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DarkNexus6 Blog

My thoughts on the 4th Experience Anime Awards

The Fourth Official Experience Anime Awards happened and the results were roughly what you could expect. Berserk slaughtered the competition (no pun intended) and took so many awards that pretty much nothing else won. Lucky Star, however, pulled off a surprising six wins, edging out series like Gilgamesh, an underground favorite to win at least five awards, Samurai Champloo, which one of my associates said would win at least eight, and Afro Samurai, which some had thought would win a lot until it only received six nominations. The fact that is missed Best Series, Best Lead Character, and Best Hero shocked some but when you look at the competition, it would never have beat Berserk. Berserk was a juggernaut. (Although, Afro Samurai won the minor category Most Underutilized Character for Jinnosuke.) I was admittedly happy to see Berserk bulldoze the competition. For clarification, it won nineteen out of the thirty awards. Combine that with Lucky Star and you literally only have five awards left over. Again, for clarification, those five awards went to Samurai Champloo, Gilgamesh, Afro Samurai, and the well-deserved but unexpected double win for Karas (Best Fight Scene and Best Animation). However, there was one thing about the proceedings that disappointed me. And that was the situation of FLCL.

If you've seen my earlier blog posts, you'll know that I absolutely adore FLCL and believe that many don't look at the series the way I do. That said, it is a critically acclaimed series. When I heard about its tremendous twenty-one nominations, I was ecstatic and expected it to win at least three and hopefully five or more (I was expecting Berserk would win the large awards, although I wasn't expecting it to literally win every single major category). When the awards were being handed out, I noticed that FLCL wasn't really winning a lot. Understandable, considering it's competition. However, when it got to the major awards, it dawned on me that FLCL hadn't won anything and likely wouldn't as Berserk won award after award. At that time, I was surprised by how many awards Berserk was winning (I thought it was only twelve but the after-the-fact tally put it at a solid and surprising nineteen). So how did this show I love so much miss out on every single award it was nominated for?

My theory is that it was simply the competition. When they announced the rankings after the ceremony (which series or character got x% of the votes), I noticed something rather shocking. FLCL was the runner up in eight categories. It was close but it just couldn't beat Berserk or Lucky Star. I love FLCL more than Lucky Star and while that may be the case, Lucky Star deserved Best Writing and Funniest Anime. Even though I love FLCL, the quality of Lucky Star cannot be denied and at least it went to a quality show.

Another theory is favoritism. Lucky Star is vastly more popular than FLCL. So did Lucky Star win simply because of popularity and not actually quality? I know I just said that Lucky Star is a quality show but I feel that people may have voted for it simply because it was Lucky Star.

Another theory is that people just haven't seen FLCL. If this is the case, I'm not surprised. Then again, how did Karas win two awards? How did Gilgamesh win Best Atmosphere over Berserk, Samurai Champloo, and, yes, FLCL? I don't know but I do have to say that those shows absolutely deserved to win. (Seriously, Gilgamesh's atmosphere was incredible.) It doesn't make it any less difficult to accept that a show I love so much lost twenty-one times. But that's my problem.

Any thoughts on why a critically acclaimed show like FLCL would lose every single award it was nominated for? Send me a message if you have one.

Ten Great Movies No One Has Seen

This is NOT a comprehensive list, just twenty movies I love that no one really ever talks about. Most people I know haven't even seen half of these movies, let alone all of them. These can be a bit obscure but that doesn't change how much I like them. You may disagree and if so, that's okay.

Sunshine: It is not the most scientifically accurate movie but it is very entertaining. I love the atmosphere, the tone, the characters, the visual effects, the soundtrack, and the themes this movie deals with. It is probably my second or third favorite movie of all time simply because it is intense and breathtaking.

Thank You For Smoking: This is a highly satirical movie that is all about the tobacco industry and their attempts to downplay the negative effects of cigarettes. Politically charged but fair, dripping with dark humor and wit, a great screenplay, good acting, and featuring one of the most likeable protagonists I can think of, this movie is a pretty good viewing.

sex, lies, and videotape: Do not let the title fool you. This film may seem to be about sex and there are several graphic conversations about sex but it is more of a character study. It is a movie not meant to arouse you but to make you think. It is about what makes us human and what separates us from other humans. It has a fantastic screenplay, good acting, and addresses a lot of human and emotional issues very well.

