BioMega: Read volume one of the amazing Biomega a cyberpunk action/thriller set in a post apocalyptic dystopia. This manga has a beautiful art style and feels very much like manga drawn in the 80’s. The wealth of detail in the backgrounds is such a welcomed contrast to some of the more clean looking modern manga. This is truly a magnificent piece of art the images are full of texture and detail with the most breathtakingly drawn backgrounds. The story is set around an apocalyptic earth and a plague creating a zombie like horde, our lead male is on a mission to seek out any remaining human life signs amongst a population of mutants, techno-organic life forms and artificial humans. This is a wonderful work and just such a brilliant style and exciting read!
Assassination Classroom: Read the brilliant first volume of Assassination Classroom. This is a bit of a genre hybrid and its no wonder it’s so popular in Japan with an anime on the go and a live action in the works. AC is funny and heart warming but also clever and different. The assassination attempts excite and amuse, Koro it both a monster and the greatest teacher these children could have. All the while showing a commentary on the current Japanese school system and the pressure on students, this manga acts as a perfect escape for them while giving a little insight into Japans difficult school life. Brilliant manga just brilliant it made me laugh, smile, gasp and think!!!
Ajin: Demi-Human: Just read Ajin Demi-human with was a very good read. A quite harsh modern horror in the vain of Deadman Wonderland and Tokyo Ghoul. I say this as its has the core plot of the manifestation of a dark and horrific power in a world that hunts, controls and experiments on people who manifest this power. In Ajin its the immortal Demi-Humans that cant be no matter how horrific a death is inflicted on them and the strange “otherself” they can summon. the summons are interesting, terrifying and unique. The first volume is fast paced hitting the ground running while setting up a web of interesting characters and the players in a bigger mystery/conspiracy. While violent and creepy at times it is a great read and an interesting premise that I look forward to continuing to read.
Diabolik lovers, proof that you can put 6 extremely hot vampire bishies into an anime and it still can be boring. I keep watching these damn Otome based animes and I keep just not getting on with them. These guys are always so hot but the main girl that you would play as in the game is always so dull.
This girl, Yui, is the sweet innocent, dull, vapid boring protagonist that just keeps walking into stupid situations. She pretty much is made these vamps play thing and I can’t see why any would fall for her. If you were forced to live in a mansion because your father is posted overseas and it supposedly belongs to family then found out the 6 vampire brothers live there, what would your do? Well you’re a young attractive girl maybe you would flirt with the brothers see which one you would pair off with. Sounds well and good but they are vampires and see you as food; they bite you and take your blood whenever they feel like. They hit you, push you about, mock and humiliate you, stating how your only food and shouldn’t act above your station as a lowly human blood bank. They threaten you with rape and to feed off you and no matter your struggles and protests no one comes to help you and you are devoured on a regular basis. Sounds romantic!!!! I mean hot vampire guys are great and who doesn’t like a bad boy but come on there is no way you want to romance cold hearted killers that use you for food, sport and pleasure.
Well Yui being the dim but innocent girl still seems to approach them. I know most of the games are based on the idea that you’re youthful and innocent feelings can bring forth love and by being so refreshingly pure that you can melt even the coldest hearts. But god this girl is not innocent and pure she is naïve and dumb. You’re treated like food so when you find a sleeping vampire you A) leave him alone or B) wake him up so he gets made molests and feeds off you tossing you to the floor when done. How about you hear a male voice singing and you A) go explore to find the singing vampire, who then teases you, abuses you, feeds off you and leaves you lying in the dirt or B) you ignore it and hurry to your room to stay under the radar. It goes on like this, instead of lying low and trying to avoid being played with Yui just goes up and makes causal conversation with Vampires and then gets upset when they attack her. God I wanted her to just hurry up and get eaten and the vampires kill her. Why can’t these Otome based animes have spunkier heroines is that too much to ask? I’m not asking for a full on Ryoko Matoi from Kill la Kill, she doesn’t need to be a completely strong fighter type that can beat down everyone around her but just a little more Miyaka from Fushigi Yuugi or even Kyoko from Skip Beat an amazingly entertaining and spunky female character.
