Shelf Life
Neko Mimi Mode

by Bamboo Dong,
I'm convinced that most of the perfumes in the world smell exactly the same (the only exceptions are those fruit or flower-smelling ones). Except for the new Armani Code, which is delicious.

My deepest apologies for having a short column this week, as I had some serious technical malfunctions, but I'll make it up next time. As always, thank you for your support! Welcome to Shelf Life.

Getbackers - Season 1 Box Set
ADV Films 625 min. 1/1 $59.98 10/10/2006

When it comes to attractive people with special powers attacking less attractive people, Get Backers is definitely one of my favorites. Now with the first season collected into thinpak form, viewers can now enjoy throngs of pretty people getting served for cheap. The premise for Get Backers is pretty straightforward—Ban and Ginji are “Get Backers,” people who get stuff back for clients, be it lost kitty keychains or stolen paintings. Often leading to scuffles with deadly nemeses, the series spends a few episodes featuring one-shots about various missions. It's not until the main story arc kicks in that things shift to sixth and the turbo kicks in. The Get Backers are forced to team up with their enemies to infiltrate the Limitless Fortress, a lethal part of town that houses powerful enemies and a horrifying secret. With secrets, bad guys, and disturbing revelations around every corner, it's a breakneck run of several episodes that just beg to be marathoned. Each episode reveals just enough information to keep the story flowing, all the while dishing out fight scenes that will have you agape with glee. Get Backers isn't really about strength, it isn't about who wins, or who loses—it's about the journey into the unknown. Playing out like an extended mystery pockmarked with endless fights, it's perfect for those viewers who need a little violence to whet their short attention spans. The series starts out a little bland, but once it gets going, it really gets going.

Moon Phase DVD 1 - Phase 1
Funimation 125 min. 1/? $29.98 10/17/2006
Moon Phase DVD 1 - Phase 1 + Artbox + Postcard Display Binder + Postcards
Funimation 125 min. 1/? $39.98 10/17/2006

Stick on those fluffy cat ears and get ready to go into neko mimi mode. Despite the onslaught of saccharine and syrupy chirping in the opening theme, Moon Phase skews a bit dark. As it should, since the stars of the show include a vampire girl and a psychic photographer. It's pretty obvious that Moon Phase was animated in Moe City, but it's really not at all that unexpected. Kouhei is a gentle, although a bit dense, young man whose biggest passion is his camera. His curiosity about a beautiful girl perched atop an abandoned castle leads him to eventually free her from its confines. In true shonen fashion, the girl (a vampire girl, no less) winds up living with him in his grandfather's home, and together, they must thwart attempts to bring her back to the castle. Although the series is fairly innocuous so far, the biggest irritation is the lack of explanation as to why the girl was even in the castle. Was she kidnapped? Why does the Count want her back? No idea. One can only hope that all will be explained in due time. What's nice about Moon Phase though, is that despite its fan pandering, it's genuinely interesting to watch. The characters are swathed in secrets and the series doesn't take itself too seriously. Simultaneously dark, supernatural, cute, and humorous, it keeps viewers engaged without forcing them to engage in the story itself. If cute little girls make your heart pitter-patter, of if you're drawn to all things supernatural, there's a solid chance you'll have fun watching Moon Phase.

Recommended Series: Although Moon Phase has a happy dash of cute, fans may also enjoy some other series featuring supernatural girls, especially Type-Moon properties such as Lunar Legend Tsukihime.

Shana DVD 1 - The Torch Bearer
Geneon 100 min. 1/? $29.98 09/05/2006

You could be dead right now and not even know it. You could vanish in two minutes, and no one would notice. But… maybe a glimpse at Shakugan no Shana would shed some light on this matter. Shows about demons invading the human world are a dime a dozen, and the ones where a spunky gal shows up to vanquish them are even more common. So what sets Shakugan no Shana apart from the rest of them? Well, not much, but at least it has atmosphere. Sure, it cops a few clichés and it's already obvious that the two main characters are going to develop feelings for each other, but it's so dark and depressing right from the get go that one can't help but be pulled into the story. The world is constantly being attacked by Denizens, monsters who leave the Crimson Realm with a case of the people munchies. It's up to Flame Hazes to defeat them and try to curtail the damage by replacing eaten victims with Torches—shells of people that slowly vanish over time. In the middle of it all is everyday high school student Yuji, who discovers with dismay that a secret treasure placed inside of him by a Denizen has made him the target of countless others. Although the concept of otherworldly attackers is not a new one, the idea of Torches is so simultaneously fascinating and disturbing that it gives the show a unique angle. The novelty of it will likely wear off pretty soon, only to possibly be replaced by your stock headstrong-girl-attacks-monster-of-the-week variety, but at least for now, the first volume is a solidly entertaining foray into demon busting. It may not be groundbreaking, but the morbid start is worth a rental.

Recommended Series: If you enjoyed Shana, then there's a great chance you'll eat up Bleach, currently airing on Cartoon Network.

Vermilion Pleasure Night DVD 3 - Creme de la Creme
ADV Films 140 min. 3/? $29.98 10/10/2006

It takes a certain appreciation for the absurd to really enjoy the artsy-fartsy humor of Vermilion Pleasure Night. Not meant for those with little patience or who require a punchline to be slapped in front of them, this variety show is one of the most delightfully quirky non-animated titles to ever be released by ADV. Like the discs preceding it, the third volume of Vermilion serves up a medley of skits ranging from the ever-present Fuccons, to an irritating zombie family, to a cooking show that will never see the light of Food Network day. Honestly, it's not for everyone. If your preferred method of laughs is Jackass!, you will not enjoy VPN. If you're expecting the rapid-Fire Punch lines of Mad TV, you will not enjoy VPN. However, if you enjoy heady skits that tread between moving artwork and social commentary on pop culture (translation: if you're a pretentious Jackass! and aren't afraid to admit it), you will eat it up and ask for seconds. I don't condone the ingesting of anything but food and healthy beverages, but if you were to take Nyquil or other medical substances of a similar color, and then watch Vermilion Pleasure Night…it may or may not enhance your viewing experience. Especially if you have an entire evening to waste and you decide to plow through three volumes in a single sitting. Watching the various nonsensical skits slowly fit together is kind of amazing and if you have the patience to indulge the creators of VPN, you'll be rewarded with something that will truly tickle your brain. Weird, funny, and devilishly sexy, this is a damned fine show.

Thanks for reading! Join me next time for the likes of Noein, Pani Poni Dash!, and Godzilla.

discuss this in the forum (26 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

Shelf Life homepage / archives