Thursday, August 21, 2008

GI Joe: a real time American strategy game.

I've been trying to backtrack some postings I did on another forum I made about video games we may see in the future, but I'm jumping ahead and talking about one here I made just the other day. Now I don't know the biz or have any more incite in it than the rest of you, I just have a vivid imagination. So let's begin.

If you've been keeping track of events in the worlds of movies, comics, video games, and generally all things geekie, you've probably heard that a GI Joe movie is in the works. Now you can find details about the movie at their website, but rest assured that Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow are very much a part of it. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if Snake Eyes is the focus of a movie tie-in game, either as part of an overall game or for the whole experience. My only question is how is he going to communicate? Text messaging? Steven Hawking style? Etcha Sketch? I kid but while it might be a difficult gaming experience, if anyone can pull it off it's Snake Eyes. This isn't my big prediction, it's just something I wanted to throw out there.
Now my big prediction is about something that I'm surprised hasn't been attempted in the past, at least not that I know of. I've never been a big fan of Real Time Strategy games like Starcraft, Lord of the Rings: War of the Rings, Age of Empires, Command & Conquer, or the original Warcraft and WarHammer games, however I've been thinking lately it is ideal for a GI Joe game.


With more than a hanger-full of vehicles on both sides, there appears to be plenty of source material for a game like this. Although it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if they made new vehicles or updated old ones. I remember this HUGE vehicle from the toy line and cartoon called The General, that would be cool to see. I didn't have it, but I did have a vehicle called the Battle Wagon. It had this missile launcher, a winch, side lazers and was even motorized. A prominent Cobra vehicle in the game would probably be the H.I.S.S. and I'd love to see Metal Head in the game, that crazy cyborg missile-launcher

Aside from being fun and a fantasy come true, I mostly see it as a good way to get back to your childhood days (or for some of you it might have been just yesterday) when you played with your GI Joes. Only this time you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on all the vehicles and figures.

I think it would be cool if you could play as GI Joe or Cobra, maybe even have the opportunity to switch sides during the game. Admit it, the prospect of ordering troops and shouting either "Yo Joe!" or "Cobraaaaaaa!" has been a fantasy of your's for years.

What vehicles would you like to see, and would you play as GI Joe or Cobra?
Also, if you happen to be a GI Joe buff, a GI Joe wiki is in the works and needs soldiers to contribute some info.

If you are a game developer and like my idea, just remember who had the idea first.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

GotGame Fighter Pole, Discussion

If you're reading this you either read my article on GotGame, or you've stumbled onto my blog by complete accident. Either way, welcome. I thought it was important to provide more insight and give credit where credit is due for my most recent article on fighting game crossovers.

In the GotGame writers' forum I posted the question "What fighters do you want to download/fight with in Soul Calibur IV?" There were two sections for voting, and in both multiple characters could be selected.

Since Soulcalibur is now tight with George Lucas's gravy-train, the first pole asked what Star Wars characters they wanted. Now some characters had been suggested in the original article idea, but with Clone Wars on the horizon I thought I should include some characters from that. The choices ended up being: Darth Maul, Mace Windu, Asajj Ventress, Ahsoka Tano, Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus, Obiwan Kenobi, General Grievous, Kit Fisto, Luke Skywalker, and Other. By now you probably know the staff's top three choices, but it might interest you to know that Ventress, Dooku, Grievous, and Kit Fisto all got the same score. No love for Ahsoka though, with zero votes. I guess nobody saw Clone Wars over the weekend before I turned this article in, then again maybe they did. I haven't yet so it's hard to tell.
Honestly I'm kind of surprised Ventress didn't score higher. I thought some wouldn't know who she was, so I later referred to her as, "the bald alien chick with the two red lightsabers." Didn't really change anything I'm afraid.

Some of you might be wondering why I put Kit Fisto in the vote. Well he kind of stands out among the other Jedi, especially during the Clone Wars, Episode 2 and Episode 3. He's also the only Jedi I know of to have fought underwater. Okay, I think he's cool; he was one of the most recognizable background Jedi for me, and the squid-head dreadlocks just won me over. Plus he roles/rolled with Mace Windu, so you know he is/was tough. I'll never forget you squid-head!Dana, one of our team members, was surprised Grievous didn't receive more votes, but my buddy Graham made a good point in that Grievous, "fights like a lawnmower." I guess that would be unfair.Andrea, another writer I've grown to know, loves furry things, especially when they're also vicious. So I guess when she suggested Ewoks and Chewbacca as possible characters I shouldn't have been surprised. She also first suggested Jar Jar as a character, and all for the sake of, "beating the crap out of him."