Read my review of Skip Beat here:http://www.lzsy.co.uk/2010/04/skip-beat-%e2%80%93-a-lovely-easily-watchable-anime-with-a-female-protagonist-that-is-brilliant/
This anime suffers from having a completely none relatable female lead and maybe it still is a victim of the Japanese society and its education of women. It’s no secret that Japanese media is a male dominated industry and still makes decisions based on Japans ideals on a women’s place and the commercialisation of products for women in contemporary Japan. Since the very first girls comics in Japan in the Meji era that taught Japanese girls to act like proper young women this trend has continued in some aspects of the media. So the idea that ideal Japanese girls are pure and innocent still permeates through the media but it’s a shame that something as exciting as a Vampire anime can be so vapid. Even the plot can’t make up for it as it gives no real answers to the past of the vampire boys, their parents and why the resurrection of one mother is so bad.
After sitting through 6 eps of vampire jail bait and a recap on Yui’s feeling we finally see some story development. So it turns out that the 6 boys have one father and 3 different mothers. No real idea who the father really was and how he managed to simultaneously marry 3 vampires and father 6 sons while also being some kind of government official. It is never made clear if this politician is also a vampire. But one boy Subaru’s mother appears to be locked in a tower, don’t know why or why she asked him to stab her to death. The next two brothers mother is training one Shuu, to be the head of the house who clearly rather be off playing while ignoring the other son Reiji who enjoys studying and would make a better head. Then there are the triplets of one mother, these triplets Ayato, Leito and Kanata for some reason conspire to kill their mother who may be having an affair with her husband’s brother. Why they kill her I have no idea there was no reason, she may have been bad but not kill worthy bad I mean these boys are no princes. Two look like brothers one like the mother but he is clearly psychologically damaged in the fact he always looks half crazed and talks to a stuffed animal but again no background on his behaviour. But alas mother dies her lover steals her heart and in the end uses Yui to resurrect her. Well Yui is certainly more interesting for an episode but the Vampire boys reject the return of their mother band together to save Yui, kill their uncle and then each tell us how they hope you’re ready for a lifetime of pain and pleasure as their food and sexual object.
It’s all so stupid, plot makes no sense these boys have angst but never enough to redeem them or endure them to us. They are fantastically attractive and they look good all vampired up and covered in blood so visually it’s an erotic display but that its. This anime is all visual but nothing else and even my wildest vampire fantasy has me placed higher on the food chain then object, there is nothing erotic being told get ready for dinner hope you don’t mind living for me so I can eat you worthless but delicious girl. I mean this anime is even more disappointing then Shinsengumi vampire anime Hakuoki, I thought that was poor and after I realised it was an Otome game it made sense that the main girl in all her honest and pure innocence became the focus of the Shinsengumi’s interest but it least it had the decency of having a mutual love story and a plot but I digress.
Unless you hard core love Otome games or happy just to look at pretty boys regardless of plot then do watch it but I’d rather watch a silly but fun sports anime or just yaoi at least then I have nothing but buckets of pretty boys and no vapid good natured innocent flower slowing down my plot.
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This is a surprisingly good horror film and I’m glad I went to see it. I wasn’t really expecting much I went to see it purely cause I’d seen the poster on a bus and thought “oh new horror” and gave it a try. I am normally not that impressed with horror films these days the current crop have left me feeling disappointed and totally unafraid. From Mama’s cgi ghost to The Conjuring’s happy ending horror has been a bit of a bore. I am even finding it hard to find good horrors from the Asian market and I prefer their films. But alas there hasn’t been a Dark Water or Tale of Two Sisters in years. The Thai’s have been coming up with some good stuff like The Victim, House and Body 19 but these are still a few years old.
So horror has left me flat and as one of my fav genres that is a real shame. I love a good scare, decent drawn out frights and an unhappy ending cause nothing ruins a horror faster than “they all lived happily ever after” where is the fear in that, half the fun of a horror is the idea that it’s still out there and can come for you, not in some priest or shaman coming to the rescue. This was why the Conjuring was such as disappointment, not only because it has 2 jumps in its entire running time, it failed to set a strong paranormal presence or a chilling environment and then drifted down the demonic position route to end with an exorcism and a happy family. I mean Mama could have been good but I don’t want to see EVERYTHING!!! Keep some mystery about your creature or supernatural being don’t give me a giant whirling cgi creature and a sad melodramatic plot with a beautiful and touching ended, I don’t want to be moved I want to be scared.
