D-Frag! Episode #06 Anime Review

D-Frag! Episode #06 Anime Review

D-Frag! Episode 6

Every series needs a love triangle.

What They Say:
Hachi Siou has been smitten with Roka ever since she bagged him once. When he hears that Roka has bagged Kazama, he decides that the three of them are in a love triangle! He challenges Kazama to a game duel that turns into a school-wide tournament.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
D-Frag! has certainly had its fun moments so far, especially when it does the parody side of things, but it hasn’t done quite as good a job of actually making me interested in the characters beyond the comedy. Which is certainly not a bad thing as with some shows you just want to laugh at the situations. And the cast that has been assembled here certainly allows for that, especially when you have a character like Roka that sets into motion so many things just because of her personality. Kazama is one that can play off of her well and the two of them together definitely has a weird vibe about it that you can’t quite look away from. Though I do find myself far more interested in the Kazama and Takao dynamic than anything else as she’s definitely been the interesting character here.

With this episode, we’re introduced to a new character to alter the dynamic as Hachi Siou is brought in. He’s one of those son of a wealthy conglomerate characters that has a huge love for Roka and views it as his lifelong mission to pursue her to bring their relationship to fruition. He’s kind of soft and odd in a way with how he presents himself but he’s also popping up at odd times to throw off Roka. When he ends up meeting Kazama amid an attempt to get closer to Roka, he starts to talk to Kazama and that allows him to reveal his back story of how he ended up falling for Roka more than anyone else. It’s simplistic but also the kind of thing that definitely makes sense for the simple mind that is presented for him here. The whole thing just turns worse though when after spending some time with Roka and Kazama, he declares that the three are now in a love triangle. You have to feel bad for just about everyone involved at that point.

As it goes on, it ends up turning into a competition of sorts as you’d expect and it just rolls into all kinds of silly situations, including a hilarious one where Takao attempts to zip up her sweat jacket, which is a hugely difficult thing considering her dimensions. That it takes on such an epic feel is just perfect. With it turning into a huge school event overall, it just has a lot of back and forth and plain slapstick material involving the ring that they’re in and the silliness from there. It’s very content free for the most part and it’s easy to just watch it and not really take much from it other than to see how everyone sort of just waves and gesticulates a lot without anything really happening.

In Summary:
The introduction of Hachi isn’t a bad point, though the character pales next to so many other sons of wealthy family types that have been done over the years. His interest in Roka makes enough sense within the confines of the series itself and there are plenty of amusing points throughout it, though I continue to think that Takao manages to regularly steal the show. She’s a character stuck in a series that’s not good enough for her. The sort of triangle that gets formed is amusing and Hachi certainly makes it work for all its worth, but it’s just pretty light and nonsensical overall. D-Frag continues to be a series that won’t tax your brain any.

Grade: C

Streamed By: FUNimation

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Apple TV via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

Sensation Comics #41 Review

Sensation Comics #41 Review Wonder Woman attempts to get through to Cheetah in a very physical way.

Creative Staff:
Story: Adam Beechen
Art: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Kevin Nowlan

What They Say:
Diana has opted to play a watcher’s role in the Cheetah’s transfer to her new home – in a psychiatric unit. But the best intentions of the Domaine family don’t actually make their plan to save Debbi safe for the city! “Our Little Dance” part 2 of 2.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The first half of this two part story is one that I liked in its general design as it worked towards some of the legal issues surrounding a world with costumed characters and it provided some very human motivations for those that pursue that realm. It also gave us some emotional aspects from those that are victims and sometimes accomplices by association when it comes to family members that are dragged into it all because of the actions of one of their own. But the book, in the spacing it had and the intent that it had, couldn’t really go into it in a big way and there was definitely a light touch to it when it could have been so much more. Now, with the the second half, it goes into the expected and more traditional aspect of the story. The action.