The second pole asked what video game characters they wanted. This was a tough one, since there are so many characters and sources to initially choose from. So I had to think of some characters , but I did say I was open for more suggestions. I tried to pick characters with consoles in mind, like in Soulcalibur II, and ones that I knew were both generally and currently popular, so I decided to go with: Dante (Devil May Cry), Kraytos (God of War), Altair Ibn-La'Ahad (Assasin's Creed), Travis Touchdown (No More Heroes), Link (Twilight Princess version), Master Chief (Halo), Ryu Hayabusa (DOA, Ninja Gaiden), Snake (Metal Gear Solid), Other and, since it was hard to pick just one from the franchise or one without the other, Sub Zero & Scorpion and (because it felt necessary) Cloud & Sephiroth as one choice.

The Mortal Kombat rivals tying with the FFVII rivals was a big surprise, mostly because I didn't think Sub Zero and Scorpion would rate as high as Cloud & Sephiroth. I guess people still love those two crazy ninjas. The same can't be said for Ryu though; he only got one vote. Altair and Snake only got one vote, too. Travis tied with Link, another surprise, and Master Chief didn't score nearly as high as I thought he would; two votes. I have to admit I was kind of hoping the votes would show others were eager to see Travis Touchdown in a lightsaber duel, but I was glad everyone else was also eager to see Dante and Kraytos in a fighting game.

Other game characters were also suggested by the voting staff. Adam suggested Prince of Persia, Christopher suggested Nemesis from Resident Evil 3, and Bryan had the idea of Mario with a lightsaber, which I have to admit I thought was hilarious and brilliant. Just imagine Mario in the classic Jedi hood with a plunger shaped lightsaber. Oh wait, you don't have to. Finally, because he made an old school reference to Shenmue, I'm giving props to Danielle. I'll let his post speak for himself:
"Yo how about that dude from Shenmue. Ryo? I don't know. He could wield a cat as his weapon. But seriously, he knows martial arts. Dr. Robotnik could be neat. In a terrible fan service kind of way. Mystical Ninja Goemon would be hella awesome." Still not sure what he means by a "terrible fan service kind of way," but the cat as a weapon made me laugh. You rule Danielle!

Finally, I left other media open for discussion. You can thank Thomas for bringing up Highlander, and my buddy Graham for adding Kurgon to the suggestion. Graham also suggested Mad Mardigan from Willow, calling it "possibly the best roll of Val Kilmer's career." Graham also started the Kill Bill suggestion, but it was Andrea who finally reminded us that the girl with bladed ball-and-chain was named Gogo. Andrea also suggested Skeletor, but you can't have Skeletor without He-Man. I suggested Hellboy since Spawn had his chance already, and after Adam suggested the Prince of Persia, I thought who better to stand opposite to him than 300's Leonidas.

It was a fun discussion, and I really appreciate everyone's input for this article. There are a lot of great people at GotGame, and that's why I wanted to share their insight and their humor with you. I hope you'll continue to check out their articles as well as my own.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bigfoot press conference dissapointing, but don't stop believing.

Those of you who might have seen the Bigfoot press conference were probably disappointed like I was; nothing really confirmed as to whether the body is real or not. Well I’d rather not dwell on it and not give Biscardi and his associates any more thought or attention than they deserve until they give us something tangible. If this is in fact a hoax, then I don’t think these guys have even begun to pay for it.

All this buzz over a creature that may not even exist, or just flat out doesn’t if you’re the media. I swear their attitude has been one harsh comment after another, especially from that one guy at Fox News. I don’t remember his name, but he brushed this off saying “we’ve got real news.” Okay maybe it isn’t as pressing as some other stories, but if you knew anything Mr. Anchorman you’d know that legitimate scientific investigations and expeditions have been done to try and find Bigfoot, and that there is some very compelling evidence supporting the existence of a North American great ape. We’re talking recordings of unknown howls, hair, and footprints with dermal ridges (fingerprints). Accredited scientists have staked their reputation on the authenticity of this evidence. At least the Discovery Channel, hopefully out of respect for the true science behind Bigfoot and not a means to capitalize on the news for ratings, showed a program about the real investigations into Bigfoot the night following the press conference held on Friday August 15th. At least some real info about Bigfoot might have reached the skeptics.