Well The Quiet Ones did a lot better than these previous films. For one thing it was a slow build playing on that line between mental illness and paranormal. When is something a hoax or the real thing? You do spend a vast amount of the film trying to figure out if this is a haunting or just a tortured girl and a man possessed by his own research and theories. The film is supposedly set on true events or this case loosely inspired by events that apparently really happened but were found out to be faked. The plot is simple, Inspired by true events, THE QUIET ONES tells the story of an unorthodox professor (Harris) who uses controversial methods and leads his best students off the grid to take part in a dangerous experiment: to create a poltergeist. Based on the theory that paranormal activity is caused by human negative energy, the rogue scientists perform a series of tests on a young patient, pushing her to the edge of sanity. As frightening occurrences begin to take place with shocking and gruesome consequences, the group quickly realizes they have triggered a force more terrifying and evil than they ever could have imagined. (Cited from: http://www.hammerfilms.com/productions/film/filmid/364/the-quiet-ones).
So as a Brit myself I can attest to their being some freaky old buildings in the UK and ghost sittings have been publicised, were an old country that has seen a lot so I for one assume we must have some haunted sites (I will prove this at the end of April on a Ghost hunting expedition to Fort Horstead in Kent!!). So I don’t find it farfetched that someone would investigate this phenomenon or that an Oxford professor would research it, we love a bit of research and theoretical discovery in the UK. But what makes this a surprisingly good film I suppose is that I had seen so much poor horror I wasn’t expecting anything much but I was surprised to see what we Brits had to offer the Horror genre, after all it was the god of horror cinema Hammer that was helming this movie. Well the acting was good for one thing, Jarred Harris is a brilliant actor and he doesn’t disappoint. The build is slow and subtle mixing a couple of horror troupes like the lights going out and all we see is what the hand held camera of one protagonist sees.
The win comes in the fact that we don’t see much at all and proof that less is more. There are a lot of loud noises; I jumped so many times because of that, some doors opening and the occasional thing flies across the room. But not enough to truly make me go “omg it’s a ghost this place is so haunted, that girl is so possessed”. Really its one man possessed by his own thesis that fails to see that something supernatural may be occurring. You never really see what’s attacking them and it’s wonderful, strange marks appear, a lot of horrible screaming (which made me ask why these people kept running towards the screaming or banging noises if it was me I’d be running in the opposite direction) and two noticeable appearances of something that makes you go. WTF, something is not right. Not seeing the evil works so well its left to your imagination as a plot on cults and a demonic deity arises but it never goes into the troupe of being possessed by a demon and calling in the local priest who just happens to be well versed in dealing with this.
The OMG WTF moment, so brief but enough creep and random to make you go oh oh they are in trouble!!!
Maybe it’s a British thing but these characters get into trouble and don’t run to the clergy, first they think doctors, then they think, shit were in trouble. It’s not patriotic or family unit focused it’s just a mixed group that are in way over their heads. By the time it’s all going Pete Tong it’s too late there is no one to help them, some evil has been released and it’s bigger than any person. Us Brits don’t need a happy ending, were the makers of realistic film movements and non-mainstream social protagonists and thus not heroes and saviours, just people that can get into shit and not survive. So I was very happy with an ever body dead or mental ending because that’s how it should be. You provoke supernatural forces and they fight back, religion is not always the answer or there to save you.
I overall enjoyed the simple creep factor of this film, the loud jumps, the blurring of mental states and the feeling that no one is getting out of this unharmed and therefor it warns us not to go messing with the supernatural world because it is often beyond our understanding. This film was well acted, totally British, nicely scored and while didn’t always know where it was going it gave us the unhappy ending I’ve wanted from a horror for a long time.
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So these are just my fav’s and their are certainly a lot more out there and I may add more as I discover them. I do love a cross-dressing pretty boy!!!!
1. Rui Ninomiya - Gatchman Crowds, I like a pretty boy with a bucket of angst trying to do the right thing. Also one that has a bisexual alien villan molesting him. Plus Rui is smart real smart I love an intelligent boy, glasses are very attractive.
