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Shelf Life
Do the Bathroom Dance

by Bamboo Dong,
Hey there guys and gals! This is Juna speaking, courtesy of Anime News Network. You may know me from such TV appearances such as Earth Girl Arjuna, Earth Girl Arjuna: The Trailer, and Earth Girl Arjuna: The TV Spot. I decided to take a break from my busy schedule and talk to everyone about one of the most important issues plaguing the world right now—not washing your hands after you use the toilet. No matter if you barely tinkled in the bowl or left a heap of natural, all-purpose compost, it is necessary that you watch out for your hygiene! Now, I know that most of you out there are good people and never forget your restroom essentials, but for those of you who have forgotten how it goes, I'm here to give you a special treat. At the bottom of the column is my very own Bathroom Dance, sung to the tune of “C'est La Vie” by Aino Minako from Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. Every time you need a reminder on how to wash your hands, just sing my happy jig and you'll be all bright and ready to go!

Don't forget: even if you think that you won't get sick from not washing your hands, other people around you might.
Fun Fact: If you don't wash your hands, you could catch a deadly disease and DIE. So remember—if you're not clean then you're being mean!

That ends my public service announcement. We've got a really short release list, so get ready and welcome to Shelf Life!

Shelf Worthy

Boys Over Flowers Vol. #5 -Be Still My Beating Heart
Viz, LLC. 100 min. 5/? $24.98 05/04/2004

There is only one truth that holds in this world. Being a teenager sucks. From acne, to whining over completely meaningless things, it's a rite of life that will never change. In fact, it's this universal pot of angst that makes Boys Over Flowers so damned fun to watch. Like a Lichtenstein painting, it dashes angry streaks of teen drama across every last empty spot of canvas in sight. Following the same brisk pace as the previous episodes, the fifth volume heaves onward as Tsukushi gets pulled back into the whirlpool of romance. After sitting on his hands for four volumes, rich boy Tsukasa finally confesses his love to her. Like most girls, she doesn't know whether to think that's flattering, scary, or just plain gross. Of course, it doesn't help that Tsukasa is so clumsy in the way that he handles girls that you can't help but laugh at him behind his back. Even with his "I'm too sexy for my shirt" attitude though, he's not the only thing on Tsukushi's mind, especially now that Rui's back in town. With tempers flaring and misunderstandings abounding, the secrets that end up leaking out are the very stuff that juicy gossip is made of. After all, high school isn't real until rumours start flying and girls start screeching. Put this on your shelf.

Kiddy Grade Vol. #3 - Lies Beneath
FUNimation Productions 75 min. 3/8 $24.98 05/04/2004

With its ominous title, one has to wonder... what does lie beneath this DVD insert? Is it the masterpeice anime of our century? Or is it just a really ugly cover that some college student hacked up with Photoshop 5.0? Or is it just... a disc? Like this intro, the biggest barrier the series was facing was its slow pacing and fruitless babble. Now that these issues have been removed, this show has really skyrocketed in terms of “gimme gimme” watchability. With these new episodes, our duo of fanboy magnets (not pictured on the right) are sent on a mission to keep an eye on an influential financial firm. Seemingly a routine assignment at the time, things quickly go askew as a political pissing contest arises in the middle of nowhere. Alas, poor Éclair and Lumiere already have enough things on their hands just dealing with all the people trying to blow up the universe with stolen technology. Well, it's too bad for them, because their workload's just gotten ten times rougher now that they have to take care of all the insurrections popping up all over the galaxy, too. Their pain is only our happiness though, because now the series is a lot more fun. As the story begins to unfold, viewers have much more to look forward to with each coming episode. No longer is it just a boring tale about a girl's magical lipstick laser, but one of power struggles and economic rife. Who would've thought a show named Kiddy Grade could ever be this cool? Make plans to add this disc to your collection so you too can find out... what lies beneath...

Rental Shelf

Snow Fairy Sugar Summer Special – Limited Edition
Geneon 48 min. 1/1 $24.98 05/04/2004
Snow Fairy Sugar Summer Special
Geneon 48 min. 1/1 $19.98 05/04/2004

Once in a lifetime, along comes a show so adorable that even the toughest, burliest man can find a little room in his heart for its effervescent magic. Such a show hasn't been found yet, but Snow Fairy Sugar is still pretty damned cute. At the beginning of this two-episode special, viewers meet up with Saga four years after the end of the TV series. More stressed out, but still with the same sweet visage, she takes the audience on a journey to the past when she sees her grandmother pull a fluffy pink dress from a trunk. Dumping viewers into a flashback, the story nestles there comfortably for the rest of the special. Taking place when Sugar had just started searching for the Twinkles, Saga's classmates have decided to put on a class play. Accidentally roped into playing the lead part of a princess, she realizes with dismay that, like every single anime girl in the same scenario, she has a horrible case of stage fright. With help from her fairy friends, Saga learns about confidence and Believing in Herself™, all while having to do damage control for Sugar's crazy antics. Frivolous but fun, it's an absolute delight for Snow Fairy Sugar fans who couldn't get enough of the characters. If cute fluffy things make you shudder in disgust, flee in terror from this. Everyone else, check it out.

