I’m finally sharing my up-to-date photos of my gaming collection! Woo! A lot has shifted around since I did this nearly a year ago. I’ll talk about what I’ve picked up the last year, why I got rid of some things, what I still would like, and any other comments I can dredge up. I’ll also be including my screenshots on my Complete Game List in the near future for a visual representation of what I actually have. I’m sure the upcoming Christmas/birthday will render these obsolete, but they’ll work for now. Due to the high frequency of photos, I’ll force a jump to actually showcase what I have. (more…)
All posts tagged Books
Posted by WildcatJF on November 17, 2012
If you’re anything like me, you felt a little bit annoyed by Nintendo’s recent reveal of the “official” Zelda timeline. “If the Hero won”, “If the Hero lost”…just give me a straight line of events from beginning to end. Is that too much to ask?
Apparently not, as Zach over at View From Heaven has seen fit to create his own version of Zelda’s official canon, playing through all of the non-embarrassing titles and collecting his thoughts in a rather well-written essay. It’s impressive to see how much time and thought he’s put into this thing, especially when you consider that Nintendo themselves couldn’t be bothered to do something similar for the franchise’s 25th anniversary.
Good job, Zach!
Posted by Jason X on February 3, 2012
I saw this just now and had to share – Sagan was a brilliant man who died too soon. Grace loved his works, and since we’ve been together, I’ve grown to like what he has to say as well. This is a perfect nugget of Sagan’s philosophy. His birthday would have been last Wednesday.
Enjoy, and think about this.
Posted by WildcatJF on November 14, 2011
Battle Angel Alita is one of the more intriguing manga I’ve read. I have three volumes, but none of them are in the correct order, so I’ll only be focusing on the first for this particular write-up. I’ll be mentioning a few spoilers for the first volume, but I’ll keep the remainder of the series’ story out of this post.
Yokito Kishiro’s Battle Angel Alita is a fascinating beginning to a long-running series that has, until recently, been going strong since its release (Kishiro and his publisher recently got into a dispute, so Kishiro announced that he’d be putting a hold on doing more chapters until it’s resolved). I’ve had little overall exposure to the franchise, with three disconnected volumes and the OAV, but I’ve been very taken by what little I have seen. Alita is a great character, one who grows excellently over time from what I’ve seen, and Kishiro’s artwork is stunningly detailed, rendering the decrepit world and its trashy inhabitants wonderfully.
What truly stands out about Alita though is Alita herself. She is incredibly drawn. Her hair is painstakingly illustrated strand by strand, making it very vibrant and dynamic. His handling of Alita’s face is excellent, with her covering a wide range of emotions superbly. And she’s an awesome, awesome fighter. She starts off slow, entering the world of combat and losing, like any sensible rookie would, but as she’s a cyborg, this involves her getting ripped apart into robotic shards of flesh and metal. Alita manages to avoid being exploited for the most part, with her form lacking any genitals or nipples, and although she has a few scenes of nudity, it’s refreshingly not of the fanservice variety. She looks more like a crash test dummy than a human being.
When Alita gets rebuilt with a proper warrior’s body, that’s when the manga kicks up a gear and becomes amazing. I suppose now would be a good time to backpedal a moment and explain how Alita ended up being rebuilt. Well, let’s begin from…the first page! A man named Daisuke Ido stumbles upon a piece of a human in the Scrap Yard, the lower trash heap of the city Tiphares. Despite being an older model (200 to 300 years old), she’s still operational, but without any memory of who she was. Ido constructs for her a new body and wishes for her to be a normal, happy girl, but how Ido retrieves her body parts is brutal. He’s a bounty hunter as well as a robotic surgeon, and takes out rogues and other scum for money and materials. Alita quickly discovers Ido’s other life, and in the middle of that battle both suddenly defends herself expertly, and then takes out Ido’s target effortlessly. Ido doesn’t want Alita to follow in his footsteps, but it’s too late – Alita signs up to become a bounty hunter herself. It’s after her branding (literally) that we meet this volume’s primary antagonist, a brain-eating maniac named Makaku, enters the scene, and in a disgustingly graphic way (by, well, eating brains!). Alita and Ido are both after this twisted individual, but Makaku is a little much for them both. Alita manages to destroy his arm, but is torn to pieces by Makaku’s counterattack. Despite losing her legs and one arm, she recovers and drills out one of Makaku’s eyes. This attack leaves her open, and Makaku shatters her other arm (while still in his eye socket!). Ido arrives just in the nick of time to save the now defenseless Alita from having her brains munched, but he too suffers a grave injury from Makaku. Leaving his old body behind, his maggot-based head and tendril slither off to find a new host, and Ido and Alita have to both survive a difficult evening, but both do make it. With Ido hurt, it’s up to his friend Gonzu to repair Alita.
