Hump Day Otaku News Report 05.21.03

Well, after the fun and excitement of last week, I’m still working at the same job. I applied at a few places, had an interview, and realized that my job doesn’t suck so bad after all. Don’t get me wrong. It sucks, just not AS bad. So I’ll live for now.

I, like most people out there, saw the Matrix this weekend. Oddly enough, there were parts that were MORE confusing than the original. As a whole, it was very good, but lacked some of the “oomph” the first one had.

I apologize for me sucking this week, I’ve not only not gotten enough sleep for the past several days, but I’ve also been procrastinating. I need a swift kick in the ass.

Gaming News

New Prices for Consoles
Well, most people expected that most or all of the consoles would drop price by about $50. Unfortunately, the companies shaft us. The XBox dropped to $179, but likewise, there is no bundle now. Just the system and controller. The PS2 dropped to $179 as well, but my understanding is that this is the OLD PS2, and the NEW PS2 (the one I bitched about a month or so ago, quieter fan, built in IR port, reads DVD-Rs) is staying at $199. Nintendo hasn’t announced any sort of price drop for the GameCube, but they are going to bundle the GBA Player with it for a limited time.

Mario and Luigi Impressions
What I thought would be a great game, a great sequel to Super Mario RPG, looks plain shitty. First, I’d expect them to make a sequel on the GameCube, but instead it’s on the GBA. Fine, SMRPG was on the SNES and looked (and still looks) really good. Mario and Luigi looks like shit though. The artwork looks like it came out of Yoshi’s Island. They call it style; I call it lack of talent in the art department. Mario and Luigi is called a platform RPG, but it sounds like they emphasize the platform part too much. It really sounds like a long minigame, where you have to time pressing A, B, A, B over and over again. No thanks, I’ll pass.

Metroid: Zero Mission Impressions
Out of everything I’ve seen Nintendo hype, with the exception of SMA4:SMB3, nothing strikes my fancy. But then again, they haven’t really hyped Zero Mission. They just threw a video out there. That’s all good, because usually when something gets over hyped, it sucks. Zero Mission looks GOOD though. An apparent remake of the original Metroid for the GBA, Zero Mission has all the updates found in games after the original. For example, in Zero Mission, you can pick up some powerups that were not in the original, like the Speed Boost and Wall Jump. You can also hang on to ledges, which has only been in Metroid Fusion thus far. It appears the entire game has been redone with a Super Metroid Fusion type style. Personally, I can’t WAIT for this game to come out!

Castlevania: Lament of Innocence Impressions
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m somewhat of a Castlevania whore, but not all Castlevania will satisfy me. It takes a special kind to please me. Basically, only Castlevania 2, Symphony of the Night, and all the GBA ones are enough like an RPG to satisfy me. Ever since Symphony of the Night, Konami has been promising Castlevania games for the PS1 and then the PS2, but they haven’t put anything out. Finally, after making 3 great GBA games, they finally have a PS2 game that is being worked on. The verdict? Well, it’s a wait and see type of thing. A lot of people say the game plays like Devil May Cry, and that’s kind of bad. But another possibility is that it could play like Vagrant Story, and that’s GOOD. So we wait and see. I’m apprehensive about the game, but I was wrong about Metroid Prime, so I could be wrong about this. I’ll give Konami the benefit of the doubt though.

New Game Releases
* Ship Date – 5/20-21/03
Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick (PS2), Inside Pitch 2003 (XBox), Speed Kings (XBox, PS2), MotoGP 2 (XBox), Warioware Inc: Mega Microgames (GBA)

This week we have some sports games (a baseball game and 2 motorcycle games), an Evil Dead game and a buncha minigames. Now, the sports games I could care less about. I’m a big fan of Ash and Evil Dead, but every Evil Dead game I’ve played has been 10 times worse than Resident Evil, and we all know how I feel about that. Warioware looks interesting, but the quality of the games looks very poor. So what that adds up to is a really stinker of a week.

Props to my Homies! (aka Plugs)

We’re still in E3 mode this week, and I guess I was odd by being the only one to do an actual column. Hey, I wasn’t told NOT to so I did.

Check out all the news and previews for games that were shown at E3. It sounded like a pretty cool year and there are tons of games to check out.

I also want to give some linkage to a guy who has written to be quite a bit, and I just found out that he’s writing here on 411 Mania in the Figures department. So check out Matt Hardin’s review of GI Joe vs. Cobra Wave 5 Part 1 and Part 2. It’s a great read, especially for those of you like me who used to have every GI Joe out there. I mean the 80’s GI Joe, not the old old school ones.

