Saturday, December 29, 2007

Macross Frontier: Episode 1 Close Encounter, 2 Preview

The idol singer, Sheryl Nome of Macross Galaxy fleet comes for the Galactic Idol concert to the Macross Frontier fleet.

Sheryl Nome is the top idol who is consistently ranked at the top of the charts for the Milky Way network.
Ranka Lee is a huge fan of Sheryl Nome, and dreams to be like her some day. Ranka has a part-time job at the Chinese-style food restaurant Nyun Nyun and is a high school student aboard the Macross Frontier. Ranka has an older brother, Ozma, who leads the special SMS Corps . Ozuma pilots a VF-25 with the skull leader paint scheme with fast packs in the first episode. He scores a ticket for his younger sister Ranka so she can go to the concert but she gets lost trying to take a short cut and meets Alto Saotome, a senior at the same high school. Alto is in the pilot training course at school along with Michel Bran and Luka Angeloni. Alto's peers tease him constantly, calling him princess, and beautiful.

Meanwhile a VF-171 scout ship is destroyed by an unknown enemy as the Macross Frontier moves closer to the center of the galaxy. The Macross then launches a squadron of unmanned Ghosts (seen at the end of M+), the unknown enemy makes quick work of them by using a high range jamming device...I guess Isamu and Guld were justified when they crashed the armistice celebration.

The NUNS scrambles and launches a squadron of VF-171's which finds this unknown enemy more then they can handle soon the SMS corps are called in to assist the NUNS, Ozma and his team engage the enemy as they push towards the Frontier.
Sheryl's concert is cut short when one of the creatures breaks through the dome of the Frontier and begins destroying the city. This is very reminiscent of SDFM in many respects, the colonists flee to shelter as the battle ensues between the main enemy, a red creature with marking that resemble the ones seen in Macross Zero on the Mayan Island and one of Ozma's wingmen. The episode end with Alto jumping into the unmanned VF-25 in Gerwalk mode with the Hikaru paint scheme and unloading it's gunpod into the strange alien.

The episode left me wanting more, the amount of fanservice was terrific! and the icing on the cake was hearing ai oboeteimasuka from DYRL as the credits were scrolling! The Macross dynamic is there, but I wonder if Sheryl Nome is connected to Sarah or Mao from M0. Will we see more of the birdman? I can't wait till the next episode, below is the teaser for episode 2, enjoy!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Movie Review: Aliens VS Predator Requiem

Those four words immortalized by Dutch in the original Predator movie back in 1987...yup it's been 20 years since humanity has been dealing with those ugly mother f'ers! And we haven't learned a dam least Hollywood hasn't. AVP-R begins right where AVP ended, aboard the Predator ship leaving Earth. The corpse of the fallen Predator bursts open to the promise of new life of the "Predalien". Some how that little shit gets loose and grows big enough to kill the entire Predator crew before they leave the Earths atmosphere. Back on the Predators home world a distress signal is received and a sole Predator hops in his trusty galaxy 5 star ship and takes the HOV lane to Earth.
That's pretty much where the creativity and originality ends.
Welcome to Racoon City.......oops I mean Colorado.
This cozy mountain town is in for a rude awakening when Aliens, a Predator with magic blue elixir and some freaky hybrid of the two square off.
Lets just tally up the scorecard...
Homeless guys = dead
Homeless lady = dead
Homeless German Shepard = dead
Park Ranger = dead
Father and son on a hunting trip = dead
Creepy chef = dead
Waitress = dead
A whole Platoon of armed Nation Guard = dead
Evil Jock + Concubine = dead
Power Plant Guy = dead
2 Pot heads tokin up in a gun shop = dead
Husband of Ellen Ripley's great great great great grand mother =dead
Pregnant Lady= dead
Nurse = Dead
Here's what ya need to know in case this shit happens to your town...
1) Find a guy who's named after a state capital
2) Find a woman who knows how to shoot a high powered rifle and drive an armored vehicle
3) Stick with them ^
4) Avoid the evil jock and his cronies
5) Don't forget to get a spare car key from the dealer!
6) Don't EVER, NEVER EVER go swimming with hot chick in class after school is closed.
7) If your little daughter says there's monsters outside...GET THE F*CK OUTTA HOUSE!!!
8) Wear your uniform!
9) Do NOT go to the rendezvous point.
If you are a die hard fan of either franchise this IS NOT a distress signal it's a WARNING!!!
All this movie has going for it is.....some OK fights between a vengeful Predator, a lot of aliens and a Predalien that will do some awful awful things to women who are preggers! Oh yeah we get to see Dallas before he gets everyone dead on the Nostromo, a clone of Newt, and the best impersonation of Ellen Ripley I've ever seen!

