Reaction Shots: Sakura Gari 4 RAW

June 25, 2008 at 12:31 pm (Animanga) (, , )

I know, I know, premature, I don’t even have a translation yet, but.

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Reaction Shots: KHR! 198

June 25, 2008 at 12:11 pm (Animanga) (, , )

Sakura Gari Ch4 is on its way~ But it’s taking a while so instead, have a belated perusal of KHR’s latest offering. It looks to be chock full of the phallic symbols waving around;  I bet it’s an epic sword fight. And one of the swordmen has four of ’em. That’s right. Four.

Beware! Spoilers abound!

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Reaction Shots: Naruto 405

June 20, 2008 at 4:09 pm (Animanga) (, , )

Same old, same old. Spoilers.

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Reaction Shots: Katekyo Hitman Reborn 196-7

June 19, 2008 at 10:22 pm (Animanga) (, , )

Finally bit the bullet and read the latest chapters. I mean, they focus on the villain that is my current utter hate, but they reveal important backstory about the Millefiore’s black half…? Right…? I dunno, I just want to catch up. I think I’m reading mostly in the hopes that Mukuro will show back up, badass and stupidly coiffed and cute as ever. He could still be alive! We never saw him die! IT COULD HAPPEN.

On an unrelated note: It really, really, really annoys me when people refer to Sasuke as Sasugay. I know it’s a joke. It still pisses me off.

Okay, enough chitchat. Onwards~! (Needless to say, spoilers)

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Yami no Matsuei pointers

June 17, 2008 at 4:40 pm (Animanga, Recommendations) (, )

Here’s the way to some really good essays on Yami no Matsuei (which is a manga & anime, for those not in the know) aka Descendants of Darkness.

One on Hisoka that does a really nice job of going over his character in all its complexity; it’s thorough and touches on stuff from all 13 eps of the anime plus I think a little from the manga beyond the anime eps. Well organized, written in a way that’s clear but not stuffy, all around an easy, enjoyable read about an interesting character.

Annnd another one, an essay on the Tsuzuki/Hisoka pairing (that’s male/male) that’s almost canon in my opinion. It does a really good job of outlining both characters, then going on to define why they’re good for each other, and why they should be together, and how it benefits both of them to be together. It doesn’t try to paint their relationship as prettier than it is (they are both so, so, broken, poor boys) but also points out that together they are stronger together than apart. Just a really enjoyable read all around, especially if you ship them together or have no particular objection to the ship (like me).

Both also delve a little into the series itself, giving some context and information about it so those who aren’t already in the know about Yami no Matsuei shouldn’t be left too far behind.

So there’re your meta recs for the day.

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No Solicitation Allowed – September 2008 (DC Edition)

June 17, 2008 at 3:32 pm (Comics Issue #427) (, )

I guess this means Nonessential Codex has basically been in existence for a month! Yay! I basically started this blog half as an experiment–to see what WordPress could do–and half because, I dunno, I just wanted a place to meta. Either way, Nonessential Codex is still here! Whee!

Let the cover commenting begin!

Trinity #14-17: It’s terrible of me but while I like the Big Three in concept, I have little desire to follow any of their adventures–I’m a young fan, I like the newer stuff or stuff I have context for due to adaptations outside of comics (ie. Teen Titans via the cartoon). Anyway, on to the cover! Batman’s pose is basically the inversion of Wonder Woman and Superman’s, which is weird; perhaps indicating his difference from them–relying on external sources for his power and his loner nature. I note that they gave Wonder Woman a cape, perhaps to balance her out with her caped companions. She also has weapons–I’m inclined to say it’s because of Gail Simone’s work on the Wonder Woman title, but it’s interesting that Wonder Woman, who is similarly powerful to Superman, should need a regular sword and shield in order to fight on par with her peers. I’d really more expect Batman to have those things, except maybe not the sword because the sword, like the gun, is a weapon designed almost exclusively to kill.

The overlapping of the capes suggests that Wonder Woman is also the further back of the three figures in the image.

Final Crisis #4: The title is striking; it’s entirely in teal which is unusual and furthermore has this blast of magenta in the middle. So it clashes, but at least it’s eyecatching. But it feels kind of sloppy to me–symmetrical compositions are boring, so generally symmetrical drawings are just slightly asymmetrical to spice it up a little; I can see that’d be necessary for this cover of Darkseid. But his head is too off-center to me, it throws the whole image off and makes it look sloppy and, well, wrong anatomically speaking. Same with the omega symbols–they’re a little too asymmetrical, which I think lessens the impact of their placement.

