Mid-Week Mid-Boss News Report 01.14.04

Greetings! It’s another mid-week journey through the Netherworld, and I’m your host, Mid-Boss, errr, Lee Baxley. They say change is a good thing, and I certainly hope so, because there is even more change in store for this column.

To start off with, I’m officially killing the anime column. Not because it almost didn’t get posted a couple of weeks ago. Not because someone else (who thinks they can use graphics manipulation software) basically stole the idea for the name but left it in English. No, simply, I’m not cut out for two columns a week. I can’t cut it. It’s much easier for me to do one big column than two smaller ones. Before I had a job, it was a different story, but my job keeps me too busy to be able to work on it at work (though I actually have enough time SOME days, but not many), and I just don’t feel motivated to do the same stuff twice.

So, the anime column is returning home where it belongs. This column will keep its name, but it will be games and anime once again. And I’ve kind of had a fire lit under my ass, so expect much more content than usual from me. Reviews, more news, press releases, more graphics (yes, I DO know how to use graphics manipulation software, thankyouverymuch). Everything will be better, and I think you’ll really enjoy it.

So sit back, relax, grab a cold beer, maybe some Pocky, throw on some tunes, maybe get a kitty to pet for a while, and read the column. I don’t know how long it’ll be, but hopefully it won’t be TOO long. Then again, it can’t possibly be as long as one of Hyatte’s columns.


Gaming News

Konami Announces Two RPGs for North American Release
Konami paid a visit to San Francisco’s Metreon center to show off some of their upcoming game titles. Two of those titles just happen to be fairly major RPGs! Whoopie!

The two titles they announced are Suikoden IV and Ys VI. I honestly have never played a Ys title, but I often remember wanting to get a Turbografix for them. The Suikoden series, however, is one I’m very familiar with. In fact, I’m very fond of the first two in the series, but III just left a bad taste in my mouth. It suffered from “good idea, poor execution” which is becoming common in games these days. Despite that, I have high hopes for Suikoden IV, which will be released in the fall of 2004, and will definitely check out Ys VI, which should come out in the winter of 2004.
Credit: RPGFan

Chrono Break No More?
Don’t cry yet, true believers! The whole story hasn’t been told!

For a long while, rumors have been flying for almost 2 years now on the next Chrono title, especially after Squaresoft trademarked the name Chrono Break in America on December 5, 2001. Sadly, that title was all we had to go on until recently. On November 13 of last year, Square Enix abandoned the trademark. There is no word on what this actually means, but it is worth noting that there is a similar trademark in Japan for the title Chrono Brake which is still live. So until Square gives us some concrete information, we will be left guessing.

In what may be related, Masato Katou, the guy behind the Chrono series, left Square Enix after finishing his duties on Final Fantasy XI. So what we MAY see (don’t get your hopes up, folks) is a revival of the Chrono series at another company, say, Namco. Katou is working on Baten Kaitos after all. And how sweet would that be if Namco got the Chrono series? I think I would die from shock if it happened. Of course, Square would never let that happen.
Credit: RPGFan

Phantom Goodies, If You Can Consider Anything Relating to the Phantom Good
Being the skeptical person that I am, I still find it hard to believe that any good will come from the Phantom. And despite having an open mind about the whole thing, they still have yet to show that this console is even for real.

Let’s look at what went down at the CES, which took place this weekend. Apparently, though the Phantom was in attendance, it wasn’t plugged in. That goes against what GAF was claiming, that it was indeed playing games (though WHAT games was never said). Every single other report I read said that it was not plugged in, but it did have plugs in the back. They didn’t show any guts of the machine. They did show the GUI (graphical user interface), but that could EASILY be doctored. And one thing I want to note real quick: the design of the inputs in the back seem sketchy at best. Sure it has all these nifty inputs like composite and component and optical audio and stuff that many of us won’t use, but two things jumped out as REALLY odd. First of all, it has a coaxial cable jack for the cable modem. Well, that would mean there is a cable modem built internally, because MY cable modem requires a LAN cable to connect to my PC. The other odd thing is that they DO include a standard 10/100 LAN port, but it is not with the other ports. Instead, it is on the other side of the back, right next to the fan and right under the power, which makes NO sense to me. Take a look at the picture HERE. If my conspiracy theory holds up, it’d seem to me that they put the coax port on, realize they f*cked up, and just added the LAN port to an open spot. Because it SO does not look right.

