Monday, September 26, 2011

Shaman King: Part 2

Due to the length of this series, there maybe some spoilers in this review and it's subsequent related review. read at your own risk, you have been warned.

Well, after the last review, I'm really glad to return to some lighter fare. It's good to be back in the shonen fold. As with the Inuyasha review, if you'd like to backtrack to part 1, the link can be found here. Either that or go down to the list and find the tab labeled "Shaman King" in order to see both. In keeping with copyright obligations, Shaman King was produced by Studio Xebec, based on the manga by Hiroyuki Takei and was formerly licensed in the United States by 4Kids Entertainment, though elsewhere it is still licensed by Madman Entertainment. There's a long way still yet to go, so get your prayer beads, and make sure your connection to  the spirits is strong, because the search for Patch Village is under way as we return to our review of Shaman King.

Hey, Ren's Dad? Love the beard, man, but did it really
mean that much to you  to be big?
When we last left our heroes, the first round of the Shaman fights had just ended and the gang were on their way to save Ren and Jun from their manipulative parents in China (read "manipulative" as "do what we say or we'll chain you to a wall in a room full of torture devices"). After a very short fight and a rescue, Ren decides to face down his old man (who at this point looks like a giant), and Jun goes through a very short period of indecisivity before being reuinited with Li Pailong (who I still think should have a grudge against her, but at this point, whatever). The fight is pretty short as the gang takes Ren's old man down a peg, as well as a several robe sizes (apparently his being a giant was an illusion of his oversoul...   erm...   chi...   stuff), and then quite unexpectedly, everyone meets the rest of the family, and has Chinese food. I say that with complete seriousness. Yes after all that build-up to get to China and storm the castle, the family offers them a meal and they go home. Well, at least Ren's grandpa and mother seem sorta nice, aside from the whole "don't trust anyone, they'll stab you in the back" mentality and the affinity for working with zombies...  and the husband with the size complex...    ahem, moving on.

If Patch village is based off all the traditional Native American
stereotypes then greetings for Hao were probably a difficult
thing to get the hang of. Especially since every time someone
said hello, it sounded like they were calling for him. ^^
After the gang returns to Japan, they make preparations to go to America to find Patch village and participate in the next shaman fight. Already there are hints that something big is on the move as the night before the group leaves Manta and the other non-combatants in Japan, Manta and Yoh discuss current events (to an image song no less), such as the recent encounter with an adversary who calls himself Hao, and is almost the spitting image of Yoh, except with a cloak and some tricked out shoes. We also get some foreshadowing about these Knight Templar-type guys who call themselves the X-laws, but until the guys actually get to the U.S. of A. we don't hear much more aside from Hao bragging about how he can fly to America without a plane, until everyone actually gets across the pond.

Forget the police! I'm surprised they haven't sent the military
after this kid yet!
Where do I start about this portrayal of the United States? Well, for one thing, there's not a police car in sight. That's a fortunate thing for Yoh and his friends, because even back at the time the manga was published you couldn't get away with riding in the back of a flatbed truck (seatbelt laws) much less doing half the stuff many of the other shamans do without any consequences. Like Allen, for instance, the hippy shaman that's apparently also an eco-terrorist. (Why else would he use his powers to attack the power shovels?) Although perhaps and even better question there would be, why do the guys driving the power shovels and dump trucks attempt to drive directly at a small boy who has apparently been doing that for weeks (you'd think someone would have called in some sort of authority to deal with him by that point). Other examples could include the many many times the characters create public disturbances  such as when Lyzerg, one of the new characters whom we'll talk about below, walks up to other shamans and attacks them in public just off hand to see how strong they are. They might get away with it the first time, but if they manage it repeatedly without police interference, especially in a post-9-11 world, either the cops don't exist, or there are some incredibly addictive doughnut shops in the immediate vicinity. I could get started on the Japanese style onsen they found...   somewhere in the Midwest?... since I have yet to find any evidence of that having caught on to any degree (especially the part where you have to be nude while taking advantage of a traditional onsen. Western culture isn't generally so keen on that.) but if there is that one place hidden in the Rockies that I somehow missed, I'd rather not get caught generalizing. (If you happen to find it, I want to hear about it.)

