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Shelf Life
Just A Little Late

by Bamboo Dong,
This issue is a bit late, but you know how the saying goes. I'm not sure what it is word for word, but I know it ends with something like, “so therefore I win.” Or something like that. So blah, blah, blah... blah, blah, blah... so therefore I win.

Welcome to Shelf Life.

Shelf Worthy

Columbia-Tristar 114 min. 1/1 $24.95 02/27/2004

You haven't experienced the beauty and depth of anime until you've seen Memories. Created by Katsuhiro Otomo, the mastermind behind Akira, Memories is a collection of three vignettes that not only stand out magnificently on their own, but tie together to sculpt a strong image of the futility and drive of human life. The first is a piece directed by Koji Morimoto entitled “Magnetic Rose” which follows a team of intergalactic garbage collectors who end up inside a woman's space mansion, only to be sucked into her web of stagnant memories. The second is called “Stink Bomb” and offsets the first one with a bit of humor. Directed by Tensai Okamura, it's about a chemist who unwillingly turns himself into a biological weapon of lethal BO. Otomo makes an appearance directing the last one, a precocious short named “Cannon Fodder” reminiscent of the mindset that clutters Orwell's 1984. Truly an example of fluid artistic achievement and introspection, this is a movie that everyone should watch at least once in their lives. You may end up not liking the whole thing, but there will most likely be something in this film that will pull you in.

Haibane Renmei vol. #4 - Day of Flight
Geneon 75min. 4/4 $29.98 02/24/2004

A soft, satisfying ending to a touching series. What could be better? As Reki's Day of Flight grows closer, worries begin to appear about whether or not she will be forgiven, or if she will stay a Haibane forever... doomed to wander the world aimlessly? Answering the question that were raised in earlier volumes about the guardian, and why the Haibane are so closely tied to their dreams, this last collection of episodes does a wonderful job of tying up all loose ends and giving it a solid ending. The pacing for the series has been terrific, and there couldn't have been a better time to seal things up. If you're a fan of Haibane Renmei at all, this is a necessity to have on your shelves. Combining grace and beauty, this series is at once the idyllic drifting of a feather and the sad grace of rain. Use what imagery you'd like, or whatever haiku you want, this volume is undeniably a great ending to a great series.

Rental Shelf

Kino's Journey vol. #1 - Idle Adventurer
ADV 100min. $29.98 1/? 02/24/2004
Kino's Journey vol. #1 - Idle Adventurer + Artbox
ADV 100min. $39.98 1/? 02/24/2004

Huh what? I... I can't seem to pull away from this series, yet it kinda makes me want to turn away. It's so morbidly fascinating and confusing that I can't help but keep my eyes intent on the screen, wondering where this thing is going. The story tells of a young individual named Kino whose job is to be a Traveler. Basically, Kino's job is to travel around to different countries, spend a few days there, and move on. The episodes on this disc follow Kino's adventures, screwing with your brain cells in the process. For fans who love the different settings that anime characters find themselves in, this show will be a nerdgasm on a plate for you. Every place Kino goes has its own quirks, its own customs, and its own “WTF mate?”s. With places that are seemingly inhabited only by servant robots, to places that surgically alter their citizens to be happy 50s sitcom clones, this show is just fascinating. It's not clear yet just where this show is going, but until it gets there, it's pretty engaging. Still, I'd give it a rental first since the show is just so “WTF?” to plunge into buying it. Screw your mind with a rental first.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure vol. #3
Super Techno Arts 3/? $24/99 02/24/2004

D00d, z0mb13s. I <3 z0mb13s. Granted, they're not as cool as ninjas, but they're still pretty cool. In this new installment of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, they get to fight zombies. Yeah. If that's not cool, I don't know what is. But aside from the zombies, it's business as usual. If you're looking for a deep story, you're in the wrong town. If you want some baddie versus super baddie fighting though, this is the thing for you. It's like playing the video game, except without a controller. W00t. So if you're the type that loves mindless fighting with a story best grasped if you've played the game before, this might be fun. Otherwise, you're best off with just a quick rental to kill some time.

