Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Little Late For That Observation

Yet another example of why I love anime's approach on explaining things that happen within (with fairly significant SPOILERS):

During the last two episodes of Getter Robo Armageddon, after a long and brutal campaign to take control of the enormous super robot Shin Dragon, several of the villains retreat into space with a super robot. They then throw that super robot's power core and most of the moons of Jupiter into Jupiter to transform it into a star. Not just any star, but a Getter Star (yes, really) that will rapidly become a black hole and destroy the entire universe... or something. (The remaining moon of Jupiter, Ganymede, was used as a weapon against Earth; when the heroes fired the Moon's [y'know, Luna] hyper rail gun at it, the shot was reflected by the villains' Getter Ray enhanced super powers to throw it back at faster than light speed and destroy both the rail gun and half the Moon. Then, they used their super robot to attack Ganymede, but that didn't work and they got tossed into the Earth's atmosphere, where they thought they would burn up, but Shin Dragon woke up just in time to both save them and completely annihilate Ganymede in one attack.

Yeah, it's that kind of series.)

So in order to stop it, the heroes take their robots, Shin Getter Robo and Shin Dragon, to stop the Getter Star from destroying everything. When they get there, they fight against hundreds of giant monsters (whose mere existence violates every law of biology and probably more than a few laws of physics) emerging from the Getter Star, and one of these is a gigantic tentacle.

Then, tentacles made of the plasma of the Getter Star itself attack them.

Then, more giant monsters, the biggest of which have human faces and voices (it's merely the latest of many incarnations of the otherwise faceless Invaders' voices and faces, guys called Stinger and Cohen, except as a moon-sized hybrid monster thing), emerge from the Getter Star, spitting out even-more-indestructible-than-previously spawn to attack with.

When all that doesn't stop the heroes, the villains have the Getter Star regurgitate three of Jupiter's moons to use as pieces of an immense weapon array.

After seeing all of this totally insane stuff, you'd think that that wouldn't get much of a reaction out of the heroes, but this is the classic response that one of them utters:

...I'm pretty sure the laws of physics were thrown out entirely about when Jupiter turned into a Getter Star, you guys, and they weren't feeling too well beforehand.

Here's the thing: It gets more insane after that.

You'll have to find it for yourself if you're interested in that part, though.

-Signing off.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Game Review: Monster Bark

Back when my family got its first computer, there were a few different games and other progams that came with it. (That was a thing, back then. Man, how times have changed.) My favorite was probably Star Crusader, mainly because I loved flying around in space, but there was another one that I played quite a bit, at least until the computer suffered from a serious bug and my unfortunate mother probably deleted it somehow. (That's still one of the strangest things a computer's ever done to or around me.) Anyway, said game, Chip's Challenge, was a puzzle game where you controlled a fairly helpless character in a top-down maze scenario in an arena full of monsters, obstacles and puzzle pieces that you had to avoid and solve.

Monster Bark is a fun game with a twist on that concept.

Now, having more than one controllable character isn't that new. What's fresh here is that each character has very distinct and unique abilities, at least compared to any puzzle games of this nature that I've played.

The dog can momentarily stun monsters by barking, is small enough to move through certain obstacles, and is able to move quickly enough to avoid most of them most of the time.

The tough kid can jump over obstacles and push blocks (which can be used to activate switches).

The scaredycat girl (if you read the title text, you saw me mention stereotypes) is quiet enough to avoid being noticed by sleeping monsters and can scream continuously and indefinitely to stun any monster (or activate a special kind of switch).

The heavy kid (sigh) can sit on switches to activate them or roll into a ball to smash a certain kind of non-movable block.

The nerdy kid (groan) is skinny enough to move through certain obstacles (which, incidentally, can't be crossed by the dog) and can also activate a certain kind of switch (which, incidentally, is represented by him handling a pair of broken wires-I don't think this game has good role models).

Anyway, you have to switch control of the kids and use their abilities in specific order to solve most of the puzzles; there's a few puzzles where you can bypass steps that you were clearly intended to take, though.

All in all, it's a refreshing (but short) game, and the ending movie is kind of cute. I can recommend playing it through at least once.

-Signing off.

Friday, January 27, 2012

But That's Not A Star Wars Term!

I'm not sure why the Koreans picked Darth Vader to advertise a product named the "Olleh LTE Warp," as there's nothing in Star Wars called that (unless they dubbed it funny in Korea), but I can't object to something that results in funny videos of Darth Vader and stormtroopers doing silly things.

