Author Archives: Hachi76

About Hachi76

Well, I'm a leo. I like long walks on the beach and severely damaging people's faith in a caring, just God. I am both nerdier and cooler than you, and the sooner you accept this, the sooner we can move on. My areas of expertise are Video Games, Anime and Kung Fu Films, with minors in Manga, Film and Music circa the 60's to the 80's

Berserk 2016: To Love in a Time of CG

Hello kids, welcome to Kentarou Miura's wild ride.

Hello kids, and welcome to Kentarou Miura’s wild ride.

First impressions are a bitch, aren’t they? You can spend forever and a day planning out every detail of how you present a product, an idea or shit, even yourself, only for it to blow up in your face because of that one patch of dirt you missed on your lapel, or that one glitch in the machine you didn’t iron out, or maybe the chef working at that new restaurant got some slightly-expired onions or even something as subtle as that one corpse stinking up the back of your car as you drive your hot little date to the movie theater and suddenly she’s all like “Hey, what’s that smell?” and before you know it you’re cleaning chunks of sternum out of your back seat because some people just like asking too many questions RIGHT, AGATHA?

Tangents aside, our first exposure to anything, person or media, can irreparably color how we perceive it from that moment forward. Even if it goes on to prove itself a thousand fold, we still find ourselves leery because of the festering taint of negativity that was birthed from that botched first impression. But if we’re strong, really strong, and can work past our initial revulsion, then sometimes, when the stars align and the wind is right, we might be rewarded for our open-mindedness. And in this authors opinion, that is exactly what happens if one is to delve in to Berserk 2016: a stumbling, drunken monstrosity of a show  at first blush that almost dares you to love it, before exposing its golden core to those who resisted the urge to turn away in discomfort or disgust.

Author’s Note: This will be less a “review” and more a “stream of consciousness rambling about the virtues and failings of Berserk 2016,” so bear with me if this gets a little long winded at points. Also, let it be noted that I have been a fan of the series for over ten years now, having read the manga (so far as it exists), owning the anime and the Golden Age movies, and even having beat the Dreamcast game, despite the fact that it has aged like corpse tits. So I have a pretty solid base from which to discuss the series proper. That said, on with the show!

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E3 2016: New Berserk Dynasty Warriors Game Announced, Hachi Runs out of Synonyms for Disbelief

Well, fancy seeing you here.

Well, fancy seeing you here.

It is merely E3 eve and yet we’re already getting announcement bombed.

In a move that I could not have conceived in even my deepest inebriation (and trust me, that is some DEEP shit), Omega Force, which is the team in Koei Tecmo that works on the Sangoku Musou aka Dynasty Warriors series and most of it’s spinoffs, announced that the newest anime-fused branch of the franchise would be Berserk Musou, which will theoretically combine the hacking and slashing action of the Warriors games with Berserk, Kentaro Miura’s long-running masterpiece of dark fantasy and incredibly brutal horror. Continue reading

Square Enix Announces Final Fantasy XII Remaster, Hachi Tries to Remember Who The Hell Vaan is

Image converted using ifftoany

Return to a world where young man-boys quest to find enough material to complete their vests. And save the world. But mostly the vests.

In a genuinely surprising move, Squeenix announced a PS4 remaster of Final Fantasy XII called Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, to release in 2017. Some of you may remember Final Fantasy XII as “That One Kid in the FF Family Who is Totally as Cool as his Siblings, But Wears Weird Clothes and Chose to be a Philosophy Major in College so his Parents Pretend he Doesn’t Exist Anymore: The Game.” There have been rumors for a long time that something like this was in the works, but most questions had been shot down with prejudice, making the rather sudden announcement even more of a shock.

Also, the game may star Gary Busey.

Also, the game may have starred young Gary Busey.

According to the press release, the game will feature the now-standard visual cleanups and texture enhancements, re-recorded soundtrack and a few of the bonuses that were previously exclusive to the Japanese version of the game. Also, apparently there’s a new trial mode with up to 100 consecutive battles for those who thought Yiazmat was not enough proof that God is real and he hates you and wants you to cry Continue reading

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Announced, Hachi Begins Formulating Testicle Puns

When the hype hits you right in the fucking face.

When the hype hits you right in the fucking face.

It’s been a pretty good past few years to be a Dragon Ball fan. The remastered version of the original series, Dragon Ball Kai, brought the series back into focus for modern anime fans who may have been too young to watch it upon its original release, or who had some moral opposition to men screaming and flexing for three episodes at a time. We got some OVAs here, an anniversary short there, and although the video games have been highly hit-and-miss in the wake of the Tenkaichi trilogy on the PS2, they all sold well enough to prove the franchise still had economic heft to it. The real resurgence came with the release and subsequent box office success of a new feature-length film, 2013’s Battle of Gods, which did great business not only in Japan, but in limited theater releases in other countries as well. Add in another highly successful film, 2015’s Resurrection ‘F’ (which yours truly had the pleasure of seeing on the big screen) and an entirely new television series following on from the aforementioned two movies that just wrapped up its first major plot arc, and it’s almost enough to make one forget the occasional trash we were served with for the past decade.

