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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Video of the Week: Hokuto Edition

Fresh off of my Fist of the North Star review, is this week's Video of the Week Special!

You'll remember from my review the Hundred Crack Fist video. Easily one of the most memorable scenes in the series. Also, exploitable.

Hokuto no Koopa. Based on an excellent flash series called Super Mario Bros Z.


Even Kenshiro likes Wii Fit...


I know Neo's gonna like this one.


Moving on, we've got a prime example of the kind of grunts Ken goes up against. Sure, he can beat up as many people as he wants, but sometimes he just leads them on perfectly...
then BOOM.

Finally, here's a short clip from The Legends of the True Savior (from which portion I'm not sure). Just the way Ken sounds in comparison to the original...it's more realistic I suppose (more Bruce Lee-sounding than ever), but...


BONUS: A great anime about fighting typically gets a fighting video game. Check out this commented match on Hokuto no Ken.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Otaku's Interests: Fist of the North Star

"You don't even know you're already dead."

That line is iconic. I didn't know myself until I heard it, and I am better for it.



Hokuto no Ken, Fist of the North Star to us Americans, is an 80s action anime that took place on a nuked-out future Earth. Barren wastelands and destroyed everything, with humanity struggling to survive, and humans killing and stealing from each other in the process. If you've ever seen Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, you'd know exactly the kinda world FNS is...except there are apparently dozens of martial artists everywhere. The main character, Kenshiro, is apparently the best there is, living and fighting as the sole successor to the unbeaten Fist of the North Star assassination art. Also known by me as Internal Combustion Hands-On. Against anyone not important or without martial arts capabilities, this is typically what goes down.


...I know, right? This to me is the early equivalent to Dragon Ball. The early, M-Rated equivalent. HE BLOWS PEOPLE UP BY STABBING THEM WITH HIS FINGERS. How badass is that!?

Of course, there's plot too. The story starts out with Ken walking through the desert, starved and dehydrated after being left for dead by Shin, a fellow martial artist of the opposing South Star art and a friend turned evil who kidnaps his girlfriend. He gets to a town where he is then locked up right about the time when some evil yups, who just happen to work for the cock-block (excuse that, there's just no other way to describe him...I hated that bastard), roll into town and ransack the place. A little girl, Lin, helps Ken by finally giving him water, and wouldn't ya know it, she then gets caught by the bad guys. 3 minutes later, Ken is out of the prison, and the ass-kickings are handed out. Ken continues his journey as Lin and the comedic relief, an older child named Bat (really?), follow him.



It looks a lot better than it sounds. We knew he was a bad-ass from the start...he's the main character after all, and he looks intimidating as hell even without the strength to actually fight yet. The way the story sets the setting for the entire world the anime is based in at the first episode is brilliant; it puts everything in perspective in that the world is FUCKED UP and there is so very little to look forward to but living long enough to serve those in power, whether you want to or not. Then Ken shows up out of nowhere, and of course he becomes the hope for a good future. That's how you establish your anime. Blowing up people helps too, though.


Of course, it doesn't remain this easy...but it does last for a while. I truely never thought Kenshiro had a true challenge until past the first fourth of the series, beyond Shin. I won't go into any more detail than that, but know that every time Ken starts to fight, unless someone actually says his name more than 2 times, he's most likely dead within 2 minutes of charging towards Ken...kinda makes stuff predictable, don't it? Seeing them all blow up in different ways never really got boring to me, though.

The art is what you'd expect of an 80s show, with several of the death and attacking enemy animations rehashed over the episodes, and I don't blame them. I wouldn't wanna waste money or time on doing every single death animation for the hundreds of people Ken kills. Later in the series, however, there are numerous times where the entire art style changes for a specific episode, and it's blatantly obvious when they do so.

I've never read the manga, so I have nothing to comment on that beyond what I've heard from other viewers; apparently, the animation really does justice to the manga, to the point where I've heard characters looked better in the anime than in the manga. Now that's great praise, especially when you look at anime based on manga and other media nowadays, and how some of it just looks generic in the animation when the original source material looks brilliant (I'm looking at you, Valkyrie Chronicles). Of course, since this was made for TV, the gore is...reasonably toned down...pretty much, when blood spurts, it's not red.



I just recently got through the first saga (there's a time jump into Fist of the North Star 2), and let me just say you will enjoy almost every minute of it. They do like to show flashback episodes after major people die, though, so beware of that. Otherwise, this is one of those shows people need to have in their mind when they think classic anime. Do yourself a favor and watch it...now. Now, dammit!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

POLL POSITION: What's a good price for a gaming rig?



According to the last POLL POSITION, I should cosplay as any of the choices but Barrett. I guess he's too obvious a choice? I mean, I don't see him anywhere near as much as Cloud and Aerith, but...