Steam Detectives vol. #4
ADV 100min. 4/? $29.98 02/24/2004

Kia Asamiya's adventure continues in the fourth volume of Steam Detectives as madness continues to creep across the city. Between tales of thievery and seduction, happiness and danger, and rampant property damage, the tale of our heroes is progressing nicely. As they fight to save their city from one dastard villain after another, viewers are taken on a standard, though fun, spin through the flames of heroics. Naturally, if you've been enjoying this series up until now, you might as well keep going. Of course, you're not missing anything too much by just jumping in now, so if you want to join our friends as they defend the city against a variety of bad guys, give this a rental and have fun.

Sadamitsu the Destroyer vol. #2 - Invasion Squad
AnimeWorks 75 min. $25.95 02/24/2004

Okay, okay, let me catch my breath from laughing. Alright. Sadamitsu the Destr—HAHA! Alright, Earth is on the verge of outright destruction from millions of evil, dangerous aliens. Pods full of these vicious things are being launched from every corner of Evil-ville, but never you lose faith! Sadamitsu will save the world with his busted helmet and his awe-inspiring super cyber kinetic powers! The fact that the fate of humankind as we know it rests on a motorcycle gang stripped from a post-apocalyptic movie is funny beyond comparison. In the second volume of this utterly ridiculous series, our punk-rawker takes his motorcycle for a spin as he rounds up as man aliens as he can. Motorcycle rodeos? Yee-haw! This is the perfect thing to rent if you and your pals ever want to have Anime MST3K night. The show is so stupid, but I can't help but keep watching it. Goodness, what has the world come to.

Idol Project - Super Pop Anthology
AnimeWorks 118 min. 1/1 $29.95 02/24/2004

Honestly, I think I'm the only person on the planet who likes this show. It's so frivolous and vapid that I enjoy it with no shame. Mimu is a young girl who desperately wants to be an idol in a world that is ruled by idols. Before she can take her place amongst the Eight Excellent Idols though, she'll have to survive the most nerve-wracking audition of her life. Before she gets the chance to perform though, she and the idols get kidnapped to another universe where they must compete in idol competitions like modeling contests. That's... basically it. Make no mistakes, it sounds like the worst excuse for an anime series ever invented, but I think it's a lot of brainless fun comparable to all of the best Milly moments in Lost Universe. Want to indulge in some air-headed fun? Idol Project is the way to go. Not to mention you get the entire series for the price that I paid for each volume.

Mao-chan vol. #3 - Song of Defense
Geneon 81min. $29.98 02/24/2004

Little bunny Foo-Foo, hoppin' through the forest. Meeting up with Mao-chan and getting pwnzed upside the head. Or at least that's what I've pulled out of the series so far. In a vain attempt to raise moral for his country, a gimmick has been imposed on the army—letting little girls with batons run around fighting aliens. I would argue that if the alien invaders are rabbits and other fluffy things, a few daisy cutters and incendiary bombs would be much more effective than a little girl. Regardless, our cute adventure continues in this disc as the aliens have started targeting all the fruits in Japan. Oh no. Can our girls defeat these Evil, Evil, SINISTER things? Your enjoyment of this series will really depend on how old you are, whether or not you have kids, or how “young at heart” you are. The series is insanely cute, mostly story-less, and a great rental for that pesky little brat you have to baby-sit this Thursday. If you're not a big fan of cute things though, I implore you to stay away from this. You won't like it.

Perishable Items

10 Tokyo Warriors
Media Blasters 162min. $39.95 02/24/2004

Why would you even think of paying $40 for this thing? There's ten too many warriors in this rote cliché-fest even for the most simple-minded of human beings. Or dogs. With a story much like every single demon-busting anime out there, it doesn't even try to be different for two minutes. Back in the ancient days, a group of powerful, archetypal warriors sealed The Gate between our world and the demon world. You would never guess what happens next. The biggest, baddest, evilest demons of them ALL wants to break through the seal and take over the world. Accompanied by his puny little crony demons, this is an exercise in repetition and repetition only. Demon, gasp, fight, speech. Repeat. Throw in some rancidly awful animation, and you've got yourself a loser. If you're having problems getting to sleep, this is the perfect drug for you. Other than that, avoid this thing. Life's too short to spend it watching something you've already seen 10 billion times in other series before. Forty bucks to smack around little demons? Go buy Kingdom Hearts and play that instead.

That's it for this week. Sorry for the delay, and thanks for reading!

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