"Almost" being the operative word here.

“Almost” being the operative word here.

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Newest JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Game Announced for Release in the West, Hachi’s Shrieks Reverberate in Taiwan

So many colors, so little time.

So many colors, so little time.

Source: Gematsu

Namco Bandai, in their continuing bid to earn my undying affection and sexual favor, have announced today that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven will release “In the Americas” sometime in Summer 2016 on the PS4. This announcement actually comes less than a week after the game’s release in Japan.

For those who don’t know, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is an extremely long-running manga series in Japan, focusing on the, well, bizarre adventures of the Joestar family, as they take on vampires, ancient Aztec demigods, superpowered mafia dons and time-bending clergy. This of course is a grievous oversimplification of the plot, which spans hundreds of chapters and eight individual parts over more than 20 years of publication, but all you really need to know is that it’s a shounen action story that embraces a colorfully gaudy aesthetic to create one of the most flamboyant, and amazingly fun, fighting series ever, where characters are likely to vogue while explaining their powers to each other and contort like dance-models while battling. Think Ru Paul’s Drag Race meets Fist of the North Star, mixed with Shaman King, and just meditate on how amazing that is. Continue reading

Kung Fu Theater: Shaolin vs. Lama

This year’s pride parade got a little…out of hand.

  • Title: Shaolin dou La Ma
  • Year: 1983
  • Availability: There is a commonly available, English-dub only DVD on the market.

As a Kung Fu fan, I have a truly tremendous pool of material that lies before me. The modern form of the industry has gone through no less than EIGHT distinct “periods” in the 50-odd years it has existed, and as mentioned, some of the studios and directors were remarkably, terrifyingly prolific, putting out near to a dozen films per year for decades. And this is compounded by the immensity of the “Shovel-ware” subdivision, as I like to call it: the quick, made-on-a-buck schlockfests that were put out in the industry’s prime to make a quick profit with as little effort as possible.

Although entertaining in a sense, you generally want to avoid these. You’ve seen them; terrible actors, awful martial arts featuring men flailing at each other stiffly in some sad facsimile of combat, and occasionally whipping out plastic “weapons” to assault the air with. Pretty much, the quintessential “chop socky” flicks that, to this very day, relegate the Kung Fu flick to niche status in the eyes of the general public.

There are telling signs: improper use of a camera, leading to everyone being slightly off-center. Terrible, repetitious dialogue in both English AND Chinese. Bad sets, costuming, fighting, it all just looks terrible. And look out also for a generic (well, more generic) title: any combinations of “Master”, “Shaolin”, “Temple”, “Monk”, “Killer”, “Vs.”, “Fighter”, “Deadly”, “Bloody” and “Bruce Lee” are all big red flags. The best of these tend to be hilarious in their way, and the worst are awful, boring affairs that will just hurt to look at.

“Bruce Lee: Big Red Flag” ironically also the name of an energy drink, coming to you this fall…

But, what happens when those red flags are wrong? What happens when, despite all the signs saying the piece should be terrible, it in fact turns out amazing? It still has all those terrible pieces, sure, but it manages to be amazing in that one, all-important way, and pulls itself up to where its flaws become charm points, and it’s strengths colossal victories? Oh, it can happen, dear readers. It can happen… Continue reading

Anime Theater: Hajime no Ippo pt. 2 (New Challenger)

This image is obviously symbolic of Ippo's desire to see the true face of God...and punch him in the friggin' head.

This image is obviously symbolic of Ippo’s desire to see the true face of God…and punch him in the friggin’ head.

  • Title: Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger
  • Year: 2009
  • American Distributor: None to date, due to the underwhelming performance of the first season here in the states. A release seems unlikely, so get thee to Google…

They say that there’s nowhere to go but down when you reach the top. Having hit the apex of your intention, gotten everything your sick little heart desires, there’s really nothing left for you but the crashing low of disappointment and eventual loss. I don’t believe in that, I actually believe that one simply need sit in their top position, and if that’s not possible, find another ladder to climb. Apparently, that latter proposition gives me a lot in common with Makunouchi Ippo.

Yup, that clumsy-ass lead in was all to get us back into the world of professional boxing and the Japanese athletes, goofballs and general eccentrics that occupy it. After Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting ended in 2002, we had to wait a full SEVEN YEARS for the sequel series. Although the TV movie and the OVA in between provided substantial morsels to snack upon, a true series was what we wanted. And we got it with gusto, with 2009’s Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger, a show that although lacking some important pieces of the perfection of its predecessor, is still a top-notch, non-stop hit parade of humor, heart and hardcore boxing shenanigans.

