Shelf Life

by Bamboo Dong, Jan 26th 2003
School starts tomorrow (this is being written a week before you get to read this) and I'm in a somewhat uncomfortable situation. I'm having issues with my roommate, which would only bore everyone for me to talk about. Details ensue, hypocrisy takes suit as well, and in the end, all I end up to be is a bitter heap of college freshman flesh. I think to myself, well, that's okay, I have this week's new anime to look forward to, right? Wrong. Buying textbooks has set me back a brilliant $450. I'm very pleased at this turn of events. Luckily, there's not a whole lot of good stuff coming out, so it all works out for me in the end. (Notice how everything revolves around me.)

Shelf Worthy

X Vol. #3
Pioneer Animation 75 min. 3/8 $29.98 01/28/2003


A thousand million times better than the movie, the X TV show is quite enjoyable to watch. There's actually time for characterization in the series, and the story is much more deep and engaging. As the series hits the third volume, it continues with the same Dragons of Heaven vs. Earth plot device, but at the same time, the complex relationship between Kamui, Fuma, and Kotori are more heavily explored, giving the story more depth. The animation and art are beautiful, and the music is hauntingly gorgeous. For all fans of CLAMP, this is definitely one of their best, if not the best. As far as buying anime for this week goes, X marks the spot. (You knew I'd eventually say something lame like that, right?)

Lupin the 3rd TV: The World's Most Wanted
Pioneer Animation 150 min. 1/? $24.98 01/28/2003


Old school kicks ass, and Lupin's doing much of the kicking. If you ever enjoyed any of the Lupin III movies, then you will definitely love the TV series. It doesn't have much of a strong story, but plot-wise, each episode is packed with entertainment that can amuse anyone for quite some time. You most definitely can't go wrong with Lupin III. With all the new series coming out, sometimes you have to realize that to get at all the good stuff, you have to step back to the classics. This one most certainly is.

Mahoromatic Vol. #1: Combat Maid
Pioneer Animation 100 min. 1/? $29.98 01/28/2003


Alright, let me admit this to you before you get deluded: this show sucks. At the same time, I'm oddly fascinated by this. Bad things first—the plot is just random (and poor) excuses for nudity, with nothing but good old Gainax fanservice everywhere. I mean, an ex-android who becomes a maid for a junior high school boy living by himself? The art for the series can be beautiful at times, but as far as the characters go, everyone looks like they're in elementary school, and altogether, there's nothing outwardly worthy about this series other than pleasing fanboys. At the same time, I can't help but be intrigued with this show. Questionable nudity and shoddy plot aside, this series is absurdly cute. It's much cuter than it has to be, and the generic anime humor they use is amusing as well. As much as I tell myself that this series has nothing to be gained from watching it, I'm always oddly curious what's going to happen next in the series. The first volume is worth watching just for its mindless humor (and fanservice, for fanboys) and intellect-numbing cuteness. Beware though, if it's quality anime you're looking for, you're not going to find it here. But hey, it's one of those “I like this because it's funny enough and engaging enough to watch a lot of without having to devote any brainpower to it” series. You'd be surprised how well series like that sell.

His and Her Circumstances Vol. #3
The Right Stuf International, Inc 150 min. 3/5 $29.9 01/28/2003


Known in Japan as Kareshi Kanojo no Jijyo (or Kare Kano for short), this is one of those series that allow me to forgive Gainax for continually putting out craploads of Eva panty-shot merchandise. No matter how you look at it, Kare Kano is just downright entertaining. The characters are fun to watch, and while the series can be funny, it can also be angsty and emotional at times. With such a great mixture of human emotion in one series, Kare Kano is one of the best series money can get.

Video Rental Shelf

Blue Gender Vol. #8
Funimation Productions 62 min. 8/8 $24.95 01/28/2003


Blue Gender started out strong, but this is one of the lamest endings I've seen in awhile. This series is one of those forlorn and depressing ones that make viewers realize how trivial human life really is. In that respect, the series was absolutely fascinating to watch, and captivating. At the end, however, it went plop, and although the series had a definitive ending, it didn't follow through with the same almost-depressing mood that marked its early episodes. It's still a good series, though, so at least finish off the series by watching the last volume.

Dragon Ball: Tournament Box Set
Funimation Productions $39.95 01/28/2003


It is almost a fact that Dragon Ball is loads better than Dragon Ball Z. Given that I'm not a huge fan of the latter, this doesn't say much, but if you like DBZ, then you will like Dragon Ball. The story actually moves, and the characters actually serve a real purpose in the story line. And, not to mention, bilingual DVD. Funimation's not so bad after all, eh?

