Hump Day Otaku News Report 05.07.03

Welcome to Hell Week here at the HDONR. I’ll explain why it is Hell Week, and then we can get on to the news. See, every now and then, companies get together in a conspiracy against me and other anime and game fans like myself, but mainly against me. They band together and release so much good stuff in one week that no one, unless they are rich, has the ability to get it all right when it comes out. Currently, I am broke, as in no cash. If I were to run out of cigarettes right now, I’d be screwed. I suppose it’s time to quit.

This week, there is not only $300 or so worth of anime that are on my “need to get” list, but there is also a game or two that I need. Sigh. And now, it really becomes a hell week because I have to actually start working on a desk I do not like. Even though quitting is not an option, I still may quit. I’ll have to see how it goes. Hopefully, it won’t be as bad as I’m expecting it to be.

Gaming News

Metal Gear Solid Times 2
Konami has announced that not one, but 2 Metal Gear Solid games will be appearing at this year’s E3. First is a game titled MGS: Twin Snakes, which is a remake of the original MGS for the GameCube. Second is MGS 3, which shouldn’t really be surprising, since Konami considers it to be their cash cow, and not cooler games like Castlevania and Bemani games. But who knows, they may have some of those games at E3 too. We can only hope, because honestly, there isn’t much more you can do with the stealth genre that hasn’t already been done with previous MGS titles and Splinter Cell.

Shenmue III at E3?
This is an unconfirmed rumor, but a UK Xbox Magazine is reporting that the third game in the Shenmue series will be unveiled at E3. We can only hope this is true, because the first game was awesome, and I haven’t played the second because I don’t have an Xbox, but I WANT IT.

Price Drops
And I may be able to get the Xbox soon if this happens. A lot of places are reporting (like they do every year) that there will be price drops across the board either during or after E3. The most likely scenario is during E3, the PS2 and Xbox will drop to $149 and the GameCube will drop to $99. They will probably drop any bundles and such (which is confirmed by Microsoft recalling their Xbox + Controller S + Jet Grind Radio Future/Sega GT bundle), so the price will be about even.

Cel Shaded Turtles?
Images have surfaced from Konami’s new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, and the game appears to be cel shaded. Now, everyone knows my feelings on the subject, but I want to go on the record by saying that I think they’re doing an excellent job with this game. It looks spectacular, and brings back many memories of the Konami arcade games that were so much fun. I hope that they do as well in the actual game as these screenshots portray.

New Game Releases
* Ship Date – 5/6/03
Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War (Xbox), Lufia: Ruins of Lore (GBA), Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA), .hack//MUTATION (PS2)

Under normal circumstances, I would say, “That’s it?” but with the exception of the first entry, I want all these games, and NEED .hack and Castlevania. I’ve always been a Castlevania fan, well, since Castlevania 2 anyway, and any Castlevania game that plays like an RPG (which most have lately) is on my list. I have the first .hack and need the second to continue the story (and to review for my good readers). I’ve never really played a Lufia game, but I’ve heard nothing but good about them, so I want to get this one.

Props to my Homies! (aka Plugs)
It’s MIA week here at 411 Mania, because I don’t really know where anyone is.

Joseph Stanley was here last week, but not this week. I suppose he’s getting ready for E3 (bastard, I want to go!!). Yes, I know E3 is not this week, but NEXT week, but it’s quite a big event and I’m sure it takes a lot of preparation. I was trying to think of something funny to put here, but I’m not funny, so I’ll move along.

Ron Yip has been MIA for a while now, but I’m sure somebody else is in the know. I’m just a grunt so they don’t tell me squat. If I were a betting man (which I’m not), I’d guess he is dealing with school, because it’s the worst time of the year now for students.

Bryan Berg showed up last week, and if I know him, he’ll show up again this week. Oh, and thanks for another copper medal. I don’t know how prestigious it is, considering the only thing I can think of that’s copper is a penny, and we know how much those are worth.

Chris Pankonin is also going to E3, and he’ll either skip this week or write a big tasty report like usual.

