Hump Day Otaku News Report 04.16.03

It’s me, it’s me, it’s L-E-E! Agh, that was lame. Well, I guess not everybody has gotten sick of my presence. Well, except for that one guy who said, “Yea, you’re definitely not an otaku” and then sent me another email with the Happy99 virus. I’m sure it was intentional because the virus code was in the body of an email, rather than an attachment, and if the virus had sent itself off, it probably would have been the attachment after all. Not like it matters, since I have Yahoo, and am, you know, SMART and stuff and don’t run every attachment I receive. Although, I do admit I’d like to have the attachment just to add to my collection. I don’t have the happy99 yet.

Anyway, it’s been an interesting last couple of weeks for me. I am a help desk technician, and for the past 2 years, I’ve worked on the same desk and greatly enjoyed it. Well, the company got a bug up their ass and decided to move our desk from here (where everyone is well trained) to a different state (where everyone is untrained:and stupid). Before Monday, I didn’t know if I would still be employed, but they finally got their shit together, and now I’m training for a new account. Joy. I guess I should be happy I have a job and don’t have to look for someplace else, you know, where they pay you what you’re worth rather than lowering your pay every chance they get. It’s funny when they promise a raise every year, but you don’t get a single one after 2 and a half years. Ok, now I’ll stop bitching, and get on to some gaming news.

Gaming News

Playstation 2.5
Sometimes, things just don’t make sense. Several months ago, my PS2 died. I got the standard Disc Read Error, and although I tried all the tricks, it wouldn’t work, which means the lens was screwed all to hell. I could have paid $100 to get it “fixed” (which means it would break in another month or so), but I went and bought a new one instead.

Now Sony is releasing a new PS2 with different capabilities. This one can read all the standard stuff, plus DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM. Also, it has a built in IR sensor for the remote, a quieter fan, and less weight. The big one though is that it now features progressive scan. What I don’t understand is why all these new features? Sony will probably say that they were just improving it with new technology, but I think they’re doing exactly what Nintendo did with the GBA SP: fixing some things and breaking others, just to make a buck.

Oh, there is also going to be a new remote that has more features, like power on and off, and opening/closing the disc tray. Let me guess, you can buy the new remote in stores, but it’s only compatible with the new PS2, right?

Gran Turismo 4
I know Bebito talked about this yesterday, but I want to speak on it too. While it has yet to be confirmed, the reports state that there will be over 2,000 cars and over 100 races. It will be fully online capable, including chat using the PS2 headset. This all sounds really cool, but the real burning question is: can you perform the racing mod on your cars in this one or not??? I need to know this! I won’t buy it otherwise.

Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg????
Sonic Team has announced that they are working on a Gamecube exclusive title called Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg. You control Billy as he controls eggs and stuff, and has a suit that does stuff, and he solves puzzles and stuff. What the hell is this? Draw a concept out of a hat day at Sega?
Executive 1: Ok, I draw for the main concept. What I drew is:EGGS?!?
Executive 2: Eggs? That sucks. Well, I draw out of the sub-concept hat. I got, powered armor. Why can’t we switch? Eggs are gay.
Executive 3: Shut up, we have to stick to it. I draw out of the genre hat. The genre is:PLATFORMER. Wait, that’s the only options in this hat.

So yea, I think this game sounds completely stupid AND retarded AND gay, at the same time. Oh, but this is one 3rd party game that’ll help Nintendo get out of the slumps. Yea right.

Square Enix Newsbits
This is all little stuff, so it can occupy one category here.
– While it has only been out for a little over a month, Final Fantasy X-2 has sold over 2 million copies in Japan. It is scheduled for release in November in the states.
– Square Enix has started accepting applications for the Final Fantasy XI Public Beta test. Go over to to their site to sign up. I applied, just to see what it’s like, so if I’m accepted, I’ll tell you guys.
– Square Enix has registered the name Front Mission, and in the registry, said, “Front Mission – Providing information on computer game strategy / video game strategy through a global communication network.” So this could mean an online Front Mission game.

New Game Releases
* Ship Date – 4/14-15/03
Golden Sun: The Lost Age (GBA), Ikaruga (GC), Phantasy Star Online (Xbox), X2: Wolverine’s Revenge (GC, PS2, Xbox, GBA)

It’s a pretty bleh game week here. Of course, the RPG has to be listed. Golden Sun is supposed to be the best original GBA RPG out there (and probably is the only one), and the sequel is more of the same. Ikaruga is said to be one of the greatest shooters ever as well, but I was never good at shooters so I couldn’t tell you. X2 is just a movie license. I doubt it’s anything special. But then again, I’m pretty jaded after EVERY SINGLE X-Men game I’ve ever played (except for the Capcom fighters) sucked ass. Am I the only one who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about PSO? I mean, it’s not even a full MMORPG. It’s barely an MORPG, and I’m sure there’s an argument that it’s not even an RPG. And with all that’s left, I don’t want no MO. So please, Sega, no MO PSO. Square, no MO online FF. Keep these series offline and make them GOOD again, rather than naming them after your famous RPG just so you can make the big bucks. Oh, and one game I had to mention. Tube Slider. The name gives me the willies.