Also, more Aoki, such as this scene where he appears to be cosplaying as Elliot Gould...

Also, more Aoki antics, such as this scene where he appears to be cosplaying as Elliot Gould…

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Hachi Announces Hokuto no Ken Month, Laughs in the Face of Scheduling

Happy Birthday, eyebrows! ...I mean Kenshiro. No, wait, eyebrows...

Happy Birthday, eyebrows!
…I mean Kenshiro. No, wait, eyebrows…

In celebration of 30 years of brawls, brows and beefy boys beating each other, I would like to officially announce that October will be the month of Fist of the North Star, or Hokuto no Ken, if you’re nasty.

Unlike my other slightly ill-fated saga celebration, the Month of the North Star (trademark pending) will be wider in scope, but looser in schedule. It all may come toward the beginning, or you may get a deluge around Halloween, but rest assured, by the end of this month, you will be treated to several Reviews of the North Star (trademark pending), including both TV anime series’, the Shin Hokuto no Ken OVA and the Raoh-gaiden series from a few years back. Also keep a look out for one, maybe two, Lists of the North Star (trademark pending), and a deeper discussion of what has made the Men of the North Star (pretty sure that one is trademarked already…) such enduring characters.

It’s sure to be an interesting time, so stay tuned to The Wired Fish for your dose of beef and manliness.

And vaguely menacing eye hair...

And vaguely menacing glares.

 

FSW List 76: Top 8 Hajime no Ippo Fights

What do you do, when everyone is blue...and punching each other.

What do you do, when everyone is blue…and punching each other.

So, there’s this show. Hajime no Ippo. And it’s about struggle and friendship and humor and self worth. And you know what else it’s about?

Boxing. That sport that involves people punching eachother a lot. So naturally, you’d expect there to be some hardcore matches in the series. This is a list of the top fights in a series filled with great fights. Fists will fly, tears and blood will be shed, and you will shout many “OOOOOOH!”s as you watch. As I list the fights, I’ll also go into some small detail of the arc of episodes that leads up to the fight, since in some of these cases, the lead in adds an extra level of depth to the matches themselves.

Note, this is from the series as a whole, so that includes the first and second TV anime, the TV movie and the OVA. Oh, and of course, SPOILERS WILL ABOUND IN THIS LIST.

That being said, let’s get started! READY! BOX!

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New Dragon Ball Z Game “Battle of Z” Trailer Released, Hachi Caresses His Balls Gently…Slowly…

Well, time to get my golden wig out...

Well, time to get my golden wig out…

Source: Kanzenshuu

A new Dragon Ball Z brawler has finally been announced, sans release date, but what’s been seen is quite exciting.

Let me preface this by saying that I am a huge DBZ fan. Huge. Absolutely massive. I’ve been watching the show since I was five, and even as an older male, when it should be a ripe target for my practiced snark and cynicism, I can’t help but love it.

And I love video games. And video games about Dragon Ball Z are a particular delicacy, especially since they tend to be halfway-decent. A fan boy will endure a lot to play his favorite show, but Dragon Ball Z: Budokai, waaaaay back on the early PS2, is considered one of the first reasonably fun anime games to come here. And its “threequel”, Budokai 3, is actually considered to be a really good game. So was its successor trilogy, the Tenkaichi series, with Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 being my favorite DBZ game of all time, and a personal fave for its great music, fun combat and ungodly amounts of content. Continue reading

Gamer Review: Thomas Was Alone

But not for long...

But not for long…

  • Title: Thomas Was Alone
  • Developer: Mike Bithell
  • Publisher: Mike Bithell
  • Console: PC, Mac, PS3 and PSVita

Profound. That’s not a word that I, or anyone, should ever use lightly. To ascribe something any level of profundity is to register it as a higher form of something. To say that something has ellicited a level of feeling and thought in us that deserves not only special attention, but praise. It is a difficult task to be profound, that it is.

And especially in videogames, it is hard to believe that anything can be a “profound” experience. Most lack that certain something, maybe due to rigidity of form, or an intent that they just can’t shake in the name of deeper meaning. Or maybe some try too hard. Or, in other cases, try too little and the only “profound” nature they have is to be profoundly dumb, or profoundly disappointing.

Or both.

Or both.

And yet, now and then, they do make their way to us. Shadow of the Colossus, a masterwork of isolation and stark beauty. Journey, a short but painfully gorgeous adventure that acts as one big allegory for the paths we all must take in life. And now, I can honestly say that Thomas Was Alone has joined those ranks because, although it might not have their beauty or depth, it manages to do the almost impossible; to tackle what it means to exist, to understand our place in the universe and alongside our peers, and it tackles it with a sharp wit and a deeply compelling heart. Continue reading

In Memorial: Kenji Utsumi

Ken-oh has returned to the heavens...