That's right kids! In this universe, Morphine is your friend!
We also get a couple of new characters introduced. First there is Lyzerg, a British kid (though the name suggests otherwise) who has it in for Hao due to said adversary murdering his parents, who travels with the nakama for a while (after the attacking everything that moves phase he went through at his introduction) until he decides that it's better to have a strong nakama even if they are knight templars, and goes off to join the X-laws. He is fodder for so many bad jokes, though seeing as in the Japanese version his primary spirit is this fairy looking thing (wait...   the absinthe fairy from Moulin Rouge?) who, I kid you not, is named Morphine. After he joins the X-laws, we also get this African American New Yorker who is quite politically incorrect, as the name he gives is Chocolove. Yeah...   there was no way any of this made it into the 4kids dub. We also get a group of about seven girl shamans (one more reason I say Anna should be the one to get the title, the glass ceiling doesn't exist, girl!) who follow Yoh and the gang around because they think he'll lead them to Patch Village, and really, they act more like a version of Team Rocket that doesn't blast off again every time they lose, but just runs away. (In other words, not audaciously funny, just annoying.) Much of the show at this point can be bottled down to the gang gets in trouble, they get out of it, Lyzerg has doubts, they get into more trouble, solve it, Lyzerg leaves, enter Chocolove, and then meanwhile Anna brings Yoh a dangerous power-up that involves Hao. (I won't reveal what that was for now, because it kind of spoils this part of the review, so I'll save it for next time.)

 Anna! Why are you even talking to him?!
Manta is clearly so terrified he can't even move!
However, otherwise Anna has not been idle. While the gang travels the Southwest USA, Anna and Manta took a trip to this place called Mt. Terror in order to get the power-up, and when they arrive, they bring Jun, with them as well as someone I had hoped I would never see again. Remember Faust from last time. Yeah, Anna recruits him in this part of the show as extra muscle and she hopes as a doctor for the ryokan she wants to open. I don't know who would WANT to have him, especially after what he did to Manta! The nakama had some rough encounters with the X-laws before, but after Anna shows up with this powerup and Yoh refuses to join them in their quest to destroy Hao, this part of the show ends with a curb stomp for the X-laws, some back story for Yoh, and an interesting change for Amidamaru. That's all I'm going to say here.

As to how I'm liking the show so far, it's still just been okay. Some of the jokes are funny, some of them even come close to Yu-Gi-Oh! territory (in other words, a bit narmy) though not quite. On the other hand, some of the drama, while okay and sometimes even dark enough you're tempted to take it seriously, isn't consistent enough to quite bring it over that desirable line to suspension of disbelief. Another thing that kind of got on my nerves is that they use an insert song for everything in this part of the show! And it's the same one! Up until the very last fight, there's this song called "Brave Heart" by Megumi Hayashibara that they play almost every episode after it's intro. There's any kind of fight going one, they play it. Someone's having a deep conversation, they play the song. The gang has an enlightening moment, they play it. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the song, it's just, they use it way too much. They have a different one, finally, Silent Weapon by Yuko Sato (Yoh's voice actor by the way) which isn't half bad either near where I stopped, but by then the damage was already done. We also get a new intro "Northern Lights" and a new ending theme "Omokage" both by Megumi Hayashibara. The English dub, being from 4kids, has not shown any improvement at all, sorry American fans, you are still out of luck. So far, I'm still reserving my judgement overall in case the end turns out to get better, but we'll see. When we come back we'll wrap this up. Catch ya later.