2.Yuuki Kei - Moyashimon. A Goth Loli pretty boy whose is smart and hard working and not afraid to play with gender stereotypes. Yuuki is just a smart and sexy young man.
3.Nuriko – Fushigi Yuugi. One of my first ever traps the lovely but short tempered and tough as they come Nuriko. A pretty boy that shared my love of Bishonen Emperor Hotohori. He is loyal and strong and the first trap in my anime discovery many years ago.
4.Mariya Shidou – Maria Holic. I love this boy why because he is a vindictive, manipulative little sadist who is so fun to watch. He may be a cruel tease and a bully but he does it with style and elegance. Sometimes its more fun to see a bit more of a bad boy trap then a blushing little thing.
5.Yuuta Sasaki – Cuticle Detective Inaba. Again don’t let a blushing innocent pretty face fool you. I love Yuuta cause he is crazy proper Yandare bunny boiler type. He has many fooled with his sweet charm and feminine ways but alas he is another fun off his head little sadist who isn’t afraid to knock of the completion to his Inaba’s attention.
6.Honjo Kamatari – Rurouni Kenshin. Poor boy fell in love with the wrong man and is now a villain but one hot deadly bad boy. Feminine and charming, tomboying and pretty he is also not someone you want to get into a fight with unless your one tough fighter. Who doesn’t love a bit of deadly power hidden behind such a pretty face.
7.Tieria Erde – Gundam 00. Gundam has always had that gay vibe I for one love to slash and yaoi it up and the pilots are getting more bishie. But Tieria is the best, all full of angst and I adore an angsting pretty boy who also pilots a Gundam. Plus this is one hot cross-dressing pilot he is very sexy in his red dress, even better when he has to pilot in his torn clothes looking all dishevelled and delectable.
8.Anna Gram – Phi Brain. I love this delicate pretty boy he is a little fluffy and away with the fairies but still I have a soft spot for him. Maybe its because I’m also an artist and relax when I paint or the fact that this pretty boy is also very smart and cheerful.
9. Mariandale – Ixion Saga. I love him because of his spirit and vitality. He is fun to watch and also tough. Mariandale has a fun personality playing on his gender role and proud of who he is and the choice he has made to identify himself as a woman. As Ixion is a comedy anime he is used a lot for humour and I like the way he flirts or his voice suddenly drops when he means business.
10.Chihiro Fujisaki – Dangan Ronpa. Another sweet little thing who’s innocence and gentle nature is endearing. I like him because he didn’t quit because he tried to better himself and live how he wanted plus he is cute. Also another smarty a computer wiz who is essential to the lives of his friends and is a loyal person.
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If you watch one film this year make it Kim Sung Soo’s epic disaster movie The Flu. This is a piece of exciting and emotionally evocative film making from South Korea. I was lucky enough to see the film at the premier at the Korean Film Festival London with the director himself. Kim Sung Soo had admitted that while being an action director he loved the script for this film so much he had to make it. He recalled the swine flu epidemic in Korea and the way the pigs were treated and thus decided to make a film that showed this horror but with humans instead. It worked amazingly and a masterpiece was created.
Now I know that many like me will have seen various disaster and epidemic movies so it’s hard not to compare this film to its predecessors but that doesn’t make it any less of a great film that delivers a clear view. I could see traces of films such as Contagion and Blindness in this movie and these are also great examples of the epidemic genre. Like these genre pieces Flu looks at the big picture as well as the street level difficulties. It follows not only the people at ground zero, the doctors, the civilians but also the government, ministers and bureaucrats.
The story is simple and clear, South Korea has never had an outbreak of avian flu and this is a hypothetical telling of what would happen if they did. A container of Hong Kong illegals is shipped into Korea, amongst them one is sick. During their transportation the virus is able to mutate in the container into a super version of avian flu which is highly contagious and has a 36hr incubation period. Container is opened and the virus is set free able to infect its first victims before spreading through the population of Bungdang, a smaller city just outside of Seoul. What transpires is one of the most realistic portrayals of disaster response, human courage and weakness and tragedy. This film does not hold back in any way, it is harsh and exposing; it is emotional and thought provoking. I was equal parts horrified by some of it as I was inspired by other parts.