Props to my Homies! (aka Plugs)

Read the last of Joseph Stanley’s Weekend Wipe-up. He will be moving to Monday next week. As always, he has a fun and cynical look at gaming, and even some of the real world. I personally avoid the real world on here because I HATE IT. That’s why I engross myself in anime and games.

Ron Yip and his SimColumn News Report were absent this week, but he’s supposed to take over Bebito’s slot on next Tuesday.

And it’s the last Rumor Down-Lo for now. Bebito Jackson is going off to do his own thing, and we’re gonna miss him. And no, he doesn’t suck.

Thursday features Bryan Berg and Friday features Chris Pankonin (if he decides to show up). I don’t know who’s doing the weekend next week, since Joseph is moving to Mondays, but I’m sure somebody has it figured out.

Self-promotion time! I reviewed Amplitude, so check it out. In short, the game is a fun and addictive game with lots of cool licensed music. And it doesn’t say this in the review, but I have since finished both Mellow and Normal Difficulties, and the name Brutal is a very appropriate name for the difficulty, because it’s f*cking hard. GTA never made me want to hit somebody, but this does, and I guess that’s why it’s called Brutal. When I try the Insane difficulty, I’ll go on a shooting rampage. For the life of me, I can’t seem to beat the first damn song on Brutal. So I’m done. It was fun, but not possible with my stubby fingers and the PS2 remote. Still, fun game.

New Anime Releases
* Release Date – 4/15/03
Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away, Dirty Pair Flash Collection, Gatekeepers 21 Vol. #1, Neoranga Vol. #2

The first 3 are all films from Studio Ghibli and are by Miyazaki, and supposedly very good. Spirited Away won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film in 2003. I have only personally seen two of Miyazaki’s films (Princess Mononoke and Castle of Cogliostro) and while I thought they were GOOD, I didn’t think they were spectacular. Movies just aren’t my cup of tea anymore, I suppose. I don’t collect any of the series coming out this week, but I may start on Gatekeepers and Neoranga when I’m RICH.

Mini Anime Reviews
I’m only going to do one review this week for one simple reason. I’m lazy. I usually try to have the majority of the report finished by Monday night, and finish whenever the Down-Lo is posted, and have it sent in in the early hours of Tuesday, but here it is a little before noon (and a little before I have to leave for work), and I’m not even done yet. So I need to hurry my ass up!

Many people probably have seen this show on Cartoon Network several years ago. That’s how I got started on it as well. Unfortunately, Cartoon Network has a tendency to edit the hell out of stuff, and this was no different. So I never really got into it, until this Christmas when I got my wife the box set (yea, she hated it as a present, but likes the series).

The story starts out simple. Our two main protagonists are Gene Starwind and Jim Hawking, and they live on a planet called Sentinel 3. They take odd jobs and do bounties just to get buy. One day, a woman comes in and wants to purchase Gene’s services as a bodyguard and have some stuff repaired. So they follow her, and it turns out she is a famous outlaw known as Hilda. She is being chased by the K Pirates for taking something valuable to them: the bio-android Melfina and an experimental space ship.

So Gene and Jim get caught up in Hilda’s problems, and leave with her on the start of a grand adventure. Along the way, they meet Aisha Clanclan, a saucy cat girl, and Twilight Suzuka, a samurai warrior who is second to none. Both join the group for their own reasons. For part of the season, they are suck in one place or another, either trying to raise money to continue, or just to do something or another, but it later becomes clear what their mission is: to find the galactic leyline, which is an enigmatic destination. It could be a treasure, or it could be a trove of information. All they know is that it is very sought after, and bounty hunters and pirates would kill to have what’s there, but only the Outlaw Star can make it.

The show is a very well written show. The characters are all very distinctive and likable. The big brother-little brother relationship between Gene and Jim is classic. The relationships with all the characters were written particularly well. The voice acting is top notch, because our good friends at Animaze are behind it. The voices for all the main characters are perfect. Gene, Jim and Melfina’s voices fit them like a second glove.

This show is an excellent space western type of show. It will probably be compared to Cowboy Bebop, but that’s not a fair comparison. Whereas Cowboy Bebop was more episodic, Outlaw Star tries to follow one cohesive story to the end. The show his highly recommended, but not for all ages, because there is a fair amount of violence, and some foul language (no worse than shit) is thrown around. Still, it has a very cohesive story and excellent writing, and should be seen by all!

Sorry for the lazy week here. I’ll try to get my quality back up to what everyone has grown to expect from me. Come again next week when all of 411 is in upheaval after the departure of Bebito. If you’re bored, go over to the Wrestling side and read Hyatte and Eric S. Until next week, enjoy!