So I finished Escaflowne. What do I think?

Well, half-ugh.

See, once you get used to the fact it really is just another "LOVE PREVAILS AND SOLVES EVERYTHING RESISTANCE IS FUTILE (but it also makes things awkward and destroys a few cities until you say what you did was wrong)" anime, it's not so bad. It explains why the beast men are never really seen except for a token "hey, this world is different!" shot as Hitomi surely couldn't love a dolphin man; but, yeah, I personally would've preferred more emphasis on the world itself, though not much one can do about that.

Then roughly halfway through the series, the Fate Alteration Machine is introduced, where the big bad guy can change or predetermine things if shit goes down. And then there's Enhanced Luck Soldiers. And it kind of sucks a bit more than before.

For whatever reason, mech-suits and levi-stones and whatnot are A-OK by me, but once an epic machine that changes the future is introduced, things go pear-shaped. I'm not sure if that's contradictory or understandable, but it came totally out of left-field and simply wasn't explained terribly well, and since it becomes a main focus of the storyline, it's not like you can just ignore how utterly insane it is.

And then, of course, all the bad guys become good guys (and die) and all the semi-good guys become bad guys (and die), and the ending is really, really generic and doesn't exactly end things well. I mean, it ends things, but not well, y'know. It doesn't help that there's an episode of filler where Hitomi pulls a Groundhog Day and returns to Earth at the day she was first brought to the wacky world, Gaea, and absolutely nothing happens. Surprisingly, the last episode is probably the best one!

See, the main bad guy dies and the enemy empire falls, so the allies of the good guys decide they want power and become bad guys, which means twelve minutes of fighting! And then Van and Allen start fighting! And then Hitomi ruins things by going "fighting isn't cool you guys" and then the last twelve minutes are just... ugh. The pretty boy turns out to be Allen's sister except mind-warped, Hitomi returns to Earth but the emotional impact of that is ruined by her going back there just two episodes ago, and we get a last look at some characters who appeared in the series for a few episodes merely to shake things up a little before disappearing again for no reason. It leaves a bad taste for some reason.

Steve says they should've trimmed the series down to thirteen episodes and "cut the shite." I would normally try to be a little more descriptive, but he took the words right out of my mouth.

With that out of the way, I can get back to watching Red Dwarf and get some quality back into my DVD player!



Six entries all in close succession, and then silence for eight days? Good grief!

On the 18th I bought myself four PS2 games for £10, which is about the only good thing GAME have anymore. Tokobot Plus: Mystery of the Karakuri is apparently good, and I haven't played enough for a real opinion, but it looks adorable and I'm sure I'll be screaming my lungs out when my botched attempts to cross gaps with a ladder reach ludicrous levels.

Haven: Call of the King reminds me of Willow for some reason, though definitely not the game as it takes what feels like fifteen minutes of movie scenes before you can actually start running around properly. And then I was a bit sick of it by then so hopefully it won't be too much like a Square RPG.

Speaking of Square, Drakengard was among my purchases, and despite the fact it's an incredibly shallow 3D brawler with only one attack button and a failed attempt at looking big with it's movie scenes and supposedly deep plot, I've actually played it the most. The levels take like a quarter of an hour to finish and it really is nothing but setting the attack button to auto-fire and running into people. I should hate it because the ground stages offer minimal challenge, the flying ones are just plain dull and the flying-above-ground stages are really just ways to rack up five hundred easy kills with no experience points gained; and all this with a fancy little story wrapped around it. And I may actually be enjoying it. =(

And then there's Oni, which Aodhán actually bought for the PC years ago though the only thing I remember about it was how the error window said "Damn! It crashed!" when it did precisely that. And controlling is weird so I haven't bothered going past the tutorial yet.


Although not part of the offer, I also got the Crash Action Pack, which was mainly a way to get Twinsanity for better value. I haven't touched the racing games yet, but Twinsanity is very... different from the older ones. To get stuck into one of those ramblings I love so much, the thing I liked about the Crash Bandicoot games was how they were 3D platformers, yet acted in "mechanics," to use a totally unfitting term. The NES Mega Man and Super Mario Bros. are what I'd consider "mechanics" games; nothing varies, everything's more or less the same throughout, and design focuses on devious use of how the game works. Sonic the Hedgehog would be a "variable" game, what with it's physics and slopes and all kinds of things; Twinsanity is like that, as things are a lot less precise in terms of how far you can jump and how close you can get to nitro and whatnot.

Not that the game's bad; I'm loving it so far, but it's difficult. And unforgiving. And there's barely any death animations to make up for it. But hey, it's got personality!


And I also got a Robot Masters Optimus figure that actually transforms. And a bootleg that's almost twice as big on the way. Maybe I'll review it! Maybe I'll actually get started on this year's Motorbike Man episode. Time will tell.