The film’s star is Min-ah Park who plays 6 year old Mireu. I have never seen such a strong child actress who had to go through so much during this movie. The story follows the characters that surround Mireu, her mother Kim In-Hae who is a doctor and the first to discover and identify the virus and rescue worker Ji-koo. Ji-koo first meets In-Hae when he rescues her from a car accident and from that moment their lives are intertwined and they work together in a race against time to survive the horror of the epidemic and find the anti-bodies that will provide a cure.
On the street level we follow the bother of the first victim of the flu a violent thug that wants revenge for his brother death against the one remaining immigrant from the container. Momsshin is the only one who survived the container but he is so spooked by what is happening around him he goes on the run and it’s a desperate search to hunt him down and discover why he did not die from the virus. Meanwhile government officials come together to try and work out how to contain the outbreak. A power struggle between the medical specialists and the bureaucrats develops as the minster is worried about public opinions and the polls rather than the full connotations of this epidemic. The power plays are amazing, seeing it from the point of view of politicians gives us a counter view, issues such as how the world will view the decisions they make, do they sacrifice the few to save the many, what are the human rights of the infected, how do you measure public opinion and who has the final say, the president, the prime minister, the CDC or the foreign disaster response team that are looking at how this epidemic might affect the global population if not contained.
The film is fast paced and never slows for a second; we have intense scenes as well as small moments of grief and despair. In Korean style there are moments of light hearted comedy that make the characters endearing and this almost family unit come across as very human, very determined, very likable and very compelling. In-Hae’s struggle between being a single mother and the research doctor trying to find the cure. Does she go and look for her daughter and be caught in the chaos erupting around her or does she stay safe in the labs researching a cure. Mireu the strong child who find herself lost and confused, she doesn’t understand what’s happening around her or the decisions of the adults but still stands up for what she believes when the time comes. Ji-koo who has found himself a guardian to a small child, does he stay and protect her, a child he barely knows or does he abandon her to the chaos. Ji-koo has a sense of honour as a rescue worker and can’t just let people die when he can do something to help them, he is a strong hero for the story and never compromises his ideals.
The film has a lot of action and really hits the ground running, rioting, car accidents, violent deaths, and the breakdown of command and control all feature. The virus is harsh and destroys its victims and soon the body count is running into the thousands. It shows what would happen when people get desperate, when people think their rights are threatened and when politics and these rights collide. The answer is to shut down Bungdang and keep the entire city as a quarantine zone. But you can’t just lock people up, when people get scared and panic it only breed chaos and this film depicts this perfectly. The rising sense of urgency like a time boom ready to go off is at the heart of the film. The score is very reminiscent of Danny Boyles 28 days later and this gives is the extra punch.
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, I laughed and cried and I could feel myself panic. I was on the edge of my seat not only though the scenes of rioting or characters getting ill but also during the bureaucratic debates. This is definitely the best epidemic movie to be made, blending the social commentary of Blindness and issues of quarantine and the breakdown of the chain of command, with Contagion and mass panic, chaos and human nature to riot. It also had elements of 28 days later with the bleakness, the viciousness of the virus and the idea that people could become monsters when they panic. Another interesting comparison is with Torchwood Miracle day and how to treat the infected, what is the best way to get rid of the bodies, how would society breakdown and what happens when the truth of the politicians decisions are learnt by the public.
Do remember to take tissues with you this film and be prepared for a rather large shock in the movie. The director warned us about it but still to see it was frightening. I would normally give away spoilers but this is one scene that you don’t want spoilt and I was happy the director just said be prepared. A must see film, a champion of Korean cinema that is full of strength in acting, effects, scoring, action, emotion and storytelling. It has strong characters, doesn’t force feed us too much cliché’s and “isn’t this awful” storytelling. It hides nothing about what could happen in this situation but allows us a very human and relatable way into the story. It never alienates the viewer and lets us make up our own minds. It shows both side of human nature and admits that we can panic and do awful things just as we can do courageous and meaningful things. It is full of human emotion and yet also realistic about what could happen and how government and media plays a part in disaster control.
Please go see this film you won’t be disappointed!!!!
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