And really, that’s what dominates this issue in full. Which isn’t exactly bad because Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez really makes for some dynamic sequences. With Cheetah having resurfaced over Debbi’s personality, she’s taken full control – or has been given control as she insists- and is wreaking havoc on everything. The chaos hits quick and hard as she takes out a lot of the personnel that were in place to guard her during her transport and it’s about as bad as one would expect. Even worse though is that she ends up grabbing her aunt Charlotte along the way to use as a hostage, among others in the family, in order to facilitate her escape. But at the same time, Cheetah’s intent on showing her rage against the way mankind has treated the environment, a more recent wrinkle in the character relatively speaking, so she doesn’t exactly view any human getting offed as a necessarily bad thing.

So that kind of makes up the whole book. It’s a lot of action sequences as Cheetah holes up in a building with her aunt and threatens while Wonder Woman does her best to calm her down and reach through to the Debbi inside. This doesn’t come across as a bad idea, since there is that split personality aspect, but I rather liked that at least according to Cheetah, Debbi is fully on board with all of this and has given herself over to her in order to express how she truly feels. It gives it a powerful and kind of primal voice to what’s going on, though there’s some attempts at balancing it along the way as well. But being what the book is, you know it has to end with Cheetah captured and being sent back to another cell, which in the end only reinforces Debbi’s primal anger that the Cheetah side of her will continue to capitalize on.

In Summary:
There’s not a lot in the way of story here, especially compared to the first installment, but the book mostly gives me what I was hoping for based on the first issue. It’s mostly given over to the action and it’s well presented here, making for some really good sequences. Particularly since there’s a sense of just showing it and not saying it for a few pages where there’s no dialogue and it’s all about the movements and actions. The story itself comes to a close predictably and we’re basically back at the beginning in a lot of ways, but it plays to the usual trope of superheroes and their villains, especially with Diana saying that she hopes that the rage of most villains continues to be focused on those who wear costumes like herself. While I hope this series continues to try and find interesting voices and angles to present, I really hope they angle back more towards some of the more creative and fun aspects as well we had for awhile.

Grade: B-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: June 25th, 2015
MSRP: $0.99

Twelve New ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ Images Revealed

There’s been a bit of a lull recently when it comes to news about X-Men: Days Of Future Past, but we’re getting closer to a trailer being released next week. And that means new images have surfaced via Empire and EW . The latest pieces come across a number of characters and actors with some behind the scenes material as well that’s fun to see. We’re getting one of our earliest looks at Peter Dinklage in his costume, which is from the 1973 period by all accounts to be sure, and it’s certainly different from what we’ve seen before yet fits quite well. The film is set for a May 23rd, 2014 release.

Directed by Bryan Singer, the film stars Jams McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Hugh Jackman, Peter Dinklage, Nicholas Hoult, Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Shawn Ashmore, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Omar Sy, and Halle Berry.

Twelve New ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ Images Revealed

Twelve New ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ Images Revealed

Twelve New ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ Images Revealed

Twelve New ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ Images Revealed

Twelve New ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ Images Revealed

Twelve New ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ Images Revealed

Coppelion Episode #11 Anime Review

Coppelion Episode #11 Anime Review

Coppelion Episode 11

Shocking reversals and twists that are reversed and twisted to the point of absurdity.

What They Say
The Diversion Team find themselves in serious trouble when the 1st Division brings out their secret weapon, the Iron Spider. As Ibara tries to hold off the Ozu Sisters, Aoi is left with the task of stopping the Iron Spider alone…

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In last episode’s review I spoke about the tonal shift of the show, from contemplative post-apocalyptic sci-fi to comic book super-heroics over the course of the season. Over time, the changes were easier to take. But this episode whiplashes like a beheaded snake, back and forth, front and back with no rhythm but death rattle. One hopes it gets the bad blood out of the system for the final two episodes, but it takes its toll on this week.