Particularly amusing is the weird march the stormtroopers do through the airport.

But I think the funniest thing, intentionally or not, that these commercials bring across is the idea that Darth Vader is an invalid.

He is, you know-the man's in extremely poor health, and can only move because of all the mechanical bits. (Even if that weren't the case, it's not like that costume is comfortable either. I myself can't even drive while wearing a hood; imagine walking down the street with your field of vision that restricted.) So the fact that they depict him trying to make his way around regular life and having great difficulty is... well, it's actually a bit sad.

Well, maybe "sad" isn't the word.

No, definitely not the word. A bit sobering though.

Mostly. Not counting that one.

-Signing off.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

In A Galaxy Far, Far Away, Chess Is Boring (and Buggy)

Thus far, I haven't had a single post this week that didn't include either the "chess" or "Star Wars" tags. That's not changing today.

As should be evident, I like chess pretty well. I also like computer chess games (most of the time). And I like Star Wars.

So Star Wars chess ought to be awesome, right?

Not so much.

While the animations are pretty clever (if rather bizarre), the incredible, mind-numbing slowness of it all makes it painful to sit through. What's more, if you watch carefully, you can tell that the computer wouldn't let the player make legal moves. There's something wrong with the program, whether it's an interface issue or just bad programming.

Probably still better than Chess Titans, though.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Random Absurdity

I like absurd things; if you've been here for a while, you've probably figured that out.

Here's a cg animation of chess pieces dressed as Spartans and Persians as they appeared in "300." (Note that there are a few sprays of blood, but there's nothing too violent.)

And here is game footage from Age of Empires 2 where some cars drive around killing everything. Yes, some cars drive around killing everything.

And from some Age of Empires game, a cartoony trap.

Note that apparently, the trap took more resources to create than the war elephants did.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Too Big Shogi

The game of chess is played in many parts of the world, but it isn't truly an immutable constant. It's descended from a different game, and other games also descended from that one. The relative of chess that I find most intriguing is Japan's shogi, whose name means "general's game."

Unfortunately, shogi is a counter-intuitive game for a chess player; pieces generally have rather bizarre movesets rather than chess's hyperstandardized ones (chess's memorable simplified moves were arrived at after centuries of simplification), and it's difficult for someone who can't read Japanese characters to keep the pieces apart, as the pieces pretty much all look the same. Further, capturing and promoting work rather differently-when you capture a piece, while it is removed from the board, it becomes yours to "drop" or deploy back onto the board.

The real reason the game fascinates me is because of the numerous alternate rulesets that are known to exist. True to Japan's nature, they invented more different ways to play the game that were hideously and hilariously bizarre and complicated. The most notable variations on this idea are the "dai shogi" ("great" or "big" shogi) variants.

Of these, Wikipedia notes: "It is thought that the really huge games (dai shogi and up) were never really played to any significant extent and were devised merely so that the creators could have the fun of inventing enormous games, amazing their friends and confounding their enemies."

Let's look at a few of the rules on size for these games...

Dai dai shogi ("big, big" shogi): 17x17 board, 289 squares, 96 pieces per player, 64 piece types, and 68 move types. (The reason there are more movement types than piece types is because you promote a piece by flipping it over, and the promoted piece has its own often entirely new move type or moveset. Fortunately, many pieces promote into pieces virtually identical to other pieces, and many different pieces will promote into the same pieces.)

Tai shogi ("grand" shogi): 25x25 board, 625 squares, 177 pieces per player, 93 piece types, and 96 move types. (I have an old program that only runs on pre-2000 versions of Windows that will run shogi variants up to tai shogi. In fact, I was able to find a YouTube video of someone playing tai shogi with the same or a similar program. It looks... byzantine-if you pay attention towards the middle, each side seems to set up huge lines and advance in waves, in a way that, if you're familiar with chess, looks impossible.)

Taikyoku shogi ("ultimate" shogi): 36x36 board, 1,296 squares, 402 pieces per player, 209 piece types, and 253 move types.

Here's a diagram of taikyoku shogi's piece setup (lifted from Wikipedia). (You can also find pictures of the setup here.)

After a brief calculation, a board for taikyoku shogi with 1.5" squares (there's no information on how big a shogi board's squares traditionally are, so I checked a chess board I dug up) would be four and a half feet to a side.