The skeptic in me laughed even harder when Phantom released their list of licensees. Sadly, there was nary a single game on the list that I would consider “good”. Most were titles you could find in the bargain bin at Best Buy. But later on, the list was removed for some reason. Did those licensees not actually give permission yet? Were they afraid of being laughed out of the country? Who knows? But what we have here is a box with jacks in the back and a whole lot of hot air. It told you it was a bad idea.
Credit: Games are Fun, Gamespot

Clarification: ApeXtreme
Last week, I didn’t have all the info on this new console, but now I do. Basically, the ApeXtreme is a new PC/console that you can use to play many PC titles on your TV. It works much like a regular console in that when you pop a disc in, it will automatically play it, install the software and patch it if necessary. They use a new technology called DISCover.

What really sets this apart from the Phantom is that a) it’s real companies and b) they aren’t afraid to show off their hardware. In fact, they won best innovation at the CES.

Also, to clarify something I said last week, apparently Alienware is also designing something that uses the DISCover technology, but it will be a higher end device, whereas the ApeXtreme will probably cost anywhere from $300-$400.
Credit: Gamespot


Christian’s Crazy Game Releases

Keep in mind, these are ship dates and are not set in stone. Game companies LOVE to push stuff back at the last minute, so don’t blame us if it’s not right. Also, since it is a ship date, it may take several days to arrive at your favorite store, depending on what it is, so please call before rushing over to pick up a game that may or may not have arrived.

Jan 14
Baldur’s Gate – Dark Alliance (GBA)
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel (P2, XB)
NFL Street (GC, P2, XB)

Jan 15
Sonic Battle (GBA)

Jan 16
SSW Dr. Suess – Cat in the Hat (GBA)
Thunder Alley (GBA)

Release dates courtesy of Christian at Game Crazy. Saturday, Jan 17 Every Game Crazy across the country will be holding an NFL Street Tournament starting at 1pm. Visit your local Game Crazy for details. Win some great prizes!

Christian’s Comments: With the tournament announcement, it’s obvious what’s the big title this week. NFL Street! Even if you hate football, it’s going to be fun. But for those that truely despise it, there’s also Fallout. Other than that, the week is pretty dead. But show up for the tournaments, and see if you like NFL Street enough to pick it up…

Lee’s Comments: Guess Fallout got pushed back at the last minute. That’s all fine and dandy, because I can’t afford to buy it just yet. Yea, NFL Street looks interesting as well. Not fantastic, but fun. Maybe funtastic? Nah, that’s pushing it.


Anime/Manga News

Tokyopop Survey

Don’t you hate it when you feel like your opinion doesn’t matter? Well, it does, and this new survey proves it. Simply go to the Tokyopop website and fill in which manga you would like Tokyopop to license. Previously, they’ve licensed Fruits Basket, Saiyuki and DNAngel with this type of survey, so if there’s a series you’d like to see in English, fill this out!
Credit: Anime News Network

Cowboy Bebop: The Movie on Starz

The Starz movie channel will have the honor of being the first television network to show the Cowboy Bebop Movie. It will first air on the 15th, and play many times over the next few weeks. To see the exact schedule, go to the Starz website.
Credit: Anime News Network

Geneon and Media Blasters Release Date Changes

The Mahoromatic Summer Special (available as disc only, and Disc, Box and Figure releases) has been pushed back from March 30 to May 15, while the second box set from Rurouni Kenshin, subtitled Legend of Kyoto, will be released on March 30. Both releases should be sure hits for fans of the respective series.
Credit: Anime News Network


Anime/Manga Press Releases

New VIZ Manga Titles Announced

VIZ has announced the license of 4 new manga series: B.B. Explosion, Megaman NT Warrior, RahXephon, and Sensual Phase. The Megaman title will be released in May, while the others will see release in April.

