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Anime Expo and A Review of Requiem for the Phantom

4th of July FireworksIt’s the fourth of July. Happy birthday America! And I should be at Anime Expo with all those other lucky bastards. But I’m not. I’m sitting here at my computer while the temperature’s rising outside – it’s 84 degrees and supposed to get up to 103, pretty balmy for Phoenix this time of year.

So what is an unlucky otaku living in a sauna of a desert to do when they can’t go to the biggest freaking anime con in North America (and it’s only a 5 hour drive away)? They watch anime on Netflix in the air-conditioned comfort of their own home. Yep, that’s right. I’m on a quest to find something akin to Gundam 00, or Fullmetal Alchemist, or even Death Note in it’s anime greatness.

I don’t know yet if Requiem for the Phantom fits the bill entirely, but it’s pretty close. Let’s dissect it, shall we?

The opening song, Karma, by Kokia is really cool. I’ll probably download it by the end of the day:) Here it is:

The Plot:

A Japanese traveller witnesses an assassination and becomes caught up in a web with an underground organization called Inferno. They take his memories from him and because he possesses extraordinary animalistic survival skills, they train him to be an assassin. The one who trains him? A girl called Ein, the very assassin he witnessed in the beginning. The organization gives the traveller an new name, Swei, and a new life. He’ s told that he’s not a slave, but if he decides not to kill, he’ll be killed.

The Trailer:

My Take:

I’ll preface this with how I grade a good anime:

1. Hot heros (why watch of they aren’t?)

2. Romantic tension in the sub-plots (because I’m a chick, LOL).

3. Angst factor (I just like angst.)

4. Good mix of action versus, well, action in the romantic tension parts.

5. Good music is a plus. It means I get to find more great JRock artists.

Swei - Phantom of the InfernoSo, the main character in this anime is hot. Swei is both naive and can wield his gun, well, like a good assassin should and he only gets hotter as the anime progresses (sort of like Vincent Law in Ergo Proxy). He’s made to live in a couple situation with Ein and there is a good bit of romantic tension in all of this – she likes to take her clothes off  in front of him and for the guys out here, she’s got nice jugs;) At the same time, a romantic triangle evolves with an upper echelon member of Inferno, named Claudia, and Swei is seduced by her – really seduced – something you don’t see in a lot of animes. There’s even a hilarious line in one of the episodes, “He’s only staying with you so he can suck on your big titties.” Or something like that. At first I said to myself, “Did I really hear that?”  I had to replay it. Yep, I heard it. And guys – she does have big titties, LOL.

Now for the angst factor. You’ve got a guy with no memories who’s being forced to kill people. Think he’s okay with all this? Hell no. Lots of angst.

As you can guess, with all this Mission Impossible-style killing going on, the mystery of who Swei really is, the underground mafia, the seduction and growing romance between Swei and Ein, I’d say there’s a good mix of action in all directions.

For the music, although I like the opening theme song, the ending sounds like carousel music gone insane. I have to turn it off immediately, I dislike it so much. It’s Jigoku no Mon by Ali Project. I won’t bore you with a video;) No, I won’t be uploading it to my phone, LOL.

I give it: 4.75 stars

So there you have it. If you’re at home wondering what to do while lucky anime fans are toodling around at Anime Expo and you’re not, stay home and watch this anime! Let me know what you think of it.


Yaoi Novels versus Manga – Which do you Prefer?

Yaoi Manga - Cherry LemonI have to admit, I like yaoi novels better than manga. What??? you say? Yep, I do. Maybe that has something to do with why I write yaoi and m/m romance novels instead of drawing comic panels (which I think takes way more talent than I have). Although my eyes certainly appreciate the man candy action of a good yaoi manga, I find they’re too dang short. I like quite a bit more meat (pun intended) in my stories. More back story, more character development, more man loving and certainly more plot development.

Now I know some of you might want to flame me right now, but hear me out. Yaoi manga definitely have their place and yes, I do enjoy them. I just like to read a book with little or no pictures more than reading panels. For some reason, my imagination flies when I read a novel and not so much with a comic. I’m always trying to figure out which way, left or right, up or down, I’m supposed to be reading the darn thing. Okay, maybe I’m just a spaz. But the other thing is the limitations of manga – you just can’t fit as much in as you can with a book. You see this in film all the time. If they actually put everything from the Lord of the Rings books into the movies, they’d each be 5 hours long and we’d probably have 20 of them.

Starfighter Comic WebcomicThere are a few manga/webcomics I can’t live without – Starfighter being the main one. I mean, who doesn’t like that? Hot headed, evil dark hero(?) paired with innocent blond hero who needs hard, passionate sex… I wonder sometimes what that would look like in a novel form or if it would even work. If that’s the case, I wonder if the medium drives the plots in found yaoi novels versus yaoi manga? Can they be interchanged?

What do you prefer and why?

Why Can’t JRockers Come Here?

Yoshiki from X Japan

Okay, so I live in the desert and it’s like, 115 degrees today. I get it. It’s hot. But so what? We have air conditioning. Yoshiki’s hair will not go limp.

So everytime I see that one of my favorite JRock groups are on a “World Tour” it seems they never make it to the center of the USA. Sure, they make stops in New York and Los Angeles (lucky bastards), but never come to Phoenix, Arizona or God forbid, Nebraska. We interior folks like our JRock, too. Right? I mean, when X Japan played Chicago at the Lollapalooza last year all the headlines were that X Japan stunned and awed the fans. Think of how many new fans they’d make if they simply went a little further inside America, like to Phoenix, where I live:)

I have a theory. Maybe they’re afraid. Yes, Afraid. Maybe they know about our conservative, speak English or die, wear your USA t-shirt and jeans with your cowboy hat types who spit chew and still call the Japanese all those terrible slang names that I can’t bring myself to write. Maybe Mana thinks if he comes over here and plays somewhere in the interior US in his Lolita outfit someone will beat the crap out of him. You know? He may be right. But… don’t they have body guards, LOL?

Mana from Malice Mizer

I’ll tell you a funny story. So my boyfriend is in this rock band and they play at all these clubs in the Phoenix metro area. Of course, they play your typical Lynerd Skynerd and Rolling Stones, but they also, thank God (not a big fan of hearing those songs over and over and over…) play some newer music like Matchbox 20. Anyway, the guitar player for the band is a big metal head. You know the type, Metallica all the way. Death metal. Lots of thumping guitars. He asked over Facebook if anyone had any new rock bands they could send his way because he was looking for new music to add to his iPod. So I did. You know what I sent him *snicker, snicker*.  I sent him Dir en Gray and X Japan and D’espairs Ray. You know what he said? Great music, but they don’t speak English. He’s the speak English or die type, I guess. Think of all the world-wide music you miss out on when you say, “but they don’t speak English.” Wow.

So today I found out about X Japan’s new single, Jade, which is in freaking English. I sent this guy the YouTube link via Facebook and he liked it. He also said, “those chicks can rock.” WTF??? They may be pretty and dress in the kind of clothes American rock stars should be wearing (see my other blog on that), but they do not look like chicks (okay, Mana in his Lolita outfit does, I guess – but he was NOT in the video!).

So what do you think? Why don’t they come farther into the interior? And should they? I know I wish they did…

And here’s the video – Jade by X Japan. It’s awesome!

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