Yeah, I don't think that would be too practical. (For that matter, tai shogi is slightly too big for my old computer's monitor, and I have to tweak the heck out of it to see the whole board.) I suppose it's just as well nobody's really sure how to actually play taikyoku shogi. (That is to say, nobody knows absolutely for sure what all the rules are.)

-Signing off.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #29

281. Esh-kha. From what I gather from their page, the Esh-kha are a really nasty bunch who, at a population of just 100,000 or so, gave nasty fights to the Old Republic and Sith Empire of about 4,000 years before the movies. And they had been trapped in stasis for 20,000 years or so before that, by an empire that had existed even longer ago. How and why? Apparently, they had caused some general nastiness for that old empire by destroying a bunch of their slave worlds or something, and after the war between the Esh-kha and said empire (which was called the "Infinite Empire"), only 100,000 of them were left.

Rating: 3/5. This sort of thing really indicates the scale of the Star Wars galaxy-it's got a long history. (EDIT: Hey, now they've got pictures! Revised score is 4/5, because they're cool.)

282. Esoomians. Esoomians are big (nine feet tall) guys who are rather cartoonishly topheavy and have rather interesting facial construction. Supposedly, they're simple-minded and garble their sentences.

Rating: 3/5. Mainly because they're rather cool to look at.

283. Etti. The Etti are almost human, except that they're described as having pale blue skin.

The most notable Etti was a half-Etti (and half human) Imperial officer who was so racist against nonhumans that even other humanocentric people thought he was an extremist.

Rating: 2/5. I don't really like humanlike races so much, but that's enough of an interesting piece (not to mention commentary on some real life bigotry) that this group at least sort of has their place.

284. Euceron. They're described as humanoid, with large domed heads and "delicate" limbs, and as dressing plainly "as if to offset their colorful buildings." They hosted the Galactic Games (i.e. the space Olympics) on their world shortly before the Clone Wars.

Rating: 2/5. Eh, kind of boring, but at least it adds something: The Star Wars galaxy has space Olympics.

285. Evocii. The Evocii were the natives of a planet named Evocar, which would later be called Nal Hutta.

In case you can't guess, the Hutts, whose homeworld died at some point, kicked them off in order to take it for themselves. (Incidentally, the fact that the Hutts survived the death of their homeworld caused the Hutts to believe they were gods, which might be why they're so nasty.) The Evocii were believed by many to be extinct in the present, but they weren't... at least until the Yuuzhan Vong showed up.

Rating: 3/5. Blipping Yuuzhan Vong.

286. Ewoks. The Ewok article on Wookieepedia is incredibly extensive, and for good reason: The Ewoks have a lot of material.

All I really have to say on them is that Michael Wong, who runs a fansite largely dedicated to measuring the effectiveness of science fiction military organizations against each other and real military organizations, thought that the Ewoks' performance against the Galactic Empire was perfectly realistic, and I mostly agree. Have you seen the sort of thing Ewoks have to deal with on a regular basis?

Rating: 5/5. Don't forget: If nothing else, the Ewoks will happily eat you.

287. Exargans. Exargans or Excargans are natives of Excarga, and apparently you can't tell whether a child is male or female until it's about thirteen.

Rating: 2/5. The profile notes that Boba Fett met an orphaned Exargan once. All I have to say is that I would feel particularly sorry for an orphan who's a member of a species which would need to have a version of "the talk" that would be that different from the norm.

288. Exodeenians. Exodeenians have six arms, six legs, and six sets of teeth. They also throw six-armed punches.

Rating: 3/5, merely because excessive sixes are kind of funny in this context. It's like guys with four arms and four eyes.

289. Extorin. The Extorin tried to take over their sector. But they didn't because the Jedi stopped them.

Rating: 1/5. Meh, whatever.

290. Fairfolk. The Fairfolk are some kind of psychic ghost Jawa-cloaked things.

That is all you need to know.

Rating: 4/5. Psychic ghosts wearing Jawa cloaks are pretty awesome, even if they apparently only showed up in a 3D story or something and thus have only funky art of them. They also had some kind of thing where they were being used by Darth Vader to try to mind control Luke, which is kind of amusing.

Holy cheese, next time will be #30, and the 300th entry! (Which, from the looks of things, will be something totally stupid! Yaaaayyy.)

