Shelf Life
The Porcelain Castle

by Bamboo Dong,
I few weeks ago, I decided to envelope myself in the welcoming embrace of Spring Break. To soothe the wounds of the academic world, I immersed myself in the land of happiness and brought out my inner child. Damn straight, I went to Disneyland.

As anyone who has been to this magical place knows, the entire grounds marinate in the seas of wonder. From the well-crafted rides to the beautifully engineered attractions, one cannot help but take a step back and marvel in this overpriced slice of fantastical mystique. If you can't be happy in Disneyland, your soul is a pit of dank sewage. Wandering through the gates of my childhood, I was able to marvel in something so trivial, and yet so important, that I felt I had to share it with the world.

Disneyland restrooms are amazing. Bedecked with long corridors of pristine stalls, virtually every single porcelain shrine is kept precariously clean all day long. No matter what time I paid a visit to la toilette, almost every single time it was shockingly clean. Someway, somehow, even after being used by thousands of children, the stalls in Disneyland manage to stay cleaner than any given toilet on a university campus. I was absolutely stunned and appalled at how mere children could be more respectful of public property than college students, for whom simple tasks like flushing are much too strenuous. There is absolutely no reason why some college kids should be so abysmally disgusting all the time. Oh, and to clarify once and for all—women are much more dirty and disgusting than men. I refuse to understand how women could leave urine on toilet seats. Is that even physically possible? It really shouldn't be. Not if she employed the basic, albeit oft-overlooked invention of toilet paper. Truly, such practices should be instilled in every child growing up in the civilized world. Not only should women use toilet paper, but all people need to learn how to wash their hands after using the loo, if not for their own health, than the health of the people around them. Kids at Disneyland wash their hands after using the restroom. Many college students don't. Regardless of what they just did on the john. Sometimes I hate college.

Very short release list this week. Enjoy, and welcome to Shelf Life.

Shelf Worthy

Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi Vol. #4 – There's No Place Like Home
ADV Films 75 min. 4/4 $29.98 04/20/2004

Like fungus on bread, this show really grows on you after awhile in an almost sick sort of way. Like the first three volumes of Gainax's wacky parody show, the fourth is jam packed with pop culture cameos, silly jokes, and out-of-this-world (literally) adventuring. Rounding up the last of the comedy, this last DVD sends Sasshi and Arumi home at last. Before they get the luxury of finally relaxing though, they're tossed through quite a few more ordeals. From mixing themselves up in the chaos of Hollywood, to worming their way through flying projectiles, this disc is as stuffed full of quirky comedy as its predecessors. Of course, what Gainax show is complete without some kind of deep, pseudo-existential plot twist that vainly ties all the fun together and kicks viewers in the head? This one surely isn't devoid of one, and while it may not be quite what you were expecting... well, it's an enjoyable ending nevertheless. As with all shows of this nature though, plan on bringing friends if you want to watch this. Nothing's more unsatisfying than guffawing in an empty room and not being able to swap nerdy anime quotes with friends later.

Tenchi Muyo GXP Vol. #2 – Academy Life
FUNimation Productions 2/? $24.98 04/20/2004

Dare I say it? This show is growing on me, too. Forget how passé Tenchi Muyo! is, there's enough entertainment to be milked out of this new series to please casual anime fans everywhere. After the first volume, we saw Seina being recruited into the Galactic Academy against his will. This time, we get the pleasure of seeing him flounder helplessly in the thick of it all, risking failing his PE classes because of his pitifully wimpy body. With how frail he is, it's a wonder all the ladies are still chasing after him, but a little fanservice now and then keeps the world going round. This volume is less information intensive than the first one, but it still gives plenty of background on what's going on. Issues like whether or not Seina should use body enhancements that may increase his success in the academy, but lower his chances of going back on Earth, are already popping up, making sure this series isn't just full of vapid humour and breasts. Granted, contemplating over making yourself artificially buff isn't what society would call “deep thinking” at all, but it does hint at some of the thoughts playing in Seina's mind about his life. If you've never seen any Tenchi before, you might as well jump in from the backside and check this series out first. It couldn't hurt.

Rental Shelf

Wedding Peach Vol. #02 – Pluie's War
ADV Films 150 min. 2/? $29.98 04/20/2004

Why are there so many Wedding Peach haters out there? I realize the transformation sequences are impossibly long and repetitive, and this series has no logic embedded in it (fighting evil in a wedding dress?!), but it's so cute and unique in its own way that any mahou shoujo fan just has to give it a try. Instead of your stock whiny lead girls, our heroines can carry their own weight in battle just fine. Plus, it's refreshing to see a main character not fall in love with the requisite magical bishie. In any case, this volume of Wedding Peach continues with the marital shenanigans as Raindevila summons lame monster upon lame monster to the streets of Japan to try and break the resolution of the girls. From apocalypse-chanting fortune tellers to PLOT TWISTING HARDSHIPS to ruin the friendship of the girls, it's standard mahou shoujo fare, minus all the annoying traits of magical girls. If there's a show out there so cute and cheesy that it feels like you're being bludgeoned on the head with a bat, there's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't give it a whirl, if just for curiosity's sake. Don't hate the playa, hate the game.

Mao-Chan Vol. #4 - Let's Defend Happiness!
Geneon 81 min. 4/4 $29.98 04/20/2004

Remember as a kid how grown-ups always told you to not eat candy before bedtime because the sugar would give you bad dreams? Don't watch Mao-chan before bed. I tried it once, and I had nightmares about little girls and teddy bears shooting me with a tank. A military show aimed at little girls, Mao-chan finally wraps things up with this fourth volume. Still lacking substance and an overriding storyline, it lumbers to the finale as the girls learn Valuable Lessons about Friendship and Goals and drive back the invaders once and for all. Throwing in a stereotypical anime American girl at the last moment, viewers (and the kids watching with them) get a last pinch of fun before the show flutters to an end. With enough silliness to drown an entire state, these last episodes revel in the same fluff that the earlier did. Needless to say, if you were a fan of the earlier DVDs, then you'll love this one, since the contents are nearly identical (only now with a new blond chick). Other than that, it might be best to stay away from this show lest you start throwing things at the screen.

Perishable Items

Nothing to see here. Run along and go play in the sand, kids.

That's it for this week! See you next time!

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