As the episode begins, the characters designs seem slightly different, with thinner, more fluid lines. There’s also some pretty impressive sakuga as Aoi is picked up and whipped around by the giant robotic Iron Spider, so it’s not hard to imagine these two things are connected. Ibara is kept busy by the ever-present Ozu Sisters (why couldn’t they have been killed, again?) who now combine their powers into an electric punch that knocks Haruto off his feet. Defeat of the Iron Spider falls to Aoi, who uncharacteristically volunteers to zip line to the top and press the button opening the hatch. One moment, she stupidly rams her finger into the glass over the release button, the next, she absorbs Kanon Ozu’s electrical attack and becomes an ultra-powerful psychic who defends her friends from attack so that the spider can be felled with a single bullet. Somewhat of a deus ex machina, but perhaps deux ex dojikko is more appropriate? At least Aoi has finally proved her usefulness, at long last.

Sadly, before the spider could be swatted it manages to break the commander of Division One out of his prison, and neither he, nor the Ozu sisters can be found around or underneath the crushed robo-arachnid. The engineering team is likely to be in danger of attack. Aoi is now unconscious from her transformation, and Ibara is injured, so Haruto volunteers to be the one to find the problem. Now, the crisis at the electric substation: Gojiro was sent to investigate the problem and hasn’t returned. Haruto decides to help him find the break in the power lines, and while the montage plays, Gojiro confesses guilt at having worked for the power company that caused the meltdown so many years before. There’s a very profound point to me made about power companies slashing safety budgets and inspections that resonates strongly with the events of Fukushima, but the speech is made farcical when we see Gojiro running and holding a giant plug, the phallic cable bouncing back and forth in slow motion.

The power line is restored, but then a power pole falls. The others in the engineering team must attend to that. When Haruto and Gojiro attempt to find the pole, Division One ambushes them and shoots Haruto. Haruto demands that the Division One commander not be killed (AGAIN!), presumably so he can menace them further with the Ozu Sisters.

They make it back to the train, but the train won’t start until the batteries are charged! All hope is lost… when the train starts. Did the batteries charge, or was it just a fakeout? Then, a railroad sign looks as though it will fall on the tracks, until Haruto leaps out to hold it out of the way. He’s about to lose his grip… when the Commander of Division One decides to be a good guy after all and help him hold it. The commander explains that the way Ibara treated him, as though he were still human, made him realize he was, in fact, still human. Okay, then, so why did you shoot Haruto ten minutes earlier? If you’d decided to help then things could have gone a lot easier.

Fortunately, all of the dramatic character shifts and speeches should be exhausted at this point, leaving us with two solid episodes of action to come. If the Ozu Sisters suddenly decide to become good guys, though, all bets are off.

In Summary
Consistency has never been Coppelion’s strong point, but episode 11 hits an uncomfortable number of speed bumps that whiplash between drama and comedy, tragedy and farce. As weekly manga chapters the content may have worked, but crammed together into a single 24 minutes, separate elements that might have been powerful on their own become ridiculously overwrought.

Grade: C

Streamed By: Viz Media

Review Equipment: Sony VAIO 17″ HD screen

Conan The Barbarian #1 Review

Conan The Barbarian #1 Review Conan lucks into a new adventure that takes him against a truly powerful woman.

Creative Staff:
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Becky Cloonan

What They Say:
In this sweeping adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s fan-favorite ‘Queen of the Black Coast,’ Conan turns his back on the civilized world and takes to the high seas alongside the pirate queen Bêlit, setting the stage for an epic of romance, terror, and swashbuckling. This is Conan as you’ve never seen him, with the combination of one of Robert E. Howard’s greatest tales and the most dynamic creative team in comics!