From creator Yasue Imai (KIMI GA IRU KISEKI, SENSHI NA YATSURA, and
TOTTEMO B.B.), B.B. EXPLOSION originally appeared in the manga anthology Ciao and has sold over 350,000 copies to date in Japan. The VIZ incarnation will feature a one page commentary from English adapter Trina Robbins, the former WONDER WOMAN artist and writer for Marvel’s BARBIE and THE LITTLE MERMAID titles.

MEGAMAN NT WARRIOR, from creator Ryo Takamisaki, is the original manga version of the hit TV series airing on Kids’ WB. Set in the year 200X, when everyone is connected to the Cyber Network. Computers have turned the world into a bright and shiny utopia but trouble in paradise is not far away.

RAHXEPHON is the latest offering from the popular mecha designer Yutaka Izubuchi (PATLABOR, Record of Lodoss War), this 3-volume manga series will be available in Barnes & Noble stores beginning in April 2004 for a six month exclusive, and will be available channel-wide beginning in September. Also a popular TV series, a full-length RAHXEPHON movie is currently in development.

SENSUAL PHRASE, also known as KAIKAN PHRASE, the 17-volume series has sold more than 7.4 million copies in Japan, spawned a real spin-off band called Lucifer and a 44-episode anime program. SENSUAL PHRASE was created by shôjo artist Mayu hinjo, who made her debut in 1994 with ANATA NO IRO NI SOMARITAI (I Want to be Dyed in Your Color) in the pages of Shôjo Comics and has created more than fifteen titles in addition to SENSUAL PHRASE.

Animeigo Announces Re-Release of Bubblegum Crisis

Yes, it’s true. The classic original series will be re-released. Here is the press release:

AnimEigo, Inc. has just announced its intention to re-release one of its most popular anime titles, the classic and influential cyberpunk Sci-Fi OVA series “Bubblegum Crisis”. The re-release, one of AnimEigo’s best-selling titles, will be a 4-disc box set featuring all new packaging.

“Bubblegum Crisis” showcases the adventures of the beautiful Knight Sabers, four female warriors in hard suits who fight the evil Genom Corporation and its killer robot Boomers. The hit series spawned several remakes and sequels such as “Bubblegum Crash”, “AD Police”, and “Bubblegum Crisis 2040.”

Also included in the box set are the complete Hurricane Live 2032 and 2033 music videos, a fan favorite.

C.O.O./President Natsumi Ueki predicts the new release will be as big a seller as the original, and estimates the set, including singles, will be available for purchase by mid-2004.

Tokyopop Chooses Hasbro to Make Rave Master Toys

TOKYOPOP Inc. has chosen a “toy master” for Rave Master–its animated boys action/adventure series set to debut on Cartoon Network in 2004. Hasbro plans to draw on its 80 years of experience to develop a comprehensive line of Rave Master themed action figures, games and accessories. The first toys are expected to hit store shelves in the fall of 2004. Hasbro and TOKYOPOP plan a multi-tiered rollout over the ensuing months that encapsulates elements of the series’ dynamic plotline as it builds.

Three heroes. Two quests. One destiny… Rave Master is one ordinary boy’s epic story as he discovers he is destined to save the world from evil. Young Haru–joined by two very unique companions–must travel the globe to retrieve a collection of powerful Rave stones necessary for him to defeat the malevolent Shadow Guard. His journey is one of both incredible adventure and self-discovery. A mega-hit in Japan, the Rave Master property spawned 21 graphic novel volumes, a successful animated TV series, two console games for PlayStation 2 and Game Cube and a plethora of related toys and merchandise.


Anime Releases

Release Dates provided by Anime on DVD. See past releases at my website.

