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Shelf Life
Drill Bits and Dead Leaves

by Bamboo Dong,
Every school needs a good mascot. If your school doesn't have a hale, hearty mascot, would it ever be taken seriously? In my hometown, there were three high schools. We were the Lobos. The second school was the Impalas, and the third... well, they were the Lambkins. That's right. Fuzzy lambs. With such a mascot, there has to be a logical explanation for it, and in this case, there is. When the first high school was being built, they wanted it to be tied to the local state university. The university mascot was the Ram—and so the high school mascot would be the Lambkin. They expected the other high schools to follow suit, but that was a naïve desire. Why would you want your school to be associated with a fluffy pile of livestock? Not likely. It didn't matter that the Lambkins were often better than the Lobos in many things. We had a tougher mascot, and that's all that was important. So if you ever find yourself in a position where you can help decide a school's mascot, please, think of the children.

Welcome to Shelf Life.

Shelf Worthy

Dead Leaves
Manga Entertainment 50 min. 1/1 $24.95 09/28/2004

“Your TV is awesome!”
“So is your dick!”
Without a doubt, any show that has that dialogue exchange in it must be worthy of checking out to some degree. If you've been bored with the anime scene lately, Dead Leaves knows just how to shake it up. A contrast to Production I.G's usual subdued and classy artwork, their latest work is a flashy and haphazard dash into bright colors and sharp angles, like a superhero comic book given life (except with farts and dick jokes). It follows two wild characters who wake up to find themselves naked outside of a city. Pandy is a saucy gal with a red patch of skin around her eye, and Retro is a horny young guy with a TV for a head. It sounds weird, but after a few minutes, you won't really know what to think anymore. Sadly, the only anime comparison that could capture a bit of the randomness of the show would be FLCL... only Dead Leaves is saturated with much more violence. Right at the get go, and myriads of exploding heads and destroyed buildings later, the two get captured and sent to a prison on the moon. There they engineer a mass jailbreak...amongst even more exploding heads and destruction, along with butt rape, drill-shaped penises, flatulence, irreverent language, and mind-blowing insanity. Clocking in at only 50 minutes, the story races by at a breakneck speed, managing to cram in so many random plot twists and “what the f—?”s that it takes all your brainpower to keep up. When it comes down to it, Dead Leaves isn't so much spectacular as it is truly bizarre. Tottering between grotesque and hysterical, it's something worth buying just for novelty's sake. There's nothing like bloodshed and phallic jokes to screw up an otherwise normal day.

Rental Shelf

.hack//Legend of the Twilight Vol. #3 - End Game
Bandai Entertainment 100 min. 3/3 $29.98 09/28/2004

As cute as all the chibi characters are, the last volume still managed to pack in plenty of drama and good action scenes. Introducing the appearance of a renegade AI non-playable character come to life, things get a little shaky when it decides that it wants to kill everyone, just to see what will happen. It brings into light some of the questions that were raised in the first series, like what happens if you die in a game. At the same time, it focuses a bit more on Shugo's bracelet and the influence that it can have on the game, elevating him to a position where he's forced to choose between saving his sister from the perils of a game gone awry, or saving the World. Rounding out with a nicely animated fight scene, the finale of Legend of the Twilight manages to wrap up the show nicely with a semi-serious twist to a plucky-looking show. It's definitely something to rent for all the .hack fans out there.

Gravitation Vol. #3 - One Million Copies?!
Right Stuf International, Inc 75 min. 3/4 $29.99 09/28/2004

This show is largely hit or miss for most people. If you love seeing pretty boys in love, or melodramatic bishounen whining over paltry problems in the idol industry, then this is right up your alley. Personally, I find melodrama to be exasperating, and I find drama queens to be some of the most aggravating people to watch. So depending on where you sit on this scale of drama tolerance, this could very well determine your feelings for the show. In this rousing roller coaster ride of “I love you so much! No, I actually hate you! Cry for me, Argentina!” emotions, we see things between Yuki and Shindo getting more fleshed out. This causes the former to distance himself from Shuichi a bit, but with how kind-hearted (and nosy) the latter is, he doesn't have much luck. This disc also brings back the Nittle Graspers, which provides a bit of entertainment when it brings Sakuma back into the picture. What else could possibly be better than giving all the boys more reasons to angst over their petty personal problems? Drama, flying emotions, and pretty boys? If you love this sort of thing, this is the disc for you.

Perishable Item

My Dear Marie
ADV Films 90 min. 1 $29.98 09/28/2004

Reaching back into their video archive, ADV has decided to release My Dear Marie on DVD for all of posterity to treasure until the disc degrades. To the company, I ask only this: Why couldn't you just let it sleep forever? Why remind fans that this was ever created? Visually, it's hideous. Story-wise, it's awful. Emotionally, it's insulting. Comprised of three totally random episodes, this OVA accomplishes nothing other than give nerdy fanboys the false hope that they too, can be the object of desire of beautiful women everywhere. Hiroshi is a creepy science geek that somehow has the money for a big house and a ridiculously well-stocked basement laboratory. He's unnaturally obsessed with a girl in his tennis club named Marie so he sets up a hidden camera to take pictures of her (Warning, STALKER ALERT). Using these pictures, he builds an android that looks just like her and names her Marie, too (Warning, STALKER ALERT). The two Maries end up meeting each other, so he drums up some lie that Android Marie is his sister. Then in a totally random leap of time and story, the next episode has some cute tomboy that is smitten with our nerdy Hiroshi within two seconds of seeing him. Sure. That'll happen. It's eventually revealed that they knew each other growing up, but fanboy daydreams aside, rest assured that things like this don't actually happen in real life. In yet another random leap of time and story, the third episode is devoted entirely to random dreams that Robo-Marie has, because clearly, the creators ran out of things to talk about. Maybe to old school anime fans, this will bring back some fond memories of when they watched this crap on VHS, but welcome to The Present. It's a beautiful land where you don't have to settle for junk like this anymore. Do you like romance, comedy, drama, science fiction, and heart-tugging emotions? You'll find none of that here.

Nana 7 of 7 Vol. #2 - A Test of Love
Media Blasters 125 min. 2/3 $29.98 09/24/2004

This show was kinda cute the first volume. Now it's just annoying. Why, you ask? Maybe it's because the jokes are exactly the same as in the first volume. The gags that aren't recycled from the first few episodes are ripped from other comedies of the same nature. It's already established that there are seven Nana's running around. They do silly things like try to screw over Nana #1s life by impersonating her, trying to steal her boy, and other stuff. Haha. Very funny. The disc's saving grace is a half-hearted attempt to reinstate a small focus on the relationship between Nana and the boy she likes. This comes in the form of a late night radio show that everyone listens to, that airs a message to Nana by a mysterious boy, who may or may not be her Lover Boy. Freaked out, Nana careens into the station with her magical powers, and manages to get away with it unnoticed—a convenient story ploy since she's supposed to keep everything a secret. Don't forget the token “let's have a cooking contest for the boy we love!” ploy either. That's the secret ingredient to any show where women fight over a man. Throw in all of these seemingly vapid plot points and you've got yourself a pretty succinct summary for NaNa 7 of 7 disc two. Do yourself a favor and watch something else this week.

Well, that's it for this week. Usually, Shelf Life tries to review all of the major titles coming out every week, but regretfully, no screeners were received for any of the other releases. For a complete list of releases, check out our release encyclopedia! Thanks for reading and I'll see you soon!

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