Ohno from Genshiken, Nomura Miu from Piano) is Winia Chester, Daisuke Ono (Yukito Kunisaki from Air) is Kidaf Gilott, Yuki Matsuoka (Osaka from Azumanga Daioh, Arumi Asahina from Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Nana from Elfen Lief) is Seness Lulu Giat, Kaori Mizuhashi (Integra Hellsing child from Hellsing, Mercredi from Kiddy Grade) is Zefiris.

Approach (8/10): There are a few flaws about the approach of the anime. Even if you admit that the themes themselves are not original, the way they are presented is unique. The problems are as follows: 1. The humour, although diminished halfway through the series, persists until the very end. You will not see the stupid gap that you experience during Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid and you will forget about the humour due to the high immersion into the story, nevertheless, I believe less comic relief would have been better; 2. Most of the greater plot is revealed about halfway through the series, which I believe is bad. If they had kept ambiguity until the very end, it would have conferred a lot more suspense.

Visuals & Music (10/10): Perfect visuals. High quality , though not that of newer anime, but the scale of it all is truly epic with Sauer, the capital of Leinwan, resembling the White City from Tolkien's novels. The costumes are truly magnificent, making a visible difference between noble and commoner. Facial expressions are detailed and special effects are stunning. Music is extremely appropriate, whether it reflects the strings of bards or the tense orchestra accompanied battles. Responsable for this great musical theme is Hikaru Nanase, who made the music for the Azumanga Daioh characters.

Overall (38/40): Watch this anime! If not for the few flaws in approach, I would rate this as high as Neon Genesis Evangelion, and that's me, the NGE-obsessed freak talking!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

OM Live!

It's been almost a week now, but I haven't thought about writing a post concerning the concert I attended last Sunday.

Where should I start? It was a concert held by Negura Bunget to promote their new album entitled OM. For those who don't know, Negura Bunget is a Romanian folk black metal band. What is this? Folk black metal? You heard me right! What makes it so special? Well, for starters, they have specific sounds which capture the beauty of Romanian folk. Any rocker who likes Gheorghe Zamfir is going to love Negura Bunget. :D

One thing that I found amazing was the use of a bucium during some of the songs. Actually, the whole concert started out with the sound of this Romanian Alpenhorn. As the keyboards played in the background you could feel the whole place being filled with electricity. It was incredible!

Also, the band really transmitted a weird sensation of folk through their style. They are truly unique. I guess that's why they have an international reputation. My favourite song was Hora Soarelui (cool title, huh?).

Also, the band was very friendly. Each member gave me not one, but two autographs, one on the ticket and one on a poster, which were handed out for free, by the way. You also got a free beer for the ticket. How cool is that? I'm not a fan of black metal (people know that I prefer heavy metal), but this was a great experience.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Party! (PARTY!!!)

Note: When reading this post, all present should shout the words in brackets, just like you do when you say King Torg. (ALL HAIL KING TORG!!!)

This post is somewhat overdue, but I couldn't help it, my network connection was very poor yesterday. With that said...

It's been a month since I started university in Cluj and we finally inaugurated my room in the bording house with a well deserved party! (PARTY!!!) We had a lot of people and before I continue I would like to thank everyone for coming (in order of appearance): Andrei, Gabor, Sheri, Endi, Kinga, Pete, Zsiga (pleaase excuse me in case I forgot someone).

We played MtG and even cooked some food, although not without the implicit issues of trying to cook a good meal in a bording house. In the spirit of Kintaro Oe, I will say that "I've learnt so much!" First of which is that food doesn't grow on trees (except for apples... but that's not real food). You need all sorts of shitty ingredients to make good food, ingredients which Endi thought I had around and I assumed he brought with himself. However, since everyone was extremely hungry, the majority of the people (meaning everyone except Endi) thought the food was good. The amount of food we made was huge and we all got seconds and even had left-overs for breakfast the next day. It was awesome!

Noone seemed to miss the booze, but I'll make sure to have some for next time. Also, I promise to arrange a Booster Draft for the next party. (PARTY!!!) I just hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did and will come again. Thanks again guys! It was a great party. (PARTY!!!)