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Shelf Life
ANN Dash

by Bamboo Dong,
The NHL salary cap has really changed everything. Just look at the standings. I am baffled.

Welcome to Shelf Life.

Pani Poni Dash! DVD 1 - Lethal Lesson
ADV Films 125 min. 1/? $29.98 12/05/2006

This show pleases me. It doesn't try too hard to be funny, it doesn't try hard (at all) to be serious… it just is what it is, which is whimsical, cute, and hilarious. Enter Rebecca Miyamoto, an MIT grad who's ready for her new job as a schoolteacher. Only… she's 11. Like a chipper, colorful amalgamation of shows like Doki Doki School Hours, Azumanga Daioh, and Negima, this series is a refreshing gem of comedy. Its characters are fun, its stories are silly (but not annoyingly so), and it's filled with a delicious dose of non-sequitors—enough to make sure you're always vaguely paying attention. Like any school-yard comedy, most of it focuses on everyday tasks, like comforting a friend, finding food, and all sorts of trivialities, but what Pani Poni Dash! so fun is that it's so random and goofy that one can't help but smile the whole time. Even when it lampoons other genres, it doesn't go overboard, so what's left over is a solid good time.

Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid DVD 1
Funimation 100 min. 1/? $29.98 11/14/2006
Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid DVD 1 + Artbox
Funimation 100 min. 1/? $39.98 11/14/2006

With terrorist groups on the rise, Mithril needs to kick their butts in gear again. Resuming the semi-serious tone of the first Full Metal Panic! series, The Second Raid delivers the pummeling, conspiracy, and firefights that fans remember oh-so-fondly. Taking place roughly two months after the last big event, the series jumps right into the fray, only taking a breather a few episodes in to explain what's going on…and it works well. As far as continuations go, The Second Raid shows that it is possible to simply extend more of a good thing. The story thus far is strong, the characters are still compelling, and the pacing is at the perfect jaunt. Of course, if you haven't seen or read the original series/books, it's probably the best place to start. As intense as everything is, if you don't know who's who or what's what, you'll be lost within an episode. If you're interested in checking out a show that combines robots, terrorists, and slapstick comedy, you should give this a rental.

Trinity Blood DVD 2
Funimation 100 min. 2/? $29.98 11/07/2006
Trinity Blood DVD 2 - Limited Edition
Funimation 100 min. 2/? $34.98 11/07/2006

There's something about Trinity Blood that makes it hard to put down—yet hard to fully plunge into. On the one hand, it has beautiful visual, a dark, sultry atmosphere, and all the makings of a series that would leave you begging for more. On the other hand… it's… boring. Which is really tragic, because Trinity Blood is a wicked good-looking show. Despite its best intentions, though, it's paced in such a way that it almost seems lost in its own visual grace. The story still moves along, but like the plentiful shots of Abel surrounded by a luscious cathedral, the dialogue gets lost in everything else the series is trying to accomplish. As the catastrophes and problems mount, AX must scramble harder than ever to keep abreast of events. Things are definitely heating up, but with the way the show plods along, it's better to watch things an episode at a time. Maybe in future volumes, things will reach a cascade of action and awesomeness, but until then, you might be better off catching this on Adult Swim.

Noein DVD 1
Manga 150 min. 1/? $24.98 10/17/2006

Do not watch this when tired. I repeat, do not try to watch this show if you haven't had an adequate amount of sleep. It won't make sense. Heck, it doesn't even make sense when you're fully rested, but at least you'll have a better chance. Gorgeous in its visuals, music, and overall atmosphere, Noein is a show that loves to flaunt its feathers and roll around in a pile of its own pretension. Similar to series of years gone by, Noein tells the tale of two mysterious groups of people, fighting to decide the fate of the world. The key—the Dragon Torque. If it sounds familiar, it's probably because it's been done to death. It's not necessarily a bad thing… but it doesn't help when all previous incarnations of that storyline make much more sense than the series in question. It's certainly possible that Noein will get better once it settles in and answers a few of its questions, but right now, it's made up of so many scattered pieces that it's hard to sit down and truly enjoy. The series has potential, for sure, but it needs to do some heavy-duty cleanup.

Gojira Deluxe Collector's Edition
Sony Wonder 1/1 $21.98 09/05/2006

After over half a century, the original Japanese version of Godzilla is finally available—along with the US release in one amazing two-disc set. That's right. The original Godzilla. More than just a monster movie, more than just some dude wandering around a sound stage with a goofy costume, it's a strong movie that embraces its political commentary as much as its pyrotechnic destruction of Japan. Truly, if you're a fan of monster movies, this movie deserves a solid place on your shelf. It's the classic of all classics, and if you've never seen the original, this is the best chance you'll ever get. The picture quality is great, the sound is great, the subtitles are great… need I say more? Buy this movie.

Thanks for reading!

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