Street Fighter IV 1UP's gameplay footage

Well here's the first footage of Street Fighter IV provided by the guys at 1UP!

I was reserving my enthusiasm for this, and honestly if this is footage of a very early beta I'm relieved. Now the game "LOOKS" amazing and the changes to the fighting system sound interesting, I think Capcom's got a winner! Is this the glorious return of the legengary fighting that resurected the dying arcade scene in the US? Time will tell but this footage looks promising. Did you see the facial expressions!?

Movie Review: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Isn't life wonderful? Well for poor, naive Benjamin Barker, a simple man with a beautiful wife and newborn baby girl it was until he was falsely accused of a crime and sent away for years by Judge Turpin. The movie opens with a ship pulling into a London shipyard as a young man, Anthony Hope, sings of the possibilities and potential of London. But he is cut off by the dirge-like melody of Sweeney Todd and his song about London...but feel free to to switch London with Washington or any place these days.
There's a whole in the world like a great black pit
and the vermin of the world inhabit it
and its morals aren't worth what a pin can spit
and it goes by the name of London.
At the top of the hole sit the previlaged few
Making mock of the vermin in the lonely zoo
turning beauty to filth and greed...
I too have sailed the world and seen its wonders,
for the cruelty of men is as wonderous as Peru
but there's no place like London!
I can't see anyone other than Tim Burton and Johnny Depp making this this adaptation of Stephen Sondhiem's musical better, since it is an adaptation of a musical there is singing throughout and what is most impressive is that the only professional singer is the actress who plays the beggar woman. The songs are an integral part of the movie and my personal favorite is a little priest, you've just gotta read the lyrics they're inspired! My favorite part is,
TODD:How choice!HowRare!
TODD:For what's the sound of the world out there?
LOVETT:What, Mr. Todd? What, Mr. Todd? What is that sound?
TODD:Those crunching noises pervading the air!
LOVETT:Yes, Mr. Todd! Yes, Mr. Todd! Yes, all around!
TODD:It's man devouring man, my dear!
TODD:The history of the world, my love --
LOVETT:Save a lot of graves, Do a lot of relatives favors!
TODD:Is those below serving those up above!
BOTH:That those above will serve those down below!
Ahh the metaphors are as thick as blood! I love it!!
Helena Bonham Carter does a wonderful job as Mrs. Lovette and seems just as well cast as Johnny Depp, she has also worked with Burton before, she voiced the lead female character in the Corpse Bride. Her story is almost a tragic as Sweeney Todd's and their fates become intertwined once their "joint venture" gets underway.....ahhh Capitalism!
Another great casting choice was Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin, the man did such a good job playing such a detestable human being. The scenes with Depp when he's in the chair had me at the edge of my seat almost screaming out "DO IT!", tremendous tension during those scenes! Absolutely terrific!
You may recognize Judge Turpin's lackey, Beadle Bamford, from the recent Disney movie Enchanted, he played a similar rolein that movie. Tomothy Spall makes Beadle Bamford so loathesome the audience looks forward to his fateful day.
I loved Sweeney Todd, the music, the actors, the overall experience was incredibly enjoyable and I highly recomend it to everyone, but if you get squeemish at the sight of blood, or bodily mutation don't eat before the show. This movie is not for kids, they will not apreciate it nor understand the themes within it. If $200-$400 a ticket for theatrical thriller is too much to swallow, Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd is well worth the price of admission.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Final Fantasy Dissidia

Another Final Fantasy title announced during Jump Festa is FF: Dissidia. For the 20th Anniversary of Final Fantasy Sqenix is producing a very different type of Final Fantasy for the PSP, Dissidia is a fighting game of sorts that pits the protagonists and antagonists from FFI thru FFIX, maybe X.
The video below showcases fights between Zindane and Kuja from FFIX and Cecil and Kain from FFIV and closes with the Warrior of light facing off against....Sephiroth! The game is planned for the PSP, where was this title at the PSP's launch!? It would've /will sell many PSP's! Dissidia sounds pretty cool! Chaos vs Cloud, Sephiroth vs Ultimecia, Emperor Palmecia vs Tidus! Can't wait for this game to be released.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Macross Frontier