So why do people believe in creatures that may or may not exist, often referred to as cryptids? Well in some cases, like Bigfoot, the evidence can be overwhelming or at the very least highly compelling in supporting a creature’s existence. For others it’s a matter of credible witness testimony combined with legend and folklore dating back hundreds to thousands of years. But if I had to sum it up in as few words as possible it’s this: reality sucks. Looking around at the state of the world you can’t help but hope for something to either make life a little more interesting or at least not so very cruel and soul crushing.

We all have dreams as children that are often crushed by reality and some of us try to get some of that hope and magic that we once had back through hobbies and other interests. Humans also have an innate desire to explore and discover things. It’s how North America came to be, and why we continue the push to explore space, and why life isn’t as hard as it was thousands of years ago. Because there’s no frontier anymore and no way to explore other planets yet, some people have to settle for exploring the world around us. Time and again people have found things that the rest of the world didn’t know existed, and discoveries continue to be made everyday: new species, new technologies, all bringing new possibilities. Often what some thought as merely myth and fantasy has been proven to be fact, look at dinosaurs, germs, and the various creatures discovered in the ocean. Not long ago the giant squid was a sea monster, a fairytale. Now the giant squid is fact. Who is to say that the possibility of other cryptids or cryptid-like creatures existing is nil?

That’s why hoaxes are such a pain in the butt; they distract people from the real evidence. Thus anybody who dares to follow the evidence, especially a scientist who puts serious time and effort into exploring such possibilities, is labeled by others as a crackpot on a foolish endeavor. But for every loon there is a genius and for every hoaxer a determined believer. So mock if you will Mr. Anchorman and scoff all you like Mr. Skeptic, because there is always the chance that you are wrong. When vindication comes it makes for a very hard dish to swallow on your part, and a very sweet dish for those who always believed based on more than just blind faith.

UPDATE- As you know, the body was a hoax. This doesn't change my initial feelings. This Bigfoot might have been fake, but I believe it's still out there.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More Gurren Lagann Goodness; English version continues to hit and miss.

It's time for more on one of the greatest super robot shows to come from Japan and hit our shores: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Those of you who follow my blog may remember my previous entry on Gurren Lagann, and for those of you who have just now stumbled on it may want to check it out.

Well I've finally managed to catch more episodes of the English version, thank you Sci-Fi Channel, and was about as impressed as I was originally. The voice acting has continued to hit and miss in some areas, but for the most part it appears to be staying true to the original and doing a decent job.

I hate that I missed Gurren Lagann's first appearance/first combination, but since I'd already seen it before in the Japanese version I wasn't too disappointed. I did hate missing that first fight with Viral though. Brotherly combination? Okay I know they can't say "Kyodai gattai" but still, wouldn't "Brotherly fusion" or "Brothers united" been better?

Okay but let's get to the characters and their voice actors.

The Black Siblings- Kiyoh, Kinon, & Kiyal: Three femme fatales that are the sisters of the great Kitan. Their roles range from supporting the others in the control room to fighting in Ganmen. The youngest sibling, Kiyal (the one with long, purple hair), has a Ganmen that transforms and becomes a spear and shield for Kitan's Ganmen King Kittan. Kiyoh is the oldest, and has very big...eyes, and blonde hair. She fights in a ganmen as well, but later sits on the sidelines for a very good reason. While Kiyoh and Kiyal later sit back and watch most of the action, Kinon (the one with the glasses) becomes more deeply involved. So keep an eye on her.
The Kiyoh, Kinon, and Kiyal are voiced by three very great voice actresses with very nice voices; Karen Strassman, Stephanie Sheh, and Gina Bowles respectively. It's hard to judge them separately, but collectively they do a great job. It's also hard to compare them to the originals since it's been a while since I've heard the Japanese voices. But for what it's worth, they are doing a great job. EXCELLENT WORK LADIES. A