And yeah, that new button on the hub is Galvatron's site. It only took me about a year after suggesting it to him, but there it is! That's an accomplishment.


And check the 10th's entry again, as I got some new cash monies stuff up again to replace the sold/removed stuff.



Dear internet,

When did Super Mario Galaxy actually start looking good? I saw a cutscene one time with a Magikoopa that was pretty rad, and now I saw an advert for it featuring real platforming and I'm actually almost impressed! See, if I was informed it wasn't just Mario in space all the time from the start, maybe I'd look like a dipwad. And I still don't know anything about Bee Mario.

Yours sincerely,




<Galvatron> Has anoyne bought any of your stuff yet
<Ragey> nope lol
<Galvatron> I remember you trying to sell MvC1 for £10 last time and now it's gone up which means BLATANT PROFITEERING
<Galvatron> also lol someone gave you 3 out of 5
<Ragey> If I recall correctly he sold me a GBA game and I said it arrived in "acceptable condition" and he got pissy about that even though the box was in a goddamned shambles and claimed it was new in his defence. New from the dustbin! (BURN)

<Ragey> And I can't remember what I had MvC1 for last time so lolol I'm just putting the stuff up so I can buy some DVD boxsets of crap (Saber Marionette J!).
<Galvatron> I had no idea the revolting tech line of TF's were worth that much either. Probably because I have no idea about that line in general.
<Ragey> I admit I expected them to be bigger, but they're just a little larger than the size of the Mega SCFs. Really overpriced, though, except from those dodgy Chinese sellers, but they're good solid quality so I guess that makes up for it even if you can't remove Megatron's cannon and silencer :{
<Galvatron> So they can actually transform?
<Ragey> Just poseable.
<Ragey> If they could transform they'd look a bit nutty because Megatron's proportions would leave him with a tiny barrel and a huge handle
<Ragey> And I admit my reason for setting the prices high is to make up for the P&P charges and seller fees and also for the ever obvious being a fatty capitalist money smoking fool part of my scheme. =(
<Galvatron> You should try to get a part time job or something
<Ragey> That would make sense, you see.


Somebody just bought Marvel vs. Capcom. Eat that one, Galv!

Now somebody better buy that Revoltech Megatron so I can also get rid of that ugly Supermode Optimus and use the monies to get myself a cheaper Megatron and Revoltech Optimus. My money spending habits are awkwardly planned!



So I spent three hours drinking Sprite and buying things in clothes stores. Two of my purchases being action figures and the rest being fluffy coats and puffy gloves and long scarves. I want to feel pretty. :{

Having accomplished my goal to get a new coat with a hood (and the bonus of fleece coating inside!), a pair of not-woman's gloves and getting myself a scarf just for the sake of it, I just had to check out TK Maxx's toy section. Sadly, there are no longer any Mega Man model kits available, but not that they were any good; there's still yet to be a figure based on the Mega Man X series that doesn't look like a plasticized MS Paint crap-out. They did, however, had some funky line of figures known as Magna-Man, featuring characters with metal ball joints with magnet limbs, meaning you can pull them apart and connect them with ease and also allow you to create some pretty imaginative monstrosities! That makes it educational!

The first one to grab my attention was Izor, the gun-toting skeleton robot head thing, though if my memory speaks the truth there was also a Captain One Eyed Jack, who's one of those stereotypical skeleton pirates yet still manages to look goddamned awesome. Drazor was the resident pegwarmer of the group, so even though a skeleton robot and a skeleton pirate were surely more interesting, I'm afraid I had to take pity on the dragon guy. It's a shame; he's badass in his own right, featuring a radical serpent-like neck and some fierce lookin' wings, but he just couldn't compare to any of the other guys. Poor Drazor. Maybe I'll buy him a friend. Maybe I'll stop referring to my action figures as "him." Who knows.

And because I'm paranoid, I'm sure his magnetic limbs will eventually spell the end of my computer's innards, so I just keep him up on my display shelf, pinning Optimus Prime down beneath his foot. With also newly bought Marvel Legends Ultimate Captain America gripping Megatron on the shoulder and preparing to give him a good old punch in the face. I should probably take a photo of it as a nerdy keepsake.

Following up biting criticism of a cartoon with praise of obscure toys as part of your inappropriate hobby feels odd.

Today's question: Does cutting your finger while opening a toy box make you a lesser man?



I've been watching The Vision of Escaflowne again for the first time in years, and have got up to episode five at the moment.

And my opinion? More or less the same, except now I can adequately explain it's downfalls in ways other than "IT'S NOT MEGA MAN".

To provide a brief and biased summary of the series for those not in the know, it's basically about a schoolgirl being warped to a fantasy-style planet which has knights and giant armour suits battling it out in conflicts between kingdoms and some great power being resurrected and more time is spent going "I saw that in my dream!" with repeated footage to emphasises that rather than what it was she saw in her dream stabbing things.

