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A War Brewing in the Shadow of BlizzCon

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Guild Wars 2 While the rest of the crew went off to wander the halls of BlizzCon, the rest of us were treated to the release of the official GuildWars 2 trailer. Some deal of time has passed from the first story arcs and now all the races must combine to fight the risen dragons (the most powerful bringing along some undead forces).

One of the additions that struck me a bit was the Asura, a very small, yet technologically savvy race from beneath Tyria. They control magical machines and are adept spell casters.

See more at the official site.

Your Friday Fix 8/21/09: Needless

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Needless

Genres: Action, Supernatural

Ratings L4 Ratings
R3
R2
R3
R2
R3
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Needless_01When World War III comes around, Japan again suffers heavy losses. Tokyo, the epicenter of the strike on Japan, is left in ruins. 500 years later the remnant of this nuclear disaster lies like a black spot (and is so named) on the map. This provided the impetus for a new breed of human evolution; the wastelands bred forth a mutated human strain. The mutants possess power (one per person) which far exceeds the natural human limits. This caused them to be shunned by the general human populace as an unneeded creature in the now healing world. They are the Needless.

Humans struck out against those who were seen as the strongest of the Needless. Aruka and Cruz Schild were among the hundreds of rebels that launched an ambush on a convoy carrying the top four Needless, who are owned by the Simeon Corporation. They were the only two that survived, but are soon hunted down by anti-Needless machines called the Testaments. Aruka forces Cruz into the sewers and apparently dies holding off the Testament, effectively covering his escape.

Needless_02In the sewers Cruz is again saved from the Testament by Adam Blade, a Needless with the power to clone his foes abilities. He destroys the Testament, but in doing so takes heavy damage. Cruz drags him back to the burnt out church that serves as the headquarters for his small group. Here he meets Eve Neuschwanstein, a doppelganger Needless, and Gido the scientist (who REALLY reminds me of Dr. Wiley).

The Simeon’s Needless move out to eradicate this group, as their crossing with the Testaments sent after Cruz has revealed their existence. The series leads action to action with a hard driving rock soundtrack and over the top physical comedy in between serious moments.

Overall Hook Rating: B

Going Down with the Ship

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goingUnder

Anyone who keeps up to date on the state of P2P has likely heard of the impending sale of The Pirate Bay.  The current site, as well as its hosted torrents have been archived into a neat little package (21.3 gigs).

That said and done, now anyone can restart the floating giant if the new owners decide to scuttle the ship.  Anyone with a server beefy enough to handle the load, that is.

[via TorrentFreak]

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Your Friday Fix 8/14/09: Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

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Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Genres: Drama, Suspense

Ratings R4 Ratings
R2
R2
L4
L4
R4
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Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Image 1This week’s anime is a bit different from the previous set, as it is meant to be a study in reality. Studio BONES, also in the news for its upcoming Halo Legends anime, has taken on the task of creating the magnitude 8.0 that will destroy Tokyo. No, not in the Godzilla/Ultraman-esque manner in which we have become accustom. BONES has taken a great deal of time researching actual facts, figures and historical events to attempt to realistically portray “The Big One” in Tokyo.

The story starts off following the lives of Mirai, the older sister, and Yuuki Onozawa, the younger brother. Their home life is relatively unremarkable; their father is preoccupied and their mother is frequently absent with work. Mirai is forced to escort her brother to a robot exhibit in Tokyo due to her parents’ relative absence in their lives. Their path crosses with Mari Kusakabe, a working mother, twice on their way to this point.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Image 2On their way out of the exhibit hall, Yuuki need to use the bathroom and then get a drink at the convenience story inside. They split up and Mirai waits outside. It is at this point that the earthquake hits. Mari meets up with Mirai as she ventures back inside the ruined building looking for her brother. They eventually find him and prepare to brave the cold, uncertain night…

I am a big fan of apocalyptic genre, reality based anime and two thirds of BONES previous works; this series delivers.

Overall Hook Rating: A

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Dell to Release Cellphone?

