Today is Catherine day.

February 14, 2012

So, I got a package today.

Needless to say, it was not what I was expecting. Why is it so big?
So I open it up.

Its Catherine

Ah, that would explain things. It’s a little late, but I am excited. I opened the game, so I could play…

A pizza box

What the hell is this? I like it.
Then I opened it up some more and noticed all the little things it came with.

A t-shirt

A poster

Coasters

The coasters are reversible

And then there is the game itself.

The game

The best thing is…

The game has a reversible cover.

So that’s what came with the EU limited edition of Catherine.

Clover – Volume 4

January 8, 2012

To be born again for your sake;
Blowing the past away on fluttering clouds;
Letting the future ride on flowing winds;
Fearlessly, unceasingly, patiently.

To be born again in your arms;

To be born again for my sake;
Once again to wait to be born in a golden egg;
Once again to be able to fly with silver wings;
Unhurriedly, tenaciously, intimately.

To be born again in your arms;

To be born again for your sake;
To turn the bliss of our meeting into a gentle light;
And the parting that’s sure to come into smothering rain;
Like the little indigo flower that blooms in delicate shade.

To be born again in your arms;

Your taking my hand and my not shaking it off;
Our two paths merging to become one as blending minds;
To be born again for my sake.

To be born again in your arms;

Not averting your eyes, not letting go;
Embracing all the fortitude of will and the frailty of prayers;

 To be born again in your arms.

To be born again for my sake;
When my not minding the loneliness
Was only the ignorance of my bliss with you.
When my pain of loneliness
Was but my learning to fear losing you.

So then, I will be born again in your arms.

To be born again for my sake;
As old shells crumble off and newborn tears fall on a cheek;
With your embrace, open my ethereal wings;
To be born again for you alone;

To be born again in your arms;

Letting me forget with your voice and your touch;
Breaking off the chains that bind my heart and feet;

To be born again in your arms;

 To be born again for your sake;
An ember that just caught should not be put out or misplaced;
My thoughts just born should not be dissipated or broken apart;
In this cradle you guard over;
To start again from scratch.

To be born again for my sake;
To be born again in your arms.

Armitage III: Poly Matrix (Anime)

December 19, 2011

 They don’t make trailers like this anymore. COMING SOOOON! (…1997) (Lol Jack Bauer

Japanese title: アミテージ・ザ・サード POLY-MATRIX Animation Production: Pioneer LDC Genres: Action, Adventure, Mecha, Romance, Sci-Fi, Military, Police, Cyberpunk Runtime: 90 minutes.

Plot Summary: “A policeman, Ross Sylibus, is assigned to a unit on a Martian colony, to find that women are being murdered by a psychotic named D’anclaude. He is assigned a very unorthodox partner named Naomi Armitage, who seems to have links to the victims. To stir things up more, every victim is found to be an illegally made third-generation android, built to be almost perfect replications of humans. It becomes a race against time when the government attempts to cover up the existence of the ‘Third Types’, and eliminate the only ones with the evidence. And even more importantly, why are the Thirds created to be so similar to humans, even to the extent of being indistinguishable from them on every level, mentally and biologically?”IMDB

Have you ever heard of Armitage III? No? I didn’t think so! and it is a bit of a shame considering how great I thought this movie was. Poly Matrix is a compilation of the OVA series that was released in 1995 and although I have not seen the original OVA series, judging by the similar running times I think I can safely say that it has not been diluted down, but perhaps upgraded for its feature film and includes scenes not found in the OVA release. The OVA series is relatively difficult to find, but that should not deter you from watching the movie, Poly Matrix may as well be the definitive version.

Armitage III has been completely overshadowed by similar cyberpunk releases, most notably, Ghost in the Shell, especially with its huge advertising campaign leading up to its release. Subsequently, Poly Matrix received very little attention when it was produced which is incredibly unfortunate given the enjoyment I derived from this movie. In just 90 minutes I fell in love with the characters, and as a rarity I found myself asking substantial philosophical questions throughout.

Ghost in the Shell had a very political theme with minor personal focus, whereas Armitage III felt much more personal with a minor focus on politics, in that sense they are very similar, but also very different. Armitage III focused on human emotions, with robots, and on human opinion regarding robots, with a little bit of politics thrown in. I grew to like the characters quickly, and the movie held my attention from start to finish.

Comparatively, whilst Ghost in the Shell felt a little slow, Armitage III was jam packed full of action, and it feels very much like a 90’s police action adventure movie (because that is what it is). In terms of relatability, I believe that this movies closest match is the original Appleseed movie, but Armitage III seems to have had a larger budget, and the animation shows surprising detail at times, the OST was very suitable and of high quality.

Armitage III raised some interesting questions pertaining to the line defining man and machine, putting forward questions regarding humanity and romance relevant to the world today. With the significant advancement of technology, certain robots have become almost indistinguishable from humans, and are fully functional in a human capacity, and in contrast, the humanity of various human characters was constantly put into question, both on and off screen. I found myself to be quite empathetic towards the characters, and I find the whole concept to be enlightening. If you want to see some more thought provoking human-robot romance, watch some ChobitsEve no Jikan, or perhaps some Saikano.