Final Crisis: Revelations #2: I really like the background to this. Though I think outlining Montoya’s mouth with her mask detracts from its impact and purpose, which is that that there should be a discernible face on the Question, whatever iteration.

Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge #3: The cover is very striking, but somehow I think it might be better if the blood wasn’t tinted a shade of pink. Though I guess I can see how red blood might make it hard to pick out the hand from the pool.

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #2: Presumably this will ship in color? I like how I can tell apart the two other Saturn Girl’s by just the hairstyles in their profiles. The one of the left’s threeboot Saturn Girl, I bet.

Reign in Hell #3: All the detail makes this cover too busy, I think. And I don’t like the colors at all. Too saturated or something, I guess. Plus, Etrigan (I’m guessing the horned dude is he) clashes with himself.

Adam Strange Special #1: You’d think that given the guy is, you know, floating in space using a rocketpack that this image would have a sense of movement to it. But no. It’s so static. Also, still don’t like the color chosen. I don’t know why–something about the shades chosen rub me wrong.

Titans #5: This is really supposed to focus more on the covers than anything else, but OH FOR THE LOVE OF FREAKING GOD COME ONE. What kind of storyline is that for Raven? I think it’s been pretty well established by now that she has and will continue to reject Trigon and her demon blood, random half-brothers notwithstanding–it’s already been made clear that the Titans have become her family. What the fuck is up with reviving a half-assed storyline like this? What can possibly be said that could elaborate on what’s already been said? Random brothers aren’t going to bind her any tighter to Trigon because she never even knew they existed until now; extra sibs beg the question why Trigon didn’t just use them to return to Earth rather than going for the daughter that, you know, utterly hates and rejects his very presence (perverse demonity, most likely. But still.). We can already guess which way Raven’s going to choose because we, you know, already have her entire history to back up her ultimately choosing the Titans; the only way to make this fresh and new is to have her pick Trigon and I guarantee that if that happens fans will come out in full force because what the shit is this.

*deep breath* Okay, back to the cover. I liked Garth’s white-and-purple ensemble more than white-and-red. The red and the green make him look like a Christmas ornament. Also, having his actual hair be the same color as his fur is perhaps more anatomically correct (hah!) but also makes it harder to tell where his hairline and eyebrows end and begin, and the lack of eyebrows makes it hard to give him expression. Please tell me his white-out eyes aren’t permanent and are rather the result of being enraged at someone/thing. Raven’s anatomy is so screwed up; where are her hips, how is her waist that tiny? She’s supposed to have a dancer-esque build, and while I’m not an expert on dancer anatomy, I’m guessing that means less emphasis on the curves and bust. I’ll give a grudging pass on her clothing’s color, but not on how this cover basically looked like someone slapped color on a sketch. Sloppy.

While I like that Raven and Garth are holding hands, it kind of makes no rational sense and also ties up their hands, which both need to actually, you know, fight. I will say that the composition is interesting, even if the bottom half is a little confusing at first glance.

Teen Titans #63: Note how Megan looks like she’s about to beg for it right here, right now, while Robin genuinely looks like he was knocked out on his ass.

DC Special: Cyborg #5: Why is Cyborg fighting his Titans of Tomorrow self? I do like the detail put into the glowy blue parts, as opposed to just making them glowy and blue.

Superman #680: Yay Krypto! I absolutely love this cover. I shouldn’t be possible to make a dog look noble and heroic, but Alex Ross managed it. *cuddles the doggie*

Tangent Comics: Superman’s Reign #7: If this issue is ostensibly about Batman(s), what’s with the lack of Batman(s) on the cover?

Joker HC: Gorgeous and terrifying in its detail. It feels very Batman Returns-esque–maybe it’s meant as a homage. The Joker’s make-up is more prominent as make-up in this painting.

Batgirl #3: I’m surprised by how static this cover feels. Batgirl’s in the midst of fighting off five masked assailants! Why does it feel like a scene in Madame Tussaud’s?

If I had my way I’d rather have Batgirl’s bat-symbol be either entirely yellow or better yet hollow, not…white outlined in yellow. It’s so fussy looking; part of her costume’s appeal is it’s simplicity; it makes the yellow bat symbol pop so much more against the field of black. It’s very…visceral? I guess is the word.

