Archive for July, 2007

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Hellsing

In the name of God, impure souls of the living dead shall be banished into eternal damnation. Amen.” – Hellsing Organization

     Such is the doctrine of the Hellsing Organization. A covert, paramilitary operation seeking to destroy vampires for over a hundred years. Run by Sir Integra Hellsing, a hard-nosed, ruthless leader, bound by her obligation to Queen and country. She is the last in a long line of Hellsing’s who’ve fought to protect humans from vampires. Aided by her assistant, Walter, she is a formidable opponent. Walter, it should be noted, is quite formidable himself. A former Nazi spy known as the Angel of Death for his skilled use of a wire garrote. Integra also has under her control an ancient vampire, Alucard. Alucard is a dangerous creature. A true vampire. Far beyond the usual abilities attributed to vampires, he’s able to shape shift into any form. He’s virtually indestructible. He is the secret weapon of the Hellsing Organization.

     A new breed of vampires has emerged. Vampires created by a computer chip (called the Freak Chip). It gives them all the power, the thirst of the vampires but no control. They become psychotic and very dangerous. Alucard is not like these vampires. He’s a true vampire, apparently one of the first. He holds these “fakes” in contempt. And eagerly destroys them for his master, Sir Integra. Humans bitten by the vampires, if not properly destroyed (a bullet through the head generally), will rise up and become zombie-like, cannibalistic ghouls.

     The story really begins when an innocent young woman, Seras Victoria, is literally in the wrong place at the wrong time. Seras is a newbie police woman with an elite, swat-like unit sent into a tiny village besieged by a vampire. She’s the sole survivor. That is where she first meets Alucard, also sent in to kill the vampire. The vampire, posing as a priest, uses her as a human shield, believing Alucard would not kill a human. He was wrong. Alucard gives her the choice of joining him or dying. She chooses to become like him. After that, she becomes a part of the paramilitary branch of the Hellsing Organization, led by Commander Peter Fargason. An older man, very loyal to Integra and the Hellsing Organization. He guides Seras into becoming a strong and capable solider.

     That’s essentially the back story for the anime and manga Hellsing

Hellsing
. There are some story line differences between the two so I’ll be focusing on the anime. I really like this anime. I’m a sucker (no pun intended!) for a vampire story. And Hellsing has it all! An enigmatic, dangerous vampire anti-hero, an innocent female drawn into the battle through situations beyond her control, bad guys that are truly evil, good guys that will fight the good fight to the death if necessary and lots of blood and gore thrown in for good measure! How can you beat that? In addition to all this, Hellsing is beautifully rendered. It’s well written with lots of wonderful, albeit terrifying characters. It’s also very violent and bloody. It’s definitely not for the weak of heart or stomach. But if the violence doesn’t bother you, it’s well worth a look. It’s truly a classic!

Hellsing Alucard
“Now I’ll show you how real vampires do battle!” –Alucard

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Seras Victoria
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Posted by rinda on Jul 31st 2007 | Filed in Anime,Manga,TV | Comments (0)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

     I’ve finally finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (My boyfriend called dibs when it arrived so I had to wait my turn) My first impression of the book…thought provoking. There was a lot that left me thinking. At times, I found myself having to pause, consider and sometimes reread sections. There’s a lot going on in this book. Which shouldn’t be surprising. J.K. Rowling has a knack for layering her stories. And she’s very good at leaving certain scenes open to the interpretation of the reader.

     Another early impression of the book. It’s complete. I have a genuine sense of having reached the conclusion. It’s a satisfying feeling. More and more it seems these days that so many books, TV shows and movies never really tie things up and end. There’s always a cliffhanger. It’s kinda surprising because I didn’t think I’d feel this way but this book is a solid conclusion to Harry Potter’s story.

     There were some surprises. There were some tears. I anticipated beloved characters would die in this final book. It is a war that they’re fighting after all. Casualties are to be expected. But at least a couple of the deaths were completely unexpected.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2

     It’s a good book. I will admit that I felt it was dragging at times. By the halfway point, I couldn’t believe that she was going to manage to end the book, let alone the series because it felt like it was meandering so. But once I reached the end, I realized that a great deal of information was imparted in those seemingly slow moving parts. I just didn’t recognize it until it all came together. Rowling is exceptional at foreshadowing. At planting small clues or seemingly insignificant facts that later become pivotal points of reference. She has written an entertaining, delightful and highly addictive series of books that I readily recommend to young and old. These books go far beyond any hype that surrounds them. They are truly magical.

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Posted by rinda on Jul 27th 2007 | Filed in Books,Fantasy | Comments (0)

Ninja Warrior

      Ninja Warrior, or SASUKE as it’s known in Japan, has become a guilty pleasure for me.  I’m not much of sports fan but I love this show.  There is something about this competition that gets me.  I think part of it’s charm is that you never know who’s going to do well.  Athletic prowess alone is not enough.  Strength, stamina, balance, speed…they all play a part!  To give you some idea how hard the competition is, since it’s inception back in 1997, over 2,000 challengers have attempted it.  Only two have completed all four stages and won.