Leeron, aka Ron: A character that is bound to cause some controversy here stateside is Ron. Why? If the mascara isn't a big enough clue for you, Ron is a guy with a feminine touch. It's hard to say if he's gay or a cross dresser, but his mannerisms are definitely not that of a regular guy. Ron is supposed to be an okama type character ("okama" roughly means crossdresser), or one that is clearly a man but with feminine mannerisms or characteristics. Think Mr. 2 Bon Clay from One Piece. I'll admit that these kinds of characters some times make me a little...uncomfortable...but after seeing Mr. 2 in One Piece and because I was loving Gurren Lagann so much I kept watching, and, wouldn't you know it, Ron became one of my favorite characters. While other characters of Ron's type may be confined to be nothing more then the stereotypical gay guy in other anime, Ron is much much more than that. He is the brains of the Gurren Brigade, with knowledge and expertise equal to the collective might of the entire Brigade. On more than one occasion Ron manages to pull off scientific miracles that even the most manly of men would kiss him for, me included. Unlike other omake or gay characters in anime, Ron's feminine ways quickly become a secondary issue, at least for me, making him stand out more for his brains than what some of his personal preferences may be. This is what makes him one of the best characters in Gurren Lagann and one of the most unique anime characters I have ever seen.
Saddly this is where Ron's greatness ends, at least in the English version. Despite hiring Steven Blum, a very talented and legendary voice actor worthy of such a complex character, he just doesn't seem to work. While he provides a lisp that is somewhat stereotypical, it seems to fit Ron and the over-the-top feel of Gurren Lagann, and in all honesty is something I kind of expected and wanted for his english version's voice (because he rises above this stereotype). While Steven Blum is one of my favorite voice actors, as Ron he sounds like a gay Orochi Maru; not what I would have expected or liked for this character. The original Japanese voice actor gave Ron more charm, while now he just sounds gay. Despite the great Steven Blum's efforts, I have to say I'm a little disappointed. COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER. C+

Rossiu: One of the most complex characters of the series is Rossiu, the young alter boy like character introduced in episode 5. He is a very intelligent person, and really rises beyond his initial role in the series to become one of its most important characters as the series progresses. I can't reveal too much without spoiling things, but what I can tell you is that you should keep an eye on him. Rossiu is voiced by a very accomplished voice actor named Johnny Yong Bosch. Some of you may remember him as the second Black Ranger from the original Power Rangers, as well as the Green Zeo Ranger, but he's also made quite a name for himself as a voice actor for some very popular anime characters: Vash the Stampede (Trigun), Ichigo Kurosaki (Bleach), Renton Thurston (Eureka 7), and many others. I wasn't quite sure who or what kind of voice would suit Rossiu. Frankly his Japanese voice didn't sound quite right to me. But I think a good choice was made with Johnny Young Bosch, especially if he continues to provide the voice. GREAT CHOICE. A+

Gimmy and Darry: While at present Gimmy and Darry don't play much more than the role of kids following the heroes, the voice actors are doing a good job and fit the characters well. I wish I could identify the voice actors, but I can't find any info on who does their voices at the moment. It'll be interesting to see how well they do when Gimmy and Darry are older and contribute more to the story. Any more info and I'd be spoiling things. REALLY GOOD. A

I'll have more when I get to hear more of Kittan, Viral, Lord Genome, the generals, and others.

I say again, if you aren't watching this show by now you are missing out on something great.

"Kick logic and reason to the kirb to achieve the impossible! Pierce the heavens with your soul! We are the Gurren Brigade! Who the hell do you think we are?"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Set to Stun - The First & Biggest Story: Bigfoot body found?

I've been wanting to do a section of my blog devoted to the paranormal, and just haven't been able to find the right story to start it off with. I guess you could technically call my post on the Vatican the first paranormal post, but this is the first one in a series/section I'm calling "Set to Stun". I've had the title of this particular section chosen for a while. Since paranormal things often leave us surprised or "stunned", and part of the theme of my blog is lasers I thought it would be an appropriate homage to Star Trek and the moment in Star Wars where Leia is captured by the Stormtroopers.

Like I said, it has been hard finding a story that I was interested in enough to write about for my first Set to Stun, but I think I may have finally found one, and what better way than to start off with what may be the biggest story in paranormal news yet. This story is so big that it kind of demanded that I write about it.

According to a press release from Searching for Bigfoot, Inc., a press conference will take place on Friday, August 15 from noon to 1pm that will give the results of various tests, including DNA and photo examinations, of what may very well be the true, genuine body of a real Bigfoot. That's right people, A REAL BIGFOOT!

The "body" is said to have been discovered in the woods of Northern Georgia by local residents Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer. Credibility of the finding is already being discussed on paranormal websites and forums across the internet. Whitton is a Clayton County police officer, currently on administrative leave after being wounded in the course of duty, and Dyer is a former correctional officer. This would make them somewhat credible, but Whitton and Dyer are also co-owners of and Bigfoot Global LLC, a company that offers Bigfoot expeditions. Whitton and Dyer are working with Tom Biscardi, a well known Bigfoot hunter and owner of Searching for Bigfoot, Inc., to present and conduct scientific study of the evidence and information this body could offer. If it is indeed a body and not a hoax they've concockted to promote their businesses.