Images taken from Shaman King.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Tiger's Top Ten: Most Badass Characters in Anime

Akai: This is just the daily ride to work for me.
Whether your specialty is taking on armies, or standing up to pyschopaths, there are plenty of characters out there that are unequivocally badasses, and whether they be good or evil we can't help but cheer them on. We love them for their ability to face down their opponents and tell anyone foolish enough to give them the odds of success to do go do something unnatural with their hindquarters. This article is to showcase a few, whom I think deserve special mention, either because of their exploits or their sheer tenacity in the face of danger within their chosen fields, either that or their just really really cool, like Shuuichi Akai who has been known to try sniping enemies from across townships in the anime Detective Conan. So strap on your pistols and prep your epic swords, today we're going to look at the top ten most baddass characters in anime.

Say what you will about his appetite and lack of brains,
Gourry helped take down Shabrinigdo with the rest of them.
#10. Gourry Gabriev from Slayers

Why so surprised? Well I can understand because he's not the obvious choice from the show. Some might say Zelgadis, Xellos, or even Lina Inverse herself might be a more obvious choice, but here's my argument. Sure Lina has faced down more monsters and god-beings then any of them, and the other spellcasters are definitely quite powerful, but it takes a special kind of normal guy to be able to keep up with them and be relevant when all he can do is swing a sword around even if that sword is usually the Sword of Light. He may be an idiot, but Gourry's raw strength and determination in the face of often impossible odds while still being able to match the others in power is awesome, and that's why, even though most of the other characters in the nakama are worth mentioning for sheer awesomeness, Gourry actually gets the #10 spot.

Ashitaka: Get me angry enough and I can even defy the
laws of physics! Just look at what I did to that
guy with my bow about  fifteen minutes back.
#9. Prince Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke

This guy is pretty incredible. In the beginning of the movie, he kills a giant boar that's at least 10 times his size, and spends the rest of the film running around trying to stop a war between man and nature. He manages to stop two very competent female warriors from fighting, bending swords and throwing people out of the way to get to them, walks out of the settlement where it happened carrying one of them, gets shot and keeps going, only collapsing when he succumbs to the pain about a mile or so out, and spends the rest of the movie fighting everybody while trying to prove that fighting doesn't have to happen. All of this happens while he's dealing with a curse that (even though it gives him super strength) not only causes him intense pain, but is eating him from the inside out, and he's only keeping himself together by sheer will. That's impressive enough to get my attention, and enough to put him at #9.

Don't let his short stature fool you,
this guy's dangerous. A later DC inductee perhaps?
Only time will tell.
#8. Hiei from Yu Yu Hakusho

How many guys would have a third eye implanted into their skull so they could do super dangerous attacks that if done wrong can probably kill them? The answer is "not many." But that's just what Hiei did. Starting out as a dangerous enemy turned reformed villain...   uh...   sort of, Hiei has very little that motivates him like his little sister...  well, that and the desire to kick a whole lot of demonic butt in the fight tournaments, and he does a lot of the latter with gusto, utilizing his Jagan eye to destroy any enemies with attacks like Dragon of the Darkness Flame. In contrast to many of the other characters on the list, rather than being known for facing insurmountable odds and triumphing over them, he's instead notorious for unleashing ludicrously power attacks on his enemies leading to his badassery coming more from his raw power, which is enough to get him on the list.

He even looks bad-ass when he's lecturing his opponents!
#7. Kenshin Himura from Rurouni Kenshin

As much as Kenshin has done in his short life (the guy's only thirty when the anime starts) he deserves at least a mention on this list. While fighting in the Meiji Restoration Kenshin was pulling assassinations on a regular basis, but even in the story he does some pretty incredible stuff, sometimes even while horribly wounded, in order to protect the people he cares about. Even when he hasn't gone all battousai on his opponents, he's done things with his reverse blade katana that most fencers would never be able to pull off. Examples include the time he sent on of Gohei's henchmen into the ceiling of Kaoru's dojo. But there have also been times where he's faced down enemies with crippling handicaps and won. Like when he faced down Shishio in spite of being wounded, or the time he fought with the christian rebel who blinded him later in the series and still beat him. Examples like this definitely make a good case for Kenshin being here.