-Signing off.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mob Violence, Korean Movie Style

I saw this over on another blog, and I thought it was funny enough to post.

(It looks better on YouTube itself, since it's so darned huge.)

I think the funniest things about this are that 1) the movie seems to offer basically no explanation as to why these hockey, baseball, bicycling, and street dancing teams (and whatever) are trying to beat that guy to death, and 2) you can tell he thinks it's pretty ridiculous.

And of course, it's also pretty funny when all of them are showing up and surrounding him.

Korean films seem like they've taken steps forward in the last decade, which is hardly a bad thing, but if they stop making movies with stuff like this, it'll be sad.

-Signing off.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yes, I've Been Looking at Digimon Stuff Again

So sue me, but I like it.

In the Xros ("cross") Wars anime, which might possibly be translated as "Fusion Battles," although it's a series I have a hard time believing would be good for the American market (it's certainly a kid's series in many regards, but also has pretty hardcore violence and incredibly over the top fanservice), there's a scene where several characters are trapped inside "Prison Land," a place where souls are sent by the villains. (Bare minimum amount of story necessary to understand it.) One of the villains who is there with them is "Apollomon Whispered," an evil personality who overwrote the mind of a good guy, Apollomon.

When Whispered's confidence is driven down by his failure to defeat his enemies, Apollomon's soul comes bursting out of him and blows him up. But before the actual fighting comes this terrific exchange:

(Obviously, the dark one is Whispered.)

(Get ready...)

(In case you can't read these for some reason: Whispered says "It can't be," and Apollomon replies "This is the world of souls. There's nothing strange about this.") And that is the best thing about Xros Wars that isn't spoilery story stuff or visually driven.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


(In case you haven't seen it elsewhere already today [I find this unlikely], did you know that the SOPA/PIPA legislation is bad? I've read that in Greek, "sopa" means "don't talk," and I'm not even going to print what "pipa" means in slang in Greek.

This blog couldn't exist if that legislation passed. It's not that big a deal for me on most levels, but this has always been a nice place to share random things I've found. Sharing random things you've found could be illegal under some of this legislation [depending on content]. Seriously.)

Funny, I thought I had posted this before.

The best parts are easily the sudden cutoff when he falls in the pit (and the lost life theme plays) and the part where he's invulnerable ("Now I'ma toucha you anda you die, 'cuz I'm INVEEENCIBLE!")

-Signing off.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This Shouldn't Work...

...but it does.

A while ago, I discovered the Gurren Lagann Parallel Works, a series of what are essentially music videos, which were created to promote the Gurren Lagann movies.

The best of these, and the only one with canonical content to the series or movies, is Parallel Works 8, which is proof that anime is art, as far as I'm concerned.

(I seriously could watch this thirty or forty times a day and be happy.)

What the title of this post is referring to is that there's another song, "Just Like You Imagined" by Nine Inch Nails (which is known for being the song from one of the 300 trailers) which fits the video so well with no editing whatsoever that it's uncanny.

I seriously get chills watching that.

What's even better: Look for any big pounding soundtrack type music, and it'll probably fit too. (I've been checking. I'm very creative at wasting time.)

-Signing off.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #28

271. Enzeen. There's a planet named D'vouran which eats people. The Enzeen wear amulets that contained force field generators which prevented D'vouran from eating them, and also protected them from blasters; this is because they have formed a symbiotic relationship with D'vouran, wherein they draw in tourists and discourage them from leaving in exchange for feeding on D'vouran through disturbingly long tongues. (It's possible they went extinct when D'vouran went berserk after one of their amulets fell into its core; the parties visiting the planet who had learned it ate people thought that D'vouran had imploded, but it had just traveled through hyperspace to some other location, where someone "discovered" it as a "new" planet.)

Rating: 4/5. They're fleas living on a planet that eats people. That's pretty entertaining.

272. Eodons. Eodons are talking elephants that live on Endor. Apparently, they frequently had their tusks stolen without being killed, and in an episode of the Ewoks cartoon, one came and asked the Ewoks for its tusks back.

Rating: 3/5, mainly because that's a somewhat grim piece of comedy with real-world context, but it's still funny.

273. Epicanthix. Uh... They're "near-humans" who can be told apart by being played by Asian actors, or something.

Rating: 0/5. No no no. Bad. BAAAD. (Incidentally, the actual actor who played one doesn't actually have any obvious ethnic features, but "epicanthic fold" is the feature on an Asian person's face that gives the "slant eyed" look which is so often seen as the most identifying ethnic trait of the region, so I can't let it stand.)