There's been several new and reasonably priced PC parts coming out lately, and I'm attempting a new gaming PC by the end of the summer. With the new parts, there have been several articles on how to build new PCs on the cheap. But what do you all think? Is a $500 gaming PC really feasible, or is that all just a lie and something around $2,500 is the way to go? More than that, even? Check the poll, give me some hits, and let me know.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Daily Scribbles: Deus Ex Machina

Again, sorry for the absence...I'm was going through a bit of a crisis in my life, but I feel as if I owe it to everyone to explain exactly what it was.

You know about the big fuss I made about finals. There's a very good reason for that...besides the fact that finals are hard. At Virginia Tech, and I'm guessing many other colleges and universities, you need a GPA of 2.00 or above, else you start getting consequences. My first semester, last fall...yeah, that didn't happen. Besides the fact that Calculus is still killing me right now, I had other courses that I simply loathed (why the hell am I learning Biology when my major is going to be Computer Science!?)...but that's Engineering for ya. So, I got an academic probation, which means I only get 16 hours of classes (and there went English class), and I have to get a semester GPA of 2.5, or an overall GPA of 2.00, or I get the next consequence. So all this spring semester I've had that hanging over my head, so I buckled down even tighter than I had before (and that was tight to begin with), and went into it.

Guess what I found out the weekend after finals? Go ahead, I'll wait...
Yeah, missed AGAIN, thanks to a D in Calc part 2. Here's the kicker, though. I needed an overall GPA of 2.00...I now have an overall GPA of 1.98. I found that out at 3AM, just about to go to sleep. That's kinda traumatizing, when you think about it. So, I currently have an academic suspension on my head, which means no Fall 09 semester for me. In the words of Will Smith, "Oh hell naw." So now I have a nicely written appeal letter written out over the next 2 days, ready to send it in so I can get out of the suspension...because that's like tripping 1 step from the finish line, it's just so wrong. Check my email once again, and I find out that my Engineering grade for the Spring semester was actually calculated wrong (The whole class grading was messed up), and many students actually earned around half a letter grade higher than what they got. I have a B-, and if everything works out, I will actually have at least a B or higher. One Calculator app opening and closing later, I find my GPA would actually be a 2.01 or higher. Thank you, God, I really appreciate this one.

A couple of days later, it's confirmed, and I'm back in good standings. So yeah, I was freaked out, but that's over, and now it's time to just put off all the stress. I'll be back tomorrow with actual content for ya.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Daily Scribbles: Blanked out Again.



Sorry for the past couple of days sans postings. You'll be happy to know that the missed days should come to an end in about a week.

...Yeah, it's another hiatus. Ok, maybe not a hiatus, there's just going to be some blank posting days. I've finally finished my finals, and right now I'm just enjoying myself while I can. Spending time with family, seeing my sister's recital and my brother's college graduation, and generally lying about and gaming my digits away. It'd be the first time in a long time.

I'll try to post when I can, but if everything isn't flowing again by next Thursday, it will be by that weekend.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Video of the Week: Jones Edition

I swear I can imagine these commercials in Baltimore late-night.





Thursday, May 07, 2009

Game to Try: Robot Dinosaurs That Shoot Beams When They Roar

New segment! Well, kinda new. You may remember my Review of Cavestory a while back, and I labeled it as "Game to Try". Well, let's go with that, but this'll just be a short summary of a game instead of a full-blown review from now on. Don't really need a review for something you can play for free. Besides, I like having new tags to add on to stuff.



Well, running with that, we've got a Flash game called "Robot Dinosaurs That Shoot Beams When They Roar." Yeah, the title is that long, and yeah the game is making fun of itself. That doesn't mean the game is not awesome. It's essentially a parody of Gradius...with [insert title here]. Controls are simple: Move the mouse to move the dino, click left to blast things with your lazer roar that gets weaker the longer you press the button. There's only one stage, it's easy as hell, and you only have two different dinos to try (who play out pretty much the same).

Still, that's not really the point. It's hilarious to play over an over again; I mean, the opening had me to begin with. Just play for the LOLs, it's a flash game, it ain't gonna harm you. ROOOOAAARRR!

Robot Dinosaurs That Shoot Beams When They Roar [Kongregate]

New Tech: DIY Coilgun

Spotted at Engadget.



A Mr. Daniel Eindhoven made this little number you see above for about €100. Capable of firing projectiles at speeds close to 110km/h (~68 mph), plugged in or not. Got a lazer sight, too? Heck, even if it didn't work, I'd buy it for the look of it, and you're telling me I can line up head shots with this thing? Oh, it's on.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Return!



So, after a grueling month of classes and tests, along with a longer-than-expected hiatus, I'm back to posting!

Now, I still have finals from Friday to Tuesday, but I believe I'll now have time to post for once. So, to mark the occasion, I have an announcement: I'm making a video game!

Me and my brother talked it over, and we're considering starting up a RPG using Flash and Java. Well, after finishing my Java class today, I definitely want to do it! It'd be online with user logins, if I could really get that all to work properly. I really want to accomplish this over the summer, though, and it'd be great for my resume, I believe. So, I'll give updates on the progress of it...every two weeks or so once we actually start. and if I don't, tell me to!