Friday, October 28, 2005

Portrait of a Badass: Kaneda

Character: Kaneda Shotaro
Actor: Iwata Mitsuo (voice)
Film: Akira (1988)
Badass Moment: Kaneda plays an ill-advised game of pedestrian-on-biker chicken and wins!

The first animated character to be inducted into my prestigious hall of fame, Kaneda embodies creator Otomo Katsuhiro's vision of what no-good whippersnappers of the future could be like. Furthermore, he continues to stand alone as a unique, relatively unimitated character template. (Good thing, too, because characters similar to Kaneda would have to labelled "Kanedian," which would only cause confusion.)

This loud-mouthed leader of a bosozoku (biker gang, literally "speed gang") in post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo spends the first half of Akira stealing the show from his wimpy (but eventually omnipotent) cohort Tetsuo. In fact, most of Akira's popularity in the West stems from the biker gang scenes involving Kaneda early in the movie. What's not to like about a cocky, obnoxious hooligan and his ultra-stylish red jacket with the capsule on the back?

He spends the latter half of the movie, however, clinging desperately on to his superiority over Tetsuo, even as Tetsuo morphs into an all-powerful, giant infant made of chewing gum. Being the friend that he is, Kaneda even tries to put Tetsuo down for a dirt nap when it becomes apparent that Tetsuo has become a hazard to himself and others (and by "others" I mean "everybody"). But even as he lays waste to the world as we know it, Tetsuo spares the lives of his friends. Why? Because with divine omniscience comes the understanding that Kaneda is a badass.

Kaneda, you are a badass. We salu -- MY BIKE!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Week of Doom

This blog will never be an important source for entertainment news because I am so far behind the rest of the world.

My new computer afforded me the ability to finally play a demo of Doom 3 for the first time. I'll say one word about that: MOMMIE! I haven't been so creeped out by a video game since Silent Hill 2.

Combine that with the numerically (if not critically) successful release of the movie Doom which, OF COURSE, is not released in Japan yet. But I'm not worried, because maybe I can download it. After all, with my new computer, there is nothing I cannot download. Just this morning, I was hungry so I downloaded an orange (like in that movie Tron).

Friday, October 21, 2005

This Saturday in New York

The Bush Crimes Commission

Friday, October 14, 2005

Better Than Cats

"Reach the stars, fly a fantasy / Dream a dream and what you see will be"
from the themesong to The Neverending Story

Bush holds fake rap session under pretense of candor

Disgusting, yes. The press has done a nice job of showing just how scripted Bush's little "conversation" with soldiers in Iraq Thursday really was. Highlights include an Iraqi soldier awkwardly giggling, "A ha ha ha. I like you. A ha ha ha ha," as Bush blushes and says something equally dumb in response ("I appreciate that," I believe it was).

Even more jaw-dropping: Rolly-polly press secretary Scott McClellan's reluctance to let go of the pretense that this exploitive photo-op was impromptu. He eventually did acknowledge the extensive preparations (in which deputy assistant defense secretary Allison Barber goes over what questions will be asked and who will answer what....all of which was inadvertantly recorded), but chalked those up to technical difficulties posed by satellite feeds.

Hey, Scott! "Lies that keep their secrets will unfold behind the clouds / There upon the rainbow is the answer to a neverending story." Dumbass.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

More On the Invetigation

Apple's October 12 event served the purpose of launching their new iMac G5 and Video iPod. If past Apple actions are any indication, this relatively big news will be followed by a smaller revelation later this month, or possibly in the first half of November...namely, the release of the rumored new-and-improved Powerbooks and PowerMacs.

This is the reason Apple makes me insane. Why can't they just hype up their products ahead of time like everyone else?

Addendum (Oct. 16, 2005): Following with the predicted timeline, Apple has scheduled an "event" for October 19, in which they very well may introduce a batch of new, slightly improved machines.

Buy Something Will Ya With a Vengeance

This week: Fujiko from Lupin the 3rd...Asuka "Tennis Version" from Evangelion...some red-haired woman from Ghost in the Shell...and more figures and posters to come.

