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Shelf Life
The Great Anime Adventure

by Bamboo Dong,
Summer's finally here! It's time to shave off those pounds, trim that ass, and squeeze your butt into a few squares of cloth and a few strands of floss so you can flaunt your stuff on the beach. Wait, what's that I hear? You're saying you're Day-Glo pale and a little chunky around the thighs? Have no fear, for Otaku Exercise Man is here!! I'm here to help you get the body you want, all while enjoying the joy of anime and games. I call it Anime Adventure, and it only requires a minimum of two people.

Want the rules? Grab 'em here, or at the end of the column.

Not only is this a great way to have some fun with a bunch of your anime fan friends, but it's a great way to work out without really realizing that you're doing it! The more people you have, the better it gets, so try doing this next time as a healthy alternative to a marathon of a show you've all already seen twenty times. So, keep those legs jogging, and welcome to Shelf Life!

Shelf Worthy

Nadia, Secret of Blue Water DVD Collection 1 + Audio CDs
ADV Films 500 min. 1-5/10 $49.98 05/18/2004

If ever there was an anime bargain so amazing that you just had to snatch it up, the Nadia collections are it. Packaged with the first five DVDs and the first two soundtracks, the first half of this awesome deal is enough to make any Gainax fan salivate. The story centers around a spunky circus performer named Nadia. The only worldly possession she owns is a mysterious gem that hangs around her neck. Little does she know that the bauble is none other than the Blue Water—a stone capable of resurrecting the Atlantean empire to its forner grandeur. Even if she doesn't know this, Gargoyle sure does, and he is dead set on hunting down Nadia and stealing the Blue Water from her. Luckily for her, help comes in the form of a nerdy kid named Jean and old Captain Nemo. Together, our protagonists will journey to the ends (and betweens) of the earth to escape Gargoyle and his minions' nefarious grasp. Nadia, Secret of Blue Water is without a doubt one of Gainax's best works. A solid story of rollicking adventure and intrigue, served with a dish of panache, this is something every anime fan must treat themselves to. Fifty bucks for hours of renewable happiness? Seize the day, my friends.

Key the Metal Idol - Complete Collection + Original Soundtrack
Viz 570 min. 1-3/3 $49.98 05/18/2004

Boy, we are just crawling in good deals today. Next up to bat we've got the complete collection for Key the Metal Idol, ringing in at 15 episodes, with a soundtrack included as an incentive. One of the only android shows that isn't saturated with b00bi3z and panty shots, this show is a touching tale of a robot who must learn what it truly means to be human, and teach that message to those around her as she matures. Mima Murao is a girl like any other, except for one glitch... she's an android. Created by her grandfather, she ages only when he gives her new parts. Suddenly, it all stops when he passes away, leaving behind only a message telling her that she can become human if she can get 30,000 people to love her. Since becoming a human is all that she ever dreamed of, she sets off to acquire this goal, but can that many people love a robot? Certainly a gem in the pile of android trash, Key the Metal Idol is something anyone could enjoy having in their permanent collection. If so many people can fall in love with her, maybe you can too.

Kino's Journey Vol. #3 - Warning! Curves Ahead
ADV Films 75 min. 3/? $29.98 05/18/2004

What started out as a mildly disturbing show is now pure intrigue and fascination. Every new place that Kino goes to is like a feast for viewers, and with the insatiable hunger that this show gives you, you can only crave more. In this delectable volume, Kino stumbles upon some unique places that are quite magical in their own way. The first is a quiet town that hardly ever gets any visitors. In that idyllic place, Kino chances upon a girl whose dream is to fly. Surrounded by people who have never believed flight to be possible, and have never even bothered to think about it, her ambitions are a delight to watch. What's even more interesting is when Kino ventures to a place where, in order to gain entrance, you must bring in a book. In exchange, you are allowed to take a book out. As it turns out though, all of the books that pass through the place are censored, so that the only books there are 100% kid and government friendly. With dashes of underground sentiments that remind one of Fahrenheit 451, the insights revealed in this world provide a nice new twist to the story and the way that the audience sees everything. Mysterious and gripping, this show has its fair share of eye-widening moments for sure. Pick this one up if you see it.