New Anime Releases
* Release Date – 5/20/03
.hack//SIGN: Vol. 2 (regular edition), Banner of the Stars Vol. 3, Geneshaft Vol. 1, Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal Director’s Cut

A pretty weak week, but some nice stuff nonetheless. Big .hack fans already have the limited edition of Vol. 2, but casual fans will prefer this one. Crest of the Stars was good, and I’ve heard Banner is no different, with the possible exception of poor subtitling. I don’t know much about Geneshaft, but I’ve heard it was good. And almost every anime fan knows (and many love) Rurouni Kenshin, so I’d be negligent in not including it here.

ERRATA: Last week, I said that Noir Vol. 4 was coming out, but it’s actually Vol. 3. Sorry, and thanks to Matt for pointing it out to me.

Mini Anime Reviews
My wife and I decided to watch the first 2 discs of Mahoromatic this weekend, since the 3rd and final disc is coming out soon, so I think I’ll review it for my good readers.

If you’ve read me every week or so, you know of my fondness for the “robot maid” type shows, like Hand Maid May, Steel Angel Kurumi and Chobits. You know how it goes: unwitting boy finds robot maid, doesn’t know how to act around her, and they end up falling in love. Well, even though there’s the cliché going on, it still breaks the mold and works on its own. And after all, it is by Gainax, so it has it’s own “alien invasion” and “secret organization” going.

The story goes a little like this. An Alien group called Saint is trying to take over the Earth, but is opposed by a secret organization called Vesper. Doing battle in unpopulated areas, Vesper essentially keeps innocents in the dark about the goings on with Saint. Vesper uses combat androids to do their fighting, and their most prolific android, Mahoro, is about to reach the end of her life cycle. If she wants to keep fighting, she will live another 30 or so days. But if she gives up the armor and retires from fighting, she will have over 390 days to live. She chooses the latter and ends up becoming a maid for a boy named Suguru Misato. His parents died when he was younger, and he doesn’t have the time to clean his big house AND study, so he hires Mahoro, who shares her secret with him, but no one else. So basically the story is Evangelion meets robot maid story.

The reason the show is go good is because the comedy is so bizarre. Sometimes, it’s subtle, and sometimes it smacks you right in the face. For example, Suguru’s well-endowed teacher, Ms. Shikijo, gets very jealous of Mahoro and they have competitions to see who is better. Mahoro usually wins, but the results are very amusing. A lot of times, Ms. Shikijo will hit people with her breasts and knock them around. It’s very silly. Oh, and a fair word of warning: there’s a lot of nudity in the show, and sometimes (usually in Ms. Shikijo’s fantasies) it goes a little beyond the comedic type. But Suguru is a lucky guy.

One reason this show is odd is because as the main character, Suguru is not only a nice guy and a pervert, but he’s also smart and popular. He has 2 guy friends and 3 female friends (before Mahoro) and all of the girls are in love with him for some reason. Even though it’s obvious that all females on the show are in love with him, they don’t dwell on the fact like most shows. It’s just there, and you accept it. Likewise, you don’t really see that Mahoro and Suguru are falling in love. Hell, maybe they aren’t falling in love after all, but I think it will lead to that. It’s obvious though that they enjoy each other’s company and wouldn’t want to live without the other. It’s much more subtle than other shows about love.

The artwork on the show is excellent, as you’d expect from a newer show. The English dubbing is done by Bang Zoom who, as always, do an excellent job. David Umansky (Keitaro from Love Hina) is perfect as Suguru, because it’s younger, yet more confident in his abilities and more caring as a person, and definitely much less of a clutz. Suguru is a nice character to see, because unlike Keitaro, not everything bad happens to him, everything GOOD does. Ellen Wilkinson plays Mahoro, and she too is very appropriate. She’s had many roles, including Shinobu from Love Hina, Cyberdoll Kei from Hand Maid May, and KOS-MOS from Xenosaga, and this role is a combination of both. She’s got the shyness and meekness of Shinobu, the poise and intelligence of Kei and the badass-ness of KOS-MOS. And all the characters are excellent as well. My only problem is that almost all of the supporting characters have multiple roles, and it’s too obvious, but that’s just nitpicking, because they’re all GOOD.

This show is highly recommended and is a very funny comedy and a good action series to boot. It’s a shame that the season is short, but there is a sequel on the way too. So hopefully it is as good as this season.

Well, it’s been yet another week in my presence. Is anyone annoyed of me yet? I really like receiving mail, so even if you don’t like me, write me, tell me what you don’t like. If you do write, please don’t flame or anything, because that will just make me ignore you, but if you have a valid point, I’ll listen. Well, enjoy the rest of the week!