If you liked Ghost in the Shell, the original Appleseed movie or Macross Plus, I think that you will love this. Additionally, if you enjoyed this and would like to bolster your list with a little obscure cyberpunk, might I also suggest another little known number, Black Magic M-66?

“Don’t let bitterness change you.” Download Armitage III: Poly Matrix Download the sequel, Armitage III: Dual Matrix

Heterochromia in Anime.

October 10, 2011

Heterochromia iridis refers to a disparity in pigmentation either within the iris, or between the irides of the two eyes. Today I will be talking about complete heterochromia in humans, where each individual eye is a different colour. Personally, I find complete heterochromia to be an incredibly attractive trait, however I believe that it has turned into one of the worst possible cliché’s within anime, and I’d like to talk about it.

Heterochromia is both striking, and attractive. (Just like this girl, ba-dum)

The above image is clearly not true heterochromia in that the subject is in cosplay, using impossibly brightly coloured contacts (One of which is red, no less) but I hope you get my point… I consider heterochromia beautiful. In reality, things are a little bit different.

Ant’s Super Hyper Mega Biology Fun Time.
(Allow me to educate you.)

To keep things relatively simple, eye colour is determined by the concentration, location and type of pigments within the iris. These pigments or melanins are produced by a type of cell within the iris, called a melanocyte. The size and distribution of the melanocytes within the stroma and the iris epithelial tissue plays a large part in determining eye colour. It might surprise you to learn that most, if not all babies are born with blue eyes, as it takes time for these melanocytes to produce their pigments. Simply speaking, the more melanin in your eyes, the more brown your eyes are.

Little or no melanin within the stroma means blue eyes, a little means green, lots means brown. Other colours such as hazel, grey and amber are a result of the interaction of other pigments and proteins within the eye, whilst red is a complete lack of pigmentation in both the stroma and the iris epithelial tissue, which, unless someone has extreme albinism, is impossible as the epithelial tissue always has a thick layer of melanocytes. (Even most human albinos have blue eyes, I’ll have you know.)

Google, yaay.

Heterochromia can either be acquired, or have been present since birth. Acquired heterochromia is a result of one eye gaining or losing more pigment than the other, more “normal” eye. A brown eye may become green and then blue depending on severity, or vice versa. Acquired heterochromia is usually related to an hypoplasia (decreased growth) or hyperplasia (increased growth) of the iris tissue, or by damage to the melanocytes during development either through illness or physical damage. By killing off the melanocytes of one eye during development, that eye will stay blue, resulting in heterochromia. Genetic diseases leading to heterochromia in this manner can also be inherited however.

Chimeras and mosaics have two different sets of cells within their bodies, containing 2 different sets of genes. A chimera (yes, they do exist) is a result of the fusion of two fraternal twins, and the difference in DNA of the two sets of cells within the body can be as different as any sibling. A mosaic is a result of a mutation occurring during development resulting in a new set. If one eye receives one set of genes, and one eye the other set, and the different sets of genes code for different eye colours, the result will be heterochromia (eye colour is a polygenic phenotype so a change or difference in any number of genes could do  this.). This type of inherited heterochromia is much rarer than acquired heterochromia.

I would like to point out that complete heterochromia is listed as a rare disease by the office of rare diseases, meaning that less than 200,000 people in the USA have it at any one time. (or less than one in 1500 people) and whilst much of the time asymptomatic, it can be in itself a rare indicator of prevalent disease, such as a tumour of the eye, or a result of several serious illnesses, or physical injury. In anime, it seems fashionable to have a heterochromatic main character. You would think that this number is closer to about 1 in 10. Whilst real life heterochromia is rare, and possibly an indicator of health problems or defects, in fiction it allows for perhaps some decent character development or growth. In anime it is used little more than “because it looks cool”, or because they can use it as an excuse to give someone an eyepatch (A contact lens just isn’t enough) because it also “looks cool”. It is used so frequently, and without much impact on the character nowadays, that it just gets on my nerves. It used to feel unique, but after the Nth time seeing it, its gotten boring.

Next up, I’ll probably talk about how eye patches just plain tick me off, or how purple isn’t a real hair colour. But whatever. Read the rest of this entry »

Angel Beats (Anime)

July 26, 2011

Japanese title: エンジェルビーツ
Animation Production: P.A Works
Genres: Comedy, Action, Drama, Supernatural, Fantasy, Seinen, Tragedy
Number of episodes:
13

Plot Summary: It sucks being dead. Sucks even more to be trapped in a surreal afterlife where you’re caught between the living and the dead—where a mysterious, violent Angel is trying to pull you over to…somewhere. What do you do? Well, if you’re this group of rough-and-tumble teens, you grab every weapon you can get your hands on and give Heaven hell! High-caliber action and locked-and-loaded comedy meet on a rock and roll battleground in Angel Beats! Sentai Filmworks

Well, it might be a bit late for me to write a review about Angel Beats. It is so far away out of memory since it aired in spring last year, but I think about it fondly and I have just began re-watching the series. I do of course have a very good reason for writing about it today. You see, Angel Beats came out on DVD and Blu-Ray in the USA today. Exciting news for everybody, I am sure.