All About Lily Chou-Chou: In my opinion, it may be the darkest film on this list. I like this movie for a lot of reasons so I'll list off the couple that come to mind first. The way it portrays bullying in 2000 Japan is exactly how bullying is today in USA schools. The non-linear storytelling that tells you what you need to know only when you need to know it is brilliant. It may be a little confusing but considering what it is doing, it is amazing how well it works. It is filmed entirely using a digital camera, which gives the feel that it is a home movie/documentary rather than a movie. Finally, it has one of the darkest stories/character development/finales of any movie I have ever seen, which says a lot since my current tally is approximately over 1200.

Dead Ringers: Okay, maybe this is the darkest. It is certainly one of the most disturbing movies I have ever seen. It is just plain creepy but it is unique and incredibly well made. Most of the movies I watch are not family friendly and this is a clear example of one that most certainly is not. I don't have a lot to say mainly because saying anything would spoil part of the movie. I do NOT recommend this film to everyone. I think it is an original concept, it is very disturbing, and it is very memorable. That is why it is included on this list.

V For Vendetta: One of the more popular movies on this list, the recent political debates have really inspired me to put this movie on this list. Why, you might ask. Simply put: this movie tells a no-holds barred story of political and social tyranny where a group of politicians hold the citizens back using propaganda and the news to spin stories of how evil the outside world is and how great the government is. It is a strong message that I think rings true in this day and age.

TRON: Legacy: I like the original film a lot but I prefer this one. I find the story is better, the visual effects are amazing, and I love the soundtrack. Most people wrote this off as an unnecessary sequel and while it did not have to be made, it is a pretty fantastic film. Plus, it is one of the more family friendly movies on this list.

Yojimbo: A pretty spectacular film if I do say so myself. For those of who who have never heard of this film (of which I am sure there are many), it is based off a novel called Red Harvest. This movie/book served as the inspiration for A Fistful of Dollars and Last Man Standing, among other stories (including a hilarious side quest in the game Borderlands 2). It was also directed by Akira Kurosawa (director of Ran, Throne of Blood, Seven Samurai) who was the filmmaker who inspired George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Ford Coppola to become filmmakers. (In fact, Kurosawa's film The Hidden Fortress was George Lucas's inspiration for Star Wars. So now you know that.)

Amadeus: I am always surprised when I meet someone who has not seen this film. It is one of the best movies I have ever made, it has a gripping story, great writing, costumes, set design, and music, and might be the only true movie about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (there have been documentaries).

The Killing Fields: Two word: Pol Pot. This film is definitely NOT for children. It is realistic, disturbing, gritty, and based on a true story. This, to me, is one of the greatest survival stories of all-time and stands as one of the greatest films I have seen that is based off a true story.

I can always post more of these. Some other great movies I would highly recommend: The Man From Nowhere, Grave of the Fireflies, The Butterfly Effect, Good Night and Good Luck, Children of Men, Suicide Kings, Sword of the Stranger, The Man Who Would Be King, Chasing Amy, and Millions.

FLCL (Anime) Review

Usually I keep my opinions to myself. I give movies, television shows (live action, Western and Japanese animation), video games, and sometimes music. I do this for entertainment and, every now and then, to relief stress. I don't expect many people to read this. I don't even expect people to agree with me. I do this solely to throw out opinions, some of which are sane and controlled and some are, admittedly, all-out rants.

This is a review of the anime series FLCL. This is NOT a rant, this is a series of opinions based on other shows I have seen, my personal logical and emotional response to the show, and my analysis of reviews that I have read about the show. I do the last step simply because I feel that sometimes other people can have good opinions that I have not thought about.