If you thought this was impressive,
just wait 'till you get to Black Jack 21! ^^
#6. Black Jack from Black Jack

A lot of characters got on the list for their fighting prowess, but Black Jack gets on here for other reasons. While he has dealt with attackers before, often using scalpels as throwing stars, and performed miracle surgeries afterward, that in itself is not remarkable enough to get you on the list. A number of people on this list have also faced down crime bosses, blackmailed people and done whatever it takes, but there's something else that brings BJ into top ten territory. Not a lot of guys can say that they've performed open surgery on themselves, multiple times, often without help, and one time, he did it while in the Australian outback and  surrounded by carnivorous dingoes. If that's not crazy badass, I don't know what is. You might not like his prices or his attitude, but even aliens don't question BJ's expertise in the medical field. When the chips are down, he knows how to pull through, which has allowed him to climb his way up to #6 on this list.

Vegita: I'll be #1 as soon as I kill everyone else!
#5. Vegita from Dragon Ball Z

No one can deny Vegita's status as the baddest character in DBZ. Starting out working for Freeza, and eventually becoming a rival and lancer to Goku in a lot of the later episodes, he's had plenty of opportunities where he's had to show off his metal as a fighter and maintain his honor as a warrior. If he didn't establish himself as an evil badass in the first fight between him and Goku's nakama, he solidifies it later when he turns on Freeza and actually holds his own pretty well until he dies (death in DBZ is only just a bit inconvenient but that's another discussion entirely). He tries so hard to catch up to Goku later on that just when he manages to pull even with the guy, it's impressive. In all fairness, many of the other characters in DBZ fit this bill too, but Vegita pulls ahead in badassery by tenacity, which is why I give him the #5 position.

How much do you think that thing weighs anyway?
#4. Sango from Inuyasha

The main reason Sango makes the cut has to do with her entrance into the show, although the giant boomerang is a convincing argument too. It's definitely impressive that she was slinging that thing around for a living prior to joining the Inu-nakama. She enters very traumatically, with the death of her entire family, and it was believed at the time that she didn't make it either. Instead, she digs herself out of her own grave, and with the help of a shikon shard pulls herself along several miles after being convinced by Naraku that her comrades back at her village were murdered by Inuyasha, just so she could attack him out of revenge (while still bleeding to death!). Later, after learning the truth (Naraku did it), she fights tirelessly to bring about his end and protect her comrades. By now you can probably see that I like extraordinary normal people. Consider that even compared to Miroku (human but with special training as a monk and a nasty yet awesome curse), she's the closest one in the group to being normal and yet she can fight it out with most demons and win, reliably. That's pretty impressive, and enough to land her at #4.

Motoko: Trust me boys, you don't want any of this.
#3. The Major from Ghost in the Shell

Unlike Sango, this character personifies badassery from both end of the the spectrum. On the one hand she could be considered to be the most physically handicapped, being that her only living parts are her brain and spinal cord. The rest of her is a prosthetic body. But on the other hand, I'll be damned if she doesn't know how to use that body to do some pretty incredible things (lets keep the dirty jokes to a minimum folks). The gymnastics Motoko pulls off are impressive in their own right, as she regularly jumps off of buildings and pulls stunts that would make most Navy Seals turn green with envy, but when it comes to hacking and heavy combat, the Major is queen. With camoflauge capabilities that outstrip a ninja, (literally in the movies), the ability to capture/kill most opponents, and the capacity to take on a mech (she actually does take on a small one in 1st Gig and though Batou did help a bit, she ends by scaring the pilot senseless!) the Major definitely belongs on the list.