These are facts about the "body":

The "creature" is a male, stands seven feet seven inches tall and weighs over five hundred pounds. It's appearance is described as part human-like and part ape-like. It has reddish hair and blackish-grey eyes. It has two arms and two legs, with five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot. The feet are flat, similar to human feet, and leave footprints sixteen and three-quarters inches long and five and three-quarters inches wide at the heel. It's hands, from the palm of the hand to the tip of the middle finger, are eleven and three-quarters inches long and six and one-quarter inches wide. The teeth are more like human teeth than those of an ape. Most significantly of all - it walks upright.

Apparently it wasn't alone, because several other creatures with similar features were sighted on the same day that the body was found. Pictures of the carcass can be found at, it's a site I frequent for paranormal news. More info about the story can also be found at Just follow the links.

I REALLY want to believe that this is the real deal, but I also don't want to get my hopes up only to have them dashed by it turning out to be a hoax. What jumps out at me the most about these pictures is how much the face resembles that of an ape mask from the original Planet of the Apes. While this may be due to decomposition, as it has been suggested due to the tongue hanging out, it leaves me with mixed feelings. (1) It could be a hoax, with an old Planet of the Apes mask for a head, or (2) the guys who made Planet of the Apes were closer than they or we realized. There is also this "Cryptids are Real" thing that's been going on, promoting this new show on Cartoon Network that has me suspicious. With this going on and this discovery taking place at the same time makes me doubt it is just a coincidence. But like I said, I REALLY want to believe it. There is one more important fact I've been considering: Why would they arrange a press conference for an obvious hoax instead of just brushing it to the side?

I'll be counting down the hours until the press conference on Friday, and I just hope and pray it's not a hoax. I am so sick of hoaxes distracting people from exploring the real possibilities of creatures like Bigfoot existing. Especially since hoaxers never really seem to face any consequences or the people they fooled. I'd even call it exploitation. However, if this is real, then anyone who has ever believed will soon be vindicated. It could even be the start of a plethora of paranormal subjects being confirmed. Get ready to come out of your Loch Nessie, and prepare for your close-up ET. I can't wait to see what happens.

I'd like to take the time to thank the Phantoms & Monsters blog for bringing this issue to my attention, and way before any of my other preferred paranormal news websites. Way to go man! ;)

UPDATE - Body was a hoax.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

People of Barbados argue with scientist over...a snake? Eww!

Barbadonians?...Barbadians?...Barbarians?...The people of Barbados (it was getting too confusing) are angry that a scientist has named a new species that's native to the Caribbean island after his wife. What strikes me as odd is that the new species they're arguing over is the world's smallest snake.

The Barbadians (I checked, this is what they prefer to be called) are justifiably angry, since most of them have grown up with the snake being a familiar sight long before science knew of it. Therefore, in my opinion, they do have some claim as to what the snake should ultimately be called. The locals refer to it as the thread snake, and full-grown adults typically grow to be less than four inches (or 10 centimeters) long.

The scientist, Penn State University evolutionary biologist S. Blair Hedges, has been making a BIG name for himself by discovering the smallest of creatures, including the world's tiniest lizard in the Dominican Republic and the world's smallest frog in Cuba. I guess he does deserve some props, I mean he obviously took the more difficult road of looking for the harder to find tiniest animals than the more obviously easier to find bigger ones.

Hedges told The Associated Press on Friday that he understands why the Barbadians' are angry, but according to "established scientific practice" the first person to do a "full description of a species" is considered the one to discover it and gets to give it a scientific name. He named it Leptotyphlops carlae, after his wife Carla.

Damon Corrie, president of the Caribbean Herpetological Society, acknowledges that Dr. Hedges is the first to "scientifically examine and describe the snake," but feels that the so called discovery makes locals seem ignorant.

"It gives the impression that people here ... depend on people from abroad to come and show us things in our own backyard," Corrie said.

I have to say that is a valid way of looking at it, and I have to support the Barbadians on this one.