First off, the plot. Naota is a twelve year old boy living in a town that he is sick of. He has grown tired of living in the same old town with the same old people, and having to deal with family and friends who don't understand him and just annoy him to the point of near insanity. His only friend is his brother's girlfriend. With Naota's brother overseas playing baseball in America, his girlfriend has grown bored. She is also slightly unstable, having interests in sex and pyromania. So, to satiate her desires, she begins acting sexual towards Naota, calling him by his brother's name. The problem is that Naota actually loves her. Or, at least, he thinks he does. One day, while skipping school, he is run over by a strange girl on a moped named Haruka Haruhara. After getting run over, she hits him in the head with a bass guitar. A strange object begins growing out of his head with absolutely no explanation. The object grows larger over the day and transforms into a robot named Lord Canti.

Sound bizarre? You're not alone. Explaining this show takes an incredible amount of patience and time. Now, if you have not lost interest yet, then I can say that while this show is weird, you probably won't mind it. If you have lost interest, rest assured, there is an explanation. The aliens/robots throughout the series are representative of teenage angst (anger, sorrow, loss, loneliness, sexual arousal, sexual frustration, etc.). Now you have my permission to write off this series if you want. Granted, if you are reading this, you probably won't be too confused or bothered by this idea. Maybe confused or annoyed, but not confused or bothered.

Now, the animation. This show was originally released in Japan in April 2000. This was before most animes were animated using computers. Therefore, this is not a smooth, beautiful anime like Noein, Karas, Code Geass, Black Butler, Soul Eater, etc. However, for being more "old-schooled" than something like Fullmetal Alchemist, it is not a bad looking show. It is not beautiful or brilliant but considering that someone had to draw every cell by hand, this is actually a very impressive looking anime. I can't say that anything about it offended or surprised me. Overall, it has good animation and a normal art style but nothing too terribly special.

Now, the music. The majority of the music in this show is actually done by a Japanese rock band The Pillows and it is incredibly catchy. It is hard not to crack a smile whenever Little Busters starts playing whenever an action scene begins. I love it but I can't honestly say that I can objectively say why it would be good or bad.

Now, the characters. You would think this would be earlier on the list but for some odd reason, I felt like putting it here. The characters are surprisingly well written for a show that has insane of a plot as this. Naota is an incredibly likeable protagonist who has very real problems and very relatable emotions and responses to the situation developing around him. Haruka is incredibly annoying and yet simultaneously charming. She is funny, evil, creepy, original, weird, and likeable. Mamimi, Naota's brother's girlfriend, is somewhat annoying. Her problems are realistic but her constant whining, self-centered diatribes, and pathetic pity-drawing complaining gets old very fast. The other characters are likeable, somewhat relatable at times, but for the most part, Naota and Haruka are the focus of the show, although on a personal note, Lord Canti, the silent robot, redefines cool silent characters. Don't ask why, I have no idea, but he is just cool to me.

My personal reaction to this show: I am absolutely in love with this show. It is very funny, very emotional, and very relatable. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I can relate a lot to this show. I have experiences that are similar to Naota and I can remember how I felt while going through these feelings for the first time. The music is great, the atmosphere of the show draws you in, the animation is pretty good, the characters are great, it has a lot of very true, real emotional moments that are very touching, and it is only six episodes. I wish there had been six more but at least it is great and not overdrawn.

My final score of FLCL from an objective, technical standpoint: 8.5/10

My final score of FLCL from a subjective, enjoyment standpoint: 10/10

More seasons? Count me out.

Lately, people have been talking about bringing back old(ish) shows with brand new seasons. Since after all, if it is a great show there should be more episodes. I, however, am strongly against this.

If you've seen the end of shows such as Futurama, Battlestar Galactica, Code Geass, or 24 you will know that they ended on relatively strong points. If they are brought back, will they be as good as they were (we'll look at Futurama in a minute)? If the show was good, what makes you think it will be any good if they start it up again after a couple of years?