The fact that he's voiced by Crispin Freeman
in the dub goes a long way too.
#2. Alucard from Hellsing

There are many people who would put Alucard at number one, and he's certainly a good example of one on the opposite end from the normals. A super-human elder vampire with guns is pretty bad, never mind the way he uses them. Of course, just wait until he gets really mad and reveals the abomination he really is. At least with the others, you stand a chance. Get Motoko mad, she'll just scare you a little bit and turn you over to the authorities. With Alucard, really get him mad and all you'll get for your trouble is a real short trip to the hereafter. That's assuming he doesn't open the can super-quasi-abyssal powers he has at his disposal. But this is actually why I put him second. His powers mean it's rarely an uncertain thing that he'll win. So who beats out this lord of the night for #1?...

It was hard choosing between Spike and Vicious,
they're both pretty badass, but in the end,
Spike won by a Swordfish. And Steve Blum. ^^
#1. Spike Speigel from Cowboy Bebop

I like Spike. He's a martial arts master, ex-syndicate mook, bounty hunter, with a false eye. Like Sango, his badassery is largely derived from what he does for a living, which is hunt down bounties, and he doesn't always get them. Even so, some of the situations he's been in are still pretty impressive. One of my personal favorites was the chase sequence in the movie where the Martian military chases him through a city in his spacecraft, but some of the better examples of how tough this guy is would be his face-offs with Vicious and Mad Pierout. (His suicide run through the syndicate's headquarters just to get to Vicious at the end also helped.) Though he gets himself beaten up quite horribly in those encounters and also in his encounter with Vincent in the film, he still manages to come out of it looking totally awesome, even in the last fight where we don't know if he survived.  He approaches everything brazenly and confidently, and even when he doesn't win, he still manages somehow to come out if not on top in the situations he's in, he's at least on top in our minds, and that's what makes him my #1 pick for most badass character in anime.

Please note, this list is just based on the anime I've seen. I'm sure there are plenty of characters in anime I haven't watched that definitely have a fighting chance here, but if I haven't seen the show, then I can't talk much about the character without any amount of authority. For instance, I had considered Guts from Berserk as a possible candidate but when it came down to it, I didn't know enough about the character to have a really good frame of reference. Maybe in a couple of years I'll revamp this list (assuming I'm still doing this stuff), but in the mean time, this is what I've got. Also note, that this is just my opinion. If you want to argue the details, you can comment below, but no flaming please. See ya next week!

Images taken from Black Jack, Cowboy Bebop, Detective Conan, Dragon Ball Z, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Hellsing, Inuyasha, Princess Mononoke, Rurouni Kenshin, and Slayers. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gyakko Burai Kaiji: The Ultimate Survivor

Sorry I'm late again, part of it was that I was out of town last week. The rest of it, well, we'll get into that. The anime we're looking at today appears at first to be a show about gambling, and that is entirely true. However, for those of you who often fall prey to the itch, a word of warning. This show takes it to entirely new levels as the protagonist takes increasingly more risky bets, and not just with money, we're talking lives and even corporal mutilation. This show is not for the faint of heart, and I can't argue if you don't want to go any further. But if you do, then we may as well get this over with. So get out your playing cards, and be ready to psyche out your opponents, today we're looking at Gyakko Burai Kaiji: The Ultimate Survivor.

Attention duelists! I swear, if some of the show were cut
out this could have been Yu-Gi-Oh! EXTREME!  If the stakes
were less harsh, these might just be adult card games.
If Yu-Gi-Oh! somehow went through a trans-dimensional warp and ended up cross-pollinating with the Origami Killer's challenges from the video game Heavy Rain, and maybe a little bit of the movie Saw, not only would that be royally screwed up, but it might be somewhat close to what this show is. And that's not a good thing, especially for someone who didn't go in expecting such extremes. Most people who know me know I don't do so well with horror and extreme shock value anyway. But to the nitty gritty. The anime is based on the manga Tobaku Mokushiroku Kaiji (lit. Gamblin Apocalypse Kaiji), which was written by Nobuyuki Fukumoto, and has been running intermittently in Young Magazine since it's first publishing in 1996. The anime was produced by Madhouse and ran on NTV between October of 2007 and April of 2008, though it has not seen any licensing over here. Along with this anime, which covers the first half of the series, it has produced a live-action film and a second season which is currently airing in Japan.