January 6, 2004

TITLE
STUDIO
MSRP
BUY SRI
BUY ACS
Angelic Layer Vol. #3
ADV
$29.99
$26.98
$21.98
Boys Over Flowers Vol. #3
Viz
$24.98
$22.48
$19.98
Full Metal Panic Vol. #6
ADV
$29.98
$26.98
$21.98
Pretear Vol. #2
ADV
$29.98
$26.98
$21.98
Saiyuki Vol. #7
ADV
$29.98
$26.98
$21.98
Saiyuki Vol. #7 (w/ artbox)
ADV
$39.98
$35.98
$29.98
Slayers Great
ADV
$19.98
$17.98
$14.98

January 13, 2004

TITLE
STUDIO
MSRP
BUY TSRI
BUY ACS
Brigadoon Vol. #5
Tokyopop
$29.99
$26.98
$23.98
Chobits Vol. #6
Geneon
$29.95
$26.98
$23.98
I’m Gonna Be An Angel Vol. #2
Synch-Point
$29.98
$26.98
$21.98
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Director’s Cut: Resurrection
ADV
$29.98
$26.98
$21.98
Patlabor TV Vol. #7
CPM
$29.99
$26.99
$19.98
Princess Nine Complete Collection
ADV
$59.95
$53.98
N/A
Rune Soldier Vol. #6
ADV
$29.95
$26.98
$21.98
Someday’s Dreamers Vol. #2
Geneon
$29.95
$26.98
$23.98
Steam Detectives Vol. #3
ADV
$29.98
$26.98
$21.98
Tales of Seduction by U-Jin (H)
Anime 18
$19.99
$17.99
$16.98
They Were 11
CPM
$19.99
$17.99
$14.98
Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer
CPM
$19.99
$17.99
$14.98

Note: In the above table, TSRI stands for The Right Stuf International and ACS stands for Robert’s Anime Corner Store. (H) means Hentai, so Adults Only on those!

Comments: ADV is once again King these past two weeks. Sadly, I have seen very few of those releases, but there are a few worth mentioning. First off, we have the collection of the ever popular Princess Nine series, which will be released in the standard ADV multi-disc case (like Bubblegum Crisis 2040 and Arc the Lad), which some people will like but others won’t. There’s also the first disc (and optional box) for the second season of Saiyuki, which is nice. That’s a series I really want to start collecting. Another interesting release is the Evangelion Director’s Cut. It’s an extended look at episodes 21-23. No word on if it’s actually an improvement or not. A non-ADV release that interests me is Chobits. This is the penultimate disc, and after one more, the series is done. Lastly is Tales of Seduction by U-Jin, who is the guy who did Sakura Diaries. Sure, it’s Hentai, but it’s a damn good price for Hentai, which usually costs as much as a regular disc, except with anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the content.


Guest Commentary

This is a commentary submitted by one of my favorite readers, Matt Weinberg! He’s a big anime fan, and can give us a look at shows that many Americans don’t know about, but SHOULD. So, take it away, Matt!

Anime that you should Know: Initial D.

Greetings, sometimes there’s an anime that makes everyone stand up and listen, a series that’s worth watching because it reminds us of why we started watching Japanese cartoons in the first place. If you haven’t heard of Initial D yet then don’t worry you probably will soon, and I’m going to tell you why that is.


Initial D is a series about downhill car racing. When I first heard this, I imagined a 90’s version of Speed Racer. Don’t make this mistake. Sure, both the series’ involve car racing, but that’s where the comparisons should end. The story of Initial D is captivating in that the emphasis of the series isn’t really on car racing, but more so on the people involved in the races. There’s no fantasy or science-fiction here, everything that you see in Initial D could happen in the real world, which once again draws us deeper into the series.


The plot revolves around Takumi, a high school student and ace racer on the winding Mt. Akina. Takumi gets drawn into the world of downhill racing when he beats one of the top drivers of the Red Suns racing team. This feat makes Takumi famous and he must now deal with new challenges in his young life. From a new girlfriend to helping his friends, we watch Takumi grow as a person with interest.

Like most anime, Initial D began as a serialized manga. Currently there have been two TV series’ of Initial D: First Stage (26 episodes) and Second Stage (13 episodes). Two movies: Third Stage and Battle Stage have also been made. A fourth series is set to debut in Japan in April.


Initial D has expanded beyond the realm of anime as well. Several video games are available in Japan, but American gamers have been raving about the Initial D arcade game. As a racer, Initial D is extremely accurate to real world driving, and uses a unique card system in which the player buys a data card that saves car data, course times, and battle victories. This feature has made the Initial D arcade game one of the hottest games ever. Lastly, AEG has recently released an Initial D Trading Card Game which lets players play as the characters from the series and pit their racing skills against each other.