Battlestar Galactica's ending doesn't leave much room for another season. It was great for those four seasons but to bring it back would be a mistake. The shows doesn't have enough strength for another season and it would drag down the show's name (looking at you, Futurama). Instead, it got a prequel that I have not gotten around to watching yet. And you know what? I don't think I will. The show has ended and since I know how it began a prequel won't be too satisfying for me. As far as I understand it, none of the old characters are back and therefore we are left with a new cast that will inevitable be blown to dust (sorry to spoil if you haven't seen the opening of Battlestar Galactica).

24 was running downhill ever since Season 3 and this became painfully clear when Season 7 began (for some people even Season 6 was a good sign). The problem with an original show is that you need to have something to stand on once the originality is gone and 24 didn't. It sort of floundered along from season to season. Keep in mind, 24 is my absolute favorite TV show because of the intensity and plot twists (which became painfully predictable in Season 4). It wasn't quality entertainment but it was dumb fun. Now that the eight seasons have run their course, we look to the movies. Or so we think...

Arrested Development may have been canceled too soon but bringing it back now would be pointless. Five years have passed, Michael Cera and Will Arnett have hit stardom, and the cast have gone their separate ways. Do you think the humor will still be there now when the writers have not worked on it together since the last episode? I don't. I love the show but if they give it another season they will regret it. I am even starting to think that the movie is a bad idea.

Code Geass ended on a bittersweet moment that angered thousands of fans. You know what? It was the perfect ending for the show. A tragic, shocking, awe-inspiring, emotional sucker-punch that put a perfect cap on the insanity, terror, and blood-fueled revenge that was the show. It is an amazing experience that you need to see to believe. Rumors have spread that a third series is coming. This might be the worst idea I have heard in a long time. The shocking ending was only eclipsed by the mind-numbing (and infuriating) open ending that teases you and then dumps you two seconds later as the credits roll. So a third season can be produced but what is the point? I won't say too much in case someone who reads this hasn't seen the ending but for those of you who have, the story has come full circle and the results are clear. Why would there have to be a third season? If you think that there should be another rivalry between the vigilante forces of the people and a corrupt government, then watch the first two seasons again. The story has been told and ended (open-ended, mind you) and there is no one left for the world to fight against. The end has come. Unless you want Zero (you know who I mean) to fight an up-and-coming tyrannical government, there is no point in making a third season (except for money. Everyone loves money).

Ouran High School Host Club does not need a second season. I geek out over that show more than I should admit. I love every little thing about it. But you know what? A second season would taint my view of it (looking at you again, Futurama). It wouldn't have the same charm, it wouldn't be as funny, and the characters don't have much more room to develop. The deviation from the manga would make it difficult to jump back in and the ending certainly allows for another season but, honestly, isn't one great season better than one great and one mediocre? This way we don't have a bad taste in our mouths when we think of the show. I personally wouldn't complain too much if there was another season but I don't see why so many people think there should be another one. There really is no point. If you want more of the Host Club, read the manga or watch the anime again. It's that simple.

Ah, Futurama. The only show here that has come back for more (and was that a mistake). The show was, regrettably, cancelled too soon but due to fan support, it came back after five years. Is this a good thing? Heck no! The shows has lost its charm, its originality, and its heart. It cannot compare to the first four seasons (although another cancelled-and-brought-back show (Family Guy) can't even compare to this) and even more will make it run into the dust and completely lame and pointless (looking at you, Family Guy). Family Guy ran out of steam and is barely being dragged along by the same humor it was using three years. The same will undoubtedly happen to Futurama. And this is a bad thing.

Good fighting games

This may offend some people so I am sorry.

I must first preface this by saying that I am in no way good at fighting games. I never have been. I have put plenty of time into them so I would have expected to do better than this.

I just played the new Mortal Kombat. In short, I think it is a step backwards. I like fighting games when you have three dimensional control but I also like having more moves in a two dimensional system. MK9, on the other hand, gives me nothing but grief. Not because of the difficulty. Because the attacks, speed, range, and limitation of the moves makes the game incredibly annoying to play. Sure, MK: Deception was slower but the combos could be pulled off with a good sense of timing. MK9 seems to require fast button pressing and yet, it doesn't always register your inputs. I played as a few fighters (Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Smoke, Ermac, Kabal, Shang Tsung) but I was displeased with all of them (except Kabal, who has remained a favorite of mine for quite some time).