      The show originally was originally broadcast in 1997 on Japan’s Tokoyo Broadcasting System.  It is a three-hour special shown on Japanese TV.  Over here, G4 has picked up the broadcasts , subtitled them with voice-overs in English and called it Ninja Warrior.  There are several different versions of the competition.  The original, including men and women, is the toughest.  Then there’s Women of Ninja Warrior (KUNOICHI in Japan) and two others, with only one stage each, designed for children and the elderly.

      There are two competitions a year, one in the summer and one in the winter.  Since 1998, the courses have been set up outside on the infamous Mt. Midoriyama in Yokohama.  The competition includes a series of four courses known as stages.  Each course has multiple obstacles.  Because the order and type of obstacles change from year to year, it’s impossible to predict what the course will look like completely.  Despite this, many of what have come to be known as Sasuke AllStars build mock-ups in their homes so that they can practice. All but one of the stages are timed.

      The four stages can be hellish.  Each has their own unique challenges.  To even make it to the competition, participants must go through an interview and physically challenging trial rounds.  Of these, 100 competitors go forward to the first stage.  Each stage is demanding but they become more and more arduous until reaching the climax of a 22.5 meter climb, including a 10 meter (32.8 feet) rope climb, in less than 30 seconds.

      The competitors are another part of the TV show’s appeal.  They come from all over the world, though the majority are Japanese.  They come in costumes and work uniforms sometimes.  They’re not all professional athletes.  In fact, neither of the two men who have won were athletes.  One is a former crab fisherman with bad eyesight and the other captain’s a fishing boat.  There are a lot of Olympic caliber athletes who do participate and do well.  But that’s the thing, you never can tell what’s going to happen!  There’s also an obvious camaraderie between the competitors that’s amazing.  They cheer each other and are visibly upset when one of them falls.  You can’t help but cheer and cry out with them.  This show really pulls you in.  Sometimes, I get so involved in the individual runs that I’m not even aware that I’m doing it!

      This is really a entertaining show.  It’s a competition of honor.  Most compete simply to see if they can win.  It’s not about the money or a medal, although the title of Sasuke or Ninja Warrior must be a treasure to the few who have won it.  I’m proud to say that my personal favorite, Makoto Nagano, won the challenge in 2006.  If you haven’t seen the show, you should try and catch it.  It’s only half an hour long.  And you don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy it.  It’s a lot of fun!

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Posted by rinda on Jul 24th 2007 | Filed in TV | Comments (1)

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Fighting Dreamers

     Today, I’m staying in the anime vein. I’ve been watching Naruto and I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about a wonderful anime that I truly enjoy. Naruto is one of those shows that’s just plain fun to watch. It’s funny without being too silly. There’s plenty of action and the characters aren’t boring. They are varied and well-rounded. It’s currently being aired on Cartoon Network’s Toonami on Saturday nights. You can also find episodes online. Cartoon Network actually has some streaming video available at their site Jetstream. So here is the story of Naruto in a nutshell…and to those of you who’ve never seen or heard of it before, there may be some spoilers ahead.
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Posted by rinda on Jul 22nd 2007 | Filed in Anime,Manga,TV | Comments (0)

Go Team Sea Slug!

Azumanga Daioh is a perky school-days, shōjo type anime that I absolutely adore. From the opening credits, it lifts my spirits and makes me smile. It’s based on a manga and was adapted to anime form back in 2002. It’s a goofy but sweet story that follows the lives of five high school girls that come together in their freshman year, all in the same class. Their teacher, Miss Yukari, is a laugh riot. A wild, unpredictable English teacher who has more in common with her students than her coworkers. Her old friend and the girls gym teacher, Minamo Kurosawa, is a stabilizing influence. Well, as much as anyone can be with Yukari! The girls are united by the unexpected arrival of Chiyo Mihama, a child prodigy who has skipped five grades to enter high school at the tender age of ten. Chiyo (or Chiyo-Chan as she’s known to her friends) is smart…really smart! And very cute with adorable little pigtails.
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Posted by rinda on Jul 21st 2007 | Filed in Anime,Books,Manga,TV | Comments (0)

Snack Attack

     Yesterday’s post has gotten me thinking about food, particularly snack food (one of my personal favorites!).  So today, I want to talk about anime food.  Now, if you’re a fan of anime then you know what I mean.  If not, allow me to enlighten you.

     Basically anime food is Japanese snack foods.  Many of which are frequently seen in different animes or have become part of the Otaku community as favorite snacks to be eaten while watching anime. There are many different kinds of Japanese snack foods/anime snacks but I’m going to focus on my personal favorites or at least the ones that I’ve tried so far! Continue Reading »

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Posted by rinda on Jul 18th 2007 | Filed in Anime,Food | Comments (2)

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