One thing I have come to appreciate on watching again is the beautiful quality of the overall design. The cities, creatures and vehicles have these fantastic qualities and are really presented well in animation; the dragon in the first episode, although stereotypical, is brilliantly animated to give a great sense of mass and girth to it, and the fact that it's actually textured instead of merely coloured actually astounded me, even if the show is over a decade old. I'm surprised the technique hasn't been used more often, especially with fancy pants computer techniques being used on what little 2D animation exists and doesn't suck (if any) (buuuuurn). The mechs, named Guymelefs, really are pretty bog-standard with the exception of when you see their innards and those that have special gimmicks such as flight, invisibility and the inevitable transformation (sadly lacking "KOO KOO KAA KAA KEE KEE" sound). To be honest, the actual world the series is set in is beautiful, and it's just a shame that to see more of it you have to endure the actual episodes.


See, the episodes are slow. Very, very slow. The first episode actually packs a fair amount into it, providing us ample detail on the characters that we'll never see again, along with a decent bit of action and the obligatory cliff-hanger that is ultimately what plagues the series. The first episode ends with the schoolgirl, Hitomi, and her new knight companion Van warped back to the Gaea world and are surrounded by wolf-like creatures, prompting the narration to go "what will happen next!" more or less, and you expect things to get exciting. But then it turns out that these wolf creatures are friendly and were merely looking for Van. Although an example of the world and how the good guys aren't all pretty looking cracker boys, it's a bit of a let down.

The second episode has a brief bit of action, though by action I mean having unimportant characters getting killed easily by invisible enemies, along with some clashing of swords with no dismemberment afterwards, and the episode ends with the two main characters getting warped away from the fight. The third one, after a whole twenty two minutes of not-action, ends with what looks like a huge enemy attack on the city, but it turns out to be an illusion Hitomi has. And it's only in the fourth episode that we get a good, healthy dose of fighting and no cliff-hanger! I know in anime story is given more emphasis than simple hacking and slashing (shock horror!), but I think the problem is that in most cases it develops too slowly for me to care, and it's only near the end do we know the full story and thus get some good action without the need to slow things down for plot development. It's a nice change from the plot being nonexistent and the show simply becoming an insidious device/evil invention of the week method of storytelling like in most English shows (obligatory Transformers reference: partially why I like some aspects of the Japanese shows over the Sunbow one, but sometimes you just gotta have simplicity), but if it doesn't grip me early on then I'll probably be too bored and cranky to care when it gets good. If ever.


Not to mention that the characters are a little lacking, to say the least. Hitomi rarely provides anything more than the "familiar person from our world that we use as a guide of sorts to this world" role along with frequent foreshadowing of things to come. Van is one of those reckless dickheads who's somehow a prince and keeps coming to assumptions quickly, and sometimes I just want to go "for God's sake man just listen to this talkative bastard for a second before busting out the sword." Allen's fairly inoffensive, and he loses an arm later on which is actually what first got Steve interested in the show (actually it was Van's brother but eyyy). Merle is probably the most entertaining character, simply because she's a selfish, devious little minx, and is subsequently the least important to the plot aside from supplying an obligatory catgirl to the show, which kind of makes me glad in my writings even the comic relief characters aren't all useless.

And then there are awesome veteran knights in the second episode with badass facial hair who all get killed off for the sake of drama, even though if one of them survived they could add a more logical by the book opinion on matters, maybe, but anime is all about the young people. Mike Haggar is 52 and he'll fucking crush your spine. Learn from his example, people!


In summary, Escaflowne has good intentions but if it spiced things up a little, had each episode expanded to thirty minutes and made better use of it's time, I would probably be more favourable towards it. Fat lot of good ranting about it now, though. It's old!


Along the same subject, I reclaimed some old books of my brother's recently, among them the first three volumes of Chronicles of the Cursed Sword, and it reminded me of why I prefer anime over manga. Perhaps I'm just so used to American comics where narration and thought bubbles add a bit of everything even when fight scenes are taking place, but reading the first chapter was just a mind-numbing experience and I couldn't understand a word of it. I love me some Japanese fight scenes, but seeing them portrayed in still panels with no dramatic timing, elaborate motion or suspenseful audio is not exactly a riveting experience. Will I actually ignore reading them and finally around to reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a book that has lurked in this household for as long as I have lived, if not more? Who knows!

I finally get to talk on length about something and only three people will care. Woe!



It just occurred to me that I have no idea how to relax.

It's the end of my Halloween break, and throughout it I've just been thinking "write more! Draw more! Work more!" Never mind the fact that nobody actually looks at my stories and artwork, but the most I really did was play Crash Bandicoot 2 and Micro Machines V3 while thinking "maybe I should do a bit of work after this." Not that any of the work I had in mind was actually important outside of feeling like I'd done something that day, but it's the thought that counts.

If one were paid for thinking like a working man, I'd like to think I'd be rich.