The last thing that you need to know about Initial D is the music. Racing scenes in the anime use EuroBeat, fast dance music, for the backgrounds. Many popular Para Para Dance and Electronic songs were used in Initial D. With a handful of soundtracks, the music from Initial D stands out as being energetic and fast-paced.

That being said, Initial D is an anime to keep your eyes out for. TokyoPop is currently releasing the anime and manga in the US. If you like street racing ala The Fast and the Furious and/or good anime drama check this series out, you won’t be dissappointed.

Thanks a lot for that, Matt. I hope you’ll send in more like that in the future!


Anime Review

I hope to start reviewing a series and/or multiple discs every week once again. I’ve revised my own reviewing scale (you can check it out at my website) and plan on keeping my own archive of reviews for easy reading. So let’s get on to my first anime review of the new year!

PLEASE TEACHER

Studio: Bandai
Discs: 4
Episodes: 13
Running Time: 375 minutes
MSRP: $89.94 ($149.98 w/ artbox)

Story (Premise)
The premise is certainly odd when compared to many shows. Basically, what we have is a typically outwardly geeky boy named Kei Kusanagi, who appears to be 15, but because of a rare disease, he will occasionally go into a near death state he calls a “standstill”, and on one such occasion, he went into a coma for 3 years and didn’t age during that time, making him actually 18 years old.

One night, he is gazing at the stars when he sees a whirlpool form in the nearby lake, and then he sees a beautiful woman materialize out of thin air on the shore. He freaks out and runs, and she starts chasing him, but he manages to get away. At school the next day, the class is in an uproar, not because of Kei’s encounter, but because they are getting a hot new teacher! And as is to be expected, the teacher turns out to be Mizuho Kazami, the alien that he saw by the lake!

She realizes that Kei knows this, and speaks to him about it, only to end up getting locked in a room at the school for several hours. When the principal unlocks the door and finds the two of them together, he assumes they are having a relationship, and Kei’s uncle bails them out the only way he can think of: by saying that they’re married.

Since they aren’t actually married, they have to GET married, and Kei has to move in with Mizuho, and of course none of his friends are supposed to know about the “relationship”. So how are two total strangers going to make a marriage work?
Score: 8.0

Story (Execution)

There are times when the story is pulled off without a hitch, and other times when it simply falls flat. For the most part, the two main characters are written extremely well. You have a shy, young guy and a shy, slightly older woman, neither of which has kissed anyone, much less been in a relationship of any sort. The writers made the two very believeable in their meekness with one another, as well as their frustrations at being put into a situation where they literally have to be together all the time. As they slowly (or quickly, I suppose) fall in love, you really grow attached to the two characters.

But not all is focused on them. Much of the series is also about Kei’s group of friends (two guys, three girls) and how he tries to keep his marriage a secret from them. It also doesn’t help that one of the girls has the hots for HIM. Needless to say, this leads to some misunderstandings, as well as some sadness for everyone.

All the characters are very unique, and all of them excellent. My personal favorite is Kei’s perverted uncle, with whom Kei lives at the beginning of the series. The uncle is always telling Kei how lucky he is to have such a hot wife and how he should be doing all these naughty things to her, and how jealous he is, only to have his OWN wife give him the evil eye. It’s very funny stuff.
Score: 8.0

Ending
No disappointments at all with the ending. They wrapped things up quite nicely at the end of episode 12, and episode 13 is basically like a bonus episode (it was actually originally an OAV, but they included it here). They did some things that could have easily made the ending suck, but they executed it in a way that made it all the better. They tied up many loose ends, while being open ended enough so that there could be a sequel or movie if they wanted.
Score: 8.0

Animation

This is truly one of the strengths of this show. The animators deserve a lot of praise for the work that was done. Each character has an individual look, and none of them are off the wall. All the characters look perfectly normal, with the possible exception of Mizuho, who has hot pink hair, but it gives her an otherworldly quality that adds a lot of character. Color is used brilliantly, from the hair to the outfits and the lush backgrounds. And the eyes are excellent as well. They portray a lot of depth, and really, I don’t think that can be improved upon.
Score: 9.0

Voice Acting
Anyone who has read my reviews before knows what my favorite dub studio is: Bang Zoom. Any show I’ve seen them do in the past few years has been nearly flawless in execution, and this one is no exception.