274. Equani. The Equani went extinct gradually after their homeworld was depopulated by a solar event caused by a Galactic Republic superweapon test during the Clone Wars. They were furry, had empathic abilities, and were tall bipeds. One served as a psychologist/therapist in a Republic medical facility during the Clone Wars, and was a double agent for (apparently) both the Confederacy and the criminal organization Black Sun.

Rating: 3/5. I'm pretty sure they were implied pacifists, more or less, but the fact that one was a spy was interesting. The fact that they died out slowly after the extinction of most of them also gets a pity point for them.

275. Equat. Known to be epic poets. Poets of epics, presumably, and not the other meaning of epic.

Rating: 2/5. Wouldn't it be weird to only know epic poetry and other art forms as created by other species?

276. Er'Kits. Er'Kits... are mostly background characters from all over the place. (An Er'Kit senator was arrested for involvement in a slaving ring, and an Er'Kit was a podracer.)

Rating: 3/5. There's nothing exciting about them, but we know they're not a one-note society by virtue of having seen members of the species in very different walks of life.

277. Er'stacians. For some reason, these ugly blotchy purple guys get an entire subcategory to themselves. Apparently, they vary a lot in appearance depending on clan, although they're all still ugly and purple. There's a lot of information on them comparitively.

Rating: 3/5. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt; they aren't really a standout or anything, but they seem to have a lot of information and internal variation, so they get one more point than my automatic inclination. Just don't ask me to look at their page too long.

278. Ereesi. The Ereesi were at one time slavers who harassed the Argazdans. It'd be unkind to call it poetic justice.

Rating: 2/5, if only for the weird detail that slavers were bothering former slavers who had a special reputation as former slavers.

279. Ergesh. The Ergesh are described as "one of the few sapient species that evolved from plant based organisms on their homeworld." Parse that sentence carefully and tell me what you think of it.

Anyway, they're essentially shambling mounds of vinelike slimy tentacles, and can live to 200 and weigh over half a ton. And they wear belt things with pouches to carry their possessions.

This is awesome.

Rating: 5/5. The Ergesh are great.

280. Ermi. The Ermi apparently are extinct. According to a play written by a Hutt playwright (heck yes), Xim the Despot, who lived over 25,000 years before the era of the movies, wiped them all out and justified himself by saying they were slavers.

Their planet may possibly still be inhabited, however.

Rating: 3/5. This kind of confluence of cultural details amuses me greatly. A Hutt playwright? References to Xim the Despot? A play that exists in the Star Wars galaxy?

Kind of funny that there are two sparse articles related to slavers in this lot...

-Signing off.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Do These Remind You of Anything?

I was looking for images of a Digimon named Susanoomon because I was curious (back when I watched Digimon, the season Susanoomon was from aired in a weird time slot on a channel that rarely came in). And then I found an image (source) which reminded me of something I'd seen somewhere else.

I'm pretty sure that both these things were inspired by a common source, probably something like Gundam. (It's been around long enough...) It's fairly unlikely that the Transformers example (Primus the Transformer god/planet wielding a starship called the Ark as a cannon) was inspired by the other (Susanoomon the Digimon super fusion god wielding its ZERO-ARMS: Orochi as a cannon), but possible. (Both are loosely based visually on Brahma [specifically, drawing from those big rings behind him in the bas relief, adaptations of which show up a lot in anime] and Susanoomon's name comes from Susano-o.)

The fact that I reacted with this blog post just goes to show that I'm a huge nerd.

-Signing off.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #27

261. Elders. The Elders of Naboo made the suspiciously Buddhism-inspired statues that were in the swamps in Episode I. They drove the Gungans under the sea about 7,000 years ago, and then were driven offworld by the Gungans about 5,000 years ago.

Incidentally, this means the Naboo are fairly recent settlers, and probably also means that the Gungans learned to like being underwater better.

Rating: 2/5. Pretty minor and incidental, but they add a bit to the universe. Not much, though-where did they go?

262. Elom. The Elom of Elom are subterranean mole people, and hecka ugly. This caused the Elomin, who inhabit the same world, to freak out when they met them as a result of a mining accident. However, the Elomin would eventually decide they liked them after all, since the Elom were quite helpful to them when the Empire invaded.