Twenty Five years ago, in 1982 the anime Super Dimension Fortress Macross aired in Japan, and was brought to America by Harmony Gold reworked as Robotech. As a child I was drawn into the story and later rediscovered the Macross series in it's true form. More recently I've enjoyed new additions to the Macross Saga including Macross Plus and Macross Zero. So I'm extremely excited to discover on the 25th anniversary of the original Macross Saga Big West will be airing a new series around April 2008 on the Mainichi Broadcasting System (MBS)! MF will continue the series tradition of love and music set to the backdrop of humanities struggle to survive against all odds. I hope this series makes it to the US unaltered due to the ongoing legal issues between Big West and HG.
For now enjoy the trailer below and be sure to check out the Macross Frontier web site

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Street Fighter IV

The announcement that Capcom was finally bringing out a new Street Fighter was announced about two months ago. The trailer was released and ever since the internet has been alive with speculation, will the series go 3-D, will it be cell shaded like Okami, aside from Ryu & Ken who will return, will it be online, will it be released on current next gen consoles??? Alot of fans, including myself are excited to see that their favorite fighting game is returning. The January issue of EGM just hit shelves today and we can now see for ourselves the newest iteration of Street Fighter! The following pics are from a beta version of the game which is aprox. 2% complete, the background is about 50% complete and the Ryu / Ken characters are 90% complete. So what other "world warriors" are returning? Well we know Ryu and Ken are, Chun Li and Dhalsim have been given the green light but that's all that's been announced though producer Yoshinori Ono has said he wants as many SFII characters as possible.
Ono also mentions Street Fighter IV will be online! That means possible downloadable content, new stages, characters etc.
Yoshinori Ono wants the game play to be second nature for Street Fighter enthusiasts and comfortable enough for new comers, but there will be new aspects for Street Fighter IV such as Revenge (rage meter) that's divided in four sections, activate a revenge move by holding down 1 punch and one kick button (jab & short) then release for a revenge move. If the player holds the two buttons down and charges 3/4's of the rage meter the move becomes unblockable, but tourney players will love the depth of the revenge meter also, if you have skills you can cancel the revenge move mid animation and perform an EX Hadoken with 2 punch buttons then cancel that mid animation and perform an EX Shoryuken with two punch buttons and finally cancel that mid animation and perform another EX Shoryuken thus using each quarter of the rage meter individually to string together and wicked combo! The other new aspect is Ultras O.o, there's still Supers arts but ultras require a full super meter and at least one bar in the revenge meter to be filled. Like Ryu's Shinkuu Hadoken the movement is the same except you must press 2 punch or kick buttons to perform the Ultra, and during the move the games camera will pan and zoom to
give a cinema style show of the pain being given!

Final Fantasy Agito XIII

Returning to our coverage of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, the third title in the series is Final Fantasy Agito XIII. This game is rumored to be for mobile phones but I suspect it will also be available for the PSP, but don't hold me to that as it's just a hunch of mine. The few scraps of media lead me to believe this title will be in the vien of Naruto as it appears there's 12 students in....Final Fantasy school. Perhaps we'll be see a trailer soon, for now check out the collection of images I have dug up.

Monday, December 17, 2007

TDK trailer

Hey kiddies why so serious?
Love that Joker >.<

Final Fantasy versus XIII Jump Festa Trailer

Plenty of Final Fantasy goodness from Square's Jump Festa this month. Below is the extended trailer for FF vs XIII. This title in the Fabula Nova Crystallis series still remains the most shrouded in secrecy. In the video it states it's a fantasy based in reality....not much to go on there. Enjoy the video and the scans from PS3 focus mag.