Funny. Espoir apparently means hope, and yet the ship which
carries that name is such a hopeless place. The guy who runs
this place is not without a sense of irony.
The story begins with a situation many an American has become sadly familiar with. The main character, Kaiji Itou, is a down on his luck waste of humanity. Unable to find gainful employment because of the Japanese recession of the 1990's, and reviled by everyone around him, he finds himself down an even deeper hole due to the fact that he'd cosigned for a loan that one of his friends had taken out. Because his friend disappeared, he gets landed with paying the full cost of the loan. Seeing as how you can't draw blood from a turnip, he's offered an alternative by Yujii Endou, the Yakuza-connected loan shark who gives him the news about the debt. In the near future, there's a gambling ship where people can go to try and win enough money to get their debts paid off. But there's a catch. If you lose, you end up disappearing, possibly off to a shady work camp to pay your debts off through labor. Ignoring the sane path of realizing the whole thing is probably horribly rigged and not going (which admittedly would make for a very short series), Kaiji boards the ship, determined to win at any cost.

Another possible tagline for the show: "Dumb people gamble
on doing stupid things for debt relief." I swear, if this
guy hadn't made the wrong choices before, he wouldn't be in the
situation he's in.
At first glance the world this takes place in is your standard 1990's Japan. No one's making that much money and everyone's grumpy about it because their finding their dreams of success slipping through their fingers. (It's not so funny when you're living it, I have to admit.) However, the deeper we get into the show, the more apparent it becomes that it is less realistic and more of a desperate nightmare. The police are no where in sight, the yakuza run amok, and those who are dumb enough to get involved with their desire to see other people suffer are little better off than animals being led to slaughter. It's not a very pleasant world, and there are some very unpleasant characters around. And that unpleasantness starts with the main character. Kaiji struck a very strong nerve with me, though it was less empathy, as it was a reaction of pure and utter revulsion. Maybe it was because the situation he was in at the beginning struck too close to home (I can relate to the not being gainfully employed and always being worried about financial concerns in a recession), or maybe because as crafty as he is, he's still doing some pretty dumb things. I don't know but something about him is like a train wreck. You want to look away, but I guess the schadenfreude-seeker in some of us just can't. Even if at times he had more backbone than some of the supporting cast, it wasn't the kind I particularly find redeeming. The supporting cast is about as one dimensional as they come. Just a bunch of scared guys who are in over their heads. It's true in the first part of the show when they play the card game Restricted Rock Paper Scissors on the Espoir (the ship), and it's true in the later parts of the show as well.

This guy may seem imposing, but Tonegawa is just the
dragon who serves a much more evil master.
The villains are even more ridiculous and one dimensional. Both the obvious villains, Yukio Tonegawa and his boss who remains nameless until right at the end of the show are only conducting these gambles because of some sick desire to watch others suffer for money. In that sense, based on what their history seems to be, and how many calculated unnamed victims they've claimed with their various games, I'd say they're both up there with the Vlad the Impaler. To call them sadists, may be too kind. The events they put together that Kaiji ends up taking part in are often used as entertainment for the parties of the super rich (presumably of the illegal variety) and many of the challenges are quite cruel, encouraging the players to hurt each other, as in the second challenge which involves the participants crossing a steel girder in a race, which encourages them to push each other off, usually with painful and highly injurious consequences when they hit the ground. This nihilisitic view on the world quickly turns many of the participants into little more than violent animals, trying to claw their way to a hopeless victory as the onlookers snicker, and it only gets worse.