Less pleasantly, the Elom are naive and have an unfortunate tendency to get duped into criminal undertakings.

Rating: 3/5. It's simple overall, but they work.

263. Elomin. The Elomin (yes, it's the same Elomin) may be related to the Zabrak, i.e. the species that Darth Maul is from. They weren't very nice to the Elom, presenting them to outsiders as animals and using them as slaves. The Empire wanted the lommite (seriously) on the planet, and decided to just take it; as noted above, the Elom helped them not all get enslaved by the Empire. After the Empire, the two societies started getting along a lot better and started integration.

Rating: 2/5. It's inevitable that the jerks get rated lower, but at least they cleaned up their act.

264. Em'liy. I'm having a lot of trouble not reading that as "Em'ily." Which is annoying.

Anyway, they're scaly-ish noseless human-like beings, who supposedly average a bit bigger than the human average, and after they had a bad time with the Empire, they became nomadic everywhere they live, both on and off their homeworld. Presumably, their breaking had to do with them having been proud warriors.

Rating: 3/5. Partly, I like the concept: They're Proud Warrior Race Guys, but they're in a really hard spot, and so they aren't quite so proud anymore. This appeals to me for some reason, perhaps only because the Proud Warrior Race Guy usually refuses to change and just dies en masse instead when the conqueror comes, or holds out forever. This feels more real.

265. Ementes. The Emente have six eyes and eat only fruit. They apparently have trouble with this, because members of other species can be jerks and put things other than fruit in their food, so they tend to frequent restaurants where they can see into the kitchens.

Rating: 3/5. They haven't got much, but what they do have is interesting. Of course, they also sound like the worst customers in the world...

266. Emmerians. Emmerians are described as a stout race from Emmer who evolved from humans.

Rating: 2/5. I gave them a little extra because there aren't any stupid details like "evolving in thousands of years" and it's unambiguous-they are "humans," more or less, not the nebulous "humanoid" or the not much less so "near-humans." That's the only reason I didn't give them a flat 1/5.

267. Energy vampires. The page picture is a hot purple-skinned chick (albeit in a very cartoony style). The best part, however, is that their description is very similar to the Transformers energy vampires from G1. This is incredibly funny.

Rating: 3/5 for the laughs. However, they make less sense in Star Wars than they did as giant robot vampires.

268. Ensos. The Ensos are near-humans who are at home in extremely cold environments. Thus, on planets like Tatooine, they wear extreme protective gear (the hilariously named coolth suits).

Guys, if you can't stand the desert heat, stay off of Tatooine.

Rating: 2/5, just for letting me type "coolth suits." It's also kind of funny that the article says they resemble humans, and then lists off a dozen features that humans know humans have and would assume of someone who "resembled" humans (such as-get ready for it-two sexes).

269. Entymals. Entymals are insectoids who possess great strength and piloting skills, and also have an ant-based hive society. (Strictly speaking, they're more of a strange-alienoid species with minor insect features, although I'll give them that they look very cool.) They can glide and also can walk on their hind legs or on all fours.

They also find the concept of romance to be peculiar and even repulsive, thanks to the fact that their males die shortly after mating.

Rating: 4/5. Good and solid society, a decent list of physical features and abilities, and they look cool. Just barely short of a 5.

270. Enu. They are the near-humans from Deylerax.

Rating: 1/5. The only cool thing is their planet's name. Otherwise... *yawn*

Although their planet was infested by stone mites, which look suspiciously like they belong in a video game...

-Signing off.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Better Mousetrap

Recently, my dad has been crowing about a new mousetrap that he got, which apparently works much better than the old-fashioned kind. I didn't know much about it, but then I saw a new one sitting on the table. (Clearly, he was pleased enough to be a repeat customer.)

It wasn't this one, but it was pretty similar. (Dad's is more rectangular.)

(Picture obtained from Wikipedia, where it said that it was a public domain image. Feel free to steal. Not that I mind anybody taking any of the images I put up.) My immediate thought was that this kind of trap (a "mouth trap") is just one step away from being a mouser robot from TMNT.

That step, admittedly, would be a pretty big hurdle-legs are hard.

Still, it was a rather unsettling realization, even after reading that "mouth traps" don't actually have as much force as other traps.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

G(h)o(st) Busters

(EDIT: Well, this turned out to be completely inaccurate. Ah, well.)