Earlier this year, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was released. In short, I am amazed that I enjoy the game. It is fun, fast, not too frustrating, has a wide roster of characters with their own unique strengths and weaknesses, but the range of game modes is pretty limited...and I mean really, really limited. It is kind of sad but hey, at least the very, very, very few modes are high quality (albeit very simple). I am currently searching for more fighting games like it.

Street Fighter vs. Tekken is not something I am looking forward to. I have many bad memories of trying to play Tekken. Still, I will have to check it out.

Soul Calibur V is coming. At last, another entry in my personal favorite fighting game series. I demand more characters and more items for customization (it wasn't a selling point of the game but dang was it fun in SC4!).


I'll keep this short but, should anyone read this, please (and I mean PLEASE!) tell me if you ever feel overwhelmed when you play RPGs. I feel this way in about half of them and now is no exception. I recently purchased the Dragon Age Origins Ultimate Edition that comes with all the DLC and I feel lost. There is so much to do and I feel like every time I do a quest, I unlock two or three more. Most people like this but it was the reason I stopped playing The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion; every time I got finished a quest, I got two more and after playing for forty hours, I had amassed about sixty quests to do and all required running around the world map. Plus, I have horrible indecision about which class I should be playing as and what powers to use. Most people recommend multiple playthroughs but in a game that took me about forty hours to beat when it first came out (DLC not included), having to play through what is undoubtedly going to end up being about sixty-seventy hours of gameplay three or four times does not sound appealing.

When good games go bad...

I recently purchased a PlayStation 2 for a ridiculously small amount of money. Happy with my purchase, I picked up a couple of highly popular video games from the Jak and Daxter series, Ace Combat, Final Fantasy, and Metal Gear Solid. After playing them, I realized that they were worthy of the praise I had been hearing over the past years. However, I came face to face with several glaring problems.

The one I am most angry about is that in the middle of Metal Gear Solid 2, I got detected and failed. This wouldn't normally be a problem but when I pressed Continue, the game kicked me out to the Main Menu. Angry about losing my progress, I searched the Internet and had it confirmed that if you fail one sequence, the Continue button glitches and you are sent back to the Main Menu. I would not be angry about this but I had not been able to save my game due to the speed in which the Codex Frequency passed me by. Losing three hours of progress sucks, no matter how you look at it. This would not have happened if the game had not been designed the way it was. I know it may be petty but I like having a save button, not having to remember that 140.96 on the Codex is the way you save.

All Final Fantasy games have their annoyances. VII doesn't tell you where to go, VIII has a very complicated system for upgrading, and XIII gives you no help on what to do during boss battles. For the record, I completely SUCK at Final Fantasy. I don't really suck at other RPGs though and I am curious why I do so poorly when playing Final Fantasy. In the middle of my very first play-through of Final Fantasy X, I realized something. The reason why I do so poorly in Final Fantasy is because I don't plan ahead. In FFX, I have time to choose how to attack my enemies and what items I should use. Why? Because the game operates like Dragon Quest. It pauses when you are controlling your characters so you can theoretically sit there for ten minutes and nothing will happen. It gives you time to strategize. Now, I liked the fast pace of the combat in FF7 but in FF13, I find myself just using attack constantly. I am just waiting to find out what is wrong with FFX. There will be something but I probably won't complain too much. The game is pretty sweet so far.

My complaints for Ace Combat are my usual complaints. It is a flying game and the controls are funky. It doesn't feel right. I don't like it. Oh well, as always, I knew this would happen and I still bought it.

Jak and Daxter is difficult. I like a challenge. It works for me. At least it isn't like Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden. My blood pressure is still decreasing years after I played those. You wouldn't think a video game could cause so much stress but those do. If I never play Ninja Gaiden again, I will be completely happy (and my mental health should stay the same, in theory).

No one is going to read this, I'm sure of that, but it is nice to just be able to write out my problems so I don't have them trapped inside of me. It is good to vent sometimes. I will have to try this more often.