The anime itself is very strong, and I believe that everybody with even an inkling of interest should go watch it. My previous experience with P.A Works has in itself been very unimpressive as both Canaan and True Tears felt wholly uninspiring. Though the animation itself of those shows was top-notch, they felt like they were lacking a certain something to really make them click. The plot synopsis and the animation production company for Angel Beats might look unimpressive to some, but let me assure you, this is not the case. Angel Beats is an exceptionally good watch.

Angel Beats Title Screen, White, Piano

You see, the thing you need to be aware of with Angel Beats is that the original story, screenplay and music of Angel Beats were all conceived by the one and only Jun Maeda, who you may otherwise know as the script writer, lyricist and music composer behind the founding of Key. Key itself is a highly successful software company who has been responsible for some seriously famous visual novels. Kanon, Clannad and Air and their anime counterparts are significantly well-known, even out here in the UK and the US where visual novels are practically an unventured territory. Additionally, Na-Ga is behind the character designs of Angel Beats, who was also responsible for the character designs of the aforementioned Key visual novels as well. Works by Key are usually thought of as particularly heartfelt and well planned out, with excellent storytelling and usually stunning character development, and Angel Beats did not disappoint.

The opening 5 minutes of Angel Beats does an unparalleled job of setting the scene. Unlike a lot of anime, Angel Beats does a bit of an unorthodox job of throwing the main character directly into the action.

Yurippe Sniper rifle

Yurippe sets the scene.

The main character is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name. He wakes up in an unfamiliar location, with an unfamiliar girl with a sniper rifle. He is immediately told that he is dead, and that he is in the afterlife. The girl tells him to enlist in the fight against the Angel, the girl whom she has her sniper rifle primed on. Of course, the main character with his missing memory feels a little confused, and goes to talk to the ‘Angel’. Again, he is told that he is dead, and he asks the ‘Angel’ to prove it. Since he is dead, he shouldn’t be able to die. Then, suddenly…

Angel / Tenshi kills Otonashi

BAM! The situation is made pretty clear.

He wakes up unharmed in the infirmary, and the rest of the cast is introduced, thoroughly mysterious to be sure. You know the rules, but none of the why or how. I guess that is what I like about Angel Beats. The situation itself remains a mystery for a good majority of the show whilst each episode focuses on the immediate tasks at hand, but at the same time the characters are slowly expanded on and explained. The pieces of the puzzle regarding the characters and the situation are slowly put together to produce a beautiful picture and when I found that last piece, I almost got a tear in my eye it was so touching.

The music for Angel Beats is very good. The opening theme is just beautiful and the band that is introduced, Girls Dead Monster, both plays excellent music and are of central importance to the plot. Their story was particularly touching for me but are again just one piece of the picture, and stack up nicely with everyone else and their touching moments to produce a very compelling story overall.

Angel Beats Title, Landscape

The comedy in Angel Beats is also pretty good. The odd situation, and the fact that it is impossible to die makes for some ludicrous, classic moments, whereas the unique characters add their own style. My own personal favourite for comedy is TK and his horrendously ‘so-bad-its-funny’ English quotes, and I will definitely not forget his head spins. Unfortunately, although I thought the majority of the aspects of the show were far above average, I did feel that some of the characters were not addressed as much as I would have liked. It is a minor quip, but you may wonder to yourself ‘hey, whatever happened to that guy?’ once it is all over.

News of Angel beats getting a US release (With dub, if that is what you are interested in) was like angel song to me as I have looked forward to owning Angel Beats on my shelf since I saw it last year. I was initially skeptical as to whether Angel Beats would get a US or UK release, as previous Key anime has taken an unfortunately long time to be licensed. Sentai Filmworks did an excellent job however, and this may be indicative of future Key works being licensed more quickly. Although I live in the UK, and no release date has been specified or hinted at over here, at least it looks like it is heading in the right direction. I am still waiting for all the big Key works to be released over here, but with my experience with Welcome to the NHK, I know that if worse comes to worst, I can import it.

The cast of Angel Beats

I loved what they did with the end credits.

I think that Angel Beats ended in the most fitting way possible. The final episode was moving to the point of near-tears, and I absolutely loved what they did with the final credits, it certainly kept the mood flowing. If you enjoyed Angel Beats and you would like to watch something a little more recent, I would recommend AnoHana. Additionally, I would like to recommend an old personal favourite of mine, Haibane Renmei, which similarly deals with the concept of the afterlife, and I also believe that if you enjoyed this, you would enjoy any of the previous Key works such as Clannad, Kanon or Air, although they have much less action involved than Angel Beats.

“Goodbye Wild Heaven”
Download Angel Beats (Dual-Audio)

Download the Soundtrack 


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