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smartywhoTo add to rumor bouncing around that Dell may be working with Google’s Android OS on a new project, it appears that Dell may be announcing a new cell phone within “a few days.” While this report comes from an unknown “insider” regarding an announcement in China, it does sound plausible.

Dell does not have the backbone to support such hardware on its own network, so its also up in the air as to what carrier(s) may get a deal to release this in the US.

[via Register Hardware]

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Your Friday Fix 8/07/09: Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-Chan!!

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Fight Ippatsu Juuden-Chan

Genres: Comedy, Ecchi, Magical

Ratings L2 Ratings
R2
L3
R4
L3
L3
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Fight Ippatsu Juuden-Chan Image 1In a world parallel to our own a highly advanced society exists; in part, tasked with improving life on our side of the divide. The agents they send into our world are each known as a Charger-Girl (Juuden-Chan). They scan over our populace and find those of us who are depressed (ranked F through A, the most depressed and possibly suicidal). While most in this role see it as a simple job, one Charger-Girl takes a personal interest in her work. Plug, a rather hapless and mostly hopeless girl, tries to find the cause of people’s unhappiness.

One of the first encounters Plug has in our world (during the course of the story) is Sentou, a young many working hard to take care of his little sister. Unlike the rest of humanity, he can see through the Charger-Girls’ stealth field. Plug startles Sentou and he rewards her with a baseball bat to the head. Sentou’s younger sister, Hakone, is actually one of those in need of a “recharge” by Plug.

Fight Ippatsu Juuden-Chan Image 2When she tries to carry out her work, Sentou again bats her to the side for “playing dangerously with electricity”. This is also the first instance that people peeing themselves makes in the series. It will NOT be the last (unfortunately). In the end of the first episode, Plug and Sentou save Hakone from jumping off a building… completing Plug’s assignment.

Come the episode, the barely covered nudity of the previous episode jumps the line and goes full out. It is also at this point that the thin string of the plot tanks and becomes more about perv magnet scenes of urination, latex and bondage. Oh yea, its mildly a magical-girl styled series…

Overall Hook Rating: D

Tuesday Musing: P2P Filesharing and You

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STDsWith all the trials and tribulations going on in regard to P2P, it make me ponder:

a) How many people don’t understand that when you hit “share my shit” on LimeWire, that your files will be available to the masses?

b) How many people still get on LimeWire and not expect to get the internet’s version of herpies?

c) How many government employees fall into either of these categories?

d) If the number in C is high… are we doomed?

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Your Friday Fix 7/31/09: CANAAN

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Canaan

Genres: Action, Mystery

Ratings R3 Ratings
R3
R3
L2
R3
R3
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Canaan Image 1The streets of Shanghai are alive with the sights and sounds of a great festival. Minoru Minorikawa, a journalist, and Maria Osawa, a photographer, have flown in to cover this event. In parallel to their soon-to-become active lives, an assassin drops her target from a rooftop, apparently miles away. A battle between this assassin and a terrorist group know as the “Snakes” rolls onward in a collision course with the other.

Separately, a CIA convoy escorts the captured Snakes leader, Alphard, to a detention facility. Her sister and allies spring her in gouts of flames and blood. Noting that the assassin they have been seeking, named Canaan, has been found in Shanghai. The inner workings of their organization are hinted at, but are never completely spelled out.

Canaan Image 2As the two stories collide we are shown that Canaan and Maria have met before and are actually good friends. Maria’s pictures, however, get her into trouble with the Snakes. She has uncovered something that undercurrents every aspect of this series, but we are not yet treated to an explanation. A flashback informs us that a terrorist group had spread a bio-toxin of which Maria was the only know survivor (by way of her father’s research toward a vaccine).

The Snakes strike out at Maria and Minoru who are eating at a restaurant after the initial events unfold. Thanks to a REALLY spirited cabbie, the two make a successful escape and are eventually saved by Canaan. The Snakes switch targets and Canaan leads them away. Upon returning to their hotel rooms, Maria and Minoru find their places wrecked and film stolen.

