Review Center: Shonan Bakusozoku

HOLY CRAP, a post that’s not about Sailor Moon Crystal or Korra!

So, uh, first off… I had to get my VCR replaced.  That used Sony unit I got at Sacramento served me well, and I’m surprised that the reason it had to be retired was NOT due to the loading mechanism, but rather something with its video output and the RF.

Anyway, after I got a working VCR, I had problems getting the audio.  Ultimately, the problem was my tuner and microphone fighting over which one of them could be active… with neither of them being active if only one of them is plugged in, meaning I have to have both of them plugged so I can disable the one that I’m not using.  It’s rather absurd all around.

Anyway, this week’s title is something on my list of anime that was released on VHS and LD but never got a DVD release.  And funnily enough, DVDs are getting rather hard to come by now too.  So, strap yourself in for… Shonan Bakusozoku!

Apparently, in 1993 we weren't sure how to romanize long o's.

Apparently, in 1993 we weren’t sure how to romanize long o’s.

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Review Center: .hack//Quantum

It’s strange how little I’ve touched .hack on the blog.  Sure, there’s a constant presence of Natsume, but every now and then, the other aspects of the franchise deserve at least a fraction of that love.  But first, let me just point out if you haven’t noticed yet, that there is a new Natsume image over on the side (if you’re reading this from the Natsume blog and not the Cheesecake blog)… if your monitor has a large enough resolution.  Otherwise the site shrinks enough that she’s totally invisible.

Just looking at Quantum reminds me of a fanfic I wrote for Altimit Corp.  Remember that?  It was a website designed to hype up .hack//G.U. vols. 2 and 3.  I dunno how many points, if any, I got for .hack//Renaissance, and considering I only did a single chapter and never continued it, well… doesn’t really matter.  I barely remember any details, but I do know that it starred three female players using female versions of the Kite, Balmung, and Orca; their names were Mihono, Misora, and Mizuki.  The idea was for all three of them to have abilities designed to fight Data Bugs, but rather than Data Drain, it was an ability that directly deleted them.  Mihono had Azure Fire, Misora had Azure Wings, and Mizuki had Azure Blade.  What they would do with these abilities, I couldn’t say.  Well, they fought Data Bugs, I guess.

Needless to say, .hack//Quantum is almost nothing like .hack//Renaissance, and that could very well be a good thing.

Strange how such a simple title card can give me chills.  Gosh I love this franchise.

Strange how such a simple title card can give me chills. Gosh I love this franchise.

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Review Center: Kimba the White Lion

Uh… wow.  I really did not know what to expect from this release.  I’d watched and read a lot of Tezuka beforehand, but… well, the thing about Tezuka is that you can’t really expect any one of his works to be like the other.  The man was ridiculously good at a wide variety of genres.

Strangely enough, the Right Stuf video is pretty much just the 1966 NBC episodes of Kimba, quite possibly in original air order since events don’t seem to follow logical order.

Kiiiiiimba, the friendly ghost... wait.

Kiiiiiimba, the friendly ghost… wait.

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Review Center: Gunbuster

I wish we still made movie posters like that.

I wish we still made movie posters like that.

Gunbuster has been in my backlog pile for a ridiculously long time… especially since the first Gunbuster tape I bought was volume 3 of 3.  I didn’t get volume 1 until later.  Strangely enough, volume 3 was released by Manga Entertainment, while my volume 1 was released by a company called US Renditions (A Subsidiary of Nippon Shuppan Hanbai USA Inc.).

I had never heard of US Renditions before, but it’s hilarious how they promoted themselves.  In the back of the VHS box, it says,

US Renditions (producer of the Robotech BGM Perfect Collection Soundtrack) is proud to present the first in a series of faithfull translated Japanese animation  (Anime) videos designed specifically for the US market.  Never before has such care been taken in literally translating the dialogue, themes, and story of an original Anime release.  This English version features easy-to-read subtitles that allow the viewer to have complete understanding of the action as well as the enjoyment derived from the original Japanese voice actors, background music, and songs.  US Renditions is the leading force behind the movement to bring Anime to the United States properly, so sit back and enjoy as ideas turn into reality!!

Yeah… I’m not entirely convinced of that.  You can’t call yourself a “leading force” when this is your first release, and AnimEigo had their first release in the same year.  Granted, Madox-01 (which I own, BTW) won’t be nearly as remembered as Gunbuster, but AnimEigo proved to have the better brand recognition and lasting power, plus they were the only company to include liner notes with their releases, providing further insight into the titles they released.

That isn’t to say US Renditions is bad.  I have to respect the fact that they WERE pioneers in western anime licensing… but I WILL be nitpicking the hell out of this release.  The first nitpick is pretty blatantly obvious throughout the entire video: Their subtitle timing SUCKED.