In a hurry (forgot what my schedule for today was), so here's a little something from the upcoming Super Sentai for this year:

Yes, they're actually a "Ghost Buster" team, at least according to nearly everything I've read about them. Seriously.

-Signing off.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Those Martian Guys From Sesame Street?

They're still awesome.

Incidentally, shame on whoever hacked the Sesame Street YouTube account and made them feel they needed to put up the "safe environment" statement on all their videos. Don't be such a broody joy-hating teenager, whoever you are.

-Signing off.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ash Ketchum, Eat Your Heart Out

My mother frequently picks up children's books (traditional books, Western comics, and manga) for my little brother at the local library. Whenever these books happen to be manga, I skim over them because 1) supposed "kids' manga" is often more violent than one might think, and 2) sometimes, "kids' manga" is really great.

This is a little bit of both of those things.

Bakegyamon (Backwards Game) is a manga whose history I know little about. All I know is that I've read most of the 52 chapters. It's a complete little weekly manga. It's mostly pretty silly, especially towards the beginning, but it really picks up in the last two volumes. (I read it in a five volume format; apparently the local library missed volume 3, but I don't care.)

NOTE: Spoilers abound, although I don't think I'll spoil anything I can avoid.

Like many modern "kiddie" anime/manga, Bakegyamon heavily features monsters in the story. Predictably, its protagonist is a kid wearing a black shirt, jeans, an open vest, and a backwards cap, i.e. just like the Pokèmon kid. Whereas Ash Ketchum is an obnoxious little guy who endorses a fancier version of cockfighting, though, this kid, Sanshiro Tamon, didn't accept the status quo: When he learned that the monsters were people too, and had been enslaved for the purposes of this game, he decided that he would use the game's tournament prize, one unrestricted wish, to free them.

However, a previous winner of the game, whose wish was that the game would go on forever (sort of), learning of his plans, decided to eliminate him from the competition by sealing him into one of the cards that the monsters are (predictably) bound up in. There's a game rule that only monsters can be summoned from the cards, so he's trapped forever.

Unless the being who holds the tournament and grants the wishes, and who has despairingly watched it spiral out of control, turns him into a monster.

The problem is that being turned into a monster will probably kill him.

But, even presented with the opportunity to live in a dream world where it will be basically lucid dreaming forever instead, he'd rather risk his life than sit by.

And so, he gets accidentally summoned by one of his friends who's trying to defend herself from the villain.

Some manga artists can and will draw the heck out of anything. This guy is clearly one of them.

Anyway, since he's now a big... thing, the mere fact of his being summoned blocked the villain's last attack.

The villain, annoyed, states that even though he must now be a monster, there's no way a runty monster like himself will stand a chance against his enhanced high-class monsters.


I've read that this will be made into an anime. If this doesn't get a "FALCON PUNCH" meme video, there is no justice.

Predictably, Sanshiro's gigantic fist sends off the villain's monster on the Team Rocket express.

Then Sanshiro's arm falls off.

Yes, his arm falls off. The stress of using his monster powers so soon after being transformed is making his body fall apart, and his arm just snaps right off. (It's depicted like shattering clay, so it's not gory, but it is hardcore.)

What does Sanshiro do next? Keep in mind, this kid is eleven, and his arm just fell off. Most people, much less most kids, would be screaming or passing out at this point.

Well... (Note that it reads right to left, if you're not a regular manga reader.)

Then the villain sends in another monster to attack again. What's Sanshiro's response? (Once again, right to left.)

He does it again.

When the villain sends in a third monster, his response is to grow a new arm and do it again.

He's basically the best kid character since Daiya from Gaiking. (Actually, this manga originally ran just a couple of years after that Gaiking series aired. Hm.)

And I'm not sure that was actually the most batman thing that Sanshiro did. (If you want to know what else he did, go ahead and read it yourself. Going through the somewhat less interesting earlier chapters to get to this one is worth it.

And if you don't know why I use the word batman like that, there's an explanation here. The actual why is because I don't swear except by accident.)

-Signing off.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dude, Where's My Robot Manservant?

It's just as well that the retro futures they told us were coming never happened. Case in point:

Imagine if kids had robots that they could order to carry them around. Makes the health problems that we see now look pretty mild, huh?