I’d have liked to see Cassandra become her own hero, or maybe more about her relationship with Shiva (does she even know Shiva’s been revived?) but at least I’m glad she’s a hero again. Though the whole drug explanation of her evil was sort of really weak. I suspect the intent was to make her totally evil and keep it that way, except fans raised too much of a fuss over the character-rape. Enter deus ex machina drug that makes her evil!

Batman: Gotham After Midnight #5: Fugly. Next.

Batman and the Outsiders #11: Now this is a neat cover, with all the character’s shadows being Batman. I really like all the color choices, which is pretty tough, given how many colors the characters have in their costumes together. I thing they collectively cover the entire rainbow!

Batman Confidential #21: You would think having her costume so ripped up would leave her with the wounds that’d result from her costume being torn up, but.

Note: all the villains she’s crouching in apprehension of are male; Barbara the female character is given a connotation of weakness/vulnerability due to her lack of adequate and whole clothing–something that direct contrasts the bat symbol she wears so proudly on her chest.

Detective Comics #848: I really like the painterly/collage effect of this cover, though the stylization of Batman’s face looks odd compared to the more realistic faces of Catwoman and that other dude (I assume it’s Hush).

Nightwing #148: Now how’s that for a dramatic cover! Especially with the shape of the blood pool (I assume it’s blood, even though I don’t think any human could lose that much blood and survive, and furthermore Nightwing doesn’t have any visible wounds) and the bats circling overhead among the stalactites. His posture is interesting; it has that hip-turned-to-the-side thing that so often happens to unconscious female characters. Is it done to enhance his vulnerability from his unconsciousness? In which case it would seem that the typical female posture is used to draw a direct link to weakness, therefore linking female characters and weakness. Or is it done to subvert the type; men are just as weak/vulnerable as women are portrayed? Is it done to enhance the feeling of “wrong” through the unnatural posture? Am I reading too much into this? WHO CAN SAY?

Robin #178: Love this cover. It uses the strip-of-color-amidst-black composition, but mixes it up by making the black part of the environment. How cool is that?

Simon Dark #12: Don’t know who Simon Dark is but I love his cover, despite its scribblyness. I especially like the stitches holding the sections of light and dark together.

Supergirl #33: Like this cover. The red tone to it all matches the vaguely menacing description of the issue and recalls Empress’ outfit. It unifies the cover without obscuring the textures of their costumes and the clearly conflicting colors of Supergirl’s outfit. Empress’ position behind Supergirl suggests that she has Supergirl’s ear, that she’s influencing and pulling her strings. Really nice all around.

Also, I’d like to note that they’re basically standing still and we’re just seeing their shoulders and heads and yet, the whole image has more movement to it than covers where we have people flying with rocketpacks or fighting off masked assailants.

Birds of Prey #122: I really like this cover. I smiled at Misfit’s face; it really emphasizes her relative youth and lack of experience next to Huntress and Zinda.

The Flash #244: How awesome is that cover? I mean, seriously. For once red and green isn’t putting me in mind of Christmas!

Green Arrow/Black Canary #12: Another awesome cover. I like how it highlights Black Canary and how it represents her scream.

how do those arrows stay in Green Arrow’s quiver? I mean, seriously. That thing’s huge! And look how he’s tipped forward over like that! How?

Green Lantern #35: Awesome cover, really nice cel-shading. I didn’t spot the reflections in the Guardian’s eyes, but once I did, wow. How’s that for detail?

Justice Society of America #19: While I initially liked the cover, once I realized it was actually depicting the JSA splitting and fighting each other, I wasn’t so sure. The color scheme’s really nice, really pretty, but I think it’s too peaceful for what’s actually happening on it.

The Spirit #21: Oh no! How’s that cover for suspense? Not only getting kicked in the face, but getting kicked in the face right as the ladder step breaks off! What will happen to our hero? STAY TUNED!

Wonder Woman #24: I smell parody and what a way to do it! I just love how fed up she looks with the media circus. And while I like that her outfit is no longer going the way of the thong, I wonder where her boots have gone…

Not so sure I like the white outline to her flat black hair

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Reaction Shots: Naruto 404

June 13, 2008 at 8:33 pm (Animanga) (, , )

Well, this is kind of new. Normally I’ve read at least one person’s commentary before I attempt any of my own, but this time I’m all alone with my thoughts.


Spoilers ahead.