Gigantor Box Set 2
The Right Stuf International, Inc 650 min. 2/2 $69.98 01/28/2003


Now this is really old school. When I say old school, I mean like, 1960s old school. Maybe some of your parents might remember when this was on TV. In any case, it's one of the earliest robot shows to come to the States, and if you really want to see what it was like, then here's your chance. Beware though; as classic as this show may be, it's still being released dubbed only.

Vanilla Series: Girl Next Door
The Right Stuf International, Inc 60 min. 1/1 $24.95 01/28/2003


This OVA amuses me very much. It's one of those hentai titles that are totally worth it just because they're funny (aren't most hentai titles?). In this one, the main character is in love with his dream girl that he once met, and is saving his virginity for her. Problem is, he doesn't remember who she is. At the same time, he is surrounded by a harem of girls that want nothing but his body. Without me even having to tell you, this show has much potential for laughs. It's not even really hardcore hentai, so people would have fun watching it together as a group. Of course, it is in no way good enough to buy, so renting it would be the optimal choice.

Perishable Item

Amazing Nurse Nanako Box Set
Pioneer Animation 180 min. 1/1 $49.98 01/28/2003


What the hell would possess anyone to buy this series? Oh, I remember. Boobies. Amazing Nurse Nanako is a series about a dumb klutzy nurse with a big chest and a maniacal doctor with robots. Yeah, that's about it. As a random point of interest for those of you with lives disgraceful enough to buy this series, there's a special packaging feature included with the box. The box art has Nanako dressed in her mecha gear and her nurse outfit. Remove the transparent wrap-around and guess what you see?!?! You go it. Boobies!!!!!!!!!

Angel of Darkness Vol. #2
SoftCel Pictures 60 min. 2/2 $29.98 01/28/2003


My, there are a lot of incarnations of this one. Animated, plus live action. It's like your average anime horror series, except with nakedness and sexed up…sexiness. It's really stupid. I can't think of another word for it. Naked horror is one of those things that don't rock my world. If you like hentai with a semblance of suspense, though, go for it.

Bounty Dog
Manga Entertainment 1/1 min. 60 $19.95 01/28/2003


It's an action OVA, with horrible action, horribly flat characters, bad animation, and a crappy soundtrack. One man with all the power to stop an evil entity that's destined to ruin humanity. Drama at the click of a remote!!! Know what's cooler? It's dubbed only. If you buy one anime this year, this is the one for you. Gee, it's great. Note to self. With all the action anime out there, almost any one would be better than this.

Iron Virgin Jun
Media Blasters 45 min. 1/1 $17.95 01/28/2003


I still can't understand why this is always in the hentai section. She's called Iron Virgin for a reason. Another one of Go Nagai's works, this is possibly one of the scariest things I've ever seen. All the women in this thing look like men. Not their faces, mind you, which are cute enough and KOResque, but their bodies are solid hunks of beef. It's downright scary. I guess it's somewhat funny to see chicks throw guys with genitals that look like random household objects, but that's where the amusement ends. Not one of Nagai's better works.

Kama Sutra
Kitty Media 45 min. 1/1 $17.95 01/28/2003


Another not-so-winning masterpiece from Go Nagai. The plot is relatively easy to understand. Some guy falls in love with a girl, but has to master the positions of the Kama Sutra to be with her. If you're really going to watch something that has to do with the Kama Sutra, you might as well just read the various renditions of the book. It'd be much more worth your time and money.

Hello Kitty's Paradise: Fun With Friends
ADV Films 90 min. 2/4 $14.98 01/28/2003


Are you a kid? Do you have kids? Are you a diehard Sanrio fan? If you answered “no” to all of these questions, then your choice of action is simple. Don't buy this.

Dangaioh
Manga Entertainment 90 min. 1/1 $19.95 01/28/2003


At only three episodes, the OVA ends in a rather open-ended fashion. The storyline is rather disjointed, though the animation is decent. There were enough fans of the OVA to warrant their being a sequel, but as far as a dubbed-only DVD release goes, there are better things to spend your money on this week.

And that ends this week's Shelf Life. As I type this, my roommate's dog is barking at the top of his tiny lungs. You wouldn't think such a small dog could wail at such a high decibel. Sleeping will be fun tonight indeed. Happy anime viewing to all of you—I'm off to wrangle some sleep.

-Bamboo “SakechanBD” Dong

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