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Shelf Life
Away For the Holidays

by Bamboo Dong,
I've always loved going to away games. You don't get the same sentiment as you do from being packed into a stadium with like-minded fans, but there's something grand about supporting your team in a venue where everyone glares at you, even if your team ends up losing. As I write this, I'm sitting in a car on my way back from seeing my boys, the Colorado Avalanche, play the New York Islanders. They lost, but they put on a glorious show, coming back from a huge point deficit to only lose by one goal. There I was in my “Aebischer – 1” jersey (I beg of you to spare me the comments about trade rumors! My heart can't take any more trades this season. ) that's far too big for me, screaming at the top of my lungs—and completely pissing off everyone around me. That's what makes away games fun. The better the away team plays, and the louder you cheer, the more irritated those around you become and the ruder they get. Those exchanged glares and the snide insults are what make the sporting world go 'round, and I wouldn't back down for anything. Want to start a fight with me? Bitch, it's already been broughten.

Welcome to Shelf Life.

Godannar DVD 2 - Til Death Do Us Part
ADV Films 100 min. 2/? $29.98 11/29/2005

Whoever told me that Godannar would get better once the story developed more: you were right, I was wrong. I still think the fanservice is over the top and the character design for Anna is the most hideous thing this side of a clay lump, but now that the episodes are actually going somewhere, the show is quite enjoyable. Rather than subjecting viewers to filler after filler of Anna and her whining, this volume digs deeper into the characters and their pasts. Notable is the addition of Mira, whose presence is causing quite a few rifts and questions about the Mimetic Beasts. Not many more questions have been answered about the enemy and their side effects on the community, but as the characters are developed more, the story begins to flesh out quite a bit. Anna may still be a whiny little girl, but at least she's got a bit more flavor this time around. Godannar still has a ways to go before it can stand with some of the best mecha shows out there, but it's doing a good job of entertaining. Let's hope this upward slope doesn't plateau any time soon.

Related Products: Godannar may have plenty of tight pants and bouncing breasts, but it doesn't hold a candle to the embarrassment that is Gravion.
Tastes Like: Maltose. If you twirl it onto a fork and suck on it, it's a bit bland at first, but then all the flavor comes rushing out at you.

Tetsujin 28 DVD 1 - Monster Resurrected + Box
Geneon 115 min. 1/? $34.98 0927/2005
Tetsujin 28 DVD 1 - Monster Resurrected
Geneon 115 min. 1/? $29.98 0927/2005

You have to love a robot villain that has MONSTER scrawled across his chest and flames blowing out of his ass. Throw in some guy with a pompadour the size of his head, a fat man with a Hitler-stache, and The Hulk, and you've got a show that's so campy it's wonderful. There's something majestic about old-school-styled shows that keep you glued to the screen, kind of like watching old black and white B-films. After World War II, Japan destroyed all of the terrible weapons they had created, hoping they would never have to face such bloodshed ever again. However, things suddenly change when a giant missile dislodges itself from its underground lair and hurtles through the sky to land at the feet of a young boy name Shotaro. He's shocked to find that the shell has his name painted on it, and even more shocked when it opens to reveal a metallic killing machine—the Tetsujin 28. Together, they help protect Japan from random steel beasts and green monsters in a tale of never-ending enemies that's so silly it's almost cool. It helps that the Tetsujin theme is this 1940s march chanting the virtues of Tetsujin, complete with wartime sound effects and kids singing “bababababa” and “dadadadada.” With all of the flashy new shows out nowadays, it's hard to want to sit down and watch something so silly and old-school-looking, but sometimes it's nice to know that if all else in life disappears, you'll always have your one-on-one tin can battles.

Related Products: Why stop here? Go back to where it all began, in Gigantor, the series that inspired Tetsujin 28.
Tastes Like: Canned beans. Nothing says camp like s'mores and beans.

Detective Loki DVD 2 - Love & War
ADV Films 100 min. 2/? $29.98 12/13/2005

Despite the cool ties the show has to Norse mythology, despite the fun cast of characters it has, Loki Ragnarok also has the power to trip yawn reflexes like a box of Benadryl. It just simply doesn't have what it takes to be an intense, gripping show. There's no heart-pounding action, no breathtaking drama, no romance—it's basically just little kids running around solving mysteries and waving sticks around. It tries hard to be somewhat dark, to be sure, but it's hard to seriously when everyone is three feet tall and wears shorts. In the second volume of the series, things get a bit more chaotic. Apparently, half the Norse world is hanging out in Japan and a big chunk of them are out to kill Loki. Luckily, he has his own collection of allies too, so the monotony of the mystery solving is oftentimes relieved by plenty of magic-stick and hocus pocus action. By no means is it a bad show, though; the characters are colorful, the mythology provides a very creative zest, every episode follows a strong story arc, the art is adorable, and for the viewers who are into this kind of this, it's incredibly shoutalicious. All it really lacks is the pizzazz that sets it apart from all the other fantasy/myth that prevents jaded reviewers from falling asleep. The show has plenty of potential and it has all the elements it needs to make something truly fun, but so far no one's flipped the switch.

Related Products: There is an entire profession of meddling girls who love to get in the way of mystery solving. You can see this in Spiral, only without the Norse gods.
Tastes Like: Coffee-flavored ice cream. For as much as it tastes like coffee, it really doesn't keep you up. What a cocktease.