(Image from The Young Children's Encyclopedia Britannica, specifically the "robots" article. Pretty soon here I'll dig up some images from the "future" article, which are also pretty awesome. These are wonderful old books, especially for kids, and I remember them fondly from my childhood.)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


(I spent some time putting together a post over at that Yu-Gi-Oh! blog where I post stuff, if you're interested.)

This is kind of an interesting little vignette that apparently was part of the Macross 7 series (which is sort of related to Robotech). It tells you a fair bit about someone without actually saying very much (in fact, the character himself just has a few nonverbal vocalizations).

Despite the artful and poetic nature of the piece, though, my favorite part is the simulator game over screen, which simply proclaims "YOU DEAD."

-Signing off.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #26

251. Ebruchi. The Ebruchi look like Cthulhu people. As I love me some Lovecraft references, this is a good starting point.

They also don't recognize speciesism and apparently, despite being essentially universally space pirates, happily will recruit members of any species and treat them as their own.

So they're also apparently space Vikings with elements of Native American culture.

Who are also Cthulhu people.

How can you not love this?

Rating: 5/5. Seriously.

252. Echani. The Echani are rather militaristic near-humans who almost universally are rather shapely women.

Rating: 3/5, because they're hot. If they hadn't been, it'd have been 1/5. Bias? What's that?

253. Eddelians. The singular of "Eddelians" is "Eddel." I find this amusing.

Former traders decimated by the Empire because they and the Empire apparently couldn't get along; despite slavery being illegal in the Empire, the surviving Eddelians became slaves.

They are known for having a quick wit.

Rating: 2/5. There's something interesting there, but it's kind of incomplete-feeling.

254. Ee. The Ee are eyeball-equipped earthworm things who are somehow still intelligent, apparently. And their name is pretty amusing.

Rating: 3/5. There's almost nothing to go on, but I still like them.

255. Eellayin. The Eellayin are very extinct, as they were apparently cavepeople on a planet that exploded a long time ago.

Rating: 2/5. While there's nothing to go on, they contribute to the backstory of another species who apparently believe that they're somehow connected to them. So they get an extra point.

256. Eglatt. The Eglatt can survive incredibly hot temperatures.

Well, it's something, I guess.

Rating: 2/5, because unlike some entries like this, this one means something, even if it's still not very specific.

257. Eickarie. While the Eickarie are described as reptilian, they could wear stormtrooper armor without difficulty. They are also associated with the Empire of the Hand, a group established by Grand Admiral Thrawn to essentially provide the Empire with a buffer against and a source of information on the area known as the Unknown Regions.

They also had an interesting political situation on their homeworld before they properly joined the Empire of the Hand, which funded a rebellion against an unpopular warlord.

Rating: 3/5. They sound very interesting.

258. Eirraucs. The Eirraucs are from Eirrauus, and they're interesting in appearance. They have six limbs (the middle pair function as both arms and legs, apparently) and are "peaceful omnivores" that eat grass, fruit, and carrion.

That's an interesting diet.

Anyway, they got taken over by the Empire and made into slaves.

Rating: 3/5. I like their name and appearance, and that disparate diet is kind of amusing.

259. Eklaad. The Eklaad are basically elephant/armadillo hybrids, which grants them great strength and durability and the ability to roll up into a ball for defensive purposes. They don't like fighting, but are powerful in combat when they don't have a choice.

They apparently were at one time in serious danger of dying out as a people due to the Empire taking over their planet.

Rating: 3/5. Y'know, I get that the Empire are villains, but there sure is an awful lot of that this go-round.

260. Elathan. All we really know about the Elathan is that first contact with them was supposedly initiated by the Jedi starship Chu'unthor, which at one time was the Jedi training academy.

Apparently, this first contact attracted a lot of media attention.

Rating: 1/5. Eh, who really cares? If you look at the link above to the Chu'unthor article, though, you would learn that while the Chu'unthor was rather flat and thus didn't mass as much, it was actually longer and wider than an Imperial-class Star Destroyer, a ship that was built centuries later.

Best school ever?

-Signing off.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Their Toy Ads are Better Too

Why did Japan get the best John Carter of Mars trailer?

Granted, apparently John Carter is very obscure in Japan. It would not be out of line to say that they could use a little more context.

I mean, it's not like this trailer is bad, but by comparison it feels more generic, visuals and the line "You are ugly, but you are beautiful!" aside.

If you aren't familiar with the franchise, anyway, the Japanese trailer feels like it's much better as a hook.

Boy, I'm boring today.

-Signing off.