[my eBay auctions]

Invetigation in Progress

As I mentioned earlier, I have to replace my laptop. The display issue continues to worsen. After making that earlier post about the problem, I went to Bic Camera to shop for a new Powerbook, only to discover that all the Powerbook models they sold were out of stock. I was told I would have to order one, and that it would take some time before Bic's supplier in Japan was restocked (so, apparently, every Bic Camera in Japan is currently out of Powerbooks).

Earlier this week, however, I wandered into the Bic store where I had placed my order and noticed, not without consternation, that the sign reading "out of stock" had disappeared. Had Bic Camera gotten a new shipment in without bothering to fill my order or tell me about it?

A bit of further investigation yielded an unlikely answer: Bic Camera was telling everyone who had ordered a Powerbook that there were rumors about the possible surprise release of updated Powerbooks and Powermacs on October 12 (or 13, Japan time), which is today. Rumors. I'm as surprised as anyone that Bic Camera, the electronics retail giant, would tell people to hold off on buying a new computer because they heard a rumor that a better computer might be coming out soon. Of course, I appreciate their concern; how much would it suck if I bought the machine and then the price went down a few days later as the result of a new release? But maybe someone should explain to them that rumors about Apple often prove false. And needless to say, after being told about this rumor I immediately checked for any evidence online, finding only this.

If Apple does surprise-release an updated Powerbook this week, I will make a retraction. Until then, I'm skeptical.

A Google search for the word "invetigation," as misspelled by Gareth Keenan in The Office, yields a surprising number of diverse hits. Life really does imitate art! Click here and see for yourself.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Let's Learn Japanese: Musume wa buruuberii ni!

Musume wa buruuberii ni! (int.)
I've got a blueberry for a daughter!

Over the weekend I overcame my fear of Japanese movie ticket prices and went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Kabukicho. Because it's a family film, some theaters in Tokyo, including the one I went to, are showing only the Japanese dubbed version (because let's face it: kids hate to read! Reading's HARD!). So I'm afraid that some of what I'm sure was a very funny performance by Johnny Depp may have been lost in translation.

FUN TRIVIA FACT: The songs in the film were also translated into Japanese, rather to my surprise. The Oompa Loompa song about Violet Beauregarde, however, has a slight change which I found funny for some reason: Where the original lyrics go, "Chewing, chewing, on and on," the Japanese version goes, "Chewing, chewing, all day." The idea is that most Japanese people can probably understand the meaning of "all day," since "all" and "day" are relatively common loan words from English to Japanese. "On and on," however, would have Japanese audiences scrambling for their electronic dictionaries in mid-movie.

Speaking of scrambling for electronic dictionaries! Also this weekend, Girlfriend and I went to Nakano to take the classroom component of the PADI Scuba Diving License. It began with a boring 90-minute video about air density and nitrogen bubbles (annoyingly, the video was originally in English, but had been converted to Japanese by dubbing all the voices and covering all the text...make me work, why dontcha), and ended with a 50-question multiple choice test. It was my first time to take a test of any kind in Japanese, and it was stressful. But I passed after all, and now the hard part's over. Next month we will make a brief escape to Guam for the purpose of completing our training and becoming true Jedi, I mean, recreational scuba divers. And, as a special bonus, I have learned the Japanese words for "buoyancy," "back-up second stage regulator" and "the bends."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Transcript of Bush's Address

Here is, in its entirety, the content of President Bush's address today:

Iraq extremists war terrorists war, insurgents 9/11. Terror war terror democracy, progress. Progress radical Islamic terrorist democracy; war 9/11. War war hope and freedom and Islam and tyranny. 9/11 9/11. Terrorism radical insurgency Iraq 9/11 militants. Iraq, Syria, Mogadushu [sic] terror war terror 9/11 democracy progress. Progress. Progress. 9/11. God bless America.

Seldom are so many words used to say so little.

With all the "radical" and "extreme" flying around during his speech, it would be easy to mistake the whole thing for some kind of weird Mountain Dew commercial.