Project Arms Vol. #09 - End of the First
Viz, LLC. 50 min. 9/? $14.98 05/04/2004

While this series did nothing to really impress me at all with its first eight volumes, something finally clicked, and I managed to enjoy the chapter's closing episodes. Like all decent endings, it wraps things up nicely and slaps a solid bow and gift receipt on it. After this long time, we finally get the chance to truly understand Jabberwock and see its true nature. Soon, all is sugar and roses as everyone bands together and beats up the remainder of the bad guys. Teamwork, friendship, and “looking within yourself” are the keywords to success, and they pull it all off without a hitch. As far as plots go, it's standard action fare. What is nice about it though, is the time off that the show takes every now and then to let us examine each character and see what he's thinking. A far cry from the original “RAWR, My Arm is Bigger Than Yours, and I've Had More Misery In My Life Than You!!” attitude that seemed to pockmark the characters in the earlier volumes, the revelations that each person imparts to the audience make for a decent watch. Hokey as parts of the series were, this series leaves a rather pleasant taste in your mouth. If anything, watch this last volume for kicks. The worst that could happen would be wasting an hour of your life that you will Never. Get. Back.

Perishable Item

BASToF Syndrome
ADV Films 125 min. 1/? $29.98 05/04/2004

The year is 2097... In a nipple-shaped city, cryptic stalker lingo is uttered as humanity faces its last threat—a ball of light. Switch scenes and we find ourselves bathed in third rate hip hop, in a more cheerful city as two ugly children sit in a blimp looking for a skateboarder at the X Games. Suddenly we see him—a cocky loser with tight pants too short for him, doing an aerial in a bowl with monkey lips agape. His battle cry is “Yeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaw! Weeeeeeaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhwwoooooooo!” Somewhere in the dub, an oracle of truth calls him a “tool.” There's no time for introductions though, as he zips out of the city, chased by a girl on rollerblades. Before the audience members, or the screenwriters, know it, he ends up in an empty room en solitude, confronted by a game controller. Thus the story begins. As it turns out, there's a game where players can synch with biorobots and fight other robots, all to a thudding techno soundtrack. However, there's a glitch in the system and the REAL WORLD IS BLENDING WITH THE GAME WORLD!! AAAAAHHHH!!!! It's up to the three 133t3st gamers in Xenon to FIGHT FATE with their badass Gamer Skillz! Finally, their secret identities are revealed! Untalented Xtreme Sports players by day, Gamers Extraordinaire by night, they must arm themselves with DDR handles like Pseudo and Mint, and save the world from a game gone horribly awry. That is the magical essence of BASToF Syndrome. Somewhere during the licensing process, a voice of reason asserted, “This is a collection of the biggest clichés in anime. They were cool the first time, the second time, and even the third time, but by now, it's been beaten to death with a package of ramen. We can't license this crap.” Then somewhere else, another voice said, “Naw man, it's cool. It's Korean.” And that's the story of how BASToF Syndrome was borne to Best Buy shelves around the country. There's a misconception amongst older people who think, “Hey, this'll really appeal to kids because it's about gaming and skateboarding!” but it's not true. The gaming is fake, the skateboarding is lame, and the characters are losers. Get with the times, man. There's much better stuff out there.

And that concludes last week's Shelf Life. Thanks for your patience, and thanks for reading!

The Bathroom Dance

First you take a quick look into the toilet bowl,
Gotta make real sure that it's not all full.
If you think it is, then you'd better flush it down,
Keep on doing this if you still see brown.

When you think you're done, step up to the bathroom sink.
Turn on the faucet; it happens in a wink.
Run your hands under the nice water that comes out,
Wet every bit of both your hands and turn about.

Because you're happy for the Baaaath-roooom Dance!
It is always lots of joy for everybody's day.
Baaaath-roooom Dance!
With a lot of non-stop fun to brighten up your stay.
Just sing this jovial song
There's no way you can go wrong.
Just do it and you will feel A.O.K!

Once you get your hands wet, it's time to grab some soap,
Lather nice and good, and don't dare lose hope.
Because once you're done, you can rinse yourself all clean,
Scrubbing super hard to get good hygiene!

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