If it makes the Barbadians feel better, I'm pretty sure Dr. Hedges isn't seeing much peace at home. I mean I'm guessing his wife married him knowing he worked with snakes, but if she's like any of the women I know she probably doesn't care for them. I can just imagine what it was like when he told her:

"You named a snake after me? What did you really mean by that? My mother was write about you. I should have married the proctologist, but nooooooo. How about you work on discovering how to put the seat down, or how to mow the lawn! Nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh."

Oh wait, according to this she's a herpetologist. Huh, fancy that.

Dr. Hass, I apologize for my previous remarks and assumptions. I mark this as the first official making-a-fool-of-myself moment on this blog. Congratulations, Dr. Carla Ann Hass. Unfortunately you win no award, trophy, or prize money. But you do earn the title of coolest women I've ever heard of.

I guess when she really heard the news, it was really more like:
"You named a snake after me? That is the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me."

Sorry Barbadians, looks like you should be mad after all.

What strikes me as the most odd thing here is how people are arguing over the naming rights...of a snake. People don't usually show this much interest in the naming of other snakes; people don't usually show this much love for snakes period. Then again I guess since it's so small the Barbadians aren't afraid of them. Ironically though, if they keep playing tug-of-war over what to name the snake, it won't be the world's smallest snake anymore.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Not watching it? Who the hell do you think you are?

The American media has finally loosened it's tightly clinched...fist, is what I should probably say...and given a show about a genuine super robot a chance to be on American TV that's not [adult swim], and they couldn't have picked a better one than Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. For those of you who don't speak Japanese, it means Breakthrough Heaven! Gurren Lagann. If you haven't seen it before or on the Sci-Fi Channel yet, then, while paraphrasing one of the show's catchphrases, I say to you, WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

I followed this show...well...let's just say I followed it, and I loved it. Not since The King of Braves: GaoGaiGar have I seen a giant robot anime that I could say I loved this much. It comes from the great team of animators at Gainax, the same team that brought anime fans such favorites as FLCL and Evangelion.

Now if I had to sum up what Gurren Lagann is about, without spoiling anything, I'd have to say: Drills. In the arsenal of super robots there are some standards: rocket propelled fists, big laser beam weapons of some kind, big swords, but there is one that never really got a lot of recognition or praise, the great big mega drill. And that was part of the inspiration and reason Gurren Lagann was made, or so it's creator said in an interview with Otaku USA. All of Gurren Lagann's weapons are drills of some kind: drills on its hands, missile drills, drills like swords, drill lazers, and this one really really really REALLY big drill just to name a few.

In fact the main character, Simon, was a digger in his home village, and he used a drill (he's even said to be the best digger). His friend and "brother" Kamina try to escape from their home town deep underground. (the term is translated from the Japanese word "aniki" [a-ni-ki] which can mean brother or what one might call an older, respected male associate) When a strange giant-face-with-arms-and-legs robot called a Ganmen crashes through the roof, it's followed by the sexy, rifle-wielding girl Yoko. Together Kamina and Simon combine (in somewhat half-assed fashion) Kamina's stolen Ganmen, Gurren, and the smaller Ganmen Simon discovered, Lagann, to become the mighty GURREN LAGANN. With Yoko and others they meet along the way, they form the Gurren Brigade and fight the oppressive Beastmen. I could tell you more, but then I'd be spoiling it and I just can't and won't do that to you.

There's so much great stuff here that I don't know where to begin. The action is great, about the same if not better than most other giant robot shows. Lots of explosions, screaming, grandiose speeches, manly battle cries, but it still has a comedic style with hilarious events. The music rocks, even if you can't understand Japanese. There's a lot of heavy rock and roll, but there's also some lighter, almost pop-style music and even a little Japanese rap.

If you grew-up watching shows like Voltron, Power Rangers, or Transformers, you're probably familiar with the concept of gattai or combination, when multiple vehicles or robots combine into one large robot. ("gattai" [ga-tai] is a Japanese reference to the sound of metal hitting metal, and genuninely used to describe machines combining) While the robots in these kinds of shows are usually made of 3, 5, or more separate parts, Gurren Lagann uses a seldom used minimal form of gattai for Super Robots by being made of only 2 separate units. Kamina's Ganmen Gurren, for you Voltron fans, forms the feet, legs, arms and torso, while Simon's Lagann forms/is the head. It's kind of like Headmasters, those transformers who had the little robots that became the heads of the larger robots.