There was only one review of note this week. Polecat reviewed X2: Wolverine’s Revenge for the Xbox. It sounds pretty good, and if the story ties into the movie like it supposedly does, it sounds even better. Speaking of the movie, if you liked the first, you have to see the second. It’s better than the first, a LOT better. The group seems to gel better, and the dialogue is better. I like the cameos they pulled off, especially Colossus, Kitty Pryde (who aged retroactively from the first one) and Siryn. Fortunately, Storm won’t be in this one, since Halle Berry is a primadonna and wants to be a big star. This opens a slot for more people in the next film. If only Cyclops would leave too, but I figure he’ll feature heavily in the next film. I’m not a big fan of the actor that plays him because he still looks awkward. Then again, I was never a big fan of Cyclops himself. So, SEE THE MOVIE!!!

New Anime Releases
* Release Date – 5/6/03
.hack//SIGN Vol. 2 Limited Edition w/ Soundtrack, Please Teacher Vol. 1 Limited Edition w/ artbox and extras, RahXephon Vol. 2, Ranma ½: Martial Mayhem Box Set, Ranma Forever Vol. 6, Sakura Wars OVA Collection, You’re Under Arrest Vol. 1: Mini-Specials, Zone of Enders Delores i Vol. 4

This, my good friends, is why it is Hell Week. Almost all of these are “need to gets”. I have .hack//SIGN Vol. 1 in the spiffy box and it wants some friends, plus this one is limited edition too, and you know what that means. It means I’m a f*ckin sucker! Same with Please Teacher. It’s supposed to be a great series, and Bandai decided to be nice and make it Limited Edition with goodies as well. I started RahXephon also, and Vol. 1 looks lonely too. Plus it’s a top notch series. I have the first 4 seasons of Ranma, and I’d be stupid to stop now, since there’s only 3 more left. Ranma Forever IS the 7th and final season for Ranma, but I’m actually gonna wait until it comes out in box form. Sakura Wars is better known to RPG fans as Sakura Taisen, and Lucard thinks it’s the best RPG out there, and Sakura Wars is supposed to be an excellent series over. YUA is supposed to be good as well, and ZOE is based on a game, so I’d suck if I didn’t include that.

Mini Anime Reviews
This will be kind of a quickie, but I’ve been really busy lately learning new skillz so I can get a good job somewhere else, so don’t hold it against me. Oh, and a reader wrote in asking for me to specify if a show has the original Japanese track or not. Well, I don’t own any anime that has only a dub track, and I honestly don’t think that any companies produce anime without the Japanese w/ sub tracks anymore. Of course, you can correct me if I’m wrong on this matter, and if I do happen to purchase anything without the Japanese track, I will note it in the future, but otherwise, everything is sub and dub, and I’ll make sure to mention if it’s any different.

As far as sci-fi mecha shows are concerned, everybody knows Evangelion. I haven’t reviewed it yet, simply because I know that the vast majority of anime fans out there have seen it already. Not near as many people know Nadesico though. It is basically a parody of the mecha genre, and pokes fun at newer shows as well as older ones.

In the not too distant future, a race of lizards from Jupiter (called Jovians) takes over Terran bases on Mars and the moon, and is threatening to destroy the earth. An independent arms company called Nergal decides to help protect the Earth itself, rather than relying on the military to do so. So Nergal develops the Nadesico, a state of the art ship designed specifically to destroy the Jovians. To man this supership, they hire a crew that is as crazy as they are good at what they do. The main character, Akito, is hired on as a cook but ends up being a mecha pilot as well, and he’s the best they have. The captain, Yurika, is the daughter of a military admiral and is deeply in love with Akito, and has been since childhood. One of the ship pilots is Megumi, a former anime voice actress (the name is a nod to Megumi Hayashibara, a very famous Japanese VA), and another is Ruri, a child prodigy who is oddly enough the most mature person on the ship.

The show is great because it is an excellent blend of comedy and drama. As I said before, the show is basically a parody of other mecha shows like Evangelion. The English voice for Akito is appropriate. Spike Spencer, the same VA who played Shinji on Evangelion, plays Akito in Nadesico. He even has the same type of role, that of a youngster who is very good at piloting, but wants no part of it and complains about it all the time. The rest of the cast is excellent as well, and they all convey their feelings well, whether it be love or anger.

Nadesico is a very offbeat show and makes fun of itself quite often. Despite that, the story is very well written, and unlike Evangelion, it has a pretty good ending. I’d recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the mecha or sci-fi genres.

Well, you’ve made it through the hell week edition of the report. It’ll happen again in 2 months, because Bandai apparently has me on their shit list. Hopefully I’ll be rich by then, but that’s not likely. So until next week, I’m Lee, and I hate my job.