At this level, you'd actually survive if you fall. You're lucky
I didn't decide to show any of the worse stuff from later.
There was only one redeeming quality about the show, and that was Kaiji's sense of courage, in the face of adversity, later in the the show. Even that was not enough to save it from the rest of the criteria from which I'm viewing it. I know there are some people out there who love horror and love to see characters receive horrible (maybe even crippling) setbacks, but even so, I fail to understand why some people thought this show was good. It creates a picture of the world where the worst is expected of everyone, and the have-nots are only trying to get back at the haves for what they perceive as their unjust circumstances. And the cost of failure is not only horrific, but at some points, nightmarish. In the latter half of the show, after crossing two of those girder bridges (the second being higher up and electrified) Kaiji is forced to wager first his ear on a card game, (which he eventually cuts off himself to win. Dear Lord, there was blood was everywhere!) and then the fingers on his left hand in the increasingly high stakes gambles. At the point where he wagered the ear, he was given the choice between that and his eye. Thank goodness he opted out of the eye scream. I don't think I could have taken that. It was bad enough watching Tonegawa get his face burned off when he lost. This is after Kaiji faces betrayal after betrayal in the earlier parts of the show, which only ends after his climactic (and traumatic) face-off with Tonegawa's boss, and then, in a very unsatisfactory conclusion involving the loss of his fingers. (Fortunately, they did not show it.)

In terms of presentation, the art is heavily stylized with long noses and very distinctive faces, but they serve as nightmarish reminders of how unreal the whole situation is. Even so, the animation is actually not bad, considering the genre. In terms of the music, it was something of a mixed bag. There were some more dramatic pieces that I liked, and others that were kind of annoying, but nothing outright horrible. That changes with the opening theme song, "Mirai wa Bokura no Te no Naka" by the Rebourn Cherries. While appreciated the sentiment of the song, the title of which literally says "the future is in our hands" I absolutely hated the song, as it was loud, obnoxious and had no melody at all. The ending theme "Makeinutatsu no Requiem" by Hakuryuu, had a much bluesier feel which was somewhat helpful bu not enough to save the show. The cast is led by Masato Hagiwara as Kaiji, and he does a decent job of playing the character, but just because he pulled off the character isn't a guarantee of likability, and Kaiji, from my position has none. I hated this guy's guts, I was wishing he'd just go to the labor camp and disappear, and that he'd stop doing dumb stuff, and there were parts of the show where I didn't want to keep going, which is the other reason I took so long to get this review up. I hated this show, I hated most of the stuff about it, and I hope I never roll the second season because I never want to see Kaiji again! And that's the tiger's two cents.

Images taken from Gyakko Burai Kaiji: The Ultimate Survivor.

Postponement Notice

I hate to say it guys but I'm gonna be late again this week. I'll have the review up tomorrow. I promise.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dangerous Characters: Dr. Stein

While this guy's definitely a little more contemporary in comparison to our other initiates, this guy is no less dangerous. Anyone who's seen the show Soul Eater, produced by Bones, should already know he's got his share of issues, and he doesn't even need a weapon to be scary. Pair him off with the Grim Reaper's personal Death Scythe, (who is actually a character by the way) and you've got yourself a death wish...    (hehe...  I couldn't resist ^^). So let's give it up for the mad doctor himself, the one and only, Dr. Franken Stein.

As a result of his motif being an amalgamation of both the monster and the scientist from Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein", Dr Stein specializes in attacks that resemble electricity, and he has this intense fascination with examining and experimenting with...  live specimens, but that isn't is only characteristic by a long shot. In fact one of his most defining characteristics is that even though he's on the side of the Soul Reapers, (these guys are the protagonists and therefore considered good), he harbors a dark side that if allowed to come out, can drive him totally insane. Throughout most of the show, he's a teacher at the Death Weapon Meister Academy (though even then, it's a bit sketchy just how safe you are around his laboratory), however, for a brief period, when the madness overtakes him, he becomes an adversary. When that happens, that's when the gloves come off, as not only is he really creepy to begin with, but his mastery of martial weapons and hand to hand combat quickly cause things to start dissolving into mayhem. So if for some reason, you find yourself near Death City, steer clear of this guy's lab, unless you want to wake up the next morning and find a couple of suture sights you didn't have before. Just ask Spirit, he's got a record.

Image taken from Soul Eater.