As always, the main characters are most important, and no character is more important than the title character, Mizuho, the teacher. And she is voiced by one of my favorites, Bridgett Hoffman, aka Ruby Marlowe, who has had many high profile roles in the past couple of years, including Mahoro in Mahoromatic, Shinobu in Love Hina, and Cyberdoll Kei in Hand Maid May. And how could I forget KOS-MOS from Xenosaga Episode 1? Her voice is simply perfect for Mizuho, and I can’t possibly think of anyone who can play the meek and shy role as well as Bridgett, but she also has the skill to make the voice more confident as time goes, which is exactly the change that Mizuho undergoes throughout the course of the show.

Though he doesn’t have as many roles under his belt as Bridgett, Kei’s voice actor, Dave Wittenberg, plays his role just as well. He takes the sickly and weak character and helps him grow strong and independent. Dave has previously played Kaoru in Ai Yori Aoshi and Leon Belmont in Castlevania: Lament of Innocence.

The secondary actors are no less skilled, and all pull off their roles with perfection. One of Bang Zoom’s many female superstars, Michelle Ruff, plays the happy-go-lucky yet occasionally sad Koishi splendidly. You’ve probably heard her in such roles as Aoi from Ai Yori Aoshi, Chii in Chobits, or Saga from Sugar. Probably the funniest character is Marie, which is Mizuho’s little robot companion. He/she is voiced by Sandy Fox, who did a similarly funny role in Chobits as little Sumomo. Though there were no actual words, the sounds she makes are perfect for the silly little character.

There is no voice in the series that was bad. All were done splendidly and I can’t think of a single one I would have changed. I’m only counting off because Crispin Freeman wasn’t in there somewhere. HAHAHAHA!! I’m evil!
Score: 9.5

Music

Though the music is good, is not that memorable. The opening and closing themes are both relatively slow pieces, and while good works, just aren’t strong enough to stick out in my mind, even though I saw the show two days ago.

The majority of the music is relatively somber and uses a lot of pianos, and again, it’s good but not great. Still, I can’t think of anything that jumps out as being totally out of place.
Score: 6.0

DVD Menus
The menus are based on a chalkboard motif. All are easy to navigate, but they are rather plain and drab. Still, they accomplished what they set out to do, and I commend them for that.
Score: 7.0

Case Extras

I will be commenting on the limited edition artbox release since there’s not reason NOT to have it if you have the rest of the series. Each disc comes with a standard insert that has a good foldout image, and each disc also has a nice reversible cover. The artbox also comes with nice postcards, an excerpt from the manga, and the soundtrack. On a side note, I think this should be standard. I think it’s foolish to release t-shirts, when usually they are too small for people my size, and often don’t look very good. I think companies should release soundtracks instead. Then again, the .hack//SIGN box had a soundtrack AND a nice looking t-shirt, though it still wouldn’t fit me. Anyway, as for the box itself, it was really nicely designed to look like a box of Pocky, err, Pochy, and features images of Mizuho eating the chocolaty snack. It’s all great stuff.
Score: 8.5

Disc Extras
The extras on the discs are great as well. Each disc has something a little different. You get the textless openings and closings, previews of the show, trailers of the show (as well as the standard Bandai trailers), music clips, and image galleries. One thing that very few shows have done which I think would are great extras are outtakes from the voice acting sessions. Even interviews with the voice actors or creators of the show would be great. I’m not asking for a big commentary or anything, just something more behind the scenes.
Score: 8.0

Miscellaneous

One thing that occasionally bugs me about shows involving romance is the inopportune moments. Like whenever a guy is talking to a female friend and he trips and falls on top of her, and that very moment, his girlfriend/wife walks in and thinks the worst. It’s a technique that virtually all romantic shows use, and very few pull it off well. Fortunately, there are few instances of that type of thing in Please Teacher, and when it happens, the character that does the walking in (usually Mizuho walking in on Kei) handles it relatively well, but still, I think this type of thing is overused in anime, but I guess it’s a necessary evil to create tension.
Score: 6.0