Now we can resume where I began that last paragraph. *whew* Alita is merged with a Berserker body, which both enables her to utilize her incredible fighting talent to its full potential, and also grants Alita a more gruff and aggressive personality, and the recovering Ido and Alita set out to defeat Makaku before he can gain the upper hand. It’s a little too late, however, as Makaku has taken over the body of the grand champion Kinuba, who has the Grand Cutter, a hand that can deploy each of its fingers as super-sharp extended blades like a whip. He tracks Alita down at a bar (where she just demonstrated her new body’s ass-kicking prowess moments before his arrival), and the twisted villain kidnaps the bar owner’s daughter and plummets into the labyrinth sewers. Alita had a chance to witness Makaku’s Grand Cutter in action prior to the theft, and follows him in order to take him out. A climatic battle occurs underground, with Alita awakening further powers, like her devastating Plasma Finger, slowly but surely becomes hers to win, with the history of the villainous Makaku explained before his apparent death. Alita is the victor, but she has many questions about who she is and what she’s put herself into joining this realm of the bounty hunter…
Battle Angel Alita is a very well-done manga, and its opening volume is both beautifully drawn and gripping to read. It’s one I find to be one of the better examples of the medium I’ve encountered, and I encourage you to give it a try (if you can handle some fairly graphic violence and some brain devouring).
Posted by WildcatJF on January 30, 2011
I’m sure I’ve declared my love for Ralph Ellison’s powerful Invisible Man enough times on here to insinuate it’s my favorite book of all time, and The Paris Review unearthed an interview a year following Ellison’s winning the National Book Award discussing the creation process of the book, among other things. As a fan of the book, I found it fascinating, and I hope that if you liked it, you will, too.
Posted by WildcatJF on January 17, 2011
My original plans this last Sunday was to chat about the Battle Angel Alita manga and OVA, but time constraints cut me well short of that goal (I’ll try to reread the three manga I have for this Sunday, though!). What inspired me to consider Alita in the first place was Jason Thompson’s excellent piece on the series over at Anime News Network. The three manga I own are not in order – I have 1, 5 and 7 of the original, if I remember right. But it’s an amazingly well-drawn graphic novel series that has inspired my own art (the bottom lip I recently added to my characters is thanks to both Alita and FLCL’s Mamimi), and has a solid plot. It’s violent as hell and not for the squeamish, but Jason’s piece made me want to revisit Alita’s world. Worth a read if you’d like to discover one of manga’s more intriguing characters.
Posted by WildcatJF on December 14, 2010
After taking some test shots this evening and uploading them here, I felt that my Imagery for these great books would sap a lot of the space of LVLs…so I made a new home for them at georgemacyimagery.wordpress.com. Not much is there yet, but it’ll see some updates over time as I get photos taken and properly cataloged. I’m very excited about this project. Of course, if you’re here for gaming stuff, then this news doesn’t matter all that much to you. :p If you’re into cool old books, bookmark it!
Posted by WildcatJF on December 8, 2010
I’ve gotten into my liking of Rurouni Kenshin a bit on my Anime Faves page, but let’s just pretend I didn’t write that for a moment.
Rurouni Kenshin holds the proud distinction of being both my favorite anime TV series and my favorite manga I’ve read. I think that the manga is overall better (mainly in that author/artist Nobuhiro Watsuki mostly avoided padding his series, which I can not say the TV staff at Studio Gallop managed :p ), but I believe both are absolutely amazing at what they do. I learned a lot about Japanese history, which is quite a feat for a shonen series to do, and the character designs are awesome. I can’t say that Watsuki dropped the ball on any of the major players – all of them are cool to watch, either in Watsuki’s penstrokes or as moving key frames. I particularly like Kenshin, Sanosuke, Aoshi, Shishio, Sojiro, Misao, Enishi and Saito, but the main cast I didn’t mention are all well done, too.
The manga has incredible artwork to it. Watsuki shows improvement from the beginning to the end, and by that point the linework is stunning (that’s not to say he didn’t start off well, because he most certainly did!). To say that it’s among the finest I’ve seen in a manga would not be an understatement. The anime holds up that torch adequately, but has unfortunate bouts with budget constrains and an alternative character designer that mucks up some of the filler/less essential episodes. The fights with key villains like Jin-e, Aoshi, Saito and Shishio and his Juppongatana are exceptional, but there’s a drop in quality in other areas that is distinct, and it sort of throws off the pleasure of the show at times, which, to me, makes it more impressive that the show overcomes these issues and remains my favorite TV series. While the first two arcs (especially the second, which removes nearly any sort of filler and is a great representation of the manga’s Shishio plot) are solid and well worth watching, I must make an appeal to you now, though – do not pick up the third arc of the TV series. Watsuki was not done with the Enishi arc by the time the anime producers wanted to continue onward, so they plowed ahead with their own storylines, and it’s a trainwreck from what I understand. I have had several Kenshin fans tell me to avoid it if I didn’t want to have the show’s awesomeness tarnished, so I haven’t, and will pass on their advice to you.