I should point out that I've only seen the first episode of the English version at this point, so I can only really comment on the three central characters' voices. I have to say that they did a pretty good job of casting. Simon's original voice was timid yet could also be bold, and the voice actor they chose, Yuri Lowenthal, has been good at voicing this kind of emotional range as Sasuke (Naruto), both Supermen from Legion of Superheroes, and more recently as Ben Tennyson in Ben 10: Alien Force. Not quite as good as the original, but still VERY VERY GOOD. A-

Yoko is a character that a lot of people, both fans and non-fans of anime, could have misconceptions about. Yes she wears a bikini top with short/hot pants and carries a big gun, but she is far from being the token big breasted ditsy anime girl. On more than one occasion she shows herself to be extremely smart, resourceful, skilled, and one of the bravest members of the Gurren Brigade, and that's what makes her such a great character. She doesn't talk or sound like a dits in the Japanese version; "dits" shouldn't even be in the same sentence when describing her. That quality has been preserved in the voice casting. Michelle Ruff has provided the voice for other intelligent (and in some cases very sexy) ladies of anime like Fujiko Mine from Lupin III, Rukia Kuchiki from Bleach, Kluke from Blue Dragon, and Ryoko Ibuki from Tokko, now she's doing the same for Yoko. Absolutely PERFECT casting in my opinion. A+
It's when we come to Kamina that things get slightly bad. In the Japanese version Kamina's voice was bold, deep, and strong; when he talked, you listened. His was the voice you think of when you imagine the names of giant robot attacks being shouted. This is not quite the case for the English version, where he sounds more like a quaterback leading the high school football team to victory than the pilot of a super robot. This is probably one of those things that gets lost in translation, and it's not like Kamina's voice actor, Kyle Herbert, doesn't have tough guy credentials. He's probably most well known for doing the voice of the grown-up Gohan from DBZ and DBZ:GT, but he's currently doing the voice of Kiba Inuzuka from Naruto, as well as Sosuke Aizen and Ganju Shiba from Bleach. I got nothing but love for Herbert's efforts, but I just can't help but wonder if there could have been a better choice. VERY GOOD, BUT NOT GREAT. B+

I'm eager to see and hear how else Gurren Lagann has been adapted into English, especially concerning some of the show's other great characters. I hope that a lot of the central issues of Gurren Lagann still carry over. Part of what made these characters great is that you could identify with them, or you knew someone like them, or maybe you always wanted to be like them or to have someone like them in your life. Simon is easy to identify with if you've ever gone through that awkward phase where you feel like you don't fit-in anywhere. With Simon we get to see his evolution and change from a timid boy into a strong and determined adult, man, and hero. Kamina is the kind of guy every guy wants watching their back or that they want to be; confident, strong, good looking, brave, does what he wants with no regrets but still has a strong moral code. It's kind of appropriate that he tells Simon to call him brother, because he's kind of like the big brother you might always wanted to have. Like I said earlier about Yoko, she's not the typical big breasted ditsy anime girl. She is attractive but she is also smart, which is what really makes her sexy. Of course, the rifle doesn't hurt either. She also doesn't freak out when a mole hides in her cleavage or when Simon ends up touching her boobs after they fall from the sky following a fight with a Ganmen. I guess she figures, "I'm wearing a bikini top, and after what just happened it's not the worst thing that could have happened. I'm in an anime, this stuff is bound to happen."

What makes this series truly great is that the characters really fuel the story; each character that joins, backstory or none, is more entertaining or wilder than the next. You can't help but love them all. As such, when certain events happen you may not know how to feel; you may even cry. More than anything, you genuinely care about what is going to happen to all of them.

******SEMI SPOILER ALERT******The only thing worse then when a character you admire dies, is when a character that makes you laugh dies. (Think Colonel Hughes from Full Metal Alchemist or Wolfwood from Trigun.) In the case of some of Gurren Lagann's characters, it's both. It kind of ruins the ride if you're watching it again, but it only adds to the drama if you're watching it for the first time. Still, I feel like I could watch this series again and again and again and enjoy it every time. While the ending may not be completely satisfying it's still more satisfying than some other animes, especially those of the giant robot variety. It even has a giant robot that's measured in light years...let me repeat that, light years...making it the biggest super robot EVER.*****SEMI SPOILER ALERT OVER******

Who the hell do I think I am? I think I'm a fan of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, and if you aren't watching it then you are seriously missing out on something great. Come on, say it with me:


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Update: Spore Article up and ready

This is just an update to the previous post.

My article has been published on GotGame.