Ken-oh has returned to the heavens…

On June 13, 2013, the world of Japanese VO suffered a really terrible loss when Kenji Utsumi, one of the most veteran seiyu (Japanese voice actors) in the business, lost his battle with cancer, passing away at age 75.

As the Wired Fish’s resident anime geek, as well as one of a relatively low number of passionate “voice actor enthusiasts”, I find that I grow fond of certain voices. Certain actors who fill a niche well, giving me a fond thrill whenever I hear them. “Ah, there’s X actor, good to know this hero’s in good hands!” or “Oh, she’s voiced by Y, no wonder I hate her.” Utsumi-san had made a career out of voicing rough and tumble guys, his lower register voice giving many a throaty growl to characters both old and new, and I’d like to highlight a few here. Continue reading

FSW: Anime Theater: Hajime no Ippo pt. 1

Ippo will punch your expectations in the FACE...and then apologize profusely. He's THAT kind of guy...

Ippo will punch your expectations in the FACE…and then apologize profusely. He’s THAT kind of guy…

  • Title: Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting (aka “Fighting Spirit” in its US release)
  • Year: 2000
  • American Distribution: Geneon put out the entire series under the “Fighting Spirit” title, dubbed and all, and most volumes are easily found on Amazon or similar sites. Prices range from 10-20 bucks per 4-episode volume.

Anime is wonderful for a variety of reasons. It’s fun, challenging, surprising, silly, deep, creative, horrifying, mind blowing and very, very varied. Animation here in the US is wonderful and varied as well, this is true, but in Japan, the art form is used to tell stories not just aimed at kids or adults, but of all genres and depths. The anime industry is as wide as the film industry, at the very least, and twice as creative.

So sometimes, when you’re watching the cosmic beast being fought by the young warrior with daddy issues, or the metaphysically challenging ending of a space opera-style show, or seeing a buff dude get punched through a mountain, you forget anime, and by extension, manga’s, talent for simply telling a story. For like all media, any show or story is only as good as the people making it.

And nowhere is this more exemplified than in Hajime no Ippo, George Morikawa’s masterclass in well-rounded, yet accessible and fun storytelling, set to the very terrestrial sport of boxing. A masterclass in great character design, interesting plots and how one uses such a broad, creative artform to tell a constrained, character-based story. Continue reading

Anime-Kung Fu Theater: Rurouni Kenshin

Watch our hero, watch him stand, ANGRILY, in front of stairs...

Watch our hero, watch him stand, ANGRILY, in front of stairs…

  • Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji kenkaku roman tan (according to IMDB)
  • Year: 2012
  • Availability: Not yet “officially” available here, but DVD acquisition is easy, and a localization is absolutely inevitable.

The art of the live-action adaptation is a most difficult and unforgiving field. Anime, almost without exception, is an art form that takes advantage of its unreality to tell stories that would otherwise be impossible to tell in another format. Maybe they’d require unrealistic staging or locations. Maybe the characters need to go through some shit that no real person could feasibly go through. Or maybe someone needs to get punched through several miles of earth, and well, with the exception of Hong Kong legend Lo Meng, I can’t think of anyone in the real world who could handle THAT particular stunt.

I heart him. I heart him so FUCKING much...

I heart him. I heart him so FUCKING much…

Because of this, most anime adaptations tend to run the gamut from “decent” to “holy shit, my brain eyes are on fire, summon the lord for the end-times have come” Some of them are uproariously bad/good times, like the old Fist of the North Star movie with Gary Daniels and Malcolm McDowell. Others are just depressingly bad, like the horrific Blood Plus movie made a few years back. And still others are just, well, BORING, like Mushishi (based off one of my absolute faves, no less). So imagine my shock when, after watching the Rurouni Kenshin live-action film, I sat back and said to myself that it was…good. Damn good. Really damn good. Miracles happen, that they do. Pretty Asian miracles in red hakama… Continue reading

First Step Week Delayed to THIS Week, Hachi Offers to Sever Leg in Recompense

So…some of you may have noticed the lack of much Hajime no Ippo-related writing here, despite my claims to a large amount of such things coming out. Well, that’s because it will be coming this week, for reasons that have nothing to do with my inability to recover from a drunken, debaucherous weekend at a convention, coupled with E3 coverage NO SIREE, HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT.

…*ahem*. Anyway, expect all the boxing fun promised last week to instead come this week. I would also like to officially announce that First Step Week is now dedicated in loving memory to Kenji Utsumi, the voice actor for Coach Genji Kamogawa who tragically passed away last week. I’m offering this to his memory, so I’d better damn well be up to snuff.

Well folks, see you in the times to come.