Street Fighter Alpha: Generations DVD
Manga Ent. 50 min. 1/1 $24.95 10/25/2005

This DVD is so stuffed with virility, it can make all the Ken dolls at your local Wal-Mart grow a pair. Too bad it doesn't make too much sense. At some point in Ryu's past, he sees his master get iced by some burly redhead. Now he's on some crusade to track down the guy and smack him with his blue ball of fury. Along the way, he meets random characters from the game who aren't really introduced, but it's assumed that you've already played the game (bad assumption) and know why they would have a reason to spar with him and be his buddy. Sadly, at only 45 minutes, the story simply doesn't have enough time to tell everything it wants. Even the fight scenes, while wicked awesome, are cut short and viewers are left wondering what the heck's going on when spirits start roaming around and people start glowing. As far as video game adaptations go, Street Fighter Alpha: Generations isn't exactly a shining example of alacrity and deep meaning, but it has enough testosterone to provide almost an hour of beer-chugging fun for you and your male buddies. Plus, it's just hard to dislike anything that screams ”hadoukeeeeen!!!!” Admit it.

Related Products: Between the Street Fighter anime films and the Tekken ones, it's hard to decide which one is slightly more pointless. Perhaps you should try both and decide.
Tastes Like: Beef jerky. There's this place in Oklahoma City that makes the world's greatest beef jerky—it's packed with flavor, incredibly chewy, and reeks of manliness.

Another Lady Innocent DVD 1
Kitty Media 60 min. 1/? $24.95 12/13/2005

You know, I have very low standards for hentai. All I ask is that the characters be pretty, and there be a storyline. It doesn't even have to be a good storyline—it just has to be able to explain why the characters are having intercourse every two minutes. Is that so much to ask for? Apparently, which almost makes me shed a tear. In case there was any doubt left from the two naked women clutching each other's breasts on the front cover of Innocent, Kitty Media reminds parents that no, this DVD is absolutely not for children. Thanks. Sadly, it also tells people on the back cover that because of the introduction of a nefarious “Lord Mark,” (Tristan & Isolde nod? Or just some name they pulled out of a Name Your Baby Book?) there will supposedly be a story, or at least a showdown between a mean old man and a crying girl. Alas, there was neither, as he never shows up on this disc (Did I miss it? Did I get a faulty disc? Or was it just not on here?); instead, viewers are treated to one singular episode filled with maids wearing open-breasted and open-crotched dresses, sex in a stable, and penises colored a dark brown to remind the censorship boards that whatever those mushroom-capped limbs are that are sprouting from the men's groins, they are not penises. At the same time, the episode was so innocuous that I couldn't bring myself to shove it into the Perishable inferno. It's simply so straight-forward and unimaginative that it neither tickled my fancy nor incurred my wrath. It just existed. People having sex. It wasn't even good sex. Everything was just so clean and shiny and smooth that nothing seemed real. Yeah, sure, if you want some pretty porn for the weekend, maybe you could pick this up, but it's so blasé that maybe you should just turn on the Discovery Channel and hope to catch a bare-naked episode of “Going Tribal.” Did you know that there's a tribe where all the men wear penis-gourds tied around their necks?

Related Products: There's enough maid porn out there to fill the Hindenberg, but you know, they at least have the smarts to wear something to cover their bits and pieces. What's the point of wearing clothes when you're just going to catch pneumonia anyway?
Tastes Like: Oats. Luckily, none of the horses in the stable joined in the frolicking.

Yumeria DVD 2 – Tossing and Turning
ADV Films 100 min. 2/3 $29.98 11/22/2005

This show is so impossibly irritating that every time something of value happens in the show, it seems more like an interruption to the flow of pointless filler than the other way around. While the show started off with a smidgeon of uniqueness (fighting battles in a dream world? That's kind of neat.), this volume killed every grain of it with the obnoxious onslaught of clichés it threw at the viewers. The show receives one strike for the lolipalooza it doles out, with little prepubescent girls waggling their camel toes in the camera and begging for kisses from Tomokazu. It receives a second strike for being completely predictable in every plot twist it attempts, from getting one of the girls to move away, or hinting at the secret of one of the girls' identities. Last of all? The ever damning punches that are flung every time Tomokazu so much as accidentally sees them scantily clad, even though they're the ones begging for attention to begin with. If it weren't for the way I had my DVD player perched precariously on the TV cabinet, I would have thrown a pillow at the screen in disgust. In the end, the writers manage to spare half an episode for storyline which is much-needed refreshment. As somewhat intriguing the new revelations are though, they're not enough to dull the pain brought on by the previous episodes. It's not that I don't like harem shows, it's that this one in particularly is so incredibly poorly written that it fills me with frustration. There's nothing worse than taking a fun premise and clogging it up with enough crap to fill an outhouse.

Related Products: Just because it's based on a game doesn't mean it can be clichéd. Tsukihime was based on a game and look how well that turned out.
Smells Like: Bath & Body Works. Every time you walk by one of those stores, you get hit with this nauseating wave of everything sickly sweet ever synthesized. Ugh.

Now if you'll excuse me, I haven't slept in a few days. Thanks for reading, and in case I don't see you before then, have a wonderful holiday season!

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