The OVA’s (known as Samurai X over here) are animation showcases, with beautifully detailed characters and luscious animation (beyond Samurai X: The Movie, which is basically an extended episode from the TV animators, and doesn’t rise much above that level of quality). They had a high budget, and it shows. Truth and Betrayal are the two worth watching in my opinion – it is directly from the manga, capturing the tragedy of Kenshin’s Battosai days into gut-wrenching, gorgeous motion. Reflection is not penned by Watsuki, and he was not fully satisfied with the script, and it’s sort of obvious why if you watch it. It is one enormous downer, with a most unpleasant ending that did not please me in the slightest. It’s Enishi’s only screentime, though, and seeing his brief appearance really makes me yearn for someone to properly pick up the third manga arc for an anime. *sigh* The Movie, as I mentioned, is merely an extended episode from Studio Gallop, and it’s another original script without Watsuki’s input. Another issue with the OVA’s is that the English voice actors are all different, since Media Blasters got the rights for the TV series, but ADV picked up the OVA’s and Movie. If you watch it in Japanese, this won’t be much of an issue, but in English, the only character who comes close to sounding like their counterpart is Kenshin (which is a good thing, considering he’s in all of these quite prominently). Kaoru, Yahiko and Sanosuke all fail at attempting to mimic their Media Blaster actors, and the result is quite jarring.
Speaking of voiceovers, the English dub for the TV series is good, although the poor guys are saddled with awkward translations (WHY CAN’T YOU SAY KATANA?!?) or downright goofy lines, but I think that the voices themselves are solid. I love Richard Cansino (or Hayworth, as he’s credited here)’s Kenshin – he defines that character so well. I think Steve Blum also nailed Shishio’s wickedness. Dorothy Slias-Fahn (Melendrez)’s Kaoru is her best role, yet I unfortunately find her a little obnoxious thanks to her other roles as Meryl in Trigun and Naru in Love Hina. In those, she screamed more often than not, and her shrieks are not all that pleasant to listen to. Some people can do that kind of thing, but Elias-Fahn isn’t one of them. Thankfully, she rarely enters that frantic phase as Kaoru, and is a good suit to the character. Lex Lang’s Sanosuke is suave, handily representing the character’s shifting emotions. Alas, Lang has gotten a high amount of atrocious dialogue, which harms him a bit. Philece Sampler (aka Debra Cunningham) handles Misao’s feisty behavior quite well, and manages to not be annoying in shout-mode, a handy trait when you have a character that does that a lot. Aoshi, voiced by Terrence Stone, is cold and calculating, which is perfect. Yahiko is voiced by Wendee Lee (as Elyse Floyd), and she is more than able to make a believable kid out of Yahiko (she also gets to utilize what I call the Faye Valentine voice with Shishio’s lover Yumi in the second arc, which suits Yumi, so excellent casting there). Kirk Thompson’s Saito is well done, with Saito’s sarcasm and passion well represented.
Rurouni Kenshin spins around and beyond its shonen roots quite well, becoming far more dynamic, realistic (beyond all of the crazy special moves, anyway) and incredible than many of its contemporaries. With fantastic characters, a compelling plotline, rich artistry and a great balance between action, reflection and love, Rurouni Kenshin is everything I could ask for in an anime/manga. I heartily recommend it.
Posted by WildcatJF on October 10, 2010
Cross-posted from my work at the Windows on the World blog.
One of my majors is drama, and I adore live theater. I love watching it, and I get the biggest thrill being a part of it onstage, either as an actor or as someone behind the scenes. To me, movies will never come close to capturing the purity and magic that seeing a show onstage can muster.
One of my favorite parts was the wicked De Guiche in Edmond Rostand’s famous play, Cyrano de Bergerac, my most treasured dramatic work. These lines happen to be the last major speech from the character, who has, in hindsight, loathed his actions of the past. In particular, he admires the bravado of Cyrano, who he is referring to as the object of his envy, below.
THE DUKE (pausing, while she goes up):
Ay, true,—I envy him.
Look you, when life is brimful of success
—Though the past hold no action foul—one feels
A thousand self-disgusts, of which the sum
Is not remorse, but a dim, vague unrest;
And, as one mounts the steps of worldly fame,
The Duke’s furred mantles trail within their folds
A sound of dead illusions, vain regrets,
A rustle—scarce a whisper—like as when,
Mounting the terrace steps, by your mourning robe
Sweeps in its train the dying autumn leaves.
Some spoilers to the play’s epilogue follow – click through to read on. (more…)
Posted by WildcatJF on August 10, 2010
Twain’s Feast: Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens by Andrew Beahrs
Unhappy with the food in Europe, Mark Twain famously described several American dishes he would immediately relish once he returned home in A Tramp Abroad. Beahrs revisits some of Twain’s culinary desires with a fantastic book that digs deep into how much the American food industry has changed; a drastic shift even in Twain’s lifetime.
His anthropological approach to the subject is riveting stuff. As Beahrs travels across the country in search of Twain’s favorites, his meticulous eye expertly details out several topics of interest. He also intersects his own discoveries about these foods, as Beahrs happens to be quite a connoisseur of food himself. Any fan of Twain and/or food will devour this book in a heartbeat. A tour de force, and is highly recommended!
Twain’s Feast: Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens by Andrew Beahrs
Penguin Press, Hardcover, $25.95
Review based upon advance reading copy of the title supplied by Indiebound.
Opinion originally appeared at Windows on the World – Books & Art blog.
Posted by WildcatJF on June 24, 2010