The Review:
Having long been a fan of the Conan brand, I haven’t read any Conan comics since the old Marvel ones done in the 80′s. I love the character, but it’s one that I’ve always felt is really hard to make work well in a variety of media, something we’ve seen happen over the years unfortunately. With Dark Horse having worked the Conan brand in comics form since 2003, this is my first hands one experience with it and it’s definitely made me really excited to see what they’re going to do in 2012 with it. Under the guidance of Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan doing the artwork, this was a perfect jumping on point yet still painted the picture of a character that has existed for quite awhile and had many adventures. It’s instantly accessible but you can also see how it would without issue for the fans who have been reading for some time.

Taking place relatively early within Conan’s career, where he wasn’t a huge name but has had his share of successes, we get to come across him as his travels landed him in some unintended trouble, at least through his view of events, and he’s in quite the need to move on. His desire to escape from Messtania, the capital of Argos, is understandable as he was the last man remaining in a tavern where a soldier killed a superior officer, which made it easy to extend the blame to him and put him through the wringer in the dungeon. The whole thing was easily a farce in his opinion and listening to him relate the tale is almost comical as he views himself as an innocent, which he is, that just puts him in a bad spot where only his sword can solve the problem. With the way it unfolds, you can really sense the fun that Conan has in dealing with the Guardsmen he encounters, both during his court appearance and his subsequent escaping, adding to that kind of lust for life angle that fits so well.

Conan’s escape is what leads us to the real adventure though as he ends up on a trading ship, through a bit of force, and heads out to the open seas. Through the steersman, he learns of the area a bit more since he’s been in the north for so long and gets a better feel for what the lands around here holds. And the main threat to the area is the dark arts that are performed along one of the coasts but also a woman named Belit who holds a very dark crew under her sway. The steersman paints her in a truly black way, but it’s hearing it and seeing it throguh Conan’s mind that’s really engaging as he finds it to be a thrill, a challenge and something he wants to see for himself. Getting closer to that becomes the focus towards the end, but the majority of the book deals with an exploration of the legend that Belit has become and that works exceptionally well.

In Summary:
Having been out of the Conan loop for quite a long time, this was an excellent re-introduction to the character and has left me eagerly anticipating more issues. A lot of first issues really don’t do a good job of being a jumping on point and making it accessible to new readers while still being serviceable and engaging for existing fans, but Brian Wood nailed it just right here. It makes me want to check out some of his earlier adventures while eagerly looking forward to more. And Becky Cloonan captured it just right with the artwork, with his rough and ragged style while also bringing in the striking and disturbing beauty that is Belit. There aren’t many books that make me really want another issue right away, but the first installment of the Queen of the Black Coast has done just that and more can’t come soon enough.

Grade: A-

Readers Rating: [ratings]

‘Hulk’ TV Series Still In ABC Development

‘Hulk’ TV Series Still In ABC Development With ABC doing their upfront presentations today, some chatter did move towards the TV series adaptation of Hulk that has been bandied about for a bit. The series wasn’t expected for this fall since no pilot was put into production this spring, but ABC entertainment president Paul Lee confirmed that the project is most assuredly not dead, a smart move considering the character largely stole the show when it comes to the box office powerhouse The Avengers.

At the presentation, Lee said that he’d like  “see some Marvel projects come to television.”

“Hulk is in development,” he confirmed. “It wasn’t going to be ready this season but we hope it’s going to be ready for next season.”

The property is a natural as Disney is looking to extend its Avengers brand into a year long property across multiple venues and owns ABC. Oscar nominee Guillermo del Toro is associated with developing the project and has been for the past year. Discussion about how it would be a natural fit came up with Lee talking about how they do want to bring in some superhero properties, things which have typically not fared well on TV due to the often poor adaptations that eject most of what people like about the comics.

“We’re immensely proud to be a company with The Avengers,” he said. “We’re going to continue to develop aggressively.”

Story details for the planned series have been minimal to non-existent, but what has been heard but not full confirmed is that the series would focus on a twenty-something Bruce Banner early on after becoming the Hulk as he tries to avoid getting caught. With the growing acceptance of the Marvel Universe as a whole in the film world, it’s expected that this will tie into it (being all owned by the same conglomerate) and they’d be able to use certain elements, such as SHIELD, to provide context.