It can be found here: Understanding God through Spore


One More Update: Turns out Jillian didn't edit this article, instead it was Carlos. Thanks for the help Carlos, you rule buddy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Finger of God, God cries "Objection!"

I had another picture idea. This one I came up with for an article that's due out in a couple of days for GotGame.

If I remember correctly, I was searching google for images under "God" and I came across this portrait:

Now I don't know who painted it or where I originally found it, but apparently I'm not the only one who has used it. I found the same image on some other sites. If somebody does know who painted it and what it's called, please let me know.

Any way, so I found this picture and what immediately came to my mind was the famous Phoenix Wright finger pose.

So I did another search, found the "Objection!"...word balloon, I guess...and cropped it, colored it, cut out some of the excess from the picture and got this:
It's going to be in an upcoming article of mine about an already controversial subject, God and the upcoming video game Spore. It'll have some other pictures I've done, and I wrote it with the help of my editor at GotGame, Jillian. The changes she made were great, only made it better. Thanks Jillian, you rule!

I was particularly proud of this picture. I even named it "God Finger" after my favorite fighting move from one of my favorite animes, G Gundam.

For those of you who actually read my blog or just happen to come across this image, I hope you like it and enjoy this sneak preview of my article. Just be sure to check out the article through my blog or at

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'm not so bad after all.

I took this internet quiz on how evil are you, and this was the result:

How evil are you?

I guess I'm not such a bad guy after all.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cool Transformers Video

I've always been a Transformers fan. I still buy a figure every now and then that I really like. In fact I just bought some new figures from a new line and decided to check out the website. That's where I found this video:

They Were Always Real To Me

While this movie captures one of the most amazing, and dark moments in Transformers-cartoon-history, it is extremely cool to watch. And the title is pretty cool too, kind of even touched the heart of my inner child.

Apparently it's meant to promote a new line of Classics figures, now being called "Universe" or "Classics Universe". Classics had some really cool figures, both as collectibles and toys. It got back to what made Transformers great, before the gimmicks that started with Transformers: Armada. They even had those old school insignias you pressed and the Autobot or Decepticon symbol became visible.

If you're a Transformers fan like me, you need to check this out.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Real Lasers

As a bit of a change of pace, I figured I'd talk about real lasers. After all, without real lasers for inspiration we wouldn't have the Mystical Lazer. (I know I never spelled it right, but that's because "z" makes it cool. Everybody knows "z" is the coolest letter in the alphabet.) Now as much as I would like to school you in the ways of real lasers, and as much as I wish I was smart enough to do so, I figured instead I'd tell you about some of the coolest real lasers out there.

Meet THEL. He may look like your common everyday spotlight or bat signal, but in actuality he's a laser. THEL stands for Tactical High Energy Laser, and it was designed by the Israelies and funded by the US. THEL's purpose, other than being the world's first awesome mega laser, is to be used to counter short-range and medium-range threats in combat and provide cover for soldiers. This baby could do a number on your enemies, and probably even melt a tank. It has proven itself in live tests against live mortar shells as well as 28 Katyusha rockets and five artillery shells in flight (that is some serious firepower). Here's a video.

THEL's low cost-per-kill(or hit) of about $3,000 per kill is matched only by its capacity for 60 shots without reloading and, if design goals are met, a nearly 100% probability of a kill at a range of 5 km. Now a mobile version is in the works, about the size of three large semi trailers. The ideal size for THEL's developers, the Northrop Gruman Corporation, is to downsize it to a single semi trailer size.

Fortunately we already kind of have a mobile laser, and this one can fly. The Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser uses a COIL or Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser, and was designed to shoot down airborne tactical ballistic missiles. It has succeeded (careful this one's a PDF) in numerous tests in shooting these types of missiles down, even with a low powered version of the laser called the Airborn Laser Laboratory (ALL).

The laser is mounted on the front of the plane, right on the nose cone, and looks reminiscent of the Death Star's planet-destroying laser cannon. It can be rotated to fire in almost any direction, and can fire about 20 to 40 shots. The Boeing 747 was used to house the laser because it needed the room for all of the laser's components; there's not much leg room on this flight, no peanuts or in-flight movie either. Here's a link to a website featuring videos of what it can do and some pictures of it's layout.

Neither of these is the world's most powerful laser, but you've got to admit that they are pretty cool. If they can just find a way to add these on to a giant robot, which they should also be working on, then two of my favorite geek dreams will have come true. The third will be if I get to pilot the robot.

Signing off.