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Reaction Shots: So You Think You Can Dance 4×06

June 13, 2008 at 6:59 pm (Don't Touch That Dial) (, )

US version this time! I don’t know if you can be spoiler-y, talking about shows likes this, unless you leak results. Which I can’t do. So!

Katee & Joshua, hip-hop

I’ve already read good commentary on this episode’s round of performances, which kind of sucks any desire for me to make my own commentary. But Katee and Joshua were fantastic. I mean he does have the advantage of being in his own genre, but I remember something Jason said in SYTYCD Australia, when he told Jemma that because the cha-cha was in her genre, he expected her to blow it away. This was in Joshua’s genre and he did blow it away. Katee doesn’t have that advantage, and she totally stepped up to match him. Her acting was great, too; when she got up with the papers, when she threw them away, when she bent over like it physically hurt to find out he had to leave–you could really feel it.

I think Joshua matched her in the acting department too, actually. At the very beginning, when they were holding hands, just smiling at each other–oh god it was beautiful, which made the rest just so much sadder. And the end, too, when he was looking at her in his jacket. Together, great unison when they needed it. The end with the jacket was gorgeous and smoothly pulled off and a wonderful end to the narrative and generally, it was just really good.

I feel like such a sap, but everytime I watch it I just want to go “Awwwwww!” and make the mental equivalent of “D:!” Which is, you know. A good thing.

Jessica & Will; tango

Seeing the tango makes me want to watch Rhys and Jemma’s paso doble. Mary said almost exactly the same thing for their dance, and I think it was more true for them. *youtubes* Plus, Jessica’s dress, ugh. I don’t know, it was just so pink and sequiny and busy. I was focusing more on how awful her dress was than the dancing, to be honest.

Courtney & Gev; disco

Same with the disco. I want to go look up Anthony and Laura’s disco routine. Maybe it’s the song; they’re using the same. Courtney and Gev’s routine was kind of…monotonous, a lot of repeats. I thought Gev did pretty good considering he’s a breaker. I want to say that a lot of Nigel’s criticism is the fault of the choreography, but I’m not sure I can.

Overall I’m mostly surprised at all the slow routines. Maybe it’s just my volume or the quality of the file or my speakers, but all the songs sounded really soft and slow. Even Boogie Wonderland, which is pretty amazing. But then I heard Cat Deeley and all the judges just fine. Maybe their sound system was in trouble? Missing a speaker? I don’t know. But everything just didn’t sound or feel fast and loud, and you’d think they’d want to open up the show with a bang, right? It’s weird. I don’t know.

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Reaction Shots: Naruto 403

June 7, 2008 at 11:36 am (Animanga) (, , )

Spoilers beyond the cut!

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So You Think You Can Dance Australia view notes

June 4, 2008 at 1:54 pm (Don't Touch That Dial) ()

I’ve only watched episodes 1-4 so far, but I have words to say and a place to say them!

1. Compared to the American show (which I am also following, though only the latest season at the moment), the Australian show seems to have more music woven into it. Especially in the audition sequences, when the montages of auditions were put together I really noticed the music chosen for them. It feels like the American show doesn’t do this, though maybe I need to go back and watch the audition eps again to be sure. But it feels new, and I like it. Having so much music all over the place really makes it feel like dance show. I don’t know how to explain it better.

Re: music choices for the interludes between auditions, whoever picks the songs and edits clips to them as a) a good knowledge of a variety of current (popular?) music and b) a great sense of timing and musicality. It’s really great.

2. The show feels more intimate than the American show. Maybe it’s because of the smaller scope of Australia in terms of population and thus number of entrants, and maybe I’m romanticizing a little, but it really does have a more casual feel. Maybe the judges being on (level with) the stage the dancers are on helps with that; they feel less like Judges From On High and more like, I don’t know, peers. Having a judge make the choreography helps that, I think. Seeing the judges (or at least a judge) get down and dirty and dance too helps make them less intimidating figures. Plus it gives at least one judge a greater basis for judging who makes it through the choreography, since he knows exactly what it entails.

2a. Matt’s vote for choreography is weightier than that of the other two because he knows best what the choreography will demand of the dancers.

3. The Australian show feels less…hmm…meanspirited. Maybe it’s because there’re fewer kooks and joke entrants than the US show? I find myself skipping fewer auditions than I do when watching the American eps, and I find myself taking fewer viewing breaks to play Solitaire for a while or something to avoid watching someone’s Impending Doom.

4. Is “chorey” a purely Australian term for choreography or is this slang in use throughout the global dance world as well?

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