Japanese ‘Assassination Classroom’ Anime DVD/BD Release Reveals Full Cover, Box Art

Japanese ‘Assassination Classroom’ Anime DVD/BD Release Reveals Full Cover, Box Art While we got a better look at the cover to the first Japanese installment of Assassination Classroom about a month ago, Avex has now revealed the finalized cover for the release in a larger form with the slipcover, the actual digipak artwork, the box to hold the entire series and some of the pack-in booklet material.

The artwork for it is for the case itself and not the special sleeve design being done by Morita Kazuaki, which we’ll be seeing later. They’ve also clarrified a bit about what’s going to be included with the release as there will be a box to hold the series, a special CD whose contents have not been revealed, some other mysterious first press items as well as a booklet. And, of course, an event priority ticket to the August 16th, 2015 event. On disc extras include the Jump Festa episode zero, the clean opening, clean closing, an audio commentary and the commercial collection

The manga had its first volume out in North America last month from Viz Media. There was a previous OVA adaptation but this series is starting fresh and will be handled at studio Lerche with Seiji Kishi directing it. Makoto Uezeu is handling the scripts while Kazuaki Morita will be tackling the character designs. Kishi is certainly a good choice for a project like this as he’s coming off of his work on some other high profile adaptations such as Persona 4 and Danganronpa while Uezu was involved in the latter as well as Apreggio of Blue Steel and School Days among others.

The show has set Jun Fukuyama as Koro-sensei, Tomokazu sugita as Tadaomi Karasuma and Shizuka Itou as Irina Jelavic. Also starring are Nobuhiko Okamoto as Karuma Akabane, Miho Hino as Sumire Hara, Subaru Kimura as Ryōma Terasaka, Ryota Ohsaka as Yūma Isogai, Eiji Miyashita as Sōsuke Sugaya, Ayaka Suwa as Tōka Yada, Shintarō Asanuma as Hiroto Maehara, Ryo Naitou as Taiga Okajima, Manami Numakura as Rio Nakamura, Kana Ueda as Yuzuki Fuwa, Fuko Saito as Kirara Hazama, Satomi Satou as Yukiko Kanzaki, Chie Matsuura as Megu Kataoka, Takahiro Mizushima as Kōtarō Takebayashi, Shinya Takahashi as Kōki Mimura, Sayuri Yahagi as Manami Okuda, Kouki Harasawa as Takuya Muramatsu, Aya Suzaki as Kaede Kayano, Shunsuke Kawabe as Masayoshi Kimura, Yoshitaka Yamaya as Tomohito Sugino, Yoshiyuki Shimozuma as Taisei Yoshida, Hisako Kanemoto as Hinano Kurahashi, Minami Tanaka as Hinata Okano, Junji Majima as Ryūnosuke Chiba, Shiho Kawaragi as Rinka Hayami and Mai Fuchigami as Nagisa Shiota.

Plot concept: Forget about homework and pop quizzes. The students of Class 3E have a far more important assignment: kill their teacher before the end of the year! A tentacle-d sensei that moves at Mach 20 is out to conquer the classroom after destroying seventy percent of the moon. In addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, the murderous monster behind the lectern will teach his students everything he knows about the assassination game. Should some eager beaver prove to be a quick study in killing, he or she will save Earth from extinction – and collect a hefty reward. But they’d better take some serious notes while class is in session because their slaughtering sensei has eight deadly tentacles just waiting to wreak havoc on humanity!

Japanese ‘Assassination Classroom’ Anime DVD/BD Release Reveals Full Cover, Box Art

Assassination Classroom Japanese Volume 1 Packaging

Japanese ‘Assassination Classroom’ Anime DVD/BD Release Reveals Full Cover, Box Art

Assassination Classoom Japanese Volume 1 Cover

[Source: Assassination Classroom ]