Wow, I had no idea Gunbuster had such a complicated full title.

Wow, I had no idea Gunbuster had such a complicated full title.

Er, hold on…

Luckily, the second episode didn't have credit subtitles.

Luckily, the second episode didn’t have credit subtitles.

Unlike pretty much EVERY OTHER COMPANY EVER, US Renditions seemed to have the inability to include both credit subtitles and song subtitles, so in episode 1 they only had credits, and in episode 2 they only had song lyrics.  Well, made making a clear cap of the title easier.  Here’s Gunbuster!

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Review Center: Robo Formers

Robo Formers is a redub of Starvengers, itself a dub of Getter Robo G.  Yeah, imagine my surprise when I did the research and found out the weird shit I’m watching turns out to be co-created by Go Nagai.

I actually wasn’t all that surprised considering GO NAGAI (though he really didn’t have all that much to do with it).

But still…

Demon Elf Hitler, stop playing with those toddler rings!

Demon Elf Hitler, stop playing with those toddler rings!

That’s just… wow.  And everything about this release screams cheap, right down to the video tape itself.

It doesn't even have the company name.  They really wanted to save on ink, I guess.

It doesn’t even have the company name. They really wanted to save on ink, I guess.

I don’t know if you can tell, but look at the broken plastic in the square indentation on the front:

Also note the glue residue from the label that used to be there.

Also note the glue residue from the label that used to be there.

That’s from a broken recording tab.  Commercial VHS cassettes are made without a recording tab.  These guys actually used the kind of blank tapes you buy at supermarkets.

On Wikipedia I even found proof that one copy of Robo Formers was taped over a National Geographic video.  I am not surprised.

And now for the title card:

It's actually the same few seconds of animation looped three times.

It’s actually the same few seconds of animation looped three times.


And with that, pretty much all the humor derived from this anime have been posted.  The recap is pretty much just a formality.

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D50 watches crap you’ve never heard of: Captain America II – Death Too Soon.

First of all, I would like to reassure you that I will be doing a review of Jill the Ripper starring Dolph Lundgren this weekend.  I actually watched it first, but the potential timing for THIS review couldn’t possibly be better.

For the longest time, Captain America was thought of as kind of a joke.  Among other comic superheroes, he was always pretty weak in comparison, with nothing more than a shield to set him apart.  This movie does nothing to change that image.

I was surprised to learn that this was NOT a crappy sequel to the 1990 Captain America movie.  It was a crappy sequel to an even earlier Captain America movie that I never watched.  I can’t imagine I’m missing much.

And FYI, the period in the title is supposed to be there.  This is Captain America II – Death Too Soon.

NES Mega Man has nothing on this.

NES Mega Man has nothing on this.

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D50 watches crap you’ve never heard of: Detonator II – Night Watch

Dat everything.

Dat everything.

When I saw this at the Rasputin’s in Fairfield, I knew I just had to get it.  You have that cheesy scope replacing the O in Detonator, the title being overlaid with a generic explosion, that tagline that’s an obvious reference to James Bond, and Pierce Brosnan looking like he got his facial hair cues from Zeb Colter.  In fact, let’s put up a pic of Zeb Colter in case you don’t watch much wrestling:

I’m fairly certain Zeb is just a vessel to move the moustache around.

And can you believe this isn’t even the most hilarious-sounding video I picked up that day?  That would be Jill The Ripper, starring Dolph Lundgren.

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D50 watches crap you’ve never heard of: Virtual Assassin

Every now and then, someone goes out of their way to make the next Blade Runner, because… they hate people, and electronics are not to be trusted.

Yeah, that’s about as good an intro as any for this.  Here’s Virtual Assassin.

Because the more accurate title of "Hammy Terrorist" wasn't nearly as appealing.

Because the more accurate title of “Hammy Terrorist” wasn’t nearly as appealing.

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Review Center: Hyper Doll ~ Mew & Mica The Easy Fighters

Before I move on to the review, just want to point out that I recently went on a bit of a Ninku binge and watched every subbed episode up on Youtube.  Which unfortunately is a little under less than half of the whole series.  Eyup, 25 episodes in two days…  Damn good series though.  I highly recommend following suit.  I really need to see if it’s possible to track down the rest of the series (subbed, anyway… the rest is up raw).


Mica: “Eh, it’s time for the review.” Mew: “So?” Mica: “Someone should probably take care of that.”

Since I no longer have any VHS anime tapes I’m capable of capturing, I can now start on my DVD pile.  This is a two-episode OVA released by Pioneer in the mid 90s, and as such I wonder where the hell it’s been all my life.  I give to you…

The colors… the colors…

AKA “I just took 40 screencaps on the first episode alone, so forget covering episode 2!”

I’m going to go ahead and post the opening right now because practically every single scene is screencap-worthy.

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