Rental Shelf

Soul Hunter - Complete Collection
ADV Films 650 min. 1-6/6 $49.98 05/17/2004

Soul Hunter... the name conjures up images of serial murders, blood-bathed corridors, and perhaps a high-budget summer flop starring someone like the Rock. But no, it's about some lazy dude riding around on a My Little Pony trying to get other people to kill stuff for him. Or rather, that's what it looks like. Unless you've pored over the manga and stared at the anime for awhile, the story is rather complex and it's easy to get tossed out of the loop. The Chinese emperor has been brought under the evil Dakki's control. While all the land is rotting in hunger, the Dakki and her oafish sisters are living like fat rats off the country's wealth. Because the dead and the immortal (one of which Dakki happens to be, incidentally) spend most of their time watching the living, they naturally know about all this and decide to send down one of their most powerful warriors to trap all the immortals running amok with the humans—especially Dakki. Unfortunately, all the powerful warriors were on vacation or something, because they ended up with Taikoubou, a mortal training under the head honcho of the immortals. The lazy bugger can't seem to do anything right, and the last thing he wants to do is trap all the immortals on his list, so he decides to go straight after Dakki instead. With the help of all the random people he enlists, he embarks on a journey to hunt down that psychotic woman. Soul Hunter is an interesting story once you get into it, but it's a little hard to tell when that moment of enlightenment will happen for everyone. Luckily, it comes with a relationship chart and historical background notes so you can grasp a bit more of what the hell is going on. The collection may only retail for a cool $50, but if you haven't seen this before, you should definitely first check out some of the individual discs that are already out.

Steam Detectives Vol. #6 - Case 6
ADV Films 100 min. 6/6 $29.98 05/18/2004

Raise your hand if you think the cover looks like a bad rip-off of Batman. Yeah, I thought so. Cover aside, with the advent of the sixth volume, Steam Detectives rolls to a solid close. Ending with a mini-arc, Dr. Guilty has taken Ling Ling as a hostage. Fortunately, she manages to rig up an escape, but not before she gets banged up pretty bad and has to take a respite in the hospital. Even so, Narutaki's life is still far from being at ease. All of his friends are being victimized by hapless accidents, and it's up to him to come to grips with his past and fix everything. With the Knight Phantom coming back for one last bout, Narutaki must deal with the hardest challenge he's faced so far. (After all, who can take someone named Dr. Guilty seriously?) With most of the episodes on this final disc coming together for a final story, it's a nice step away from the standalones that have been on the other volumes. Dealing more with the reality of the past, this last foray into the series is a bit darker than the episodes leading up to it, which gives it a nice flair. It's not exactly a horrifically exciting series, but it gets the job done when you're in need of something to watch. Bored? Give this a go.

Mahoromatic: Summer Special + Box + Figure
Geneon 36 min. 1/1 $39.98 05/18/2004
Mahoromatic: Summer Special
Geneon 36 min. 1/1 $14.98 05/18/2004

1. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning.
2. Making an entire episode with Mahoro bustling around saying that all dirty thoughts are bad, while fanboys are furiously jerking off into a towel.

Taking place sometime in the middle of the second season, the Mahoromatic: Summer Special is great for fans who love the perky feeling of some of the earlier episodes. Mahoro has had it with Suguru and his dirty magazines, so she's recruited the help of Minawa and Ms. Shijiko to get rid of them forever. They devise a plan to get rid of all of Suguru and co's mags, but the boys are well ahead of them. There's panty shots and nipples galore in this special, and plenty of the hijinks that characterized Mahoromatic's start. If you're looking to watch more of your favorite characters in action, this is a great addition for you. Other than that, it's a good way to satisfy any panty cravings you might have.

No perishable items for that week. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your patience as we try to catch up on Shelf Life!

Anime Adventure Rules:

Grab four sheets of paper, one die, a pen, and find a nice open space outside, like your backyard. On the first sheet of paper, write down a list of all the missions that your favorite anime or game characters have been on. Whether it's SeeD's trek to Timber, or the Mini Goddess' hike up to the berserk air conditioner to turn it off, make sure it's something that requires moving. On the next sheet of paper, brainstorm a list of all your favorite (or least favorite!) characters. For more fun, try more random things like the squid from Hand Maid May or Shadow Girl A from Utena. Brainstorm again for a list of props used in anime or video games, like the toupee found on the ground in one of the Fushigi Yuugi OAV omake, and stick this on the third sheet. Now take the last slice of paper and write down a special effect, like the pink sparkles that Major Armstrong always has in Fullmetal Alchemist. Now cut up all the lists you made so you have a stack of suggestions for each sheet of paper. Divvy those up and stuff them in your pocket.

Go to one end of your backyard and draw a mission from your pocket. That's your mission, and the way to achieve that mission is to go across your yard and back. Then, each person takes turn rolling the die. If it lands on an odd number, take that many steps towards your destination. If it's an even number, you get a random encounter. To fight, you have to pull out a character, a prop, and a special effect. Then, using the mission as your scenario, you have to act out that character, using that prop and that special effect. If the other people playing think you did a good job, you win. If not, you have to jog a lap around the yard, so anime nerdiness is actually rewarded! First person to the destination wins. Everyone else has to do a lap around the yard.

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