Final Fantasy XIII Extended Trailer

Check out this extended trailer for FFXIII, just one of several games for the Fabula Nova Crystallis series. The game is looking great, we get to see more of Lightning and her gunblade. It's strange that the two trailers released spotlight her yet Squeenix reported earlier in the year that she wasn't the main protagonist. The quality of the in game video and the cutscenes seem to be getting more and more difficult to distinguish. And we get our first glimpse of what is rumored to be Shiva. The game continues to appear to branch further and further from a traditional RPG and more like an action title, only time and PS3 owners will tell! I forsee PS3 console sales to continue to rise as the A titles like this get closer to release date.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cloverfield Preview

JJ Abrams Monster Mash is little over a month away but here's the first few mins to whet your appetite!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

AVP-R Preview

Aliens Vs Predator was ok but there were some scenes that made you go huh?
Aliens Vs Predator Requiem actually picks up right where the first ended aboard the Predators ship.
It looks promising but I'm going in with zero expectations.
Enjoy the first five mins of AVP-R thanks to!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Anime Review: Macross Zero

Back in 1982/83 an anime was created that to this day is my all time favorite, that anime is The Super Dimension Fortress Macross.

Macross is the story of a giant interstellar battle fortress that crashes on South Ataria Island in the South Pacific in the year 1999. For the next decade humanity attempts to unite under the formation of U.N. government and rebuild the ship.

This is where Macross Zero's story begins, 2008, the U.N Wars escalate and the Anti-U.N & U.N forces clash near the small South Pacific Island of Mayan.

The first episode of this 5 episode OVA,Ocean and Wind, introduces us to F-14 fighter pilot Shin Kudo. After being shot down by the Anti UN's newest fighter, the SV-51, he wakes on the Mayan Island (the island where the ocean and wind mix). He meets Sarah Nome (the hand guided by the wind),a shamen who can hear the will of the wind and her sister Mao Nome who seems to have a connection with the ocean. The inhabitants of Mayan are a primitive, tribal people that seem to live in peaceful harmony with nature and are unaware of the war around them. They pass on their traditions via the spoken word and tell the youth of how humans originally lived in the ocean and how when the aliens, "birdmen" came to earth.

Meanwhile on the Asuka II Aircraft Carrier Roy Focker reunites with an old friend, Aries, a cultural anthropologist he went to school with years ago. After her briefing of the discovery of a new energy source detected near Mayan, thought to be "AFOS", left behind by the the aliens aproximately ten thousand years ago the two catch up briefly. The next day Roy Focker is set to pilot the first live battle with VF-0, the first variable fighter!

Back on Mayan Shin spends time with Mao and Sarah as they each show him aspects of life on Mayan.

The seeds are planted.....

The peace and tranquility are shattered when Sarah foresees a violent wind headed for the Mayan Island and an arial dog fight breakes loose over Mayan between Roy Focker and the VF-0 and a SV-51. The first time you see the transformation of VF-0 will leave you speachless! The mix of cell drawn artwork with CG graphics is well balanced and looks fantastic!

Episode 2: The Stars on the Ground continues with the telling of the Mayan lore about Rooy Kanu, Rooylo and their children, how Rooylo left and the song of destruction engulfed the earth. The Elder tells the story all in the backdrop of a war that is enveloping the Mayan Island, high above Roy Focker comes face to face with his former flight instructor D.D.Ivanov who switched aliegences and joined the Anti -UN army. The battle is faced paced and very impressive, the detail of the fighters using CG is incredible. It's almost believeable seeing Roy's valkerie manuever thru the landscape, ailerons adjusting to change airspeed and altitude!

The battle concludes between the two in a stalemate while DD's wing mate, Nora Polyansky, takes on the rest of Fockers skull squadron. Roy finds shin and the two return to the Asuka II as the UN forces pull a large section of AFOS from the ocean floor. UN researchers begin to analyze the artifact and note the similarities with ASS-1, which stands for Alien Star Ship 1aka SDF-1.

Meanwhile Shin begins training as a VF-0 pilot under Roy Focker. Later Roy sends Shin on a mission to protect LaSalle while she visits Mayan to conduct further research on the island people. Mao and Shin meet again as he returns to the village. Later that night Shin is woken by the feint sound of a song, he follows the song into the forest to finds Sarah and discovers the power of her song...

Episode 3: The Blue Death begins at the sacred fountain with Shin and Sarah. Aries and her guard Edgard meet up with Sarah and Shin, Aries sees the stones with ancient mayan markings and recalls Professor Hussel Nakajima's notes on human-protoculture intervention.