This series has a great opening and a good style; the pace is fast and has action throughout. A minor drawback is the amount of data we are asked to recall as we continue toward a (hopeful) epiphany of the what and why in the story.

Overall Hook Rating: B

Your Friday Fix 7/24/09: Umi Monogatari

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Sea Story

Genres: Fantasy, Magical, Supernatural

Ratings L4 Ratings
R2
L2
R2
L2
L2
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Sea Story Image 1Sunlight drifts down through the clear waters of an unnamed sea. Two girls, who seem very at home in their undersea setting, notice a small shiny object floating down toward them. Marin, the older of the two, catches it. Above, in the “sky-world”, a young girl named Kanon has just thrown this ring into the sea… having just been dumped by her boyfriend.

Marin decides that anyone who would have lost something so beautiful must be sad, and heads “skyward”. Her little sister Urin accompanies her to keep her out of trouble. When they finally meet the girl, she again throws the ring away in anger. This time the ring is thrown inland and lands in a shrine. Marin and Urin go off in search of it again, not understanding the situation.

Sea Story Image 2Urin is the first to find the ring, but in trying to reach it, unseals an evil being known as Sedna. In a bit of foreshadowing, supposedly, we see some of the evil energy inhabit the ring (though this is never explained in the first two episodes). The counter this development the ancient Matsumoto, a giant mustached turtle awakens to train the two priestesses that must reseal Sedna.

Of course, this means Marin of the sea and Kanon of the “sky”. At this point the series takes on a decidedly magical-girl spin as the two priestesses begin to realize their powers and defeat an agent of Sedna who has come to shore. The second episode ends with Kanon walking off, telling the sea people that this is not her fight and she wants no part of it.

Now, I must admit I am no fan of the magical-girl genre; otherwise this series might have rated a B. Half of the cast is scantly clad, which I assume was half to make sense of what people would wear under water, while still providing an ecchi factor.

Overall Hook Rating: C

Your Friday Fix 7/17/09: Umineko no Naku Koro ni

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Umineko no Naku Koro ni

Genres: Horror, Occult, Mystery

Ratings L2 Ratings
L1
R3
R2
R3
R3
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Umineko no Naku Koro ni Image 1A pleasant breeze blows over the small private island, Rokkenjima, in the autumn of 1986. It’s the season for the annual meeting of the exceedingly wealthy Ushiromiya family. The family patriarch, Kinzo Ushiromiya, is nearing the end of his life and the family wishes to discuss plans for the family assets. Each of Kinzo’s children are heads of industry and all clamor for the reigns. A storm brews outside, ominous.

In a dark room, secluded from his squabbling offspring, Kinzo yells and thrashes about by a stormy window. He knows his end is near and entreaties Beatrice, a witch who granted him his families wealth, to return to him once more. Their deal is reaching its end, and the final bill come due. Outside… the most innocent soul on the island, Maria Ushiromiya, is left alone in the rain by her mother. She is increasingly despondent over her daughter’s odd mannerisms, but does not know how to control her anger of this situation. It is to this girl that Beatrice first appears.

Umineko no Naku Koro ni Image 2Gathered inside for dinner, the entire family continues to posture and plot. When the desert course comes, Maria stands and announces that she has a letter Beatrice wishes her to read aloud to the family. While every family member knows of this person by name, none truly believe she existed! Maria looks possessed as the addresses the gathered family. She informs them of the contract created between herself and Kinzo. She speaks of the wealth granted, and now what payment has come due.

The game set in motion, Beatrice (by way of Maria) informs everyone that she will take back her gold and everything the family owns as interest unless someone can uncover where Kinzo has hidden this wealth. In the foyer of the mansion exists all the clues they will need to complete this daunting task. There too, is a time limit on this game… overnight 6 people (four family members and two servants) are killed and mutilated. Their bodies are left in a shed, adorned with runes of a sort. The end of the Ushiromiya has only just begun.

Overall Hook Rating: A