Final Comments
Please Teacher is one of those shows that you’re not really sure about until you actually watch it. And I’m glad I did, because I really and truly enjoyed it as a series. It was only 12 episodes (not counting the bonus OAV episode), which seems like the PERFECT amount of time. I’ve seen plenty of 26 episode shows that have too many filler episodes that don’t advance the plot, but with this one, they hit it right on the money and kept the show interesting. And it wrapped up well enough to where I’d like to see more of the characters, but I won’t feel disappointed if I don’t.

I recommend the show to anyone who’s into romantic comedy type shows. It’s more in the shounen vein than shoujo, but I think guys and girls will enjoy it equally. I wouldn’t recommend it to kids, because there is some perversion in it, though no full nudity. There are several shower scenes with convieniently placed hair. And there is a decent amount of adult content, so it’s certainly not for everyone, but a lot of people will get a kick out of it.
Final Score: 8.0


Links to the Past

Eric’s auto-pimp. He extra deserves it this week because he complemented me! Seriously, it’s nice to hear from fellow Kliq members, as well as other console gamers and anime fans, but to hear it from someone who doesn’t really care about either, and someone of the caliber of Mr. S. himself means a lot to me. Thanks for that, Eric.

We Want Our Tea Back! – Misha
Misha gives us the latest on UK gaming news, as well as a great commentary on innovation. I wrote something similar in one of the anime columns a while back, and I came to the conclusion (with the help of Matt Hardin) that there is very little left to do that hasn’t been done before, so the key is to be as unique as possible and make the ideas you steal good enough to where it isn’t OBVIOUS that you stole them.

Thank God It’s Thursday News Report – Bryan Berg
Berg talks about the Phantom, Holiday Sales Figures, the PSP and Sony’s Japanese DVD Recorder Market. Plus a mailbag. Oh, and he DID come up with a solution to the Microsoft thing from last week. I knew he would, because he rules like that.

The Angry Gamer – Liquidcross
Liquid gets angry on the PSP, the new Nintendo hardware and Mario 128. I don’t hold out much hope on any of these anymore. I had a lot of faith in the PSP, but that was before they let the probably price range slip. $300 is a lot for a portable console, even if it will be an incredible portable console. Either that will go down drastically before release ($150-200 would be best), or it won’t sell well.

411MAX: News News Revolution – Alex Williams
Williams discusses the popularity of FFXI, the PS2 in China, and the new Nintendo hardware. Plus a mailbag. Am I the only one who doesn’t get enough mail to do one of these??

Retrograding – Alex Lucard
Alex gives his most anticipated games per month of 2004. I hadn’t heard that Four Horsemen had gotten picked up by a company when 3DO when bust, but if so, I’m soooo f*cking there.

Gamer’s Hangover News Report – Cory Laflin
Cory and Alex 2 should get together and do an MST3K skit. Cory’s are brilliant enough by himself, but collectively, they could TAKE OVER THE WORLD! Oh yea, and that Byron guy is an asshole.

Clap Hands It’s News Happiness Time! – Chuck Platt
Chuck talks about the new vampire FPS game by Sammy (and here these guys are trying to tell Sega what games to make?), the Nintendo hardware, and GTA. Plus, he too has a mailbag. Oh yea, well, if people can make it through this column, I’m SURE they’ll write me! Or not.

As always, I can’t do these guys justice, so read them all, and these reviews too!
NBA Inside Drive 2004 (Xbox) – Bryan Berg
I-Ninja (All) – Alex Lucard


Well, we’ve made it through my longest column in history. I don’t know if future columns will be this long, but chances are that they will. I hope to put just as much content into each and every one. I also hope to do these things earlier, because it’s a few hours into the day that I’m supposed to turn the column in, and it’s not in yet! Oops! Oh well, it’ll get read either way. So enjoy your week, read everybody else, and come back next week for more games and anime fun!