Back aboard the Asuka blood begins too drip from the torso of AFOS, after some analyizing it's discovered it's the same as Sarah's.

Later that day Mao takes Shin on a snorkeling trip to see her "treasure", this visually impressive scene hints toward the connection between the cheiftan's story of creation and the evolving relationship between ,Mao, Shin and Sarah. Mao makes her feelings known to Shin in this episode when she kisses him. We also discover the treasure is the Shard of Elysium...the head of AFOS.

The Shard of Elysium activates and the UN / Anti UN forces scramble to retrieve the head and steal the torso aboard the Asuka II. During this battle Roy and DD resume their personal grudge match and Nora heads out to take the head of AFOS.

In a daring rescue Shin saves Mao and the head of AFOS from an Anti UN deep sea unit. Shin brings Mao back to Maya moments before the battle spills onto the shores, UN forces begin to evacuate the Mayan people as the battle rages all around the village. Sarah decides to test fate and runs off into the forest, Nora intercepts Shin as he tries to return to the Asuka II with the head of AFOS. The dogfight ends in a draw as both crash in the mayan forest and the head is lost again.

Episode 4:The Secret Forest Shin and Sarah are captured by the relentless Nora and the Anti UN forces. Aries is captured also and the three are introduced to Professor Hussel Nakajima. The professor explains the tale of the Birdman and the song of destruction. During their ongoing dogfight DD damages Roy Focker's VF-0 and he crashes the the party. Roy grabs Aries and the two escape into the forest. Shin and Sarah escape as well. Nora puts in a call to the Anti UN flagship to nuke the island.

Meanwhile the two couples wander aimlessly through the forest,Roy and Aries recount their memories from their past and wonder how the two would've been IF...

Meanwhile elsewhere in the forest Sarah and Shin spend the time consoling each other. Shin begins to understand Sarah's feelings toward life outside of the beautiful Mayan Island and reveals his feelings for Sarah. But the peace and beauty of the moment is forever destroyed when the island is carpet bombed by a squadron of SV-51's carrying hydrogen bombs.

Episode V: The Birdman begins with the Anti UN Forces retrieving the head of AFOS and capturing Aries and Sarah. Roy and Shin return to the Asuka II where the war between the UN and Anti UN has come to a boiling point. Mao awakes after having a transfusion using AFOS blood. The two parts of AFOS begin to activate and Mao begs Shin to save her sister.

Meanwhile Professor Hassel on board the Anti UN flagship pleads with Sarah to sing the song of destruction to end the war.

Roy and Shin board retro-fitted VF-0's and launch in a last ditch effort to save the women they love. The final battle of the war begins! Shin and Roy against DD and Nora push the limits of their skills in a final showdown in the clouds. Shin is able to reach the ship Sarah is held captive on but his Valkerie takes a fatal shot to the head and plummets to the ground below, Sarah cries out in distress and awakens the birdman. The two parts unite in the midst of the climactic battle and begins destroying all the large warships.Shin regains conscience just before plummeting into the ocean, and is astonished to see the legendary Birdman and Sarah controlling it through her song.

Does Shin save Sarah? Does Roy save Aries? Does the earth get destroyed by the Birdman? I won't ruin it for you, Macross Zero is another gorgeous addition to the legacy of Macross, all the aspects that made the original Macross a timeless classic are here, Valkeries, War, love triangles, music, and dealing with the loss of loved ones. Macross Zero does an amazing job of showing the contrasting beauties of a tropical paradise and the CG Mecha, which is also represented in both Shin and Sarah's views of the necessities of life. Each new Macross focuses on a different type of music, in M0 it's much less traditional. Sarah's song feels more ethereal than say Minmay, Fire Bomber or Sharron Apple. Regrettibly this is another great chapter from Macross that you will only get to enjoy subbed due to the BW/HG lawsuit. And the subtitles are garbage, this review may have some mistakes in character names because of the piss poor subtitles. The Story is fascinating and takes the evolution of mankind and blends it with Macross lore. It was also fun to see Roy Focker pre SDF-1 and another La Salle. I wonder if we'll see more of Shin or Sarah in the Future?The OVA is presented in 16:9 ratio, offers either english or chinese subs and the choice of dolby 5.1 or 2.0 stereo.